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The Song of the Oak

  The Druids waved their golden knives
  And danced around the Oak
  When they had sacrificed a man;
  But though the learned search and scan,
  No single modern person can
  Entirely see the joke.
  But though they cut the throats of men
  They cut not down the tree,
  And from the blood the saplings sprang
  Of oak-woods yet to be.
    But Ivywood, Lord Ivywood,
    He rots the tree as ivy would,
    He clings and crawls as ivy would
    About the sacred tree.

  King Charles he fled from Worcester fight
  And hid him in an Oak;
  In convent schools no man of tact
  Would trace and praise his every act,
  Or argue that he was in fact
  A strict and sainted bloke,
  But not by him the sacred woods
  Have lost their fancies free,
  And though he was extremely big
  He did not break the tree.
    But Ivywood, Lord Ivywood,
    He breaks the tree as ivy would,
    And eats the woods as ivy would
    Between us and the sea.

  Great Collingwood walked down the glade
  And flung the acorns free,
  That oaks might still be in the grove
  As oaken as the beams above,
  When the great Lover sailors love
  Was kissed by Death at sea.
  But though for him the oak-trees fell
  To build the oaken ships,
  The woodman worshipped what he smote
  And honoured even the chips.
    But Ivywood, Lord Ivywood,
    He hates the tree as ivy would,
    As the dragon of the ivy would
    That has us in his grips.


 

Gilbert Keith Chesterton


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