bards of Gre’ece/ were confined within the narrow ci'rcle of the Ch'orus, and hen'ce they found themselves constrained to pra'ctise (for the m'ost-part) the precis'ion, and co‘py the details of nature. I' fol'lowed them, and knew not that a larger circle might be drawn, and the dr’ama/ extended to the whole re'ach of human ge'nius. Convinc'ed, I see that a more compendious nature may be obtained ; (a nature of effe'cts o'nly) to which/ neither the rela'tions of plac'e, nor continuity of ti'me, are al'ways ess'ential. N'ature (condescending to the f'aculties and apprehen'sions of m'an) has drawn through human life a regular chain of visible* caus'es and effe'cts : But po'etry/ deligʻhts in surpris e, conce’als her ste'ps, sei'zes at on'ce upon the heart, and obtains the sublim'e of thi’ngs/ without betraying the roʻunds of her asc'ent: True poesy is magic, not r'ature ; an effe'ct/ from causes hi’dden or unkn'own. To the Magician/, I prescribed no'-laws ; his la'w and his power/ are one'; his po'wer) is hi’s-law. Hi'm/ who neither imitates, nor is within the rea'ch of imitation, no precedent c'an, or ought to bi’nd, no limits to contain ! If his end is obt’ained/, wh'o shall question his course? Me'ans (whether appa'rent or hi’dden) are justified in po'esy by succ'ess; but the’n most pe'rfect and most a'dmirable/ when m'ost concealed.”—But wh'ither am I go'ing! This copious and delightful to'pic/ has drawn me far beyo'nd my desi'gn : I hasten ba'ck to my

su'bject, and am gu'arded (for a time at le'ast) against any further temp’tation/ to digre'ss.





It m'ust be so'Pl'ato, thou reasonest we'll-
E'lse/ whence this pleasing ho'pe, this fo'nd desir'e,
This longing after immortality ?
Or/ whence this secret dread, and inward h'orror,
Of falling into noug'ht? Why shfinks the soul

* Nouns ending in ity, and adjectives in ible, should be pronounced as if terminating in ēty and ēble, due attention being paid to the percussion of the accent; thus, “ cha'rēty, va'nēty, po'ssēbʻle, se'nsēble,' &c.

Back on herse'lf, and startles at destru'ction ?
'Tis the Divi'nity, that stirs withi'n us ;
'Tis He’aven itse^lf, that points out an herea'fter, *
And i'ntimates/ ete'rnity to ma'n.
Eternity! thou pleasing, drea'dful thought !
Through what var'iety of untried be'ing,
Through what new sc'enes and changes/ must we pass
The wi'de, the unbounded prospect/ lie's bef'ore me;
But shadows, clouds, and da'rkness/re'st upo'n it.
H'ere will I ho'ld. If there's a power

ab'ove us, (And that there i^s, all Nature/ cries aloud Through all her works,) he must delight in vi'rtue ; And that which h`e delights in/ must be h’appy. But wheon, or wheʻre ?- This world was ma‘de for Cæosar. I'm weary of conje'ctures—th'is/ must end them.

Thus am I dou bly armed—my dea'th and life',
My ba'ne and a'ntidote/ are boʻth befor'e me.
Th'is (in a m'oment) bring's me to an eʼnd;
But thios/ infor’ms me/ I shall ne’ver die' !
The soʻul (secured in her exi'stence,) sm'iles
At the drawn da’gger, and defi'es its poi'nt:
The st'ars/shall fa’de awa'y, the su’n himseʻlf
Grow di'm with a'ge, and Na'ture/ sink in ye’ars ;
But thoou/ shalt flourish in immo'rtal yoʻuth,
Unhu'rt/ amidst the war of e'lements,
The wrec'ks of ma’tter, and the cru'sh of wor'lds.-
What means this hea'viness/ that hangs up'on me,
This le`thargy/ that creeps through all my se'nses ?
Na'ture (oppressed and harassed out with c'are)
Sinks do'wn to res't. This o'nce! I'll fa'vour her ;
Tha't/ my awakened so'ul/ may take her fli’ght,
Renew'ed/ in all her streng'th) and fre'sh with li'fe,
An offering/ fit for heaven! Let gui'lt or fe'ar
Disturb man's reʼst: Caoto/ knows ne'ither off-them,
Indiff 'erent/ in hi's choʻice, to sleep, or dĩạe !


and slower

* It is proper to use an before words where the h is not mute, when the accent is on the second syllable, as, an heroic action, an historical account, &c.




On the twenty-seventh of May, we set off at midn`ight/ to see the rising su’n/ from the to'p of Æ'tna.

Our gui'de/ conducted us over “ antres vas't and deserts wild," where scarcely human foo't/ had ever trodden : som'etimes, through gloomy fore'sts, which by day'-light were deli’ghtful, but n'ow/ from the universal dark'ness, the ru'stling of the tre'es, the hea'vy, dull-bellowing of the mou'ntain, the vast expa'nse of o'cean (stretched at an immense distance below-us,) inspired a kind of a'wful hor'ror. After incredible la'bour and fati'gue, (mixed at the same time with a great de'al of pleoasure,) we arr'ived, before daw'n, at the ruins of an ancient str’ucture, supposed to have been built by the philo'sopher/ Emp'edocles, who took up his habitation her'e, the be'tter to study the n'ature of Mou'nt-Ætna.

We had now ti'me to pay our ador’ations/ in, a silent contempla'tion of the sublime oʻbjects of nature. The sk'y/ was perfectly cle'ar, and the immense vault of the he’avens/ appeared in a'wful m'ajesty and splendour. We found ourselves more struck with ve'neration, than beloow, a'nd/ at fir'st/ were at a loss to kno'w the ca'use ; till we obse'rved (with asto'nishment) that the num’ber of star's seemed to be in'finitely incre'ased ; and that the light-of-each-of them/ appeared bri'ģhter than u'sual. The whiteness of the m’ilky-way/ was like a pure fla'me that shot across the he'avens ; a'nd, with the n'aked-eye, we could observe clusters of sta'rs/ that were inv'isible in the re'gions beloow. We did not/ at fir'st/ attend to the ca'use, nor re'collect/ that we had now passed through t'en or twelve thousand feet of gross v'apour, that blu'nts and confuses every ra'y, before it reaches the s'urface of the ea'rth. amazed at the distinctness of vi'sion, and exclaimed (tog'ether), “What a glorious situation for an obs'ervatory !" We regretted that Jupiter was not v'isible, as I am pers'uaded/* we might

Besides the necessary pause before the personal pronoun “We,” the observant reader will perceive another reason for it, namely, the conjunction " that” being understood.

We were Change of


have discovered some of his satellites with the n'aked-eye, or at lea'st/ with a small glass/ which I had in my poc'ket

. We observed a light a great way below-us/ on the mo’untain, which seemed to mo've among the foʻrests; but, whether an Ignis Fa'tuus, or what it was, I shall not pret'end to say'. We likewise took notice of several of those m'eteors/ called “ falling sta'rs," wh'ich/ still appeared to be as much elevated abo've us, as when seen from the ploain ; so th’at/ in a'll probab'ility/ those b'odies/ move in reg‘ions/ much beyond the bou’nds that some phil'osophers/ have assigned to our at'mosphere.

After contemplating these objects for some t'ime, we set o'ff, an'd/ in about an hour's cli'mbing, arrived at a place/ where there was no sn'ow; and/ where a warm and comfortable v'apour/ issued from the mo’untain, which induced-us/ to make another-halt. From this s'pot/ it was only about three hundred yards to the highest s'ummit of the mo'untain, where we arrived in full time to s'ee—the most won'derful, and most sublime-sight/ in-nature.

But here desc'ription/ must ev'er fall sh'ort; for/ n'o imagin'ation/ has dared to form an idea of so glor'ious and so magn'ificent-a-scene. Neither is there on the surface of this globe, any o'ne-point/ that un'ites so many awful and subl’imeobjects ;-the immense elevation from the su'rface of the ear'th, (drawn as it were to a single poi’nt,) without any neighbouring mountain for the senses and imagina'tion to rest upo'n, and recov'er from their aston'ishment/ in their way down to the wor'ld ;-this poi'nt or pin'nacle, (raised on the brink of a bottomless gʻulf,) often discharging rivers of fiore, and throwing out burning roc'ks, with a no‘ise/ that shakes the whole i'sland ;-a'dd to thi's, the unbounded extent of the pro’spect, (comprehending the greatest dive'rsity and the most beautiful scenery in n’ature) ; with the rising sun', advancing in the ea'st, to illu'minate the wondrous sce'ne.

The whole atmosphere by degrees kindled up, and sh'ewed (dimly and fai'ntly) the boundless pro'spect arou'nd. Both sea and land looked dar'k and conf'used, (as if only emerging from their orig'inal ch'aos,) and ligʻht and dar'kness) seemed still undiv'ided; till the mor’ning, (by degrees advan'cing,) complet'ed-the-separation. The sta'rs are extin'guished, and the shades disappear. The foʻrests (which but now seemed black and bottomless gu'lfs, from which no r'ay was reflected to show


their for'm or colours,) appear a new creation/ rising to the
sigʻht; catching life and be’auty / from every increas'ing-beam.
The sceľne still enlar'ges, and the hor'izon/ seems to widen
and expa'nd itself on all si’des ; till the su'n/ appears in the
ea'st, a'nd, with his plastic-ray, comple'tes-the mighty-scene.
-A11/ seems enchan'tment; and it is with difficulty that we
can believe our'selves to be still on ea'rth. The se'nses
(unaccustomed to the sublimity of such a sc'ene,) are bewi'l-
dered and confounded; and it is not/ till after some ti'me,
that they are c'apable of se'parating and judging of the ob'-
jects/ that compo'se it.—The boʻdy-of-the-sun) is seen rising
from the o'cean, immense tra'cts/ both of se'a and la’nd inter-
ve'ning ; the adjacent i’slands (with their smoking sum'mits,)


look down on the whole of Si'cily as on a ma^p; and can trace every ri'ver, through all its wi’nding, from its soʻurce/ to its mo‘uth. The view is absolutely boun'dless on e'very-side ; n'or/ is there any one ob'ject/ within the circle of vis'ion, to interru'pt it; so that the sight/ is every where lo'st/ in the imm'ensity; and I am persuaded/ it is only from the imperfec'tion of our oʻrgans, that the co‘asts of A'frica, and e'ven of Gre^ece, are not disc'overed, as they are certainly abo've the hoʻrizon. B'ut/ the most beautiful part of the s'cene/ is certainly the mountain itse'lf, the is'land of S'icily, and the numerous i’slands/ lying rou'nd it. All th’ese, (by a kind of magic in vi'sion that I am at a loss to accoun't-for,) se'em/ as if they were brought close round the skiʻrts-of-Ætna; the dis'tances appearing redu'ced to nothing.

We had now time to examine that region of the mo’untain, (which has undoubtedly given being to all the r'est)- I mean the r'egion of fir^e.

The present crater of this immense vol'cano/ is a circle of about three miles and a half in circumference. shelving down on each side, and forms a regular h'ollow/ like a vas't-amphitheatre. From many places of this spa'ce, issue volumes of sulphureous smoke, which (being much heavier than the circuma'mbient a'ir,) instead of ri'sing-in-it, (as smoke generally d'oes,) immediately on its getting out of the crater, rolls down the side of the moʻuntain/ like a torrent, t’ill (coming to that part of the atmosphere of the same specific gra'vity with its'elf,) it shoots off horizo'ntally, and forms a large track in the a'ir, according to the dire'ction of the wi'nd; wh'ich,

[ocr errors]

It goes

« ElőzőTovább »