The Peak Mountain

James Montgomery

Emerging from the caverned glen,
From steep to steep I slowly climb,
And, far above the haunts of men,
I tread in air sublime:
Beneath my path the swallows sweep;
Yet higher crags impend,
And wild-flowers from the fissures peep,
And rills descend.

Now on the ridges bare and bleak,
Cool round my temples sighs the gale:
Ye winds! that wander o'er the Peak,
Ye mountain spirits, hail!
Angels of health! to man below
Ye bring celestial airs;
Bear back to Him from whom ye blow
Our praise and prayers.

Here, like the eagle from his nest,
I take my proud and dizzy stand;
Here, from the cliff's sublimest crest,
Look down upon the land:
O for the eagle's eye to gaze
Undazzled through this light!
O for the eagle's wings to raise
O'er all my flight!

The sun in glory walks the sky,
White fleecy clouds are floating round,
Whose shapes along the landscape fly,—
Here, checkering o'er the ground,
There, down the glens the shadows sweep,
With changing lights between;
Yonder they climb the upland steep,
Shifting the scene.

Above, beneath, immensely spread,
Valleys and hoary rocks I view.
Heights over heights exalt their head
Of many a sombre hue;
No waving woods their flanks adorn,
No hedge-rows, gay with trees,
Encircled fields, where floods of corn
Roll to the breeze.

My soul this vast horizon fills,
Within whose undulated line
Thick stand the multitude of hills,
And clear the waters shine;
Gray mossy walls the slopes ascend;
While roads, that tire the eye,
Upward their winding course extend,
And touch the sky.

With rude diversity of form,
The insulated mountains tower;
Oft o'er these cliffs the transient storm
And partial darkness lower,
While yonder summits far away
Shine sweetly through the gloom,
Like glimpses of eternal day,
Beyond the tomb.