The dark shadow of a branchy tree

William Alexander who wrote this poem is not William Alexander, 1st Earl of Stirling  and Viscount of Canada, who was born about 1567 in  Clackmannanshire;   Lord Alexander was a courtier and poet, and an adventurer involved in the Scottish colonisation in Nova Scotia and Long Island. That William Alexander is famous for such works as AuroraThe Monarchick Tragedies  and Doomes-Day . He died in London in 1640.

About this William Alexander, I can at the moment tell you nothing at all!


The morn is cold. A whiteness newly-brought
Lightly and loosely powders every place,
The panes among yon trees that eastward face
Flash rosy fire from the opposite dawning caught,
—As the face flashes with a splendid thought,
As the heart flashes with a touch of grace
When heaven’s light comes on ways we cannot trace,
Unsought, yet lovelier than we ever sought.
In the blue northern sky is a pale moon,
Through whose thin texture something doth appear
Like the dark shadow of a branchy tree.
—Fit morning for the prayers of one like me,
Whose life is in midwinter, and must soon
Come to the shortest day of all my year!

William Alexander 1824 – 1911

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