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That thundering tube the aged angler hears,
And swells the groaning torrent with his tears;
Though seeking only holiday delight;
Yet not unrecompensed the man shall roam, Wno at the call of summer quits his home, And plods through some far realm o'er vale and height, From Bruno's forest screams the affrighted jay, And slow the insulted eagle wheels away. The cross, by angels on the aërial rock Planted†, a flight of laughing demons mock. The "parting Genius" sighs with hollow breath Along the mystic streams of Life and Death.‡ Swelling the outcry dull, that long resounds Portentous through her old woods' trackless bounds Vallombre, 'mid her falling fanes, deplores, For ever broke, the sabbath of her bowers.
At least, not owning to himself an aim
To which the Sage would give a prouder name.
No gains too cheaply earned his fancy cloy,
Though every passing zephyr whispers joy;
Brisk til, alternating with ready ease,
Feeds the clear current of his sympathies.
For him sod seats the cottage door adorn;
And peeps the far-off spire, his evening bourn!
Dear is the forest frowning o'er his head,
And dear the velvet green-sward to his tread:
Moves there a cloud o'er mid-day's flaming eye?
Upward he looks "and calls it luxury;"
Kind Nature's charities his steps attend;
In every babbling brook he finds a friend;
While chastening thoughts of sweetest use, bestowed
By Wisdom, moralize his pensive road.
Host of his welcome inn, the noon-tide bower,
To his spare meal he calls the passing poor;
He views the Sun uplift his golden fire,
Or sink, with heart alive like Memnon's lyre ;*
Blesses the Moon that comes with kindly ray,
To light him shaken by his rugged way;
With bashful fear no cottage children steal
From him, a brother at the cottage meal;
His humble looks no shy restraint impart,
Around him plays at will the virgin heart.
While unsuspended wheels the village dance,
The maidens eye him with enquiring glance,
Much wondering what sad stroke of crazing Care
Or desperate Love could lead a Wanderer there.
Me, lured by hope its sorrows to remove, A heart that could not much itself approve O'er Gallia's wastes of corn dejected led, Her road elms rustling high above my head, Or through her truant pathways' native charms, By secret villages and lonely farms, To where the Alps ascending white in air, Toy with the sun, and glitter from afar.
Even now, emerging from the forest's gloom, I heave a sigh at hoary Chartreuse' doom. Where now is fled that Power whose frown severe Tamed "sober Reason" till she crouched in fear? The cloister startles at the gleam of arms, And Blasphemy the shuddering fane alarms; Nod the cloud-piercing pines their troubled heads; Spires, rocks, and lawns, a browner night o'erspreads; Strong terror checks the female peasant's sighs, And start the astonished shades at female eyes.
* The lyre of Memnon is reported to have emitted melanenoly or cheerful tones, as it was touched by the sun's evening or morning rays.
More pleased, my foot the hidden margin roves
Of Como, bosomed deep in chestnut groves.
No meadows thrown between, the giddy steeps
Tower, bare or sylvan, from the narrow deeps.
-To towns, whose shades of no rude sound complan
To ringing team unknown and grating wain,
To flat-roofed towns, that touch the water's bound,
Or lurk in woody sunless glens profound,
Or, from the bending rocks, obtrusive cling,
And o'er the whitened wave their shadows fling,
The pathway leads, as round the steeps it twines,
And Silence loves its purple roof of vines;
The viewless lingerer hence, at evening, sees
From rock-hewn steps the sai. between the trees;
Or marks, 'mid opening cliffs, fair dark-eyed maids
Tend the small harvest of their garden glades,
Or stops the solemn mountain-shades to view
Stretch, o'er the pictured mirror, broad and blue,
Tracking the yellow sun from steep to steep,
As up the opposing hills with tortoise foot they creep
Here, half a village shines, in gold arrayed,
Bright as the moon; half hides itself in shade:
While, from amid the darkened roofs, the spire,
Restlessly flashing, seems to mount like fire:
There, all unshaded, blazing forests throw
Rich golden verdure on the waves below.
Slow glides the sail along the illumined shore,
And steals into the shade the lazy oar;
Soft bosoms breathe around contagious sighs,
And amorous music on the water dies.
How blessed, delicious scene! the eye that greets Thy open beauties, or thy lone retreats; The unwearied sweep of wood thy cliff that scales; The never-ending waters of thy vales;
The cots, those dim religious groves embower,
Or, under rocks that from the water tower,
Insinuated, sprinkling all the shore;
Each with his household boat beside the door,
Alluding to crosses seen on the tops of the spiry rocks of Chartreuse, which have every appearance of being inacces sible.
Names of Rivers at the Chartreuse.
Name of one of the valleys of the Chartreuse
Whose flaccid sails in forms fantastic droop,
Brightening the gloom where thick the forests stoop;
-Thy torrents shooting from the clear blue sky,
Thy towns, that cleave like swallows' nests, on high;
That glimmer hoar in eve's last light, descried
Dim from the twilight water's shaggy side,
Whence lutes and voices down the enchanted woods
Steal, and compose the oar-forgotten floods;
-Thy lake, 'mid smoking woods, that blue and
Gleams, streaked or dappled, hid from morning's ray,
Slow travelling down the western hills, to fold
Its green-tinged margin in a blaze of gold;
From thickly-glittering spires, the matin bell
Calling the woodman from his desert cell,
A summons to the sound of oars that pass,
Spotting the steaming deeps, to early mass;
Slow swells the service, o'er the water borne,
While fill each pause the ringing woods of morn.
Farewell those forms that in thy noon-tide shade
Rest near their little plots of wheaten glade;
Those charms that bind the soul in powerless trance,
Lip-dewing song, and ringlet-tossing dance.
Where sparkling eyes and breaking smiles illume
The sylvan cabin's lute-enlivened gloom.
-Alas! the very murmur of the streams
Breathes o'er the failing soul voluptuous dreams,
While Slavery, forcing the sunk mind to dwell
On joys that might disgrace the captive's cell,
Her shameless timbrel shakes on Como's marge,
And winds, from bay to bay, the vocal barge.
Yet arts are thine that soothe the unquiet heart, And smiles to Solitude and Want impart. I loved by silent cottage-doors to roam, The far-off peasant's day-deserted home; And once I pierced the mazes of a wood, Where, far from public haunt, a cabin stood; There by the door a hoary-headed Sire Touched with his withered hand an ancient lyre; Beneath an old gray oak, as violets lie, Stretched at his feet with steadfast, upward eye, His children's children joined the holy sound; -A Hermit with his family around!
But let us hence, for fair Locarno smiles Embowered in walnut slopes and citron isles; Or seek at eve the banks of Tusa's stream, While, 'mid dim towers and woods, her* waters gleam; From the bright wave, in solemn gloom, retire The dull-red steeps, and, darkening still, aspire To where afar rich orange lustres glow Round undistinguished clouds, and rocks, and snow; Or, led where Via Mala's chasms confine The indignant waters of the infant Rhine, Hang o'er the abyss: the else impervious gloom His burning eyes with fearful light illume.
The river along whose banks you descend in crossing the Alp by the Simplon pass.
The Grison gipsy here her tent hath placed, Sole human tenant of the piny waste; Her tawny skin, dark eyes, and glossy locks, Bend o'er the smoke that curls beneath the rocks. -The mind condemned, without reprieve, to go O'er life's long deserts with its charge of woe, With sad congratulation joins the train, Where beasts and men together o'er the plain Move on -a mighty caravan of pain; Hope, strength, and courage, social suffering brings, Freshening the waste of sand with shades and springs She, solitary, through the desert drear Spontaneous wanders, hand in hand with Fear.
A giant moan along the forest swells Protracted, and the twilight storm foretells, And ruining from the cliffs, their deafening load Tumbles, the wildering Thunder slips abroad; On the high summits Darkness comes and goes, Hiding their fiery clouds, their rocks, and snows; The torrent, traversed by the lustre broad, Starts, like a horse beside the flashing road; In the roofed bridge,f at that terrific hour, She seeks a shelter from the battering shower.
- Fierce comes the river down; the crashing wood Gives way, and half its pines torment the flood; Fearful, beneath, the Water-spirits call, And the bridge vibrates, tottering to its fall.
-IIcavy, and dull, and cloudy is the night No star supplies the comfort of its light, A single taper in the vale profound Shifts, while the Alps dilated glimmer round; And, opposite, the waning Moon hangs still And red, above her melancholy hill.
By the deep quiet gloom appalled, she sighs,
Stoops her sick head, and shuts her weary eyes.
She hears, upon the mountain forest's brow,
The death-dog, howling loud and long below;
On viewless fingers counts the valley-clock,
Followed by drowsy crow of midnight cock.
The dry leaves stir as with a serpent's walk,
And, far beneath, Banditti voices talk;
Behind her hill, the Moon, all crimson, rides,
And his red eyes the slinking water hides.
-Vexed by the darkness, from the piny gulf
Ascending, nearer howls the famished wolf,
While through the stillness scatters wild disinay
Her babe's small cry, that leads him to his. prey.
Plunge with the Russ embrowned by Terror's breath; | A garden-plot the desert air perfumes,
Where danger roofs the narrow walks of death;
By floods, that, thundering from their dizzy height,
Swell more gigantic on the steadfast sight;
Black drizzling crags, that, beaten by the din,
Vibrate, as if a voice complained within;
Bare steeps, where Desolation stalks, afraid,
Unsteadfast, by a blasted yew upstayed;
By cells* whose image, trembling as he prays,
Awe-struck, the kneeling peasant scarce surveys;
Loose-hanging rocks the Day's blessed eye that hide,
And crossest reared to Death on every side,
Which with cold kiss Devotion planted near,
And, bending, watered with the human tear,
That faded "silent" from her upward eye,
Unmoved with each rude form of Danger nigh,
Fixed on the anchor left by Him who saves
Alike in whelming snows and roaring waves.
On as we move, a softer prospect opes,
Calm huts, and lawns between, and sylvan slopes,
While mists, suspended on the expiring gale,
Moveless o'erhang the deep secluded vale,
The beams of evening, slipping soft between,
Gently illuminate a sober scene;
Winding its dark-green wood and emerald glade,
The still vale lengthens underneath the shade;
While in soft gloom the scattering bowers recede,
Green dewy lights adorn the freshened mead,
On the low brown wood-huts delighted sleep
Along the brightened gloom reposing deep:
While pastoral pipes and streams the landscape lull,
And bells of passing mules that tinkle dull,
In solemn shapes before the admiring eye
Dilated hang the misty pines on high,
Huge convent domes with pinnacles and towers,
And antique castles seen through drizzling showers.
From such romantic dreams, my soul, awake!
Lo! Fear looks silent down on Uri's lake,
Where, by the unpathwayed margin, still and dread,
Was never heard the plodding peasant's tread.
Tower like a wall the naked rocks, or reach
Far o'er the secret water dark with beech;
More high, to where creation seems to end,
Shade above shade, the aërial pines ascend,
Yet with his infants Man undaunted creeps
And hangs his small wood-cabin on the steeps
Where'er below amid the savage scene
Peeps out a little speck of smiling green,
The Catholic religion prevails here: these cells are, as is well known, very common in the Catholic countries, planted,
like the Roman tombs, along the road side.
'Mid the dark pines a little orchard blooms;
A zig-zag path from the domestic skiff,
Thridding the painful crag, surmounts the cliff
Before those hermit doors, that never know
The face of traveller passing to and fro,
No peasant leans upon his pole, to tell
For whom at morning tolled the funeral bell;
Their watch-dog ne'er his angry bark foregoes,
Touched by the beggar's moan of human woes;
The grassy scat beneath their casement shade
The pilgrim's wistful eye hath never stayed.
-There, did the iron Genius not disdain
The gentle Power that haunts the myrtle plain,
There, might the love-sick maiden sit, and chide
The insuperable rocks and severing tide;
There, watch at eve her lover's sun-gilt sail
Approaching, and upbraid the tardy gale;
There, list at midnight till is heard no more,
Below, the echo of his parting oar.
'Mid stormy vapours ever driving by,
Where ospreys, cormorants, and herons cry,
Hovering o'er rugged wastes too bleak to rear
That common growth of earth, the foodful ear;
Where the green apple shrivels on the spray,
And pines the unripened pear in summer's kindliest rav
Even here Content has fixed her smiling reign
With Independence, child of high Disdain.
Exulting 'mid the winter of the skies,
Shy as the jealous chamois, Freedom flies,
And often grasps her sword, and often eyes;
Her crest a bough of Winter's bleakest pine,
Strange "weeds" and Alpine plants her helm entwine
And, wildly pausing, oft she hangs aghast,
While thrills the "Spartan fife" between the blast.
'Tis storm; and, hid in mist from hour to hour,
All day the floods a deepening murmur pour;
The sky is veiled, and every cheerful sight:
Dark is the region as with coming night;
But what a sudden burst of overpowering light!
Triumphant on the bosom of the storm,
Glances the fire-clad eagle's wheeling form;
Eastward, in long perspective glittering, shine
The wood-crowned cliffs that o'er the lake recline
Wide o'er the Alps a hundred streams unfold.
At once to pillars turned that flame with gold
Behind his sail the peasant strives to shun
The west, that burns like one dilated sun,
Where in a mighty crucible expire
The mountains, glowing hot, like coals of fire
† Crosses commemorative of the deaths of travellers by the foil of snow and other accidents are very common along this dreadful road.
But, lo! the Boatman, overawed, before
The pictured fane of Tell suspends his oar;
The houses in the more retired Swiss valleys are all built Confused the Marathonian tale appears,
While burn in his full eves the glorious tears
Or rather stay to taste the mild delights
Of pensive Underwalden'st pastoral heights?
And who that walks where men of ancient days
Have wrought with godlike arm the deeds of praise,
Feels not the spirit of the place control,
Exalt, and agitate, his labouring soul?
Say, who, by thinking on Canadian hills,
Or wild Aosta lulled by Alpine rills,
Is there who 'mid these awful wilds has seen
The native Genii walk the mountain green?
On Zutphen's plain; or where, with softened gaze,
The old gray stones the plaided chief surveys;
Can guess the high resolve, the cherished pain,
Of him whom passion rivets to the plain,
Or heard, while other worlds their charms reveal,
Soft music from the aerial summit steal!
While o'er the desert, answering every close,
Rich steam of sweetest perfume comes and goes.
-And sure there is a secret power that reigns
Here, where no trace of man the spot profanes,
Where breathed the gale that caught Wolfe's hap- Nought but the herds that, pasturing upward, creepy,
Hung dim discovered from the dangerous steep,
Or summer hamlet, flat and bare, on high
Suspended, 'mid the quiet of the sky.
How still! no irreligious sound or sight.
Rouses the soul from her severe delight.
An idle voice the sabbath region fills
Of Deep that calls to Deep across the hills,
Broke only by the melancholy sound
But now with other mind I stand alone
Upon the summit of this naked cone,
And watch, from pike to pike*, amid the sky,
Small as a bird the chamois-chaser fly,
Through vacant worlds where Nature never gave
A brook to murmur or a bough to wave,
Of Drowsy bells, for ever tinkling round;
Faint wail of eagle melting into blue
Beneath the cliffs, and pine-woods' steady sugh ||;
The solitary heifer's deepened low;
Which unsubstantial Phantoms sacred keep;
Through worlds where Life, and Sound, and Motion Or rumbling, heard remote, of falling snow;
Save when, a stranger seen below, the boy
Shouts from the echoing hills with savage joy.
And the last sunbeam fell on Bayard's eye;
Where bleeding Sidney from the cup retired,
And glad Dundee in "faint huzzas" expired?
Where Silence still her death-like reign extends,
Save when the startling cliff unfrequent rends;
In the deep snow the mighty ruin drowned,
Mocks the dull ear of Time with deaf abortive sound.
'Tis his while wandering on, from height to height,
To see a planet's pomp and steady light
In the least star of scarce-appearing night,
While the near Moon, that coasts the vast profound,
Wheels pale and silent her diminished round,
And far and wide the icy summits blaze,
Rejoicing in the glory of her rays:
To him the day-star glitters small and bright,
Shorn of its beams, insufferably white,
And he can look beyond the sun, and view
Those fast-reding depths of sable blue,
Flying till vision car no more pursue!
-At once bewildering mists around him close,
And cold and hunger are his least of woes;
The Demon of the Snow, with angry roar
Descending, shuts for aye his prison door.
Then with Despair's whole weight his spirits sink
No bread to feed him, and the snow his drink,
While, ere his eyes can close upon the day,
The eagle of the Alps o'ershades her prey.
Hence shall we turn where, heard with fear afar, Thunders through echoing pines the headlong Aar?
⚫ Pike is a word very commonly used in the north of England, to signify a high mountain of the conic form, as Langdale pike, &c.
+ For most of the images in the next sixteen verses I am indebted to M. Raymond's interesting observations annexed to his translation of Coxe's Tour in Switzerland.
When warm from myrtle bays and tranquil seas,
Comes on, to whisper hope, the vernal breeze,
When hums the mountain bee in May's glad ear.
And emerald isles to spot the heights appear,
When shouts and lowing herds the valley fill,
And louder torrents stun the noon-tide hill,
When fragrant scents beneath the enchanted tread
Spring up, his choicest wealth around him spread,
The pastoral Swiss begins the cliffs to scale,
To silence leaving the deserted vale;
Mounts, where the verdure leads, from stage to stage,
And pastures on, as in the Patriarchs' age:
O'er lofty heights serene and still they go,
And hear the rattling thunder far below;
They cross the chasmy torrent's foam-lit bed,
Rocked on the dizzy larch's narrow tread;
Or steal beneath loose mountains, half deterred,
That sigh and shudder to the lowing herd.
-I see hin, up the midway cliff he creeps
To where a scanty knot of verdure peeps,
Thence down the steep a pile of grass he throws,
The fodder of his herds in winter snows.
Far different life to what tradition hoar
Transmits of days more blest in times of yore;
The people of this Canton are supposed to be of a more melancholy disposition than the other inhabitants of the Alps this, if true, may proceed from their living more secluded.
This picture is from the middle region of the Alps.
Sugh, a Scotch word expressive of the sound of the wing through the trees.
Then Summer lengthened out his season bland,
And with rock-honey flowed the happy land.
Continual fountains welling cheered the waste,
And plants were wholesome, now of deadly taste.
Nor Winter yet his frozen stores had piled,
Usurping where the fairest herbage smiled:
Nor Hunger forced the herds from pastures bare
For scanty food the treacherous cliffs to dare.
Then the milk-thistle bade those herds demand
Three times a day the pail and welcome hand.
But human vices have provoked the rod
Of angry Nature to avenge her God.
Thus does the father to his sons relate,
On the lone mountain-top, their changed estate.
Still, Nature, ever just, to him imparts
Joys only given to uncorrupted hearts.
'Tis morn: with gold the verdant mountain glows; More high, the snowy peaks with hues of rose. Far-stretched beneath the many-tinted hills, A mighty waste of mist the valley fills, A solemn sea! whose vales and mountains round Stand motionless, to awful silence bound: A gulf of gloomy blue, that opens wide And bottomless, divides the midway tide: Like leaning masts of stranded ships appear The pines that near the coast their summits rear; Of cabins, woods, and lawns, a pleasant shore Bounds calm and clear the chaos still and hoar; Loud through that midway gulf ascending, sound Unnumbered streams with hollow roa profound: Mount through the nearer mist the chant of birds, And talking voices, and the low of herds, The bark of dogs, the drowsy tinkling bell, And wild-wood mountain lutes of saddest swell. Think not, suspended from the cliff on high, He looks below with undelighted eye. -No vulgar joy is his, at even-tide Stretched on the scented mountain's purple side: For as the pleasures of his simple day Beyond his native valley seldom stray, Nought round its darling precincts can he find But brings some past enjoyment to his mind, While Hope, that ceaseless leans on Pleasure's urn, Binds her wild wreaths, and whispers his return.
Once Man entirely free, alone and wild, Was blessed as free- for he was Nature's child. He, all superior but his God disdained, Walked none restraining, and by none restrained, Confessed no law but what his reason taught, Did all he wished, and wished but what he ought. As Man, in his primeval dower arrayed, The image of his glorious Sire displayed, Even so, by vestal Nature guarded, here The traces of primeval Man appear; The native dignity no forms debase, The eye sublime, and surly lion-grace.
The slave of none, of beasts alone the lord
His book he prizes, nor neglects the sword;
Well taught by that to feel his rights, prepared
With this "the blessings he enjoys to guard."
And, as his native hills encircle ground For many a wondrous victory renowned, The work of Freedom daring to oppose, With few in arms*, innumerable foes, When to those glorious fields his steps are ied, An unknown power connects him with the dead: For images of other worlds are there; Awful the light, and holy is the air. Uncertain through his fierce uncultured soul, Like lighted tempests, troubled transports roll, To viewless realms his Spirit towers amain. Beyond the senses and their little reign,
And oft, when passed that solemn vision by, He holds with God himself communion high, Where the dread peal of swelling torrents fills The sky-roofed temple of the eternal hills; Or, when upon the mountain's silent brow Reclined, he sees, above him and below, Bright stars of ice and azure fields of snow; While needle peaks of granite shooting bare Tremble in ever-varying tints of air: -Great joy, by horror tamed, dilates his heart, And the near heavens their own delights impart. -When the Sun bids the gorgeous scene farewell, Alps overlooking Alps their state upswell; Huge Pikes of Darkness named, of Fear and Stormsi Lift, all serene, their still, illumined forms, In sea-like reach of prospect round him spread, Tinged like an angel's smile all rosy red.
When downward to his winter but he goes,
Dear and more dear the lessening circle grows;
That hut which from the hills his eye employs
So oft, the central point of all his joys.
And as a Swift, by tender cares opprest,
Peeps often ere she dart into her nest,
So to the untrodden floor, where round him looks
His father, helpless as the babe he rocks,
Oft he descends to nurse the brother pair,
Till storm and driving ice blockade him there.
There, safely guarded by the woods behind,
He hears the chiding of the baffled wind,
Alluding to several battles which the Swiss in very small numbers have gained over their oppressors, the house of Austria; and, in particular, to one fought at Naffels, near Glarus, where three hundred and thirty men defeated an army of be tween fifteen and twenty thousand Austrians. Scattered over the valley are to be found eleven stones, with this inscription, 1388, the year the battle was fought, marking out, as I was told upon the spot, the several places where the Austrians attemp ing to make a stand were repulsed anew.
† As Schreck-Horn the pike of terror; Wetter-Horn, the pik of storms, &c &