The First American
Environmental Protest Song?

Woodman, Spare That Tree!

This may well be one of the first American environmental protest songs ever written. This song was very popular for its time.

"Woodman! Spare That Tree!" (1837)
A Ballad

The words were taken from a poem published in the New York Mirror,
written by George Pope Morris, 1802-1864,
The music was composed by Henry Russell, 1812-1900.

This poem and song and the conservation sentiments they embodied were in fact so popular (we know of at least 12 printed editions of the sheet music), that it spawned numerous other compositions and variations based on Russell's music.

Woodman spare that tree!
Touch not a single bough;
In youth it sheltered me,
And I'll protect it now;
'Twas my fore father's hand
That placed it near the cot,
There, woodman, let it stand,
Thy axe shall harm it not!

That old familiar tree,
Whose glory and renown
Are spread o'er land and sea,
And wouldst thou hack it down?
Woodman, forbear thy stroke!
Cut not its earth, bound ties;
Oh! spare that ag-ed oak
Now towering to the skies!

When but a idle boy
I sought its grateful shade;
In all their gushing joy
Here, too, my sisters played.
My mother kiss'd me here;
My father press'd my hand--
Forgive this foolish tear,
But let that old oak stand!

My heart-strings round thee cling,
Close as thy bark, old friend!
Here shall the wild-bird sing,
And still thy branches bend.
Old tree! the storm still brave!
And, woodman, leave the spot;
While I've a hand to save,
Thy axe shall harm it not.

We have prepared a PDF file with scans of the original sheet for the song itself, and 6 published variations and replies to the original song.

1. Woodman, Spare That Tree!
2. I Spare That Aged Tree - The Woodman's Reply
3. The Woodman's Axe Is Sounding Still
4. Woodman Spare That Tree Quick Step
5. Woodman Spare That Tree Polka
6. Woodman, Spare That Tree! - Piano Variations
7. Woodman, Spare That Tree! - Arrangement for three voices

We have also included a PDF of a modern arrangement with the melody, guitar chords and a simple piano or harp accompaniment. This basic arrangement can be used to create your own versions of this song.
Listen to a short MP3 of the arrangement

You can purchase the PDF collection for $4.00

Download - Price - $4.00

After your secure payment is processed you will immediately be sent the download link to the email you give while purchasing the collection.


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