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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
France: Vols. IX–X. 1876–79.

Savoy: Mont Cenis

Passage of Hannibal

By John Nichol (1833–1894)


SCENE first;—the Pyrenees at Venus point,

Her temple shining o’er the waves, that came

Rising and falling with the sounds that swell

The grand old choral music of the sea—

To greet us with a murmur from the East.

The next;—the broad blue waters of the Rhone,

That swirled betwixt us and the yelling Gauls,

Until our vanguard flashed upon their rear,

And freed the passage;—the long line of wharfs,

The glittering arms, horse, foot, and elephants,

Twisting their monstrous trunks in wonderment;—

Last, the great cheer upon the further bank!


What sights, what sounds, what wonders, marked our way!

Terrors of ice, and glories of the snow,

Wide treacherous calms, and peaks that rose in storm

To hold the stars, or catch the morn, or keep

The evening with a splendor of regret;

Or, jutting through the mists of moonlight, gleamed

Like pearly islands from a seething sea;—

On dawn-swept heights, the war-cry of the winds;

The wet wrath round the steaming battlements,

From which the sun leapt upward, like a sword

Drawn from its scabbard;—the green chasms that cleft

Frost to its centre; echoes drifting far,

Down the long gorges of the answering hills;

The thunders of the avalanche;—the cry

Of the strange birds that hooted in amaze

To see men leaving all the tracks of men;—

Snow-purpling flowers, first promise of the earth;

Then welcome odors of the woods less wild;

Gray lustres looming on the endless moor;

The voice of fountains, in eternal fall

From night and solitude to life and day!