|"Lake Drummond in The Great Dismal Swamp|
National Wildlife Refuge" photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Northeast Region via Wikimedia Commons
February, I am sharing one of the swamp's most famous stories.
|"Thomas Moore" by Martin Archer Shee|
One of the oldest tales of the Great Dismal Swamp is the enduring legend of the Lady of the Lake. The earliest people to populate the swamp were Native Americans who are thought to have first lived there 13,000 years into the past. It is not surprising, then, that this long-lived tale features those early inhabitants. It is said that a young Native American woman died just before her wedding day and her ghostly image can be seen paddling a white canoe through the dark waters of Lake Drummond. While visiting Norfolk, Virginia in 1803, Irish poet Thomas Moore immortalized the Lady and her distraught bridegroom in his poem, "A Ballad: The Lake of the Dismal Swamp." This was part of Moore's book, Epistles, Odes, and Other Poems, written in 1806 about his experiences and impressions during his visit to Bermuda and the eastern region of America. His introduction to the collection is a scathing criticism of the people he encountered in the young nation. His poem about the spectral lovers, however, is the height of romanticism.
|From the Sheet Music Collection of|
Samuel S. Levy at Johns Hopkins University
by Thomas Moore
“They made her a grave, too cold and damp