Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Great oaks from little acorns

David Everett wrote back in the eighteenth century:

Large streams from little fountains flow,
Tall oaks from little acorns grow

This was from a 'school declamation' to be delivered by a seven year-old boy, but the truth about acorns is still quoted today.  (the full text of the School Declamation is posted below.)

Up near post 4 in the top meadow above the new plantation, there are hosts of tiny oak trees beginning to grow, planted there by jays, in all probability.

We had hoped to keep this area as a wild flower meadow but if we don't mow it soon we shall have a woodland instead.  Not only oaks but ash, dogwood, hawthorn and blackthorn trees are all trying to establish themselves. 

It is Filnore Woods but we want to retain a varied mosaic of  habitats 
and flower-rich grassland is an important one.

    Lines Written for a School Declamation

    (to be spoken by Ephraim H. Farrar, aged seven, New Ipswich, New Hampshire.)

      YOU'D scarce expect one of my age
      To speak in public on the stage,
      And if I chance to fall below
      Demosthenes or Cicero,
      Don't view me with a critic's eye,
      But pass my imperfections by.
      Large streams from little fountains flow,
      Tall oaks from little acorns grow;
      And though now I am small and young,
      Of judgment weak and feeble tongue,
      Yet all great, learned men, like me
      Once learned to read their ABC.
      But why may not Columbia's soil
      Rear men as great as Britain's Isle,
      Exceed what Greece and Rome have done
      Or any land beneath the sun?
      Mayn't Massachusetts boast as great
      As any other sister state?
      Or where's the town, go far or near,
      That does not find a rival here?
      Or where's the boy but three feet high
      Who's made improvement more than I?
      These thoughts inspire my youthful mind
      To be the greatest of mankind:
      Great, not like C├Žsar, stained with blood,
      But only great as I am good.

      David Everett

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