Page images

livered by a young man, and possessed much merit. It was chaste and nervous in style, replete with excellent sentiments, and delivered with judicious action, and a modest, manly tone of voice. The church is very antique, and presents a number of curious old monuments, which are ranged around the interior of its walls.


Being anxious to continue my route northward with as little delay as possible, early in the afternoon I mounted a horse, and in company with the gentleman who was my fellow passenger from Whitehaven yesterday, proceeded towards this place: a ride of such varied beauty and grandeur for an equal distance I never before enjoyed. The road on leaving C. soon entered the mountains; and continued either winding along their feet, or climbing and skirting their acclivities the residue of the way. Proceeding two or three miles, we descended into the beautiful vale of Lorton. is an extensive and well cultivated tract, enclosed on all sides by high and steep mountains. The pretty village of Lorton, with its venerable church, stands in the centre; and at the extremities of the valley, are two or three neat hamlets. Near the latter, were several very flourishing plantations of larches. As we rode along, I noticed the sycamore, (New England balm of Gilead,) the willow, (called in this neighbourhood, the palm,) and the pear-tree, in full leaf. The hedges of hawthorn and privet, displayed also a luxuriant foliage. Over them the wild honeysuckle was creeping: and on the green turf beneath, the daisy, violet, and primrose smiled in full bloom. Passing from the vale of Lorton, we penetrated hills of a sterner grandeur than those which we had left. For a considerable distance not a single enclosure appeared, and scarcely a defile fit for cultivation, except where some mountain brook dashed from the precipice, and furrowed an opening amidst the opposing crags. These streams were frequent; and from their channels it is evident, are always much swollen by spring and autumnal

rains. The hills presented every species of bold and massive forms. The clouds as they floated heavily by, cast their long dark shadows upon them; and these often produced a fine effect by falling at the feet of one of the highest, and ascending by a slow solemn motion to its very summit. Presently, the harsh features of the landscape immediately around us, began to soften into a milder expression. The russet tints of the little vegetation, which had remained gradually disappeared:-glades of verdant grass disputed the soil with the heath, and whin,—which extending their surface, at length stretched into rich pastures on which flocks of sheep were feeding, enlivening the scene with their gambols, and regaling the ear with their bells.

The shepherds whom I saw, were generally attended with a pair of dogs of a remarkably strong and active breed, and distinguished for their wonderful sagacity. Several striking proofs of the latter quality, I accidentally witnessed; and judging also from other and mutual indications, I could not help thinking that these humble animals would hardly have suffered in the comparison of their instinct, with the reason of the masters whom they served.

The right of pasturing sheep upon the uninclosed tracts along the hill sides in this neighbourhood, belongs equally to all freeholders in the adjoining parishes. It is given to them when they receive leases of their lands. On the ride, I occasionally noticed a raven, after sailing round the peaks of the mountains, poising for a time over a certain spot; and my companion told me, that it was watching to seize and prey upon some young lamb. These birds, he represented as exceedingly voracious and bold.

The country at length opened somewhat, and disclosed more perfectly the bold outline of Skiddaw; near the base of which, our road conducted us. Beyond and directly in front, arose majestically the towering heights of Helvellyn; and further to the right, the lofty undulating ridge of the

Borrowdale mountains. Besides these, numerous other steep hills and fells appeared in every direction, all forming one vast amphitheatre, which enclosed within its magnificent amplitude, the matchless vale of Keswick.

But before dwelling upon the beauties of this elysium, I must return to the point, where the whole valley, to most of which Keswick gives name, opened first on the view. My companion, I would here remark, with genuine native enthusiasm, had previously assured me that I should find the scene, which would be there unfolded, the most beautiful which I had ever witnessed; and in that he was not mistaken.

Turning a sudden angle in the road, I first discerned the little lake of Bassenthwaite, reposing beneath Skiddaw, and reflecting from its placid bosom, the purple shadows of that stupendous mountain. Skiddawdale next appeared; a pretty extent of meads which spread themselves along its borders, and for some distance into the valley. A rivulet was seen issuing from the Bassenthwaite and hurrying through the dale, as if eager to bear its crystal tribute to the Derwent lake near Keswick. It was a modest stream, and seemed to shrink from observation, occasionally concealing entirely its waters among the windings which it pursued. But

The matted grass *** *** with livelier green
Betrayed the secret of its silent course.

the valley of K. encircled by the mountains, I have already named, commences with this lake of Bassenthwaite and the adjacent meads. Thence, it extends six or eight miles; and embraces a beautifully varied landscape, in the centre of which stands the town of Keswick, not far from the lake of that name; called also indifferently, the lake of Derwent. It terminates with the romantic hamlet of Grange, at the mouth of the wild pass which opens into the crags of Borrowdale. The whole of this valley is decked with the richest cultivation; and even at this early season, it presents some of the

softest and loveliest tints, which I ever saw spread over the face of nature. Its beauty is strikingly heightened by the savage grandeur of the surrounding mountains. Indeed, they each add powerfully by contrast to the effect of the other.

The valley is populous. Several villages are scattered over it; each distinguished by the gray tower of its church; while around, in every direction, may be seen white cottages, and farm-houses, and country seats, some of them indeed, partly embosomed among trees or screened by creeping shrubs; but all serving to vary the expression, and heighten the romantic beauty of the landscape.

Keswick lake is an irregular sheet of water, about three miles in length. Its clearly defined border, is prettily fringed with trees; and several islands which dot its surface, are also well wooded. The appearance of these islands is highly picturesque; and they are happily disposed for the effect of perspective. On one of them, a little country-box has lately been erected; its attic, just peeping from a hood of larches, is all however which is presented to the eye.

It was after five, P. M. when we reached Keswick. Having dined, I rambled out and took a bird's-eye survey of the town and environs. I soon found myself upon the beach of the lake; and lingered among the enchanting beauties of the scene, till twilight veiled them from my view.

ART. IV.-Memoirs of the late William Lewis, Esq. of the Philadelphia Bar.

WILLIAM LEWIS, the son of a plain and respectable farmer, in Chester county, Pennsylvania, was born on the second of February, 1751, O. S. When of a proper age, he was put to a common country school, at Edgemont in the neighbourhood of his residence, from which he was afterwards removed to a seminary of a higher order established by the society of friends at Willistown.

[graphic][ocr errors]

graved by and R. Rigget from the Puginal Picture by Stuart, for the Analectic Magazine.

« EelmineJätka »