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Her father left his good arm-chair,
And rode his hunter down.


"And with him Albert came on his.
I looked at him with joy :
As cowslip unto oxlip is,
So seems she to the boy.


An hour had past-and, sitting straight
Within the low-wheeled chaise,
Her mother trundled to the gate
Behind the dappled grays.


"But, as for her, she stayed at home, And on the roof she went,

And down the way you use to come
She looked with discontent.


"She left the novel half-uncut
Upon the rosewood shelf;
She left the new piano shut :
She could not please herself.


"Then ran she, gamesome as the colt, And livelier than a lark

She sent her voice through all the holt Before her, and the park.


"A light wind chased her on the wing, And in the chase grew wild,

As close as might be would he cling
About the darling child:


"But light as any wind that blows

So fleetly did she stir,

The flower, she touched on, dipt and rose, And turned to look at her.


"And here she came, and round me played, And sang to me the whole

Of those three stanzas that you made
About my 'giant bole;'


"And in a fit of frolic mirth

She strove to span my waist:
Alas, I was so broad of girth,
I could not be embraced.


"I wished myself the fair young beech
That here beside me stands,

That round me, clasping each in each,
She might have locked her hands.


"Yet seemed the pressure thrice as sweet
As woodbine's fragile hold,
Or when I feel about my feet
The berried briony fold."


O muffle round thy knees with fern,
And shadow Sumner-chace!
Long may thy topmost branch discern
The roofs of Sumner-place!


But tell me, did she read the name
I carved with many vows,

When last with throbbing heart I came
To rest beneath thy boughs?


"O yes, she wandered round and round These knotted knees of mine,

And found, and kissed the name she found, And sweetly murmured thine.


"A tear-drop trembled from its source,
And down my surface crept.
My sense of touch is something coarse,
But I believe she wept.


“Then flushed her cheek with rosy light,
She glanced across the plain;
But not a creature was in sight:
She kissed me once again.


"Her kisses were so close and kind,
That, trust me on my word,
Hard wood I am, and wrinkled rind,
But yet my sap was stirred:


"And even into my inmost ring
A pleasure I discerned,

Like those blind motions of the Spring,
That show the year is turned.


Thrice-happy he that may caress
The ringlet's waving balm—
The cushions of whose touch may press
The maiden's tender palm.


"I, rooted here among the groves,
But languidly adjust
My vapid vegetable loves

With anthers and with dust:


"For ah! my friend, the days were brief Whereof the poets talk,

When that, which breathes within the leaf, Could slip its bark and walk.


"But could I, as in times foregone,

From spray, and branch, and stem, Have sucked and gathered into one The life that spreads in them,


"She had not found me so remiss;
But lightly issuing through,
I would have paid her kiss for kiss
With usury thereto."


O flourish high, with leafy towers,
And overlook the lea,
Pursue thy loves among the bowers,
But leave thou mine to me.


O flourish, hidden deep in fern,
Old oak, I love thee well;

A thousand thanks for what I learn
And what remains to tell.


""Tis little more: the day was warm; At last, tired out with play,

She sank her head upon her arm,
And at my feet she lay.


"Her eyelids dropped their silken eaves.
I breathed upon her eyes
Through all the summer of my leaves
A welcome mixed with sighs.


"I took the swarming sound of life-
The music from the town-
The murmurs of the drum and fife,
And lulled them in my own.


"Sometimes I let a sunbeam slip,
To light her shaded eye;
A second fluttered round her lip
Like a golden butterfly ;


"A third would glimmer on her neck To make the necklace shine;

Another slid, a sunny fleck,

From head to ankle fine.


“Then close and dark my arms I spread,
And shadowed all her rest-
Dropt dews upon her golden head,
An acorn in her breast.


“But in a pet she started up,

And plucked it out, and drew My little oakling from the cup,

And flung him in the dew.

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