University of Virginia Library



The tapping of a mature maple for the syrup, however recklessly done, does not necessarily kill it. No; since being an aboriginal child of Nature, it is doubtless blest with a constitution enabling it to withstand a good deal of hard usage. But systematically to bleed the immature trunk, though some sugar-makers, detected in the act on ground not their own, aver that it does the sylvan younker a deal of good, can hardly contribute to the tree's amplest development or insure patriarchal long life to it. Certain it is, that in some young maples the annual tapping would seem to make precocious the autumnal ripening or change of the leaf. And such premature change would seem strikingly to enhance the splendor of the tints.

Someone, whose morals need mending,
Sallies forth like the pillaging bee;
He waylays the syrup ascending
In anyone's saccharine tree;
So lacking in conscience indeed,
So reckless what life he makes bleed,
That to get at the juices, his staple,
The desirable sweets of the Spring,
He poignards a shapely young maple,
In my second-growth coppice—its King.
Assassin! secure in a crime never seen,
The underwood dense, e'en his victim a screen,


So be, But the murder will out,
Never doubt, never doubt:
In season the leafage will tell,
Turning red ere the rime
Yet, in turning, all beauty excell
For a time, for a time!
Small thanks to the scamp. But, in vision, to me
A goddess mild pointing the glorified tree,
“So they change who die early, some bards who life render:
Keats, stabbed by the Muses, his garland's a splendor!”