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“A teardrop trembled from its source,
And down my surface crept. My sense of touch is something coarse,
But I believe she wept.
" Then flush'd her cheek with rosy light,
She glanced across the plain ; But not a creature was in sight:
She kiss'd me once again.
“Her kisses were so close and kind,
That, trust me on my word,
But yet my sap was stirr'd :
" And eveu into my inmost ring
A pleasure I discern’d, Like those blind motions of the Spring,
That show the year is turn'd.
“ Thrice-happy he that may caress
The ringlet's waving balmThe cushions of whose touch may press
The maiden's tender palm.
“I, rooted here among the groves,
But languidly adjust My vapid vegetable loves
With anthers and with dust :
“For ah! my friend, the days were brief
Whereof the poets talk, When that, which breathes within the leaf,
Could slip its bark and walk.
“But could I, as in times foregone,
From spray, and branch, and stem, Have suck'd and gather'd into one
The life that spreads in them,
“ She had not found me so remiss ;
But lightly issuing thro',
With usury thereto.”
O flourish high, with leafy towers,
And overlook the lea,
But leave thou mine to me.
O flourish, hidden deep in fern,
Old oak, I love thee well ;
And what remains to tell.
“ 'Tis little more : the day was warm;
At last, tired out with play, She sank her head upon her arm
And at my feet she lay.
“ Her eyelids dropp'd their silken eaves.
I breathed upon her eyes
A welcome mix'd with sighs.
“I took the swarming sound of life
The music from the town
And lulld them in my own.
“Sometimes I let a sunbeam slip,
To light her shaded eye;
Like a golden butterfly;
“ A third would glimmer on her neck
To inake the necklace shine ; Another slid, a sunny fleck,
From head to ancle fine.
“Then close and dark my arms I spread,
And shadow'd all her restDropt dews upon her golden head,
An acorn in her breast.
“But in a pet she started up,
And pluck'd it out, and drew My little oakling from the cup,
And flung him in the dew'.
“And yet it was a graceful gift
I felt a pang within
His axe to slay my kin.
“I shook him down because he was
The finest on the tree.
O kiss him once for me.
“O kiss him twice and thrice for me,
That have no lips to kiss, For never yet was oak on lea
Shall grow so fair as this.”
Step deeper yet in herb and fern,
Look further thro' the chace, Spread upward till thy boughs discern
The front of Sumner-place.
This fruit of thine by Love is blest,
That but a moment lay
Some happy future day.
I kiss it twice, I kiss it thrice,
The warmth it thence shall win To riper life may magnetise
The baby-oak within.
But thou, while kingdoms overset,
Or lapse from hand to hand, Thy leaf shall never fail, nor yet
Thine acorn in the land.
May never saw dismember thee,
Nor wielded axe disjoint, That art the fairest-spoken tree
From here to Lizard-point.
O rock upon thy towery top
All throats that gurgle sweet! All starry culmination drop
Balm-dews to bathe thy feet !
All grass of silky feather grow
And while he sinks or swells The full south-breeze around thee blow
The sound of minster bells.
The fat earth feed thy branchy root,
That under deeply strikes ! The northern morning o’er thee shoot,
High up, in silver spikes !
Nor ever lightning char thy grain,
But, rolling as in sleep, Low thunders bring the mellow rain,
That makes thee broad and deep !