John Muir


John Muir


J[oseph] C. Powell


Martinez, Cal. Oct 15/01

Mr J. C. Rowell.

Dear Sir

I cannot, I'm sorry to say, throw any light on the enclosed amusing fragments father than that they seem to have been written by my old friend Dr Wm P. Gibbons.

Yours truly

John Muir

"Fair blooming shrubbery here Holds but short life through the years, The prim Lonicera is sweet Its bloom life is here a rich treat: - But of this lone-ice-era I'm tired & weary And I long other flowers to greet."

Then John rose from the glacier - Stretch'd out his full measure, And down 10,000 feet, it did seem He slid on his beam, And with [boulders?] a score; Like mad, they all tore And landed on [Yunka's?] fair stream!

And he fast walk'd & ran As Muir always can, Leaving glaciers, & mountains, & trees Together, in masses, to freeze, Making his way Toward the ocean bay Thence South, more than 20 degrees.

And on Wednesday night-last He most solemnly cast His arctic thermometer And a[illegible]id barometer In a cold grave On the heartless wave And took to a gynephilometer.

(Found in Matthi[illegible] - Vom Krautereien [diacritic]

given by Dr. Wm P. Gibbons

Having read this, Gill wiped both eyes dry, & giving his head a graceful bob, he disappeared like an xploded torpedo. The [illegible] A profound silence ensued, & the xpert member seem'd to be absorbed in reverie, & was only roused from it by a sharp crack of gavel, when he heav'd a deep sigh, & said in a low voice "Shades of Hogarth." No one knew the meaning of this until - minutes of - meetg were being gathered up, & the accompanying cartoon was found among the papers.
where? How much longer this poetic cyclone wd have lasted no one can tell, had not - Chairman xhausted his stock of common sense by calling - Committee to order & insisting on - members speaking to question, "Shall - Club have an anniversary celebration?" There was an unanimous xpression - approbation, & then came another question "What shall be the programme of this celebration?" Here discordant elements seemed to break out, in the committee, & a long discussion ensued, without any conclusion being reached. In - midst of this, who should enter - room but [Risery?], who said he had been studying up this matter & thought [he'd?] adjust it to mutual satisfaction. A long & tedious conference followed, & ultimately the following points were reached
1st. A Commission to Mt Olympus or to some other locality.
2.- A meetg of the Club on wh. occasion every member shd be at liberty to bring 2 ladies.
3.- That the ladies should get the supper.
4.- That a lady shd preside over the meeting.
5.- That the ladies should select a topic & discuss it under the rules of the Club.
6. That the members should demonstrate to - ladies that they can observe silence during - discussion by - other sex

wh. gave -. world a Homer & a Milton. The oral [tradition?] -. uncultivated man were - germs - written history, & science found its origin -. State - primitive society, when - earth was new, & every animal was obliged to assert its rights to life & perpetuity, on the same basis - external condition; nude - body, & undeveloped - mind. How comes it that man alone, the very weakest in infancy; the most helpless - physical structure, to assert might over multitudes monsters - form; our enemies armed - nature - terrific power; amid xtremes - heat & cold; has survived & conquered wilderness - earth, & planted - standard - Divinity over every portion -. habitable world. To me, the answer - speculative metaphysics- too cold & meaningless. Tho' To day, its doctrines claim - applause -. highest intellects, & - popular approval: to-morrow, they may be forgotten, as - tide - sciences moves on, throwing new light toward - nebulae -. unknown world. The [faith?] that - within me, based on convicte & reason, - - that power wh. - "same yesterday, to-day & forever"


Martinez, Calif.

Date Original

1901 Oct 15


Original letter dimensions unknown.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 11, Image 0885

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, see

Owning Institution

The Bancroft Library, University of California at Berkeley. 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



4 pages


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



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.