Poems by Themes •
Random Poem •
The Rating of Poets • The Rating of Poems
Poem by Felicia Dorothea Hemans
The Vassal’s Lament for the Fallen Tree
“Here [at Brereton in Cheshire] is one thing incredibly strange, but attested, as I myself have heard, by many persons and commonly believed. Before any heir of this family dies, there are seen, in a lake adjoining, the bodies of trees swimming on the water for several days.” — Camden’s Britannia.
YES! I have seen the ancient oak On the dark deep water cast, And it was not felled by the woodman’s stroke, Or the rush of the sweeping blast; For the axe might never touch that tree, And the air was still as a summer sea. I saw it fall, as falls a chief By an arrow in the fight, And the old woods shook, to their loftiest leaf, At the crashing of its might; And the startled deer to their coverts drew, And the spray of the lake as a fountain’s flew! ’T is fallen! But think thou not I weep For the forest’s pride o’erthrown,— An old man’s tears lie far too deep To be poured for this alone: But by that sign too well I know That a youthful head must soon be low! A youthful head, with its shining hair, And its bright quick-flashing eye; Well may I weep! for the boy is fair, Too fair a thing to die! But on his brow the mark is set,— O, could my life redeem him yet! He bounded by me as I gazed Alone on the fatal sign, And it seemed like sunshine when he raised His joyous glance to mine. With a stag’s fleet step he bounded by, So full of life,—but he must die! He must, he must! in that deep dell, By that dark water’s side, ’T is known that ne’er a proud tree fell But an heir of his fathers died. And he,—there ’s laughter in his eye, Joy in his voice,—yet he must die! I ’ve borne him in these arms, that now Are nerveless and unstrung; And must I see, on that fair brow, The dust untimely flung? I must!—yon green oak, branch and crest, Lies floating on the dark lake’s breast! The noble boy!—how proudly sprung The falcon from his hand! It seemed like youth to see him young, A flower in his father’s land! But the hour of the knell and the dirge is nigh, For the tree hath fallen, and the flower must die. Say not ’t is vain! I tell thee, some Are warned by a meteor’s light, Or a pale bird, flitting, calls them home, Or a voice on the winds by night; And they must go! And he too, he! Woe for the fall of the glorious tree!
Felicia Dorothea Hemans
Felicia Dorothea Hemans's other poems:
English Poetry. E-mail email@example.com