|line||Far in the West there lies a desert land, where the mountains|
Lift, through perpetual snows, their lofty and luminous summits.
|1080||Down from their jagged, deep ravines, where the gorge, like a gateway,|
Opens a passage rude to the wheels of the emigrant's wagon,
Westward the Oregon flows and the Walleway and Owyhee.
Eastward, with devious course, among the Wind-river Mountains,
Through the Sweet-water Valley precipitate leaps the Nebraska;
|1085||And to the south, from Fontaine-qui-bout and the Spanish sierras,|
Fretted with sands and rocks, and swept by the wind of the desert,
Numberless torrents, with ceaseless sound, descend to the ocean,
Like the great chords of a harp, in loud and solemn vibrations.
Spreading between these streams are the wondrous, beautiful prairies;
|1090||Billowy bays of grass ever rolling in shadow and sunshine,|
Bright with luxuriant clusters of roses and purple amorphas.
Over them wandered the buffalo herds, and the elk and the roebuck;
Over them wandered the wolves, and herds of riderless horses;
Fires that blast and blight, and winds that are weary with travel;
|1095||Over them wander the scattered tribes of Ishmael's children,|
Staining the desert with blood; and above their terrible war-trails.
Circles and sails aloft, on pinions majestic, the vulture,
Like the implacable soul of a chieftain slaughtered in battle,
By invisible stairs ascending and scaling the heavens.
|1100||Here and there rise smokes from the camps of these savage marauders;|
Here and there rise groves from the margins of swift-running rivers;
And the grim, taciturn bear, the anchorite monk of the desert,
Climbs down their dark ravines to dig for roots by the brook-side,
And over all is the sky, the clear and crystalline heaven,
|1105||Like the protecting hand of God inverted above them.|