« ForrigeFortsett »
Clarens ! sweet Clarens, birthplace of deep Love, Thine air is the young breath of passionate thought ; Thy trees take root in Love; the snows above The very Glaciers have his colours caught, and sunset into rose-hues sees them wrought (") By rays which sleep there lovingly: the rocks, The permanent crags, tell here of Love, who sought In them a refuge from the worldly shocks, Which stir and sting the soul with hope that woos, then mocks.
(1) Rousseau's Héloïso, Lettro 17, part 4, note. “Ces montagnes sont si austos 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 rostai sans voir personne, je pris pour cette ville un amour qui m'a suivi dans tous mes voyages, et qui m'y a fait établir enfin les héros de mon roman.
Je dirois volontiers à ceux qui ont du goût et qui sont sensibles : alez à Vevay-visitez le pays, examinez les sites, promenez-vous 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 Genova ; 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 " Héloise," I can safely say, that in this there is no exaggeration. It would be difficult to see Clarens, (with the scenes around it, Vovay, Chillon, Bôveret, St. Gingo, Meillerie, Eivan, and the entrances of the Rhone,) without being forcibly struck with its peculiar adaptation to the per. sons and events with which it has been peopled. But this is not all: the feeling with which all around Clarens, and the opposito rocks of Muilleriu, is invested, is of a still higher and more comprehensive order than the mero 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 universo, which is there more
condensod, but not loss manifested; and of which, though knowing ourselves a part, we lose our individuality, and minglu in tho boauty of the wholo.
If Rousseau had novor written, nor lived, the same associations would not less have belonged to such scenes. Ho 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 ihom.
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 laké 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 lako that Rousseau has ariven the boat of St. Proux 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-l.ees 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 Si. 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 where its 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 lus cut down some of his woods for the saku of a fow casks of wino, and Buonaparte has
Clarens ! by beavenly feet thy paths are trod, -
His soft and summer breath, whose tender power
All things are here of him; from the black pines,
But light leaves, young as joy, stands where it stood
A populous solitude of bees and birds,
The swiftest thought of beauty, here extend,
He who hath loved not, here would learn that lore,
vie With the immortal lights, in its eternity !
levolled part of tho rocks of Mcillorio in improving tho road to tho Simplon. Tho road is an excellent ono, but I cannot quito agree with a remark which I heard mado That “ La route vaut mieux que les souvenirs.”
'Twas not for fiction chose Rousseau this spct,
And sense, and sight of sweetness ; here the Rhone
Lausanne ! and Ferney! ye have been the abodes (')
Of Heaven, again assaild, if Heaven the while
The one was fire and fickleness, a child,
Blew where it listed, laying all things prone,
The other, deep and slow, exhausting thought,
And doom'd him to the zealot's ready Hell,
(1) Voltaire and Gibbon.
Yet, peace be with their ashes, for by nem,
And when it shall revive, as is our trust,
But let me quit man's works, again to reod
reveries I feed,
To their most great and growing region, where The carth to her embrace compels the powers of air.
Italia! too, Italia! looking on thee,
Here thirst of knowledge, quaffing there her Gill, Flows from the eternal source of Rome's imperial hill.
Thus far have I proceeded in a theme
Which is the tyrant spirit of our thought,
No matter, it is taught.
And for these words, thus woven into song,
may be that they are a harmless wile, -
As loss or guerdon of a glorious lot;
I have not loved the world, nor the world me :
Of thoughts which were not their thoughts, and still could, Ilad I not filed (") my mind, which thus itself subdued.
I have not loved the world, nor the world me,
That two, or one, are almost what they seem,
My daughter! with thy name this song begun
brow thou never should'st behold, My voice shall with thy future visions blend,
And reach into thy heart, — when mine is coli!,...." A token and a tone, even from thy father's mould. (1)
• If it be thus, For Banquo's issue have I filed my ourl"
Macbeth. (2) It is said by Rochefoucault, that "there is always something in the misfortunos of men's best friends not displeasing to them."