Bass Lake

Locked by its steeps fir-crowned
Within the country of the north, there lies
A heron-haunted lake, where seldom sound
Disturbs the virgin air, save when the sighs
Of gentle pine trees breathe their wind-taught song
Throughout the hours, in cadence lone and long.

Their chanting floats and falls
Soft as the murmurs purling in a shell
That sings of far-off seas—whose cup enthralls
The voice of many deeps where waters swell
To everlasting song, and evermore
An echo pearl enclosed repeats it o'er.

Among these wilds treads not
The foot of fashion, all the littleness
Of social living dies away forgot,
And scorned by him who seeks this wilderness
For majesty that lies so far beyond
The pale of culture, and its trivial bond.

Upon this rugged shore
The camper's red log-fire is aglow,
He, who so treasures wood and water lore,
While fortunes could not purchase nor bestow
The purity with which the night endows
His sleep upon his bed of cedar boughs.

No rose-leaf couch is his,
He spurns the so-called culture that refines
Field blossoms to exotics—sweeter is
The fragrance of those mighty forest pines,
The littleness of language seems the flower,
The firs are silence, grandeur, soul and power.

Their pulses never die
Through wide-eyed day or drowsy-lidded night,
When lonely herons flying lakeward cry,
And some far loon laughs answer in her flight,
O! Northern waters where the muses sing
Of poesy—the poet here is king.
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