On the shores of a sea of mist
I chanced to roam,
Where sunlit the surface gleamed
Whiter than foam.
But the voice of the restless main
Was absent there,
For the billows that rolled along
Were waves of air;
And the isles of that silent sea
Were mountain peaks
That, far from the haunts of man,
The wild goat seeks.
O, that day above the clouds
Was bright and fair!
With pines and the sparkling snow
But, a thousand fathoms down
A city street
Was shrouded in sunless gloom
Where shadows meet;
It knew not the fairer day
And matchless view;
That snowfields gleamed above
And skies were blue:
That the clouds which gloomed below
Were seas of light
From another point of view
At greater height.
Winter Sunset in the Cascade Range
Picture a world of snowfields
Aglow in the sunset light,
Great fir trees snow-flake laden
And broken clouds piled white;
While bathed in a silver sheen
The pines on a crest are seen.
Would I could frame the language
Worthy those sunset tints,
Hued from saffron to coral,
Aflame where the sunlight glints;
And the clear steel blue of the sky
Where the clouds had drifted by.
The daylight slowly faded.
Weakly mere words convey
The ivory white of snowflakes,
Decking the hills that day;
And the softening yellow tone
That fell from the sun god’s throne.
Far beyond wooded ridges
Lit with a twilight ray,
Sentinel like in the cloudland
A nameless peak held sway;
Keeping a silent guard
O’er valleys by cloud wreaths barred.
’Twas crowned with flaming colours
Of sunset’s fleeting hour;
Giving its best expression
To nature’s lavish dower
E’re the ebbing tide of day
Should fade from the world away.
Then light melted softly to shadow
And the blue of the sky turned grey,
While a veil of deepening twilight
Warned us to haste away,
For the winter nights are bleak
In the wilds by that lonely peak.
[*]Beside the Ocstall
I mused one day beside the Ocstall River
Where trailing mists went drifting softly by;
And waterfalls in thunderous voices calling,
Their vaporous breath raised to a burdened sky.
What mystic spell? what strange compelling
Did hold the sons of Britain toiling there?
What charm was there in that great lonely region
Enticing them from distant lands, more fair?
Fantastic cloud wreaths draped a sea of
Forest and muskeg in the vales held sway;
To win a fortune from those wild surroundings
Men came, then could not from them break away.