Mary Muir


Mary [Muir]


[John Muir]



All alone I love to wander, When the stars, which shine so bright, With the moon in gueenly splendor, Sheds oer all, their silvery light.

All alone I love to wander, When the darkening clouds appear, And the distant peals of thunder, Tells to all, "a storm is near".

With delight, and admiration, Then my throbbing heart doth fill, As, from yonder lofty station, On the brow of yonder hill,

I have stood in silent wonder, While the wild winds fiercely blew, And the bursting peals of thunder, Louder yet, and louder grew.

Backward, blew my floating tresses, As I watched the changing scene, Brightened, by the sudden flashes, Of the lightening's dazzling gleam.


All alone I love to wander, When the mists or frozen dew, Have enrobed in hoary splendor, All, in this romantic view.

As the morning sunbeams glitter, Mong the feathered boughs, which seem To resemble, as they flicker, Dancing spangles silvery gleam.

April 14th, 1867.

My Dear Brother

I am very happy to hear, that you are regaining your strength and can once more, enjoy yourself whitting and botaning. I received your letter of February last, about two weeks ago; I was sorry we did not receive it sooner but as we were attending school, we have not been in Portage for some time. Last winter has been spent by us very pleasantly as well as profitably I have no doubt but to have learned as much


[in margin: Dear brother do write soon, and [often?] to us. You know not, the pleasure it affords us, or perhaps you would write more than you do. I know I have not written to you for some time, but I must say, I feel discouraged when I receive no answer Yours affectionately, Mary]

as we could had we been attending school at Portage. I never thought I would fancy teaching school, but for my own amusement and benefit, attended the examination, not expecting to use my certificate. But however, have been advised to apply for the school, in Grahms district and last friday had the contract signed; and so it is decided I know teaching will be of as much benefit to me, as going to school and perhaps more, and as our summer teacher is not much further advanced than ourselves I knew It would be much better than staying at home. I should like very much to study botany and intend to do so e're long but unless we had some one to help us I am afraid we would not make much progress. Anna picked these wildflowers two or three days ago and we pressed them for you they are the first we have seen this spring. I composed these pieces last Feb. and for certain reasons wish you to express your opinion in your next epistt tell all their faults and oblige your sister Mary


All Alone

All alone I love to wander; all alone I love to be; All alone I love to ponder; In the shade of yonder tree.

Sweeter, are my thoughts and better, Mong the birds and flowers alone, S[illegible]ed is the binding fetter Which, oer city life is thrown.

All alone I love to wander, By the rushing river's brink; Time thus spent I do not squander; Time thus spent gives time to think.

All alone I love to wander, When the earth is dressed in gray; When the birds have sunk to slumber, Having sung their evening lay.

When the flowerets sweet and tender, Close their petals with the day, Till the sun in all his splendor, Ope's them with his warming ray.


I see the mill-ponds snowy face, Wrapped also, in the cold embrace, Of winters stern unyielding clasp, Holding all nature, in its grasp.

There's much, which to this lovely scene, Adds, life and beauty, that would seem, Scarce worth our notice; but from here, Where now I sit, they e'em appear, Clothed in the sun's bright golden ray, Beauty and grandeur, to display.

The sun, is sinking 'yond the hill; And now, the air grows cold and chill, So I'll return; but soon, from here, When, at my feet, sweet flowers appear, And, verdant leaves adorn each bough; I'll sit, where I am seated now, And, sketch this scene, that when no more I tread these hills, I still may soar, In fancy, from my pictured scene, Back to this hill, and often seems To sit upon this old gray stone, And view, this sunset scene, alone.



The Sunset Scene

This sweet indeed, thought all alone, To rest upon this old gray stone, And watch in all his splendor dressed, The sun just setting in the west.

Silent and still, is all around, Save now and then the rustling sound Of breezes, mid the withered leaves, Which still to those tall branches cleave, As if unwilling yet to yield Their lofty throne, and lie concealed Among the grass, but still would be, Though dried and withered, on the tree. But, swelling birds will bid them fly, Not heeding, where they soon must lie

Already in each warm bright ray, The sun, in silence seems to day, "E're long, the verdant leaves you'll see On every shrub, and every tree, And, tender flowerets on the hill, And in the valley; soon will fill,


With sweetest fragrance every breeze; While, warbling songsters on the trees, Pour forth their gayest sweetest strain, Who then, I ask, could I'er complain Of loneliness, or ever tire Of listening, to the feathered choir.

Lonely, e'en now I cannot feel, Heartfelt enjoyments, o'er me steal, While gazing on this lovely scene, Made brilliant, by the parting beams Of yonder mighty orb of light, Saying to all around, "good-night"

There, at the foot of yonder hill, Where oft the wakeful hip-poor-will, Hath told to all, in accents plain, In hurried voice his plaintive name, Stands a sequestered, lowly cat, Guarded by trees, whas lofty toss, So proudly bows with gentle creak, And seems to say, "list" while I speak, Fear not, fear not, I ne'er will fail To guard thee, from the threatening gale, And, from the scorching summer ray,


Of yonder rules of the day.

Still further sound in wintry sleep, Wrapped in the snow storms spotless sheet, And half concealed among the trees, So gently waving in the breeze; Slumbers a peaceful little lake, Which, from its slumbers will not wake Untill the warmer breezes blow, And melting sunbeams stronger grow; And then, amid its sparkling wave, The duck, its dusky garb will love; While rabbits, oft their calls repeat, To slake their thirst, and then retreat In haste, to yonder woody dell, Where, free from danger they may dwell.

Still further east, on yonder hill, A peaceful dwelling seems to fill With bright expression, all around, While all is still, and not a sound, E'en from the sheep-fold, seems to rise, As, motionless each object lies. Far in the distance, south of these, just, peeping from among the trees,


[place unknown]

Date Original

1867 Apr 14


Original letter dimensions: 20.5 x 25.5 cm

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 01, Image 1010

Collection Identifier

Online finding aid for the microform version of the John Muir Correspondence

Copyright Statement

Some letters written to John Muir may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.). Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Owning Institution

Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library. Please contact this institution directly to obtain copies of the images or permission to publish or use them beyond educational purposes.


4 pages


Environmentalist, naturalist, travel, conservation, national parks, John Muir, Yosemite, California, history, correspondence, letters



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