The Old Tree’s Fall.

And so man’s ruthless hand at last1
Hath laid thee low, old tree ;2
Unmindful of thy glory past,3
When thou wert waving free ;4
When in thy green and leafy pride,5
Thy broad young arms were stretching wide,6
And seemed to sing with glee,7
As summer winds with fitful swell8
Amid thy leafage rose and fell.9
How many a winter’s wind has moaned10
Around thy branches strong,11
Whose wildly-tossing arms loud groaned12
Beneath its stormy song !13
How many a sultry sun has seen14
Thy glittering robe of vernal green,15
And glanced thy leaves among !16
But winter’s cold and summer’s glow17
Thy stalwart arms no more shall know !18
Here in the days that long are dead19
Thy presence graced the wild,20
When round a living landscape spread21
In beauty undefiled :22
Lord of the solitude wert thou,23
And sunbeams o’er thy stately brow24
In lonely lustre smiled ;25
And morn arose and evening fell26
To hail the king of wood and dell.27
And morn arose and evening fell,28
And still the time went on,29
When, lo, as thy old trunk could tell,30
A hundred years are gone !31
And cottage homes and hearths are seen,32
And round thee here the village green33
In mellow sunlight shone ;34
And children ’neath thy pleasant shade35
Through many a summer noontide played.36
Oh then to aged men and boys37
Thy hoary arms were dear ;38
And well-remembered were the joys39
They all had tasted here ;40
And those who roamed upon the sea41
Still loved the ancient village tree,42
And mused from year to year43
On all the joy that there would reign,44
When they should homeward turn again.45
Old Time, in his relentless flight,46
Disturbed thy calm repose,47
And where the village green was bright48
A busy town arose :49
To love thee men no longer recked,50
But sterner days of cold neglect51
Thy blackened boughs disclose ;52
And birds no more amid them sung,53
As when thy leaves were green and young.54
Then thy broad arms drooped downward fast55
Beneath this darker time,56
And men forgot their virtue past,57
And turned to guilt and crime ;58
And griping poverty arose59
And filled the land with countless woes,60
Unrecked of in thy prime ;61
And thousands passed thee day by day,62
But left thee here to meet decay.63
When all of good is past, Old Tree !64
’Tis meet that thou shouldst die ;65
I see the strong limgs torn from thee66
Without a passing sigh.67
No more the village green is bright,68
But Guilt and Gain have spread their night69
Where now thy branches lie :70
And scarce a pang my breast can swell71
To hear the broad axe strike thy knell,72
’Tis done ! A hoary giant dead73
A guardian spirit passed74
Around the severed arms lie spread75
In desolation vast.76
Keep back the tear—it must not fall77
We would not now its strength recall78
To glory overcast :79
Revered, beloved, held dear of yore,80
Alas, we ne‘er shall see thee more !81