Morning on the Lièvre

Original Text: 
The Poems of Archibald Lampman, ed. Duncan Campbell Scott (Toronto: George N. Morang, 1900): 19-21, as reprinted in The Poems of Archibald Lampman (including At the Long Sault), intro. by Margaret Coulby of Toronto Press, 1974), and from Among the Millet and Other Poems (Ottawa: Durie, 1888).
2Screams his matins to the day,
3Capped with gold and amethyst,
4Like a vapor from the forge
5Of a giant somewhere hid,
6Out of hearing of the clang
7Of his hammer, skirts of mist
8Slowly up the woody gorge
9Lift and hang.
10Softly as a cloud we go,
11Sky above and sky below,
12Down the river; and the dip
13Of the paddles scarcely breaks,
14With the little silvery drip
15Of the water as it shakes
16From the blades, the crystal deep
17Of the silence of the morn,
18Of the forest yet asleep;
19And the river reaches borne
20In a mirror, purple gray,
21Sheer away
22To the misty line of light,
23Where the forest and the stream
24In the shadow meet and plight,
25Like a dream.
26From amid a stretch of reeds,
27Where the lazy river sucks
28All the water as it bleeds
29From a little curling creek,
30And the muskrats peer and sneak
31In around the sunken wrecks
32Of a tree that swept the skies
33Long ago,
34On a sudden seven ducks
35With a splashy rustle rise,
36Stretching out their seven necks,
37One before, and two behind,
38And the others all arow,
39And as steady as the wind
40With a swivelling whistle go,
41Through the purple shadow led,
42Till we only hear their whir
43In behind a rocky spur,
44Just ahead.


1] The Lièvre , a tributary of the Ottawa River about 60 miles north of Ottawa, was familiar to Lampman from his hiking trips there (Whitridge, xiv). David Bairstow of the National Film Board of Canada in 1961 made a splendid 13-minute film of Lampman's poem and the river that inspired it (Audiovisual Library: Videocas/002888). Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 1997.