Imágenes de páginas

able by the appearance of age, but wholly unimpaired by time. The road after this runs round the base of a magnificent range of mountains, the most conspicuous of which is the famous Sugar-loaf, on whose blue tapering peak, we saw the clouds pausing in their course through the horizon. After descending a hill, and turning to the right, we entered the glen of the Downs. This beautiful glen lies between two mountains, which lift their heads to an immense height, and bear on their exuberant surface, all the richness that nature can lavish ; that on the right being covered with oak trees, interspersed among the rocks, which project at intervals, and that on the left hand, displaying the splendid residence of Mr. Latouche. On a flat and verdant lawn, at the bottom of the latter hill, stands Mrs. Latouche's cottage, which is a beautiful rustic object. As we advance deeper into the glen, on a pinnacle of the hill, and scarcely seeming to touch the earth, the banqueting-room and octagon temple astonish the traveller, as he looks up from the vale below. This lovely spot, in order to render it perfect, requires only a river and cascade, the effect of which would be noble. We did not alight at Belleview, but were satisfied with surveying it from the road, and as we issued from the glen of the Downs, we caught a passing glance of the romantic village and church of Delgany. We next arrived at the village of Newtown Mount Kennedy, which is in itself a very pretty object, and is surrounded by the most beautiful demesnes imaginable. That of which we obtained the nearest view was the seat of Serjeant Lefroy, through which we drove. Hermitage, Altadore, &c. &c. we saw from a distance. After descending a very steep hill, we turned aside from the high road (if the narrow path through which we now travelled, may be so called) and entered into a field which led us down to the glen called Dunran: this, in some degree, resembles the glen of the Downs, but far exceeds it in native sublimity and bewitching wildness; the hills are bolder; the trees display less the appearance of having been planted by the hand of man; and the rocks are shaped in that fantastic form, which nature seemed to have moulded, when in playful mood she deigns to mimic art, as Tasso observes when describing the garden of Armida:

Di natura arte par, che per diletto
L'imitatrice sua, scherzando, imite.

After leaving this enchanting glen we passed by Nuncross, where is a church built by Mr. Synge, at his own expense, and arrived in the evening at Newrath-Bridge, which as a central position, was chosen for passing the night. On thursday morning we set off at seven o'clock for the vale of Ovoca. The country was not very interesting for some miles, until, on winding round a hill, we perceived Rathdrum in the valley beneath. The village is straggling, and extends almost to the top of the opposite hill. There is a flannel hall, which seems an extensive establishment, but I understand the situation of the town prevents it from flourishing, but its appearance at least is beautiful and romantic. We proceeded through an enchanting valley, whose hill on the left is covered with trees of every description, beneath which the Avonmore rolls its briglit and peaceful stream; this delightful spot is called Avondale, and belongs to Colonel Bruen. We next perceived on our right the Wicklow copper mines, surrounded with rocks of a singular reddish colour. We continued our way through a very picturesque country, and at length from the top of a hill, we suddenly caught a glimpse of the vale of Ovoca ; and as we descended the hill, a bell, summoning the labourers to breakfast, struck up, the musical tones of which had a charming effect, and united with the bright sunshine, and fresh morning air, filled our hearts with the highest degree of gladness, as we approached the smiling scene before us. The vale of Ovoca is interesting as well from its own beauty, as that it has been celebrated by Moore in one of his most exquisite melodies. The first object which we saw on entering the vale was the Meeting of the Waters : it is formed by the junction of the Avonmore, and the Avonbeg. The former descends along the valley of Avondale which I mentioned before, and washing the base of a romantic little cottage at the foot of the hill, here joins the Avonbeg, which having tolled through the entire vale of Ovoca, and passed Shelton Abbey, and Castle Howard, at the point of confuence dwindles into a narrow stream, and the two rivers thus united, pass under a small bridge over which the traveller's road lies. This lovely spot possesses every charm which is sweet and captivating. The hills which enclose the valley are not very high, but they exhibit every variety of picturesque scenery. On our left lay, first, the noble demesne of Castle Howard, the seat of the Honourable Colonel Howard, uncle to the Earl of Wicklow. The mansion is built in the ancient style, and the turrets crowning the summit of the hill, and shadowed by the thick foliage, require only the grey tint of years to complete the illusion, of their being the seat of one of the old feudal barrons of the age of chivalry. Further on, and on the same side rose Bally-Arthur, in all her pride of beauty, lifting her swelling bosom to the skies, and displaying in the fir, the larch, the oak, the beech, the mountain ash, and the birch, every shade of verdure. The berries of the mountain-ash, and the yellow blossom of the birch, are now in their prime. On our right, the hills were diversified by occasional bold and craggy rocks, which nodded and frowned over the smiling villas opposite to them, and seemed to scoff and defy the pruning hand of man, which had been employed with so much taste and success on the other side of the valley. At about eleven, we arrived at the WoodenBridge, (which by the bye is made of stone,) where we stopped to breakfast, at a small inn which was buried in woods and valleys. While breakfast was being prepared, we wandered out on foot, and amused ourselves in gathering blackberries, and gazing on the scene before us. The placid repose, and the lonely and uninterrupted reign of nature, is enchanting here, after coming from the din, and vulgarity, and artificial sights, and sounds which infest us in the streets of a city. The sweetness of the time and place “ Melt on the heart like dew


the flower," and lull us into that sort of apathetic stillness—that rapture of repose--which, while it shuts up all entrance to human passions, opens a passage to the softest and sublimest impressions of nature. There is a voice, a music in these hills and woods and rivers which speaks to the soul, and is understood by it without the intervention of the senses. I do not know how long I should have indulged in this delightful reverie, but the pressing wants, and common infirmities of our human nature, will assume a mean and vulgar form, even here, and the odour of a mutton-chop, reminded me that I had travelled fifteen miles before breakfast, and never did I eat more heartily than in the vale of Ovoca.

After breakfast we set out attended by a guide, to climb the hill of Knock-na-moel, which lay behind the bouse, and after a stcep and labo

[ocr errors]

rious ascent, we reached the highest pinnacle, the speculum from whence we were to survey the vale. Never could a more glorious prospect be enjoyed. On the left, as far as the eye could reach, rose valley behind valley covered with foliage and verdure, between which the high road wound, and the Avonbeg danced and sparkled in the sunbeam. Nearly opposite to us, in full glow and majestic splendour," lay Bally-Arthur; and far towards the right, on the very boundaries of the horizon, after glancing over cottages, cornfields and pastures, the eye rested on the town of Arklow, and the blue waves of the ocean. Behind us our guide pointed out some gloomy and bare mountains, in which direction, she said, the gold mines lay. The moss-house at Bally-Arthur is the station generally chosen, for enjoying the prospect which I have attempted to describe, but I understand the hill which we chose affords a much grander and more extensive view. After this we set out to Shelton Abbey, and after driving two miles, we alighted, and crossed the river in a boat, by which we were placed within the precincts of the seat of the Earl of Wicklow. The demesne is very fine, but here the hills recede, and the space occupied by the pleasure grounds is quite flat. We walked to the house, which is built in the stile of an ancient abbey; the architecture is peculiarly elegant. We were shewn the halls, drawing rooms, parlour and library, which are all handsome and richly furnished. The last mentioned contains a good assortment of books, a number of busts, and two marble statues; one, a copy of the Venus de Medici; the attitude is well preserved, the limbs are rather clumsy. On the mantle-piece stood a number of grotesque and mons strous figures, made, I believe, of rice, and very beautifully carved and painted: they represent some of the Indian deities and were brought from China and India. In a small interior chamber, which forms a second library, we saw some ancient lamps which had been dug up at Pompeii. The windows of the corridores are of painted glass, executed with simplicity and taste.

In the drawing-room stood two marble tables, curiously inlaid with coloured flowers. The walls were hung with a great number of paintings; I noticed some bold and superb landscape scenery, I am uncertais by what master; Niobe and her daughters, by Angelica Kauffeman, and a head of our Saviour sweating blood, by Titian; but I was most particularly struck by a copy of Guido's Cumæan Sybil, which is a most enchanting picture. The face is full of inspiration, blended with the most heavenly and pure innocence; the figure is noble and graceful, the attitude fine, and the tout ensemble expresses so strongly a mind elevated above all earthly thoughts and pursuits, that it is delightful to gaze upon it. Adjoining to the Cumæan Sybil, hung a copy of Herodias's daughter, with the head of John the Baptist in her arms, by the same master. A more beautiful, fascinating countenance cannot be conceived. The Sybil is a child of heaven, but every feature of Herodias's daughter expresses the loveliest of women: the eyes are cast down, and a sweet and tender melancholy pervades the whole face, whilst the arms and figure seem scarcely able to support the mournful burden imposed on them. The Sybil seems springing from earth, and a holy freedom from all human passions is her chief characteristic. The accomplishments of this world and the admiration of man, had been but too fatal to the daughter of Herodias, and a perfect consciousness of her own charms, mingled with a sorrow for their effect, breathes through all her features. The face of John through the blue tinge of death, exbibits divine hope and sweet resignation. What a conceptioa bad Guido!

After leaving Shelton Abbey, we drove through the demesne of BallyArthur, from whence we proceeded to Castle Howard, and stopped to dine in a beautiful little cottage on the estate, and not far from the Meeting of the Waters. After dinner, we again ascended our vehicle, and bid adieu to the vale of Avoca.

Adieu to thee again ;-a vain adieu

* There can be no farewell to scenes like these." The vale of Avoca is omnipotent to bestow happiness almost in defiance of human contingencies, and he who on such a day as this, and in such a spot, can say he is miserable, must be a wretch indeed !*

We returned over the mountains to Newrath Bridge, where we arrived at a very late hour in the evening.

On friday morning, after breakfast, we set off to the Devil's glen, which is three miles from Newrath Bridge. Near the entrance, on the side of the hill, stands the beautiful castle of Glenmore, belonging to Mr. Synge. We alighted from our carriage at the gate-house, and descended by a narrow and winding path into the Devil's glen. This is the most sublime and magnificent spot in the county of Wicklow. It consists of a narrow valley bounded on either side by craggy hills, or rather mountains, between which, and just beneath the walk which runs through the glen, rolls a rapid and winding river. The cliffs are covered with trees of every description, whilst here and there, from between the foliage, large masses of rocks protrude, sometimes of a yellowish brown, and sometimes of a dark grey colour, and bend frowning over the water beneath. The form as well as the shades of the hills, present a continual variety: sometimes the craggy peaks shoot almost to the skies, and render dizzy the eye which attempts to scan them ; sometimes the gentle undulations of the valley form a soft green woody recess, where the nymph of the forest, or the queen of the fairies might enjoy a sacred seclusion. Sometimes the river sleeps in a gloomy calmness, and offers its smooth bosom to the branches of the trees wbich droop over it, and kiss its waters with their leaves: sometimes it foams and boils and roars through immense masses of rocks which choke its bed, and appear to have precipitated from the cliffs above. We ascended by a steep paih, provided here and there with steps, where it became too perpendicular, to the top of one of the loftiest eminences, from whence we enjoyed a splendid view of the opposite hill, the winding glen and its river.

We then proceeded to the further extremity of the valley, to take a view of the waterfall; we chose a little pinnacle of the rock for, our point of prospect, from whence we beheld this small but picturesque cataract, issuing from the bleak mountain, which on our right terminated the glen, and tumbling down a rocky declivity with a noise, which, not loud enough to deafen, was yet not low enough to soothe, but fell on the ear with a sound just adapted to rouse the energies of a poet, but unluckily I could not find one there, so was obliged to resort to my memory for the lines of him, bv whom the beautiful varieties of nature were never unobserved, nor unrecorded:

* We congratulate our contributor on his composure and bliss; but we suspect he was never crossed in lore; if he were, the vale of Ovoca would hardly cure him.-ED.

To sit rocks, to muse o'er flood and fell,
To slowly trace the forest's shady scene
Where things which own not man's dominion dwell,
And human foot hath ne'er, or rarely been :
To climb the craggy mountain all unseen
With the wild flock which never knew a fold,
Alone o'er steeps and foming falls to lean ;-
This is not solitude ;-'tis but to hold

Converse with nature's works, and view her stores unrolled. The extreme narrowness of the glen, and the height of the cliffs which enclose it, give it an air of peculiar privacy, and seclusion. It appears like a holy and secure sanctuary formed by nature for a chosen few, but which should be barred against the ignoble, and vulgar, that is to say, against the majority of mankind. As we walk beside the river, and gaze upon the lofty rocks, our minds are filled with the most delightful sensations of peace and repose ; a perfect oblivion of care, succeeds to the tumalt from which we have escaped, and we start and almost fancy we hear through the mountains, the distant ham of the busy world, which has no power to penetrate into this recess.

After lingering as long as our time would permit in this abode of happiness, we were at length obliged to turn our back on these,

Iolinghi e taciturni ovoori,

“ Di riposo e di pace alberghi veri !" On our way back to Newrath Bridge, we turned aside to visit Rosanna, which had been the residence of Mrs. Henry Tighe. The house is an old bandsome building of brick, the grounds are flat and spacious, planted with a number of magnificeni stately old trees. In vain we looked around for Cupid and Psyche.- We could find no traces of the dreams which once beguiled the fair inhabitant of Rosanna. Every thing wore an air of melancholy stillness, and at our feet rolled a dull and muddy river, whose motion was scarcely perceptible, and which appeared like an artificial stream for which a trench had been hollowed in the swampy field. As I looked at it, it reminded me forcibly of the fabled Acheron, and we perceived through the gloom of the trees a female figure, stalking slowly through the opposite field, which one of my companions said, resembled the sad and haughty Dido. The Tighes no longer inhabit Rosanna, and we were informed that it is on the point of passing into the hands of strangers. Its trees and vales still live in beauty, health, and freshness, whilst she whom they inspired, and who bestowed on them fame and honor, has been swept away and become a portion of that earth which revives all but man. Having few inducements to remain long here, and being far more anxious to shun than to woo melancholy reflections, I proposed our speedy departure, and with a sigh for human vicissitudes, we slowly measured back our footsteps, along the broad straight grass-grown avenue, to the place where our vehicle awaited us.

On saturday morning, previous to our return to Dublin, we set off to visit Wicklow. Though a country town, it is very inconsiderable; the session house and jail, are the only good buildings. We walked to the top of the hill from whence we had a noble view of the harbour, which is very spacious and beautiful, and dashes its waves on a fine sandy shore, called

« AnteriorContinuar »