Verse > John Greenleaf Whittier > The Poetical Works in Four Volumes
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John Greenleaf Whittier (1807–1892).  The Poetical Works in Four Volumes.  1892.
 
Poems of Nature
The Lakeside
 
THE SHADOWS round the inland sea
  Are deepening into night;
Slow up the slopes of Ossipee
  They chase the lessening light.
Tired of the long day’s blinding heat,        5
  I rest my languid eye,
Lake of the Hills! where, cool and sweet,
  Thy sunset waters lie!
 
Along the sky, in wavy lines,
  O’er isle and reach and bay,        10
Green-belted with eternal pines,
  The mountains stretch away.
Below, the maple masses sleep
  Where shore with water blends,
While midway on the tranquil deep        15
  The evening light descends.
 
So seemed it when yon hill’s red crown,
  Of old, the Indian trod,
And, through the sunset air, looked down
  Upon the Smile of God.        20
To him of light and shade the laws
  No forest skeptic taught;
Their living and eternal Cause
  His truer instinct sought.
 
He saw these mountains in the light        25
  Which now across them shines;
This lake, in summer sunset bright,
  Walled round with sombering pines.
God near him seemed; from earth and skies
  His loving voice he heard,        30
As, face to face, in Paradise,
  Man stood before the Lord.
 
Thanks, O our Father! that, like him,
  Thy tender love I see,
In radiant hill and woodland dim,        35
  And tinted sunset sea.
For not in mockery dost Thou fill
  Our earth with light and grace;
Thou hid’st no dark and cruel will
  Behind Thy smiling face!

  1849.
        40
 
 
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