Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

fleecy clouds that skirt the horizon, wild crags, and verdant slopes, clumps of trees on the water's edge, islands of green mirroring their foliage in the bosom of the lake, mingle and intermingle in ever varying forms of beauty and grandeur! Yonder, too, is Benlomond, the genius of the place, towering above the lesser mountains, and looking down, as if protectingly, upon the lake he loves. The shores are exceedingly beautiful; on one side lying low, "undulating with fields and groves, where many a pleasant dwelling is embowered, into lines of hills that gradually soften away into another land. On the other side, sloping back, or overhanging, mounts beautiful in their bareness, for they are green as emerald; others, scarcely more beautiful, studded with fair trees, some altogether woods. They soon form into mountains, and the mountains become more and more majestical, yet beauty never deserts them, and her spirit continues to tame that of the frowning cliffs." "The islands," continues Professor Wilson, from whom we make this fine extract, "are forever arranging themselves into new forms, every one more and more beautiful; at least so they seem to be, perpetually occurring, yet always unexpected; and there is a pleasure even in such a series of slight surprises that enhances the delight of admiration."

[ocr errors]

The southern part of the lake is the most beautiful, but the northern the most sublime. The channel narrows, and the mountains rise higher and higher, casting dark shadows into the water. For a moment it seems gloomy, but high up in the

mountains you discover spots of green; and the sunlight glancing down, between the masses of shadow, lights up the waves of the lake with a strange beauty, as if it were something purer and more spirit-like than the beauty of the ordinary world.

But we will stop at the village of Luss, near the edge of the lake, surrounded by mountain scenery, in some places rough and bleak, but charmingly diversified by deep wooded glens, and romantic ravines.

The sun is sinking behind the western hills-the evening shadows are resting in the vallies, while the tops of those craggy heights around us are still burning with the last rays of departing day. We wander towards the southern part of the parish, with feelings subdued by the magnificent scenery which everywhere meets our gaze, and the solemn stillness which reigns among the mountains, broken only by the tinkling of a small stream winding its way to the lake, as if seeking a home in its bosom, like the soul of a true Christian, which is ever tending onward to the infinite and immortal. At length, while the sweet and long continued "gloaming" of the Scottish summer envelopes everything in its soft and dubious light, we reach the remains of a large cairn, a mound of stones and earth, called "Carn-na-Cheasoig," the cairn of St. Kessog. Here then, according to tradition, lies the dust of St. Kessog, who is said to have suffered martyrdom near the site of this cairn, in the sixth century, and who anciently was venerated as the guardian saint

of Luss. Was St. Kessog a true martyr? We trust he was, and can easily imagine the cruel but triumphant death of the holy man. At such an hour, and in such a scene, with the shadow of these great, sky-pointing mountains, resting on our spirits, we might almost believe anything; anything, at least, lofty and heart-stirring. It is not surprising that the Highlanders are superstitious: but it is surprising that they are not more religious. An infidel or a fanatic among the hills seems an impossibility. Nor are the inhabitants of these high regions inclined either to scepticism or fanatacism. But they are ignorant of Christianity in its purer forms; and hence are easily subjected to superstitious fears. But we are not yet among the Highlanders; for Luss and the regions around are naturally subjected to Lowland influences.

Next morning we pass over the lake in a small boat to Rowardennan, on the eastern shore, whence we commence the ascent of Benlomond, which rises to a height of something more than three thousand feet. The distance from Rowardennan to the top is generally reckoned about six miles. Wending along the sides of the mountain we gradually ascend to the bare and craggy summit, but not without resting here and there, and stopping to gaze upon the expanding landscape, as it spreads further and further towards the distant seas. are somewhat fatigued, but how refreshing the mountain breeze, and how exhilarating the magnificent scenery which opens on every side, and absolutely reaches from sea to sea! There, beneath

We

us, like a belt of liquid light, stretches the long and beautiful Lochlomond, sparkling under the rays of the sun, fringed with hills, rocks, and woods, and adorned with green isles, reposing on its heaving bosom, like gems of emerald chased in gold. Far off are the islands of Bute and Arran, and nearer the fertile Strath-Clutha, through which flows the river Clyde, adorned with villages, castles and country-seats, the city of Glasgow, covered with a misty vapor, the whole of Lanarkshire, the city of Edinburgh, and the vast and delightful tract of country beyond, the Firth of Forth, Stirling Castle, and the links of the Forth gliding in peaceful beauty through its green and wooded vale. To the north a scene presents itself of wild and varied grandeur, long ranges of Alpine heights, mighty crags towering to the sky, dark lakes, and deep-cloven ravines, wild and desolate moors, straggling forests, and rich secluded vales. Near us rises the hoary Benvoirloich; and further north, among inferior mountains, Bencruachan and Bennevis lift their lofty heads. Taking a wider range we get a distant glimpse of the wide Atlantic, and the coast of green Erin, the mountains of Cumberland, and the German Ocean, washing the northeastern coasts of Scotland. But the eye rests, as if by enchantment, upon the magnificent mountain scenery to the north, inferior only in grandeur and beauty to the mountains of Switzerland.

"Crags, knolls and mounds, confusedly hurled,
The fragments of an earlier world;

And mountains that like giants stand,

To sentinel enchanted land."

How elevating such a position, and such scenery. How the soul dilates and rejoices, as if it were a part of the mighty spectacle. Ah! this were a place for angels to light upon, and hymn the praise of that infinite Being "whose are the mountains, and the vallies, and the resplendent rivers."

But it is time to descend, though it would be pleasant, doubtless, to linger here till sunset, and see those mountain heights shining like stars in the departing radiance, while all beneath was covered with shadow; and if the evening were still, to listen to the mingled murmur which ever ascends through the calm air, from a region of streams and

torrents.

Coasting along the lake we reach Inversnaid mill at its upper extremity, and securing some Highland ponies, little tough shaggy fellows, surefooted and self-willed, we ramble through a lonely, rock-bound glen, the scene of the feats of Rob Roy Macgregor. In one of the smoky huts of this glen we are shown a long Spanish musket, six feet and a half in length, said to have belonged to the famous outlaw, whose original residence was in this lonely region. We also pass the hut in which Helen Macgregor, his wife, was born and brought up. By forgetting a few years, one can easily imagine the whole region filled with wild 'kilted' Highlanders, shouting the war-cry of Macdonald, Glengarry, or Macgregor. The spirit of these wild clans has been admirably depicted by Sir

« AnteriorContinuar »