28th September 1836

Azores to Falmouth
Let us now look at the brighter side of the past time. The pleasure derived from beholding the scenery and general aspect of the various countries we have visited, has decidedly been the most constant and highest source of enjoyment. It is probable that the picturesque beauty of many parts of Europe far exceeds anything we have beheld. But there is a growing pleasure in comparing the character of scenery in different countries, which to a certain degree is distinct from merely admiring their beauty. It more depends on an acquaintance with the individual parts of each view: I am strongly induced to believe that as in Music, the person who understands every note will, if he also has true taste, more thoroughily enjoy the whole; so he who examines each part of [a] fine view may also thoroughily comprehend the full and combined effect. Hence a traveller should be a botanist, for in all views plants form the chief embellishment. Group masses of naked rocks, even in the wildest forms; for a time they may afford a sublime spectacle, but they will soon grow monotomous; paint them with bright and varied colours, they will become fantastick; clothe them with vegetation, they must form, at least a decent, if not a most beautiful picture.

When I said that the scenery of Europe was probably superior to anything which we have beheld, I must except, as a class by itself, that of the intertropical regions. The two can not be compared together; but I have already too often enlarged on the grandeur of these latter climates. As the force of impression frequently depends on preconceived ideas, I may add that all mine were taken from the vivid descriptions in the Personal Narrative which far exceed in merit anything I have ever read on the subject. Yet with these high wrought ideas, my feelings were very remote from partaking of a tinge of disappointment on first landing on the coast of Brazil.

No comments: