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Poem by Thomas Moore

The Lake of the Dismal Swamp

         A Ballad

Written at Norfolk, in Virginia

They made her a grave, too cold and damp
For a soul so warm and true;
And shes gone to the Lake of the Dismal Swamp,
Where, all night long, by a fire-fly lamp,
She paddles her white canoe.

And her fire-fly lamp I soon shall see,
And her paddle I soon shall hear;
Long and loving our life shall be,
And Ill hide the maid in a cypress tree,
When the footstep of death is near.

Away to the Dismal Swamp he speeds
His path was rugged and sore,
Through tangled juniper, beds of reeds,
Through many a fen where the serpent feeds,
And man never trod before.

And when on the earth he sunk to sleep,
If slumber his eyelids knew,
He lay where the deadly vine doth weep
Its venomous tear and nightly steep
The flesh with blistering dew!

And near him the she-wolf stirrd the brake,
And the copper-snake breathd in his ear,
Till he starting cried, from his dream awake,
Oh! when shall I see the dusky Lake,
And the white canoe of my dear?

He saw the Lake, and a meteor bright
Quick over its surface playd
Welcome, he said, my dear ones light!
And the dim shore echoed for many a night
The name of the death-cold maid.

Till he hollowd a boat of the birchen bark,
Which carried him off from shore;
Far, far he followd the meteor spark,
The wind was high and the clouds were dark,
And the boat returnd no more.

But oft, from the Indian hunters camp,
This lover and maid so true
Are seen at the hour of midnight damp
To cross the Lake by a fire-fly lamp,
And paddle their white canoe!

Thomas Moore

Thomas Moore's other poems:
  1. From Irish Melodies. 57. Oh! Had We Some Bright Little Isle of Our Own
  2. From The Odes of Anacreon. Ode 15
  3. From The Odes of Anacreon. Ode 32
  4. From Irish Melodies. 113. Alone in Crowds to Wander On
  5. From The Odes of Anacreon. Ode 34

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