Sounding Childhood

Hail to the Elm

Hail to the Elm celebrates the life of a tree as children might sing about it.  Found in Eddy's Songs of Happy Life (#97)—words by N.S. Dodge, music by H. A. Clarke--it has powerful lyrics: “Hail to the elm, the brave old elm! Our last lone forest tree…For fifteen score of fulltold years. He has borne his leafy prime” (v. 1).  In fact, both American elm and English elm were widespread throughout their respective countries in the 1900s, and very long-lived, for 200 years or more.  Tragically, Dutch elm disease took out this magnificent tree almost completely in the 1940s and 1950s in both countries: 75% of approximately 77 million elms lost in North America by 1989 (Wikipedia, “Dutch elm disease”).

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