Of all the sweet visions that come unto me
Of happy refreshment by land or by sea,
Like oases where in life's desert I roam,
Is nothing so pleasant as Holiday Home.
I climb to the top of the highest of hills
And look to the west with affectionate thrills,
And fancy I stand by the emerald side
Of charming Geneva, like Switzerland's pride.
In distant perspective unruffled it lies,
Except for the packet that paddles and plies,
And puffing its way like a pioneer makes
Its daily go-round o'er this pearl of the lakes.
Untroubled except for the urchins that come
From many a haunt that is never a home,
Instinctive as ducklings to swim and to wade,
Scarce knowing aforetime why water was made.
All placid except for the dip of the oar
Of the skiff, or the barge striking out from the shore,
While merry excursionists shout till the gale
Reverberates laughter through rigging and sail.
How it scallops its basin and shimmers and shines
Like a salver of silver encompassed with vines,
In crystal illusion reflecting the skies
And the mountain that seems from its bosom to rise.
There stands a great house on a summit so high,
Like an eyrie of safety enroofed by the sky;
And I think of the rest and the comfort up there
To sleep, and to breathe that empyreal air.
Oh, the charm of the glen and the stream and the wood
Can never be written, nor be understood,
Except by the weary and languid who come
To bask in the quiet of Holiday Home.
From prisonlike cellars unwholesome and drear,
From attic and alley, from labor severe,
For the poor and the famished doth kindness prepare
A world of diversion and excellent fare.
To swing in the hammock, disport in the breeze,
To lie in the shade of magnificent trees -
Oh, this is like quaffing from luxury's bowl
The life-giving essence for body and soul!
Nor distance nor time shall efface from the mind
The influence gentle, the ministry kind;
While gratitude fondly enhallows the thought
Of a home and a holiday never forgot.
Ah, one is remembered of saintliest men
To lovely Geneva who comes not again;
Who left a sweet impress wherever he trod,
Humanity's helper, companion of God.
In the hearts of the many there sheltered and fed,
As unto a hospice by Providence led,
Does often a thought like a sunbeam intrude
Of the bounty so free, and the donors so good?
Who of their abundance have cheerfully given
Wherewith to develop an embryo heaven -
To brighten conditions too hard and too sad
And make the unhappy contented and glad.
Be blessedness theirs, who like knights of renown
Thus scatter such largesse o'er country and town,
Their monument building in many a dome
Like healthful and beautiful Holiday Home.