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THIRD SERIES.] BOSTON, NOVEMBER 15, 1830.
[VOL. 5, No. 4.
A DAY AT WINDERMERE.
OLD and gouty, we are confined to our chair; and occasionally, during an hour of rainless sunshine, are wheeled by female hands along the gravel-walks of our Policy, an unrepining and philosophical valetudinarian. Even the crutch is laid up in ordinary, and is encircled with cobwebs. A monstrous spider has there set up his rest; and our still Study ever and anon hearkens to the shrill buz of some poor fly expiring between those formidable forceps-just as so many human ephemerals have breathed their last beneath the bite of his indulgent master. 'Tis pleasant to look at Domitian-so we love to call himsallying from the centre against a wearied wasp, lying, like a silkworm, circumvoluted in the inextricable toils, and then, seizing the sinner by the nape of the neck, to see the emperor haul him away into the charnel-house.
But we have often less savage recreations: -such as watching our bee-hives when about to send forth coloniesfeeding our pigeons, a purple people that dazzle the daylight-gathering roses as they choke our small chariot-wheels with their golden orbs-eating grapes out of vine-leaf-draperied baskets beautifying beneath gentle fingers into fairy net-work graceful as the gossamer-drinking elder-flower frontiniac from invisible glasses, so transparent in its yellowness seems the liquid radiance-at one moment 19 ATHENEUM VOL. 5, 3d series.
eyeing a page of Paradise Lost, and at another of Paradise Regained, for what else is the face of her who often visiteth our Eden, and whose coming and whose going is ever like a heavenly dream! Then laying back our head upon the cushion of our triumphal car, and with half-shut eyes, subsiding slowly into haunted sleep or slumber, with our fine features up to heaven, a saint-like image, such as Raphael loved to paint, or Flaxman to embue with the soul of stillness in the life-hushed marble. Such, dearest reader, are some of our pastimesand so do we contrive to close our ears to the sound of the scythe of Saturn, ceaselessly sweeping over the earth, and leaving, at every stride of the mower, a swathe more rueful than ever, after a night of shipwreck, did strew with ghastliness a lee sea-shore !
Thus do we make a virtue of necessity-and thus contentment wreathes with silk and velvet the prisoner's chains. Once were we
long, long ago-restless as a sunbeam on the restless wave-rapid as a river that seems enraged with the rocks, but all the while in love "Doth make sweet music with th' enamel'd
strong as a steed let loose from Arab's tent in the oasis to slake his thirst at the desart well-fierce in our harmless joy as a red-deer belling on the hills-tameless as the eagle sporting in the storm-gay as
the "dolphin on a tropic sea ""mad as young bulls "-and wild as a whole wilderness of adolescent lions. But now-alas! and alacka-day the sunbeam is but a patch of sober verdure-the river is changed into a canal-the "desart-born" is foundered-the reddeer is slow as an old ram-the eagle has forsook his cliff and his clouds, and hops among the gooseberry bushes-the dolphin has degenerated into a land-tortoisewithout danger now might a very child take the bull by the hornsand though something of a lion still, our roar is, like that of the nightingale, most musical, most melancholy - and, as we attempt to shake our mane, your grandmother -fair subscriber-cannot choose but weep!
It speaks folios in favor of our philanthropy, to know that, in our own imprisonment, we love to see all life free as air. Would that by a word of ours we could clothe all human shoulders with wings! Would that by a word of ours we could plume all human spirits with thoughts strong as the eagle's pinions, that they might winnow their way into the empyrean! Tories! Yes! we are Tories. Our faith is in the Divine right of kings,—but easy, my boys, easy-all free men are kings, and they hold their empire from heaven. That is our political-philosophical-moral-religious creed. In its spirit we have lived-and in its spirit we hope to die-not on the scaffold like Sidney -no-no-no-not by any manner of means like Sidney on the scaffold -but like ourselves on a hair mattress above a feather-bed, our head decently sunk in three pillows and one bolster, and our frame stretched out unagitatedly beneath a white counterpane! But meanwhilethough almost as unlocomotive as the dead-in body-there is perpetual motion in our souls. Sleep is one thing, and stagnation is another-as is well known to all eyes that have ever seen, by moonlight
and midnight, the face of Ourself, or of Windermere.
Windermere! Why, at this blessed moment, we behold the beauty of all its intermingling isles ! There they are-all gazing down on their own reflected loveliness in the magic mirror of the air-like water, just as many a holy time we have seen them all agaze, when, with suspended oar and suspended, breath-no sound but a ripple on the Naiad's bow, and a beating at our own heart-motionless in our own motionless bark-we seemed to float midway down that beautiful abyss, between the heaven above and the heaven below, on strange terrestrial scene composed of trees and the shadows of trees by the imagination made indistinguishable to the eye, and as delight deepened into dreams, all lost at last, clouds, groves, water, air, sky, in their various and profound confusion of supernatural peace! But a sea-born breeze is on Bowness Bay; all at once the lake is blue as the sky; and that evanescent world is felt to have been but a vision. Like swans that had been asleep in the airless sunshine, lo! where from every shady nook appear the white-sailed pinnaces! For on merry Windermere - you must know-every breezy hour has its own Regatta !
But intending to be useful, we are becoming ornamental; of this article it must not be said, that
"Pure description holds the place of sense
therefore, let us be simple, but not silly, as plain as is possible without being prosy, as instructive as is consistent with being entertaining, a cheerful companion and a trusty guide.
We shall suppose that you have left Kendal, and are on your way to Bowness. Forget, as much as may be, all worldly cares and anxieties, and let your hearts be open and free to all genial impulses about to be breathed into them from the beautiful and sublime in nature.
There is no need of that foolish state of feeling called enthusiasm. You have but to be happy; and by and by your happiness will grow into delight. The blue mountains already set your imaginations at work; among those clouds and mists, you fancy many a magnificent precipice and in the valleys that sleep below, you image to yourselves the scenery of rivers and lakes. The landscape immediately around gradually grows more and more picturesque and romantic; and you feel that you are on the very borders of Fairy-Land. The first smile of Windermere salutes your impatient eyes, and sinks silently into your heart. You know not how beautiful it may be-nor yet in what the beauty consists; but your finest sensibilities to nature are touched-and a tinge of poetry, as from a rainbow, overspreads that cluster of islands that seems to woo you to their still retreats. And now
"Wooded Winandermere, the river-lake," with all its bays and promontories, lies in the morning light serene as a Sabbath, and cheerful as a Holiday; and you feel that there is loveliness on this earth more exquisite and perfect than ever visited your slumbers even in the glimpses of a dream. The first sight of such a scene will be unforgotten to your dying day-for such passive impressions are deeper than we can explain our whole spiritual being is suddenly awakened to receive them and associations, swift as light, are gathered into one Emotion of Beauty which shall be imperishable, and which, often as memory recalls that moment, grows into genius, and vents itself in appropriate expressions, each in itself a picture. Thus may one moment minister to years; and the life-wearied heart of old age, by one delightful remembrance, be restored to primal joy-the glory of the past brought beamingly upon the faded present and the world that is ob
scurely passing away from our eyes, re-illumined with the visions of its early morn. The shows of nature are indeed evanescent, but their spiritual influences are immortal; and from that grove now glowing in the sunlight, may your heart derive a delight that shall utterly perish but in the grave!
But now you are in the White Lion, and our advice to you—-perhaps unnecessary-is immediately to order breakfast. There are many parlors-some with a charming prospect, and some without any prospect at all; but remember that there are other people in the world besides yourselves, and therefore, into whatever parlor you may be shown by a pretty maid, be contented, and lose no time in addressing yourselves to your repast. That over, be in no hurry to get on the Lake. Perhaps all the boats are engaged-and Billy Balmer is at the Waterhead. So stroll into the churchyard, and take a glance over the graves. Close to the orielwindow of the church is one tomb over which one might meditate half an autumnal day! Enter the church, and you will feel the beauty of these fine lines in the Excursion
"Not raised in nice proportions was the pile,
But large and massy; for duration built;
Now turn your faces up the hill above the village school. That green mount is what is called aStation. The villagers are admiring a grove of parasols, while you
the party-are admiring the vil lage-with its irregular roofs-. white, blue, grey, green, brown, and black walls-fruit-laden trees so yellow-its central church-tower
and environing groves variously Saw ye burnished by autumn. ever hanks and braes and knolls so beautifully bedropt with human dwellings? There is no solitude
aye over those golden waves! A hermit-cell on sweet Lady-Holm! A silvan shieling on Loughrig side! A nest in that nameless dell, which sees but one small slip of heaven, and longs at night for the reascending visit of its few loving stars! A dwelling open to all the skiey influence on the mountain-brow, the darling of the rising or the setting sun, and often seen by eyes in the lower world glittering through the rainbow!
All this seems a very imperfect picture indeed, or panorama of Windermere, from the hill behind the schoolhouse in the village of Bowness. So, to put a stop to such nonsense, let us descend to the White Lion-and inquire about Billy Balmer. Billy has arrived from Waterhead-seems tolerably steady-Mr. Ullock's boats may be trusted-so let us take a voyage of discovery on the Lake. Let those who have reason to think that they have been born to die a different death from drowning, hoist a sail. We to-day shall feather an oar. Billy takes the stroke-Mr. William Garnet's at the helm-and "
about Windermere. Shame on human nature were Paradise uninhabited! Here, in amicable neighborhood, are halls and huts-here rises through groves the dome of the rich man's palace, and there the low roof of the poor man's cottage beneath its one single sycamore! Here are hundreds of small properties hereditary in the same families for many hundred yearsand never, never, O Westmoreland! may thy race of statesmen be extinct -nor the virtues that ennoble their humble households! See, suddenly brought forth by sunshine from among the old woods-and then sinking away into her usual unobtrusive serenity-the lake-loving Rayrig, almost level, so it seems, with the water, yet smiling over her own quiet bay from the grove-shelter of her pastoral mound! With in her walls may peace ever dwell with piety-and the light of science long blend with the lustre of the domestic hearth. Thence to Calgarth is all one forest-yet gladebroken, and enlivened by open uplands, so that the roamer, while he expects a night of umbrage, often finds himself in the open day, be- row, vassals, row! for the pride neath the bright blue bow of hea- of the Lowlands," is the choral ven haply without a cloud. The song that accompanies the Naiad eye travels delighted over the mul- out of the bay, and round the north titudinous tree-tops-often dense as end of the Isle called Beautiful, one single tree-till it rests, in sub- under the wave-darkening umbrage lime satisfaction, on the far-off of that ancient oak. And now we mountains, that lose not a woody are in the lovely straits between character, till the tree-sprinkled that Island and the mainland of pastures roughen into rocks-and Furness Fells. The village has rocks tower into precipices, where disappeared, but not melted away; the falcons breed. But the lake for, hark! the church-tower tolls will not suffer the eye long to wan- ten,-and see the sun is high in der among the distant glooms. heaven. High, but not hot--for She wins us wholly to herself-and the first September frosts chilled restlessly and passionately for a, the rosy fingers of the morn as she while-but calmly and affectionately at last the heart embraces all her beauty, and wishes that the vision might endure forever, and that here our tent were pitched-to be struck no more during our earthly pilgrimage! Imagination lapses into a thousand moods. O for a fairy pinnace to glide and float for
bathed them in the dews, and the air is cool as a cucumber. Cool but bland-and as clear and transparent as a fine eye lighted up by a good conscience. There were breezes in Bowness Bay-but here there are none-or, if there be, they but whisper aloft in the treetops, and ruffle not the water, which
is calm as Louisa's breast. The small isles here are but few in number -yet the best arithmetician of the party cannot count them-in confusion so rich and rare do they blend their shadows with those of the groves on the Isle called Beautiful, and on the Furness Fells! A tide imperceptible to the eye, drifts us on among and above those beautiful reflections-that downward world of hanging dreams! and ever and anon we beckon unto Billy gently to dip his oar, that we may see a world destroyed and recreated in one moment of time. Yes! Billy! thou art a poet-and canst work more wonders with thine oar than could he with his pen who painted "heavenly Una with her milk-white lamb," wandering by herself in Fairy-Land. How is it, pray, that our souls are satiated with such beauty as this? Is it because 'tis unsubstantial all-senseless, though fair-and in its evanescence unsuited to the sympathies that yearn for the permanences of breathing life? Dreams are delightful only as delusions within the delusion of this our mortal waking existence-one touch of what we call reality dissolves them all-blissful though they may have been, we care not when the bubble bursts-nay, we are glad again to return to our own natural world, care-haunted, though, in its happiest moods, it be-glad as if we had escaped from glamoury-and, oh! beyond expression sweet it is once more to drink the light of living eyes-the music of living lips-after that preternatural hush that steeps the shadowy realms of the imagination, whether stretching along a sunset-heaven, or the mystical imagery of earth and sky floating in the lustre of lake or sea. Therefore"6 row, vassals, row, for the pride of the Lowlands," and as rowing is a thirsty exercise, let us land at the Ferry, and each man refresh himself with a horn of ale.
There is not a prettier place on all Windermere than the Ferryhouse, or one better adapted for a
honey-moon. You can hand your bride into a boat almost out of the parlor window, and be off among the islands in a moment, or into nook or bay where no prying eye, even through telescope, (a most unwarrantable instrument,) can overlook your happiness; or you can secrete yourselves, like buck and doe, among the lady-fern on Furness Fells, where not a sunbeam can intrude on your sacred privacy, and where you may melt down hours to moments in chaste connubial bliss, brightening futurity with plans of domestic enjoyment, like long lines of lustre streaming across the lake. But at present, let us visit the Fortlooking Building among the cliffs, called The Station, and see how Windermere looks as we front the east. Why, you would not know it to be the same lake. The Isle called Beautiful, which heretofore had scarcely seemed an isle, appearing to belong to one or other shore of the mainland, from this point of view is an isle indeed, loading the lake with a weight of beauty, and giving it an ineffable character of richness which nowhere else does it possess, while the other lesser isles, dropt "in nature's careless haste" between it and the Furness Fells, connect it still with those lovely shores from which it floats a short way apart, without being disunited-one spirit blending the whole together. within the compass of a fledgling's flight. Beyond these
"Sister isles that smile
'Together like a happy family
Of beauty and of love," the eye meets the Rayrig-woods, with but a gleam of water between, only visible in sunshine, and is gently conducted by them up the hills of Applethwaite diversified with cultivated enclosures "all green as emerald," to their very summits, with all their pastoral and arable grounds besprinkled with stately single trees, copses, or groves. On the nearer side of these hills is seen, stretching far off to other lofty regions-Hill-bell and High-street