The Scented Garden by Eleanour Sinclair Rohde


 
Lady in a Garden

The Scented Garden  by Eleanour Sinclair Rohde

Old English Herbals by Eleanour Sinclair Rohde

Title Page of "A Curious Herbal"

Old English Herbals by Eleanour Sinclair Rohde

Autumnal Scents


Ilya Ostroukhov. The Golden Autumn

There is a wild, withered fragrance wandering in the wood. It is not the all-pervading incense of spring, but the sweetness of decay; a chastened odor; a something that has been touched with blast. It is from the pennyroyal, on the upland, the dying fern, the faded herbage; from the piles of drifting foliage, amid the dim aisles below; from the purple grape, hanging leafless upon the tree; from the heavy autumnal flowers that flame along the water-courses, secure from early frosts; from the ever-green pine, and from thousands of medicinal herbs, that linger amid the sorrowing rains of waning Autumn.
The Knickerbocker, Volume 14

Curled at the foot of a beech, where only greenest moss and silky grasses grow, I held the yarrow blossoms to my nose until my lungs were filled with the subtle odor that revived all my waning energies. It is not a summer scent that recalls June roses or the blossoms of fruit trees. It is heavy, rich, penetrating; a nut-like, oily, autumn odor that charges the landscape ; a transporting perfume that blots out the present and pictures the future without its blemishes; gives us the spirit of autumn and veils its frost-scared body. The bloom of the yarrow is as potent as the fruit of the fabled lotus.
Friends Intelligencer, Volume 53

The smells of the woods, arising from the decaying leaves that strewed the ground, were different, and each smell was characteristic. Oak leaves, when withering in the sun, exhaled a sharp keen odor which was altogether peculiar, and seemed to be the vivid essence of the strength of the tree, so that, in turning them up with the foot, you had, in the pungent smell emitted, a feeling of the enduring character of the tree itself. Ash leaves and elm leaves in their decay create an odor which has a special power of calling up pictures of the places where these trees grow. I used to know, from the smells of the different faded leaves on the ground, without looking up at all at the trees from which they fell, what kind of tree produced them. These autumnal odors touched the spirit in a wonderful way; and even in the hard streets of the city, when one catches them from the withered spoils of the over-arching trees, they bring dreams of dim forest haunts far away.
Current Literature, Volume 31
 edited by Edward Jewitt Wheeler

There was more Prince's Wood still to do, but, luckily, there was at this point a choice of roads. I need not say that we chose the other way around. It was only half shaded; the dense trees followed us on one side with their chill shadows and their acrid, autumnal odors, but overhead was the fair sky; and on the other hand we could see, stretching far away over the interminable net-work of little, rush-fringed watercourses cutting about the broad emerald meadows, the high, grassy dikes that kept back the brown waves of the North Sea. We could see the flapping pennons of the fisher-boats on the strand, and we could scent from afar the air tingling with ozone. The saline whiffs got stronger, and, even when mingled with dashes of peat-reek and tarry smoke from boat-menders' fires, with a few pungent fish-curing odors blended artfully now and then, it was fragrant perfume after the grave-like damps of that depressing grove.
Sketching rambles in Holland
 By George Henry Boughton

So, on the moment she went. It was the night of the full moon, the harvestmoon, and all earth and ocean lay glowing and quivering in a bath of golden splendor. From the woods and fields mine rich autumnal odors, and from over the sea, sighing breaths of a dying tropic breeze,—night-birds and insects on the one hand, the long waste of dreaming waves sliding up the sands, and breaking in music, upon the other.
Putnam's Magazine, Volume 2

Dr. Sneyd was at the window without another word. It was still so dark that he could not distinguish the intruder till he passed directly before the window. At that moment the doctor threw up the sash. The wind blew in chilly, bringing the autumnal scent of decaying vegetation from the woods; but the rain was over. The driving clouds let out a faint glimmer from the east; but all besides was darkness, except a little yellow light which was still wandering on the prairie, and which now appeared not far distant from the paling of the orchard.
Briery Creek. The three ages
 By Harriet Martineau

Were you aware that a delicious perfumeshoots' from the common brake-leaf when the frost has touched it? We never dreamed of it before our last autumn-ramble, but then as we stood at the foot of a hill, with a pretty lake weltering dreamin close by. and with glimpses of spring‘water now and then sparkling up through the crisp grass all around—an odor delicious and spicy, and somewhat like that of the verbena bean, scented the air all around. We searched everywhere for its source. A spice-bush, still feathered over with yellow blossoms, grew in a neighboring bank, but the odor was not like that of the spicebush. On a rock near by, a wild rose-bush was rooted—its leaves tinted with death, and yet with one flower in full blossom, and two buds just ready to unfold, and deeply red, as if the frost had but enlivened their color. Wild roses on the last day of October! was not this asight worth going into the fields to obtain l—and such roles! fresh as June,
And fragrant beyond any summer flower we ever met with; but no one bush of blossoms ever threw out the cloud of odor that floated around us— and its origin might to this day have been unknown, but for a lovely member of our party, who came running toward us from a rock where she had been remarkably busy with a tuft of withering brake leaves in her hand—
“ l have found it! I have found it! " said she, with sparkling eyes—“ the brakes! the brakes! "
Sure enough, it was the brakes ; they were all around us, polishing in the grass, and flinging a sweetness to the wind which their green prime had never known. The humble plant had no tribute of rich colors to offer to the year in aid of its bravestjubilee; but it poured out its dying breath where the beautiful leaves were revelling, and enriched the turf where it died, more delicious a thousand times, because it came when the flowers had exhausted their sweetness.
Brother Jonathan, Volume 6

 There is a pungency of sweetness in the autumnal scents; mint and sage and flagroot and lobelia-flower seem to mingle their smells in a braided strand of invigorating flavor. The fields are never so good as at this season when the winds blow over them with fresh life and vigor. To stand on a hilltop in the cheery autumn breeze and view the four quarters of the globe is a benediction. Nature does not say to you, Come here, and I will read you a lesson, preach you a sermon, or deliver you a lecture. She says, Just come to me, and I will steal into your heart an influence like the perfume of the autumn pasture, or the freshness of the western breeze.
There is a scent of ripening apples in the air. It is the best of the autumn's fruity odors. It mingles pleasantly with the scent of burning leaves where the blue smoke spires up and spreads abroad, deepening the mist to Indian summer coloring. The apple is the good perfume that haunts old garrets. There are plenty of scents in houses that are not quite agreeable, but what memories of old garrets the apple scent brings; and the herby scent of simples hung up along the rafter, to furnish the simple farm-house pharmacopoeia! There, too, in that vast roomy receptacle the big squashes and pumpkins found a place awaiting their conversion into Thanksgiving pies. What do city children know of real life who have never had a country garret to prowl in?
The Unitarian Register, Volume 93

Where the harrows have run, the foot sinks so deep walking would be weary work but for the stimulus of air and sky and ripe autumnal scents. The most subtle of them is the earth-scent—which is like nothing else under the sun. Life is in it, and balm of healing, and the gentle soothing of happy hope. Truth eternal is wrapped in the fable of Antaeus. He typifies humanity growing strong again by touching Mother Earth. It is mid-October he season of golden days, of silver starless nights, of fitful laughing rains that begin or end in mist. The sun is "a rose of dawn," a ball of fire-scarlet at his setting. All day long there is a tinge of ruby in his shining, and though mid-day is still summer-warm the shadows and the nights have lengthened and strengthened. There has been barely a hint of frost-only enough to accent the smell of garnered fruit, and sparse new fallen leaves....
Everybody's Magazine, Volume 7
 By Frank Norris, O. Henry

When I got into Lincoln Road [September 11] I perceived a singular sweet scent in the air; but, though I smelled everything around, I could not detect it. It was one of the sweet scents which go to make up the autumn, which fed and dilated my sense of smell. I felt the better for it. Methinks that I possess the sense of smell in greater perfection than usual. How autumnal is the scent of wild grapes, now by the roadside! The cross-leaved polygala emits its fragrance as at will; you must not hold it too near, but on all sides and at all distances. The pendulous, drooping barberries are pretty well reddened. I am glad when the berries look fair and plump.
The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, Volume 9

Over all this silence there was a domination of scent. The scent of the barley had not yet died out of the shorn fields; in the stackgarth it was strong and pungent. Mingling with it, now that ploughing had begun, came the good smell of the earth, fresh, strong, powerful, asserting itself with insistent force as the shining ploughshares turned its new-born face to the sky and the sun. Mingling with both was the rich odour of the apple-orchard, wherein the yet ungathered apples made spots of glaring crimson and yellow against the mysterious gloom of the interlacing boughs.
The Harvest Moon
 By Joseph Smith Fletcher



Carolina Pine.
BY HARRY R. PBTBRSON.
Somewhere in the sand hill country you can find me every fall,
Where the wind is dry and mellow and the grass is brown and tall;
Where you hear a drowsy music in an air as sweet as wine,—
In the whispering and murmuring of Carolina pine.

Clusters delicate as palm fronds, waving in a Southern breeze.
Quail a-whistling on the uplands, purple haze upon the leas,—
While from every grove and hill and barren, tuned with Nature's
tine,
Comes the undertone of ages from a spray of long-leaf pine.

I have listened in the night time and have heard that constant roar
Full and steady as the distant note of surf upon the shore;
And I keep that vibrant melody deep in this heart of mine;
Dreams and memories together, underneath a long-leaf pine.

Somewhere in the sand hill country you can find me every fall,
Near the fragrance of the uplands, out beyond the city wall;
For an everlasting music and the peace of God are mine
In the whispering and murmuring of Carolina pine. 

There is a pungency of sweetness in the autumnal scents; mint and sage and flagroot and lobelia-flower seem to mingle their smells in a braided strand of invigorating flavor. The fields are never so good as at this season when the winds blow over them with fresh life and vigor. To stand on a hilltop in the cheery autumn breeze and view the four quarters of the globe is a benediction. Nature does not say to you, Come here, and I will read you a lesson, preach you a sermon, or deliver you a lecture. She says, Just come to me, and I will steal into your heart an influence like the perfume of the autumn pasture, or the freshness of the western breeze.

There is a scent of ripening apples in the air. It is the best of the autumn's fruity odors. It mingles pleasantly with the scent of burning leaves where the blue smoke spires up and spreads abroad, deepening the mist to Indian summer coloring. The apple is the good perfume that haunts old garrets. There are plenty of scents in houses that are not quite agreeable, but what memories of old garrets the apple scent brings; and the herby scent of simples hung up along the rafter, to furnish the simple farm-house pharmacopoeia! There, too, in that vast roomy receptacle the big squashes and pumpkins found a place awaiting their conversion into Thanksgiving pies. What do city children know of real life who have never had a country garret to prowl in?
The Unitarian Register, Volume 93

There is a Wild, withered fragrance Wandering in the wood. It is not the all-pervading incense of spring, but the sweetness of decay; a chastened odor; a something that has been touched with blast. It is from the pennyroyal, on the upland, the dying fern, the faded herbage; from ‘the piles of drifting foliage, amid the dim aisles below; from the purple grape, hanging leafless upon the tree; from the heavy autumnal flowers that flame along the water-courses, secure from early frosts; from the ever-green pine, and from thousands of medicinal herbs, that linger amid the sorrowing rains of waning Autumn. 
The Knickerbocker; Or, New-York Monthly Magazine, Volume 14

Far above me, on the plain, orchards are bending with their affluent abundance. Plenty staggers over the earth, loaded with blessings. The heavy wain creaks along the distant landscape. There is the soft peach, with its tender blush, and melting flavor; pyramids of apples, reared to the memory of cider, and long winter evenings; corn, whose yellow ears lie embedded in the husk, like pure gold in the ore; pumpkins, plump-and round as the goodly periphery of an alderman, recline lazily over the field, in luxurious ease ; with eccentric squashes, crooked and perverse. It is the banquet of the year; the gathering-in of good things ; the consummation of labor and of hope. '

There is a Wild, withered fragrance Wandering in the wood. It is not the all-pervading incense of spring, but the sweetness of decay; a chastened odor; a something that has been touched with blast. It is from the pennyroyal, on the upland, the dying fern, the faded herbage; from ‘the piles of drifting foliage, amid the dim aisles below; from the purple grape, hanging leafless upon the tree; from the heavy autumnal flowers that flame along the water-courses, secure from early frosts; from the ever-green pine, and from thousands of medicinal herbs, that linger amid the sorrowing rains of waning Autumn.
The Knickerbocker; Or, New-York Monthly Magazine, Volume 14

And then there were storehouses and ricks and barns, all piled with the abundance of the harvest. The farm-yard was alive with young fowls and cocks and hens; and guinea-hens, those gentle little dowagers, went about glistening in silver and gray, and Cecilia's geese came clamoring to meet her. I can see it all as I think about it. The old walls are all carved and ornamented, sometimes by art and work of man's hand, sometimes by time and lovely little natural mosses. House-leeks grow in clumps upon the thatch, a pretty girl is peeping through a lattice window, a door is open, while a rush of sweet morning scent comes through the shining oaken passage from the herb-garden and orchard behind. Cows with their soft brown eyes and cautious tread are passing on their way to a field across the road. A white horse waiting by his stable door shakes his head and whinnies.....
This year all the leaves were turning to such beautiful colors that people remarked upon it, and said they never remembered such a glowing autumn; even the year when Frank came to Dorlicote was not to compare to it. Browns and russet, and bright amber and gold flecks, berries, red leaves, a lovely blaze and glitter in the woods along the lanes and beyond the fields and copses. All the hills were melting with lovely color in the clear warm autumn air, and the little nut-wood paths seemed like Aladdin's wonderful gardens, where precious stones hung to the trees; there was a twinkle and crisp shimmer, yellow leaves and golden light, yellow light and golden leaves, red hawthorn, convolvulus-berries, holly-berries beginning to glow, and heaped-up clustering purple blackberries. The sloe-berries, or snowy blackthorn fruit, with their soft gloom of color, were over, and this was the last feast of the year. On the trees the apples hung red and bright, the pears seemed ready to drop from their branches and walls, the wheat was stacked, the skyhooked violet behind the yellow ricks
The writings
 By Anne Isabella Thackeray

'Tis all a myth that autumn grieves,
For watch the rain amid the leaves;
With silver fingers dimly seen
It makes each leaf a tambourine;
And swings and leaps with elfin mirth
To kiss the brow of mother earth ;
Or, laughing, 'mid the trembling grass,
It nods a greeting as you pass.
Oh! hear the rain amid the leaves–
'Tis all a myth that autumn grieves!
'Tis all a myth that autumn grieves,
For list the wind among the sheaves;
Far sweeter than the breath of May 
Or storied scents of old Cathay,
It blends the perfumes rare and good
Of spicy pine and hickory wood;
And with a voice as gay as rhyme,
It prates of rifled mint and thyme
Oh, scent the wind among the sheaves—
'Tis all a myth that autumn grieves !
'Tis all a myth that autumn grieves—
Behold the wondrous web she weaves !
By view less hands her thread is spun
Of evening vapors shyly won.
Across the grass from side to side
A myriad unseen shuttles glide
Throughout the night, till on the height 
Aurora leads the laggard light.
Behold the wondrous Web she weaves—
'Tis all a myth that autumn grieves!
—Samuel Minturn Peck.

To the man who knows Arcadia as a child knows its mother's face there can be nothing more saddening than the change which has come over the harvest-field daring the last 30 years. In the 'sixties it was no uncommon thing—in spite of the gradual inroads which the mechanic and his machines had then made into rural industries—to find a typical old English harvest scene in the corn-yielding districts. As you went about the land what time the air was fragrant with the scent of ripened barley you came across some broad-acred field where the standing corn was being cut in the primitive fashion with scythe and sickle, and where the scene which almost every English landscape painter has striven to depict on canvas, was apparent in its natural truth. You heard the swish of the scythe, the sharp r-rasp of the sickle; you saw men's sunburnt arms moving in steady circles with the curved shaft of the one, and men's brown hands grasping the trembling corn as the other shore through the brittle straw. There were always women and children about in those days— women tying up the sheaves or busy with rakes— children tumbling about in the hedge-bottoms, or fast asleep at the foot and in the shade of a corn-stook. Men and women and children alike spent their day in the harvest field—ate, drank, slept, laughed, joked, and quarrelled in it, and went home at night when all the hedgerows were white with autumn-presaging dew, and the moon rose ghostlike above the furthest hill, with the scent of harvest clinging about them and the sleepiness born of sun and air filling their whole being.
The Journal of the Society of Estate Clerks of Works, Volumes 12-13
 By Society of Estate Clerks of Works, London

With August commences the decline of these delicious gifts of vegetation, and the scents of autumn and the harvest become every day more abundant, until the arrival of the frosts, which charge the atmosphere with those peculiar odors that mark the fall of the leaf. After the orchis has perished in the meadows, and while the nymphs who preside over the fields and flowers, are cherishing the buds, which will gladden and beautify the landscape of September, there is a short season of barrenness over the face of the earth, and nature, for a while, indulges in a short repose from her labors. August seems to be a kind of spring month of the autumnal flowers, the time when they put forth their buds and spread out their foliage over the fading treasures of the past month. When the red lily has fled from the uplands, and the yellow nodding lily from the valleys, and when the last roses are weeping incense over the fading remnants of their lovely tribe, then I know that the glory of summer has departed, and I look not until the coming of the asters and the golden-rods, to see the fields again robed in loveliness and beauty. 
The Boston Weekly Magazine, Volume 1



Haws, persimmons, and papaws also all have a flavor that is distinctly one of autumn, and the taste of fall apples is racier and sweeter than that of those ripening in summer. The elderberry supports its cymes of glossy berries to be the quick food of birds, the sumac paints the fence corners with its vermilion leaves and its antique seed clusters._ Long threads of gossamer float slowly through the air and curl and bend with the least breath. The seeds of the flowers, the weeds, and the trees are being scattered everywhere over the fields, some bare and heavy and going but a short distance, others with silky filaments attached to them, fairy wings to waft them along further on to a resting place at the foot of some tree or among the grasses. Have you ever opened the pod of a milkweed when the seeds were ripe? What a mass of luxuriant, snowy, silvery whiteness and brilliancy! Hundreds of seeds there, all ready to be sent to the winds in the great annual sowing. And hundreds of all kinds of seeds elsewhere also, some to be planted by the birds and the animals, some to be carried on the wheels of wagons or the feet of horses and cattle to other fields or left along the roadside, some to be blown to and fro by every gust, until at last they are lodged unto springtime beneath the snow. The floor of the autumn woods is carpeted in brown with the fallen leaves, dry and crisp, with their edges turned over. They have been tossed about hither and thither, and have drifted into all the hollows and paths and the ruts of the old wood roads. They rustle as we roughly walk through them. If we will only be quiet, perhaps we can hear further away a gray squirrel stepping lightly among the leaves in his search after nuts, or, it may be, concealing them there for his winter use. What stillness there is in the woods! It can almost be felt. The slight crash of the squirrel there as he frisks and jumps about breaks nervously upon the quiet; one thinks the little fellow must almost be afraid of himself. And there is so much repose and restfulness in the autumn woods. To lie among the dry fallen leaves, when those still on the trees are colored in one beautiful combination of yellow and russet and scarlet amid the green, as broad streaks of sunshine slant through the great trees to the brown carpet below, as a leaf twists from its twig and falls and flutters tremblingly everywhither to join the others—surely, then, with the crows overhead, one must feel that autumn is the halcyon time of the whole year. I always think of the fall as the season for I nutting. It is filled with the aroma and zest and tang of nutting time; the woods smell of walnut and hickory and beech and oak. This rich blending of scent from the different varieties is one of the most characteristic delights of autumn. To rub the hull of a walnut or to bruise a leaf from the tree, and then to inhale its odor, so suggestive of boyhood days and the wild, free life of the woods, is a privilege which comes only in‘autumn and is a rare part of it.
An Old-fashioned Sugar Camp, and Other Dreams of the Woods: A Book of the ...
 By Paul Griswold Huston
But although the sun has grown older, and rises later in the morning, although he has lost the youthful vigour which he had in the hours of spring, and the manly force and majesty of summer; he can yet fling fervid beams upon the green hill side, and call forth living creatures of the earth and air; for beauty lives for ever, and is with us still. The autumn crocus is still blooming sweetly lit the meadows, the harebell still hangs out its azure bells to nod dreamily in the sunshine; the wild mint creeps down into moist, shady places, and lures the singing bees with its intoxicating fragrance. The hawkweeds come sprinkling into bloom along the brown pathways, and stand about in their bewilderment gazing upwards at the sky, as though wondering if the sun was only some gigantic golden flower, and the gleaming stars which gem the darkness were such humble blossoms as themselves, planted in the blue meadows of the night. Then there are rich twilight beds of lavender, looking, as the sun goes down, like a phosphorescent sea, rippled all over its surface with crimson-crested waves; and as the night drops down from Heaven, it fades into the sombre purple of the autumn moorland, and with its sweet fragrance sends the very air to sleep. On the arid and barren ground, the large ox-eye daisy stands blinking in the sunshine, with no other green or flowery thing to bear it company but the wild tansy and the knotgrass; and only cheered in its solitude by the merry chirping of the grasshopper, as he skips here and there over the leaves and stems, in the bounding exhilaration of his happy heart. Down beside the stagnant pool, and along the borders of the corn-field, the tall golden rod bares its yellow flowers, and amid the ripening corn the rich crimson pheasant's eye—the rose-a-ruby of the sweet old time—comes into bloom, beside the wild mignonette, and the thread-like spurrey, and the wild marigold.
Eliza Cook's Journal, Volumes 3-4
 By Eliza Cook
Foothill Fall
By Elsinore Robinson Crowell
I HAVE an old brown coat. Within its warp and woof are threads of scarlet, blue and dusty gold. But closer than in woolen web are woven elements more precious far than brilliant threads, which make my shabby coat a garment rare. It is a tramping coat—not worn on measured streets nor for a festive show. But just for wandering, over a stout wool shirt, a battered skirt and hob nailed boots. So out we go, my coat and I.
The hills are good to see. Upon them the October light lies warm and wide. The slow winds rise and fall, fruity with blowing over ripened grass and seed. As pulsing fire, the yellow tar weed spreads abroad in glowing sheets of bloom, with fragrance like some old and mellowed spite. The grasses now are golden and the crisp stubble gleams against the resting earth. No longer are the scrub oaks dully green. Throughout their leaves they, too, are undershot with bronze. It is as if the amber light had entered as a winey life into the trees and fields until they pulse in one rich harmony.
I throw my old coat open'wide as I go down the road. .Deep in its folds the sunshine works its way. And through my veins as through insentient earth the light and color throb. Till I, who thought myself a thing apart from hill and wood—knowing so little of their strength and peace—become again a member of the freer world. I, too, share in the warmth and cheer, the joy of full maturity, the mystic promise of the pregnant soil. One with the heavy grain and fruitful trees, I lift my face up to the sun and sense the joy
of natural toil well done. 




Glory of Autumn


Autumn Landscape

"Autumn tints" are an old theme for poet, painter and moralist, and yet, as we stand in the woodland or the glades of the forest each fall of the year, there seems to be a newness about the scene, so beautiful are the colors, so rich are the harmonies, and so glowing is the glory of the splendor. We almost forget to be philosophical and to ask why there is this change from the sober green to the often brilliant hues of autumn. We lose sight of the fact that the leaves have done their duty and run their course, that the tree cannot afford to feed useless members and, therefore, cuts off the supply of food, that the chlorophyll can no longer effect oxidation by means of its vitality, and that consequently the cell contents appear in their native color, the color which they presented to us in spring as they came unfolded from the bud before oxidation set in. All this is forgotten as savoring too much of the pedant, and we revel in a vision of beauty. None the less is it charming, though shorn of its philosophy, and happy is he who can surrender himself up to the enjoyment of the simply glory of the woods. Among many a passage in which was appreciation of autumn scenes I do not recall one which appeals more forcibly to the lover of plants than the following by the Rev. Hugh Macmillan, the well-known author of Footprints of Nature. When I Was Young Sunday
Among the happiest memories of my boyhood are those connected with the gathering of the fallen leaves of autumn each year. It was the custom in my native village to bring such leaves home to form bedding for the cow or pig. It was delightful to go into the woods on the Saturday afternoons in October for this purpose; for, un
like the practise at the present day, we were always at school on the Saturday forenoons. Sometimes a holiday was devoted to this task, and often we made one when it did not otherwise happen. The labor was always regarded as a pastime and not a burden, and there was usually everything to make it a pleasant variety to one's ordinary life. The golden sunshine of those faroff days illumined hill and vale with a peculiar quality of brightness about it, as if it were now free, after having ripened the crops and fruits of the earth, to gladden the landscape for its own sake, and not for any utilitarian purpose. Sometimes a luminous transparent haze lay on the woods, through which the sun struggled with beautiful effects of light and shade; and the waters of the woodland burns twinkled, as the poet says, in the smoky light, and you could hear, in the universal stillness among the listening trees, the sounds of creaking twigs and falling nuts dropped by the squirrels overhead.
A mystical charm the faded leaves themselves possessed. There was something that appealed to an imaginative boy in the contrast between their decay and his own fresh young life, beginning to unfold its living interests. It seemed to enhance the joy of existence, to make life more beautiful by this melancholy shading, as a clump of young ferns in May seems more beautiful by the contrast of last year's faded fronds still clinging to them. Young people have a sentimental pleasure in sad things. They love to dream of an early and lovely death, and of the tender sorrow which it would inspire in sympathizing friends. Then, too, how much pleasanter were the free romantic glades of the woods than the close confined schoolroom, and the task of gathering the leaves into heaps and packing them into bags, than poring over books or reciting with fear and trembling our memory lessons to the teacher. How well do I remember setting out on such occasions, with rake and barrow, and three or four bags, to gather the leaves! What a perfect godsend in those days was a storm of wind, or a sharp frost which divested a tree of all its foliage at once, leaving it bare and disconsolate amid its own yellow ruins I How eagerly we took advantage of such occasions! How delightful were the revelations of the naked trees with their intricate lacework of branches and twigs, letting in the blue sky and the warm sunshine, and disclosing some cunning nest which the summer leaves had hid! Such leafless trees, I used to think, were often more beautiful and spiritual than when clothed with their full foliage. The remarkable individuality of each tree was fully brought out. All the trees seemed alike in their summer dress, round masses of green billows without any character, but the autumnal bareness revealed their distinctive mode of growth and the peculiarities of their nature. The trunks of some were ragged and covered with gray mosses and hoary lichens, giving them a venerable appearance; others were smooth and clean, giving no hospitality to lower forms of vegetable life.
The smells of the woods, arising from the decaying leaves that strewed the ground, were different, and each smell was characteristic. Oak leaves, when withering in the sun, exhaled a sharp keen odor which was altogether peculiar, and seemed to be the vivid essence of the strength of the tree, so that, in turning them up with the foot, you had, in the pungent smell emitted, a feeling of the enduring character of the tree itself. Ash leaves and elm leaves in their decay create an odor which has a special power of calling up pictures of the places where these trees grow. I used to know, from the smells of the different faded leaves on the ground, without looking up at all at the trees from which they fell, what kind of tree produced them. These autumnal odors touched the spirit in a wonderful way; and even in the hard streets of the city, when one catches them from the withered spoils of the over-arching trees, they bring dreams of dim forest haunts far away.
The shapes of the leaves were always a source of great interest. I remember vividly the first
time the long, tongue-like leaves of the sweet chestnut met my eye. I could not understand where they came from; they were so different from the other leaves with which I was familiar. But though I could not name the tree I greatly admired the leaves; their simple feather-veined blades, their rich brown leather-like texture and color. Why is it that broad simple leaves appeal more to the imagination and heart than muchdivided ones? Their very simplicity charms us, and they remind us that they are grown in calm regions where the winds are low and sweet, and where there are few storms to comb their tresses. Among the most abundant leaves were those of the sycamore whose palmate blades occupied considerable room. Ash leaves usually fall all at once in heaps to the ground, and as they were the last to expand they are the first to fade. They had none of the brilliant hues of the autumnal sunset of the woods, but simply turned to a dull brownish-green, curling up as if scorched by fire, and falling from the tree together, so that the branches were entirely denuded in a day or two. The leaves of the birch are small, but they are very beautiful in their bright golden hue, contrasting strikingly with the long black tresses and intricate witch-knots from which they have fallen and the clean snow-whiteness of the trunk. Like coins of gold are the aspen leaves that lie motionless on the ground, and are at rest from their incessant tremblings; graceful and delicate are the thin linden leaves that are blown about by every puff of wind, and speak of the delicate wood fiber that nourished them.
When I raked the withered leaves together, what wonderful sights I often disclosed that had been hid underneath them!—little rocky places covered with hoary lichens; fragile coral-like tufts, like the frost-flowers on window-panes in mid-winter; little goblets with scarlet edges, like drops of sealing-wax which the fairies might have used; mosses with braided stems or dense tufts soft as velvet, covered over with lovely seedcapsules; tiny mushrooms of varied hues and sizes and shapes; myriads of beech-burrs opening theit smooth shining valves, empty or filled with brown plump three-cornered nuts which were so toothsome to the schoolboy taste; oak apples and pretty embossed cups filled with polished acorn nuts, each of which filled its own cup exactly and no other. On the leaves themselves which covered these vegetable curiosities were strange markings. The sycamore leaves were covered with great round wrinkled spots of deepest black which had their origin in a curious parasitic plant of fungoid nature, while the under-surfaces of the withered oak leaves were jeweled with the rusty little round disks of the oak spangles, that looked like the "fairies' money" or the seeds of a polypody fern. Each of them was so perfect that it seemed as if cut out of a piece of velvet, and might be worn as miniature buttons by Titania herself; and there was always a scarlet mushroom, with its snowy gills and stem, and little white scales upon its resplendent cap, with the sun shining full upon it in the aisles of the golden birch woods.
Current Literature, Volume 31
 edited by Edward Jewitt Wheeler

Autumnal Odors by Charles C. Abbott


Autumn in North America

AUTUMNAL ODORS
By Charles C. Abbott, M.D.
Author of "Travels in a Tree-Top," "Clear Skies and Cloudy,"
"The Birds About Us," etc.
THE two senses only of sight and hearing will not always suffice when we ramble out of town. I have tramped from dawn to dark with a noted naturalist, who only exclaimed, from time to time, "See that colored leaf!" or " Hear that bird!" and never once referred to the odor-laden air. No one loves the autumn-leaf better than I do, or appreciates more the merits of a meadow-lark. I have seen the hill-sides one vast sheet of gold and crimson, yet the day was not given wholly to color; and listened to many a lark's exultant song, yet the day was not given wholly to music. Seeing and hearing much, we are all too apt to be content, and forget that we have missed much if the sweets of the scattered leaves and withered weeds have been disregarded. It matters not how commonplace the surroundings, breathe through a bruised hickory-leaf, and you may linger the while in Araby the Blest.
When sunshine follows rain, even in midwinter, the matted oakleaves in the woods send out a subtle odor that revives our memories of many a summer day, a medicinal, tonic odor that dissipates dulness and stimulates every sense,—so that the birds sing more distinctly, the horizon is more sharply limned, and if perchance we startle some crouching creature in its lair, the hunter-instinct is all alive within us, and we are as light-footed as when children and as eager to give chase. The leaves of autumn are nature's drug-shop, supplying a balm to the nerves of those who are weary of the town.
When certain animals announce their near presence in their peculiar way, we are likely to remember our noses, but such gross exaggerations of the heavy-laden air, like all other excesses, are but nature emphasized, and we have then to exercise common sense—a rare art—to realize the necessity for all that has occurred. The fact still remains: no charm of the outdoor world exceeds the odors that faintly tinct the frosty air.
I recently chose a favorable day and went odor-hunting. It was no childish whim nor aimless undertaking. What in the minds of many is the freak of a fool may have weightier purpose than the crowd wots of. I have always known sweet birch and sassafras, spice-wood and pennyroyal, but these are but four of a full four hundred. Delightful as are the odors of oak and hickory, they must yield to the walnut, and all give place, perhaps, to the white crowns of balm or dingy clusters of aromatic yarrow. The long, narrow knolls that divide the wide marsh meadows, and that only the greater floods shut out from view, appeal at present to neither eye nor ear, but stoop low and sniff the damp air that rests upon the dead grass, and these same knolls will prove something very different from what you supposed. So doing, you discover the Spice Islands. All your life you thought them in the far-off Indian Ocean; but here they are, too, in the valley of the Delaware, as they are, also, in the valleys of all our rivers.
One of those so-called ignorant old men, from whom I learned much of the little that I know, long ago, as he put it, "sent my nose to school," and I have never ceased to be grateful. So this bright November day, as I walked among the trees and then to clustered shrubbery, I gathered withered leaves and dragged to the light the skeleton of many a weed that had had its day, and not a leaf or withered blossom but still had an odor all its own. A few did not recall the bloom of summer days. The chemic action of frost had wrought a change in these, but never one that was not pleasing.
Suggestiveness ever plays a happy part when dealing with odors, and if a leaf or root tells of the swamp, how quickly comes the picture of what such a place really is. At once we see the handiwork of nature in a playful mood, when weeds and water, quicksand and clay, gnarly roots and giant vines, the dark cypress and stately cedar, mammoth elms and graceful liquidambars, mingled in tumultuous disarray, go to make a swamp. A swamp, indeed! and equally true, a rambler's paradise. Well may the nostrils be filled with the pungency of calamus, cohosh, and water-hemlock, that such pictures of waste places may rise up before us. The odors that veil artificiality and restore nature are worthy our consideration. Poor, much-maligned swamps, with their foul, miasmatic odors! This the familiar cry, but why speak so disdainfully of them? Were we not so hopelessly saturated with civilization, many a noxious odor, as we now think it, would be salubrious and sweet. It is well to be civilized, but not to the point of smothering every trace of the savage. A dash of man's primitive condition acts to-day like the pinch of salt that makes savory our dish of meat.
Perhaps because nature has had fuller sway, and I am more savage than my neighbors, I loved best to-day the most pungent odors that I found, and was disposed to roll on many a mat of bruised roots, like the kittens among catnip. Where the ground was wet from many a little spring, the earth itself fairly stung my nostrils. Nor was this all, for the real value of the sense of smell lies in what follows the first impression. The odor of food creates an appetite therefor; and so, too, the odor of the earth led me to consider the fulness thereof. Each new impression turned my attention to more tangible matters, even when I followed those faint, elusive perfumes that are wafted to and fro by the fitful breezes. Once there was the sweetness of honey, but I could find no bee-tree, and later the aroma of crushed grapes, and I wondered if some squirrel had this fruit among its stores. Think of a squirrel pressing grapes in mellow November sunshine, and drunk, perhaps, with the new wine. Surely nature's manifold odors are worthy of our regard when they stimulate fancy to this extent.
I found the damp lowlands varied, as tested by my nose, and where the pungency was most pronounced, there was life. An ammoniacal odor meant an abundance of low forms, as earth-worms, insect larvae, and many a wriggling creature that would not tarry long enough to be identified. I knew, then, the higher forms of life were not far off. We seldom find single links of the chain of life. Not every pretty hyla had taken to the tree-tops, and more than one frog leaped into the ditch as I walked through the dead grass. There was ice last night, but at noon to-day many a creature had recovered from its chill. Even flies danced in the sunbeams, and the aromatic air wooed many an autumn songbird to within my hearing. I crouched in the close cover of dead weeds, and soon had these birds about me. An over-staying cat-bird came to where I had torn up the grass and scratched for its food. Whitethroated sparrows came soon after, and lastly a Carolina wren, that meadow tell-tale, and chirped and fretted above me for no other purpose than to thwart my plans by warning every bird that came too near. Its interference was effectual, and I changed my position. Immediately the bird whistled, unmistakably, "I told you so! I told you so I"
And what now of the unsought odors that seek you and will not be denied? Such a one reached me as I neared the ditch, and my first thought was of the mud, now bare because the tide was out. Fancy rather than facts had now the upper hand. I began that idle dreaming so natural to an Indian Summer day that ends far oftener in the realms of fiction than in the domain of truth. As I walked, I could trace the one all-pervading odor to no single source. There was much decayed vegetation, but the frosts had sweetened it. The mud suggested nothing as I held it to my nose; no single plant gave any clue, yet the air was heavy with an unpleasing essence. Why such active distillation and where, I wondered. My imagination was happy if my nose was not, and not a possibility but was duly considered, but I was not disposed to be positive. This is dangerous, and will be until we have leaped all the fences that hem in the fields of knowledge. Suddenly the truth was made plain. On the bank of the ditch a trapper had been skinning musk-rats, and left their carcasses exposed. How very silly all my suppositions! Yet this should never be a source of sorrow to the








rambler. Pine-spun theories are more likely, in the end, to plague than please you, but they have their uses. It is wholesome discipline to find one's self mistaken. There is no other cure for rashness. The odor that I pondered over I attributed to every object in sight, and wrongly. I associated it with life, and it proved to be the effluvium of death. The lesson taught: the exercise of greater caution. Nature has the knack of teaching us not only the fact, but how not to forget it.
I did not face homeward till the day was done, for he misses much who neglects the gloaming. Now, if ever, one can dream and indulge his fancy to its full extent without danger of the shock of a sudden awakening. In the gloaming—there is music in the very words. As the darkness deepens, the upland fields, the intervening wood, and lowland marshes blend to a harmonious whole, and from it there rises a sweet, subtle odor that, while of the earth, earthy, is so in no mean sense. Our spirituality, of which we are so proud, would be less a figment of overwrought fancy if we tempered it more with the excellencies of this earth, which we so sadly underrate. The fragrance that now pervades the air is one of no distinctive feature. It is the blending of the activities of day and of every nook and corner of the land. It is the sweet breath of the sleeping earth, for now, with not even the hum of insects or chirp of drowsy bird to disturb it, the earth rests, nor awakes through the long watches of the autumn night.

Fragrance of the Wind by William Alfred Quayle


The Gust of Wind

And winds laded with odors—you can not escape their sweet comradeship. And winds blowing across a field where haycocks exhale fragrance, who can escape their witchery? Such winds know how to spoil waters and fields and forests of spikenards and balsams. I have inhaled fragrance from winds blown fresh from the sea through moors of purple heather, and can I forget the poetry of it even in heaven? I pray I may not.
Winds of spring, apple-scented and with earth-smell in them! And walking through woods at night when dew drips from the leaves and the score or more of odors saturate the air, and the frog's song sings up from marshes and ravines as if that were audible odor, and starlight plays hide-and-seek with you through the foliage, when there puffs in your face the musk of many odors mixed, then you could catch the Wind and kiss her on the cheek like a girl, for sheer delight. Then when lilacs blow, and spring hastens on to June and white clover chokes the air with heavy perfumes, and roses tell in the dark where they are blooming by the fragrance they lent the breeze as it strayed indolently through their dear delights, or later, when harvests spill their essences to the languorous winds, and later still, when winds bear their sad freightage of autumn leaves falling, or fallen, and faded. O the wind is the poet laureate of autumn; and the lonely, tearful music and autumnal fragrance of leaf-distilled perfumes fairly drug the senses of the spirit till perforce the winds make us poets against our will and reason.
In one of Hosea Biglow's pastoral preludes (bless him who wrote them and gave us Hosea!) is a touch of genius in discriminating odors. "Mr. Wilbur sez to Hosea, 'Wut's the sweetest smell on airth?' 'Noomone hay,' sez I, pooty bresk, for he was alius hankerin" 'round in hayin'. 'Nawthin' of the kine,' sez he. 'My leetle Huldy's breath,' sez I ag'in.' 'You're a good lad,' sez he, his eyes sort of riplin' like, for he lost a babe onc't about her age—'the best of perfooms is just fresh air, fresh air,' sez he, emphysizin', 'athout no mixture.'" And that is worth thinking of. All odors the winds bear are defective as compared with the utter freshness of the moving airs themselves. "Jest fresh air,"—what an exhilarant that is. Drinking water spouting fresh from mountain snow drifts, and the blowing of clean air in the face, and the making your prayer to God when life grows hard or glad—are not these apart from all things else and allow of no comparisons. Similes are lifeless here. And the breath of a wind after a rain! Wind is unspeakable for music and odors. What a happy fate to be associated with such recollections. If man or woman might hope in coming years, when far beyond the sight of eyes or hearing of the ears, to stay sweet memories in hearts which could not forget them, what could human heart ask more? And I have known such folks. The mention of their names makes me think of sunlit fields. All sweet things lie adjacent to their personalities, just as trees and shade and gurgling brooks and trailing clouds and sublime solitudes and what seems the ragged frontiers of the world lie adjacent to huge mountains.
Winds are fortunate to be the carriers of aromas and music; to come freighted with the lilac's breath and the happy voices of happy women's laughter. But I do not hesitate to confess that the rarest wind I have ever experienced is blown from Kansas prairies on summer twilights. About midway in Kansas, east and west, is this wind in perfection. Nothing equals it. I have loved winds blown from briny seas and from the emerald deserts of great lakes and the St. Lawrence dreaming northward like a drifting ship, and from Alp and Sierra, and my belief still holds that for unutterable tenderness, part wind, part spirit, for poetry whose threads can never be unbraided, these Kansas
June prairie winds have not any competitor. This may be the love of my lifetime veering my judgment, though I incline to believe this is the judgment of a balanced and an equal mind. The prairie wind, as I tell you, has a witchery quite beyond the telling of any man. There have I walked along the shores of summer twilight as on the shores of blue and beautiful Galilee, and caressing, like an angel's hand, went the dear wind, and in it a voice, half whisper and half dream, its touch, like the shadow-touch of a fond hand passing across you, yet scarcely touching you; the hush, and after that the slow streaming wind, like a breath from heaven upon a pilgrimage across the spaces, so remote its origin appeared; and journeying not any whither, yet everywhere and in no haste, loverlike loving to linger for another kiss—such a wind withal as one might love to have kiss him on the face that evening, when, after a long journey, with bleeding feet, he walked in through some postern gate out on the fields of heaven sown to asphodels, and dim lights and violets and immortelles. Such is the twilight summer wind in Kansas when the prairie grasses stoop a little to let the zephyrs by. To feel this necromancy once is worth a pilgrimage; seeing it will endure among the luculent recollections of a happy life.
''The wind to-night is cool and free.
The wind to-night is westerly,
Sweeping in from the plains afar.
Sweet and faint.
My thoughts to-night are far and free.
My thoughts to-night are westerly;
Sweeping out on the plains afar.
Where roses grow and grasses are.
My heart to-night is wild and fiee.
My heart to-night is westerly,"
-JOHN NORTHERN HILLIARD.
George Macdonald has felt the heavenly hill- winds blow:
"O wind of God that blowest in the mind.
Blow, blow and wake the gentle spring in me:
Blow, swifter blow, a strong, warm summer wind,
Till all the flowers with eyes come out to see.
Blow till the fruit hangs red on every tree."
Blow, wind of God!

On Apples-Henry David Thoreau


Early apples begin to be ripe about the first of August; but I think that none of them are so good to eat as some to smell. One is worth more to scent your handkerchief with than any perfume which they sell in the shops. The fragrance of some fruits is not to be forgotten, along with that of flowers. Some gnarly apple which I pick up in the road reminds me by its fragrance of all the wealth of Pomona, — carrying me forward to those days when they will be collected in golden and ruddy heaps in the orchards and about the cider-mills.
A week or two later, as you are going by orchards or gardens, especially in the evenings, you pass through a little region possessed by the fragrance of ripe apples, and thus enjoy them without price, and without robbing anybody.
There is thus about all natural products a certain volatile and ethereal quality which rep* resents their highest value, and which cannot be vulgarized, or bought and sold. No mortal has ever enjoyed the perfect flavor of any fruit, and only the godlike among men begin to taste its ambrosial qualities. For nectar and ambrosia are only those fine flavors of every earthly fruit which our coarse palates fail to perceive, — just as we occupy the heaven of the gods without knowing it. When I see a particularly mean man carrying a load of fair and fragrant early, apples to market, I seem to see a contest going on between him and his horse, on the one side, and the apples on the other, and, to my mind, the apples always gain it. Pliny says that apples are the heaviest of all things, and that the oxen begin to sweat at the mere sight of a load of them. Our driver begins to lose his load the moment he tries to transport them to where they do not belong, that is, to any but the most beautiful. Though he gets out from time to time, and feels of them, and thinks they are all there, I see the stream of their evanescent and celestial qualities going to heaven from his cart, while the pulp and skin and core only are going to market. They are not apples, but pomace. Are not these still Iduna's apples, the taste of which keeps the gods forever young? and think you that they will let Loki or Thjassi carry them off to Jötunheim, while they grow wrinkled and gray? No, for Rag narök, or the destruction of the gods, is not yet.

Apples our Fragrant Everyday Fruit


Zwei Kinder mit Brot und Äpfeln bei der Pause
Apples our Fragrant Everyday Fruit

An Autumn Fancy


Apfelbaum

AN AUTUMN FANCY by Nina Bell

O, For a brief sweet autumn afternoon,
In girlhood's beatific realm of dreams,
An hour from memory's cherished garden plucked,—
Flowers that fade and die, alas, too soon.
 From far a gleam appears,
A breeze that through the years
Blows back the fragrance of the country leas,
And thoughts of youth recall,
Past scenes, but most of all,
A girl a-dreaming midst the laden apple trees.

Concealed by drooping limbs that sway and creak,
Thick hung with red and juicy Jonathans,
Or through the dusky green the amber tint
Of Jeffries, pied with many a crimson streak;
With Wagner's ruddy cheek,
And Pippins plump and sleek,
The mellow "punkies" bursting just o'erhead,
While hung a-poised on high,
The Maiden Blush so shy,
Persuades that hither startled Grecian Daphne fled.

There, pillowed on the tawny, sun-warmed mold,
In utter solitude, with none to spy,
The cloud be-sprinkled sky spread high above,
Below, the fields touched now with gaudy gold;
And on the air no sound,
To break the silence 'round,
Save far away the house dog's bark at home,
Or the noise a windfall makes,
When the weighted fruit tree shakes,
And it falls with a "plunk" in the soft and yielding loam.

Thus fast secure from household's busy thrift,
The troublous care floats off on airy wings,
And fancies fond the willing mind possess;
When sudden* shadows darkly falling, lift
The gaze up through the blue
Of the sky's translucent hue, 
Surprised to find the sun already low;
O, thus to dream away One hazy autumn day,
Amid the laden orchard trees of long ago!

Enchantment of Gorse


Early summer - gorse in bloom
A fresh wind blew from the sea; the path led at a varying level along the down broken every here and there with projecting crags, boulders fallen from a crag above, and sudden walls of rock, where the sea has carved a narrow inlet. It was a pleasant path, but I had seen such views before in Devon, Yorkshire, or maybe elsewhere; nothing was strange save the aromatic whiffs of some thymy perfume that seemed to come from 
"The underflowers, which did enrich the ground 
With sweeter scents than in Arabia found." 
But somehow the path tempted me to a distance beyond my strength. I was tired of wide views that seemed just like what one had seen and known all one's life ; they seemed to remind me tiresomely of what I was trying to forget, that life itself was like to be hard and tiresome when I got back to it anon. I wanted to escape from this remembrance, and in another moment I should have been caught regretting the weird spirits of the shore. A stronger gust of wind, that it was a labour to battle with, put the crowning touch to my discontent. Just in front the down sank a little, a steep, green semi-circular arena faced the sea, and I struggled on to reach its shelter. Only a step or two beyond the ridge and the air was warm and still, like a June evening. I threw myself on the slope and felt the rapture of repose. I was under the lee of a flaming gorse bush, and the sweet shadowy fragrance stole upon the senses unawares; something ineffably sweet and subtle seemed to prevade the moveless air, the subtle sweetness was strange and new—were there spirits of the earth here as well as of the sea?
I forgot the weariness, and half raised myself to see whence this new wonder came. The clump that sheltered me was ablaze with the deepest orange-yellow bloom; each flowering spiky head was an abyss of warm, deep, odorous colour; furze like this, indeed, I had never seen before, every blossom large and open wide, and countless full open blossoms, jostling each other upon every stem, and the flowering stems jostling each other on the burning bush. I drew a big branch towards me, and drank like nectar a great draught of the pure sweet scent. But the sweet gorse is a treasure, not a mystery, and the first breath I drew on this spot was laden with a mystery of sweetness. I lay back upon the grass again with closed eyes, inviting the ethereal messenger, and my heart sank as for half a moment I waited in vain for the perplexing fragrance. I moved impatiently, and threw my arm back to make a pillow ; at the very moment something like fairy fingers seemed to pull my hair, and in a breath the scent was there again, and the simple magic of its being read. Mingled with the gorse, half choked by the robuster clumps, but thrusting its tender green leaves triumphantly through the cushions of the younger  plants, a very thicket of sweetbriar was growing all round, and the shoots I had crushed unknowingly were sending out their sweetest fragrance to mix with the simple nectar of the whin-bloom in a cunning draught of unearthly delicacy. Those may laugh at me who will, and count it strange to be thus moved by the breath of a passing scent, but my heart grew warm with love for those children of the warm, lone earth; they had shed.
The sunlit waves came to me with a startling and happy message that the outer world was fair, whether I saw it or no; bat the sweet-briar among the prickles challenged me to own a spiritual truth—the world was lovable, whether I saw why or no, and whether its sweetness was beloved—as by me to-day—or left unseon, undreamt of, through the lonely years.
Littell's Living Age, Volume 150
 edited by Eliakim Littell, Robert S. Littell

Beauty of the Grand Canyon from The Grand Canyon of Arizona By Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
Hither, to this point of the chasm whence I am writing, long ago came Thomas Moran, the painter, and painted for the people of the United States that great scene which hangs in the capitol, and which only a few can as yet appreciate—the few who have beheld the wonderful spectacle. All others are bound to regard it as a luxurious lotus-dream of color and mystery.
Moran's great picture tells the truth as one sees the truth, gazing upon the scene with the poet's eyes and feeling its frightful grandeur with a poet's soul. Any other conception of it is worse than nothing—measurements, calculations, note-book loquacity, kodak mementos, all these vulgarize the impression of a thing too stupendous and too completely unique to furnish the mind with any direct and definite expression; and no one, save only Moran—certainly no artist of the pen—has found even approximate expression for the unique splendors, the fascination and the awe of this unparalleled scene.
But for a truth the finest effects here are altogether uncommunicable by brush or pen. They give themselves up only to the personal presence, and no painter or writer can do more than suggest what they are by indicating how they make him feel. You cannot paint a silence, nor a sound, nor an odor, nor an emotion, nor a sob. If you are skillful you may suggest them to the imagination but that is all, and Moran's fine picture does that admirably. It gives one sublime glimpse of that mysterious and abysmal repose, one irresistible suggestion of those vast and sublime silences, one amazing flash of that marvelous scheme of color, suggesting melody and fragrance. And that is all which human skill can convey by brush or pen.
This is certainly no scene to be boggled by your sign-painting blockhead of an artist, with complacent reliance on his compasses and perspective scale, and paint pot and palette. There is a great tragic soul in the scene, which the soul in the artist must clasp or fail utterly.

It is not the matchless immensity of it, I think, that overcomes you, but that your senses cannot quite encompass and analyze its unique and elusive quality. This great impassive thing that frightens you by its appalling immensity, that enthralls your imagination by the magic of its matchless beauty, that bewilders and mystifies your senses by the vague suggestion of fragrance and melody in its gorgeous purples, and by the vast, echoless silences of its Pompeiian reds and yellows, is inexorable and unresponsive to your puny emotions. That is what fills you with a nameless longing, a divine regret. That is what makes you sob unconsciously as you gaze off" into the abysmal, chromatic splendors of the scene. Your soul hungers for a sympathy which the great spectacle is too impassive, too inexorable, to yield. The inexorable always affects us like that in our psychic moods. The generous mind receives always a sensation of diffused pain from any spectacle or any emotion that baffles complete expression, and the divine pathos of this is as undefinable, as inexorable, as resistless as death—and as lovely as the hope of lifceverlasting.