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


The Maltby Yews

By Ebenezer Elliott (1781–1849)

FAMED Maltby yews, with trunks like stone!

Are you or these gray rocks the older?

Like “death-in-life,” ye strangely grow,

And, dead alive, they sternly moulder.

Memorials grand of death and life,

That seem from time new life to borrow!

Full many a race have ye outlived

Of men whose lives were crime and sorrow.

Age after age, while Time grew old,

Your writhen boughs here slowly lengthened;

Storm-stricken trees! your stormy strength

Five hundred years have darkly strengthened.

Yet safe beneath your mighty roots

The busy bee hath made its dwelling;

And, at your feet, the little mouse,

With lifted hands, its joy is telling.

And high above the full-voiced lark

The sun, that loves to see you, beameth

On lonely rock or mossy trunk,

That with the rock coeval seemeth;

While, all around, the desert flowers,

Where breezes drink their freshness, gather,

As children come to kneel and bend

In prayer around their father’s father.

O, could I write upon your gloom

A solemn verse that would not perish,

My written thoughts should warn and bless,

And nations saved the precept cherish;

For I would bid the dark and strong

Be greatly good, and daily stronger,

That power to wrong, and will to wrong,

Like fiends divorced, might pair no longer.