صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

of persons. We may begin, therefore, with an example a little more complicated. Take, for instance, the case of a common English landscape-green meadows with grazing and ruminating cattle-canals or navigable rivers--well-fenced, well cultivated fieldsneat, clean, scattered cottages—humble antique churches, with church-yard elms, and crossing hedgerows,—all seen under bright skies, and in good weather.

2. There is much beauty, as évèry one will acknowledge, in such a scene.

But in what does the beauty consist ? Not certainly in the mere mixture of colors and forms; for colors more pleasing, and lines more graceful (according to any theory of grace that may be preferred), might be spread upon a board, or a painter's pallet, without engaging the eye to a second glance, or raising the least emotion in the mind : but in the picture of human happiness that is presented to our imaginations and affections ; in the visible and unequivocal signs of comfort, and cheerful and peaceful enjoyment-and of that secure and successful in'dustry that insures its continuance--and of the piety by which it is exalted—and of the simplicity by which it is contrasted with the guilt and the fever of a city life ; in the images of health, and temperance, and plenty which it exhibits to every eye; and in the glimpses which it affords to warmer imaginations, of those primitive or fabulous times, when man was uncorrupted by luxury and ambition, and of those humble retreats in which we still delight to imagine that love and philosophy may find an unpolluted asy'lum.

3. At all events, however, it is human feeling that excites our sympathy, and forms the true object of our emotions. It is man, and man ălone, that we see in the beauties of the earth which he inhabits ; or, if a more sensitive and extended sympathy connect us with the lower families of animated nature, and make us rejoice with the lambs that blēat on the uplands, or the cattle that repose in the valley, or even with the living plants that drink the bright sun and the balmy air beside them, it is still the idea of enjoyment of feelings that animate the existence of sentient beings—that calls forth all our emotions, and is the parent of all the beauty with which we proceed to invest the inanimate creation around us.

4. Instead of this quiet and tame English landscape, let us now take a Welsh or a Highland scene, and see whether its beauties will admit of being explained on the same principle. Here, we shall have lofty mountains, and rocky and lonely recesses—tufted woods hung over precipices—lakes intersected with castled promontories—ample solitudes of unplowed and untrodden valleys-nameless and gigantic ruins and mountain echoes repeating the scream of the eagle and the roar of the cataract.

5. This, too, is beautiful, and to those who can interpret the language it speaks, far more beautiful than the prosperous scene with which we have contrasted it. Yět, lonely as it is, it is to the recollection of man and the suggestion of human feelings that its beauty also is owing. The mere forms and colors that compose its visible appearance are no more capable of exciting any emotion in the mind than the forms and colors of a Turkey carpet. It is sympathy with the present or the past, or the imaginary inhabitants of such a region, that alone gives it either interest or beauty; and the delight of those who behold it will always be found to be in exact proportion to the force of their imaginations and the warmth of their social affections.

6. The leading impressions here are those of romantic seclusion and primē'val simplicity; lovers sequestered in these blissful solitudes, “from towns and toils remote,” and rustic poëts and philosophers communing with nature, and at a distance from the low pursuits and selfish malignity of ordinary mortals : then there is the sublime impression of the Mighty Powers which piled the mighty cliffs upon each other, and rent the mountains asunder, and scattered their giant fragments at their base, and all the images connected with the monuments of ancient magnificence and extinguished hostility—the feuds, and the combats, and the triumphs of its wild and primitive inhabitants, contrasted with the stillness and desolation of the scenes where they lie interred; and the romantic ideas attached to their ancient traditions, and the peculiarities of the actual life of their descendants -their wild and enthusiastic poëtry-their gloomy superstitions -their attachment to their chiefs—the dāngers, and the hardships, and enjoyments of their lonely huntings and fishings their pastoral shielings on the mountains in summer-and the tales and the sports that amuse the little groups that are frozen into their vast and trackless valleys in the winter.

7. Add to all this the traces of vast and obscure antiquity

that are impressed on the language and the habits of the people, and on the cliffs, and caves, the gulfy tõrrents of the land ; and the solemn and touching reflection, perpetually recurring, of the weakness and insignificance of pěrishable man, whose generations thus pass away into oblivion, with all their toils and ambition; while nature holds on her unvarying course, and pours out her streams, and renews her forests, with undecaying activity, regardless of the fate of her proud and perishable sovereign.

JEFFREY.

148. MORNING HYMN TO MOUNT BLANC.

H

AST thou a charm to stay the morning star

In his steep course ?—so long he seems to pause
On thy bald, awful head, O sovereign Blănc!
The Arve and Aveiron at thy base
Rave ceaselessly; but thou, most awful form!
Risèst from förth thy silent sea of pines,
How silently! Around thee and above
Deep is the air and dark, -substantial black,
An ěbon mass ; methinks thou piercèst it,
As with a wedge! But when I look again,
It is thine own calm home, thy crystal shrine,

Thy habitation from eternity!
2. O dread and silent mount! I gazed upon thee,

Till thou, still present to the bodily sense,
Didst vanish from my thought : entranced in prayer
I worshiped the Invisible alone.
Yět like some sweet, beguiling melody,
So sweet, we know not we are listening to it,
Thou, the meanwhile, wast blending with my thoughts
Yeā, with my life, and life's own secret joy,-
Till the dīlāting soul, enrapt, transfused,
Into the mighty vision passing—there

As in her natural form, swelled vast to Heaven. 3. Awake, my soul! not only passive praise

Thou owest-not alone these swelling tears,
Mute thanks, and secret ecstasy. Awake,
Voice of sweet sõng! Awake, my heart, ăwāko!

Groen vales and icy cliffs all join my hymn.
Thou first and chief, sole sovereign of the vale!
Oh! struggling with the darkness all the night,
And visited all night by troops of stars,
Or when they climb the sky, or when they sink :
Companion of the morning-star at dawn,
Thyself, earth's rosy star, and of the dawn
Co-herald! wake, oh wake! and utter praise.
Who sank thy sunless pillars deep in earth ?
Who filled thy countenance with rosy light?

Who made thee parent of perpetual streams ? 4 And you, ye five wild torrents fiercely glad!

Who called you forth from night and utter death,
From dark and icy caverns called you forth,
Down those precipitous, black, jagged rocks,
Forever shattered and the same forever?
Who gave you your invulnerable life,
Your strength, your speed, your fury, and your joy,
Unceasing thunder and eternal foam ?
And who commanded, and the silence came,-

“Here let the billows stiffen, and have rest?”
5. Ye ice-falls ! ye that from the mountain's brow

Adown enormous ravines slope amain,-
Torrents, methinks, that heard a mighty voice,
And stopped at once amid their maddest plunge !
Motionless torrents! silent cataracts !-
Who made you glorious as the gates of heaven
Beneafh the keen full moon ? Who både the sun
Clothe you with rainbows? Who with living flowers
Of loveliëst blue, spread garlands at your feet?-

God!” let the torents, like a shout of nations,
Answer; and let the ice-plains echo, "God!”
6. “God!” sing, yo meadow-streams, with gladsome voice,

Ye pine-groves, with your soft and soul-like sounds!
And they, too, have a voice, yon piles of snow,
And in their perilous fall shall thunder, “God!"
Ye living flowers that skirt the eternal frost!
Ye wild goats sporting round the eagle's nest !
Ye eagles, playmates of the mountain-storm!

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

Ye lightnings, the dread ărrows of the clouds!
Ye signs and wonders of the elements!
Utter forth “God!” and fill the hills with praise.
Once more, hòar mount! with thy sky-pointing peak,
Oft from whose feet the avalanche, unheard,
Shoots downward, glittering through the pure serene,
Into the depth of clouds that veil thy breast,-
Thou, too, again, stupendous mountain! thou,
That, as I raise my head, awhile bowed low
In adoration, upward from thy base
Slow-traveling with dim eyes suffused with tears,
Solemnly seemèst, like a vapory cloud,
To rise before me- -rise, oh ever rise,
Rise, like a cloud of incense, from the earth!
Thou kingly spirit throned among the hills,
Thou dread ambassador from earth to heaven,
Great hierarch! tell thou the silent sky,
And tell the stars, and tell yon rising sun,
Earth, with her thousand voices, praises God! COLERIDGE.

VI.

149. ELEMENTS OF THE SWISS LANDSCAPE.

[ocr errors]

ASSING out through a forest of larches, whose dark verdure

is peculiarly appropriate to it, and going up toward the bafhs' of Leuk," the interest of the landscape does not at all diminish. What a concentration and congregation of all elements of sublimity and beauty are before you! what surprising contrasts of light and shade, of form and color, of softness and rūggèdnèss! Here are vast heights above you, and vast depths below, villages hanging to the mountain sides, green pasturages and winding paths, lovely meadow slopes enameled with flowers, deep imměasurable ravines', tõrrents thundering down them colossal, overhanging, castellated' reefs of grănite; snowy peaks with the setting sun upon them.

2. You command a view far down over the valley of the 1 Baths, (båthz).

and about 5000 feet above the sea. Leuk, (loik), a village and cele- * Căs' tellā'ted, inclosed; adorned brated bathing-place of Switzerland, with turrets and battlements, like a in the canton of Valais, on the Rhone, castle

« السابقةمتابعة »