Through pearly haze its light displays
Each buttressed mountain side,
And softly shines through stately pines
Where feudal castles hide,
And every height grows dazzling white
In the foam of a silver tide.
From the eastern side of the valley wide
To its snow-capped western rim
It will hold its way, till the dawning day
Shall have made its disk grow dim;
Then, leaving the blue, will drop from view
Behind the mountain’s brim.
Whence did it climb on its path sublime,
Ere it left that icy height?
And where will it go, when yonder snow
Is reached in the morning light?
Will its face elsewhere be just as fair,
When here it is lost to sight?
Why should I ask? ’Tis a fruitless task;
Enough that its splendor falls
On me to-night in my loggia bright,
Till the scene my soul enthralls;
’Tis a long time yet, ere the moon will set
Behind those glittering walls.
And even when it sinks again
Below that stainless crest,
It will seem at last to have safely passed
To a haven of peace and rest,
Like a happy soul that hath reached its goal
In the kingdom of the blest.
I also know not where I go,
Nor whence I came, or why,
Nor can I guess what happiness
Or strange, new world may lie
Beyond the vale through which I sail,
Beneath another sky;
But as the moon, which all too soon
Sinks down the west for me,
To other eyes appears to rise
And glide on fair and free,
So the frail boat in which I float,
Though tempest-worn it be,
May cross life’s brink, and seem to sink,
Yet sail another sea.
The vintage time is gone, but not its glory;
The grapes are garnered from their leafy gloom;
Yet miles of vineyards, story crowning story,
Cover the hillsides with a golden bloom.
The vine-clad terraces descend the mountains
Like cascades rippling with resplendent gold;
Steeped in the sun, and fed by sweet-voiced fountains,
Tyrolean slopes a paradise unfold.
Above the vines the mountain sides are blending
The oaks’ and maples’ multicolored glow,
In variegated zones their hues ascending
From radiant roses to eternal snow.
Now here, now there, through brilliant foliage peeping,
A ruined castle seeks its walls to hide,—
High on some lonely crag in silence sleeping,
Left centuries since by history’s ebbing tide.
In sparkling foam the beryl-colored river
Laughs in the sunshine between tinted walls;
While on the cliffs the scarlet creepers shiver,
Chilled by the breeze, as sunset’s shadow falls.
Still in the valley Summer reigns victorious,
Though Winter’s silvery sheen creeps slowly down;
Land of the vine and snow, at all times glorious,
In Autumn wearest thou thy fairest crown.