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147

COLLOQUY XII.

BLENCATHRA.-THRELKELD TARN.-THE

CLIFFORDS.

Of the very many Tourists who are annually brought to this Land of Lakes by what have now become the migratory habits of the opulent classes, there is a great proportion of persons who are desirous of making the shortest possible tarriance in any place; whose object is to get through their undertaking with as little trouble as they can, and whose inquiries are mainly directed to find out what it is not necessary for them to see; happy when they are comforted with the assurance, that it is by no means required of them to deviate from the regular track, and that that which cannot be seen easily, need not be seen at all. In this way our of modno take their degree as Lakers.

Nevertheless, the number of those who truly enjoy the opportunities which are thus afforded them, and have a genuine generous delight in beholding the grander and the lovelier scenes of a mountainous region, is sufficient to render this a good and wholesome fashion. The pleasure which they partake conduces as much to moral and intellectual improvement, as to health, and present hilarity. It produces no distaste for other scenes, no satiety, nor other exhaustion than what brings with it its own remedy in sound sleep. Instead of these, increase of appetite grows here by what it feeds on, and they learn to seek and find pleasure of the same kind in tamer landscapes. They who have acquired in these countries a love of natural scenery, carry with them in that love a perpetual source of enjoyment; resembling in this respect the artist, who, in whatever scenes he may be placed, is never at a loss for something from which his pencil may draw forth a beauty, which uncultivated eyes would fail to discover in the object itself. In every country,

however poor,.. there is something of “ free Nature's grace;".. wherever there is wood and water, wherever there are green fields, . . wherever there is an open sky, the feeling which has been called forth, or fostered among the mountains, may be sustained.

It is one of our most abiding as well as of our purest enjoyments, .. a sentiment which seems at once to humble and exalt us, which from natural emotion leads us

to devotional thoughts and religious aspirations, grows therefore with our growth, and strengthens when our strength is failing us.

I wonder not at those heathens who worshipped in high places. There is an elasticity in the mountain air, which causes an excitement of spirits, in its immediate effect like that of wine when, taken in due measure, it gladdens the heart of man. The height and the extent of the surrounding objects seem to produce a correspondent expansion and elevation* of mind; and the silence and solitude contribute to this emotion. You feel as if in another region, almost in another world. If a tourist in this country inquires which of our mountains it may

* This feeling has never been more feelingly expressed than by Burnet in his fine chapter, de Montibus.

Præter Cælorum faciem, et immensa spacia ætherea, stellarumque gratissimum aspectum, oculos meos atque animum nihil magis delectare solet, quam Oceanum intueri, et magnos montes terræ. Nescio quid grande habent et augustum uterque horum, quo mens excitatur ad ingentes affectus et cogitationes : summum rerum Authorem et Opificem indè facilè contuemur et admiramur, mentemque nostram, quæ cum voluptate res magnas contemplatur, non esse rem parvam cum gaudio recognoscimus. Et quæcunque umbram infiniti habent, ut habent omnia que non facilè comprehendimus, ob magnitudinem rei, et sensus nostri plenitudinem, gratum quendam stuporem animo affundunt.”—Telluris Theoria Sacra, l. i. c. 9.

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be worth his while to ascend, he may be told
any, or all. Helvellyn and Skiddaw and Blen-
cathra, Scawfell and Great Gable, Hindsgarth
and Causey Pike, each is unlike all the others
in the prospect that it presents, each has features
of its own, and all

may
well
repay

the labour of ascending them.

There is little or nothing of historical or romantic interest belonging to this region. In this respect it is very unlike the Scotch Border, where Sir Walter can entertain his guests during a morning ride with tales of murders, executions, house-besieging and house-burning, as parts of family history belonging to every homestead of which he comes in sight. The Border history is of no better character on the English side; but this part of the country was protected by the Solway, and by its natural strength, nor does it appear, at any time after it became English, to have been troubled with feuds. The English Barons, indeed, were by no means so often engaged in private wars as their Scotish neighbours, or the nobles on the continent; their contests were with the Crown, seldom with each other, and never with their vassals. Those contests were carried on at a distance from our Lake-land, where the inhabitants, being left in peace, seem to have enjoyed it, and

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never to have forfeited its blessings by engaging in the ways, and contracting the disposition of marauders. They had, therefore, neither ballad heroes, nor ballad poets, happy in having afforded no field for the one, and no materials of this kind for the other.

A heap of stones is the doubtful* monument of a battle which, in the middle of the tenth century, put an end to the kingdom of the Cumbrian Britons; after a war in which the victorious allies must have been actuated by any motive rather than policy; the King of South Wales having united with Edmund the Elder against a people of his own race, and Edmund giving the little kingdom, when they had conquered it, to the King of Scotland. That heap at Dunmailraise is our only historical monument, if such it may be called. There is something more for the imagination in knowing that three centuries earlier, the old bard, Llywarc Hen, was a prince of Cumbria, or of a partt thereof. He is said to have attained

* Doubtful, because it is at the division of the two counties, upon the high road, and on the only pass, and may very probably have been intended to mark the division.

† Argoed, which, according to Mr. Owen, was part of the present Cumberland : it lay west of the Forest of Celyddon, and was bordered by that wood to the east, as the name implies.

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