"Splugen" [poem]
SPLüGEN. 1
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 flower 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.