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Here within the alder's shadow, in this cool retreat,
Sheltered by the leafy branches
From the scorching heat;
I have found a sweet seclusion
From all outward things,
Flinging every care and worry
On the zephyr's wings.


In the liquid depths and ripples of the slumbrous stream,
With the wild-bird's song vibrating
Vine-wreathed banks between,
I have sunk life's proud ambitions
And her petty strife,
Gleaning fresher thought and vigor
For the march of life.


Could I ask a throne more charming than this rocky ledge,
Sloping down in gradual cadence
To the water's edge?
Could I ask a song more thrilling
Than the anthem sung
By choristers coquetting
Dark-green boughs among?


Not a sound to interrupt them comes from groves or hills,
Here they chatter, scream and carol
At their own sweet wills;
Save that down the dusty roadway, winding bare and brown,
Now and then a carriage passes
To the distant town,
Or some teamster noisily rattles o'er the wooden bridge,
Making all the sleeping echoes
Bound from ridge to ridge.


Or perhaps, a dark-browed Indian wanders slowly by
Glancing at this tranquil shelter
With his fierce dark eye.
Do these gnarled heroic warriors
Towering side by side,
Waken no vague recollection
Of his vanquished tribe?


Do no thoughts of nature's grandeur light his darkened mind,
As with noiseless tread, he slowly
Leaves them all behind?
Poor, lone man, a cloud of darkness
O'er your mental vision frowns,
Will not the "Great Spirit" lift it
In those upper hunting grounds?


Overhead the boughs uniting form a temple high
With its massive domes extending
Toward the filmy sky;
While amid its cloistered stillness
On warm Sabbath eves,
One may hear the sweetest praises
Floating through the leaves.


Nature here unclasps her volume, wrought in flowers and vines,
From each page I gladly study
Her own fair designs;
Rugged rocks and sands and mosses
Lessons sweet impart,
Stamping many a thought of beauty
Deep on mind and heart.


Sitting in this old cathedral, in its sombre shades
Where the eloquence of nature
Every heart persuades;
He who does not feel its grandeur
In his very soul
Must be in his nature frozen
As the Arctic pole.


Grand old trees, a thousand questions,
I would yet propound,
For I know with weird traditions
Your past lives abound;
I would bid you tell your story
Since your lives began,
But I know you never told it
To the ear of man;


So content with simply knowing what you are today,
Happy as the laughing children
'Neath your boughs at play,
I can gather stores of wisdom
From your very looks;
I can feel what sages never
Found in hoards of books.