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Before, behind, on either side they rise,
Roots in the ground and summits in the skies,
Huge trunks that tower like ancient pillars high,
Gigantic roots that deep embedded lie
And starry sprays of tiny twiglets swung
To the still breeze, and each a living tongue.


Meeting and mingling in the mournful shades
Whose plaintive sadness all the air pervades
Like an imprisoned soul of song that pines
And all her pining into music twines,
Deep as the buried roots that live below,
Sublime as the proud summit's sunlight glow,
Yet wandering like a spirit smothering
The prisoned requiem she fain would sing
That ever and anon will swell and rise,
Then into sombre silence sweetly dies.


By yonder circling stream wild roses throw
Their pale pink petals in the depths below
And where obscurest shades dark waters hold
Frail feathery ferns their fairy fronds unfold
And swaying, stirring, straying o'er the brink
Exhaustless moisture from the streamlet drink;
While far above some wandering recluse
Lets all his wildest, richest, numbers loose
And in sonorous song sweet sadness drowns,
And stays the soothing sense of softer sounds,
Away through bending boughs, soft shadows through,
He speeds, nor pauses once to bid adieu,
├ćolian vespers lead the listless strain
And tiny twiglets tune their lyres again,
To pensive musing every fancy goes
And Nature's ballads lull to sweet repose.


Beneath the tall tree's shade a cabin lone
Falls into ruin, while the ceaseless moan
Above its desolation shrieks and stirs
Chanted by hosts of princely conifers,
Around its lowly door rank verdure thrives,
The yerba buena fresh and green survives
The slow decay that dooms the cabin wall
Of which prophetic Nature chants the fall,
The wild wood oxalis in beauty spreads
Matting the doorway where no footsteps tread
And plants of every shade of emerald hue
Twist, twine and tangle all the door-yard through;
While busy chipmunks seek the hazel brush,
Where their blithe chattering breaks the slumbrous hush,
To gather hoards of nuts and gaily frisk,
O'er fallen redwood logs, graceful and brisk.


But still the voices of the trees complain
And still the wandering winds sob forth the strain
Though the wild wind that rocks the giant trees
Trembles the low plants through, a summer breeze,
Queen of the West, what fortune gave to thee
Nature's sublimest, grandest orchestra?
The throbbing keys of ocean rise and lower
Timing the lofty choir upon the shore
No other clime can boast, no country claim
Thy royal heritage of world-wide fame,
Before, behind, on either side they rise
Roots in the ground and summits in the skies.


What sound of distant harmony is heard?
The redwoods listen. Hush! their twigs are stirred
By sea-breeze notes, Pacific's organ swells
And answered from the mountains, rocks and dells
Before, behind, on either side the surge
Of praiseful anthem, of prophetic dirge,
Soars to the skies and backward to the sea
Queen of the West, this is thy orchestra!