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: Peaks of Otter, Va.
To the Peaks of Otter
Jane Tayloe Worthington (d. 1847)
 
FAIR are the sunset hues, thy dark brow blessing,
  O mountain, with their gift of golden rays;
And the few floating clouds, thy crest caressing,
  Seem guardian angels to my raptured gaze:
I have looked on thee through the saddest tears        5
  That ever human sorrow taught to flow,
And thou wilt come, in life’s recalling years,
  Linked with the memory of my deepest woe.
 
Yet well I love thee, in thy silent mystery,
  Thy purple shadows and thy glowing light,—        10
Thou art to me a most poetic history
  Of stillest beauty and of stormiest might:
I owe thee, O sublime and solemn mountain,
  For many hours of vision and of thought,
For pleasant draughts from fancy’s gushing fountain,        15
  For bright illusions by thy presence brought.
 
And more I thank thee, for the deeper learning
  That soothes my spirit as I look on thee,
For thou hast laid upon my soul’s wild yearning
  The holy spell of thy tranquillity:        20
I shall recall thee with a long regretting,
  And often pine to see thy brow, in vain,
While Thought, returning, fond and unforgetting,
  Will trace thy form in glory-tints again.
 
And thou, in thine experience, all material,        25
  Wilt never know how worshipped thou hast been;
No glimpses of the life that is ethereal
  Shadow thy face, eternally serene!
Thou hast not felt the impulse of resistance,—
  Thy lot has linked thee with the earth alone:        30
Thou art no traveller to a new existence,
  Thou hast no future to be lost or won.
 
The past for thee contains no bitter fountain,—
  Thou hast no onward mission to fulfil;
And I would learn from thee, O silent mountain,        35
  All things enduring, to be tranquil still!
And now, with that fond reverence of feeling
  We owe whatever wakes our loftiest thought,
I can but offer thee, in faint revealing,
  These idle thanks for all that thou hast brought.        40
 
 
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