Selections from the American poets
William Cullen Bryant



MOUNT of the clouds, on whose Olympian height
The tall rocks brighten in the ether air,
And spirits from the skies come down at night,
To chant immortal songs to freedom there!
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Thine is the rock of other regions; where
The world of life, which blooms so far below,
Sweeps a wide waste: no gladdening scenes appear,
Save where, with silvery flash, the waters flow
Beneath the far off mountain, distant, calm, and slow.
Thine is the summit where the clouds repose,
Or eddying wildly round thy cliffs are borne;
When Tempest mounts his rushing car, and throws
His billowy mist amid the thunder's home!
Far down the deep ravines the whirlwinds come,
And bow the forests as they sweep along;
While, roaring deeply from their rocky womb,
The storms come forth, and, hurrying darkly on,
Amid the echoing peaks the revelry prolong!
And when the tumult of the air is fled,
And quench'd in silence all the tempest flame,
There come the dim forms of the mighty dead,
Around the steep which bears the hero's name,
The stars look down upon them; and the same
Pale orb that glistens o'er his distant grave,
Gleams on the summit that enshrines his fame,
And lights the cold tear of the glorious brave,
The richest, purest tear that memory ever gave!
Mount of the clouds! when winter round thee throws
The hoary mantle of the dying year,
Sublime amid thy canopy of snows,
Thy towers in bright magnificence appear!
'Tis then we view thee with a chilling fear,
Till summer robes thee in her tints of blue;
When, lo! in soften'd grandeur far yet clear,
Thy battlements stand clothed in Heaven's own hue,
To swell as Freedom's home on man's unbounded view!