Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE FOREST BRAKE, by ELIZA COOK

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE FOREST BRAKE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The forest brake - the forest brake
Last Line: That lay amid the forest brake.
Subject(s): Forests; Woods

The forest brake -- the forest brake,
It must not dwell in cultured soil;
Its dewy green must not be seen
Where reaping pays the sower's toil.

'Tis rooted up like noxious weed
From gay parterres of floral grace,
Where roses shine and jasmines twine
The forest brake must have no place.

Its curling leaf must never spring
Where riches hold the wide domain;
'Tis cast away a loathsome thing
From grassy dell and sweeping plain.

But fresh and free its tall head rears
O'er mount and moorland far and wide;
And noble company it bears
With forest monarchs side by side.

Oh! how I lov'd the ferny waste
That spread about my childhood's home;
I sought it with a gladder haste
Than now I seek a gilded dome.

I knew it was the dark retreat
Of lizard, frog, and speckled snake;
But nought could keep my wandering feet
From trampling through the forest brake.

The breathing violets sprung there,
'Twas there the skylark chose to dwell
And hissing serpents failed to scare,
While birds and flowers were found as well

There did I muse in lonely thought,
No book before me but the sod;
'Twas there the simple heath-bloom taught
The wond'rous glory of a God.

My young warm spirit yielded up
Its first intense devotion there;
And breathed above the harebell's cup
Its grateful joy and fervent prayer.

I dreamt not that the world would hold
So much to make the spirit ache;
The world to me then seemed to be
Fair as the sun-lit forest brake.

Once, once again I see it grow
As thick as in life's earlier day;
And shadow falls upon my brow,
And pensive breathing fills my lay.

I love the brake, the bonnie brake --
Yet do I almost blush to own
A soul that at so light a touch
Can yield so deep, so sad a tone.

But memory has doubled down
Full many a simple page for me,
Where nothing rests for other breasts
To feel, or other eyes to see.

Whatever flowers may spring around,
However bright the path I take,
My heart goes back to childhood's track,
That lay amid the forest brake.

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