In a Wood

by Gustav Holst From Six Songs (1902) Op. 15

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In a Wood
English source: Thomas Hardy

Pale beech and pine so blue,
Set in one clay,
Bough to bough cannot you
Live out your day?
When the rains skim and skip,
Why mar sweet comradeship,
Blighting with poison-drip
Neighbourly spray?

Heart-halt and spirit-lame,
Unto this wood I came
As to a nest;
Dreaming that sylvan peace
Offered the harrowed ease--
Nature a soft release
From men's unrest.

But, having entered in,
Great growths and small
Show them to men akin--
Combatants all!
Sycamore shoulders oak,
Bines the slim sapling yoke,
Ivy-spun halters choke
Elms stout and tall.

*_Touches from ash, O wych,_
_Sting you like scorn!_
_You, too, brave hollies, twitch_
_Sidelong from thorn._
_Even the rank poplars bear_
_Lothly a rival's air,_
_Cankering in black despair_
_If overborne._

Since, then, no grace I find
Taught me of trees,
Turn I back to my kind,
Worthy as these.
There at least smiles abound,
There discourse trills around,
There, now and then, are found

*_Fourth verse omitted by Holst_


Gustav Holst

Gustav Theodore Holst (born Gustavus Theodore von Holst; 21 September 1874 – 25 May 1934) was an English composer. Although best known for his orchestral suite The Planets, he also composed a large number of works across a range of other…


Thomas Hardy

Thomas Hardy (2 June 1840 – 11 January 1928) was an English novelist and poet. A Victorian realist in the tradition of George Eliot, he was influenced both in his novels and in his poetry by Romanticism, especially William Wordsworth. He was highly…


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