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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
An Alpine Storm
By Lord Byron (1788–1824)
 
From ‘Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage’

  THE SKY is changed—and such a change!—O Night,
    And storm, and darkness, ye are wondrous strong,
  Yet lovely in your strength, as is the light
    Of a dark eye in woman! Far along,
    From peak to peak, the rattling crags among,        5
  Leaps the live thunder! Not from one lone cloud,
    But every mountain now hath found a tongue,
  And Jura answers through her misty shroud
Back to the joyous Alps, who call to her aloud!
 
  And this is in the night.—Most glorious night!        10
    Thou wert not sent for slumber! let me be
  A sharer in thy fierce and far delight—
    A portion of the tempest and of thee!
    How the lit lake shines, a phosphoric sea,
  And the big rain comes dancing to the earth!        15
    And now again ’tis black—and now the glee
  Of the loud hills shakes with its mountain-mirth,
As if they did rejoice o’er a young earthquake’s birth.
 
  Now, where the swift Rhone cleaves his way between
    Heights which appear as lovers who have parted        20
  In hate, whose mining depths so intervene
    That they can meet no more, though broken-hearted!
    Though in their souls which thus each other thwarted,
  Love was the very root of that fond rage
    Which blighted their life’s bloom, and then departed;        25
  Itself expired, but leaving them an age
Of years all winters—war within themselves to wage—
 
  Now, where the quick Rhone thus hath cleft his way,
    The mightiest of the storms hath ta’en his stand:
  For here not one, but many, make their play        30
    And fling their thunderbolts from hand to hand,
    Flashing and cast around: of all the band,
  The brightest through these parted hills hath forked
    His lightnings; as if he did understand
  That in such gaps as desolation worked,        35
There the hot shaft should blast whatever therein lurked.
 
  Sky, mountains, river, winds, lake, lightnings! ye,
    With night, and clouds, and thunder, and a soul
  To make these felt and feeling, well may be
    Things that have made me watchful; the far roll        40
    Of your departing voices is the knoll
  Of what in me is sleepless,—if I rest.
    But where of ye, O tempests! is the goal?
  Are ye like those within the human breast?
Or do ye find at length, like eagles, some high nest?        45
 
 
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