Woodman, Spare that Tree
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Lesley Nelson-Burns

The words to this song are a poem written by George Pope Morris in 1830. The music was written by Henry Russell. The song was published in 1837 and was extremely popular in America.

Morris was born in Philadelphia in 1802. He was a well-known journalist and poet who founded the New York Mirror in 1823 with Samuel Woodworth. Russell, an English born pianist, songwriter and singer, lived in America for several years and enjoyed great success.

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;
Oh, 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 harm it not.
Related Links
Best Loved Songs of the American People
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