A selection of poems paying homage to our sacred Catalan mountain, Mount Canigou.
The Canigou (1814) by Cornish chemist and inventor Sir Humphry Davy
In the eastern sky the stars their lustre lose
In more diffused light, as if their orbs
Had melted into air, and form’d the day:
Above, the heavens receive a brighter tint
Of purest azure; and beneath they glow
With lovely hues, which every instant change,
Now purple and now orange; and a gleam
Of golden light pours on the tranquil main.
I cast my eyes upon thy western coast,
And lo! thy giant form, O Canigou!
As if a new creation of the day,
Framed of the morning cloud for ever fix’d,
And gilded by the expiring morning star.
So bright thy glittering snows appear, they seem
To form another dawn: thy base is dark,
Rising through mists that mingle with the wave!
The orb of light its flood of lustre pours
From the mid-heavens upon the tranquil sea
Without a tide, whose silver mirror spreads,
Reflecting forms of mountain-majesty
Along the Iberian coast; and, more remote,
In gentle agitation feels the breeze,
That to its deep and lovely azure gives
The life of motion. All the morning mists
Have vanished, and the mid-day sunbeams sleep
Upon thy snows, or glitter where the streams
They feed with crystal waters pour in foam
Amidst thy dark deep glens and shaggy woods,
Where the bright pine and darker cork trees blend:
Their varied foliage forms a boundary
Where winter seems to mingle with the spring.
And lower still, the olive tree appears —
The work of culture, and the leafless vine,
And the green meadows, where the torrents sleep,
Or move obedient to the wants of man.
Nature in savage wildness — mountain strength, —
Breathes in one picture with the forms of art,
And all that stamp the social character.
A city’s walls majestically rise,
The guardian of a realm whose sounds of war
Alarm the ear. Along the sandy shore
The path the Carthaginian trod appears,
When from the Pyrenees his veterans pour’d,
To try the strength of Rome, and shed profuse
Her patriot blood at Cannae. On the wave
Triumphant ride the fleets of Ocean’s Queen.
My heart throbs quicker, and a healthful glow
Fills all my bosom. Albion, thee I hail! —
Mother of heroes! mighty in thy strength!
Deliverer! from thee the fire proceeds
Withering the tyrant; not a fire alone
Of war destructive, but a living light
Of honour, glory, and security, —
A light of science, liberty, and peace!
A moment past the sky was bright and clear,
But now a mist obscures the ambient air;
The mist becomes a cloud, which gathers round
Thy brow; at first so white, — so bright, so pure, —
The snows seem dark beneath its crisped fringe;
And now it spreads a thicker canopy,
And rapidly descends, and fills thy glens,
And covers all thy rocks. Its tints are changed,
Its fleecy whiteness gone; the sunbeams fade,
And lose their glory in its sullen gloom,
Portentous of the storm! And now the rain
Descends in floods — the angry lightning gleams,
The thunder roars; the tempest howls along
Thy echoing cliffs; and the vexed main
Mingles her white foam with the troubled floods,
The torrents from the mountains rolling down!