Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
America: Vols. XXV–XXIX. 1876–79.

Western States: Erie, the Lake

Lake Erie

By Ephraim Peabody (1807–1856)

THESE lovely shores! how lone and still

A hundred years ago,

The unbroken forest stood above,

The waters dashed below,—

The waters of a lonely sea,

Where never sail was furled,

Embosomed in a wilderness,

Which was itself a world.

A hundred years! go back; and lo!

Where, closing in the view,

Juts out the shore, with rapid oar

Darts round a frail canoe.

’T is a white voyager, and see,

His prow is westward set

O’er the calm wave; hail to thy hold,

World-seeking bark, Marquette!

The lonely bird, that picks his food

Where rise the waves, and sink,

At their strange coming, with shrill scream,

Starts from the sandy brink;

The fishhawk, hanging in mid sky,

Floats o’er on level wing,

And the savage from his covert looks,

With arrow on the string.

A hundred years are past and gone,

And all the rocky coast

Is turreted with shining towns,

An empire’s noble boast.

And the old wilderness is changed

To cultured vale and hill;

And the circuit of its mountains

An empire’s numbers fill.