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Far out upon the lonely wold
There stands an oak tree sere and old;

 

The sunshine and the dews of spring
No verdure to its branches bring;

 

Decayed and withered, shrunk and bare,
Like ghostly arms they stretch in air.

 

For many a year its towering form
Withstood the whirlwind and the storm--

 

A leaf-roofed home for summer birds,
A shelter for the lowing herds.

 

Once when the blast was wild and loud,
From out its dusky sheath of cloud

 

The lightning flashed and pierced its heart,
And tore its sinewy limbs apart;

 

Ah, like a crashing sabre stroke
It sank into that heart of oak!

 

Then fell its foliage leaf by leaf,
As joys fall at the touch of grief.

 

And as around a generous heart
Cling summer friends, that will not part

 

While wealth, and joy, and sunshine last,
But soon forsake when some wild blast

 

Of sorrow, in an evil hour,
Sweeps o'er it with destroying power--

 

So beast and bird upon the wold
Forsake the oak tree bare and old.

 

But from its roots there springs a vine,
Whose climbing tendrils round it twine,

 

Unshaken by the tempest's rage--
A garland on the brow of age.

 

The heart is like the rifted oak;
Though sorrow with a fearful stroke

 

Its budding wealth of joy may blight,
It leaves it not deserted quite;

 

Not wholly wretched and forlorn,
For, ever in its depths is born

 

Some bless├ęd hope, that like the vine
Around the ruin still will twine.