Page images
PDF
EPUB

bards of Gre’ece/ were confined within the narrow ci'rcle of the Ch'orus, and hen'ce they found themselves constrained to pra'ctise (for the most-part) the precis'ion, and copy the details of na'ture. I' fol'lowed them, and knew not that a larg'er circle might be drawn, and the dr'ama/ extended to the whole re'ach of human ge'nius. Convinc'ed, I see that a more compendious nature may be obtained ; (a nature of effe'cts o'nly) to whi`ch/ neither the rela’tions of plac'e, nor continu'ity of time, are al'ways ess'ential. N'ature (condescending to the faculties and apprehensions of m'an) has drawn through human life a regular chain of visible* caus'es and effects : But po'etry/ delights in surpris'e, conce'als her steps, sei’zes at once upon the he'art, and obtains the sublim'e of thi’ngs/ without betraying the roʻunds of her asc'ent: True poesy is m'agic, not r'ature ; an effe'ct/ from causes hi'dden or unknown. To the MAG'ICIAN/ I prescribed no'-laws; his la'w and his power/ are one'; his po'wer) is hi's-law. Hi'm/ who neither imitates, nor is within the reach of imitation, no precedent c'an, or ou'ght to bi’nd, no limits to cont'ain! If his end is obtained/, wh’o shall question his course ? Me’ans (whether appa'rent or hi’dden) are justified in po'esy by succ'ess ; but the'n most pe'rfect and most a’dmirable/ when m'ost conce'aled.”—But wh'ither am I go'ing! This copious and delightful toʻpic/ has drawn me far beyo'nd my desi'gn : I hasten baʼck to my su'bject, and am gu'arded (for a time at le'ast) against any further temp'tation/ to digress.

Concluding

tone.

CATO’S SOLILOQUY ON THE IMMORTALITY

OF THE SOUL.

ADDISON.
It m'ust be so'-Plato, thou reasonest we'll-
E'lse/ whence this pl'easing ho'pe, this fo'nd desir'e,
This lon'ging after immortality ?
Or/ whence this secret dread, and inward h'orror,
Of falling into noug'ht? Why shfinks the soul

* Nouns ending in ity, and adjectives in ible, should be pronounced as if terminating in ēty and ēble, due attention being paid to the percussion of the accent : thus, “ cha'rēty, va'nēty, poʻssēb'le, se'nsēble,&c.

Back on herse'lf, and startles at destru'ction ?
'Tis the Divi'nity, that stirs withi’n us ;
'Tis He'aven itseʻlf

, that points out an herea'fter, *
And i'ntimates/ ete'rnity to ma'n.
Eternity ! thou pleasing, dreadful thought !
Through what var'iety of untried be'ing,
Through what new sc'enes and changes/ must we p'ass
The wi'de, the unboʻunded prospect/ lie's bef'ore me;
But sha'dows, clou^ds, and da’rkness/ re'st upo'n it.
H'ere will I ho'ld. If there's a power ab'ove us,
(And that there i^s, all Na'ture/ cries aloud
Through all her works,) he must delight in vi’rtue ;
And that which h`e delights in/ must be h'appy.
But wheon, or where ?- This world was maade for Cæsar.
I'm weary of conje'ctures—th'is/ must end them.

Thus am I dou`bly armed—my dea'th and life',
My ba'ne and a’ntidote/ are boʻth befor'e me.
Th'is (in a m'oment) bring's me to an eʼnd;
But thi°s/ infor’ms me/ I shall ne'ver die' !
The so'ul (secured in her exi'stence,) sm'iles
At the drawn daʼgger, and defi'es its poi'nt :
The st'ars/ shall fa'de awa'y, the su'n himse‘lf
Grow di'm with a'ge, and Nature/ sink in ye’ars ;
But thou shalt flourish in immoʻrtal yo'uth,
Unhu'rt/ amidst the war of e'lements,
The wrec'ks of ma'tter, and the cru'sh of wor'lds.
What means this hea'viness/ that hangs up'on me,
This le thargy/ that creeps through all my se'nses ?
Na'ture (oppressed and harassed out with c'are)
Sinks do'wn to res't. This o'nce! I'll fa'vour her ;
Tha't/ my awakened so'ul/ may take her fli’ght,
Renew'ed/ in all her streng'ths and fre'sh with li'fe,
An offering/ fit for heaven ! Let gui'lt or fear
Disturb man's re’st: Caoto/ knows ne'ither off-them,
Indifferent/ in hi's cho'ice, to sleep, or die !

Lower

and slower

* It is proper to use an before words where the h is not mute, when the accent is on the second syllable, as, an heroic action, an historical account, &c.

PROSPECT FROM THE SUMMIT OF

MOUNT ÆTNA.

BRYDONE.

On the twenty-seventh of May, we set off at midn'ight/ to see the rising su'n/ from the toʻp of Æ'tna. Our gui'de) conducted us over “ antres vas't and deserts wild," where scarcely human foo't/ had ever tro'dden : som'etimes through gloomy forests, which/ by day-light were deli'ghtful, but n'ow from the universal dark'ness, the ru'stling of the tre'es, the hea'vy, du'll-bellowing of the mou'ntain, the vast expa'nse of oʻcean (stretched at an immense distance below-us,) inspired a kind of a'wful hor'ror. After incredible la'bour and fati’gue, (mixed at the same time with a great deal of pleasure,) we arr'ived, before daw'n, at the ruins of an ancient str’ucture, supposed to have been built by the philo'sopher/ Emp'edocles, who took up his habitation her'e, the be'tter to study the n’ature of Mou'nt-Ætna.

We had now ti'me/ to pay our ador'ations/ in a silent contempla'tion of the sublime oʻbjects of nature. The sk'y/ was perfectly clear, and the immense vault of the he'avens/ appeared in a'wful m'ajesty and splendour. We found ourselves more struck with ve'neration, than below, a'nd/ at fir'st/ were at a loss to kno'w the ca'use ; till we obse'rved (with asto'nishment) that the num'ber of star's/ seemed be in'finitely increased ; and that the light-of-each-of them/ appeared bri'ģhter than u'sual. The whit'eness of the m’ilky-way/ was like a pure fla'me! that shot across the he'avens; a'nd, with the n'aked-eye, we could observe clusters of sta'rs/ that were inv'isible in the reégions beloow. We did not/ at fir'st/ attend to the ca'use, nor re'collect/ that we had now passed through t'en or twelve thousand feet of gross v'apour, that blu'nts and confuses every ra'y, before it reaches the s'urface of the ea'rth. We were amazed at the distin'ctness of vi’sion, and exclaimed (tog'ether), “What a glorious situa'tion for an obsservatory !” We regretted that Ju'piter was not v‘isible, as I am pers'uaded/* we might

• Besides the necessary pause before the personal pronoun “We,” the observant reader will perceive another reason for it, namely, the conjunction “that” being understood.

Change of

Voice.

have discovered some of his satellites with the n'aked-eye, or at lea'st/ with a small glass/ which I had in my poc'ket. We observed a light a great way bel'ow-us/ on the mo’untain, which seemed to mo've among the foʻrests ; but, whether an Ignis Fa'tuus, or wh'at it was, I shall not pret'end to say'. We likewise took notice of several of those m'eteors/ called

falling sta'rs," wh'ich/ still appeared to be as much elevated abo've us, as when seen from the ploain ; so th’at/ in a'll probab'ility/ those b'odies/ move in reg‘ions/ much beyond the bou’nds that some philosophers have assigned to our at'mosphere.

After contemplating these objects for some t'ime, we set o'ff, an'd/ in about an hour's climbing, arrived at a place/ where there was no sn'ow; and/ where a warm and comfortable v’apour/ is'sued from the mo’untain, which induced-us/ to make ano‘ther-halt. From this s'pot/ it was only about three hundred yards to the highest s'ummit of the mo'untain, where we arrived in full ti'me to s'ee--the most won'derful, and most subliỰme-sight/ in '-nature.

But here desc'ription/ must ev'er fall sh'ort ; for/ n'o imagin'ation/ has dared to form an idea of so glorious and so magn'ificent-a-scene. Neither is there on the surface of this globe, any o'ne-point/ that un'ites so many aw'ful and subl’imeobjects ;-the immense elevation from the su'rface of the ear'th, (drawn as it were to a single poi'nt,) without any neighbouring mountain for the senses and imagina'tion to rest upo'n, and recov'er from their aston'ishment/ in their way down to the wor'ld ;-this poi'nt or pin'nacle, (raised on the brink of a bottomless gʻulf,) often discharging rivers of fiore, and throwing out burning rocks, with a no'ise) that shakes the whole i'sland ;-a'dd to thi's, the unbounded extent of the pro’spect, (comprehending the greatest diversity and the most beautiful scenery in nature); with the rising sun', advancing in the ea'st, to illu'minate the wondrous scene.

The whole atmosphere by degrees kindled up, and sh'ewed (dimly and fai'ntly) the boundless prospect arou'nd. Both sea and land looked dar'k and conf'used, (as if only emerging from their orig'inal ch'aos,) and ligʻht and dar'kness/ seemed still undiv'ided; till the mor’ning, (by degrees advan'cing,) completed-the-separation. The sta'rs are extin'guished, and the sh'ades disappear. The foʻrests (which but now seemed black and bottomless gu'lfs, from which no r'ay was reflected to show

their for'm or colours,) appear a new creation/ rising to the sigʻht; catching li'fe and beauty / from every increas'ing-beam. The scene still enlarges, and the hor’izon/ seems to widen and expa'nd itself on all si’des ; till the su'n/ appears in the ea'st, a'nd, with his pla'stic-ray, completes-the mighty-scene. -A11/ seems enchan'tment; and it is with difficulty that we can believe our'selves to be still on ea'rth. The se'nses (unaccustomed to the sublimity of such a sc'ene,) are bewi'ldered and confou'nded; and it is not/ till after some ti'me, that they are c'apable of se'parating and jud ging of the ob'jects/ that compo'se it.—The bo’dy-of-the-sun) is seen rising from the o'cean, immense tra'cts/ both of se'a and la’nd interve'ning ; the adjacent i’slands (with their smoking sum'mits) appear under your f'eet; and you look down on the whole of Si'cily as on a ma^p; and can tr’ace every ri'ver, through all its wi'nding, from its soʻurce to its mouth. The view is absolutely boun'dless on e’very-side ; n'or/ is there any one ob'ject/ within the circle of vis'ion, to interru'pt it; so that the si'ght/ is every where lo'st/ in the imm'ensity; and I am persua'ded/it is only from the imperfec'tion of our oʻrgans, that the coʻasts of A'frica, and e'ven of Gre^ece, are not disc'overed, as they are certainly abo've the hoʻrizon. B'ut/ the most beautiful part of the s'cene/ is certainly the mountain itse'lf, the is'land of S'icily, and the numerous i’slands/ lying rou’nd it. All th'ese, (by a kind of magic in vi'sion, that I am at a loss to accoun't-for,) se'em/ as if they were brought close round the ski’rts-of-Ætna; the dis'tances appearing redu'ced to no'thing.

We had now time to examine that region of the mo’untain, (which has undoubtedly given being to all the rest) - I mean the r'egion of fir'e.

The present crater of this immense vol'cano/ is a circle of about three miles and a h'alf in circum ference. shelving down on each side, and forms a regular h'ollow/ like -a vas't-amphitheatre. From many places of this spa'ce, issue volumes of sulphureous smo'ke, which (being much heavier than the circuma'mbient a'ir,) instead of ri'sing-in-it, (as smoke generally d'oes,) immediately on its getting out of the c'rater, rolls down the side of the moʻuntain/like a tor'rent, t’ill (coming to that part of the atmosphere of the same specific gra'vity with its'elf, it shoots off horizo'ntally, and forms a large track in the a'ir, according to the direction of the wi'nd; wh'ich,

It goes

« PreviousContinue »