On the Rhine, and Other Sketches of European Travel PDF ePub eBook

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On the Rhine, and Other Sketches of European Travel free pdf Excerpt from On the Rhine, and Other Sketches of European Travel Historical memories are not lacking either, even within fifty miles of its rise in the glaciers of the Alps, while its early beauty as a mountain-torrent, dashing over the rocks of the Via Mala, has for some a greater charm than even its broad lake-like waters fringed with cathedrals, abbeys, and stately guildhalls, or its windings among "castled crags." One branch of the river bursts from under a tumbled mass of ice and rock - one of those marvelous "seas" of ice which are the chief peculiarity of the Alps, and which sometimes, as in the case of the glacier of the Rheinwald, present among other features that of an immense frozen waterfall. Passing through the village of Hinterrhein, whose inhabitants are the descendants of a colony planted there by Barbarossa to guard the old military road over the Alps, and which boasts of a Roman temple and other less well-defined remains of human dwellings of the same period, the Rhine enters the grand gorge of the Via Mala, between Andeer and Rongella, on the road below the Splugen Pass and village. Every such pass has its Devil's Bridge or its "Hell" or its " Bottomless Pit," and tradition tells of demons who pelted each other with the riven masses of rock, or giants who in malice split the rocks and dug the chasms across which men dared no longer pass. But it needs no such figures of speech to make a mountain-gorge one of the sublimest scenes in Nature, one which thrills the beholder with simple admiration and delight. The Via Mala is one of the most splendid of these scenes. A sheer descent of two thousand feet of rock, with clinging shrubs, and at the bottom the trunks of pines and firs that have lost their hold and grown into mossy columns stretched across the stream and often broken by its force- a winding, dizzy road leading over single-arched bridges and half viaducts built into the black rock- a foam-white stream below- a succession of miniature waterfalls, rapids and whirlpools- spray and rainbow poised over the stream at intervals, and here and there the narrowing rocks bending their ledges together and wellnigh shutting out the sun- the "Lost Hole," where tall firs, with their roots seemingly in space, stand up like a forest of lances, and the very formation of the rocks reminds one of gigantic needles closely-wedged together, - such are the features of the gorge through which the Rhine here forces its way. Then comes Zillis, a regular Swiss village, at the entrance of the valley of Thusis, which is a broad green meadow dotted with chalets, a picturesque, domestic, rural landscape, a bit of time set in the frame of eternity, and holding in its village chronicles memories to which distance lends enchantment, but which, in view of the scenes we have just described, seem wonderfully bare of dignity. Here is the castle of Ortenstein, the warrior-abbey of Katsis, the Roman Realta, the castle of Rhazunz, the bridge of Juvalta, and many castles on the heights overlooking the valley, which at the time of the "Black League" of the nobles against the "Gray Confederation" of the citizens (which gave its name to this canton, the Grisons) were so many rallying-points and dens of murder. There is romance in the legends of these castles, but one seldom stops to think of the robbery and lawlessness hidden by this romance. For these knights of the strong hand were no "Arthur's knights," defenders of the weak, champions of the widow and the orphan, gentle, brave and generous, but mostly oppressors, Bedouins of the Middle Ages, ready to pounce on the merchandise of traveling and unarmed burghers and defy the weak laws of an empire which could not afford to do without their support, and consequently winked at their offences. A legend of this part of the Rhine, less well known than those of the Loreley, Drachenfels or Bishop Hatto's Tower, belongs to Rhazunz."

About Lady Blanche Murphy

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Details Book

Author : Lady Blanche Murphy
Publisher : Forgotten Books
Data Published : 27 September 2015
ISBN : 1330329465
EAN : 9781330329467
Format Book : PDF, Epub, DOCx, TXT
Number of Pages : 332 pages
Age + : 15 years
Language : English
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    . Excerpt from On the Rhine, and Other Sketches of European Travel Historical memories are not lacking either, even within fifty miles of its rise in the glaciers of the Alps, while its early beauty a