Mountain Sonnets


SO lovingly the clouds caress his head, —
The mountain-monarch ; he, severe and hard,
With white face set like flint horizon-ward ;
They weaving softest fleece of gold and red,
And gossamer of airiest silver thread,
To wrap his form, wind-beaten, thunder-scarred.
They linger tenderly, and fain would stay,
Since he, earth-rooted, may not float away.
He upward looks, but moves not ; wears their hues ;
Draws them unto himself; their beauty shares ;
And sometimes his own semblance seems to lose,
His grandeur and their grace so interfuse ;
And when his angels leave him unawares,
A sullen rock, his brow to heaven he bares.


The pioneer of a great company
That wait behind him, looking toward the east,—
Mighty ones all, down to the nameless least, —
Though after him none dares to press, where he
With bent head listens to the minstrelsy
Of far waves chanting to the moon, their priest.
What vision beckons, when that rhythm has ceased ?
What whiteness of the unapproachable sea ?
Hoary Chocorua guards his mystery well.
He pushes back his fellows, lest they hear
The yearning secret he apart must tell
To his lone self, in the sky-silence clear.
A shadowy, cloud-cloaked wraith, with shoulders bowed,
He steals, conspicuous, from the mountain crowd.


A little lake, that in a quiet place,
Bordered with green home-fields and forest pines,
Seems to lie dreaming, rippled with soft lines
That glide like smiles across a sleeping face.
In the lake’s depth an outline vague you trace ;
A shadowy mountain on its breast reclines ;
And tremulous with the wonder of its dream
A shape sublime it makes that image seem. —
So is the greatest man not half so great
In wise men’s thoughts, or the world’s wondering eye,
Crowned with a grandeur sure to isolate,
As in some heart where he may mirrored lie; —
He finding in that distant nearness rest;
She with her grand illusion more than blest.
Lucy Larcom