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Fallen In The Night!

Dinah Maria Mulock Craik 1826 (Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire) – 1887 (Shortlands, London)

IT dressed itself in green leaves all the summer long,
Was full of chattering starlings, loud with throstles' song.
Children played beneath it, lovers sat and talked,
Solitary strollers looked up as they walked.
O, so fresh its branches! and the its old trunk gray
Was so stately rooted, who forbode decay?
Even when winds had blown it yellow and almost bare,
Softly dropped its chestnuts through the misty air;
Still its few leaves rustled with a faint delight,
And their tender colors charmed the sense of sight,
Filled the soul with beauty, and the heart with peace,
Like sweet sounds departing--sweetest when they cease.

Pelting, undermining, loosening, came the rain;
Through its topmost branches roared the hurricane;
Oft it strained and shivered till the night wore past;
But in dusky daylight there the tree stood fast,
Though its birds had left it, and its leaves were dead,
And its blossoms faded, and its fruit all shed.

Ay, and when last sunset came a wanderer by,
Watched it as aforetime with a musing eye,
Still it wore its scant robes so pathetic gay,
Caught the sun's last glimmer, the new moon's first ray;
And majestic, patient, stood amidst its peers
Waiting for the spring-times of uncounted years.

But the worm was busy, and the days were run;
Of its hundred sunsets this was the last one:
So in the quiet midnight, with no eye to see,
None to harm in falling, fell the noble tree!

Says the early laborer, starting at the sight
With a sleepy wonder, 'Fallen in the night!'
Says a schoolboy, leaping in a wild delight
Over trunk and branches, 'Fallen in the night!'

O thou Tree, thou glory of His hand who made
Nothing ever vainly, thou hast Him obeyed!
Lived thy life, and perished when and how He willed;--
Be all lamentation and all murmurs stilled.
To our last hour live we--fruitful, brave, upright,
'T will be a good ending, 'Fallen in the night!'

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Dinah Maria Mulock Craik

Dinah Maria Craik (; born Dinah Maria Mulock, also often credited as Miss Mulock or Mrs. Craik) was an English novelist and poet. She is best remembered for her novel John Halifax, Gentleman, which presents the mid-Victorian ideals of English middle-class life.  more…

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