364. The Timber

Henry Vaughan. 1621-1695

SURE thou didst flourish once! and many springs,
  Many bright mornings, much dew, many showers,
Pass'd o'er thy head; many light hearts and wings,
  Which now are dead, lodg'd in thy living bowers.

And still a new succession sings and flies;
  Fresh groves grow up, and their green branches shoot
Towards the old and still enduring skies,
  While the low violet thrives at their root.

But thou beneath the sad and heavy line
  Of death, doth waste all senseless, cold, and dark;
Where not so much as dreams of light may shine,
  Nor any thought of greenness, leaf, or bark.

And yet--as if some deep hate and dissent,
  Bred in thy growth betwixt high winds and thee,
Were still alive--thou dost great storms resent
  Before they come, and know'st how near they be.

Else all at rest thou liest, and the fierce breath
  Of tempests can no more disturb thy ease;
But this thy strange resentment after death
  Means only those who broke--in life--thy peace.

The Oxford Book of English Verse, HTML edition