Alpine Spirit’s Song


O’er the snow, through the air, to the mountain,
   With the antelope, with the eagle, ho!
   With a bound, with a feathery row,
To the side of the icy fountain,
   Where the gentians blue-belled blow.
Where the storm-sprite, the rain-drops counting,
   Cowers under the bright rainbow,
      Like a burst of midnight fire,
      Singing shoots my fleet desire,
Winged with the wing of love,
Earth below and stars above.


Let me rest on the snow, never pressed
   But by chamois light and by eagle fleet,
   Where the hearts of the antelope beat
‘Neath the light of the moony cresset,
   Where the wild cloud rests his feet,
And the scented airs caress it
   From the alpine orchis sweet:
      And about the Sandalp lone
      Voices airy breathe a tone,
Charming, with the sense of love,
Earth below and stars above.


Through the night, like a dragon from Pilate
   Out of murky cave, let us cloudy sail
   Over lake, over bowery vale,
As a chime of bells, at twilight
   In the downy evening gale,
Passes swimming tremulously light;
   Till we reach yon rocky pale
      Of the mountain crowning all,
      Slumber there by waterfall,
      Lonely like a spectre’s love,
      Earth beneath, and stars above.

[Kelsall, 1851]