Page:The Oak.djvu/17

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THE OAK.




CHAPTER I.


introduction.


Famous in poetry and prose alike, the oak must always be for Englishmen a subject of interest, around which historical associations of the most varied character are grouped; but although what may be termed the sentimental aspect of the "British oak" is not likely to disappear even in these days of iron-clads and veneering, it must be allowed that the popular admiration for the sturdy tree is to-day a very different feeling from the veneration with which it was regarded in ancient times; and that, with the calmer and more thoughtful ways of looking at this and other objects of superstition, a certain air of romance seems to have disappeared which to so many would still present a tempting charm. It is not to these latter alone that our few existing ancient oaks are so attractive, however, and a slight acquaintance with the oaken roofs and carvings of some of our historical edifices affords ample proof that the indefinable charm exercised on us by what has proved so lasting, is a real one and deep-seated in the Saxon nature.