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Before you decide, however, examine the scene in detail. Right before you-close under your feet, as it were-rise what are evidently the extreme tops of lofty forest trees, out of which (for the ear as well as the eye is enlisted in the office of admiration) issues a gurgling, prattling sound, telling of a bright river, that for ever runs its sunless course, a hundred feet below.
Beyond the moveless tops of those trees, not more than double the distance just named, -rises perpendicularly, several hundred feet, what would seem to be a solid barren cliff, but that Nature, a tirewoman whose taste and skill would put to shame those of Maradan herself, has clothed it, from head to foot, with a robe of such infinite richness and variety of material, such exquisite fashion, such felicitous adaptation to the forms on which it rests, and in such artistical harmony with the hues and colours distributed over it, that it looks a thing of living and breathing beauty, rather than a dead lump of everlasting granite. Observe too that, here and there, small patches of the lichened rock peep out from amidst the clinging or clasping foliage, as if on purpose to heighten by contrast the beauty of the general effect, and at the same time to prevent the imagination from forgetting what lies beyond. Indeed in the absence of this pretty expedient of Nature to keep in mind her “so potent art,” of clothing all things in beauty when it so pleases her, one might fancy the whole to be some supernatural wall of forest, piled perpendicularly, tier above tier, to the clouds.
Turn we now to the right, and the eye pursues the same vast wall of forest, as it recedes windingly for a brief distance, and then, turning a huge elbow to the left, is backed entirely by the grey sky. Midway, however, from the latter point, and (apparently) at the extremity of the lofty terrace on which we are standing, rises, from the side of a declivity out of sight, the white crenated spire of a lovely little church, seeming to spring out of the green turf, like the fairy spirit of the place, come thither to watch over its still beauty, (so Fancy prompts, and those who are too wise to listen to her had better leave us and our “gentle” readers to ourselves, and attend to good Mrs. Cumming's dinnerbell,) and protect it from the great Titanic monster that towers up above the ravine in an opposite direction, and seems (as we shall presently see) to be perpetually threatening it with a stony destruction.
Turning now in the direction just indicated -namely, to our full left as we stand on the turfed terrace of the Old Bath Hotel-we observe, in continuation, as it were, of the terrace, a broad rising pathway, which, as it mounts recedingly, pierces presently into a dense wood, where it is lost; but the eye, following its lead, continues to mount till it reaches the summit of an immense range of forest-clad mountain, which shuts in all this side of the view. The wood on this portion of the scene being entirely of fir,-chiefly larch, its sharp cones, seen against the blue sky, give to the mountain the air of a crowned monarch.
This magnificent object is met, about a quarter of a mile from where we stand, by one still more remarkable, consisting of the continuation of that gorgeous screen of forestclothed cliffs which faces the spot whence we are taking our survey. But the nature of the wood and vegetation which clothe these cliffs is so entirely different from that of the opposite side of the ravine,-being composed of every variety of our own indigenous forest-trees and shrubs, unmixed with any of the formal fir and larch which exclusively cover the hills just described,—that the contrast is as striking as it is beautiful, the bleak and foreign-looking aspect of the one, setting off like a foil the rich, stately,
and umbrageous masses, the festooned elegance, and occasional feathery lightness and ornamented grace, of the other.
These two opposite heights close in the view on the left, about a quarter of a mile from where we stand; but between them, a little nearer to us, though not appearing to be disjoined, but only to tower above them both, and frown down upon them like a great grey mass of moveless clouds, stands, or rather hangs in the burthened air, the enormous Titanic form that our fancy has assimilated to the demon of the spot, rebuked and kept in awe by the beautiful protecting spirit of it, which rises, in the form of a Christian temple, at the opposite extremity of the
We have hitherto been concerning ourselves only with the upper, the lower, and the more distant departments of the remarkable view before and about us. Look we now to those which form the central portion, nearer at