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Passage of the Potomac and Shen'ăndõõh Rivers through the
The passage of the Potomac through the Blue Ridge, is, perhaps, one of the most stupendous scenes in nature. Tou stand on a very high point of land. On your right comes up the Shenandoah, having ranged along the foot of the mountain a hundred miles,
to seek a vent. On your left approaches the Potomac, in quest of a passage also. In the moment of their junction they rush together against the mountain, rend it asunder, and pass off to the sea.
The first glance of this scene hurries our senses into the opinion, that this earth has been created in time; that the mountains were formed first; that the rivers began to flow afterwards; that, in this place particularly, they have been dammed up by the Blue Ridge of mountain and have formed an ocean, which filled the whole valley; that, continuing to rise, they have, at length, broken over at this spot, and have torn the mountain down, from its summit to its base. The piles of rock on each hand, but particularly on the Shenandoah, the evident marks of their disrupture and avulsion from their beds, by the most powerful agents of nature, corroborate li himpression.
But the distant finisning, which nature has given to the picture, is of a very different character. It is a true contrast to the fore-ground. That is as placid and delightful, as this is wild and tremendous. For the mountain, being cloven asunder, presents to your eye, through the cleft, a small catch of smooth blue horizon, at an infinite distance in the plain country, inviting you, as it were, from the riot and tumult roaring around, to pass through the breach and participate of the calm below.
Here the eye ultimately composes itself; and that way, too, the road happens actually to lead. You cross the Potomac above the junction, pass along its side through the base of the mountain, for three miles ; its terrible precipices hanging in fragments over
you. This scene is worth a voyage across the Atlantic. Yet here, as in the neighbourhood of the Natural Bridge, are people, who have passed their lives within half a dozen miles, and have never been to survey these monuments of a war between rivers and nountains which must have shaken the earth itself to its centre.
The Blind Boy.-BLOOMFIELD.
WHERE's the blind child, so admirably fair,
, or on the green,
With circumscribed, but not abated powers,
His fancy paints their distant paths so gay,
A Thought on Death.-Mrs. BARBAULD.*
When life as opening buds is sweet,
Alas! how hard it is to die !
When scarce is seized some valued prize,
How awful then it is to die !
When, one by one, those ties are torn,
Ah! then, how easy 'tis to die
When trembling limbs refuse their weight,
'Tis nature's precious boon to die!
When faith is strong, and conscience clear,
'Tis joy, 'tis triumph, then to die !
I saw an aged man upon his bier :
His hair was thin and white, and on his brow
Cares that were ended and forgotten now.
* Written after she had passed her eightieth year.
Then rose another hoary man, and said,
In faltering accents, to that weeping train, “Why mourn ye that our aged friend is dead ?
are not sad to see the gathered grain, Nor when their mellow fruit the orchards cast, Nor when the yellow woods shake down the ripened mast.
“Ye sigh not when the sun, his course fulfilled,
His glorious course, rejoicing earth and sky,— In the soft evening, when the winds are stilled,
Sinks where the islands of refreshment lie, And leaves the smile of his departure, spread O'er the warm-coloured heaven and ruddy mountain head.
Why weep ye then for him, who, having run
The bound of man's appointed years, at last,
Serenely to his final rest has passed ?
s His youth was innocent; his riper age
Marked with some act of goodness every day;
Faded his late-declining years away.
Thanks for the fair existence that was his;
To mock him with her phantom miseries.
“And I am glad that he has lived thus long;
And glad that he has gone to his reward ;
Softly to disengage the vital cord.
* A chronic disease is one of long duration.
+ Pron. nun.
How shall I praise thee, Lord of light?
How shall I all thy love declare?
But heaven is open to my prayer ;
That glorious heaven, which knows no bound
And life and beauty glow around.
Circled by thousand streams of bliss,
Say, to a world so mean as this,
How shall my thoughts expression find,
How shall I seek, thou infinite Mind,
Whose power and wisdom, love and grace,
And wider than the bounds of space!
Gently the shades of night descend;
Thy temple, Lord, is calm and still ;
A thousand fires that temple fill,
As if the very heavens, impressed
In all their loveliest robes were dressed.
From that immeasurable throne;
Dost clain earth's children for thy own,
Life's varied scenes of joy and gloom,