Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > America
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
America: Vols. XXV–XXIX.  1876–79.
 
Middle States: White Lake, N. Y.
White Lake
Alfred Billings Street (1811–1881)
 
PURE as their parent springs! how bright
  The silvery waters stretch away,
Reposing in the pleasant light
  Of June’s most lovely day.
 
Curving around the eastern side,        5
  Rich meadows slope their banks, to meet,
With fringe of grass and fern, the tide
  Which sparkles at their feet.
 
Here, busy life attests that toil,
  With its quick talisman, has made        10
Fields green and waving, from a soil
  Of rude and savage shade.
 
While opposite, the forest lies
  In giant shadow, black and deep,
Filling with leaves the circling sky,        15
  And frowning in its sleep.
 
Amid this scene of light and gloom,
  Nature with art links hand in hand,
Thick woods beside soft rural bloom,
  As by a seer’s command.        20
 
Here, waves the grain; here, curls the smoke;
  The orchard bends: there, wilds as dark
As when the hermit waters woke
  Beneath the Indian’s bark.
 
Oft will the panther’s startling shriek        25
  With the herd’s quiet lowings swell,
The wolfs fierce howl terrific break
  Upon the sheepfold’s bell.
 
The ploughman sees the wind-winged deer
  Dart from his covert to the wave,        30
And fearless in its mirror clear
  His branching antlers lave.
 
Here, the green headlands seem to meet
  So near, a fairy bridge might cross;
There, spreads the broad and limpid sheet        35
  In smooth, unruffled gloss.
 
Arched by the thicket’s screening leaves,
  A lilied harbor lurks below,
Where on the sand each ripple weaves
  Its melting wreath of snow.        40
 
Hark! like an organ’s tones, the woods
  To the light wind in murmurs wake,
The voice of the vast solitudes
  Is speaking to the lake.
 
The fanning air-breath sweeps across        45
  On its broad path of sparkles now,
Bends down the violet to the moss,
  Then melts upon my brow.
 
 
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