Monday, April 16, 2007

J. G. Whittier, New Hampshire


God bless New Hampshire! from her granite peaks

Once more the voice of Stark and Langdon speaks.

The long-bound vassal of the exulting South

For very shame her self-forged chain has broken;

Torn the black seal of slavery from her mouth,

And in the clear tones of her old time spoken!

Oh, all undreamed-of, all unhoped-for changes!

The tyrant’s ally proves his sternest foe;

To all his biddings, from her mountain ranges,

New Hampshire thunders an indignant No!

Who is it now despairs? Oh, faint of heart,

Look upward to those Northern mountains cold,

Flouted by Freedom’s victor-flag unrolled,

And gather strength to bear a manlier part!


Lucy Larcon, Mountaineer's Prayer


Give me with the strength of Thy steadfast hills,

The speed of Thy streams give me!

In the spirit that calms, with the life that thrills,

I would stand or run for Thee.

Let me be Thy voice, or Thy silent power,

As the cataract, or the peak, —

An eternal thought, in my earthly hour,

Of the living God to speak!

Clothe me in the rose-tints of Thy skies,

Upon morning summits laid!

Robe me in the purple and gold that flies

Through Thy shuttles of light and shade!

Let me rise and rejoice in Thy smile aright,

As mountains and forests do!

Let me welcome Thy twilight and Thy night,

And wait for Thy dawn anew!

Give me the brook’s faith, joyously sung

Under clank of its icy chain!

Give me of the patience that hides among

The hill-tops, in mist and rain!

Lift me up from the clod, let me breathe Thy breath,

Thy beauty and strength give me!

Let me lose both the name and the meaning of death,

In the life that I share with Thee!

Lucy Larcom

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

W. C. Sturoc, "Lake Sunnapee"

For the Boston Investigator.

Once more, my muse! from rest of many a year,
Come forth again and sing, as oft of yore;
Now lead my steps to where the crags appear
In silent grandeur, by the rugged shore,
That skirts the margin of thy waters free,
Lake of my mountain home, loved Sunapee!

Meet invocation! to the pregnant scene,
Where long ere yet the white man’s foot did roam,
Strode wild and free the daring Algonquin;
And where, perchance the stately Metacom
Inspired his braves, with that poetic strain
Which cheered the Wampanoags, but cheered in vain.

Clear mountain mirror! who can tell but thou
Hast borne the red man, in his light canoe,
As fleetly on thy bosom as e’en now
Thou bear’st the pale face o’er thy waters blue;
And who can tell but Nature’s children then
Were rich and happy as the mass of men?

Sweet Granite "Katrine” of this mountain land!
Oh! jewel set amid a scene so fair!
Kearsarge, Ascutney, rise on either hand,
While Gramitham watches with a lover’s care,
And our dark "Ben"* to Croydon sends in glee
A greeting o’er thy silvery breast, Lake Sunapee!

How grand, upon a moonlit eve, to glide
Upon thy waters, ‘twixt the mountains high,
And gaze, within thy azure crystal tide,
On trembling shadows of the earth and sky;
While all is silent, save when trusty oar
Awakes an echo from thy slumbering shore.

Oh! lovely lake, I would commune with thee!
For in thy presence naught of ill is found;
That cares which wed the weary world to me,
May cease to harass with their carking round,
And I awhile ‘midst Nature grandeur stand,
On mount of rapture ‘twixt tire sea and land.

Thy past is curtained by as deep a veil
As shrouds the secrets which we may not reach;
And then, ‘twere wisdom, when our quest doth fail,
To read the lessons which thou now dost teach;
And in thy face, on which we look to-day,
See hopes to cheer us on our onward way.

Roll on, sweet lake! and if perchance thy form
Laves less of earth than floods of Western fame
Yet still we love thee, in the cairn or storm,
And call thee ours by many a kindly name.
No patriot heart but loves the scenes that come
O’er memory’s sea to breathe a tale of "Home."

And when the winter in its frozen thrall
Bind up thy locks in braids of icy wreath,
Forget we not thy cherish'd name to call,
In fitting shadow of the sleep of death!
When golden rays shall o’er our rest still lee,
As morning beams salute thy brow, sweet Sunapee!

* "Ben"—Gaelic for mountain.
Sunapee, (N. H.,) Sept. 6, 1888.

September 19, 1888

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Notice of the Profile Mountain, 1827

from the American Journal of Sciences and Arts, July 1828, p. 64.

Notice of the Profile Mountain in New Hampshire;

by Gen. Martin Field.


New Fane, Vt. Nov. 22, 1827

Dear Sir—On a late excursion, which I made among the White Mountains in New Hampshire, I visited Franconia and the Profile Mountain, which has long been considered a rare phenomenon. I there procured a sketch of the mountain, which I enclose to you, and if it meets your approbation, would you please to insert it in the Journal of Science, &c.*

I am sir, very respectfully, your &c.


The White Mountain range passes through the easterly part of Franconia, and presents numerous elevations and sublime mountain scenery. But the greatest elevation, in that vicinity, is Mount La Fayette, which forms the northern boundary of the Notch, so called, and is supposed to exceed four thousand feet, in height. The Profile Mountain is night the road leading from Franconia to Plymouth—is five miles from the lower iron works, in Franconia, and about three miles south of Mount La Fayette. The elevation of this mountain, I understand, as never been accurately ascertained, but is generally estimated to be, at least, one thousand feet. The road passes very night the foot of the mountain, from which it rises abruptly, at an angle of about 80° to the profile rock. The bare rock, on which the profile is delineated, is granite, and have been long exposed to the atmosphere, its color is a dark reddish brown. A side view of the projecting rock, near the peak of the mountain, in a northern direction, exhibits the profile of a human face, in which every line and feature are conspicuous. But after passing the mountain to the south, the likeness is immediately lost.

* A sketch of the mountain, profile, &c, was taken by a gentleman of Boston, and the likeness is a good one. The mountain scenery is filled up from fancy. The mountain is covered with trees and shrubbery, except the profile rock. The timber is a mix of beach, birch, rock maple, bass wood, &c. with hemlock, spruce, and other evergreens.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Welcome to the High Hills

Welcome to the High Hills of Ossapy, a blog tribute to the beautiful White Mountains of New Hampshire. I'm originally from far "south of the notch," as they say up in the No'th Country, and far west as well, but three generations of my family have made northern New Hampshire our other home. My grandparents, together with my mother and uncle, were the crew at the Appalachian Mountain Club's Zealand Falls hut during the WWII years. My mother later worked at Pinkham Notch. My grandfather was the author of the AMC Field Guide to Mountain Flowers of New England, and my grandmother was "Cal" Harris, who was an active hiker and naturalist well into her 80s. They met on Mt. Washington. I have been fortunate, over the years, to acquire a substantial legacy of love, lore and memorabilia relating to the region. I currently work as a university instructor and historian of the libertarian tradition in American. With this project, I hope to turn some of my skill and pleasure in digging up bits of forgotten history to the project of White Mountain history.