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Old 04-22-2005, 03:47 PM   #1
Rattlesnake Gal
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Smile The White HillsTheir Legends, Landscape and Poetry



By Thomas Starr King
Engraved by Andrew, From Drawings by Wheelock
Crosby and Nichols
1864

Lake Winnipiseogee
“In those happy spots of nature where land ana water, above and below, combine their charms, it is hard to tell whether the stony upland height, or the liquid deep beneath, most lures the sight. I believe it was Goethe who first said that lakes are the eyes of the landscape; ana if there be reason for such a figure, it is not strange such features in the countenance of the world should fix our regard. Certainly they add to that countenance the same sort of brightness and animation which the organs of vision give to the human face; and as our glance, verusing the living traits of a man, is never satisfied till it reaches his eye, so on the earth, we seek after water, and are not quite content till our attention, long vagrant, rests upon it.”

Last edited by Rattlesnake Gal; 04-22-2005 at 03:52 PM. Reason: Please note: This book is past any copyright.
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Old 04-22-2005, 03:50 PM   #2
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Default The White HillsTheir Legends, Landscape and Poetry by Thomas Starr King

SUMMER BY THE LAKE-SIDE
NOON

White clouds, whose shadows haunt the deep
Light mists, whose soft embraces keep
The sunshine on the hills asleep!

0, isles of calm!—0, dark, still wood!
And stiller skies that overbrood
Your rest with deeper quietude!

O, shapes and hues, dim beckoning, through
Yon mountain gaps, my longing view
Beyond the purple and the blue,

To stiller sea and greener land,
And softer lights and airs more bland,
And skies—the hollow of God's hand!

Transfused through you, 0 mountain friends:
With mine your solemn spirit blends,
And life no more hath separate ends.

I read each misty mountain sign,
I know the voice of wave and pine,
And I am yours, and ye are mine.

Life's burdens fall, its discords cease,
I lapse into the glad release
Of Nature's own exceeding peace.

0, welcome calm of heart and mind!
As falls yon fir-tree's loosened rind
To leave a tenderer growth behind,

So fall the weary years away;
A child again, my head I lay
Upon the lap of this sweet day.

This western wind hath
Lethean powers,
Yon noon-day cloud Nepenthe showers,
The lake is white with lotus-flowers!

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Old 05-02-2005, 12:08 PM   #3
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Default The White HillsTheir Legends, Landscape and Poetry by Thomas Starr King

LAKE WINNIPISEOGEE.

Does this word mean "The Smile of the Great Spirit," or "Pleasant Water in a High Place?" There has been a dispute, we believe, among the learned in Indian lore, as to the true rendering. Whatever the word means, the lake itself signifies both. Topographically, under the surveyor's eye and the mill-owners' estimates, it is pleasant water in a high place; about thirty miles long, and varying from one to seven miles in breadth; with railroad stations on its shores at Alton Bay and Weir's; and a little more than a hundred miles distant from Boston. To the poet whose exquisite verses we have chosen as a prelude to this chapter, and to all who have an eye anointed like his, it is the smile of the Great Spirit.
It is easy to give a general description of the character of the shores of Winnipiseogee, to count its islands, and to enumerate the mountain ranges and peaks, with their names and height, that surround it. But it is not so easy to convey any impression, by words, of the peculiar loveliness that invests it, and which lifts it above the rank of a prosaic reservoir in Belknap and Carrol counties in New Hampshire, about five hundred feet above the sea, into an expression of the Divine art renewed every summer by the Creator. There is very little cultivation around the borders of Winnipiseogee. The surroundings are scarcely less wild than they were, when, in 1652, Captains Edward Johnson and Simon Willard carved their initials, which are still visible, on the " Endicott Rock," near its outlet. The straggling parties of Indians who pass by it now, on their way to trade with the visitors at the Flume House in Franconia, see it but little more civilized in expression than their forefathers did, whose wigwams, before Massachusetts felt the white man's foot, spotted the meadows of the Merrimac below.
Where the old smoked in silence their pipes, and the young
To the pike and the white perch their baited lines flung;
Where the boy shaped his arrows, and where the shy maid
Wove her many-hued baskets and bright wampum braid.
And yet it is not a sense of seclusion amid the forests, of being shut in by untamed hills amid the heart of the wilderness, that Winnipiseogee inspires. Indeed, the lake is not shut in by any abrupt mountain walls. Its islands and shores fringe the water with winding lines and long, low, narrow capes of green. But the mountains retreat gradually back from them, with large spaces of cheerful light, or vistas of more gently sloping land, between. The whole impression is not of wild, but of cheerful and symmetrical beauty.
Artists generally, we believe, find better studies on Lake George. It may be that there is more of manageable picturesqueness in the combination of its coves and cliffs; but we think that, for larger proportioned landscape—to be enjoyed by the eye, if it cannot be easily handled by the pencil or brush—Winnipiseogee is immeasurably superior. We cannot imagine a person tiring, through a whole summer, of its artistic and infinite variety. While it could hardly be that the eye, in the daily and familiar acquaintance of a whole season with Lake George, would not feel the need of wider reaches in the mountain views, richer combinations of the forest wildness with retreating slopes and cones bathed in "the tenderest purple of distance," and with glimpses, now and then, such as the New Hampshire 1ake furnishes, of sovereign summits that heave upon the horizon their, vague, firm films.
Mr. Everett said, a few years since, in a speech, that Switzerland has no lovelier view for the tourist than the lake we are speaking of affords. And Rev. Mr. Bartol, of Boston, in his charming volume, " Pictures of Europe," tells us: " There may be lakes in Tyrol and Switzerland, which, in particular respects, exceed the charms of any in the Western world. But in that wedding of the land with the water, in which one is perpetually approaching and retreating from the other, and each transforms itself into a thousand figures for an endless dance of grace and beauty, till a countless multitude of shapes are arranged into perfect ease and freedom, of almost musical motion, nothing can be beheld to surpass, if to match, our Winnipiseogee." It is, of course, in moving over the lake, on a steamer or in a boat, that this "musical motion " of the shores is caught.
We will abide the judgment of any tourist as to the extravagance of this quotation, if he has an eye competent to look through the land to landscape, and becomes acquainted with the lake from the deck of a steamer, on an auspicious summer day. The sky is clear; there are just clouds enough to relieve the soft blue and fleck the sentinel hills with shadow; and over the wide panorama of distant mountains, a warm, dreamy haze settles, tinging them, as Emerson says the south wind, in May-days,
Tints the human countenance
With a color of romance.
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Old 05-05-2005, 04:25 PM   #4
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Arrow Thomas a Rev.?

Is Thomas Starr King, the Rev. Starr King of White Mountains lore?

I heard a lot of stories up North about him.
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Old 05-05-2005, 05:59 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BroadHopper
Is Thomas Starr King, the Rev. Starr King of White Mountains lore?
Yes, this is the Thomas Starr King you have heard about. Very impressive man.
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Old 05-06-2005, 08:09 AM   #6
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He has a mountain named after him.Mt Starr King in Jefferson. SS
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Old 05-06-2005, 09:49 AM   #7
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Default The White HillsTheir Legends, Landscape and Poetry by Thomas Starr King

Perhaps there is at first a faint breeze, just enough to fret the water, and roughen or mezzotint the reflections of the shores. But as we shoot out into the breadth of the lake, and take in the wide scene, there is no ripple on its bosom. The little islands float over liquid silver, and glide by each other silently, as in the movements of a dance, while our boat changes her heading. And all around, the mountains, swelling softly, or cutting the sky with jagged lines of steely blue, vie with the molten mirror at our feet for the privilege of holding the eye. The "sun-sparks " blaze thick as stars upon the glassy wrinkles of the water. Leaning over the side of the steamer, gazing at the exquisite curves of the water just outside the foamy splash of the wheels, watching the countless threads of silver that stream out from the shadow of the wheel-house, seeing the steady iris float with us to adorn our flying spray, and then looking up to the broken sides of the Ossipee mountains that are rooted in the lake, over which huge shadows loiter; or back to the twin Belknap hills, that appeal to softer sensibilities with their verdured symmetry ; or, further down, upon the charming succession of mounds that hem the shores near Wolfboro’ or northward, where distant Chocorua lifts his bleached head, so tenderly touched now with gray and gold, to defy the hottest sunlight, as he has defied for ages the lightning and storm ; - does it not seem as though the passage of the Psalms is fulfilled before our eyes,-“Out of the perfection of beauty God hath shined?”

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Old 05-17-2005, 05:22 PM   #8
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Default The White HillsTheir Legends, Landscape and Poetry by Thomas Starr King

The lines of the Sandwich Mountains, on the northwest, of which the lonely Chocorua, who seems to have pushed his fellows away from him, is the most northerly summit, are the most striking features of the borders of the lake. An American artist who had lived many years in Italy, on a recent visit to this country, went to Winnipiseogee with the writer of these pages. He was greatly impressed and charmed with the outlines of this range, which is seen at once from the boat as she leaves Weir's landing. He had not supposed that any water view in New England was bordered with such a mountain frame. And before the steamer had shot out from-the bay upon the bosom of the lake, he had transferred to his sketch-book its long combination of domes and heavy scrolls and solid walls, all leading to a pyramid that supports a peak desolate and sheer.
The most striking picture, perhaps, to be seen on the lake, is a view which is given of the Sandwich range in going from Weir's to Centre Harbor, as the steamer shoots across a little bay, after passing Bear Island, about four miles from the latter village. The whole chain is seen several miles away, as you look up the bay, between Red Hill on the left, and the Ossipee mountains on the right. If there is no wind, and if there are shadows enough from clouds to spot the range, the beauty will seem weird and unsubstantial,-as though it might fade away the next minute. The weight seems to be taken out of the mountains. We might almost say

They are but sailing foam-bells
Along Thought's causing stream,
And take their shape and sun-color
From him that sends the dream.

Only they do not sail, they repose. The quiet of the water and the sleep of the hills seem to have the quality of still ecstasy. It is only inland water that can suggest and inspire such rest. The sea itself, though it can be clear, is never calm, in the sense that a mountain lake can be calm. The sea seems only to pause; the mountain lake to sleep and to dream.
But there is one view which, though far less lovely, is more exciting to one who has been a frequent visitor of the mountains. It is where Mount Washington is visible from a portion of the steamer's track, for some fifteen or twenty minutes. Passing by the westerly declivity of the Ossipee ridge, looking across a low slope of the Sandwich range and far back of them, a dazzling white spot perhaps-if it is very early in the summer-gleams on the northern horizon. Gradually it mounts and mounts, and then runs down again as suddenly, making us wonder, possibly, what it can be. A minute or two more, and the unmistakable majesty of Washington is revealed. There he rises, forty miles away, towering from a plateau built for his throne, dim green in the distance, except the dome that is crowned with winter, and the strange figures that are scrawled around his waist in snow.
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