Mary Robinson ( )

Stanzas Written under an Oak in Windsor Forest

HERE POPE FIRST SUNG! O, hallowd Tree !
Such is the boast thy bark displays;
Thy branches, like thy Patrons lays,
Shall ever, ever, sacred be; 
Nor withring storm, nor woodmans stroke, 
Shall harm the POETS favourite Oak. 

Twas HERE, he wood his MUSE of fire,
While Inspirations wondrous art,
Sublimely stealing thro his heart
Did Fancys proudest themes inspire: 
Twas HERE he wisely learnt to smile 
At empty praise, and courtly guile. 

Retird from flattring, specious arts.
From fawning sycophants of state,
From knaves, with ravagd wealth elate,
And little SLAVES with TYRANT Hearts; 
In conscious freedom nobly proud, 
He scornd the envious, grovling crowd. 

Tho splendid DOMES around them rise,
And pompous TITLES lull to rest
Each struggling Virtue in the breast,
Till POWR the place of WORTH supplies;
The wretched herd can never know
The sober joys these haunts bestow. 

Does the fond MUSE delight to dwell,
Where freezing Penance spreads its shade ?
When scarce the Suns warm beams pervade 
The hoary HERMITS dreary cell?
Ah! noTHERE, Superstition blind,
With torpid languor chills the mind. 

Or, does she seek Lifes busy scene,
Ah ! no, the sordid, mean, and proud,
The little, trifling, fluttring crowd, 
Can never taste her bliss serene;
She flies from Fashions tinsel toys,
Nor courts her smile, nor shares her joys. 

Nor can the dull pedantic mind,
Eer boast her bright creative fires;
Above constraint her wing aspires, 
Nor rigid spells her flight can bind;
The narrow track of musty schools,
She leaves to plodding VAPID FOOLS. 

To scenes like THESE she bends her way,
HERE the best feelings of the soul
Nor interest taints, nor threats controul, 
Nor vice allures, nor snares betray; 
HERE from each trivial hope removd,
Our BARD first sought the MUSE he lovd. 

Still shall thy pensive gloom diffuse,
The verse sublime, the dulcet song;
While round the POETS seat shall throng, 
Each rapture sacred to the MUSE;
Still shall thy verdant branches be
The bowr of wondrous minstrelsy. 

When glow-worms light their little fires,
The amrous SWAIN and timid MAID
Shall sit and talk beneath thy shade, 
AS EVES last rosy tint expires;
While on thy boughs the plaintive DOVE,
Shall learn from them the tale of LOVE. 

When round the quivring moon-beams play,
And FAIRIES form the grassy ring,
Till the shrill LARK unfurls his wing, 
And soars to greet the blushing day;
The NIGHTINGALE shall pour to THEE,
Her Song of Love-lorn Melody. 

When, thro the forest dark and drear,
Full oft, as ancient stories say,
Old HERNE THE HUNTER i loves to stray, 
While village damsels quake with fear;
Nor sprite or spectre, shall invade
The still repose that marks THY shade. 

BLEST OAK! thy mossy trunk shall be
As lasting as the LAURELS bloom
That decks immortal VIRGILS tomb,
And famd as SHAKSPERES hallowd Tree; 
For every grateful MUSE shall twine 
A votive Wreath to deck THY SHRINE.

Mary Robinson's other poems:
  1. Sonnet 24. O Thou! Meek Orb
  2. The Widows Home
  3. To Cesario
  4. The Poor Singing Dame
  5. Sonnet to Evening

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