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Poem by William Wordsworth
THERE is a yew-tree, pride of Lorton Vale, Which to this day stands single, in the midst Of its own darkness, as it stood of yore: Not loath to furnish weapons for the bands Of Umfraville or Percy ere they marched To Scotland’s heaths; or those that crossed the sea And drew their sounding bows at Azincour, Perhaps at earlier Crecy, or Poictiers. Of vast circumference and gloom profound This solitary tree! a living thing Produced too slowly ever to decay; Of form and aspect too magnificent To be destroyed. But worthier still of note Are those fraternal four of Borrowdale, Joined in one solemn and capacious grove; Huge trunks! and each particular trunk a growth Of intertwisted fibres serpentine Up-coiling, and inveterately convolved; Nor uninformed with fantasy, and looks That threaten the profane;—a pillared shade, Upon whose grassless floor of red-brown hue, By sheddings from the pining umbrage tinged Perennially,—beneath whose sable roof Of boughs, as if for festal purpose, decked With unrejoicing berries, ghostly shapes May meet at noontide,—Fear and trembling Hope, Silence and Foresight; Death the skeleton And Time the shadow,—there to celebrate, As in a natural temple scattered o’er With altars undisturbed of mossy stone, United worship; or in mute repose To lie, and listen to the mountain flood Murmuring from Glaramara’s inmost caves.
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