Abbildungen der Seite

ful and young, her accomplishments and misfortunes would have excited a less warm degree of sympathy in our minds. I am afraid there was more truth in the observation than reason is willing to acknowledge. But we are all, more or less, the slaves to externals; youth and beauty must have their influence; and works that, by their freshness, prove how recently they have been formed by the all-powerful hand that creates all, must have more attraction than those which have been so long fashioned as to have lost the traces of their divine origin. Had Mary Stuart bowed her head to the block some ten or fifteen years sooner, ere yet its silken honours had been blanched by the ruthless hand of time, how much more sympathy would her fate have called forth! Old heroines are an anomaly, and excite little pity, even in the hearts of those who have arrived at similar years of discretion, the epidermis of whose hearts, like that of the faces of elderly ladies, has lost its delicacy; so that the power of suffering in them is as much blunted as the capability of causing suffering is impaired in the others. We look with interest always, and with admiration often, on the ruin of all fine objects, save the ruin of a beautiful woman. Alas ! for old beauties ! they must abdicate in time.

The town library at Zurich contains a curious letter from Frederick of Prussia to the Professor H. Muller, relative to a collection of Swiss songs of the twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth centuries, which the professor published in 1784, and dedicated to Her Majesty. It appears that Frederick the Great found nothing to admire in the collection; and candidly ex

pressed his opinion to their editor, with a naïveté and brusquerie very characteristic of that monarch. This library also contains the “ Psalterium Davidis,” in Greek MS., the vellum purple, letters silver, and the titles in gold. It has suffered much from age; but some of the leaves are still perfect, and offer a fine specimen of the splendour of the decorations of such works in former days.

SCHAUFHAUSEN, October 1st.—The water-fall at this romantic spot is much less grand than we expected; but the beauty of the scenery around it is remarkable. The Rhine flows majestically along, bounded at each side by luxuriant vineyards, fertile fields, and rich woods, crowned by the mountains, fading into the distant horizon, until they are lost in the clouds. The foam of the cascade rises over the landscape like a silver gauze veil, and forms a brilliant contrast to the vivid green of the river. The rushing sound of the water, which hurries on with resistless force to its destination, canopied by clouds of foam that sparkle in the sunshine, has a magical effect ; and one could gaze for hours on the scene, indulging in the vague reveries it inspires. There seems to be a deep and mysterious sympathy between our souls and the sublime and beautiful in nature, which even a glance awakens. We gaze on such scenes with a pleasure that the finest work of art never conveyed; we feel reluctant to leave them ; and often recur to them in memory, with a regret like that which we give to a friend we may never again behold.

LUCERNE, 4th.–From Schaufhausen back through Zurich, to Lucerne, a lovely, but confused mass of woods, mountains, lakes, and vineyards, with cottages of the most picturesque forms, present themselves, like the varying images in dreams; and like them, leaving but indistinct though pleasant recollections in the mind. I must except some magnificent forests of pine and oak, which stand forth so pre-eminently in the scenery, as to form distinct features in it; and the pretty village of Egliseau, with its bridge, which commands a varied and beautiful prospect.

Lucerne, rising from its lovely lake, as if at the command of a magician, surrounded by its fortifications of the seventeenth century, which look insignificant compared with those natural ones formed by the Almighty hand, some of which rise as if to join the clouds that float over them, constitutes one of the most interesting views I have yet seen. On the right and left are the Righi and Pilate mountains; the first, covered with verdure and hamlets, and the second, sterile and arid, with only a few stunted tufts of brown and withered vegetation scattered over its naked and gloomy surface.

The town is peculiarly clean, and the picturesque costumes of the female inhabitants add much to the beauty of the general effect.

5th.—The Fountain of the Lion, which we visited to-day, is a simple but sublime monument, erected by the Swiss to the memory of their countrymen who fell on the memorable 10th of August, in defence of a monarchy whose subversion their devoted bravery could not retard. It represents a lion of colossal dimensions, cut out of a solid rock, and admirably executed. The lion is pierced by a lance, the point of which rests in the wound, and in expiring covers with his body a shield, decorated with fleurs-de-lys. The inscription is, Helvetiorum fidei ac virtuti. The names of the officers and soldiers who lost their lives, the first, twenty-six in number, and the second, seven hundred and sixty, are inscribed.

This monument, with the limpid lake which bathes the rock of which it is formed, and the bright verdure surrounding it, presents a most striking picture. Its guardian dwelt with no little self-complacency on the bravery and fidelity of his countrymen, and more than insinuated the wisdom, if not the necessity, of Louis the Eighteenth retaining a few regiments of them always near his person, in case of “accidents," as he quaintly expressed himself; “for he, like his good, but unfortunate brother, may yet require their aid, in a nation so fickle in its attachments as the one where he reigns.”

[ocr errors]

SECHERON, 8th.-We are again at Geneva, which has as yet lost none of its beauty, although the autumn has tinged the foliage all around with its golden tints, and given a coldness to the air that renders warm shawls a necessary accompaniment in all excursions. We went on the lake to-day, and were rowed by Maurice, the boatman employed by Lord Byron during his residence here. Maurice speaks of the noble poet with enthusiasm, and loves to relate anecdotes of him. He told us that Lord Byron never entered his boat without a case of pistols, which he

always kept by him; a very superfluous ceremony, as Maurice seemed to think. He represented him as generally silent and abstracted, passing whole hours on the lake, absorbed in reflection, and then suddenly writing, with extreme rapidity, in a book he always had with him. He described his countenance, to use his own phrase, as “magnifique," and different from that of all other men, by its pride (fierté was the word he used). “He looked up at the heavens," said Maurice, "as if he accused it of keeping him here ; for he is a man who fears nothing, above or below. He passed whole nights on the lake, always selecting the most boisterous weather for such expeditions. “I never saw a rough evening set in, while his lordship was at Diodati,” continued Maurice, “ without being sure that he would send for me; and the higher the wind, and the more agitated the lake, the more he enjoyed it. We have often remained out eighteen hours at a time, and in very bad weather. Lord Byron is so good a swimmer, that he has little to dread from the water.” “Poor Mr. Shelley,” resumed Maurice, “ah! we were all sorry

for him. He was a different sort of a man ; so gentle, so affectionate, so generous; he looked as if he loved the sky over his head, and the water on which his boat floated. He would not hurt a fly ; nay, he would save every thing that had life; so tender and merciful was his nature. He was too good for this world; and yet, lady, would you believe it, some of his countrymen, whom I have rowed in this very boat, have tried to make me think ill of him; but they never could succeed, for we plain people judge by what we see, and not by what we hear." This was, in

« ZurückWeiter »