Earlier and Later Poems
by The Rev. Edward Octavus Flagg, DDLD
© 1890, 1895, 1906, 1910
ST. HUBERT’S ISLE
Mid Adirondack Beauty, Racquette Lake appears,
The fairest called, by some, of all the liquid chain;
Its striking promontories, and its mountain views,
Its various windings, the surprises of its shores,
The smoothness, clearness of its water, when the winds
Allayed, refuse awhile to vex the elements, —
A picturesqueness give to fill a poet’s dream.
On Racquette is an island scarce two acres broad,
The name is from St. Hubert, patron of the chase,
And well is it bestowed where choicest game abounds,
A church within its wood both grace and nature blend,
Near which are found the hemlock, pine, the spruce, and fern.
St. Hubert’s jagged front, rude paths and rustic bridge,
Its scattered branches, rocks part clad in hoary moss,
The squirrel, reckless, freely bounding at its will,
The bird that fearless builds her nest, and pours her lay, —
Declare a spot remote, unfettered by the bands,
Enforcing mockeries — the bane of civil life.
This isle is fitly consecrated to its God.
This tenderloin of wood land doth Religion claim.
An altar has it framed, and rest for him who serves.
Protected is the shrine like that by Moses built;
Yet touch profane no dreadful statue here prevents,
But Reverence – assured through local metes and bounds.
Upon that holy day which sanctifies the seven,
If cloudless and serene the surface of the lake,
Like pinions moving, oars are plied the church to reach;
No vehicle with clatter shocks the air composed,
But, as by silent wing of angels, souls are borne
To here a common sentiment invites to kneel.
Within a leaf-girt harbor are the boats made fast,
Or, at a nearer landing lifted on a rock.
When ends the tolling of the bell that sweet resounds,
The voice of supplication and of praise is heard.
The preacher then, like John within the wilderness,
The truth proclaims, inspired by unseen presence felt.
When all have paid their homage to the forest’s Lord,
On Him their burdens casting ‘mid primeval works, –
The feeble and the strong, the hunter and the guide
To camp in view, or nestling down some bay, depart.
Then o’er the sacred island stillness reigns again,
Save where the sparrow chirrups or bee hums ‘mid the flowers.
Edward O. Flagg, DDLD 1890