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Shill noteless would I track the silent river
That sweeps in beauty to its ocean rest,
Looking to heaven Alone.
I love to seek, deep in some pathless wildwood,
Scenes that remake worn man once more the boy; Woods, young for age, bring back the bliss of childhood, And thrill man's brcast with more than childhood's joy,
In their green deptlis Alone.
With poets, prophets, heroes, saints, and sages,
Say, world-am I Alone ?
Her fond eyes, lustreless, have sought death's gloom;
O, I would be Alone.
Float to the silent sea eternity,
Live with thy soul Alone.
And all thy pride, how mean when death draws nigh;
Immortal pilgrim to the land unknown,
When midnight's sable mantle hath enshrouded
The struggling world, and given the toil-worn sleep; When the winged soul, by day's dull cares unclouded, Burns the high heaven of glorious thought to sweep,
0, I would be Alone.
Then rise the mighty spirits of dead ages,
In silent glory circling me around
TO AN UNKNOWN. What vision o'er my startled eye
Why rays so fixed that solemn eye Breaks strarge as omen in the sky,
Where light and darkness blended lie? Painting in lines of deepest light
Methinks that brow the sky of thought Its image on the mem'ry's sight?
With wintry tempests overwrought,
A lonely strand, all whitened o'er
With ocean's everlasting hoar,
A chalky cliff that proudly keeps
Within their bed the swelling deeps.
Death must in many ghastly forms
Have ridden on that spirit's storms
Marbling with his baleful sweep
That high, majestic, albine steep.
Methinks those locks that darkly flow,
Sad emblems of that spirit's woe,
Methinks that eye so bright and still
Is looking out with pilot-skill
Upon the battling clouds of ill,
To catch the first faint streaks that rise,
Fair harbingers of tranquil skies,
Within that snowy brow
See, life is stirring now-
The sable curtain shakes-
Divinity awakes ;
The moveless coaly eye
Rolls wild with ecstacy.
“ Mysterious being!”—as I spoke,
The strange illusion instant broke;
It melted into viewless air,
And all was void unimaged there.
Awhile I hung in troubled mood
Where late that form had palely stood,
Lost in wildering fruitless strife
To know the mystery of life.
O that some angel would unrol
The magic-lettered mystic scroll
That bears the story of that soul!
What problems then might be resolved,
What light from deepest dark evolved!
There, there, at last, perchance, we'd find
The clue to all the maze of mind,
A NIGHT IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD OF DERWENT WATER.
For the next century we fear the annalist of pe- crassitude that oppresses and begrims the calidestrianism will have but few materials to work | ginous atmosphere of Leeds or Glasgow. Her upon,
With benevolent consideration we shall || music, too, must be mended ; her melodious birds, therefore furnish him with feat we were honoured her vocal cataracts, her quiet singing brooks, and to achieve in the summer of last year. After all the wild and wayward strains of her spiritual spending a night on the banks of Windermere, at harp, must join in concert with the stunning roar about 8 o'clock in the morning of a beautiful but of trumpets, fifes, and drums, before these worthy somewhat sultry day in June, we set out on foot and enlightened people can derive any pleasure from Bowness, intending, if possible, to reach Kes- from her sights and sounds, and force themselves wick, in the twilight. From our starting place to into such tame furiousness as to ejaculate, with a Ambleside, the road presents a variety of noble pro- pseudo-poetical obstreperousness,
“ How pretty!" spects, both of the lake and the circumjacent “ Come now, that's well got up!" scenery.
The unbroken quietude that slept on It has long struck us, and our visit to these districts every object; the aspect of perfect repose that sat greatly strengthened the conviction, that mountain upon “the river-lake,” and the gigantic heights and lake scenery should, if possible, be witnessed glassed in its transparency-induced a placid calm alone. A like-minded companion maydo very well for upon the spirit, and ameliorated the heart with some time, but even of him you may tire and wish profitable reflection. Suddenly the neighbouring sincerely a solitary hour, to expose yourself, without hills rung out their echoes in a deafening continu- || restraint, to the soliciting influences around you. ous peal-shattering sounds broke unwelcomely | An incident occurred during a tour through the over the lake, and drowned the cadences of the Western Highlands of Scotland which corroboratwaterfalls, that had only served to voice the silence ed our opinion, and determined finally our resolaand proclaim its presence. We looked and listened; tion always to travel in such a country alone. In we could scarcely credit our
A grimpassing through Edinburgh we accidentally stamblack monster was seen vomiting forth volumes of bled on an individual with whom we had been very dunnest smoke that darkened the deep blue of slightly acquainted at college. We knew him to the sky, rushing torturingly through the bosom ofbe a vigorous student, but destitute of a scintilla. the lake, breaking into fragments the watery mir- tion of fancy. Being informed of our route he proror with the remorseless dash of its iron wings as posed to accompany us. With some hesitation we the sun glared indignantly from his throne upon consented. A very few hours' mutual converse his broken and distorted image. It was freighted among the wilds of nature soon discovered the anwith a cargo of well-dressed people, who, from their tagonism of our dispositions. A rupture seemed unnatural conduct, ought to have been behind the every moment inevitable. An occasion soon offercounter, at the exchange, or lounging away the ed, and the tie was immediately severed. We morning on their ottomans in town, instead of reck- || stood together on a bold craggy promontory comlessly marring the natural features and disturbing manding a magnificent view of a beautiful loch, the tranquillity of this quiet region. To relieve, as enriched with clusters of poetic associations, and it should seem, the tedium of the excursion, a large encircled on all sides by mountains of great subliband of musicians poured a hoarse clangor frommity and historical interest
. The scene suggested their brazen-throated instruments, startling echo silence and reverie. Absorbed in the wilderness of with unwonted violence from her peaceful retreats, wonders, spirited upwards by an invisible but omwhere the wild notes of the cascade, the blended nipotent agency, no sound escaped us to indiharmony of melodious birds, and the shrill shriek of|cate that we were not parts of the glorious whole. the mountain spirit, were alone congenial. The The solitude was perfect, the stillness unbrokenromance of a tour among the lakes is sadly inter- we could have heard even the measured beat of the rupted by these painful tokens of a money-loving|muffled heart in its funeral march, had we not age, and a matter-of-fact world. The steamboat | been exclusively occupied with the outer world. proprietors, and the prosaic parties that contribute After a long pause of sacred communion, a voice, to their support, have unquestionably the impres- suddenly, with the most perfect sang froid, ersion that nature has so few charms, that of herself claimed, “This is nice.” Scared, as if by a she is insufficient to afford any real recreation and phantom's hollow accents of terror, heard in the enjoyment. They don't believe the poet when he midst of a dream of bliss, away we sprang with the says—" Thou mad'st all nature beauty to his eye speed of an antelope, darted through bracken bush, and music to his ear.” Her beauty must be im- || prickly furze, and tangled brushwood, scaled with proved and supplemented, to suit the temper and furious velocity the neighbouring heights, and, all tastes of the age; her pellucid specula must be br athless and exhausted, reached the mountains broken, and shivered and smashed to powdery of Ben Dhu, where, far from the sacrilegious interspray by the tormenting wheels of a thundering | locutor, we fortunately seized again the skirts of steamboat; her clear cloudless sky and lustrous sun | Nature, who had fled in indignation from her viomust be agreeably relieved by a smutty tinge of in- || lated sanctuary. “ L'áme se montre en peu," say: fernal smoke, to remind the manufacturing and de Staël—here it was exemplified. commercial tourists of the charming impervious To return : it was with feelings considerably
chafed that we afterwards pursued our way to Am. || our ears, that, with our steps on the threshold of bleside. It stands pleasantly at the northern ex-l the inn, whence a jocund peal was ringing, we tremity of Windermere, and affords some very fine paused, and suddenly views of the lake and its environs. We then visited
“We heard the trailling garments of the night Rydal Mount, the residence of Wordsworth, who,
Sweep through her marble halls; unfortunately for us, was engaged in certainly not We saw her sable skirts all fringed with light the most poetical, though, perhaps, the most ne
From her celestial walls;
We felt her presence, by its spell of might, cessary occupation in the world. In short, he was
Stoop o'er us from above, at dinner, and therefore invisible. Having traced
The calm, majestic presence of the night, the valley of Grasmere, and placed its solitary
As of the one we love." emerald isle and lake as gems in the cabinet of memory, we ascended “the mighty Helvellyn,” where The poetic genius of the place whisperedthe whole lacustrine tableau in a moment depic
“How beautiful is night! tared itself indelibly upon the mind; and just as
A dewy freshness fills the silent air:
No cloud is there, nor speck, nor stain the sun was sinking behind the western mountains,
Blots the serene of heaven. we looked down upon Derwent Water and the lovely
In full-orbed glory the majestic moon vale of Keswick. Descending into the neat pictu
Rolls through the dark blue depths. resque town where Southey spent someof his happiest and manyof his saddest days, and his sweetest strains
How beautiful is night!” were sung, we found the principal street dotted with || Another spirit continued groups of gossipping idlers keenly engaged in discuss
“How beautiful this night! the balmiest sigh ing the merits of the various equipages that swept
Which vernal zephyrs breathe in evening's ear past from the eastern lakes, crammed with tourists Were discord to the speaking quietude Whether veritable or ostensible, we leave sub judice That wraps this moveless scene, -of both sexes, of all grades, and of all ages, that Where musing solitude might love to lift looked pleasant and amiable at sight of the substan
Her soul above this sphere of earthliness,
Where silence undisturbed might watch alone, tial hostelrie, where savoury viands and grateful be
So mild, so bright, so stlll.” verages awaited the clamant organ and the parched lip
. The clit-clat-rat-a-tat of horses feet pattering With Eve, we then inquireddown the sloping turnpike, and along the dusty “But wherefore all night long shine these for whom street; the jingle.jangle of harness, like the bells of This gorgeous sight, when sleep hath shut all eyes p" a Sviss tambarine; the grumble-rumble-tumble of|| True, lambering chaises; the smothered dull sound of pa- “Millions of spiritual creatures walk the earth tent-springed private phaetons, mingled with the Unseen, both when we wake and when we sleep." obstreperous vociferations of hostlers, understrap. But is this scene of glory spread out for them alone? pers, and uncombed urchins, clamorously bickering | Can we not join their band, hymn the great Crowith one another as to who should ride the old hacks | ator, and “lift our thoughts to heaven”? A moto water-gave the mountain village quite an air of | ment, and we were decided to spend the night by bastle and activity, contrasting strangely with the the river, and the lake, and on the lonely summit gurrounding scenery The verdant brow of Skid- ll of the wild mountain. Pacing leisurely down the daw, the meek mild lake over which a cloud rested, || quiet street, where a solitary individual might still as well as the distant rugged wilds of Borrowdale, | be seen, that seemed to frown on the insensate intruders into their quiet domains, where the solitary traveller seems the
“Eyed the blue vault, and blessed the useful light," only welcome visitant. The genius of the dark fells
we reached its western extremity; and, hearing the
river scowled horribly, but without the success of Di Gama’s apparition at the Cape ; for no one seemed “Making sweet music with the enamelled stones," to care a fiddle-pin whether he scowled or smiled. we turned our footsteps in that direction, and soon But the dissonance and din of bustling travellers, | found ourselves on the banks of the Derwent. Long loquacious townspeople, and wrangling imps, soon interlaced lines 'of brushwood fringed its borders, ceased, and silence resumed her tranquil sway. We and, in some places, denied easy access to its wawere alone in Keswick. None of the happy facesters. The moonbeam trembled in silver on its we had seen jauntily peering from the dashing ve- wimpling wave, giving it the appearance of the evenhicles
, or watching their arrival from the windows | ing sky glittering with argent brightness through a of the Royal Oak and the Queen's Head, had stripe of forest trees. We wandered with the river, greeted us with a smile of recognition. We stood and listened attentively to its utterances. A feelunnoticed and unknown, and we were really glading crept stealthily over us—a feeling we have often of it
, though, in spite of all our enthusiasm, we ex- || experienced, and which seems peculiarly the properienced a slight sinking of heart when we thought duct of rivers, when no intervenient agencies destroy of entering the public room, where instruments, un- or diminish their natural influences. It was a contuned by the invisible spirits of the scenery around, scious existence in the world of the future. We were playing harsh music. There we knew no have elsewhere said that the genius of the cataract creature cared for us; and the peculiar melodies, is retrospective ; we add, the genius of the river is wild, stirring, plaintive, or soothing, which had been prospective. Surrendering ourselves to the sway eroked from the viewless chords of our inner being of the former, we feel no inclination to soar into during that day's
journey, lingered so sweetly in || the possible and the future ; what has been, and
is not, usurps the imagination, while, on the con-1| which this predicted result is to be accomplished. trary, under the impulse of the latter, our thoughts This is a legitimate question, and one which genaturally roll onwards with the rolling river, and nius often leaves unanswered, or but partially relose themselves in the ocean of eternity. What solved. Statesmen, political economists, philososhall be, but is not, claims the dominion of the soul. || phers of every ame, educationists, white, grey, and Along the banks of that suggestive river, we mused black, have each proposed a different instrument on the fate that might await us in the coming scenes and a different theory-all have been more or less of the great drama of existence, and the develop- tried, and all have more or less failed. ing destiny of the world. At that moment, the illustrious exception is the scheme which the encrumbling thrones and melting dynasties of the Con- lightened Christian philanthropist, in obedience to tinent seemed to augur a speedy consummation. the dictates of infallible truth, has fearlessly proThe majestic river of life was apparently approach-mulgated. He has declared that the principles of ing the termination of its course. A new era ap- the Bible, the great truths of the New Testament, peared about to arise upon the earth. We seemed the sacred doctrines, and the hallowing ethics of to have reached the confines of the hour destined to the inspired volume, are alone the mighty levers herald the doom and regeneration, the death and adapted and destined to upheave the institutes the life, of humanity. If that hour has not yet of error and ignorance, to hurl the stately systems arrived, may we not believe it is swiftly advancing ? | of superstition into undistinguishable ruin, to over
The convulsions of society, multiplying in num- throw the blood-based thrones of tyrants, and to ber and violence, will not retard it. They are its destroy with irresistible convulsion the last remnants infallible forerunners, the preparatory movements of and the lowest strata of established despotism. But that power that shall achieve the complete and final these principles, it is maintained, are not merely nerenovation of the world. We look with no scepti- gative-they are omnipotentiy positive. Not only cal eye upon the threatening aspect of European have they power to expel all false maxims in reliaffairs. Through the darkness of the gathering gion, morals, and politics, from the world—they have tempest we discern the harbingers of tranquil skies. || also power to substitute in their stead a code of We look with the eye of calm, assured hope upon truths, a system of morals constituting a kingdom the vessel freighted with the best interests of hu- of liberty, righteousness, and peace. manity, tossing, reeling, creaking, and shuddering We left the banks of the stream deeply mored, to her centre under the angry swell of the furious and with nerves more tensely strung to enter waters; for we behold, sitting at her helm, a skill the arena of life. This is one of the many preful pilot who, though invisible to sense, will guide cious fruits of meditative solitude. We there her in safety to the haven of rest, where man's drink in those generous thoughts, those lofty aspi. brightest hopes shall all be fulfilled, and his ideal | rations, that dilate the soul, swell it with unatof social elevation more than realised. The deso-terable longings after higher good, and stimulate lation of the hurricane is the prelude of fertility; all the dormant energies of the intellectual and the agitations of society, the heralds of a glorious moral being into invincible action in the cause of millenium, Rage on, then, ye wrathful waters ;|| humanity. The clock struck one as we re-entered rock tempestuously the fragile, shivering ship; howl the precincts of Keswick, “Night's sepulchre was and shriek, ye baleful blasts, and tear her canvas full-no breathing thing was to be seen. Silence, into shreds; thunder, ye grim clouds, upon her groan- | that meetest emblem of death, sat in undisturbed ing timbers, dart your forked lightnings through her sovereignty upon the habitations of men, Sleep is shrouds, and rend her spars of oak into splintered awful ! fragments—for confusion yet shall hear a voice, “'Tis as the general pulse of life stood still,
And Nature made a pause." and wild uproar stand ruled, and the shattered bark shall ride once more as proudly on the subject But the pulse stands not still Nature makes no waves as when launched at first from her mighty pause—the pulse beats onwards to the grave-Nabuilder's hand, and hailed by the joyful shout of the ture hastens silently along her “dim and perilous sons of God and the song of the morning stars. Weway” to the hour when she shall shake into disfeel a strange delight even in the prospect of min-| solution. Miserable mankind, aud miserable creagling with the clashing elements out of which this tures, were this the termination of your existence : glorious event is to spring. Action, action is our But no; as this night of inactive slumber shall be watchword. We are here not to dream, but to live succeeded by a day of vital activity, so shall the - not to idle, but to labour—not to loiter, but to gloom of the grave and the darkness of a judged march, to pant, to pray for the hour of man's full world depart before the dawn of an eternal light, stature, for the day of perfected humanity. The the advent of an endless life. Sleep is awful, but period of adolescence is past—we are on the verge to most it is the sweetest boon that nature can beof maturity. We have already borne “the banner stow. Strange that oblivion should be so grateful. with the strange device” through wildering snow Why is it so? The consciousness of existence, forced and falling avalanches ; let us grasp it still, with upon man rather by sorrow than by joy, is, in his the energy of death, and shout,“ Excelsior!” But present imperfect condition, the great burden under it may be said, this is all good, delightful, desirable; which he groans. Anything, therefore, that rebut instead of bodying forth the future in these loves the sense of being is welcome. How few can shapings which imagination may mould and clothe endure to feel that they exist !-how few can volun. with a vestment of illusive enchantment, present us tarily dash the cup of oblivion from their lips, and with the great engines, the positive principles by invite the full consciousness of present actual being ! How few can combat successfully the temptation to || studded with the bright circlets of the sky, lies like drink, when the waters of Lethe flow at their feet ! an expanse of molten silver ; the groves that fringe The earth surely labours' under some mortal ma- the skirts of the mountains appear like sable plumes lady. Till this curse be removed, till this malady whitened with the frost of winter; the cliffs, that be healed, man shall never rejoice in his existence, beetle ruggedly over the shining wave, smile, like he shall never bless the day of his birth. At pre- grim warriors viewing from their watch-towers the sent, his happiness seems chiefly,or wholly, negative. quietude and beauty of the land they guard ; the The forgetfulness of what he is, where he is going, || islands look like mocha-stones chased in the finest and what he is to become, seems to constitute the silver. Every bay and headland suggests some sum of his blessedness. The steady, fixed effort to pleasing fancy. The whole scene is invested with resolve these problems, generates, in most cases, a mantle of enchantment. When we arrived on melancholy, disappointinent, and despair, and its banks, by some fortunate chance a little skiff lay terres only to aggravate the mystery in which they unmoored, as if the goddess of the lake invited us naturally stand enveloped. Baffled in the attempt, to visit her watery home. In a few minutes we he retires spiritless, hopeless, bewildered, and un- sped right into the middle, beyond the shadows of done. He yields to the craving of his nature after the mountains, As we skimmed smoothly along rest of some kind. He flies to excitement by day, the illumined path, Southey's beautiful epitaph on partly to revelry and partly to sleep by night, “Emma” came vividly to recollection. Fancy that now by maddening mental intoxication, and brought back that fair“ beloved and lovely being,” now by deadening insensibility, he may secure an as she plied her little skiff on the same lake utter oblivion of the past and of the future; and
“ Nymph-like, amid that glorious solitude, thus, like the fleet ostrich, with its head beneath its
A heavenly presence, gliding in her joy." wing, he tries to realise his safety, when the rush- We have little sympathy with Southey's greater ef. ing hunter dashes remorselessly upon his prey, and forts, such as “Roderick” and “Madoc.” The poetry strikes it at a blow into the dust of death. Some is often poor, and the interest feebly sustained. His few strong spirits grapple successfully with these “ inscriptions,” however, are real gems ; each conmomentous questions. Carrying along with them tains a beautiful thoughtarrayed in choicest drapery, the torch of revelation, the volume of conscience, and gleaming with the light of true poetic genius. and the inscriptions of the outer world, they solve As we sailed along, now glancing at the stars the mystic problem of life, and find
above, and now at the stars below, we remem“ The clue to all the maze of mind."
bered the exquisite line, “ Ye stars, which are the These , and these alone, court not sleep for its ob- || poctry of heaven," and asked a solution of it. Two
reasons appeared to justify the sentiment. Of all livion, but for its sweet, restoring influences, that objects the stars are the loveliest, and of all objects they may feel more intensely that they are.
they are the most mysterious. Of all hues, from Passing through the town from west to east, we
the ruby Mars to the sapphire Hesperus, they atdiverged to the south, in the direction of the lake.
tract and fill the eye with beauty. Radiant with It is of an oblong form, nearly three miles in length, | brightest and purest light, they are nevertheless a mile and a half in breadth, and interspersed with invested with an impenetrable aliquid ignotum, five beautiful islands. The water is more transpa- which furnishes ample materials for the shapings rent than that of any other mountain lake.
of imagination. Beauty and mystery must always bright day, when the sun is flashing down through be poetry, and thus “ the stars are the poetry of heaits depths, balls of quartz and pieces of spar may We had often looked enviously upon a light be distinctly seen, nearly twenty feet below the transparent cloud floating smoothly on the bosom surface. This arises, we understand, from the pu- ll of the moonlit air, and wished some power would rity of its tributaries, which flow in channels of lærialise us, that we might sail in that white-winged slate and granite. It is surrounded on all sides ship to explore the blue depths of the trackless with towering mountains of every shape-pyra
ocean of universal ether. That night our wish midal, conical, semicircular, and nondescript-pre- seemed realised. Our little boat sailed like a senting all the varieties of Alpine scenery.
fleecy cloud specking the clearness of the sky, nant very truthfully says :
We looked upwards, and beheld the moon navi" The two extremes of the lake afford the most discordant gating her nightly course through the blue serene prospects. The southern is a composition of all that is horrible. I gemmed with starry islands. We looked downAn immense chasm opens in the midst, whose entrance is divided by a rude conic hill, once topped with a castle, the habitation of wards, and beheld another moon, sailing in another the tyrant of the rocks; beyond, a series of broken mountainous azure sea among other starry isles. Thus floating crags soar one above the other, overshadowing the dark winding between two oceans, as in mid-air, we steered along deeps of Borrowdale. But the opposite or northern view is, in the radiant axis of the hollow sphere. Infinity al respects, a strong and beautiful contrast. Skiddaw shews its opened around, and swallowed up the soul in its vast base, and, bounding all that part of the vale, rises gently to
limitless amplitude. a height that sinks the neighbouring hills; opens a pleasing front,
We now passed the island of smooth and verdant, smiling over the country like a generous
St. Herbert, where the venerable priest and confeslord; while the fells of Borrowdale frown over it like a hardened sor mourned the absence of his bosom friend, St. tyrant."
Cuthbert, and prayed that Heaven might grant a No tourist has given a more graphic description simultaneous death; than this veteran traveller of the last century. He
“ While o'er the lake the cataract of Lowdore saw it, however, only by day. In moonlight its
Pealed to his orisons." features are wonderfully transformed. The lake, Nearing Lowdore Inn, we heard distinctly the