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8. There have been holy men, who hid themselves
Their lives to thought and prayer, till they outlived
The passions, at thy plainer footsteps, shrink,
O God! when thou
The swift, dark whirlwind, that uproots the woods,
147. LANDSCAPE BEAUTY.
T is easy enough to understand how the sight of a picture or statue should affect us nearly in the same way as the sight of the original nor is it much more difficult to conceive, how the sight of a cottage should give us something of the same feeling as the sight of a peasant's family; and the aspect of a towi raise many of the same ideas as the appearance of a multitude
of persons. We may begin, therefore, with an example a little more complicated. Take, for instance, the case of a common English landscape-green meadows with grazing and ruminating cattle-canals or navigable rivers-well-fenced, well cultivated fields-neat, clean, scattered cottages-humble antique churches, with church-yard elms, and crossing hedgerows,-all seen under bright skies, and in good weather.
2. There is much beauty, as every one will acknowledge, in such a scene. But in what does the beauty consist? Not certainly in the mere mixture of colors and forms; for colors more pleasing, and lines more graceful (according to any theory of grace that may be preferred), might be spread upon a board, or a painter's pallet, without engaging the eye to a second glance, or raising the least emotion in the mind: but in the picture of human happiness that is presented to our imaginations and affections; in the visible and unequivocal signs of comfort, and cheerful and peaceful enjoyment-and of that secure and successful in'dustry that insures its continuance-and of the piety by which it is exalted-and of the simplicity by which it is contrasted with the guilt and the fever of a city life; in the images of health, and temperance, and plenty which it exhibits to every eye; and in the glimpses which it affords to warmer imaginations, of those primitive or fabulous times, when man was uncorrupted by luxury and ambition, and of those humble retreats in which we still delight to imagine that love and philosophy may find an unpolluted asÿ'lum.
3. At all events, however, it is human feeling that excites our sympathy, and forms the true object of our emotions. It is man, and man ălōne, that we see in the beauties of the earth which he inhabits; or, if a more sensitive and extended sympathy connect us with the lower families of animated nature, and make us rejoice with the lambs that bleat on the uplands, or the cattle that repose in the valley, or even with the living plants that drink the bright sun and the balmy air beside them, it is still the idea of enjoyment-of feelings that animate the existence of sentient beings-that calls forth all our emotions, and is the parent of all the beauty with which we proceed to invest the inanimate creätion around us.
4. Instead of this quiet and tame English landscape, let us now take a Welsh or a Highland scene, and see whether its
beauties will admit of being explained on the same principle. Here, we shall have lofty mountains, and rocky and lonely recesses-tufted woods hung over precipices-lakes intersected with castled promontories-ample solitudes of unplowed and untrodden valleys-namelèss and gigantic ruins-and mountain echoes repeating the scream of the cagle and the roar of the cataract.
5. This, too, is beautiful, and to those who can interpret the language it speaks, far more beautiful than the prosperous scene with which we have contrasted it. Yet, lonely as it is, it is to the recollection of man and the suggestion of human feelings that its beauty also is owing. The mere forms and colors that compose its visible appearance are no more capable of exciting any emotion in the mind than the forms and colors of a Turkey carpet. It is sympathy with the present or the past, or the imaginary inhabitants of such a region, that ălōne gives it either interest or beauty; and the delight of those who behold it will always be found to be in exact proportion to the force of their imaginations and the warmth of their social affections.
6. The leading impressions here are those of romantic seclusion and prīmē'val simplicity; lovers sequestered in these blissful solitudes, "from towns and toils remote," and rustic poëts and philosophers communing with nature, and at a distance from the low pursuits and selfish malignity of ordinary mortals: then there is the sublime impression of the Mighty Powers which piled the mighty cliffs upon each other, and rent the mountains asunder, and scattered their giant fragments at their base, and all the images connected with the monuments of ancient magnificence and extinguished hostility-the feuds, and the combats, and the triumphs of its wild and primitive inhabitants, contrasted with the stillness and desolation of the scenes where they lie interred; and the romantic ideas attached to their ancient traditions, and the peculiarities of the actual life of their descendants -their wild and enthusiastic poëtry-their gloomy superstitions -their attachment to their chiefs-the dangers, and the hardships, and enjoyments of their lonely huntings and fishingstheir pastoral shielings on the mountains in summer-and the tales and the sports that amuse the little groups that are frozen into their vast and trackless valleys in the winter.
7. Add to all this the traces of vast and obscure antiquity
that are impressed on the language and the habits of the people, and on the cliffs, and caves, the gulfy torrents of the land; and the solemn and touching reflection, perpetually recurring, of the weakness and insignificance of perishable man, whose generations thus pass away into oblivion, with all their toils and ambition; while nature holds on her unvarying course, and pours out her streams, and renews her forests, with undecaying activity, regardless of the fate of her proud and perishable sovereign.
148. MORNING HYMN TO MOUNT BLANC.
AST thou a charm to stay the morning star
Rave ceaselessly; but thou, most awful form!
2. O dread and silent mount! I gazed upon thee,
Didst vanish from my thought: entranced in prayer
Yet like some sweet, beguiling melody,
So sweet, we know not we are listening to it,
Yea, with my life, and life's own secret joy,—
As in her natural form, swelled vast to Heaven.
3. Awake, my soul! not only passive praise
Groen vales and icy cliffs all join my hymn.
Or when they climb the sky, or when they sink :
Your strength, your speed, your fury, and your joy,
And who commanded,-and the silence came,-
5. Ye ice-falls! ye that from the mountain's brow
Torrents, methinks, that heard a mighty voice,
Who made you glorious as the gates of heaven
6. "GOD!" sing, ye meadow-streams, with gladsome voice,