William Lisle Bowles

(1762 - 1850 / England)

Avenue In Savernake Forest


How soothing sound the gentle airs that move
The innumerable leaves, high overhead,
When autumn first, from the long avenue,
That lifts its arching height of ancient shade,
Steals here and there a leaf!
Within the gloom,
In partial sunshine white, some trunks appear,
Studding the glens of fern; in solemn shade
Some mingle their dark branches, but yet all,
All make a sad sweet music, as they move,
Not undelightful to a stranger's heart.
They seem to say, in accents audible,
Farewell to summer, and farewell the strains
Of many a lithe and feathered chorister,
That through the depth of these incumbent woods
Made the long summer gladsome.
I have heard
To the deep-mingling sounds of organs clear,
(When slow the choral anthem rose beneath),
The glimmering minster, through its pillared aisles,
Echo;--but not more sweet the vaulted roof
Rang to those linked harmonies, than here
The high wood answers to the lightest breath
Of nature.
Oh, may such sweet music steal,
Soothing the cares of venerable age,
From public toil retired: may it awake,
As, still and slow, the sun of life declines,
Remembrances, not mournful, but most sweet;
May it, as oft beneath the sylvan shade
Their honoured owner strays, come like the sound
Of distant seraph harps, yet speaking clear!
How poor is every sound of earthly things,
When heaven's own music waits the just and pure!

Submitted: Friday, April 16, 2010

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