The ascent is precipitous, but the path is cut into continual
and short windings, which enable you to surmount the
perpendicularity of the mountain. It is a scene terrifically
desolate. In a thousand spots the traces of the winter avalanche
may be perceived, where trees lie broken and strewed on the
ground; some entirely destroyed, others bent, leaning upon the
jutting rocks of the mountain, or transversely upon other trees.
The path, as you ascend higher, is intersected by ravines of
snow, down which stones continually roll from above; one of them
is particularly dangerous, as the slightest sound, such as even
speaking in a loud voice, produces a concussion of air
sufficient to draw destruction upon the head of the speaker. The
pines are not tall or luxuriant, but they are sombre, and add an
air of severity to the scene. I looked on the valley beneath;
vast mists were rising from the rivers which ran through it, and
curling in thick wreaths around the opposite mountains, whose
summits were hid in the uniform clouds, while rain poured from
the dark sky, and added to the melancholy impression I received
from the objects around me. Alas! why does man boast of
sensibilities superior to those apparent in the brute; it only
renders them more necessary beings. If our impulses were
confined to hunger, thirst, and desire, we might be nearly free;
but now we are moved by every wind that blows, and a chance word
or scene that that word may convey to us.
We rest; a dream has power to poison sleep.
We rise; one wand'ring thought pollutes the day.
We feel, conceive, or reason; laugh or weep,
Embrace fond woe, or cast our cares away;
It is the same: for, be it joy or sorrow,
The path of its departure still is free.
Man's yesterday may ne'er be like his morrow;
Nought may endure but mutability!