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A SEA-SIDE REVERIE.
How light and lovely is that parting hour,
When, swath'd in lambent gold, the autumnal sun
To seek, in solitude, the Eternal One,
Where the wide waves their glorious vespers roll,— And muse the voiceless thought, and gaze the impassion'd soul ! The shoreward deep like molten emerald glows; The distant burns with quivering rubies gay;— As, o'er its bower of green, the crimson'd rose Shoots into air, and trembling drinks the day: Each keel that lordly ploughs the crashing spray Furrows its course in foam and light behind; Around the bark careering sea-fowl play,
With sidelong wings to woo the breeze inclined;
While the hoarse ship-boy's song floats mellowing on the wind. Pregnant with light some sprinkled cloudlets swell,
In burning islets, o'er the illumined west,—
Long to retain the lingering sun's farewell,
Day sink, but triumphs as it sinks, to rest,
Like Virtue lightening through the grave to Heaven :-
While thus it springs to drink the glassy gold of even!
In starry spheres of cloudless light and love,
Where through the bowers of bliss the immortal waters rove.
Lo, the proud Mount!* whose form, in graceful sweep,
Curves, like a forest-rainbow, o'er the deep,
Which heaves, all foamless, round its sheltering bay!-
Pilgrims of Beauty! ye who, far away,
Roam where poetic deserts sadly smile!
Gaze here, and own-Can distant climes display
A scene more rich than yonder gorgeous pile?—
Oh! ere you leave her, search your own unrivall'd Isle!
For who, with human heart, could ever roam
Through scenes and hours like these, nor prize them high
Hail the green land that girds his childhood's home,
* Mount Edgcumbe.
"Vain-very vain"-to search a distant sky
All that can teach what Genius e'er has known,
As if its tones might fill the sun-light's room:
Calls forms from Heaven, or wakes them from the tomb,—
And with Elysian dreams the mourner's spirit warms!
A strange deep sound-Day's momentary dirge-
It seem'd the sighing and sepulchral moan
Of Syren, wailing in her sparry cell,
O'er powers and charms no longer fear'd or known:
While their far verge is blended with the sky:
Type of that bright and more than mortal chain, Which links young hearts, where Love and Love's sweet witcheries reign.
ON AN INTENDED REMOVAL FROM A FAVOURITE
ADIEU, beloved and lovely home, adieu!
Thou pleasant mansion, and ye waters bright,
O shades, endeared by Memory's magic power,
Where smiling friends adorn the social hour,
JOURNAL OF A TOURIST.--NO. III.
I HAVE now been in Paris several days—have traversed it in various directions, and inspected all its most celebrated structures: the result is a conviction that we saw the best of it in our first excursion; that a great deal is sacrificed for effect; and that the feelings of admiration excited by the first coup-d'ail, will not by any means be increased by a more minute acquaintance with its interior system and economy. Its luxury and magnificence are principally external; while in London these qualities exhibit themselves chiefly in the interior of buildings. Paris attains its most distinguishing feature (the lofty range and extensive plan of her houses) by a great sacrifice of domestic comfort; and we shall be less surprised at the handsome designs of the architects, if we reflect that each structure is tenanted by a little colony of its own. Such is the case in a great proportion of the most elegant erections, and the annoyances to which it subjects the inmates are neither few nor trifling. The stairs, being "open to all parties," are very often "influenced by none," so far as regards their conservation in a proper state of cleanliness, especially if the lodgers, as is very apt to be the case in Paris, keep a dog or two upon each floor.
The pavements here, though generally excellent in the centre of the street, and kept in good order by the limited traffic, the total absence of any ponderous carriages, and the imperturbability of the stones when once laid down, universally wants that indispensable article of comfort to pedestrians--a foot-pavement. Walking is not only fatiguing and distressing to the unaccustomed soles of Englishmen, but it compels them to move in perpetual discomfort, from the necessity of being everlastingly on the qui vive, and looking before and behind, and on one side, if they wish to avoid an unprofitable encounter with a fiacre or cabriolet. It is very illustrative of the different notions of comfort in the two countries, that while here, with an immediate supply of materials under their feet, they neglect to use them, in England they procure this accommodation from a great distance and at a vast expense, and with undistinguishing luxury extend it to the narrowest street and the shabbiest alleys. In Paris, probably, the disregard of a trottoir originated in that aristocratical feeling, which considered the common people as nothing; so at least Rousseau seemed to think, when he judged from our English foot-paths, that they were something, and thanked God for it. If to all these points of indisputable inferiority it be added, that the French metropolis is entirely without those extensive and handsomely planted squares that form such an embellishment to London; and that its streets, with a few exceptions, are not so long, or so wide, or so regular as ours, it may be doubted whether, upon the whole, it deserves the name of a finer city, if by that phrase we mean to indicate a greater combination of external and internal recommendations :-though it must always be conceded that the immediate purlieus of the Court present an assemblage of magnificence and beauty unrivalled in London, or perhaps in any other city. The whole country, indeed, to judge by what we have seen, exhibits traces of a long-continued, but tasteful despotism, which has sacrificed France to Paris, and Paris to the Court.
The public buildings at present carrying on in this capital, are fully calculated to support its architectural reputation. After having been for some time unforwarded, the new Exchange is now in active progress towards completion, and will unquestionably be the noblest in Europe. Perfectly simple in its design and decorations, it has an air of the most impressive grandeur and majesty from its vastness and fine proportions, being encircled by a cluster of sixty-four lofty columns worthy of the ancient Romans, though their effect be somewhat frittered down by the smallness of the blocks of which they are constituted. It is not easy to account for this blemish, which we also observed in other buildings, as the quarries seem to supply masses of every dimension. The new church of La Madeleine, which Napoleon had destined for a Temple of Glory, seems to have been begun upon too gigantic a plan to encourage hopes of its completion. Churches and temples of glory, indeed, can hardly expect to take a bond of fate in these days of evanescent dynasties and popular instability; and the beginnings of this stupendous edifice, as well as of the Triumphal Arch beyond the Barrier of Neuilly, are unnoticed except by foreigners, who, estimating the Hercules by his foot, or the Mammoth from his skeleton, cannot help respecting the gigantic conceptions in which they originated. Amusement, however, is a goddess to whose worship even the fickle Parisians are constant; and no changes have for a moment impeded the completion of the new French Opera House, which forms at present their paramount object of attention, and has sprung rapidly up in the Street Lepelletier. It is a light and elegant building, surmounted by handsome statues of eight Muses, the architect having unaccountably not left space enough for the ninth. I inquired of a grave elder, who was contemplating the façade, the cause of this omission :-- "Monsieur, c'est que l'autre est occupée avec Apollon," was the truly Parisian reply.
Versailles.--I have said that France, in some of its departments, bears the impress of a long despotism which had exhausted the provinces for the embellishment of the capital, in which latter term the contiguous parks and palaces must be included. These are of the most grand and sumptuous character; and he who in one day has visited Versailles when the great water-works play, the two Trianons, and St. Cloud, all adjoining to each other, will probably have witnessed a rarer display of architectural and hortulan splendour-a more surpassing union of natural and artificial beauties, than could be any where paralleled within the same compass; and may form some notion of the splendour of the old French Court, as well as of the wild profusion which lavished the revenues of an empire on the freaks of a profligate monarch and his weak and wanton mistresses.
The Palace of Versailles forms a superb front of 800 yards extent, when viewed from the gardens; and accords, both externally and internally, with our preconceived notions of the vain and ostentatious Louis XIV., who, at an expense of between eighty and ninety millions of francs, completed this enormous mass of pompous extravagance. Here, however, there are at least some durable evidences of taste; some permanent monuments of art;-something which the French, for many ages to come, will have to shew for their money: it has not been fribbled
away upon thatched cottages. Chinese pagodas, and sprawling green dragons, of which the present age would be still more ashamed, but for the consoling reflection that in a few years such fantastical gewgaws will have tumbled to pieces, and be no more remembered than the tin and tinsel palaces in the last scene of one of Astley's pantomimes. Speaking individually, I would rather contribute half my substance to the embellishment of a Versailles, than a tithe of the sum to unnecessary wars (and unnecessary most wars are); yet what a trifle is the cost of this stupendous piece of extravagance, when compared with that of a few campaigns! Unfortunately Louis XIV. united both modes of expenditure. Going over a palace is generally a great drudgery; they have all a strong family-likeness :-from the ceilings, "where sprawl the saints of Verrio and La Guerre," down to the tesselated marble under foot, where "half the platform just reflects the other," they are alike apt to be very fine and very tiresome. Servants in rich old-fashioned liveries led us from room to room, exclaiming, "Salon de Mars!"-" Salon d'Apollon!"--"Salon de Mercure!" and "Salon de Diane!" till we began to speculate with some pleasure on the exhaustion of the Heathen Deities; but alas! they were succeeded by the divinities of legitimacy, and the officers of their almost interminable household. The want of furniture, all of which disappeared in the Revolution, adds to the monotony of the chambers, which seem to be astonished at their own forlorn finery, as they glitter in the gorgeousness of the new gilding with which they have been lately decorated. Here and there an obnoxious pannel torn out, attested the political change which had so unexpectedly restored its old masters, which was also evidenced by the sedulous restoration of the fleur de lis, perhaps destined at no distant period to be again supplanted. With the exception of the Chapel, which, in spite of Voltaire's lampoon, is very elegant, though somewhat too gaudy-and the great gallery, 222 feet in length, with its mirrors reflecting the gardens and waters,-we encountered nothing very striking, till, on passing through some gloomy and shabby passages, we groped our way into the once magnificent Amphitheatre, or Salle des Spectacles, now dismantled, silent, and abandoned to dust, darkness, and desolation. Every thing that was royal, joyous, and festive, conspired to give splendour and eclat to this masterpiece of luxury, which was completed in 1770, on the marriage of the unfortunate Louis XVI. The Amours of the Gods, painted by Du Rameau, on the ceiling, could hardly suggest to the imagination scenes of more voluptuous enchantment than were once realized on the floor below, when, on the removal of a portion of the gilded columns, which were made hollow for that purpose, the whole arena was converted into a sumptuous ball-room; and the most splendid Court in Europe, in the height of its lustre, headed by Marie Antoinette in the zenith of her fascinations, mingling in the graceful dance, dazzled the spectator with the sight of beautiful and laughing faces, and sparkling diamonds, and nodding plumes, and gay colours, all reflected and multiplied a thousand times by the innumerable mirrors with which every box and every wall was completely pannelled. We sat in the very box which had been so often graced by Royalty ;-we stood on the boards