Home  »  Poems of Places An Anthology in 31 Volumes  »  Song on Saint Bernard

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

Switzerland: St. Bernard, the Mountain

Song on Saint Bernard

By Thomas Buchanan Read (1822–1872)

O, IT is a pleasure rare

Ever to be climbing so,

Winding upward through the air,

Till the cloud is left below!

Upward and forever round

On the stairway of the stream,

With the motion and the sound

Of processions in a dream:

While the world below all this

Lies a fathomless abyss.

Freedom singeth ever here,

Where her sandals print the snow,

And to her the pines are dear,

Freely rocking to and fro;

Swinging oft like stately ships,

Where the billowy tempests sport;

Or, as when the anchor slips

Down the dreamy wave in port,

Standing silent as they list

Where the zephyrs furl the mist.

Here the well-springs drop their pearls,

All to Freedom’s music strung;

And the brooks, like mountain girls,

Sing the songs of Freedom’s tongue.

And the great hills, stem and stanch,

Guard her valleys and her lakes,

And the rolling avalanche

Blocks the path the invader makes,

While her eagle, like a flag,

Floats in triumph o’er the crag!