Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE OLD APPLE-TREE, by ANN S. STEPHENS



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THE OLD APPLE-TREE, by            
First Line: I am thinking of the homestead
Last Line: Reverberate on earth.
Alternate Author Name(s): Wintherbotham, Ann
Subject(s): Apple Trees; Trees


I AM thinking of the homestead
With its low and sloping roof;
And the maple boughs that shadow'd it
With a green and leafy woof;
I am thinking of the lilac trees
That shook their purple plumes,
And, when the sash was open,
Shed fragrance through our rooms.

I am thinking of the rivulet,
With its cool and silvery flow,
Of the old gray rock that shadow'd it,
And the peppermint below.
I am not sad or sorrowful,
But memories will come;
So leave me to my solitude,
And let me think of home.

There was not around my birthplace
A thicket or a flower
But childish game, or friendly face,
Has given it a power
To haunt me in my after life,
And be with me again,
A sweet and pleasant memory,
Of mingled joy and pain.

But the old and knotted apple-tree,
That stood beneath the hill,
My heart can never turn to it,
But with a pleasant thrill.
Oh, what a dreamy life I led
Beneath its old green shade,
Where the daisies and the buttercups
A pleasant carpet made!

'Twas a rough old tree in spring-time,
When, with a blustering sound,
The wind came hoarsely sweeping
Along the frosty ground.
But when there rose a rivalry
'Tween clouds and pleasant weather,
Till the sunshine and the rain-drops
Came laughing down together;

That patriarch old apple-tree
Enjoy'd the lovely strife;
The sap sprang lightly through its veins,
And circled into life;
A cloud of pale and tender buds
Burst o'er each rugged bough,
And amid their starting verdure
The robins made their vow.

That tree was very beautiful
When all the leaves were green,
And rosy buds lay opening
Amid their tender sheen;
When the bright translucent dewdrops
Shed blossoms as they fell,
And melted in their fragrance,
Like music in a shell.

It was greenest in the summer-time,
When cheerful sunlight wove,
Amid its thrifty leafiness,
A warm and glowing love;
When swelling fruit blush'd ruddily
To summer's balmy breath,
And the laden boughs droop'd heavily
To the green sward underneath.

'T was brightest in a rainy day,
When all the purple west
Was piled with fleecy storm-clouds,
That never seem'd at rest;
When a cool and lulling melody
Fell from the dripping eaves,
And soft warm drops came pattering
Upon the restless leaves.

But, oh, the scene was glorious
When clouds were lightly riven,
And there, above my valley home,
Came out the bow of heaven;
And, in its fitful brilliancy
Hung quivering on high,
Like a jewell'd arch of paradise
Reflected through the sky.

I am thinking of the footpath
My constant visits made,
Between the dear old homestead
And that leafy apple shade;
Where the flow of distant waters
Came with a tinkling sound,
Like the revels of a fairy band,
Beneath the fragrant ground.

I haunted it at even-tide,
And dreamily would lie
And watch the crimson twilight
Come stealing o'er the sky.
'T was sweet to see its dying gold
Wake up the dusky leaves,
To hear the swallows twittering
Beneath the distant eaves.

I have listen'd to the music,
A low sweet minstrelsy,
Breathed by a lonely night-bird
That haunted that old tree,
Till my heart has swell'd with feelings
For which it had no name,
A yearning love for poesy,
A thirsting after fame.

I have gazed up through the foliage
With dim and tearful eyes,
And with a holy reverence
Dwelt on the changing skies,
Till the burning stars were peopled
With forms of spirit-birth,
And I've almost heard their harp-strings
Reverberate on earth.





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