It Fell, The Giant Oak

Timothy Thomas Fortune

It fell, the giant oak
Around whose head the years had rolled!
The towering column broke
We deemed of most enduring mold!

No man could say when fell
The little germ from which it sprang!
Perchance the Indian's yell
Around its base for ages rang!

Or, else, in times remote,
That stalwart oak had shelter been
To tribes of whom no note
Was left to keep their mem'ry green.

But, full of years, it cowered
Before the fury of the storm!
Its age, its bulk, o'erpowered,
'Twill lapse into its primal form!

So men and nations rise
By painful, slow, and steady stage,
Fill earth with high emprise,
Until they reach a ripe old age—

And then they fall—borne down
By their own greatness, as it were—
Give back to God the crown
They wore with pride or manly fear.

All mundane things decline!
The proudest nations soon must fall!
The tendrils of the vine
But hide the breaches in the wall.

Last updated November 04, 2022