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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 1.djvu/297

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257
TO AN OAK AT NEWSTEAD.

2.

Such, such was my hope, when in Infancy's years,
On the land of my Fathers I rear'd thee with pride;
They are past, and I water thy stem with my tears,—
Thy decay, not the weeds that surround thee can hide.


3.

I left thee, my Oak, and, since that fatal hour,
A stranger has dwelt in the hall of my Sire;
Till Manhood shall crown me, not mine is the power,
But his, whose neglect may have bade thee expire.


4.

Oh! hardy thou wert—even now little care
Might revive thy young head, and thy wounds gently heal:
But thou wert not fated affection to share—
For who could suppose that a Stranger would feel?


5.

Ah, droop not, my Oak! lift thy head for a while;
Ere twice round yon Glory this planet shall run,
The hand of thy Master will teach thee to smile,
When Infancy's years of probation are done.


    of decay, though perhaps not irrecoverable." On arriving at Newstead, in 1798, Byron, then in his eleventh year, planted an oak, and cherished the fancy, that as the tree flourished so should he. On revisiting the abbey, he found the oak choked up by weeds and almost destroyed;—hence these lines. Shortly after Colonel Wildman took possession, he said to a servant, "Here is a fine young oak; but it must be cut down, as it grows in an improper place."—"I hope not, sir," replied the man, "for it's the one that my lord was so fond of, because he set it himself."—Life, p. 50, note.]