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The music of the merry bird,
Or hum of busy bees.
But busy bees forsake the Elm
That bears no bloom aloftThe Finch was in the hawthorn-bush,
The Blackbird in the croft ; And among the firs the brooding Dove,
That else might murmur soft.
Yet still I heard that solemn sound,
And sad it was to boot,
And each minuter shoot;
And from the twisted root.
From these, –a melancholy moan;
From those,-a dreary sigh;
And wild winds sweeping by-
Was steadfast in the sky.
No sign or touch of stirring air
Could either sense observe-
The thistle-down to swerve,
To take another curve.
In still and silent slumber hush'd
All Nature seem'd to be; From heaven above, or earth beneath,
No whisper came to meExcept the solemn sound and sad
From that MYSTERIOUS TREE!
A hollow, hollow, hollow sound,
As is that dreamy roar
When distant billows boil and bound
Along a shingly shore-
A hundred miles or more.
No murmur of the gusty sea,
No tumult of the beach,
The bounded sense could reachMethought the trees in mystic tongue
Were talking each to each !
Mayhap, rehearsing ancient tales
Of whisper'd vows
Beneath their boughs ;
A Royal Tudor built.
Perchance, of booty won or shared
Beneath the starry cope-
Hung up the fatal rope;
Insnared by Love and Hope.
Of graves, perchance, untimely scoop'd
At midnight dark and dankAnd what is underneath the sod Whereon the grass is rank
Of old intrigues,
And privy leagues,
Of traitor lips that mutter'd plots
Of Kin who fought and fellGod knows the undiscovered schemes,
The arts and acts of Hell,
Perform’d long generations since,
If trees had tongues to tell !
With wary eyes, and ears alert,
As one who walks afraid,
Of mingled light and shade
Beyond the green arcade!
How clearly shone the glimpse of Heav'n
Beyond that verdant aisle !
As dim and chill
As serves to fill Some old Cathedral pile !
And many a gnarlèd trunk was there,
That ages long had stood,
Like Pan's fantastic brood ;
That Pagans carve in wood !
A crouching Satyr lurking here
And there a Goblin grimAs staring full of demon life
As Gothic sculptor's whimA marvel it had scarcely been
To hear a voice from him !
Some whisper from that horrid mouth
Of strange, unearthly tone;
One's marrow in the bone.
And silent as a stone !
As silent as its fellow's be,
For all is mute with them
The crooked root,
And tender shoot, Where hangs the dewy gem.
One mystic Tree alone there is,
Of sad and solemn sound-
And sometimes underground-
Where losty Elms abound.
The Scene is changed! No green Arcade
No Trees all ranged a-row-
Dispersing to and fro;
That fell before the foe.
The Foe that down in yonder dell
Pursues his daily toil;
Bereft of leafy spoil,
The adder loves to coil.
Alone he works-his ringing blows
Have banish'd bird and beast;
A hundred yards at least ;