Louie Strentzel Muir
All poets love to have an olden time, a time so far removed from precent kin, whose records of high deeds of Chivalry, of love perchance, perchance of hate or war, are glamoured o’er, by time such radiance lent to this our workday world. And even we, so circumscribed by fact and so hummed in by wired electric, bored by daily news gleaned by reporters all omnipotent. That fancy ne’er can wing her airy flight to the celestial regions of romance, are fain, like pilgrims on the parched plain, to leave the plodded path, although we know ‘twill lead us straightway to refreshing wells, and follow rather the mirage which leads to crystal lakes reflecting azure sky, and gorgeous palaces of airy build. E’en here, where all our land is measured o’er by rules all golden, though they be perchance not always tempered by the Golden Rule where mountain peaks are valued only for the molten veins which deeply buried lie beneath the fair exterior, where broad and lovely valleys, count but for the yield of Golden grain, while art and beauty float like bright-hued bubbles on the stream of time unheeded save by few, the many still breasting the dark tide for the few bright grains of golden sand which on the bottom lie; E’en here that stream of time has broadened ‘till its shores so far receding, seem to hold rich argosies, whose swelling sails are turned are turned to catch the faintest breath of Fancy’s wing to waft them o’er the intervening tide, to bring rich freights of golden dreams to those whose vision is not dimmed by earth and dross but this, our Alma Mater; still so near appears its natal day, that no glamour of time, no haze of Indian summer e’en has dimmed the memory of its morning hour! But summer sunshine, with its golden smile, has opened wide the buds of promised good and spread their fragrance over all the land yet still with seasons gently glide, and have their records fair of sunshine and of shade, we find full many a light that blazed and shone on youth’s horizon, dimmed or gone, and we our hearts responsive to the minor chord, gaze sadly back and see dark threads enwove among life’s golden tissues, threads of fate, of human destiny, that evermore will underlie the rich embroidery of love and hope, with which we fain would hide the dark inevitable woof of Death. But as receding vistas slowly close round castles fair, whose towers and turrets rose so gloriously bright in youth’s domain, and glimmering lights grow faint and fade away. One star shines out, and will forever shine with undimmed luster, o’er the devious ways of life, where’er our wandering feet may stray. But when I strike, with unskilled hand, the strings, and strive to bring forth music from the heart, how faintly sounds the broken chord; my verse calls feebly, and no offering meet for her, the noble guardian of our youth, I bring. Yet she ho in the past so well could train our cruder thoughts, can now well understand the singers meaning, through imperfect strains responsive to my touch, but faintly serve “To waken the heart’s echoes” once again, and will not now disdain the simple song while loving thoughts give impulse to the string. The beautiful old time! The yesterday! How bright its sunshine glowed within this halls we trace its brightness in each well loved face as now we gather round thee once again. And echoing tones of girlhood’s music break in rippling wave around our hearts to-night those spring-time blooms! Their fragrance lingers and fain would we, for that loved brow of shine a garland of wealth, simple wildwood flowers, sweet “Lilybell” “Wild Rose” and “Osage” true which evermore might breathe a perfume sweet throughout the changeless halls of memory. Thy old time pupils, some now gathered here and many more where distance home lights gleam are turning now a retrospective gaze towards that happy time when lingering here, turning to thee, as [ ] to the sun, we draw the garnered wisdom thy store into our lives, as flowers the fun and dew. And thou, with wisest intuition, raised our thoughtful eyes above the dazzling heights of worldliness, where evanescent gleams of fashion and of folly flashed and shone, a fixed them, with the steady rays of truth ad wisdom, guiding stars that brighter shine as time sweeps by and brings us nearer to the unseen shores of dim futurity. And now as then we turn to thee, our hearts thrilling with dreams of nobler womanhood! To thee, our fount of inspiration whence shall flow high, and nobler impulse trained to war with misty error that would fain hem in our lives, nor give them room to grow upward and outward, through the coming time. In this, our Alma Mater’s morning hour they firm hand raised it from its creeping way, and gave it strength to work upright and strong along the untrodden ways of this new land. A pioneer more brave went there than they who wrestled but with Nature’s ruggedness; for those with thy brave helpers, here didst plan in virgin, wild, uncultivated soil. A hardy shoot from the fair field of knowledge, Whose spreading roots are now intertwined around our great and growing country’s heart. Still cherished! Hereby loyal hearts and true around this hallowed spot thy mem’ries cling and thou and they have left a record here, a legacy which none can take away. But not alone around the past would we our thoughts entwine in this our hour of pride; the present, too, a festive greeting claims, and now with an eager handclap we tonight greet old time friends, and thank our Fathers kind for these bright hours of social intercourse and may we oft again in future years with reunited hearts, give cheer to him who nobly leaves his chosen path of life at duty’s call, to labor here; and guard this noble legacy, which brave, true hearts endowed with vigorous life in times gone by. And to the future, that vague, misty realm fairer than garden of Hesperides, where all life’s ruder winds are tempered down to balmy breezes blowing fresh and soft o’er time’s Pacific sea, fain now would we peer through the veil which circumscribes our gaze and see what lieth there, what fate may bring to this our loving mother, and to each these happy hearts so full of joy tonight. Of coming time, when it shall stand beside those prouder institutions of our land in worthy fellowships of all things true. And we, tho’ women still may, upward borne on wing of noblest opportunity, find our true sphere amid the glorious band. Of this world’s workers, in God’s harvest field. Thus evermore to prove our claim to be that he ordained, a helpmate meet for man.
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Hatch, Mary Hook, "Poem from Mary Hatch to Mrs. Muir [Louie Strentzel Muir]" (1900). John Muir Correspondence (PDFs). 6792.
No date Poem Mary Hatch
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