The House That Was

Of the old house, only a few, crumbled
Courses of brick, smothered in nettle and dock,
Or a shaped stone lying mossy where it tumbled!
Sprawling bramble and saucy thistle mock
What once was fire-lit floor and private charm,
Whence, seen in a windowed picture, were hills fading
At night, and all was memory-coloured and warm,
And voices talked, secure of the wind’s invading.
Of the old garden, only a stray shining
Of daffodil flames among April’s Cuckoo-flowers
Or clustered aconite, mixt with weeds entwining!
But, dark and lofty, a royal cedar towers
By homelier thorns; and whether the rain drifts
Or sun scortches, he holds the downs in ken,
The western vales; his branchy tiers he lifts,
Older than many a generation of men.

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The House That Was