« AnkstesnisTęsti »
The time was when we could describe the Spring—the Spring on WINDERMERE. But haply this weary work-day world's
's cares “ have done our harp and hand some wrong;” and we must leave that pleasant task now to Hartley Coleridge, or some other young Poet of the Lakes. Were we not the best-hearted human beings that ever breathed, we should hate all the people that dwell in that Paradise. But we love while we envy them; and have only to hope that they are all grateful to Providence. Here are we cooped up in a cage-a tolerably roomy one, we confess—while our old friends, the North of England eagles, are flying over the mountains. The thought is enough to break a weaker heart. But one of the principal points in Christopher's creed is—"Pine not nor repine;" and perfect contentment accompanies wisdom. Three lovely sisters often visit the old man’s city-solitude—Memory, Imagination, Hope! "Twould be hard to say which is the most beautiful. Memory has deep, dark, quiet eyes, and when she closes their light, the long eyelashes lie like shadows on
her pale pensive cheeks, that smile faintly as if the fair dreamer were half-awake and half-asleep; a visionary slumber which sometimes the dewdrop melting on its leaf will break, sometimes not the thunder-peal with all its echoes. Imagination is a brighter and a bolder Beauty, with large lamping eyes of uncertain colour, as if fluctuating with rainbow-light, and features fine, it is true, as those which Grecian genius gave to the Muses in the Parian marble, but in their daring delicacy defined like the face of Apollo. As for Hopedivinest of the divine-Collins, in one long line of light, has painted the picture of the angel
“And Hope enchanted smiled, and waved her golden hair.” Thus is the old man happy as a humming-bird. He sits on the balcony of his front parlour, dimly discerned by the upward eye of stranger, while whispers Cicerone—“this is the house "-dimly discerned through flowers; while the river of his spirit “wandereth at its own sweet will” through all the climes of creation. At this blessed moment he is sitting, at the leaf-veiled, half-open window, pen in hand-pen made of quill of Albatross, sent him from afar by one whom Maga delighteth beyond the Great Deep, and lo! Edina's castled cliff becomes the Langdale-Pikes-Moray Place, Windermere -Stockbridge, Bowness—and No. 99 the ENDEAVOUR, on the First of May re-launched from her heather-house on the bay. marge, her hull bright as Iris, and yellow her light-ringed raking masts, now hidden on a sudden by the unfolding of her snow-white wings, as Condor-like she flies to meet her mate, the VICTORY, coming down along the woods of the Beautiful Isle under a cloud of sail !
What! can this be Regatta-day, and is there to be a race for a cup or colours? Not for that radical rag, the Tricolor, but for St George's Ensign, or the
“ Silver Cross, to Scotland dear”— bright mimicry woven by lovely hands of the famous Flag, that
6 has braved a thousand years
The battle and the breeze." Bowness Bay is the rendezvous for the Fleet. And lo! from all the airts come flocking in the sunshine flights of felicitous wide-winged creatures, whose snow-white lustre, in bright
confusion hurrying to and fro, adorns, disturbs, and dazzles the broad blue bosom of the Queen of Lakes. Southwards from forest Fell-Foot beneath the Beacon-Hill, gathering glory from the sylvan bays of green Graithwaite, and the templed promontory of stately Storrs, before the sea-borne wind, the wild swans, all, float up the watery vale of beauty and of peace. Out from that still haven, overshadowed by the Elmgrove, where the old Parsonage sleeps, comes the Emma murmuring from the water-lilies, and as her mainsail rises to salute the sunshine, in proud impatience lets go her anchor the fair GAZELLE. As if to breathe themselves before the start, cutter and schooner in amity stand across the ripple, till their gaffs seem to cut the sweet woods of Furness-Fells, and they put about~each on less than her own length—ere that breezeless bay may show, among the inverted umbrage, the drooping shadows of their canvass. Lo! Swinburne the Skilful sallies from his pebbly pier, in his tiny skiff, that seems all sail ; and the Norway NAUTILUS, as the wind slackens, leads the van of the Fairy squadron which heaven might now cover with one of her small clouds, did she choose to drop it from the sky.
The squadron enters the Straits—and we see now but here and there gaff-topsail-peak, or ensign, gliding or streaming along the woods of the Isle called Beautiful ; while, hark, the merry church-tower bells hail the Victory, gathering the green shore round rushy Cockshut-Point; and lo! ere you could count your fingers, the whole Southern Fleet is in Bowness Bay, now filled with light, music, and motion, glorifying the day, as if meridian yet bore in its bold bosom all the beauty of morn.
But what means that exulting cheer, while all the hats and handkerchiefs of the village are waving along the beach? Ha! slips from her moorings, between garden and rock, with no other emblazonry but the union-jack at the peak of her mainsail, bold and bright as that bird when he has bathed his pinions in sun and sea, the swift-shooting OSPREY. Helm down-Garnet ! if you wish not to be capsized—for ere yet the snow-wreaths have garlanded your cut-water, a squall—a squall! Bearing up withouten fear in the pitchy blackness, the Osprey suddenly shows to the sunshine the whole breadth of her wings-hark! they for a moment rustle, but they flap not—and then right in the wind's eye she goes, disdainful of the tempest that sweeps past her on her foamy path, steady as a star.
From Kirkstone and Rydal Cove, the clouds disparting let loose the northern winds, who have been lunching in those saloons after their journey from Scotland, which they left soon after sunrise—and hovering a little while delighted over Ambleside, the Village of the Pine-Groves, they join the fresh Family of Favonius, blowing and blooming in their flight from the Great and Green Gabels, where all the summer long are singing the waterfalls. All the boats at Waterhead had been lying for hours on their shadows; but now, just as a peal of rock-blast thunder from Langdale Quarry sends a sound magnificent, by way of signal-gun, the black and white buoys are all left bobbing by themselves on the awakened waves, and the astonished Lakers on Lowood Bowling-green behold an Aquatic Procession of sails and serpents, as if some strong current in the middle of the lake were bearing at ten knots the gaudy pomp along—for not a breath fans the brows of the gazers from the shade of tent or tree, the winds being all in love with Windermere, and a-murmur on her breast, leaving on either shore, without a touch, the unrustling richness of the many-coloured woods.
Broad between Bell-Grange and Miller-Ground—with no isle to break the breadth of liquid lustre—but with an isle anchored to windward, on whose tall trees are seen sitting some cormorants—broadest of all its bending length from the Giants of Brathay to the humble holms of Landing, where in mild metamorphosis it narrows itself into a river, the lucid Leven—lies the bosom of Windermere. 'Tis a tightish swim across-experto crede Christophero—from the chapel-like farmhouse, half hidden among the groves that enzone Greenbank on the eastern, to the many-windowed villa that keeps perpetually staring up into Troutbeck, on the western shore. Gazing on it from some glade in the Calgarth-woods, you might say it was the Upper Lake; for the Isle called Beautiful seems to lie across the waters from Furness-Fells to the church-tower of Bowness, and intercepts all the sweet scenery beyond the Ferry-House—though there is no danger of your forgetting it-seeing that you have got it by heart. Here then is the Mediterranean—and lo! the Mediterranean Fleet! The Grand Fleet! For seven squadrons have formed a junc