By the breadth of the blue that shines in silence o’er me,
by the length of the mountain-lines that stretch before me,
by the height of the cloud that sails, with rest in motion,
over the plains and the vales to the measureless ocean,
(O, how the sight of the things that are great enlarges the eyes!)
draw me away from myself to the peace of the hills and the skies.
While the tremulous leafy haze on the woodland is spreading,
and the bloom on the meadow betrays where May has been treading;
while the birds on the branches above, and the brooks flowing under,
are singing together of love in a world full of wonder,
(lo, in the marvel of spring-time, dreams are changed into truth!)
quicken my heart, and restore the beautiful hopes of youth.
By the faith that the flowers show when they bloom unbidden,
by the calm of the river’s flow to a goal that is hidden,
by the trust of the tree that clings to its deep foundation,
by the courage of wild birds’ wings on the long migration,
(wonderful secret of peace that abideth in Nature’s breast!)
teach me how to confide, and live my life, and rest.
For the comforting warmth of the sun that my body embraces,
for the cool of the waters that run thro’ the shadowy places,
for the balm of the breezes that brush my face with their fingers,
for the vesper-hymn of the thrush when the twilight lingers,
now with a breath that is deep-drawn, breath of a heart without care,
I will give thanks and adore thee, God of the open air.
Henry van Dyke (1852-1933)