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

British America: Rideau, the Lake, Canada

Rideau Lake

By Charles Sangster (1822–1893)


A WARM light permeates the sky,

A silvery mist is lingering nigh,

And floating up the trees near by.

A slumberous silence fills the air,

Silence upon the lake, and where

The pines drop pearls from out their hair.


Up leaps the sun’s broad chest of fire,

Up swell the bird-hymns,—higher,—higher,

Phœbus has loosed his forest choir.

A massive mirror seems the lake,

A mirror that no force can break,

But which the tricksy zephyrs shake.

Shy teal of many a gorgeous hue,

The golden-green, the gray, the blue,

Rise like bright fancies on the view.

The trees are green on either side,

Whole forests standing in their pride,

Rounding their shadows in the tide.

Islets are floating here and there,

Dreamy and languid, passing fair,

Tinted and limned with artist-care,

Reposing like the thoughts that lie

Within the meditative eye

Of youth,—bright thoughts that never die.

Narcissus-like they muse, and seem

To watch their features in the stream,

Half indistinct, as in a dream.

Like forms ideal, lo, they stand,

Huge mounds of airy-seeming land,

Fashioned by the Great Artist-hand,

Smiling like children fresh from sleep,

Bathing their soft limbs in the deep,

As from their early couch they leap.

Young cedars breathing airs of love,

Pines, pointing to the far-above,

Flowers at their feet, white as the dove.

Rocks red-flushed in the ruddy morn,—

Young Athletes, browed with manly scorn,

White birches from their bosoms born.

Visions of beauty! Isles of light!

Your sunny verdure glads the sight,

Each living fir-tree seems a sprite.

Stirred by the breeze, the green leaves wake,

The plover whistles in the brake,

Wide day sits crowned o’er Rideau Lake.