“They made her a grave, too cold and damp
For a soul so warm and true;
And she’s gone to the Lake of the Dismal Swamp
Where, all night long, by a fire-fly lamp
She paddles her white canoe.”

“And her fire-fly lamp I soon shall see
And her paddle I soon shall hear;
Long and loving our life shall be
And I’ll hide the maid in a cypress tree
When the footstep of death is near.”

Away to the Dismal Swamp he speeds –
His path was rugged and sore
Through tangled juniper, beds of reeds
Through many a fen where the serpent feeds
And man never trod before.

And when on the earth he sunk to sleep
If slumber his eyelids knew
He lay where the deadly vine doth weep
Its venomous tear and nightly steep
The flesh with blistering dew!

And near him the she-wolf stirr’d the brake
And the copper-snake breath’d in his ear
Till he starting cried, from his dream awake
“Oh! when shall I see the dusky Lake
And the white canoe of my dear?”

He saw the Lake, and a meteor bright
Quick over its surface play’d –
“Welcome,” he said, “my dear one’s light!”
And the dim shore echoed for many a night
The name of the death-cold maid.

Till he hollow’d a boat of the birchen bark
Which carried him off from shore;
Far, far he follow’d the meteor spark
The wind was high and the clouds were dark
And the boat return’d no more.

But oft, from the Indian hunter’s camp
This lover and maid so true
Are seen at the hour of midnight damp
To cross the Lake by a fire-fly lamp
And paddle their white canoe!

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