"The Summit" [poem]
OH, we are on the mountain‐top!
The clouds float by in fleecy flock,
Heavy, and dank. Around, below,
A wilderness of turf and snow,—
Scanty rock‐turf, or marble bare,
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Without a living thing; for there
Not a bird clove the thin, cold air
With labouring wing: the very goat
To such a height ascendeth not;
And if the cloudʼs thick drapery
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Clove for a moment, you would see
The long, white snow‐fields on each side
Clasping the mountain‐breast, or heaped
In high, wreathed hills, whence torrents leaped,
And gathering force, as down they well
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To aid the swift Rhineʼs headlong swell.
And here and there a mouldering cross
Of dark pine, matted oʼer with moss,
Hung on the precipice, a to tell
Where some benighted traveller fell;
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Or where the avalancheʼs leap
Hurled down, with its wild thunder‐sweep,
Him unexpecting; and to pray
The passing traveller to stay,
And, looking from the precipice
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Dizzily down to the abyss,
To wing to heaven one short prayer,
One, for the soul that parted there. b