Rhymes On The Road. Extract I. Geneva.

A poem by Thomas Moore

View of the Lake of Geneva from the Jura.[1]--Anxious to reach it before the Sun went down.--Obliged to proceed on Foot.--Alps.--Mont Blanc.--Effect of the Scene.


'Twas late--the sun had almost shone
His last and best when I ran on
Anxious to reach that splendid view
Before the daybeams quite withdrew
And feeling as all feel on first
Approaching scenes where, they are told,
Such glories on their eyes will burst
As youthful bards in dreams behold.

'Twas distant yet and as I ran
Full often was my wistful gaze
Turned to the sun who now began
To call in all his out-posts rays,
And form a denser march of light,
Such as beseems a hero's flight.
Oh, how I wisht for JOSHUA'S power,
To stay the brightness of that hour?
But no--the sun still less became,
Diminisht to a speck as splendid
And small as were those tongues of flame,
That on the Apostles' heads descended!

'Twas at this instant--while there glowed
This last, intensest gleam of light--
Suddenly thro' the opening road
The valley burst upon my sight!
That glorious valley with its Lake
And Alps on Alps in clusters swelling,
Mighty and pure and fit to make
The ramparts of a Godhead's dwelling.

I stood entranced--as Rabbins say
This whole assembled, gazing world
Will stand, upon that awful day,
When the Ark's Light aloft unfurled
Among the opening clouds shall shine,
Divinity's own radiant sign!

Mighty MONT BLANC, thou wert to me
That minute, with thy brow in heaven,
As sure a sign of Deity
As e'er to mortal gaze was given.
Nor ever, were I destined yet
To live my life twice o'er again,
Can I the deep-felt awe forget,
The dream, the trance that rapt me then!

'Twas all that consciousness of power
And life, beyond this mortal hour;--
Those mountings of the soul within
At thoughts of Heaven--as birds begin
By instinct in the cage to rise,
When near their time for change of skies;--
That proud assurance of our claim
To rank among the Sons of Light,
Mingled with shame--oh bitter shame!--
At having riskt that splendid right,
For aught that earth thro' all its range
Of glories offers in exchange!
'Twas all this, at that instant brought
Like breaking sunshine o'er my thought--
'Twas all this, kindled to a glow
Of sacred zeal which could it shine
Thus purely ever man might grow,
Even upon earth a thing divine,
And be once more the creature made
To walk unstained the Elysian shade!

No, never shall I lose the trace
Of what I've felt in this bright place.
And should my spirit's hope grow weak,
Should I, oh God! e'er doubt thy power,
This mighty scene again I'll seek,
At the same calm and glowing hour,
And here at the sublimest shrine
That Nature ever reared to Thee
Rekindle all that hope divine
And feel my immortality!

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