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Avenue In Savernake Forest

William Lisle Bowles 1762 (King's Sutton) – 1850

How soothing sound the gentle airs that move
The innumerable leaves, high overhead,
When autumn first, from the long avenue,
That lifts its arching height of ancient shade,
Steals here and there a leaf!
Within the gloom,
In partial sunshine white, some trunks appear,
Studding the glens of fern; in solemn shade
Some mingle their dark branches, but yet all,
All make a sad sweet music, as they move,
Not undelightful to a stranger's heart.
They seem to say, in accents audible,
Farewell to summer, and farewell the strains
Of many a lithe and feathered chorister,
That through the depth of these incumbent woods
Made the long summer gladsome.
I have heard
To the deep-mingling sounds of organs clear,
(When slow the choral anthem rose beneath),
The glimmering minster, through its pillared aisles,
Echo;--but not more sweet the vaulted roof
Rang to those linked harmonies, than here
The high wood answers to the lightest breath
Of nature.
Oh, may such sweet music steal,
Soothing the cares of venerable age,
From public toil retired: may it awake,
As, still and slow, the sun of life declines,
Remembrances, not mournful, but most sweet;
May it, as oft beneath the sylvan shade
Their honoured owner strays, come like the sound
Of distant seraph harps, yet speaking clear!
How poor is every sound of earthly things,
When heaven's own music waits the just and pure!

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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William Lisle Bowles

William Lisle Bowles was an English poet and critic In 1783 he won the chancellors prize for Latin verse In 1789 he published in a small quarto volume Fourteen Sonnets which were received with extraordinary favour not only by the general public but by such men as Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Wordsworth The Sonnets even in form were a revival a return to an older and purer poetic style and by their grace of expression melodious versification tender tone of feeling and vivid appreciation of the life and beauty of nature stood out in strong contrast to the elaborated commonplaces which at that time formed the bulk of English poetry more…

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