Far up on Katahdin thou towerest,
Purple-blue with the distance and vast;
Like a cloud o’er the lowlands thou lowerest,
That hangs poised on a lull in the blast,
To its fall leaning awful.
In the storm, like a prophet o’er-maddened,
Thou singest and tossest thy branches;
Thy heart with the terror is gladdened,
Thou forebodest the dread avalanches,
When whole mountains swoop valeward.
In the calm thou o’erstretchest the valleys
With thine arms, as if blessings imploring,
Like an old king led forth from his palace,
When his people to battle are pouring
From the city beneath him.
To the lumberer asleep ‘neath thy glooming
Thou dost sing of wild billows in motion,
Till he longs to be swung mid their booming
In the tents of the Arabs of ocean,
Whose finned isles are their cattle.
For the gale snatches thee for his lyre,
With mad hand crashing melody frantic,
While he pours forth his mighty desire
To leap down on the eager Atlantic,
Whose arms stretch to his playmate.
The wild storm makes his lair in thy branches,
Swooping thence on the continent under;
Like a lion, crouched close on his haunches,
There awaiteth his leap the fierce thunder,
Growling low with impatience.
Spite of winter, thou keep’st thy green glory,
Lusty father of Titans past number!
The snow-flakes alone make thee hoary,
Nestling close to thy branches in slumber,
And thee mantling with silence.
Thou alone know’st the splendor of winter,
Mid thy snow-silvered, hushed precipices,
Hearing crags of green ice groan and splinter,
And then plunge down the muffled abysses
In the quiet of midnight.
Thou alone know’st the glory of summer
Gazing down on thy broad seas of forest,
On thy subjects that send a proud murmur
Up to thee, to their sachem, who towerest
From thy bleak throne to heaven.