The Mountain Ride

IT was morning upon the mountains where the vapors hung like a veil;
Not a shaft of light shone vermeil-bright, for the porch of the east was pale.
But the horses pawed in the traces, ears pricked for the word “ away,”
As though a sapphire sheen was spread instead of a pall of gray.
쐤 So up we sprang to our places, and into the mist we flung,
With a whirl of whip, and a laugh on lip, and a quip from the driver’s tongue.
The tumble and toss of waters went with us as we wound,
And the ribbon of road outspun ahead, and the narrowing rock-slopes frowned ;
Then the climbing cliffs were lost in cloud, and into the gorge of gloom
With never a moment’s pause we plunged, as into the gates of doom.
And ever down, and ever down, by the brink of a black abyss,
Did our wild way lead with a dizzy speed where a torrent leaped with a hiss;
Here the artful imps of Echo played their antics about our ears,
Until delight at our forward flight gave way to a brood of fears.
But lo ! a curve, and a sudden swerve, and the ghosts of fright were gone,
For the shroud of cloud was backward swept like the miracle of dawn ;
And there below in the golden glow the land of our longing lay,
While the mirror of Maggiore burned in the distance far away;
There were the vine-clad slopes of our hopes, and the slender spearlike towers ;
A springing pace in the downward race — and Italy was ours !
Clinton Scollat’d.