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TREKS, FLOWERS, &c.
Not a tree,
And forth they passe, with pleasure forward led.
The laurell, meed of mighty conquerours
Nor less attractive is the woodland scene,
Seems sunk, and shortened to its topiuokt
Some glossy-leaved, and shining in the sun,
jet. Have changed the woods, in scarlet honours
THE SYLVAN SCENE.
Over head up grew Insuperahle height of loftiest shade, Cedar, and pine, and fir, and hranching palm, A sylvan scene; and as the ranks ascend Shade ahove shade, a woody theatre Of stateliest view,
The gnarled oak, hy some fair streamlet's side
Survivor sole, and hardly such, of all, That once liv'd here, thy hrethren, at ray
hirth, Since which I numher three-score winters
past, A shatter'd vetYan, hollow-trunk'd perhaps, As now, and with excoriate forks deform, Relicts of ages, could a mind, imhued With truth from Heav'n, created thing adore, 1 might with rev'rence kneel, and worship
It seems idolatry with some excuse, V, hen our forefather Druids in their oaks Imagin'd sanctity. The conscience, yet Uupurify'd hy an anthennc act Of amnesty, the meed of hlood divine, Lov'd not the light, hut, gloomy, into gloom
Of thickest shades, like Adam after taste Of fruit proscrih'd, as to a refuge, fled.
Thou wast a hanhle once, a eup and hall, Which hahes might play with; and the
thievish jay, Seeking her fuod, with ease might have
purloin'd The anhurn nut, that held thee, swallowing
down Thy yet close-folded latitude of houghs, And all thine emhryo vastuess at a gulp. But Fate thy growth decreed; antumnal
rains Beneath thy parent tree mellow'd the soil Design'd thy cradle; and a skipping deer, With pointed hoof dihhling the glehe, pre
par'd The soft receptacle, in which, secure, Thy rudiments should sleep the winter
So fancy dreams. Disprove it if ye can, Ye reas'uers hroad awake,whine husy search Of argument, ens ploy'd too oft amisa, Sifts half the pleasures of short life away!
Thon fell'st mature, and, in the loamy clod Swelling with vegetative force instinct, Didst hurst thine egg, as theirs the fahled
Twins, Now stars. Two lohes, protruding, pair'd
exact; A leaf succeeded, and another leaf, And, all the elements thy puny growth Fost'ring propitious, thon hecam'st a twig. Who liv'd, when thou wast such; Oh,
could'st thon speak, As in Dodona once thy kindred trees Oracular, I would not curious ask The future, hest unknown, hut at thy mouth Inquisitive, the less amhiguous past!'
By thee I might correct, erroneous oft, The clock of history, facts and events Timing more punctual, uurecorded facta Recov'ring, and misstated setting right— Desp'rate attempt, till trees shall speak again!
Time made thee what thou wast, king of
the woods, And Time hath made thee what thou art—
a cave For owls to roost in! once thy spreading
houghs O'erhungthe champaign; and the numerous
flocks, That graz'd it, stood heneath that ample cope Uncronded, yet safe-shelter' d from the storm. No flock frequents thee now. Thou hast ont
liv'd Thy popularity, and art hecome (Unless verse rescue thee awhile) a thing Forgotten, as the foliage of thy youth!
While thus through all the stages thou
hast push'd Of treeship—first a seedling, hid in grass; Then twig; then sapling; and, as cent'ry
roll'd Slow after century, a giant-hulk Of girth enormous, with moss-cushion' d root Upheav'd ahove the soil, and sides imhosa'd
With prominent wens glohose—till at the
last, The rottenness,which time is charg'd to inflict On other mighty ones, found also thee.
What exhihitions various hath the world Witness'd of mutahility in all, That we account most durahle helow I Change is the diet, on which all suhsist, Created changeahle, and change at last Destroys them. Skies uncertain, now the
heat Transmitting cloudless, and the solar heam Now quenching in a houndless sea of cloud-, Calm, and alternate storm, moisture, and
drought, Invigorate hy turns the springs of life In all that live, plant, animal, and man, And in conclusion mar them. Nature's
threads, Fine, passing thought, e'en in her coarsest
works, Delight in agitation, yet sustain The force that agitates, not unimpair'd, But, worn hy frequent impulse, to the cause Of their hest tone their dissolution owe.
Thought cannot spend itself, comparing still The great and little of thy lot, thy growth From almost nullity into a state Of matchless grandenr, and declension
thence, Slow, into such magnificent decay. Time was, when, settling on thy leaf, a fly Could shake thee to the root—and time has
heen When tempests could not. At thy firmestage Thou hadst within thy hole solid contents, That might have rihh'd the sides and plank'd
the deck Of some flagg'd admiral, and tortuous arms, The shipwright's darling treasure, didst present To the fourquartei'd winds, rohust and hold, Warp'd into tough knee-timher,* many a load!
* Knee timher h found in the crooked arms of oak, which hy reason of their distortion, are easily adjusted to the angle formed where the deck and the ship's aides meet.
But the axe spar'd thee. In those thriftier
days Oaks fell not, hewn hy thousands, to supply The hottomless demands of contest, wag'd For senatorial honours. Thus to lime The task was left to whittle thee away With his sly scythe, whose ever-nibhling
edge, Noiseless, an atom, and an atom more, Disjoining from the rest, has, unohserv'd, Achiev'd a lahour, which had far and wide, By man perform'd, made all the forest ring.
Emhowell'd now, and of thy ancient self Possessing nought, hut the scoop'd rind, that
seems An huge throat, calling to the clouds for drink Which it would give in rivuleta to thy root, Thou tempiest none, hut rather much for
hidd'st The feller's toil, which thou could'st ill requite. \et is thy root sincere, sound as the rock, A quarry of stout spurs, and knotted fangs, Which crook'd into a thousand whimsies,
clasp The stuhhorn soil, and ho!d thee still erect.
So stands a kingdom,whose foundation yet Fails not, in virtue and in wisdom laid, Tho' all the superstructure, hy the tooth Pulveriz'd of venality, a shell Stands now and semhlance only of itself!
Thine arms have left thee. Winds have torn them off Long since, and rovers of the forest wild, With how and shaft, have hurnt them. Some
have "left A splinter'd stump, hleach'd to a suowy
white; And some, memorial none where once they
grew. Vet still life lingers in thee, and puts forth, Proof not contemptihle of what she can, Even where death predominates. The spring Finds thee not less alive to her sweet force Than yonder upstarts of the neighh'ring
wood, So much thy juniors, who their hirth receiv'd Half a milleuninm since the date of thine.
But since, although well qualify'd hy age, To teach, no spirit dwells in thee, nor voice May he expected from thee, seated here On thy distorted root, with hearers none, Or prompter, save the scene, I will perform Myself the oracle, and will discourse In my own ear such matter as 1 may.
One man alone, the father of us all, Drew not his life from woman; never gaz'd With mute unconsciousuess of what he saw, On all around him; learn'd not hy degrees. Nor owed articulation to his ear; But, moulded hy his Maker into man At once, upstood intelligent, survey'd All creatures, with precision understoo.I Their purport, uses, properties, assign'd To each his name significant, and, fill'd With love and wisdom, render'd hack to
Heav'n In praise harmonious the first air he drew. He was excus'd the penalties of doll Minority. No tutor charg'd his hand With the thought-tracing quill, or task'd his
mind With prohlems. History, not wanted yet Lean'd on her elhow, watching Time, whose
course, Eventful, should supply her with a theme.
Yet let me in some odorous shade repose, Whilst in my verse the fair palmetto grows: Like the tall pine it shoots its stately head, From the hroad top depending hranches
spread; No knotty limhs the taper hody hears, Hung on each hough a single leaf appears, Which, shrivell'd in its infancy, remains Like a clos'd fan, nor stretches wide its
veins; But, as the seasons in their circle run, Opes its ripp'd surface to the nearer sun, Beneath this shade the weary peasant lies, Plucks the hroad leaf, and hids the hreezes
THE UPAS TREE.
Where seas of glass with gay reflection
smile Round the green coasts of Java's palmy isle, A spacious plain extends its upland scene, Rocks rise on rocks, and fountains gush hetween; Soft zephyrs hlow, eternal summer's reign, And showers prolific hless the soil,—in vain!
No spicy nutmeg scents the vernal gales, No towering plantain shades the mid-day
vales; No grassy mantle hides the sahle hills, No flowery chaplet crowns the trickling
rills; Nor tutted moss, nor leathery lichen creeps In russet tapestry o'er the crumhling steeps.
No step retreating, on the sand impress'd, Invites the visit of a second guest; No reflaentfin the uupeopled stream divides, No revolant pinions cleave the airy tides; Nor handed moles, nor heaked worms return, That mining pass the irremeahle hourn.— Fierce in dread silence, on the hlasted heath, Fell Ufas sits, the Hydra-tree of death.
Lol from one root, the envenomed soil helow, A thousand vegetative serpents grow; In shining rays the scaly monster spreads O'er ten square leagues his far-diverging
heads; Or in one trunk entwists his tangled form, Looks o'er the clouds and hisses in the storm.
Steep'd in fell poison, as his sharp teeth
part, A thousand tongues in quick vihration dart; Snatch the proud eagle towering o'er the
heath, Or pounce the lion as he stalks heneath; Or strew, as marshall'd hosts contend in vam With human skeletons the whiten'd plain.
Chain'd at his root two scion-demons
dwell, Breathe the faint hiss, or try the shriller yell; Rise, fluttering in the air with callow wings, And aim at insect-prey their little stings. So Time's strong arms with sweeping scythe
erase Art's cumhtous works, and empires, from
their hase: While each young hour its sickle fine em
ploys, And crops the sweet huds of domestic joys.
TO A DEAD TREE:
Old tree thou art wither'd—I passM thee last year,
How alterkl since then! not a leaf hast thou got,
I think while I view thee and rest on the stile