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“ 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.
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 !
And while he sinks or swells
The sound of minster bells.
That under deeply strikes !
High up, in silver spikes !
But, rolling as in sleep,
That makes thee broad and deep!
And hear me swear a solemn oath,
That only by thy side
And gain her for my bride.
And when my marriage-morn may fall,
She, Dryad-like, shall wear Alternate leaf and acorn-ball
In wreath about her hair.
And I will work in prose and rhyme,
And praise thee more in both Than bard has honour'd beech or lime,
Or that Thessalian growth,
And mystic sentence spoke ;
Thy famous brother-oak,
Wherein the younger Charles abode
Till all the paths were dim,
And humm’d a surly hymn.
LOVE AND DUTY.
Of love that never found his earthly close,
Not so. Shall Error in the round of time
If this were thus, if this, indeed, were all,