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former convey to the mind, I know not how, an idea of beauty and life-they are painted by the hand of God! the latter dyed by the ingenuity of man,-one is a living colour, the other a
But to proceed : “ 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. The leading impressions here are those of romantic seclusion and primeval simplicity_lovers sequestered in these blissful solitudes, ` from towns and toils remote,'-and rustic poets, and philosophers communing with Nature, at a distance from the low pursuits and selfish malignity of ordinary mortals : then there is the sublime impression of the Mighty Power which piled the massive 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 their present life-their wild and enthusiastic poetry-their gloomy superstitions—their attachment to their chiefs—the dangers, 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. Add to this, the traces of vast and obscure antiquity that are impressed on the language and habits of the people, and on the cliffs, and caves, and gulfy torrents of the land, and the solemn and touching reflection perpetually recurring, of the weakness and insignificance of perishable man, whose generations thus pass away into oblivion, with all their toils and ambition,
while Nature holds on her unvarying course, and renews her forests with undecaying activity, regardless of the fate of her proud and perishable sovereign.
According to our experience, as well as according to the theory we espouse, this is by no means an exact transcript of the images and feelings which such scenery must excite in all beholders ; but it is a specimen of the manner in which it operates on the heart and imagination, and of the nature of that connexion which is established between our natural sympathies and the visible peculiarities of our mountain landscapes. There is an endless variety in the trains of thought to which this kind of scenery is calculated to give rise ; and, in this respect, it differs essentially from the scenery of a more cultivated region, where there is scarcely any very decided expression but that of comfort and tranquillity. To make amends, however, it must be admitted, that this last expression is much more clear and obvious to beholders of every degree and description. There is scarcely any one who does not feel and understand the beauty of smiling fields and comfortable cottages; but the beauty of lakes and mountains is not so universally distinguishable. It requires some knowledge of our species some habits of reflection—some play of fancy-some exercise of affection, to interpret the lofty characters in which Nature here speaks to the heart and the imagination, and reflects, from the broken aspect of the desert, the most powerful images of the feelings and the fortunes of man.”
I have taken up another feature of this powerfully-written essay in
may be looked upon as a key which unlocks all that is beautiful in the storehouse of Nature, and will be no bad guide to lead my readers through whatever I have written or extracted in this volume.
my work: it
“. Now the last day of many days,
All beautiful and bright as thou,
Rise, Memory, and write its praise,
And do thy wonted work, and trace
The epitaph of glory fled :
A frown is on the heaven's brow.
We wandered to the pine forest
That skirts the ocean's foam, The lightest wind was in its nest,
The tempest in its home;
The whispering waves were half asleep,
The clouds were gone to play, And on the woods and on the deep
The smiles of heaven lay.
It seem'd as if the day were one
Sent from beyond the skies, Which shed to earth above the sun
A light of paradise.
We paused amid the pines that stood
The giants of the waste, Tortured by storms to shapes as rude,
With stems like serpents interlaced.
How calm it was !-the silence there
By such a chain was bound, That even the busy woodpecker
Made stiller by her sound
The inviolable quietness ;
The breath of peace we drew, With its soft motion made not less
The calm that round us grew.
It seem'd that from the remotest seat
Of the white mountain's waste,
A magic circle traced ;
A spirit interfused around
A thinking, silent life,
Qur mortal nature's strife.