The Yosemite Valley

Isaac McLellan

A scene sublime is here disclos'd
Mountain and vale, with streams between;
A verdurous garden, far outspread,
With drooping woods of living green;
And the Sierras snow-clad crest
With all their plumy pine-trees drest.
The tourist, lost in wonder, looks
O'er mountain ranges white and vast,
Crown'd with the everlasting snows,
Swept by the fierce, tempestuous blast.

Here rises high in empty air
El Capitan, thy royal cone,
Thy bases girt with mighty woods,
Thy summit, a majestic throne;
Deep in the hollow vale below
The rolling Merced pours its tide,
Reflecting in its mirror'd face
Great shadows of the mountain side.

And here behold earth's grandest fall,
The great fall of the Yosemite,
Pouring adown three thousand feet
Its cataract of torrents white.
One sheeted ghost of snowy foam,
From cliff to granite cliff it leaps;
Now a bright rainbow arch of light,
Now a wild river prone it sweeps.

List to the thunder of its voice,
Look to the lightnings of its flash;
List how the solid earth doth groan,
Look to its dazzling arrowy dash!
Where in this rounded world may be
Such matchless, grand sublimity!
How noble these great lakes outspread
In this remote enchanted land!
Vast Buena-Vista, Tulare, Kern,
Outstretching their expanses grand.
And here in league-long bay and cove
The wild fowl swarm the swan, the crane,
The mallard, pelican, and teal,

And geese that browse the grassy plain.
And here wild creatures roam at will,
The bear, the puma, and the deer,
The wild-cat with its snarling whelps,
The antelope, of swift career.
No grander sportsman s paradise
Is spread beneath the bending skies!

Here mariposa groves extend
And calavera. king of all
The mightiest forest trees of earth,
Dark-foliaged, spires supremely tall!
For ages have their tops sublime
Wrestled with storm and hurricane,
Baffled the rage of snows and hail
Assaulting their great brows in vain;
Far be the day when they shall bend
Their necks to ignominious end!
And ever as the ages flow,
May this fair Eden of our laud,
Unchang'd in wondrous grandeur show
The works of its Creator's hand.

El Capitan is a towering rock with sheer cliff faces. The beauty and majesty of Yosemite make it a popular subject for poets.