Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
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Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
 
Sunrise from Mount Washington
By Rufus Dawes (1803–1859)
 
THE LAUGHING hours have chased away the night,
Plucking the stars out from her diadem;
And now the blue-eyed morn with modest grace,
Looks through her half-drawn curtains in the East
Blushing in smiles—and glad as infancy.        5
And see! the foolish Moon, but now so vain
Of borrow’d beauty, how she yields her charms,
And, pale with envy, steals herself away!
The clouds have put their gorgeous livery on,
Attendant on the day. The mountain tops        10
Have lit their beacons,—and the vales below
Send up a welcoming. No song of birds,
Warbling to charm the air with melody,
Floats on the frosty breeze; yet Nature hath
The very soul of music in her looks,—        15
The sunshine and the shade of poetry!
I stand upon thy loftiest pinnacle,
Temple of Nature! and look down with awe
On the wide world beneath me, dimly seen.
Around me crowd the giant sons of earth,        20
Fix’d on their old foundations, unsubdued,—
Firm as when first rebellion bade them rise,
Unrifted to the Thunderer;—now they seem
A family of mountains, clustering round
Their hoary patriarch,—emulously watching        25
To meet the partial glances of the day.
Far in the glowing East, the flecking light,
Mellow’d by distance,—with the blue sky blending,—
Questions the eye with ever-varying forms.
The sun is up;—away the shadows fling        30
From the broad hills, and hurrying to the west,
Sport in the sunshine, till they die away.
The many beauteous mountain-streams leap down,
Out-welling from the clouds,—and sparkling light
Dances along with their perennial flow.        35
And there is beauty in yon river’s path—
The glad Connecticut. I know her well
By the white veil she mantles o’er her charms.
At times, she loiters by a ridge of hills,
Sportfully hiding; then again with glee        40
Out-rushes from her wild-wood lurking-place.
Far as the eye can bound, the ocean-waves
And lakes and rivers, mountains, vales and woods,
And all that holds the faculty entranced,
Bathed in a flood of glory, float in air,        45
And sleep in the deep quietude of joy!
There is a fearful stillness in this place—
A presence that forbids to break the spell,
Till the heart pours its agony in tears.
But I must drink the vision while it lasts        50
For even now the curling vapors rise,
Wreathing their cloudy coronals to grace
These towering summits—bidding me away.
But often shall my heart turn back again,
Thou glorious eminence!—and when oppress’d        55
And aching with the coldness of the world,
Find a sweet resting-place and home with thee.
 
 
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