Robert William Service

(16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)

The Mountain And The Lake


I know a mountain thrilling to the stars,
Peerless and pure, and pinnacled with snow;
Glimpsing the golden dawn o'er coral bars,
Flaunting the vanisht sunset's garnet glow;
Proudly patrician, passionless, serene;
Soaring in silvered steeps where cloud-surfs break;
Virgin and vestal -- Oh, a very Queen!
And at her feet there dreams a quiet lake.

My lake adores my mountain -- well I know,
For I have watched it from its dawn-dream start,
Stilling its mirror to her splendid snow,
Framing her image in its trembling heart;
Glassing her graciousness of greening wood,
Kissing her throne, melodiously mad,
Thrilling responsive to her every mood,
Gloomed with her sadness, gay when she is glad.

My lake has dreamed and loved since time was born;
Will love and dream till time shall cease to be;
Gazing to Her in worship half forlorn,
Who looks towards the stars and will not see --
My peerless mountain, splendid in her scorn. . . .
Alas! poor little lake! Alas! poor me!

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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