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Poems Every Child Should Know by  Mary E. Burt

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WOODMAN, SPARE THAT TREE!

"Woodman, Spare That Tree" (by George Pope Morris, 1802-64) is included in this collection because I have loved it all my life, and I never knew any one who could or would offer a criticism upon it. Its value lies in its recognition of childhood's pleasures.

Woodman, spare that tree!

Touch not a single bough!

In youth it sheltered me,

And I'll protect it now.

'Twas my forefather's hand

That placed it near his cot;

There, woodman, let it stand,

Thy ax shall harm it not.


[223]

That old familiar tree,

Whose glory and renown

Are spread o'er land and sea—

And wouldst thou hew it down?

Woodman, forbear thy stroke!

Cut not its earth-bound ties;

Oh, spare that agèd oak

Now towering to the skies!


When but an idle boy,

I sought its grateful shade;

In all their gushing joy

Here, too, my sisters played.

My mother kissed me here;

My father pressed my hand—

Forgive this foolish tear,

But let that old oak stand.


My heart-strings round thee cling,

Close as thy bark, old friend!

Here shall the wild-bird sing,

And still thy branches bend.

Old tree! the storm still brave!

And, woodman, leave the spot;

While I've a hand to save,

Thy ax shall harm it not.


GEORGE POPE MORRIS.


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