"The Descent" [poem]
A FEARFUL mountain wall, whose sweep 1
At one sheer plunge, six thousand feet, 2
Stoops to the valley; on each side
Is tossed a very ocean tide,
Of surgy, snowy mountain crest;
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And all along that hillʼs steep breast
With snake‐like coilings, wound our way
On narrow shelves of rock, that lay
Almost oʼerhanging, and so sheer,
ʼTwas terror to look down, so near
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To such a precipice of fear.
And far before, and far behind,
We tracked our dread wayʼs mazy wind,
Continuous and descending, low,
At length looked up to the white snow
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From the deep valley, it would seem
Incredible, a very dream,
That we had scaled a ridge so high,
Or climbed so near the domy sky;
And we wound on, beside the course
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Of a roaring torrentʼs flashing force; 3
And many a fall of minor stream
Down the smooth rooks came thundering,
Or in white sheets of gauzy foam
Mingled with archy iris shone
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Among the forest pines.