THE OLD APPLE TREE. BY ANN S. STEPHINS.



Apple Trees
THE OLD APPLE TREE.
BY ANN S. STEPHINS.
I am thinking of the homestead
With its low and sloping roof.
And the maple boughs that shadowed it,
With a green and laafy woof;
I am thinking of the lilac trees,
That shook their purple plumes,
And when the sash was open,
Shed fragrance through our rooms.

I am thinking of the rivulet,
With its cool and silvery flow,
Of the old grey rock that shadowed it,
And the pepper-mint in blow.
I am not sad nor sorrowful,
But memories will come, 
So leave me to my solitude,
And let me think of home.

There was not around my birth-place,
A thicket or a flower,
But childish game or friendly face,
Has given it a power,
To haunt me in my after life,
And he with me again,
A sweet and pleasant memory,
Of mingled joy and pain.

But the old and knotted apple tree,
That stood heneath the hill, 
My heart can never turn to it,
But with a pleasant thrill. 
Oh, what a dreamy life I led,
Beneath its old green shade, 
Where the daisies and the butter-cups,
A pleasant carpet made.

'Twas a rough old tree, in spring-time,
When with a hlustering sound, 
The wind came hoarsely sweeping,
Along the frosty ground. 
But when there rose a rivalry,
'Tween clouds and pleasant weather, 
'Till the sunshine and the rain-drops
Came laughing down together;—

That patriarch old apple tree
Enjoyed the lovely strife,
The sap sprang lightly through its veins,
And circled into life;
A cloud of pale and tender buds
Burst e'er each rugged bough,
And amid the starting verdure,
The robins made their vow.

That tree was very beautiful
When all the leaves were green, 
And rosy buds lay opening
Amid their tender sheen. 
When the bright translucent dew-drops
Shed hlossoms as they fell, 
And melted in their fragrance,
Like music in a shell.

It was greenest in the summer time,
When cheerful sunlight wove,
Amid its thrifty leafiness,
A warm and glowing love;
When swelling fruit hlushed ruddily,
To summer's halmy hreath, And the laden houghs drooped heavily,
To the greensward underneath.

'Twas brightest in a rainy day,
When all the purple West
Was piled with fleecy storm-clouds,
That never seemed at rest;
When a cool and lulling melody,
Fell from the dripping eaves.
And soft, warm drops came pattering
Upon the restless leaves.

But, oh, the scene was glorious,
When clouds were lightly riven, 
And there above my valley home,
Came out the how of Heaven;
And in its fitful brilliancy,
Hung quivering on high,
Like a jeweled arch of Paradise,
Reflected through the sky.

I am thinking of the footpath,
My constant visits made, 
Between the dear old homestead,
And that leafy apple shade; 
Where the flow of distant waters
Came with a trickling sound, 
Like the revels of a fairy hand,
Beneath the fragrant ground.

I haunted it at even-tide,
And dreamily would lie,
And watch the crimson twilight,
Come stealing o'er the sky;
'Twas sweet to see its dying gold
Wake up the dusky leaves. 
To hear the swallows twittering
Beneath the distant eaves.

I have listened to the music—
A low, sweet minstrelsey, 
Breathed by a lonely night-bird,
That haunted that old tree, 
'Till my heart hast swelled with feelings
For which it had no name, 
A yearning love of poesy,
A thirsting after fame.

I have gazed up through the foliage,
With dim and tearful eyes,
And with a holy reverence,
Dwelt on the changing skies,
'Till the hurning stars were peopled
With forms of spirit birth,
And I've almost heard their harp-strings
Reverberate on earth.