To James Whitcomb Riley
On his "Book of Joyous Children"
Yours is a garden of old-fashioned flowers;
Joyous children delight to play there;
Weary men find rest in its bowers,
Watching the lingering light of day there.
Old-time tunes and young love's laughter
Ripple and run among the roses;
Memory's echoes, murmuring after,
Fill the dusk when the long day closes.
Simple songs with a cadence olden--
These you learned in the Forest of Arden:
Friendly flowers with hearts all golden--
These you borrowed from Eden's garden.
This is the reason why all men love you;
Truth to life is the charm of art:
Other poets may soar above you--
You keep close to the human heart.