Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE FALLEN ELM, by JOHN CLARE

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE FALLEN ELM, by                 Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography
First Line: Old elm that murmured in our chimney top
Last Line: & freedoms birthright from the weak devours
Subject(s): Elm Trees; Environment; Freedom; Trees; Environmental Protection; Ecology; Conservation; Liberty

Old elm that murmured in our chimney top
The sweetest anthem autumn ever made
& into mellow whispering calms would drop
When showers fell on thy many coloured shade
& when dark tempests mimic thunder made
While darkness came as it would strangle light
With the black tempest of a winter night
That rocked thee like a cradle to thy root
How did I love to hear the winds upbraid
Thy strength without -- while all within was mute
It seasoned comfort to our hearts desire
We felt thy kind protection like a friend
& edged our chairs up closer to the fire
Enjoying comforts that was never penned
Old favourite tree thoust seen times changes lower
Though change till now did never injure thee
For time beheld thee as her sacred dower
& nature claimed thee her domestic tree
Storms came & shook thee many a weary hour
Yet stedfast to thy home thy roots hath been
Summers of thirst parched round thy homely bower
Till earth grew iron -- still thy leaves was green
The childern sought thee in thy summer shade
& made their play house rings of sticks & stone
The mavis sang & felt himself alone
While in thy leaves his early nest was made
& I did feel his happiness mine own
Nought heeding that our friendship was betrayed
Friend not inanimate -- though stocks & stones
There are & many formed of flesh & bones
Thou owned a language by which hearts are stirred
Deeper then by a feeling cloathed in words
& speakest now whats known of every tongue
Language of pity & the force of wrong
What cant assumes what hypocrites will dare
Speaks home to truth & shows it what they are
I see a picture which thy fate displays
& learn a lesson from thy destiny
Self interest saw thee stand in freedoms ways
So thy old shadow must a tyrant be
Thoust heard the knave abusing those in power
Bawl freedom loud & then opress the free
Thoust sheltered hypocrites in many a shower
That when in power would never shelter thee
Thoust heard the knave supply his canting powers
With wrongs illusions when he wanted friends
That bawled for shelter when he lived in showers
& when clouds vanished made thy shade amends
With axe at root he felled thee to the ground
& barked of freedom -- O I hate the sound
Time hears its visions speak & age sublime
Had made thee a deciple unto time
-- It grows the cant term of enslaving tools
To wrong another by the name of right
It grows the liscence of oerbearing fools
To cheat plain honesty by force of might
Thus came enclosure -- ruin was its guide
But freedoms clapping hands enjoyed the sight
Though comforts cottage soon was thrust aside
& workhouse prisons raised upon the scite
Een natures dwellings far away from men
The common heath became the spoilers prey
The rabbit had not where to make his den
& labours only cow was drove away
No matter -- wrong was right & right was wrong
& freedoms bawl was sanction to the song
-- Such was thy ruin music making elm
The rights of freedom was to injure thine
As thou wert served so would they overwhelm
In freedoms name the little that is mine
& there are knaves that brawl for better laws
& cant of tyranny in stronger powers
Who glue their vile unsatiated maws
& freedoms birthright from the weak devours

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