Thursday, January 13, 2011
Tree-Trimming at New College, Oxford
Whilom a row of saucy limes,Hat tip: Eric Thomson.
Planted, I ween, in luckless Times,
By some ill-favour'd Bursar,
Like Upstarts vain, grew proud and tall,
And boldly perk'd it o'er the Wall,
No trees look'd ever fiercer.
But late for sundry Crimes arraign'd,
(Whether some stripling Shrubs complain'd
These Rogues presum'd to slight 'em,
Or whether they were heard to prate
Of some sad Yews untimely Fate,
That once grew over-right 'em:
Or if by Chance their Heads they shook,
When tow'rds the Church they turn'd a Look,
And mourn'd the sad Conditions
Of poor St. Peter's* num'rous Dead,
That to their Graves were daily led,
Since some Folks turn'd physicians)
Whate'er the Cause, some angry Pow'r
Resolv'd their daring Tops to low'r:
His murd'rous Mates assembled:
Oh! as the mangling Crew appears,
Arm'd with Ax, Hatchet, Saw, and shears.
How ev'ry Dryad trembled.
Sore Cause, for ne'er in Grove of Oak
Did spendthrift Heirs' unpitying Stroke,
Such Butchery exhibit;
Each Arm they maim'd, each Head they topt,
Nor ever left a Limb unlopt,
To make the Dogs a Gibbet.
So looks the poor dismember'd Tar.
Who late was Thunderbolt of War,
But fall'n in barb'rous Clutches;
From mangling Hospital turn'd out,
Maim'd, halt, and naked, limps about
To beg with Stumps and Crutches.
Oh! how the sad succeeding Year,
Will each kind Stranger's pitying Tear
Our wond'rous Change bemoan;
To see each Tree once green and tall
A shapeless Block become; and all
Our Hedge-rows turn'd to Stone.
But we, blest Minions, all our Days
Shall bask in Phoebus' warmest Rays,
No Shade can now controul us:
And should he chance to over-heat us,
He by the same good Hand can treat us
With gentle purge to cool us.
* St. Peter's Church, in the East, at Oxford.