« ForrigeFortsett »
tally absorbed, and only living in their supplication: nothing can disturb them. On me the simple and entire sincerity of these men, and the spirit which appeared to be within and upon them, made a far greater impression than any general rite which was ever performed in places of Worship, of which I have seen those of almost every persuasion under the sun; including most of our own sectaries, and the Greek, the Catholic, the Armenian, the Lutheran, the Jewish, and the Mahometan. Many of the negroes, of whom there are numbers in the Turkish empire, are idolaters, and have free exercise of their belief and its rites: some of these I had a distant view of at Patras, and from what I could make out of them, they appeared to be of a truly Pagan description, and not very agreeable to a spectator.
Stanza xcii. line l. The thunder-storms to which these lines refer occurred on the 13th of June, 1816, at midnight. I have seen among the Acroceraunian mountains of Chimari several more terrible, but none more beautiful.
Stanza xcix. line 5.
Rousseau's Heloise, Lettre 17, part 4, note. « Ces mon“tagnes sont si hautes qu'une demi-heure après le soleil "couche, leurs sommets sont encore éclairés de ses rayons ; “dont le rouge forme sur ces cimes blanches une belle couleur “de rose qu'on apperçoit de fort loin."
This applies more particularly to the heights over Meillerie.
« J'allai à Vevay loger à la Clef, et pendant deux jours "que j'y restai sans voir personne, je pris pour cette ville un "amour qui m'a suivi dans tous mes voyages, et qui m'y a rfait établir enfin les héros de mon roman. Je dirois volon"tiers à ceux qui ont du goût et qui sont sensibles ; allez à - Vevai-visitez le pays, examinez les sites, promenez-vous r'sur le lac, et dites si la Nature n'a pas fait ce beau pays
" pour une Julie, pour une Claire, et pour un St. Preux; " mais ne les y cherchez pas." Les Confessions, livre iv. page 306. Lyons ed. 1796.
In July, 1816, I made a voyage round the Lake of Geneva; and as far as my own observations have led me in a not uninterested nor inattentive survey of all the scenes most celebrated by Rousseau in his “ Heloise,” I can safely say, that in this there is no exaggeration. It would be difficult to see Clarens (with the scenes around it, Vevay, Chillon, Bôveret, St. Gingo, Meillerie, Eivan, and the entrances of the Rhone) without being forcibly struck with its peculiar adaptation to the persons and events with which it has been peopled. But this is not all: the feeling with which all around Clarens, and the opposite rocks of Meillerie, is invested, is of a still higher and more comprehensive order than the mere sympathy with individual passion; it is a sense of the existence of love in its most extended and sublime capacity, and of our own participation of its good and of its glory: it is the great principle of the universe, which is there more condensed, but not less manifested; and of which, though knowing ourselves a part, we lose our individuality, and mingle in the beauty of the whole.
If Rousseau had never written, nor lived, the same associations would not less have belonged to such scenes. He has added to the interest of his works by their adoption; he has shown his sense of their beauty by the selection; but they have done that for him which no human being could do for them.
I had the fortune (good or evil as it might be) to sail from Meillerie (where we landed for some time) to St. Gingo during a lake storm, which added to the magnificence of all around, although occasionally accompanied by danger to the boat, which was small and overloaded. It was over this very part of the lake that Rousseau has driven the boat of St. Preux and Madame Wolmar to Meillerie for shelter during a tempest.
On gaining the shore at St. Gingo, I found that the wind had been sufficiently strong to blow down some fine old chestnut trees on the lower part of the mountains.
On the opposite height of Clarens is a chateau. The hills are covered with vineyards, and interspersed with some small but beautiful woods; one of these was named the “ Bosquet de Julie," and it is remarkable that, though long ago cut down by the brutal selfishness of the monks of St. Bernard (to whom the land appertained), that the ground might be enclosed into a vineyard for the miserable drones of an execrable superstition, the inhabitants of Clarens still point out the spot whereits trees stood, calling it by the name which consecrated and survived them.
Rousseau has not been particularly fortunate in the preservation of the local habitations” he has given to “airy nothings.” The Prior of Great St. Bernard has cut down some of his woods for the sake of a few casks of wine, and Buonaparte has levelled part of the rocks of Meillerie in improving the road to the Simplon. The road is an excellent one, but I cannot quite agree with a remark which I heard made, that “ La route vaut mieux que les souvenirs."
Stanza cv. line 1.
Stanza cxiii, line last.
“ If it be thus,
Stanza cxiv, line 7. It is said by Rochefoucault that “ there is always something in the misfortunes of men's best friends not displeasing to them."
Visto ho Toscana, Lombardia, Romagna,
Quel Monte che divide, e quel che serra Italia, e un mare e l'altro, che la bagna.
Ariosto, Satira iii.