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Unceasing thunder and eternal foam ?
Ye ice-falls ! ye that from the mountain's brow
Ye living flowers that skirt the eternal frost !
Once more, hoar mount! with thy sky-pointing peaks, Oft from whose feet the avalanche, unheard Shoots downward, glittering through the pure serene, Into the depths of clouds that veil thy breast, — Thou too again, stupendous mountain! thou That as I raise my head, awhile bowed low In adoration, upward from thy base Slow travelling with dim eyes suffused with tears, Solemnly seemest, like a vapoury cloud, To rise before me, - rise, oh! ever rise, Rise like a cloud of incense, from the earth! Thou kingly spirit throned among the hills, Thou dread ambassador from earth to heaven, Great hierarch! tell thou the silent sky, And tell the stars, and tell yon rising sun, Earth, with her thousand voices, praises God!
CONTEMPLATION OF THE STARRY HEAVENS.
[Sublimity, solemnity, and awe, are the predominating emotions in the
following passage: these require the slightly “ aspirated” “ pectoral quality” of voice, “ very low pitch,” “ suppressed force,” and ertremely “slow movement,” with correspondent pauses of unusual length.]
Stars teach, as well as shine. —
Why from yon arch, – that infinite of space,
And see! Day's amiable sister sends
This theatre! — what eye can take it in ?
From urns unnumbered, down the steep of heaven,
But though man, drowned in sleer
MISS MITFORD. Miss Sedgwick.
(An example of animated” conversational style, requiring lively but dis
tinet articulation, “ middle pitch,” “ moderate force,” gentle emphasis, and spirited “ expression.”]
I had written to Miss Mitford my intention of passing the evening with her; and as we approached her residence, which is in a small village near Reading, I began to feel a little tremulous about meeting my “unknown friend.” Captain Hall had made us all merry with anticipating the usual dénouement of a mere epistolary acquaintance.
Our coachman, — who, after learning that we were Americans, had complimented us on our speaking English, and“ very good English too,” — professed an acquaintance of some twenty years' standing with Miss M., and assured us that she was one of the “ cleverest women in England,” and “the doc. tor, (her father,) an 'earty old boy.” And when he reined his horses up at her door, and she appeared to receive us, he said, “Now you would not take that little body there for the great author, would you?” — and certainly we should have taken her for nothing but a kindly gentlewoman, who had never gone beyond the narrow sphere of the most refined social life. My foolish misgivings were forgotten in her cordial welcome.
Miss Mitford is truly a "little body," and dressed a little quaintly, and quite unlike the faces we have seen of her in the magazines, which all have a broad humour, bordering on coarseness. She has a pale gray, soul-lit eye, and hair as white as snow: a wintry sign, that has come prematurely upon her, as like signs come upon us, while the year is yet fresh and undecayed. Her voice has a sweet, low tone, and her manner a naturalness, frankness, and affectionateness, that we have been so long familiar with in their other modes of manifestation, that it would have been indeed a disappointment not to have found them.
She led us directly through her house into her garden, a perfect bouquet of flowers. “I must show you my geraniums while it is light,” she said, “ for I love them next to my father.” And they were indeed treated like petted children, guarded by a very ingenious contrivance from the rough visitation o^ the elements. They are all, I believe, seedlings. She raises two crops in a year, and may well pride herself on the variety and beauty of her collection. Geraniums are her favourites; but she does not love others less, that she loves these more. The garden is filled, — matted with flowering shrubs and vines; the trees are wreathed with honeysuckles and roses; and the girls have brought away the most splendid specimens of “heart's ease,” to press in their journals.
Oh! that I could give some of my countrywomen a vision of this little paradise of flowers, that they might learn how taste and industry, and an earnest love and study of the art of garden-culture, might triumph over small space and small means.
Miss Mitford's house is, with the exception of certainly not more than two or three, as small and humble as the smallest and humblest in our village of S. —; and such is the difference, in some respects, in the modes of expense in this country from ours; she keeps two men-servants, (one a gardener,) two or three maid-servants, and two horses. In this
very humble home, which she illustrates as much by her unsparing filial devotion as by her genius, she receives, on equal terms, the best in the land. Her literary reputation might have gained for her this elevation ; but she started on vantage ground; being allied by blood to the Duke of Bedford's family. We passed a delightful evening, parting with the hope of meeting again, and with a most comfortable feeling, that the ideal was converted into the real. — So much for our misgivings. Faith is a safer principle than some people hold it to be.
I have not dared to draw aside the curtain of domestic life, and give the particulars of Miss Mitford's touching devotion to her father. “He is all to me; and I am all to him," she said. God help them, in this parting world !
AUTUMN SCENERY OF ENGLAND. Miss Mitford.
[The following piece forms an example of scenic description, which
usually requires the utterance of “ tranquillity,” and is characterized by “pure tone,” softened voice, and deliberate enunciation.]
The weather is as peaceful to-day, as calm, and as mild, as in early April : and, perhaps, an autumn afternoon and a spring morning do resemble each other more in feeling, and even in appearance, than any two periods of the year. There is in both the same freshness and dewiness of the herbage; the same balmy softness in the air; and the same pure and lovely blue sky, with white fleecy clouds floating across it. The chief difference lies in the absence of flowers, and the presence of leaves. But then the foliage of November is so rich, and glowing, and varied, that it may well supply the place of the gay blossoms of the spring, whilst all the flowers of the field or the garden could never make amends for the want of leaves, — that beautiful and graceful attire in which nature has clothed the rugged forms of trees, — the verdant drapery to which the landscape owes its loveliness, and the forests their glory.
If choice must be between two seasons, each so full of