How beautiful, how beautiful,
Beneath the morning sky,
In bridal veil of snowy mist,
These dreamy headlands lie!
How beautiful, in soft repose,
Upon the water's breast,
Steeped in the sunlight's golden calm,
These fairy islets rest!
A Sabbath hush enfolds the hills,
And broods upon the deep
Whose music every hollow fills,
And climbs each rocky steep,
Now low and soft like love's own sigh,
Now faint and far away,
Now plaining to the answering pines,
With melancholy lay.
Like white-winged birds, through azure depths,
Above the restless tide,
With snowy plume and golden crest,
The fleecy cloudlets glide;
Their dancing shadows fleck the deep,
Or flit above the green
Of emerald islands fast asleep
'Neath tranquil skies serene.
I watch the sunshine and the shade,
The sparkle and the gleam,
Till past and present seem to fade,
And life becomes a dream -
A fairy, fancy-tinted dream,
A sun-bright; summer rest,
In which I glide through shade and gleam
Past islands of the blest
How beautiful! "How beautiful!"
The quiet hills reply,
And each responsive cliff gives back
Its answer to the sky; -
"How beautiful!" the waves repeat,
And every cloudlet smiles,
And writes its answer on the green
Of countless summer isles.
'Tis past - this first, last, only look! -
And now, away, away,
To bear alone in Memory's book
The sunshine of to-day;
Yet oft, 'neath other skies than these,
With other scenes in view,
O isles of beauty, sunny seas,
I shall remember you!