The Crop of Acorns
There came a man in days of old
To hire a piece of land for gold,
And urged his suit in accents meek:
“One crop alone is all I seek;
The harvest o’er, my claim I’ll yield
And to its lord return the field.”
The owner some misgivings felt,
And coldly with the stranger dealt;
But found his last objection fail,
And honeyed argument prevail;
So took the offered price in hand,
And for “one crop” leased out the land.
The wily tenant sneered with pride
And sowed the spot with acorns wide;
At first like tiny shoots they grew,
Then broad and wide their branches threw;
But long before those oaks could climb,
And finally reach their forest prime,
The cheated landlord moldering lay,
Forgotten, with his kindred clay.
O ye whose years, unfolding fair,
Are fresh with youth and free from care,
should vice or laziness desire
The garden of your souls to hire,
No bargains make – reject the suit;
Don’t let one seed the soil pollute.
My child, the first approach beware;
With firmness break the evil snare
Lest, as the acorns grew and throve
Into a sun-excluding grove,
Thy sins, a dark o’ershadowing tree,
Shut out the light of heaven from thee.