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WISIT TO GRASSMERE, 95

| he felt almost as if it were a sin not to come here every fair evening. We sat by the shore half an

hour, and talked of themes far removed from the strife of politics. The village on the opposite side lay in deep shadow; from which the tower of the church rose, like heaven's sentinel on the gates of evening. A single taper shot its solitary ray across the waters. The little lake lay hushed in deep and solemn repose. Not a sound was heard upon its shore. The fading light trembled upon the bosom of the waters, which were here slightly ruffled, and there lay as a mirror to reflect the serenity of heaven. The dark mountains lay beyond, with every varying shade that varying distance could give them. The farthest ridges were sowed with light, as if it were resolved into

\separate particles and showered down into the

darkness below, to make it visible. The mountain side had a softness of shadowing upon it, such as I never saw before, and such as no painting I ever saw approached in the remotest degree. It seemed, Mr. W- said, as if it were “clothed with the air.” Above all, was the clear sky, looking almost cold, it looked so pure, along the horizon —but warmed in the region a little higher, with the vermilion tints of the softest sunset. I am persuaded that the world might be travelled over

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without the sight of one such spectacle as this—
and all owing to the circumstances—the time—the
hour. It was perhaps not the least of those cir.
cumstances influencing the scene, that it was an
hour, passed in one of his own holy retreats, with
Wordsworth !
Amid these lakes and mountains of Cumberland
and Westmoreland, nature seems to delight herself
in contrasts, and that, as in many human works,
is here perhaps the secret of power: the wildest
mountains and mountain crags, with the sweetest
valleys and dales amid them—as Borrowdale, Pat.
terdale, Langdale, and sometimes one little shel.
tered spot, all verdure, only large enough for one
farm—as in coming from Conniston through one
of the Langdales; the roughest passes through
mountain defiles, opening suddenly upon smooth
and green vales, as in going from Buttermere to
Borrowdale, or entering Patterdale from the south;
a lake and a valley beneath your eye, and a world
of mountains beyond, as in entering Keswick from
the south: and then, when were ever seen such
crystal streams—waters of such transparent and
living purity |
All this, to be sure, is mere memorandum; but
for the same purpose I will take up half a page,
with marking my route, which was adopted on com-

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THE LAKE COUNTRY. 97

petent advice, and may possibly be of service to somefriend who shall follow me—which friend I advise to take for his excursion, as I did, a pony at Ambleside. From Ambleside, then, I went to Conniston and back—a day's ride; then, to Keswick; thence, a day's excursion, around through Newlands, by Buttermere, and Honister Crag—through Borrowdale, by the Bowder Stone—an immense rock, evidently fallen from the precipice above, sixty-two feet long, thirty-six high, eighty-nine round, weight, 1,971 tons—by Lowdore Falls, a little nothing for a fall— as were all the falls I went to see about here— scarcely any water, but a romantic little scene; back to Keswick by the shore of Derwent Water. This is the most beautiful part of the ride; the bold wooded islands in the lake, with the glades and cultivated swells beyond appearing between them, and Skiddaw in the background. From Keswick to Lyulph's Tower on Ullswater —the first view of Ullswater very striking; the waters very dark; a dark, leaden coloured mountain rising up from the very edge of the water 1 a fine ride along down the shore, four miles, to Patterdale—through Patterdale, back to Ambleside. On the whole, perhaps, Ullswater presents more impressive scenery than any other lake. The

scenery certainly is more bold. WOL. I.-I

Nothing can exceed the beauty of the cottages, and of their situations about these lakes. So also the sailboats, passing in all directions, seen among the wooded islands and shooting out from behind the headlands, freighted with beauty, and mirth, and music, communicate an inexpressible life and charm to the scenery. And I fancy that such tokens of social happiness are very necessary to give these scenes the power they have, over the heart and imagination. It fills up the measure of the contrast. But that is not it—or it is not all These signs of humanity and happiness make the scene image to us ourselves, as well as the Supreme Power. In the unvisited wilds of nature, in dell and grot, in grove and greensward untrod. den by the footsteps of men, the mind is prone to imagine that fairy creatures walk; poetry has peopled them with life; the strong sympathy of the soul calls upon the whole creation to give it back, the image of itself. AUGUST 3. I left the lake country and came down to Kendal. . . The ride from Kendal to Lancaster is a pleasant one, especially about the banks of the Kent. At Lancaster is a castle, now turned into a jail, which belonged to the house of Lancaster, and was built in the reign of Edward III. The central tower,

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LAN CASTER, 99

the only portion of the old castle remaining, is square, and huge enough to have belonged to

“Old John of Gaunt, time-honoured Lancaster.”

It is called John of Gaunt's Chair. Appropriately to this title, there is from the top of the tower a very delightful prospect. A fine symbol of office for an old baronial sovereign—patriarch, chieftain, landlord, all in one; a tower for his chair, where he sits, a king farmer, to overlook the rich glebe, pasture and valley. Those forms of power, with the rough and sternhearted times that gave them birth, are passing away. May other and nobler forms arise to take their place

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