06 November 2013

To an Old Maple Tree - An 1851 Poem

By Mrs. J.H. Dimock, of Montrose.
I have loved thee from my childhood,
Thou old and moss grown tree!
And a thousand gentle memories
Are linked with thoughts of thee.
Sweet visions of that olden time,
When, with joyous heart I strayed
To seek the earliest white flowers,
By the streamlet 'neath thy shade.
There, when at spring's soft breathings,
The snow-wreath fled away,
Each green and mossy knowl was gemmed
With partridge-berries gay,
The May-flower and the violet
Peeped from their bed of mould,
And the dark wake-robbbin nodded
By the adder's-tongue of gold.
The feathery fern waved to the breeze,
With a wild wood fragrance fraught,
While the brown thrush, for her callow brood,
Its sheltering covert sought,
And among thy spreading branches,
In their soft, pale green array,
The song sparrow trilled his earliest notes,
And the blue bird poured his lay.
I've loved thee! when the glad spring brought
Her gifts of bloom and mirth,
Nor less when summer's loveliness
Came flashing o'er the earth.
For thou hast worn quite regally,
They coronal of green,
And stood a monarch of the wood,
In the sunlight's glorious sheen.
And when the change came o'er thee,
In the pensive autumn day's --
When vale and upland, grove and stream,
Were veiled in sober haze,
Thou dids't thy gorgeous robes put on
Of crimson and of gold,
And proudly yield the honors up
Thou might'st not longer hold.
Majestic still, though shorn, thou'st stood
With thy light tracery
Revealed, in fairy pencillings 'gainst
The clear and star lit sky.
Then the wintry sun came brightly down,
And lingering o'er thy crest,
Each tiny twig, with frost o'er wrought,
In glittering gems seemed dressed.
And oft, when through the starry boughs,
The storm-king wild has raved,
I've joyed to see how nobly thou
His violence has braved.
But a spoiler has been busy 'mongst
They brethren of the shade.
And I sigh to mark the ravages
The woodman's axe has made.
Thou stand'st almost alone, old tree!
The stream has shrunk and dried,
And the flowers, beneath the sun's fierce glare,
From their old haunts have died.
Thou too, ere long, old cherished friend,
Must bow they stately head!
So pass from earth its loveliest
And noblest, to the dead.
October 15, 1851. Lewisburg Chronicle 8(29): 1.