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while their offspring leaves are lying at their feet, buried in a winding-sheet of snow. There is a painful sense of imposition, too, in feeling that you are paying taxes for windows which afford you no light; that for the bright and balmy breathings of Heaven, you are presented with a thick yellow atmosphere, which irritates your eyes, without assisting them to see. Well, I admit that we must betake ourselves, in-doors, to our shaded lamps and our snug firesides. There is no great hardship in that: but our minds are driven in-doors also, they are compelled to look inwards, to draw from their internal resources; and I do contend that this is the unlocking of a more glorious mental world, abundantly atoning for all our external annoyances, were they even ten times more offensive. That man must have a poor and frozen fancy who does not possess a sun and moon obedient to his own will, which he can order to arise with much less difficulty than he can ring up his servants on these dark mornings; and as to woods, lakes, and mountains, he who cannot conjure them up to his mind's eye with all their garniture and glory, as glibly as he can pronounce the words, may depend upon it that he is-no conjurer. It is well known, that in our dreams objects are presented to us with more vivid brilliancy and effect than they ever assume to our ordinary perceptions, and the imaginary landscapes that glitter before us in our waking dreams are unquestionably more enchanting than even the most picturesque reality. They are poetical exaggerations of beauty, the beau idéal of Nature. Then is it that a vivacious

and creative faculty springs up within us, whose omnipotent and magic wand, like the sword of harlequin, can convert a Lapland hut into the Athenian Parthenon, and transform the desolate snow-clad hills of Siberia, with their boors and bears, into the warm and sunny vale of the Thessalian Tempè, where, through the glimpses of the pines, we see a procession of shepherds and shepherdesses marching to offer sacrifice in the temple of Pan, while the air brings to us, at intervals, the faint sound of the hymn they are chanting. There was nothing ridiculous in the saying of the clown, who complained that he could not see London for the houses. Mine is a similar predicament in the month of June; I cannot see such landscapes as I have been describing, on account of the trees and fields that surround me. The real shuts out the ideal. The Vale of Health upon Hampstead Heath deprives me, for months together, of the Vale of Tempè; and the sand-boys and girls, with their donkies, drive away Pegasus upon a full gallop, and eject the nymphs and fauns from the sanctuary of my mind. The corporeal eye puts out the mental one: I am obliged to take pastoral objects as they present themselves, and to believe the hand-writing on the fingerposts which invariably and solemnly assert that I am within four miles of London, and not in " Arcady's delicious dales," on the "vine-covered hills and valleys of France," or in Italy's "love-breathing woods, and lute-resounding waves." But when the fields around me are covered with snow, and fogs and darkness are upon the land, I exclaim with Milton,



"so much the rather thou, shine inward, light divine;" and, betaking myself to my fire-side, lo! the curtain is drawn up, and all the magnificent scenery of classic realms and favoured skies bursts upon my vision, with an overpowering splendour. Talk not to me of the inspiration and rapture diffused around Parnassus and Helicon; of the poetic intoxication derived from quaffing the "dews of Castaly," the true, the blushful Hippocrene,"-or "Aganippe's rill." I boldly aver, that Apollo himself walking amid the groves of the muse-haunted mountain, never shook such radiant inspiration from his locks as often gushes from the bars of a registerstove, when the Pierian "Wall's End " or "Russel's Main" has had its effulgence stimulated by a judiciously applied poker; and as to potable excitements of genius, I will set the single port of Canton against the whole of European and Asiatic Greece, and am prepared to prove, that more genuine Parnassian stimulus has emanated from a single chest of eight-shilling black tea, than from all the rills and founts of Arcady, Thessaly, and Boeotia. I am even seriously inclined to doubt whether the singing of the nightingale has ever awakened so much enthusiasm, or dictated so many sonnets, as the singing of the tea-kettle. December is the true pastoral month. part, I consider my Christmas summer as having just set in. It was but last night that I enjoyed my first Italian sunrise. I was sitting, or rather standing, with my shoulders supported against a chesnuttree, about half way down the slope of the celebrated

For my

Vallombrosa, watching the ascent of the great luminary of day, whose coming was announced by that greenish hue in the horizon, which so often attends his uprising in cloudless climates. In the opposite quarter of the heavens, the pale moon was still visible; while the morning star, twinkling and twinkling, appeared struggling for a few moments' longer existence, that it might just get one peep at the sun. Behind me the tufted tops of the chesnut woods began to be faintly illumined with the ray; while the spot where I stood, and the rest of the vale, were still enveloped in a grey shade. Immediately opposite to me, two young shepherds had plucked up a wattle from the fold, and as their sheep came bleating forth, they stood on each side of the opening, singing, in a sort of measured chant, alternate stanzas from the Orlando Furioso. They had chosen that part of the 8th book, where Angelica is carried, by magic art, into a desolate island; and in the pride of my Italian lore, and my anxiety to" warble immortal verse and Tuscan air," I was on the very point of taking up the story, and quoting the uncourteous treatment she encountered from the licentious old Hermit, when a gust of cold wind blowing in under the door of my room puffed out my sun, and a drop of half-frozen water falling from the ceiling upon my head, owing to the derangement of a pipe in the chamber above, simultaneously extinguished my moon! Ever while you live, let your parlour be an oblong square, with the door in one corner, and the fire-place in the centre of the farther end, by which means you will have two snug fire-side places, secure from these

reverie-breaking draughts of air; and if, before tuneing up your wind-pipe, you were just to take a look at the water-pipe, you need not, like me, be subject to the demolition of the loveliest sunrise that was ever invisible. Such are the casualties to which the most prudent visionaries are exposed: but are the plodding fellows of fact and reality a whit more secure of their enjoyments? I appeal to every man who has really visited the classic spot from which I was thus ejected without any legal notice, whether a cloud, a storm, the heat of the sun, or some other interruption, has not frequently driven him from the contemplation of a beautiful landscape which he has in vain endeavoured to resume under equally favourable circumstances. His position, somehow or other, presents the same objects in a less picturesque combination; the day is not so propitious; either there is less amenity and richness in the light, or the tints have decidedly altered for the worse; in short, his first view, as compared with the second, is Hyperion to a Satyr. Now mark the advantages of the fire-side landscape over that of the open fields. No sooner had I retrimmed my lamp, rendered doubly necessary by the extinction of my sun and moon; composed myself afresh in my arm-chair, and fixed my eyes steadfastly upon the fireshovel, which happened to stand opposite,―than the whole scene of Vallombrosa, the god of day climbing over the mountains, the chesnut-woods, and the spouting shepherds, gradually developed themselves anew with all the effulgence and exact individuality of the first impression. The sun had stood still for me without

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