Poems and Extracts/The Tree

The Tree

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,
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 lov'd Nymph, in thanks, bestows
Her flow'ery chaplet on thy boughs.
Shall I then only silent be,

And no return be made by me?
No, let this wish on thee await,
And still to flourish be thy fate;
To future ages may'st thou stand
Untouched by the rash workman's hand;20
'Till that large stock of sap be 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,
Prevent the axe, and grace thy end;
Their scattered strength together call,
And to the clouds proclaim thy fall.