Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > America
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
America: Vols. XXV–XXIX.  1876–79.
 
Southern States: Blue Ridge, Va.
A Group of Sonnets
Paul Hamilton Hayne (1830–1886)
 
I.
HERE let me pause by the lone eagle’s nest,
And breathe the golden sunlight and sweet air,
Which gird and gladden all this region fair
With a perpetual benison of rest;
Like a grand purpose that some god hath blest,        5
The immemorial mountain seems to rise,
Yearning to overtop diviner skies,
Though monarch of the pomps of East and West;
And pondering here, the Genius of the height
Quickens my soul as if an angel spake,        10
And I can feel old chains of custom break,
And old ambitious start to win the light;
A calm resolve born with them, in whose might
I thank thee, Heaven! that noble thoughts awake.
 
II.
THE RAINBOWS of the heaven are not more rare,
        15
More various and more beautiful to view,
Than these rich forest rainbows, dipped in dew
Of morn and evening, glimmering everywhere
From wooded dell to dark blue mountain mere;
O Autumn! marvellous painter! every hue        20
Of thy immortal pencil is steeped through
With essence of divinity; how bare
Beside thy coloring the poor shows of Art,
Though Art were thrice inspired; in dreams alone
(The loftiest dreams wherein the soul takes part)        25
Of jasper pavements, and the sapphire throne
Of Heaven, hath such unearthly brightness shone
To flush, and thrill the visionary heart!
 
III.
HERE, friend! upon this lofty ledge sit down,
And view the beauteous prospect spread below,        30
Around, above us; in the noonday glow
How calm the landscape rests!—yon distant town,
Enwreathed with clouds of foliage like a crown
Of rustic honor; the soft, silvery flow
Of the clear stream beyond it, and the show        35
Of endless wooded heights, circling the brown
Autumnal fields, alive with billowy grain;—
Say, hast thou ever gazed on aught more fair
In Europe, or the Orient?—what domain
(From India to the sunny slopes of Spain)        40
Hath beauty, wed to grandeur in the air,
Blessed with an ampler charm, a more benignant reign?
 
 
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