New College Gardens, Oxford
ON this old lawn, where lost hours pass
Across the shadows dark with dew,
Where autumn on the thick sweet grass
Has laid a weary leaf or two,
When the young morning, keenly sweet,
Breathes secrets to the silent air,
Happy is he whose lingering feet
May wander lonely there.
The enchantment of the dreaming limes,
The magic of the quiet hours,
Breathe unheard tales of other times
And other destinies than ours;
The feet that long ago walked here
Still, noiseless, walk beside our feet,
Poor ghosts, who found this garden dear,
And found the morning sweet!
Age weeps that it no more may hold
The heart-ache that youth clasps so close,
Pain finely shaped in pleasure's mould,
A thorn deep hidden in a rose.
Here is the immortal thorny rose
That may in no new garden grow--
Its root is in the hearts of those
Who walked here long ago.