« ÎnapoiContinuă »
OUR COUNTRY!/'tis a glorious land!
With broad arms strech’d from shore to shore, The proud Pacific chafes her strand,
She hears the dark Atlantic roar; And, nurtur'd on her ample breast,
How many a goodly prospect lies In Nature's wildest granduer drest,
Enamel'd with her loveliest dyes.
Rich prairies, deck'd with flowers of gold,
Like sunlit oceans roll afar;
Reflecting clear each trembling star,
Go sweeping onward, dark and deep, Through forests where the bounding fawn
Beneath their sheltering branches leap.
And cradled mid her clustering hills,
Sweet vales in dreamlike beauty hide, Where love the air with music fills,
And calm, content and peace abide;
In rich profüsion o'er the land,
Great God! we thank thee for this home
This bounteous birth-land of the free;
And breathe the air of liberty!-
Her harvests wave, her cities rise;
Remain Earth's loveliest paradise!
MAMMOTH CAVE IN KENTUCKY.
Now, reader, if you will take my hand and use my eyes a little while, I will render you all the aid I can in seeing such wonders as would attract millions of beholders, if they were near the banks of the Hudson or the Thames, instead of the beautiful Kentucky“Green River.” Down the main branch we go, then, for two miles-stopping by the way at “ the Doctor's house,” to leave our hats, wearing handkerchiefs instead-till we reach the “steamboat,” an immense rock bearing that name.
Just behind this is an avenue, with a narrow mouth, which you descend, stooping for some rods, and pursue for two miles or more.
You pass, on your way, hy a narrow and slippery path, “ the bottomless pit,”—a frightful chasm one hundred and sixty feet in depth, down which we hurled rocks and stones, which were several seconds in reach
ing the bottom, with fainter and fainter reverberations from the rocky cliffs below. Near this is “the Dead Sea,” at the side of which you descend by a ladder several feet.
You leave this branch and ascend again till you enter the “winding way,” which is one hundred and five yards long, and one of the most crooked, zigzag paths that can be conceived. The roof is not more than four and a half feet high, and the path which at some day seeins to have been a water-channel, is about fifteen or twenty inches wide, the sides rising about two and a half feet perpendicularly, but hollowed out sufficiently above that to admit the free use of the arms. A. man of ordinary size can thread this labyrinth easily.
Hurrying past a clear, beautiful cascade, descending some thirty feet from the roof, we reach the river Styx, where a skiff is waiting. After crossing the first branch of the river, one hundred and fifty yards, you reach two little streams which are usually crossed by a skiff.
Crossing another branch of the river two hundred yards in length, we came to the river “ Jordan,” which is three-fourths of a mile long, about twenty-five feet broad, at least three hundred feet beneath the surface of the earth, and not far from five ipiles from the mouth of the cave. The river is of uniform width, and of considerable depth. The roof is of solid rock, forming a regular arch from the water; now rising to a height of twenty or thirty feet, and then falling so low that all must stoop or have broken heads.
It is in this river that the eyeless fish are found, one of which I saw. They are about six inches long, of the form of the cat-fish, or 6 bull head,” of New Eng
land, but nearly white and translucent. They are without eyes, or even sockets for them.
Safely across the “ Jordan," let us hasten on to the points of exciting interest beyond. Passing through “Silliman's Avenue," you enter and climb up the rugged sides of "the Vineyard," by a ladder. Here you are surrounded by “surges of rocks," as some one called them, mostly of a spherical form, and completely encrusted with a formation resembling clusters of grapes of a purple color.
For a hundred feet or more around, the walls are covered in this way.
A few steps to the right of the vineyard, is the Holy Sepulchre.” You climb up the almost perpen
" dicular side of the cave, at considerable risk, to a beautiful gateway of stalactites,* just large enough to admit the person; and one of the most unique and enchanting sights greets you that eyes ever beheld. It is a room about thirty-five feet long and fifteen wide, with a low arched roof, which at the end you enter is hung with the most beautiful, coral-like stalactites. In the centre of the room is a cavity, perfectly regular, about fifteen feet long by five wide and six deep ; having every appearance of a newly formed grave, and all of solid rock. It is a perfect gem among all the curiosities of this most curious cave. It is suited to awaken associations of solemn interest to the stricken heart. You feel amply repaid for the difficult scramble up, and the more difficult task of getting down.
The most imaginative poets never conceived or painted a place of such exquisite beauty and loveliness as “Cleveland's Cabinet," into which you now pass. Were the wealth of princes bestowed on the most skillful lapidaries, with the view of rivaling the splendors of this single chamber, the attempt would be vain. How, then, can I hope to give you a conception of it? You must see it; and you will then feel that all attempt at description is futile. It is a perfect arch, of about fifty feet span, of an average height of about ten feet in the centre—just high enough to be viewed with ease in all its parts. It is encrusted from end to end with the most beautiful formations, in every variety of form. The base of the whole is carbonate of lime, in part of dazzling whiteness, and perfectly smooth, and in other places crystalized so as to glitter like diamonds in the light.
Growing from this, in endlessly diversified forms, is a substance resembling selenite,t translucent, and imperfectly laminated. Some of the crystals bear a striking resemblance to branches of celery, and are of about the same length ; while others, a foot or more in length, have the appearance and color of vanilla cream candy; others are set in the carbonate of lime in the form of a rose; and others still roll out from the base in forms resembling the ornamants on the capital of a Corinthian column. Some of the incrustations are massive and splendid; others are as delicate as the lily, or as fancy work of shell or wax.
Think of. traversing an arched way like this for a mile and a half, and all the wonders of the tales of youth —“ Arabian Nights” and all seem tame, compared with the living, growing reality. Yes, growing reality; for the process is going on before your eyes. Successive coats of these incrustations have been perfected and crowded off by others : so that hundreds