A Woodman, with too strong a stroke,
The handle of his brave axe broke,
Broke it beyond repair;
For, though he ranged the Forest-side,
Of proper trees both far and wide
The scanty wood seemed bare.
Then to the sylvan gods he prayed.
That they his steps would sweetly guide
Unto the spot where they had made
That branch for which he sighed.
To gain his bread himself he′d take
Far, far away; and, for their sake.
Would spare both fir and oak.
"Respected are their charms and age,
And graceful in the poet′s page"—
′Twas thus the Woodman spoke.
The innocent Forest gave the bough.
The Woodman hacked both oak and fir!
The groaning Forest soon found how
Her gift brought death to her.
Behold the way the world doth spin.
Some men—say, politicians—win
A place: then bite their friend!
Of them I tire. But should dear trees
Bear such rude outrages as these,
And I not mourn their end?
In vain I sing: it is no use;
Although my dart stings where ′tis hurled.
Ingratitude and gross abuse
Are no less in the world.