Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Americas
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Americas: Vol. XXX.  1876–79.
Mexico: Popocatepetl, the Mountain
William Haines Lytle (1826–1863)

    PALE peak, afar
Gilds thy white pinnacle a single star,
While sharply on the deep blue sky thy snows
  In deathlike calm repose.
    The nightingale        5
Through Mira Flores bowers repeats her tale,
And every rose its perfumed censer swings
  With vesper offerings.
    But not for thee,
Diademed king, this love-born minstrelsy,        10
Nor yet the tropic gales that gently blow
  Through these blessed vales below.
*        *        *        *        *
    Deep in thy heart
Burn on vast fires, struggling to rend apart
Their prison walls, and then in wrath be hurled        15
  Blazing upon the world.
    In vain conspire
Against thy majesty tempests and fire;
The elemental wars of madness born,
  Serene, thou laugh’st to scorn.        20
    Calm art thou now
As when the Aztec, on thine awful brow,
Gazed on some eve like this from Chalco’s shore,
  Where lives his name no more.
    And thou hast seen        25
Glitter in dark defiles the ominous sheen
Of lances, and hast heard the battle-cry
  Of Castile’s chivalry.
    And yet again
Hast seen strange banners steering o’er the main,        30
When from his eyrie soared to conquest forth
  The eagle of the North.
    Yet at thy feet,
While rolling on, the tides of empire beat,
Thou art, O mountain, on thy world-piled throne,        35
  Of all, unchanged alone.
    Type of a power
Supreme, thy solemn silence at this hour
Speaks to the nations of the Almighty Word
  Which at thy birth was stirred.        40
    Prophet sublime!
Wide on the morning’s wings will float the chime
Of martial horns; yet mid the din thy spell
  Shall sway me still,—farewell.

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