Thursday, January 13, 2022


Remnant of a Mighty Woodland

Wilfrid Scawen Blunt (1840-1922), "Worth Forest," in his Poetical Works, Vol. II (London: Macmillan and Co., Limited, 1914), pp. 14-32 (at 18-19):
I love the Forest; 'tis but this one strip
Along the watershed that still dares keep
Its title to such name. Yet once wide grown
A mighty woodland stretched from Down to Down,
The last stronghold and desperate standing-place
Of that indigenous Britannic race
Which fell before the English. It was called
By Rome "Anderida," in Saxon "Weald."
Time and decay, and man's relentless mood,
Have long made havoc of the lower wood
With axe and plough; and now, of all the plain,
These breadths of higher ground alone remain,
In token of its presence. Who shall tell
How long, in these lost wilds of brake and fell,
Or in the tangled groves of oak below,
Gathering his sacred leaf, the mistletoe,
Some Druid priest, forgotten and in need,
May here have kept his rite and owned his creed
After the rest?


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