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For you harken on your right hand
How the birds do leap and call

In the greenwood, out of sight and
Out of reach and fear of all;

And the squirrels crack the filberts through their cheerful madrigal.

On your left the sheep are cropping
The slant grass and daisies pale,

And five apple-trees stand dropping

Separate shadows towards the vale

Over which, in choral silence, the hills look you their "All hail ! "

Far out, kindled by each other,
Shining hills on hills arise,

Close as brother leans to brother

When they press beneath the eyes

Of some father praying blessings from the gifts of


While beyond, above them mounted,
And above their woods alsò,

Malvern hills, for mountains counted

Not unduly, loom a-row

Keepers of Piers Plowman's visions through the sunshine

and the snow.

Yet, in childhood, little prized I
That fair walk and fair survey;

'T was a straight walk unadvised by

The least mischief worth a nay;

Up and down-as dull as grammar on the eve of holiday.

But the wood, all close and clenching,
Bough in bough and root in root,-

No more sky (for over-branching)
At your head than at your foot,-

Oh, the wood drew me within it by a glamour past dispute !

Few and broken paths showed through it,
Where the sheep had tried to run,—

Forced with snowy wool to strew it

Round the thickets, when anon

They, with silly thorn-pricked noses, bleated back into the sun.

But my childish heart beat stronger
Than those thickets dared to grow:
I could pierce them! I could longer
Travel on, methought, than so:

Sheep for sheep-paths! braver children climb and creep where they would go.

And the poets wander (said I)

Over places all as rude :
Bold Rinaldo's lovely lady

Sat to meet him in a wood :

Rosalinda, like a fountain, laughed out pure with solitude.

And if Chaucer had not travelled

Through a forest by a well,

He had never dreamt nor marvelled

At those ladies fair and fell

Who lived smiling without loving in their island-citadel.

Thus I thought of the old singers,

And took courage from their song,
Till my little struggling fingers
Tore asunder gyve and thong

Of the brambles which entrapped me, and the barrier

branches strong.

On a day, such pastime keeping,
With a fawn's heart debonair,

Under-crawling, overleaping

Thorns that prick and boughs that bear,

I stood suddenly astonied-I was gladdened unaware.

From the place I stood in, floated
Back the covert dim and close,

And the open ground was coated

Carpet-smooth with grass and moss,

And the blue-bell's purple presence signed it worthily


Here a linden-tree stood, bright'ning

All adown its silver rind;

For as some trees draw the lightning,

So this tree, unto my mind,

Drew to earth the blessed sunshine from the sky where it was shrined.

Tall the linden-tree, and near it
An old hawthorn also grew;

And wood-ivy like a spirit

Hovered dimly round the two,

Shaping thence that bower of beauty which I sing of thus

to you.

'T was a bower for garden fitter
Than for any woodland wide:

Though a fresh and dewy glitter

Struck it through from side to side,

Shaped and shaven was the freshness, as by gardencunning plied.

Oh, a lady might have come there,

Hooded fairly like her hawk,

With a book or lute in summer,

And a hope of sweeter talk,——

Listening less to her own music than for footsteps on the walk!

But that bower appeared a marvel

In the wildness of the place;

With such seeming art and travail,

Finely fixed and fitted was

Leaf to leaf, the dark-green ivy, to the summit from the base.

And the ivy veined and glossy
Was enwrought with eglantine;
And the wild hop fibred closely,

And the large-leaved columbine,

Arch of door and window-mullion, did right sylvanly entwine.

Rose-trees either side the door were
Growing lithe and growing tall,

Each one set, a summer warder

For the keeping of the hall,—

With a red rose and a white rose, leaning, nodding at the wall.

As I entered, mosses hushing
Stole all noises from my foot;
And a green elastic cushion,

Clasped within the linden's root,

Took me in a chair of silence very rare and absolute.

All the floor was paved with glory,

Greenly, silently inlaid.

(Through quick motions made before me)

With fair counterparts in shade

Of the fair serrated ivy-leaves which slanted overhead.

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"Is such a pavement in a palace?
So I questioned in my thought:
The sun, shining through the chalice
Of the red rose hung without,

Threw within a red libation, like an


At the same time, on the linen

Of my childish lap there fell

answer to my

Two white may-leaves, downward winning
Through the ceiling's miracle,

From a blossom, like an angel, out of sight yet blessing well.

Down to floor and up to ceiling

Quick I turned my childish face,
With an innocent appealing

For the secret of the place

To the trees, which surely knew it in partaking of the grace.

Where's no foot of human creature
How could reach a human hand?
And if this be work of nature,

Why has nature turned so bland,

Breaking off from other wild-work? understand.

It was hard to

Was she weary of rough-doing,
Of the bramble and the thorn?

Did she pause in tender rueing

Here of all her sylvan scorn?

Or in mock of art's deceiving was the sudden mildness worn?

Or could this same bower (I fancied)

Be the work of Dryad strong,

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