Fair Tree, for thy delightfull shade,
Title: The Tree
Primary Texts: MS's: F-H 283, 98-100*; Folger, 18-9.
Fair Tree! for thy delightfull shade
'Tis just that some return be made;
Sure some return, is due from me
To thy cool shadows, and to thee.
When thou to birds doest shelter give,
Thou musick doest from them receive;
If Travellers beneath thee stay
'Till storms have worn themselves away,
That time in praising thee, they spend
And thy protecting pow'r, commend.
The Shepheard here, from scorching freed,
Tunes to thy daancing leaves, his reed;
Whilst his lov'd nymph, in thanks bestows
Here flow'ry Chaplets on thy boughs.
Shall I then, only silent be,
And no return be made by me?
No, lett this wish upon thee waite,
And still to florish, be thy fate.
To future ages may'st thou stand
Untoutch'd by the rash workmans hand,
Till that large stock of sap is spent,
Which gives thy somers ornament;
Till the feirce winds, that vainly strive
To shock thy greatnesse, whilst alive,
Shall on thy lifelesse hour attend,
Prevent the axe, and grace thy end,
Their scatter'd strength together call,
And to the clouds proclaim thy fall,
Who then their evening dews, may spare
When thou no longer art their care,
But shalt, like Ancient Hero's, burn,
And some bright hearth be made thy Urn.
Secondary Eds: 1713 Misc, 289-90; rpt of 1713: 1903 Reynolds, 266-7; rpts of 1903 Reynolds: 1928 Murray 88; 1930 Fausset, 114-5; 1979 Rogers AF, 152-3; 1987 Thompson, 21.
19C: Rpt of 1713: 1880 Ward, 31-2
20C: Rpt of 1713/1903: 1905 Wordsworth (compiled 1819), 20-21, lines 1-28 (omits last 4 lines); 1926 Nichol Smith (via 1819 Wordsworth), 44-5; 1932 Crane, 539-40; 1938 Ault, 298; 1939 Bredvold, 155; 1949 Bax, 23; 1968 Swedenberg, 304-5.
Comment: One of Finch's most successful poems; as Finch was by a hill in Eastwell Park called Parnassus, tradition has it in this poem she also commemorated an ancient tree in Eastwell Park.
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Page Last Updated 7 January 2003