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(snipe) much like the pluvialis; an anas (duck); and, what I think more remarkable, could plainly discern the ardea ibis alba (white ibis) in the position it is yet to be seen in all the fields of Egypt, carrying its head high and its tail low.”
LETTERS FROM BELGIUM AND THE RHINE.-No. V.
Mentz, August 12, 1842. My Dear H.-You will perceive from the date of this letter that since my last, we have made considerable progress in our journey. We have been privileged to glide through the midst of all the beauties of this far-famed and justly-celebrated river. The most romantic portion of the Rhine is that between Boppart and Bingen, and all travellers have exhausted their choicest epithets, and drawn very largely on their powers of description, in attempting to convey a worthy impression of its surpassing loveliness. Here the river winds its way through a narrow ravine, formed by steep hills, whose verdant sides are shaped into terraces, covered with the clustering vine ; turning abruptly, now east, now west, the spectator is presented with a constant succession of beautiful lakes, shut in by a chain of most picturesque mountains, some crowned with wood, others bare and rugged, and terminating in various fantastic pinnacles, “shaped as they had turrets been, in mockery of man's art;" while the monuments of human skill are scarcely less abundant, in the innumerable remains of castles-gray, moss-grown, and ivycovered, that stand as so many evidences of the pride, the power, the wickedness, and the weakness of man. Here, at least, the poet's severity is but too well deserved.
“ Beneath these battlements, within those walls,
Power dwelt amidst her passions; in proud state
Than mightier heroes of a longer date.” It takes much from the interest with which these ruins are beheld when, guided by the sober light of history, we learn that they were formerly the haunts of banditti, and that Arnaud Walpoden, a citizen of Mentz, first persuaded his fellow-citizens to form a league of defence with the other towns in the neighbourhood, known under the name of the Hanseatic confederation, which succeeded in protecting the flourishing commerce of the Rhine, and driving these lawless chiefs from their strong holds. In these ruins we find another instance of the sad contrast so continually presented between the works of man and the works of God; in the latter we see reflected only the benignity, majesty, and wisdom of the great Creator ; in the former we are constrained to trace the mournful facility with which man can abuse the fairest gifts of providence, and convert that which was intended as a blessing into a curse. But still such a scene is not without its lesson of encouragement; it seems to tell of the perpetuity, the immutability, and the ultimate triumph of truth and righteousness. The evil work of man is in ruins ;-the good work of God, fresh, vigorous, and unchanged, has seen the evil rise, flourish for a time, and then decay and perish.
“ Yes, thou, exulting and abounding river!
Making thy waves a blessing as they flow
Glassed with its dancing light the sunny ray" Oh! for that happy day when the deep stream of human affection in its course through the vale of time, shall reflect from its unrufiled bosom only the bright rays of the Sun of Righteousness!
My last letter was dated from Bonn, and concluded with some reference to the University and its professors. A friend took us with him to one of the class-rooms, where we listened to a lecture by Professor Loebell. His faculty is history, and his subject that morning was a portion of the period of the French Revolution. As the time drew near for the commencement of the
lecture, the room began to fill with students, scarcely any two dressed alike, if I except their caps, by which the different clubs which exist among them are specially distinguished. It would take up too much of my time and paper were I to attempt minutely to describe their singular appearance; and yet with all their peculiarities, which by English and other writers appear to have been considerably exaggerated, there seems to be the most perfect freedom for a man to pursue the course that best suits his own taste. During the few minutes in which we waited for the entrance of Dr. Loebell, each student drew from his pocket a small inkstand, one end of which being unscrewed, was furnished with an iron spike, by which its position was rendered firm on the deal desk; their portfolios, which they may all be seen carrying to lecture, lay open before them. Presently the door opened, the professor entered his desk, the slight noises of rustling paper, subdued conversation, and mending pens suddenly ceased; complete silence reigned throughout the room, which was only once disturbed during the progress of the lecture, when a student entering about ten minutes too late, was welcomed by a universal scraping of shoes upon the floor of the room, which lasted until he had taken his seat. All that I have seen here, and much that I have not seen, has given me a higher impression than I had previously entertained of the excellence of German universities as schools of learning; and greater admiration of the general conduct and character of the students.
In the afternoon of Monday we hired a carriage and rode to Godesberg, a few miles distant. The village is situated at the foot of a lofty mountain, whose summit is crowned with the ruins of an ancient castle. The view from the top of the tower, which is still standing, is varied and beautiful. As we rode to the village we did not hire donkeys for the ascent, but a crowd of children appeared, who were all eager, in the hope of receiving a few kreutzers, to conduct us along the winding path. At every hundred yards we passed crosses, images, and shrines ; as the path wound round the hill, above and below us were patches of vines among the rocks, and the view of the surrounding country widened into a more magnificent panorama. We stopped at a cave hollowed out of the side of the mountain, the entrance to which was hung with fresh-gathered garlands, and dimly illu