Morning in Martigny

Thomas Buchanan Read

’T IS sunrise on Saint Bernard’s snow,

’T is dawn within the vale below;

And in Martigny’s streets appear

The mule and noisy muleteer;

And tinklings fill the rosy air,

Until the mountain pass seems there,

Up whose steep pathway scarcely stirs

The long, slow line of travellers;

And in the shadowy town is heard

The sound of many a foreign word.


Old men are there, whose locks are white

As yonder cloud which veils the height;

And maidens, whose young cheeks are kissed

  By ringlets flashing bright or dark,

Whose hearts are light as yonder mist

  That holds the music of the lark,—

And youths are there with jest and laugh,

Each bearing his oft-branded staff

To chronicle, when all is done,

The dangerous heights his feet have won.


So toils through life the pilgrim soul

  Mid rocky ways and valleys fair;

At every base or glorious goal

  His staff receives the record there,—

The names that shall forever twine,

And blossom like a fragrant vine,

Or, like a serpent, round it cling

Eternally to coil and sting.