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

Middle States: Catskill Mountains, N. Y.

Catskill Mountains

By Theodore Sedgwick Fay (1807–1898)

(From My Native Land)

AND, lo! the Catskills print the distant sky,

And o’er their airy tops the faint clouds driven,

So softly blending, that the cheated eye

Forgets or which is earth or which is heaven,—

Sometimes, like thunder-clouds, they shade the even,

Till, as you nearer draw, each wooded height

Puts off the azure hues by distance given:

And slowly break upon the enamored sight,

Ravine, crag, field, and wood, in colors true and bright.

Mount to the cloud-kissed summit. Far below

Spreads the vast champaign like a shoreless sea.

Mark yonder narrow streamlet feebly flow,

Like idle brook that creeps ingloriously;

Can that the lovely, lordly Hudson be,

Stealing by town and mountain? Who beholds,

At break of day, this scene, when, silently,

Its map of field, wood, hamlet, is unrolled,

While, in the east, the sun uprears his locks of gold,

Till earth receive him never can forget?

Even when returned amid the city’s roar,

The fairy vision haunts his memory yet,

As in the sailor’s fancy shines the shore.

Imagination cons the moment o’er,

When first-discovered, awe-struck and amazed,

Scarce loftier Jove—whom men and gods adore—

On the extended earth beneath him gazed,

Temple, and tower, and town, by human insect raised.

Blow, scented gale, the snowy canvas swell,

And flow, thou silver, eddying current, on.

Grieve we to bid each lovely point farewell,

That, ere its graces half are seen, is gone.

By woody bluff we steal, by leaning lawn,

By palace, village, cot, a sweet surprise,

At every turn the vision breaks upon;

Till to our wondering and uplifted eyes

The Highland rocks and hills in solemn grandeur rise.