A 19TH Century Canadian Time Capsule

The Trailing Arbutus

Acknowledgement on “The Trailing Arbutus” (below) of authorship (Mrs. Whitman) seems to indicate that the other Poems and songs were originals written by Miss Grove.
There’s a flower that grows by the greenwood tree,
In its desolate beauty more dear to me,
Than all that bask in the noon tide beam,
Through the long, bright summer, by fount and stream.

Like a pure hope nursed beneath sorrow’s wing,
Its timid buds from the cold moss spring;
Their delicate hues like the pink sea-shell,
Or the shaded blush of the hyacinth’s bell,
Their breath more sweet than the faint perfume
That breathes from the bridal orange bloom.
It is not found by the garden wall,
It wreathes no brow in the festive hall,
But dwells in the depths of the shadowy wood,
And shines like a star in the solitude.
Never did numbers its name prolong,
Ne’er hath it floated on wings of song.
Bard and minstrel have passed it by,
And left it in silence and shade to die.
But with joy to its cradle the wild bees come,And praise its beauty with drony hum;
And children love in the season of spring
To watch for its early blossoming.
In the dewy morn of an April day,
When the traveler lingers along the way,
When the sod is sprinkled with tender green,
where rivulets water the earth unseen,
When the floating fringe on the maple’s crest
Rivals the tulips crimson vest,
And the budding leaves of the birch-tree throw
A trembling shade on the turf below,
When my flower awakes from its dreamy rest,
And yields its lips to the sweet south west,
Then, in those beautiful days of spring,
With hearts as light as the wild bird’s wing,
Flinging their tasks and their toys aside, Gay little groups through the wood-paths glide,
Peeping and peering among the trees,
As they scent its breath on the passing breeze,
Hunting about among lichens grey
And the tangled moss beside the way,
Till they catch the glance of its quiet eye,
Like light that breaks through a cloudy sky.”