Rhymes On The Road: Extract III. Fancy And Truth


Fancy and Truth--Hippomenes and Atalanta. Mont Blanc.--Clouds.

Even here in this region of wonders I find
That light-footed Fancy leaves Truth far behind;
Or at least like Hippomenes turns her astray
By the golden illusions he flings in her way.

What a glory it seemed the first evening I gazed!
MONT BLANC like a vision then suddenly raised
On the wreck of the sunset--and all his array
Of high-towering Alps, touched still with a light
Far holier, purer than that of the Day,
As if nearness to Heaven had made them so bright!
Then the dying at last of these splendors away
From peak after peak, till they left but a ray,
One roseate ray, that, too precious to fly,
O'er the Mighty of Mountains still glowingly hung,
Like the last sunny step of ASTRAEA, when high,
From the summit of earth to Elysium she sprung!
And those infinite Alps stretching out from the sight
Till they mingled with Heaven, now shorn of their light,
Stood lofty and lifeless and pale in the sky,
Like the ghosts of a Giant Creation gone by!

That scene--I have viewed it this evening again,
By the same brilliant light that hung over it then--
The valley, the lake in their tenderest charms--
MONT BLANC in his awfullest pomp--and the whole
A bright picture of Beauty, reclined in the arms
Of Sublimity, bridegroom elect of her soul!
But where are the mountains that round me at first
One dazzling horizon of miracles burst?
Those Alps beyond Alps, without end swelling on
Like the waves of eternity--where are they gone?
Clouds--clouds--they were nothing but clouds, after all!
That chain of MONT BLANC'S, which my fancy flew o'er,
With a wonder that naught on this earth can recall,
Were but clouds of the evening and now are no more.

What a picture of Life's young illusions! Oh, Night,
Drop thy curtain at once and hide all from my sight.
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