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I have known a judicious selection of such, cunningly arranged, and neatly linked together, with a few monosyllables, interjections, and well chosen epithets, (which may be liberally inserted with good general effect,) so worked up, as to form altogether a very respectable and even elegant composition, such as amongst the best judges of that peculiar style is pronounced to be “a charming letter !" Then the pause—the break-has altogether a picturesque effect. Long tailed letters are not only beautiful in themselves, but the use of them necessarily creates such a space between the lines, as helps one honourably and expeditiously over the ground to be filled up. The tails of your g’s and y's in particular, may be boldly flourished with a down-sweeping” curve, so as beautifully to obscure the line underneath, without rendering it wholly illegible. This last, however, is but a minor grace, a mere illumination of the manuscript, on which I have touched rather by accident than design. i pass on to remarks of greater moment.
* * * * * .
If ever you should come to Mödena,
'Tis of a lady in her eaviest youth,
* An anonymous poem, published in London, 1822.
She sits, inclining forward as to speak,
But then her face,
Alone it hangs
She was an only child-her name Ginevra,
Just as she looks there in her bridal dress,
Great was the joy; but at the nuptial feast,
'Twas but that instant she had left Francesco,
Weary of his life,
Full fifty years were past, and all forgotten,
- There then had she found a grave!
LESSON CLVI. Account of the destruction of Goldau and other villages in Switzerland ;-extracted from a letter, dated Geneva,
26th Sept. 1806.--BUCKMINSTER. THERE is an event which happened just before our arrival in Switzerland, of which no particular account may have yet reached America, and which I think cannot be uninteresting, especially to those of our friends who have visited this charming country. Indeed it is too disastrous to be related or read with indifference.
If you have a large map of Switzerland, I beg of you to look for a spot in the canton of Schweitz,* situated between the lakes of Zug and Lowertz on two sides, and the mountains of Rigi and Rossberg on the others. Here, but three weeks ago, was one of the most delightfully fertile valleys of all Switzerland ; green, and luxuriant, adorned with several little villages, full of secure and happy farmers. Now three of these villages are for ever effaced from the earth; and a broad waste of ruins, burying alive more than fourteen hundred peasants, overspreads the valley of Lowertz.
About five o'clock in the evening of the 3d of September, a large projection of the mountain of Rossberg, on the north east, gave way, and precipitated itself into this valley; and in less than four minutes completely overwhelmed the three villages of Goldau, Busingen, and Rathlen, with a part of Lowertz and Oberart. T'he torrent of earth and stones was far more rapid than that of lava, and its effects as resistless and as terrible. The mountain in its descent carried trees, rocks, houses, every thing before it. The mass spread in every direction, so as to bury completely a space of charming country, more than three miles square.
The force of the earth must have been prodigious, since it not only spread over the hollow of the valley, but even ascended far up the opposite side of the Rigi. The quantity of earth, too, is enormous, since it has left a considerable hill in what was before the centre of the vale. A portion of the falling mass rolled into the lake of Lowertz, and it is calculated that a fifth part is filled up. On a minúte map you will see two little islands marked in this lake, which have been admired for their picturesqueness. One of them is famous for the residence of two hermits, and the other for the remains of an ancient chateau,t once belonging to the house of Hapsburg.
So large a body of water was raised and pushed forward by the falling of such a mass into the lake, that the two islands, and the whole village of Seven, at the southern extremity, were for a time, completely submerged by the passing of the swell. A large house in this village was lifted off its foundations and carried half a mile beyond its place. The hermits were absent on a pilgrimage to a distant abbey. The disastrous consequences of this event extend further
* Pronounced Shwātes. + Pronounced shat-to.
than the loss of such a number of inhabitants in a canton of little population. A fertile plain is at once converted into a barren tract of rocks and calcareous earth, and the former marks and boundaries of property obliterated. The main road from Art to Schweitz is completely filled up, so that another must be opened with great labour over the Rigi. The former channel of a large stream is choked up, and its course altered; and, as the outlets and passage of large bodies of water must be affected by the filling up of such a portion of the lake, the neighbouring villages are still trembling with apprehension of some remote consequence, against which they know not how to provide. Several hundred men have been employed in opening passages for the stagnant waters, in forming a new road for foot passengers along the Rigi, and in exploring the ruins. The different cantons have contributed to the relief of the suffering canton of Schweitz, and every head is at work to contrive means to prevent further disasters.
The number of inhabitants buried alive under the ruins of this mountain is scarcely less than fifteen hundred. Some even estimate it as high as two thousand. Of these, a woman and two children have been found alive, after having been several days under ground. They affirm that while they were thus entombed, they heard the cries of creatures who were perishing around them, for want of that succour which they were so happy as to receive. . Indeed, it is the opinions of many well informed people, that a large number might still he recovered ; and a writer in the Publiciste goes so far as to blame the inactivity of the neighbouring inhabitants; and quotes many well-attested facts to prove, that persons have lived a long time, buried under snow and earth.
This at least is probable in the present case, that many houses, exposed to a lighter weight than others, may have been merely a little crushed, while the lower story, which, in this part of Switzerland, is frequently of stone, may have remained firm, and thus not a few of the inhabitants escaped unhurt. The consternation, into which the neighbouring towns of Art and Schweitz were thrown, appears indeed to have left them incapable of contriving and executing those labours, which an enlightened compassion would dictate.
The mountain of Rossberr, as well as the Rigi, and other mountains in its vicinity, is composed of a kind of brittle calcareous earth, and pudding stone or aggregated rocks. Such a prodigious mass as that which fell, would easily