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Poem by Ebenezer Elliott
The Maltby Yews
FAMED Maltby yews, with trunks like stone! Are you or these gray rocks the older? Like “death-in-life,” ye strangely grow, And, dead alive, they sternly moulder. Memorials grand of death and life, That seem from time new life to borrow! Full many a race have ye outlived Of men whose lives were crime and sorrow. Age after age, while Time grew old, Your writhen boughs here slowly lengthened; Storm-stricken trees! your stormy strength Five hundred years have darkly strengthened. Yet safe beneath your mighty roots The busy bee hath made its dwelling; And, at your feet, the little mouse, With lifted hands, its joy is telling. And high above the full-voiced lark The sun, that loves to see you, beameth On lonely rock or mossy trunk, That with the rock coeval seemeth; While, all around, the desert flowers, Where breezes drink their freshness, gather, As children come to kneel and bend In prayer around their father’s father. O, could I write upon your gloom A solemn verse that would not perish, My written thoughts should warn and bless, And nations saved the precept cherish; For I would bid the dark and strong Be greatly good, and daily stronger, That power to wrong, and will to wrong, Like fiends divorced, might pair no longer.
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