The Mountains in the Horizon

With frontier strength ye stand your ground —
With grand content ye circle round —
Tumultuous silence for all sound,
Ye springing nursery of rills,
Monadnock and the Peterborough hills —
Staid argument that never stirs,
Outcircling the philosophers.
While we enjoy a lingering ray,
Ye still oertop the western day,
Reposing yonder on God's croft
Like solid stacks of hay.
The iris of the sky,
Ye run
Round the horizon of its eye
Whose pupil is the sun.
Upon a fresh and airy day,
When our globe ploughs its way
In salter seas of light,
Right opposite the bight
Of some elysian bay,
Ye are its dorsal fin,
Tossing th'etherial spray
With breezy din.
From on Fair Haven's pier,
For many a year.
I've seen ye westward bound,
Without a sound,
Like some vast fleet
Sailing through rain and sleet,
Through winters cold and summer's heat.
Ships of the line each one
That westward run,
Always before the gale,
Under a press of sail,
Convoying clouds
Which cluster in your shrouds —
With your slant masts 'tis sixes and sevens
But that ye rake the heavens,
So near the edge ye go,
Under the roof so low;
With weight of metal all untold,
I seem to feel ye in my firm seat here,
Immeasurable depth of hold,
And breadth of beam, and length of running gear.
The vessels on the sea
Are relative to ye,
Sailing by sympathy.
Late enterprises of mankind
Some near income to find.
Flitting from shore to shore,
Their voyages soon are oer,
But ye hold on upon your high emprise,
Until ye find a shore
Amid the skies.
Crossing the pliant flood
By swifter period,
They with the noontide weigh,
And glide before its ray
To some retired bay,
Their haunt —
Whence under tropic sun,
They ceaseless run,
Bearing gum Senegal and Tragicant.
For such small ends
Time gladly spends
Itself into eternity,
For this was ocean meant,
For this the sun was sent,
And moon was lent,
And 'tis the winds' employment.
Time waits but till the field is tilled,
With such small deeds
His lap is filled
As that with seeds.

Man's little acts are grand
Beheld from land to land,
There as they lie in time
Within their native clime
For which the world did wait,
They are so great.
No doubt that in the port from whence ye hail
Your masters did not fail
To register your wealth,
For ye sail not by stealth,
Skulking close in to land,
With cargo contraband,
But they who sent a venture out by ye
Have set the sun to see
Their honesty.

Especial I remember thee,
Wachusett, who like me
Standest alone without society.
My life is like a western sky
Unto an eastern eye
Of calm repose,
Each moment tinted variously
As the wind blows.
Now streaming like the northern light,
Each yet more north, more high, more bright,
Subsiding on the shores of night,
Like yonder field of grain
It alway doth remain
Firm at its root,
Bending through all its length
With graceful strength,
Only the shadows glide
From side to side,
But still the deep grain doth abide.
Anon it sighs along
Like the breath of a song,
Or the wind on the sedge,
Or a tempest on the ledge,
First swells then dies away
Like a harp strain,
Only a string doth stay
To invite the wind again, —
But thou art far and blue and still,
Mocking my infirm will,
Thou steadfast hill,
Upholding heaven, holding down earth,
Thy pastime from thy birth,
Not steadied by the one nor leaning on the other,
May I approve myself thy worthy brother.

Thy far blue eye,
A remnant of the sky,
See through the clearing or the gorge,
Or from the windows of the forge
Doth leaven all it passes by.
Thou art our rostrum in the west,
Some ancient victory's bequest,
With nature's trophies fringed,
And natural colors tinged,
Not with the Tyrian dye,
But with the azure of the sky
Fronting an amphitheater of glory
Greater than Greek or Roman story —
Their old nobility westering with the sun,
Here to be done, perchance, or else begun.

Nothing is true
But stands 'tween me and you,
Thou western pioneer
Who know'st not shame nor fear,
By venturous spirit driven
Under the eaves of heaven,
And canst expand thee there?
And breath enough of air?
The sun doth go behind thee not before,
Briefly to mend his store,
Even beyond the west
With thy small stock thou migratest
Into unclouded tracts,
Without a pilgrims axe,
Upon a loftier way
Than our low western rout,
Cleaving thy road on high
With thy well tempered brow,
And mak'st thyself a clearing in the sky.
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