“The Sere Oak-Leaves” by Thomas Wade

by Ann Neilson

“He is a poet; he is overflowing with fancy and susceptibility, and not without the finest subtleties of imagination.”—Leigh Hunt on Thomas Wade, from The Poets and Poetry of England, pg. 433.

The Sere Oak-Leaves
Thomas Wade

WHY do ye rustle in this vernal wind,
Sere leaves! shaking a dread prophetic shroud
Over the very cradle of the spring?
Like pertinacious Age, with warnings loud,
Dinning the grave into an infant’s mind,
And shadowing death on life’s first imaging!
Why to these teeming branches do ye cling,
And with your argument renascence cloud;
Whilst every creature of new birth is proud,
And in unstain’d existence revelling?
Fall, and a grave within the centre find!
And do not thus, whilst all the sweet birds sing,
The insects glitter, and the flower’d grass waves,
Blight us with thoughts of winter and our graves!