Greenwood Lake

Isaac McLellan

Fair lake, so picturesque in space,
So famous in the anglers' art,
In fancy I may pace thy shores.
And treasure thy rare scenes in heart;
I picture thee with all thy isles,
Fair inlets crown'd with foliage screen,
Their borders fring'd with silvery sand,
Embroider'd with the grasses green;
Where dense groves droop their tresses
To dip them in the crystal wave,
Where water lilies ope their cups,
And the cardinal red flowerets lave.
There song birds build their airy nests
On chestnut branch and alder bush,
Saluting with melodious hymns
The blushing dawns, the twilight hush,
Till sweeter echoings thrill the air,
Entrancing all who listen there.
Here, often in the vanished years,
The brilliant Herbert lov'd to roam;
Lover of nature, here he sought
Communion with her in her home;
Here lov'd with poet's eye to trace
The natural beauties of the place;
Here lov'd in these dense groves to stand,
And list the winds their sighs prolong
Thro' the tall pines that shade the land;
Soft winds, sweet as melodious song
Hymn'd by cathedral's tuneful choir.
Swelling their music thro' the shades,
Charming the woodlands with their lyre,
Thrilling the foliage in the glades,
Soft-mingled with all sweet sounds heard,
The lapse of brook, the song of bird.
O'er thy calm face, O Greenwood Lake,
How beauteous the mornings break!
How fair the twilight shadows sail
O'er woods and waters of the vale!
The anglers, freed from toil and care,
From crash of city thoroughfare,
From fret and fume of square and pier,
Fainting in breezeless atmosphere,
Delighted, gleeful, hither come,
As children seek parental home;
And here, forgetful of the past,
Elate with hope, their tackle cast.
Years since, dear Herbert's ardent friends
Hop'd here a noble shaft to place,
Bearing the name of him who loved
To wander over Greenwood space,
And consecrate with loving rite,
With song that thrill'd and speech that prais'd:
So one poor bard wrought native ode,
But yet, alas! no shaft was rais'd.

Isaac McLellan's friend, the hunter and lover of the outdoors, Frank Forester, was also known as Henry William Herbert. McLellan wrote a poem about the monument to Forester in Warwick, New York.

Main Location:

Greenwood Lake, New York, New Jersey

Greenwood Lake, New York, painted by Jasper Francis Cropsey (1823-1900)