Pieces of the Past
Artifacts, Documents, and Primary Sources
from Letchworth Park History

"Voices of the Glen"

William Pryor Letchworth had a deep love of poetry. His library contained many collections of poems, but it is likely that "Voices of the Glen" was his favorite.

"Voices of the Glen" is a collection of poems written at the Glen Iris Estate. They were written by family and friends who followed the tradition of leaving their host a bit of prose, poetry, or art before returning to the world beyond the Genesee Valley.

Mr. Letchworth first collected the works into a hand bound volume which was illustrated by photographs taken in and around the Glen. In 1876 he published a small bound volume which he called "Voices of the Glen." The image to the left is an illustration from that original edition.

Among the contributors were James N. Johnston, David Gray, W.H.C. Hosmer, and other family and friends. One of Gray's poems is found below.

In 1908 Mr. Letchworth began work on a new and enlarged edition of his "Voices of the Glen." With the help of longtime friend James N Johnston and Caroline Bishop he worked on the project for the next two years. Almost a dozen new poems would be added, along with new illustrations.

Although his health was failing, the work brought much joy to Mr. Letchworth. He completed the work early in 1910 and in November corrected proofs from the publisher. It was one of his final projects, for he died only a few weeks later on December 1st. The project was completed by Johnston the following year. The image to the right is the title page from the 1911 edition.

The following is a sample of the poems found in "Voices of the Glen" It was written by David Gray who was tragically killed in a train wreck in 1888

To Glen Iris.


To Thee, sweetest valley! Glen Iris, to thee!
More fair than the vision of poet may be,
And beyond what the artist may dream, when his eyes
Are dim with the hues of the loveliest skies:
To thee and thy forest, whose foliage forever
Is fresh with the mists of the light-flashing river;
Thy flowers that are swayed in the softest of airs;
Thy lights and thy shadows, thy sweet river's fall
That sings into slumber or reverie, all:
To thee, though our lips cannot utter a word,
Our spirits are singing in rapture unheard;
For 't is part of thy magic - thy beauty wrought spell -
What thou whisperest to us we never can tell.

Sweet Glen of the Rainbow, to thee there are given,
As fresh as the day when they sprang into birth,
All the joys and graces we love most of earth,
And the sunlight flings o'er thee the glories of heaven.
So the Nameless now drink from thy pleasure-brimmed chalice,
And pledge thee the rainbow-ideal of valleys -
A Beulah where thrice happy mortals that see thee,
Forget all their care, for thy waters are Lethe,
And we shout and rejoice that thou are what thou art -
The beautiful home of a beautiful heart.


"Voices of the Glen" p 19-20


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