While careless I thy destiny survey, And see thee down to ashes waste away; Thy crackling whisper seems to shew to me, The frailty clear, Of all things here, To earth allied, and man's mortality!
Since first on thee the tender bud appear'd, Or on thy branch the birds the woodlands cheer'd, What strange vicissitudes have roll'd between; Since thou wast nurs'd, With care at first, Or in the forest flourish'd gay and green!
There was a time when high thy top did wave, In mystic triumph o'er the woodman's grave, Whose stroke had ceas'd, worn out by course of years; Where undismay'd The breezes play'd, Whose peaceful shade remembrance only bears!
Ah! thou wilt never, never bud again, Thy ashes lost in field, or flood, or lane; No more the sun will on thy substance shine: It would, at last, I fear, Be well with many here, If life's last spark might be compared with thine!