In front the awful Alpine track
Crawls up its rocky stair;
The autumn storm-winds drive the rack
Close o'er it, in the air.
Behind are the abandoned baths
Mute in their meadows lone;
The leaves are on the valley paths;
The mists are on the Rhone—
The white mists rolling like a sea.
I hear the torrents roar.
—Yes, Obermann, all speaks of thee!
I feel thee near once more.
How often, where the slopes are green
On Jaman, hast thou sate
By some high chalet door, and seen
The summer day grow late,
And darkness steal o'er the wet grass
With the pale crocus starred,
And reach that glimmering sheet of glass
Beneath the piny sward,
Lake Leman's waters, far below:
And watched the rosy light
Fade from the distant peaks of snow:
And on the air of night
Heard accents of the eternal tongue
Through the pine branches play:
Listened, and felt thyself grow young:
Listened, and wept——Away!
Away the dreams that but deceive!
And thou, sad Guide, adieu!
I go; Fate drives me: but I leave
Half of my life with you.
Glion?——Ah, twenty years, it cuts
All meaning from a name!
White houses prank where once were huts!
Glion, but not the same,
And yet I know not. All unchanged
The turf, the pines, the sky!
The hills in their old order ranged.
The lake, with Chillon by!
And 'neath those chestnut-trees, where stiff
And stony mounts the way,
Their crackling husk-heaps burn, as if
I left them yesterday.
Across the valley, on that slope,
The huts of Avant shine—
Its pines under their branches ope
Ways for the tinkling kine.
Full-foaming milk-pails, Alpine fare,
Sweet heaps of fresh-cut grass,
Invite to rest the traveller there
Before he climb the pass—
The gentian-flowered pass, its crown
With yellow spires aflame,
Whence drops the path to Allière down
And walls where Byron came.
Still in my soul the voice I heard
I turned; by some vague impulse stirred,
Along the rocks of Naye
And Sonchaud's piny flanks I gaze
And the blanched summit bare
Of Malatrait, to where in haze
The Valais opens fair,
And the domed Velan with his snows
Behind the upcrowding hills
Doth all the heavenly opening close
Which the Rhone's murmur fills—
And glorious there, without a sound,
Across the glimmering lake,
High in the Valais depth profound,
I saw the morning break.