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

Western States: Michigan, the Lake

Lake Michigan

By Kate Harrington (1831–1917)

Written During the Jubilee at Chicago

WHILE thousands throng each crowded mart,

And gaze around in mute surprise,

I turn with an adoring heart

To thee, fair mirror of the skies.

Yet not in silence can I pour

My full heart out, fair Lake, to thee,

So, humbly kneeling on thy shore,

I chant thy praise, my Jubilee.

The purple clouds are all drawn back

From heaven’s blue vault, that I may trace

Its distant verge,—its shining track

Held to thy heart in close embrace.

The roseate flush that tinged the sky

Has slowly turned to burnished gold,

And every wave that hurries by

Clasps all of sunlight it can hold.

I saw thee not, Lake Michigan,

When all aglow,—a sheet of flame;

When forth the frenzied people ran

To shriek for help, to call thy name.

Chicago, thine own cherished bride,

Thou mightst not succor, couldst not save;

But fettered lay as flames spread wide

And scooped for her a yawning grave.

The loss was ours; we mourned with thee

That she should fall,—a nation mourned;

Nor deemed we then we e’er should see

Her hopes restored, her strength returned.

“Forever lost, forever gone!”

Came through thy murmuring wavelets’ swell;

“Forever lost, forever gone!”

We echoed back,—her funeral knell.

Yet now, so soon, a wondering throng

Crowd to thy shore in hushed surprise,

And there behold (grand theme for song)

Chicago, Phœnix-like, arise.

A world lamented when she fell,

And now, ’neath turret, tower, and dome,

A multitude of voices tell

Her year of Jubilee has come.

Chicago, City of the Lake,

Bride of this lovely inland sea,

Thy resurrection-glories wake

A dream of what thou yet shalt be.

Undaunted in thy darkest hour,

Thyself hast brought the awakening dawn;

Thy energy has been the power

That led, and still shall lead thee on.