THE CALIFORNIA BIRTHDAY BOOK
Prose and Poetical Selections from the Writings of Living California Authors with a Brief Biographical Sketch of each
Edited and Arranged, with an Introduction, by
GEORGE WHARTON JAMES
Arroyo Guild Press Los Angeles, California
To the dearest and best Literary Partner man ever had:
whose critical discernment and fine judgment have materially aided in making the selections for this book.
California—land of the brightest dreams of our childhood; of the passionate longings of our youth; of the most splendid triumphs of our manhood. California—land of golden thoughts, of golden hills, of golden mines, and of golden deeds.
This book, as its title-page states, is made up of selections from the writings of California authors. Most of the selections refer to California—her scenic glories, mountains, valleys, skies, canyons, Yosemites, islands, foothills, plains, deserts, shoreline; her climatic charms, her flora and fauna, her varied population, her marvellous progress, her wonderful achievements, her diverse industries. Told by different authors, in both prose and poetry, the book is a unique presentation both of California and California writers. The Appendix gives further information (often asked for in vain) about the authors themselves and their work. It is the hope of the compiler that the taste given in these selections may lead many Californians to take a greater interest in the writings of their fellow citizens, and no interest pleases an author more than the purchase, commendation, and distribution of his book.
If this unpretentious book gives satisfaction to the lovers of California, both in and out of the State, the compiler will reap his highest reward. If any suitable author has been left out the omission was inadvertent, and will gladly be remedied in future editions.
GEORGE WHARTON JAMES. 1098 North Raymond Avenue Pasadena, California. October, 1909.
THE CALIFORNIA BIRTHDAY BOOK
Hearken, how many years I sat alone, I sat alone and heard Only the silence stirred By wind and leaf, by clash of grassy spears, And singing bird that called to singing bird. Heard but the savage tongue Of my brown savage children, that among The hills and valleys chased the buck and doe, And round the wigwam fires Chanted wild songs of their wild savage sires, And danced their wild, weird dances to and fro, And wrought their beaded robes of buffalo. Day following upon day, Saw but the panther crouched upon the limb, Smooth serpents, swift and slim, Slip through the reeds and grasses, and the bear Crush through his tangled lair Of chaparral, upon the startled prey! Listen, how I have seen Flash of strange fires in gorge and black ravine; Heard the sharp clang of steel, that came to drain The mountain's golden vein And laughed and sang, and sang and laughed again, Because that "Now," I said, "I shall be known! I shall not sit alone, But shall reach my hands into my sister lands! And they? Will they not turn Old, wondering dim eyes to me and yearn— Aye, they will yearn, in sooth, To my glad beauty, and my glad, fresh youth."
INA D. COOLBRITH, in Songs from the Golden Gate.
LET US MAKE EACH DAY OUR BIRTHDAY.
WRITTEN ESPECIALLY FOR THE CALIFORNIA BIRTHDAY BOOK.
Let us make each day our birthday, As with each new dawn we rise, To the glory and the gladness Of God's calm, o'erbending skies; To the soul-uplifting anthems Of Creation's swelling strains, Chanted by the towering mountains, Surging sea, and sweeping plains.
Let us make each day our birthday— Every morning life is new, With the splendors of the sunrise, And the baptism of the dew; With the glisten of the woodlands, And the radiance of the flowers, And the birds' exultant matins, In the young day's wakening hours.
Let us make each day our birthday, To a newer, holier life, Rousing to some high endeavor, Arming for a nobler strife, Toiling upward, looking Godward, Lest our poor lives be as discords, In Heaven's symphony of love.
S.A.R., College Notre Dame, San Jose, Cal.
A NEW YEAR'S WISH.
May each day bring thee something Fair to hold in memory— Some true light to shine Upon thee in the after days. May each night bring thee peace, As when the dove broods o'er The young she loves; may day And night the circle of A rich experience weave About thy life, and make It rich with knowledge, but radiant With Love, whose blossoms shall be Tender deeds.
HELEN VAN ANDERSON GORDON.
THE MIRAGE ON THE CALIFORNIA DESERT.
To the south the eye rests upon a vast lake, which can be seen ten or twelve miles distant from the slopes of the mountains, and when I first saw it, its beauty was entrancing. Away to the south, on its borders, were hills of purple, each reflected as clearly as though photographed, and still beyond rose the caps and summits of other peaks and mountains rising from this inland sea, whose waters were of turquoise; yet, as we moved down the slope, the lake was always stealing on before. It was of the things dreams are made of, that has driven men mad and to despair, its bed a level floor of alkali and clay, covered with a dry, impalpable dust that the slightest wind tossed and whirled in air.
CHARLES FREDERICK HOLDER, in Life in the Open.
When the green waves come dashing, With thunderous lashing, Against the bold cliffs that defend the scarred earth, He wheels through the roaring, Where foam-flakes are pouring, And flaps his broad wings in a transport of mirth.
JOSIAH KEEP, in The Song of the Sea-Bird, in Shells and Sea-Life.
A long jagged peninsula, where barren heights and cactus-clad mesas glow in the biting rays of an unobscured sun, where water holes are accorded locations on the maps, and where, under the fluttering shade of fluted palm boughs, life becomes a siesta dream. A land great in its past and lean in its present. A land where the rattlesnake and the sidewinder, the tarantula and the scorpion multiply, and where sickness is unknown and fivescore years no uncommon span of life. A land of strange contradictions! A peninsula which to the Spanish conquistadores was an island glistening in the azure web of romance; a land for which the padres gave their lives in fanatic devotion to the Cross; a land rich in history, when the timbers of the Mayflower were yet trees in the forest. Lower California, once sought and guarded for her ores and her jewels, now a veritable terra incognita, slumbering, unnoticed, at the feet of her courted child, the great State of California. Lower California, her romance nigh forgotten, her possibilities overlooked by enterprise and by the statesmen of the two republics.
ARTHUR W. NORTH, in The Mother of California.
Above me rise the snowy peaks Where golden sunbeams gleam and quiver, And far below, toward Golden Gate, O'er golden sand flows Yuba River. Through crystal air the mountain mist Floats far beyond yon distant eagle, And swift o'er crag and hill and vale Steps morning, purple-robed and regal.
CLARENCE URMY, in A Vintage of Verse.
With the assistance of Indians and swinging a good axe himself, the worthy padre cut down a number of trees, and, having carried the logs to the Gulf Coast, he there constructed from them a small vessel which was solemnly christened El Triumfo de la Cruz.
Let Ugarte be remembered not only as a man of fine physique, the first ship-builder in the Californias, but as an ardent Christian, a wise old diplomat and a fearless explorer. He stands forth bold, shrewd and aggressive, one of the most heroic figures in early California history. * * *
At the same time that Ugarte was exploring the Gulf of California, Captain George Shevlock of England was cruising about California waters engaged in a little privateering enterprise. On his return to England, Shevlock set forth on the charts that California was an island. This assertion was not surprising, for at this time a controversy was raging between certain of the Episcopal authorities on the Spanish Main as to which bishopric las Islas Californias belonged! Guadalajara was finally awarded the "island."
ARTHUR W. NORTH, in The Mother of California.
A sleeping beauty, hammock-swung, Beside the sunset sea, And dowered with riches, wheat, and oil, Vineyard and orange tree; Her hand, her heart to that fair prince Whose genius shall unfold With rarest art her treasured tales Of life and love and gold.
CLARENCE URMY, in A Vintage of Verse.
BACK TO CALIFORNIA.
To the Californian born, California is the only place to live. Why do men so love their native soil? It is perhaps a phase of the human love for the mother. For we are compact of the soil. Out of the crumbling granite eroded from the ribs of California's Sierras by California's mountain streams—out of the earth washed into California's great valleys by her mighty rivers—out of this the sons of California are made, brain, and muscle, and bone. Why then should they not love their mother, even as the mountaineers of Montenegro, of Switzerland, of Savoy, love their mountain birthplace? Why should not exiled Californians yearn to return? And we sons of California always do return; we are always brought back by the potent charm of our native land—back to the soil which gave us birth—and at the last back to Earth, the great mother, from whom we sprung, and on whose bosom we repose our tired bodies when our work is done.
JEROME A. HART, in Argonaut Letters.
GIVE ME CALIFORNY.
Blizzard back in York state Sings its frosty tune, Here the sun a-shinin', Air as warm as June. Snow in Pennsylvany, Zero times down East, Here the flowers bloomin', A feller's eyes to feast.
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Its every one his own way, The place he'd like to be, But give me Californy— It's good enough for me.
JOHN S. MCGROARTY, in Just California.
If Mother Nature is indeed as we see her here, broad-browed and broad-bosomed, strong and calm—calm because strong—swaying her vain brats by unruffled love, not by fear; by wise giving, not by privation; by caresses and gentle precepts, not by cuffs and scoldings and hysterics—why, then she shall better justify our memories and the name we have given her. It is well that our New England mothers had a different climate in their hearts from that which beat at their windows. I know one Yankee boy who never could quite understand that his mother had gone home till he came to know the skies of California.
CHARLES F. LUMMIS, in The Right Hand of the Continent, Out West, June, 1902.
California, the orchid in the garden of the states, the warm motherland of genius, the land of enchantment, the land of romance, the land of magic; California, the beautiful courtezan land, whose ravishing form the enamored gods had strewed with scarlet roses and white lilies, and buried deep in her bosom rich treasure; California began the twentieth century with another tale, fantastic, incredible. * * *
Until the oil was discovered the land had been worth from one to four dollars an acre, but now offers were made for it from five hundred to as many thousands.
MRS. FREMONT OLDER, in The Giants.
A CALIFORNIAN TO HIS OLD HOME.
I oft feel sad and lone and cold Here in the Golden West, When I recall the times of old, And fond hearts laid to rest; The gladsome village crowd at e'en, The stars a-peeping down, And all the meadows robed in green Around Claremorris Town.
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This is, in truth, a lovely sphere, A heaven-favored clime, Here Nature smiles the whole long year, 'Tis summer all the time, With spreading palms and pine trees tall And grape-vines drooping down— But gladly would I give them all For you, Claremorris Town.
The establishment of the Mission of Santa Catarina marks the close of what may well be termed the third period of Lower California history. It is a period remarkable for progress rather than for individual actors. The great Junipero Serra passes quickly across the stage, figuring as a man of physical endurance and a diplomat—not as an explorer or a founder of many missions. His most historic act on the Peninsula was performed when he drew a line of division between the territory of the Dominicans and the Franciscans. He is a link between the two Californias.
ARTHUR W. NORTH, in The Mother of California.
TO THE U.S. CRUISER CALIFORNIA.
Godspeed our namesake cruiser, Godspeed till the echoes cease 'Fore all may the nation choose her To speak her will for peace. That she in the hour of battle Her western fangs may show. That from her broadsides' rattle A listening world may know— She's more than a fighting vessel, More than mere moving steel, More than a hull to wrestle With the currents at her keel; That she bodies a living-spirit. The spirit of a state, A people's strength and merit, Their hope, their love, their fate.
HAROLD S. SYMMES.
CALIFORNIA AND ITALY.
More and more it becomes apparent to me that the Climate of California spoils one for any other in the world. If Californians ever doubt that their winter weather is the finest in the world, let them try that of sunny Italy. If they have ever grumbled at their gentle rains, brought on the wings of mild winds from the south, let them try the raw rain, hail, snow, and sleet storms of sunny Italy. And then forever after let them hold their peace.
JEROME A. HART, in Argonaut Letters.
I see thee in this Hellas of the West, Thy youngest, fairest child, upon whose crest Thy white snows gleam, and at whose dimpled feet The blue sea breaks, while on her heaving breast The flowers droop and languish for her smile, Thy grace is mirrored in her youthful form, She lifts her forehead to the battling storm, As proud, as fair as thou.
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Like thee, she opens wide her snowy arms, And folds the Nations on her mother-breast. The brawny Sons of Earth have made their home Where her wide Ocean casts its ceaseless foam, Where lifts her white Sierras' orient peak The wild exultant love of all that makes The nobler life; the energy that shakes the Earth And gives new eons birth.
S.A.S.H. of College of Notre Dame, San Jose, in Hellas.
THE RETURN TO CALIFORNIA.
Across the desert waste we sped; The cactus gloomed on either hand, Wild, weird, grotesque each frowning head Uprearing from the sand.
Through dull, gray dawn and blazing noon, Like furnace fire the quivering air, Till darkness fell, and the young moon Smiled forth serene and fair.
A single star adown the sky Shone like a jewel, clear and bright; We heard the far coyote's cry Pierce through the silent night.
Then morning—bathed in purple sheen; Beyond—the grand, eternal hills; With sunny, emerald vales between, Crossed by a thousand rills.
Sweet groves, green pastures; buzz of bee And scent of flower; a dash of foam On rugged cliffs; the blessed sea, And then—the lights of home!
MARY E. MANNIX.
Around the Southern Californian home of the loving twain the roses are in perpetual bloom. The vines are laden with clustered grapes, the peach and the apricot trees bend under their loads of luscious fruit, the milch cows yield their creamy milk, the honey-bees laying in their stores of sweet spoil, the balmy air breathes fragrance, the drowsy hum of life is the music of peace.
EDMUND MITCHELL, in Only a Nigger.
DEDICATED TO GEORGE WHARTON JAMES.
Proud are we to own us thine, Land of Song and Land of Story, All thy glory Round our heart-hopes we entwine, In our souls thy fame enshrine, California!
Dear to us thy mystic name, Leal-land; Love-land; Land of Might, We would write On the walls of Years thy fame, With thy love a world inflame, California!
Dear to us thy maiden grace, Dear thy queenly Motherhood, Fain we would Keep the sun-smiles on thy face, Worthy live of thy strong Race, California!
Land of Beauty! Blossom-land! Land of Heroes, Saints and Sages, Let the Ages Witness all thou canst command From each loyal heart and hand, California!
I always appreciate things as I go along, for no knowing whether you'll ever go the same way twice in this world.
ALBERTA LAWRENCE, in The Travels of Phoebe Ann.
Home of the elements—where battling bands Of clouds and winds the rocks defy— Mute yet great, old Tamalpais stands Outlined against the rosy sky. His darkened form uprising there commands The country round, and every eye From lesser hills he strangely seems to draw With lifted glance that speaks of wonder and of awe. It is the awe that makes us reverence show To men of might who proudly tower Above their fellow-men; the glance that we bestow On one whose native force and power Have lifted him above the race below— The pigmy mortals of an hour— We almost bend the knee and bow the head To the mighty force that marks his kingly tread.
MRS. PHILIP VERRILL MICHELS, in Readings from the California Poets.
Broadly speaking, California is the only elective State. Its people are not here because their mothers happened to be here at the time; not as refugees; not as ne'er-do-wells, drifting to do no better; not even, in bulk, as joining the scrimmage for more money. They have come by deliberate choice, and a larger proportion of them, and more single-heartedly, for home's sake than in any other as large migration on record.
CHARLES F. LUMMIS, in The Right Hand of the Continent, Out West, August, 1902.
Is there any kind of climate, Any scene for painter's eye, The Almighty hath not crowded 'Neath our California sky? Is there any fruit or flower, Any gem or jewel old, Any wonder of creation This Garden doth not hold— From the tiny midget blossom To the grand Sequoia high, With its roots in God's own country And its top in God's own sky?
FRED EMERSON BROOKS, in Old Abe and Other Poems.
A MENDOCINO MEMORY.
I climbed the canyon to a river-head, And looking backward saw a splendor spread. Miles beyond miles, of every kingly hue And trembling tint the looms of Arras knew— A flowery pomp as of the dying day, A splendor where a god might take his way.
* * * * *
It was the brink of night and everywhere Tall redwoods spread their filmy tops in air; Huge trunks, like shadows upon shadow cast, Pillared the under twilight, vague and vast.
* * * * *
Lightly I broke green branches for a bed, And gathered ferns, a pillow for my head. And what to this were kingly chambers worth— Sleeping, an ant, upon the sheltering earth.
EDWIN MARKHAM, in Lincoln and Other Poems.
Queen of the Coast, she stands here emerald-crowned, Waiting her ships that sail in from the sea, Fairer than all the western world to me, Is this young Goddess whom the years have found Ocean and land, with riches rare and sweet. Loyally bring their treasures to her feet; In her brave arms she holds with proud content The varied plenty of a continent; In her fair face, and in her dreaming eyes, Shines the bright promise of her destinies; Winds kiss her cheek, and fret the restless tides, She in their truth with faith divine confides, Watching the course of empire's brilliant fate, She looks serenely through the Golden Gate.
ANNA MORRISON REED.
Here was our first (and still largest) national romance, the first wild-flower of mystery, the first fierce passion of an uncommonly hard-fisted youth. To this day it persists the only glamour between the covers of our geography. For more than fifty years its only name has been a witchcraft, and its spell is stronger now than ever, as shall be coolly demonstrated. This has meant something in the psychology of so unfanciful a race. The flowering of imagination is no trivial incident, whether in one farm boy's life or in a people's. It may be outgrown, and so much as forgotten; but it shall never again be as if it had never been. Without just that flower we should not have just this fruit.
CHARLES F. LUMMIS, in Out West, June, 1892.
As time goes on its endless course, environment is sure to crystallize the American nation. Its varying elements will become unified and the weeding out process will probably leave the finest human product ever known. The color, the perfume, the size and form that are placed in the plants will have their analogies in the composite, the American of the future.
And now what will hasten this development most of all? The proper rearing of children. Don't feed children on maudlin sentimentalism or dogmatic religion; give them nature. Let their souls drink in all that is pure and sweet. Rear them, if possible, amid pleasant surroundings. If they come into the world with souls groping in darkness, let them see and feel the light. Don't terrify them in early life with the fear of an after world. There never was a child that was made more noble and good by the fear of a hell. Let nature teach them the lessons of good and proper living. Those children will grow to be the best of men and women. Put the best in them in contact with the best outside. They will absorb it as a plant does sunshine and the dew.
Let us embark freely upon the ocean of truth; listen to every word of God-like genius as to a whisper of the Holy Ghost, with the conviction that beauty, truth and love are always divine, and that the real Bible, whose inspiration can never be questioned, comprises all noble and true words spoken and written by man in all ages.
WILLIAM DAY SIMONDS, in Freedom and Fraternity.
Westward the Star of Empire! Come West, young men! Westward ho! to all of you who want an opportunity to do something and to be something. Here is the place in the great Southwest, in the great Northwest, in all the great West, where you can find an opportunity ready to your hand. We are only 3,000,000 now. There is room here for 30,000,000. Where each one of us is now finding an opportunity to do something and be something there is plenty of room for ten more of you to come and join us.
G.W. BURTON, in Burton's Book on California.
IN CALIFORNIA'S MOUNTAINS.
'Mid the far, fair hills, beneath the pines With their carpet of needles, soft and brown. Dwells the precious scent of rare old wines. Where the sun's distilling rays pour down: Away from the city, mile on mile, Far up in the hills where life's worth while.
There the rivulet in gladness leaps Down a fronded valley, sweet and cool, Or pausing a little moment sleeps In a mossy, rock-bound, limpid pool: Away from the city, mile on mile, Far up in the hills where life's worth while.
The wild bird carols its sweetest lay, And the world seems golden with love's good cheer; There is never a care to cloud the day, And Heaven, itself, seems, oh, so near! Away from the city, mile on mile. Far up in the hills where life's worth while.
WILLIS GEORGE EMERSON.
OUT HERE IN CALIFORNIA.
Out here in California, when Winter's on the scene And the earth is like a maiden clad in shimmering robes of green; When the mountains 'way off yonder lift their snowy peaks to God, While here the dainty flowers raise their faces from the sod; When the sunbeams kiss the waters till they laugh beneath the rays, And nature seems a-joining in a matchless hymn of praise; When there's just enough of frostiness a sense of life to give, Right here in California it's a comfort just to live.
Out here in California in the January days The soul of nature seems to sing a jubilee of praise, And the songbirds whistle clearer, and the blossoms are more fair, And someway joy and blessing seem about us in the air. It's cold perhaps off yonder, but we never feel it here, For the seasons run together through a Summer-haunted year, And Dame Nature in her bounty leaves us nothing to forgive Right here in California, where it's comfort just to live.
Out here in California where the orange turns to gold And Nature has forgotten all the art of growing old, There's not a day throughout the year when flowers do not grow; There's not a single hour the streams do not unfettered flow; There's not a briefest moment when the songsters do not sing, And life's a sort of constant race 'twixt Summer and the Spring. Why, just to know the joy of it one might his best years give— Out here in California, where it's comfort just to live.
Night-time in California. Elsewhere men only guess At the glory of the evenings that are perfect—nothing less; But here the nights, returning, are the wond'rous gifts of God— As if the days were maidens fair with golden slippers shod. There is no cloud to hide the sky; the universe is ours, And the starlight likes to look and laugh in Cupid-haunted bowers. Oh the restful, peaceful evenings! In them my soul delights, For God loved California when He gave to her her nights.
ALFRED JAMES WATERHOUSE, in Some Homely Little Songs.
There it lay, a constellation of lights, a golden radiance dimmed by the distance. San Francisco the Impossible. The City of Miracles! Of it and its people many stories have been told, and many shall be; but a thousand tales shall not exhaust its treasury of romance. Earthquake and fire shall not change it, terror and suffering shall not break its glad, mad spirit. Time alone can tame the town, restrain its wanton manners, refine its terrible beauty, rob it of its nameless charm, subdue it to the commonplace. May time be merciful—may it delay its fatal duty till we have learned that to love, to forgive, to enjoy, is but to understand!
GELETT BURGESS, in The Heart Line.
The bold West Wind loved a crimson Rose. West winds do. This dainty secret he never had told. He thought she knew. But there were poppies to be caressed— When he returned from his fickle quest, He found his Rose on another's breast. Alas! Untrue!
THE FIRST FLAG RAISING IN CALIFORNIA.
In February, 1829 the ship Brookline of Boston arrived at San Diego. The mate, James P. Arthur, was left at Point Loma, with a small party to cure hides, while the vessel went up the coast. To attract passing ships Arthur and one of his men, Greene, concluded to make and raise a flag. This was done by using Greene's cotton shirt for the white and Arthur's woolen shirts for the red and blue. With patient effort they cut the stars and stripes with their knives, and sewed them together with sail needles. A small tree lashed to their hut made a flag-pole. A day or two later a schooner came in sight, and up went the flag. This was on Point Loma, on the same spot, possibly, hallowed by the graves of the seventy-five men who lost their lives in the Bennington explosion, July 21, 1905.
MAJOR W.J. HANDY.
Live for to-day—nor pause to fear Of what To-morrow's sun may bring! To-day has hours of hope and cheer. To-day your songs of joy should ring. The Yesterdays are dead and gone Adown the long, uneven way; But Hope is smiling with the dawn— Live for To-day!
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Live for To-day! He wins the crown Whose work stands but the crucial test! Who scales the heights through sneer and frown And gives unto the world his best. Bend to your task! The steep slopes climb, And Love's true light will lead the way To perfect peace in God's own time— Live for To-day!
It is a peculiar feature of our sailing that within a few hours we may change our climate. Cool, windy, moist, in the lower bays; and hot, calm, and quiet in the rivers, creeks, and sloughs. As you go to Napa, for instance, the wind gradually lightens as the bay is left, the air is balmier, and finally the yacht is left becalmed. We can, moreover, in two hours run from salt into fresh water. In spring the water is fresh down into Suisun Bay; and at Antioch, fresh water is the rule. The yachts frequently sail up there so that the barnacles will be killed by the fresh water.
CHARLES G. YALE, in The Californian.
Across San Pablo's heaving breast I see the home-lights gleam, As the sable garments of the night Drop down on vale and stream.
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Hard by, yon vessel from the seas Her cargo homeward brings, And soon, like sea-bird on her nest, Will sleep with folded wings. The fisher's boat swings in the bay, From yonder point below, While ours is drifting with the tide, And rocking to and fro.
LUCIUS HARWOOD FOOTE, in A Red-Letter Day.
A few years ago this valley of San Gabriel was a long open stretch of wavy slopes and low rolling hills; in winter robed in velvety green and spangled with myriads of flowers all strange to Eastern eyes; in summer brown with sun-dried grass, or silvery gray where the light rippled over the wild oats. Here and there stood groves of huge live-oaks, beneath whose broad, time-bowed heads thousands of cattle stamped away the noons of summer. Around the old mission, whose bells have rung o'er the valley for a century, a few houses were grouped; but beyond this there was scarcely a sign of man's work except the far-off speck of a herdsman looming in the mirage, or the white walls of the old Spanish ranch-house glimmering afar through the hazy sunshine in which the silent land lay always sleeping.
T.S. VAN DYKE, in Southern California.
The surroundings of Monterey could not well be more beautiful if they had been gotten up to order. Hills, gently rising, the chain broken here and there by a more abrupt peak, environ the city, crowned with dark pines and the famous cypress of Monterey (Cypressus macrocarpa.) Before us the bay lies calm and blue, and away across, can be seen the town of Santa Cruz, an indistinct white gleam on the mountain side.
JOSEPHINE CLIFFORD McCRACKIN, in Another Juanita.
The lark sends up a carol blithe, Bloom-billows scent the breeze, Green-robed the rolling foot-hills rise And poppies paint the leas.
HANNA OTIS BRUN.
A golden bay 'neath soft blue skies, Where on a hillside creamy rise The mission towers, whose patron saint Is Barbara—with legend quaint.
HELEN ELLIOTT BANDINI, in History of California.
Dare to be free. Free to do the thing you crave to do and that craves the doing. Free to live in that higher realm where none is fit to criticise save one's self. Free to scorn ridicule, to face contempt, to brave remorse. Free to give life to the one human soul that can demand and grant such a boon—one's own self.
MIRIAM MICHELSON, in Anthony Overman.
In Carmel pines the summer wind Sings like a distant sea. O harps of green, your murmurs find An echoing chord in me! On Carmel shore the breakers moan Like pines that breast the gale. O whence, ye winds and billows, flown To cry your wordless tale?
GEORGE STERLING, in A Wine of Wizardry and Other Poems.
O close-clasped towns across the bay, Whose lights like gleaming jewels stray, A ruby, golden, splendid way, When day from earth has flown. I watch you lighting night by night, O twisted strands of jewels bright, The altar-fires of home, alight— I who am all alone.
GRACE HIBBARD, in Forget-me-nots from California.
On the Berkeley Hills for miles away I went a-roaming one winter's day, And what do you think I saw, my dear? A place where the sky came down to the hill, And a big white cloud on the fresh green grass, And bright red berries my basket to fill, And mustard that grew in a golden mass— All on a winter's day, my dear!
CHARLES KEELER, in Elfin Songs of Sunland.
THE SUNSET GUN AT ANGEL ISLAND
A touch of night on the hill-tops gray; A dusky hush on the quivering Bay; A calm moon mounting the silent East— White slave the day-god has released; Small, scattered clouds That seemed to wait Like sheets of fire O'er the Golden Gate. And under Bonita, growing dim. With a seeming pause on the ocean's rim, Like a weary lab'rer, smiles the sun To the booming crash of the sunset gun.
LOWELL OTUS REESE.
My valentine needs not this day Of Cupid's undisputed sway To have my loving heart disclose The love for her that brightly glows; For it is hers alway, alway. Whate'er the fickle world may say, There's nought within its fair array That for a moment could depose My valentine. Where'er the paths of life may stray, 'Mid valleys dark or gardens gay, With holly wild or blushing rose, Through summer's gleam or winter's snows, Thou art, dear love, for aye and aye. My valentine.
JOAQUIN MILLER'S HOME ON THE HIGHTS.
* * * * *
Rugged! Rugged as Parnassus! Rude, as all roads I have trod— Yet are steeps and stone-strewn passes Smooth o'erhead, and nearest God. Here black thunders of my canyon Shake its walls in Titan wars! Here white sea-born clouds companion With such peaks as know the stars.
* * * * *
Steep below me lies the valley, Deep below me lies the town, Where great sea-ships ride and rally, And the world walks up and down. O, the sea of lights far streaming When the thousand flags are furled— When the gleaming bay lies dreaming As it duplicates the world.
* * * * *
I have watched the ships sailing and steaming in through the Golden Gate, and they seemed like doves of peace bringing messages of good-will from all the world. In the still night, when the scream of the engine's whistle would reach my ears, I would reflect upon the fact that though dwelling in a city whose boundaries were almost at the verge of our nation's great territory, yet we were linked to it by bands of steel, and Plymouth Rock did not seem so far from Shag Rock, nor Bedloe's Island from Alcatraz.
LORENZO SOSSO, in Wisdom of the Wise.
We believe that when future generations shall come to write our history they will find that in this city of San Francisco we have been true to our ideals; that we have struggled along as men who struggle, not always unfalteringly, but at least always with a good heart; that we have tried to do our duty by our town and by our country and by the people who look to us for light, and that history will be able to say of San Francisco that she has been true to her trust as the "Warder of two continents"; that she has been the jewel set in the place where the ends of the ring had met; that she is the mistress of the great sea which spreads before us, and of the people who hunger for light, for truth, and for civilization; that she stands for truth, a flaming signal set upon the sentinel hills, calling all the nations to the blessings of the freedom which we enjoy.
FATHER P.C. YORKE, in The Warder of Two Continents.
FROM THE MOUNTAIN TOPS, LOOKING TOWARDS SAN FRANCISCO BAY.
From the mountain tops we see the valleys stretching out for leagues below. The eye travels over the tilled fields and the blossoming orchards, through the tall trees and along the verdant meadows that are watered by the mountain streams. Beyond the valley rolls the ocean, whereon we see the armored vessels, and the pleasure yachts, and the merchant ships, laden with the grain of our golden shores, sailing under every flag that floats the sea.
THE POET'S SONG.
I gather flowers on moss-paved woodland ways I roam with poets dead in tranced amaze; Soon must my wild-wood sheaf be cast away, But in my heart the poet's song shall stay.
CHARLES KEELER, in A Season's Sowing.
Morning of fleet-arrive was splandid. By early hour of day all S.F. persons has clustered therselves on tip of hills and suppression of excitement was enjoyed. Considerable watching occurred. Barking of dogs was strangled by collars, infant babies which desired to weep was spanked for prevention of. Silences. Depressed banners was held in American hands to get ready wave it.
Many persons in Sabbath clothings was there, including 1,000 Japanese spies which were very nice behaviour. I was nationally proud of them.
Of suddenly, Oh!!!
Through the Goldy Gate, what see? Maglificent sight of marine insurance! Floating war-boats of dozens approaching directly straight by line and shooting salutes at people. On come them Imperial Navy of Hon. Roosevelt and Hon. Hobson; what heart could quit beating at it? Such white paint—like bath tub enamel, only more respectful in appearance. * * *
From collected 1/2 million of persons on hills of S.F. one mad yell of star-spangly joy. Fire-crack salute, siren whistle, honk-horn, megaphone, extra edition, tenor solo—all connected together to give impressions of loyal panderonium.
WALLACE IRWIN, in Letters of a Japanese Schoolboy.
CALIFORNIA TO THE FLEET.
Behold, upon thy yellow sands, I wait with laurels in my hands. The Golden Gate swings wide and there I stand with poppies in my hair. Come in, O ships! These happy seas Caressed the golden argosies Of forty-nine. They felt the keel Of dark Ayala's pinnace steal Across the mellow gulf and pass Unchallenged, under Alcatraz. Not War we love, but Peace, and these Are but the White Dove's argosies— The symbols of a mighty will No tyrant hand may use for ill.
DANIEL S. RICHARDSON, in Trail Dust.
The splendors of a Sierra sunset cannot be accurately delineated by pencil or brush. The combined pigments of a Hill and a Moran and a Bierstadt cannot adequately reproduce so gorgeous a canvas. The lingering sun floods all the west with flame; it touches with scarlet tint the serrated outlines of the distant summits and hangs with golden fringe each silvery cloud. Then the colors soften and turn into amber and lilac and maroon. These soon assimilate and dissolve and leave an ashes of rose haze on all far-away objects, when receding twilight spreads its veil and shuts from view all but the mountain outlines, the giant taxodiums and the fantastic fissures of the canyons beneath.
BEN C. TRUMAN, in Occidental Sketches.
GOLDEN GATE PARK IN MIDWINTER.
The dewdrops hang on the bending grass, A dragon-fly cuts a sunbeam through. The moaning cypress trees lift somber arms Up to skies of cloudless blue. A humming-bird sips from a golden cup, In the hedge a hidden bird sings, And a butterfly among the flowers Tells me that the soul has wings.
GRACE HIBBARD, in Wild Roses of California.
Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.
It was indeed a glorious morning. The bay, a molten blaze of many blended hues, bore upon its serene surface the flags of all nations, above which brooded the white doves of peace. Crafts of every conceivable description swung in the flame-lit fathoms that laved the feet of the stately hills, then stepping out, one by one, from their gossamer night robes to receive the first kiss of dawn.
Grim Alcatraz, girdled with bristling armaments, scintillating in the sun, suggested the presence of some monster leviathan, emerging from the deep, still undivested of gems, from his submarine home.
EUGENIA KELLOGG, in The Awakening of Poccalito.
THE SIERRA NEVADAS
They watch and guard the sleeping dells Where ice born torrents flow— A myriad granite sentinels, Helmed and cuirassed with snow.
* * * * *
Yon glacial torrent's deep, hoarse lute Its upward music flings— The great, eternal crags stand mute, And listen while it sings O mighty range! Thy wounds and scars, Thy weird, bewildering forms, Attest thine everlasting wars— Thy heritage of storms And still what peace! Serenity On crag and deep abyss, O, may such calmness fall on me When Azrael stoops to kiss.
GEORGE N. LOWE.
Tamalpais is a wooded mountain with ample slopes, and from it on the north stretch away ridges of forest land, the out posts of the great Northern woods of Sequoia sempervirens, This mountain and the mountainous country to the south bring the forest closer to San Francisco than to any other American city. Within the last few years men have killed deer on the slopes of Tamalpais and looked down to see the cable cars crawling up the hills of San Francisco to the south. In the suburbs coyotes still stole in and robbed hen roosts by night.
WILL IRWIN, in The City That Was.
DAWN ON MOUNT TAMALPAIS.
A cloudless heaven is bending o'er us, The dawn is lighting the linn and lea; Island and headland and bay before us, And, dim in the distance, the heaving sea. The Farallon light is faintly flashing, The birds are wheeling in fitful flocks, The coast-line brightens, the waves are dashing And tossing their spray on the Lobos rocks. The Heralds of Morn in the east are glowing And boldly lifting the veil of night; Whitney and Shasta are bravely showing Their crowns of snow in the morning light. The town is stirring with faint commotion, In all its highways it throbs and thrills; We greet you! Queen of the Western Ocean, As you wake to life on your hundred hills. The forts salute, and the flags are streaming From ships at anchor in cove and strait; O'er the mountain tops, in splendor beaming, The sun looks down on the Golden Gate.
LUCIUS HARWOOD FOOTE.
When my calm majestic mountains are piled white and high Against the perfect rose-tints of a living sunrise sky, I can resign the dearest wish without a single sigh, And let the whole world's restlessness pass all unheeded by.
MARY RUSSELL MILLS.
MARSHALL SAUNDERS ON SAN FRANCISCO.
How we all love a city that we have once contemplated making our home! Such a city to me is San Francisco, and but for unavoidable duties elsewhere, I would be there today. I loved that bright, beautiful city, and even the mention of its name sends my blood bounding more quickly through my veins. That might have been my city, and I therefore rejoice in its prosperity. I am distressed when calamity overtakes it—I never lose faith in its ultimate success. The heart of the city is sound. It has always been sound, even in the early days when a ring of corrupt adventurers would have salted the city of the blessed herb with an unsavory reputation, but for the care of staunch and courageous protectors at the heart of it.
San Francisco is not the back door of the continent. San Francisco is the front door. Every ship sailing out of its magnificent bay to the Orient, proclaims this fact. San Francisco will one day lead the continent. A city that cares for its poor and helpless, its children and dumb animals, that encourages art and learning, and never wearies in its prosecution of evil-doers—that city will eventually emerge triumphant from every cloud of evil report. Long live the dear city by the Golden Gate!
MARSHALL SAUNDERS, July, 1909.
"Senor Barrow, I congratulate you," Morale said, in his native tongue. "A woman who cannot be won away by passion or by chance, is a woman of gold."
GERTRUDE B. MILLARD, in On the Ciudad Road, The Newsletter, Jan., 1899.
AT THE PRESIDIO OF SAN FRANCISCO.
The rose and honey-suckle here entwine In lovely comradeship their am'rous arms; Here grasses spread their undecaying charms. And every wall is eloquent with vine; Far-reaching avenues make beckoning sign, And as we stroll along their tree-lined way, The songster trills his rapture-breathing lay From where he finds inviolable shrine. And yet, within this beauty-haunted place War keeps his dreadful engines at command. With scarce a smile upon his frowning face, And ever ready, unrelaxing hand ... We start to see, when dreaming in these bowers, A tiger sleeping on a bed of flowers.
EDWARD ROBESON TAYLOR, in Moods and Other Verse.
THE CITY'S VOICE.
A mighty undertone of mingled sound; The cadent tumult rising from a throng Of urban workers, blending in a song Of greater life that makes the pulses bound. The whirr of turning wheels, the hammers' ring The noise of traffic and the tread of men, The viol's sigh, the scratching of a pen— All to a vibrant Whole their echoes fling. Hark to the City's voice; it tells a tale Of triumphs and defeats, of joy and woe, The lover's tryst, the challenge of a foe, A dying gasp, a new-born infant's wail. The pulse-beats of a million hearts combined, Reverberating in a rhythmic thrill— A vital message that is never still— A sweeping, cosmic chorus, unconfined.
LOUIS J. STELLMANN, in San Francisco Town Talk, December 6, 1902.
From his windows on Russian Hill one saw always something strange and suggestive creeping through the mists of the bay. It would be a South Sea Island brig, bringing in copra, to take out cottons and idols; a Chinese junk after sharks' livers; an old whaler, which seemed to drip oil, home from a year of cruising in the Arctic. Even the tramp windjammers were deep-chested craft, capable of rounding the Horn or of circumnavigating the globe; and they came in streaked and picturesque from their long voyaging.
WILL IRWIN, in The City That Was.
The swarms that escape from their careless owners have a weary, perplexing time of it in seeking suitable homes. Most of them make their way to the foot-hills of the mountains, or to the trees that line the banks of the rivers, where some hollow log or trunk may be found. A friend of mine, while out hunting on the San Joaquin, came upon an old coon trap, hidden among some tall grass, near the edge of the river, upon which he sat down to rest. Shortly afterward his attention was attracted to a crowd of angry bees that were flying excitedly about his head, when he discovered that he was sitting upon their hive, which was found to contain more than 200 pounds of honey.
JOHN MUIR, in The Mountains of California.
PHOSPHORESCENT SEA WAVES, BALBOA BEACH, CAL.
Responsive to my oar and hand, Touching to glory sea and sand. A glint, a sparkle, a flash, a flame, An ecstasy above all name. What art thou, strange, mysterious flame? Art thou some flash of central fire, So pure and strong thou wilt not expire Tho' plunged in ocean's seething main? Mayest thou not be that sacred flame, Creative, moulding, purging fire. Aspiring, abandoning all desire Shaping perfection from Life's pain?
MARY RUSSELL MILLS, in Fellowship Magazine.
THE JOY OF THE HILLS.
I ride on the mountain tops, I ride; I have found my life and am satisfied.
* * * * *
I ride on the hills, I forgive, I forget Life's hoard of regret— All the terror and pain Of the chafing chain. Grind on, O cities, grind; I leave you a blur behind.
I am lifted elate—the skies expand; Here the world's heaped gold is a pile of sand. Let them weary and work in their narrow walls; I ride with the voices of waterfalls!
I swing on as one in a dream; I swing Down the airy hollows, I shout, I sing! The world is gone like an empty word; My body's a bough in the wind, my heart a bird.
EDWIN MARKHAM, in The Man with a Hoe, and Other Poems.
We move about these streets of San Francisco in cars propelled by electric energy created away yonder on the Tuolumne River in the foothills of the Sierras; we sit at home and read by a light furnished from the same distant source. How splendid it all is—the swiftly flowing cascades of the Sierra Nevadas are being harnessed like beautiful white horses, tireless and ageless, to draw the chariots of industry around this Bay.
CHARLES REYNOLDS BROWN.
BACK, BACK TO NATURE.
Weary! I am weary of the madness of the town, Deathly weary of all women, and all wine. Back, back to Nature! I will go and lay me down, Bleeding lay me down before her shrine. For the mother-breast the hungry babe must call, Loudly to the shore cries the surf upon the sea; Hear, Nature wide and deep! after man's mad festival How bitterly my soul cries out for thee!
HERMAN SCHEFFAUER, in Of Both Worlds.
Across the valley was another mountain, dark and grand, with flecks of black growing chemisai in clefts and crevices, and sunny slopes and green fields lying at its base. And oh, the charm of these mountains. In the valley there might be fog and the chill of the north, but on the mountains lay the warmth and the dreaminess of the south.
JOSEPHINE CLIFFORD McCRACKIN, in Overland Tales.
The furious wind that came driving down the canyon lying far below him was the breath of the approaching multitude of storm-demons. The giant trees on the slopes of the canyon seemed to brace themselves against the impending assault. * * *
At the bottom of the canyon, the Sacramento River here a turbulent mountain stream, and now a roaring torrent from the earlier rains of the season, fumed and foamed as it raced with the wind down the canyon hurrying on its way to the placid reaches in the plains of California.
W.C. MORROW, in A Man: His Mark.
THE ROCK DIVING OF MOUNTAIN SHEEP.
On another occasion, a flock ... retreated to another portion of this same cliff (over 150 feet high), and, on being followed, they were seen jumping down in perfect order, one behind another, by two men who happened to be chopping where they had a fair view of them and could watch their progress from top to bottom of the precipice. Both ewes and rams made the frightful descent without evincing any extraordinary concern, hugging the rock closely, and controlling the velocity of their half-falling, half-leaping movements by striking at short intervals and holding back with their cushioned, rubber feet upon small ledges and roughened inclines until near the bottom, when they "sailed off" into the free air and alighted on their feet, but with their bodies so nearly in a vertical position that they appeared to be diving.
JOHN MUIR, in The Mountains of California.
The ridge, ascending from seaward in a gradual coquetry of foot-hills, broad low ranges, cross-systems, canyons, little flats, and gentle ravines, inland dropped off almost sheer to the river below. And from under your very feet rose range after range, tier after tier, rank after rank, in increasing crescendo of wonderful tinted mountains to the main crest of the Coast Range, the blue distance, the mightiness of California's western systems. * * * And in the far distance, finally, your soul grown big in a moment, came to rest on the great precipices and pines of the greatest mountains of all, close under the sky.
STEWART EDWARD WHITE, in The Mountains.
TO YOU, MY FRIEND.
To you, my friend, where'er you be, Though known or all unknown to me; To you, who love the things of God, The dew-begemmed and velvet sod, The birds that trill beside their nest. "Oh, love, sweet love, of life is best;" To you, for whom each sunset glows. This message goes.
To you, my friend. Mayhap 'tis writ We ne'er shall meet. What matters it? Where'er we roam, God's light shall gleam For us on hill and wold and stream. And we shall hold the blossoms dear, And baby lips shall give us cheer, And, loving these, leal friends are we, Where'er you be.
To you, my friend, who know right well That life is more than money's spell, Who hear the universal call, "Let all love all, as He loves all," Oh, list me in your ranks benign, Accept this falt'ring hand of mine Which, though unworthy, I extend. And hold me friend.
Strength is meant for something more than merely to be strong; And Life is not a lifetime spent in strain to keep alive.
CHARLES F. LUMMIS, in The Transplantation.
A winsome maiden planned her life— How, when she was her hero's wife, He should be royal among men, And worthy of a diadem. Through all the devious ways of earth She sought her king; The snows of Winter fell before— She walked o'er flowers of vanished Spring Into the Summer's fragrant heat; She bent her quest, with rapid feet, Then saddened; still she journeyed down The Autumn hillsides, bare and brown, Through shadowy eves and golden morns; And lo! she found him—crowned with thorns.
ANNA MORRISON REED.
The area of San Francisco Bay proper is two hundred and ninety square miles; the area of San Pablo Bay, Carquinez Straits, and Mare Island, thirty square miles; the area of Suisun Bay, to the confluence of the San Joaquin and Sacramento rivers, is sixty-three square miles. The total bay area is therefore four hundred and eighty square miles; and there are hundreds of miles of slough, river, and creek. A yachtsman, starting from Alviso, at the southern end of the bay, may sail in one general direction one hundred and fifty-four miles to Sacramento, before turning. All of this, of course, in inland waters.
CHARLES G. YALE, in The Californian.
It was the green heart of the canyon, where the walls swerved back from the rigid plain and relieved their harshness of line by making a little sheltered nook and filling it to the brim with sweetness and roundness and softness. Here all things rested. Even the narrow stream ceased its turbulent down-rush long enough to form a quiet pool. Knee-deep in the water, with drooping head and half-shut eyes, drowsed a red-coated, many-antlered buck.
On one side, beginning at the very lip of the pool, was a tiny meadow, a cool, resilient surface of green, that extended to the base of the frowning wall. Beyond the pool a gentle slope of earth ran up and up to meet the opposing wall. Fine grass covered the slope—grass that was spangled with flowers, with here and there patches of color, orange and purple and golden. Below, the canyon was shut in. There was no view. The walls leaned together abruptly and the canyon ended in a chaos of rocks, moss-covered and hidden by a green screen of vines and creepers and boughs of trees. Up the canyon rose far hills and peaks, the big foot-hills, pine covered and remote. And far beyond, like clouds upon the border of the sky, towered minarets of white, where the Sierra's eternal snows flashed austerely the blazes of the sun.
JACK LONDON, in All Gold Canyon.
Except you are kindred with those who have speech with great spaces, and the four winds of the earth, and the infinite arch of God's sky, you shall not have understanding of the desert's lure.
IDAH MEACHAM STROBRIDGE, in Miner's Mirage Land.
ST. PATRICK'S DAY IN CALIFORNIA.
This day we celebrate is a day of faith, faith in God and the motherland. It is a day of gratitude to the God whose grace brought our fathers into the Christian life, a day of gratitude to the nations which received our fathers and blessed them with the privileges of citizenship. Let us not mind the minor chord of sorrow and persecution. Let us rather take the major chord of glory and of honor, and from the days of scholarship and of freedom to the present moment of a world's national power, let us chant the hymns of glory and sing of victory.
BISHOP THOMAS J. CONATY.
Said one, who upward turned his eye, To scan the trunks from earth to sky: "These trees, no doubt, well rooted grew When ancient Nineveh was new; And down the vale long shadows cast When Moses out of Egypt passed, And o'er the heads of Pharaoh's slaves And soldiers rolled the Red Sea waves." "How must the timid rabbit shake, The fox within his burrow quake, The deer start up with quivering hide To gaze in terror every side, The quail forsake the trembling spray, When these old roots at last give way, And to the earth the monarch drops To jar the distant mountain-tops."
PALMER COX, in The Brownies Through California.
MARCH 19 AND MARCH 20.
A WINDOW AND A TREE IN ALTADENA.
By my window a magician, breathing whispers of enchantment, Stands and waves a wand above me till the flowing of my soul, Like the tide's deep rhythm, rises in successive swells that widen All my circumscribed horizon, till the finite fades away; And the fountains of my being in their innermost recesses Are unsealed, and as the seas sweep, sweep the waters of my soul Till they reach the shores of Heaven and with ebb-tide bear a pearl Back in to the heart's safe-keeping, where no thieves break through nor steal.
* * * * *
By my window stands confessor with his hands outstretched to bless me, And on bended knee I listen to his low "Absolvo te." Ne'er was mass more sacramental, ne'er confessional more solemn, And the benediction given ne'er shall leave my shriven soul.
* * * * *
Just a tree beside my window—just a symbol sent from Heaven— But with Proteus power it ever changes meaning—changes form— And it speaks with tongues of angels, and it prophesies the rising Of the day-star which shall shine out from divinity in man.
LANNIE HAYNES MARTIN.
IN THE REDWOOD CANYONS.
Down in the redwood canyons cool and deep, The shadows of the forest ever sleep; The odorous redwoods, wet with fog and dew, Touch with the bay and mingle with the yew. Under the firs the red madrona shines, The graceful tan-oaks, fairest of them all, Lean lovingly unto the sturdy pines, In whose far tops the birds of passage call. Here, where the forest shadows ever sleep, The mountain-lily lifts its chalice white; The myriad ferns hang draperies soft and white Thick on each mossy bank and watered steep, Where slender deer tread softly in the night— Down in the redwood canyons dark and deep.
LILLIAN H. SHUEY, in Among the Redwoods.
You rode three miles on the flat, two in the leafy and gradually ascending creek-bed of a canyon, a half hour of laboring steepness in the overarching mountain lilac and laurel. There you came to a great rock gateway which seemed the top of the world. * * * Beyond the gateway a lush level canyon into which you plunged as into a bath; then again the laboring trail, up and always up toward the blue California sky, out of the lilacs, and laurels, and redwood chaparral into the manzanita, the Spanish bayonet, the creamy yucca, and the fine angular shale of the upper regions. Beyond the apparent summit you found always other summits yet to be climbed, and all at once, like thrusting your shoulders out of a hatchway, you looked over the top.
STEWART EDWARD WHITE, in The Mountains.
So fair thou art—so still and deep— Half hidden in thy granite cup. From depths of crystal smiling up As smiles a woman in her sleep!
The pine trees whisper where they lean Above thy tide; and, mirrored there The purple peaks their bosoms bare, Reflected in thy silver sheen.
So fair thou art! And yet there dwells Within thy sylvan solitudes A memory which darkling broods And all thy witchery dispels.
DANIEL S. RICHARDSON, in Trail Dust.
Donner Lake a pleasure resort! Can you understand for one moment how strange this seems to me? I must be as old as Haggard's "She," since I have lived to see our papers make such a statement. It is years since I was there, yet I can feel the cold and hunger and hear the moan of the pines; those grand old trees that used to tell me when a storm was brewing and seemed to be about the only thing there alive, as the snow could not speak. But now that the place is a pleasure resort—the moan of the pines should cease.
VIRGINIA REED MURPHY.
THE LURE OF THE DESERT LAND.
Have you slept in a tent alone—a tent Out under the desert sky— Where a thousand thousand desert miles All silent 'round you lie? The dust of the aeons of ages dead, And the peoples that tramped by!
* * * * *
Have you lain with your face in your hands, afraid, Face down—flat down on your face—and prayed, While the terrible sandstorm whirled and swirled In its soundless fury, and hid the world And quenched the sun in its yellow glare— Just you and your soul, and nothing there? If you have, then you know, for you've felt its spell, The lure of the desert land. And if you have not, then you could not tell— For you could not understand.
MADGE MORRIS WAGNER, in Lippincott's.
One of the most beautiful lakes in the world is Lake Tahoe. It is six thousand feet above sea-level, and the mountains around it rise four thousand feet higher. * * * The first thing one would notice, perhaps, is the wonderful clearness of the lake water. As one stands on the wharf the steamer Tahoe seems to be hanging in the clear green depths with her keel and propellers in plain sight. The fish dart under her and all about as in some large aquarium. * * * Every stick or stone shows on the bottom as one sails along where the water is sixty or seventy feet deep.
ELLA M. SEXTON, in Stories of California.
A PLAINSMAN'S SONG—MY LOVE.
Oh, give me a clutch in my hand of as much Of the mane of a horse as a hold, And let his desire to be gone be a fire And let him be snorting and bold! And then with a swing on his back let me fling My leg that is naked as steel And let us away to the end of the day To quiet the tempest I feel. And keen as the wind with the cities behind And prairie before—like a sea, With billows of grass that lash as we pass. Make way for my stallion and me! And up with his nose till his nostril aglows, And out with his tail and his mane, And up with my breast till the breath of the West Is smiting me—knight of the plain! Oh, give me a gleam of your eyes, love adream With the kiss of the sun and the dew, And mountain nor swale, nor the scorch nor the hail Shall halt me from spurring to you! For wild as a flood-melted snow for its blood— By crag, gorge, or torrent, or shoal, I'll ride on my steed and lay tho' it bleed, My heart at your feet—and my soul!
PHILIP VERRILL MICHELS, in Harper's Weekly.
Lo, a Power divine, in all nature is found, A Power omniscient, unfailing, profound; A great Heart, that loves beauty and order and light. In the flowers, in the shells, in the stars of the night.
JOSIAH KEEP, in Shells and Sea-Life.
BACK TO THE DESERT.
Call it the land of thirst, Call it the land accurst, Or what you will; There where the heat-lines twirl And the dust-devils whirl His heart turns still.
* * * * *
Back to the land he knows, Back where the yucca grows And cactus bole; Where the coyote cries, Where the black buzzard flies Flyeth his soul!
BAILEY MILLARD, in Songs of the Press.
DRIVING THE LAST SPIKE, 1869.
Under the desert sky the spreading multitude was called to order. There followed a solemn prayer of thanksgiving. The laurel tie was placed, amidst ringing cheers. The golden spike was set. The trans-American telegraph wire was adjusted. Amid breathless silence the silver hammer was lifted, poised, dropped, giving the gentle tap that ticked the news to all the world! Then, blow on blow, Governor Stanford sent the spike to place! A storm of wild huzzas burst forth; desert rock and sand, plain and mountain, echoed the conquest of their terrors. The two engines moved up, touched noses; and each in turn crossed the magic tie. America was belted! The great Iron Way was finished.
SARAH PRATT CARR, in The Iron Way.
THE SPIRIT OF THE WEST.
All wearied with the burdens of a place Grown barren, over-crowded and despoiled Of vital freshness by the weight of years. A sage ascended to the mountain tops To peer, as Moses once had done of old, Into the distance for a Promised Land: And there, his gaze toward the setting sun. Beheld the Spirit of the Occident, Bold, herculean, in its latent strength— A youthful destiny that beckoned on To fields all vigorous with natal life. The years have passed; the sage has led a band Of virile, sturdy men into the West. And these have toiled and multiplied and stamped Upon the face of Nature wondrous things. Until, created from the virgin soil, Great industries arise as monuments To their endeavor; and a mighty host Now labors in a once-untrodden waste— Quick-pulsed with life-blood, from a heart that throbs Its vibrant dominance throughout the world. Today, heroic in the sunset's glow, A figure looms, colossal and serene. In royal power of accomplishment, That claims the gaze of nations over sea And beckons, still, as in the years agone. The weary ones of earth to its domain— That they may drink from undiluted founts An inspiration of new energy.
LOUIS J. STELLMAN, in Sunset Magazine, August, 1903.
The hills are gleaming brass, and bronze the peaks, The mesas are a brazen, molten sea, And e'en the heaven's blue infinity, Undimmed by kindly cloud through arid weeks, Seems polished turquoise. Like a sphinx she speaks, The scornful desert: "What would'st thou from me?" And in our hearts we answer her; all three Unlike, for each a different treasure seeks. One sought Adventure, and the desert gave; His restless heart found rest beneath her sands. One sought but gold. He dug his soul a grave; The desert's gift worked evil in his hands. One sought for beauty; him She made her slave. Turn back! No man her 'witched gift withstands.
CHARLTON LAWRENCE EDHOLM, in Ainslee's, July, 1907.
Hark! What is the meaning of this stir in the air. why are the brooks so full of laughter, the birds pouring forth such torrents of sweet song, as if unable longer to contain themselves for very joy? The hills and ravines resound with happy voices. Let us re-echo the cheering vibrations with the gladness of our hearts, with the hope arisen from the tomb of despair. With buoyant spirit, let us join in the merry mood of the winged songsters; let us share the gaiety of the flowers and trees, and let our playful humor blend with the musical flow and tinkle of the silvery, shimmering rivulet. Greetings, let fond greetings burst from the smiling lips on this most happy of all occasions! The natal day of the flowers, the tender season of love and beauty, the happy morn of mother Nature's bright awakening! The resurrection, indeed! The world palpitating with fresh young life—it is the Holiday of holidays, the Golden Holiday for each and all—the Birth of Spring.
BERTHA HIRSCH BARUCH, Copyright, 1907.
Almost has the Californian developed a racial physiology. He tends to size, to smooth symmetry of limb and trunk, to an erect, free carriage; and the beauty of his women is not a myth. The pioneers were all men of good body; they had to be to live and leave descendants. The bones of the weaklings who started for El Dorado in 1849 lie on the plains or in the hill cemeteries of the mining camps. Heredity began it; climate has carried it out.
WILL IRWIN, in The City That Was.
AN EASTER OFFERING.
I watched a lily through the Lenten-tide; From when its emerald sheath first pierced the mould. I saw the satin blades uncurl, unfold, And, softly upward, stretch with conscious pride Toward the fair sky. At length, the leaves beside, There came a flower beauteous to behold, Breathing of purest joy and peace untold; Its radiance graced the Easter altar-side. And in my heart there rose a sense of shame That I, alas, no precious gift had brought Which could approach the beauty of this thing— I who had sought to bear the Master's name! Humbly I bowed while meek repentance wrought, With silent tears, her chastened offering.
BLANCHE M. BURBANK
For all the toll the desert takes of a man it gives compensations, deep breaths, deep sleep, and the communion of the stars. It comes upon one with new force that the Chaldeans were a desert-bred people. It is hard to escape the sense of mastery as the stars move in the wide, clear heavens to risings and settings unobscured. They look large and near and palpitant; as if they moved on some stately service not needful to declare. Wheeling to their stations in the sky, they make the poor world fret of no account. Of no account you who lie out there watching, nor the lean coyote that stands off in the scrub from you and howls and howls.
MARY AUSTIN, in The Land of Little Rain.
There are breaks in the voice of the shouting street Where the smoke drift comes sifting down, And I list to the wind calls, far and sweet— They are not from the winds of the town. O I lean to the rush of the desert air And the bite of the desert sand, I feel the hunger, the thirst and despair— And the joy of the still border land! For the ways of the city are blocked to the end With the grim procession of death— The treacherous love and the shifting friend And the reek of a multitude's breath. But the arms of the Desert are lean and slim And his gaunt breast is cactus-haired, His ways are as rude as the mountain rim— But the heart of the Desert is bared.
HARLEY R. WILEY, in Out West Magazine.
In the universal pean of gladness which the earth at Eastertide raises to the Lord of Life, the wilderness and the solitary place have part, and the desert then does in truth blossom as the rose. And how comforting are the blossoms of the desert when at last they have come! When the sun has sunk behind the rim of the verdure-less range of granite hills that westward bound my view, and the palpitating light of the night's first stars shines out in the tender afterglow, I love to linger on the cooling sands and touch my cheek to the flowers. Now has the desert shaken off the livery of death, and ... is become an abiding place of hope.
CHARLES FRANCIS SAUNDERS, in Blossoms of the Desert.
There had been no hand to lay a wreath upon his tomb. But soon, as if the weeping skies had scattered seeds of pity, tiny flowerets, yellow, blue, red, and white, were sprouting on the sides of the grave. * * * A delicious perfume filled the air. The desert cemetery was now a place of beauty as well as a place of peace. But the silence and solitude remained unbroken, except when a long-tailed lizard scurried through the undergrowth, or a big horned toad, white and black, like patterned enamel, took a blinking peep of melancholy surprise into the yawning ditch that blocked his accustomed way.
EDMUND MITCHELL, in In Desert Keeping.
To those who know the desert's heart, and through years of closest intimacy—have learned to love it in all its moods; it has for them something that is greater than charm, more lasting than beauty a something to which no man can give a name. Speech is not needed, for they who are elect to love these things understand one another without words; and the desert speaks to them through its silence.
IDAH MEACHAM STROBRIDGE, in Miner's Mirage Land.
At length I struck upon a spot where a little stream of water was oozing out from the bank of sand. As I scraped away the surface I saw something which would have made me dance for joy had I not been weighed down by the long boots. For there, in very truth, was a live Olive, with its graceful shell and a beautiful pearl-colored body.
JOSIAH KEEP, in West Coast Shells.
With all its heat and dust the desert has its charms. The desert dust is dusty dust, but not dirty dust. Compared with the awful organic dust of New York, London, or Paris, it is inorganic and pure. On those strips of the Libyan and Arabian deserts which lie along the Nile, the desert dust is largely made up of the residuum of royalty, of withered Ptolemies, of arid Pharaohs, for the tombs of queens and kings are counted here by the hundreds, and of their royal progeny and their royal retainers by the thousands. These dessicated dynasties have been drying so long that they are now quite antiseptic.
The dust of these dead and gone kings makes extraordinarily fertile soil for vegetable gardens when irrigated with the rich, thick water of the Nile. Their mummies also make excellent pigments for the brush. Rameses and Setos, Cleopatra and Hatasu—all these great ones, dead and turned to clay, are said, when properly ground, to make a rich umber paint highly popular with artists.
JEROME HART, in A Levantine Log-Book.
The mountain wall of the Sierra bounds California on its eastern side. It is rampart, towering and impregnable, between the garden and the desert. From its crest, brooded over by cloud, glittering with crusted snows, the traveler can look over crag and precipice, mounting files of pines and ravines swimming in unfathomable shadow, to where, vast, pale, far-flung in its dreamy adolescence, lies California, the garden.
GERALDINE BONNER, in The Pioneer.
MIRAGE IN THE MOHAVE DESERT.
They hear the rippling waters call; They see the fields of balm; And faint and clear above it all, The shimmer of some silver palm That shines thro' all that stirless calm So near, so near—and yet they fall All scorched with heat and blind with pain, Their faces downward to the plain, Their arms reached toward the mountain wall.
The desert calls to him who has once felt its strange attraction, calls and compels him to return, as the sea compels the sailor to forsake the land. He who has once felt its power can never free himself from the haunting charm of the desert.
GEORGE HAMILTON FITCH, in Palm Springs, Land of Sunshine Magazine.
The wind broke open a rose's heart And scattered her petals far apart. Driven before the churlish blast Some in the meadow brook were cast, Or fell in the tangle of the sedge; Some were impaled on the thorn of the hedge; But one was caught on my dear love's breast Where long ago my heart found rest.
CHARLES FRANCIS SAUNDERS, in Overland Monthly, July, 1907.
For fifteen months the desert of California had lain athirst. The cattle of the vast ranges had fled from the parched sands, the dying, shriveled shrubs, appealing vainly, mutely, for rain, and had taken refuge in the mountains. They instinctively retreated from the death of the desert and sheltered themselves in the green of the foot-hills. North, east, south, and west, rain had fallen, but here, for miles on either side of the little isolated station * * * the plain had so baked in the semi-tropical sun until even the hardiest sage-brush took on the color of the sand which billowed toward the eastern horizon like an untraveled ocean.
MRS. FREMONT OLDER, in The Giants.
The strong westerly winds drawing in through the Golden Gate sweep with unobstructed force over the channel, and, meeting the outflowing and swiftly moving water, kick up a sea that none but good boats can overcome. To go from San Francisco to the usual cruising grounds the channel must be crossed. There is no way out of it. And it is to this circumstance, most probably, we are indebted for as expert a body of yachtsmen as there is anywhere in the United States. Timid, nervous, unskilled men cannot handle yachts under such conditions of wind and waves. The yachtsmen must have confidence in themselves, and must have boats under them which are seaworthy and staunch enough to keep on their course, regardless of adverse circumstances.
CHARLES G. YALE, in Yachting in San Francisco Bay, in The Californian.
I sit among the hoary trees With Aristotle on my knees And turn with serious hand the pages, Lost in the cobweb-hush of ages; When suddenly with no more sound Than any sunbeam on the ground, The little hermit of the place Is peering up into my face— The slim gray hermit of the rocks, With bright, inquisitive, quick eyes, His life a round of harks and shocks, A little ripple of surprise.
Now lifted up, intense and still, Sprung from the silence of the hill He hangs upon the ledge a-glisten. And his whole body seems to listen! My pages give a little start, And he is gone! to be a part Of the old cedar's crumpled bark. A mottled scar, a weather mark!
EDWIN MARKHAM, in Lincoln and Other Poems.
I lived in a region of remote sounds. On Russian Hill I looked down as from a balloon; all there is of the stir of the city comes in distant bells and whistles, changing their sound, just as scenery moves, according to the state of the atmosphere. The islands shift as if enchanted, now near and plain, then removed and dim. The bay widening, sapphire blue, or narrowing, green and gray, or, before a storm, like quicksilver.
EMMA FRANCES DAWSON, in An Itinerant House.
Although we dread earthquakes with all their resultant destruction, yet it is well to recognize the fact that if it were not for them we would find here in California little of that wonderful scenery of which we are so proud. Our earthquakes are due to movements similar to those which, through hundreds of thousands of years, have been raising the lofty mountains of the Cordilleran region. The Sierra Nevada range, with its abrupt eastern scarp nearly two miles high, faces an important line of fracture along which movements have continued to take place up to the present time.
HAROLD W. FAIRBANKS, in The Great Earthquake Rift of California.
Three years have passed, oh, City! since you lay— A smoking shambles—stricken by the lust Of Nature's evil passions. In a day I saw your splendor crumble into dust. So vast your desolation, so complete Your tragedy of ruin that there seemed Small hope of rallying from such defeat— Of seeing you arisen and redeemed. Yet, three short years have marked a sure rebirth To splendid urban might; a higher place Among the ruling cities of the earth And left of your disaster but a trace. Refined in flame and tempered, as a blade Of iron into steel of flawless ring— City of the Spirit Unafraid! What wondrous destiny the years will bring!
LOUIS J. STELLMAN, in San Francisco Globe, April 18, 1909.
O, EVANESCENCE! (SAN FRANCISCO.)
I loved a work of dreams that bloomed from Art; A town and her turrets rose As from the red heart Of the couchant suns where the west wind blows And worlds lie apart. Calm slept the sea-flats; beneath the blue dome Copper and gold and alabaster gleamed, And sea-birds came home. But I woke in a sorrowful day; The vision was scattered away. Ashes and dust lie deep on the dream that I dreamed.
HERMAN SCHEFFAUER, in Looms of Life.
What matters that her multitudinous store— The garnered fruit of measureless desire— Sank in the maelstrom of abysmal fire, To be of man beheld on earth no more? Her loyal children, cheery to the core. Quailed not, nor blenched, while she, above the ire Of elemental ragings, dared aspire On victory's wings resplendently to soar. What matters all the losses of the years, Since she can count the subjects as her own That share her fortunes under every fate; Who weave their brightest tissues from her tears, And who, although her best be overthrown, Resolve to make her and to keep her great.
EDWARD ROKESON TAYLOR, in Sunset Magazine.
They could hear the roar and crackle of the fire and the crashing of walls; but even more formidable was that tramping of thousands of feet, the scraping of trunks and furniture on the tracks and stones. * * * It was a well and a carefully dressed crowd, for by this time nearly everyone had recovered from the shock of the earthquake; many forgotten it, no doubt, in the new horror. * * * They pushed trunks to which skates had been attached, or pulled them by ropes; they trundled sewing machines and pieces of small furniture, laden with bundles. Many carried pillow-cases, into which they had stuffed a favorite dress and hat, an extra pair of boots and a change of underclothing, some valuable bibelot or bundle of documents; to say nothing of their jewels and what food they could lay hands on. Several women wore their furs, as an easier way of saving them, and children carried their dolls. Their state of mind was elemental. * * * The refinements of sentiment and all complexity were forgotten; they indulged in nothing so futile as complaint, nor even conversation. And the sense of the common calamity sustained them, no doubt, de-individualized them for the hour.
GERTRUDE ATHERTON, in Ancestors.
The sun is dying; space and room. Serenity, vast sense of rest, Lie bosomed in the orange west Of Orient waters. Hear the boom Of long, strong billows; wave on wave, Like funeral guns above a grave.
JOAQUIN MILLER, in Collected Poems.
SAN FRANCISCO. IN CHRISTMAS TWILIGHT, 1898.
In somber silhouette, against a golden sky, Francisco's city sits as sunbeams die. The serrated hills her throne; the ocean laves her feet: Her jeweled crown the Western zephyrs greet; Their breath is fragrance, sweet as wreath of bride, In winter season as at summer tide.
AFTER APRIL 18, 1906.
Clothed with sack-cloth, strewn with ashes, Seated on a desolate throne 'Mid the spectral walls of stately domes And the skeletons of regal homes, Francisco weeps while westward thrashes Through the wrecks of mansions, stricken prone By the rock of earth and sweep of flame Which, unheralded and unbidden, came In the greatness of her pride full-blown And at the zenith of her matchless fame.
And let it be remembered that whatever San Francisco, her citizens and her lovers, do now or neglect to do in this present regeneration will be felt for good or ill to remotest ages. Let us build and rebuild accordingly, bearing in mind that the new San Francisco is to stand forever before the world as the measure of the civic taste and intelligence of her people.
HUBERT HOWE BANCROFT, in Some Cities and San Francisco.
Queen regnant she, and so shall be for aye As long as her still unpolluted sea Shall wash the borders of her brave and free, And mother her incomparable Bay. The pharisees and falsehood-mongers may Be rashly blatant as they care to be, She yet with dauntless, old-time liberty Will hold her own indomitable way. A Royal One, all love and heart can bear. The all of strength that human arm can wield. Are thine devotedly, and ever thine; And thou wilt use them till thy brow shall wear A newer crown by high endeavor sealed With gems emitting brilliances divine.
EDWARD ROBESON TAYLOR, in Sunset Magazine.
Until a man paints with the hope or with the wish to stir the minds of his fellows to better thinking and their hearts to better living, or to make some creature happier or wiser, he has not understood the meaning of art.
W.L. JUDSON, in The Building of a Picture.
CALIFORNIA ON THE PASSING OF TENNYSON.
All silent ... So, he lies in state ... Our redwoods drip and drip with rain ... Against our rock-locked Golden Gate We hear the great, sad, sobbing main. But silent all ... He passed the stars That year the whole world turned to Mars.
APRIL 27 AND 28.
In ended days, a child, I trod thy sands, The sands unbuilded, rank with brush and brier And blossom—chased the sea-foam on thy strands, Young city of my love and my desire! I saw thy barren hills against the skies, I saw them topped with minaret and spire, On plain and slope thy myriad walls arise, Fair city of my love and my desire. With thee the Orient touched heart and hands; The world's rich argosies lay at thy feet; Queen of the fairest land of all the lands— Our Sunset-Glory, proud and strong and sweet! I saw thee in thine anguish! tortured, prone. Rent with earth-throes, garmented in fire! Each wound upon thy breast upon my own. Sad city of my love and my desire. Gray wind-blown ashes, broken, toppling wall And ruined hearth—are these thy funeral pyre? Black desolation covering as a pall— Is this the end, my love and my desire? Nay, strong, undaunted, thoughtless of despair, The Will that builded thee shall build again, And all thy broken promise spring more fair. Thou mighty mother of as mighty men. Thou wilt arise invincible, supreme! The earth to voice thy glory never tire, And song, unborn, shall chant no nobler theme, Proud city of my love and my desire. But I—shall see thee ever as of old! Thy wraith of pearl, wall, minaret and spire, Framed in the mists that veil thy Gate of Gold, Lost city of my love and my desire.
INA D. COOLBRITH.
The cataclysmal force to which we owe Our glorious Gate of Gold, through which the sea Rushed in to clasp these shores long, long ago, Came once again to crown our destiny With such a grandeur that in sequent years This period of pain which now appears Pregnant with doubt, shall vanish as when day Drives the foreboding dreams of night away. Born of the womb of Woe, where Sorrow sighs, Fostered by Faith, undaunted by Dismay, Earth's fairest City shall from ashes rise.
LOUIS ALEXANDER ROBERTSON, in Through Painted Panes.
Old San Francisco, which is the San Francisco of only the other day—the day before the earthquake—was divided midway by the Slot. The Slot was an iron crack that ran along the center of Market street, and from the Slot arose the burr of the ceaseless, endless cable that was hitched at will to the cars it dragged up and down. In truth, there were two Slots, but, in the quick grammar of the West, time was saved by calling them, and much more that they stood for, "The Slot." North of the Slot were the theaters, hotels and shipping district, the banks and the staid, respectable business houses. South of the Slot were the factories, slums, laundries, machine shops, boiler works, and the abodes of the working class.
JACK LONDON, in Saturday Evening Post.
HAWAII, WEDNESDAY, MAY 1. 1907.
A year ago, Jack and I set out on a horseback trip through the northern counties of California. It just now came to me—not the date itself, but the feel of the sweet country, the sweetness of mountain lilacs, the warm summer-dusty air. * * * And here in Hawaii, I am not sure but I am at home, for our ground is red, too, in the Valley of the Moon, where home is—dear home on the side of Sonoma Mountain, where the colts are, and where the Brown Wolf died.
CHARMIAN K. LONDON, in Log of the Snark.
A dull eyed rattlesnake that lay All loathsome, yellow-skinned, and slept, Coil'd tight as pine-knot, in the sun With flat head through the center run, Struck blindly back.
The air was steeped in the warm fragrance of a California spring. Every crease and wrinkle of the encircling hills was reflected in the blue stillness of the laguna. Patches of poppies blazed like bonfires on the mesa, and higher up the faint smoke of the blossoming buckthorn tangled its drifts in the chaparral. Bees droned in the wild buckwheat, and powdered themselves with the yellow of the mustard, and now and then the clear, staccato voice of the meadow-lark broke into the drowsy quiet—a swift little dagger of sound.