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5 I shook him down because he was

The finest on the tree.

He lies beside thee on the grass.

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
Where fairer fruit of Love may rest

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 !



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 !


And hear me swear a solemn oath,

That only by thy side
Will I to Olive plight my troth,

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,


In which the swarthy ringdove sat,

And mystic sentence spoke ; And more than England honours that,

Thy famous brother-oak,


Wherein the younger Charles abode

Till all the paths were dim,
And far below the Roundhead rode,

And humm'd a surly hymn.


Of love that never found his earthly close,
What sequel ? Streaming eyes and breaking hearts?
Or all the same as if he had not been ?

Not so.

Shall Error in the round of time
Still father Truth ? O shall the braggart shout
For some blind glimpse of freedom work itself
Thro' madness, hated by the wise, to law
System and empire ? Sin itself be found
The cloudy porch oft opening on the Sun ?
And only he, this wonder, dead, become
Mere highway dust ? or year by year alone
Sit brooding in the ruins of a life,
Nightmare of youth, the spectre of himself ?

If this were thus, if this, indeed, were all,
Better the narrow brain, the stony heart,

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