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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
England: Vols. I–IV. 1876–79.


Lines Written under a Drawing of Yardley Oak

By James Montgomery (1771–1854)

THIS sole survivor of a race

Of giant oaks, where once the wood

Rang with the battle or the chase,

In stern and lonely grandeur stood.

From age to age it slowly spread

Its gradual boughs to sun and wind;

From age to age its noble head

As slowly withered and declined.

A thousand years are like a day,

When fled; no longer known than seen:

This tree was doomed to pass away,

And be as if it ne’er had been;

But mournful Cowper, wandering nigh,

For rest beneath its shadow came,

When, lo! the voice of days gone by

Ascended from its hollow frame.

O that the poet had revealed

The words of those prophetic strains,

Ere death the eternal mystery sealed!

Yet in his song the oak remains.

And, fresh in undecaying prime,

There may it live, beyond the power

Of storm and earthquake, man and time,

Till nature’s conflagration-hour.