The Mountain of Gold.

Decorative initial letter “I” from the word “In”. The letter is contained within a square and is superimposed over a foliate pattern.
In the region of chartless land that lies1
Far off in a dream of Hesperian skies ;2
By the rivers, that drifting golden lees,3
Bear beauty and song to the Mexic seas4
I have sat in the miner’s bivouac5
When night with its stars like a psalm unrolled,6
And heard, as he leaned on his grimy pack,7
A miner discourse of the Mount of Gold.8
And the howl of the wolf was faint and far,9
And the moon, like a ship, from star to star10
Sailed on—and the plain, with a sea-like sweep,11
Lay silent and wide in its mystic sleep ;12
And the river below in an undertone13
Sang sweetly, and chiming its cymbals sang14
Of a sorrowful land and the wolf alone15
Where oceans have marched and the old wars rang.16
And the glorified peaks stood high and white,17
Like kings that were called to the court of Night ;18
And voices of mystery seemed to swell19
On the wind in the pines as it rose and it fell ;20
For thus mid the audible throbs of earth21
The tale of the miner was fitly told22
With never a sneer or a sound of mirth23
From those who had battled and toiled for gold.24
But the Mountain of Gold was said to stand25
Away in the depths of a solemn land26
Which the rivers explore as they bend afar27
On the glimmering track of the evening star ;28
And ever, like dust of the unhallowed dead,29
The sands of the deserts do rise in clouds,30
And gather and sweep with a ghostly tread31
Around it, and rusile like dreary shrouds.32
And a skeleton guard of mountains bleak,33
Where the brown vulture dozes and whets his beak,34
Defend it and hoard in their grizzly arms35
The dazzle of splendour and virgin charms36
That no one has seen but those priests of the Sun37
Who fled from the sword of the Spanish Knight,38
And whose shadows still, when the day is done,39
Kneel there on the steps of their altar bright !40
’Twas sought—but the rider and horse were lost,41
Their bones white still, and their ashes tossed42
With the sand as they drift in eternal unrest,43
Where their spirits yet rise in the hopeless quest ;44
But a glamor of mystery strangely shines45
Where the dead have been strewn and the living stray46
And the gorges are rich with exhaustless mines47
Untouched as our hearts and our hopes decay.48
And the robber Apache hovers far49
On the thundering chase or the trail of war,50
And the shark of the desert, gaunt and grey,51
Slips by like a shade to his distant prey ;52
And yet and for aye, on the yellow breast53
Of the dead and desolate waste, the prize54
Of that Mountain of Gold is said to rest,55
Like a star that bas dropped from the dreaming skies.56
Perhaps it is only a miner’s theme57
The glint of some wandering Aztec’s dream ;58
As clouds in the magical sunset shine59
Like islands of silver in seas of wine60
But may he not think, when the placer fails,61
And poverty lurks on the olden trails.62
That treasure barbaric and joy untold63
Are shining beyond in a Mountain of Gold ?64