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money with liberality to beggars and chambermaids, alleging, that as he was about to be a soldier, he ought to live, when he became one, on a soldier's pay, and that to have more till he was promoted, would only make him uncomfortable; adding, that on his arrival at head quarters, he should order a noble dinner, and give his clothes to the waiters, and surrender himself up to the captain of his company. He neither blamed the cruelty of his father, the tyranny of the conscription, nor repined at his unlucky fate, but filling a bumper, exclaimed, "Tout ce qu'il me faut maintenant, c'est, de devenir bon soldat." "All that I have to do is to make myself a good soldier." I never saw a point more easily and comfortably settled in my life. Our young conscript had the best wishes of us all, for his happiness and speedy promotion. This elastic spirit of vivacity seems to be the common property of every Frenchman, and never did it appear more striking than in the following circumstance: upon an English surgeon some years since visiting a hospital at Paris, he saw in one of the wards three Frenchmen who had received some very severe contusions by the fall of a scaffold a few days before, lying in bed; upon approaching them he found one dead, another dying, and the one in the middle sitting upright in the bed, fiddling to several invalids, who were dancing at the foot of it as well as they were able.
After a refreshing sleep we were called, upon the first intimation of the day's approach, and early in the morning arrived at St. Goar, after passing by the ancient gothic tower of Welmich, the white and venerable palace of Thurnburg, crowning the mountain behind it, and through most delicious and romantic scenery, every where profusely embellished with the hoary remains of piety and war, under the various tints of progressive day. In a minute after the boat had stopped, all the passengers disappeared to attend matins, it being Sunday, and left me to gaze in amazement upon the stupendous rock of Rheinfels, or the rock of the Rhine, which rises most majestically behind the town, and supports the remains of a vast fortress which bears its name, and which the French demolished in the last war. This fortress was
next in strength to that of Ehrenbreitstein; it was in the year 1245 converted from a convent to a fortress, by Count Diether le Riche. In 1692 the Hessians, who were in possession of it, made a gallant defence, headed by Colonel Goerz, against the French, who were in superior force under the command of the celebrated Mareschal de Tallard, who was compelled to give up the siege. In the last war it experienced a different fate: the French troops took quiet possession of it, and though it ranked next to Ehrenbreitstein in strength and advantage, it partook not of the glory of a similar resistance. At the foot of this enormous rock is a large barrack lately built, but now deserted. There was also a flying bridge here, but it has been removed.
In a bay of the river a little before we approached Oberwesel, there is a vast rock, which the passengers on the river never fail to address, for the purpose of hearing their own voices very closely imitated by its echoes. Almost all the way from St. Goar to Oberwesel, we were environed by enormous dark rocks covered with shattered fragments, impending over and embrowning the face of the river with their awful shadows. The gloom of the scene was enlivened only by a few fishermen's huts here and there interspersed, protected from the intense heat of the sun retained by and reflected from the rocks rising above them, by the foliage of scanty groups of trees. This melancholy defile prepared us for Oberwesel, a venerable city, filled with the solemnity of ancient churches and deserted convents. In the time of the Emperor Henry the Seventh, this city was an imperial one; afterwards, and till the French seized it, it was in the possession of the Elector of Treves. The church of the Minorites had once a fine copy of Rubens' Descent from the Cross, by a disciple of his, which upon inquiry I found had been removed. Nothing can exceed the beauty of the situation of this town; the scenery to the south of it is luxuriant and romantic beyond imagination. Close to it, rising from an avenue of stately walnut-trees, is a prodigious rock, supporting the celebrated chateau de Schoenberg, which gave birth to the illustrious and ancient family of the name of Belmont, afterwards changed for the German name of Schoenberg or Beau
mont: this place and the neighbourhood abound with slate quarries. Immediately opposite, on the eastern bank, lofty mountains clothed with hanging vineyards, and attended by the usual association of mural ruins perched upon their pinnacles, and of monastic buildings projecting from their sides, or rising from their base, presented their majestic forms to the Rhine. From Oberwesel we crossed over to Kaub, a fortified town a little way further to the south. Previous to this we had kept, during the whole of the passage, on the left bank. In crossing the river we passed close to a large massy fortified tower, or fort, standing in the middle of the Rhine upon a rock, called the Pfalz or Palatinate. In distant times the Countesses of the Palatinate, when they were far advanced in that state which
"Ladies wish to be who love their lords,"
used to remove to this insulated spot of gloom for the purpose of lying-in; afterwards it was used as a state prison, and a place to watch the vessels ascending or descending the Rhine, to prevent their eluding the tolls; it is now disused, but not likely very soon to run to decay for want of inhabitants. Enthusiastically as I admire the scenery of this part of the Rhine, I think I never saw a place where man or woman would less prefer to be confined in, than the Pfalz.
At Kaub, a very ancient but neat town, which stands at the base of a lofty mountain, in a handsome inn close to the river, we tasted some delicious wine, the produce of the neighbouring vineyards, for which we paid about ten pence English the bottle: and we were regaled gratuitousty with some of the finest grapes, which a pretty girl produced as naturally as pipes and tobacco are introduced in similar places in Holland. The vineyards of Oberwesel, Kaub, and Bacharach, and the two hills of Vogtsberg and Kühlberg near the last city, which abound with blue slate, produce a vine remarkable for its odour and muscadelle flavour, and form one of the distinguished vine divisions of this enchanting region.
Upon leaving the Kaub we proceeded through a scene of tran scendent richness and beauty, where
Palmy hilloc, and the flow'ry lap
Of some irriguous valley spread her store,
Milton's Paradise Lost.
Our ears were delighted with the solemn choruses of the inhabitants of the villages returning in large crowded boats from their churches, and the bells of the convents, while the shores on either side were enlivened by the peasants in their sabbath dresses going to or returning from their respective places of worship. At length the hoary battlements of Bacharach opened upon us; part of this town slopes from the vine-clad mountain behind it, and the remainder is close to the water. This town is also very ancient, and as a proof of its antiquity, derives its name from Bacchus, to whom tradition relates an altar was raised upon a rock in the centre of the Rhine. Indeed we might have supposed that he had been worshipped here in all the marvellous pomp ascribed to his original adoration, and that his priestesses, by striking the earth with their thyrsi, had caused rivers of milk, and honey, and wine to flow
Et te, Bacche, vocant per carmina, læta, tibique
Hinc omnis largo pubescit vinea fætu.
Virgil, 4 Georg.
This insulated rock was admirably adapted for bearing upon one of its trees, if ever one grew upon it, those little wooden or - earthen images of Bacchus, which from the smallness of their mouths were called Oscilla, and were considered as so many watch towers, from which the god might look after the vines, to prevent their receiving injury. I know of no situation where he could have performed his tutelar duties better than in this very spot.
The vine here has been long celebrated for its excellence; the Emperor Venceslas preferred four fuder of this wine (a fuder is equal to three hundred and sixty gallons) to ten thousand florins offered to him by the inhabitants of Nuremberg, to redeem their sequestered privileges; and even Pope Pius the Second imported for his table a fuder of this wine annually. These are illustrious authorities in favour of the Bacharach wine, but the best is its flavour.
My laquais, a merry, good humoured fellow, and having no bad ear for music withal, announced our being opposite to Lorch, the first town where, in ascending the Rhine, the Rhingau commences, in which district the finest wines are produced, by singing a national song in honour of this vine-covered region, in which every person on board joined most cordially. It was a very long one, but the following stanzas will serve as a specimen of it.
Bekräntzt mit laub den liebe vollen becher,
Und trinkt ihn frölich leer;
In Ganz Europa ihr herren zecher,
Ist solch, ein wein micht mehr.
Ihn bringt das vaterland aus seiner fulle,
Wie wär er sonst so gut?
Wie wär er sonst so edel, stille,
Und doch voll kraft und muth?
Am Rhein, am Rhein, da wachsen unsre reben:
Gesegnet sey der Rhein!
Da wachsen sie am ufer hin, und geben
Uns diesen labe wein.
So trinkt ihn dann, und lasst uns alle wege
Uns freun, und frölich seyn;
Und wüsten wir, wo jemand traurig läge,
Wir gäben ihm den wein.
With vine-leaves crown the jovial cup,
For, search all Europe round,
You'll say, as pleas'd you drink it up,
Such wine was never found.
Such wine, &c.