Home  »  Poems of Places An Anthology in 31 Volumes  »  The Mountain Winds

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

Southern States: Mount Tryon, N. C.

The Mountain Winds

By Anonymous


I SATE upon the lofty Tryon’s brow,

While yet the sun was struggling up the east;

Broad was the realm around, fragrant below

The plains, with summer fruits and flowers increased.

The soul and eye were at perpetual feast

On beauty; and the exquisite repose

Of nature, from the striving world released,

Taught me forgetfulness of mortal throes,

Life’s toils, and all the cares that wait on mortal woes.

Never was day more cloudless in the sky,

Never the earth more beautiful in view:

Rose-hued, the mountain-summits gathered high,

And the green forests shared the purple hue;

Midway the little pyramids, all blue,

Stood robed for ceremonial, as the sun

Rose gradual in his grandeur, till he grew

Their God, and sovereign devotion won,

Lighting the loftiest towers as at a service done.

Nor was the service silent; for the choir

Of mountain winds took up the solemn sense

Of that great advent of the central fire,

And poured rejoicing as in recompense:

One hardly knew their place of birth, or whence

Their coming; but through gorges of the hills,

Swift stealing, yet scarce breathing, they went thence

To gather on the plain, which straightway thrills

With mightiest strain that soon the whole wide empire fills.

From gloomy caverns of the Cherokee;

From gorges of Saluda; from the groves

Of laurel, stretching far as eye may see,

In valleys of Iselica; from great coves

Of Tensas, where the untamed panther roves,

The joyous and exulting winds troop forth,

Singing the mountain strain that freedom loves,—

A wild but generous song of eagle birth,

That summons, far and near, the choral strains of earth.

They come from height and plain, from mount and sea,—

They gather in their strength, and, from below,

Sweep upwards to the heights,—an empire free,

Marching with pomp and music,—a great show

Triumphal,—like an ocean in its flow,

Glorious in roar and billow, as it breaks

O’er earth’s base barriers: first, ascending slow,

The mighty march its stately progress takes,

But, rushing with its rise, its roar the mountain shakes.