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POEMS.

THE TALKING OAK.

I.

ONCE more the gate behind me falls; Once more before

my

face I see the mouldered Abbey-walls,

That stand within the chace.

II.

Beyond the lodge the city lies,

Beneath its drift of smoke; And ah! with what delighted eyes

I turn to yonder oak !

III.

For when my passion first began,

Ere that which in me burned,
The love that makes me thrice a man,

Could hope itself returned ;

IV.

To yonder oak within the field

I spoke without restraint,
And with a larger faith appealed

Than Papist unto Saint.

For oft I talked with him apart,

And told him of my choice, Until he plagiarized a heart,

And answered with a voice.

VI.

Though what he whispered under Heaven

None else could understand ; I found him garrulously given,

A babbler in the land.

VII.

But since I heard him make reply
Is

many a weary hour; 'T were well to question him, and try

If yet he keeps the power.

VIII.

Hail, hidden to the knees in fern,

Broad oak of Sumner-chace, Whose topmost branches can discern

The roofs of Sumner-place!

IX.

Say thou, whereon I carved her name,

If ever maid or spouse, As fair as my Olivia, came

To rest beneath thy boughs ?

X.

60 Walter, I have sheltered here

Whatever maiden grace The good old Summers, year by year,

Made ripe in Sumner-chace:

XI.

“Old Summers, when the monk was fat,

And, issuing shorn and sleek, Would twist his girdle tight, and pat

The girls upon the cheek,

XII.

“ Ere yet, in scorn of Peter's-pence,

And numbered bead, and shrift, Bluff Harry broke into the spence,

And turned the cowls adrift:

XIII.

“ And I have seen some score of those

Fresh faces, that would thrive When his man-minded offset rose

To chase the deer at five;

XIV. .

“ And all that from the town would stroll,

Till that wild wind made work, In which the gloomy brewer's soul

Went by me, like a stork :

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