R[obin] L[inda] and G[eorge] H[ansen]
Offered as a "Sweet-smelling savour"to the children of Berkeley from a happy home.
These paper-bags here, all for you,
For every lass and laddie too;
In them three bulbs so fat and round
As only grow in Holland's ground,
They came to us and want to live
In any soil that you may give,
In wind or shelter, bed or spot,
In sun or shade, in box or pot.
And as you children wish to know
How right to plant, how best to grow,
Just follow what we have to tell:
We've lived with them, and know them well.
Plant each in holes five inches deep,
And ere you think it, there will peep
A bunch of leaves into the light,
First tightly packed, then stretched in might,
And in the centre of its hold
Now forms a stem, alone and bold.
It bears a button for a head
Wrapped tight as if in fear of wet.
But wait, till but the sun is out
Then see, and hear the joyous shout
As now it bursts with whim and will
Into the TRUMPET DAFFODIL
While still at home the winds do blow
And tell of storms and distant snow.
But louder only blows the horn:
Springtime has come when I am born,
My tender garment, golden dressed
Declares that HOPE is manifest.
The other bulb, its fairest mate,
Doth now unfold, a trifle late,
In purest white with crimson eye
That never questions when or why,
But tells of FAITH in heaven found,
The words of Easter, world-around.
NARCISSUS is its cheery name,
Its soul, a Christ, from Heaven came.
The third--wee thing--of different kind
Of rush-like foliage, modest mind,
Of smaller growth, in darker shade,
Brings tresses many, finely made.
They are but small, yet we are told,
Of heavy texture, purest gold.
And for a message they impart
The incense of a grateful heart.
A voice that all can understand,
From northern clime to southern land,
The voice of everlasting LOVE
From earth beneath to heaven above.
They gave it JONQUIL for a name,
Of worldwide beauty, worldwide fame.
Now, children when these flowers glow
Enjoy them, love them as they grow,
Content to leave them where they stand
Or pluck them for another hand;
But promise that the bulbs alone
Shall rest till all the leaves are gone.
Forget about them, as it were,
As if you did no longer care.
And lo, a year from planting day
A double number makes its way
In HOPE, FAITH, LOVE, to golden bliss
Your DAFF'DIL, JONQUIL and NARCISS.
Trot off, you happy gard'ning lot,
Dig up your bed, seek out your spot.
And if a thought of thanks should come
To Mary's heart or lips of Tom,
Remember then the givers' mood:
Be HAPPY, that it is GRATITUDE.
Original letter dimensions: 15 x 24 cm.
Linda, Robin and Hansen, George, "Letter from R[obin] L[inda] and G[eorge] H[ansen] to Helen Muir, 1905 Nov." (1905). John Muir Correspondence (PDFs). 3449.
Reel 15, Image 0843
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