The Wood Lake

FROM garish light and life apart,
Shrined in the woodland’s secret heart,
With delicate mists of morning furled
Fantastic o’er its shadowy world,
The lake, a vaporous vision, gleams
So vaguely bright, my fancy deems
’T is but an airy lake of dreams.
Dream-like, in curves of palest gold,
The wavering mist-wreaths manifold
Part in long rifts, through which I view
Gray islets throned in tides as blue
As if a piece of heaven withdrawn —
Whence hints of sunrise touch the dawn —
Had brought to earth its sapphire glow,
And smiled, a second heaven, below.
Dream-like, in fitful, murmurous sighs,
I hear the distant west-wind rise,
And, down the hollows wandering, break
In gurgling ripples on the lake,
Round which the vapors, still outspread,
Mount wanly widening overhead,
Till flushed by morning’s primrose-red.
Dream-like, each slow, soft-pulsing surge
Hath lapped the calm lake’s emerald verge,
Sending, where’er its tremors pass,
Low whisperings through the dew-wet grass ;
Faint thrills of fairy sound that creep
To fall in neighboring nooks asleep,
Or melt in rich, low warblings made
By some winged Ariel of the glade.
With brightening morn, the mock-bird’s lay
Grows stronger, mellower ; far away
’Mid dusky reeds which even the noon
Lights not, the lonely-hearted loon
Makes answer, her shrill music shorn
Of half its sadness ; day, full-born,
Doth rout all sounds and sights forlorn.
Ah ! still a something strange and rare
O’errules this tranquil earth and air,
Casting o’er both a glamour known
To their enchanted realm alone ;
Whence shines, as ’t were a spirit’s face,
The sweet, coy Genius of the place.
Yon lake, beheld as if in trance, —
The beauty of whose shy romance
I feel — whatever shores and skies
May charm henceforth my wondering eyes,
Shall rest, undimmed by taint or stain,
’Mid lonely by-ways of the brain,
There, with its haunting grace, to seem
Set in the landscape of a dream.
Paul H. Hayne.