Pleurs.

A poem by Mary Gardiner Horsford

The town of Pleurs, situated among the Alps and containing about two thousand five hundred inhabitants, was overwhelmed in 1618 by the falling of Mount Conto. The avalanche occurred in the night, and no trace of the village or any of its inhabitants could ever after be discovered.


'T was eve; and Mount Conto
Reflected in night
The sunbeams that fled
With the monarch of light;
As great souls and noble
Reflect evermore
The sunshine that gleams
From Eternity's shore.

A slight crimson veil
Robed the snow-wreath on high,
The shadow an angel
In passing threw by;
And city and valley,
In mantle of gray,
Seemed bowed like a mourner
In silence to pray.

And the sweet vesper bell,
With a clear, measured chime,
Like the falling of minutes
In the hour-glass of Time,
From mountain to mountain
Was echoed afar,
Till it died in the distance
As light in a star.

The young peasant mother
Had cradled to rest
The infant that carolled
In peace on her breast;
The laborer, ere seeking
His couch of repose,
Told his beads in the shade of
A fortress of snows.

Up the cloudless serene
Moved the silver-sphered Night;
The reveller's palace
Was flooded with light;
And the cadence of music,
The dancer's gay song,
In harmony wondrous,
Went up, 'mid the throng.

The criminal counted,
With visage of woe,
The chiming of hours
That were left him below;
And the watcher so pale,
In the chamber of Death,
Bent over the dying
With quick, stifled breath.

The watchman the midnight
Had told with shrill cry,
When through the deep silence
What sounded on high,
With a terrible roar,
Like the thunders sublime,
Whose voices shall herald
The passing of Time?

On came the destroyer;--
One crash and one thrill--
Each pulse in that city
For ever stood still.
The blue arch with glory
Was mantled by day,
When the traveller passed
On his perilous way;--

Lake, valley, and forest
In sunshine were clear,
But when of that village,
In wonder and fear,
He questioned the landscape
With terror-struck eye,
The mountains in majesty
Pointed on high!

The strong arm of Love
Struggled down through the mould;
The miner dug deep
For the jewels and gold;
And workmen delved ages
That sepulchre o'er,
But found of the city
A trace never more.

And now, on the height
Of that fathomless tomb,
The fair Alpine flowers
In loveliness bloom;
And the water-falls chant,
Through their minster of snow,
A mass for the spirits
That slumber below.

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