Imagens da página

ing to see how readily it is appeased, even in the highest state of exasperation, and this merely by the droning music with which its exhibitors seem to charm it.

The natives of India have a superstitious feeling with regard to this

[graphic][merged small]

snake ; they conceive that it belongs to another world, and when it appears in this, it is only as a visitor. In consequence of this notion they always avoid killing it, if possible.

It was


ERHAPS of all the localities of the Oregon territory so vividly described in Captain Fremont's adventurous narrative, the Pyramid Lake, visited on the homeward journey from the Dallas to the Missouri river, is the most beautiful. The exploring party having reached a defile between mountains descending rapidly about 2000 feet, saw, filling up all the lower space, a sheet of green water

some twenty miles broad. "It broke upon our eyes," says the narrator, "like the ocean : the neighbouring peaks rose high above us, and we ascended one of them to obtain a better view.

The waves were curling to the breeze, and their dark green colour showed it to be a body of deep water. For a long time we sat enjoying the view, for we had become fatigued with mountains, and the free expanse of moving waves was very grateful. like a gem in the mountains, which, from our position, seemed to enclose it almost en

tirely. At the eastern end it communicated with the line of basins we had left a few days since ; and on the opposite side it swept a ridge of snowy mountains, the foot of the great Sierra. We followed a broad Indian trail or tract along the shore of the lake to the southward. For a short space we had room enough in the bottom, but, after travelling a short distance, the water swept the foot of the precipitous mountains, the peaks of which are about 3000 feet above the lake. We afterwards encamped on the shore, opposite a very remarkable rock in the lake, which had attracted our attention for many miles. It rose according to our estimation 600 feet above the level of the water, and, from the point we viewed it, presented a pretty exact outline of the great pyramid of Cheops. Like other rocks along the shore, it seemed to be encrusted with calcareous cement. This striking feature suggested a name for the lake, and I called it Pyramid Lake. Its elevation above the sea is 4890 feet, being nearly 700 feet higher than the Great Salt Lake, from which it lies nearly west." The position and elevation of Pyramid Lake make it an object of geographical interest. It is the nearest lake to the western river, as the Great Salt Lake is to the eastern river, of the

great basin which lies between the base of the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada, and the extent and character of which it is so desirable to know.

Many parts of the borders of this lake appear to be a favourite place of encampment for the Indians, whose number in this country is estimated at 140,000. They retain, still unaltered, most of the features of the savage character. They procure food almost solely by hunting; and to surprise a hostile tribe, to massacre them with every exercise of savage cruelty, and to



carry off their scalps as trophies, is their highest ambition. Their domestic behaviour, however, is orderly and peaceable; and they seldom kill or rob a

Considerable attempts have been made to civilize them, and

white man.

[graphic][merged small]

with some success; but the moment that any impulse has been given to war and hunting, they have instantly reverted to their original habits.

ADAM AND EVE IN PARADISE. Now came still evening on, and twilight grey Had in her sober livery all things olad. Silence accompanied : for beast and bird, They to their grassy couch, these to their nests, Were slunk—all but the wakeful nightingale : She, all night long, her amorous descant sung. Silence was pleased. Now glow'd the firmament With living sapphires : Hesperus, that led The starry host, rode brightest ; till the moon, Rising in clouded majesty, at length, Apparent queen, unveil'd her peerless light, And o'er the dark her silver mantle threw When Adam thus to Eve : "Fair consort, the hour Of night, and all things now retired to rest,


'Mind us of like repose: since God hath set
Labour and rest, as day and night, to men
Successive; and the timely dew of sleep,
Now falling with soft slumberous weight,
Inclines our eyelids.”.
To whom thus Eve, with perfect beauty adorn'd:
"My author and disposer, what thou bidst
Unargued I obey. So God ordains.
With thee conversing I forget all time,
All seasons and their change : all please alike.
Sweet is the breath of morn—her rising sweet,
With charm of earliest birds ; pleasant the sun,
When first on this delightful land he spreads
His orient beams on herb, tree, fruit, and flower,
Glistering with dew ; fragrant the fertile earth
After short show'rs; and sweet the coming on
Of grateful evening mild—then silent night,

With this her solemn bird, and this fair moon,
And these the gems of heaven, her starry train :
But neither breath of morn, when she ascends
With charm of earliest birds ; nor rising sun
On this delightful land; nor herb, fruit, flower
Glistering with dew, nor fragrance after showers,
Nor grateful evening mild; nor silent night,
With this her solemn bird ; nor walk by moon
Or glitt'ring starlight, without thee is sweet.”

Thus talking, hand in hand alone they passed
On to their blissful bower.

Thus at their shady lodge arrived, both stood,
Both turn'd, and under open sky adored
The God that made both sky, air, earth, and heaven,
Which they beheld, the moon's resplendent globe,
And starry pole. "Thou also madest the night,
Maker Omnipotent! and Thou the day,
Which we, in our appointed work employ'd,
Have finish'd; happy in our mutual help
And mutual love, the crown of all our bliss
Ordain'd by thee, and this delicious place,
For us too large, where thy abundance wants
Partakers, and uncropt, falls to the ground.
But Thou hast promised from us two a race
To fill the earth, who shall with us extol
Thy goodness infinite, both when we wake,
And when we seek, as now, thy gift of sleep."



OLDSMITH'S poetry enjoys a calm
and steady popularity. It inspires us,
indeed, with no admiration of daring
design or of fertile invention; but it
presents within its narrow limits a dis-
tinct and unbroken view of poetical
delightfulness. His descriptions and
sentiments have the pure zest of nature.
He is refined without false delicacy, and
correct without insipidity. Perhaps there
is an intellectual composure in his man-
in some passages,

be said to approach to the reserved and prosaic ; but he unbends from this

strain of reflection to tenderness, and even to playfulness, with an ease and grace almost exclusively his own; and connects extensive views of the happiness and interests of society with pictures of life that touch the heart by their familiarity. He is no disciple of the gaunt and famished school of simplicity. He uses the ornaments which must always distinguish true poetry from prose; and when he adopts col



« AnteriorContinuar »