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The Garden Of The Gods Post by :nceea Category :Essays Author :William Cowper Brann Date :July 2011 Read :868

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The Garden Of The Gods

Much has been written of Texas by immigration boomers, "able editors" and others, with an eye single to the almighty dollar. Its healthfulness, delightful climate, undeveloped resources, churches, schools, etc., have been expatiated upon times without number, but little has been said of its transcendent beauty. The average "able editor" is not a very aesthetic animal. He has an eye for the beautiful, 'tis true; but his tastes are of the earth earthy.

A half-page display ad. with wood-cut portrait of a chamber- set occupying the foreground and the clare-obscure worked up with various sizes and styles of black type, possesses far more charm for him than does the deep blue of our Southern sky, whose mighty concave seems to reach to Infinity's uttermost verge; a two-story brick livery stable or laundry is to him far more interesting than the splendors of the Day-god rising from the ocean's blue; an eighty-cent dollar with its lying legend more beautiful in his eyes than even Austin's violet crown bathed in the radiance of the morning or arched with twilight's dome of fretted gold. The "able editor" cares naught for purple hills, unless they contain mineral; for broad champaigns unless the soil be good; for flashing brooks unless they can be made to turn a millwheel or water a cow.

The "able editor" takes it for granted that everybody is as grossly materialistic as himself,--care not whether the sky above their heads is blue or black so long as the soil beneath their feet is fertile; whether the landscape be pleasant or forbidding so long as it will yield them creature comforts. Perhaps he is very nearly right. The fact that millions will make their homes beneath leaden skies, amid scenes of desolation, while there is room and to spare in our sunny Southland, is not without its significance,-- indicates plainly that man has not yet progressed far into that spiritual kingdom where the soul must be fed as well as the stomach; where sunlight is more necessary than sauer-kraut, where beauty furnishes forth more delights than beer.

Still there must be a few people in this gain-grabbing world not altogether indifferent to the beauties of nature; to whom the gold of the evening sky is more precious than that wrung with infinite toil from the bowels of the earth; to whom the purple of the hills is more pleasing than the crustacean dyes of ancient Tyre; the flashing of clear waters more delightful than the gleam of diamonds; the autumn's rainbow tints more inspiring than the dull red heart of the ruby. To have such a home in Texas were like a sojourn in that pleasant paradise where our primal parents first tasted terrestrial delights. No Alps or Apennines burst from Texas' broad bosom and rear their cold, dead peaks mile above mile into heaven's mighty vault; no Vesuvius belches his lurid, angry flame at the stars like a colossal cannon worked by Titans at war with the Heavenly Hierarchy; no Niagara churns its green waters into rainbow- tinted foam. The grandeur of Texas is not that of destruction and desolation; its beauties are not those which thrill the heart with awe, but fill it with adoration and sweet content. Not dark and dreary mountains riven by the bolts of angry Jove; not gloomy Walpurgis gorges where devils dance and witches shriek; not the savage thunder of the avalanche, but the sun-kissed valley of Cashmere, the purple hills of the lotus eaters' land, the pastoral beauties of Tempe's delightful vale. Here is repeated a thousand times that suburban home which Horace sang; here the coast where Odysseus, "the much-enduring man," cast anchor and declared he would no longer roam; here the Elysian fields "far beyond the sunset"; here the valley of Avilion lies


"Deep-meadowed, happy, fair with orchard-lawns
And bowery hollows crowned with summer sea,"


where Queens nurse the wounded hero back to life; here the lost Atlantis, new-found; the land where it is always summer; where airs softer than those of Araby the Blest are ever blowing; skies bluer than ever arched famed Tuscany bid earthworms look heavenward; sunsets whose gleaming gold might ransom a universe!

What care I who owns this broad expanse of emerald mead and purple hills? who pays the taxes and digs and delves therein for gain? It is all mine, and the sky above it is mine to the horizon's uttermost verge; the flashing waters, the cool mists creeping down the hills, the soft breeze stealing up from Neptune's watery world with healing on its wings, still fragrant with spices of the Spanish main--all, all mine; a priceless heritage which no man toiled for, which no spendthrift can east away.


(The end)
William Cowper Brann's essay: Garden Of The Gods

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