'What the Bird Said Early in the Year'

I heard in Addison’s Walk a bird sing clear:
This year the summer will come true. This year. This year.

Winds will not strip the blossom from the apple trees
This year nor want of rain destroy the peas.

This year time’s nature will no more defeat you.
Nor all the promised moments in their passing cheat you.

This time they will not lead you round and back
To Autumn, one year older, by the well worn track.

This year, this year, as all these flowers foretell,
We shall escape the circle and undo the spell.

Often deceived, yet open once again your heart,
Quick, quick, quick, quick! – the gates are drawn apart.

Did the ‘powers that be’ in Magdalen College at the time of the memorial stone, not know the original – and to many eyes – superior version of the poem? Seems very odd to this Oxford University Alumni, particularly the clumsy final line when line 10 of the original is so much more satisfying?

There has, of course, been much controversy over the years since the stone was unveiled, but no answers.

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