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THE FALLS OF THE RHINE.
The cataracts of America are most of them prominent for magnitude and sublimity. After that of Niagara, those of the St. Lawrence are the most remarkable. The Coteau de Luc, the Cedars, the Split Rock, and the Cascades, are all of them fine falls, full of romantic beauty, which occur in succession for about nine miles above Montreal nnd the junction of the Ottawa. The Rapids of St. Anne have been long celebrated from a very touching practice of boatmen, who repair to a small island, on which is a church dedicated to St. Anne, the guardian spirit of voyagers, and a6k her blessing and protection before they attempt to pass the rapids. Moore has made this the subject of one of the finest songs ever written—
"Faintly as tolls the evening chime,
Row, brothers row, the stream runs fast,
Of American cataracts, the Katerskill Falls are most celebrated for picturesque beauty. The waters which supply these cascades flow from the small lakes in the Catskill Mountains, on the west bank of the river Hudson. Tho ) upper cascade falls 175 feet; and a few rods below, the second pours its waters over a precipice eighty feet deep, passing into a lovely ravine, the banks of which rise abruptly on each side to the height of 1000 to 1500 feet.
The Rhine is one of the finest rivers of Europe. It rises in the Rhetian Alps, and pursues a winding course through 830 miles of the most lovely scenery, consisting of fertile , wheat lands, grassy meadows, dark, shaggy, and primitive forests, and shelving hills, clothed to the summits with the graceful vine. Of the cultivated lands through which it flows, the vineyards are by far most numerous. The hills rise up in bold and rounded masses, flanked from their feet 'to their sun-lighted crowns, with the rich masses of purple grapes, and light green foliage of the vines, and dotted here and there by the white cottages of the German peasantry, sprinkled on the hill-sides like snow-flakes. Under the . azure blue sky and delicious climate of an European summer, the voyage up the Rhine is one of the most enchanting that can be undertaken. The pellucid waters reflect every' white cloudlet, and in the sweeping bends of the river the stillness is sometimes profound; the water lies in a glassy sheet like a burnished mirror, as the sunbeams dart and tremble like vapours above it. The magnificent forests, the exuberance of vegetation in the cultivated districts, and the endless succession of brilliant flowers which cluster on the banks; and the swift receding rafts descending with the current, with the picturesque castles, cathedrals, villages, and costumes, which appear on every hand, form a delightful assemblage of objects full of interest, novelty, and instruction. ;j
Discharging annually thirteen times as much water as the Thames; and having a basin measuring not less than , 70,000 square miles, the movements and characteristics of the iihine are upon a scale of grandeur which surpasses most European rivers, with the exception of the Danube, the Dnieper, the Don, and the Volga. The Rhine is swift in its course, though it has only a fall of four feet from Schaffhausen to Strasbourg; and of two feet between Strasbourg and Schenckenschautz.
The fall of Schaffhausen is one of extreme beauty and majesty. From a sharp ledge, only seventy feet above the gorge below, a mass of waters,450 feet broad, plunge with a silvery light and a rich, halforgan-like, half rumbling tone. The lovely scenery around — the blue sky above — and the purity and clearness of the water, render the scene highly attractive, and fill the mind with wonder. Down below the river-craft move on the stream — far
above, the vineyards lie purpling in the sun, and around on all hands, are the tokens and associations of old-world life, in castles, fortresses, and ruined abbeys, while these again are fringed by the living pictures of to-day, the men and women and the harvests, and all the ties that link us to the present.
THE FALLS OF TERM,
Which occur in the river Velino, are, however, the finest' in Europe. Although massive and sublime, this "hell of waters," as Byron calls them, is of artificial construction. A channel was dug by the consul, Curins Dentatus, in the year 247, B.C., to convey the waters to the precipice; but having become filled by a deposition of calcareous matter, it was re-opened by Pope Paul IV., and at the same time many of its features of modern beauty were added. "I saw," says Byron, "the Caseata del Marmore of Terni, twice at different periods; one from the summit of the precipice, and again, from the valley below. The lower view is far to be preferred, if the traveller has time for one only: but in any point of view, either from above or below, it is worth all the cascades and torrents of Switzerland put together." Mr. lteade, in his poem of " Italy," gives a vivid picture of these falls.
"A gorge cleft through the mighty mountain's heart,
Volcanic throes within her do we hear?
Or pent-up winds, or earth's spasmodic start?
No—'tis the rushing Term's wild career!
Or, where yon clouds, like shrouded giants, rear
Their shapes in azure distance, while the swell
Of the strife, gathering on the startled ear,
The sounds of their eternal conflict tell: Loud as o'er distant storms the thunder's sink in knell
Lo! hurrying onwards, wreathed in mist and foam,
His robes caught upward in delirious flight,
Velino rushes from his mountain home,
All beautiful, but terrible in might;
One desperate bound from yonder cloud-capped height,
Flushingly hurls him from his unseen throne,
Shot like a flying minister of light;
Hovering above him in his ruin there,
THE FALLS OF TROLHETTA,
In Sweden, are perhaps the next in point of grandeur to those of the Rhine. The entire fall is indeed the greatest in Europe, considering the mass of water precipitated; and the height is 130 feet, which is sufficient to give it the necessary traits of sublimity. The falls occur on the river Gotha, which is the only dutlet of a large lake of one hundred miles in length, and fifty in breadth, and which receives no less than twenty-four separate streams, all of them the drainage of the snow-clad mountains. Towards the fulls, the river glides along with great rapidity, and as smoothly as glass; till as it approaches the verge of the precipice, it bends slightly into a convex surface, and then darts over the edge in one broad sheet, which is broken by some jutting rocks, after a descent of forty feet. At this point, the spectacle assumes its grandest form; the waters leap from rock to rock, like huge gambolling creatures endowed with life and hilarity: now they heave up like monstrous yellow snakes, all writhing together in painful contortions, and spitting from a thousand jaws great sheets of roaring foam; now they boil and eddy I round like water-sprites all mad with pport, until, as the flood boils on, the whole mingle together, and become whiter and whiter, till all is fretted into a sea of snowy froth ; and a light spray, variegated with all the colours of the rainbow, rises up to the clouds, and hides the abyss