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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. The Book of Georgian Verse. 1909.

The Poplar Field

William Cowper (1731–1800)

THE POPLARS are felled; farewell to the shade,

And the whispering sound of the cool colonnade;

The winds play no longer and sing in the leaves,

Nor Ouse on his bosom their image receives.

Twelve years have elapsed since I first took a view

Of my favourite field, and the bank where they grew:

And now in the grass behold they are laid,

And the tree is my seat that once lent me a shade!

The blackbird has fled to another retreat,

Where the hazels afford him a screen from the heat,

And the scene where his melody charmed me before

Resounds with his sweet-flowing ditty no more.

My fugitive years are all hasting away,

And I must ere long lie as lowly as they,

With a turf on my breast, and a stone at my head,

Ere another such grove shall arise in its stead.

’Tis a sight to engage me, if anything can,

To muse on the perishing pleasures of man;

Though his life be a dream, his enjoyments, I see,

Have a being less durable even than he.