THERE is a valley dark and deep,

In whose wild depths no kindly sun hath shone,

Torn by a swirling torrent, never fringed

By fragrant flowers, dewy with the spray;

But from its ice-clad bosom upward rise

A score of envious cliffs, with seamed sides,

That cast the chilling shadow on the vale beneath

Of future avalanche. There, niggard earth

Takes to itself no waving robe of gold;

The scanty, fruitless plants that, timid, cling

About the rock-walled furrows, earthquake-cleft,

No kinder masters know than fire and frost.

A few steps more, and, round a jutting rock,

A fairy change! I see

A broad and sunny vale whose verdant slopes

A clustered village bear; and then a church,