ON yonder oak, upon its lordliest height,
Is fastened the destroying parasite;
His mighty arms caress his fawning foe,
And yield their life-sap to the mistletoe.
Through bark, through wood, the fatal roots
The parasitic verdure seems a friend,
O'erspreading the gnarled trunk with livelier
Alas! decay, and death soon end the scene!
First dies the oak, and then the parasite
Cannot survive its royal patron's blight;
And when I look abroad among mankind,
Close semblance, and fit moral do I find.
God feared that poor, weak mortals here below
By chance might be too fond of earth's vain show
In hopes to draw our hearts from earth to heaven
The monster jealousy to us was given.
Search where you may, this wide, wide world around,
The green-eyed thing in every house is found;
In truth, it bitters every sweet of life,
And creates discord between man and wife.
To some it wears the winning garb of love,
And seems as sweet as any cooing dove:
Look closely, and perchance you can discover
The thing has other form than that of lover.
To sisters, brothers, fathers, mothers too,
As friend it goes, and seems so kind and true,
That they would fain believe all that it says,
And take, for pattern, its own
Like mistletoe, it seems so green and bright,
At first you'd view it with unfeigned delight;
Examine it again, and you will see
Its nature with its looks does not agree.
For jealousy from out the tree of love
Its verdure draws, and like the plant above,
The roots, instead of dying, as they should
With age, become embedded in the wood.
And thus it lives, long, weary months and years,
And causes sorrow, guilt, and heartfelt tears,--
The boisterous winds of sorrow bear the seed,
And plant on other trees the loathsome weed.
Alas! in mercy sent, no tender hand
Can take this parasite from our good land;
It says, and from its birth-place never hies,
Until it kills the tree, and then it dies.