Old John had an apple tree, healthy and green,
Which bore the best Baldwins that ever were seen,
So juicy, and mellow, and red;
And when they were ripe, as Johnny was poor,
He sold them to children that passed by his door,
To buy him a morsel of bread.
Little Dick, his next neighbor, one often might see
With longing eye viewing this nice apple tree,
And wishing an apple would fall.
One day, as he stood in the heat of the sun,
He began thinking whether he might not take one,
And then he looked over the wall.
And as he again cast his eye on the tree,
He said to himself, “Oh, how nice they would be,
So cool and refreshing to-day!
The tree is so full, and I’d only take one;
And old John won’t see, for he is not at home,
And nobody is in the way.”
But stop, little boy; take your hand from the bough;
Remember, though old John can’t see you just now,
And no one to chide you is nigh,
There is One who by night, just as by day,
Can see all you do, and can hear all you say,
From His glorious throne in the sky.
Oh, then, little boy, come away from the tree,
Content, hot or weary, or thirsty to be,
Or anything rather than steal!
For the great God, who even through darkness can look,
Writes down every crime we commit in His book.
However we think to conceal.