ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Marshes of Glynn, Georgia
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Marshes of Glynn, Georgia
The Marshes of Glynn
Made famous by the poet Sidney Lanier, the vast
expanses of the Marshes of Glynn are seen here
from the DuBignon Cemetery on Jekyll Island.
The Marshes of Glynn
The stunning grasslands
separate the coastal islands
of the Glynn County coast
from the Georgia mainland.
"The Sweep of the Marshes"
The Marshes of Glynn are
seen here from the overlook
at the Jekyll Island Welcome
The Marshes of Glynn
An ancient oak frames a view
of the marshes from the
Horton House Historic Site on
Jekyll Island, Georgia.
The Marshes of Glynn - Glynn County, Georgia
Sea of Grass in the Golden Isles
In 1878, when poet and former Confederate
soldier Sidney Lanier took pen in hand to
write "The Marshes of Glynn," his beloved
South was still disastrously broken in spirit
from the War Between the States.

Lanier himself was suffering from
tuberculosis, the dreaded disease that would
claim his life just three years later. He had
contracted it during the Civil War when he
was taken prisoner while piloting a blockade
runner and sent to the Union's dreaded Point
Lookout prison in Maryland. A man of honor,
Lanier had refused to the advice of English
officers to don one of their uniforms and hide
his identity from the Union navy.

In the years after the war, Sidney Lanier
became one of the South's finest and best
known poets and writers. He tackled topics
that ranged across the spectrum and wrote
volumes ranging from
The Boy's King Arthur
Florida: Its Scenery, Climate and History.

It was as a poet, however, that he achieved
his greatest acclaim. Inspired by post-war
visits to various coastal locations in search of
relief from the symptoms of his tuberculosis,
Lanier began to write a series of stunningly
beautiful poems paying tribute to the South
he loved so dearly and that was suffering in
the bitter Reconstruction years.

His first major poem was the simply titled
"Corn." In his unique and beautifully flowing
style, he captured images of waves of corn
and winding split rail fences with words that
also captured the hearts of his fellow citizens.

"Corn" was followed by 1876 by  "The
Centennial Meditation of Columbia," a tribute
to the country's centennial and then in 1877
by "The Song of the Chattahoochee." The
latter poem was inspired by Georgia's
Chattahoochee River and was followed one
year later by "The Marshes of Glynn."

Part of an unfinished compilation by Lanier
titled "Songs of the Marshes," the poem
opened the eyes of the world to the beauty
and majesty of the coastal marshes of Glynn
County, Georgia. One of the places to which
the poet and writer had traveled seeking
relief from his sufferings, the marshes had
captured his eye and soul.

If you would like to read the poem, please
click here to open the lyrics in a second
window, courtesy of the Georgia Department
of Transportation.
...Somehow my soul seems suddenly free
From the weighing of fate and the sad
discussion of sin,
By the length and the breadth and the sweep
of the marshes of Glynn...

With such lyrics, Lanier used the marshes to
expand his own understanding of the
majesty of God's creations while soothing
his own soul and souls of his fellow people
of the South.

The poem captures a very special part of the
Georgia coast. The salt marshes of Glynn
and the other coastal counties are among
the most productive ecosystems on the
planet. They provide rich harvests of shrimp,
blue crab and oyster while also filtering the
water of pollutants. According to a NASA
study, Georgia has more salt marsh than any
other state on the East Coast of the United

The Marshes of Glynn can be viewed from a
park at Brunswick as well as from the roads
leading to Jekyll and St. Simons Islands and
numerous places on both.
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Copyright 2011 by Dale Cox
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