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

Middle States: Sodus Bay, N. Y.

Sodus Bay

By Elizabeth Fries Ellet (1818–1877)

I BLESS thee, native shore!

Thy woodlands gay, and waters sparkling clear!

’T is like a dream once more

The music of thy thousand waves to hear,

As, murmuring up the sand,

With kisses bright they lave the sloping land.

The gorgeous sun looks down,

Bathing thee gladly in his noontide ray;

And o’er thy headlands brown

With loving light the tints of evening play.

Thy whispering breezes fear

To break the calm so softly hallowed here.

Here, in her green domain,

The stamp of Nature’s sovereignty is found;

With scarce disputed reign

She dwells in all the solitude around.

And here she loves to wear

The regal garb that suits a queen so fair.

Full oft my heart hath yearned

For thy sweet shades and vales of sunny rest;

Even as the swan returned,

Stoops to repose upon thy azure breast,

I greet each welcome spot

Forsaken long, but ne’er, ah, ne’er forgot!

’T was here that memory grew,

’T was here that childhood’s hopes and cares were left;

Its early freshness, too,—

Ere droops the soul, of her best joys bereft.

Where are they?—o’er the track

Of cold years, I would call the wanderers back!

They must be with thee still!

Thou art unchanged,—as bright the sunbeams play:

From not a tree or hill

Hath time one hue of beauty snatched away.

Unchanged alike should be

The blessed things so late resigned to thee.

Give back, O smiling deep,

The heart’s fair sunshine, and the dreams of youth

That in thy bosom sleep,—

Life’s April innocence, and trustful truth!

The tones that breathed of yore

In thy lone murmurs, once again restore!

Where have they vanished all?

Only the heedless winds in answer sigh;

Still rushing at thy call,

With reckless sweep the streamlet flashes by!

And idle as the air,

Or fleeting stream, my soul’s insatiate prayer.

Home of sweet thoughts, farewell!

Where’er through changeful life my lot may be,

A deep and hallowed spell

Is on thy waters and thy woods for me,

Though vainly fancy craves

Its childhood with the music of thy waves.