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We were made freemen of the forest laws,
All dressed, like Nature, fit for her own ends,
Essaying nothing she cannot perform.

In Adirondac lakes, At morn or noon, the guide rows bareheaded : Shoes, flannel shirt, and kersey trousers make His brief toilet : at night, or in the rain, He dons a surcoat which he doffs at morn: A paddle in the right hand, or an oar, And in the left, a gun, his needful arms. By turns we praised the stature of our guides, Their rival strength and suppleness, their skill To row, to swim, to shoot, to build a camp. To climb a lofty stem, clean without boughs Full fifty feet, and bring the eaglet down: Temper to face wolf, bear, or catamount, And wit to trap or take him in his lair. Sound, ruddy men, frolic and innocent, In winter, lumberers; in summer, guides; Their sinewy arms pull at the oar untired Three times ten thousand strokes, from morn to eve.

Look to yourselves, ye polished gentlemen! No city airs or arts pass current here. Your rank is all reversed: let men of cloth Bow to the stalwart churls in overalls : They are the doctors of the wilderness, And we the low-prized laymen. In sooth red flannel is a saucy test Which few can put on with impunity. What make you, master, fumbling at the oar ? Will you catch crabs? Truth tries pretension here. The sallow knows the basket-maker's thumb; The oar, the guide's. Dare you accept the tasks He shall impose, to find a spring, trap foxes, Tell the sun's time, determine the true north, Or stumbling on through vast self-similar woods To thread by night the nearest way to camp?

Ask you, how went the hours ?
All day we swept the lake, searched every cove,
North from Camp Maple, south to Osprey Bay,
Watching when the loud dogs should drive in deer.
Or whipping its rough surface for a trout;
Or bathers, diving from the rock at noon;
Challenging Echo by our guns and cries;
Or listening to the laughter of the loon;
Or, in the evening twilight's latest red,
Beholding the procession of the pines;
Or, later yet, beneath a lighted jack,
In the boat's bows, a silent night-hunter
Stealing with paddle to the feeding-grounds
Of the red deer, to aim at a square mist.
Hark to that muffled roar! a tree in the woods
Is fallen : but hush! it has not scared the buck
Who stands astonished at the meteor light,
Then turns to bound away,—is it too late ?


Our heroes tried their rifles at a mark,
Six rods, sixteen, twenty, or forty-five;
Sometimes their wits at sally and retort,
With laughter sudden as the crack of rifle;
Or parties scaled the near acclivities
Competing seekers of a rumoured lake,
Whose unauthenticated waves we named
Lake Probability,--our carbuncle,
Long sought, not found.



Two Doctors in the camp
Dissected the slain deer, weighed the trout's brain,
Captured the lizard, salamander, shrew,
Crab, mice, snail, dragon-fly, minnow, and moth;
Insatiate skill in water or in air
Waved the scoop-net, and nothing came amiss;
The while, one leaden pot of alcohol
Gave an impartial tomb to all the kinds.
Not less the ambitious botanist sought plants,
Orchis and gentian, fern, and long whip-scirpus,
Rosy polygonum, lake-margin's pride,

Hypnum and hydnum, mushroom, sponge, and moss,
Or harebell nodding in the gorge of falls.
Above, the eagle flew, the osprey screamed,

The raven croaked, owls hooted, the woodpecker
Loud hammered, and the heron rose in the swamp.
As water poured through hollows of the hills
To feed this wealth of lakes and rivulets,
So Nature shed all beauty lavishly
From her redundant horn.

Lords of this realm,
Bounded by dawn and sunset, and the day
Rounded by hours where each outdid the last
In miracles of pomp, we must be proud,
As if associates of the sylvan gods.
We seemed the dwellers of the zodiac,
So pure the Alpine element we breathed,
So light, so lofty pictures came and went.
We trode on air, contemned the distant town,
Its timorous ways, big trifles, and we planned
That we should build, hard-by, a spacious lodge,
And how we should come hither with our sons,
Hereafter,—willing they, and more adroit.

Hard fare, hard bed, and comic misery,The midge, the blue-fly, and the mosquito Painted our necks, hands, ankles, with red bands: But, on the second day, we heed them not, Nay, we saluted them Auxiliaries, Whom earlier we had chid with spiteful names. For who defends our leafy tabernacle From bold intrusion of the travelling crowd, Who but the midge, mosquito, and the fly, Which past endurance sting the tender cit, But which we learn to scatter with a smudge, Or baffle by a veil, or slight by scorn ?

Our foaming ale we drunk from hunters' pans, Ale, and a sup of wine. Our steward gave Venison and trout, potatoes, beans, wheat-bread;

All ate like abbots, and, if any missed
Their wonted convenance, cheerly hid the loss
With hunters' appetite and peals of mirth.
And Stillman, our guides' guide, and Commodore,
Crusoe, Crusader, Pius Æneas, said aloud,

Chronic dyspepsia never came from eating
Food indigestible":then murmured some,
Others applauded him who spoke the truth.

Nor doubt but visitings of graver thought Checked in these souls the turbulent heyday 'Mid all the hints and glories of the home. For who can tell what sudden privacies Were sought and found, amid the hue and cry Of scholars furloughed from their tasks, and let Into this Oreads' fended Paradise, As chapels in the city's thoroughfares, Whither gaunt Labour slips to wipe his brow, And meditate a moment on Heaven's rest. Judge with what sweet surprises Nature spoke To each apart, lifting her lovely shows To spiritual lessons pointed home, And as through dreams in watches of the night, So through all creatures in their form and ways Some mystic hint accosts the vigilant, Not clearly voiced, but waking a new sense Inviting to new knowledge, one with old. Hark to that petulant chirp! what ails the warbler ? Mark his capricious ways to draw the eye. Now soar again. What wilt thou, restless bird, Seeking in that chaste blue a bluer light, Thirsting in that pure for a purer sky?


And presently the sky is changed; O world!
What pictures and what harmonies are thine !
The clouds are rich and dark, the air serene.
So like the soul of me, what if 'twere me ?
A melancholy better than all mirth,
Comes the sweet sadness at the retrospect,
Or at the foresight of obscurer years ?

Like yon slow-sailing cloudy promontory
Whereon the purple iris dwells in beauty
Superior to all its gaudy skirts.
And, that no day of life may lack romance,
The spiritual stars rise nightly, shedding down
A private beam into each several heart.
Daily the bending skies solicit man,
The seasons chariot him from this exile,
The rainbow hours bedeck his glowing chair,
The storm-winds urge the heavy weeks along,
Suns haste to set, that so remoter lights
Beckon the wanderer to his vaster home.

With a vermilion pencil mark the day When of our little fleet three cruising skiffs Entering Big Tupper, bound for the foaming Falls Of loud Bog River, suddenly confront Two of our mates returning with swift oars. One held a printed journal waving high Caught from a late-arriving traveller, Big with great news, and shouted the report For which the world had waited, now firm fact, Of the wire-cable laid beneath the sea, And landed on our coast, and pulsating With ductile fire. Loud, exulting cries From boat to boat, and to the echoes round, Greet the glad miracle. Thought's new-found path Shall supplement henceforth all trodden ways, , Match God's equator with a zone of art, And lift man's public action to a height Worthy the enormous cloud of witnesses, When linked hemispheres attest his deed. We have few moments in the longest life Or such delight and wonder as there grew,Nor yet unsuited to that solitude: A burst of joy, as if we told the fact To ears intelligent; as if gray rock And cedar grove and cliff and lake should know This feat of wit, this triumph of mankind; As if we men were talking in a vein Of sympathy so large, that ours was theirs,

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