Before there were clouds in the heavens,
Before there were summers and springs,
Afar in the fathomless ages
The mountains, the mountains had wings.
For, first of the works of creation
Are they of the towering crests,
And great was their grandeur and glory,
And greater the pride in their breasts.
They soared to the starry pavilions;
Prodigious in power and girth,
They darkened the world with their shadows.
Yea, truly, unstable was Earth!
For madly they challenged each other,
Till, rising in menacing flight,
They sundered the peace of the ages;
In battle they measured their might.
Then, rolling together, the ranges
In thunderous conflict were hurled;
The crags of the helmeted summits
Were scattered abroad through the world;
Till He that created the mountains,
Who stayeth the sea with His hand,
Dissevered the wings from their shoulders
And rooted the hills where they stand.
So, marshaled in order of battle
The rolling sierras are seen;
But calm are the helmeted summits,
And calm are the valleys between.
The snows of the æons have softened
The pride of the towering crests,
And sunk are the passionate fires
That burned in the cavernous breasts.
And still in the quiet of the evening
The clouds of the heavens enfold
The bulk of the great, shraggy shoulders
In ivory, crimson, and gold;
For these are the wings of the mountains,
Though clouds to the vision of men,
And thus, by the mercy of Heaven,
They come to the mountains again.