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

New England: Concord (Musketaquid), Mass.

Walden Lake

By William Ellery Channing (1817–1901)

IT is not far beyond the village church,

After we pass the wood that skirts the road,

A lake,—the blue-eyed Walden, that doth smile

Most tenderly upon its neighbor pines;

And they, as if to recompense this love,

In double beauty spread their branches forth.

This lake has tranquil loveliness and breadth,

And, of late years, has added to its charms;

For one attracted to its pleasant edge

Has built himself a little hermitage,

Where with much piety he passes life.

More fitting place I cannot fancy now,

For such a man to let the line run off

The mortal reel,—such patience hath the lake,

Such gratitude and cheer is in the pines.

But more than either lake or forest’s depths

This man has in himself: a tranquil man,

With sunny sides where well the fruit is ripe,

Good front and resolute bearing to this life,

And some serener virtues, which control

This rich exterior prudence,—virtues high,

That in the principles of things are set,

Great by their nature, and consigned to him,

Who, like a faithful merchant, does account

To God for what he spends, and in what way.

Thrice happy art thou, Walden, in thyself!

Such purity is in thy limpid springs,—

In those green shores which do reflect in thee,

And in this man who dwells upon thy edge,

A holy man within a hermitage.

May all good showers fall gently into thee,

May thy surrounding forests long be spared,

And may the dweller on thy tranquil marge

There lead a life of deep tranquillity,

Pure as thy waters, handsome as thy shores,

And with those virtues which are like the stars!