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Who liv'd, when thou wast such ? Oh, couldst thou speak,
As in Dodona once thy kindred trees
Oracular, I would not curious ask
The future, best unknown, but at thy mouth
Inquisitive, the less ambiguous past !

By thee I might correct, erroneous ofe,
The clock of history, facts and events
Timing more punctual, unrecorded facts
Recov’ring, and mistated setting right
Desp'rate attempt, till trees shall speak again!

Time made thee what thou wast, king of the woods; And Time hath made thee what thou art-a care For owls to roost in! Once thy spreading boughs O'erhung the champaign; and the numerous flocks, That graz’d it, stood beneath that ample cope Uncrouded, yet safe-shelter'd from the storm. No flock frequents thee now. Thou hast out-liv'd Thy popularity, and art become (Unless verse rescue thee awhile) a thing Forgotten, as the foliage of thy youth !

While thus through all the stages thou hast push'd Of treeship-first a seedling, hid in grass ;


Then twig; then sapling; and, as cen'try rollid
Slow after century, a giant-bulk
Of girth enormous, with moss-cushion'd root
Upheav'd above the soil, and sides imboss'd
With prominent wens globose-till at the last,
The rottenness, which time is charg'd to’inflict
On other mighty ones, found also thee.

What exhibitions various hath the world Witness'd of mutability in all, That we account most durable below! Change is the diet, on which all subsist, Created changeable, and change at last Destroys them. Skies uncertain, now the heat Transmitting cloudless, and the solar beam Now quenching in a boundless sea of clouds, Calm, and alternate storm, moisture, and drought, Invigorate by turns the springs of life In all that live, plant, animal, and man, And in conclusion mar them. Nature's threads, Fine, passing thought, e'en in her coarsest works, Delight in agitation, yet sustain The force, that agitates, not unimpair’d, But, worn by frequent impulse, to the cause Of their best tone their dissolution owe.

Thought cannot spend itself, comparing still The great and little of thy lot, thy growth From almost nallity into a state Of matchless' grandeur, and declension thence, Slow, into such magnificent decay. Time was, when, settling on thy leaf, a fly Could shake thee to the root-and time has been When tempests could not. At thy firmest age Thou hadst within thy bole solid contents, That might have ribb'd the sides and plank'd the deck Of some flagg'd admiral, and tortuous arms, The ship-wright's darling treasure, didst present To the four quarter'd winds, robust aud bold, Warp'd into tough *knee-timber, many a load! But the axe spar'd thee. In those thriftier days Oaks fell not, hewn by thousands, to supply The bottomless demands of contest, wag'd For senatorial honours. Thus to Time The task was left to whittle thee away With his sly scythe, whose ever-nibbling edge,

Knee-Timber is found in the crooked arms of vak, which by reason of their distortion, are easily adjusted to the angle formed where the deck and the ship's sides meet.

Noiseless, an atom, and an atom more,
Disjoining from the rest, has, unobserv’d,
Achiev'd a labour, which had far and wide,
By man perform’d, made all the forest ring.

· Embowell'd now, and of thy ancient self Possessing nought, but the scoop'd rind, that seems An huge throat, calling to the clouds for drink, Which it would give in rivu'lets to thy root; Thou temptest none, but rather much forbidd'st The feller's toil, which thou could'st ill requite. Yet is thy root sincere, sound as the rock, A quarry of stout spurs, and knotted fangs, Which, crook'd into a thousand whimsies, clasp The stubborn soil, and hold thee still erect.

So stands a kingdom, whose foundation yet Fails not, in virtue and in wisdom laid, Tho' all the superstructure, by the tooth Pulveriz’d of venality, a shell Stands now and semblance only of itself !

Thine arms have left thee. Winds have torn

them off Long since, and rovers of the forest wild, .

With bow and shaft, have burnt them. Some have left
A splinter'd stump, bleach'd to a snowy white;'
And some, memorial none where once they grew.
Yet still life lingers in thee, and puts forth
Proof not contemptible of what she can,
Even where death predominates. The spring
Finds thee not less alive to her sweet force,
Than yonder upstarts of the neighb’ring wood,
So much thy juniors, who their birth receiv'd
Half a millennium since the date of thine.

. But since, although well qualify’d by age
To teach, no spirit dwells in thee, nor voice
May be expected from thee, seated here
On thy distorted root, with hearers none,
Or prompter, save the scene, I will perform
Myself the oracle, and will discourse
In my own ear such matter as I may.

One man alone, the father of us all,
Drew not his life from woman; never gaz’d,
With mute unconsciousness of what he saw,
On all around him ; learn'd not by degrees,
Nor ow'd articulation to his ear;
But, moulded by his Maker into man

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