The alma mater song “The Mountains,” thought to be the first composed by an undergraduate, was written by Washington Gladden, Williams class of 1859. In his memoirs, he wrote:
“I had been wishing that I might write a song which could be sung at some of our exhibitions; and one winter morning, walking down Bee Hill, the lilt of the chorus of “The Mountains” came to me. I had a little music-paper in my room in the village, and on my arrival I wrote down the notes. Then I cast about for words to fit them, and the refrain ‘The Mountains, the Mountains!’ suggested itself. I wrote the melody of the stanza next and fitted the verses to it. . . . That it would . . . become the accepted College Song, I could not, of course, have imagined.”
O, proudly rise the monarchs of our mountain land,
With their kingly forest robes, to the sky,
Where Alma Mater dwelleth with her chosen band,
And the peaceful river floweth gently by.
The mountains! the mountains! we greet them with a song,
Whose echoes rebounding their woodland heights along,
Shall mingle with anthems that winds and fountains sing.
Till hill and valley gaily, gaily ring.
Beneath their peaceful shadows may old Williams stand,
Till suns and mountains nevermore shall be,
The glory and the honor of our mountain land,
And the dwelling of the gallant and the free.