« PoprzedniaDalej »
THERE is a voice, my friend, that speaks throughout the universe-from the depth of solitary woods, from amid the roar of torrents, from deserts rarely trodden by the foot of man; that touches, as with a magic hand, the springs of moral sensibility, and awakens those perceptions of sublimity and beauty, which the common concerns of life tend to diminish, if not to destroy. It is the voice of nature calling upon her sons to turn from the feverish pursuits of interest and ambition, to contemplate the wonderful museum in which the hand of Deity has placed them; to consider the universe as no longer the abode of human cares and human pleasures, but as the Temple of the living God, in which praise is due, and service to be performed. This voice is no where heard more forcibly, than from the depth of rapid rivers or solitary lakes, embosomed among rugged mountains, where rude cottages lie scattered along the sides, and the inhabitants depend for their support on such productions as the waters pour out to them with a lavish hand. How impressively has it spoken to the naturalist, when passing by the lake of Llynberis, he has surveyed the high rocks that enclose it on every side, and the solitary habitations which betoken the abode of man! At the confluence of the Blue Pools, beside the rushing Gwynan, that pours through the romantic village of Bethgellert, at the foot of Snowdon; from that and various other mountainous districts, it has told him that the Deity uniformly proportions his gifts to the exigencies of his creatures, that where the hills are covered with vineyards, and the valleys stand thick with corn, the productions of the waters are comparatively few; that where, on the contrary, the character of the country is that of desolation; where the herbage is scarcely sufficient for the pasturage of cattle, and the niggard soil refuses the production of corn and oats, there the finny tribes are so abundant as to constitute the chief support of the bordering inhabitants. Hence it is that the River Trout, one of the most valuable species of the Salmon genus, is widely diffused in the temperate and arctic regions of the globe; that it abounds in different parts of Iceland, and is nowhere more abundant than in the Hornafliot, a yokul, or ice river, the surrounding scenery of which appears to concentrate every thing that the imagination can conceive of grandeur, sublimity, and beauty. The western edge is bounded with variously situated basaltic columns : some of these appear as if hurled from the adjacent mountains ; others which stand in their native beds, present the appearance of temples, porticoes, and public works, which, in magnificence and beauty, and some of them in elegance, are such as might have adorned the fabled palaces of the genii of the earth. Turn which way you will, the same characteristic scenery meets the eye. From the margin of the river, these mimic ruins reach far up the mountains, where they are met by the descending heath: as you follow the narrow pass that leads to the summit of the aspiring Oræfa Yokul, new scenes of magnificence and desolation burst on the astonished view. Immediately beneath, a stupendous precipice, nearly nine hundred feet of perpendicular descent, is washed by a boundless extent of ocean. A barren flat, the Horna-fliot, appears on the right. To the left, the country is beautifully diversified with farms and villages; beyond which, as far as the eye can reach, nothing is to be seen but one vast chain of ice mountains stretching back into the interior. At noon-day, the sparkling rays of the meridian sun appear reflected from the snow with which their summits are completely shrouded. Girdles of silver clouds generally envelope the middle regions, and form a striking contrast to the crusts of vivid green that marble their gigantic bases, round which the breakers toss on high their crests of broken foam. Such are the sterile and solitary regions, through which the Deity has conducted the magnificent Horna-fliot, and replenished its waters with never-failing supplies of food for the bordering inhabitants. Two important conclusions obviously result from the consideration of this extraordinary fact. One, directs us to expect the guardian care of our Creator, amid the privations of this probationary state; the other, recals to our recollection a lively perception of our own dependence.
As we extend our observations towards the southern lakes, the same kind and admirable provision is made for the wants of man. These abound with the Char Salmon, a valuable species, inhabiting the mountainous parts of Europe, but entirely unknown in the southern regions of the globe. They affect clear and tranquil waters, and are rarely known to wander into running streams, except when the soil is similar to that of their native haunts. They are found in vast abundance in the cold lakes on the summits of the Lapland Alps, and are in fact the only species which affect those ungenial regions. One great design is evident in this.
These cold, unsheltered waters are peculiarly destitute of vegetable life. Linnæus even tells us that four species of plants alone constitute the aquatic flora of those extensive regions. They are consequently unfavourable for the support and increase of small fishes and molluscæ. How, then, are the finny inhabitants supported ? Innumerable larvæ of the Gnat, or Culex Pipiens, skim the surface of the water, and abound in every creek. The same insect that proyes such a vexation to the reindeer, affords subsistence to the fishes of the vast lakes and rivers of Lapland, which are the sole support of the migratory Laplanders, during their summer excursion from one inland situation to another.
“ In that glad season, from the lakes and floods,
Neimi's fairy mountains rise ;
Two of our native lakes produce the Char Salmon in abundance. They are found in Windermere, in Westmoreland ; in Llyn Cawellyn, near the foot of Snowdon; and before the discovery of the copper mines, in the waters of Llynberis, situated in the same romantic district. The largest, and most beautiful are brought from the former of these lakes. Pennant mentions having received five specimens from a naturalist of Carlisle. Two described by the name of the Case-char; the others by that of the red, the silver, or