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Excelsior

2006-09-08 11:31

    THE SHADES of night were falling fast

    As through an Alpine village passed

    A youth who bore 'mid snow and ice

    A banner with the strange device

    Excelsior!

    His brow was sad; his eye beneath

    Flashed like a falchion from its sheath

    And like a silver clarion rung

    The accents of that unknown tongue

    Excelsior!

    In happy homes he saw the light

    Of household fires gleam warm and bright;

    Above the spectral glaciers shone

    And from his lips escaped a groan

    Excelsior!

    Try not the Pass! the old man said;

    Dark lowers the tempest overhead,

    The roaring torrent is deep and wide!

    And loud that clarion voice replied

    Excelsior!

    Oh, stay, the maiden said and rest

    Thy weary head upon this breast!

    A tear stood in his bright blue eye

    But still he answered with a sigh

    Excelsior!

    Beware the pine-tree's withered branch!

    Beware the awful avalanche!

    This was the peasant's last Good-night

    A voice replied far up the height

    Excelsior!

    At break of day as heavenward

    The pious monks of Saint Bernard

    Uttered the oft-repeated prayer

    A voice cried through the startled air

    Excelsior!

    A traveller by the faithful hound

    Half-buried in the snow was found

    Still grasping in his hand of ice

    That banner with the strange device

    Excelsior!

    There in the twilight cold and gray

    Lifeless but beautiful he lay

    And from the sky serene and far

    A voice fell like a falling star

    Excelsior!

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