TREE, n. A tall vegetable intended by nature to serve as a penal apparatus, though through a miscarriage of justice most trees bear only a negligible fruit, or none at all. When naturally fruited, the tree is a beneficient agency of civilization and an important factor in public morals. In the stern West and the sensitive South its fruit (white and black respectively) though not eaten, is agreeable to the public taste and, though not exported, profitable to the general welfare. That the legitimate relation of the tree to justice was no discovery of Judge Lynch (who, indeed, conceded it no primacy over the lamp-post and the bridge-girder) is made plain by the following passage from Morryster, who antedated him by two centuries:
While in yt londe I was carried to see ye Ghogo tree, whereof I had hearde moch talk; but sayynge yt I saw naught remarkabyll in it, ye hed manne of ye villayge where it grewe made answer as followeth:
"Ye tree is not nowe in fruite, but in his seasonne you shall see dependynge fr. his braunches all soch as have affroynted ye King his Majesty."
And I was furder tolde yt ye worde "Ghogo" sygnifyeth in yr tong ye same as "rapscal" in our owne.—Trauvells in ye Easte
2008 Update: A tall bush that may bear fruit or nuts and to which these return. Southern trees have been shown to bear strange fruit while Californian trees frequently bear actresses.
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
Nor have I found a campaign solution
That inhales air pollution.
Nor a bumper sticker of Chief Seattle
That I can climb to hide from battle
Neither an environmental slogan
I might chop down to build a hogan.
And no fervent social movement
Counts on maps for an improvement
But if I edit over time
At least a good quatrain can rhyme.