Thursday, September 22, 2011

Byron in Switzerland

‘ Left Thoun in a boat, which carried us the length of the lake in three hours. The lake small; but the banks fine. Rocks down to the water's edge. Landed at Newhause ; passed Interlachen ; entered upon a range of scenes beyond all description or previous conception. Passed a rock ; inscription — two brothers — one murdered the other; just the place for it. After a variety of windings came to an enormous rock. Arrived at the foot of the mountain (the Jungfrau, that is, the Maiden) ; glaciers ; torrents ; one of these torrents nine hundred feet in height of visible descent. Lodged at the curate's. Set out to see the valley; heard an avalanche fall, like thunder; glaciers enormous; storm came on, thunder, lightning, hail; all in perfection, and beautiful.  I was on horseback ; guide wanted to carry my cane ; I was going to give it him, when I recollected that it was a sword-stick, and I thought the lightning might be attracted towards him ; kept it myself; a good deal encumbered with it, as it was too heavy for a whip, and the horse was stupid, and stood with every other peal. Got in, not very wet, the cloak being stanch. Hobhouse wet through; Hobhouse took refuge in cottage; sent man, umbrella, and cloak (from the curate's when I arrived) after him…’

This reminder of late summer comes from Lord Byron’s Swiss Journal, which is published in “The Life, Letters, and Journals of Lord Byron”, by Thomas Moore, collected with notes by Sir Walter Scott, et alia.  The entry is dated September 22, 1816.  The very wet John Cam Hobhouse contributed notes to Byron’s “Childe Harold” during this year.

No comments:

Post a Comment