A Palimpsest of Time and Place
Thomas Cole
Painter, Poet, Prophet
Earth Elegies III


The Wild



Cole's poem concept evolved into its finished form as presented in
"The Wild"
Picturesque Catskill -- Greene County
by R. Lionel De Lisser
(Northampton, Mass.:Picturesque Publishing Co., 1894)

Friends of my heart, lovers of Nature’s works,
Let me transport you to those wild blue mountains
That rear their summits near the Hudson’s wave
Though not the loftiest that begirt the land,
They yet sublimely rise, and on their heights
Your souls may have a sweet foretaste of heaven,
And traverse wide the boundless.
From this rock,
The nearest to the sky, let us look out
Upon the earth, as the first swell of day
Is bearing back the duskiness of night.
But lo! A sea of mist o’er all beneath;
An ocean, shoreless, motionless and mute,
No rolling swell is there, no sounding surf;
Silent and solemn all; the stormy main
To stillness frozen, while the crested waves
Leaped in the whirlwind, and the loosened foam
Flew o’er the angry deep.

See! Now ascends
The Lord of Day, waking with pearly fire
The dormant depths, See how his glowing breath
The rising surges kindles; lo! they heave
Like golden sands upon Sahara’s gales.
Those airy forms disporting from the mass,
Like winged ships, sail o’er the wondrous plain.
Beautiful vision! Now the veil is rent,
And the coy earth her virgin bosom bares,
Slowly unfolding to the enraptured gaze
Her thousand charms.

Thomas Cole's Writings

On American Scenery

The Lament of the Forest

The Storm

The Ice Cone


Writings of his Contemporaries

William Cullen Bryant

Washington Irving


Additional Readings

Related Links


Thomas Cole's 1827 Sketchbook
A Look Inside



Multimedia Installation


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