The Unnamed Lake

This morning talking with some seniors I mentioned that post about my Dad and I in the fishing boat with the late sun glowing off rocks and water.

One of the men started to recite by memory a poem from his school days, “The Unnamed Lake”.

It sleeps among the thousand hills Where no man ever trod, And only nature’s music fills The silences of God.
Great mountains tower above its shore, Green rushes fringe its brim, And over its breast for evermore The wanton breezes skim.
Dark clouds that intercept the sun Go there in Spring to weep, And there, when Autumn days are done. White mists lie down to sleep.
Sunrise and sunset crown with gold The pinks of ageless stone, Her winds have thundered from of old – And storms have set their throne.
No echoes of the world afar Disturb it night or day, The sun and shadow, moon and star Pass and repass for aye.
‘Twas in the grey of early dawn, When first the lake we spied, And fragments of a cloud were drawn Half down the mountain side.
Along the shore a heron flew, And from a speck on high, That hovered in the deepening blue, We heard the fish-hawk’s cry.
Among the cloud-capt solitudes, No sound the silence broke, Save when, in whispers down the woods, The guardian mountains spoke.
Through tangled brush and dewy brake, Returning whence we came, We passed in silence, and the lake We left without a name.

Frederick George Scott
From University of Toronto Library
Frederick George Scott, known as “the poet of the Laurentians,” was born in Montreal in 1861 and educated at Bishop’s College, Lennoxville (B.A., 1881; M.A., 1884). Made an Anglican priest in 1886, he become rector of St. Matthew’s Church in Quebec City. He published 13 books of poetry in his lifetime: Justin and Other Poems (1885), The Soul’s Quest and Other Poems (1888), My Lattice and Other Poems (1894), The Unnamed Lake and Other Poems (1897), Poems Old and New (1900), A Hymn of Empire and Other Poems (1906), Poems (1910), The Gates of Time, and Other Poems (1915), In the Battle Silences: Poems Written at the Front (1916), In Sun and Shade: A Book of Verse (1926), New Poems (1929), Selected Poems (1933), and Collected Poems (1934). During the first world war Scott served as chaplain to the Canadian First Division and published his experiences in The Great War as I Saw It (1922). He died in 1944, leaving a daughter and four sons, one of whom, F. R. Scott, was a poet like his father.
Note: It seems that the experience was so rich those travelers would not cheapen it by presuming to slap on a name of their own invention.
The old fella was delighted that I got the message and appreciated the images. We know how that feels, AG.

One thought on “The Unnamed Lake

  1. What a beautiful poem. I especially love “Dark clouds that intercept the sun Go there in Spring to weep, And there, when Autumn days are done. White mists lie down to sleep.”

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