New Orleans History -- Lake Pontchartrain
Monday, July 15, 2024
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1841 - The Magnolia of Lake Pontchartrain

I was riding on the shore of Lake Pontchartrain, musing on an old English expression, which I had only lately learned to interpret. "He was fulfilled of all nobleness." Words so significant charm us like a spell long before we know their meaning. This I had now learned to interpret. Life had ripened from the green bud, and I had seen the difference, wide as from earth to heaven, between nobleness and the fulfillment of nobleness.

A fragrance beyond anything I had ever known came suddenly upon the air, and interrupted my meditation. I looked around me, but saw no flower from which it could proceed. There is no word for it; exquisite and delicious have lost all meaning now. It was of a full and penetrating sweetness, too keen and delicate to be cloying. Unable to trace it, I rode on, but the remembrance of it pursued me. I had a feeling that I must forever regret my loss, my want, if I did not return and find the poet of the lake which could utter such a voice. In earlier days I might have disregarded such a feeling; but now I have learned to prize the monitions of my nature as they deserve, and learn sometimes what is not for sale in the market place. So I turned back and rode to and fro at the risk of abandoning the object of my ride.

I found her at last, the Queen of the South, singing to herself in her lonely bower. Such should a sovereign be, most regal when alone; for then there is no disturbance to prevent the full consciousness of power. All occasions limit, a kingdom is but an occasion, and no sun ever saw itself adequately reflected on sea or land.

Nothing at the south had affected me like the Magnolia...

Margaret Fuller
The Magnolia of Lake Pontchartrain