John Muir


John Muir


[Mary Muir]



In describing the peaceful little lake among the trees you forgot yourself when the rabbit came to drink for after it had drank enough you tell it went hastily to "yonder dell" and till now over that it was a safe place where that rabbit lived I suppose the dell was where dogs did not like to go and its hollow log was so crooked that boys could not dislodge it with a long stick - you began with a lake in the trees and finished with a rabbit in its hole Your poetry Mary is good consid- ering your circumstances, and [illegible] and studying good poetry [illegible] some day write something with putting away in the corner of your drawer to show to your [cousins?] etc. I would not spend much time in verse making but you can scarce spend too much in cultivating a taste for the beauties & sublimities of nature such time is not squandered as you say I hope [illegible] this you have been on the old gray stone "pencil in hand


Ind' Apr 22d

My dear poet I read your lines carefully but have not critise them much because I soon perceived that that a full criticism would occupy more pages than are in a grocers ledger Upon the whole I am pleased to see the direction that your mind is taking I believe we have all at sometime been guilty of poetry so called Even merchant matter of fact David when driving a brisk business in squirrel skin & hickory [roots?] and in colt & calf exchange wrote love songs to Katie Cairns on a stump which his father [doubted?] meant he should rater be gra[illegible] out by the roots. yes we all have rhymed but I never saw a rhym that a Muir had made that was worth half a reading


you & I Mary began to sing at the same time of life & our song was stimulated by the same causes & objects viz, a shade or, so of imagination and lakes, birds thunder clouds & rabbits Joanna began young, an seeing the hillside by the house covered with yellow solid[illegible]os she broke forth, "The flowers are very beaut- iful and very yellow too" etc Marg' Sarah & David began at the pairing season like thrushes and canary birds and ceased at the usual time Anna will likely whistle about the same time As for easy mind- ed Dan I believe if he were int[illegible]aled concerning the matter he would say with Robie Burns I rhyme for fun. Mother made poetry when first acquainted with father


and I think that father must have made verses too for he must have been musical when he made the fiddle and imaginative when he made carts & horses out of turnips The end

But now a short critique on All alone In 6th verse stanza is a g[illegible] error, You say "the stars sheds a [illegible] in the plural with irregular verb - In next stanza is the same error "[illegible] of thunder tells the same error occurs again in [illegible] last stan' The mists have enrobed or the frozen dew has enrobed. "The 'sunset" is a better piece but has a good many obscure and inelegant passages


practice penciling more than poetry You can excel in the one but not in the other Take pains to procure good books and do not fret about your future all your duty will be made plain. Keep yourself free in the meantime, Consider


that five or six years at least must be devoted to the acquire tion of knowledge If you knew how much I had to do you would not complain about the number of letters I send you I send far more letters home than [illegible] when I cannot write oftener Cordially John -


O velvet [illegible], You're a dusty fellow, You've powdered your legs with gold! O brave marsh-mary buds, rich & yellow, give me your money to hold O columbine, open your folded wrapper, [illegible] dwell O cuckoo-pint toll me the purple clapper That hangs in your clear green bell. And show me your nest with the young ones in it; I will not steal them away; I am old! You may trust me, linnst, linnst, I am seven times one today.

All of [Jean Ingalon's ?] poetry is good full of buds bees and flowers and of ships on the sea It is fresh and clear & truthful and has through- out the time poetic jingle I wish you could get her book



Looking over a gate at at a pool in a field "What change has made the pastures sweet and reached the daises at my feet, and cloud that wears a golden h[illegible] This lovely world, the hills, the [illegible] They all look fresh, as if the Lord But yesterday had finished them

I see the pool more clear by half than pools where other waters laugh - etc - - - ------ ---- ------ ------------- Extract from Scholar & Carpenter while sipening corn grew thick & deep, And here and there men stood to reap, One morn I put my heart to sleep And to the lanes I took my way. The gold finch on a thistle head. [Stood?] scattering seedlets while she fed The wrens their pretty gossip spread, Or joined a random rounde lay


On hanging cobwebs shown the dew, And think the wayside clovers grew; The feeding bee had much to do, So fast did honey-drops exude: She sucked and mu[illegible], & was gone, And lit on other blooms anon, [illegible] I learned a lesson on the course & sense of quietude

[Ex from "Divided"?]

An empty sky, a world of heather, Purple of fox glove, yellow of broom; We two among them walking together, [illegible] out honey, treading perfume

Crowds of bees are giddy with clover, Crowds of grasshoppers skip at our feet, Crowds of larks at their nations hang over, Thanking the lord for a life so sweet.


From "Songs of Seven"

Seven times one There's no dew left on the daises & clover There's no rain left in heaven; I've said my "seven times" over & over, Seven times one are seven.

I am old, so old I can write a letter, My birthday lessons are done; The lambs play always, they know no better; They are only one times one.

O moon I in the night I have seen you sailing, And shining so round and low; You were bright! Ah bright! but your light is failing You are nothing now but a bow.

You moon, have you done something wrong in heaven That God has hidden your face? I hope if you have you will soon be forgiven, And shine again in your place.


Ind[ianapolis, Ind.]

Circa Date

[1867] Apr 22

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 01, Image 1028

Collection Identifier

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

Copyright Statement

The unpublished works of John Muir are copyrighted by the Muir-Hanna Trust. To purchase copies of images and/or obtain permission to publish or exhibit them, click here to view the Holt-Atherton Special Collections policies.

Owning Institution

John Muir National Historic Site. Please contact this institution directly to obtain copies of the images or permission to publish or use them beyond educational purposes.

Copyright Holder

Muir-Hanna Trust

Copyright Date



6 pages


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



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