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And, towering from the sullen dark-brown mere,
The bird, who ceased, with fading light, to thread Silent the hedge or steaming rivulet's bed, From his grey re-appearing tower shall soon Salute with boding note the rising moon, Frosting with hoary light the pearly ground, And pouring deeper blue to Ether's bound; And pleased her solemn pomp of clouds to fold In robes of azure, fleecy-white, and gold.
See, o'er the eastern hill, where darkness broods O'er all its vanished dells, and lawns, and woods; Where but a mass of shade the sight can trace, She lifts in silence up her lovely face; Above the gloomy valley flings her light, Far to the western slopes with hamlets white; And gives, where woods the chequered upland strew, To the green corn of summer autumn's hue.
Thus Hope, first pouring from her blessed horn Her dawn, far lovelier than the Moon's own morn; 'Till higher mounted, strives in vain to cheer The weary hills, impervious, blackening near; —Yet does she still, undaunted, throw the while On darling spots remote her tempting smile.
—Ev’n now she decks for me a distant scene, (For dark and broad the gulf of time between) Gilding that cottage with her fondest ray, (Sole bourn, sole wish, sole object of my way; How fair its lawns and sheltering woods appear! How sweet its streamlet murmurs in mine ear!) where we, my Friend, to happy days shall rise, Till our small share of hardly-paining sighs (For sighs will ever trouble human breath) Creep hush'd into the tranquil breast of Death.
But now the clear-bright Moon her zenith gains, And rimy without speck extend the plains; The deepest dell the mountain's front displays, Scarce hides a shadow from her searching rays; From the dark-blue “faint silvery threads” divide The hills, while gleams below the azure tide; The scene is waken'd, yet its peace unbroke, By silver'd wreaths of quiet charcoal smoke, That, o'er the ruins of the fallen wood, Steal down the hills, and spread along the flood.
The song of mountain streams, unheard by day, Now hardly heard, beguiles my homeward way. Ali air is, as the sleeping water, still, List ning the aereal music of the hill, Broke only by the slow clock tolling deep, Or shout that wakes the ferry-man from sleep, Soon followed by his hollow-parting oar, And echoed hoof approaching the far shore; Sound of closed gate, across the water borne, Hurrying the feeding hare through rustling corn;
The tremulous sob of the complaining owl;
TAKEN DURING A PEDESTRIAN TOUR AMONG THE ALPs.
TO THE REV. ROBERT JONES, fellow of sr John's college, cAM band G.E.
DeAn Sia, Howeven desirous I might have been of giving you proofs of the high place you hold in my esteem, I should have been cautious of wounding your delicacy by thus publicly addressing you, had not the circumstance of my having accompanied you amongst the Alps, seemed to give this dedication a propriety sufficient to do away any scruples which your modesty might otherwise have suggested. In inscribing this little work to you, I consult my heart. You know well how great is the difference between two companions lolling in a post-chaise, and two travellers plodding slowly along the road, side by side. each with his little knapsack of necessaries upon his shoulders. How much more of heart between the two latter! I am happy in being conscious I shall have one reader who will approach the conclusion of these few pages with regret. You they must certainly interest, in reminding you of moments to which you can hardly look back without a pleasure not the less dear from a shade of melancholy. You will meet with few images without recollecting the spot where we observed them together, consequently, whatever is feeble in my design, or spiritless in my colouring, will be amply supplied by your own memory. With still greater propriety 1 might have inscribed to you a description of some of the features of vour native mountains, through which we have wandered together, in the same manner, with so much pleasure. But the sea-sunsets which give such splendour to the vale of Clwyd, Snowdon, the chair of Idris, the quiet
village of Bethkelert, Menai and her Druids, the Alpine steeps of the Conway, and the still more interesting
windings of the wizard stream of the Dee, remain vet untouched. Apprehensive that my pencil may never be exercised on these subjects, I cannot let slip this opportunity of thus publicly assuring you with how much affection and esteem I am, dear Sir, Most sincerely yours,
London, 1793. W. WORDSWORTH.
Happiness (if she had been to be found on Earth" amongst the charms of Nature—Pleasures of the pedestrian Traveller—Author crosses France to the Alps-Present State of the Grande chartreuse–Lake of Como–Time, Sunset—Same Scene, Twilight— Same Scene, Morning, its voluptuous Character; Old Man and Forest Cottage Music—River Tusa— Pia Mala and Grison Gipsy. Sckellenen-thai– Lake of Uri. Stormy sunset—chapel of milliam Tell–Force of Local Emotion—Chamois-chaser— Piew of the higher Alps—Manner of Life of a Suiss Mountaineer, interspersed with Piews of the higher -Alps—Golden Age of the Alps—Life and Piews continued—Ranz des Paches, famous Swiss Air—Abbey of Einsiedlen and its Pilgrims–Palley of Chamouny –Mont Blanc-Slavery of Savoy—Influence of Liberty on Cottage Happiness—France—hish for the Extirpation of Slavery—Conclusion.
Weak there, below, a spot of holy ground
Yet not unrecompensed the man shall roam, Who at the call of summer quits his home, And plods through some far realm o'er vale and height, Though seeking only holiday delight; At least, not owning to himself an aim To which the Sage would give a prouder name, No gains too cheaply earn'd his fancy cloy, Though every passing zephyr whispers joy; Brisk toil, alternating with ready ease, Feeds the clear current of his sympathies. For him sod seats the cottage door adorn; And peeps the far-off spire, his evening bourne! Dear is the forest frowning o'er his head, And dear the velvet green-sward to his tread: Moves there a cloud o'er mid-day's flaming eye? Upward he looks—a and calls it luxury;” Kind Nature's charitics his steps attend; In every babbling brook he finds a friend; While chast'ning thoughts of sweetest use, bestow'd By Wisdom, moralise his pensive road. Host of his welcome inn, the noon-tide bower, To his spare meal he calls the passing poor; He views the Sun uplift his golden fire, Or sink, with heart alive like Memnon's lyre;" Blesses the Moon that comes with kindly ray, To h;ht him shaken by his rugged way; With bashful fear no cottage children steal From him, a brother at the cottage meal; His humble looks no shy restraint impart, Around him plays at will the virgin heart. while unsuspended wheels the village dance, The maidens eye him with enquiring glance, Much wondering what sad stroke of crazing Care or desperate Love could lead a Wanderer there.
Where now is fled that Power whose frown severe
More pleased, my foot the hidden margin roves Of Como, bosom'd deep in chesnut groves. No meadows thrown between, the giddy steeps Tower, bare or sylvan, from the narrow deeps. —To towns, whose shades of no rude sound complain, To ringing team unknown and grating wain, To flat-roof d towns, that touch the water's bound, Or lurk in woody sunless glens profound, Or, from the bending rocks, obtrusive cling, And o'er the whiten’d wave their shadows fling: The pathway leads, as round the steeps it twines, And Silence loves its purple roof of vines; The viewless lingerer hence, at evening, sees From rock-hewn steps the sail between the trees; Or marks, 'mid opening cliffs, fair dark-eyed maids Tend the small harvest of their garden glades, Or stops the solemn mountain-shades to view Stretch, o'er the pictured mirror, broad and blue, Tracking the yellow sun from steep to steep, As up the opposing hills with tortoise foot they creep. Here, half a village shines, in gold arrayed, Bright as the moon; half hides itself in shade: While, from amid the darken'd roofs, the spire, Restlessly slashing, seems to mount like fire: There, all unshaded, blazing forests throw Rich golden verdure on the waves below. Slow glides the sail along the illumined shore, And steals into the shade the lazy oar; Soft bosoms breathe around contagious sighs, And amorous music on the water dies.
How bless'd, delicious scene the eye that greets Thy open beauties, or thy lone retreats; The unwearied sweep of wood thy cliffs that scales; The never-ending waters of thy vales; The cots, those dim religious groves embower, Or, under rocks that from the water tower, Insinuated, sprinkling all the shore; Each with his household boat beside the door, whose flaccid sails in forms fantastic droop, Brightening the gloom where thick the forests stoop;
• Alluding to crosses seen on the tops of the spiry rocks of Chartreuse, which have every appearance of being inaccessible.
* Names of rivers at the Chartreuse.
* Name of one of the valleys of the Chartreuse.
—Thy torrents shooting from the clear-blue sky,
Yet arts are thine that soothe the unquiet heart, And smiles to Solitude and Want impart. I loved by silent cottage-doors to roam, The far-off peasant's day-descried home; And once I pierced the mazes of a wood, Where, far from public haunt, a cabin stood; There by the door a hoary-headed Sire Touch'd with his wither'd hand an ancient lyre; Beneath an old grey oak, as violets lie, Stretch'd at his feet with stedfast, upward eye, His children's children join'd the holy sound; —A Hermit with his family around !
But let us hence, for fair Locarno smiles Embower'd in walnut slopes and citron isles; Or seek at eve the banks of Tusa's stream, While, mid dim towers and woods, her waters gleam; From the bright wave, in solemn gloom, retire The dull-red steeps, and, darkening still, aspire, To where afar rich orange lustres glow Round undistinguish'd clouds, and rocks, and snow; Or, led where Viamala's chasms confine The indignant waters of the infant Rhine, Hang o'er th’ abyss: —the else impervious gloom His burning eyes with fearful light illume.
The Grison gipsy here her tent hath placed, Sole human tenant of the piny waste; Her tawny skin, dark eyes, and glossy locks, Bend o'er the smoke that curls beneath the rocks. —The mind condemn'd, without reprieve, to go O'er life's long deserts with its charge of woe, With sad congratulation joins the train, Where beasts and men together o'er the plain Move on—a mighty caravan of pain;
'The river along whose banks you descend in crossing the Alps by the Simplon Pass.
Hope, strength, and courage, social suffering brings.
Freshening the waste of sand with shades and springs.
She, solitary, through the desert drear Spontaneous wanders, hand in hand with Fear.
A giant moan along the forest swells Protracted, and thc twilight storm foretels, And, ruining from the cliffs, their deafening load Tumbles, the wildering Thunder slips abroad; On the high summits Darkness comes and goes, lliding their fiery clouds, their rocks, and snows; The torrent, traversed by the lustre broad, Starts like a horse beside the flashing road; In the roof'd bridge, at that terrific hour, She seeks a shelter from the battering show'r, —Fierce comes the river down; the crashing wood Gives way, and half its pines torment the flood; Fearful, beneath, the Water-spirits call,” And the bridge vibrates, tottering to its fall.
—Heavy, and dull, and cloudy is the night; No star supplies the comfort of its light, Glimmer the dim-lit Alps, dilated round, And one sole light shifts in the vale profound; While, opposite, the waning Moon hangs still, And red, above her melancholy hill. By the deep quiet gloom appall d, she sighs, Stoops her sick head, and shuts her weary eyes. She hears, upon the mountain-forest's brow, The death-dog, howling loud and long, below; On view less fingers counts the valley-clock, Follow'd by drowsy crow of midnight cock. The dry leaves stir as with a serpent's walk, And, far beneath, Banditti voices talk; Behind her hill, the Moon, all crimson, rides, And his red eyes the slinking water hides. — Wex'd by the darkness, from the piny gulf Ascending, nearer howls the famish'd wolf, While through the stillness scatters wild dismay Her babe's small cry, that leads him to his prey.
Now, passing Urseren's open vale serenc, Her quiet streams, and hills of downy green, Plunge with the Russ embrown'd by Terror's breath, Where danger roofs the narrow walks of death; By floods, that, thundering from their dizzy height, Swell more gigantic on the stedfast sight; Black drizzling crags, that, beaten by the din, Vibrate, as if a voice complain'd within; Bare steeps, where Desolation stalks, afraid, Unstedfast, by a blasted yew upstay d: By cells” whose image, trembling as he prays, Awe-struck, the kneeling peasant scarce surveys; Loose-hanging rocks the Day's bless'd eye that hide, And crosses rear'd to Death on every side,
'Most of the bridges among the Alps are of wood and covered these bridges have a heavy appearance, and rather injure the effect of the scenery in some places. * Red came the river down, and loud, and of The angry Spirit of the water shriek'd. Howe's Douglas. * The Catholic religion prevails here; these cells aro, a. i. wet known, very common in the Catholic countries, planted, like the Roman tombs, along the road side. * Crosses commemorative of the deaths of travellers by the fat at snow and other accidents are very common along this dreadsal road.
Which with cold kiss Devotion planted near, And, bending, water'd with the human tear, That faded a silent from her upward eye, Unmoved with each rude form of Danger nigh, Fix'd on the anchor left by him who saves Alike in whelming snows and roaring waves.
On as we move, a softer prospect opes, Calm huts, and lawns between, and sylvan slopes. While mists, suspended on th' expiring gale, Moveless o'erhang the deep secluded vale, The beams of evening slipping soft between, Gently illuminate a sober scene; Winding its dark-green wood and emerald glade, The still vale lengthens underneath the shade; While in soft gloom the scattering bowers recede, Green dewy lights adorn the freshen'd mead, On the low brown wood-huts delighted sleep Along the brighten’d gloom reposing deep. While pastoral pipes and streams the landscape lull, And bells of passing mules that tinkle dull, In solemn shapes before the admiring eye Dilated hang the misty pines on high, Huge convent domes with pinnacles and towers, And antique castles seen through drizzling showers.
From such romantic dreams, my soul, awake! Lo Fear looks silent down on Uri's lake, Where by th’ unpathway'd margin, still and dread, Was never heard the plodding peasant's tread. Tower like a wall the naked rocks, or reach Far o'er the sceret water dark with beech; More high, to where creation seems to end, Shade above shade, th’ aerial pines ascend, Yet with his infants man undaunted creeps And hangs his small wood-cabin on the steeps. where'er below amid the savage scene Peeps out a little speck of smiling green, A garden-plot the desert air perfumes, "Mid the dark pines a little orchard blooms; A zig-zag path from the domestic skiff, Threading the painful crag surmounts the cliff. —Before those hermit doors that never know The face of traveller passing to and fro, No peasant leans upon his pole, to tell For whom at morning toll'd the funeral bell; Their watch-dog ne'er his angry bark foregoes, Touch'd by the beggar's moan of human woes; The grassy seat beneath their casement shade The pilgrim's wistful eye hath never stay’d. —There, did the iron Genius not disdain The gentle Power that haunts this myrtle plain, There might the love-sick maiden sit, and chide The insuperable rocks and severing tide; There watch at eve her lover's sun-gilt sail Approaching, and upbraid the tardy gale; There list at midnight till is heard no more, Below, the echo of his parting oar.
‘Mid stormy vapours ever driving by, where ospreys, cormorants, and herons cry, Hovering o'er rugged wastes too bleak to rear That common growth of earth, the foodful ear; Where the green apple shrivels on the spray, And pines the unripen'd pear in summer's kindliest ray;
* The houses in the more retired Swiss valleys are all built of wead.
Even here Content has fix'd her smiling reign
T is storm ; and, hid in mist from hour to hour, All day the floods a deepening murmur pour; The sky is veil'd, and every cheerful sight: Dark is the region as with coming night; But what a sudden burst of overpowering light! Triumphant on the bosom of the storm, Glances the fire-clad eagle's wheeling form; Eastward, in long perspective glitterints, shine The wood-crown'd cliffs that o'er the lake recline; Wide o'er the Alps a hundred streams unfold, At once to pillars turn'd that flame with gold: Behind his sail the peasant strives to shun The west that burns like one dilated sun, Where in a mighty crucible expire The mountains, glowing-hot, like coals of fire.
But lo! the Boatman, overaw'd, before The pictured fame of Tell suspends his oar; Confused the Marathonian tale appears, While burn in his full eyes the glorious tears. And who that walks where men of ancient days Have wrought with God-like arm the deeds of praise, Feels not the spirit of the place control, Exalt, and agitate his labouring soul? Say, who, by thinking on Canadian hills, Or wild Aosta lull'd by Alpine rills, On Zutphen's plain; or where, with soften’d gaze, The old grey stones the plaided chief surveys; Can guess the high resolve, the cherish'd pain Of him whom passion rivets to the plain, Where breathed the gale that caught Wolfe's happiest
And the last sunbeam fell on Bayard's eye;
But now with other mind I stand alone Upon the summit of this naked cone, And watch, from pike to pike,' amid the sky Small as a bird the chamois chaser fly, * Through vacant worlds where Nature never gave A brook to murmur or a bough to wave, Which unsubstantial Phantoms sacred keep; Through worlds where Life, and Sound, and Motion
Where Silence still her death-like reign extends,
Pike is a word very commonly used in the north of England, to signify a high mountain of the conic form, as Langdale-pike, etc.
• For most of the images in the next sixteen verses I am indebted to M. Raymond's interesting observations annexed to his translation of Coxe's Tour in Switzerland.
While the near Moon, that coasts the vast profound
Hence shall we turn where, heard with fear afar, Thunders through echoing pines the headlong Aart Or rather stay to waste the mild delights Of pensive Underwalden's pastoral heights?
—Is there who 'mid these awful wilds has seen The native Genii walk the mountain green Or heard, while other worlds their charms reveal, Soft music from the aerial summit steal? While o'er the desert, answering every close, Rich steam of sweetest perfume comes and goes. —And sure there is a secret Power, that reigns Here, where no trace of man the spot profanes, Nought” but the herds that, pasturing upward, creep, Hung dim-discover'd from the dangerous steep, Or summer hamlet, flat and bare, on high Suspended, mid the quiet of the sky. How still no irreligious sound or sight Rouses the soul from her severe delight. An idle voice the sabbath region fills Of Deep that calls to Deep across the hills, Broke only by the melancholy sound Of drowsy bells for ever tinkling round; Faint wail of eagle melting into blue Beneath the cliffs, and pine-wood's steady sugh ;3 The solitary heifer's deepen'd low; Or rumbling, heard remote, of falling snow; Save that, the stranger seen below, the boy Shouts from the echoing hills with savage joy.
When warm from myrtle bays and tranquil seas, Comes on, to whisper hope, the vernal breeze, When hums the mountain-bee in May's glad ear, And emerald isles to spot the heights appear, When shouts and lowing herds the valley fill, And louder torrents stun the noon-tide hill, When fragrant scents beneath the enchanted tread Spring up, his choicest wealth around him spread, The pastoral Swiss begins the cliffs to scale, To silence leaving the deserted vale; Mounts, where the verdure leads, from stage to stage, And pastures on as in the Patriarchs' age:
* The people of this Canton are supposed to be of a more melancholy disposition than the other inhabitants of the Alps; this, if true, may proceed from their living more secluded. * This picture is from the middle region of the Alps. * Sugh, a Scotch word expressive of the sound of the wind through the trees.
O'er lofty heights serene and still they go,
'T is morn: with gold the verdant mountain glows, More high, the snowy peaks with hues of rose. Far-stretch beneath the many-tinted hills A mighty waste of mist the valley tills, A solemn sea! whose vales and mountains round Stand motionless, to awful silence bound. A gulf of gloomy blue, that opens wide And bottomless, divides the midway tide, Like leaning masts of stranded ships appear The pines that near the coast their summits rear; Of cabins, woods, and lawns a pleasant shore Bounds calm and clear the chaos still and hoar; Loud through that midway gulf ascending, sound Unnumber'd streams with hollow roar profound: Mount through the nearer mist the chant of birds, And talking voices, and the low of herds, The bark of dogs, the drowsy tinkling bell, And wild-wood mountain lutes of saddest swell. Think not, suspended from the cliff on high, He looks below with undelighted eye. —No vulgar joy is his, at even-tide Streich'd on the scented mountain's purple side. For as the pleasures of his simple day Beyond his native valley seldom stray, Nought round its darling precincts can he find But brings some past enjoyment to his mind, While Hope, that ceaseless leans on Pleasure's urn, Binds her wild wreaths, and whispers his return.
Once Man, entirely free, alone and wild, Was bless'd as free—for he was Nature's child. He, all superior but his God disdain'd, Walk d none restraining, and by none restrain'd. Confess'd no law but what his reason taugtut, Did all he wish d, and wish d but what be ought. As Man in his primeval dower array'd The image of his glorious Sire display'd,