« AnkstesnisTęsti »
How often have I loiter'd o'er thy green,
Sweet, smiling village, loveliest of the lawn,
Far, far away thy children leave the land. * The bittern may be said to be the bird of desolation: “the bittern shall dwell there” is the final curse, and implies that the place is to become uninhabited and uninhabitable. Its hollow and dismal cry sounds like the voices of a bull and a horse combined. The lapwing is a bird of the wild and marshy moor, extremely shy and watchful, and on the least alarm utters a loud and painful note.
Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey,
This mighty and majestic feature of nature inspires the beholder with a feeling of immensity, and power, like that which arises when he gazes on an interminable desert or a boundless ocean. No eye, however uninstructed, and no heart, however steeled, can fail to have been impressed by a sense and a feeling of the sublime and the awful, as he beholds those huge and mysterious bulwarks; towering through the air, like pyramids connecting earth with heaven,-their sides girdled with the forest, and their summits crowned with the snows of a thousand years. Whether we look upon them from the plain, rearing their dark and giant forms into the regions of the sky, and flinging down their cataracts with the resistlessness of time and the roar of thunder,-- or wander amid their vast solitudes and horrid wastes, listening to the rush of the wind among their pine-organs, startling the eagle from his eyrie, and intruding upon the birth-place of the storm; and glancing down through some cleft in the clouds, far below us, upon the earth, which we seem to have left, with its towns and rivers lying like the painted dots and lines upon a map,-we are alike struck by a revelation of wonders, before which the spirit falls prostrate, and acknowledges that, with a presence which there is no doubting, “ God is” indeed “here."
But it is not to be imagined that these mighty evidences of an immortal workmanship are idle and unnecessary excrescences upon the otherwise fair and even surface of the earth which they overlook; or that their wildernesses are set apart as the dwelling-place of desolation, or their caverns as the home in which the "blackness of darkness” abides. It is not to be supposed that Nature (all whose other schemes are so replete with a visible beneficence), where she has worked upon her mightiest scale, has worked idly or ill; or that she has created a machinery before whose stupendous materials and motions the feeble imitations of man are as the productions of insignificance, but in the service of him to whose good her minutest operations tend. To say nothing of the stones, crystals, and metals which they contain within their womb,-to say nothing of the animals which furnish food or clothing to man, that wander by their torrents, or start amid their echoes,-to say nothing of the timber which hardens on their sides, or the fuel which forms in their hearts, -not even to mention the medicinal plants which owe their birth to the chill air of these upland wastes,-nor the thousand other benefits which man, in his civilized and social state, gathers from these great garner-houses,
-they are the reservoirs from which the world is watered, and the fertilizing principle shed abroad throughout the earth. By a process infinitely designed and beautifully framed, working with immensity as unerringly as if it were with atoms, the peaks of the mountains are fitted for the arrest and distillation of the clouds which gather round and overhang them, making half their mystery and horror; and their interior is formed into a thousand basins and canals in which the waters are gathered, and by which they are poured out, in streams of life and with voices of gladness, through the plains. By that beneficent working which, " from seeming evil still educes good,” the waste of glacier and the wilderness of snow send forth, upon their triụmphant paths, the Rhine, the Danube, and the Nile; and of the apparent desolation of the mountains are born the beauty, the glory, and the fruitfulness of the earth.
But to the eye of science they present yet another source of interest and gratitude, scarcely less important. Piled up as they are, like huge portions of the central earth, flung out by some antediluvian convulsion, and with their sides laid bare by the violence of tempests, and exhibiting the naked strata of which they are constructed, they enable us to investigate many of the secrets of that earth on which we tread, and which must, other. wise, remain concealed, within its inaccessible depths. They are like vast warehouses, in which Nature has congregated samples of her works for the inspection of science-like libraries, written by no mortal hand, in which may be read her mysteries, by those whom study has made acquainted with her language. By a careful perusal of their construction, and of the materials of which they are composed, by observation of their various phenomena, and of that of the atmosphere by which they are surrounded, together with the relative influences of each upon the other, -we may; at length, discover the mechanism of the earth, and the grand problem regarding the formation of the world may be, one day, solved.
The Lake. THE consideration of this division of the more striking features of the earth's surface properly follows the last—inasmuch as lakes are usual accompaniments of mountain scenery, and form part of the machinery, by which nature works for the transmission of those waters which are distilled by, and gathered into the hills ; as well as for the provision of those vapours with which the air feeds these huge alembics of the earth. In what is, unscientifically enough, called the New World, and particularly in Canada, these