appreciate how densely even the rural parts of Europe
are overgrown with this ivy of associations.
Thus, it is fascinating to hear that the great French forests of Fontainebleau
and St. Germain are full of historic trees,—the oak of Charlemagne, the oak of Clovis, of Queen Blanche, of Henri Quatre, of Sully
,—the alley of Richelieu
,—the rendezvous of St. Herem,—the star of Lamballe and of the Princesses, a star being a point where several paths or roads converge.
It is said that every topographical work upon these forests has turned out to be a history of the French
Yet surely we lose nearly as much as we gain by this subordination of imperishable beauty to the perishable memories of man. It may not be wholly unfortunate, that, in the absence of those influences which come to older nations from ruins and traditions, we must go more directly to Nature.
Art may either rest upon other Art, or it may rest directly upon the original foundation; the one is easier, the other more valuable.
Direct dependence on Nature leads to deeper thought, and affords the promise of far fresher results.
Why should I wish to fix my study in Heidelberg Castle
, when I possess the unexhausted treasures of this out-door study here?
The walls of my study are of ever-changing verdure.
and its roof and floor of ever-varying blue.
I never enter it without a new heaven above and new thoughts below.
The lake has no lofty shores and no level ones, but a series of undulating hills, fringed with woods from end to end. The profaning axe may sometimes come near the margin, and one may hear the whetting of the scythe; but no cultivated land abuts upon the main lake, though beyond the narrow woods there are here and there glimpses of rye-fields that wave like rolling mist.
Graceful islands rise from the quiet waters,—Grape Island
, Grass Island
, Sharp Pine Island, and the rest, baptized with simple names by departed generations of farmers,—all wooded and bushy, and trailing with festoonery of vines.
Here and there the banks are indented, and one may pass beneath drooping chestnut-leaves and among alder-branches into some secret sanctuary of stillness.
The emerald edges of these silent tarns are starred with dandelions which have strayed here, one scarce knows how, from their foreign home; the buck-bean perchance grows in the water, or the Rhodora fixes here one of its shy camping-places, or there are whole skies of lupine on the sloping banks;—the cat-bird builds its nest beside us, the yellow-bird above, the wood-thrush sings late and the whippoorwill later, and sometimes the scarlet tanager and his golden-haired bride send a gleam of the tropics through these leafy aisles.
Sometimes I rest in a yet more secluded place amid the waters, where a little wooded island holds a small lagoon in the centre, just wide enough for the wherry to turn round.
The entrance lies between two horn-beam trees, which stand close to the brink, spreading over it their thorn-like branches and their shining leaves.
Within there is