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THE PEOPLE'S GALLERY OF ENGRAVINGS.
THE GREAT WATERWORKS AT VERSAILLES.
Those persons, if any such there be, who regard a taste for regal splendour and costly magnificence as the distinguishing characteristic of royalty, may well exclaim, while contemplating the palace and grounds of Versailles, “ There was once a king."
A large portion of the long reign of Louis XIV., and no inconsiderable part of the revenues of his kingdom, were expended in the building of this magnificent royal residence, in planting its gardens, and in artificially bending from their natural courses the streams which were required in order to irrigate its dry soil, and to feed its rainbowtinted fountains. Each stone in that vast regal pile was indeed cut with a golden chisel! The wealth of France was poured forth to fit it for the reception of the "grand monarque," and the nobles and beauties of his realm. In its umbrageous woods King Louis hunted; under the trees which overhang its delicious walks, Molière wrote; amid its fragrant orangeries and brilliant flower-beds, the beautiful and unhappy Marie Antoinette, “ herself the fairest flower," in later times held her court; and in its delicious lawns and glades, with their statues, their marble basins, and their fountains of unequalled splendour and beauty, the now deposed monarch, Louis Philippe, having himself restored the long-neglected Palace of Versailles to more than its original magnificence, assembled, but a few summers ago, at the gorgeous fête of June 10th, the knights and nobles—the chivalry and the beauty of France !
The accompanying plate represents the beautiful group of fountains, called “ Les grands Eaux,” in the vicinity of what was lately the abode of royalty. Few, we think, will gaze upon it, without bestowing at least a passing thought upon the fleeting nature of earthly magnificence; and, it may be, on the superiority of simple and natural pleasures over those which are artificial.
Bright Versailles ! A smiling sky
S. S.VOL. III.
While beneath their spreading shade,