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Poem of the Day:

Fall of the Charter Oak

by Lydia Howard Sigourney

Woe,—for the mighty Tree!
The monarch of the plain,—
The storm hath reft its noble heart—
It ne'er shall tower again,
In ruins, far and wide,
Its giant limbs are laid,
Like some fallen dynasty of earth,
Whose nod the nations sway'd.

Woe, for the ancient Oak,
Our Pilgrim-fathers' pride,
That shook the centuries from its crown,
And flourish'd when they died;
The grass-flower at its feet,
Shall quickening Spring restore,
But healthful dews, or nesting bird
Revisit it no more.

The roaming Indian prized
Its canopy of shade,
And bless'd it while his council fire
In eddying volumes play'd,
He for its wisdom sought
As to a Delphic shrine,
He ask'd it when to plant his corn,
And waited for the sign.

You white haired man sits down
Where its torn branches lie,
And tells the listening boy, the tale
Of threatened Liberty,
How tyrant pomp and power,
Once in the olden time,
Came Brennus-like, with iron tramp
To crush our infant clime,

And how that brave old Oak
Stood forth, a friend indeed,
And spread its AEgis o'er our sires,
In their extremest need,
And in its sacred breast
Their germ of freedom bore,
And hid their life-blood in its veins,
Until the blast was o'er.

Throngs, gathering round the spot
Their mournful memories weave,
Even children, in strange silence stand,
Unconscious why they grieve,
Or for their casket seek
Some relic spray to glean,
Acorn, or precious leaf, to press
Their Bible-page between.

Was there no other prey,
Oh, Storm!—that thunder'd by?
Wreaking dark vengeance, 'neath the shroud
Of the wild midnight sky?
Was there no kingly Elm,
Majestic, broad and free,
That thou must, in thy madness, smite
Our tutelary tree?

Our beacon of the past,
Our chronicler of time,
Our Mecca, to whose greenwood glade
Came feet from every clime?
Hark!—to the echoing dirge,
In measures deep and slow,
While on the breeze our banner floats,
Draped in the weeds of woe.

The fair ones of our vale
O'er its lost Guardian sigh,
And elders with prophetic dread
Dark auguries descry,
Patriots and sages deign
O'er the loved wreck to bend,
And in this funeral of the Oak
Lament their Country's friend.

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