To an Old Oak
Round thee, alas, no shadows move!
From thee no sacred murmurs breathe!
Yet within thee, thyself a grove,
Once did the eagle scream above,
And the wolf howl beneath.
There once the steel-clad knight reclin'd,
His sable plumage tempest-toss'd;
And, as the death-bell smote the wind,
From towers long fled by human kind,
His brow the hero cross'd!
Then Culture came, and days serene,
And village-sports, and garlands gay.
Full many a pathway cross'd the green;
And maids and shepherd-youths were seen,
To celebrate the May.
Father of many a forest deep,
(Whence many a navy thunder-fraught)
Erst in their acorn-cells asleep,
Soon destin'd o'er the world to sweep,
Opening new spheres of thought!
Wont in the night of woods to dwell,
The holy druid saw thee rise;
And, planting there the guardian-spell,
Sung forth, the dreadful pomp to swell
Of human sacrifice!
Thy singed top and branches bare
Now straggle in the evening sky;
And the wan moon wheels round to glare
On the long corse that shivers there
Of him who came to die!