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Amply requited with immortal verse,
The poet's payment. — But, among them all,
None can with this compare, the dangerous seat
Of generous, active Virtue. What though Frost
Reign everlastingly, and ice and snow
Thaw not, but gather -- there is that within,
Which, where it comes, makes Summer; and, in thought,
Oft am I sitting on the bench beneath
Their garden-plot, where all that vegetates
Is but some scanty lettuce, to observe
Those from the south ascending, every step
As though it were their last,-- and instantly
Restored, renewed, advancing as with songs,
Soon as they see, turning a lofty crag,
That plain, that modest structure, promising
Bread to the hungry, to the weary rest.

THE DESCENT.

My mule refreshed — and, let the truth be told,
He was nor dull nor contradictory,19
But patient, diligent, and sure of foot,
Shunning the loose stone on the precipice,
Snorting suspicion while with sight, smell, touch,
Trying, detecting, where the surface smiled;
And with deliberate courage sliding down,
Where in his sledge the Laplander had turned
With looks aghast - my mule refreshed, his bells
Jingled once more, the signal to depart,
And we set out in the gray light of dawn,
Descending rapidly — by waterfalls

Fast-frozen, and among huge blocks of ice
That in their long career had stopped mid-way.
At length, unchecked, unbidden, he stood still ;
And all his bells were muffled. Then my guide,
Lowering his voice, addressed me ::“Through this gar
On and say nothing — lest a word, a breath
Bring down a winter's snow — enough to whelm
The armed files that, night and day, were seen
Winding from cliff to cliff in loose array
To conquer at MARENGO. Though long since,
Well I remember how I met them here,
As the sun set far down, purpling the west;
And how NAPOLEON, he himself, no less,
Wrapt in his cloak,- I could not be deceived, -
Reined in his horse, and asked me, as I passed,
How far 't was to St. Remi. Where the rock
Juts forward, and the road, crumbling away,
Narrows almost to nothing at the base,
'T was there; and down along the brink he led
To victory! – DESAIX,” who turned the scale,
Leaving his life-blood in that famous field
(When the clouds break, we may discern the spot
In the blue haze), sleeps, as you saw at dawn,
Just where we entered, in the Hospital-church."
So saying, for a while he held his peace,
Awe-struck beneath that dreadful canopy;
But soon, the danger passed, launched forth again.

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JORASSE.

21

JORASSE was in his three-and-twentieth year;
Graceful and active as a stag just roused;
Gentle withal, and pleasant in his speech,
Yet seldom seen to smile. He had grown up
Among the hunters of the Higher Alps ;
Had caught their starts and fits of thoughtfulness,
Their haggard looks, and strange soliloquies,
Arising (so say they that dwell below)
From frequent dealings with the Mountain-Spirits.
But other ways had taught him better things;
And now he numbered, marching by my side,
The great, the learned, that with him had crossed
The frozen tract — with him familiarly
Through the rough day and rougher night conversed
In many a chalêt round the Peak of Terror,
Round Tacul, Tour, Well-horn, and Rosenlau,
And her whose throne is inaccessible, 22
Who sits, withdrawn in virgin majesty,
Nor oft unveils. Anon an Avalanche
Rolled its long thunder; and a sudden crash,
Sharp and metallic, to the startled ear
Told that far-down a continent of ice
Had burst in twain. But he had now begun;
And with what transport he recalled the hour
When, to deserve, to win his blooming bride,
Madelaine of Annecy, to his feet he bound
The iron crampons, and, ascending, trod
The upper realms of frost; then, by a cord
Let half-way down, entered a grot star-bright,
And gathered from above, below, around 23

The pointed crystals ! — Once, nor long before 24
(Thus did his tongue run on, fast as his feet,
And with an eloquence that Nature gives
To all her children — breaking off by starts
Into the harsh and rude, oft as the mule
Drew his displeasure), once, nor long before,
Alone at day-break on the Mettenberg
He slipped and fell; and, through a fearful cleft
Gliding insensibly from ledge to ledge,
From deep to deeper and to deeper still,
Went to the Under-world! Long while he lay
Upon his rugged bed — then waked like one
Wishing to sleep again and sleep forever!
For, looking round, he saw, or thought he saw,
Innumerable branches of a cave,
Winding beneath that solid crust of ice;
With here and there a rent that showed the stars !
What then, alas ! was left him but to die?
What else in those immeasurable chambers,
Strewn with the bones of miserable men,
Lost like himself ? Yet must he wander on,
Till cold and hunger set his spirit free !
And, rising, he began his dreary round;
When hark! the noise as of some mighty flood
Working its way to light! Back he withdrew,
But soon returned, and, fearless from despair,
Dashed down the dismal channel; and all day
If day could be where utter darkness was,
Travelled incessantly; the craggy roof
Just overhead, and the impetuous waves,
Nor broad nor deep, yet with a giant's strength,
Lashing him on. At last as in a pool

The water slept; a pool sullen, profound,
Where, if a billow chanced to heave and swell,
It broke not; and the roof, descending, lay
Flat on the surface. Statue-like he stood,
His journey ended; when a ray divine
Shot through his soul. Breathing a prayer to Her
Whose ears are never shut, the Blessed Virgin,
He plunged and swam

and in an instant rose,
The barrier passed, in sunshine! Through a vale,
Such as in ARCADY, where many a thatch
Gleams through the trees, half seen and half embowered,
Glittering the river ran; and on the bank
The young were dancing (’t was a festival-day)
All in their best attire. There first he saw
His Madelaine. In the crowd she stood to hear,
When all drew round, inquiring; and her face,
Seen behind all and varying, as he spoke,
With hope and fear and generous sympathy,
Subdued him. From that very hour he loved.

The tale was long, but coming to a close, When his wild eyes flashed fire; and, all forgot, He listened and looked up. I looked

I looked up too; And twice there came a hiss that through me thrilled ! 'Twas heard no more. A chamois on the cliff Had roused his fellows with that cry of fear, And all were gone. But now the theme was changed; And he recounted his hair-breadth escapes, When with his friend, Hubert of Bionnay (His ancient carbine from his shoulder slung, His axe to hew a stair-way in the ice), He tracked their wanderings. By a cloud surprised, Where the next step had plunged them into air,

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