Gay sylphs among the foliage played,
And glowworms glittered in the shade.

One morn, while Time thus marked the tree,

In beauty green and glorious,
“ The hand,” he cried, “that planted thee

O'er mine was oft victorious;
Be vengeance now my calm employ,–
One work of Pope's I will destroy."

He spake, and struck a silent blow

With that dread arm whose motion Lays cedars, thrones, and temples low,

And wields o'er land and ocean The unremitting axe of doom, That fells the forest of the tomb.

Deep to the willow's root it went,

And cleft the core asunder,
Like sudden secret lightning, sent

Without recording thunder:
From that sad moment, slow away
Began the willow to decay.

In vain did spring these bowers restore,

Where loves and graces revelled, Autumn's wild gales the branches tore,

The thin gray leaves dishevelled, And every wasting winter found The willow nearer to the ground.

Hoary, and weak, and bent with age,

At length the axe assailed it:
It bowed before the woodman's rage ;

The swans of Thames bewailed it
With softer tones, with sweeter breath,
Than ever charmed the ear of Death.

O Pope! hadst thou, whose lyre so long

The wondering world enchanted,
Amidst thy Paradise of song

This weeping willow planted ;
Among thy loftiest laurels seen,
In deathless verse for ever green,-

Thy chosen tree had stood sublime,

The storms of ages braving,
Triumphant o'er the wrecks of Time

Its verdant banner waving,
While regal pyramids decayed,
And empires perished in its shade.

A humbler lot, O tree! was thine ;

Gone down in all thy glory,
The sweet, the mournful task be mine

To sing thy simple story ;
Though verse like mine in vain would raise
The fame of thy departed days.

Yet, fallen willow! if to me

Such power of song were given,
My lips should breathe a soul through thee,

And call down fire from heaven,
To kindle in this hallowed urn
A flame that would for ever burn.


I WANDERED in a lonely glade,
Where, issuing from the forest shade,

A little mountain stream
Along the winding valley played,

Beneath the morning beam.

Light o'er the woods of dark brown oak
The west wind wreathed the hovering smoke,

From cottage roofs concealed,
Below a rock abruptly broke,

In rosy light revealed.

'T was in the infancy of May,
The uplands glowed in green array,

While from the ranging eye
The less'ning landscape stretched away,
To meet the bending sky,

'Tis sweet in solitude to hear The earliest music of the year,

The blackbird's loud wild note, Or, from the wintry thicket drear,

The thrush's stammering throat.

In rustic solitude 't is sweet
The earliest flowers of spring to greet,

The violet from its tomb,
The strawberry, creeping at our feet,

The sorrel's simple bloom.
Wherefore I love the walks of spring, -
While still I hear new warblers sing,

Fresh opening bells I see ;
Joy Aits on every roving wing,

Hope buds on every tree.
That morn I looked and listened long,
Some cheering sight, some woodland song,

As yet unheard, unseen,
To welcome, with remembrance strong,

Of days that once had been ;
When gathering flowers, an eager child,
I ran abroad with rapture wild ;

Or, on more curious quest,
Peeped breathless through the copse, and smiled,

To see the linnet's nest.
Already I had watched the flight
Of swallows darting through the light,

And mocked the cuckoo's call ;
Already viewed, o'er meadows bright,

The evening rainbow fall.
Now in my walk, with sweet surprise,
I saw the first spring cowslip rise,

The plant whose pensile flowers
Bend to the earth their beauteous eyes,

In sunshine as in showers.

Lone on a mossy bank it grew,
Where lichens, purple, white, and blue,

Among the verdure crept ;
Its yellow ringlets, dropping dew,
The breezes lightly swept.

A bee had nestled on its blooms,
He shook abroad their rich perfumes,

Then fled in airy rings;
His place a butterfly assumes,

Glancing his glorious wings.
Oh, welcome, as a friend ! I cried ;
A friend through many a season tried,

Nor ever sought in vain,
When May, with Flora at her side,

Is dancing on the plain.
Sure as the Pleiades adorn
The glittering coronet of morn,

In calm delicious hours,
Beneath their beams thy buds are born,

'Midst love-awakening showers. Scattered by Nature's graceful hand, In briery glens, o'er pasture-land,

Thy fairy tribes we meet ; Gay in the milkmaid's path they stand,

They kiss her tripping feet. From winter's farmyard bondage freed, The cattle bounding o'er the mead,

Where green the herbage grows,
Among thy fragrant blossoms feed,

Upon thy tufts repose.
Tossing his forelock o'er his mane,
The foal, at rest upon the plain,

Sports with thy flexile stalk,
But stoops his little neck in vain

To crop it in his walk, Where thick thy primrose blossoms play, Lovely and innocent as they,

O'er coppice, lawns, and dells, In bands the rural children stray,

To pluck thy nectared bells; Whose simple sweets, with curious skill, The frugal cottage dames distil,

Nor envy France the vine, While many a festal cup they fill With Britain's homely wine.

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