Verse > William Wordsworth > Complete Poetical Works
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THE HAUNTED TREE

TO ------

          THOSE silver clouds collected round the sun
          His mid-day warmth abate not, seeming less
          To overshade than multiply his beams
          By soft reflection--grateful to the sky,
          To rocks, fields, woods. Nor doth our human sense
          Ask, for its pleasure, screen or canopy
          More ample than the time-dismantled Oak
          Spreads o'er this tuft of heath, which now, attired
          In the whole fulness of its bloom, affords
          Couch beautiful as e'er for earthly use                     10
          Was fashioned; whether, by the hand of Art,
          That eastern Sultan, amid flowers enwrought
          On silken tissue, might diffuse his limbs
          In languor; or, by Nature, for repose
          Of panting Wood-nymph, wearied with the chase.
          O Lady! fairer in thy Poet's sight
          Than fairest spiritual creature of the groves,
          Approach;--and, thus invited, crown with rest
          The noon-tide hour: though truly some there are
          Whose footsteps superstitiously avoid                       20
          This venerable Tree; for, when the wind
          Blows keenly, it sends forth a creaking sound
          (Above the general roar of woods and crags)
          Distinctly heard from far--a doleful note!
          As if (so Grecian shepherds would have deemed)
          The Hamadryad, pent within, bewailed
          Some bitter wrong. Nor is it unbelieved,
          By ruder fancy, that a troubled ghost
          Haunts the old trunk; lamenting deeds of which
          The flowery ground is conscious. But no wind                30
          Sweeps now along this elevated ridge;
          Not even a zephyr stirs;--the obnoxious Tree
          Is mute; and, in his silence, would look down,
          O lovely Wanderer of the trackless hills,
          On thy reclining form with more delight
          Than his coevals in the sheltered vale
          Seem to participate, the while they view
          Their own far-stretching arms and leafy heads
          Vividly pictured in some glassy pool,
          That, for a brief space, checks the hurrying stream!        40
                                                              1819.


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