newark trees

Image: Mary Ann Reilly
Image: Mary Ann Reilly

The grand old trees of Newark,
        How royally they stand,
The splendor of their branches
        O’ershadowing the land.
I listen to their sighings,
        To catch each whispered word,
To me the sweetest music
        That ear has ever heard.

The summer is advancing,
        I hear his fervid tread,
But on the streets of Newark
        A benison is shed—
The blessing of the elm-trees,
        That murmur overhead.

What tales, oh trees of Newark,
        Your Delphic lips could tell!
What buds of sweet affection
        Beneath your foliage swell.
What troths have you heard plighted
        When, in the moonlit stroll,
Fair Juliet and her Romeo
        Have whispered soul to soul.

Oh, grand old trees of Newark,
        Your voice is in my heart,
And when your leaves are falling,
        The tears unbidden start.
Forever will remembrance
        Still garner with its sheaves
The glory of your arches,
        And the music of your leaves.

In its annual report for 1916 the city’s Shade Tree Commission counted 65,427 trees on the streets of Newark, almost half of which the Commission had itself planted since its creation in 1904. “Newark,” said late city historian Charles Cummings, “has always had a love affair with trees.”

The verses above are unattributed.  They were included by Augustus Watters in his volume Poems, published in Newark in 1892.

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