« VorigeDoorgaan »
What "fancies chaste and noble" imbue with beauty the strains of music that float between those opening and concluding words! The river shews
"The image of a poet's heart,
How calm, how tranquil, how serene!"
But let us have the course of the Duddon given, in the first place, in Green's plain but picturesque prose. "The Duddon is a fine river, and its feeders flow precipitously in their descent to the valley. It rises at the Three County Stones on Wrynose, from which place to its junction with the Irish Sea, it separates the counties of Cumberland and Lancashire. Mosedale, which is in Cumberland, though appearing the highest part of Seathwaite, is, from its head down to Cockly-beck, a tame unmeaning valley, and would be wholly void of interest, were it not for the grand ■mountains of Eskdale, which are seen over its northern extremity; but from Cockly-beck by Black Hall to Goldrill Crag, which is about two miles, the scenery improves at - every step; but not the river, which, though occasionally pretty, is, upon the whole, tamely featured and lazy. At Goldrill Crag, it brightens into agitation, and, after various changes, becomes at Wallow-barrow Crag one scene of rude commotion, forming in its course a succession, not of high, but finely formed waterfalls. But these furious waters suddenly = slumbering, become entranced, displaying little signs of life along the pleasant plains of Donnerdale. At Ulpha Bridge suspended animation is again succeeded by the clamorous war of stones and waters, which assail the ear of the traveller all the way to Duddon Bridge. From that place to the sea it passes on in an uninterrupted and harmonious calm
Nothing can be better than that— except, perhaps, some of Green's etchings, which you may purchase almost paper-cheap from his excellent widow or daughter at the Exhibition either at Ambleside or Keswick. We remember an exquisite one up the river with Wallow-barrow Crag -and another, not less so, down the river with Goldrill Crag. Here they are in words. "The river at Wallow barrow is opposed to many rude im
VOL. XXXI. NO. CXCV.
pediments, which are exhibited in an elegant diversity of rocks and stones, some of them of considerable magnitude, and all peculiarly and happily adapted as accompaniments to the many-shaped waterfalls, displayed in the short space of little more than half a mile. From this desirable bottom, the rocks on both sides ascend in individual wildness, and a beautifully undulating assemblage, to a good height; wood is not here in profusion, but it occasionally appears in picturesque association with the rocks and waters. A wellformed mountain terminates this craggy vista, by which the whole is rendered additionally interesting." Of the view down the river, again, with Goldrill Crag, Green says" It is a beautiful scene, and different in its character to any other about the Lakes; the rocks are elegant, and the trees spring from their fissures in picturesque variety. The second distance is composed of rocks, with soft turf and trees delightfully scattered over its surface; these rocks have the appearance of rising ground considerably lower than the level of the waters in sight, which is proved by the noise produced after leaving their peaceful solitudes above." Green goes on describing away, with pen as with pencil, the vale which was the darling of his honest heart. He tells us truly, that perhaps the finest part of this vale is between Seathwaite Chapel and Goldrill Cragabout two miles; that from Goldrill Crag to Cockly-beck-about two miles-the beauties diminish every step you take northward; and that from Cockly-beck to the countystones all is insipid. How fondly he speaks of the cottages! Especially of Throng, the hereditary property of the Dawsons, where never stranger found a scanty board. How affectionately of the trees! Almost every sort of tree, says he, is fine when aged, even the larch, and all the species of the fir. In Seathwaite, he adds, untutored nature seems to have held her dominion with a sway more absolute than in any other dale in the country; exotics have been sparingly introduced; and though there is rather a want than a redundancy of wood, the valley is better without them. From almost every point of this secluded bottom,(he is
speaking of Throng, under the shadow of its wood-covered hill,) rocky knolls of various elevation, graced with the native beauties of the country, oak, ash, and birch, rise sweetly from the lower grounds; and over them, in many waving windings, the craggy mountains swell upon the eye in grand sublimity. The passionate painter is even yet loath to leave the vision-and concludes expres sively saying with fine feeling, that in every engulfed valley in this country, there is, to his mind, somewhat of a melancholy solemnity; and that, unless it be in Ennerdale-dale, in none more than in Seathwaite. Though the Vales of Langdale are narrow, yet they possess an air of cheerfulness, probably as being bounded less In stupendously than Seathwaite. diversified beauty they rival all others, even Borrowdale. Yet Borrowdale to its beauty adds an invariable grandeur, not so uniformly seen in Langdale. Seathwaite occasionally exhibits a vastness of desolation, exceeded only in Ennerdale-dale; but in magnificence of mountain-preci
piece, Ennerdale-dale, Wastdale, and Eskdale, excel all others in the country. So far Green-and kind, courteous, ingenious, and enthusiastic spirit, farewell!
Let us turn now, after no undelightful delay, to Wordsworth. In the second sonnet, he says of the Infant Duddon,
"Child of the clouds! remote from every
Of sordid industry thy lot is cast;
and in the fourth, he speaks, we may
a glistering snake, Silent, and to the gazer's eye untrue, Thridding with sinuous lapse the rushes, through
Dwarf willows gliding, and by ferny brake."
But how beautiful is the lad Duddon
"Sole listener, Duddon! to the breeze that played
Invited, forth they peep'd so fair to view, All kinds alike seem'd favourites of heaven !"
You have seen, we dare say, Stepping-stones across a stream, and have stepped from one to the other lightly ed, without any other thought than or clumsily, as it may have happen that they were useful, and saved you from the necessity of being wet-shod.
We have heard more blockheads than one ask the meaning of those often quoted lines in Peter Bell
"A primrose by the river's brim, A yellow primrose was to him, And it was nothing more."
Such sumphs cannot conceive how it should be any thing more to any body; nor of Stepping-stones can they form any other opinion as to the excellence, than whether they are sufficiently close, and not shoggly.
But thou! slim-ankled maiden, with pensive face wilt peruse the first, and with sparkling eyes the second of these sonnets, entitled "STEPPINGSTONES,"
"The struggling rill insensibly is grown
For the clear waters to pursue their race
Thinking how fast time runs, life's end how near!"
"Calm abysses pure, Bright liquid mansions, fashioned to en
When the broad oak drops, a leafless ske-
And the solidities of mortal pride,
But the human heart of the poet longs again for human life; and, re-ascending from those sunless chasms, hear how he sings the "Open Prospect."
"Hail to the fields-with Dwellings sprinkled o'er,
Gay June would scorn us; but when bleak winds roar
Laugh with the generous household heartily,
But the Duddon is a strange stream
a thousand to one you don't know him-so sternly is he transfigured from a sweet-singer into a Boanerges, or Son of Thunder.
"O mountain Stream! the Shepherd and his Cot
But if we go o go on at this rate, Jona- lonely, of this barren and bounteous than-we shall soon have "read oop" land, where desolation lies in the the whole volume. And what better close neighbourhood of plenty, and might we do, lying here, all four of where the Hermit might find a seus, carelessly diffused on the green-cret cell within hearing of the glad sward, far from the noisy world, enveloped in the visions of a great poet's soul? This is the way to know and feel the spirit of this lovely and
hum of life. Let us recite two sonnets more-and then be up and going-away to the objects of which the Poet sings-how holily!
deflation to Sacred Religion, mother of form and fear," Kits glosed Dread Arbitress of mutable respect,
in the New rites ordaining when the old are wreck'd, to please the fickle worshipper;
If one strong wish may be embosom'd here, Mother of Love! for this deep vale, protect Truth's holy lamp, pure source of bright effect, ASTUPAK VÁGifted to purge the **** #9.3 000 That seeks to stifle it; as in those days rapoury atmosphere sada band-When this low Pile a Gospel Teacher knew, Main Whose good works form'd an endless retinue: ovode brek Such Priest as Chaucer sang in fervent lays; Jancsik zur Such as the heaven-taught skill of Herbert drew; 9úð,908 Jon And tender Goldsmith crown'd with deathless praise !" $$ 5Y! AAj£S£
wt vannsm d* ULPHA KIRK.
yob di suude
The Kirk of Ulpha to the Pilgrim's eye
Its shining forehead through the peaceful rent wad neud? Of a black cloud diffused o'er half the sky: è la sin debinor as a fruitful palm-tree towering high
o'er the parch'd waste beside an Arab's tent;
Or the Indian tree whose branches, downward bent,
ngs How sweet were leisure! could it yield no more
Than 'mid that wave-wash'd Churchyard to recline,
Prevailing poet! here, among the scenes thou hast so finely sung,
"Fit audience find, though few."
Few, indeed! for the Three have vanished; and in Seathwaite Tarn,
the shadows of no Christians are to
be seen but those of Christopher
and Jonathan. He informs us, that ere we had “read oop taa haf o't," the graceless, mannerless, fancyless, unfeeling, unprincipled, and uninitiated cubs had scampered over the knowe, and have probably been for an hour, at least, in another county! Yes, Jonathan-you say right-they are to be pitied ; but we have reap
prime, was with thee so oft of yore in thy silvan solitudes! Much changed-thou seest are we-in face and figure so sorely changed and must pass by a disregarded shathat haply we seem to thee a stranger, dow! Alas! we feel as if we were
sensate Seathwaite! what art thou
Our that vivified
forgotten! we, and all those dawns, morns, days, eves, and nights! Inbut an assemblage of rocks, stones, clods, stumps, and trees? thee into beauty-till thou becamest imagination it was embodied Poetry of a paradisaical symbolical of all spiritual essences, state of being, which, on this fair representment, transcendently returns -but overspread now, and interfused with a profoundest pathos that almost subdues the glory of nature into the glimmer of the grave, solemnizing life by death, and subjecting the dim past and the bright present to the mysterious future, till "Wherever God erects a house of faith flings herself humbly at the feet of God.
"The harvest of a quiet eye,
Surely the winner will have the sense to order dinner at the Chapel
The devil always builds a chapel there." "In this"-quoth Mr Green, who, you know, Jonathan, was the most sober and industrious of God's creatures-" Mr Daniel is not quite correct; such houses, particularly in thinly inhabited countries, are absolutely necessary to the comforts of distant parishioners." Now, we are distant parishioners; so put his volume into the haversack-and the "Bard's" we return to our bosom. Now let's be off.
Descent may be adverse to younger knees-but to ours it is natural; and,
"6 Smooth-sliding, without step," down the sward, we feel like an aged eagle skimming in easy undulations, ere he alights to fold up his wings.
Sweet Seathwaite ! for, spite of all thy sternness, art thou, indeed, most sweet-may we believe from that sunny smile kindling up thy groves into greenness that obliterates the brown of thy superincumbent cliffs -that thou rejoicest to see again the Wanderer, who, in life's ardent
And thou, too, art somewhat changed, sweet Seathwaite! Thou, too, art getting old! But with thee, age is but a change into "beauty still more beauteous. A gradual alteration, during all the while of our long absence, has been silently taking place upon the character of thy groves. Glades are gone like overshadowed sun-spots. We see rocky pastures where then the coppice-wood grewsmooth fields of barley-braird that then were rocky pastures. We miss that bright blue river-heard above the Alder Ford-where hung the nesthiding hazels; we hear, not see, the Fairies' waterfall. Pools that of yore still slept in branchy twilight, now shine in day and picture-passing clouds. Some oaks have fallen that should have lived for ever; and strange confusion in our memory grows from the whole of these bewildering woods. But amidst all the change of unceasing growth and unceasing decay, thou art the same sweet Seathwaite still-and unaltered for ever the lines magnificent now drawn by thy multitudinous