Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

Professor Forbes and Mr. Lloyd in Scandinavia.

201

ART. VII.--1. Norway and its Glaciers visited in 1851; fol

lowed by Journals of Excursions in the High Alps of Dauphiné, Berne, and Savoy. By James D. FORBES, D.C.L., F.R.S., Sec. R.S., Edin., corresponding Member of the Institute of France, and of other Academies; and Professor of Natural Philosophy in the University of Edinburgh. 1 vol.

Royal 8vo. Edinburgh, 1853. 2. Scandinavian Adventures, during a Residence of upwards of

twenty years, representing Sporting Incidents, and Subjects of Natural History, and Devices for Entrapping Wild Animals, with some Account of the Northern Fauna. By L. LLOYD, author of " Field Sports of the North.” 2 vols. Royal 8vo. London, 1854.

A WORK on “Norway and its Glaciers” by the most original and successful expositor of the ice-world of the central mountains of Europe, cannot be otherwise regarded than with lively interest. The volume now before us is a worthy successor of those remarkable " Travels in the Alps of Savoy," in which we have the true theory of glacier motion discussed and determined, and a great mass of valuable information presented to us regarding the natural attributes of that magnificent mountain chain. Although much has been done by several native observers, the physical geography of Norway is by no means so fully known, and we doubt not that the Scandinavians themselves will heartily welcome this great addition to their stores by our adventurous countryman, Professor Forbes. We have perhaps been heretofore rather too much in the yacht-sailing and salmon-fishing line to draw the attention, or deserve the gratitude, of the higher and more accomplished classes of that kingdom, who derive no pecuniary benefit from the liberality of John Bull

, with the exception of such as may now enjoy an increase of rent for the sporting uses of their rivers. But, on the whole, we fear, that notwithstanding an occasional Forester, or other pleasant and instructive writer, the majority of our tourists were not of a class greatly to raise us in the intellectual estimation of “Gamle Norge." We may now, however, regard with both pride and pleasure this latest addition to our knowledge of a country so deeply interesting, and in many ways so little known.

Professor Forbes's excellent powers of observation, and acquired experience as an Alpine traveller, enable him to judge accurately of what he sees, and he describes natural objects as they exist upon the earth, and meet the eye of a rational and reflecting being, who deeply feels their serene and simple majesty, and so does not require to affect a wild frenzy, more becoming a fool than a philosopher. It is this truthfulness even in those descriptive portions of the work, where mental impressions rather than physical facts are the objects of record, that constitutes their value, and distinguishes them from the great mass of modern inflations. They may be relied upon, simply because the author is a person not merely of philosophical observation, but of sound sense and sagacity, who knows not alone how delicate and transient is the “belle couleur de rose" upon the snowy summits of the resplendent Alps, but also feels how nature even in her lowliest forms is too delightful to stand in need of those ornamental exaggerations which a multitude of readers regard as proof of “fine imagination.” We believe it to be a fact, that those who are unfortunately gifted with this so-called fine imagination, seldom or never see the simple truth, and so cannot be expected to communicate it to their friends and fellow-creatures. But of the making of books there is no end.

Our author sighted the coast of Norway on the 24th of June 1851, and his first impression was rather one of disappointment while nearing the headland of Lindesnaes--the hills being low and devoid of boldness, and the general character of the scenery monotonous. Our own western islands of Tyree and Coll, both equally belonging to the gneiss formation, were recalled to mind, although the abundance of pine-wood, descending almost to the shore, distinguishes the northern land. The same well-wooded undulations prevail all the way to Christiania, whose famous fiord he thinks is overrated.

“ The monotony of the forms, the continuity of the woods, the absence of almost the sinallest sea-cliff or sandy bay, weary the eye even though the scene is continually changing, and the shores ever verdant. An exception must be made, however, in favour of the immediate environs of Christiania, where the fiord expands into an exceedingly irregular basin, the coasts are steeper, and, at the same time, varied by the aspect of cultivation and of deciduous trees, where numerous detached houses enliven the low grounds, and the more distant hills have a bolder character.

“ Christiania itself is seen to advantage from the fiord, as well as from many places in its environs. It is built on an agreeable slope, facing the south. Its suburbs are intermingled with wood. The old castle of Aggershuus, picturesque in form, adorned with fine trees, and standing on a bold promontory, commanding at once the fiord, and the greater part of the town, has a striking effect. The city graduates into the country by means of innumerable villas, built usually in commanding situations, which remind one of the environs of Geneva. Indeed, there is something in the entire aspect of the town and surrounding scenery, which is exceedingly pleasing and peculiar. The traveller who is acquainted with the aspects of middle Kirkwall and Christiania.

203

and southern Europe finds himself at a loss to draw a comparison. The clearness of the air, the warmth of the sun, and a certain intensity of colour which clothes the landscape, involuntarily recall southern latitudes, and even the shores of the Mediterranean. But the impression is counteracted by the background of pine forest, which reminds him of some of the higher and well-wooded cantons of Switzerland, to wbich the varied outline of the fiord--which may compare in irregularity with the lake of the Four Cantons—lends an additional resemblance; yet again we miss the background of Alpine peaks and perpetual snows.”—P. 3.

We have pleasure in finding our attention frequently directed to the fact, that a great resemblance exists between many of the coast features of Norway, and those of the west and north of Scotland, and its isles, but we cannot quite coincide in the conclusion come to by a splenetic tourist, who, after comparing Kirkwall and Christiania, assigns the palm of beauty to the Orcadian capital. The noble cathedral of the latter constitutes its only point of superiority, but alas ! for its lowly heights, its woodless fields, and the restricted glories of the Peerie sea! Many of the natural characters of southern Norway certainly recall to mind those of the northern parts of Britain, but the climate of that portion of Scandinavia is so vastly superior, and correspondingly productive, that our bare and barren isles, with their treeless cliffs, and dark morasses, present also very different features from those of the environs of Christiania, verdant not only with superabundant forests of unvaried spruce and pine, but rejoicing in the oak, ash, and elm, in planes, sycamores, and beeches, all of lofty stature and luxuriant growth—to say nothing of those fruit trees, shrubs, and “ bright consummate flowers, whose golden lustre makes this earth a paradise. But in our 11orthern isles the things by courtesy called trees, have a bad habit of resembling large shaving brushes, very inuch the worse of wear on one side.

The social and civil state, and advanced condition of science and learning, in such far northern cities as Christiania, Bergen, and Trondhiem, (the last named being nearly under the 64th degree,) indicate, according to Professor Forbes, a concurrence of circumstances favourable to civilisation, such as are not to be found at the same distance from the equator in any other portion of the globe, and are striking consequences of those laws of physical geography which produce many of the phenomena purely natural, and which it is one of the objects of our author to illustrate and explain.

Our traveller journeyed by carriole across the country to Trondhiem, taking eight days, two of which were partially devoted to repose, and another to an exploration of the Dovre-field. does not require to affect a wild frenzy, more becoming a fool than a philosopher. It is this truthfulness even in those descriptive portions of the work, where mental impressions rather than physical facts are the objects of record, that constitutes their value, and distinguishes them from the great mass of modern inflations. They may be relied upon, simply because the author is a person not merely of philosophical observation, but of sound sense and sagacity, who knows not alone how delicate and transient is the belle couleur de rose" upon the snowy summits of the resplendent Alps, but also feels how nature even in her lowliest forms is too delightful to stand in need of those ornamental exaggerations which a multitude of readers regard as proof of “fine imagination." We believe it to be a fact, that those who are unfortunately gifted with this so-called fine imagination, seldom or never see the simple truth, and so cannot be expected to communicate it to their friends and fellow.creatures. But of the making of books there is no end.

Our author sighted the coast of Norway on the 24th of June 1851, and his first impression was rather one of disappointment while nearing the headland of Lindesnaes,—the hills being low and devoid of boldness, and the general character of the scenery monotonous. Our own western islands of Tyree and Coll, both equally belonging to the gneiss formation, were recalled to mind, although the abundance of pine-wood, descending almost to the shore, distinguishes the northern land. The same well-wooded undulations prevail all the way to Christiania, whose famous fiord he thinks is overrated.

“ The monotony of the forms, the continuity of the woods, the absence of almost the sinallest sea-cliff or sandy bay, weary the eye even though the scene is continually changing, and the shores ever verdant. An exception must be made, however, in favour of the immediate environs of Christiania, where the fiord expands into ar exceedingly irregular basin, the coasts are steeper, and, at the same time, varied by the aspect of cultivation and of deciduous trees where numerous detached houses enliven the low grounds, and th more distant hills have a bolder character, Bonbon

“ Christiania itself is seen to advantage from the fiord, as well as from many places in its environs. It is built on an agreeable slope, facing the south. Its suburbs are intermingled with wood. The oli castle of Aggershuus, picturesque in form, adorned with fine trees and standing on a bold promontory, commanding at once the fiord, and the greater part of the town, has a striking effect. The ci graduates into the country by means of innumerable villas, buil usually in commanding situations, which remind one of the environ of Geneva. Indeed, there is something in the entire aspect of . town and surrounding scenery, which is exceedingly pleasing peculiar. The traveller who is acquainted with the aspects of

[graphic]
[graphic]
[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

· resent some

the finest 1 is soon after to Drivstuen,

g productive us mountains,

valley of the ods, гу

« PredošláPokračovať »