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

Middle States: George (Horicon), the Lake, N. Y.

Lake George

By Arthur Cleveland Coxe (1818–1896)


A SUMMER shower had swept the woods;

But when, from all the scene,

Rolled off at length the thunder-floods,

And streamed the sunset sheen,

I came where my postilion raised

His horsewhip for a wand,

And said, “There ’s Horicon, good sir,

And here ’s the Bloody Pond!

“And don’t you see yon low gray wall,

With grass and bushes grown?

Well, that ’s Fort George’s palisade,

That many a storm has known:

But here ’s the Bloody Pond where lies

Full many a soldier tall;

The spring, they say, was never pure

Since that red burial.”

’T was rare to see! That vale beneath;

That lake so calm and cool!

But mournful was each lily-wreath,

Upon the turbid pool:

And—“On, postilion, let us haste

To greener banks,” I cried,

“O, stay me not where man has stained

With brother’s blood the tide!”

An hour,—and though the Even-star

Was chasing down the sun,

My boat was on thine azure wave,

Sweet, holy Horicon!

And woman’s voice cheered on our bark,

With soft bewildering song,

While fireflies, darting through the dark,

Went lighting us along.

Anon, that bark was on the beach,

And soon I stood alone

Upon thy mouldering walls, Fort George,

So old and ivy-grown.

At once, old tales of massacre

Were crowding on my soul,

And ghosts of ancient sentinels

Paced up the rocky knoll.

The shadowy hour was dark enow

For fancy’s wild campaign,

And moments were impassioned hours

Of battle and of pain:

Each brake and thistle seemed alive

With fearful shapes of fight,

And up the feathered scalp-locks rose

Of many a tawny sprite.

The Mohawk war-whoop howled agen;

I heard St. Denys’ charge,

And then the volleyed musketry

Of England and St. George.

The vale, the rocks, the cradling hills,

From echoing rank to rank,

Rung back the warlike rhetoric

Of Huron and of Frank.

“So, keep thy name, Lake George,” said I,

“And bear to latest day,

The memory of our primal age,

And England’s early sway;

And when Columbia’s flag shall here

Her starry glories toss,

Be witness how our fathers fought

Beneath St. George’s cross.”