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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Americas: Vol. XXX. 1876–79.

South America: Andes, the Mountains

The Valley in the Andes

By William Lisle Bowles (1762–1850)

(From The Missionary)

BENEATH aerial cliffs and glittering snows

The rush-roof of an aged warrior rose,

Chief of the mountain tribes: high overhead,

The Andes, wild and desolate, were spread,

Where cold Sierras shot their icy spires,

And Chillan trailed its smoke and smouldering fires.

A glen beneath, a lonely spot of rest,

Hung, scarce discovered, like an eagle’s nest.

Summer was in its prime;—the parrot-flocks

Darkened the passing sunshine on the rocks;

The chrysomel and purple butterfly,

Amid the clear blue light, are wandering by;

The humming-bird, along the myrtle bowers,

With twinkling wing, is spinning o’er the flowers,

The woodpecker is heard with busy bill,

The mock-bird sings,—and all beside is still.

And look! the cataract that bursts so high,

As not to mar the deep tranquillity,

The tumult of its dashing fall suspends,

And, stealing drop by drop, in mist descends;

Through whose illumined spray and sprinkling dews

Shine to the adverse sun the broken rainbow hues.

Checkering, with partial shade, the beams of noon,

And arching the gray rock with wild festoon,

Here its gay network and fantastic twine

The purple cogul threads from pine to pine,

And oft, as the fresh airs of morning breathe,

Dips its long tendrils in the stream beneath.

There, through the trunks with moss and lichens white,

The sunshine darts its interrupted light,

And, mid the cedar’s darksome boughs, illumes,

With instant touch, the Lori’s scarlet plumes.