"To Two Chestnut Trees." by Jane Taylor (1783-1824)
WHO will deny but there may be
Much inspiration in a tree?
Since Cowper's harp so sweetly spoke,
Fanned by the breeze of Yardly Oak.
Encouraged thus, my own I hung
Your darkly shadowed boughs among;
Thinking perchance some passing gale
Might tell affection's simple tale.
But why should Fancy–used to stray
Where sheds the sun his golden ray
On cultured plains, and valleys gay,
Or idly sport her transient hour,
In magic grot, or rosy bower–
Why should she fly such scenes as these,
To hover near two modest trees,
Whose only office is to wait
As sentinels to guard the gate?
Is it because your branches high,
Relieved against the pearly sky,
Seem giant forms in Fancy's eye,
When evening lets her shadows fall,
And shrouds you in her sable pall?
Is it because the moon beam rests
So sweetly on your modest crests?
Is it because your foliage played
In varied forms of light and shade?
Had ye no other charms than these,
Ye would not be her favorite trees;
For many a fairer have I seen,
Of richer foliage, statelier mien,
That well might claim eulogium each–
The Oak, the Elm, and graceful Beech:
And let them richer, nobler be,
They are not half so dear to me.
Where Fancy most delights to stray
Affection always leads the way,
Regardless if the favorite spot
Can boast exterior charm or not;
For love bestows a secret grace
On every object, every place:
E'en were it desolate and bare,
She finds a blooming Eden there;
Quickly each hidden grace can see,
And gives enchantment to a tree.
Then well may Fancy love to stray
Where thousand graces court her stay;
Where ye in friendly union stand,
Like loving sisters, hand in hand,
Presiding o'er enchanted land.
Long may your spreading branches meet,
The guardians of that loved retreat,
Where many a tender floweret blooms
Embosomed by your waving plumes:
And Fancy still, by love conveyed,
Shall fondly linger in your shade.