Home  »  Poems of Places An Anthology in 31 Volumes  »  Lake of the Clouds, Mt. Washington

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

New England: White Mountains, N. H.

Lake of the Clouds, Mt. Washington

By Henry Clay Henderson

QUEEN of the clouds! afar from crowds

Thou reignest all alone,

In solitude which few intrude

To bow at thy high throne.

On either hand the mountains grand

Their giant shoulders lift

To bear thee up like God’s sweet cup,

Brimmed with his precious gift!

Shrined mid the haunts of Alpine plants

That wreathe thy rocky rim,

Like clustered vines the graver twines

About the beaker’s brim,

With what delight I caught the sight

Of thee I came to seek,

At peace and rest beneath the crest

Of Monroe’s splintered peak;

Where naught is heard of beast or bird

Save the lone eagle’s cry,

Whose lordly flight eludes the sight,

Lost in the deepening sky;

And where no sound disturbs the round

Of thy unruffled sleep,

But bolts that flash and roar and crash

And leap from steep to steep.

O, what an hour to feel His power

Who said, and it was done;

And huge and vast these hills stood fast,

Eternal as the sun!

By thy low brink I knelt to drink

Thy waters clear and cold,

As the last ray that shuts the day

Flushed thy fair face with gold.

Below in light the valley bright

In softened beauty shone,

While o’er me rose in grand repose

The dome of Washington.

The soft green moss I stept across

With wary feet and slow,

Crept in and out and all about

The shattered rocks below;

And wee bright flowers through sun and showers

Peered out with sparkling eyes,

As in the wild some unkempt child

Looks up in shy surprise.

O lovely lake, for thy sweet sake

The powers of earth and air,

That desolate all else, create

For thee a garden fair,

That mid the breath of gloom and death

Seems let down from above

To give us cheer where all is drear,

Like God’s abounding love.

Mid city heats I tread the streets

And think of thee afar,

As of one gone whose love beams on

Like light from some lost star.

O mighty mount, O crystal fount,

O hills and lakes and streams,

How dear thou art to all my heart,

How near in all my dreams.