Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > England
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
England: Vols. I–IV.  1876–79.
 
Lorton Vale
Yew-Trees
William Wordsworth (1770–1850)
 
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        5
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;        15
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,        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        25
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.
 
 
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