A Camp in the Adirondacks
The Summer Home of Mrs. Florence Earle Coates,
the Philadelphia Poet
PLACES in which literary work that meets with the popular favor is produced, are naturally places to be regarded with curiosity and interest by the many readers to whom the authors of appreciative works have, in a sense at least, become familiar. In looking about us in the literary world we find that almost invariably the homes of authors abound in interesting features. Location, arrangement, decoration—all contribute to a better understanding of the personality which is in them reflected.
In America particularly, there are numerous prominent writers who have the good fortune to possess beautiful summer houses. The winters of these authors are passed in a metropolis—a literary centre wherein they are able to keep directly in touch with the progress of events; but with the warm weather, the country proffers a pleasant retreat, and so we find the summer home a place usually of woodsiness and green—a place where the inspiration afforded by a direct contemplation of the beauties of Nature means an attuning of the mind to the key of higher thought and the possible attainment of that concentration which contributes so large a share in the aggregate value of any work accomplished.
One might speak at length of the country houses of a dozen or more American writers of prose and verse—many of them have been described and pictured—but few will be found to surpass, whether in beauty or in uniqueness, "Camp Elsinore," in the Adirondacks, where Mrs. Edward Horner Coates, better known in the literary world as Florence Earle Coates, the Philadelphia poet, passes most of her summers.
Camp Elsinore is situated on the Upper St. Regis Lake, at the foot of St. Regis Mountain. The lake is considered one of the most beautiful in the Adirondack region, and a group of camps has grown up about it. Here Mr. Anson Phelps Stokes, Hon. Whitelaw Reid, Mr. Frederick V. Vanderbilt and a number of others spend the summer months, and among the variety of camps, each of which has been constructed with a view to reflecting, if possible, something of its owner's personal tastes, we find Camp Elsinore, built and owned by the husband of Florence Earle Coates, otherwise Mr. Edward H. Coates, president of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.
The country round about Camp Elsinore is in every way delightful. The lake is hemmed in by tall trees—a picturesque woodland, in which the deer are to be found in ever increasing numbers. It is a land of invigorating mountain breezes, of the merry songs of countless birds, of enrapturing sunrises and sunsets—a country full of poetic charm, at once restful and inspiring. Life on the Upper St. Regis is simple and amusements are chiefly of the quiet, reposeful variety. The lake abounds in fish, affording an excellent opportunity for angling, and sailing is among the most favored pastimes.
In Camp Elsinore Mrs. Coates has done no little of her literary work, and the environment seems in every way congenial to the development of her graceful poetic faculty. It has inspired a number of her most delightful poems and has undoubtedly contributed largely to the harmonious coloring of those of her works which contain descriptions of natural scenery and to the intense appreciation of natural beauty generally—a tender love for flowers and birds; for golden dawns and rose sunsets—which is so frequently apparent in her verse.
VIEW OF A SMALL SLEEPING CABIN AND ONE OF THE TENTS
This shows the wildness and woodsiness of the surroundings of Camp Elsinore
To come down to more concrete examples, two pieces in the collection "Poems," first published in 1898 and recently issued in a new and revised edition, are named by Mrs. Coates as being especially interpretative of the beauty of the country about Camp Elsinore and of the satisfaction of life there. One of these is a sonnet, "Morning."
I woke and heard the thrushes sing at dawn,—
A strangely blissful burst of melody,
A chant of rare, exultant certainty,
Fragrant, as springtime breaths, of wood and lawn.
Night's eastern curtains still were closely drawn;
No roseate flush predicted pomps to be,
Or spoke of morning loveliness to me,
But, for those happy birds, the night was gone!
Darkling they sang, nor guessed what care consumes
Man's questioning spirit; heedless of decay,
They sang of joy and dew-embalmed blooms.
My doubts grew still, doubts seemed so poor while they,
Sweet worshipers of light, from leafy glooms
Poured forth transporting prophecies of day.
"There's a Spot in the Mountains" has a lighter, more joyous note, and is probably in keeping with the spirit of golden days, made up of blue sky, clear waters, wooded hills and the murmur of light breezes in thickly-growing forest-lands.
In all of Mrs. Coates' work the love of Nature is clearly revealed. Her most musical and most spontaneous poems are those in which the inspiration has been found in some manifestation of Nature-life—songs after the Elizabethan manner, reflective verses in which the symbols used are flowers—into much of her work, this spirit of Nature enters, with tender appreciation and the love that sees a meaning and a message beneath the exterior form.
THE UPPER ST. REGIS LAKE WITH ST. REGIS MOUNTAIN IN THE DISTANCE
Camp Elsinore can be seen through the trees
The second book of poems, by Mrs. Coates, published some six months ago, is "Mine and Thine." It has found many friends, and has probably been the means of arousing interest on the part of newer readers, in the earlier volume, "Poems," creating, in this way, a demand for another edition of that book.
There's a Spot in the Mountains
By Florence Earle Coates
THERE'S a spot in the mountains, where the dew, dear,
Is laden with the odors of the pine,
Where the heavens seem unbounded, and their blue, dear,
Is deepest, where it mirrored seems to shine.
There, at morn and eve, with rapture old and new, dear,
The thrushes sing their double song divine,
And the melody their voices breathe of you, dear,
Speaks ever to this happy heart of mine.
There's a cabin in the mountains, where the fare, dear,
Is frugal as the cheer of Arden blest;
But contentment sweet and fellowship are there, dear,
And Love, that makes the feast he honors best!
There's a lake upon the mountains, where our boat, dear,
Moves gayly up the stream or down the tide,
Where, amid the scented lily-buds afloat, dear,
We dream the dream of Eden as we glide!