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Thro' the drear might of him that walk'd the waves,
To all that wander in that perilous flood! How tender is this conclusion ! how expressive of that support, which, even under the severest añictions, is to be derived from the consularions of religion ! The whole Monody exhibits chose delicacies of thought and sentiment peculiar to its wonderful author, who took every thing within the grasp of his mighty imagination." His mind was of no common make; this appears from all his productions.
But after all, it must be confessed, that Johnson has treated LYCIDAS with a most unjustifiable severity. But Mr. Hayley, in his admirable. Life of Milton, has done the poem ample justice in these words :
“ An animated and benevolent veteran of criticism, Doctor Warton, has considered a relish for the Lycidas as a test of true taste for poetry, and it certainly is a test which no lover of Milton will be inclined to dilpute ; though it must exclude from the list of accomplished critics that intemperate censor of the great poet, who has endeavoured to destroy the reputation of his celebrated Monody with the most insulting expreflions of sarcastic contempt ; expressions that no reader of a fpirit truly poetical, can peruse without mingled emotions of indignation and of pity! But the charms of Lycidas are of a texture too fine to be annihilated by the breath of derision, and though Dr. Johnson has de
declared the poem to be utterly deftitute both of na. ture and of art; it will assuredly continue to be ad. mired as long as tenderness, imagination, and harmony, are regarded as genuine sources of poetical delight. The effect of this favourite composition is exactly such as the Poet intended to produce; it first engages the heart with the simplicity of just and natural forrow, and then proceeds to elevate the mind with magnificent images, ennobled by affectionate and devotional enthu. siasm. The beauties of this pathetic and sublime Monody, are sufficiently obvious; but the reader, who compares it with a poem on the same subject, by Cleve, land, once the popular rival of Milton, may derive pleasure from perceiving how infinitely our favourite poet has excelled, on this occasion, an eminent antagonist."
Such is the just encomium of Mr. Hayley, the words of Bishop Newton are, perhaps, still more expresfive : “Of the poems to the Memory of Mr. King, the best of all is Milton's LYCIDAS. On such fa. crifices the Gods themselves strew incense, and one would almost with fo to have died, for the sake of have ing been so lamented !”'
Grandelos, June, 29th, 1790.
a detail of my late mountain rambles. We'as. cended, on horseb k, to the village of Yvorne, not far from Aigle. The road was at first beautiful, winding among pines and cityfus-trees; the clusters of yellow flowers on the latter, formed a striking and charming contrast with the dark green hue of the former, while at intervals, through openings in the bushes, we were
enchanted enchanted with a perspective view of the valley of the Rhone and the wild snowy hills of the Valais. We continued this ascent for about two hours, when we arrived at a place called The Ruins, a name wholly appropriate to the nature of the spot, fince the road now became almost perpendicular, and nothing was to be feen on either side but broken masses of rocks towering above each other. Scarcely had we paled this wilderness, when we were rewarded by arriving upon a plain whence we beheld the whole expanse of the lake of Ge. seva lying at a great depth immediately below us. We stopped here for fome time at a Sennhütte, or dairy houfe, where we were very hospitably entertained by the simple owner, and found excellent milk. After this refreshment we again proceeded forwards, and towards evening reached our night quarters, which was another Sennhütte, at the foot of two majestic rocks, one of which has the exact form of a flattened cupola, and is called La Tour de Mayenne.
Impressed with the ardent desire to reach the fummit of this eminence, whence I promised myself a glorious view over the Alps of Savoy, together with a rich har. vest of plants, I could not the next morning resist making an attempt to accomplish my wish, especially as my host affured me that the undertaking was neither difia cult nor dangerous. Accordingly, furnished with my Linnæus, and a little basket, containing some wine and a piece of bread, I commenced my excursion, anı arrived at the top of the rock without the least obstruction or accident. The view exceeded my expectations, nor was I disappointed in my promised botanical acquifitions, and all had been well, could I have been content to return quietly by the same commodious path that I had ascended; but unfortunately fome dæion poffessed me with the idea that by going round to the eastern side of the hill, I might find another track by which to descend, and thus acquire a farther knowledge of a spot I was desirous of exploring as much as polii
ble. I had certainly never attempted the execution of this plan, had I been aware that the ridge of rocks
among which I hoped to find this path, rofe perpendicularly, above a horrible precipice.
After walking for about half an hour, first along a valley, and then
ascending a hill again, I found myself at the foot of a very steep rock, up which I climbed with some difficulty by the aid of bushes growing out of the clefts, and arrived at a gentle dlope, covered with the filene acaulis, as with a purple carpet, where minding myself somewhat fatigued, I sat down to rest
, it being then exactly noon. After taking a refreshing.se. past from my little basket, I ascended the slope, and as every trace of the foot of man was lost, directed my course by the sun and La Tour de Mayenne, which lay exactly to the east of the Sennhütte where I had left my companion, I have seldom been more disagreeably surprised than with the change of scene which now presented itself to my view. Scarcely had I reached, the summit of the flope, when I saw before me as far as the eye couid reach, a boundless wilderness over. spread with snow, broken only by vast chasms or points of rocks, and where, as on the boundaries of a chaos, all vegetable life seemed to die away.
Had my strength been wholly unimpaired, I could scarcely have formed fo wild an idea as that of endeayouring to press on through these regions of wintery desolation, and now that I was already wearied with my previous exertions, I thought it by far my wisest plan to turn back without delay, and regain, as fast as possible, the path by which I first ascended. But when I came back to the rock, I beheld, with shuddering, the invincible difficulty of getting down a precipice, which in ascending I had scarcely thought formidable.
It is very often the case in mountażn regions, as you know by experience, that a rock may be ascended with eale, which could not be descended again without the most imminent hazard, Here it was not merely hazard.
ous to attempt descending, it was a thing impoffible to be done, fince nothing could save me from falling down the precipice, but stepping precisely upon every bush and thrub that had affifted my ascent, and this I could by no means be fecure of doing, unless I had had eyes in the foles of my feet.
. Tothe right and left frightful abysses denied me every poffibility of extricating myself from my perilous fituation, confequently no other means remained for my deliverance but to attempt wading through the snowy wafte, to which alone I was obliged to leave the decia fion of my fate. I arrived once more at the slope with the purple carpet, and trod again the borders of the wintery desert, where the loose snow made the walking extremely laborious, nor can I find words to describe the difficulties I had to encounter, but they were fo great, that with a lefs degree of natural strength I had inevitably sunk under them. Often was I forced to defcend into deep chasms filled with snow, whence I could not climb out again without the utmost exertion, and at last had, perhaps, nat gained above five or fix yards of direct way. My ancle-bones became quite expriated with repeated falls between broken points of rocks, and my hands were no less galled with grappling them, till at length I found myielf fo completely exhaufted that I could proceed no farther. It was then half paft four.
Hitherto I had not lost all hope of emancipation, but as my strength was gone, and the desert ftill appeared to tretch as far before me as at the first step 1 had taken, my fate seemed now inevitable, and I looked forward to death as my only means of deliverance from such a maze of difficulties. 1 drank my small remains of wine, and
lak piece of bread with as firm a convi&tion thac I had taken my last meal, as impressed the noble Spartans at Thermopylæ, and lying down on a rock which had previously served me for a table, I almost instantly fell into a profound leep.