"Splugen" [poem]
A LITTLE cultivated space
Amid the rocky wilderness,— 2
It was not so conspicuous seen,
Where every mountain top was green;
But that a little hamlet lay,
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With its enclosures, ʼmid the array
Of the dark pines, most peacefully:
And a few cattle strayed along,
Browsing the grass the rocks among,
Ringing their bells; and here and there,
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Poised on rock‐pinnacles iʼ the air,
Looked out from his round glassy eye
The mountain goat suspiciously.
And, drop by drop, a little spring
Down the smooth crag came glistering,
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With a sweet, tinkling sound, and fell
Into a mossed receptacle,—
The long trunk of an aged fir:
You scarce could see the water there,
So clear it ran, and sparkled round,
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Then gurgled oʼer the grassy ground,
Marking its course by the fresh green
Of the grass‐blades it danced between.
I drank, and rested, and would fain
Have stopped to gaze, and gaze again,
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And rest awhile the wearied eye,
Wearied with wild sublimity.
No! on! the peaceful bourne is past;
The rocks around are closing fast:
Higher and higher towʼrds the heaven
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Betwixt the cliffs our road is riven;
Or twining round the hillside bare
With many a bend, 3 where the high air
ʼGan to blow cold, and damp, and keen,
But sharp, and pressureless. The green,
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Though fresh upon the mountain side,
Was now more thinly scatterèd.
Now might you see, in sheltered nook,
The snow arch oʼer the icy brook,
With strange, white, delicate, bridgy curve
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That the green light shot through above.
And round, beneath, beside, there grew
The Alpine roseʼs heathery hue, 4
That blushed along the mountain head.
Was never flowʼr so regal red!
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It climbed the scathed old rocks along,—
Looked out, the cold, white snow among,
And, where no other flower would blow,
There you might see the red rose grow.