Home  »  Poems of Places An Anthology in 31 Volumes  »  View from the Top of Black Comb

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
England: Vols. I–IV. 1876–79.

Black Comb

View from the Top of Black Comb

By William Wordsworth (1770–1850)

THIS height a ministering angel might select:

For from the summit of Black Comb (dread name

Derived from clouds and storms!) the amplest range

Of unobstructed prospect may be seen

That British ground commands:—low dusky tracts,

Where Trent is nursed, far southward! Cambrian hills

To the southwest, a multitudinous show;

And, in a line of eyesight linked with these,

The hoary peaks of Scotland that give birth

To Teviot’s stream, to Annan, Tweed, and Clyde:—

Crowding the quarter whence the sun comes forth,

Gigantic mountains rough with crags; beneath,

Right at the imperial station’s western base,

Main ocean, breaking audibly, and stretched

Far into silent regions blue and pale;—

And visibly engirding Mona’s Isle,

That, as we left the plain, before our sight

Stood like a lofty mount, uplifting slowly

(Above the convex of the watery globe)

Into clear view the cultured fields that streak

Her habitable shores, but now appears

A dwindled object, and submits to lie

At the spectator’s feet.—Yon azure ridge,

Is it a perishable cloud? or there

Do we behold the line of Erin’s coast?

Land sometimes by the roving shepherd-swain

(Like the bright confines of another world)

Not doubtfully perceived.—Look homeward now!

In depth, in height, in circuit, how serene

The spectacle, how pure!—Of Nature’s works,

In earth, and air, and earth-embracing sea,

A revelation infinite it seems;

Display august of man’s inheritance,

Of Britain’s calm felicity and power!