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Cast your eyes a little farther, and you embrace the whole island, and see all its cities, rivers and mountains, delineated in the great chart of Nature : all the adjacent islands, the whole coast of Italy, as far as your eye can reach ; for it is no where bounded, but
every where lost in space. On the sun's first rising, the shadow of the mountain extends across the whole island, and makes a large track visible even in the sea and in the air. By degrees this is shortened, and in a little time is confined only to the neighborhood of Ætna.
We had now time to examine a fourth region of that wonderful mountain, very different, indeed, from the others, and productive of very different sensations : but which has undoubtedly given being to all the rest ; I mean the region of fire.
The present crater of this immense volcano is a cir. cle of about three miles and a half in circumference. It goes shelving down on each side, and forms a regular hollow like a vast amphitheatre. From many places of this space issue volumes of sulphureous smoke, which being much heavier than the circumambient air, instead of rising in it, as smoke generally does, immediately on its getting out of the crater, rolls down the side of the mountain like a torrent till coming to that part of the atmosphere of the same specific gravity with itself, it shoots off horizontally, and forms a large track in the air, according to the direction of the wind, which, happily for us, carried it exactly to the side opposite to that where we were placed. The crater is so hot that it is
very dangerous, if not impossible to go down into it; besides, the smoke is very incommodious, and, in many places, the surface is so soft, there have been instances of people sinking into it, and paying for their temerity with their lives. Near the centre of the crater is the great mouth of the volcano ;—that tremendous gulf so celebrated in all ages, and looked upon as the terror and scourge both of this and another life. We beheld it with awe and with horror, and were not surprised that it had been considered as the place of eternal punishment. When we reflect upon the immensity of its depth, the vast cells and caverns whence so many lavas have issued; the force of its internal fire, to raise up those lavas to so vast a height, to support as it were in the air, and even to force them over the very summit of the crater, with all the dreadful accompaniments; the boil. ing of the matter, the shaking of the mountain, the explosion of flaming rocks, &c.; we must allow that the most enthusiastic imagination, in the midst of all its terrors, hardly ever formed an idea of a hell more dreadful.
SNOWDON. Few persons mount a towering eminence, but feel their souls elevated : the whole frame acquires unwonted elasticity; and the spirits flow, as it were, in one aspiring stream of satisfaction and delight. For what can be more animating than, from one spot, to behold the pomp of man, and the pride of nature, lying at our feet? Who can refrain from being charmed, when, observing those innumerable sections, which divide a long extent of country into mountains and vales; and which, in their turn, subdivide into fields, glens, and dingles ; containing trees of every height; cottages of the humble; and mansions of the rich; here groups of cattle, there shepherds tending their flocks: and, at intervals, viewing, with admiration, a broad expansive river, sweeping its course along an extended vale: now encircling a mountain, and now overflowing a valley; here gliding beneath large boughs of trees; there rolling over rough ledges of rocks; in one place concealing itself in the heart of a forest under huge massy cliffs, which impend over it; and in another washing the walls of some ivied ruin, bosomed in wood ! “Behold the Eternal,” is written on every object; and in every view we are ready to exclaim with the poet of the East, "If there be a paradise upon earth, it is this, it is this." Never
cease to be grateful for the satisfaction ( experienced, on the summit of immortal Snowdon! After
paying a visit to the waterfall of Nant-Mill, we set out from a small cottage, situated on the side of the lake Cwellin. It was a morning of August; not a breath of air relieved the heat of the atmosphere; and not a tree offered a momentary shelter. In all the times the guide had travelled up this great mountain, he confessed that he had never been so oppressed with the intensity of the heat. Climbing for the space of an hour, sometimes over bogs, and sometimes over heaths, we arrived at what we earnestly hoped was the apex of the mountain :-it was, however, merely the first station. Who could fail to remember the fine passage in Pope, imitated from Drummond of Hawthornden, where he compares the progress
man, in the attainment of science, to the enlarged views that are spread progressively before the eye, in climbing lofty mountains ? The whole passage is eminently beautiful. As we ascended, those mountains, which from below bore the character of sublimity, shrunk into mere eminences: others more noble, rose in the perspective, and proceeding higher, they appeared, as it were, to approach us, and to be no longer at a distance. The road now lay over a smooth, mossy heath, where we sat down, entirely overcome with heat and fatigue. After resting for some time, the guide led us to the edge of a precipice, nearly fifteen hundred feet in depth ; at the bottom of which appeared the dark green lake of Llyn-y-Glas, and Llyn-Llydaw. We approached to the edge of it, it appeared the fit abode of an echo !
The sombre lake of Llyn-y-Glas associates itself, in some degree, with that of a lake in the neighborhood of Bergen, the capital of Norway. That lake is, however, much darker than this: it is surrounded by high rocks; its water is motionless, and the stars being discerned on its bosom at noon-day, those who have surmounted the difficulty of climbing the rocks, become, on a sudden, so transported with the view of this “Heaven reversed,” that they feel an indescribable, and almost uncontrollable, desire to throw themselves into it. We had not much time to contemplate the scene
before us; as a cloud suddenly appeared to rise out of the rocks beneath; and, rolling into a globular form, seemed like an immense balloon, balanced in the air; which, rising gradually up to the place where we stood, shut out the whole of this tremendous scene. Viewed from below, this precipice excites emotions of sublimity, unmixed with apprehensions; from its edge, terror is predominant. In the latter instance, our thoughts are, for a time, concentrated in our fears ; in the former, the mind, upon the instant, wings its course to heaven!
Height and depth create a much more awful sensation than length or width. The difference between looking up and looking down a precipice is well marked by Mr. Jefferson, in the account be furnished the Mar. quis de Chastelluse, of the Virginian bridge of rocks. "Though the sides of the bridge," says he, vided, in some parts, with a parapet of fixed rocks, yet. few men have resolution to walk to them, and look over into the abyss. You involuntarily fall on your hands and knees, creep to the parapet, and look over it. Looking from the height about a minute, gave me a violent head ache. If the view from the top be painful and intolera-, ble, that from below is delightful in the extreme. It is impossible for the emotions, arising from the sublime, to be felt beyond what they are on the sight of so beautiful an arch, so elevated and so light, springing up, as, it were, to Heaven. The rapture of the spectator, is indescribable.” After ascending above half a mile, we again paused to take a look around us. Below, appeared those innumerable mountains, by which Snowdon is, on all sides, surrounded. These are sometimes studded with lakes, which appear like large mirrors, placed for the purpose of reflecting the clouds, which are seen in three different directions. They glide over our heads, their shadows are depicted on the mountains; they are reflected in the lakes below. Some of the mountains are round
upon their summits; others wear a triangular appearance; while some rise like pyramids. Now hey seem like backs of immense whales, or couchant ions; ar, while the apices of some resemble the cra
ters of volcanos, the more elevated lift their points above those clouds, which roll, in columns, along their gigan. tic sides. Near the place where we paused to observe this fine prospect, we stopped to quench our almost ungovernable thirst at a spring, which wells out of the side of the mountain. No travellers over the deserts of Ethiopia were ever more rejoiced at coming to an unexpected fountain, than we were at this delightful spring. “O Fons,” we were ready to exclaim.
"O Fons Snowdoniæ, splendidior vitro,
Cras donaberis hædo."
Well may the nations of the east consecrate their wells and fountains ! Ere we departed, we took large libations; consecrated it with our praises and our blessings; and called it Hygeia's fountain.
After climbing over masses of crags and rocks, we ascended the peak of Snowdon, the height of which is 3571 feet above the level of the Irish sea. Arrived at its summit, a scene presented itself magnificient beyond the powers of language -Indeed language is indigent and impotent, when it would presume to sketch scenes on which the great Eternal has placed his matchless finger with delight.-From this point are seen more than five and twenty lakes.-Seated on one of the crags it was long before the eye, unaccustomed to measure such elevations, could accommodate itself to scenes so admirable ::--the whole appearing as if there had been a war of the elements, and as if we were the only inhabitants of the globe permitted to contemplate the ruins of the world.-Rocks and mountains, which, when observed from below, bear all the evidences of sublimity, when viewed from the summit of Snowdon, are blended with others as dark, as rugged, and as elevated as themselves; the whole resembling the swellings of an agitated ocean. The extent of this prospect appears almost unlimited. The four kingdoms are seen at once; Wales, England, Scotland, and Ireland ! forming the finest panorama the empire can boast. The circle begins with the moun.