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Half way was Bhyram Gattee, a very singular and terrible place: the river is here divided into two branches by a lofty crag thrust between them like a wedge. This crag, though not exactly in the situation stated by the Moonshee, appears to have been his cow's mouth. From hence the gigantic features of the mountains may frequently he seen overhanging the deep black glen, their brown splintered spires hardly differing in colour from the blasted pines which start from their fissures and crevices, or even from the dark foliage of those which yet live.' At the end of a sanga, or wooden bridge, under an overhanging rock, worship is performed to Bhyram, whose image is represented by a black stone, streaked with red; and here every one of the travellers was obliged to bathe, and eat bread baked by the Brahmins, as a due preparation for the more effectual ablutions at the holier fane of Gangotree.
From this place, the wildness and extreme ruggedness of the country baffle all power of description. Masses of jagged rock, heaped in the wildest confusion, impeded the track over which the unfortunate pilgrims had to scramble with bare feet, and rendered the accomplishment of this act of piety a very severe and painful penance. They persevered, however, and succeeded in reaching another holy spot, called Goureecounda, where a rapid torrent joins the Bhagarutee, and where a second ablution was required. A little beyond this, at the head of a small shingly beach, stood the object of their long and painful journey, in the shape of a little temple, which is dedicated to the goddess Gunga, or Bhagarutee. Here, as at Jumnotree, the traveller is assured that no mortal has gone, or can go, further-which Mr. Fraser, on trial, found to be pretty nearly the fact.
"The scene in which this holy place is situated is worthy of the mysterious sanctity attributed to it, and the reverence with which it is regarded. We have not here the confined gloominess of Bhyram Gattee: the actual dread which cannot but be inspired by the precipices, and torrents, and perils of the place, here gives way to a sensation of awe, imposing but not embarrasing, that might be compared to the dark and dangerous pass to the centre of the ruins of a former world; for, most truly, there is little here that recalls the recollection of that which we seem to have quitted. The bare and peaked cliffs, which shoot to the skies, yield not in ruggedness and elevation to any we have seen; their ruins lie in wild chaotic masses at their feet, and scantier wood imperfectly relieves their nakedness; even the dark pine more rarely roots itself in the deep chasms which time has worn. Thus on all sides is the prospect closed, except in front to the eastward; where, from behind a mass of bare spires, four huge, lofty, snowy peaks arise; these are the peaks of Roodroo-Himālā. There could be no finer finishing, no grander close to such a scene.
'We approach it through a labyrinth of enormous shapeless masses of granite, which during ages have fallen from the cliffs above, that frown over the very temple, and in all probability will some day themselves descend in ruins and crush it. Around the inclosure, and among these masses, for some distance up the mountain, a few fine old pine-trees throw a dark shade, and form a magnificent foreground; while the river runs impetuously in its shingly bed, and the stifled but fearful sound of the stones which it rolls along with it, crushing together, mixes with the roar of its waters.
It is easy to write of rocks and wilds, of torrents and precipices; it is easy to tell of the awe such scenes inspire: this style and these descriptions are common and hacknied. But it is not so simple, to many surely not very possible, to convey an adequate idea for the stern and rugged majesty of some scenes; to paint their lonely desertness, or describe the undefinable sensation of reverence and dread that steals over the mind while contemplating the deathlike ghastly calm that is shed over them; and when at such a moment we remember our homes, our friends, our firesides, and all social intercourse with our fellows, and feel our present solitude, and far distance from all these dear ties, how vain is it to strive at description! Surely such a scene is Gungotree. Nor is it, independent of the nature of the surrounding scenery, a spot which lightly calls forth powerful feelings. We were now in the centre of the stupendous Himālā, the loftiest and perhaps most rugged range of mountains in the world. We were at the acknowledged source of that noble river, equally an object of veneration and a source of fertility, plenty, and opulence to Hindostan; and we had now reached the holiest shrine of Hindoo worship which these holy hills contain. These are surely striking considerations, combining with the solemn grandeur of the place to move the feelings strongly.'-pp. 468, 469.
The summit of this holy mountain is split into five peaks, called Roodroo Himālā, (the residence of Mahadeo himself,) Burrumpooree, Bissinpooree, Ordgurree Kauta, and Soorga Rounee. These are said to form a semicircular hollow of prodigious extent, filled with eternal snow, from the gradual dissolution of which the principal part of the stream is generated. This is so like the story of the source of the Jumna, and so improbable, that although all the pundits of Hindostan should maintain it, we should withhold our belief. The melting of the snow unquestionably swells the sources of the Ganges during the summer months, but the lofty and remote branches, during the winter, would be dried up, had they no other sources than the water collected in these hollows, which must then become one solid mass of ice. There can be no doubt that permanent streams of water gush from every part of the sides and roots of the whole range of mountains, and that in their passage through the hilly belt they are enlarged by innumerable tributary rills, which every glen or gulley supplies: the numerous hot
streams in the neighbourhood of the Jumna assuredly proceed not from melted snow.
It is much to be regretted that Mr. Fraser had neither thermometer nor barometer in any of his curious journeys, nor any means of judging of the height of the mountains he traversed, or of the inaccessible peaks which he had so many opportunities of viewing, free from clouds, and at no great distance. We cannot, of course, place the smallest reliance on his vague conjecture, that, on passing the ridge where vegetation ceased and where the breathing was so strongly affected, they were nearly 17,000 feet above the level of Calcutta'; nor can we agree with him in concluding the line of perpetual congelation on the southern side of the Himaleh to be somewhere between 15 and 16,000 feet above it.' Matters of this kind are not to be determined by conjecture, and less here, as we have shewn in a former article, than in any other part of the world. When Mr. Fraser, therefore, estimated the pinnacle of Bunderpouch at 23 miles distance from him, and its height at 4000 feet above him, we suspect that the dazzling brilliancy of the snow rendered him an imperfect judge of distances: otherwise what would become of Captain Webb's measurement, and Captain Hodgson's estimate, which agree in giving 25,000 feet, for the altitude of the Jumnotree (Bunderpouch) above the level of the sea? From all the appearances stated by Mr. Fraser, and more particularly from the abundance of plants, and among others the black currant bush, at or near the sources of the Jumna, the spot from which he viewed Bunderpouch could not possibly exceed the height of Kedar-nath, as observed by Captain Webb, or Gangoutri, as estimated by Captain Hodgson-that is between 12,000 and 13,000 feet: if we take the latter, the addition of 4000 feet will only make the height of this prodigious mountain' 17,000 feet; and should we even allow that it was more than twice the altitude above him which he conjectures, we should then only have 21,000 feet for the peak of Jumnotree, which is 4,500 feet short of that assigned to it by Mr. Colebrooke from the observations of Captain Webb. We concur entirely, however, with Mr. Fraser in thinking that 'from the valuable and interesting labours of Captains Webb and Hodgson we may at no distant period hope for a near approximation to the truth;' and that till then there seems little danger of falling into a great error in believing that the loftiest peaks of the Himālā mountains range from 18,000 to 22,000 or 23,000 feet above the level of the sea.' On this subject we believe we have already brought forward all that can be safely advanced, We shall soon, however, know more, and be enabled to speak with greater confidence. Our late conquests over the Ghoorkhas,
VOL. XXIV. NO. XLVII.
and the friendly communications which have taken place in consequence of them with the Tartarian subjects of the Emperor of China, hold out the fairest prospect for the extension and improvement of the geography and natural history of the central and elevated regions of Asia.
ART. V.-1. The Restoration of the Works of Art to Italy. By Felicia Hemans.
2. Tales and Historic Scenes in Verse. By Felicia Hemans. 3. Translations from Camoens and other Poets, with Original Poems. By Felicia Hemans.
4. The Sceptic, a Poem. By Mrs. Hemans.
5. Stanzas to the Memory of the late King. By Mrs. Hemans.
THIS certainly is not the age in which those who speak slightingly of female talent should expect to be listened to with much attention. In almost every department of literature, and in many of art and science, some one or other of our own contemporaries and country women will be found, in spite of all the dis-. advantages of an imperfect education, occupying a respectable, at least, if not a prominent situation. And this remark, if true any where, is undoubtedly so when applied to poetry: no judicious critic will speak without respect of the tragedies of Miss Baillie, or the Psyche of Mrs. Tighe; and, unless we deceive ourselves greatly, the author of the poems before us required only to be more generally known and read to have her place assigned at no great distance from that of the two distinguished individuals just mentioned. Mrs. Hemans indeed, if we may judge from her writings, is not merely a clever woman, but a woman of very general reading, and of a mind improved by reflection and study. There is another circumstance about these poems in which we cannot well be deceived, and which demands notice, the progressive and rapid improvement of them; not five years have elapsed from the appearance of the first to that of the last, and the difference of the two is very surprising; the merits of the one are little more than correct language, smooth versification, and chaste ideas; the last, written on a difficult subject, is one of the most able productions of the present day. The facility given by practice may have done much towards this; but when the improvement is principally in the richness and novelty of thought, careful study and diligent training of the reason must have borne a much larger share. If we may judge too of her, in another point, from her writings, Mrs. Hemans is a woman in whom talent and learning have not produced the ill effects so often attributed to them;
her faculties seem to sit meekly on her, at least we can trace no ill humour or affectation, no misanthropic gloom, no querulous discontent; she is always pure in thought and expression, cheerful, affectionate, and pious. It is something at least to know, that whether the emotions she excites be always those of powerful delight or not, they will be at least harmless, and leave no sting behind: if our fancies are not always transported, our hearts at least will never be corrupted: we have not found a line which a delicate woman might blush to have written. When speaking of an English lady this ought to be no more than common praise, for delicacy of feeling has long been, and long may it be, the fair and valued boast of our countrywomen; but we have had too frequent reason of late to lament, both in female readers and writers, the display of qualities very opposite in their nature. Their tastes, at least, have not escaped the infection of that pretended liberality, but real licentiousness of thought, the plague and the fearful sign of the times. Under its influence they lose their relish for what is simple and sober, gentle or dignified, and require the stimulus of excessive or bitter passion, of sedition, of audacious profaneness. Certain we are, that the most dangerous writer of the present day finds his most numerous and most enthusiastic admirers among the fair sex; and we have many times seen very eloquent eyes kindle in vehement praise of the poems, which no woman should have read, and which it would have been far better for the world if the author had never written. This is a melancholy subject on which we have much to say at a fit opportunity, but which it would not satisfy us to treat so cursorily as our present limits would render necessary:-with Mrs. Hemans, at least, such thoughts as it suggests have no connection, and we will not, therefore, any longer detain our readers with general remarks, but give them a brief account of her several poems, with such extracts and observations as may serve to justify what we have before advanced respecting the author. The earliest on the list is a Poem on the Restoration of the Works of Art to Italy, and, as we have intimated above, is decidedly inferior to all that follow it. We do not think the subject, indeed, very happily chosen, except for a very short and spirited sketch: when treated of at so much length as by Mrs. Hemans, it was sure to lose all unity, and be broken up into a number of separate descriptions, which, even if very truly drawn and striking, when severally examined, can never form a complete whole. The versification, however, is always flowing, though the style wants clearness and compression.
The next volume, the 'Tales and Historic Scenes,' is a collection, as the title imports, of Narrative Poems. Perhaps it was not upon consideration that Mrs. Hemans passed from a poem