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

Western States: Sierra Nevada, Cal.

To the Sierras

By John J. Owen

YE snow-capped mountains, basking in the sun,

Like fleecy clouds that deck the summer skies,

On you I gaze, when day’s dull task is done,

Till night shuts out your glories from my eyes.

For stormy turmoil and ambition’s strife

I find in you a solace and a balm,—

Derive a higher purpose, truer life,

From your pale splendor, passionless and calm.

Mellowed by distance, all your rugged cliffs

And deep ravines in graceful outlines lie;

Each giant form in silent grandeur lifts

Its hoary summit to the evening sky.

I reck not of the wealth untold, concealed

Beneath your glorious coronal of snows,

Whose budding treasure, yet but scarce revealed,

Shall blossom into trade,—a golden rose.

A mighty realm is waking at your feet

To life and beauty, from the lap of Time,

With cities vast, where millions yet shall meet,

And Peace shall reign in majesty sublime.

Rock-ribbed Sierras, with your crests of snow,

A type of manhood, ever strong and true,

Whose heart with golden wealth should ever glow,

Whose thoughts in purity should symbol you.