Recreations for Solitary Hours
A Morning's Visit To Kype's Cascade
A Morning's Visit To Kype's Cascade.
Now here arrived in morning's earliest smiles
A happy visitant, who wandered forth
T' enjoy the pleasures of a morning's walk;
When nature blooms in beauty, and inspires
The soul of meditation with delight.
Here led by fancy's pleasures, and the love
Of rural scenery, apart, I lean
Contemplating the scenes of this Cascade,
Whose picturesque and wild appearance shed,
A pleasing influence o'er reflecting minds.
Thus seated high upon a mossy rock
Which overhangs the cavern, I can trace
Each feature of the scene. See how the rill
Glides fair, and ripples o'er its rocky bed,
As quite unconscious that this deep descent
Belays its prone career, till from the verge
The water dashes headlong down the rocks,
Into the dell below. What deaf'ning noise!
'Tis as 'twere groaning sensible of pain,
From its decursion steep.1 Hear from yon chasm,
The echoes are awake with grumbling sound,
As if they mocked the water's fall, and groans,—
So long disturbed from their desired repose.
Still rush the waters with incessant pour,
From rock to rock, and whitening to foam
While und'lating the basin as they fall.
There in the basin how they heave and hiss,
As if a chaldron boiled and overflowed:—
Or headlong plunged into a gulph of wo,
They struggle in distress. But from th' abyss
Escaping, they forget their former woes,
And on their ways resume the purling song,
Meand'ring down the vale for Avon's course.
From the surrounding shades, what solemn glooms
O'erhang the deep Cascade, and overawe
The meditative soul! But inward joys
Pervade my bosom 'mid such charming scenes,
And rural solitudes. When thus reclined
With downward gaze, and listening to the sound
Of foaming waters dashing down the rocks,—
I'm lost, as 'twere, amid the happy throng
Of joyful nymphs, who lift their voices loud,
And join in concert-harmony the song.
Hail Solitude! who in retirement dwells
Apart from strife, with whom delights to rove,
A musing Nature's meditative son;
Though yet the springs of business fast are held
By slumber's shekels, and the industrious sons
Of Labour rest on pillows of repose,
Partaking what tired nature ask'd as alms,
To pacify the cravings of her soul:
Whilst Pleasure's wanton sons, who loll at ease,
Are dozing yet on downy beds of sloth,
And tasting bliss whose sweets they never knew.
But. Nature's son, more elevated far,
Has risen contented from his short repose,
page 4 And forth has wander'd, 'lured b' Aurora's smiles,
To kiss the lips of Hygeia, and converse
With Nature's progeny: Bright Flora joyed
To see him, as he paced the dewy lawn,
Encompass'd by our neighb'ring Nymphs, displaying
The beauties of their treasures.2 Thus they gave
Him all respect, and honours on him pour'd;
While us deriding, as we were denied
His honoured company. An ardent wish
Inspired us, then, with hatred at the sight,
To see them thus exulting in their joys,
And in derision laughing us to scorn."
"But independent mild Minerva came,
And o'er our circle inspiration breathed,
And, counseling us with wisdom, thus exclaimed,"—
'Be cool, be patient, quench the fire of wrath,
And from your breasts death working envy drive!
Dispel from every aspect such a gloom!
And let your souls with independence rise
'Bove their derision, and let ev'ry voice
In unison delightfully be raised
In songs of salutation!—Persevere
page 5 With fond entreatings! kindly oh him call
Till his attention's gain'd. Then come he will
To visit these your haunts, and lend an ear
To ev'ry song ye're duly wont to sing,—
And at each homage paid he will rejoice.'
"On him we call'd, and at our voice he came.—3
Forthwith we met him, and with shouts of joy
From Flora's rich parade, we hied him on;
How we rejoiced! our hearts were big with love,
As we convey'd him thence to view our scenes."
"Now on that lofty rock reclines the muse,
While guardian Genii hover round his seat;4
He eyes our social pleasures with delight,
Contemplating the works of Nature; yet
Is much impressed with these bur fav'rite wilds."
"Long have we dwelt 'mid these romantic scenes,
And sung of Solitude's endearing charms;
And oft have courted vagrant visitors
To lend attention to the songs we sung;
But unimpress'd with our festivities,
page 6 They'd gaze around, but with a thoughless gaze—
Nor seemed they to have pleasure in our wilds."5
"Now let us sing: for what we've long desired
Is to our wishes given:—we'll rejoice
While entertaining Nature's musing son,
And Dryade with thy silvan train, O come!
Unite with us in love and mutual joy,
To chant his praises with harmonious skill.
Be roused, Apollo, to the sacred lute,6
With flying fingers swell your happiest strains,
To elevate his warm susceptive soul
Above the alluring pleasures of this world.
Come Inspiration, all your powers employ,
Imparting ardour,—kindling in his breast
Your sacred fires!—Oh, fan them to a flame!
Ye sacred Nine, all aid him with your loves,
As he emerges from the deep abyss
Of dark obscurity. Oh! heavenly pow'rs
Exalt his soul, when he on fancy's wing,
Traverses far through trackless realms of thought,
And soars to topless pinnacles of fame,
There high to sparkle like the glist'ning gem,
page 7 In the meridian beams of fortune's sun,
To dazzle the eyesight of a wondering world."
Still sung the Nymphs, with voices ever strong,
Yet sweeten'd by the concert of the grove,
Infusing joy excitements to my soul.
Oh! how I love to listen their delights,
Though much impress'd with these congenial glooms
Which o'er the scenery brood. While thus reclined,
With downward gaze contemplating the fall,
And list'ning to the strains of happy Nymphs,
Attention's called to the surrounding scenes.
Lo! in the flowing basin 'neath the steep,
The trem'lous crisping of the water's surf,
Clearly each feature of the scene portrays;
There rugged rocks and perpendicular steeps,
And verdure-clad declivities with trees,
And shrub'ry interspersed are pictured deep,
As if a window op'd on other spheres,
Displaying scenes delightful to enjoy,
Of groves and rocks, and other azure skies;
Yet corresponding all to those around.
There, Nature on the opposite aslant
Sits smiling, dress'd in all her vernal robes;
Around her family blooms in roseat health,
Imparting beauty to this rural wild.
So, up the steep declivity, o'erpeer
The hazle copses and the hawthorn hedge
In gay green clad; while high the lofty pines
Do raise their tufted crests, as 'twere to view
The orient sun. And there the hoary ash
Athwart its naked arms spreads to'ard the sky,
Imploring much the verdant cloak of spring
To clothe its nakedness. And o'er the dell
The willow bends, as grieving o'er the fate
Of falling waters, and to lend an ear,
Most sympathetic, to the echo's groans.
Lo! here, what wild, projecting, rugged rocks
Display themselves, 'neath this my lofty seat,
Erected by no human architect:
"Where Nature's buildings lofty are and strong,
And on their basis steadfast still remain,
As proof against the thund'ring shock of floods;
Whose size o'erspreads with gloom the sunken dell.
Behind me on the craggy winding steep,
The stately palms and elms rock-rooted grow,
Expanding their green foilaged branches wide,
All off'ring umbrage from a noon-day sun.
There neath the steep of this declivity—
Both clad with stately trees and blossom'd broom—
A mansion stands, half buried from distant view,
Beneath the upland steep,—thus lonely like,
'T has more th'appearance of some hermitage,
Than of a common dwelling-place for man.
Down on a rocky rampart of the scene,
There stands the mill, and eyes the passing brook,7
As 'twere with gratitude, whose waters served
Once to extinguish the devouring flames,
Which threaten'd had its total overthrow.—
There lovely maidens, 'mid the rumbling noise
Of its machinery, chant their lively songs,
To cheer the hours, while they their jennies tend.
But yet the pond'rous water-driven wheel,
Rests: from its rotary labours; while secure
The family slumbers in that cave-live cot.
Adown the rill a spreading palm tree bends,
(Like Milton's Eve,) and in the water's surf,
As in a mirror, views its likeness fair
Array'd in verdant robes;—and gazing still,
'Tis as with pride and wonder fully fraught,
At its own grandeur, and reflection view'd
Of sky's etherial azure far below.
There, Dryades round encamp with all their train
Of joyful songsters, which united choir;8
I'm truly charmed!—I listen with delight,
As through the groves I hear song answering song,
While echoes loud reverb'rating reply.
Swift round my head the insects of the air,
In joyful circles warp the airy dance,
Whilst others sportive buzz about mine ears,
All in perfection's height of joyfulness.9
Thus gazing round, pleased with the gothic scenes,
Of craggy cliffs, and perpendicular steeps,
And pouring waters, song resounding choirs,
To which the insects dance;—All charm my soul
To swelling raptures, when I thus exclaim,—
"Lo, I'm delighted! here I sit as king
page 11 On this my lofty throne of rugged rocks,
Amid the high festivities of Nymphs."—
Hark! at my voice the slumb'ring echoes start
Half roused, and mutter low the passing sound;—
But sink again to lethargy's repose.
How soon my joy was changed to wonder wild,
When great Naiade in majesty appeared,10
Arrayed in awful garments of a storm;
Her bosom heaving with emotions high,
Her countenance presaging something strange
As introductive of some dreadful tale,
She harboured in her mind, as yet untold,
When she her theme in different strains began:—
"Hail, Nature's son! to whom our sisterhood,
Is pleased to show respect. So, thus I come
Our warmest thanks in gratitude to pay;
For how delighted were we, when we heard
With ravished ears, the burstings of thy soul;
Ye truly were delighted;—so may all
Who visit these our haunts;—and much impressed
With our festivities, and when around
Ye view'd the pleasing scenery of the wild."
"But hast thus witness'd these our fav'rite scenes,
When Winter reign'd and Summer was dethron'd,
Of power divested, and involved in war—
A dreadful contrast, from what now appears,
O'er all prevailed—and what is more than strange,
Then Nature seemed a terror to herself,
Dismantled of her beauty and her robes,
She wore an aspect of a dismal gloom;—
Then howling tempests rolled along the skies,
And dusky clouds which darkened wide the heavens;
While driving rain in copious torrents poured,
And spread a dread contagion all around.
Streams swelled to rivers—rivers rose to floods,
And gathering waters deluged wide the plains.
Great Æolus rode high in his stormy car,
And drove his furious squadrons from their dens,
All roaring,—waging round resistless war,
And strove to shake the everlasting hills,
And drive the forests from their ancient seats;
While Nature mourned and sat in widow's weeds."
"Ah! Dryade then could no defence maintain,
While sorely laboured by th' afflicting scourge.11
Stripp'd of her livery, she dejected sat
page 13 Sore, sore perplex'd, nor could she dare complain,
So dull and cheerless;—all her choirs had ceased,
No music then resounded through the groves,
Save when the howling spirits of the wind,
Their doleful accents piped loud and long.
Then rude Boreas blustered forth his rage,
As threatening a total overthrow.
Ah! how he seem'd to rend the very rocks,
And tear them, from their bases. And the trees,
As in resistance, to the scowling heavens,
Expanded wide their arms,—nor many could
Keep fast their rocky holds,—now waving high,
Then yeilding sorely to each boist'rous blast,
When bending low, and lashed, by swelling winds."
"The midnight owl forsook her wonted haunts,
Nor dared the screaming raven longer stay,
They, frightened, fled afar in quest of some
Lone wilderness, from terror more secure."
"But, favoured Muse, discription in th' attempt,
Fails to pourtray th' appearance of the storm,
As thou art but a stranger to the scene."
"Though now the gentle current of the rill,
Glides smoothly on, and purling as it flows,
Till heedlessly it dashes down the rocks
Into the dell below, where long I've dwelt
With sister Nymphs, with whom ye seemed so pleas'd.
But what a striking contrast intervened,
The present calm appearance of the stream,
When murm'ring soft, and when 'twas swelled with storm."
"Ah! then its gentle murmurs were forgot,
Its glassy rippling surf was then no more.
Nought but the swellings of a Neptune's rage
Distinguish'd were, upon its mazy course,
As heavily and dark with furious push
Roll'd wave o'er wave, tipped o'er with dashing foam,
As if Time, Death, and Hell were close behind
In hard pursuits—nor could escape their grasp.
So terror struck, they, bursting o'er their bounds,
Expanded deluging, while seeking vent;—
But no escape—repulsed—infuriate they
Before them bore all opposition down,—
For lo! yon ash, root-anchored mid the rill,
Still stands a remembrancer of their rage,
page 15 When pillaging their bounds,—and rolled amain
Their turpid floods, till leaping o'er these rocks,
They headlong dash'd into the foaming gulf,
Whose thund'ring shock, mingled with tempests strong,
Aloud, and louder, rose with deaf'ning noise,
As if the whole artillery of war,
A cannonading, made a full discharge
In one perpetual roar. The echoes groaned
Beneath the torrents weight, whose heavy dash
Shook to the bases these stupendous rocks.
High foamed the gulf; and hissing, boiled with rage,
It threw aloft a dusky cloud of foam,
Which fell around, athwart by tempest driven;
While o'er th' obstructing rocks the troubled floods,
Sprung high t' escape the horrors of th' abyss;12
Then down the vale the billows roaring, roll'd,
And rushed with fury into Avon's core.
Where the eddy whirling deep, them swept anon
To mingle on his coarse in foam and roar."
Thus, Naiäde closed her theme, and disappear'd
As chanticleer proclaimed the parting hour.
While much o'erwhelmed in thought, with downward gaze,
page 16 I list'ning lean'd as if I heard the sound
Of storms and tempests rolling round mine ears:
Till o'er the scene by chance, a flight of crows
Aloft, and crowding, flew on lab'ring wing,
And hoarsely caw'd aloud;—a magpie near
In chatterings join'd, which me from musings roused,
Around I gazed as started from a dream,
And to my lonely seat I bade adieu.