Dawn!

Dawn of a June morning!

Dawn with the dew trembling on the shy grass, and the birds crazy with the passion of life.

The Copper Beech at the garden gate has abandoned his illicit alliance with the night shadows, and toys, hotly amorous, with the first rays of the sun.

The Honey Locust tree facing the hall door shivers slightly, and is still.

Tall Irises in the border, low Violas in the beds, a whole gamut of floral voices in the temples of the rock work, sing a welcome.

It is the garden's hour, for the world is still asleep. It is the garden's moment of womanly triumph, for it has you all its own, with no worldly hardness in your eye - the softness of love alone there.

It is the Rose's hour. The colour in the morning sky is heaven's own imitation of earth's fairest daughter. At the hour of dawn all men start alike. You, I, are level with the greatest exhibitor, for the world is not awake to parcel us out; to say of this one, "He is too fat to know of Roses, we will not listen to him"; of this, "He is too lean."

All who go into the Rose's arbour before the world awakes may woo her as they will. With whispered messages, that none but she may hear? it is well. With uplifted voices, the thrill of which strikes on other ears ? it is still their right.

It is the Rose's hour. Our fair lady has caught no tricks of the world, and she bids all lovers enter, even if they have never trimmed her into the showman's shape. "Come," says she, "and sing my praises: all praise is sweet."

So we, children of the morning like herself, speak to her, and of her, without fear. The world is still unborn. Rival ambitions, conflicting interests, raucous clamour of wrongs done and vengeance unrequited - these foul spectres of the battling day are still.

If a window is thrown up, a night-capped head thrust angrily out, and a fist, armed with an exhibiting tube, is shaken at us, what matter? Tush! Tshoo! Shucks! A fig for the jealous prize-winner who would peg out this fair preserve, and keep it to himself!

We are here by right of love, to talk of the Rose, not as those who have gained money and medals and silver cups by her, but as those who have studied her intimately these many years - who have had Roses in their gardens and in their hearts, not merely in their pockets.

In our own circle we are at peace. Secure from the slings and arrows of malice, with the flame of our affection burning as a fire imperishable, we start our Rose ramble.

In our happy communings we shall see how we may get more Roses in our gardens, how we may make their homes larger and healthier, how we may turn them to fresh and beautiful uses, and how we may protect them from their lurking enemies.

Thus, having made two Roses grow where but one grew before, we shall have humbly imitated Him who doubled the blades of grass, and watered them with the dew of love.