Home  »  Poems of Places An Anthology in 31 Volumes  »  Mount Kearsarge

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

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

Mount Kearsarge

By Edna Dean Proctor (1829–1923)

  • Kearsarge, the mountain which gave its name to the ship that sank the Alabama, is a noble granite peak in Merrimack County, New Hampshire, rising alone, more than two thousand feet above the sea.

  • OH, lift thy head, thou mountain lone,

    And mate thee with the sun!

    Thy rosy clouds are valeward blown,

    Thy stars that near at midnight shone

    Gone heavenward one by one,

    And half of earth, and half of air,

    Thou risest vast, and gray, and bare,

    And crowned with glory. Far southwest

    Monadnock sinks to see,—

    For all its trees and towering crest,

    And clear Contoocook from its breast

    Poured down for wood and lea,—

    How statelier still, through frost and dew,

    Thy granite cleaves the distant blue.

    And high to north, from fainter sky,

    Franconia’s cliffs look down;

    Home to their crags the eagles fly,

    Deep in their caves the echoes die,

    The sparkling waters frown,

    And the Great Face that guards the glen

    Pales with the pride of mortal men.

    Nay, from their silent, crystal seat

    The White Hills scan the plain;

    Nor Saco’s leaping, lightsome feet,

    Nor Ammonoosuc wild to greet

    The meadows and the main,

    Nor snows nor thunders can atone

    For splendor thou hast made thine own.

    For thou hast joined the immortal band

    Of hills and streams and plains,

    Shrined in the songs of native land,—

    Linked with the deeds of valor grand

    Told when the bright day wanes,—

    Part of the nation’s life art thou,

    O mountain of the granite brow!

    Not Pelion when the Argo rose,

    Grace of its goodliest trees;

    Nor Norway hills when woodman’s blows

    Their pines sent crashing through the snows

    That kings might rove the seas;

    Nor heights that gave the Armada’s line,

    Thrilled with a joy as pure as thine.

    Bold was the ship thy name that bore;

    Strength of the hills was hers;

    Heart of the oaks thy pastures store,

    The pines that hear the north-wind roar,

    The dark and tapering firs;

    Nor Argonaut nor Viking knew

    Sublimer daring than her crew.

    And long as Freedom fires the soul

    Or mountains pierce the air,

    Her fame shall shine on honor’s scroll;

    Thy brow shall be the pilgrim’s goal

    Uplifted broad and fair;

    And, from thy skies, inspiring gales

    O’er future seas shall sweep our sails.

    Still summer keep thy pastures green,

    And clothe thy oaks and pines;

    Brooks laugh thy rifted rocks between;

    Snows fall serenely o’er the scene

    And veil thy lofty lines;

    While crowned and peerless thou dost stand,

    The monarch of our mountain-land.