Home  »  Poems of Places An Anthology in 31 Volumes  »  Bald-Cap Revisited

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

New England: White Mountains, N. H.

Bald-Cap Revisited

By John White Chadwick (1840–1904)


ELEVEN years, and two fair months beside,

Full to the brim with various love and joy,

My life has known since last I drew apart

Into this huge sky-shouldering mountain dome,

And, listening, heard the winds among the pines

Making a music as of countless choirs,

Chanting in sweet and solemn unison;

And, standing here where God’s artificers,

Angels of frost and fire and sun and storm,

Have made a floor with nameless gems inlaid,

Saw, like a roof, the slopes of living green

Go cleaving down to meet the lower hills,—

Firm-buttressed walls, their bases overgrown

With meadow-sweet and ferns and tangled vines,

And all that makes the roadsides beautiful;

While, all around me, other domes arose,

Girded with towers and eager pinnacles,

Into the silent and astonished air.

Full oft, since then, up-looking from below,

As naught to me has been the pleasantness

Of meadows broad, and, mid them, flowing wide

The Androscoggin’s dark empurpled stream,

Enamored of thine awful loveliness,

Thy draperies of forests overspread

With shadows and with silvery, shining mists,

Thy dark ravines and cloud-conversing top,

Where it would almost seem that one might hear

The talk of angels in the happy blue;—

And so, in truth, my heart has heard to-day.

Dear sacred Mount, not thine alone the charm

By which thou dost so overmaster me,

But something in thy lover’s beating heart,

Something of memories vague and fond and sweet,

Something of what he cannot be again,

Something of sharp regret for vanished joys,

And faces that he may no more behold,

And voices that he listens for in vain,

And feet whose welcome sound he hears no more,

And hands whose touch could make his being thrill

With love’s dear rapture of delicious pain,—

Something of all the years that he has lived,

Of all the joy and sorrow he has known,

Since first with eager feet and heart aflame

He struggled up thy steep and shaggy sides,

Sun-flecked, leaf-shaded realms of life in death,

And stood, as now, upon thy topmost crest,

Trembling with joy and tender unto tears;—

Something of all these things mingles with thee,—

Green of thy leaves and whiteness of thy clouds,

Rush of thy streams and rustle of thy pines,—

With all thy strength and all thy tenderness,

Till thou art loved not for thyself alone,

But for the love of many who are gone,

And most of all for one who still remains

To make all sights more fair, all sounds more sweet,

All life more dear and glad and wonderful.