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LXXI. To the broad column which rolls on, and shows More like the fountain of an infant sea Torn from the womb of mountains by the throes Of a new world, than only thus to be Parent of rivers, which flow gushingly, [back! With many windings, through the vale: — Look Lo! where it comes like an eternity, As if to sweep down all things in its track, Charming the eye with dread, - a matchless cataract, () LXXII. Horribly beautiful! but on the verge, From side to side, beneath the glittering morn, An Iris sits, amidst the infernal surge, (2) Like Hope upon a death-bed, and, unworn Its steady dyes, while all around is torn By the distracted waters, bears serene Its brilliant hues with all their beams unshorn: Resembling, 'mid the torture of the scene, Love watching Madness with unalterable mien. (1) I saw the “Cascata del marmore” of Terni twice, at different pe. riods; once from the summit of the precipice, and again from the valley below. The lower view is far to be preferred, if the traveller has time for one only; but in any point of view, either from above or below, it is worth all the cascades and torrents of Switzerland put together: the Staubach, Reichenbach, Pisse Vache, fall of Arpenaz, &c. are rills in comparative appearance. Of the fall of Schaffhausen I cannot speak, not yet having seen it. [“The stunning sound, the mist, uncertainty, and tremendous depth, bewildered the senses for a time, and the eye had little rest from the impetuous and hurrying waters, to search into the mysterious and whitened gulf, which presented, through a cloud of spray, the apparitions, as it were, of rocks and overhanging wood. The wind, however, would sometimes remove for an instant this misty veil, and display such a scene of havoc as appalled the soul.”—H. W. WILLIAMS.] (2) Of the time, place, and qualities of this kind of iris, the reader will
see a short account, in a note to Manfred. The fall looks so much like “ the hell of waters,” that Addison thought the descent alluded to by the gulf in which Alecto plunged into the infernal regions. It is singular enough, that two of the finest cascades in Europe should be artificial — this of the Velino, and the one at Tivoli. The traveller is strongly recommended to trace the Velino, at least as high as the little lake, called Pie’ di Lup. The Reatine territory was the Italian Tempeo, and the ancient naturalist, amongst other beautiful varieties, remarked the daily rainbows
of the lake Velinus. F A scholar of great name has devoted a treatise to this district alone. t
(1) In the greater part of Switzerland, the avalanches are known by the name of lauwine.
f Ald. Manut. de Reatina Urbe Agroque, ap. Sallengre, Thesaur. tom. i. p. 773.
LXXV. For our remembrance, and from out the plain Heaves like a long-swept wave about to break, And on the curl hangs pausing: not in vain May he, who will, his recollections rake And quote in classic raptures, and awake The hills with Latian echoes; I abhorr'd ... Too much, to conquer for the poet's sake, The drill'd dull lesson, forced down word by word (1) In my repugnant youth, with pleasure to record
(1) These stanzas may probably remind the reader of Ensign Northerton s remarks: “D–n Homo,” &c.; but the reasons for our dislike are not exactly the same. I wish to express, that we become tired of the task before we can comprehend the beauty; that we learn by rote before we can get by heart; that the freshness is worn away, and the future pleasure and advantage deadened and destroyed, by the didactic anticipation, at an age when we can neither feel nor understand the power of compositions which it requires an acquaintance with life, as well as Latin and Greek, to relish, or to reason upon. For the same reason, we never can be aware of the fulness of some of the finest passages of Shakspeare (“To be, or not to be,” for instance), from the habit of having them hammered into us at eight years old, as an exercise, not of mind, but of memory: so that when we are old enough to enjoy them, the taste is gone, and the appetite palled. In some parts of the continent, young persons are taught from more common authors, and do not read the best classics till their maturity. I certainly do not speak on this point from any pique or aversion towards the place of my education. I was not a slow, though an idle boy; and I believe no one could, or can be, more attached to Harrow than I have always been, and with reason; –a part of the time passed there was the happiest of my life; and my preceptor, the Rev. Dr. Joseph Drury, was the best and worthiest friend I ever possessed, whose warnings I have remembered but too well, though too late, when I have erred, – and whose counsels I have but followed when I have done well or wisely. If ever this imperfect record of my feelings towards him should reach his eyes, let it remind him of one who never thinks of him but with gratitude and veneration – of one who would more gladly boast of having been his pupil, if, by more closely fol. lowing his injunctions, he could reflect any honour upon his instructor. [See vol. vii. pp. 145. 147. – E.]
WOL. VIII. Q
LXXVI. Aught that recals the daily drug which turn'd Mysickening memory;and,thoughTimehathtaught My mind to meditate what then it learn'd, Yet such the fix'd inveteracy wrough +By the impatience of my early thought, That, with the freshness wearing out before My mind could relish what it might have sought, \, If free to choose, I cannot now restore
Its health; but what it then detested, still abhor.
I, xxvi II. Oh Rome! my country! city of the soul! The orphans of the heart must turn to thee, Lone mother of dead empires 1 and control In their shut breasts their petty misery. What are our woes and sufferance? Come and see The cypress, hear the owl, and plod your way \ O'er steps of broken thrones and temples, Ye! o Whose agonies are evils of a day— A world is at our feet as fragile as our clay.
LXXIX. The Niobe of nations ! there she stands, () Childless and crownless, in her voiceless woe: An empty urn within her wither'd hands, Whose holy dust was scatter'd long ago; The Scipios' tomb contains no ashes now; (2) The very sepulchres lie tenantless * Of their heroic dwellers: dost thou flow, Old Tiber 1 through a marble wilderness? Rise, with thy yellow waves, and mantle her distress.
The Goth, the Christian,Time, War, Flood, and Fire,
And say, “here was, or is,” where all is doubly
(1) [“I have been some days in Rome the Wonderful. I am delighted with Rome. As a whole- ancient and modern, – it beats Greece, Constantinople, every thing—at least that I have ever seen. But I can't describe, because my first impressions are always strong and confused, and . my memory selects and reduces them to order, like distance in the landscape, and blends them better, although they may be less distinct. I have been on horseback most of the day, all days since my arrival. I have been to Albano, its lakes, and to the top of the Alban Mount, and to Frescati, Aricia, &c. As for the Coliseum, Pantheon, St. Peter's, the Vatican, Palatine, &c. &c.- they are quite inconceivable, and must be seen.”— B. Letters, May, 1817.] (2) For a comment on this and the two following stanzas, the reader may consult “Historical Illustrations,” p. 46.