Графични страници
PDF файл

are displayed in the wildest manner. unparalleled. It is singular enough, The sieep we had descended was that, among so many sulphureous composed of minerals of the niust fires, we should have suffered from singular, yet beautiful description. pinching cold. At the lowest point The heavy morning rains were rising io which we went, the therniometer in steam in all directions, and had al- stood at 43 10-2. We employed ready awakened each sulphureous ourselves for a considerable time in crevice, while almost every chink in collecting the finest specimens wo the ground was so hot, that it was im- could obtain of the above-mentioned possible to keep the hand the least minerals. We then retraced our time upon it. But this sensation was steps in this descent, which proved in unison with the objects around; considerably laborious; and after the great crater of the volcano open- gaining the top, visited a crevice a liting its convulsed jaws before you, tle way down on the outside of the where the rude lava was piled in eve- cone, opened within the last furty ry varied form in alternate layers with days, which, though about one finger pozzulana and cinders. Below us the broad, and not nuch longer, admiis a newly-formed crater* was pouring current of air so tremendously heated, forth its steamy clouds, and at every that, on laying a bunch of terns quito growl which labouring nature gave wet with the morning's rain, upon it, from below, these volumes burst forth they speedily were in a blaze. Rewith renewed fury. At our feet, and suning the edge on the summit, we on cvery side, were deep beds of yel returned the way we came to the top low sulphur, varying in color from the of the descending path, and on our derpesi red orange, occasioned by way saw the siin set in a very splens, ferruginous mixture, to the palest did manner, illuminating the distant straw-colour, where alum predomina- islands of Ischia and Procida, the ted ; and beside these, white deposi- point of Misenum, and the bay of tions of great extent and depth, which Biæ, with his last rays. Hiving are lava decomposed by heat, and in eaten our eggs, we descended the a state of great sofiness. Contrasted cone ; being rather dark I made no with these productions of beauty, we particular haste; but on a former ocfind the sterner formations of black casion I went down the cove with and purple porphyry, which occasion- great satisfaction in four minutes, ally assume the scarlet hue from the Had there been fewer stones I could extreme action of heat; add to this easily have gone quicker. We left the sombre grey lava, and that of a the top about half-past five, and have green colour glittering throughout with ing taken our cold dinner at the here micaceous particles, with the deep mitage, we descended to Resina by brown volcanic ashes, and you will torch light, and reached Naples safe. : have a combination which, for gran- ly at half-past eight o'clock. deur aud singularity must be almost


HERE is a dreamy, melancholy consciousness, and floats passively

mood of thought into which the up and down the stream of time and mind sometimes steals without any humanity. There is a luxury in this perceptible reason for it; a sort of state of mind, of which every one has voluntary trance, in which the spirit tasted more or less. To the busy resigns its activity, but retains, its and active, it is the spirit's bed of


A small crater burst out in the bottom of the large one on the morning of the 18th. excursion was on the 21st of November.

down; to the lonely, deep-thinking, guest, and I accordingly determined and imaginative man, it is the pas- on paying a short visit to some of my sage to scenes of ioconceivable love- most domesticated acquaiutances. liness,--shadowy, and indistinct, and The house I first made for was dim, but dropping with the rich dews that of an excellent man, who had of a most perfect harmony. But the formerly been in business ; but, havawakening from this dream is painful ing had a property left him by a in proportion to the intensity of its relative, bad for some time been live impressions. We feel the walls of ing in the enjoyment of independmortality closing round us with a


He had been twice married, sensation of suffering; the realities and by his former wife had three and circumstances of life arrange daughters, who were grown up, and themselves as barriers to our en- still living with him. His present chanted palace; the past, with its wife, to whom he had been married mellowed sacred beauty, is lost un- little more than a twelvemonth, was der the glare of day; and we hear a only a year or two older than his thousand voices telling us, that, while eldest daughter, and had been introour hearts seemed to see their holiest duced to the father as her particular remembrances become instinct with friend. I soon found myself at the life and form, they were but in a house of my old acquaintance, and vain and unprofitable dream. in the warm, comfortable drawing

The last night of the old year room, where I had often spent the found me in the nood I have been winter evening before his present describing, but there was pain and marriage. Since this event, I had regret mixed up with the sensations seldoni made so unceremonious a it produced ; visions floated around visit, and every little alteration, me that had but just escaped from therefore, in the arrangements of the my grasp, and the unreal had been family party, became at once visible. too lately a part of the present and When I formerly spent my evenings the palpable to let me enjoy it in there, the place itself seemed fitted reverie. We can look steadily and to fill every one who entered it with calmly back on the far off waves of all comfortable feelings. There was life; but we shrink from watching that warmth and quietness which them, when they are still bearing the make an essential part in the idea of wrecks of our lives and enjoyments. a happy home. There was no sound I felt that it would be wiser to es- that could disturb the soft repose of cape from my lonely thoughts ; and, the spirit as it retired into its sanc. seeing the clear bright moonlight tuary, and no object thắt could recal glittering through my window, I but- any thing but images of peace and toned myself up, and sallied out for content. My friend used to be seata ramble. I had not, however, gone ed in his arm-chair, undisturbedly far, when a dense fog arose, my path reading the paper, or attending to became hardly discernible, and the one of his daughters, who would thick heavy dew dripped off my hat sometimes persuade him into hearas in a steady shower of rain. There ing a novel read, while those who was no alternative, but either to stay were unemployed thus would be out and get unimaginably wet, or busied in performing some little task return back to my solitary study, which their filial affection had set to neither of which I could recon. them. There was now a considera. cile myself; the one threatening ble alteration in their fire-side arme, in plain sober language, with rangements. The two eldest daugha most unsophisticated cough all the ters were seated at a work-table, winter, and the other with something drawn into one corner of the room,

I remembered, however, and, by their close and half-whisperthat there was more than one fire- ed conversation, showed there was side at which I should be a welcome sonje little division of family confi


dence. The younger sat reading to street, and only different from the herself by the fire; and my friend, rest in the neighbourhood by having half bending out of his arm-chair, a rapper on the door, and an appear. with his placid features considerably ance of superior cleanliness. I excited by anxiety, was watching the found my friend at home, as I never feeding of a baby, who shrieked, to remember not doing, and seated with the utmost capacity of its lungs, his wife before a fire, which, though every time the nurse took the spoon occupying scarcely half the depth of from its mouth. Opposite to him sat the stove, shone bright and cheerhis wife, lolling easily in her chair, fully over the clean swept hearth. and evincing infinitely less perturba- This solitary couple, though still in tion, but every now and then casting their youth, had been married some a look at her husband, which seemed years, and had already enough of to me to express anything rather trial and affliction to separate them than reverence for his fatherly looks. from the world, and drive them like Truly did my words stick in my frightened birds to the shelter of throat as I wished the party a happy their nest. They had married from new year ; but, fortunately for me, a romantic and almost self-abandonmy friend having entered into an ing attachment, for they neither of edifying discussion with his wife on them possessed the means of increasteething and sore mouths, ended by ing the pittance which my friend indetermining instantly to go out, and herited from his father, but their purchase the last new work on the love was all-sufficient for their hapdiseases of children, and advice to piness. It had defied the worldlinew married people,

ness of every other passion; and in Out, accordingly, we went. We their quiet little honue they had had before rambled together in the learnt a philosophy of the heart, evening, and long and pleasantly which, after all, is stronger in its amused ourselves with its mixture of meek, yieldiug tenderness, than the merriment and repose, or ruminated, purest stoicism that ever existed. I in the philanthropy of our hearts, on felt my spirits grow sober as I drew the misery behind its curtain ; but, my chair nearer to the fire, and as I alas ! my companion was no longer listened to their conversation, as the same man. Instead of the firm cheerful as their solitude and subduand somewhat strutting step with ed hopes could let it be. which he formerly walked, he has The next friend I visited was one tened on with a quick, shufiling pace of long, long standing,--the friend and stooping gait, that bespoke the of my boyish days, of the years confirmed old man. Heaven keep whose history is written on the home, thought I, as I parted with him, liest page of memory; she was the from pouring the dregs of my wine- dearest one I had, for she had been cup into another's full and sparkling the companion of my far absent mobowl!

ther, the long constant companion of I next bethought me of an ac- her whose name always brings back quaintance wbon I cordially esteem- to my ear all the sweet music I had ed, but whose habits of close retire ever heard. She was a widow, and ment, and peculiar turn of mind, de- her fireside had the deep quietness, prived him of those companionable the peaceful, but too solitary air of qualities which I then felt most in one that had lost its accustomed cirneed of. I was sure, however, of cle of happy faces. The old lady finding his fire-side the same as it was closely engaged in reading; a was when I last visited it, and this large favourite cat sat at her feet ; was enough to determine my course, and the whole apartment was full of The house I was now approaching winter comfort. But she was alone, was a small, two-storied tenement, and she felt her loneliness ; for, with situated at the corner of an obscure the vain effort of a hurt mind to

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

amuse itself with shadows, I saw she rents, bearing in their countenances had placed the chair, in which her traces of care anxious, heart-beavbustand used to sit, with scrupulous ing care, which seemed only to have exactuess in its accustomed position; forgotten itself for a season; all a handkerchief was thrown over one these together made up a scene full of the arms, and a favourite volume of gladness, yet with a sufficient lay open on the cushion, We began shade of melancholy to prepare my to talk, and soon were we far back heart well for its return to solitude. in the vale of years. Time had read Sombre, though not painful, were a moral to us both, but she only had the sensations ihat passed through learnt it. I sighed as I wished her my breast; but they were not pecu. good night. There is a loneliness liar to myself. They are common in the house of a widow, and a mel- to our race, and are the ground-coancholy in her resignation, which I louring, more or less deep, of every have never witnessed without a feel- heart. Time, if he have an audiing too deep to mix well with the ble voice at no other season, is heard lighter fancies of my mind. I tried, all over the world when he gathers but I could not say,

a happy new another year into the mighty dormiyear.”

tory of eternity. The very nicans It was now growing late: I had, which the vulgar make use of at this however, but one more friend to period to dissipate thought, are those visit, and his house was on my way which people employ to amuse themhome. I was soon there, and, as I selves in a haunted house; and you entered, I was greeted with a dozen may be in the most boisterous party voices, all sweet and silvery as the without seeing one who does not tones of a flute, and only breaking make an involuntary pause when the their bird-like 'harmony by the closing minute arrives. There is at hearty, uvrestrained laugh that burst that instant a hesitating, stilling feelfrom their free bosoms. It was a ing within us, as if Time laid his finhappy scene; the large, old-fashion- gers upon our heart, and held it in ed parlour, with a fire blazing away as their grasp, till he set it free again to if it knew it was a Christmas fire ; burn and palpitate with the hopes the crowd of happy boys and girls and agonies of a recommenced existmaking a festival by their very presence, and the delighted-looking pa


CHARMS OF RETROSPECTION, How row beautiful are all the subdi. The years, the months, the weeks,

visions of Time diversifying the days, the nights, the hours, the the dream of human life, as it glides minutes, the moments, each is in it. away between earth and heaven! self a different living, and peopled, And why should moralists moura and haunted world. One life is a over that mutability that gives the thousand lives, and each individual, chief charm to all that passes $0 as he fuliy renews the past, reap. transitorily before our eyes, leaving pears in a thousand characters, yet image upon image fairer and dearer all of them bearing a mysterious far ihan even the realities, still visi- identity not to be misunderstoud, ble and it may be for ever, in the and all of then, while every passion waters of memory sleeping within has been shifting and dying away, the heart? Memory never awakes and reascending into power, siill un. but along witla imagination, and der the dominion of the same uno therefore it is

changing conscience, that feels and « That she can give us back the dead,

knows that it is from God. Even in the loveliest looks they wore !" Oh! who can complain of the

shortness of human life, that can re- but which our Boyhood felt as if they travel all the windings and wander- would be endless—as if they would ings, and mazes that his feet have endure for ever-arose upon us the trodden since the farthest back hour glorious dawning of another new life at which memory pauses, baffled and -Youth! With its insupportable blindfolded, as she vainly tries to sunshine, and its magnificent storms! penetrate and illumine the palpable, Transitory, too, we now know, and the impervious darkness that shrouds well deserving the name of dream! the few first fur-ever-forgotten years But while it lasted, long, various, and of our wonderful being? Long, long, agonizing, wbile, unable to sustain long ago seems it to be indeed, when “ the beauty still more beauteous" of we now remember it, the Time we the eyes that first revealed to us the first pulled the primroses on the sun- light of love, we hurried away from ny braes, wondering, in our first the parting hour, and, looking up to blissful emotions of beauty, at the the moon and stars, hugged the very leaves with a softness all their own; heavens to our heart. Yet life had a yellowness no where else so vivid, not yet nearly reached its meridian, "the bright consummate flower,” so journeying up the sunbright firmastarlike to our awakened imagination ment. How long hung it there examong the lowly grass-lovely, in- ulting, when it flamed on the foredeed, to our admiring eyes, as any head of the noontide sky !" Let not one of all the stars that in their turn, the Time be computed by the lights did seem themselves like flowers in and shadows of the years, but by the blue fields of heaven !-long, the innumerable array of visionary long, long ago, the time when we thoughts, that keep deploying, as if danced along, hand in hand with our from one eternity into another now golden-haired sister, whom all that in dark sullen masses, now in long looked on loved !-long, long, long array, brightened as if with spearago, the day on which she died-the points and standards, and moving hour, so far more dismal than any along through chasm, abyss, and forhour that can now darken us on this est, and over the summits of the highearth, when she-her coffinand est mountains, to the sound of ethethat velvet pall descended--and de- rial music, now warlike and temscended-slowly, slowly into the pestuous-now, as “from flutes and horrid clay, and we were borne death- soft recorders,” accompanying, not like, and wishing to die, out of the pæans of victory, but hymns of churchyard, that, from that moment, peace. That Life, too, seems, now we thought we could enter never that it is gone, to have been of a more! And oh! What a multitudi- thousand years. Is it gone? Its nous being must ours have been, skirts are yet hovering on the horizon when, before our boyhood was gone, –and is there yet another Life deswe could have forgotten her buried tined for us? That Life which we face! Or at the dream of it dashed fear to face,–Age, Old Age! Four off a tear, and away, with a bounding dreams within a dream, and then we heart, in the midst of a cloud of play- may awake in Heaven ! mates, breaking into fragments on At dead of night--and it is now the hill-side, and hurrying round the the dead of night—how the heart ofshores of those wild moorland lochs, ten quakes on a sudden at the silent in vain hope to surprise the heron, resurrection of buried thoughts ! that slowly uplifted his blue bulk, and floated away, regardless of our

“ Thoughts that like phantoms trackless come

and go !” shouts, to the old castle woods! It is all like a reminiscence of some other Perhaps the sunshine of some state of existence! Then, after all single Sabbath of more exceeding hothe joys and sorrows of those few liness comes first glimmering, and years, which we now call transitory, then brightening upon us, with the

5 ATHENEUM, vol. 9, 2d series.


« ПредишнаНапред »