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 Poplar Field
By William Cowper (1731–1800)
 
THE POPLARS are felled; farewell to the shade,
And the whispering sound of the cool colonnade;
The winds play no longer and sing in the leaves,
Nor Ouse on his bosom their image receives.
 
Twelve years have elapsed since I first took a view        5
Of my favourite field, and the bank where they grew;
And now in the grass behold they are laid,
And the tree is my seat that once lent me a shade!
 
The blackbird has fled to another retreat,
Where the hazels afford him a screen from the heat,        10
And the scene where his melody charmed me before
Resounds with his sweet-flowing ditty no more.
 
My fugitive years are all hasting away,
And I must ere long lie as lowly as they,
With a turf on my breast, and a stone at my head,        15
Ere another such grove shall arise in its stead.
 
’Tis a sight to engage me, if anything can,
To muse on the perishing pleasures of man;
Though his life be a dream, his enjoyments, I see,
Have a being less durable even than he. 1        20
 
Note 1. Note to Ed. of 1803. Mr. Cowper afterwards altered the last stanza in the following manner:—
  ‘The change both my heart and my fancy employs,
I reflect on the frailty of man and his joys;
Short-lived as we are, yet our pleasures, we see,
Have a still shorter date, and die sooner than we.’
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