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On thy fair bosom, waveless stream!
The dipping paddle echoes far, And flashes in the moonlight gleam,
And bright reflects the polar star.
The waves along thy pebbly shore,
As blows the north wind, heave their foam And curl around the dashing oar
As late the boatman hies him home.
How sweet, at set of sun, to view
The golden mirror spreading wide, And see the mist of mantling blue
Float round the distant mountain's side.
At midnight hour, as shines the moon
A sheet of silver spreads below, And swift she cuts, at highest noon,
Light clouds, like wreaths of purest snow,
On thy fair bosom, silver lake!
0! I could ever sweep the oar, When early birds at morning wake,
And evening tells us toil is o'er.
MOUNTAIN, --who reignest o'er thine Alpine peers
Transcendently, and from thy massive crown
Of arrowy brightness dartest down thy beams
Upon their lesser coronets,—all hail !
Unto the soul in hallowed musing wrapt,
Spirits in which creation's glorious forms
Do shadow forth and speak the invisible,
The etherial, the eternal thou dost shine
With emblematic brightness. Those untrod
And matchless domes, through many a weary
Beyond the gazer, when the misty veil
Dies round them, start upon his dazzled sigh*
In vastness almost tangible; thy smooth
And bold convexity of silent snows
Raised on the still and dark blue firmament!
Mountain, -thou image of eternity !-
Oh, let not foreign feet, inquisitive,
Swift in untrained aspirings, proudly tempt
Thy searchless waste ! - What half-taught fortitude
Can balance unperturbed above the clefts
Of yawning and unfathomable ice
That moat thee round; or wind the giddy ledge
Of thy sheer granite ! Hath he won his way,
That young investigator? Yes; but now,
Quick panting on superior snows, his frame
Trembles in dizziness; his wandering look
Drinks pale confusion; the wide scene is dim ;
Its all of firm or fleeting, near or far,
Deep rolling clouds beneath, and wavering mists
That fit above him with their transient shades,
And storm-deriding rocks, and treacherous snows,
And blessed sunlight, in his dying eye
Float dubious; and 'tis midnight at his heart !
Mountain,-- That firm and ardent Genevese,
The enthusiast child of science, whose bold foot
Bounded across thine ice-rents, who disdained
The frozen outworks of thy steep ravines,
And, through a labyrinth of crystal rocks,
Pressed his untired ascént, e'en he, and all
His iron band of native mountaineers,
While scaling the aërial cupola
Of Nature's Temple, owried a breathless pang.
Thy most attenuate element is fit
For angel roamings. True, his zealous mind
Achieved its philosophic aim, and marked
And measured thee; but turned to earthly climes
Full soon, and bent in gladness toward the vale.
Mountain,-the sons of science or of taste
Need not essay such triumph. 'Tis more wise
And happier-till a fiery chariot wait-
To scan from lesser lights thy glorious whole ;
To climb above the deep though lofty plain
That wrongs thee; pass its lines of envious peaks,
And stationed at thy cross, sublime Flegere!
Thence meditate the monarch's grandeur ; while
His host of subject hills are spread beneath ;
For scarce, till then, his own colossal might
Seems disenthralled; and mute astonishment,
Unquenched by doubt or dread, at each new step,
Shall own his aspect more celestial still.
There, in some hollow nook reclining, whence
The bright-eyed chamois sprang ; with tufted bells
Of rhododendron blushing at my feet;
The unprofaned recess of Alpine life
Were all my world that hour; and the vast mount
In his lone majesty would picture heaven.
Bright mountain,-Ah! but volumed clouds en.
Thy broad foundations, curtain all thy steeps,
And, rising as the orb of day declines,
Brood on the vassal chain that flank thee round,
Then thy whole self involve-save, haply, when
A quick and changing vista may reveal
Some spotless portion of thy front, and show
Thee not unstable, like the earthborn cloud,
Brilliant though hid, abiding if unseen.
Then, as the vale grows darker, and the sun
Deserts unnumbered hills, o'er that high zone
Of gathered vapour thou dost sudden lift
Thy silver brow, calm as the hour of eve,
Clear as the morning, still as the midnight,
More beautiful than noon; for lo! the sun
Lingers to greet thee with a roseate ray,
And on thy silver brow his bright farewell
Is gleaming :-Mountain, thou art half divine !
Severed from earth! Irradiate from heaven!
Thus een the taught of heaven, with joyless eye
Fixed on the sable clouds which fear hath cast
O’er all the landscape of his destiny,
May fail to pierce them; but, though legioned
Of nether evil, though the deep array
Of stern adversities, and murky hosts
Of dark illusions blot his upper skies,
Yet, as they change, through that incumbent gloom
Shall he catch glimpses of the hallowed mount,
And weep that heaven is bright.-And at the hour
Of stillness, when e'en frightful shadows fade,
When night seems closing o'er his latest hopes,
And his sun set for ever,-then, behold,
Emerging in mid heaven, thy glistening top;
Oh, Zion! and the God that ruled his day
Hath not departed; for he poureth now
His radiance on thy summits, glancing back
A thrilling flood into his servant's soul !
"Joy full of glory !"—Was the noonday dark ?
It was ;-but eve is cloudless; night is peace;
Rapture shall gild the never-ending morn'