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exquisite poetry, thus writes of the scenery of one of the lakes after a storm : . “The woods glittered and sparkled in the sun, each dripping branch a spray of golden light, and the light was married to the loud music of the birds flowing out in rivulets of song. Countless flies shot through the air, and vibrated on the water; and the fish leaped up to catch them, dimpling the shining surface with concentric ripples, and throwing up small jets of light in the smooth black bays. Every crag and stone, and line of wall, and tuft of gorse, was visible on the nearer hills, where the coloring was intense and untranslatable ; and on the more distant mountains, we could see, as through a telescope, the scars on the steeps, the slaty shingles, and the straight cleavings down the sides, the old gray watercourses, threaded now like a silver line — those silver lines, after the storm, over all the craggy faces everywhere ; we could see each green knoll set like an island among the gray bowlders, each belt of mountain wood, each purple rift, each shadowed pass, slope and gully, and ghyll and scaur — we could count them all glistening in the sun, or clear and tender in the shade ; while the sky was of a deep, pure blue above, and the cumulus clouds were gathered into masses white and dazzling as marble, and almost as solid-looking.
“And over all, and on all, and lying in the heart of everything, warming, creating, fashioning the dead matter into all lovely forms, and driving the sweet juices like blood through the veins of the whole of earth, shone the glad sun, free, boundless, loving —
life of the world's life, glory of its glory, shaper and creator of its brightest beauty. Silver on the lake, gold in the wood, purple over the hills, white and lazuli in the heavens — what infinite splendor hanging through this narrow valley! What a wealth of love and beauty pouring out for the heart of all Nature, and for the diviner soul of man!”
Of the mountain tarns, which in their solitary grandeur gleam like diamonds, she writes :
" It is very lovely to watch the ripple of a tarn: a wonderful lesson in wave curvature, if small in scale, yet as true as the wildest ocean storm could give. Ever changing in line, and yet so uniform in law, the artist and the hydrographer might learn some valuable truths from half a day's study of one of these small mountain sheets of water. Now the broad, smooth, silky curves flow steadily across ; now a fine network spreads over these, and again another network, smaller and finer still, breaks up the rest into a thousand fragments; then the tarn bursts out into tiny silver spangles, like a girl's causeless laughter; and then comes a gray sweep across the water, as if it shivered in the wind ; and then again all subsides, and the long, silky flow sets in again, with quiet shadows and play of green and gray in the transparent shallows. It is like a large diamond set in emerald; for the light of the water is radiance simply, not color; and the grass, with the sun striking through, is as bright as an emerald.”
If one more extract from Mrs. Linton may be culled, it is to the following reflections that a day spent on Helvellyn gives rise :
“Ah! what a world lies below! But grand as it is on the earth, it is mated by the grandeur of the sky. For the cloud scenery is of such surpassing nobleness while it lasts, and before it is drawn up into one volume of intensest blue, that no kind or manner of discord mars the day's power and loveliness. Of all forms and of all colors are those gracious summer clouds, ranging from roseate flakes of dazzling white masses and torn black remnants, like the last fragments of a widow's weeds thrust aside for her maturer bridal; from solid substances, firm and marble-like, to light baby curls set like pleasant smiles about the graver faces : words and pictures, in all their changes, unspeakably precious to soul and sense. And when, finally, they all gather themselves away, and leave the sky a vault of undimmed blue, and leave the earth a gorgeous picture of human industry and dwelling — when field and plain, and mountain and lake, and tarn and river are fashioned into the beauty of a primeval earth by the purity of the air and the governing strength of the sun and the fragrant sweetness of the summer, and when the very gates of heaven seem opening for our entering where the southern sun stands at gaze in his golden majesty — is it wonder if there are tears more glad than many smiles, and a thrill of love more prayerful than many a litany chanted in the church service? In the very passion of delight that pours like wine through the veins is a solemn outfall — in the very deliciousness of joy an intensity that is almost pain. It is all so solemn and so grand, so noble and so loving, surely we cannot be less than what we live in !
“Let any one haunted by small cares, by fears worse than cares, and by passions worse than either, go up on a mountain height on such a summer's day as this, and there confront his soul with the living soul of Nature. Will the stately solitude not calm him? Can the nobleness of beauty not raise him to like nobleness? Is there no Divine voice for him in the absolute stillness? No loving hand guiding through the pathless wilds? No tenderness for man in the lavishness of Nature ? Have the clouds no lesson of strength in their softness? the sun no cheering in its glory? Has the earth no hymn in all its living murmur? the air no shaping in its clearness? the wind no healing in its power? Can he stand in the midst of that great majesty the sole small thing, and shall his spirit, which should be the noblest thing of all, let itself be crippled by self and fear, till it lies crawling on the earth when its place is lifting to the heavens? Oh! better than written sermon or spoken exhortation is one hour on the lonely mountain tops, when the world seems so far off, and God and His angels so near. Into the Temple of Nature flows the light of the Shekinah, pure and strong and holy, and they are wisest who pass into it oftenest, and rest within its glory longest. There was never a church more consecrated to all good ends than the stone waste on Helvellyn top, where you sit beneath the sun and watch the bright world lying in radiant peace below, and the quiet and sacred heavens above."
Probably there is no spot of English ground to which more pilgrimages have, during the last half
century, been made than the vale of Grasmere, which has for all time been rendered classic by the residence therein of Wordsworth and those sons of genius who loved to gather around him ; and almost every prominent object and scene in which has been immortalized by his pen.
To lovers of his poetry the spirit of Wordsworth yet casts a spell over the landscape ; and mountain and vale and lake are almost as articulate to the hearing ear as are the storied stones of Rome. But Life's grandest music is audible only to the ready ear. It is to the “inward eye” of love, gathering its treasured harvest, that the brightest halo is revealed. Earth may be
“Crammed with heaven,” — “But only he who sees takes off his shoes.” As Nature whispers her secrets to her true lovers; so it is to the searching eye that the historic pile presents a vision of years, and the decaying cottage or hoary mountain speaks of those who consecrated its stones or roamed beneath its shade.
Apart, however, from the interest which attaches to this locality from its many cherished associations, it is of unsurpassed beauty and loveliness. The scenery of this favored district, so pleasingly varied as to inspire at once with gladness and awe, to thrill with rapture or to charm into repose, culminates in the transcendent loveliness of the mountain-guarded vale of Grasmere. It takes captive the affections like the features of a familiar friend.
The poet Gray, writing concerning it more than a