I HOLD the finest picture-books
Are woods an’ fields an’ runnin’ brooks;
An’ when the month o’ May has done
Her paintin’, an’ the mornin’ sun
Is lightin’ just exactly right
Each gorgeous scene for mortal sight,
I steal a day from toil an’ go
To see the springtime’s picture show.
It’s everywhere I choose to tread—
Perhaps I’ll find a violet bed
Half hidden by the larger scenes,
Or group of ferns, or living greens,
So graceful an’ so fine, I swear
That angels must have placed them there
To beautify the lonely spot
That mortal man would have forgot.
What hand can paint a picture book
So marvelous as a runnin’ brook?
It matters not what time o’ day
You visit it, the sunbeams play
Upon it just exactly right,
The mysteries of God to light.
No human brush could ever trace
A droopin’ willow with such grace!
Page after page, new beauties rise
To thrill with gladness an’ surprise
The soul of him who drops his care
And seeks the woods to wander there.
Birds, with the angel gift o’ song,
Make music for him all day long;
An’ nothin’ that is base or mean
Disturbs the grandeur of the scene.
There is no hint of hate or strife;
The woods display the joy of life,
An’ answer with a silence fine
The scoffer’s jeer at power divine.
When doubt is high an’ faith is low,
Back to the woods an’ fields I go,
An’ say to violet and tree:
‘No mortal hand has fashioned thee.’