To E--, With the Foregoing Sonnets

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To E--, With the Foregoing Sonnets

from: The Garden of Florence; and Other Poems (Pp. 122 - 123)  1820

Robin, the outlaw!  Is there not a mass
Of freedom in the name? -- It tells the story
Of clenched oaks, with branches bow'd and hoary,
Leaning in aged beauty o'er the grass;--
Of dazed smile on cheek of border lass
Listening 'gainst some old gate at his strange glory;--
And of the dappled stag, struck down and gory:
Lying with nostril wide in green morass.

It tells a tale of forest days -- of times
That would have been most precious unto thee:
Days of undying pastoral liberty:--
Sweeter than music of old abbey chimes--
Sweet as the virtue of Shakespearian rhymes--
Days, shadowy with the magic green-wood tree!
Additional Information:
"To E--, With the Foregoing Sonnets" was written in 1820; it is the third in a series of Robin Hood sonnets he wrote to his friend John Keats.  "To E--" is a direct response to Keats's poem "Robin Hood: To A Friend."