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BY NICHOLAS MICHELL.
BY E. R. SILL.
From The New Monthly Magazine. We walked together, you and I,
In the happy groves, where wood-birds sing,
But sweeter were the pleasant words
That you kept murmuring.
They beat in time with our glad hearts,
Old words they were from some old song; Doth around me grandly sweeps
Laughing, you sang them, all for me
As we two wandered on.
We talked together, you and I,
Wise things you spoke for one so young,
I listened, feeling all the while, Like strange murmurs in the shell.
That on your words a story hung.
We lived together, you and I,
In those old years, two friends, no more; Turn my thoughts, loved home, to thee,
Did we ever dream of what was to be, Sun upon fond memory beaming :
Could we span the years that were on before? What a waste of water lies
If we loved together, you and I, 'Twixt me and my childhood's bowers ! Was it wise that the love was never told ? O’er its paths I waft my sighs,
Was it better to let the time glide on
Till both life and love were old ?
Dublin University Magazine.
THE PICTURE OF THE WORLD.
And my thoughts, like doves, go forth :
One morning of a summer's day
Upon a painter's easel lay
The picture of a child at play:
A form of laughing life and grace,
And finished, all except the place And the dog I loved so well.
Left empty for the untouched face.
In nodding violets, half asleep,
The dancing feet were ankle deep;
One rounded arm was heaping up
With clover-bloom and buttercup; 'Tis the village bells I hear,
The other tossed a blossom high
To lure a lowering butterfly.
'Twas easy to imagine there, Ringing as from paradise :
In that round frame of rippled hair Oh, that music o'er the deep !
The wanting face, all bright and fair. Let me listen — let me weep.
A sadder artist came that day,
Looked on the picture where it lay,
And, sitting in the painter's place,
He painted in the missing face.
From his own heart the hues he took 'Tis my sister's as her tresses
Lo! what a wan and woful look !
Under that mocking wreath of flowers, 'Tis my mother's, as she blesses,
A brow worn old with weary hours ; Blesses me, her wandering son :
A face-once seen one still must see Oh, those voices o'er the deep !
Wise awful eyes' solemnity,
Lips long ago too tired to hide
The look of a despair too late,
Too dead, to even be desperate ;
A face for which so far away In a quiet church, sweet songs of praise,
The struggle and the protest lay, Your voice was like an angel's voice,
No memory of it more could stay. Your face was as an angel's face.
Repulsed and reckless, withered, wild, We knelt together, you and I,
It stared above the dancing child. In that dim old church, in sight of heaven,
At night a musing poet came, And you prayed a prayer that the angels know And shuddering, wrote beneath its name. That sin may be forgiven.
From The Fortnightly Review. who has formed, wisely or foolishly, an inON SOME FEATURES OF AMERICAN SCEN. veterate habit of judging for himself as to ERY.
objects that strike his eye, and skipping the I have often heard it said' by travellers rapturous passages in guide-books. that America (meaning thereby the United What do we mean by the “ picturesque States, or rather that part of their enor- in scenery ? An old question, and not mous surface with which ordinary visitors quite so readily answered as at first sight become familiar) is not a picturesque may appear. Picturesque
" those country. Grand it is, of course, in many combinations or groups, or attitudes of obof its features, and it may possess beauty jects which are fitted for the purposes of of scenery in certain senses; but not (say the painter.” So says Stewart, the Scottish these critics) in the sense which we com- oracle of the last generation, and certainly monly understand by “the picturesque." | a very precise and accurate definer. The And this depreciatory judgment I have term picturesque, in its application to scensometimes heard repeated by Americans ery, according to a French authority, desthemselves; who, after roaming over the ignates “un aspect pris dans la nature, et most celebrated parts of Europe (and few qui, par la réunion d'heureux effets et cultivated Americans have not done so), d'accidents variés, est susceptible d'une indulge themselves, like other travelled reproduction avantageuse par les procédés folk, in certain slightly disparaging airs de l'art.” Nothing can be more correct, towards their mother country on their re- etymologically speaking; and it is well turn. This is an opinion in which, for my that this close definition should be kept in own part, I can by no means concur. My view on a subject on which we commonly acquaintance with the external aspect of permit ourselves much looseness of expresthat portion of the world is confined to a sion. It is in this sense that mere beauty, mere traveller's glance over the Eastern which may, or may not, according to cirand Middle States, a little of the West, cumstances, have an artistic effect, is disand part of Canada; but this amount of tinguished from picturesqueness. To use knowledge, though not quite sufficient to once more Sydney Smith's old illustration, enable me to sit in judgment on American —“The rector's horse is beautiful, the usages and institutions, may suffice for my curate's is picturesque,” the latter animal present purpose. I say nothing as to what abounding, undoubtedly, more than the I have not seen. But, speaking from my former, " in happy effects and varied acciown observation only, I venture to stand dents.” Nevertheless, after having theoup in defiance of common opinion, if com- retically established this distinction, I must mon opinion be on the side of the critics take the liberty of disregarding it, and uswhom I have named. Although great part ing the term picturesque, for my present of this vast surface is (like that of other purpose, in that larger and more vulgar extensive regions) of a monotonous char- sense in which it comprehends all the acter to the eye, yet it contains portions pleasing general effects of scenery on the which abound in elements of the pic-eye: form, colour, grace, beauty, even turesque to a degree entitling them to en- grandeur and sublimity, wherever these ter boldly into competition with those effects are naturally produced by what we scenes of the Old World on which the epi- see, and not merely by adventitious thet is most commonly lavished in popular thoughts associated in our minds with description. My object, in the cursory that which we see. notions on a great subject which I am The love of the picturesque in this larger about to confide to these pages, will be to sense is one of the most modern of tastes; it convey the general impression made by is hardly a century old with us, and it is American scenery, and especially with a only beginning to develop itself among our view to this attribute of picturesqueness, American relations. But, in this as in on the eye of one who is no artist, but every other fancy which they take up, they respectably familiar, as a mere observer, are hasty and vehement, and eager to with the art and nature of Earope, and achieve everything at
a bound. They
have dispensed altogether with the slow most do, in order to become acquainted educating process by which Goethe and with cities and men, and visit at most one Wordsworth, and their schools, implanted or two noted wonders in the way of scenery, what may be called the sentimental love but to learn the real aspect of her external of external nature on the English and Ger- nature, he need be under no apprehension man mind; and claim to have arrived at of difficulties, or over-exertion, or underthe same end by a summary process, as so feeding. The best-known sites within orquick-witted a people ought. Thirty years dinary reach are all monopolised; huge ago mountains and lakes were, to the great boarding caravanserais are planted upon inass of Americans, only quarters for pot- them; railroads from various centres lead shooting and fishing, and cataracts had no to them, and converge upon them; and all value except in the shape of water privi- may be enjoyed at the regular price of leges. Now, all the favourite sites of pic- three or four dollars per day per head, turesque beauty in the Northern States board and lodging, liquor not included. swarm with visitors like Switzerland and This, or nothing. If you seek to have NaScotland. A whole literature of descrip- ture to yourself, you will be disappointed, tive hand-books, and guides, and local as at Grindelwald or Lochlomond. And poetry, and romances, has sprung up like there is scarcely any alternative in Ameran exhalation from the forest; “ sites” are ican travel, at least in the forest region, beworth a fancy price for building purposes, tween the perfectly easy and the utterly and mill-owners turn on for tourists occas- impracticable. Keep to the track, and ional waterfalls at ten cents a head. And you may count for days beforehand on the American, carrying his gregarious hab- every hour's journey, and every meal to its into the wilderness, establishes himself be eaten. Diverge from it but for a trifling for the season in some enormous hotel, digression, and you are immersed at once in holding from six hundred to two hundred jungle, swamps, curduroy roads, starvation, guests; every rapid, mountain, and lake and bewilderment. has now one such at least; and there, in You must therefore make up your mind, company with bevies of ladies in the latest as there is no help for it, to the gregarious New York style, he flirts, dances “Ger- habits of American travelling; for the big mans," and lounges through the prescribed rural hotels are almost as promiscuous in weeks, with the help of iced water or point of company as the railroad cars, exstronger liquors, as his taste may be. He cept so far as stress of expense contributes drives about in his host's spider-wheeled to make them more select. You must learn “ buggies," over desperate roads, to see not to regard any sort of folks with whom the obligatory lions. Walking and riding you are thrown in contact as what a grievare not his favourite amusements; but this ance-writer to the Times described the deficiency is not owing to indolent habits, other day as “a dreadful set of third-class as has been commonly said. It is rather passengers.” If you cannot endure this caused, or at least rendered habitual, by admixture, content yourself with the Old the greatness of distances and the imper- World, which is large enough for the fasvious nature of the forests, which force the tidious. But, if you make the experiment, wanderer to keep the road, and render the you will learn this among other secrets use of wheels almost necessary. But in that (to borrow a political phrase lately in mountain and forest sporting — the taste vogue) there is such a thing as levelling for which, as a high-bred pastime, is also a upwards, as well as levelling down; and new acquisition to Americans, and rapidly that if refined folks must put up in America growing into a passion — the city Ameri- with a great deal of what they regard as can is quite as willing and able to encoun- coarseness of demeanour in the less reter fatigue, as well as hardship, as similar fined with whom they are made to associate, men of other nations.
these latter, on the other hand, are apt to The consequence is, that if any one learn much of forbearance and civility, and should be tempted to travel in the fre- kindness and accommodativeness, and comquented parts of America, not merely, as parative polish, from the same association ;
which they never can, where custom keeps | ney, to attain the attribute of grandeur. classes apart. Au reste, aristocratic habits So, again, the shores of the great Amermake way in America as elsewhere, and the ican lakes are in general utterly deficient system of separate compartments in railway both in beauty and picturesqueness; like carriages is gradually introduced near the mere bits of tame sea-coast, the opposite centres of traffic.
side being seldom visible: but we know But I am only indulging in a few discur- that these lakes contain the greatest masses sive remarks, suggested by the memories of fresh water anywhere to be found on the of pleasant hours passed amidst American earth, and we respect them, not according scenery, and not lecturing on American to the verdict of our eyes, but according to manners and customs. As I have said, I what we remember to have read of them in hold it necessary, in passing judgment of geographical dictionaries. Or, again, if comparison, to eliminate from my estimate you take your stand on some abrupt Cana great variety of indirect impressions which adian height, such as are scattered along we habitually derive from the contempla- the banks of the St. Lawrence and the Ottion of fine landscape — impressions so tawa, and look to the north, beyond those closely allied with those of the picturesque, huge rivers, your eye rests everywhere alike properly so called, as to be unavoidably on a billowy sea of leaves, varied but by classed together with them in our minds, the tall skeletons of pines, here in groups although their origin and real significance and there single, which the lumberers have are different. That which appeals to the left, towering to twice the height of the orimagination in scenery is, strictly speaking, dinary forest trees. There is no doubt, a not picturesque; but that is picturesque certain gloomy grandeur in the prospect, which appeals to the eye alone, or at least considered only as it affects the eye; but it primarily, and pleases by what it presents, is to association that the scene owes its real not by what it suggests. Now, in America, power to captivate us. We know that those the first notions which fasten themselves on tributary rivers which gleam here and there the mind, in contemplating the scenes in the distance come from an unknown land; which men in general desire chiefly to be their course is unmapped, and their springs hold and cherish chiefly in their recollec- undiscovered: those dark chains of hills, tion, are those of mere vastness. But the which here and there interrupt the wide grandeur of mere vastness arises simply, in uniformity of surface, are unexplored, or the great majority of instances, from the only touched by the hunter and the woodimagination of the viewer. That which man. Ask their names of the inhabitant strikes and overawes us is not what we see, of the clearing, and he can only tell you but the ulterior ideas suggested by what that he has never heard of any: they are we see. A western prairie, viewed as it terra incognita, within view of thriving generally must be with little advantage of cities. And those woods which cover hill height, is certainly not grander than Salis- and plain alike fill, no doubt, a large space bary Plain, and certainly far less so than to your eyes, but how much vaster to your the Campagna of Rome, with its encircling fancy! For you know that, beyond the outline of exquisite mountain forms. It is first narrow fringe of scattered clearing, the fact that it is a prairie — part of a vast they extend unbroken, tree behind tree, rolling series of the same which extends until Nature denies farther sustenance to from the Great Lakes to the Rocky Moun- her aborescent progeny, and they die out tains, which is already attracting to its in plains of moss and rock on the shores of "womb immeasurable, and infinite breast,” Hudson's Bay and the Arctic Ocean. army after army of hungry immigrants, Again, in one feature of what I may term and will continue to do so until it shall the imaginative picturesque, common and have become the seat of human industry recognised among ourselves, the American and human luxury, to an extent which the landscape is from the necessity of the case world has as yet never witnessed: it is entirely deficient; and though reason asthis which causes the little round table of sures the observer that this deficiency is green earth, visible around us as we jour-something accidental and immaterial to the
main issue, there is a sentiment stronger relic of the Norsemen; and, consequently, than reason continually present to produce the worthy citizens of the place treated it a craving for that which cannot be supplied. with high respect, clothed its surroundings This is the want of the creations of man, with turf and shrubbery, and made it up of buildings thrown by a thousand indes- into something like the decorous appear. cribable accidents into harmony with the ance of a pet ruin of the Seven Mountains works of nature before us, which at once or the Thüringer-Wald. Alas! certain old attract and relieve the eyes, sated with the documents have been discovered which seem gaze on mere general outlines. We scarce- to show beyond dispute that it is nothing ly, perhaps, are ourselves aware, until we but a stone mill put up in the time of the miss them, how much the ruined castle, the Puritan settlers. " Its glory has departeil, convent, the minster, the distant perspec- and, although the ornamented exterior still tive of the antique city, nay, the ordinary remains, people pass by it with a certain church tower, and even the old-fashioned sense of humiliation, as when we see a defarmhouse, contribute towards the pictorial tected impostor who has victimised us. value of the scenery to which we are accus It must be admitted, also, while we are tomed. We are ourselves so familiar with making the worst of the case against our them, that we come to regard as mere in- own view, that the American landscape has significant accessories objects without which other defects, as regards that attractiveness our favourite views would, in truth, lose which arises from association, more charactheir character. We do not really estimate teristic and more unpleasing than the mere their value until we miss them. The mere absence of objects familiar in other countries natural features of the banks of the Danube, as graceful accompaniments of fine scenery. where mountainous, are, unless my eye It is commonly said that the first impression misleads me, grander and more beautiful at of an American view (I speak of what is once than those to be met with on the specially American, belonging to a new Rhine or the Rhone. But the latter rivers country, not of the home scenery of old sethave the incomparable advantage of being tled parts) is melancholy. Wby should lined, in their whole course, by remnants this be so where the sense of novelty, and noble, fantastic, or grotesque, of the world freshness, and hope, and the aspect of free of mediæval life which has passed away, and exulting nature seem specially to invite intermingled with the architectural products to cheerfulness? One reason I believe to of modern refinement; and these details be this — that there is something depressing will be found to have entered, thoroughly which jars on the feelings, in the aspect of a and inseparably, into our conceptions of. vast region in which the dominion of nature the general picture: whereas, on the Dan- seems to be ceasing, her grandeur and her ube, from Belgrade down to the Iron Gate, abundance rapidly disappearing, while the until the first Bulgarian minarets greet the dominion of man is not yet established, nor eye of the traveller, there is scarcely a his mission of improveinent accomplished. single object of art, ancient or modern, There is a dreary vacuity between; a which contributes its form to add a graceful gloomy interval, from the falling of the accident to the beauty of the natural out- curtain over the old world, to its rising lines. What is true, exceptionally, in Eu- over the new, Gaze upon the huge zone rope, is of course universally true in Amer- of woods which circles with its frontier ica. The elements of art, antiquity, asso-belt the lands occupied by man beyond the ciation with the works of man, are wholly Alleghanies and on the St. Lawrence; the wanting: All is of yesterday, and all is mightier trees, the older denizens of the designed merely to serve the commonest forest, have almost all disappeared; they wants and the most transitory purposes. have been cleared away by the woodman: Americans often compare the shores of the only a few scattered specimens are left, Hudson to those of the Rhine, and in many such as the tall, meagre skeletons of the respects they have a right to do so; but white pine, which dot the landscape, rising what would a Rhine be if all the historical far above the deciduous trees, all along the fragments which skirt it were absent, and limits of the cultivated land of Canada; the their place occupied only by occasional con- rest consists now mostly of under-growth, glomerations of small wooden houses with or inferior specimens, not worth removal, painted verandahs? There is only one tol- left to struggle and perish together. Moreerably picturesque building - in the lady's over, the mere partial clearing of a forest album sense in all the States, as far as I is found to admit into it great rusbes of know, and that is the old round stone tower wind, which devastate it far and wide; and in Newport, Rhode Island. The theory much greater destruction is occasioned by prevailed some years ago, that it was a the casual fires occasioned by settlers. or