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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. The Book of Georgian Verse. 1909.

The Beech Tree’s Petition

Thomas Campbell (1777–1844)

O LEAVE this barren spot to me!

Spare, woodman, spare the beechen tree!

Though bush or floweret never grow

My dark unwarming shade below;

Nor summer bud perfume the dew

Of rosy blush, or yellow hue;

Nor fruits of autumn, blossom born,

My green and glossy leaves adorn;

Nor murmuring tribes from me derive

Th’ ambrosial amber of the hive;

Yet leave this barren spot to me:

Spare, woodman, spare the beechen tree!

Thrice twenty summers I have seen

The sky grow bright, the forest green;

And many a wintry wind have stood

In bloomless, fruitless solitude,

Since childhood in my pleasant bower

First spent its sweet and sportive hour;

Since youthful lovers in my shade

Their vows of truth and rapture made,

And on my trunk’s surviving frame

Carved many a long forgotten name.

Oh! by the sighs of gentle sound,

First breathed upon this sacred ground;

By all that Love has whispered here,

Or Beauty heard with ravished ear;

As Love’s own altar honour me:

Spare, woodman, spare the beechen tree!