Come into the Woods

Alfred Williams

Come into the woods, the wild birds are singing,
   The white hawthorn's scent wafts into the wind,
The skylark is up and the sheep-bells are ringing,
   Young Pleasure's before and old Sorrow's behind.

The elm and the oak their branches are raising
   Tipped with the azure that's mirrored in seas,
Around, the calm cattle are quietly grazing,
   And hazel-wands quiver and bend in the breeze.

Above in the boughs the pigeons are cooing,
   The chaffinch is tender and linnet is sweet,
And in the green hedgerows the thrushes are wooing,
   And cowslips are blooming fast under our feet.

And whistles the swain and speeds with his ploughing,
   And tells of his mistress and talks of his team;
With the warm sun above and the southern wind blowing,
   And the blossoms awake by the edge of the stream.

O fountain of Eden! what waters have risen?
   What rapturous torrents high over me roll?
What powers have broken the spell of my prison,
   And breathed such humanity into my soul?

Not in the throbbing heart-beats of the city,
   Not in the passionless breast of the throng
Hovers the azure-winged angels of Pity,
   Wafts the ambrosial incense of song!

Lo! in the flower-decked sun-fields of Nature,
   Under the blue-woven banner of skies,
God hath implanted a bliss in each creature,
   Sounds for the senses and sweets for the eyes;

Silence in forests and musical flowings,
   Feathery minstrels embowered in trees,
Glory of grasses, and breathings and blowings
   Of serpentine breezes from health-giving seas.

Only the soul of us, torn from its union
   With the first Parent, and buried in strife
Fails of her promise, and cries for communion
   With the deep pleasures of pastoral life.

Main Location:

Wiltshire, UK