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Tyson of Wastdale-Head; but let us, in our present state of repletion, and perhaps fatigue (we are eyeing the Adelphi), bear away for a moderate distance in the direction of Eskdale, to a deep fissure, through which we volunteer to carry any one who is knocked up on our shoulders. But a sudden thought strikes us; Vickars, for sake o' auld langsyne, let us try a fall.
CHRISTOPHER AT THE LAKES.
WE could write a glorious article-THE THREE Glens. need whatever to leave this Island; for, in spite of all they say about the Alps, "the Pyrenean and the river Po," it is out of all sight the finest part of the whole earth. We make no attack upon the Andes-and beg the Himalaya Mountains distinctly to understand, that they are objects of our highest admiration. We never crossed the Cordilleras; but we remember thinking Chimborazo clumsy, though "his stature reached the sky." We go not among them for our Three Glens, though we might choose among a mighty million; but true, as we said, to our NATALE SOLUM, we keep within the girdle of our own cliffs, allowing others to harangue on the magnitude, while we hail the magnificence of Nature.
One is-GLENETIVE. From Bunawe to King's House, 'tis twenty miles as the eagle flies-and ten of them is an arm of the sea. A solitary stretch of grandeur! Beauty dwells in the desert, and the heart feels, while the imagination itself doth wonder, how lovely even may be the rocky wilderness.
Another is-GLENNEVIS. Its spirit is a river. One bend it makes-no more-miles from its source, and leagues from the sea. Gaze down-groves how majestic, glades how beautiful! Up-and shuddering at those dreadful precipices, you feel that spiritual fear is indeed the soul of the Sublime.
The third is-WASTDALE-HEAD. Were we far away, we could describe it in the delight of memory; but we have plunged down into its profoundest peace; the hushed mountains are this moment overshadowing us, and we seek relief from emotion in a train of thought.
We shall ascend to the summit of no more mountains. Old
age, "made lowly wise," ought to be contented with the levels of life. They are not necessarily flat; and, if well chosen, are neither stale nor unprofitable, but rich to the last with "fresh fields and pastures new." Besides, strewn as the humbler paths before our feet may still be with all manner of flowers and herbage, no law obliges our eyes to be always resting even on their terrestrial beauty; we have yet the privilege and the power of uplifting them to the stars. On its way up to heaven our vision may yet gather the loftier glories of earth. A melancholy grandeur invests the precipices we must climb no more; and there is something awful in those luminaries, while in the clearest nights they seem somewhat dim now to our sight, the mist being not over them, but the orbs that gaze on the Bright Obscure. All men become soon reconciled to the inevitable change, in which there is forewarning but no dismay. It comes upon us then so imperceptibly, that but by comparisons made in the memory, we are often not aware of the altered aspects of all things in life and nature. In infancy, the moon appears something fair and far-off in the sky, and to look on it sometimes stills our eyes through their tears. In boyhood, the joyous globe, in its own independent being, is not thought to borrow its lustre from the sun. In youth's shining prime, we encircle her with love-dreams as with a tender halo, or with the glow of our passion vivify the sole Queen of Night. Into the meditative mind of manhood, soberer and more solemn fancies flow from the Silver Urn. And as we feel ourselves nearing the close of our mysterious existence, with what sublime conviction that our spirit, like her, will rise again in a cloudless clime, does religion behold the moon dropping happily behind the mountains!
Here we are writing by twilight, in a bedroom, often slept in by us of yore, the best bedroom in the house of one of the worthiest Statesmen of all the North, Thomas Tyson. Pleasantest, too, of parlours, of studies the most serene. The fashion of these curtains can never be obsolete. There he sits, for ever young, the Shepherd piping in the dale! To lambs that shall never grow into sheep-to a lassie who smiles unrepining in perpetual maidenhood. We know all the knots on the brown oaken floor, smooth almost as glass; but these are new brass handles on the antique chest of drawers; for the first time we see our face looking queerly and inquisitively at us
out of that mirror above the chimneypiece, ornamented with fruits and spars; and certes 'tis no unsplendid frame. Ay! there hangs the same moral picture-Death with his dart, about to smite a sinner in a wanton's arms. The little lattice opens to a touch, as it used to do, on its old leaden hinge; and we remember-yes we do-that small, spokey, but rimless wheel in the pane-for we cracked it in our clumsiness thirty years ago, impatient to see, not as through a glass dimly, the evening star. But think not that 'tis thirty years since we slept here in Wastdale-Head. Hither, during that time, have we made many a peaceful pilgrimage. But how strangely does love leap over the chasms between years! The past of itself seems to take possession of us, and not we ourselves of the past. We do not command our dreams, but we obey them; and days and nights, each with its own sun or its own moon, sometimes overhang some sweet scene that we might have thought was forgotten for ever, and into that portion of life we are all at once born again. So is it with us now in this twilight, another and the same! The hush-the hum-the murmur-is as the voice of a night that hath died not, but continued to live on in its tranquillity, during all the troubled times we have been turmoiling in great cities, many of them far beyond the seas!
Here sits the Solitary, bringing up his Journal. Last glimpse you had of us, we were preparing to expand our wings for a flight from the High Man to the top of Scafell. In our pride we love to speak of our wings-but, alas! like those of Icarus, they melt when too near the sun. We unite them again, however, with fresh feathers, and, in spite of many a topsy-turvy tumble, are eager to re-soar. Some hours ere sunset the head of the column established itself on the summit of Scafell. We lost much of the magnificence of the Highland prospect-but we gained the great Bay of Morecamb and the Irish Sea. After enjoying a glorious eyeful-as Green used to call it—we began to gaze aghast on each others' faces, without venturing to speak. We all knew too well, indeed, the cause of our common emotions. The wallet was as an empty bladder on the back of Jonathan. All the pockets of all our jackets told the same tale. Each flask, according to its kind, wore that peculiar expression belonging to a conscious vacuum; yet even against our reason and our senses
we kept striving to persuade ourselves that the last drop might, after repeated experiments, melancholy failures all, be found insidiously secreting itself at the bottom, or clinging in desperation to the sides; and not till air itself had, over and over again, been fondly gulped down, as if it were the liquid we so passionately desired, did we drop our arms in despair. Nor was our suffering merely that of thirst. F friends were about to part, perhaps never to meet again; and sad experience had taught us to fear a dry farewell. But the sinking sun seemed to stop suddenly in the sky, and to shoot forth from his whole circle beams like gold bars, the spaces between glittering with diamonds and jewels of a million hues. Jonathan all at once recollected that he had forgotten to remember the tin-belt! There it was round his waist-and with a sweep, a swing, and a jerk, bringing its unclasped mouth into his own, he piously ejaculated-"GIN! GIN! GIN!"
Now mark the might of habitual good-breeding, when born of habitual good-feeling, and growing up under the guardianship of elevated thought. Not one of the eight could be induced by the united beseechings of the other seven to drink first! Each man-each sage-each hero-felt, by the intensity of his own thirst, what must be that of his friend's; and thus Jonathan stood in the midst of us, with the tin-belt coiled round his waist, presenting its snout like that of a serpent, while we all, in our desire, declined to drink, as if afraid of being bitten by the toothless but not spiritless monster. Seniores priores! at length, with one voice, exclaimed the Adelphi; nor could we remain insensible to the appeal. We felt it would be ungracious to youth to waive the privilege of age. So, endeavouring to look as indifferent as possible on the craken, and as courteous on the compliment, we knelt down by the side of the kneeling Serpent-bearer, and, in separate snoozes, like angel-visits, but neither "few nor far between," drank, in sweet and strong succession, to the happiness here and hereafter of Jonathan, and of Vickars, and of Toes, and of the son of Toes, and of Seathwaite, and of the Adelphi, and finally, and at great length, of ourselves, enjoying, while we imbibed, a foretaste of immortal bliss.
With what a face, and with what eyes, knelt down in blameless idolatry each priest before that image! Tiger cubs with such savage suction never nuzzled the dugs of