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


The Chestnut of Brazenose

By Henry Glassford Bell (1803–1874)

DOCTORS from Radcliffe’s dome look down on thee,

Unconscious chestnut with the leafy crown!

And so on unpruned nature, fresh and free,

Learning too often looks complacent down,—

Learning decorous in her cap and gown,

And feasting on the brains of men long dead,

What should she see in all this stately town

To make her bend the knee or veil the head?

And yet not Plato, not the Stagyrite,

Could teach a bud to expand into a flower;

Take then thy pen, book-worshipper, and write,

Learning is but a secondary power,—

And look not down, but reverently look up

To every blossomed spray that rears its dewy cup!