The Two Trees.

I saw two trees. The one was fair and high,1
And threw its leafy branches round it wide ;2
So perfect was its shape, that ev’n the sky3
Seemed proud to have that space thus occupied :4
Yet was it hollow ; all its heart was gone ;5
But year by year it swell’d and flourish’d on.6
The other was by grandeur so unmark’d,7
That it was scarce distinguish’d where it stood8
With many more—sometime before impark’d9
From the last vestige of an ancient wood10
But though small glory clothed it as it grew,11
Its heart was to the core still sound and true.12
And as it pleased the lord of that domain13
At length to try the truth of those two oaks,14
The proud one with a few sharp clefts was slain ;15
The humble one sustained a thousand strokes ;16
And when at length at eventide it fell,17
A nobler fall was not in all the dell.18
The proud one, yielding little but its dress,19
Was left upon the spot to rot away ;20
The humble one lived still—in use to bless,21
In ornament to charm, from day to day22
Transferr’d into the mansion’s fairest room,23
Where Genius flings round Art immortal bloom.24
Also I knew two men, like those two trees :25
The one was in profession great and high,26
And scorn’d the other, who could not so please27
With much display the superficial eye.28
Who does not see how meek true worth may stand,29
Whilst great pretence would cumber all the land ?30
For he (the humbler) powerful was, but mild31
Teacher of teachers, strong, profound, but clear ;32
Unostentatious as a little child,33
Yet in sagacity an ancient seer ;34
And though his days were not in public spent,35
He gave again, through man, what God had lent.36
And while an epitaph upon a wall,37
Which many criticise, but few believe,38
Now of the faded Pharisee tells all39
Excepting what he did to make us grieve40
His neighbour’s uses dwell in Wisdom’s heart,41
And unto all his race their good impart.42