Sagas of Vaster Britain: Poems of the Race, the Empire and the Divinity of Man

by William Wilfred Campbell


 

ODE TO THE LAURENTIAN HILLS


 

BLUE hills, elusive, far, and dim,
    You lift so high beyond our care;
Where earth’s horizon seems to swim,
    You dream in loftier air.

Here where our world wends day by day

5
    Its sad, material round,
We know not of that purer ray
    By which your heights are bound.

Ignoble thoughts, ignoble aims
    Shut us from that high heaven;—

10
Those drawing dreams, those sunset flames,
    With which your peaks are riven.

You seem so lone and bleak, so vast
    Beneath your dome of sky,
So patient to the heat or blast

15
    That smites or hurtles by;

So vague, withdrawn in mists remote,
    Shut out in glories wide;
The very fleecy clouds that float,
    Your dreamings seem to hide.

20

We in our plots of circumstance
    Are prisoners of a grim despair,
While your far shining shoulders glance
    From heights where all things dare.

Could we from out this cloak of glooms

25
    That prisons and oppresses,
But reach those large, sky-bounded rooms
    Of your divine recesses;

Then might we find that godlike calm,
    That peace that holdeth you,

30
That soars like wordless prayer or psalm
    To heaven with your blue.

Then might we know that silent power,
    That patience, that supreme
Indifference to day and hour

35
    Of your eternal dream.

Then might we lose, in fire and dew
    Of your pellucid airs,
This diffidence to dare and do,
    That grovels and despairs,

40

And dream once more that high desire,
    That greatness dead and gone,
When earth’s winged eagles eyed the fire
    Your sunrise peaks upon:

That power serene, life’s vasts to scan,

45
    Beyond earth’s futile tears;
Her hopes, her curse, the bliss, the ban
    Of all her anguished years.