« PreviousContinue »
hawthorn blossomed, and Woman brightened, and there was light within us and around us, and all were young and happy while he sang! His articulation was any thing but perfect. Words there were that died of joy at being chosen by him, and were buried in the utterance of richer sounds; but hardly was this, as it seemed, to be regretted. The subject of the song was known; the voice was inspiration; every auditor became a poet, and the happiest images of which his genius was susceptible thronged around him into existence, while the listening soul hovered betwixt rapture and expectation.
Yet it is not of the voice of man, either in song or in speech, that I desire principally to write, who have a more important subject in the conversational voice of Woman dear Woman; on the purity, the gentleness, and the sweetness of which, so much of the enjoyment and domestic happiness of life depends; and which appears to me not to receive among us the attention and culture it deserves.
During the delirium of love, one hardly knows by what charm one has been fascinated; but the time of analysis arrives at length, and then happy is he, to whom the voice of his mistress sounds sweetly as before. 'Ah, La Faire,' said the French lady to her admirer, 'you no longer love me! I have had that mole upon my neck all my life long, and you never discovered it 'till now! This moment of discovery comes like the shock of the Joust, and Love is sure to be unhorsed if assailed by an abrupt or harsh voice; or pierced to the quick, by a sharp or a stinging one.
And, on the contrary, who that breathes in the enjoyment of this magic grace of Woman, would exchange it for any other? While gazing, in the hope that he may listen; and listening, as if the words were life; and living, in a perpetual refreshment of the soul! The taste, the smell, the touch, the sight- they are all common, all plebeian senses in comparison to that inscrutable perception and power, by which the spirit imbibes Love out of Sound; or welcomes Joy, or Hope, on its errand through the air! By which, thoughts are interchanged, desires known, and the heart is made infallibly to understand the inmost heart. By which, man pleads, and prays; and Woman promises; and GOD commands, calls, creates, revives, forgives! By which, the blind is made cheerful, the paralytick contented, and the aged joyous and by which, Woman, tender, true, and refined Woman - for the surest indication of her refinement is the tone of her voice-charms every nerve, occupies every sensation, and scatters golden light along the path of her companion, man.
Is this a quality to be lightly thought of, or in any degree neglected, in the education of the accomplished Lady?—and yet does it receive among us the attention it emphatically merits? In some individuals, no doubt the gift is a direct boon from Nature; but even in these instances, it requires watchful care for its preservation, as well as correct enunciation, cultivated manners, and a gentle disposition; without which, the voice, however round and silvery its tone, cannot long retain its original sweetness and felicity of entrance into the heart. But with these advantages of culture, every voice may to a certain degree be improved. Every acquisition of the mind and every amelioration of the heart tend toward this result, until at last the soul of Woman clothes its thoughts in the music of her celestial destiny; and 'when the ear hears her, then it blesses her.'
THE SONS Or FRANCE.
TRANSLATED FOR THE KNICKERBOCKER FROM THE FRENCH OF BERANGER
QUEEN of the World, O France! my country, raise
The bonds of Pride thy strength could burst asunder;
Those shores no more commanded by thy lance,
More generously Heaven its gifts ne'er rain'd,
Read what unerring History lays before ye!
What modern nation, jealous of thy glory,
Sank not o'erwhelm'd beneath that glory's blaze?
England in vain threw in the scales the wages
Which kings implored, ere they could meet thy glance;
SKETCHES OF THE COUNTRY.
No one who has ever lived or travelled at the North, can forget a New-England village. In many respects it is unlike every other place where human beings congregate. Its broad streets, its gravelled side-walks; its neat white houses, with their green venetians and pretty porticos; its fine old elms at the corners, and shrubbery in the court-yards, and rich meadows all about it; make it worthy of the fame it has acquired, the world over. Take the pleasantest country town elsewhere, and it lacks something of coming up to the standard of a New-England village. There may be more elegance and more wealth in many a hamlet at the South, and the Middle States boast numbers of towns of great taste and beauty; yet there is wanting that air of neatness, and that true independence of manhood, which the mountain breezes give to the population of her vallies, which associates with a New-England village all that we love in nature, with all that we admire in humanity.
But of all other villages in New-England, those which lie on the shores of Winnipisseogee Lake are to me by far the most beautiful. Massachusetts boasts of her Northampton, her Worcester, and her Stockbridge the last deriving not a little of its celebrity from being the residence of one of the cleverest women in the States - and they are all very lovely; yet they lack that wonderful adornment which nature has bestowed, that rare union of the extremes of grandeur and beauty, which makes up the enchantment of the villages on the lake. What, for example, can be prettier than the views of Centre-Harbor, from the west or the north? As the traveller comes over the hills, and the broad valley lies spread out before him, with the village sleeping quietly in its bosom, he will involuntarily rein in his horse, that he may the longer gaze on what is so very, very lovely! Far away to the east, the long range of the Ossipee mountains confines his vision to a prospect as fair as that which the Jewish ruler saw of old from Mount Nebo. The whole valley of the Winnipisseogee, with its rich farms, and broad lake, and gay diversity of hill and dale, swells and ripens to his view, and the green copses here and there dotting the whole surface, add a charm to the picture, of which no gazer ever yet tired. The river winds its course along to the lake, now expanding itself into a broad sheet, to supply the ever-busy wheel of the manufactory, and then narrowing to its own modest size, and flashing back the glad sunshine from its ripples, as it glides softly through meadow and hazle-wood. The hard beaten road runs like a white line over the landscape, at times winding past neat farm-houses and spacious barns, and at others lost for a space in the dark woods of beech and maple, which cast their unchanging shadows over the way.
And then the Lake House, standing at the head of the beautiful bay, whose ripples almost lave its foundations; dear to me from the associations of white arms, and jet-black eyes, flashing through their long dark fringes, which my college days have clustered about them;
the long wharf and its mimic ships; the light sail-boat bending gracefully to the wind; the old trees on the shore, and the foot-paths winding among the close, thick under-brush of the forest-all together make up to my eye the most beautiful panorama I have ever beheld. I well remember that one pleasant October morning, sundry of us who were making a temporary residence at Centre Harbor, set out to visit the Falls on the Ossipee Mountain. After driving some eight or ten miles to the foot of the mountain, we left our horses and vehicles, and made the ascent on foot. The path led along the top of high banks, and precipices edging a ravine, through which a stream, by a gradually descending and winding course, tumbled and foamed over its rocky bed toward the valley below. I never remember to have more enjoyed the freshness of the air, the beauty of the grass and flowers, the twittering of the birds, the whirring, ever and anon, of some pheasant scared from its haunt, and the various other sources of delight, both to the ear and the eye.
Before reaching the Falls, we diverged from the stream, with the intention of taking a shorter route over the mountain to the fountain head, which we were told was well worth seeing, and then following its course downward. After half an hour's walk over every variety of surface, rock, morass, and jungle, we reached the spot, and found ourselves well compensated for our labor. It is a large, circular spring, ten or twelve yards across, from the clear sanded bottom of which the water was gushing out in a thousand places. Just beyond the outlet, the stream was playing in every variety of motion; now almost placid, running off into meandering rivulets, then shooting with rapidity over large smooth masses, bearing on its rich, transparent bosom white bubbles, like fairy barks in a race. All this was seen under the green light of overhanging foliage, waving only to give entrance to the partial sun-beams, that passed and repassed, like unembodied spirits of light, in their pastime and gladness. It was so gentle and peaceful, that the very birds seemed to bid you doff ambition, and enter the haunts of innocence and tranquil wisdom!
Crossing bridges formed of decayed logs, the path winds downward by the bank, close to the water, until a precipitous rock denies farther progress, over the ledges of which the stream descends. It is then shut in during its whole course onward to the cascade, by high banks, forty, sixty, and even an hundred feet high, and generally perpendicular. It is here, where the distance between the banks is fifteen or eighteen feet, that Chamberlain made his famous leap, when pursued by the Indians; Chamberlain, so well known for his fearless exploits during Lovell's war. Tradition adds, that one Indian, in attempting to follow, failed to reach the opposite bank, and was dashed to pieces on the rocks below.
The scenery at the Falls is strikingly beautiful and unique. The hills all around rough and rocky, with their recesses slightly wooded, rise bright into the blue sky, and are admirably set off by the foliage of the trees that start out from the declivities of the ravine. stream glides smoothly over its bed, here and there edging the fragments of stone, that impede its motion, to the very brink of the chasm, when it projects itself in one unbroken leap of ninety feet into the basin below! The basin is a perfect circle, of twenty yards in diame
ter, completely walled in, save at a single outlet, by precipices of moss-covered rocks, nearly a hundred and fifty feet high. As you stand on its border, with the dark and damp rocks rising perpendicularly above you, watching the silvery mass pouring itself as it were from the blue bosom of the sky into the depths below, the scene is irresistibly charming. It gave to me an unmingled pleasure, which I have never since received from any of nature's works, and which I can never cease to remember.
We lingered around the Falls until nearly sunset, exploring every cavity to which we could find an entrance, above or below, when our guide summoned us to depart. On our way home, we took a different path, and winding for a time through the thick underwood, and over the decayed logs and upturned roots of a former age, came at length to a rugged promontory, which was like a spur from the mountain range to the lake. Before us lay the whole expanse of the lake, calm as a surface of glass, and reflecting the western clouds so clearly from its bosom, that its hundreds of islands seemed hung in mid air. On the opposite side, the mountain outlines were marked distinctly on the sky, and their tops were glowing in the rich light of an October sunset. Below us, the stream was winding its way toward the lake, through meadows and intervales, and dark copses of fir, while the whole landscape was suffused in the most harmonious and beautiful colors. More beautiful than all else, however, let me add, were bright eyes gazing beside my own.
FAREWELL, dear New-England!-thy blue hills are blushing
Home of my hopes ! what fond tears are gushing,
How sweet are the scenes which my mem'ry is bringing!
Ah! home of my childhood! there, in life's dawning,
And there are warm hearts, whom time cannot sever,
H. 11. R.