Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

CHAPTER FOURTH.

“ Low walks the sun, and broadens by degrees, “ Just o'er the verge of day. The shifting clouds Assembled gay, a richly-gorgeous train, “ In all their pomp attend his setting throne. -“ Air, earth, and ocean smile immense. And now, 6 As if his weary chariot sought the bow'rs. “ Of Amphitrite, and her 'tending nymphs, “ (So Grecian fable sung) he dips his orb: « Now half-immersed; and now a golden curve « Gives one bright glance, then total disappears."

The yellow beams of the western sun were now lengthened o'er the prospect, and no longer gleamed on the woody glens that were sunken low beneath its bright obliquity, and seemed to feel the soft pressure of repose.

The wooden clock of mine host had pro. claimed the fourth hour in th: afternoon ere I was prepared for my departure to Fort Augustus, which was fourteen miles distant from the hut, and the road I was obliged 'to pursue, laid through part of that wild, *romantic, and (now) unfrequented tract of

country, so famed in song by the renowned bards of Ossian, and whose ancient name was Morven,

If the smallest prospect of comfort had been perceptible from a night's residence in General's Hut, I most certainly should not have ventured to expose myself to dangers I must infallibly risk in the journey. I was about to undertake, as the extreme shortness of the days threatened me with the gloom of night at a very early hour in the evening; and as I was a stranger to every part of the country, which was so little inhabited, and so destitute of the common comforts of life, I felt somewhat uneasy under the idea of being benighted.

However when I considered the wretched. ness of my then present habitation, and the probable supposition that I should meet with a comfortable abode for the night, when I should arrive at Fort Augustus; I became more firm in the resolution I had formed to quit General's Hut that evening, and accord. ingly the “ mute companion of my toils" was caparisoned, and I mounted in order to dare the dangers, or enjoy the pleasures of my ride.

As I quitted this humble habitation of rus. tic ignorance, and native simplicity, I felt my mind considerably depressed. The honest Highlander, its inhabitant, had been instru. mental in affording me a degree of real happiness that few of my days has been blessed with; and as I slowly proceeded on my way, I cast behind many a look of lingering fond. ness and gratitude, until the rugged projection of a rock, or the intervening branches of a luxuriant wood, precluded my tear-distilling eyes from beholding its humble roof any longer.

As I rode onwards with my eyes bent towards the earth, and while my mind was busily employed in the most pleasing re. flection on the various occurrences of the passing day, I was suddenly aroused by “ the din of waters thundering o'er the ruined cliffs ;" and when I looked up, perceived myself to be on the brink of the great vortex of Foyers, by which my romantic route led.

Here I beheld the most beautiful phenomenon that I had ever seen. The past day had been

VOL. II.

alternately cheered by the rays of the sun, or darkened by clouds, but towards evening every impure vapour had disappeared from the clear azure of heaven, and suffered the de. parting glory of the sun to shoot his last beams over the varied scenes of reposing na. ture, ere the broad mantle of night shrouded them in darkness.

As I have before mentioned, the spray which is produced by the fall, rises high above the woody precipice surrounding it, and again falls to the earth. The oblique rays of the setting sun caught those minute particles of water which were dancing in the air, and produced by reflection the appearances of innumerable rainbows, mingled together in the most fantastic confusion, exhibiting tints the most various and brilliant that can be conceived.

This beautiful and singular phenomenon, united to the rich colouring of the rocks, the variegated foliage of the trees, the tremendous roaring of the cataract, and some detached columns of illuminated spray, that were playing over the tops of some trees more distant, formed a scene grand, beautiful, and imprese.* sive in the highest degree, and I could not repress a sensation of regret, that I was obliged to quit the interesting spot so soon. But most of the pleasures of man are transitory and fleeting as the silvery clouds that roll over him, and he cannot command their continuance.

Leaving this scene, which I can never forget, I approached a range of mountains which appeared to be entirely covered by thick woods of oak and beach-trees. My road appeared to wind amongst them, and at their feet, the river before mentioned, glided onwards in a gentle murmuring, and beautifully meandering stream, uninterrupted by any of those rude impediments, which in my former views of it, had so frequently disturbed the tranquillity of its course. · As I penetrated the woody recesses of these rocks, a secret awe, arising from the influence of the sublime objects which every where arose to my view, and a solemn silence that reigned throughout, crept insensibly over my mind. I appeared to be the only human being then disturbing the native sanctity of the spot. All was calin and serene, as though the creation

« AnteriorContinuar »