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The House That Was

 Of the old house, only a few, crumbled 
Courses of brick, smothered in nettle and dock, 
Or a shaped stone lying mossy where it tumbled! 
Sprawling bramble and saucy thistle mock 
What once was fire-lit floor and private charm, 
Whence, seen in a windowed picture, were hills fading 
At night, and all was memory-coloured and warm, 
And voices talked, secure of the wind's invading.
Of the old garden, only a stray shining Of daffodil flames among April's Cuckoo-flowers Or clustered aconite, mixt with weeds entwining! But, dark and lofty, a royal cedar towers By homelier thorns; and whether the rain drifts Or sun scortches, he holds the downs in ken, The western vales; his branchy tiers he lifts, Older than many a generation of men.

by Laurence Binyon
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