The Unnamed Lake

Original Text: 
Frederick George Scott, Poems (London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1936): 3-4. PS 8487 C63 P6 1936 Robarts Library (signed by the author).
2    Where no man ever trod,
3And only nature's music fills
4    The silences of God.
5Great mountains tower above its shore,
6    Green rushes fringe its brim,
7And over its breast for evermore
8    The wanton breezes skim.
9Dark clouds that intercept the sun
10    Go there in Spring to weep,
11And there, when Autumn days are done.
12    White mists lie down to sleep.
13Sunrise and sunset crown with gold
14    The pinks of ageless stone,
15Her winds have thundered from of old -
16    And storms have set their throne.
17No echoes of the world afar
18    Disturb it night or day,
19The sun and shadow, moon and star
20    Pass and repass for aye.
21'Twas in the grey of early dawn,
22    When first the lake we spied,
23And fragments of a cloud were drawn
24    Half down the mountain side.
25Along the shore a heron flew,
26    And from a speck on high,
27That hovered in the deepening blue,
28    We heard the fish-hawk's cry.
29Among the cloud-capt solitudes,
30    No sound the silence broke,
31Save when, in whispers down the woods,
32    The guardian mountains spoke.
33Through tangled brush and dewy brake,
34    Returning whence we came,
35We passed in silence, and the lake
36    We left without a name.


1] "Written one lovely day in September, 1897, when taking my children for a hay-cart drive towards the `Little Saguenay' behind St. Raymond, Quebec. On ascending a hill, we saw before us a blue sheet of water nestling among the mountains and the two lines:
"It sleeps among the thousand hills
Where no man ever trod
flashed upon me. As I walked on beside the hay-cart, enraptured by the scenery, I elaborated the poem into the form it now wears, remembering to embody the cry of the fish-hawk which we heard later on over a piece of water. Whenever I recite the poem, memories come back to me of the green hills drenched in sunshine, and the merry children in the hay-cart" (Collected Poems [Vancouver: Clarke and Stuart, 1934]: 177). Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 1998.