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.
 
Western States: Mount Rose, Nevada
Mount Rose
John Brayshaw Kaye (1841–1909)
 
(Excerpt)

WE reached the top—I scarce know how—
And stood upon the mountain’s brow.
Our weary limbs and wasted strength
Are straightway all forgotten now.
What vastness and sublimity        5
Were spread before our eager gaze!
What wild and varied scenery!
What pictures for the poet’s lays!
Among the passing clouds we stood
And looked about us, and below,        10
O’er mountains, valleys, lakes, and wood,
And rivers in meandering flow,
As lovely as God’s tinted bow.
East, and below, lay Washoe Vale,
The Village, and the shining Lake,        15
And Steamboat’s boiling springs, that pour
Their scalding torrents through the crust
And make their sounding caverns quake.
As struggling currents hiss and roar,
A hundred seething jets of steam        20
Out from the foaming founts are thrust,
Along the white crustation seam,
And in the sunlight palely gleam,
Weird as the spectres of a dream,
And yet we see them when awake.        25
Then next the gloomy peaks that break
The morning sunbeams from the dale.
Beyond, the desert dim and pale,
The salt lagoons and Carson’s Sink.
Then further, like a stolen link        30
From out Sierra’s mighty chain,
Humboldt’s blue peaks rise from the plain.
While far on the horizon’s brink,
Full fifty weary leagues away,
Reese River Mountains rise on high,        35
A jagged wall against the sky,
The seeming eastern verge of day.
Northward are spread the Truckee Meads,
Where Truckee River winding speeds
Toward the foothills, where lies hid        40
The haunted Lake of Pyramid;
In which the flashing river pours
The current of its liquid stores.
There like a sullen pool it stands,
Evaporates and feeds the sands;        45
The wonder of the desert vale,
The scene of many an Indian tale
Of love and valor, virtue, vice,
And treachery, and cowardice.
*        *        *        *        *
Next, farther north, lies Crystal Peak;        50
And still beyond, the Mountain Twins
Tower side by side so brown and bleak;
Their height, and shape, and sameness wins
Attention from the roaming eye
By reason of their symmetry.        55
Northwest afar looms Lassen’s Butte,
High towering, without dispute,
The monarch of a wide domain
Of mountain-range and vale and plain.
While nearer, carpeted in green,        60
Sierra Valley lies between.
Next, westward, spreading out below,
Pride of the waters of the world,
Sierras’ gem, famed Lake Tahoe,
Among the craggy peaks enfurled,        65
Extends her mirrored sheet elate;
Her eastern shore, the Silver State,
Her western, California.
There like a sleeping nymph she lay
In isolation hid away.        70
From old Mount Rose range, side by side,
Southward, a long majestic chain
Of wooded mountains. Ophir Slide,
A lofty summit cleft in twain
By melting snows, has ta’en a ride        75
And caught a footing on the plain.
We let our vision roam again,
And catch a view of Carson’s stream,
A river lovely as a dream;
Fresh from the haunts of lasting snow,        80
It carries gladness in its flow
Along the grassy vale below.
Next, Silver Mountain strikes the view;
Its proud companion, tried and true,
The Great Mogul, is full in sight,        85
Full crowned in never-failing white,
And chief among the Alpine crew.
 
 
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