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with the bloodhounds every lingering night when the chase was over, and victim, and even if by a miracle they his men could scarcely imagine that any escaped them, they must infallibly one could have the temerity to apperish at last of hunger and thirst. proach a spot where, with the first
Amongst those who had thus con- dawn of light, they must inevitably cealed themselves were the young be discovered. Clasped tightly in couple, who, but a few days before, each other's arms, they sat for a long had fancied they beheld the dawning time, listening to their own throbbing of a long bright existence of love and pulses, and to the awful cries that joy for them. Spiro and Xanthi were ringing through the olive grove, crouched down, trembling in every but these gradually ceased, as the limb, beneath the wall of the Turkish darkness became complete ; and the Aga's tower, entirely concealed by the Turks, ready to resume their sport as brushwood which grew around it-a soon as it was day, gathered together position that for the moment had a in front of the tower, which their certain degree of security, from its master had already entered, and sat very proximity to the danger, as it smoking and talking round the watchwas here that the Bey was to pass the fire.
THE ENGLISH LAKES.
Two or three seasons ago, we were the others were saturnine and stupid. amused by some light sketches, done Next might come the historical traà la Boz, if not by the great master veller, and the poetical, and the polihimself, the object of wbich was to tical; and then we might introduce classify the community according to the man who rambles to spend his the leading characteristics of its mem- money; and he who rambles to make bers. First came the Young Ladies, money; and, as belonging to either who were zoologically divided into a class, the man who illustrates himself, dozen orders, embracing with Cuvierian and the man who has his artist to ilprecision every known peculiarity of lustrate for him. that very interesting species. Next,
are to find Dr. Mackay's and most suitably, followed the Young place for him, we must range him Gentlemen, who were distributed also among the poetical, or romantic, of into classes, that omitted none whom our category; and by doing so, we we have either known or heard of. admit that his book fulfils the promise Lastly, and as a natural result, we had of its title-page—to illustrate the Young Couples, in which the idea was “poetry” of the lakes in conjunction brought to its close, and the effect on with their “scenery.” For the latter he both of the, tendresse of matrimony is dependent on the aid of others; but attempted to be pourtrayed. We do the higher purpose, of furnishing the not know that any classification has literary associations of the district, has been made of travellers and their been well conceived and executed by books ; yet few things are easier than himself, with no feeble hand. No or. to characterize both parent and off- dinary reader needs now to learn how spring. We could have the sentimen. well the localities which our author tal tourist, a poor revival of Sterne, visited, merit the title of classic ground. with his copious interjections and Consecrated as many of them have strong predisposition to hysterics. been hitherto by historical associaThen, as a shifting of the characters, tions, arising from their vicinage to we might offer the eléves of Tit- the Border, and haunted, therefore, by marsh's school, lively and mocking as the wild legend or quaint old ballad,
" The Scenery and Poetry of the English Lakes. A Summer Ramble.” By Charles Mackay, LL.D. London: Longman and Co. 1846.
within our own day a deeper interest made to those scenes the poet loves has been linked to each from the min- so well to draw as an opening scene. strelsy of Wordsworth, Southey, Wil- Our readers will be interested with son, and Coleridge ; and more espe. Dr. Mackay's account of his visit to cially of the first-named. With a pur- Rydal Mount, and the more so be. pose which through a long lifetime has cause it is given without that hateful never once flagged, the Laureate has eaves-dropping so repulsive to every devoted himself to the dear office of feeling of honour and propriety. celebrating in song every memorable
“I found the Bard of the Excursion' object in the region where he first
walking in his garden when I arrived at drew breath, and where his years have
the Mount; and long and fervently did I passed from their prime of manhood
admire the beauty of the scene from the to the withered hairs of age. We lawn before his window, and the calm have our thousands of professed ad- philosophy and true love of nature mirers of his poetry; but it is they that had led him to make choice of alone who have become his reverential such a place, and keep himself in such students that know how intimately con
happy and such long seclusion from nected with all the bard's inmost feels the busy world.
“ The view of Windermere from his ings are the humblest and least no
door was the finest I had yet seen; table scenes of his beloved Westmore.
and at another part of his grounds, land. The majority will call to mind
the view of Rydal water was combined his “ Duddon" sonnets; his “ Tintern with that of Windermere, forming, Abbey ;" his poems about the Yar
with Loughrigg in front, amid the enrow river; and will have learned from circling hills on every side, a landscape these effusions how willingly Words- of extreme beauty. It is no part of worth's muse becomes “ local” in its the plan of this little book to record strains. But the poet's efforts can
the conversation of Mr. Wordsworth not escape the ken of the more labo
during the two hours that I had the rious investigator, to introduce in
pleasure and advantage of his society. his verse all the remarkable objects
Interesting as the record might be, and around his home, and give them per
often as the bad example has been set
of repeating conversations never meant manency by recording their names
to be repeated, and of perpetuating in and associations. His diligence has print the unstudied expressions of conbeen great, and has attained a cor- fidential intercourse, the practice is responding success.
unwarrantable. When a great man in hand, the tourist may now tra.
has departed from amongst us; when verse the fairest district of England ;
there is no longer the possibility of and find an interest poured over
hearing his voice in his own familiar
haunts; and when every reminiscence, each retired mountain-pass, and soli
however trifling, becomes of value, tary tarn, from their nanies being fa
these records of conversations are like miliar to him as household words.
so many treasures recovered from the His leading impression will be the
yawning depths of oblivion ; but in the delight of surprize at the minute- life-time of a great man, publication ness of the poet's observation, extend- is an offence against him, and against ing as it does not only to the far- society. If he have been informed stretching landscape or castle-crested
that his words are to be taken down, hill, but to the old memorable rocks
and that he is speaking to the public and trees and waterfalls. We chiefly
through the medium of his interlocutor,
the case is different; but as neither value Dr. Mackay's work, because in Mr. Wordsworth nor myself had any it he has undertaken to point out to such notion, our long conversation upon his readers all such memorable loca
poets, poetry, criticism, hill-climbing, lities. Avoiding the tiresome tame
autograph-hunting, and various other ness of guide-book manufacturers, matters must remain untold. An exhe has followed in the footsteps of the ception in the case of one portion of our great poet, and has gleaned the ro- talk may, however, be made with admanee of the lakes without inflicting
vantage, as it does honour to the illus. on us empty laudations of their scenic
trious dead, and is a topic of much in
terest to all students, and to all the attractions. His book in this way
drudges of literature. In speaking of the may be deemed a commentary on
lamented Southey, whose name is so inWordsworth's poetry-or at least, on timately associated with his own, and those numberless minor pieces, where- whose friendship and society he enjoyed in allusions, express or implied, are for so many years, he dwelt with much
With his poems
emphasis upon the long continued and the battlefield, and blasts its fruits in systematic economy of his time, by this life, for ever." which he was enabled to vary his stu
We have no intention to “ do" the dies from history to philosophy, from philosophy to politics, from politics to
topography of the district for our read. poetry, and do more work in each than ers; but having thus introduced our would have sufficed to make the reputa
author and his volume, we shall so far tion of half-a-dozen even of inferior at- lend our assistance as to mention that tainments. At the period of his death, Lancaster is the usual starting-place and indeed long before, it was the ge- - that thence the visitor has a choice neral opinion that he had tasked his
of two routes to Windermere- the brain too severely by study; that his
first and more direct one by Kendal intellect had become overclouded from
and Ambleside, and the other across excess of mental toil, and that he had laboured not wisely, but too well.'
the Ulverstone Sands by Furness. Dr. Mr. Wordsworth. however, upon my
Mackay chose the former, the easier of putting the question to him, denied that the two: we deem the latter a nobler such was the case. Though Southey's approach to the lakes, for the reason labours were almost superhuman, and that the wildness and stern sublimity were varied in a wonderful manner, they of the sea-shore lend their aid, if only seemed, he said, rather to refresh and
by force of contrast, and form what strengthen, than to weary and weaken Wordsworth himself calls “a majestic his mind. He fell a victim, not to lite
barrier” round the region. Following, rary toil, but to his strong affection for
however, our author, we may passingly his first wife, which led him night after
mention that a railroad is in contemplanight, when his labours of the day were ended, to watch with sleepless anxiety
tion, if not by this time in actual progress over her sick-bed. The strongest mind,
between Kendal and Windermere, as he observed, will ultimately give way against which Wordsworth has entered under the long.continued deprivation bis poetical protest; and that the calm of the natural refreshment of the body. bosom of that loveliest loch is ruffled No brain can remain in permanent continually by the plashings of the health that has been overtasked by Lady of the Lake's paddles. Whither nightly vigils, still more than by daily
will not steam henceforth come? From labour. When such vigils are accom
Ambleside, where the traveller can panied by the perpetually-recurring pain
leave the Kendal coach, and perhaps of beholding the sufferings of a beloved object, and the as perpetually-recurring
best fix his own head-quarters, a short fear of losing it, they became doubly walk leads to Grasmere; the beauties and trebly injurious ; and the labour that of which are fully appreciated by our must be done, becomes no longer the enthusiastic author. With high dreains joy and the solace that it used to be. of poetry and the poets weaving their It is transformed from a pleasure into mystic spell around him, he for the a pain, from a friend into an enemy, first time beholds this placid mere :from a companion into a fearsulmonster, crying like the daughter of the horse- “In the midst of thoughts something leech, give! give ! It is then that the like these, I arrived at Grasmere, with fine and delicate machinery of the mind its green and solitary, but beautiful is deranged. It is then that it snaps ; island in the middle; and began to conthen that the sweet bells are jangled jure up recollections of a certain Wishand out of tune;' that the light is ex- ing-gate, which poets had sung of. tinguished, and the glory hidden under Lovely is the vale of Grasmere: worthy a cloud, that Eternity may lift, but not is it of all its renown; and holy will it Time, Such, it appears, was the case ever be in the lays of the bards who with the amiable Robert Southey; the bave delighted to sing of it, and in the grand, if not the great poet; the ac- recollections of those who love the bards. complished scholar, and the estimable The lake is of an oval shape, about a man in every relation of life. So was mile in length, and something less than it, also, in the more recent fate of the half-a-mile in breadth. It is completely equally amiable and estimable Laman surrounded by mountains, the chief of Blanchard, whose sad story I recalled which are Silver How, Butterlip. How, to Mr. Wordsworth's recollection, as a Seat Sandal, and Helm Crag—the latparallel case. To the free mind, un- ter [last?] famous for the rugged stones touched by domestic grief, literary toil, on its top, which bear a fantastic rehowever great, is scarcely a burden; semblance to an • aged woman,' or, as but when one engrossing sorrow comes, some say, to a lion couchant,' and, as and the brain must work in spite of it, others say, to a lion and a lamb. At the conflict begins, in which sorrow not the further extremity is seen the road only gains the mastery, but destroys to Keswick, stretching high above the
bare hills, and called the Raise Gap. Most of these hills are mentioned in Mr. Wordsworth's exquisite verses on the • Naming of Places,' in the poem entitled
Joanna.' « • When I had gazed, perhaps two minutes' space,
Joanna, looking in my eyes, beheld That ravishment of mine, and laughed aloud. The Rock, like something startling from a sleep, Took up the lady's voice, and laughed again. That ancient woman, seated on lelm Crag, Was ready with her cavern. Hainmar Scar, And the tall steep of Silver How, sent forth A noise of laughter ; Southern Loughrigg heard, And Fairfield answered with a mountain tone.' “ A portentous laugh for a lady, but, nevertheless, very beautiful to read of. The descent from Langdale into the Vale of Grasmere has been described very accurately by Mr. Wordsworth in another poem; and Professor Wilson, in his 'City of the Plague,' has also described the Church of Grasmere and the surrounding scenery. The laureate says, with all the graces of poetry, and with much truth of description :* * So we descend, and, winding round a rock, Attained a point that showed the valley,
“Professor Wilson's daguerreotype is slightly different :* * There is a little churchyard on the side Of a low hill that hangs o'er Grasmere lake. Most beautiful it is--a vernal spot, Enclosed with wooded rocks, where a few graves Lie sheltered, sleeping in eternal calm ;Go thither when you will, and that sweet spot Is bright with sunshine.'
“ The latter part of this description must, of course, in such a climate as that of England, be taken as a mere poetical heightening of the effect which the writer intended to produce, but not strictly true. On my visit, however, it tallied remarkably well, for the sunlight streamed over the simple and beautiful churchtower, and lighted up the whole surface of the lake in a blaze of glory. The church of Grasmere is dedicated to St. Oswald, and has been very celebrated, not only for the beauty of its position, and its neighbourhood, but for the annual celebration of the ceremony of rush-bearing. This ceremony has
long been known in Lancashire, Yorkshire, Westmoreland, and Cumberland, and even further north. St. Os. wald's Day is on the Sunday nearest to the first of August, and upon this day the rush-bearing, as I am informed, annually takes place in Grasmere, and I believe in Ambleside and other places. Anciently, when the floors of churches in England were neither paved nor boarded, rushes were indispensable articles of comfort to church-going people; but with the progress of elegance in architecture, it became rare to find unpaved churches, and the ceremony of strewing the rushes fell, consequently, into disuse.
The rush-bearing at Grasmere generally takes place in the evening, when the children of the village, chiefly girls, parade through the street to the church, preceded by a band of music, bearing garlands of wild flowers, as well as bundles of rushes; the latter of which they deposit on the altar, or strew about the floor of the church."
By sojourning at Ambleside, the tourist finds himself placed within easy distance of all the chief attractions of Westmoreland. Three excursions are generally made hence, which, diverging into separate routes, bring before the visitor their peculiar assemblages of interesting objects. The first is to the vales of Great and Little Langdale; the second, to Patterdale and Ulleswater; and the third, to Ulver. stone and Furness Abbey. In Lesser Langdale is Blea Tarn, whose lonely site is painted in the “ Excursion" with minute faithfulness :
"A little lowly vale, A lowly vale, and yet uplifted high Among the mountains; even as if the spot Had been from oldest time, by wish of theirs, So placed, to be shut out from all the world. Urn-like it was in shape, deep as an urn, With rocks encompassed."
And in its immediate vicinity is Dungeon Ghyll Force,* the scene of one of Wordsworth's very earliest poems, “ The Idle Shepherd Boys." The stream producing the cascade takes its rise in the south-east side of the Lang. dale hills (or “ Pikes,” in the local dialect), and is precipitated from a perpendicular mountain chasm of eighty feet high, over which a gigantic rock having fallen, makes a natural bridge. This the poet alludes to:
It is hardly necessary to add, for our readers' information, that Force, in the vernacular of the lake district, means, “waterfall," and Ghyll (not Gill, as written by our author) a valley with a stream running through it.
* It is a spot which you may sec
By the side of a spring, on the breast of Helvellyn,
Under the twigs of a young birch tree!
The onk that in summer way sweet to hear,
And rustled its leaves in the fall of the year,
And whistled and roared in the winter alone,
Is gone-and the birch in its stead is grown.
The Knight's bones are dust,
And his good sword rust; Ulleswater is the second lake in the
His soul is with the saints, I trust."* scale of importance, being one mile “ The morning I had set apart for the shorter than Windermere. It, how- purpose, dawned dull and misty; but as ever, yields nothing in point of beauty. the day wore on, I still indulged the “ Nothing in Windermere,” writes Dr. hope of sufficient sunshine to make the Mackay, “ lovely as that lake is, ex- attempt. My hopes were disappointed; ceeds in beauty the scenery of moun
and I was not so enthusiastic in my love tain and water, which is here spread in
for the mountain, as to scale its heights
amid the clouds of vapour that obscured rich profusion before the eyes of the
all surrounding objects; the more espelover of nature. There are several
cially, as my recent experiences in hillsmall islands at the head of the lake, climbing had given me but small encou, between the two places abovementioned
ragement for mountain rambles amid (Patterdale and Lyulph's Tower); and mist and rain. I was therefore obliged a sail amongst them, on a clear sum- to relinquish the idea, and to give the mer's day, with a mind free from care, following account of the mountain from and an imagination watchful for every
such sources of information as books af. beauty that may be offered to it, is re
forded me. According to the ordnance compense for a month's toil and trouble
survey, Helvellyn is 3055 feet above the
level of the sea ; and from its summit, to procure it.” Its depth is very great,
extensive views are obtained of the most averaging thirty fathoms, and this
beautiful portions of the lake district. body of water is constantly maintained The ascent is sometimes made from the by numerous streamlets bursting forth opposite side, at Wythburn, on the road from the rugged sides of Helvellyn. from Ambleside to Keswick, the distance Some of these rivulets become dry du- being much less from that point than ring the heats of summer ; but on heavy from other places; but travellers who falls of rain, they spring forth afresh,
like the assistance of horses or ponies and renew their tributary offerings to
for the first half of the work, prefer to start from Patterdale.
Some the graces of Ulleswater. Helvellyn is generally ascended from
persons are bold enough, in making the
ascent, to traverse the giddy and danthe Patterdale side. Our author, not
gerous height of Striding Edge, but withstanding his anxiety to be enrolled this road, says the Bard of the Lakes, among the successful pedestrians who 'ought not to be taken by any one with have scaled its summit, was unfortu. weak nerves,' as the top, in many places, nate in the weather; and wisely forbore scarcely affords room to plant the foot, making an attempt, which must have
and is beset with awful precipices on been unprofitable, if not even hazard
either side. The place, he adds, derives
a melancholy interest from the fate of a ous:
young man, a stranger, who perished in
the spring of 1805, by falling down the “I had a great desire to ascend Hel
rocks, in his attempt to cross over from vellyn. The mountain was sacred to my
Wythburn to Patterdale. His remains recollections of Coleridge, with whose were not discovered, as we learn from name and genius I had somehow or other
an introduction to a poem by Sir Walcause to associate it-principally, I be
ter Scott, until three months afterwards, lieve, from that beautiful little fragment
when they were found guarded by a of his, entitled . The Knight's Tomb,' faithful terrier bitch, his constant atat least I have been unable to discover
tendant during frequent solitary rambles any other reason for it. Its melody had
through the wilds of Cumberland and long haunted me, and I had unconscious
Westmoreland. It appears from the ly repeated it to myself, I knew not how
same note, that the stranger, whose name many times, as soon as I found myself
was Gough, was a young gentleman of within sight of the mountain.
talent, and of a most amiable disposi. * Where is the grave of Sir Arthur O'Kellyn ?
tion. Both Sir Walter Scott and Mr. Where may the grave of that good man be? Wordsworth have written poems on the
• We transcribe the fragment as Coleridge wrote it, Dr. Mackay having misnamed the knight, and made some minor alterations in the verses; owing, no doubt, to his quoting from memory.