The skirts of other mightier mountains sink
To sunny woods and pastures gay with flowers,
But to thy making there came sterner powers—
Fear and despair, that tremble on the brink,
And awe, that from thy presence still would shrink.
Thou hurlest Winter from thy snowy towers,
No cloud in Spring with freshness on thee lowers,
And of the Summer rain thou dost not drink.
The million years have striven to lend thee grace,
Unnumbered suns have given thee gold for grey,
Through dawn, through dark the torrents wrap
With floating veils of soft, incessant sound;
Utterly naked, still thou dost out-face
Full glare of noon, and blush of setting day.
(Sonnets in Switzerland and Italy, p. 98)