Naming a lake: Sidney Clopton Lanier

Sidney Clopton Lanier (Feb 3, 1842 – Sep 7, 1881) was an American musician, poet and author in Macon, Georgia. He was educated at Oglethorpe College in Atlanta and fought in the Civil War.

Lanier was focused on the musical qualities of verse, and he often went out into nature for inspiration. His writings are based on his love of Georgia and its landscapes, his passion for music and poetry, as well as “Old Southern” values of chivalry. He died early at the age of 39 from tuberculosis. The lake created by Buford Dam was named in his honor because of the tribute he gave the area in his “Song of the Chattahoochee ”.

Song of the Chattahoochee

Out of the hills of Habersham,

Down the valleys of Hall,

I hurry amain to reach the plain,

Run the rapid and leap the fall,

Split at the rock and together again,

Accept my bed, or narrow or wide,

And flee from folly on every side

With a lover’s pain to attain the plain

Far from the hills of Habersham,

Far from the valleys of Hall.

All down the hills of Habersham,

All through the valleys of Hall,

The rushes cried ‘Abide, abide,’

The willful waterweeds held me thrall,

The laving laurel turned my tide,

The ferns and the fondling grass said ‘Stay,’

The dewberry dipped for to work delay,

And the little reeds sighed ‘Abide, abide,

Here in the hills of Habersham,

Here in the valleys of Hall.’

High o’er the hills of Habersham,

Veiling the valleys of Hall,

The hickory told me manifold

Fair tales of shade, the poplar tall

Wrought me her shadowy self to hold,

The chestnut, the oak, the walnut, the pine,

Overleaning, with flickering meaning and sign,

Said, ‘Pass not, so cold, these manifold

Deep shades of the hills of Habersham,

These glades in the valleys of Hall.’

And oft in the hills of Habersham,

And oft in the valleys of Hall,

The white quartz shone, and the smooth brookstone

Did bar me of passage with friendly brawl,

And many a luminous jewel lone

— Crystals clear or a-cloud with mist,

Ruby, garnet and amethyst —

Made lures with the lights of streaming stone

In the clefts of the hills of Habersham,

In the beds of the valleys of Hall.

But oh, not the hills of Habersham,

And oh, not the valleys of Hall

Avail: I am fain for to water the plain.

Downward the voices of Duty call —

Downward, to toil and be mixed with the main,

The dry fields burn, and the mills are to turn,

And a myriad flowers mortally yearn,

And the lordly main from beyond the plain

Calls o’er the hills of Habersham,

Calls through the valleys of Hall.


Atlanta Expat