Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Switzerland
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Switzerland and Austria: Vol. XVI.  1876–79.
 
Switzerland: Clarens
Clarens
Lord Byron (1788–1824)
 
(From Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage)

  CLARENS! sweet Clarens, birthplace of deep love!
  Thine air is the young breath of passionate thought;
  Thy trees take root in love; the snows above
  The very glaciers have his colors caught,
  And sunset into rose-hues sees them wrought        5
  By rays which sleep there lovingly; the rocks,
  The permanent crags, tell here of love, who sought
  In them a refuge from the worldly shocks,
Which stir and sting the soul with hope that wooes, then mocks.
 
  Clarens! by heavenly feet thy paths are trod,—        10
  Undying Love’s, who here ascends a throne
  To which the steps are mountains; where the god
  Is a pervading life to light,—so shown
  Not on those summits solely, nor alone
  In the still cave and forest; o’er the flower        15
  His eye is sparkling, and his breath hath blown,—
  His soft and summer breath, whose tender power
Passes the strength of storms in their most desolate hour.
 
  All things are here of him; from the black pines,
  Which are his shade on high, and the loud roar        20
  Of torrents, where he listeneth, to the vines
  Which slope his green path downward to the shore,
  Where the bowed waters meet him and adore,
  Kissing his feet with murmurs; and the wood,
  The covert of old trees, with trunks all hoar,        25
  But light leaves, young as joy, stands where it stood,
Offering to him, and his, a populous solitude.
 
  A populous solitude of bees and birds,
  And fairy-formed and many-colored things,
  Who worship him with notes more sweet than words,        30
  And innocently open their glad wings,
  Fearless and full of life; the gush of springs,
  And fall of lofty fountains, and the bend
  Of stirring branches, and the bud which brings
  The swiftest thought of beauty, here extend,        35
Mingling, and made by love, unto one mighty end.
 
  He who hath loved not, here would learn that lore,
  And make his heart a spirit; he who knows
  That tender mystery, will love the more,
  For this is love’s recess, where vain men’s woes,        40
  And the world’s waste, have driven him far from those,
  For ’t is his nature to advance or die;
  He stands not still, but or decays, or grows
  Into a boundless blessing, which may vie
With the immortal lights, in its eternity!        45
 
  ’T was not for fiction chose Rousseau this spot,
  Peopling it with affections; but he found
  It was the scene which passion must allot
  To the mind’s purified beings; ’t was the ground
  Where early love his Psyche’s zone unbound,        50
  And hallowed it with loveliness: ’t is lone,
  And wonderful, and deep, and hath a sound,
  And sense, and sight of sweetness; here the Rhone
Hath spread himself a couch, the Alps have reared a throne.
 
 
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