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

New England: Monadnock, the Mountain, N. H.


By William Bourne Oliver Peabody (1799–1847)

UPON the far-off mountain’s brow

The angry storm has ceased to beat,

And broken clouds are gathering now

In sullen reverence round his feet;

I saw their dark and crowded bands

In thunder on his breast descending;

But there once more redeemed he stands,

And heaven’s clear arch is o’er him bending.

I ’ve seen him when the morning sun

Burned like a bale-fire on the height;

I ’ve seen him when the day was done,

Bathed in the evening’s crimson light.

I ’ve seen him at the midnight hour,

When all the world were calmly sleeping,

Like some stern sentry in his tower,

His weary watch in silence keeping.

And there, forever firm and clear,

His lofty turret upward springs;

He owns no rival summit near,

No sovereign but the King of kings.

Thousands of nations have passed by,

Thousands of years unknown to story,

And still his aged walls on high

He rears, in melancholy glory.

The proudest works of human hands

Live but an age before they fall;

While that severe and hoary tower

Outlasts the mightiest of them all.

And man himself, more frail, by far,

Than even the works his hand is raising,

Sinks downward, like the falling star

That flashes, and expires in blazing.

And all the treasures of the heart,

Its loves and sorrows, joys and fears,

Its hopes and memories, must depart

To sleep with unremembered years.

But still that ancient rampart stands

Unchanged, though years are passing o’er him;

And time withdraws his powerless hands,

While ages melt away before him.

So should it be,—for no heart beats

Within his cold and silent breast;

To him no gentle voice repeats

The soothing words that make us blest.

And more than this,—his deep repose

Is troubled by no thoughts of sorrow;

He hath no weary eyes to close,

No cause to hope or fear to-morrow.

Farewell! I go my distant way;

Perchance, in some succeeding years,

The eyes that know no cloud to-day

May gaze upon thee dim with tears.

Then may thy calm, unaltering form

Inspire in me the firm endeavor,

Like thee, to meet each lowering storm,

Till life and sorrow end forever.