Bryan Waller Procter

Helvellyn! blue Helvellyn! Hill of hills!
Giant amongst the giants! Lift thy head
Broad in the sunlight! no loose vapour dims
Thy barren grandeur; but with front severe,
Calm, proud, and unabashed, thou look'st upon
The heights around,—the lake and meadows green,
Whereon the herded cattle, tiny things,
Like flowers upon the sunny landscape lie;
Behind thee cometh quick the evening pale,
Whilst in the west an amphitheatre
Of crags (such as the deluge might have washed
In vain) against the golden face of heaven
Turns its dark shoulder, and insults the day.

With no imposing air, no needless state,
Thou risest, blue Helvellyn!—no strange point
Lends thee distinction, no fantastic shape
Marks thee a thing whereon the mind must rest;
But in thine own broad height, peerless and vast,
Leviathan of mountains! thou art seen
Fairly ascending amidst crags and hills
The mightiest one,—associate of the sky!

I see thee again, from these bleak sullen moors,
Boundless and bare,—long, dreary, wintry wastes,
Where the red waters, stagnant, lie amidst
Black rocks, and treacherous moss, and rushes white
With age, or withered by the bitter blast;—
Thou lookest out on thy huge limbs that lie
Sleeping far, far beneath; and on the plains
Below, and heaven which scarcely o'er thy head
Lifts its blue arch; and on the driven clouds
That loiter round thee, or impetuous burst
About thy summit with their stormy showers.
There, in thy lonely state, thou livest on
Through days and years, and ages,—still the same,
Unshaken, undecaying,—not alone
A thing material haply, for within
Thy heart a secret spirit may now abide;
The same that fills thy veins in spring with green,
And hangs around thee long the summer thyme;
And when the winds of autumn moan away
Solemn and sad, from thy supremest brow
Poureth the white stream bright and beautiful.

The winds!—are they thy music? (who shall say
Thou hearest not!) Thy echoes which restore
The rolling thunder, fainting fast away,
From death to a second life, seem now, methinks,
Not mere percussions of the common air,
But imitations high of mightier sense,—
Of some communicable soul that speaks
From the most inward earth, abroad to men
And mountains, bird and beast, and air and heaven.

Main Location:

Helvellyn, Lake District, Cumbria, England

Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0