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Hear the shrill whistle which doth order give
Before my balcony the great cataract is thundering, smoking, glittering with green and white rollers and rapids, hurling the waters of a whole continent in splendor and speed
over the sharp ledges of the long, brown rock by which Erie, "the Broad," steps proudly down to Ontario, “the Beautiful.” The smaller but very imposing American Falls speaks with the louder voice of the two, because its coiling spirals of twisted and furious flood crash in full impulse of descent upon the talus of massive boulders heaped up at its foot. The resounding impact of water on rocks, the clouds of watersmoke which rise high in air, and the river below churned into a whirling cream of eddy and surge and backwater, unite in a composite effect, at once magnificent and bewildering.
Far away, Niagara river is seen winding eagerly to its prodigious leap. You can discern the line of the first breakers, where the river feels the fatal draw of the cataracts, its current seeming suddenly to leap forward, stimulated by mad desire, a hidden spell, a dreadful and irresistible doom.
Far back along the gilded surface of the upper stream, these lines of dancing, tossing, eager, anxious and fate-impelled breakers and billows multiply their white ranks and spread and close together their leaping ridges into a wild chaos of racing waves as the brink is approached. And then, at the brink, there is a curious pause—the momentary peace of the irrevocable. Those mad upper waters—reaching the great leap—are suddenly all quiet and glassy, and rounded and green as the border of a field of rye, while they turn the angle of the dreadful ledge and hurl themselves into the snow-white gulf of noise and mist and mystery underneath.
There is nothing more translucently green, nor more perennially still and lovely, than Niagara the greater. At this, her awful brink, the whole architrave of the main abyss gleams like a fixed and glorious work wrought in polished aquamarine or emerald. This exquisitely-colored cornice of the enormous waterfall—this brim of bright tranquillity between fervor of rush and fury of plunge—is its principal
feature, and stamps it as far more beautiful than terrible. Even the central solemnity and shudder-fraught miracle of the monstrous uproar and glory is rendered exquisite, reposeful and soothing by the lovely rainbows hanging over the turmoil and clamor.
From its crest of chrysoprase and silver, indeed, to its broad foot of milky foam and of its white-stunned waves, too broken and too dazed to begin at first to float away, Niagara appears not terrible, but divinely and deliciously graceful, glad and lovely—a specimen of the splendor of water at its finest—a sight to dwell and linger in the mind with ineffaceable images of happy and grateful thought, by no means to affect it in seeing or to haunt it in future days of memory with any wild reminiscences of terror or of gloom.
ROBERT G. INGERSOLL.
Shakespeare exceeded all the sons of men in the splendor of his imagination. To him the whole world paid tribute, and Nature poured her treasures at his feet. In him all races lived again, and even those to be were pictured in his
He was a man of imagination—that is to say, of genius, and having seen a leaf, and a drop of water, he could construct the forests, the rivers and the seas.
In his presence all the cataracts would fall and foam, the mists rise, the clouds form and float.
If Shakespeare knew one fact, he knew its kindred and its neighbors. Looking at a coat of mail, he instantly imagined the society, the conditions, that produced it and what it, in turn, produced. He saw the castle, the moat, the drawbridge, the lady in the tower, and the knightly lover spurring across the plain. He saw the bold baron and the rude retainer, the
trampled serf, and all the glory and the grief of feudal life.
He lived the life of all. He was a citizen of Athens in the days of Pericles. He listened to the eager eloquence of the great orators, and sat upon the cliffs, and with the tragic poet heard “the multitudinous laughter of the sea.” He saw Socrates thrust the spear of question through the shield and heart of falsehood. He was present when the great man drank hemlock, and met the night of death, tranquil as a star meets morning. He listened to the peripatetic philosophers, and was unpuzzled by the sophists. He watched Phidias as he chiseled shapeless stone to forms of love and awe.
He walked the ways of mighty Rome, and saw great Cæsar with his legions in the field. He stood with vast and motley throngs, and watched the triumphs given to victorious men, followed by uncrowned kings, the captured hosts, and all the spoils of ruthless war. He heard the shout that shook the Coliseum's roofless walls, when from the reeling gladiator's hand the short sword fell, while from his bosom gushed the stream of wasted life.
The Imagination had a stage in Shakespeare's brain, whereon were set all scenes that lie between the morn of laughter and the night of tears, and where his players bodied forth the false and true, the joys and griefs, the careless shallows and the tragic deeps of universal life.
Shakespeare was an intellectual ocean, whose waves touched all the shores of thought; within which were all the tides and waves of destiny and will; over which swept all the storms of fate, ambition, and revenge; upon which fell the gloom and darkness of despair and death and all the sunlight of content and love, and within which was the inverted sky, lit with the eternal stars—an intellectual ocean—towards which all rivers ran, and from which now the isles and continents of thought receive their dew and rain.
EDGAR ALLEN POE.
The point of view from which I first saw the valley was not altogether, although it was nearly, the best point from which to survey the house. I will therefore describe it as I afterwards saw it-from a position on the stone wall at the southern extreme of the amphitheater.
The main building was about twenty-four feet long and sixteen broad-certainly not more. Its total height, from the ground to the apex of the roof, could not have exceeded eighteen feet. To the west end of this structure was attached one about a third smaller in all its proportions—the line of its front standing back about two yards from that of the larger house; and the line of its roof, of course, being considerably depressed below that of the roof adjoining. At right angles to these buildings, and from the rear of the main one—not exactly in the middle-extended a third compartment, very small-being, in general, one-third less than the western wing. The roofs of the two larger were very steep-sweeping down from the ridge-beam with a long concave curve, and extending at least four feet beyond the walls in front, so as to form the roofs of two piazzas. These latter roofs, of course, needed no support; but as they had the air of needing it, slight and perfectly plain pillars were inserted at the corners alone. The roof of the northern wing was merely an extension of a portion of the main roof. Between the chief building and western wing arose a very tall and rather slender square chimney of hard Dutch bricks, alternately black and red—a slight cornice of projecting bricks at the top. Over the gables the roofs also projected very much -in the main building about four feet to the east and two to the west.
The piazzas of the main building and western wing had