Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Letters from a Landscape Painter
Author: Lanman, Charles
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
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.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Letters from a Landscape Painter" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



This e-book was generously made available by FadedPage.com
(http://www.fadedpage.com)



Transcriber’s note:

      Text enclosed by underscores is in italics (_italics_).



LETTERS FROM A LANDSCAPE PAINTER.

By the Author of
“Essays for Summer Hours.”
(CHARLES LANMAN)


Gentlemen, let not prejudice prepossess you. I confess my discourse is
like to prove suitable to my recreation,—calm and quiet.
                                                           Izaak Walton.



Boston:
James Munroe and Company.
MDCCCXLV.

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1844, by
Charles Lanman.
in the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the District of
Massachusetts.

Boston:
Printed by Thurston, Torry and Co.
31 Devonshire Street.



                            CRITICAL NOTICES
                                   OF
                  LANMAN’S “ESSAYS FOR SUMMER HOURS.”


                          _By John Neal, Esq._

  “A book of two hundred and fifty pages, containing some twenty essays
  or thereabouts,—and perhaps more,—upon all sorts of pilgrimages: upon
  the woods and the city, Morning and Evening, the Dying Year,
  Literature, Mirth and Sadness, the Early Called, the Painter’s Dream,
  &c., &c., &c.; written with great simplicity and sweetness,—untainted
  with affectation, except in two or three slight instances,—original,
  tender, and at times absolutely touching.”

         _From the N. Y. Evening Post, Edited by W. C. Bryant._

  “The volume, of which we have copied the title, is composed of essays
  on various subjects, the fruit, as the author tells us, of the leisure
  of last summer. They are agreeably written, with a vein of poetic
  embellishment.”

                     _From the Democratic Review._

  “‘Essays for Summer Hours,’ is the title of a pleasing little tome, by
  Charles Lanman, comprising a series of sketches of American scenery,
  interspersed with poetical allusions to incidents and characters which
  are very harmoniously blended, and agreeably presented. We hope this
  work will prove successful, and form the precursor of many other
  contributions to our elegant literature from the same pen.”

                _From the Southern Literary Messenger._

  “This well printed, and handsome little volume, embraces a series of
  eighteen essays; the most of them founded in American scenery and
  associations. Some of the topics are furnished by the West, the native
  place of the young author; he has certainly done justice to the fresh
  scenes that are spread out in that interesting portion of the country.
  The talent of the writer is descriptive; he has painted, with
  remarkable fidelity and beauty, some of the most striking points of
  Western life. His language is chaste and well selected; and many of
  the moral reflections, growing out of the several subjects which he
  has selected for his essays, are expressed in an exceedingly
  interesting and even touching manner.”

                     _From the Boston Miscellany._

  “This a pleasant little volume of quiet Essays, written by a warm
  lover of nature, and dealing principally with descriptions of natural
  scenery, or the development of simple feeling. The author has well
  characterized them as reading ‘for summer hours.’ They neither furnish
  deep thought, nor are the parent of it; and yet they conduct the
  reader through pleasant places, in peaceful and undisturbed meditative
  shades, without disturbing him with paradoxical statements, or, often,
  with opinions that his judgment or his taste rejects. The author
  appears to have read a good deal, with discrimination and sympathy,
  and,—as it is true that the more we know, the more we learn from what
  we read of the best written efforts of master-minds,—so the more a
  writer, especially of this class of essays, has gathered from the
  already accumulated stores of information and illustration, readier
  will be his power to impress his own train of thought upon his reader.
  Mr. Lanman appears to have had a peculiarly apt sympathy and
  appreciation for his favorite authors, and we consequently find that
  (which, although artistically a fault, is no loss to the readers of
  his book,) whenever he comes to the real depth of his subject, or to a
  marked point either of argument or illustration, he flies to quotation
  to express himself, and his quotations are in general well selected
  and classical.”

                  _From the London Literary Gazette._

  “This is a second edition, and the matter well deserves to run through
  many more; for we have met with nothing of the kind in Transatlantic
  polite literature in which so fresh and pure a spirit prevails. It is
  far away from the worldly, trading, and money-making go-a-head
  passion, which rules the multitude both there and here.”



                                 TO THE
                       HON. GEORGE PERKINS MARSH,
                          BURLINGTON, VERMONT.


  My Dear Sir,

To you, in testimony of my regard for you, as a Statesman, a Scholar,
and a Lover of the Fine Arts, do I dedicate this little volume.

Had not my maiden effort in the world of letters been received by the
public with such marked favor, I should not venture to publish again.
The same motives, however, which prompted the first, have also prompted
the present collection of my productions, and I desire no other reward
than the one already bestowed upon me in the approving smile of honest
and sincere hearts.

As my title-page implies, I am now a professional Landscape Painter, my
inclinations having compelled me to relinquish the “cotton trade and
sugar line,” and these letters, originally written to a literary friend
in New York, are but the offspring of one who claims the only merit of
being a lover of Nature and his fellow men. I confess myself to be a
creature of impulse, and each paper that I now publish, I would have
considered as a mere record of my thoughts and feelings during the hour
it may have been indited. Having been a sojourner in various portions of
the country during the past summer, in search of the picturesque, you
must not be surprised to find yourself one moment scrambling through a
mountain gorge, and the next on the margin of the boundless sea. With
this preliminary, I lay aside my pen, and return to my palette and
pencils.

                         Your sincere friend,
                                                         CHARLES LANMAN.

  New York, Autumn of 1844.



                               CONTENTS.


  TROUTING AMONG THE CATSKILLS,                                        1
  A SPRING DAY,                                                       19
  SOUTH PEAK MOUNTAIN,                                                34
  A SLEEPLESS NIGHT,                                                  52
  COLE’S IMAGINATIVE PAINTINGS,                                       64
  LAKE HORICON,                                                       83
  BURLINGTON,                                                        103
  TRIP TO PORTLAND,                                                  122
  MOOSEHEAD LAKE AND THE KENNEBECK,                                  143
  LILLY LARNARD,                                                     157
  LOUIS L. NOBLE,                                                    172
  THE UNHAPPY STRANGER,                                              190
  A WEEK IN A FISHING SMACK,                                         197
  TRIP TO WATCH HILL,                                                214
  OUR NEW YORK PAINTERS,                                             233
  A SONG OF MEMORY,                                                  256



                      TROUTING AMONG THE CATSKILLS


Again am I in the country, where I shall probably remain until the
even-tide of the year. The main object, as you know, in my contemplated
wanderings, will be to study the “book of nature, opened wide,” with a
view of adding to my stock of materials for future use in my profession.
The first of those letters, which I promised to write you by way of
recreation, I have now commenced, and I wish you to understand, at the
very outset, that, as I have nothing in particular to prove, my themes
will be as variable as my feelings; but I shall confine myself
principally to descriptions of natural scenery and personal adventures.

My present stopping place is at an old Dutch farm-house near Plauterkill
Clove, under the shadow of the Catskill mountains. Since my arrival here
the weather has been rather chilly for the season, so that I have not
had much opportunity to use the pencil, but I have already noted some
noble views, which I shall attempt to portray in their summer garb. The
consequence is—independent of the fact that May is the angler’s favorite
month—I have been practising my hand at trouting, in which art you have
reason to know I am somewhat of an adept. How truly hath it been written
by good old Walton;—

  Of recreation, there is none
  So free as fishing is alone.
  All other pastimes do no less,
  Than mind and body both possess;
  My _hands_ alone my _work_ can do,
  So I can _fish_ and _study_ too.

Never, more deeply than now, have I felt the wisdom of this thought, and
never before have I enjoyed this sport to such perfection, whether you
consider my success or the scenery I have witnessed. My first excursion
was performed along the margin of a stream, which rises about two miles
off, out of a little lake on the mountains. My guide and companion was a
notorious hunter of these parts, named Peter Hummel, whose services I
have engaged for all my future rambles among the mountains. He is,
without exception, the wildest and rarest character I have ever known,
and would be a great acquisition to a menagerie. He was born in a little
hut at the foot of South Peak, is twenty-seven years of age, and has
never been to school a day in his life, or in his travels further away
from home than fifteen miles. He was _educated_ for a bark-gatherer, his
father and several brothers being engaged in the business; but Peter is
averse to commonplace labor, to anything, in fact, that will bring
money. When a mere boy of five years, he had an inkling for the
mountains, and once had wandered so far, that he was found by his father
in the den of an old bear, playing with her cubs. To tramp among the
mountains, with gun and dog, is Peter’s chief and only happiness. He is
probably one of the most perfect specimens of a hunter now living; and
very few, I imagine, could have survived the dangers to which he has
exposed himself. He seems to be one of those iron mortals that cannot
die with age and infirmity,—or be killed by man, rock, or water; he must
be shivered by a stroke of lightning. Although one of the wildest of
God’s creatures, Peter Hummel is as amiable and kind-hearted a man as
ever lived. He is an original wit withal, and shrewd and very laughable
are many of his speeches, and his stories are the cream of romance and
genuine mountain poetry.

But to return. We started on our tramp at an early hour, he with a
trout-basket in his hand, containing our dinner, and I with my
sketch-book and a “pilgrim staff.” After a tiresome ascent of three
hours at the almost perpendicular side of a mountain, over ledges and
through gloomy ravines, we at last reached the wished-for brook. All the
day long were we cheered by its happy song, as we descended, now leaping
from one deep pool to another, and now scrambling over green-coated
rocks, under and around fallen trees, and along the damp, slippery sides
of the mountain, until we reached its mouth on a plain, watered by a
charming river, and sprinkled with the rustic residences of a sturdy
Dutch yeomanry. We were at home by sunset, having walked the distance of
twenty miles, and captured one hundred and fifty trout, the most of
which I distributed among the farm-houses in my way, on my return.

On another occasion, I had taken my sketch-book and some fishing tackle,
and gone up a mountain road, when, after having outlined a few giant
trees, whose bare arms were extended upwards, as if they were praying to
be reclothed in their summer garniture, I found myself on the banks of
Schoharie Creek. In the very first hole into which I peered, I
discovered a large trout, lying near the bottom, just above a little bed
of white sand, whence rose the bubbles of a spring. It must have been
some thirty minutes, I think, that I stood there against a tree,
watching him with a “yearning tenderness.” “He is so happy,” thought I,
“I will let him live.” Presently, however, a beautiful fly lighted on
the water, which the greedy hermit swallowed in a minute, and returned
to his cool bed, with his conscience, as I fancied, not one whit
troubled by what he had done. Involuntarily I began to unwind my line,
and having cut a pole, and repeated to myself something about “diamond
cut diamond,” I baited my hook, and threw it in. The rogue of a trout,
however, saw me, and scorned for a while to heed my bait. But I coaxed
and coaxed, until at last he darted for it, apparently out of mere
spite. Something, then, like a miniature water-spout arose, and the
monarch of the brook was in a fair way of sharing the same fate which
had befallen the innocent fly. I learned a salutary lesson from this
incident, and as I had yielded to the temptation of the brook, I
shouldered my sketch-book, and descended the stream. At noon I reached a
farm-house, where I craved something to eat. A first-rate dinner was
given me, which was seasoned by many questions, and some information,
concerning trout. That afternoon, in company with a little boy, I
visited a neighboring stream, called the Roaring Kill, where I caught
one hundred and sixty fish. I then returned to the farm-house, and spent
the evening in conversation with my new acquaintances. After breakfast,
on the following morning, I set out for home, and got there about noon,
having made two additions to my sketches. Long shall I remember the
evening spent with this family, and their hospitality towards an entire
stranger. A good husband, a good wife, and two good daughters, have been
added to my list of friends.

Another of my trouting pilgrimages was to a famous place called Stony
Clove, among the mountains of Shindaken, which are a continuation of the
Catskills, leading westward. It is a deep perpendicular cut or gorge
between two mountains, from twenty to an hundred feet in width, three
thousand in depth, and completely lined from base to summit by the most
luxuriant vegetation. It is watered by a narrow but deep brook, which is
so full of trout, that some seven hundred were captured by myself and
two others in a single day. When I tell you that this spot is only one
hundred miles from New York, you will be surprised to hear that in its
immediate vicinity we saw no less than two bears, a doe with two fawns,
and a host of other less important game. In some parts of it the
sunshine never enters, and cart loads of the purest ice may be found
there throughout the year. It is the loneliest and most awful corner of
the world that I have ever seen,—none other I fancy could make a man
feel more utterly desolate. It is a type of the valley of the shadow of
death; in single file did we have to pass through it, and in single file
must we pass into the grave. To spend one day there, we had to encamp
two nights, and how we generally manage that affair I will tell you
presently. In returning from Stony Clove, we took a circuitous route and
visited the Mountain House. We approached it by the way of the
celebrated Catskill Fall, which I will describe to you in the graphic
language of Cooper, as you may not remember the passage in his Pioneer.
“Why there’s a fall in the hills, where the water of two little ponds,
that lie near each other, breaks out of their bounds, and runs over the
rocks into the valley. The stream is, may be, such a one as would turn a
mill, if so useless a thing was wanted in the wilderness. _But the Hand
that made that ‘Leap’ never made a mill!_ There the water comes croaking
and winding among the rocks, first so slow that a trout might swim in
it, and then starting and running, just like any creature that wanted to
make a fair spring, till it gets to where the mountain divides, like the
cleft foot of a deer, leaving a deep hollow for the brook to tumble
into. The first pitch is nigh two hundred feet, and the water looks like
flakes of snow afore it touches the bottom, and then gathers itself
together again for a new start, and, may be, flutters over fifty feet of
flat rock, before it falls for another hundred, where it jumps from
shelf to shelf, first turning this way and that way, striving to get out
of the hollow, till it finally comes to the plain.”

Our party on this occasion consisted of three,—Peter Hummel, a
bark-gatherer, and myself. I had chosen these fellows for the
expedition, because of their friendship for me and their willingness to
go, and I now resolved to give them a treat at the “Grand Hotel,” which
the wild fellows in their ignorance had ever looked upon as a kind of
paradise. You are aware, I suppose, that the Mountain House is an
establishment vieing in its style of accommodations with the best hotels
of the city. Between it and the Hudson there is, during the summer, an
hourly line of stages, and it is the transient resort of thousands, who
go there for the novelty of the scenery. The edifice itself stands on a
cliff, within a few feet of the edge, and commands a most magnificent
prospect, extending from Long Island Sound to the Green and White
mountains. The first time I was there, I spent half the night at my
bedroom window, watching the fantastic performances of a thunder-storm
far below me, which made the building tremble like a leaf, and reminded
me of Milton’s description of hell; while the sky above was cloudless,
and studded with stars. Between this spot and South Peak, “there’s the
High Peak and the Round Top, which lay back, like a father and mother
among their children, seeing they are far above all the other hills.”

But to proceed. Coarsely and comically dressed as we were, we made a
very unique appearance as we paraded into the office of the hotel. I met
a few acquaintances there, to whom I introduced my comrades, and in a
short time each one of them was spinning a mountain legend to a crowd of
astonished and delighted listeners. In due time I ushered them into the
dining-room, where was enacted a scene which can be better imagined than
described. A Chinese in Victoria’s drawing-room, would not be more
completely out of his element, or be the cause of heartier laughter,
than were these men among the soup, ice-creams, and silver forks of the
“Yankee Palace,” as the house has been christened by the Dutch under the
mountains.

About the middle of the afternoon we commenced descending the beautiful
mountain road, and a jolly time we had of it, I assure you. A little
while before there had been a heavy shower, and a thousand happy rills
attended us with a song. A delightful nook on this road is pointed out
as the identical spot where Rip Van Winkle slept away a score of his
life. I reached home in time to spend the twilight hour in my room,
musing upon the solemn and much loved mountains. I had but one
companion, and that was a sweet whip-poor-will, which nightly comes to
my window sill, to tell me a tale of its love or of the woods and
solitary wilderness.

But the most unique and interesting of my fishing adventures, remains to
be described. I have heard a great deal about a certain lake among the
mountains, (the same alluded to above,) and I desired to visit it, and
spend a night upon its shore. Having again spoken to Peter Hummel, and
invited a neighbor to accompany us, whom they call White Yankee, the
noon-tide hour of last Thursday found us on our winding way. And such a
grotesque appearance as we made, would have caused you to laugh most
heartily, I am sure. The group was mostly _animated_, when climbing the
steep and rocky ravines which we were compelled to pass through. There
was Peter, “long, lank, and lean,” and wild in his attire and
countenance as an eagle of the wilderness, with an axe in his hand, and
a huge knapsack on his back, containing our provisions and utensils for
cooking. Next to him followed White Yankee, with three blankets lashed
upon his back, a slouched white hat on his head, and a half pound of
tobacco in his mouth. Crooked legged withal, and somewhat sickly was
this individual, and being wholly unaccustomed to this kind of business,
he went along groaning, grunting, and sweating, as if he was “sent for,
and _didn’t want_ to come.” In the rear trotted along your humble
friend, with a gun upon his shoulder, a powder-horn and shot-pouch at
his side, cowhide boots on his feet, and a cap on his head—his beard
half an inch long, and his long hair streaming in the wind.

We reached our place of destination about five o’clock, and halted under
a large impending rock, which was to be our sleeping place. We were
emphatically under the “shadow of a rock, in a weary land.” Our first
business was to build a fire, which we did with about one cord of green
and dry wood. Eighty poles were then cut, to which we fastened our
lines. The old canoe in the lake was bailed out, and, having baited our
hooks with the small fish which we brought with us, we arranged the
poles around the lake, in about seven feet water. We then prepared and
ate our supper, and awaited the coming on of night. During this
interval, I learned from Peter the following particulars concerning the
lake. It was originally discovered by a hunter named Shew, after whom it
has always been called. It was estimated to cover about fifty acres,
and, in some places, to be more than two hundred feet in depth. For my
part, however, I should have said that it did not contain five acres,
but the mountains, which lower above it on every side, are calculated to
deceive the eye; but, as to its depth, I could fancy it to be
bottomless, for the water is apparently as black as ink. To the number
of trout in it there seems to be no end. It is supposed they reach it,
when small, through the brook already mentioned, when they increase in
size, and multiply. Peter says he caught one there once which weighed a
little over five pounds, and a speckled, common trout, too. It also
abounds in green and scarlet lizards, which would be a serious drawback
to the pleasures of the fastidious. I asked Peter many questions
concerning his adventures about this lake, and he told me that the
number of “harmless murders” which he had committed here were two or
three hundred. In one day, he shot three deer; at another time, a dozen
turkeys; at another, twenty ducks; one night, an old bear; and again,
half a dozen coons; and, on one occasion, annihilated a den of
thirty-seven rattlesnakes. This will give you some idea of the stories
which I hear from this man; but you cannot conceive the peculiar
enjoyment they afford me: it is because they are associated with my
“boyhood’s home,”—my wilderness home, in my much-loved Michigan.

At nine o’clock, we lighted a torch and went to examine our lines; and
it was my peculiarly good fortune to haul out not less than forty-one
trout, weighing from one to two pounds a-piece. Now, if this wasn’t
sport, I should like to know what is? These we put into a spring of the
coldest water I ever tasted, and then “laid down in our loneliness,” as
Coleridge would have said on the occasion. Branches of hemlock
constituted our couch, and my station was between Peter and White
Yankee. Little did I dream, when I first saw these two bipeds, that I
should ever have them for my bedfellows. But who, alas! can always have
the bedfellow he desires? Think you that we could not sleep soundly in
that lap of the forest, between the sheltering rock and the roaring
fire? Yea, my friends were in the land of Nod in less than a dozen
minutes; but it was hard for me to go to sleep, tired as I was, in the
midst of such a scene. There I lay, flat upon my back, a stone and my
cap for a pillow, wrapt up in my blanket, with nothing but my nose and
eyes exposed to the chilly night air. Oh! what pictures did my fancy
conjure up, as I looked upon the army of trunks around me, glistening in
the fire-light. One moment they were a troop of Indians from the
spirit-land, come to revisit again the hunting-grounds of their fathers,
and weeping that the white man had desecrated their soil; and again, I
fancied them to be a congress of wild animals, assembled together to
try, execute, and devour us, for the depredations our fellows had
committed upon their kind for the last one hundred years. By and by, a
star peered upon me from between the branches of a tree, and my thoughts
ascended heavenward. And now, my eyes twinkled and blinked in sympathy
with the star, and I was a dreamer.

An hour after the witching time of night, I was startled from my sleep
by a bellowing halloo from Peter, who said it was time to examine the
lines again. Had you heard the echoes which were then awakened, far and
near, you would have thought yourself in enchanted land. But there were
_living_ answers to that shout, for a frightened fox began to bark; an
owl commenced its horrible hootings; a partridge its drumming; and a
wolf its howl. There was not a breeze stirring, and

  “Nought was seen, in the vault on high,
  But the moon, and the stars, and a cloudless sky,
  And a river of white in the welkin blue.”

Peter and Yankee went out to haul in the trout, but I remained on shore,
to attempt a drawing, by moonlight, of the lake before me. The opposite
side of the mountain, with its dark tangled forest, was perfectly
mirrored in the waters below, the whole seeming as solid and variegated
as a tablet of Egyptian marble. The canoe with its inmates noiselessly
pursued its way, making the stillness more profound. In the water at my
feet I distinctly saw lizards sporting about, and I could not but wonder
why such creatures were created. I thought, with the Ancient Mariner,

  “A thousand slimy things lived on,
  And so did I.”

Again we retired to rest, and slept till day-break. We visited our hooks
once more, and took them up, and found that we had one hundred and two
trout, averaging more than a pound a-piece. We then partook of a
substantial breakfast of this delicious fish, which were cooked by me as
well as anybody could do it, and, having gathered up our plunder,
started for home.

The accidents we met with during the night were harmless, though they
might have proved serious. A paper of Locofoco matches, which Peter
carried in his breeches pocket, took fire, and gave him such a scorching
that he bellowed lustily. White Yankee, in his restless slumber, rolled
so near our watch-fire, that he barely escaped with one corner of his
blanket, the remainder having been consumed. As for me, I only got
pitched into the water up to my middle, while endeavoring to reach the
end of a log which extended into the lake. In descending the mountain, I
shot three partridges, and confoundedly frightened a fox, and by noon
was in my snug studio, commencing a picture from one of my last
sketches.

But lo! my candle is flickering in the socket, and I must say, Good
night!



                              A SPRING DAY


May is near its close, and I am still at work in the valley of the
Hudson. Spring is indeed come again, and this, for the present year, has
been its day of triumph. The moment I awoke, at dawn, this morning, I
knew by intuition that it would be so, and I bounded from my couch like
a startled deer, impatient for the cool delicious air. Spring is upon
the earth once more, and a new life is given me of enjoyment and hope.
The year is in its childhood, and my heart clings to it with a sympathy,
that I feel must be immortal and divine. What I have done to-day, I
cannot tell: I only know that my body has been tremulous with feeling,
and my eyes almost blinded with seeing. Every hour has been fraught with
a new emotion of delight, and presented to my vision numberless pictures
of surpassing beauty. I have held communion with the sky, the mountains,
the streams, the woods, and the fields: and these, if you please, shall
be themes of my present letter.

The sky! It has been of as deep an azure, and as serene, as ever
canopied the world. It seemed as if you could look _through_ it, into
the illimitable home of the angels—could almost behold the glory which
surrounds the Invisible. Three clouds alone have attracted my attention.
One was the offspring of the dawn, and encircled by a rim of gold; the
next was the daughter of noon, and white as a pearl; and the last, of
evening, and robed in deepest crimson. Wayward and coquettish creatures
were these clouds! Their chief ambition seemed to be to display their
charms to the best advantage, as if conscious of their loveliness; and,
at sunset, when the light lay pillowed on the mountains, it was a joyous
sight to see them, side by side, like three sweet sisters, as they were,
_going home_. Each one was anxious to favor the world with its own last
smile, so that, by their changing places so often, you would have
thought they were all unwilling to depart. But they were the ministers
of the Sun, and he would not tarry for them; and, while he beckoned them
to follow on, the Evening Star took his station in the sky, and bade
them depart: and when I looked again, they were gone. Never more,
thought I, will those clouds be a source of joy to a human heart. And in
this respect, also, they seemed to me to be the emblems of those
beautiful but thoughtless maidens, who spend the flower of youth
trifling with the affections of all whom they have the power to
fascinate.

The mountains! In honor of the season which has just clothed them in the
richest green, they have displayed every one of their varied and
interesting charms. At noon, as I lay under the shadow of a tree,
watching them “with a look made of all sweet accord,” my face was
freshened by a breeze. It seemed to come from the summit of South Peak,
and to be the voice of the Catskills. I listened, and these were the
words which echoed through my ear.

“Of all the seasons, oh, Spring! thou art the most beloved, and to us,
always the most welcome. Joy and gladness ever attend thy coming, for we
know that the ‘winter is past, the rains are over and gone, the time of
the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in
our land.’ And we know, too, that from thy hands flow unnumbered
blessings. Thou softenest the earth, that the husbandman may sow his
seed, which shall yield him a thousand fold at the harvest. Thou
releasest the rivers from their icy fetters, that the wings of commerce
may be unfurled once more. Thou givest food to the cattle upon a
thousand hills, that they, in their turn, may furnish man with necessary
food, and also assist him in his domestic labors. Thou coverest the
earth with a garniture of freshest loveliness, that the senses of man
may be gratified, and his thoughts directed to Him who hath created all
things, and pronounced them good. And, finally, thou art the hope of the
year, and thine admonitions, which are of the future, have a tendency to
emancipate the thoughts of man from this world, and the troubles which
may surround him here, and fix them upon that clime where an everlasting
spring abides.” “The voice in my dreaming ear melted away,” and I heard
the roaring of the streams as they fretted their way down the rocky
steeps.

The streams! Such “trumpets” as they have, blown to-day, would, I am
afraid, have caused Mr. Wordsworth to exclaim:

  “The cataracts—_make a devilish noise up yonder_.”

The fact is, “all the earth is gay,” and all the springs among the
mountains “giving themselves up to jollity,” the streams are full to
overflowing, and rush along with a “vindictive looseness,” because of
the burden they have to bear. The falls and cascades, which make such
exquisite pictures in the summer months, are now fearful to behold, for,
in their anger, every now and then they toss some giant tree into an
abyss of foam, which makes one fear the effects of an earthquake. But,
after the streams have left the mountains, and are running through the
bottom lands, they still seem to be displeased at something, and at
_every turn_ they take, _delve_ into the “bowels of the harmless earth,”
making it dangerous for the angler to approach too near, but rendering
the haunt of the trout more spacious and commodious than before. The
streams are about the only things I cannot praise to-day, and I hope it
will not _rain_ for a month to come, if this is the way they intend to
act whenever we have a number of delightful showers.

The woods! A goodly portion of the day have I spent in one of their most
secret recesses. I went with Shakspeare under my arm, but could not
read, any more than fly, so I stretched myself at full length on a huge
log, and kept a sharp look-out for anything that might send me a waking
dream. The brotherhood of trees clustered around me, laden with leaves
just bursting into full maturity, and possessing that delicate and
peculiar green, which lasts but a single day, and never returns. A
fitful breeze swept through them, so that ever and anon I fancied a
gushing fountain to be near, or that a company of ladies fair were come
to visit me, and that I heard the rustle of their silken kirtles. And
now my eyes rested on a tree, that was entirely leafless, and almost
without a limb. Instead of grass at its foot, was a heap of dry leaves,
and not a bush or vine grew anywhere near it, but around its neighbors
they grew in great abundance. It seemed branded with a curse, alone,
forsaken of its own, and despised by all. Can this, thought I, be an
emblem of any human being? Strange that it should be, but it is
nevertheless too true. Only one week ago, I saw a poor miserable maniac,
bound hand and foot, driven from “home and all its treasures,” and
carried to a dark, damp prison-house in a neighboring town. We can be
reconciled to the mystery of a poisonous reptile’s existence, but it is
very hard to understand for what good purpose a maniac is created. But
to return. Another object I noticed, was a little tree about five feet
high, completely covered with blossoms of a gaudy hue. At first, I tried
to gather something poetical out of this thing, but could not to save my
life. It caused me a real hearty laugh as the idea expanded, for it
reminded me of a certain maiden lady of my acquaintance, who is _old_,
_stunted_, very fond of _tall men_, and always strutting round under a
weight of _jewelry_. But oh, what beautiful flowers did I notice in that
shady grove, whose whispering thrilled me with delight! Their names? I
cannot tell them to you—they _ought_ to have no names, any more than a
cloud or a foam-bell on the river. Some were blue, some white, some
purple, and some scarlet. There were little parties of them on every
side, and as the wind swayed their delicate stems, I could not but fancy
they were living creatures, the personified thoughts perhaps of happy
and innocent children. Occasionally, too, I noticed a sort of straggler
peeping at me from beside a hillock of moss, or from under the branches
of a fallen tree, as if surprised at my temerity in entering its
secluded haunt. Birds also were around me in that greenwood sanctuary,
singing their hymns of praise to the Father of mercies for the return of
spring. The nests of the females being already built, they had nothing
to do but be happy, anticipating the time when they themselves should be
the “dealers-out of some small blessings” to their own dear helpless
broods. As to their mates, they were about as independent, restless and
noisy as might be expected, very much as any rational man would be who
was the husband of a young and beautiful wife.

But the open fields to-day have superabounded with pictures to please
and instruct the mind. I know not where to begin to describe them. Shall
it be at the very threshold of our farm-house? Well, then, only look at
those lilac trees in the garden, actually top-heavy with purple and
white flowering pyramids. The old farmer has just cut a number of large
branches, and given them to his little daughter to carry to her mother,
who will distribute them between the mantel-piece, the table, and the
fire-place of the family sitting-room. But what ambrosial odor is that
which now salutes the senses? It comes not from the variegated corner of
the garden, where the tulip, the violet, the hyacinth, the blue bell,
and the lily of the valley are vieing to outstrip each other in their
attire; nor, from that clover-covered lawn, besprinkled with buttercups,
dandelions, strawberry blossoms, and honeysuckles; but from the orchard,
every one of whose trees are completely covered with snow-white
blossoms. And from their numberless petals, emanates the murmur of bees,
as they are busy extracting stores of honey. Oh, what an abundance of
fruit—of apples, cherries, peaches, and pears, do these sweet blossoms
promise! But, next week there _may_ be a bitter _frost_; and this is the
lesson which my heart learns. Now that I am in the spring-time of life,
my hopes, in number and beauty, are like the blossoms of trees, and I
know not but they may even on the morrow be withered by the chilly
breath of the grave. But let us loiter farther on. The western slope of
this gentle hill is equally divided, and of two different shades of
green; one is planted with rye, and the other with wheat. The eastern
slope of the hill has lately been loosened by the plough, and is of a
sombre color, but to my eye not less pleasing than the green. And this
view is enlivened with figures besides—for a farmer and two boys are
planting corn, the latter opening the bed with their hoes, and the
farmer dropping in the seed (which he carries in a bag slung at his
side), and pushing it with his foot. And now, fluttering over their
heads is a roguish bob-o-link, _scolding_ about something in their
_wake_, at a _respectful_ distance, and hopping along the ground are a
number of robins, and on the nearest fence a meadow-lark and bluebird
are “holding on for a bite.” But there is no end to these rural
pictures, so I will just take you into this neighboring meadow-pasture,
then into the poultry yard at home, and conclude my present epistle.

Here we are, then, in the midst of various domestic animals. Yonder, a
couple of black colts are chasing each other in play, while their
venerable mother (for they are brothers, though not twins) is standing a
little way off, watching their antics, and twisting about her ears, as
she remembers the happy days of her own colthood. Here are some half
dozen hearty cows, lying down and grazing, each one with a “pledge of
affection” sporting about her. There are six or eight oxen, eating away
as fast as they can, while one, who seems to be a sentinel, occasionally
rolls up his eye to see if the farmer is coming to renew his song of
“haw! gee! gee! haw!” Under the shadow of that old oak, whose _portrait_
I mean to take to-morrow, is a flock of sheep, with their lambs bounding
beside them, as to the “tabor’s sound;” but to me there comes no
“thought of grief” at the sight, wherein I must be suffered to disagree
with Wordsworth, to whom I have already alluded once or twice, and whose
celebrated and most wonderful ode has been echoing in my heart all the
day long. Some of the lines in it are appropriate to the day, the charms
of which I am attempting to make you _feel_, and you will oblige me by
reading and inwardly digesting, for the hundredth time, as I know it
will be, the following fragments of a whole, and yet really complete
poems:—

  “The sunshine is a glorious birth.”


  “The winds come to me from the fields of sleep.”


  “And the babe leaps up on his mother’s arm.”


  “Earth fills her lap with pleasures of her own.”


  “Full soon thy soul shalt have her earthly freight,
  And custom lie upon thee with a weight,
  Heavy as fate, and deep almost as life.”


  “O joy, that in our embers
    Is something that doth live,
  That nature yet remembers
    What was so fugitive.”


  “To me, the meanest flower that blows, can give
  Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.”


Strange, that an immortal man, after dwelling upon such poetry, should
be willing to go into a _poultry_ yard. But why not? I should rather do
this _willingly_, than be compelled, as I have been, and may be again,
to hear a man say, after reading to him Wordsworth’s great Ode—“Why! of
what _use_ is such _stuff_ as that? what does it _prove_? will it
furnish a man with _bread and butter_? will it make the _pot boil_?” The
people of the poultry yard have been in such glee to-day, and
contributed so much to the gladness of the day, that I must pay them a
passing tribute. In the first place, our old gobbler, with his retinue
of turkey wives, has been on the point of bursting with pride ever since
sunrise. If the Grand Sultan of Turkey (who must be the father of all
turkeys) cuts the same kind of capers in the presence of his hundred
ladies, that must be a great country for lean people to “laugh and grow
fat.” Our _ring-tailed_ gobbler is a feathered personification of Jack
Falstaff, possessing his prominent trait of cowardice to perfection. I
flourished a red handkerchief in his face this morning, and, by the way
he strutted round and gobbled, you would have thought he was going to
devour you. About ten minutes after this, I threw down a handful of
corn, which was intended for him. While he was busy picking it up, a
certain rooster stept along side and commenced picking too: the
intruder, having got in the way of the gobbler, was suddenly pushed
aside; whereupon the gentleman with spurs chuckled and “showed fight,”
but the gobbler for a moment heeded him not. This the rooster could not
bear, so he pounced upon his enemy, and whipt him without mercy, until
the coward and fool ran away, with his long train of affectionate wives
following behind.

The roosters, hens and chickens, which have figured in the yard to-day,
would more than number a hundred, and such cackling, crowing, chuckling,
and crying as they have made, was anything but a “_concord_ of sweet
sounds.” But the creatures have been happy, and it was therefore a
pleasure to look at them. A young hen this morning made her first
appearance with a large brood of chickens, yellow as gold, and this
caused quite a sensation among the feathered husbands generally. The
mother, as she rambled about, seemed to say by her pompous air, to her
daughterless friends—“ar’nt they beautiful? don’t you wish you had a
few?” It was also very funny to see with what looks of astonishment the
youthful roosters surveyed these “infant phenomenons.” As to our ducks,
and geese, and guinea hens, they have minded their business pretty
well—the two former paddling about the creek and mud-puddles, and the
latter “between meals” roaming at large through the orchard and garden,
altogether the most beautiful and rational of the feathered tribes.

A mountaineer, who is to take this letter to the post-office, is waiting
for me below, and I must close,—hoping that the country figures I have
endeavored to sketch may have a tendency to make you feel a portion of
that joy, which has characterized this delightful Spring Day.



                         SOUTH PEAK MOUNTAINS.


I commence this letter in the language of Leather-Stocking: “You know
the Catskills, lad, for you must have seen them on your left, as you
followed the river up from York, looking as blue as a piece of clear
sky, and holding the clouds on their tops, as the smoke curls over the
head of an Indian chief at a council-fire.” Yes, everybody is acquainted
with the name of these mountains, but few with their peculiarities of
scenery. They are situated about eight miles from the Hudson, rise to an
average elevation of thirty-eight hundred feet, and running in a
straight line from north to south, cover a space of some twenty-five
miles. The fertile valley on the east is as beautiful as heart could
desire, watered by the Catskill, Plauterkill, and Esopus Creeks,
inhabited by a sturdy Dutch yeomanry, and is the mother of those three
most flourishing towns, Catskill, Saugerties, and Kingston. The upland
on the west, for some thirty miles, is rugged, dreary, and thinly
settled, but the winding valley of Schoharie, beyond, is possessed of a
thousand charms peculiarly American. The mountains themselves are
covered with dense forests, abounding in cliffs and waterfalls, and for
the most part untrodden by the footsteps of men. Looking at them from
the Hudson, the eye is attracted by two deep hollows, which are called
“cloves.” That one nearest to the Mountain House, Catskill Clove, is
distinguished for a remarkable fall, which is familiar to the world
through the pen of Bryant and the pencil of Cole; but it is fast filling
up with habitations of improvement, while the other, Plauterkill Clove,
though yet possessing much of its original glory, is certain of the same
destiny. The clove whence issues the Esopus is among the Shandaken
mountains, and is not visible from the Hudson.

My nominal residence at the present time is at the mouth of Plauterkill
Clove. I came into the country to study,—to forget the busy world, and
give myself up entirely to the hallowing influences of nature, and oh,
how many “mysteries sublime,” has she revealed to me in my journeyings
among the dear, dear Catskills!

To the west, and only half a mile from, my abode, are the beautiful
mountains, whose graceful outlines fade away to the north, like the
waves of the sea when covered with a _visible_ atmosphere. The nearest,
and to me most beloved of these, is called South Peak. It is nearly four
thousand feet in height, and covered from base to summit by one vast
forest of trees, varying from eighty to a hundred feet. Like most of its
brethren, it is a perfectly wild and uncultivated wilderness, richly
abounding in all the interesting features of mountain scenery. Like a
corner stone, it stands at the junction of the northern and western
ranges of the Catskills, and as its huge form looms up against the
evening sky, it inspires one with awe, as if it were the ruler of the
world; and yet I have learned to love it as a friend. Its name, its
image, and every tree, and shrub, and vine, which spring from its rocky
bosom, can never be forgotten. I have reflected upon it when reposing in
the noontide sunshine, or enveloped in clouds, when holding communion
with the most holy night, when trembling under the influence of a
thunder-storm, or encircled by a rainbow. It has filled my soul with
images of beauty and sublimity, and made me feel the omnipotence of God.

A day and night has it just been my privilege to spend on this mountain,
accompanied by a friend. We started at an early hour yesterday morning,
equipped in our brown fustians, and laden with well-filled knapsacks,
one of us with a hatchet in his belt, and the other with a brace of
pistols. We were bound to the extreme summit of the peak, where we
intended to spend the night, see the rising of the sun, and return at
our leisure on the following day. But when I tell you, my friend, that
our course lay right up the almost perpendicular side of the mountain,
where was no path save that formed by a torrent or a bear, you will
readily believe it was somewhat rare and wild. But this was what we
delighted in, so we shouted “Excelsior,” and commenced the ascent. The
air was excessively sultry, and the very first effort we made caused the
perspiration to start most profusely; upward, upward, was our
course,—now climbing through a tangled thicket, or under the spray of a
cascade, and then again supporting ourselves by the roots of saplings,
or scrambling under a fallen tree,—now, like the samphire gatherer,
scaling a precipice, and then again clambering over a rock, or
“shinning” up a hemlock tree, to reach a desired point. Our first halt
was made at a singular spot called “Hunter’s Hole,” which is a spacious
cavern or pit, forty feet deep and twenty wide, and approached only by a
crack in the mountain sufficiently large to admit a man. There is a
story connected with it worth recording. Many years ago, a farmer,
residing at the foot of the mountain, having missed a favorite dog, and
being anxious for his safety, called together his neighbors, and offered
a reward for the safe return of his canine friend. Always ready to do a
kind deed, a number of his neighbors immediately started in different
directions for the hunt. A barking sound having issued from this cavern,
it was discovered, and, at the bottom of it, the lost dog, which had
probably fallen in while chasing a fox. “But how is he to be extricated
from this hole?” was the general inquiry of the assembled hunters. Not
one of all the group would venture to descend, under any circumstances;
so the poor animal remained a prisoner for another night. But the next
morning he was released, and by none other than a brave boy, the son of
the farmer, and playmate of the dog. A large number of men were present
on the occasion. A strong rope was tied around the body of the boy, and
he was gently lowered down. Having reached the bottom, and by the aid of
his lamp discovered that he was in a “real nice place,” the little rogue
thought he would have some sport; so he continued to pull down, more
rope, until he had made a coil of two hundred feet, which was
bewildering enough to the crowd above; but nothing happened to him, and
the dog was raised. The young hero having played his trick so well, it
was generally supposed, for a long time after, that this cavern was two
hundred feet in depth, and none were found sufficiently bold to venture
in. The bravery of the boy, however, was eventually the cause of his
death, for he was cut down by a cannon ball in the war of 1812.

The next remarkable place that we attained in our ascent was the Bear
Bank, where, in the winter, may ever be found an abundance of those
charming creatures. It is said that they have often, on a clear day,
been seen sunning themselves, even from as far as the Hudson. We were
now on a beetling precipice three hundred feet high, where, under the
shadow of a huge pine, we enjoyed a slice of bread and pork, without the
“fixens to match.” Instead of a dessert of strawberries and ice-cream,
we were furnished by venerable dame nature with a thunder-storm. It was
one that we had noticed making a great commotion in the valley below,
and which, having discovered two bipeds going toward its home, the sky,
seemed to have come up there to frighten us back again. But, “knowing
that nature never did betray the heart that loved her,” we awaited the
thunder-storm’s reply to our obstinate refusal to descend. The cloud was
yet below us, but its unseen herald, a strong east wind, told us that
the conflict had commenced. Presently a peal of thunder resounded
through the vast profound, which caused the mountain to tremble to its
deep foundation. And then followed another and another, as the storm
increased, and the rain and hail poured down in floods. Thinking it
safer to expose ourselves to the storm than remain under the pine, we
retreated without delay, when we were suddenly enveloped in the heart of
the cloud, only a few rods distant; a stroke of vivid lighting blinded
us, and the towering forest monarch, even upon his proud throne, was
smitten to the earth. We were in the midst of an unwritten epic poem
about that time, but we could not then appreciate its beauties, for
another peal of thunder, and another stroke of lightning, attracted our
whole attention. Soon as these had passed, a terrible gale followed in
their wake, tumbling down piles of loose rocks, and bending to the dust,
as if in passion, the resisting forms of an army of trees, and a
glorious rainbow spanned the mountain like that distinguishing circle
around the temples of the mighty and holy, as portrayed by the painters
of old. The commotion lasted for an hour, when the region of the Bear
Bank became as serene as the slumber of a babe. A spirit of silent and
holy prayer seemed to be brooding over that scene of marvellous
loveliness, and with a shadow of thoughtfulness at our hearts we resumed
our upward march.

The next place where we halted to get breath was upon a sort of
peninsula, called the Eagle’s Nest, where it is said an Indian child was
carried by one of those birds and cruelly destroyed, and whence the
frantic mother, with the mangled body of her babe, leaped into the
terrible abyss below. From this point we discovered a host of clouds
assembled in council above High Peak, as if discussing the parched
condition of the earth, and the speediest mode of affording relief to a
still greater extent than they had done; and far away to the west, was
another assembly of clouds, vieing, like sporting children, to outrun
and overleap each other in their aerial amphitheatre.

After this, we surmounted another lofty cliff, celebrated for
rattlesnakes. Here the rocks were literally covered with the white bones
of these reptiles, slaughtered by the hunter in by-gone years, and we
saw a couple that were alive. One was about four feet long, and the
other half this size, which seemed to be the offspring of the old one,
for, when discovered, they were playing together, like an affectionate
mother with her tender child. Strange, that even in creatures, the sight
of which begets in man only abhorrence and fear, should be found one of
the first and most cherished principles of humanity! The law of love is
indeed universal. Soon as we appeared the sport ceased, and the venomous
creatures, in the twinkling of an eye, coiled themselves up in the
attitude of battle. But the conflict was of short duration, and to know
the result you need only look into my cabinet of curiosities.

Higher up yet was it our lot to climb. We went a little out of our
course to obtain a bird’s-eye view of Shew’s Lake. In its tranquil bosom
the glowing evening sky was perfectly reflected, and the silence
surrounding it so profound, that we could almost hear the ripples made
by a solitary wild duck, as it swam from one shore to the other in its
utter loneliness. And the thought entered my mind, that, as the infant
of Bethlehem was tenderly protected by the parents who watched over its
slumbers, so was this exquisite lake cradled and protected in the lap of
the mountains.

One sight more did we behold before reaching the summit. It was the
sunset hour, and on a jutting cliff, which commanded an immense view,
our eyes were delighted by a solitary deer, standing still, and looking
down upon the silent void below, which was then covered with a deep
purple atmosphere, causing the prospect to resemble the boundless ocean.
It was the last of its race, we could not but fancy, bidding the human
world good night, previous to seeking its heathery couch in a nameless
ravine.

Such are some of the scenes we enjoyed in our ascent. One effort more
and the long-desired eminence was attained, which was a little nearer
the evening star than we had ever been before. It was now the shadowy
hour of twilight, and as we were about done over with fatigue, it was
not long before we had pitched our leafy tent, eaten some supper,
offered up a prayer, and yielded ourselves to the embrace of sleep,
“dear mother of fresh thoughts and joyous health.”

At midnight, a cooling breath of air having passed across my face, I was
awakened from a fearful dream, which left me in a nervous and excited
state of mind. A strange and solemn gloom had taken possession of my
spirit, which was enhanced by the melancholy song of a neighboring
hemlock grove. Our encampment having been made a little below the summit
of the peak, and feeling anxious to behold the prospect at that hour
from that point, I arose, without awaking my companion, and seated
myself on the topmost rock, which was bare of trees and shrubs, and
covered by a rich moss, softer and more beautiful than a Turkey carpet.
But oh, how can I describe the scene that burst upon my enraptured
vision? It was unlike anything I had ever seen before, creating a “lone,
lost feeling,” which I supposed could only be realized by a wanderer in
the heart of an uninhabited wilderness, or on the ocean a thousand
leagues from land. Above, around, and beneath me, ay, far beneath me,
were the cold, bright stars, and to the east, the “old moon with the
young moon in her arms.” In the west were floating a little band of
pearly clouds, which I fancied to be winged chariots from the city of
the living God, and that they were crowded with children, the absent and
loved of other years, who, in a frolic of blissful joy, were out upon
the fields of heaven. On my left reposed the long, broad valley of the
Hudson, with its cities, towns, villages, woods, hills, and plains,
whose crowded highway was diminished to a narrow girdle of deep blue. To
the south, hill beyond hill, field beyond field, receded to the sky,
occasionally enlivened by a peaceful lake. On my right, a multitudinous
array of rugged mountains lay piled up, apparently as impassable as the
bottomless pit. To the north, the king of the Catskills bared his bosom
to the moonlight, as if demanding and expecting the homage of the world.
Such was the scene that surrounded me at that witching hour of the
night, and think you, that it did not animate my spirit with new life,
and expand my love for the invisible Creator of all? Oh, yes, and I
longed for the timbrel of Miriam, or the harp of David, that I might
sing aloud this song of praise,—“Praise the Lord, O my soul, and all
that is within me, bless his holy name. Praise him, O earth, for he hath
crowned thee with blessings numberless as the sands of ocean. Praise
him, ye children of men, for he healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth
up their wounds. Praise him, all ye starry hosts of heaven, for he
telleth your numbers and calleth you names. Praise him, ye heaven of
heavens, for he commanded and ye were created. Praise ye him, all ye his
angels, for he hath crowned you with immortality. Let everything that
hath breath sing praises unto the Lord forever, for his manifold and
infinite attributes.” The song ended, the weight upon my spirit was
departed, and I sought my couch once more, and slumbered until the dawn.

We saw the sun rise, as a matter of course, which event is described in
the following brief rhapsody: it will be more distinctly understood by
those who are familiar with the mountain.

He comes! he comes! the “king of the bright day!” The crimson and golden
clouds are parting, and he bursts on the bewildered sight! One moment
more, and the whole earth rejoices in his beams; and these are not more
welcome to the prince than the peasant, to the philosopher than the
idiot. All, alike, are made happy by the blessed sunshine. But look! on
either side and beneath the sun, what an array of new-born clouds are
gathering!—like a band of cavaliers, preparing to accompany their leader
on a journey. Out of the Atlantic have they just risen; at noon they
will have pitched their tents on the cerulean plains of heaven; and when
the hours of day are numbered, the far-off waters of the Pacific will
again receive them in its cool embrace. Hark! was not that the roar of
waves? No; naught but the report of thunder in the valley below. Can it
be? can it be? are the two oceans coming together? God have mercy upon
us! we are on a rock in the midst of an illimitable sea, and the tide is
rising—rapidly. Strange! it is still as death, and yet the oceans are
covered with billows. Lo! the naked masts of a Ship on fire! Now she is
gone, and from her grave ascends the emblem of her fate. Yonder, as if a
reef were hidden there to impede their course, the waves are struggling
in despair—now leaping to the very sky, and now plunging into a deep
abyss. And when they have passed the unseen enemy, how beautiful are
their various evolutions, as they hasten to the distant shore! Another
look, and what a change! The mists of morning are being exhaled by the
sun, already the world of waters is dispersed, and in the broad valley
of the Hudson, far, far beneath me, are reposing all the enchanting
features of the green earth.

We descended the mountain by a circuitous route, that we might enjoy the
luxury of passing through the Plauterkill Clove. The same spring that
gives rise to Schoharie Creek, which is a tributary of the Mohawk, also
gives rise to this wild mountain stream. In its very infancy it begins
to leap and laugh with the gladness of a boy. From its source to my
dwelling-place the distance is only two miles, and yet it has a fall of
twenty-five hundred feet; but the remainder of its course, until it
reaches the Esopus creek, is calm and peaceful, and on every side and at
every turn is protected by the farm-houses of a sturdy yeomanry. The
wild gorge or dell, through which it passes, abounds in waterfalls of
surpassing beauty, varying from ten to a hundred and fifty feet in
height, whose rocks are green with the moss of centuries, and whose
brows are ever wreathed with the most exquisite of vines and flowers.
There’s the Double Leap, with its almost fathomless pool, containing a
hermit trout that has laughed at the angler’s skill for a score of
years; the Mountain Spirit, haunted by the disembodied spirit of an
Indian girl, who lost her life there while pursuing a phantom of the
brain; and the Blue Bell Fall, which is forever guarded by a
multitudinous array of those charming flowers. Caverns, too, and chasms
are there, dark, deep, chilly, and damp, where the toad, the lizard and
snake, and strange families of insects, are perpetually multiplying and
actually seeming to enjoy their loathsome lives; the Black Chasm, the
Gray Chasm, and the Devil’s Chamber, with perpendicular walls of twice
the height of a tall mast, and with a wainscoting of pines and hemlocks,
that have “braved a thousand years the battle and the breeze.”
Plauterkill Clove is an eddy of the great and tumultuous world, and in
itself a world of unwritten poetry, whose primitive loveliness has not
yet been disfigured by the influences of mammon, and God grant that it
may continue so forever. It is endeared to my heart for being a favorite
haunt of solitude, and for having been consecrated by a brotherhood of
friends to the pure religion of nature; and they always enter there as
into a holy sanctuary. You may imagine, then, my friend, what was our
mode of descending through the dell, and as to our feelings as we
emerged under the open sky, they were allied to those of a pilgrim in a
strange land, passing through the dim twilight of a dream-like
cathedral. And now we stood upon a ledge whence could be obtained a view
of the dear old mountain we were leaving behind, and as we contemplated
its graceful lines and delicate hues of blueish green, we could not but
admire, in the abstract, the sublimity and solemnity of its admonitions
as a preacher, its faithfulness as a friend, and the grandeur of its
conceptions as a poet. We reached home about noon, thankful to God for
the love of nature which he has so deeply implanted in our hearts, and,
as we hope, happier and better men.



                           A SLEEPLESS NIGHT.


I have been whiling away a little time this morning in recording a queer
medley of thoughts, which occupied my mind during the tedious hours of
the past night. Their cause and import I will leave you to guess.


It is well. My long, long dream of two years,—my dream of heart-gladness
is at an end. I saw her, and was a lover, which is but another name for
slave. She became my promised bride, and I was happy,—thoughtlessly
happy. She proved herself to be a faithless and unworthy creature, and
the link which bound us together was broken. And so, my dream is ended,
and I am free.


A child, with a basket on his arm, was gathering flowers in a meadow on
a bright spring morning. There was no end to the number that he plucked,
and none, as he thought, in the world, could be compared to them in
loveliness. And thus was it with my hopes,—but the flowers withered, and
my hopes are gone.


Softly!—was not that a footstep, and did I not see the gleaming of a
silken kirtle? No; it was only an echo and a reflection from the past. I
know it, for I am alone, utterly alone.


O how truly hath it been written by the poet, that Art is long and time
is fleeting! What a cheerless thought is this to the ambitious Painter!
Was I wrong to set my life upon _that_ cast! At any rate, I will stand
the hazard of the die. I sometimes think that the cup which others
drink, the cup of fame, will never be quaffed by me. Well, what matter?
Was I born, merely to create a name? No, no, no! I was brought into the
wilderness of life to be tried by pain, sickness, and sorrow, and to
leave it as becomes a Christian is my chief ambition. Fame, which I had
hoped to win, I panted after, that another’s happiness might be
promoted. But she has frowned upon me, and an impassable ocean is
forever spread between our hearts. Be it so.


Once, a serpent secreted itself within the petals of a flower. I pressed
that flower to my bosom, and the serpent stung me. But I rejoice that
the agony of the pain is over and gone.


A strange excitement is upon me,—with all my wooing sleep will not come
to my relief. O how painful it is to count the slowly lagging hours,
throughout the silent watches of this summer night! Restless am I as a
wave of the sea, and, may be, as useless and insignificant. The
pulsations of my mind are as fitful as the breeze which breathes upon me
through my open window, but like that breeze they hasten to one point,
which is the heart of a poor dreamer.


I cannot, with Othello, feel that _I_ have thrown away a _pearl_. It was
the shell of a pearl only, whose heart was a living worm.


Little things! Of these is the world composed, and that man is a fool
who looks upon them with contempt. Yes, it is a little thing to say, “I
love you with all my heart, and will follow you to the end.” But when
believed, if this proves to be the mockery of a hypocritical heart, who
can describe the consequences that may result to the believer? Fatal
they may be to the soul, as the bite of Tarantula to the body, unless
our thoughts are attracted by a strain of melody emanating from the
throne of Deity. And to that great Being am I deeply thankful, for
having upheld me in my trying hour.


It hath been whispered in my ear, that the being whom I lately cherished
as my life-blood, now mentions my name with a scornful smile. And why?
not because of my inferior wealth, or family, or education, for with
respect to these I am her superior,—but because I loved her as an angel.
How little did I think of this, when her head has been pillowed on my
bosom, and I have seen and felt the throbbings of her own! Yet, even
then she nourished the spirit that would “damn” a queen. She tried to
break my heart,—she failed,—but what matter? She must answer for the
_deed_. When she comes to die, if not till then, when she come to “tread
the wine-press alone,” then must she repent her folly and ingratitude,
and it is my prayer that she may be among the redeemed in heaven. Then
will she be purified from the corruptions which cling to her here, and
become a worthy subject of heavenly solicitude and love.


Where, O where are all the blissful dreams upon which my heart has so
long existed? Vanished, like the shadow of a cloud, and I am a
companionless pilgrim through the world. Who can comprehend the misery
of a desolate human heart? I thought she loved me with a spotless
passion, and yet, while anguish rends my brow to-night, she is sweetly
sleeping and dreaming on her couch of down. Surely, surely it must be a
sin to love. What have I done, that my heart-strings should be snapt
asunder,—that I must kiss the dust and be unhappy?


If you give a beggar a loaf of bread to save his life, and he spurns you
with an oath, you cannot but exclaim, “O horrible ingratitude?” But what
should be thought of those to whom you had given away your _heart_, if
they should reciprocate with the damnable _lie_? “Begone, thou art a
villain,—touch not the hem of our garments,—we are pure, but thou art
polluted.”


It was the noontide hour, and as I was passing along a lonely and
unfrequented road, I discovered a pair of turtle doves quietly cooing to
each other on a sandy hillock in the sunshine. It was a picture of
exquisite happiness, and yet the longer I gazed, the more deeply did it
affect my heart, so that when I left the spot, I found that my eyes were
filled with tears. The last time that I had wept before, was when I
beheld the wreck of my _greatest hope_. When, I wonder, shall I be
compelled to weep again?


O how my heart clings to the hour of our first acknowledgment of love!
aye, and to all the blissful hours that have been mine since then in her
society! Like a wealthy prince I gloried in my rare possession, and
could not believe that aught on earth would ever make me a beggar.
But,—the treasure that I doted on took unto itself wings, and like a
beautiful but unclean bird has flown away, to delight and to deceive
some other unsatisfied mortal. I _am_ a beggar now. O will not some of
the poor and forsaken, that I have cheered with a kind word when I was
happy, come forth now and welcome me with a smile of pure affection?


I loved her, and fondly anticipated that she would one day become the
star of my _home_. Home! what place upon the earth is dearer to the
heart of man? How pleasing is the anticipation of the absent school-boy
as he looks forward to the close of the term, when he shall be welcomed
to the fireside of home! The poor farmer toils unceasingly through the
long days of summer, cheered by the comforts of home, which he fondly
hopes will be the crown of his coming winter evenings! How fortunate is
that man who can say—“mine is a happy home!” How thankful should he be!
But is there no consolation for those who are homeless and friendless in
the world? Ah yes, there is, and it is as sweet as it is invaluable. Our
elder Brother, the meek and lowly Saviour, when upon the earth, was
compelled to exclaim,—“The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air
have nests, but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.” Homeless
and unhappy Christian, cheer up! cheer up! A few more days, and you will
be an inhabitant of that blessed world beyond the skies, “where the
wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest.” Yonder, is the
home which I pant for _now_.


Friendship is one of the most beautiful and delicate plants that
flourish in the garden of human passions, and to my mind is a holier
emotion than love. What though I am no more a Lover! have I not a few
well-tried friends, whom I “grapple to my soul with looks of steel?” Why
then should there be a weight upon my spirit? Long enough have I played
the fool. O that I may be wise enough to renounce my folly!


How prone are we, who know not what it is to want, to forget that the
world is full of suffering! We do not sympathize with those who suffer,
and are contented to think only of ourselves. If, to be hungry, and
naked, and friendless, is to suffer, what must be his condition, whose
heart craves for the sympathy of love, and is destitute of those
endearing attentions, which refine and elevate the soul?


There is a river, in a much-loved mountain and, whose waters are
sometimes brackish and sometimes clear, and which sometimes hastens to
the sea singing a plaintive under-song of loveliness. I know not why it
is, but it seems to me, that such is the river of my life.


The smiles of woman! Sweet words. How many and beautiful beyond compare
are the scenes which they recall to mind, whose charms are heightened by
the smiles of a mother, a sister, a companion, or friend! All these, is
it my privilege to claim, but yet the _whole_ of my heart is not
occupied. Who would wish to live in a world, where the lovely form and
tender sympathies of woman were not known? It would be more desolate
than the flowerless wilderness. Once, I thought to have toiled for a
distinguished name, that I might be able to return a worthy recompense,
for the smiles of the maiden whom I loved. I hoped to become affluent,
that I might in future years make my wife and children happy, and
nourish the light which illumines the fireside circle, which light is
the smile of woman. But,—who can tell what shall be on the morrow?


Welcome, thrice welcome, thou blessed night-wind that fannest my
feverish brow, and banishes from my heart that pang of agony. Oh! I am a
child again,—and bitter, bitter, bitter tears are the only witnesses,
that my blood is cold and clotted. Can I endure this suffering? Is it
possible, that these are the consequences of unrequited affection? Is
it,—there that breeze again! it is a messenger from the bosom of God,
and this is the burthen of its mission. “Child of sin and sorrow, thy
days of darkness upon the earth are now commencing, and the period
arrived, for thy nobler nature to assert its rightful supremacy.
Terrible indeed will be the conflict, but fail not to struggle with all
thy might for the mastery. If thou yieldest to this world, thy perfect
happiness will be lost forever; but if thou conquerest on behalf of
eternity, thy bliss will be as endless as its cycle, and more glorious
than thy fondest dream.”


_Once_, I was dreaming only of manhood, and knew not what it was to
love. _Now_, that I _can_ love, there is not a being in the wide world
whom I am privileged to love. Love! what is it but another name for
jealousy, selfishness, and lust? Aye, this is the conclusion of the
whole matter, if one woman that I know is a representative of her sex.
But I rejoice in the conviction that here is a Love, which is as pure as
the diamond, and lasting as the soul, which but blossoms in this world,
bearing its fruit throughout the untold years of the great hereafter.
She, who merits and enjoys that love, is the daughter of Heaven, and the
hope of the world. If we but prove faithful to her, she will never
abandon us in our pilgrimage to Jerusalem.


Look! the drapery of my couch is flooded with moonlight,—affording my
bodily and mortal vision a most exquisite pleasure. And why? Because I
_feel_ that I am not utterly unloved. Surely, the blessed Queen of Night
would not thus make my heart glad, if I were doomed to be forever a
brother to the desolate and unknown!


Dear, dear girl, a thousand blessings rest upon thee for that pressure
of thy soft hand upon my throbbing temples! It has soothed my pain, and
hushed the wild tumult of my heart. Come near, come near, thou heavenly
messenger, and let me press thy lips with a holy kiss, and then I will
lie down again and be at peace. There!—’twas but a vision, and again my
agony returns. O, my brain is on fire—see! see! the moon is veiled in
blood, all the stars are falling, the air is beginning to simmer, the
earth is swelling, and yet,—I am calmly going to pillow my head on a
soft brown clod in the silent city of forgetfulness, the same which men
call a grave-yard. Where can the body find a more _untroubled_ home?


Love! It is not _this_ that weighs my spirit down. I never loved a
_woman_, and wherefore should I repine? I loved, but it was an ideal
creature, a being of the mind. Such, we know, are never _false_,—I am
once more happy. A light from heaven is beaming upon my soul, and,
thanks to the breaking day, my sleepless night is ended.



                     COLE’S IMAGINATIVE PAINTINGS.


According to my promise, and to commemorate my visit to his place of
residence, I herewith send you my mite of information concerning the
productions of that man whom we delight to honor, as unquestionably the
most gifted landscape painter of the present age. In my own opinion,
none superior to him have ever existed, when we consider, in connection
with his felicity of artistic execution, the poetic genius which his
productions display. Having for years been a student of his art, and a
warm lover of his pictures, I will describe some of the imaginative
works of this Poet-Painter. First, however, a few words about the man
himself.

Thomas Cole was born in England, but brought to this country in
childhood. As his parents, before his birth, had resided in the United
States, it is with the fullest propriety that he is called an American
painter. At any rate, his attachment to this country is so strong, that
he has been heard to remark: “I would give my left arm, could I but
identify myself with America, by saying that I was born here.” The
incidents of his youth and manhood, as recorded in “Dunlap’s History of
the Arts of Design,” are among the most interesting things of the kind,
and it is with reluctance that I refrain from inserting them in this
place. Let it suffice, however, to state, that the genius which was born
with him, was fostered by intimate and long continued acquaintance with
the scenery of the Western States, when as yet they were a comparative
wilderness. While toiling for a reputation, he resided for a few years
at a time in Philadelphia, Pittsburg, Chillicothe, Steubenville, and New
York city; and, having visited Europe a number of times, established his
reputation, and married a wife, he retired to the beautiful town of
Catskill, on the Hudson, where he now resides, one of the most amiable
of men, the best of husbands and fathers, and the most talented of
living landscape painters.

The number of his imaginative paintings is about twenty, and his actual
views somewhere between fifty and a hundred. Out of the former, I intend
to select my especial favorites, of which I shall attempt to convey the
best idea in my power for your benefit, namely, The Course of Empire,
The Departure and Return, Dream of Arcadia, Past and Present, and The
Voyage of Life. On these alone am I willing to base my previous
assertion, that no landscape painter superior to Cole has ever lived. Of
his other productions I shall say nothing, only giving the names of
those which I have seen, by way of making you acquainted with the
character of his subjects. They are as follows: The Architect’s Dream,
Paradise, Scene from Manfred, Expulsion from Eden, Angels appearing to
the Shepherds, Heroic Composition, Notch of the White Mountains, Italian
Scenery, View of Florence, View in Rome, Schroon Mountain, Tornado in an
American Forest, Mount Holyoke after a Storm, A Roman Aqueduct, Niagara,
Mount Ætna, Lake George, New England Scenery, Distant View of the
Catskill Mountains, and a number of smaller views among the mountains.

The Course of Empire is a series, of five paintings, representing the
History of a Scene—an epitome of that of Man. None but a great mind
would have dared to choose so vast a subject, requiring the united
attributes of poet, philosopher, and painter; and very few could have
accomplished it so successfully.

In the first picture we have a perfectly wild scene of rocks, mountains,
woods, and a bay of the ocean, reposing in the luxuriance of a ripe
Spring. The clouds of night are being dissipated by the beams of the
rising sun. On the opposite side of the bay rises a lofty promontory,
crowned by a singular isolated rock, which would ever be a conspicuous
landmark to the mariner. As the same locality is preserved in each
picture of the series, this rock identifies it, although the position of
the spectator changes in the several pictures. The chase being the most
characteristic occupation of savage life, in the foreground we see an
Indian clothed in skins, pursuing a wounded deer, which is bounding down
a narrow ravine. On a rock, in the middle ground, are other Indians,
with their dogs, surrounding another deer. On the bosom of a little
river below are a number of canoes passing down the stream, while many
more are drawn up on the shore. On an elevation beyond these is a
cluster of wigwams, and a number of Indians dancing round a fire. In
this picture we have the first rudiments of society. Men are already
banded together for mutual aid in the chase. In the canoes, huts, and
weapons, we perceive that the useful arts have commenced, and in the
singing, which usually accompanies the dance of savages, we behold the
germs of music and poetry. The Empire is asserted, to a limited degree,
over sea, land, and the animal kingdom.

Ages have passed away, and in the second picture we have the Simple or
Arcadian State of Society. The time of day is a little before noon, and
the season early summer. The “untracked and rude” has been tamed and
softened. Shepherds are tending their flocks; a solitary ploughman, with
his oxen, is turning up the soil; and in the rude vessels passing into
the haven of a growing village, and in the skeleton of a barque building
on the shore, we perceive the commencement of Commerce. From a rude
temple on a hill the smoke of sacrifice is ascending to the sky,
symbolizing the spirit of Religion. In the foreground, on the left hand,
is seated an old man, who, by describing strange figures in the sand,
seems to have made some geometrical discovery, demonstrating the infancy
of Science. On the right hand is a woman with a distaff, about crossing
a stone bridge; beside her, a boy is drawing on a stone the figure of a
man with a sword; and beyond these, ascending the road, a soldier is
partly seen. Under some noble trees, in the middle distance, are a
number of peasants dancing to the music of pipe and timbrel. All these
things show us that society is steadily progressing in its march of
usefulness and power.

Ages have again passed away, and in the third picture we have a
magnificent city. It is now mid-day, and early Autumn. The Bay is now
surrounded by piles of architecture, temples, colonnades, and domes. It
is a day of rejoicing. The spacious harbor is crowded with vessels,
war-galleys, ships, and barques, their silken sails glistening in the
sunshine. Moving over a massive stone bridge, in the foreground, is a
triumphal procession. The conqueror, robed in purple, is mounted on a
car drawn by an elephant, and surrounded by captives and a numerous
train of guards and servants, many of them bearing pictures and golden
treasures. As he is about to pass the triumphal arch, beautiful girls
strew flowers in his path; gay festoons of drapery hang from the
clustered columns; golden trophies glitter in the sun, and incense rises
from silver censers. Before a Doric temple, on the left, a multitude of
white-robed priests are standing on the marble steps, while near them a
religious ceremony is being performed before a number of altars. The
statue of Minerva, with a Victory in her hand, stands above the building
of the Caryatides, on a columned pedestal, near which is a company of
musicians, with cymbals, “trumpets also, and shawms.” From the lofty
portico of a palace, an imperial personage is watching the procession,
surrounded by her children, attendants, and guards. Nations have been
subjugated, man has reached the summit of human glory. Wealth, power,
knowledge, and taste have worked together and accomplished the highest
meed of human achievement and Empire.

Another change—and lo! in the fourth picture, the Vicious State, or
State of Destruction. Behold the consequences of luxury, in the weakened
and debased condition of mankind. A savage enemy has entered the once
proud and happy city; a fierce tempest is raging; walls and colonnades
are lying in the dust, and temples and palaces are being consumed by the
torch of the incendiary. The fire of vengeance is swallowing up the
devoted city. An arch of the bridge, over which the triumphal procession
had before passed, has been battered down, and broken pillars, ruins of
war-engines, and the temporary bridge which has been thrown over,
indicate that this has been the scene of direst contention. Now there is
a terrible conflict on the bridge, whose insecurity accelerates the
horror of the conflict. Horses, and men, and chariots are precipitated
into the raging waves. War-galleys are contending; others in flames; and
others still, sinking beneath the prow of a superior foe. Smoke and
flames are issuing from the falling and prostrate edifices; and along
the battlements and in the blocked-up streets the conflict is dreadful
indeed. The foreground is strewed with the bodies of the dead and dying.
Some have fallen into the basin of a fountain, tinging the water with
blood. One female is sitting in mute despair over the dead body of her
son; another leaping over a battlement, to escape the grasp of a ruffian
soldier; and other soldiers drag a woman by the hair down the steps,
that form the pedestal of a mutilated colossal statue, whose shattered
head lies on the pavement below. A barbarous enemy has conquered the
city; Carnage and Destruction have asserted their frightful Empire.

The last and most impressive picture of this series is the scene of
Desolation. The sun has just departed, and the moon is ascending the
twilight sky over the ocean, near the place where the sun rose in the
first picture. The shades of evening are gradually stealing over the
shattered and ivy-grown ruins of that once great city. A lonely column
rises in the foreground, on whose capital a solitary heron has built her
nest, and at the foot of it her mate is standing in the water, both of
them apparently conscious of being a living mockery. The Doric temple
and triumphal bridge may still be identified among the ruins, which are
laved by the waters of the tranquil sea. But though man and his works
have perished, the steep promontory with its isolated rock, still rears
itself against the sky, unmoved, unchanged. Time has consumed the works
of man, and art is resolving into its elemental nature. The gorgeous
pageant has passed, the roar of battle has ceased, the multitude has
mingled with the dust, the Empire is extinct.

The first, second, and last of these paintings are considered the best
of Mr. Cole’s productions, not only in the poetry they portray, but in
their execution. The style is more varied and natural, and has less the
appearance of paint than in many of his late productions. As to the
third and fourth paintings, the conception of both is exceedingly fine
and poetical, but deficient in execution. The architecture is admirably
done, but the numerous figures, which it was necessary to introduce, are
poorly drawn and arranged. It would be, perhaps, too much to ask that an
artist should be a great painter of scenery, and also a master of the
human figure. As a whole, the Course of Empire is a work of art worthy
of any nation or any painter of woman born. These pictures were painted
for the late Luman Reed, at a cost of eight thousand dollars. Surely it
were a blessing to the Fine Arts in this country, were such patrons more
frequently found.

The Departure and Return, exhibit a poetical representation of the
Feudal times. The Departure represents early morning in spring. As you
look upon the picture, you can almost hear the fall of waters, and feel
the pleasant breeze of the hour and season. In the distance is seen a
church, whose spire is gilded by the beams of the rising sun; and in the
foreground is a magnificent castle, looming to the sky, the seeming lord
and guardian of the world. Coming forth from one of its massy gates is a
band of mounted cavaliers, who are going to the wars, full of life and
hope and gladness. The leader, in a splendid dress, is mounted on a
noble charger, whose flashing eye and extended nostrils show that he is
impatient for the fight. Turn your eyes away, and they are gone.

Imagine that months have passed, and look upon the Return. It is now
evening, the season autumn, but the same section of country. The castle
is now in the distance, and the church in the foreground. Toil-worn, a
few only are returning home by a woodland path; and their leader, dying
or wounded, is conveyed upon a litter carried by men. His steed, with
heavy step, is following behind. As they approach the church a party of
monks are seen coming out, and are taken by surprise, to meet the small
remnant of brave warriors just returned from a long and tedious
campaign.

How simple and yet how complete is the story here revealed! As these are
among the artist’s early pictures, they are distinguished for their
truth and unmannered style; and as compositions, are unsurpassed.

The “Dream of Arcadia” is the perfect personification of the sweetest
dream of poetry and romance. It is composed of temples, vine-clad
mountains, streams, cascades, trees, shepherds and minstrels, everything
in fact which poets have described as making Arcady the most beautiful
land under the sun.

The “Past and Present” consists of two pictures. The first is a
tournament near a castle. The second is the same spot, but with the
castle gone to decay. On the field where we beheld the brave deeds of
chivalry, a single shepherd boy is tending his sheep. The first of these
we think poorly managed, but the last is without a single fault,—it is
superb.

The “Voyage of Life” is a series of fine pictures, allegorically
portraying the prominent features of man’s life, viz., childhood, youth,
manhood, and old ago. The subject is one of such universal interest,
that it were almost impossible to treat it in an entirely original
manner, but no one can deny that the conception of the painter displays
a high and rare order of poetic power.

In the first we behold the dawn of a summer morning. A translucent
stream is issuing from an unknown source out of a deep cavern in the
side of a mountain. Floating gently down the stream is a golden boat,
made of the sculptured figures of the Hours, while the prow is formed by
the present hour holding forth an emblem of Time. It is filled with
flowers, and on these a little child is seated, tossing them with his
upraised hands, and smiling with new-born joy, as he looks upon the
unnumbered beauties and glories of this bright world around him; while a
guardian angel is at the helm, with his wings lovingly and protectingly
extended over the child. Love, purity, and beauty emanate like incense
from the sky, the earth, and water, so that the heart of the gazer seems
to forget the world, and lose itself in a dream of heaven.

A few fleeting years are gone, and behold the change! The Stream of Life
is widened, and its current strong and irresistible, but it flows
through a country of surpassing loveliness. The Voyager, who is now a
youth, has taken the helm into his own hands, and the dismissed angel
stands upon the shore looking at him with “a look made of all sweet
accord,” as if he said in his heart, “God be with thee, thoughtless
mortal!” But the youth heeds not his angel, for his eyes are now riveted
by an airy castle pictured against the sky, dome above dome, reaching to
the very zenith. The phantom of worldly happiness and worldly ambition
has absorbed the imagination and eager gaze of the wayward voyager, and
as he urges his frail bark onward, he dreams not of the dangers which
may await him in his way. To the boat, only a few flowers are now
clinging, and on closer observation we perceive that the castle in the
air, apparently so real, has only a white cloud for its foundation, and
that ere long the stream makes a sudden turn, rushing with the fury of a
maddened steed down a terrible ravine. The moral of the picture it is
needless for us to elucidate.

Another change, and lo! the verge of a cataract and a fearful storm. The
rudderless bark is just about to plunge into the abyss below, while the
voyager (now in the prime of manhood) is imploring the only aid, that
can avail him in the trying hour, that of heaven. Demoniacal images are
holding forth their temptations in the clouds around him, but he heeds
them not. His confidence in God supports him, the previous agony of his
soul is dispelled or subdued, by a reflection of immortal light stealing
through the storm, and by the smiles of his guardian angel, visibly
stationed in the far-off sky.

The Voyage of Life is ended, and our voyager, now white with hoary
hairs, has reached that point where the waters of time and eternity
mingle together—a bold conception, which is finely embodied by the
daring genius of the painter. The hour-glass is gone, and the shattered
bark is ready to dissolve into the fathomless waters beneath. The old
man is on his knees, with clasped hands and his eyes turned heavenward,
for the greenness of earth is forever departed, and a gloom is upon the
ocean of Eternity. But just above the form of our good voyager is
hovering his angel, who is about to transport him to his home; and, as
the eye wanders upward, an infinite host of heavenly ministers are seen
ascending and descending the cloudy steps which lead to the bosom of
God. Death is swallowed up in life, the glory of heaven has eclipsed
that of the earth, and our voyager is safe in the haven of eternal rest.
And thus endeth the allegory of Human Life.

With regard to the mechanical execution of these paintings, I consider
them not equal to some of the earlier efforts of the same pencil. They
are deficient in atmosphere, and have too much the appearance of paint.
The water in the first, second, and third pictures, is superior, and the
knowledge of perspective in the last of them is masterly. In all of them
the figures are very fine, considering the difficulty of managing such
peculiar characters. In the first I am pleased with the simplicity of
the composition; in the second, with the variety, there being portrayed
the elm of England, the plains of Tuscany, the palm of tropic climes,
the mountains of Switzerland, and the oak of America; in the third, with
the genius displayed in using the very storm to tell a story; and in the
fourth, with the management of the light, and the apparent reality of
those rays of glory. These pictures were painted for the late Samuel
Ward, of New York, and the price received for them was five thousand
dollars.

Thus have I attempted to describe the prominent imaginative paintings of
Thomas Cole, with the object in view, of making you acquainted with the
fact, that great acquisitions have been and are being made to the Fine
Arts, even in our own country. His is a name which we should not
willingly let die. A man of fine, exalted genius, by his pencil he has
done a great deal of good, not only to his chosen art, by becoming one
of its masters, but also in a moral point of view. And this reminds me
of the influences, which may be exerted by the landscape painter. That
these are of importance no one can deny. Is not painting as well the
result and expression of thought as writing? What though, instead of
pen, ink, and paper, the painter uses canvass, a pencil, and the colors
of the rainbow, yet these, if he is a poet in his soul, can display his
power to scarcely less effect than though, to give utterance to his
“thoughts that glow,” his means were the “words that burn.” With these,
if he is a wise and good man, he may portray, to every eye that rests
upon his canvass, the loveliness of virtue and religion, or the
deformity and wretchedness of a vicious life. He may warn the worldling
of his folly and impending doom, and encourage the Christian in his
pilgrimage to heaven. He may delineate the marvellous beauty of nature,
so as to lead the mind upward to its Creator, or proclaim the ravages of
time, that we may take heed to our ways and prepare ourselves for a safe
departure from this world, into that beyond the Valley of the Shadow of
Death. A goodly portion of all these things have been accomplished by
Thomas Cole. As yet, he is the only landscape painter in this country
who has attempted imaginative painting, and the success which has
followed him in his career, even in a pecuniary point of view, affords
great encouragement to our young painters in this department of the art.
Cole has indeed done some great things, but a thousandfold more he has
left undone. He has but set a noble example, which ought to be
extensively followed. Mind, we do not mean by this that his subjects
ought to be imitated. Far from it; because they are not stamped with a
national character, as the productions of all painters should be.
Excepting his actual views of American scenery, the paintings of Cole
might have been produced had he never set foot upon our soil. Let our
young artists aspire to something above a mere copy of nature, or even a
picture of the fancy; let them paint the visions of their imagination.
No other country ever offered such advantages as our own. Let our young
painters use their pencils to illustrate the thousands of scenes,
strange, wild, and beautiful, of our early history. Let them aim high,
and their achievements will be distinguished. Let them remember that
theirs is a noble destiny. What though ancient wisdom and modern poetry
have told us that “art is long and time is fleeting!”—let them toil and
toil with nature as their guide, and they will assuredly have their
reward.



                             LAKE HORICON.


If circumstances alone could make one poetical, then might you expect
from me on this occasion a letter of rare excellence and beauty. My
sketch book is my desk, my canopy from the sunshine an elm tree, the
carpet under my feet a rich green sprinkled with flowers, the music in
my ear of singing birds, and the prospect before me, north, east, and
south, the tranquil bosom of Lake George, with its islands and
surrounding mountains, whose waters, directly at my side, are alive with
many kinds of fish, sporting together on a bed of sand. Yes, the
far-famed Lake George is my subject, but in what I write I shall not use
that title,—for I do not like the idea of christening what belongs to us
with the name of an English monarch, however much his memory deserves to
be respected. Shall it be Lake St. Sacrament, then? No! for that was
given to it by the Pope and the French nation. Horicon,—a musical and
appropriate word, meaning pure water, and given it by the poor
Indian,—is the name which rightfully belongs to the lake which is now my
theme.

Lake Horicon is one of the few objects in Nature, that did not
disappoint me after reading the descriptions of travellers. I verily
believe, that in point of mere beauty it has not its equal in the world.
Its length is thirty-four miles, and its width from two to four. Its
islands number about three hundred, and vary from ten feet to a mile in
length;—a great many of them are located in the centre of the lake,
which place is called the Narrows. It is completely surrounded with
mountains, the most prominent of which are, Black Mountain on the east
of the Narrows, Tongue Mountain directly opposite, and French Mountain
at the southern extremity. The first is the most lofty, and remarkable
for its wildness, and the superb prospect therefrom; the second is also
wild and uninhabited, but distinguished for its dens of rattlesnakes;
and the latter is somewhat cultivated, but memorable for having been the
camping ground of the French during the Revolutionary war. The whole
eastern border is yet a comparative wilderness, but along the western
shore are some respectable farms, and a good coach road from Caldwell to
Ticonderoga, which affords many admirable views of the sky-blue lake.
There are three public houses here which I can recommend,—the Lake House
for those who are fond of company,—Lyman’s Tavern for the hunter of
scenery and lover of quiet,—and Garfield’s House for the fisherman. A
nice little steamboat, commanded by a gentleman, passes through the lake
every morning and evening (excepting Sundays), which is a convenient
affair to the traveller, but an eye-sore to the admirer of the
wilderness. When, in addition to all these things, it is remembered,
that Horicon is the centre of a region made classic, by the exploits of
civilized and savage warfare, it can safely be pronounced one of the
most interesting portions of our country for the summer tourist to
visit. I have looked upon it from many a peak whence might be seen
almost every rood of its shore. I have sailed into every one of its
bays, and, like the pearl diver, have repeatedly descended into its cold
blue chambers, so that I have learned to love it as a faithful and well
tried friend. Since the day of my arrival here, I have kept a journal of
my adventures, and, as a memorial of Horicon, I will extract therefrom
and embody in this letter the following passages.


Six oil sketches have I executed upon the Lake to-day. One of them was a
view of the distant mountains, whose various outlines were concentrated
at one point, and whose color was of that delicate dreamy blue, created
by a sunlight atmosphere, with the sun beyond. In the middle distance
was a flock of islands, with a sail boat in their midst, and in the
foreground a cluster of rocks, surmounted by a single cedar, which
seemed to be the sentinel of a fortress. Another was of the ruins of
Fort George, with a background of dark green mountains, and made more
desolate by a flock of sheep sleeping in one of its shady moats. Another
was of a rowing race between two rival fishermen, at the time when they
were only a dozen rods from the goal, and when every nerve of their aged
frames was strained to the utmost. Another was of a neat log-cabin on a
quiet lawn near the water, at whose threshold a couple of ragged but
beautiful children were playing with a large dog, and from whose chimney
ascended the blue smoke with a thousand fantastic evolutions. Another
was of a huge pine tree, which towered conspicuously above its kindred
on the mountain side, and which seemed to me an appropriate symbol of
Webster in the midst of a vast concourse of his fellow men. And the last
was of a thunder-storm, driven away from a mountain top by the mild
radiance of a rainbow, which partly encircled Horicon in a loving
embrace.


I have been a fishing to-day, and, while enduring some poor sport,
indited in my mind the following information, for the benefit of my
piscatorial friends. The days of trout-fishing in Lake Horicon are
nearly at an end. A few years ago it abounded in this fine fish, which
were frequently caught weighing twenty pounds, but their average weight
at the present is not more than one pound and a half, and they are
scarce even at that. In taking them you first have to obtain a
sufficient quantity of sapling bark to reach the bottom in sixty feet of
water, to one end of which must be fastened a stone, and to the other a
stick of wood, which designates your fishing ground, and is called a
buoy. A variety of more common fish are then caught, such as suckers,
perch, and eels, which are cut up and deposited, some half a peck at a
time, in the vicinity of the buoy. In a few days the trout will begin to
assemble, and so long as you keep them well fed, a brace of them may be
captured at almost any time during the summer. But the fact is, this is
only another way for “paying too dear for the whistle.” The best
angling, after all, is for the common brook trout, which is a bolder
biting fish, and full as good for the table as the salmon trout. The
cause of the great decrease in the large trout of this lake is this,—in
the Autumn, when they have sought the shores for the purpose of
spawning, the neighboring barbarians have been accustomed to spear them
by torch-light; and if the heartless business does not cease, the result
will be, that in a few years they will be extinct. There are two other
kinds of trout in the lake, however, which yet afford good sport,—the
silver trout, caught in the summer, and the fall-trout. But the
black-bass, upon the whole, is now mostly valued by the fisherman. They
are in their prime in the summer months. They vary from one to five
pounds in weight; and are taken by trolling and with a drop line, and
afford fine fun. Their haunts are along the rocky shores, and it is
often the case that on a still day you may see them from your boat
swimming about in herds, when the water is twenty feet deep. They have a
queer fashion when hooked, of leaping out of the water for the purpose
of getting clear, and it is seldom that a novice in the gentle art can
keep them from succeeding. But alas, their numbers also are fast
diminishing, by the same means and the same hands that have killed the
trout. My advice to those who come here exclusively for the purpose of
fishing is, to continue their journey to the sources of the Hudson,
Schroon Lake, Long Lake, and Lake Pleasant, in whose several waters
there seems to be no end to every variety of trout, and where may be
found much wild and beautiful scenery. The angler of the present day
will be disappointed in Lake Horicon.


When issuing from the Narrows on your way down the Horicon, the most
attractive object, next to the mountains, is a strip of low sandy land
extending into the lake, called Sabbath Day Point. It was so christened
by Abercrombie, who encamped and spent the Sabbath there, when on his
way to Ticonderoga, where he was so sadly defeated. I look upon it as
one of the most enchanting places in the world; but the pageant with
which it is associated was not only enchanting, and beautiful, and
grand, but perfectly magnificent. Only look at the picture, which I am
attempting to reproduce upon canvass. It is the sunset hour, and before
you, far up in the upper air, and companion of the Evening star and a
host of glowing clouds, rises the majestic form of Black Mountain,
enveloped in a mantle of rosy atmosphere. The bosom of the Lake is
without a ripple, and every cliff, ravine, and island, has its
counterpart in the pure waters. A blast of martial music from drums,
fifes, bagpipes, and bugle horns, now falls upon the ear, and the
immense procession comes in sight; one thousand and thirty-five battaux,
containing an army of seventeen thousand souls, headed by the brave
Abercrombie and the red cross of England,—the scarlet uniforms and
glistening bayonets forming a line of light against the darker
background of the mountain. And behind a log in the foreground is a
crouching Indian runner, who, with the speed of a hawk, will carry the
tidings to the French nation that an army is coming—“numerous as the
leaves upon the trees.” Far from the strange scene fly the affrighted
denizens of mountain and wave,—while thousands of human hearts are
beating happily at the prospect of victory, whose bodies in a few hours
will be food for the raven on the plains of Ticonderoga.


A goodly portion of this day have I been musing upon the olden times,
while rambling about Fort George, and Fort William Henry. Long and with
peculiar interest did I linger about the spot near the latter, where
were cruelly massacred the followers of Monroe, at which time Montcalm
linked his name to the title of a heartless Frenchman, and the name of
Webb became identified with all that is justly despised by the human
heart. I profess myself to be an enemy to wrong and outrage of every
kind, and yet a lover and defender of the Indian race; but when I picked
up one after another the flinty heads of arrows, which were mementos of
an awful butchery, my spirit revolted against the Red man, and for a
moment I felt a desire to condemn him. Yes, I will condemn that
particular band of murderers, but I cannot but defend the race. Cruel
and treacherous they were, I will allow, but do we forget the treatment
they ever met with from the white man? The most righteous of battles
have ever been fought for the sake of sires and wives and children, and
for what else did the poor Indian fight, when driven from the home of
his youth into an unknown wilderness, to become thereafter a by-word and
a reproach among the nations? “Indians,” said we, “we would have your
lands, and if you will not be satisfied with the gewgaws we proffer, out
powder and balls will teach you that power is but another name for
right.” And this is the principle that has guided the white man ever
since in his warfare against the aborigines of our country. Oh, I cannot
believe that we shall ever be a happy and prosperous people, until the
King of kings shall have forgiven us for having, with a yoke of tyranny,
almost annihilated an hundred nations.


A portion of this afternoon I whiled away on a little island, which
attracted my attention by its charming variety of foliage. It is not
more than one hundred feet across at the widest part, and is encircled
by a yellow sand-bank, and shielded by a regiment of variegated rocks.
But what could I find there to interest me, it may be inquired. My
answer is this: That island, hidden in one of the bays of Horicon, is an
Insect city, and more populous than was Rome in the days of her glory.
There the honey-bee has his oaken tower, the wasp and humble-bee their
grassy nests, the spider his den, the butterfly his hammock, the
grasshopper his domain, the beetle and cricket and hornet their decayed
stump, and the toiling ant her palace of sand. There they were born,
there they flourish and multiply, and there they die, symbolizing the
career and destiny of man. I was a “distinguished stranger” in that
city, and I must confess that it gratified my ambition to be welcomed
with such manifestations of regard as the inhabitants thought proper to
bestow. My approach was heralded by the song of a kingly bee; and when I
had thrown myself upon a mossy bank, multitudes of people gathered
round, and, with their eyes intently fixed upon me, stood still, and let
“expressive silence muse my praise.” To the “natives” I was emphatically
a source of astonishment; and as I wished to gather instruction from the
event, I wondered in my heart whether I would be a _happier_ man if my
presence in a human city should create a kindred excitement. At any rate
it would be a “great excitement on a small capital.”


While quietly eating my dinner this noon, in the shady recess of an
island near Black Mountain, I was startled by the yell of a peck of
hounds coming down one of its ravines. I knew that the chase was after a
deer, so I waited in breathless anxiety for his appearance. Five minutes
had hardly elapsed before I discovered a noble buck at bay on the
extreme summit of a bluff which extended into the lake. There were five
dogs yelping about him, but the “antlered monarch” fought them like a
hero. His hoof was the most dangerous weapon he could wield, and it
seemed to me that the earth actually trembled every time that he struck
at his enemies. Presently, to my great joy, one of the hounds was
killed, and another so disabled, that he retired from the contest. But
the hunters made their appearance, and I knew that the scene would soon
come to a tragic close. And when the buck beheld them, I could not but
believe that over his face a “tablet of _agonizing_ thoughts was
traced,” for he fell upon his knees, then made a sudden wheel, and with
a frightful bound, as a ball passed through his heart, cleared the rock
and fell into the lake far below. The waters closed over him, and
methought that the waves of Horicon and the leaves of the forest
murmured a requiem above the grave of the wilderness king. I turned away
with a tear in my eye, and partly resolved that I would never again have
a dog for my friend, or respect the character of a hunter; but then I
looked into the crystal waters of the lake, and thought of the _beam_ in
my own eye, and stood convicted of a kindred cruelty.


One of the most singular precipices overlooking Horicon is about five
miles from the outlet, and known as Rogers’ Slide. It is some four
hundred feet high, and at one point not a fissure or sprig can be
discerned to mar the polished surface of the rock till it reaches the
water. Once on a time in the winter, the said Rogers was pursued by a
band of Indians to this spot, where, after throwing down his knapsack,
he carefully retraced the steps of his snow-shoes for a short distance,
and descending the hill by a circuitous route, continued his way across
the frozen lake. The Indians, on coming to the jumping-off-place,
discovered their enemy on the icy plain; but when they saw the neglected
knapsack below, and no signs of returning footsteps where they stood,
they thought the devil must be in the man, and gave up the pursuit.


The most famous, and one of the most beautiful islands in this lake, is
Diamond Island, so called from the fact that it abounds in crystallized
quartz. It is half a mile in length, but the last place in the world
which would be thought of as the scene of a battle. It is memorable for
the attack made by the Americans on the British, who had a garrison
there, in 1777. The American detachment was commanded by Col. Brown, and
being elated with his recent triumphs on Lake Champlain, he resolved to
attack Diamond Island. The battle was bloody, and the British fought
like brave men “long and well”; the Americans were defeated, and this
misfortune was followed by the sufferings of a most painful retreat over
the almost impassable mountains between the Lake and what is now
Whitehall. While wandering about the island it was a difficult matter
for me to realize, that it had ever resounded with the roar of cannon,
the dismal wail of war, and the shout of victory. That spot is now
covered with woods, whose shadowy groves are the abode of a thousand
birds, forever singing a song of peace or love, as if to condemn the
ambition and cruelty of man.


In the vicinity of French Mountain is an island which is celebrated as
the burial place of a rattle-snake hunter, named Belden. From all that I
can learn, he must have been a strange mortal indeed. His birth-place
and early history were alike unknown. When he first made his appearance
at this Lake, his only companions were a brotherhood of rattlesnakes, by
exhibiting which he professed to have obtained his living; and it is
said that, during the remainder of his life, he acquired a handsome sum
of money by selling the oil and gall of his favorite reptile. And I have
recently been told that the present market price of a fat snake, when
dead, is not less than half a dollar. Another mode peculiar to old
Belden for making money, was to suffer himself to be bitten, at some
tavern, after which he would return to his cabin to apply the remedy,
when he would come forth again just as good as new. But he was not
always to be a solemn trifler. For a week had the old man been missing,
and on a pleasant August morning, his body was found on the island
alluded to, sadly mutilated and bloated, and it was certain that he had
died actually surrounded with rattlesnakes. His death-bed became his
grave, and rattlesnakes were his only watchers,—and thus endeth the
story of his life.

But this reminds me of two little adventures. The other day as I was
seated near the edge of a sand bar, near the mouth of a brook, sketching
a group of trees and the sunset clouds beyond, I was startled by an
immense black snake, that landed at my side, and pursued its way
directly under my legs, upon which my drawing-book was resting. Owing to
my perfect silence, the creature had probably looked upon me as a mere
stump. But what was my surprise a few moments after, when reseated in
the same place, to find another snake, and that a large spotted adder,
passing along the same track the former had pursued. The first fright
had almost disabled me from using the pencil, but when the second came,
I gave a lusty yell, and forgetful of the fine arts, started for home on
the keen run.

At another time, when returning from a fishing excursion, in a boat,
accompanied by a couple of greenhorns, we discovered on the water, near
Tongue Mountain, an immense rattlesnake, with his head turned towards
us. As the oarsman in the bow of the boat struck at him with his oar,
the snake coiled round it, and the fool was in the very act of dropping
the devilish thing in my lap at the stern of the boat. I had heard the
creature rattle, and not knowing what I did, as he hung suspended over
me, overboard I went, and did not look behind till I had reached the
land. The consequence was, that for one while I was perfectly disgusted
even with Lake Horicon, and resolved to leave it without delay. The
snake was killed without doing any harm, however, but such a blowing up
as I gave the greenhorn actually made his hair stand straight with fear.

One more snake story and I’ll stop. On the north side of Black Mountain
is a cluster of some half-dozen houses, in a vale, which spot is called
the Bosom, but from what cause I do not know. The presiding geniuses of
the place are a band of girls, weighing two hundred pounds a piece, who
farm it with their fathers for a living, but whose principal _amusement_
is rattlesnake hunting. Their favorite playground is the notorious cliff
on Tongue Mountain, where they go with naked feet (rowing their own
boats across the Lake), and pull out by their tails from the rocks the
pretty playthings, and, snapping them to death, lay them away in a
basket as trophies of their skill. I was told that in one day last year
they killed the incredible number of eleven hundred. What delicious
wives would these Horicon ladies make! Now that the Florida Indians have
been driven from their country by bloodhounds, would it not be a good
idea for Congress to secure the services of these amazons for the
purpose of exterminating the rattlesnakes upon our mountains. This
latter movement would be the most ridiculous, but the inhumanity of the
former is without a parallel.


A clear and tranquil summer night, and I am alone on the pebbly beach of
this paragon of lakes. The countless hosts of heaven are beaming upon me
with a silent joy, and more impressive and holy than a poet’s dream, are
the surrounding mountains, as they stand reflected in the unruffled
waters. Listen! what sound is that, so like the wail of a spirit? Only a
loon, the lonely night-watcher of Horicon, whose melancholy moan, as it
breaks the profound stillness, carries my fancy back to the olden Indian
times, ere the white man had crossed the ocean. All these mountains and
this beautiful Lake were then the heritage of a brave and noble-hearted
people, who made war only upon the denizens of the forest, whose lives
were peaceful as a dream, and whose manly forms, decorated with the
plumes of the eagle, the feathers of the scarlet bird, and the robe of
the bounding stag, tended but to make the scenery of the wilderness
beautiful as an earthly Eden. Here was the quiet wigwam village, and
there the secluded abode of the thoughtful chief. Here, unmolested, the
Indian child played with the spotted fawn, and the “Indian lover wooed
his dusky mate;” here the Indian hunter, in the “sunset of his life,”
watched, with holy awe, the sunset in the west, and here the ancient
Indian prophetess sung her uncouth but religious chant. Gone,—all, all
gone,—and the desolate creature of the waves, now pealing forth another
wail, seems the only memorial that they have left behind. There,—my
recent aspirations are all quelled, I can walk no farther to
night;—there is a tear in my eye and a sadness in my soul, and I must
seek my home. It is such a blessed night, that it seems almost sinful
that a blight should rest upon the spirit of man; yet on mine a gloom
will sometimes fall, nor can I tell from whence the cloud that makes me
wretched. To prayer!!

Here endeth a lover’s tribute to the sky-blue and ice-cold Horicon.



                              BURLINGTON.


Of all the towns which I have ever seen, Burlington in Vermont is
decidedly the most beautiful. It stands on the shore of Lake Champlain,
and from the water to its eastern extremity is a regular elevation,
which rises to the height of some three hundred feet. Its streets are
broad and regularly laid out, the generality of its buildings elegant,
and its inhabitants well educated, refined, and wealthy. My visit here
is now about to close, and I cannot but follow the impulses of my heart,
by giving you a brief account of its principal picturesque attraction,
and some information concerning a few of its public men.

As a matter of course, my first subject is Lake Champlain. In
approaching it from the south, and particularly from Horicon, one is apt
to form a wrong opinion of its picturesque features; but one cannot pass
through it without being lavish in its praise. It extends, in a straight
line from south to north, somewhat over a hundred miles, and lies
between the States of Vermont and New York. It is the gateway between
the country on the St. Lawrence and that on the Hudson, and it is
therefore extensively navigated by vessels and steamboats. The steamer
Burlington, Captain Sherman, is unquestionably the finest boat in the
Union; not on account of its size, but considering the admirable
discipline with which it is commanded. Lake Champlain is surrounded with
flourishing villages, whose population is generally made up of New
Englanders and Canadians. Its width varies from half a mile to thirteen,
but its waters are muddy, excepting in the vicinity of Burlington. Its
islands are not numerous, but one of them, Grand Isle, is sufficiently
large to support four villages. Its scenery may be denominated bold;
rising from the water on the west are the Adirondack Mountains, and at
some distance on the east the beautiful Green Mountains, whose glorious
_commanders_ are Mansfield Mountain and the Camel’s Hump. Owing to the
width of the Lake at Burlington, and the beauty of the western
mountains, the sunsets that are here visible are exceedingly superb. O
that I could strike the lyre of the poet, that I might celebrate in song
some of those which have transported my spirit to the realms of bliss.
The classic associations of this Lake are uncommonly interesting. Here
are the moss-covered ruins of Ticonderoga and Crown Point, whose present
occupants are the snake, the lizzard, and toad. Leaden and iron balls,
broken bayonets, and English flints, have I picked up on their ramparts,
which I cannot look upon without thinking of death-struggles and the
horrible shout of war. And there too is Plattsburg, in whose waters
Commodore McDonough vindicated the honor of the Stars and Stripes of
Freedom. As to the fishing of this lake, I have but a word to say.
Excepting trout, every variety of fresh-water fish is found here in
abundance; but the water is not pure, which is ever a serious drawback
to my enjoyment in wetting the line. Lake Champlain received its present
name from a French nobleman, who discovered it in 1609, and who died at
Quebec in 1635.

The associations I am now to speak of, are of a personal character; and
the first, of the three names before me, is that of Joseph Torrey, the
present Professor of Moral and Intellectual Philosophy in the University
of Vermont. As a citizen, he is one of the most amiable and beloved of
men. As one of the faculty of the University, he occupies a high rank,
and is a particular favorite with all his students. A pleasing evidence
of the latter fact I noticed a few days since, when it was reported
among the students that the Professor had returned from a visit to the
Springs for his health. I was in company with some half-dozen of them at
the time, and these are the remarks they made. “How is his health”? “I
hope he has improved”! “Now shall I be happy,—for ever since he went
away, the recitation-room has been a cheerless place to me.” “Now shall
I be advised as to my essay”! “Now shall my poem be corrected”! “Now, in
my troubles, shall I have the sympathies of a true friend”! Much more
meaning is contained in these simple phrases than what meets the eye.
Surely, if any man is to be envied, it is he who has a place in the
affections of all who know him. As a scholar, too, Professor Torrey
occupies an exalted station, as will be proven to the world in due time.
He has never published anything but an occasional article for a review,
and the memoir of President Marsh (who was his predecessor in the
University), as contained in the admirable volume of his Remains, which
should occupy a conspicuous place in the library of every American
scholar and Christian. The memoir is indeed a rare specimen of that kind
of writing,—beautifully written, and pervaded by a spirit of refinement
that is delightful. But I was mostly interested in Mr. Torrey as a man
of taste in the Fine Arts. In everything but the mere execution, he is a
genuine artist, and long may I remember the counsels of his experience
and knowledge. A course of Lectures on the Arts forms a portion of his
instruction as Professor, and I trust that they will eventually be
published for the benefit of our country. He has also translated, from
the German of Schelling, a most admirable discourse entitled “Relation
of the Arts of Design to Nature;” a copy of which ought to be in the
possession of every young artist. Mr. Torrey has been an extensive
traveller in Europe, and being a lover and an acute observer of
everything connected with Literature and Art, it is a perfect luxury to
hear him expatiate upon “the wonders he has seen.” He also examines
everything with the eye of a philosopher, and his conclusions are ever
of practical utility. Not only can he analyze in a profound manner the
principles of metaphysical learning, but, with the genuine feelings of a
poet, descant upon the triumphs of poetic genius, or point out the
mind-charms of a Claude or Titian. He is—but I will not say all that I
would, for I fear that at our next meeting he would chide me for my
boyish personalities. Let me conclude then with the advice, that, if you
ever chance to meet the Professor in your travels, you must endeavor to
secure an introduction, which I am sure you cannot but ever remember
with unfeigned pleasure.

John Henry Hopkins, D. D., Bishop of Vermont, is another of the
principal attractions of Burlington. The history of his life, the
expression of his countenance, and his general deportment, all speak of
the “peace of God.” Considering the number and diversity of his
acquirements, I think him a very remarkable man. He is not only in point
of character well worthy of his exalted station as Bishop, but as a
theologian learned and eloquent to an uncommon degree. His contributions
to the world of Letters are of rare value, having published volumes
entitled “Christianity Vindicated;” “The Primitive Church;” “The
Primitive Creed;” “The Church of Rome;” “British Reformation;” and
“Letters to the Clergy.” His style of writing is persuasive, vigorous,
and clear, and all his conclusions seem to have been formed in full view
of the Bible, which is a virtue worth noticing in these degenerate days.
Unlike the bigoted followers of Pusey, he is a _charitable_
Episcopalian,—deserving and enjoying the love and esteem of every
orthodox denomination. It is because of his honesty and soundness, I
suppose, that some of his own church are disaffected with his
straight-forward conduct. Bishop Hopkins, as a divine, is of the same
school with the late Bishop White, and therefore among the most
eminently wise and good of his age and country.

The Bishop of Vermont is also a man of remarkable taste with regard to
Architecture, Music, and Painting; in which departments, as an amateur,
he has done himself great credit. Not only did he plan and superintend
the building of an edifice for his recent school, but has published an
interesting book on Architecture, wherein he appears to be as much at
_home_ as a Christopher Wren. Knowing the market to be full of
sentimental nonsense in the way of songs, he composed, for the benefit
of his own children, a few with a moral tone, which he also set to
music, and are now published as a worthy tribute to his fine feelings
and the correctness of his ear. But he ranks still higher as a man of
taste in the capacity of a Painter. The Vermont Drawing Book, which he
published, is an evidence of his ability as a draftsman. The family
portraits which adorn his walls, prove him to have an accurate eye for
color, and an uncommon knowledge of effect;—and his oil sketches of
scenes from Nature, give token of an ardent devotion to Nature. But the
best, in my opinion, of all his artistical productions, is a picture
representing “our Saviour blessing little children.” Its conception,
grouping, and execution, are all of very great merit, and I am persuaded
will one day be looked upon with peculiar interest by the lovers and
judges of art in this country. Though done in water colors, and
considered by the artist as a mere sketch for a larger picture, there
are some heads in it that would have called forth a compliment even from
the lamented Allston. Would that he could be influenced to send it, for
exhibition, to our National Academy! And thus endeth my humble tribute
of applause to a gifted man.

I now come to the Hon. George P. Marsh, of whom, if I were to follow the
bent of my feelings, I could write a complete volume. Though yet in the
early prime of life, he is a sage in learning and wisdom. After leaving
college he settled in Burlington, where he has since resided, dividing
his time between his legal profession and the retirement of his study.
With a large and liberal heart, he possesses all the endearing and
interesting qualities which belong to the true and accomplished
gentleman. Like all truly great men, he is exceedingly retiring and
modest in his deportment, and one of that rare class who are never
excited by the voice of fame. About two years ago, almost without his
knowledge, he was elected to a seat in the lower house of Congress,
where he at once began to make an impression as a Statesman. Though few
have been his public speeches, they are remarkable for sound political
logic, and the classic elegance of their language. As an orator, he is
not showy and passionate, but plain, forcible, and earnest.

But it is in the walks of private life, that Mr. Marsh is to be mostly
admired. His knowledge of the Fine Arts is probably more extensive than
that of any other man in this country, and his critical taste is equal
to his knowledge; but that department peculiarly his hobby, is
Engraving. He has a perfect passion for line engravings; and it is
unquestionably true, that his collection is the most valuable and
extensive in the Union. He is well acquainted with the history of this
art from the earliest period, and also with its various mechanical
ramifications. He is as familiar with the lives and peculiar styles of
the Painters and Engravers of antiquity, as with his household affairs;
and when he talks to you on his favorite theme, it is not to display his
learning, but to make you realize the exalted attributes and mission of
universal Art.

As an author, Mr. Marsh has done but little in extent, but enough to
secure a seat beside such men as Edward Everett, with whom he has been
compared. He has published (among his numerous things of the kind) a
pamphlet entitled “The Goths in New-England,” which is a fine specimen
of chaste writing and beautiful thought; also another on the “History of
the Mechanic Arts,” which contains a great deal of rare and important
information. He has also written an “Icelandic Grammar” of 150 pages,
which created quite a sensation among the learned of Europe a few years
ago. As to his scholarship,—it can be said of him, that he is a _master_
in some twelve of the principal modern and ancient languages. He has not
learned them merely for the purpose of being considered a literary
prodigy, but to multiply his means of acquiring information, which
information is intended to accomplish some substantial end. He is not a
visionary, but a devoted lover of truth, whether it be in History,
Poetry, or the Arts.

But my chief object in speaking of this gentleman, was to introduce a
passing notice of his Library, which is undoubtedly the most unique in
the country. The building itself, which stands near his dwelling, is of
brick, and arranged throughout with great taste. You enter it, as it was
often my privilege, and find yourself in a perfect wilderness of
gorgeous books, and portfolios of engravings. Of books Mr. Marsh owns
some five thousand volumes. His collection of Scandinavian Literature is
supposed to be the most complete that can be found out of the Northern
Kingdoms. To give you an idea of this literary treasure, I will mention
a few of the rarest specimens. In old Northern Literature, here may be
found the _Arna Magnæan_ editions of old Icelandic Sagas, all those of
_Suhm_, all those of the Royal Society of Northern Antiquaries, and in
fact all those printed at Copenhagen and Stockholm, as well as in
Iceland, with scarcely an exception. This Library also contains the
great editions of _Heimskringla_, the two _Eddas_, _Kongs-Skugg-Sjo_,
_Konunga_, _Styrilse_, the Scriptores Rerum Danicarum, Scriptores Rerum
Svecicarum, Dansk Magazin, the two complete editions of _Olaus Magnus_,
_Saxo Grammaticus_, the works of Bartholinus, Torfaus, Schöning, Suhm,
Pontoppidan, Grundtvig, Petersen, Rask, the _Aplantica_ of Rudbeck, the
great works of _Sjöborg_, Liljegren, Geijer, Cronholm, and Strinnholm,
all the collections of old Icelandic, Danish, and Swedish laws, and
almost all the writers, ancient and modern, who have treated of the
language, literature, or history of the ancient Scandinavian race.

In modern Danish Literature, here may be found the works of Holberg,
Wessel, Ewald, Hejberg, Baggesen, Ochlenschlseger, Nyerup, Ingemann,
with other celebrated authors; in Swedish, those of Leopold Oxenstjerna,
Bellmann, Franzen, Atterbom, Tegner, Frederika Bremer, and indeed almost
all the _belles lettres_ authors of Sweden, the Transactions of the
Royal Academy of Science, (more than one hundred volumes,) those of the
Swedish Academy, and of the Royal Academy of Literature, and many
collections in documentary history, besides numerous other works.

In Spanish and Portuguese, besides many modern authors, here are
numerous old chronicles, such as the Madrid collection of old Spanish
Chronicles in seven volumes 4to.; the Portuguese _Livros ineditos da
Historia Portugueza_, five volumes folio; Fernam Lopez, de Brito, Duarte
Nunez de Liam, Damiam de Goes, de Barros, Castanheda, Resende, Andrada,
Osorio; also, de Menezes, Mariana, and others of similar character. In
Italian, most of the best authors, who have acquired a European
reputation; several hundred volumes of French works, including many of
the ancient chronicles; a fine collection in German, including many
editions of Reyneke de Vos, the Nibelungen, and other works of the
middle ages. In classical literature, good editions of the most
celebrated Greek and Latin authors; and in English, a choice collection
of the best authors, among which should be mentioned, as rare in this
country, Lord Berners’ Froissart, Roger Ascham, the writings of King
James I., John Smith’s Virginia (edition of 1624), Amadis de Gaul, and
Palmerin of England. In lexicography, the best dictionaries and grammars
in all the languages of Western Europe, and many biographical
dictionaries and other works of reference in various languages. Many
works too, are here, on astrology, alchemy, witchcraft, and magic; and a
goodly number of works on the situation of Plato’s Atlantis and Elysian
Fields, such as Rudbeck’s Atlantica, Goropius Becanus, de Grave
Republique des Champs Elysées, and a host of others in every department
of learning, the mere mention of which would cause the bookworm a thrill
of delight.

In the department of Art, Mr. Marsh possesses the Musée Français, Musée
Royal, (proof before letters) Liber Veritatis, Houghton Galley, Florence
Gallery, Publications of Dilettanti Society, and many other illustrated
works and collections of engravings; the works of Bartsch, Ottley,
Mengs, Visconti, Winchelmann, and other writers on the history and
theory of Art; old illustrated works, among which are the original
editions of Teuerdanck and Der Weiss Kunig; and many thousand steel
engravings, including many originals by Albert Dürer, Luke of Leyden,
Lucas Cranach, Aldegreuer, Wierx, the Sadelers Nauteuil, (among others
the celebrated Louis XIV., size of life, and a proof of the Cadet a la
Perle, by Masson,) Edelink, Drevet, Marc Antonio, and other old
engravers of the Italian school, Callot, Ostade, Rembrandt, (including a
most superb impression of the Christ Healing the Sick, the hundred
guilder Piece, and the portrait of Renier Ansloo,) Waterloo, Woollett,
Sharp, Strange, Earlom, Wille, Ficquet, Schmidt, Longhi, and Morghen; in
short, nearly all the works of all the greatest masters in chalcography,
from the time of Dürer to the present day. It were folly for me to
praise these various works, and I have alluded to them merely for the
purpose of letting you know something of the taste and possessions of
Mr. Marsh. His library is one of the most glorious places it has ever
been my fortune to visit, and the day that I became acquainted with the
man, I cannot but consider as an era in my life. Morning, noon, and
evening did I linger with the master-spirits of olden time, collected in
that delightful place, and though I often stood in mute admiration of
their genius, I was sometimes compelled to shed a tear, as I thought of
the miserable destiny, as a writer or painter, which will probably be
mine. Thank God, there is no such thing as _ambition_ in that blessed
world above the stars, which I hope to attain,—no ambition to harass the
soul,—for then will it be free to revel, and forever, in its holy and
godlike conceptions. But a truce to this strain of thought, and also to
the Lions of Burlington, of whom I now take my leave with a respectful
bow.


P. S. As you may probably be induced to visit Burlington, after what I
have written, I cannot leave the place without mentioning two more of
its personal attractions—Judge Meech the farmer, and John H. Peck the
merchant. Of the former, who resides just without the town, I would
remark, that his mortal part is six feet and a half high, and weighs
nearly four hundred pounds, and a perfect counterpart in body as well as
mind of the immortal Jack Falstaff. He is the proprietor of the largest
grazing farm in New England, which contains three thousand acres, and at
the present moment gives food to nearly four thousand sheep. The Judge
is one of the most hospitable of men, and having spent a portion of his
life as a trapper in the wilderness, and another as a member of
Congress, there is no end to his fund of stories, which he tells with an
admirable grace. One concerning himself, is to the following effect.
Once on a time, when young, poor, and somewhat idle in his habits, he
chanced to stop at a country store where he was known, for the purpose
of purchasing a handkerchief, which the shopkeeper refused to let him
have upon credit. The youth was so exasperated, that he swore he would
one day purchase the whole property of the man; and it is a singular
fact, that the identical store, and all the possessions of that
merchant, are now incorporated in the immense estate of Judge Meech. A
similar story is told of Mr. Astor (who once dealt in furs on Lake
Champlain with the Judge) and the Astor House, so that it would actually
seem as if some people are born to become rich. And what is the
strangest thing of all, Mr. Meech is a great trout fisherman, and of
_course_ a man of genius. About a month ago he caught one thousand in
three days, which I can readily believe, but I cannot vouch for the
truth of the statement I heard, that he ate two hundred and forty of the
little fellows at one meal! Fail not to visit the Judge when you have an
opportunity. He will be glad to see you, or any other honest man, and
with his accomplished lady will show you every variety of flowers, and
an artificial pond full of trout, and will refresh you with the rarest
kinds of fruit.

Of Mr. Peck, it will not do for me to say but a single word, as he has
never filled any public station, and is therefore only a private
citizen. He is just such a man as I suppose William Roscoe of Liverpool
to have been, according to the account of Washington Irving—a perfect
gentleman, a merchant of the first rank, a lover of books and pictures,
and the giver of glorious dinners. A thousand blessings rest upon his
head, and upon all the gentlemen of Burlington of my acquaintance, whom
I shall ever look upon as among the true nobility of our land, and
therefore among the nobility of the earth.



                           TRIP TO PORTLAND.


Three loud knocks upon my bed-room door at Burlington, awakened me from
“a deep dream of peace.” “The eastern stage is ready,” said my landlord,
as he handed me a light; whereupon, in less than five minutes after the
hour of three I was on my way to Portland, and inditing on the tablet of
my memory the following disjointed stage-coach rhapsody.

A fine coach, fourteen passengers, and six superb horses. My seat is on
the outside, and my eyes are on the alert for anything of peculiar
interest, which I may meet with in my journey. Now does the beautiful
range of the Green Mountains meet my view. The day is breaking, and lo!
upon either side of me, and like the two leaders of an army, rise the
peaks of Mansfield Mountain and the Camel’s Hump. Around the former the
cloud-spirits of early morning are picturing the fantastic poetry of the
sky; while just above the summit of the other, may be seen the new moon
and the morning star, waiting for the sun to come, like two sweet human
sisters, for the smiles and kisses of a returning father. And now, as
the sunbeams glide along the earth, we are in the solitude of the
mountains, and the awakened mist-creatures are ascending from the cool
and silent nooks in the deep ravines.

Young Dana’s description of a ship under full sail is very fine, but it
does not possess the living beauty of that picture which is now before
me, in those six bay horses, straining every nerve to eclipse the
morning breeze. Hold your breath, for the road is hard and smooth as
marble, and the extended nostrils of those matchless steeds speak of a
noble pride within. There, the race is done, the victory theirs, and
now, as they trot steadily along, what music in the champing of those
bits and the striking of those iron-bound hoofs! Of all the soulless
animals on earth, none do I love so dearly as the horse,—I sometimes am
inclined to think that they have souls. I respect a noble horse, more
than I do some men. Horses are the Indian chiefs of the brute creation.

The Winooski, along whose banks is the most picturesque stage route in
Vermont, is an uncommonly interesting stream,—rapid, clear, and cold. It
is remarkable for its falls and narrow passes, where perpendicular rocks
of a hundred feet or more frown upon its solitary pools. Its chief
pictorial attraction is the cataract at Waterbury, which is a deep and
jagged chasm in the granite mountain, whose horrors are greatly
increased by the sight and the smothered howl of an avalanche of pure
white foam. On its banks, and forty miles from its outlet near
Burlington, is situated Montpelier, the capital of Vermont. It is a
compact town, mostly built upon two streets, and completely hemmed in by
rich and cultivated mountains. Its chief attractions to my mind,
however, during my short stay, was a pair of deep black eyes, only half
visible under their drooping lids. O the dear, dear women, I verily
believe they will be the ruin of me!

During one of my rambles near Montpelier, I discovered an isolated and
abandoned dwelling, which stands upon a little plot of green, in the lap
of the forest near the top of a mountain. I entered its deserted
chambers, and spent a long time musing upon its solemn admonitions. The
cellar had become the home of lizards and toads. The spider and cricket
were masters of the hearth, where once had been spun the mountain
legend, by an old man to the only child of his widowed son. They were,
as I am told, the last of a long line, which once flourished in Britain,
but with them their name would pass into forgetfulness. Only the years
of a single generation have elapsed since then, but the dwellers upon
yonder mountain are sleeping in the grave. And is this passing record of
their existence the only inheritance they have left behind? Most true;
but would it have been _better_ for them, or for us, had they bequeathed
to the world a noted name or immense possessions? What is our life?

The route between Montpelier and Danville lies along the Winooski, and
is not less beautiful than that down the river. Its chief picture is
Marshfield Waterfall. While at Montpelier a pleasure ride was got up by
some of my friends, and as they were bound to the east, and I was
honored with an invitation, I sent on my baggage and joined them, so
that the monotony of my journey was agreeably relieved. We had our
fishing-rods with us, and having stopped at the fall, we caught a fine
mess of trout, which we had cooked for dinner at the next tavern on our
way,—and our dessert was fine singing from the ladies, and good stories
from the lips of Senator Phelps, who was of the party, and is celebrated
for his conversational powers. For further particulars concerning that
expedition, I would refer you to Mr. George Langdon and Lady of
Montpelier, and to that pair of eyes, which I just now mentioned as
having beamed upon me with a bewitching brilliancy. But alas! the dear
creature is already,—excuse me, I cannot, I will not speak the hateful
word. The lucky fellow ought to carry a liberal and kind soul hereafter,
if he has never done so before.

At cock-crowing this morning I was again in my seat outside of the
stage-coach, anxiously waiting for the mists to evaporate in the east.
The sun proved to be my friend, and soon as he appeared, they vanished
like a frightened troop, and he was marching up the sky in the plenitude
of his glory. And then, for the first time, did my vision rest upon the
White Mountains, as they reposed in the distance, like a mighty herd of
camels in the solitude of the desert. In the charming valley of the
Connecticut we only tarried about ten minutes, but long enough for me to
hear the mower whet his scythe, the “lark sing loud and high,” and the
pleasant tinkle of a cow-bell far away in a broad meadow. While there I
took a sketch, wherein I introduced the father of New England rivers,
and the bald peak of Mount Lafayette, with the storm-inflicted scar upon
its brow. A noble monument is yonder mountain to the memory of a noble
man.

While breakfasting at Littleton this morning, I came to the conclusion
to leave my baggage and visit Franconia. I jumped into the stage, and
after a very pleasant ride of seventeen miles, found myself far into the
Notch, in the midst of whose scenery I am to repose this night. I would
not have missed the trip _even_ for a _sincere_ love-smile from the girl
of my former idolatry. I reached here in time to enjoy an early dinner
with “mine host”; after which I sallied forth to examine the wonders of
the place, but was so delighted with everything around, that I did not
take time to make a single sketch. I saw the Flume, and was perfectly
astonished. It is a chasm in the mountain, thirty feet wide, about a
hundred deep, and some two thousand long, and as regular in its shape as
if it had been cut by the hand of man. Bridging its centre is a rock of
many tons weight, which one would suppose could only have been hurled
there from the heavens. Through its centre flows a little brook, which
soon passes over a succession of rocky slides, and which are almost as
smooth and white as marble. And to cap the climax, this Flume is the
centre of as perfect and holy a wilderness of scenery as could be
imagined.

I have also seen (what should be the pride of the Merrimack, as it is
upon one of its tributaries) the most superb pool in this whole country.
The fall above it is not remarkable, but the forest-covered rocks on
either side, and the pool itself, are wonderfully fine. In the first
place, you must remember, that the waters of this whole region are cold
as ice, and clear as possible. The pool forms a circle of about one
hundred feet in diameter, and is said to be fifty feet in depth. Owing
to the fall, it is the “head-quarters” of the trout, which are found all
along the stream in great abundance. After I had completed a drawing, I
laid aside my pencils and fixed my fishing rod. I threw the line _only_
about two hours and caught _only_ forty-five trout, but they were real
beauties, I assure you. Among them was the great-grandfather of all
trout,—he was _only_ seventeen inches long, and weighed _only_ two
pounds and one ounce. It does take me, and no mistake, to throw a
scientific fly.

The Old Man of the Mountain, is another of the lions of this place. It
is a cone-shaped mountain, (at the foot of which is a small lake,) upon
whose top are some rocks, which have a resemblance to the profile of an
old man. It is really a very curious affair. There the old fellow
stands, as he has stood perhaps for centuries, “looking the whole world
in the face.” I wonder if the thunder never frightens him! and does the
lightning play around his brow without making him wink? His business
there, I suppose, is to protect the “ungranted lands” of New Hampshire,
or keep Isaac Hill from lecturing the White Mountains on Locofocoism. He
need not trouble himself as to the first fear, for they could not be
deeded even to a bear; and as to the second, I don’t believe the
mountains could ever be persuaded to go for the annexation of Texas.
Every plant upon them speaks of freedom, and in their fastnesses does
the eagle find a home,—their banner-symbols are the stars and stripes,
and therefore they must be Whigs.

And another curiosity, which everybody goes to see, is called the
Basin,—which is indeed an exquisite little spot,—fit for the abode of a
very angel. It is formed in the solid rock, and though twenty feet in
depth, you can see a sixpence at the bottom,—it is so wonderfully clear.
But the wild beauties of this Notch, unknown to fame, are charming
beyond compare. There goes the midnight warning of the clock, and I must
retire. O that my dreams may be of yonder star, now just beaming with
intense brightness above the dark outline of the nearest mountain.

The distance from Knight’s tavern to the western outlet of Franconia
Notch is eight miles. The eastern stage was to pass through about the
middle of the afternoon, so after eating my breakfast I started on,
intending to enjoy a walk between the mountains. With the conceptions
and feelings that were with me then, I should have been willing to die,
for I was perfectly happy. Now, as I sat upon a stone to sketch a mass
of foliage, a little red squirrel came within five feet of me, and
commenced a terrible chattering, as if his lady-love had given him the
“mitten,” and he was blowing out against the whole female sex; and now
an old partridge with a score of children came tripping along the
shadowy road, almost within my reach, and so fearless of my presence,
that I would not have harmed one of them even for a crown. Both of these
were exceedingly simple pictures, and yet they afforded me a world of
pleasure. I thought of the favorite haunts of these dear creatures,—the
hollow tree,—the bed of dry leaves,—the cool spring,—the mossy yellow
log,—the rocky ledges overgrown with moss,—the gurgling brooklet
stealing through the trees, with its fairy waterfalls in a green shadow
and its spots of vivid sunlight,—and of a thousand other kindred _gems_
in the wonderful gallery of Nature. And now as I walked onward, peering
into the gloomy recesses of the forest on either side, or fixed my eyes
upon the blue sky with a few white clouds floating in their glory, many
of my favorite songs were remembered, and, in a style _peculiarly_ my
own, I poured them upon the air, whilst I was answered by unnumbered
mountain echoes. Nothing had they to do with the place or with each
other, but like the pictures around me, they were a divine food for my
soul,—so that I was in the perfect enjoyment of a heavenly feast. Now,
as I looked through the opening trees, I saw an eagle floating above the
summit of a mighty cliff,—now, with the speed of a falling star
descending far into the leafy depths, and then, slowly but surely
ascending, until hidden from view by a passing cloud. Fly on, proud
bird, glorious symbol of my country’s freedom! O what a god-like life is
thine? Yes, thou art the “sultan of the sky,” and from thy craggy home
forever lookest upon the abodes of man with indifference and scorn. The
war-whoop of the Savage, the roar of artillery on the bloody battle
field, and the loud boom of the ocean cannon, have fallen upon thy ear,
and thou hast listened, utterly heedless as to whom belonged the
victory. What strength and power in thy pinions! traversing in an hour a
wider space

  “Than yonder gallant ship, with all her sails
  Wooing the winds, can cross from morn till eve!”

When thy hunger-shriek echoes through the wilderness, with terror does
the wild animal seek his den, for thy talons are of iron and thy eyes of
fire. But what is thy message to the sun? Far, far into the zenith art
thou gone, forever gone—emblem of a mighty hope that once was mine.

My thoughts were upon the earth once more, and my feet upon a hill out
of the woods, whence might be seen the long broad valley of the
Amonoosack, melting into that of the Connecticut. Long and intently did
I gaze upon the landscape, with its unnumbered farm-houses, reposing in
the sunlight, and surmounted by pyramids of light blue smoke, and also
upon the cattle gazing on a thousand hills. Presently I heard the
rattling wheels of the stage-coach;—one more look over the charming
valley,—and I was in my seat beside the coachman.

In view of the foregoing and forthcoming facts, and though I am
sometimes hard pushed for the dollars needful, I cannot but conclude
that I am a most lucky fellow. My ride from Franconia to Littleton was
attended with this interesting circumstance. A very pretty young lady,
who was in the stage, found it necessary to change her seat to the
outside on account of the confinement within. Of course, I welcomed her
to my side with unalloyed pleasure. The scenery was fine, but what do
you suppose I cared for that,—as I sat there talking in a most eloquent
strain to my companion, with my right arm around her waist to keep her
from falling? That conduct of mine may appear “shocking” to those who
have “never travelled,” but it was not only an act of politeness but of
absolute necessity. Neither, as my patient’s smile told me, “was it bad
to take.” And O, how perfectly delightful it was to have her cling to
me, and to hear the beating of her heart, as the driver swung his whip
and run his horses down the hills! Animal magnetism is indeed a great
invention,—and I am a believer in it, so far as the touch of a beautiful
woman is concerned.

Away, away—thoughts of the human world! for I am entering into the heart
of the White Mountains. Ah me! how can I describe these glorious
hierarchs of New England! How solemnly do they raise their rugged peaks
to heaven! Now, in token of their royalty, crowned with a diadem of
clouds; and now with every one of their cliffs gleaming in the sunlight
like the pictures of a dream! For ages, have ye been the playmates of
the storm, and held communion with the mysteries of the midnight sky.
The earliest beams of the morning have bathed you in living light, and
there too have been the last kisses of departing day. Man and his
empires have arisen and decayed, but ye have remained unchanged, a
perpetual mockery. Upon your summits, Time has never claimed dominion.
There, as of old, does the eagle teach her brood to fly, and there does
the wild bear prowl after his prey. There do thy waterfalls still leap
and shout on their way to the dells below, even as when the tired Indian
hunter, some hundred ages agone, bent him to quaff the liquid element.
There still, does the rank grass rustle in the breeze, and the pine, and
cedar, and hemlock, take part in the howling of the gale. Upon Man alone
falls the heavy curse of time; Nature has never sinned, therefore is her
glory immortal.

But how in thunder shall I get down from this great poetical eminence?
Why, by giving you a simple matter-of-fact description. As you know, the
highest of these mountains was christened after our beloved Washington,
and with it, as with him, are associated the names of Jefferson,
Madison, and Adams. Its height is said to be six thousand and eight
hundred feet above the sea, but owing to its situation in the _centre_
of a brotherhood of hills, it does not _appear_ to be so grand an object
as South Peak Mountain among the Catskills. Its summit, like most of its
companions, is destitute of vegetation, and is therefore more desolate
and monotonous. It is somewhat of an undertaking to ascend Mount
Washington, though the trip is performed on horseback; but if the
weather is clear, the traveller will be well repaid for his labor. The
Painter will be pleased with the views which he will command in
ascending the route from Crawford’s, and which abounds in the wildest
and most diversified charms of mountain scenery. But the prospect from
the summit of Washington, will mostly excite the soul of the Poet. Not
so much on account of what he will behold, but for the _breathless
feeling_, which will make him deem himself for a moment to be an angel
or a god. And then, more than ever, if he is a Christian, will he desire
to be alone, so as to anticipate the bliss of heaven by a holy communion
with the Invisible.

I spent a night upon this mountain, and my best view of the prospect was
at the break of day, when, as Milton says,

  “——morn, her rosy steps in th’ Eastern clime
  Advancing, sow’d the earth with orient pearls,”

and,

  “Wak’d by the circling hours, with rosy hand
  Unbarr’d the gates of light;”

or when, in the language of Shakspeare,

  “The grey-eyed morn smiled on the frowning night,
  Checkering the eastern clouds with streaks of light.”

Wonderfully vast, and strangely indistinct and dreamy, was the scene
spread out on every side. To the west lay the superb Connecticut, with
its fertile valley reposing in the gloom of night, while to the east,
the ocean-bounded prospect, just bursting into the life of light, was
faintly relieved by Winnepiseogee and Sebago lakes, and like rockets
along the earth, wandered away the Merrimack, the Saco, and the
Androscoggin, to their ocean home,—the whole forming an _epic
landscape_, such as we seldom behold excepting in our dreams. Heavens!
with what exquisite delight did I gaze upon the scene, as in the eyes of
truth and fancy it expanded before my mind. Yonder, in one of a hundred
villages, a young wife, with her first-born child at her side, was in
the midst of her morning dream; and there, the pilgrim of fourscore
years was lying on his couch in a fitful slumber, as the pains of age
crept through his frame. There, on the Atlantic shore, the fisherman in
the sheltering bay, hoisted anchor and spread his sail for the sea;—and
there, the life-star of the lighthouse was extinguished, again at its
stated time to appear with increased brilliancy. In reality, there was
an ocean of mountains all around me, but in the dim light of the hour,
and as I looked _down_ upon them, it seemed to me that I stood in the
centre of a plain, boundless as the universe; and though I could not see
them, I felt that I was in a region of spirits, and that the summit of
the mount was holy ground. But the morning was advancing, and the rising
mists obscuring my vision, and, as I did not wish to have that day-break
picture dissipated from my mind, I mounted my faithful horse, and with a
solemn awe at heart descended the mountain.

The ride from the Notch House through the Notch valley, which is some
twelve miles long, is perfectly magnificent. First is the Gap itself,
only some twenty feet in width, and overhung with jagged rocks of
wondrous height, and then the tiny spring alive with trout, which gives
birth to the untamed Saco. A few more downward steps, and you are in
full view of a bluff, whose storm-scathed brow seems to prop the very
heavens,—its deep grey shadows strongly contrasting with the deep blue
sky. A little further on, and you find yourself in an amphitheatre of
mountains, whose summits and sides are perfectly barren and desolate,
where the storms of a thousand years have exhausted their fury. Downward
still and farther on, and you come to the memorable Wiley cottage, whose
inhabitants perished in the avalanche or slide of 1826. The storm had
been unceasing for some days upon the surrounding country, and the
dwellers of the cottage were startled at midnight by the falling earth.
They fled,—and were buried in an instant; and up to the present time,
only one of the seven bodies has ever been found. As it then stood, the
dwelling still stands—a monument of mysterious escape, as well as of the
incomprehensible decrees of Providence. The Saco river, which runs
through the valley, was lifted from its original bed, and forced into a
new channel. The whole place, which but a short time before was “a
beautiful and verdant opening amid the surrounding rudeness and deep
shadow, is now like a stretch of desolate sea-shore after a
tempest,—full of wrecks, buried in sand and rocks, crushed and ground to
atoms.”

After witnessing so much of the grand and gloomy, I was glad to reach
the bottom of the Notch valley, and to continue along the picturesque
Saco, through a very pleasant and well cultivated country, to Conway. My
_last_ view of Mount Washington and its lordly companions was the most
_beautiful_. The sun was near his setting, and the whole western sky was
suffused with a glow of richest yellow and crimson, where hung two
immense copper-colored clouds just touching the outline of the
mountains; and through the hazy atmosphere the mountains themselves
looked cloud-like, but with more of the bright blue of heaven upon them.
In the extensive middle distance faded away wood-crowned hills, and in
the foreground an exquisite little farm, with the husbandman’s happy
abode almost hidden by groups of elms, and with the simple figures, only
a few paces off, of a little girl sitting on a stone, with a bunch of
summer flowers in her hand, and a basket of berries and a dog at her
side. One more yearning gaze upon the dear old mountains, and the
fountain of my affections was full, and I wept like a very child.

Well, here I am at last in Portland. At the time of starting this
morning from Conway it commenced raining, and all the way here were we
attended with refreshing showers. There were six passengers, and it so
happened that we were acquainted with each other before we reached the
mountains, and having for the most part enjoyed their scenery in
company, we were in a fitting mood to be somewhat entertaining. Doctor
Orville Dewy, of New York, his lady and daughter, and John Frothingham,
of Montreal, and daughter, are the friends whose names will ever be
associated with my recollections of the White Mountains. The Doctor’s
faculty for telling a good story or cracking a joke, is well worthy of
the orator and writer; and if Mr. Frothingham excels as a merchant in
proportion to his entertaining manner of relating his European travels,
he must indeed be a merchant prince. As to the fair ladies, I cannot pay
them a better compliment than by letting

  “Expressive silence muse their praise.”

Portland is a thriving city of some twenty thousand inhabitants, and
commands a very fine view of the ocean. If for no other reason, it
should interest the admirers of genius because it is the native place of
Mrs. Seba Smith, Professor Longfellow, and John Neal. I have just
received an invitation to hear some singing from the lips of one of my
fellow-travellers, and as I know it will be of the rarest kind, I must
conclude this rhapsody, and _migrate_ to the parlor.



                         MOOSEHEAD LAKE AND THE
                               KENNEBECK.


Moosehead Lake is the largest and the wildest in New England. It lies in
the central portion of the State of Maine, and distant from the ocean
about one hundred and fifty miles. Its length is fifty miles, and its
width from five to fifteen. It is embosomed among a brotherhood of
mountains, whose highest peak hath been christened with the beautiful
name of Katahden. All of them, from base to summit, are covered with a
dense forest, in which the pine is by far the most abundant. It is the
grand centre of the only wilderness region in New England, whose
principal denizens are wild beasts. During the summer months, its
tranquil waters remain in unbroken solitude, unless some scenery-hunting
pilgrim, like myself, should happen to steal along its shores in his
birchen canoe. But in the winter the case is very different, for then,
all along its borders, may be heard the sound of the axe, wielded by a
thousand men. Then it is that an immense quantity of logs are cut, which
are manufactured into lumber at the extensive mills down the Kennebeck,
which is the only outlet to the Lake.

A winter at Moosehead must be attended with much that is rare, and wild,
and exciting, not only to the wealthy proprietor who has a hundred men
to superintend, but even to the toiling chopper himself. Look at a
single specimen of the gladdening scenes enacted in that forest world.
It is an awful night, the winds wailing, the snow falling, and the
forests making a moan. Before you is a spacious, but rudely built log
cabin, almost covered with snow. But now, above the shriek of the storm,
and the howl of the wolf, you hear a long, loud shout, from a score of
human mouths. You enter the cabin, and lo, a merry band of noble men,
some lying on a buffalo-robe, and some seated upon a log, while the huge
fire before them reveals every feature and wrinkle of their
countenances, and makes a picture of the richest coloring. Now the call
is for a song, and a young man sings a song of Scotland, which is his
native land; a mug of cider then goes round, after which an old pioneer
clears his throat for a hunting legend of the times of old; now the
cunning jest is heard, and peals of hearty laughter shake the building;
and now a soul-stirring speech is delivered in favor of Henry Clay. The
fireplace is again replenished, when with a happy and contented mind
each woodman retires to his couch, to sleep, and to dream of his wife
and children, or of the buxom damsel whom he loves.

The number of logs which these men cut in a single winter is almost
incredible, and the business of conveying them to the lake upon the snow
gives employment to a great many additional men and their oxen. The
consequence is, that large quantities of flour, potatoes, pork, and hay,
are consumed; and as these things are mostly supplied by the farmers of
the Kennebeck, winter is the busiest season of the year throughout the
region. When the lake is released from its icy fetters in the spring, a
new feature of the logging business comes into operation, which is
called rafting. A large raft contains about eighteen thousand logs, and
covers a space of some ten acres. In towing them to the Kennebeck, a
small steamboat is employed, which, when seen from the summit of a hill,
looks like a living creature struggling with a mighty incubus. But the
most picturesque thing connected with this business is a floating
log-cabin, called a Raft House, which ever attends a raft on its way to
the river. During the summer, as before stated, Moosehead Lake is a
perfect solitude, for the “log chopper” has become a “log driver” on the
Kennebeck,—the little steamer being moored in its sheltering bay, near
the tavern at the south end of the lake, and the toiling oxen been
permitted to enjoy their summer sabbath on the farm of their master.

The islands of Moosehead Lake, of any size, are only four; Moose and
Deer Islands at the southern extremity, Sugar Island in the large
eastern bay, and Farm Island in a north-western direction from that. All
of these are covered with beautiful groves, but the time is not far
distant when they will be cultivated farms. Trout are the principal fish
that flourish in its waters, and may be caught at any time in great
abundance. And thereby hangs a _fish story_.

It was the sunset hour, and with one of my companions I had gone to a
rocky ledge for the purpose of trying my luck. We cut each of us a long
pole, to which we fastened two immensely long lines with stout hooks.
Our bait was squirrel meat, and I was the first to throw my line. It had
hardly reached the water, before I had the pleasure of striking and
securing a two pound trout. This threw my friend into a perfect fever of
excitement, so that he was everlastingly slow in cutting up the
squirrels; and it may be readily supposed that I was somewhat excited
myself, so I grabbed the animal out of his hands, and in less than a
“jiffy,” and with my _teeth_, made a number of good baits. The
conclusion of the whole matter was, that in less than forty minutes we
had caught nearly seventy pounds of salmon trout, and some of them, I
tell you, were real _smashers_. But the trout of Moosehead are not to be
compared with those of Horicon in point of delicacy, though they are
very large, and very abundant. The reason of this is, that its waters
are not remarkably clear, and a good deal of its bottom is muddy. Moose
River, which is the principal tributary to the Lake, is a narrow, deep,
and picturesque stream, where may be caught the common trout, weighing
from one to five pounds.

In this portion of Maine every variety of forest game may be found, but
the principal kinds are the grey wolf, the black bear, the deer, and the
moose. Winter is the appropriate season for their capture, when they
afford a deal of sport to the hunter, and furnish a variety of food to
the forest laborers. Deer are so very plenty, that a certain resident
told me, that, in the deep snow of last winter, he caught some dozen of
them alive, and having cut a slit in their ears, let them go, that they
might recount to their kindred their marvellous escape. But the
homeliest animal, the most abundant, and the best for eating, is the
moose. I did not kill one, but spent a night with an old hunter who did.
During the warm summer night these animals, for the purpose of getting
clear of the black-fly, are in the habit of taking to the water, where,
with nothing but their heads in sight, they remain for hours. It was the
evening of one of those cloudless nights, whose memory can never die. We
were alone far up the Moose River, and it seemed to me, “we were the
first that ever burst into that _forest_ sea.” On board a swan-like
birch canoe we embarked, and with our rifles ready, we carefully and
silently descended the stream. How can I describe the lovely pictures
that we passed? Now we peered into an ink-black recess in the centre of
a group of elms, where a thousand fire-flies were revelling in joy;—and
now a solitary duck shot out into the stream from its hidden home,
behind a fallen and decayed tree; now we watched the stars mirrored in
the sleeping waves, and now we listened to the hoot of the owl, the drum
of the partridge, the song of a distant waterfall, or the leap of a
robber-trout. It was not far from midnight when my companion whispered,
“Hush, hush!” and pointed to a dim spot some hundred yards below. The
first fire was allotted me, so I took the best aim I could, and fired. I
heard the ball skip along the water, and on coming near, found my mark
to be only a smooth rock. Two hours more passed on, one small moose was
killed, and at day-break we were in our cabin fast asleep.

The principal outlet to Moosehead Lake is the Kennebeck, which “now
demands my song.” It is the second river in Maine, and one of the most
beautiful I have ever seen. Instead of watering a wilderness, as I had
supposed, all along its valley for over a hundred miles are fertile and
extensive farms, with here and there a thriving village, inhabited by an
intelligent and industrious people. Its principal tributary is Dead
River, and the spot at the junction of the two is called the Forks. The
cultivated region stops here, and between this point and Moosehead the
distance is about twenty-five miles, which is yet a forest wilderness.

The principal attraction at the Forks is a capital tavern, kept by one
Burnham, who is a capital fellow to guide the lover of Nature or the
trout fisherman to Moxy Fall or Lake Lanman, which are in the immediate
vicinity. The mountains about here are quite lofty, and exceedingly
picturesque, abounding in the maple, the oak, the pine, and hemlock.
Emptying into the Kennebeck, a few miles north of the Forks, is a superb
mountain-stream, named Moxy, after an Indian who was there drowned.
Winding for a long distance among the rock of wild ravines, and
eternally singing to the woods a trumpet-song, it finally makes a sudden
plunge into a chasm more than a hundred feet in depth. The perpendicular
rocks on either side rise to an immense height, their tops crowned with
a “peculiar diadem of trees,” and their crevices filled up with
dark-green verdure, whence occasionally issues, hanging gracefully in
the air, beautiful festoons of the ivy, and clusters of the mountain
blue-bell. The depth of the pool was never told, and its waters wash
against the granite walls in a perpetual gloom. On one occasion I
visited it when there was a high freshet, and saw what I could hardly
have believed from a description. I stood on an elevated point, in front
of the Fall, when my eyes rested upon an immense log, some sixty feet
long, coming down the foaming stream with all the fury of a maddened
steed; presently it reached the precipice,—then cleaved its airy pathway
down into the hell of waters,—was completely out of sight for _three
minutes_, then, like a creature endowed with life, shot upward again
clear out of the water, made another less desperate plunge, and quietly
pursued its course into the Kennebeck.

In speaking of _Lake Lanman_, it is necessary that I should be a little
egotistical. It is a fairy-like sheet of pure water in the heart of the
mountain wilderness, only about a mile in length, but full of trout. The
proprietor was of the party that accompanied me on my first visit. While
approaching it, the remark was made, that it was yet without a name;
when it was agreed that it should be christened after that individual,
who should on that day throw the most successful fly. As fortune would
have it, the honor was awarded to me; and on a guide-board in the
forest, three miles from Burnham’s, may be seen the figure of a hand,
and the words “Lake Lanman.” There stands my written name, exposed “to
the peltings of the pitiless storm;” and in a few years, at the longest,
it will be washed away, and the tree which supports it be mingling with
the dust. O, will it be even thus with the _memory_ of name?

Not to attempt a description of the scenery of the Kennebeck, which
could be faithfully given only by the pictures of a Cole or Durand, I
will take you down its beautiful valley, and tell you what I know
respecting its beautiful villages.

The first in order is Bingham, situated on a fertile “interval,”
surrounded with picturesque hills, charming and quiet as a summer day,
and containing within the jurisdiction of its town an uncommonly fine
farm, belonging to a Mr. Parlin, who manufactures large quantities of
maple sugar.

Solon is the next village in the Kennebeck valley, remarkable for
nothing but Caritunk Falls, which are twenty feet high, and run through
a gorge fifty feet wide. Here I saw some twenty men “driving” the logs
that had been lodged all along the river when it was low. It is a
laborious life which these men lead, but they receive good pay, and meet
with many interesting adventures. They generally have the soul to enjoy
fine scenery, and therefore demand the respect of the intelligent
traveller.

Anson, though in the valley of the Kennebeck, is situated on Seven Mile
Brook, and is a flourishing business place. From its neighboring hills
may be seen the sky-piercing peaks of Mount Blue, Saddleback, Bigelow,
and Mount Abraham, which are the guardian spirits of Maine. The town is
distinguished for its agricultural enterprise, and the abundance of its
wheat, having actually produced more than is reported from any other
town in the State.

Norridgwock, so named by the Kennebeck Indians, because, when fighting
with their enemies at this place, they could find _no-ridge-to-walk_
upon, which was a desirable object. It is a charming little village, and
associated with a celebrated Indian Chief named Bomazeen, and also with
a Jesuit Missionary, whose name I do not remember. Not far from here is
a picturesque fall, also a picturesque bend of the Kennebeck, where
empties Sandy River, upon which are many extensive farms.

Skowhegan is a thriving village, where there are fine Falls, which I
never could look upon without thinking of the famous Glen’s Falls in New
York, of which they are a perfect counterpart, though on a smaller
scale. Many and very dear to me are my recollections of its “choice
bits” of scenery, of the fine singing I there heard, of the
acquaintances there formed, and of the pleasant literary communings
which were mine in company with one of the best and most intellectual of
women, and who has for many years been my “guide, counsellor, and
friend.”

Waterville, the next town on the river, is the seat of a Baptist
College, and the head of navigation on account of the Ticonic Falls. It
is the centre of an extensive farming district, which fact, together
with the literary taste of its people, make it an uncommonly interesting
place.

Augusta, the capital of the State, is also on the Kennebeck, and with
its State House and other State buildings, its admirably conducted
hotels, its commanding churches, its large bridge, and pleasant
residences, is one of the most picturesque and interesting towns in the
whole of New England.

Hallowell, two miles below Augusta, was once a great place of business,
and is still a very pleasant place, though unable to compete with its
rival the Capital. In my mind it is chiefly associated with some fine
people, and particularly with three beautiful sisters, who are great
lovers of poetry, and fine singers, either with the piano or guitar.

Gardiner, further down, is a tremendous place for saw-mills,—and
lumbering I look upon as one of the nicest and surest kinds of business.
It contains the handsomest church-building in the State, and a number of
fine residences, belonging to its wealthy citizens, of which that one
belonging to Mr. Gardiner, (after whom the place was named,) is the
finest.

Bath is the next and most southern town on the Kennebeck; it is quite a
large place, where there is a great deal of shipping done, and is now in
a flourishing condition. The sail down the river from here is a most
delightful one, for the eye revels on a continual succession of pleasant
farms, quiet headlands, solitary islands, and vessels of every kind
passing up and down the stream. Even to the present day, the Kennebeck
abounds in salmon, which are caught with nets from the first of May till
mid-summer. To take them with the hook is a _leetle_ the _tallest_ kind
of sport _in all creation_, and for the manner in which I conquered a
solitary individual, I refer you to a certain passage in Scrope on
Salmon Fishing. Few are the rivers that I love more than the Kennebeck,
and very dear to me are its manifold associations.



                             LILLY LARNARD.


I write from somewhere in Massachusetts, and the following passage will
give you an idea of my theme:

                  All that life can rate
  Worth name of life, in her hath estimate;
  Youth, beauty, wisdom, courage, virtue, all
  That happiness and prime can happy call.
                                                                  Shaks.

Lilly Larnard is an only child, the pride of her mother, and the delight
of her father, who is the clergyman of our secluded and beautiful
village. I desire to make you acquainted with this dear girl; but what
can I find to say which hath not been anticipated by the poet? Her
character is already revealed. Well, then, I will say something about
her by way of illustration.

As I passed by her cottage this afternoon, which stands on the southern
extremity of the green, about a hundred paces from the meeting house, I
noticed an almost startling stillness about the premises, as if the
place were deserted; but this was owing to the heat and natural silence
of the hour. The closed window-blinds, half hidden by woodbine and
honey-suckle; the open doors, with a kitten sunning itself upon the sill
of one of them; bespoke it not only inhabited, but the abode of peace
and contentment. In a green grape-vine arbor beside the house sat our
little heroine, engaged in drawing some curious flowers, which she had
gathered in the meadow during her morning walk. At this moment two of
her female cousins stopped at the front gate, and called her to go with
them on a ramble through the woodlands. I had just time to change from
one hand to the other my heavy string of trout, for I was returning home
from angling, when out she came, bounding like a fawn, robed in white
muslin, her gypsy bonnet awry, and a crimson scarf thrown carelessly
over her shoulders. This simple dress is a specimen of her taste in such
matters, and the very thing to correspond with her dark-brown curling
hair, regular pearly teeth, blue, Madonna-like eyes, and blooming
cheeks. A snow-white terrier, her constant playmate and companion, soon
came following after, and having licked the hands of the two friends, as
a token of recognition, leaped a neighboring fence, and led the way
across a clover-field. When I turned to look again, the happy group were
crossing a rude bridge at the foot of a hill, and following the path a
short distance they were lost to view.

Lilly Larnard is now in her sixteenth year. She is passionately fond of
the country; and I do believe, could she obtain permission, would spend
half her time in the open air. If she has but one summer hour to spare,
she goes no farther than her favorite brook, half a mile from home,
where she will angle away her time, wandering up the stream to where the
overhanging trees throw a soft twilight upon her path; and, if
_necessity_ requires it, will off with her slippers, and wade in after a
bunch of lilies or some golden pebbles. The neighboring farmer as he
comes to the post-office early in the morning, if he chances to pass the
parsonage, will most likely be saluted by a sweet smile and bow. And
from whom, do you think? Why, from Lilly Larnard, who is airing the
parlor, dusting the furniture, or arranging some creeping flowers beside
the door, with her pretty face almost hidden in a “kerchief white.” And
it may be, when mowing in one of his fields in the afternoon, he will be
surprised by a hearty laugh in an adjoining copse, and on looking round
behold a party of girls returning from the strawberry hills, with Lilly
as their leader. She is a pure-hearted lover of nature, and everything,
from the nameless flower to the cloud-capt mountain, hath a language
which causes her to feel that the attributes of God are infinite. For
her gayer hours, Nature “hath a tale of gladness, and a smile and
eloquence of beauty, and glides into her darker musings, with a mild and
gentle sympathy, which steals away their sharpness ere she is aware.”

But how does she busy herself at home? it will be asked. She is an early
riser; and the first thing she does in the morning, after she has left
her room, is to put everything in its place which is out of place. She
kindly directs and helps Betty, the servant, to perform those numerous
little household duties, such as feeding the chickens and straining the
milk, not forgetting to give pussy a saucer full of the warm, sweet
liquid. She sets the breakfast table, prepares the toast, and all those
kindred delicacies, and pours out the coffee, sitting like a fairy queen
in the old high-backed chair, with her parents on either side. And when
her father clasps his hands to implore a blessing, she meekly bows her
head, sweetly responding to the solemn Amen. If anything is wanted from
the kitchen, she is up and away, and back again almost in a minute, so
sprightly is she in all her movements. During the forenoon she is
generally helping her mother to sew or knit, or do anything else which
is required to be done; or, if her father wants her to read one of his
chaste and deeply religious sermons, the sweetness of her eloquent voice
makes it doubly impressive. In the afternoon she is generally engaged in
some benevolent duty. Not one in a hundred is so well acquainted with
the poor of the parish.

She enters the abode of the poor widow, and, besides administering to
her temporal wants, gives her the overflowing sympathy of her own warm
heart, administering at the same time the consolations of religion. It
is a common sight to see her tripping along the street, with a basket on
her arm; and the clerk, or more stately merchant, as he sees her pass
his door, takes particular pains to make a bow, inwardly
exclaiming,—“Who now is to become the debtor of Lilly Larnard?” And the
stranger who may have met her in his walk, fails not to inquire of his
host, at evening, the name of the lovely creature who wears a white
dress and gypsy bonnet.

Lilly is a Christian, not only a church-going Christian, but her life is
one continued round of charitable deeds and pious duties, almost worthy
of an angel. She has a class of little boys in the Sabbath school, and
they are all so fond of their amiable teacher, that I do believe they
would undergo almost any trial for her sake. She _loves_ her Bible too,
and would be unhappy were she deprived of the privilege of reading it
every day. When she rises from her pillow at dawn, she kneels beside her
couch, and breathes her offering of prayer; and so, too, when the day is
closed and she retires to repose.

Her father is a clergyman of easy fortune. The prayer of his youth seems
to have been kindly answered by the Most High. About one year ago he
bought a beautiful chesnut pony, and, all saddled and bridled, presented
it to Lilly on her fifteenth birth-day. As might be expected, she was
perfectly transported with the gift. “Oh! father,” she exclaimed, “how I
will try to merit your approbation in every action of my life.”

A colored boy, named Tommy, is Lilly’s groom and page, and he seems to
love the pony and his mistress above everything else in the world. A
smarter and better-hearted page did not follow a high-born lady of the
feudal times. Lilly has now become a first-rate rider; and often, when
with her friends, takes pleasure in boasting of her noble
accomplishment, and the speed of her horse. When she has been out
riding, she almost always manages to canter through the middle street of
the village on her return. Sometimes she is alone with her dog, and
sometimes with a female friend; but the forelock of her pony is always
surmounted by a few flowers, or a cluster of green leaves, for she has a
queer notion of ransacking the most secluded corners of the field and
wood. Only a week ago (the very day I caught that two-pound trout),
while standing upon a hill, I saw her trying to leap a narrow but deep
brook, and she did not give up trying until she had accomplished the
deed. I thought that if her pony had been gifted with the power of
speech, he would have exclaimed, “Well done, you courageous girl, you
possess a wonderful deal of spunk!”

Lilly left school about two years ago, because her father chose to
superintend her education himself. She is a good scholar in everything
requisite for a lady. You could hardly puzzle her with questions in
history, geography, or mathematics. Her modesty and simplicity of
character are so great, that you would be surprised at the extent of her
book-information and practical knowledge. She has a wonderful talent for
making herself agreeable under all circumstances. If she meets a beggar
woman in the street, she will talk familiarly with her about her
sorrows, instructing her to bear up under every trial. She is the
universal favorite of the whole village. All who know her, the poor and
the rich, from the child of three years to the hoary head, all love her
with the affection felt toward a sister or daughter. She smiles with
those who smile, and weeps with those who weep. Servant-girls consult
with her about purchasing a new dress, and little children invite her to
participate with them in their pastimes.

Lilly Larnard is a lover of poetry. Yes, whether she sees it in the
primrose and the evening cloud; or hears it in the laughing rivulet and
the song of birds; or reads it in the pages of Spenser, Milton,
Shakspeare, Wordsworth, or Coleridge. And she is a _writer_, too, of
sweet and soothing poetry, just such as should always emanate from the
pure-hearted. To give you an idea of her poetic powers, I will here
quote her last effort, which was written with a pencil on a fly-leaf of
Dana’s Poems while walking on the sea-shore; for, be it known that the
village of her birth is within sound of the never-ceasing roar of the
Atlantic. The title of it is—


                           A SEA-SHORE ECHO.

“Alone! and on the smooth, hard, sandy shore of the boundless sea! A
lovelier morning never dawned upon the world of waters. O! how balmy,
how clear, how soul-subduing, how invigorating is the air! Calmness sits
throned upon the unmoving clouds, whose colors are like the sky, only of
a brighter hue. One of them, more ambitious than its fellows, is
swimming onward, a wanderer, and companionless. O that I could rest upon
its ‘unrolling skirts,’ and take an aerial pilgrimage around the
globe,—now looking down upon its humming cities, and fruitful and
cultivated plains; and again, upon some unpeopled wilderness or ocean
solitude! But alas! the peerless beauty of that light cloud will be
extinguished, when the sun shall have withdrawn his influence, and, if
not entirely dispersed, will take another shape, and make its home in
darkness. And so have I seen a man, when wandering from the heavenly
sunshine of religion, passing from his cradle to the grave.

“As I gaze upward into yon blue dome, the anxieties of life are all
forgotten, and my heart throbs with a quicker pulse, and beats with an
increasing thrill of joy. How holy and serene those azure depths of air!
Strange, that aught so beautiful should canopy a world of tears, decay,
and death! Yonder sky is the everlasting home of countless worlds; the
vast ethereal chamber, where are displayed the wonders of the thunder,
and lightning, and rainbow; and a mirror, too, reflecting the glorious
majesty, the wisdom and power of the Omnipotent. Lo! across my vision
there is floating another cloud, whiter than the driven snow! Rearward,
there trails along another, and still another, until pile on pile they
reach upward to the very zenith; and oh, how gorgeous the scenes which
my fancy conjures up, delighted with their changing loveliness! One
moment, I behold a group of angels reclining at ease upon the summit of
a pearly battlement; and now, summoned by a celestial strain of melody,
they spread their pinions for a higher flight,—a flight into the diamond
portals of the New Jerusalem. Again, a river of pure white foam rolls
swift but noiseless through unpeopled valleys, hemmed in by airy
mountains of wondrous height, until its waters empty into a tranquil
sea, boundless and ‘beautiful exceedingly;’ and on this, a myriad of
swanlike barges are gliding to and fro, without a breeze, while the
voyagers are striking their golden harps, and singing hymns of sweetest
strain and holiest import, whose echoes die away on the shadowy waves.
There! all these, like the dreams of youth, are melting into
nothingness;—and my eyes now rest only upon the dark blue ocean.

“The green waves of the Atlantic, with their undulating swell, come
rolling in upon the sand, making a plaintive music, sweeter than the
blended harmonies of a thousand instruments. Would that I might leap in
and wrestle with them, and, when overcome by fatigue, lay my heated brow
upon those cool watery pillows, rocked to sleep as in a cradle, while my
lullaby would be the moaning of the sea. The mists of morning are all
dispelled, and the glorious sunshine, emblem of God’s love, is bathing
with effulgent light the ocean before me, and behind me the mountains
and valleys of my own loved country. Look! how the white caps chase each
other along the watery plain, like the milk-white steeds, striving in
their freedom to outstrip the breeze. Whence comes this breeze, and
whither is it going? Three days ago, at set of sun, it spread its wing
near to a sandy desert of Africa, where a caravan of camels, and horses,
and men, had halted for the night; and at the dawning of to-morrow, it
will be sporting with the forest-trees of the western wilderness!

“Far as the eye can reach, the sea is ‘sprinkled o’er with ships,’ their
white sails gleaming in the sunlight. One of them has just returned from
India, another from the Pacific, and another from the Arctic Sea. Years
have elapsed since they departed hence. They have been exposed to a
thousand dangers, but the great God, who holds the ocean in the hollow
of his hand, has conducted them back to their desired homes. How many
silent prayers of thanksgiving, and what a thrilling and joyous shout,
will echo to the shore, as those storm-beaten mariners drop anchor in
their native waters! Yonder, too, are other ships, bound to the remotest
corners of the earth. They seem to rejoice in their beauty and speed,
and proud is their bearing; but will they ever return? Alas! the shadowy
future alone can answer. Farewell, a long farewell, ye snowy daughters
of the ocean.”


But to return. Lilly Larnard is fond of music, too, and plays
delightfully on the harp. Her voice is sweeter than the fall of waters
when heard at a distance in the stillness of the twilight hour. She
knows nothing of fashion, and if she did, would consider it beneath her
dignity to be incommoded or swayed by it. Instead of decking herself
with gew-gaws, for a brilliant appearance in the gay saloon, within
sound of the rude jest and foolish flattery, she strives by watchfulness
and care to purify her daily conduct; for hers is not less prone to sin
than all other human hearts. “Necklaces does she sometimes wear, in her
playful glee, made of the purple fruit that feeds the small birds in the
moors, and beautiful is the gentle stain then visible over the blue
veins of her swan-like bosom.” Beautiful as she is, a feeling of vanity
never yet entered the heart of the rector’s daughter. She feels too
deeply the truth, that personal charms, which are the only pride of
weak-minded persons, time will eventually transform into wrinkled
homeliness; and that an affectionate heart and good understanding will
endure, and become more perfect, until the pilgrimage of life is ended.

Never has Lilly Larnard been more than thirty miles away from the
village of her birth. She has read of cities, and the busy multitudes
that throng them; of armies and navies; of politics and war; but all
these things to her are but as the visions of a dream. She is ignorant
of the real condition and character of the great world, for nought but
the echo of its din has ever fallen upon her ear. She listens with
wonder to the deeds of which I sometimes tell her I have been an
unwilling witness in the wilderness of men. She thinks it strange, that
the inhabitants of cities think so much of the present life, and so
little of the future. Her days have been spent in innocence beneath the
blue dome of the illimitable sky, inhaling the pure unadulterated air of
the country, now sporting in the sunshine, and now sprinkled by a
refreshing shower; while the loveliest of flowers and birds, and holy
and tender affections, have been her hourly companions; and her nights
have passed away in pleasant dreams of that bright world beyond the
stars.



                            LOUIS L. NOBLE.


You ask me to tell you who is Louis L. Noble, to whom I dedicated a
volume of Essays some years ago? There is hardly a task in the wide
world that I could enter upon with greater pleasure than the answering
of this question. And why? Because he is one of my best friends, and a
poet of rare genius and power.

To come directly to the point, then, he is a young clergyman of the
Episcopal church, whose present field of ministerial labor is in North
Carolina. He was born on the Susquehannah; but having spent his boyhood
in the wilderness where I was born, there has ever been (since our
acquaintance commenced) a delicate stream of sympathy flowing out of one
heart into the other. His poetry (and this is perhaps the secret of my
attachment to it) is the offspring of that wilderness country familiar
to the world as Michigan, and his themes I look upon as my own. He has
always been an admirer of the red man, and, like me, in times past has
associated with him in the most intimate and familiar intercourse.
Therefore, when their customs inspire his pen, you may depend upon the
faithfulness of his descriptions. He is a creature of impulse, and
whenever he strikes the lyre, it is because he cannot help it, or
because it affords him an indescribable joy. He writes “with fury, and
corrects with care;” and I am not sure but he sometimes weakens his
conceptions by too much pruning and artificial arrangement. He is yet in
the vigor of his days, and if his life is spared, we have reason to
expect great things from his pen. In temper he is exceedingly amiable,
and in disposition variable as the shade, but ever joyous as a
strong-bodied and intellectual boy,—a feeling which his philosophy
teaches him is a treasure beyond all price. In person he is rather
slender, but well formed and sinewy, with dark complexion, hair like the
raven’s wing, and an eye as black, as keen, and spirit-stirring as that
of an Ottawa Chief. He is one who cannot but be _loved_ by all who study
his works, and to do this is the best literary advice I can offer you or
any of my thinking friends.

And now, as an important portion of himself, let me characterize his
poetry, and give you a few specimens. As yet, he has only occasionally
published in our prominent periodicals; but a volume of his Poems is now
in press, and I prophecy that its appearance will be a bright era in our
Polite Literature. His principal efforts, up to this time, are entitled
“Ni-ma-min,” “Tale of the Morning Wind,” “Lines to a Swan,” “Love and
Beauty,” “The Cripple Boy,” the “Emigrant’s Burial,” the “Girl of the
Sky-blue Lake,” and some fine songs and sonnets. A valuable and
remarkable feature of his poetry, is its suggestive tendency. It is of a
kind calculated to purify the public taste, to make more happy those who
read it, to instil into the heart a love for the beautiful and true, and
to make us at once conscious of our own littleness in the sight of God,
and of the exalted attributes of the soul; or rather, makes a man feel
that he is but a man, and yet a portion of the Invisible. It displays a
consummate knowledge of the Indian character, an ardent attachment to
the works of nature, and showing a remarkable mastery of language, and
the writer to be possessed of a mind of refined poetical genius. You
find nothing in it “long drawn out”; every sentence has a meaning. It
contains no far-fetched conceptions and images; and every portion of
each poem is closely cemented together, and pervaded by one spirit, one
idea. Take away the rhyme, and it is poetry; take away the thought, and
you will find much poetry in the versification alone. It breathes of the
virgin wilderness, and of its brave, hardy, and noble children; and
dearly, dearly do I love it, for it recalls to mind the living joys of
my wild, free, and happy boyhood. I would rather have written his
forthcoming volume, than to have been the author of all the fashionable
novels of the present century. If it be true, that “a thing of beauty is
a joy forever,” then must the poetry of Noble be as enduring as the
English language, or the memory of the Indian race now withering from
the land. A thousand blessings rest upon the poet of my boyhood’s home!
As to the faults of his poetry, I confess that he has his share, because
he is of “woman born.” So far as my sagacity goes, the most glaring ones
are these. He is somewhat inclined to the mysticism of the German, and
sometimes makes use of epithets that remind us of his favorite authors.
In the next place, his stories are not as clearly defined as they should
be; but what, after all, to the genuine lover of poetry, is the mere
story of a poem? “_Thoughts_ that breathe, and words that burn,” are
what delight him, and it will probably be only among kindred spirits
that Noble will be popular. The mass of people will likely pass him by
“as the idle wind, which they regard not.” And why? Because their minds
are too narrow and weakly to enjoy anything superior to the horrid and
disgusting trash continually teeming from the press. Noble’s poetry is
possessed of the true spirit of the nine, and its gifted author need not
doubt as to his reward, which is the only one he desires, namely, the
approbation of sensible and refined minds.

And now, to back the foregoing opinions, I mean to quote three poems,
neither of which shall be the longest and most ambitious he has written,
viz.; “Lines to a Swan Flying in the Vale of the Huron,” “The Cripple
Boy,” and the “Girl of the Sky-blue Lake.” The Huron, alluded to in the
first, rises in the interior of Michigan, and empties into Lake Erie.
Its clear waters gave it the name of its more mighty kinsman, Lake
Huron. Now free your imagination and give it wings.

  O, what a still, bright night! It is the sleep
  Of beauteous Nature in her bridal hall.
  See, while the groves shadow the shining lake,
  How the full moon does bathe their melting green!
  I hear the dew-drop twang upon the pool,—
  Hark, hark, what music! from the rampart hills,
  How _like a far off bugle, sweet and clear_,
  It _searches through the list’ning wilderness_!—
  A swan—I know it by the trumpet-tone—
  Winging her pathless way in the cool heavens,
  Piping her midnight melody, she comes.

  Beautiful bird! upon the dark, still world
  Thou fallest like an angel—like a lone
  Sweet angel from some sphere of harmony.
  Where art thou, where?—no speck upon the blue
  My vision marks, from whence thy music ranges.
  And why this hour—this voiceless hour is thine—
  And thine alone, I cannot tell. Perchance,
  While all is hushed and silent but the heart,
  E’en _thou_ hast human sympathies for heaven,
  And singest yonder in the holy deep
  Because thou hast a pinion. If it be,
  O for a wing, upon the aerial tide
  To sail with thee, a minstrel mariner!

  When to a rarer height thou wheelest up,
  _Hast thou that awful thrill of an ascension—
  The lone, lost feeling in the vasty vault?—
  O, for thine ear, to hear the ascending tones
  Range the ethereal chambers!—then to feel
  A harmony, while from the eternal depth
  Steals nought but the pure starlight evermore!—_
  And then to list the echoes, faint and mellow,
  Far, far below, breathe from the hollow earth
  For thee, soft, sweet petition, to return.
  And hither, haply, thou wilt shape thy neck,
  And settle, like a silvery cloud, to rest,
  If thy wild image, flaring in the abyss,
  Startle thee not aloft. Lone aeronaut,
  That catchest, on thine airy looking-out,
  Glassing the hollow darkness, many a lake,
  Lay, for the night, thy lily bosom here,
  There is the deep unsounded for thy bath,
  The shallow for the shaking of thy plumes,
  The dreamy cove, or cedar-wooded isle,
  With galaxy of water-lilies, where,
  Like mild Diana ’mong the quiet stars,
  ’Neath over-bending branches, thou wilt move,
  Till early warblers shake the crystal shower,
  And whistling pinions warn thee to thy voyage.

  But where art thou!—lost—spirited away
  To bowers of light by thy own dying whispers?
  _Or does some billow of the ocean air,_
  _In its still roll around from zone to zone,_
  _All breathless to the empyrean heave thee?—_
  There is a panting in the zenith—hush!—
  The _Swan_—How strong her great wing times the silence!
  She passes over high and quietly.

  Now peals the living clarion anew,
  One vocal shower falls in and fills the vale.
  What witchery in the wilderness it plays!—
  Shrill snort the affrighted deer; across the lake
  The loon, sole sentinel, screams loud alarm;
  The shy fox barks; tingling in every vein
  I feel the wild enchantment;—hark! they come,
  The dulcet echoes from the distant hills,
  Like fainter horns responsive all the while,
  From misty isles, soft-stealing symphonies.

  The bright, swift river of the bark canoe,
  Threading the prairie ponds of Washtenung,
  Thy day of romance wanes. Few summers more,
  And the long night will pass away unwaked,
  Save by the house-dog, or the village bell;
  And she, thy minstrel queen, her ermine dip
  In lonelier waters.
                  Ah! thou wilt not stoop:
  Old Huron, haply, glistens on thy sky.
  The chasing moon-beams, glancing on thy plumes,
  Reveal thee now, a little beating blot,
  Into the pale aurora fading.
                          There!—
  Sinks gently back upon her flowery couch
  The startled night:—tinkle the damp wood-vaults,
  While slip the dew-pearls from their leafy curtain.
  That last soft whispering note, how spirit-like!
  While vainly yet my ear another waits,
  A sad, sweet longing lingers in my heart.

Is not that a magnificent production? How does it breathe of nature in
her primitive loveliness, and how completely does it wean us from the
world of flesh and blood into that other one of spiritual blessedness!
How majestic, and yet how sweet is the flowing of its numbers!—reminding
us of a strong but pleasant summer-evening wind, which is wont to make
us strangely happy, even in our grief! Can anything be more completely
exquisite than the few lines that I have marked? Is there anything in
Dana, Bryant, or Longfellow, that can eclipse them? or even in the very
best of England’s modern poets? There may be, but I have never been able
to discover them, although I almost know by heart the poetry of
Wordsworth, Coleridge, Wilson, Cowper, Goldsmith, Beattie, Shelly,
Scott, Rogers, Campbell, and Mrs. Hemans.

Now comes “The Cripple Boy,” of its kind, one of the sweetest and most
affecting things I ever read; and I willingly acknowledge that it has
often blinded my eyes with tears. Such poetry softens the heart, and
prepares us to sympathize with the unfortunate, and look with kindly
feeling upon our fellows. It smooths the rugged pathway of life, by
telling us that it is not the whole of life to live, nor the whole of
death to die. We read, and our hearts cannot but be made wiser, even as
the story of the Ancient Mariner made the heart of the Wedding Guest,
and caused him to renounce his anticipated pleasure. Read and see.

    Upon an Indian rush-mat, spread
    Where burr-oak boughs a coolness shed,
    Alone he sat,—a cripple-child,—
    With eyes so large, so dark and wild,
    And fingers, thin and pale to see,
    Locked upon his trembling knee.
    A-gathering nuts so blithe and gay,
    The children early tripped away;
    And he his mother had besought
    Under the oak to have him brought;—
    It was ever his seat when black-birds sung
    The wavy rustling tops among;—
  They calmed his pain,—they cheered his loneliness—
  The gales,—the music of the wilderness.

    Upon a prairie, wide and wild,
    Looked off that suffering cripple-child:
    The hour was breezy, the hour was bright;—
    O, ’twas a lively, a lovely sight!—
    An eagle, sailing to and fro
    Around a flitting cloud so white,
    Across the billowy grass below
    Darting swift their shadows’ light;
    And mingled noises, sweet and clear,
    Noises out of the ringing wood,
    Were pleasing trouble in his ear,
    A shock how pleasant to his blood.
  O, happy world!—Beauty and Blessing slept
  On everything but him—he felt, and wept.

    Humming a lightsome tune of yore;
    Beside the open log-house door,
    Tears upon his sickly cheek
    Saw his mother, and so did speak;—
    “What makes his mother’s Henry weep?
    You and I the cottage keep;
    They hunt the nuts and clusters blue,
    Weary lads, for me and you;
    And yonder see the quiet sheep;—
    Why now—I wonder why you weep!”—
    “Mother, I wish that I could be
    A sailor on the breezy sea!”
  “A sailor on the stormy sea, my son!—
  What ails the boy!—what have the breezes done!”

    “I do!—I wish that I could be
    A sailor on the rolling sea;
    In the shadow of the sails
    I would ride and rock all day,
    Going whither blow the gales,
    As I have heard a seaman say:
    I would, I guess, come back again
    For my mother, now and then,
    And the curling fire so bright,
    When the prairie burns at night;
    And tell the wonders I had seen
    Away upon the ocean green;”—
  “Hush! hush! talk not about the ocean so;
  Better at home a hunter hale to go.”

    Between a tear and sigh he smiled;
    And thus spake on the cripple-child:—
    “I would I were a hunter hale,
    Nimbler than the nimble doe,
    Bounding lightly down the dale,—
    But that will never be, I know!
    Behind our house the woodlands lie;
    A prairie wide and green before;
    And I have seen them with my eye
    A thousand times or more;
    Yet in the woods I never strayed,
    Or on the prairie-border played;
  O, mother dear, that I could only be
  A sailor-boy upon the rocking sea!”

    You would have turned with a tear,
    A tear upon your cheek;
    She wept aloud, the woman dear,
    And further could not speak;
    The boy’s it was a bitter lot
    She always felt, I trow;
    Yet never till then its bitterness
    At heart had grieved her so.
    _Nature had waked the eternal wish—_
    _—Liberty, far and wide!_
    And now, to win him health, with joy,
    She would that morn have died.
  Till noon she kept the shady door-way chair,
  But never a measure of that ancient air.

    Piped the March-wind;—pinched and slow
    The deer were trooping in the snow;
    He saw them out of the cottage door,
    The lame boy sitting upon the floor:
    “Mother, mother, how long will it be
    Till the prairie go like a waving sea?
    Will the bare woods ever be green—and when?
    O, will it ever be summer again?”—
    She looked in silence on her child:
    That large eye, ever so dark and wild,
    Oh me, how bright!—it may have been
    That he was grown so pale and thin.
  _It came, the emerald month, and sweetly shed_
  _Beauty for grief, and garlands for the dead._

The Girl of the Sky-blue Lake, is a simple Indian ballad, teeming with
pictures as fresh and exquisite to behold as a full-blown wild rose of
the wilderness. Some of its versification is remarkably fine, and the
idea of the story pleasing and mournful to the soul,—attributes which I
fancy are indispensable to the perfection of any poetry; for there is no
such thing as poetry without truth, and truth is ever a subject of
solemn consideration.


                                PART I.

  “Push off, push off the birch canoe,
    The wave and the wood are still;
  The screaming loon is fast asleep,
    And so is the whip-poor-will.

  The moonlight-blowing flowers I love—
    On yon little isle they grow;—”
  So said a black-eyed Ottawa girl,
    In silvery accents low.

  “Off, off with the bark canoe, my boy,
    And tarry till I come back—”
  “No, sister,” said the red-neck’d boy,
    “The panther will smell my track.

  Our boat upon the deep shall rock,
    And in it the paddles three;
  My little grey dog my bow shall watch,
    But I will keep with thee.”

  “Now, nay, across the lake I go
    Alone to the flow’ry isle;
  I’ll come e’er the big owl screams for day,
    So tarry thou here the while.

  Thou art a bounding hunter bold,
    As the wolf and the panther know;
  And thou shalt whoop at the water-stars
    That flash in the skies below;
  And when the still woods halloo back,
    The braver wilt thou grow.”

  Now half-way over the sky-blue lake
    Hath paddled the wild red girl;
  Kneeling, a wearied arm she rests,—
    The waters round her curl.

  Away she looks, with beating heart,
    Away to the purple isle;
  Beneath it swings a bright round moon;
    She listeneth all the while,—
  Heard she one far shrill whistle-sound,
    Her sadness were a smile.

  _The lake was still as still could be,_
    _And bright as a warrior’s blade;_
  _And, save the dash of the leaping fish,_
    _Not a waking sound was made._

  _The lovely bright-eyed Ottawa girl_
    _Hath bent o’er the low canoe,_
  _And smoothed anew her raven hair_
    _In the glass of the shining blue._

  And now is at the islet’s edge
    The stem of her birchen bark:
  And so is the bare, the springy foot
    Of a hunter tall and dark.

  “My deer-eyed dove,” the hunter breathed—
    And the maid fell at his knee:
  Along its lash a bright tear flashed,
    And thus again spake he.

  “My dark-eyed dove, the twisted shells,
    With tints of the blood-red snow,
  I’ve brought thee now, and scarlet bird,
    And skin of the spotted doe.”

  The red girl of the sky-blue lake,
    She loves that chieftain bold:—
  He loves again: but hatred lurks,
  And ever by day and by night it works
    In the heart of her father old.

  And hither, when the swan leads off
    Her brood on the sleeping swell,
  Beneath a climbing vine they meet,
  With tenderest words, in accents sweet,
    The tale of their loves to tell.


                                PART II.

  The Indian boy is fast asleep,
    And dew on his wolf-skin gray,
  Hath cried him weary long ago;
  His little grey dog is moaning low,
    And the big owl screams for day.

  Poor lonely sleeping Indian boy,—
    How wild are his fitful dreams?
  —In mirth she comes; and sinking now
    To the water-moon she seems.

  A wolf is trotting in the brake,
    All under the panthers’ limb;
  But they have licked a fawn’s sweet blood,
    And careless are grown of him.

  Then darker grew the shadowy woods,
    And bent with a crackling sound;
  Shines through the dark the flashing foam
    On the pebbled beach around.

  Too late the warning loon has yell’d
    To the shallow-wading crane;
  For now the thunder blast is up,
    And whirls the driving rain.

  O, red girl of the sky-blue lake,
    Look well to thy dancing bark;
  The wind is loud, the wave is white,
    And the breaking morn is dark;

  _The wind is loud, the wave is white,_
    _Look well to thy slender oar:_
  _The loon hath need of its wing of jet_
  _To battle the might of the waves, that fret_
    _Along to the foamy shore._

  Alone, upon the frothy beach,
    In the still and pleasant morn,
  The Ottawa child is waiting yet,
    But frightened and forlorn.

  His eyes are red, his hair is wild;
    He hath donned his wolf-skin gray;
  His shivering dog is moaning low;
  The child hath turned him round to go,—
    He can no longer stay.

  Yet once, with aching heart, he looks
    To the isle of flowers again;
  It seems a sleeping bank of green
    Upon a silvery plain.

  Within its shade, the voiceless swans
    Are sailing two by two;
  But never his eye can catch a glimpse
    Of the maiden’s birch canoe;—
  The bow-neck’d swans are all that move
    Upon the silvery blue.

  Turn home, heart-broken child! turn home;
    That bark is in the deep;
  And she has gone with the tinted shells
    To their own green caves to sleep.

  Her spirit owns a brighter isle
    Than floats the moon below;
  _Where never the thunder-blast is heard,_
  _She lists to the song of the scarlet bird,_
    _And plays with the beautiful doe._

There! for this letter you owe me an oyster supper,—but if you will give
me that beautiful engraving from Claude, hanging in your study, I will
call the matter settled.



                         THE UNHAPPY STRANGER.


I was a passenger on board one of those noble steamers which navigate
the Sound. The hurly-burly attending our departure from the dock was at
last ended, and I had a good opportunity to wander quietly about the
boat, studying, as it is my wont to do, the variously marked
countenances of my fellow passengers. When the supper bell rang, there
was a general movement made towards the after-cabin, and as I fell in
with the crowd, I happened to cast my eye upon the only group left
behind. This was composed of a middle-aged man and his three children.
The latter were getting ready to retire to rest, and the youngest one, a
sweet little girl of perhaps three years of age, ever and anon kept
questioning her father as follows—“where’s mother, pa?—pa, where’s
mother? When will she come back?” The kind and delicate attentions of
the father, as he smoothed the pillows and laid them in their nest,
tended to interest my feelings; and, when at the supper-table, my fancy
was busy with the scene just witnessed.

It was now quite late; the lazily-uttered joke, and the less frequent
peal of laughter, seemed to announce the spiritual presence of repose.
The newspaper, the book, and checker-board, were gradually laid aside,
and in a little while nearly all the berth-curtains were drawn up, and
their occupants in the arms of sleep. Many of the lamps were out, and
those that did remain produced a dim, solemn twilight throughout the
cabin—the only part at all animated being that corner where the
boot-black was engaged in his appropriate duty. The cause of my own
wakefulness it is unnecessary to relate; suffice it to say, it was
entirely dispelled by the following incident.

Just as I was about to retire, the sigh of a burdened heart smote my
ear, and as I turned, I beheld an individual sitting near a berth, with
his face resting upon the pillow, weeping bitterly. He was a fine,
intelligent looking man, in the prime of life; and on nearer
observation, I found him to be the identical one, who had before
attracted my attention. I approached his seat, and, in as kind a tone as
possible, inquired the cause of his unhappiness; adding, that I should
be pleased to do for him anything he might desire. For a moment, a fresh
flood of tears was my only answer; but these he soon wiped away, and
extending to me his hand, he thus began to speak.

“I am grateful to you, my dear Sir, for your expressions of kindness and
sympathy towards me, but the weight which is resting upon my spirit
cannot be easily dispelled. I have been sorely afflicted of late, and
the associations connected with that event are what caused me to forget
myself, and give vent to my emotions in tears. To be found weeping like
a child, in the midst of a multitude of strangers, may be considered a
weakness, I hope not a sin; but that you may understand my conduct, I
will relate to you the cause.

“One short month ago, as I paused to consider my condition, I fancied
myself to be one of the happiest of men. My cottage-home, which stands
in one of the fairest valleys of New Hampshire, was then a perfect
picture of contentment and peace. A much-loved wife, and three children,
were then the joys of my existence. Every pleasurable emotion which I
enjoyed was participated in by her, who was my first and only love. From
our united hearts, every morning and evening, ascended a deep-felt
prayer of gratitude to our Heavenly Father; and from the same source
sprang every hope concerning the temporal prospects of our children,
and, to us and them, of the life beyond the grave. We were at peace with
God, and with regard to this world, we had everything we desired.

“The time of harvest being now ended, and an urgent invitation having
been received from my father-in-law, I concluded to take my family, and
make a visit to the pleasant village in New Jersey, where my wife and I
were children together, and where we had plighted our early love-vows.
All things were ready, and, leaving our homestead to the care of a
servant, we started on our journey,—reaching in due time, and in safety,
our place of destination.

“We found our friends all well, and glad to see us. Not a care or
trouble rested on a single heart. Thankful for the blessings of the past
and present, all our prospects of the future were as bright as heart
could desire. ‘Old familiar faces’ greeted us at every corner, old
friendships were again revived, and a thousand delightful associations
crowded around us, so that we had nothing to do but be happy.

“Thus had two weeks passed away, when, on the very night previous to our
_intended_ departure for home, my wife was suddenly taken ill, and when
the morrow dawned,—_I was a widower, and my children motherless_. The
idol of my heart, instead of returning to her earthly home, was summoned
by her Maker to that blessed home above the stars, where the happiness
of the redeemed will never end. God is great, and His will be done; but,
alas, it almost breaks my heart to think of those bitter, bitter
words—‘never more.’ I cannot bear to think of it; never more upon the
earth shall I behold that beauteous form, and listen to that heavenly
voice, which were my delight and pride. To my eye, the greenness of
earth is forever departed. O who can tell what a day or an hour may
bring forth? O how lonely, lonely, is my poor, poor, poor heart!”

These last words of my stranger friend were uttered in a smothered tone,
and with a drooping head; and, though he held my arm after I had risen
to go, I tore myself away, for I thought it my duty to retire.

When I awoke in the morning, after a troubled sleep, I found the boat
was at the dock, and the day somewhat advanced. My first thought was
concerning the unhappy stranger, with whom I longed to have another
interview; but in making diligent search I found that he was gone, and
with him his three sweet orphan children. His form, and the few words he
had spoken, seemed to me like a dream. O yes, they were indeed the
substance of a vision—a dream of human life. Surely, surely life is but
a vapor, which appeareth for a little season, and then vanisheth away.
As the great Jeremy Taylor hath eloquently written: “Death meets us
everywhere, and is procured by every instrument, and in all chances, and
enters in at many doors; by violence and secret influence, by the aspect
of a star, by the emissions of a cloud and the melting of a vapor, by
the fall of a chariot and the stumbling of a stone, by a full meal or an
empty stomach, by watching at the wine, or by watching at prayers, by
the sun or the moon, by a heat or a cold, by sleepless nights or
sleeping days, by water frozen into the hardness and sharpness of a
dagger, or water thawed into the floods of a river, by a hair or a
raisin, by violent motion, or sitting still, by severity or dissolution,
by God’s mercy or God’s anger, by everything in providence and
everything in manners, by everything in nature and everything in chance.
We take pains to heap up things useful to our life, and get our death in
the purchase; and the person is snatched away, and the goods remain. And
all this is the law and constitution of nature; it is a punishment to
our sins, the unalterable event of providence, and the decree of heaven.
The chains that confine us to this condition are strong as destiny, and
immutable as the eternal laws of God.”

This picture of man’s condition is indeed most melancholy, but let us
remember it is not a hopeless one. Only let us keep the commandments,
and confide in the promises of the Invisible, and we shall eventually
find that the laws regulating our final redemption will prove to be as
immutable as those concerning our earthly condition.



                       A WEEK IN A FISHING SMACK.


On Monday morning of last week I started from Norwich, bound to New
London, and from thence to any other portion of the world where I might
have some sport in the way of salt-water fishing. In less than an hour
after landing from the steamboat, I had boarded the handsome smack
Orleans, Captain Keeney, and by dint of much persuasion secured a berth
on board to accompany him on a fishing voyage. In addition to my
previous preparation, I had only to purchase a Guernsey shirt and
tarpaulin; and by the time I was regularly equipped, the sails were
hoisted, and we were on our course for Nantucket. An intimate
acquaintance was soon formed between myself and crew, which consisted of
the master, two sailors, and the cook. The whole time that I spent in
their company was six days, as I reached home on the following Saturday
evening. The incidents that I met with were somewhat new, as a matter of
course, and I employed a few moments of every evening during my absence,
in briefly recording the events of the past day; and that medley I now
put together as a literary chowder.

_Monday Evening._ My observations to-day have been limited to our little
vessel, in consequence of a dense fog, which drenched us to the skin,
and seems likely to continue us in this state of preservation. I have
obtained some information, however, concerning the character of an
interesting class of men, which may be new to you. Smack-fishermen are a
brave, hardy, honest, and simple-hearted race, and as my Captain tells
me, spend nine-tenths of their time “rocked in the cradle of the deep.”
Their vessels, or smacks, are generally of about forty tons burthen; the
number of those which supply New York and Boston with fish is said to be
near a thousand, and they are all at home anywhere on the coast between
the Kennebeck and the Delaware. Of the perils which these fishermen
endure, and the privations they suffer, how little is known or thought
by the great world at large! Yet I believe there is as much genuine
happiness in their lives, as in those of any other class. Their fathers
were fishermen before them, and as they themselves have mostly been born
within hearing of the surf, they look upon the unsounded deep as their
fitting home, their only home, and would not part with it for a palace
or a crown. Four is the usual number of a smack’s crew, and the master
is invariably called a skipper. Most of them are worthy husbands and
fathers, whose families are snugly harbored in some convenient seaport,
with enough and to spare of the good things of life. They are a jovial
set of men, hailing each other upon the ocean as friends, and meeting
upon land as brothers. Each skipper thinks his craft the handsomest and
swiftest that floats, and very exciting are the races they sometimes
run. Their affection for their own vessel is like that of the Arab for
his steed, and like the Arab, too, they have been known even to weep
over the grave of their darling and their pride.

The kinds of fish which they mostly bring to market are shad, salmon,
lobsters, mackerel, cod, bluefish, haddock, blackfish, paugies, bass,
and halibut. The first three are generally purchased of local fisherman,
but all the rest are caught by themselves. The haunts of the blackfish
are rocky reefs, those of the bass and bluefish in the vicinity of sandy
shoals or tide rips, and those of the remainder in about fifteen fathom
water. These are the varieties they capture by way of business, but when
in a frolicsome mood they frequently attack a sword-fish, a shark, or
black whale; and soul-thrilling indeed, and laughable withal, are the
yarns they spin concerning these exploits.

As to their mode of living, while at sea, it is just what it should be,
and what they would have it, although it would be “positively shocking”
to a Bond Street gentleman of leisure. But they always possess a good
appetite, which is what money cannot purchase, and without which the
greatest delicacy in the world would be insipid or loathsome. Fish,
sea-biscuit, corned-beef and pork, potatoes, onions, and pancakes,
constitute their provisions, and what besides these would a reasonable
man desire? It is with a mixture of some of these, that a _chowder_ is
concocted, and where can anything more delicious be found, even at the
tables of the Astor and American? And with these ingredients, moreover,
they manage very well to keep body and soul together, unless a storm on
a rock-bound coast happens to make a sudden separation.

I have just been on deck, and must say that I resume my pen with a
heavier heart. The fog has not dispersed in the least, a regular gale of
wind is blowing from the north, and the waves, seemingly in a revengeful
mood, are tossing our bark about, as if the skipper, like the Ancient
Mariner, had shot another albatros. But like a fearless man, as he is,
he stands at the helm, watching the sails with a steady eye, and the men
with their storm-jackets on are standing by, muttering something about
the coming darkness, and a reef somewhere on our lee. Never before have
I so distinctly understood the force of the Psalmist’s simile, when he
compares a wave to a drunken man reeling to and fro. Both have it in
their power to cause a mighty mischief, and both become exhausted and
perish,—one upon a sandy beach, and the other, sweeping over the
peninsula of time, finds a grave on the shore of oblivion. Heavens! how
the wind whistles, and the waters roar! Aye, but a still small voice
salutes my ear, and I lay me down to sleep, with a prayer upon my lips,
and a feeling of security at my heart, as I place implicit confidence in
Him who holdeth the ocean in the hollow of his hand.

_Tuesday Evening._ I was awakened out of a deep sleep this morning by
the following salutation from the skipper, as he patted me on the
shoulder. “It’s a beautiful morning, and you ought to be up,—the fog is
gone, and the wind is down; won’t you come up and take the helm
awhile,—so that the boys and I may obtain a little sleep before reaching
the fishing-ground, which will be about ten o’clock?” I was delighted to
accept the invitation, and in a very short time the sailors were asleep,
and I in my new station, proud as a king, and happy as a sinless boy.
And oh that I could describe the scene that fascinated my eyes as I lay
there upon the deck, with one arm reposing on the rudder, and my other
hand grasping a Claude glass! I felt as I once felt before, when
standing on the famous precipice of Niagara, that then, more than ever,
I desired God to be my friend. I also felt, that if the world did not
demand the feeble services of my life, I should wish to remain upon the
ocean forever, provided I could have “one fair being for my minister.”
More earnestly than ever did I long for a complete mastery of my art.
The fact of being out sight of land, where the blue element announced
that the ocean was soundless, filled my soul with that “lone, lost
feeling,” which is supposed to be the eagle’s, when journeying to the
zenith of the sky. The sun had just risen above the waves, and the whole
Eastern portion of the heavens was flooded with the most exquisite
coloring I ever beheld,—from the deepest crimson to the faintest and
most delicate purple, from the darkest yellow to an almost invisible
green; and all blended, too, in a myriad of forms of marvellous
loveliness. A reflection of this scene was also visible in the remaining
quarters of the horizon. Around me the illimitable deep, whose bosom is
studded with many a gallant and glittering ship,

          that have the plain
  Of ocean for their own domain.

The waves are lulling themselves to rest, and a balmy breeze is
wandering by, as if seeking its old grandfather, who kicked up the grand
rumpus last night; whereby I learn, that the offspring of a “rough and
stormy sire,” are sometimes very beautiful and affectionate to the
children of men. But look, even the dwellers in the sea and of the sea
are participating in the hilarity of this bright autumnal morning! Here,
a school of herring are skipping along like a frolicsome party of
vagabonds as they are,—and yonder a shark has leaped out of the water,
to display the symmetry of his form and the largeness of his jaw, and
looking as if he thought “that land lubber would make me a first-rate
breakfast;” there, a lot of porpoises are playing “leap-frog,” or some
other _outlandish_ game; and, a little beyond them, a gentleman
sword-fish is swaggering along to parts unknown, to fight a duel in cold
blood with some equally cold-blooded native of the Atlantic; and now, a
flock of gulls are cleaving their course to the South, to the floating
body perhaps of a drowned mariner, which their sagacity has discovered a
league or two away,—and now, again, I notice a flock of petrels,
hastening onward to where the winds blow and the waves are white. Such
are the pictures I beheld in my brief period of command. It may have
been but fancy, but I thought my little vessel was trying to eclipse her
former beauty and her former speed. One thing I know, that she “walked
the water like a thing of life.” I fancied, too, that I was the
identical last man whom Campbell saw in his vision, and that I was then
bound to the haven of eternal rest. But my shipmates returning from the
land of Nod, and a certain clamor within my own body having caught my
ear, I became convinced that to break my fast would make me happier than
anything else just at that time, and I was soon as contented as an
alderman at five P. M. About two hours after this we reached our fishing
place, which was twenty miles east of Nantucket. We then lowered the jib
and topsail, and having luffed and fastened the mainsheet, so that the
smack could easily float, we hauled out our lines and commenced fishing,
baiting our hooks with clams, of which we had some ten bushels on board.
Cod fishing (for we were on a codding cruize) is rather dull sport; it
is, in fact, what I would call hard labor. In six hours we had caught
all the skipper wanted, or that the well would hold, so we made sail
again, bound to New York; and at supper-time the deck of our smack was
as clean and dry, as if it had never been pressed save by the feet of
ladies. At sunset, however, a fierce southerly wind sprang up, so that
we were compelled to make a harbor; and just as I am closing this
record, we are anchoring at Nantucket, with a score of storm-beaten
whales on our starboard bow.

_Wednesday Evening._ The weather to-day has been quite threatening, and
the skipper thought it best to remain at our moorings; but with me the
day has not been devoid of interest; for, in my sailor garb, I have been
strolling about the town, studying the great and solemn drama of life,
while playfully acting a subordinate part myself. This morning, as it
happened, I went into the public grave-yard, and spent an hour conning
over the rude inscriptions to the memory of the departed. In that city
of the dead I saw a number of the living walking to and fro, but there
was one who attracted my particular attention. He was a seaman of noble
presence, seated upon an unmarked mound, with his feet resting upon a
smaller one beside it, his head reclined upon one hand, while the other
was occasionally passed across his face, as if wiping away a tear. I
hailed him with a few kind questions, and my answer was the following
brief tale.

“Yes, sir, four years ago I shipped aboard that whaler yonder, leaving
behind me, in a sweet little cottage of my own, a dear, first-rate
mother, a good wife, and an only boy. They were all in the enjoyment of
good health, and happy; and, when we were under sail, and I saw from the
mast-head how kindly they waved their handkerchiefs beside my door, I
too was happy, even in my hour of grief. Since that time I have
circumnavigated the globe, and every rare curiosity I could obtain was
intended for my darling ones at home. Last Saturday our ship returned.
And while yet a league from port, I was again at the mast head, looking
with an anxious heart towards my nest upon the shore. I saw that the
blinds were closed, and that all around was very still; but ‘they are
only gone a visiting,’ thought I, and rejoiced at heart. I landed, flew
to my dwelling, and found it locked. The flagging in my yard attracted
my notice, and I thought it strange that the rank grass had been
suffered to grow over it so thickly. The old minister passed by my gate,
and running to him with extended hand, I inquired for my family. ‘Oh Mr.
B.,’ said he, ‘you must bless the Lord,—he gave them to you, and he hath
taken them away.’ And as the thought stole into my brain, my suffering,
Sir, was intense, and I longed to die. And there they are, my wife and
darling child, and, a step or two beyond, my dear old mother. Peace to
their memories. As for me, I am a victim to blight and desolation, and
that sacred song which my mother used to be so fond of singing on
Sabbath evenings long ago, that song I can understand now:—

  ‘I would not live alway; I ask not to stay
  Where storm after storm rises dark o’er the way;
  The few lurid mornings that dawn on us here,
  Are enough for life’s woes, full enough for its cheer.’

In a few days I mean to deliver up my property to the Seaman’s Friend
Society, and then launching upon the deep once more, become, and
forever, a wanderer from my native land.”

Such is the simple story I heard in the Nantucket grave-yard, and I have
pondered much upon the world of woe which must be hidden in the breast
of that old mariner. May the tale not have been recorded in vain.

After dinner, to-day, I got into company with some fishermen who were
going after bass and bluefish, and in a short time I had captured, with
my own hands, two big bass and some dozen bluefish,—which I packed in
ice as a present to some New York friends.

At my present time of writing, which is near ten o’clock at night, we
are weighing anchor, and the skipper tells me we shall be in New York by
to-morrow’s sunset. An hour before coming on board this evening, I
lounged into a sailor boarding-house, and mingled as freely with a
company of whalemen there, as if I had ever been a _bonâ fide_ member of
the craft. I heard a great deal that interested me, and was sorry that I
could not remain longer. There were some in that company lately arrived
from every portion of the world, and yet they were engaged in the same
business, and had journeyed on the same mighty highway of nations. One
was descanting upon the coral islands of the Torrid zone, another upon
the ice-mountains of the Arctic Sea, a third was describing the coast of
California, and another the waters that lave the Eastern shore of Asia.
The more I listened to these men the more did the immensity of ocean
expand before my mind, and in the same proportion was I led to wonder at
the wisdom of the Almighty.

I have just been on deck, and find that we are on the way to our desired
haven, wafted by a steady and pleasant breeze. Our course is between
Martha’s Vineyard and Rhode Island, which is a route studded with
islands and seaports, that now appear in the cool starlight like the
pictures of a dream.

_Thursday Evening._ Instead of coming through the Sound last night, we
headed our vessel outside of Long Island, and after a delightful sail
have realized our skipper’s promise, for we are now floating beside the
market in New York. The reason assigned for taking the outside course
was, that the fish would keep better, on account of the greater coldness
of the water. Nothing of peculiar interest has happened to us to-day,
except the meeting with a wreck off Sandy Hook. It was the hull of a
large ship, whose name we could not discern. It had a very old
appearance, and from the moss and sea-weed that covered it, we supposed
it must have been afloat for many months, the plaything of the waves.
“Man marks the earth with ruin,” but who is it that scatters such
splendid ruins upon the ocean? And a thousand thousand remorseless
surges echo back the answer: “To us, belong the glory of those deeds.”
If that wreck had language, what a strange, eventful history would it
reveal! Its themes would be,—home and all its treasures lost; the sea,
and all its dangers; the soul, and all its agonies; the heart, and all
its sufferings. But when we multiply all this as fast as time is
multiplying it, we cannot but realize the idea, that human life is but a
probationary state, and that sorrow and sighing are our earthly
inheritance.

_Friday Evening._ After portioning out my fish this morning, and sending
them to my friends, I put on my usual dress, and having obtained a six
hours’ furlough, set off towards Broadway, where, between the Mercantile
Library reading rooms and the studios of a few artists, I managed to
spend my time quite pleasantly. At noon we embarked for home, and had a
delightful time, passing through the East River, and that pleasing
panorama from the city to the Sound never appeared more beautiful.

It is now quite late, and I have been on deck all the evening alone. In
a thoughtful mood I fixed my eyes upon the stars, and my spirits were
saddened by the continual murmur of the sea. Of what avail, thought I,
is all this excitement? Why was I created, and what, O what is my
destiny? Is it to sail for a few brief years longer upon the ocean of
life, and, when the death-tempest overtakes me, to pass away unloved and
unremembered by a single human heart? If not an honored name, can I not
leave behind me an humble memory, that will be cherished by a few, a
very few, to whom I have laid bare my innermost soul, when I was younger
than I am, and a hundred-fold more happy? What! O night! what is my
destiny? And the tears upon my cheeks were the only answer that I
received,—and I descended into the cabin to my berth, to pray, to
slumber, and to dream.

_Saturday Evening._ We anchored off New London to-day, in time for me to
take the evening steamer for Norwich. When I parted with my “shipmates,”
I shook each one affectionately by the hand, and thought that I might
travel many years without finding a brotherhood of nobler men. I reached
home as the eight o’clock bells were ringing, and was reminded that
another week of precious time was gone, and “another Sabbath was begun.”
That the present must be remembered as an unprofitable week, I cannot
believe, for I feel that my soul has been enlarged, and my heart
humbled, by listening to the teachings of the mighty deep.



                          TRIP TO WATCH HILL.


A few mornings ago, just as the sun had risen above the eastern hills,
which look down upon the Thames at Norwich, the prettiest sailboat of
the place left her moorings, and with a pleasant northerly breeze
started for the Sound. Her passengers consisted of six gentlemen, all
equipped in their sporting jackets, and furnished with fishing tackle,
and their place of destination was Watch Hill, which is a point of land
in Rhode Island, extending into the Atlantic, a few miles from
Stonington. We were on a fishing frolic, as a matter of course, and a
happier company, I ween, were never yet afloat, for the sport of a
morning breeze. What with the story, the jest, the iced lemonade and
exquisite cigar, the minutes glided by as swiftly and unobserved as the
tiny waves around us. Now we met a solitary fisherman, towing for bass,
and as we hailed him with a friendly shout and passed by, he began to
talk in an under tone, and his voice did not die away until we had
turned a point. Oh, what would I not give for an accurate record of that
old man’s life! Anon, we witnessed the soothing picture of a well
conducted farm, with its greengirt cottage, spacious barns, neat and
flowing fields, and abundance of horses and oxen, cows, sheep, hogs, and
poultry. Now we saw some noble men, such as Vernet delighted to paint,
hauling the seine, and, as the “fruit of all their toil” were thrown
upon the sand, their flipping forms reflected back the sunlight,
reminding us of the short-lived glory of an earth-born name. Now, we
were overtaken and tossed about by a steamer bound to New Haven; and
then we sailed in company with a boat, a sloop, and schooner; meeting
others, beating up, from Boston, New York, and Philadelphia. And the
termination of this pleasing panorama was composed of Gale’s Ferry, the
commanding town, fort, and monument of Groton, together with the city of
New London, among whose anchored shipping floated the saucy Revenue
Cutter, and at whose docks were chained a goodly number of storm-beaten
whalers.

Having taken in “our stores,” and obtained from the fish-market a basket
of bait, we again hoisted sail and put to sea, “bound first to Commit
Rock,” and “binding” ourselves to capture all of the watery enemy which
might tempt the power or the dexterity of our arms.

When about three miles from New London, all eyes were attracted by a
beautiful craft on our lee, laden with a party of ladies and gentlemen.
“They’re going toward a reef!” exclaimed our captain; and no sooner had
the words escaped his lips, than the stranger struck, and stove a hole
through her bottom. We were just in time to save the party from a watery
grave; and when we had landed them in safety on the beach, we were well
repaid for our trouble by the consciousness of having done a good act,
and by the thankful words and benignant smiles of the ladies fair. A
dozen minutes more and we were within oar’s length of the fishing rock.
“All ashore, that’s coming!” shouted our mate, when we all leaped out,
and a plenty of line being given her, the boat swung to, and “like a
cradled thing at rest,” floated upon the waves. Then commenced the
sport. The breeze was refreshing, and the breath of the salt sea-foam
buoyed up our spirits to a higher pitch, and gave new vigor to our
sinews. The youngest of the party was the first who threw his hook,
which was snapped in the twinkling of an eye. Another trial, and a
four-pound blackfish lay extended upon the rock. Another, and another,
and another, until fourscore, even-numbered, came following after. Tired
of the sport, two of the party entered the boat, and hoisted sail for a
little cruize. Half an hour had elapsed, when the steady breeze changed
into a frightful gale, capsizing within hailing distance a fishing boat
with two old men in it. Hanging on, as they were, to the keel of the
boat (which having no ballast could not sink), their situation was
extremely dangerous, as there was not a vessel within two miles. The
poor men beckoned to us to help them; but as our boat was gone, we could
not do so, which of course we much regretted. For one long, long hour
did they thus hang, “midway betwixt life and death,” exposed to the
danger of being washed away by the remorseless surge, or swallowed up,
as we were afterwards told, by a couple of sharks, which were kept away
only by the hand of Providence. This incident tended to cool our ardor
for fishing, and as we were satisfied with that day’s luck, we put up
our gear, during which time the boat arrived, and we embarked for the
Hill. We made one short turn, however, towards the boat which had picked
up the fishermen, as we were anxious to tell them why we did not come to
their relief. We then tacked about, and the last words we heard from our
companions were,—“Thank you—thank you—God bless you all,” and until we
had passed a league beyond Fisher Island, our little vessel “carried a
most beautiful bone between her teeth.”

At sunset we moored our little boat on the eastern shore of Paucatuck
Bay. On ascending to the Watch Hill hotel, we found it to be a large,
well-furnished house, and our host to be a fat and jolly Falstaff-ish
sort of man, just suited to his station. At seven o’clock we sat down to
a first-rate blackfish supper, then smoked a cigar, and while my
companions resorted to the ten-pin alley, I buttoned up my pea-jacket,
and sallied forth on an “exploring expedition.” As I stood on the
highest point of the peninsula facing, the south, I found that the
light-house stood directly before me, on the extreme point, that a
smooth beach faded away on either side, the left hand one being washed
by the Atlantic, and that on the right by the waters of Fisher Island
Bay, and that the dreary hills in my rear were dotted by an occasional
dwelling. The breeze had died away, and the bright, full moon was in the
cloudless sky. Many sails were in the offing, passing by and being
passed by the Providence and Stonington steamboats bound to New York.
The scenery around me, and the loveliness of the day, with its galaxy of
stars above me, caused me to forget myself, and I wandered far away upon
the shore—alone, in the awful presence of the great Atlantic Ocean. No
sounds fell upon my ear, save the muffled roar of the ground swell, and
the faint whispers of the tiny waves as they melted upon the sand. I
traced my name, and beside it that of another, a being beauteous, for
whose cabinet of curiosities I gathered many a round, smooth pebble, and
many a delicate sea-shell. I wandered on, now gazing with wonder and
admiration into the cerulean vault of Heaven, or into the still deeper
blue of the mighty sea; and now singing with a loud voice one of the
sacred songs of the sweet singer of Israel. Now, a thousand images of
surpassing loveliness darted across my vision, as I thought of God—of an
eternal life in heaven—and of love, divine and human; and then there
came a weight upon my spirit, as I remembered the powers of darkness,
the destiny of the condemned, and the miseries engendered by our evil
passions. One moment I deemed myself immortal, released forever from the
contaminating influence of sin, and then I thought of the valley of
death, and trembled. In that communion with the mysteries of the
universe, strongly blended as they were, I felt that I could wander on
without fatigue, until the whole earth should be trodden by my pilgrim
feet. But the chilly air and the fading night warned me to retrace my
steps, and in an hour I had reached my home.

When the sun rose from his ocean-bed on the following morning,
surrounded by a magnificent array of clouds, I was up, and busily
engaged preparing for a day’s fishing,—first, and before breakfast, for
bluefish, then for blackfish, and then for bass. While my companions
were asleep, I went out with an old fisherman, and by breakfast time had
captured thirty bluefish, weighing about two pounds apiece. The manner
of catching these is to tow for them with a long line, the bait being a
piece of ivory attached to a strong hook. They are a very active and
powerful fish, and when hooked make a great fuss, skipping and leaping
out of the water.

At nine o’clock our party were at anchor on a reef about one mile off,
and for the space of about two hours we hauled in the blackfish fast as
possible, many of them weighing eight to ten pounds apiece. For them,
you must have a small straight hook, and for bait, lobsters or crabs. A
broiled blackfish, when rightly cooked, is considered one of the best of
saltwater delicacies.

But the rarest of all fishing is that of catching bass, and a first-rate
specimen I was permitted to enjoy. About eleven o’clock, I jumped into
the surf-boat of an old fisherman, requesting him to pull for the best
bass ground with which he was acquainted. In the mean time my friends
had obtained a large boat, and were going to follow us. The spot having
been reached, we let our boat float, wherever the tide and wind impelled
it, and began to throw over lines, using for bait the skin of an eel six
inches long. Those in the neighboring boat had fine luck, as they
thought, having caught some dozen five-pounders, and they seemed to be
perfectly transported because nearly an hour had passed and I had caught
nothing. In their glee they raised a tremendous shout, but before it had
fairly died away, my line was suddenly straightened, and I knew that I
had a prize. Now it cut the water like a streak of lightning, although
there were two hundred feet out, and as the fish returned I still kept
it taught; and after playing with him for about forty minutes, I
succeeded in drowning him, then hauled up gradually, and with my
boat-hook landed him in the boat safe and sound. The length of that
striped bass was four feet two inches, and his weight, before cleaned,
fifty-eight pounds. That is a “fish story” worth telling. As a
beneficial effect and natural consequence of that triumph, I would
state, that I have grown about one inch in height since then,—more or
less,—as the saying is,—but probably less. You can easily imagine the
chop-fallen appearance of my brother fishermen, when they found out that
“the race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong.” At
three o’clock in the afternoon, a piece of that bass tended to satisfy
the appetite which had been excited by his capture, and I assure you it
touched the _right_ spot.

Satisfied with our piscatorial sports, we concluded to spend the rest of
the day quietly gathering shells upon the beach; but causes of
excitement were still around us. No sooner had we reached the water’s
edge, than we discovered a group of hardy men standing on a little
knoll, in earnest conversation, while some of them were pointing towards
the sea. “To the boat—to the boat,” suddenly shouted their leader, when
they all descended with the speed of Swiss mountaineers, and on reaching
a boat which had been made ready, they pushed her into the surf, and
three of them jumped in, and thus commenced the interesting scene of
hauling the seine. There was something new and romantic to us in the
thought, that the keen and intelligent eye of man could even penetrate
into the deep, so far as to designate the course of travel of the tribes
of the sea. And when the seine was drawn, it was a glorious and
thrilling sight to see those fishermen tugging at the lines, or leap
into the surf, which sometimes completely covered them, to secure the
tens of thousands of fish which they had caught. There was a grace and
beauty about the whole scene, which made me long for the genius of a
Mount or Edmonds.

A little before sunset, I was again strolling along the shore, when the
following incident occurred. You will please return with me to the spot.
Yonder on that fisherman’s stake, a little sparrow has just alighted,
facing the main. It has been lured away from the green bowers of home by
the music of the sea, and is now gazing, perhaps with feelings kindred
to my own, upon this most magnificent structure of the Almighty hand.
See! it spreads its wing, and is now darting towards the water—fearless
and free. Ah! it has gone too near! for the spray moistens its plumes!
There—there it goes, frightened back to its native woodland. That little
bird, so far as its power and importance are concerned, seems to me a
fit emblem of the mind of man, and this great ocean an appropriate
symbol of the mind of God.

The achievements of the human mind “have their passing paragraphs of
praise, and are forgotten.” Man may point to the Pyramids of Egypt,
which are the admiration of the world, and exclaim, “Behold the symbol
of my power and importance!” But most impotent is the boast. Those
mighty mysteries stand in the solitude of the desert, and the glory of
their destiny is fulfilled, in casting a temporary shadow over the tent
of the wandering Arab.

The achievements of the Almighty mind are beyond the comprehension of
man, and lasting as his own eternity. The spacious firmament, with its
suns, and moons, and stars; our globe, with its oceans, and mountains,
and rivers; the regularly revolving seasons; and the still, small voice
continually ascending from universal nature, all proclaim the power and
goodness of their great original. And everything which God has created,
from the nameless insect to the world of waters, which is the highway of
nations, was created for good, was created to accomplish some omnipotent
end. As this ocean is measureless and fathomless, so is it an emblem,
beautiful but faint, of that wonderful Being, whose throne is above the
milky-way, and who is himself from everlasting to everlasting. But see,
there is a heavy cloud rising in the west, the breeze is freshening,
flocks of wild ducks are flying inland, and the upper air is ringing
with the shrill whistle of the bold and wild sea-gull, whose home is the
boundless sea; therefore, as my dear friend Noble has somewhere written,
“the shortest homeward track’s the best.”

Still in the present tense would I continue. The witching hour of
midnight has again returned. A cold rain-storm has just passed over, the
moon is again the mistress of a cloudless sky, but the wind is still
raging in all its fury.

        “I view the ships that come and go,
          Looking so like to living things.
        O! ’tis a proud and gallant show
          Of bright and broad-spread wings,
  Making it light around them, as they keep
  Their course right onward through the unsounded deep.”
                                                                 _Dana._

God be with them and their brave and gallant crews. But, again.

  “Where the far-off sand-bars lift
    Their backs in long and narrow line,
  The breakers shout, and leap, and shift,
    And send the sparkling brine
  Into the air; then rush to mimic strife;
  Glad creatures of the sea, and full of life!”
                                                                 _Ibid._

But I must stop quoting poetry, for as “a thing of beauty is a joy
forever,” I should be forever writing about the sea. Heavens! What a
terrible song is the ocean singing! with his long white hair streaming
in the wind. The waving, splashing, wailing, dashing, howling, rushing,
and moaning of the waves, is a glorious lullaby, and a fit prelude to a
dream of the sea.

At an early hour on the following day we embarked for home, but a sorry
time did we have of it, for the winds were very lazy. We were ten hours
going the distance of twenty-two miles. It was now sunset, we were off
Gale’s Ferry, and not a solitary breath of air. Ashore we went, resolved
to await the coming of the Sag Harbor steamboat, which usually arrived
about nine o’clock, and by which we were taken in tow. Snugly seated in
our boat, and going at the rate of eighteen miles, we were
congratulating ourselves upon an early arrival home, and had already
begun to divide and string up our fish. But, alas, at this moment the
painter broke, the steamer, unconscious of our fate, still sped onward,
while we sheered off towards the shore, _almost disgusted_ with human
life in general—for our boat was large, and we had but one oar. But what
matter? We were a jolly set, and the way we gave three cheers, as a
prelude to the song of “Begone Dull Care,” must have been startling to
the thousand sleeping echoes of hill, forest, river, and glen.

Having crept along at snails pace about one mile, we concluded to land,
and, if possible, obtain a place to sleep, and something to eat; for not
having had a regular dinner, and not a mouthful of supper, we were half
starved. With clubs in our hands, to keep off hobgobblins and bull dogs,
we wended our way towards a neighboring farm-house, where we knocked for
admittance. Pretty soon a great gawky-looking head stuck itself out of
an upper window, to which we made known our heartfelt desires, receiving
in return the following answer: “My wife is sick—hain’t got any
bread—you can go in the barn to sleep if you want to;” and we turned
reluctantly away, troubled with a feeling very nearly allied to anger.
“Come, let’s go off in this direction,” exclaimed one of the party, “and
I’ll introduce you to my old friend, Captain Somebody,”—and away we
posted, two by two, across a new-mown field. Presently our two leaders
were awe-stricken by the sudden appearance of something white, which
seemed to be rising out of the earth beside a cluster of bushes, and the
way they wheeled about and put for the river, (accompanied by their
fellows, whose fright was merely sympathetic,) was “a caution” to all
unbelievers in ghosts and other midnight spectres.

At last we halted to gain a little breath, an explanation was made, and
our captain forthwith resolved to _investigate_ the matter. He now took
the lead, and on coming to the mysterious spot, discovered an _old blind
white horse_; who had been awakened by a noise, and, following the
instinct of his nature, had risen from his lair, to be better prepared
for danger. I doubt whether the echoes are yet silent, which were caused
by the loud and long peals of laughter which resounded to the sky. Being
in a strange land, without chart or compass, we could not find the
mortal dwelling place of Captain Somebody, and so we changed our course
of travel.

We stopt at another house, farther on, but to save our lives we could
not obtain an interview, although we entered the hen-coop, and set the
hens and roosters a cackling and crowing, the pig-pen, and set the hogs
a squealing, while a large dog and two puppies did their best to
increase and prolong the mighty chorus. If our farmer friend did not
deem himself transported to Bedlam, about that time, we imagine that
nothing on earth would have the power to give him such a dream. Our
ill-luck made us almost desperate, and so we returned to the boat,
resolved to row the whole distance home, could we but find an extra oar.

It was now eleven o’clock, and the only things that seemed to smile upon
us were the ten thousand stars, studding the clear, blue firmament.
Anon, a twinkling light beamed upon our vision; and as we approached, we
found it to proceed from a little hut on an island, where the Thames
lamplighter and his boy were accustomed to pass the night after their
work was done. Having again concluded to land, we received a hearty
welcome, as the host proved to be an old acquaintance of our captain and
mate. “Have you anything to eat?” was almost the first question of every
tongue. “No, nothing but this barrel of crackers and some cheese,”
exclaimed the man of light. “And we,” shouted one of our crew, “have
plenty of fish,—can’t we have a chowder?” “Aye, aye; a chowder, a
chowder it shall be,” were the words which rang aloud to the very
heavens. A wherry was despatched to the main-land, to the well known
habitation of an old fisherman, for the necessary iron pot and bowls;
for the potatoes and onions, which were dug for the occasion; for the
pork, the pepper, and salt; all which, added to our biscuit and
black-fish, nicely cleaned and prepared, constituted a chowder of the
very first water. There was one addition to our company, in the person
of the old fisherman; and our appearance, as we were seated in a circle
on the floor, each with a bowl of thick hot soup in his hands,
constituted a picture rich and rare. After we were done, it was
acknowledged by all, that a better meal had never been enjoyed by mortal
man. In about thirty minutes from this time the odd one of the company
bade us “good night,” and the midnight brotherhood resigned themselves
to sleep. The last sounds I heard, before closing my eyes, were caused
by the regular opposition steamboats from New York, as they shot ahead
almost as “swift as an arrow from a shivering bow.”

The first faint streak of daylight found us on board our boat, homeward
bound, wafted on by a pleasant southerly breeze. At the usual hour, we
were all seated at our respective breakfast tables, relating our
adventures of the excursion just ended.



                         OUR NEW YORK PAINTERS.


Sometime ago, when I indited a letter on the paintings of Cole, I partly
intended it to be the first of a series, which should include all those
of our painters who have established themselves as masters. Since then,
however, I have relinquished that idea. I am not _sufficiently_ well
acquainted with all these gentlemen, and the number of their
productions, to devote a separate paper to each, and have, therefore,
concluded briefly to embody my opinions concerning them in a single
letter. I propose to speak of those only who are identified with New
York, and who are now in the full tide of successful operation; and my
object will be merely to write what would correspond to a letter of
introduction. In my list, made without respect to persons, are the
following names; Durand, Huntington, Edmonds, Page, Mount, Doughty,
Wier, Inman, Ingham, Chapman, and Harvey.

_Durand._ If you are at all conversant with the history of art in this
country, you need not be told that this gentleman has long borne the
enviable reputation of being our best engraver of the human figure. It
is also a well-known fact, that he has executed some remarkable pictures
in the way of portraiture and fanciful history; but as he is now
devoting himself principally to landscape, I shall consider his merits
in this department alone.

His only imaginative landscapes, are a pair, allegorically portraying
the “Morning and Evening” of human life. In one, the monuments of art
and the works of nature are in their prime, and a halo of hope seems to
surround the brow of every living creature, young men and maidens, and
dancing children. In the other, the same monuments and the same nature
are falling to decay, and most of earth’s children are trembling under
the weary load of life. And here, on a fallen column, is seated an old
man leaning upon his staff, and listening, as it were, to a song of
memory, as it recalls the unnumbered joys of other days. A saddening
subject, in reality, is here portrayed, but how has the genius of the
painter endowed it with a spirit of immortality! To the thoughtful mind,
it possesses a world of eloquence, and touches the heart with the thrill
of poetry. Considered as a maiden effort in the most exalted branch of
landscape painting, it affords abundant reason to believe that Mr.
Durand would accomplish great things in this department, if he would but
persevere. The only fault I can find with it, is this—in the idea of its
design, and in some parts of its execution, it bears too close a
resemblance to the Departure and Return, or the Past and Present, of
Thomas Cole.

The majority of Mr. Durand’s landscapes I should designate as actual
views and fanciful pictures; and here, I think, he is without a
superior. In the choice of subjects, he always displays an exquisite
taste; and as he paints with great care, and finishes highly, there is
an indescribable summer-day charm about his pictures which is peculiarly
their own. The three most difficult things in nature for an artist to
delineate, are trees, atmospheres, and figures; but all these have been
thoroughly mastered by Mr. Durand. His trees are strongly
characteristic, and his figures numerous, happily introduced, and
accurately drawn. Of his views, I mostly admire “Lake Geneva,”
“Shakspeare’s Church,” two “Views in Switzerland,” “Island of Capri,”
“Deserted Road-side,” “Farm Yard on the Hudson,” “Oak Tree with horses
under it,” and a “View on the Rhine.” Each one of these is a perfect
gem, a beautiful and poetical reproduction of the original scene. But
the most unique and superb of all his paintings, is a fanciful picture
of a large size, exhibiting an extensive lake in a wilderness. The sun
is on the verge of the horizon, the sky is studded with an array of most
gorgeous clouds, and the surface of the lake is quivering under the
pinions of an evening breeze. In one corner of the foreground is a
cluster of luxuriant trees, encircled with grape-vines, and in the
other, an admirable rock, on which is standing a solitary heron, the
only living creature in the whole scene. The great triumph of this
picture is in the water—the gold-tipt waves.

The last time I saw Mr. Durand, he was finishing some studies of
chestnut trees in blossom, which stand on the margin of Esopus Creek.
They are wonderfully true to nature, and will enhance his reputation,
even if he should not paint anything more during the coming summer. But
I hope that he may not only live to do this, but to paint a dozen
summers more, and a dozen pictures in each summer; for he is a great
artist, and an honor to his native country.

_Huntington._ Although this gentleman is under thirty years of age, he
has produced many admirable pictures, which place him on a level with
the most gifted artists of any country. He commenced his career by
painting landscapes, many of which were wood-scenes and waterfalls on
the Rondout. They are remarkable for their rich coloring, and dashing
style of execution. But it is as a portrait and historical painter that
he is most celebrated. In both these departments his power is wonderful.
Eight years ago he was a pupil of Mr. Morse, but now is an acknowledged
master, and the pride of his profession. He uses the most glowing
colors, and yet there is a perfect harmony in all he paints; he handles
the pencil in a fine off-hand style, and yet his flesh possesses the
softness of the reality; he can take the most ordinary head, and by his
arrangement and his faculty of exalting his subject, make an interesting
picture, while at the same time it will be a speaking likeness. Of his
portraits, the most superb are those of his father, an uncle and aunt,
“The Venetian Girl,” the “Roman Girl,” and “Shepherd Boy of the
Campagna.” The last of these, which we think is equal to Murillo’s
“Beggar Boy,” was painted in the incredible short period of four hours.
If this fact and this picture do not prove Huntington to be a wonderful
genius, we do not know what could do so. But even all the pictures just
mentioned are eclipsed by his two historical ones, taken from the
Pilgrim’s Progress, viz.: “Mercy’s Dream,” and “Christiana and Family
passing through the Valley of the Shadow of Death.” In the first, Mercy
is in a reclining position, resting on one arm, with her face raised
heavenward, while the angel hovering above her is on the point of
placing the crown upon her head. In her position there may be something
a little unnatural, and the expression of the angel may be somewhat too
earthly; but where, in the whole range of art, is there anything more
beautifully designed, more accurately drawn, or more richly colored? In
the other picture, Christiana and her family are represented on a rock
overlooking a valley of flame. At first we are startled by a feeling of
terror, but when the eye falls upon the principal figure, her upraised
countenance beaming with holy confidence and hope, the first impulse
vanishes, and the heart throbs with peaceful joy. The soul depicted in
that countenance, its conception and execution, is a triumph of art
which we believe can never be surpassed. But the interest does not stop
here. What a world of poetry has the painter portrayed in the eldest son
attempting to shield the loved ones from the impending danger, and in
the youngest child cleaving to its mother for protection! All, in fact,
look to Christiana for safety, while she, with the meekness of
childhood, looks calmly up to the Almighty. I should rather be the
author of that painting than of any others of superior merit. Oh, it is
a blessed thing to see genius consecrating its powers to the promotion
of His glory, from whom all genius flows! Huntington possesses both
great and good qualities, and we trust that his sojourn in Europe will
not be prolonged beyond an extensive tour.

_Edmonds._ This gentleman, who occupies the responsible station of
cashier in a bank, is considered one of the ablest financiers in New
York, while, at the same time, he enjoys a remarkable reputation as an
artist. His paintings are comparatively few, owing to his peculiar
situation, and to the correct notion which he entertains, that a work of
art should not be exhibited to the public until its author has done his
best to make it perfect. His style of coloring is warm and glowing, and
his drawing exceedingly accurate. As a designer, he is more particular
than our artists generally; and very few, I think, understand the
principles of composition so well. He is a man of quite extensive
reading, and of expansive mind, and his pictures are an index to the
humor which it contains. They are of a comical character, and never fail
to tell their story at a single glance. They are always intended to make
you laugh, and are, therefore, agreeable helpers on to a long life; and
sometimes possess an undercurrent of poetry or philosophy, which makes
them voiceless preachers to the thinking man. His best pictures are the
“Newspaper Boy,” “The Country and City Beaux,” “Sparking,” “The Bashful
Cousin,” “Italian Mendicants,” “The Epicure,” and “Stealing Milk.” The
first represents a large room thronged with men, women, and children,
into the midst of whom a ragged boy has entered to sell his Sunday
morning papers. In the second we have a charming country lady and her
accepted lover, suddenly surprised by the appearance of a city dandy;
and while the latter is nettled by the appearance of things, the former,
who is rocking himself in an arm-chair, very coolly puffs the smoke of
his cigar into the face of his disappointed rival. In the next, a
country damsel is peeling apples before a large blazing fire, while a
hearty fellow is talking to her, “solemnly and slow,” about his heart
and other kindred matters. In the next, a bashful young fellow is taking
leave of his friends, who urge him to sit down to tea, which is now
ready. The next is a blind old man, led by a little girl, asking alms in
the streets of Rome. In the Epicure, we have a butcher displaying his
nice things to an old gentleman, almost eaten up in health by rich
living. In the last, we have a school-boy in his mother’s pantry,
swallowing large quantities of rich cream, who is discovered by his
“anxious Ma” in the very act. All things considered, I think Mr. Edmonds
one of the most remarkable men of the age, and hope that he may live to
make many more additions to the genius-stamped treasures of American
art.

_Page._ Here we come to another honored artist, but one who has been
greatly over-rated; not a man of genius, but one of rare, of
extraordinary talent. As a mere portrait painter or map-taker, he is
without a rival, I believe, in any country. The man who sits to him for
a likeness, must expect to have every hair on his face delineated to
perfection, but must not expect to have himself exalted or
intellectualized. This is a thing which Page has never done, and can
never do, and consequently he will never excel as an historical painter.
I am warranted in making this assertion by looking at his past efforts
in this department? What admirable execution has he squandered on his
picture of “The Whistle,” his “Prison Scene,” and lately in his “Ecce
Homo.” In coloring and drawing, these pictures cannot be surpassed; but
how very inferior are they in conception, and especially the last!
Surely, the Saviour of the world could never have borne so _physical_ a
countenance as Page has here conceived! It is understood, that he is
engaged on a large picture, to be called “Jephtha’s Daughter.” I
sincerely _hope_ that he may triumph there, but I cannot but doubt.
Parts of it I know will be astonishingly fine, but, as a whole, it will
be a failure. I have been thus free in my remarks concerning this
artist, because he is lauded as a great _genius_, which I am not willing
to acknowledge, although I admire him as a portrait painter. His style
of coloring is not easily described, for it varies with every one of his
subjects, now pale as death or red as a cherry, and now blue as sapphire
or green as an emerald. If I desired my children to behold their very Pa
long after he is in the grave, I would rather have Page paint me than
any other man. His greatest portraits are those of Mrs. Ridner, a single
head and with a child, of Lowell the poet, of Mr. Leup, and of himself.

_Mount._ Three cheers for the laughter-loving and incomparable genius of
Stony Brook, whom I know to be a first-rate fisherman, and a most
pathetic player on the violin. Here is a man who stands alone in the art
of painting, for, in everything he does, he is entirely original. His
productions are stamped with an entirely American character, and so
comically conceived, that they always cause the beholder to smile,
whatever may be his troubles. His coloring is what we call cold, but
remarkable for its fidelity; and his power and knowledge of drawing are
superior to those of any other man in the country. Unlike Mr. Edmonds,
he pays but little attention to designing by rule, but in expression, he
always lays himself out, and I know not that he has ever failed, in a
single instance, to delineate the character he aimed at. He is peculiar
in the habit of tasking his own mind for his subjects, so that you never
see him illustrating the pages of any writer, historian, poet or wit.
And this is a feature I greatly admire. The man who cannot conceive and
execute a picture on his own hook entirely, is nothing but a copyist,
whatever may be his knowledge of the art. Thinking and strictly original
painters, are the only ones that exert a lasting and salutary influence
on the pictorial genius of their country, and Mr. Mount, I am glad to
know, is emphatically one of these. But let me glance at those pictures
which I believe warrant the foregoing opinions. Their general character
may be imagined by their titles, which are as follows: “Cider Making,”
“The Raffle,” “Tough Yarn,” “Fortune Telling,” “Bargaining for a Horse,”
“Gamesters Surprised,” “Winding Up,” “Ringing a Hog,” “Artist showing
his Work,” “The last Clam,” “Hoeing Corn,” “Husking Corn,” “Rustic
Dance,” and “Rabbit Catching.” In the first, we have a Long Island cider
mill, with all the laughable appurtenances thereof. In the next, a
company of loafers in a country bar-room are raffling for a goose,
illustrating the proverb, that “birds of a feather flock together.” The
next picture, a lame old “covey” telling a story to two impatient
gentlemen, which has been illustrated by an admirable story from the pen
of Seba Smith, Esq. In the next, a couple of farmers, in a barn-yard,
are discussing the merits of a “slick looking” horse hitched to a fence,
one of them rolling a stone with his foot, and the other whittling a
stick. In the next, we have some truant boys, who have stolen into a
barn to play “heads or tails,” who are discovered by the farmer; and
while he approaches cautiously, with a long stick in his hand and
vengeance in his eye, one of the boys is frightened by the approaching
step, but another is so absorbed in the game, that a nameless portion of
his body is about to sting under the chastising stroke. The next
exhibits a gentleman lover holding a skein of yarn for a buxom country
damsel. The next, is a _painted_ “concord of _sharp_ sounds.” In the
next, an artist is showing a country farmer a picture, which causes him
great delight. The next, portrays the garret of a disappointed bachelor,
seated before a fireless fireplace, and mourning over the departure of a
few clams, the shells of which are on the hearth at his feet. The four
remaining pictures are described in their titles. The man who could
paint such a variety of subjects, ought assuredly to be a good portrait
painter; and Mr. Mount is such. His portraits are only occasionally
executed, and for particular friends, and the former only when the
spirit moves him, for he is a creature of impulse. And besides, his
health has ever been of a delicate nature, which will not suffer him to
“bone” down to labor. This fact, I presume, will be a satisfactory
answer to those who are continually inquiring, “Why don’t Mount paint
more?” The pictures he has produced, admirable and numerous as they are,
are but as the bud to the fruit, when we consider his great capacity. I
hope that it may be his fortune to enjoy a long and happy life, and that
he may make many more additions to American art.

_Doughty._ This gentleman has long been a favorite landscape painter
with the public, and has executed many exceedingly beautiful pictures,
principally of a fanciful character. In number they are too great, which
is his misfortune and not his fault. He has been obliged to paint at a
cheap price, or the public would have let him starve to death, as they
would any other artist, or a man of refined and exalted taste. And
having painted so much, it is not to be wondered at that many of his
productions should have been too hastily done, and that there should be
a sameness in his subjects. Finishing, as he generally does, with great
care, it always gratifies the eye to behold his pictures; but it is
obvious that he has never painted much from nature, for there is a
monotony in his touch, which cannot escape the criticism of the
attentive student of foliage. There are some, however, and very
important features too, in landscape painting, which are completely
mastered by Mr. Doughty, and in which he is without a rival, either in
Cole, Durand, or Huntington. His skies and water are the most true and
beautiful that we have ever seen. A carefully painted waterfall by
Doughty, is a picture of rare excellence and great value. His
atmospheres, too, are sometimes most exquisitely conceived and executed.
Good figures are the principal things wanting in his paintings to make
some of them nearly perfect, and his inability to paint them is
undoubtedly another reason for the sameness of his subjects. When a man
paints without a story or a moral in view, it is difficult to designate
his pictures; but our favorites among those of Mr. Doughty, are a large
“upright” with waterfall, an autumn scene, owned in Boston, another sold
to the Apollo Association, and a scene on Lake George.

_Wier._ This gentleman is the accomplished teacher of drawing at the
Academy of West Point. The majority of his productions, which are
numerous, give evidence of his possessing extensive literary
acquirements, a refined mind, and brilliant imagination. He is the
author of a number of pleasing landscapes, the best of which, “Constable
Bourbon’s March to Rome,” has been illustrated by the pen of Gulian C.
Verplanck. The amusing pictures, called the “Boat Club,” and “St.
Nicholas,” have proven, that if he would attempt it, he might excel in
that department of the art occupied by Mount and Edmonds. But it is as
an historical painter, that his name will live, and is now mostly
celebrated. His drawing is remarkably correct, his coloring rich, and
his style of execution highly finished. Another qualification belonging
to his works, and one which makes us love the man, is, that they are
purely American. Who that has seen it, can ever forget his full-length
portrait of “Red Jacket,” the warrior and orator of the Senecas? Aside
from the noble subject, it is unquestionably the most faithful and
competent delineation of Indian character to be found; and who that has
ever seen the “Indian Captives,” by the same hand, has not mourned over
the fate of the much wronged Aborigines of our land, even as “brave men
mourn the brave?” In this painting, we have an Indian and his squaw, in
prison, and an English soldier warning them of their impending fate.
Although it is an intensely interesting scene, yet the painter has not
availed himself of a single “face divine,” which I fancy to be a
beautifully poetic idea, and could not be carried out but by a man of
genius. Mr. Wier is one of the four artists appointed by the General
Government to execute four paintings for the Rotunda at Washington. The
subject of his, is the “Departure of the Pilgrims from Leyden;” but as I
have not yet seen it, I am unable to express an opinion as to its
merits.

_Inman._ The reputation of this gentleman as a portrait painter is very
extensive, and he has ever commanded a higher price than any other in
New York. His productions are very numerous, and there is not a single
branch of the art in which he has not made some successful attempts. His
coloring is rich and life-like, his style of execution exceedingly bold
and free. Painting as he does with great rapidity, we find that his
drawing is seldom as correct as it should be. He manifests a refined and
exalted taste in the arrangements of his portraits, and generally in his
miscellaneous designs. But, after all, he has painted some poor
pictures, and this is an evidence of the fact, that he is a man of
uncommon genius, and not talent. There is a wonderful spirit in his
heads, and unlike his rival, Page, he portrays the mind, which, after
all, is a greater triumph of art, and far more important in a portrait,
than the mere shell of humanity, as delineated by Page. His full-length
portrait of Macready, as William Tell, is a masterly performance, well
conceived, well colored, and well drawn; and among his miscellaneous
pictures, the most remarkable, are—“Rip Van Winkle,” “Bride of
Lammermoor,” “Mumble the Peg,” and “News-Boy;” all of them possessing
many peculiar beauties, with some glaring faults. Of his plain
portraits, I would mention only two as good specimens of his skill in
general, namely, those of Nicholas Biddle and Bishop White. I do not
deem it within the power of any man to go beyond these in portraying the
body of man and the soul within. Mr. Inman is also one of those artists
honored by a commission from the Government for a 10,000 dollar
painting. I understand that he is very far behind-hand in his great
undertaking. I know, however, that he has met with some sad misfortune,
which may be the cause; but I trust that he will soon be at work, and
may accomplish a national work worthy of his ability and his fame.

_Ingham._ This gentleman is one of the most celebrated and unique of all
our portrait painters. His style is emphatically his own, and may be
designated as that of exquisite finishing. You can never discern the
traces of his pencil, and the reason is, he produces his effect by
successive glazing. His pictures are distinguished for their
transparency, richness of color, and harmony; and being a man of
sentiment and delicate feeling, he is the universal favorite among the
ladies, and probably the most faultless painter in this country of those
charming but incomprehensible creations of Heaven. His best productions
are the portraits of “Miss McNevin,” “Mr. Dunlap,” “Dr. Channing,” and
the “White Plume;” and as genuine works of art, are inferior to nothing
in the whole range of that department. That of Dr. Channing, is one of
the best specimens of soul painting that I have ever seen, and any one
familiar only with the writings of the great original, could not fail to
select this portrait as his, from the midst of a hundred of other men,
so full is it of expression, and so perfect and exalted is the effect of
the painter. Ingham is a man of genius as well as talent, a friend to
young artists, and an honor to American art.

_Chapman._ All hail to this poetical and ready artist, and accomplished
gentleman, who has executed first-rate pictures in almost every
department of painting! His coloring is rather gaudy and paint-like, but
his drawing, when he takes pains, is correct and vigorous. His knowledge
of design is profound, and his conception of a picture is quick, and
always in admirable taste. He has been a devoted student of the old
masters, and copied more celebrated paintings than any other American.
Having been an extensive traveller throughout the United States, and
ever being on the lookout for valuable subjects to paint, and a lover of
historical lore, he has collected a large quantity of valuable
materials, the whole of which I hope he may live to embody in national
paintings. It was he who received the commission from Government to
paint the third picture (Vanderlyn is at work on the fourth) for the
Rotunda at Washington, and he has manfully fulfilled his obligation in
the execution of the “Baptism of Pocahontas.” Some of his other
prominent pictures, are “Hagar and Ishmael fainting in the wilderness,”
full length portrait of “David Crocket,” “Beppo,” “The First Ship,” a
large historical landscape representing “The Retreat from Fort
Necessity,” and a full length of “Washington in his youth.” These,
however, are but a small portion of what he has done, for he is one of
the most industrious men living. He is also a complete master of
sketching, and as he has a historical mind, his efforts of this kind are
very beautiful and very numerous. He is without a rival in this
lucrative branch of art, and for the past two years has mostly been
devoted to it, and is consequently a favorite among booksellers. He is a
lover of the “poor Indian,” and has done much toward perpetuating their
personal and national characteristics. Among the many things which now
occupy his time, is an American Drawing Book, which is what we very much
need in this country, and his I know will be a superb and valuable one
in every point of view.

_Harvey._ This gentleman is a landscape painter of rare merit; but many
of his pictures, unfortunately for us, are owned in England. His
principal work, and one which places him in a very high rank, is Forty
Atmospheric Views in the United States, executed in watercolors, and in
a style of uncommon beauty. He is a good draftsman, and possesses a
remarkable eye for color, and everything from his pencil teems with
sentiment and poetry. His contemplated work of “American Scenery,” when
published after his own expensive plan, will be an invaluable
acquisition to our treasury of art, and I hope that it may be received
by the public with the favor it so richly deserves.

Such is the array of painters, of which the emporium of America may well
be proud. Fame must ever attend their names, as surely as it is
attending those of West, Copley, Stuart, Allston, Jarvis, Trumbull, and
Malbone, among the dead; and Sully, King, Harding, Fisher, Neagle,
Morse, Vanderlyn, and Audubon, among the living of other
cities;—altogether making a company which would reflect honor on any
nation in the world.



                           A SONG OF MEMORY.


The din of the great world is hushed, and the vexatious cares, which
have occupied my mind during the day, are all dispelled; and again, for
a little while, I am left alone. The evening lamps are not yet lighted,
but the fire in the grate burns brightly, so that the shadows on the
wall are distinct and clear, but continually changing, even as my own
wayward thoughts. Wayward they are at all times, I confess, but most
strangely so when my spirit forgets the present, and the hereafter, and
holds communion with the realities of by-gone years. Time has not yet
set his signet on my brow, for it was but yesterday that my timid
footsteps crossed the threshold of manhood; so that the years gone by,
with me, are comprised in the budding and the blossoming seasons of
childhood and youth. But with these, what a world of joys and griefs, of
smiles and tears, are entwined, which the fond memory strangely delights
to recall. I know not how it is with others, but to me the voice of
memory is sometimes plaintive as the evening breeze, when sporting with
the flowers in the garden of the dead. I am even now listening to that
voice; and the burden of its song, I shall trace upon this page.

It were not wise to “look mournfully into the past,” for we know that
“it comes not back again.” But it were well to ponder, deeply ponder,
the history of our past lives, and analyze the motives which have ever
influenced our conduct. How little can we remember, which will be of
service to us, when we are called to die. But how many things there are,
the remembrance of which inclines us to shed penitent tears, and heave
the sigh of regret. Ours is a frail and sinful nature; not a day passes
away, that does not take with it the record of many sins, which we have
committed in word, thought, and deed.

How many unkind words have we spoken to our parents, who have chided us
for unworthy conduct; to a sister or brother, who have thwarted
us—unconsciously, perhaps, or for our own good, in our thoughtless and
head-strong desires; to some squalid beggar, whose misfortune it was to
solicit our aid, when we were perplexed with the cares of business, or
absorbed with some dream of opulence and renown; to a party of innocent
children, who have chanced to disturb our moroseness by a natural and
heartfelt shout of happiness and a laugh of joy; and even to our Maker,
in the form of an oath, when we have been disappointed in some of our
ambitious designs. Lightly spoken, it may be, were many of these words,
but they are not lightly considered by our Creator, as we shall know at
the judgment day.

How many selfish thoughts have we cherished in our bosoms, which we knew
were desperately wicked, and which we would have blushed to proclaim;
thought of hate and revenge, of hypocrisy and pride, of envy and
sensuality. Do not the nature of these, and their great number, make us
ashamed to own ourselves the lords of the brute creation, creatures made
in the image of God?

How many wicked and debasing deeds have we committed which we would fain
recall, or annihilate, but for which we must at last render a reasonably
excuse, or suffer, unless the recording angel in heaven should drop a
tear upon the page, where they are written down, and blot them out
forever. In a fit of anger we may have rudely struck a friend or
brother; we have flattered the unsuspecting only to deceive and make
them wretched; we have trifled with the misfortunes of the poverty
stricken, the deformed, and the ignorant; in a thousand ways we have
broken the commandments of our Lord and Saviour, and instead of God, we
have worshipped Baal; we have not loved our Bible, the holy sanctuary,
and the duty of prayer; we have misimproved our time, neglected many
opportunities for doing good, and instead of giving a portion of our
money to the poor heathen, who are perishing for the want of the bread
of life all over the world, we have spent it all in administering to our
own sensual gratifications.

Yes, it is too true, and the recollection of it should make us humble
ourselves in the dust, that the words, thoughts, and deeds of our past
lives, which we have reason deeply to regret, are more in number than
the sands upon the sea-shore. But because they cannot be numbered, we
must not omit to remember and meditate upon them. We should use them as
a medicine, not in too great abundance, lest they make us sick, and not
too sparingly, less they produce not their desired effect.

Unenviable indeed is the condition of that man, who can dwell upon his
moral character for a series of years, or even for a single week, and
not find much to mourn over and regret. Sin and sorrow are our
inheritance, and it is natural, therefore, and good for us, to have our
cheeks occasionally moistened by regretful tears. Sometimes, too, there
is a luxury in tears, which the breaking heart alone can know; and that
proud man who is ashamed to weep, deserves to have pointed at him the
finger of scorn.

At the mention of that word regret, memory calls up a long array of
beings whom I once loved most tenderly, but who are gone away to a
country whence they can never return. Some had just pushed their little
bark upon the stream of time, which flowed onward with a murmur “soft,
gentle, and low,” and whose banks were covered with flowers. Some were
in the strength and buoyancy of youth; others in the full vigor of
manhood; and a few were tottering along, “wrinkled and bent, and white
with hoary hairs.” I knew them, I loved them, and they died. I regret
that they are gone, because they were the friends and counsellors of my
early days. Deeply, indeed, do I mourn their absence, but I would not,
even if I could, call them back again, for they have been transformed,
as I trust, into the glorious image of their Creator, and his bosom is
their home. In my hours of loneliness I am always strengthened by the
hope, that when I too shall have passed the troubled waves of Jordan, I
shall meet them again, and remain with them forever. O! yes, it is a
nameless feeling of regret that oppresses me when I think, that upon the
earth never more shall I listen to their voices, who once charmed my
ear, and look upon their smiles, who once gladdened my heart. But often
in my dreams do I behold them in their angelic robes, hovering in the
ethereal atmosphere of heaven, and they are always beckoning to me, and
pointing to a great white throne, whose foundations are everlasting.
They are calling me away, but I cannot go, for my earthly pilgrimage is
not yet ended. To secure the crown of Immortality, with which they
endeavor to allure me, is my chief ambition; and though a thousand
regrets are the burden of the song of Memory, yet I feel and hope that I
shall at last obtain it, through the mercy and love of my Redeemer.

Lo! the voice of Memory is speaking to me in another tone, mournfully
pleasing to the soul. It is telling me of the morning of life, which was
cheerful as the singing of birds, and loving as the opening of spring,
when not a cloud arose to mar its beauty, or obscure the bright sun of
innocence and youth; when every sense was gratified, every flower was
sweet, and every rose without a thorn; when every kiss was a pledge of
affection, and every friend was true; and when my cheeks were blooming
with health, and my eyes beaming with joy. True, the sun has not yet
reached the meridian, but far different from those of the morning are
the associations of the early noon. Alas! it is with regret I remember
the truth, that “I am not now that which I have been.” Weary and heavy
laden as I am, my course is onward, and my heart is strong.

Memory is telling me of my childhood’s home, the dearest and most lovely
spot on the face of the earth, and I regret that I can visit it only in
my dreams. It is telling me the thrilling legends which fascinated my
boyish imagination, when, with my bow and arrows, and clad in my hunting
garb, I used to visit the Indian villages of Michigan. The better I have
ever become acquainted with the red man of the wilderness, the more
deeply have I loved him, and the more highly have I honored his
character; and I regret that I cannot now, as of yore, chase with him
the bounding deer, and paddle the light canoe. I regret that he is an
exile and a stranger in the very land which gave him birth, and which,
by the laws of nations and of God, is rightfully his own. Memory is
telling me of those matchless lakes, Superior, Michigan, Huron, and
Erie, whose every inlet almost I have explored, and from many of whose
cliffs I have watched the most glorious of sunsets—those lakes with
whose waves in summer it was my delight to sport, and over whose
icy-plains in winter I took the lead in skating, and used to drive the
swift Canadian pacer in the swan-like carriole. Of those rivers, too,
the Detroit, the St. Clair, the St. Joseph, the Huron, and the Raisin,
in whose transparent waters I have often caught the sturgeon, the
pickerel, and the bass, and along whose borders I have hunted the plover
and the duck. Of those glorious forests, the homes of solitude and
silence, where I was wont to be so happy alone with my God. Of those
prairies, “boundless and beautiful, for which the speech of England has
no name,” where I used to wander in dreamy mood, gathering the richest
of flowers, with which to adorn the neck and forelock of my favorite
steed. These are but the beginnings of the innumerable scenes, which are
the themes of my memory. I regret that it is my lot to live so far
removed from all these things, which are fast passing away, and that my
pursuits compel me to live in a world of art, of business, and fashion.

And now come the recollections of the past summer, which I have
attempted to commemorate in the foregoing letters. I know not with what
feelings you may have perused them, but to me they are very dear, on
account of the feelings and conceptions with which they are associated,
and these are a kind of treasure, that my heart cherishes as the miser
does his gold. Much of the time, during my various journeyings have I
been alone, and I have held a blessed communion with my mother
nature,—not only in the morning and at noon, but in the calm evening and
in the most holy night. Thou hast, O Nature, instructed me in the “magic
of thy mysteries,” and given my spirit an idea of its immortal destiny.
I thank thee for having, even in my infancy, consecrated my affections
to thy rational worship. Next to those of revealed religion are thy
consolations. Thou art the Empress of a world of poetry, and yet the
great human world is familiar only with thy name. Next to my Creator,
thou hast proven thyself my most faithful friend, and when I cease to
love thee as I now do, may my right hand forget its cunning, and the
silver cord of my life be forever loosened. In all my mortal pilgrimage
may I be influenced by thy teachings, so that when I come to be an
immortal, I may be fitted for a station at the footstool of God.


                        JAMES MUNROE AND COMPANY
                           ARE PUBLISHERS OF
                             NOTES ON CUBA.

Containing an account of its Discovery and Early History; a description
         of the face of the country, its population, resources
           and wealth, its institutions, and the manners and
             customs of its inhabitants; with directions to
                    travellers visiting the Island.

                            By A PHYSICIAN.

                             12mo. pp. 359.

“The main purposes of this volume is to serve as a guide and a companion
to invalids, travellers, and others who may visit Cuba. There is no
other work of this character in the English language, nor in any
language is there a book which embraces the information which is
contained in this. The directions to travellers for their guidance,
comfort and conduct, are very full, and we may add, very necessary. Then
we have a methodical arrangement of matter which presents us with a
complete and exceedingly interesting narrative, seeming to anticipate
every question, and to draw a full picture of the country, of its
inhabitants, their employments and characteristics. The towns upon the
island, with its general scenery, curiosities and striking objects, are
described in full. The history, the geology, the government and commerce
of the island, are noticed at length, and present the results of an
evidently laborious investigation, and a faithful use of the eyes. The
resources which a traveller or visitor will find for occupying his time,
or for amusing himself, have their full share of space. The whole
volume, coming from a source which stamps it with a high authority, is a
valuable addition to our libraries, and will be much prized by those who
read it.”—_Christian Register._

“A well written, carefully printed, and instructive book, by a
Physician. No invalid who seeks the blissful climate of Cuba, should
leave home without this best of all guides and counsellors. We are
delighted with the valuable contribution which he has made to history,
as well as with the intelligence and good judgment he evinces as a
physician. In recommending the Notes on Cuba to medical readers and
voyagers, it would be unjust not to recommend it also to the whole
reading community.”—_Boston Medical Journal._

“Notes on Cuba, by an American Physician. This is a truly valuable and
interesting book, both to the invalid intending to visit Cuba in search
of health, and to the general reader, and supplies a gap in literature
which it is surprising has not long ago been filled. The work is well
written, and affords very pleasant reading. The author is known to us,
and we can assure the readers of the work that it is entirely authentic,
and entitled to the most entire confidence.”—_New Bedford Bulletin._


                  JAMES MUNROE AND CO.’S PUBLICATIONS.
                           TWICE TOLD TALES.
                        By NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE.
                        FIRST AND SECOND SERIES.

   2 vols. 12mo., elegantly printed on clear type and fine paper, and
                      neatly bound in cloth, gilt.

“To this little work we would say, ‘Live ever, sweet, sweet book.’ It
comes from the hand of a man of genius. Every thing about it has the
freshness of morning and of May. * * * * The book, though in prose, was
written by a poet. * * * A calm, thoughtful face seems to be looking at
you from every page. * * One of the most prominent characteristics of
these tales is, that they are national in their character. The author
has wisely chosen his themes among the traditions of New England. * *
Another characteristic of this writer is the exceeding beauty of his
style. It is as clear as running waters are. Indeed he uses words as
mere stepping-stones, upon which, with a free and youthful bound, his
spirit crosses and recrosses the bright and rushing stream of thought. *
* In speaking in terms of such high praise as we have done, we have
given utterance not alone to our own feelings, but we trust to those of
all gentle readers of the Twice Told Tales. Like children we say, ‘Tell
us more.’”—_North American Review._

“The Tales are worth _twice telling_ and a dozen readings.”—_Boston
Courier._

“A book like this, evincing a mind of such peculiar organization, may,
or may not become popular; but whether they read it or not, the public
may be assured, that in this unpretending volume by a countryman and
neighbor, they will find more of that which indicates thought in the
writer, and begets thought in the reader, than in nine-tenths of the
English reprints, which are so eagerly devoured.”—_Boston Daily
Advertiser._

“Mr. Hawthorne’s style is rich, refined, and graceful, and the present
volume is an ornament to the literature of our country.”—_Boston Atlas._

“This modest volume, which comes before us without preface, or any sort
of an appeal to the public regard, is well calculated to stand on its
own merits, and to acquire enduring popularity. The author possesses the
power of winning immediate attention, and of sustaining it, by a certain
ingenuous sincerity, and by the force of a style at once simple and
graceful. In all his descriptions, whether of scenes or emotions, nature
is his only guide. In short, in quiet humor, in genuine pathos, and deep
feeling, and in a style equally unstudied and pure, the author of ‘Twice
Told Tales’ has few equals, and with perhaps one or two eminent
exceptions, no superior in our country. We confidently and cordially,
therefore, commend the beautiful volume to the attention of our
readers.”—_Knickerbocker._



      *      *      *      *      *      *



Transcriber’s note:

--Added author's name on the title page.

--Silently corrected a few obvious typographical errors.





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Letters from a Landscape Painter" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home