Home  »  Poems of Places An Anthology in 31 Volumes  »  Among the Hills

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

New England: White Mountains, N. H.

Among the Hills

By John Greenleaf Whittier (1807–1892)


FOR weeks the clouds had raked the hills

And vexed the vales with raining,

And all the woods were sad with mist,

And all the brooks complaining.

At last, a sudden night-storm tore

The mountain veils asunder,

And swept the valley clean before

The besom of the thunder.

Through Sandwich notch the west-wind sang

Good morrow to the cotter;

And once again Chocorua’s horn

Of shadow pierced the water.

Above his broad lake Ossipee,

Once more the sunshine wearing,

Stooped, tracing on that silver shield

His grim armorial bearing.

Clear drawn against the hard blue sky

The peaks had winter’s keenness;

And, close on autumn’s frost, the vales

Had more than June’s fresh greenness

Again the sodden forest floors

With golden lights were checkered,

Once more rejoicing leaves in wind

And sunshine danced and flickered.

It was as if the summer’s late

Atoning for its sadness

Had borrowed every season’s charm

To end its days in gladness.

I call to mind those banded vales

Of shadow and of shining,

Through which, my hostess at my side,

I drove in day’s declining.

We held our sideling way above

The river’s whitening shallows,

By homesteads old, with wide-flung barns

Swept through and through by swallows,—

By maple orchards, belts of pine

And larches climbing darkly

The mountain slopes, and, over all,

The great peaks rising starkly.

You should have seen that long hill-range

With gaps of brightness riven,—

How through each pass and hollow streamed

The purpling lights of heaven,—

Rivers of gold-mist flowing down

From far celestial fountains,—

The great sun flaming through the rifts

Beyond the wall of mountains!