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How sweet it was by good camp-fire,

When summer's bloom was ripe, to lie

With upturned faces to the sky,

And talk the night away or drowse,

Be sung to sleep, and dreaming wake

To view the moonlight on the lake

From couch soft spread with green spruce boughs!

For we were on the topmost spire;

The mountains near indeed were high,

But that whereon we lay was higher

Than all, save where the Northern Star

Looks down on Washington's gray dome,

Or, turning to the westward far,

The giant frame of Lafayette

With Cardigan against him set

Betrays the old man's mountain home.

How sweet it was to gaze for miles

Upon the lakes' unnumbered isles,

Along whose shores a silver rim

Of dimpled light was seen to swim,

And dance in circling wreaths of smiles!

On either shore a mountain frowned,

Old Belknap to the south, and clear

In sharp relief, because so near,

The well-known shape of Ossipee,

With many a village sleeping round,

Whose tall white steeples we could see

Above the lowland hill and tree.

Then farther on, where Wolfboro' waits

Beside the lake's most eastern gates,

Beyond the distant speck-like town

Rose, like an island from the waves,

The long low slopes of Copple Crown.

The waves! Indeed, we saw the sea,

Though eighty miles of land between.

Yea, in the middle of that night

A narrow streak of dazzling light

Lay curved on the horizon's rim

Far to the east where ocean laves

The shores of Casco clothed in green;

As if far off a flood of gold

In vessel of dark bronze were seen,

A glittering mass of molten gold

More than the spacious cup could hold,

To rise above and kiss the brim;

So high that if it higher were,

We know the very slightest stir

Would cast it down all overflowed.

The mountains round in masses lay

Like huge leviathans asleep,

Adown whose sides the black of night

Crouched like a coward from the light

All hiding in its caverns deep;

Where yet one gleam, a beacon shone

Like lost star wandering from its way,

One light alone in you sweet vale

Which Osceola frowns upon,

Forever lovely Waterville,

Set in the green of many a hill,

Whose six cascades in ripples fall

Upon the velvety moss-grown stone,

Like joyous laughter's ringing tone

Or sporting childhood's merry call.

Up rose the golden morning star,

Brilliant and wonderfully large,

Above the peak of dim Kiarsarge,

And paused as if for breath, and stood

Upon its brow as if he were

Again the mighty Jupiter,

The king of all of human blood

Of all the teeming earth, and even

Of all the starry gods afar

Sleeping upon the breast of heaven.

Then told a member of our band

A story of enchanted land,

A tale so sweet of Eastern clime,

So rich and dreamy, sad and strange,

I dreaming, it a wider range

Of dreamland sought, and in due time

Forgot the morning star and lake,

And peaceful slept; nor did I wake

Till roused at length to view the dawn

Creeping up from the sea on beams

Of pale green light which paled the stars,

Save Jupiter and fiery Mars.

The pale green light to pale red turned,

Which lay great banks of mist upon.

The pale red soon a crimson burned,

And spread in one great fiery sea

From Washington to Ossipee,

And bathed the mountains set between -

Some distant far, some nearer seen -

With dark red light which fell in streams

All centring from a brighter spot

Behind Pequawket's shoulders gray,

Where the new sun in secret lay,

We knew, although we saw him not,

How fair the many lakes that slept,

Spread warm with blankets wove with mist!

No stray beam to their valleys crept,

Lifted the coverlet and kissed.

Deep nestled 'mid the softest shade,

They lay like half-hid amethyst.

Toward the north we turned. Arrayed

Like some vast host the mountains stood

Covered with patriarchal wood,

And rose to sunlight, grade on grade,

Peak after peak, while all below,

Where slept their bases in the vale,

Was shielded as in jet-black mail:

Darkness impalpable as woe.

But now, behold that first rich gleam

Between Kiarsarge and Doublehead!

The great sun poured a blinding stream

Of light upon our mountain home,

And every lofty crag and dome,

On mighty Washington whose brow

Encircled was by wreaths of cloud,

On lone Chocorua endowed

With that wild legend, it is said

The only one remaining now

Of all the many Indian tales

That should have filled these hills and vales.

How waked the world from its long sleep!

How did the misty coverings creep

From every little pond, and rise

To join their sisters in the skies!

How fresh the green the valley through,

Sparkling with myriad drops of dew!

How clear the towns for many a mile

Where darkness only lay before!

The lake! I wonder now no more

The Indian almost worshipped it.

There is no earthly thing more fit

For one to call "the Spirit's Smile."

O glorious mom in mountain land!

O glorious sun upon the hills!

The bare remembrance of thee thrills

My frame all through from foot to hand.

Pushing aside the fleecy robe

Of courtly hue that graced thy bed,

And mounting unaccompanied,

The great sole monarch of the globe,

I half believe I see a band

Far on the Southern mountains' crest,

In ancient Manco's blessed land,

On Andes' plains with brown bared breast,

Bowing in homage to thy flame,

And muttering low great Inti's name.

Upon my knees with them I fall,

And kiss my hand to thee; adore,

As never I have done before,

The One who made thee, me, and all.

E. F. F.

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