Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
France: Vols. IX–X. 1876–79.

Savoy: Chamouni (Chamonix), the Valley


By William Wordsworth (1770–1850)

(From “The Prelude”)

THAT very day,

From a bare ridge, we also first beheld

Unveiled the summit of Mont Blanc, and grieved

To have a soulless image on the eye

That had usurped upon a living thought

That nevermore could be. The wondrous Vale

Of Chamouny stretched far below, and soon,

With its dumb cataracts and streams of ice,

A motionless array of mighty waves,

Five rivers broad and vast, made rich amends,

And reconciled us to realities;

There small birds warble from the leafy trees,

The eagle soars high in the element;

There doth the reaper bind the yellow sheaf,

The maiden spread the haycock in the sun,

While Winter like a well-tamed lion walks,

Descending from the mountain to make sport

Among the cottages by beds of flowers.