« ElőzőTovább »
WORDS OF THE CORPSE-WATCHER TO HIS COMRADE.
Gone is each saddened face and tearful eye,
Of mother, brother, and of sisters fair;
Through whispering hall, and up the rustling stair.
Pass, cheerly, if we can, the slow-paced hours;
And the wide air with storm and darkness lowers.
We will not talk of death, of pall and knell
Leave that, the mirth of brighter hours to check-
Or of stern battle, sea, and stormy wreck;
Unlatch the parlor door and bring the light;
To dip the cloth, and stay Death's hastening blight,
That hides a mortal, “ crushed before the moth.”
The bathing liquid scents the chilly room;
Of spectral white are shroud and veiling lace,
Take off the stifler from the sleeper's face !
Never hath Art, from purest wax or stone,
So fair an image, and so lustrous, wrought!
A weary angel in sweet slumber caught!
They sing of beauty in the silver moon,
And beauty in the penciled, drooping flower;
In radiant Hope's and rosy Health's gay hour;
Perhaps the spirit, ere it soar above,
The face it once did kindle into love :
Of Death made lovely by this blessed sight!
H. W. P
MY FIRST AND LAST CHAMOIS HUNT.
“ Es ist Zeit zu aufstehen—es ist drei world of new emotions and new thoughts viertel auf eins,” said a voice in reply to had been opened within me. Along the my question, “ Wer ist da?” as I was horizon of my memory some of those awakened by a low knock at my door. wondrous peaks were now drawn as disI had just composed myself to sleep for tinctly as they lay along the Alpine the second time, as this “ It is time to heavens. Now and then, a sweet pasget up, it wants a quarter of one,” turage had burst on me from amid this aroused me. I was in the mountain-val- savage scenery, like a sudden smile on ley of Grindelwald in the very heart of the brow of wrath, while the wild strain the Oberland. I had been wandering for of the Alp-horn, ringing through the weeks amid the glorious scenery of the rare atmosphere, and the clear voices of Alps, which had gone on changing from the mountaineers singing their “ranz de grand to awful till I had become as fa- vaches,” as they led their herds along the miliar with precipices, and gorges, and mountain path to their eagle-nested huls, glaciers, and snow-peaks, and avalanches, had turned it all into poetry. If a man as with the meadow-spots and hill-sides wishes to have remembrances that never of my native valley. I had stood in the grow old, and never lose their power to shadow of Mont Blanc, and seen the sun excite the deepest wonder, let him roam go down on his bosom of snow, until, through the Oberland. from the base to the heaven-reaching But I like to have forgotten the hunt I summit, it was all one transparent rose started to describe, in the wonderful scecolor, blushing and glowing in bright nery its remembrance called up. Grinand wondrous beauty in the evening at- delwald is a green valley lying between mosphere. I had stood and gazed on the passes of the Wengern Alp and the him and his mountain guard, tinted with Grand Scheideck, which are between the same deep rose-hue, till their glory three and four thousand feet above it, departed, and Mont Blanc rose, white, and are, in turn, surrounded by moun. and cold, and awful, like a mighty model tains six or seven thousand feet loftier in the pale moonlight. I had wandered still, although the valley itself is higher over its sea of ice, and climbed its break than the tops of the Catskill range. neck precipices, and trod the difficult There, rise in solemn majesty, as if to passes that surround it, but never yet wall in forever the little valley, the Eighad seen a wild chamois on its native her, or Giant—the Schreckhorn, or terhills. I had roamed through the Ober- rible peak—the Wetterhorn, or peak of land with no better success. All that I tempests—the Faulhorn, or foul peakhad heard and dreamed of the Alps had the Grand Scheideck, and a little farther been more than realized. Down the bo- away the Jungfrau, or virgin. Thus som of the Jungfrau I had seen the reck- surrounded, and overlooked, and guard. less avalanche stream, and listened alled forever, the green valley sleeps on as night to its thunder crash in the deep if unconscious of the presence of such gulfs, sending its solemn monotone awful forms. Here and there, by the through the Alpine solitudes, till my stream that wanders through it, and over heart stood still in my bosom. From the the green slopes that go modestly up to highest peak of the Wetterhorn (peak of the mountain on either side, are scattered tempests) I had seen one of those “thun- wooden cottages, as if thrown there by derbolts of snow” launch itself in terror some careless hand, presenting from the and might into the very path I was tread heights around one of the most picturing-crushed by its own weight into a esque views one meets in Switzerland. mere mist that rose up the face of the When the sun has left his last baptism precipice, like spray from the foot of a on the high snow-peaks, and deep shawaterfall. With its precipices leaning dow is settling down on Grindelwald, over me, I had walked along with silent there is a perfect storm of sound through lips and subdued feelings, as one who the valley from the thousands of bells trod near the margin of Jehovah's mantle. that are attached to the nearly six thouI had never been so humbled in the pre- sand of cattle the inhabitants keep in the sence of nature before, and a whole pasturage during the day. The clamor
of these bells in a still Alpine valley, morning, and I must up if I would fulfill made louder by the mountains that shut my engagement with the chamois bunters, in the sound, is singularly wild and In coming down the slope of the Grand pleasing.
Scheideck into the Grindelwald, you see But the two most remarkable objects on the opposite mountain a huge mass of in this valley are two enormous glaciers rock rising out of the centre of a green which, born far up amid the mountains, pasturage which rises at the base of an grown there among the gulfs into seas immense snow region. Flats and holcome streaming down into these green lows, no matter how high up among the pasturages, plunging their foreheads into Alps, become pasturages in the summer. the flat ground which lies even lower than The debris of the mountains above, the village. Rocks are thrown up, and washed down by the torrents, form a even small hills, by the enormous pres- slight soil, on which grass will grow, sure of the superincumbent mass. Miles while the snows melted by the summer of ice, from sixty to six hundred feet sun flow down upon it, keeping it conthick, push against the mass in front stantly moist and green. These pasturwhich meets the valley. One immense ages, though at an elevation of eight rock, which seems a mere projection thousand feet, will keep green, while the from the primeval base of the mountains, slopes and peaks around are covered with has resisted the pressure of one of these perpetual snow; and furnish not only immense glaciers, which, consequently, grazing for the goats which the moun. has forced itself over, leaving a huge faineer leads thither with the first break cave from its foot up to where the rock of day, but food for the wild chamois, lies imbedded. I went into this cavern, which descend from the snow fields the roof of which was blue as heaven around at early dawn to take their mornand polished like a mirror, while a stilling repast. With the first sound of the pool at the bottom acted as a mirror to shepherd's horn winding up the cliffs this mirror, till it stood confined as in a with his flocks, they hie them away again magic circle. These two glaciers push to their inaccessible paths. The eye of themselves boldly almost into the very the chamois is wonderfully keen, and it heart of the village, chilling its air and is almost impossible to approach him acting like huge refrigerators, especially when he is thus feeding. The only way at evening. The day previous to the the hunter can get a shot at him is to one appointed for the chamois hunt had arrive at the pasturage first, and find been one of extreme toil to me. I had some place of concealment near by, in traveled from morning till night, and which he can wait his approach. The most of the time on foot in deep snow, pile of rocks I alluded to, standing in the although a July sun pretended to be shin- midst of the elevated pasturage, furnished ing overhead. Unable to sleep, I had such a place of concealment, and seemed risen about midnight and opened my win- made on purpose for the hunter's benefit. dow, when I was startled as though I It is two or three good hours' tramp to had seen an apparition; for there before reach these rocks from Grindelwald, and me, and apparently within reach of my it may be imagined with how much enhand, and whiter than the moonlight that thusiasm I turned out of my bed, where was poured in a perfect flood upon it, I had obtained scarcely two hour's sleep, stood one of those immense glaciers. on such a cold expedition as this. It is The night had lessened even the little astonishing how differently a man views distance that intervened between the things at night and in the morning. The hamlet and it during the day, and it evening before I was all excitement in looked like some awful white monster, anticipation of the morning hunt, but some sudden and terrific creation of the now I would willingly have given all I gods, moved there on purpose to congeal had promised the three hunters who were men's hearts with terror. But as my eye to accompany me, if I could only have grew more familiar to it, and I remem lain still and taken another nap. I looked bered it was but an Alpine glacier, I out of the window, hoping to see some gazed on it with indescribable feelings. indications of a storm which would furFrom the contemplation of this white nish an excuse for not turning out in the and silent form I had just returned to my cold midnight to climb an Alpine mouncouch and to my slumbers, when the ex- tain. But for once the heavens were clamation at the head of this sketch provokingly clear, and the stars twinkled awoke me.
It was one o'clock in the over the distant snow summits as if they
enjoyed the clear frosty air of that high my blood from its barely comfortable region; while the full-orbed moon, just temperature back to zero again, and 1 stooping behind the western horizon, shook like a man in an ague. I knew (which, by the way, was much nearer that a chamois would be perfectly safe at the zenith than the horizon proper,) any distance greater than two feet from looked the Eigher (a giant) full in his the muzzle of my rifle, with such shaking lordly face, till his brow of ice and snow limbs; so I began to leap about, and rub shone like silver in the light. With our my legs, and stamp, to the no small anrifles in our hands we emerged from the noyance of my fellow-hunters, who were inn and passed through the sleeping ham- afraid the chamois might see me before let. Not a sound broke the stillness save we should see them. Wearied with the monotonous roar of the turbulent waiting for the dawn, I climbed up among little streamlet that went hurrying on the rocks, and, resting myself in a cavity ward, or now and then the cracking and secure from notice, gazed around me on crushing sound of the ice amid the gla- the wondrous scene. Strangely white ciers.
forms arose on every side, while deep I had hunted deer in the forests of down in the valley the darkness lay like America, both at evening and morning, a cloud. Not a sound broke the deep but never with teeth chattering so loudly hush that lay on everything, and I forgot as they did before I had fairly begun to for the time my chilliness, chamois huntascend the mountain. Ugh! I can re ers and all, in the impressive scene that member it as if it were but yesterday, surrounded me. As I sat in mute silence how my bones ached, and my fingers gazing on the awful peaks that tore up closed like so many sticks around my the heavens in every direction, suddenly rifle. Imagine the effect of two heaps of there came a dull heavy sound like the red-hot coals, about a hundred feet thick booming of heavy cannon through the and several miles long, lifted to an angle jarred atmosphere. An avalanche had of forty-five degrees, in a small and con fallen all alone into some deep abyss, and fined valley, and then by contrast you this was the voice it sent back as it may get some idea of the cold generated crushed below. As that low thunderby these two enormous glaciers. Yes, I sound died away over the peaks, a feeling say generated; for I gave up that morn of awe and mystery crept over me, and it ing all my old notions about cold being seemed dangerous to speak in the prethe absence of heat, &c., and became per sence of such majesty and power. fectly convinced that heat was the absence “ Hist! hist!” broke from my compan. of cold, for if cold did not radiate from ions below; and I turned to where their those masses of ice, then there is no re eyes were straining through the dim twi. liance to be placed on one's sensations. light. It was a long time before I could
Now crawling over the rocks, now discover anything but snow-fields and picking our way over the snow.crust, precipices; but at length I discerned sev. which bore us or not, just as the whim eral moving black objects that in the distook it, I at length slipped and fell and tance appeared like so many insects on rolled over in the snow, by way of a cold the white slope that stretched away bath. This completed my discomfort, towards the summit of the mountain. and I fairly groaned aloud in vexation at Bringing my pocket spy-glass to bear my stupidity in taking this freezing tramp upon them, I saw they were chamois for the sake of a chamois, which, after moving down towards the pasturage. all, we might not get. But the continuous Now carefully crawling down some ledge, straining effort demanded by the steepness now leaping over a crevice and jumping of the ascent finally got my blood in full a few steps forward, and now gently circulation, and I began to think there trotting down the inclined plane of snow, might be a worse expedition even than they made their way down the mountain. this undertaken by a sensible man. As the daylight grew broader over the
At length we reached the massive pile peaks, and they approached nearer, their of rocks, which covered at least an movements and course became more disand a half of ground, and began to bestow tinct and evident. They were making ourselves away in the most advantageous for the upper end of the pasturage, and places of concealment, of which there it might be two hours before they would was an abundance. But a half-hour's work down to our ambuscade ; indeed, sitting on the rocks in this high region, they might get their fill without coming surrounded by everlasting snow, brought near us at all. I watched them through
my spy-glass as they fed without fear on jestic he came up from behind that peak, the green berbage, and almost wished as if conscious of the glory he was shedthey would keep out of the range of our ding on creation. The dim glaciers that rifles. They were the perfect imperson- before lay in shadow flashed out like seas ation of wildness and timidity. The lift- of silver—the mountains paled away into ing of the head, the springy tread and the their virgin white, and it was broad sunquick movement in every limb, told how rise in the Alps. little it would take to send them with the I had forgotten the chamois in this speed of the wind to their mountain sudden unrolling of so much magnifihomes. The chamois is built something cence before me, and lay absorbed in the like the tame goat, only slighter, while overpowering, emotions they naturally his fore legs are longer than his hinder awakened, when the faint and far-off ones, so that he slants downward from strain of the shepherd's horn came floathis head to his tail. His horns are beau- ing by. The mellow notes lingered tiful, being a jet black, and rising in par- among the rocks, and were prolonged allel line from his head even to the point in softer cadences through the deep valwhere they curve over. They neither leys, and finally died away on the disincline backward nor outward, but, rising tant summits. A shepherd was on bis straight out of the head, seem to project way to this pasturage with his goats. forward, while their parallel position Hewears a horn, which he now and almost to the tips of the curvatures gives then winds to keep his flock in the path ; them a very crank appearance. They. and also during the day, when he sees are as black as ebony, and some of them any one of the number straying too near bend in as true a curve as if turned by pitfalls and crevices, he blows his horn, the most skillful hand.
and the straggler turns back to the pasI watched every movement of these turage. wild creatures till my attention was ar A second low exclamation from my rested by a more attractive sight. The Swiss hunters again drew my attention sun had touched the topmost peaks of to the chamois. They also had heard the loftiest mountains that bemmed in the sound of the horn, and had pricked the sweet valley of Grindelwald, turning up their ears, and stood listening: A the snow into tire, till the lordly summits second strain sounding nearer and clearseemed to waver to and fro in the red er, they started for the snow fields. As light that bathed them. A deep shadow good luck would have it, they came trotstill lay on the vale, through which the ting in a diagonal line across the pasturcottages of the inhabitants could scarcely age which would bring them in close be distinguished. At length they grew range of our rifles. We lay all prepared, clearer and clearer in the increasing light, and when they came opposite us, one of and column after column of smoke rose the hunters made a low sound which in the morning air, striving in vain to caused them all to stop. At a given sig. reach half way up the mountains that nal we all fired. One gave a convulsive stood in silent reverence before the up- spring into the air, ran a few rods, and rising sun. The ruddy light had descend- fell mortally wounded. The rest, winged ed down the Alps, turning them all into with fear and terror, made for the heights. a deep rose color. There stood the Giant, I watched their rapid flight for some disrobed like an angel; and there the tance, when I noticed that one began to Schreckhorn, beautiful as the morning; flag, and finally dropped entirely bebind. and there the Faulhorn, with the same Poor fellow, ihought I to myself, you glorious appareling on; and farther away are struck. His leap grew slower and the Jungfrau, looking indeed like a vir- slower till at length he stopped, then gin, with all her snowy vestments about gave a few faint springs forward, then her, tinged with the hue of the rose. All stopped again, and seemed to look wistaround and heaven-high rose these glo- fully towards his flying companions that rious forms, looking as if the Deity had vanished like shadows over the snow thrown the mantle of his majesty over fields that sloped up to the inaccessible them on purpose to see how they became peaks. I could not but pity him as I their glorious appareling.
saw him limp painfully on. In imagi. It was a scene of enchantment. At nation I could already see the life-blood length the mighty orb which had wrought oozing drop by drop from his side, bringall this magnificent change on the Alpine ing faintness over his heart and exhauspeaks, rose slowly into view. How ma- tion to his fleet limbs.