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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Asia: Vols. XXI–XXIII. 1876–79.

India: Mussooree

The Abbey near Mussooree

By Letitia Elizabeth Landon (1802–1838)

ALONE, alone, on the mountain brow,

The sky above, the earth below;

Your comrades, the clouds, with the driving rain

Bathing your roof ere it reach the plain.

Loud on its way, as a forest blast,

The eagle that dwells at your side sweeps past;

Dark are its wings, and fierce its eye,

And its shadow falls o’er you in passing by.

White with the snow of a thousand years,

Tall in the distance the Chor appears;

Hot though the sunshine kindle the air,

Still hath the winter a palace there.

Away to the south the Jumna takes

Its way through the melons’ golden brakes,

Through gardens, cities, and crowded plains,—

Little, methinks, on its course it gains.

Round are the woods of the ancient oak,

And pines that scorn at the woodman’s stroke;

And yet the axe is on its way

Those stately trees in the dust to lay.

They have opened the quarries of lime and stone;

There is nothing that man will leave alone:

He buildeth the house, he tilleth the soil;

No place is free from care and toil.

Ye old and ye stately solitudes,

Where the white snow lies, and the eagle broods,

Where every sound but the wind was still;

Or the voice of the torrent adown the hill;—

Woe on our wretched and busy race

That will not leave Nature a resting-place.

We roam over earth, we sail o’er the wave,

Till there is not a quiet spot but the grave.