We leave the dusty vines, the poplared plain,
And, prisoners to the imperious god of steam,
Pant up the vale that changes as in dream,
Climb slow the iron stairway, in our pain
Groan through the gorges, shriek and plunge amain
Through rock, o’er river; now well-nigh we seem
To hang in air, and feel the milk-white stream
Breathe in our face, as onward still we strain.
St. Nikolas’ silver-turbaned spire is passed,
Above our heads strange snowy summits peep,
And glaciers frown from off their mountain
Still upward irresistibly we creep,
Till, as a sudden glory that appals,
The Matterhorn leaps high—Zermatt at last!
(Sonnets in Switzerland and Italy, p. 145)