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النشر الإلكتروني

MISCELLANEOUS POEMS.

THE VOICE OF THE OAK.

“ Tongues in trees.”

SHAKSPEARE.

Genius! if such may chance to dwell

Within the excavated bound

That rudely shapes this oaken cell,

And closes in its knotty round,
Genius! with acorn chaplet crown'd,

Thy hoar antiquity might well,
If fraught it were with mortal sound,

Of elder years a legend tell.

For many a course of sun and shade,

Tempest and calm, thy growth matured ;

And many a year its circle made,

The while thy summer prime endured : To flood and flame of heaven inured,

Slow centuries hast thou o'erstaid ; By stern, majestic might secured

From storms that wreck or blights that fade.

Thou, like a hermit sad and

sage, In silence lone thy dwelling hast : Thine aspect is a living page

Where times o’erflown their annals cast. For, through the watches of the past,

Thou hast beheld, as age on age Dawn’d, hast beheld them setting fast,

And Time on his long pilgrimage

Still hurrying to the last.

And thou that saw'st them wear away,

Dost fail. Ev'n as the seasons glide,

Thy grandeur creeps to sure decay,

Amid the devastation wide.

For Time thy giant strength has tried,

And, sparely deck’d, thy branches grey Hang, like old banners, at thy side,

To mark his conquering sway.

Ere long, the vernal year in vain

Shall seek this trembling shade of thine : Thee to infoliate, ne'er again

Shall Spring her freshest garland twine. The

presage of thy slow decline O'er all thy silver'd bark is plain, Inscribed in many a fatal sign

Portentous of thy ruin'd reign.

But sure a whisper faintly broke,

Startling the twilight air!
Was it the Spirit of the Oak,

Or Fancy haunting there,
With seeming voice --Again it spoke!

Nor may

rash mortal dare

Silence the echoes it awoke,

Or bid its tongue forbear.

- Child of the dust! to being sprung

I wear

Long since these boughs with age were bent, Thy useless lay is idly sung,

Thy breath in vain conjecture spent. What though with ancient pomp

The spoil of years for ever flown; What though in dryad lore I bear

The memory of things unknown; Thee little it imports to hear,

How, o'er the waning orb of Time, Fleet ages dawn and disappear,

Revolving in their course sublime. The voice of

years

would tire to tell What desolating waste has been,

What generations rose and fell

Since erst these aged limbs were green.

For swift as o'er the changing skies

Sunshine and winter whirlwinds sweep, The mortal race to being rise,

And rest them in their slumber deep. Some in the early bud are reft,

And some in blossom immature:

Of those to summer ripeness left,

How few till Nature's fall endure !

For countless are the forms of fate

That lurk in silent ambushment,

That term so brief to antedate,

To quench the flame so quickly spent. Oh, seek not in the dust of

years The fragments strew'd by man's decay: Enough in every hour appears,

To tell that all things wear away. Even while the curious search is gone

In quest of hosts and legions fled, Thy own brief term is hasting on,

To join the phalanx of the dead.

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