Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Americas: Vol. XXX. 1876–79.

British America: Huron, the Lake

Lake Huron

By Thomas McQueen (1803–1861)

(From Our Own Broad Lake)

WE cannot boast of high green hills,

Of proud, bold cliffs, where eagles gather,—

Of moorland glen and mountain rills,

That echo to the red-belled heather.

We cannot boast of mouldering towers,

Where ivy clasps the hoary turret,—

Of chivalry in ladies’ bowers,—

Of warlike fame, and knights who won it,—

But had we minstrel’s harp to wake,

We well might boast our own broad lake!

And we have streams that run as clear,

O’er shelvy rocks and pebbles rushing,

And meads as green, and nymphs as dear,

In rosy beauty sweetly blushing;

And we have trees as tall as towers,

And older than the feudal mansion,

And banks besprent with gorgeous flowers,

And glens and woods with fireflies glancing,—

But prouder, loftier boast we make,

The beauties of our own broad lake.

The lochs and lakes of other lands,

Like gems, may grace a landscape painting,

Or where the lordly castle stands,

May lend a charm when charms are wanting;

But ours is deep and broad and wide,

With steamships through its waves careering,

And far upon its ample tide

The bark its devious course is steering;

While hoarse and loud the billows break

On islands of our own broad lake!

Immense bright lake! I trace in thee

An emblem of the mighty ocean,

And in thy restless waves I see

Nature’s eternal law of motion;

And fancy sees the Huron Chief

Of the dim past kneel to implore thee,—

With Indian awe he seeks relief

In pouring homage out before thee;

And I, too, feel my reverence wake,

As gazing on our own broad lake!