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Poems

On observing a large red-streak apple

In spite of ice, in spite of snow,
In spite of all the winds that blow,
In spite of hail and biting frost,
Suspended here I see you tossed
You still retain your wonted hold
Though days are short and nights are cold.
Amidst this system of decay
How could you have one wish to stay?
If fate or fancy kept your there
They meant you for a solitaire.
Were it not better to descend,
Or in the cider mill to end
Than thus to shiver in the storm
And not a leaf to keep you warm--
A moment, then, had buried all,
Nor you have doomed so late a fall.

But should the stem to which you cling
Uphold you to another spring,
Another race would round you rise
And view the stranger with surprise,
And, peeping from the blossoms say
Away, old dotard, get away!

Alas! small pleasure can there be
To dwell, a hermit, on the tree--
Your old companions, all, are gone,
Have dropped and perished, every one;
You only stay to face the blast,
A sad memento of the past.

Would fate or nature hear my prayer,
I would your bloom of youth repair
I would the wrongs of time restrain
And bring your blossom state again:
But fate and nature both say no;
And you, though late must perish too.

What can we say, what can we hope?
Ere from the branch I see you drop,
All I can do, all in my power
Will be to watch your parting hour:
When from the branch I see you fall,
A grave we dig a-south the wall.
There you shall sleep 'til from your core,
Of youngsters rises three or four;
These shall salute the coming spring
And red-streaks to perfection bring
When years have brought them to their prime
And they shall have their summer's time:
This, this is all you can attain,
And thus, I bid you, live again!

1822

 

l. 10. solitaire: alone, an isolated example.
l. 22. dotard: old and feeble-minded, someone who dotes