Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. III. Addison to Blake
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Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. III. The Eighteenth Century: Addison to Blake
 
The Tree
By Anne Finch, Countess of Winchilsea (1661–1720)
 
FAIR Tree! for thy delightful shade
’Tis just that some return be made;
Sure some return is due from me
To thy cool shadows, and to thee.
When thou to birds dost shelter give        5
Thou music dost from them receive;
If travellers beneath thee stay
Till storms have worn themselves away,
That time in praising thee they spend,
And thy protecting power commend;        10
The shepherd here, from scorching freed.
Tunes to thy dancing leaves his reed,
Whilst his loved nymph in thanks bestows
Her flowery chaplets on thy boughs.
Shall I then only silent be,        15
And no return be made by me?
No! let this wish upon me wait,
And still to flourish be thy fate,
To future ages mayst thou stand
Untouched by the rash workman’s hand,        20
Till that large stock of sap is spent,
Which gives thy summer’s ornament;
Till the fierce winds, that vainly strive
To shock thy greatness whilst alive,
Shall on thy lifeless hour attend,        25
Prevent the axe and grace thy end,
Their scattered strength together call,
And to the clouds proclaim thy fall,
Who then their evening dews may spare,
When thou no longer art their care,        30
But shalt, like ancient heroes, burn
And some bright hearth be made thy urn.
 
 
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