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ITUN ALON

THE PEOPLE'S GALLERY OF ENGRAVINGS.

THE GREAT WATERWORKS AT VERSAILLES.

Those persons, if any such there be, who regard a taste for regal splendour and costly magnificence as the distinguishing characteristic of royalty, may well exclaim, while contemplating the palace and grounds of Versailles, “ There was once a king."

A large portion of the long reign of Louis XIV., and no inconsiderable part of the revenues of his kingdom, were expended in the building of this magnificent royal residence, in planting its gardens, and in artificially bending from their natural courses the streams which were required in order to irrigate its dry soil, and to feed its rainbowtinted fountains. Each stone in that vast regal pile was indeed cut with a golden chisel! The wealth of France was poured forth to fit it for the reception of the "grand monarque," and the nobles and beauties of his realm. In its umbrageous woods King Louis hunted; under the trees which overhang its delicious walks, Molière wrote; amid its fragrant orangeries and brilliant flower-beds, the beautiful and unhappy Marie Antoinette, “ herself the fairest flower," in later times held her court; and in its delicious lawns and glades, with their statues, their marble basins, and their fountains of unequalled splendour and beauty, the now deposed monarch, Louis Philippe, having himself restored the long-neglected Palace of Versailles to more than its original magnificence, assembled, but a few summers ago, at the gorgeous fête of June 10th, the knights and nobles—the chivalry and the beauty of France !

The accompanying plate represents the beautiful group of fountains, called “ Les grands Eaux,” in the vicinity of what was lately the abode of royalty. Few, we think, will gaze upon it, without bestowing at least a passing thought upon the fleeting nature of earthly magnificence; and, it may be, on the superiority of simple and natural pleasures over those which are artificial.

Bright Versailles ! A smiling sky
Spreads its glowing arch on high ;
Fragrant breath of balmy breeze
Fans thy tall, umbrageous trees;

S. S.VOL. III.

B

While beneath their spreading shade,
Tread the green turf youth and maid;
Sire and matron gaze the while,
On the festive scene, and smile.
Yet the founts that spring and flow
In the sunlight's golden glow,
Flinging forth their sparkling spray
On a scene so bright and gay,
Tell me of the silent glen,
Where I fain would dwell again.
There, the crystal waters flash,
There, the mountain-torrents dash
Over rock and dripping stone,
Thundering through the valley lone ;
There, the fountains, pure and clear,
As a Peri's dewy tear,
Spring mid lovely forest-flowers,
Gushing forth in glittering showers,
Laving cup and graceful bell,
Bud and rosy coronal;
Rushing through the emerald grass,
To the far hill's mossy base,
Mingling there with sister-streams,
Laughing 'mid the sun's bright beams.
Shining waters of Versailles,
Oh ! how many childish tales,
And sweet memories ye bring back !
Dreams of many a well-known track,
Visions of my early home,
Paths where I may never roam
In unmingled joy again ;
How ye wake a gentle strain,
Ringing in my ears as though
In that home I linger'd now,
Strain of ceaseless woodland songs,
Warblings of the feather'd throngs,
And the nightingale's lone lay,
Echoing through the vale, when day
Leaves the quiet leafy dell,
And night's soft and silvery veil
Falls on earth, and sea, and air,
And the flowers their jewels wear.

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