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

Western States: Longmont, Colorado

A Sunset at Longmont

By Horatio Nelson Powers (1826–1890)

WE ’ve journeyed through the mountains. There they stand

Broad-based, majestic in a grand repose,

Some three leagues westward. Longmont welcomes us;

And while we rest this balmy summer eve

At hospitable thresholds, all the sky,

As if to consecrate our holiday,

And make our precious memories more dear,

Puts on unwonted glory; and our eyes,

Like those of Moses in the mount, are smit

With sudden splendor. For the sinking sun,

Hidden, is not repressed, but pours its light

Upward and far aslant on flocks of cloud.

Along the clear horizon’s narrow rim,

Down the great gulfs of everlasting rock,

O’er shining peaks, the distant Snowy Range,

And Long’s high crown, while all the nearer hills

In tender shadow watch the miracle.

Spread to the right, and gleaming fold on fold,

Vermilion, saffron, pink, and pearly white,

The gorgeous banners of the clouds are flung,

Waving and tossing in resplendent surge,

Above yon belt of deep, delicious sky,

Whose liquid opal perfect, passionless,

Runs to a field of luminous emerald,

Broidered with marvellous fringe of crimson fire.

More southward, fleecy draperies touched with rose

Float on the air, and here and there droop low

Upon the shoulders of the purple peaks.

O’erhead the arrows of the hidden sun

Flash, now and then, on cliffs of ragged cloud;

And plumes of radiance, like strange tropic birds,

Flit through the open spaces of the blue.

High up amid the awful gaps of rock,

Between the ranges, a soft sea of bloom,—

The lustrous pollen of this sunset-flower,—

Throbs wave on wave against the granite shore.

Wondrous the billows of this golden mist,

Sweet, tender, lucent, as if purest dews

Of Paradise had washed the starry sheen

From heaven’s choicest blossoms, and poured all

Into the porphyry basin of the mount,

A perfect incense to the unseen God.

Unasked we join the worship of the hour,

Breathless with indescribable applause.

The sacred spell of Beauty on us lies,

And power that dwells in Light’s essential throne,

And Love in which all that is good is born.

The curtains of the glowing deep are drawn,

And through the vista, garlanded with gold,

O’er amethystine herbage, lawns of rose,

Pure streams where lilies of the angels blow,

Far toward the sightless glory of the Lord,

Our hearts are borne in measureless content,

Renewed and resting on the Infinite!