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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Switzerland and Austria: Vol. XVI. 1876–79.

Switzerland: Alps, The

Descent of the Alps

By William Wordsworth (1770–1850)

From “The Prelude

DOWNWARDS we hurried fast,

And, with the half-shaped road which we had missed,

Entered a narrow chasm. The brook and road

Were fellow-travellers in this gloomy strait,

And with them did we journey several hours

At a slow pace. The immeasurable height

Of woods decaying, never to be decayed,

The stationary blasts of waterfalls,

And in the narrow rent at every turn

Winds thwarting winds, bewildered and forlorn,

The torrents shooting from the clear blue sky,

The rocks that muttered close upon our ears,

Black drizzling crags that spake by the wayside

As if a voice were in them, the sick sight

And giddy prospect of the raving stream,

The unfettered clouds and region of the heavens,

Tumult and peace, the darkness and the light,—

Were all like workings of one mind, the features

Of the same face, blossoms upon one tree;

Characters of the great Apocalypse,

The types and symbols of eternity,

Of first and last and midst and without end.