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!

A CANIGOU WALK….by Norman Longsworth

I walked up the Canigou last Saturday
Not for the first time I venture to say
Each time it gets harder to complete the way
Up to the top

Canigou walk with Norman Longsworth

I walked up the Canigou last Saturday
I drive to the refuge in a rusty old jeep
It means I can get just a little more sleep
It’s enough to make a true mountaineer weep
To get to the top

I have to confess it’s a bit of a slog
And sometimes I think I need a guide dog
Fit folk would run at a moderate jog
Up to the top

I walked up the Canigou last Saturday
My grandson, aged six, soon set to the chase
My son in his forties walked at fast pace
I crawled like a snail halfway from first base
Up to the top

I walked up the Canigou last Saturday
But when I get there the rewards are intense
Time to let self-adulation commence
The views from the summit are truly immense
Up at the top

Canigó by Jacint Verdaguer (1845−1902)

Jacint Verdaguer, renowned 19th century Catalan poet, wrote mainly lyric and epic poetry, as well  diaries, and newspaper articles.

Lo Canigó és una magnòlia immensa
que en un rebrot del Pirineu se bada;
per abelles té fades que la volten,
per papallons los cisnes i les àligues.
Formen son càlzer escarides serres
que plateja l’hivern i l’estiu daura,
grandiós beire on beu olors l’estrella,
los aires rellentor, los núvols aigua.
Les boscúries de pins són sos bardissos,
los Estanyols ses gotes de rosada,
i és son pistil aqueix palau aurífic,
somni d’aloja que del cel davalla

The Canigó is an immense magnolia
that blooms in an offshoot of the Pyrenees;
its bees are the fairies that surround it,
and its butterflies the swans and the eagles.
Its cup are jagged mountain chains,
colored in silver by the winter and in gold by the summer,
huge cup where the star drinks fragrances,
the airs freshness and the clouds water.
The pine forests are its hedges
and the ponds its dew drops,
and its pistil is that golden palace,
seen by the nymph in her dreams descending from heaven.


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