A Tree Song

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A Tree Song
by Rudyard Kipling
From Puck of Pook’s Hill (1906). Text corrected in accordance with a modern reprint of that book: Kipling, Rudyard. Puck of Pook’s Hill and Rewards and Fairies. Kessinger Publishing, 2004. ISBN 978-141791711-2, pp. 27–28. See it on Google Books.


Of all the trees that grow so fair,
    Old England to adorn,
Greater are none beneath the Sun,
    Than Oak, and Ash, and Thorn.
Sing Oak, and Ash, and Thorn, good Sirs
    (All of a Midsummer morn)!
Surely we sing no little thing,
    In Oak, and Ash, and Thorn!

Oak of the Clay lived many a day,
    Or ever Æneas began;
Ash of the Loam was a lady at home,
    When Brut was an outlaw man;
Thorn of the Down saw New Troy Town
    (From which was London born);
Witness hereby the ancientry
    Of Oak, and Ash, and Thorn!

Yew that is old in churchyard mould,
    He breedeth a mighty bow;
Alder for shoes do wise men choose,
    And beech for cups also.
But when ye have killed, and your bowl is spilled,
    And your shoes are clean outworn,
Back ye must speed for all that ye need,
    To Oak, and Ash, and Thorn!

Ellum she hateth mankind, and waiteth
    Till every gust be laid,
To drop a limb on the head of him,
    That anyway trusts her shade:
But whether a lad be sober or sad,
    Or mellow with ale from the horn,
He will take no wrong when he lieth along
    ’Neath Oak, and Ash, and Thorn!

Oh, do not tell the Priest our plight,
    Or he would call it a sin;
But—we have been out in the woods all night,
    A-conjuring Summer in!
And we bring you news by word of mouth—
    Good news for cattle and corn—
Now is the Sun come up from the South,
    With Oak, and Ash, and Thorn!

Sing Oak, and Ash, and Thorn, good Sirs
    (All of a Midsummer morn)!
England shall bide till Judgment Tide,
    By Oak, and Ash, and Thorn!


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923.

The author died in 1936, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 75 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.