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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. 1895.

William Wilfred Campbell 1861–1918

To the Lakes


WITH purple glow at even,

With crimson waves at dawn,

Cool bending blue of heaven,

O blue lakes pulsing on;

Lone haunts of wilding creatures dead to wrong;

Your trance of mystic beauty

Is wove into my song.

I know no gladder dreaming

In all the haunts of men,

I know no silent seeming

Like to your shore and fen;

No world of restful beauty like your world

Of curvèd shores and waters,

In sunlight vapors furled.

I pass and repass under

Your depths of peaceful blue;

You dream your wild, hushed wonder

Mine aching heart into;

And all the care and unrest pass away

Like night’s gray, haunted shadows

At the red birth of day.

You lie in moon-white splendor

Beneath the northern sky,

Your voices soft and tender

In dream-worlds fade and die,

In whispering beaches, haunted bays and capes,

Where mists of dawn and midnight

Drift past in spectral shapes.

Beside your far north beaches

Come late the quickening spring;

With soft, voluptuous speeches

The summer, lingering,

Fans with hot winds your breast so still and wide,

Where June, with trancéd silence,

Drifts over shore and tide.

Beneath great crags the larches,

By some lone, northern bay,

Bend, as the strong wind marches

Out of the dull, north day,

Horning along the borders of the night,

With icèd, chopping waters

Out in the shivering light.

Here the white winter’s fingers

Tip with dull fires the dawn,

Where the pale morning lingers

By stretches bleak and wan;

Kindling the icèd capes with heatless glow,

That renders cold and colder

Lone waters, rocks and snow.

Here in the glad September,

When all the woods are red

And gold, and hearts remember

The long days that are dead;

And all the world is mantled in a haze;

And the wind, a mad musician,

Melodious makes the days;

And the nights are still, and slumber

Holds all the frosty ground,

And the white stars whose number

In God’s great books are found,

Gird with pale flames the spangled, frosty sky;

By white, moon-curvèd beaches

The haunted hours go by.