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veiron up the winding valley of the mountains, some twenty or thirty miles; — and how many hundreds or thousands of seet deep, no mortal knows. It is by far the greatest inland body of ice in all Europe. Those who do not choose to enter upon it, should at least visit the source of the Arveiron, at its foot. The stream issues from beneath a magnificent canopy of ice. The arch opens from fifty to a hundred feet, and is of immeasurable depth. Visitors sometimes enter it; but the experiment is dangerous; as masses of ice suddenly disengage themselves, and fall. Several persons have thus been killed.
We did not enter the arch; but a full impression of the grand and beautiful, is realized without Above you, the translucent canopy of ice, with its brilliant azure gradually softening into deeper shades, and the interminable depths of darkness, with the tumult of hidden waters, far up the awful, bellowing cavern; beneath you, stupendous piles of enormous rocks, launched from the mountain summits, and projected over the glaciers into the bed of the Arvė, overlaid and surrounded with heaps on heaps of shivered timber; together with a literal sea of ice, and jagged mountains all white with winter, stretching beyond the limits of vision, on the one side; and forests of waving pines, green meadows, and the gentle flow of their meandering streams, on the other, - conspire to awaken the deepest, strongest, most reverential emotions of which the human soul is susceptible.
LAKE LEMAN AND THE ALPS.
[Sublimity, beauty, solemnity, and awe, are the predominating emotions
expressed in the following stanzas. " Pure tone " is the prevalent quality of voice, required in reading them; but it gives place to “ orotund,” in passages characterized by majesty and grandeur, and to “suppressed” and slightly “ aspirated” utterance, where the expression is that of profound stillness and awe. “ Median stress” prevails, wherever it is not sunk in “ suppression.” The “ pitch" of the voice is "low," throughout, and sometimes a very low,” — according to the depth of the emotion; the “ movement” varies from “slow” to “ very slow ;” and the pauses are extremely long.
The full-sounding swell of the Spenserian stanza, and its magnificent
and piotracted cadence, should be clearly distinguishable, throughout, by appropriate musical utterance, prolonged “ quantities,” and well-marked. “ rhythm," – all guarded, however, from the bad effects
of excess or of mechanical execution. In this and similar pieces, appropriate reading demands that the soul
of the reader be wholly given up to the scene, that the imagination be in vivid and impressive action, that the feelings be kindled to poetic fervour, and that the voice become a true, full, and deep expression of the heart. — One of the intended effects of poetry and of elocution, as instruments of education, is that they should inspire, elevate, expand, and deepen the nobler capacities of the soul, so as to produce a quick and genuine susceptibility to such effects as the poet has here imbodied. The familiar tones of ordinary description, are no standard for the reading of such passages. Young readers, from the influence of a false habit of mechanical school-reading, are apt to shrink from the full expression of genuine emotion, as something exaggerated. Pieces such as the following, if rightly employed, become the most effectual means of doing away these erroneous impressions. A natural and true style of reading, is that which varies with every subject, and passes, with full effect, from the lightest style of gay conversation, to the profoundest emotions of sublimity and awe.]
- ABOVE me are the Alps, The palaces of Nature, whose vast walls Have pinnacled in clouds their snowy scalps,
And throned Eternity in icy halls
Of cold sublimity, where forms and falls
All that expands the spirit, yet appals, Gathers around these summits, as to show llow Earth may pierce to Heaven, yet leave vain man below.
Clear, placid Leman! thy contrasted lake
With the wide world I've dwelt in, is a thing
Earth's troubled waters for a purer spring.
This quiet sail is as a noiseless wing
Torn ocean's roar; but thy soft murmuring
Sounds sweet as if a sister's voice reproved, That I with stern delights should e'er have been so moved.
It is the hush of night; and all between
Thy margin and the mountains, dusk, yet clear,
Save darkened Jura, whose capped heights appear
Precipitously steep; and drawing near,
Of flowers yet fresh with childhood; on the ear
Drops the light drip of the suspended oar,
He is an evening reveller, who makes
His life an infancy, and sings his fill :
Starts into voice a moment, then is still.
There seems a floating whisper on the hill :-
All silently their tears of love distil,
Weeping themselves away, till they infuse Deep into Nature's breast the spirit of her hues.
Ye stars! which are the poetry of heaven,
If in your bright leaves, we would read the fate
That, in our aspirations to be great,
Our destinies o'erleap their mortal state,
A beauty and a mystery, and create
In us such love and reverence from afar, That fortune, fame, power, life, have named themselves a star
All heaven and earth are still,—though not in sleep,
But breathless, as we grow when feeling most;
All heaven and earth are still : from the high host
Of stars to the lulled lake, and mountain coast,
Where not a beam, nor air, nor leaf is lost,
But hath a part of being, and a sense
[This extract exemplifies the union of description and sentiment. The tone is that of “repose” and reflection : “subdued” “pure tone" prevails in the gentle and tender passages ; -- “ moderate force ” of “ pure tone,” in the more « animated.” The “middle pitch” predominates throughout the piece. The “ movement” is a moderate ;” and the pauses correspond. An easy, lively, fluent, but delicate style of reading, resembling agreeable conversation, as nearly as possible, should be the prevailing manner. — A marked and formal style of enunciation, prominent emphasis, and overdone inflections, are utterly at variance with the effect of pieces like this.]
Flowers have, in all ages, been made the representatives of innocence and purity. We decorate the bride, and strew her path, with flowers : we present the undefiled blossoms, as a similitude of her beauty and untainted mind; trusting that her destiny through life will be like theirs, grateful and pleasing to all. We scatter them over the shell, the bier, and the earth, when we consign our mortal blossoms to the dust, as emblems of transient joy, fading pleasures, withered hopes; yet rest in sure and certain trust, that each, in due season, will be renewed again. All the writers of antiquity make mention of their uses and application in heathen and pagan ceremonies, whether of the temple, the banquet, or the tomb, - the rites, the pleasures, or the sorrows of man; and in concord with the usages of the period, the author of the “ Book of Wisdom," says, “Let us crown ourselves with rose-buds and flowers, before they wither.”
All orders of creation, “every form of creeping things and abominable beasts,” have been, perhaps, at one time or another, by some nation or sect, either the objects of direct worship, or emblems of an invisible sanctity; but though individuals of the vegetable world may have veiled the mysteries, and been rendered sacred to particular deities and purposes, yet in very few instances, we believe, were they made the representatives of a deified object, or been bowed down to with divine honours. The worship of the one true Being, could never have been polluted by any symbol suggested by the open flowers and lily-work of the Jewish temple.
The love of flowers seems a naturally implanted passion, without any alloy or debasing object, as a motive. The cottage has its pink, its rose, its polyanthus; the villa, its geranium, its dahlia, and its clematis : * we cherish them in youth, we admire them in declining days. But, perhaps, it is the early flowers of spring, that always bring with them the greatest degree of pleasure; and our affections seem immediately to expand at the sight of the first opening blossom under the sunny wall, or sheltered bank, — however humble its race may be. In the long and sombre months of winter, our love of nature, like the buds of vegetation, seems closed and torpid; but, like them, it unfolds and reanimates, with the opening year; and we welcome our long-lost associates, with a cordiality that no other season can excite, -as friends in a foreign clime.
There is not a prettier emblem of spring, than an infant sporting in the sunny field, with its osier basket wreathed with butter-cups, orchises, and daisies. With summer flowers we seem to live as with our neighbours, in harmony and good-will; but spring flowers are cherished as private friendships.
The amusements and fancies of children, when connected with flowers, are always pleasing, being generally the conceptions of innocent minds, unbiased by artifice or pretence; and their love of them seems to spring from a genuine feeling and admiration, — a kind of sympathy with objects as fair as their own untainted mind; and I think that it is early flowers which constitute their first natural playthings. Though summer presents a greater number and variety, they are not so fondly selected. We have our daisies strung and wreathed about our dress; our coronals of orchises and primroses, and our cowslip balls.
No portion of creation has been resorted to by mankind with more success, for the ornament and decoration of their labours, than the vegetable world. The rites, emblems, and mysteries of religion ; national achievements, eccentric masks, and the capricious visions of fancy, have all been wrought by the hand of the sculptor, on the temple, the altar, or the tomb. But plants, their foliage, flowers, or fruits, as the most graceful, varied, and pleasing objects that meet our view, have been more universally the object of design, and have supplied the most beautiful, and perhaps the earliest em
* Pronounced, clem'-å-tis.