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Beating on one of those disastrous isles, -
Had vanished, swallowed94 up with all that there · Had for the common safety striven in vain,
Or thither thronged for refuge. 2. With quick glance
Daughter and sire through optic-glass discern, -
A few may yet be saved." 3. The daughter's words,
Her earnest tone, and looks beaming with faith,
Together they put forth, — father and child !
Rivalssi in effort ; and, alike intent,
May brighten more and more! 5 True to the mark,
They stem the current of that perilous gorge,
7. But why prolong the tale,
Casting weak words amid a host of thoughts
8. Shout, ye waves !169
Send forth a sound of triumph. Waves and winds,
9. And would that some immortal voice - a voice165
Fitly attuned to all138 that gratitude
XCII. —THE PRAIRIES OF THE WEST.
1. The attraction of the prairies consists in its extent, itg carpet of verdure and flowers, its undulating surface, its groves, und the fringe of timber by which it is surrounded. Of all these, the latter is the most expressive feature; it is that which gives character to the landscape, which imparts the shape and raarks the boundary of the plain. If the prairie be small, its greatest beauty consists in the vicinity of the surrounding margin of wood. land, which resembles the shore of a lake, indented with deep vistas like bays and inlets, and throwing out long points like capes and headlands; while occasionally these points approach 80 close on either hand, that the traveller passes through a nar. row avënue or strait, where the shadows of the woodland fall upon his path, and then again emerges into another prairie.
2. Where the plain is large, the forest outline is seen in the far perspective, like the dim shore when beheld at a distance from the ocean. The eye sometimes roams over the green meadow
without discovering a tree, a shrub, or any object in the immense expanse, but the wilderness of grass and flowers; while at another time the prospect is enlivened by the groves, which are seen interspersed like islands, or the solitary tree, which stands alone in the blooming desert.
3. If it be in the spring of the year, and the young grass has just covered the ground with a carpet of delicate green, and especially if the sun is rising from behind a distant swell of the plain, and glittering upon the dew-drops, no scene can be mor? lovely to the eye. The deer is seen grazing quietly upon the plain; the bee is on the wing; the wolf, with his tail drooped, is sneaking away to his covert with the felon tread of one who is conscious that he has disturbed the peace of nature; and the grouse, feeding in flocks or in pairs, like the domestic fowl, cover the whole surface.
4. When the eye roves off from the green plain to the groves, or points of timber, these also are found to be at this season robed in the most attractive hues. The rich undergrowth is in full bloom. The red-bud, the dog-wood, the crab-apple, the wildplum, the cherry, the wild-rose, are abundant in all the rich lauds; and the grape-vine, though its blossom is unseen, fills the air with fragrance. The variety of the wild fruit and flowering shrubs is so great, and such the profusion of the blossoms with which they are bowed down, that the eye is regaled almost to satiety.
5. The gayety of the prairie, its embellishments, and the absence of the gloom and savage wildness of the forest, all con. tribute to dispel the feeling of lonesomeness which usually creeps over the mind of the solitary traveller in the wilderness. Though he may not see a house, nor a human being, and is conscious that he is far from the habitationser of men, he can scarcely divest himself of the idea that he is travelling through scenes embel. lished by the hand of art. The flowers, so frágile, so delicate, and so ornamental, seem to have been tastefully disposed to adorn the scene; the groves and clumps of trees appear to have been scattered over the lawn to beautify the landscape ; and it is not casy to avoid that illusion of the fancy which persuades the beholder that such scenery has been created to gratify the refined taste of civilized man.
6. Européans are often reminded of the resemblance of this scenery to that of the extensive parks of noblemen which they have been accustomed to admire in the Old World; the lawn, the avenue, the grove, the copse, which are there produced by art, are here produced by nature; a splendid specimen of nassy arcaitecture, and the distant view of villages, are alone wanting to render the simil'itude complete.
7. These are the gardens of the desert, these
The unshorn fields, boundless and beautiful,
8. Man hath no part in all this glorious work :
The Hand that built the firmament hath heaved
XCIII. — THE VALLEY OF MEXICO.
From THE SIDE OF THE SIERRAEI NEVA'DA. 1. CONCEIVE yourself placed on a mountain nearly two thousand feet above the valley, and nine thousand above the level of the sea; a sky above you of the most perfect azure, without a cloud ; and an atmosphere so transparently pure that the remotest objects, at the distance of many leagues, are as distinctly visible as if at hand. The gigantic scale of everything first strikes you, — you seem to be looking down upon a world.
2. No other mountain and valley view has such an assemblage of features, because nowhere else are the mountains at the same time so high, the valley so wide, or filled with such variety of land and water. The plain beneath is exceedingly level, and for two hundred miles around it extends a barrier of stupendous
mountains, most of which have been active volcanoes, and are now covered, some with snow, and some with forests.
3. It is laced with large bodies of water, appearing more like seas than lakes; it is dotted with innumerable villages, and estates, and plantations; eminences rise from it, which, elsewhere, would be called mountains, yet there, at your feet, they seem but ant-hills on the plain; and now, letting your eye follow the rise of the mountains to the west (near fifty miles distant), you look over the immediate summits that wall the valley to another and more distant range, and to range beyond range, with valleys between each, until the whole melts into a vapory distance, blue as the cloudless sky above you.
4. I could have gazed for hours at this little world, while the sun and passing vapor checkered the fields, and, sailing off again, left the whole one bright mass of verdure and water, bringing out clearly the domes of the village churches studding the plain or leaning against the first slopes of the mountains, with the huge lakes looming larger in the răr'efied atmosphere. El
5. Yet one thing was wanting. Over the immense expanse there seemed scarce an evidence of life. There were no figures in the picture. It lay torpid in the sunlight, like some deserted region, where Nature again was beginning to assert her empire, vast, solitary, and melancholy. There were no sails, no steamers on the lakes, no smoke over the villages, no people at labor in the fields, no horsemen, coaches, or travellers, but ourselves.
6. The silence was almost supernatural. It was a picture of “ still life,” inanimate in every feature, save where, on the distant mountain sides, the fire of some poor coal-burner mingled its blue wreath with the bluer sky, or the tinkle of the bell of a solitary mulëteer was heard from among the dark and solemn pines.
XCIV. — THE WORLD OF WATER.
1. WATER expands when warmed ; in pots it boils over; and although the ocean certainly is nowhere hot enough to boil a leg of mutton, the great mass of water rises under the influence of tropic heat above the common level, and runs over towards the poles, leaving its place empty for cold water to rush in and occupy it. Precisely in the same way, air, which is another ocean, — an ocean some fifty miles deep, and at the bottom of which we are living, - swells at the equator, and pours out its deluge north and south over the colder current which runs in to