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Thomas Cole's poetry

the collected poems of America's foremost painter of the Hudson River School reflecting his feelings for nature and the romantic spirit of the Nineteenth Century

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Song of the Spirit of the Mountain

A glorious privilege it is to wear a Spirit's form
And solitary dwell for aye on this high mountain-peak;
To watch afar beneath my feet the darkly heaving storm
And see its cloudy billows o'er the craggy ramparts break;
To hear the hurrying blast
Torment the groaning woods
O'er precipices cast
The desolating floods.—
To mark in wreathèd fire
The crackling pines expire:—
To list the Earthquake's and the Thunder's voice
Round and beneath my everlasting Throne;
Meanwhile unscathed, untouched I still rejoice
And sing my psalm of gladness all alone.
Through the clear ether that surrounds my home
My keen eyes watch the far, bewildering spheres
Each comet wild that tracked the midnight dome,
Within the deep recesses of my mind appears
For ages past.—Years! They are nought to me!
And centuries on centuries roll by harmlessly.
First to salute the Sun when he breaks through the night
I gaze upon him still when Earth has lost its light.
He loves me e'en when winter's gloom enfolds the world below
And lights my mountain-pinnacle enwreathed with drifted snow
That mid deep heaven lifted high by mortals seen afar
Through rifts of sable clouds appears a new and burning star.
When silence is most deathlike
And darkness deepest cast,
The streamlet's voice is breathlike
And dews are falling fast;


Far through the azure depths above, my clarion-songs resound;
Like voices of winds and waves and woods and deep tones of the ground
I wave my shadeless pinions o'er this my calm domain;
A solitary realm it is; but where 'tis joy to reign.
[July, 1837]