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

Switzerland: Goldau


By John Neal (1793–1876)

(From Goldau, or the Maniac Harper)

AN EVERLASTING hill was torn

From its eternal base, and borne,

In gold and crimson vapors drest,

To where a people are at rest!

Slowly it came in its mountain wrath,

And the forests vanished before its path,

And the rude cliffs bowed, and the waters fled,

And the living were buried, while over their head

They heard the full march of their foe as he sped,

And the valley of life was the tomb of the dead!

The clouds were all bright: no lightnings flew,

And over that valley no death-blast blew;

No storm passed by on his cloudy wing,

No twang was heard from the sky-archer’s string;

But the dark, dim hill in its strength came down,

While the shedding of day on its summit was thrown,—

A glory all light, like a wind-wreathed crown,—

While the tame bird flew to the vulture’s nest,

And the vulture forbore in that hour to molest.

The mountain sepulchre of all I loved!

The villages sank, and the monarch trees

Leaned back from the encountering breeze,

While this tremendous pageant moved!

The mountain forsook his perpetual throne,

Came down from his rock, and his path is shown,

In barrenness and ruin, where

The secret of his power lies bare,

His rocks in nakedness arise,

His desolation mocks the skies.