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Title: Forest, Rock, and Stream - A series of twenty steel line-engravings
Author: Willis, Nathaniel Parker
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Illustration: Sing-Sing Prison and Tappan Zee.]

                        FOREST, ROCK, AND STREAM

                              A SERIES OF

                     _TWENTY STEEL LINE-ENGRAVINGS_

                      BY W. H. BARTLETT AND OTHERS




                              B O S T O N
                   E S T E S   A N D   L A U R I A T

                           _Copyright, 1885_,
                         BY ESTES AND LAURIAT.


            THE NARROWS
            TOWN OF SING-SING




A WEDGE-SHAPED promontory, or bluff, pushes forward to the river at
this spot; and on its summit, which widens into a noble plain, stands
the city of Hudson.

It is supposed that the “Halve-Mane,” the vessel in which the great
discoverer made his first passage up the Hudson, reached no farther than
two leagues above the city which bears his name, and that the remainder
of the exploring voyage was made in the shallop. His reception here was
in the highest degree hospitable. “He went on shore in one of their
canoes, with an old Indian, who was the chief of forty men and seventeen
women: these he saw in a house made of the bark of trees, exceedingly
smooth and well-finished within and without. He found a great quantity
of Indian corn and beans, enough of which were drying near the house to
have loaded three ships, besides what was growing in the fields. On
coming to the house two mats were spread to sit on, eatables were
brought in, in red bowls well made, and two men were sent off with bows
and arrows, who soon returned with two pigeons. They also killed a fat
dog, and skinned it with shells. They expected their visitors would
remain during the night, but the latter determined to return on board.
The natives were exceedingly kind and good-tempered; for when they
discovered Hudson’s determination to proceed on board, they, imagining
it proceeded from fear of their bows and arrows, broke them to pieces
and threw them into the fire.”

On his return down the river, Hudson stopped again for four days
opposite the site of the future city. The historical collections give a
very particular account of every day’s movements in this interesting
voyage. “On the report of those whom he had sent to explore the river,”
says the historian, “Hudson found that it would be useless to proceed
with his ship any farther, or to delay his return. He had passed several
days in a profitable traffic and a friendly intercourse with the
natives, among whom were probably those from each side of the
river,—the Mahicanni, as well as the Mohawks. At noon of the 23d of
September, he therefore went down six miles to a shoal; having but
little wind, the tide laid his ship on the bar until the flood came,
when she crossed it, and was anchored for the night.

“The next day, after proceeding seven or eight leagues, she grounded on
a bank of ooze in the middle of the river, where she was detained till
the ensuing morning, when the flood, at ten o’clock, enabled Hudson to
anchor her in deep water. Thus the ship once more was interrupted in her
passage opposite the spot where a city now commemorates the name of

“Here he remained, by reason of adverse winds, four days. On the day of
his arrival ‘they went on land and gathered good store of chestnuts,’
but whether on the east or west side of the river is not mentioned. But
the day following they went on land ‘to walk on the west side of the
river, and found good ground for corn and other garden herbs, with good
store of goodly oaks and walnut-trees, and chestnut-trees, yew-trees,
and trees of sweet wood in great abundance, and great store of _slate
for houses and other good stones_.’ Nothing is said of any inhabitants
while they were thus visiting the site, which is now that of the village
of Athens, opposite Hudson. But next morning (26th), after the
carpenter, mate, and four of the company had gone on shore to cut wood,
while the vessel lay at anchor, two canoes came up the river from the
place where they first found ‘loving people’ (Catskill landing); and in
one of them was the old chief whom Hudson had caused to be made
intoxicated at Albany. He had followed our strange visitors thirty
miles, to the base of the Catskill Mountains, with the double view of
again testifying to Hudson the sincerity of his friendship, and of
gratifying the love of the marvellous, by relating his own adventures to
the mountaineers, and drawing them from their retreat to witness the
floating phenomenon. The old chief now introduced with him ‘an old man,
who brought more stropes of beads and gave them to our master, and
showed him all the country thereabout, as though it were at his
command!’ They tarried, greatly pleased with the unaccountable
curiosities they discovered on board. Hudson ‘made the two old men dine
with him, and the old man’s wife; for they brought two old women and two
young maidens of the age of sixteen or seventeen years with them, who
behaved themselves very modestly.’

“After dinner, and upon exchange of presents, the guests retired,
inviting Hudson by signs to come down to them; for the ship was within
two leagues of the place where they dwelt.”

The concluding circumstances of this interesting return down the Hudson,
will accompany another view in the series.



          AND, lo! the Catskills print the distant sky,
          And o’er their airy tops the faint clouds driven,
          So softly blending that the cheated eye
          Forgets or which is earth or which is heaven.
          Sometimes, like thunder-clouds, they shade the even,
          Till, as you nearer draw, each wooded height
          Puts off the azure hues by distance given,
          And slowly break upon the enamored sight
        Ravine, crag, field, and wood, in colors true and bright.

          Mount to the cloud-kissed summit! Far below
          Spreads the vast champaign like a shoreless sea.
          Mark yonder narrow streamlet feebly flow,
          Like idle brook that creeps ingloriously!
          Can that the lovely, lordly Hudson be,
          Stealing by town and mountain? Who beholds
          At break of day this scene, when silently
          Its map of field, wood, hamlet, is unrolled,
        While in the east the sun uprears his locks of gold,—

          Till earth receive him, never can forget.
          Even when returned amid the city’s roar,
          The fairy vision haunts his memory yet,
          As in the sailor’s fancy shines the shore.
          Imagination cons the moment o’er,
          When first-discovered, awe-struck and amazed,
          Scarce loftier Jove—whom men and Gods adore—
          On the extended earth beneath him gazed,
        Temple, and tower, and town, by human insect raised.

          Blow, scented gale, the snowy canvas swell;
          And flow, thou silver, eddying current, on!
          Grieve we to bid each lovely point farewell,
          That ere its graces half are seen, is gone.
          By woody bluff we steal, by leaning lawn,
          By palace, village, cot,—a sweet surprise
          At every turn the vision breaks upon;
          Till to our wondering and uplifted eyes
        The Highland rocks and hills in solemn grandeur rise.
         .      .      .      .      .      .      .      .      .

                       THEODORE S. FAY.


                    THE NARROWS, FROM FORT HAMILTON.


ALMOST any land looks beautiful after a long voyage; and it would not
be surprising if the Narrows, oftenest seen and described by those who
have just come off the passage of the Atlantic, should have this
reputation. It does not require an eye long deprived of verdure,
however, to relish the bold shores, the bright green banks, the
clustering woods, and tasteful villas which make up the charms of this
lovely strait.

Busier waters than the Narrows could scarcely be found; and it is
difficult to imagine, amid so much bustle and civilization, the scene
that presented itself to Hendrick Hudson, when the little “Halve-Mane”
stole in on her voyage of discovery two hundred years ago. _Hoofden_, or
the Highlands, as he then named the hills in this neighborhood, “were
covered with grass and wild-flowers, and the air was filled with
fragrance.” Groups of friendly natives, clothed in elk-skins, stood on
the beach, singing and offering him welcome; and anchoring his little
bark, he explored with his boats the channel and inlets, and penetrated
to the mouth of the river which was destined to bear his name. It
appears, however, that the Indians on the Long Island side were less
friendly; and in one of the excursions into the Bay of Manhattan his
boat was attacked by a party of twenty-nine savages of a ferocious
tribe, and an English sailor, named Colman, was killed by an arrow-shot
in the shoulder. Other unfriendly demonstrations from the same tribe
induced Hudson to leave his anchorage at Sandy Hook, and he drew in to
the Bay of New York, which he found most safe and commodious, and where
he still continued his intercourse with the Indians of Staten Island,
receiving them on board his vessel, dressing them, to their extravagant
delight, in red coats, and purchasing from them fish and fruits in

At this day there stands a villa on every picturesque point; a thriving
town lies on the left shore; hospitals and private sanitary
establishments extend their white edifices in the neighborhood of the
quarantine-ground; and between the little fleets of merchantmen, lying
with the yellow flag at their peak, fly rapidly and skilfully a constant
succession of steamboats, gaily painted and beautifully modelled,
bearing on their airy decks the population of one of the first cities of
the world. Yet of Manhattan Island, on which New York is built, Hudson
writes, only two hundred years ago, that “it was wild and rough; a thick
forest covered the parts where anything would grow; its beach was broken
and sandy, and full of inlets; its interior presented hills of stony and
sandy alluvion, masses of rock, ponds, swamps, and marshes.”

The gay description which an American would probably give of the
Narrows,—the first spot of his native land seen after a tedious
voyage,—would probably be in strong contrast with the impression it
produces on the emigrant, who sees in it only the scene of his first
difficult step in a land of exile. I remember noting this contrast with
some emotion, on board the packet-ship in which I was not long ago a
passenger from England. Among the crowd of emigrants in the steerage was
the family of a respectable and well-educated man, who had failed as a
merchant in some small town in England, and was coming, with the wreck
of his fortune, to try the backwoods of America. He had a wife and eight
or ten very fine children, the eldest of whom, a delicate and pretty
girl of eighteen, had contributed to sustain the family under their
misfortunes at home by keeping a village school. The confinement had
been too much for her, and she was struck with consumption,—a disease
which is peculiarly fatal in America. Soon after leaving the British
Channel, the physician on board reported her to the captain as
exceedingly ill, and suffering painfully from the close air of the
steerage; and by the general consent of the cabin passengers a bed was
made up for her in the deck-house, where she received the kindest
attention from the ladies on board; and with her gentle manners and
grateful expressions of pleasure soon made an interest in all hearts. As
we made the land, the air became very close and hot; and our patient,
perhaps from sympathy with the general excitement about her, grew
feverish and worse, hourly. Her father and a younger sister sat by her,
holding her hands and fanning her; and when we entered the Narrows with
a fair wind, and every one on board, forgetting her in their admiration
of the lovely scene, mounted to the upper deck, she was raised to the
window, and stood with the bright red spot deepening on her cheek,
watching the fresh green land without the slightest expression of
pleasure. We dropped anchor, the boats were lowered, and as the steerage
passengers were submitted to a quarantine, we attempted to take leave of
her before going on shore. A fit of the most passionate tears, the
paroxysms of which seemed almost to suffocate her, prevented her
replying to us; and we left that poor girl surrounded by her weeping
family, trying in vain to comfort her. Hers were feelings, probably,
which are often associated with a remembrance of the Narrows.



        ONE night mid swarthy forms I lay,
        Along a wild southeastern bay,
        Within a cabin rude and rough,
        Formed out of drift-wood, wrecker’s stuff,
        And firelight throwing rosy flame
        From up-heaped masses of the same,—
        Waiting the turning of the tide
        To launch the surf-boats scattered wide,
        And try the fisher’s hardy toil
        For bass, and other finny spoil.

        One gray old man, of whom I heard
        No more than this descriptive word,
        “Old Kennedy,”—he rattled on,
        Of men and things long past and gone,
        And seemed without one careful thought,—
        Till spark to tinder some one brought
        By hinting that he launched no more,
        Of late, his surf-boat from the shore,
        However wind and storm were rife
        And stranded vessels perilled life.

        “No! by the God who made this tongue!”
        And up in angry force he sprung,—
        “No!—never, while my head is warm,
        However wild beat sea and storm,
        Launch I a boat, one life to save,
        If half creation finds a grave!”

        A fearful oath!—I thought; and so
        Thought others, for a murmur low
        Ran round the circle, till at length
        The wondering feeling gathered strength,
        And some, who had not known him long,
        Declared them words of cruel wrong,
        And swore to keep no friendly troth
        With one who framed so hard an oath.

        “You will not, mates?” the old man said,
        His words so earnest, dense, and dread
        That something down my back ran cold
        As at the ghostly tales of old.
        “You will not? Listen, then, a word!
        And if, when you have fairly heard,
        You say a thoughtless oath I swore,
        I never fish beside you more!

        “You know me, mates,—at least the most,—
        From Barnegat, on Jersey coast.
        ’Tis time you listened something more,
        That drove me to another shore.

        “Twelve years ago, at noon of life,
        I had a fond and faithful wife;
        Two children,—boy and girl; a patch;
        A drift-wood cabin roofed with thatch;
        And thought myself the happiest man
        The coast had known since time began.

        “One night a large ship drove ashore
        Not half a mile beyond my door.
        I saw the white surf breaking far;
        I saw her beating on the bar;
        I knew she could not live one hour
        By wood and iron’s strongest power.

        “I was alone, except my boy,—
        Sixteen,—my wife’s best hope and joy;
        And who can doubt, that is not mad,
        He was the proudest pride I had!
        I let him take the vacant oar;
        I took him with me from the shore;
        I let him try help save a life:
        I drowned him,—and it killed my wife!

        “Somebody stole a cask or bale,
        At least so ran the pleasant tale.
        And while my boy was lying dead,
        My wife’s last breath as yet unfled,
        The city papers reeked with chat
        Of ‘pirate bands on Barnegat.’
        My name was branded as a thief,
        When I was almost mad with grief;
        And what d’ye think they made me feel,
        When the last falsehood ground its heel,—
        ‘I had rowed out, that night, to steal!’

        “No! if I ever row again
        To save the lives of perilled men,
        Body and soul at once go down,
        And Heaven forget me as I drown!”

                  HENRY MORFORD.




OF the river scenery of America, the Hudson at West Point is doubtless
the boldest and most beautiful. This powerful river writhes through the
Highlands in abrupt curves, reminding one, when the tide runs strongly
down, of Laocoön in the enlacing folds of the serpent. The different
spurs of mountain ranges which meet here, abut upon the river in bold
precipices from five to fifteen hundred feet from the water’s edge; the
foliage hangs to them, from base to summit, with the tenacity and bright
verdure of moss; and the stream below, deprived of the slant lights
which brighten its depths elsewhere, flows on with a sombre and
dark-green shadow on its bosom, as if frowning at the narrow gorge into
which its broad-breasted waters are driven.

Back from the bluff of West Point extends a natural platform of near
half a mile square, high, level, and beautifully amphitheatred with wood
and rock. This is the site of the Military Academy, and a splendid
natural parade. When the tents of the summer camp are shining on the
field; the flag, with its blood-bright stripes, waving against the
foliage of the hills; the trumpet echoing from bluff to bluff, and the
compact battalion cutting its trim line across the green-sward,—there
are few more fairy spots in this working-day world.

On the extreme edge of the summit, overlooking the river, stands a
marble shaft, pointing like a bright finger to glory,—the tomb of the
soldier and patriot Kosciusko. The military colleges and other buildings
skirt the parade on the side of the mountain; and forward, toward the
river, on the western edge, stands a spacious hotel, from the verandahs
of which the traveller gets a view through the Highlands that he
remembers till he dies. Right up before him, with the smooth curve of an
eagle’s ascent, rises the “old cro’ nest” of the culprit Fay,—a bright
green mountain, that thrusts its topmost pine into the sky; the
Donderbarrak, or (if it is not sacrilege to translate so fine a name for
a mountain), the Thunder-chamber, heaves its round shoulder beyond; back
from the opposite shore, as if it recoiled from these, leans the bold
cliff of Breknock; and then looking out, as if from a cavern, into the
sun-light, the eye drops beyond upon a sheet of wide-spreading water,
with an emerald island on its bosom; the white buildings of Newburg
creeping back to the plains beyond, and in the far, far distance the
wavy and blue line of the Catskills, as if it were the dim-seen edge of
an outer horizon.

The passage through the Highlands at West Point still bears the old name
of Wey-gat, or Wind-gate; and one of the prettiest moving dioramas
conceivable is the working through the gorge of the myriad sailing-craft
of the river. The sloops which ply upon the Hudson, by the way, are
remarkable for their picturesque beauty, and for the enormous quantity
of sail they carry on in all weathers; and nothing is more beautiful
than the little fleets of from six to a dozen, all tacking or scudding
together, like so many white sea-birds on the wing. Up they come, with a
dashing breeze, under Anthony’s Nose and the Sugar-Loaf, and giving the
rocky toe of West Point a wide berth, all down helm, and round into the
bay; when—just as the peak of Crow Nest slides its shadow over the
main-sail—slap comes the wind aback, and the whole fleet is in a
flutter. The channel is narrow and serpentine, the wind baffling, and
small room to beat; but the little craft are worked merrily and well;
and dodging about, as if to escape some invisible imp in the air, they
gain point after point, till at last they get the Donderbarrak behind
them, and fall once more into the regular current of the wind.


               WEST POINT.

        WILD umbrage far around me clings
          To breezy knoll and hushed ravine,
        And o’er each rocky headland flings
          Its mantle of refreshing green.

        The echoes that so boldly rung
          When cannon flashed from steep to steep,
        And Freedom’s airy challenge flung,
          In each romantic valley sleep.

        His counsels here our chieftain breathed,
          Here roved his mild, undaunted eye,
        When yon lone fort, with thickets wreathed,
          Held captive Britain’s gallant spy.

        Fit home to rear a nation’s youth
          By self-control to nerve the will,
        Through knowledge gain expansive truth,
          And with high aims life’s circle fill.

        How grateful is the sudden change
          From arid pavements to the grass,
        From narrow streets that thousands range,
          To meadows where June’s zephyrs pass!

        Beneath the cliffs the river steals
          In darksome eddies to the shore,
        But midway every sail reveals,
          Reflected on its crystal floor.

        In tranquil mood the cattle walk
          Along the verdant marge to feed,
        While poised upon the mullein stalk
          The chirping redbird picks the seed.

        Low murmurs in the foliage bred,
          The clear horizon’s azure line,
        Fresh turf elastic to the tread,
          And leafy canopies are thine.

        White fleecy clouds move slowly by,
          How cool their shadows fall to day!
        A moment on the hills they lie,
          And then like spirits glide away.

        Amid the herbage, yesternight,
          His web the cunning spider threw,
        And now, as sparkling diamonds bright,
          It glistens with the pendent dew.

        Gay butterflies dart on and sink
          O’er the sweet blossoms of the pea,
        And from the clover’s globe of pink
          Contented hums the downy bee.

        In all this varied beauty glows
          Deep meaning for the thoughtful heart,
        As it were fain to teach repose,
          And lofty confidence impart.

        How vivid to my fancy now,
          Uprise the forms that life redeem!
        The ardent eye, the open brow,
          And tender smile beside me seem.

        For Nature’s presence gathers back
          The deeds that grace, the loves that cheer,
        And as her holy steps we track,
          Hope’s rainbow breaks through sorrow’s tear.



                    TOWN OF CATSKILL, HUDSON RIVER.


CATSKILL is more known as the landing-place for travellers bound to
the mountains above, than for any remarkable events in its own history,
or any singular beauties in itself. It is a thrifty town, in which the
most prosperous vocations are those of inn-keeper and stage-proprietor;
and during the summer months these two crafts at Catskill entertain and
transport to the hotel on the mountain half the population of the United
States,—more or less. The crowded steamers stop at the landing on their
way up and down; and a busier scene than is presented on the wharf daily
could not easily be found.

I have often thought, in passing, of the contrast between these numerous
advents and the landing of Hendrick Hudson on this very spot, in his
voyage of discovery up the river. He found here, he says, “a very loving
people and a very old man,” by whom he and his crew were very kindly
entertained. From the first step of a white man’s foot on the soil to
the crowded rush of passengers from a steam-boat; from a savage
wilderness to the height of civilization and science,—it is but a
little more than two hundred years of rapid history. Compare the old
Indian canoe in which Hudson went from his vessel to the land, with a
steamer carrying on its deck near a thousand souls; compare the
untutored population which then swarmed upon the shore, with the
cultivated and refined crowds who come and go in thousands on the same
spot,—and the contrast is as astonishing as the extinction of the
aboriginal race is melancholy.

It is surprising how few details connected with the races that inhabited
the older settlements of our country are reached even by the researches
of Historical Societies. The materials for the future poets and
historians of America are in this department singularly meagre, though
it might almost be supposed that the very tracks of the retreating
tribes might at this early day be still visible on the soil. Wherever
any particulars of the intercourse between the first settlers and the
Indians are preserved, they are highly curious, and often very
diverting. In a book on the settlements of this country, written by
Captain Nathaniel Uring, who visited it in 1709, there is an interesting
story connected with the history of one of the forts, built, by
permission of the Indians, to secure the settlers against sudden

“It happened one day,” says the Captain, relating the story as it was
told to him by the Governor, “as the carpenter was cutting down a large
timber-tree for the use of the fort, that great numbers of Indians stood
round it, gazing, and admiring the wonderful dexterity of the carpenter,
and greatly surprised at the manner of cutting it,—having, before the
arrival of the Europeans, never seen an axe, or any such like tools. The
carpenter, perceiving the tree ready to fall, gave notice to the Indians
by language or signs to keep out of its reach when it fell; but either
for want of understanding the carpenter, or by carelessness of the
Indians, a branch of the tree in its fall struck one of them, and killed
him; upon which they raised a great cry. The carpenter, seeing them much
out of humor at the accident, made his escape into the fort; and soon
after, the Indians gathered together in great numbers about it and
demanded justice of the Europeans for the death of their brother, and
desired to have the man who was the occasion of his being killed, that
they might execute him, and revenge their brother’s death. The Governor
endeavored to excuse the carpenter, by representing to them that he was
not to blame; and told them that if their brother had observed the
notice given him by the carpenter, he had not been hurt. But that answer
would not satisfy the Indians; they increased their numbers about the
fort, and nothing less than the execution of the carpenter would content

“The Europeans endeavored to spin out the time by treaty, and thought to
appease them by presents, hoping those, and time together, might make
them easy; but finding that would not do, and not being able longer to
defend themselves against such numbers as besieged them, they consulted
how to give the Indians satisfaction.

“The carpenter being a useful man, they considered that they could not
spare him without the greatest inconvenience; but seeing there was an
absolute necessity of doing something, they found out an expedient,
which was this: There was in the fort an old weaver, who had been
bed-rid a long time; _they concluded to hang up the weaver, and make the
Indians believe it was the carpenter_.

“Having come to this resolution, the Governor let the Indians know that
since nothing else would satisfy them, though their demand was unjust,
yet to show them how ready they were to live in amity and friendship
with them, in the morning they should see the carpenter hanging upon a
certain tree in their view.

“In the night they carried the poor old weaver and hanged him in the
room of the carpenter, which gave full satisfaction to the Indians; and
they were again good friends.”



        HOW reel the wildered senses at the sight!
        How vast the boundless vision breaks in view!
        Nor thought, nor word, can well depict the scene;
        The din of toil comes faintly swelling up
        From green fields far below; and all around
        The forest sea sends up its ceaseless roar,
        Like to the ocean’s everlasting chime.
        Mountains on mountains in the distance rise
        Like clouds along the far horizon’s verge,
        Their misty summits mingling with the sky,
        Till earth and heaven seem blended into one.
        So far removed from toil and bustling care,
        So far from earth, if heaven no nearer be,
        And gazing, as a spirit, from mid-air
        Upon the strife and tumult of the world,
        Let me forget the cares I leave behind,
        And with an humble spirit bow before
        The Maker of these everlasting hills.

                  BAYARD TAYLOR.


              THE FERRY-BOAT.

        WRECKS of clouds of a sombre gray,
          Like the ribbed remains of a mastodon,
        Were piled in masses along the west,
          And a streak of red stretched over the sun.

        I stood on the deck of the ferry-boat,
          As the summer evening deepened to night,
        Where the tides of the river ran darkling past
          Through lengthening pillars of crinkled light.

        The wind blew over the land and the waves
          With its salt sea breath and a spicy balm,
        And it seemed to cool my throbbing brain
          And lend my spirit its gusty calm.

        The forest of masts, the dark-hulled ships,
          The twinkling lights, and the sea of men,—
        I read the riddle of each and all,
          And I knew their inner meaning then.

        For while the beautiful moon arose,
          And drifted the boat in her yellow beams,
        My soul went down the river of thought,
          That flows in the mystic land of dreams!



                     INDIAN FALL, NEAR COLD-SPRING.

                         (Opposite West Point.)

THIS is a secluded and delicious bit of Nature, hidden amid rocks and
woods, on the shore of the Hudson, but possessing a refinement and an
elegance in its wildness which would almost give one the idea that it
was an object of beauty in some royal park. One of the most secret
streams that feed this finest of our rivers finds its way down through a
winding and almost trackless channel; and after fretting over rocks, and
loitering in dark and limpid pools for several miles, it suddenly bursts
out over a precipice of fifty feet, and fills with its clear waters the
sheltered basin seen in the drawing. Immense trees overhang it on every
side, and follow the stream still on in its course; and in the depth of
summer the foaming current scarcely catches a ray of the sun from its
source to its outlet. The floor of the basin below the Fall is pebbly,
the water is clear and cool, the spot secluded, and in all respects
Nature has formed it for a bath. A fair and famous lady, residing a
summer or two since at West Point, was its first known Musidora; and the
limpid and bright basin is already called after her name.

A large party visiting at a hospitable house where the artist and his
travelling companion were entertained during the heat of the last
summer, proposed to accompany him on his visit to the Indian Fall.
Excursions on the banks of the Hudson are usually made in boats; but it
was necessary to see some points of view from the hills between, and we
walked out to the stables to see what could be done for vehicles and
cattle. A farm wagon, with its tail up in the air, built after an old
Dutch fashion which still prevails in New York,—a sort of loosely
jointed, long, lumbering vehicle, which was meant to go over any rock
smaller than a beer-barrel without upsetting,—was the only “consarn,”
as the “help” called it, which would hold the party. With straw in the
bottom, and straps put across from peg to peg, it would carry eleven,
and the driver.

Horses were the next consideration; and here we were rather staggered. A
vicious old mare, that kept a wheelwright and a surgeon in constant
employ, and a powerful young colt half broken, were the only steeds in
stable. However either might be made to go alone, they had never been
tried together; and the double-wagon harness was the worse for service.
The “help” suggested very sensibly that the load would be too heavy to
run away with; and that if the mare kicked, or the colt bolted, or in
short if anything happened except backing over a precipice, we had only
to sit still and let them do their “darndest.”

We cobbled the harness in its weak spots, shook down the straw for the
ladies, nailed up the tail-board, which had lost its rods, got the
cattle in, and brought up quietly to the door. The ladies and the
champagne were put in, and the colt was led off by the bit, shaking his
head and catching up his hind leg; while the demure old mare drew off
tamely and steadily, “never wicked,” as the ploughman said, “till you
got her dander up with a tough hill.” The driver had a chain with a list
bottom, and having had some practice in Charing Cross and Fleet Street
fingered his reins and flourished his maple whip through the village,
evidently not thinking himself or his driving _de la petite bière_.

The road, which followed the ridges of the superb hills skirting the
river opposite West Point, was in some places scarce fit even for a
bridlepath; and at every few paces came a rock, which we believed
passable when we had surged over it,—not before. The two ill-matched
animals drew to a wonder; and the ladies and the champagne had escaped
all damage, till, as the enemy of mankind would have it, our ambitious
whip saw stretching out before him a fair quarter of a mile of more even
road. A slight touch of the whip sent off the colt in a jump, carrying
away the off trace with the first spring; the old mare struck into a
gallop, and with the broken trace striking against the colt’s heels, and
the whippletree parallel with the pole, away they went as nearly in a
tandem as the remaining part of the harness would allow. The tail-board
soon flew off, and let out two unsuspecting gentlemen, who had placed
their backs and their reliance upon it; and the screams of the ladies
added what was wanting to raise the “dander” of the old mare to its most
unpleasant climax. The straps gave way, the ladies rolled together in
the straw, the driver tossed about on his list-bottomed chain, the
champagne corks flew,—and presently, as if we were driven by a
battering-ram against a wall, we brought up with a tremendous crash, and
stood still. We had come to a sharp turn in the road; and the horses,
unable to turn, had leaped a low stone wall, and breaking clear of
everything left us on one side, while they thrashed the ripe wheat with
the whippletrees on the other.

The ladies were undamaged, fortunately; and, with one champagne bottle
saved from the wreck, we completed the excursion to the Fall on foot,
and were too happy to return by water.



        ON this sweet Sabbath morning, let us wander
          From the loud music and the gay parade,
        Where sleeps the graveyard in its silence yonder,
          Deep in the mountain shade.

        There, side by side, the dark green cedars cluster
          Like sentries watching by that camp of Death;
        There, like an army’s tents, with snow-white lustre
          The gravestones gleam beneath.

        But, as we go, no posted guard or picket
          Stays our approach across the level grass,
        Nor hostile challenge at the simple wicket
          Through which our footsteps pass.

        Sweet spot, by Nature’s primal consecration
          Sacred to peace and thought and calm repose,
        Well in thy breast that elder generation
          Their place of burial chose.

        And well, to-day, whene’er the sad procession
          Moves o’er the plain, with slow and measured tread,
        Within thy silent and secure possession
          The living leave the dead.

        Few are the graves, for here no populous city
          Feeds with its myriad lives the hungry Fates,
        While hourly funerals, led by grief or pity,
          Crowd through the open gates.

        Here Death is rarer, yet full many a token
          Tells of his presence, on these grassy slopes,—
        The slab, the stone, the shaft, half reared and broken,
          Symbol of shattered hopes.

        Here sleep brave men, who in the deadly quarrel
          Fought for their country, and their life-blood poured,
        Above whose dust she carves the deathless laurel
          Wreathing the victor’s sword.

        And here the young cadet, in manly beauty
          Borne from the tents which skirt those rocky banks,
        Called from life’s daily drill and perilous duty
          To these unbroken ranks.

        Here too the aged man, the wife, the maiden,
          Together hushed, as on His faithful breast
        Who cried, “Come hither, all ye heavy-laden
          And I will give you rest!”

        And little gravestones through the grass are gleaming,
          Sown like the lilies over forms as fair,
        Of whom to-day what broken hearts are dreaming
          Through Sabbath song and prayer!

        Peace to the sleepers! may the bud and blossom,
          Spring’s early bloom and Summer’s sweet increase,
        Fail not, while Nature on her tender bosom
          Folds them and whispers, Peace!

        And here at last who could not rest contented?
          Beneath,—the river, with its tranquil flood;
        Around,—the breezes of the morning, scented
          With odors from the wood;

        Above,—the eternal hills, their shadows blending
          With morn and noon and twilight's deepening pall;
        And overhead,—the infinite heavens, attending
          Until the end of all!

                  WILLIAM ALLEN BUTLER.




THIS mountain, “known to fame,” serves as a landmark to the
industrious craft plying upon the Hudson, and thus fulfils a more useful
destiny than is commonly awarded to spots bright in story. It stands
amid a host of interesting localities marked by the events of the
Revolution, and has witnessed, with less damage than other noses, many a
conflict by land and water.

On the opposite side of the river from the base of the mountain lie the
two forts—Montgomery and Clinton—taken by the British in October,
1777. The commander-in-chief at New York was prompted to this expedition
by two objects,—to destroy a quantity of military stores which the
Americans had collected in this neighborhood, and to make a diversion in
favor of General Burgoyne. For these purposes Sir Henry Clinton embarked
between three and four thousand troops at New York, and sailed with them
up the Hudson. On the 5th of October they landed at Verplank’s Point, a
few miles below the entrance to the Highlands. The next morning, a part
of the force landed on Stony Point, which projects into the river on the
western side, just below the mountains; hence they marched to the rear
of the fortresses.

General Putnam commanded at that time in this quarter. He had one
thousand continental troops, a part of which only were effective, and a
small body of militia. He believed the principal design of the enemy to
be the destruction of the stores; and when he was informed of their main
purpose, it was too late for him to resist with success. He supposed
that they were aiming at Fort Independence, and directed his attention
to its defence: the heavy firing on the other side of the river gave him
the first decisive information of their real intentions. George Clinton,
at that time governor of the State, placed himself at this post on the
first notice that he received of the enemy’s advancing. Having made the
best disposition for the defence of the forts, he dispatched an express
to General Putnam to acquaint him with his situation; but when it
reached Putnam’s headquarters, that officer and General Parsons were
reconnoitring the position of the enemy on the east side of the river.

Lieutenant-Colonel Campbell, in the mean time, proceeded with nine
hundred men by a circuitous march to the rear of Fort Montgomery; while
Sir Henry Clinton, with Generals Vaughan and Tryon, moved onwards
towards Fort Clinton. Both fortresses were attacked at once, between
four and five in the afternoon: they were defended with great
resolution. This will be readily admitted, when it is remembered that
the whole garrison consisted of but six hundred men. The conflict was
carried on till dark, when the British had obtained absolute possession,
and such of the Americans as were not killed or wounded had made their
escape. The loss of the two garrisons amounted to about two hundred and
fifty. Among the killed on the enemy’s side was Lieutenant-Colonel

It has been thought that an addition of five or six hundred men to these
garrisons would have saved the works; the correctness of this opinion
may be doubted. Fifteen hundred soldiers would have been barely
sufficient completely to man Fort Montgomery alone. The works themselves
were imperfect, and the ground was probably chosen rather for the
defence of the river than because it was itself defensible.

Governor Clinton and his brother, General James Clinton, escaped after
the enemy had possession of the forts,—the former by crossing the
river; the latter had been wounded in the thigh by a bayonet.

On the 8th, the English forces proceeded to the eastern side, where they
found Fort Independence evacuated. A party then burned the continental
village as it was called,—a temporary settlement raised up by the war
for the accommodation of the army. Here had been gathered a considerable
number of those artisans whose labors are particularly necessary for
military purposes, and a considerable quantity of military stores. They
then removed a chain which was stretched across the river at Fort
Montgomery, and advancing up the river removed another, which was
extended from Fort Constitution to the opposite shore at West Point.
General Vaughan then advanced still farther up the Hudson, and on the
13th reached the town of Kingston, which he burned. On the 17th took
place the surrender of Burgoyne, and General Vaughan returned down the
Hudson with his fleet to New York.

Count Grabouski, a Polish nobleman, was killed in the assault on Fort
Clinton, while acting as an aid-de-camp to the British commander. He was
buried on the spot, but his grave is now undiscoverable.


              LAKE CANEPO.

        WHEN cradled on thy placid breast
          In hushed content I loved to muse,
        Too full the heart, too sweet the rest,
          For thought and speech to interfuse.

        But now, when thou art shrined afar,
          Like Nature’s chosen urn of peace,
        Remembrance, like the evening star,
          Begins a vigil ne’er to cease.

        Each mossy rock, each fairy isle,
          Inlets with thickets overhung,
        The cloud’s rose-tint or fleecy pile,
          And Echo’s wildly frolic tongue;

        The light and shade that o’er thee play
          The ripple of thy moonlit wave,
        The long, calm, dreamy summer day,
          The very stones thy waters lave;

        The converse frank, the harmless jest,
          The reverie without a sigh,
        The hammock’s undulating rest,
          With fair companions seated by

        Yet linger, as if near thee still
          I heard upon the fitful breeze
        The locust and the whippoorwill,
          Or rustle of the swaying trees.

        Hills rise in graceful curves around,
          Here dark with tangled forest shade,
        There yellow with the harvest-ground,
          Or emerald with the open glade;

        Primeval chestnuts line the strand,
          And hemlocks every mountain side,
        While, by each passing zephyr fanned,
          Azalea flowers kiss the tide.

        We nestle in the gliding barge,
          And turn from yon unclouded sky
        To watch, along the bosky marge,
          Its image in thy waters nigh;

        Or, gently darting to and fro,
          The insects on their face explore,
        With speckled minnows poised below,
          And tortoise on the pebbly floor;

        Or turn the prow to some lone bay,
          Where thick the floating leaves are spread,—
        How bright and queen-like the array
          Of lilies in their crystal bed!





THE scenery in this neighborhood is exceedingly beautiful. The
junction of the Mohawk and Hudson, the Falls of the Cohoes, the gay and
elegant town of Troy, Albany in the distance, and a foreground of the
finest mixture of the elements of landscape, compose a gratification to
the eye equalled by few other spots in this country. “Think,” says one
of our noblest and best writers, speaking of a similar scene,—“think of
the country for which the Indians fought! Who can blame them? As the
river chieftains, the lords of the waterfalls and the mountains, ranged
this lovely valley, can it be wondered at that they beheld with
bitterness the forest disappearing beneath the settler’s axe, the
fishing-place disturbed by his saw-mills? Can we not fancy the feelings
with which some strong-minded savage, who should have ascended the
summit of the mountain in company with a friendly settler, contemplating
the progress already made by the white man, and marking the gigantic
strides with which he was advancing into the wilderness, should fold his
arms and say: ‘White man, there is eternal war between me and thee! I
quit not the land of my fathers but with my life! In those woods where I
bent my youthful bow, I will still hunt the deer; over yonder waters I
will still glide unrestrained in my bark canoe; by those dashing
waterfalls I will still lay up my winter’s food; on these fertile
meadows I will still plant my corn. Stranger, the land is mine! I
understand not these paper rights; I gave not my consent when, as thou
sayest, those broad regions were purchased for a few baubles of my
fathers. They could sell what was theirs; they could sell no more. How
could my father sell that which the Great Spirit sent me into the world
to live upon? They knew not what they did. The stranger came, a timid
suppliant, few and feeble, and asked to lie down on the red man’s
bear-skin, and warm himself at the red man’s fire, and have a little
piece of land to raise corn for his women and children; and now he is
become strong and mighty and bold, and spreads out his parchment over
the whole, and says, It is mine! Stranger, there is not room for us
both. The Great Spirit has not made us to live together. There is poison
in the white man’s cup; the white man’s dog barks at the red man’s
heels. If I should leave the land of my fathers, whither shall I fly?
Shall I go to the south, and dwell among the groves of the Pequots?
Shall I wander to the west?—the fierce Mohawk, the man-eater, is my
foe. Shall I fly to the east?—the great water is before me. No,
stranger, here have I lived, and here will I die; and if here thou
abidest, there is eternal war between me and thee! Thou hast taught me
thy arts of destruction,—for that alone I thank thee. And now take heed
to thy steps; the red man is thy foe. When thou goest forth by day, my
bullet shall whistle by thee; when thou liest down at night, my knife is
at thy throat. The noonday sun shall not discover thy enemy, and the
darkness of midnight shall not protect thy rest. Thou shalt plant in
terror, and I will reap in blood; thou shalt sow the earth with corn,
and I will strew it with ashes; thou shalt go forth with the sickle, and
I will follow after with the scalping-knife; thou shalt build, and I
will burn, till the white man or the Indian shall cease from the land.
Go thy way for this time in safety; but remember, stranger, there is
eternal war between thee and me!’”

As the same writer afterward observes, however, the Pilgrim Fathers
“purchased the land of those who claimed it, and paid for it,—often,
more than once. They purchased it for a consideration trifling to the
European, but valuable to the Indian. There is no overreaching in giving
but little for that which in the hands of the original proprietors is
worth nothing.”



        STRUGGLING along the mountain path,
            We hear amid the gloom,
        Like a roused giant’s voice of wrath,
            A deep-toned, sullen boom:
        Emerging on the platform high,
        Burst sudden to the startled eye
        Rocks, woods, and waters, wild and rude,—
        A scene of savage solitude.

        Swift as an arrow from the bow,
            Headlong the torrent leaps,
        Then tumbling round, in dazzling snow
            And dizzy whirls it sweeps;
        Then, shooting through the narrow aisle
        Of this sublime cathedral pile,
        Amid its vastness, dark and grim,
        It peals its everlasting hymn.

        Pyramid on pyramid of rock
            Tower upward wild and riven,
        As piled by Titan hands to mock
            The distant smiling heaven.
        And where its blue streak is displayed,
        Branches their emerald network braid
        So high, the eagle in his flight
        Seems but a dot upon the sight.

        Here columned hemlocks point in air
            Their cone-like fringes green;
        Their trunks hang knotted, black, and bare,
            Like spectres o’er the scene;
        Here, lofty crag and deep abyss,
        And awe-inspiring precipice;
        There, grottos bright in wave-worn gloss,
        And carpeted with velvet moss.

        No wandering ray e’er kissed with light
            This rock-walled sable pool,
        Spangled with foam-gems thick and white,
            And slumbering deep and cool;
        But where yon cataract roars down,
        Set by the sun, a rainbow crown
        Is dancing o’er the dashing strife,—
        Hope glittering o’er the storm of life.

        Beyond, the smooth and mirrored sheet
            So gently steals along,
        The very ripples, murmuring sweet,
            Scarce drown the wild bee’s song;
        The violet from the grassy side
        Dips its blue chalice in the tide;
        And, gliding o’er the leafy brink,
        The deer unfrightened stoops to drink.

        Myriads of man’s time-measured race
            Have vanished from the earth,
        Nor left a memory of their trace,
            Since first this scene had birth;
        These waters, thundering now along,
        Joined in Creation’s matin-song;
        And only by their dial-trees
        Have known the lapse of centuries!





THIS view out from the gorge of the Highlands presents a foreground of
cliff and shadow, with their reflections almost folded across in the
bosom of the river, and a middle ground of the village of Newburg and
the gently-undulating country in the rear. The blue and far-off line of
the Catskills shuts in the horizon.

There is some very romantic scenery hidden among the undulations just
mentioned, embracing several small rivers, and also a romantic stream
called Murderer’s Creek,—a tributary of the Hudson. Mr. Paulding, in
his “New Mirror for Travellers,” gives the following interesting legend
in explanation of the name:—

“Little more than a century ago, the beautiful region watered by this
stream was possessed by a small tribe of Indians, which has long since
become extinct, or been incorporated with some other savage nation of
the West. Three or four hundred yards from where the stream discharges
itself into the Hudson, a white family of the name of Stacey had
established itself in a log-house by tacit permission of the tribe, to
whom Stacey had made himself useful by his skill in a variety of little
arts highly estimated by the savages. In particular, a friendship
existed between him and an old Indian called Naoman, who often came to
his house and partook of his hospitality. The Indians never forgive
injuries or forget benefits. The family consisted of Stacey, his wife,
and two children,—a boy and girl; the former five, the latter three
years old.”

The legend goes on to say that Naoman, in grateful friendship, gave the
wife of Stacey a secret warning that a massacre of the whites was
resolved on, exacting from her a solemn pledge of secrecy, and advising
instant escape across the river.

“The daily visits of old Naoman and his more than ordinary gravity had
excited suspicion in some of the tribe, who had accordingly paid
particular attention to the movements of Stacey. One of the young
Indians, who had kept on the watch, seeing the whole family about to
take their boat, ran to the little Indian village, about a mile off, and
gave the alarm. Five Indians collected, ran down to the river side where
their canoes were moored, jumped in and paddled after Stacey, who by
this time had got some distance out into the stream. They gained on him
so fast that twice he dropped his paddle and took up his gun. But his
wife prevented his shooting, by telling him that if he fired, and they
were afterwards overtaken, they would meet no mercy from the Indians. He
accordingly refrained, and plied his paddle till the sweat rolled in big
drops down his forehead. All would not do; they were overtaken within a
hundred yards of the shore, and carried back with shouts of yelling

“When they got ashore, the Indians set fire to Stacey’s house, and
dragged himself, his wife, and children to their village. Here the
principal old men, and Naoman among the rest, assembled to deliberate on
the affair. The chief among them stated that some one of the tribe had
undoubtedly been guilty of treason in apprising Stacey the white man of
the designs of the tribe, whereby he took the alarm and had well nigh
escaped. He proposed to examine the prisoners as to who gave the
information. The old men assented to this, and Naoman among the rest.
Stacey was first interrogated by one of the old men who spoke English,
and interpreted to the others. Stacey refused to betray his informant.
His wife was then questioned, while at the same moment two Indians stood
threatening the two children with tomahawks in case she did not confess.
She attempted to evade the truth, by declaring she had a dream the night
before which had alarmed her, and that she had persuaded her husband to
fly. ‘The Great Spirit never deigns to talk in dreams to a white face,’
said the old Indian. ‘Woman! thou hast two tongues and two faces: speak
the truth, or thy children shall surely die.’ The little boy and girl
were then brought close to her, and the two savages stood over them,
ready to execute their bloody orders.

‘Wilt thou name,’ said the old Indian, ‘the red man who betrayed his
tribe? I will ask thee three times.’ The mother answered not. ‘Wilt thou
name the traitor? This is the second time.’ The poor mother looked at
her husband, and then at her children, and stole a glance at Naoman, who
sat smoking his pipe with invincible gravity. She wrung her hands and
wept, but remained silent. ‘Wilt thou name the traitor? ’Tis the third
and last time.’ The agony of the mother waxed more bitter; again she
sought the eye of Naoman, but it was cold and motionless. A pause of a
moment awaited her reply, and the next moment the tomahawks were raised
over the heads of the children, who besought their mother not to let
them be murdered.

“‘Stop!’ cried Naoman. All eyes were turned upon him. ‘Stop!’ repeated
he in a tone of authority. ‘White woman, thou hast kept thy word with me
to the last moment. I am the traitor. I have eaten of the salt, warmed
myself at the fire, shared the kindness of these Christian white people;
and it was I that told them of their danger. I am a withered, leafless,
branchless trunk; cut me down if you will. I am ready.’ A yell of
indignation sounded on all sides. Naoman descended from the little bank
where he sat, shrouded his face with his mantle of skins, and submitted
to his fate. He fell dead at the feet of the white woman by a blow of
the tomahawk.”


                THE HUDSON.

        ’TWAS a vision of childhood that came with its dawn,
        Ere the curtain that covered life’s day-star was drawn;
        The nurse told the tale when the shadows grew long,
        And the mother’s soft lullaby breathed it in song.

        “There flows a fair stream by the hills of the West,”—
        She sang to her boy as he lay on her breast,—
        “Along its smooth margin thy fathers have played,
        Beside its deep waters their ashes are laid.”

        I wandered afar from the land of my birth,
        I saw the old rivers, renowned upon earth,
        But fancy still painted that wide-flowing stream
        With the many-hued pencil of infancy’s dream.

        I saw the green banks of the castle-crowned Rhine,
        Where the grapes drink the moonlight and change it to wine;
        I stood by the Avon, whose waves as they glide
        Still whisper his glory who sleeps at their side.

        But my heart would still yearn for the sound of the waves
        That sing as they flow by my forefathers’ graves;
        If manhood yet honors my cheek with a tear,
        I care not who sees it,—no blush for it here!

        Farewell to the deep-bosomed stream of the West!
        I fling this loose blossom to float on its breast;
        Nor let the dear love of its children grow cold,
        Till the channel is dry where its waters have rolled!

                  OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES.




FROM this admirably chosen spot, the Bay of New York appears with
every accessory of beauty. The city itself comes into the left of the
picture to an advantage seen from no other point of view. The flocks of
river-craft scud past in all directions; men-of-war, merchantmen,
steamers, and ferry-boats fill up the moving elements of the panorama;
and far away beyond stretches the broad harbor, with its glassy or
disturbed waters, in all the varieties of ever-changing sea-view. It was
on this side that Hudson, who had felt the hostility of the Manhattan
Indians, found a friendlier tribe, and made his first amicable visit on
shore. The Indian tradition springing from that visit, and describing
the first intoxication they had ever experienced, is extremely

“A long time ago, before men with a white skin had ever been seen, some
Indians, fishing at a place where the sea widens, espied something at a
distance moving upon the water. They hurried ashore, collected their
neighbors, who together returned and viewed intensely this astonishing
phenomenon. What it could be, baffled all conjecture. Some supposed it
to be a large fish or animal; others that it was a very big house
floating on the sea. Perceiving it moving towards land, the spectators
concluded that it would be proper to send runners in different
directions to carry the news to their scattered chiefs, that they might
send off for the immediate attendance of their warriors. These arriving
in numbers to behold the sight, and perceiving that it was actually
moving towards them (that is, coming into the river or bay), they
conjectured that it must be a remarkably large house, in which the
Manitto (or Great Spirit) was coming to visit them. They were much
afraid, and yet under no apprehension that the Great Spirit would injure
them. They worshipped him. The chiefs now assembled at York Island, and
consulted in what manner they should receive their Manitto. Meat was
prepared for a sacrifice; the women were directed to prepare the best of
victuals; idols or images were examined and put in order; a grand dance
they thought would be pleasing, and, in addition to the sacrifice, might
appease him, if angry. The conjurers were also set to work to determine
what this phenomenon portended, and what the result would be. To these,
men, women, and children looked up for advice and protection. Utterly at
a loss what to do, and distracted alternately by hope and fear, in this
confusion a grand dance commenced. Meantime fresh runners arrived,
declaring it to be a great house of various colors, and full of living
creatures. It now appeared certain that it was their Manitto, probably
bringing some new kind of game. Others arriving, declared it positively
to be full of people of different color and dress from theirs, and that
one in particular appeared altogether _red_. This then must be the
Manitto. They were lost in admiration; could not imagine what the vessel
was, whence it came, or what all this portended. They are now hailed
from the vessel in a language they cannot understand; they answer by a
shout or yell in their way. The house (or large canoe, as some render
it) stops. A smaller canoe comes on shore, with the red man in it; some
stay by his canoe to guard it. The chiefs and wise men form a circle,
into which the red man and two attendants enter. He salutes them with
friendly countenance, and they return the salute after their manner.
They are amazed at the color and dress of the strangers, particularly
with him who glittering in red wore something (perhaps lace or buttons)
they could not comprehend. He _must_ be the great Manitto, they thought;
but why should he have a _white skin_? A large elegant _hockhack_
(_gourd_; that is, bottle, decanter, etc.) is brought by one of the
supposed Manitto’s servants, from which a substance is poured into a
small cup or glass and handed to the Manitto. He drinks, has the glass
refilled, and handed to the chief near him; he takes it, smells it, and
passes it to the next, who does the same. The glass in this manner is
passed round the circle, and is about to be returned to the red-clothed
man when one of them, a great warrior, harangues them on the impropriety
of returning the cup unemptied. It was handed to them, he said, by the
Manitto, to drink out of as he had. To follow his example would please
him; to reject it might provoke his wrath; and if no one else would, he
would drink it himself, let what would follow,—for it was better for
one even to die than a whole nation to be destroyed. He then took the
glass, smelled at it, again addressed them, bidding adieu, and drank the
contents. All eyes were now fixed on the first Indian in New York who
had tasted the poison which has since affected so signal a revolution in
the condition of the native Americans. He soon began to stagger; the
women cried, supposing him in fits; he rolled on the ground; they bemoan
his fate; they thought him dying. He fell asleep; they at first thought
he had expired, but soon perceived he still breathed. He awoke, jumped
up, and declared he never felt more happy. He asked for more; and the
whole assembly, imitating him, became intoxicated.”

In descending the river, after he had penetrated to Albany, Hudson ran
his little craft ashore at Weehawken; but the ground was a soft ooze,
and she was got off without damage, and proceeded to sea.


                THE HUDSON.

        ’TIS the middle watch of a summer’s night,—
        The earth is dark, but the heavens are bright;
        Nought is seen in the vault on high
        But the moon and the stars and the cloudless sky,
        And the flood which rolls its milky hue,—
        A river of light on the welkin blue.
        The moon looks down on old Cronest,
        She mellows the shades on his shaggy breast
        And seems his huge gray form to throw
        In a silver cone on the wave below;
        His sides are broken by spots of shade,
        By the walnut bough and the cedar made,
        And through their clustering branches dark
        Glimmers and dies the firefly’s spark,—
        Like starry twinkles that momently break
        Through the rifts of the gathering tempest rack.

        The stars are on the moving stream,
          And fling, as its ripples gently flow,
        A burnished length of wavy beam
          In an eel-like, spiral line below.
        The winds are whist, and the owl is still,
          The bat in the shelvy rock is hid;
        And nought is heard on the lonely hill
        But the cricket’s chirp and the answer shrill
          Of the gauze-winged katy-did,
        And the plaint of the wailing whip-poor-will
          Who moans unseen, and ceaseless sings
        Ever a note of wail and woe,
          Till morning spreads her rosy wings,
        And earth and sky in her glances glow.

                JOSEPH RODMAN DRAKE.


[1] It is disputed whether this scene of intoxication took place on the
present site of New York, on the Jersey side, or at Albany.


                  CHAPEL OF “OUR LADY OF COLD SPRING.”

                      Coldspring, Putnam Cy. N.Y.

THE Hudson bends out from Crow-Nest into a small bay; and in the lap
of the crescent thus formed lies snug and sheltered the town of Cold

It is a pity, picturesquely speaking, that the boatmen on the river are
not Catholics; it would be so pretty to see them shorten sail off Our
Lady of Cold Spring, and uncover for an Ave-Maria. This little chapel,
so exquisitely situated on the bluff overlooking the river, reminds me
of a hermit’s oratory and cross which is perched similarly in the
shelter of a cliff on the desolate coast of Sparta. I was on board a
frigate, gliding slowly up the Ægean, and clinging to the shore for a
land-wind, when I descried the white cross at a distance of about half a
mile, strongly relieved against the dark rock in its rear. As we
approached, the small crypt and altar became visible; and at the moment
the ship passed, a tall monk, with a snow-white beard, stepped forth
like an apparition upon the cliffs, and spread out his arms to bless us.
In the midst of the intense solitude of the Ægean, with not a human
dwelling to be seen on the whole coast from Morea to Napoli, the effect
of this silent benediction was almost supernatural. He remained for five
minutes in this attitude, his long cowl motionless in the still air, and
his head slowly turning to the ship as she drew fast round the little
promontory on her course. I would suggest to Our Lady of Cold Spring,
that a niche under the portico of her pretty chapel, with a cross to be
seen from the river by day and a lamp by night, would make at least a
catholic impression on the passer-by, though we are not all children of
St. Peter.

Half way between the mountain and Our Lady’s shrine stands, on a superb
natural platform, the romantic estate of Undercliff. Just above it rises
the abrupt and heavily-wooded mountain, from which it derives its name;
a thick grove hides it from the village at its foot, and from the
portico of the mansion extend views in three directions unparalleled for
varied and surprising beauty. A road running between high-water mark and
the park gate skirts the river in eccentric windings for five or six
miles; the brows of the hills descending to the Hudson in the west and
north are nobly wooded and threaded with circuitous paths; and all
around lies the most romantic scenery of the most romantic river in the

The only fault of the views from West Point is that West Point itself is
lost as a feature in the landscape. The traveller feels the same
drawback which troubled the waiting-maid when taken to drive by the
footman in her mistress’s chariot,—“How I wish I could stand by the
road-side and see myself go by!” From Undercliff, which is directly
opposite, and about at the same elevation, the superb terrace of the
Military School is seen to the greatest advantage. The white barracks of
Camptown, the long range of edifices which skirt the esplanade, the
ruins of old Fort Putnam half way up the mountain, and the waving line
of wood and valley extending to the estate of “Stoney Lonesome” form a
noble feature in the view from Undercliff.

I had forgotten that Cold Spring “plucks a glory on its head” from being
honored with the frequent visits of Washington Irving, Halleck, and
other lesser stars in the literary firmament. Now that these first
lights above the horizon have set (Hesperus-like, first and brightest!),
there lingers about the town many a tale of the days when Geoffrey
Crayon talked in his gentle way with the ferryman who brought him to
Cold Spring; or the now plethoric post-master, who in his character of
librarian to the village enjoyed the friendship of Irving and Halleck,
and received from their own hands the “author’s copies,” since curiously
preserved in the execrable print and binding then prevalent in America.
Perhaps even old Lipsey the ferryman, and his rival Andrews, will come
in for their slice of immortality, little as they dream now, pulling
close in for the counter-current under Our Lady’s skirts, of working at
that slow oar for posthumous reputation.



        So bright the day, so clear the sky,
          So grand the scene before me,
        My meaner life my soul puts by,
          And a better mood comes o’er me.

        From under trees whose rustling leaves
          Wear all their autumn glory,
        I watch the brown fields far below,
          And the headlands, gray and hoary.

        I see the beetling Palisades,
          Whose wrinkled brows forever,
        In calms and storms, in lights and shades,
          Keep watch along the river.

        Such watch, of old, the Magi kept
          Along the sad Euphrates,—
        Our eyeless ones have never slept,
          And this their solemn fate is:

        God built these hills in barrier long,
          And then He opened through them
        These gates of granite, barred so strong
          He only might undo them;

        Through them He lets the Hudson flow
          For slowly counted ages,
        The while the nations fade and grow
          Around the granite ledges.

        He bids these warders watch and wait,
          Their vigil ne’er forsaking,
        Forever standing by the gate,
          Not moving and not speaking.

        So, all earth’s day, till night shall fall,
          When God shall send His orders,
        And summon at one trumpet-call
          The grim and patient warders.

        The guards shall bow, the gates shall close
          Upon the obedient river,
        And then no more the Hudson flows
          Forever and forever.



                NEW JERSEY.


        BEFORE my bark the waves have curled
        As it bore me thrice around the world;
        And for forty years have met my eyes
        The beauties born under wide-spread skies.
        But though far and long may be my track,
        It is never too far for looking back;
        And I see them,—see them over the sea,
        As I saw them when youth still dwelt with me,—
              The brown-eyed girls of Jersey!

        They are Quakers, half,—half maids of Spain;
        Half Yankees, with fiery Southern brain;
        They are English, French,—they are Irish elves;
        They are better than all, in being themselves!
        They are coaxing things,—then wild and coy;
        They are full of tears,—full of mirth and joy.
        They madden the brain like rich old wine:
        And no wonder at all if they’ve maddened mine,
              Those brown-eyed girls of Jersey!

        Some day, when distant enough my track,
        To the Land of the Free I shall wander back;
        And if not too gray, both heart and hair,
        To win the regard of a thing so fair,
        I shall try the power of the blarney-stone
        In making some darling girl my own:
        Some darling girl, that still may be
        Keeping all her beauty and grace for me,—
              Some brown-eyed girl of Jersey!

                  HENRY MORFORD.




LIKE most of the _landings_ on the Hudson, Peekskill is a sort of
outstretched hand from the interior of the country. It is about eighty
miles from New York, and the produce from the country behind is here
handed over to the trading sloops, who return into the waiting palm the
equivalent in goods from the city. A sort of town naturally springs up
at such a spot, and as a river-side is a great provocative of idleness,
all the Dolph Heyligers of the country about seem to be collected at the

The neighborhood of this spot is interesting from its association with
the history of the Revolution. The headquarters of General Washington
were just below, at Verplank’s Point; and the town of Peekskill, half a
mile back from the river, was the depot of military stores, which were
burned by General Howe in 1777.

“On my return southward in 1782,” says the translator of Chastellux, who
has not given his name, “I spent a day or two at the American camp at
Verplank’s Point, where I had the honor of dining with General
Washington. I had suffered severely from an ague, which I could not get
quit of, though I had taken the exercise of a hard-trotting horse, and
got thus far to the north in the month of October. The General observing
it, told me he was sure I had not met with a good glass of wine for some
time,—an article then very rare,—but that my disorder must be
frightened away. He made me drink three or four of his silver camp-cups
of excellent Madeira at noon, and recommended to me to take a generous
glass of claret after dinner,—a prescription by no means repugnant to
my feelings, and which I most religiously followed. I mounted my horse
the next morning, and continued my journey to Massachusetts, without
ever experiencing the slightest return of my disorder.

“The American camp here presented the most beautiful and picturesque
appearance. It extended along the plain, on the neck of land formed by
the winding of the Hudson, and had a view of this river to the south.
Behind it, the lofty mountains, covered with wood, formed the most
sublime background that painting could express. In the front of the
tents was a regular continued portico, formed by the boughs of the trees
in full verdure, decorated with much taste and fancy. Opposite the camp,
and on distinct eminences, stood the tents of some of the general
officers, over which towered predominant that of Washington. I had seen
all the camps in England, from many of which drawings and engravings
have been taken; but this was truly a subject worthy the pencil of the
first artist. The French camp, during their stay in Baltimore, was
decorated in the same manner. At the camp at Verplank’s Point we
distinctly heard the morning and evening gun of the British at

The curiosity seizes with avidity upon any accidental information which
fills up the bare outline of history. The personal history of Washington
more particularly, wherever it has been traced by those who were in
contact with him, is full of interest. Some of the sketches given by the
Marquis of Chastellux, who passed this point of the Hudson on his way to
Washington’s headquarters below, are very graphic.

“The weather being fair on the 26th,” he says, “I got on horseback,
after breakfasting with the General. He was so attentive as to give me
the horse I rode on the day of my arrival. I found him as good as he is
handsome; but, above all, perfectly well broke and well trained, having
a good mouth, easy in hand, and stopping short in a gallop without
bearing the bit. I mention these minute particulars because it is the
General himself who breaks all his own horses. He is an excellent and
bold horseman, leaping the highest fences, and going extremely quick
without standing upon his stirrups, bearing on the bridle, or letting
his horse run wild,—circumstances which our young men look upon as so
essential a part of English horsemanship, that they would rather break a
leg or an arm than renounce them.”

After passing some days at headquarters, this young nobleman thus
admirably sums up his observations on Washington:—

“The strongest characteristic of this great man is the perfect union
which reigns between his physical and moral qualities. Brave without
temerity, laborious without ambition, generous without prodigality,
noble without pride, virtuous without severity,—he seems always to have
confined himself within those limits beyond which the virtues, by
clothing themselves in more lively but more changeable colors, may be
mistaken for faults. It will be said of him hereafter, that _at the end
of a long civil war he had nothing with which he could reproach
himself_. His stature is noble and lofty; he is well made and exactly
proportioned; his physiognomy mild and agreeable, but such as to render
it impossible to speak particularly of any of his features,—so that on
quitting him, you have only the recollection of a fine face. He has
neither a grave nor a familiar air; his brow is sometimes marked with
thought, but never with inquietude; in inspiring respect he inspires
confidence, and his smile is always the smile of benevolence.”



        COOL shades and dews are round my way,
        And silence of the early day;
        ’Mid the dark rocks that watch his bed
        Glitters the mighty Hudson spread,
        Unrippled, save by drops that fall
        From shrubs that fringe his mountain wall;
        And o’er the clear still water swells
        The music of the Sabbath bells.

        All, save this little nook of land,
        Circled with trees, on which I stand:
        All, save that line of hills which lie
        Suspended in the mimic sky,—
        Seems a blue void, above, below,
        Through which the white clouds come and go;
        And from the green world’s farthest steep
        I gaze into the airy deep.

        Loveliest of lovely things are they,
        On earth, that soonest pass away.
        The rose that lives its little hour
        Is prized beyond the sculptured flower;
        Even love, long tried and cherished long,
        Becomes more tender and more strong,
        At thought of that insatiate grave
        From which its yearnings cannot save.

        River! in this still hour thou hast
        Too much of heaven on earth to last;
        Nor long may thy still waters lie
        An image of the glorious sky.
        Thy fate and mine are not repose;
        And ere another evening close,
        Thou to thy tides shalt turn again,
        And I to seek the crowd of men.





NEWBURG stands upon a pretty acclivity, rising with a sharp ascent
from the west bank of the Hudson; and in point of trade and consequence,
it is one of the first towns on the river. In point of scenery Newburg
is as felicitously placed, perhaps, as any other spot in the world,
having in its immediate neighborhood every element of natural
loveliness,—and just below, the sublime and promising Pass of the
Highlands. From the summit of the acclivity, the view over Matteawan and
Fishkill is full of beauty,—the deep flow of the Hudson lying between,
and the pretty villages just named sparkling with their white buildings
and cheerful steeples beyond.

Newburg has a considerable trade with the back country, and steamboats
are running constantly between its pier and New York. If there were
wanting an index of the wondrous advance of enterprise and invention in
our country, we need not seek further than this simple fact,—a small
intermediate town, on one river, supporting such an amount of expensive
navigation. About seventy years ago Fulton made his first experiment in
steam on the Hudson, amid the unbelief and derision of the whole
country. Let any one stand for one hour on the pier at Newburg, and see
those superb and swift palaces of motion shoot past, one after the
other, like gay and chasing meteors, and then read poor Fulton’s account
of his first experiment,—and never again throw discouragement on the
kindling fire of genius.

“When I was building my first steam-boat,” said he to Judge Story, “the
project was viewed by the public at New York either with indifference or
contempt, as a visionary scheme. My friends, indeed, were civil, but
they were shy. They listened with patience to my explanations, but with
a settled cast of incredulity on their countenances. I felt the full
force of the lamentation of the poet,—

           “‘Truths would you teach, to save a sinking land?—
           All shun, none aid you, and few understand.’

“As I had occasion to pass daily to and from the building-yard while my
boat was in progress, I have often loitered, unknown, near the idle
groups of strangers gathering in little circles, and heard various
inquiries as to the object of this new vehicle. The language was
uniformly that of scorn, sneer, or ridicule. The loud laugh rose at my
expense, the dry jest, the wise calculation of losses and expenditure,
the dull but endless repetition of ‘_the Fulton folly_.’ Never did a
single encouraging remark, a bright hope, or a warm wish, cross my path.

“At length the day arrived when the experiment was to be made. To me it
was a most trying and interesting occasion. I wanted many friends to go
on board to witness the first successful trip. Many of them did me the
favor to attend, as a matter of personal respect; but it was manifest
they did it with reluctance, fearing to be partners of my mortification
and not of my triumph. I was well aware that in my case there were many
reasons to doubt of my own success. The machinery was new and ill-made,
and many parts of it were constructed by mechanics unacquainted with
such work; and unexpected difficulties might reasonably be presumed to
present themselves from other causes. The moment arrived in which the
word was to be given for the vessel to move. My friends were in groups
on the deck. There was anxiety mixed with fear among them; they were
silent, sad, and weary; I read in their looks nothing but disaster, and
almost repented of my efforts. The signal was given, and the boat moved
on a short distance, and then stopped and became immovable. To the
silence of the preceding moment now succeeded murmurs of discontent and
agitation, and whispers and shrugs. I could hear distinctly repeated, ‘I
told you so! It is a foolish scheme; I wish we were well out of it.’ I
elevated myself on a platform, and stated that I knew not what was the
matter; but if they would be quiet, and indulge me for half an hour, I
would either go on or abandon the voyage. I went below, and discovered
that a slight maladjustment was the cause. It was obviated. The boat
went on. We left New York; we passed through the Highlands; we reached
Albany! Yet even then imagination superseded the force of fact. _It was
doubted if it could be done again, or if it could be made, in any case,
of any great value!_”

What an affecting picture of the struggles of a great mind, and what a
vivid lesson of encouragement to genius, is contained in this simple



        OUR western land can boast no lovelier spot.
        The hills which in their ancient grandeur stand
        Piled to the frowning clouds, the bulwarks seem
        Of this wild scene, resolved that none but Heaven
        Shall look upon its beauty. Round their breast
        A curtained fringe depends of golden mist,
        Touched by the slanting sunbeams; while below
        The silent river, with majestic sweep,
        Pursues his shadowed way,—his glassy face
        Unbroken, save when stoops the lone wild swan
        To float in pride, or dip his ruffled wing.
        Talk ye of solitude? It is not here.
        Nor silence. Low, deep murmurs are abroad.
        Those towering hills hold converse with the sky
        That smiles upon their summits; and the wind
        Which stirs their wooded sides whispers of life,
        And bears the burden sweet from leaf to leaf,
        Bidding the stately forest-boughs look bright,
        And nod to greet his coming! And the brook,
        That with its silvery gleam comes leaping down
        From the hillside, has too a tale to tell;
        The wild bird’s music mingles with its chime,
        And gay young flowers that blossom in its path
        Send forth their perfume as an added gift.
        The river utters, too, a solemn voice,
        And tells of deeds long past, in ages gone,
        When not a sound was heard along his shores,
        Save the wild tread of savage feet, or shriek
        Of some expiring captive, and no bark
        E’er cleft his gloomy waters. Now, his waves
        Are vocal often with the hunter’s song;
        Now visit, in their glad and onward course,
        The abodes of happy men,—gardens and fields,
        And cultured plains,—still bearing, as they pass,
        Fertility renewed and fresh delights.
         .      .      .      .      .      .      .      .      .

                    ELIZABETH F. ELLETT.


                LAKE ERIE.

        THESE lovely shores! how lone and still!
          A hundred years ago
        The unbroken forest stood above,
          The waters dashed below,—
        The waters of a lonely sea
          Where never sail was furled,
        Embosomed in a wilderness,
          Which was itself a world.

        A hundred years! go back, and, lo!
          Where, closing in the view,
        Juts out the shore, with rapid oar
          Darts round a frail canoe:
        ’Tis a white voyager, and see,
          His prow is westward set
        O’er the calm wave! Hail to thy bold,
          World-seeking bark, Marquette!

        The lonely bird, that picks his food
          Where rise the waves and sink,
        At their strange coming, with shrill scream,
          Starts from the sandy brink;
        The fishhawk, hanging in mid sky,
          Floats o’er on level wing,
        And the savage from his covert looks,
          With arrow on the string.

        A hundred years are past and gone,
          And all the rocky coast
        Is turreted with shining towns,—
          An empire’s noble boast;
        And the old wilderness is changed
          To cultured vale and hill;
        And the circuit of its mountains
          An empire’s numbers fill!

                EPHRAIM PEABODY.


                    THE TWO LAKES ON THE CATSKILLS.


AT this elevation you may wear woollen, and sleep under blankets in
midsummer; and that is a pleasant temperature where much hard work is to
be done in the way of pleasure-hunting. No place is so agreeable as
Catskill after one has been parboiled in the city. New York is at the
other end of that long thread of a river, running away south from the
base of the mountain; and you may change your climate in so brief a
transit, that the most enslaved broker in Wall Street may have half his
home on Catskill. The cool woods, the small silver lakes, the falls, the
mountain-tops, are all delicious haunts for the idler-away of the hot
months; and to the credit of our taste, it may be said they are fully
improved. Catskill is a “resort.”

From Catskill the busy and all-glorious Hudson is seen winding half its
silver length,—towns, villas, and white spires sparkling on the shores,
and snowy sails and gaily-painted steamers specking its bosom. It is a
constant diorama of the most lively beauty; and the traveller as he
looks down upon it sighs to make it a home. Yet a smaller and
less-frequented stream would best fulfil desires born of a sigh. There
is either no seclusion on the Hudson, or there is so much that the
conveniences of life are difficult to obtain. Where the steamers come to
shore,—twenty a day, with each from one to seven hundred
passengers,—it is certainly far from secluded enough; yet away from the
landing-places servants find your house too lonely, and your table,
without unreasonable expense and trouble, is precarious and poor. These
mean and _menus plaisirs_ reach, after all, the very citadel of
philosophy. Who can live without a cook or a chamber-maid, and dine
seven days in the week on veal, consoling himself with the beauties of a

On the smaller rivers these evils are somewhat ameliorated; for in the
rural and uncorrupt villages of the interior you may find servants born
on the spot, and content to live in the neighborhood. The market is
better, too, and the society less exposed to the evils that result from
too easy an access to the metropolis. No place can be rural, in all the
_virtues_ of the phrase, where a steamer will take the villager to the
city between noon and night, and bring him back between midnight and
morning. There is a suburban look and character about all the villages
on the Hudson which seem out of place among such scenery. They are
suburbs; in fact, steam has destroyed the distance between them and the



        ’Midst greens and shades the Catterskill leaps
          From cliffs where the wood-flower clings;
        All summer he moistens his verdant steeps
          With the sweet light spray of the mountain springs;
        And he shakes the woods on the mountain side,
        When they drip with the rains of autumn-tide.

        But when in the forest bare and old
          The blast of December calls,
        He builds, in the starlight clear and cold,
          A palace of ice where his torrent falls,
        With turret and arch and fretwork fair,
        And pillars blue as the summer air.

        For whom are those glorious chambers wrought,
          In the cold and cloudless night?
        Is there neither spirit nor motion of thought
          In forms so lovely and hues so bright?
        Hear what the gray-haired woodmen tell
        Of this wild stream, and its rocky dell:

        ’Twas hither a youth of dreamy mood,
          A hundred winters ago,
        Had wandered over the mighty wood
          When the panther’s track was fresh on the snow;
        And keen were the winds that came to stir
        The long dark boughs of the hemlock-fir.

        Too gentle of mien he seemed, and fair,
          For a child of those rugged steeps;
        His home lay low in the valley, where
          The kingly Hudson rolls to the deeps;
        But he wore the hunter’s frock that day,
        And a slender gun on his shoulder lay.

        And here he paused, and against the trunk
          Of a tall gray linden leant,
        When the broad clear orb of the sun had sunk
          From his path in the frosty firmament,
        And over the round dark edge of the hill
        A cold green light was quivering still.

        And the crescent moon, high over the green,
          From a sky of crimson shone
        On that icy palace, whose towers were seen
          To sparkle as if with stars of their own;
        While the water fell, with a hollow sound,
        ’Twixt the glistening pillars ranged around.

        Is that a being of life, that moves
          Where the crystal battlements rise?
        A maiden, watching the moon she loves,
          At the twilight hour, with pensive eyes?
        Was that a garment which seemed to gleam
        Betwixt his eye and the falling stream?

        ’Tis only the torrent tumbling o’er,
          In the midst of those glassy walls,
        Gushing and plunging and beating the floor
          Of the rocky basin in which it falls:
        ’Tis only the torrent—but why that start?
        Why gazes the youth with a throbbing heart?

        He thinks no more of his home afar,
          Where his sire and sister wait:
        He heeds no longer how star after star
          Looks forth on the night, as the hour grows late.
        He heeds not the snow-wreaths lifted and cast
        From a thousand boughs by the rising blast.

        His thoughts are alone of those who dwell
          In the halls of frost and snow,
        Who pass where the crystal domes upswell
          From the alabaster floors below,
        Where the frost-trees shoot with leaf and spray,
        And frost-gems scatter a silvery day.

        “And, oh, that those glorious haunts were mine!”
          He speaks, and throughout the glen
        Thin shadows swim in the faint moonshine,
          And take a ghastly likeness of men,
        As if the slain by the wintry storms
        Came forth to the air in their earthly forms.

        There pass the chasers of seal and whale
          With their weapons quaint and grim,
        And bands of warriors in glittering mail,
          And herdsmen and hunters huge of limb:
        There are naked arms, with bow and spear,
        And furry gauntlets the carbine rear.

        There are mothers—and, oh, how sadly their eyes
          On their children’s white brows rest!
        There are youthful lovers: the maiden lies
          In a seeming sleep on the chosen breast;
        There are fair wan women with moon-struck air,
        The snow-stars flecking their long loose hair.

        They eye him not as they pass along,
          But his hair stands up with dread,
        When he feels that he moves with that phantom throng,
          Till those icy turrets are over his head;
        And the torrent’s roar, as they enter, seems
        Like a drowsy murmur heard in dreams.

        The glittering threshold is scarcely passed,
          When there gathers and wraps him round
        A thick white twilight, sullen and vast,
          In which there is neither form nor sound;
        The phantoms, the glory, vanish all,
        With the dying voice of the waterfall.

        Slow passes the darkness of that trance,—
          And the youth now faintly sees
        Huge shadows and gushes of light that dance
          On a rugged ceiling of unhewn trees,
        And walls where the skins of beasts are hung,
        And rifles glitter on antlers strung.

        On a couch of shaggy skins he lies;
          As he strives to raise his head,
        Hard-featured woodmen, with kindly eyes
          Come round him and smooth his furry bed,
        And bid him rest, for the evening star
        Is scarcely set, and the day is far.

        They had found at eve the dreaming one
          By the base of that icy steep,
        When over his stiffening limbs begun
          The deadly slumber of frost to creep;
        And they cherished the pale and breathless form,
        Till the stagnant blood ran free and warm.

                WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT.


                           TOWN OF SING-SING.


SING-SING is famous for its marble, of which there is an extensive
quarry near by; for its State-prison, of which the discipline is of the
most salutary character; and for its academy, which has a high
reputation. It may be said, altogether, to do the State some service.

The county of West Chester, of which this is the principal town on the
Hudson, has been made the scene of perhaps the best historical novel of
our country, and more than any other part of the United States suffered
from the evils of war during the Revolution. The character and
depredations of the “cow-boys” and “skinners,” whose fields of action
were on the skirts of this neutral ground, are familiar to all who have
read “the Essay” of Mr. Cooper. A distinguished clergyman gives the
following very graphic picture of West Chester County in Revolutionary

“In the autumn of 1777 I resided for some time in this county. The lines
of the British were then in the neighborhood of Kingsbridge, and those
of the Americans at Byram River. The unhappy inhabitants were therefore
exposed to the depredations of both. Often they were actually plundered,
and always were liable to this calamity. They feared everybody whom they
saw, and loved nobody. It was a curious fact to a philosopher, and a
melancholy one, to hear their conversation. To every question they gave
such an answer as would please the inquirer; or if they despaired of
pleasing, such a one as would not provoke him. Fear was apparently the
only passion by which they were animated. The power of volition seemed
to have deserted them. They were not civil, but obsequious; not
obliging, but subservient. They yielded with a kind of apathy, and very
quietly, what you asked, and what they supposed it impossible for them
to retain. If you treated them kindly they received it coldly; not as a
kindness, but as a compensation for injuries done them by others. When
you spoke to them, they answered you without either good or ill nature,
and without any appearance of reluctance or hesitation; but they
subjoined neither questions nor remarks of their own,—proving to your
full conviction that they felt no interest either in the conversation or
yourself. Both their countenances and their motions had lost every trace
of animation and of feeling. Their features were smoothed, not into
serenity, but apathy; and instead of being settled in the attitude of
quiet thinking, strongly indicated that all thought beyond what was
merely instinctive had fled their minds forever.

“Their houses, meantime, were in a great measure scenes of desolation.
Their furniture was extensively plundered or broken to pieces. The
walls, floors, and windows were injured both by violence and decay, and
were not repaired because they had not the means to repair them, and
because they were exposed to the repetition of the same injuries. Their
cattle were gone; their enclosures were burned where they were capable
of becoming fuel, and in many cases thrown down where they were not.
Their fields were covered with a rank growth of weeds and wild grass.

“Amid all this appearance of desolation, nothing struck my eye more
forcibly than the sight of the high road. Where I had heretofore seen a
continual succession of horses and carriages, life and bustle lending a
sprightliness to all the environing objects, not a single solitary
traveller was seen, from week to week or from month to month. The world
was motionless and silent, except when one of these unhappy people
ventured upon a rare and lonely excursion to the house of a neighbor no
less unhappy, or a scouting party, traversing the country in quest of
enemies, alarmed the inhabitants with expectations of new injuries and
sufferings. The very tracks of the carriages were grown over and
obliterated; and where they were discernible resembled the faint
impressions of chariot wheels, said to be left on the pavements of
Herculaneum. The grass was of full height for the scythe, and strongly
realized to my own mind, for the first time, the proper import of that
picturesque declaration in the Song of Deborah: ‘In the days of Shamgar,
the son of Anath, in the days of Jael, the highways were unoccupied, and
the travellers walked through by-paths. The inhabitants of the villages
ceased: they ceased in Israel.’”

West Chester is a rough county in natural surface; but since the days
when the above description was true, its vicinity to New York, and the
ready market for produce have changed its character to a thriving
agricultural district. It is better watered with springs, brooks, and
mill-streams, than many other parts of New York, and among other
advantages enjoys along the Hudson a succession of brilliant and noble


              SLEEPY HOLLOW.

        BENEATH these gold and azure skies
          The river winds through leafy glades,
        Save where, like battlements, arise
          The gray and tufted Palisades.

        The fervor of this sultry time
          Is tempered by the humid earth,
        And zephyrs, born of summer’s prime,
          Give a delicious coolness birth.

        They freshen this sequestered nook
          With constant greetings bland and free,
        The pages of the open book
          All flutter with their wayward glee.

        As quicker swell their breathings soft,
          Cloud-shadows skim along the field;
        And yonder dangling woodbines oft
          Their crimson bugles gently yield.

        The tulip-tree majestic stirs
          Far down the water’s marge beside,
        And now awake the nearer firs,
          And toss their ample branches wide.

        How blithely trails the pendent vine!
          The grain-slope lies in green repose;
        Through the dark foliage of the pine
          And lofty elms the sunshine glows.

        Like sentinels in firm array
          The trees-of-life their shafts uprear;
        Red cones upon the sumach play,
          And ancient locusts whisper near.

        From wave and meadow, cliff and sky,
          Let thy stray vision homeward fall;
        Behold the mist-bloom floating nigh,
          And hollyhock white-edged and tall;

        Its gaudy leaves, though fanned apart,
          Round thick and mealy stamens spring,
        And nestled to its crimson heart
          The sated bees enamored cling.

        Mark the broad terrace flecked with light
          That peeps through trellises of rose,
        And quivers with a vague delight
          As each pale shadow comes and goes.

        The near, low gurgle of the brook,
          The wren’s glad chirp, the scented hay,
        And e’en the watch-dog’s peaceful look
          Our vain disquietudes allay.
         .      .      .      .      .      .      .      .      .





THIS fort—which commands the military position of West Point, and
which was considered so important during the Revolutionary war—is now
in ruins, but is visited by all travellers in this region for the superb
view which it affords of the sublime pass of the Highlands. This was the
great key which Arnold’s treachery intended to give into the hands of
the English; and associated with the memory of the unfortunate André,
and with other painful events of the conspiracy, it possesses an
interest which is wanting to other objects of the same description in
our country.

Washington’s visit of inspection to Fort Putnam and the other redoubts
on this side the river was made only two or three hours before his
discovery of the treason of Arnold, at that moment, as he supposed, in
command at West Point. The commander-in-chief was expected to arrive the
evening before; and had he done so, Arnold would probably never have
escaped. Having accidentally met the French minister, M. de Lucerne, at
Fishkill, however (eight miles above), he was induced to pass the night
there for the purpose of some conference, and set off early in the
morning on horseback, sending on a messenger to Mrs. Arnold that himself
and suite would be with her to breakfast. Arriving opposite West Point,
near a small redoubt called Fort Constitution, Washington turned his
horse from the road. Lafayette, who was then in his suite, called out,
“General, you are going in the wrong direction; you know Mrs. Arnold is
waiting breakfast for us.” “Ah,” answered Washington, “I know you young
men are all in love with Mrs. Arnold, and wish to get where she is as
soon as possible. Go and take your breakfast with her, and tell her not
to wait for me; I must ride down and examine the redoubts on this side
the river.” Two of the aides rode on, found breakfast waiting, and sat
down at once with General Arnold and his family. While they were at
table a messenger came in with a letter for Arnold, which announced the
capture of André, and the failure and betrayal, of course, of the whole
conspiracy. Showing little or no emotion, though his life hung upon a
thread, he merely said to one of his aides that his presence was
required at West Point; and leaving word for General Washington that he
was called over the river, but would return immediately, he ordered a
horse and sent for Mrs. Arnold to her chamber. He then informed her
abruptly that they must part, possibly forever, and that his life
depended on his reaching the enemy’s lines without delay. Struck with
horror at this intelligence, she swooned and fell senseless. In that
state he left her, hurried downstairs, mounted a horse belonging to one
of his aides that stood saddled at the door, and rode with all speed to
the bank of the river. A boat with six men was in waiting; and
pretending that he was going with a flag of truce, he pulled down the
stream, and arrived safe on board the “Vulture” sloop of war, lying some
miles below.

Meantime Washington, having finished his inspection of the redoubt,
arrived at Arnold’s house, received his message, and concluded to cross
immediately and meet Arnold at West Point. As the whole party were
seated in the barge moving smoothly over the water, with the majestic
scenery of the Highlands about them, Washington said, “Well, gentlemen,
I am glad, on the whole, that General Arnold has gone before us, for we
shall now have a salute; and the roaring of the cannon will have a fine
effect among these mountains.” The boat drew near to the beach, but no
cannon were heard, and there was no appearance of preparation to receive
them. “What!” said Washington, “do they not intend to salute us?” At
this moment an officer was seen making his way down the hill to meet
them, who seemed confused at their arrival, and apologized for not being
prepared to receive such distinguished visitors. “How is this, sir,”
said Washington, “is not General Arnold here?” “No, sir,” replied the
officer, “he has not been here these two days; nor have I heard from him
within that time.” “This is extraordinary,” said Washington; “we were
told that he had crossed the river, and that we should find him here.
However, our visit must not be in vain. Since we have come, we must look
round a little, and see in what state things are with you.” He then
ascended the hill, examined Fort Putnam and the other fortifications,
and returned to Arnold’s house, where the fact of the treason was at
once revealed. This had occupied two or three hours, however, and Arnold
was beyond pursuit. Washington retained his usual calmness, though
Arnold was one of his favorite officers, and had been placed at West
Point by his own personal influence with Congress. He called Lafayette
and Knox, showed them the proofs, and only said to the former, “Whom can
we trust now?”



          THOU com’st in beauty on my gaze at last,
          “On Susquehanna’s side, fair Wyoming!”
          Image of many a dream in hours long past,
          When life was in its bud and blossoming,
          And waters, gushing from the fountain spring
          Of pure enthusiast thought, dimmed my young eyes,
          As by the poet borne on unseen wing,
          I breathed in fancy ‘neath thy cloudless skies
        The summer’s air, and heard her echoed harmonies.

          I then but dreamed: thou art before me now
          In life, a vision of the brain no more.
          I’ve stood upon the wooded mountain’s brow
          That beetles high thy lovely valley o’er;
          And now, where winds thy river’s greenest shore,
          Within a bower of sycamores am laid;
          And winds as soft and sweet as ever bore
          The fragrance of wild-flowers through sun and shade
        Are singing in the trees, whose low boughs press my head.

          Nature hath made thee lovelier than the power
          Even of Campbell’s pen hath pictured: he
          Had woven, had he gazed one sunny hour
          Upon thy smiling vale, its scenery
          With more of truth, and made each rock and tree
          Known like old friends, and greeted from afar:
          And there are tales of sad reality
          In the dark legends of thy border war,
        With woes of deeper tint than his own Gertrude’s are.

          But where are they, the beings of the mind,
          The bard’s creations, moulded not of clay,
          Hearts to strange bliss and suffering assigned,—
          Young Gertrude, Albert, Waldegrave,—where are they?
          We need not ask. The people of to-day
          Appear good, honest, quiet men enough,
          And hospitable too,—for ready pay;
          With manners like their roads, a little rough,
        And hands whose grasp is warm and welcoming, though tough.

         .      .      .      .      .      .      .      .      .

          There is a woman, widowed, gray, and old,
          Who tells you where the foot of Battle stepped
          Upon their day of massacre. She told
          Its tale, and pointed to the spot, and wept,
          Whereon her father and five brothers slept
          Shroudless, the bright-dreamed slumbers of the brave,
          When all the land a funeral mourning kept.
          And there wild laurels, planted on the grave
        By Nature’s hand, in air their pale red blossoms wave.

          And on the margin of yon orchard hill
          Are marks where time-worn battlements have been,
          And in the tall grass traces linger still
          Of “arrowy frieze and wedged ravelin.”
          Five hundred of her brave that valley green
          Trod on the morn in soldier-spirit gay;
          But twenty lived to tell the noonday scene,—
          And where are now the twenty? Passed away.
        Has Death no triumph-hours, save on the battle-day?

                    FITZ-GREENE HALLECK.




IT is true of the Hudson, as of all other rivers, that to be seen to
advantage it should form the middle, not the foreground, of the picture.
Those who go to Albany by steam have something the same idea of the
scenery of West Point that an inside passenger may have of the effect of
a stage-coach at top-speed. It is astonishing how much foreground goes
for in landscape; and there are few passes of scenery where it is more
naturally beautiful than those of the Hudson. In the accompanying
drawing, the picturesque neighborhood of Undercliff, the seat of General
Morris, lies between the river and the artist, and directly opposite
stands the peak of Crow Nest, mentioned in the description of West

Crow Nest is one of the most beautiful mountains of America for shape,
verdure, and position; and when the water is unruffled, and the moon
sits on his summit, he looks like a monarch crowned with a single pearl.
This is the scene of the first piece-work of fancy which has come from
the practical brain of America,—the poem of “The Culprit Fay.” The
opening is so descriptive of the spot that it is quite in place here;
and to those who have not seen the poem (as most European readers have
not) it will convey an idea of a production which, in my opinion, treads
close on the heels of the “Midsummer Night’s Dream:”—

        ’Tis the middle watch of a summer’s night,—
        The earth is dark, but the heavens are bright;
        Nought is seen in the vault on high
        But the moon and the stars and the cloudless sky,
        And the flood which rolls its milky hue,—
        A river of light on the welkin blue.
        The moon looks down on old Crow Nest,
        She mellows the shades on his shaggy breast,
        And seems his huge gray form to throw
        In a silver cone on the wave below;
        His sides are broken by spots of shade
        By the walnut boughs and the cedar made,
        And through their clustering branches dark
        Glimmers and dies the firefly’s spark,—
        Like starry twinkles that momently break
        Through the rifts of the gathering tempest rack.

        The stars are on the moving stream,
        And fling, as its ripples gently flow,
        A burnish’d length of wavy beam
        In an eel-like, spiral line below.
        The winds are whist, and the owl is still,
        The bat in the shelvy rock is hid;
        And nought is heard on the lonely hill
        But the cricket’s chirp and the answer shrill
        Of the gauze-winged katy-did,
        And the plaints of the mourning whip-poor-will,
        Who mourns unseen, and ceaseless sings
        Ever a note of wail and wo,
        Till morning spreads her rosy wings,
        And earth and sky in her glances glow.

        ’Tis the hour of fairy ban and spell:
        The wood-tick has kept the minutes well;
        He has counted them all with click and stroke
        Deep in the heart of the mountain-oak;
        And he has awakened the sentry-elve
        Who sleeps with him in the haunted tree,
        To bid him ring the hour of twelve,
        And call the fays to their revelry.

         .      .      .      .      .      .      .      .      .

        They come from beds of lichen green,
        They creep from the mullen’s velvet screen;
        Some on the backs of beetles fly
        From the silver tops of moon-touch’d trees,
        Where they swing in their cob-web hammocks high,
        And rock’d about in the evening breeze;
        Some from the hum-bird’s downy nest,—
        They had driven him out by elfin power,
        And pillow’d on plumes of his rainbow breast
        Had slumber’d there till the charmed hour;
        Some had lain in a scarp of the rock,
        With glittering rising-stars inlaid,
        And some had open’d the four-o’clock,
        And stolen within its purple shade.
        And now they throng the moonlight glade,
        Above—below—on every side,
        Their little minion forms arrayed
        In the tricksy pomp of fairy pride.

The general assembly of the fairies is at last complete, and they
proceed to the trial of the culprit fay, who has extinguished his elfin
lamp and paralyzed his wings by a love for a mortal maid. He is
condemned to penances, which are most exquisitely described, and
constitute the greater part of the poem; and he finally expiates his
sins, and is forgiven. There is a fineness of description, and a
knowledge of the peculiarities of American nature, in birds, fishes,
flowers, and the phenomena of this particular region, which constitute
this little poem a book of valuable information as well as an exquisite
work of fancy.

Just under Crow Nest, buried in the heavy leaves of a ravine, springs a
waterfall like a naiad from the depths of the forest, and plunges down
into the river. The rambles in and about its neighborhood are cool and
retired; and it is a favorite place for lovers from New York, who run up
in the steamer in three hours, and find the honeymoon goes swimmingly
off there,—the excellent hotel within half a mile supplying the _real_,
without which the _ideal_ is found to be very trumpery. The marble tomb
of a cadet, who was killed by the bursting of a gun, forms a picturesque
object, and gives a story to the spot.



        IN the midst of the mountains all bosky and wooded,
          Its bosom thick-gemmed with the loveliest isles,
        Its borders with vistas of Paradise studded,—
          Looking up to the heaven sweet Horicon smiles.
        Thick set are its haunts with old legend and story,
          That, woven by genius, still cluster and blend;
        But its beauty will cling, like a halo of glory,
          When legend and record with ages shall end.

         .      .      .      .      .      .      .      .      .

        Far down in the waters the pebbles are gleaming,—
          Far down in the clear waves that nothing can hide;
        So, beauty of youth, comes the name you are dreaming,—
          Too pure for concealment, too gentle for pride;
        So smiles on your faces the sunshine of heaven,—
          The blessing distilled in the gardens of air,—
        A smile of contentment from Paradise given
          That woman and lake have been fashioned so fair.

        Pure Horicon! glassing the brows of the mountains,
          As handmaid might bend to a conqueror’s will,
        Although nurtured and swelled by the commonest fountains
          Yet pure and transparent and beautiful still!
        No wonder the men of the cross and the missal
          Once named it “The Lake of the Sacrament” pure,
        Or that far leagues away, from some holiest vessel,
          Its drops on the forehead could comfort and cure.

        On the fair silver lake drives the Indian no longer,
          With the sweep of his paddle, the birchen canoe;
        And the fortresses fall that made weakness the stronger,
          And saved the white maid when the war-whistle blew.
        But ’tis well that the old and the savage are fated,
          And that danger rolls back from the Edens of earth;
        Our boats glide as well with all loveliness freighted,
          And the war-whoop we lose in the sallies of mirth.

        Pure Horicon! lake of the cloud and the shadow!
          Soft shimmer your moonlight and dimple your rain!
        And the hearts far away—if by seaside or meadow—
          Still think of your blue with a lingering pain!
        Among the far islands that glitter in heaven,—
          On the dim, undiscovered, and beautiful shore,—
        Some glimpse of a lovelier sea may be given
          To the eyes of the perfect,—but never before!

                      HENRY MORFORD.


                         THE CATTERSKILL FALLS.


FROM the precipice whence our first view of this Fall is taken, the
descent is steep and slippery to the very brink of the torrent, which it
is necessary to cross on the wild blocks that lie scattered in its rocky
bed. From thence, literally buried in forest foliage, the tourist will
enjoy a very different, but perhaps more striking and picturesque, view
than the other. The stream, at a vast height above him, is seen leaping
from ledge to ledge,—sometimes lost, sometimes sparkling in sunshine,
till it courses impetuously beneath the rock on which he is seated, and
is lost in the deep unbroken obscurity of the forest. The rocky ledges
above, worn by time, have the appearance of deep caverns, and
beautifully relieve the fall of the light and silvery stream. In the
winter, the vast icicles which are suspended from the ledges of rock,
and shine like pillars against the deep obscurity of the caverns behind,
afford a most romantic spectacle, one which has afforded a subject to
Bryant for one of the most imaginative of his poems.



        HER side is in the water,
          Her keel is in the sand,
        And her bowsprit rest on the low gray rock
          That bounds the sea and land.

        Her deck is without a mast,
          And sand and shells are there,
        And the teeth of decay are gnawing her planks
          In the sun and the sultry air.

        No more on the river’s bosom,
          When sky and wave are calm,
        And the clouds are in summer quietness,
          And the cool night-breath is balm,

        Will she glide in the swan-like stillness
          Of the moon in the blue above,—
        A messenger from other lands,
          A beacon to hope and love.

        No more in the midnight tempest
          Will she mock the mounting sea,
        Strong in her oaken timbers,
          And her white sail’s bravery.

        She hath borne, in days departed,
          Warm hearts upon her deck;
        Those hearts, like her, are mouldering now,
          The victims and the wreck

        Of time, whose touch erases
          Each vestige of all we love;
        The wanderers, home returning,
          Who gazed that deck above,

        And they who stood to welcome
          Their loved ones on that shore,
        Are gone,—and the place that knew them
          Shall know them nevermore.

         .      .      .      .      .      .      .      .      .

                FITZ-GREENE HALLECK.


                HUDSON RIVER.

        RIVERS that roll most musical in song
          Are often lovely to the mind alone;
        The wanderer muses, as he moves along
          Their barren banks, on glories not their own.

        When, to give substance to his boyish dreams,
          He leaves his own, far countries to survey,
        Oft must he think, in greeting foreign streams,
          “Their names alone are beautiful, not they.”

        If chance he mark the dwindled Arno pour
          A tide more meagre than his native Charles;
        Or views the Rhone when summer’s heat is o’er,
          Subdued and stagnant in the fen of Arles;

        Or when he sees the slimy Tiber fling
          His sullen tribute at the feet of Rome,—
        Oft to his thought must partial memory bring
          More noble waves, without renown, at home.

        Now let him climb the Catskill, to behold
          The lordly Hudson, marching to the main,
        And say what bard, in any land of old,
          Had such a river to inspire his strain!

        Along the Rhine gray battlements and towers
          Declare what robbers once the realm possessed;
        But here Heaven’s handiwork surpasseth ours,
          And man has hardly more than built his nest.

        No storied castle overawes these heights,
          Nor antique arches check the current’s play,
        Nor mouldering architrave the mind invites
          To dream of deities long passed away.

        No Gothic buttress, or decaying shaft
          Of marble, yellowed by a thousand years,
        Lifts a great land-mark to the little craft,—
          A summer cloud! that comes and disappears.

        But cliffs, unaltered from their primal form
          Since the subsiding of the deluge, rise
        And hold their savins to the upper storm,
          While far below the skiff securely plies.

        Farms, rich not more in meadows than in men
          Of Saxon mould, and strong for every toil,
        Spread o’er the plain or scatter through the glen
          Bœotian plenty on a Spartan soil.

        Then, where the reign of cultivation ends,
          Again the charming wilderness begins;
        From steep to steep one solemn wood extends,
          Till some new hamlet’s rise the boscage thins.

        And these deep groves forever have remained
          Touched by no axe, by no proud owner nursed;
        As now they stand they stood when Pharaoh reigned,
          Lineal descendants of creation’s first.

         .      .      .      .      .      .      .      .      .

        No tales we know are chronicled of thee
          In ancient scrolls; no deeds of doubtful claim
        Have hung a history on every tree,
          And given each rock its fable and a fame.

        But neither here hath any conqueror trod,
          Nor grim invaders from barbarian climes;
        No horrors feigned of giant or of god
          Pollute thy stillness with recorded crimes.

        Here never yet have happy fields laid waste,
          The ravished harvest and the blasted fruit,
        The cottage ruined and the shrine defaced,
          Tracked the foul passage of the feudal brute.

        “Yet, O Antiquity!” the stranger sighs,
          “Scenes wanting thee soon pall upon the view;
        The soul’s indifference dulls the sated eyes,
          Where all is fair indeed,—but all is new.”

        False thought! Is age to crumbling walls confined?
          To Grecian fragments and Egyptian bones?
        Hath Time no monuments to raise the mind,
          More than old fortresses and sculptured stones?

        Call not this new which is the only land
          That wears unchanged the same primeval face
        Which, when just dawning from its Maker’s hand,
          Gladdened the first great grandsire of our race.

        Nor did Euphrates with an earlier birth
          Glide past green Eden towards the unknown south,
        Than Hudson broke upon the infant earth,
          And kissed the ocean with his nameless mouth.

        Twin-born with Jordan, Ganges, and the Nile!
          Thebes and the pyramids to thee are young!
        Oh, had thy waters burst from Britain’s isle,
          Till now perchance they had not flowed unsung.

                  THOMAS WILLIAM PARSONS.


                     UNDERCLIFF, NEAR COLD-SPRING.

                 (The seat of the late General Morris.)

THE pen of the poet and the pencil of the artist have so frequently
united to record the grandeur and sublimity of the Hudson, and with such
graphic fidelity, that little of interest remains unsaid or unsketched.
But when every point of its bold and beautiful scenery might be made the
subject of a picture, and every incident of its past history the theme
of a poem, it requires no great research to discover new and prominent
objects of attraction. Perhaps there is no portion of this beautiful
river which partakes more of the picturesque, or combines more of the
wild and wonderful, than the vicinity of the present view; and when time
shall touch the history of the present with the wand of tradition, and
past events shall live in the memory of the future as legends, romance
will never revel in a more bewitching region. Fiction shall then fling
its imaginative veil over the things we have seen, covering but not
concealing them, and in the plentitude of poetic genius people the drama
of futurity with a thousand exquisite creations, clothed in the
venerated garb of antiquity.

Undercliff, the mansion of the late General George P. Morris, which
forms the principal object in the engraving, is situated upon an
elevated plateau, rising from the eastern shore of the river; and the
selection of such a commanding and beautiful position at once decides
the taste of its intellectual proprietor. In the rear of the villa,
cultivation has placed her fruit and forest trees with a profuse hand,
and fertilized the fields with a variety of vegetable products. The
extent of the grounds is abruptly terminated by the base of a rocky
mountain, that rises nearly perpendicular to its summit, and affords in
winter a secure shelter from the bleak blasts of the north. In front, a
circle of greensward is refreshed by a fountain in the centre, gushing
from a Grecian vase, and encircled by ornamental shrubbery; from thence
a gravelled walk winds down a gentle declivity to a second plateau, and
again descends to the entrance of the carriage road, which leads upwards
along the left slope of the hill through a noble forest, the growth of
many years, until suddenly emerging from its sombre shades, the visitor
beholds the mansion before him in the bright blaze of day. A few
openings in the wood afford an opportunity to catch a glimpse of the
water, sparkling with reflected light; and the immediate transition from
shadow to sunshine is peculiarly pleasing.

Although the sunny prospects from the villa—of the giant mountains in
their eternal verdure, the noble stream when frequent gusts ruffle its
surface into a thousand waves, the cluster of white cottages collected
into the distant village—are glorious, it is only by the lovely light
of the moon, when Nature is in repose, that their magic influence is
fully felt. We were fortunate in having an opportunity to contemplate
the scene at such an hour. The moon had risen from a mass of clouds
which formed a line across the sky so level that fancy saw her ascending
from the dark sea, and her silvery light lay softened on the landscape;
silence was over all, save where the dipping of a distant oar was echoed
from the deep shadows of the rocks. Sometimes the white sail of a sloop
would steal into sight from the deep gloom, like some shrouded spirit
gliding from the confines of a giant’s cavern, recalling the expressive
lines by Moore:—

                 “The stream is like a silvery lake,
                   And o’er its face each vessel glides
                 Gently, as if it feared to wake
                   The slumber of the silent tides.”

General Morris published some time ago a volume of lyrical effusions,
called “The Deserted Bride, and other Poems.” Many of them have been
written among the fairy beauties of Undercliff, and under the
inspiration of that true poetic feeling which such enchanting scenes are
so likely to elicit. Where so many gems of genius enrich a work, it
becomes difficult to decide upon that most worthy of selection. It is
not our province or intention to review the volume, but we cannot resist
the inclination to make an extract, because it seems so beautiful an
accessory to the subject, and must create an added interest in the
engraving. Where scenes are so replete with the poetry of Nature, they
are best illustrated by the poetry of numbers; but we were particularly
delighted with the following lines, addressed to his young daughter. The
natural simplicity of the subject is well expressed by the purity of its
poetic images, and breathes the refinement of paternal affection.



        WHERE Hudson’s wave, o’er silvery sands,
          Winds through the hills afar,
        Old Cro’nest like a monarch stands,
          Crowned with a single star:
        And there, amid the billowy swells
          Of rock-ribbed, cloud-capt earth,
        My fair and gentle IDA dwells,
          A nymph of mountain birth.

        The snow-curl that the cliff receives,
          The diamonds of the showers,
        Spring’s tender blossoms, buds and leaves,
          The sisterhood of flowers,—
        Morn’s early beam, eve’s balmy breeze,
          Her purity define;
        But IDA’S dearer far than these
          To this fond breast of mine.

        My heart is on the hills. The shades
          Of night are on my brow;
        Ye pleasant haunts and silent glades,
          My soul is with you now!
        I bless the star-crowned islands where
          My IDA’S footsteps roam,—
        Oh for a falcon’s wing to bear
          Me onward to my home!



        THE twilight on Ausable
          By rock and river fell;
        With tints of rose-veined marble
          It glimmered through the dell.

        Shadows on tree and river
          In stately grandeur hung;
        There Nature sings forever
          What poets have not sung.

        The dark rocks, proudly lifted,
          Uprear their rugged form
        Like giants,—nobly gifted
          To breast the torrent’s storm.

        Dim mystery forever
          Here chants a song sublime,
        While onward rolls the river
          Unchangeable as time.

        From soul to soul is spoken
          What lips cannot impart;
        And the silence is but broken
          By the throbbing of the heart.

        The evening sky in glory
          Lights the massy, rifted wall,
        And with many a wondrous story
          Fancy paints the waterfall,

        Of the savage freely roving
          In a scene as wild as he;
        Of the Indian maiden loving
          With a spirit full of glee.

         .      .      .      .      .      .      .      .      .

        Yet though Indian maid and lover
          Have forever passed away,
        We may dream their visions over,
          And may love as well as they!

        On the borders of the river
          We may whisper ere we part
        Songs whose music clings forever
          Round the memories of the heart.

        We may catch an inspiration
          From dark river, rock, and fall,
        And a higher adoration
          For the Spirit over all!





THE great proportion of evergreen trees, shrubs, and creepers in the
American mountains makes the winter scenery less dreary than might at
first be imagined; but even the nakedness of the deciduous trees is not
long observable. The first snow clothes them in a dress so feathery and
graceful that, like a change in the costume of beauty, it seems lovelier
than the one put off; and the constant renewal of its freshness and
delicacy goes on with a variety and novelty which is scarce dreamed of
by those who see snow only in cities, or in countries where it is rare.

The roads in so mountainous a region as the Catterskills are in winter
not only difficult, but dangerous. The following extracts from an
account of a sleigh-ride in a more level part of the country will serve
to give an idea of it:—

“As we got farther on, the new snow became deeper. The occasional
farm-houses were almost wholly buried, the black chimney alone appearing
above the ridgy drifts; while the tops of the doors and windows lay
below the level of the trodden road, from which a descending passage was
cut to the threshold, like the entrance to a cave in the earth. The
fences were quite invisible. The fruit-trees looked diminished to
shrubberies of snow-flowers, their trunks buried under the visible
surface, and their branches loaded with the still falling flakes, till
they bent beneath the burden. Nothing was abroad, for nothing could stir
out of the road without danger of being lost; and we dreaded to meet
even a single sleigh, lest in turning out the horses should ‘slump’
beyond their depth in the untrodden drifts. The poor animals began to
labor severely, and sank at every step over their knees in the clogging
and wool-like substance; and the long and cumbrous sleigh rose and fell
in the deep pits like a boat in a heavy sea. It seemed impossible to get
on. Twice we brought up with a terrible plunge, and stood suddenly
still; for the runners had struck in too deep for the strength of the
horses, and with the snow-shovels, which formed a part of the furniture
of the vehicle, we dug them from their concrete beds. Our progress at
last was reduced to scarce a mile in the hour, and we began to have
apprehensions that our team would give out between the post-houses.
Fortunately it was still warm, for the numbness of cold would have
paralyzed our already flagging exertions.

“We had reached the summit of a long hill with the greatest difficulty.
The poor beasts stood panting and reeking with sweat; the runners of the
sleigh were clogged with hard cakes of snow, and the air was close and
dispiriting. We came to a stand-still, with the vehicle lying over
almost on its side; and I stepped out to speak to the driver and look
forward. It was a discouraging prospect; a long deep valley lay before
us, closed at the distance of a couple of miles by another steep hill,
through a cleft in the top of which lay our way: we could not even
distinguish the line of the road between. Our disheartened animals stood
at this moment buried to their breasts; and to get forward, without
rearing at every step, seemed impossible. The driver sat on his box,
looking uneasily down into the valley. It was one undulating ocean of
snow,—not a sign of a human habitation to be seen, and even the trees
indistinguishable from the general mass by their whitened and overladen
branches. The storm had ceased, but the usual sharp cold that succeeds a
warm fall of snow had not yet lightened the clamminess of the new-fallen
flakes, and they clung around the foot like clay, rendering every step a

“We heaved out of the pit into which the sleigh had settled, and for the
first mile it was down hill, and we got on with comparative ease. The
sky was by this time almost bare, a dark slaty mass of clouds alone
settling on the horizon in the quarter of the wind; while the sun, as
powerless as moonlight, poured with dazzling splendor on the snow, and
the gusts came keen and bitter across the sparkling waste, rimming the
nostrils as if with bands of steel, and penetrating to the innermost
nerve with their pungent iciness. No protection seemed of any avail. The
whole surface of the body ached as if it were laid against a slab of
ice. The throat closed instinctively, and contracted its unpleasant
respiration. The body and limbs drew irresistibly together to economize,
like a hedge-hog, the exposed surface. The hands and feet felt
transmuted to lead; and across the forehead, below the pressure of the
cap, there was a binding and oppressive ache, as if a bar of frosty iron
had been let into the skull. The mind, meantime, seemed freezing
up,—unwillingness to stir, and inability to think of anything but the
cold, becoming every instant more decided.

“From the bend of the valley our difficulties became more serious. The
drifts often lay across the road like a wall, some feet above the heads
of the horses; and we had dug through one or two, and had been once
upset, and often near it, before we came to the steepest part of the
ascent. The horses had by this time begun to feel the excitement of the
rum given them by the driver at the last halt, and bounded on through
the snow with continuous leaps, jerking the sleigh after them with a
violence that threatened momently to break the traces. The steam from
their bodies froze instantly, and covered them with a coat like
hoar-frost; and spite of their heat, and the unnatural and violent
exertions they were making, it was evident by the pricking of their ears
and the sudden crouch of the body when a stronger blast swept over, that
the cold struck through even their hot and intoxicated blood.

“We toiled up, leap after leap; and it seemed miraculous to me that the
now infuriated animals did not burst a blood-vessel or crack a sinew
with every one of those terrible springs. The sleigh plunged on after
them, stopping dead and short at every other moment, and reeling over
the heavy drifts like a boat in a surging sea. A finer crystallization
had meanwhile taken place upon the surface of the moist snow; and the
powdered particles flew almost insensibly on the blasts of wind, filling
the eyes and hair, and cutting the skin with a sensation like the touch
of needle-points. The driver and his maddened but almost exhausted team
were blinded by the glittering and whirling eddies; the cold grew
intenser every moment, the forward motion gradually less and less; and
when, with the very last effort apparently, we reached a spot on the
summit of the hill which from its exposed situation had been kept bare
by the wind, the patient and persevering whip brought his horses to a
stand, and despaired, for the first time, of his prospects of getting

The description, which is too long to extract entire, details still
severer difficulties; after which the writer and driver mounted the
leaders, and finally arrived, nearly dead with cold, at the tavern. Such
cold as is described here, however, is what is called “an old-fashioned
spell,” and occurs now but seldom.



        Is this a painting? Are those pictured clouds
        Which on the sky so movelessly repose?
        Has some rare artist fashioned forth the shrouds
        Of yonder vessel? Are these imaged shows
        Of outline, figure, form, or is there life—
        Life with a thousand pulses—in the scene
        We gaze upon? Those towering banks between,
        E’er tossed these billows in tumultuous strife?
        Billows! there’s not a wave! the waters spread
        One broad, unbroken mirror; all around
        Is hushed to silence,—silence so profound
        That a bird’s carol, or an arrow sped
        Into the distance, would, like larum bell,
        Jar the deep stillness and dissolve the spell.

                      PARK BENJAMIN.

            University Press: John Wilson & Son, Cambridge.

                           TRANSCRIBER NOTES

Misspelled words and printer errors have been corrected.

Inconsistencies in punctuation have been maintained.

Cover created for this ebook. Some illustrations moved to facilitate
page layout.

[The end of _Forest, Rock, and Stream_, by N. P. (Nathaniel Parker)

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