The Dedication
of The Green Cathedral
The groves were God's first temples. Ere Man learned to hew the shaft And lay the architrave,
And spread the roof above him.
In the darkling wood
Amid the cool and silence,
He knelt down,
And offered to the Mightiest
Solemn thanks -- and supplication.
Father, thy hand
Hath reared these venerable columns.
Thou didst weave this verdant roof. Thou didst look down
Upon the naked earth
And forthwith rose
All these fair ranks of trees.
They, in Thy sun, budded and shook Their green leaves in Thy breeze and Shot toward Heaven ...
Thou art here.
Thou fill'st
The solitude.
Thou art in the soft winds that run Along the summit of these trees.
In music ... the barky trunks,
The ground, the fresh moist ground, Are all instinct with Thee.
Here is continual worship,
Nature here in the tranquility that Thou doest love,
Enjoys Thy presence ...
Thou hast not left Thyself without a Witness in the shades
Of Thy perfections,
Grandeur, strength and grace are Here to speak of Thee.
Let us often to these solitudes retire,
And in Thy presence
Reassure our feeble virtue ...
Be it ours to meditate
In these calm shades
Thy gracious majesty
And to the beautiful order of
Thy works learn to conform
The order of our lives.

William Cullen Bryant