Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > America
  PREVIOUSNEXT  
CONTENTS · BOOK CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
America: Vols. XXV–XXIX.  1876–79.
 
New England: Winnipesaukee, the Lake, N. H.
At Alton Bay
Hezekiah Butterworth (1839–1905)
 
WE saw in the distance the dusky lake fade,
  Empurpled with twilight’s last tinges;
And slow came the Night, with her curtains of shade,
  And the round rosy moon in their fringes.
We marked in the sky, in the cloud-lakes on high,        5
  The flocks of birds dreamily sailing
From the peaks in the West, and settle to rest
  Where the forest light slowly was failing,
          Round bright Alton Bay.
 
Mist curtained the mountains,—we climbed the dark heights,        10
  But a feeling of sadness came o’er us,
As we saw on the hillsides the camp-meeting lights,
  And heard the lone worshippers’ chorus—
“It is well with my soul!”—how it echoed afar
  O’er the lake in the deep mountain shadows,        15
While bright in the sky shone the evening star
  O’er the lonely lake islands and meadows
          At still Alton Bay.
 
I knew not the singers, their creeds or their names;
  I heard but the chorus ascending,        20
While bright through the pines shone the night-torches’ flames
  With the rays of the shaded moon blending;
And I said on that night, as I stood on the height,
  When time measures my joy and my sorrow,
My life I would close as the birds seek repose,        25
  To dream of a beautiful morrow
          At dim Alton Bay.
 
Then we talked of the main, and its night-darkened plain,
  Of the sweet prayer of trust on the billows;
The worshippers’ strain rising sweet in the fane        30
  In the vale by the cool village willows;
The cathedral’s aisle dim, the antiphonal hymn,
  The baptismal vow at the fountain:
Yet more grand seemed the word that our charmed ears had heard—
  “It is well with my soul!”—on the mountain,        35
          At calm Alton Bay.
 
Morn lighted the bay, our boat glided away,
  But the fair lake I see as a vision;
And in dreams hear again the lone camp-meeting’s strain
  Like a call from the portals elysian.        40
When the shade of the past shall be lengthened at last,
  And the earth light around me is paling,
May some holy song’s breath on the mountain of faith
  Turn my heart to the Refuge unfailing,
          As at far Alton Bay.        45
 
 
CONTENTS · BOOK CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
  PREVIOUSNEXT  
 
Loading
Click here to shop the Bartleby Bookstore.

Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2014 Bartleby.com · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors