Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Georgian Verse
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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Georgian Verse.  1909.
 
Burnham-beeches
By Henry Luttrell (1765?–1851)
 
A BARD, dear muse, unapt to sing,
  Your friendly aid beseeches.
Help me to touch the lyric string,
  In praise of Burnham-beeches.
 
What tho’ my tributary lines        5
  Be less like Pope’s than Creech’s,
The theme, if not the poet, shines,
  So bright are Burnham-beeches.
 
O’er many a dell and upland walk,
  Their silvan beauty reaches,        10
Of Birnam-wood let Scotland talk,
  While we’ve our Burnham-beeches.
 
Oft do I linger, oft return,
  (Say, who my taste impeaches)
Where holly, juniper, and fern,        15
  Spring up round Burnham-beeches.
 
Tho’ deep embower’d their shades among,
  The owl at midnight screeches,
Birds of far merrier, sweeter song,
  Enliven Burnham-beeches.        20
 
If ‘sermons be in stones,’ I’ll bet
  Our vicar, when he preaches,
He’d find it easier far to get
  A hint from Burnham-beeches.
 
Their glossy rind here winter stains,        25
  Here the hot solstice bleaches.
Bow, stubborn oaks! bow, graceful planes!
  Ye match not Burnham-beeches.
 
Gardens may boast a tempting show
  Of nectarines, grapes, and peaches,        30
But daintiest truffles lurk below
  The boughs of Burnham-beeches.
 
Poets and painters, hither hie,
  Here ample room for each is
With pencil and with pen to try        35
  His hand at Burnham-beeches.
 
When monks, by holy Church well schooled,
  Were lawyers, statesmen, leeches,
Cured souls and bodies, judged or ruled,
  Then flourished Burnham-beeches.        40
 
Skirting the convent’s walls of yore,
  As yonder ruin teaches,
But shaven crown and cowl no more
  Shall darken Burnham-beeches.
 
Here bards have mused, here lovers true        45
  Have dealt in softest speeches,
While suns declined, and, parting, threw
  Their gold o’er Burnham-beeches.
 
O ne’er may woodman’s axe resound,
  Nor tempest, making breaches        50
In the sweet shade that cools the ground
  Beneath our Burnham-beeches.
 
Hold! tho’ I’d fain be jingling on,
  My power no further reaches—
Again that rhyme? enough—I’ve done,        55
  Farewell to Burnham-beeches.
 
 
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