To the hermit of the forest


Oh Fontainebleau !’tis sweet to roam
Amidst thy dim, thy hallowed shades —
When’nealh thy forest’s verdant dome
The parting daylight gently fades.

Each tree, like some historic page,
Enfolds a world of bygone lore,
The legends of a former age
Inscribed upon its branches hoar.

Yet thro’the forest vast and lone
In silent grandeur nature slept,
And o’er its rocks with moss o’ergrown,
Time’s footsteps stealthily had crept.

Each floweret reared its tiny head,
Unseen to bloom and lose its hue —
The moss its fairy goblets spread,
— And none but fairies quaffed their dew

Thus solitary still it lay,
A seated volume read by few —
For who would venture forth to stray
Within its depths, without a clue ?

Thine, Denecourt, was the chosen hand
By whom each winding maze was traced,
As Moses to the promised land
Led forth the Hebrews thro’the waste.

Thine was the task to call to life
The memories shrouded in the past —
By thee each rock, each dell is rife
’With tale or legend duly class’d.

In thee all nature’s worshippers
A new Columbus grateful own,
Whose heart no love of lucre stirs,
Who toils for honest fame alone.

Hail then, good Ilermit, hail to thee !
By blood thy conquests are not bought —
Long may the hatchet spare each tree
VVith history’s living archives fraught.

’Twas God who reared this leafy world
On which we feast our ravished look : —
But Denecourt has each myth unfurled,
Andtaught us how to read its book.


Clara de Chatelain, (pseudonyms, Leopold Wray, Baronne Cornélie de B., Rosalia Santa Croce and Leopoldine Ziska; 31 July 1807 – 30 June 1876) was an English writer, composer and translator.

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