THE trees went forth upon a time to choose
Who might among their number be their King;
And to the olive tree they voiced their views
And hoped that he would settle everything.
Said they, ‘Come thou and reign, and all is well’.
But the green olive quick refused their pleas.
And answered, ‘Shall I leave the oils that swell
‘And honour God and man, to rule the trees?’
So to the fig tree they made their request,
‘Come thou and be our king’. But he replied,
‘Should I, in order to be so addressed,
‘Allow my sweetness to be then denied?’
The trees then put their question to the vine
Who like the fig and olive turned them down.
‘Should I leave that which cheereth all, my wine,
‘To be promoted to a kingly crown?’
So finally the trees the bramble sought
And said, ‘Come thou and as our king be made’.
Replied the bramble, ‘If this is thy thought
‘Then must thou make thy refuge in my shade.
‘And if thy confidence is not sincere
Let all my branches burst with leaping fire,
Consuming all the cedars of Lebanon in fear,
If just to have some king is your desire’.