Lake Lyrics and Other Poems

by William Wilfred Campbell




From the far-off, mighty rivers,
Drifting, shifting, glad-life givers,
    Throbbing, pulsing, to the lakes;
From the far-off, blue-peaked mountains,
From the forest-girdled fountains,
    Where the sunlight leaps and shakes;
    From the spaces wild and dreary,
    From the cornlands far and near,
    Comes the Autumn’s miserere,
    Comes the death song of the year.

Comes the music of far voices,
Where the season rich, rejoices,
    Half reluctant now to go:—
Over lands of dreams and vapors,
Where wild hosts with half burnt tapers
    Light her to the days of snow;
    Over fields all yellow, burning
    With their store of ruddy heat,
    Under forests, ripe and turning
    Red and gold beneath her feet.


From the golden, undulating
Wheat fields, where the glad, pulsating
    Gleam of mowers, moves along—
Through the day so rich and heavy,
Belled with bees a pollened bevy,

    Jargoning their honied song;
    Comes the music of far voices
    Dying, swelling, here to me;
    Thuswise all the earth rejoices
    At the year’s maturity.


From far, northern lakes a-clanging
Note of wild-geese, where low-hanging
    Mists drift over marshes bleak;
In a world of smoke and shadow,
Where, far over wild lake-meadow,

    Sunsets burn on field and creek;
    Comes with all the lakes far moaning
    On some bare coast bleak and drear,
    Voices wild and sweet intoning
    Music of the dying year.


From the forest rich and gleaming,
Where the old year sitteth dreaming
    By a smoky, curling brook;
Hour by hour new wonders learning
Like to one who sitteth turning

    Pages of some magic book:
    Sound of nuts and dead leaves falling,
    Lonely note of crows and jays,
    Lowing herd and squirrel calling,
    Chanteth sweet of Autumn days.