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THE GENIUS OF POETRY.
BY T. H. STOCKTON.
GENIUS of Poetry ! thou noblest born!
and and all
know; And in the lightning flash thou see'st a glance, That else who once beholds shall surely die !
Does grandeur call thee? Lo! the boundless scene
BY B. MATTHIAS.
" Its bounding crystal frolicked in the ray,
It is probable there are but few individuals residing in the vicinity of Philadelphia, who have not heard, during some interval of business engagements, of Wissahiccon creek, a beautiful and romantic stream that falls into the no less romantic Schuylkill, about five miles above the city. The stream is visited, statedly, by but a small number of
persons, but as it is neither found on any map, nor marked in any gazetteer that I have ever examined, there may be some apology offered for the indifference to its magnificent scenery, manifested by hundreds and thousands of our citizens, who, though domiciled in its immediate vicinity, have never deemed it worthy of a visit. So true it is, that there is a proneness in human nature to undervalue the gifts of Providence which are placed within our reach, and to admire and covet those which are located at a distance. Were a fatiguing journey of several hundred miles necessary, in order to enjoy a ramble along the banks of the Wissahiccon, we should then, without doubt, view its placid waters, its sluggish meandering course, its richly covered banks, and its imposing precipices, with the admiration and enthusiasm which scenes of this character never fail to inspire in the minds of those who passionately love the untouched works of
the hand of Nature. But the delightful little stream courses along within a few miles of our doors, and a ride to its most picturesque views, is but an hour's excursion; hence, except to a few whose researches have discovered, and whose good taste enabled them to appreciate, the beauty, sublimity, and majesty of this stream, it is almost unknown.
But there are persons who have not been thus negligent of nature's treasures in this vicinity, and to these a visit to the fascinating Wissahiccon, calls up remembrances and associations of the most delightful character. To those who enjoy Nature in her majesty-free, uncontrolled, undespoiled of her beauty by the effacing efforts of human skill
there is no spot, within a circle of many miles, so rich in imagery, so imposing in appearance, so fascinating in attraction, as the banks of the Wissahiccon. The stream takes its rise from several springs in the upper part of Montgomery county, and flows, for a short distance, through a limestone country, remarkable for fertility and a high state of cultivation.—Thence it passes, southwesterly, “a sweet smiling stream sleeping on the green sward,” into more undulating land, until it reaches the Chestnut ridge, from which it progresses, at times indolently, and at times with an impetuous current, through a narrow valley, hedged in on either side by high hills, steep and craggy cliffs and precipitous mountains, until it strikes the Schuylkill, about a mile above the falls. Along its whole course the scenery of the Wissahiccon is beautiful, but it is the portion lying within four or five miles of its mouth, that is generally regarded as the most attractive, as it exhibits, in bolder relief than any other portion, the peculiar sublimity and grandeur of the stream, and the imposing and majestic ledge of rock work through which it passes. It is along this dis
tance that I have been accustomed to ramble during leisure moments, for years, and it is under the shade of the forests of brilliant hue that line its banks, that I have often reclined, and enjoyed, undisturbed, the sweet melody of nature, issuing from the bursting green foliage around me. I love nature with enthusiasm, and whether standing on the bank of a running stream and listening to the sweet gushing sound of its waters, or seated on an eminence overlooking the waving fields of golden fruit that bless the labour of the husbandman; whether enchanted by the Siren song of nature's minstrels in the spring, or watching the many-coloured leaves of the forest, as they are borne through the air by the whistling winds of autumn_there is, in the scene before me, absorbing attraction, calling forth reflections which never fail to mellow down the selfish and unkind feelings of the heart, and to shed a peaceful consoling and happy influence—all-pervading and lasting in its impressions over the heart.
The wild and majestic are, however, the scenes to which I am most strongly attached and which invariably elicit, to a greater extent than those of a softer character, passionate emotions of wonder and admiration. I love to stand at the base of a mountain whose summit reaches the clouds, and to clamber among rocks and under precipices whose projecting cliffs threaten destruction to the hardy adventurer-I love to explore the dense forests of our bold and beautiful hills, and to bury myself in the hidden recesses of nature, where the foot of man has never trod, where the sound of civilisation has never been heard
- I love to stand at the foot of Niagara, and watch the mighty torrent of a mighty inland sea, hurling its concentrated power into the gulf below, and to gaze deep, deep, into that awful abyss—unfathomable, destructive, appalling, I love to see the elements at war, to hear the rush of