Page images
PDF
EPUB

lous and fearful of offending, is often heard to complain of the disadvantages lie lies under in every path of honour and profit. « Could I but get over some nice points, and conform to the practice and opinion of those about me, I might stand as fair a chance as others for dignities and preferment." And why can you not! What hinders you from discarding this troublesome scrupulotity of yours, which stands fo grievously in your way? If it be a small thing to enjoy a healthful mind, sound at the very core, that does not shrink from the keenest inspection ; inward freedom from remorse and pertur. bation ; unsullied whiteness and simplicity of manners ; a genuine integrity,

Pure in the last recesses of the mind; if you think these advantages an inadequate recompence for what you resign, dismiss your fcruples this instant, and be a slave-merchant, a director or what you please.

VIl. Description of the oale of Keswick in Cumberland. THIS delightful vale is thus elegantly described by the

late ingenuous Dr Brown, in a leiter to a friend. In my way to the north from Hagley, I passed through Dovedale ; and, to fay the truth, was disappointed in it. When I came to Buxton, I visited another or two of their romantic scenes; but these are infesiour to Dovedale. They are all but poor, miniatures of Kefwick; which exceeds them more in grandeur than you can imagine ; and more, if possible, in beauty than in grandeur.

Instead of the narrow lip of valley which is seen at Dovedale, you have at Keswick a vast amphitheatre, in circumference above twenty miles. Instead of a meagre rivulet, a noble liviug lake, ten miles round, of an oblong form, adorned with a variety of wooded islands. The rocks :adeed of Dovedale are finely wild, pointed, and irregular; but the hills are both little and unanimated; and the margin of the brook is poorly edged with weeds, morals, and brushwood. But at Keswick, you w on one side of the lake, see a rich and beautiful landscape of cultivated fields, rifing to the eye in fine in. equalities, with noble groves of oak, happily difperfed,

and

and climbing the adjacent hills, fhade above shade, in the molt various and picturesque forms. On the oppofite fhore, you will find rocks and cliffs of ftupendous height, hanging broken over the lake in horrible grandeur, some of them a thousand feet - high, the woods climbing up their steep and shaggy lides, where mortal foot never yet approached. On these dreadful heights the eagles build their nests; a variety of water.jalls are.

are seen

pouring from their summits, and tumbling in vaft sheets from rock to rock in rude and terrible magnificence: while on all fides of this iinmense amphitheatre the lofty moun ains rise round, piercing the clouds in hapes as fpiry and fantaitic as the very rocks of Dovedale. To this I must add the frequent and bold projection of the cliffs into the lake, forming noble bays and promontories : in other parts they finely retire from it, and often open in alrupt chasms or clefts, through which at hand you see rich and uncultivated vales ; and beyond there, at various distance, mountain rising over, mountain ; among which, new prospects present themselves in mift, till be eye is lost in an agreeable perplexity;

Where active fancy travels beyond sense,

And pictures things unfe . Were I to analyse the two places in their constituent principles, I should tell you, that the full perfection of Kelwick consists of three circumstances; beauty, horrour, and immensity, united ; the second of which alone is found in Dovedale. Of beauty it bath little, nature having left it alipoft a defert: neither is finall extent, nor the diminutive and lifeless form of the hills, admit magniticence; but to give you a complete idea of these three perfections, as they are joined in Keswick, would require the united powers of Claude, Salvator, and Poof. fin. The first should throw his delicate funthine over the cultivated vales, the scattered cots, the groves, the Jake, and woodied islands. The second should dash out the horronr of the rugged cliffs, the steeps, the hanging woods, and foaming water-falls; while the grand pencil of Pouslin Tould crown the whole with the majesty of the impending mountains.

So much for what I would call the permanent beauties of this astonishing scene. Were I not afraid of being tirefome, I could now dwell as long on its varying or accidental beauties. I would sail round the lake, an chor in every bay, and land you on every promontory · and island. I would point out the perpetual change of profpeet ; the woods, rocks, cliffs, and mountains, by turns vanishing or rising into view: now gaining on the fight, hanging over our heads in their full dimensions, beautifully dreadful: and now, by a change of situation, affuming new romantic Shapes ; retiring and leffening on the eye, and insensibly losing themselves in an azure milt. I would remark the contrast of light and shade, produced by the morning and evening sun ; the one gilding the western, the other the eastern, side of this immense amphitheatre ; while the vast shadow projected by the mountains buries the opposite part in a deep and purple gloom, which the eye can hardly penetrate. The natural variety of colouring which the several objects produce, is no less wonderful and pleasing : the ruling cindls in the valley being those of azure, green, and gold; yet ever various, arising from an intermixture of the lake, the woods, the grass, and corn-fields : these are finely contrafted by the gray rocks and cliffs ; and the whole heightened by the yellow Itreams of light, the purple hues and misty azure of the mouutains. Sometimes a serene air and clear sky discluse the tops of the highest hills; at other times, you see the clouds involving their summits, refting on their sides, or descending to their base, and roiling among the valleys, as in a vast furnace. When the winds are high, they róar among the cliffs and caverns like peals of thunder ; then, too, ihe clouds are seen in vast badies sweeping along the hills in gloomy greatness, while the lake joins the tumult, and tofies like a fea. But, in calm weather, the whole scene becomes new: the lake is a perfect mirror, and the landscape in all its beauty: islands, fields, woods,' rocks, and mountains, are seen inverted, and floating on its surface. I will now carry you to the top of a cliff, where, if you care approach the ridge, a new scene of astonishment presents itself ; where the valley, lake, and islands, seem lying at your feei ; where this expanse of water appears diminished to a little pool, annidit the vast and immeasurable objects that surround it ; for here the

sammits of more distant hills appear beyond those you have already seen; and, rifing behind each other in luce cefsive ranges and azure groups of craggy and broken Neeps, form an immense and awful picture, which can only be expressed by the image of a tempestuens sea of mountains. Let me now conduct you down again to the valley, and conclude with one circumstance more; which is, that a walk by ftill moon- light (at which time the diftant water-falls are heard in all their variety of found) among these enchanting dales, opens fuch scenes of delicate beauty, repose, and folemnity, as exceed all de. fcription.

VIII. Pity, an Allegory. IN the happy period of the golden age, when all the

celestial inhabitants defcended to the earth, and converfed familiarly with mortals, among the most cherished of the heavenly powers, were twins, the offspring of Jupiter, Love and Joy. Wherever they appeared, the flowers fprung up beneath their feet, the fun Mone with a brighter radiance, and all nature seemed embellished by their presence.

They were inseparable companions; and their growing attachment was favoured by Jupiter, who had decreed that a lasting union should be folemnized between them fo soon as they were arrived at maturer years. But, in the mean time, the fons of men deviated from their native innocence ; vice and ruin.over-ran the earth with giant ftrides; and Aftrea, with her train of celestial visitants, forlook their polluted abodes. Love alone remained, having been stolen away by Hope, who was his nurse, and conveyed by her to the forests of Arcadia, where he was brought up among the shepherds. But Jupiter assigned him a different partner, and commanded him to espouse Sorrow the daughter of Atè. He complied with reluctance ; for her features were harflı and disagreeable, her eyes funk, her forehead contract. ed into perpetual wrinkles, and her temples were covered with a wreath of cypress and wormwood.

From this union spring a virgin, in whom might be traced a strong resemblance to both her parents ; but the sullen and unamiable features of her mother, were fo

H

mixed

mixed and blended with the sweetness of her father, that her countenance, though mournful, was highly pleasing. The maids and shepherds of the neighbouring plains gathered round, and called her Pity. A redbreast was observed to build in the cabin where she was born ; and, while she was yet an infant, a dove, pur. sued by a hawk, flew into her bofom. This nymph had a dejected appearance; but fo soft and gentle a mien, that she was beloved to a degree of enthusiasm. Her voice was low and plaintive, but inexpressibly sweet; and the loved to lie, for hours together, on the banks of fome wild and melancholy stream, singing to her lute. She taught men to weep, for the took a strange delight in tears; and often, when the virgins of the hanilet were assembled at their evening sports, the would steal in amongst them, and captivate their hearts by her tales, full of a charming sadness. She wore on her head a garland, composed of her father's myrtles, twisted with her mother's cypress.

One day, as the fat musing by the waters of Helicon, her tears by chance fell into the fountain ; and ever fince, the Muse's spring has retained a strong tafte of the infusion. Pity was commanded by Jupiter to follow the steps of her mother through the world, dropping balm into the wounds she made, and binding up the hearts she had broken. She follows with her hair loose, her bosom bare and throbbing, her garments torn by the briars, and her feet bleeding with the roughness of the path. The nymph is mortal, for her mother is fo; and when she has fulfilled her destined course upon the earth, they shall both expire together, and Love be again united to Joy, his immortal and long betrothed bride.

IX. Advantages of Commerce. THERE is no place in town which I fo much love

to frequent as the Royal Exchange. It gives me a secret fatisfaction, and in some measure gratifies my vanity as an Englishman, to see so rich an assembly of my countrymen and foreigners consulting together upon the private business of mankind, and making this metropolis a kind of emporium for the whole earth. I must con

fefs,

« PreviousContinue »