PRINCE HENRY.THIS is the highest point. Two ways the rivers
|Leap down to different seas, and as they roll|
|Grow deep and still, and their majestic presence|
|Becomes a benefaction to the towns|
|They visit, wandering silently among them,|| 5|
|Like patriarchs old among their shining tents.|
ELSIE.How bleak and bare it is! Nothing but mosses
|Grow on these rocks.|
PRINCE HENRY. Yet are they not forgotten;
|Beneficent Nature sends the mists to feed them.|
ELSIE.See yonder little cloud, that, borne aloft
|So tenderly by the wind, floats fast away|
|Over the snowy peaks! It seems to me|
|The body of St. Catherine, borne by angels!|
PRINCE HENRY.Thou art St. Catherine, and invisible angels
|Bear thee across these chasms and precipices,|| 15|
|Lest thou shouldst dash thy feet against a stone!|
ELSIE.Would I were borne unto my grave, as she was,
|Upon angelic shoulders! Even now|
|I seem uplifted by them, light as air!|
|What sound is that?|
PRINCE HENRY. The tumbling avalanches!
ELSIE.How awful, yet how beautiful!
PRINCE HENRY. These are
|The voices of the mountains! Thus they ope|
|Their snowy lips, and speak unto each other,|
|In the primeval language, lost to man.|
ELSIE.What land is this that spreads itself beneath us?
PRINCE HENRY.Italy! Italy!
ELSIE. Land of the Madonna
|How beautiful it is! It seems a garden|
PRINCE HENRY. Nay, of Gethsemane
|To thee and me, of passion and of prayer!|
|Yet once of Paradise. Long years ago|| 30|
|I wandered as a youth among its bowers|
|And never from my heart has faded quite|
|Its memory, that, like a summer sunset,|
|Encircles with a ring of purple light|
|All the horizon of my youth.|
GUIDE. O friends!
|The days are short, the way before us long;|
|We must not linger, if we think to reach|
|The inn at Belinzona before vespers!|
They pass on.