Song of the Forest Ranger

Herbert Bashford, 1871-1928

Oh, to feel the fresh breeze blowing
      From lone ridges yet untrod!
Oh, to see the far peak growing 
      Whiter as it climbs to God!
Where the silver streamlet rushes
      I would follow–follow on
Till I hear the happy thrushes 
      Piping lyrics to the dawn.
Come, and learn the joy of living, 
     Come, and you will understand
How the sun his gold is giving
     With a great impartial hand;
How the patient pine is climbing
     Year by year to reach the sky;
How the rills make sweetest rhyming
     Where the deepest shadows lie.
I would hear the wild rejoicing 
      Of the wind-blown cedar tree,
Hear the sturdy hemlock voicing
      Ancient epics of the sea.
Forest aisles would I be winding
      Out beyond the gates of care,
And in dim cathedrals, finding
      Silence in the shrine of prayer.
I am nearer the great Giver
     Where His handiwork is crude.
Friend am I of peak and river,
     Comrade of old solitude.
Not for me the city’s riot,
     Not for me the towers of trade.
I would seek the house of quiet 
     That the Master Workman made.
When the mystic night comes stealing
     Through my vast green room afar,
Never king had richer ceiling–
     Bended bough and yellow star.
Ah, to list the sacred preaching
     Of the forest’s faithful fir,
With its strong arms upward reaching,
     Mighty trustful worshiper.


See also: Hymn of the Vaudois Mountaineers