Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > America
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
America: Vols. XXV–XXIX.  1876–79.
 
Western States: Michigan, the Lake
Lake Michigan
Kate Harrington (1831–1917)
 
Written During the Jubilee at Chicago

WHILE thousands throng each crowded mart,
  And gaze around in mute surprise,
I turn with an adoring heart
  To thee, fair mirror of the skies.
Yet not in silence can I pour        5
  My full heart out, fair Lake, to thee,
So, humbly kneeling on thy shore,
  I chant thy praise, my Jubilee.
 
The purple clouds are all drawn back
  From heaven’s blue vault, that I may trace        10
Its distant verge,—its shining track
  Held to thy heart in close embrace.
The roseate flush that tinged the sky
  Has slowly turned to burnished gold,
And every wave that hurries by        15
  Clasps all of sunlight it can hold.
 
I saw thee not, Lake Michigan,
  When all aglow,—a sheet of flame;
When forth the frenzied people ran
  To shriek for help, to call thy name.        20
Chicago, thine own cherished bride,
  Thou mightst not succor, couldst not save;
But fettered lay as flames spread wide
  And scooped for her a yawning grave.
 
The loss was ours; we mourned with thee        25
  That she should fall,—a nation mourned;
Nor deemed we then we e’er should see
  Her hopes restored, her strength returned.
“Forever lost, forever gone!”
  Came through thy murmuring wavelets’ swell;        30
“Forever lost, forever gone!”
  We echoed back,—her funeral knell.
 
Yet now, so soon, a wondering throng
  Crowd to thy shore in hushed surprise,
And there behold (grand theme for song)        35
  Chicago, Phœnix-like, arise.
A world lamented when she fell,
  And now, ’neath turret, tower, and dome,
A multitude of voices tell
  Her year of Jubilee has come.        40
 
Chicago, City of the Lake,
  Bride of this lovely inland sea,
Thy resurrection-glories wake
  A dream of what thou yet shalt be.
Undaunted in thy darkest hour,        45
  Thyself hast brought the awakening dawn;
Thy energy has been the power
  That led, and still shall lead thee on.
 
 
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