Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882). Complete Poetical Works. 1893.

A Book of Sonnets

Eliot’s Oak

THOU ancient oak! whose myriad leaves are loud

With sounds of unintelligible speech,

Sounds as of surges on a shingly beach,

Or multitudinous murmurs of a crowd;

With some mysterious gift of tongues endowed,

Thou speakest a different dialect to each;

To me a language that no man can teach,

Of a lost race, long vanished like a cloud.

For underneath thy shade, in days remote,

Seated like Abraham at eventide

Beneath the oaks of Mamre, the unknown

Apostle of the Indians, Eliot, wrote

His Bible in a language that hath died

And is forgotten, save by thee alone.