My beautiful beech, your smooth grey coat is trimmed
With letters. Once, each stood for all things dear
To foolish lovers, dead this many a year,
Whose lamp of lighted love so soon was dimmed.
You have seen them come and go,
And heard their kisses and vows
Under your boughs,
The pitiful vows they swore,
Have seen their poor tears flow,
Have seen them part; to meet, and to return, no more!
And in old winters, through your branches bare,
The north wind drove the blue home-scented smoke
That on the glowing Christmas hearth awoke
Where the old logs, with eager flicker and flare,
Sang their low crackling song
Of peace and of good will.
The old song is still,
The old voices have died away,
The hearth has been cold so long,
And the bright faces dimmed and covered up with clay.
And summer after summer wakes to glow
The ordered pleasance with the clipped box-hedge,
The drooping lilac by the old moat’s edge,
The roses, that throw you kisses from below,
The orchard pink and white,
The sedge’s whispered words,
The nesting birds,
All these return to revel round your feet.
And in the untroubled night
The nightingale still sings, the jasmine still is sweet.
My beautiful beech, I carve upon you here
The master-letter which begins her name
Through whom, to me, the royal summer came,
And nightingale and rose, and all things dear.
And, in some far-off time,
I shall come here, weary and old,
When the hearth in my heart is cold
And the birds that nest there flown;
I will remember this summer in all its prime
And say, “There was a day—
Thank God, the Giver, an unforgotten day,
When I walked here, not alone,
—O God of pity and sorrow, not alone!”