Pale beech and pine-tree blue,

   Set in one clay,

Bough to bough cannot you

   Bide out your day?

When the rains skim and skip,

Why mar sweet comradeship,

Blighting with poison-drip

   Neighbourly spray?

Heart-halt and spirit-lame,


Unto this wood I came

   As to a nest;

Dreaming that sylvan peace

Offered the harrowed ease—

Nature a soft release

   From men’s unrest.

But, having entered in,

   Great growths and small

Show them to men akin—

   Combatants all!

Sycamore shoulders oak,

Bines the slim sapling yoke,

Ivy-spun halters choke

   Elms stout and tall.

Touches from ash, O wych,

   Sting you like scorn!

You, too, brave hollies, twitch

   Sidelong from thorn.

Even the rank poplars bear

Illy a rival’s air,

Cankering in black despair

   If overborne.

Since, then, no grace I find

   Taught me of trees,

Turn I back to my kind,

   Worthy as these.

There at least smiles abound,

There discourse trills around,

There, now and then, are found


1887: 1896.

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