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Which few can reach to. Yet I do not say
that time is at the doors
While I spake then, a sting of shrewdest pain
Sweet! sweet! spikenard, and balm, and frankincense.
But thou, O Lord,
THE TALKING OAK.
Once more the gate behind me falls ; Once more before
face I see the moulder'd Abbey-walls,
That stand within the chace.
Beyond the lodge the city lies,
Beneath its drift of smoke ;
I turn to yonder oak.
For when my passion first began,
Ere that, which in me burn'd, The love, that makes me thrice a man,
Could hope itself return'd;
To yonder oak within the field
I spoke without restraint,
Than Papist unto Saint.
For oft I talk'd with him apart,
And told him of my choice,
And answer'd with a voice.
Tho' what he whisper'd under Heaven
None else could understand ;
I found him garrulously given,
A babbler in the land.
But since I heard him make reply
many a weary hour;
If yet he keeps the power.
Hail, hidden to the knees in fern,
Broad Oak of Sumner-chace, Whose topmost branches can discern
The roofs of Sumner-place!
Say thou, whereon I carved her name,
If ever maid or spouse, As fair as my Olivia, came
To rest beneath thy boughs.
“O Walter, I have shelter'd here
Whatever maiden grace The good old Summers, year by year,
Made ripe in Sumner-chace :
" Old Summers, when the monk was fat,
And, issuing shorn and sleek, Would twist his girdle tight, and pat
The girls upon the cheek,