Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Russia
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Russia: Vol. XX.  1876–79.
 
Asiatic Russia: Caucasus, the Mountains
Caucasus
Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822)
 
(From Alastor)

                            AT midnight
The moon arose: and lo! the ethereal cliffs
Of Caucasus, whose icy summits shone
Among the stars like sunlight, and around
Whose caverned base the whirlpools and the waves        5
Bursting and eddying irresistibly
Rage and resound forever.
*        *        *        *        *
                        The noonday sun
Now shone upon the forest, one vast mass
Of mingling shade, whose brown magnificence
A narrow vale embosoms. There, huge caves,        10
Scooped in the dark base of those aery rocks,
Mocking its moans, respond and roar forever.
The meeting boughs and implicated leaves
Wove twilight o’er the post’s path, as led
By love, or dream, or God, or mightier Death,        15
He sought in Nature’s dearest haunt some bank,
Her cradle and his sepulchre. More dark
And dark the shades accumulate,—the oak,
Expanding its immeasurable arms,
Embraces the light beech. The pyramids        20
Of the tall cedar overarching, frame
Most solemn domes within, and far below,
Like clouds suspended in an emerald sky,
The ash and the acacia floating hang
Tremulous and pale. Like restless serpents, clothed        25
In rainbow and in fire, the parasites,
Starred with ten thousand blossoms, flow around
The gray trunks, and as gamesome infants’ eyes,
With gentle meanings and most innocent wiles,
Fold their beams round the hearts of those that love,        30
These twine their tendrils with the wedded boughs,
Uniting their close union; the woven leaves
Make network of the dark-blue light of day,
And the night’s noontide clearness, mutable
As shapes in the weird clouds. Soft mossy lawns        35
Beneath these canopies extend their swells,
Fragrant with perfumed herbs, and eyed with blooms
Minute yet beautiful. One darkest glen
Sends from its woods of musk-rose, twined with jasmine,
A soul-dissolving odor, to invite        40
To some more lovely mystery. Through the dell,
Silence and Twilight here, twin-sisters, keep
Their noonday watch, and sail among the shades
Like vaporous shapes half seen; beyond, a well,
Dark, gleaming, and of most translucent wave,        45
Images all the woven boughs above,
And each depending leaf, and every speck
Of azure sky, darting between their chasms:
Nor aught else in the liquid mirror laves
Its portraiture, but some inconstant star        50
Between one foliaged lattice twinkling fair,
Or painted bird, sleeping beneath the moon,
Or gorgeous insect floating motionless,
Unconscious of the day, ere yet his wings
Have spread their glories to the gaze of noon.        55
 
 
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