Oregon: Her history, her great men, her literature/Ella Higginson

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"Ah, me! I know how like a golden flower
The Grand Ronde Valley lies this August night,
Locked in with dimpled hills where purple light
Lies wavering."

Thus wrote Mrs. Ella Higginson of her childhood home. Born at Council Grove, Kansas, she crossed the plains while an infant, and with her parents located at LaGrande, Oregon. Her name was Ella Rhodes. With her parents she moved to Oregon City and attended the Oregon City Seminary. Later she moved to Portland, and married Mr. Russell C. Higginson, with whom she moved to Washington where he died in 1909. Her home at present is in Bellingham.

As a writer of short stories, novels, travel, and verse, Mrs. Higginson, according to the verdict of critics, ranks close to Joaquin Miller. Therefore, since much of her best literary work was done before her departure from Oregon, a list of her most popular stories and books follows:

Five Hundred Dollar Prize Stories:
"The Taking in of Old Mis' Lane" (McClure's Magazine), and "The Message of Anne Laura Sweet" (Collier's).

Books of Short Stories:
"The Flower that Grew in the Sand;" "From the Land of the Snow Pearls;" "A Forest Orchid."

Books of Poems:
"When the Birds go North Again;" "The Voice of April Land;" "The Vanishing Race."

Ella Higginson from Horner.png




I know a place where the sun is like gold.
And the cherry blooms burst with snow,
And down underneath is the loveliest nook.
Where the four-leaf clovers grow.

One leaf is for hope, and one is for faith.
And one is for love, you know,
And God put another in for luck—
If you search, you will find where they grow.

But you must have hope, and you must have faith.
You must love and be strong—and so—
If you work, if you wait, you will find the place
Where the four-leaf cloven grow.


Across the warm night's subtle dusk,
Where linger yet the purple light
And perfume of the wild, sweet musk—
So softly glowing, softly bright.
Tremble the rhododendron bells.
The rose-pink rhododendron bells.

Tall, slender trees of evergreen
That know the moist winds of the sea,
And narrow leaves of satin's sheen.
And clusters of sweet mystery—
Mysterious rhododendron bells,
Rare crimson rhododendron bells.

O harken—hush! And lean thy ear,
Tuned for an elfin melody.
And tell me now, dost thou not hear
Those voices of pink mystery—
Voices of silver-throated bells.
Of breathing, rhododendron bells?


The sun sinks downward thro' the silver mist
That looms across the valley, fold on fold,
And sliding thro' the fields that dawn has kissed,
Willamette sweeps, a chain of liquid gold.

Trails onward ever, curving as it goes.
Past many a hill and many a flowered lea.
Until it pauses where Columbia flows.
Deep-tongued, deep-chested, to the waiting sea.

O lovely vales thro' which Willamette slips!
O vine-clad hills that hear its soft voice call!
My heart turns ever to those sweet, cool lips
That, passing, press each rock or grassy wall.

Thro' pasture lands, where mild-eyed cattle feed.
Thro' marshy flats, where velvet tules grow,
Past many a rose tree, many a singing reed.
I hear those wet lips calling, calling low.

The sun sinks downward thro' the trembling haze.
The mist flings glistening needles higher and higher.
And thro' the clouds—O fair beyond all praise!
Mount Hood leaps, chastened, from a sea of fire.


O, every year hath its winter,
And every year hath its rain;
But a day is always coming
When the birds go north again.

When new leaves swell In the forest,
And grass springs green on the plain,
And the alder's veins turn crimson,
And the birds go north again.

Oh, every heart hath its sorrow,
And every heart hath its pain;
But a day is always coming
When the birds go north again.

'Tis the sweetest thing to remember,
If courage be on the wane,
When the cold, dark days are over—
Why, the birds go north again.