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I must pass by the well-known and often-described beauty of Melrose Abbey, three miles from Abbotsford, and ask you to go on with me a few miles farther to Dryburgh—the place where “the wreck of power” (intellectual) is laid down to rest. If I were to choose the place of his body's repose, from all that I have ever seen, it would be this. The extent, antiquity, and beauty of the work; the trees growing within the very walls of the abbey; the luxuriant shrubbery waving from the tops of the walls and from parts of the roof here and there remaining; the ivy, covering over the work of ghastly ruin, and making it graceful— hanging from “the rifted arches and shafted windows,” and weaving festoons from one broken fragment to another; the solemn, umbrageous gloom of the spot; the perpetual sound of a waterfall in the neighbouring Tweed—all conspire to make this spot wonderfully romantic ; it throws a spell over the mind, such as no other ruin does that I have seen. Conway Castle is more sublime: Melrose Abbey is more beautiful in its well preserved, sculptured remains: but Dryburgh is far more romantic. What place can be so fit to hold the remains of Walter Scott / Before crossing the Tweed, and while yet on Scottish ground, I wish to drop one thought which I have carried more than seven years, I believe, without ever finding the proverb to avail me at all. And that is on the striking resemblance between the character of Scotland and of NewEngland. The energy and vehemence of the Scottish character, the perfervidum ingenium Sco. torum, is universally acknowledged. Fier comme wn Ecossais, is a proverb. And yet the Scotch are accounted a singularly wary and cautious people ; reserved in manners, exact in speech, guarded in communication, and keen and close in the transaction of business. The Scotchman has the singular fortune to stand as a proverb for the most opposite qualities, and I suppose that they really exist in him. The same qualities are found in the New-England character. The Yankee—“it will not deny”—is sharp at a bargain. He is cold in manners. The deep reserve of a New-England boy, especially if living retired in the country, perhaps no one can understand who has not expe. rienced it. It seems as if his heart were girded with a stronger band than any other, and certainly such as is not natural or befitting to the ingenuousness of youth. I do not wonder that the result of a cursory observation has been, to promounce the New-Englander a being, to whom “nature has given a double portion of brains and
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half a heart.” And yet nothing could be more
untrue. The New-England character is, in fact,
one of the deepest excitement and enthusiasm.
The whole history of the people proves this, from the Landing at Plymouth to this hour. Every species of enterprise, political, commercial, literary, religious, has been developed in New-England to a degree, I am inclined to think, unprecedented in the world. All America is filled with the proofs of it. And private life in New-England will exhibit the same character to all who become intimate with it. The two races whom I am comparing have also had the same fate of general misconstruction and opprobrium. The Scot is regarded, on the south side of the Tweed, very much as the Yankee is, south of the Hudson. I will not inquire into the causes of this; but it certainly seems a very hard case on either hand. A people in both instances, industrious, virtuous, religious, almost beyond example—carrying popular education to a point of improvement altogether unexampled in the world, till the Prussian system appeared—and furnishing far more than their respective quotas to the noblest literature of their respective countries—would seem to have deserved more respect than has been awarded to
Scotland and New-England.
England. York—The Minster—Churches and Church building —Yorkshire Dialect—Americanisms—Aspect of the country compared with ours—Kendall—Windermere—Ambleside—A conversation on English and American politics—Visit to Grassmere—Poney Ride among the Lakes—Keswick—Ullswater— The Lake Scenery.
York, JULY 29. From Dryburgh, I came through Kelso, Newcastle, and Durham, down to York. After a delightful ride on the banks of the Tweed, leaving the vale of the Teviot, and the Cheviot hills, on the south, I entered England, nine miles below Kelso. In Northumberland on the road to Newcastle, I passed several extensive moors, very like the country described by Scott as surrounding 0sbaldistone Hall. As you approach Newcastle, it becomes evident that you are in the region of collieries. “The smoke of the country goeth up as the smoke of a furnace.” It is not the smoke of its destruction however. It is the indication of life, and not of
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death—ay, and of life that has gone down far into the bowels of the earth; for it proceeds from the chimneys of steam engines, employed at every pit, for the double purpose of pumping out water and raising coal. DURHAM. The cathedral, one of the finest in England, and the castle, now the bishop's palace, I could not stop to examine. York is a queer old place, worth coming a good many miles to see for its own sake. But the minster —it is worth a pilgrimage to see it. It is the only building I have ever seen in a city that stands up and out so completely from the surrounding mass of buildings, that it is, from every quarter, distinctly presented to the eye. The minster, amid the city of York, stands like the elephant in a menagerie. Its proportions, too, are so perfect, its character is so unique, that it makes upon the mind one single impression. You take in the whole object, and feel all its overpowering grandeur, at the first glance of the eye. And yet it seems to me, that if I were to live in sight of it a thousand years, it would lose none of the indescribable charm with which it first entranced me. Indeed I shall attempt no description. I dare not bring my measurements here. Nay, it appears to me that the impression here does not depend on