Page images

Full oft to wander where the Muses haunt,
Smit with the love of song.

'T is now long since;
And now, while yet ’t is day, would he withdraw,
Who, when in youth he strung his lyre, addressed
A former generation. Many an eye,
Bright as the brightest now, is closed in night,
And many a voice, how eloquent, is mute,
That, when he came, disdained not to receive
His lays with favor.



(1) J. J. ROUSSEAU. “J'arrive essoufflé, tout en nage ; le cour me bat ; je vois de loin les soldats à leur poste ; j'accours, je crie d'une voix étouffée. Il étoit trop tard." Les Confessions, 1. i.

(2) “Lines of eleven syllables occur almost in every page of Milton; but though they are not unpleasing, they ought not to be admitted into heroic poetry ; since the narrow limits of our language allow us no other distinction of epic and tragic measures." Johnson.

It is remarkable that he used them most at last. In the Paradise Regained they occur oftener than in the Paradise Lost in the proportion of ten to one; and let it be remembered that they supply us with another close, - another cadence, that they add, as it were, a string to the instrument; and, by enabling the poet to relax at pleasure, to rise and fall with his subject, contribute what is most wanted, compass, variety.

Shakspeare seems to have delighted in them, and in some of his soliloquies has used them four and five times in succession ; an example I have not followed in mine. As in the following instance, where the subject is solemn beyond all others :

“ To be, or not to be," &c. They come nearest to the flow of an unstudied eloquence, and should therefore be used in the drama ; but why exclusively ? Horace, as we learn from himself, admitted the Musa Pedestris in his happiest hours, in those when he was most at his ease; and we cannot regret her visits. To her we are indebted for more than half he has left us ; nor was she ever at his elbow in greater dishabille than when he wrote the celebrated Journey to Brundusium.

(3) BERNARD, Abbot of Clairvaux. “To admire or despise St. Bernard as he ought," says Gibbon, “the reader, like myself, should have before the windows of his library that incomparable landscape.”

(4) The following lines were written on the spot, and may serve perhaps to recall to some of my readers what they have seen in this enchanting country.

I love to watch in silence till the sun
Sets; and MONT BLANC, arrayed in crimson and gold,
Flings his gigantic shadow o'er the lake;
That shadow, though it comes through pathless tracts,
Only less bright, less glorious than himself.
But, while we gaze, 't is gone! And now he shines
Like burnished silver ; all, below, the Night's.

Such moments are most precious. Yet there are
Others that follow fast, more precious still ;

When once again he changes, once again
Clothing himself in grandeur all his own;
When, like a ghost, shadowless, colorless,
He melts away into the heaven of heavens ;
Himself alone revealed, all lesser things
As though they were not and had never been !

(5) The Castle of Joux, in Franche-Comté.

(6) See the Odyssey, lib. xix. v. 597, and lib. xxiii. v. 19

(7) The retreat of Amadeus, the first Duke of Savoy. Voltaire thus addresses it from his windows:

Ripaille, je te vois. O bizarre Amédée," &c. The seven towers are now no longer a landmark to the voyager.

(8) Ludlow.

(9) IIe has given us a very natural account of his feelings at the conclusion of his long labor there : “It was on the night of the 27th of June, 1787, between the hours of eleven and twelve, that I wrote the last lines of the last page in a summer-house in my garden. After laying down my pen, I took several turns in a berceau or covered walk of acacias, which commands the lake and the mountains. The sky was serene, the moon was shining on the waters, and I will not dissemble my joy. But, when I reflected that I had taken an everlasting leave of an old and agreeable companion,” &c.

There must always be something melancholy in the moment of separation, as all have more or less experienced ; none more, perhaps, than Cowper : “And now," says he, “I have only to regret that my pleasant work is ended. To the illustrious Greek I owe the smooth and easy flight of many thousand hours. He has been my companion at home and abroad, in the study, in the garden and in the field ; and no measure of success, let my labors succeed as they may, will ever compensate to me the loss of the innocent luxury that I have enjoyed, as a translator of Homer."

(10) The burial-place of Necker.

(11) The Lake of the Four Cantons.

(12) In the course of the year they entertain from thirty to thirty-five thousand travellers. — Le Père Biselx, Prieur.

(13) Alluding to Barri, a dog of great renown in his day. He is here admirably represented by a pencil that has done honor to many of his kind, but to none who deserved it more. His skin is stuffed and preserved in the Museum of Berne.

(14) The Grande Chartreuse. It was indebted for its foundation to a miracle ; as every guest may learn there from a little book that lies on the table in his cell, the cell allotted to him by the fathers.

“In this year the Canon died, and, as all believed, in the odor of sanctity; for who in his life had been so holy, in his death so happy? But how false are the judgments of men! For when the hour of his funeral had arrived, when the mourners had entered the church, the bearers set down the bier, and every voice was lifted up in the Miserere, suddenly, and as none knew how, the lights were extinguished, the anthem stopt! A darkness succeeded, a silence as of the grave; and these words came in sorrowful accents from the lips of the dead: 'I am summoned before a just God ! A just God judgeth me!

I am condemned by a just God!'"

[ocr errors]

“In the church,” says the legend, “there stood a young man with his hands clasped in prayer, who, from that time, resolved to withdraw into the desert. It was he whom we now invoke as St. Bruno."

(15) Ils ont la même longueur que l'église de Saint-Pierre de Rome, et ils renferment quatre cents cellules.

(16) Vallombrosa, formerly called Acqua Bella.

(17) The words of Ariosto.

una badia Ricca e cortesa a chiunque vi venia.

(18) Ariosto and Milton. Milton was there at the fall of the leaf.

(13) Not that I felt the confidence of Erasmus, when, on his way from Paris to Turin, he encountered the dangers of Mont Cenis in 1507 ; when, regardless of torrent and precipice, he versified as he went; composing a poem on horseback,* and writing it down at intervals as he sat in the saddle,t - an example, I imagine, followed by few.

Much, indeed, of Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, as the author assured me, was conceived and executed in like manner on his journey through Greece ; but the work was performed in less unfavorable circumstances; for, if his fits of inspiration were stronger, he travelled on surer ground.

(20) “Many able men have served under me ; but none like him. He loved glory for itself."

(21) The Schreckhorn.

(22) The Jung-frau.

(23) The author of Lalla Rookh, a poet of such singular felicity as to give a lustre to all he touches, has written a song on this subject, called the Crystal-hunters.

(24) M, Ebel mentions an escape almost as miraculous. “L'an 1790, Christian Boren, propriétaire de l'auberge du Grindelwald, eut le malheur de se jeter dans une fente du glacier, en le traversant avec un troupeau de moutons qu'il ramenoit des pâturages de Bäniseck. IIeureusement qu'il tomba dans le voisinage du grand torrent qui coule dans l'intérieur, il en suivit le lit par dessous les voûtes de glace, et arriva au pied du glacier. Cet homme est actuellement encore en vie." Manuel du Voyageur.

(25) Lichen geographicus.

(26) Almost every mountain of any rank' or condition has such a bridge. The most celebrated in this country is on the Swiss side of St. Gothard.

(27) When may not our minds be said to stream into each other ? for how much by the light of the countenance comes from the child to the mother before he has the gift of speech ; and how much afterwards in like manner comes to console us and to cheer us in our journey through life ; for when even to the last cannot we give, cannot we receive what no words can convey ?

And is not this the universal language, the language of all nations from the beginning of time, - which comes with the breath of life, nor goes till life itself is departing ?

(38) A tradition. Gesler said to him, when it was over, “ You had a second arrow in

* " Carmen equestre, vel potius Alpestre." - Erasmus,
+ " Notans in charta super sellam." - Idem.

your belt. "

What was it for ?" — “To kill you," he replied, “ if I had killed my son." There is a monument in the market-place of Altorf to consecrate the spot.

(29) The Eagle and Child is a favorite sign in many parts of Europe.

(30) “ J'aime beaucoup ce tournoiement, pourvu que je sois en sûreté." - J. J. Rousseau, Les Confessions, l. iv.

(31) “ Ou il y a environ dix ans, que l'Abbé de St. Maurice, Mons. Cocatrix, a été précipité avec sa voiture, ses chevaux, sa cuisinière, et son cocher.” — Descript du Valais.

(32) Originally thus :

I love to sail along the LARIAN Lake
Under the shore-- though not, where'er he dwelt,
To visit PLINY, — not, where'er he dwelt,
Whate'er his humor; for from cliff to cliff,
From glade to glade, adorning as he went,
He moved at pleasure, many a marble porch,
Dorian, Corinthian, rising at his call.

(33) “Hujus in littore plures villæ meæ.” -- Epist. ix. 7.

(34) Epist. i. 3, ix. 7.

(35) Il lago di Garda. His peninsula he calls “the eye of peninsulas ;” and it is beautiful. But, whatever it was, who could pass it by ? Napoleon, in the career of victory, turned aside to see it.

Of his villa there is now no more remaining than of his old pinnace, which had weathered so many storms, and which he consecrated at last as an ex-voto.

(36) Commonly called Paul Veronese.

(37) The lake of Catullus ; and now called Il lago di Garda. Its waves, in the north, lash the mountains of the Tyrol; and it was there, at the little village of Limone, that Hofer embarked, when in the hands of the enemy and on his way to Mantua, where, in the court-yard of the citadel, he was shot as a traitor. Less fortunate than Tell, yet not less illustrious, he was watched by many a mournful eye as he came down the lake ; and his name will live long in the heroic songs of his country.

He lies buried at Innspruck, in the church of the Holy Cross ; and the statue on his tomb represents him in his habit as he lived and as he died.

(38) Petrarch, Epist. Rer. Sen. I. v. ep. 3.

(39) Mastino de la Scala, the Lord of Verona. Cortusio, the ambassador and historian, saw him so surrounded.

This house had been always open to the unfortunate. In the days of Can Grande all were welcome; poets, philosophers, artists, warriors. Each had his apartment, each a separate table ; and at the hour of dinner musicians and jesters went from room to room. Dante, as we learn from himself, found an asylum there.

Lo primo tuo rifugio, e'l primo ostello
Sarà la cortesia del gran Lombardo,
Che'n su la scala porta il santo uccello."

Their tombs in the public street carry us back into the times of barbarous virtue ; nor less so do those of the Carrara Princes of Padua, though less singular and striking in

« PreviousContinue »