MONT BLANC


The white mountain. Mont Blanc it is a poem by Letitia Elizabeth Landon that is is accompained with an engraving of a painting by J. M. W. Turner in 1829. 

In 1802, Turner had already made a series of drawings about Mont Blanc, the "Chamonix and Mont Blanc, from the Slopes of the Montenvers", the "Mont Blanc, from Sallanches", which can be seen in the St Gothard and Mont Blanc Sketchbook, in Tate London.

Letitia Elizabeth Landon, or L.E.L, was an English poet and novelist, that was born in 1802. Turner died in 1851.

 " Heaven knows our travellers have sufficiently alloyed the beautiful, and profaned the sublime, by associating these with themselves, the common-place, and the ridiculous; but out upon them, thus to tread on the grey hairs of centuries,—on the untrodden snows of Mont Blanc." Letitia Elizabeth Landon.

Thou monarch of the upper air,

Thou mighty temple given

For morning's earliest of light,

And evening's last of heaven.

The vapour from the marsh, the smoke

From crowded cities sent,

Are purified before they reach

Thy loftier element.

Thy hues are not of earth but heaven;

Only the sunset rose

Hath leave to fling a crimson dye

Upon thy stainless snows.


Now out on those adventurers

Who scaled thy breathless height,

And made thy pinnacle, Mont Blanc,

A thing for common sight.


Before that human step had left

Its sully on thy brow,

The glory of thy forehead made

A shrine to those below:

Men gaz'd upon thee as a star,

And turned to earth again,

With dreams like thine own floating clouds,

The vague but not the vain.

No feelings are less vain than those

That bear the mind away,

Till blent with nature's mysteries

It half forgets its clay.

It catches loftier impulses;

And owns a nobler power;—

The poet and philosopher

Are born of such an hour.


But now where may we seek a place

For any spirit's dream;

Our steps have been o'er every soil,

Our sails o'er every stream.

Those isles, the beautiful Azores,

The fortunate, the fair!

We looked for their perpetual spring

To find it was not there.

Bright El Dorado, land of gold,

We have so sought for thee,

There's not a spot in all the globe

Where such a land can be.


How pleasant were the wild beliefs

That dwelt in legends old,

Alas! to our posterity

Will no such tales be told.

We know too much, scroll after scroll

Weighs down our weary shelves;

Our only point of ignorance

Is centered in ourselves.

Alas! for thy past mystery,

For thine untrodden snow,

Nurse of the tempest, hadst thou none

To guard thy outraged brow?

Thy summit, once the unapproached,

Hath human presence owned,

With the first step upon thy crest

Mont Blanc, thou wert dethroned.