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

Western States: Tamalpais, Cal.


By Charles Warren Stoddard (1843–1909)

HOW glorious thy dwelling-place!

How manifold thy beauties are!

I do not reckon time or space,—

I worship thy exceeding grace,

And hasten, as a flying star,

To reach thy splendor from afar.

The first flush of thy morning face

Is dear to me; thy shadowless,

Broad noon that doth all sweets confess;

But fairer is thy even fall,

When seem to cry with airy call

Thy roses in the wilderness.

Thy deserts blithely blossoming,

Decoy me for the love of Spring.

With all thy glare and glitter spent,

Thy quiet dusk so eloquent;

Thy veil of vapors—the caress

Of Zephyrus, right cool and sweet—

I cannot wait to love thee less,—

I cling to thee with full content,

And fall a dreaming at thy feet.

Anon the sudden evening gun

Awakes me to the sinking sun

And golden glories at the Gate.

The full, strong tides, that slowly run,

Their sliding waters modulate

To indolent soft winds that wait

And lift a long web newly spun.

I see the groves of scented bay,

And night is in their fragrant mass;

But tassel-shadows swing and sway,

And spangles flash and fade away

Upon their glimmering leaves of glass,—

And there a fence of rail, quite gray,

With ribs of sunlight in the grass,—

And here a branch full well arrayed

With struggling beams a moment stayed,

Like panting butterflies afraid.

Lo! shadows slipping down the slope

And filling every narrow vale,

The shining waters growing pale,—

The mellow-burning star of Hope

And in the wave its silver trope.

A slender shallop, feather-frail,

A pencil-mast and rocking sail.

The glooms that gather at the Gate;

The somber lines against the sky,

While dizzy gnats about me fly,

And overhead the birds go by,

Dropping a note so crystal clear,

The spirit cannot choose but hear.

The hollow moon, and up between

An oak with yard-long mosses, green

In sunlight, now as dull as crape;

The mountain softened in its shape,

Its perfect symmetry attained—

And swathed in velvet folds, and stained

With dusty purple of the grape.