Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE TREES, by SAMUEL VALENTINE COLE

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE TREES, by                
First Line: There's something in a noble tree
Last Line: "be patient,"" say they all."
Subject(s): Trees

THERE'S something in a noble tree—
What shall I say? a soul?
For 't is not form, or aught we see
In leaf, or branch, or bole.
Some presence, though not understood,
Dwells there alway, and seems
To be acquainted with our mood,
And mingles in our dreams.

I would not say that trees at all
Were of our blood and race,
Yet, lingering where their shadows fall,
I sometimes think I trace
A kinship, whose far-reaching root
Grew when the world began,
And made them best of all things mute
To be the friends of man.

Held down by whatsoever might
Unto an earthly sod,
They stretch forth arms for air and light,
As we do after God;
And when in all their boughs the breeze
Moans loud, or softly sings,
As our own hearts in us, the trees
Are almost human things.

What wonder in the days that burned
With old poetic dream,
Dead Phaëthon's fair sisters turned
To poplars by the stream!
In many a light cotillion stept
The trees when fluters blew;
And many a tear, 't is said, they wept
For human sorrow too.

Mute, said I? They are seldom thus;
They whisper each to each,
And each and all of them to us,
In varied forms of speech.
"Be serious," the solemn pine
Is saying overhead;
"Be beautiful," the elm-tree fine
Has always finely said;

"Be quick to feel," the aspen still
Repeats the whole day long;
While, from the green slope of the hill,
The oak-tree adds, "Be strong."
When with my burden, as I hear
Their distant voices call,
I rise, and listen, and draw near,
"Be patient," say they all.

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