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In one vast volume down Niagara's steep,
Or calm behold them, in transparent sleep,
Where the blue hills of old Toronto shed
Their evening shadows o'er Ontario's bed !-
Should trace the grand Cadaraqui, and glide
Down the white rapids of his lordly tide
Through massy woods, through islets flowering fair,
Through shades of bloom, where the first sinful pair
For consolation might have weeping trod,
When banished from the garden of their God!
O Lady! these are miracles, which man
Caged in the bounds of Europe's pygmy plan
Can scarcely dream of; which his eye must see
To know how beautiful this world can be !
But soft !--the tinges of the west decline,
And night falls dewy o'er these banks of pine.
Among the reeds, in which our idle bo
Is rocked to rest, the wind's complaining note
Dies, like a half-breathed whispering of flutes;
Along the wave the gleaming porpoise shoots,
And I can trace him, like a watery star,
Down the steep current, till he fades afar
Amid the foaming breakers' silvery light,
Where yon rough rapids sparkle through the night!
Here as along this shadowy bank I stray,
And the smooth glass-snake, + gliding o'er my way,
Shows the dim moonlight through his scaly form,
Fancy, with all the scene's enchantment warm,
Hears in the murmur of the nightly breeze,
Some Indian Spirit warble words like these :
From the clime of sacred doves, I
Where the blessed Indian roves
Through the air on wing as white
As the spirit-stones of light §
Which the eye of morning counts
On the Appalachian mounts !
Hither oft my flight I take
Over Huron's lucid lake,
Where the wave, as clear as dew,
Sleeps beneath the light canoe,
* Anburey, in his Travels, has noticed this shooting illumination which por. poises diffuse at night through the St. Lawrence.-Vol. i. p. 29.
| The glass-snake is brittle and transparent.
1 "The departed spirit goes into the Country of Souls, where, according to some, is transformed into a dove."-Charlevoix upon the Traditions and the Religion of the Savages of Canada. See the curious fable of the American Orpheus in Lafitau, tome i. p. 402.
“The mountains appeared to be sprinkled with white stones, which glistened in the sun, and were called by the Indians 'manetoe aseniah,' or spiritstones."-Mackenzie's Journal.
Which, reflected, floating there,
Looks as if it hung in air !*
Then, when I have strayed awhile
Through the Manataulin isle,
Breathing all its holy bloom,
Swift upon the purple plume
Of my Wakon-Bird + I fly,
Where, beneath a burning sky,
O'er the bed of Erie's lake
Slumbers many a water snake,
Basking in the web of leaves
Which the weeping lily weaves. I
Then I chase the floweret-king
Through his bloomy wild of spring;
while diamond hues
Soft his neck and wings suffuse,
In the leafy chalice sink
Thirsting for his balmy drink:
Now behold him, all on fire,
Lovely in his looks of ire,
Breaking every infant stem,
Scattering every velvet gem,
Where his little tyrant lip
Had not found enough to sip!
Then my playsul hand I steep
Where the gold-thread ş loves to creep;
Cull from thence a tangled wreath,
Words of magic round it breathe,
And the sunny chaplet spread
O'er the sleeping fly-bird's head,
Till, with dreams of honey blest,
Haunted in his downy nest
By the garden's fairest spells,
Dewy buds and fragrant bells,
+ I was thinking here of what Carver says so beautifully in his description of one of these lakes :-"When it was calm, and the sun shone bright, I could sit in my canoe, where the depth was upwards of six fathoms, and plainly see huge piles of stone at the bottom, of different shapes, some of which appeared as if they had been hewn; the water was at this time as pure and transparent as air, and my canoe seemed as if it hung suspended in that element. It was impossible to look attentively through this limpid medium at the rocks below without finding, before many minutes were elapsed, your head swim and your eyes no longer able to behold the dazzling scene.
| “The Wakon-Bird, which probably is of the same species with the Bird of Paradise, receives its name from the ideas the Indians have of its superior excellence; the Wakon-Bird being, in their language, the Bird of ihe Great Spirit."-Morse.
* The islands of Lake Erie are surrounded to a considerable distance by the large pond-lily, whose leaves spread thickly over the surface of the lake, and form a kind of bed for the water-snakes in summer.
$ “The gold-thread is of the vine-kind, and grows in swamps. The roots spread themselves just under the surface of the morasses, and are easily drawn out by handfuls. They resemble a large entangled skein of silk, and are of a bright yellow.-Morse.
Fancy all his soul embowers
In the fly-bird's heaven of flowers !
Oft, when hoar and silvery flakes
Melt along the ruffled lakes;
When the grey moose sheds his horns,
When the track, at evening, warns
Weary hunters of the way
To the wigwam's cheering ray,
Then, aloft through freezing air,
With the snow-bird soft and fair
As the fleece that Heaven flings
O'er his little pearly wings,
Light above the rocks I play,
Where Niagara's starry spray,
Frozen on the cliff, appears
Like a giant's starting tears.
There, amid the island-sedge,
Just upon the cataract's edge,
Where the foot of living man
Never trod since time began,
Lone I sit, at close of day;
While, beneath the golden ray,
Icy columns gleam below,
Feathered round with falling snow,
And an arch of glory springs,
Brilliant as the chain of rings
Round the neck of virgins hung,
Virgins who have wandered young
O'er the waters of the west
To the land where spirits rest !
Thus have I charmed, with visionary lay, The lonely moments of the night away ; And now, fresh daylight o'er the water beams ! Once more, embarked upon the glittering streams, Our boat flies light along the leafy shore, Shooting the falls, without a dip of oar Or breath of zephyr, like the mystic bark The poet saw, in dreams divinely dark, Borne, without sails, along the dusky flood, While on its deck a pilot angel stood, And, with his wings of living light unfurled, Coasted the dim shores of another world !
Yet oh! believe me, in this blooming maze Of lovely nature, where the fancy strays From charm to charm, where every floweret's hue Hath something strange, and every leaf is new, I never feel a bliss so pure and still, So heavenly calm, as when a stream or hill, Or veteran oak, like those remembered well,
Or brecze or echo or some wild flower's smell,
(For who can say what small and fairy ties
The memory flings o'er pleasure as it flies ?)
Reminds my heart of many a sylvan dream
I once indulged by Trent's inspiring stream ;
Of all my sunny morns and moonlight nights
On Donington's green lawns and breezy heights !
Whether I trace the tranquil moments o'er
When I have seen thee cull the blooms of lore,
With him, the polished warrior, by thy side,
A sister's idol and a nation's pride;
When thou hast read of heroes, trophied high
In ancient fame, and I have seen thine eye
Turn to the living hero, while it read,
For pure and brightening comments on the dead ;
Or whether memory to my mind recalls
The festal grandeur of those lordly halls,
When guests have met around the sparkling board,
And welcome warmed the cup that luxury poured ;
When the bright suture Star of England's Throne,
With magic smile, hath o'er the banquet shone,
Winning respect, nor claiming what he won,
But tempering greatness, like an evening sun
Whose light the eye can tranquilly admire,
Glorious but mild, all softness yet all fire !
Whatever hue my recollections take,
E'en the regret, the very pain they wake,
Is dear and exquisite !—but oh! no more-
Lady! adieu—my heart has lingered o'er
These vanished times, till all that round me lies,
Stream, banks, and bowers, have faded on my eyes'
'Twas but for a moment—and yet in that time
She crowded the impressions of many an hour :
Her eye had a glow like the sun of her clime,
Which waked every feeling at once into flower!
Oh! could we have stolen but one rapturous day,
To renew such impressions again and again,
The things we should look, and imagine and say,
Would be worth all the life we had wasted till then !
What we had not the leisure or language to speak,
We should find some more exquisite mode of revealing,
And, between us, should feel just as much in a week
As others would take a millennium in feeling!