Sidor som bilder
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

In the brown park, in herds, the troubled deer
Shook the still-twinkling tail and glancing ear;
When horses in the sunburnt intake* stood,
And vainly eyed below the tempting flood,
Or tracked the Passenger, in mute distress,
With forward neck the closing gate to press
Then, while I wandered up the huddling rill
Brightening with water-breaks the sombrous ghyll,+
As by enchantment, an obscure retreat
Opened at once, and stayed my devious feet.
While thick above the rill the branches close,
In rocky basin its wild waves repose,
Inverted shrubs, and moss of gloomy green,
Cling from the rocks, with pale wood-weeds between;
Save that aloft the subtle sunbeam shine

[blocks in formation]

How pleasant, as the sun declines, to view The spacious landscape changed in form and hue! Here, vanish, as in mist, before a flood

Of bright obscurity, hill, lawn, and wood;
There, objects, by the searching beams betrayed,
Come forth, and here retire in purple shade;
Even the white stems of birch, the cottage white,
Soften their glare before the mellow light;
The skiffs, at anchor where with umbrage wide
Yon chestnuts half the latticed boat-house hide,
Shed from their sides, that face the sun's slant beam
Strong flakes of radiance on the tremulous stream:
Raised by yon travelling flock, a dusty cloud
Mounts from the road, and spreads its moving shroud
The shepherd, all involved in wreaths of fire,
Now shows a shadowy speck, and now is lost entire,

Into a gradual calm the zephyrs sink,

A blue rim borders all the lake's still brink:
And now, on every side, the surface breaks
Into blue spots, and slowly lengthening streaks;
Here, plots of sparkling water tremble bright
With thousand thousand twinkling points of light;
There, waves that, hardly weltering, die away,
Tip their smooth ridges with a softer ray,
And now the universal tides repose,

And, brightly blue, the burnished mirror glows, Save where, along the shady western marge, Coasts, with industrious oar, the charcoal barge; The sails are dropped, the poplar's foliage sleeps, And insects clothe, like dust, the glassy deeps.

Their panniered train a group of potters goad,
Winding from side to side up the steep road;
The peasant, from yon cliff of fearful edge,

Shot, down the headlong path darts with his sledge,
Bright beams the lonely mountain horse illume,
Feeding 'mid purple heath, “green rings),” and broom;
While the sharp slope the slackened team confounds,
Downward the ponderous timber-wain resounds||;
In foamy breaks the rill, with merry song,
Dashed o'er the rough rock, lightly leaps along;
From lonesome chapel at the mountain's feet,
Three humble bells their rustic chime repeat:
Sounds from the water-side the hammered boat;
And blasted quarry thunders, heard remote !

Even here, amid the sweep of endless woods, Blue pomp of lakes, high cliffs, and falling floods. Not undelightful are the simplest charms, Found by the verdant door of mountain farms.

Sweetly ferociousT, round his native walks, Pride of his sister-wives, the monarch stalks;

"Vivid rings of green."-GREENWOOD's Poem on Shooting. "Down the rough slope the ponderous wagon rings."BEATTIE.

"Dolcemente feroce.”— ."-TASSO. - In this description of the cock, I remembered a spirited one of the same animal in l'Agnculture, ou Les Georgiquos Françoises, of M. Rossuet

Spur-clad his nervous feet, and firm his tread;
A crest of purple tops his warrior head.

Bright sparks his black and haggard eye-ball hurls
Afar, his tail he closes and unfurls;

Whose state, like pine-trees, waving to and fro,
Droops, and o'er-canopies his regal brow;
On tiptoe reared, he strains his clarion throat,
Threatened by faintly-answering farms remote:
Again with his shrill voice the mountain rings,
While, flapped with conscious pride, resound his wings!

Hung o'er a cloud, above the steep that rears
An edge all flame, the broadening sun appears
A long blue bar its ægis orb divides,
And breaks the spreading of its golden tides;
And now it touches on the purple steep
That flings its image on the pictured deep.
'Cross the calm lake's blue shades the cliffs aspire,
With towers and woods a "prospect all on fire;"
The coves and secret hollows, through a ray
Of fainter gold, a purple gleam betray;

The gilded turf invests with richer green
Each speck of lawn the broken rocks between;
Deep yellow beams the scattered stems illume,
Far in the level forest's central gloom;
Waving his hat, the shepherd, from the vale,
Directs his winding dog the cliffs to scale,
That, barking busy, 'mid the glittering rocks,
Hunts, where he points, the intercepted flocks.
Where oaks o'erhang the road the radiance shoots
On tawny earth, wild weeds, and twisted roots;
The Druid stones their lighted fane unfold,
And all the babbling brooks are liquid gold;
Sunk to a curve, the day-star lessens still,
Gives one bright glance, and drops behind the hill.*

Brightening the cliffs between, where somorous pine
And yew-trees o'er the silver rocks recline;

Now, while the solemn evening shadows sail
On red slow-waving pinions, down the vale;
And, fronting the bright west, yon oak entwines,
Its darkening boughs and leaves, in stronger lines,

I love to mark the quarry's moving trains,

Dwarf-panniered steeds, and men, and numerous wains; How pleasant near the tranquil lake to stray
How busy the enormous hive within,
While Echo dallies with the various din!
Some (hardly heard their chisels' clinking sound)
Toil, small as pigmies in the gulf profound;
Some, dim between the aërial cliffs descried,
O'erwalk the slender plank from side to side;
These, by the pale-blue rocks that ceaseless ring,
Glad from their airy baskets hang and sing.

Where winds the road along a secret bay;
By rills that tumble down the woody steeps,
And run in transport to the dimpling deeps;
Along the "wild meandering shore" to view
Obsequious Grace the winding Swan pursue:
He swells his lifted chest, and backward flings
His bridling neck between his towering wings;
In all the majesty of ease, divides
And, glorying, looks around the silent tides;
On as he floats, the silvered waters glow,

Proud of the varying arch and moveless form of snow
While tender cares and niid demestic Loves,
With furtive watch, pursue her as she moves
The female with a meeker charm succeeds,
And her brown little-ones around her leads,
Nibbling the water-lilies as they pass,
Or playing wanton with the floating grass.
She, in a mother's care, her beauty's pride
Forgets, unwearied watching every side;
She calls them near, and with affection sweet
Alternately relieves their weary feet;
Alternately they mount her back, and rest
Close by her mantling wings' embraces prest.

In these secluded vales, if village fame,
Confirmed by silver hairs, belief may claim;
When up
the hills, as now, retired the light,
Strange apparitions mocked the gazer's sight.

A desperate form appears, that spurs his steed Along the midway cliffs with violent speed; Unhurt pursues his lengthened flight, while all Attend, at every stretch, his headlong fall.

*From Thomson.-See Scott's Critical Essays.

Anon, in order mounts a gorgeous show
Of horsemen shadows winding to and fro;
At intervals imperial banners stream,
And now the van reflects the solar beam,
The rear through iron brown betrays a sullen gleam
Lost gradual, o'er the heights in pomp they go,
While silent stands the admiring vale below;
Till, save the lonely beacon, all is fled, ·
That tips with eve's last gleam his spiry head.†

Long may ye float upon these floods serene;
Yours be these holms untrodden, still, and green,
Whose leafy shades fence off the blustering gale,
Where breathes in peace the lily of the vale.
Yon Isle, which feels not even the milk-maid's feet,
Yet hears her song, "by distance made more sweet,"
Yon isle conceals your home, your cottage bower,
Fresh water-rushes strew the verdant floor;
Long grass and willows form the woven wall,
And swings above the roof the poplar tall.
Thence issuing often with unwieldy stalk,
With broad black feet ye crush your flowery walk;
Or, from the neighbouring water, hear at morn
The hound, the horses' tread, and mellow horn;
Involve your serpent necks in changeful rings,
Rolled wantonly between your slippery wings,

+ See a description of an appearance of this kind in Clarke's Survey of the Lakes, accompanied by vouchers of its veracity, may amuse the reader.


Or, starting up with noise and rude delight, Force half upon the wave your cumbrous flight.

Fair Swan! by all a mother's joys caressed, Haply some wretch has eyed, and called thee blessed; The while upon some sultry summer's day She dragged her babes along this weary way; Or taught their limbs along the burning road A few short steps to totter with their load.

I see her now, denied to lay her head, On cold blue nights, in hut or straw-built shed, Turn to a silent smile their sleepy cry, By pointing to a shooting star on high; I hear, while in the forest depth, he sees The Moon's fixed gaze between the opening trees, In broken sounds her elder grief demand, And skyward lift, like one that prays, his hand, If, in that country, where he dwells afar, His father views that good, that kindly star; -Ah me! all light is mute amid the gloom, The interlunar cavern, of the tomb. -When low-hung clouds each star of summer hide, And fireless are the valleys far and wide, Where the brook brawls along the painful road, Dark with bat-haunted ashes stretching broad, Oft has she taught them on her lap to play Delighted, with the glow-worm's harmless ray Tossed light from hand to hand; while on the ground Small circles of green radiance gleam around.

Oh! when the sleety showers her path assail, And roars between the hills the torrent gale. -No more her breath can thaw their fingers cold, Their frozen arms her neck no more can fold; Weak roof a cowering form two babes to shield, And faint the fire a dying heart can yield! Press the sad kiss, fond mother! vainly fears Thy flooded cheek to wet them with its tears; No tears can chill them, and no bosom warms, Thy breast their death-bed, coffined in thine arms.

Sweet are the sounds that mingle from afar, Heard by calm lakes, as peeps the folding star, Where the duck dabbles 'mid the rustling sedge, And feeding pike starts from the water's edge, Or the swan stirs the reeds, his neck and bill Wetting, that drip upon the water still; And heron, as resounds the trodden shore, Shoots upward, darting his long neck before.

Now, with religious awe, the farewell light Blends with the solemn colouring of the night; 'Mid groves of clouds that crest the mountain's brow, And round the West's proud lodge their shadows throw,

Like Una shining on her gloomy way,
The half-seen form of Twilight roams astray;
Shedding, through paly loopholes mild and small,
Gleams that upon the lake's still bosom fall,

Soft o'er the surface creep those lustres pale
Tracking the fitful motions of the gale.
With restless interchange at once the bright
Wins on the shade, the shade upon the light.
No favoured eye was e'er allowed to gaze
On lovelier spectacle in faery days;
When gentle Spirits urged a sportive chase,
Brushing with lucid wands the water's face;
While music, stealing round the glimmering deeps,
Charmed the tall circle of the enchanted steeps,
-The lights are vanished from the watery plains
No wreck of all the pageantry remains.
Unheeded night has overcome the vales:
On the dark earth, the baffled vision fails;
The latest lingerer of the forest train,
The lone black fir, forsakes the faded plain;
Last evening sight, the cottage smoke, no more,
Lost in the thickened darkness, glimmers hoar;
And, towering from the sullen dark-brown mere,
Like a black wall, the mountain steeps appear.

Now o'er the soothed accordant heart we feel A sympathetic twilight slowly steal,

And ever, as we fondly muse, we find

The soft gloom deepening on the tranquil mind.
Stay! pensive, sadly-pleasing visions, stay!
Ah no! as fades the vale, they fade away:
Yet still the tender, vacant gloom remains;
Still the cold cheek its shuddering tear retains.

The bird, who ceased, with fading light, to threw Silent the hedge or steaming rivulet's bed, From his gray re-appearing tower shall soon Salute with boding note the rising moon, Frosting with hoary light the pearly ground, And pouring deeper blue to Ether's bound; And pleased her solemn pomp of clouds to fold In robes of azure, fleecy-white, and gold.

See, o'er the eastern hill, where darkness broods O'er all its vanished dells, and lawns, and woods; Where but a mass of shade the sight can trace, She lifts in silence up her lovely face: Above the gloomy valley flings her light, Far to the western slopes with hamlets white And gives, where woods the chequered upland strew To the green corn of summer autumn's hue.

Thus Hope, first pouring from her blessed horn Her dawn, far lovelier than the Moon's own morn; Till higher mounted, strives in vain to cheer The weary hills, impervious, blackening near; -Yet does she still, undaunted, throw the while On darling spots remote her tempting smile.

-Even now she decks for me a distant scene, (For dark and broad the gulf of time between) Gilding that cottage with her fondest ray, (Sole bourn, sole wish, sole object of my way;

How fair its lawns and sheltering woods appear!
How sweet its streamlet murmurs in mine ear!
Where we, my Friend, to happy days shall rise,
"Till our small share of hardly-paining sighs
(For sighs will ever trouble human breath)
Creep hushed into the tranquil breast of Death.

But now the clear bright Moon her zenith gains,
And rimy without speck extend the plains;
The deepest dell the mountain's front displays
Scarce hides a shadow from her searching rays;
From the dark-blue "faint silvery threads" divide
The hills, while gleams below the azure tide;
The scene is wakened, yet its peace unbroke,
By silvery wreaths of quiet charcoal smoke,
That, o'er the ruins of the fallen wood,
Steal down the hills, and spread along the flood.

The song of mountain streams, unheard by day,
Now hardly heard, beguiles my homeward way.
Air listens, as the sleeping water still,

To catch the spiritual music of the hill,
Broke only by the slow clock tolling deep,
Or shout that wakes the ferry-man from sleep,
Soon followed by his hollow-parting oar,
And echoed hoof approaching the far shore;
Sound of closed gate, across the water borne,
Hurrying the feeding hare through rustling corn;
The tremulous sob of the complaining owl:
And at long intervals the mill-dog's howl;
The distant forge's swinging thump profound;
Orvell, in the deep woods, of lonely hound.




HOWEVER desirous I might have been of giving you proofs of the high place you hold in my esteem, I should have been cautious of wounding your delicacy by thus publicly addressing you, had not the circumstance of my having accompanied you among the Alps, seemed to give this dedication a propriety sufficient to do away any scruples which your modesty might otherwise have suggested.

In inscribing this little work to you, I consult my heart. You know well how great is the difference between two companions lolling in a post-chaise, and two travellers plodding slowly along the road, side by side, | each with his little knapsack of necessaries upon his shoulders. How much more of heart between the two latter!

I am happy in being conscious I shall have one reader who will approach the conclusion of these few pages with regret. You they must certainly interest, in reminding you of moments to which you can hardly look back without a pleasure not the less dear from a shade of melancholy. You will meet with few images without recollecting the spot where we observed them together; consequently, whatever is feeble in my design, or spiritless in my colouring, will be amply supplied by your own memory.

With still greater propriety I might have inscribed to you a description of some of the features of your native mountains, through which we have wandered together, in the same manner, with so much pleasure. But the sea-sunsets, which give such splendour to the vale of Clwyd, Snowdon, the chair of Idris, the quiet village of Bethgelert, Menai and her Druids, the Alpine steeps of the Conway, and the still more interesting windings of the wizard stream of the Dee, remain yet untouched. Apprehensive that my pencil may never be exercised on these subjects, I cannot let slip this opportunity of thus publicly assuring you with how much affection and esteem

London, 1793.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Happiness (if she had been to be found on Earth) amongst the Charms of Nature - Pleasures of the pedestrian Traveller — Author crosses France to the Alps Present State of the Grande Chartreuse-Lake of Como-Time, Sunset Same Scene, Twilight-Same Scene, Morning, its voluptuous Character; Old Man and Forest Cottage Music - River Tusa-Via Mala and Grisor Gipsy — Sckellenen-thal — Lake of Uri — Stormy Sunset - Chapel of William Tell-Force of Local Emotion Chamois-chaser · View of the higher Alps-Manner of Life of a Swiss Mountaineer, interspersed with Views of the higher Alps-Golden Age of the Alps - Life and Views continued — Ranz des Vaches, famous Swiss Air Abbey of Einsiedlen and its Pilgrims Valley of Chamouny — Mont Blanc — Slavery of Savoy-Influence of Liberty on Cottage Hap. piness-France — Wish for the Extirpation of Slavery ― Conclusion.


[ocr errors]

I am, dear Sir,

Most sincerely yours,


[ocr errors]

WERE there, below, a spot of holy ground
Where from distress a refuge might be found,
And solitude prepare the soul for heaven;
Sure, Nature's God that spot to man had given
Where falls the purple morning far and wide
In flakes of light upon the mountain side;
Where with loud voice the power of water shakes
The leafy wood, or sleeps in quiet lakes.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »