« ZurückWeiter »
may become so accustomed to beautiful objects, as to cease to dwell on thern with pleasure ! As far as I can judge by personal experience, this is not the case ; for, although it has been my lot to live in various residences, remarkable for the beauty of the views they have commanded, custom never palled their attractions, or rendered me insensible to them. It only made me more fastidious in my taste,-as the habitude of contemplating beautiful objects, whether in nature or in art, invariably does.
BERNE, 25th.-Of Berne, with its arcades, fountains, and statues, I shall say little, as they have been frequently described by every tourist who has visited it; and to its walks, terraces, and views, no description could render justice. Nowhere is the Swiss costume seen to greater advantage than here; and most picturesque is its effect, when worn by good-looking women, who, passing beneath the arcades, look like moving bouquets, as the gay and varied colours of their dress, the bright ribbons mixed with their plaited tresses, and floating from their straw hats, ornamented with large bunches of the richest-hued flowers, meet the eye. The young men, too, with their collars turned back, their throats bare, their long hair, and those coats or frocks with full plaits, which remind one of the dresses seen in old pictures, add to the charm of this effect. Half the beauty of Switzerland would be, in my opinion, lost, were its inhabitants to change their national costumes.
Never shall I forget the scene that presented itself, as we stood on the terrace-walk at the back of the ca
thedral. Not even the pencil of Claude Lorraine, which appeared as if dipped in sun-beams and rainbow dyes, could pourtray that view, or the effect of the setting sun upon it as it threw its brilliant rays on the snow-capped Alps, and tinged the surrounding objects with a thousand rich and varied hues : the river, like a sheet of molten gold, flowing rapidly beneath. The cathedral is a fine gothic building, erected in the early part of the fourteenth century; it has windows of stained glass, and a baptismal font of dark marble, with well executed bassi relievi representing scriptural subjects. The principal entrance is ornamented with several statues, which give it a good effect. It is judicious to place churches in fine situations; for the mind is never so much disposed to religion, as when brought in contact with the wonders and beauties of nature. The soul is lifted up from nature to nature's God ; and we feel that fulness of contentment, that overflow of gratitude to the Deity, which the contemplation of His works are so well calculated to excite, and which sends
prayers spontaneously from the heart to the lips. A deep love of nature has in it something of a religious character. The feelings become softened, and the imagination elevated, while beholding the works of the Most High; and our very aspirations, at such moments, are mingled with thanksgivings.
Bears seemed, and seem, to be viewed with as much reverence at Berne as some animals were amongst the ancient Egyptians; for not only do they form the principal decoration of the town, in sculpture, but four of them, of an unusually large size, daily attract crowds round the clean and comfortable abode
vided for them near the gate called la porte d'Aarberg, where their visitors supply them with cakes and apples, to their no small delight, and to that of the spectators. An ancient maiden lady, who had often beguiled some weary hours by witnessing the playful gambols and agility of former bears at Berne, bequeathed no less than sixty thousand francs a year for the maintenance of her favourites and their successors. The French revolution, which extended its ravages beyond the Alps, reduced these animals, as well as those more sensible of such a calamity, to beggary; but with better times the inhabitants provided a fund for their
There is no end to the legends recounted explanatory of the reason why the bear is looked upon as the patron of Berne. One, to which the most faith is attached, relates, that when the city was founded, the Duke of Zaeringen, to whom it owes its existence, anxious to give it a name, assembled all the nobles of the neighbourhood at a grand feast, when it was agreed that whatever animal was the first killed at the chase next day, should have the honour of being godfather to the city. The bear was the victim ; and hence it is the supporter of the civic arms, ornaments several of the fountains, and graces one of the entrances to the town.
27th.-From Berne to Baden the country is rich and luxuriant, abounding in woods and forests, and the lands between them are highly cultivated. The farm-houses have an air of comfort and cleanliness that I never saw equalled, except in England; but
there they are much less picturesque. Baden is surrounded by a range of wooded mountains, and has the appearance of a panorama.
At each entrance is a long and wide wooden bridge, roofed with tiles, in the side of which are unglazed windows, with green Venetian blinds, near to which are benches for the passengers to repose themselves. It is a custom in this country to have the wooden bridges roofed, to prevent their being injured by the wet. By this precaution they last a long time; and though the appearance on the exterior is gloomy and unpicturesque, the interior is so clean and comfortable, offering a shade from the sun and shelter from the rain, that it reconciles one to its want of pictorial effect. The baths of Baden are celebrated for their efficacy in rheumatic and other complaints ; they are about half a mile from the town. Independently of several private hot and cold baths, there is one large public one, for the use of the lower orders; in it we saw several individuals of both sexes, promiscuously bathing, attired in large dresses, tied round the throat, and apparently enjoying their ablution, if we might judge from the animation of their gesture, and their noisy mirth. A more disgusting scene I never beheld; for the faces of the bathers bore as visible signs of impure blood, as the ribaldry of their conversation and songs afforded proof of impure lives. The odour of the baths is detestable, and extends to a considerable distance beyond them. The houses look unclean and comfortless. I conceive no sojourn more repulsive than one at Baden.
ZURICH, 29th. - The whole route to Zurich is through a most beautiful country. The cottages, which are scattered along the road, and have large wooden balconies, and jutting roofs, that advance sufficiently to shade them, add much to the beauty of the scenery, as do the picturesque costumes of the inhabitants. Zurich possesses many charms. Its situation is beautiful, divided by a fine lake, and surrounded by a country uniting all that is most attractive in nature and cultivation. Woods, mountains, fields, and gardens, with the richest vegetation; tasteful and clean houses, and a healthy and comely peasantry. The inn is excellent, standing close to the bridge, and its windows commanding a beautiful view of the lake. The walk on the ramparts, from which is seen one of the finest prospects imaginable, has some large trees that afford shade from the sun, to which other parts of this elevated terrace is much exposed. While admiring the scene we encountered an old man, whose snowy locks fell over cheeks still ruddy with health, and the expression of whose countenance was remarkable for its benevolence. He told us that he has the charge of the walk, and had himself planted the trees, beneath whose luxuriant foliage we were sheltered from the beams of a hot sun. He is now in his eighty-first year, and is remarkably vigorous and cheerful. He seemed more gratified with our admiration of the trees he had planted than by our donation to him, and dwelt with complacency on the storms they had resisted and the shade they afforded.
We made a pilgrimage to the tomb of Gessner, and, perhaps, with as much true devotion as most