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Oak Tree Poems

Table of Contents

Oak Tree Poems
Oak Trees, Lullingstone Park
by Samuel Palmer
  1. The Brave Old Old Oak by Henry Fothergill Chorley
  2. The Gallant Oak by Douglas Malloch
  3. Saga of the Oak by William Henry Venable
  4. The CharterOak by Lydia Howard Sigourney
  5. Fall of the Charter Oak by Lydia Howard Sigourney
  6. Oak In Autumn by Lydia Howard Sigourney
  7. Eliot's Oak by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  8. The Oak Tree by Mary Howitt
  9. The Oak Tree by Anonymous
  10. In the Oak by Katharine Lee Bates
  11. April in September by Katharine Lee Bates
  12. The Oak by James Russell Lowell
  13. The Oak-Wood by Nicolaus Lenau
  14. A Wayside Tree by Ellen P. Allerton
  15. The Oak Tree by Ann Hawkshaw
  16. Beneath the Oak by Rose Maxim
  17. To an Oak Tree by Ellwood Roberts
  18. Charity by Hezekiah Jordan Leavitt
  19. A Forest Episode by Anne Reeve Aldrich
  20. Woodman, Spare that Tree! by George Pope Morris
  21. The Century Oak by Harvey Carson Grumbine
  22. Acorn Poems

  23. The Pebble and the Acorn by Hannah Flagg Gould
  24. Little by Little by Anonymous
  25. Song of Life by Charles Mackay

Poems About Oak Trees

Those green-robed senators of mighty woods,
Tall oaks, branch-charmed by the earnest stars,
Dream, and so dream all night without a stir...”

– John Keats
Hyperion, Book I
  1. The Brave Old Oak

    by Henry Fothergill Chorley

    A song to the oak, the brave old oak,
    Who hath ruled in the greenwood long;
    Here ’s health and renown to his broad green crown,
    And his fifty arms so strong.
    There ’s fear in his frown when the sun goes down,
    And the fire in the west fades out;
    And he showeth his might on a wild midnight,
    When the storm through his branches shout.

    Then here’s to the oak, the brave old oak,
    Who stands in his pride alone;
    And still flourish he, a hale green tree,
    When a hundred years are gone!

    In the days of old, when the spring with cold
    Had brightened his branches gray,
    Through the grass at his feet crept maidens sweet,
    To gather the dew of May.
    And on that day to the rebeck gay
    They frolicked with lovesome swains;
    They are gone, they are dead, in the churchyard laid,
    But the tree it still remains.

    Then here’s to the oak, the brave old oak,
    Who stands in his pride alone;
    And still flourish he, a hale green tree,
    When a hundred years are gone!

    He saw the rare times when the Christmas chimes
    Were a merry sound to hear,
    When the squire’s wide hall and the cottage small
    Were filled with good English cheer.
    Now gold hath the sway we all obey,
    And a ruthless king is he;
    But he never shall send our ancient friend
    To be tossed on the stormy sea.

    Then here’s to the oak, the brave old oak,
    Who stands in his pride alone;
    And still flourish he, a hale green tree,
    When a hundred years are gone!

  2. The Gallant Oak

    by Douglas Malloch

    When once the New Year came to earth,
    To claim his realm by right of birth,
    A forest knight, the gallant oak,
    Upon the pathway threw his cloak.
    The garment green, now turned to brown,
    Upon the bare earth fluttered down
    And o'er the velvet to his throne
    The New Year walked unto his own.

    Then gave the New Year a decree
    To every bush and forest tree
    That every growing, blooming thing
    Should hail the mighty oak as king.
    Yea, more, he made the king of trees
    A ruler of the running seas,
    In ships to bear from shore to shore
    The earth's discovered treasures o'er.

    Then called he Springtime to his side,
    Old Winter's pink-limbed, blushing bride,
    And bade her weave a regal cloak
    To cover new the gallant oak.
    And so she wove a gown of green
    , The richest earth had ever seen,
    And garbed anew the mighty tree
    With emblem of his majesty.

  3. Saga of the Oak

    by William Henry Venable

    Hoarsely to the midnight moon
    Voiced the oak his rugged rune:
    "Harken, sibyl Moon, to me;
    Hear the saga of the Tree.

    "Thou, O queen of splendor, must
    Pale and crumble back to dust;
    Through slow eons diest thou,—
    Doomsday craves my vitals now.

    "I am scion of a line
    Old, imperial, divine;
    Earth produced my ancestor
    Ere great Odin, was or Thor.

    "From the hursts of holy oak
    Fateful gods of Asgard spoke;
    In the consecrated shade
    Bard and Druid sang and prayed.

    "Fostered in an oaken womb
    Slept Trifingus, sword of doom;
    Therewith woaded Caratak
    Drave the steel-sarked Roman back.

    "Where, profaned by legioned foes,
    In the shuddering forest rose
    Mona's altars flaming rud,
    Britain drowned her woe in blood.

    "Then the dread decree of Norn
    Sounded in the groves forlorn;
    Vikings swooping from the North
    Harried every scaur and forth.

    "Forests fell with crash and roar,
    Masted galiots spurned the shore,
    Dragon-breasted,—swum the meer,
    Daring danger, scouting fear.

    "Hengist's brood and Horsa's kin,
    Seed of Garmund, sons of Finn,
    Dane and Saxon sail and sweep
    Battling o'er the wrathful deep;

    "Hearts of oak! their valor gave
    Right of might to rule the wave,
    Gave to Nelson's ocean war
    Copenhagen, Trafalgar!

    "Bray of trumpet! roll of drum!
    When shall Balder's kingdom come?
    Bitter sap shall when grow sweet
    In the acorn at my feet?

    "Centuries do I stand here
    Thinking thoughts profound and drear,
    Dreaming solemn dreams sublime
    Of the mysteries of Time.

    "Roots of mine do feed on graves;
    I have eaten bones of braves;
    In the ground the learnéd gnomes
    Read to me their cryptic tomes.

    "Annals treasured in the air
    All the past to me declare;
    Every wind of heaven brings
    Tribute for me on its wings.

    "Through my silence proud and lone
    Whispers waft from the Unknown;
    Musing eld hath second ken—
    Moon! the dead shall live again.

    "Sun-scorch have I borne, and pangs
    From the gnaw of winter's fangs;
    Fought tornadoes, nor forsook
    Roothold when the mountains shook.

    "Oft the zig-zag thunder hath
    Struck me with his fiery scath,—
    To my core the havoc sped,
    Yet I never bowed my head.

    "I am weary of the years;
    Overthrown are all my peers,
    Slain by steel or storm or flame,—
    I would perish too—the same.

    "Yet shall I a little space
    Linger still in life's embrace
    Ere metempsychosing time
    Drag me down to Niflheim.

    "Wherefore shun or summon fate?
    Wisest they who sanely wait;
    In my fiber nature saith,
    Life is good and good is death.

    "Mated birds of procreant Spring
    In my branches build and sing;
    Grass is green and flowers bloom
    Where I spread my golden gloom;

    "Happy children round me play;
    Plighted lovers near me stray;
    Insects chirping in the night
    Thrill me with obscure delight;

    "Circling seasons as they run,
    Couriers of the lavish sun,
    Dower me with treasure lent
    By each potent element;

    "Ministers to me the whole
    Zonéd globe from pole to pole;
    In my buds and blossoms beat
    Pulses from the central heat;—

    "Everything is part of me,
    Firmament and moving sea;
    I of all that is am part,
    Stone and star and human heart.

    "Primal Cause etern, self-wrought,
    Majesty transcending thought,
    This my substance and my soul,
    Origin, desire, and goal.

    "Through creation's vasty range
    Blows the winter blast of change;
    Leaf-like from the Life-Tree whirled
    World shall rot on ruined world.

    "Hail, inexorable hour
    Fraught with clysmian wrack and stour
    Welcome, transmutation's course
    And the cosmic rage of Force.

    "Yond the atomed universe
    Now we gather, now disperse,—
    Unto darkling chaos tost,
    Back from the chaos—nothing lost.

    "Forth abysmal voids of death
    Resurrection issueth:—
    Flaming ether, quickened clod,
    Bodying new forms of God.

    "Harken, Moon!—When I am gone,
    I, re-born, shall burgeon on;
    Out thine ashes shall arise
    Other Thou, to ride the skies."

    Spake no more the hoary oak;
    No response the wan moon spoke;
    But the poet who had heard
    Pondered the Dodonian word.

  4. The Charter-Oak

    by Lydia Howard Sigourney

    Charter Oak, Charter Oak
    Tell us a tale,
    Of the years that have fled,
    Like the leaves on the gale,

    For thou bear'st a brave annal,
    On brown root and stem,
    And thy heart was a casket,
    For liberty's gem.

    Speak out, in thy wisdom,
    Oracular tree,
    And we, and our children,
    Will listen to thee,

    For the lore of the aged,
    Is dear in our eyes,
    And thy leaves, and thine acorns,
    As relics we prize.

    I see them, they come,
    The dim ages of old,
    The sires of our nation,
    True-hearted and bold,

    The axe of the woodman,
    Rings sharp through the glade,
    And the poor Indian hunter,
    Reclines in the shade.

    I see them, they come,
    The gray fathers are there,
    Who won from the forest,
    This heritage fair,

    With their high trust in heaven,
    When they suffer'd or toil'd,
    Both the tempest and tyrant,
    Unblenching, they foil'd.

    Charter-Oak, Charter-Oak,
    Ancient and fair,
    Thou didst guard of our freedom,
    The rudiment rare,

    So, a crown of green leaves,
    Be thy gift from the skies,
    With the love of the brave,
    And the thanks of the wise.

  5. 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.

  6. Oak In Autumn

    by Lydia Howard Sigourney

    Old oak! old oak! the chosen one,
    Round which my poet's mesh I twine,
    When rosy wakes the joyous sun,
    Or, wearied, sinks at day's decline,
    I see the frost-king here and there,
    Claim some brown leaflet for his own,
    Or point in cold derision where
    He soon shall rear the usurper's throne.

    Too soon! too soon! in crimson bright,
    Vain mockery of thy wo, he'll flout,
    And proudly climb thy topmost height,
    To hang his flaunting signal out;
    While thou, as round thine honours fall,
    Shalt stand with seam'd and naked bark,
    Like banner-staff, so lone and tall,
    His ruthless victory to mark.

    I, too, old friend, when thou art gone,
    Must pensive to my casement go,
    Or, like the shuddering Druid, moan
    The withering of his mistletoe;
    But when young Spring, with matin clear,
    Awakes the bird, the stream, the tree,
    Fain would I at her call appear,
    And hang my slender wreath on thee.

  7. Eliot's Oak

    by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    Thou ancient oak! whose myriad leaves are loud
    With sounds of unintelligible speech,
    Sounds as of surges on a shingly beach,
    Or multitudinous murmurs of a crowd;
    With some mysterious gift of tongues endowed,
    Thou speakest a different dialect to each;
    To me a language that no man can teach,
    Of a lost race, long vanished like a cloud.
    For underneath thy shade, in days remote,
    Seated like Abraham at eventide
    Beneath the oaks of Mamre, the unknown
    Apostle of the Indians, Eliot, wrote
    His Bible in a language that hath died
    And is forgotten, save by thee alone.

  8. The Oak Tree

    by Mary Howitt

    Sing for the Oak Tree,
    The monarch of the wood;
    Sing for the Oak Tree,
    That groweth green and good;
    That groweth broad and branching
    Within the forest shade;
    That groweth now, and yet shall grow
    When we are lowly laid!

    The Oak Tree was an acorn once,
    And fell upon the earth;
    And sun and showers nourished it,
    And gave the Oak Tree birth.
    The little sprouting Oak Tree.
    Two leaves it had at first,
    Till sun and showers had nourished it,
    Then out the branches burst.

    The little sapling Oak Tree!
    Its root was like a thread,
    Till the kindly earth had nourished it,
    Then out it freely spread:
    On this side and on that side
    It grappled with the ground;
    And in the ancient, rifted rock
    Its firmest footing found.

    The winds came, and the rain fell;
    The gusty tempest blew;
    All, all were friends to the Oak Tree
    And stronger yet it grew.
    The boy that saw the acorn fall,
    He feeble grew and grey;
    But the Oak was still a thriving tree,
    And strengthened every day!

    Four centuries grows the Oak Tree
    Nor doth its verdue fail;
    Its heart is like the iron wood,
    Its bark like plated mail.
    Now, cut us down the Oak Tree,
    The monarch of the wood;
    And of its timbers stout and strong
    We'll build a vessel good!

    The Oak Tree of the forest
    Both east and west shall fly;
    And the blessings of a thousand lands
    Upon our ship shall lie!
    For she shall not be a man-of-war,
    Nor a pirate shall she be:—
    But a noble, Christian merchant-ship
    To sail upon the sea.

    Then sing for the Oak Tree,
    The monarch of the wood;
    Sing for the Oak Tree, That groweth green and good;
    That groweth broad and branching
    Within the forest shade;
    That groweth now, and yet shall grow,
    When we are lowly laid!

  9. The Oak Tree

    by Anonymous

    The oak tree is a brave old tree,
    It lives to be quite old,
    It gives good shade in summer,
    And stands the winter's cold.
    The men who build the stately ships
    That sail across the sea
    Think there's no wood so strong, so good
    As the brave old white oak tree.

  10. In the Oak

    by Katharine Lee Bates

    The leaves and tassels of the oak
    Were golden-green with May,
    Pavilion whence forever broke
    Some angel roundelay.

    A carol like a glory came
    From topmost twig astir,
    Enkindled by a flying flame,
    The scarlet tanager.

    The tree was glad as Paradise
    When, eager soul on soul,
    The saints flock home. There glistened twice
    A wild-throat oriole;

    And once the grosbeak's rosy breast
    Poured its enchanted hymn;
    While sunny wing and jewel crest
    Lit many a blissful limb.

    The whole wide world was in my oak
    Whose catkins danced for mirth,
    — Plumes gray as curling city smoke,
    Plumes brown as fresh-plowed earth;

    Even heaven had graced our festival,
    For oft the loving eye
    Would find, coaxed by a wistful call,
    The bluebird's fleck of sky.

  11. April in September

    by Katharine Lee Bates

    What song is in the sap of this brave oak-tree
    That to the north-star faces,
    Ravened each June by caterpillar masses
    Till all its leaves are laces,
    Poor shreds whose very shadow grieves the grasses?

    I leave it then, but roses and the smoke-tree
    Look from the lawn below it
    And watch for that gold witch, Midsummer Weather,
    With magic breath to blow it
    Free of its foes, whose wings make mirth together.

    Vital as Igdrasil, immortal folk-tree,
    When I return, its losses
    Are all restored, its fresh, soft foliage gleaming
    With peach and citron glosses,
    A Druid that is never done with dreaming.

  12. The Oak

    by James Russell Lowell

    What gnarlèd stretch, what depth of shade, is his!
    There needs no crown to mark the forest's king;
    How in his leaves outshines full summer's bliss!
    Sun, storm, rain, dew, to him their tribute bring,
    Which he with such benignant royalty
    Accepts, as overpayeth what is lent;
    All nature seems his vassal proud to be,
    And cunning only for his ornament.

    How towers he, too, amid the billowed snows,
    An unquelled exile from the summer's throne,
    Whose plain, uncinctured front more kingly shows,
    Now that the obscuring courtier leaves are flown.
    His boughs make music of the winter air,
    Jewelled with sleet, like some cathedral front
    Where clinging snow-flakes with quaint art repair
    The dints and furrows of time's envious brunt.

    How doth his patient strength the rude March wind
    Persuade to seem glad breaths of summer breeze,
    And win the soil that fain would be unkind,
    To swell his revenues with proud increase!
    He is the gem; and all the landscape wide
    (So doth his grandeur isolate the sense)
    Seems but the setting, worthless all beside,
    An empty socket, were he fallen thence.

    So, from off converse with life's wintry gales,
    Should man learn how to clasp with tougher roots
    The inspiring earth;—how otherwise avails
    The leaf-creating sap that sunward shoots?
    So every year that falls with noiseless flake
    Should fill old scars upon the stormward side,
    And make hoar age revered for age's sake,
    Not for traditions of youth's leafy pride.

    So from the pinched soil of a churlish fate,
    True hearts compel the sap of sturdier growth,
    So between earth and heaven stand simply great,
    That these shall seem but their attendants both;
    For nature's forces with obedient zeal
    Wait on the rooted faith and oaken will;
    As quickly the pretender's cheat they feel,
    And turn mad Pucks to flout and mock him still.

    Lord! all thy works are lessons,—each contains
    Some emblem of man's all-containing soul;
    Shall he make fruitless all thy glorious pains,
    Delving within thy grace an eyeless mole?
    Make me the least of thy Dodona-grove,
    Cause me some message of thy truth to bring,
    Speak but a word through me, nor let thy love
    Among my boughs disdain to perch and sing.

  13. The Oak-Wood

    by Nicolaus Lenau

    Beneath the holy oaks I wandered
    Through twilight aisles where, soft and mild,
    I heard a brook, which there meandered,
    Keep lisping like a praying child.

    With tremors sweet my heart did flutter;
    The forest rustled weird and low,
    As if it fain would something utter
    Which yet I had no right to know;

    As if it were about revealing
    The secret of God's thought and will,
    When suddenly, His nearness feeling,
    It seemed affrightened—and grew still.

  14. A Wayside Tree

    by Ellen P. Allerton

    I passed to-day through a forest
    In somberest sombre drest;
    Furled were the blood-red banners,
    Quenched was each flaming crest.

    The wind swept through the branches;
    The clouds hung low and gray,
    Bearing storms in their bosoms.
    Stealing the sun away.

    The roar far back in the forest,
    The crackling above my head,
    As the crisp leaves shook and quivered,
    Filled me with nameless dread.

    Like the leaves, I shook and shivered
    As the cold wind colder blew,
    And the tread of advancing tempests
    Sounded the deep woods through.

    Was there nothing left of the summer?
    Naught of the autumn show?
    Nothing bright for the winter
    To fold in its sheets of snow?

    Behold! by the dreary roadside,
    Towering fair and green
    In the midst of its sombre sisters,
    A single oak is seen.

    Touched with spatters of crimson,
    Bordered with flery bands,
    Across its resplendent garments
    The sun and the frost clasp hands.

    I look at the tree in wonder!
    It seems like some ancient sage,
    Wearing his youthful freshness
    Along with the frosts of age.

    Oh! the life must be pure and noble
    That can keep, as the seasons go,
    Its June and its rich October
    Till falleth the winter snow!

  15. The Oak Tree

    by Ann Hawkshaw

    The oak it is a noble tree,
    The monarch of the wood;
    Through winter's storms a thousand years,
    Its hardy trunk hath stood.

    It is not stately, like the beech;
    The elm more tall may be;
    And gracefuller the lovely lime;
    Yet 't is a noble tree.

    An acorn, by a squirrel dropped
    Amid a tuft of grass,
    May be an oak, on which we look
    With wonder as we pass.

    But then it years, long years, must grow,
    And this may teach to all,
    What mighty things in after times
    May come from means now small.

    How little did they think who saw
    A green oak sapling spring
    In some old forest long ago,
    That it would float a king!

    Perhaps some ancient Druid came
    To pluck from it a bough;
    'T is now a gallant ship—but he,
    Where is that Druid now?

    Perhaps an acorn from that tree
    Dropped on his nameless grave,
    And o'er it now in summer green'
    Dark' tangled branches wave.

    How beautiful the oak's young leaves,
    In the bright days of Spring;
    Or, when a richer tint the skies
    Of early autumn bring:

    And all upon the dewy ground
    The acorn-cups are laid,
    Like richly chased spoons are they,
    For fairy banquets made.

    So, monarch of all forest trees,
    On every English plain;
    We crown thee still, thou brave old oak,
    And long, long be thy reign!

    If the oak is out before the ash,
    'Twill be a summer of wet and splash;
    But if the ash is before the oak,
    'Twill be a summer of fire and smoke.

    – Country Proverb
  16. Beneath the Oak

    by Rose Maxim

    How sweet it is in solitude to be,
    A little while away from worldly care,
    Reclining calmly 'neath the spreading tree
    Where odors sweet are wafted on the air.
    Now gentle breezes fan the glowing cheek,
    And stir the leaves that rustle audibly,
    The softly swaying branches seem to speak:
    "Here I will ever rest and shelter thee.
    No sound is heard save the low, babbling brook,
    The cricket's chirp, the song of whip-poorwill.
    Within this beauteous, sequestered nook,
    Where life is sweetest, let me linger still;
    Where Nature and the soul can be in tune,
    The creature and Creator still commune.

  17. To an Oak Tree

    by Ellwood Roberts

    I pause within thy shade,
    A brief hour here rest and refreshment find,
    Beneath thy ample boughs, and call to mind
    How often thus I've stayed.

    How, in the first Spring days,
    I watched thy swelling buds and listened long,
    While some sweet bird poured forth a merry song,
    A gladsome note of praise.

    Thus at the rosy dawn
    Of each bright morn I lingered—thus I knew,
    Though the cold earth still wore her sombre hue,
    That Winter must be gone.

    And, later, when the heat
    Of Summer hastened on, across my way
    Thy shadow stretched, inviting me to stay,
    And rest my weary feet.

    Then would I musing lie,
    And, gazing upward through thy canopy,
    Sweet beauty in the passing cloudlets see,
    That swept across the sky.

    At morning and at noon,
    Thy freshness and perfection make me feel
    What wondrous charms kind Nature doth reveal
    To hearts with her in tune!

    And when long shadows fall
    Across my pathway, and the night comes on;
    When day with all its sights and sounds is gone,
    Thy rustling leaves still call.

    Thy strength and beauty blend
    Most wondrously; for ornament and use
    In thee so happily combined, produce
    Creation's perfect end.

    May we fulfill it, too!
    For each is meant some noble destiny.
    May we be strong and dignified like thee,
    And to ourselves be true!

  18. Charity

    by Hezekiah Jordan Leavitt

    The oak that grows on the mountain
    Has many a twist and crook,—
    Stunted, and gnarled, and knotty,
    With never a pleasant look;
    For by every storm it is beaten,
    And beset by every blast;
    And the soil is cold and sterile
    Wherein its roots are cast.

    But the oak that grows in the valley
    Is a fair and shapely tree;
    Straight, and tall, and majestic
    As ever an oak should be!
    For 'tis fed by the land's best fatness
    And sheltered from every storm,
    With never a blast of the mountain wind
    To mar its graceful form.

    Yet the stunted oak of the mountain
    With as fair a form was blest,
    When, a young and tender sapling,
    It clung to its mother's breast;
    And had it grown in the valley,
    And been fanned by the tempered breeze,
    High and wide it had towered in pride,
    A giant among the trees!

  19. A Forest Episode

    by Anne Reeve Aldrich

    In my forest grew an oak,
    King among the wood land folk.
    Proudly rose his lofty head,
    Mightily his boughs were spread.
    Just a little breeze one day
    Touched his leaves in wanton play,
    Round him in a frolic ran,
    That was how the storm began.

    Just that little breeze awoke
    Longing in the lusty oak.
    All the leaves sighed; "Come again!"
    Nor was the amorous prayer in vain,
    For the breeze, in one short hour
    Came in conquering whirlwind's power,
    And the heart of oak was riven,
    With one flash of fire from heaven.

  20. Woodman, Spare that Tree!

    by George Pope Morris

    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 axe shall harm it not!

    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;
    O, spare that aged 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 axe shall hurt it not.

  21. The Century Oak

    by Harvey Carson Grumbine

    The century oak, rugged and gaunt,
    Holds high to-day, as he was wont
    A hundred years ago, his head,
    Hoary with snows that have vanished,
    Defiant and grim to the wind's wild taunt.

    The hooting owl finds here a haunt,
    And feathered choristers now chaunt
    As when the century's dawn made red
    The century oak.

    No season's coil his heart can daunt;
    Ptocessive years their changes vaunt,
    But, constant till the line have fled
    And mouldered in oblivion's bed,
    He holds his own, rugged and gaunt,—
    The century oak.

  22. Acorn Poems

    Mighty oaks from little acorns grow.

    – A. B. Johnson (variant of an old proverb)
    The Philosophical Emperor
  23. The Acorn and the Oak

    by Ella Maxwell Haddox

    Within the damp and clinging earth,
    Where darkness spans a world unseen,
    An acorn dreamed; and, dreaming, saw
    Blue skies and forests green.

    It dreamed of light, where all was gloom;
    It dreamed of strength, where none prevailed
    Save that which held the dream, when dark
    And threatening powers assailed.

    It saw itself an oak, whose crest
    From Morn's first blush a halo caught;
    In whose broad boughs the weary birds
    At eve a shelter sought.

    And as in hopefulness it dreamed.
    The unbelieving earth made room;
    And, powerless to repress, did haste
    To friendliness assume.

    Thou, too, dream on, O Soul! and let
    Not things which seem thy faith undo;
    For All of Life concerns itself
    To make thy dream come true.

  24. The Pebble and the Acorn

    by Hannah Flagg Gould

    "I am a Pebble! and yield to none!"
    Were swelling words of a tiny stone,
    "Nor time nor season can alter me;
    I am abiding, while ages flee.
    The pelting hail and the drizzling rain
    Have tried to soften me, long, in vain;
    And the tender dew has sought to melt,
    Or touch my heart; but it was not felt.
    There's none that can tell about my birth,
    For I'm as old as the big, round earth.
    The children of men arise, and pass
    Out of the world, like the blades of grass;
    And many a foot on me has trod,
    That's gone from sight, and under the sod!
    I am a Pebble! but who art thou,
    Rattling along from the restless bough?"

    The Acorn was shocked at this rude salute,
    And lay for a moment abashed and mute;
    She never before had been so near
    This gravelly ball, the mundane sphere;
    And she felt for a time at a loss to know
    How to answer a thing so coarse and low.
    But to give reproof of a nobler sort
    Than the angry look, or the keen retort,

    At length she said, in a gentle tone,
    "Since it has happened that I am thrown
    From the lighter element, where I grew,
    Down to another, so hard and new,
    And beside a personage so august,
    Abased, I will cover my head with dust,
    And quickly retire from the sight of one
    Whom time, nor season, nor storm, nor sun,
    Nor the gentle dew, nor the grinding heel
    Has ever subdued, or made to feel!"
    And soon, in the earth, she sunk away
    From the comfortless spot where the Pebble lay.

    But it was not long ere the soil was broke
    By the peering head of an infant oak!
    And, as it arose and its branches spread,
    The Pebble looked up, and wondering said,
    "A modest Acorn! never to tell
    What was enclosed in its simple shell;
    That the pride of the forest was folded up
    In the narrow space of its little cup!
    And meekly to sink in the darksome earth,
    Which proves that nothing could hide her worth!
    And oh! how many will tread on me,
    To come and admire the beautiful tree,
    Whose head is towering towards the sky,
    Above such a worthless thing as I!
    Useless and vain, a cumberer here,
    I have been idling from year to year.

    But never, from this, shall a vaunting word
    From the humbled Pebble again be heard,
    Till something without me or within,
    Shall show the purpose for which I've been!"
    The Pebble its vow could not forget,
    And it lies there wrapt in silence yet.

  25. Little by Little

    by Anonymous

    “Little by little,” an acorn said,
    As it slowly sank in its mossy bed,
    “I am improving every day,
    Hidden deep in the earth away.”

    Little by little, each day it grew;
    Little by little, it sipped the dew;
    Downward it sent out a thread-like root;
    Up in the air sprung a tiny shoot.

    Day after day, and year after year,
    Little by little the leaves appear;
    And the slender branches spread far and wide,
    Till the mighty oak is the forest’s pride.

    Far down in the depths of the dark blue sea,
    An insect train work ceaselessly.
    Grain by grain, they are building well,
    Each one alone in its little cell.

    Moment by moment, and day by day,
    Never stopping to rest or to play,
    Rocks upon rocks, they are rearing high,
    Till the top looks out on the sunny sky.

    The gentle wind and the balmy air,
    Little by little, bring verdure there;
    Till the summer sunbeams gayly smile
    On the buds and the flowers of the coral isle.

    “Little by little,” said a thoughtful boy,
    “Moment by moment, I’ll well employ,
    Learning a little every day,
    And not spending all my time in play.
    And still this rule in my mind shall dwell,
    Whatever I do, I will do it well.

    “Little by little, I’ll learn to know
    The treasured wisdom of long ago;
    And one of these days, perhaps, we’ll see
    That the world will be the better for me.”
    And do you not think that this simple plan
    Made him a wise and useful man?

  26. Song of Life

    by Charles Mackay

    A traveller on a dusty road
    Strewed acorns on the lea;
    And one took root and sprouted up,
    And grew into a tree.
    Love sought its shade at evening-time,
    To breathe its early vows;
    And Age was pleased, in heights of noon,
    To bask beneath its boughs.
    The dormouse loved its dangling twigs,
    The birds sweet music bore—
    It stood a glory in its place,
    A blessing evermore.

    A little spring had lost its way
    Amid the grass and fern;
    A passing stranger scooped a well
    Where weary men might turn.
    He walled it in, and hung with care
    A ladle on the brink;
    He thought not of the deed he did,
    But judged that Toil might drink.
    He passed again; and lo! the well,
    By summer never dried,
    Had cooled ten thousand parchéd tongues,
    And saved a life beside.

    A nameless man, amid the crowd
    That thronged the daily mart,
    Let fall a word of hope and love,
    Unstudied from the heart,
    A whisper on the tumult thrown,
    A transitory breath,
    It raised a brother from the dust,
    It saved a soul from death.
    O germ! O fount! O word of love!
    O thought at random cast!
    Ye were but little at the first,
    But mighty at the last.

  27. The Acorn

    by Jones Very

    The seed has started,—who can stay it? see,
    The leaves are sprouting high above the ground;
    Already o'er the flowers, its head; the tree
    That rose beside it and that on it frowned,
    Behold! is but a small bush by its side.
    Still on! it cannot stop; its branches spread;
    It looks o'er all the earth in giant pride.
    The nations find upon its limbs their bread,
    Its boughs their millions shelter from the heat,
    Beneath its shade see kindreds, tongues, and all
    That the wide world contains, they all retreat
    Beneath the shelter of that acorn small
    That late thou flung away; 'twas the best gift
    That heaven e'er gave;—its head the low shall lift.

It takes a century for God to make a sturdy oak.

– Amish Proverb

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