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Speak, if there be a priest, a man of God, Among you there, and let him presently Approach, and lean a ladder on the shaft, And climbing up into my airy home, Deliver me the blessed sacrament; For by the warning of the Holy Ghost, I prophesy that I shall die to-night, A quarter before twelve.
But thou, O Lord, Aid all this foolish people ; let them take Example, pattern : lead them to thy light.
THE TALKING OAK.
ONCE more the gate behind me falls ;
Once more before my face I see the moulder'd Abbey-walls, - That stand within the chace.
Beneath its drift of smoke ;
I turn to yonder oak.
For when my passion first began,
Ere that, which in me burn’d, The love, that makes me thrice a man,
Could hope itself return'd ;
To yonder oak within the field
I spoke without restraint, And with a larger faith appeal'd
Than Papist unto Saint.
For oft I talk'd with him apart,
And told him of my choice, Until he plagiarised a heart,
And answer' with a voice.
Tho’ what he whisper'd, under Heaven
None else could understand ; I found him garrulously given,
A babbler in the land.
Is many a weary hour ; 'Twere well to question him, and try
If yet he keeps the power.
Hail, hidden to the knees in fern,
Broad Oak of Sumner-chace, Whose topmost branches can discern
The roofs of Sumner-place!
Say thou, whereon I carved her name,
If ever maid or spouse,
To rest beneath thy boughs.
“ O Walter, I have shelter'd here
Whatever maiden grace
Made ripe in Sumner-chace :
“Old Summers, when the monk was fat,
And, issuing shorn and sleek, Would twist his girdle tight, and pat
The girls upon the cheek,
And number'd bead, and shrift,
And turn’d the cowls adrift :
“ And I have seen some score of those
Fresh faces, that would thrive When his man-minded offset rose
To chase the deer at five ;
XIV. “ And all that from the town would stroll,
Till that wild wind made work
Went by me, like a stork :
“The slight she-slips of loyal blood,
And others, passing praise, Strait-laced, but all-too-full in bud
For puritanic stays :
“ And I have shadow'd many a group
Of beauties, that were born
Or while the patch was worn ;
XVII. “ And, leg and arm with love-knots gay,
About me leap'd and laugh'd The modish Cupid of the day,
And shrill’d his tinsel shaft.
XVIII. “I swear (and else may insects prick
Each leaf into a gall) This girl, for whom your heart is sick,
Is three times worth them all ;