The Holly Grove

Sweet holly grove, that soarest

A woodland fort, an armed bower!

In front of all the forest

Thy coral-loaded branches tower.

Thou shrine of love, whose depth defies

The axe--the tempest of the skies;

Whose boughs in winter's frost display

The brilliant livery of May!

Grove from the precipice suspended,

Like pillars of some holy fane;

With notes amid thy branches blend

Like the deep organ's solemn strain.

* * * * *

House of the birds of Paradise,

Round fane impervious to the skies;

On whose green roof two nights of rain

May fiercely beat and beat in vain!

I know thy leaves are ever scathless;

The hardened steel as soon will blight;

When every grove and hill are pathless

With frosts of winter's lengthened night,

No goat from Hafren's {141} banks I ween,

From thee a scanty meal may glean!

Though Spring's bleak wind with clamour launches

His wrath upon thy iron spray;

Armed holly tree! from thy firm branches

He will not wrest a tithe away!

Chapel of verdure, neatly wove,

Above the summit of the grove!