16 December 2012

The Shenandoah Valley - A Sublime Temple Of Nature



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From The Knights of the Golden Horse-Shoe, an early historical romance authored by William Alexander Caruthers and first published in 1841:




What a panorama there burst upon the enraptured vision of the assembled young chivalry of Virginia! Never did the eye of mortal man rest upon a more magnificent scene! The vale beneath looked like a great sea of vegetation in the moon-light, rising and falling in undulating and picturesque lines, as far as the eye could reach towards the north-east and south-west; but their vision was interrupted on the opposite side by the Alleghanies. For hours the old veteran chief stood on the identical spot which he first occupied, drinking in rapture from the vision which he beheld. Few words were spoken by any one, after the first exclamations of surprise and enthusiasm were over. The scene was too overpowering - the grand solitudes, the sublime stillness, gave rise to profound emotions which found no utterance. Nearly everyone wandered off and seated himself upon some towering crag, and then held communion with the silent spirit of the place. There lay the valley of Virginia, that garden spot of the earth, in its first freshness and purity, as it came from the hands of its Maker. Not a white man had ever trod that virgin soil, from the beginning of the world. What a solemn and sublime temple of nature was there - and who could look upon it, as it spread far out to the east and west, until it was lost in the dim and hazy horizon, and not feel deeply impressed with the majesty of its Author.

2 comments:

Robert Moore said...

Richard,

Good quote that reflects back to the author quite well considering his romantic style and works on Virginia. Caruthers was an all around interesting fellow, though his life was relatively short (seemingly a trend among some early Southern writers and poets).

That said, I still find it incredibly odd, given that his works centered on Virginia and Virginians (and his influence on two other Virginia novelists, later), that he has an interpretive marker in Georgia, but not Virginia.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Thanks Robert.

"he has an interpretive marker in Georgia, but not Virginia."

Sounds like another project for you. ;o)