Verse > John Greenleaf Whittier > The Poetical Works in Four Volumes
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John Greenleaf Whittier (1807–1892).  The Poetical Works in Four Volumes.  1892.
 
Poems of Nature
Storm on Lake Asquam
 
A CLOUD, like that the old-time Hebrew saw
  On Carmel prophesying rain, began
  To lift itself o’er wooded Cardigan,
Growing and blackening. Suddenly, a flaw
 
Of chill wind menaced; then a strong blast beat        5
  Down the long valley’s murmuring pines, and woke
  The noon-dream of the sleeping lake, and broke
Its smooth steel mirror at the mountains’ feet.
 
Thunderous and vast, a fire-veined darkness swept
  Over the rough pine-bearded Asquam range;        10
  A wraith of tempest, wonderful and strange,
From peak to peak the cloudy giant stepped.
 
One moment, as if challenging the storm,
  Chocorua’s tall, defiant sentinel
  Looked from his watch-tower; then the shadow fell,        15
And the wild rain-drift blotted out his form.
 
And over all the still unhidden sun,
  Weaving its light through slant-blown veils of rain,
  Smiled on the trouble, as hope smiles on pain;
And, when the tumult and the strife were done,        20
 
With one foot on the lake and one on land,
  Framing within his crescent’s tinted streak
  A far-off picture of the Melvin peak,
Spent broken clouds the rainbow’s angel spanned.

  1882.
 
 
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