Thy towering peaks, O mighty Alps! arise
From out the deepening shadows of the past
Like sunlit spires above the shades of night
Seen from some proud eminence afar.
On thy summits rest the eternal snows,
In semblance of the purity sublime
Of Heaven, from which streams of living waters flow,
Those rocky heights that rise, piercing the sky,
And against which the fleeing clouds do break
Themselves, and where the snowy avalanche
Forms and falls on the silent rivers of ice
Below, with deep-toned thunder, are summits
Whereon Orion and the sweet Pleiades,
All the shining hosts of Heaven, pause to rest
On their eternal revolutions. Time,
In his onward course, seems not to touch thee.
Unlike this lower world, that under his
Fierce sway becomes changed in its aspect, thou
Hast stood the same for ages past; and who
Can say thou wert not then, as now, when time
Began his first cycle?
Is powerless to subdue thee, although
He has oft fearlessly scaled thy steep sides,
Reaching the summit of thy highest peaks.
Yet he could not long remain there: thy airs
Are too ethereal for his sluggish powers
To inhale; and, faint, exhausted, he comes back
To lowlier scenes, content to gaze on thee
As thou standst enveloped in the blue mist
Of distance, which mellows and softens thee.
Oh, what a hymn sublime thou singst to God
Who formed thee! and I join thy anthem of praise
Gladly, with all questionings of His right
To create and control silenced. Did he
Not, with his attendant seraphim, pause
On thy summits, and look down upon his
Handiwork spread out before him? Methinks
He did; and all things in audible voice
Did loudly glorify and worship Him.