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CHAPTER VIII

THE BEAUTIES OF NATURE

“Speak to the earth and it shall teach thee.”

Јов. .

“ And this our life, exempt from public haunt,

Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, Sermons in stones, and good in everything."

SHAKESPEARE.

CHAPTER VIII

THE BEAUTIES OF NATURE

We are told in the first chapter of Genesis that at the close of the sixth day “God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.” Not merely good, but very good. Yet how few of us appreciate the beautiful world in which we live!

In preceding chapters I have incidentally, though only incidentally, referred to the Beauties of Nature; but any attempt, , however imperfect, to sketch the blessings of life must contain some special reference to this lovely world itself, which the Greeks happily called xóo uos-beauty.

L

Hamerton, in his charming work on Landscape, says, “There are, I believe, , four new experiences for which no description ever adequately prepares us, the first sight of the sea, the first journey in the desert, the sight of flowing molten lava, and a walk on a great glacier. We feel in each case that the strange thing is pure nature, as much nature as a familiar English moor, yet so extraordinary that we might be in another planet.” But it would, I think, be easier to enumerate the Wonders of Nature for which description can prepare us, than those which are beyond the power of language.

Many of us, however, walk through the world like ghosts, as if we were in it, but not of it. We have " eyes and see not, ears and hear not." We must look before we can expect to see. To look is indeed much less easy than to overlook, and to be able to see what we do see, is a great gift. Ruskin maintains that “The greatest thing a human soul ever does in this world is to see something, and tell what it saw in a plain way." I do not suppose that his eyes are better than ours, but how much more he sees with them! “To the attentive eye,” says

says Emerson, “ each moment of the year has its own beauty; and in the same field it beholds every hour a picture that was never seen before, and shall never be seen again. The heavens change every moment and reflect their glory or gloom on the plains beneath.”

The love of Nature is a great gift, and if it is frozen or crushed out, the character can hardly fail to suffer from the loss. I will not, indeed, say that a person who does not love Nature is necessarily bad; or that one who does, is necessarily good; but it is to most minds a great help. Many, as Miss Cobbe says, enter the Temple through the gate called Beautiful.

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