The Garden Guide

Book: A treatise on the theory and practice of landscape gardening, adapted to North America,1841
Chapter: Section IV. Deciduous Ornamental Trees

Ornamental value of beech trees

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For ornamental purposes, the beech, from its comparatively slow growth, and its abundance in various parts of the country, does not command the admiration here which it does in Europe. Campbell, the poet, has produced so eloquent and beautiful an appeal in favor of an old denizen of the forest, entitled the "Beech Tree's Petition," that we gladly quote it, hoping it may perchance stay the hand of some soi-disant improver, who would despoil our native woods of their proudest glories: "Oh, 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, honor me- Spare, woodman, spare the beechen tree!