Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > England
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
England: Vols. I–IV.  1876–79.
The Maltby Yews
Ebenezer Elliott (1781–1849)
FAMED Maltby yews, with trunks like stone!
Are you or these gray rocks the older?
Like “death-in-life,” ye strangely grow,
And, dead alive, they sternly moulder.
Memorials grand of death and life,        5
That seem from time new life to borrow!
Full many a race have ye outlived
Of men whose lives were crime and sorrow.
Age after age, while Time grew old,
Your writhen boughs here slowly lengthened;        10
Storm-stricken trees! your stormy strength
Five hundred years have darkly strengthened.
Yet safe beneath your mighty roots
The busy bee hath made its dwelling;
And, at your feet, the little mouse,        15
With lifted hands, its joy is telling.
And high above the full-voiced lark
The sun, that loves to see you, beameth
On lonely rock or mossy trunk,
That with the rock coeval seemeth;        20
While, all around, the desert flowers,
Where breezes drink their freshness, gather,
As children come to kneel and bend
In prayer around their father’s father.
O, could I write upon your gloom        25
A solemn verse that would not perish,
My written thoughts should warn and bless,
And nations saved the precept cherish;
For I would bid the dark and strong
Be greatly good, and daily stronger,        30
That power to wrong, and will to wrong,
Like fiends divorced, might pair no longer.
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