IT seemed corrival of the world's great prime,

Made to un-edge the scythe of Time,

And last with stateliest rhyme.

No tender Dryad ever did indue

That rigid chiton of rough yew,

To fret her white flesh through:

But some god, like to those grim Asgard lords

Who walk the fables of the hordes

From Scandinavian fjords,

Upheaved its stubborn girth, and raised unriven,

Against the whirl-blast and the levin,

Défiant arms to Heaven.

When doom puffed out the stars, we might have said,

It would décline its heavy head,

And see the world to bed.

For this firm yew did from the vassal leas,

And rain and air, its tributaires,

Its revenues increase,

And levy impost on the golden sun,

Take the blind years as they might run,

And no fate seek or shun.

But now our yew is strook, is fallen-yea

Hacked like dull wood of ever y day^

To this and that, men say.

Never !-To Hades' shadowy shipyards gone,

Dim barge of Dis, down Acheron

It drops, or Lethe wan.

S tirred by its fall-poor destined bark of Dis !-

Along my soul a bruit there is

Of echoing images,

Réverbérations of mortality:

Spelt backward from its death, to me

Its life reads saddenedly.

Its breast was hollowed as the tooth of eld;

And boys, there creeping unbeheld,

A laughing moment dwelled.

Yet they, within its very heart so crept,

Reached not the heart that courage kept

With winds and years beswept.

And in its boughs did close and kindly nest

The birds, as they within its breast,

By all its leaves caressed.

But bird nor child might touch by any art

Each other's or the tree's hid heart,

A whole God's breadth apart;

The breadth of God, the breadth of death and life !

Even so, even so, in undreamed strife

With pulseless Law, the wife,-

The sweetest wife on sweetest marriage-day,-

Their soûls at grapple in mid-way,

Sweet to her sweet may say:

" I take you to my inmost heart, my true !"

Ah, £ool ! but there is one heart you

Shall never take him to i

The hold that falls not when the town is got

The heart's heart, whose immurèd plot

Hath keys yourself keep not !

Its ports you cannot burst-you are withstood

For him that to your listening blood

Sends precepts as he would.

Its gates are deaf to Love, high summoner;

Yea, Love's great warrant runs not there:

You are your prisoner.

Yourself are with yourself the sole consortress

In that unleaguerable fortress;

It knows you not for portress.

Its keys are at the cincture hung of God;

Its gates are trépidant to His nod;

By Him its floors are trod.

And if His feet shall rock those floors in wrath,

Or blest aspersion sleek His path,

Is only choice it hath,

Yea, in that ultimate heart's occult abode

To lie as in an oubliette of God ;

Or as a bower untrod,

Built by a secret Lover for His Spouse;-

Sole choice is this your lif e allows,

Sad tree, whose perishing boughs

So few birds house!