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

Western States: Madison, Wis.

The Four Lakes of Madison

By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882)

FOUR limpid lakes,—four Naiades

Or sylvan deities are these,

In flowing robes of azure dressed;

Four lovely handmaids that uphold

Their shining mirrors, rimmed with gold,

To the fair city in the West.

By day the coursers of the Sun

Drink of these waters as they run

Their swift, diurnal round on high;

By night the constellations glow

Far down the hollow deeps below,

And glimmer in another sky.

Fair lakes, serene and full of light,

Fair town, arrayed in robes of white,

How visionary ye appear!

All like a floating landscape seems

In cloud-land or the land of dreams,

Bathed in a golden atmosphere!