Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > France
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
France: Vols. IX–X.  1876–79.
Savoy: Mont Cenis
Passage of Hannibal
John Nichol (1833–1894)

SCENE first;—the Pyrenees at Venus point,
Her temple shining o’er the waves, that came
Rising and falling with the sounds that swell
The grand old choral music of the sea—
To greet us with a murmur from the East.        5
The next;—the broad blue waters of the Rhone,
That swirled betwixt us and the yelling Gauls,
Until our vanguard flashed upon their rear,
And freed the passage;—the long line of wharfs,
The glittering arms, horse, foot, and elephants,        10
Twisting their monstrous trunks in wonderment;—
Last, the great cheer upon the further bank!
*        *        *        *        *
  What sights, what sounds, what wonders, marked our way!
Terrors of ice, and glories of the snow,
Wide treacherous calms, and peaks that rose in storm        15
To hold the stars, or catch the morn, or keep
The evening with a splendor of regret;
Or, jutting through the mists of moonlight, gleamed
Like pearly islands from a seething sea;—
On dawn-swept heights, the war-cry of the winds;        20
The wet wrath round the steaming battlements,
From which the sun leapt upward, like a sword
Drawn from its scabbard;—the green chasms that cleft
Frost to its centre; echoes drifting far,
Down the long gorges of the answering hills;        25
The thunders of the avalanche;—the cry
Of the strange birds that hooted in amaze
To see men leaving all the tracks of men;—
Snow-purpling flowers, first promise of the earth;
Then welcome odors of the woods less wild;        30
Gray lustres looming on the endless moor;
The voice of fountains, in eternal fall
From night and solitude to life and day!


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