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of sandstone cliff that form its banks ; hollowed out where the river leans against them, at its turns, into perilous overhanging, and, on the other shore, at the same spots, leaving little breadths of meadow between them and the water, half overgrown with thicket, deserted in their sweetness, inaccessible from above, and rarely visited by any curious wanderers along the hardly-traceable footpath which struggles for existence beneath the rocks.
And there the river ripples, and eddies, and murmurs in an utter solitude. It is passing through the midst of a thickly-peopled country ; but never was a stream so lonely. The feeblest and most far-away torrent among the high hills has its companions : the goats browse beside it; and the traveller drinks from it, and passes over it with his staff; and the peasant traces a new channel for it down to his mill - wheel. But this stream has no companions : it flows on in an infinite seclusion, not secret nor threatening, but a quietness of sweet daylight and open air, ---a broad space of tender and deep desolateness, drooped into repose out of the midst of human labour and life; the waves plashing lowly, with none to hear them ; and the wild birds building in the boughs, with none to fray them away ; and the soft, fragrant herbs rising, and breathing, and fading, with no hand to gather them ;-and yet all bright and bare to the clouds above, and to the fresh fall of the passing sunshine and pure rain.
But above the brows of those scarped cliffs, all is in an instant changed. A few steps only beyond the firs that stretch their branches, angular, and wild, and white, like forks of lightning, into the air of the ravine, and we are in an arable country of the most perfect richness; the swathes of its corn glowing and burning from field to field ; its pretty hamlets all vivid with fruitful orchards and flowery gardens, and goodly with steep-roofed storehouse and barn ; its wellkept, hard, park-like roads rising and falling from hillside to hillside, or disappearing among brown banks of moss, and thickets of the wild raspberry and rose ; or gleaming through lines of tall trees, half glade, half avenue, where the gate opens, or the gateless path turns trustedly aside, unhindered, into the garden of some statelier house, surrounded in rural pride with its golden hives, and curved granaries, and irregular domain of latticed and espaliered cottages, gladdening to look upon in their delicate ho eliness,-delicate, yet, in some sort, rude; not like our English houses,-trim, laborious, formal, irreproachable in comfort,—but with a peculiar carelessness and largeness in all their detail, harmonizing with the outlawed loveliness of their country.
For there is an untamed strength even in all that soft and habitable land. It is, indeed, gilded with corn, and fragrant with deep grass, but it is not subdued to the plough or to the scythe. It gives at its own free will,it seems to have nothing wrested from it nor conquered in it. It is not redeemed from desertness, but unrestrained in fruitfulness, - a generous land, bright with capricious plenty, and laughing from vale to vale in fitful fulness, kind and wild ; nor this without some sterner element mingled in the heart of it. For all along its ridges stand the dark masses of innumerable pines, taking no part in its gladness, asserting themselves for ever as fixed shadows, not to be pierced or banished, even in the intensest sunlight; fallen flakes and fragments of the night, stayed in their solemn squares in the midst of all the rosy bendings of the orchard boughs, and yellow effulgence of the harvest, and tracing themselves, in black network and motionless fringes, against the blanched blue of the horizon in its saintly clear
And yet they do not sadden the landscape, but seem to have been set there chiefly to show how bright everything else is round them ; and all the clouds look of purer silver, and all the air seems filled with a whiter and more living sunshine, where they are pierced by the sable points of the pines ; and all the pastures look of more glowing green, where they run up between the purple trunks ; and the sweet field
footpaths skirt the edges of the forest for the sake of its shade, sloping up and down about the slippery roots, and losing themselves, every now and then, hopelessly among the violets, and ground ivy, and brown sheddings of the fibrous leaves ; and, at last, plunging into some open aisle where the light, through the distant stems, shows that there is a chance of coming out again on the other side ; and coming out, indeed, in a little while, from the scented darkness, into the dazzling air and marvellous landscape, that stretches still farther and farther, in new wilfulness of grove and garden, until, at last, the craggy mountains of the Simmenthal rise out of it sharp into the rolling of the southern clouds.
I believe, for general development of human intelligence and sensibility, country of this kind is about the most perfect that exists. A richer landscape, as that of Italy, enervates, or causes wantonness; a poorer contracts the conceptions, and hardens the temperament of both mind and body ; and one more curiously or prominently beautiful, deadens the sense of beauty.
WE wandered to the pine forest
That skirts the ocean's foam,
The tempest in its home.
The clouds were gone to play,
The smile of Heaven lay.
Sent from beyond the skies,
A light of Paradise.
We paused amid the pines that stood,
The giants of the waste,
As serpents interlaced.
That under heaven is blown,
As tender as its own;
Like green waves on the sea,
The ocean woods may be.
How calm it was !—the silence there
By such a chain was bound, That even the busy woodpecker
Made stiller by her sound The inviolable quietness ;
The breath of peace we drew, With its soft motion made not less
The calm that round us grew. There seemed from the remotest seat
Of the wide mountain waste,
A magic circle traced, -
A thrilling silent life :
Our mortal nature's strife ;-
The magic circle there, Was one fair form that filled with love
The lifeless atmosphere.
We paused beside the pools that lie
Under the forest bough,
Each seemed as 'twere a little sky
Gulfed in a world below;
Which in the dark earth lay,
And purer than the day,-
As in the upper air,
Than any spreading there.
And through the dark green wood
Out of a speckled cloud.
Can never well be seen,
Of that fair forest green.
With an Elysian glow,
A softer day below.
To the dark water's breast
leaf and lineament With more than truth exprest, Until an envious wind crept by,
Like an unwelcome thought,
Blots one dear image out.
The forests ever green,
P. B. SHELLEY.