Never shall English daughters and sons

Be found the ashamed degraded ones

To go to a priest confessing.

Never shall priestcraft domineer,

Or rule through spiritual fear,

Without a voice to blame it;

Never shall Rome's red wolf be found

In sheepskin upon British ground

Without a shout to shame it! +

The White Oak; by Postford Brook.

OUTSPREAD above an osier'd dell,

Where coots on rushy hummocks dwell,-
And shadowing on the hither side
Our trout-stream's ever-merry tide
Hurrying to meet the Railway mound
And fill its arch with silver sound,-
I know an Oak, not young nor old,
Fullfledged, some fifty summers told,
Green and well-liking,-save one spot
That startles like a whitewash'd blot!

High on the trunk, all else so green,—
Cluster'd the branching forks between,—

A clump of twigs as pale as milk,

A maze of ivory leaves like silk

Tender and delicate and thin,

As silver-paper soft within,
Translucent, as if wrought in ice,
Or shaped in isinglass or rice,-
A curious growth, all ghostly white,
Glares like a phantom on the sight.

If ever modern peasant thinks,

No doubt at this his courage sinks,

And scarcely will he pass the spot

When night makes ghastlier this white blot.

For nothing short of life-blood spilt

With horrid mysteries of guilt,

Or wicked rhyme, or hideous spell

Of some damp warlock in the dell,

Or evil eye, or (what is worse)

The Little-London witch's curse,

Or all combined, have made so white
This Oak he dares not pass at night!
Yet,-Poet, canst thou undertake

That rustic's rod of fear to break,
And well unriddle yon white spot
By telling what the cause is not?
It is not age, that whitens locks,—
It is not heat, calcining rocks,-

It is not fear, with face all pale,—
with her dabbled veil,-

Nor sorrow,

It is no fairy's playful spite,

No necromancer's cunning might,

No planet's power, nor lunar stroke,

That so has bleach'd our Postford Oak!

Come, then, O botanist profound,

Whose learned words so grandly sound,

Tell us, as half by guess you may,

The reason for this Nature's Play ;

Show us from chemistry's deep laws

The changeless and sufficient cause

Why these young leaves should now be seen Robb'd of their forest garb of green,

Unskill'd to drain such natural hues

From daily suns and nightly dews:

Prove to us out of Liebig's Boke

That yon gnarl'd boss upon our Oak
Makes leprous all these tender shoots,
Robs them of succour from the roots,
And bids them strangely stand so white

As blanch'd by guilt, or bleach'd by fright.

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