“The Old Tree”

Image: World Daily News

I found this poem on happenstance while researching about something else. Might as well share it here.

And so man’s ruthless hand at last
Hath laid thee low, old tree;
Unmindful of thy glory past,
When thou wert waving free:
When in their green and leafy pride,
Thy broad young arms were stretching wide,
And seemed to sing with glee,
As summer winds with fitful swell,
Amid thy leafage rose and fell.

How many a winter’s wind has roared
Around thy branches strong;
Whose wildly-tossing arms high soared
Above its stormy song!
How many a sultry sun has seen
Thy glittering robe of vernal green,
And glanced thy leaves among!
But winter’s cold and summer’s glow
Thy stalwart arms no more shall know!

Here in the days that long are dead,
Thy presence graced the wild;
When round a living landscape spread
In beauty undefiled:
Lord of the solitude wert thou, —
And sunbeams o’er thy stately brow
In lonely lustre smiled:
And morn arose and evening fell,
To hail thee King of wood and dell.

And morn arose and evening fell,
And still the time went on;
When, lo ! as thy old trunk could tell,
A hundred years are gone.
And cottage homes and hearths are seen,
And round thee here the village green
In mellow sunlight shone;
And children ‘neath thy pleasant shade,
Through many a summer noontide played.

Oh! then to aged men and boys
Thy hoary arms were dear;
And well remembered were the joys
They all had tasted here:
And those who roamed upon the sea
Still loved the ancient village tree,
And mused from year to year,
On all the joy that there would reign,
When they should homeward turn again.

Old Time, in his relentless flight,
Disturbed thy calm repose;
And where the village green was bright,
A busy town arose:
To love thee men no longer recked,
But sterner days of cold neglect
Thy blackened boughs disclose;
And birds no more amid them sung,
As when thy leaves were green and young.

Then thy broad arms drooped downward fast,
Beneath this darker time;
And men forgot their virtue past,
And turned to guilt and crime;
And griping Poverty arose,
And filled the land with countless woes,
Unrecked of in thy prime:
And thousands passed thee day by day,
But left thee here to meet decay.

When all of good is past, Old Tree!
‘Tis meet that thou should’st die;
I see the strong limbs torn from thee,
Without a passing sigh.
No more the village green is bright,
But Guilt and Gain have spread their night
Where now thy branches lie:
And scarce a pang my breast can swell
To hear the broad axe strike thy knell.

‘Tis done! A hoary giant dead —
A guardian spirit passed —
Around the several arms lie spread,
In desolation vast.
Keep back the tear — it must not fall,
We would now its strength recall:
To glory overcast:
Revered, beloved, held dear of yore,
Alas, we ne’er shall see thee more!

— Sydney Hodges, The Battle of Hastings and Other Poems, 1853

Posted by

My name Edmark M. Law. I work as a freelance writer, mainly writing about science and mathematics. I am an ardent hobbyist. I like to read, solve puzzles, play chess, make origami and play basketball. In addition, I dabble in magic, particularly card magic and other sleight-of-hand type magic. I live in Hong Kong. You can find me on Twitter` and Facebook. My email is edmarklaw@learnfunfacts.com

17 thoughts on ““The Old Tree”

  1. Let me say it in italian.
    Una terribile tragedia metereologica con un vento a 150 km l’ora hanno spazzato via dalle montagne migliaia di Abeti rossi quelli con i quali si costruiscono le famose casse di risonanza per violino contrabbasso per esempio.
    interi boschi distrutti.

    Thank you so much for remembering My Little blog and Me 🌷


  2. I think that I shall never see
    a tree that’s safe from you and me
    though we be not the ones who raze it
    our kind is quick to cut or blaze it
    for the pen is not mightier than chainsaws
    if it cannot make us stop and pause.

    Liked by 4 people

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