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• • • 







"Accuse me net 
Cfarroganu, .... 

If, lunnng walked with Nature ^ 

And o^red, far at frailty would allow. 

My heart a daily sacri/ice to Truth, 

I now a^rm of Nature and of Truth, 

Whom I have served, that their Divinity 

Revolts, offimded at the ways of men. 

Philosophers^ who, though the human soul 

Beef a thousand faculties composed. 

And twice ten thousand interests, doyetpriu 

This soul, and the transcendent universe. 

No more than as a mirror that reflects 

To proud Self 'love her own intelligence" 







LiiT OF Illustrations xi 

Introduction to this Volume ' « idx 


Modem PaifUen^ Vol. IV. ((containing the tbxt of all thx 
editions) : — 

Preface S 

Part V. "Of Mountain Beauty": — 


I. Of the Turnerian Picturesque .... 9 

II. Of Turnerian Topography .... 27 

III. Of Turnerian Light. 48 

IV. Of Turnerian Mystery : — First, as Essential . IS 
V. Of Turnerian Mystery: — Secondly, Wilful 88 

VI. The Firmament 106 

VII. The Dry Land 115 

Postscript (from In MomUbiu Sanctis, 1885) • 127 

VIII. Of the Materials of Mountains: — First, Compact 

Crystalunes 128 

Postscript (firom In Montibut Sanctis, 1885) 144 

IX. Of the Materials of Mountains: — Secondly, Slaty 

Crystallines 146 

X. Of the Materials of Mountains: — ^Thirdly, Slaty 


XI. Of the Materials of Mountains: — Fourthly, Com- 
pact COHBRENTS l68 




XII. Or THE Sculpture op Mountains: — First, the Lateral 

Ranges 174 

XIII. Of the Sculpture op Mountains : — Secondly, the 

Central Peaks 197 

XIV. Resulting Foriis: — First, Aiguilles 2X6 

XV. Resulting Forms: — Secondly, Crests .241 

XVI. Resulting Forms: — ^Thirdly, Precipices . 279 

XVII. Resulting Forms: — Fourthly, Banks .... S20 

XVIII. Resulting Forms: — Fifthly, Stones S65 

XIX. The Mountain Gloom 385 

XX. The Mountain Glory 418 


I. Modern Grotesque 469 

II. Rock Cleavage 475 

III. Logical Education 482 

(Added in this Edition) 
IV. Preface to Coeli Enarrani (1885) 486 

The following Minor Ruskiniana are also included in this 
Volume : — 

EzTRAon from Ruskin's Diabt, 1861, 1853-1854 :^ 








DBAWV BT naBATnrcw BI 1 

Fboiiti8Piicb. The Gatis op J , ,^ „, ^ , ^ 

\ J. M. W. Turner J. Cousen. 
• • • / 


njoM Fienia rioi 

18. The Transition FROM < 


[Ghir- ) Ghhrlandqio and ).„,«, ,^ 

19. The Picturesque of Wini>- ) SianfieldandTmr- I « u « |^ lg 

MILUi . . j Ji«r . . J * ■ 

50. The Pass of Faido. 1. ) -« . . •-^ . . ... «• 

Sn«, TorooRATHV .}l»«^-^ • The Author . 84. S5 

51. The Pass of Faido. S. ) . ,^ „, ^ r,^ * . -- ^» 

TurmeruhTofoorafhv}-^-^-^-^"-- The Author . 54,55 

^ \j. M. W. Turner T Boji . 4«, 45 

SS. Turner's earuest Not- 

S5. Turner's latest Notting- i . ,^ „^ ^ -, „ -. ^- 

> J. M. IF. TWiuT T. Boys . 4«, 45 

HAlf • / 

S4. The Towers of Fribouro The Auikor 

25. Tmsfos in General > . The Auikor 

96. The Law ow Etanekrncb ne Author 

ft!. The Aspen under Ideal- ) ^ 

i Tuner, tic 

IZAT10N ... I ' 

S8. The Aspen Unidralized . The Author 

^ Qn this cditioo r^ffodaced in most nnt hj tho/bogrmrmm ; mm note as ft adiL] 
s [Thm Piste contaiiw seTcn figures, as ioUow : (I), (2), (3) the Towsn sT 
Fkihouig ; (1) as Durer woold luiTe drmvn then, (2) from a dairncneoljpey (1) aa 
a aMJera livtcher of the '<boU" school wooU draw then : see pft 46^ 83; 1«; 
'4) c«Bto«r «r the top of the Breren : see pp. 54^ 282 ; (^), (<$>, aad (7> jillssff 
iDBBlntiDg the conditiofM of fifht and shade, characteristic ml BcaibnBdt^ ^vn 
Varooaaa iia y sctir sly : sea f. 0^,} 


J. C Amjtage 

. 46 

J. H. Le Keox 


R. P. Cuff 

- « 

J. CoQwn 

. 98 

J. C ArmjtMgc 

. 100 




AiouiLLi Structure ' 

The Auihor 

J. C. Ar 


The Idkal of Aiguiluw*. 

The Author, etc. . 

R. P. Ci 


The AiauiLLE BLAiriinE . 

The Author 

J. C. Ar 



Tum^, eU: 

J. H. U 


Contours of Aiouille Bou- 

The Authoi 

R. P. Cu 


CutAVAOBi OF Aiouille Bou- 

The Author 

The Aul 


Chests of La CAte and 
Taconav . 

The Author 

The Auf 


Creot of La Cote . 

The Avthor 

Thos. Li 


CREvn OF THE Slaty Cry- 

J. M. W. Turner 

The Aut 


The Cervin from THE East, 


The Author 

J. C. Ar 


The Cervin from the 

The Author 

J. C. Ar 


The Mountains of Vh^ 


The Author 

J. H. L< 

12a.« The Shores or Wkarfe 

J. M. W. Turner 

Thos. L 


The Rock of Arona 

The Author 

J. H.U 


Leaf Curvature. Mao- 

■ The Author 

R. P. Cu 


Leaf CuHVATUHS. Dead 

■ The Autho, 

R.P. C« 


Leap Curvature. Youno 
Ivy ... . 

• The Auihm 

R. P, Cu 


DfiRRiB Curvature . 

The Authoi 

a P. Ct 

■ [This Plato coiiUiue fuur lif^ures, as follow : (1) Mont Blaii 
p. 201 ; (-2) top of the ridge of the Charmiiz .- nee p. 234 ; (3) a 
Blaitiere : sett p. 481 ; (4) the Dent de Mordes : see pp. 192, 200.] 

> [So called by Ku«kiu in the List of Plates; the PlaU it>« 
Aiguille Charmoz."] 

■ [A portion of TDrner'it" Pass of Faido"; see Piste 2].] 

* [For Plate 12, the ett-hing which is mezzotinted is this Plat 
volume, p. 39S.] 


DEAW5 SI U*lli«.'-.KMf» *\ «il%M '<%Ma 

46l Thk Buttrbhbb of an Alp The Author . -i. .^t C'ax s-ib 

47. Tbk Quabbid of Carrara The Author \ -- ...-. i.^»i.\ ;<Mfi 

M. Bank of Slaty Crystal- \ 

• Dagutrrtoiifpe .. ^. ^ni^^*: 


g^j^jj > Turner ami Clamdt 11km^ L4*(Mm 17H 

50. GoLDAC .J. 3/. Jr. riiniifr J. CottMft «7h 

Added in this Editiox 
(From Drawings by the Auikar) 

A. Thx KapcllbrCckk, Ll'ckrnb {Photogravure) .... ifH 

B. The Mocntjun Gloom: at St. Jkan db Maitriknxb {Fko^ogrmtut^ kl^ 

yoU.—¥\Mt» No6. 20-24, 2S, 40, 41, aud 48 are priuted from the or%rinak ; 
the reat are reduced (by about oii^fourth) by photogravure from early im- 
pfceeinm of the orifnoAls. It should be noted that Pktee 12a and 4», tkouf k 
lettered (by inadrertence) as eu|nraved by G. Allen and V. A. lomkina ra- 
■pectirely, are in reality reproduced from early impnuaioui of tke oriifiual 
Flmtes by Thomas Lupton. 

Of the Plates added in this edition, A has previously appeared (in autotypa) 
in the large-paper edition of St udien in HuMn, 18i)0, Plate iv. 

Several of the drawings from which the Plates were engraved have been 
exhibited at the Coni^ton Exhibition, 1900; the UuHkin Kxhihition at the 
Royal Society of Painters in Water ( olouni, liM>l ; and the Huskiii Kihibition 
at Manchester, 1904. The frontiMpiece was at Manchester, No. lAI. Nii. Hfl 
was at Coniston, No. 104 ; at the Society of Painters in Water (.'«ihiurM, No. li'Ji^\ 
at Manchester, No. 150. No. 26 wsh at the Society of Painters in Water 
Colours^ No. 381 ; at Manchester, No. 2«'U). No. 2U was at Manchester, No. 76. 
No. 31 was at Coniston, No. 72; st the Society of Paiiitem in Water rolours, 
Na 228; at Manchester, No. 333. No. 'M was at the HiNUety of Painters in 
Water Colours, No. 3 ; at Mancheiiter, No. 237. No. 'M was at the riM:iety iif 
Painters in Water Colours, No. 79. No. 37 wa* at Cimlston, No. lOft ; at the 
Society of Painters in Water Colouni, No. WJ; at Mani:he»ter, No I4li. No. 40 
was at Manchester, No. 50. No. I 2a wm at Cfininton, No. 102; at Mamrhttter, 
No. 168. No. 46 was at ('oniiit#>n, No. 1 10 ; at the SiN-iety of Psinlttrs in Water 
Colours, No. 194. A was at the Siiciety of Paiiitent in Water ( oJoitm, Nu. ilh'i. 



n«. PAOB 

1. Buttress and Wall (from Turner's plate of the " Swiss Bridge, 

St. Gothard ") 40 

2. Diagram to Illustrate the Lighting op Drawings 49 
8. Compact and Slaty Crystallines 187 

4. Rock from the Top of the Breven 188 

5. Transition from Compact to Slaty Crystalunes . .148 

6. Undulatton in Slaty Crystallines 149 

7. The Same (from a rock in the Valley of St. Nicolas) .151 

8. Mountain Books 182 

9. Their Jagged Edges 183 

10. Rainbow Formation, at the Entrance to the Valley of 

Cluse 183 

11,12. Limestone Fracture . 185, 186 

13. Wall above Slope, and Slope above Wall .188 

14. Slope and Wall Alternately 189 

15. Curvature of Rocks 190 

16. Undulation Passing into Contortion 191 

17. Contour op the Gorge of Ardon, in the Valais . .193 

18. Order of the Beds in the Same 194 

19* The Bedded Structure of Mountains 198 

20. The Trench of the Valley of Chamouni .... 202 

21. The Pears above the Trench 203 

22. Contours of Mont Blanc and the Aiguilles (with refer- 

ence diagram) 204 

23. The Setting Back of the Highest Peaks .... 20€ 

24. Glacier Friction on the Central Peaks .212 

25. 26. How They Support the Inferior Hills . .217 
27, 28. And are Supported by Them 218 

29. Section of the Chain of Mont Blanc 220 

30. How THE Steep Ends of Ridges may Appear as Pyramids . 223 

31. 32. Illustration in the Case of the ''Obbusk" of the 

Matterhorn 225 

33. Angles of the Matterhorn (flank view) .... 226 

34. Outune of the Matterhorn from the Ascent to Bel Alp 227 

35. The Aiguilles of Chamouni as Buttresses Projecting from 

an Intermediate Ridge 228 


36. The Curved Clbayaob op the Aiguilles .... S89 

$1. Curved Linei at the Base of the Aiguille fiLAiTi&RE . 238 

38. Leading Lines of the Aiguille du Plan .... ^S$ 
39« M* Fantastic Fomfs of the Summits of Aiguilles (upper 

edge of the Aiguille du Moine) 235 

41. Hatchet Edge of the Aiguille Charmoz .... 237 

42. Mountain Crests 241 

43. Junction of the Aiguille Pourri with the Aiguilles 

Rouges 242 

44. Contour of Mountain Crests and of Leaves 243 
45j 46. Diagrams Illustrating this Line of Beauty . 244 
47j 48. Diagrams Illustrating the Formation of Mountain 

Crests 245, 246 

40. Radiation in Curvature (from DOrer's '' Fall of Lucifer ") . 247 
50, 51j 52. Formation of Radiant Curvature in Mountain 

Crests 249 

^» The Same, as Caused by Water 250 

54. Range of the Aiguille Bouchard (outline sketch for refer- 
ence) 252 

&S, Diagram Illustrating the Junction of Gneiss and Pro- 


56. The Supposed Fan-uke Slope of the Beds .... 254 

57. The Actual Regulartty of the Slope, Illustrated from the 

Aiguille Bouchard 254 

58. The Same, Illustrated from the Aiguille of the Alleb 

Blanche 255 

59* The Same, from the Petit Charmoz 256 

60. The Same, on the South-East Side of the Charmoz 257 

61. Aqueous Curves and Roundings, on the Crest of La 

C6te 260 

62. The Same^ Illustrated from the Aiguille Pourri 262 

63. Lines of Mountain Waves, Illustrated from DOrer's 

" Binding of the Great Dragon " .... 264 

64. The Sams, Illustrated from DOrer's '' VisrrATioN " 266 

65. The Same, wfth Indications of Parallelism and RiGiDmr, 

Illustrated from DOrer's *' Great Dragon " 267 

66. Mountain Drawing by Titian 268 

67. Actual Outune of the Crests Shown in the Foregoing • 270 


wn, p. 

68. Mountain Drawing by Clauds (Uber Feritatu, No. 86) • 270 

69. Mountain Drawing by Turnbr (from '' Loch Coriskin") S71 

70. Leading Lines in the Portion of Turner's " Pass or Faido " 

Etched in Plate S7 (reference pUm) .... S7S 

71. Section to Illustrate Structure op a Portion of the 

Foregoing 275 

72. Turner's Love of Curved Crests, Illustrated prom a Draw- 

ing OP Mount Pilatus (cf. Not. 106, 107) 277 

75. Types op Precipices 280 

74, 75. Diagrams Illustrating a Precipice on the Breven . .281 

76. Contour op the Same 282 

77. Types op Overhanging Precipices 284 

78. Summit op the Rippelhorn 285 

79. The Matterhorn Beds Figured as a House Roof. 286 

80. The Matterhorn, prom a Photograph prom the Lake under 

THE Rippelhorn 287 

81. Zigzag Beds on the Shoulder of the Matterhorn 289 

82. Wall above Slope, and Slope above Wall: Turner's Pre- 

ference FOR THE Latter 802 

SS. Lines op the Yoredalb Shales (to illustrate Plate 12a) . 307 

84. Claude's Drawing op Precipices (Ldber VerUaiit, No. 91) 8O9 

85. Drawing op Precipices in Medlbval Manuscripts . .310 

86. Drawing op PnEapiCEs in the Old Masters (from Cimay 

Louvre, No. 1259) 311 

87. Claude's Adaptation of these Forms {liber FeriiaHs, No. 91) . 312 

88. Leading Lines in Plate 41 (showing an aetual hanging 

rock) 313 

89. Formation of Precipices Impending above Torrents .315 

90. Semicircle, Straight Line; Trefoil, Triangle; Cinqpoil, 

Pentagon 321 

91. 92, 9S, 94. The Law op Infinity in Curvature 322, 323, 324, 326 

95. Catenary Curvature 328 

96. QuANTfTY IN Curvature 329 

97. Variety in Unity in Curvature (illustrated from the 

Magnolia Shoot) 332 

98. 99- The Same, Illustrated prom an Ivy Leap in a Thirteenth- 

Century MS 334, SS5 

100. Lines op Fall in Mountain Banks 336 



101, 108. Diagrams^ Illustrating Formation of the Same HS7, SSS 

103. Lines or Projection SS9 

104. Lines of Escape 840 

105. Angle of the Beds in Plate 46 347 

106. 107. The Law of Ascent in Peaks, Illustrated from 

Turner's Drawing of Mount Pilatus {cf. No. 79) . S62 

108, 109. Titun's Drawing of Stones 870, 871 

110. Modern Idealism in Stones (from an illostnited edition of the 

Pilgrim^* Progrtu) 878 

111, lis. The Same (from Fkxman's DanU) .... 878, 878 
118. The Love of Distortion in German Art: Trees and Birds 

FROM A Fifteenth-Century MS. (designs by Martin 
Schdnganer) 400 

114. The Same: Spotted Backgrounds 401 

115. Insensibility to Beauty in German Art: ''St. Peter" from 

A Fifteenth-Century MS 408 

116. Compared wrm a ''Madonna and Child" in an Engush or 

French Thirteenth-Century MS. 408 


Two Pages of the MS. of Modem Painiert, Vol. IV. (ch. vii. § 4, 

and ch. xvi. § 88) . pp. 180-181, and 896-897 



Foiifth Volume of Modem Painters was, as already explained^ 
written and published much at the same time as the Third. It has, 
therefore, b^ dealt with generally in the preceding Introduction. 
Some particular remarks remain, however, to be made as usual under the 
heads of Texij MamucrifUj and lUuHrations. 

The Text of this volume will be found to difier considerably firom 
that of any preceding edition, and for the first time stands as the 
author finally intended. The alterations now made come from three 
sources: (1) Ruskin'*s own copy for revision; (S) a copy formerly be- 
longing to Ruskin, and now to Mr. R. H. Edmundson, of Byerswood, 
Windermere, in which the author had made some notes and corrections ; 
(8) the published text of Coeli Enarrant and In Montibus SanciiSy and 
a proof which Ruskin had carefully revised for an intended further 
chapter in the latter work (see below, p. 1S5 n.). 

The bibliographical particulars of these two series of reprints 
from 'Modem Paintera have already been given (Vol. III. pp. Ixii., 
Ixiii.). The portions of the reprints which attach themselves to 
the present volume are (1) the Preface to Coeli Enarrant. This 
contains some general remarks by the author on the style and substance 
of volume iv., and is accordingly here reprinted in an appendix 
(pp. 486, 487). (S) The first chapter of Coeli Enarrant^ being a reprint 
of ch. vi. of volume iv. Here the author made no revision. (8) Chapters 
ii. and ill. of In Montibue Sanctis^ being respectively ch. vii. and the 
first portion of ch. viii. of volume iv. ; it is the rest of ch. viii. which 
was put into print and revised by Ruskin for an intended later part 
of the same book. These portions of volume iv. were considerably 
revised; and notes and postscripts were added. The notes will here 
be found in their several places (r^., pp. 116, ISl, 188, 180, 181);^ 

^ For the notes added from Frondet AgreHet, see the explanstUm (whieh implies 
to this volume also) given in VoL V. p. IzL 



for the postscripts, see pp. 1X7, 144. The textual revisions are all enu- 
merated, or referred to, in the usual list of Varice Ledionei (pp. xxix.-xxxi.)* 

These textual revisions and explanatory notes occur in chapters 
of Modem Painiers to whidi the author attached particular import- 
ance. He considered the mountain-chapters in this volume to be, aa 
we have seen,^ among the most valuable of all his writings. He here 
suggests that some of the passages in question ^'should be read to 
young people by their tutors as an introduction to geological study .^^ 
Fortunate are the young people who are allowed so attractive a guide ; 
for apart from all questions of geological theory, Ruskin^s chaptona 
have the unquestionable interest and value which attach to the direct 
observations of a singularly acute iye. ^* Precisely the same facultiee 
of eye and mind are concerned,^ he says elsewhere,' ^in the analyaia 
of natural and of pictorial forms.^ Ruskin, as Mr. Collingwood 
observes, knew ^more about scenery than most geologists, and more 
about geology than most artists.^ ^ Ruskin^s classification of rocks into 
^crystallines^ and ^coherents^ was adopted, it may be r»narked, by 
IVofessor Bonney in his Alpine Regions ofSwUxerkmd (1868); in quoting 
many passages from the present volume, he truly describes it as ^ a 
book tiiat no lover of the Alps should be without.^ In an obituary 
notice of Ruskin in 1900, the President of the Geological Society referred 
in like manner to ** his services to our science in directing the attention 
of artists and others to the effect of geological structure and of the 
characters of rocks on scenery,^ and instanced the fourth volume of 
Modem Painters as a work that ** might be read with advantage by 
many geologists.*^^ Ruskin, it should be remembered, was here also^ 
as in much else of his work, somewhat of a pioneer. Professor Alphonse 
Favre^s study of the Savoy mountains* did not appear till 1867, and 
Ptofessor Heim^s Mechanismus der GebirgMldung (on which Lord Ave* 
bury^s Scenery qf Switzerland^ 1896, is founded) not till 1878. 

Here, as in some other subjects of inquiry, Ruskin^s study was not 
specialised and systematic; but in this case it was sustained and never 
absent from his mind. Many passages from his diaries, already cited. 

> Vol. V. p. Ivii.^ and see below^ p. 486. 

* See p. 128, author's note of 1885. 

* Postseript to chapter L of In MctUibus Sanctis^ reprinted in a later Tolume of 
this edition. 

« Ufe (fBuMn, 1900^ p. 205. 

» Annoal Addrsas hy the President, William Whitaker, F.R.S., May 1900;. 
Quarterijf Jaumai qftke Chological Society, voL 66, po. lx.-lxi. 

* For some reftrences hy Ruakin to this work^ tee his Introduction to W. G, 
CoUingwood's Lmestone Alps qfSavoif, 



textual revisions are all enu- 
trice Lectiones (pp. xxix.-xxxi.). 
»ry notes occur in chapters 

attached particular import- 
ers in this volume to be, as 
)f all his writings. He here 
[uettion ** should be read to 
Auction to geological study.*"' 
llowed so attractive a guide; 
ftl theory, Ruskin^s chapters 
e which attach to the direct 
'Precisely the same faculties 

elsewhere,' ^^in the analysis 
luskin, as Mr. CoUingwood 
n most geologists, and more 
2*9 classification of rocks into 
ted, it may be remarked, by 
kritxerkmd (1868) ; in quoting 

he truly describes it as ^* a 
be without.^ In an obituary 
he Geological Society referred 
nee in directing the attention 
>logical structure and of the 
anced the fourth volume or 

be read with advantage by 
I remembered, was here also^ 
pioneer. Professor Alphonse 
id not appear till 1867, and 
^rildung (on which Lord Ave* 
led) not till 1878. 
uiry, Ruskin^s study was not^ 
e it was sustained and never 
om his diaries, already cited. 

tU, reprinted in a latsr volume o£ 

a Whitaker, F.R.S., May 1900^ 

p. Ix.-lzi. 

k^ tee his Introduction to W. 6^ 

show how constant was his interest in geology,^ f 
added that the diaries, to which he referred in 
volume, contain innumerable memoranda, calculc 
sketches.' He was also, as in later volumes v 
occasion to remark, a great collector of mineralo 
hammer was as inseparable a companion of his 
the note-book and the paint-box. There is h 
diaries in Switzerland which does not contain, eac 
mens collected. 

Ruskin'^s geological speculations are noticed ii 
a later volume in which his papers on geolog; 
collected. Here, however, it should be observed 1 
chapters contain some theoretical remarks to whi< 
to attach particular importance — as, for instano 
regard to tiie stability of existing rock structure ( 
respects they show adherence, in some measure, t 
he afterwards very emphatically controverted. Th 
with regard to the erosive power both of water a 
author'^s notes on pp. 116, 122, 127. 

The manuscripts of this volume to which 
access are those now in the possession of Mr. Pier] 
in that of Mr. G. Allen). They consist of (1) 
with several chapters of volume iii. (see Vol. 
draft of the following chapters : ch. xvii., §§ 39 
ch. i. §§ 2 to end ; ch. iii. ; ch. iv. ; ch. v. ; cl 
§§ 8 to end; ch. v.; ch. iv. §§ 2-4; ch. v. g 1- 
here enumerated in the order in which the A 
up, and the reader will observe that some porti< 
enumeration thus illustrates the extensive procea 
arranging which the book went through. (2) ( 
the MS. at a later stage of chs. i., vi.-xii., i 
notated proofs of chs. iii., iv., v.; portions 
ch. xiii.-xix. (with some omissions^ and the i 
draft contains a good deal of matter which wai 
the author included a portion of a discarded ( 
(see below, p. 479), in which also he explains h 

1 See^ for instance^ Vol. V. p. xxviii. 
* Some of his numerous geological drawings were shoi 
at Manchester^ 1004. 




«i L««c«f X 

1^ ^M^lWr t(^ TflWWW *^ 

|m««9Mttii of wfaftt be calk 
of tfce old tower of Cskii 

P"8^ to 




ta» V^ XIL f. zuL 


which reference has aheady been made.^ The following was the first 
draft of § 8 :— 

" The hurge neglect, the noble onsightliness of it ; the decay and record 
of its years written so visibly upon it^ yet without danger, sign of weak- 
nessy or decay; the stem, meagre massiveness and quiet gloom of its 
poverty; gnawed away by the channel winds, and overgrown with the 
black and bitter sea grasses ; stripped of all comeliness as if by a blight ; 
its slates and tiles all shaken and rent, and yet not falling; its brickwork 
full of bolts and holes and grisly fissures, and yet stable like a bare 
brown rock; its stripped barrenness and desertness; its utter carelessness 
of what regards it or thinks of it in passing by; putting forth no claim 
upon us; having no beauty, nor desirableness, nor pride, nor grace, and 
yet asking for no pity, neither; it is not like ruins, pensive, piteous, feebly 
or fondly garrulous of its better days and yet useless; but useful still, 
going through its own daily work, as some old fisherman beaten grey by 
storm, yet drawing his daily net; so it stands with no memory of its 
youth, nor sweetness, tenderness of age, complaint of its past nor woful- 
ness; but in blanched and meagre massiveness and serviceableness, gather- 
ing souls together beneath it ; the sound of its bells for prayer still rolling 
through its rents ; and the grey peak of it seen far across the sea, principal 
of the three that rise above the waste of surfy sand and hiUocked shore — 
the lighthouse, for Life and Death; and the Hall belfry, for Labour and 
Rest; and this Church Tower, for Praise/' 

The passage went through many intermediate shapes before its final 
form was arrived at; but comparing this first form, with the last, 
the reader will note how the author omitted superfluous words, pared 
down alliterations, and knit the sounds together into closer harmony 
with the sense. Mr. Frederic Harrison, in a careful analysis of Ruskin^s 
literary technique, has observed how much the author relies upon 
asaonance for his effect ; meaning by assonance, as distinct from allitera- 
tion, ^Hhe recurrence of the same, or of cognate sounds, not merely 
in Uie first letter of words, but where the stress comes, in any part 
of a word, and that in sounds whether vowel or consonant.^' The 
passage just given is dted in illustration, and it is interesting to note 
that, while some of the efleets in question — as, for instance, the ex- 
pressive phrase **the sound . . . rolling through its rents ^ — were 
written down at once, otliers were obtained after many retouchings — 

1 Vol. V. p. 

* ''Raskin as Master of Prose," in Tetm^ion, BuMn, MiO^ mid Uker LUemrjf 
E»HmtUe$f 1899, p. 62. 


as, for inntiince, in the Imtt words, with the triple alliteration, the 
second of them being inverted (^beUry for fa&our^). To such analysis 
as this — most instructive to the student, and similar to that which 
the critic himself applied to Turnery's compositions — ^Ruskin woaM per- 
haps have remarked, in the words which, as he mentions, were used 
by Tennyson when some one pointed out to the poet various laws 
dedudble from his versification: **It^s all true; I do observe thenif 
but I never knew iV*^ 

Another passage in this volume is cited by the same critic tor its 
majestic efiect as a whole, and for its incidental felicities — ^the acooont 
of the peasants of the Vahds, in the chapter on ^The Mountain 
Gloom "" (ch. xix. I 4, pp. S8S-889, below). Here, again, the first dimft 
will repay careful comparison with the final version in the text:— - 

" They Imam noi the name of beauty nor of knowledge. They kaom dimly 
that of virtue. Love^ pstienoe, hospitality, tnUk, fiuth, — ^these things they 
know JO far as they cam, he Imonm. To glean their meadows side by side, wo 
happier ; to bear the hiUer /wii ami burden up the breathless mountain skU, 
witkoiU murmuring; to bid the stranger drink from their vessel of milk; lo 
look dmfy forward ; to see at the foot of their low death-beds the form of 
a pale figure upon a cross, dying patiently ae they ; all tku separates them horn 
the catUe and the stones ; of all this they are capable; but in all this un- 
rewarded as far as concerns this present life. For them there Ib neither hope 
nor action of spirit; for them no progress or joy. Hard roof, dark night, 
laborious day, thirst, weary arms at sunset; these are their Itfe, No books, 
no thoughts, no change of passion. Only sometimes a day of rest and a little 
sitting in the sun under the church wall as the bell tolls thin and far in 
the mountain air ; a pattering of a few prayers, not understood, tn the dark 
chapel ; an evening spent by the more sober in a vague act of adoration, and so 
back to the sombre home, with the cloud upon them still unbroken — a 
strange doud of rocky gloom, heavy and hopeless, bom out of the wild torre n t s 
and shapeless stones, and unlightened, even in their religion, except by the 
hope of some better thing unknown, mingled with threatening, and obscured 
by an unspeakable horror, — a feverish scent as it were of marfyrdom and torture 
mingled with the incense, a perpetual memory of shattered bodies and warped wills, 
and lamenting spirits and hurtling flames — ^the very cross, for them, bedragged 
more deeply with gouts of blood than for others." 

The words here printed in italics were either omitted, altered, or 
transposed in the ultimate text; and if the reader will compare the 

1 See VoL XII. p. SCO. 


latter with this early draft, he will perceive how much the total effect 
was enhanced, and how many of the felicities by the way were intro- 
duced, during the author^s revision. Some of th ese t he onomatopoeic 
line, for instance, ''as the bell tolls thin and far in the mountain 
air^ — ^were thought of at once; but observe how difierent and more 
simple is the effect of ** to bear the burden up the mountain flank, un- 
murmuringly,^ than in the first version; or note how the closing 
words — ^*the very cross, for th^n, dashed more deeply than for others, 
with gouts of blood ^ — ^have gained by a simple transposition, and the 
alteration of the word ^ bedragged.^ Ruskin spared no labour, to assist 
his mastery of language and intuitive sense for melody; it is one of 
the purposes of the notes in this edition to illustrate his labour ; but no 
less do they illustrate the fact that the style was the man, that his 
words came from the heart, that what some imagine to be mere literary 
artifice was the expression of acute and sympathetic observation.^ 

Two factimiieM of Ruskin^s MS. (in its final form) are given in this 
volume. The first (pp. lSO-121) is from ch. viL § 4 ; the second (pp. 
296-S97) from ch. xvi. § 2S; the latter b here included as having 
appeared in the supplement (October 1898) of Hhutraiions to the BtNiO' 
graphy qf the Writings in Prose and Verse qf John Ruskin^ LLJ).^ 
edited by T. J. Wise. 

The Uhuirations prepared by Ruskin for this volume were especially 
numerous and important. They consisted of thirty-five engraved plates, 
and 116 woodcuts. A list of the woodcuts is for the first time given 
in this edition. Here, more than in any previous volume, illustra- 
tions and text were, in many chapters, inter-dependent ^All my 
half-volume,^ he says in ch. xviii. (§ 88X ^i* abstracted^ in two draw- 
ings by Turner, which he included in his illustrations. He refers to 
the ** Goldau,^ and more especially to the ^ Pass of Faido,^' from which 
the frontispiece, among other illustrations, was engraved. So much 
in the volume turns upon this drawing, that it may be useful here to 
describe its history in relation to Ruskin^s many and varied studies in 
it. Tumer^s first sketch of the scene was made in 184S; it is now 
among the sketches lent by the Trustees of the National Gallery to 
the Ruskin Drawing School at Oxford (see Vol. XIII.). The drawing 
from it was executed in 1848 as a commission from Ruskin (see Epilogue 
to Ruskin^s Notes on his Drawings by Turner in the same volume). 

^ Compsre Raskin's Prefiice to OoeU Enarrani, YmHow, p. 486. 
* See, in this eonnexion^ ch. zrii. S 43^ pp. 36^-366. 


Ruskin wms full of admiration for it, and one of hit principal purposea 
in his Continental journey in 1845, was to find the toene depicted by 
the artist. (See Introduction to Vol. IV. pp. zxiv. n., zxv., xzxir.). He 
spent some days at Faido, sketching the spot and noting the processes of 
selection and invention followed by Turner (see Introduction to Vol. V. 
pp. xvi., xvii.). One of Ruskin^s sketches of the actual scene was shown 
hi the Ruskin Exhibition at Manchester in 1904 (No. 150). In 1862, 
on his way back from Venice, Ruskin again visited the scene (Vol. X« 
p. xlii.). And now observe the quantity of study which, founded on 
these personal observations, he put into his analysis of Tumer^s drawing. 
He had sketched the spot. From these sketches he etched a topo- 
graphical outline (Plate SO in this volume, between pp. S4 and 36). 
He made ^*a careful translation into black and white ^ of the left-hand 
upper part of Tumer^s drawing ; this was also exhibited at Manchester 
(No. 146, upper drawing)L He etched the same portion foir this volume 
(Plate 87, opposite p. S69, ** Crests of the Slaty Crystallines^. Again, 
be traced tiie leading lines in this portion of the drawing (Fig. 70, 
p. S7S). He made a reduced outline of the whole drawing, exhibited 
at Manchester (No. 146, lower drawing), and etched it (Plate 81, between 
pp. 84 and 85). finally, he copied the central portion of the drawing 
to be engraved as the frontispiece to this volume (**The Gates of the 
Hills'*^); Ruskin^s drawing for this engraving was also exhibited* at 
Manchester (No. 151).^ 

The reader should note, in view of frequent references to the 
drawing in Ruskin^s books, that it is sometimes called **^rhe Grates 
of the HiUs,"* sometimes *'The Pass of Faido,"" but more often ''The 
St. Gothard.^ The detailed study given to this drawing is very 
characteristic of him. What he preached, he had practised. ^ Foolish 
and ambitious persons,^ he says, ''think they can form their judgment 
by seeing much art of all kinds. ... To have well studied one picture 
by Tintoret, one by Luini, one by Angelico, and a couple of Tumer^s 
drawings, will teach a man more than to have catalogued all the 
galleries of Europe.^' 

The labour in preparing so many illustrations as this volume con- 
tained was, as wiU readily be understood, very great. But there was 
mudi more of it than appears on the surfieice. It was only bRbt 

^ Ruskin also commissioned Mr. Arthur SeTom to make a copy of Tomer's dfmw- 
ing (Manchester Exhibition, No. 147), ''made under the dirsetion of Mr. Ruskin, who 
paid the artist a hundred ^ineas for it, and declared when the original and the copy 
were placed tofrether that he should never know them apart" 

> Noie9 an kii Dramn§9 by Tumtr, 17t19 r. (VoL XIIL). 


experiments in another kind that Ruskin decided to go to the iaoqienae 
of so many steelrplates. This appears from a note by Mr. Allen which 
was printed in the Bibliography (li. 88), abore referred to:—- 

'* I recollect in 1858 Mr. Ruskin asking me to dispose of a large nmnber 
<tf plain wood blocks for which he no longer had any use ; at the same time 
telling me that he had obtained them for Modem Pamiers, intending to 
illustrate that work mainly by 'woodcuts. He also gave me some blocks 
drawn upon by himself, which I have to this day. One of these was the 
subject of Pkte SI, vol. iv.^ '' The Aiguille Bhdti^re " from the same pomt 
of view." 1 

Having once decided on steel-engravings, Ruskin spared no trouble 
and expense in making them as perfect as possible. Some remarks by 
Mr. J. H. Le Eeux, the engraver of many of the best plates, illustrate 
this point: — 

" Mr. Ruskin never fixed a price ; I charged what I liked ; he never com- 
plained — ^in fact, offered more. One Plate, 'The Tree Stump of Claude/ 
he said I had made too good, having put in too much touch. I promised 
to alter it. On my next visit I took him another proof which is the Plate 
printed. He asked me how I had altered it so welL I told him I had 
not altered the Plate, but had engraved another, as it was much less trouble 
than scraping out and altering. 'Then charge me for both plates,' was 
his request. I did so. Mr. Ruskin was especially pleased with ' The Moat of 
Nuremberg/ The tree stem of Albert Diirer, reproduced line for line in 
the Plate of tree stems, he thought a marvel." ' 

In the present edition it has been necessary, owing to the size of 
the page, to reduce most of the original plates by photogravure; the 
scale of reduction is about one-fourth. The following plates are, how- 
ever, printed from the originals: — Nos. 20, ^, 28, 40, 41, and 48. 

The figures are printed from the original wood-blocks, with the 
exception of F%g. 17 (p. 193), which has been necessarily reduced to 
fit the page. 

Two additional plates are introduced, being photogravures from 
drawings by Ruskin, which illustrate the chapter on ^^The Mountain 

^ These blocks, drmwn on by Raskin, were exhibited at Manchester in 1904 
(Nos. 528-634) ; they were never cut 

> Agmin from the BibHcgrapky, ii. 34. ''The Tree Stamp of Claude" is Plate 4 
in voL iii. ('' I^°^>fication according to Claude"); the ''Moat of Nuremberg" is 
Plate 76 in vol. v. ; the "tree stem of DQrer," Fig. 9 in Plate 2 in toI. iii. 


Plate A ii of one of the old bridges — the Kapellbriieke — ^at Looeme 
(see p. 894). The drawings which is in water colours (7|xll^), is 
at Oxford (Educational Series, No. 116). 

Plate B is from a drawing in the collection of Sir John Simon, 

K.C.B. ; called by Ruskin ** Mountain Gloom : near St Jean de Maurienne, 

on the Cenis route.^ Hie drawing is in wash and body-colour on buff 

paper (18x18). 

E. T. C. 

Note, — Enumeration is here made of the separate editions 
of Modem Pointers, voL ir. For the bibliography of the complete work^ and 
of selections from it, see Vol. III. pp. lTiii.-lziii. 

Firei Ediiien (1866>.~'rhe title-page was as follows :— 

Modem Painters. | Volame IV. 
Beauty. | By John Rnsldn^ M.A. 

Containing | Part V. | of Mountain 
Author of '' The Stones of Venice," 
''The Seren Lamps of Architecture/' etc., etc | [Quotvthn from Words- 
worth, as in vols, i^ iL^ and ilL] | London : | Smith, Elder, A Co., 66, 
ComhilL | 185a | [The Author reeervee the right qf translation.] 

Imperial 8to, pp. ziL+411. The Prefiiee occupied pp. v.-viii. ; Contents, 
pp. ix., X. ; list of Plates, pp. zL, xii. ; Text, pp. 1-893 ; Appendix, 886-411. 
The imprint at the foot of the last page, and of the reverse of the half-title, 
te ''London : Printed by Spottiswoode A Co., New Street Square." Issued 
on April 14, 1856, in green ornamental doth boards, uniform with voL iii. 
Price, 50s. 

Second Edition (1868).~This was an exact reprint of the First, except for 
the alteration of the date, and the addition of the words " Second Edition 
on the title-page. It was issued on April 2, 1868. 

No other editions of the volume were issued separately. "Edition 3 
below means the first edition of the volume in the complete book (1873). 



Varim Leetionee, — This volume was not, as a whole, revised for the press 
by the author after its first appearance ; but portions of it were revised for 
and reprinted in In Montibue Sanctis and CoeH EnarraiU (see above, p. xix.). 
The following is a list of all the variations. Alterations consequent on 
different pagination are not included, except where something more than the 
mere number of a page is affected. 

List 0/ Plates. Called "list of Plates to VoL IV." in previous editions. 
The list here (pp. xi.-xiii. ) is modelled on the list as published in the first edition. 
In some of the earlier copies of ed. 1, Plate 47 was wrongly numbered " 49." 
In ed. 3, Plate 31, "Bhutiere" was misprinted "BlaUere," and No. 36 was 
mteprinted " 63." In the 1888 edition, Plate 12a was re-engraved by Mr. 
George Allen, and 49 by Mr. C. A. Tomkins ; the list was altered accord- 
ingly. In the smaU complete edition the list was reprinted from that in the 
1888 edition, the words " Reproduced from engravings by" being substituted 
for " engraved by." The list of woodcuts is added in this edition. 

Prtfaee, § 4, line 6, page 226, "at the first line" is an alteration in this 

edition to suit the rearrangement of the text; in the original editions 




page 184 at the fourth line from the bottom " ; wliich words were retained 
in the small oomplete edition^ though the reference was then erroneous. 

0%. i. § 11, line 11, eds. 1 and 2 read 'MUnme" for ''iUnmine" ; § 13, 
line 18, ed. 3 omits ''not" before ''utterly injurious"; S 17, line 22, 
"juvenile tricks" here put in inverted commas as marked by Ruskin in 
his copy. 

Oh, iv. § 1, line 11, "referring" heie substituted, as marked by Ruskin in 
his copy, for "but with reference" ; § 3, line 8, "their" before " blue" here 
omitted, for the same reason ; § 4, line 24, "a quarter" here substituted 
for "half,'' for the same reason; § 7, line 1, ed. 3 omits "not" before 
"this only." 

Oh. V. §g 10, 20, ed. 3reads "Fig. 4" for "Fig. 6," and vieeverwd. 

Oft. e<. § 2, line 5, see p. 106 n. ; $ 8, line9, see p. Ill «. 

CA. vti. § 0, line 7, the new paragra^ here, and the '^(1.)" (as below 
"(IL)" and "(III.,)" 8§ B, 9), are introduced from the l e ris e d reprint in In 
ManHbus BanetU; so in §7, line 2, the italicising of "surfiMo"; and in the 
Bible quotation at the end of the chapter, the substitution of "jtuHee** for 
" righte<mme99 " (this latter correction was made also in 1888 and in the small 
complete edition). 

Ch. vHu g 1, line 18, ed. 3 reads "is" lor ''it" ; § 2, line 7, eds. 1-3 
read " if he has any opportunity," altered to " when there is opportunity " in 
In ManiOnu Sanctis; § 3, kst line but one, the word "distributive" here 
added in accordance with Ruskin's copy for revision ; § 4, lines 20 and 21, 
eds. 1-3 read " a different shade of colour, and a different character of form " ; 
the alteration in the text here was made also in 1888, and in the small com- 
plete edition, following In MontUnu Sanetk ; § 4, end (see author's note of 1886, 
p. 131) ; § 6, line 10, the words " though all of one kind " are here transposed 
from after "each other," as marked by Ruskin in his copy for revision; 
line 14 (see p. 132 ».); § 8, line 1, "aU these orders of substance" here 
substituted for " all these substances," in accordance with In MantUnu SanctU; 
so also in line 4, the italicising of " flint ;" § 13, kst sentences (see p. 138 n.); 
§ 14, line 48, the italicising of " pure dark blue" here introduced in accord- 
ance with Ruskin's revision in the proof for In MoniUmt SandU; § 15, 
author's note (see p. 141 «.) ; § 18, Hne 19, the words " among them " are here 
added from Ruskin's revi^en in the proof for In Moniibu* StmetU, 

Ok. «t. g 3, line 19, eda. 1-3 read "coteau," and kter editions "coteau," 
for " coteauz." 

Ch. sH. g 5, line 30, "human" before "dust" here added from Raskin's 
copy for revision. 

C9L jriU. g 1, hMt line but two, "Lime" for "Lyme" in aU previous 
editions ; g 17, line 14, the word "opposite" is in this edition omitted after 
" Pig. 24" 

Oh. wk), g 4, second line fit>m bottom of page, see p. 218 »• ; g IS, line 6, 
^¥ig. 36 (on the next page)" is an alteration in this edition (owing to re- 
amngement) for *^ the above igura." 

Ch, 09. g 3, line 2, all previous editions esad " in mountain " ; a misprint 
(as the M8. shows) for "^ the mountain" ; g 28, line 11, "on p. 270" is 
an alteration in this edition for " over lea£" 

Ch. xvi. g 7, line 3, "next" is an alteration in this edition for "opposite" ; 
g 14, line 10, the reference to "e" in Fig. 33 was wrongly given as "<" in 
the 1888 and small complete edition ; g 19, line 18, the words "is seen" <iB all 


preTioot editions) are here omitted from before '' tluui^" as marked by Raskin 
in his copy for revision ; § 37> line 17, the word ''(jconjpf^r)'* was misplaced 
in previous editions between ''and" and ''lanrel"; § 37, last word, smaU 
complete edition misprinted ''Veritas" for "Veritatis"; § 30, line 13, see 
p. 314 n. 

Ch, MvH, § 3, line 2, all previous editions have " chapters " for " chapter " ; 
§ 11, author's note, eds. 1 and 2 read "Fig. 05" for "Fig. 06" ; § 40, line 0, 
" observed " here substituted for '' known," in accordance with Ruskin's copy 
for revision ; and similarly, two lines lower, the words " but one" added. 

C%. six, § 1, line 10, "seek " substituted for "acknowledge" in accordance 
with Ruskin's copy for revision ; § 3, line 5, " Valorsine " in previous editions ; 
§ 4, line 27, " dying also, patiently," in previous editions is here corrected 
to "dying, also patiently" as in Frondes Agrutes; S 6, line 8, "lay down" 
is here altered to "give" in accordance with Ruskin's copy for revision ; so 
also the dashes before and after " poetically minded " are removed^ and a 
dash inserted before "that nightly" ; g 6, note, " but well chosen'' altered 
to "and consistent," again in accordance with Ruskin's copy for revision; 
§ 31, towards the end of the penultimate paragraph^ he altered " its . . . 
it . . . its" to "their . . . them . . . their" ; § 32, six lines from end, 
he altered " biding " to " abiding." 

Ch. XX. § 13, Une 3, this is altered in accordance with Ruskin's revision ; 
hitherto "... exciting the poetical and inventive foculties, in peculiarly 
solemn tones of mind" ; § 17, line 3, 1873, ed. 3 reads "Bergham" ; § 20^ 
line 13, "Lances" in aU previous editions for " Launces." 

Appendix li. § 5, line 17, see p. 481 n. 

The headlines in this edition have been altered in order to fit the page 
and preserve uniformity in the edition. In previous editions the headlines on 
leftrhand pages were the subjects of the chapters, and these were repeated on 
the right-hand pages in chs. i-iiL, vL, vii.^ xix. and xx. In the other chapters, 
the full title ran across the two psgee ; thus, ch. iv. had on the left-hand pages 
" Of Tumerian Mystery/' and on the right-hand pages " I. As Essential " ; 
ch. xiv. had similarly "Resulting Forms," "I. Aiguilles^'' and so on 





1. I WAS in 'hopes that this volume might have gone its 
way without pre£Btce; but as I look over the sheets, I find 
in them various fallings short of old purposes which require 
a wordjof explanation. 

Of which shortcomings, the chief is the want of reference 
to the landscape of the Poussins and Salvator ; my original 
intention having been to give various examples of their 
mountain-drawing, that it might be compared with Turner's. 
But the ten years intervening between the cmnmencement 
of this work and its continuation have taught nie» among 
other things, that Life is shorter and less availably divisible 
than I had supposed: and I think now that its hours may 
be better employed than in making facsimiles of bad work. 
It would have required the greatest care, and prolonged 
labour, to give uncaricatured representations of Salvator's 
paintmg, or of any other work depending on the free 
dashes of the brush, so as neither to mend nor mar it Per- 
haps in the next volume I may give one or two examples 
associated with vegetation;^ but in general, I shall be 
content with directing the reader's attention to the facts 
in nature, and in Turner; leaving him to carry out for 
himself whatever comparisons he may judge expedient. 

2. I am afraid, also, that disappointment may be felt at 
not finding plates of more complete subject illustrating 
these chapters on mountain beauty. But the analysis into 

1 rSee in that volume Figs. 41, 67, 62 ; pt vi. cb. vi. §§ 10, 12 ; ch. viii §§ 7, 
9, 11.1 


.' . 

• • 


■ • 

whiDh I had to enter required the dissection of drawings, 
litlier than their complete presentation; while, also, on 
the scale of any readable page, no effective presentation 
• of laige drawings could be given. Even my vignette, 
. the frontispiece to the third volume, is partly spoiled by 
having too little white paper about it; and the fiftieth 
plate, from Turner's Gk>ldau, necessarily omits, owing to 
its reduction, half the refinements of the for^^round. It 
is quite waste of time and cost to reduce Turner's draw- 
ings at all; and I therefore consider these volumes only 
as giiides to them, hoping hereafter to illustrate some of 
the best on their own scale.^ 

8. Several of the plates appear, in their present position, 
nearly unnecessary; 14 and 15, for instance, in Vol. III. 
These are illustrations of the chapters on the Firmament 
in the fifth volume; but I should have had the plates dis- 
proportionately crowded at last, if I had put all that it 
needed in that volume; and as these two bear somewhat 
on various matters spoken of in the third, I placed them 
where they are first alluded to. The frt)ntispiece ' has chief 
reference to the same chapters ; but seemed, in its three 
divisions, properly introductory to our whole subject. It 
is a simple sketch from nature, taken at sunset from the 
hills near Como, some two miles up the eastern side of 
the lake, and about a thousand feet above it, looking 
towards Lugano. The sky is a little too heavy for the 
advantage of the landscape below; but I am not answer- 
able for the sky. It was there* 

* Persons unacquainted with hill scenery are apt to forget that the sky 
of the mountains is often close to the spectator. A black thundercloud may 
literally be dashing itself in his &ce, while the blue hills seen through its 
rents may be thirty miles away. Generally speaking, we do not enough 
understand the nearness of many clouds, even in level countries, as compared 
with the land horizon. See also the close of § 12 in Chap. in. of this volaiiie* 

1 [For a note on this scheme of Ruskin's, nee Vol. V. p. 9.] 

' [f.0., to ToL iii. ; for the frontispiece to the present volume^ see below, p. 366.] 


4. In the multitudiiiaus leltorii^ md feibvencea of thia 
Tohime thefe may possibly be (me or two awkwwd wimta ; ^ 
but not so many as to make it neceaaary to dday the 
▼olmne while I look it ovw a^pun in search of thrao. The 
reader wiU perhaps be kind enough to note at once that in 
page 926» at the first line of the text, the worda ^^graera) 
truth ** rdier to the anfi^e-measurmAMits, not to the diajgrama ; 
which latter are given merely for reflnrenee» and mi^t oauae 
some embarrassment if the statement of measured accuracy 
were supposed to refer to them. 

One or two graver miaapprehenaiona I had it in my mind 
to warn the reader against; but on the whole, aa I have 
honestly tried to make the book intelUgible, I believe it 
will be found intelligible by any one who thinks it worth 
a careful reading; and every day convinces me more and 
more that no waminga can preserve ftom miaunderatanding, 
those who have no desire to understand, 

Denmark Hiix, March IHffH. 

> [The editon hmve dineoTered only thrM mlfltolcM of tbo kiu4: mo boiow, 
pp. 218 tL, 314 n., 481 n.] 





horses;^ Claude reducing the delicate towers and walls to 
unintelligible ruin, the well-built bridge to a rugged stone 
one, the handsome rider to a weary traveller, and the per- 
fectly drawn leafage to confusion of copse wood or forest.* 

How far he was right in doing this; or how far the 
modems are right in carrying the principle to greater excess, 
and seeking always for poverty-stricken rusticity or pensive 
ruin, we must now endeavour to ascertain. 

The essence of picturesque character has been already 
defined t to be a sublimity not inherent in the nature of 
the thing, but caused by something external to it; as the 
ruggedness of a cottage roof possesses something of a 
mountain aspect, not belonging to the cottage as such. 
And this sublimity may be either in mere external rugged- 
ness, and other visible character, or it may lie deeper, in an 
expression of sorrow and old age, attributes which are both 
sublime; not a dominant expression, but one mingled with 

'*'' Ghirlandajo is seen to the greatest poMdble disadvantage in this plate, 
as I have been forced again to copy from Lasinio, who leaves out all the 
light and shade, and vulgarises every form ; but the points requiring notice 
here are sufficiently shown, and I will do Ghirlandajo more justice hereafter.* 

t Seven Lamps of Archiiechire, chap. vL § IS. [Vol. VIII. p. 236.] 

^ [In the first draft, this plate and passage were intended for toL ilL eh. xviiL § 27. 
After mentioning at that place Claude's reversion to Ghirlandajo's tjrpes, the MS. 
continaes : — 

" , . . tyf9^ of form ; and taking whatever he [Ghirlandajo] had done 
childishly enough to fit Claude's capacity away from all the associations 
which gave it value, drees it up in his newly invented sunshine, and palm 
it upon the public for his own. Yet so it venly is. Compare the two hrts of 
landscape in the opposite plate. The upper one is Ghirlandajo's, out of the 
hacteound of his fblank not filled inj ; the other, part of this landscape 
of Moses and the Burning Bush of which we have been ipeaking, out of 
Claude's liber Veritatis. Now observe : Ghirlandajo had really gone to 
nature for most of his materials ; bis city is Pisa, with its leaning tower ; 
the mountains beyond are bold and not ill-formed, and the leafiige above 
quite well drawn and perfect. But Claude, borrowing this passage, denatural- 
ises Pisa, and turns it into one of bis impossible cities, made of nothing but 
round towers, lowers the mountains, turns the grand and simple lea&ge 
above into ignoble and indistinct trees, but has not wit enough to invent 
another figure, only shifts the horseman and his guide off the bridge to the 
river shore, and puts ill-built and ridiculous arches of stone for Ghirlandajo's 
The Ghirlandajo is from his fresco (in the Church of Santa Triniti, Florence) of 
"St Francis receiving the Stigmata" ; the engraving was published in 1824.] 

' [For Lasinio, see Modem Painters, voL iii. ch. zviii. S 13 (Vol. V. p. 396) ; no 
further iUustration from Ghirlandiyo was given ; Ruskin alludes to the want of good 
eugravings from him and other Italian masters in the Cestui qfAgiaia, § 46.] 

IH . Tlie TrH.nflitiuii lioiu (Ihirlmidajo to ("laufle 

• • 

• * • 



V •.. 


Ch.i of the TURNERIAN picturesque 11 

8uch familiar and common characters as prevent the object 
from becoming perfectly pathetic in its sorrow, or perfM^tly 
venerable in its age. 

§ 2. For instance, 1 cannot find words to express the 
intense pleasure I have always in first finding myself, after 
some prolonged stay in England, at the foot of the old 
tower of Calais church/ The large neglect, the noble un- 
sigfatliness of it ; the record of its years written so visibly, 
yet without sign of weakness or decay; its stem wasteness 
and gloom, eaten away by the Channel winds, and over- 
grown with the bitter sea grasses; its slates and tiles all 
shaken and rent, and yet not falling; its desert of brick- 
work full of bolts, and holes, and ugly fissures, and yet 
strong, like a bare brown rock ; its carelessness of what any 
one thinks or feels about it, putting forth no claim, having 
no beauty or desirableness, pride, nor grace; yet neither 
asking for pity ; not, as ruins are, useless and piteous, feebly 
or fondly garrulous of better days; but useful still, going 
through its own daily work, — ^as some old fisherman beaten 
grey by storm, yet drawing his daily nets : so it stands, with 
no complaint about its past youth, in blanched and meagre 
massiveness and serviceableness, gathering human souls to- 
gether underneath it; the sound of its beUs for prayer still 
rolling through its rents; and the grey peak of it seen far 
across the sea, principal of the three that rise above the 
waste of surfy sand and hillocked shore, — ^the lighthouse for 
life, and the belfry for labour, and this for patience and 

§ 8. I cannot tell the half of the strange pleasures and 
thoughts that come about me at the sight of that old 
tower; for, in some sort, it is the epitome of all that 
makes the Continent of Europe interesting, as opposed to 
new countries; and, above all, it completely expresses that 
agedness in the midst of active life which binds the old 
and the new into harmony. We, in England, have our 

> [With this pagsage compare Notes on Prout and Hunt (Prout, No. 2, and aee 
abore, Introduction, p. xxiiL)! The passage i^m ''The essence of picturesque 
character " (p. 10) to the end or § «3 was printed as Appendix ii. to the Notet on Pfwti 
and Hunt,] 


new street, our new inn, our green shaven lawn, and our 
piece of ruin emergent from it, — a mere specimen of the 
Middle Ages put on a bit of velvet carpet to be shown, 
which, but for its size, might as well be on a museum 
shelf at once, under cover. But, on the Continent, the 
links are unbroken between the past and present, and, in 
such use as they can serve for, the grey-headed wrecks are 
suffered to stay with men ; while, in unbroken line, the 
generations of spared buildings are seen succeeding each 
in its place. And thus in its largeness, in its permitted 
evidence of slow decline, in its poverty, in its absence of 
all pretence, of all show and care for outside aspect, that 
Calais tower has an infinite of sjnnbolism in it, all the more 
striking because usually seen in contrast with English scenes 
expressive of feelings the exact reverse of these.^ 

§ 4. And I am sorry to say that the opposition is most 
distinct in that noble carelessness as to what people think 
of it' Once, on coming from the Continent, almost the 
first inscripticm I saw in my native English was this: 

"To Let^ a Oenteel House, up this road." 

And it struck me forcibly, for I had not come across the 
idea of gentility, among the upper limestones of the Alps, 
for seven months; nor do I think that the Continental 
nations in general have the idea. They would have ad- 
vertised a "pretty** house, or a "large" cme, or a "con- 
venient** one; but they could not, by any use of the 
terms afforded by their several languages, have got at the 
English "genteeL" Consider, a little, all the meanness that 
there is in that epithet, and then see, when next you cross 
the Channel, how scornful of it that Calais spire will look. 
§ 5. Of which spire the largeness and age are also 

^ r§$ 2 mnd 3 are § 20 in J V w i i fif Agruiei (1876), whero, at this point, Raddn 
led uie following note : — 

" My mend won't write out the revene ! Our book it to be aU jellj, and 
no powder, it seems ! Well, I'm verr thankfbl she likes the jelly ; — at 
rate, it makes me sure that U is weu made." 

anv rate^ 
'* My friend " was the compiler of Fr9nde$ Agruiei, Miss Susan Beerer.l 

* [For the first notes of the following passage, see the extract from Rnskin's 
diary giren in the Introductimi to VoL V. p. zzxt.J 

oli of the turnerian picturesque is 

f ] • I I >^ ;. t 

exactly to the chief i^pemnnces of modem En^aiid^ 
as one feels than on first retumii^ to it ; that marvdioiis 
smaUness both of houses and scaiery, so that a ploiiighmaii 
in the vaUey has his head on a level with the tops of all 
the hills in the ndghbouriiood ; and a house is organiied 
into complete establishmoit, — parlour, kitchen, and all, with 
a knocker to its docur, and a garret window to its roof, and a 
bow to its second story,* on a scale of 18 feet wide by 15 
high, so that three sudi at least would go into the granary 
of an ordinary Swiss cottage : and also our serenity of per- 
fection, our peace of conceit, everything being done that 
vulgar minds can conceive as wanting to be d<Hie; the sjarit 
of well-principled housemaids everywhere, exerting itself 
for perpetual propriety and renovation, so that nothing is 
cdd, but only ** old-feshioned,** and contemporary, as it were, 
in date and impressiveness only with last year's bonnets. 
Abroad, a building of the eighth or tenth century stands 
ruinous in the open street; the children play round it, the 
peasants heap their com in it, the buildings of yesterday 
nestle about it, and fit their new stones into its rents, and 
tremble in sympathy as it trembles. No one wonders at 
it, or thinks of it as separate, and of another time; we feel 
the ancient world to be a real thing, and one with the 
new: antiquity is no dream; it is rather tlie children play- 
ing about the old stones that are the dream. But all is 
continuous ; and the words, '^ firom generation to genera- 
tion," understandable there. Whereas here we have a living 
present, consisting merely of what is ^' fashionable " and '* old- 
feshioned " ; and a past, of which there are no vestiges ; a 
past which peasant or citizen can no more conceive ; all 
equally far away ; Queen Elizabeth as old as Queen Boadicea, 
and both incredible. At Verona we look out of Can Grande's 
window to his tomb;^ and if he does not stand beside us. 

* The principal street of Canterbury has some curious examples of this 

1 rSo in Verona and Us Rivers, § 18, Raskin speaks of " side by side, the presence 
chambers of tiie living and the dead " ; and compare in Seven Lamps, the last words 
of the chapter on ''The Lamp of Memory/' Vol. VIII. p. 247.] 


we feel only that he is in the grave instead of the chamber, 
— ^not that he is old^ but that he mi^t have been beside 
us last night But in England the dead are dead to pur- 
pose. One cannot believe they ever were alive, or anything 
else than what they are now — ^names in school-books. 

% 6. Then that spirit of trinmess. The smooth paving 
stones ; the scraped, hard, even, rutless roads ; the neat 
gates and plates, and essence of border and order, and 
spikiness and spruceness/ Abroad, a country-house has some 
confession of human weakness and human fates about it. 
There are the old grand gates stiU, which the mob pressed 
sore against at the Revolution, and the strained hinges have 
never gone so well since; and the broken greyhound on 
the pillar — still broken — better so: but the long avenue is 
gracdCuUy pale with fresh green, and the courtyard bright 
with orange-trees; the garden is a little run to waste — 
since Mademoiselle was married nobody cares much about 
it; and one range of apartments is shut up — ^nobody goes 
into them since Madame died. But with us, let who will 
be married or die, we neglect nothing. All is polished and 
precise again next morning; and whether people are happy 
or miserable, poor or prosperous, still we sweep the stairs of 
a Saturday."^ 

§ 7. Now, I have insisted long on this English character, 
because I want the reader to understand thoroughly the 
opposite element of the noble picturesque: its expression, 
namely, of sufferings of pofoerty^ or decays nobly endured 
by unpretending strength of heart Nor only unpretend- 
ing, but unconscious. If there be visible pensiveness in 
the building, as in a ruined abbey, it becomes, or claims 

* ThiSj however, is of coarse true only of insignificant duties, neces- 
sary, for appearance' sake. Serious duties, necessary for kindness' sake, 
mast be pennitted in any domestic affliction, under pain of shocking the 
English public 

^ [With this psBssge maV be oomoared the deseriptioa of a typical Cathedral Close 
in Tks Stonet qf Vei&, vol. ii. (Vol X p. 78). In oue of his copies of the volume 
Rusldn here retes on the suhfect of neatness to the next volume, pL ix. ch. viL $ 21.] 



to become, beautiful; but the picturesqueness is in the un- 
ccmscious sufTering, — the look that an old labourer has, not 
knowing that there is anything pathetic in his grey hair, 
and withered arms, and sunburnt breast; and thus there 
are the two extremes, the consciousness of pathos in the 
confessed ruin, which may or may not be beautiful, accord- 
ing to the kind of it; and the entire denial of all human 
calamity and care, in the swept proprieties and neatnesses 
of English modernism : and, between these, there is the un- 
conscious confession of the facts of distress and decay, in 
by-words ; the world's hard work being gone through all the 
while, and no pity asked for, nor contempt feared. And 
this is the expression of that Calais spire, and of all pic- 
turesque things, in so far as they have mental or human 
expression at all. 

§ 8. I say, in so £ar as they have mental expression, 
because their merely outward delightfidness — that which 
makes them pleasant in painting, or, in the literal sense, 
picturesque — ^is thdr actual variety of colour and form. A 
broken stone has necessarily more various forms in it than 
a whole one; a bent roof has more various curves in it 
than a straight one; every excrescence or cleft involves 
some additional complexity of li^t and shade, and every 
stain of moss on eaves or wall adds to the deli^tfulness 
of colour. Hence, in a completely picturesque object, as 
an old cottage or mill, there are introduced, by various 
circumstances not essential to it, but, on the whole, g^ie- 
rally somewhat detrimental to it as cottage or mill, such 
elements of sublimity — complex light and shade, varied 
colour, undulatory form, and so on — as can generally be 
found only in noble natural objects, woods, rocks, or moun- 
tains. This sublimity, belonging in a parasitical manner to 
the building, renders it, in the usual sense of the word, 
" picturesque." 

§ 9. Now, if this outward sublimity be sought for by the 
painter, without any regard for the real natiure of the thing, 
and without any comprehension of the pathos of charactar 


hidden beneath, it forms the low school of the sur£ftoe- 
picturesque; that which fills ordinary drawing-books and 
scrap-books, and employs, perhaps, the most popular living 
landscape painters of France, England, and Germany. But 
if these same outward characters be sought for in subordina- 
tion to the inner character of the object, every source of 
pleasurableness being refused which is incompatible with 
that, while perfect sjrmpathy is felt at the same time with 
the object as to all that it tells of itself in those sorrow- 
ful by-words, we have the school of true or noble pictur- 
esque; still distinguished from the school of pure beauty 
and sublimity, because, in its subjects, the pathos and 
sublimity are sOl by the way, as in Calais old spire, — not 
inherent, as in a lovely tree or mountain; while it is dis- 
tinguished still more from the schools of the lower pictur- 
esque by its tender sympathy, and its refusal of all sources 
of pleasure inconsistent with the perfect nature of the thing 
to be studied. 

§ 10. The reader will only be convinced of the broad 
scope of this law by carefril thought, and comparison of 
picture with picture ; but a single example will make the 
principle of it clear to him. 

On the whole, the first master of the lower picturesque, 
among our living artists, is Clarkson Stanfield ; his range of 
art being, indeed, limited by his pursuit of this character. 
I take, therefore, a windmill, forming the principal subject 
in his drawing of Brittany near Dol (engraved in the Coast 
Scenery), Fig. 1, Plate 19, and beside it I place a windmill, 
which forms also the principal subject in Turner's study of 
the Lock, in the Liber Studiorum.^ At first sight I dare 
say the reader may like Stanfield's best ; and there is, indeed, 
a great deal more in it to attract liking. Its roof is nearly 
as interesting in its ruggedness as a piece of the stony 
peak of a mountain, with a ch&let built on its side; and it 

^ [SUn^iekrs OoaH Scenery, a Seviet ^ View in the British Ckannei, 1838. The 
'' Coast of BrittAny " ig at p. 26. Torner'B '' Windmill and liock ' was No. 27 in the 
lAber; the mill is said to have been taken from one which formerly existed at Hanwell^ 
not fiir from the site of the present Lunatic Asylum .] 


is exquisitely varied in swell and curve. Turner's roof^ on 
the contrary, is a plain, ugly gable, — a windmill roof, and 
nothing more. Stanfield's sails are twisted into most effec- 
tive wrecks, as beautiful as pine bridges over Alpine streams ; 
only they do not look as if they had ever been serviceable 
windmill sails; they are bent about in cross and awkward 
ways, as if they were warped or cramped ; and their timbers 
look heavier than necessary. Turner's sails have no beauty 
about them like that of Alpine bridges; but they have the 
exact switchy sway of the sail that is always straining against 
the wind ; and the timbers form clearly the lightest possible 
framework for the canvas, — thus showing the essence of 
windmill saiL Then the clay wall of Stanfield's mill is as 
beautiful as a piece of chalk difi^, all worn into furrows by 
the rain, coated with mosses, and rooted to the ground by 
a heap of crumbled stone, embroidered with grass and creep- 
ing plants. But this is not a serviceable state for a wind- 
mill to be in. The essence of a windmill, as distinguished 
from all other mills, is, that it should turn round, and be 
a spinning thing, ready alwajrs to face the wind; as light, 
therefore, as possible, and as vibratory; so that it is in no 
wise good for it to approximate itself to the nature of 
chalk cliffs. 

Now observe how completely Turner has chosen his mill 
so as to mark this great fact of windmill nature ; how high 
he has set it; how slenderly he has supported it; how he 
has built it all of wood ; how he has bent the lower planks 
so as to give the idea of the building lapping over the pivot 
on which it rests inside; and how, finally, he has insisted 
on the great leverage of the beam behind it, while Stanfield's 
lever looks more like a prop than a thing to turn the roof 
with. And he has done all this fearlessly, though none of 
these elements of form are pleasant ones in themselves, but 
tend, on the whole, to give a somewhat mean and spider- 
like look to the principal feature in his picture; and then, 
finally, because he could not get the windmill dissected, and 
show us the real heart and centre of the whole, behold, he 

VI. B 


has put a pair of old millstones,^ hfi'^ outside^ at the bottom 
of it. These — ^the first cause and motive of all the fabric — 
laid at its foundation; and beside them the cart which is 
to fulfil the end of the fabric's being, and take home the 
sacks of flour. 

§ 11. So far of what each painter chooses to draw. But 
do not fail also to consider the spirit in which it is drawn. 
Observe, that though all this ruin has befallen Stanfield's 
mill, Stanfield is not in the least sorry for it. On the 
contrary, he is delighted, and evidently thinks it the most 
fortunate thing possible. The owner is ruined, doubtless^ 
or dead; but his mill forms an admirable object in our 
view of Brittany. So £eu: from being grieved about it, we 
will make it our principal light ; — ^if it were a fruit-tree in 
spring-blossom, instead of a desolate mill, we could not 
make it whiter or brighter; we illumine our whole picture 
with it, and exult over its every rent as a special treasure 
and possession. 

Not so Turner. His mill is still serviceable; but, for 
all that, he feels somewhat pensive about it. It is a poor 
property, and evidently the owner of it has enough to do 
to get his own bread out from between its stones. More- 
over, there is a dim type of all melancholy human labour 
in it,— catching the free winds, and setting them to turn 
grindstones. It is poor work for the winds; better, indeed, 
than drowning sailors or tearing down forests, but not 
their proper work of marshalling the clouds, and bearing 
the wholesome rains to the place where they are ordered 
to fall, and fanning the flowers and leaves when they are 
front with heat. Turning round a couple of stones, for 
the mere pulverization of human food, is not noble work 
for the winds. So, also, of all low labour to which one 
sets human souls. It is better than no labour; and, in 
a still higher degree, better than destructive wandering of 
imagination; but yet that grinding in the darkness, for 

^ rin one of his own copies, Raskin here notes ''Compare Deuteronomy xxiv. 6" 
— " No man shaU take tiie nether or tiie npper millstone to pledge."] 

Ch.I of the TURNERIAN picturesque 19 

mere food's sake, must be melancholy work enough for 
many a living creature. All men have felt it so; and 
this grinding at the mill, whether it be breeze or soul 
that is set to it, we cannot much rejoice in. Turner has 
no joy of his milL It shall be dark against the sky, yet 
proud, and on the hill-top; not ashamed of its labour, 
and brightened from beyond, the golden clouds stooping 
over it, and the calm summer sun going down behind, far 
away, to his rest. 

§ 12. Now in all this observe how the higher condition 
of art (for I suppose the reader will feel, with me, that 
Tiuner is the highest) depends upon largeness of sympathy. 
It is mainly because the one painter has communion of 
heart with his subject, and the other only casts his eyes 
upon it feelinglessly, that the work of the one is greater 
than that of the other. And, as we think farther over 
the matter, we shall see that this is indeed the eminent 
cause of the difference between the lower picturesque and 
the higher. For, in a certain sdnse, the lower picturesque 
ideal is eminently a heartless one; the lover of it seems to 
go forth into the world in a temper as merciless as its 
rocks. All other men feel some regret at the sight of 
disorder and ruin. He alone delights in both; it matters 
not of what. Fallen cottage — desolate villa — deserted 
village — blasted heath — mouldering castle — ^to him, so that 
they do but show jagged angles of stone and timber, all 
are sights equally joyfiil. Poverty, and darkness, and guilt, 
bring in their several contributions to his treasury of plea- 
sant thoughts. The shattered window, opening into black 
and ghastly rents of wall, the foul rag or straw wisp stop- 
ping them, the dangerous roof, decrepit floor and stair, 
ragged misery, or wasting age of the inhabitants, — all these 
conduce, each in due measure, to the fulness of his satis- 
faction. What is it to him that the old man has passed 
his seventy years in helpless darkness and untaught waste 
of soul ? The old man has at last accomplished his destiny, 
and filled the comer of a sketch, where something of an 


unshapely nature was wanting. What is it to him that 
the people fester in that feverish misery in the low quarter 
of the town, by the river ? Nay, it is much to him. What 
else were they made for ? what could they have done better ? 
The black timbers, and the green water, and the soaking 
wrecks of boats, and the torn renmants of clothes hung out 
to dry in the sun ; — ^truly the fever-struck* creatures, whose 
lives have been given for the production of these materials 
of effect, have not died in vain.* 

§ 18. Yet, for all this, I do not say the lover of the 
lower picturesque is a monster in human form. He is by 
no means this, though truly we might at first think so, 
if we came across him unawares, and had not met with 
any such sort of person before. Grenerally speaking, he is 

* I extract from my private diary a passage bearing somewhat on the 
matter in hand:^ — 

''Amiens, llM May, 18 — . I had a happy walk here this aftenuNm 
down among the branching currents of the Somme; it divides into five 
or siXj — shallow, green, and not over-wholesome; some quite narrow and 
foul, running beneath clusters of fearful houses, reeling masses of rotten 
timber; and a few mere stumps of pollard willow sticking out of the banks 
of soft mud, only retained in shape of bank by being shored up with timbers ; 
and boats like paper boats, nearly as thin at least, for the costermongers to 
paddle about in among the weeds, the water soaking through the lath bottoms, 
and floating the dead leaves from the vegetable-baskets with which they were 
loaded. Miserable little back yards, opening to the water, with steep stone 
steps down to it, and little platforms for the ducks ; and separate duck stair- 
cases, composed of a sloping board with cross bits of wood leading to the 
ducks' doors ; and sometimes a flower-pot or two on them, or even a flower, — 
one group, of wallflowers and geraniums, curiously vivid, being seen against 
the darkness of a dyer's back yard, who had been dyeing black all day, and 
all was black in his yard but the flowers, and they fiery and pure ; the water 
by no means so, but still working its way steadily over the weeds, until it 
narrowed into a current strong enough to turn two or three mill-wheels, one 
working against the side of an old flamboyant Grothic church, whose richly 
traceried buttresses sloped into the filthy stream ; — all exquisitely picturesque, 
and no less miserable. We delight in seeing the figures in these boats pusldng 
them about the bits of blue water, in Front's drawings ; but as I looked to^y 
at the unhealthy &ce and melancholy mien of the man in the boat pushing his 
load of peats along the ditch, and of the people, men as well as women, who 
sat spinning gloomily at the cottage doors, I could not help feeling how many 
suffering persons must pay for my picturesque subject and happy walk." 

^ rXha paisags is in Ruskin's diary of 1864, though it is somewhat altersd for use 

ChI of the TURNERIAN picturesque 31 

kind-hearted, innocent of evil, but not broad in thought; 
somewhat selfish, and incapable of acute sympathy with 
others ; gifted at the same time with strong artistic in- 
stincts and capacities for the enjoyment of varied form, 
and light, and shade, in pursuit of which enjoyment his 
life is passed, as the lives of other men are for the most 
part, in the pursuit of what they also like, — be it honour, 
or money, or indolent pleasure, — very irrespective of the 
poor people living by the stagnant canaL^ And, in some 
sort, the hunter of the picturesque is better than many 
of these ; inasmuch as he is simple-minded and capable of 
unostentatious and economical delights, which, if not very 
helpful to other people, are at all events not utterly in- 
jurious, even to the victims or subjects of his picturesque 
fancies; while to many others his work is entertaining and 
usefuL And, more than all this, even that delight which 
he seems to take in misery is not altogether unvirtuous. 
Through all his enjoyment there runs a certain under- 
current of tragical passion, — a real vein of human sym- 
pathy; — it lies at the root of all those strange morbid 
hauntings of his; a sad excitement, such as other people 
feel at a tragedy, only less in degree, just enough, indeed, 
to give a deeper tone to his pleasure, and to make him 
choose for his subject the broken stones of a cottage wall 
rather than of a roadside bank, the picturesque beauty of 
form in each being supposed precisely the same : and, 
together with this slight tragical feeling, there is also a 
humble and romantic sympathy ; a vague desire, in his 
own mind, to live in cotti^fcs rather than in palaces ; a 
joy in humble things, a contentment and delight in make- 
shifts, a secret persuasion (in many respects a true one) 
that there is in these ruined cottages a happiness often 
quite as great as in kings' palaces, and a virtue and near- 
ness to Gk>d infinitely greater and holier than can commonly 
be found in any otiier kind of place; so that the misery 

^ (The pumge '^And, in some sort, ..." to the end of § 13 was printed as 
Appendix in. to NhUm on ProiU and Hunt.] 


in which he exults is not, as he sees it, misery, but noble- 
ness, — ** poor and sick in body, and beloved by the (Jods.** * 
And thus, being nowise sure that these things can be 
mended at all, and very sure that he knows not how to 
mend them, and also that the strange pleasure he feels in 
them must have some good reason in the nature of things, 
he yields to his destiny, enjoys his dark canal without 
scruple, and mourns over every improvement in the town, 
and every movement made by its sanitary commissioners, 
as a miser would over a planned robbery of his chest; in 
all this being not only innocent, but even respectable and 
admirable, compared with the kind of person who has no 
pleasure in sights of this kind, but only in fair fa9ades, 
trim gardens, and park palings, and who would thrust all 
poverty and misery out of his way, collecting it into back 
alleys, or sweeping it finally out of the world, so that the 
street might give wider play for his chariot-wheels, and 
the breeze less offence to his nobility. 

§ 14. Therefore, even the love for the lower picturesque 
ought to be cultivated with care, wherever it exists: not 
with any special view to artistic, but to merely humane, 
education. It will never really or seriously interfere with 
practical benevolence; on the contrary, it will constantly 
lead, if associated with other benevolent principles, to a 
truer sympathy with the poor, and better understanding of 
the right ways of helping them; and, in the present stage 
of civilization, it is tiie most important element of char- 
acter, not directly moral, which can be cultivated in youth ; 
since it is mainly for the want of this feeling that we 
destroy so many ancient monuments, in order to erect 
** handsome" sti^ets and shops instead, which might just 
as well have been erected elsewhere, and whose effect on 

* Epitaph on Epictetus.^ 

> [In the MS. Ruskin gives the epitaph in the Greek— ^wm' drdnypot ml vei^cV *!>« 
«U ^Q<m dtfardroiff. The epitaph M unknown authorship) is in the Greek Anthology, 
yiL 676. The first line is AoOXot '£Wm7rot yhoiAinif koX (r&/A\ etc. *lpot is the heggar of 
the OdyMey (zviii. 26). Ruskin came across the epitaph in the Idler ; see a letter re- 
printed in Arrawi qfthe Chaee, 1880, ii. 144, and in a later yolnme of this edition.] 

ChI of the TURNERIAN picturesque 28 

our minds, so fieur as they have any, is to increase every 
disposition to frivolity, expense, and display. 

These, and such other considerations not directly con- 
nected with our subject, I shall, perhaps, be able to press 
farther at the close of my work;^ meantime, we return 
to the immediate question, of the distinction between the 
lower and higher picturesqiie, and the artists who pursue 

§ 15. It is evident, from what has been advanced, that 
there is no definite bar of separation between the two; but 
that the dignity of the picturesque increases from lower to 
higher, in exact proportion to the sjrmpathy of the artist 
with his subject. And in like manner, his own greatness 
depends (other things being equal) on the extent of this 
sympathy. If he rest content with narrow enjoyment of 
outward forms, and light sensation of luxurious tragedy, 
and so goes on multiplying his sketches of mere picturesque 
material, he necess£urily settles down into the ordinary 
** clever" artist, very good and respectable, maintaining 
himself by his sketching and painting in an honourable 
way, as by any other daily business, and in due time pass- 
ing away from the world without having, on the whole, 
done much for it. Such has been the necessary, not very 
lamentable, destiny of a large number of men in these days, 
whose gifts urged them to the practice of art, but who 
possessing no breadth of mind, nor having met with masters 
capable of concentrating what gifts they had towards nobler 
use, almost perforce remained in their small picturesque 
circle; getting more and more narrowed in range of sym- 
pathy as they fell more and more into the habit of con- 
templating the one particular class of subjects that pleased 
them, and recomposing them by rules of art. 

I need not give instances of this class, we have very 
few painters who belong to any other; I only pause for 
a moment to excqpt from it a man too often confounded 
with the draughtsmen of the lower picturesque; — a very 

^ [See in the mzt rolttiiie^ pL is. ^ xi. (g 16 to end, and cb. xii.] 


great man, who, though partly by chance, and partly by 
choice, Umited m range of subject, possessed for that sub- 
ject the profoundest and noblest sympathy, — Samuel Prout. 
His renderings of the character of old buildings, such as 
that spire of Calais, are as perfect and as heartfelt as I 
can conceive possible;^ nor do I suppose that any one 
else will ever hereafter equal them.* His early works 
show that he possessed a grasp of mind which could have 
entered into ahnost any kind of landscape subject; that it 
was only chance — I do not know if altogether evil chance 
— which fettered him to stones; and that in reality he 
is to be numbered among the true masters of the nobler 

* I believe when a thinf^ is once well (kme in this world, it never can be 
done over again. 

1 [See .Voter an PrmU and Hunt. No. 1.] 

* [In Ruskin's diary of 1854 there it an earlier draft of portions of this chapter, 
and in the course of it a farther illustration of Front's pictaresqueness : — 

" In one of the nombers of Front's Rhine, oublished long mgo hy Aekev- 
man, there is a plate of ' St Onen, Strasshoorg. It represents two common 
German honseSi with a few crossed timbers in the wall of one, beside some 
stagnant water, with a half-ruined church behind. I name it, in prefoenee 
to anv other of Front's works, because it contains absolutely no point of 
gracenil interest ; there is no ornament about the houses, none but a Hsw 
rude crosses and some arcades of the rudest pointed arches in the churoli. 
And yet there is some strance charm in it, which commended it to the 
artist, and recommends it stiU to thousands of minds besides. The plaoe 
is ugly, poor, unhealthy. Doubtless those houses are not fit to be lived in ; 
that water is not fit to wash in ; the nets which are being hung beside the 
cottage door are too ragged to catch fish; the church is utteny unfit for 
church service, if not actually dangerous. And jet it has its chann in all 
that visible stagnancy and foulness of the pool, in the tottering timbers of 
the shed under which the women are washing ; in their own rude figures and 
awkward arms and gestures, in every scar of bare brick on the plastered 
wall, in the various choking of windows with wooden bar, or shattered 
glass, or fluttering doth, fading plant, or pure blackness of darkness ; bnt 
chiefly of all in tnat mossy, wasted weariness of ungainly tower, pierced 
with saunt scafblding holes, and rent through and through Vy zigzag seams ; 
nakea to all the winds: bound together with old iron bars and cranks, 
gnawed awav at its angles by frost and rain, stained with dark rust and 
moss, and silver grey of years ; blocked up with moulding planks ; in aU 
ways unregarded, uurevered, unhelped in its old age, — in all this, and 
chiefly where it is saddest, there is some strange foscination which many 
a spectator would not exchange for all the order and freshness which m 
most zealous sanitary commissioners or pious churchwardens could give 
either to household or to church. 

^' How is this? Are we inhuman monsters? Is it the venom of that old 
delight in ugliness, decay, and death which has infocted us ? Was Samuel 
Front (forgive me, kind and happy ^irit, as I write) — was Samuel Front 

ChI of the TURNERIAN picturesque 25 

§ 16. Of these, also, the ranks rise in worthiness, ac- 
cording to their sympathy. In the noblest of them that 
sympathy seems quite unlimited ; they enter with their 
whole heart into all nature ; their love of grace and beauty 
keeps them from delighting too much in shattered stones 
and stunted trees, their kindness and compassion from 
dwelling by choice on any kind of misery, their perfect 
humility from avoiding simplicity of subject when it comes 
in their way, and their grasp of the highest thoughts from 
seeking a lower sublimity in cottage walls and penthouse 
roofs. And, whether it be home of English village thatched 
with straw and walled with day, or of Italian city vaulted 
with gold and roofed with marble; whether it be stagnant 
stream under ragged willow, or glancing fountain between 
arcades of laurel, all to them will bring equal power of 
happiness, and equal field for thought. 

§ 17. Turner is the only artist who hitherto has frir- 
nished the entire type of this perfection. The attainment 
of it in all respects is, of course, impossible to man; but 
the complete type of such a mind has once been seen in 
hhn, and, I thmk, existed also in Tintoret; though, as far 
as I know, Tintoret has not left any work which indicates 
sympathy with the humour of the world. Paul Veronese, 
on the other hand, had sympathy with its hiunour, but 
not with its deepest tragedy or horror. Rubens wants the 
feeling for grace and mystery. And so, as we pass through 
the list of great painters, we shall find in each of them 
some local narrowness. Now, I do not, of course, mean to 
say that Turner has accomplished all to which his sympathy 
prompted him; necessarily, the very breadth of effort in- 
volve, in some directions, manifest failure ; but he has 

a species of gbonl^ feeding in waste places, and drawing all his delight from 
wretchedness, sacrilege and pain ? Or was he right in loving these scenes ; 
are they as they ought ever to be? Is it rather the churchwardens and 
sanitary commissioners who are the enemies of mankind, and ought all 
churches to be desecrated, and all cottages in disrepair? 

'' Neither the one supposition nor the other can be entertained. The 
£ucination which we feel in this scene is all founded on true virtues, healtb- 
fulnesses, dignities in it ; not upon its dwohtioo/'] 


inviolable. But then, some people see only things that 
exist, and others see things that do not exist, or do not 
exist apparently. And if they really see these non-apparent 
things, they are quite right to draw them ; the only harm 
is when people try to draw non-apparent things, who don^t 
see them, but think they can calculate or compose into 
existence what is to them for evermore invisible. If some 
people really see angels where others see only empty space, 
let them paint the angels; only let not anybody else think 
he can paint an angel too, on any calculated principles of 
the angeUc. ^ 

§ 8. If, therefore, when wiTgo to a pkce, we see nothing 
else than is there, we are to paint nothing else, and tx> 
remain pure topographical or historical landscape painters. 
If, going to the place, we see something quite different 
from what is there, then we are to paint that — nay, we 
mtLst paint that, whether we wiU or not; it being, for us, 
the only reality we can get at But let us beware of 
pretending to see this unreality if we do not. 

The simple observance of this rule would put an end 
to nearly all disputes, and keep a large number of men in 
healthy work who now totally waste their lives; so that 
the most important question that an artist can possibly 
have to determine for himself, is whether he has invention 
or not. And this he can ascertain with ease. If visions of 
unreal things present themselves to him with or without 
his own will, prajring to be painted, quite ungovernable 
in their coming or going, — ^neither to be sununoned if they 
do not choose to come, nor banished if they do, — ^he has 
invention. If, on the contrary, he only sees the conmionly 
visible facts; and, should he not like them, and want to 
alter them, finds that he must think of a rule whereby to 
do so, he has no invention. Ail the rules in the world 
wiU do him no good; and if he tries to draw anything 
else than those materially visible facts, he wiU pass his 
whole life in uselessness, and produce nothing but scientific 


§ 4. Let him take his part at once, boldly, and be con- 
tent. Pure history and pure topography are most precious 
things; in many cases more use^ to the human race than 
high imaginative work; and assuredly it is intended that 
a large majority of all who are employed in art should 
never aim at anything higher. It is ordy vanity, never 
love, nor any other noble feeling, which prompts men to 
desert then- all^iance to the simple truth, in vain pursuit 
of the imaginative truth which has been appointed to be 
for evermore sealed to them. 

Nor let it be supposed that artists who possess minor 
d^frees of imaginative gift need be embarrassed by the 
doubtful sense of their own powers. In general, when the 
imagination is at all noble, it is irresistible, and therefore 
those who can at all resist it (mgkt to resist it. Be a 
plain topographer if you possibly can ; if Nature meant you 
to be anything else, she will force you to it; but never 
try to be a prophet; go on quietly with yoiur hard camp- 
work, and the spirit will come to you in the camp, as it 
did to Eldad and Medad,^ if you are appointed to have it; 
but try above all things to be quickly ^rceptive of the 
noble spirit in others, and to discern in an instant between 
its true utterance and the diseased mimicries of it. In a 
general way, remember it is a far better thing to find out 
other great men, than to become one yourself: for you can 
but become one at best, but you may bring others to light 
in niunbers. 

§ 5. We have, therefore, to inquire what kind of changes 
these are, which must be wrought by the imaginative painter 
on landscape, and by whom they have been thus nobly 
wrought. First, for the better comfort of the non-imagi- 
native painter, be it observed, that it is not possible to 
find a landscape, which if painted precisely as it is, will 
not make an impressive picture. No one knows, till he 
has tried, what strange beauty and subtle composition is 

^ [Numben xi. 26, 27.] 


sentiment. As for its being easy, those only think so who 
never tried it ; composition being, in fact, infinitely easier to 
a man who can compose, than imitation of this high kind 
to even the most able imitator; nor would it exclude senti- 
ment, for, however sincerely we may try to paint all we 
see, this cannot^ as often aforesaid,^ be ever done ; all that is 
possible is a certain selection, and more or less wilful asser- 
tion, of one fact in preference to another; which selection 
ought always to be made under the influence of sentiment. 
Nor wiU such topography involve an entire submission to 
ugly accidents interfering with the impressiveness of the 
scene. I hope, as art is better imderstood, that our painters 
will get into the habit of accompanying all their woiks with 
a written statement of their own reasons for painting thenu 
and the circumstances under which they were done; and if 
in this written document they state the omissions they have 
made, they may make as many as they think proper. For 
instance, it is not possible now to obtain a view of the head 
of the Lake of Geneva without including the *'H6tel 
Biron " — an establishment looking like a large cotton fiictory 
— -just above the Castle of Chillon. This building oug^ 
always to be omitted, and the reason for the omission 
stated. So the beauty of the whole town of Lucerne, as 
seen from the lake, is destroyed by the large new hotel for 
the English,^ which ought, in like manner, to be ignored, 
and the houses behind it drawn as if it were transparent. 

§ 8. But if a painter has inventive power he is to treat 
his subject in a totally different way ; giving not the actual 
facts of it, but the impression it made on his mind. 

And now, once for all, let it be clearly understood, that 
an ''impression on the mind" does not mean a piece of 
manufacture. The way in which most artists proceed to 
** invent," as they call it, a picture, is this : they choose 
their subject, for the most part well, with a sufficient 
quantity of towers, mountains, ruined cottages, and other 

1 [See, for instance. Modem Painiers, vol. iii. cb. x. § 3 (VoL V. ^ 172).] 
' [See also below, cb. zx. § 41, p. 4/S6 n.] 


materials, to be generally interesting; then they fix (m 
some object for a prindpttl light; bdiind this they put a 
dark cloud, or, in front of it, a dark piece of foreground; 
then they repeat this light somewhere else in a less degree, 
and connect the two lights together by some intermediate 
ones. If they find any part of the foreground uninterest- 
ing, they put a group of figures into it; if any part of 
the distance, they put something there from some other 
sketch ; and proceed to inferior detail in the same manner, 
taking care diways to put white stones near black ones, 
and purple colours near yellow ones, and angular forms 
near round ones; — all this being, as simply a matter of 
recipe and practice as cookery ; like that, not by any means 
a thing easUy done well, but still having no reference what- 
ever to ''impressions on the mind." 

§ 9. But the artist who has real invention sets to work 
in a totally different way. First, he receives a true im- 
pression from the place itself, and takes care to keep hold 
of that as his chidT good; indeed, he needs no care in the 
matter, for the distinction of his mind from that of others 
consists in his instantly receiving such sensations strongly, 
and being unable to lose them; and then he sets liimself 
as &r as possible to reproduce that impression on the 
mind of the spectator of his picture. 

Now, observe, this impression on the mind never results 
from the mere piece of scenery which can be included 
within the limits of the picture. It depends on the temper 
into which the mind has been brought, both by all the 
landscape round, and by what has been seen previously in 
the course of the day; so that no particular spot upon 
which the painter's glimce may at any moment fall, is then 
to him what, if seen by itseJf, it will be to the spectator 
far away; nor is it what it would be, even to that spec- 
tator, if he had come to the reality through the steps which 
Nature has appointed to be the preparation for it, instead 
of seeing it isokted on an exhibition waU. For mstance, 
on the descent of the St. Gothard, towards Italy, just 

VI. c 


after passing through the narrow gorge above Faido^ the 
road emerges into a little breadth of valley, which is 
entirely filled by fiallen stones and debris, partly disgorged 
by the Ticino as it leaps out of the narrower chasm, and 
partly brought down by winter avalanches fix)m a loose and 
decomposing mass of moimtain on the left. Beyond this 
first promontory is seen a considerably higher range, but 
not an imposing one, which rises above the village of Faido. 
The etching,^ Plate 20, is a topographical outline of the 
scene, with the actual blocks of rock which happened to 
be Ijring in the bed of the Ticino at the spot from which 
I chose to draw it. The masses of loose debris (which, 
for any pemianent purpose, I had no need to dntw, as 
their arrangement changes at every flood) I have not drawn, 
but only those featiu^ of the landscape which happen to 
be of some continual importance. Of which note, first, 
that the little three-windowed building on the left is the 
remnant of a gaUery built to protect the road which onoe 
went on that side, firom the avalanches and stones th«t 
come down the ** couloir"* in the rock above. It is only 
a ruin, the greater part having been by said avalandies 
swept away, and the old road, of which a remnant is also 
seen on the extreme left, abandoned and carried now along 
the hill side on the right, partly sustained cm rough sUme 
arches, and winding down, as seen in the sketch, to a weak 
woodai bridge, wUch enables it to recover its old track 
past the gaUery. It seems formerly (but since the destruc- 
tion of the ^dlery) to have gone about a mile farther 
down the river on the right bank, and then to have been 
carried across by a longer wooden Imdge, of which only 
the two hutments are seen in the sketch, the rest having 

* ''Couloir" is a good untranslatable Savoyard word, for a place down 
which stones and water fidl in storms; it is perhaps deserving of naturali- 

^ [For another refereooe to the etching see below, p. 364.] 

• •••• 



• •• 

• • 







been swept away by the Ticino, and the new bridge erected 
near the spectator.^ 

§ 10. There is nothing in this scene, taken by itself^ 
particularly interesting or impressive. The mountains are 
not elevated, nor particularly fine in form, and the heaps 
of stones which encumber the Ticino present nothing 
notable to the ordinary eye. But, in reality, the place is 
Approached through one of the narrowest and most sublime 
ravines in the Alps, and after the traveller during the early 
part of the day has been familiarized with the aspect of the 
highest peaks of the Mont St. Gothard. Hence it speaks 
quite another language to him from that in which it would 
address itself to an imprepared spectator: the ccmfused 
stones, which by themselves would be almost without any 
claim upon his thoughts, become exponents of the fury of 
the river by which he has journeyed all day long; the 
defile beyond, not in itself narrow or terrible, is regarded 
nevertheless with awe, because it is imagined to resemble 
the gorge that had just been traversed above; and, al- 
though no very elevated mountains immediately overhang 
it, the scene is felt to belong to, and arise in its essential 
characters out of, the strength of those mightier mountains 
in the unseen north. 

§ 11. Any topographical delineation of the facts, there- 
fore, must be wholly incapable of arousing in the mind 
of the beholder those sensations which would be caused 
by the fsLcts themselves, seen in their natural relations to 
others. And the aim of the great inventive landscape 
painter must be to give the far higher and deeper truth ci 
mental vision, rather than that of the physical facts, and 
to reach a representation which, though it may be totally 
useless to engineers or geographers, and, when tried by rule 
and measure, totally imlike the place, shall yet be capaUe 
of producing on the far-away bc^lder's mind precisely the 
impressicm which the reality would have |»oduced, and 

> [Raskin made hit itudies here in 1845 : tee the Introduction to Vol V. p. ztL] 


putting his heart into the same state in which it would 
have been, had he verily descended into the valley firom 
the goiges of Airolo. 

§ 12. Now observe; if in his attempt to do this the 
artist does not imderstand the sacredness of the truth of 
Impressionf and supposes that, once quitting hold of his 
first thought, he may by Philosophy compose something 
prettier than he saw and mightier than he felt, it is all 
over with him. Every such attempt at composition will be 
utterly abortive, and end in something that is neither true 
nor fanciful; something geographically useless, and Intel* 
lectuaUy absurd. 

But if, holding fast his first thought, he finds other ideas 
insensibly gathering to it, and, whether he wiU or not, 
modifying it into something which is not so much the 
image of the place itself, as the spirit of the place, let him 
yield to such fSmcies, and follow them wherever they lead. 
For, though error on this side is very rare among us in 
these days, it is possible to check these finer thoughts by 
mathematical accuracies, so as materially to impair the 
imaginative faculty. I shall be able to explain this better 
after we have traced the actual operation of Turner's mind 
on the scene under discussion. 

§ 18. Turner was always fix>m his youth fond of stones 
(we shall see presently why).^ Whether large or small, 
loose or embedded, hewn into cubes or worn into boulders, 
he loved them as much as William Hunt loves pineapples 
and plumsi So tliat this great htter of fallen stones, which 
to any one else would have been simply disagreeable, was 
to Turner much the same as if the whole valley had been 
filled with plums and pineapples, and delighted him exceed* 
ingly, much more than even the gorge of Daado Grande 
just above. But tliat gorge had its effect upon him also^ 
and was still not well out of his head when the diligence 
j$topped at the bottom of the hill, just at that turn of the 

1 [See bdow, ch. zriiL § 12, p. 374.] 


road on the right of the bridge; which favourable oppor- 
tunity Turner seized to make what he called a ''memo- 
randum" of the place, composed of a few pencil scratches 
on a bit of thin paper, that would roll up with others of 
the sort and go into his pocket afterwards. These pencU 
scratches he put a few blots of colour upon (I suppose at 
Bellinzona the same evening, certainly not upon the spot), 
and showed me this blotted sketch when he came home. 
I asked him to make me a drawing of it, which he did, and 
casually told me afterwards (a rare thing for him to do) 
that he liked the drawing he had made. Of this drawing 
I have etched a reduced outline in Plate 21.^ 

§ 14. In which, primarily, observe that the whole place 
is altered in scale, and brought up to the general majesty 
of the higher forms of the Alps. It will be seen that, in 
my topographical sketch, there are a few trees rooted in the 
rock on this side of the gallery, showing, by comparison, 
that it is not above four or five hundred feet high. These 
trees Turner cuts away, and gives the rock a height of 
about a thousand feet, so as to imply more power and 
danger in the avalanche coming down the couloir. 

Next, he raises, in a still greater degree, all the moun- 
tains beyond, putting three or four ranges instead of one, 
but uniting them into a single massy bank at their base, 
which he makes overhang the valley, and thus reduces it 
nearly to such a chasm as that which he had just passed 
through above, so as to unite the expression of this ravine 
with that of the stony valley. The few trees, in the hollow 
of the glen, he feels to be contrary in spirit to the stones, 
and fells them, as he did the others; so also he feels the 

^ rranier^s ori^nal sketch is now in the Rotldn Drawing School at Oxford (on 
loan mm the National Gallery) ; it is described in Roskin's Catalogue ^ the Turner 
8keUhe$ in the National Gallery, 1867 (No. 40). The drawing made from the sketch 
was among those which were most treasored in Raskin's collection (see the Epilogue 
to his Notee an hie Drawinge by Turner). ''That litter of stones which I endeayoimd 
to represent," was the artisf a deaerivtaUm of it to Raskin (see toI. iH. ch. viL § 13, 
Vol. v., p. 122, and compare VoL XII. p. MO). In his Ekmente qf Drawing, § 147, 
Raskin recommends the eopjdng of Pkte 21 as an exerdse in ''the linear expression 
of gronnd swftee." For fmhmt paHteidany aee 9hv9% Introduction, pp. xzv.-xzri.] 


bridge in the foreground, by its slendemess, to ccmtradict 
the aspect of violence in the torrent; he thinks the torrent 
and avalanches should have it all their own way hereabouts ; 
so he strikes down the nearer bridge, and restores the one 
further off, where the force of the stream may be supposed 
less. Next, the bit of road on the right, above the buik, is 
not built on a wall, nor on arches high enough to give the 
idea of an Alpine road in general ; so he makes the arches 
taller, and the bank steeper, introducing, as we shall see 
presently,^ a reminiscence from the upper part of the pass. 

§ 15. I say, he ^^tUnks^ this, and ''introduces" that. 
But, strictly speaking, he does not think at all. If he 
thought, he would instantly go wrong ; it is only the clumsy 
and uninventive artist who thinks. All these changes come 
into his head involuntarily; an entirely imperative dream, 
cr3ring, '' Thus it must be," has taken possession of him ; he 
can see, and do, no otherwise than as the dream directs. 

This is especially to be remembered with respect to tte 
next incident — the introduction of figures. Most persons to 
whom I have shown the drawing, and who feel its general 
character, regret that there is any living thing in it; they 
say it destroys the majesty of its desolation. But the dream 
said not so to Timier. The dream insisted particularly upon 
the great fact of its having come by the road. The torrent 
was wild, the storms were wonderj^ ; but the most wonder* 
fid thing of aU was how we ourselves, the dream and 1, 
ever got here. By our feet we could not — by the clouds we 
could not — by any ivory gates* we could not — ^in no other 
wise could we have come than by the coach road. One of 
the great elements of sensation, all the day long, has been 
that extraordinary road, and its goings on, and gettings 
about ; here, imder avalanches of stones, and among insanities 
of torrents, and overhangings of precipices, much tormented 
and driven to all manner of makeshifts and coils to this side 
and the other, still the marvellous road persists in going on, 

^ [^ below, p. 40.] 

' [tliroiigh which come fmlte visioni : see Homer, Od. xix. 562.] 

Ch.1I of TURNERIAN topography 89 

and that so smoothly and safely, that it is not merely great 
diligences, going m a caravannish manner, with whole teams 
of horses, that can traverse it, but little postchaises with 
small postboys, and a pair of ponies. And the dream de- 
clared that the full essence and soul of the scene, and con- 
summation of all the wonderfiilness of the torrents and Alps, 
lay in a postchaise with small ponies and post-boy, which 
accordingly it insisted upon Turner's inserting, whether he 
liked it or not, at the turn of the road. 

§ 16. Now, it will be observed by any one familiar with 
ordinary principles of arrangement of form (on which prin- 
ciples I shall insist at length in another place), that while 
the dream introduces these changes bearing on the expres- 
sion of the scene, it is also introducing other changes, which 
appear to be made more or less in compliance with received 
rules of composition,* rendering the masses broader, the 

* I have just said^ § 12^ that if^ mdUing hold of this orighial impres- 
sion, the artist tries to compose something prettier than he saw, it is all 
over with him; but, retaining the first impression, he will, nevertheless, 
if he has invention, instinctively modify manj lines and parts of it — 
possibly all parts of it — for the better; sometimes making them indi- 
vidually more pictorial, sometimes preventing them from interfering with 
each other's beauty. For almost all natural landscapes are redundant 
treasures of more or less confused beauty, out of which the human instinct 
of invention can by just choice arrange, not a better treasure, but one 
more fitted to human sight and emotion, — infinitely narrower, infinitely 
less lovely in detail, but having this great virtue, that there shall be 
absolutely nothing which does not contribute to the effect of the whole; 
whereas in the natural landscape there is a redundancy which impresses 
only oi redundance, and often an occurrence of marring features; not of 
ugliness only, but of ugliness in ike wrong place. Ugliness has its proper 
virtue and use ; but ugliness occurring at the wrong time (as if the negro 
servant, instead of standing behind the king, in Tintoret's picture,^ were 
to thrust his head in front of the noble features of his master) is justly 
to be disliked and withdrawn. 

'' Why this," exclaims the idealist, ''is what / have always been saying, 
and ifou have always been denying." No; I never denied this. But I 
denied that painters in general, when they spoke of improving Nature, 
knew what Nature was. Observe : before they dare so much as to dream 
of arranging her, they must be able to paint her as she is: nor will the 

^ [''The Adoration of the Ma^" in the Scuola di San Rocoo : see Roikin'i study 
of the figures, opposite p. 288 m Vol. IV. The negro lervaot has already been 
mentioned hi Modern Pa*nier9, vol. iii. cb. viL $ 2 (VoL V. p. 112).] 


lines more continuous, and the curves more gracefuL But 
the curious part of the business is, that these changes seem 
not so much to be wrou^t by imayning an entirely new 
condhicm of any feature, as by retnemhering something whidi 
wUl fit better in that place. For instance, Turner Mt the 
bank an the right ou^t to be made more solid and rodgr, 
in order to suggest firmer resistance to the stream, and he 
turns it, as wUl be seen by comparing the etchings, into a 
kind of rock buttress to the 
Md I wall, instead of a mere bank. 

Now the buttress into which 
he turns it is very neaiiy a 
facsimile of one which he 
had drawn on that very St. 
Gothard road, far above, at 
the Devil's Bridge, at least 
thirty years before, and which 
he had himself etched and 
engraved for the Liber Studi- 
onim, although the plate was 
never published.' Fig. 1 is a 
copy of the bit of the etch- 
ing in question. Note how 
the wall winds over it, and 
observe especially the peculiar 
depression in the middle of its surface, and compare it in 
those parts generally with the features introduced in the 
later composition. Of course, this mi^t be set down as a 
mere chance coincidence, but for the frequency of the cases 
inlwhich Turner can be shown to have done the same thing, 

mort tkilful ftmngement ever ktone tot the sUghteit wilfiil failure In truth 
of repreaentatfoa : and I am contlnnallj dedaiiniiig a^ainit arrangement. 

not becaiHc amngemeDt ii wrong, but becaiue our pretent niintera have 
for the most part nothing to arrange. They cannot M mudi as painf 
weed or a port accurately ; and yet &ey pretend to improve tlw fbr«tti a 

) nhim plate ia the "Swim Bridge, Uont St Gothard" (called MmatimM "Via 
Mala, u in Blgma U t ^Drmahtg, $ 100 n.). An etifmver'a proof waa in Ruakin'i 
eolleetion : aee Ifaim «m Ui DratetHft ty Tttnm; No. 73.] 


and to have introduced, after a lapse of many years, memo- 
ries of something which, however apparently small or mi- 
important, had struck him in his earlier studies. These 
instances, when I can detect them, I shall point out as I 
go on engraving his works ; ^ and I think they are numerous 
enough to induce a doubt whether Turner's composition was 
not universally an arrangement of remembrances, summcmed 
just as they were wanted, and set each in its fittest place. 
It is this very character which appears to me to mark it as 
so distinctly an act of dream- vision ; for in a dream there 
is just this kind of confused remembrance of the forms of 
things which we have seen long ago, associated by new and 
strange laws. That common dreams are grotesque and dis- 
orderly, and Turner's dream natural and orderly, does not, 
to my thinking, involve any necessary dijSerence in the real 
species of act of mind. I think I shall be able to show in 
l^e course of the following pages, or elsewhere, that when- 
ever Turner really tried to compose^ and made modifications 
of his subjects on principle, he did wrong, and spoiled them ; * 
and that he only did right in a kind of passive obedience to 
his first vision, that vision being composed primarily of the 
strong memory of the place itself which he had to draw; 
and secondarily, of memories of other places (whether re- 
cognized as such by himself or not I cannot teU), associated, 
in a harmonious and helpful way, with the new central 

§ 17. The kind of mental chemistry by which the dream 
summons and associates its materials, I have already en- 
deavoured, not to explain, for it is utterly inexplicable, but 
to illustrate, by a well-ascertained though equisdly inexpli- 
cable £Etct in common chemistry. That illustration (§ 8 of 
chapter on Imagination Associative, VoL II.*) I see more 
and more ground to think correct. How far I could show 

> [Compare the insUnoes wltmAy given in Pre-RapkaeHtUm (1851), Vol. XII. 
pfk 370-384 ; othen are pointed out in The Harbaun qf England, (§ 34, 36, and 
letterpreii to tlie plates of Ramigate and Scarborough.] 

* [See, for instance, Earhoun qf England, letterpress to the plates on Dover and 

* [In this edition, VoL IV. p. 234.] 


that it held with all great inventors, I know not, but 
with all those whom I have carefully studied (Dante, 
Scott/ Turner, and Tmtoret) it seems to me to hcdd ab- 
solutely; their imagination consisting, not in a voluntary 
production of new images, but an involuntary remem- 
brance, exactly at the right moment, of smnething they 
had actually seen. 

Imagine all that any of these men had seen or heard in 
the whole course of their lives, laid up accurately in their 
memories as in vast storehouses, extending, with the poets, 
even to the slightest intonations of syllables heard in the 
beginning of their lives, and with the painters, down to 
minute folds of drapery, and shapes of leaves (nr stones; 
and over all this unindexed and immeasurable mass of 
treasure, the imaginaticm brooding and wandering, but 
dream-gifted, so as to summcm at any moment exactly such 
groups of ideas as shall justly fit eadi other: this I con- 
ceive to be the real nature of the imaginative mind, and 
this, I believe, it would be oftener explained to us as being, 
by the men themselves who possess it, but that they have 
no idea what the state of other persons' minds is in com- 
parison; they suppose every one remembers all that he has 
seen in the same way, and do not understand how it hap- 
pens that they alone can produce good drawings or great 

§ 18. Whether this be the case with all inventors or not, 
it was assuredly the case with Turner, to such an extent 
that he seems never either to have lost, or cared to disturb, 
the impression made upon him by any scene, — even in his 
earliest youth. He never seems to have gone back to a 
place to look at it again, but, as he gained power, to have 
painted and repainted it as first seen, associating with it 
certain new thou^ts or new knowledge, but never shaking 
the central pillar of the old image. Several instances of 

^ [For Scott's unconicioaineM in composing^ tee tbe Introdactory Letter to Tkm 
ForluneM qf Nigel: ^*l think there is a dsmon who sits himself on the ieether of mj 
pen^" etc. ComiMire with the text here eh. vii. § 7 in the preceding Tolnme^ 
pp. 115-lia] 

_• • 




• • 



this have been already giv^i in my pamphlet on Pre- 
Raphaelrtism ; ^ others will be noted in the coiuM of our 
investigation of his works; one, merely for the sake of 
illustration, I will give here. 

§ 19. Plate 22 is an outline of a drawing of the town 
and castle of Nottingham, made by Turner for Walker's 
Itinerant^ and engraved in that work. The engraving (from 
which this outline was made, as I could not discover the 
drawing itself) was published on the 28th of February, 1795, 
a period at which Turner was still working in a very childish 
way; and the whole design of this plate is curiously stiff 
and commonplace. Note, especially, the two formal little 
figures imder the sail. 

In the year 1888 an engraving of Nottingham, from 
a drawing by Turner, was published by Moon, Boys, and 
Graves, in the England and Wales series.' Turner certainly 
made none of the drawings for that series long before they 
were wanted; and if, therefore, we suppose the drawing 
to have been made so much as three years before the 
publication of the plate, it will be setting the date of it 
as far back as is in the slightest degree probable. We 
may assmne, therefore (and the conclusion is sufficiently 
established, also, by the style of the execution), that there 
was an interval of at least thirty-five years between the 
making of those two drawings, — thirty-five y^rs, in the 
course of which Turner had become, from an unpractised 
and feeble draughtsman, the most accomplished artist of 
his age, and had entirely changed his methods of work and 
his habits of feeling. 

§ 20. On the page opposite to the etching of the first, I 
have given an etching of the last Nottingham. The one 

1 rSee Vol. XII. pp. 371)^384.] 

' [Fourteen drmwings by Turner are engraved in this work, — Tht ItinerttfU ; a Seleei 
CoUecHon qf Interesting and PUstureeque Viewe in Great Britain^ printed for John Walker, 
engraver^ 1799. The same plates appeared in The Copper^Flate Magazine ; or Manthig 
CMnet (if Pictureeque Printe^ coneietntg qf SubUme and Intereeting Viewe in Qrmt 
Britain and Ireland, issued by the same engrayer ; ^^ Nottingham " being Plate 75 i& 
vol. ii. (No. 38).] 

' [Iliis drawinff was at one time in Ruskin's collection : see Index in Vol. XIII. 
It is now in the collection of Sir £. H. Scott, Bart] 


will be found to be merely the amplification and adornment 
of the other. Every incident is preserved ; even the men 
employed about the log of wood are there, only now re- 
moved far away (beyond the lock on the right, between 
it and the town), and so lost in mist that, though made 
out by colour in the drawing, they cannot be made clear 
in the outline etching. The canal bridge and even the stiff 
mast are both retained; or'" -nother boat is added, and 
the sail dropped upon the er mast is hoisted on the 

lower one; and the cas i,u jet rid of its formality, is 
moved a little to the 1 , so as to hide one side. But, 
evidently, no new sketch has been made. The painter has 
returned affectionately to his boyish impression, and worked 
it out with his manly power. 

5 21. How far this manly power itself acted merely in 
the accumulation of memories, remains, as I said, a question 
undetermined ; but at all events, Turner's mind is not 
more, in my estimation, distinguished above others by its 
demonstrably arranging and ruling faculties, than by its 
demonstrably retentive and submissive faculties ; and the 
longer I investigate it, the more this tenderness of per- 
ception and grasp of memory seem to me the root of its 
greatness. So that I am more and more convinced of what 
I had to state ^ respecting the imagination, now many years 
ago. viz., that its true force lies in its marvellous insight 
and foresight, — that it is, instead of a false and deceptive 
faculty, exactly the most accurate and truth-telling faculty 
which the human mind possesses ; and all the more truth- 
telling, because in its work, the vanity and individualism 
of the man himself are crushed, and he becomes a mere 
instrument or mirror, used by a higher power for the re- 
flection to others of a truth which no effort of his could 
ever have ascertained ; so that all mathematical, and arith- 
metical, and generally scientific truth, is, in comparis<m, 
truth of the husk and surface, hard and shallow ; and only 

■ [Se« Modtm Painter*, vol ii. mc ii. ch. uL, and MpecUUy gg 28, 30 (Vgl. IV. 
pp. 284-286).) 


the imaginative truth is precious. Hence, whenever we 
want to know what are the chief facts of any case, it is 
better not to go to political economists, nor to mathe- 
maticians, but to the great poets; for I find they always 
see more of the matter than any one else; and in like 
manner those who want to know the real facts of the 
world's outside aspect, will find that they cannot trust maps, 
nor charts, nor any manner of mensuration; the most im- 
portant facts being always quite immeasurable, and that, 
(with only some occasional and trifling inconvenience, if 
they form too definite anticipations as to the position of a 
bridge here, or a road there) the Tumerian topography is 
the only one to be trusted. 

§ 22. One or two important corollaries may be drawn 
from these principles, respecting the kind of fideUty which 
is to be exacted from men who have no imaginative power. 
It has been stated, over and over again, that it is not 
passible to draw the whole of nature, as in a mirror. Cer- 
tain omissions must be made, and certain conventionalities 
admitted, in all art. Now it ought to be the instinctive 
affection of each painter which guides him to the omissions 
he is to make, or signs he is to use ; and his choice of this 
or the other fact for representation, his insistence upon 
this or the other character in his subject, as that which to 
him is impressive, constitutes, when it is earnest and simple, 
part of the value of his work. This is the only inspiration 
he is capable of, but it is a kind of inspiration still; and 
although he may not have the memory or the associative 
power which would enable him to compose a subject in the 
Tumerian manner, he may have certain ctffecHonSt perfectly 
expressible in his work, and of which he ought to allow 
the influence to be seen.* 

* For instance^ even in my topognphical etehing, Plate SO, I hare 
giTen only a few lines out of the thousands which existed in the scene. 
Those lines are what I considered the leading ones. Another person might 
hare thought other lines the leading ones, and his representation might be 
equally true as far as it went; but which of our representations went 
fiurthest would depend on our relative degrees of knowledge and feeling 
about hills. 


§ 28. And this may especially be permitted in rapid 
sketch of effects or scenes which either in tlieir speedy 
passing away, or for want of time, it is impossible to draw 
faithfiilly. Generally, if leisure permit, the detailed draw- 
ing of the object will be grander than any " impression on 
the mind " of an unimaginative person ; but if leisiu*e do 
not permit, a rapid sketch, marking forcibly the points that 
strike him, may "^en b*""* """siderable interest in its way. 
The other day I sketch* >wers of the Swiss Fribourg 

hastily from the Hotel liringen.' It was a misty 

morning with broken sun e, and the towers were seen 
by flickering light through broken clouds, — dark blue mist 
filling the hollow of the valley behind them. I have en- 
gi-aved the sketch on the opposite page, adding a few 
details, and exaggerating the exaggerations; for in draw- 
ing fi-om nature, even at speed, I am not in the habit of 
exaggerating enough to illustrate what I mean. The next 
day, on a clear and calm forenoon, I daguerreotyped the 
towers, with the result given on the next Plate * (26, Fig. 2) ; 
and this unexaggerated statement, with its details properly 
painted, would not only be the more right, but infinitely 
the grander of the two. But the first sketch nevertheless 
conveys, in some respects, a truer idea of Fribourg than 
the other, and has, therefOTC, a certain use. For instance, 
the wall going up behind the main tower is sem in my 
drawing to bend very distinctly, following the diflTereot 
slopes of the hill. In the daguerreotype this bend is hardly 
perceptible. And yet the notablest tiling in the town of 
Fribourg is, that all its walls have got flexible spines, and 
creep up and down the precifHces more in the manner of 
cats than walls ; and there is a general sense of hei^rt. 
strength, and grace, about its belts of tower and rampart, 
which clings even to every separate and less graceful piece 
of them when seen on the spot ; so that the hasty sketch, 

' [Thi* hotel, ueM- the raUway tMioa, bM been clowd •inee September 1890.1 
* [For the pl>t« Me below, p. M; for ezplaoatloiii of figs. 1 end 3 in it, givinf 
other repieeeatatloiM of the towere, tee p. 82.J 


expressing this, has a certain veracity wanting altogether in 
the dagu^rreotjrpe. 

Nay, sometimes, even in the most accurate and finished 
topography, a slight exaggeration may be permitted; for 
many of the most important facts in natiu^ are so subtle, 
that they miLst be slightly exaggerated, in order to be made 
noticeable when they are translated into the comparatively 
clumsy lines of even the best drawing,* and removed from 
the associating circumstances which enhanced their influ- 
ence, or directed attention to them, in nature. 

§ 24. Still, in all these cases, the more unconscious the 
draughtsman is of the changes he is making, the better. 
Love wiU then do its own proper work ; and the only true 
test of good or bad is, ultimately, strength of affection. For 
it does not matter with what wise purposes, or on what 
wise principles, the thing is drawn; if it be not drawn for 
love of it, it will never be right; and if it be drawn for 
love of it, it wiU never be wrong — clove's misrepresentation 
being truer than the most mathematical presentation. And 
although all the reasonings about right and wrong, through 
which we have been led in this chapter, could never be 
brought to bear on the work at the moment of doing it, 
yet this test of right holds always ; — if the artist is in any- 
wise modifying or methodizing to exhibit himself and his 
dexterity, his work will, in that precise degree, be abortive; 
and if he is working with hearty love of the place, earnest 
desire to be faithful to it, and yet an open heart for every 
fancy that Heaven sends him, in that precise degree his 
work will be great and good. 

* Or the best photograph. The question of the exact relation of value 
between photography and good topogmphioal drawing, I hope to examine 
in another place.^ 

^ [This intention was partially fulfilled many years later in Ruskin's Lecture* on 
Art, § 172.] 

.. CHAPTER in 


§ 1. Having in the preceding chapter seen the grounds 
on which to explain and justify Turner's choice of facts, 
we proceed to examine finally those modes of reprtscjiting 
them introduced by him ; modes so utterly at variance 
with the received doctrines on the subject of art, as to 
cause his works to be regarded with contempt, or severe 
blame, by all reputed judges, at the period of their first 
appearance. And, chiefly, T itjt confirm and farther illus- 
trate the general statem tde respecting light and 
shade in the chapters on 'I'r of Tone,* and on Infinity ,t 
deduced from the great fa (§ 5, chapter on Truth of 
Tone) that " nature surpa* us in power of obtaining 
light as much as the sun surpasses white paper." I found 
that this part of the book was not well understood, be- 
cause people in general have no idea how much the sun 
does surpass white paper. In order to know this practi- 
cally, let the reader take a piece of pure white drawing- 
paper, and place it in the position in which a drawing is 
usually seen. This is, properly, upright (all drawings 
being supposed to be made on vertical planes), as a piC' 
ture is seen on a room wall. Also, the usual place il 
which paintings or drawings are seen is at some distant 
from a window, with a gentle side light falling upon the 
front lights being unfavourable to nearly all drawu 

* Vol. I p. 149- [In this editioD Vol. III. p. S€l.] 
t Vol. U. p. 41. [In this edition Vol. IV. pp. 81-83.] 

1 [A mora inminmiy tnatiBMit of the inlgect-nwtter of tiiii chmpter irlU t 
in The EUmmtt «f Drttwint, %% 234-239.] 


Therefore the hi^est light an artist can ordinarily com- 
mand for his work is that of white paint, or paper, under 
a gentle side light.*' But if we wished to get as much 
light as possible, and to place the artist under the most 
favourable circumstances, we should take the drawing near 
the window. Put therefore your white paper upright, and 
take it to the window. Let a c, c 6?, be two sides of your 
room, with a window at b b. Under ordinary circumstances 
your picture would be hung at e, 
or in some such position on the 
wall c d. First, therefore, put your 
paper upright at e, and then bring 
it gradually to the window, in the 
successive positions /, g^ and (open- 
ing the window) finally at p. You 
will notice that as you come nearer 
the window the light graduaUy in- 

creases on the paper; so that in the ^^ 

position at ji it is £eu: better lighted 

than it was at e. If, however, the sun actually falls upon 
it at p, the experiment is unfair, for the picture is not 
meant to be seen in sunshine, and your object is to com- 
pare pure white paper, as ordinarily used, xvith sunshine. 
So eitiier take a time when the sun does not shine at all, 
or does not shine in at the window where the experiment 
is to be tried ; or else keep the paper so £eu: within the win- 
dow that the sun may not touch it. Then the experiment 
is perfectly fair, and you will find that you have the paper 
at ji in full, serene, pictorial light, of the best kind, and 
highest attainable power. 

§ 2. Now, leaning a little over the window sill, bring 
the edge of the paper at p against the sky, rather low 
down on the horizon (I suppose you choose a fine day 
for the experiment, that the sun is high, and the sky clear 

* Light firom above is the same thing with reference to our present 

VT. o 


blue, down to tbe horizon). The moment you bring your 
white paper against the sky you will be startled to find 
this bright white paper suddenly appear in shade. You 
will draw it back, thinking you have changed its position. 
But no; the paper is not in shade. It is as bright as ever 
it was ; brighter than under ordinary circumstances it ever 
can be. But, behold, the blue sky of the horizon is lar 
bri^ter. The one is indeed ^''.ue, and the other white, but 
the w/iitc is darkest, and by a great deal. And you will, 
though perhaps not for the it time in your life, perceive 
that though black is not eas y proved to be white, white 
may, under certain circumstances, be very nearly proved 
black, or at all events brown.* 

§ 8. When thb feet is first shown to them, the general 
feeling with most people is, that, by being brought against 
the sky, the white paper is somehow or other brought into 
"shade." But this is not so; the paper remains exactly as 
it was; it is only compared with an actually brighter hue, 
and looks darker by comparison. The circumstances aie 
precisely like those which affect our sensations of heat awl 
cold. If, when by chance we have one hand warm, and 
another cold, we feel, with each hand, water warmed to ao 
intermediate d^ree, we shall first dedare the water to be 
cold, and thai to be wann; but the water has a definite 
heat wholly independent of our sensations, and accuratdy 
ascertainable by a thermometer. So it is with li^t and 
shade. Looking from the bright sky to the white paper, 
we affirm the white paper to be " in shade," — ^that is, it 
produces on us a sensation of daikness, by comparison. 
But the hue of the paper, and that of the sky, are just 
as fixed as temperatures are ; and the sky is actually a 
brighter thing than white paper, by a certain number ol 
degrees of l^t, scientifically detenniaable. In the samr 
way, every other colour, or force of colour, is a fixed thin' 

* For which reuon, I utid In the Appendix to the third volume, tl 
the exprcMion, " finite re«lintioQ of Infinlly," was « coiuddeiablf less ntio- 
one than " bUek KaUntfon of white." [Vol. V. p. 434.] 


not dependent on sensation, but numerically repiesentable 
with as much exactitude as a degree of heat by a ther- 
mometer. And of these hues, that of open sl^ is one 
not {Nxxiucible by human art The sky is not blue colour 
merely, — ^it is blue^re, and cannot be painted/ 

§ 4. Next, observe, this blue fire luts in it white fire ; 
that is, it has white clouds, as much brighter than itself as 
it is brighter than the white paper. So, then, above this 
asure light, we have another equally exalted step of white 
light. Supposing the value of the light of the pure white 
paper repres^ited by the number 10, then that of the blue 
sky will be (approximately) about 20, and of the white 
clouds 80. 

But look at the white clouds carefully, and it will be 
seen they are not all of the same white; parts of than 
are quite grey compared with other parts, and they are as 
full of passages of Ught and shade as if they were of solid 
earth. Nevertheless, their most deeply shaded part is that 
already so much lighter than the blue sky, which has 
brought us up to our number 80, and all these- high lights 
of white are some ten degrees above that, or, to white 
paper, as 40 to 10. And now if you look from the blue 
sky and white clouds towards the sun, you will find that 
this cloud white, which is four times as white as white 
paper, is quite dark and Ughtless compared with those silver 
clouds that bum nearer the sun itself, which you cannot 
gaze upon, — an infinite of brightness. How will you esti- 
mate that? 

And yet to express all this, we have but our poor 
white paper afta* all. We must not talk too proudly of 
our ''truths" of art: I am afraid we shall have to let a 
good deal of black fallacy into it, at the best. 

§ 5. Well, of the sun, and of the silver clouds, we will 
not talk for the present. But this principal fact we have 
learned by our experiment with the white paper, that, 

^ [For a reference to this pemge, aee Qtuen qfthe Air, § 93.] 


taken all in all, the calm sky, with such light and shade 
as are in it, is brigliter than the earth ; brighter than the 
■whitest thing on earth which has not, at the moment of 
comparison, heaven's own direct light on it. Which fact 
it is generally one of the first objects of noble painters to 
render. I have abready marked one part of their aim in 
doing so, namely, the expression of infinity: but the oppos- 
ing of heavenly light *" — 'hniarkness is another most 
important one ; and of i w ys of rendering a picture 
generally impressive (see espe< lly § 12 of the chapter just 
referred to), this is the simpl and surest. Make the sky 
calm and luminous, and raise against it dark trees, moun- 
tains, or towers, or any other substantial and terrestrial 
thing, in bold outline, and the mind accepts the assertion 
of this great and solemn truth with thankfiilness. 

§ 6. But this may be done either nobly or basely, as 
any other solemn truth may be asserted. It may be 
spoken with true feeUng of all that it means; or it may 
be declared, as a Turk declares that " God is great," when 
he means only that he himself is lazy. The " heaven is 
bright," of many vulgar painters, has precisely the same 
amount of signification; it means that they know nothing, 
— will do nothing, are without though1>— without care — 
without passion. They will not walk the earth, nor watch 
the ways of it, nor gather the flowers of it. They will sit 
in the shade, and only assert that very perceptible, laag- 
ascertained fact, "heaven is bright" And as it may be 
asserted basely, so it may be accepted basdy. Many of 
our capacities for receiving noblest emotion are abused, in 
mere idleness, for pleasure's sake, and people take the ex- 
citement of a solemn sensation as they do that of a stron 
drink. Thus the abandoned court of Louis XIV. had o 
fast days its sacred concerts, doubtless entering in son 
degree into the religious expression of the music, and tl 
idle and firivolous women at the present day will v 
at an oratorio. So the subUmest effects of landscape 
be sought through mere indolence ; and even those wh< 

Ch.111 of TURNERIAN light 58 

hot ignorant, or dull, judge often erroneously of such eiSects 
of art because their very openness to all pleasant and sacred 
associaticm instantly colours whatever they see, so that, give 
them but the feeblest shadow of a thing they love, tiiey 
are instantly touched by it to the heart, and mistake 
their own pleasurable feelings for the result of the painter's 
power. Thus when, by spotting and splashing, such a 
painter as Constable reminds them somewhat of wet grass 
and green leaves, forthwith they fancy themselves in aU 
the happiness of a meadow walk ; and when Caspar Poussin 
throws out his yellow horizon with black hills, forthwith 
they are touched as by the solemnity of a real Italian 
twilight, altogether forgetting that wet grass and twilight 
do not constitute the universe; and prevented by their 
joy at being pleasantly cool, or gravely warm, from seek- 
ing any of those more precious truths which cannot be 
caught by momentary sensation, but must be thoughtfully 

§ 7. I say ''more precious,'' for the simple fact that 
the sky is brighter than the earth is not a precious truth 
unless the earth itself be first understood. Despise the 
earth, or slander it; fix your eyes on its gloom, and forget 
its loveliness; and we do not thank you for your languid 
or despairing perception of brightness in heaven. But rise 
up actively on the earth, — ^leam what there is in it, know 
its colour and form, and the full measiu^ and make of it, 
and if (ifter that you can say '' heaven is bright," it will be 
a precious truth, but not till then. Giovanni Bellini knows 
the earth weU, paints it to the full, and to the smallest 
fig-leaf and falling flower, — blue hill and white-waUed city, 
—guttering robe and golden hak; to each he wiU give its 
lustre and loveliness; and then, so far as with his poor 
hunum lips he may declare it, &r beyond all these, he 
proclaims that ''heaven is bright." But Gaspar, and such 
other landscapists, painting all Nature's flowery ground as 
one barrenness, and all her fair foliage as one blackness, 
and all her exquisite forms as one bluntness; when, in this 


sluggard gloom and sullen treachery of heart, they mutter 
their miserable attestation to what others had k>ng ago 
discerned for them, — ^the skfs brightness, — ^we do not thank 
them ; or thank them only in so far as, even in uttering 
this last remnant of truth, they are more commendable 
than those who have sunk from apathy to atheism, and de- 
clare, in their dark and hopeless backgrounds, that heaven 
is NOT bright. 

§ 8. Let us next ascertain what are the colours of the 
earth itself. 

A mountain five or six miles off, in a sunny sununer 
morning in Switzerland, will commonly present itself in 
some such pitch of dark force, as related to the sky, as 
that shown in Fig. 4, Plate S6, while the sky itself will 
still, if there are white clouds in it, tell as a clear dark, 
throwing out those white clouds in vigorous relief of light ; 
yet, conduct the experiment of the white paper as already 
described, and you wUl, in aU probability, find that the 
darkest part of the mountain — ^its most vigorous nook of 
almost black-looking shadow — is whiter than the paper. 

The figure given represents the apparent colour * of the 
top of the Aiguille Bouchard (the mountain which is seen 
from the village of Chamouni, on the other side of the 
Glacier des Bois), distant, by Forbes's map,^ a furlong or 
two less than four miles in a direct line fh>m the point of 
observation. The observation was made on a warm sunny 
morning, about eleven o'clock, the sky clear blue; the 
mountain seen against it, its shadows grey purple, and its 
sunlit parts greenish. Then the darkest part of the moun* 
tain was lighter than pure white paper ^ held upright in full 

* The colour, but not the form. I wanted the eontoiir of the top of the 
Bieven for reference in another place,* and have therefinre given it inatead 
of that of the Bouchard, but in the proper depth of tint. 

^ [^' Map of the Mer de Glace of Chamoani and of the adioiziing mountaina 
down from a detailed eunrey in 1842 by ProfeaMHr Forbes, given in bii IV0mIk 
iknmgh the Alp$,'\ 

* [For the Aigoille Bouchard aee below, ch. xr. § 11, p. 260, and Flatea 33 and 34. 
The c<Hitonr of uie top of the Breren, here given, is refored to in ch. xvL § 5 ii.^ 
p. 282.] 






26 . Things in gcupiHl . 


• •• 

•.. .• 


light at the widow, parallel to the direction in which the 
light entered. And it will thus generally be found impos- 
sible to represent, in any of its true colours, scenery distant 
more than two or three miles, in full daylight. The deepest 
shadows are whiter than white paper. 

§ 9. As, however, we pass to nearer objects, true repre- 
sentation gradually becomes possible; — ^to what d^pree is 
always of course ascertainable accurately by the same mode 
of experiment. Bring the edge of the paper against the 
thing to be drawn, and on that edge — as precisely as a lady 
would match the colours of two pieces of a dress— match 
the colour of the landscape (with a little opaque white 
mixed in the tints you use, so as to render it easy to 
lighten or darken them). Take care not to imitate the tint 
as you believe it to be, but accurately as it is; so that the 
coloured edge of the paper shall not be discernible from the 
colour of the landscape. You will then find (if before in- 
experienced) that shadows of trees, which you thought 
were dark green or black, are pale violets and purples ; that 
lights, which you thought were green, are intensely yellow, 
brown, or golden, and most of them far too bri^t to be 
matched at alL When you have got all the imitable hues 
truly matched, sketch the masses of the landscape out com- 
pletely in those true and ascertained colours; and you will 
find, to your amazement, that you have painted it in the 
colours of Turner, — in those very colours which perhaps 
you have been laughing at all your life, — ^the fact being 
that he, and he alone, of all men, ever painted Mature in 
her own colours. 

§ 10. " Well, but," you will answer, impatiently, " how 
is it, if they are the true colours, that they look so im- 

Because they are not shown in true contrast to the sky, 
and to other high lights. Nature paints her shadows in pale 
purple, and then raises her lights of heaven and sunshine 

^ rCompare Academy Nolet, IB56, where this passaf^ U referred to in eonnezioo 
with Hohnkn Hunt's colouring.] 


to such heights that the pale purple becomes, by com- 
parison, a \'igorous dark. But poor Turner has no sun at 
his command to oppose his pale colours. He follows Nature 
submissively as far as he can ; puts pale purple where she 
does, bright gold where she does ; and then when, on the 
summit of the slope of light, she opens her wings and 
quits the earth altogether, burning into ineffable sunshine, 
what can he do but sit helnlpss, stretching his hands to- 
wards her in calm consent, as she leaves him and mocks 
at him I 

§ 11. "Well," but you will farther ask, "is this right 
or wise? ought not the contrast between the masses to be 
given, rather than the actual hues of a few parts of them, 
when the others are inimitable ? " 

Yes, if this irere possiUe, it ought to be done ; but the 
true contrasts can neteb be given. The vAole questi<m 
is simply whether you will be false at one side of the 
scale or at the other, — ^that is, whether you will lose your- 
self in light or in darkness. This necessity is easily ex- 
pressible in numbras. Suppose the utmost li^t you wish 
to imitate is that of serene, feebly lighted clouds in ordinary 
sky (not sun or stars, vrfuch it is, of course, imposable 
deceptively to imitate in painting by any artifice). Thai, 
suppose the degrees of shadow between those clouds and 
Nature's utmost darkness acciurately measured, and divide^' 
into a hundred degrees (darkness being zero). Next t 
measure our own scale, calling our utmost possible blac 
zero ; * and we shall be able to keep parallel with Natu 
perhaps up to as far as her 40 d^;rees; all above t 
being whiter than our white paper. Well, with our p- 
of contrast between zero and 40, we have to imitat 
contrasts between zero and 100. Now, if we want 
contrasts, we can first set our 40 to represent her lOr 

* Even here we aball be defeated tnr Nature, her utmost darkn' 
deeper than oun. See " On Truth of Tone," g *-7, etc.. Vol. I. p. " 

1 [In thU edition. Vol. IlL pp. 260-263.] 




20 for her 80, and our zero for her 00 ; everything below 
her 00 being lost in blackness. This is, with certain modi- 
fications, Rembrandt's system. Or, secondly, we can put 
aero for her zero, 20 for her 20, and 40 for her 40 ; every- 
thing above 40 being lost in whitetkess. This is, with certain 
modifications, Paul Veronese's system. Or, finally, we can 
put our zero for her zero, and our 40 for her 100 ; our 20 
for her 50, our 80 for her 75, and our 10 for her 25, 
proportioning the intermediate contrasts accordingly. This 
18, with certain modifications. Turner's system ; * the modi- 
fications, in each case, being the adoption, to a certain 
extent, of either of- the other S3rstems. Thus, Turner in- 
clines to Paul Veronese; liking, as fitr as possible, to get 
his hues perfectly true up to a certain point, — ^that is to 
say, to let his zero stand for Nature's zero, and his 10 
for her 10, and his 20 for her 20, and then to expand 
towards the light by quick but cimning steps, putting 27 
fbr 50, 80 for 70, and reserving some force still for the 
last 00 to 100. So Rembrandt modifies his s]rstem on 
the other side, putting his 40 for 100, his 80 for 90, his 
20 for 80; then going subtly downwards, 10 for 50, 5 
for 80; nearly ever^rthing between 80 and zero being lost 
in gloom, yet so as still to reserve his zero for zero. The 













































* When the clouds are brilliantly lighted, it may rather be, as stated 
in S 4 above, in the proportion of l60 to 40. I take the number 100 as 
more calculable. 


I 12. Now it is evident that in Rembrandt's system, 
while the contrasts are not more right than with \'^eronese, 
the colours are all wrong, from beginning to end. With 
Turner and Veronese, Nature's 10 is their 10, and Nature's 
20 their 20 ; enabling them to give pure truth up to a 
certain point. But with Rembrandt, not one colour is ab- 
solutely true, from one side of the scale to the other; only 
the contrasts are true at *'"' ♦'"p of the scale. Of course, 
this supposes Rembram !t^ ^em applied to a subject 
which shall try it to the i os , such as landscape. Rem- 
brandt genendly chose suDj i in which the real colours 
were very nearly imitable, — as single heads with dark back- 
grounds, in which Nature's hi best light was Uttle above 
his own ; her 40 being then truly represcntable by his 40, 
his picture became nearly an absolute truth. But his system 
is only right when applied to such subjects: cleuly, when 
we have the full scale of natural light to de&l with. Turner's 
and Veronese's convey the greatest sum of truth. But not 
the most complete deception, for people are so much m<»e 
easily and instinctively impressed by force of light than 
truth of colour, that Uiey instantly miss the relative ^wer 
of the sky, and the upper tones; and all the true local 
colouring looks strange to them, separated from its ad- 
juncts of high light; whereas, give them the true contrast 
of Ught, and they will not otMcrve the false local colour. 
Thus all Caspar Poussin's and Salvator's pictures, and all 
effects obtained by leaving high lights in the midst of ex- 
aggerated dai^ess, catch the eye and are received for true, 
while the piu% truth of Veronese and Turner is rejected 
as unnatural; only not so much in Veronese's case as in 
Turner's, because Veronese confines himself to more imitable 
things, as draperies, figures, and architecture, in which his 
exquisite truth at the bottom of the scale tells on the eye 
at once ; but Turner works a good deal also (see the table) 
at the top of the natural scale, dealing with effects of 
sunlight and other phases of the upper colours, more or 
less inimitable, and betraying, therefore, more or less, the 


u'lifiues used to express thcnL It will be obsai'od* sko^ 
thsk in order to reserve some ferae Ibr the top of hk scale. 
Tamer is obliged to miss his gnuistiops diieflr in middfe 
tints (see the tmfafeK where the leeblmcss is sure to be fd^ 
His principal pmit Ibr missing the midmost gndbtjoos is 
almost ahniys betweoi the earth and sky; he dmws the 
earth truiy as fiur as he can, to the horison; then the sky 
as fiur as he can, with his 80 to 40 part of the scale. Thcf 
nm together at the horison; and the spe ct ator complains 
that there is no distinction between earth and sky, or Uiaft 
the earth does not look soKd emmgL 

§ 18. In the upper portions ci the three pillars 5^ 6« 7% 
nate S6, are typically represented these tlnee oonditkHis 
of light and shade, diaracteiistic, 5, of Rembrandt, 6, of 
Tomer, and 7, of Veronese. The pillar to be dmwn is 
supposed, in aD the three cases, white; Rembrandt repre* 
sents it as white on its highest light; and, getting the trae 
gradations bet¥reai this hi^est light and extreme dark^ 
is reduced to his aero, or black, for the dark side of the 
idiite object. This first pillar also represoits the sjrstem 
of Leonardo da VincL In the room of the Louvre a{qpro- 
priated to Italian drawings is a study of a [Mece of dimpoy 
by Leonardo.^ Its lights are touched with the finest white 
c^alk, and its shadows wrought, through exquisite grada* 
tions, to utter blackness. The pillar 6 is drawn on the 
system of Turner; the high point of light is stiU distinct: 
Init even the darkest part of the shaft is kept pale, and 
the gradations which give the roimdness are wrought out 
with the utmost possible delicacy. The third shaft is drawn 
on Veronese's system. The light, though stiU focused, is 
more difiused than with Turner; and a sli^t flatness re- 
suits from the determination that the fistct of the shaft's 
being wMte shall be discerned more clearly even than that 
it is round ; and that its darkest part shall still be capable 
of brilliant relief, as a white mass, from other objects 
round it. 

1 [Sm Mow, § SO, p. 64.] 


§ 14. This resolution, on Veronese's part, is owing to 
the profound respect for the colours of objects which neces- 
sarily influenced him, as the colourist at once the most 
brilliant and the most tender of all painters of the elder 
schools ; and it is necessary for us briefly to note the way 
in which this greater or less respect for local colour influ- 
ences the system of the three painters in light and shade. 

Take the whitest pif"° "* "ote-paper you can find, put 
a blot of ink upon it, it into the sunshine, and hold 

it fully fronting the sun as to make the paper look 

as dazzling as possible, t c to let the wet blot of ink 

shine. You will then find t ink look intensely black, — 
blacker, in fact, than anywhere else, owing to its vigorous 
contrast with the dazzling paper. 

Remove the paper from the sunshine. The ink will 
not look so blade Carry the p^>er gradually into the 
darkest part of the room, and the contrast will as gradually 
appear to diminish ; and, of course, in darkness, the dis- 
tinction between the black and the white Tsnishes. Wet 
ink is as perfect a representative as is by any means at- 
tainable of a perfectly daik colour; that is, of one whicb 
absorbs all the light that falls cm it ; and the nature of 
such a colour is best understood by considering it as a 
piece of portable night. Now, of course, the higher you 
raise the daylight about this bit of night, the more vigorous 
is the contrast between the two. And, therefore, as a gene- 
ral rule, the higher you raise the light on any object with 
a pattern or stain upon it, the more distinctly that pattom 
or stain is seen. 

But observe : the distinction between the full black of 
ink, and full white of paper, is the utmost reach of light 
and dark possible to art Therefore, if this contrast is to 
be represented truly, no deeper black can ever be giv^i 
in any shadow than that offered at once, as local colour, 
in a friU black pattern, on the highest light And, where 
colour is the principal object of the picture, that colour 
must, at all events, be as rigbt as possible where it •' 


beri seeuj i.e. in the lights. Hence the principle of Paul 
Veronese, and of all the great Venetian colourists, is to 
use fiill black for fiill black in high light, letting the 
shadow shift for itself as best it may; and sometimes even 
putting the local black a little darker in light than shadow 
in order to give the more vigorous contrast noted above. 
Let the pillars in Plate 25 be supposed to have a black 
mosaic pattern on the lower part of their shafts. Paul 
Veronese's general practice will be, as at 7, having marked 
the rounding of the shaft as well as he can in the white 
parts, to paint the pattern with one even black over all, 
reinforcing it, if at all, a little in the Ught. 

§ 15. Repeat the experiment on the note-paper with a 
red spot of carmine instead of ink. You will now find 
that the contrast in the sunshine appears about the same 
as in the shade — the red and white rising and falling to- 
gether, and dying away together into the darkness. The 
&ct, however, is, that the contrast doe^ actually for some 
time increase towards the light; for in utter darkness the 
distinction is not visible — ^the red cannot be distinguished 
from the white; admit a little light, and the contrast is 
feebly discernible; admit more, it is distinctly discernible. 
But you cannot increase the contrast beyond a certain 
point. From that point the red and white for some time 
rise very nearly equally in light, or Ml together very 
nearly equally in shade; but the contrast will begin to 
diminish in very high lights, for strong sunlight has a tend- 
ency to exhibit particles of dust, or any sparkling texture 
in the local colour, and then to diminish its power; so 
that in order to see local colour well, a certain d^ree of 
shadow is necessary: for instance, a very delicate com- 
plexion is not well seen in the sun; and the veins of a 
marble piUar, or the colours of a picture, can only be 
properly seen in comparative shade. 

§ 16. I will not entangle the reader in the very subtle 
and curious variations of the laws in this matter. The 
simple fact which is necessary for him to observe is, that 



between tbeir less violent hues, it is not possible to dnt 
all the forms which can be represented by the exaggerate 
shadows of the chiaroscunsts, and therefore a sh^t to 
dency to flatness is always characteristic of the great 
colourists, as opposed to Leonardo or Rembrandt. Wh< 
the form of some single object is to be given, and i 
subtleties are to be rendered to the utmost, the Leonan 
esque manner of drawing is often very noble. It is gene 
ally adopted by Albert Diirer, in his engravings, and 
very useful, when employed by a thorough master, in nuui 
kinds of engravings ; * but it is an utterly false method < 
gtud^, as we shall see presently. 

§ 20. Of the three advantages possessed by the colouris 
over the chiaroscurists, the first is, that they have in tl 
greater portions of their pictures abtohUe truth, as show 
above, § 12, while the chiaroscurists have no absolute trul 
anywhere. With the colourists the shadows are right; tl 
lights untrue : but with the chiaroscurists li^ts and shadov 
are both untrue. The second advantage is, that also tl 
rekaiont of colour are broader and vaster with the tfolouiis 
than the chiaroscurists. Take, for example, that piece < 
drapery studied by Leonardo, in the Louvre, wi^ yiba\ 
li^ts and black shadows.^ Ask yourself, first, whether ti 

* It if often extremelj difficult to diftinguiah properlj betweeo tl 
Leonardnque manner, in which lookl colonr ii dented altogether, and t) 
Tumereique, In which local coloor at ita highest point in the picture 
merged in whiteneM. Thui, Albeit Diirer*! noble " MelancholU ' * ia e 
Urely Leonardesque : the leaves on her head, her fleih, her wlngi, h 
dress, the wolf, the wooden ball, and the rainbow, being all equally whi 
aa the high tight*. But m; drawing of leares, &cing page l64, VoL III 
is Tumercsque ; because, though 1 leave pure white to represent the dm 
green of leaves and grass in high light, I give definite increase of <ur 
■tew to four of the bramble leaves, which, in reality, were purple, ai 
leave a dark withered stalk nearij black, though it Is in light, where 
crosses the leaf in the centre. Inese distinctions could only be proper 
explained hj a lengthj series of examples; which 1 hope to give son 
day or other, but have not space for here 

' [In the coUection of Italian dnwing* : see above, j| 19, p. M.] 

* [For other notss on tUi engnving, lee Modem Aiattrt, v^ v. pt ix. ch. 1 
%% 17-10, Caialefiu t^tfua atmdofd 3erU», No. 4, and AmIm PnUkt, S 186.] 

* [i.e., vol. iii. Vt Modem FoMsfv; HaU 6, "Foreground I.aa&ge.''] 

Ch.111 of TURNERIAN light 65 

real drapery was black or white. If white, then its high 
lights are rightly white; but its folds being black, it could 
not « a mojfs be distinguished from the black or dark 
objects in its neighbourhood. But the fact is, that a white 
cloth or handkerchief always is distinguished in daylight, as 
a tohole white things from all that is coloured about it: we 
see at once that there is a white piece of stuff, and a red, 
or green, or grey one near it, as the case may be : amd this 
relation of the white object to other objects not white, 
Leonardo has wholly deprived himself of tlie power of ex- 
pressing ; while if the cloth were black or dark, much more 
has he erred by making its lights white. In either case, 
he has missed the large relation of mass to mass, for the 
sake of the small one of fold to fold. And this is more 
or less the case with all chiaroscurists ; with all painters, 
that is to say, who endeavour in their studies of objects to 
get rid of the idea of colour, and give the abstract shade. 
They invariably exaggerate the shadows, not with respect 
to the thing itself, but with respect to all around it; and 
they exaggerate the lights also, by leaving pure white for 
the high light of what in reality is grey, rose-coloured, or, 
in some way, not white. 

§ 21. This method of study, being peculiarly character- 
istic of the Roman and Florentine schools, and associated 
with very accurate knowledge of form and expression, has 
gradually got to be thought by a large body of artists the 
grand way of study ; an idea which has been fostered all 
the more because it was an unnatural way, and therefore 
thought to be a philosophical one. Almost the first idea of 
a child, or of a simple person looking at any thing, is, that 
it is a red, or a black, or a green, or a white thing. Nay, 
say the artists ; that is an unphilosophical and barbarous view 
of the matter. Red and white are mere vulgar appear- 
ances ; look farther into the matter, and you will see such 
and such wonderfril other appearances. Abstract those, 
they are the heroic, epic, historic, and generally elig- 
ible appearances. And acting on this grand principle, 

VI. E 


they draw flesh white, leaves white, ground white, every- 
thing white in the light, and everything black in the shade 
— and think themselves wise. But, the longer I live, the 
more ground I see to hold in high honour a certain sort 
of childishness or innocent susceptibility. Generally speak- 
ing, I find that when we first look at a subject, we get 
a glimpse of some of the greatest truths about it : as we 
look longer, our vanity, and false reasoning, and half-know- 
ledge, lead us into various wrong opinions; but as we look 
longer still, we gradually return to our first impressions, 
^'^' only with a fiill understanding of their mystical and inner- 

most reasons; and of much beyond and beside them, not 
then known to us, now added (partly as a foundation, partly 
as a corollary) to what at first we felt or saw. It is thus 
eminently in this matter of colour. Lay your hand over 
the page of this book, — any child or simple person look- 
mg at the hand and book, would perceive, as the main 
fact of the matter, that a brownish pink thing was laid 
over a white one. The grand artist comes and tells you 
that your hand is not pink, and your paper is not white. 
He shades yoiu: fingers and shades your book, and makes 
you see all manner of starting veins, and projecting muscles, 
and black hollows, where before you saw nothing but paper 
and fingers. But go a little fartiier, and you will get more 
innocent again; you will find that, when ** science has done 
its worst, two and two still make foiur;" and that the 
main and most important facts about your hand, so seen, 
.re. .fter dl, that ^ has four fingers id . thum^^ow. 
mg as brownish pmk things on white paper. 

§ 22. I have also been more and more convinced, the 
more I think of it, that in general pride is at the bottom of 
cUl great mistakes.^ All the other passions do occasional 
good, but whenever pride puts in its word, everything goes 
wrong, and what it might really be desirable to do, quietly 
and innocently, it is mortally dangerous to do, proudly. 

1 [See Vol. IV. p. 192, VoL XI. p. 78, and Modem PahUers, voL r. pt.ix.cli.TiL 


Thus, while it is very often good for the artist to make 
studies of things, for the sake of knowing their forms, 
with their high lights all white, the moment he does this 
in a haughty way, and thinks himself drawing in the great 
style, because he leaves high lights white, it is all over 
with him ; ^ and half the degradation of art in modem times 
has been owing to endeavours, much fostered by the meta- 
physical Germans, to see things without colour, as if colour 
were a vulgar thing, the result being, in most students, 
that they end by not being able to see anything at all; 
whereas the true and perfect way of studying any object 
is simply to look what its coloiu: is in high light, and put 
that safely down, if possible ; or, if you are making a chiaro- 
scuro study, to take the grey answering to that colour, 
and cover the whole object at once with that grey, firmly 
resolving that no part of it shall be brighter than that; 
then look for the darkest part of it, and if, as is prob- 
able, its darkest part be still a great deal lighter than 
Uack, or than other things about it, assume a given shade, 
as dark as, with due reference to other things, you can 
have it, but no darker. Mark that for your extreme dark 
on the object, and between those limits get as much draw- 
ing as you can, by subtlety of gradation. That will tax 
your powers of drawing indeed ; and you will find this, 
which seems a childish and simple way of going to work, 
requires verily a thousandfold more power to carry out than 
all the pseudo-scientific abstractions that ever were invented. 

§ 28. Nor can it long be doubted that it is also the 
most impressive way to others ; for the third great advan- 
tage possessed by the colourists is, that the delightfulness 
of their picture, its sacredness, and general nobleness, are 
increased exactly in proportion to the quantity of light 
and of lovely colour they can introduce in the shadows^ 
as opposed to the black and grey of the chiaroscurists. I 
have already, in the Stones of Vemce^ VoL II. Chap. v. 

^ [Compare Ledures on Architecture and Painting, §§ 12^131^ Pre-RaphaeHtUm, 
§ 66, Vol. XII. pp. 151 eeq. and 385.] 


§§ 80-86,^ insisted upon the fact of the sacredness of colour, 
and its necessary connection with all pure and noble feeling. 
What we have seen of the use of colour by the poets will 
help to confirm this truth ; but perhaps I have not yet 
enough insisted on the simplest and readiest to hand of 
all proofs, — ^the way, namely, in which God has employed 
colour in His creation as the unvarjdng accompaniment of all 
that is purest, most innocent, and most precious; while for 
things precious only in material uses, or dangerous, common 
colours are reserved. Consider for a little while what sort 
of a world it would be if all flowers were grey, all leaves 
black, and the sky brown. Imagine that, as completely as 
may be, and consider whether you would think the world 
any whit more sacred for being thus transfigured into the 
hues of the shadows in Raphael's Transfiguration.' Then 
observe how constantly innocent things are bright in colour ; 
look at a dove's necl^ and compare it with the grey back 
of a viper; I have often heard talk of brilliantly coloured 
serpents; and I suppose there are such, — as there are gay 
poisons, like the foxglove and kalmia — ^types of deceit : but 
all the venomous serpents I have really seen are grey, brick- 
red, or brown, variously mottled; and the most awful 
serpent I have seen, the Egyptian asp, is precisely of the 
colour of gravel, or only a little greyer. So, again, the 
crocodile and alligator are grey, but the innocent lizard 
green and beautifuL' I do not mean that the rule is in- 
variable, otherwise it would be more convincing than the 
lessons of the natural universe are intended ever to be; 
there are beautiful colours on the leopard and tiger, and 
in the berries of the nightshade; and there is nothing 
very notable in brilliancy of colour either in sheep or cattle 
(though, by the way, the velvet of a brown bull's hide 
in the sun, or the tawny white of the Italian oxen, is, 



Yol. X. pp. 17^179^ and compare Modem PohUen, vol. iii. ch. ziv. § 42.] 

[Compare VoL XI. p. 418.] 
' [For some further remarks on this subject, and a reference to this chapter as 
^ one of the most important in Modem PairUere" see DeueaHon (" Living Waves ").] 

Ch.111 of TURNERIAN light 69 

to my mind, lovelier than any leopard's or tiger's skin): 
but take a wider view of nature, and compare generally 
rainbows, sunrises, roses, violets, butterflies, birds, gold- 
fish, rubies, opals, and corals, with alligators, hippopotami, 
lions, wolves, bears, swine, sharks, slugs, bones, fimgi,* fogs, 
and corrupting, stinging, destroying things in general, and 
you will feel then how the question stands between the 
oolourists and chiaroscurists, — ^which of them have nature 
and life on their side, and which have sin and death. 

§ 24. Finally : the ascertainment of the sanctity of colour 
is not left to human sagacity. It is distinctly stated in 
Scripture. I have before alluded to the sacred chord of 
colour (blue, purple, and scarlet, with white and gold) as 
appointed in the tabernacle; this chord is the fixed base of 
all colouring with the workmen of every great age; the 
purple and scarlet will be found constantly employed by 
noble painters, in various unison, to the exclusion in general 
of pure crimson ; — ^it is the harmony described by Herodotus 
as used in the battlements of Ecbatana,^ and the invariable 
base of all beautiful missal-painting ; the mistake continually 
made by modem restorers, in supposing the purple to be a 
&ded crimson, and substituting ftill crimson for it, being 
instantly fatal to the whole work, as, indeed, the slightest 
modification of any hue in a perfect colour-harmony must 
always be.t In this chord the scarlet is the powerful colour, 
and is on the whole the most perfect representation of ab- 
stract colour which exists; blue being in a certain degree 
associated with shade, yellow with light, and scarlet, as ab- 
solute colour y standing alone. Accordingly, we find it used, 

* It is notable, however, that nearly all the poisonous agarics are 
scarlet or speckled, and wholesome ones brown or grey, as if to show 
us that things rising out of darkness and decay are always most deadly 
when they are well drest. 

t Hence the intense absurdity of endeavouring to '' restore " the colour 
of ancient buildings by the hands of ignorant colourists, as at the Crystal 

^ [See the note on Vol. X. p. 175, where the passage in Herodotus is quoted.] 


together witli cedar wood, hyssop, and running water, as an 
emblem of purification, in Leviticus xiv. 4, and other places, 
and so used not merely as representative of the colour 
of hlood, since it was also to be dipped in the actual blood 
of a living bird. So that the cedar wood for its perfume, 
the hyssop for its searcliingness, the water for its cleansing, 
and tlie scarlet for its kindling or enlightening, are all used 
as tokens of sanctification ; '^ and it cannot be with any 
force alleged, in opposition to this definite appointment, that 
■ scarlet is used incident?"*' ^" 'Uustrate the stain of sin,— 
** though thy sins be as — any more than it could be 

received as a diminution oi e authority for using snow- 
whiteness as a type of j that Gehazi's leprosy is de- 
scribed as being "white as »v," An incidental image has 
no authoritative meaning, but a stated ceremonial appoint- 
ment has ; besides, we have the reversed image gi\'en dis- 
tinctly in Prov. xxxi. : " She is not afraid of the snow for 
her household, for all her household are clothed with scarlet." 
And, again: "Ye daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, who 
clothed you in scarlet, with other delights." So, also, the 
arraying of the mystic Babylon in purple and scarlet may 
be interpreted exactly as we choose; either by those who 
think colour sensual, as an image of earthly pomp and guilt, 
or, by those who think it sacred, as an image of assumed or 
pretended sanctity. It is possible the two meanings may 
be blended, and the idea may be that the purple and fine 
linen of Dives are worn Id hypocritical semblance of the 
purple and fine linen of the high priest, being, nevertheless, 
themselves, in all cases typical of all beauty and purity. 
I hope, however, to be able some day to enter farther into 
these questions with respect to the art of illumination; 
meantime, the facts bearing on our immediate subject may 

* The redeemed IUh«b bound for ■ sign a teaHtl thread in the window.' 
Compare Canticles iv. 3. 

« Itaiah i. 18 ; 2 King 


be briefly recapitulated. All men, completely organised 
and justly tempered, enjoy colour ; it is meant for the per- 
petual comfort and delight of the human heart ; it is richly 
bestowed on the highest works of creation, and the eminent 
sign and seal of perfection in them; being associated with 
Ufe in the human body, with tight in the sky, with purity 
ud hardness in the earth, — death, night, and pollution of 
all kinds being colourless. And although if form and colour 
be brought into complete opposition,"*^ so that it should be 
put to us as a matter of stem choice whether we should 
have a work of art all of form, without colour (as an Albert 
Diirer's engraving), or all of colour, without form (as an 
imitation of mother-of-pearl), form is beyond all comparison 

* The inconsistency between perfections of colour and form, wbich I 
have had to insist upon in other places,^ is exactly like that between 
articulation and harmony. We cannot have the richest harmony with the 
sharpest and most audible articulation of words: yet good singers will 
articulate clearly ; and the perfect study of the science of music will 
conduct to a fine articulation ; but the study of pronunciation will not 
conduct to, nor involve, that of harmony. So also, though, as said further 
on^^ subtle expression can be got without colour, perfect expression never 
can; for the colour of the face is a part of its expression. How often 
has that scene between Francesca di Rimini and her lover been vainly 
attempted by sculptors, simply because they did not observe that the 
main note of expression in it was in the far sheet-lightning — fading and 
flaming through the cloud of passion ! 

Per pii!i fiate gli occhi ci sospinse 
Quella lettura, e scolorocci il vuo.^ 

And, of course, in landscape, colour is the principal source of expression. 
Take one melancholy chord from the close of Crabbe's ^ Patron : 

" Cold grew the foggy mom ; the day was brief. 
Loose on the cherry hung the crimson leaf. 
The dew dwelt ever on the herb ; the woods 
Roared with strong blasts ; with mighty showers, the floods : 
All green was vanished, save of pine and yew. 
That still displayed their melancholy hue ; 
Save the green holly, with its berries red. 
And the green moss that o'er the gravel spread." 

1 [See, for instauce. Vol. III. pp. 168-162, aud Vol. VIII. pp. 176-178, and com- 
pare Element of Drawing, § 183 n. J 


See below. Appendix i., pp. 469-474.] 

Ir\femo, v. 130.] 

^or other references to Crabbe, see Vol. X. p. 231 n.] 


the more precious of the two ; and in explaining the essence 
of objects, form is essential, and colour more or less acci- 
dental (compare Chap, v, of the first section of Vol. I.') ; yet 
if colour be introduced at all, it is necessary that, whatever 
else may be wrong, tfiat should be right : just as, though the 
music of a song may not be so essential to its influence as 
the meaning of the words, yet if the music be given at all, 
it must be right, or its discord will spoil the words ; and it 
would be better, of the two, lat tlie words should be in- 
distinct, than the notes false. Hence, as I have said else- 
where,' the business of a painter is to paint. If he can 
colour, he is a painter, though he can do nothing else; if 
he cannot colour, he is no painter, though he may do every- 
thing else. But it is, in fact, impossible, if he can colour, 
but that he should be able to do more ; for a faithful study 
of colour will always give power orer form, though the most 
intense study of form will give no power over colour. The 
man who can see all the greys, uid reds, and purples hi s 
peach, will paint the peach rightly round, and rightly alto- 
gether; but the man who has only studied its roundness, 
may not see its purples and greys, and if he does not, will 
never get it to look like a peach ; so that great power orer 
colour is always a sign of large general art-intellect. Ex- 
pression of the most subtle land can be often reached by 
the slight studies of caricatimsts ; * sometimes elaborated by 
the toil of the dull, and sometimes by the sentiment <^ the 
feeble ; but to colour well requires real talent and earnest 
study, and to colour perfectly is the rarest and most pre- 
cious power an artist can possess. Every other gift may be 
erroneously cultivated, but this will guide to all healthy, 
natural, and forcible truth ; the student may be led intc 
folly by philosophers, and into falsehood by purists; but h< 
is always safe, if he holds the hand of a colourist. 

• See Appendix I. Modem Grotesque [p. 4^\ 

> [111 thU editioD, Vol. 111. pp. 158-162; fint aectioa of Part ii.1 
* {Modem Painten, vol. iii. \\o\. V. pp. S2-S4.] 



§ 1. In the preceding chapters we have shown the nature 
of Turner's art; first, as respected sympathy with his sub- 
ject; next, as respected fidelity to local detail; and thirdly, 
as respected principles of colour. We have now finally to 
confirm what in various places has been said respecting his 
principles of deUneation, or that mysterious and apparently 
uncertain execution by which he is distinguished from most 
other painters. 

In Chap. III. § 17 of the preceding volume* we con- 
cluded generally that all great drawing was distinct draw- 
ing ; referring, nevertheless, to a certain sort of indistinctness, 
necessary to the highest art, and afterwards to be explained. 
And the inquiry into this seeming contradiction has, I trust, 
been made somewhat more interesting by what we saw re- 
specting modem art in the fourth paragraph of Chap, xvi., 
namely, that it was distinguished from old art eminently 
by indistinctness, and by its idle omission of details for the 
sake of general effect. Perhaps also, of all modem artists. 
Turner is the one to whom most people would first look 
as the great representative of this nineteenth-century cloudi- 
ness, and "ingenious speaking concerning smoke";* every 
one of his compositions being evidently dictated by a de- 
light in seeing only part of things rather than the whole, 
and in casting clouds and mist around them rather than 
unveiling them. 

§ 2. And as the head of modem mystery, all the ranks 

1 [With this chapter compare The ElemenU of Drawing, §§ 138, 130. J 
> In this edition, Vol. V. p. 60.] 
' [Aristophanes : see VoL V. p. 318.] 



of the best ancient, and of even a very important and 
notable division of modem authority, seem to be arrayed 
against him. As we saw in preceding chapters, every great 
man was definite mitil the seventeenth century. John Bel- 
lini, Leonardo, Angelico, Diirer, Perugino, Raphael, — all of 
them hated fog, and repudiated indignantly all manner of 
concealment. Clear, calm, placid, perpetual vision, far and 
near ; endless perspicuity of space ; unfatigued veracity of 
eternal light ; perfectly accurate delineation of every leaf 
on the trees, every flower in the fields, every golden thread 
in the dresses of the figures, up to the highest point of 
calm brilliancy which was penetrable to the eye, or possible 
to the pencil, — ^these were their glory. On the other — ^the 
entirely mysterious — side, we have only sullen and sombre 
Rembrandt; desperate Salvator; filmy, futile Claude; occa- 
sionally some countenance from Correggio and Titian, and 
a careless condescension or two from Tintoret,* — not by 
any means a balanced weight of authority. Then, even in 
modem times, putting Turner (who is at present the prisoner 
at the bar) out of the question, we have, in landscape, 
Stanfield and Harding as definers, against Copley Fielding 
and Robson on the side of the clouds ; t Mulready and 
Wilkie against Etty, — even Etty being not so much misty 
in conception as vague in execution, and not, therefore, 
quite legitimately to be claimed on the foggy side; while, 
finally, the whole body of the Pre-Raphaelites — certainly 
the greatest men, taken as a class, whom modem Europe 
has produced in concernment with the arts— entirely agree 

* In the clouds around Mount Sinai, in the picture of the Golden 
Calf; the nnoke turning into angels,^ in the Cenacolo in San Giorgio 
Maggiore; and several other such instances.^ 

t Stanfield I call a definer^ as opposed to Copley Fielding^ because, 
though like all other modems, he paints cloud and storm, he will gener- 
allj paint aU the masts and yards of a ship, rather than merely her 
black bows glooming through the foam ; and all the rocks on a hill side, 
rather than the blue outline of the hill through the mist. 

^ [See Vol. XI. pp. 395, 382, for these pictures.] 

CilIV of TURNERIAN mystery 75 

with the elder religious painters, and do, to their utmost, 
dwell in an element of light and declaration, in antagonism 
to all mist and deception. Truly, the clouds seem to be 
getting much the worst of it; and I feel, for the moment, 
as if nothing could be said for them. However, having 
been myself long a cloud-worshipper, and passed many hours 
of life in the pursuit of them from crag to crag, I must 
consider what can possibly be submitted in their defence, 
and in Turner's. 

§ 8. The first and principal thing to be submitted is, 
that the clouds are there. Whether we like them or not, 
it is a fact that by far the largest spaces of the habitable 
world are fiill of them. That is Nature's will in the 
matter; and whatever we may theoretically determine to be 
expedient or beauti^l, she has long ago determined what 
shall he. We may declare that clear horizons and blue 
skies form the most exalted scenery; but for all that, the 
bed of the river in the morning will still be traced by 
its line of white mist, and the mountain peaks will be seen 
at evening only in the rents between blue fragments of 
towering cloud. Thus it is, and that so constantly, that it 
is impossible to become a faithful landscape painter without 
continually getting involved in effects of this kind. We 
may, indeed, avoid them systematically, but shall become 
narrow mannerists if we do. 

§ 4. But not only is there a partial and variable mys- 
tery thus caused by clouds and vapours throughout great 
spaces of landscape; there is a continual mystery caused 
throughout aU spaces, caused by the absolute infinity of 
things. We never see anything clearly.^ I stated 

' [The first version of this passage occurs in the MS. of ch. ix. in the preceding 
volume, and is as follows : — 

''Observe^ in the first place, this great fiu^t. You never see anything 
Plainly. It is with sight as with knowledge. It is written : ^ If any man 
think that he knoweth anything^ he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to 
know.' And in the same sense : if any man think that he seeth^ he seeth 
nothing yet as he ouffht to see. Whatever we look at is full of mvstery. 
Everjrtning that we look at, be it large or small, near or distant, has an 
infinite quantity of details still too smidl to be seen ; and the only question 


this fact partly in the chapter on Truth of Space, in the 
first volume,^ but not with sufficient illustration, so that 
the reader might by that chapter have been led to infer 
that the mystery spoken of belonged to some special dis- 
tance of the landscape, whereas the fact is, that everything 
we look at, be it large or small, near or distant, has an 
equal quantity of mystery in it; and the only question 
is, not how much mystery there is, but at what part of 
the object mystification begins. We suppose we see the 
ground under our feet clearly, but if we try to number its 
grains of dust, we shall find that it is as full of confusion 
and doubtful form, as anything else; so that there is liter- 
ally rvo point of clear sight, and there never can be. What 
we call seeing a thing clearly, is only seeing enough of it 
to make out what it is; this point of intelligibility varying 
in distance for difierent maimitudes and kinds of things, 

whUe the appointed ,u<„.ti^ myste^ remains „e.,lyTe 

same for alL Thus: throwing an open book and an em- 
broidered handkerchief on a lawn, at a distance of a quarter 
of a mile we cannot tell which is which; that is the point 

is not how much mystery there i», but at what point the m3r8tery bcjffini. 
For initanoe^ I suppose most people think they can see their own hand 
clearly. If they do^ let them tty to count the small fturows^ or the lines 
of the light down which give its texture to the skin, and to trace the course 
of the fine veins through the shadows of the fingers. You suppose you see 
the ground under your feet clearly ; but if you try to number its grains 
of dusty you will find that it is as full of confusion and difficulty as the 
distance ; only the confusion on the horizon is of trees and houses, here, 
of pebbles and of dust You cannot count the fibres of the cloth stuff, 
and if you try to draw all the fibres and threads that you see, you will 
find the work as infinite as if you were drawing a distant forest Fcft 
asked ironically why man has not a microscopic eye, but man's eyes are 
just as microscopic as any other creature's; he sees the things that bear a 
certain proportion to himself with a certain degree of intelligibility, and a 
fly can do no more. It sees less things than a man, but it does not see 
them more clearly ; infinity is as much oeyond a fly's sight, as beyond our 
own, only the fly stops at a different point in the infinity. So, then, when- 
ever in drawing any object — be it large or small — we have represented it 
perfectly distinct, there is something wrong. Our work is either unfinished, 
or fidse. Distinct drawing is certainly bad drawing in one way or another, 
and we must not think we have approaehed perfisction until we have got 
our work into confusion." 

The Biblical reference is to 1 Corinthians viiL 2 ; that to Pope, jE^mc^ on ifrni, line ld3; 

the lines are quoted again in DeuoaiUm, ch. iL] 
^ [In this edition/voL IIL p. 320.] 


of mystery for the whole of those things. They are then 
merely white spots of indistinct shape. We approach 
them, and perceiye that one is a book, the other a hand- 
kochief, but cannot read the one, nor trace the embroidery 
of the other. The mjrstery has ceased to be in the whole 
things, and has gone into their details. We go nearer, 
and can now read the text and trace the embroidery, but 
cannot see the fibres of the paper, nor the threads of the 
stuff. The mystery has gone into a third place. We take 
both up and look closely at them; we see the watermark 
and the threads, but not the hills and dales in the paper^s 
sui&ce, nor the fine fibres which shoot off fix>m every 
thread. The mystery has gone into a fourth place, where 
it must stay, till we take a microscope, which will send it 
into a fifth, sixth, hundredth, or thousandth place, accord- 
ing to the power we use. When, therefore, we say, we 
see the book clearly^ we mean only that we know it is a 
book. When we say that we see the letters clearly, we 
mean that we know what letters they are; and artists feel 
that they are drawing objects at a convenient distance 
when they are so near them as to know, and to be able 
in painting to show that they know, what the objects are, 
in a tolerably complete manner: but this power does not 
depend on any definite distance of the object, but on its 
size, kind, and distance, together; so that a small thing in 
the foregroimd may be precisely in the same phase or place 
of mjrstery as a large thing far away. 

§ 5. The other day,^ as I was lying down to rest on 
the side of the hill round which the Rhone sweeps in 
its main angle, opposite Martigny, and looking carefully 
across the valley to the ridge of tiie hill which rises above 
Martigny itself, then distant about four miles, a plantain 
seed-vessel about an inch long, and a withered head of a 
scabious half an inch broad, happened to be seen rising up, 
out of the grass near me, across the outline of the distant 
hill, so as seemingly to set themselves closely beside the 

^ [Ruskin noted these observations in his diary^ September 12, 18M.] 


large pines and chestnuts which fringed that distant ridge. 
The plantain was eight yards from me, and the scabious 
seven ; and to my sight, at these distances, the plantain 
and the far-away pines were equally clear (it being a clear 
day, and the sun stooping to the west). The pines, four 
miles off, showed their branches, but I could not count 
them: and two or three young and old Spanish chestnuts 
beside them showed their broken masses distinctly ; but I 
could not count those masses, only I knew the trees to be 
chestnuts by their general look. The plantain and scabious 
in like manner I knew to be a plantain and scabious by 
their general look. I saw the plantain seed-vessel to be, 
somehow, rough, and that there were two little projections 
at the bottom of the scabious head which I knew to mean 
the leaves of the calyx; but I could no more count dis- 
tinctly the seeds of the plantain, or the group of leaves 
forming the calyx of the scabious, than I could count the 
branches of the far-away pines. 

§ 6. Under these circumstances, it is quite evident that 
neither the pine nor plantain could have been rightly re- 
presented by a single dot or stroke of colour. Still less 
could they be represented by a definite drawing, on a small 
scale, of a pine with all its branches clear, or of a plantain 
with all its seeds clear. The round dot or long stroke 
would represent nothing, and the clear delineation too 
much. They were not mere dots of colour which I saw 
on the hill, but something fiill of essence of pine; out of 
which I could gather which were young and which were 
old, and discern the distorted and crabbed pines from the 
symmetrical and healthy pines ; and feel how ^e evening sun 
was sending its searching threads among their dark leaves ; — 
assuredly they were more than dots of colour. And yet not 
one of their boughs or outlines could be distinctly made 
out, or distinctly drawn. Therefore, if I had drawn either a 
definite pine, or a dot, I should have been equally wrong, 
the right lying in an inexplicable, almost inimitable, con- 
fusion between the two. 


§ 7. ** But is not this only the case with pines four miles 
away, and with plantains eight yards ? " 

Not so. Everything in the field of sight is equally 
puzzling, and can only be drawn rightly on the same diffi- 
cult conditions. Try it fairly. Take the commonest, closest, 
most famUiar thing, and strive to draw it verily as you 
see it. Be sure of this last fact, for otherwise you will 
find yourself continually drawing, not what you see^ but 
what you know. The best practice to begin with is, sitting 
about three yards from a bookcase (not your own, so that 
you may know none of the titles of the books), to try to 
draw the books accurately, with the titles on the backs, 
and patterns on the bindings, as you see them. You are 
not to stir from your place to look what they are, but to 
draw them simply as they appear, giving the perfect look 
of neat lettering; which, nevertheless, must be (as you will 
find it on most of the books) absolutely illegible. Next 
try to draw a piece of patterned muslin or lace (of which 
you do not know the pattern), a little way off, and rather 
in the shade ; and be sure you get all the grace and look 
of the pattern without going a step nearer to see what it 
is. Then try to draw a bank of grass, with all its blades ; 
or a bush, with all its leaves ; and you will soon begin to 
understand under what a universal law of obsciuity we live, 
and perceive that all distinct drawing must be bad draw- 
ing, and that nothing can be right, till it is unintelligible. 

§ 8. " How ! and Pre-Raphaelitism and Diirerism, and 
all that you have been talking to us about for these five 
hundred pages ! " 

Well, it is all right; Pre-Raphaelitism is quite as un- 
intelligible as need be (I will answer for Diirerism farther 
on^). Examine your Pre-Raphaelite painting well, and you 
will find it is the precise fulfilment of these laws. You can 
make out your plantain head and your pine, and see en- 
tirely what they are ; but yet they are full of mystery, 

1 [See ch. iv. § 12, ch. v. § 20, pp. 82, 102.] 


and suggest more than you can see. So also with Turner, 
the true head of Pre-Raphaelitism.^ You shall see the spots 
of the trout lying dead on the rock in his foreground, but 
not count them. It is only the Germans and the so-called 
masters of drawing and defining that are wrong, not the 
Pre-Raphaelites. * 

Not, that is to say, so far as it is possible to be right. 
No human skill can get the absolute truth in this matter; 
but a drawing by Turner of a large scene, and by Hohnan 
Hunt of a small one, are as close to truth as human eyes 
and hands can reach. 

§ 9. " Well," but how of Veronese and all the firm, fear- 
less draughtsmen of days gone by?** 

They are mdeed firm and fearless, but they are all 
mysterious. Not one great man of them, but he will 
puzzle you, if you look close, to know what he means. 
Distinct enough, as to his general intent, indeed, just as 
Nature is distinct in her general intent, but examine his 

* Ccnnpare, if at hand, my letter in the Timei^ of the 5th of Minr» 
1854, on Hunt's Light of the World. I extract the passage bearing chiefly 
on the point in question.* 

"As far as regards the technical qualities of Mr. Hunt's painting, I 
would only ask the spectator to observe this diiference between true 
Pre-Raphaelite work and its imitations. The true work represents aU 
objects exactly as they would appear in nature, in the position and at 
the distances which the arrangement of the picture supposes. The Mse 
work represents them with all their details, as if seen through a micro- 
scope. Examine closely the ivy on the door in Mr. Hunt's picture, and 
there will not be found in it a single clear outline. All is the most ex- 
quisite mystery of colour; becoming reality at its due distance. In like 
manner, examine the small gems on the robe of the figure. Not one 
will be made out in form, and yet there is not one of all those minute 
points of green colour, but it has two or three distinctly varied shades 
of green in it, giving its mjrsterious value and lustre. The spurioas imita- 
tions of Pre-Raphaelite work represent the most minute leaves and other 
objects with sharp outlines, but with no variety of colour, and with none 
of the concealment, none of the infinity of nature." 

^ [So in the second edition of Lecture* on ArckUedure and Painting, VoL XII. 
p. 159.1 

« [See now Vol XII. pp. 328-332.] 

Ch.iv of TURNERIAN mystery 81 

touches, and you will find in Veronese, in Titian, in Tin- 
toret, in Corr^gio, and in all the great painters^ properly 
so called, a peculiar melting and mystery about the pen- 
cilling, sometimes called softness, sometimes fi^edom, some- 
times breadth ; but in reality a most subtle confiision of 
colours and forms, obtained either by the apparently care- 
less stroke of the brush, or by careful retouching with 
tenderest labour; but always obtained in one way or 
another; so that though, when compared with work that 
has no meaning, all great work is distinct^ — compared with 
work that has narrow and stubborn meaning, all great work 
is tndistinct ; and if we find, on examining any picture 
closely, that it is all clearly to be made out, it cannot be, 
as painting, first-rate. There is no exception to this rule. 
Excellence of the highest kind, without obscurity, 
cannot exist. 

§ 10. " But you said that all authority was against 
Turner, — Titian's and Veronese's, as well as that of the 
older painters." 

Yes, as regards his choice of misty or foggy subject, 
it is so ; but in this matter of mere execution^ all the great 
painters are with him, though at first he seems to differ 
from them, on account of that choice of foggy subject; 
and because, instead of painting things imder cinmmstances 
when their general character is to be discerned at once (as 
Veronese . paints human figures close to us and the size of 
life), he is always painting things twenty and thirty miles 
away, reduced to imintelligible and eccentric shades. 

§ 11. ''But how, then, of this foggy choice; can that 
be right in itself?" 

That we will discuss in the next chapter: let us keep 
at present to the question of execution. 

''Keeping to that question, why is it that a photograph 
always looks clear and sharp, — ^not at all like a Turner?" 

Photographs never lode entirely clear and sharp; but 
because clearness is supposed a merit in them, they are 
usually taken from very clearly marked and un-Tumerian 

VI. F 


subjects ; and such results as are misty and faint, though 
often p« isely those which contain the most subtle render- 
ings of miture, are thrown away, and the clear ones only 
are preserved. Those clear ones depend for much of their 
force on the faults of the process. Photography either 
exaggerates shadows, or loses detail in the lights, and, in 
many ways which I do not here pause to explain, misses 
certain of the utmost subtleties of natural effect (which are 
often the things that Turner has chiefly aimed at), while it 
renders subtleties of '"♦■'" ■"'i^'ch no human hand could 
achieve. But a dehci en photograph of a truly 

Tumerian subject, is ike Turner in the drawing 

than it is to tlie work ( ither artist ; though, in the 

system of chiaroscuro, tirely and necessarily Rem- 

brandtesque, the subtle ' of the touch (Tumerism 

carried to an infinitely wroi refinement) is not usually 


§ 12. "But how of Van ck, and Albert Diirer, and 
all the clear early men ? " 

So far as they are qmte dear, they are imperfect, and 
knowingly imperfect, if considered as painters of real ap- 
pearances; but by means of this very imperfection or con- 
ventionalism, they often give certain facts which are more 
necessary to their purpose than these outward appearances. 
For instance, in Fig. 2 of Plate 2S, &cing page 04, I re- 
quested Mr. Le Keux to facsimile, as far as might be, the 
look of the daguerreotype;^ and he has admirably done so. 
But if Albert Diirer had drawn the wall between those 
towers, he would have represented it with all its &cts dis- 
tinctly revealed, as in Fig. 1 ; and in many respects this 
clear statement is precious, thou^ so &r as r^^ards ocular 
truth, it is not natiuraL A modem sketcher of the "bold" 
school would represent the tower as in Fig. 8 ; that is to 
say, in a manner just as trenchant and firm, and therefore 
ocularly false, as Durer's; but, in all probability, with in- 
volved entireness of fallacy or ignorance as to the wall 

■ [See above, p. 46.] 


ficts; loidcnng ^be wMtk MM)y vdtMlMSt;^ or ViUiMblt 
oo^ in coloiir ot composxliim ; not «& dwmghUuvMU^hifk 

Of tiiis we sldtt ftATe more to ss^r preraKUy. hwe W9 
nugr nsk srtwficd with tlie coadusioii Uiat ta n pM^tly 
gmt muHier of psintiqg. or to entirdty finki^lied wodk» « 
certain degree of UM&tinctness is indjqpetvsahtew Ah tU 
subjects bn¥e a mystay in tkern^ so all cbawii^ vtiu^t havo 
a myslc i y in it; and firom the nearest olQect to the molt 
distant, if ive can quite make out what the artts^t would 1m 
at» there is somethii^ wro^g. The strokes of paint» ox* 
amined dosd^, must be confused^ odd» inoompreheniible i 
faavii^ neither bqpnnu^g nor end* — mdti^g into eadi othwk 
or stragi^ing over each other, or goii« wioqg and eomii^ 
iig^ again, or fMling away aliogethMar; and if we otn 
make anything of them quite out, that part of the drawing 
is wrmg, or incomplete. 

§ 18. Only, observe, the method by whidi the oonfUsion 
is obtained may vaiy ccmsiderahly accradiqg to the distanct 
and scale of the picture itself; for very curious eflbcts are 
pmluced upon all paintipgs by the distance of the eye 
fiom them. One of these is the giving a certain soltness to 
all odours, so that hues which ¥rould look coarse or bald 
if seen near, may sometimes safely be left, and are left* by 
the great workmen in their large works, to be corrected by 
the kind of bloom which the distance of thirty or forty Ibet 
sheds over them. I say» *' sometimes,** because this optical 
eflfect is a very subtle one, and seems to take place ehie% 
on certain colours, dead fresco colours especially; also the 
practice of the great workmen is very different, and secma 
much to be regulated by the time at their disposal. Tin- 
toret's picture of Paradise, with 500 figures in it, adapted 
to a supposed distance of from fifty to a hundred feeti is 
yet coloured so tenderly that the nearer it is approached 
the better it looks ;^ nor is it at all certain that the colour 
which is wrong near, Mrill look right a little way off, or even 

^ [For this picture, tee VoL XI. p. 372.] 


a great way off: I have never seen any of our Academy 
portraits made to look like Titians by being hung above 
the line: still, distance does produce a definite effect on 
pictorial colour, and in general an improving one. It also 
deepens the relative power of all strokes and shadows. A 
touch of shade which, seen near, is all but invisible, and, 
as far as effect on the picture is concerned, quite powerless, 
ivill be found a liHle w«v nW to tell as a definite shadow, 
and to have a notable i all that is near it ; and so 

markedly is this ■ i t in all fine and first-rate 

drawing there are \ as in which if we see the 

touches we are pi ■ are doing too much ; they 

must be put on by of the hand only, and have 

their effect on the eye in ^ i in unison, a little way off. 
This seems strange; but 1 b< ve the reason of it is, that, 
seen at some disUnce, the parts of Ae touch or tooctus u« 
gathered together, and timr relatiDns truly shown ; v^ule, 
seen near, they are scattered and oonfased. On % Inge 
scale, and in common thii^, the phenooaenMi is of ooDstut 
occurrence ; the " dirt bands " od a g^iw, for instance, are 
not to be counted aa the glacier Uself, and yet their «p* 
pearance is truly stated b^ I^iofessor Forbes to be "one of 
great importance, thou^ from the two circumstances ik 
being best seen at a distance, or considerable height, and in a 
feeble or slanting light, it had very naturally beoi over- 
looked both by myself and others, lUce what are called 
blind paths over moors, visible at a distance, but lost When 
we sttmd uptHi them."* 

§ 14. Not <Mily, however, does tfiis take place in a pic- 
ture very notably, so that a grotq> of touches will tell a* 
a compact and intelligiUe mass, a little way off, thou^ 
contused whoi seen near; but also a dai^ touch gains at 
a little distance in apparent darkness, a light touch in ap- 
parent S^, and a coloured touch in aj^iarent colour, to 

* Travelt iMrongh the Alpi, chap, viii.' 

' [At p. IflS, MmuwlMt reriMd, Id tbe reprint of 1000.] 

Ch.1v of TURNERIAN mystery 86 

a d^pree inconceivable by an unpractised person; so that 
literally, a good painter is obliged, working near his picture, 
to do in ever3rthing only about half of what he wants, the 
rest being done by the distance. And if the effect, at 
such distance, is to be of confusion, then sometimes, seen 
near, the work must be a confusion worse confounded, 
ahnost utterly unintelligible: hence the amazement and 
blank wonder of the public at some of the finest passages 
of Turner, which look like a mere meaningless and dis- 
orderly work of chance: but, rightly understood, are pre- 
parations for a given result, like the most subtle moves 
of a game of chess,^ of which no bystander can for a long 
time see the intention, but which are, in dim, underhand, 
wonderful way, bringing out their foreseen and inevitable 

§ 15. And, be it observed, no other means would have 
brought out that result. Every distance and size of picf 
ture has its own proper method of work; the artist will 
necessarily vary that method somewhat according to cir- 
cumstances and expectations: he may sometimes finish in 
a way fitted for close observation, to please his patron,, or 
catch the public eye ; and sometimes be tempted into such 
finish by his zeal, or betrayed into it by forgetfulness, as 
I think Tintoret has been, slightly, in his Paradise, above 
mentioned. But there never yet was a picture thoroughly 
effective at a distance, which did not look more or less 
unintelligible near. Things which in distant effect are folds 
of dress, seen near are only two or three grains of golden 
colour set there apparently by chance; what far off is a 
solid limb, near, is a grey shade with a misty outline, so 
broken that it is not easy to find its boundary; and what 
fkr off may perhaps be a man's face, near, is only a piece 
of thin brown colour, enclosed by a single flowing wave 
of a brush loaded with white^ while three brown touches 

^ [Ruikin was always very fond of chees^ and was an excellent player ; and among 
hit otker unwritten books was a manual of the game : see the letter given in a later 


across one edge of it, ten feet away, become a mouth and 
eyes. Tl e more subtle the power of the artist, the more 
curious the diflference will be between the apparent means 
and the < (Feet produced : and one of the most sublime feel- 
ings connected with art consists in the perception of this 
very strangeness, and in a sympathy with the foreseeing 
and foreordaining power of the artist. In Turner, Tintoret, 

and Paul Veron — '■^~ '~^ ness of perception, first, as 

to what is I en, of the means of doing 

it, is so col it fs feel in the presence of 

their pictures j as le would in that of a super- 

natural being. nmo use the word "magic" of 

a great painter's power ; knowing what they mean 

by it. 'I'hey mean a gr i. That power is magical ; 

so magical, that, well understood, no enchanter's work 
could be more miraculous or more appalling; and though 
I am not often kept from saying things by timidity, I 
should be afraid of offending the reader, if I were to define 
to him accurately the kind and the degree of awe, with 
which I have stood before Tintoret's Adoration of the 
Magi, at Venice, and Veronese's Marriage in Cana^ in the 

§ 16. It will now, I hope, be understood how easy it is 
for duU artists to mistake the mystery of great masters for 
carelessness, and their subtle concealment of intuition for 
want of intention. For one person who can perceive the 
delicacy, invention, and vetacity of Tintoret, or Reynolds,* 
there are thousands who can perceive the dash of the 
brush and the confUsion of the colour. They suppose that 
the merit consists in dash and ctmfusion, and that thejr 
may easily rival Reynolds by being unintelligible, and 
Tintoret by being impetuous. But I assure them, ver 

* Reynolds is luiullf admired for his duh and speed. His true m 
is in an ioeSable subtlety combined with this speed. The tendemet 
some of Reynolds' touches is qalte beyond telling. 

' [For these pietnrM, tM Vol. IV., phrtss 6, 7, II. VoL V. p. US, Vol. XJ. p 
Vol. XII. pp. 466-M7.] 

Ch.iv of TURNERIAN mystery 88 

£Eu;ts; rendering the work nearly valueless; or valuable 
only in colour or composition; not as draughtsmanship. 

Of this we shall have more to say presently, here we 
may rest satisfied with the conclusion that to a perfectly 
great manner of painting, or to entirely finished work, a 
certain degree of indistinctness is indispensable. As all 
subjects have a mystery in thenij so all drawing must have 
a mjrstery in i^; and from the nearest object to the most 
distant, if we can quite make out what the artist would be 
at, there is something wrong. The strokes of paint, ex- 
amined closely, must be confused, odd, incomprehensible; 
having neither beginning nor end, — melting into each other, 
or straggling over each other, or going wrong and coming 
right again, or fading away altogether; and if we can 
make anything of them quite out, that part of the drawing 
is wrong, or incomplete. 

§ 18. Only, observe, the method by which the confusion 
is obtained may vary considerably according to the distance 
and scale of the picture itself; for very curious effects are 
pioduoed upon all paintings by the distance of the eye 
from them. One of these is the giving a certain softness to 
all colours, so that hues which would look coarse or bald 
if seen near, may sometimes safely be left, and are left, by 
the great workmen in their large works, to be corrected by 
the kind of hloom which the distance of thirty or forty feet 
sheds over them. I say, '^sometimes," because this optical 
effect is a very subtle one, and seems to take place chiefly 
on certain colours, dead fresco colours especially; also the 
practice of the great workmen is very different, and seems 
much to be regulated by the time at their disposal Tin- 
toKt^s picture of Paradise, with 500 figures in it, adapted 
to a supposed distance of from fifty to a hundred feet, is 
yet coloured so tenderly that the nearer it is approached 
the better it looks ;^ nor is it at all certain that the colour 
which is wrong near, will look right a little way off, or even 

1 [For this picture, lee Vol XI. p. 372.] 



§ 1. In the preceding r we were concerned only 

with the mystery necessar di great art. We have yet 

to inquire into the nat that more special love of 

eonceahnent in which s the leading representative 

of modern cloud-worship ; cai sing Dr. Waagen sapiently 
to remark that " he " had he] succeeded in combining " a 
crude painted medley with a ^ nei^ foggy appearance." * 

As, for defence of his universal indistinctness, my appeal 
was in the last chapter to universal fact, so, for defence of 
this special indistinctness, my first appeal is in this chapter 
to special fact An English painter justifiably loves fog, 
because he is bom in a foggy country ; as an Italian pidnter 
justifiably loves clearness, because he is bom in a com- 
paratively clear country. I have heard a traveUer familiar 
with the East complain of the effect in a picture of Copl^ 
Fielding's, that "it was such very bad weather."' But it 
ought not to be bad weather to the English. Our green 
country depends for its life on those kindly rains and float- 
ing swirls of cloud; we ought, therefore, to love them, 
and to paint them. 

§ 2. But there is no need to rest my defence on this 
narrow English ground. The &et is, that thou^ the 
climates of the South and East may be c&n^aratively clear, 
they are no more absolutely clear than our own northern 

* Art and ArtiiU m England, vol. ii. p. 191. The other chancteiistics 
which Dr. Waagen discovers In Turner are, "micb a looseness of treatment, 
such a total want of truth, as I never before met with." 

olt of turnsrian mystery n 

air; and tiiat w h a ieT C i a landscape-painter is placed* if he 
paints fidthlolly* lie will have eontinually to paint eftcsts 
ci mist. Intense deamess, whether in ibt North after or 
before rain, or in some moments of twilight in the Soutii, 
is always* as fiur as I am acqiudnted with natural pheno* 
mena, a notable thing. Mist of some sort, w rairage» or 
eaofaskm of light, or of cloud, are the general fiK^ts; the 
distance may vary in diflRoraat climates at which the effiMSts 
of mist b^gin, but th^ are always present : and therdbre» 
in all ^obability it is meant that we should ei\)oy them. 

§ 8. NcHT does it seem to me in any wise difficult to 
understand why they should be thus appointed for enjoy- 
ment. In former puts of this work we were able to trace 
a certain delightfolness in every visible feature of natural 
things which was typical of any great spiritual truth ;^ 
surdy, therefore, we need not ¥ronder now, that mist and 
all its phenomena have been made delig^tfol to us, since 
our happiness as thinking beings must depend on our 
being content to accept only partial knowledge^ even in 
Ihoae matters which chiefly concern u& If \^*e insist upon 
perfect intelligibility and complete deekration in e\*ery moral 
subject, we shall instantly foil into misery of unbelii^» Our 
whole happiness and power of energetic action depend upon 
our being able to breathe and li\*c in the cloud : oontoit 
to see it opening here and closing there : ri^oicing to catchy 
through the thinnest Alms of it% gUmpses of stable and sub* 
stantial things; but yet percdving a nobleness e\>m in the 
concealment, and rejoicing that the kindly veil is spread 
where the imtempered light mi^t have scorched us. or the 
infinite clearness wearied. 

§ 4. And I believe that the resentmait of this inter* 
ference of the mist is one of the forms of proud error whidi 
are too easily mistaken for virtues. To be contrat in utter 
darkness and ignorance is indeed unmanly, and ther^tNre 
we think that to love light and seek Imowledge must 

^ [See volume ii, chaptttn v.-jiL ('*Of lypkttl Bwttly*'*).] 


always be right. Yet (as in all matters before observed*), 
wherever pride has any share in the work, even knowledge 
and light may be ill pursued. Knowledge is good, and 
light is good, yet man perished in seeking knowledge, and 
moths perish in seeking light ; and if we, who are crushed 
before the moth, will not accept such mystery as is needful 
for us, we shall perish in like manner. But accepted in 
humbleness, it instar*'" Ko^nmog an element of pleasure ; 
and I think that evi constituted mind ought to 

rejoice, not so mucli m k anything clearly, as in feel- 

ing that there is infi re which it cannot know.- 

None but proud or wi ivould mourn over this, for 

we may always know more I'e choose, by working on ; 
but the pleasure is, I think, to humble people, in knowing 
that the journey is endless, e treasure inexhaustible, — 
watching the cloud still march before them with its summit- 
less pillar, and being sure that, to the end of time and to 
the length of eternity, the mysteries of its infinity will 
still open farther and farther, their dimness being the sign 
and necessary adjunct of their inexhaustibleness. I know 
there are an evil mystay and a deathful dimness, — ^tfae 
mystery of the great Babylon — the dimness of the sealed 
eye and soul ; but do not let us (XKifuse these with the 
glorious mystery of the things which the angels " desire to 
look into,"' or with the dimness which, even before the 
clear eye and open soul, still rests on sealed pages of the 
eternal volume. 

§ 5. And going down from this great truth to the lower 

' [Se«, for iiutance. Modem FahUen, vol. Ui. ch. It. § 24, mnd Staiut qf Venice, 
vol. iii. ch. iL] 

' [In one of hi* copiM of the voluma, Rtukin here DotM on t}i« iii»rgiD, " Compare 
Newman on the Soul; tlie Srat puMge of the IctroductioD." The reference ii to 
F. \V. Neirnun'a The Soul, Her anrrwe* a»d Btr ^ffrfrafion*.- an Btea^ Umarde Oie 
Natural Hittory ^ the Seul ae the tnu Baeie (^ Huoiogg, 184& : "All human knotf- 
ledgfe, like hnmui power, ia bounded ; end it ia then moat accurate when we con 
•harply draw the line which ihowi where Iftnorance begin*. . . . It ia thai a condition 
of human existence to be aarrounded with bnt moderately diffuwd liffht, that in- 
Etructa the underatandins, and illimitable hadneaa, that excitea the imagination,'' etc. 
On the aubject thoa touched upon, compare Stoner (/ Venice, vol. iii. ch. iu gg 24, 28, 

> [Revelation xviL 17 ; 1 Pater L 18 ; and, abore, Ezodna ziiL 21, 22.] 

Ch.v of TURNERIAN mystery 91 

truths which are tjrpes of it in smaller matters, we shall 
find, that as so<m as people try honestly to see all they can 
of anjrthing, they come to a point where a noble dimness 
begins. They see more than others ; but the consequence 
of their seeing more is, that they feel they cannot see all ; 
and the more intense their perception, the more the crowd 
of things which they partly see will multiply upon them; 
and their delight may at last principally consist in dwelling 
on this cloudy part of their prospect, somewhat casting 
away or aside what to them has become comparatively 
common, but is perhaps the siun and substance of all that 
other people see in the thing, for the utmost subtleties and 
shadows and glancings of it cannot be caught but by the 
most practised vision. And as a delicate ear rgoices in 
the slighter and more modulated passages of sound which 
to a blunt ear are utterly monotonous in their quietness, 
or imintelligible in their complication, so, when the eye is 
exquisitely keen and clear, it is fain to rest on grey films of 
shade, and wandering rays of light, and intricacies of tender 
form, passing over hastily, as unworthy or commonplace, 
what to a less educated sense appears the whole of the 
subject.'*' In painting, this progress of the eye is marked 
always by one consistent sign — its sensibility, namely, to 
effects oi gradation in light and colour, and habit of looking 
for them, rather even than for the signs of the essence of 
the subject. It will, indeed, sc^ more of that essence than 
is seen by other eyes; and its choice of the points to be 
seized upon will be always regulated by that special sym- 
pathy which we have above examined as the motive of the 
Tumerian picturesque: but yet, the more it is cultivated, 
the more of light and coloiur it will perceive, the less of 

§ 6. Thus, when the eye is quite uncultivated, it sees 
that a man is a man, and a face is a face, but has no idea 

* And yet, all these intricacies will produce for it another whole ; as 
simple and natural as the child's first conception of the thing; onlj more 
comprehensive. See above^ Chap. in. § lEl. 


what shadows or lights fall upon the tbrm or features. 
Cultivate it to some degree of artistic power, and it will 
then see shadows distinctly, but only the more vigorous 
of them. Cultivate it still farther, and it will see light 
within lij it, and shadow within shadow, and will continu- 
ally refuse to rest in wiiat it had already discovered, that 
it may pursue what is more removed and more subtle, 
until at last ■* cora^" *''^ "■"" '•''' chief attention and display 
its chief power on ich to an untrained faculty 

are partly m. nee, and partly impercep- 

tible. That SI tions have indeed become 

matters of pnui > it, may be ascertained by 

obser\Tng that y gs it will last part with, as 

tlie object n es i and that, though this dis- 

tance may become so gr x) render the real nature of 

the object quite undiscermoie, he gradations of light upon 
it will not be lost. 

§ 7. For instance, Fig. 1, on the c^osite p«ge, Plate 
26, is a tolembly Mthful t^nderii^ ef. the lode ^ a <wbU 
tower of a Swiss town as it wodU be seen within soiae 
hundred yards of it. Fig. 2 is (as neftriy as I can nuiat 
it) a facsimile of Turner's actual drawing of this tow<v, at 
a presumed distance of about half a mi^^ It has Ua less 
of intelligible delineation, either ot windows, cornices, or 
tiles ; but intense care has still been given to get tJie 
pearly roundness of the side, and the exact relations of all 
the tones of shade. And now, if Turner wants to r^ncve 
the tower still farther hack, he will gradually let the 
windows and stones all disappear together, before he will 
quit his shadows and delicately centraUxed rays. At Fig. 9 
the tower is nearly gone, bi^ the pearly roundness of it 
and principal lights of it are there stilL At Fig. 4 (Turner's 
ultimate condition in distance) the essence of the thing is 
quite unintelligible ; we cannot answer for its being a tower 

' ^The dnwing b of the wmlli and town* of Laeeme ; it ma at thia time in 
Ituikiii'i collection : lee the Epilcwuo to kU Ifotu on hi* DraaHtgt bg Turner, 
Vol. xin.] 


ChV of TURNERIAN mystery 98 

at all But the gradations of li^t are still there, and as 
much pains have been taken to get them as in any of the 
other instances. A vulgar artist would have kept something 
of the form of the tower, expressing it by a few touches ; 
and people would call it clever drawing. Turner lets the 
tower melt into air, but still he works half an hour or so 
over those delicate last gradations, which perhaps not many 
people in England besides himself can fiiUy see, as not 
many people can understand the final work of a great 
mathematician. I assume, of course, in this example, that 
the tower, as it grows less and less distinct, becomes part 
of the subject of a larger picture. Fig. 1 represents nearly 
what Turner's treatment of it would be if it were tfa^ 
principal subject of a vignette; and Fig. 4 his treatment 
of it as an object in the extrraie distance of a large oil 
picture. If at the same supposed distance it entered into 
a smaller drawing, so as to be much smaller in size, he 
might get the gradations with less trouble, sometimes even 
by a single sweep of the brush ; but some gradation would 
assuredly be retained, though the tower were diminished to 
the height of one of the long letters of this type. 
§ 8. ''But is Turner right in doing this?" 
Yes. The truth is indted so. If you watch any object 
as it fades in distance, it will lose gradually its force, its 
intelligibility, its anatomy, its whole comprehensible being; 
but it will never lose its gradation of light. Up to the 
last moment, what light is seen on it, feebly glinmiering 
and narrowed almost to a point or a line, is still full of 
change. One part is brighter than another, and brighter 
with as lovely and tender increase as it was when nearest 
to us; and at last, though a white house ten miles away 
will be seen only as a small square spot of light, its 
windows, doors, or roof being as utterly invisible as if 
they were not in existence, the gradation of its light will 
not be lost ; one part of the spot will be seen to be brighter 
than another. 

§ 9. Is there not a deep meaning in this ? We, in our 


daily looking at the thing, think that its own make is the 
most important part of it. Windows and porticoes, eaves 
and cormces, how interesting or how useful are they ! 
Surely, the chief importance of the thing is in tliese. No; 
not in these, but in the play of the light of heaven upon 
it. There is a place and time when all those windows and 
1 porticoes will be lost sight of; when the only question 
becomes, "What hght had •'■''" How much of heaven 
was looking upon it? it fa the broad relations of 

it, in hght and darkness, to sky and earth, and all 

things around it ? It mi ve strange humours and 

ways of its own — many a in its wall, and many a 

roughness on its roof; or it i ht have many attractive- 
nesses and noblenesses of its own — fair moiddings and gay 
ornaments ; but the time comes when all these are vain, 
and when the slight, wandering warmth of heaven's sun- 
shine which the building itself felt not, and not ohe eye 
in a thousand saw, becomes all in klL I leave the reader 
to follow out tile analt^es of tills. 

§ 10. "Well, but," it is still oligected, ''if tihis be so, 
why is it necessary to insist, as you do always,^ upon the 
most minute and carefol renderings of foi'm?" . 

Because, though these gradations of li^t are indeed, as 
an object dies in distance, the only things it can retain, 
yet as it lives its active life near us, those very gradations 
can only be seen properly by the effect they hare on its 
character. You can only show how the Hght afi^scts the 
object, by knowing thorouj^y what tiie object is; and 
noble mystery differs from ignoble, in being a veil thrown 
between us and sometiiing definite, known, and substantiid; 
but the ignoble mystery is a veil cast before chaos, the 
studious concealment of Nothing. 

§ 11. There is even a way in ^riiich the very definite- 

ness of Turner's knowledge adds to the mysteiy of his 

pictures. In the course of the first volume I had several 

times occasion to insist on the singular importance of 

' [See, for instwicc, abore, p. 72,] 

ChV of TURNERIAN mystery 95 

cast shadows, and the chances of then* sometimes gaining 
supremacy in visibility over even the things that cast them.^ 
Now a cast shadow is a much more curious thing than 
we usually suppose. The strange shapes it gets into, — ^the 
manner in which it stumbles over ever3rthing that comes 
in its way, and frets itself into all manner of fantastic 
schism, taking neither the shape of the thing that casts it, 
nor of that it is cast upon, but an extraordinary, stretched, 
flattened, fractured, ill-jointed anatomy of its own, — can- 
not be imagined until one is actually engaged in shadow- 
hunting. If any of these wa3rward umbrae are futhfully 
remembered and set down by the painter, they nearly 
always have an unaccountable look, quite different from 
anything one would have invented or philosophically conjec- 
tured for a shadow; and it constantly happens, in Turner's 
distances, that such strange pieces of broken shade accu- 
rately remembered, or accurately invented, as the case may 
be, cause a condition of uninteUigibility, quaint and embar- 
rassing almost in exact proportion to the amoimt of truth 
it contains. 

§ 12. I believe the reader must now sufficiently perceive 
that the right of being obscure is not one to be lightly 
claimed; it can only be founded on long effort to be in- 
telligible, and on the present power of being intelligible to 
the exact degree which the nature of the thing admits. 
Nor shall we, I hope, any more have difficulty in under- 
standing how the noble mystery and the ignoble, though 
direct opposites, are yet continusdly mistaken for each other 
— ^the last aping the first; and the most wretched artists 
taking pride in work which is simply slurred, slovenly, igno- 
rant, empty, and insolent, as if it were nobly mysterious 
(just as a drunkard who cannot articulate supposes himself 
oracular); whereas the noble art-mystery, as all noble lan- 
guage-mystery, is reached only by intense labour. Striving 
to speak with uttermost truth of expression, weighing word 

^ [See, for instance^ Vol. III. pp. 161-162, and for a reference to the same subject 
in reply to criticisms. Academy Notei, 1B66 (Supplement).] 


against word, and wasting none, the great speaker, or 
A\'Titer, toils first into perfect intelligibleness, then, as he 
readies to higher subject, and still more concentrated and 
wonderful utterance, he becomes ambiguous — as Dante is 
ambiguous, — half a dozen different meanings lightening out 
in separate rays from every word, and, here and there, 
giving rise to nmch contention of critics as to what the 
intended meaning actually was. But it is no dnmkard's 
babble for : t, & ;en who think it so, at the 

third hour > highly honour tAemselves in 

the thought. 

§ 13. And no' w perfectly the conclusions 

arrived at here ^se of the third chapter, and 

how easily we may ( the meaning of that vast 

weight of authority wnich we bund at first ranged against 
the clouds, and strong in arms on the side of intelligibility. 
Nearly all great men must, for the reasons above given, be 
intelligible. Even, if they are to be the greatest, still they 
must stniggle through intelligibility to obscurity ; if of the 
second class, then the best thing they can do, all their 
lives through, is to be intelli^ble. Therefore, the enormous 
majority of all good and true men will be clear men ; and 
the drunkards, sophists, and sensualists will, for the most 
part, sink back into the fog-bank, and remun wnpt in 
darkness, unintdligibility, and futility. Yet, here and there, 
once in a couple of centuries, one man will rise past clear- 
ness, and become dark wilii excess of li^it. 

§ 14. "Well, then, you meftn to say tiiat the tendency 
of this age to general clow&iess, as opposed to the old 
religious clearness (^ pnuiting, is <me of d^radation; 
but that Turner is tiiis one man who has risen pa^ clear- 
ness ? " 

Yes. With some modMoations of the saying, I mean 
that; but those modifications will tdce us a little time to 
express accurately. 

For, first, it will not do to condemn every minor painter 
> [Ams H. u.] 

Ch,v of TURNERIAN mystery 97 

utterly, the moment we see he is foggy. Copley Fielding, 
for instance, was a minor painter; but his love of obscu- 
rity in rain clouds, and dew-mist on downs, was genuine 
love, fiill of sweetness and happy aspiration; and, in this 
way, a little of the light of the higher mystery is often 
caught by the simplest men when they keep their hearts 

§ 15. Neither will it be right to set down every painter 
for a great man, the moment we find he is clear ; for there 
is a hard and vulgar intelligibility of nothingness, just as 
there is an ambiguity of nothingness. And as often, in 
conversation, a man who speaks but badly and indistinctly 
has, nevertheless, got much to say; and a man who speaks 
boldly and plainly may yet say what is little worth hear- 
ing; so, m painting, there are men who can express them- 
selves but blunderingly, and yet have much in them to 
express; and there are others who talk with great precision, 
whose works are yet very impertinent and untrustworthy 
assertions. Sir Joshua Rejrnolds is full of fogginess and 
shortcomings as compared with either of the Carraccis ; but 
yet one Sir Joshua is worth all the Carraccis in Europe; 
and so, in our modem water-colour societies, there are 
many men who define clearly enough, all whose works, 
put together, are not worth a careless blot by Cox or 

§ 16. Let me give one illustration more, which will be 
also of some historical usefidness in marking the relations 
of the dear and obscure schools. 

We have seen, in our investigation of Greek landscape. 
Homer's intense love of the aspen poplar.' For once, in 
honour of Homer and the Greeks, I will take an aspen 
for the subject of comparison, and glance at the different 
modes in which it would have been, or was, represented 
fix)m the earliest to the present stage of landscape art. 

1 [For Dftvid Coz. lee Vol. III. p. 46 ; for Barret^ Vol. III. p. 275.1 
« [Vol. V. p. 237.] 



The earliest manner which comes within our field of 
examination is that of the thirteenth century. Fig. 1, 
Plate 27, is an aspen out of the wood in which Absalom 
is slain, from a Psalter in my own possession, executed, 
certainly, after the year 1250, and before 1272;' the other 
trees in the wood being, first, of course, the oak in which 
Absalom is caught, and a sycamore. All these trees are 
somewhat mor" '■""'■■•*"*'""•>' than is even usual at the 
period ; th< i, the more characteristic as 

examples or 'here is no great botanical 

accuracy ■ ""p , later (at least in painting) ; 

so that 1 cfi 1 ire, the leaf not being flat 

enough at the bas tree is meant for an aspen : 

but it is so in all : and whether it be or be 

not, serves well eno -k the definiteness and sym- 

metry of the old art, — a symi etry which, be it always ob- 
served, is NEVER formal or i froken. This tree, though it 
looks formal enough, branches unequally at the top of the 
stem. But the lowest figure in Plate 7, Vol. III.,^ is a 
better example from the I , Sloane 1975, Brit. Mus.' 
Every plant in that herbariu n is drawn with some ap^ 
proach to accuracy, in leaf, root, and flower; while yet all 
are subjected to the sternest conventional arrangement; 
coloured in almost any way that pleases the draughtsman, 
and set on quaint grounds of baired colour, like bearings 
on shields;* one side of the- pbtHt alwbys balancing the 
other, but never withonrt some trmsgression or escape tram 
the law of likeness, as in the- heftds of tiie cfdamen flowa*, 
and several other parts of th& diiiAgn. It might seem at 

* Compue Vol. III. Cbap. nr. g IS." Tooddng- Ae exwt degree far 
which ignontoce or tnc^Metty ia mixcbd witfe wSbl ovnvmtioiiwm iu 
this drawing, we Bhkll inquire in the chftpten on Ve^tatiixL* 

■ [Thfl Palter of St. LouU : we VfA. XII. pp. txix., 47».] 
> [la thU editioD, Vol. V. p. 262.] 

^ [An "inMtimkble miIt HMrbvinia" Ruldn cdls it in Ui tu>t« (1863-1B64) 
on the MS8. in the Britiili Museum.] 

' [Tba intended reference wet, however, not tnede.] 

27. Tke Aspen,iinder Idealization . 


first, that the root was more carelessly drawn than the rest, 
and uglier in colour; but this is in pure conscientious- 
ness. The workman knew that a root was ugly and earthy ; 
he would not make it ornamental and delicate. He would 
sacrifice his pleasant colours and graceful lines at once fcnr 
the radical fact; and rather spoil his page than fiatter a 

§ 17. Here, then, we have the first mediaeval condition 
<rf art, consisting in a fenced, but varied, symmetry; a 
perfect definiteness; and a love of nature, more or less 
interfered with by conventionalism and imperfect know- 
ledge. Fig. 2, in Plate 27, represents the next condition 
of mediaeval art, in which the effort at imitation is con- 
tending with the conventional type. This asp^i is fix)m 
the MS. Cotton, Augustus, a. 5, from which I have 
already taken an example of rocks to compare with Leo- 
nardo's.^ There can be no doubt here about the species 
of the tree intended, as throu^out the MS. its iUu- 
minator has carefully distinguished the oak, the willow, 
Jmd the aspen; and this example, though so small (it is 
engraved of the actual size), is very characteristic of the 
aspen ramification; and in one point, of ramification in 
g^eral, namely, the division of the tree into two masses, 
each branching outwards, not across each other. When- 
ever a tree divides at first into two or three nearly equal 
main branches, the secondary branches always spring from 
the outside of the divided ones, just as, when a tree grows 
under a rock or wall, it shoots away from it, never to- 
wards it. The beautiful results of this arrangement we 
shall trace in the next volume;' meantime in the next 
Plate (28) I have drawn the main* ramifications of a real 

* Only the nudn lines; the outer sprays have had no pains taken with 
ihem^ as I am going to put some leaves on them in next volume. 

» fSee Fig. 3 in Plate 10, Vol. V. p. 307, and below, p. 309.] 

* [See pt Ti. ch. vii., where the general arrangement is described ; but the intended 
illustration of the aspen, with its leaves put on, does not appear.] 



aspen, growing freely, but in a sheltered place, as far as 
may be necessary to illustrate the point in question. 

§ 18. This example. Fig. 2 in Plate 27, is sufficiently 
characteristic of the purest mediajval landscape, though there 
is somewhat more leaning to naturalism than is usual at 
the period. The next example. Fig. 8, is from Turner's 
vignette of St. Anne's Hill (Rogers's Poems, p. 214). 
Turner almost always groups his trees, so that I have had 
difficulty in finding one on a small scale and isolated, 
which would be characteristic of nim ; nor is this one com- 
pletely so, for I had no access 3 the original vignette, it 
being, I beheve, among the drawings that have been kept 
from the public, now these four years, because the Chan- 
eery lawyers do not choose to determine the meaning of 
Turner's perfectly intelligible, though informal, will ; ' and 
Mr. Goodall's engraving,^ which I have copied, though right 
in many respects, is not representative of the dotted touch 
by which Turner expressed the aspen foliage. I have not, 
however, ventured to alter it, except only by adding the 
extremities where they were hidden in the vignette by the 
trellis-work above. 

The principal difference between the Turnerian aspen 
and the purist aspen is, it will be seen, in the expression 
of lightness and confusion of foliage, and roundness of the 
tree as a mass; while the purist tree, like the thirteenth- 
century one, is still flat Jdi. attempt at the expression of 
individual leaves is now gone, the tree being too &r off to- 
justify their delineation; but the direction of the light, and 
its gradations, are carefully studied. 

§ 19. Fig. 6 is a tolerable facsimile* of a little chalk 
sketch of Harding's;' quite inimitable in the quantity of 

* It is quite imponible to facBimile good free work. Both Turner and. 
Harding suffer grierously in this pUte. 

' ["St Aime'i Hill (in the garden)" : the dniring is No. 229 in the NatioosL 
G&Uery. For pulicuUn sboat the Turner Bequest, see Introduction to VoL XIII.] 
> [For E. Goodsll, the eograrer, we VoL IL pp. xlii.-xliii. n.. Vol. UI. p. 300.] 

* [See Vol. I. p. as, VoL III. p. 800.] 


28. .\si..-u.IiiiiU-.ilizi-il . 

:• ': •• 

• • • 


• • •• 

• ••./ 

•• • 



Ch.v of TURNERIAN mystery 101 

life and truth obtained by about a quarter of a mm^'s 
work; but beginning to show the &ulty vagueness 'add 
carelessness of modernism. The stems, though beautifully;^.*^ 
free, are not thoroughly drawn nor rounded; and in the*/.*, 
mass of the tree, though well formed, the tremulousness **:*'.* 
and transparency of leafage are lost. Nor is it possible, 
by Harding's manner of drawing, to express such ultimate 
truths ; his execution, which, in its way, no one can at all 
equal (the best chalk drawing of Calame^ and other foreign 
masters being quite childish and feeble in compariscm), is 
yet sternly limited in its reach, being originally based on 
the assumption that nothing is to be delicately drawn, and 
that the method is only good which insures specious in- 

It will be observed, also, that there is a leaning first to 
one side, then to the other, in Harding's aspen, which 
marks the wild picturesqueness of modernism as opposed 
to the quiet but stiff dignity of the purist (Fig. 2) ; Turner 
occupying exactly the intermediate place. 

The next example (Fig. 5) is an aspen of Constable's, 
on the left in the frontispiece to Mr. Leslie's Ufe of him.* ^ 
Here we have arrived at the point of total worthlessness, 
the tree being as flat as the old purist one, but, besides, 
wholly false in ramification, idle, and undefined in every 
respect ; it being, however, just possible still to discern what 
the tree is meant for, and therefore the type of the worst 
modernism not being completely established. 

§ 20. Fig. 4 establishes this tjrpe, being the ordinary 
condition of tree treatment in our blotted water-colour 
drawings; the nature of the tree being entirely lost sight 
of, and no accurate knowledge, of any kind, possessed or 

Thus, from the extreme of definiteness and light, in the 

1 [For Alexandre Calame (1810-1864), tee VoL III. p. 449 n. ; and BiemenU ^ 
Drawing, § 128. There is a characteristic Swiis view by him in the Tate Gallerj, 
No. 1786.] 

* [The firgt, iUottrated, edition of 1843.] 

. • 




t^irttenth centuiy (the middle of the Dark Ages I), Wf^ 1 
pfi$3 to the extreme of uncertainty and darkness, in the J 

.•■^ddle of the nineteenth century. 

As, however, the definite mediaeval work has some ' 

. faults, so the indefinite modern work has some virtues, 
its very uncertainty enabling it to appeal pleasantly to 
the imagination (though in an inky manner, as described 
above, Vol. III. Chap. " '0),' and sometimes securing i 
quaUties of colour v ti i no otherwise be obtained. 

It ought, however, we Id determine its true stand- I 

ing, to be compared, not i the somewhat forced and 
narrow decision of the thine ;nth century, but with the 
perfect and well-formed decisi m of Albert Diirer and his 
fellow-workmen. For the proper representation of these 
there was no room in this plate ; so in Plate 25, above, 
on each side of the daguerreotyped towers of Fribourg, I 
have given. Fig. 1, a Diireresque, and Fig. 3 a Blottesque, 
version of the intermediate wall.* The latter version may, 
perhaps, be felt to have some pleasantness in its apparent 
ease ; and it has a practical advantage, in its capability of 
being executed in a quarter of a minute, while tlie Diirer-. 
esque statement cannot be made in less than a quarter of 
an hour. But the latter embraces not only as mudi as 
is worth the extra time, but even an infinite of contents* 
beyond and above the other, for the other is in no sin^^ 
place clear in its assertion €& anything; whereas the Diirer- 
esque work, asserting clearly many most interesting &cts 
about the grass on tiie ledges, the bricks of the windows* 
and the growth of the foliage, is for ever a useful and 
trustworthy record ; the other for ever an empty dream. 
If it is a beautiful dream, AiU of lovely colour and good 
composition, we will not quarrel with it, but it can never 
be so, unless it is founded first cm the Diireresque know- 
ledge, and suggestive of it through all its own mystery 

> [In tliii editioii, Vol. V. p. 179.] 
* [See alw above, pp. 46, 82.] 

oh,v of turnsrian mystery lOS 

or inoompleticoi. So that by all students the DOreresque 
ig the manna to be first adopted, and calmly continued 
as long as possible ; and if their inventive instincts do not» 
in uiter life, force them to swiftar or more cloudy execu- 
tikm, — ^if at any time it becomes a matter of doubt with 
them how far to surrenda their gift of accuracy,-^let them 
be assured that it is best always to err on the side of 
clearness ; to live in the illumination of the thirteenth cen- 
tury ratha than the mysticism of the nineteenth, and vow 
themselves to the cloister rather than lose themselves in the 
desert ' 

§ 21. I am afraid the reada must be tired of th» 
matter; and yet there is one questi<m more which I must 
for a moment touch upon, in conclusion, namely, tkt 
mystery of clearness itself. In an Italian twilight, wfaen^ 
sixty or eighty miles away, the ridge of the Western Alpa 
rises in its dark and serrated blue against the crystalline 
vermilion, there is still unsearchableness, but an unsearch- 
ableness without cldud or concealment, — an infinite un- 
known, but no sense of any veil or interference between 
us and it: we are separated from it, not by any anger of 
st<Hm, not by any vain and fading vapour, but only by 
the deep infinity of the thing itsel£ I find that the great 
religious paint^ rejoiced in that kind of unknowablenesSf 
and in that <Hily; and I feel that even if they had had 
all the power to do so, still they would not have put rosy 
mists and blue shadows behind their sacred figures, but 
only the far-away sky and cloudless n^untains. Probably 
the right conclusion is that the clear and cloudy mysteries 
are alUce noble; but that the beauty of the wreaths ol 
frost mist, folded ov» banks of gre^isward deep in dew^ 
and of the purple douds of evening, and the wreaths of 
fitful vapour gUding through groves of pine, and irised 
around the piUars of waterfalls, is more or less tjrpical of 
the kind of joy which we should take in the imperlert 
knowledge granted to the earthly life, while the serene 
aad doudless mysteries set forth that belonging to the 


redeemed life. But of one thing I am well assured, that 
so far as the clouds are regarded, not as concealing the 
truth of other things, but as themselves true and separate 
creations, they are not usually beheld by us with enough 
honour; we have too great veneration for cloudlessness. 
My reasons for thinking this I will give in the next chap- 
ter; here we have, I believe, examined as far as necessary 
the genei"' — -----'*s q- — "-i-i. "Puj^ej. worked, and justi- 
fied his a >tion of the x as they contradicted pre- 
ceding practice. 

It remains for us to trace ith more observant patience, 
the ground which y i u ut in the first volume ; and, 

whereas in that voiu we tily compared the truth of 
Turner with that of preceding landscapists, we shall now, 
as closely as possible, examine the range of what he him- 
self has done and felt, and the way in which it is likely 
to influence the future acts and thoughts of men. 

§ 22. And I shall attempt to do this, first, by examin- 
ing what the real effect of the things painted — clouds, or 
mountains, or whatever else they may be — is, or ought to 
be, in general, on men's mind, lowing the grounds of tiidr 
beauty or impressiveness as best I can ; and thai examining 
how far , Turner seems to have undostood these reasons ^ 
beauty, and how far his work interprts, or can take the 
place of nature. But in doing this, I shall, for the sake of 
conveniaice, alter the arrangement which I followed in the 
first volume; and instead chF examining the sky first, treat 
of it last; because, in many illustrations which I must ^ve 
of other things, I shall have to introduce j^eces of sky 
background i^ch will all be useful for reference when I 
can turn back to them from the end of the book, but which 
I could not refer to in advance without anticipating all my 
other illustrations. Nevertheless, some points which I have 
to note respecting the meaning of the sky are so intimately 
coimected with the subjects we have just been examining, 
that I cannot properly defer their consideration to another 
place ; and I shall state tiiem, therefore, in the next chapter, 

Ch.v of TURNERIAN mystery 105 

afterwards proceeding, in the order I adopted in the first 
volume, to examine the beauty ci mountains, water, and 

' [TliuB ''Truth of Skiei," diicuMed in Section iii. (chs. i.-r.) of roi. i. ii resumed 
in vol. ▼. (pt TiL ehi. i.-iT.) ; ''Thith of Earth" (fee ir. chi. L-ir. of vol. I), in 
voL iv. chs. viii.-xz. ; ''Trath of Water" (fee. v. chs. i.-iiL) was not reaumed in 
Modem Pmntert, but formed the tubject of a separate essay (7^ Harbaurt iffEn^amd^ ; 
''Truth of Vegetation" (sec vi. ch. L in voL L) is resumed in vol. v. (pt vL chs. 




§ 1. The task which we :nter upon, as explained in 

the dose of the precedii pter, is the ascertaining as 

far as possible what the pr effect of the natural beauty 

of different objects ov-gkt li ( on the human mind, and 
the degree in wliich this natun if theirs, and true influence, 
hare been understood and tra nitted by TiuTier. 

I mean to begin with th nountains, for the sake of 
convenience in illustration ; but, in the proper order of 
thought, the clouds ought to be considered first; and I 
think it will be well, in this intermediate chapter, to bring 
to a close that line of reasoning by which we have gradually, 
as I hope, strengthened the defences around the love of 
mystery which distinguishes our modem art ; and to show, 
on final and conelusive authority, what noble things these 
clouds are, and with what feeling it seems to be intended 
by their Creator that we should contemplate them. 

§ 2. The accomit given' of the stages of Creation in the 
first chapter of G«)esis> is in every respect clear and in- 
teUigible to the simplest reader, except in the statement of 
the work of the second day. I suppose that this statement 
is passed over by careless readers' without an endeavour to 

' [Tbia chftptar, with aome iniiior omHwnH (hen notad u the; occur), wa* re- 
printed M cb. u of CWi BaarrmU (ISSfi), the preflM« to which work u giren balow 
■s Appeadiz it., p. 486. For farther perliciil«n ahont it, aee Vol. III. pp. zlix., Ixii.] 
' [From here to the end of the chapter is g 26 in Fnmdai Agrmlai (1876), where at 
thU point Rnaldn added tbe foUowin^; footnote : — 

"This passage, to the end of the chapter, ia one of the laat, and best, 

which 1 wrote in Uie temper of mj jonth ; and I can ttill ratify it thua br, 

that the texta referred to in it moat either be leceired at it explains them, 

or n^leeted altogether."} 

' [In OmH fiumnti the words "without an endaarour . 

■re omitted.] 

. &ithfdl readata" 


understand it; and (xmtemplated by simple and faithful 
readers as a sublime mysteiy. which was not intended to be 
understood. But there is no mystery in any other part of 
the chapter, and it seems to me unjust to conclude that any 
was intended here. 

And the passage ought to he peculiarly interesting to 
us, as being the first in the BiUe in which the heavens are 
named, and the only one in "vdiich the word << Heaven," all 
important as that word is to our understanding of the most 
precious promises of Scripture, receives a definite explana- 

Let us, therefore, see whether, by a little careful com* 
parison of the verse with other passages in which the word 
occurs, we may not be able to arrive at as dear an under- 
standing of this portion of the chapter as of the rest 

§ 8. In the first place, the English word ** Firmament ** 
itself is obsciue and useless; because we never employ it 
but as a synonym of heaven; it conveys no other distinct 
idea to us; and the verse, though from our fiEuniliarity with 
it we imagine that it possesses meaning, has in reality no 
more point or value than if it were written, ^^God said. 
Let there be a something in the midst of the waters, and 
God called the something Heaven/' 

But the marginal reading, <* Expansion/' has definite 
value; and the statement that ''God said. Let there be an 
expansion in the midst of the waters, and Grod called the 
expansion Heaven," has an apprehensible meaning. 

§ 4. Accepting this expression as the one intended, we 
have next to ask what expansion there is, between two 
waters, describable by the term Heaven. Milton adopts the 
term ''expanse;"* but he understands it of the whdie 
vc^ume of the air which surrounds the earth. Whereas, so 

♦ ''God made 
The firmaraent, expanse of liquid, pure, 
TittDsparent, elemental air, difiuseu 
In drcuit to the uttermost convex 
Of this great round." 

— Paradise Lost, book vii. 


hi as we can tell, there is no water beyond the air, in the 
fields of space ; and the whole expression of division of 
waters from waters is thus rendered valueless. 

§ 5, Now, with respect to this whole chapter, we must 
remember always that it is intended for the instruction of 
all mankind, not for the learned reader only ; and that, 
therefore, the most simple and natural interpretation is the 
likeliest in general to h" *^^ »rue one. An unscientific 
reader knows little about nner in which the volume 

of the atmosphere surroi earth ; but I imagine that 

he could hardly glance at f when rain was falling in 

the distance, and see the v s of the bases of the cloud 

from which the shower icraided, without being able to 
attach an instant and easy i ining to the words '* Ex- 
pansion in the midst of the waters." And if, ha\'ing once 
seized this idea, he proceeded to examine it more accu- 
rately, he would perceive at once, if he had ever noticed 
an^hing of the nature of clouds, that the level line cf 
their b^es did indeed most severely and stringently divide 
" waters from waters," that is to say, divide water in its 
collective and tang^bk state, flrom water in its divided and 
aerial state; or the watov -wiuchfaU KoAflaw, frran those 
which rise and Jloat. Next, if we try this interpretation in 
the theolo^cal sense of the wcnrd Meaven, and examine 
whether the clouds are spoken of as God's dwelling-plaoe, 
we find God going before the Israelites in a pillar of 
cloud ; revealing Himsdf in a cloud on Sinai ; appearing in 
a cloud on the merey seat; filling the Temple of Solomon 
with the cloud when its dedication is accepted ; a|^>earing 
in a great cloud to Ezekiel; ascending into a eloud befiwe 
the eyes of the disciples <m Mount Olivet; and in like 
manner returning to judgment. " Behold, He cometh with 
clouds, and every eye shall see Him." "Then shall they 
see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven, with 
power and great glory."* While farther, the "clouds" 

* The reader nujr refer to the following texU, vhlch it is needleas to 
ijuote: Ezod. xlli. S*, xvl. 10, zlx. 9, xxir. 16, xxxlv. 5; Levit xvi. 2; 


and ^^ heavens" are used as interchangeable words in those 
Psahns which most distinctly set forth the power of Gk>d: 
*^He bowed the heavens also, and came down; He made 
darkness pavilions romid about Him, dark waters, and thick 
clouds of the skies." And, again: **Thy mercy, O Lord, 
is in the heavens, and Thy faithfulness reachetii imto the 
clouds." And, again: ^^His excellency is over Israel, and 
His strength is in the clouds." Again : ** The clouds poured 
out water, the skies sent out a sound, the voice of Thy 
thunder was in the heaven." Again, '* Clouds and darkness 
are round about Him, righteousness and judgment are the 
habitation of His throne ; ^ the heavens declare His righteous- 
ness, and all the people see His fflory." 

I 6. In dl ih^W.g« the nlLing i, unnrntduAk. 
if they possess defimte meaning at alL We are too apt 
to take them merely for sublime and vague imagery, and 
therefore gradually to lose the apprehension of their UPe and 
power. The expression, "He bowed the heavens," for in- 
stance, is, I suppose, received by most readers as a mag* 
nificent hyperbole, having reference to some peculiar and 
fearful manifestation of Grod's power to the writer of the 
Psalm in which the words occur. But the expression either 
has plain meaning, or it has no meaning. IJnderstand by 
the term "Heavens" the compass of infinite space around 
the earth, and the expression, "bowed the Heavens," how- 
ever sublime, is wholly without meaning ; infinite space can- 
not be bent or bowed. But imderstand by the "Heavens" 
the veil of clouds above the earth, and the expression is 
neither hyperbolical nor obscure; it is pure, plain, and ac- 
curate trutii, and it describes God, not as revealing Himself 
in any peculiar way to David, but doing what He is still 

Numb. z. 34; Ju^^es v. 4; 1 Kings viii. 10; Ezek. i. 4; Dan. viL IS; 
Matt xxiv. 80 ; 1 "niesB. iv. 17 ; Rer. L 7.« 

^ [Co mpare JBagie'i Nett, § 7> where this verse is again dted.] 

* [The other Bihle references in §§ 1-6 are Genesis i. 6, B; Ezodas ziii. 21 ; 
2 Chroniclee v. 13 ; Aets L 9 ; PSalms zWii. 9^ 11, zxzvi. 6, Iviii 34, Izxru. 17, 
18, xctU. 2-6.] 


doing before our own eyes day by day. By accepting 
the words in their simple sense, we are thus led to appre* 
hend the immediate presence of the Deity, and His purpose 
of manifesting Himself as near us whenever the storm-cloud 
stoops upon its course; while by our vague and inaccuitrf;e 
acceptance of the words we remove the idea of His presence 
hi from us, into a region which we can neither see ncnr 
know: and gradually, from the close realization of a living 
Grod Who "maketh the clouds His chariot,"^ we refine 
tmd explain ourselves into dim and distant suspicion of an 
inactive God, inhabiting inconceivable places, and fading 
into the multitudinous formalisms of the laws of nature. 

§ 7* All errors of this kind— and in the present day we 
are in constant and grievous danger of falling into them — 
arise from the originally mistaken idea that man can, '*by 
searching, find out God — find out the Almighty to per^ 
fection;"* that is to say, by help of courses of reasoning 
and accumulations of science, apprehend the nature of the 
Deity in a more exalted and more accurate manner than 
in a state of comparative ignorance; whereas it is clearly 
necessary, from the beginning to the end of time, that God*s 
way of revealing Himself to His creatures should be a 
simple way, which all those creatures may understand. 
Whether taught or untaught, whether of mean capacity or 
enlarged, it is necessary that communion with their Creator 
should be possible to all; and the admission to such com- 
munion must be rested, not on their having a knowledge 
of astronomy, but on their having a human souL In order 
to render this communion possible, the Deity has stooped 
from His throne, and has not only, in the person of the 
Son, taken upon Him the veil of our human flesh, but, in 
the person of the Father, taken upon Him the veil of our 
human thoughts, and permitted us, by His own spoken 
authority, to conceive Him simply and clearly as a loving 
Father and Friend; — a being to be walked with and 

^ [Psalmi ciy. 3 ; and tbe reference above b PiBalms zviii. 9, 11.1 
* [Job XL 7. With what Raskin here says, compare VoL V. p. 229.] 


reasoned with; to be moved by our entreaties, angered by 
our rebellion, alienated by our coldness, pleased by our 
love, and glorified by our labour; and, finally, to be beheld 
in immediate and active presence in all the powers and 
changes of creation. This conception of God, which is the 
diild*s, is evidently the only one which can be universal^ 
and therefore the only one which ybr us can be true. The 
moment that, in our pride of heart, we refuse to accept the 
condescension of the Almighty, and desire Him, instead of 
stooping to hold our hands, to rise up before us into His 
glory, — ^we hoping that by standing on a grain of dust or 
two of human knowledge higher than our fellows, we may 
bdiold the Creator as He rises, — God takes us at our word ; 
He rises, into His own invisible and inconceivable majesty; 
He goes forth upon the wajrs which are not our wajrs, and 
retires into the thoughts which are not our thoughts; and 
we are left alone. And presently we say in our vain hearts, 
^•There is no God.*** 

§ 8. I would desire^ therefore, to receive Gkxl's account 
of His own creation as under the ordinary limits of human 
knowledge and imagination it would be received by a 
simple-minded man; and finding that the '^ heavens and 
the earth" are spoken of always as having something like 
equal relation to each other (*Hhus the heavens and the 
euth were finished, and all the host of them'''), I reject at 
once all idea of the term *' Heavens'* being intended to 
signify the infinity of space inhabited by countless wwlds;' 
for between those infinite heavens and the particle of sand, 
which not the earth only, but the sun itself, with all the 
solar sjTstem, is in relation to them, no relation of equality 
or comparison could be inferred. But I suppose the heavens 

* rifftiah It. 8 (quoted affain in Modem PakUere, voL r. pt ix. ek. i. | 14); 

< [Gmmis iL 1.] 

* [In Cb0|{ ll^Mwtwil Rnakin allered thk MMM^ 

** , , , inhftbitad hy oountlaH sand, with which apaee, though wo moasored 
not the earth only, but the enn itaall^ with all the solw ty^em, no relation 
of equality . . ."J 



to mean that part of creation which holds equal companion- 
ship with our globe; 1 understand the "rolling of those 
heavens together as a scroll"' to be an equal and relative 
destruction with the " melting of the elements in fervent 
heat : " * and I understand the making of the firmament to 
signify that, so far as man is concerned, most magnificent 
ordinance of the clouds; — -the ordinance, that as the great 
plain of waters was formed on the face of the earth, so also 
a plain of waters sho i itretched along the height of 

air, and the face of the nswer the face of the ocean ; 

and that this upper and ly plain should be of waters, 

as it were, glorified in ure, no longer quenching the 

fire, but now bearing T their own bosoms ; no longer 

murmuring only when s raise them or rocks divide,* 

but answering each oiner \..^i their own voices from pole 
to pole ; no longer restrained by established shores, and 

'*' Qiinpare also Job xxxvi. 29, " The spreftding of the clouds, and the 
noise of His tabemacU;" and xsxviii. 33, "Knowest thou the ordinances of 
heaven ? canst thou set the dominion thereof in the earth ? canst thou lift up 
thy voice to the clouds ? " 

Observe that in the passage of Addison's well-known hymn — 
"The spacious 6mianient on high. 
With all the blue, ethereal sky, 
And spangled heavens, a shining frame. 
Their great Original proclaim " — 

the writer has clearly the true distinctions in his mind ; he does not use his 
words, as we too often accept them, in vain tautology. By the tpaciotis Uriiui- 
ment he means the clouds, using the word spacious to mark the true meaning 
of the Hebrew term : the blue ethereal sky is the real air or ether, blue above 
the clouds ; the heavens are the starry space, for which he uses this word, less 
accurately, indeed, than the others, but as the only one available for his 

■ I Isaiah ixxiv. 4 ; 2 Peter iii. 10.] 

' [On till* pM8age,aad tiie followiiiK one "no longer reatrained," etc., we Rnakiu's 

te in the Pre&oe to Coeh Enarranl, below, p. 486. The MS. Aaw that the pasaag* 

a much revised. It originally read : — 

" . . . no longer murmuring only when the wind has moved them or roek 
has divided, but answering each other from pole to pole ; no longer bonnd 
by banks of sand, and guided by uncluuiaing ohannela, bat going forth >t 
their pleasure like the armie* of the angefa, and choodng their abodes upon 
the heights of the hills ; no longer hurried downward* with perpetual ndl, 
nor darkened in the accumalatlonB of the ■onndlcM abyea . . . ] 


guided through uncdianguig channels, but going forth at 
thdu: pleasure like the armies of the angels, and choosing 
their encunpments upon the heights of the hills ; no longer 
hurried downwards for ever, moving but to foU, nor lost 
in the lig^tless accumulation of the abyss, but covering the 
east and west with the waving of their wings, and robing 
the gloom of the farther infinite with a vesture of divers 
ccdours/ of which the threads are purple and scarlet, and tlie 
embroideries flame. 

§ 9. This, I believe, is the ordinance of the firmament;* 
and it seems to me that in the midst of the material near* 
ness of these heavens God means us to admowledge His 
own immediate presence as visiting, judging, and Messing 
us. ''The earth shook, the heavens also dropped, at the 
presence of Gkxl.''* **He doth set His bow in the cloud," 
and thus renews, in the soimd of every drooping swathe of 
rain. His promises of everlasting love. ''In them hath He 
set a tabenmcle for the sim;** whose burning ball, which 
without the firmament would be seen but as an intolerable 
and scorching circle in the blackness of vacuity, is by that 
firmament surrounded with gorgeous service, and tempered 
by mediatorial ministries; by the firmament of clouds the 
golden pavement is spread for his chariot wheels at morn- 
ing; by the firmament of clouds the temple is built for his 
presence to fill with light at noon; by the firmament of 
clouds the purple veil is closed at evening round the sanc- 
tuary of his rest ; by the mists of the firmament his implac- 
able light is divided, and its separated fierceness appeased 
into the soft blue that fills the depth of distance with its 
bloom, and the flush with which the mountains bum as 
they drink the overflowing of the dayspring. And in this 
tabernacling of the unendurable sun with men, through the 
shadows of the firmament, God would seem to set forth 



2 Samuel ziiL 18.] 

'On the ordinance of the firmament^ compare Fon Clavigera, Letter 46.] 
' [Pftahns Ixviii. 8. The other Bible references in § are Geneiia iz. 13 ; 
Ptalms xiz. 4 ; Matthew r. 34, 36, ri. ; Lake xi. 2.] 

VI. H 



the stooping of His own majesty to men, upon the throne 
of the firmament. As the Creator of all the worlds, and 
the Inhabiter of eternity, we cannot behold Him ; but, 
as the Judire of the earth and the Preserver of men. 

those heavens are inde 
neither by heaven, 
for it is His footsto 
of fruitful shower ai 
of silver palaces bi a 
moaning winds and th 
coloured robe and clc 
hearts the acceptance, ( 
simple words, " Our I 

dwelling-place. "Swear not, 

d's throne ; nor by the earth, 

all those passings to and fro 

shade, and all those visions 

the horizon, and voices of 

ig thunders, and glories of 

are but to deepen in our 

inctness, and dearness of the 

I tiich art in heaven." 



§ 1. Having thus arrived at some apprehension of the 
true meaning and noble offices of the clouds, we leave 
farther inquiry into their aspects to another time, and 
follow the fixed arrangement of our subject; first, to the 
crests of the mountains. Of these also, having seen in our 
review of ancient and modem landscape various strange 
dijBPerences in the way men looked upon them, it will be 
well in the outset to ascertain, as far as may be, the true 
meaning and office. 

The words which marked for us the purpose of the 
clouds are followed inunediately by those notable ones: — 

'^And God said. Let the waters which are under the 
heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the 
dry land appear." * 

We do not, pertiaps, often enough consider the deep 
significance of this sentence. We are too apt to receive it 
as the description of an event vaster only in its extent, not 
in its nature, than the compelling the Red Sea to draw 
back, that Israel might pass by. We imagine the Deity 
in like manner rolling the waves of the greater ocean to- 
gether on an heap, and setting bars and doors to them 

^ [This ehapter— be^ning at ''We do not, perhajM, ofteo enough eoDiider" — 
wms reprinted at ch. iL of ^ MmUibui SaneHs (Fbrt ii., 1886), being ""Stadies of 
Mountain Form and of ita Visible Cauaee," for which work lee again VoL IIL 
pp. xliz., LcdL The preface to the work haa been giren in Appendix iV. in VoL III. 
]>. 678. The notes in the reprint of 1886 are giren here in their placet beneath 
the text, beinff diatingaithed oy the addition of that date. A poetKript, alio then 
added to the auMtBTj^jM giren on p. 127J 

* [Gencaia i. 9. The other Bible remreneea in § 1 are Exodna xir. 22, and Psalma 

XCT. 6.1 



But tiutc is a &r deeper meaning thao thb in the 
solemn words of Genesis, and in the correspoodait vase 
of the Psakn, " His liands prepared the dry land." Up 
to that moment the earth had been ivud, for it had been 
•without ffjrm. The command that the waters should be 
gathered was the command that the earth should be sculp- 
tured. The sea was not driven to his place in suddenly 
restrained reb»"''in, **"t «^ti"*«™Ti to his place in perfect 
and patient ob e. y land appeared, not in 

level sands, : iges, which those surges 

might again ex b; but in range bej'ond 

range of sw( I rock, for ever to claiin 

kindred with tne fun be companiooed by the 

clouds of heaven. 

§ 2. What space of time was in reality occupied by the 
'* day " of Genesis, is .. not, at present, of any importance for 
us to consider. By what furnaces of fire the adamant was 
melted, and by what wheels of earthquake it was torn, and 
by what teeth of glacier* and weight of sea-waves it was 
engraven and finished into its perfect form, we may perhaps 
hereafter endeavour to conjecture; but here, as in few- 
words the work is summed by the historian, so in few 
broad thoughts it should be comprehended by us; and as 
we read the mighty sentence, " Let the dry land appear," 
we should try to follow the finger of God, as it engraved 
upon the stone tables of the earth the letters and the law of 
its everlasting form ; as, gulf by gulf, the channels of the 
deep were ploughed; and, cape by cape, the lines were 
traced, with Di\Tne foreknowl^ge, of the shores that were 
to limit the nations; and, chain by chain, the mountain 
walls were lengthened forth, and their foundations fastened 

* Though I had already learned from James Forbea the laws of glacier 
motion, I still fancied that ice could drive embedded blocks and wear down 
rock liurfaces. See, for correction of this error, ArroKt of the Chace, vol. i. 
pp. 3^5^273, and Deucalion, passim.* [IS85.] 

■ [The letters in Arroict of the Chace (lUttO) were addrecsed to The Reader in iaR4. 
In thii edition they are ineladed, with othen on getJo^cal quMtioaa, in th« volnnw 

ciiriUmifig lMucaJi«n.'\ ■ ■ 


for ever; and the compass was set upon the face of the 
depth, and the fields, and the highest part of the dust of 
the world were made; and the right hand of Christ first 
strewed the snow on Lebanon, and smoothed the slopes of 

§ 8. It is not, I repeat, always needful, in many respects 
it is not possible, to conjecture the manner, or the time, 
in which this work was done ; but it is deeply necessary for 
all men to consider the magnificence of the accomplished 
purpose, and the depth of the wisdom and love which are 
manifested in the ordinances of the hills. For observe, 
in order to bring the world into the form which it now 
bears, it was not mere sculpture that was needed ; the moun- 
tains could not stand for a day unless they were formed of 
materials altogether different from those which constitute 
the lower hills, and the surfaces of the valleys. A harder 
substance had to be prepared for every mountain chain; 
yet not so hard but that it might be capable of crumbling 
down into earth fit to nourish the Alpine forest and the 
Alpine flower; not so hard but that, in the midst of the 
utmost majesty of its enthroned strength, there should be 
seen on it the seal of death, and the writing of the same 
sentence that had gone forth against the human frame, 
''Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return."^ And 
with this perishable substance the most majestic forms were 
to be framed that were consistent with the safety of man ; 
and the peak was to be lifted, and the cliff rent, as high 
and as steeply as was possible, in order yet to permit the 
shepherd to feed his flocks upon the slope, and the cottage 
to nestle beneath their shadow. 

§ 4. And observe, two distinct ends were to be accom- 
plished in the doing this. It was, indeed, absolutely neces- 
sary that such eminences should be created, in order to fit 

* '' Surely the mountain falling cometh to nought, and the rock ii 
removed out of hit place. The waters wear the stones ; thou washest away 
the things which grow out of the dust of the earth ; and thou destroyest the 
hope of man." — Job xir. 18, 19* 


the earth in anywise for human habitation ; for without 
mountains the air could not be purified, nor the flowing 
of the rivers sustained, and the earth must have become 
for the most part desert plain or stagnant marsh. But the 
feeding of the rivers and the purifying of the winds are the 
least of the services appointed to the hills. To fiU the 
thirst of the human heart for the beauty of God's working, 

— to startle '*"■ '"*' ' — '*^ *^': deep and pure agitation 

of astonishmei : :r missions. They are as 

a great and no^* ai first giving shelter, com- 

fort, and rest ; a co vith mighty sculpture and 

painted legend, i to examine in their con- 

nected system f even the most ordinary moun- 

tain scenery, without c j that it has been prepared 

in order to unite as far as possible, and in the closest com- 
pass, every means of delighting and sanctifying the heart 
of man. "As far as possible;" that is, as far as is consis- 
tent with the fulfilment of the sentence of condemnation 
on the whole earth. Death must be upon the hills; and 
the cruelty of the tempests smite them, and the briar and 
thorn spring up upon them : but they so smite, as to bring 
their rocks into the fairest forms ; and so spring, as to 
make the very desert blossom as the rose.' Even among 
our own hills of Scotland and Cumberland, though often 
too barren to be perfectly beautiful, and always too low to 
be perfectly subUme, it is strange how many deep sources 
of delight are gathered into the compass of their glens and 
vales ; and how, down to the most secret cluster of their 
far-away flowers, and the idlest leap of their straying stream- 
lets, the whole heart of Nature seems thirsting to give, and 
still to give, shedding forth her everlasting beneficence with 
a profusion so patient, so passionate, that our utmost ob- 
servance and thankfulness are but, at last, neglect of h 
nobleness, and apathy to her love. But among the true 
mountains of the greater orders the Divine purpose of ap- 
peal at once to all the &culties of the human spirit becomes 

> [Isaiah xxir. 1.] 


still more manifest. Inferior hills ordinarily interrupt, in 
some degree, the richness of the valleys at their feet; the 
grey downs of southern England, and treeless coteaux of 
central France, and grey * swells of Scottish moor, whatever 
peculiar charm they may possess in themselves, are at least 
destitute of those which belong to the woods and fields of 
the lowlands. But the great moimtains lift the lowlands on 
their sides. Let the reader imagine, first, the appearance of 
the most varied plain of some richly cultivated country ; let 
him imagine it dark with graceful woods, and soft with 
deepest pastures ; let him fill the space of it, to the utmost 
horizon, with innumerable and chan^^eful incidents of seenery 
and life; leading pleasant streamlets through its meadows, 
strewing clusters of cottages beside their banks, tracing sweet 
footpaths through its avenues, and animating its fields with 
happy flocks, and slow wandering spots of cattle ; and when 
he has weflried himself with endless imagining, and left no 
space without some loveliness of its own, let him conceive all 
this great plain, with its infinite treasures of natural beauty 
and happy human life, gathered up in God's hands from one 
edge of the horizon to the other, like a woven garment; 
and shaken into deep fedling folds, as the robes droop from 
a king's shoulders ; all its bright rivers leaping into cataracts 
along the hollows of its fall, and all its forests rearing them- 
selves aslant against its slopes, as a rider rears himself back 
when his horse plunges; and all its villages nestling them- 
selves into the new windings of its glens; and all its pas- 
tures thrown into steep waves of greensward, dashed with 
dew along the edges of their folds, and sweeping down into 
endless slopes, with a cloud here and there Ijring quietly, 
half on the grass, half in the air; and he will have as yet, 
in all this lifted world, only the foundation of one of the 
great Alps. And whatever is lovely in the lowland scenery 
becomes lovelier in this change: the trees which grew 
heavily and stiffly from the level line of plain assume strange 

* [The rtpetitioii of the word **gnf" wis probftblj a printer'f error, which 
ped the author's notice. The MS. reedi " manj."] 


curves of strength and grace as they bend themselves against 
the mountain side; they breathe more freely, and toss their 
branches more carelessly as each climbs higher, looking to 
the clear light above the topmost leaves of its brother tree: 
the flowers which on the arable plain fell before the plough, 
now find out for themselves unapproachable places, where 
year by year they gather into happier fellowship, and fear 
no evil ; ' and the stream" ^•'I'i"^' in the level land crept in 
dark eddies by unwholes iks, now move in showers 

of silver, and are ch jainbows, and bring health 

and life wherever the net heir waves can reach. 

§ 5. And althoi s I seems at first, in its wild- 

ness, inconsistent with the service of man, it is, in fact, 
more necessary to his happy existence than all the level 
and easily subdued land which he rejoices to possess. It 
seems almost an insult to the reader's intelligence to ask 
him to dwell {as if they could be doubted) on the uses of 
the hills ; and yet so little, until lately, have those uses 
been understood, that, in the seventeenth century, one of the 
most enlightened of the rehgious men of his day (Fleming*), 
himself a native of a mountain country, casting about for 
some reason to explain to himself the existence of moun- 
tains, and prove their harmony with the general peifectness 
of the providential government of creation, can Ught upon 
this reason only, " They are inhabited by the beasts." 

§ 6. It may not, tlierefore, even at this day, be alto- 

S^^her profitless or unnecessary to review briefly 

natintaifu. To the nature of the three great offices which nioun- 

fo"^'^"*" ^" ranges are appointed to fulfil, in order to 

preserve the health and increase the happiness 

of mankind. 

(I.) Their first use is of course to give motion te 

I rraaloit xsiii. 4.] 

' [Robert Fleming (tlia elder, 1690-1684), author of The Pu^jig ^ the Scriplura. 
At p. 133 of the ed. of 1726, in the coorM of ma ttrpaaeat on " tfa« marvelloua ordMf 
of nature and diapoul of the works of God under the •no," it ii Mid " the mouDtaiiw 
and high pUcM do not m&r iti beMitj, nor want tkeir dm, where the beeati )wv« 
a shelter provided." The remark i* cjuotod again below, p. 42JS.} 

« .V 




(fiiesh) water. Every fountain and river, from the inch- 
deep streamlet that crosses the village lane in trembling 
clearness, to the massy and silent march of the everlasting 
multitude of waters in Amazon or Ganges, owe their play, 
and purity, and power, to the ordained elevations of the 
earth. Grentle or steep, extended or abrupt, some deter- 
mined dope of tiie earth's surface is of course necessary, 
before any wave can so much as overtake one sedge in its 
pilgrimage; and how seldom do we enough consider, as 
we walk beside the margins of our pleasant brooks, how 
beautiful and wonderful is that ordinance, of which every 
blade of grass that waves in their clear water is a per- 
petual sign; that the dew and rain fallen on the face of 
the earth shall find no resting-place ; shall find, on the con« 
trary, fixed channels traced for them, from the ravines of 
the central crests down which they roar in sudden ranks 
of foam, to the dark hollows beneath the banks of lowland 
pasture, round which they must circle slowly among the 
stems and beneath the leaves of the lilies; — ^paths prepared 
for them, by which, at some appointed rate of journey, 
they must evermore desc^id, sometimes slow and some- 
times swift, but never pausing; the daily portion of the 
earth they have to glide over marked for them at each 
successive sunrise, the place which has known them know- 
ing them no more,^ and the gateways of guarding moimtains 
opened for them in cleft and chasm, none letting them 
in their pilgrimage; and, from a£Eu- ofi^, the great heart of 
the sea calling them to itself! Deep calleth unto deep. I 
know not which of the two is the more wonderful, — that 
calm, gradated, invisible slope of the champaign land, which 
gives motion to the stream ; * or that passage cloven for 

* Only true on a Urge scale. I have perhaps not allowed enough for 
the mere secession of flowing water, supplying the evaporation of the sea, 
whether the plains be level or not ; — it must find its way to the place where 
there it a £dl, as throogh a mUl-pond to the weir. [1885.] 

1 [Ptahns dlL 16 ; and, below, zlii. 7.] 


it through the ranks of hill, which, necessary for the health 
of the land immediately around them, would, yet, unless 
so supematurally divided, have fatally intercepted the flow 
of the waters from far-oft' countries. When did the great 
spirit of the river first knock at those adamantine gates ? 
When did the porter open to it, and cast his keys away 
for ever, lapped in whirling sand ? I am not satisfied — 
no one should be sa*^"*^*^ _™;*Vi that vague answer, — the 
river cut its way. Not s river found its way.* I 

do not see that rivers, wn strength, can do much 

in cutting their way ; ' ,re nearly as apt to choke 

their channels up, as to carve them out. Only give a river 
some httle sudden power in a valley, and see how it will 
use it. Cut itself a bed ? Not so, by any means, but fiU 
up its bed, and look for another, in a wild, dissatisfied, 
inconsistent manner. Any way, rather than the old one, 
will better please it ; and even if it is banked up and 
forced to keep to the old one, it will not deepen, but do 
all it can to raise it, and leap out of it. And although, 
wherever water has a steep fall, it will swiftly cut itself 
a bed deep into the rock or ground, it will not, when the 
rock is hard, cut a wider channel than it actually needs; 
so that if the existing river beds, through ranges of moun- 
tain, had m reality been cut by the streams, they would 
be found, wherever the rocks are hard, only in the form of 
narrow and profound ravines, — like the well-known channel 
of the Niagara below the fall ; not m that of extended 
valleys. And the actual work of true mountain rivers, 

* It is very deligbtful to me, — at least to the proud spirit in me, — to 
find myself thus early perceiving aod clearly announcing a fact of which 
modern freology is still incognizant; see the postscript to this chupter, [1885.1 

' [The greater portion of tbia chapter it § 92 in FYondet AgreHet (1871), wIp 
at this point Rnakin added the foUoiriiig footnote : — 

"I attach great importance to the remaining contenta of tUs DMi 
and have bad occaiion to inaiat on them at great length in raoent laet 
at Oxford." 
The reference ia to the lecturea on glacien delivered at Oxford la Miehaelmaa Tsra 
1874, and partly ntiliwd In Dweathn (aee oh. U.).] 

ChVII the dry land 128 

though often much greater in proportion to their body of 
water than that of the Niagara, is quite insignificant when 
compared with the area and depth of the valleys through 
which they flow ; so that, although in many cases it appears 
that those larger valleys have been excavated at earlier 
periods by more powerful streams, or by the existing stream 
in a more powerftil condition, still the great fact remains 
always equally plain, and equally admirable, that, whatever 
the nature and duration of the agencies employed, the 
earth was so shaped at first as to direct the currents of 
its rivers in the manner most healthy and convenient for 
man. The valley of the Rhone may, though it is not 
likely, have been in great part excavated in early time 
by torrents a thousand times larger than the Rhone; but 
it could not have been excavated at all, unless the moun- 
tains had been thrown at first into two chains, between 
which the torrents were set to work in a given direction. 
And it is easy to conceive how, under any less beneficent 
dispositions of their masses of hill, the continents of the 
earth might either have been covered with enormous lakes, 
as parts of North America actually are covered: or have 
become wildernesses of pestiferous marsh; or lifeless plains, 
upon which the water would have dried as it fell, leaving 
them for great part of the year desert Such districts do 
exist, and exist in vastness : the whole earth is not prepared 
for the habitation of man; only certain small portions are 
prepared for him, — ^the houses, as it were, of the human 
race, firom which they are to look abroad upon the rest 
of the world, not to wonder or complain that it is not 
all house, but to be grateful for the kindness of the admir- 
able building, in the house itself, as compared with the 
rest. It would be as absurd to think it an evil that all 
the world is not fit for us to inhabit, as to think it an 
evil that the globe is no larger than it is. As much as 
we shall ever need is evidently assigned to us for our 
dwelling-place; the rest, covered with rolling waves or 
drifting sands, fretted with ice or crested with fire, is set 




I] before us for contemplation in an uninhabitable magnifi- 

cence ; and that part which we are enabled to inhabit owes 
its fitness for human life chiefly to its mountain ranges, 
which, throwing the superfluous rain ofi* as it falls, collect 
it in streams or lakes, and guide it into given places, and 
in given directions; so that men can build their cities in 
the midst of fields which they know will be always fer- 
tile, and establish the lines of their commerce upon streams 
which wiU not fail 

§ 7. Nor is this giving of motion to water to be con- 
sidered as confined only to the surface of the earth. A no 
less important function of the hills is in directing the flow 
of the fountains and springs, from subterranean reservoirs. 
There is no miraculous springing up of water out of the 
ground at our feet; but every fountain and well is supplied 
from a reservoir among the hills, so placed as to involve 
some slight fall or pressure, enough to secure the constant 
flowing of the stream. And the incalculable blessing of 
the power given to us in most valleys, of reaching by 
excavation some point whence the water will rise to the 
surfEice of the ground in perennial flow, is entirely owing 
to the concave disposition of the beds of clay or rock 
raised from beneath the bosom of the valley into ranks of 
enclosing hills. 

§ 8. (II.) The second great use of mountains is to main- 
Second um, ^^^^ ^ Constant change in the ciurrents and nature 
ih give motion of the oir. Such change would, of course, have 
^^^^' been partly caused by difierenoes in soils and 

vegetation, even if the earth had been level; but to a far 
less extent than it is now by the chains of hills, which, 
exposing on one side their masses of rock to the fiill heat 
of the sun (increased by the angle at which the rays strike 
on the slope), and on the other casting a soft shadow for 
leagues over the plains at their feet, divide the earth not 
only into districts, but into climates,^ and cause perpetual 

* This second division of my subject, compressed into one paragraph. Is 
treated with curious insufficiency. See again postscript to this chapter. [1885.] THE DRY LAND 1S5 

currents of air to traverse their passes, and ascend or 
descend their ravines, altering both the temperature and 
nature of the air as it passes, in a thousand different ways ; 
moistening it with the spray of their waterfalls, sucking it 
down and beating it hither and thither in the pools of 
their torrents, closing it within clcSfts and caves, where the 
sunbeams never reach, till it is as cold as November mists, 
then sending it forth again to breathe softly across the 
slopes of velvet fields, or to be scorched among sunburnt 
shales and grassless crags: thexi drawing it back in moan- 
ing swirls through clefts of ice, and up into dewy wreaths 
above the snow-fields; then placing it with strange electric 
darts and flashes of mountain fire, and tossing it high in 
fantastic storm-cloud, as the dried grass is tossed by the 
mower, only suffering it to depart at last, when chastened 
and pure, to refiresh the faded air of the far-off plains. 

§ 9. (III.) The third great use of mountains is to cause 
perpetual change in the ^oils of the earth, j^^,^ 
Without such provision the ground under culti- To give eha9i§e 
vation would in a series of years become ex- *^'*^^^*'^- 
hausted, and require to be upturned laboriously by the hand 
of man. But tixe elevations of the earth's surfSoce iMx>vide 
for it a perpetual renovation. The higher nK>untains suffer 
their summits to be broken into fragments and to be cast 
down in sheets of massy rock, fiill, as we shall see pre- 
sently, of every substance necessary for the nourishment 
of plants: these fallen fragmaits are again broken by frost, 
and vground by tonrents, into various conditi<Mis of sand 
and clay — ^materials which are distributed perpetually by 
the streams farther and farther from the mountain's base. 
Every shower which swells the rivulets enables their waters 
to carry certain portions of earth into new positions, and 
exposes new banks of ground to be mined in their turn. 
That turbid foaming of the angry water, — ^that tearing 
down of bank and rock along the flanks of its fiiry, — are 
no disturbances of the kind course of nature; they are 
beneficent operations of laws necessary to the existence of 






man and to the beauty of the earth. The process is con- 
tinued more gently, but not less effectively, over all the 
surface of the lower imdulating country; and each filtering 
thread of summer rain which trickles through the short 
turf of the uplands is bearing its own appointed burden oi 
earth to be thrown down on some new natural garden in 
the dingles below. 

And it is not, in reality, a degrading, but a true, large, 
and ennobling view of the mountain ranges of the world, 
if we compare them to heaps of fertile and fresh earth, laid 
up by a prudent gardener beside his garden beds, whence, 
at intervals, he casts on them some scattering of new and 
virgin ground. That which we so often lament as convul- 
sion or destruction is nothing else than the momentarji 
shaking of the dust from the spade.^ The winter floods, 
which inflict a temporary devastation, bear with them the 
elements of succeeding fertility; the fruitful field is covered 
with sand and shingle in momentary judgment, but in en- 
during mercy; and the great river, which chokes its moutli 
with marsh, and tosses terror along its shore, is but scatter- 
ing the seeds of the harvests of futurity, and preparing the 
seats of unborn generations. 

§ 10. I have not spoken of the local and peculiar utilities 
of mountains; I do not count the benefit of the supply of 
summer streams from the moors of the higher ranges,— of 
the various medicinal plants which are nested among their 
rocks, — of the delicate pasturage which they frimish for 
cattle, t — of the forests in which they bear timber for 
shipping, — ^the stones they supply for building, or the ores 
of metal which they collect into spots open to discovery , 
and easy for working. All these benefits are of a secondary 
or a limited nature. But the three great frmctions which 

* I should call it a good deal else, now 1 but must leave the text un- 
touched; beings in its statements of pure fact, — putting its theology aside 
for the moment,— quite one of the best pieces I have ever done. [1885.1 

t The higheH pasturages (at least so say the Savoyards) being alwajfi 
the best and richest 

ChVII the dry land 127 

I have just described, — ^those of giving motion and change 
to water, air, and earth, — ^are indispensable to human exist- 
ence; they are operations to be r^arded with as full a 
depth of gratitude as the laws which bid the tree bear 
£ndt, or the seed multiply itself in the earth. And thus 
those desolate and threatening ranges of dark mountain, 
which, in nearly all ages of the world, men have looked 
upon with aversion or with terror, and shrunk back from 
as if they were haunted by perpetual images of death, are, 
in reality, sources of life and happiness far fuller and more 
beneficent than all the bright friiitfiilnesses of the plain. 
The valleys only feed; the mountains feed, and guard, and 
strengthen us. We take our ideas of fearfiilness and sub- 
limity alternately from the mountains and the sea; but we 
associate them unjustly. The sea wave, with all its bene- 
ficence, is yet devouring and terrible; but the silent wave 
of the blue mountain is lifted towards heaven in a stillness 
of perpetual mercy ; and the one surge, imfiathomable in its 
darkness, the other, unshaken in its faithfulness, for ever 
bear the seal of their appointed symbolism : 

** Thy Justice is like the great mountains : 
Thy judgments are a great deep.** * 


The subject of erosion by water, referred to in tlie note at p. 122, is 
treated of at length in the 12th chapter of Deucalion, of which the con- 
clusions may be summed in the warning to young geologists not to suppose 
that because Shanklin Chine was " chined " by its centml gutter, therefore 
Salisbury Craigs were cut out by the Water of Leithi — Ingleborough by 
the Ribble, or Monte Rosa by the Rhone. 

The subject has since been fiuther illustrated hy the admirable draw- 
ings and sections given by Mr. Collingwood in his Lmedone Alps of Savqjf, 

The paragraph at p. 124 is chieflyi and enormously, defective in speaking 
only of the changes effected by mountains in the nature of air, and not 
following out their good offices in lifting the mountaineer nations to live 
in the air they puri^, or rise into, already pure. 

^ [Psalms xxxvi a] 







§ 1. In the early days of geological science, the substance 
which composed the crust of the earth, as far as it cauli 
be examined, were supposed to be referable to three distinc 
classes: the first consisting of rocks which not only sup 
ported aU the rest, but from which aU the rest were derived 
therefore called ** Primary **; the second class consisting o 
rock formed of the broken fragments or altered substano 
of the primary ones, therefore called ** Secondary " ; and 
thirdly, rocks or earthy deposits formed by the ruins an^ 
detritus of both primary and secondary rocks, called there 
fore '* Tertiary.** This classification was always, in som< 
degree, uncertain; and has been lately superseded by mon 
complicated systems, founded on the character of the fossiL 
contained in the various deposits, and on the circumstance 
of position, by which their relative ages are more accuratel] 
ascertainable. But the original rude classification, though 
of little, if any, use for scientific purposes, was based oi 
certain broad and conspicuous phenomena, which it broughi 
clearly before the popular mind. In this way it may stil 
be serviceable, and ought, I think, to be permitted to retail 
its place, as an introduction to systems more defined an< 

* I am still entirely of this opinion. See postscript to chapter. 11i€S< 
opening paragraphs are to my mind extremely well put, and should be reai 
to young people by their tutors as an introduction to geological study, 
have here and there retouched a loose sentence, and leave them as good a 
I could do now. [1885.] 

^ [§§ ^"^ of ^^ chapter formed, with some minor alterations, eh. iii. of ^ 
Mtmtibtu Sanctis (Part ii.). The notes there added are giren below tiie text; a posl 
script, there added, is giren at p. 144.] 


glviii compact crystallines 1» 

§ 2. Far the &ct is, that in approaching any large 
mountain range, the ground over whidi the spectaUnr passes, 
if he examine it with any intelligence, will almost always 
arrange itself in his mind under three great heads. Therc 
will be, first, the ground of the plains or valleys he is 
about to quit, composed of sand, clay, gravel, rolled stones, 
and variously mingled soils; which, when there is op- 
portunity, — at the banks of a stream, or the sides of a 
railway cutting, — ^to examine to any depth, he will find 
arranged in beds exactly resembling those of modem sand- 
banks or sea-beaches, and appearing to have hew formed 
under natural laws such as are in operation daily around us. 
At the outskirts of the hill district, he may, perhaps, find 
considerable eminences, formed of these beds of loose gravel 
and sand; but, as he enters into it farther, he will soon 
discover the hills to be composed of some harder substance, 
properly deserving the name of rock, sustaining itself in 
picturesque forms, and appearing, at first, to owe both its 
hardness and its outlines to the action of laws such as do 
not hold at the present day. He can easily explain the 
nature, and account for the distribution, of the banks which 
overhang the lowland road, or of the dark earthy deposits 
which enrich the lowland pasture; but he cannot so dis- 
tinctly imagine how the limestone hills of Derbyshire and 
Yorkshire were hardened into their stubborn whiteness, or 
raised into their cavernous difis. Still, if he carefully ex- 
amines the substance of these more noble rocks, he will, in 
nine cases out of ten, discover them to be composed of fine 
calcareous dust, or closely united particles of sand ; and will 
be ready to accept as possible, or even probable, the sug- 
gestion of their having been formed, by slow deposit, at the 
bottom of deep lakes and ancient seas, and then gradu- 
ally consolidated under such laws of Nature as are still in 

§ 8. But, as he advances yet fturther into the hill district, 
he finds the rocks around him assuming a gloomier and 
more majestic condition. Their tint darkens; their outlines 

VI. I 





} become wild and irr^^ular; and whereas before they ha 

only appeared at the roadside in narrow ledges among tfa 
turf» or glanced out from among the thickets above tfa 
brooks in white walls and fantastic towers, they now res 
themselves up in solemn and shattered masses £Eir and neai 
softened, indeed, with strange harmony of clouded^ colour 
but possessing the whole scene with their iron spirit; an 
rising, in all probability, into eminences as much prouder i 
actual elevation than those of the intermediate rocks, fl 
more powerful in their distributive influence over ever 
minor feSture of the landscape. 

§ 4. And when the traveller proceeds to observe close! 
the materials of which these nobler ranges are composes 
he finds also a complete change in their internal structiun 
They are no longer formed of delicate sand or dust — eac 
particle of that dust the same as every oth», and the who] 
mass depending for its hardness merely on their closelj 
cemented unity ; but they are now formed of several distinc 
substances, visibly unlike each other; and not pressed, bv 
crystallized into one mass, — crystallized into a unity fiEur moi 
perfect than that of the dusty limestone, but yet withou 
the least mingling of their several natures with each othe 
Such a rock, freshly broken, has a spotty, granulated, am 
in almost all instances, sparkling, appearance; it requires 
much harder blow to break it than the limestone or sand 
stone; but, when once thoroughly shattered, it is easy t 
separate from each ottker the various substances of which i 
is composed, and to examine them in their individual grain 
or crystals ; of which each variety will be found to have 
different degree of hardness, a difierent shade of colour, 
difierent character of form, and a difierent chemical con 

* *' CUmied " referring to the peculiar softness and richness of the dai 
lichens on many primitive rocks, as opposed to the whiteness or grej yello 
of manj among the secondaries. '' Irtm spirit/' just after, meaning a strengl 
having the toughness of iron in it, unassailable; but I find with pleaaai 
surprise in extremely "old English" geology, a large family of these rod 
ealied "siderous/* from the quantity of latent iron they contain. [1885.] COMPACT CRYSTALLINES 181 

But this examination will not liable the observer to 
comprehend the method either of their formation or aggre* 
gation, at least by any process such as he now sees taking 
place around him ; he will at once be driven to admit that 
some strange and powerful operation has taken place upcm 
these rocks, different from any of which he is at present 

§ 5. Now, although these three great groups of rocks do 
indeed often pass into each other by imperceptible grada- 
tions, and although their peculiar aspect is never a severe 
indication of their relative ages, yet their characters are for 
the most part so defined as to make a strong impression 
on the mind of an ordinary observer ; and their age is also 
for the most part approximately indicated by their degrees 
of hardness, and crystalline aspect. It does, indeed, some- 
times t happen that a soft and slimy day will pass into a 
rock like Aberdeen granite by transitions so subtle that no 
point of separation can be determined; and it very often 
happens that rocks like Aberdeen granite are of more recent 
formation than certain beds of sandstone and limestone. 
But in spite of all these uncertainties and exceptions, I 
believe that unless actual pains be taken to efface from the 
mind its natural impressions, the idea of three great classes 
of rocks and earth will maintain its ground in the thoughts 
of the generally intelligent observer; that whether he desire 
it or not, he will find himself throwing the soft and loose 
clays and sands together under one head; placing the hard 
rocks, of a dull, compact, homogeneous substance, under 
another head ; and the hardest rocks, of a crystalline, glitter- 
ing, and various substance, under a third head; and having 

* Th« original text proceeded thus — ''And farther inquiry will pro- 
bahly induce him to admits as more than probable, the supposition that 
their structure is in great part owing to the action of enormous heat pro* 
longed for indefinite periods/' — which sentence I remove into this note 
to prevent the lucidity and straightforward descriptional truth of these 
paragraphs being soiled with conjecture. [1885.] 

t Very rarely ! I forget what instance I was thinking of; — anyhow, the 
sentence is too strongly put [1885.] 


done this, he will also find that, with certain easily admis- 
siUe exceptions, these three classes of rocks are, in every 
district which he examines, of three different ages ; that the 
softest are the youngest, the hard and homogeneous €mes axe 
older, and the crystalline are the oldest; and he will, per- 
haps, in the end, find it a somewhat inconvenient piece of 
respect to the complexity and accuracy of modem geological 
science, if he refuse to the three classes, thus defined in his 
imagination, their ancient titles of Tertiary, Secondary, and 

§ 6. But however this may be, there is one lesson evi- 
dently intended to be taught by the difierent characters of 
these rocks, which we must not allow to escape us. IVe 
have to observe, first, the state of perfect powerlessness, and 
loss of all beauty, exhibited in those beds of earth in which 
the separated pieces or particles are entirely independent of 
each other, more especially in the gravel whose pebbles have 
all been rolled into one shape: secondly, the greater dq^pree 
of permanence, power, and beauty possessed by the rod^ 
whose component atoms, though aU of one kind, have smne 
affection and attraction for each other; and, lastly, the 
utmost form and hi^est beauty of the rocks in which the 
several atoms have all different shapes^ characters ^ and officer ; 
but are inseparably united by some fiery, or baptismal,^ pro- 
cess which has purified them alL 

It can hardly be necessary to point out how these natural 
ordinances seem intended^ to teach us the great truths 
which are the basis of all political science; how the polish- 
ing fiiction which separates, the affection that binds, and 

* Most people beinff unable to inuigine intention under the guise of fixed 
law, I should have said now, rather than ''seem intended to teach us," ''«fo, 
if we will consider them, teach us/' See, however, below, the old note to § 9 
(p. 184).* This 6th paragraph is the germ, or rather bulb, of EthkM of tke 
Duii. [1885.] 

1 [The words "or baptismal" were msertod by Ruskin in 1886, in revising the 
ehspter fbr In MmUibw SanetU.] 

' [See also The Blemente qfDrawhw, § 180, where Ruskin savs that oompoaitlon 
is tke type, in art, "of tke Providentiaf govemnent of tke world.^] 

ChVIII compact crystallines 188 

the affliction that fiises and confirms, are accurately sjrm- 
bolized by the processes to which the several ranks of hills 
appear to owe their present aspect; and how, even if the 
knowledge of those processes be denied to us, that present 
aspect may m itself seem no unperfect image of the various 
states of mankind ; first, that which is powerless through 
total disorganization; secondly, that which, though united, 
and in some d^ree powerful, is yet incapable of great 
effort or result, owing to the too great similarity and con- 
fusion of offices, both in ranks and individuals ; and finally, 
the perfect state of brotherhood and strength in whidb 
each character is clearly distinguished, separately perfected, 
and employed in its proper place and office. 

§ 7. I shall not, however, so oppose myself to the views 
of our leading geologists as to retain here the names of 
Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary rocks. But as I wish 
the reader to keep the ideas of the three classes clearly in 
his mind, I will ask his leave to give them names which 
involve no theory, and can be Uable, therefore, to no grave 
objections. We will call the hard, and (generally) central, 
masses Cr3rstalline Rocks, because they almost always pre- 
sent an appearance of crystallization.* The less hard sub- 
stances, which appear compact and homogeneous, we will 
call Coherent Rocks, and for the scattered debris we will 
use the general term Diluvium. 

§ S. All these orders of substance agree in one character, 
that of being more or less frangible or soluble. One mate- 
rial, indeed, which enters largely into the composition of 
most of them, Jlintf is harder than iron ; but even this, 
their chief source of strength, is easily broken by a sudden 
blow; and it is so combined in the large rocks with softer 
substances, that time and the violence or chemical agency 
of the weather invariably produce certain destructive effects 
on their masses. Some of them become soft, and moulder 

* Not strongly enough put, this time. They always are crystalline, 
whether they present the appearance of it or not. [1885.] 


away; others break, little by little, into angular fragments 
or daty sheets; but all 3rield in some way or other; and 
the |»x>blem to be solved in every mountain range appears 
to be, that under these conditions of decay, the cliffs and 
peaks may be raised as high, and thrown into as noble 
forms, as is possible, consistently with an effective, though 
not perfect permanence, and a gmeral, though not absolute 

§ 9. Perfect permanence and absolute security were evi- 
dently in nowise int^ided.* It would have been as easy 
for the Creator to have made mountains of steel as of 
granite, of adamant as of lime; but this was clearly no 
part of the Divine councils; mountains were to be de- 
structible and frail ; to melt under the soft lambency of 
the streamlet; to shiver before the subtle wedge of the 
frost ; to wither with untraceable decay in their own sub- 
stance; and yet, under all these conditions of destruction, 
to be maintained in magnificent eminence before the eyes 
of men. 

Nor is it in anywise difficult for us to perceive the 
beneficent reasons for this appointed frailness of the moun- 
tains. They appear to be threefold: the first, and the 
most important, that successive soils might be supplied to 
the plains, in the manner explained in the last chapter, and 
that men might be furnished with a material for their 
works of architecture and sculpture, at once soft enough 
to be subdued, and hard enough to be preserved; the 

* I am well aware that to the minds of many persons nothing bean 
a greater appearance of presumption than any attempt at reasoning re* 
specting the purposes of the Divine Being; and that in many cases it 
would be thought more consistent with the modesty of humanity to limit 
its endeavour to the ascertaining of phjrsical causes than to form conjectiires 
respecting Divine intentions. But I believe this feeling to be fidse and 
dangerous. Wisdom can only be demonstrated in its ends, and goodness 
only perceived in its motives. He who in a morbid modesty ttappo&tM 
that he is incapable of apprehending any of the purposes of God, renders 
himself also incapable of witnessing His wisdom; and he who supposes 
that favours may be bestowed without intention, will soon learn to reoeiTe 
them without gratitude. 


seocmd, that some sense of danger might always be oon- 
nected with the most precipitous forms» and thus increase 
their sublimity; and the third, i;hat a subject of perpetual 
interest might be opened to the human mind in observing 
the changes of form brought about by time on these monu- 
ments of creation. 

In order, therefore, to understand the method in which 
these various substances break, so as to produce the forms 
which are of chief importance in landscape, as well as the 
exquisite adaptation of all their qualities to the service of 
men, it will be well that I should take some note of them 
in their order; not with any far-followed mineralogical de- 
tail, but with care enough to enable me hereafter to ex- 
plain, without obscurity, any phenomena dependent upon 
such peculiarities of substance.^ 

§ 10. 1st Crystalline Rocks. — In saying, above, that 
the hardest rocks generally presented an appear- i. CBTnrAL- 
ance of '' crystallizaticm," I meant a glittering or "nb Rocks 
granulated look, somewhat like that of a coarse piece of 
freshly broken loaf sugar. 

But this appearance may also exist in rocks of uniform 
and softer substance, such as statuary marble, of Areahpap$ 
which fi-eshly broken pieces, put into a sugar- «wy<winrf. 
basin, cannot be distinguished by the eye from the real 
sugar.* Such rocks are truly crystalline in structure; but 

* Much of this seems direetly borrowed from Saussure. It is all the 
sounder that it does so; yet is perfectly my own, for I always, as a boy, 
used to skip his analytic Uthology, though I have been reading some of it 
this morning, 85th February, 1885, with the greatest interest [1885 Proo£] 

^ [Here ch. iii. of In MontibuM SanctU came to an end, Ruskin appending the 
following sentence : — 

"(l have cut the eighth chapter of the old book in half here for better 
arrangement of subject The reader will perhaps forego, once in a way, 
without painful sense of loss, mv customary ourst of terminal eloquence ) " 
For the ''Postscript to Chiqyter iiL" which followed here, see end of the present 

chapter, p. 144, below. No further Part of In MonHbus SanctU was issued, but a 
further chapter (comprising the rest of this one) was put into tvpe and revned by 
Ruskin with added notes. His revisions and notes are here given, being distinguished 
by the addition of '' [1885 Proof] " : see also '' Vari» Lectiones" above, p. xn.] 



I -J' 


the group to which I wish to limit the term ** cxystaUine 
is not only thus granulated and glittering, but is alwa] 
composed of at least two, usually three or four, substance 
intimately mingled with each other in the form of sma 
grains or crystals, and giving the rock a more or lee 
speckled or mottled look, according to the size of tfa 
cr3rstals and their variety of colour.^ It is a law of nature 
that whenever rocks are to be employed on hard service 
and for great purposes, they shall be thus composed An 
there appear to be two distinct providential reasons fc 

§ 11. The first, that these crystalline rocks being, as w 
saw above, generally the oldest and highest, it is tm\ 
them that other soils of various kinds must be derived : an 
they were therefore made a kind of storehouse, from whicl 
wherever they were found, all kinds of treasures could b 
developed necessary for the service of man and other liviiij 
creatures. Thus the granite of Mont Blanc is a crystal 
line rock composed of four substances ;t and in these fim 
substances are contained the elements of nearly all kind 
of sandstone and day, together with potash, magnesia, am 
the metals of iron and manganese. Wherever the smallest 
portion of this rock occurs, a certain quantity of each o 
these substances may be derived from it, and the plant 

{' and animals which require them sustained in health. 

I The second reason appears to be that rocks composec 

i in this manner are capable of more interesting variety ii 

form than any others; and as they were continually to \h 

i exposed to sight in the high ranges, they were so preparec 

as to be always as interesting and beautiful as possible. 


]. * Therefore called '' granite/' short for "granitum marmor" (marbl 

composed of grains), and originally used of Uie granite of Elba. (Se 
Pinkerton, Vol. ii p. 204, note.) [1885 ProoC] 

t Qiuuts, felspar, chlorite^ and hornblende (Saussure, pamm). An Egj]: 

Ij tian grey gianite of quarts, felspar, and hornblende was called by th< 

ancients '' Psaronion," '' starling^Btone." (See again Phikerton, VoL ii 

I p. 191.) [l885Proo£] 




§ 12. These crystalline or spotted rocks we must again 
separate into two great classes, according to the j^^ii,^^, 
arrangement, in them, of the particles of a sub- Wotm 
stance called mica. It is not present in all of ^^',^!^ 
them ; but when it occurs, it is usually in large SjJ^jJ^ 
quantities, and a notable source of character.' 
It varies in colour, occurring it^te, brown, green, red, 
and black ; and in aspect, ham shining plates to small 
dark grains, even these grains 
being seen, under a magnifier, to 
be composed of little plates, like 
pieces of exceedingly thin glass; 
but with this great difference £rom 
glass, that, wheUier large or small, 
the plates will not easily break 
acrots, but are elastic, and capable 
of being bent into a considerable 
curve ; only if jessed with a knife 
upon the edge, they will separate 
into any number of thinner plates, 
more and more elastic and flexible 
according to their thinness, and 
these agun into others still finer; 
there seeming to be no limit to 
the possible subdivision but the 

coarseness of the instrument em- j^i 


§ 18. Now when these crjrstals, or grains, represented by 
the black spots and lines in Fig. 8, lie as they do at a in 
that figure, in all directions, cast hithor and thither among 
the other materials of the stone, — sometimes on their faces, 
sometimes on their sides, sometimes on their edges, — they 
give the rock an irregularly granulated appearance and 
structure, so that it will break with equal ease in any 
direction; but if these crystals he all one way, with their 

> [In tba proof of In Mtrnt^mi aatteOt, Ruakin tnuuforod tfa« remminder of § IS 
to ■ footnote,] 



sides parallel, as at b, they give the rock a striped or slat; 
look, and it will mobl readily break in the direction ii 
which they lie, separating itself into folia or plates, mor 
or less distinctly according to the quantity of mica In it 
mass. In the example Fig. ■*,* a piece of rock from th' 
top of Mont Breven, there are very few of them, and th 
material with which they are surrounded is so hard an< 

compact that the whole mass breaks irregularly, like a soli 
flint, beneath the hammer ; but the plates of mica nevei 
theless influence the fracture on a large scale, and occasioi 
as we shall see hereafter, the peculiar form of the precipi< 
at the summit of the mountain, t 

* Real size. TTie carelessness of recent writers in not giving tht 
of Kctions and drawings fi prodacUTcof all kinds of error. [1885 Prookj 
t See Appendix S. Slaty Cleavage.^ 

' [i.e., on tbe genarsl •ubject of Rock Clwvan. A nota added bf RuUn t 
point in the proof of In Montibut SimetU, ihow* that he meant to print the A] 
(p. 47S) aa cb. rl. of that work. For the ipacial refisreace to tha frtdfkm 
summit of the Breren, see p. 280.] 

ChVIII compact crystallines 189 

The rocks, in which the mica lies irregularly, or in 
which it is altogether absent,^ I shall call Compact Cr3rstal« 
lines. The rocks in which the mica lies regularly I shall 
call Slaty Crystallines. 

§ 14. 1st. Compact Crystallines. — Under this head are 
embraced the large group of the granites, syenites, compact 
and porph3nies, — crocks which all agree in the Cbwtaluim. 
foUowmg particulars :— 

A. Variety of colour. — ^The method of their composition 
out of different substances necessitates their being all more 
or less spotted or dashed with various colours; there being 
generally a prevalent ground colour, with other subordinate 
hues broken over it, forming, for the most part, tones 

of silver grey, of warm but subdued red, or Their firttehar- 
purple. Now, there is in this a very marvel- acterutk. 
lous provision for the beauty of the central ^p^^*^"®^ 
ranges. Other rocks, placed lower among the hills, re- 
ceive colour upon their surfaces from all kinds of minute 
v^^tation; but these higher and more exposed rocks are 
liable to be in many parts barren; and the wild forms 
into which they are th]x>wn necessitate their being often 
freshly broken, so as to bring their pure colour, untempered 
in an3rwise, frankly into sight. Hence it is appointed that 
this colour shall not be raw or monotonous, but composed 
— as all beautifid colour must be composed — by mingling 
of many hues in one. Not that there is any aim at attrac- 
tive beauty in these rocks; they are intend^ to constitute 
solemn and desolate scenes ; and there is nothing delicately 
or variously disposed in their colours. Such beauty would 
have been inconsistent with their expression of power and 
terror, and it is reserved for the marbles and other rocks 
of inferior office. But their colour is grave and perfect; 
closely resembling, in many cases, the sort of hue reached 
by cross-chequering in the ground of fourteenth-century 
manuscripts, and peculiarly calculated for distant effects 

' [In preriouB ods., '' The rockg which are destitute of mica, or in which the mica 
Ilea irr^ularly . . . ; the alteration was made hy Raskin in the proof for In 
Mantibut SanetU.] 


of light; being, for the most part, slightly wann in torn 
so as to receive with iuU advantage the red and orang' 
rsys of sunlight. This warmth is almost always farthe 
uded by a glowing orange colour, derived from the decom 
position of the iron which, though in small quantity, usuaU; 
is an essential element in them : the orange hue form 
itself in unequal veins and spots upon the surfaces whicl 
have been long exposed, more or less darkening them 
and a very minute black lichen, — so minute as to loci 
almost like spots of dark paint, — a little opposed an< 
warmed by the golden Lichen geographicus,' still £arthe 
subdues the paler hues of the highest granite rocks. Now 
when a surface of this kind is removed to a distance a 
four Or five miles, and seen under warm light througl 
soft, air, the orange becomes russet, more or less inctiniiij 
to pure red, according to the power of the rays: but th 
black of the lichen becomes pure dark blue ; and the resul 
of their combination is that peculiar reddish purple whicl 
is so strikingly the characteristic of the rocks of the highe 
Alps. Most of the travellers who have seen the Valle; 
of Chamouni carry away a strong impression that its uppe 
precipices are of red rock. But they are, without excep 
tion, of a whitish grey, toned and raised by this unite* 
operation of the iron, the lichen, and the light. 

§ 15. I have never had an opportunity of studying thi 
effects of these tones upon rocks of porphyry; but th' 
beautiful colour of that rock in its interior substance ha 
rendered it one of the favourite materials of the architect 
of all ages, in their most costly work. Not that all porphyr 
is purple ; there are green and white porphyries, as ther 
are yellow and white roses ; but the first idea of a porphyr 
rock is that it shall be purple ; just as the first idea — ^ 
rose is that it shall be red. The purple inclines a 
toward russet* rather than blue, and is subdued hy e 

* Ai we had to compUin of Dante for not enough noticing the ( 

■ [Raskia bad noted tbia colour effect in his earlv en»j on Thx PotlrTf ^ 
luture(§ 65): iM Vol. I. p. 47.] 


spots of grey or white. This speckled character, comnum 
to all the crystalline rocks, fits them, in art, for huge and 
majestic work; it unfits them for delicate sculpture; and 
their second universal characteristic is altogether in harmony 
with this consequence of their first 

§ 16. This second characteristic is a tough hardness, not 
a brittle hardness, like that of glass or flint, j^^^^^gf^ 
which will splinter violently at a blow in the ekaraeuntth. 
most unexpected directions ; but a grave hard- Toughne-. 
ness, which will bear many blows before it 3rields, and when 
it is forced to 3rield at last, will do so, as it were, in a 
serious and thoughtful way; not spitefully, nor uselessly, 
nor irregularly, but in the direction in which it is wanted, 
and where the force of the blow is directed — ^there, and 
there only. A flint which receives a shock stronger than 
it can bear, gives up everything at once, and flies into a 
quantity of pieces, each piece full of flaws. But a piece 
of granite seems to say to itself, very solemnly : *' If these 

of rocks in wild nature, let us do him the justice to refer to his noble 
S3rmbolic use of their colours when seen in the hewn block. 

" The lowest stair was marble white, so smooth 
And polished that therein my mirrored form. 
Distinct I saw. The next of hue more dark 
Than sablest grain, a rough and singed block. 
Cracked lengthwise and across. The third, that lay 
Massy above, seemed porphyry, that flamed 
Red as the life-blood spouting from a vein." 

This stair is at the gate of Purgatory. The white step is said to mean 
sincerity of conscience; the black, contrition; the pun>le> pardon by the 
Atonement. (I do not answer for the interpretation. Tne idea is assuredly 
taken from the white, black, and red of Greek mosaic, as is the font of 
Pisa. Black slate is still used for the ground of Florentine mosaic.) ^ 

^ [Puryatario, ix. 94-102 (the translation is Gary's). The earlier reference to the 
colours of reeks in Dsnte is at VoL V. p. 297. The commentators variously interpret 
the coloured stairs (compsre Milton's Paradise LoH, iiL 516 : " Each stair mysterionslv 
was meant") ; some prelerring to say that the first is candid confession ; the seeond, 
mournful contrition ; and the third, ardent love (see Maria Rosse tti 's Shadow iiflkaUe, 
p. 112, and Paget Tovnbee's Dante DieiUmary, «.o. ''Porto del Pnrgatorio "). The 
concluding poraon of Rusldn's note—'' 1 do not answer," etc. — was added hy him 
in brackets in the proof of In ManHbue SaneHe, where also he substituted "is said to 
mean" for "means" (in eds. 1-3), and struck out the wordi "(I believe)" after 
"purple" (m all eds. hitherto).] 


people are resolved to split me into two pieces, that is no 
reason why I should split myself into three. I will keep 
together .is well as I can, and as long as I can ; and if I 
must fall to dust at last, it shall be slowly and honourably ; 
not in a fit of fury." The importance of this character, in 
fitting the rock for human uses, cannot be exaggerated : it 
is essential to such uses that it should be hard, for other- 
wise it could not bear ""or^ous weight without being 
crushed; and if, in addition this hardness, it had been 
brittle, like glass, it could n lave been employed except 
in the rudest way, as flints are 1 1 Kentish walls. But now 
it is possible to cut a block of granite out of its quarry 
to exactly the size we want; and that with perfect ease, 
without gunpowder, or any help but that of a few small 
iron wedges, a chisel, and a heavy hammer. A single 
workman can detacli a mass fifteen or twenty feet long, 
by merely drilling a row of holes, a couple of inches deep, 
and tliree or four inches apart, along the surface, in the 
direction in which he wishes to split the rock, and then 
inserting wedges into each of these holes, and striking them, 
consecutively, with small, light, repeated blows along the 
whole row. The granite rends, at last, along the line, 
quite evenly, requiring very little chiselling afterwards to 
give the block a smooth face. 

§ 17. This after-chiselling, however, is necessarily tedious 
Work, and therefore that condition of speckled colour, which 
is beautiful if exhibited in broad masses, but offensive in 
delicate forms, exactly falls in with the conditions of pos- 
sible sculpture. Not only is it more laborious to carve 
granite delicately, than a softer rock ; but it is physically 
impossible to bring it into certain refinements of form. It 
cannot be scnq>ed and touched into contours, aa 
can ; it must be struck hard, or it will not yield 
and to strike a delicate and detached form hard, is t 
it. The detached fingers of a delicate hand, for 
cannot, as far as I know, be cut in granite. The 
portion could not be removed from them without a : 


of blow whidi would break off the finger. Haice the 
sculptor of granite is forced to confine himself to, and to 
seek for, certain types of form capable of expression in his 
material; he is naturally driven to make his figures simple 
in surface, and colossal in size, that they may bear his 
blows; and this simj^city and magnitude are exactly the 
characters necessary to show the granitic or porphyritic 
colour to the best advantage. And thus we are guided, 
almost forced, by the laws of nature, to do right in art 
Had granite been white and marble speckled (and why 
should this not have been, but by the definite Divine 
appointment for the good of man?), the huge figures of 
the Egyptian would have been as oppressive to the sight as 
difis of snow, and the Vaius de' Meiici would have looked 
like some exquisitely graceful species of frog.^ 

§ 18. The third universal characteristic of these rocks 
is their decomposition into the purest sand and 
day. Some of them decompose spontaneously, d^nunerUHe. 
though slowly, on exposure to weather; the Parity in de- 
greater number only after being mechanicaUy "^""^ """• 
pulverized; but the sand and clay to which by one or the 
other process they are reducible, are both remarkable for 
their purity. The clay is the finest and best that can be 
found for porcelain; the sand often of the purest white, 
always lustrous and Inright in its particles. The result of 
this law is a peculiar aspect of purity in the landscape 
composed of sueh rocks. It cannot become muddy, or foul, 
or unwholesome. The streams which descend through it 
may indeed be opaque, and as white as cream with the 
churned substance of the granite; but their water, after 
this substance has been thrown down, is good and pure, 
and their shores are not slimy or treacherous, but of 
pebbles, or of firm and sparkling sand. The quiet streams, 
springs, and lakes among them are always of exqui* 
site clearness, and the sea which washes a granite coast 

' [On this subject of the correspondence of materials in nature to service in art, 
compare VoL XI. p. S8» Vol. XIL p. 200; see ako below, p. 162.] 


is as unsullied as a flawless emerald. It is remarkable 
what an extent this intense purity in the country see 
to influence the character of its inhabitants. It is aim 
impossible to make a cottage built in a granite coun 
look absolutely miserable. Rough it may be, — neglect 
cold, full of aspect of hardship, — but it never can k 
foul; no matter how carelessly, how indolently, its inhal 
ants may live, the water at their doors will not stagni 
the soil beneath their feet will not allow itself to be trodt 
into slime, the timbers of their fences will not rot. tl 
cannot so much as dirty their faces or hands if they t 
do the worst they can, there will still be s feeling' 
firm ground under them, and pure air about them, e 
an inherent wholesomeness in their abodes which it ■^ 
need the misery of years to conquer. And, as far as 
remember, the inhabitants of granite countries have alwi 
a force and healtliiness of character, more or less aba' 
or modified, of course, according to the other circumstan 
of their life, but stiU definitely belonging to them, as < 
tinguished from the inhabitants of the less pure distri 
of the hills. 

These, then, are the principal characters of the comp 
crystallines, regarded in their minor or detached mas 
Of the peculiar forms which they assume we shall have 
speak presently; meantime, retaining these general id 
touching their nature and substance, let us proceed to 
amine, at the same point of view, the neighbouring grc 
of slaty crystallines. 


For nunj reaaoiu, which will mppear one by one in the i 
work,^ I think it well to give, for postscript to this chapter, _ 
of Saunure'i introdactory account of gnuiite, published In ISO: 
chatel, Chex Louia Fauche-Borel, Imprimenr du Roi (King • 
Voyage* dant la Alpet, vol. i. chap. t. Les Rochei Compoa6ea. 

> [f.&, tha intended aeqnel of/* MotUilnu SanetU.^ 


''Gimnites bdong to that class of stones which natiirmlists name com- 
posed stones, or rocks, or living rock, roc Tif,* the saxa mixta of Walle- 
rius. This class includes stones which are composed of two, three, or four 
different species of stones, intermixed under tne form of angular grains, 
or folia (feuillets) muted by the wHmacy of' their contact, without the hdp of 
any stronger gluten, 

"Those which diride themselves bj folia are called schistous rocks, (Ht 
foliated rocks (Roches schisteuses on Roches feuillet6es). Saxa fissiUa, Wall. 
Those which appear composed of grains, and which present neither folia nor 
sensible veins, are named Rocks in mass. Saxa solida, WalL Such are the 

''It is these two species of rocks which form the matter of the most 
elevated mountains, such as the central chains of the Alps, the Cordillera^ 
the Ural, Caucasus, and Altaic mountains. One never nnds them seated 
upon (assises sur) mountains of slate fardoise) or of calcareous stone ; they 
serve, on the contrary, for bate to tkese, and have consequently existed 
before them. They bear then, by just cliim, the name of primitive moun- 
tains, while those of slate and calcareous stone are qualified as secondary.'* 

The young reader will do well to fix these simple statements in bis 
head, and by no means let them be shaken in it Modem geologists 
will tell him that Mont Blanc is young; but the date of a mountain's 
elevation is not that of its substance. Granite no more becomes a 
secondary rock in lifting a bed of chalk than an old man becomes a boy 
in throwing off his bedclothes. Also modem geologists will tell you that 
granite and basalt are pretty much the same thing, that each may become 
the other, and any come to the top. Recollect simply, to begin with, 
that granite forms delightfiil and healthy countries, Msalt gloomy and 
oppressive ones, and that, if you have the misfortune to live under Etna 
or Hecla, you and your house may both be buried in basalt to-morrow 
morning; but that nobody was ever buried in granite, unless somebody 
paid for his tomb. Recollect further that granite is for the most part 
visibly composed of three substances, always easily recognisablc^-quartx, fel- 
spar, and mica ; but basalt may be made of anything on the fiice or in the 
stomach of the Earth. And recollect finally, that there was assuredly a 
time when the Earth had no animab upon it — another time when it had 
only nasty and beastly animals upon it, and that at this time it has a ffreat 
many beautiful and angelic animals upon it, tormented out of their lives 
by one extremely foolish two-legged one. To these three periods, the first 
of chaotic solitude, the second of rampant monstrosity, and the third of 
ruthless beauty, the names of Primarv, Secondary, and Tertiary may justly 
hold for ever — ^be the Fourth Age wnat it may. 

* The modem reader pastes as merely poetioal the words *^Bwn§ rock" of 
former good writers. Bat living rock is as distinct firom dead, as heart of oak 
from dry rot In aecoraey, ''livmg" is the word used by the natural human sense 
to express the difforenoe between a crystalline rock, and one of mere coagolaled 
sand or slime. 



I IX -^1 




§ 1. It will be remembered that we said in the last chaptei 
(§ 4) that one of the notable characters of the whole group 
of the crystaUines was the incomprehensibility of the pro- 
cesses which have brought them to their actual state. This 
however is more peculiarly true of the slaty crystallines. 
It is perfectly possible, by many processes of chemistry, to 
produce masses of irregular crystals, which, though not oi 
the substance of granite, are very hke it in their mode of 
arrangement But, as far as I am aware, it is impossible 
to produce artificially anything resembling the structure of 
the slaty crystallines. And the more I have examined the 
rocks themselves, the more I have felt at once the diffi- 
culty of explaining the method of their formation, and the 
growing interest of inquiries respecting that method. The 
facts (and I can venture to give notliing more than facts) 
are briefly these: — 

§ 2. The mineral called mica, described in the course oi 
the last chapter, is closely connected with another, diiFer- 
ing from it in containing a considerable quantity of mag- 
nesia. This associated mineral, called chlorite, is of a dull 
greenish coloiu-, and opaque, while the mica is, in thin 
plates, more or less translucent; and the chlorite is 
occur more in the form of a green earth, or green 
than of finely divided plates. The original quant 
magnesia in the rock determines how &r the mica i 
give place to chlorite; and in the intermediate conditUH 
of rock we find a black and nearly opaque mica, containi] | 


a good deal of magnesia, together with a chlorite, which at 
first seems mixed with small plates of true mica, or is itself 
formed of minute plates or spangles, and then, as the 
quantity of magnesia increases, assumes its proper form of 
a dark green earth. 

§ 8. By this appointment there is obtained a series of 
materials by which the appearance of the rock may be 
varied to almost any extent. From plates of brilliant white 
mica half a foot broad, flashing in the sim like panes of 
glass, to a minute film of dark green dust, hardly trace- 
able by the eye, an infinite range of conditions is foimd in 
the different groups of rocks ; but always imder this general 
law, that, for the most part, the compact crystallines present 
the purest and boldest plates of mica; and the tendency 
to pass into slaty crystallines is commonly accompanied by 
the change of the whiteness of the mica to a dark or black 
colour, indicating (I believe) the presence of magnesia, and 
by the gradual intermmglmg with it of chloritic earth; or 
else of a cognate mineral (diffbring fix>m chlorite in con- 
taining a quantity of lime) called hornblende. 

Such, at least, is eminently the case in the Alps; and 
in the account I have to give of their slaty crystallines, it 
must be understood that in using the word ''mica" gener- 
ally, I mean the more obscure conditions of the mineral, 
associated with chlorite and hornblende. 

§ 4. Now it is quite easy to understand how, in the 
compact crystallines, the various elements of the rock, 
separating from each other as they congealed from their 
fluid state, whether of watery solution or fiery frision, might 
arrange themselves in irr^^ular grains, as at a in Fig. 8, 
p. 187. Such an arrangement constantly takes place before 
our eyes in volcanic rocks as they cooL But it is not at 
all easy to understand how the white, hard, and compara- 
tively heavy substances should throw themselves into knots 
and bands in one definite direction, and the delicate films 
of mica should imdulate about and between them, as in 
Fig. 5, on next page, like rivers among islands, pursuing. 


however, on the whole, a straight course across the mass 
of rook. If it could be shown that such pieces of stone 
had been formed in the horizontal position in which I have 
drawn the one in the figure, the structure would be some- 
what intelhgible as the result of settlement. But, on the 
contrary, the lines of such foliated rocks hardly ever are 
horizontal ; neither can distinct evidence be found of their 
at any time having been so. T^e evidence, on the contrary. 

is often strongly in favour of their having been formed ia 
the highly inclined directions in which they now occur, 
such as that of the piece in Fig. 7, p. 131.* 

§ 5. Such, however, is the simple fact, that when the 
compact crystallines are about to pass into slaty crystal- 
lines, their mica throws itself into these bands and zones, 
undulating around knots of the other substances which 
compose the rock. Gradually the knots diminish in size, 
the mica becomes more abundant and more definite •" 
direction, and at last the mass, when broken across 
beds, assumes the appearance of Fig. 6, on next p 

* See again Appendix 3. Slat; Cleavkge [p. 476]. 

t This is a |riece of the gneiaa of the Montanvert, near the CbiletB 


Now it will be noticed that, in the lines of that figure, 
no less than in Fig. 5, though mote ddicately, there is 
a subdued, but continual, expression of undulation. This 
character belongs, more or less, to nearly the 'vdiole mass 
of the slaty crystalline rocks ; it is one of exquisite beauty, 
and of the highest importance to their picturesque forms. 
It is also one of as great mysteriousness as beauty. For 
these two figures are selected &om oystallines whose beds 

are! ranarkably straight; in the greater number the undu- 
lation becomes &r more violent, and, in many, passes into 
absolute contortion. Fig. 7 is a piece of a slaty crystalline, 
rich in mica, from the valley of St. Nicolas, below Zermatt 
The rock from which it was broken was thrown into coils 
three or four feet across: the fragment, which is drawn 
of the real size, was at one of the turns, and came away 
like a thick portion of a crumpled quire of paper from the 
other sheets.* 

* Some idcft toaj be fanned of the nature of tbete incurvations by 
■uppoainft the gneiM beds to have been in a plactlc state, either from the 
action of beat or of some other unknown cause, and, while in this state, 
to bare been subjected to pressure at the two extremities, or in some 
other parts, acccmling to the nature of the curvatures. But even this 


§ 6. I might devote half a volume to a description of 
the fantastic and incomprehensible arrangements of these 
rocks and their veins; but all that is necessary for l^e 
general reader to know or remember, is this broad fact 
of the undulation of their whole substance. For there is 
something, it seems to me, inexpressibly marvellous in this 
Tuoicai char- phenomenon, largely looked at. It is to be re- 

acter of siatfi membcred that *' are the rocks which, on 

cryriaihna. ^^ average, v be oftenest observed, and with 
the greatest ir by iman race. The central 

^anites are t . lower rocks too common, 

to be care s aty crystallines form the 

noblest hili ible, and seem to be thus 

calculated * i« ^i bservation, and reward it 

Well, we begin exai e m ; and, first, we find a 
notable hardness in them, and a thorough boldness of 
general character, which make us regard them as very 
types of perfect rocks. They have nothing of the look of 
dried earth about them, nothing petty or limited in the 
display of their bulk. Where they are,' they seem to form 

hypothesis (though the best that has been thought of) will scarcely cnaUe 
us to explain all the contortions which not merely the beds of gneiss, bat 
likewise of mica slate and clay slate, and even greywacke slate, exhibit. 
There is a bed of clay slate near the ferry to Kerreni, a few miles south 
of Oban, in Argyleshire, This bed has been partly wasted away by the sea, 
and its structure exposed to view. It contains a central cylindrical nucleus 
of unknown length (but certainly considerable), round which six beds of 
clny slate are wrapped, the one within the Other, so as to form six oon- 
centric cylinders. Now, however plastic the clay slate may have been, 
there is no kind of pressure which will account for this structure ; the 
central cylinder would have required to have been rolled six times in sno- 
cession (allowing an interval for solidification between each) in the plastic 
clay slate. — Outlines of Mineralogy, Geology, etc., by Thomas Thomson, M.D.' 

' [The passs^, "Where they are . . ." down to the end of § 6, is § 34 in 
Fnmda Agrestet (1876), where at thie point Raskici added the foUowinp f 

" FawBge written after J had got by some yearn cooler ana mm 
when I wTat« No. 33 ; dMcriUng however the undulation of tlie jrn 
which, ' where they ari^ seem to form the world,' in terms more lu 
I now like." 
" No. 33 '* is a pisnge from Modem Painter*, vol. I, about the mountain peaks * 
up their TiUD heads lo Heaven" (VoL III. p. 127).] 

* [The above note is Roskia's ; the reference at the end la to vol. ii. pp. 
of the work cited (1836), where the Oban caaglomer»t« is described.] 




the world; no mere bank of a river here, or of a lane 
there, peeping out among the hedges or forests: but from 
the lowest valley to the highest clouds, all is theirs — one 

adamantine dominion and rigid authority of rock. We 
yield ourselves to the impression of thdr eternal, unconquer- 
able stubbornness of strength ; their mass seems the least 
yielding, least to be softened, or in anywise dealt with by 
external force, of all earthly substance. And, behold, as 


Mooemx PAmus 

'i«D k. it k 

1^ b tkc a^» «f s diVs «BiM. Ii*> tfe hart 


Urn . 

*i/e'j»4 upon it, 

taiy terrort: m the veeA 
rmd. sod the toaad of the 

kr trees pnaes 

ing of pair 

le hand were 
oi the anger that is 
tliat tboe is indeed a fear 
uf0'Ai the gram, and leares, and waten, at the presence of 
*fjfHfK ipcat tfkit eoaauunoaei to let the tempest loose; 
i/vt tbe tenor pawri, and their sweet rest is perpetuaU; 
re«t/^red to the pasture* and le wave*. Not so to the 
RvxjntaiM. They, which at st seemed strengthened be- 
y<fnd the dread of any violence or change, arc yet also 
(/rdjuned to bear up<m them the symbol of a perpetual 
FtAT: the tremor which fades &xjm the soft lake and 
gluJing rircr i% itealed, to all eternity, upon the rock ; and 
whil*: thing* that paM visibly from birth to death may 
wmi»:tijne» forget thtir feebleness, the mountains are made 
Uj jKwiefcit a perpetual memorial of their in&ncy, — tiist 
iiifft/icy which the prophet saw in his vision : ' " I beheld 
the earth, and lo, it was without form and void, and the_j 

' [Hmm a^n In FrimdM Agrtitm RaMn Midti m Doit >~ 

^' Utter mUnter^BtetioQ at Uw PMMm. It h Um aU m 

eUUbood, of Mrtb, which Jwonlmh dweribaa In tbi* piinBi 1 

Marpratetiau iu Port Oatlftra, Letter 46." 

'Ilia ratewnu U b» Jarmniali )r, 22-24, ■ iMM^e which, aa Riukin cqU 

ilMH-ribaa "tba mat nrtrM of eraatlon, utA wrath of God, acconplial 

asrth bjr tk* lUiida, M>d Vf man tbair miniatan."] 


heavens, and they had no light. I beheld the mountains, 
and k), they trembled; and all the hills moved Ughtly.*" 

§ 7. Thus far may we traoe the apparent t3rpical signi* 
fieation of the structure of those noble rocks. 
The material uses of this structure are not less ekarMterqf 
important. These substances of the higher moun- ^^rf^%^ 
tains, it is always to be rraiembered, wore to ^'^'^ ^* 
be so hard as to enable them to be raised into, J:.^''^^ 

uuumM with* 

and remain in, the most magnificent forms; and 
this hardness renders it a matter of great difficulty for the 
peasant to break them into such masses as are required for 
his daily purposes. He is compelled in general to gather 
the fragments which are to form the walls of his house or 
his garden from the ruins into ^idiich the mountain suffers 
its ridges to be naturally broken : and if these pieces were 
absolutely irregular in shape, it would be a matter of much 
labour and skill to build securely with them. But the 
flattened arrangement of the lavas of mica always causes 
the rock to^k into flattish i^ents, requirii^ h<ttdly 
any pains in the placing them so as to lie securely in a 
wall, and furnishing light, broad, and unflawed pieces to 
serve for slates upon the roof; for fences, when set edge* 
ways into the ground; or for pavements, when laid flat. 

§ 8. Farther: ^enever rodcs break into utterly irregu- 
lar fragments, the masses of debris which they form are 
not only excessively difficult to walk over, but the pieces 
touch each other in so few points, and suffer the water to 
run so easily and so fiar through their cavities, 2. susbuu^ 
that it takes a long series of years to enable *^^^m$. 
them either to settle thanselves firmly, or receive the 
smallest covering of vegetation. Where the substance of 
the stone is soft, it may soon be worn down, so that the 
irregular form is of less consequence. But in the hard 
crystallines, unless they had a traidency to break into fiat* 
tish fragments, their ruins would remain for centuries in 
impassable desolation. The flat shape of the separate pieces 
prevents this; it permits — almost necessitates — ^their fitting 



into and over each other in a tolerably dose mass, and 
thus they become comparatively easy to the foot, less per- 
meable to water, and therefore retentive both of surfiEU^ 
moisture and of the seeds of v^^etation* 

§ 9. There is another result of nearly equal importance 
3. SeeurUyon as £Eur as Ttgaxds the habitableness of the hills. 
deeUvUief. When stoucs are thrown together in rounded or 
massy blocks, like a heap of hazel nuts, small force will 
sometimes disturb their balance; and when once set in 
motion, a square-built and heavy fragment will thunder 
down even a slightly sloping declivity, with an impetus as 
unlikely to be arrested as fatal in its increase. But when 
stones lie flatly, as dead leaves lie, it is not easy to tilt 
any one of them upon its edge, so as to set it in motioQ; 
and when once moved, it will nearly always slide, not roll, 
and be stopped by the first obstacle it encounters, catch- 
ing against it by the edge, or striking into the turf where 
first it fedls, like a hatchet. Were it not for the mercifiil 
ordinance that the slaty crystallines should break into thin 
and flattish fragments, the frequent taUs of stones from the 
hill sides would render many spots among the greater moun* 
tain chains utterly uninhabitable, which are now compara- 
tively secure. 

§ 10. Of the picturesque aspects which this mode of 

cleavage produces in the mountains, and in the 
to form the stoues of thc foreground, we shall have to speak 
'^••^^ presently ; * with regard to the uses of the mate- 

rial it is only necessary to note fSeu-ther that 
these slaty rocks are of course, by their wilfiil way of 
breaking, rendered unfit for sculpture, and for nearly all 
purposes of art: the properties which render them con- 
venient for the peasant in building his cottage, making 
them unavailable for the architecture of more elaborate 
edifices. One very great advantage is thus secured for the 
scenery they compose, namely, that it is rarely broken by 
quarries. A single quarry will often spoil a whole Alpine 

^ [See below, pp. 368-069, with Plate 48, and Appendix iL, pp. 478-479.] 

ChIX slaty crystallines 155 

landscape; the effect of the lovely bay of the Lago 
Maggiore, for instance, in which lie the Borromean Islands, 
is, in great part, destroyed by the scar caused by a quarry 
of pink granite on its western shore; and the valley of 
Chamouni itself has lost some of its loveliest rock scenery 
in consequence of the unfortunate discovery that the 
boulders which had fallen from its higher pinnacles, and 
were lying in massy heaps among its pines, were available 
for stone lintels and door-posts in the building of its new 
inns. But the slaty crystallines, though sometimes con- 
taining valuable mines, are hardly ever quarried for stone; 
and the scenes they compose retain in gen»al, little dis** 
turbed by man, their aspect of melancholy power, or simple 
and noble peace. The colour of their own mass, when 
freshly broken, is nearly the same as that of the compact 
cry stidlines : but it is far more varied by veins and zones 
of included minerals, and contains usually more iron, which 
gives a rich brown or golden colour to their exposed sides, 
so that the colouring of these rocks is the most glowing to 
be found in the moimtain world. They form also soil for 
v^retation more quickly, and of a more fruitful kind than 
the granites, and appear, on the whole, intended to unite 
every character of grandeur and of beauty, and to con- 
stitute the loveliest as well as the noblest scenes which the 
earth ever unfolds to the eyes of men. 



§ 1. It will be remembered that we resolved * to give gener- 
ally the term "coherent" to those rocks which appeared 
to be composed of one compact substance, not of several 
materials. But, as in all the arrangements of Nature we 
find that her several classes pass into each other by im- 
perceptible gradations, and that there is no ruling of red 
lines between one and the other, we need not suppose that 
we shall find any plainly distinguishable Umit between the 
crystalline and coherent rocks. Sometimes, indeed, a veiy 
distinctly marked crystalline will be joined by a coherei^ 
rock so sharply and neatly that it is possible to break off 
specimens, no larger than a wahiut, containing portions of 
each ; but far more frequently the transition from one to t.hft 
other is effected gradually ; or, if not, there exist, at any 
rate, in other places intervening, a series of rocks which pos- 
sess an imperfectly crystalline character, passing down into 
that of simple coherence. This transition is usually effected 
through the different kinds of slate; the slaty crystallines 
becoming more and more fine in texture, until at last they 
appear composed of nothing but very fine mica or chlorite ; 
and this mass of micaceous substance becomes more and, J 
more compact and silky in texture, losing its magnesia ' 
containing more of the earth which forms the subsi 
of clay, until at last it assumes the familiar appearanoc: 
roofing slate, the noblest example of the coherent roi 
I call it the noblest, as being the nearest to the crystal] 
and possessing much in common with ^em. Connei 


Ch.x slaty COHERENTS 157 

with this well-known substance are enonnous masses ct 
other rocks, more or less resembling it in character, at 
which the following are universal characteristics. 

§ 2. First They nearly always, as just said, contara 
more of the earth, which is the basis of clay, Qi^^^ier- 
than the crystalline rocks; and they can be uncf^fSkiif 
scratched or crushed with much greater facility. ^^''***'*^ 
The point of a knife will trace a continuous i- iSfoTiMM 
powdery streak upon most of the coherent rocks ; ^***^^^' 
while it will be quite powerless against a large portion of 
the granular knots in the crystallines. Besides this actual 
softness of substance, the daty coherents are 
capable of very fine division into flakes, not tum^ifSirve' 
irregularly and contortedly, like the crystallines, ^ ^^'^^^ 
but straightly, so as to leave a dlky lustre on ^'^'^^ 
the sides of the fragments, as in roofing date;^ and sepa- 
rating with great ease, yielding to a slight pressure against 
the edge. Consequently, although the slaty coherents are 
capable of forming large and bold mountains, they are 
liable to all kinds of destruction and decay in a far greater 
degree than the crystallines; giving way in large masses 
under frost, and crumUing into heaps of flaky rubbii^, 
which in its turn dissolves or is ground down into im- 
palpable dust or mud, and carried to great distances by 
the mountain streams. These characters render the slaty 
coherents peculiarly adapted tor the support of vegetation; 
and as, though apparently homogeneous, they usually con- 
tain as many chemical elements as the crystallines, they 
constitute (as far as r^ards the immediate nouridunent o£ 
soils) the most important part of mountain ranges. 

§ 8. I have already often had occasion to allude to the 
apparent connection of brilliancy of colour with 
vigour of life, or purity of substance. This is t^bhtenea 
pre-eminently the case in the mineral kingdom. ^^oUmr. 

^ [In one of his copies for rovisioii^ Raskin lisre refers tlie reader (as already in 
tlie manrinal summary) to the passage in eh. zl § 4 (p. 164), "Howeyer thin the bed 
may be, etc.] 


The perfection with which the particles of any substance 
unite in crystallization, corresponds, in that kingdom, to 
the vital power in organic nature ; and it is a univenal 
law, that according to the purity of any substance, azid 
according to the energy of its crystallization, is its beauty fir 
loightness. Pure earths are without exception white when in 
powder ; and the same earths which are the constituents of 
clay and sand, fonn, when cr5"taUized, the emerald, rulv)% 
sapphire, amethyst, and opaL Darkness and dulness of colour 
are the universal signs of dissolution, or disorderly mingling 
of elements.* 

§ 4. Accordingly, these slaty coherents, being usua% 
composed of many elements imperfectly united, are also 
for the most part grey, black, or dull purple ; those which 
are purest and hardest verging most upon purple, and some 
of them in certain hghts displaying on their smooth side^ 
very beautiful zones and changeful spaces of grey, russet* 
and obscure blue. But even this beauty is strictly con- 
nected with their preservation of such firmness of form as 
properly belongs to them ; it is seen chiefly on their even 
and silky surfaces: less, in comparison, upon their broken 
edges, and is lost altogether when they are reduced to 
powder. They then form a dull grey dust, or, with mois- 
ture, a black sHme, of great value as a vegetative eartht 
but of intense ugliness when it occurs in extended spaces 
in mountain scenery. And thus the slaty coherents are 
often employed to form those landscapes of which the pur- 
pose appears to be to impress us with a sense of horror 
and pain, as a foil to neighbouring scenes of extremfi 
beauty. There are many s-pots among the inferior tidigei 
of the Alps, such as the Col de Ferret, the Col d'AntetDe^ 
and the associated ranges of the Buet, which, though 
manding prospects of great nobleness, are themsdves , 
nearly types of all that is most painful to the human : 

* Compare the dote of g 11, Clup. in.. Vol III., and here. CI 
g S3. [In thlt edition, Vol V. p. 55, and above, p. 68.] 

Ch.x slaty COHEBENTS lft9 

Vast wastes of mountain ground,^ covered here and there 
with dull grey grass or moss, but breaking continually into 
Uack banks of shattered slate, all glistening and sodden 
with slow tricklings of clogged, incapable streams ; the snow 
water oosing through them in a cold sweat, and spread- 
ing itself in creeping stains among their dust; ever and 
anon a shaking here and there, and a handful or two of 
their particles or flakes trembling down, one sees not why, 
into more total dissolution ; leaving a few^ J^^gg^ teeth, 
like the edges of knives eaten away by vinegar, projecting 
through the half-dislodged mass fix>m the inner rock, keen 
enough to cut the hand or foot that rests on them, yet 
crumbling as they wound, and soon sinking again into the 
smooth, slippery, glutinous hei^, looking like a beach of 
black scales of dead fish, cast a^ore fix>m a poisonous sea; 
and sloping away into the foul ravines, branched down im- 
measurable slopes of barrenness, where the winds howl 
and wander continually, and the snow lies in wasted and 
sorrowful fields, covered with sooty dust, that collects in 
streaks and stains at the bottom cdT all its thawing ripples. 
I know no other scenes so appalling as these in storm, 
or so wof ul in sunshine. 

§ 5. Where, however, these same rocks exist in more 
favourable positions, that is to say, in gentler ^ oreat power 
banks and at lower elevations, they form a ground ^mppoHing 
for the most luxuriant v^etation ; and the valleys **^*'^*^- 
of Savoy owe to them some of their loveliest solitudes, — 
exquisitely rich pastures, interspersed with arable and orchard 
land, and shaded by groves of walnut and cherry. Scenes 
of this kind, and of that just described, so singularly op- 
posed, and apparently brought together as foils to eadi 
other, are, however, peculiar to certain beds of the slaty 

' [The pamge, "There are many spots . . ." down to the end of § 5, is § 36 in 
Frcndee AgrmUi (i876), where at this point Raskin added the following footnote : — 

^^This is a fourth volume passage, — and I will venture to say of i^ as 

Albert DOrer, when he was pleased with his work — that, for what it had to 

do, it cannot be much better done. It is a study on the Col de Bonhomme." 

For Durer's saying, see also VoL XI. p. 14 n. For Ruskin's impressions of the Col 

du Bonhomme in 1849, see Introdoetion to VoL V. p. zxiv.] 


ecrfierents, which are both vast in elevatioii, and easy di 
destruGtioiL In Wales and Scotland, the same groups of 
rodcs possess fax greater hardness, while they attain le» 
deration; and the result is a totally difierent aspect of 
scenery. The severity of the climate, and the oomparative 
durableness of the rock, forbid the rich vegetation ; but the 
exposed summits, thou^ barren, are not subject to laws 
of destructimi so rapid and fearfid as in Switzerland; and 
the natural colour of the rock is oftener developed in the 
purples and greys which, mingled with the hd^er, foim 
the principal elements of the deep and beautifiil distant blue 
of the British hills. Their gentler mountain streams also 
permit the beds of rock to remain in firm, though fantastic, 
ftnrms along their banks, and the gradual action of tiie 
cascades and eddies upon the slaty cleavage produces many 
pieces of foreground scenery to which higher hills can pre- 
sait no paralleL Of these peculiar conditions we shaU have 
to speak at length in another place. 

§ 6. As fhr as r^fards ministry to the purposes of man, 

the slaty coherents are of somewhat more vahie 

Hmtot^hi' than the slaty crystallines. Most of them can 

torfwv awd be used in the same way for rough buildings, 

while they fiimish finer plates or sheets for roof- 
ing. It would be difiicult, perhaps, to estimate the exact 
importance of their educational influence in the form of 
drawing-slate. For sculptiue they are, of course, altogether 
unfit, but I believe c^tain finer conditions of them are 
employed for a dark ground in Florentine mosaic. 

§ 7. It remains only to be noticed, that the direction of 
the lamination (or separation into small folia) is, in these 
rocks, not always, nor even often, indicative of the true 
direction of their larger beds. It is not, however, necessary 
for the reader to enter into questions of such complicated 
nature as those which belong to the study of slaty cleavage ; 
and only a few points, which I could not pass over, are 
noted in the Appendix ;^ but it is necessary to observe here, 

1 [Appendix ii., p. 476.] 




ChX slaty COHERENTS 161 

that all rocks, however constituted, or however disposed, 
have certain ways of breaking in one direction rather than 
another, and separating themselves into blocks by means 
of smooth cracks or fissures, technically called joints, which 
often influence their forms more than either the position 
of their beds, or their slaty lamination; and always are 
conspicuous in their weathered masses. Of these, however, 
as it would be wearisome to enter into more detail at pre- 
sent, I rather choose to speak incidentally, as we meet with 
examples of their results in the scenery we have to study 
more particularly. 






§ I. This group of rocks, the last we have to examme, 
is, as far as re^>ects geographical extent and usefulness to 
the human race, more important than any of the preced- 
ing ones. It forms the greater part of all low hills and 
uplands throughout the world, and supplies the most valu- 
able materials for building and sculpture, being distinguished 
from the group of the slaty coherents by its incapability of 
being separated into thin sheets. All the rocks belonging 
to the group break irregularly, like loaf sugar or dried clay. 
Some of them are composed of hardened calcareous matter, 
and are known as limestone; others are merely hardefied 
sand, and are called freestone or sandstone; and others, 
appearing to consist of dried mud or clay, are of less 
general importance, and receive different names in difilsrent 

§ 2. Among these rocks, the foremost position is» of 
course, occupied by the great group of the marbles, of which 
the substance appears to have been prepared expressly in 
order to afford to human art a perfect means of carrying 
out its purposes.^ They are of exactly the necessary hard- 
ness, — ^neither so soft as to be incapable of maintaining 
themselves in delicate forms, nor so hard as always to 
require a blow to give effect to the sculptor's touch; the 
mere pressure of his chisel produces a certain effect upon 
them. The colour of the white varieties is of exquisite 
delicacy, owing to the partial translucency of the pure ro6k ; 

' [On this subject compare p. 143, above.] 


ChXI compact COHERENTS 168 

and it has always appeared to me a most wonderfid ordi- 
nance, — one of the most marked pieces of purpose in the 
creation, — ^that all the vari^^ted kinds should be compara- 
tively opaque, so as to set off the colour on the surfietce, 
while the white, which if it had been opaque would have 
looked somewhat coarse (as, for instance, conmion chalk 
does), is rendered just translucent enough to give an im- 
pression of extreme purity, but not so translucent as to 
interfere in the least with the distinctness of any forms into 
which it is wrought. The colours of variegated marbles 
are also for the most part very beautiful, especially those 
composed of purple, amber, and green, with white; and 
there seems to be something notably attractive to the 
human mind in the vague and veined labyrinths of their 
arrangements. They are farther marked as the prepared 
material for human work by the dependence of their beauty 
on smoothness of surfSflu^e; for their veins are usually seen 
but dimly in the native rock; and the colours they assume 
under the action of weather are inferior to those of the 
crystallines: it is not until wrought and polished by man 
that they show their character. Finally, they do not de- 
compose. The exterior surface is sometimes destroyed by 
a sort of mechanical disruption of its outer flakes, but rarely 
to the extent in which such action takes place in other 
rocks ; and the most delicate sculptmres, if executed in good 
marble, will remain for ages undeteriorated. 

§ 8. Quarries of marble are, however, rare, and we owe 
the greatest part of the good architecture of this world 
to the more ordinary limestones and sandstones, easily ob- 
tainable in blocks of considerable size, and capable of being 
broken, sawn, or sculptured with ease ; the colour, generally 
grey, or warm red (the yellow and white varieties becoming 
grey with age), being exactly that which will distinguish 
buildings by an agreeable contrast from the vegetaticm by 
which they may be surrounded. 

To these inferior conditions of the compact coherents 
we owe also the greater part of the pretty scenery of 



the inhabited globe. The sweet winding vallejrs, with peq»- 
ing cliffs on either side; the light, irregular wanderings 
of broken streamlets; the knolls and slopes covered with 
rounded woods; the narrow ravines, carpeted with green- 
sward, and haunted by traditions of &iry or gnome; the 
jutting crags, crowned by the castle or watch-tower ; the 
white sea-cUff and sheep-fed down; the long succession of 
coteaux, sunburnt and bristling with vines, — all these owe 
whatever they have of simple beauty to the peculiar nature 
of the group of rocks of which we are speakings ; a group 
which, though occasionally found in mountain masses <tf 
magnificent form and size, is on the whole characterized fay 
a comparative smallness of scale, and a tendency to display 
itself less in true mountains than in elevated downs or 
plains, through which winding valleys, more or less deep^ 
are cut by the action of the streams. 

§ 4. It has been said that this group of rocks is dis- 
tinguished by its incapability of being separated into sheets. 
This is only true of it in small portions, for it is usualfy 
deposited in beds or layers of irregular thickness, which 
are easily separable from each other; and when, as not 
unfrequently happens, some of these beds are only half 
an inch or a quarter of an inch thick, the rock appears 
to break into flat plates like a slaty coherent. But this 
appearance is deceptive. However thin the bed may be, 
it will be found that it is in its own substance compact, 
and not separable into two other beds; but the true slaty 
coherents possess a delicate slatiness of structure, carried 
into their most minute portions, so that however thin a 
piece of them may be, it is usually possible, if we have 
instruments fine enough, to separate it into two still thinner 
flakes. As, however, the slaty and compact crystallines, so 
also the slaty and compact coherents pass into each other 
by subtle gradations, and present many intermediate con- 
ditions, very obscure and indefinable. 

§ 5. I said just now that the colours of the compact 
coherents were usually such as would pleasantly distinguish 


buildings from vegetation. They are so; but, considered 
as abstract hues, are yet far less agreeable than those of 
the nobler and older rocks. And it is to be noticed, that 
as these inferior rocks are the materials with which we 
usually build, they form the ground of the idea suggested 
to most men's minds by the word "stone," and there- 
fore the general term " stone-colour ** is used in common 
parlance as expressive of the hue to which the compact 
coherents for the most part approximate. By stone-colour 
I suppose we all understand a sort of tawny grey, with too 
much yellow in it to be called cold, and too little to be 
called warm. And it is quite true that over enormous 
districts of Europe, composed of what are technically known 
as "Jura" and "mountain" limestones, and various pale 
sandstones, such is generally the colour of any freshly 
broken rock which peeps out along the sides of their gentler 
hills. It becomes a little greyer as it is coloured by time, 
but never reaches anything like the noble hues of the gneiss 
and slate ; the very lichens which grow upon it are poorer 
and paler; and although the deep wood mosses will some- 
times bury it altogether in golden cushions, the minor 
mosses, whose office is to decorate and chequer the rocks 
without concealing them, are always more meagrely set on 
these limestones than on the crystallines. 

§ 6. I never have had time to examine and throw into 
classes the varieties of the mosses which grow on the two 
kinds of rock, nor have I been able to ascertain whether 
there are really numerous differences between the species, 
or whether they only grow more luxuriantly on the cryistal- 
lines than on the coherents. But this is certain, that on 
the broken rocks of the foreground in the crystalline groups 
the mosses seem to set themselves consentfrdly and de- 
liberately to the task of producing the most exquisite 
harmonies of colour in their power. They will not conceal 
the form of the rock, but will gather over it in little brown 
bosses, like small cushions of velvet made of mixed threads 
of dark ruby silk and gold, rounded over more subdued 


fiLtns of white and grey, with li^tly crisped and curled 
edges like hoar frost on fidlen leaves, and minute dusten 
of upright orange stalks with pointed caps, and fibres of 
deep green, and gold,^ and faint purple passing into black, 
all woven together, and following with unimaginable fine- 
ness of gentle growth the undulation of the stone they 
cherish, until it is charged with colour so that it can receive 
no more; and instead of looking rugged, or cold, or ston, 
as * anything that a rock is held to be at heart, it seons to 
be clothed with a soft, dark leopard skin, embroidered with 
arabesque of purple and silver. But in the lower ranges 
this is not so. The mosses grow in more independent 
spots, not in such a clinging and tender way over the 
whole surface; the lichens are &r poorer and fewer; and 
the colour of the stone itself is seen more frequently; 
altered, if at all, only into a little chiller grey than when 
it is freshly broken. So that a limestone landscape is Bft 
to be dull and cold in general tone, with some aspect even 
of barrenness. The sandstones are much richer in vegeta- 
tion : there are, perhaps, no scenes in our own island more 
interesting than the wooded dingles which traverse them, 
the red rocks glowing out on either side, and shelving^ down 
into tlie pools of their deep brown rivers, as at Jedburgh 
and Langholme; the steep oak copses climbing the hanks, 
the paler plumes of birch shaking themselves free into the 
light of the sky above, and the few arches of the monasteiy 
where the fields in the glen are greenest, or the stones of 
the border tower where its cliffs are steepest, rendering 
both field and cliff a thousandfold more dear to the heart 
and sight. But deprived of such associations, and com- 
pared in their mere natural beauty with the ravines of the 
central ranges, there can be no question but that even the 
lovehest passages of such scenery are imperfect and poor 
in foreground colour. And at first there would seem to 

* fRmkin here notes in tlie mmrgin of one of hie copies " Dew on a lichen. "1 

' [So in all eds. and apparently in the MS.^ but the sense seems to require '^or."] 

Ch.xI compact COHERENTS 167 

be an unfairness in this, unlike the usual system of com- 
p»s.tio„ which » often m^itet, lt«lf thrS^Lt nature. 
The higher mountains have their scenes of power and vast* 
ness, their blue precipices and cloud-like snows : why should 
they also have the best and fairest colours given to their 
for^rround rocks, and overburden the human mind with 
wonder; while the less majestic scenery, tempting us to the 
observance of details for which amidst the h^her mountains 
we had no admiration left, is yet, in the beauty of those 
very details, as inferior as it is in scale of magnitude? 

§ 7. I believe the answer must be, simply, that it is not 
good for man to live among what is most beautiftd; — ^that 
he is a creature incapable of satisfaction by anything npoa 
earth; and that to allow him habitually to possess, in any 
kind whatsoever, the utmost that earth can give, is the 
surest way to cast him into lassitude or discontent. 

If the most exquisite orchestral music could be continued 
without a pause for a series of years, and children were 
brought up and educated in the room in which it was per- 
petually resounding, I believe their enjoyment of music, or 
understanding of it, would be very smalL And an accu- 
rately parallel effect seems to be produced upon the powers 
of contemplation, by the redundant and ceaseless loveliness 
of the high mountain districts. The faculties are paralyzed 
by the abundance, and cease, as we before notic^ of the 
imagination,^ to be capable of excitement, except by other 
subjects of interest than those which present themselves to 
the eye. So that it is, in reality, better for mankind that 
the forms of their common landscape should offer no violent 
stimulus to the emotions,— that the gentle upland, browned 
by the bending furrows of the plough, and the fresh sweep 
of the chalk down, and the narrow winding of the copse- 
dad dingle, should be more frequent scenes of human life 
than the Arcadias of cloud-capped mountain or luxuriant 
vale ; and that, while humbler (though alwajrs infinite) sources 

^ [See in the preoeding volnnie, cb. z. § 14^ p. 182.] 


of interest are given to each of us around the homes to 
which we are restrained for the greater part of our lives, 
these mightier and stranger glories should become the ob- 
jects of adventure, — at once the cynosures of the fimcies 
of childhood, and themes of the happy memory, and the 
winter's tale of age. 

§ 8. Nor is it always that the inferiority is felt. For, so 
natural is it to the human heart to fix itself in hope rather 
than in present possession, and so subtle is the charm 
which the imagination casts over what is distant or denied, 
that there is often a more touching power in the scenes 
which contain far-away promise of something greater than 
themselves, than in those which exhaust the treasures and 
powers of Nature in an unconquerable and excellent glory, 
leaving nothing more to be by the fancy pictured, m 

I do not know that there is a district in the world more 
calculated to illustrate this power of the expectant imagi* 
nation, than that which surrounds the city of Fribouxg 
in Switzerland, extending from it towards Beme.^ It is 
of grey sandstone, considerably elevated, but presenting no 
object of striking interest to the passing traveller: so that, 
as it is generally seen in the course of a hasty journey from 
the Bemese Alps to those of Savoy, it is rarely regarded 
with any other sensation than that of weariness, all the more 
painful because accompanied with reaction from the high 
excitement caused by the splendour of the Bemese Ober- 
land. The traveller, footsore, feverish, and satiated with 
glacier and precipice, lies back in the comer of the diligence^ 
perceiving Uttle more than that the road is winding and 
hilly, and the country through which it passes, cultivated 
and tame. Let him, however, only do this tame country 
the justice of staying in it a few days, until his mind has 
recovered its tone, and take one or two long walks throu^ 
its fields, and he will have other thoughts of it. It is, as 

^ [For Rnskiii's tojoum in this refi^on^ see Introduction to preceding toIiuim^ 


I said, an undulating district of grey sandstone, never at- 
taining any considerable height, but having enough of the 
mountain spirit to throw itself into continual succession of 
bold slope and dale ; elevated, also, just far enough above 
the sea to render the pine a frequent forest tree along its 
irregular ridges. Through this elevated tract the river cuts 
its way in a ravine some five or six hundred feet in 
depth, which winds for leagues between the gentle hills, 
unthought of, until its edge is approached; and then sud- 
denly, through the boughs of the firs, the eye perceives, 
beneath, the green and gliding stream, and the broad walls 
of sandstone cliff that form its banks ; hollowed out where 
the river leans against them, as it turns, into perilous over- 
hanging ; and, on the other shore, at the same spots, leaving 
little breadths of meadow between them and the water, half- 
overgrown with thicket, deserted in their sweetness, inacces- 
sible from above, and rarely visited by any curious wanderers 
along the hardly traceable footpatii which struggles for 
existence beneath the rocks. And there the river ripples, 
and eddies, and murmurs in an utter solitude. It is pass- 
ing through the midst of a thickly peopled country; but 
never was a stream so lonely. The feeblest and most far- 
away torrent among the high hills has its companions: the 
goats browse beside it; and the traveller drinks from it, 
and passes over it with his staff; and the peasant traces a 
new channel for it down to his null-wheel. But this stream 
has no companions: it flows on in an infinite seclusion, not 
secret nor threatening, but a quietness of sweet daylight and 
open air — a broad space of tender and deep desolateness, 
drooped into repose out of the midst of human labour and 
life; the waves plashing lowly, with none to hear them; 
and the ¥rild birds building in the boughs, with none to 
fray them away ; and the soft, fragrant herbs rising, and 
breathing, and fading, with no hand to gather them; — and 
yet all bright and bare to the clouds above, and to the 
fresh fall of the passing simshine and pure rain. 

§ 9. But above the brows of those scarped cliffs, all is 


Swiss; but take its inhabitants all in all, as with deep 
love and stem penetration they are painted in the works 
of their principal writer, Gotthelf,^ and I believe we shall 
not easily find a peasantry which would completely sustam 
comparison with them.* 

§ 11. But be this as it may, it is certain that the com- 
pact coherent rocks are appointed to form the greatest part 
of the earth's surface, and by their utility, and easily changed 
and governed qualities, to tempt man to dwell among them; 
being, however, in countries not definitely mountainous, 
usually covered to a certain depth by those beds of loose 
gravel and sand to which we agree to give the name of 
diluvium. There is nothing which will require to be noted 
respecting these last, except the forms into which they are 
brought by the action of water; and the account of these 
belongs properly to the branch of inquiry which follows 
next in the order we proposed to ourselves, namely, that 
touching the sculpture of mountains, to which it will be 
best to devote some separate chapters; this only being 
noted in conclusion respecting the various rocks whose nature 
we have been describing, that out of the entire series of 
them we may obtain almost every colour pleasant to human 
sight, not the less so for being generally a littie softened or 
saddened. Thus we have beautiful subdued reds, reaching 
tones of deep purple, in the porphyries, and of pale rose 
colour, in the granites ; every kind of silvery and leaden 
grey, passing into purple, in the slates; deep green, and 
every hue of greenish grey, in the volcanic rocks, and ser- 
pentines; rich orange, and golden brown, in the gneiss; 
black in the lias limestones; and all these, together with 

^ [Albert Bit&afl (1707-1854), who wrote under the peeadonvm of Jmmmm 
Gotthelf. Raskin was presently to bring his principal book before the R" yl««h 
reader ; see the Preface (reprinted in a later volume) to Mrs. Firth's trmnalatioD 
of Uiric the Farm Servant He refers to this and other books by Gotthelf in Mmdem 
FaifUere, vol. v. pt. ix. ch. xL § 24. For later references to Gotthelf, see Noiee am 
kU Drawhufs bjf Turner (under 5 r.), and Fore Ctaviaera, Letters 90, 34, 55. 61, 
62, 91, 94.] 

' rin one of his copies for revision Ruskin marks this passage as requiring a '* note 

ChXI compact COHERENTS 178 

pure white, in the marbles. One colour only we hardly 
ever get in an exposed rock — ^that dull brown which we 
noticed above, in speaking of colour generally, as the most 
repulsive of all hues ; every approximation to it is softened 
by nature, when exposed to the atmosphere, into a purple 
grey. All this can hardly be otherwise interpreted, than 
as prepared for the delight and recreation of man; and I 
trust that the time may soon come when these beneficent 
and beautiful gifts of colour may be rightly felt and wisely 
employed, and when the variegated fix>nts of our houses 
may render the term " stone colour *' as little definite in the 
mind of the architect as that of ** flower colour " would be 
to the horticulturist. 




§ 1. Close beside the path by which travellers Bscend the 
Montanvert from the valley of Chamouni, oa the right 
hand, where it first begins to rise among the pines, theit 
descends a small stream frt>m the foot of the granite peak 
known to the guides as the Aiguille Charmoz. It is con- 
cealed from the traveller by a thicket of alder, and its 
murmur is hardly heard, for it is one of the weakest streams 
of the valley. But it is a constant stream ; fed by a per- 
manent though small glacier, and continuing to floi^ even 
to the close of the summer, when more copious torrents, 
depending only on the melting of the lower snows, have 
left their beds ''stony channels in the sun.** 

I suppose that my readers must be generally aware that 
glaciers are masses of ice in slow motion, at the rate of 
from ten to twenty inches a day, and that the stones which 
are caught between them and the rocks over which they 
pass, or which are embedded in the ice and dragged along 
by it over those rocks, are of course subjected to a crushing 
and grinding power altogether unparalleled by any other 
force in constant action. The dust to which these stones 
are reduced by the friction is carried down by the streams 
which flow from the melting glacier, so that the water 
which in the morning may be pure, owing what little 
strength it has chiefly to the rock springs, is in the after^ 
noon not only increased in volume, but whitened with dis- 
solved dust of granite, in proportion to the heat of the 



preceding hours of the day, and to the power and size of 
the glacier which feeds it. 

§ 2. The long drought which took place in the autumn 
of the year 1854, seiddng every source of waters except 
these perpetual ones, left the torrent of which I am speak- 
ing, and such others, in a state peculiarity fftvourable to 
observance of their lecut action on the mountains from 
which they descend. They were entirely limited to their 
own ice fountains, and the quantity of powdered rock 
which they brought down was, of course, at its minimum, 
being nearly unmingled with any earth derived from the 
dissolution of softer soil, or vegetable mould, by rains. 

At three in the afternoon, on a warm day in September, 
when the torrent had reached its average maximum strength 
for the day, I filled an ordinary Bordeaux wine-flask with 
the water where it was least turbid.^ From this quart of 
water I obtained twenty-four grains of sand and sediment, 
more or less fine. I cannot estimate the quantity of water 
in the stream; but the runlet of it at which I filled the 
flask was giving about two hundred bottles a minute, or 
rather more, carrying down therefore about three-quarters 
of a pound of powdered granite every minute. This would 
be forty-five pounds an hour; but aUowing for the inferior 
power of the stream in the cooler periods of the day, and 
taking into consideration, on the other side, its increased 
power in rain, we may, I think, estimate its average hour's 
work at twenty-eight or thirty pounds, or a hundredweight 
every four hours. By this insignificant runlet, therefore, 
some four inches wide and four inches deep, rather more 
than two tons of the substance of the Mont Blanc are 
displaced, and carried down a certain distance every week; 
and as it is only for three or four months that the flow of 
the stream is checked by frost, we may certainly allow 
eighty tons for the mass which it annually moves. 

^ [For a reference to theee experimentt — "weighing tbe minnte-bnrden of Huid 
in the itreamt of Chmmouni'' — see the Epilogue to The Sttmm qf Veniee, VoL XL 
p. 237.] 


§ 8. It is not worth while to enter into any calculation [ 
of the relation borne by this runlet to the great torrents 
which descend from the chain of Mont Blanc into the 
valley of Chamouni.^ To call it the thousandth part of 
the glacier waters, would give a ludicrous under-estimate 
of their total power ; but even so calling it, we should find 
for result that eighty thousand tons of moimtain must be 
yearly transformed into drifted sand, and carried down a 
certain distance.* How much greater than this is the 
actual quantity so transformed I cannot tell; but take this 
quantity as certain, and consider that this represents merely 
the results of the labour of the constant summer streams, 
utterly irrespective of all sudden falls of stones and of 
masses of mountain (a single thunderbolt will sometimes 
leave a scar on the flank of a soft rock, looking like a 
trench for a railroad) ; and we shall then begin to apprehend 
something of the operation of the great laws oi change, 
which are the conditions of all material existence, however 
apparently enduring. The hiUs, which, as compared with 
living beings, seem ''everlasting,"* are, in truth, as perishii^ 
as they: its veins of flowing fountain weary the mountain 
heart, as the crimson pulse does ours; the natural force of 
the iron crag is abated in its appointed time, like the 
strength of the sinews in a human old age; and it is but 

* How far, is aDother question. The sand which the stream brings from 
the bottom of one eddy in its course, it throws down in the next ; all that 
is proved by the above trial is, that so many tons of material are annnally 
carried down by it a certain number of feet. 

^ [§§ 1~^ ^^^ ioTTTi with some abbreviatious § 30 of Frondes Agreetee (1875), whers 
at this point iluskin added the following footnote : — 

''I have slightly modified and abridged what follows, bein^^ impatient 

of its prolixity, as well as ashamed of what is truly called the Inoicroiis 

under-estimate of the mass of the larger streams." 

The second paragraph of § 1 — ''I suppose that my readers . . . the g^lacier that 

feeds it" — is omitted; and at the present point after the words "the vallej of 

Chamouni " the modified and abridged text reads thus : — 

*' 1 but take this quantity, eighty tons, as the result of the labour of a 
scarcely noticeable rumet at the side of one of them, utterly irrespectiye • . ."] 
> [Genesis xfix. 26.] 


the lapse of the longer years of decay which, in the sight 
of its Creator, distinguishes the mountain range from the 
moth and the worm. 

§ 4. And hence two questions arise of the deepest in- 
terest From what first created forms were the mountains 
brought into their present condition? into what forms will 
they change in the course of ages? Was the world an- 
ciently in a more or less perfect state than it is now? was 
it less or more fitted for Uie habitation of the human race ? 
and are the changes which it is now undergoing fSavourable 
to that race or not ? The present confirmation of the earth 
appears dictated, as has been shown in the preceding chap- 
ters, by supreme wisdom and kindness. And yet its former 
state must have been different firom what it is now; as its 
present one firom that which it must assume hereafter. Is 
this, therefore, the earth's prime into which we are bom: 
or is it, with all its beauty, only the wreck of Paradise ? 

I cannot entangle the reader in the intricacy of the 
inquiries necessary for anjrthing like a satisfactory solution 
of these questions. But, were he to engage in such in- 
quiries, their result would be his strong conviction of the 
earth's having been brought firom a state in which it was 
utterly uninhabitable into one fitted for man; — of its hav- 
ing been, when first inhabitable, more beautiful than it is 
now ; and of its gradually tending to still greater inferiority 
of aspect, and unfitness for abode.^ 

It has, indeed, been the endeavour of some geologists to 
prove that destruction and renovation are continually pro- 
ceeding simultaneously in mountains as well as in organic 
creatures; that while existing eminences are being slowly 
lowered, others, in order to supply their place, are bdng 

^ [See, however, Ethiet of the Dust (1866), § 119, where Ruskin refers to this iMMH«e 
as oontftining ''an old error." He ezplams the pertieiibir phenomene of whieh he 
was thinldng, and eonfirms his impresBio& of them ; hat. ne adds, *' I ftel more 
strongly, erery day, that no evidence to he collected within historical periods can 
be acceiited as any doe to the great tendencies of geologieal change ; hut that the 
great laws which never fiul, and to which all change is sahordinate, appear such as 
to accomplish a gradual advance to lovelier order, and more calmly, yet more deeply, 
animated Rest."] 

▼I. M 


slowly elevated; and that what is lost in beauty or heahhi- 
ness in one spot is gained in another. But I cannot assent 
to such a conclusion. Evidence altogether inoontrovertible 
points to a state of the earth in which it could be tenanted 
only by lower animals, fitted for the circumstances under 
which they lived by peculiar organizations. From this state 
it is admitted gradually to have been brought into that m 
which we now see it ; and the circumstances of the existiiig 
dispensation, whatever may be the date of its endurance, 
seem to me to point not less clearly to an end than to an 
origin ; to a creation, when ** the earth was without form and 
void,"^ and to a close, when it must either be renovated 
or destroyed. 

§ 5. In one sense, and in one only, the idea of a eoiir 
tinuous order of things is admissible, in so fiar as the 
phenomena which introduced, and those which are to ter- 
minate, the existing dispensation, may have been, and may 
in future be, nothing more than a gigantic development <rf 
agencies which are in continual operation around us. The 
experience we possess of volcanic agency is not yet laige 
enough to enable us to set limits to its force; and as we 
see the rarity of subterraneous action generally proportioned 
to its violence, there may be appointed, in the natural order 
of things, convulsions to take place after certain epochs, on 
a scale which the human race has not yet lived long enough 
to witness. The soft silver cloud which writhes innoc^ently 
on the crest of Vesuvius, rests there without intermission; 
but the fury which lays cities in sepulchres of lava bursts 
forth only f^er intervals of centuries ; and the still fiercer 
indignation of the greater volcanoes, which makes half the 
globe vibrate with earthquake, and shrivels up whole king- 
doms with flame, is recorded only in dim distances of history ; 
so that it is not irrational to admit that there may yet be 
powers dormant, not destroyed, beneath the apparently calm 
surfS&ce of the earth, whose date of rest is tiie endurance 
of the human race, and whose date of action must be that 

1 [Geneni i. 2.] 

Ch-XII the lateral RANGES 179 


of its doom. But whether such colossal agencies are ii 
in the existing order of things or not, still the effective 
truth, for us, is one and the same. The earth, as a tor- 
mented and trembling ball, may have rolled in space for 
mjrriads of ages before humanity was formed fix>m its dust ; 
and as a devastated ruin it may continue to roll, when all 
that human dust shall again have been mingled with ashes 
that never were warmed by life, or polluted by sin. But 
for us the intelligible and substantial fact is that the earth 
has been brought, by forces we know not of^ into a form 
fitted for our habitation: on that form a gradual, but de» 
structive, change is continually taking place, and the course 
of that change points clearly to a period when it will no 
more be fitted for the dweUmg-place of men. 

§ 6. It is therefore, not so much what these forms of 
the earth actually are, as what they are continually be- 
coming, that we have to observe: nor is it possible thus 
to obsi^e them without an instinctive reference to the first 
state out of which they have been brought. The existing 
torrent has dug its bed a thousand feet deep. But in 
what form was the mountain originally raised which gave 
that torrent its track and power ? The existing precipice is 
wrought into towers and bastions by the perpetual CeiII of 
its fi-agments. In what form did it stand before a single 
firagment fell? 

Yet to such questions, continually suggesting themselves, 
it is never possible to give a complete answer. For a certain 
distance, the past work of existing forces can be traced; 
but there gradually the mist gathers, and the footsteps of 
more gigantic agencies are traceable in the darkness; and 
still, as we endeavour to penetrate farther and farther into 
departed time, the thunder of the Ahnighty power sounds 
louder and louder; and the clouds gather broader and more 
fearfully, until at last the Sinai of the world is seen alto- 
gether upon a smoke, and the fence of its foot is reached, 
which none can break through.^ 

1 [Exodus xix. 18, 23, 24.] 


§ 7. If, therefore, we venture to advance towards the ^ 
where the cloud first comes down, it is rather with the 
purpose of fully pointing out that there is a doud, thai 
of entering into it. It is well to have been fuUy convinoed 
of the existence of the mystery in an age far too apt to 
suppose that everjrthing which is visible is explicable, and 
ever3rthing that is present, eternal. But besides asoertaining 
the existence of this mystery, we shall perhaps be able to 
form some few conjectures respecting the fiicts of mountm 
aspects in the past ages: not respecting the processes or 
powers to which the hills owe their origin, but respectby 
the aspect they first assumed. 

§ 8. For it is evident that, through all their ruin, some 
traces must still exist of the original contours. The direc- 
tions in which the mass gives way must have been dictated 
by the disposition of its ancient sides ; and the currents of 
the streams that wear its flanks must stiU, in great part, 
follow the course of the primal valleys. So that, in the 
actual form of any mountain peak, there must usually be 
traceable the shadow or skeleton of its former self; like 
the obscure indications of the first frame of a war-won 
tower, preserved, in some places, under the heap of its 
ruins, in others to be restored in imagination £roni the 
thin remnants of its tottering shell; while here and there, 
in some sheltered spot, a few unfallen stones retain their 
Gk>thic sculpture, and a few touches of the chisels or stains 
of colour, inform us of the whole mind and perfect skill of 
the old designer. With this great difference, nevertheless, 
that in the human architecture the builder did not calculate 
upon ruin, nor appoint the course of impendent desolation; 
but that in the hand of the great Architect of the moun- 
tains, time and decay are as much the instruments of His 
purpose as the forces by which He first led forth the troops 
of hills in leaping flocks: — ^the lightning and the torrent, 
and the wasting and weariness of innmnerable ages, all bear 
their part in the working out of one consistent plan; and 
the /Builder of the temple for ever stands beside His work* 


Ch-XII the lateral ranges 181 

Af^inting the stone that is to &!!, and the pillar that is 
to be abased, and guiding all the seeming wildness of 
chance and change, into ordained splendours and foreseen 

^ harmonies. 

I § 9. Mountain masses, then, considered with respect to 
their first raising and first sculpture, may be conveniently 
divided into two great groups; namely, those made up of 
beds or layers, commonly called stratified; and those made 
of more or less united substance, caUed unstratified. The 
former are nearly always composed of coherent rocks, the 
latter of crjrstallines ; and the former almost always occupy 
the outside, the latter the centre, of mountain chains. It 
signifies, therefore, very little whether we distinguish the 
groups by calling one stratified and the other unstratified, 
or one ^'coherent*' and the other ^'crystalline," or one 
^< lateral" and the other '' central" But as this last dis- 
tinction in position seems to have more influence on their 
forms than either of the others, it is, perhaps, best, when 
we are examining them in connection with art, that this 
should be thoroughly kept in mind; and therefore we will 
consider the first group under the title of '^ lateral ranges,'' 
and the second under that of '^ central peaks." 

§ 10. The LATERAL BAN6ES, which wc are first to exa- 
mine, are, for the most part, broad tabular masses of sand- 
stone, limestone, or whatever their material may be, — ^tilted 
slightly up over large spaces (several or many miles square), 
and forming precipices with their exposed edges, as a ho6k 
resting obliquely on another book forms miniature precipices 
with its back and sides. The book is a tolerably accurate 
representation of the mountain in substance, as well as in 
external aspect; nearly all these tabular masses of rock 
being composed of a multitude of thinner beds or layers, 
as the thickness of the book is made up of its leaves ; while 
every one of the mountain leaves is usually written over, 
though in dim characters, like those of a faded manuscript, 
with history of departed ages. 

'^How were these mountain volumes raised, and how 


are they supported?" are the natural questions foUowing 
such a statement. 

And the only answn is : " Behold the cloud." 
No eye has ever seen one of these raised on a large 
scale; no investigation has brought completely to light the 
conditions imder which the materials which support tben 
were prepared. This only is the simple fact, that they art 
raised into such sloping positions; generally several resting 
one upon another, like a row of books fallen down <Fig. 8); 
the lut book being usually propped by a piece of fansAen 
compact crystalline rock, re- 
presented by the piece of 
crumpled paper at a. 

§ II. It is another sim^ 
fact that this airangement ii 
not effected in an orderiy 
and serene manner ; but thit 
the books, if they were eva 
neatly bound, have been 
fearftilly torn to pieces and dog's-eared in the course of their 
elevation ; sometimes torn leaf from leaf, but more oonmUHify 
rent across, as if the paper had been wet and soft: or, to 
leave the book similitude, which is becoming inconvenieot, 
the beds seem to have been in the consistence of a past^ 
more or less dry; in some places brittle, and breaking, like 
a cake, fiurly across ; in others moist and tough, and tearing 
like dough, or bending like hot iron ; and, in others, crushed 
and shivering into dust like unannealed glass. And in these 
various states they are either bent or broken, or shivered, as 
the case may be, into fragments of various shapes, which are 
usually tossed one on the top of another, as above described ; 
but, 6i comrse, under such circumstances, presenting, not tbe 
imiform edges of the books, but jagged edges, as in Fig. 9. 

§ 12. Do not let it be said that I am passing my 
prescribed limits, and that I have tried to enter the 
clouds, and am describing operations which have never been 
witnessed. I describe facts or semblances, not opersti<Kis. 


I say "are 

1 say " seem to hare been," not " hare been." 
bent;" I do not say "have been bent." 

Most travellers must remember the entrance to the 
valley of Cluse, firom the plain of Bonneville, on the road 
from Geneva to Cbamouiu.' They 
remember that immediately after en- 
t^ing it they find a great precipice 
on their left, not less than two thou- 
sand feet in perpendicular height. 
That precipice is formed by beds of 
limestone bent like a rainbow, as in 
Fig. 10. Their edges constitute the '*' 

clifi; the flat arch which they form with their backs is 
eovored with pine forests and meadows, extending for three 
or four leagues in the direction of Sixt Whether the whole 
mountain was called out of nothing into the form it pos- 
sesses, or created first in the form of a level mass, and then 
actually bent and broken by external force, is quite irrele- 
vant to our present purpose; but it is impossible to describe 
its form wiUiout appearing to 
imply the Uttor alternative; 
and all the distinct evidence 
which can be obtuned upon 
the subject points to such a 
conclusion, although there are 
certain features in such moun- 
^.10 tains which, up to the present 
time,' have rendered all posi- 
tive conclusion impossible, not because they contradict the 
theories in question, but because they are utterly inexpli- 
cable on any theory whatever. 

§ 18. We return then to our Fig. 9, representing beds 
which appear to have been broken short off at the edges. 
" If they ever were actually broken," the reader asks, "what 

' rCompwa DmeaMam, eh. t., '' 
opponta p. 236 in Vol. II.] 

' [Tha fMr 18A0. For Ruldii'i 
" H Tolnma.] 

TIw Vkllejr of CIom," ud m* Rnaldii'i Anwmg, 
•iibwqiunt ipecnlatioiu on thii rabject. Me tlio 


could have become of the bits ? "" Sometimes they seem to 
have been lost, carried away no one knows where. Some- 
times they are really fomid in scattered fragments or dust 
in the neighbourhood. Sometimes the mountain is mnplj 
broken in two, and the pieces correspond to eaeh other, 
only leaving a valley between ; but more frequently one half 
slips down, or the other is pushed up. In such caseSy the 
coincidence of part with part is sometimes so exact, thit 
half of a broken pebble has been found on <me side, and the 
other half five or six hundred feet below, on the other. 

§ 14. The beds, however, which are to form mountaim 
of any eminence are seldom divided in this gentle way. If 
brittle, one would think they had been broken as a captain's 
biscuit breaks,^ leaving sharp and ragged edges ; and if tough, 
they appear to have been torn asunder very much like t 
piece of new cheese. 

The beds which present the most definite appearances 
of abrupt fracture, are those of that grey or black limestone 
above described (Chap. x. § 4), formed into a number of 
thin layers or leaves, commonly separated by filmy spread- 
ings of calcareous sand, hard when dry, but easily softened 
by moisture; the whole, considered as a mass, eadly friable, 
though particular beds may be very thick and hard. Ima- 
gine a layer of such substance, three or four thousand feet 
thick, broken with a sharp crash through the middle, and 
one piece of it thrown up as in Fig. 11. 

It is evident that the first result of such a shock would 
be a complete shattering of the consistence of the broken 
edges, and that these would fall, some on the instant, and 
others tottering and crumbling away from time to time^ 
until the cliff had got in some degree settled into a tenaUe 
form. The fallen fragments would lie in a confused heap 
at the bottom, hiding perhaps one half of its height, as in 
Fig. 12; the top of it, wrought into somewhat less ragged 
shape, would thenceforward submit itself only to the gradual 
infiuences of time and storm. 

1 [See alM § 22 below, p. 196.] 



I do not say that this operatioii has actually taken place. 
I merely say that such clifib do in multitudes easitt in the 
form shown at Fig. 12, <n*, more pn^ierty^ speaking, in that 
lin*m modified by agencies in nsible operation, whose woik 
can be traced upcm them, toudi by touch. But the con- 
dition at Fig. 12 is the first rough blocking out of their 
form, the primal state in which they demonstrably were, 
smne thousands of years ago, but beyond wfaidk no human 

reastm can trace them without danger of error. The cloud 
fastens upon them there. 

§ 15. It is rare, however, that such a cliff as that Ttpre- 
sented in Fig. 12 can maintain itself long in such a contour. 
Usually it moulders gradually away into a steep mound or 
bank; and the larger number of bold cliffs are composed 
of fkt more solid rock, which in its general nuike is quite 
unshattered and flawless ; apparently unafi^ected, as &r as its 
coherence is concerned, l^ any ^ock R may have suffered 
in being raised to its position, or hewn into its form. Beds 
occur in the Alps composed of solid coherent limestone 
{such as that familiar to the Elnglish traveller in the cliffs 
of Matlock and Bristol), 8.000 or 4.000 feet thick, and 
Inoken short off throughout a great part of this thickness, 



forming nearly * sheer precipices not less than 1,500 or 2,000 
feet in height, after all deduction has been made for sl<^ 
of debris at the bottom, and for romided diminution at 
the top. 

§ 16. The geologist plunges into vague suppositicms and 
fantastic theories in order to account for these diffi : but, 
after all that can be dreamed or discovered, they remain in 
great part inexplicable. If they were interiorly shattered, 
it would be easy to understand that, in their hardened 
condition, they had been broken violently asunder ; but 

it is not easy to conceive a firm cliff of limestone broken 
through a thickness of 2,000 feet without showing a crack 
in any other part of it. If they were divided in a soft 
state, like that of paste, it is still less easy to understand 
how any such soft material could maintain itself, till it 
dried, in the form of a cliff so enormous and so ponderous : 
it must have flowed down from the top, or squeeased itself 
out in bulging protuberance at the base. But it has dime 
neither; and we are left to choose between the suppositions 
that the mountain was created in a form approximating to 
that which it now wears, or that the shock which produced 
it was so violent and irresistible, as to do its work neatly 

* Nearfy; that is to smj, not quite rertical. Of the degree of iteepiieM 
we shall hare more to say hereafter.^ 

^ [See ch. xyi., on Pracipioai.] 


in an instant, and cause no flaws to the rock, except in the 
actual line of fracture. The force must have been analo- 
gous either to the light and sharp blow of the hammer 
with which one breaks a stone into two pieces as it lies in 
the hand, or the parting caused by a settlement under 
great weight, like the cracks through the brickwork of a 
modem ill-built house. And yet the very beds which 
seem at the time they were broken to have possessed this 
firmness of consistence, are also bent throughout their whole 
body into waves, apparently following the action of the 
force that fractured them, like waves of sea under the 
wind. Truly the cloud lies darkly upon us herel 

§ 17. And it renders these precipices more remarkable 
that there is in them no principle of compensation against 
destructive influences. They are not cloven back continu- 
ally into new clifis, as our chalk shores are by the sea; 
otherwise, one might attribute their first existence to the 
force of streams. But, on the contrary, the action of 
years upon them is now always one of deterioration. The 
increasing heap of Mien fitigments conceals more and more 
of their base, and the wearing of the rain lowers the height 
and softens the sternness of their brows, so that a great 
part of their terror has evidently been subdued by time; 
and the farther we endeavour to penetrate their history, 
the more mjrsterious are the forms we are required to 

§ 18. Hitherto, however, for the sake of clearness, we 
have spoken of hills as if they were composed of xh^ ^j^^^ ^^^ 
a single mass or volume of rock. It is very rvremntaUm 
seldom that they are so. Two or three layers \im^j^ 
are usually raised at once, with certain general *»<»»*"*w- 
results on mountain form, which it is next necessary to 

1st. Suppose a series of beds raised in the condition 
a, Fig. 18, the lowest soft, the uppermost com- i. wau above 
pact; it is evident that the lower beds would ^^' 
rapidly crumble away, and the compact mass above break 




for want of support, until the rocks beneath had reached a 
slope at which they could securely sustain tfaemaelves, u 
well as the weight of wall above, thus hmffjog the hill 
into the outline 6. 

2nd. If, on the other hand, the hill were originally 
1 aepe otew nuscd as at c, the softest beds being at the top, 
«"^ these would crumble into their smcioth slope 

without affecting the outline of the mass below, and the 
hill would assume the form </, large masses of debris being 

in either of these two 
cases accumulated at the 
foot of the slope, or of 
the difil These fint ruins 
might, by subsequent 
changes, be variously en- 
gulfed, carried away, or 
covered over, so as to 
leave nothing visible, or 
at least nothing^ notaUe, 
but the great diff with its 
slope above or below it 
Without insisting on the 
evidences or probabilities 
of such construction, it is sufficient to state that moun- 
tains of the two types b and d are exceedingly oonunon 
in all parts of the world ; and though of course con- 
fused with others, and themselves always more or less 
imperfectly developed, yet they are, on the whole, singu- 
larly definite, as classes of hills, examples of which can 
hardly but remain clearly impressed on the mind of every 
traveller. Of the first, 6, Salisbury Crags, near Eklinburgh,^ 
is a nearly perfect instance, though on a diminutive scale. 
The elifis of Lauterbrunnen, in the Oberland, are almost 
without exception formed on the type d. 

8rd. When the elevated mass, instead of consisting 

Fig, IS 

^ [Compare p. 127> above, pottaeiipt to In MtnUibtu Stmetu.} 

Ch.xii the lateral RANGES 18» 

merely of two great divisions, iooludes mltemately hard 
and soft beds, as at a. Fig. 14, the vertical cliftli ^ nhmmi 
and inclined banks alternate with each other, and mOm!^ 
the mountain rises in a series of steps, with ""''^ 
receding slopes of turf or debris on the ledge of each, a» 
at 6. At the head of the valley of Sixt, in Savoy, huge 
masses of mountain connected with the Buet are thus con- 
structed : their slopes are quite smooth, and composed of 
good pasture land, and the cliffl in many places literally 
vertical In the summer the peasants make hay on the 
inclined pastures ; and the hay is *• carried " by merely 

binding the haycocks tight and rolling them down th« 
siape and over the cliff, when I have heard them fid! to 
the bank below, a height of from five to ei^t hundred 
feet, with a sound like the distant report of a heavy |Hece 
(rf artillery. 

§ 19. The next point of importance in these bed) i» 
the curvature, to wfaidi, as well a« to fracture, they seem 
to have been subjected. This curvature is not to \te con- 
founded with that rqi^ing or ii"^v'**i"g character of every 
portion oi the daty crystaUioe rocks above described.* I 
am DOW speakiijg of all Idnds of roA» indifferently ;— oot 
at their apu r aiM i fr in small pieces, but of tbdr great con- 
toms in masKS, thonsands of feet thidE. And it is ahmwt 
tmivcnalty true at these masses that they do not meoAy 
lie in flat sup eip uaili on, one over another, as the books in 





Fig. 8 ; but they lie in waves^ more or less vast and sweep- 
ing according to the scale of the country, as in Fig. 15, 
where the distance from one side of the figure to the 
other is supposed to be four or five leagues. 

§ 20. Now, observe, if the precipices which we have 
just been describing had been broken when their substance 
was in a hard state, there appears no reason why any con- 
nection should be apparent between the energy of undtda- 
tioUf and these broken rocks. If the continuous waves 
were caused by convulsive movements of the earth's sur- 
face while its substance was pliable, and were left in repose 
for so long a period as to become perfectly hard before 


they were broken into cliffs, there seems no reason why 
the second series of shocks should so closely have confined 
itself to the locality which had suffered the first, that the 
most abrupt precipices should always be associated with 
the wildest waves. We might have expected that some- 
times we should have had noble cliffs raised where the 
waves had been slight; and sometimes low and slight 
fractures where the waves had been violent. But this is 
not so. The contortions and fructures bear always sudi 
relation to each other as appears positively to imply con- 
temporaneou, f„rnu.tion. T^ dT the lowUnd dfatrict, 
of the world the average contour of the waves of rock is 
somewhat as represented in Fig. 16 a, and the little difis 
or hills formed at the edges of the beds (whether by frac- 
ture, or, as oftener happens in such countries, by gradiud 
washing away under the surge of ancient seas) are no 
higher, in proportion to the extent of sur£ace, than the 


little steps seen in the centre of the figure. Such is the 
nature, and such the scale, of the ranges of hill which fonn 
our own downs and wolds, and the French coteaux heside 
their winding rivers. But as we approach the hill countries, 
the undulation becomes more mariced, and the crags more 
bold ; so that almost any portion of such mountain ranges 
as the Jura or the Vosges will present itself under condi- 

tions such as those at b, the precipices at the edges bong 
bolder in exact proportion to the violence of wave. And, 
finally, in the central and noblest chains the imdulation 
becomes litoally contortion ; the beds occur in such posi- 
tions as those at c, and the predpiees are bold and tmrific 
in exact proportion to this exaggerated and tremoidous con- 

§ 21. These facts appear to be just as contrary to the 
supposition of the mountains having been formed while the 
rocks were hard, as the considerations adduced in § 15 are 


to that of their being formed while they were soft. And 
I believe the more the reader revolves the subject in hb 
thoughts, and the more opportunities he has of examining 
the existing facts, the less explicable those facts will be- 
come to him, and the more reverent will be his acknow- 
ledgment of the presence of the cloud. 

For, as he examines more clearly the structure of the 
great mountain ranges, he wiU find that though invariaUj 
the boldest forms are associated with the most violent con- 
tortions, they sometimes foJJUm the contortions, and s(»ne- 
times appear entirely independent of them. For instance, 
in crossing the pass of the T6te Noire, if the travdler 
defers his journey till near the afternoon, so that from the 
top of the pass he may see the great limestone mountain 
in the Valals, called the Dent de Mordes, under the fiiU 
evening light, he wiU observe that its peaks are hewn out 
of a group of contorted beds, as shown in Fig. 4, Plate 29.* 
The wild and irregular zigzag of the beds, which traverse 
the face of the cliff with the irregularity of a flash of light- 
ning, has apparently not the slightest influence on the 
outline of the peak. It has been carved out of the mass, 
with no reference whatever to the interior structure. In 
like manner, as we shall see hereafter, the most wonderful 
peak in the whole range of the Alps seems to have bem 
cut out of a series of nearly horizontal beds, as a square 
pillar of hay is cut out of a half-consumed haystack. And 
yet, on the other hand, we meet perpetually with instances 
in which the curves of the beds have in great part directed 
the shape of the whole mass of mountain. The gorge which 
leads from the village of Ardon, in the Valais, up to the 
root of the Diablerets,^ runs between two ranges of limestone 
hills, of which the rude contour is given in Fig. 17. The 
great slope seen on the left, rising about seven thousand 
feet above the ravine, is nothing but the back of one sheet 
of limestone, whose broken edge forms the first cliflT at the 

♦ Facing p. 200. 
^ [See alio below, p. 316 ; and in the next Tolame, pt tH eh. it { 9.] 


t<^ a height of about six hundred feet, the second cliff being 
the edge of another bed emergent beneath it, and the slope 
beyraid, the suz&ce of a third. These beds of limestone all 
descend at a unifbnn inclination into the gorge, where they 
are snapped short off, the torrent cutting its way along the 
cliff, while the beds rise on the other side in a huge con- 
torted wave, forming the ridge of mountains on the right, — 
s chain about sevoi miles in length, and &om five thousuid 
to six thousand feet in height. The actual order of the 
beds is seen in Fig. 18, and it is one of the boldest and 

clearest examples of the form of mountains being corre- 
spondent to the curves of beds which I have ever seen ; it 
also exhibits a condition of the summits which is of con- 
stant occurrence in stratified hills, and peculiarly important 
as ^ving rise to the serrated structure, rendered classical by 
the Spaniards in their universal term for mountain ridges, 
Sierra, and obtaining for one of the most important members 
of the Comasque chain of Alps its well-known Italian name, 
— II Resegone.* Such mountains are not merely successions 
of irregular peaks, more or less resembling the edge of a 
much-hacked sword; they are orderly successions of teeth 
set in one direction, closely resembling those of a somewhat 

I [The mountam ■bore Leoco, whoM elerea polnU, icm from a diftuica and 
Mpwially from Milan, have the appearance of a nw (tega) ; in the MUaneae dialiict. 


overworn saw, and nemrly always produoed by succcsbtc 
beds emerging one from beneath the otho*. 

§ 22. In all such cases there is an infinitely greats 
difficulty in accounting for the forms than in explaining die 
fracture of a single bed. How, and when, and where, wen 
the other portions carried away? Was each bed once eon- 
tinuous over a much larger space from the point where iti 
edge is now broken off, or have sudi beds sUpped back into 
some gulf behind them? It is very easy for geologista to 
speak generally of elevation and convulsiim, but very diffi- 
cult to explain what sort of convulsion it could be '^lidi 

passed forward from the edge of one bed to the edge of 
another, and broke the required portion off each without 
disturbing the rest Try the experiment in the simplest 
way : put half a dozen of hard captain's biscuits in a slop- 
ing position on a table, and then try as they lie, to bfcak 
the edge of each, one by one, without disturbing the rest' 
At least, you will have to raise the edge before you can 
break it; to put your hand underneath, between it and 
the next biscuit, before you can get any purchase on it 
What force was it that put its fingers between one bed of 
limestcme 600 feet thick and the next beneath? If yon 
try to break the biscuits by a blow from above, observe 
the necessary force of your blow, and thai conceiTe, if 
3rou can, the sort of hammer that was required to Incak 
the 600 feet of rock through in the same way. But, al«^ 

> [Sea abovA, p. 1B4, ud DnuiMm, i. ch. L § lA, when tUi Ulnitntloii ia v 
to, mnd the subject further diecuMed.] 


yovL will, ten to <me, iMPeak two biscuits at tiie siunt 
time. Now, in these serrated fonnatioiis^ two biscuits wt 
never broken at the same time* There is no appeaN 
ance of the slightest jar having taken place affbetiing the 
bed beneath. If there be, a huge cliff or goige is formed 
at that spot, not a sierra. Thus, in Fig« 18^ the beds are 
affected throughout their united body by the shock wkuok 
formed the ravine at a; but they are biok^i, one byonet 
into the clifis at b and c. Sometimes one is tempted to 
think that they must have been slipped bade, one ftom off 
the other; but there is never any appearance of friction 
having taken place on their exposed surfoces ; in the plurality 
of instances, their ccmtinuanee or rise from their roots in 
waves (see Fig. 16 above) renders the thing utterly im- 
possible; and in the few instances which have heca known 
of such action actually taking place (which have always 
been on a small scale), the sliding bed has been torn into a 
thousand fragments almost as soon as it began to move."^ 

§ 28. And, finally, supposing a force found ciqpable of 
breaking these beds in the manner required, ¥^t force 
was it that carried the fragments away? How were the 
gigantic fields of shattered marble conveyed from the ledges 
which were to remain exposed? No signs of violence are 
found on those ledges; what marks there are, the rain and 
natural decay have softly traced through a long series of 
years. Those very time-marks may have indeed effaced 
mere superficial appearances of convidsion; but could they 
have effaced all evidence of the action of such floods as 
would have been necessary to carry bodily away the whole 
ruin of a block of marble leagues in length and breadth, 
and a quarter of a mile thick ? Ponder over the intense 
marvellousness of this. The bed at c (Fig. 18) must first 

* The Rossberg faU, compared to the convulsions which seem to have 
taken place in the higher Alps, is like the slip of a paving stone compared 
to the &11 of a tower.^ 

1 [For the £ftll of the Roesberg, compare Modem PunUert, vol v. pt ix. ch. xi. 
5 30n.] 


be broken through the midst of it into a sharp predpioe, 
without at all disturbing it elsewhere; and then all of 
it beyond c is to be broken up, and carried perfectly 
away, without disturbing or wearing down the face of the 
cliff at c. 

And yet no trace of the means by which all this ma 
effected is left The rock stands forth in its white and 
rugged mjrstery, as if its peak had been bom out of tbe 
blue sky. The strength that raised it, and the sea that 
wrought upon it, have passed away and left no sign, and 
we have no words wherein to describe their departure, no 
thoughts to form about their action, than those of the 
perpetual and unsatisfied interrogation, — 

"What ailed thee, O thou lea, that thou fleddest ? 
And je mountains, that je skipped like lambs ? " ^ 

^ [Ptahns ejdv. 6, 6. For the same passnge, sea VoL XIL p. 106.] 




I 1. In the 20th paragraph of the last chapter, it was 
noticed that ordinarily the most irr^^ar contortions or 
fractures of beds of rock were found in the districts of most 
elevated hills, the contortion or fracture thus appearing to 
be produced at the moment of elevation. It has ako pre- 
viously been stated that the hardness and ciystalline struc- 
ture of the material increased with the mountainous character 
of the ground, so that we find as almost invariably correla- 
tive, the hardness of the rock, its distortumy and its height; 
and in like manner, its softness^ regularity of posHian^ and 
lowness. Thus, the line of beds in an English range of 
down, composed of soft chalk which crumbles beneath the 
fingers, will be as low and continuous as in a of Fig. 16 
(p. 191) ; the beds in the Jura mountains, composed of firm 
limestone, which needs a heavy hammer stroke to break it, 
will be as high and wavy as at 6; and the ranges of Alps, 
composed of slaty cr3rstallines, jrielding only to steel wedges 
or to gunpowder, will be as lofty and as wild in structure 
as at c. Without this beneficent connection of hardness of 
material with height, mountain ranges either could not have 
existed, or would not have been habitable. In their present 
magnificent form they could not have existed ; and what- 
ever their forms, the frequent falls and crumblings away, 
which are of little consequence in the low crags of Hastings, 
Dover, or Lyme, would have been fatal to the population of 
the valleys beneath, when they took place from heights of 
eight or ten thousand feet 

§ 2. But this hardening of the material would not have 



been sufficient, by itself, to secure the safety of the inhaUt- 
ants. Unless the reader has been already &iniliarized with 
geological facts, he must surely have been struck by the 
prominence of the bedded structure in aU the instances of 
mountain form given in the preceding chapter; and must 
have asked himself. Why are mountains alwajrs built in this 
masonry-tike way, rather than in compact masses ? Now, 
it is true that according to present geological theories the 
bedded structure was a necessary consequence of the mode 
in which the materials were accumulated ; but it is not lesi 

Fig. 19 

true that this bedded structure is now the principal means 
of securing the stabiUty of the mass, and is to be r^^arded 
as a beneficent appointment, with such special view. That 
structure compels each mountain to assmne the safest ecm- 
tour of which under the given circtimstances of upheaval it 
is capable. If it were all composed of an amorphous maas 
of stone as at a. Fig. 19, a crack beginning from the top, as 
at ^ in A, might gradually extend downwards in the direc- 
tion iT ^ in B, until the whole mass, indicated by the shadei 
separated itself and fell. But when the whole mountain is 
arranged in beds, as at c, the crack beginning at the top 
stops in the uppermost bed, or if it extends to the next, it 
¥all be in a different place, and the detached blocks, marked 
by the shaded portions, are of course still as secure in their 

ChXIII the central PEAKS IM 

positions as before the cnA took pltr, !£, iodeedL the 
beds sloped towards the precipice, as at ii» the dagger wouM 
be greater; but if the reader looks to anj of the examples 
of mountain form hitherto giren* he will foA that the uni- 
versal tendency of the modes of defatioii is to cause the 
beds to slope away finom the precipice* and to build the 
whole mountain in the form c, wUdi affixds the utmost 
possible d^ree of security. Nearly all die mountains which 
rise immediately above thid^fy pecked districts, tfaoqgfa they 
may appear to be thrown into isolated peaks* are in reality 
nothing more than flattiA ranks of rod^ tcnninated by 
walls of cliff, of this perfectly safe kind ; and it will be part 
of our task in the succeeding duster to rraminr at some 
length the modes in whidi snUime and threateninig forms 
are almost decqitiTdy assumed by anangcments ai moun- 
tains which are in themsdres thus single and secure: 

§ 8. It, however, fell within the pur p ose of the Great 
Builder to give, in the hig^iest peaks of mountains, ex- 
amples of form more strange and mijrtfr than any whidi 
could be attained by structures so benefieentty adi^ted to 
the welfare of the human nee. And the admiwann ii other 
modes of devation, more terrifie and leas secure, takes ^aoe 
exactly in proportion to tiae increasing piesmce of such 
ocmditions in the locality as diall render it on other grounds 
unlikety to be inhabited, or inca^Me of beii^ sou Where 
the soil is ridi and the dimate soft, the hills are low and 
safe;* as the ground b ee om e s poorer and the air keener, 
they rise into forms ci more peril and pride; and their ut- 
most terror is shown onty where their fiagments fell on 
trackless ice, and the thunder of their ruin can be heard 
but by the ibex and the eagle. 

§ 4. The safety of the lower mountains depends, as has 
just been observed, on their tendency to divi^ themsdves 

* It imj be tkoMlit I ihowM hsvc le t ciitd 
written, where tke kfOi are krw aid Mfe^ the dimate It wait, ele. Bat 
it it not to. So airtcceileDt retaon eta lie tiiowii wfaj the Moot Cernn 
or PinttefttrhaiM thaah! oot have litea Aawp oat of tiie phuDt of Loai* 
bard J, instead of oat of ^acien. 


into beds. But it will easily be understood that, together 
with security, such a structure involves some monotony of 
aspect ; and that the possibility of a rent like that indicated 
in the last figure, extending itself without a check, so as to 
detach some vast portion of the mountain at once, would 
be a means of obtaining accidental forms of fSar greater 
awfulness. We find, accordingly, that the bedded structure 
is departed from in the central peaks; that they are in 
reality gifted with this power, or, if we choose so to re- 
gard it, affected with this weakness, of rending downwards 
throughout into vertical sheets; and that, to this end they 
are usually composed of that structureless and massive 
rock which we have characterized by the term ^* compact 

§ 5. This, indeed, is not universal It happens some- 
times that toward the centre of great hill-ranges ordinary 
stratified rocks of the coherent groups are hardened into 
more compact strength than is usual with them; and out 
of the hardened mass a peak, or range of peaks, is cut as 
if out of a single block* Thus the well-known Dent du 
Midi of Bex, a mountain of peculiar interest to the English 
traveUers who crowd the various inns and pensions which 
now glitter along the shores of the Lake of Greneva at 
Vevay, Clarens, and Montreux, is cut out of horizontal 
beds of rock which are traceable in the evening light by 
their dark and Ught lines along its sides, like courses of 
masoiuy; the real form of the mountain being that of the 
ridge of a steep house-roof, jagged and broken at the top, 
so that, seen from near St. Maurice, the extremity of the 
ridge appears a sharp pyramid. The Dent de Mordes, 
opposite the Dent du Midi, has been already noticed,^ and 
is figured in Plate 29, Fig. 4. In like manner, the Matter- 
horn is cut out of a block of nearly horizontal beds of 
gneiss. But in all these cases the materials are so hardened 
and knit together that to all intents and purposes they form 

1 [See above, p. 192. FW. 2 in Plate 29 ia the top of the ridge of the Chmnnos: 
see p. 234 ; for Fig. 3 tee below. Appendix ii., p. 481. J 


Ch.xiii the central PEAKS 201 

one solid mass; and when the forms are to be of the 
boldest character possible, this solid mass is mistratified, 
and of compact crystalline rock. 

§ 6. In looking from Geneva in the morning light, when 
Mont Blanc and its companion hills are seen dark against 
the dawn, almost every traveller must have been struck by 
the notable range of jagged peaks which bound the horizon 
immediately to the north-east of Mont Blanc. In ordinary 
weather they appear a single chain, but if any clouds or 
mists happen to float into the heart of the group, it divides 
itself into two ranges, lower and higher, as in ¥ig. 1, Plate 
29, of which the uppermost and more distant chain is the 
real crest of the Alps, and the lower and darker line is 
composed of subordinate peaks which form the south side 
of the valley of Chamouni, and are therefore ordinarily 
known as the ''Aiguilles of Chamouni." 

Though separated by some eight or nine miles of actual 
distance, the two ranges are part of one and the same 
system of rock. They are both of them most notable 
examples of the structure of the compact crystalline peaks, 
and their jagged and spiry outlines are rendered still more 
remarkable in any view obtained of them in the immediate 
neighbourhood of Geneva, by their rising, as in the figure, 
over two long slopes of comparatively flattish mountain. 
The highest of these is the back of a stratified limestone 
range, distant about twenty -five miles, whose precipitous 
extremity, nodding over the little village of St. Martin's, 
is well known under the name of the Aiguille de Varens. 
The nearer line is the edge of another limestone mountain, 
called the Petit Sal^ve, within five miles of Geneva, and 
thus we have two ranges of the crystalline rocks opposed to 
two ranges of the coherents, both having their distinctive 
characters, the one of vertical fracture, the other of level 
continuousness, developed on an enormous scale. I am 
aware of no other view in Europe where the essential 
characteristics of the two formations are so closely and 
graphicJIy d»pl.y«l 


§ 7. Not can I ima^e any person thou^tfully regard- 
ing the more distant range, without feeling his curiosity 
strongly excited as to the method of its first sculpture^ 
That long banks and fields of rock should be raised ^lope, 
and break at their edges into clifis, however mysterious the 
details of the operation may be, is yet conceivable in the 
main circumstances without any great effort of imaginaticHL 
But the carving of those great obelisks and spires out of 
an infinitely harder rock ; the sculpture of all the fretted 
pinnacles on the inaccessible and calm elevation of that 
great cathedral, — ^how and when was this wrought ? It is 
necessary, before the extent and difficulty of such a question 
can be felt, to explain more fully the scale and character 
of the peaks under considCT- 

§ 8. The valley of Cha- 
mouni, lai^y viewed, and 
irrespectively oi minor ra* 
vines and irregularities, is 
nothing more than a deep 
ffrM trench, dug between two 
ranges of nearly ccntinuous 
mountains, — dug with the straightness and evenness which 
raider its scenery, in some respects, more monotonous 
than that of any other Alpine vi^ey. On each side it is 
bordered by banks of turf, darkened with pine forest, ris- 
ing at an even slope to a height of about 8,000 feet, so 
that it may best be imagined as a kind of dry moat, which, 
if cut across, would be of the form typically shown in 
Fig. 20 ; the sloping bank on each side being about 8,000 
feet high, or the moat about three-fifths of a mile in vertical 
depth. Then, on the top of the bank, on each side, and a 
little way back firom the edge of the moat, rise the ranges 
of the great mountains, in ^e form of shattered crests and 
pyramids of barren rock sprinkled with snow. Those on 
the south side of the vall^ rise another 8,000 feet above 
the bank on which they stand, so that each of the masses 
superadded, in Fig. 21, may best be described as a sott of 

Cb-XIU the central peaks SOS 

Egyptian pyramid,* of the height of Snowdon or Ben 
Lonumd, hewn out of solid rock, and set on the shoulder 
of the great bank which borders the valley. Then the 
Mont Blanc, a higher and heavier cluster of such summits, 
loaded with deep snow, terminates die range. Glaciers of 
greater or less extent descend between the pyramids of 
rocks; and one, supplied &om their largest recesses, even 
runs down the bank into the 
valley. Fig. 22 1 rudely re- 
presents the real contours of 
the mountains, including Mont 
Blanc itself, on its south side. 
The range of peaks, b, p, m, is 
that abeady spt^en of, known 
as the "Aiguilles of ChamounL" * 
They form but a very small 
portion of the great crowd of «»■*> 

similar, and, for the most part, 

laiger peaks which constitute the chain of Mont Blanc, and 
which receive from the Savoyards the name of Aiguilles, or 
needles, in consequence of Uieir peculiarly sharp summits. 
The forms of these Aiguilles, wonderful enough in themselves, 
are, nevertheless, perpetually exaggerated both by the imagi- 
nation of the traveller, and by the artists whose delineations of 
them find most frank acceptance. Fig. 1, in Plate 30 (facing 
p. 221), is faithfully copied from the representation given of 
one of these mountains in a plate lately published in Geneva. 
Fig. 2 in the same plate is a true outline of the mountain 
itself. Of the exaggerations in the other I shall have more 
to say presently ; meantime I refer to it merely as a foxwf 
that I am not mj^elf exaggerating, in giving Fig. 22 as 
showing the general characters of these peaks. 

§ 9. This, then, is the problem to be considered, — How 

* I UK tbe terms "pyramid" kbA "peak" at present, in order to Kive 
a rough general idea of the aspect! of these hills. Both terms, as we shall 
see In the next chapter, are to be accepted under linutatioB. 

f This coane sketch is merely given for reference, as I shall often have 

a drawing br Ri 
) to Vol. IV.] 



mountains of such ni^ed and precipitous outline, and at 
the least 8,000 feet in height, were originally carved otit of 
the hardest rocks, and set in their present position on the 
top of the green and sloping bank which sustains them. 

to speak of the particular maues of mouDtain, indicated b^ the letters in 

the outline below it ; namelj — 
b. Aiguille Blaltiire. m. Mont Blanc (■ummit). t. Ts|^ 

p. Ai«:uill« dn Plan. tL Dome da Goute. o. Montague d« la CAte. 

m. Aiguille dn Midi. g. Aifuille du Gout^. (. MontagiM de Taeonaf. 

g and r Indicate (tationa ooly. 

Ch-XIII the central PEAKS 205 

"By mere accident,** the reader replies. "The uniform 
bank might as easily have been the highest, and the broken 
granite peaks have risen from its sides, or at the bottom 
of it. It is merely the chance formation of the valley of 

Nay: not so. Although, as if to bring the problem 
more clearly before the thoughts of men, by marlang the 
structure most where the scenery is most attractive, the 
formation is more distinct at Chamoimi than snywhete 
else in the Alpine chain; yet the general condition of a 
rounded bank sustaining jagged or pyramidal peaks is 
more or less traceable throughout the whole district of the 
great moimtains.^ The most celebrated spot, next to the 
valley of Chamoimi, is the centre of the Bernese Oberland ; 
and it will be remembered by all travellers that in its 
principal vaUey, that of Grindelwald, not only does the 
summit of the Wetterhom consist of a sharp p3nramid 
raised on the advanced shoulder of a great promontory, 
but the two most notable summits of the Bernese Alps, 
the Schreckhom and Finsteraarhom, cannot be seen from 
the valley at all, being thrown far back upon an elevated 
plateau, of which only the advanced head or shoulder, 
under the name of the Mettenberg, can be seen from the 
village. The real summits, consisting in each case of a 
ridg? starting steeply from this elevated plateau, as if by 
a ^ew impX of S^ry or ambitiom mo^Ln t«np.r. J. 
only be seen by ascending a considerable height upon the 
flank of the opposite mass of the Faulhom. 

§ 10. And this is, if possible, still more notably and pro- 
vokingly the case with the great peaks of the chain of 
Alps between Monte Rosa and Mont Blanc It will be 
seen, by a glance at any map of Switzerland, that the dis- 
trict which forms the canton Valais is, in reality, nothing 
but a ravine sixty miles long, between that central chain 

^ [The pMsage '^ Although . • . great momitaiiie," with another from p. 207 here, 
''The longer I staved " down to the end of § 12, are printed as ch. iz. in StwUet 
in Bath Arts, and illuitrated hy one of the drawings of Chamooni given in the last 
Tolnme (Plate B).] 




and the Alps of the cantons Fribourg and Berne. This 
ravine is also, in its general structure, merely a deeper and 
wider moat than that already described as forming the 
valley of Chamouni. It lies, in the same manner, betweai 
two banks of mountain ; and the principal peaks are pre^ 
cisely in the same manner set back upon the tops of these 
banks ; and so provokingly far back, that throughout the 
whole length of the valley not one of the sununits of the 
chief chain can be seen from it. That usually pcnnted out 
to travellers as Monte Rosa is a subordinate, tibough still 
very colossal mass, called the Montague de Saas; and this 


is the only peak of great size discoverable from the valley 
throughout its extent ; one or two glimpses of the snows, 
not at any eminent point, being caught through the en- 
trances of the lateral valleys of Evolena, etc. 

§ 11. Nor is this merely the consequence of the great 
distance of the central ridge. It would be intelligible 
enough that the mountains should rise gradually higher and 
higher towards the middle of the chain, so that the sununit 
at a in the upper diagram of Fig. 28 should be concealed 
by the intermediate eminences, 6, c, from the valley at d. 
But this is not, by any means, the manner in which the 
concealment is effected. The great peaks stand, as at a 
in the lower diagram, jagged, sharp, and suddenly startiiig 
out of a comparatively tame mass of elevated land, through 

ChXIII the central PEAKS 207 

which the trench of the valley of the Rhone is cut, as at 
c. The subdivision of the bank at b by thousands of 
ravines, and its rise, here and there, into more or less 
notable summits, conceal the real &ct of the structure from 
a casual ol^rver. But the longer I stayed among the 
Alps, and the more closely I examined them, the more I 
was struck by the one broad fact of there being a vast 
Alpine plateau, or mass of elevated land, upon which nearly 
all the highest peaks stood like children set upon a table, 
removed, in most cases, £eu* back from the edge of the 
plateau, as if for fear of their falling. And the most 
majestic scenes in the Alps are produced, not so much by 
any violation of this law, as by one of the great peaks 
having apparently walked to the edge of the table to look 
over, and thus showing itself suddenly above the valley in 
its full hei^t This is the case with the Wetterhom 
and Eiger at Grindelwald, and with the Grande Jorasse, 
above the Col de Ferret. But the raised bank or table is 
always intelligibly in existence, even in these apparently 
exceptional cases ; and, for the most part, the great peaks 
are not allowed to come to the edge of it, but remain 
like the keeps of castles far withdrawn, surrounded, league 
beyond league, by comparatively level fields of mountain, 
over which the lapping sheets of glacier writhe and flow, 
foaming about the feet of the dark central crests like the 
surf of an enormous sea-breaker hurled over a rounded rock, 
and islanding some fragment of it in the midst. And the 
result of this arrangement is a kind of division of the whole 
of Switzerland into an upper and lower mountain- world ; 
the lower world consisting of rich valleys bordered by steep, 
but easily accessible, wooded banks of mountain, more or 
less divided by ravines, through which glimpses are caught 
of the higher Alps ; the upper world, reached after the 
first steep banks, of 8,000, or 4,000 feet in height, have been 
surmoimted, consisting of comparatively level but most deso- 
late tracts of moor and rock, half-covered by glacier, and 
stretching to the feet of the true pinnacles of the chain. 


§ 12. It can hardly be necessary to point out the perfect 
wisdom and kindness of this arrangement, as a provision for 
the safety of the inhabitants of the high mountain regions. 
If the great peaks rose at once from the deepest valleys, 
every stone which was struck from their pinnacles, and 
every snow-wreath which slipped from their ledges, would 
descend at once upon the inhabitable ground, over whidi 
no year would pass without recording some calamity of 
earth-slip or avalanche; while, in the course of their £dl, 
both the stones and the snow would strip the woods from 
the hill sides, leaving only naked channels of destruction 
where there are now the sloping meadow and the chestnut 
glade. Besides this, the masses of snow, cast down at once 
into the warmer air, would all melt rapidly in the spring, 
causing furious inundation of every great river for a month 
or six weeks. The snow being then all thawed, except 
what lay upon the highest peaks in r^ons of nearly 
perpetual frost, the rivers would be supplied during the 
summer, only by fountains, and the feeble tricklings on 
sunny days from the high snows. The Rhone under such 
circumstances would hardly be larger at Lyons than the 
Severn at Shrewsbury,^ and many Swiss vallesrs would be 
left almost without moisture. All these calamities are pre- 
vented by the peculiar Alpine structure which has been 
described. The broken rocks and the sliding snow of the 
high peaks, instead of being dashed at once to the vales, 
are caught upon the desolate shelves or shoulders which 
everywhere surroimd the central crests. The soft banks 
which terminate these shelves, traversed by no falling frag- 
ments, clothe themselves with richest wood; while the 
masses of snow, heaped upon the ledge above them, in a 
climate neither so warm as to thaw them quickly in the 
spring, nor so cold as to protect them from all the power 
of the summer sun, either form themselves into glaciers, 
or remain in slowly wasting fields even to the dose of the 

^ [In Frondei AgreHet (1876) this patnge reads : ''The Rhone . . . would hardlj 
he lai^r in summer, than the Severn, and many . • ."] 


year, — in either case supplying constant, abundant, and 
r^rular streams to the villages and pastures beneath, and to 
the rest of Europe, noble and navigable rivers.^ 

§ 18. Now, that such a structure is the best and wisest 
possible,' is, indeed, sufficient reason for its existence; and 
to many people it may seem useless to question farther 
respecting its origin. But I can hardly conceive any one 
standing face to face with one of these towers of central 
rock, and yet not also asking himself. Is this indeed the 
actual first work of the Divine Master on which I gaze? 
Was the great precipice shaped by His finger, as Adam 
was shaped out of the dust? Were its clefts and ledges 
carved upon it by its Creator, as the letters were on the 
Tables of the Law, and was it thus left to bear its eternal 
testimony to His beneficence among these clouds of heaven ? 
Or is it the descendant of a long race of mountains, exist- 
ing under appointed laws of birth and endurance, death 
and decrepitude? 

§ 14. There can be no doubt as to the answer. The 
rock itself answers audibly by the murmur of some £dling 
stone or rending pinnacle. It is not as it was once. Those 
waste leagues around its feet are loaded with the wrecks of 
what it was. On these, perhaps, of all mountains, the 
characters of decay are written most clearly; around these 

^ pn the mftigin of one of kk ovm eopiae (now in poneMion of Mr. Edmondton) 
Rakm qnolM the following penage : — 

" ' I nerer mw so miicb snow ofen on the moontuns before. TUe It the 
nerantee of a fertile jeer. TbankGod. Theie ia nothing more ezqolaitely 
Seeotifbl, I think, than Natnre's deeign lor preeenring water for the |^ne 
in aommer. None of your cait iron leaerfena with ngly pipw, on e sole- 
UD two milea out of town, aa the Londonera here, krt a nagB of gloriooe 
■MNintaina with broad boaona mod wiae hearti, that gather tn the winter 
anow firoai HeaTon, and hoard it till the childfen of men want it, and loolc 
en-then let H How, and aak no water-reteaL*— €ok»d Herbert Edwerdca." 
TWpemage ia no doabt ftem a M& diarr of Sir Herbert Edwardea (ISl^lSSBX a IHend 
who later edited aooM of hk p^era in the roleaM entitled A KmSgkf^ 

JUtt. Stitmlm OvmiqfWUd(mm,iieS;'mDdFlmuMn$^Eti§iamd,iW.) 

< (The peange brgimiing in { 11, ''The longer I atajed among the A%a . . r 
down to *'BAM the dood" in ( 1^ ia { 36 in FIvmdm A§n$tm (187^ whera^at 
tUa paint, Rnakin added the following footnote :— 

"Of eoofae I had aeen erery o^er tried before giring thia foroorable 

n. o 


are spread most gloomily the memorials of their pride, and 
the signs of their humiliation. 

"What then were they once?" 

The only answer is yet again, — '^ Behold the doud."* 

Their form, as far as hmnan vision can trace it, is one 
of eternal decay. No retrospection can raise them out of 
their ruins, or withdraw them beyond the law of their per- 
petual fate. Existing science may be challenged to fbrm, 
with the faintest colour of probability, any conception of 
the original aspect of a crystalline mountain: it cannot be 
followed in its elevation, nor traced in its connection with 
its fellows. No eyes ever ''saw its substance, yet being 
imperfect; its history is a monotone of endurance and 
destruction: all that we can certainly know of it, is that 
it was once greater than it is now, and it only gathers 
vastness, and still gathers, as it fades into the abjnss of the 

§ 15. Yet this one piece of certain evidence ought not 
to be altogether unpursued ; and while, with all humility, 
we shrink from endeavouring to theorize respecting pro- 
cesses which are concealed, we ought not to refuse to 
follow, as far as it will laid us, the course of thought 
which seems marked out by conspicuous and consistent 
phenomena. Exactly as the form of the lower mountains 
seems to have been produced by certain raisings and bend- 
ings of their formerly level beds, so the form of these higher 
mountains seems to have been produced by certain break- 
ings away from then: former elevated mass. If the process 
appears in either case doubtful, it is less so with respect to 
the higher hills. We may not easily believe that the steep 
limestone cliffs on one side of a valley, now apparently 
secure and steadfast, ever were imited with the cliffs on 
the other side; but we cannot hesitate to admit that the 
peak which we see shedding its flakes of granite on all 
sides of it, as a fading rose lets fall its leaves, was ottce 

^ [Numbers xyL 42 ; the next reference is Psalms cxxxut. l(k] 

CilXIII the central PEAKS 211 

larger than it is, and owes the present characters of its 
form chiefly to the modes of its diminution. 

§ 16. Holding fast this clue, we have next to take into 
consideration another fact of not less importance, — ^that 
over the whole of the rounded banks of lower mountain, 
wherever they have been in an3rwise protected from the 
injuries of time, there are yet visible the tracks of ancient 
glaciers. I will not here enter into detail respecting the 
mode in which traces of glaciers are distinguishable. It 
is enough to state that the footmark, so to speak, of a 
glacier is just as easily recognizable as the trail of any well- 
known animal; and that with as much confidence as we 
should feel in asserting that a horse had passed along a 
soft road which yet retained the prints of its shoes, it may 
be concluded that the glaciers of the Alps had once triple 
or quadruple the extent that they have now; 'so that not 
only the banks of inferior moimtains were once covered 
with sheets of ice, but even the great valley of the Rhone 
itself was the bed of an enormous ** Mer de Glace," which 
extended beyond the Lake of Grcneva to the slopes of 

§ 17. From what has already been noted of glacier action, 
the reader cannot but be aware that its imiversal effect 
is to round and soften the contours of the moimtain sub- 
jected to it; so that a glacier may be considered as a vast 
instrument of friction, a white sandpaper, appUed slowly 
but irresistibly to all the roughnesses of the hill which it 
covers. And this effect is of course greatest when the 
ice flows fastest, and contains more embedded stones; that 
is to say, greater towards the lower part of a moimtain than 
near its summit. 

Suppose now a chain of mountains raised in any acci* 
dental form, only of course highest where the force was 

* The fflader tracks on the gneiss of the great angle opposite Mar- 
tigny are the most magnificent I ever saw in the Alps; those above the 
channel of the Trient, between Valondne and the valley of the Rhone, 
the most interesting. 



Pt. V 

greatest, — that is to say, at the centre of the chain, — and 
presenting any profile such as a, Fig. 24;^ terminated, 
perhaps, by a broken secondary cliff, and the whole oovered 
with a thick bed of glaciers, indicated by the spotted 
space, and moving in the direction of the arrows. As 

it wears away the moimtain, not at all at the top, but 
always more and more as it descends, it would in pro- 
cess of time reduce the contour of the flank of the hill 
to the form at b. But at this point the snow would hegixi 

^ [8ee Arrowg of the Chace, 1880, toL i. p. 276, where Ruskin, referring* to this 
pesBage, says that he was ''the first to reduce to a diagram the probahle ataffea" of 
the operation of glacier friction ''on the bases of the higher Alpine Aiguilles,"] 


to slide from the central peak, and to leave its rocks ex- 
posed to the action of the atmosphere. Supposing those 
rocks disposed to break into vertical sheets, the smnmit 
would soon cleave itself into such a form as that at x; 
and the flakes again subdividing and falling, we should 
have conditions such as at y. Meanwhile the glacier is 
still doing its work uninterruptedly on the lower bank, 
bringing the mountain successively into the outlines c and 
d^ in which the forms x and ^ are substituted consecutively 
for the original summit But the level of the whole flank 
of the mountain being now so much reduced,, the glacier 
has brought itself by its own work into warmer dunate, 
and has wrought out its own destruction. It would gradu- 
ally be thinned away, and in many places at last vanish, 
leaving only the barren rounded mountains, and the tongues 
of ice still supplied from the peaks above. 

§ 18. Such is the actual condition of the Alps at this 
moment. I do not say that they have in reality under- 
gone any such process. But I think it right to put the 
supposition before the reader, more with a view of explain- 
ing what the appearance of tilings actually is, than with 
any wish that he should adopt either this or any other 
theory on the subject. It &cilitates a description of the 
Br^che de Roland ^ to say, that it looks as if the peer had 
indeed cut it open with a swordstroke ; but it would be 
unfair to conclude that the describer gravely wished the 
supposition to be adopted as explanatory of the origin of 
the ravine. In like manner, the reader who has followed 
the steps of the theory I have just offered, will have a 
clearer conception of the real look and anatomy of the 
Alps than I could give him by any other means. But 
he is welcome to accept in seriousness just as much or as 
littie of the theory as he likes.* Only I am well persuaded 

* For farther information respecting the glaciers and their probable 
action, the reader should consult the works of Professor Forbes. I be- 
lieve this theory of the formation of the upper peaks has been proposed hj 

1 [See Vol IX. p. 103 n.] 


that the more faooiliar any one becomes with the chain o[ 
the Alps, the more, whether voluntarily or not, the idea 
will force itself upon him of their being mere remnants of 
large masses, — splinters and fragments, as of a stranded 
wreck, the greater part of which has been removed by the 
waves ; and the more he will be convinced of the existence 
of two distinct regions, one, as it were, below the ice, 
another above it,— one of subjected, the other of emergent 
rock; the lower worn away by the action of the glaciers 
and rains, the higher splintering and falling to pieces by 
natural disintegration. 

§ 19. J press, however, neither conjectiu^ nor inquiry 
farther; having already stated all that is necessary to give 
the reader a complete idea of the different divisicms of 
mountain form, I proceed now to examine the points of 
pictorial interest in greater detail; and in order to do so 
more conveniently, I shall adopt the order, in description, 
which Nature seems to have adopted in formation; h^pn- 
ning with the mysterious hardness of the central crystallines, 
and descending to the softer and lower rocks which we 

him, and recently opposed by Mr. Sharpe,^ who believes that the great 
bank spoken of in the text was originally a sea-bottom. But I nave 
simply stated in this chapter the results of my own watchings of the Alps ; 
for being without hope of getting time for available examination of the 
voluminous works on these subjects, I thought it best to tread nothing 
(except Forbes's most important essay on the glaciers, several times 
quoted in the text), and therefore to give, at all events, the force of 
independent witness to such impressions as I received from the actual 
&ct8; De Saussure, alwajrs a £uthful recorder of those facts, and my first 
master in geology, being referred to, occasionally, for information respecting 
localities I had not been able to examine. 

^ [J. D. Forbes' papers on Glaciers were collected in 1860, under the title of 
Oanuicnal Paper* an the Theory qf Okteiere, some of the chapters being reprinted 
from his Traveii through the Alpe, which is the work '^ several times quoted in the 
text" (see pp. 64, 84, 224, 280, 284, 287). Raskin afterwards defended Forbes" 
views with much energy (see DeucaHon volume! Daniel Sharpe (1806-1856), F.R.S., 
was successively Treasurer and President of the Geological Society. The reference 
here is to his paper in the Quarterly Journal qf the Geological Society, 1856, voL xiL 
pp. 102-123, '^On the Last Elevation of the Aim; with notices of the heights at 
which the sea has left traces of its action on their sides." He refers to Forbes' 
Norway and ite Olaeiere, 1861, as well as to his Travele through the Alpe,] 


see in some d^ree modified by the slight forces still in 
operation. We will therefore examine: 1, the pictorial 
phenomena of the central peaks; 2, those of the smnmits 
of the lower momitains round them, to which we shall find 
it convenient to give the distinguishing name of Crests; 
8, the formation of Precipices, properly so called; then, 
the general aspect of the Banks and Slopes, produced by 
the action of water or of fisdling debris, on the sides or 
at the bases of mountains; and finally, remove, if it may 
be, a few of the undeserved scorns thrown upon our most 
familiar servants. Stones. To each of these subjects we 
shall find it necessary to devote a distinct chapter. 



§ 1. I HAVE endeavoured in the preceding chapters always 
to keep the glance of the reader on the broad aspect of 
things, and to separate for him the mountain masses into 
the most distinctly comprehensible forms. We must nofw 
consent to take more pains and observe more closely. 

§ 2. I begin with the Aiguilles. In Fig. 24, p. 212, at 
a, it was assumed that the mass was raised highest merely 
where the elevating force was greatest, being of one sub- 
stance with the bank or cUff below. But it hardly ever is 
of the same substance. Almost always it is of compact 
crystallines, and the bank of slaty crystallines; or if it be 
of slaty crystallines the bank is of slaty coherents. The 
bank is almost always the softer of the two.* 

Is not this very marvellous? Is it not exactly as if 
the substance had been prepared soft or hard with a sculp- 
turesque view to what had to be done with it; soft, for 
the glacier to mould and the torrent to divide; hard, to 
stand for ever, central in mountain majesty? 

§ 8. Next, then, comes the question, How do these 
compact crystallines and slaty crystallines join each other? 
It has long been a well recognized fiact in the science of 
geology, that the most important mountain ranges lift up 
and sustain upon their sides the beds of rock which form 
the inferior groups of hiUs around them, in the manner 
roughly shown in the section. Fig. 25, where the dark 
mass stands for the hard rock of the great mountains 
(crystallines), and the lighter lines at the side of it indicate 

* See, for expknatoiy statements, Appendix 2 [p. 478]. 



the prevalent direction of the beds in the nd^bouring 
hills (cohetents), while the spotted portions represent the 
gravel and sand of vriach the great plains are usually com- 
posed. But it has not been so universally reo^fnized, 
though long ago pointed out by De Saussure, that the 
great central groups are often 
themselves composed c^ beds 
lying in a precisely opposite 
direction; so that if we ana- 
lyze carefully the structure of 
tiie dark mass in the centre r<t.» 

of Fig. 25, we shall find it 

arranged in lines which slope downwards to the centre; the 
flanks of it being of slaty crystalline rock, and the summit 
of ccHnpact ctystaUines, as at a. Fig. 26. 

In speaking of the sculpture of the central peaks in the 
last chapter, I made no rrferenee to the nature of the rocks 
in the banks on which they stood. The diagram at a. Fig. 

27, as representative of the original condition, and b, of the 
resultant condition, wUl, compared with Fig, 24, p. 212, 
more completely illustrate the change.* 

§ 4. By what secondary laws this structure may ulti- 
mately be discovered to have been produced is of no 

* I luTe been kble to ezAmine these eonditioiis with mach care in the 
chain of Moat Blanc only, which I chose for the subject of inTcsti^tkm 
both u bviog the most interesting to the general tnveller, and as being 
the only range of the central roountains whuJi had been muc^ painty bj 
Turner. But I believe the singular anangemeots of beds which take place 
in this chain have been found bjr the Gomau geologists to prenil auo in 
the highest peaks of the western Alps ; and there are a peenUar beautf 




consequence to us at present; all that it is needful for us to 
note is the beneficence which appointed it for the mountains 
destined to assume the bcddest forms. For into whatever 
outline they may be sculptured by violence or time, it 

is evident at a glance that 
their stability and security 
must always be the great- 
est possible under the given 
circumstances. Suppose, for 
instance, that the peak is 
in such a form as a, in 
Fig. 26 ; then, however steep 
the slope may be (m either 
side, there is still no chance 
of one piece of rock sliding 
off another ; but if the same 
outline were given to beds 
disposed as at 6, the un- 
supported masses might slide off those beneath them at 
any moment, unless prevented by the inequalities of the 
surfaces. Farther, in the minor divisions of the outline, 
the tendency of the peak at a will be always to assume 
contoiu*s like those at a in Fig. 28, which are, of course. 


perfectly safe ; but the tendency of the beds at 6 in Fig. 26,^ 
will be to break into contours such as at 6 here, which are 

and proYidence in them which induce me to expect that fiurther inquiries 
may justify our attributing them to some very extensive law of the earth's 
structure. See the notes from De Saussure in Appendix S [p. 477]. 

^ riu the earlv editions, *^ Fig. 27 " ; the miftake was first corrected in the small 
oomplete sdition.] 


all perilous, not only in the chance of each several porticm 
giving way, but in the manner in which they would deliver^ 
from one to the other, the fragments which felL A stone 
detached from any portion of the peak at a would be 
caught and stopped on the ledge beneath it; but a frag^ 
m^it loosened from b would npt stay till it reached the 
valley by a series of accelerating bounds. 

§ 5. While, however, the seciu'e and noble form repre- 
sented at a in Figs. 26 and 28 is for the most part ordained 
to be that of the highest mountains, the contours at 6, in 
each figure, are of perpetual occurrence among the secondary 
ranges, in which, on a smaller scale, they produce some 
of the most terrific and fantastic forms of precipice; not 
altogether without danger, as has been fearfriUy demonstrated 
by many a '' beigfall '' among the limestone groups of the 
Alps; but with far less danger than would have resulted 
from the permission of such forms among the higher hills ; 
and with collateral advantages which we shall have presently 
to consider.^ In the meantime, we return to the examina- 
tion of the superior groups. 

§ 6. The reader is, no doubt, already aware that the 
chain of the Mont Blanc is bordered by two great valleys 
running parallel to each other, and seemingly excavated on 
purpose that travellers might be able to pass, foot by foot, 
along each side of the Mont Blanc and its aiguilles, and 
thus examine every peak in succession. One of these valleys 
is that of Chamouni, the other that of which one half is 
called the All^ Blanche, and the other the Val Ferret, the 
town of Courmayeur being near its centre, where it opens 
to the Val d'Aosta. Now, cutting the chain of Mont 
Blanc right across from valley to valley, through the double 
range of aiguilles, the section would be * as Fig. 29, p. 220, 

* That is to say, as it appears to me. There are some points of the 
following statements which are disputed among geologists ; the reader will 
find them hereafter disenssed at greater length.* 

^ [Below, pp. 314 90q.] 
> [Below, pp. 864 seq.] 


in which a is the valley of Chamouni, b the range of aiguilles 
of Chamouni, c the range of the Cr^ant, d the vall^ of 

The Uttie projection under m is intended to mark ap- 
proximately the position of the so well known " Montan- 
vert." It is a great weakness, not to say worse than 
weakness, on the part of travellers, to extol always chiefly 
what they think fewest people have seen or can see. I 
have climhed much, and wandered much» in the heart of the 
high Alps, but I have never yet seen anything which 
equalled the view from the cabin of the Montanvert ; ^ and 

as the spot is visited every year by increasing numbers of 
tourists, I have thought it best to take the mountains which 
surround it for the principal subjects of our inquiry. 

§ 7. The Uttle eminence left under m truly maiks the 
height of the Montanvert on the flanks of the aiguilles, but 
not accurately its position, which is somewhat behind the 
mass of mountain supposed to be cut through by the section. 
But the top of the Montanvert is actually formed, as shown 
at M, by the crest of the obUque beds of slaty crystallines. 
Every traveller must remember the steep and smooth beds 
of rock, like sloping walls, down which, and over the ledges 
of which, the path descends from the cabin to the edge of 

* [ P ro fcw or JaoiM Porbet qaoted thaw rammrln by RmklD "with much 
■ympathv," in bis article on Ptdtttrtaittin in SuiUtrlaKa In tha QumHerlf Beoitm 
for April, 18A7 — ui uticle which pi«c«d«d bjr aonu montha tho fooodatlMi of tha 
Engliih Alpine Club ; aee W. A. B. Coolidge's edition (IfiOO) of Forhaa' Trwxlt 
thiit^k tike Alpt, p. 472. For Rualdn'i diariaa and letter* deacribing tha view from 
th« Montanvut, •«« Introduction to preoadinir Tolome, p. zxiz.] 


• • • 
• • • 

.• • • 


• _• 

• •• 

• • • 

• •• 



tiie glacier. These sloping walls are formed by the inner 
sides of the crystalline beds,* as exposed in the notch behind 
the letter m. 

§ 8. To these beds we shall return presently/ our object 
just now being to examine the aiguille, which, on the Mem- 
tanvert, forms the most conspicuous mass of mountain on 
the right of the spectator. It is known in Chamouni as 
the Aiguille de Charmoz, and is distinguished by a very 
sharp horn or projection on its side, which usually attracts 
the traveller's attention as one of the most singular minor 
features in the view from the Montanvert. The larger 
masses of the whole aiguille, and true contour of this horn, 
are carefully given in Plate 30, Fig. 2, as they are seen in 
morning sunshine. The impression which travellers usually 
carry away with them is, I presume, to be gathered from 
Fig. 1, a facsimile of one of the lithographs purchased with 
avidity by English travellers, in the shops of Chamouni and 
Geneva, as giving a faithful representation of this aiguille 
seen from the Montanvert.' It is worth while to perpetuate 
this example of the ideal landscape of the nineteenth century^ 
popular at the time when the works of Turner were declared 
by the public to be extravagant and unnatural. 

§ 9. This example of the common ideal of aiguilles is, 
however, useful in another respect. It shows the strong^ 
impression which these Chamouni mountains leave, of their 
being above all others sharp-peaked and splintery, dividing 
more or less into arrowy spires; and it marks the sense of 
another and very curious character in them, that these 
spires are apt to be somewhat bent or curved. 

Both these impressions are partially true, and need to 
be insisted upon, and cleared of their indistinctness, or 

First, then, this strong impression of their peakedness 

* Running, at that point, very nearly, n. i. and s. w., and dipping 
under the ice at an angle of about seventy degrees. 

* [See below, pp. 254 M9.] 

* [See above, en. xiii. § 8, p. 203.] 


and spiry separateness is always produced with the least 
possible danger to the travelling and admiring public; for 
if in reality these granite mountains were ever separated 
into true spires or points, in the least resembling this 
popular ideal in Plate 30, the Montanvert and Mer de 
Glace would be as inaccessible, except at the risk of life, 
as the trenches of a besieged city; and the continual fall 
of the splintering fragments would turn even the valley of 
Chamoimi itself into a stony desolation. 

§ 10. Perhaps in describing mountains with any effort 
to give some idea of their subUme forms, no expression 
comes oftener to the lips than the word "peak.**^ And 
yet it is curious how rarely, even among the grandest 
ranges, an instance can be found of a mountain ascertain- 
ably peaked in the true sense of the word, — ^pointed at 
the top, and sloping steeply on all sides; perhaps not more 
than five summits in the chain of the Alps, the Finster- 
aarhom, Wetterhom, Bietsch-hom, Weisshom, and Monte 
Viso presenting approximations to such a structure. Even 
in the case of not very steep pyramids, presenting them- 
selves in the distance under some such outline as that at 
the top of Fig. 80, it almost invariably happens, when we 
approach and examine them, that they do not slope equally 
on all their sides, but are nothing more than steep ends of 
ridges, supported by far extended masses of comparatively 
level rock, which, seen in perspective, give the impression 
of a steep slope, though in reality disposed in a horizontal, 
or nearly horizontal, line. 

§ 11. Supposing the central diagram in Fig. 80 to be 

^ [The following passacce affords an instance of what is said in the Introdaction 
(above, p. xxii.) about Raskin's frequent revisions on his proof sheets. In the proof 
which has been preserved the passage reads : — 

". . . the word ' peak.' And yet, after some fourteen summers of watch- 
ful wandering among mountains, I can say, confidently, that I never yet saw 
a peaked one. Pyramids, not steep, and cones, at such slope as that of 
Vesuvius, I have indeed seen, though not freuuently ; but peaks — that is, 
rocky summits terminating in a sharp point — I nave never seen. I mean, of 
course, on a large scale, so as to deserve the name of a mountain. The 
Wetterhom and Aiguille Verte may perhaps be exceptions; but they are 
both blunt enough to be loaded with snow, and, therefore, not accurately 
obeervable. Even in the case . . ."1 

Ch. XIV 



the apparent contour of a distant mountain, then its slopes 
may indeed, by singtdar chance, be as steep as they appear ; 
but in all probability, several of them are perspective de- 
scents of its retiring lines; and supposing it were formed 
as the gable roof of the old French house below, and seen 
under the same angle, it is evident that the |>art of the 

Fig, to 

outline a h (in lettered reference line above) would be 
perfectly horizontal; b c, an angle slope, in retiring per- 
spective, much less steep than it appears; c rf, perfectly 
horizontal; d e, an advancing or foreshortened angle slope, 
less steep than it appears; and e f^ perfectly horizontal 

But if the pyramid presents itself under a more for- 
midable aspect, and with steeper sides than those of the 
central diagram, then it may be assumed (as far as I know 


mountains) for next to a certainty, that it is not a pointed 
obelisk, but the end of a ridge more or less proloi^^ed, of 
which we see the narrow edge or section turned towards us. 

For instance, no mountain in the Alps produces a more 
vigorous impression of peakedness than the Matterhonu 
In Professor Forbes's work on the Alps, it is spoken of as 
an '' obelisk " of rock,^ and represented with little exaggera- 
tion in his seventh plate under the outline Fig. 81. Natu- 
rally, in glancing, whether at the plate or the mountain, 
we assume the mass to be a peak, and suppose the line 
a 6 to be the steep slope of its side. But that line is a 
perspective line. It is in reality perfectly horizontal^ cor- 
responding to e y in the penthouse roof. Fig. 80. 

§ 12. I say '* perfectly horizontal," meaning, of course, 
in general tendency. It is more or less irr^^ular and 
broken, but so nearly horizontal that, after some prolonged 
examination of the data I have collected about the Matter- 
horn, I am at this moment in doubt which is its top. For 
as, in order to examine the beds on its flanks, I walked 
up the Zmutt glacier, I saw that the line a i in Fig. 81 
graduaUy lost its steepness ; and about half-way up the 
glacier, the conjectural summit a then bearing nearly s.£. 
(forty degrees east of south), I found the contour was as 
in Fig. 82. In Fig. 88, p. 226, I have given the contour 
as seen from Zermatt; and in all three the same letters 
indicate the same points. In the Figures 82 and 88 I 
measured the angles with the greatest care,* from the base 

* It was often of great importance to me to ascertain these apparent 
slopes with some degree of correctness. In order to do so without the 
trouble of carrying any instrument (except my compass and spirit-level), 
I had my Alpine pole made as even as a round rule for about a foot in 
the middle of its length. Taking the bearing of the mountain, placing 
the pole at right angles to the bearing, and adjusting it by the spirit- 
level, I brought the edge of a piece of &iely cut pasteboard parallel, in a 
vertical plane (plumbed), with the apparent slope of the hill side. A 
pencil line drawn by the pole then gave me a horizon, with which the 
angle could be easily measured at home. The measurements thus obtained 
are given under the figures. 

^ [Troneia among the Alp$, p. 313 of the original edition, and Plate vii« (the pkUeg 
are not reproduced in the reprint of 1900) : see below, p. 287.] 




Ofthe lineal - - 17* 
be ' ' ^ 


Angles with the horizon s y. 
Of the line d y (general slope^ ezclanve of inequalities) 
a a (ditto^ ditto^ to point of cliff above s) 



Pr, V 

lines X y, which are accurately horizontal ; and their general 
truth/ irrespective of mere ruggedness» may be depended 
upon. Now in this flank view, Fig. 82, what rvM the 
summit at Zermatt, a, becomes quite subordinate, and the 
point 6, far down the flank in Forbes*s view taken from 
the Riffelhom, is here the apparent summit. I was for 


a e ' 

e b rfrom point to point) 

b e{ ditto, ditto ) 

with the horizon x y, 

fiC" ed (overhanging) - - - 79* 

a X (irrespective of irregularities) A6 

ay 38| 

some time in considerable doubt which of the appearances 
was most trustworthy;* and believe now that they are 
both deceptive; for I found, on ascending the flank of the 
hills on the other side of the Valais, to a height of about 
five thousand feet above Brieg, between the Aletsch glacier 
and Bietsch-horn ; being thus high enough to get a view 
of the Matterhom on something like distant terms of 

» rSee PrefiMse, § 3, p. 6.J 

* [For Rmkin'i expedition!^ on which ohaervations such as those here recorded 
were made^ see DeueaUon, L ch. z. (''Thirty Years Since"), and the IntroductioQ to 


equality, up the St. Nicholas valley, it presented i1 
under the outline Fig. 84, which seems to be conclusive 
for the supremacy of the point e, between a and b in 
Fig. 88. But the impossibility of determining, at the foot 
of it, without a trigonometrical observation, which is the top 
of such an apparent peak as the Matterhom, may serve 
to show the reader how little the eye is 
to be trusted for the verification of /T,. 

peaked outline. TV \ 

§ 18. In like manner, the aiguilles of -J^jj^- S ^^ 

Chamouni, which present themselves to ^^ 

the traveller, as he looks up to them 
from the village, under an outline approximating to that 
rudely indicated at c in Fig. 85 (on the next page) are in 
reality buttresses projecting from an intermediate ridge. Let 
A be supposed a castle wall, with slightly elevated masses 
of square-built buttresses at intervals. Then, by process 
of dUapidation, these buttresses might easily be brought to 
assume in their perspective of ruin the forms indicated at 
B, which, with certain modifications, is the actual shape of 
the Chamouni aiguilles. The top of the Aiguille Charmoz 
is not the point under d^ but that under e. The deception 
is much increased by the elevation of the whole castle wall 
on the green bank before spoken of, which raises ^ its foun- 
dation several thousand feet above the eye, and thus, giving 
amazing steepness to all the perspective lines, produces an 
impression of the utmost possible isolation of peaks, where, 
in reality, there is a well-supported, and more or less con- 
tinuous, though sharply jagged, pile of solid walls. 

§ 14. There is, however, this great difference between 
the castle wall and aiguilles, that the dilapidation in the 
one would take place by the fall of horizontal bricks or 
stones; in the aiguilles it takes place in quite an opposite 
manner by the flaking away of nearly 'vertical ones. 

This is the next point of great interest respecting them. 
Observe, the object of their construction appears to be the 
attainment of the utmost possible peakedness in aspect, 



Pr. V 

with the least possible danger to the inhabitants of the 
valleys. As, therefore, they are first thrown into trans- 
verse ridges, which take, in perspective, a more or less 
peaked outline, so, in their dilapidation, they split into 


narrow flakes, which, if seen edgeways, look as sharp as 
a lance-point, but are nevertheless still strong; being each 
of them, in reality, not a lance-point or needle, but a 
hatchet edge. 

§ 15. And since if these sharp flakes broke strcdght 
across the masses of mountain, when once the fissure took 


place, all hold would be lost between Qake and flake, it 
is ordered {and herein is the most notable thing in the 
whole matter) that tiiey shall not break straight, but tn 
curves, round the body of the aiguilles, somewhat in the 
manner of the coats of an onion ; so that, even after the 
fissure has taken place, the detached film or flake clings 
to and leans upon the central mass, and will not fall from 
it till centuries of piercing frost 
have wedged it utterly from its 
hold ; and, even then, will not 
fall all at once, but drop to 
pieces slowly, and flake by flake. 
Consider a little the beneficence 
of this ordinance ; * supposing 
the clifls had been built like the 
castle waU, the mouldering away 
of a few bricks, more or less, at 
the bottom would have brought 
down huge masses above; as it 
constantly does in ruined build- 
ings, and in the mouldering cli£& 
of the slaty coherents ; while yet 
the top of the mountain would 
have been always blunt and 
rounded, as at a. Fig. 86, when 
seen against the sky. But the 
aiguille being built in these 
nearly vertical curved flakes, the 
worst that the frost can do to it is to push its undermost 
rocks asunder into forms such as at b, of which, when 
many of the edges have fallen, the lower ones are more 
or less supported by the very debris accumulated at their 
feet ; and yet all the while the tops sustain themselves in 

* Tb*t is to Mj, ia\ m, cliff intended to otiw Ut tmtUKe to dUapidt^iom. 
Where no dilapidktioD ' is to be permitted, the bedded structure, well 
knit, is kIwajts used. Of this we slull see various examples in the l6tb 


the most fantastic and incredible fineness of peak against 
the sky. 

§ 16. I have drawn the flakes in Fig. 86, for illusi;ra- 
tion's sake, under a caricatured form. Their real aspect 
will be understood in a moment by a glance at the opposite 
plate, 31, which represents the central aiguille in the wood- 
cut outline Fig. 85 (Aiguille Blaitidre, called by Forbes 
Greppond), as seen from within about half a mile of its 
actiud base.^ The white shell-like mass beneath it is a 
small glacier, which in its beautifully curved outline* ap- 
pears to sympathize with the sweep of the rocks beneath, 
rising and breaking like a wave at the feet of the remark- 
able horn or spur which supports it on the right. The 
base of the aiguille itself, is, as it were, washed by this 
glacier, or by the snow which covers it, till late in the 
season, as a cliff is by the sea; except that a narrow 
chasm, of some twenty or thirty feet }n depth and two or 
three feet wide, usually separates the rock from the ice, 
which is melted away by the heat reflected from the 
southern face of the aiguille. The rock all along this 
base line is of the most magnificent compactness and hard- 
ness, and rings under the hammer like a bell; yet, when 
r^arded from a little distance, it is seen to be distinctly 
inclined to separate into grand curved flakes or sheets, of 
which the dark edges are well marked in the plate. The 
pyramidal form of the aiguille, as seen from this point, is, 
however, entirely deceptive ; the square rock which forms 
its apparent summit is not the real top, but much in ad- 
vance of it, and the slope on the right against the sky is 
a perspective line; while, on the other hand, the precipice 
in light, above the three small horns at the narrowest part 
of the glacier, is considerably steeper than it appears to be, 

* Given already as an example of curvature in the Stones of Venice, 
vol. L pUte 7. [Vol. IX. p. 267.] 

^ [See VoL V, p. xxix. for Raskin's description of this spot ; and for the drawing, 
part of which is engraved in Plate 31^ see his Notes an his Drawings by Turner, etc., 
No. 48 B. (Vol. XIII.).] 


the cleavage of the flakes crossing it somewhat obliquely. 
But I show the aiguille from this spot that the reader may 
more distinctly note the fellowship between its curved preci- 
pice and the little dark horn or spur which bounds the 
glacier; a spur the more remarkable because there is just 
such another, jutting in like manner from the corresponding 
angle of the next aiguille (Charmoz), both of them looking 
like remnants or foundations of the vaster ancient pyramids, 
of which the greater part has been by ages carried away. 

§ 17. The more I examined the range of the aiguilles 
the more I was struck by this curved cleavage as their 
principal character. It is quite true that they have other 
straighter cleavages (noticed in the Appendix/ as the inves- 
tigation of them would be tiresome to the general reader) ; 
but it is this to which they owe the whole picturesqueness 
of their contours ; curved as it is, not simply, but often 
into the most strange shell-like undulations, as will be 
understood by a glance at Fig. 87, which shows the mere 
govei^ng lines at the base of this Aiguille Blaitidre, seen, 
with its spur, from a station^ some quarter of a mile nearer 
it, and more to the east than that chosen in Plate 31. 
These leading lines are rarely well shown m fine weather, 
the important contour fix>m a downwards being hardly re- 
lieved clearly from the precipice beyond (6), unless a cloud 
intervenes, as it did when I made this memorandmn; while, 
again, the leading lines of the Aiguille du Plan, as seen 
from the foot of it, close to the rocks, are as at Fig. 88, 
the generally pyramidal outline being nearly similar to that 
of Blaiti^re, and a spur being thrown out to the right, 
under a, composed in exactly the same manner of curved 
folia of rock laid one against the other. The hollow in the 
heart of the aiguille is as smooth and sweeping in curve as 
the cavity of a vast bivalve sheU. 

§ 18. I call these the governing or leading lines, not 
because they are the first which strike the eye, but because, 

» FAppendix ii., § 4, pp. 478-479.] 

* [See p. 481 for the locality of this station.] 


like those of the grain of the wood in a tree-trunk, they 
rule the swell and fall and change of all the mass. In 
Nature, or tn a photograph, a careless observer will by no 
means be struck by them, any more than he would by the 
curves of the tree; and an ordinary artist would draw 
rather the cragginess and granulation of the surfaces, just 
as be would rather draw the bark and moss of the trunk. 

Nor can any one be more steadfastly averse than I to 
every substitution of anatomical knowledge for outward and 
a{^arent fact ; ^ but so it is, that, as an artist increases in 
acuteness of perception, the facts which become outward 
and apparent to him are those which bear upon the growth 
or make of the thing. And, just as in looking at any 
woodcut of trees after Titian or Albert Durer, as compared 
with a modem water -coloiu' sketch, we shall always be 
struck by the writhing and rounding of the tree-trunks in 

> [Sm VoL IV. p. lU ».] 


the one, and the stifihess, and merely blotted ot granulated 
surfaces of the other; so, in looking at these rocks, the 
keenness of the artist's eye may ahnost precisely be tested 
by the degree in which he perceives the curves that give 
them their strength and grace, and in harmony with which 
the flakes of granite are bound together, like the bones of 
the jaw of a saurian. Thus the ten years of study which 
I have given to these mountains since I described them in 
the first volume as "traversed sometimes by graceful curvi- 
linear fissures, sometimes by straight fissures," ' have enabled 

me to ascertain, and now generally at a glance to see, that 
the curvilinear ones are dominant, and that even the fissm^s 
or edges which appear perfectly straight have cdmost always 
some delicate sympathy with the curves. Occasionally, how- 
ever, as in the separate beds which form the spur or horn 
of the Aiguille Blaiti^re, seen in true profile in Plate 29, 
Fig. 8, the straightness is so accurate that, not having 
brought a rule with me up the glacier, I was obliged to 
write under my sketch, "Not possible to draw it straight 
enough." Compare also the lines sloping to the left in 
Fig. 88. 

§ 19. "But why not give everything just as it is; with- 
out caring what is dominant and what subordinate?" 

> [S«a Vol. III. p. 432.] 


You cannot. Of all the various impossibilities which 
torment and humiliate the painter, none are more vexatious 
than that of drawing a mountain form. It is indeed un- 
possible enough to draw, by resolute care, the foam on a 
wave, or the outline of the foliage of a large tree ; but in 
these cases when care is at fault, carelessness will help, and 
the dash of the brush wiU in some measure give wUdness 
to the churning of the foam, and infinitude to the shaking 
of the leaves. But chance will not help us with the moun- 
tain. Its fine and faintly organized edge seems to be de- 
finitely traced against the sky; yet let us set ourselves 
honestly to follow it, and we find, on the instant, it has 
disappeared: and that for two reasons. The first, that if 
the moimtain be lofty, and in light, it is so faint in colour 
that the eye literally cannot trace its separation from the 
hues next to it. The other day I wanted the contour of 
a limestone mountain in the Valais, distant about seven 
miles, and as many thousand feet above me; it was barren 
limestone; the morning sun feU upon it, so as to make it 
almost vermilion colour, and the sky behind it a bluish 
green. Two tints could hardly have been more opposed, 
but both were so subtle, that I found it impossible to see 
accurately the line that separated the vermilion from the 
green. The second, that if the contour be observed from 
a nearer point, or looked at when it is dark against the 
sky, it will be found composed of millions of minor angles, 
crags, points, and fissures, which no human sight or hand 
can draw finely enough, and yet all of which have effect 
upon the mind. 

§ 20. The outline shown as dark against the sky in 
Plate 29, Fig. 2, p. 200, is about a hundred, or a hundred 
and twenty, yards of the top of the ridge of Charmoz, 
running from the base of the aiguille down to the Mont- 
anvert, and seen from the moraine of the Charmoz glacier, 
a quarter of a mile distant to the south-west."*^ It is formed 

* The top of the aiguille of the Little Charmoz bearing, from the point 
whence this sketch was made, about six degrees east of north. 


of decomposing granite, thrown down in blocks entirely de- 
tached» but wedged together, so as to stand continually in 
these seemingly perilous contours (being a portion of such 
a base of aiguille as that in 6, Fig. 86, p. 229).* The block 
forming the summit on the left is fifteen or eighteen feet 
long ; and the upper edge of it, which is the dominant point 
of the Charmoz ridge, is the best spot in the Chamouni 
district for giving a thorough command of the relations of 
the aiguilles on each side of the Mer de Glace. Now put 
the book, with that page open, upright, at three yards' dis* 
tance from you, and try to draw this contour, which I have 
made as dark and distinct as it ever could be in reality, 
and you will immediately understand why it is impossible 
to draw mountain outlines rightly. 

§ 21. And if not outlines, h fortiori not details of mass, 
which have all the complexity of the outline multiplied a 
thousand fold, and drawn in fainter colours. Nothing is 
more curious than the state of embarrassment into which 
the unfortunate artist must soon be cast, when he en- 
deavours honestly to draw the face of the simplest moun- 
tain cliff — say a thousand feet high, and two or three miles 
distant. It is full of exquisite details, all seemingly decisive 
and clear; but when he tries to arrest one of them, he 
cannot see it, — cannot find where it begins or ends, — and 

* The summits of the aiguilles are often more fantastically rent still. 
Fig. S9 is the profile of a portion of the upper edge of the Aiguille du 
Moine, seen from the crest of Charmos ; Fig. 40 shows the three lateral 

Fig,n fig. 40 

fragments, drawn to a larger scale. The height of each of the upright 
masses must be from twenty to twenty-five feet. I do not know if^ their 
rude resemblance to two figures, on opposite sides of a table or altar, has 
had anything to do with the name of the aiguille. 


presently it runs into another; and then he tries to draw 
that, but that will not be drawn, neither, until it has eon- 
ducted him to a third, which, somehow or other, made part 
of the first ; presently he finds that, instead of three, there 
are in reality four, and then he loses his place altogether. 
He tries to draw clear lines, to make his work look craggy, 
but finds that then it is too hard; he tries to draw soft 
lines, and it is inmiediately too soft; he draws a curved 
line, and instantly sees it should have been straight; a 
straight one, and finds when he looks up again, that it has 
got curved while he was drawing it. There is nothing for 
him but despair, or some sort of abstraction and shorthand 
for cliff. Then the only question is, what is the wisest 
abstraction ; and out of the multitude of lines that cannot 
altogether be interpreted, which are the really dominant 
ones ; so that if we cannot give the whole, we may at least 
give what will convey the most important facts about the 

§ 22. Recurring then to our " pubUc opinion " of the 
Aiguille Charmoz,^ we find the greatest exaggeration of, and 
therefore I suppose the greatest interest in, the narrow and 
spiry point on its left side. That is in reality not a point 
at all, but a hatchet edge ; a flake of rock, which is enabled 
to maintain itself in this sharp-edged state by its writhing 
folds of sinewy granite. Its structure, on a larger scale, and 
seen "edge on," is shown in Fig. 41. The whole aiguille 
is composed of a series of such flakes, liable, indeed, to all 
kinds of fissure in other directions, but holding, by their 
modes of vertical association, the strongest authority over 
the form of the whole mountain. It is not in all lights 
that they are seen plainly: for instance, in the morning 
effect in Plate 30 they are hardly traceable: but the longer 
we watch, the more they are perceived ; and their power 
of sustaining themselves vertically is so great, that at the 
foot of the aiguille on the right a few of them form a de- 
tached mass, known as the Petit Charmoz, between £ and 

1 [See above, § 8, p. 221.] 

• • • 

• • 

• •-• 

-.• • • 

• • • 

• '• 


c, in Fig. 60, p. 257. of which the height of the outermost 
flake, between c and d, is about fire hundred feet. 

Important, however, as this curved cleavage is, it is 
so coi^used among others, that it has taken me, as I said,^ 
ten years of almost successive labour to develope, in any 
degree of completeness, its relations among the aiguilles 6i 
Chamouni ; and even of professed geologists, the only person 
who has described it properly is 
De Saussure, whose continual so- 
journ among the Alps enabled him 
justly to discern the constant ftom 
the inconstant phenomena. And 
yet, in his very first journey to 
Savoy, Turner saw it at a glance, 
and &stened on it as the main 
thing to be expressed in those 

In the opposite Plate (82), the 
darkest division, on the right, is a 
tolerably accurate copy of Turner's 
rendering of the Aiguille Charmoz 
(etched and engraved by himself), 
in the plate called the "Mer de 
Glace," in the Liber Studiorum. 
Its outline is in local respects in- 
accurate enough, being modified by Fit.t\ 
Tumerian topography ; but the flaky 

character is so definite, that it looks as if it had been pre- 
pared for an illustrative diagram of the points at present 
under discusaon. 

§ 28, And do not let it be supposed that this was by 
chance, or that the modes of mountain drawing at the 
period would in any wise have helped Turner to discover 
these lines. The a^uilles had been drawn before his time, 
and the figure on the left in Plate 32 will show how. It 

' [9ee ftbove, g 18, p. 231 ; uid on the lubject generallr, Appendix U. belov, 
p. 476.] 


is a facsimile of a piece of an engraving of the Mer de 
Glace, by Woollett/ after William Pars, published in 1788, 
and founded on the general Wilsonian and Claudesque prin- 
ciples of landscape common at the time. There are, in the 
rc^ of the plate, some good arrangements of shadow and 
true aerial perspective; and the piece I have copied, which 
is an attempt to represent the Aiguille Dm, opposite the 
Charmoz, will serve, not unfairly, to show how totally in- 
adequate the draughtsmen of the time were to perceive the 
character of mountains; and, also, how unable the human 
mind is by itself to conceive anything like the variety of 
natural form. The workman had not looked at the thing, 
— ^trusted to his ''Ideal," supposed that broken and nigged 
rocks might be shaped better out of his own head than by 
Nature's laws, — and we see what comes of it. 

§ 24. And now, lastly, observe, in the laws by which 
this strange curvilinear structure is given to the aiguilles, 
how the provision for beauty of form is made in the first 
landscape materials we have to study. We have permitted 
ourselves, according to that unsystematic mode of proceed- 
ing pleaded for in the opening of our present task,' to 
wander hither and thither as this or that questicm rose 
before us, and demanded, or tempted, our pursuit. But 
the reader must yet remember that our speciid business in 
this section of the work is the observance of the nature of 
beauty, and of the degrees in which the aspect of any object 
fulfils the laws of beauty stated in the second volume/ 
Now in the fifteenth paragraph of the chapter on infinity, 
it was stated that curvature was essential to all beauty, and 
that, what we should ^^need more especially to prove, was 
the constancy of curvature in all natural forms whatsoever." ^ 
And these aiguilles, which are the first objects we have had 
definitely to consider, appeared as little Ukdy to fulfil the 

1 [WUliam Woollett (1735-1785), a landscape engrayer of considerable repute.] 
s [See Vol. V. t>. 18 ; ie., at the beginning of ^ol. iii. of Modem PohUen, the 
TUraand Fourth Volumes being treated as a single work.] 
s [Compare also 8mmn Lamps, ch. iy. § 3 (VoL VIII. p. 141).] 
« [VoL rV. p. 88.] 


condition as anything we could have come upon. I am 
well assured that the majority of spectators see no curves 
in them at all, but an intensely upright, stem, spiry rugged 
ness and angularity. And we might even beforehand have 
been led to expect, and to be contented in expecting, 
nothing else from them than this; for since, as we have 
said often, they are part of the earth's skeleton, being 
created to sustain and strengthen ever3rthing else, and yet 
differ from a skeleton in this, that the earth is not only 
supported by their strength, but fed by their ruin; so that 
they are first composed of the hardest and least tractable 
substance, and then exposed to such storm and violence as 
shall beat large parts of them to powder; — under these 
desperate conditions of being, I say, we might have antici- 
pated some correspondent ruggedness and terribleness of 
aspect, some such refusal to comply with ordinary laws of 
beauty, as we often see in other things and creatures put 
to hard work, and sustaining distress or violence. 

§ 25. And truly, at first sight, there is such refusal in 
their look, and their shattered walls and crests seem to rise 
in a gloomy contrast with the soft waves of bank and wood 
beneath;^ nor do I mean to press the mere fact, that, as 
we look longer at them, other lines become perceptible, 
because it might be thought no proof of their beauty that 
they needed long attention in order to be discerned. But 
I lliink this much at least is deserving of our notice, as 
confirmatory of foregone conclusions, that the forms which 
in other things are produced by slow increase or gradual 
abrasion of surface, are here produced by roiLgh fracbwre^ 
when rough fracture is to be the law of existence. A rose 
is rounded by its own soft ways of growth, a reed is 

^ [The rest of the chapter was added by the author in revisiiig. In the MS. it 
reads thus : — 

'' . . . soft waves of bank and wood beneath. But watch them long : and 
each davy as their true character is more and more understood^ the tender 
laws of beauty will be seen more and more to influence their inmost being, 
and their true strength and nobleness to rest at last in the same harmonies 
of curve which regulate the stooping of the reed and the budding of the 


bowed into tender cuirature by the pressure of the breeze ; 
but we could not, from these, have proved any resolved 
preference, by Nature, of curved lines to others, inasmuch 
as it might always have been answered that the curves 
were produced, not for beauty's sake, but infallibly by the 
laws of V jetable existence ; and, looking at broken flints 
or rugged banks afterwards, we might have thought that 
we only ed *^" ciirw«l Iin« b<^cause associated with life 
and organism, l igular ones, because asso- 

ciated with ii But nature gives us in 

these mountai ;monstration of her wilL 

She is here an\ rture the law of being. 

She cannot tuft ; , ith moss, or round them 

by water, or hide aves and roots. She is 

bound to produce a toim, ble to human beings, by 

continual breaking away «. . tance. And behold — ^so 
soon as she is compelled to do this — she changes the law 
of fracture itself. " Growth," she seems to say, " is not 
essential to my work, nor conct ilment, nor softness ; but 
curvature is; and if I must pro- ce my forms by breaking 
them, the fracture itself shall in curves. If, instead of 
dew and sunshine, the only instruments I am to use are 
the lightning and the frost, then their forked tongues and 
crystal wedges shall still work out my laws of tender line. 
Devastation instead of nurture may be the task of all my 
elements, and age after age may only prolong the unreno- 
vated ruin ; but the appointments of typical beauty which 
have been made over all creatures sliall not therefore be 
abandoned ; and the rocks shall be ruled, in their perpetual 
perishing, by the same ordinances that direct the bending 
of the reed and the blush of the rose." 



§ 1. Between the aiguilles, or other conditions of central 
peak, and the hills which are clearly formed, as explained 
in Chap. xii. § 11, by the mere breaking of the edges of 
solid beds of coherent rock, there occurs almost always a 
condition of mountain sununit, intermediate in aspect, as 
in position. The aiguille may generally be represented by 
the type a. Ficr. 42; the solid and simple beds of rock by 

Fig, Hi 

the type c. The condition 6, clearly intermediate between 
the two, is, on the whole, the most gracefiil and perfect in 
which mountain masses occur. It seems to haye attracted 
more of the attention of the poets than either of the 
others; and the ordinary word, crest, which we carelessly 
use in speaking of moimtain simmuts, as if it meant little 
more than ''edge" or ''ridge," has a peculiar force and 
propriety when applied to ranges of clLS* whose contours 
correspond thus closely to the principal lines of the crest 
of a Greek helmet. 

§ 2. There is another resemblance which they can hardly 
fail to suggest when at all irregular in form, — ^that of a 
waye about to break. Byron uses the image definitely of 
Soracte ; ^ and, in a less clear way, it seems to present itself 

^ [For the passage referred to^ see yd. IX. p. 86 n. ; and compare yd y. p. xzii.l 
VI. 841 Q 



occasionally to all minds, there being a general tendency 
to give or accept accounts of mountain form under the 
image of waves; and to speak of a hilly country, seen 
from above, as looking like a " sea of mountains." 

Such expressions, vaguely used, do not, I think, gener- 
ally imply much more than that the ground is waved or 
undulated into bold masses. But if wc give prolonged 
attention to the mountains of the group b we shall gradu- 
ally begin to 1 ofound truth is couched 


under this mode of speaking, and thst tiKK is indeed an 
appearance of action aad united moTonent in these crested 
masses, nearly resembling- that of sea waves; that they 
seem not to be heiq>ed up, but to leap or toss themsdves 
up ; and in doing so, to wreathe and twist their summits 
into the most ^tastic, yet harmonious, curves, governed 
by some grand under-sweep like that of a tide running 
through the whole body of the mountain chain. 

For instance, in Fig. 48, which gives, rudely, the 
leading lines of the jimction of the "Aiguille Pourri"* 

* So called from the mooldeiiiig HAtore of Ita rocks. They are tiiaty 
crystalline I, but unnnully fragile. 

Ch. XV CRESTS 248 

(Chamouni) with the Aiguilles Rouges, the reader cannot, 
I think, but feel that there is something which binds the 
mountains together — some common influence at their heart 
which they cannot resist: and that, however they may be 
broken or disordered,^ there is true unity among them as 
in the sweep of a wild wave, governed, through all its foam- 
ing ridges, by constant laws of weight and motion. 

§ 8. How fSar this apparent unity is the result of ele- 
vatory force in the mountain, and how far of the sculptural 
force of water upon the mountain, is the question we have 
mainly to deal with in the present chapter. 

But first look back to Fig. 7 of Pkte 8, Vol. III.,« 
there given as the t3rpical representation of the ruling 
forces of growth in a leaf. Take away the extreme portion 
of the curve on the left, and any segment of the leaf 
remaining, terminated 
by one of its ribs, as 
a or 6, Fig. 44, will 
be equally a typical 
contour of a common 1^.44 

crested mountain. If 

the reader will merely turn Plate 8 so as to look at the 
figure upright, with its stalk downwards, he will see that it 
is also the base of the honeysuckle ornament of the Greeks. 
I may anticipate what we shall have to note with respect 
to vegetation so far as to tell him that it is also the base 
of form in all timber trees. 

§ 4. There seems something, therefore, in this contour 
which makes its production one of the principal aims of 
Nature in all her compositions. The cause of this appears 

' [This paasago, again^ afibrdi a good intUnoe of the author^t rerisioiL He ilrtt 
wrote: — 

'^ . . . howerer they may to« themaelvet up hither and thither, there is 
as much unity amoitf them as in tiie bending of the swing of a wild waye, 
governed, through all its foaming ridges, by eyerlasting laws of swell and 
On a first revision ''sweep" was sabstitated for '' bending of the swing," ''constant" 
for " everlasting," and " mass " for " swell " ; " mass " being next altered to " weight." 
And then, on a final revision, the passage was altered to its form in the text] 
s [In this edition. Vol. V. p. 264.] 



Pr. V 

to be, that as the cinq-foil is the simplest expression of 
proportion, this is the simplest expression of opposition, in 
unequal ciu^ed lines. If we take any lines, a a: and e g^ 
Fig. 45, both of varied curvature (not s^pnents of circles), 

and one shorter than the other, and join 
them together so as to form one line, 
as 6 «r, iT ^, we shall have one of the 
conmion lines of beauty; if we join 
them at an angle, as c 07, «r ^, we shall 
have a common crest, which is in fiict 
merely a jointed line of beauty. If we 
join them as at a, Fig. 46, they form a 
line at once monotonous and cramped, 
and the jointed condition of this same 
line, 6, is hardly less so. It is easily 
proved, therefore, that the junction of 
lines c Xy X y \& the simplest and most 
graceful mode of opposition; and easily 
observed that in branches of trees, wings of birds, and 
other more or less regular organizations, such groups of 
line are continually made to govern the contours. But it 
is not so easily seen why or how this form should be 
impressed upon irregular heaps of moun- 

§ 5. If a bed of coherent rock be 
raised, in the manner described in Chap. 
XIII., so as to form a broken precipice 
with its edge, and a long slope with 
its surface, as at a. Fig. 47 (and in this 
way nearly all hills are raised), the top 
of the precipice has usually a tendency 
to crumble down, and in process of time to form a heap of 
advanced ruins at its foot. On the other side, the back or 
slope of the hill does not crumble down, but is graduaUy 
worn away by the streams; and as these are always more 
considerable both in velocity and weight, at the bottom of 
the slope, than the top, the ground is faster worn away at 


Ch. XV 



i^. 47 

the bottom, and the straight slope *is cut to a curve of 
continually increasing steepness. Fig. 47 h represents the 
contour to which the hill a would thus be brought in pro- 
cess of time; the dotted line indicating its original form. 
The result, it will be seen, is a crest* 

§ 6. But crests of this uniform substance and continuous 
outline occur only among hills composed of the softest co- 
herent rocks, and seldom attain any elevation such as to 
make them important or impressive. The notable crests 
are composed of the 
hard coherents or slaty 
crystallines, and then 
the contour of the crest 
depends mainly on the 
question whether, in the 

original mass of it, the 
be& lie as at a or as 

at 6, Fig. 48. If they 
lie as at a, then the re- 
sultant crest will have the general appearance seen at c; 
the edges of the beds getting separated and serrated by 
the weather. If the beds lie as at 6, the resultant crest 
will be of such a contour as that at d. 

The crests of the contour d are formed usually by the 
harder coherent rocks, and are notable chiefly for their bold 
precipices in front, and regular slopes, or sweeping curves, 
at the back. We shall examine them under the special 
head oi precipices. But the crests of the form at c belong 
usually to the slaty crystallines, and are those properly 
called crests, their edges looking, especially when covered 
with pines, like separated plumes. These it is our chief 
business to examine in the present chapter. 

§ 7. In order to obtain this kind of crest, we first 

* The materials removed from the slope are spread over the plain or 
valley below. A nearly equal quantity is supposed to be removed from the 
other side ; but besides this removed mass, the materials crumble heavily from 
above, and form the concave curve. 



Pr. V 

require to have our mountain beds thrown up in the form 
a, Fig. 48. This is not easily done on a large scale, except 
among the slaty crystallines forming the flanks of the great 
chains, as in Fig. 29, p. 220. In that figure it will be seen 
that the beds forming each side of the chain of Mont 
Blanc are thrown into the required steepness, and therefore, 
whenever they are broken towards the central mountain, 

they naturally form the 
front of a crest, whfle 
the torrents and glaciers 
falling over their longer 
slopes, carve them into 
rounded banks towards 
the valley. 

§ 8. But the beauty 
of a crest or bird's wing 
consists, in nature, not 
merely in its curved 
terminal outline, but 
in the radiation of the 
plumes, so that while 
each assumes a differ- 
ent ciurve, every curve 
shall show a certain 
harmony of direction 
with all the others. 

We shall have to 
enter into the exami- 
nation of this subject at greater length in the 17th chapter ; 
meanwhile, it is sufficient to observe the law in a single ex- 
ample, such as Fig. 49, which is a wing of one of the angels 
in DUrer's woodcut of the Fall of Lucifer.* At first sight 

Fij. 48 

* The lines are a little too straight in their continuations, the en- 

river having cut some of the curvature out of their thickness, thinking 
had drawn them too coarsely. But I have chosen this coarsely lined 
example, and others like it, following, because I wish to accustom the 
reader to distinguish between the mere fineness of instrument in the 



the plumes seem disposed with much irr^fularity, but there 
is a sense of power and motion in the whole which the 
reado* would find was at once lost by a careless copyist ; fbr 
it depends on the fact that if we take the principal curves 
at any points of the wing, and continue them in the lines 
which they are pursuing at the moment they terminate, 

these continued lines will all meet in a single point, c It 
is this law which gives unity to the wing. 

All groups of curves set beside each other depend Sot 

Mtlflt's hand, and the prediion of the line he drawi. Give Utian a blnnt 
pen, and stUl Titlan'a line will be a itobte one : a tjnt, with a pen well 
mended, may draw more neatljr ; bat his lines ought to be diccemed from 
Tltian'a if we nndentand drawing. BTeiy line in tUf woodcut [of Dtirer*! 
ia r^ntd; and that in the noblest kdk. Whether broadfor fine does not 
matter, the linet are ri^hi ; and the most delloate lkl>e line !■ i 
to be detpiwd, in preaenee of the c o a n ert ftithAil one. 


their beauty upcm the observance of this law;* and ii^ 
therefore, the mountain crests are to be perfectly beautiful. 
Nature must contrive to get this element of radiant curva- 
ture into them in one way or another.^ Not does it, at 
first sight, appear easy for her to get, I do not say radiant 
curves, but curves at all: for, in the aiguilles, she actually 
bent their beds; but in these slaty crjrstallines it seems not 
always convenient to her to bend the beds; and when they 
are to remain straight, she must obtain the curvature in 
some other way. 

I 9. One way in which she gets it is curiously simple in 
itself, but somewhat difficult to explain, unless the reader 
will be at the pains of making a little model for himself 
out of paste or clay. Hitherto, observe, we have spoken 
of the crests as seen at their sides, as a Greek helmet is 
seen from the side of the wearer. By means presently to 
be examined, these mountain crests are so shap^ that seen 
in fronts or firom behind (as a helmet crest is seen in fircmt 
of or behind the wearer), they present the contour of a 
sharp ridge, or house gable. Now if the breadth of ttus 
ridge at its base remains the same, while its height gradu- 
ally diminishes from the front of it to the back (as from 
the top of the crest to the back of the helmet), it neces- 
sarily assumes the form of such a quaint gable roof as that 
shown in profile in Fig. 50, and in perspective t in Fig. 51, 
in which the gable is steep at the end farthest off, but 

* Not absolutely on the meeting of the curves in one point, but on 
tbeir radiating with some hannonious succession of difference in direction. 
The difference between lines which are in true harmony of radiation, and 
lines which are not, can, in complicated masses, only be detected by a trained 
eye; yet it is often the chief difference between good and bad drawing. 
A duster of six or seven black plumes forming the wing of one of the 
cherubs in Titian's Assumption, at Venice, has a freedom and force about 
it in the painting which no copyist or engraver has ever yet rendered, 
though it depends merely on the subtlety of the curves, not on the colour. 

t "Qui of perspective," I should have said; but it will show what I 

1 [On the Uw of Radiation, see ElemetU9 qf Drawing, §§ 210-220.] 

Ch. XV 



depressed at the end nearest us; and the rows of tiles in 
consequence, though in reality quite straight, appear to 
radiate as they retire, owing to their different slopes. When 
a mountain crest is thus formed, and the concave curve 
of its front is carried into its flanks, each edge of bed 
assuming this concave curve, and radiating, like the rows of 
tiles, in perspective at the same time, the whole crest is 
thrown into the form Fig. 52, which is that of the radiat- 
ing plume required. 

§ 10. It often happens, however, that Nature does not 
choose to keep the ridge broad at the lower extremity, so 
as to diminish its steepness. But when this is not so, and 
the base is narrowed so that the slope of side shall be 



nearly equal everywhere, she almost always obtains her 
varied curvature of the plume in another way, by merely 
turning the crest a little round as it descends. I will not 
confuse the reader by examining the complicated results of 
such turning on the inclined lines of the strata; but he 
can understand, in a moment, its effect on another series 
of lines, those caused by rivulets of water down the sides 
of the crest. These lines are, of course, always, in general 
tendency, perpendicular. Let a. Fig. 58, be a circular 
funnel, painted inside with a pattern of vertical lines meet- 
ing at the bottom. Suppose these lines to represent the 
ravines traced by the water. Cut off a portion of the lip 
of the funnel, as at 6, to represent the crest side. Cut the 
edge so as to slope down towards you, and add a slope on 
the other side. Then give each inner line the concave 
sweep, and you have your ridge c, of the required form, 
with radiant curvature. 



Pr. V 

§ 11. A greatar space of such a crest is always seen on 
its concave than on its convex side (the outside of the 
funnel); of this other perspective I shall have to speak 
hereafter; meantime, we had better continue the examina- 
tion of the proper crest, the c of Fig. 48, in some special 

The form is obtained usually in the greatest perfection 
among the high ridges near the central chain, where the 

beds of the slaty crjrstallines are 
steep and hard. Perhaps the most 
interesting example I can choose for 
close examination will be that of a 
mountain in Chamoimi, called the 
AiguiUe Bouchard,^ now familiar to 
the eye of every traveller, being the 
ridge which rises, exactly opposite 
the Montanvert, beyond the Mer 
de Glace. The structure of this 
crest is best seen from near the foot 
of the Montanvert, on the road to 
the source of the Arveron, whence 
the top of it, a, presents itself under 
the outline given rudely in the op- 
posite plate (33), in which it will be 
seen that, while the mi&in energy of the mountain mass 
tosses itself against the central chain of Mont Blanc (which 
is on the right hand), it is met by a group of counter- 
crests, like the recoil of a broken wave cast against it from 
the other side; and yet, as the recoiling water has a sym- 
pathy with the imder swell of the very wave against which 
it clashes, the whole mass writhes together in strange unity 
of mountain passion, so that it is almost impossible to per- 
suade oneself, after long looking at it, that the crests have 


^ [Rutkiii made two drawingB of it, Nos. 31 and 32 in his liit given in Vol. V. 
p. zxiL ; see in Modem PanUen, toL^v. pt. rii. ch. iiL § 17 n., and Plate ^ (the 
second piece from the top).] 


^ « ^ 


not indeed been once fused and tossed into the air bjr a 
tempest which had mastery over them, as the winds hare 
over ocean. 

§ 12. And yet, if we examine the crest structure doseiy, 
we shall find that nearly all these curvatures are obtained 
by Nature's skilful handling of perfectly straight beds, — 
only the meeting of those two waves of crest is indeed 
indicative of the meeting of two masses of diflferent rocks ; 
it marks that junction of the slaty with the compact crjrs- 
tallines, which has before been noticed as the principal 
mystery of rock structure.* To this junction my attention 
was chiefly directed during my stay at Chamouni, as I 
found it was always at that point that Nature produced 
the loveliest mountam forms. Perhaps the time I gave 
to the study of it may have exaggerated its interest in 
my eyes; and the reader who does not care for these 
geological questions except in their direct bearing upon 
art, may, without much harm, miss the next seven para- 
graphs, and go on at the twenty-first. Yet there is one 
point, in a Turner drawing presentiy to be examined,' 
which I cannot explain without inflicting the tediousness 
even of these seven upon him. 

§ 18. First, then, the right of the Aiguille Bouchard to 
be called a crest at all depends, not on the slope from a 
to by Plate 33, but on that fix>m a to A. The slope fix>m 
a to 6 is a perspective deception; h is much the highest 
point of the two. Seen fix>m the village of Chamoimi, the 
range presents itself under the outline Fig. 54, the same 
points in each figure bemg mdicated by the same letters. 
From the end of the valley the supremacy of the mass 
6 c is still more notable. It is altogether with mountains 
as with human spirits, you never know which is greatest 
till they are far away. 

§ 14. It will be observed also, that the beauty of the 

1 rSee ch. »▼. § 3, p. 216.1 
> [See below, pp. 270, 271. j 


Pr. V 

crest, in both Plate 33 and Fig. 54, depends on the gradu- 
ally increasing steepness of the lines of slope between a 
and b. This is in great part deceptive, being obtained by 
the receding of the crest into a great mountain crater, or 
basin, as explained in § 11. 

But this very recession is a matter of interest, for it 
takes place exactly on the line above spoken of, where 
the slaty crystallines of the crest join the compact crystal- 
lines of the aiguilles; at which junction a correspondent 

chasm or recession, of some kind or another, takes place 
along the whole front of Mont Blanc. 

§ IS. In the third paragraph of the last chapter we had 
occasion to refer to the junction of the slaty and compact 
crystallines at the roots of the aiguilles. It will be seen 
in the figure there given, that this change is not sudden, 
but gradated. The rocks to be joined are of the two types 
represented in Fig. 8, p. 187 (for convenience' sake I shaU 

Ca. XV CRESTS 258 

in the rest of this chapter call the slaty rock gneiss, and 
the compact rock protogine, its usual French nameX F%. 
55 shows the general manner of junction, beds of gneiss 
occurring in the middle of the protogine, and of potogine 
in the gneiss ; sometimes one touching the other so closely, 
that a hammer-stroke breaks off a piece of both ; some- 
times one passing into the other by a gradual change, like 
the zones of a rainbow; 
Xhe only general pheno- 
menon being this, that 
the higher up the hill 
the gneiss is, the hard^ 
it is (so that while it 
often yields to the pres- 
sure of the finger down 
in the valley, on the 
Montanvert it is nearly 
as hard as protogine); 
and, on the other hand, 
the lower down the hill, 
or the nearer the gneiss, 
the protogine is, the . 
finor it is in grain. But 
still the actual transition 
^m one to the other is usually within a few fathoms; 
and it is that transition, and the preparation for it, which 
causes the great step, or jag, on the flank of the chain, 
and forms the tops of the Aiguille Bouchard, Charmoz 
ridges, Tapia, Montagne de la C6te, Montague de Taconay, 
and Aiguille du Goute. 

§ 16. But what most puzzled me was the intense 
straightness of the lines of Uie gneiss beds, dipping, as it 
seemed, under the Mont Blanc. For it has been a chief 
theory with geologists that these central protogine nx^s 
have once b^ in fusion, and have risen up in molten 
fury, overturning and altering all the rocks around. But 
every day, as I looked at the crested flanks of the Mont 


to trace than round, throu^ the Aiguille de '. 
md above the Col de Bonhomme, though I know the rcL 
tions of the beds of limestone to the gneias on tfae latb 
ool are most notable and interesting. But, as &r as wi 

In the ravine between the Glacier des Bolt and foot of the MtmXMana 
near the Ice, aboat a tbonarad feet abore the Tallef ; the beds thcxc aca 
to bend auddenlj bad nndcr the glader, and in aoote p l ae ea to be qnH 
vertical. On the oppoatte dde of the glader, below the Cbmipaa, Ac & 
of the llmeitone under the gneiaa, with the intermediate bed, aeroi < 
eight feet thick, of the gnj porous rode which the French e»ll c a^ gno d 
it high); interesting ; but it la to concealed bjr d^brit and the aoil of tk 
pine forettt, aa to be difficult to examine to any extcnL On tbe whol 
the bett position for getting the angle of the bed* accoimtelj, ia the to 
of the Tapla, a little below the jnnctkni there of tbe g nmi te and i 

(tee notice of thta junction in Appendix S); ■ point (rom whi^ th 
lummlt of the Aiguille du Gouti bean 11* (onth of wert, and that ot tli 

Aiguille Bouchard 17° north of east, the Aiguille Dru 5j* or 6° north o 
east, the penk of It appearing behind the Petit Charmox, The beda o 
gneiu emerging from the turf under the s])ectator's feet maj be broo^ 
parallel bv the eye with the slopes of the Aiguille du Gouti on one tide 
and the Bouchard (ami bnse of Aiguille d'Argenti^re) on tfae other; atrik 
Ing a« nearly as powible from summit to summit through that on wbici 
the sjiectAtor itands, or from about 10* north of east to 10° south of wetl 
antl tllp))inR with exquisite uniformity at an angle of 74 degrees with thi 
hnrlaoii. Itut whnt struck me at still more strange was, that from thi 
nnllit I ctiiild distinctly tee tmcei of the same straight structure runninj 
through thr Petit Channoa, and the roots of the aiguilles themtelTes, ■ 
In t\ft. H\i I nor could I ever, In the course of ooontless obsemtlons, fidrl 



required for any artistical purposes, I po^ectly ascertained 
the foct that, whatever their real structure might be, these 
beds did appear, through the softer contours of the hill, as 
straight and parallel; that they continued to appear so 
until near the tops of the crests ; and that those tops 
seemed, in some mysterious way, dependent on the junc- 
tion of the gneissitic beds with, or their transition into, the 
harder protogine of the aigiiilles. 

Look back to FUte 38. The peak of the Bouchard, 
a, is of gneiss, and its beds run down in lines ori^nally 
straight, but more or less hollowed l^ weathering, to the 

determine »ay poiat where thia slaty structure altogether had ceased. It 
seemed only to get less and less traceable towards the centre of the mass 
of Moot Blanc ; and, from the ridge of the Aiguille Bouchard itself, at the 
point « in Plate 33, whence, looking south-west, the aiguilles can be seen 
In the most accurate profile obtainable throughout the valley of Chamonnl, 
I noticed a very singular parallellsni even on the sontb-east side of the 

Cbarmos, a v (Fig. 60), as if the continued influence of this cleavage were 
carried on from the Little Charmo^ c d (in which, seen on the opposite 
side, 1 had traced it as in Fig. 59)i through the central mass at rock r. 
In this pH^e, M Is the Mont Blanc itaelf; m, the Aiguille dn Midi; p, 
AiguOlc da Han ; b. Aiguille Blaitiire ; c, Great Channoa ; c. Petit C 
B, passage called do I'Etal^ 


point A, where they plunge under dAris. But the point 
6 is, I believe, of protogine; and all the opposed wiiUupg 
of the waves of rock to the rig^t appears to be in conse- 
quence of the junction* 

§ 17. The way in which these curves are produced 
cannot, however, be guened at until we eramine the 
junction more closely. Ascending about five hundred feet 
above the cabin of the Montanvert, the opposite crest of 
the Bouchard, from a to c, Plate 81, is seen more in front, 
expanded into the jagged line, a to c^ Plate M^ and the 
beds, with their fractures, are now seen clearly throug^ioat 
the mass, namely: 

1st. (See references on plate.) The true gndss beds 
dipping down in the direction o H, the point H being the 
same as A in Plate 8S. These are the beds so notaUe fbr 
their accurate straightness and parallelism. 

2nd. The smooth fractures which in the middle of the 
etching seem to divide the column of rock into a kind of 
brickwork. They are very neat and sharp, running nearly 
at right angles with the true beds.* 

8rd. The curved fractures of the aiguilles (seen first 
under the letter 6, and seeming to push outwards against 
the gneiss beds t) continuing through c and the spur below. 

4th. An irregular deavage, something like that of starch, 
showing itself in broken vertical Imes. 

5th. Writhing lines, cut by water. These have the 
greatest possible influence on the aspect of the precipice: 
they are not merely caused by torrents, but by fells of 
winter snow, and stones frmn tiie glacier mraaines, so that 
the cliff being continually worn away at the foot of it, is 
wrought into a great amphitheatre, of which the receding 

* Many geologists think thej art the true beds. They nm across the 
gneissitic folk, and I hdd with D>e Saossni^ and consider them a deavage. 

t I tried in vain to get along the ridge of the Booehaid to this junction^ 
the edge of the preeipiee betmen a and b (Plate 88) being too broken ; 
bat the point corresponds so ekisely to that of the jonctioD of the gneiss 
and protogine <»i the CSiarmoa ridge, that, adding the evidence of the dis- 
tant contour, I have no doubt as to the general relations of the rodks. 

Xi I 








































V .\^ 

^^ _ - - -^ " 


;■: ' 





• • 


• •••• 


Ch. XV CRESTS 250 

sweep continually varies the apparent steepness of the crest, 
as already explained. I believe in ancient times the great 
Glacier des Bois itself used to fill this amphitheatre, and 
break right up against the base of the Bouchard. 

6th. Curvatures worn by water over the back of the 
crest towards the valley, in the direction g i. 

7th. A tendency (which I do not understand) to form 
horizontal masses at the levels k and L* 

§ 18. The reader may imagine what strange harmonies 
and changes of line must result throughout the mass of the 
mountain, from the varied prevalence of one or other of 
these secret incUnations of its rocks (modified, also, as 
they are by perpetual deceptions of perspective), and how 
completely the rigidity or parallelism of any one of them is 
conquered by the fitftil urgencies of the rest, — a sevenfold 
action seeming to run through every atom of crag. For 
the sake of clearness, I have shown in this plate merely 
leading lines; the next (Plate 36 opposite) will give some 
idea of the complete aspect of two of the principal crests 
on the Mont Blanc flanks, known as the Montague de la 
Cdte, and Montague de Taconay, c and t in Fig. 22, at 
page 204. In which note, first, that the eminences marked 
a a, 6 6, c c, in the reference figure (61), are in each of 
the mountains correspondent, and indicate certain changes 
in the conditions of tiieir beds at those points. I have no 
doubt the two moimtains were once one mass, and that 
they have been sawn asunder by the great glacier of 
Taconay, which descends between them ; and similarly the 
Montague de la Cdte sawn from the Tapia by the Glacier 
des Bossons, b b in reference figure. 

§ 19. Note, secondly, the general tendency in each moun- 
tain to throw itself into concave curves towards the Mont 
Blanc, and descend in rounded slopes to the valley ; more 

* De Sauasure often refers to these as ''assaissements."^ They occur, 
here and there, in the aiguilles themselves. 

> [The actual word it ''affussements" (subsidences) : see VoL I. p. 200. For 
Sautsure's use of it, see, for example, §§ 642 and 900 in his Voyagei,'] 



Pr. V 

or less interrupted by the direct manifestation of the straight 
beds, which are indeed, in this view of Taconay, the princi- 
pal features of it. They necessarily become, however, more 
prominent in the outline etching than in the scene itself, 
because in reality the deUcate cleavages are lost in distance 
or in mist, and the effects of light bring out the rounded 
forms of the larger masses; and wherever the clouds fill 
the hollows between, as they are apt to do, (the glaciers 
causing a dullness in the ravines, while the wind, blowing 
up the larger valleys, clears the edges of the crests), the 
smnmits show themselves as in Plate 86,^ dividing, with 
their dark frontlets, the perpetual sweep of the glaciers and 
the clouds.^ 

* The aqueous curves and roundings on the nearer crest (La COte) are 
peculiarly tender, because the gneiss of which it is composed is softer 
in grain than that of the Bouchard, and remains so even to the very top 

Fig. 91 

of the peak, a, in Fig. 6l, where I found it mixed with a yeUowish and 
somewhat sandy quartz rock, and generally much less protogenic than is 
usual at such elevations on other parts of the chain. 

1 [it WM by '^ the Crest of La Cote " (the Montagne de k Cote) that most of the 
early attempts to scale Mont Blanc were made, and that the summit was ultimately 
attamed ; see The Annals qf Mont Blanc, by C. E. Mathews, p. 27, where this 
drawing is referred to. For some remarks on the clouds in this plate, see Modem 
PahUen, vol. v. pt vil ch. ill § 170 

• _• 

• • •• 


• •• 

• • 

Ch. XV CRESTS 261 

§ 20. Of the aqueous curvatures of this crest, we i^all 
have more to say . presently ; meantune let us especially 
observe how the providential laws of beauty, acting with 
reversed data, arrive at similar results in the aiguilles and 
crests. In the aiguilles, which are of such hard rock that 
the fall of snow and trickling of streams do not affect 
them, the inner structure is so disposed as to bring out 
the curvatures by the mere fracture. In the crests and 
lower hills, which are of softer rock, and largely influenced 
by external violence, the inner structure is straight, and 
the necessary cun^atures are produced by perspective, by 
external modulation, and by the balancing of adverse in- 
fluences of cleavage. But, as the accuracy of an artist's 
eye is usually shown by his perceiving the inner anatomy 
which regulates growth and form, and as in the aiguilles, 
while we watch them, we are continually discovering new 
curves, so in the crests, while we watch them, we are 
continually discovering new straightnesses ;. and nothing more 
distinimishes ffood mountain-drawinir, or mountain-seeinir, 
from ^less ^inefficient mountZldrawing. than the obi 
servance of the marvellous parallelisms which exist among 
the beds of the crests. 

§ 21. It indeed happens, not unfrequently, that in hills 
composed of somewhat soft rock, the aqueous contours will 
so prevail over the straight cleavage as to leave nothing 
manifest at the first glance but sweeping lines like those 
of waves. Fig. 48, p. 242, is the cr^ of a mountain on 
the north of the valley of Chamouni, known, from the 
rapid decay and fedl of its crags, as the Aiguille Pourri;^ 
and at first there indeed seems little distinction between 
its contours and those of the swnmit of a sea wave. Yet 
I think also if it were a wave, we should inunediately sup- 
pose the tide was running towards the rig^t hand; and 
if we examined the reason for this supposition, we should 
perceive that along the ridge the steepest falls of crag 

[At aforenid, § 2 n,] 



were always on the rig^t-hand side; indicating a tendency 
in them to break rather in the direction of the line a b 
than any other. If we go half-way down the Mcmtanvert, 
and examine the left side of the crest somewhat more 
closely, we shall find this tendency still more definitely 
visible, as in Fig. 62. 

§ 22. But what, then, has given rise to all those coiled 

plungings of the crest hither and thither, yet with such 
strange unity of motion ? 

Yes. There is the cloud. How the top of the hill was 
first shaped so as to let the currents of water act upon 
it in so varied a way we know not, but I think that the 
appearance of interior force of elevation is for the most 
part deceptive. The series of beds would be found, if 
examined in section, very uniform in their arrangement, 
only a Uttle harder in one place, and more delicate in 
another. A stream receives a slight impulse this way or 
that, at the top of the hill, but increases in energy and 
sweep as it descends, gathering into itself others from its 

Cu. XV CRESTS 808 

sides, and uniting their power with its own. A single knot 
of quartz occurring in a flake of slate at the crest of the 
ridge may alter the entire destinies of the mountain form. 
It may turn the little rivulet of water to the right or left, 
and that little turn will be to the future direction of the 
gathering stream what the touch of a finger on the bandl 
of a rifle would be to the direction of the bullet Each 
succeeding year increases the importance of every deter- 
mined form, and arranges in masses yet more and more 
harmonious, the promontories shaped by the sweeping of 
the eternal waterfalls. 

§ 28. The importance of the results thus obtained by 
the slightest change of direction in the infant streamlets, 
furnishes an interesting tjrpe of the formation of human 
characters by habit. Every one of those notable ravines 
and crags is the expression, not of any sudden violence 
done to the mountain, but of its little habits^ persisted in 
continually. It was created with one ruling instinct; but 
its destiny depended, nevertheless, for effective result, on 
the direction of the small and all but invisible tricklings 
of water, in which the first shower of rain found its way 
down its sides. The feeblest, most insensible oozings erf 
the drops of dew among its dust were in reality arbiters 
of its eternal form; commissioned, with a touch more 
tender than that of a child's finger, — as silent and sli^t 
as the fall of a half-checked tear on a maiden's cheek, — 
to fix for ever the forms of peak and precipice, and hew 
those leagues of lifted granite into the shapes that were to 
divide the earth and its kingdoms. Once the little stone 
evaded, — once the dim furrow traced, — and the peak was 
for ever invested with its majesty, the ravine for ever 
doomed to its degradation. Thenceforward, day by day, 
the subtle habit gained in power; the evaded stone was 
left with wider basement; the chosen furrow deepened 
with swifter-slidinir wave; repentance and arrest were alike 
impossible. undhL after h^ saw written in larger and 
rockier characters upon the sJcy, the history of the choice 


tibat had been directed by a drop of rain, and of the 
balance that had been turned by a grain of sand. 

§ 24. Such are the principal laws, relating to the crested 
mountuns, for the expression of which we are to look to 
art; and we shall accordingly find good and intelligent 
mountain-drawing distinguished firom bad mountain-flrawing, 
by an indication, first, of the artist's recognition of some 

great harmony among the summits, and of their tendency 
to throw themselves into tidal waves, closely resemblii^ 
those of the sea itself; sometimes in free toeing towards 
the sky, but more frequently still in the form of breakers^ 
concave and steep on one side, convex and less steep on 
the other; secondly, by his indication of straight beds 
or fractures, continually stiffening themselves through the 
curves in some given direction. 

§ 25. Fig. 68 is a facsimile of a piece of the background 
in Albert Durer's woodcut of the binding of the great 


Dragon in the Apocaljrpse.^ It is one of his most careless 
and rudest pieces of drawing ; yet, observe in it how notably 
the impulse of the breaking wave is indicated; and note 
farther, how different a thing good drawing may be from 
a delicate' drawing on the one hand, and how different it 
must be from ignorant drawing on the other. Woodcutting, 
in Diirer's days, had reached no delicacy capable of ex- 
pressing subtle detail or aerial perspective. But all the 
subtlety and aerial perspective of modem days are useless, 
and even barbarous, if they £eu1 in the expression of the 
essential mountain facts. 

§ 26. It will be noticed, however, that in this example 
of Diirer*s, the recognition of straightness of line does not 
exist, and that for this reason the hills look soft and earthy, 
not rocky. 

So, also, in the next example. Fig. 64, the crest in the 
middle distance is exceedingly fine in its expression of 
mountain force ; the two ridges of it being thrown up like 
the two edges of a return wave that has just been beaten 
back from a rock. It is still, however, somewhat wanting 
in the expression of straightness, and therefore slightly un- 
natural It was not people's way in the Middle Ages to 
look at mountains carefiilly enough to discover the most 
subtle elements of their structure. Yet, in the next ex- 
ample. Fig. 65, the parallelism and rigidity are definitely 
indicated, the crest outline being, however, less definite. 

Note, also (in passing), the entire equality of the lines 
in all these examples, whether turned to dark or light. All 

^ [RgoelaHon xii. 7; one of a wries of fifteen plates illustrating ''The Apoca- 
lypse. Fig. 64 is a portion of Durer's ** The Visitation," one of twenty woodcnts 
illustrating *' The life of the Virgin " : the scale is here reduced by about one-half. 
Fig. 65 is again from the fight with the dragon in the Apocalypse.] 

* [In one of his copies for revision Ruskin notes here ''Correct" ; and again, at 
the end of the volume^ "correct page 222" (t.e. in the original edition, p. 265 here). 
He meant, no doubt, to modify the distinction here made between ''good" and 
" delicate " drawing ; for to one rule in art there is " absolutely no exception " : 
" all great art is delicate art " (Vol. V. p. 63). The inconsistency is only apparent, 
owing to a certain ambiguity in the wora delicate ; as the reader will perceive If he 
considers the qualifications made in the passage just referred to and the explanations 
in the authors note to § 8 above. Drawing may be delicate, though done with a 
coarse instrument ; and delicacy is nslative to the intended effect] 


am bound also to take it away from Turner), Fig. 69, 
a bit of the crags in the drawing of Loch Coriskin, partly 
described ahvady in § ff of the chapter on the Inferior Moun- 
tains in Vol I.' The crest form is, indeed, here accidentally 

prominent, and developed to a degree rare even with Turner ; 
but note, besides this, the way in which Turner leans on the 
centre and body of the hill, not on its edge; marking its 
strata stone by stone, just as a good figure painter, draw- 
ing a limb, marks the fall and rise of the joint, letting the 

> [Sm, in tfaii edition, Vol. III. p^ 4S3.] 


outline sink back softened ; and compare the exactly opposite 
method of Claude, holding for life to his outline, as a Greek 
navigator^ holds to the shore.* 

§ 80. Lest, however, it should be thought that I have 
unfairly chosen my examples, let me take an instance, at 
once less singular and more elaborate. 

We saw in oiu: account of Tumerian topography. Chap. 
II. § 14, that it had been necessary for the painter, in his 
modification of the view in the ravine of Faido, to introduce 
a passage from among the higher peaks ; which, being thus 
intended expressly to convey the general impression of their 
character, must sufficiently illustrate what Turner felt that 
character to be. Observe: it could not be taken from the 
great central aiguilles, for none such exist at all near Faido ; 
it could only be an expression of what Turner considered 
the noblest attributes of the hills next to these in elevation, 
— ^that is to say, those which we are now examining. 

I have etched the portion of the picture which includes 
this passage, opposite, on its own scale, including the whole 
couloir above the gallery, and the gallery itself, with the 
rocks beside it.t And now, if the reader will look back 

* It is worth while noting here, in comparing Fig. 66 and Fig. 68, 
how entirely our judgment of some kinds of art depen£ upon knowledge, 
not on feeling. Any person unacquainted with hills would think Claude's 
right, and Titian's ridiculous; but, after inquiring a little farther into the 
matter, we find Titian's a careless and intense expression of true knowledge, 
and Claude's slow and plausible expression of total ignorance. 

It will be observed that Fig. 09 is one of the second order of crests, 
d, in Fig. 48, p. 246 above. The next instance given is of the first order 
of crests, c, in the same figure. 

t This etching, like that of the Bolton rocks, is prepared for future 
mexsotint,' and looks harsh in its present state : but will mark all the more 
clearly several points of structure in question. The diamond-shaped rock, 

1 [On the margin of the proof here, a friend (probably W. H. Harrison) who was 
the sheets for Raskin, suggested ''as an andent Greek," adding '' or do they 

still hog the shore? " In retamins: the sheet, Rusldn rejected the proposed alttmtion, 
and thus answered the question : " Yes. One of the inttiest bits m Botken describes 

his Dractical discovery that Ulysses, having been ten years in making Ithaca, had, 
on the whole, a fair 'average passage.' " See ch. v. of Kinglake's book, p. 91 in the 
ed. of 1846.] 

' [In this case, however, the menotint was net madei] 

Ch. XV CRESTS 278 

2. D £ and associated lines d e, d e, over all the plate. Cross 
cleavage, the second in Aiguille Bouchard ; straight 
and sharp. Forming here the series of crests at b 
and D. 

8. r SfT 8. Counter-crests, closely corresponding to counter- 
firacture, the third in Aiguille Bouchard. 

4t. m n^ m n^ etc., over the whole. Writhing aqueous lines 
falling gradually into the cleavages. Fifth group in 
Aiguille Bouchard. The starchy cleavage is not seen 
here, it being not generally characteristic of the crests, 
and present in the Bouchard only accidentally. 

5. X X X. Sinuous lines worn by the water, indicative of 

some softness or flaws in the rock ; these probably 
the occasion or consequence of the formation of the 
great precipice or brow on the right. We shall 
have more to say of them in Chap. xvii. 

6. g f^ gf^ etc. Broad aqueous or glacial curvatures. The 

sixth group in Aiguille Bouchard. 

7. k /, k L Concave curves wrought by the descending 

avalanche; peculiar, of course, to this spot. 

8. i A, i h. Secondary convex curves, glacial or aqueous, 

corresponding to g y, but 
wrought into the minor sec- 
ondary ravine. This second- 
ary ravine is associated with 
the opponent aiguillesque 
masses r s; and the cause 
of the break or gap between 
these and the crests b d is 
indicated by the elbow or j^^^ 

joint of nearer rock, m, where 

the distortion of the beds or change in their nature 
first takes place. Turner's idea of the structure of 
the whole mass has evidently been that in section it 
was as in Fig. 71» snapped asunder by elevation, 
with a nucleus at m, which, allowing for perspec- 
tive, is precisely on the line of the chasm running 

VI. 8 


in the direction of the arrow; but he gives more 
of the curved aiguillesque firacture to these upper 
crests, which are greater in elevation (and we saw, 
some time ago, that the higher the rock the harder). 
And that nucleus of change at Bi, the hinge, as it 
were, on which all these promontories of upper 
crest revolve, is the first or nearest of the evaded 
stones, which have determined the course of streams 
and nod of cliffs throughout the chain. 

§ 82. I can well believe that the reader will doubt the 
possibility of all this being intended by Turner: and in^ 
tended^ in the ordinary sense, it was not. It was simply 
seen, and instinctively painted, according to the command 
of the imaginative dream, as the true Griffin was,^ and as 
all noble things are. But if the reader fancies that the 
apparent truth came by mere chance, or that I am imagin- 
ing purpose and arrangement where they do not exist, let 
him be once for all assured that no man goes through the 
kind of work which, by this time, he must be beginning to 
perceive I have gone through, either for the sake of de- 
ceiving others, or with any great likelihood of deceiving 
himself. He who desires to deceive the picture-purchasing 
public may do so cheaply; and it is easy to bring almost 
any kind of art into notice, without climbing Alps or 
measuring cleavages. But any one, on the other hand, who 
desires to ascertain facts, and will refer all art directly to 
nature, for many laborious years, will not at last find him- 
self an easy prey to groundless enthusiasms, or erroneous 
fancies. Foolish people are fond of repeating a story which 
has gone the full round of the artistical world, that Turner, 
some day, somewhere said to somebody (time, place, or 
person never being ascertainable), that I discovered in his 
pictures things which he did himself not know were there.* 

» [See VoL V. p. 143, and Plate 1.] 

' [Ruskin first heard of this reported remark bv Turner in a letter from his 
father, who sent him a newspaper containinff it " I wonder if it be true," Raskin 
replied (Venice, January 12, 1852), ''that he erer said 1 knew more about his 

Ch. XV CRESTS 275 

Turner was not a person apt to say things of this kind; 
being generally, respecting all the movements of his own 
mind, as silent as a granite crest ;^ and if he ever did say 
it, was probably laughing at the person to whom he was 
speaking. But he migkt have said it in the most perfect 
sincerity; nay, I am quite sure that, to a certain ext^it, 
the case really was as he is reported to have declared, and 
that he neither was aware of the value of the truths he 
had seized, nor understood the nature of the instinct that 
combined them. And yet the truth was assuredly appre- 
hended, and the instinct assuredly present and imperative; 
and any artists who try to imitate the smallest portion of 
his work will find that no happy chances will, for them, 

pictores than he did. I hardly think sa" Sir William Richmond profeasea to be 
able to give chapter and verge for the anecdote, attributing it to his father, George 
Richmond : '^ My &ther used to tell an excellent story anent Ruskin and Turner. 
There was a dinner party at Dmimark Hill; the oomnany was composed of old 
Mr. Ruskin, Mrs. Ruskin, Turner, my &ther, and the Afaster. Over the mantel- 
piece in the dining-room there hung one of Turner's masterpieces of Venice. Hie 
talk was brilliant; Ruskin was in one of his most flexible moods. His mother 
was a lady of sound sense, very puritanical, extremely clever, but hard and criticaL 
The Master's words ran not according to the estimation of his mother, whereat she 
rebuked him thus, ' John, you are taUdng too much, and you are talking nonsense.' 
Hie dutiful son made a sign of assent, and answering simply, * Yes, mother/ he turned 
the conversation. But this is not all. After dinner the company stood round the 
fire, listening to Rusldn's elaborate dissertation upon every comer of Turner's picture, 
explaining uis, making a symbol out of that, in fiict, constructing a running com- 
mentary. Turner whispered to my £sther, ' llie fisllow sees much more in my work 
than I ever intended.' The remark was not heard by Ruskin, who presently turned 
to Turner and said respectfully, ' Is it not all true, Mr. Turner ? ' The simple paintei^s 
only answer was, * I liked painting that heap of stones.'" The ''simple painter," 
however, enjoyed a joke ana was fond of a little mystification — fiuts which snould be 
remembered in interpreting stories of this kind. The dates, however, are against 
Sir William Richmond. If the alleged remark was made at Rusldn's own dinner-table 
some years before 1851 (for Turner could not have dined there during the sednrion 
before his illness and death), how comes it that J. J. Ruskin sent uie anecdote to 
his son as a novelty in 1852 ? Part of Sir William Richmond's recital is authentic, 
but he has mixed up two pictures ; it is Ruskin himself who records Turner's remark 
about the " heap or stones," which, however, was made not of the Venice picture, 
but of the drawing of the Pass of Faido (see Modem PainUr9\ voL iii. ch. vIl § 13 : 
Vol. V. p. 122). Sir WiUiam Richmond's reminiscences are quoted from his p»per 
'' Ruskin as I knew him," in 8t, Gmmrgef vol. v. p. 290. The story appeared in the 
LUerary Oaxette of January 3, 1852 ; an artide by Lovell Reeve in that journal first 
set it afloat ; it was thence transferred to the memoir of Turner, by Alaric A. Watts, 
prefixed to Liber Fluviarum (1853), p. xlvii. It was contradicted in Thombury's 
Life (1862, L p. 215), and at a later date Turner's friend, the Rev. W. Kingsley, 
characterised it as ''great nonsense'': see the appendix to Ruskin's Notei on fie 
Dramnge hy Turner (Vol. XIII.).] 

1 [Compare on this point Notee on the Turner OaUery, No. 476 (Vol XIII.).] 


gather together the resemblances of fact, nor, for them, 
mimic the majesty of invention.* 

§ 88. No happy chance — nay, no happy thought — no per- 
fect knowledge — ^will ever take the place of that mighty mi- 
consciousness. I have often had to repeat that Turner, in 
the ordinary sense of the words, neither knew nor thought 
so much as other men.^ Whenever his perception failed — 
that is to say, with respect to scientific truths which pro- 
duce no result palpable to the eye — ^he fell into the frankest 
errors. For instance, in such a thing as the relation of 
position between a rainbow and the sun, there is not any 
definitely visible connection between them ; it needs at- 
tention and calculation to discover that the centre of the 
rainbow is the shadow of the spectator's head.t And at- 
tention or calculation of this abstract kind Turner appears 
to have been utterly incapable of; but if he drew a piece 
of drapery, in which every line of the folds has a xAsible 
relation to the points of suspension, not a merely calcul- 
able one, this relation he will see to the last thread; and 
thus he traces the order of the mountain crests to their 
last stone, not because he knows anjrthing of geology, but 

* An anecdote is related, more to our present purpose, and better 
authenticated, inasmuch as the name of the artist to whom Turner was 
speaking at the time is commonly stated, though I do not give it here, 
not having asked his permission. The story runs that this artist (one 
of our leading landscape painters) was complaining to Turner that, after 
going to Domo d'Ossola, to find the sight of a particular view which had 
struck him several years before, he had entirely failed in doing so; ''it 
looked different when he went back again." ''What," replied Turner, 
''do you not know yet, at your age, that you ought to paint your impressions f " 

t So, in the exact length or shape of shadows in general, he will 
often be found quite inaccurate ; because the irregularity caused in shadows, 
by the shape of what they fall on, as well as what they fall from, renders 
the law of connection untraceable by the eye or the instinct. The chief 
visible thing about the shadow is, that it is always of some form which 
nobody would have thought of; and this visible principle Turner always 
seizes, sometimes wrongly in calculated fact, but always so rightly as to 
give more the look of a real shadow than any one else. 

^ [See, for instance, eh. xviii. in the preceding volume (Vol. V. p. 389).] 


because he instinctively seizes the last and finest traces of 
any visible law. 

§ 84. He was, however, especially obedient to these laws 
of the crests, because he heartily loved them. We saw 
in the early part of this chapter how the crest outlines 
harmonized with nearly every other beautiful form of natural 
objects, especially in the continuity of their external curves. 
This continuity was so grateful to Turner's heart that he 
would often go great lengths to serve it. For instance, in 
one of his drawings of the town of Lucerne^ he has first 


outlined the Mont Pilate in pencil, with a central peak, 
as indicated by the dotted line in Fig. 72. This is nearly 
true to the local fiEtct; but being inconsistent with the 
general look of crests, and contrary to Turner's instincts, 
he strikes off the refractory summit, and, leaving his pencil 
outline still in the sky, touches with colour only the 
contour shown by the continuous line in the figure, thus 
treating it just as we saw Titian did the great Alp of 
the Tyrol.* He probably, however, would not have done 
this with so important a feature of the scene as the Mont 
Pilate, had not the continuous line been absolutely neces- 
sary to his composition, in order to oppose the peaked 

^ [The drmwiitf of Laoeme from the lake, once in Ruskin's collection : tee the 
Index in VoL XIIL Tamer's treatment of Mount Pilfttoi here is farther discaflsed 
and illastrated below^p. 361-^2, and Figs. 106 and 107.] 

* [See above, p. 207. J 


towers of the town, which were his principal subject; the 
form of the Pilate being seen only as a rosy shadow in 
the far-ojff sky. We cannot, however, yet estimate the 
importance, in his mind, of this continuity of descending 
curve, until we come to the examination of the lower hill 
flanks J hitherto having been concerned only with their rocky 
summits ; and before we leave those sununits, or rather the 
harder rocks which compose them, there is yet another con- 
diticm of those rocks to be examined; and that the con- 
dition which is commonly the most interesting, namely, the 
Precipice. To this inquiry, however, we had better devote 
a separate chapter. 



§ 1. The reader was, perhaps, surprised by the smallness 
of the number to which our foregoing analysis reduced 
Alpine summits bearing an ascertainably peaked or pyra- 
midal form. He might not be less so if I were to number 
the very few occasions on which I have seen a true preci- 
pice of any considerable height.^ I mean by a true preci- 
pice one by which a plumb-line will swing clear, or without 
touching the face of it, if suspended from a point a foot or 
two beyond the brow. Not only are perfect precipices of 
this kind very rare, but even imperfect precipices, which 
often produce upon the eye as niajestic an impression as 
if they were vertical, are nearly always curiously low in 
proportion to the general mass of the hiUs to which they 
belong. They are for the most part small steps or rente 
in large surfaces of mountain, and mingled by nature axnong 
her softer forms, as cautiously and sparingly as the utmost 
exertion of his voice is, by a great speaker, with his tones 
of gentleness. 

§ 2. Precipices, in the large plurality of cases, consist 
of the edge of a bed of rock, sharply fractured, in the 
manner already explained in Chap xii., and are represented, 
in their connection with aiguilles and crests, by c in Fig. 
42, p. 241. When the bed of rock slopes backwards from 
the edge, as a, Fig. 78, a condition of precipice is obtained 
more or less peaked, very safe and very grand.* When 

* Distinguished from a crest by being the face of a large continuoui 
bed of rock, not the end of a ridge. 

■-■ -- 

1 [Ckmipare Modem AMm, toL i. pt ii. tee. iT. eh. liL § 18 (VoL m. n. 483).] 



the beds are horizontal, b^ the precipice is steeper, more 
dangerous, but much less impressive. When the beds slope 
towards the precipice, the front of it overhangs, and the 
noblest effect is obtained, which is possible in mountain 
forms of this kind. 

§ 8. Singularly enough, the tjrpe 6 is in actual nature 
nearly always the most dangerous of the three, and c the 
safest, for horizontal beds are usually of the softest rocks, and 

their cli£& are caused 
by some violent agency 
in constant operation, 
as chalk cliffs by the 
Pig,^^ wearing power of the 
sea, so that such rocks 
are continually falling in one place or another. The form a 
may also be assmned by very soft rocks. But c cannot exist 
at all on a large scale, unless it is built of good materials, 
and it will then frequently stay in its fixed frown for ages. 

§ 4. It occasionally happens that a precipice is formed 
among the higher crests by the ddes of vertical beds of 
slaty crystallines. Such rocks are rare, and never very 
high, but always beautiful in their smoothness of surfiice 
and general trenchant and firm expression. One of the 
most interesting I know is that of the summit of the 
Breven, on the north of the valley of Chamouni. The 
moimtain is formed by vertical sheets of slaty crystallines, 
rather soft at the bottom, and getting harder and harder 
towards the top, until at the very summit it is as hard and 
compact as the granite of Waterloo Bridge, though much 
finer in the grain, and breaking into perpendicular faces 
of rock so perfectly cut as to feel smooth to the hand. 
Fig. 4, p. 188, represents, of the real size, a bit which I 
broke from the edge of the cliff, the shaded part under- 
neath being the surface which forms the precipice. The 
plumb-line from the brow of this cliff hangs clear 124 
English feet ; it is then caught by a ledge about three feet 
wide, from which another precipice fEdls to about twice 





the height of the first; but I had not line enough to 
measure it with firom the top, and could not get down to 
the ledge. When I say the line hangs clear, I mean, 
when once it is off the actual brow of the cliff, which is a 
little rounded for about fourteen or fifteen feet 
from a to 6, in the section. Fig. 75. Then the 
rock recedes in an almost unbroken concave sweep, 
detaching itself from the plmnb-line about two 
feet at the point c (the lateral dimensions are 
exaggerated to show the curve), and approaching 
it again at the ledge d, which is 124 
feet below a. The plumb-line, for- 
tunately, can be seen throughout its 
whole extent from a sharp bastion of 
the precipice farther on, for the face 
of the cliff runs, in horizontal plan, 
very nearly to the magnetic north 
and south, as shown in Fig. 74, the 
plmnb-line swinging at a, and seen 
from the advanced point p. It would 
give a similar result at any other part 
of the cliff face, but may be most 
conveniently cast from the point a, 
a little below, and to the north of, the summit. 

§ 5. But although the other divisions of this 
precipice below the ledge which stops the plum- 
met, gave it altogether a height of about five hun- 
dred feet,"*^ the whole looks a mere step on the 
huge slope of the Breven; and it only deserves 
mention among Alpine cliffs as one of singular 
beauty and decision, yet perfectly approachable 
and examinable even by the worst climbers; which is very 
rarely the case with cMs of the same boldness. I suppose 
that this is the reason for its having been often stated in 

* The contour of the whole clifl^ seen from near its foot as it rises 
above the shoulder of the Breven, is as at Fig. 76 opposite. The part 
measured had; but the predpiee recedes to tbe summit, b, on which 


Fig. 75 


scientiiic works that no cliff could be found in the Alps 
from which a plumb-line woiild swing two hundred feet 
This can possibly be true (and evoi with this limitation I 
doubt it) of cliffy conveniently approachable by expoi- 
mental philosophers. For indeed, <Hie way or anoth«', it 
is curious how Nature fences out, as it were, the brows 

a hutnui figure is diicemible to the tutked ej« merely as a point. The 
bank from which the cliff rises, c, mede* as it lalls to the left; so that 
five hundred feet may perhaps be an under-estimate of the height beknr 

the summit The straight sloping lines are eleavages, aeross the beds. 
Finally, Fig. 4, Plate 26, gives the look of the whole suimnit as seen 
from the village of Charoouni beneath it, at a distance of about two 
miles, and some four or five thousand feet above the spectator. It 
appears, then, like a not very fbimidable projection of crag overhanging 
the great slopes of the mountain's foundation. 


of her boldest precipices. Wherever a plumb-line wiU 
swing, the precipice is, almost without exception, of the 
type c in Fig. 78, the brow of it rounding towards the 
edge for, perhaps, fifty or a hundred yards above, rendering 
it unsafe in the highest degree for any inexperienced person 
to attempt approach. But it is often possible to ascertain 
from a distance, if the cliff can be got relieved against the 
sky, the approximate degree of its precipitousness. 

§ 6. It may, I think, be assumed, almost with certainty, 
that whenever a precipice is very bold and very high, it is 
formed by beds more or less approaching horizontality, out 
of which it has been cut, like tiie side of a haystack from 
which part has be^i removed. The wonderfiilness of this 
operation I have before insisted upon;^ here we have to 
examine the best examples of it. 

As, in forms of central rock, the Aiguilles of Chamouni, 
so in notableness of lateral precipice, the Matterhom, or 
Mont Cervin, stands, on the whole, unrivalled among the 
Alps, being terminated, on two of its sides, by precipices 
which produce on the imagination nearly the effect of ver* 
ticahty. There is, however, only one point at which they 
reach an3i;hing approaching such a condition; and that 
point is wholly inaccessible either from below or above, but 
sufficiently measurable by a series of observations. 

§ 7. From the slope of the hill above, and to the west 
of, the village of Zermatt, the Matterhom presents itself 
under the figure shown on the right hand in the next 
plate (38). The whole height of the mass, from the glacier 
out of which it rises, is about 4,000 feet, and although, as 
before noticed, the first slope from the top towards the 
right is merely a perspective line, the part of the contour 
c {/, Fig. 88, p. 226, which literally overhangs,"*^ cannot be. 

* At an angle of 79* with the horixon. See the Table of angles, p. SS6. 
The line a f in Fig. SS is too steep, as well as in the plate here ; but the 
other slopes are approximately accurate. I would have made them quite 
so, but did not like to alter the sketch made on the spot. 

^ [See above, p. 185.] 




An apparent slope, however steep, so that it does not 
overpass the vertical, may be a horizontal line; but the 
moment it can be shown literally to overhang, it must be 
one of two things, — either an actually pendent face of 
rock, as at a, Fig, 77, or the under-edge of an overhang- 
ing cornice of rock, b. Of course the 
latter condition, on such a scale as 
this of the Matterhom, would be the 
more wonderful of the two ; but I was 
anxious to determine which of these it 
really was. 

§ 8. My first object was to reach 
some spot commanding, as nearly as 
might be, the lateral profile of the 
Mont Cervin. The most available 
point for this purpose was the top of 
the Rifielhom ; which, however, first attempting to climb by 
its deceitfiil western side, and being stopped, for the moment, 
by the singular moat and wall which defend its Malakhoff- 
like siunmit,^ fearing that I might not be able ultimately to 
reach the top, I made the drawing of the Cervin, on the 
left hand in Plate 38, from the edge of the moat; and found 
afterwards the difference in aspect, as it was seen from the 
true summit, so slight as not to necessitate the trouble of 
making another drawing.* 



* Professor Forbes gives the bearing of the Cervin* from the top of the 
Riffelhom as 351% or n. 9*" w., supposing local attraction to have caused an 
error of 65** to the northward, which would make the true bearing n. 74* 
w. From the point just under the Riffelhom summit^ e, in Fig. 78, at 
which my drawing was made^ I found the Cervin bear n. 79* w. without 
any allowance for attraction ; the disturbing influence would seem therefore 
confined, or nearly so^ to the summit a. I did not know at the time that 
there was any such influence traceable, and took no bearing from the 
summit For the rest, I cannot vouch for bearings as I can for angles, as 
their accuracy was of no importance to my work, and I merely noted them 

^ [The alluBion to the Malakoff tower at Sebastopol, ultimately taken by the 
Frencli, will remind the reader that this volume was written during the Crimean War.] 
* [See Traveli through the Aljn qf Savoy, ch. xviL, p. 316 of the reprint of 1900.] 


:•- •. 

• • •• 





•• 1 


§ 9. It may be noted in passing, that this wall which 
with its reguhiT fosse defends the Rifielhom on its western 
side, and a similar one on its eastern side, thou^ neither 
of them of any considerable height, are ciuious instances 
of trenchant precipice, formed, I suppose, by slight slips or 
faults of the serpentine rock. The sununit of the horn, a, 
Fig. 78, seems to have been pushed up in a mass b^ond 
the rest of the ridge, or else the rest of the ridge to have 
dropped from it on each side, at 
b c, leaving the two troublesome 
faces of cIi£P right across the craig ; 
hard, green as a sea wave, and 
polished like the inside of a sea 
shell, where the weather has not 
effaced the sur&ce produced by the 
shp. It is only by getting past 
the eastern chfi* that the stunmit 
can be reached at all, for on its 
two lateral escarpments the moun- 
tain seems quite inaccessible, being 
in its whole mass nothing else than 
the top of a narrow wall with a 
raised battlement, as rudely shown 
in perspective at e d; the flanks of 
the wall falling towards the glacier 
on one side, and to the lower Kifiel on the other, four or 
five hundred feet, not, indeed, in unbroken precipice, but 
in a form quite incapable of being scaled.* 

with ft common pocket compus &nd in the sailor's mj (s. by w. and \ w., 
etc.), which invoWea the probability of error of from two to three degrees 
on either side of the true bearing. The other dnwing in Plate S8 was 
made from a point only a degree or two to the westwatd of the vlUage of 
ZermatL I have no note of the bearing; but it must be tbaaX s. 60° or 
55° w. 

* Independent travellers may perhaps be glad to know tiie way to the 
top of the Bi&elhom. I believe there is o^y one path ; which ascends 
(from the ridge of the Rifiel) on its eastern slope, until, near the sum- 
mit, the low, but perfectly smooth cliff, extending from side to side of 


1 10. To return to the Cervin. The view of it givei 
on the 1^ hand in Plate 38 shows the ndge in about iti 
narrowest profile; and shows also that this ridge is com 
posed of beds of rock shelving across it, apparently hori 
zontal, or nearly so, at the top, and sloping considerable 
southwards (to the spectator's left), at the bottom. Hov 
far this slope is a consequence of the advance of the neares 
angle, giving a steep perspective to the beds, I cannot say 
my own bdief would have been that a great deal of it i 
thus deceptive, the beds lying as the tUes do in the some 
what anomalous, but perfecti] 
conceivable house roof, Fig. 79 
Saussure, however, attributes t< 
the beds themselves a very con 
siderable slope. But be this as i 
may, the main facts of the thin 
ness of the beds, their compara 
tive horizontality, and the darinf 
sword-sweep by which the wholi 
^-^> mountain has been hewn out o 
them, are from this spot com 
prehensible at a glance. Visible, I should have said; bu 
eternally, and to the uttermost, incomprehensible. Ever 
geologist who speaks of this mountun seems to be struck b] 
the wonderfiilness of its calm sculpture — the absence of al 
aspect of convulsion, and yet the stem chiselling of so vas 
a mass into its precipitous isolation, leaving no ruin no 
debris near it. "Quelle force n'a-t-il pas fallu," exclwm 
M. Saussure, " pour rompre, et pour balayer tout ce qu 
manque k cette pyramidel"' " What an overtiun of al 

the ridge, seems, as od the western slope, to bar all farther advanct 
This oliff may, howcTer, by a good climber, be mastered even at th 
southern extremity ; but it is dangerous there : at the opposite, or aorthen 
side of it, just at its base, is a little cornice, about a foot broad, whic 
does not look promising at 6rst, but widens presently; and when once i 
is past, there is no more difficulty in reaching the summit. 

1 [Voyage* daiu let Alpet, § 2244.] 


* * > 





♦ V* 


l.i'di' ('iirvaim-e.Miignolia ami Lalminuin. 

Lt'iit' I'ui'vattiie.Mflgiiolia ami Liilnii'iiuiii. 


• -.' • 

e • 

' ••• • 

• • • • 

I I„iv;.l.ii-.- I).;.. I :..■.., 

• •• 

>• .• 

,.• . 

• «•' 


i« • 


ancient ideas in G^logy/' says Professor Forbes, '^to find 
a pinnacle of 15,000 feet high [above the sea] sharp as a 
pyramid, and with perpendicular precipices of thousands of 
fMt on every hand, to be a representative of the older chalk 
formation; and what a difficulty to conceive the nature of 
a convulsion (even with unlimited power), which could pro- 
duce a configuration like the Mont Cervin rising from the 
glacier of Zmutt 1 " ' 

§ 11. The term *^ perpendicular " is of course applied by 
the Professor in the "poetical" temper of Reynolds, — ^that 
is to say, in one '^inattentive to minute exactness in de- 
tails " ; ' but the effect of this strange Matterhom upon the 
imagination is indeed so great, that even the gravest philo- 
sophers cannot resist it; and Professor Forbes's drawing 
of the peak, outlined at page 225,' has evidently been 
made under the influence of considerable excitement. For 
fear of being deceived by en- 
thusiasm also, I daguerreotyped 
the Cervin firom the edge of the 
little lake under the crag of the 
Riffelhom, with the somewhat 
amazing result shown in Fig. 80. ^"'"^ 
So cautious is Nature, even in 


her boldest work, so broadly does 

she extend the foundations, and strengthen the buttresses, 
of masses which produce so striking an impression as to 
be described, even by the most careful writers, as perpen- 

§ 12. The only portion of the Matterhom which ap- 
proaches such a condition is the shoulder, before alluded 
to, forming a step of about one-twelfth the height of the 

^ iTraveii through the Alps ofSawni, p. 307 of the reprint of 1900.1 

« ;See VoL V. pp. 21, 24.1 

* [See above, p, 224 n. Id a later paper on FBdeHrianimn in SwUMerland, Forbes 
reforred to § 12 here, and made some criticisms on Ruskin's objections to the terms 
"perpendicular" and '' precipice" as applied to the Matterhom. Mr. Coolidge in 
a note on Forbes' objections (p. 494 of &e reprint of 1900) says : "Those who have 
been on the north-east fiice of the Matterhom, over which the route from Zermatt 
more or leas passes, will afp«e with Mr. Ruskin rather than with Forbes."] 


whole peak, shown by light on its snowy side» or upper 
surface, in the right-hand iSgure of Plate 38. Allowing 
4,000 feet for the height of the peak, this step or shoulder 
will be between 800 and 400 feet in absolute height; and 
as it is not only perpendicular, but assuredly overhangs, 
both at this snow-lighted angle and at the other comer of 
the mountain (seen against the sky in the same figure), I 
have not the slightest doubt that a plumb-line would swing 
from the brow of either of these bastions, between 600 and 
800 feet, without touching rock. The intermediate por- 
tion of the cliff which joins them is, however, not more 
than vertical. I was therefore anxious chiefly to observe 
the structure of the two angles, and, to that end, to see 
the mountain close on that side, from the Zmutt glacier. 

§ 18. I am afraid my dislike to the nomenclatures in- 
vented by the German philosophers^ has been unreasonably, 
though involuntarily, complicated with that which, crossing 
out of Italy, one necessarily feels for those invented by 
the German peasantry. As travellers now every day more 
frequently visit the neighbourhood of the Monte Rosa, it 
would surely be a permissible, because convenient, poetical 
license, to invent some other name for this noble glacier, 
whose present title, certainly not euphonious, has the addi- 
tional disadvantage of being easily confounded with that 
of the Zermatt glacier, properly so called. I mean myself, 
henceforward, to call it the Red glacier, because, for two 
or three miles above its lower extremity, the whole surface 
of it is covered with blocks of reddish gneiss, or other 
slaty crystalline rocks, some fallen from the Cervin, some 
from the Weisshom, some brought from the Stockje and 
Dent d'Erin, but little rolled or ground down in the 
transit, and covering the ice, often foiu* or five feet deep, 
with a species of macadamization on a large scale (each 
stone being usually some foot or foot and a half in dia- 
meter), anything but convenient to a traveller in haste. 

* [See Appendix ii. in the preceding Tolame, Vol. V. p. 424.] 


Higher up, the ice opens into broad white fields and 
furrows, hard and dry, scarcely fissured at all, except 
just under the Cervin, and forming a silent and solemn 
causeway, paved, as it seems, with white marble from side 
to side; broad enough for the march of an army in line 
of battle, but quiet as a street of tombs in a buried city, 
and bordered on each hand by ghostly cliffs of that faint 
granite purple which seems, in its far-away hei^t, as un- 
substantial as the dark blue that bounds it; — ^the whole 
scene so changeless and soundless; so removed, not merely 
from the presence of men, but even from their thoughts; 
so destitute of all life of tree or herb, and so immeasur- 
able in its lonely brightness of majestic death, that it 
looks like a world from which not only the human, but 
the spiritual, presences had perished, and the last of its 
archangels, building the great mountains for their monu- 
m^its, had laid themselves down in the sunlight to an 
eternal rest, each in his white shroud. 

§ 14. The first point from which the Matterhom preci- 
pices, which I came to examine, show 
their structure distinctly, is about half- 
way up the valley, before reaching the 
glacier. The most convenient path, and 
access to the ice, are on the south; but 
it is best, in order to watch the changes 
of the Matterhom, to keep on the north 
side of the valley ; and, at the point just 
named, the shoulder marked e, in Fig. 88, j^ ^ 

p. 226, is seen, in the morning sunlight, 
to be composed of zigzag beds, apparently of eddied sand.^ 
(Fig. 81.) 

I have no doubt they once were eddied sand ; that is to 
say, sea or torrent drift, hardened by fire into crystalline 
rock; but whether they ever were or not, the certain fact 

^ [Id one of his copies for rerisioD^ Raskin wrote here : — 

''Not hj any means 'apparently so' to my present judgment — J. R. 

VI. T 


is, that here we have a precipice, trenchant, overhanging, 
and 500 feet in height, cut across the thin beds which 
compose it as smoothly as a piece of fine-grained wood is 
cut with a chiseL 

§ 15. From this point, also, the nature of the correspond- 
ing bastion, c d. Fig. 88, is also discernible. It is the edge 
of a great concave precipice, cut out of the mountain, as 
the smooth hollows are out of the rocks at the foot of 
a waterfall, and across which the variously coloured beds, 
thrown by perspective into corresponding curvatures, run 
exactly like the seams of canvas in a Venetian felucca's 

Seen from this spot, it seems impossible that the moun- 
tain should long support itself in such a form, but the 
impression is only caused by the concealment of the vast 
proportions of the mass behind, whose poise is quite un- 
affected by this hollowing at one point. Thenceforward, 
as we ascend the glacier, the Matterhom every moment 
expands in apparent width; and, having reached the foot 
of the Stockje (about a four hours' walk from Zermatt), 
and getting the Cervin summit to bear s. 11^*" £., I made 
the drawmg of it engraved opposite, which gives a true 
idea of the relations between it and the masses of its 
foundation.^ The bearing stated is that of the apparent 
summit only, as frx>m this point the true summit is not 
visible; the rocks which seem to form the greatest part of 
the mountain being in reality nothing but its foundations, 
while the little white jagged peak, relieved against the 
dark hoUow just below the seeming summit, is the rock 
marked g in Fig. 88. But the structure of the mass, and 
the long ranges of horizontal, or nearly horizontal, beds 

^ [For Ruskin's drawing at Zennatt, tee the Introduction to VoL V. p. xxviii., 
and compare Plate D in Uiat volume. In the engraving of the Matterhom here^ 
many of the points on the mountain, familiar to climbers or to readers of the sttuy 
of its ascent, are shown. ''The little depression on the ridge, close to the margin 
of the engravings on the right hand side, is the Col du Lion. . . . The battlemented 
portion of the ridge^ a little higher up, is called the erete du ooq; and the nearly 
horizontal portion of the ridge above it is 'the shoulder'" (Whymper's ScranMet 
amongst the Alps, p. 143 n. of the ed. of 1893).] 

• « • 





which form its crest, showing in black points like arrow- 
heads through the snow, where their ridges are left project- 
ing by the avalanche channels, are better seen than at 
any other point I reached, together with the sweeping and 
thin zones of sandy gneiss below, bending apparently like 
a coach-spring; and the notable point about the whole is, 
that this under-bed, of seemingly the most delicate sub- 
stance, is that prepared by Nature to build her boldest 
precipice with, it being this bed which emerges at the two 
bastions or shoulders before noticed, and which by that 
projection causes the strange oblique distortion of the whole 
mountain mass, as it is seen from Zermatt. 

§ 16. And our surprise will still be increased as we 
farther examine the materials of which the whole moun- 
tain is composed. In many places its crystalline slates, 
where their horizontal surfaces are exposed along the pro- 
jecting beds of their foundations, bre^ into ruin so total 
that the foot dashes through their loose red flakes as 
through heaps of autunm leaves ; and yet, just where their 
structure seems most delicate, just where they seem to 
have been swept before the eddies of the streams that first 
accumulated them, in the most passive whirls, there the 
after ages have knit them into the most massive strength, 
and there have hewn out of them those firm grey bastions 
of the Cervin,— overhanging, smooth, flawless, unconquer- 
able 1 For, unlike the Chamouni ^ aiguilles, there is no 
aspect of destruction about the Matterhom chfSs. They 
are not torn remnants of separating spires, yielding flake 
by flake, and band by band, to the continual process of 
decay. They are, on the contrary, an unaltered monument, 
seemingly sculptured long ago, the huge walls retaining 
yet the forms into which they were flrst engraven, and 
standing like an Egyptian temple,— delicate-fronted, softly- 
coloured, the suns of uncoimted ages rising and falling 
upon it continually, but still casting the same line of 
shadows from east to west, still, century after century, 
touching the same purple stains on the lotus pillars ; while 


the desert sand ebbs and flows about their feet, as those 
autumn leaves of rock lie heaped and weak about the base 
of the Cervin. 

§ 17. Is not this a strange type, in the very heart and 
height of these mysterious Alps — ^these wrinkled hills m 
their snowy, cold, grey-haired old age, at first so silent, 
then, as we keep quiet at their feet, muttering and whisper* 
ing to us garrulously, in broken and dreaming fits, as it 
were, about their childhood — ^is it not a strange type of the 
things which ** out of weakness are made strong ** ? ^ K one 
of those little flakes of mica-sand, hurried in tremulous 
spangling along the bottom of the ancient river, too light 
to sink, too faint to float, almost too small for sight, could 
have had a mind given to it as it was at last borne down 
with its kindred dust into the abysses of the stream, and 
laid, (would it not have thought?) for a hopeless eternity, 
in the dark ooze, the most despised, forgotten, and feeble 
of all earth's atoms ; incapable of any use or change ; not 
fit, down there in the diluvial darkness, so much as to help 
an earth-wasp to build its nest, or feed the first fibre of a 
lichen ; — ^what would it have thought, had it been told that 
one day, knitted into a strength as of imperishable iron, 
rustless by the air, infusible by the flame, out of the 
substance of it, with its fellows, the axe of God should 
hew that Alpine tower; that against it — ^poor, helpless 
mica flake 1 — ^the wild north winds should rage in vain; 
beneath it — low-&llen mica flake 1 — the snowy hills should 
lie bowed like flocks of sheep, and the kingdoms of the 
earth fade away in unr^^arded blue; and around it — ^weak, 
wave-drifted mica flake I — ^the great war of the firmament 
should burst in thunder, and yet stir it not; and the fiery 
arrows and angry meteors of the night fall blunted back 
from it into the air; and all the stars in the clear heaven 
should light, one by one as they rose, new cressets upon 
the points of snow that fringed its abiding phice on the 
imperishable spire ? 

> [H«browi xi 34] 


§ 18. I have thought it worth while, for the sake of 
these lessons, and the other interests connected with them, 
to lead the reader thus far into the examination of the 
principal precipices among the Alps, although, so far as 
our immediate purposes are concerned, the inquiry cannot 
be very firuitful or helpful to us. For rocks of this kind, 
being found only in the midst of the higher snow fields, 
are not only out of the general track of the landscape 
painter, but are for the most part quite beyond his power 
— even beyond Tumer^s. The waves of snow, when it 
becomes a principal element in mountain form, are at once 
so subtle in tone, and so complicated in curve and fold, 
that no skill will express them, so as to keep the whole 
luminous mass in anything like a true relation to the 
rock darkness. For the distant rocks of the upper peaks 
are themselves, when in light, paler than white paper, and 
their true size and relation to near objects cannot be ex- 
hibited unless they are painted in the palest tones. Yet, 
as compared with their snow, they are so dark that a 
daguerreotype taken for the proper number of seconds to 
draw the snow shadows rightly, will always represent the 
rocks as coal-bUick. In order, therefore, to paint a snowy 
mountain properly, we should need a light as much brighter 
than white paper as white paper is brighter than charcoaL 
So that although it is possible, with deep blue sky, and 
purple rocks, and blue shadows, to obtain a very interesting 
resemblance of snow effect, and a true one up to a certain 
point, (as in the best examples of the body-colour drawings 
sold so extensively in Switzerland), it is not possible to ob- 
tain any of those refinements of form and gradation which a 
great artist's eye requires.^ Turner felt that, among these 
highest hills, no serious or perfect work could be done ; and 
although in one or two of his vignettes (already referred 

^ [On the unfMintableneis of the Alps, and Tumer^i ayoidanoe of the upper snowi, 
fiee Ruskin's Notes an kii Drawings ify Turner, No. 70 and 26 R. (VoL XIIl.) Some 
letten by Roflkin on the same subject to Mr. Douglas Freshfield are reprinted in a 
later Tolnme of this edition. For Tumer^s Alpine Y^^ettes, see VoL III. pp. 433-434] 


to in the first volume) he showed his knowledge of them, 
his practioei in larger works, was always to treat the snowy 
mountains merely as a far-away white cloud, concentrating* 
the interest of his picture on nearer and more tractable 

§ 19. One circumstance, however, bearing upon art, we 
may note before leaving these upper precipices, namely, 
the way in which they illustrate the favourite expression 
of Homer and Dante--^cz^ rocks.^ However little satisfied 
we had reason to be with the degree of affection shown 
towards mountain scenery by either poet, we may no^r 
perceive, with some respect and surprise, that they had got 
at one character which was in the essence of the noblest 
rocks, just as the early illuminators got at the principles 
which Ue at the heart of vegetation. As distinguished from 
all other natural forms, — ^frpm fibres which are torn, crystals 
which are broken, stones which are rounded or worn, animal 
and vegetable forms which are grown or moulded, — ^the true 
hard rock or precipice is notably a thing cut^ its inner grain 
or structure seeming to have less to do with its form than 
in any other object or substance whatsoever; and the aspect 
of subjection to some external sculpturing instrument beings 
distinct in almost exact proportion to the size and stability 
of the mass. 

§ 20. It is not so, however, with the next groups of 
mountain which we have to examine — ^those formed by the 
softer skty coherents, when theu- perishable and fraU sub- 
stance has been raised into cliffs in the manner illustrated 
by the figure at p. 186, — cliiSs whose front every frost dis- 
organizes into filmy shale, and of which every thunder- 
shower dissolves tons in the swoln blackness of torrents. 
If this takes place from the top downwards, the cliff is 
gradually effaced, and a more or less rounded eminence is 
soon all that remains of it; but if the lower beds only 
decompose, or if the whole structure is strengthened here 

1 [See Vol V. pp. 242, a06.] 


and there by courses of harder rock, the precipice is under^ 
mined, and remains hanging in perilous leches and pro- 
jections until, the process having reached the limit of its 
strength, vast portions of it fall at once, leaving new fronts 
of equal ruggedness, to be ruined and cast down in their 

The whole district of the northern inferior Alps, firom 
the mountains of the Reposoir to the Gemmi, is fiill of 
precipices of this kind ; the well-known crests of the Mont 
Doron, and of the Aiguille de Varens, above Sallenches, 
being connected by the great cliffs of the valley of Sixt, 
the dark mass of the Buet, the Dent du Midi de Bex, and 
the Diablerets, with the great amphitheatre of rock in 
whose securest recess the path of the Gemmi hides its 
winding. But the most frightful and most characteristic 
cliff in the whole group is the range of the Rochers des 
Fys, above the Col d'Anteme. It happens to have a bed 
of harder limestone at the top than in any other part of its 
mass; and this bed, protecting its summit, enables it to 
form itself into the most ghastly ranges of pinnacle which 
I know among mountains. In one spot the upper ledge 
of limestone has formed a complete cornice, or rather 
bracket — ^for it is not extended enough to constitute a 
cornice, which projects far into the air over the wall of 
ashy rock, and is seen against the clouds, when they pass 
into the chasm beyond, like the nodding coping-stones of 
a castle — only the wall below is not less than 2,500 feet 
in height, — ^not vertical, but steep enough to seem so to 
the imagination. 

§ 21. Such precipices are among the most impressive as 
well as the most really dangerous of moimtain ranges ; in 
many spots inaccessible with safety either from below or 
from above; dark in colour, robed with everlasting mourn- 
ing, for ever tottering like a great fortress shaken by war, 
fearful as much in their weakness as in their strength, and 
yet gathered after every fall into darker frowns and un- 
humiliated threatening; for ever incapable of comfort or 


of healing from herb or flower, nourishing no root in their 
crevices, touched by no hue of life on buttress or ledge» 
but, to the utmost, desolate ; knowing no shaking of leaves 
in the wind, nor of grass beside the stream, — ^no motion 
but their own mortal shivering, the dreadful crumbling of 
atom from atom in their corrupting stones; knowing no 
sound of living voice or living tread, cheered neither by 
the kid's bleat nor the marmot's cry; haunted only by 
uninterrupted echoes from &r off, wandering hither and 
thither, among their walls, unable to escape, and by the 
hiss of angry torrents, and sometimes the shriek of a bird 
that flits near the face of them, and sweeps frightened back 
from under their shadow into the gulph of air; and, some- 
times, when the echo has fainted, and the wind has carried 
the sound of the torrent away, and the bird has vanished, 
and the mouldering stones are still for a little time, — ^a 
brown moth, opening and shutting its wings upon a grain 
of dust, may be the only thing that moves, or feels, in all 
the waste of weary precipice, darkening five thousand feet 
of the blue depth of heaven. 

§ 22. It wUl not be thought that there is nothing in a 
scene such as this deserving our contemplation, or capable 
of conveying usefrd lessons, if it were fitly rendered by art. 
I cannot myself conceive any picture more impressive than 
a faithful rendering of such a cliff would be, supposing the 
aim of the artist to be the utmost tone of sad sublime. I 
am, nevertheless, aware of no instance in which the slight- 
est attempt has been made to express their character; the 
reason being, partly, the extreme difiiculty of the task, 
partly the want of temptation in specious colour or form. 
For the majesty of this kind of cliff depends entirely on 
its size: a low range of such rock is as uninteresting as it 
is ugly; and it is only by making the spectator understand 
the enormous scale of their desolation, and the space which 
the shadow of their danger oppresses, that any impressicm 
can be made upon his mind. And this scale cannot be 
expressed by any artifice; the mountain cannot be made to 


look laige by painting it blue or faint, otherwise it loses 
all its gfaastlkiess. It must be painted in its own near and 
solemn colours, black and ashen grey; and its size must be 
expressed by thorough drawing of its innumerable details 
— ^pure quantity 9 — ^with certain points of comparison explana^ 
tory of the whole. This is no li^t task; and, attempted 
by any man of ordinary genius, would need steady and 
careful painting for three or four months; while, to such 
a man, there would appear to be nothing worth his toQ in 
the gloom of the subject, unrelieved as it is even by variety 
of form ; for the soft rock of which these clifis are composed 
rarely breaks into bold masses ; and the gloom of their effect 
p.4 d.p«»is on its not d.»,g «,. 

§ 28. Yet, while painters thus reject the natural and 
laige sublime, which is ready to their hand, how strangely 
do they seek after a fedse and small sublime. It is not 
that they reprobate gloom, but they will only have a 
gloom of their own making: just as half the world will 
not see the terrible and sad truths which the universe is 
full of, but surrounds itself with little clouds of sulky and 
unnecessary fog for its own special breathing. A portrait 
is not thought grand unless it has a thunder-doud behind 
it (as if a hero could not be brave in sunshine) ; a ruin 
is not melancholy enough till it is seen by moonlight or 
twilight; and every condition of theatrical pensiveness or 
of the theatrical tarrific is exhausted in setting forth scenes 
or persons which in themselves are, perhaps, very quiet 
scenes and homely persons; while that which, without any 
accessories at all, is everlastingly melancholy and terrific, 
we refuse to paint, — ^nay, we revise even to observe it in 
its reality, while we seek for the excitement of the very 
feelings it was meant to address, in every conceivable form 
of our false ideal. 

For instance; there have been few pictures more praised 
for their sublimity than the ** Deluge "" of Nicholas Poussin ; ^ 

1 [In the LouTie^tee VoL XIL p. 4X», mod oompuw VoL m. p. 618; ViL IV. 
L 200; I 

p. 200 ; and Jfodeni PaibiUnj toL ▼. pt ix. eh. ▼. ( la] 


of which, nevertheless, the sublhnity, such as it is, consists 
wholly in the painting of everything grey and brown, — 
not the grey and brown of great painters, full of mysterious 
and unconfessed colours, dim blue, and shadowy purple^ 
and veiled gold, — but the stony grey and dismal brown of 
the conventionalist. Madame de Gei^,^ whose general criti* 
cisms on painting are full of good sense — singularly so, 
considering the age in which she lived ''^ — ^has the following* 
passage on this picture: — 

'''I remember to have seen the painting you mention; 
but I own I found nothing in it very beautiful' 

"*You have seen it rain often enough?' 

" ' Certainly.' 

"'Have you ever at such times observed the colour of 
the clouds attentively ? — ^how the dusky atmosphere obscures 
all objects, makes them, if distant, disappear, or be seen 
with difficulty? Had you paid a proper attention to these 
effects of rain, you would luive been amazed by the exacti- 
tude with which they are painted by Poussin.'"t 

§ 24. Madame de G^enlis is just in her appeal to nature, 
but had not herself looked carefully enough to make her 
appeal accurate. She had noticed one of the principal 
effects of rain, but not the other. It is true that the 
dusky atmosphere *' obscures all objects," but it is also true 
that Nature, never intending the eye of man to be without 
delight, has provided a rich compensation for this shading 
of the tints with darkness^ in their brightening by moMture. 
Every colour, wet, is twice as brilliant as it is when dry; 
and when distances are obscured by mist, and bright colours 
vanish from the sky, and gleams of simshine from the earth, 

* I ought before to have mentioned Madame de Genlis as one of the 
few writers whose influence was always exerted to restore to truthful feel- 
ings, and persuade to simple enjoyments and pursuits, the persons acces- 
sible to reason in the frivolous world of her times. 

t FeilUa du CMteam, vol. h. 

^ [For a reference to Madame de Genlis (1746-1830), ''the French Miss Edge- 
worth/' see EiemenU of Drawing, § 269.] 


the foreground assumes all its loveliest hues, the grass and 
foliage revive into their perfect green, and every sunburnt 
rock glows into an agate. The colours of mountain fore- 
grounds can never be seen in perfection unless they are 
wet; nor can moisture he entirely expressed excqpt by ful- 
ness of colour. So that Poussin, in search of a fidse sub- 
limity, painting every object in his picture, vegetation and 
all, of one dull grey and brown, has actually rendered it 
impossible for an educated eye to conceive it as represent- 
ing rain at aU: it is a dry, volcanic darkness. It may be 
said, that had he painted the effect of rain truly, the pic- 
ture, composed of the objects he has introduced, would 
have become too pretty for his purpose. But his error, 
and the error of landscapists in generid, is in seeking to ex- 
press terror by false treatment, instead of going to Nature 
herself to ask her what she has appointed to be everlastingly 
terrible. The greatest genius would be shown by taking 
the scene in its plainest and most probable facts; not seek- 
ing to change pity into fear, by denying the beauty of the 
world that was passing away. But if it were determined 
to excite fear, and fear only, it ought to have been done 
by imagining the true ghastliness of the tottering cliffs of 
Ararat or Caucasus, as the heavy waves first smote against 
the promontories that until then had only known the thin 
fanning of the upper air of heaven ; — not by painting leaves 
and grass slate-grey. And a new world of sublimity might 
be opened to us, if any painter of power and feeling would 
devote himself, for a few months, to these solemn cliffs of 
the dark limestone Alps, and would only paint one of them 
as it truly stands, not in rain nor storm, but in its own 
eternal sadness: perhaps best on some fair summer evening, 
when its fearful veil of immeasurable rock is breathed upon 
by warm air, and touched with fading rays of purple; and 
all that it has of the melancholy of ruin, mingled with the 
might of endurance, and the foreboding of danger, rises in 
its grey gloom against the gentle sky; the soft wreaths of 
the evening clouds expiring along its ridges one by one. 


and leaving it, at last, with no light but that of its own 
cascades, standing like white pillars here and there along 
its sides, motionless and soundless in their distance. 

§ 25. Here, however, we must leave those more formid- 
able examples of the Alpine precipice, to examine those 
which, by Turner, or by artists in general, have been re- 
garded as properly within the sphere of their art. 

Turner had in this respect some peculiar views induced 
by early association. It has already been noticed, in my 
pamphlet on Pre-Raphaelitism,^ that his first conceptions of 
mountain scenery seem to have been taken from York- 
shire; and its rounded hills, far-winding rivers, and broken 
limestone scars, to have formed a type in his mind to which 
he sought, as far as might be, to obtain some correspondent 
imagery in all other landscape. Hence, he almost always 
preferred to have a precipice low down on the hillside, 
rather than near the top; Uked an extent of rounded slope 
above, and the vertical cliff to the water or valley, better 
than the slope at the bottom and wall at the top (compare 
Fig. 18, p. 188); and had his attention early directed to 
those horizontal, or comparatively horizontal, beds of rock 
which usually form the faces of precipices in the Yorkshire 
dales ; not, as in the Matterhom, merely indicated by veined 
colouring on the surface of the smooth cliff, but project- 
ing, or mouldering away, in definite successions of ledges, 
cornices, or steps. 

§ 26. This decided love of the slope, or bank above the 
wall, rather than below it, is one of Turner's most marked 
idios3nicrasies, and gives a character to his composition, as 
distinguished from that of other men, perhaps more marked 
than any which are traceable in other features of it (except, 
perhaps, in his pear-shaped ideal of trees, of which more 
hereafter).' For when mountains are striking to the general 
eye, they almost always have the high crest or wall of cliff 
on the top of their slopes, rising from the plain first in 

1 r§ 36, see VoL XII. p. 371.] 

' [See ch. vii. § 20 in the next volame.] 

• • 


• •• 

••• • 

•• • 


••• • 






mounds of meadow-land, and bosses of rock, and studded 
softness of forest ; the brown cottages peeping through grove 
above grove, until just where the deep shade of the pines 
becomes blue or purple in the haze of height, a red wall 
of upper precipice rises from the pasture land, and frets 
the ^y with glowing serration. Plate 40, opposite, repre- 
sents a mass of mountain just above Villeneuve, at the 
head of the Lake of Geneva, in which the type of the 
structure is shown with singular clearness. Much of the 
scenery of western Switzerland, and characteristically the 
whole of that of Savoy, is composed of mountains of this 
kind; the isolated group between Chambdry and Grenoble, 
which holds the Grande Chartreuse in the heart of it, is 
constructed entirely of such masses; and the Montague de 
Vergi, which in Like manner encloses the narrow meadows 
and traceried cloistures of the Convent of the R^posoir,^ 
forms the most striking feature among all the mountains 
that border the valley of the Arve between Cluse and 
Geneva ; while ranges of cliffs presenting precisely the same 
typical characters frown above the bridge and fortress of 
Mont-MeiUan, and enclose, in light blue calm, the waters 
of the Lake of Annecy 

§ 27. Now, although in many of his drawings Turner 
acknowledges this structure, it seems always to be with 
some degree of reluctance: whereas he seizes with instant 
eagerness, and every appearance of contentment, on forms 
of mountain which are rounded into banks above, and cut 
into precipices below, as is the case in most elevated table- 
lands ; in the chalk coteaux of the Seine, the basalt borders 
of the Rhine, and the lower gorges of the Alps; so that 
while the most striking pieces of natural mountain scenery 
usually rise from the plain under some such outline as that 
at a, Fig. 82, Turner always formed his composition, if 
possible, on such an arrangement as that at b. 

^ [The mun of the R^potoir on Mont Vagi is described and analyied in 
Mr. W. 6. CoUingwood't Lhneitane Aip9 ^ Smmp, p. 90, and Plate ziiL For Mont- 
meillan, on the IterOi see ibid,, p. 26.] 


One reason for this is clearly the greater simplicity of 
the line. The simpler a line is, so that it be cunningly 
varied mthin its simplicities, the grander it is; and Turner 
likes to enclose all his broken crags by such a line as that 
at 6, just as we saw the classical composer, in our first 
plate, enclose the griffin's beak with breadth of wing.^ 
Nevertheless, I cannot but attribute his somewhat wilful 
and marked rejection of what sublimity there is in the 
other form, to the influence of early affections; and sin- 
cerely regret that the fascination exercised over him by 
memory should have led him to pass so much of his life 

in putting a sublimity not properly belonging to them into 
the coteaux of Clairmont and Mauves, and the vine ter- 
races of Bingen and Oberwesel;' leaving almost unrecorded 
the natural sublimity, which he could never have exag- 
gerated, of the pine-fringed mountains of the Is^re, and 
the cloudy diadem of the Mont Vergi. 

§ 28. In all cases of this kind, it is difficult to say how 
far harm and how far good have resulted from what un- 
questionably has in it something of both. It is to be re- 
gretted that Turner's studies should have been warped, 
by early affection, from the Alps to the Rhine; but the 
fact of his feeling this early affection, and being thus 
strongly influenced by it through his life, is indicative of 
that sensibility which was at the root of all his greatness. 

1 [In Vol. V. ; see p. 142.] 

^ rTumer'B drawing of ''The Coteaux de Meauves" and ''Between Clairmont 
and Meauves " are at Oxford (Ruskiu's gift) ; for a reference to the latter, see VoL III. 
p. 466. For the drawing of "Oberwesel" (formerly in the Windus Collection), see 
Vol. III. p. 468 ; for " Bingen " (Famley), VoL III. p. 422 ; for the Rhine Series 
generaUy, Vol. Xn. p. 377.] 


Other artists are led away by foreign sublimities and dis- 
tant interests; delighting always in that which is most 
markedly strange, and quaintly contrary to the scenery of 
their homes. But Turner evidently felt that the claims 
upon his r^ard possessed by those places which first had 
opened to him the joy, and the labour, of his Ufe, could 
never be superseded; no Alpine cloud could efface, no 
Italian sunbeam outshine, the memory of the pleasant dales 
and days of Rokeby and Bolton; and many a simple pro- 
montory, dim with southern olive, — many a low cliff that 
stooped unnoticed over some alien wave, was recorded by 
him with a love, and delicate care, that were the shadows 
of old thoughts and long-lost delights, whose charm yet 
hung like morning mist above the chanting waves of 
Wharfe and Greta. 

§ 29. The first instance, therefore, of Turner's mountain 
drawing which I endeavoured to give accurately, in this 
book,^ was fix>m those shores of Wharfe which, I believe, 
he never could revisit without tears; nay, which for all 
the latter part of his life, he never could even speak of, 
but bis voice fedtered. We will now examine this instance 
with greater care. 

It is first to be remembered that in every one of his 
English or French drawings. Turner's mind was, in two 
great instincts, at variance with itself. The ejections of it 
clung, as we have just seen, to humble scenery, and gentle 
wildness of pastoral life. But the admiration of it was, 
more than any other artist's whatsoever, fastened on large* 
ness of scale. With all his heart, he was attached to the 
narrow meadows and rounded knolls of England; by all 
his imagination he was urged to the reverence of endless 
vales and measureless hills: nor could any scene be too 
contracted for his love, or too vast for his ambition. Hoice, 
when he returned to English scenery after his first studies 
in Savoy and Dauphin^, he was continually endeavouring 

1 [See Plate 12 in the preeeding volume, VoL V. p. 386.] 


to reoondle old fondnesses with new suUimities; and, as 
in Switzerland he chose rounded Alps for the love of York- 
shire, so in Yorkshire he enggented scaler in memoiy of 
Switzerland, and gave to Ingleboroi]^^ seen from Hombj 
Castle, in great part the cx p tc s si on of cbudy majesty «id 
height whidi he had seen in the Alps from GrenoUe. We 
must continually rememher these two opposite instincts as 
we examine the Tumerian topography of his sulgeet of 
Bolton Abbey. 

§ 80. The Abbey is phced, as moat lovers of our Eng- 
lish scenery know welly on a little pi!Oinontory of level parik 
land, enclosed l^ one of the sweeps of the Wharfe. On 
the other side of the river, the flank of the dale rises in 
a pretty wooded brow, wfaidi the river, leaning against, 
has cut into two or three somewhat bold masses of rode, 
steep to the water's edge, but foathered above with copse 
of 1^ and oak. Above these rocks, the hills are rounded 
sofUy upwards to the moorland ; the entire heig^ of the 
brow towards the river being perhaps two hundred feet, 
and the rocky parts of it not above forty or fifty, so that 
the general impression upon the eye is that the hill is 
little more than twice the height cdP the ruins, or of the 
groups of noUe ash trees which encircle than. One of 
tiiese groups is conspicuous above the rest, growing on the 
very diore of the tongue of land which projects into the 
river, whose dear brown water, stealing first in mere threads 
between the separate pebbles of sh^g^e, and eddying in 
soft golden lines towards its central cunrents, flows out of 
ambor into ebony, and glides calm and deep bdow the rock 
on the opposite shore. 

§ 81. Except in this stony bed of the stream, the scene 
possesses veiy little more aspect of mountain character than 
bdongs to some of the park and meadow land under the 
dialk hills near Henley and Maidenhead; and if it were 
fiuthfiilly drawn on all pomte, and on its true scale, would 
hardly more afibct the imaginaticm of the spectator, unless 
he traced, with sudi care as is never firom any spectator to 


be hoped, the evidence of nobler character in the pebbled 
shore and unconspicuous rock. But the scene in reality 
does affect the imagination strongly, and in a way wholly 
different from lowland hill scenery. A little fiarther up 
the valley the limestone summits rise, and that steeply, to 
a height of twelve hundred feet above the river, which 
foams between them in the narrow and dangerous channel 
of the Strid. Noble moorlands extend above, purple with 
heath, and broken into scars and glens; and around every 
soft tuft of wood, and gentle extent of meadow, throughout 
the dale, there floats a feeling of this mountain power, and 
an instinctive apprehension of the strength and greatness of 
the wild northern land. 

§ 82. It is to the association of this power and border 
sternness with the sweet peace and tender decay of Bolton 
Priory, that the scene owes its distinctive charm« The 
feelings excited by both characters are definitely connected 
by the melancholy tradition of the circumstances to which 
the Abbey owes its origin; and yet farther darkened by 
the nearer memory of the death, in the same spot which 
betrayed the boy of Egremont, of another, as^ young, as 
thoughtless, and as beloved. 

'* The stately priory was reared. 

And Wharfe, as he moved along. 
To matins joined a mournful voice. 
Nor failed at evensong." ^ 

All this association of various awe, and noble mingling 
of mountain strength with religious fear. Turner had to 
suggest, or he would not have (kawn Bolton Abbey. He 
goes down to the shingly shore ; for the Abbey is but the 

^ [Wordsworth : The Force of Prayer; or, the Founding qf Bolton Priory : a Tradi- 
tion — the tradition being that Uie death of ^' the boy of Emmont," the only son of 
William Fitz-Duncan, was the cause of the removal of the Priory from Embeay, near 
Skipton, to Bolton (1153). Leading a hound in leash, the boy attempted to jump 
across the " Strid " ; but the dog hung back, and the boy was draffged into the stream 
and drowned. The- tradition is the subject dM of a poem by Rogers, ''The Boy of 
Egremond/' for which Turner made two drawings, Nos. 236 and 237 in the National 
Gallery. The editors are unable to identify the later memory to which Rnskin refers ; 
there have in modem times been several £stal accidents at the Strid (see E. Baines' 
Eiitory (^ Yorkihire, voL i. p. 230).] 



diild of the Wharfe ; — ^it is the river, the great cause of the 
Abbey, which shall be his main subject ; only the extremity 
of the ruin itself is seen, between the stems of the ash 
trees ; but the waves of the Wharfe are studied with a care 
which renders this drawing unique among Turner's works, 
for its expression of the eddies of a slow mountain stream, 
and of their pausing in treacherous depth beneath the hol- 
lowed rocks. 

On the opposite shore is a singular jutting angle of the 
shales, forming the principal feature of the low cliffs at the 
water's edge. Turner &stens on it as the only available 
mass ; draws it with notable care, and then magnifies it by 
diminishing the trees on its top to one fifth of their real 
siase, so that what would else have been little more than a 
stony bank becomes a true precipice, on a scale completely 
suggestive of the heights behind. The hill beyond is in 
like manner lifted into a more rounded, but still precipitous, 
eminence, reaching the utmost admissible elevation of ten 
or twelve hundred feet (measurable by the trees upon it). I 
have engraved this entire portion of the drawing of the real 
size,^ on the opposite page ; the engraving of the whole draw- 
ing, published in the England Series, is also easily accessible. 

§ 88. Not knowing accurately to what group of the 
Yorkshire limestones the rocks opposite the Abbey be- 
longed, or their relation to the sandstones at the Strid, I 
wrote to ask my kind friend Professor Phillips,* who in- 
stantly sent me a little geological sketch of the position of 
these " Yoredale Shales," adding this interesting note : " The 
black shales opposite the Abbey are curiously tinted at the 
surface, and are contorted. Most artists give them the 
appearance of solid massive rocks; nor is this altogether 
wrong, especially when the natural joints of the shale appear 
prominent after particular accidents; they should, however, 

^ [In this edition nacenarily reduced (by aboat two-eevenths)^ and reproduced in 

* pohn Phillipa (1800-1874), FJLS. ; Professor of Geolofcy at Trinity College, 
DaUin, 1844-1863 ; President of the Geological Society, 1869 and 1860 ; Keeper of 
the Ashmolean Moseum, Oxford, 1864-1870. J 





never be made to resemble [i.^. in solidity]* limestone or 


Now, the Yoredale shales are members of the group of 
rocks which I have called slaty coherents, and correspond 
very closely to those portions of the Alpine slates described 
in Chapter x. § 4 ; their main character is cpntinnal separa- 
tion into fine flakes, more or 
less of Dante's '' iron - coloured 
grain";* which, however, on a 
large scale, form those somewhat 
solid -looking masses to which 
Mr. Phillips alludes in his letter, 
and which he describes, in his 
recently published (Jeology, in 
the following general terms: 
**The shales of this tract are 
usually dark, close, and fissile, 
and traversed by extremely long 
straight joints dividing the rock 
into rhomboidal prisms ; " ' {i.e. prisms of the shape c. Fig. 88, 
in the section). 

§ 84. Turner had, therefore, these four things to show : — 
1. Flaky division horizontally; 2. Divisicm by rhomboidal 
joints ; 8. Massy appearance occasionally, somewhat conceal- 
ing the structure; 4. Liocal contortion of the beds. (See 
passage quot^ of Mr. Phillips's letter.) 

Examine, then, the plate just given (12 a.). The cleav- 
age of the shales runs diagonally up from left to right; 
note especially how delicately it runs up through the fore- 
ground rock, and is insisted upon, just at the brow of it, 
in the angular step-like fragments; compare also the etch- 
ing in the first volume. Then note tiie upright pillars 
in the distance marked especially as rhomboidal by being 

1 [The square brackets here enclose an addition by the author to the passage he 
is quotingj 

^ [See Vol. v. jp. 303.] 

* [Mantuil qf Geology, 1855, p. 177> s volume in the BncyolopMiia MetropoHtana 


drawn with the cleavage still slojMiig up on the returning 
ride, as at a, Fig. 88, not as at 6, which would be their 
aspect if they were square; and then the indication of in- 
tmuption in the structure at the brow ol the main dilF, 
where, as well as on the nearer mass, exposure to the 
weather has rounded away the cleavages. 

This projection, as before mentioned, does exist at the 
spot; and I believe is partly an indication ol the contor- 
tion in the beds alluded to by Mr. Phillips; but no one 
but Turner would have fastened on it, as in anywise de- 
serving special attention. 

For the rest, no words are of any use to explain the 
subtle fidelity with which the minor roundings and cleav- 
ages have been expressed by him. Fidelity of this kind 
can only be estimated by workers: if the reader can him- 
self draw a bit of natural precipice in Yoredale shale, and 
then copy a bit of the etching, he will find some measure 
of the difference between Tumer^s work and other people's, 
and no otherwise; although, without any such labour, he 
may at once perceive that there is a difference, and a 
wide one, — so wide, that I have literally nothing to cont- 
pare the Tumerian work with in previous art. Here, 
however. Fig. 84, is a rock of Claude's (Liber Veritatis, 
No. 91, on the left-hand), which is something of the shape 
of Turner's, and professes to be crested in like manner with 
copse-wood. The reader may " compare " as much as he 
likes, or can, of it. 

§ 85. In fact, as I said some time ago, the whole land- 
scape of Claude was nothing but a more or less softened 
continuance of the old traditions of missal-painting, of 
which I gave examples in the previous volume.^ The 
general notion of rock which may be traced in the earliest 
work, as Figs. 1 and 2 in Plate 10, VoL III., is of an 
upright mass cut out with an adze; as art advances, the 
painters begin to perceive horizontal stratification, and, as 

> [See ch. zv. 8 16, and Plate 10 {" Geologry of the Middle Ages "), Fig. S, for the 
roeki of the iUuminaton ; and ch. zviii. § 27 for Claude's ''modification on old and 
reedred t/pes" (Vol. V. pp. 307, 405.] 


in all the four other examples of that plate, show some- 
thing like true rendering of the &acture of rocks in vertical 
joints with superimposed projecting masses. They insist on 
this type, thinking it frowning or picturesque, and usually 
exhibit it to more advantage by putting a convent, hermit- 
age, or castle on the projection of the crag. 
In the blue backgrounds of the missals the 
projection is often wildly extravagant; for 
instance, the MS. Additional, 11,696 Brit. 
Mus.,' has all its backgrounds composed of 
blue rocks with towers upon them, of which 
Fig. 85 is a characteristic example (magni- 
fied in scale about one third ; but, t think, 
ratiier diminished in extravagance of pro- 
jection). It is infinitely better drawn than 
Claude's rocks ever are, in the expression of 
cleavage; but certainly somewhat too bold 
in standing. Then, in more elaborate work 
we get conditions of precipice like Fig. 8 
in Plate 10, which, indeed, is not ill-drawn 
in many respects; and the book from which 
it is taken shows other evidmces of a love 
of nature sufficiently rare at the period, 
though joined quaintly with love of the 
grotesque: for instance, the writer, giving 
an account of the natural productions of 
Saxony, illustrates his chapter with a view ji^m 

of the salt-mines; he represents the brine- 
spring, conducted by a wooden trough from the rock into 
an evaporating-house, where it is received in a pan, under 
which he has painted scarlet flames of fire with singular 

' rin Ui note* on the BritUh Mnaetim (mb Vol. XII. p. IzTiii.) Raaldn meatiiHu 
thti MS. among thoM of ti» fifteeath ecntary — " Boccaccio ; an exquinto laadMapa 
with towum on the lacond illnrainated leaf. The letter* turned up on the edgei are 
cnriotu." The title of the MS. (fifteenth century) \a " Boccaco, le lirre dee eaa dea 
nobla* et illuatrea hommei." For the other MS, compare Vol. V. p. 307, and above, 
p. 99. Ita title it "Le Treaor dee Hiatoiret," being an nniTeiaal hirttnr from the 
creation to a.d. 1342. The chapter "De la prorince de Sexone," and tae illtutta. 
tloo here refitrred to, are on folio 383.] 



Pr. V 

skill; and the rock out of which the brine flows is in its 
general cleavages the best I ever saw drawn by mediaeval 
art But it is carefully wrought to the resemblance of a 
grotesque human head. 

§ 86. This bolder quaintness of the missals is very 
slightly modified in religious paintings of the period. Fig. 
86, by Cima da Conegliano, a Venetian, No. 178 in the 
Louvre/ compared with Fig. 8 of Plate 10 (Flemish),* will 

show the kind of received 
tradition about rocks current 
throughout Europe. Claude 
takes up this tradition, and, 
merely making the rocks 
a little clumsier, and more 
weedy, produces such con- 
ditions as Fig. 87 (Liber 
Veritatis, No. 91, with Fig. 
84 above) ; while the ortho- 
dox door or archway at the 
bottom is developed into the 
Homeric cave, shaded with 
laurels,' and some ships are put underneath it, or seen 
through it, at impossible anchorages. 

§ 87. Fig. 87 is generally characteristic, not only of 
Claude, but of the other painters of the Renaissance period, 
because they were all equally fond of representing this 
overhanging of rocks with buildings on the top, and weeds 
drooping into the air over the edge, always thinking to get 
sublimity by exaggerating the projection, and never able to 
feel or understand the simplicity of real rock lines: not 
that they were in want of examples around them; on the 
contrary, though the main idea was traditional, the modi- 
fications of it are always traceable to the lower masses of 
limestone and tufa which skirt the Alps and Apennines, 



Now No. 1259 : '^ Virgin and ChUd" in a landscape : compare VoL XII. p. 472.] 
See Vol. V. p. 306.1 
See VoL V. p. 242.J 

•• • 
••• • 

•\.* . 

• ••• 
•• •• 
•• • 





aod which have, in reaUty, Itmg contracted habits of nod- 
ding over their bases; being, both by Virgil and Homer, 
spoken of always as "hanging" or "over-roofed" rocks.' 
But then they have a way of doing it rather different fVom 
the Renaissance ideas of them. Here, for instance (Plate 
41), is a real hanging rock (Koni/w^), with a castle on the 
top of it, and laurel, all plain fact, &om Arona, on the 
Lago Maggiore; and, I believe, the 
reader, though we have not as yet 
said anything about lines, will at 
once, on comparing it with Fig. 87, 
recognise the difference between the 
true parabolic flow of the rock- 
lines and the humpbacked deform- 
ity of Claude: and, still more, the 
difference between the delicate over- 
hanging of the natural cliff, cau- 
tiously diminished as it gets higher,* 
and the ideal danger of the Liber 

I 88. And the fact is, generally, 
that natural cliffs are very cautious 
how they overhang, and that the 
artist who represents them as doing 
so in any extravagant degree en- 
tirely destroys the sublimity which 
he hoped to increase, for the simple 
reason that he takes away the whole 
rock-nature, or at least that part of 

it which depends upon weight. The instinct of the ob- 
server refuses to believe that the rock is ponderous when 

* The Actual extent of the projection remaining the same throughout, 
the angle of suspended slope, for that very reason, diminishes as the cliff 
Increases in height. 

' [For carqpc^i in this application, lee Od, xiii. 349 ; the commoner epithet is 
fvifpf^^i, tM //. xii. M,; Od. X. 131, zii. 69. Vir^l has Scopuiu ptrtdattibiu (jSn. i. 
166), and appliei camu commonly to rocks {Oeorg. iii. 253, jBn. iiL M6) and mountains 
{^n. T. 448, viii. 509).] 


it overhangs so far, and it has no more real effect upon 
him than the imagined rocks of a fury tale. 

Though, therefore, the subject sketched (Plate 41) is 
sufficiently trifling in itself, it is important as a perfect 
general type of the overhanging of that kind of precipices, 
and of the mode in which they are connected with the 

banks above. Fig. 88 shows its abstract leading lines, con- 
sisting of one great parabolic Hne x y falling to the brow, 
curved aqueous lines down the precipice face, and the 
springing lines of its vegetation opposed by contrary curves 
on the farther cliff. Such an arrangement, with or without 
T^^etation, may take place on a small or large scale ; but 
a bolder projection than this, except by rare accident, and 
on a small scale, cannot. If the reader will glance back 
to Plate 37. and observe the arrangement of the precipices 
on the right hand, he will now better understand what 


Turner means by them. But the whole question of the 
beauty of this form, or mode of its development, rests on 
the nature of the bank above the cliffs, and of the aqueous 
forces that carved it; and this discussion of the nature 

of banks, as it will take some time* had better be referred 
to next chapter. One or two more points are, however, to 
be stated here. 

§ 89. For the reader has probably been already consider- 
ing how it is that these overhanging cliffs are formed at 
■11, and why tiiey appeu* thus to be consumed away at 
the bottom. Sometimes, if of soft material, they actually 
are so consumed by the quicker trickling of streamlets at 


the base than at the summit, or by the gextenl action of 
damp in decomposing the rode But, in the noblest in- 
stances, such cliffii are constructed as at c in Fig. 78 above, 
and the inward retirement of the precipice is the result 
of their tendency to break at right angles to "the beds, 
modified according to the power of the rock to support 
itself, and the aqueous action from above or below. 

I have before alluded (in p. 219)^ to this somewhat 
perilous arrangement permitted in the secondary strata. 
The danger, be it observed, is not of the fiJl of the brow 
of the precipice, which never takes place on a large scale 
in rocks of this kind (compare § 8 of this chapter), but 
of the sliding of one bed completely away £rom another, 
and the whole mass coming down together. But even this, 
though it has several times occurred in Switzerland, is not 
a whit more likely to happen when the precipice is terrific 
than when it is insignificant. The danger results from the 
imperfect adhesion of the mountain beds;' not at all from 
the external form of them. A clifiT, which is in aspect 
absolutely awful, may hardly, in the part of it that over- 
hangs, add one thousandth part to the gravitating power of 
the entire mass of the rocks above; and, for the comfort 
of nervous travellers, they may be assured that they are 
often in more danger under the gentle slopes of a plea- 
santly wooded hill, than under the most terrific cliflEs of the 
Eiger or Jungfrau. 

§ 40. The most interesting examples of these cliffs are 
usually to be seen impending above strong torrents, which, 
if forced originally to run in a valley, such as a in Fig. 89, 
bearing the relation there shown to the inclination of beds 
on each side, will not, if the cleavage is across the beds, 
cut their channels straight down, but in an inclined direc- 
tion, correspondent to the cleavage, as at 6. If the opera- 
tion be carried far, so as to undermine one side of the 
ravine too seriously, the undermined masses fall, partially 

^ [In all previous editions, the reference has erroneously been given to the page 
containing en. ziiL § 2.] 


choke the t<»ient, and give it a new direction of force, or 
diminish its sawing power by In^aking it among the f^en 
masses, so that the cliff never beaxnes very high in such 
an impendent form ; but the trench is hewn downwards 
in a direction insularly vertical Among the hmestones 
on the north side of the Valais, they being just soft 
enough to yield easily to the water, and yet so hard as to 
maintain themselves in massy precipices, when once hewn 
to the shape, there are defiles of whose depth and pro- 
portions I am almost afraid to state what I believe to be 
the measurements, so much do they differ fi*om any which 
I have seen assigned by scientific men as the Hmits of 

precipitous formation. I can only say that my deliberate 
impression of the great ravine cut by the ttnrent which 
descends from the Aletsch glacier, about half-way between 
the glacier and Brieg, was, that its depth is between a 
thousand and fifteen hundred feet, by a breadth of between 
forty and a hundred. 

But I could not get to the edge of its cliffs, for the 
tops roimded away into the chasm, and, of course, all 
actual measurement was impossible. There are other 
similar clefts between the Bietschhom and the Gemmi ; 
and the one before spoken of^ at Ardon, about five miles 
below Sion, though quite unimportant in comparison, pre- 
sents some boldly overhanging precipices, easily observed 
by the passing traveller, as they are close to the road. 

■ > [Sm eb. xU. § 21, and Fig. 17, p. 10Z.] 


The glen through which the torrent of the Trient descends 
into the vaUey of the Rhone, near Martigny, though not 
above three or four hundred feet deep, is also notable for 
its narrowness, and for the magnificent hardness of the rock 
through which it is cut, — a gneiss twisted with quartz into 
undulations like those of a Damascus sabre, and as com- 
pact as its steeL^ 

§ 41. It is not possible to get the complete expression 
of these ravines, any more than of the apse of a Gk>thic 
cathedral, into a picture, as their elevation cannot be 
drawn on a vertiod plane in front of the eye, the head 
needing to be thrown back, in order to measure their 
height, or stooped, to penetrate their depth. But the 
structure and expression of the entrance to one of them 
have been made by Turner the theme of his sublime 
mountain-study (Mill near the Grande Chartreuse) in the 
Liber Studiorum;' nor does he seem ever to have been 
weary of recurring, for various precipice-subject, to the 
ravines of the Via Mala and St. Gothard. I will not in- 
jure any of these — his noblest works — ^by giving imperfect 
copies of them ; the reader has now data enough whereby 
to judge, when he meets with them, whether they are 
well done or ill; and, indeed, all that I am endeavouring 
to do here, as often aforesaid,' is only to get some laws 
of the simplest kind understood and accepted, so as to 
enable people who care at all for justice to make a stand 
at once beside the modem mountain - drawing, as distin- 
guished from Salvator s or Claude's, or any other spurious 
work. Take, for instance, such a law as tiiis of the gene- 
ral oblique inclination of a torrent's sides. Fig. 89, and 
compare the Tumerian gorge in the distance of Plate 21 
here, or of the Grande Chartreuse subject in the Liber 

^ [On Damascus steel, compare Lecturu on Art, § 121 ; and Harhu Inehutu, letter 
of January 24, 1875.] 

< [No. 64 in the Liber; the drawing is No. 866 in the National GaUery. For 
other references to the plate see Modem Paintere, rol. r. pt. iz. ch. zi. § 2S, and 
Raskin's Notee on kU Drawing by Turner, No. 76.] 

' [See^ for instance, Vol III. pp. 425-426.] 


Studiorum, and consider whether anywhere else in art yoa 
can find similar expressions of the law. 

§ 42. ''Well; but you have come to no conclusions in 
this chapter respecting the Beauty of Precipices; and that 
was your professed business with them." 

I am not sure that the idea of beauty was meant in 
general to be very strictly connected with such mountain 
forms: one does not instinctively speak or think of a 
''Beautiful Precipice," They have, however, their beauty, 
and it is infinite; yet so dependent on help or change 
from other things, on the way the pines crest them, or 
the waterfalls colour them, or the clouds isolate them, 
that I do not choose to dwell here on any of their perfect 
aspects, as they cannot be reasoned of but by anticipating 
inquiries into other materials of landscape. 

Thus, I have much to say of the cliffs of Grindelwald 
and the Chartreuse, but all so dependent upon certain 
facts belonging to pine vegetation, that I am compelled 
to defer it to the next volume:^ nor do I much regret 
this; because it seems to me that without any setting 
forth, or rather beyond all setting forth, the Alpine preci- 
pices have a fascination about them which is sufficiently 
felt by the spectator in general, and even by the artist; 
only they have not been properly drawn, because people 
do not usually attribute tibe magnificence of their effect 
to the trifiing details which really are its elements; and, 
therefore, in common drawings of Swiss scenery we see 
all kinds of efforts at sublimity by exaggeration of the 
projection, or of the mass, or by obscurity, or blueness 
of aerial tint, — ^by everything, in fact, except the one need- 
ful thing, — plain drawing of the rock. Therefore in this 
chapter I have endeavoured to direct the reader to a severe 
mathematical estimate of precipice outline, and to make 
him dwell, not on the immediately pathetic or impressive 

^ [For the pine, and its connexion with rocks and glaciers, see Modem PahUen, 
vol. V. pt vi. ch. ix.^ where^ however, there is no spMial reference to the clii!s of 
Grindelwald and the Chartreuse.] 


aspect of cliffs, which all men feel readily enough, but on 
their internal structure. For he may rest assured that, as 
the Matterhorn is built out of mica flakes, so every great 
pictorial impression in scenery of this kind is to be reached 
by little and little; the cliff must be built in the picture 
as it was probably in reality — ^inch by inch; and the work 
will, in the end, have most power which was begun with 
most patience. No man is fit to paint Swiss scenery imtil 
he can place himself front to front with one of those 
mighty crags, in broad daylight, with no ''effect" to aid 
him, and work it out, boss by boss, with only such con- 
ventionality as its infinitude renders unavoidable. We have 
seen that a literal facsimile is impossible, just as a literal 
fecsimile of the carving of an entire cathedral frtmt is im- 
possible. But it is as vain to endeavour to give any 
conception of an Alpine cliff without minuteness of detail, 
and by mere breadtii of effect, as it would be to give a 
conception of the facades of Rouen or Rheims, without 
indicating any statues or foliation. When the statues and 
foliation are once got, as much blue mist and thunder-doud 
as you choose, but not before. 

§ 48. I conmiend, therefore, in conclusion, the precipice 
to the artist's patience; to which there is this farther and 
final encouragement, that, though one of the most difficult 
of subjects, it is one of the kindest of sitters. A group of 
trees changes the colour of its leafage fit>m week to week, 
and its position from day to day; it is sometimes languid 
with heat, and sometimes heavy with rain; the torrent 
swells or falls in shower or sun; the best leaves of the 
foreground may be dined upon by cattie, or trampled by 
unwelcome investigators of the chosen scene. But the cliff 
can neither be eaten, nor trampled down; neither bowed 
by the shower, nor withered by the heat: it is always 
ready for us when we are inclined to labour; will always 
wait for us when we would rest; and, what is best of all, 
will always talk to us when we are inclined to converse. 
With its own patient and victorious presence, cleaving daily 


through cloud after cloud, and reappearing still through 
the tempest drift, lofty and serene amidst the passing rents 
of blue, it seems partly to rebuke, and partly to guard, 
and partly to calm and chasten, the agitations of the feeble 
human soul that watches it; and that must be indeed a 
dark perplexity, or a grievous pain, which will not be in 
some degree enlightened or relieved by the vision of it, 
when the evening shadows are blue on its foundation, and 
the last rays of the sunset resting on the fair height of its 
golden fortitude. 



§ 1. During all our past investigations of hill form, we 
have been obliged to refer continually to certain results 
produced by the action of descending streams or falling 
stones. The actual contours assumed by any mountain 
range towards its foot depend usually more upon this tor- 
rent sculpture than on the original conformation of the 
masses; the existing hill side is commonly an accumulation 
of debris ; the existing glen commonly an excavated water- 
course ; and it is only here and there that portions of rock, 
retaining impress of their original form, jut fix>m the bank, 
or shelve across the stream. 

§ 2. Now this sculpture by streams, or by gradual 
weathering, is the finishing work by which Nature brings 
her mountain forms into the state in which she intends us 
generally to observe and love them. The violent convul- 
sion or disruption by which she first raises and separates 
the masses may frequently be intended to produce impres- 
sions of terror rather than of beauty; but the laws which 
are in constant operation on all noble and enduring scenery, 
must assuredly be intended to produce results grateful to 
men. Therefore, as in this final pencilling of Nature's we 
shall probably find her ideas of mountain beauty most 
definitely expressed, it may be well that, before entering 
on this part of our subject, we should recapitulate the 
laws respecting beauty of form which we arrived at in the 

§ 8. Glancing back to the fourteenth and fifteenth para- 
graphs of the chapter on Infinity, in the second volume, 



and to the third and tenth of the chapters on Unity,^ the 
reader will find that abstract beauty of form is supposed 
to depend on continually varied curvatures of line and 
surface, associated so as to produce an effect of some unity 
among themselves, and opposed, in order to give them 
value, by more or less stoaight or rugged 

The reader will, perhaps, here ask why, if 
both the straight and curved lines are neces- 
sary, one should be considered more beautiful 
than the other. Exactly as we consider 
light beautiful and darkness ugly, in the ab- 
stract, though both are essential to all beauty. 
Darkness mingled with colour gives the de- 
light of its depth or power; even pure black- 
ness, in spots or chequered patterns, is often 
exquisitely delightful ; and yet we do not there- 
fore consider, in the abstract, blackness to be 

Just in the same way straightness mingled 
with curvature, that is to say, the close ap- 
proximation of part of any curve to a straight 
line, gives to such curve aU its spring, power, 
and nobleness: and even perfect straightness, 
limiting curves, or opposing them, is often 
pleasurable ; yet in the abstract, straightness is 
always ugly, and curvature always beautifiiL 

Thus, in the figure at the side, the eye ^^ 

will instantly prefer the semicircle to the 
straight line; the trefoil (composed of three semicircles) 
to the triangle ; and the cinqfoil to the pentagon. The 
mathematician may perhaps feel an opposite preference; 
but he must be conscious that he does so under the in- 
fluence of feelings quite different fix>m those with which 
he would admire (if he ever does admire) a picture or 

1 [VoL IV. pp. 87, 88, M, 102.] 



Pt. V 

statue; and that if he could free himself from those 
associations, his judgment of the relative agreeableness of 
the forms would be altered. He may rest assured that, 
by the natural instinct of the eye and thought, the pre- 
ference is given instantly, and alwajrs, to the curved form; 
and that no human being of unprejudiced perceptions 
would desire to substitute triangles for the ordinary shapes 
of clover leaves, or pentagons for those of potentillas. 

§ 4. All curvature, however, is not equally agreeable; 


but the examination of the laws which render one curve 
more beautiful than another, would, if carried out to any 
completeness, alone require a volume. The following few 
examples will be enough to put the reader in the way of 
• pursuing the subject for himself. 

Take any number of lines, a b, b Cy c d^ etc., Fig. 91, 
bearing any fixed proportion to each other. In this figure, 
6 c is one-third longer than a 6, and c d than be; and so 
on. Arrange them in succession, keeping the inclination, 
or angle, which each makes with the preceding one always 
the same. Then a curve drawn through the extremities 


of the lines will be a beautiful curve ; for it is governed by 
consistent laws ; every part of it is connected by those laws 
with every other, yet every part is different from every 
other; and the mode of its construction implies the possi- 
bility of its continuance to infinity; it would never return 
upon itself though prolonged for ever. These characters 
must be possessed by every perfectly beautiful curve. 

Fig. 99 

If we make the difference between the component or 
measuring lines less, as in Fig. 92, in which each line is 
longer than the preceding one only by a fifth, the curve 
will be more contracted and less beautiful If we enlarge 
the difference, as in Fig. 98, in which each line is treble 
the preceding one, the curve will suggest a more rapid 
proceeding into infinite space, and will be more beautiftil. 
Of two curves, the same in other respects, that which sug- 
gests the quickest attainment of infinity is always the most 



Pt. V 

§ 5. These three curves being all governed by the same 
general law, with a difference only in dim^isions of lines, 
together with all the other curves so constructible, varied 
as they may be infinitely, either by changing the lengths of 
line, or the inclination of the lines to each other, are con- 
sidered by mathematicians only as one curve, having this 
peculiar character about it, different from that of most other 
infinite lines, that any portion of it is a magnified repetition 
of the preceding portion ; that is to say, the portion be- 

Fig. 9S 

tween e and g is precisely what that between c and e would 
look, if seen through a lens which magnified somewhat more 
than twice. There is therefore a peculiar equanimity and 
harmony about the look of Unes of this kind, differing, 
I think, from the expression of any others except the 
circle. Beyond the point a the curve may be imagined to 
continue to an infinite degree of smallness, always circling 
nearer and nearer to a point, which, however, it can never 

§ 6. Again: if along the horizontal line a b. Fig. 94 
over leaf, we measure any number of equal distances, a 6, 


b c, etc. 9 and raise perpendiculars from the points 6, c, 
dy etc, of which each perpendicular shall be longer, by 
some given proportion (in this figure it is one-third), than 
the preceding one, the curve x y^ traced through their 
extremities, wiU continuaUy change its direction, but will 
advance into space in the direction of y as long as we 
continue to measure distances along the line a b, always 
inclining more and more to the nature of a straight line, 
yet never becoming one, even if continued to infinity. It 
would, in like manner, continue to infinity in the direction 
of J7, always approaching the line a b, yet never touch- 
ing it. 

§ 7. An infinite number of different lines, more or less 
violent in curvature according to the measurements we 
adopt in designing them, are included, or defined, by each 
of the laws just explained. But the number of these laws 
themselves is also infinite. There is no limit to the multi- 
tude of conditions which may be invented, each producing 
a group of curves of a certain common nature. Some of 
these laws, indeed, produce single curves, which, like the 
circle, can vary only in size: but, for the most part, they 
vary also, like the Unes we have just traced, in the rapidity 
of their curvature. Among these innumerable lines, how- 
ever, there is one source of difference in character which 
divides them, infinite as they are in number, into two 
great classes. The first class consists of those which are 
limited in their course, either ending abruptly, or return- 
ing to some point from which they set out; the second 
class, of those lines whose nature is to proceed for ever 
into space. Any portion of a circle, for instance, is, by 
the law of its being, compelled, if it continue its course, 
to return to the point frt>m which it set out; so also any 
portion of the oval curve (called an ellipse), produced hy 
cutting a cylinder obliquely across. And if a single point 
be marked on the rim of a carriage wheel, this point, as 
the wheel rolls along the road, will trace a curve in the air 
frx>m one part of the road to another, which is called 


Pt. V 

a cycloid, and to which the 
law of its existence appoints 
that it shall always follow a 
similar course, and be tenni- 
Dated by the level line on 
which the wheel rolls. All 
such curves are of inferior 
beauty: and the curves which 
are incapable of being com- 
pletely drawn, because, as in 
the two cases, above given, the 
law of their being supposes 
them to proceed for ever into 
space, are of a higher beauty. 

§ 8. Thus, iu the very first 
elements of form, a lesson is 
given us as to the true source 
of the nobleness and choose- 
ableness of all things. The two 
classes of curves thus sternly 
separated from each other, may 
most properly be distinguished 
as the " Mortal and Immortal 
Curves"; the one having an 
appointed term of existence, 
the other absolutely incompre- 
hensible and endless, only to be 
seen or grasped during a cer- 
tain moment of their course. 
And it is found universally 
that the class to which the 
human mind is attached for its 
chief enjoyment are the End- 
less or Immortal lines. 

§ 9. "Nay," but the reader 
answers, "what right have you 
to say that one class is more 


beautiful than the other? Suppose I like the finite curves 
best, who shall say which of us is right?" 

No one. It is simply a question of experience. You 
will not, I think, continue to like the finite curves best as 
you contemplate them carefully, and compare them with 
the others. And if you should do so, it then yet becomes 
a question to be decided by longer trial, or more widely 
canvassed opinion. And when we find on examination 
that every form which, by the consent of human kind, 
has been received as lovely, in vases, flowing ornaments, 
embroideries, and all other things dependent on abstract 
line, is composed of these infinite curves, and that Nature 
uses them for every important contour, small or large, 
which she desires to recommend to human observance, we 
shall not, I think, doubt that the preference of such Unes 
is a sign of healthy taste, and true instinct. 

§ 10. I am not sure, however, how far the delightfulness 
of such lines is owing, not merely to their expression of 
infinity, but also to that of restraint or moderation. Com- 
pare Stones of Venice^ vol. iii. chap. i. §§ 9-18,^ where the 
subject is entered into at some length. Certainly the 
beauty of such curvature is owing, in a considerable degree, 
to both expressions; but when the Une is sharply termi- 
nated, perhaps more to that of moderation than of infinity. 
For the most part, gentle or subdued sounds, and getatle 
or subdued colours, are more pleasing than either in their 
utmost force; nevertheless, in all the noblest compositions, 
this utmost power is permitted, but only for a short time, 
or over a small space. Music must rise to its utmost 
loudness, and fall from it; colour must be gradated to its 
extreme brightness, and descend from it; and I believe 
that absolutely perfect treatment would, in either case, 
permit the intensest sound and purest colour only for a 
point or for a moment. 

Curvature is regulated by precisely the same laws. For 

^ [In this edition, VoL XI. pp. 8-11.. For other dieewrioiie of the Imwt of curvs- 
tore, wbb ElemenU itf Dmwimg^ I2ffj \ and 2Vpo AM#, § 80.] 




the most part, delicate or slight curvature is more agree- 
able than violent or rapid curvature; nevertheless, in the 
best compositions, violent curvature is permitted, but per- 
mitted oidy over small spaces in the curve. 

§ 11. The rig^t line is to the curve what monotony is 
to melody, and what unvaried colour is to gradated colour. 

And as often the sweetest music is so 
low and continuous as to approach a 
monotone; and as often the sweetest 
gradations so delicate and subdued as 
to approach to flatness, so the finest 
curves are apt to hover about the right 
line, nearly coinciding with it for a 
long space of their curve; never ab- 
solutely losing their own curvilinear 
character, but apparently every moment 
on the point of merging into the right 
line. When this is the case, the line 
generally returns into vigorous curva- 
ture at some part of its course, other- 
wise it is apt to be weak, or sli^tly 
rigid; multitudes of other curves, not 
approaching the ri^t line so nearly, 
remain less vigorously bent in the rest 
of their course; so that the quan- 
tity * of curvature is the same in both, 
though differently distributed. 

§ 12. The modes in which Nature produces variable 
curves on a large scale are very numerous, but may 
generally be resolved into the gradual increase or diminu- 
tion of some given force. Thus, if a chain hangs between 
two points A and b, Fig. 95, the weight of chain sustained 
by any given link increases gradually from the central link 

* QuatUity of curvature is as measurable as quantity of anything else ; 
only observe that it depends on the nature of the line, not on its magnitude : 
thus, in simple circular curvature, a h, Fig. 96, being three-fourths of that 
in miy circle^ — the same as the quantity in the line ef. 

Fig. 9b 


at c, which has only its own weight to sustain, to the link 
at B, which sustains, besides its own, the weight of all the 
links between it and c. This increased weight is continu- 
ally pulling the curve of the swinging chain more nearly 
straight, as it ascends towards b; and hence one of the 
most beautifully gradated natural curves — called the catenary 
—of course assumed not by chains only, but by all flexible 
and elongated substances, suspended between two points. If 
the points of suspension be near each other, we have such 

Fig. 99 

curves as at d ; and if, as in nine cases out of ten will be 
the case, one point of suspension is lower than the other, 
a still more varied and beautiful curve is formed, as at £• 
Such curves constitute nearly the whole beauty of general 
contour in fallen drapery, tendrils and festoons of weeds over 
rocks, and such other pendent objects.* 

§ 18. Again. If any object be cast into the air, the 
force with which it is cast dies gradually away, and its own 

* The catenary is not properly a curve capable of infinity, if its direction 
does not alter with its length; but it is capable of infinity, impljring such 
alteration by the infinite removal of the points of suspension. It entirely 
corresponds in its effect on the eye and mind to the infinite curves. I do 
not know the exact nature of the apparent curves of suspension formed 
by a high and weighty waterfall; they are dependent on the gain in 
rapidity of descent by the central current, where its greater body is less 
arrested by the air; and, I apprehend, are catenary in character, though 
not in cause. 


weight brings it downwards; at first slowly, then faster and 
faster every moment, in a curve which, as the line of £Edl 
necessarily nears the perpendicular, is continually approxi- 
mating to a straight line. This curve — called the parabola — 
is that of all projected or bounding objects. 

§ 14. Again. If a rod or stick of any kind gradually 
becomes more slender or more flexible, and is bent by any 
external force, the force will not only increase in effect 
as the rod becomes weaker, but the rod itself, once bent, 
will continually yield more willingly, and be more easily bent 
farther in the same direction, and will thus show a con- 
tinual increase of curvature from its thickest or most rigid 
part to its extremity. This kind of line is that assumed 
by boughs of trees under wind. 

§ 15. Again. Whenever any vital force is impressed on 
any oiganic substance, so as to die gradually away as the 
substance extends, an infinite curve is commonly produced 
by its outline. Thus, in the budding of the leaf, already 
examined, the gradual dying away of the exhilaration of 
the younger ribs produces an infinite curve in the outline 
of the leaf, which sometimes fSades imperceptibly into a 
right line, — sometimes is terminated sharply, by meetings the 
opposite curve at the point of the leaf. 

§ 16. Nature, however, rarely condescends to use one 
curve only in any of her finer forms. She almost always 
unites two infinite ones, so as to form a reversed curve 
for each main line, and then modulates each of them into 
mjrriads of minor ones. In a single elm leaf, such as Fig. 4, 
Plate 8,* she uses three such — one for the stalk, and one 
for each of the sides, — to regulate their general flow; 
dividing afterwards each of their broad lateral lines into 
some twenty less curves by the jags of the leaf, and then 
again into minor waves. Thus, in any complicated group 
of leaves whatever, the infinite curves are themselves almost 
countless. In a single extremity of a magnolia spray, the 

♦ Vol. III. p. 216. [In this edition, VoL V. p. 264.] 


uppermost figure in Plate 42, including only sixteen leaves, 
each leaf having some three to five distinct curves along 
its edge, the lines for separate study, including those of the 
stems, would be between sixty and eighty. In a single spring 
shoot of laburnum, the lower figure in the same plate, I 
leave the reader to count them for himself ; all these, observe, 
being seen at one view only, and every change of position 
bringing into sight another equally numerous set of curves. 
For instance, in Plate 43 is a group of four withered leaves, 
in four positions, giving, each, a beautiful and well-composed 
group of curves, variable gradually into the next group as 
the branch is turned. 

§ 17. The following Plate (44), representing a young 
shoot of independent ivy, just beginning to think it would 
like to get something to cling to, shows the way in which 
Nature brings subtle curvature into forms that at first seem 
rigid. The stems of the young leaves look nearly straight, 
and the sides of the projecting points, or bastions, of the 
leaves themselves nearly so; but on examination it will 
be found that there is not a stem nor a leaf-edge but is a 
portion of one infinite curve, if not of two or three. The 
main line of the supporting stem is a very lovely one ; and 
the little half-open^ leaves, in their thirteenth century 
segmental simplicity (compare Fig. 9, Plate 8, in Vol. III.)/ 
singularly spirited and b^utifuL It may, perhaps, interest 
the general reader to know that one of the infinite curves 
derives its name from its supposed resemblance to the 
climbing of ivy up a tree.* 

§ 18. I spoke just now of "well composed'* curves, — I 
mean curves so arranged as to oppose and set each other 
off, and yet united by a common law; for as the beauty 
of every curve depends on the unity of its several com- 
ponent lines, so the beauty of each group of curves depends 
on their submission to some general law. In forms which 
quickly attract the eye, the law which unites the curves 

^ [In this edition. Vol V. p. 264] 

* ['' Ci0M>id " (jcMTvocid^), the eurre of Diooloi.] 


is distmctly manifest; but, in the richer compositions of 
Nature, cunningly concealed by delicate infractions of it ; — 
wilfulnesses they seem, and forgetfulnesses, which, if once 
the law be perceived, only increase our delist in it 1^ 
showing that it is one of equity, not of rigour, and allows, 
within certain limits, a kind of individu^ liberty. Thus 
the system of unison which r^ulates the magnolia shoot. 

in Plate 42, is formally expressed in Fig. 97. Every line 
has its origin in the point f, and the curves generally 
diminish in intensity towards the extremities of the leaves, 
one or two, however, again increasing their sweep near 
the points. In vulgar ornamentation, entirely rigid laws 
of line are always observed ; and the common Greek honey- 
suckle and other such formalisms are attractive to unedu- 
cated eyes, owing to their manifest compliance with the 
first conditions of luiity and symmetry; being to really 
noble ornamentation what the sing-song of a had reader <^ 


poetry, laying regular emphasis on every required syllable 
of every foot, is to the varied, irregular, unexpected, 
inimitable cadence of the voice of a person of sense and 
feeling reciting the same lines, — not incognizant of the 
rhythm, but delicately bending it to the expression of 
passion, and the natural sequence of the thought. 

§ 19. In mechanically drawn patterns of dress, Alhambra 
and common Moorish ornament, Greek mouldings, common 
flamboyant traceries, common Corinthian and Ionic capitals, 
and such other work, lines of this declared kind (generally 
to be classed under the head of ^^doggrel ornamentation") 
may be seen in rich profusion; and they are necessarily 
the only kind of lines which can be felt or enjoyed by 
persons who have been educated without reference to 
natural forms; their instincts being blunt, and their eyes 
naturally incapable of perceiving the inflexion of noble 
curves. But the moment the perceptions have been refined 
by reference to natural form, the eye requires perpetual 
variation and transgression of the formal law. Take the 
simplest possible condition of thirteenth-century scroll-work. 
Fig. 98. The law or cadence established is of a circling 
tendril, terminating in an ivy-leaf. In vulgar design, the 
curves of the circling tendril would have been similar to 
each other, and might have been drawn by a machine, or 
by some mathematical formula. But in good design all 
imitation by machinery is impossible. No curve is like 
another for an instant; no branch springs at an expected 
point. A cadence is observed, as in the returning clauses 
of a beautiful air in music; but every clause has its own 
change, its own surprises. The enclosing form is here stiff 
and (nearly) straight-sided, in order to oppose the circular 
scroll-work ; but on looking close it will be found that each 
of its sides is a portion of an infinite curve, almost too 
delicate to be traced; except the short lowest one, which 
is made quite straight, to oppose the rest. 

I give one more example from another leaf of the same 
manuscript. Fig. 99, merely to show the variety introduced 


by the old designers between page and page. And, in 
general, the reader may take it for a settled law that, what- 
ever can be done by machinery, or imitated by formula, is 
not worth doing or imitating at alL^ 

§ 20. The quantity of admissible transgression of law 
varies with the degree in which the ornamentation involves 
or admits imitation of nature. Thus, if these ivy leaves in 
Fig. 90 were completely drawn in light and shade, they 
would not be properly connected with 
the more or less r^fular sequences of the 
scroll; and in very subordinate ornament, 
something like complete symmetry may be 
admitted, as in bead mouldings, chequer^ 
ings, etc. Also, the ways in which the 
transgression may be granted vary infin- 
itely; in the finest compositions it is per- 
petual, and yet so balanced and atoned 
for as always to bring about more beauty 
than if there had been no transgression. 
In a truly fine mountain or organic line, 
if it is looked at in detail, no one would 
believe in its being a continuous curve, 
i^.»B or being subjected to any fixed law. It 
seems broken, and bending a thousand 
ways ; perfectly ftce and wild, and yielding to every impulse. 
But, after following with the eye three or four of its im- 
pulses, we shall be^n to trace some strange order among 
them; every added movement will make the ruling intent 
clearer; and when the whole life of the line is revealed at 
last, it will be found to have been, throughout, as obedient 
to the true law of its course as the stars in their orbits. 
§ 21. Thus much may sufiice for our immediate purpose 
respecting beautiful lines in general. We have 
now to consider the pai " 
tain line. belonging to mountains. 

' piliis is • confinnatioa, fratn another point of view, of a principle «lreadf laid 
down in TAe Seven Lamp* <if AreMteetme ; Me Vol. Vlli. pp. 86, 214.] 




The lines which are produced by course of time upm 
hill contours are mainly divisible into foiur systems. 

1. Lines of FalL Those which are wrought out on the 
solid mass by the toM of water or of stones. 

2. Lines of Projection. Those which are produced in 
debris by the bounding of the masses, under tiie influence 
of their fidling force. 

8. Lines of Escape. Those which are produced by the 

spreading of ddbris from a givai point over surfaces of 
varied shape. 

4. Lines of Rest. Those which are assumed by d^lnis 
when in a state of comparative permanence and stability. 

1. Lines of Fall. 

However little the reader may be acquainted with hills, 
I believe that, almost instinctivdy, he will per- ,, u^^ 
ceive that the form supposed to bdong to a ^- ^"^ 
wooded promontory at a. Fig. 100. is an im- ^^t&f"^ 
possible one; and that the form at i is not «*«"/««■ 
only a possible but probable one. The lines are equally 
formal in both. But in o, the curve is a portion of a 


circle, meeting a level line : in 6 it is Bn infinite line, getting 
less and less steep as it ascends. 

Whenever a mass of mountain is worn gradually away 
by forces descending firom its top, it necessarily assumes, 
more or less perfectly, according to the time for which it 
has been exposed, and the tenderness of its substance such 
contours as those at b, for the simple reason that every 
stream and every fallizig grain of sand gains in velocity 

and erosive power as it descends. Hence, cutting away the 
ground gradually faster and faster, they produce the most 
rapid curvature (provided the rock be hard enough) towards 
the bottom of the hilL* 

§ 22. But farther : in d it will be noticed that the lines 
always get steeper as they fall more and more to the right ; 

* I am afraid of becoming tiresome by going too far into the intri- 
cacies of this most difficult tuk^ect ; but 1 say " tomtrdt the bottom of the 
hill," because, when a certain degree of verticality is reached, a counter 

EDtectJve influence begins to establish itself, the stones and water&tls 
unding awaj from the brow of the precipice into the air, and wearing 
it at the top onlj. Also it is evident that when the curvature falls into 
a vertical cliff, as often happens, the maximum of curvature must be some- 
where lAove the brow of the cliff, as in the chff itself it has again died 
into a straight line. 


and I should think the reader must feel that they look 
more natural, so drawn, than as at a, m unvarjring curves. 
This is no less easily accounted for. The simplest typi^ 
cal form imder which a hill can occur is that of a cone. 
Let A c B, Fig. 101, have been its original contour. Then 
the aqueous forces will cut away the shaded portions, re- 
ducing it to the outline dee. Farther, in doing so, the 
water will certainly have formed for itself gullies or channels 
from top to bottom. These, supposing them at equal 
distances round the cone, wiU appear, in perspective, in 
the lines g h i. It does not, of course, matter whether we 
consider the lines in this figure to represent the bottom 


of the ravines, or the ridges between, both being formed 
on similar curves; but the rounded lines in Fig. 100 would 
be those of forests seen on the edges of each detached 

§ 28. Now although a mountain is rarely perfectly coni- 
cal, and never divided by ravines at exactly equal distances, 
the law which is seen in entire simplicity in Fig. 101, 
applies with a sway more or less interrupted, but always 
manifest, to every convex and retiring mountain form. All 
banks that thus turn away from the spectator necessarily 
are thrown into perspectives like that of one side of this 
figure ; and although not divided with equality, their irr^^- 
lar divisions crowd gradually together towards the distant 
edge, being then less steep, and separate themsdives towards 
the body of the hill, being then more steep. 

§ 24. It follows, also, that not only the whc^ of the 
nearer curves will be steeper, but, if seen fix>m below, 

VI. Y 


the steepest parts of them will be the more important. 
Supposing each, instead of a curve, divided into a sloping 
line and a precipitous one, the perspective of the precipice, 
raising its top continually, will give the whole cone the 
shape of a or 6 in Fig. 102, in which, observe, the precipice 
is of more importance, and the slope of less, precisely in 
proportion to the nearness of the mass. 

§ 25. Fig. 102, thCTefdWe, will be the general type of the 
form of a convex retiring hill symmetrically constructed. 
The {Hccipitous part of it may vary in height or in slope 
according to original conformation; but, the heights being 

supposed equal along the whole flank, the contours will 
be as in that figure ; the various rise and Call of real hei|^t 
altering the perspective appearance accordingly, as we shall 
see presently, after examining the other three kinds of 

2. Lines of Projection. 

§ 26. The fragments carried down by the torrents from 
2. lAntiqf the flanJcs of the hill are of course deposited at 
^^ff**^, the base of it. But they are deposited in various 

Produced by j> i • i ■ ■ tJv> i i 

ftv/ment* ways, oi which it IS most dimcult to analyze 
^^%^ the laws; for they are thrown down under the 
ward firom the influence partly of flowing water, partly of their 
haMtqfMOt. jj^iyjj gravity, partly of projectile force caused by 
their fall from the higher summits of the hill ; while the 
debris itself, after it has &Uen, undei^;oes farther modifica- 
tion by surface streamlets. But in a general way debris 


descending *^froin the hill side, a b^ Fig. 108, will arrange 
itself in a form approximating to the concave line d c, the 
larger masses remaining undisturbed at the bottom, while 

the smaller are gradually carried farther and farther by 
surface streams. 

8. Lines of Escape. 

§ 27. But this form is much modified by the special 
direction of the descending force as it escapes ^ i^^^ 
from confinement. For a stream coming down Aoajw. Pr^ 
a ravine is kept by the steep sides of its channel ^J^^SwIi^ 
in concentrated force: but it no sooner reaches natumqftks 
the bottom, and escapes from its ravine, than '^^^^'"'*^' 
it spreads in all directions, or at least tries to choose a new 
channel at every flood. Let a b Cj Fig. 104, be three 
ridges of mountain. The two torrents coming down the 
ravines between them meet, at d and ^, with the heaps of 
ground formerly thrown down by their own agency. These 
heaps being more or less in the form of cones, the torrent 
has a tendency to divide upon their apex, like water poured 
on the top of a sugar-loaf, and branch into the radiating 
channels e x^ e y^ etc The stronger it is, the more it is 
disposed to rush straightforward, or with little curvature, 
as in the line e x^ with the impetus it has received in 
coming down the ravine ; the weaker it is, the more readily 
it wiU lean to one side or the other, and £aU away in the 
of escape, e y or e h; but of course at times of 


highest flood it Alls all its possible channels, and invents 
a few new ones, of which afterwards the straigfatest will 
be kept by the main stream, and the lateral curves occu- 
pied by smaller branches : the whole system corresponding 
precisely to the action of the ribs of the young leaf, as 
shown in Plate 8 of Vol III.,' especially in Fig. 6, — the 
main torrent, Uke the main rib, making the largest fortune, 
t.e., raising the highest heap of gravel and dust. 

§ 28. It may easily be imagined that when the opera- 
tion takes place on a large s^e, the mass of earth thus 
deposited in a gentle 
( slope at the mountain's 

foot becomes available 
for agricultural pur^ 
poses, and that then it 
is of the greatest im- 
portance to prevent the 
stream from branching 
into various channels at 
its will, and pouring 
fresh sand over the cut 
tivated fields. Accord- 
ingly, at the mouth <d 
every la^i;e ravine in the Alps, where the peasants know 
how to live and how to work, the stream is art^cially em- 
banked, and compelled as far as possible to follow the 
central line down the cone. Hence, when the travellei 
passes along any great valley, — as that of the Rhone oi 
Arve, — into which minor torrents are poured by lateraj 
ravines, he will find himself every now and then ascend- 
ing a hill of moderate slope, at the top of which he wil 
cross a torrent, or its bed, and descend by another gradua 
slope to the usual level of the valley. In every such case 
his road has ascended a tongue of debris, and has crossei 
the embanked torrent carried by force along its centre. 
Under such circumstances, the entire tongue or bea; 

1 [In tfau edition, VoL V. p. 264.] 


of land ceases of course to increase, until the bed of the 
confined torrent is partially choked by its perpetual de- 
posit. Then in some day of violent ruin the waves burst 
their fetters, branch at their own will, cover the fields of 
some unfortunate £Eurmer with stones and slime, according 
to the torrent's own idea of the new form which it has 
become time to give to the great tongue of land, carry 
away the road and the bridge together, and arrange every- 
thing to their own liking. But the road is again painfully 
traced among the newly fallen debris; the embankment 
and bridge again built for the stream, now satisfied with 
its outbreak; and the tongue of land submitted to new 
processes of cultivation for a certain series of years. When, 
however, the torrent is exceedingly savage, and generally 
of a republican temper, the outbreaks are too frequent and 
too violent to admit of any cultivation of the tongue of 
land. A few straggling alder or thorn bushes, their roots 
buried in shingle, and their lower branches fouled with 
slime, alone relieve with ragged spots of green the broad 
waste of stones and dust. The utmost that can be done 
is to keep the furious stream from choosing a new channel 
in every one of its fits of passion, and remaining in it 
afterwards, thus extending its devastation in entirely un- 
foreseen directions. The land which it has brought down 
must be left a perpetual sacrifice to its rage; but in the 
moment of its lassitude it is brought back to its central 
course, and compelled to forego for a few weeks or months 
the luxury of deviation. 

§ 29. On the other hand, when, owing to the nature of 
the valley above, the stream is gentle, and the sediment 
which it brings down small in quantity, it may be retained 
for long years in its constant path, while the sides of the 
bank of earth it has borne down are clothed with pasture 
and forest, seen in the distance of the great valley as a 
promontory of sweet verdure, along which the central stream 
passes with an influence of blessing, submitting itself to the 
will of the husbandman for irrigation, and of the mechanist 


for toil ; now nourishing the pasture, and now grinding the 
com, of the land which it has first formed, and now waters. 

§ 80. I have etched above, Plate 86 (p. 259), a portion 
of the flank of the valley of Chamouni, which presents 
nearly every class of line under discussion, and will enable 
the reader to understand their relations at once. It repre- 
sents, as was before stated, the crests of the Montagues 
de la Cdte and Taconay, shown from base to summit, with 
the Glacier des Bossons and its moraine. The reference 
figure given at p. 260 will enable the reader to distinguish 
its several orders of curves, as follows: 
h r. Aqueous curves of fall, at the base of the Tapia ; very 
characteristic Similar curves are seen in multitude 
on the two crests beyond as 6 c, c b. 
d e. First lines of projection. The d^ris fEtUing from the 

glacier and tiie heights above. 
Ar, /, n. Three lines of escape. A considerable torrent 
(one of whose falls is the well-known Cascade des 
Pterins*) descends from behind the promontory 

* The following extract from my private diaiy, giving an account of the 
destruction of the beauty of this water&ll in the year 1849> which I 
happened to witness^ may be interesting to those travellers who remember 
it before that period. The house spoken of as ''Joseph's/' is that of the 
guide Joseph Couttet,^ in a village about a mile below the cascade^ between 
it and the Arve: the place of the "old avalanche" is a hollow in the 
forest, cleft by a great avalanche which fell from the Aiguille du Midi 
in the spring of 1844. It struck down about a thousand full-grown pines, 
and left an open track in the midst of the wood, from the cascade nearly 
down to the village. 

''Evening, Tkundarif, June ft%th. — I set out for the Cascade des P^lerins 
as usual; when we reached Joseph's house, we heard a sound from the 
torrent like low thunder, or like that of a more distant and heavier falL 
A peasant said something to Joseph, who stopped to listen, then nodded, 
ana said to me, ' La casoide vient de se d6border.' Thinking there would 
be time enough afterwards to ask for explanations, I pushed up the hill 
almost without askinff a question. When we reached the place of the old 
avalanche, Joseph caUed to me to stop and see the torrent increase. There 
was at this time a dark cloud on the Aiguille du Midi, down to its base ; 
the upper part of the torrent was brown, the lower white, not larger than 
usuaL The brown part came down, I thought, with exceeding slowness, 

. * [For whom^ see VoL IV. pp. xxiv.-xxv.] 


h: its natural or proper course would be to dash 
straight forward down the line f gf and part of it 
does so; but erratic branches of it slide away 
round the promontory, in the lines of escape, A:, /, 
etc. Each row of trees marks, therefore, an old 
torrent bed, for the torrent always throws heaps of 
stooes up .long its h^ » which the ptoe,. 
growing higher th» on the neighbouring ground, 
indicate its course by their supremacy. When the 
escaped stream is feeble, it steals quietly away 
down the steepest part of the slope ; that is to say, 
close under the promontory, at t. If it is stronger, 
the impetus from the hill above shoots it farther 
out, in the line A:; if stronger still, at /; in each 
case it curves gradually round as it loses its on- 
ward force, and falls more and more languidly to 
leeward, down the slope of the debris. 

reaching the cascade gradually; as it did so, the &11 rose to about once 
and a half its usual height, and in the five minutes' time that I paused 
(it could not be more) turned to the colour of slate. I then pushed on 
as hard as I could. When I reached the last ascent I was obliged to 
stop for breath, but got up before the £dl could sensibly have dimhiished 
in body of water. It was then nearly twice as far cast out from the rock 
as last night, and the water nearly black in colour; and it had the 
appearance, as it broke and separated at the outer part of the fall, of a 
shower of fragments of flat slate. The reason of this appearance I could 
not comprehend, unless the water was so mixed with mud that it drew 
out flat and unctuously when it broke ; but so it was : instead of spray it 
looked like a shower of dirty flat bits of slate— only with a lustre, as it 
they had been wet first. This, however, was the least of it, for the 
torrent carried with it nearly as much weight of stone as water; the 
stones varying in size, the average being, I suppose, about that of a hen's 
^ggf but I do not suppose that at any instant the arch of water was 
wiUiout four or five as large as a man's fist, and often came larger ones, — 
all vomited forth with the explosive power of a small volcano, and falling 
in a continual shower as thick, constant, and, had it not been mixed with 
the crash of the fall, as loud as a heavy fire of infantry; they bounded 
and leaped in the basin of the fall like hailstones in a thunder-shower. As 
we watched the fall it seemed convulsively to diminish, and suddenly showed, 
as it shortened, the rock underneath it, which I could hardly see yesterday : 
as I cried out to Joseph it rose again, higher than ever, and continued to 
rise, till it all but reached the snow on the rock opposite. It then became 
very fimtastic and variable, increasing and diminishing in the space of two 


r 8. A line which, perhaps, would be more properly termed 
of limitation than of escape, being that of the base 
or termination of the heap of torrent debris, which 
in shape corresponds exactly to the curved lip of a 
wave, after it has broken, as it slowly stops upon 
a shallow shore. Within this line the ground is 
entirely composed of heaps of stones, cemented by 
granite dust, and cushioned with moss, while out- 
side of it all is smooth pasture. The pines enjoy 
the stony ground particularly, and hold large meetings 
upon it» but the alders are shy of it; and, when it 
has come to an end, form a triumphal procession 
all round its edge, following the concave line. The 
correspondent curves above are caused by similar 
lines in which the debris has formerly stopped. 

§ 81. I found it a matter of the greatest difficulty to 

or three seconds, and partially changring its directions. After watching it 
finr half an hour or so, I determined to try and make some memoranda. 
Couttet brooffht me op a jug of water: I stooped to dip my brush, when 
Couttet caught my arm, saying, 'Tenez'; at the same instant I heard a 
blow, like the going off of a heayy gun, two or three miles away ; I looked 
tip, and as I md, the cascade sank before my eyes, and fell back to the 
rock. Neither of us spoke for an instant or two ; then Couttet said, 'C'est 
nne pierre, qui est log^e dans le creux,' or words to that effect: in fact, 
he had seen the stone come down as he called to me. I thought also 
that nothing more had happened, and watched the destroyed fall only 
with interest, until, as suddenly as it had fallen, it rose again, though 
not to its former height ; and Couttet, stooping down, exclaimed, ' Ce n'est 
pas 9a, le roc est perc6 ; ' in effect, a hole was now distinctly visible in 
the cup which turned the stream, through which the water whizzed as 
from a burst pipe. The cascade, however, continued to increase, until 
this new channel was concealed, and I was maintaining to Couttet that 
he must have been mistaken (and that the water only Hrtick on the outer 
rock, having changed its mode of fall above), when again it fell ; and the 
two girls, who had come up from the ch&let, expressed their opinion at 
once, that the ' cascade est finie.' This time all was plain ; the water 
gushed in a violent jet d'eau through the new aperture, hardly any of it 
escaping above. It rose again gradually, as the hole was choked with 
stones, and again fell ; but presently sprang out almost to its first elevation 
(the water being by this time in much less body); and retained very 
nearly the form it had yesterday, until I got tired of looking at it, and 
went down to the little ch&let, and sat down before its door. I had not 
been there five minutes before the cascade fell, and rose no more." 


• • 

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• • "• 



1 ••• 


r ^ 




1 1' 








i . 

. I 






• . • 


• "• 

> • 

• •. 

• • •• 

•• •• 

• •• 

•••• • 




mass, and in the complexity of lines into which it has been 
chiselled, as characteristic an instance as could be given by 
way of general type. It is one of no name or popular 
interest, but of singular importance in the geography of 
Switzo'land, being the angle buttress of the great northern 
chain of the Alps (the chain of the Jung&au and Giemmi), 
and forming the promontory round which the Rhone turns 
to the north-west, at Martigny. It is composed of an in- 
tensely hard gneiss (slaty crystallines), in which the plates 
of mica are set for the most part against the angle, running 
nearly north and south, as in Fig. 105. and giving the 
point therefore the utmost possible 
strength, which, however, cannot 
prevent it &om being rent gradu- 
ally by enormous curved fissures, 
and separated into huge vertical 
flakes and chasms, just at the 
lower promontory, as seen in Plate 
46, and (in pUn) in Fig. 105. The 
whole of the upper surface of the 
promontory is wrought by the old glaciers into furrows and 
striffi more notable than any I ever saw in the Alps. 

§ 84. Now observe, we have here a piece of Nature's 
work which she has assuredly been long in executing, and 
which is in peculiarly firm and stable material. It is in 
her best rock (slaty crystalline), at a point important for 
all her geographical purposes, and at Ihe degree of moun- 
tain elevation especially adapted to the observation of man- 
kind. We shall therefore probably ascertain as much of 
Nature's mind about these things in this piece of work as 
she usually allows iis to see all at once. 

§ 85. If the reader will take a pencil, and, laying tracing 
paper over the plate, follow a few of its lines, he will (un- 
less before accustomed to accurate mountain drawing) be 
soon amazed by the complexity, endlessness, aiad harmony 
of the curvatures. He wiU find that there is not one line 
in all that rock which is not an infinite curve, and united 


in some intricate way with others, and suggesting others 
unseen ; and if it were the reality, instead of my drawing, 
which he had to deal with, he would find the infinity, in a 
little while, altogether overwhelm him. But even in this 
imperfect sketch, as he traces the multitudinous involution 
of flowing line, passing from swift to slight curvature, or 
slight to swift, at every instant, he will, I think, find 
enough to convince him of the truth of what has been ad- 
vanced respecting the natural appointment of curvature as 
the first element of all loveliness in form. 

§ 86. ^^ Nay, but there are hard and straight lines 
mingled with those curves continually.** True, as we have 
said so often, just as shade is mixed with light. Angles 
and undulations may rise and flow continually, one through 
or over the other; but the opposition is in quantity nearly 
always the same, if the mass is to be pleasant to the eye. 
In the example previously given (Plate 40), the limestone 
bank above Villeneuve, it is managed in a different way, 
but is equal in degree; the lower portion of the hill is of 
soft rock in thin laminae; the upper mass is a solid and 
firm bed, yet not so hard as to stand all weathers. The 
lower portion therefore is rounded into almost unbroken 
p softness of bank ; the upper surmounts it as a rugged wall, 

f and the opposition of tiie curve and angle is just as com- 

plete as in the first example, in which one was continually 
mingled with the other. 

§ 87. Next, note the quantity in these hills. It is an 
i element on which I shall have to insist more in speaking 

of vegetation ; but I must not pass it by, here, since, in 
fact, it constitutes one of the essential deferences between 
hills of first-rate magnificence, and inferior ones. Not that 
there is want of quantity even in the lower ranges, but it 
is a quantity of inferior things, and therefore more easily 
represented or suggested. On a Highland hill side are mul- 
titudinous clusters of fern and heather; on an Alpine one, 
multitudinous groves of chestnut and pine. The number of 
the things may be the same, but the sense of infinity is in 

- Ch. XVII BANKS 840 

the latter case far greater, because the number is of nobler 
things. Indeed, so far as mere magnitude of space occupied 
on the field of the horizon is the measure of objects, a bank 
of earth ten feet high may, if we stoop to the foot of it, be 
made to occupy just as much of the sky as that bank of 
mountain at Villeneuve; nay, in many respects its little 
ravines and escarpments, watehed with some hdp of imagi- 
nation, may become very sufficiently representative to us of 
those of the great mountain ; and in classing all water-worn 
mountain-ground under the general and humble term of 
Banks, I mean to imply this relationship of structure be- 
tween the smallest eminences and the highest But in this 
matter of superimposed quantity the distinctions of rank 
are at once fixed. The heap of earth bears its few tufts of 
moss or knots of grass ; the Highland or Cumberland moun- 
tain its honeyed heathers or scented ferns ; but the mass of 
the bank at Martigny or Villeneuve has a vineyard in every 
cranny of its rocks, and a chestnut grove on every crest 
of them. 

§ 88. This is no poetical exaggeration. Look close into 
that plate (46). Every little circular stroke in it among the 
rocks means, not a clump of copse nor wreath of fern, but 
a walnut tree, or a Spanish chestnut, fifty or sixty feet high. 
Nor are the little curves, thus significative of trees, laid on 
at random. They are not indeed counted, tree by tree, but 
they are most carefully distributed in the true proportion 
and quantity; or if I have erred at all, it was from mere 
fatigue, on the side of sparingness. The minute mounds 
and furrows scattered up the side of that great promontory, 
when they are actually approached, after three or four hours' 
climbing, turn into independent hills with true parks of 
lovely pasture land enclosed among them, and avenue after 
avenue of chestnuts, walnuts, and pines bending round 
their bases; while in the deeper dingles, unseen in the 
drawing, nestle populous villages, literally bound down to 
the rock by enormous trunks of vine, which, first trained 
lightly over the loose stone roofs, have in process of years 


cast their fruitful net over the whole village, and fastened 
it to the ground under their purple weight and wayward 
coils, as securely as ever human heart was fastened to earth 
by the net of the Flatterer.^ 

§ 89. And it is this very richness of incident and detail 
which renders Switzerland so little attractive in its sub- 
jects to the ordinary artist.' Observe, this study of mine 

iverbt zxiz. 5.] 

le first vernon of these tectiont (S§ 90, 40) wm different, and oeeun in tlie 
dimftldS. in a different connexion — namely, in the cliapter on the Natnraliet Ideal 
(most of which was ultimately need aa ch. Tii. of the preoMing volume) : — 

'* I have never yet eeen the landscape or fragment of landscape of what- 
ever kind— finom the straight road hordered hy poplars which enters Carls- 
ruhe, to the nohlest scenes of the Alps — ^which, it Minted hy a good realistie 
artist precisely as it was, would not have made an impr e ss i ve pietnre. Also, 
any scene whatever which is beaatiful in nature, is beantifuf in art, and if 

E'Me still more beautiful, than in reality, according to the power of 
nation brought to bear upon it, as alwve ezperioieed. Wnat! the 
r will perhaps ask, in some surprise, are the scenes in Switzerland 
which are so striking in reality, as fit to be painted as the softer scenery 
of Italy? Do not idl artists agree that Switzerland is not fit for being 
painted, and Italy is? Yes. All artists (but one) that I know of do 
agree on this point But that is not because Switzerland is not fit for 
painting, but because they cannot paint it Those lights on the snow, 
those colours of the glaciers, those extents of massy sIm which delight us 
in the country itself, cannot be rendered by art It is very easy to pat a 
square cream-coloured house by a blue lake, with a black cynnm on one 
side and a white statue on the other— everybody is delightea when it is 
done — but not so easy to paint a score of leagues of splintered reek, of 
ever^ conceivable form, rising through rosy snow. It is very easy to paint 
trellises of vines or trunks of olives, not so easy to draw a slope of pines. 
There may perhaps be, in the space of a single Swiss valley which comes 
into a picture, from five to ten millions of well grown pines. Every one 
of theee pines must be drawn before the scene can be. A pine cannot 
be represented by a round stroke, nor by an upright one, nor even by 
an angular one ; no conventionality will express pme ; it must be regularly 
drawn with a light side and dark side, and a soft gradation from fiie top 
downwards, or it does not look like a pine at all. Most artists think it 
not desirable to choose a subject which involves the drawing of ten millions 
of trees^ one by one ; and for this^ and other similar reasons, they declare 
that Switzerland is not fit to be painted ; that it cannot be painted is in 
many respects true, but if it could be, its scenery would be just as striking 
in a picture as they are in realitv. This, then^ may be universally received 
for true, that whatever is beautiful in nature, is beautiful in art, if it can 
be done ; and nothing is so ugly in nature but that it becomes interesting in 
art ; so that an artist of small inventive power need never trouble himself 
about choosing a subject, if he will only paint whatever he chooses, welL 

'' But though I have never seen a landscape which could not be j[Munted, 
I have also never seen one, which, in arrangement of its parts, might not 
have been bettered by a great painter. It seems that it is intended by the 
Creator that the creature should be permitted to have some choosing and 
governing power of its own, not only in moral, but in pleasurable things."] 



in Plate 46 does not profess to be a picture at all. It is 
a mere sketch or catalogue of all tliat there is on the 
mountain side, faithfully written out, but no more than 
should be put down by any conscientious painter for mere 
guidance, before he begins his work, properly so called; 
and in finishing such a subject no trickery nor short-hand 
is of any avail whatsoever; there are a certain number 
of trees to be drawn; and drawn they must be, or the 
place will not bear its proper character. They are not 
misty wreaths of soft wood suggestible by a sweep or two 
of the brush; but arranged and lovely clusters of trees, 
dear in the mountain sunlight, each especially grouped, 
and as little admitting any carelessness of treatment, 
though five miles distant, as if they were within a few 
yards of us; the whole meaning and power of the scene 
being involved in that one fact of quantity. It is not 
large merely by multitude of tons of rock, — tiie number of 
tons is not measurable ; it is not large by elevation of 
angle on the horizon, — a house-roof near us rises higher; 
it is not large by faintness of aerial perspective, — in a dear 
day it often looks as if we could touch the summit with the 
hand. But it is large by this one unescapable fact that, 
from the summit to the base of it, there are of timber trees 
so many countable thousands. The scene difiers fix>m sub- 
jects not Swiss by including hundreds of other scenes within 
itself, and is mighty, not by scale, but by aggregation. 

§ 40. And this is more especially and humiliatingly true 
of pine forest. Nearly all other kinds of wood may be re- 
duced, over large spaces, to undetailed masses; but there 
is nothing but patience for pines; and this has been one 
of the principal reasons why artists call Switzerland ^^un- 
picturesque." There may perhaps be, in the space of 
a Swiss valley which comes into a picture, from five to 
ten millions of weU grown pines.* Every one of these 

* Allow ten feet square for aFeimge spaee to each [nne ; toppote the 
valley seen onlj for five miles of its length, and the pine district two 
miles broad on each side — a low estimate of breadth also; this would 
give five millions. 


pines must be drawn before the scene can be. And a 
pine cannot be represented by a round stroke nor by an 
upright one, nor even by an angular one; no ccmvea- 
tionidism will express a pine; it must be legitimately 
drawn, with a light side and dark side, and a soft grada- 
tion from the top downwards, or it does not loc^ like a 
pine at alL Most artists think it not desirable to choose 
a subject which involves the drawing of ten millions of 
trees; because, supposing they could even do four or five 
in a minute, and worked for ten hours a day, their picture 
would still take them ten years before they had finished 
its pine forests. For this, and other similar reasons, it is 
declared usually that Switzerland is ugly and unpicturesque ; 
but that is not so; it is only that toe cannot paint it. If 
we could, it would be as interesting on the canvas as it is 
in reality; and a painter of fruit and flowers might just 
as well call a human figure unpicturesque, because it was 
to him unmanageable, as the ordinary landscape-effi^^ 
painter speak in depreciation of the Alps.^ 

§ 41. It is not probable that any subject such as we 
have just been describing, involving a neeessity of ten 
years' labour, will be executed by the modwn landscape 
school, — at least, until its Pre-Raphadyitic tetMlencies be- 
come much more developed than they are yet; nor was 
it desirable that they should have been by Turner, whose 
fruitful invention would have been unwisely arrested for a 
length of time on any single subject, however beautiful 
But with his usual certainty of perception, he fastened at 
once on this character of " quantity,** as the thing to be ex- 
pressed, in one way or another, in all grand mountain- 
drawing; and the subjects of his on which I have chiefly 
dwelt in the First Volume (chapter on the Inferior Moun- 
tains, § 16, etc.*) are distinguished from the work of other 

^ [On Raskin's own labour in trying to draw countless pines^ and on Turner's 
more prudent economy in this respect^ see Mamingi in Florence, § 106^ and NoUe en 
Turner Dramnge, «. 26 n. and 20 r. J 

* [VoL III. pp. 400, 461.] 



painters in nothing so much as in this redundance. Beau- 
tifid as they are in colour, graceful in fancy, powerful 
in execution, — ^in none of these things do they stand so 
much alone as in plain, calculable quantity ; he having 
always on the average twenty trees or rocks where other 
people have only one, and winning his victories not more 
by skill of generalship than by overwhelming numerical 

§ 42. I say his works are distinguished in this more 
than in anything else, not because this is their highest 
quality, but because it is peculiar to them. Invention, 
colour, grace of arrangement, we may find in Tintoret and 
Veronese in various manifestation; but the expression of 
the infinite redundance of natural landscape had never been 
attempted until Turner's time; and the treatment of the 
masses of mountain in the Daphne and Leucippus, Golden 
Bough, and Modem Italy, is wholly without precursorship 
in art.^ 

Nor, observe, do I insist upon this quantity merely as 
arithmetical, or as if it were producible by repetition of 
similar things. It would be easy to be redundant, if multi- 
plication of the same idea constituted fulness; and since 
Turner first introduced these types of landscape, myriads of 
vulgar imitations of them have been produced, whose per- 
petrators have supposed themselves disciples or rivals of 
Turner, in covering their hills with white dots for forests, 
and their foregrounds with yellow sparklings for herbage. ^ 

But the Turnerian redundance is never monotonous. Of 
the thousands of groups of touches which, with him, are 
necessary to constitute a single bank of hill, not one but \ 

has some special character, and is as much a separate in- i 

vention as the whole plan of the picture. Perhaps this 

may be sufficiently understood by an attentive examination 


^ [Ihe /'Daphne "is No. 520 in the National Gallery; the '/Golden Bonf^h" [ \ 




of the detail introduced by him in his St. Gothard sufagect, 
M shown in Plate 37. 

§ 48. I do not, indeed, know if the examples I have 
given from natural scenes, though they are as characteristic 
as I could well choose, are enough to accustom the reader 
to the character of true mountain lines, and to enable him 
to recognize such lines in other instances; but if not, at 
all events they may serve to elucidate the main points, and 
guide to more ccHnplete examination of the subject, if it 
interests him, among the hills themselves. And if, after he 
has pursued the inquiry long enough to feel the certitude 
of the laws which I have been endeavouring to illustrate, 
he turns back again to art, I am well assined it will be 
with a strange recognition of unconceived excellence, and 
a newly quickened pleasure in the unforeseen fidelity, that 
he will trace the pencilling of Turner upon his hill drawings. 
I do not choose to spexKi, in this woric, the labour and 
time which would be necessary to analyze, as I have done 
the drawing of the St. Gothard, any oUier of Turner's im- 
portant mountain designs; for the reader must fed the 
disadvantage they are under in being either reduced in scale, 
or divided into fragments: and therefore these chapters 
are always to be considered merely as memoranda for re- 
ference before the pictures which the reader may have it 
in his power to examine. But this one drawing of the St. 
Gothard, as it has already elucidated for us Turner's know- 
ledge of crest structure, will be found no less wonderful in 
the fulness with which it illustrates his perception of the 
lower aqueous and other curvatures. If the reader will 
look back to the etching of the entire subject, Plate 21, he 
will now discern, I believe, without the necessity of my 
lettering them for him, the lines of fall, rounded down from 
the crests until they plunge into the overhanging precipices ; 
the lines of projection, where the fallen stones extend the 
long concave sweep from the couloir, pushing the torrent 
against the bank on the other side ; in the opening of the 
ravine he will perceive the oblique and parallel inclination 


of its sides, following the cleavage of the beds in the 
diagonal line a b of the reference %ure ; ^ and, finally, in 
the great slope and precipice on the right of it, he will 
recognize one of the grandest types of the peculiar moun- 
tain mass which Turner always chose by preference to 
illudxate, the '' slope above wall '' of <f in Fig. 18, p. 188 ; 
compare also the last chapter, §§ 26, 27. It will be seen 
by reference to my sketch at the spot, Plate 20, that this 
conformation does actually exist there with great definite- 
ness : Turner has only enlarged and thrown it into more' 
numerous alternations of light and shade. As these could 
not be shown in the etching, I have given, in the frontis- 
piece, this passage nearly of its real size:* the exquisite 
greys and blues by which Turner has rounded and thrown 
it back, are necessarily lost in the plate; but the grandeur 
of his simple cliff and soft curves of sloping bank above is 
in some degree rendered. 

We must yet dwell for a moment on the detail of the 
rocks on the left in Plate 37, as they approach nearer the 
eye, turning at the same time from the light. It cost me 
trouble to etch this passage, and yet half its refinements 
are still missed; for Tirnier has put his whole strength 
into it, and wrought out the curving of the gneiss beds 
with a subtlety which could not be at all approached in 
the time I had to spare for this plate. Enough, however, 
is expressed to illustrate the points in question. 

§ 44. We have first, observe, a rounded bank, broken, 
at its edges, into cleavages by inclined beds. I thought it 
would be well, lest the reader should think I dwelt too 
much on this particular scene, to give an instance of similar 
structure from another spot; and therefore I daguerreo- 
typed the cleavages of a slope of gneiss just above the 
Cascade des P^lerins, Chamouni, corresponding in position 
to this bank of Turner's. Plate 48 (facing p. 869), copied 

* [Fig. 7 
« [Inthi 

70, p. 272.] 
this edition reduced, and reproduced in photogravure (?).] 


by Mr. Armytage from the daguerreotype, represents, neces- 
sarily in a quite unprejudiced and impartial way, the struc- 
ture at present in question; and the reader may form a 
sufficient idea, from this plate, of the complexity of de- 
scending curve and foliated rent, in even a small piece of 
mountain for^fround,"* where the gneiss beds are tolerably 
continuous. But Turner had to add to such general com- 
plexity the expression of a more than ordinary undulation 
in the beds of the St. Grothard gneiss. 

§ 45. If the reader will look back to Chapter ii. § 18, 
he will find it stated that this scene is approached out of 
the defile of Dazio Grande, of which the impression was 
still strong on Turner's mind, and where only he could see, 
close at hand, the nature of the rocks in a good secticm. 
It most luckily happens that De Saussure was interested 
by the rocks at the same spot, and has given the following 
account of them. Voyages^ §§ 1801, 1802 : — 

^'A une lieue de Faido, Ton passe le T^in pour le re- 
passer bientdt apr^ [see the old bridge in Tumer*s view, 
carried away in mine], et Ton trouve sur sa rive droite des 
couches d'une roche feuillet^, qui montent du cdt^ du 

'' On voit clairement que depuis que les granits vein& 
ont ^t^ remplac^ par des pierres moins solides, tantdt les 
rochers se sont ^boul^ et ont ^t^ reconverts par la terre 
v^g^tale, tantdt leur situation primitive a subi des change- 
ments irr^guliers. 

''§ 1802. Mais bientdt apr^, on monte par un chendn 
en comicke au-de^sus du TAin^ qui se prdapite enire des 
rochers avec la plus grande violence. Ces rochers sont Ut 
si serr^, qu'il n'y a de place que pour la riviere et pour le 
chemin, et m6me en quelques endroits, celui-ci est enti^re- 
ment pris sur le roc. Je fis k pied cette mont^, pour 
examiner avec soin ces beaux rochers, dignes de tout 
V attention dun amateur. 

* The white spots on the brow of the little eliff are liehenB, only four 
or five inches broiid. 


''Les veines de oe granit forment en plusieurs endroits 
des zigzags redoubUsy predsement comme ces ancieimes 
tapisseries, connues sous le nom de points d'Hongrie; et 
Ik, on ne pent pas prononcer si les veines de la pierre sont 
ou ne sont pas parall^les k ses couches. Cependant ces 
veines reprennent, aussi dans quelques places, une direction 
constante, et cette direction est bien la m6me que celle 
des couches. II paroit m6me qu'en divers endroita oil ces 
veines ont la forme d'un sigma ou d'une M couch^ M, ce 
sont les grandes jambes du sigmay qui ont la direction des 
couches. Enfin, j'observai plusieurs couches, qui dans le 
milieu du leur ^paisseur paroissoient remplies de ces veines 
en zigzag, tandis qu'aupr^s de leurs bords, on les voyoit 
toutes en lignes droites.*'^ 

§ 46. If the reader will now examine Turner's work at 
the point «r in the reference figure, and again on the stones 
in the foreground, comparing it finally with the fragment 
of the rocks which happened fortunately to come into my 
foreground in Plate 20, rising towards the left, and of 
which I have etched the structure with some care, though 
at the time I had quite forgotten Saussure's notice of the 
peculiar M-shaped zigzags of the gneiss at the spot, I 
believe he will have enough evidence before him, taken 
all in all, to convince him of Turner's inevitable percep- 
tion, and of the entire supremacy of his mountain drawing 
over all that had previously existed. And if he is able 
to refer, even to the engravings (though I desire always 
that what I state should be tested by the drawings only) 
of any others of his elaborate hill-subjects, and will ex- 
amine their details with careful reference to the laws 
explamed m this chapter, he wiU find that the Tumerian 
promontories and banks are always simply rights and that 
in all respects ; that their gradated curvatures and nodding 
cliffs, and redundant sequence of folded glen and feathery 

^ See Raskin's paper *' Of the Distiuctions of Form in Silica " for another reference 
to^ and a translation of, this passage. The paper, which formed ch. i. of In MonHbu* 
^metis, is reprinted in a later volume of this edition.] 


glade, are, in all their seemingly fSaneiful beauty, Uterally 
the most downright plainspeaking that has as yet been 
uttered about hills; and differ from all anteced^it woriiL, 
not in being ideal, but in being, so to speak, pictorial cagb 
of the ground. Such a drawing as that of tiie Yoikshire 
Richmcmd, looking down the river, in the England Scries,^ 
is even better than a model of the ground, because it gives 
the aerial perspective, and is better than a photograph of the 
ground, because it exaggerates no shadows, while it unites 
Uie veracities both of model and photograph. 

§ 47. Nor let it be thought that it was an easy or 
creditable thing to treat mountain ground with this £utk- 
fblness in the days when Turner executed those dncwings. 
In the Encyclopaedia Britannica (Edinburgh, 1797)9 under 
article ''Drawing,*' the following are the directions given 
for the production of a landscape : — 

''If he is to draw a landscape from nature, let him 
take his station on a rising ground, where he will have a 
large horizon, and mark his tablet into three divisions, 
downwards from top to the bottom; and divide in hh 
own mind the landscape he is to take into three divisi<»is 
also. Then let him turn his face directly opposite to the 
midst of the horizon, keeping his body fixed, and draw 
what is directly before his eyes upon the middle division 
of the tablet; then turn his kead^ bnt not his body/^ to 
the left hand, and delineate what he views there, joining 
it properly to what he had done before; and, lastly, do 
the same by what is to be seen upon his right hand, laying 
down everjrthing exactly, both with respect to distance and 
proportion. One example is given in plate elxviii. 

"The best artists of late, in drawing their landscapes, 
make them shoot away, one part lower than another. 

* What a comfortable, as well as intelligent, operation, sketching from 
nature must have been in those days ! 

^ [This drawing (formerly in Ruskin's ooUeetion^ afterwards given by him to Cam- 
bridge) is engravod as Plate 6, '^ Richmond from the Moors,' in the next volwne 
of Modem Pi£uer9,] 


Those who make their landscapes mount up higher and 
higher, as if they stood at the bottom of a hill to take 
the prospect, commit a great error; the best way is to 
get upon a rising ground, make the nearest objects in the 
piece the highest, and those that are farther off to shoot 
away lower and lower till they come almost level with 
the line of the horizon, lessening everjrthing proportionably 
to its distance, and observing also to make the objects 
fainter and less distinct the fiirther they are removed fixxm 
the eye. He must make ail his lights and shades fiill one 
way, and let everything have its proper motion; as trees 
shaken by the wind, the small boughs bending more, and 
the large ones less; water agitated by the wind, and dash- 
ing against ships or boats, or fisdling from a precipice upon 
rocks and stones, and spirting up again into the air, and 
sprinkling all about; clouds also in the air now gathered 
with the winds; now violently condensed into hail, rain, 
and the like, — alwa3rs remembering, that whatever motions 
are caused by the wind must be made all to move the 
same way, because the wind can blow but one way at 

Such was the state of the public mind, and of public 
instruction, at the time when Claude, Poussin, and Salva- 
tor were in the zenith of their reputation; such were the 
precepts which, even to the close of the century, it was 
necessary for a young painter to comply with during the 
best part of the years he gave to study. Take up one 
of Turner's views of our Yorkshire dells, seen from about 
a hawk's height of pause above the sweep of its river, 
and with it in your hand, side by side with the old 
Encyclopoedia paragraph, consider what must have been 
the man's strength, who, oa a sudden, passed from such 
precept to such practice. 

§ 48. On a sudden it was; for, even yet a youth, and 
retaining profound respect for all older artists' ways of work^ 
he followed his own will fearlessly in choice of scene; and 
already in the earliest of his coast drawings there are as 


daring and strange decisions touching the site of the spec- 
tator as in his latest works; looking down and up into 
coves and clouds, as defiant of all former theories touching 
possible perspective, or graceful componence of subject, as, 
a few years later, his system of colour was of the theory 
of the brown tree.^ Nor was the step remarkable merely 
for its magnitude, — ^for the amount <^ progress made in a 
few years. It was much more notable by its direction. 
The discovery of the true structure of hill banks had to 
be made by Turner, not merely in advance of the men 
of his day, but in contradiction to them. Examine the 
works of contemporary and preceding landscapists, and it 
will be found that the universal practice is to make the 
tops of all clifis broken and rugged, their bases smooth 
and soft, or concealed with wood. No one had ever ob- 
served the contrary structure, the bank rounded at the top, 
and broken on the flank. And yet all the hills of any im- 
portance which are met with throughout Liowland Europe 
are, properly speaking, high banks, for the most part fol- 
lowing the courses of rivers, and forming a step from the 
high ground, of which the country generally consists, to 
the river leveL Thus almost the whole of France, though, 
on the face of it, flat, is raised from 800 to 500 feet above 
the level of the sea, and is traversed by valleys either 
formed by, or directing, the course of its great rivers. In 
these valleys lie all its principal towns, surrounded, almost 
without exception, by ranges of hiUs covered with wood 
or vineyard. Ascending these hills, we find ourselves at 
once in an elevated plain, covered with com and lines of 
apple trees, extending to the next river side, where we 
come to the brow of another hill, and descend to the city 
and valley beneath it. Our own vaUeys in Northumber- 
land, Yorkshire, Derbyshire, and Devonshire, are cut in 
the same manner through vast extents of elevated land; 
the scenery which interests the traveller chiefly, as he passes 

1 [See Vol. m. p. 46.] 


through even the most broken parts of those counties, 
being simply that of the hi^ banks which rise from the 
shores of the Dart or the IJierwent, the Wharfe or the 
Tees. In all cases, when these banks are surmounted, the 
sensation is one of disappointment, as the adventurer finds 
himself, the moment he has left the edge of the ravine, 
in a waste of softly undulating moor or arable land, hardly 
deserving the title of hill country. As we advance into 
the upper districts, the &ct remains still the same, although 
the banks to be climbed are higher, the ravines grander, 
and the intermediate land more broken. The majesty of 
an isolated peak is still comparatively rare, and nearly all 
the most interesting pieces of scenery are glens or passes, 
which, if seen from a height great enough to command 
them in all their relations, would be found in reality little 
more than trenches excavated through broad masses of 
elevated land, and expanding at intervals into the wide 
basins which are occupied by the glittering lake or smiling 

§ 49. All these facts have been entirely ignored by 
artists; nay, almost by geologists, before Turner's time. 
He saw them at once; £Eithomed them to the uttermost, 
and, partly owing to early association, partly, perhaps, to 
the natural pleasure of working a new mine discovered 
by himself, devoted his best powers to their illustration, 
passing by with somewhat less attention the conditions of 
broken-summited rock, which had previously been the only 
ones observed. And if we now look back to his treatment 
of the crest of Mont Pilate, in the figure given at the 
close of the last chapter but oner, we shall understand 
better the nature and strength of the instinct which com- 
pelled him to sacrifice the peaked summit, and to bring 
the whole mountain within a lower enclosing line.^ In that 
figure, however, the dotted peak interferes with the percep- 
tion of the form finally determined upon, which, therefore, 

^ [Sm abora. Fig. 72, p. 277.] 




I repeat here (Fig. 106), as Turner gave it in colour. The 
eye may not at first detect the law of ascent in the peaks, 
but if the height of any one of them were altered, the 
general form would instantly be perceived to be less agree- 
able. Fig. 107 shows that they are disposed within an 


infinite curve a c, from which the last crag falls a little 
to c(mceal the law, while the terminal line at the other 
extremity, a 6, is a minor echo of the whole omtour. 

§ 50. I must pause to make one exception to my genend 
statement that this structure had been entirely ignored. 

Fig, 107 

The reader was, perhaps, surprised by the importance I 
attached to the fragment of mountain background by 
Masaccio, given in Plate 13 of the third volume.* If he 
looks back to it now, his surprise will be less. It was a 
complete recognition of the laws of the lines of aqueous 
sculpture, asserted as Tumer*s was, in the boldest oppo- 
sition to the principles of rock drawing of the time. It 

» [VoL v. p. 396.] 


• • 


•• • 
• ••• 

f I *^ 

I : 


presents even smoother and broader masses than any which 
I have shown as types of hill form, but it must be re* 
membered that .Masacdo had seen only the softer contoui:s 
of the Apennine limestone. I have no memorandum by 
me of the hill lines near Florence; but Plate 47 shows the 
development of limestone structure, at a spot which has, I 
think, the best right to be given as an example of the 
Italian hills, the head of the valley of Carrara. The white 
scar on the hill side is the principal quarry; and the peaks 
above deserve observation, not so much for an3rthing in 
their forms, as for the singular barrenness which was noted 
in the fifteenth chapter of the last volume (§ 8)^ as too 
often occurring in the Apennines. Compare this plate with 
the previous one. The* peak drawn in Plate 46 rises at 
least 7»500 feet above the sea, — ^yet is wooded to its top; 
this Carrara crag not above 5,000,* — ^yet it is :wholly 

§ 51. Masaccio, however, as we saw,' was taken away by 
death before he could give any one of his thoughts com- 
plete expression. Turner was spared to do At^ work, in 
this respect at least, completely. It might be thought 
that, having had such adverse influence to struggle with, 
he would prevail against it but in part; and, though show- 
ing the way to much that was new, retain of necessity 
some old prejudices, and leave his successors to pursue in 
purer liberty, and with happier power, the path he had 
pointed out. But it was not so: he did the work so com- 
pletely on the ground which he chose to illustrate, that 
nothing is left for future artists to accomplish in that kind. 
Some classes of scenery, as often pointed out in the preced- 
ing pages,* he was unfamiliar with, or held in little affection, 

'*' It is not one of the highest points of the Carrara chain. The chief 
summits are much more jagged^ and very noble. See Chap. xx. § 20. 

^ [In this edition^ VoL V. p. 299. For another drawing of some of the peaks of 
Carrara^ see Vol. II. p. 208 ; and compare Ruskin's note to his poem on that page.] 

* [See again Vol. V. p. 396.] 

' [See, for instance, pp. 2^3^ 300, 302 ; and compare Modem Paintert, vol. L 
(Vol. III. pp. 236-240.] 


and out of that scenery, untouched by hun, new motives 
may be obtained; but of such landscape as his favourite 
Yorkshire Wolds, and banks of Rhenish and French hiU, 
and rocky mountains of Switzerland, like the St. Gk>thard, 
already so long dwelt upon, he has expressed the power in 
what I believe to be for ever a central and unmatchable 
way. I do not say this with positiveness, because it is not 
demonstrable. Turner may be beaten on his own ground 
— so may Tintoret, so may Shakspeare, Dante, or Homer: 
but my belief is that all these first-rate men are lonely 
men; that the particular work they did was by them done 
for ever in the best way; and that this work done by 
Turner among the hills, joining the most intense apprecia- 
tion of all tenderness with delight in all magnitude, and 
memory for all detail, is never to be rivalled, or looked 
upon m suniHtude agam. 



§ L It is somewhat singular that the indistinctness of treat- 
ment which has been so often noticed^ as characteristic of 
our present art shows itself always most when there is least 
apparent reason for it. Modem artists, having some true 
S3rmpathy with what is vague in nature, draw all that is 
uncertain and evasive without evasion, and render faithftdly 
whatever can be discerned in fidthless mist or mocking 
vapours; but having no sympathy with what is solid and 
serene, they seem to become uncertain themselves in pro- 
portion to the certamty of what they see; and whUe they 
render flakes of fur-away cloud, or fringes of inextricable 
forest, with something like patience and fidelily, give 
nothing but the hastiest indication of the ground they can 
tread upon or touch. It is only in modem art that we 
find any complete representation of clouds, and only in 
ancient art that, generally speaking, we find any careful 
realization of Stones. 

§ 2. This is all the more strange, because, as we saw 
some time back, the ruggedfisss of the stone is more 
pleasing to the modem than the mediaeval, and he rarely 
completes any picture satisfactorily to himself unless large 
spaces of it are filled with irregular masonry, rocky banks, 
or shingly shores: whereas the mediaeval could conceive no 
desirableness in the loose and unhewn masses; associated 
them generally in his mind with wicked men, and the 
martjrrdom of St. Stephen; and always threw them out 
of his road, or garden, to the best of his power. 

' [See, ibr instane^abore, pp. 78, 74.] 




I 5. Wlieiew tiniigs nuij ahngrs be seen tmty by 
peo^e, tfaoa^ oerer compUld^. No homan opaci^ erer 
yet WW the whole of s thing; but we m^ see more and 
more of it the looger we look. Every indrndual tenqier 
will see something diffiamt in it : but si^posing the tempos 
honesty all the differences are there. Every advance in oar 
acuteness of perception will show us aomcthing new: but 
the old and first discerned thing will still be there, not 
falsified, onty modified and enridied by the new pe rcep ti ons, 
becoming continually more beaotifiil in its harmony with 
them^ and more af^Hoved ns a part of the Infinite trnth. 

§ 0, Thoe mn no natm»l objects out of iHiich more 
can be thus learned than out of stone& They seem to 
have been created espedalty to reward a patient observer. 
Nearly all other objects in nature can be seen, to scmie 
extent, without patience, and are pleasant even in bdng 
half seen* Trees, ckmds, and rivers are enjoyable even by 
the careless; but the stcme under his foot has for careless- 
ness nothing in it but stumbling: no pleasure is languidly 
to be had out of it, nor food, nor good of any kind; 
nothing but symboUsm of the hard heart and the unfatherly 
gift. And yet, do but give it some reverence and watch- 
fulness, and there is bread of thou^t in it, more than in 
any other lowly feature of all the landscape. 

§ 7. For a stone, when it is examined, will be found 
a mountain in miniature.^ The fineness of Nature's work 
is so great, that into a single block, a foot or two in 
diameter, she can compress as many changes of form and 
structure, on a small scale, as she needs for her mountains 
on a large one; and, taking moss for forests, and grains 
of crystal for crags, the suirface of a stone, in by far the 
plurality of instances, is more interesting than the surface 
of an ordinary hill; more fisntastic in form, and incom- 
parably richer in colour, — ^the last quality being, in fact, 
so noble in most stones of good birth (that is to say, 

> [So Rnildn bad obttrvsd In his mt\j a 
(Vol.1, p. 48).] 

\j on Tk» Poeirp ^ ArekUeeHtre, $ 54 

• • 

• • 

•• • 








fallen from the crystalline mountain-ranges), that I shall be 
less able to illustrate this part of my subject satisfactorily 
by means of engraving than perhaps any other, except the 
colour of skies. I say, shall be less able, because the beauty 
of stone surface is in so great a d^pree dependent on the 
mosses and lichens which root themselves upon it, that I 
must place my richest examples in the section on vegeta^ 
tion. For instance, in the plate opposite, though the mass 
of rock is large and somewhat distant, the effect of it is as 
much owing to the white spots of silvery lichen in the 
centre and left, and to the flowing lines in which the 
darker mosses, growing in the cranny, have arranged them- 
selves beyond, as to the character of the rock itself; nor 
could the beauty of the whole mass be explained, if we 
were to approach the least nearer, without more detailed 
drawing of this v^^etation. For the present I shall only 
give a few examples of the drawing of stones roughly 
broken, or worn so as not to be materially affected by 

§ 8. We have already seen an example of Titian's treat- 
ment of mountain crests as compared with Turner's;^ here 
is a parallel instance, from Titian, of stones in the bed of 
a torrent (Fig. 108), in many ways good and right, and 
expressing in its writhed and variously broken lines far 
more of real stone structure than the common water-colour 
dash of the modems. Observe, especially, how Titian has 
understood that the fracture of the stone more or less de- 
pends on the undulating grain of its crystalline structure, 
following the cavity of the largest stone in the middle of 
the figure, with concentric lines; and compare in Plate 21 
the top of Turner's largest stone on the left. 

§ 9. If the reader sees nothing in this drawing (Fig. 108) 
that he can like, — although, indeed, I would have him 
prefer the work of Turner, — let him be assured that he 
does not yet understand on what Titian's reputation is 
founded. No painter's name is oftener in the mouth of the 

1 [See above, eh. xr. §§ 27> 34, pp. 266-267, 277.] 
VI. 2 a 



ordinary connoisseur, and no painter was evc;^ less under- 
stqpd. His power of colour is indeed perfect, but so is 
BfHiifimo's. Titian's supremacy above all the other Vene- 
tians, except Tintoret and Veronese, consists in the firm 
truth of his portnuture, and more or less masterly under- 

standing of the nature of stones, trees, men, or whatever else 
he took in hand to paint; so that, without some correlative 
understanding in the spectator, Titian's work, in its highest 
qualities, must be utterly dead and unappealing to him. 

§ 10. I give one more example from the lower part fA 
the same print (Fig. 100), in which a stone, with an eddy 
round it, is nearly as well drawn as it can be in the simple 



method of the eariy wood-eograving. Perhaps the reader 
will fisel its truth better by contrast with a finigtnent or 
two of modem Idealism, Here, for instance (Fig. 110), is 
a group of stones, highly entertaining in their variety of 
form, out of the sulgect of " Christian vanquishing ApoU- 
yon," in the outlines to The JKlgrim's Progrestt published 
by the Art-Union;' the idealism being here wrought to 
a pitch of extraordinary brilliancy by the exciting nature of 

the subject. Next {Fig. Ill) is anoUier poetical concep- 
tion, one of Flaxman's, r^)resenting the eddies and stones of 
the Pool of Envy (Flaxman's Dwite'), which may be con- 
veniently compared with the Titianesque stones and streams. 
And, finally. Fig. 112 represents, also on Flaxman's autho- 
rity, those stones of an *' Alpine "' character, of which Dante 
says that he 

" Climbed with hurt of proof the adTerse tteqi." * 
It seems at first curious that every one of the forms 

> [Plkta 12 in The PUgrim'* Fngrem, illnatntod bj enirnTingt in ontlinc, (rtc, bj 
Honrr C. 3«Ioub, 1B44. Th« volamc wu edited hj the boDonrj McrrtuiM at the 
Art Unioa, Uie outline! having been urarded e priie in 1833l] 

* [OxnpMiftmM Ay JohM ^axma», Seuiptor, A. J., fivm fA* DMm Poem qf Daat* 
AUgUeri, 1807. "The Pool of Ea-rj" (AfArM, viiL) b Plate di Hg. 112 ie frmn 
PUte 28 (" The Flaminc Onlph ") : Me At^nWjSm.] 

■ [TUa line u ettecbed to the dnwh^ 1^ FlanaaB, being e free laoderinc (frem 
the Tenion of the Rev. H. Bard, 1802) of ^ame, xzri. 17. 1& For the ftooee of 
an "Al^e" character. Me Inftnto, sU. (dted below, f. 382).] 



Pr. V 

that Flaxman has chanced upon should be an impossible 
one — a form which a stone never could assume; but this 
is the Nemesis of false idealism, and the inevitable one. 


§ 11. The chief incapacity in the modem work is not, 
however, so much in its outline, though that is wrong 
enough, as in the total absence of any effort to mark the 


surface roundings. It is not the autUne of a stone, how- 
ever true, that will make it solid or heavy ; it is the interior 
markinffs, and thoroufirhlv understood perspectives of its 

Tnit}i andl'iitrutli .if St imps 




ffldes. In the opposite plate the upper two subjects are 
by Turner, foregrounds out of the Liber Studiorum (Source 
of Arreron, and Ben Arthur) ; the lower by Claude, Liber 
Veritatis. No. 5. I think the reader cannot but feel that 
the blocks in the upper two subjects are massy and pm- 
derous; in the lower, wholly witiiout wei^t If he exa- 
mine iJieir several treatment, he will find that Turner has 
perfect imajpnatire conception of every recess and projeGti<»i 

over the whole surface, andjeeli the stone as he worics over 
it; every touch, moreover, being full of toider gradation. 
But Claude, as he is obliged to hold to his outline in hilla, 
so also clings to it in the stones, — cannot round them in 
the least, leaves their li^t surfaces wholly blank, and puts 
a few patches o£ dark here and there about their edges, as 
chance wiU have it 

§ 12. Turner's way of wedging the stones of the g^er 
moraine together in strength of disorder, in the upper 
subject, and his indication of the sfwinging of the mid 
stems and leafage out of the rents in the boulders of the 


lower one, will hardly be appreciated unless the reader is 
fondly acquainted with the kind of scenery in question; 
and I cannot calculate on this being often the case, for 
few persons ever look at any near detail closely, and perhaps 
least of all at the heaps of d^hris which so often seem to 
oicumber and disfigure mountain ground. But for the 
various reasons just stated (§ 7), Turner found more mate- 
rial for his power, and more excitement to his inventicm, 
among the fEtUen stones than in the highest summits of 
mountains; and his early designs among their thousand 
excellences and singularities, as opposed to all that had 
preceded them, count for not one of the least the elaborate 
care given to the drawing of torrent beds, shaly slopes, 
and other conditions of stony ground which all canons of 
art at the period pronounced inconsistent with dignity of 
composition; a convenient principle, since, of all fore- 
grounds, one of loose stones is beyond comparison the most 
difficult to draw with any approach to realization. The 
Tumerian subjects, "Junction of the Greta and Tees" 
(Yorkshire Series, and illustrations to Scott); ''Wyclifie, 
near Rokeby" (Yorkshire); "Hardraw Fall*' (Yorkshire); 
"Ben Arthur" (Liber Studiorum); ** Ulleswater " and the 
magnificent drawing of the "Upper Fall of the Tees" 
(England Series),^ are sufficiently illustrative of what I 

§ 18. It is not, however, only in their separate con- 
dition, as materials of foreground, that we have to examine 
the efiect of stones; they form a curiously important ele- 
ment of distant landscape in their aggregation on a large 

It will be remembered that in the course of the last 
chapter' we wholly left out of our account of mountain 

1 [For ft fuller reference to the d^rie iliown in the ''Janotion of the Greta 
mnd. Tees," where *' every lepamte block b a itudv," see VoL III. p. 490 ; at the 
fame place, pp. 486-491, the '^ Upper Fall of the lees " is instanced as '' a standard 
example of rock-^rawinf."] 

* [See above, p. 346. J 


lines that group iiviiich was called ''Lines of Rest" One 
reason for doing so was that, as these lines are produced 
by debris in a state of temporary repose, their beauty or 
deformity, or whatever character tiiey may possess, is pro- 
perly to be considered as belongmg to stones rather than 
to rocks. 

§ 14. Whenever heaps of loose stones or sand are in- 
creMed by the continual Ml of fresh fragments from 
above, or diminished by their removal from below, yet 
not in such mass or with such momentum as entirely to 
disturb those already accumulated, the materials on the 
surfiuse arrange themselves in an equable slope, producing 
a straight line of profile in the bank or cone. 

The heap formed by the sand falling in an hour-glass 
presents, in its straight sides, the simplest result of such 
a condition ; and any heap of sand thrown up by the spade 
will show the slopes here and there, interrupted cmly by 
knotty portions, held together by moisture, or agghiti* 
nated by pressure, — interruptions which cannot occur to 
the same extent on a large scale, unless the soil is really 
hardened nearly to the nature of rock. As long as it 
remains incoherent, every removal of substance at the 
bottom of the heap, or addition of it at the top, occasions 
a sliding disturbance of the whole slope, which smooths it 
into rectitude of line ; and there is hardly any great moun- 
tain mass among the Alps which does not show towards 
its foundation perfectly regular descents of this nature, 
often two or three miles long without a break. Several 
of considerable extent are seen on the left of Plate 46 
(p. 846). 

§ 15. I caU these lines of rest, because, though the bulk 
of the mass may be continually increasing or diminishing, 
the line of the profile does not change, being fixed at a 
certain angle by the nature of the eurth. It is usually 
stated carelessly as an angle of about 45 degrees, but it 
never really reaches such a slope. I measured carefully 
the angles of a very large number of slopes of mountain 


in various parts of the Mont Blanc district The few ex- 
amples given in the note below are enough to exhibit the 
general £act that loose debris lies at various angles up to 
about 80"" or 82'' ; d^ris protected by grass or pines may 
reach 85'', and rocky slopes 40"" or 41'', but in continuous 
lines of rest I never found a steeper angle.* 

§ 16. 1 speak of some rocky slopes as lines of rest, be- 
cause, ^enever a mountain side is composed of soft stone 
which splits and decomposes fast, it has a tendency to 
choke itself up with the ruins, and gradually to get abraded 
or ground down towards the debris slope; so that vast 
masses of the sides of Alpine valleys are formed by ascents 
of nearly uniform inclination, partly loose, partly of jagged 
rocks, which break, but do not materially alter the general 
line of the ground. In such cases the fragments usually 
have accumulated without disturbance at the foot of the 
slope, and the pine forests fiisten the soil and prevent it 
from being carried down in large masses. But numerous 

* Small fengmenU of limettone, five or fix inches •crott, and flattish, 

sharp, angular on edges, and quite loose ; slope near fountain * 

ofMasrlans 511 

Somewhat larger stones, nearer Maglaas ; quite loose • 'l| 

Similar debris, slightly touched with regptition . S9 

Debris on southern side of Maglans 53^ 

Slope of Montague de la C6te, at the bottom, as seen from the 

village of Chamouni 40f 

Average slope of Montague de Taconay, seen from Chamouni S8 

Maxinuim slope of side of Breven 41 

Slope of debris from ravine of Breven down to the village of 

Chamouni 14 

Slopes of debris set with pines under Aiguille Verte, seen from 

Argenti^re 36 

General slope of Tapia, from Argenti^re 84 

Slopes of La Cdte and Taoonay, from Argenti^re .... 27f 
Profile of Breven, from near the Chapeau (a point commanding 

the valley of Chamouni in its truest longitude) S8l 

Average slope of Montanvert, ficom same point .... 891 

Slope of La Cdte, same point S6f 

Eastern slope of Pain de Sucre, seen from Vevay . .83 

Western „ „ „ .... 861 

Slopeof foot oi Dent de Motdes, seen froin Vevay 8S| 

,9 „ Bildi, „ „ • • • . 40 


ingtanoes occur in which the mountain is consumed away 
gradually by its own torrents, not having strength enough 
to form clefts or precipices, but fiedling on each side of the 
ravines into even banks, which slide down from above as 
they are wasted below. 

S 17. By all these various expedients. Nature secures, in 
the midst of her mountain curvatures, vast series of per- 
fectly straight lines opposing and relieving them ; lines, how- 
ever, which artists have almost universally agreed to alter 
or ignore, partly disliking them intrinsically, on accoimt of 
their formality, and partly because the mind instantly 
associates them with the idea of mountain decay. Turner, 
however, saw that this very decay having its use and noble- 
ness, the contours which were significative of it ought no 
more to be omitted than, in the portrait of an aged man, 
the ftuTows on his hand or brow ; besides, he liked the lines 
themselves, for their contrast with the mountain wildness, 
just as he liked the straightness of sunbeams penetrating 
the soft waywardness of clouds.^ He introduced them con- 
stantly into his noblest compositions ; but in order to 
the full imderstanding of their employment in the instance 
I am about to give, one or two more points yet need to 
be noticed. 

§ 18. Generally speaking, the curved lines of convex 
fall belong to mountains of hard rock, over whose sur&ces 
the fragments bound to the valley, and which are worn 
by wrath of avalanches and wildness of torrents, like that 
of the Cascade des P^lerins, described in the note above.' 
Generally speaking, the straight lines of rest belong to 
softer mountains, or softer surfaces and places of moun- 
tains, which, exposed to no violent wearing frt)m external 
force, nevertheless keep slipping and mouldering down spon- 
taneously or receiving gradual accession of material from 
incoherent masses above them. 


^ [For Turner's rendering of sunbeams, see Vol. III. pp. Sd^-QM,] 
' See p. 342,] 


§ 19. It follows, farther, that where the gigantic wearing 
forces are in operatimi, the stones or fragments of rock 
brought down by the torrents and avalanches are likely, 
however hard, to be rounded on all their edges; but 
where the straight shaly slopes are found, the stones 
which glide or totter down their surfaces frequently retain 
all their angles, and form jagged and flaky heaps at the 

And farther, it is to be supposed that the rocks which 
are habitually subjected to these colossal forces of destruc- 
tion are in their own mass firm and secure, otherwise they 
would long ago have given way ; but that where the gliding 
and crumbling surfaces are found without much external 
violence, it is very possible tliat the whole frwnework of 
the mountain may be full of flaws; and a danger exist of 
vast portions of its mass giving way, or slipping down in 
hei^, as the sand suddenly yields in an hour-glass after 
some moments of accumulation* 

§ 20. Httice, generally, in the mind of any one familiar 
with mountains, the conditions will be associated, on the 
one hand, of the curved, convex, and overhangmg bank or 
difi^, the roaring torrent, and the rounded boulder of massive 
stone ; and, on the other, of the straight and even slope 
of bank, the comparatively quiet and peaceful lapse of 
streams, and the sharp-edgCMl and unworn look of the fallen 
stones, together with a sense of danger greater, though more 
occult, than in the wilder scenery. 

The drawing of the St, (^othard, which we have so 
laboriously analyzed, was designed, as before mentioned,^ 
from a sketch taken in the year 1848. But with it was 
made another drawing. Turner brought home in that year 
a series of sketches taken in the neighbourhood of the pass ; 
among others, one of the Valley of Groldau, covered as it 
is by the ruins of the Rossberg. Knowing his fondness for 
fallen stones, I chose this (roldau subject as a companion 

^ [See above, p. 37 (thoagh Ruskin does not there mention the date).] 


to the St* Gothtfd. The plate opposite will give some 
idea of the resultant drawing.^ 

§ 21. Some idea only. It is a subject which, like the 
St« Grothaid, is fSur too full of detail to admit of reduc- 
tion; and I hope, therefore, soon to engrave it properly of 
its real size.* It is, besides, more than usually difficult to 
translate this drawing into Uack and white, because mudi 
of the light on the clouds is distinguished merely by orange 
or purple colour from the green greys, which, though not 
darker than the warm hues, have the effect of shade from 
their ocddness, but cannot be marked as shade in the en- 
graving without too great increase of depth. Enough, how- 
ever, has been done to give some idea of the elem^its of 
Tumer^s design. 

§ 22. Detailed accounts of the Rossberg Fall may be 
found in any ordinary Swiss Guide; the only points we 
have to notice respecting it are, that the mountain was 
composed of an indurated gravel, disposed in oblique beds 
sloping towards the valley. A portion of one of these beds 
gave way, and half fiUed tlie valley beneath, burying five 
villages, together with the principal one of Goldau, and 
partially choking up a little lake, the streamlets which sup- 
plied it now forming irr^ular pools among the fallal frag- 
ments. I call the rock, and accurately, indurated gravel; 
but the induration is so complete tliat the mass breaks 
through the rolled pebbles chiefly composing it, and may 
be ccmsidered as a trae rock, only always in its blocks 
rugged and formless when compared with the crjrstalline 
formations. Turner has chosen hi3 position on some of the 
higher heaps of ruin, lookmg down towards the Lake of 
Zug, which is seen under the sunset, the spire of the tower 
of Arth on its shore just relieved against the light of the 

The Rossberg itself, never steep, and still more reduced 

> [For tliit drmwiBg, tee Rnskin's Noiet en kU Drawing bg TVriMr. Na 05 


* [For Rnskin's intentioiii in this matter, tee alio VoL V. pu 9 and n.] 


accurately illustrative of the two principal ideas of Dante 
about the Alps. I have already explained the rise of the 
first drawing out of Turner's early study of the ''Male 
Bolge" of the Spliigen and St GothanL' The Goldau, 
on the other hand, might have been drawn in purposeful 
illustration of the lines before referred to (VoL III. Ch. xv. 
§18)* as descriptive of a "loco Alpestro'' I give now 
Dante's own words: 

" Qual' h quella ruina^ che nel fianco 
Di t\\xk da Trento TAdlce peroossCi 

O per tremuoto, o per aottegni manoo, 

Che da cima del monte, onde si mosse, 
Al piano ^ si la roccia discoscesa 

Che alcuna via darebbe a chi su fosse ; 

Cotal di quel burrato era la seessa." 

** As is that landslip, ere you come to Trent, 

That smote the flank of Adige, through some stay 

Sinking beneath it, or by earthquake rent ; 

Far from the summit, where of old it lay, 
Plainwards the broken rock unto the feet 

Of one above it might aflPord some way ; 

Such path adown this precipice we meet." ' 

— Cayley. 

§ 26, Finally, there are two lessons to be gathered fix)m 
the opposite conditions of mountain decay, represented in 
these designs, of perhaps a wider range of meaning than 
any which were suggested even by the states of mountain 
strength. In the first, we find the unyielding rock, imder- 
going no sudden danger, and capable of no total fall, yet, 
in its hardness of heart, worn away by perpetual trampling 
of torrent waves, and stress of wandering storm. Its frag- 
ments, fruitless and restless, are tossed into ever-changing 
heaps; no labour of man can subdue them to his service, 
nor can his utmost patience secure any dwelling-place 
among them. In this they are the type of all that humanity 
which, suffering under no sudden punishment or sorrow, 


.See Vol. v. p. 295.1 

[In this edition, VoL V. p. 909.] 

[Inferno, xii 4-10.] 


Field; and the beasts of the field shall be at peace with 

> [The references here are Pselmt zev. 4 ; Job ziv. 18 ; end Job v. 21-29. Theie 
peanges and the sentiment of rock scenery here described occurred to Rnakin at 
Venioe in 1862. He writes in his diary there : — 

** In passing by the fidlen rocks in the fields of Sallenches I never thoof ht 
of the verse of Job : 'Thon shalt be in leagae with the stones of the fidd ' 
(v. 23)| neither did I ever understand till to-day (Feb. 1) the full force of 
Isaiah IviL 6. In last voL of Modem PahUere, describe the opening of the 
scene from Gom of Faido — the power of the stream and its rock walls 
— ^then the deso&tion and impotence of the loose, smooth stones below, and 
tottering monntain flanks. Then quote this verse, showing how the smooth 
stones m the stream were chosen as typical objects of idol worship in general 
— in their smoothness, powerlessness, incoherence, and fruttlessness and 



§ 1. We have now cursorily glanced over those conditions 
of mountain structure which appear constant in duration, 
and universal in extent; and we have found them, invari- 
ably, calculated for the delight, the advantage, or the teadi* 
ing of men; prepared, it seems, so as to contain, alike in 
fortitude or feebleness, in kindliness or in terror, some bene- 
ficence of gift, or iHX>foundness of counseL We have found 
that where at first all seemed disturbed and accidental, the 
most tender laws were appointed to pxiduce forms of per- 
petual beauty; and that where to the careless or cold ob- 
server all seemed severe or purposeless, the well-being of 
man has been chiefiy consulted, and his rightly directed 
powers, and sincerdly awakened intelligence, may find wealth 
in every fedling rock, and wisdom in every talking wave. 

It remains for us to consider what actual effect upon the 
human race has been produced by the generosity, or the 
instruction of the hills; how far, in past ages, they have 
been thanked, or listened to; how far, in coming ages, it 
may be well for us to accept them for tutors, or seek them 
for friends. 

§ 2. What they have already taught us may, one would 
think, be best discerned in the midst of them, — ^in some 
place where they have had their own way with the human 
soul; where no veil has been drawn between it and them, 
no contradicting voice has confused their ministries of sound, 
or broken their pathos of silence: where war has never 
streaked their streams with bloody foam, nw ambition sought 
for other throne than their cloud-courtiered pinnacles, nor 

VI. 386 2b 


avarice for other treasure than, year by year, is given to 
their unlaborious rocks, in budded jewels and mossy gold. 

§ 8. I do not know any district possessing a more pure 
or uninterrupted fulness of moimtain character (and that of 
the highest order), or which appears to have been less 
disturbed by foreign agencies, than that which borders the 
course of the Trient between Valorcine and Martigny. The 
paths which lead to it out of the valley of the Rhone, 
rising at first in steep circles among the walnut trees, like 
winding stairs among the pillars of a Grothic tower, retire 
over the shoulders of the hills into a valley almost unknown, 
but thickly inhabited by an industrious and patient popu- 
lation. * Along the ridges of the rocks, smoothed by old 
glaciers into long, dark, billowy swellings, like the backs 
of plimging dolphins, the peasant watches the slow colouring 
of the tufts of moss and roots of herb which, little by 
little, gather a feeble soil over the iron substance; then, 
supporting the narrow strip of clinging ground with a few 
stones, he subdues it to the spade; and in a year or two 
a little crest of com is seen waving upon the rocky casque. 
The irregular meadows run in and out like inlets of lake 
among these harvested rocks, sweet with perpetual stream- 
lets, that seem always to have chosen the steepest places 
to come down, for the sake of the leaps, scattering their 
handfuls of crystal this way and that, as the wind takes 
them, with all the grace, but with none of the formalism 
of fountains ; dividing into fanciful change of dash and 
spring, yet with the seal of their granite channels upon 
them, as the lightest play of human speech may bear the 
seal of past toil ; and closing back out of their spray to 
lave the rigid angles, and brighten with silver fringes and 
glassy films each lower and lower step of sable stone ; imtil 
at last, gathered altogether again, — except, perhaps, some 
chance drops caught on the apple-blossom, where it has 
budded a little nearer the cascade than it did last spring, — 
they find their way down to the turf, and lose themselves 
in that silently; with quiet depth of clear water furrowing 

ChXIX the mountain GLOOM 887 

among the grass blades, and looking only like their shadow, 
but presently emerging again in little startled gushes and 
laughing hurries, as if they had remembered suddenly that 
the day was too short for them to get down the hilL 

Green field, and glowing rock, and glancing streamlet, 
all slope together in the sunshine towards the brows of 
ravines, where the pines take up their own dominion of 
saddened shade; and with everlasting roar in the twilight, 
the stronger torrents thunder down, pale from the glaciers, 
filling all their chasms with enchanted cold, beating them- 
selves to pieces against the great rocks that they have 
themselves cast down, and forcinir fierce way beneath their 
gbBstly poise. ^ 

The mountain paths stoop to these glens in forky zig- 
zags, leading to some grey and narrow arch, all fringed 
under its shuddering curve with the ferns that fear the 
light ; a cross of rough-hewn pine, iron-bound to its parapet, 
standing dark against the lurid friry of the foam. Far up 
the glen, as we pause beside the cross, the sky is seen 
through the openings in the pines, thin with excess of 
light; and, in its clear, consuming flame of white space, 
the summits of the rocky mountains are gathered into 
solemn crowns and circlets, all flushed in that strange, 
faint silence of possession by the sunshine which has in it 
so deep a melancholy ; fiill of power, yet as fruil as shadows ; 
lifeless, like the walls of a sepulchre, yet beautiful in tender 
fall of crimson folds, like the veil of some sea spirit, that 
lives and dies as the foam flashes; fixed on a perpetual 
throne, stem against all strength, lifted above all sorrow, 
and yet effaced and melted utterly into the air by that 
last sunbeam that has crossed to tiiem from between the 
two golden clouds.^ 

' [The careful revirion given by the author to this chapter, as above mentioiied 
(Introduction, p. xx.}, may be illustrated from this passage, which in the MS. reads 
thus: — 

'' . . . p oss e ssi on of the sunshine which seems as if looking like the 
eternal peace of a deserted heaven that all its angels had left to hapless 
light so £sr away — so full of power — so wild in form — so dim with drowning 
floods of purple raya—ehangeless like the walls of a sepulchre ; beautiful 


§ 4. High above all S(»rrow: yes; but not unwitness- 
ing to it. The traveller on his happy journey, as his foot 
springs from the deep turf and strikes the pebbles gaily 
over the edge of the mountain road, sees with a glance of 
delight the clusters of nutbrown cottages that nestle among 
those sloping orchards, and glow b^ieath the boughs of 
the pines. Here it may well seem to him, if there be some- 
times hardship, there must be at least innocence and peace, 
and fellowship of the human soul with nature. It is not so. 
The wild goats that leap along those rocks have as much 
passion of joy in all that fair work of God as the men that 
toil amcmg them. Perhaps more. Enter the street of one 
of those villages, and you will find it foul with that gloomy 
foulness that is sufFared only by torpor, or by anguish of 
80uL Here, it is torpor — not absolute suffering — ^not starva- 
tion or disMse, but darkness of calm enduring; the spring 
known only as the time of the 8C3rthe, and the autumn as 
the time of the sickle, and the sun only as a warmth, the 
wind as a chill, and the mountains as a danger. They do 
not understand so much as the name of beauty, or of 
knowledge. They understand dimly that of virtue. Love, 
patience, hospitality, faith, — ^these things they know. To 
glean their meadows side by side, so happier; to bear the 
burden up the breathless mountain flank, unmurmuringly ; 
to bid the stranger drink from their vessel of milk; to see 
at the foot of their low deathbeds a pale figure upon a 
cross, d3dng, also patiently ; — in this they are different from 
the cattle and from the stones, but in all this unrewarded 
as far as concerns the present life. For them, there is 
neither hope nor passion of spirit ; for them neither advance 
nor exultation. Black bread, rude roof, dark night, laborious 
day, weary arm at sunset; and life ebbs away. No books, 
no thoughts, no attainments, no rest; except only some- 
times a little sitting in the sun under the church wall, as 

in crimson folds like tbe veil of some see-spirit, that lives end dies as the 
foam flashes ; fixed on a peqietnal throne — stem against all strength, lifted 
above all sorrow, and yet effiieed and melted utterly into air by that last 
sunbeam that has erossed to them from between two golden elonds."] 


the bell tolls thin and far in the mountain air; a pattering 
of a few prayers, not understood, by the altar rails of the 
dimly gilded chapel, and so back to the sombre home, with 
the doud upon them still unbroken — ^that doud of rocky 
gloom, bom out of the wild torrents and ruinous stones, 
and unlightened, even in their religion, except by the 
vague promise of some better thing unknown, mingled 
with threatening, and obscured by an unspeakable horror, — 
a smoke, as it were, of martyrdom, coiling up with the 
incense, and, amidst the images of tortured bodies and 
lamenting spirits in hurtling flames, the very cross, for 
them, dashed more deeply than for others, with gouts of 

§ 5. Do not let this be thought a darkened picture 
of the life of these mountaineers. It is literal fact. No 
contrast can be more painful than that between the dwelling 
of any well-conduct^ English cottager, and that of the 
equally honest Savoyard. The one, set in the midst of 
its dull flat fields and uninteresting hedgerows, shows in 
itself the love of brightness and beauty ; its daisy-studded 
garden-beds, its smoothly swept brick path to the thresh- 
old, its freshly sanded floor and orderly shelves of house- 
hold furniture, all testify to energy of heart, and happiness 
in the simple course and simple possessions of daily life. 
The other cottage, in the midst c^ an inconceivable, inex- 
pressible beauty, set on some sloping bank of golden 
sward, with clear fountains flowing beside it, and wild 
flowers, and noble trees, and goodly rocks gathered round 
into a perfection as of Paradise, is itself a dark and plague- 
like stain in the midst of the gentle landscape. Within a 
certain distance of its threshold the ground is foul and 
cattle-trampled; its timbers are black with smoke, its 
garden choked with weeds and nameless refuse, its chambers 
empty and joyless, the light and wind gleaming and filter* 
ing through the crannies of theu: stones. All toftififls tltfA 

' [For some remarks on S 4. and a eomparkoa of tiM tiBi wttk 
MO aoofo, iBtrodnolion^ p. zxiy.J i> 


to its inhabitant the world is labour and vanity; that for 
him neither flowers bloom, nor birds sing, nor fountains 
glisten; and that his soul hardly differs from the grey 
cloud that coils and dies upon his hills, except in having 
no fold of it touched by the sunbeams. 

§ 9. Is it not strange to reflect, that hardly an evening 
passes in London or Paris, but one of those cottages is 
painted for the better amusement of the fair and idle, and 
shaded with pasteboard pines by the scene-shifter ; and that 
good and kind people, poetically-minded, delight themselves 
in imagining the happy Ufe led by peasants who dwell by 
Alpine fountains, and kneel to crosses upon peaks of rock? 
— that nightly we give our gold, to fashion forth simulacra 
of peasants, in gay ribands and white bodices, singing sweet 
songs, and bowing gracefully to the pictiu-esque crosses: 
and all the while the veritable peasants are kneeling, song- 
lessly, to veritable crosses, in another temper than the 
kind and fair audiences deem of, and assuredly with another 
kind of answer than is got out of the opera catastrophe; 
an answer having reference, it may be in dim futurity, to 
those very audiences themselves? If all the gold that has 
gone to paint the simulacra of the cottages, and to put 
new songs in the mouths of the simulacra of the peasants, 
had gone to brighten the existent cottages, and to put 
new songs in the mouths of the existent peasants, it might 
in the end, perhaps, have turned out better so, not only 
for the peasant, but for even the audience. For that form 
of the False Ideal has also its correspondent True Ideal, 
— consisting not in the naked beauty of statues, nor in the 
gauze flowers and crackling tinsel of theatres, but in the 
clothed and fed beauty of living men, and in the lights 
and laughs of happy homes. Night after night, the desire 
of such an ideal springs up in every idle human heart; 
and night after night, as far as idleness can, we work out 
this desire in costly lies. We paint the faded actress, 
build the lath landscape, feed our benevolence with fallacies 
of felicity, and satisfy our righteousness with poetry of 


justice. The time will come when, as the heavy-folded 
curtain falls upon our own stage of life, we shall begin to 
comprehend that the justice we loved was intended to have 
been done in fact, and not in poetry, and the felicity we 
sympathized in, to have been bestowed and not feigned/ 
We talk much of money's worth, yet perhaps may one day 
be surprised to find that what the wise and charitable 
European public gave to one night's rehearsal of hypocrisy, 
— ^to one hour's pleasant warbling of Linda or Lucia, — 
would have filled a whole Alpine valley with happiness, 
and poured the waves of harvest over the famine of many 
a Lammermoor.* 

* As I was correcting this sheet for press, the morning JMtper con- 
taining the account of the burning of Covent Garden theatre^ ftimished 
the following financial statements, bearing somewhat on the matter in 
hand ; namely, 

That the interior fittings of the theatre, in 1846, cost . 40,000 
That it was opened on the 6th April, 1847; and that ) o^'reg 

in 1848 the loss upon it was j ' 

in 1849 „ „ 25,455 


And that in one year the vocal department cost 88,849 

the ballet „ „ 8,105 

the orchestra „ „ 10,048 


Mr. Albano ' afterwards corrected this statement, substituting 27,000 for 
40,000; and perhaps the other sums may also have been exaggerated, but 
I leave the reader to consider what an annual expenditure of from 80,000/. 
to 50,000^ might effect in practical idealism in general, whether in Swiss 
valleys or elsewhere. I am not one of those who regard all theatrical 
entertainment as wrong or harmful.^ I only regret seeing our theatres so 

^ QY^th this passage compare Stonei qf Veniee, vol. i. App. xxv. (VoL IX. p. 473).] 

' [The theatre was burnt down on the morning of Maren 5, 1856. The puticulars 
here cited were given in the Tfrnet on the following day.] 

' [Mr. B. Albano, civil engineer, who had reooostmoted the theatre in 1846-1847. 
His letter correcting the figures about the oost araaared in the Timm of March 12, 1856.] 

« [For Rusldn's interest in the theatrti see FrmiefUa, L g SOS; Arrow§ qftke CMaee, 
1880, ii. 270 ; and Fan OUnigera, Letters 84 and 80.] 


§ 7. ''Nay/' perhaps the reader answers, ''it is vain to 
hope that this could ever be. The perfect beauty of the 
ideal must always be fictitious. It is rational to amuse 
ourselves with the fair imagination ; but it would be mad- 
ness to endeavour to put it into practice, in the face of the 
ordinances of Nature. Real shepherdesses must always be 
rude, and real peasants miserable ; suffer us to turn away 

conducted as to involve an expense which is worse than useless, in lead- 
ing our audiences to look for mere stage effect, instead of good acting, 
good singing, or good sense. If we reaUj loved music, or the drama, we 
should be content to hear well-managed voices, and see finished acting, 
without paying five or six thousand pounds to dress the songsters or 
decorate the stage. Simple and consistent dresses, and quiet landscape 
exquisitelj painted, would have far more effect on the feelings of any 
sensible audience than the tinsel and extravagance of our common sceneiy ; 
and our actors and actresses must have little respect for their own powers, 
if they think that dignity of gesture is dependent on the flash of jewellery, 
or the pathos of accents connected with the costliness of silk. Perfect 
execution of music by a limited orchestra is fiur more delightful, and far less 
fatiguing, than the irregular roar and hum of multitudinous mediocrity; 
and finished instrumentation by an adequate number of performers, exquisite 
acting, and sweetest singing, might be secured for the public at a fourth 
part of the cost now spent on operatic absurdities. There is no occasion 
whatever for decoration of the house ; it is, on the contrary, the extreme 
of vulgarity. No person of good taste ever goes to a theatre to look at 
the fronts of the boxes. Comfortable and roomy seats, perfect cleanliness, 
decent and fitting curtains and other furniture, of good stuff, but neither 
costly nor tawdry, and convenient, but not daasling, light, are the proper 
requirements in the furnishing of an opera-house. As for the persons who 
go there to look at each other — to show their dresses — to yawn away 
waste hours — to obtain a maximum of momentary excitement — or to say 
they were there, at next day's three o'clock breakfast (and it is only 
for such persons that glare, cost, and noise are necessary), I commend to 
their consideration, or at least to such consideration as is possible to their 
capacities, the suggestions in the text. But to the true lovers of the 
drama I would submit, as another subject of inquiry, whether they ought 
not to separate themselves from the mob, and provide, for their own 
modest quiet, and guiltless entertainment, the truth of heartfelt impersona- 
tion, and the melody of the unforced and delicate voice, without extrava- 
gance of adjunct, unhealthy lateness of hours, or appeal to degraded 
passions. Such entertainment might be obtained at infinitely smaller cost, 
and yet at a price which would secure honourable and permanent remunera- 
tion to every performer; and I am mistaken in my notion of the best 
aetors, if thev would not rather play at a house where people went to 
hear and to ^1, than weaiy themselves, even for four times the pay, be- 
fore an audience insulting in its listlessness and ignorant in its applause. 


our gentle eyes from their coarseness and their pain, and 
to seek comfort in cultivated voices and purchased smiles. 
We cannot hew down the rocks nor turn the sands of the 
torrent into gold/' 

§ 8. This is no answer. Be assured of the great truth 
— that what is impossible in reality, is ridiculous in fancy. 
If it is not in the nature of things that peasants should be 
gentle and happy, then the imagination of such peasantry 
is ridiculous, and to delight in such imagination, wrong; 
as delight in any kind of falsehood is always. But if in 
the nature of things it be possible that among the wild- 
ness of hills the human heart should be refined, and if the 
comfort of dress, and the gentleness of language, and the 
joy of progress in knowledge, and of variety in thought, are 
possible to the mountaineer in his true existence, let us 
strive to write this true poetry upon the rocks before we 
indulge it in our visions, and try whether, among all the 
fine arts, one of the finest be not that of painting cheeks 
with health rather than rouge.^ 

§ 9. ''But is such refinement possible? Do not the 
conditions of the mountain peasant's life, in the plurality 
of instances, necessarily forbid it?" 

As bearing sternly on this question, it is necessary to 
examine one peculiarity of feeling which manifests itself 
among the European nations, so far as I have noticed, 
irregularly, -appearing sometimes to be the characteristic 
of a particular time, sometimes of a particular race, some* 
times of a particular locality, and to involve at once much 
that is to be blamed and much that is praiseworthy. I 
mean the capability of enduring, or even delighting in, the 
ccmtemplation of objects of terror — a sentiment which 
especially influences the temper of some groups of moun- 
taineers, and of which it is necessary to examine the causes, 

' [A constant thought with Raskin from this time forward. See, for instance, 
Leehiret an ArekUeeture and Fainiing, § 137 (VoL XIL fi. leo), 'Mt is not so much 
in buffing picture^ as in being pictures, that you can encounge a nohle school," and 
Laehtrei an Art, g 116, where it is said that there has never heen fine art " where 
the lips of youth, instead of heing full with hlood, were pinched witii fiMdnti'^ 


before we can form any conjecture whatever as to the res 
effect of mountains on human character. 

§ 10. For mstance, the imhappy alterations which hav 
lately taken place in the town of Lucerne have still spare 
two of its ancient bridges;^ both of which, being lonj 
covered walks, appear, in past times, to have been to th 
population of the town what the Mall was to London, o 
the Gardens of the Tuileries are to Paris. For the con 
tinual contemplation of those who sauntered from pier t 
pier, pictures were painted on the woodwork of the rooi 
These pictures, in the one bridge, represent all the im 
portant Swiss battles and victories; in the other they ar 
the well-known series of which Longfellow has made s^ 
beautifid a use in The Golden Legend^^ the Dance of Death 

Imagine the countenances with which a committee, ap 
pointed for the establishment of a new *^ promenade " in som 
flourishing modem town, would receive a proposal to adon 
such promenade with pictures of the Dance of Death 1 

§ 11. Now just so far as the old bridge at Lucerne, witi 
the pure, deep, and blue water of the Reuss eddying dowi 
between its piers, and with the sweet darkness of greei 
hills, and far-away gleaming of lake and Alps altematin| 
upon the eye on either side; and the gloomy lesson frown 
ing in the shadow, as if the deep tone of a passing beU 
overhead, were mingling for ever with the plashing of th 
river as it glides by beneath; just so fSar, I say, as thi 
differs from the straight and smooth strip of level dusi 
between two rows of round -topped acacia trees, whereii 
the inhabitants of an English watering-place or Frencl 
fortified town take their delight, — so far I believe the lif 
of the old Lucemois, with all its happy waves of light, an< 
mountain strength of will, and solenm expectation of etei 
nity, to have differed from the generality of the lives o 
those who saunter for their habitual hour up and down th< 

^ [Plate A, here introdaoed, is from Rtukin't dimwing of one of these — th 
Kapellbrucke, which is psinted with scenes from Swiss history : see below, p. 466 n.] 

^ [Part v., ''A CoTcred BridMftt Lnceme"; for other references to The Oolde 
Legend, see below, p. 446 ; Vol. \. p. 229 n. ; and Vol. XII. p. 486.] 




• ••. 

* • • • 

• • • 


.•_ •-• • • 

. •••'••• 

• •• • • 

• • 


modem promenade. But the gloom is not always of this 
noble kind. As we penetrate farther among the hills we 
shall find it becoming very painfuL We are walking, per- 
haps, in a smnmer afternoon, up the valley of Zermatt 
(a German valley), the sun shining brightly on grassy knolls 
and through fringes of pines, the goat leaping Happily, and 
the cattle bells rinirimr sweetlVf and the snowy mountains 
shining Bke he^ye^c^ L rfx,ve. wTW . Bttle 
way off, a small white chapel, sheltered behind one of the 
flowery hillocks of mountain turf; and we approach its little 
window, thinking to look through it into some quiet home 
of prayer; but the window is grated with iron, and open 
to the winds, and when we look through it, behold — a heap 
of white human bones mouldering into whiter dust 1 

So also in that same sweet valley, of which I have just 
been speaking, between Chamouni and the Valais, at every 
turn of the pleasant pathway, where the scent of the thyme 
lies richest upon its rock, we shall see a little cross and 
shrine set under one of them ; and go up to it, hoping to 
receive some happy thought of the Redeemer, by whom all 
these lovely things were made, and still consist. But when 
we come near — ^behold, beneath the cross, a rude picture 
of souls tormented in red tongues of hell fire, and pierced 
by demons. 

§ 12. As we pass towards Italy the appearance of this 
gloom deepens; and when we descend the southern slope 
of the Alps we shall find this bringing forward of the 
image of Death associated with an endurance of the most 
painful aspects of disease; so that conditions of human 
suffering, which in any other country would be confined in 
hospitals, are permitted to be openly exhibited by the way- 
side ; and with this exposure of the degraded human form 
is farther connected an insensibility to ugliness and imper- 
fection in other things; so that the ruined wall, n^lected 
garden, and uncleansed chamber, seem to unite in express- 
ing a gloom of spirit possessing the inhabitants of the 
whole land. It does not appear to arise from poverty, nor 


careless conteutment with little: there is here nothing of 
Irish recklessness or humour; but there seems a settled ob- 
scurity in the soul, — a chill and plague, as if risen out of 
a sepulchre, which partly deadens, partly darkens, the eyes 
and hearts of men, and breathes a leprosy of decay throu^ 
every breeze, and every stone. ** Instead of well-set hair, 
baldness, and burning instead of beauty." ^ 

Nor are definite proofs wantmg that the feeling is in- 
dependent of mere poverty or indolence. In the most 
gorgeous and costly palace garden the statues will be found 
green with moss, the terraces defaced or broken; the palace 
itself, partly coated with marble, is left in other places 
rough with cementless and jagged brick, its iron balconies 
bent and rusted, its pavements oveigrown with grass. The 
more energetic the effort has been to recover from this 
state, and to shake ofi^ all appearance of poverty, the more 
assuredly the curse seems to fasten on the scene, and the 
unslaked mortar, and unfinished wall, and ghastly desolation 
of incompleteness entangled in decay, strike a deeper de- 
spondency into the beholder. 

§ 18. The feeling would be also more easily accoimted 
fm if it appeared inconsistent in its regardlessnew of beauty, 
— ^if what was done were altogether as in^dent as what 
was deserted. But the balcony, though rusty and broken, 
is deUcate in design, and supported on a nobly carved 
slab of marble ; the window, though a mere black rent in 
ragged plaster, is encircled by a garland of vine and fronted 
by a thicket of the sharp leaves and aurora-coloured flowers 
of the oleander; the courtyard, overgrown by mournful 
grass, is terminated by a bright fresco of gardens and foun- 
tains; the corpse, borne with the bare face to heaven, is 
strewn with flowers; beauty is continually mingled with 
the shadow of death. 

§ 14. So also is a kind of merriment, — ^not true cheer- 
fulness, neither careless or idle jesting, but a determined 
effort at gaiety, a resolute laughter, mixed with much satire, 

1 [Isaiah iii. 24.] 


grossness, and practical buflPoonery, and, it always seemed 
to me, void of all comfort or hope,— with this eminent 
character in it also, that it is capable of touching with its 
bitterness even the most fearfiil subjects, so that as the 
love of beauty retains its tenderness in the presence of 
death, this love of jest also retains its boldness, and the 
skeleton becomes one of the standard masques of the 
Italian comedy. When I was in Venice, in 1850, the 
most popular piece of the condc opera was ''Death and 
the Cobbler,'* in which the point of the plot was the suc- 
cess of a village cobbler as a physician, in consequence of 
the appearance of Death to hun beside the bed of every 
patient who was not to recover; and the most applauded 
scene in it was one in which the physician, insolent m 
success, and swollen with luxury, was himself taken down 
into the abode of death, and thrown into an agony of terror 
by being shown lives of men, under the form of wasting 
Iwips, and his own ready to expire. 

§ 15. I have also not the smallest doubt that this en- 
durance or affiK>nting of fearful images is partly associated 
with indecency, partly with general fatuity and weakness 
of mind The men who applauded loudest when the actress 
put on, m an instant, her mask representing a skull, and 
when her sharp and clear ^'Sono la Morte" rang through 
the theatre, were just those whose disgusting habits ren-' 
dered it impossible for wcmien to pass through some of 
the principal streets in Venice.-just those who formed the 
gaping audience, when a mountebank offered a new quack 
medicine on the Biva dei Schiavoni. And, as fearful 
imagoy is associated with the weakness of fever, so it 
seems to me that imbecility and love of terror are con- 
nected by a my^erious link throughout the whole life of 
man. There is a most touching instance of this in the 
last days of Sir Walter Scott, the publication of whose 
latter works, deeply to be regretted on many accounts, 
was yet, perhaps, on the whole, right, as affording a means 
of stud3dng the conditions of the decay of overwrought 



human intellect in one of the most noble of minds. 
Among the many signs of this decay at its uttermost, in 
Castle DangerauSt not one of the least notable was the in- 
troduction of the knight who bears on his black armour 
the likeness of a skeleton.^ 

§ 16. The love of horror which is in this manner con- 
nected with feebleness of intellect, is not, however, to 
be confounded with that shown by the vulgar in general 
The feeling which is calculated upon in the preparation of 
pieces full of terror and crime, at our lower theatres, and 
which is fed with greater art and elegance in the darker 
scenery of the popular French novelists, however morally 
unhealthy, is not unnatural; it is not the result of an 
apathy to such horror, but of a strong desire for excitement 
in minds coarse and dull, but not necessarily feeble. The 
scene of the murder of the jeweller in the Count of Monte 
CristOj or those with the Squdette in the Mystdres de 
Paris j^ appeal to instincts which are as conunon to all man- 
kind as those of thirst and hunger, and which are only de- 
basing in the exaggerated condition consequent upon the 
dulness of other instincts higher than they. And the 
persons who, at one period of their life, might take chief 
pleasure in such narrations, at another may be brought 
into a temper of high tone and acute sensibility. But 
the love of horror respecting which we are now inquiring 
appears to be an imnatural and feeble feeling; it is not 
that the person needs excitement, or has any such strong 
perceptions as would cause excitement, but he is dead to 
the horror, and a strange evil influence guides his feeble- 
ness of mind rather to fearful images than to beautiful 
ones, — as our disturbed dreams are sometimes filled with 
ghastlinesses which seem not to arise out of any conceivable 

^ [The reference is to the ''Knight of the tomh." whose ''armour was inflorioasly 
painted to represent a skdeton ** : tee toL U. ciis. 7-0 of the novel, mich was 
puhlished in 1831, the year before Scott's death ; for a further reference to the works 
of his later years, see FUstUm, Fair and Fmd, §§10-12.1 

> [Ch. vu. of book ili. of MamU OrUto ("The Rain of Blood "), and ch. 157 of 
Mysteres de ParU. For other references to Dumas, see VoL V. p. 360 ; to Eugene 
Sue, ibid., p. 372.] 


association of our waking ideas, but to be a vapour out of 
the very chambers of the tomb, to which the mind, in its 
palsy, has approached. 

§ 17. But even this imbecile revelling in terror is more 
comprehensible, more apparently natural, than the instinct 
which is found frequency connected with it, of absolute 
joy in ugliness. In some conditions of old German art we 
find the most singular insisting upon what is in all respects 
ugly and abortive, or frightful; not with any sense of 
sublimity in it, neither in mere foolishness, but with a 
resolute choice, such as I can completely account for on 
no acknowledged principle of human nature. For in the 
worst conditions of sensuality there is ]^et some perception 
of the beautiful, so that men utterly depraved in principle 
and habits of thought will yet admire beautiful things, and 
fair faces. But in the temper of which I am now speak- 
ing there is no preference even of the lower forms of love- 
liness; no efibrt at painting fair Umbs or passionate faces, 
no evidence of any human or natural sensation, — a mere 
feeding on decay and rolling in sUme, not apparently or 
conceivably with any pleasure in it, but under some fearful 
possession of an evil spirit. 

§ 18. The most wonderful instance of this feeling at its 
uttermost which I remember, is the missal in the British 
Museum, HarL MSS. 1892.^ The drawings of the principal 
subjects in it appear to have been made first in black, by 
Martin Schongauer (at all events by some copyist of his 
designs), and then another workman has been employed 
to paint these drawings over. No words can describe the 
intensity of the '^ plague of the heart *' ' in this man ; the 
reader should examine the manuscript carefiiUy if he desires 
to see how low human nature can sink. I had written a 
description of one or two of the drawings in order to give some 

1 pn the notes (in his diary of 1863-1864) on the lihnry of the British Museum, 
Ruskin mentions this manuscript as follows: ''The most dreadful and abominahle 
work which I suppose b in the world, of its land. See Scourging of Christ, and the 
clouds and trees, his seisure at Gethsemane." The MS. b a ''Manuele Precum et 
FMlterium," witii numerous pictures. A drawinip in hlack and white, with some 
heginnings of colour, hr Martin Schtegaaer (about 1446-1488) b on folio la] 

s [1 Kings yiii. 38.] 


conception of them to persons not aUe to refer to the book ; 
but the mere description so saddened and polluted my pages 
that I could not retain it. I will only, therefore, name the 
principal characteristics which belong to the workman's mind. 
I 19. First, Perpetual tampering with death, wbetfao- 
there be occasion to allude to it or not,— «specially insist- 
ing upon its associations with conuption. I do not pain the 
raider by dwelling oa the details iUustratlTe of this feeling. 
Secondly, Delight in dismemberment, dislocation, and 
distortion of attitude. Dis* 
tortion, to some extent, is a 
universal characteristic of the 
German fifteenth and six- 
teenth century art; that is 
to say, there is a general 
^>titude for painting legs 
across, or feet twisted round, 
or bodies awkwardly heat 
rather than anything in a 
natural position ; and Martin 
Schongauer himself exhibits 
this defect in no small de- 
Fit.iu gree. But here the finish- 
ing woi^man has dislocated 
nearly every joint widch he has exposed, besides knitting 
and twisting the muscles into mere knots of cordage.^ 

What, however, only amounts to dislocation in tiie limbs 
of the human figures, becomes actual dismonbennent in the 
animals. Fig. 118 is a ^thful copy of a tree with two 
birds, one on its bou^ and one above it, seen in the back- 
ground, behind a soldier's mace, in the drawing of the Be- 
trayal* In the engraving of this subject, by Sch6ngauer 
himself, the mace does not occur; it has heea put in by 
the finishing workman in order to give greater expression 

< [For iniUncM of the Mune "pLune In tha haut" in modem fietiou, stc., loe 
rieUon, Fair and Am/, g Iff n.] 

* [The dnwiDg from whleli Elg. 113 b oopUd ii on foUo 47 of the MS. Tb« 
engntviug b7 Sohiiiigmiier u odo of w pUtae of tbo I^nIoii.] 


of savageness to the boughs of the tree, which, joined with 
the spikes of the mace, form one mass of disorganized 
angles and thorns, while the birds look partly as if being 
torn to pieces, and partly like black spiders. 

In the painting itself the sky also is covered with little 
detached and bent white strokes, by way of clouds, and the 
hair of the figures torn into ragged locks, like wood rent 
by a cannon shot. 

This tendency to dismember and separate everything is 
one of the eminent conditions of a mind leaning to vice 
and ugliness; just as to connect and harmonize everything 
is that of a mind leaning to virtue and beauty. It is shown 
down to the smallest details ; as, for instance, in the spotted 
backgrounds, which, instead of being chequered 
with connected patterns, as in the noble manu- ^ 

scripts (see Vol. III. Plate 7),* are covered with ai* v^« 
disorderly dashes and circles executed with the ^ ^ ^u\ 
blunt pen or brush. Fig. 114. And one of * ^0 v^ 
the borders is composed of various detached ^ "^ ^ ^ i; 
heads, cut off at the neck or shoulders without j^.iu 

the slightest endeavour to conceal or decorate 
the truncation. All this, of course, is associated with choice 
of the most abominable features in the countenance. 

§ 20. Thirdly, Pure ignorance. Necessarily such a mind 
as this must be incapable of perceiving the truth of any 
form; and therefore together with the distortion of all 
studied form is associated the utter negation of imperfec- 
tion of that which is less studied. 

Fourthly, Delight in blood. I cannot use the words 
which would be necessary to describe the second* painting 
of the Scourging, in this missaL But I may generally 
notice that the degree in which the peculiar feeling we are 

* There are, unusumlly, two paintings of this tabject, the first repre- 
senting the preparations for the scourging, the second its close. 

1 rin this edition, Vol. V. p. 262. The '' dUorderlv " backgroands may be seea 
on folios 26 and 32 of the MS. ; the border of detaehed heads, on folio 47 ; tne second 
of two paintings of the Scoarging is on folio 67.] 

VI. 2 c 




cndcsvcwirinig to aiuJjtk k pif jwit id mjr <iitfiirt of Hwiwn 
CstiMohc eouulfici^ msjr be ihiinit' acnuatcly nmiiired bjr 
tibe qoantity of Uood icp i ci r utod od tibe ciwifiifi . 

llie penoD cnqiioyed to vqinit, in tibe Can^ Santo 
of Pitt, the portion of Orengna's piebncs iqa c Mnlin g the 
Ififemo^ has furnished a Teiy notdile rrampir of tiie ame 
feeling; and it must be Ikmiliar to all tnvcHeri in c ouuU ie t 
thoroug^iljr sab^ected to imodtm Romanism, a thing as dif- 
ttmt ftom thirteenth-centmy Bomanism as a prison from 
a prioct*% chanihff^i 

Lastty, Utter ahsenee of in t entive power. The onty 
ghasdiness wUdi this wcMlonan is aspMe ci is that of 
distortion. In ghastty ambimatiim he is impotent; he can- 
not even miderrtand it or copy it iHien set before him, 
eontinuaOy destroying anj that exists in the drawings of 

§ 21. Sudi appear to be the princqfial component de- 
ments in the nund of the painter of this mi^al, and it 
possesses these in compete abstraction from nearly all 
others, showing, in deadly purity, the nature ci the venom 
which in ordinary eases is tempered by counteractiDg de- 
ments* There are even certain fedings, evil enough them- 
selves, but more natural than these, of which the slightest 
mingling would here be a sort of redenqridcm. Vanity, for 
instance, would lead to a more finidied execution, and mcne 
careful copying from luiture, and of course subdue the ugli- 
ness by fidelity ; love of pleasure would introduce occasion- 
ally a graceful or sensual fcnrm; malice would give some 
point and meaning to the bordering grotesques, nay, even 
insanity might have given them some inventive horror. 
But the pure mortiferousness of this mind, capable neither 
of patiencct fidelity, grace, nor wit, in any place, or from 
any motive, — ^this horrible apathy of brain, whidi cannot 
ascend so high as insanity, but is capable <Hily of putrefac- 
tion, saves us the task of all analysis, and leaves us only 

> [8m VoL IV. p. 201.] 

ChXIX the mountain GLOOM 408 

that of examining how this black aqua Tophana^ mingles 
with other conditions of mind.' 

§ 22. For I have led the reader over this dark gromid, 
because it was essential to our determination of the in- 
fluence of mountains that we should get what data we 
could as to the extent in other districts, and derivation 
from other causes, of the horror which at first we mi^t 

1 [Tofimm, a woman of NaplM^ who died 1790 ; immorteiiaed b^ her inveotioa •£ 
an instdioofl poison, called by her ^^ Manna of St Nicolas of Ban," but more com- 
monlyV Aana Tofiuia."] 

' [The Graft here continues : — 

''Add to it, in the first place, considerable artistic practice, and a 
fitmiliaritj with the beautiful in surroundin|^ art. and we have the mind ef 
Domenichino. In him, when he chose to give labour to his pietores, his 
Italian education necessitated such observance of the hackneyed laws of 
mce as should produce pictures of the Quality of his Sybil and such others. 
But when he painted less carefully, and tne real character of his mind showed 
itself (as it almost always does more in the sketch than in the finished 
work), this real character appears to be precisely that of the missal-painter 
whom we have been instancing, only educated to a higher degree of skill, 
and prevented from gloating over Math by the society in which it moved, 
and the models it was obliged to follow. 

" The following description of a Domenichino in the Louvre, taken from 
my private diary, contains no terms of reprobation in which I see anything 
to be withdrawn : 

** No. 497. Domenichino : The Continence of Sdpso. 

''The dackness of the arm which is haling the boy alonff is very char- 
acteristic of Domenichino's incapacity of any sort of truthful concoptioB. 
In the picture also in the Louvre of [Hercules] stopping the Bull the hero 
performs this act of strMigth standing on tiptoe on one leg. Neither of 
these pictures exhibit the fifth element of the thirst for blood, bat this is 
found to its full extent in the large pictures of the Innocents at Bologna. 

"Add to the Domenichino mind some slight power of satire, and a 
wholesome love of finery (wholesome, I mean, in the sense in which we 
should say it was healthy in a woman to like rouge better than bone dust, 
and lace than shroud linen), and we have the Venetian spirit of the seven- 
teenth century, which I have already enough examined. The tendency to 
gloat over death and decay is however still vtrj strongly developed, eveo in 
this comparatively luxurious temper. I omittea, in the investigation of it in 
the 8tone$ ^ VeiUe$ (vol. ilL chap, iii.), to note that there is a statue in the 
church of St John and Paul whicn is a very accurate type of it It represents 
a fiur woman looselv dressed looking down at a mirror in her hand, ud which 
is the imaffe of a skull. There is a tradition respecting this statue, that a 
Venetian lady was once so fond of looking at her mirror, that she habitaally 
carried one to church with her in her missal. One day as she was gazing 
into it she saw the reflection of her own face change into that of a desth's- 
head, and was immediately turned into stone as she sate." 
The note on Domenichino's " Continence of Sdnio,^ though cut out of Roskin's 
diary of 1854 for nee in this phK«, is not among tne MS. sheets. For Domenichino's 
"Hercules and Achelous," No. 1614, see "Notes on the Lowre," Vol XIL p. 471. 
The stetoe in 88. Gkivaani • Pisolo is on thenmianentof "MelchkNr Lsneea, Venttnsy 


have been led to connect too arbitrarily with hill scenery. 
And I wish that my knowledge permitted me to trace it 
over wider ground, for the observations hitherto stated 
leave the question still one of great difficulty. It might 
appear, to a traveller crossing and recrossing the Alps be- 
tween Switzerland and Italy, that the main strength of 
the evil lay on the south of the chain, and was attributable 
to the peculiar circumstances and character of the Italian 
nation at this period. But as he examined the matter 
farther he would note that in the districts of Italy generally 
supposed to be healthy^ the evidence of it was less, and that 
it seemed to gain ground in places exposed to malaria, 
centralizing itself in the Val d'Aosta. He would then, per- 
haps, think it inconsistent with justice to lay the blame on 
the mountains, and transfer his accusation to the marshes, 
yet would be compelled to admit that the evil manifested 
itself most where these marshes were surrounded by hills. 
He would next, probably, suppose it produced by the 
united effect of hardship, solitude, and unhealthy air; and 
be disposed to find fault with the mountains, at least so £eu* 
as they required painful climbing and laborious agriculture: 
— ^but would again be thrown into doubt by remembering 
that one main branch of the feeling,— the love of ugliness, 
seemed to belong in a peculiar manner to Northern G^er- 
many. If at all familiar with the art of the North and 
South, he would perceive that the endurance of ugliness, 
which in Italy resulted from languor or depression (while 
the mind yet retained some apprehension of the difference 
between fairness and deformity, as above noted in § 12), 
was not to be confounded witli that absence of perception 
of the Beautiful, which introduced a general hard-featured- 
ness of figure into all German and Flemish early art, even 
when Germany and Flanders were in their brightest national 

1674." On the top, beside a portrait of the man, is a skull ; at the foot, the figure of a 
woman as described by Kuskm. By putting one's head between her and the mirror, 
one sees her face with the head-dress changed into a death's-head ; her foot rests on 
the open pages of a book inscribed with the words Rapit omnia finU. The story is that 
Lancea's wife was vain, and that her husband thus recorded the fiwt] 


health and power. And as he followed out in detail the 
comparison of aU the purest ideals north and south of the 
Alps, and perceived the perpetual contrast existing between 
the angular and bony sanctities of the one latitude, and the 
drooping graces and pensive pieties of the other, he would 
no longer attribute to the ruggedness, or miasma, of the 
mountains the origin of a feeling which showed itself so 
strongly in the comfortable streets of Antwerp and Nurem- 
berg, and in the unweakened and active intellects of Van 
Eyck and Albert Diirer. 

§ 28. As I think over these various difficulties, the 
following conclusions seem to me deducible from 
the data I at present possess. I am in no wise wkhh produce 
confident of their accuracy, but they may assist ^il^J^^"'^^ 
the reader in pursuing the inquiry farther.^ 

I. It seems to me, first, that a fair degree of intellect 
and imagination is necessary before this kind of cfmwrai power 
disease is possible. It does not seize on merely ^^^"^•'fac'- 
stupid peasantries, but on those which belong to inteUectual 
races, and in whom the fieu^ulties of imagination and the 
sensibilities of heart were originally strong and tender. In 
flat land, with fr'esh air, the peasantry may be almost 
mindless, but not infected with this gloom. 

II. In the second place, I think it is closely connected 
with the Romanist reliirion, and that for several „ 

A. The habitual use of bad art (ill-made dolls and bad 
pictures), in the services of religion, naturally blunts the 
delicacy of the senses, by requiring reverence to be paid 
to ugliness, and familiarizing the eye to it in moments of 
strong and pure feeling; I do not think we can overrate 
the probable evil results of this enforced discordance be- 
tween the sight and imagination. 

B. The habitually dwelling on the penances, tortures, 
and martyrdoms of the • Saints, as subjects of admiration 

^ [The rabject was one which had often ooeu|ned Rutkin's thoaf^hti; compare, 
with what followa here, the analjrtie of Gloom giTen in an appendix to toL iL of 
Modem P^intere (VoL IV. pp. 371-^1).] 


and sympathy, together with much meditation on Purga- 
torial suffering; rendered almost impossible to Protestants 
by the greater fearfulness of such reflections, when the pun- 
idmient is supposed eternal 

C. Idleness, and neglect of the proper duties of daily 
life, during the large number of holidays in the year, 
together with want of proper cleanliness, induced by the 
idea that comfort and happy purity are less pleasing to 
God than discomfort and scJf-d^fradation. This indol^ice 
induces much despondency, a larger measure of real misery 
than is necessary under the given circumstances of life, 
and many forms of crime and disease besides* 

D. Superstitious indignation. I do not know if it is as 
a result of the combination of these several causes, or if 
under a separate head, that I should dass a certam strange 
awe which seems to attach itself to Romanism like its 
shadow, differing from the coarser gloom which we have 
been ex»Jm that it e» .tUoh* itself to ™ind» of the 
highest purity and keenness, and, indeed, does so to these 
more than to inferior ones. It is an indefinable pensive- 
ness, leading to great severity of precept, mercilessness in 
punishment, and dark or discouraging thoughts of God 
and man.* 

It is connected partly with a greater belief in the daily 
presence and power of evil spirits than is common in 
Protestants (except the more enthusiastic, and also gloomy, 
sects of Puritans), connected also with a sternness of belief 
in the condemnatory power and duty of the Chiu*ch, leading 
to persecution, and to less tempered indignation at opposi- 
tions of opinion than characterizes the Protestant mind 
ordinarily; which, though waspish and bitter enough, is 

* This character has, I think, been traced in the various writings of Mrs. 
Sherwood^ better than in any others; she has a peculiar art of making 
it felt, and of striking the deep tone of it as from a passing-bell, con- 
trasting it with the most cheerftil, lovely, and sincere conditions of Pro- 

> [For Raskin's early reading in The Lad^ ^ the Manor and Henrff MUn^r, aae 
PrtBterita, i. ch. iv. § 80, ch. v. § 106.] 


not liable to the peculiar heart-burning caused in a Papist 
by any insult to his Church, or by the aspect of what he 
belieyes to be heresy. 

§ 24. For all these reasons, I think Romanism is very 
definitely connected with the gloom we are examining, so 
as without fail to produce some measure of it in all perscms 
who sincerely hold that fedth; and if such effect is ever 
not to be traced, it is because the Romanism is checked 
by infidelity. The atheism or dissipation of a large portion 
of the population in crowded capitals prevents this gloom 
from bcdng felt in full force; but it resumes its power, in 
mountain solitudes, over the minds of the comparatively 
ignorant and more suffering peasantry; so that it is not an 
evil inherent in the hills themselves, but one result of the 
continuance in them of that old religious voice of warning, 
which, encouraging sacred feeling in general, encourages also 
whatever evil may essentially belong to the form of doc- 
trine preached among them. 

§ 25. III. It is assuredly connected also with a diseased 
state of health. Cheerfulness is just as natural vumue^f 
to the heart of a man in strong health as colour My- 
to his cheek; and wherever there is habitual gloom, there 
must be either bad air, unwholesome food, improperly severe 
labour, or erring habits of life. Among mountains, all these 
various causes are frequently found in combination. The 
air is either too bleak, or it is impure ; generally the peas- 
ants are exposed to alternations of both. Great hardship is 
sustained in various ways, severe labour undergone during 
smnmer, and a sedentary and confined life led during winter. 
Where the gloom exists in less elevated districts, as in 
G^ermany, I do not doubt, though I have not historical 
knowledge enough to prove this, that it is partly connected 
with habits of sedentary life, protracted study, and general 
derangement of the bodily system in consequence ; when it 
exists in the gross form exhibited in the manuscript above 
examined, I have no doubt it has been fostered by habits 
of general vice, cruelty, and dissipation. 



§ 26. IV. Considered as a natural insensibility to beauty, 
BadiMmnf it is, I ima^ne, indicative of a certain want of 
'^ cultivation in the race among whom it is found, 

perhaps without corporal or mental weakness, but produced 
by rudeness of life, absence of examples of beautifid art, 
defects in the mould of the national features, and such 
other adversities, generally belonging to northern nations as 

opposed to southern. Here, however, again my historical 
knowledge is at fault, and I must leave the reader to follow 
out the question for himself, if it interests him. A single 
example may be useful to those who have not time for in- 
vestigation, in order to show the kind of difference I mean. 

Fig. lis is a St. Feter, from a German fifteenth-century 
MS., of good average execution; and Fig. 116 a Madonna, 
either of the best English, or second-rate French, woik, 
from a service-book executed in 1290. The reader will, I 
doubt not, perceive at once the general grace and tender- 
ness of sentiment in the lines of the drapery of the last, 


and the comparatdvely delicate type of features. The hard- 
ness of line, gesture, and feature in the German example, 
though two centuries at least later, are, I think, equally 
notable. They are accompanied in the rest of the MS. by 
an excessive coarseness in choice of ornamental subject : 
beneath a female figure typical of the Church, for instance, 
there is painted a carcass, just butchered, and hung up 
with skewers through the legs.^ 

§ 27. V. In many high mountain districts, not only 
are the inhabitants likely to be hurt by hardship of life, 
and retarded by roughness of manners, but their eyes are 
familiarized with certain conditions of ugliness and disorder, 
produced by the violence of the elements around them. 
Once accustomed to look upon these conditions as inevit- 
able in nature, they may easily transfer the idea of inevit- 
ableness and fitness to the same appearances in their own 
houses. I said that mountains seem to have been created 
to show us the perfection of beauty; but we saw in the 
tenth chapter' that they also show sometimes the extreme of 
ugliness: and to the inhabitants of districts of this kind it 

^ [In Ruikin't diary of 1854 there it an earlier draft of this peatage, which 
givea some further illustration of the sohject from illuminated manuscripts : — 

'* It was noted in the missal which furnishes us with our root of eril, 
that the lore of death associated itself with an endurance of ugliness, else- 
where unexampled. Now, generally speaking, the conditions of temper 
associated with the love of death in Ciermany are in a similar way connected 
with this endurance of ugliness ; while in Italy, they are tempered hy some 
feehle love or perception of heauty ; and it is a matter of extreme difficulty 
to determine how far this permission of ugliness is a healthy or unhealthy 
character. Generally speaking, the whole art of illumination in Germany 
from the twelfth century downwards to the fourteenth, is characterised hy a 
hardness, monstrosity of fisature, and absence of all grace of composition^ 
which appear almost inhuman, even beside the earliest Saxon or Irish work ; 
while the French work is in comparison like that of angels, beside this som^ 
thing less than humanity . . . [references to illustrations from manuscripts]. 
Nor does this character disappear even in later work, for in a Gennan 
manuscript in my own possession, executed evidently after Raphael's time, 
in which the borders are founded on Italian arabesques, one of the orna- 
ments introduced conspicuously at the border of the service beginning 
'Daughters of Jerusalem, come and see the crown wherewiUi the Lord 
has crowned her,' is the carcase of a swine, cut open and skewered, so as 
to show the inside of the ribs, with a tob full of blood underneath ; the 
whole so highly and carefully finished, as to be a valuable example of the 
state of art at the period. "] 

* [See above, p. 158.] 


§ 81. Owing to these various influences, Sion, the capital 
of the district, presents one of the most remarkable scenes 
for the study of the particular condition of human feeling 
at present under consideration that I know among moun- 
tains. It consists of little more than one main street, 
winding round the roots of two ridges of crag, and branch- 
ing, on the side towards the rocks, into a few narrow 
lanes, on the other, into spaces of waste ground, of which 
part serve for military exercises, part are enclosed in an 
!»«rtain «Ki y^^j : . diteh Wf-ffllrf up. or W.U 
half-broken down, seeming to indicate their belongings, or 
having been intended to belong, to some of the unfinished 
houses which are springing up amidst their weeds. But it 
is difficult to say, in any part of the town, what is garden 
ground and what is waste; still more, what is new build- 
ing and what old. The houses have been for the most 
part built roughly of the coarse limestone of the neigh- 
bouring hills, then coated with plaster, and painted, in 
imitation of Falladian palaces, with grey architraves and 
pilasters, having draperies from capital to capital. With 
this fSedse decoration is curiously contrasted a great deal 
of graceful, honest, and original ironwork, in bulging bal- 
conies, and floreted gratings of huge windows, and branch- 
ing sprays, for any and every purpose of support or guanL^ 
The plaster, with its fresco, has in most instances dropped 
away, leaving the houses peeled and scarred; daubed into 
uncertain restoration with new mortar, and in the best 
t cases thus left; but commonly fallen also, more or less, 

into ruin, and either roofed over at the first story ^iHben 
the second has fallen, or hopelessly abandoned; — ^not pulled 
down, but left in white and ghastly shells to crumble into 
heaps of limestone and dust, a pauper or two still inhabit- 
ing where inhabitation is possible. The lanes wind among 
these ruins ; the blue sky and mountain grass are seen 
through the windows of their rooms and over their parti- 
tions, on which old gaudy papers flaunt in rags: the weeds 

1 [For the ironwork of Sion, tee Two PiUhi, § 168.] 


Ch,xix the mountain gloom 418 

gather, and the dogs scratch about their foundations; yet 
there are no luxuriant weeds, for their ragged leaves are 
blanched with lime, crushed under perpetually falling frag- 
ments, and worn away by listless standing of idle feet. 
There is always mason's work doing, always some fresh 
patching and whitening; a duU smell of naortar, mixed 
with that of stale foulness of every kind, rises with the 
dust, and defiles every ciurrent of air ; the comers are filled 
with accumulations of stones, partly broken, with crusts of 
cement sticking to them, and blotches of nitre oozing out 
of their pores. The lichenous rocks and sunburnt slopes 
of grass stretch themselves hither and thither among the 
wreck, ciuiously traversed by stairs and walls and half-cut 
paths that disappear below starkly black arches, and cannot 
be followed, or rise in windmgs round the angles, and in 
unfenced slopes along the fronts, of the two masses of rock 
which bear, one the dark castle, the other the old church 
and convent of Sion; beneath, in a rudely inclosed square 
at the outskirts of the town, a still more ancient Lombardic 
church raises its grey tower, a kind of esplanade extending 
between it and the Episcopal palace, and laid out as a plot 
of grass, intersected by gravel walks; but the grass, in 
strange S3rmpathy with the inhabitants, will not grow as 
grass, but chokes itself with a network of grey weeds, 
quite wonderful in their various expression of thorny dis- 
content and savageness; the blue flower of the borage, 
which mingles witii them in quantities, hardly interrupting 
their character, for the violent black spot in the centre of 
its blue takes away the tenderness of the flower, and it 
seems to have grown there in some supernatural mockery 
of its old renown of being good against melancholy.^ The 
rest of the herbage is chiefly composed of the dwarf mallow, 
the wild succory, the wail-rocket, goose-foot, and milfoil;* 

* Malva rotundifolia, Cichoriiim Intybns, Sisymbrium tenaifolium, Cheno- 
podium urbicum, Achillea Millefoliara. 

1 [So in Blyot (Ckut, BeUk, 1641), '' Bourage comfortoth the harte, and maketh 
one merye" ; and Uie old adage (cited in Hoolm't Britith Ffarm), '' I Borage alwaya 
bring Coarage."] 


plants, nearly all of them, jagged in the leaf, broken and 
dimly clustered in flower, haunters of waste ground and 
places of outcast refuse. 

Beyond this plot of ground the Episcopal palace, a half 
deserted, barrack-like building, overlooks a neglected vineyard 
of which the clusters, black on the under side, snow-whiti 
on the other with lime-dust, gather around them a melan- 
choly hum of flies. Through the arches of this trellis-woil 
the avenue of the great valley is seen in descending distance 
enlarged with line bejrond line of tufted foliage, languid am 
rich, degenerating at last into leagues of grey Maremma 
wild with the thorn and the willow; on each side of it 
sustaining themselves in mighty slopes and unbroken reache 
of colossal promontory, the great mountains secede int< 
supremacy through rosy depths of burning air, and the ores 
cents of snow gleam over their dim summits, as — if then 
could be Mourning, as once there was War, in heaven' — x 
line of waning moons might be set for lamps along the side 
of some sepulchral chamber in the Infinite. 

§ 82. I know not how far this universal grasp of th< 
sorrowful spirit might be relaxed if sincere energy wen 
directed to amend tiie ways of life of the Valaisan. But il 
has always appeared to me that there was, even in mon 
healthy mountain districts, a certain degree of inevitabli 
melancholy; nor could I ever escape from the feeling thai 
here, where chiefly the beauty of Gkxi's working was mani 
fested to men, warning was also given, and that to the fiiU 
of the enduring of His indignation against sin. 

It seems one of the most cunning and fi^uent of self 
deceptions to turn the heart away from this warning, am 
refrise to acknowledge anjrthing in the fair scenes of tb 
natural creation but beneficence. Men in general lean to 
wards the light, so far as they contemplate such things a 
all, most of them passing '*by on the other side,"* eithe 
in mere plodding pursuit of their own work, irrespective c 

1 [Reroktion ai. 7.] * [Luke x. dL] 


what good or evil is around them, or else in selfish gloom, 
or selfish delight, resulting from their own circumstances at 
the moment. Of those who give themselves to any true 
contemplation, the plurality, being humble, gentle, and kindly 
hearted, look only in nature for what is lovely and kind; 
partly, also, Gkxl gives the disposition to every healthy 
human mind in some degree to pass over or even harden 
itself against evil things, else the suffering would be too 
great to be borne; and himible people, with a quiet trust 
tiiat everything is for the best, do not fairly represent the 
fkcts to themselves, thinking them none of their business. 
So, what between hard-hearted people, thoughtless people, 
busy people, humble people, and cheerfiilly-minded people, 
— giddiness of youth, and preoccupations of age, — philo- 
sophies of feuth, and cruelties of folly, — ^priest and Levite, 
masquer and merchantman, all agreeing to keep their own 
side of the way, — ^the evil that Gkxl sends to warn us gets 
to be forgotten, and the evil that He sends to be mended 
by us gets left unmended. And then, because people shut 
their eyes to the dark indisputableness of the facts in frt>nt 
of them, their Faith, such as it is, is shaken or uprooted 
by every darkness in what is revealed to them. In the 
present day it is not easy to find a well-meaning man 
among our more earnest thinkers, who will not take upon 
himself to dispute the whole system of redemption, because 
he cannot unravel the mystery of the punishment of sin. 
But can he unravel the mystery of the punishment of no 
sin? Can he entirely account for all that happens to a 
cab-horse?^ Has he ever looked fairly at the late of one 
of those beasts as it is dying, — measured the work it has 
done, and the reward it has got, — put his hand upon the 
bloody wounds through which its bones are piercing, and 
so looked up to Heaven with an entire understanding of 
Heaven's ways about the horse ? * Yet the horse is a fiact — 

' [Compsr* Rotkin't pftMagw on the carUbone in Lonodt MeMe^ § 196 ; sod on 
the hone at rsilwmy-ndinge in lime and TU0, § 20.] 
[In one of hie oopiee Raskin wrote here : — 

'' ' Inmeritis ftanguntor eroim eebellis.'— Jinmif al, z. 00."] 


no dream — no revelation among the myrtle trees by mght 
and the dust it dies upon, and the dogs that eat it» ar 
facts; and yonder happy person, — ^whose the horse was til 
its knees were broken over the hurdles, who had an im 
mortal soul to begin with, and wealth and peace to hel] 
forward his immortality; who has also devoted the power 
of his soul, and body, and wealth, and peace, to the spoil 
ing of houses, the corruption of the innocent, and the oppres 
sion of the poor; and has, at this actual moment of hi 
prosperous life, as many curses waiting round about hin 
in calm shadow, with their death's eyes fixed upon him 
abiding their time, as ever the poor cab-horse had launchec 
at him in meaningless bksphemies, when his failing feel 
stumbled at the stones, — ^this happy person shall have nc 
stripes, — ^shall have only the horse's fate of annihilation ; or 
if other things are indeed reserved for him. Heaven's kind- 
ness or omnipotence is to be doubted therefore. 

§ 88. We cannot reason of these things. But this I 
know — and this may by all men be known — ^that no good 
or lovely thing exists in this world without its correspondent 
darkness; and that the universe presents itself continually 
to mankind under the stem aspect of warning, or of choice, 
the good and the evil set on the right hand and the left 

And in this mountain gloom, which weighs so strongly 
upon the human heart that in all time hitherto, as we have 
seen, the hill defiles have been either avoided in terror or 
inhabited in penance, there is but the fidfilment of the uni- 
versal law, that where the beauty and wisdom of the Divine 
working are most manifested, there also are manifested most 
clearly the terror of God's \erath, and inevitableness of His 

Nor is this gloom less wonderful so far as it bears witness 
to the error of human choice, even when the nature of good 
and evil is most definitely set before it. The trees of 
Paradise were fair; but our first parents hid themselves 
fix)m God "in medio ligni Paradisi,'' — in the midst of the 
trees of the garden. The hills were ordained for the help 


of man; but instead of raising his eyes to the hills, from 
whence cometh his help, he does his idol sacrifice ''upon 
every high hill and under every green tree." The moun- 
tain of the Lord's house is established above the hills ; but 
Nadab and Abihu shall see under His feet the body of 
heaven in his clearness, yet to down to kindle the censer 
,g^ their .wn «„ls. ^AnfU to the end rf time it will 
be ; to the end, that cry will still be heard along the Alpine 
winds, ''Hear, oh ye mountains, the Lord's controversy!" 
Still, their gulfs of thawless ice, and unretarded roar of 
tormented waves, and deathful falls of fruitless waste, and 
unredeemed decay, must be the image of the souls of those 
who have chosen the darkness, and whose cry shall be to 
the mountains to fall on them, and to the hills to cover 
them; and still, to the end of time, the clear waters of 
the unfailing springs, and the white pasture-lilies in their 
clothed multitude, and the abiding of the burning peaks in 
their nearness to the opened heaven, shall be the types, 
and the blessings, of those who have chosen light, and of 
whom it is written, "The mountains shall bring peace to 
the people, and the little hills, righteousness."^ 

> [llie Bible refereucM here are GeaesM iii. 8 (Vulgate) ; Pkalmi cxxL 4 ; Jere- 
miah liL 6 ; Iiaiah ii. 2 ; Exodus xxiv. 1-10 ; Micah vi. 2 ; Hoaea x. 8 ; Pialms Izxii. a] 

VI. 2 D 



§ 1. I HAVE dwelt, in the foregoing chapter, on tiie sadness 
of the hills with the greater insistence that I feared my own 
excessive love for them might lead me into too fiivouraUe 
interpretation of their influences over the human heart; 
or, at least, that the reader might accuse me of fond pce- 
judice, in the conclusions to which, finally, I desire to lead 
him concerning them. For, to mjrself, mountains are the 
beginning and the end of all natund scenery ; in them, and 
in the forms of inferior landscape that lead to them, my 
affections are wholly bound up; and though I can kxA 
with happy admiration at the lowland flowers, and woods, 
and open skies, the happiness is tranquil and cold, like that 
of examining detached flowers in a conservatory, or reading 
a pleasant book ; and if the scenery be resolutely level, in- 
sisting upon the declaration of its own flatness in all the 
detail of it, as in Holland, or Lincolnshire, or Central Lom- 
bardy, it appears to me like a prison, and I cannot long 
endure it. But the slightest rise and fall in the road, — a 
mossy bank at the side of a crag of chalk, with brambles 
at its brow, overhanging it, — a ripple over three or four 
stones in the stream by the bridge, — above aU, a wUd bit 
of ferny ground under a fir or two, looking as if, possibly, 
one might see a hill if one got to the other side of the 
trees, will instantly give me intense delight, because the 
shadow, or the hope, of the hills, is in them. 

§ 2. And thus, although^ there are few districts of Nor- 
thern Europe, however apparently dull or tame, in which 


[With this chapter compare The Art of England, S 174] 
^ [The passage mm '^ Although there are few districts . . ." down to the end 



I cannot find ^easnre, though the whole of Northern 
France (except Champagne), dull as it seems to most 
travellers, is to me a perpetual Paradise; and, patting 
Lincolnshire, Leicestershkre, and one or two such oMket 
perfectly flat districts aside, there is not an English countjf 
which I should not find entertainment in exploring the 
cross-roads of, foot by foot; yet all my best enjoyment 
would be owing to the imagination of the hills, eolouringv 
with their far-away memories, every lowland stone and 
herb. The [feasant French eoteau, green in the san* 
shine, deli^ffats me, either by idiat real mountain diaracter 
it has in itsdf (for in extent and succession of promontory 
the flanks of the Frendi vallesrs have quite the sublimity 
of true mountain distances), or by its broken ground and 
rugged steps among the vines, and rise of the leafage 
above, against the blue sky, as it might rise at Vevay or 
Como. There is not a wave of the Seine but is associated 
in; my mind with the first rise of the sandstones and forest 
pines of Fontainebleau ; and with the hope of the Alps, 
as one leaves Paris with the horses' heads to the south- 
west, the morning sun flashing on the bright waves at 
Charenton. If tiiere be no hope or association of tins 
kind, and if I cannot deceive myself into fancying that 
perhaps at the next rise of the road there may be seen 
the film of a blue hill in the gleam of sky at the horizon, 
the landscape, however beautiful, produces in me even a 
kind of sickness and pain; and the whole view fix>m Rich- 
mond Hill or Windsor Terrace, — ^nay, the gardens of Al- 
cinous, with their perpetual summer, — or of the Hesperides 
(if they were flat, and not close to Atlas), golden apples 

of § 2 if I 19 of Frondei Agvttiei (1875), where, at thb point, Raddn added the 

following rootnote :— 

''This and the following paieage have nothing to do with the general 
statements in the hook. Iney ooeur with reforenee only to my own idio- 
syncrasy. 1 was much surprised to find how individual it was, hy a Pre- 
Raphaelite painter's declaring a piece of unwholesome reedy fen to be more 
beautiftil than Benvenue." 

The ''following passage" in Frondet is the description o( Calais Chorch (ahoye, 

pp. 11-12).] 


and all, — I would give away in an instant, for one mossy 
granite stone a foot broad, and two leaves of lady-fern.* 

§ 8. I know that this is in great part idiosyncrasy ; and 
that I must not trust to my own feelings, in this respect, 
as representative of the modem landscape instinct: yet I 
know it is not idiosyncrasy, in so far as there may be 
proved to be indeed an increase of th6 absolute beauty of 
all scenery in exact proportion to its mountainous char- 
acter, providing that character be heaJthily mountainous. 
I do not mean to take the Col de Bonhomme as repre- 
sentative of hills, any more than I would take Ronmey 
Marsh as representative of plains; but putting Leicester- 
shire or Staffordshire fairly beside Westmoreland, and Lom- 
bardy or Champagne fairly beside the Pays de Vaud or 
the Canton Berne, I find the increase in the calculabk 
sum of elements of beauty to be steadily in proportion to 
the increase of mountainous character; and that the best 
image which the world can give of Paradise is in the slope 
of the meadows, orchards, and corn-fields on the sides of a 
great Alp, with its purple rocks and eternal snoi^s above; 
this excellence not being in any wise a matter referable to 
feeling, or individual preferences, but demonstrable by calm 
enumeration of the number of lovely colours on the rocks, 
the varied grouping of the trees, and quantity of noble in- 
cidents in stream, crag, or cloud, presented to the eye at any 
given moment. 

* In tracing the whole of the deep enjoyment to mountain association, 
I of course except whatever feelings are connected with the observance 
of rural life, or with that of architecture. None of these feeling arise 
out of the landscape, properly so called : the pleasure with which we 
see a peasant's garden fairly kept, or a ploughman doing his work well, 
or a group of children playing at a cottage door, being wholly separate 
from that which we find in the fields or commons around them ; and the 
beauty of architecture, or the associations connected with it, in like manner 
often ennobling the most tame scenery ; — ^yet not so but that we may 
always distinguish between the abstract character of the unassisted land- 
scape, and the charm which it derives from the architecture. Much of the 
majesty of French landscape consists in its grand and grey village churches 
and turreted farmhouses, not to speak of its cathedrals, castles, and beauti- I 
fully placed cities. 

ChXX the mountain GLORY 421 

§ 4. For consider, first, the difference produced in the 
whole tone of landscape colour by the introductions of 
purple, violet, and deep ultramarine blue, which we owe 
to mountains. In an ordinary lowland landscape we have 
the blue of the sky ; the green of grass, which I will sup- 
pose (and this is an unnecessary concession to the lowlands) 
entirely fresh and bright; the green of trees; and certain 
elements of purple, far more rich and beautiful than we 
generally should think, in their bark and shadows (bare 
hedges and thickets, or tops of trees, in subdued after- 
noon sunshine, are nearly perfect purple, and of an exqui- 
site tone), as well as in ploughed fields, and dark ground 
in general But among mountains, in addUion to all this, 
large unbroken spaces of pure violet and purple are in- 
troduced in their distances; and even near, by films of 
cloud passing over the darkness of ravines or forests, blues 
are produced of the most subtle tenderness; these azures 
and purples* passing into rose-colour of otherwise wholly 
unattainable ddic^cy among the upper summits, the blue 
of the sky being at the same time purer and deeper than 
in the plains. Nay, in some sense, a person who has never 
seen the rose colour of the rays of dawn crossing a blue 
mountain twelve or fifteen miles away, can hardly be said 
to know what tenderness in colour means at aU; bright 
tenderness he may, indeed, see in the sky or in a flower, 
but this grave tenderness of the far-away hill-purples he 
cannot conceive. 

* One of the principal reaioiis for the fiibe supposition that Switserland 
is not pictiiTesque, is the error of most sketehers and painters in represent- 
ing pine forest in middle distance as dark^fieen, or grey green, whereas 
its tme colour is always purple, at distances ofeTen two or three miles. Let 
any traveller coming down the Montanvert look for an aperture, three 
or four inches wide, between the near pine branches, through which, 
standing eight or ten feet from it, he can see the opposite forests on the 
Breven or Fleg^re. Those forests are not above two or two and a half 
mUes from him ; but he will find the aperture is filled by a tint of neariy 
pure asure or purple, not by green.^ 

[On ** the quantity of pur^ in nature," eompare KhmeiU^ ^Dmmimgf § 106.] 


§ 5. Together with tius great source of pre-eminence in 
mas9 of bc^our, we have to estimate the influence of the 
finished inlaying and enamd-work of the oolour-jewellery od 
erery stone; and that of the continual variety in species 
of flower ; most of the mountain flowers being, besides, septr 
rately lovelier than the lowland ones. The wood hyacintk 
and wild rose are, indeed, the only nupreme flowers that the 
lowlands can g^ierally show; and the wild rose is also a 
mountaineer, and more fragrant in the hills,^ while tiie 
wood hyacinth, or grape hyacinth, at its best, cannot matdk 
even the dark bell-gentian, leavii^ the light-blue star-gentiaa 
in its uncontested queenliness,' and the Alpine rose and 
Highland heather wholly without similitude. The viol^ 
lily of the valley, crocus, and wood anemone are, I supposCp 
claimable partly by the plains as well as the hills; but 
the large orange lily and narcissus I have never seen but 
on hill pastures, and the exquisite oxalis is pre-eminently a 

§ 6. To this supremacy in mosses and flowers we have 
next to add an inestimable gain in the continual presence 
and power of water. Neitlier in its clearness, its coiour, 
its fantasy of motion, its calmness of space, dqrtii, and re- 
flection, or its wrath, can water be conceived by a low- 
lander, out of sight of sea. A sea wave is far grander than 
any torrent — but of the sea and its influences we are not 
now speaking; and the sea itself, though it can be clear, is 
never calm, among our shores, in the sense that a moun- 
tain lake can be calm. The sea seems only to pause; the 

* The Savoyard's name for its flower, ''Pain du Bon Dieu," is veiy 
faeautifel; from, I beliere, the supposed resemblance of its white sad 
•eattered blossom to the fallen manna.* 

^ [Raskin had specially noted this in his diary for 1654 : — 

** Juhf 20. — Note that the wild roses, here in Chamonni, haTe the msft 

perfect perfiims I ever fislt, like sweet-briar."] 

' [For Ruskin's love of the gentian, see VoL II. p. 431 n. In one of hia diariei 

(Geneva, June 1, 1844) he describes *' a lovely walk yesterday beyond Lea Rousbsr, 

among the gentians. I never saw them in such profusion before, nor of such blue 

It was as if Heaven had been left desolate and grass had grown on it."] 

* [On the Italian and Savoyard names of this flower, see VoL IIL pu 176 n.] 

ChXX the mountain glory 428 

mountain lake to sleep, and to dream. Out of sight of 
the ocean a loidander cannot be considered ever ^ to have 
seen water at alL The mantling of the pools in the rode 
shadows, with the golden flakes of light sinking down 
throu^ them like falling leaves, the ringing of the thin 
currents among the shallows, the flash and the cloud of the 
cascade, the earthquake and foam-fire of the cataract, the 
long lines of alternate mirror and mist that lull the imagery 
of the hills reversed in the blue of morning, — all these 
things belong to those hills as their undivided inheritance. 

§ 7. To this supremacy in wave and stream is joined a 
no less manifest pre-eminence in the character of trees. It 
is possible among plains, in the species of trees which pro- 
perly belong to them, the poplars of Amiens, for instance, 
to obtain a serene simplicity of grace, which, as I said,^ is a 
better help to the study of gracefulness, as such, than any 
of the wilder groupings of the hills; so, also, there are 
certain conditions of symmetrical luxuriance developed in 
the park and avenue, rarely rivalled in their way among 
mountains; and yet the mountain superiority in foliage is, 
on the whole, nearly as complete as it is in water: for ex- 
actly as there are some expressions in the broad reaches of 
a navigable lowland river, such as the Loire or Thames, 
not, in their way, to be matched among the rock rivers, 
and yet for all that a lowlander cannot be said to have 
truly seen the element of water at all; so even in the 
richest parks and avenues he cannot be said to have truly 
seen trees. For the resources of trees are not developed 
until they have difficulty to contend with ; neither their ten- 
derness of brotherly love and harmony, till they are forced 
to choose their wajrs of various life where thoe is contracted 
room for them, talking to each other with their restrained 
branches. The various action of trees rooting themsdves 
in inhospitable rocks, stoofHug to look into ravines, hidh^ 
from the search of glacier winds, reaching forth to the 

» [Sea VoL V. p. 237.] 



nys of rare sanslmie, c iwuliii g dawn together to drink 
sweetest streams, dimbing hand in hand among the diflic 
slopes, opening in sadden dances loond the mossjr knd 
gathering into companies at rest among the firagnnt fiel 
g^ding in grave pocessicm over the he aven w ar d ridges 
nothing of this can be conceiTed among the unvexed a 
mivaried fdicities of the lowland forest: while to all tb 
direct sources of greater beauty are added, first the po¥ 
of redundance, — the mere quantity of fcdiage Tisifale in 1 
folds and on the promcMitories of m sin^ Alp bemg grea 
than that of an entire lowland landscape (unless a vi 
from some cathedral tower); and to this chnrn of redi 
dance, that of clearer vuMUty^ — ^tree after tree being a 
stantly shown in successive hei^it, CMie bdiiiid anotli 
instead of the mere tops and flanks of masses, as in 1 
plains ; and the forms of multitudes of them continually i 
fined against the clear sky, near and above, or against wfa 
clouds entangled among their brandies, instead of beings a 
fiised in dimness of distimre. 

§ 8. Finally, to this supremacy in foliage we have 
add the still less questionable supremacy in ckwids, TIm 
is no effect of sky possible in the lowlands idiicfa may r 
in equal perfection be seen among the hills; but there i 
effects by tens of thousands, for ever invisible and incc 
ceivable to the inhabitant of the plains, manifested amo 

^ the hiUs in the course of one day. The mere po^ver 

familiarity with the clouds, of walking with them and abo 
them, alters and renders clear our whole conception of t 
baseless arehitecture of the sky; and for the beauty of 

• there is more in a single wreath of early doud, padng 

way up an avenue of pines, or pausing among the points 

) their fringes, than in all the white heaps that filled t 

arched sky of the plains from one horizcm to the otb 
And of the nobler cloud manifestations, — the breaking 

j their troublous seas against the crags, their black spr 

sparkling with lightning ; or the going forth of the momin 

1 [Sea EMldd Tii. 10 ; HoMft tL a] 


ChXX the mountain glory 425 

along their pavements of moving marble, level-laid between 
dome and dome of snow; — of these things there can be as 
little imagination or understanding in an inhabitant of the 
plains as of the scenery of another planet than his own. 

§ 9. And, observe, all these superiorities are matters 
plainly measurable and calculable, not in any wise to be re- 
ferred to estimate of sensation. Of the grandeur or expres- 
sion of the hills I have not spoken; how far they are great, 
or strong, or terrible, I do not for the moment consider, 
because vastness, and strength, and terror, are not to all 
minds subjects of desired contemplation. It may make no 
difference to some men whether a natural object be large 
or small, whether it be strong or feeble. But loveliness of 
colour, perfectness of form, endlessness of change, wonder- 
fulness of structure, are precious to all undiseased human 
minds ; and the superiori^ of the mountains in all these 
things to the lowland is, I repeat, as measurable as the 
richness of a painted wmdow matched with a white one, 
or the wealth of a museum compared with that of a simply 
furnished chamber. They seem to have been built for the 
human race, as at once their schools and cathedrals ; full of 
treasures of illuminated manuscript for the scholar, kindly 
in simple lessons to the worker, quiet in pale cloisters for 
the thinker, glorious in holiness for the worshipper. And 
of these great cathedrals of the earth, with their gates of 
rock, pavements of cloud, choirs of stream and stone, altars 
of snow, and vaults of purple traversed by the continual 
stars, — of these, as we have seen, it was written, nor long 
ago, by one of the best of the poor human race for whom 
they were built, wondering in himself for whom their Creator 
could have nutde them, and thinking to have entirely dis- 
cerned the Divine intent in them — ''They are inhabited by 
the Beasts.'' ' 

§ 10. Was it then indeed thus with us, and so lately? 
Had mankind offered no worship in their mountain 

1 [Sm whoft p. ISO.] 

f - 




churches? Was all that granite sculpture and floral paii 
ing done by the angels in vain? 

Not so. It will need no prdionged thought to oonvii 
us that in the hills the purposes of their Maker have indc 
been accomplished m such measure as, through the an 
folly of men, He ever permits them to be accomplish^ 
It may not seem, from the general language held conc^erni 
them, or from any directly traceable results, that mounta 
have had serious influence on human intellect; but it v 
not, I think, be difficult to show that their occult influei 
has been both constant and essential to the progress 
the race. 

§ 11. Consider, first, whether we can justly red^ise 
attribute to their mountain scenery some share in givi 
the Greeks and Italians their intellectual lead among 1 
^ nations of Europe. 

There is not a single spot of land in either of th< 
f\ countries from which mountains are not discernible; ahm 

always they form the principal feature of the scenery. T 
mountain outlines seen from Sparta, Corinth, Athe 
Rome, Florence, Pisa, Verona, are of consummate beaut 
and whatever dislike or contempt may be traceable in t 
mind of the Greeks for mountain ruggedness, their pL 
ing the shrine of Apollo under the cli£& of Delphi, and 1 
throne upon Parnassus, was a testimony to all sueceedi 

I time that they themselves attributed the best part of th 

intellectual inspiration to the power of the hills. IS 
would it be difficult to show that every great writer 
either of those nations, however little definite regard 

ff might manifest for the landscape of his country, had be 

mentally formed and disciplined by it, so that even sv 

I enjoyment as Homer's of the ploughed ground and pop 

groves owes its intensity and delicacy to the excitement 
tiie imagination produced, without his own consciousnc 
by other and grander features of the scenery to which 
had been accustomed from a child; and differs in evi 
respect from the tranquil, vegetative, and prosaic affect: 

ChXX the mountain GLORY 427 

with which the same ploughed land and poplars would be 
r^arded by a native of the Netherlands. 

The vague expression which I have just used — ^^intel- 
lectual lead," may be expanded into four great heads ; lead 
in Religion, Art and Literature, War, and Social Economy. 

§ 12. It will be right to examine our subject eventimlly 
under these four heads; but I shall limit myself, for the 
present, to some consideration of the first two, for a reason 
presently to be stated.^ 

I. We have before had occasion' to note the peculiar 
awe with which mountains were regarded in 
the Middle Ages, as bearing continual witness o/'mowua^ 
against the frivolity or luxury of the world, r*'*'^*^ 
Though the sense of this influence of theirs is 
perhaps more dearly expressed by the mediaeval Christians 
than by any other sect of religionists, the influence itself 
has been constant in all time. Mountains have always 
possessed the power, first, of exciting religious enthusiasm ; 
secondly, of purifying religious faith. These two opera- 
tions are partly contrary to one another: for the faith of 
enthusiasm is apt to be impure^ and the mountains, by ex- 
citing morbid conditions of the imagination, have caused 
in great part the legendary and romantic forms of belief; 
on the other hand, by fostering simplicity of life and 
dignity of morals, they have purified by action what they 
falsified by imagination. But, even in thdr first and most 
dangerous influence, it is not the mountains that are to 
blame, but the human heart. While we mourn over the 
fictitious shape given to the religious visions of the an- 
chorite, we may envy the sincerity and the depth of the 
emotion from which they spring: in the deep feeling, we 
have to acknowledge the solemn influences of the hills ; but 
for the erring modes or forms of thought, it is human wil- 
fulness, sin, and false teaching, that are answerable. We 

1 [See below, g 39, p. 454.1 
« [See Vol. v. pp. 253-255.] 


are not to deny the nobleness of the imagination becaiu 
its direction is illegitimate, nor the pathos of the l^gen 
because its circumstances are groundless; the ardour an 
abstraction of the spiritual life are to be honoured i 
themselves, though liie one may be misguided and tfa 
other deceived ; and the deserts of Osma, Assisi, and Mont 
Viso are still to be thanked for the zeal they gave, c 
guarded, whether we find it in St Francis and St. Domim 
or in those whom Grod's hand hid from them in the ded 
of the rocks.^ 

§ 18. And, in fact, much of the apparently harmfi 
influence of hills on the religion of the world is nothin 
else than their general gift of exciting, in peculiarly solem 
tones, the poetical and inventive faculties. Their tern 
leads into devotional casts of thought; their beauty an 
wildness prompt the invention at the same time ; and ^hei 
the mind is not gifi;ed with stem reasoning powers* < 
protected by purity of teaching, it is sure to mingle tli 
invention with its creed, and the vision with its pra}^ 
Strictly speaking, we ought to consider the superstition 
of the hUls, universally, as a form of poetry; regrettin 
only that men have not yet learned how to distinguis 
poetry from well-founded faith. And if we do this, axt 
r enable ourselves thus to review, without carping or sneerinj 

the shapes of solemn imagination which have arisen amonj 
I the inhabitants of Europe, we shall find, on the one hand 

- the mountains of Greece and Italy forming all the lovelies 

, dreams, first of the Pagan, then of the Christian myth 

ology; on the other, those of Scandinavia to be the firs 
r sources of whatever mental (as well as military) power wai 

i brought by the Normans into Southern Europe. Normand] 

j itself is to all intents and purposes a hill country; com 

T posed, over large extents, of granite and basalt, oftei 

t ^ [Oiina^ ia Old Castile ^paini where St Dominic wat for a time a Canon 

I For Kualdn's interest in St Franda of Aidsi, tee Fi^n Cknigeru, Letten 41, 46, 7C 


f 1. 


^ ^ ifai^t iZflf^, §§ 75, 76 ; ifofiiJi^ <» i1bfWM9, §1 7-8, 43 ; Fa/ if ^mo, § 178. Fo 

I f his interest in the Protestants of the Vandob Valley, heneath Monte Viao, aa 

: VoL Xll. p. 139 n. TheBiblereferenoeis to EzodusxzziiL 21, 22.] 

OlXX the mountain glory 420 

nigged and covered with heather on the summits, and 
traversed by beautiful and singuhir dells, at once soft and 
secluded, fruitful and wild.^ We have thus one branch of 
the Northern religious imagination rising among the Scan- 
dinavian fiords, tempered in France by various encounters 
with elements of Arabian, Italian, Proven9al, or other 
Southern poetry, and then reacting upon Southern Eng- 
land ; whUe other forms of the same rude religious imagina- 
tion, resting like clouds upon the mountains of Scotland 
and Wales, met and mingl^ with the Norman Christianity, 
retaining even to the latest times some dark colour of 
superstition, but giving all its poetical and military pathos 
to Scottish poetry, and a peculiar sternness and wUdness 
of tone to the Reformed f&ith, in its manifestations among 
the Scottish hills. 

§ 14. It is on less disputable ground that I may claim 
the reader^s gratitude to the mountains, as having been the 
centres not only of imaginative energy, but of purity both 
in doctrine and practice. The enthusiasm of the perse- 
cuted Covenanter, and his variously modified claims to 
miraculous protection or prophetic inspiration, hold exactly 
the same relation to the smooth proprieties of lowland 
Protestantism that the demon combats, fastings, visions, 
and miracles of the mountain monk or anchorite hold to 
the wealth and worldliness of the Vatican. It might in- 
deed happen, whether at Canterbury, Rheims, or Rome, 
that a good bishop should occasionally grasp the crozier; 
and a vast amount of prudent, educated, and admirable 
piety is to be found among the ranks of the lowland 
clergy. But still the large aspect of the matter is always, 
among Protestants, that formalism, respectability, ortho- 
doxy, caution, and propriety, live by the slow stream 
that encircles the lowland abbey or cathedral; and that 
enthusiasm, poverty, vital fiiith, and audacity of conduct, 
characterize the pastor dwelling by the torrent side. In 

> [Comfwre the dMeripUon of Normuidj in a letter of 1848, VoL VIII. p. xxix.] 


like maimer, taking the large aspects of Romanism, we i 
that its worst corruption, its cmming, its woiidliiiess^ uid 
permission of crime^ are traceable for the nxMt part to lo 
land prelacy; but its self-denials, its obediences, humiliti 
sincere claims to miraculous power, and fiiithfdl discduo] 
of pastoral duty, are traceable chidly to its andiorites a 
mountain clergy. 

§ 15. It is true that the ''Lady Poverty" of St. Franc 
may share the influence of the hills in the formation 
character ; and that, since the clergy who have little inter 
at court or conclave are those who in general will be driv 
to uiKlertake the hill services, we must often attribi 
to enforced' simplicity of life, or natural bitterness of fe 
ing, some of the tones of thou^t which we might otka 
wise have ascribed to the influence of mountain scene 
Such causes, however, affect the lowland as much as t 
highland religious character in all districts fiur from citi< 
but they do not produce the same effects. The curate 
hermit of the field and fen, however simple his life, 
painftd his lodging, does not often attain the spirit of t 
hill pastor or recluse; we may find in him a decent virti 
or a contented ignorance, rarely the prophetic vision 
the martyr's passion. Among the fair arable lands 
England and Belgium, extends an orthodox Protestantis 
I or Catholicism ; prosperous, creditable, and drowsy ; but 

I is among the purple moors of the highland border, tl 

ravines of Mont Gen^vre, and the crags of the Tyrol, th 
we shall find the simplest Evangelical faith, and tiie pure 
Romanist practice. 

§ 16. Of course the inquiry into this branch of tl 
hill influence is partly complicated with that into its oper 
] ' tion on domestic habits and personal character, of whii 

^ hereaft;er: but there is one curious witness borne to tl 

general truth of the for^pone conclusions, by an apparent 
slight, yet very significant circumstance in art. We ha' 



■ 1 



> [See Fan Chvigera^ Abetters 41 and 45.] 

ChXX the mountain glory 4iS1 

seen, in the {H'eceding volume»^ kow difficult it was some- 
times to distinguish between honest painters, who truly 
chose to paint sacred subjects because diey loved them, and 
the affected painters, who took sacred subjects fbr their 
own pride's sake, or for merely artistical delight. Amongst 
other means of arriving at a conclusion in this matter, there 
is one helpful test which may be applied to their various 
works, almost as easily and certainly as a foot-rule could 
be used to measure their size ; and which remains an avail- 
able test, down to the date of the rise of the Claudesque 
landscape schools. Nearly all the genuine religious painters 
use steep mountain distances. All the merely artistical ones, 
or those of intermediate temper, in proportion as they lose 
the religious element, use flat or simply architectiu*al dis- 
tances. Of course the law is liable to many exceptions, 
chiefly dependent on the place of birth and early associa- 
tions of painters ; but its force is, I think, strongly shown 
in this; — ^that, though the Flemish painters never showed 
any disposition to paint, for its own sake^ other sceneiy 
than of their own land (compare VoL III. Chap. xiu. 
§ 20^), the sincerely religious ones continually used Alpine 
distances, bright with snow. In like manner Giotto, Peru- 
gino, Angelico, the young Raphael, and John Bellini, 
always, if, with any fitness to their subject, they can in- 
troduce them, use craggy or blue mountain distances, and 
this with definite expression of love towards them; Leo- 
nardo, conventionally, as feeling they were necessary for 
his sacred subjects, while yet his science and idealism had 
destroyed his mountain sincerity; Michael Angdo, wholly 
an artist, and Raphael in later years, show no love of 
mountains whatever, while the relative depths of feeling 
in Tintoret, Titian, and Veronese, are precisely measurable 
by their afiection to mountains. Tintoret, though born in 
Venice, yet, because capable of the greatest reaches of 
feeling, is the first of the old painters who ever drew 

1 rse( 

a [In 

See ch. iv. , Vol. V. pp. 73 ««9.] 

Jin this edition, Vol. V. p. 238. ^ 

referred to in his "Notes on the Louvre," No. 2202, Vol. XII. p. 472.] 

this edition. Vol. V. p. 238. Ruskin mentions a background such as is Itere 


mountain detail rightly : * Titian, though bom in Cadore, a 
recurring to it constantly, yet being more worldly-mind 
uses his hills somewhat more conventionally, though still 
his most deeply felt pictures, such as the St. Jerome 
the Brera,^ giving to the rocks and forests a consumnu 
nobleness; and Veronese, in his gay grasp of the outsi 
aspects of the world, contentedly includes his philosop 
within porticoes and pillars, or at the best overshadows 
with a few sprays of laurel. 

§ 17. The test fails, however, utterly when applied 
the later or transitional landscape schools, mountains bei 
there introduced in mere wanton savageness by Salvat 
or vague conventionalism by Claude, Berghem, and hi 
dreds more. This need not, however, in the least invi 
date our general conclusions: we surely know already tl 
it is possible to misuse the best gifts, and perv^*t 1 
purest feelings; nor need we doubt the real piupose, or, 
honest hearts, the real effect, of moimtains, because varic 
institutions have been founded among them by the bandi 
of Calabria, as weU as by St. Bruno.' 

§ 18. I cannot leave this part of my subject withe 
recording a slight incident, which happened to myself, sing 
larly illustrative of the religious character of the Alpi 
peasant when under favourable circumstances of teachii 
I I was coming down one evening from the Rochers de Naj 

I above Montreux, having been at work among the limesto: 

rocks, where I could get no water, and both weary ai 

thirsty. Coming to a spring at a turn of the path, co 

duct^, as usual, by the herdsmen into a hollowed pin 

f trunk, I stooped to it, and drank deeply: as I raised n 

^ "^ head, drawing breath heavily, some one behind me sai 


* See reference to his painting of stones in the last note to § 28 
the chapter on Imagination Penetrative, Vol. II. [In this edition. Vol. ] 

^ p. 286.] 



» [For this picture, tee Vol. III. p. 181 ; VoL IV. pp. 244, 247.1 
* [For brigandage m Calabria, see Time and Tide, § 161 ; for St Bruno, VoL : 
p. 569 n.] 

ChXX the mountain GLORY 488 

** Celui qui boira de cette eau-ci, aura encore soif." I turned, 
not understanding for the moment what was meant; and 
saw one of the hill-peasants, probably returning to his chftlet 
from the market-place at Vevay or ViUeneuve. As I looked 
at him with an uncomprehending expression, he went cm 
with the verse: — ''Mais celui qui boira de I'eau que je lui 
donnerai, n'aura jamais soif." 

I doubt if this would have been thought of, or said, by 
even the most intelligent lowland peasant The thought 
might have occurred to him, but the frankness of address, 
and expectation of being at once understood without a 
word of preparative explanation, as if the language of the 
Bible were familiar in all men, mark, I think, the moun- 

§ 19. II. We were next to examine the influence of 
hills on the artistical power of the human race. 
Which power, so far as it depends on the im- t^fiwJmu^ 
agination, must evidently be fostered by the ^^^rM^eai 
same influences which give vitality to religious 
vision. But so far as artistical productiveness and skill 
are concerned, it is evident that tiie mountaineer is at a 
radical and insurmountable disadvantage. The strength of 
his character depends upon the absence of luxury; but it 
is eminently by luxury that art is supported. We are not, 
therefore, to deny the mountain influence, because we do 
not find finished frescoes on the timbers of ch&lets, or deli- 
cate bas-reliefs on the bastion which protects the mountain 
church frt>m the avalanche; but to consider how £u- the 
tone of mind shown by the artists labouring in the lowland 
is dependent for its intensity on the distant influences of the 
hills, whether during the childhood of those bwn among 
them, or under the casual contemplation of men advanced 
in life. 

§ 20. Glancing broadly over the strength of the medi- 
aeval — ^that is to say, of the peculiar and energetic — art of 
Europe, so as to discern through the clear flowing of its 
waves over France, Italy, and England, the places in the 

VL 2 E 


pool vfhae the foimUin heads are, and where the sane 
dances, I should first point to Nonnandy and Tuscany 
From the cathedral of Pisa, and the sculptore of the Pisus 
the course is straight to Giotto, Angelico mud Raphad,- 
to Orcagna and Michael Angdo;^ — the Veoetiaii sdiod, ii 
many respects mightier, being nevertheless, subsequent anc 
derivative. From the cathedrals of Caen and Coutanees th 
course is straight to the Gothic of Chaitres and Notre DauM 
of Paris,' and thence forward to all French and EnglisI 
noble art, whether ecclesiastical or domestic No^r the mom 
tarn scenery above Pisa is precisely the most beautiiul thi 
surrounds any great Italian city, owing to the wondeift 
outlines of the peaks of Carrara.' ^lilan and Verona haT< 
indeed finer ranges in sight, but rising fSuther in the dis 
tance, and therefore not so directly afiecting the popula 
mind. The Norman imagination, as already mytieed, is Scan 
dinavian in <»igin, and fostered by the lovdy granite sceno] 
of Normandy itself. But there is, nevertheless, this gret 
difierence between French art and Italian, that the Frend 
paused strangely at a certain point, as the Norman hills an 
truncated at the summits, while the Italian rose steadily U 
a vortex, as the Carrara hills to their crests. Let us obsem 
this a little more in detail 

§ 21. The sculpture of the Pisans was taken up aik 
carried into various perfection by the Lucchese, Pistojan$ 
Sienese, and Florentines. All these are inhabitants of trulj 
mountain cities, Florence being as completely among the 
hills as Innspruck is, only the hills have softer outlines. 
Those around Pistoja and Lucca are in a hi^ degree majes- 
tic. Giotto was bom and bred among these hills. Angelico 
lived upon their slope. The mountain towns of Perugia and 
Urbino furnish the only important branches of correlative 

1 [See, on this lubject, the '' Renew of Lord lindMj," VoL XII. pp. ai>4-209; 

and on the Piaen Khool ||;enera11]r, tee Vai(fAmo and Araira PBtUeHd.] 

* [For tbe tignifieance in tbie retpeet of the cathedrals of Caen and Contaneei, 
•ee Seven Lampe <tf ArckUeeture^ prdBioe to firat edition, VoL VIIL p. 6.] 

* [See above, p. 363 n., and Plate 47 ; and compare Lettere to a Oolie§9 Frumit 
Vol. I. p. 431.] 


art ; for Leonardo, however individually great, originated no 
new school; he only carried the executive delicacy of land- 
scape detail so far beyond other painters as to necessitate 
my naming the fifteenth-century manner of landscape after 
him, though he did not invent it ; and although the school 
of Milan is distinguished by several peculiarities, and defi- 
nitely enough separable from the other schools of Italy, all 
its peculiarities are mannerisms, not inventions. 

Correggio, indeed, created a new school, though he him- 
self is almost its only master. I have given in the pre- 
ceding volume the mountain outline seen from Parma.^ 
But the only entirely great group of painters after the 
Tuscans are the Venetians, and they are headed by Titian 
and Tintoret, on whom we have noticed the influence of 
hills already; and although we cannot trace it in Paul 
Veronese, I will not quit the mountain claim upon him; 
for I believe all that gay and gladdening strength of his 
was fed by the breezes of the hills of Garda, and brightened 
by the swift glancing of the waves of the Adige.* 

§ 22. Observe, however, before going farther, of all the 
painters we have named, the one who obtains most execu- 
tive perfection is Leonardo, who on the whole lived at 
the greatest distance from the hills. The two who have 
most feeling are Giotto and Angelico, both hill-bred. And 
generally, I believe, we shall find that the hill country gives 
its inventive depth of feeling to art, as in the work of 
Orcagna, Perugino, and Angelico, and the plain country 
executive neatness. The executive precision is joined with 
feeling in Leonardo, who saw the Alps in the distance; 
it is totally unaccompanied by feeling in the pure Dutch 

schools, or schools of the dead flats. 


* In sajing this I do not^ of course^ forget the influence of the sea on 
the Pisans and Venetians; but that is a separate subject^ and must be 
examined in the next volume.^ 

» [PlateU, facing p. 397.] 

* [See Modem Painters^ vol. v. pt ix. ch. iii. ('^The Wings of the Lion").] 


§ 28. I do not know if any writer on art, or on t 
development of national mind, has given his attention 
what seems to me one of the most singular phenome 
in the history of Europe, — ^the pause of the English m 
French in pictorial art after the fourteenth century, Frc 
the days of Henry III. to those of Elizabeth, and of Loi 
IX. to those of Louis XIV., the general intellect of t 
two nations was steadily on the increase. But their art i 
tellect was as steadily retrograde. The only art work tt 
France and England have done nobly is that which is cc 
tralized by the Cathedral of Lincoln, and the Sainte Chfl 
elle.^ We had at that time {toe — French and Elnglisb — h 
the French first) the incontestable lead among Europe 
nations; no thirteenth-century work in Italy is comparal 
for majesty of conception, or wealth of iniaginative deti 
to the Cathedrals <rf Chartres, Rheims, Rouen, Amie 
Lincoln, Peterborough, Wells, or Lichfield. But every he 
of the fourteenth century saw French and English art 
precipitate decline, Italian in steady ascent; and by t 
time that painting and sculpture had developed theinsel\ 
in an approxhnated perfection, in the work of Ghirlandi 
and Mino of F^sole, we had in France and England : 
workman, in any art, deserving a workman's name: nothi 

r but skilful masons, with more or less love of the picturesqi 

and redundance of undisciplined imagination, flaming its 

\ away in wild and rich traceries, and crowded bosses 

grotesque figure sculpture, and expiring at last in barbaro 

^ imitation of the perfected skill and erring choice of Rena 

sance Italy. Painting could not decline, for it had u 

^ reached any eminence; the exquisite arts of illuminati^ 

and glass design had led to no effective results in otli 
materials; they themselves, incapable of any higher pi 
fection than tiiey had reached in the thirteenth c^itui 


1 [For Lineoln, tee VoL VIII. n. 12 n. ; for tbe Sainte Chapelle, '' Notes cm 
Louvre/' VoL XII. p. 461 ; Vai ifAmo, § 60 ; and a letter in Amnoi <^ the C^ 
\ 1880^ i. 227, reprinted in a later rolume of thia edition. For referenoea to 

1 Iniildingi next mentioned^ tee General Index.] 






perished in the vain endeavour to emulate pictorial excel- 
lence, bad drawing being -substituted, in books, for lovely 
writings and opaque precision, in g^ass, for transparent 
power ; nor in any single department of exertion did artists 
arise of such calibre or class as any of the great Italians; 
and yet all the while, in literature, we were gradually and 
steadily advancing in power up to the time of Shakespere; 
the Italians, on the contrary, not advancing after the time 
of Dante. 

§ 24. Of course I have no space here to pursue a ques- 
tion such as this : but I may state my belief that one of 
the conditions involved in it was the mountain influence of 
Italian scenery, inducing a disposition to such indolent or 
enthusiastic reverie, as could only express itself in the 
visions of art; while the comparatively flat scenery, and 
severer climate, of England and France, fostering less en- 
thusiasm, and urging to more exertion, brought about a 
practical and rational temperament, progressive in policy, 
science, and literature, but whoUy retrograde in art ; that 
is to say (for great art may be properly so defined), in the 
Art of Dreaming. 

§ 25. III. In admitting this, we seem to involve the 
supposition that mountain influence is either un- 
&vourable or inessential to literary power; but ^tmawSST 
for this also the mountain influence is still neces- ^ ^^vfy 
sary, only in a subordinate degree. It is true, 
indeed, that the Avon is no mountain torrent, and that the 
hills round the vale of Stratford are not sublime; true, 
moreover, that the cantons Berne and Uri have never yet, 
80 far as I know, produced a great poet ; but neither, on 
the other hand, has Antwerp or Amsterdam. And, I 
believe, the natural scenery which will be found, on the 
whole, productive of most literaiy intellect is that mingled 
of hill and plain, as all available light is of flame and dark- 
ness; the flame being the active element, and the darkness 
the tempering one. 

§ 26. In noting such evidence as bears upon this subject. 


the reader must always remember that the momitaiiis aie 
at an un£Eur disadvantage, in being much out of tht is^ 
of the masses of men employed in intellectual pursuiti 
The position of a city is dictated by military necessity or 
commercial convenience: it rises, flourishes, and absoilx 
into its activity whatever leading intellect is in the sur- 
rounding population. The persons who are able and d^ 
sirous to give their children education naturally resort to 
it; the best schools, the best society, and the strongest 
' motives assist and excite those bom within its walls; and 

youth after youth rises to distinction out of its streets, while 

among the blue mountains, twenty miles away, the goit 

herds live and die in unr^lfarded lowliness. And yet this 

is no proof that the mountains have Uttle effect upon tb 

mind, or that the streets have a helpful one. The ma 

who are formed by the schools and polished by the sodet] 

of the capital, may yet in many ways have their powcc 

shortened by the absence of natural scenery; and tb 

f mountaineer, neglected, ignorant, and unambitious, mq 

I have been taught things by the clouds and streams whid 

I he could not have learned in a coUege, or a coterie. 

I § 27. And in reasoning about the effect of mountain 

* we are therefore under a difficulty like that which wouli 

occur to us if we had to determine the good or bad effec 
of light on the human constitution, in some place wher 
all corporal exercise was necessarily in partial darknesi 
and only idle people lived in the light. The exercise migh 
give an advantage to the occupants of the gloom, but nv 
should neither be justified in therefore denying the precioui 
ness of light in general, nor the necessity to the w^orkei 
j of the few rays they possessed ; and thus I suppose th 

hills around Stratford, and such glimpses as Shakespei 
; had of sandstone and pines in Warwickshire, or of chal 

cliffs in Kent, to have been essential to the developma 

of his genius. This supposition can only be proved fah 

. by the rising of a Shakespere at Rotterdam or Bergen-o] 

j Zoom, which I think not probable; whereas, on the othi 

GlXX the mountain glory 489 

hand, it is confinned by myriads of collateral evidences. 
The matter could only be tested by placing for half a century 
the British universities at Keswick and Beddgelert, and 
making Grenoble the capital of France; but if, throughout 
the history of Britain and France, we contrast the general 
invention and pathetic power, in ballads or legends, of 
the inhabitants of the Scottish Border with those mani- 
fested in Suffolk or Essex; and similarly the inventive 
power of Normandy, Provence, and the B^amois ^ with that 
of Champagne or JPicardy, we shall obtain some convincing 
evidence respecting the operation of hills on the masses 
of mankind, and be disposed to admit, with less hesitation, 
that the apparent inconsistencies in the effect of scenery 
on greater minds proceed in each case from specialities of 
education, accident, and original temper, which it would 
be impossible to follow out in detail Sometimes only, 
when the original resemblance in character of intellect is 
very marked in two individuals, and they are submitted to 
definitely contrary circumstances of education, an approxi- 
mation to evidence may be obtained. Thus Bacon and 
Pascal appear to be men naturally very similar in their 
temper and powers of mind. One, bom in Yoric House, 
Strand, of courtly parents, educated in court atmosphere, 
and replymg, ahnost as soon as he could speak, to the 
queen asking how old he was — ''Two years younger than 
Your Majesty's happy reign I'' — ^has the world's meanness 
and cunning engrafted into his intellect, and remains smooth, 
serene, unenthusiastic, and in some degree base, even with 
all his sincere devotion and universal wisdom; bearing, to 
the end of life, the likeness of a marble palace in the 
street of a great city, fSairly furnished within, and bright 
in wall and battlement, yet noisome in places about the 
foundations. The other, bom at Clermont, in Auvergne, 
under the shadow of the Puy de D6me, though taken to 

1 [B^Ain, fbnnerlj a wparftte prorinot, it now included in the dafMurtment of 


Paris at eight years old, retains for ever the impress of Ik 
birthplace ; pursuing natural philosophy with the same nd 
as Bacon, he returns to his own mountains to put himseU 
under their tutelage, and by their help first discovers tlie 
great relations of the earth and the air: struck at lisl 
with mortal disease; gloomy, enthusiastic, and superstitious 
with a conscience burning like lava, and inflexible like mm 
the clouds gather about the majesty of him, fold afto 
told; and, with his spirit buried in ashes, and rent bj 
earthquake, yet fruitful of true thought and faithful aflectkn 
he stands like that mound of desolate scoria that crown 
the hill ranges of his native land, with its sable summit h 
in heaven, and its foundations green with the ordered garde 
and the trellised vine. 

§ 28. When, however, our inquiry thus branches iot 
the successive analysis of individual characters, it is tim 
for us to leave it ; noting only one or two points respectiDj 
Shakespere, whom, I doubt not, the reader was surprise! 
to find left out of all our comparisons in the precediiij 
volume. He seems to have been sent essentially to tak 
universal and equal grasp of the human nature; and t 
have been removed, th^efore, firom all influences whi6 
could in the least warp or bias his thoughts. It wi 
necessary that he should lean no way; that he shoul 
contemplate, with absolute equality of judgment, the lii 
of the court, cloister, and tavern, and be able to sympatlm 
so completely with all creatures as to deprive himsel 
together with his personal identity, even of his conscieno 
■. as he casts himsdif into their hearts. He must be abl 

I to enter into the soul of Falstaff or Shylock with no moi 

sense of contempt or horror than Falstaff or Shyloc 

themselves feel for or in themselves; otherwise his ow 

I conscience and indignation would make him unjust t 

them; he would turn aside from something, miss som 
good, or overlook some essential palliation. He must I 
utterly without anger, utterly without purpose; for if 
man has any serious purpose in life, that which rui 


CilXX the mountain GLORY 441 

I counter to it, or is foreign to it, will be looked at firown- 
I ingiy or carelessly by him. Shakespere was forbidden of 
Heaven to have any plans. To do any good or get any 
good, in the common sense of good, was not to be within 
his permitted range of work. Not, for him, the founding 
of institutions, the preaching of doctrines, or the repression 
of abuses. Neither he, nor the sun, did on any morning 
that they rose together, receive charge from their Maker 
concerning such things. They were both of them to shine 
on the evil and good ; ^ both to behold unoffendedly s31 that 
was upon the earth, to bum unappalled upon the spears of 
kings, and undisdaining, upon the reeds of the river. 

§ 29. Therefore, so £u- as nature had influence over the 
early training of this man, it was essential to its perfectness 
that the nature should be quiet No mountain passions 
were to be allowed in him. Inflict upon him but one pang 
of the monastic conscience; cast upon him but one cloud 
of the mountain gloom; and his serenity had been gone 
for ever — ^his equity — his infinity. You would have made 
another Dante of him; and all that he would have ever 
uttered about poor, soiled, and frail humanity would have 
been the quarrel between Sincm and Adam of Brescia,' — 
speedily retired from, as not worthy a man's hearing, nay, 
not to be heard without heavy fnult. All your Falstafis, 
Slenders, Quicklys, Sir Tobys, Launces, Touchstones, and 
Quinces, would have been lost in that, Shakespere could 
be allowed no mountains; nay, not even any su{N:eme 
natural beauty. He had to be left with his kingcups and 
clover; — ^pansies — ^the passing clouds — ^the Avon's flow — and 
the undulating hills and woods of Warwick; nay, he was 
not to love even these in any exceeding measure, lest it 
might make him in the least overrate their power upon the 
strong, full-fledged minds of men. He makes the quarrel- 
ling fairies concerned about them; poor lost Ophelia find 

1 [Sm ProrerlM xy. 3.1 

* [For Sinon, ''that ndie Greek from Troj," and Adam of Breeda^ a ootoer of 
fidta moDOjr, mo lii^^nio, zzz. 61, 96 Mf.] 


some comfort in them; fearful, &ir, wise-hearted Perdita 
trust the speaking of her good will and good hostess-sh^ 
to them; and one of the brothers of Imogen <x>nfide hu 
sorrow to them, — rebuked instantly by his brother fix 
''wench-like words **;* but any thought of them in Us 
mighty men I do not find: it is not usually in the natim 
of such men; and if he had loved the tLawers the kai 
better himself, he would assuredly have been offended il 
this, and given a botanical turn of mind to Caesar, oi 

§ 80. And it is even among the most curious proo6 d 
the necessity to all high imagination that it should paim 
straight from the life, that he has not given such a turn o 
mind to some of his great men; — Heniy the Fifth, to 
instance. Doubtless some of my readers, having beo 
accustomed to hear it repeated thoughtlessly firom moat 
to mouth that Shakespere conceived the spirit of all age 
were as much offended as surprised at my saying thi 

* ''With &irett flowen 
While summer Ustt, and I live here, Fidele, 
I'll fweeten thy nd grave. Thou thalt not lack 
The flower that's like thy fitce — pale primrose, nor 
The aaiired harebell — like thy veins ; no, nor 
The leaf of eglantine, whom not to slander, 
Outsweetened not thy breath. The ruddock would 
With chariUble bill . . . bring thee all thU ; 
Yea, and furrowed moss besides, when flowers are none. 
To winter-ground thy corse. 
Chd. Prithee, have done. 

And do not play in wench-Uke words with that 
Which is so serious." 

Imogen herself, afterwards, in deeper passion, will give weeds — n 
flowers, — and something more : 

** And when 
With wildwood leaves and weeds, I have strewed his grave. 
And on it said a century of prayers, 
Such as I can, twice o'er, I'll weep, and sigh. 
And, leaving so his service, follow you." ^ 

> [The referenoet here and in the text above are to Qifmbelme, Act iv. ac 2 ; ifi 
mmmer Nights Dream^ Act iL sc. 1 ; Hamkt, Act iv. sc 6 ; Wimi&r^9 TaU, Act iv. ac ; 

CilXX the mountain glory 448 

he only painted human nature as he saw it in his own 
time.^ They will find, if they look into his work closely, 
I as much antiquarianism as they do geography, and no 
I more. The conunonly received notions about the things 
, that had been, Shakespere took as he found them, ani- 
mating them with pure human nature, of any time and 
all time; but inquiries into the minor detail of temporary 
fe^Jing, he despised as utterly as he did maps ; and where- 
soever the temporary feeling was in an3rwise contrary to 
that of his own day, he errs frankly, and paints from his 
own time. For instance in this matter of love of flowers; 
we have traced already,' far enough for our general purposes, 
the mediaeval interest in them, whether to be enjoyed in 
the fields, or to be used for types of ornamentation in 
dress. If Shakespere had cared to enter into the spirit 
even of the early fifteenth century, he would assuredly 
have marked this affection in some of his knights, and 
indicated even then, in heroic tempers, the peculiar respect 
for loveliness of dress which we find constantly in Dante.' 
But he could not do this; he had not seen it in real life. 
In his time dress had become an affectation and absurdity. 
Only fools, or wise men in their weak moments, showed 
much concern about it; and the facts of human nature 
which appeared to him general in the matter were the 
soldier's disdain, and the coxcomb's care of it. Hence 
Shakespere's good soldier is almost always in plain or 
battered armour ; even the speech of Vernon in Henry 
the Fourth^ which, as £ur as I remember, is the only one 
that bears fully upon the beauty of armour, leans more 
upon the spirit and hearts of men — ''bated, like eagles 
having lately bathed;" and has an under-current of slight 
contempt running through the following line, '' Glittering 



See Vol. V. pp. 127-12a] 

[See VoL V. pp. 250 m;. ; 276 M9. ; mod compere VoL IV. p. 256.] 
[See, for intUuce, hit deecriptione of the drees of Beetrice in Fito Kwona^ 
%% 2, 3, 40, and in Purgatorio, xxx. 31-^3a] 
* [1 Eenry IV., Act iv. sc 1.] 


in golden coats, Mke images;^ while the beauty of tb 
young Harry is essentially the beauty of fiery and peifcc 
youth, answering as much to the Greek, or Ronum, c 
Elizabethan knight as to the medisval one ; whereas tl 
definite interest in armour and dress is opposed by Shalo 
spere in the French (meaning to depreciate them), to tii 
English mde soldierliness : 

" Com. Tut, I have the best armour of the world. Would it were daj ! 
Ori. You have an excellent armour, but let my hone have his due." 

And again: 

'' My lord constable, the armour that I saw in your tent to-night, i 
those stars, or suns, upon it?" 

while Henry» half proud of his poorness of array, spea 
of armorial splendour scornfully; the main idea being st 
of its being a gilded show and vanity — 

*' Our ga3niess and our giU are all besmirehed." ^ 

This is essentially Elizabethan. The quarterings on 
knight's shield, or the inlaying of his armour, ^would ne\ 
have been thought of by him as mere ''gayness or gfl 
in earlier days.* In like manner, throughout every sa 
of rank or feeling, from that of the French knights doi 
to FalstafTs '' I looked he should have sent me two-u 
twenty yards of satin, as I am true knight, and he sen 
me security 1 " ' care for dress is always considered by Shal 
spere as contemptible; and Mrs. Quickly distinguishes h 
self from a true fairy by a solicitude to scour the chairs 

* If the reader thinks that in Henry the Fifth's time the Elixabetl 
temper might already have been manifesting itself, let him compare \ 
English herald's speech, act 2 scene 2 of King John; and by way 
specimen of Shakespere's historical care, or regard of mediseral cfaaraci 
the large use of artillery in the previous scene. 

* \ Henry V., Act iii. no. 7 ; Act iv. so. 3.] 

* \2 Henry IV., Act ii. sc. 2. For Shakespeare's contampt of dressy 
1 Henry IV,, Act L sc 3, L 28 teg., and Taming of the Shrew, Act iv. to. 3, 1. 171 eeq 


order — and ** each fair instalment, coat, and several crest '^ ; ^ 
I and the association in her mind of the flowers in the fairy 
: rings with the 

fc ^* Sapphire, pearl, and rich embroidery, 

^ Buckled below &ir knighthood's bending knee ; " 

while the true fairies, in field simplicity, are only anxious 
to ** sweep the dust behind the door"; and 

^ '* With this field dew consecrate. 

Every several chamber bless 
Through this palace with sweet peace." ' 

\ Note the expression "Field dew consecrate." Shakespere 
loved courts and camps; but he felt that sacredness and 
peace were in the dew of the Fields only. 

§ 81. There is another respect in which he was wholly 
incapable of entering into the spirit of the Middle Ages. 
He had no great art of any kind around him in his own 
country, and was, consequently, just as powerless to con- 
ceive the general influence of former art, as a man of the 
most inferior calibre. Therefore it was, that I did not 
care to quote his authority respecting the power of imi- 
tation, in the second chapter of the preceding volume. 
If it had been needful to add his testimony to that of 
Dante (given in § 5),' I might have quoted multitudes 
of passages wholly concurring vrith that, of which the 
"fair Portia's counterfeit,"^ with the following lines, and 
the implied ideal of sculpture in the Winter's Tale^ are 
wholly unanswerable instances. But Shakespere's evidence 
in matters of art is as narrow as the range of Elizabethan 
art in England, and resolves itself wholly into admiration 
of two things, — ^mockery of life (as in this instance of 
Hermione as a statue), or absolute splendoiur, as in the 
close of Romeo and JuUetf where the notion of gold as 




Merry Witfu <^ Windsor, Act t. ic. 5.] 
Midsummer Nigkte Dream^ Act ▼. sc. 2.1 
See Vol. V. p. 38.] 
[Merchant i^Vemee, Aet Ui. sc. a] 


the chief source of dignity of aspect, coming down to 
Shakespere from the times of the Field of the Cloth of 
Gold, and, as I said before, strictly Elizabethan, would 
interfere seriously with the pathos of the whole passage, 
but for the sense of sacrifice implied in it : 

''As rick shall Romeo by bit lady lie. 
Poor sacrifices of our enmity." ^ 

§ 82. And observe, I am not giving these examples as 
proof of any smallness in Shakespere, but of his greatness; 
that is to say, of his contentment, like every other great 
man who ever breathed, to paint nothing but what he saw;^ 
and therefore giving perpetual evidence that his sight wis 
of the sixteenth, and not of the thirteenth century, beneath 
all the broad and eternal humanity of his imaginatioa 
How far in these modem days, emptied of splendour, it 
may be necessary for great men having certain sympathies 
for those earlier ages, to act in this differently from all 
their predecessors; and how far they may succeed in the 
resuscitation of the past by habitually dwelling in all their 
thoughts among vanished generations, are questions, of all 
practical and present ones concerning art, the most difficult 
to decide; for already in poetry several of our truest men 
have set themselves to this task, and have indeed put more 
vitality into the shadows of the dead than most others can 
give the presences of the living. Thus Longfellow, in the 
Golden Legend^ has entered more closely into the temper 
of the Monk,' for good and for evil, than ever yet theologi- 
cal writer or historian, though they may have given their 
life's labour to the analysis ; and, again, Robert Browning 
is unerring in every sentence he writes of the Middle Ages ; 
always vital, right, and profound; so that in the matter of 
art, with which we have been specially concerned, there is 

' [Romeo and Juliet, Act v. sc 3. Compare Fore Clavigera, Letter 91^ where the 

pessaffe is ag^io quoted.] 

« [Compare Vol. V. pp. 114-115.] 

' [See " Lectures on Colour/' where passages from ''The Scriptorium " are quoted : 
VoL All. p. 486 ; and for another quotation from the poem, see Vol. V. p. 229 n.] 

GlXX the mountain glory 447 

I hardly a principle connected with the mediaeval temper, 
I that he has not struck upon in those seemingly careless 
j and too rugged rhymes of his. There is a curious instance, 
by the way, in a short poem referring to this very subject 
of tomb and image sculpture; and illustrating just one of 
those phases of local human character which, though belong- 
ing to Shakespere's own age, he never noticed, because it 
was specially Italian and un-English ; connected also closely 
with the influence of mountains on the heart, and therefore 
with our immediate inquiries. I mean the kind of admira- 
tion with which a southern artist regarded the stone he 
worked in; and the pride which populace or priest took in 
the possession of precious mountain substance, worked into 
the pavements of their cathedrals, and the shafts of their 

§ 88. Observe, Shakespere, in the midst of architecture 
and tombs of wood, or freestone, or brass, naturally thinks 
of gold^ as the best enriching and ennobling substance for 
them; — ^in the midst also of the fever of the Renaissance 
he writes, as every one else did, in praise of precisely the 
most vicious master of that school — Giulio Romano;' but 
the modem poet, living much in Italy, and quit of the 
Renaissance influence, is able fiilly to enter into the Italian 
feeling, and to see the evil of the Renaissance tendency, 
not because he is greater than Shakespere, but because he 
is in another element, and has seen other things. I miss 
fragments here and there not needed for my purpose in the 
passage quoted, without putting asterisks, for I weaken the 
poem enough by the omissions, without spoiling it also by 

> [See Borneo and JuHei, Act ▼. tc 3, L 290.1 

> [See The Winter^ 9 Tale, Act t. k. 2 : ''that nure Italian maiUr, Julio Romano, 
who, had he himself eternity and could put hreath into his work, would beguile 
Nature of her custom, so perfectly he is her ape." For another reference to the 
painter, see SUmee qT Vemee, toL L (VoL IX. p. 45).] 

* [Rusldn's omissions here, and stiU more his cou^ng Browning with Longfellow, 
did not please another poet : see the passage from D. G. Rossetti's UtUn to WUHam 
AUimpkinn, dted in Vol. V. p. Ml] 


" The Bishop orders his Tomb in Si. PrdxeeTs Church. 

''As here I lie 
In this state chamber, dying by degrees. 
Hours, and long hours, in the dead night, I ask 
Do I live — am I dead ? Peace, peace seems all : 
St Praxed's ever was the church for peace. 
And so, about this tomb of mine. I fought 
With tooth and nail to save my niche, ye know; 
Old Gandolf * cozened me, despite my care. 
Shrewd was that snatch from out the comer south 
He graced his carrion with. 
Yet still my niche is not so cramped but thence 
One sees toe pulpit o' the epistle-side. 
And somewhat of the choir, those silent seats : 
And up into the aery dome where live 
The angels, and a sunbeam's sure to lurk. 
And I shall fill my slab of basalt there. 
And 'neath my tabernacle take my rest. 
With those nine columns round me, two and two. 
The odd one at my feet, where Anselmf stands; 
Peach-blossom marble all. 
Swift as a weaver's shuttle fleet our years: 
Man goeth to the grave, and where is he ? 
Did I say basalt for my slab, sons? Black — 
'Twas ever antiqucrblack { I meant! How else 
Shall ye contrast my friese to come beneath? 
The bas-relief in bronze ye promised me. 
Those Pans and Nymphs ye wot of, and perchance 
Some tripod, thyrsus, with a vase or so. 
The Saviour at His sermon on the mount, 
St Praxed in a glory, and one Pan, 
And Moses with the tables . • . but I know 
Ye marked me not! What do they whisper thee. 
Child of my bowels, Anselm ? Ah, ye hope 
To revel down my villas while I gasp. 
Bricked o'er with be^;ar's mouldy travertine. 
Which Gandolf from his tomb-top chuckles at ! 
Nay, boys, ye love me-— all of jasper, then! 
There's plenty jasper somewhere in the world — 

* The last bishop. 

t His fisvonrite son; nominally his nephew. 

X ''Nero Antico" is more familiar to our ears: but Brownini^ 
right in translating it; as afterwards ''dpollino" into ''<mioiiHit( 
Our stupid habit of using foreign words without translation is contku 
losing us half the force of the foreign language. How many tniT< 
hearkig the term ''cipollino" recognise the intended sense of a i 
splitting into concentric coats, like an onion? 


QlXX the mountain glory 449 

^ And have I not St. Prazed's ear to pray 

Hones for yt, and brown Greek manuscripta ? 
That's if ye canre my epitaph aright, 
f Choice Latin, picked phrase. Tally's every word, 

w No gaudy ware like Gandolfs second line — 

^ Tully, my masters ? Ulpian serves kit need." 

^ § 84. I know no other piece of modem English, prose 
1^ or poetry, in which there is so much told, as in these 
^ lines, of the Renaissance spirit, — its worldliness, inconsist- 
ency, pride, hjrpocrisy, ignorance of itself, love of art, of 
* luxury, and of good Latin. It is nearly all that I said 
I of the central Renaissance in thirty pages of the Stones of 
Fitmce put into as many lines, Browning^s being also the 
antecedent woric.^ The worst of it is that this kind of con- 
centrated writing needs so much solution before the reader 
k can fSurly get the good of it, that people's patience fails 
^ them, and they give the thing up as insoluble; though, 
truly, it ought to be to the current of conunon thought 
like Saladin's talisman, dipped in clear water, not soluble 
altogether, but making the element medicinal* 

§ 85. It is interesting, by the way, with respect to this 
love of stones in the Italian mind, to consider the difier- 
' ence necessitated in the English temper merely by the 
general domestic use of wood instead of marble. In that 
old Shakesperian England, men must have rendered a grate- 
ful homage to their oak forests, in the sense of aU that 
they owed to their goodly timbers in the wainscot and 
furniture of the rooms they loved best, when the blue of 
the frosty midnight was contrasted, in the daric diamonds 
of the lattice, with the glowing brown of the warm, fire- 
lighted, crimson-tapestried walls. Not less would an Italian 
look with a grateful regard on the hill sununits, to which he 
owed, in the scorching of his summer noonday, escape into 

1 [See 8tim69 qf Vemee, toL ill (VoL XL pp. 43-194, and aspeeiailj 81-lU M»* 
seripUon of the tombs), poUisbad in 1853; Browninf^s ''Hie Tomb s* BiL FkaaaCs" 
was f&fst publisbod in No. Tii. oi B$U§ mmd I^mtfrnnttm. 1846.] 

*[S6oSootfsra/imMm(ToLLcbs.8and9,voLiLeL6); tha vsfcmMa «■ * 

bag or purse pot by El Hakim into tba water, wbiek ho jhroa Iflwhard. p> ' 
ForanotberrofiBraieotothotalimianofSaladin,soo A. JiM^t AMi^ | V 



the marble corridor or crypt palpitating only with cold and 
smooth variegation of the unfevered mowitain veins. In 
some sort, as, both in our stubbornness and our comfort 
we not unfitly describe ourselves typically as Hearts of Oak 
the Italians might in their strange and variegated mingling 
of passion, like purple coloiur, with a cruel sternness, liki 
white rock, truly describe themselves as hearts of Stcme. 

I 86. Into this feeling about marble in domestic use 
Shakespere, having seen it even in northern luxury, coul^ 
partly enter, and marks it in several passages of his Ita 
lian pla]rs.^ But if the reader still doubts his limitation fa 
his own experience in all subjects of imagination^ let hin 

' consider how the removal fix>m mountain influence in hi 

youth, so necessary for the perfection of his lower humaj 
sympathy, prevented him from ever rendering with an; 
force the feelings of the mountain anchorite, or indicating ii 
any of his monks the deep spirit of monasticism. VTorldl; 
cardinals or nuncios he can fathom to the uttermost; bu 
where, in all his thoughts, do we find St. Francis, or Abbo 
Samson ? * The '' Friar "" of Shakespere's plays is almost th 
only stage conventionalism which he admitted ; generall; 

« notiiing more than a weak old man, who lives in a cd 

] and has a rope about his waist. 

§ 87. While, finally, in such slight allusions as he make 
to mountain scenery itself, it is very curious to observ 
the accurate limitation of his sympathies to such things a 
he had known in his youth ; and his entire preferenc 
of human interest, and of courtly and kingly dignities, t 
the nobleness of the hills. This is most marked in Cym 
beline, where the term "mountaineer"' is, as with Dante 
always one of reproach, and the noble birth of Arviragu 

^ [ue,, in thoee and others where the scenes or characters are aouthero. Sc 
for instance^ of the apparition of Jupiter in Cyntbeiine (v. 4) : ** Peep through th 
marble mansion," and '* The marble pavement closes ; he is enter'd His radiant n>of " 
and in Antony and Cleopaitn (v. 2) : '^ I am marble-constant."] 

> [See Carlyle's Pott and Pretent, book ii. (first published 1843).] 
' [For Dante's use of the term in reproach, see Purgatorio, xxvL 67-09; fc 
Shakespeare's, Oymheline, ir. 2, ** vilUun mountaineer " ; the other refbrencee are t 
ill. 2, 3; Midntmmer Nights Dream, iv. 1, iii. 2; Richard IL, I 3; Henry V^ iiL 6.] 



and Guiderius is shown by their holding their mountain 
cave as 

** A cell of ignorance ; travelling abed ; 
A prison for a debtor;" 

and themselves, educated among hills, as in all things con- 
temptible : 

'' We are beastly ; subtle as the fox, for prey ; 
Like warlike as the wolf, for what we eat; 
Our valour is to chase what flies; our cage 
We make our choir, as doth the prisoned bird.' 

A few phrases occur here and there which might justify 
the supposition that he had seen high mountains, but never 
implying awe or admiration. Thus Demetrius : 

'' These things seem tmail and i$idutinguishable, 
LUeefar qjf wknaUmm, homed imio ckmds." 

" Taurus snow," and the " fhwty Caucasus,** are used merely 
as types of purity or cold; and though the avalanche is 
once spoken of as an image of power, it is with instantly 
following depreciation: 

''Rush on his host, as doth the melted snow 
Upon the valleys, whose low vassal seat 
The Alps doth spit, and void his rheum upon* 

§ 88. There was only one thing belonging to hills that 
Shakespere seemed to feel as noble — the pine tree, and that 
was because he had seen it in Warwickshire, clumps of pine 
occasionally rising on little sandstone mounds, as at the 
place of execution of Piers Gaveston, above the lowland 
woods.^ He touches on this tree fondly again and again: 

''As rough. 
Their royal blood enchafed, as the rud'st wind. 
That by his top doth take the mountain pine. 
And make him stoop to the vale." 

''The strong based promontory 
Have I made shake, and by the spurs plucked up 
The pine and cedar/' 


1 [At Bbusklow Hill, a miU or two from Warwick on the left of the Coventry 
road ; on the top of the hill, among the trees, is a moonment erected in 1821 to 
mark the spot where Fwn Gaveston was executed on July 1, 1312. The reftreiices in 
I 38 are to CipnbeXne, iv. 2 ; Tempeii, v. 1 ; MertkmU if Fsfiioe. iv. 1 ; mOiard IL^ 
VL 2. The h»t passage is quoted also hi 8time$ of Vtmice, voL L (Vol. IX. p. 205 ti.).] 


Where note his observance of the peculiar horizcmb 
roots of the pine, spurred as it is by them like the claw i 
a bird, and partly propped, as the aiguilles by those roc 
promontories at their bases which I have alivajrs callc 
their spurs, this observance of the pine's strength an 
animal-like grasp being the chief reason for his choosing i 
above other trees, for Ariel's prison. Again : 


You may as well forbid the mountain pines 
To wag their high tops, and to make no noiae 
When they are netted with the gusts of heaven/' 

And yet again : 

''But when, from under this terrestrial ball. 
He fires the proud tops of the eastern pines." 

We may judge, by the impression which this sing 
feature of hill scenery seems to have made on Shakespere 
mind, because he had seen it in his youth, how his who 
temper would have been changed if he had lived in a moi 
sublime country, and how essential it was to his powi 
of contemplation of mankind that he should be remove 
from the sterner influences of nature. For the rest, so fi 
as Shakespere's work has imperfections of any kind, — it 
trivialness of many of his adopted plots, for instance, an 
the comparative rarity with which he admits the ideal i 
an enthusiastic virtue arising out of principle; virtue beio 
with him, for the most part, founded simply on the affe 
tions joined with inherent purity in his women, or on mei 
manly pride and honoiur in his men ; * — ^in a word, whatev< 

* I mean that Shakespere almost alwajrs implies a total differenoe 
nature between one human being and another; one being from the Ur 
pure and affectionate, another base and cruel; and he displays each, in : 
sphere, as having the nature of dove, wolf, or lion, never much implji 
the government or change of nature by any external principle. There c 
be no question that in the main he is right in this view of human natoi 
still, the other form of virtue does exist occasionally, and was never, 
£ur as I recollect, taken much note of by him. And with this stem vi< 
of humanity, Shakespere joined a sorrowful view of Fate, doselj rese 
bling that of the ancients. He is distinguished from Dante eminea 
by his always dwelling on last causes instead of first causes. Dante ; 
variably points to the moment of the soul's choice which fixed its fate. 

ChXX the mountain glory MS 

difTerence, involving inferiority, there exists between him 
and Dante, in his conceptions of the relation between this 
worid and the next, we may partly trace, as we did the 
difference between Bacon and Pascal,^ to the less noble char- 
acter of the scenes around him in his youth; and admit 
that, though it was necessary for his special woric that he 
should be put, as it were, on a level ¥rith his race, on 
those plains of Stratford, we should see in this a proo^ 
instead of a negation, of the mountain power over human 
intellect. For breadth and perfectness of condescending 
sight, the Shakesperian mind stands alone; but in ascending 
sight it is limited The breadth of grasp was innate; the 
stoop and slightness of it were given by the dreumstances 
of scene: and the difference between those careless masques 
of heathen gods, or unbelieved, though mistily conceived 
visions of fairy, witch, or risen spirit, and the earnest fidth 
of Dante's vision of Paradise, is the true measure of the 
difference in influence between the willowy banks of Avon, 
and the purple hiUs of Amo. 

§ 89. Our third inquiry, into the influence of mountains 

the initant of the day when it read no fitrther, or determined to give bad 
advice about Penestrina^ Bot Shakespere alwajt leans on the force of 
Fate, as it urges the final evil; and dwells with infinite bitterness on the 
power of the wicked, and the infinitude of result dependent seemingly oo 
little things. A fool brings the last piece of news from Verona, and the 
dearest lives of its noble houses are lost; they might have been saved if 
the sacristan had not stumbled as he walked. Othello mislays his hand- 
kerchief, and there remains nothing for him but death. Hamlet gets hold 
of the wrong foil, and the rest is silence. Edmund's runner is a moment 
too late at the prison, and the feather will not move at Cordelia's lips. 
Salisbury a moment too late at the tower, and Arthur lies on the stones 
dead. Goneril and lago have on the whole, in this worid, Shaketpeie 
sees, much of their own way, though they come to a had end. It is a 
pin that Death pierces the Idng's fortress wall with; and Carelessness and 
Folly sit sceptred and dreadful, side by ride with the pin-armed skeleton.* 

1 rSee above, p. 4S9.] 

* [See, for the referenees to Dsnte, h^emo, v. 136 and zzviL 102 ; eompare aluo 
/ilfemo, xxziiL 189-131 ; PurgaUmo, iiL 118-120 and v. 100-101.] 

* [Tlie re fe rence s in Shakespeare are to JBsfnes §mi JmUh, v. 2 ; OiMk, iii. 3^ 
L 2S7 ; Hamlet, Y. 2, \. 279 ; King Lear, r. 0,1 246; King John, ir. B ; JUeAenf JX, iii. 
2, L 160.] 


on domestic and military character, was, we said, to be 
deferred ; for this reason, that it is too much involved with 
the consideration of the influence of simple rural life in 
unmountainous districts, to be entered upon with advan- 
tage until we have examined the general beauty of vegeta- 
tion, whether lowland or mountainous. I hope to pursue 
this inquiry, therefore, at the dose of the next volume;^ 
only desiring, in the meantime, to bring one or two points 
connected ¥rith it under the consideration of our English 

§ 40. For, it will be remembered, we first entered on 
this subject' in order to obtain some data as to the possi- 
bility of a Practical Ideal in Swiss life, correspondent, in 
some measure, to the poetical ideal of the same, which so 
largely entertains the European^ public. Of which possi- 
bility, I do not think, after what we have even already seen 
of the true effect of mountains on the human mind, there 
is any reason to doubt, even if that ideal had not been 
presented to us already in some measure, in the older life 
of the Swiss republics. But of its possibility, tmder present 
drcumstanceSf there is, I grieve to say, the deepest reason 
to doubt; and that the more, because the question is not 
whether the mountaineer can be raised into a happier life 
by the help of the active nations of the plains ; but whether 
he can yet be protected from the infection of the folly and 
vanity of those nations. I urged, in the preceding chapter, 
some consideration of what might be accomplished, if we 
chose to devote to the help, what we now devote to the 
mockery, of the Swiss. But I would that the enlightened 
population of Paris and London were content with doing 
nothing; — ^that they were satisfied with expenditure upon 
their idle pleasures, in their idle way; and would leave 
the Swiss to their own mountain gloom of unadvancing 
independence. I believe that every franc now spent by 

^ [The inquiry was not pursued expreedj in this form ; but the subject was touched 
on in ch. XL of pt ix. (''The Hesperid Mgle*').] 
> [See above, pp. 389-394.] 


travellers among the Alps tends moK or less to the under- 
mining of whatever special greatness there is in the Swiss 
character; and the persons I met in Switzerland, whose 
position and modes of life rendered them best able to give 
me true information respecting the present state of their 
country, among many causes of national deterioration, 
spoke with chief fear of the influx of English wealth, gradu- 
aUy connecting aU industry with the wants and ways of 
strangers, and inviting all idleness to depend upon their 
casual help; thus gradually resolving the ancient consist- 
ency and pastoral simplicity of the mountain life into the 
two irregular trades of innkeeper * and mendicant. 

§ 41. I could say much on this subject if I had any 
hope of doing good by saying anjrthing. But I have none. 
The influx of foreigners into Switzerland must necessarily 
be greater every year, and the greater it is, the larger in 
the crowd will be the majority of persons whose objects 
in travelling will be, first, to get as fast as possible from 
place to place, and, secondly, at every place where they 
arrive, to obtain the kind of accommodation and amuse- 
ment to which they are accustomed in Paris, London, 
Brighton, or Baden. Railroads are already projected round 
the head of the Lake of Grcneva, and through the town of 
Fribourg ; ^ the head of the Lake of Geneva being precisely 
and accurately the one spot of Europe whose character, 
and influence on human mind, are special; and unreplace- 
able if destroyed, no other spot resembling, or being in any 
wise comparable to it, in its peculiar way: while the town 

* Not the old hospitable innkeeper, who honoured his guests, and 
was honoured bj them, than whom I do not know a more useful or 
worthy character; but the modem innkeeper, proprietor of a building 
in the shape of a factory, making up three hundred beds; who neces- 
sarily regaids his guests in the light of Numbers 1, 2, 3 — 300, and is too 
often felt or apprehended by them only as a presiding influence of ex- 

^ [These railways were constructed between 1866 and 1862. The former is re- 
ferred to as an accomplished &ct in the next volume of Modem PanUert (1860), pt. ix. 
ch. xi. S 16 n.l 


of Fribourg is in like manner the only mediaeval mountain 
town of importance left to us; Innspnick and such others 
being wholly modem, while Fribourg yet retains much of 
the aspect it had in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. 
The valley of Chamouni, another spot also unique in its 
way, is rapidly being turned into a kind of Cremome G^- 
dens;^ and I can foresee, within the perspective of but few 
years, the town of Lucerne consisting of a row of sym- 
metrical hotels round the foot of the lake, its old bridges 
destroyed, an iron one built over the Reuss, and an acacia 
promenade carried along the lake-shore, with a Grerman 
band plajring under a Chinese temple at the end of it, 
and the enlightened travellers, representatives of European 
civilization, performing before the Alps, in each afternoon 
summer sunlight, in their modem manner, the Dance of 

I 42. All this is inevitable; and it has its good as well 
as its evil side. I can imagine the zealous modernist re- 
pljring to me that when all this is happily accomplished, 
my melancholy peasants of the valley of Trient will be 
turned into tiuiving shopkeepers, the desolate streets of 
Sion into glittering thorough&res, and the marshes of the 
Valais into prosperous market-gardens. I hope so; and in- 
deed am striving every day to conceive more accurately, 
and regulate all my efforts by the expectation of, the state 
of society, not now, I suppose, much more than twenty 
years in advance of us, when Europe, having satisfactorily 
effaced all memorials of the past, and reduced itself to 

1 [In Roikin't diary of 1861 ha notes :— 

** I find the following adTertiaement in the CtaUgnani of 21st August, this 
year, 1861. 


" A Gaaino if open for the masod at this faToorite lommer reeori. Mndo, 
refreshments, and reeding-rooms. N.B. — Srerj kind of amusements, as at 
Baden-Bedenu Hombourg, etc. Branch establishment at the Spa of fifian, on 
the Lake of GeneTa.**] 

' [Prophecies which everr year since Ruskin wrote (1866) has done something 
to fulfil. Two of the old hndges remain^the MQhlenhrQcke (1406), with the Dance 
of Death, and the Kapellbrucke (1303). The still longer Hofbrikke was remoTed 
in 1862, when the shores were extended and emhanked for the oonstructioii of new 
hotels. The iron bridge over the Reuss was built in 1869-1870.] 


the likeness of America, or of any other new country 
(only with less room for exertion), shall b^in to consider 
what is next to be done, and to what newness of arts and 
interests may best be devoted the wealth of its marts, and 
the strength of its multitudes. Which anticipations and 
estimates, however, I have never been able, as yet, to 
carry out with any deamess, being alwa3rs arrested by the 
confused notion of a necessity for solitude, disdain of buy- 
ing and selling, and other elements of that old mediaeval 
and mountain gloom, as in some way connected with the 
efforts of nearly all men who have either seen far into the 
destiny, or bec^ much helpfiil to the souls, of their race. 
And the grounds of this feeling, whether right or wrong, 
I hope to analyze more fiilly in the next volume;^ only 
notii^, finally, in this, one or two points for the considera- 
tion of those among us with whom it may sometimes be- 
come a question, whether they will help forward, or not, 
the turning of a sweet .mountain vall^ into an ab3rss of 
factory-stench and toil, or the carrjring of a line of traffic 
through some green place of shepherd solitude. 

§ 48. For, if there be any truth in the impression which 
I have always felt, and just now endeavoured to enforce, 
that the mountains of the earth are its natural cathedrals, 
or natural altars, overlaid ¥rith gold, and bright ¥rith 
broidered work of flowers, and with their clouds resting on 
them as the smoke of a continual sacrifice, it may surely 
be a question with some of us, whether the tables of the 
moneychanger,' however fit and conmiendable they may be 
as furniture in other places, are precisely the things which 
it is the whole duty of man to get well set up in the 
mountain temple. 

§ 44. And perhaps it may help to the better determina- 
tion of this question, if we endeavoiur, for a few patient 
moments, to bear with that weakness of our forefathers in 
feeling an awe for the hills; and, divesting ourselves, as 

' [Hare, again, aaa pt is. ch. zL] 
s [Matthew zad. 12, ele.] 


Ceu* as may be, of our modem experimental or exj^oring 
activity, and habit of regarding mountains chiefly as places 
for gymnastic exercise,^ try to understand the temper, not 
indeed altogether exemplary, but yet having certain truths 
and dignities in it, to which we owe the founding of the 
Benedictine and Carthusian cloisters in the thin Alpine air. 
And this monkish temper we may, I suppose, best under- 
stand by considering the aspect under which mountains 
are represented in the Monk's book. I found that in my 
late lectures, at Edinburgh, I gave great offence by sup- 
posing, or implying, that scriptural expressions could have 
any force as bearing upon modem practical questions;' 
so that I do not now, nor shall I any more, allude to 
such expressions as in any wise necessarily bearing on the 
worldly business of the practical Protestant,' but only as 
necessary to be glanced at in order to understand the 
temper of those old monks, who had the awkward habit 
of understanding the Bible literally; and to get any little 
good which momentary sjrmpathy with the hearts of a 
large and earnest class of men may surely bring to us. 

§ 45. The monkish view of mountains, then, already 
aUuded to,* was derived wholly from that Latin Vulgate 
of theirs; and, speaking as a monk, it may perhaps be 
permitted me to mark the significance^ of the earliest 
mention of mountains in the Mosaic books ; at least, of 
those in which some Divine appointment or command is 
stated respecting them. They are first brought before us as 

♦ Vol. III. Chap. XIV. § 10. [Vol. V. pp. 253-255.] 

^ rOn this subject^ see ^rehce to the second edition of Seiame and Lilies.] 

' [8ee Vol. XII. pp. 51^ 52. Such paasages were strongly objected to by nlackwootft 

Magazine, at pp. 742^ 766^ of the review cited in Vol. XI J. p. xxxvL n.] 
' [Compare the author's Introduction to Grown qf Wild OHve, §§ 10 eeq.] 
* [The passage — ''It may perhaps be permitted me ..." to the end of the 

chapter — is § 90 in Frondes Agreiies (1875)^ where, at this point, Ruskin added the 

following footnote : — 

''With reference to the choice of mountain dwellings by the greiter 
monastic orders." 

On this subject, see ch. L § 1 ("The Homes of the Hermits") of W. G. Colling- 

wood's lAmeetone Alps qf Savoy, and Ruskin's introduction to that work.] 

CilXX the mountain GLORY 459 

refuges for God's people fix>m the two judgments, of water 
and fire. The ark re^ts upon ''the mountains of Ararat''; 
and man, having passed through that great baptism unto 
death, kneels upon the earth first where it is nearest 
heaven, and mio^^les with the mountain clouds the smoke 
of his sacrifice of thanksgiving. Again : fix>m the midst of 
the first judgment by fire, the command of the Deity to 
His servant is, '* Escape to the mountain " ; and the morbid 
fear of the hills, which fills any human mind after long 
stay in places of luxury and sin, is strangely marked in 
Lot's complaining reply: ''I cannot escape to the moun- 
tain, lest some evil take me." The third mention, in way 
of ordinance, is a far more solemn one: ''Abraham lifted 
up his eyes, and saw the place afar ofil" " The Place," the 
Mountain of Mjrrrh, or of bitterness, chosen to fulfil to all 
the seed of Abraham, £Eur off and near, the inner meaning 
of promise r^^arded in that vow : " I will lift up mine eyes 
unto the hiUs, from whence cometh mine help." 

And the fourth is the delivery of the law on Sinai.^ 
§ 46. It seemed, then, to the monks, that the mountains 
were appointed by their Maker to be to man, refuges from 
Judgment, signs of Redemption, and altars of Sanctifica- 
tion and Obedience; and tiiey saw them afterwards con* 
nected, in the manner the most touching and gracious, 
with the death, after his task had been accomplished, of 
the first anointed Priest ; the death, in like manner, of the 
first inspired Lawgiver; and, lastly, with the assumption 
of his office by the Eternal Priest, Lawgiver, and Saviour. 
Observe the connection of these three events. Although 
the time of the deaths of Aaron and Moses was hastened 
by Grod's displeasure, we have not, it seems to me, the 
sUghtest warrant for concluding that the manner of their 
deaths was intended to be grievous or dishonourable to 
them. Far from this : it cannot, I think, be doubted that 

1 [The Bible references in § 45 are Geneeis riiL 4, xiz. 17> 19^ xzii. 4; Ptelm» 
cxxi. 1 ; Exodus xxxL 18. In one of his copies Rnsldn adds another reference to 
''the top of the mountain where he (DaWd) worshipped God" (2 Samuel xr. 32).] 


in the denial of the permission to enter the Fnnnised 
Land, the whole punii^iment of their sin was included; 
and that as far as r^faided the manner of their deaths, it 
must have been appointed for them by their Master in all 
tenderness and love; and with full purpose of ennobling 
the dose of thdr service upon the earth. It might have 
seemed to ta more honourable that both should have been 
permitted to die beneath the shadow of the Tabernacle, 
the congregation of Israel watching by their side ; and all 
whom they loved gathered together to receive the last 
message from the lips of the meek lawgiver, and the last 
blessing fit>m the prayer of the anointed priest. But it 
was not thus they were permitted to die. Try to realize 
that going forth of Aaron from the midst of the congr^a* 
tion. He who had so often done sacrifice for their sin, 
going forth now to offer up his own spirit He who had 
stood, among them, between the dead and the living,^ and 
had seen the eyes of all that great multitude turned to him, 
that by his intercession their breath mi^t yet be drawn a 
moment more, going forth now to meet the Angel of 
Death jfoce to £Etce, and deliver himself into his hand. Try 
if you cannot walk, in thou^t, with those two brothers, 
and the son, as they passed the outmost tents of Israd, 
and turned, while yet the dew lay round about the camp, 
towards the slopes of Mount Hor; talking together for the 
last time, as, step by step, they felt the steeper rising of the 
rocks, and hour after hour, beneath the ascending sun, the 
horizon grew broader as they climbed, and all the folded 
hills of Idumea, one by one subdued, showed amidst their 
hollows in the haze of noon, the windings of that long 
desert journey, now at last to close. But who shall enter 
into the thoughts of the High Priest, as his eye followed 
those paths of ancient pilgrimage ; and, through the silence 
of the arid and endless hiUs, stretching even to the dim 
peak of Sinai, the whole history of those forty years was 

^ [Numbers xvi. 48 ; and for the fbUowiog references^ see Numbers xz. 27, 28.] 


unfolded before him, and the mystery of his own ministries 
revealed to him ; and that other Holy of Holies, of which 
the mountain peaks were the altars, and the mountain 
clouds the veil, the firmament of his Father's dwelling, 
opened to him still more brightly and infinitely as he drew 
nearer his death; until at last, on the shadeless sununit, — 
firom him on whom sin was to be laid no more — ^firom him, 
on i^ose heart the names of sinful nations were to press 
their graven fire no longer, — the brother and the son took 
breastplate and ephod, and left him to his rest. 

§ 47. There is indeed a secretness in this calm faith 
and deep restraint of sorrow, into which it is difficult for us 
to enter; but the death of Moses himself is more easily 
to be conceived, and had in it circumstances still more 
touching, as £u- as r^^ards the influence of the external 
scene. For forty years Moses had not been alone. The 
care and burden of all the people, the weight of their woe, 
and guilt, and death, had been upon him continually. 
The multitude had been laid upon him as if he had con- 
ceived them ; their tears had be^ his meat, nig^t and day, 
until he had felt as if Grod had withdrawn His favour firom 
him, and he had prayed that he might be slain, and not see 
his wretchedness.* And now, at last, the command came, 
''Get thee up into this mountain.**^ The weary hands 
that had been so long stayed up against the enemies of 
Israel, might lean again upon the shepherd's staff, and fold 
themselves for the shepherd's prayer — for the shepherd's 
slumber. Not strange to his feet, though forty years un- 
known, the roughness of the bare mountain -patii, as he 
climbed from ledge to ledge of Abarim ; not strange to 
his aged eyes the scattered clusters of the mountain herb* 
age, and the broken shadows of the clifis, indented far 
across the silence of uninhabited ravines; scenes such as 

* Numbers xi. 12-15. 

^ [DeuteroDomy zzxiL 49. The following referencM are £zodii8 zrii. 17 ; Deuter- 
•DOinjr xzxhr. 7; ralmsjoodl?; SKingtii. 11; Luke iz. 30, 81.] 


those among which, with none, as now, beside him but 
God, he had led his flocks so often; and which he had left, 
how painfully 1 taking upon him the aj^inted power, to 
make of the fenced dty a wilderness, and to fill the desert 
with songs of deliverance. It was not to embitter the last 
hours of his life that Grod restored to him, for a day, the 
beloved solitudes he had lost; and breathed the peace of 
the perpetual hills around him, and cast the world in which 
he had laboured and sinned £u- boieath his feet, in that 
mist of dying blue ; — all sin, all wandering, soon to be for- 
gotten for ever; the Dead Sea — a type of God's anger 
understood by him, of all men, most clearly, who had 
seen the earth open her mouth, and the sea his depth, to 
overwhelm the companies of those who contended with his 
Master — ^laid wavdess beneath him; and beyond it» the &ir 
hills of Judah, and the soft plains and banks of Jordan, 
purple in the evening light as with the blood of redemp- 
tion, and fSoding in their distant fulness into mysteries of 
promise and of love. There, with his unabated strength, 
his undimmed glance, lying down upon the utmost rodcs, 
with angels waiting near to contend for the spoils of his 
spirit, he put off his earthly armour. We do deep revoence 
to his companion prophet, for whom the chariot of fire 
came down from heaven; but was his death less noble, 
whom his Lord Himself buried in the vales of Moab, 
keeping, in the secrets of the eternal counsels, the know- 
ledge of a sepulchre, from which he was to be called, in the 
fulness of time, to talk with that Lord, upon Hermon, of 
the death that He should accomplish at Jerusalem? 

And lastly, let us turn our thoughts for a few moments 
to the cause of the resurrection of these two prophets. We 
are all of us too much in the habit of passing it by, as a 
thing m3rstical and inconceivable, taking place in the life 
of Christ for some purpose not by us to be understood, or, 
at the best, merely as a manifestation of His divinity by 
brightness of heavenly hght, and the ministering of the 
spirits of the dead, intended to it rengthen the faith of 


three chosen apostles. And in this, as in many other events 
recorded by the Evangelists, we lose half the meaning, and 
evade the practical power upon om^ves, by never accept- 
ing in its f^ess the idea that our Lord was ** perfect man/* 
'* tempted in all things like as we are.**^ Our preachers are 
continually trying^ in all manner of subtle ways, to explain 
the union of the Divinity with the Manhood, an explanation 
which certainly involves first their being able to describe 
the nature of Deity itself or, in plain words, to comprehend 
God. They never can explain, in any one particular, the 
union of the natures; they only succeed in weakening the 
faith of their hearers as to the entireness of either. The 
thing they have to do is precisely the contrary of this — 
to insist upon the efiiireness of both. We never think of 
Christ enough as Gkxi, never enough as Man; the instinc- 
tive habit of our minds being always to miss of the Divi- 
nity, and the reasoning and enforced habit to miss of the 
Humanity. We are afraid to harbour in our own hearts, 
or to utter in the hearing of others, any thou^t of our 
Lord, as hungering, tired, sorrowful, having a human soul, 
a human will, and affected by events of human life as a 
finite creature is ; and yet one half of the efficiency of His 
atonement, and the whole of the efficiency of His example, 
depend on His having been this to the f^ 

§ 48. Consider, therefore, the Transfiguration as it re- 
lates to the human feelings of our Lord.' It was the first 
definite preparation for His death. He had foretold it to 
His disciples six days before; then takes with Him the 
three chosen ones into ''an high mountain apart" From 
an exceeding high mountain, at the first taking on Him the 
ministry of life. He had beheld, and rejected the kingdoms 
of the earth, and their glory; now, on a high mountain, 
He takes upon Him the ministry of death. Peter and 
they that were with Him, as in Gethsemane, were heavy 
with sleep. Christ's work had to be done alone. 


Ephenani iv. 13 ; Hebrews iv. 16.] 

See Matthew zvii. 1 ; Murk ix. 2 ; Blatthew iv. 8 ; Luke ix. 28-^2.] 


The tradition is, that the Mount of Transfiguration was 
the summit of Tabor; but Tabor is neither a high moun- 
tain, nor was it in any sense a mountain ^^apart^ ; being 
in those years both inhabited and fortified. All the inune- 
diately preceding ministries of Christ had been at Cesarea 
Philippi. There is no mention of travel southward in the 
six days that intervened between the warning given to His 
disciples, and the going up into the hilL What other hiU 
could it be than the southward slope of that goodly moun- 
tain, Hermon, which is indeed the centre of all the Promised 
Land, firom the entering in of Hamath unto the river of 
£g3rpt; the mount of fruitfulness, fi*om which the sjmngs 
of Jordan descended to the valleys of Israel? Along its 
mighty forest avenues, until the grass grew fair vnth the 
mountain lilies, His feet dashed in the dew of Hermon, 
He must have gone to pray His first recorded prayer about 
death ; and firom the steep of it, before He kn^t, could see 
to the south all the dwelling-place of the people that had 
sat in darkness, and seen the great light, the land d 
Zabulon and of Naphtali, Galilee of the nations;^ — could 
see, even with His human sight, the gleam of that lake 
by Capernaum and Chorazin, and many a place loved by 
Him, and vainly ministered to, whose house was now left 
unto them desolate; and, chief of all, far in the utmost 
blue, the hills above Nazareth, sloping down to His old 
home : hills on which yet the stones lay loose, that had been 
taken up to cast at Him, when He left them for ever. 

§ 49. "And as He prayed, two men stood by Him."* 
Among the many ways in which we miss the help and 
hold of Scripture, none is more subtle than our habit of 
supposing that, even as man, Christ was free from the Fear 
of Death. How could He then have been tempted as we 
are? since among all the trials of the earth, none spring 

^ [Matthew iv. 16 ; and for the following references, see Matthew xxiii. 28 ; Lab 
ziii. 35.] 

2 [Luke ix. 29. The other references in § 49 are Matthew iv. 11, xvii. 3; 
Numbers xxvii. 12, 13 ; 2 Kings il 11 ; Luke ix. 30, 31 ; Matthew ii. 9, xviL 1, 2, 6.] 


from the dust more terrible than that Fear. It had to be 
borne by Hun, indeed, in a unity, which we can never com- 
prehend, with the foreknowledge of victory, — as His sorrow 
for Lazarus, with the consciousness of the power to restore 
him; but it hctd to be borne, and that in its fiill earthly 
terror; and the presence of it is singly marked for us 
enough by the rising of those two at His side. When, in 
the desert, He was girding Himself for the work of life, 
angels of life came and ministered unto Him: now, in the 
fair world, when He is girding Himself for the work of 
death, the ministrants come to Him from the grave. 

But from the grave conquered. One, from that tomb 
under Abarim, which His own hand^ had sealed so long 
ago; the other, from the rest into which He had entered, 
without seeing corruption. There stood by Him Moses and 
Elias, and spake of His decease. 

Then, when the prayer is ended, the task accepted, first, 
since the star paused over Him at Bethlehem, the full glory 
falls upon Him from heaven, and the testimony is borne to 
His everlasting Sonship and power. ^'Hear ye Him." 

If, in their remembrance of these things, and in their 
endeavour to follow in the footsteps of their Master, reli- 
gious men of bygone days, closing themselves in the hill 
solitudes, forgot sometimes, and sometimes feared, the duties 
they owed to the active world, we may perhaps pardon 
them more easily than we ought to pardon ourselves, if 
we neither seek any influence for good nor submit to it un- 
sought, in scenes to which thus all the men whose writ- 
ings we receive as inspired, together with their Lord, retired 
whenever they had any task or trial laid upon them need- 
ing more than their usual strength of spirit Nor, perhaps, 
should we have unprofitably entered into the mind of the 
earlier ages, if among our other thoughts, as we watch the 
chains of the snowy mountains rise on the horizon, we 

1 rOn thii pMHig« see The Lord 9 Prayer and the Church, \2Si in On the (M Bead, 
ToL ill (ed. 1899). In one of bis copies for rerimon, Raskin alten ''decease" to 
''Deeth/' but tbe former is tbe Biblical word (Luke iz. 31).] 

VI. 2q 


should sometimes admit the memory of the hour in which 
their Creator, among their solitudes, entered on His travail 
for the salvation of our race; and indulge the dream, that 
as the flaming and trembling mountains of the earth seem 
to be the monuments of the manifesting of His terror on 
Sinai, — ^these pure and white hills, near to the heaven, and 
sources of all good to the earth, are the appointed memo- 
rials of that Light of His Mercy, that feU, snow-like, on 
the Mount of Transfiguration. 



(Added in this Edition) 



!• Thk reader may perhaps be somewhat confused by the difiiBrent 
tone with which, in various passages of these volumes, I have spok«i 
of the dignity of Expression.^ He must remember that there are three 
distinct schools of expression, and that it is impossible, on every occa- 
sion when the term is used, to repeat the defimtion of the three, and 
distinguish the school spoken of. 

There is, first, the Great Expressional School, consisting of the 
sincerely thoughtful and affectionate painters of early times, masters 
of their art, as far as it was known in their days. Orcama, John 
Bellini, Perugino, and Angelico, are its leading masters. All the men 
who compose it are, without exception, colouriits. The modem Pre- 
Raphaelites belong to it. 

Secondly, the Pseudo-Expressional school, wholly of modem develop- 
ment, consisting of men who have never mastered their art, and are 
probably incapable of mastering it, but who hope to substitute senti- 
ment for gooa painting. It is eminently characterised by its contempt 
of colour, and may be most definitely distinguished as the School of 

Thirdly, the Grotesque Expressional School, consisting of men whc», 
having peculiar powers of observation for the stronger signs of char- 
acter in anjrthing, and sincerely delighting in them, lose sight of the 
associated refinements or beauties. Tlus school is apt, more or less, to 
catch at faults or strangenesses; and associating its powers of observa- 
tion with wit or malice, produces the wild, gay, or satirical grotesaue 
in early sculpture, and in modem times, our ndi and various popular 

2. I took no note of this branch of art in the chapter on the Gro- 
tesque Ideal ; ' partly because I did not wish to disturb the reader^s 
mind in our examination of the great imaginative grotesque, and also 
because I did not feel able to give a distinct account of this branch, 
having never thoroughly considered the powers of eye and hand in- 
volved in its finer examples. But assuredly men oi strong intellect 
and fine sense are founa among the cu^catorists, and it b to tiiem 

ere the pussm oted m § Z bere oeeiir. For psssages ■■issirin|r or espresMon m 
MTO dignified braneh of ai^ tee eh. ilL in tlio nroosdiw velisiO, veL V. ^ 61, It.] 
« [See VoL V. ch. viii.] 


that I allude in saying that the most subtle expression is often attained 
by ^slight studies^; while it is of the pseudo-expressionalist, or **high 
art^ sdiool that I am speaking, when I say that expression may 
"sometimes be elaborated by the toil of the dull^; in neither case 
meaning to depreciate the work, wholly different in every way, of the 
great expressional schools. 

8. I regret that I have not been able, as yet, to examine with care 
the powers of mind involved in modem caricature.^ They are, how- 
ever, always partial and imperfect; for the very habit of lookiiig for 
the leading lines, by the smallest possible number of which the expres- 
sion may be attamed, warps the power of general attention, and 
blunts the perception of the delicacies of the entire form and colour. 
Not that caricature, or exagseration of points of character, may not 
be occasionally indulged inHby the greatest men — as constantly by 
Leonardo ; ' but then it will be found that the caricature consists, not 
in imperfect or violent draxoingy but in delicate and perfect drawing 
of stnmge and exaggerated forms quaintly combined: and even thus, 
I believe, the habit of looking for such conditions will be found 
injurious; I strongly suspect its operation on Leonardo to have 
been the increase of his non-natural tendencies in his higher works. 
A certain acknowledgment of the ludicrous element is admitted in 
comers of the pictures of Veronese — in dwarfs or monkeys; but it is 
never caricatured or exaggerated. Tintoret and Titian hardly admit 
the element at all. They admit the noble grotesque to the full, in 
all its quaintness, brilliancy, and awe; but never any form of it 
depending on exaggeration, partiality, or &lla<^.* 

I believe, theraore, whatever wit, delicate appreciation of ordinary 
character, or other intellectual power may belong to the modem masters 
of caricature, their method of study for ever incapacitates them from 
passing beyond a certain point, and either reaching any of the perfect 
forms of itt themselves, or understanding them in others. Generally 
speaking, their power is limited to the use of the pen or pencil — they 
cannot touch colour without discomfiture; and even those whose work 
is of higher aim, and wrought habitually in colour, are prevented by 
their pursuit of jnauarU expression from understanding noble expres- 
sion. Leslie fumisnes seveml curious examples of this defect of per- 
ception in his late work on Art ; — ^talking, for instance, of the " insipid 
faces of Francia.*"' 

♦ Compare Stones of Venice, Vol. III. Chap. in. § 74. [Vol. XL pp. 19I- 

^ [Raskin afterwards gave some attention to the subject of modem caricature — 
in The Art qf England, § 139 ; tee also a letter of 1883, reprinted in Ru»kiniana, 1890, 
and in a later volume of this edition.] 

' rOn the subject of Leonardo's grotesque drawings, of which specimens may be 
seen in most collections, the reader may consult Eugene Muntz's Leonardo da Vinci, 
vol i. pp. 217-218 of the English edition.] 

' [A Handbook fbr Touna Painten, 1855, p. 33. For another criticism of thb 
book, see in the preceding volume. Appendix L, p. ^3.] 


4. On the other hand, all the real masters of caricature desenre 
honour in this respect, that their gift is peculiarly their own — ^innate 
and incommunicable* No teaching, no hard study, will ever enable 
other people to equal, in their several ways, the works of Leech or 
Cruikshank;^ whereas, the power of pure drawing is communicable, 
within certain limits, to every one who has good sig^t and industry. 
I do not, indeed, know how fisur, by devoting the attention to pcmits 
of character, caricaturist skill may be laborioudy attained ; but certainly 
the power is, in the masters of the school, innate from their childhood. 

Farther. It is evident that many subjects of thought may be dealt 
with by this kind of art which are inapproachable by any other, and 
that its influence over the popular mind must always be great; hence 
it may often happen that men of strong purpose may rather express 
themselves in this way (and continue to make sudi expression a matter 
of earnest study), than turn to any less influential, though more dignified, 
or even more intrinsically meritorious, brandi of art. And when the 
powers of quaint fancy are associated (as is frequently the case) with 
stem understanding of the nature of evil, and tender human sympathy, 
there results a bitter, or pathetic spirit of grotesque to which mankind 
at the present day owe more thorough moral teaching than to any 
branch of art whatsoever. 

5. In poetry, the temper is seen, in perfect manifestation, in the 
works of Thomas Hood ; ' in art, it is found both in various works of 
the Germans, — their finest and their least thought of; and more or 
less in the works of George Cruikshank,* and in many of the illustra- 
tions of our popular journals. On the whole, the most impressive 
examples of it, in poetry and in art, which I remember are the Song 
of the Shirt, and the woodcuts of Alfred Bethel, before spoken of? 
A correspondent, though coarser, work appeared some little time back 
in Punchy namely, the " Greneral Fevrier turned Traitor."* 

The reception of the woodcut last named was in several respects 
a curious test of modem feeling. For the sake of the ^neral ruuler, 
it may be well to state the occasion and character of it. It will be 

* Taken all in all^ the works of Cruikshank have the most sterling value 
of any belonging to this class, produced in England. 

^ [For Ruskin's high appredation of Leech, see his introduction to a Catakaue ^ 
the ExhibUion qf Outiinsi by the late John Leeeh, 1872 (here reprinted in Vol. XIV.} ; 
and The Art qf England, Lecture v. For Cruikshank, see Elements qf Drawing, |§ iiL, 
91, 239, 267 ; Time and Tide, §§ 83, 69, 116 ; Modem Paintere, vol. v. pt ix. ch. viL 

!l 11 n. ; Queen ^ ^ ^*^> §9 1^; ^^ ; Introduction to German Popular Stariee 
reprinted in a later volume of this edition); Ariadne FhrenUna, J 269; and 
Prmterita, i., ch. iv. § 82.] 

' [Often quoted, and praised, hy Ruskin ; tee, for instance. Elements qf Drawing, 
§ 258; if^ Firet Editor, in On the Old Road, vol L § 16 (reprinted in a later volume 
of this edition) ; and Fire damgera^ Letter 82.1 
» [See Vol. V. p. 13a] 
^ [This wss a cartoon by John Leech which appeared in Ftmeh, Fehmary 10, 1866.] 


remembered by all that early in the winter of 1854-^, 00 fatal by 
its inclemency, and by our own improvidence, to our army in the 
Crimea, the late EmpeKor of Ruisia said, or was reported to have said, 
tiiat ^his best commanders, General January and General February, 
were not yet come.^ The word, if ever spoken, was at once base, cruel, 
and Uasphemous;— base, in precisely reversing the temper of all true 
soldiers, so nobly instanced by the son of Saladin, when he sent, at the 
very instant of the discomfiture of his own army, two horses to Coeur 
de Lion, whose horse had been killed under him in the mel^ ; ^ cruel, 
inasmuch as he ought not to have exulted in the thought of the death, 
by slow suffering, of brave men ; blasphemous, inasmuch as it contained 
an appeal to Heaven, of which he Knew the hypocrisy. He himself 
died in February; and the woodcut of which I speak represented a 
skeleton in soldier^s armour, entering his chamber, the driven sleet white 
on its cloak and crest ; laying its hand on his heart as he lay dead. 

6. There were some points to be regretted in the execution of the 
design, but the thou^^t was a srand one; the memory of the word 
spoken, and of its answer, could hardly in any more impressive way 
nave been recorded for the people; and I believe that to all persons 
accustomed to the earnest forms of art, it contained a profound and 
touching lesson. The notable thing was, however, that it offisnded all 
persons noi in earnest, and was loudly cried out against by the polite 
formalism of society. This fate is, I believe, the idmost inevitable one 
of thoroughly genume work, in th^e days, whether poetry or painting; 
but what added to the singularity in this case was that coane heart- 
lessness was even more ofiended tlian polite heartlessness. Thus, Black- 
wood's Magaxme^ — which from the time that, with grace, judgment, 
and tenderness peculiarly its own, it bid the dying Keats ^ back to his 
gallipots,^* to that in which it partly arrested the last efforts, and 

* ''The notice in Blackwood is still more scurrilous; the circumstance 
of Keats having been brought up a surgeon is the staple of the jokes of 
the piece.- He Ib told Mt is a better and wiser thing to be a starved 
apothecary than a starved poet.*" — Milnes' Life of Keats, vol. i., p. 200, 
and compare pp. 193, 194. It may perhaps be said that I attach too 
much importance to the evil of Imlsc criticism; but those who think so 
have never rightly understood its scope, nor the reach of that stem saying 
of Johnson's {Idler, No. 3, April 29, 1758): "Little does he (who assumes 
the character of a critic) think how many harmless men he involves in his 
own guilt, by teaching them to be noxious without malignity, and to repeat 
objections which they do not understand." And truly, not in this kind 
only, but in all things whatsoever, there is not, to my mind, a more woful 
or wonderful matter of thought than the power of a fooL In the world's 

> [At the battle of Jafia in the Third Crusade, a.d. 1192 : see Lingard's History 
of England, vol. ii. p. 207 ; it is Uie brother, not the son, of Sdadin of whom the 
anecdote is told.] 

> [See Bku^cwoods Magateme, August 1818, vol. 3, pp. 619-1(24, beinf the fourth 
of a series of articles (attributed to Lockhart) ''On the tfoekney Sehool of Poetrj."] 


shortened the life of Turner, had, with an inCsdlible instinct for the 
wrong, given what nain it could, and withered what strength it could, 
in every great mind that was in anywise within its reach; and had 
made itself, to the utmost of its power, frost and disease of the heart 
to the most noble spirits. of England, — took upon itself to be generously 
offended at this mumphing over the death of England^s enemy, b^* 
cause, ^^ by proving that he is obliged to undergo the common lot of all, 
his brotherhood is at once reasserted.**^ * He was not, then, a brother 
while he was alive? or is our brother's blood in general not to be 
acknowledged by us till it rushes up against us from the ground?^ I 
know that this is a common creed, whether a peculiarly wise or Christian 
one may be doubted. It may not, indeed, be well to triumph over the 
dead, but perhaps it is less well that the world so often tries to triumph 
over the living. And as for exultation over a fallen foe (though there 
was none in the mind of the man who drew that monarch dead;, it may 
be remembered that there have been worthy persons, before now, guilty 
of this great wickedness, — nay, who have even fitted the words of their 
exultation to timbrels, and gone forth to sing them in dances. There 
have even been those — women, too, — who could make a mock at the 
agony of a mother weeping over her lost son, when that son had been 
the enemy of their country ; and their mock has been preserved, as worthy 
to be read by human eyes. ^^The mother of Sisera looked out at a 
window. ^ Hath he not sped ?^^^ I do not say this was right, still less 
that it was wrong ; but only that it would be well for us if we could quit 
our habit of thinking that what we say of the dead is of more weight 

afiairs there is no design so great or good but it will take twenty wise 
men to help it forward a few inches, and a single fool can stop it ; there is 
no evil so great or so terrible but that^ after a multitude of counsellors 
have taken means to avert it, a single fool will bring it down. Pestilence, 
famine, and the sword,^ are given into the fool's hand as the arrows into 
the hand of the giant : and if he were fairly set forth in the right motley, 
the web of it should be sackcloth and sable ; the bells on his cap, passing 
bells ; his badge, a bear robbed of her whelps ; and his bauble, a sexton's 

"^ By the way, this doubt of the possibility of an emperor's death till he 
proves it, is a curious fact in the history of Scottish metaphysics in the 
nineteenth century.* 

^ [See Genesis iv. 10.] 

^ [Judges v. 28. For some remarks on the Song of Deborah — " to me as sacred 
as the Magnificat'* — see Prcsterita, iii., ch. i. § 14.] 

8 [Ezekiel vi. 11, vii. 16.] 

* [See Blackwood's Magazine for April 1855, vol. 77, p. 483, in an article on ^' The 
Death of Nicholas." The remarks on the cartoon in Punch were these : " We will 
take the opportunity of expressing our regret at the sad feeling which dictated a 
caricature in a very popular weekly paper. It looked so much like exultation over 
a fallen foe, that it brought perforce to mind JEsop's story of the dead lion, and the 
insult he received. It was dictated by an un-English feeling : we hope it was only 
an error of thoughtlessness ; but thoughtlessness in print is a very grave error."] 


than what we lay of the living. The dead either know nothing, or 
know enough to deipiie both as and onr insolts or adulation. 

7. ^ Wdl, bat,^ it is answered, ^ there will always be this weakness 
in oar haman natore; we shall for ever, in spite of reason, take pleasure 
in doing funereal honour to the ccnrpse, and writing sacredness to memoir 
upon marble.^ Then, if you are to do this, — ^if you are to put off 
your kindness until death, — ^why not, in God^s name, put off also your 
enmity? and if you choose to write yovar lingermg aflfections upon 
stones, wreak also your delayed anger upon day. This would be just, 
and, in the last ease, little as you think it, ^nerous. The true base- 
ness is in the bitter reverse— the strange imquity of our folly. Is a 
man to be praised, honoured, pleaded for? It mi^t do harm to praise 
or plead for him while he lived. Wait till he is dead. Is he to be 
maligned, dishonoured, and discomforted? See that you do it while 
he is alive. It would be too ungenerous to slandor him when he 
could fed malice no more; too contemptible to try to hurt him when 
he was iiast anguish. Make yourselves busy^ ye unjust, ye lying, ye 
hungry ror pain ! Death is near. This is your hour, and the power 
of darkness.^ Wait, ye just, ye merdful, ye fistithfiil in love! Wait 
but for a little while, for this is not your rest. 

8. ^ Well, but,^ it is still answered, ^ is it not, indeed, ungenerous 
to speak ill of the dead, since they cannot defend themsdves? 

why should they? K you speak ill of them fidsdy, it concerns 
you, not them. Those lies of thme will ^hurt a man as thoo art,^' 
assuredly they will hurt thyself; but that clav, or the ddivered soul 
of it, in no wise. Ajaoean shield, seven-folded, never stayed lance- 
thrust as that turf will, with daisies pied.' What ]rou say of those 
ouiet ones is wholly and utterly the world^s affidr and yours. The 
he will, indeed, cost its proper price, and work its appointed work; 
you may ruin living myriads by it, — you may stop the progress of 
centuries by it, — you may have to pay your own soul for it, — but as 
for ruffling one comer of the folded shroud by it, think it not. The 
dead have none to defend them ! Nay, they have two defenders, strong 
enough for the need — Grod, and the worm.* 

I [Luke xxii. 63.] 
Job xxzv. 8.] 
Love** Labour LoH, r. 2.] 

'With the subject of theie lectioiis — the vanitv of memorimls to the dead, the 
of encouragement to the living — compare *VoL III. p. 646 ; A Joy for Ever, 


§ 26 ; and Fore Clavigera, Letter 16.] 



1. I AM well aware how insaiBcient, and, in some measure, how dis- 
patable, the account given in the preceding chapters of the cleavages 
of the slaty crystallines must appear to geologists. But I had sevcml 
reasons, good or bad as they may be, for treating the subject in such 
a manner. The first was, that considering the science of the artist 
as eminently the science of aspects (see Vol. III. Chap. xvn. § 48),^ I 
kept myself, in all my investigations of natural objects, as much as 
possible in the state of an uninformed spectator of the outside of 
things, receiving simply what impressions tne external phenomena first 
induce. For Uie natural tendency of accurate science is to make the 
possessor of it look for, and eminently see, the thiggs connected with 
his special pieces of knowledge; and as all accurate science must be 
sternly limited, his sight of nature gets limited accordingly* I observe 
that all our young figure-painters were rendered, to SX intents and 
purposes, Uma by uieir knowledge of anatomy.' They saw only certain 
muscles and bones, of which they had learned the positions oy rote, 
but could not, on account of the very prominence in their mmds of 
these bits of fragmentary knowledge, see the real movement, colour, 
rounding, or any other subtle quality of the human form. And I was 
quite sure that if I examined the mountain anatomy scientifically, I 
should go wrong, in like manner, touching the external aspects. There- 
fore in Deginning the inquiries of which the results are given in the 
preceding pages, I closed all geological books, and set myself, as far 
as I could, to see the Alps in a simple, thoughtless, and untheorising 
manner; but to see them, if it might be, thoroiu^hly. If I am wrong 
in any of the statements made after this kind oi examination, the 
very fact of this error is an interesting one, as showing the kind of 
deception which the external aspects of hills are calculated to induce 
in an unprejudiced observer; but, whether wrong or right, I believe 
the results I have given are those which naturally would strike an 
artist, and ought to strike him, just as the apparently domical form of 

> fin thw edition, Vol. V. p. 387.] 

* [For Raskin's raferenoes to the relation of snatomj and art, see VoL IV. p. 1/MS n., 
VoL XI. p. 00 n., and compare p. 232, above.] 



the sky, and radiation of the sun's light, ought to be marked by him 
as pictorial phenomena, though the sky is not domical, and though 
the radiation of sunbeams is a perspsctive deception. There are, 
however, one or two points on which my opinions might seem more 
adverse to the usual positions of geologists than they really are, owing 
to my having left out many qtud^yinff statements for fear of confusing 
the reader. These I must here briefly touch upon. And, first, I 
know that I shall be questioned for not having siifficiently dwelt upon 
slaty cleavages running transversely across series of beds, and for 
generally speaking as if the slaty crystalline rocks were merely dried 
Beds of^^ micaceous sand, in which the flakes of mica naturally lay 
parallel with the beds, or only at such an angle to them as is con- 
stantly assumed by particles of drift. Now the reason of this is simply 
that my own mountain experience has led me alwoffs among rocks 
which induced such an impression ; that, in general, artists seeking for 
the noblest hill scenery will also get among such rocks, and that, there- 
fore, I judged it bc»t to ezplam their structure completely, merely 
alluding (in Chap. x. § 7 ^) to tne curious results of cross cleavage among 
the soner slates, and leaving the reader to pursue the inquiry, if he 
cared to do so ; although, in reality, it matters very little to the artist 
whether the slaty cleavage be across the beds or not, for to him the 
cleavage itself is always the important matter; and the stratification, 
if contrary to it, is usually so oDscure as to be naturally, and therefore 
properly, lost sight of. And touching the dbputed question whether 
the micaceous arrangements of metamorphic rocks are the results of 
subsequent crystallization, or of aqueous deposition, I had no special 
call to speak; the whole subject appeared to me ozdy more mysterious 
the more I examined it ; but my own impressions were always strcmgly 
for the aqueous deposition : nor in such cases as that of the beds of the 
Matterhom (drawn in Plate 39), respecting which, somewhat excep- 
tionally, I have allowed myself to theorise a little, does the matter 
appear to me disputable. 

2. And I was confirmed in this feeling by De Saussure; the only 
writer whose help I did not refuse in the course of these inquiries. Hit 
I received, for this reason — all other geological writers whose works I had 
examined were engaged in the maintenance of some theory or other, and 
always gathering materials to support it. But I found Saussure had gone 
to the Ajps, as I desired to go myself, only to look at them, and describe 
them as tney were, loving them heartily — loving them, the positive Alps, 
more than himself, or than science, or than any theories of science ; and I 
found his descriptions, therefore, clear and trustworthy ; and that when I 
had not visited any place myself, Saussure^s report upon it might always 
be received without question. 

Not but that Saussure himself has a pet theory, like other human 
beings; only it is quite subordinate to his love of the Alps. He is a 
steady advocate of the aqueous crystallization of rocks, and never loses a 

1 [See sbove^ p. 160.] 


fair opportunity of a blow at the Huttonians;^ but his opportunitiw 
are always ^^itr, his description of what he sees is wholly impartial: it 
is only when he gets home and arranges his papers that he pats in the 
little acuieously inclined paragraphs, and never a paragraph without ^ust 
cause. He may, perhaps, overlook the evidence on^ the opposite side; 
but in the Alps the igneous alteration of the rocks, and the modes of 
their upheaval, seem to me subjects of intense difficulbr and mystery, and 
as such Saussure always treats them ; the evidence for the original dl^• 
posiiion by water of the slaty crystallines appears to him, as it does to 
Soften perfectly distinct. 

Now Saussure^s universal principle was exactly the one on which I have 
founded my account of the slaty crystallines : — ** Fid^ k mon prindpe, 
de ne r^psider comme de couches, dans lee montasnes schisteuses, que lee 
divisions parallMes aux feuillets des schistes dont elles sont oomposees.'" — 
VoyageSj 3 1747. I know that this is an arbitrary, and in some cases an 
assuredly fidse, principle ; but the assumption of it by De Saussure proves 
all that I want to prove, — ^namely, that the beds of the slaty crystallines 
are in the Alps in so large a plurality of instances correspondent in 
direction to their folia, as to inauce even a cautious reasoner to assume 
such correspondence to be universal. 

8. The next point, however, on which I shall be opposed, is one on 
which I speak with far less confidence, for in this Saussure himself it 
against me, — ^namely, the parallelism of the beds sloping under the Mont 
Blanc.' Saussure states twice, §§ 656, 677, that they are arranged in the 
form of a fan. I can only repeat that every measurement and every draw* 
ing I made in Chamouni led me to the conclusions stated in the tiart, and 
so I leave the subject to better investigators; this one fact being indis* 
putable, and the only one on which for my purpose it is necessary to insists 
that, whether at Chamouni the beds be radiant or not, to an artistes eye 
they are usually parallel; and throughout the Alps no phenomenon is 
more constant than the rounding of surfaces across tne extremities of beds 
sloping outwards, as seen in my plates 87, 40, and 48, and this espedalfy 
in the most majestic mountain masses. Compare De Saussure of tM 
Grimsel, § 171S: ^^Toujours il est bien remarquable que ces feuillets, 
verticaux au sommet, s^dinent ensuite, comme k Chamouni, contre le 
dehors de la montagne : ^ and again of the granite at Guttannen, § 1679 : 
^ Ces couches ne sont pas tout-jufait verticales ; elks s^appuyent un pea 
contre le Nord-Est, ou, comme k Chamouni, ocmtre le dehors de la 
montagne.*" Again of tiie ^^ quartz micao^^ of Zumloch, § 1728: ^Ces 
rochers sont en couches k pen prte verticales, dont les jdans courent du 
Nord-Est au Sud-Ouest, en s^appuyant, suivani Tumnffe^ contre rext^rieur 
de la montagne, ou contre la valf^.'" Aindn, on the Pass of the Grries, 
§ 1788 : ^ Le rocher pr^nte des couches ^un schiste micao^ ray^ comme 

1 [James Hatton (1726-1797)> one of tlia fbonders of geologiesl sdenoe, and origi- 
nator of the uniformitarian theory. Five jrears after his death, one of his friends 
(John FlsTfiur) published a well-known volume, entitled UhutrtUUms qf ike HutUmiam 
Theory qfthe EaHk.] 

> [See ck ziF. § 3, p. 217, and cb. zv. §§ 16, 16, pp. 252-257.] 


une itofSt ; oomme, de Taatre odt^ Us mirploinbent vers le dehors de la 
montagne.^ Without referring to other passages, I think Saussure'i 
simple words, ^^suivant Tusage, are enough to justify my statement in 
Chap. xnr. S 8; only the reader must of course always remember that 
every conceivable position of beds takes place in the Alps, and all I 
mean to assert generally is, that where the masses are most enormous 
and impressive, and formed of slaty crystalline rocks, there the run of 
the beos up, as it were, from withm the mountain to its surface will, 
in all probability, become a notable feature in the scene as regarded bj 
an artist. One somewhat unusual form assumed by horizontal beds of 
slaty crystallines, or of granite, is described by Saussure with unusual ad- 
miration ; and the passage is worth extracting, as bearing on the terraced 
ideal of rocks in the Middle Ages. The scene is in the \a\ Formazza. 

^* Ind^pendamment de Tint^ret que ces cQuches pr^ntent au g^ 
logiste sous un nombre de rapports qu^il seroit trop long et peat- 
etre inutile de d^tailler, elles pr^ntent, meme pour le peintre, on 
superbe tableau. Je n^ai jamais vu de plus beaux rochers, et distribu^ 
en plus grandes masses; ici, blancs; Ikj noircis par les lichens; li, 
peints de ces belles couleurs vari^ que nous admirions au Grimsel, 
et entremeles d^arbres, dont les uns couronnent le faite de la montagne, 
et d^autres sont in^alement jet& sur les comiches qui en apparent 
les couches. Vers le has de la montagne Tceil se repose sur de Deaux 
vergers, dans de prairies dont le terrein est in^gal et vari^ et sor 
de magnifiques cnktaigniers, dont les branches ^t^dues ombragent ks 
rochers contre lesquels ils croissent. En g^^ral, ces granits en couches 
horizontales rendent ce pays charmant; car, quoiqu^il y ait, comme 
je Tai dit, des couches qui forment des saillies, cependant ^les sont 
pour Tordinaire arrange en gradins, ou en grandes assises pos^ en 
reculement les unes derri^re les autres, et les bords de ces gradins sont 
converts de la plus belle verdure, et d^arbres distribu^ de la maniere 
la plus pittoresque. On voit meme des montagnes tres-^levees, qui ont 
la rorme de pain de sucre, et qui sont entour^ et couronn^, jusqu^i 
leur sommet, de guirlandes d^arbres assis sur les intervalles des couches, 
et qui forment PeflTet du monde le plus singulier.*" — Voyages^ 5 1758. 

Another statement, which I made generally, referring, tor those 
qualifications which it is so difficult to give without confusing the 
reader, to this Appendix,^ was that of the usually greater hardness 
of the tops of mountains as compared with their nanks. My own 
experience among the Alps has furnished me with few exceptions to 
this law; but there is a very interesting one, according to Saussure, 
in the range of the Furca del fiosco. {Voyages^ § 1779.) 

4. Lasuy, at page 231 of this volume, I have alluded to the 
various cleavages of the aiguilles, out of which one only has been 
explained and illustrated. I had not intended to treat the subject so 
partially; and had actually prepared a long chapter, explaining the 

1 [See above, p. 216.] 


relations of five different and important systems of cleavage in the 
Chamomii aiguilles. When it was written, however, I fomid it looked 
so repulsive to readers in general, and proved so little that was of 
internt even to readers in particular, that I cancelled it, leaving only 
the account of what I might, perhaps, not unjustifiably (from tm 
first representation of it in the Liber Studiorum) ^ cal} Tumer^s cleavage. 
The following passage, which was the introduction to the chapter, mav 
serve to show that I have not ignored the others, though I found, 
after long examination, that Tumer^s was the principal one: — 

^^One of the principal distinctions between these crystalline masses 
and stratified rocks, with respect to their outwardly apparent struc- 
ture, is the subtle complexity and number of ranks in their crystal- 
line cleavages. The stratified masses have always a simply intelligible 
organization; their beds lie in one direction, and certain fissures and 
fractures of those beds lie in other clearly ascertainable directions; 
seldom more than two or three dittinci directions of these fractures 
beinff admitted. But if the traveUer will set himself deliberately to 
watra the shadows on the aiguilles of Chamouni as the sun moves 
round them, he will find that nearly every quarter of an hour a new 
set of cleavages becomes visible, not confused and orderless, but a series 
of lines inclining in some one definite direction, and that so positively, 
that if he had only seen the aiguille at that moment he would assuredly 
have supposed its internal structure to be altogether regulated by tfate 
lines of oed or cleavage then in sight. Let him, however, wait for 
another quarter of an hour, and he will see those lines fade entirely 
away as the sun rounds thcan ; and another set, perhaps quite adverse 
to them, and assuredly Ijdng in another direction, will as gradually 
become visible, to die away in their turn, and be succeeded by a third 
scheme of structure. 

^* These * dissolving views ^ of the geology of the aiguilles have often 
thrown me into despair of ever being able to give any account of their 
formation ; but just in proportion as I became aware of the infinite 
complexity of their framework, the one great fact rose into more promi- 
nent and wonderful relief, — that through this inextricable complexity 
there was always manifested some authoritative principle. It mattered 
not at what hour of the day the aiguilles were examined, at that hour 
they had a system of structure belonging to the moment* No con- 
frision nor anarchy ever appeared amidst their strength, but an ineffable 
order, only the more penect because incomprehensible. They diffiered 
from lower mountains, not merely in being more comj^ct, but in being 
more disciplmed. 

^For, observe, the lines which cause these fiur-away effects of 
shadow, are not, as often in less noble rocks, caused by real cracks 
through the body of the mountain; for, were lius so, it would follow, 
frt>m what has just been stated, that these aiguilles were cracked 

1 [See above, pt. 2d7« and Plate 32.] 



'r - 





■ r 


through and through in every direction, and therefore actoally weak^ 

instead of stronger, than other rocks. But the appearance of fractn 

is entirely external, and the sympathy or parallelisin of the lines iik 

\ cates, not an actual splitting through the rock, but a mere diapositii 

!'. in the rock to split hiumoniously when it is compelled to do so. The 

I in tlie shell-like fractures on the flank of the Aiguille Blaiti^rey the rcM 

iis not actually divided, as it appears to be, into successive hoik 
plates. Gro up close to the inner anek between one bed of rock si 
the next, and the whole mass will be found as firmly united as a pie 
of glass. There is absolutely no crack between the beds, — ^no, not i 
^ much as would allow the blade of a penknife to enter for a quarter < 

1. an inch;* but such a subtle disposition to symmetry of firactors i 

^' \ the heart of the solid rock, that the next thunderbolt which strikes c 

mt that edge of it will rend away a shell-shaped fragment €gr series < 

f fragments; and will either break it so as to continue the line of at 

' \ ' of the existing sides, or in some other line paralld to that. And yi 

^ : this resolvedness to break into shell-shaped fragments running nort 

and south is only characteristic of the rocK at this spot, and at oertsi 
r other spots where similar circumstances have brought out this peculii 

^ humour. Forty yards farther on it will be equally determmed 1 

:': break in another direction, and nothing will persuade it to the ooi 

^ trary. Forty yards farther it will change its mind again, smd face ii 

'M beds round to another quarter of the compass ; and yet all theae aha 

nating caprices are each parts of one mighty continuous caprice, whic 
4^ is only masked for a time ; as threads of one colour are in « patterns 

'"a stuff by threads of another; and thus fit>m a distance, precisely tli 

,^ same cleavage is seen repeated again and again in different place 

inner fissures^ in the aiguilles. 
^ "20th Augiui. — Ascended the moraine till I reached the base c 

l Blaiti^re ; the upper part of the moraine excessively loose and edgj 

covered with fresh snow; the rocks were wreathed in mist, and a ligfa 

sleety composed of small grains of kneaded snow, kept beating in my &ce 

> it was bitter cold too, though the thermometer was at 45% bat the win 

« was like that of an English December thaw« I got to the base of th 

^ aiguille, however, one of the most grand and sweeping bits of granite 

have ever seen; a small gurgling streamlet, escaping from a fissure no 
wide enough to let in my hand, made a strange hollow ringing in th 

* The following extract from my diary ^ refers to the cmly instance i 
which I remember any appearance of a spring, or welling of water throag 

compact rock, and came welling out over its ledges with the sound, an 
successive wave, of water out of a narrow-necked bottle, covering the roe 
with ice (which must have been froaen there last night) two Inches thid 
I levelled the Breven top, and found it a little beneath me; the Charraa 
4. glacier on the left, sank from the moraine in broken fr agments of n^ 

and swept back under the dark walls of the Charmos, lost in doud." 

[At Chamouni, in 1849. ] 


forming a systematic stnictmre; while other groups of cleavages will 
become visible in their turn, either as we change our place of observa- 
tion, or as the sunlight changes the direction of its falL^ 

5. One part of these rocks, I think, no geologist interested in this 
subject should pass without examination ; viz., the Tittle spur of Blaiti^ 
drawn in Plate 29, Fig. 8. It is seen, as there shown, from the moraine 
of the Charmoz glacier, its summit bearing s. 40^ w. ; and its cleavage 
beds leaning to the left or s.e., against the Aiguille Blaiti^. If, how- 
ever, we go down to the extremity of the rocks themselves, on the 
right, we shall find that all those thick beams of rock are actually sawn 
into vertical timbers by another cleavage, sometimes so fine as to look 
almost slaty, directed straight s.e., against the aiguille, as if, continued, 
it would saw it through and through; finally, cross the spur and go 
down to the glacier below, between it and the Aiguille du Plan, and 
the bottom of the spur will be found presenting the most splendid mossy 
surfaces, through wnich the true gneissitio cleavage is faintly traceable, 
dipping ai right angles to the beds in Jb*ig. 8, or under the Aiguille 
Blaitiere, thus concurring with the beds of La Cote. 

I forgot to note that the view of this Aiguille Blaitiere, given in 
Plate 81,^ was taken firom the station marked a in the reference figure, 
p. S04; and the sketch of the Aiguille du Flan at p. 888, from the 
station marked r in the same figure, a highly interesting point of 
observation in many respects; while the course of transition m>m the 
protogine into gneiss presents more remarkable phenomena on the 
descents from that point r to the Tapia t, than at any other easily 
accessible spot.' 

Various interesting descriptions of granite cleavage will be found in 
De Saussure, chiefly m his accounts of the GrimseT and St. Grothard. 
The following summary of his observations on their positions of beds 
(§ 1T74), may serve to show the reader how long I should have detained 
him if I had endeavoured to give a description of all the attendant 
phenomena : — ** II est aussi bien curieux de voir ces sneiss, et ces granits 
vein&, en couches verticales k Guttannen; m^langees diiorizontales et 
de verticales au Lauteraar; toutes verticales au Srimsel et au Grries; 
toutes horizontales dans le Val Formazza, et enfin potur la troisi^e fois 
verticales k la sortie des Alpes k Tentr^ du Lac Majeur."** 

* [In all previous editions this reference bM been erroneously given m ''Plate 
39." 1 

> [See above, p. 266.] 





1. In the Preface to the third volume I alluded to the conviction daily 
gaining ground upon me, of the need of a more accurately logical 
education of our youth.^ Truly among the most pitiable and practi- 
cally hurtful weaknesfles of the modem English mino, its usual inability 
to grasp the connection between any two ideas which have elements 
of opposition in them, as well as of connection, is perhaps the chief. 
It is shown with singular fatality in the vague efforts made by our 
divines to meet the objections raised by free-thinkers, bearing on the 
nature and origin of evil; but there is hardly a sentence written on 
any matter requiring careful analysis, by writers who have not yet 
bq^n to perceive the influence of their own vanity (and there are too 
many such among divinesX which will not involve some half-lamentable, 
half-ludicrous, logical flaw, — such flaws being the invariable conseouence 
of a man^s straining to say anything in a learned instead of an intelligible 

Take a sentence, for example, from J. A. James s Anaiaus Inquirer:^ 
— ^*It is a great principle that subfective religion^ or in other words^ 
religion in ta, is produced and sustained by uing the mind on ob/ec- 
Hve religion, or the facts and doctrines of the Word of God.*" 

Cut entirely out the words I have put in italics, and the sentence 
has a meaning (though not by any means an important one). But by 
its verbosities it is extended into pure nonsense; for ^^ facts'^ are neither 
" objective ^ nor " subjective ^ * religion ; they are not religion at all. 
The belief of them, attended with certain feelings, is religion; and it 
must always be religion ^^in us,*" for in whom else should it be? (unless 
in angels; which would not make it less *^ subjective.'") It is just as 

* If these two unlucky words get much more hold in the language, we 
shall soon have our philosophers refusing to call their dinner ''dinner/' 
but speaking of it always as their "objective appetite."* 

> [See Vol. V. p. 9 ; and compare Appendix 7 in Stones qf Venice, voL iiL (Vol. XI. 
p. 268).] 

* [The Anaiouit Inauirer after Salvation, 1884, p. 91 ; often reprinted and trans- 
lated ; by John Anf^eil James (1785-1859)^ for many years Independent minister of 
Carr Lane's Chapel, Birmingham.] 

» [Compare VoL V. p. 201 a] 



rational to call doctrines ^* objective religion,^ as to call entreaties 
^^ objective compassion^; and tbie only fact of any notability dedudble 
from the sentence is, that the writer desired earnestly to say somo- 
thing profound, and had nothing profound to say. 

2. To the same defect of mtellect must, m charity, be attributed 
many of the wretched cases of special pleading which we continually 
hear from the pulpit. In the year 1868, I neard in Edinburgh a 
sermon from a leading and excellent Presbyterian clergyman, on a 
subject generally grateful to Protestant audiences, namely, the im- 
propriety and wickraness of Fasting.^ The preacher entirely d^iied that 
there was any authority for fasting in the New Testament; declared 
that there were many feasts appointed, but no £uts; insisted with 
great energy on the words ^forbidding to marry, and commanding to 
abstain from meats,^ etc., as descriptive of Romanism, and never onctf 
throughout a lon^ sermon, ventured so much as a single syllable that 
might recall to his audience^s recollection the existence oi such texts 
as Matthew iv. S and vi. 16, or Mark ix. S9. I have heard many 
sermons from Roman Catholic priests, but I never yet heard, in tlie 
strongest holds of Romanism, any so monstrous an instance of special 
pleading; in fact, it never could have occurred in a sermon by any 
respectable Roman Catholic divine; for the Romanists are trained to 
aigument from their youth, and are always to some extent plausible. 

8. It is of course impossible to determine, in such cases, how fiur 
the preacher, having conscientiously made up his mind on the subject 
by forgoing thought, and honestly desiring to impress his conclusion 
on his congregation, may think his object wiU be best, and even jnstifi* 
ably attained by insisting on aU that b in favour of his position, and 
trusting to the weak heacu of his hearers not to find out the arguments 
for the contrary ; fearing that if he stated, in any proportionate measure, 
the considerations on the other side, he might not be able, in the time 
allotted to him, to brin^ out his conclusion fairly. This, though I 
hold it an entirely false view, is nevertheless a comjnndiensible and par- 
donable one, especially in a man familiar with the reasoning capacities 
of the public ; though those capacities themselves owe half tiieir short- 
comings to being so unworthily treated. But, on the whole, and look- 
ing broadly at the way the speakers and teachers of the nation set 
about their business, there is an almost fathomless failure in the results, 
owing to the general admission of special pleading as an art io be taughi 
to youth. The main thing which we ought to teach our youth is to 
see something, — all that the eyes which Grod has given them are capable 
of seeiiu^. Ihe sum of what we do teach them is to sa^ something. As 
far as 1 have experience of instruction, no man ever dreams of teach- 
ing a boy to get to the root of a matter; to think it out; to get 
quit of passion and desire in the process of thinking; or to fear no 

^ [The prescher wag 1>r. Guthrie, for whom see Vol. XII. fip. xxx.-xxxi. ; Raskin 
made iq his diarj, at Edinburgh, November 28, the notes which he here uses.] 


face of man in plainly averting the aaoertained result. But to 90^ any- 
thing in a glib and ffraoeful manner, — ^to give an epigrammatic turn to 
notiimg, — to quench me dim perceptions of a feeble adversary, and parry 
cunningly the home thrusts of a strong one, — ^to invent blanknesses in 
speech for breathing time, and slipperinesses in speech for hiding time, — 
to polish malice to the deadliest edge, shape profession to the seemliest 
shadow, and mask self-interest under the fairest pretext, — all these skills 
we teach definitely, as the main arts of business and life. There is a 
strange significance in the admission of Aristotle'^s Rhetoric'^ at our uni- 
versities as a class-book. Cheating at cards is a base profession enough, 
but truly it would be wiser to print a code of gambler^s legerdemain, and 
give ihiU for a class-book, than to make the lq;erdemain of human speech, 
and the clever shuffling of the black spots in the human heart, the first 
study of our politic youth. Again, the Ethics of Aristotle, though 
eontainins^ some shrewd talk, interesting for an old reader, are yet so 
absurdly illogical and sophistical, that if a young man has once read them 
with any faith, it must take years before he recovers from the induced 
confusions of thought and false habits of argument. If there were the 
slightest dexterity or ingenuity in maintaining the felse theory, there 
miffht be some excuse for retaining the Ethics as a school-book, provided 
only the tutor were careful to point out, on first opening it, that the 
Chnstian virtues, — namely, to love with all the heart, soul, and strength; 
to fight, not as one that beateth the air; and to do witii mighi "wnaX- 
soever the hand findeth to do, — could not in anywise be defined as ^ habits 
of choice in moderation.^' But the Aristotelian quibbles are so shal- 
low, that I look upon the retention of the book as a confession by our 
universities that tney consider practice in shallow quibbling one of the 
essential disciplines of youth. Take, for instance, the distinction made be- 
tween **£nvy^ and ^'Reioicin^ at EviP (^opo^ and ^i;^a£pe/i«Mria), in the 
second book of the EtnicSj viz. that envy is grieved when any one meets 
with good-fortune ; but ^^ the rejoicer at evil so far misses of grieving, as 
even to rejoice^ (the distinction between the good and evil^ as subjects of 
the emotion, being thus omitted, and merely the verbal opposition of 
grief and joy caught at) ; and conceive the result, in the minds of most 
youths, of being forced to take tricks of words such as this (and there are 
too many of them in even the best Greek writers) for subjects of daily 
study and admiration ; the theory of the Ethics being, besides, so hope- 
lessly untenable,' that even quibbling will not always face it out, — nay, 
will not help it in exactly the first and most important example of virtue 

1 [For Raskin's '' detestation " of this book, see Vol. I. p. xxxv,, and for hit 
opinion of Aristotle generally^ ibid,, p. 410.] 

* [The references here are to Luice x. 27 ; 1 Corinthians iz. 26 ; Bcclesiastes ix. 
10 ; EtkAc9y ii. 5, \b {Ha wpoaipcrudi h luahntn) ; ii. 7, 15 (d d' iwixoupinucot TovoOram iXKdwti 
roD \vr€ur$at &9rt koX x"^^*-^) \ iii* Hy 7 {^ t4t(vx€ 8* 6 rocoDrof ^roftarot dc& r6 fiii wdnt 
ylptir$ai), ] 

* VAee, for another reference to the Aristotelian theory of the mean, Vol. V. 
p. 386 a.] 


which Aristotle has to give, and the very one which we might have 
thought his theory would have fitted most neatly ; for defining ^ temper- 
ance^ as a mean, and intemperance as one relative extreme, not being 
able to find an opposite extreme, he escapes with the apology^ that the 
kind of person wno sins in the other extreme *^has no precise name; 
because, on the whole, he does not exist ! ^ 

4. I know well tiie common censure by which objections to such 
futilities of so-called education are met, by tne men who nave been ruined 
by them, — the common plea that anything does to ^^ exercise the mind 
upon.^ It is an utterly false one. The human soul, in youth, is noi a 
machine of which you can polish the cogs with any kelp or brickdust near 
at hand ; and, having got it into working order, and good, empty, and 
oiled serviceableness, start your immortal locomotive, at twenty-nve years 
old or thirty, express from the Strait Gate, on tUe Narrow Road.^ The 
whole period of youth is one essentially of formation, edification, instruc- 
tion; I use the words with their weiffht in them; intaking of stores, 
establishment in vital habits, hopes, ana faiths. There is not an hotur of 
it but is trembling with desthiies, — not a moment of which, once past, the 
appointed work can ever be done again, or the n^lected blow strudc on 
the cold iron. Take your vase of Venice glass out of the furnace, and 
strew chaff over it in its transparent heat, and recover thai to its clearness 
and rubied glory when the north wind has blown upon it; but do not 
think to strew chaff over the child fresh from Grod's presence, and to bring 
the heavenly colours back to him — at least in this world. 

^ [Matthew viL 13, 14.] 

[Added in this Edition] 




The itudies of the nature and fonn of clouds, reprinted in the following 
pages from the fourth and fifth volumes of Modem Painten, will be in this 
series third in order, as they are in those volumes, of the treatises on 
natural history which were there made the foundation of judgment in 
landscape art But the essay on trees will require more careful annotation 
than I have at present time for, and I am also desirous of placing these 
cloud studies quickly in the hands of any one who may have been inte- 
rested in my account of recent stonns.^ 

I find nothing to alter,* and little to explain, in the following portions 
of my former work, in which such passages as the eighth and ninth para- 
graphs of the opening chapter — usually thought of by the public merely 
as word-painting, but which are in reality accurately abstracted, and finally 
concentrated, expressions of the general laws of natural phenomena, f- 

* Sometiines a now useless reference to other parts of the book is omitted, 
or one necesMiry to connect the sentence broken by such omission ; otherwise I do 
not retouch the original text. 

t Thus the sentence at page 13,' '' murmuring only when the winds raise them, 
or rocks divide," does not describe, or word-paint, the sound of waters, but (with 
only the admitted art of a carefully reiterated ''r^) sums the ^neral ca\ue$ of it; 
while, again, the immediately following one, defining the limitations of sea and 
river, '' restrained by established shores, and guided through unchanging channels," 
attempts no word-painting either of coant or burnside ; but states, with only such 
ornament of its simplicity as could be got of the doubled '' t " and doubled '' ch,'' 
the fact of the stability of existing rock structure which I was, at that time, alone 
among geologists in asserting. 

' [Being " Studies of Cloud Form and its Visible Causes, selected from Modem 
Painters." For Bibliographical Note, see Vol. III. p. Ixiii. The chapters reprinted 
in Part I. (the only one issued) were ch. vL in the present volume, and ch. L of 
Part VII. in the next volume.] 

• [The Storm-Cloud qf the. Nineteenth Century : Tu)o Lectures delivered at the London 
Imtitutum, February 4 and 11, IS84, reprinted in a later volume of this edition.] 

' [i.e., of Coeli Enarrant; p. 112, above.] 


indeed among the best I have ever written, and in their way, I am not 
ashamed to express my conviction, unlikely to be surpassed by any other 
author. But it may be necessary to advise the student of these now 
isolated chapters not to interpret any of their expressions of awe or wonder 
as meaning to attribute any supernatural, or in any special sense miraculous, 
character to the phenomena described, other than that of their adaptation 
to human feeling or need. I did not in the least mean to insinuate, 
because it was not easy to explain the buoyancy of clouds, that they were 
supported in the air as St. Francis in his ecstasy; or because the forms of 
a thundercloud were terrific, that they were less natural than those of a 
diamond; but in all the forms and actions of non-sentient things, I re- 
cognized, (as more at length explained in the conclusion of my essay on 
the plague cloud) constant miracle, and according to the need and deserv- 
ing of man, more or less constantly manifest Deity. Time, and times, 
have since passed over my head, and have taught me to hope for more 
than this; — nay, perhaps so much more as that in English cities, where 
two or three are gathered in His name, such vision as that recorded by 
the sea-king Dandolo* might again be seen, when he was commanded 
that in the midst of the dty he should build a church, ''in the place 
above which he should see a red cloud rest." 


OxvoBO, November Qth, 1884. 

* 9t Mark's.1 

^ [i.e., St, MnH^n ReH, § 73, where the legend is quoted.] 



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