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Mr. Young says—" Having viewed the most pleasing objects from these points, let me next conduct you to a spot where, at one glance, you command them all in fresh situations, and all assuming a new appearance. For this purpose you return to the village, and taking the by-road to the turnpike, mount the hill without turning your head, (if I were your guide I would conduct you behind a small hill, that you might come at once upon the view,) till you almost gain the top, when you will be struck with astonishment with the prospect spread at your feet; which, if not the most superlative view which nature can exhibit, she is more fertile in beauties than the reach of my imagination will allow me to conceive. It would be mere vanity to attempt to describe a scene which beggars all description: but that you may have some faint idea of the outlines of this wonderful picture, I will first give the particulars of which it consists.
“ The point on which you stand is the side of a large ridge of hills that form the eastern boundary of the lake, and the situation high enough to look down upon all the objects; a circumstance of great importance, which painting cannot imitate. In landscapes, you are either on a level with the objects, or look up to them ; the painter cannot give the declivity at your feet, which lessens the object as much in the perpendicular line as in the horizontal one. You look down upon a noble winding valley, of about twelve miles long, everywhere enclosed with grounds which rise in a very bold and various manner; in some places bulging into mountains, abrupt, wild, and cultivated; in others, breaking into rocks, craggy, pointed, and irregular; here rising into hills covered with the noblest woods, presenting a gloomy brownness of shade, almost from the clouds to the reflection of the trees in the limpid water of the lake they so beautifully skirt; there, waving in glorious slopes of cultivated enclosures, adorned in the sweetest manner with every object that can give variety to art or elegance to nature; trees, woods, villages, houses, farms, scattered with picturesque confusion, and waving to the eye
in the most romantic landscapes that nature can exhibit.
“ This valley, so beautifully enclosed, is floated by the lake, which spreads forth to the right and left in one vast, but irregular expanse of transparent water ; a more noble object can hardly be imagined. Its immediate shore is traced in every variety of line that fancy can conceive ; sometimes contracting the lake into the appearance of a noble winding river; at others retiring from it, and opening into large bays, as if for navies to anchor in ; promontories spread with woods, or scattered with trees and enclosures, projecting into the water in the most picturesque style possible ; rocky points breaking the shore and rearing their bold heads above the water; in a word, a variety that amazes the beholder. But what finishes the scene, with an elegance too delicious to be imagined, is, this beautiful sheet of water being dotted with no less than ten islands, distinctly comprehended by the eye; all of the most bewitching beauty. The large one presents a waving various line, which rises from the water in the most picturesque inequalities of surface; high land in one place, low in another-clumps of trees in this spot, scattered ones in that, adorned by a farmhouse on the water's edge, and backed with a little wood, vieing in elegance with Borromean palaces; some of the smaller islets rising from the lake like little hills of wood; some only scattered with trees, and others of grass of the finest verdure: a more beautiful variety is nowhere to be seen.'
Having given Mr. Young's glowing description of the splendid view of Windermere, as beheld from the eminence close to Bowness, it may here be noticed, that in this romantic
village is erected a neat little church, dedicated to St. Michael, and which contains the monumental memorials of various families resident on the shores of the lake. A relic of Furness Abbey is here to be seen in the remnant of a painted window, which is supposed to date as far back as the reign of Edward the Third. A more modern exhibition of art is a piece of sculpture by Flaxman, in the shape of a marble monument, raised to the memory of the Bishop of Llandaff, the late Dr. Richard Watson, the owner and occupier of the beautiful seat called Calgarth Park, situated in the immediate neighbourhood. He was interred in the churchyard; and on the tombstone, covering his remains, is inscribed the following Latin inscription : “ Ricardi Watson, Episcopi Landavensis, cineribus sacrum; Obiit, Julii 1, A.D. 1816- Ætatis 79.”
While at Bowness, the tourist should not omit to visit the fine promontory of “Rawlinson's Nab,” projecting its rocky mass into the crystal waters of Windermere from the opposite shore, about two miles to the south of the village. Separated from this peninsular projection by the breadth of the lake is Storrs Hall, on the eastern margin, the delightful residence of John Bolton, Esq., which claims the particular notice of the visitor; as does also the Station House, as well as Rayrigg Hall; which latter is seated on a gentle eminence about a mile to the north of the town, with its attendant little village.
A sail, indeed, throughout the entire length of this majestic reservoir of mountain streams, from one extremity to the other, cannot but most amply repay the time devoted to its contemplation.
We must now return to our friend of Derwentwater, who was holding on his bright course over the rippling waters along the central line of the lake. From this favourable position his eye at once surveyed the brilliant panorama by which he was surrounded. The winding and infinitely-diversified shores of each side of the lake-woods, rocks, mountains, and waterislands, villas, farm-houses, villages, and churches, rose to his sight in rapid and untiring succession, as he traced the unobstructed circle of this gorgeous landscape.
On approaching the head of Windermere, where its waters are spread out to their greatest expansion, exhibiting all the fulness of their beauty, Mr. Gracelove could not but admire, with increasing delight, though the objects were so familiar to his view, the superb array of mountain summits, and peaks, and cones, and ridges, which embellished the western and northern extremities of the lake. Among these were easily distinguishable, as they presented themselves in consecutive order to the eye-the Old Man, Wrynose, Scawfell Pikes, Bow Fell, Great Gavel, the Alpine range known by the name of the Langdale Pikes, the Rydall Mountains, the lofty elevation of Loughrigg Fell, with the hanging woods of Brathay, and its elegant mansion in the foreground of the picture.
Having now arrived within a short distance of the extreme end of Windermere, Mr. Gracelove ordered the boatman to land him at the north-eastern angle, where he saw his stanhope drawn up ready to receive him. The excursion had been a really pleasureable one. The sublimity of the scenery he had just beheld, like all objects of intrinsic grandeur and excellence, had exhibited fresh charms and combinations to his view; and had inspired a warmer admiration than he had ever felt before of the magnificence of nature spread around him. The sun shone with warmth and brightness. The atmosphere was clear and pure ; with the advantageous exception of a few fleecy clouds, whose reflected shadows on the sides of the mountains, as they were borne along by a gentle breeze, while they contrasted gracefully with the masses of light reposing upon them, heightered, as they always do, the beauties of an Alpine landscape. Nothing, in short, was wanting to the
complete enjoyment of our friend but one object, of which a very few hours would now put him in happy possession.
On stepping into his stanhope, Mr. Gracelove drove off to Rydal Mount, the classic residence of Mr. Wordsworth, the celebrated author of “The Excursion,” and various other poems. Being well acquainted with that gentleman, and his house lying almost in the direct line to Keswick, and about a mile and a half from Ambleside, he gladly availed himself of the opportunity of paying a passing visit to his talented friend.
The poet's villa is most romantically situated, within view of Windermere and Rydal lakes, of which it commands very fine prospects. The latter is a very small lake, being not more than a mile in length, and about a quarter of a mile in breadth ; and communicates with Grasmere Water, whose length is the same, but its breadth half a mile. The pleasure-grounds are laid out with a refinement of taste, such as might be expected from the author of “ The Excursion.”
Having enjoyed an hour's very interesting conversation with the poet, Mr. Gracelove again put himself en route for his loved home on the bright Derwentwater, where, on arriving, he received that warm and heart-felt welcome which repaid at once the weariness of absence. He felt, indeed, more and more, that his all of earthly enjoyment centred in that “ domestic happiness,”—already alluded to-of which it has been so beautifully and forcibly declared, as the
"only bliss Of Paradise that has escaped the Fall !” And, although the poet comes to the melancholy conclusion
Though few now taste thee unimpaired and pure,
Or, tasting, long enjoy thee;" yet he felt that he, at least, and the wife of his bosom, were