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The Last West and Paolo's Virginia   By:

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Paolo's Virginia


Copyright Canada, 1919

By G. B. Warren


October Daybreak on Boundary Bay The Last Arete The Great Divide Above the Clouds Winter Sunset in the Cascade Range Beside the Ocstall Jansen's Curse The Survey Cook A Raid on the Seal Rookeries The Coast of British Columbia Vancouver Victoria, B. C.

Paolo's Virginia (A Spring Phantasy)

Author's Introduction

To you who have lifted the veil of mists o'er blown And gazed in the eyes of dawn when night had flown Have felt in your hearts a thrill of sheer delight As you scanned the scene below from some alpine height I extend this fleeting glimpse across a world Of forest and meadow land at last unfurled Through vistas of soaring peaks with frosted crest In the fiorded wonderland of this last west.

October Daybreak on Boundary Bay

A skyline bold and clear Of cold sharp corniced snow, Where, bulking huge, the mass of Baker's cone Shadows the world below.

'Tis bright with promise now! That flood and field Still shrouded in the mystery of night, Will shortly be revealed.

The wildfowl on the bay Call to the distant flight Of ducks, that swoop from out the realms of space, Seeking a place to light.

Sounds through the waking hours The beating of countless wings, Faint voices floating through the upper air In softest whisperings.

A blush of coming day Flooding the eastern sky, Fresh rosy Dawn climbing the rampart hills, Forces the night to fly:

Then from his lair the sun Leaps forth. The fading gleam Of silver moon and silent stars is quenched. Day reigns once more supreme.

The Last Arete

Alpinist Excelsior, there's nought we may not dare! Why, now, confess defeat, when plain in sight Looms the stern peak to which we've toiled and fought Up many a mountain gorge and soaring height? It were a shame if we should now go back And, leaving all we've won, retrace our track.

Undaunted by the circling mists we camped, Laid siege; while hail and snow went storming by, Assaulted through the brilliant mists; that wrapped A veil, impenetrable to the eye, Around the wastes of ice, the snowfields bare And craggy peaks that pierce the upper air.

We scorned to own defeat, when lost to sight, 'Mid cloud and snowstorm, was that summit cold; But started out the morn e're yet the sun The highest cornices had edged with gold. See now! the noonday glare reveals our fate Above a rampart white and sharp arete.

Guide Crevasses open mouthed have reft the face Of brightly gleaming ice, that upward led. Their clear green depths a gap impassable present Across the glacier slope ahead; Save on yon steep and scintillating slope Which promises success to axe and rope.

Alpinist Roped man to man we'll scale the giddy height: Step after step cut up those slopes of snow That, gleaming spotless in the noonday light, Curve out of sight above and far below. What rumbled? (G.) From yon distant cliff was hurled An avalanche which shakes this snowy world.

Guide The rocks I've gained through chimneys rough and steep That crumble at a careless touch, and send A rattling train of rubble bounding down The icy slopes, which great crevasses rend. Re entrant over here the mountain dips Into a gulf, which eddying mists eclipse.

Perched on this tottering and steep arete, One hardly dares to even whisper low; Lest, crashing from their crumbling pedestals, The rotten crags through empty space will go Two thousand feet down, where the hard neve Is packed by ice that avalanched that way.

I'll anchor fast, and hold the rope, that you By hand and foot and alpenstock may scale. A traverse of the skyline rocks we'll make And yon last gleaming slope of snow assail... Continue reading book >>

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