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“No passive unregarded tree,
A senseless thing of wood, Wherein the sluggish sap ascends
To swell the vernal bud But conscious, moving, breathing trunks
That throb with living blood !
“No forest Monarch yearly clad
In mantle green or brown;
By hand of rustic clown-
And wear the jewell'd crown.
“ Ah! little recks the Royal mind,
Within his Banquet Hall, While tapers shine and Music breathes
And Beauty leads the Ball, He little recks the oaken plank
Shall be his palace wall !
“ Ah! little dreams the haughty Peer,
The while his Falcon Aies Or on the blood-bedabbled turf The antler'd
dies That in his own ancestral Park
The narrow dwelling lies !
“But haughty Peer and mighty King One doom shall overwhelm !
The oaken cell
Shall lodge him well Whose sceptre ruled a realmWhile he who never knew a home,
Shall find it in the Elm!
“The tatter'd, lean, dejected wretch,
Who begs from door to door,
And dies within the cressy ditch,
Or on the barren moor, The friendly Elm shall lodge and clothe
That houseless man, and poor!
“ Yea, this recumbent rugged trunk,
That lies so long and prone, With many a fallen acorn-cup,
And mast, and firry coneThis rugged trunk shall hold its share
Of mortal flesh and bone !
“A Miser hoarding heaps of gold,
But pale with ague-fears-
With secret cruel tears,
From sweets of former years—
« A Man within whose gloomy mind,
Offence had darkly sunk,
Hath madly, darkly drunk-
Within this very trunk !
“This massy trunk that lies along, And many more must fall
For the very knave
Who digs the grave, The man who spreads the pall, And he who tolls the funeral bell,
The Elm shall have them all!
“ The tall abounding Elm that grows
In hedgerows up and down;
And in the peopled town,
With colonies of noisy rooks
That nestle on its crown.
“And well th' abounding Elm may grow
In field and hedge so rife,
And ’mid the city's strife,
Shall end a human life !"
The Phantom ends: the shade is gone ;
The sky is clear and bright;
There glows a ruddy light;
The Rabbit comes to bite.
The Thrush's mate beside her sits
And pipes a merry lay;
And on the Larch's spray
To catch its tiny prey.
The gentle Hind and dappled Fawn
Are coming up the glade; Each harmless furr'd and feather'd thing
Is glad, and not afraid But on my sadden'd spirit still
The Shadow leaves a shade.
A secret, vague, prophetic gloom,
As though by certain mark
Within whose rugged bark
Its narrow house and dark.
That mystic Tree which breathed to me
A sad and solemn sound,
And sometimes underground;
Where lofty Elms abound.
THE LAY OF THE LABORER.
It was a gloomy evening. The sun had set, angry and threatening, lighting up the horizon with lurid flame and flakes of blood-red-slowly quenched by slants of distant rain, dense and dark as segments of the old deluge. At last the whole sky was black, except the low-driving grey scud, amidst which faint streaks of lightning wandered capriciously towards their appointed aim, like young fire-fiends playing on their errands.
“ There will be a storm !” whispered nature herself, as the crisp fallen leaves of autumn started up with a hollow rustle, and began dancing a wild round, with a whirlwind of dust, like some frantic orgy ushering in a revolution.
“ There will be a storm!" I echoed, instinctively looking round for the nearest shelter, and making towards it at my best pace. At such times the proudest heads will bow to very low lintels; and setting dignity against a ducking, I very willingly condescended to stoop into “ The Plough.”
It was a small hedge alehouse, too humble for the refinement of a separate parlor. One large tap-room served for all comers, gentle or simple, if gentlefolks, except from stress of weather, ever sought such a place of entertainment. Its scanty accommodations were even meaner than usual : the Plough had suffered from the hardness of the times, and exhibited the bareness of a house recently unfurnished by the broker. The aspect of the pub. lic room was cold and cheerless. There was a mere glimmer of fire in the grate, and a single unsnuffed candie stood guttering over the neck of the stone bottle in which it was stuck, in the middle of the plain deal table. The low ceiling, blackened by smoke, hung overhead like a canopy of gloomy clouds; the walls were