Imagens da página

to open the gates, in the walls that separate the different lordships, whom we had just before, dismissed with a small gratuity. To our surprise he was not gone, but setting up a plaintive cry, he ran towards the south; and instinct induced us to follow. We were not able to keep pace with him, but found him safe lodged behind a vast rock, which raised its head above the other fragments. On a shelf of this, to the leeward, by an habit he had probably learnt of the sheep, he lay rolled up like a sleeping tortoise.

Behind the covert of the same rock, we obtained shelter till the violence of the storm was.past, In about an hour we were able to proceed through what, in England, would be called heavy rain.

روز در

* It is an observation that has frequently been made by those who have travelled over mountainous countries, that when on the summits they often experienced heavy rains, thick fogs, snows, &c. but, descending into the vallies, they enjoyed a serene and pleasant. sky.

It is generally supposed that mountains have a peculiar power of attracting clouds and meteors ; this we leave to those, skilled in the doctrine of occult causes. The ait in vallies, it is well known, is much heavier than Aying vapours ; and therefore better fit to

support the light air that floats on the tops of mountains. When waar pours are put into a violent agitation, and partially condensed by winds, or other external causes, they collect into clouds and mists; and by their own specific gravity fall till they meet with such air a's is able to support them; with this 'they mix and swim about, being every way dispersed, and the sky becomes serene and clear: but if they meet not with such air on the tops of hills, then they are condensed into, .drops, and fall in rain to the ground. Vid. Varen. Geog. Edit. Sir I. Newton..

[ocr errors]

On a boggy.plain we found the beautiful OSMUNDA REGALIS, and the air was highly perfumed with the odoriferous buds of the MYRICA GALE. It is a little extraordinary that this plant, certainly possessed of powerful qualities, should find no admission into our Materia Medica. The poor inhabitants are not inattentive to its virtues; they term it Bwrli, or the emétic plant, and use it for this purpose. An infusion of the leaves as “tea, and an external application of them to the abdomen, are considered as a certain and efficacious vermifuge. It is made a substitute for hops, in brewing: a decoction is used in the morbus pedicularis, and in the vulgar species of herpes. It furnishes a yellow dyc for woollen cloth; and by its powerful odour is fatal to moths and bugs.

Linnæus suggests that camphor might be procured from it. The cones boiled in water yield a scum similar to bees-wax, capable of being made into candles, like those made in America from another species, MYRICA CERIFERA.

Descending a gullied road, formed by the action of water, we came on a sudden upon


There is another cause of the prodigious condensation of mois. ture; the dashing of moving clouds against the mountains. In misty days this may be seen in plains; where an eminent tree, by obstructing the mist in its course, will have a much greater quan. tity of moisture drop from its leaves than falls to the ground at the same time in its vicinity. Vid, White's History of Selborne.


The first view, having recently passed so much of the wonderful, was not particularly striking. It presented only a narrow bridge of one arch, thrown over an alpine stream. But entering on the bridge, the surprising scenery began to be developed, The arch is sprung across a deep rocky chasm, through which a rapid river rollş its waters down the steep declivities of the mountains, in angry roar, over huge fragments of rocks, which intercepting and arresting its course, add to its maddened rage and irresistible impetuosity. Just above the bridge, a semicircular ledge of rock lifts itself about fifteen feet above the water; forming a small, but beautiful fall, and an admirable Salmon Leap.

In the season, * shoals of salmon, crowding from the sea, pass up the river to the shallows; when they come to this obstruction, with an instinctive resolution not to be dismayed, they throw themselves up with surprising agility over the bar into the pool above, which they perform by bending their tails to

At the latter end of the year, sometimes as early as the begin. ning of October, the salmon begin to press up the rivers as far as they can reach, to deposit their milt and spawn: having effected this, and left it in security on the shallows, they return to the sea or deeper parts of the rivers : consequently we had not the pleasure of seeing them perform these feats of agility.

their mouths, thus making a circular spring. * Sometimes, that they may leap with greater force, they seize hold of their tail with their teeth, and by disengaging it with violence, cast themselves up from the water several yards high ; to the great amusement of the spectators. Ausonius has recorded this admirable property:

“ Nec te puniceo rutilantem viscere, salmo,

Transierim, latæ cujus vaga verbera cauda
Gurgite de medio summas referuntur in undas,
Occultus placido cum proditur æquore pulsus."

- Mosella.

Near is a salmon fishery, and the quantities taken formerly must have been much greater than at present; as it was once honoured with regal observation. In the time of Henry IV. this was deemed a royal wear, and rented of the crown by Robert ap Meredydd. It probably was in royal favour prior to that period; for the salmon was in high esteem among the Welsh, was considered as game, and the only species, Mr. Pennant observes, that was protected by law.

The salmon are taken by strong cord nets; and many by spearing ; at which, as I have before hinted,

* Mr. Pennant contradicts this, as a vulgar error ; and says, “ those he saw sprung up quite straight, and with a strong tremu. lous motion." Brit. Zool. Vol. III. p. 287.

It is possible, as many of them make several attempts, that when one mode fails, they instinctively adopt the other.

the Welsh are very expert: this may be less refined, but it is certainly a more noble mode of capture, than that of alluring them by some fascinating bait to the fạtal, though concealed hook. The former is like the manly blow of an open eneinys, the latter the insidious thrust of the treacherous assassin,

This celebrated bridge, thrown across the united torrents of the Colwyn and Glas Lyn, connects two craggy precipices, one in Caernarvonshire and the other in Merioneth, by a semicircular arch of stone, the span of which is thirty feet, the crown about fifty feet above the water level.

Passing the bridge the scenery is the most magnificent that can be imagined ; the eye becomes fixed, and the mind wrapt in emotions of silent wonder. Below the bridge the torrent still flows over ledges of rock towards the sea ; encompassed with sloping rocks, diversified by a few forest trees and brush wood on the margin of the waters. Above, the perpendicular dark cliffs rise one beyond the other, as far as the eye can reach, ascending in the greatest irregularity a thousand feet high; and their summits terminating in the most grotesque and fanciful shapes: with dark excavations, and lateral fissures, whence issue tributary torrents that roar in distant murmurs, to the very bowels of the mountains; the opposite projecting crags threaten to overwhelm the road; which is a narrow shelf cut out of the solid rock at a considerable expence. In a word, every thing contributes in a high degree to render this a scene of sublimity, arising

« AnteriorContinuar »