3 Wonderful Lake Sunapee Poems and One About Mt. Kearsarge
From ‘The Poets of New Hampshire’ by Bela Chapin, 1883.
William Cant Sturoc
Once more my muse! from rest of many a year,
Come forth again and sing, as oft of yore;
Now lead my steps to where the crags appear
In silent grandeur, by the rugged shore
That skirts the margin of thy waters free,
Lake of my mountain home, loved Sunapee!
Meet invocation to the pregnant scene,
Where, long ere yet the white man’s foot had come,
Roam’d wild and free the daring Algonquin,
And where perchance the stately Metacom
Inspired his braves with that poetic strain
Which cheer’d the Wampanoags, but cheer’d in vain.
Clear mountain mirror! who can tell but thou
Hast borne the red man in his light canoe,
As fleetly on thy bosom as e’en now
Thou bear’st the paleface o’er thy waters blue;
And who can tell but nature’s children then,
Were rich and happy as the mass of men?
Sweet Granite Katrine of this mountain land!
Oh jewel set amid a scene so fair!
Kearsarge, Ascutney, rise on either hand,
While Grantham watches with a lover’s care,
And Sunapee to Croydon sends in glee
A greeting o’er thy silvery breast, Lake Sunapee!
How grand, upon a moonlit eve, to glide
Upon thy waters, ‘twixt the mountains high,
And gaze within thy azure crystal tide,
On trembling shadows of the earth and sky;
While all is silent, save when trusty oar
Awakes an echo from thy slumbering shore!
Ah! where shall mortals holier ground espy,
From which to look where hope doth point the gaze,
Than from the spot that speaks a Deity,
In hoary accents of primeval praise?
And where shall man a purer altar find
From which to worship the Almighty mind?
Roll on, sweet lake! and if perchance thy form
Laves less of earth than floods of western fame,
Yet still we love thee, in the calm or storm,
And call thee ours by many a kindly name;
What patriot heart but loves the scenes that come
O’er memory’s sea, to breathe a tale of home.
And when the winter, in its frozen thrall,
Binds up thy locks in braids of icy wreath,
Forget we not thy cherished name to call,
In fitting shadow of the sleep of death;
But morn shall dawn upon our sleep, and we,
As thou in springtime, wake, sweet Sunapee!
William Cant Sturoc was born at Arbroath, Forfarshire, Scotland, November 4, 1822 and received his elementary education at the Hamilton Green and Grimsby schools of his native town.
When a mere lad he arrived in Montreal, Canada and remained there until July 1850, when he came to Newport and almost immediately commenced the study of law in the office of Edmund Burke. In 1855 he was admitted to the bar and settled in Sunapee.
Although he has not been in active practice, his legal reading is still close and extensive. In 1865, ’66, ’67, and ’68, he represented his town in the State Legislature and was a prominent and active member. His speeches, on all occasions, commanded attention for he has a fervid and earnest manner as a speaker, and combines (which is often not the case) an equal readiness with tongue and pen.
Noon by Lake Sunapee
Clark B. Cochrane
‘Neath groves of maple and the tall plumed pine
By Sunapee’s fair lake we linger long,
Morn rises unto noon, and all the kine
On sun-bathed hills, the far-grouped shade trees throng;
In all the wood the wild birds pour their song
From homes of rest in leafy branches cool,
The plodding farmer, listening for the gong,
Bathes his swart forehead in the limpid pool;
Calm as the blue depths of the quiet sky
The glistening waters spread before the eye,
While small white clouds, slow sailing from the west,
Are mirrored in their bosom lovingly,
Below where new-born lilies lie at rest
Like affluent pearls on some fair lady’s breast.
Loveliest day of all the lovely summer,
Dreamy, delicious, wearing on to eve!
Monotoned by many a joyous hummer
Whose loss ere long the browning earth will grieve.
Hark! the partridge, the impetuous drummer,
Thrumming his love call in the dim old wood,
Ruffling the stillness of its solitude!
The meadow lark, low in the scented clover,
Holds converse with the matron of his brood;
Over long fields, the gray disporting plover
Bends piping to the ground, an arc of song;
The crow upon the mountain calleth long,
Or watcheth, from his signal perch forlorn,
His consort pilfering the planted corn.
Oh, how delightful is the mountain air
Cooled on thy crested water, Sunapee!
We wonder if Lake Leman is more fair,
More sweet the gales of storied Araby.
We breathe the breath of lilies and the balm
Of woods forever green while, from the calm
Like sounds of far-off voices drawing near,
The coming of the summer wind we hear
In the long branches rising like a psalm
Of peace upon thy shore; more sweet, more clear
Than song of angels to the morning star,
When, from the rifted darkness of old time,
Kearsarge and Sunapee arose sublime
To watch thy face forever, from afar.
Clark B. Cochrane was born in New Boston, February 9, 1843. He was educated mostly at Kimball Union Academy and studied law at Albany University in New York. He was admitted to the bar in 1865 and, after following his profession with good success, was obliged to leave it on account of a disease which rendered undue excitement hazardous to life.
He returned to his native town and, in 1873, removed to Antrim, where he was engaged in mercantile and manufacturing pursuits. An elegant volume of his, entitled “Minora, and Other Poems” was issued from the Riverside Press in 1869.
Sonnet to Lake Sunapee
Fair Sunapee! whose silver sheen doth lie
Beneath the tender radiance of the moon;
In the still night that glides away so soon,
So fleetly, that it causes one to sigh,
To know such beauty exquisite must die
In stillness, broken only by the loon
That on thy shores doth cry in doleful tune,
Or swiftly o’er thy glittering waters fly;
We float among the stars deep mirrored here,
With moonlight’s mystic splendor all around,
While fleeting echoes from the darkling shore
Return the merry laugh and plash of oar;
And through the shadows of the wood profound
The disk of the fair evening star seems near.
Anne Parmelee is a native of Brooklyn, NY where her parents, Joseph W. and Frances A. Parmelee, resided for many years. She was born June 1, 1860 and has been carefully reared and educated, first at the Packer Institute and, afterward, at Miss Whitcomb’s Seminary on the Heights in that City. She has written some pleasant pieces in prose and verse and, from the latter, we have selected with others for this volume, her Commencement Excercise as a member of the Art Class in Miss Whitcomb’s School. Her home is in Newport.
The mountain side is broad and steep,
The mountain top is gray and hoary;
‘Tis toilsome up the crags to creep,
But oh! how grand the burst of glory
Which breaks upon the ‘raptured sight
When once attained its utmost height!
On every side are fragments strewn
Of massive, pre-historic boulders,
Vast buttresses of ragged stone;
Not that which crumbles, rots and moulders,
But that which stands in strength sublime,
Defying storm and sun and time.
Adown the slopes in sombre green
The old, primeval forest reaches,
Tall hemlocks, bosky spruce between,
Then groves of maple, birch and beeches,
And at its base, in fruitful pride,
The fertile fields stretch far and wide.
Bright, gem-like lakes flash far and near,
Like diamonds in an emerald setting,
And forest brooks creep, cool and clear,
Through woody glades, their ripples wetting
The tangled wild flowers at their edge,
Or murmuring low through marshy sedge.
O scene of beauty, vast and fair!
My heart goes out to thee in gladness,
And loses, in thy mountain air,
Each thought of sorrow, care and sadness.
The Switzer’s land, the world at large
Can ne’er o’er match our own Kearsarge!
Melvin Messer was born in Springfield, Sept. 30, 1850. He was educated at Colby Academy, New London, graduating there in 1867. Afterwards he went to Boston and engaged in mercantile pursuits. During those years he had been a frequent contributor, both in prose and verse, to periodical publications of that city. He was also author of several musical works, both vocal and instrumental, and was leader of a successful musical organization, known as “Messer’s Orchestra”.