The Visions of a City Tree, from "Picture Poesies"

After John William North British
Engraver Dalziel Brothers British
Publisher George Routledge & Sons, London British

Not on view

North's image shows a tall tree growing near hedged fields, with a man on horseback talking to a farmer in the foreground. The wood engraving first appeared in "Wayside Posies:Original Poems of the Country Life," edited by Robert Williams Buchanan, illustrated by G. J. Pinwell, J. W. North, and Frederick Walker, engraved by the Brothers Dalziel, and published by Routledge as a Fine Art gift book. In 1874, the publisher reissued the print in "Picture Poesies." The unidentified author of the related poem, describes a cuty tree that longs to be in the countryside, and the dream-like quality of North's landscape echos the text.

The Visions of a City Tree

The city roars around my feet
In squares, and lanes, and alleys,
On every side my trunk, a street—
So different from the valleys
Where, through the alders bathed in green,
The streamlet's sunny lights are seen.

The men look up and think that I
Lend sweetness to their riches:
I'd rather let my branches lie
O'er limpid country ditches,
Where the blue speedwells softly blow
To grace the rivulet below.

I weary of their fight for gold,
Their ceaseless toil and hurry:
Alas! my topmost twigs behold
The emerald hills of Surrey.
And I would fain be there to see
The sun chase shadows on the lea.

From morn till night the city hums
With din of wheel and hammer,
And shriek of railway whistle comes
To pierce the giant clamour.
And ever on and on they flow—
Those eager, eddying crowds below.

The Visions of a City Tree, from "Picture Poesies", After John William North (British, London 1842–1924 Stamborough, Somerset), Wood engraving

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