Home  »  Poems of Places An Anthology in 31 Volumes  »  A Group of Sonnets

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
America: Vols. XXV–XXIX. 1876–79.

Southern States: Blue Ridge, Va.

A Group of Sonnets

By Paul Hamilton Hayne (1830–1886)

HERE let me pause by the lone eagle’s nest,

And breathe the golden sunlight and sweet air,

Which gird and gladden all this region fair

With a perpetual benison of rest;

Like a grand purpose that some god hath blest,

The immemorial mountain seems to rise,

Yearning to overtop diviner skies,

Though monarch of the pomps of East and West;

And pondering here, the Genius of the height

Quickens my soul as if an angel spake,

And I can feel old chains of custom break,

And old ambitious start to win the light;

A calm resolve born with them, in whose might

I thank thee, Heaven! that noble thoughts awake.

THE RAINBOWS of the heaven are not more rare,

More various and more beautiful to view,

Than these rich forest rainbows, dipped in dew

Of morn and evening, glimmering everywhere

From wooded dell to dark blue mountain mere;

O Autumn! marvellous painter! every hue

Of thy immortal pencil is steeped through

With essence of divinity; how bare

Beside thy coloring the poor shows of Art,

Though Art were thrice inspired; in dreams alone

(The loftiest dreams wherein the soul takes part)

Of jasper pavements, and the sapphire throne

Of Heaven, hath such unearthly brightness shone

To flush, and thrill the visionary heart!

HERE, friend! upon this lofty ledge sit down,

And view the beauteous prospect spread below,

Around, above us; in the noonday glow

How calm the landscape rests!—yon distant town,

Enwreathed with clouds of foliage like a crown

Of rustic honor; the soft, silvery flow

Of the clear stream beyond it, and the show

Of endless wooded heights, circling the brown

Autumnal fields, alive with billowy grain;—

Say, hast thou ever gazed on aught more fair

In Europe, or the Orient?—what domain

(From India to the sunny slopes of Spain)

Hath beauty, wed to grandeur in the air,

Blessed with an ampler charm, a more benignant reign?