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What plant we in this apple-tree?
Buds, which the breath of summer days
Shall lengthen into leafy sprays;
Boughs where the thrush, with crimson breast,
Shall haunt, and sing, and hide her nest;

We plant, upon the sunny lea,
A shadow for the noontide hour,
A shelter from the summer shower,

When we plant the apple-tree.

What plant we in this apple-tree?
Sweets for a hundred flowery springs
To load the May-wind's restless wings,
When, from the orchard-row, he pours
Its fragrance through our open doors;

A world of blossoms for the bee,
Flowers for the sick girl's silent room,
For the glad infant sprigs of bloom,

We plant with the apple-tree.

What plant we in this apple-tree?
Fruits that shall swell in sunny June,
And redden in the August noon,
And drop, when gentle airs come by,
That fan the blue September sky,

While children come, with cries of glee,
And seek them where the fragrant grass
Betrays their bed to those who pass,

At the foot of the apple-tree.

And when, above this apple-tree, The winter stars are quivering bright, And winds go howling through the night, Girls, whose young eyes o’erflow with mirth, Shall peel its fruit by cottage-hearth,

And guests in prouder homes shall see, Heaped with the grape of Cintra's vine And golden orange of the line,

The fruit of the apple-tree.

The Planting of the Apple-Tree 1369

The fruitage of this apple-tree
Winds and our flag of stripe and star
Shall bear to coasts that lie afar,
Where men shall wonder at the view,
And ask in what fair groves they grew;

And sojourners beyond the sea
Shall think of childhood's careless day,
And long, long hours of summer play,

In the shade of the apple-tree.

Each year shall give this apple-tree
A broader flush of roseate bloom,
A deeper maze of verdurous gloom,
And loosen, when the frost-clouds lower,
The crisp brown leaves in thicker shower.

The years shall come and pass, but we
Shall hear no longer, where we lie,
The summer's songs, the autumn's sigh,

In the boughs of the apple-tree.

And time shall waste this apple-tree.
Oh, when its aged branches throw
Thin shadows on the ground below,
Shall fraud and force and iron will
Oppress the weak and helpless still?

What shall the tasks of mercy be,
Amid the toils, the strifes, the tears
Of those who live when length of years

Is wasting this little apple-tree?

“Who planted this old apple-tree?"
The children of that distant day
Thus to some agèd man shall say;
And, gazing on its mossy stem,
The gray-haired man shall answer them:

"A poet of the land was he,
Born in the rude but good old times;
'Tis said he made some quaint old rhymes,
On planting the apple-tree.”

William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878)

OF AN ORCHARD
Good is an Orchard, the Saint saith,
To meditate on life and death,
With a cool well, a hive of bees,
A hermit's grot below the trees.

Good is an Orchard: very good,
Though one should wear no monkish hood.
Right good, when Spring awakes her flute,
And good in yellowing time of fruit.

Very good in the grass to lie
And see the network 'gainst the sky,
A living lace of blue and green,
And boughs that let the gold between.

The bees are types of souls that dwell
With honey in a quiet cell;
The ripe fruit figures goldenly
The soul's perfection in God's eye.

Prayer and praise in a country home,
Honey and fruit: a man might come,
Fed on such meats, to walk abroad,
And in his Orchard talk with God.

Katherine Tynan (1861–

AN ORCHARD AT AVIGNON
THE hills are white, but not with snow:

They are as pale in summer time,
For herb or grass may never grow

Upon their slopes of lime.

Within the circle of the hills

A ring, all flowering in a round,
An orchard-ring of almond fills

The plot of stony ground.

The Tide River

1371

More fair than happier trees, I think,

Grown in well-watered pasture land
These parched and stunted branches, pink.

Above the stones and sand.

O white, austere, ideal place,

Where very few will care to come, Where spring hath lost the waving grace

She wears for us at home!

Fain would I sit and watch for hours

The holy whiteness of thy hills, Their wreath of pale auroral flowers,

Their peace the silence fills.

A place of secret peace thou art,

Such peace as in an hour of pain. One moment fills the amazed heart, And never comes again.

A. Mary F. Robinson (1857–

THE TIDE RIVER

From “ The Water Babies”
CLEAR and cool, clear and cool,
By laughing shallow and dreaming pool;

Cool and clear, cool and clear,
By shining shingle and foaming weir;
Under the crag where the ouzel sings,
And the ivied wall where the church-bell rings,

Undefiled, for the undefiled;
Play by me, bathe in me, mother and child.

Dank and foul, dank and foul,
By the smoky town in its murky cowl;

Foul and dank, foul and dank,
By wharf and sewer and slimy bank;
Darker and darker the farther I go,
Baser and baser the richer I grow;

Who dare sport with the sin-defiled?
Shrink from me, turn from me, mother and child.

Strong and free, strong and free,
The flood-gates are open, away to the sea.

Free and strong, free and strong,
Cleansing my streams as I hurry along,
To the golden sands, and the leaping bar,
And the taintless tide that awaits me afar.
As I lose myself in the infinite main,
Like a soul that has sinned and is pardoned again,

Undefiled, for the undefiled;
Play by me, bathe in me, mother and child.

Charles Kingsley (1819–1875]

THE BROOK'S SONG

From “The Brook”
I COME from haunts of coot and hern,

I make a sudden sally,
And sparkle out among the fern,

To bicker down a valley.

By thirty hills I hurry down,

Or slip between the ridges,
By twenty thorps, a little town,

And half a hundred bridges.

Till last by Philip's farm I flow

To join the brimming river,
For men may come and men may go,

But I go on for ever.

I chatter over stony ways,

In little sharris and trebles,
I bubble into eddying bays,

I babble on the pebbles.

With many a curve my banks I fret

By many a field and fallow,
And many a fairy foreland set

With willow-weed and mallow.

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