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AD VIGILEM

What seest thou, where the peaks about thee stand,
Far up the ridge that severs from our view
That realm unvisited? What prospect new
Holds thy rapt eye? What glories of the land,
Which from yon loftier cliff thou now hast scanned,
Upon thy visage set their lustrous hue?
Speak, and interpret still, O Watchman true,
The signals answering thy lifted hand!


And bide thee yet! still linger, ere thy feet
To sainted bards that beckon bear thee down—
Though lilies, asphodel and spikenard sweet
Await thy tread to blossom; and the crown
Long since is woven of Heaven's palm-leaves, meet
For him whom Earth can lend no more renown.

Whittier's Eightieth Birthday
December 17, 1887