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The Autumn days are here again, and they have made this fair country golden. The woods and hedges are still green as at midsummer ; but the pervading golden gleam is everywhere. For this pleasant tract is on the verge of the Highlands. Stepping westward three or four miles, you would find yourself in the region of narrow straths, of sombre green, of the heather and the gray rocks. But looking eastward you have before you a Lowland country-side, which soon passes into a wide plain. Nor is the place unknown in story. There, to the right, is Birnam Hill: there, to the left, the round scalp of Dunsinane looks across the great valley. The air is wonderfully clear and still. There is the clack of the reaping-machine
here and there. The loch hard by is a cheerful gleam of silver. The trees are tall and old, and very many. It is a beautiful and bountiful scene. And it is the resting season of brain-driving men.
On this morning the sky is pale-blue : here and there a field has the rich brown colour which is commoner elsewhere ; but the predominant tint is yellow. So still is the air, that not a leaf stirs upon the trees. The sunshine was bright a little ago ; but a cloud has come over the sun. Who will cry down Matter? It was the fashion to do so, once upon a time: but surely the fashion of those who forgot that it is the Garment whereby we see its Creator. And how close Matter often comes to Mind ; sending out influences which interpenetrate what in us is most spiritual.
Though the aspect of nature be sometimes calm, it is never stolid. It has seemed to me, ever since I can remember, that the common expression of nature is eager and wistful : and when one came to learn certain truths which though mystical are thoroughly intelligible, it seemed as if (when in the right mood) one could plainly see the earnest expectation' on her solemn face. It was with profound sympathy that I read the other day of that impassioned expression in the countenance of all nature, which, if felt by primeval men, ages of cultivation have long forgotten.''
Principal Shairp’s Preface to Miss Wordsworth's Recollections of a Tour made in Scotland, A.D. 1803.