EXCERPT FROM
William Wordsworth's
The Prelude: Book IV. Cambridge and the Alps


The only track now visible was one
That from the torrent's further brink held forth Conspicuous invitation to ascend
A lofty mountain. After a brief delay
Crossing the unbridged stream, that road we took,
And clomb with eagerness, till anxious fears

Intruded, for we failed to overtake
Our comrades gone before. By fortunate chance, While every moment added doubt to doubt,
A peasant met us, from whose mouth we learned That to the spot which had perplexed us first
We must descend, and there should find the road,
Which in the stony channel of the stream
Lay a few steps, and then along its banks;
And, that our future course, all plain to sight,
Was downwards, with the current of that stream. Loath to believe what we so grieved to hear,
For still we had hopes that pointed to the clouds,
We questionned him again, and yet again;
But every word that from the peasant's lips
Came in reply, translated by our feelings,
Ended in this -- that we had crossed the Alps.

H. Bleuler, Vue du Mont Blanc, c. 1820-30