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flowers, and the shout of a gentleman, who had found high up in the rocks a Chamois nest (?) made of moss.
But why wreak one's thoughts upon expression, where there is so much to paint, and where words are not mountains, nor cascades, nor even the pictures of them? The monster back of that rock, breaking the vale in twain, but smiling in its shaggy grandeur with gardens along its sides, and lashed everlastingly by a torrent, at which it also smiles-where is the palette of wordy colors to paint that? Soon, through a perspective of snowy mounts, Mont Blanc, monarch of them all, lifts on high his blanched head. The view at first disappointed me. We e were ourselves so high, that his 16,000 feet dwindled to half of that. The azure sky was unclouded, and the vast Gothic granite needles that pierce it around the monarch, were well defined and sharp. Far ahead of our party, I ran down through the Rouge and Verd mounts, leaving the Col de Balme behind-downdown-down-DOWN-past cattle feeding in the shadows which were creeping up the mountains on the east, and at last into the vale of Chamouni, with its lofty line of sublimities on either side. I knew the Arve-the bold brawler from the clouds and ice peaks, born amid thunder and storm, hastening by the humble cots from steep to steep,
"Till mingling with the mighty Rhone
It rests beneath Geneva's walls."
The Mer de Glace, and its outlet, the Glacier de Bois, hung over the vale under the everlasting pinnacles, threatening in aspect, while out of its hollow ice halls, rolled the "five wild torrents fiercely glad," which join to form the Aveiron. The vale lies north and south. The evening sun has left the valley, but lingers in a faint pink upon the great ice and snow fields of the monarch's head. The village of Chamouni, a pretty place enough, seems but a handful in these immensities of matter. Long after the shadows of night hung darkling over its roofs, the white light played on the top of the mountains. Perpetual
layers of eternal whiteness, untracked and untainted by mortal tread, catch the last, and will gleam with the first light of heaven. The mind becomes oppressed with an overpowering sense of sublimity. There is the Hierarchy of Nature ministering between heaven and earth, in long white robes flowing down the enormous ravines, with a solemn silence which rebukes the noisy torrents at its feet, and the roar of the wavy pines midway up its sides. Dread ambassador! what a ministration between the Finite and Infinite is thine! Pomp of earthly kings !-how puerile and tame is your magnificence !
It is only a mighty mind like that of Coleridge, that could grasp and give expression to the spirit of this vale. I have read that he never visited this spot. It cannot be true. His hymn is the true worship of his lofty soul, uplifted through tears into this sublime serenity.
Raptures and exclamations are impotent and tame; the only style which befits the solemn significance of the scene at Chamouni, is that of the prophet who, wrapped in his mantle, bowed to the 'still small voice' in awe.
As I write now, the peaks and falls, glaciers and gorges, which surround me, have become familiar in name and position; but the spirit of the scene who can exhaust? Who can analyze its glories? Other travellers have essayed to do it as well beneath its shadow as upon the distant points of view. It is only to be felt by being seen. As I gazed upon it, while the day was departing, the lofty wish of the poet, seemed full of new meaning, when he prayed that he might grow more bright from commerce with the sun, at the approach of all involving night. And forgetful of the dear ones at home, remembered ever upon all other occasions, the wish started to the light, that here, beneath these hoar, high peaks of God's own majesty, we would love to live, and live to love, and at last sleep in the 'all involving night' of death, among the blossoms and flowers of this lovely vale.
I would like to take you up one more ascent-the Montan
vert, which we ascended by mules, and from which the best view is to be had of the great granite peaks, and from which you may descend upon the Mer de Glace. Two hours and a half brought us to the Pavilion-a toilsome, rocky way, but rendered pleasant by the cool milk and and rich strawberries which the bright-eyed girls of the mountain offer us, at different points in the ascent. After a rest and a dish of strawberries, we descended upon the most wonderful phenomena of the Alps, the glacier. This glacier is the largest in the world, it being fortyfive miles long, and in some places three wide. It was over a mile wide at the point where we were upon its moving mass. Rumble! crash! crack! boom! went the ice, as a huge granite rock in the midst tumbled into the cavernous profound. Hoarse and sepulchral, sharp and ear-piercing is the sound. Dare we venture upon the living sea, peaked, hollow, roaring, trickling (with water, quivering with life, and bursting its icy fetters? Before we venture, let us take one view of the magnificent spectacle, embosomed beneath in the vale, which is surrounded by the mounts and snow-peaks; pass not slightly over the minute beauties which are painted in the plain, with their coverlets of verdurous squares, triangular harvest-fields of yellow, mingled with the freshly plowed ground, lying between the belt of trees fringing the Arve and Aveiron, which, like two white ribbons inwrought with silver, dart with bright points of flashing, until they mingle to rave ceaselessly at the base of Blanc. These spots of rural beauty depend upon the melting glacier which feeds perpetual streams of irrigation. Do you ask why God hath placed the glacier here? Seek an answer in the well-filled granary and happy faces of the peasantry.
"He has seen the hoar
Glaciers of bleak Mont Blanc, both far and near,
mental telescope sowewhat loftily, and turn it hitherward, you would perceive the Author in a situation at once extraordinary and peculiar. I do not know, but that my position is high enough to obviate the intervention of the 'thick rotundity' of the world, and the considerable dis tance between Ohio and Chamouni. I sit upon a granite boulder, in a sea of ice, called the Mer de Glace. My prospect in front is the great cathedral pinnacle of Dru; the point of Verdi, the highest of the needles, is in the rear; that of Bouchard is on the left, and on the right is the grand Horach, hid in snow; next to it is Charmoz, partly snow-covered. These points environ the glacier-bed with their spiry, rocky, snowy needles, rising out of the frigid green sea, jagged, terrific, and sublime!
We seize our Alpenstock, shod with iron, and under the lead of our excellent guides, who take charge of the ladies, we enter upon the icy bed even to its midst, and look down into some of the wildest gorges of the glacier, which shine with beautiful greenish blue. These gorges are deep and hollow. Within them the torrent's voice roars madly. Our guides threw large rocks into the chasm, and we stood breathless, listening to the reverberations beneath. Great granite rocks are upon the icebergs, and as the glacier moves, now and then they tumble into the gorges with thundering echo. The sound of the torrent
and the progress of the immense mass make the place one of thrilling interest. Upon the opposite shore, under the peaks, there rise green pine forests, out of a sea of frost; and overhead, there float white clouds, like celestial navies sailing from point to point in the upper air. Surely this is the perfection of wild and gloomy desolation-overpowering and strange as a nether and an upper world, united in wild phantasy.
"What a dear little flower I have found just here upon the edge of the glacier; a little pink moss, or star-flower. Only look at it !"-breaks in a musical treble near by.
"Don't interrupt me, Madame; I am catching a likeness of Desolation himself in his own home ?"
No wonder the Aveiron roars with such a perpetuity of music and continuity of stream, fed by such an interminable waste of ever trickling, but never melted ice. No wonder that the
-"Rose d'Alp?" inquires the same treble, upon the brink of the ice-sea, where its owner is plucking flowerets of most delicate hue and form.
"Oui, Madame," says the good guide; "il commence à fleurir."
"What's that mean, Dominichino? What kind of a flower does the guide call it ?"
"It is not a flower yet, Madame. It's a begging to come out." Quite a poetical idea!
"Ah! a bud-yes, yes. How exquisite !"
See those other immense glaciers, high and away up the sea, miles off, branching out of the Mer, and each having its own great sluices. Hark! far up in their dreary profundities, the armies of ice are cannonading with sharp and thundering din!
"Come! come!" They are hallooing to us from above! "Let us go to the Englishman's rock !"
I cannot resist such persuasiveness; so picking up my ink horn and journal, and wondering how the poor fellow felt who fell into one of the icy gulfs and came out below in the torrent,