Sidney Lanier, one of the most important American poets of the
1800’s, was born in Macon, Georgia, 3 February 1842. He loved music
and played the flute in the Peabody Orchestra of Baltimore, wrote
several popular children’s books, and taught literature at Johns
As a Confederate soldier, he was captured in 1864 and held in prison
where he caught tuberculosis, which led to his early death. On 7
September 1881 Sidney Lanier died in a cabin in the mountains of North
Carolina with his wife and family at his side.
I think this poem, which I found in an old book of great religious
poetry, expresses Sidney Lanier’s love of the Lord and of nature:
A BALLAD OF THE TREES AND THE MASTER
By Sidney Lanier
3 February 1842 – 7 September 1881
Into the woods my Master went,
Clean forspent, forspent.
Into the woods my Master came,
Forspent with love and shame,
But the olives they were not blind to Him;
The little gray leaves were kind to Him;
The thorn-tree had a mind to Him,
When into the woods He came.
Out of the woods my Master went,
And He was well content.
Out of the woods my Master came,
Content with death and shame.
When Death and Shame would woo Him last,
Under the trees they drew Him last:
’Twas on a tree they slew Him – last
When out of the woods He came.
For more inspirational poetry and stories, visit: