I cannot forget the first time that I looked upon this beautiful valley, where river, meadow, and hill contribute to the charm. It was while a youth in college. With several of my classmates I made a pedestrian excursion through Massachusetts. Starting from Cambridge, we passed, by way of Sterling and Barre, to Amherst, where, arriving weary and footsore, we refreshed ourselves at the evening prayer in the college chapel. From Amherst we walked to Northampton, and then, ascending Mount Holyoke, saw the valley of the Connecticut spread out before us, with river of silver winding through meadows of gold. It was a scene of enchantment, and time has not weakened the impression it made. From Northampton we walked to Deerfield, sleeping near Bloody Brook, and then to Greenfield, where we turned off by Coleraine through dark woods and over hills to Bennington in Vermont. The whole excursion was deeply interesting, but no part more so than your valley. Since then I have been a traveller at home and abroad, but I know no similar scene of greater beauty. I have seen the meadows of Lombardy, and those historic rivers, the Rhine and the Arno, and that stream of Charente, which Henry the Fourth called the most beautiful of France,—also those Scottish rivers so famous in legend and song, and the exquisite fields and sparkling waters of Lower Austria; but my youthful joy in the landscape which I witnessed from the neighboring hill-top has never been surpassed in any kindred scene. Other places are richer in the associations of history; but you have enough already in what Nature has done, without waiting for any further illustration.
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1 Works, Vol. VII. p. 249.
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