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Franconia, August 8, 1835.


UP! The worst

Is past; the bold rock stands unveiled; and now
One effort more. 'Tis done. Breathless and pale,
We stand upon the peak above the clouds.
Vast and immeasurable! How the eye
Searches the great expanse for rest in vain!
Magnificent obscurity! sublime!

Dim! fathomless! Above, is only heaven
Spread forth o'er all, in deep, pure, lustrous light!
Below, earth-only earth-yet so displayed
As fills the gazing soul with trembling awe.
O, what a place for thought! Give me my cloak,
And leave me here alone. I'll wrap it round
To keep me from the keen, imperious wind,
And hold a moment's musing by myself.
And not a human foot within the land

It planted high as mine!
On all else I look down.

Great heaven except,
That glorious dome,

Unchanged, appears — in beauty, grandeur, pomp,
As unapproached, as unapproachable,

* This piece and the two following are extracts from Poetical Notes of a Pedestrian Tour.

As when I upward gazed from common earth.
I have ascended, yet have not drawn near;

But things of earth, how changed! Man and his works Are scarce discerned. Yon hills, whose vastness seemed Immeasurable, lie, beneath my look,

Dwindled to vulgar eminences. Lo!

How they onward roll, like waves at sea,
Less and still less, till in the horizon far
They mingle with the clouds and disappear.
And yonder speck is ocean! infinite, sublime,
Resistless ocean! pride and dread of man!
Now but a glittering thread of twinkling light,
Like a faint lamp reflected from the pool,
So dim, so faint, we doubt if it be there.
What, then, am I—when all earth's mightiness
Thus disappears? Instruct me, awful Teacher,
While from this stand of truth I measure earth
And heaven! instruct me of myself. O, teach,
Teach me to feel that by approach toward Heaven
All things are seen in their own magnitude.

"God seems more grand- man crumbles into dust."
The pomp of wealth and power, the state, the luxury,
The strife which mad ambition seeks, and earth
Is torn with hot convulsions to attain,

Here show for what they are hollow and vain
Even as those clouds, that, floating in mid air,
Send out a glory to the eye below,
But drop their shroud upon the summit rock,
And hide with empty vapor earth and heaven.
Yet in these clouds as truly God resides,
As in the dark pavilion which arrayed
Old Sinai's top-as truly gives a law
To his attendant servant. Lend thine ear,

And hear it -ope thine heart, and honor it-
Bend reverently to its message all thy soul;
And let the lesson thou hast gathered here,
In solitary thought and intercourse
With truth and nature, cause thy unveiled soul,
Like Moses' face, to glow with obvious light—
Be a commandment to thy devious step,
And keep thee on thy high, immortal march.—
The body climbs toward heaven in vain—the soul,
If it will climb, may reach and enter in.


HERE pause upon this ruin. What a tale
Of grandeur and of woe is written here!
He, whom we think not of, because his power
Leads all things gently with the cords of love,
Doth sometimes teach us with a startling blow,
That wakes our senses to his majesty.
He touched the trembling mountain and it fell, -
Fell, with its burden of rent rocks and trees
Of giant growth, a fearful avalanche, —

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Fell, amid storm and tempest, while the clouds
Dropped down in floods, and angry lightnings flashed,
And thunders echoing rolled. It seemed as God
Descended in his terrors, as of old

On Sinai, wrapped in darkness, clouds, and storm.

The mountain felt him near,

And trembled from its base; the swelling streams,
Each with its own commission, carried forth
The message of destruction, bidding man
Tremble, adore, and think upon his God.

Behold this house. Thus near the horror came,
A few short feet, and stayed, and left it safe.
O, had its panic-stricken tenants staid,

They had been safe; but in their fear they fled,-
Fled from their shelter to the very death

They feared. The morning saw them in their tranquil home,

A family of love; the mother smiled Upon her five young mountaineers, and joyed To aid them in their sports, and lead them on To better things than sport. The drizzly rains Confined the father, too, within; and much They talked, perchance, and marvelled at the storm, That, seemingly exhausted, still poured on Floods inexhaustible, and gathering Blackness and fury tenfold, as the day Passed on. Yet what felt they of fear, or why? Were they not sheltered in a quiet home? And what but pleasure, from their nook secure, To look abroad on this sublime display Of nature's glorious and unusual pomp?

So came the eve, and with the eve came fear.
The tumult thickens, fiercer winds arise,
More copious torrents fall, the mountain groans,
Signs of unwonted dread are heard abroad.
But what do they portend?-the danger, what?
The safety, where? in quiet or in flight?
O, horrible suspense! and, at some sound
Of ominous import, forth at once

Wife, husband, children, in distraction rush.
Again the sound terrific, like the crash

Of earth's last wreck, burst on their frightened ear,
And the descending ruin bears them down.

They sleep in peace; and, humble as they were, Few of earth's honored sons have monument Magnificent as this.

To form it, this perpetual hill did bow,

These hoary rocks forsook their ancient base,
And here, while time shall last, the funeral pile
Shall tell where they repose. The crowds that come

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