O happy day! O day of rest!
Would I could be again,
With all those merry-hearted ones,
Within that rocky glen!
Just such a day, just such an hour,
With golden glints between;
But memory's pen with magic power
Will reproduce the scene.
The artist in the cavern's mouth,
With sketch-book on her knee,
Seeking to pencil forth the scene,
Ere sunset's tints should flee.
There were noble men of cultured minds,
And ladies fair to see,
Now gazing up with wondering eyes,
Now resting 'neath a tree.
And girlhood's happy, joyous laugh
Would ring throughout the glen,
With such a silvery, rippling sound,
'T would snare the hearts of men.
So bright and beauteous was the scene,
So perfect and so fair,—
Trees covered o'er with brightest green,
And song-birds in the air.
Vast rocks piled up toward the sky,
As though twas Nature's throne,
So grandly noble it all seemed,
Yet meant for man alone.
O would that I could picture forth
On canvass all I saw,
And give to others eyes the scene,
Near Mississippi's shore.
Tall trees of ever-changing hue,
The elm, the oak, the pine,
And many others, all unknown,
Would greet thy gaze and mine.
But it were vain, indeed, in me
To dare portray the scene
Which God, with his almighty hand,
Hath framed in shades of green.
Such narrow defiles, dark and steep,
With caverns in the glen!
Such depth below, such height above,
Wrought not by hand of men,
But by One mightier far than they,
Eternal in the sky—
The God who made us, one and all,
To live, to move, and die;
That, dying, we might live again,
In brighter worlds than this,
And wander on 'neath greener trees,
In never ending bliss.
*Properly "canyons," but are familiarly called "coolies."