January 11, 1825|
Chester County, Pennsylvania, United States
|Died||December 19, 1878
Berlin, German Empire
The view of the Rocky Mountains from the Divide near Kiowa Creek is considered one of the finest in Colorado.
I cannot assume emotions I do not feel, and must describe Jerusalem as I found it. Since being here, I have read the accounts of several travellers, and in many cases the devotional rhapsodies – the ecstacies of awe and reverence – in which they indulge, strike me as forced and affected.
Could one live on the sense of beauty alone, exempt from the necessity of 'creature comforts,' a sea-voyage would be delightful.
So far as regards their moral character, the Finns have as little cause for reproach as any other people.
London has the advantage of one of the most gloomy atmospheres in the world.
People can't see that if I had not been a poet, I could never have had such success as a traveler.
True, when you behold Damascus from the Salahiyeh, the last slope of the Anti-Lebanon, it is the realization of all that you have dreamed of Oriental splendor; the world has no picture more dazzling. It is Beauty carried to the Sublime, as I have felt when overlooking some boundless forest of palms within the tropics.
I know of nothing more moving, indeed semi-tragic, than the yearning helplessness in the face of a dog, who understands what is said to him, and can not answer!
The more I see of the Swedes, the more I am convinced that there is no kinder, simpler, and honester people in the world.
Above Coblentz almost every mountain has a ruin and a legend. One feels everywhere the spirit of the past, and its stirring recollections come back upon the mind with irresistible force.
Poetry had great powers over me from my childhood, and today the poems live in my memory which I read at the age of 7 or 8 years and which drove me to desperate attempts at imitation.
The Germans form one of the most important branches of the Indo-Germanic or Aryan race – a division of the human family which also includes the Hindoos, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Celts, and the Slavonic tribes.
I was pleasantly disappointed on entering Bohemia. Instead of a dull, uninteresting country, as I expected, it is a land full of the most lovely scenery. There is every thing which can gratify the eye – high blue mountains, valleys of the sweetest pastoral look and romantic old ruins.
The original home of the Aryan race appears to have been somewhere among the mountains and lofty table-lands of Central Asia. The word 'Arya,' meaning the high or the excellent, indicates their superiority over the neighboring races long before the beginning of history.
Walking at random through the streets, we came by chance upon the Cathedral of Notre Dame. I shall long remember my first impression of the scene within. The lofty gothic ceiling arched far above my head and through the stained windows the light came but dimly – it was all still, solemn and religious.
There is a degree of confidence exhibited towards strangers in Sweden, especially in hotels, at post-stations, and on board the inland steamers, which tells well for the general honesty of the people.
As I toiled up the Mount of Olives, in the very footsteps of Christ, panting with the heat and the difficult ascent, I found it utterly impossible to conceive that the Deity, in human form, had walked there before me.
The native Jewish families in Jerusalem, as well as those in other parts of Palestine, present a marked difference to the Jews of Europe and America. They possess the same physical characteristics – the dark, oblong eye, the prominent nose, the strongly-marked cheek and jaw – but in the latter, these traits have become harsh and coarse.
I could never see a book written in a foreign language without the most ardent desire to read it.
It is an agreeable and yet a painful sense of novelty to stand for the first time in the midst of a people whose language and manners are different from one's own.
I came to Berlin not to visit its museums and galleries, its operas, its theaters… but for the sake of seeing and speaking with the world's greatest living man – Alexander von Humboldt.
An enthusiastic desire of visiting the Old World haunted me from early childhood. I cherished a presentiment, amounting almost to belief, that I should one day behold the scenes, among which my fancy had so long wandered.
I envy those old Greek bathers, into whose hands were delivered Pericles, and Alcibiades, and the perfect models of Phidias. They had daily before their eyes the highest types of Beauty which the world has ever produced; for of all things that are beautiful, the human body is the crown.
Fame is what you have taken, character is what you give; when to this truth you waken then you begin to live.
Melrose is the finest remaining specimen of Gothic architecture in Scotland. Some of the sculptured flowers in the cloister arches are remarkably beautiful and delicate, and the two windows – the south and east oriels – are of a lightness and grace of execution really surprising.
So far as female beauty is concerned, the Circassian women have no superiors. They have preserved in their mountain home the purity of the Grecian models, and still display the perfect physical loveliness, whose type has descended to us in the Venus de Medici.
The history of Germany is not the history of a nation, but of a race. It has little unity, therefore; it is complicated, broken, and attached on all sides to the histories of other countries.
My duty is that of a chronicler; and if I perform that conscientiously, the lessons which my observations suggest will need no pointing out.
Oh! what waves of crime and bloodshed have swept like the waves of a deluge down the valley of the Rhine! War has laid his mailed hand on those desolate towers and ruthlessly torn down what time has spared, yet he could not mar the beauty of the shore, nor could Time himself hurl down the mountains that guard it.
The Swedish language combines the strong manhood of the German with the delicate beauty of the Italian.
A Pike, in the California dialect, is a native of Missouri, Arkansas, Northern Texas, or Southern Illinois. The first emigrants that came over the plains were from Pike County, Missouri; but as the phrase, 'a Pike County man,' was altogether too long for this short life of ours, it was soon abbreviated into 'a Pike.'
'Really,' thought I, 'we call Baltimore the 'Monumental City' for its two marble columns, and here is Edinburg with one at every street-corner!'
Although Damascus is considered the oldest city in the world, the date of its foundation going beyond tradition, there are very few relics of antiquity in or near it.
The nearest approach I have ever seen to the symmetry of ancient sculpture was among the Arab tribes of Ethiopia. Our Saxon race can supply the athlete, but not the Apollo.
In the glory which overhangs Palestine afar off, we imagine emotions which never come, when we tread the soil and walk over the hallowed sites.