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congratulate ourselves on this very circumstance, as it occasioned our being spectators of a scene which travellers rarely witness. The warm southern breeze which had prevailed during the day, was now succeeded by a keen northwest air, though without any perceptible wind, which obliged us to ride wrapped in our great coats. This change in the weather produced the fine object which soon after presented itself. The twilight in this latitude is long and bright-and we had, at the distance of twelve miles, seen the top of a column of vapour, rising above the falls, still illuminated by the sun, whose beams had been for some time lost to us. The sound of the cataract was soon after heard, but the cloud was no longer in sight, owing to the bending of the road, and the thick shrubbery which bordered it. We had continued to travel rapidly on, with no very striking objects in view, for more than an hour; the farm houses, and overhanging trees on one hand, and the river full to its brim, flowing silently forward on the other: when suddenly turning an angle in the road, the stream presented itself, expanding to the breadth of two miles, and stretching forward three times that distance, smooth as glass, reflecting every star in the deep-blue concave above, and terminated by an object so grand, and even awful, that our whole party immediately stopped, struck with astonishment and almost with terror. The fine sheet of water before us, was lost in a black cloud, extending quite across the river, and rising to a height with which nothing in nature or art can be compared, by those who have not seen the Alps, or Alpine
The cold stillness of the night rendered the cloud so compact, that it could not be penetrated by the eye, but seemed a column black as night, reaching from the earth to the heavens, uniting with the few dark clouds stationed above, and which, spreading to the right and left, appeared to form an overhanging crown, for this giant of the waters. On each side of this impenetrable curtain, near the earth, appeared the still glowing horizon, and, higher up, the deep blue firinament glittering with the starry splendour of a winter night. This scene was in full view, for an hour, as we proceeded on our way, during which time, we were frequently startled by a singular deception, which I think must have arisen from our being entirely unaccustomed to look at objects, whose dimensions are so far beyond the limits of ordinary calculation, and with which nothing within the circle of our knowledge, can bear a comparison. Perhaps it might have been from our suddenly realizing the height of the object before us for it would for a few moments, appear rapidly approaching. We would stop, and call to those of our party who were on horseback, to witness this phenomenon: but to their eyes the cloud was stationary. At another moment the same delusion would take place with them, and they would make the same claim to our attention. It was now ten o'clock, and one can hardly witness a scene unconnected with danger, more truly sublime than was before us, for the last half hour of our ride. The awful majesty of this black and massy column; standing, to appearance, almost within our reach of such vast diameter, its base upon the water, and rising to an immeasurable height, with accompaniments so appropriate, the solemn calm of the atmosphere, the sullen roar of the cataract, and the death-like stillness of the night.
We had never heard of this part of the show of Niagara, consequently our surprise and admiration were the greater: but, I have since been told that it is not uncommon in winter, and a gentleman informed me, that he had at that season, been travelling for three days, on the borders of lake Erie, with the cloud constantly in view, supposing it to arise from a great fire, and that after having lost sight of it, as he approached more nearly, it suddenly burst upon his view at the same place, and with the same effect, that it did upon us.
NATURAL HISTORY-FOR THE PORT-FOLIO.
In Evelyn's Sylva, a work more familiar, perhaps to European than Americanyscholars, I remember to have perused, at the puerile age, many marvelous accounts of the extraordinary growth and di
mensions of the monarchs of the wood. But from the researches of a gentleman of South Carolina, whose science and veracity are alike indisputable; I am recently apprised that in the vicinity of the village of Coosawhatchie, in one of the vast swamps of that region, there grew an enormous Cypress tree, which was justly considered as the Emperor of the Forest. This proud title was conferred, not merely on account of its loftiness, but its bulk. It actually overtopped the tallest of the tall trees in that exuberant region. It should be remembered that it grew on the margin of a lake, and that the soil was of a character remarkably fertile. A gentleman of fortune and leisure, finding the tree partially excavated by the hand of Nature herself, ordered his workmen to enlarge the cavity, to construct a regular apartment within, to floor the basement, to attach a circular seat to the trunk, to form a door way, to cut windows for the free admission of light, and fit up a sort of Arthur's round table in the centre. Thus commodiously arranged, the hollow cypress became a haunt for the Sportsman, the Idler, and the Epicure.Here, after the toils of angling and the chase, men met to drink and to dine. Seventeen guests in the domus interior of this venerable vegetable have been comfortably accommodated, without even the pressure, which we often experience at the Tabla d'Hote of an ordinary.
In process of time the votaries of Diana and Bacchus, remarking that this enormous growth of the wood was susceptible of still farther improvements, constructed over the rustic hall we have just described, a sort of sylvan withdrawing room for the accommodation of the ladies. Access to this apartment was obtained by a flight of steps without the tree. The room itself had all the gladsomeness of a modern parlour. While gentlemen were convivially regaling themselves in the tree belov, the ladies , might amuse themselves by angling from the win. dows above. This hollow in the cypress could easily accommodate eight persons.
At no inconsiderable elevation from the earth, and where the bole of the tree was completely circular, it measured at least 42 feet. This, I understand, is but a moderate computation. It gives me pain to add, that this stupendous production of Nature's fertility at length shared the fate of Shakspeare's Mulberry Soon after the commencement of the war between Great Britain and her colonies, the owner of the estate, alledging that the resort of visitors trespassed upon his property, ordered, in a fit of spleen or anger, that this Nestor of the wood should be demolished. Accordingly, like the old Thorn, at Market Hill, as described by the Dean of St. Patrick's, it was cut down by some Hibernian hatchet, blunter than its master's pate; and thus shamefully perished one of the noblest of rude Nature's children, to the deep regret of all the fond lovers of nature; and of all who view, with veneration, such an object as a monument, indicating the lapse of centuries, and the miracles of the Almighty Creator.
I am, sir, yours, &c.
THE LITERARY WORLD-FOR THE PORT FOLIO.
To the lovers and cultivators of polite literature, I know nothing more delightful than that sort of dissertation which Dryden first commenced, on the interesting topic of the merits or demerits of those immortal authors, whom all the world agree, in pronouncing classical. Here follows a recent essay on a favourite topic, exactly to our tạşte.
With all due respect for the declamatory grandeur of Juvenal, we are not disposed to rank him very high, either as a ! poet or a moralist. His style is constantly descending into slovenly inelegance, or rising into inflation or obscurity; while his sounding amplifications and the obtrusive glare of shining sen. tences, ill embossed on the body of the work, betray that departure from the simplicity of nature, which marked the decline of Roman taste. Yet there are in this poet, a power of expression and a sublimity of conception that would redeem all his faults, were we not perpetually disgusted with gross violations of all decency and propriety. In the midst of a description, sketched, in many points, with the hand of a master, we unexpectedly encounter some gratuitous obscenity, and wonder at the perverseness of a taste, which could unite objects so incongruous. There
is certainly much in Juvenal, that savours of the reformed rake. He writes like a man, who, in his youthful days, had gone the whole round of Roman dissipation, and when age, or ennui rob. bed him of his pleasures, assumed the tone of a severe moralist; who, while he declaims against sins, which he once indulged in, is often betrayed by a remnant of former propensities, into a description rather than a condemnation of vice. He does not sketch, with an indignant hand, a dark and hurried outline, but deliberately fills up the canvas, and even drags the most disgusting features to the foreground of the picture. We are told indeed, that he exposes the nakedness of vice, that we may turn aside with horror from the deformity. But those who expect any good from such a plan, have a better opinion of human nature than we fear it deserves. There are too many to whom description, however gross, is alluring. Even grave commentators seem to delight in raking up the filth of Juvenal, and making night more hideous by the light they shed upon it; and in younger minds, which are most susceptible of injury, curiosity too often prevails over principle. Something is no doubt to be ascribed to the extreme licentiousness of ancient manners, and particularly of the age in which Juvenal lived, when vice had reached the very summit of enormity. But, from whatever cause, he seems to have been so habituated to contemplate depravity, as to have lost that delicacy of moral taste, so necessary to the satirist, who is to arraign vice without offending virtue. Nor do we think the deep and tragic intonations of Juvenal are well suited to his professed object of reforming the public manners. The peculiar province of satire we conceive to be, the follies and petty vices, rather than the crimes of mankind; and that they have been much oftener rallied out of the former, than lashed out of the latter. When vice becomes so flagitious and so universal as in Juvenal's time, it is, we fear, beyond the reach of biting verse. The mind of its votary has been seared to shame or remorse; and as long as he escapes
vengeance of the laws, mocks the telum imbelle of the satirist. Much curious information, indeed, with regard to the state of manners, and the private life of the degenerate Romans, may be gleaned from his writings; and, in this view, they are a fit study for the antiquary