David JohnsonDAVID JOHNSON   (1824-1906)   followed in the footsteps of his mentor, Alonzo Lewis, and became Lynn’s leading intellectual in the second half of the nineteenth century. Like Lewis, Johnson was active in civic affairs, and, like Lewis, he wrote history, Sketches of Lynn published in 1880, and poetry, Commemorative Poems published in 1893. Johnson was an early, though not a founding member of the Exploring Circle, and among the Commemorative Poems is an ode read at the 41st anniversary meeting of the Exploring Circle and an elegy, “In Memoriam: Cyrus Tracy, September 1891.” Johnson’s poem, “Mount Gilead: The Planting of Memorial Trees” commemorates a Camp Day memorializing Cyrus Tracy. The poem describes the contribution of Cyrus Tracy to the establishment of Lynn Woods as well as the beauty and restorative power of Mount Gilead, a special place. Interestingly, Johnson’s poem about High Rock presents another of Lynn’s elevations in a similar light.



           (The Planting of Memorial Trees.)

   On this fair spot where Nature piles
      Her monuments on ever hand,
   Whose tops greet Morning’s earliest smiles,
      The votaries of the Forest stand.

   How grand are these majestic hills!
      How sweet the vales that lie below!
   How the soft music of the rills
      Blends with the waves’ incessant flow.

   How calmly Gilead’s eye looks down
      On peopled plains and distant shore;
   Unmoved at Ocean’s angry frown
      Serene amid the billows’ roar.


   Here plant we the memorial tree
      To manly worth and duty done;
   Whose power the coming years shall see
      In triumph which their labor won.

   Here shall the name of Tracy blend
      With every sight and every sound;
   Where balmy pines their fragrance lend
      And near the heights his genius crowned.

   Beneath these shades shall memory run
      Through the long years his talent wrought
   And teach the lessons one by one
      That nevermore can be forgot.


   Here to this forest shrine shall come
      The youth to learn how deep the lore
   Great Nature whispers in the hum
      Of myriad tongues on mount and shore.

   Here the tired child of toil shall tread
      The restful paths, and breathe the air
   Whose couriers from the mountains sped
      With healing for the sons of care.

   And hear an anthem grander far
      Than ever from cathedral rose
   Since shepherds gazed on Bethlehem’s star —
      A harp played by each wind that blows.

   And generations yet unborn
      Shall visit this enchanted spot
   And incense of the night and morn,
      Shall hallow every scene and thought.


from:   Commemorative Poems (Lynn: Thos. P. Nichols) 1893.