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By Charles Sorley

STILL stand the downs so wise and wide?
Still shake the trees their tresses grey?
I thought their beauty might have died
Since I had been away.

I might have known the things I love,
The winds, the flocking birds' full cry,
The trees that toss, the downs that move,
Were longer things than I.

Lo, earth that bows before the wind,
With wild green children overgrown,
And all her bosoms, many-whinned,
Receive me as their own.

The birds are hushed and fled: the cows
Have ceased at last to make long moan.
They only think to browse and browse
Until the night is grown.

The wind is stiller than it was,
And dumbness holds the closing day.
The earth says not a word, because
It has no word to say.

The dear soft grasses under foot
Are silent to the listening ear.
Yet beauty never can be mute,
And some will always hear.

18 September 1913



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