Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, TO A LOG OF WOOD UPON THE FIRE, by HORACE SMITH



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TO A LOG OF WOOD UPON THE FIRE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: When horace, as the snows descended
Last Line: To realms celestial.
Alternate Author Name(s): Smith, Horatio
Subject(s): Death; Earth; Fire; Life; Wood; Dead, The; World


WHEN Horace, as the snows descended
On Mount Soracte, recommended
That logs be doubled,
Until a blazing fire arose,
I wonder whether thoughts like those
Which in my noddle interpose,
His fancy troubled.

Poor Log! I cannot hear thee sigh,
And groan, and hiss, and see thee die,
To warm a Poet,
Without evincing thy success,
And as thou wanest less and less,
Inditing a farewell address
To let thee know it.

Peeping from earth -- a bud unveiled,
Some "bosky bourne" or dingle hailed
Thy natal hour;
While infant winds around thee blew,
And thou wert fed with silver dew,
And tender sunbeams oozing through
Thy leafy bower.

Earth -- water -- air -- thy growth prepared;
And if perchance some robin, scared
From neighbouring manor,
Perched on thy crest, it rocked in air,
Making his ruddy feathers flare
In the sun's ray, as if they were
A fairy banner.

Or if some nightingale impressed
Against thy branching top her breast
Heaving with passion,
And in the leafy nights of June,
Outpoured her sorrows to the moon,
Thy trembling stem thou didst attune
To each vibration.

Thou grew'st a goodly tree, with shoots
Fanning the sky, and earth-bound roots
So grappled under,
That thou whom perching birds could swing,
And zephyrs rock with lightest wing,
From thy firm trunk unmoved didst fling
Tempest and thunder.

Thine offspring leaves -- death's annual prey,
Which Herod Winter tore away
From thy caressing,
In heaps, like graves, around thee blown,
Each morn thy dewy tears have strown,
O'er each thy branching hands been thrown,
As if in blessing.

Bursting to life, another race
At touch of Spring in thy embrace,
Sported and fluttered;
Aloft, where wanton breezes played,
In thy knit boughs have ringdoves made
Their nest, and lovers in thy shade
Their vows have uttered.

How oft thy lofty summits won
Morn's virgin smile, and hailed the sun
With rustling motion;
How oft in silent depths of night,
When the moon sailed in cloudless light,
Thou hast stood awe-struck at the sight
In hushed devotion --

'Twere vain to ask; for doomed to fall,
The day appointed for us all
O'er thee impended;
The hatchet, with remorseless blow,
First laid thee in the forest low,
Then cut thee into logs -- and so
Thy course was ended.

But not thine use -- for moral rules,
Worth all the wisdom of the schools,
Thou may'st bequeath me;
Bidding me cherish those who live
Above me, and the more I thrive,
A wider shade and shelter give
To those beneath me.

So when death lays his axe on me,
I may resign, as calm as thee,
My hold terrestrial;
Like thine my latter end be found,
Diffusing light and warmth around,
And like thy smoke my spirit bound
To realms celestial.





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