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

Switzerland: Alps, The

The Alps

By Bryan Waller Procter (1787–1874)

I ’VE roamed amongst the eternal Alps. I ’ve stood

And gazed on the diminished world below;

Marking, at frightful distance, field and flood,

And spire and town, like things of pygmy show,

Shrink into nothing: while those peaks of snow

(Which yet the winds themselves but seldom climb)

Arose like giants from the void below,

But fashioned all for everlasting time:

Imperishable things,—unstained, as ’t were, by crime.

O ye unbending mountains! if ye be

Aught more than human view may contemplate,—

If on your crowned heads the Deity

Rests his bright foot eternal, when in state

He bends arrayed in lightnings, consecrate

Then stand forever. Perchance your heavenward look

Infused such feeling, strong and elevate,

That madness in the soul’s bright temple shook.

Silent ye pointed high. I read as from a book.

Sacred ye are. The very eye of God

Darts roses on ye as it shuts at even.

The earthquake on your breast hath never trod;

Nor in vast fragments have your limbs been riven;

Nor through your heart the red volcano driven,

That foams in lava-cataracts from its bound;

Or flings its blazing columns up to heaven,

Sinking in darkening ashes on the ground.

Thus Hecla, Etna feel; and all, save ye, around.