EUGENE BARRY   (1843 - ? )   was born in Lynn, was in the shoemaking business, and rose to prominence as a poet and as a supporter of the Free Public Forest during the 1880’s. The Appendix to Nathan Hawkes’ In Lynn Woods with Pen and Camera (Lynn: Thos. P. Nichols, 1893) shows that he was one of the first 61 donors that purchased land for the Free Public Forest in 1884. In 1887, he was elected to the Free Public Forest Board of Trustees and credited, along with Philip Chase, with the purchase of significant acreage at Penny Brook Glen and on the Marble property at Dungeon Rock. In 1890, he was one of five activists recognized by the city for conveying land to the Lynn Woods. (Three of the other four were early members of the Exploring Circle).

As a poet, Barry’s verse first appeared in the Lynn Transcript in 1886. What was very notable about his collection Poems, published in 1904, was the number of poems that were about the American West. This capacity to adopt a modern perspective is also seen in his poem about Dungeon Rock, which includes a nod to Lynn’s Spiritualists and concludes on an elevating spiritual note illustrated by Hiram Marble’s quest.





Back from the sea, in Lynn’s wild forest land,
Fringed with dark pines, a towering rock doth
Its bald crown cleft, as through the scimitar
Of the red lightning had descended there,
And, whelmed beneath, ‘tis said there lies a cave
That holds a pirate’s treasure and his grave.

On the bare upland, lone and desolate,
Behold the grave of one who strove, ‘gainst fate,
From out the unrelenting rock to wrest
The buried treasure. Now, above his breast
The snows of winter drift, and, sorrowing vain,
O’er him doth weep the unregarded rain.

A simple, trustful soul, who counsel sought
From the departed; by their guidance wrought,
Peopling with spirits the dim woods and caves,
The willing dupe of crafty, scheming knaves,
Those false ghost-brokers, who with wicked art,
Trade on the tenderest feelings of the heart.

Descend with me adown yon cavern deep,
Hewn in the living rock, a pathway steep
With tortuous windings. From the jagged wall
Of the rent rock, chill drops of anguish fall.
Down gloomy depths profound we grope our
Lost to the world and the sweet light of day.

And here for years he toiled, of summer’s heat
And winter’s cold unconscious, while the beat
Of his lone hammer throbbed with muffled sound,
As though the rock a living heart had found.
Then faint and fainter grew till all was still,
And silence brooded on the lonely hill.

Smile not at his delusion; may not we,
In our beliefs, be credulous as he?
Who shapes our creeds? In what dream-haunted
Were wrought the phrases that our hopes sustain?
May not the future man, with sight more clear,
Smile at the childish faith we hold so dear?

Then, rather let us seek to emulate
His sterling virtues, buoyant hope elate,
And steadfast faith that no defeat could chill.
May we, with the like indomitable will,
The deep recesses of the soul explore,
And treasure bring to light unknown before.


from:   Poems (Boston: L.C. Page & Co.) 1904.