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son, perhaps an only son, whom they had reared with fond assiduity, and tenderly cherished as the support and solace of their declining age: the shrieks of a wife, clasping in distraction a beloved husband, now about to be torn from her embraces :* the sorrows of a sister, mourning over the endeared, but lost, companion of her infancy; and the screams of little ones, clinging round an indulgent father, whose face they were soon to see no more!†
Thus were myriads, fast-bound in the fetters of an iron-usurpation, to be led like sheep to the slaughter! Thus were to be gratified the insatiable desires of a monster, who valued not the lives of his tens of thousands, provided their blood ratified his unjust aggressions, consolidated his dominions, or extended the limits of his sway!‡
"Sacra fames, quid non mortalia pectora cogis?' (a)
* See note b.
+ See note c.
See note d.
For what deeds unblest
Won't thy curst sway prepare the human breast? *
* See note e.
What fearful disorders has not sin introduced into the world!
Amidst contemplations so harassing to every humane sentiment, it is grateful to turn aside for a moment. Conducted by the deep persuasion of the shortness of time, and the fluctuations incident to our abode on earth, from transitory things to the awful and irreversible awards of eternity, it is soothing to meet with a scene on which the eye can rest with satisfaction. Gloomy as may be our apprehensions of the tempest gathering, or already burst, around us, it is still sweet to anticipate the splendour, and hail the calm of serener, though distant, skies. Yet, even here shall we have to shed a tear over the blindness of the heart,' uninstructed in true wisdom, and to deplore the ignorance of the carnal mind.' But, again a little while, and the solitary place will gladden, and the desert rejoice and blossom as the rose.'
Among hills which lost themselves in the clouds that enveloped them, and which seemed almost to menace the throne of Him
who laid their massive foundations, resided a family, which regarded not the works of the Lord, neither considered the operation of his hands.' Yes: strange as it may appear to those unacquainted with the fatal consequences of the taste of that forbidden fruit,' and who know not how far it drove us, not only from the retreats, but from the purity, of Eden-though surrounded by the magnificence of Nature, and frequently pursued by danger from the dissolving snow, or the detached rock, whose fall from time to time threatened to overwhelm all that lay within reach of the sound: even here there lived those, and those, too, endowed with every faculty that constitutes a rational and accountable being, insensible enough to survey the overhanging crag, only to avoid the line of its descent, or to listen to the roar of the Avalanche, merely to thank their good fortune,' that it did not come nigh their dwelling.†
Well might the watchman cry in Judah ; • The heart is deceitful above all things, and
desperately wicked!' A vain philosophy may boast, if it will, of the innate dignity of man,' and arraign the Divine admonition : but, surely, no one, who examines, with a calm and unbiassed attention, the diversified occurrences of life, can help feeling, and feeling forcibly, its mournful truth. Conscience, it is true, may be stifled when she would whisper, that in the hand of the Lord there is a cup, the wine whereof is red:' nevertheless, an hour will arrive, when in his indignation he will pour it out as a cup of trembling; and his enemies shall drink it.'
Lonely, and beautiful almost as imagination can depict, or the craving of happiness desire, was the site of the habitation of du Blesne. At the upper extremity of a lake* whose blue waters and romantic scenery have called forth the eulogies of many an admiring poet and historian, in a glen, terminated abruptly by precipices that rose with an imposing grandeur, stood this sweet abode. Embosomed in woods, where
*The lake of Geneva,
the pine and the cypress blended their capillary leaves, with the more luxuriant foliage of the elm, the oak, and the chesnut, so disposed, as to give effect to, while they here and there intercepted, the unrivalled varieties of hill and valley around, it was alike sheltered from the winds of winter, and shaded from the summer heats. Behind it were rocks, piled on one another in wild confusion to the near limits of the horizon: while, in front, was seen the tumultuous current of the united rivers, and, extending far as the eye could reach, the bright expanse of mountain-waves, where many a picturesque sail was unfurled, swelling gracefully in the breeze.
On the left appeared, as if supporting the distant heavens, the majestic summit of the mistress of the Alps, with other innumerable eminences, whose awful silence had been alone broken by the light foot of the chamois, as it bounded from cliff to cliff; with that long range of heights, occasionally