The Frost Spirit and Others

The Lakeside


John Greenleaf Whittier

THE SHADOWS round the inland sea
    Are deepening into night;
Slow up the slopes of Ossipee
    They chase the lessening light.
Tired of the long day’s blinding heat,
    I rest my languid eye,
Lake of the Hills! where, cool and sweet,
    Thy sunset waters lie!

Along the sky, in wavy lines,
    O’er isle and reach and bay,
Green-belted with eternal pines,
    The mountains stretch away.
Below, the maple masses sleep
    Where shore with water blends,
While midway on the tranquil deep
    The evening light descends.

So seemed it when yon hill’s red crown,
    Of old, the Indian trod,
And, through the sunset air, looked down
    Upon the Smile of God.
To him of light and shade the laws
    No forest skeptic taught;
Their living and eternal Cause
    His truer instinct sought.

He saw these mountains in the light
    Which now across them shines;
This lake, in summer sunset bright,
    Walled round with sombering pines.
God near him seemed; from earth and skies
    His loving voice he beard,
As, face to face, in Paradise,
    Man stood before the Lord.

Thanks, O our Father! that, like him,
    Thy tender love I see,
In radiant hill and woodland dim,
    And tinted sunset sea.
For not in mockery dost Thou fill
    Our earth with light and grace;
Thou hid’st no dark and cruel will
    Behind Thy smiling face!

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