Lake Ontario


          Deep thoughts o'ershade my spirit while I gaze
             Upon the blue depths of thy mighty breast:
          Thy glassy face is bright with sunset rays,
             And thy far-stretching waters are at rest,
          Save the small wave that on thy margin plays,
             Lifting to summer airs its flashing crest;
          While the fleet hues across thy surface driven,
          Mingle afar in the embrace of heaven.

          Thy smile is glorious when the morning's spring
            Gives half its glowing beauty to the deep;
          When the dusk swallow dips his drooping wing,
            And the gay winds that o'er thy bosom sweep,
         Tribute from dewy woods and violets bring,
            Thy restless billows in their gifts to steep.
         Thou'rt beautiful when evening moonbeams shine,
         And the soft hour of night and stars is thine.

         Thou hast thy tempests, too; the lightning's home
            Is near thee, though unseen; thy peaceful shore,
         When storms have lash'd these waters into foam,
            Echoes full oft the pealing thunder's roar.
         Thou hast dark trophies: the unhonour'd tomb
            Of those now sought and wept on earth no more:
         Full many a goodly form, the loved and brave,
         Lies whelm'd and still beneath thy sullen wave.

         The world was young with thee; this swelling flood
            As proudly swell'd, as purely met the sky,
         When sound of life roused not the ancient wood,
            Save the wild eagle's scream, or panther's cry.
         Here on this verdant bank the savage stood,
            And shook his dart and battle-axe on high,
         While hues of slaughter tinged thy billows blue,
         As deeper and more close the conflict grew.

         Here, too, at early morn, the hunter's song
            Was heard from wooded isle and grassy glade;
         And here at eve, these cluster'd bowers among,
            The low, sweet carol of the Indian maid,
         Chiding the slumbering breeze and shadows long,
            That kept her lingering lover from the shade:
         While, scarcely seen, thy willing waters o'er,
         Sped the light bark that bore him to the shore.

         Those scenes are past. The spirit of changing years
            Has breathed on all around save thee alone.
         More faintly the receding woodland hears
            Thy voice, once full and joyous as its own.
         Nations have gone from earth, nor trace appears
            To tell their tale---forgotten or unknown.
         Yet here, unchanged, untamed, thy waters lie,
         Azure, and clear, and boundless as the sky.

This work was published before January 1, 1925, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.