Verse > William Wordsworth > Complete Poetical Works
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YEW-TREES

          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 loth 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                          10
          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 Phantasy, and looks
          That threaten the profane;--a pillared shade,               20
          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,                     30
          United worship; or in mute repose
          To lie, and listen to the mountain flood
          Murmuring from Glaramara's inmost caves.
                                                              1803.


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