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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
In the Shadow of the Beeches
By Madison Cawein (1865–1914)
 
From ‘Poems’

IN the shadow of the beeches,
  Where the fragile wildflowers bloom;
Where the pensive silence pleaches
  Green a roof of cool perfume,
Have you felt an awe imperious        5
As when, in a church, mysterious
  Windows paint with God the gloom?
 
In the shadow of the beeches,
  Where the rock-ledged waters flow;
Where the sun’s slant splendor bleaches        10
  Every wave to foaming snow,
Have you felt a music solemn
As when minster arch and column
  Echo organ worship low?
 
In the shadow of the beeches,        15
  Where the light and shade are blent;
Where the forest bird beseeches,
  And the breeze is brimmed with scent,—
Is it joy or melancholy
That o’erwhelms us partly, wholly,        20
  To our spirit’s betterment?
 
In the shadow of the beeches
  Lay me where no eye perceives;
Where,—like some great arm that reaches
  Gently as a love that grieves,—        25
One gnarled root may clasp me kindly,
While the long years, working blindly,
  Slowly change my dust to leaves.
 
 
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