"The Meuse" [section title]
"The Meuse" [poem]
The sky was clear, the morn was gay
In promise of a cloudless day
Fresh flew the breeze, with whose light wing
Aspen and oak were quivering
From flowʼret dank it dashed the dew
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The harebell bent its blossom blue,
And from the Meuse the mistwreaths 2 grey
That morning breeze had swept away
Showing such scenes as well might seem
The fairy vision of a dream 3
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For changing still, and still as fair
Rock, wave, and wood were mingled there
Peak over peak, fantastic ever
The lofty crags deep chasms sever.
And grey and gaunt their lichened head
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Rose sheerly from the rivers bed 4
Whose mantling wave in foamy sheet
Their stern projecting bases beat,
And lashed to fury in his pride
In circling whirlpools swept the tide
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As threatening, on some future day
Those mighty rock a to tear away
What though their front should seem to be
A barrier, to eternity 5
And on its side the cliffs between
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Were mazy forests ever seen
That the tall cliffs steep flanks so grey
Were clothed in mantle green and gay
Long time along that dell so deep
Beside the rivers bed we sweep
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So steep the mighty crests inclined
None other pathway you might find
Till the tall cliffs gigantic grace
To undulating hills gave place
And vineyards clothe the bending brow
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ʼStead of the clinging copsewood now
The Meuse River and Cliffs [drawing]
The Meuse River and Cliffs
Pen and ink, approx. ? × ? cm (image only). The editors of the Library Edition describe the image as a “a sketch of a calm, broad river: on one side, a rocky road; on the other, crags.” (Ruskin, Works, 2:349 n. 1). A solitary rider on horseback follows the road, moving away from the viewer.
"The Meuse" [essay]
How lightly the waves of the broad Meuse
crisped with the first breath of the mor‐
ning as we swept over the long bridge
that crosses the river from Namur, and
looked back on the rich dome of its small
but beautiful cathedral, 6 as it began to
smile to the first glance of the joyous
sun that was drinking up the delicate

mists which clung to the hills, and rested on
the valley, in which the fair city reposed
so peacefully — and then we dashed along
the valley of the Meuse. I know not, if it
was because this was our first initiation in
to e the scenery of continental rivers, but this
part of the Meuse appeared to me infinitely
preferable (not in point of sublimity or
beauty, g but in that romantic and pi
cturesque fairy beauty which is, in many
cases, superior to either), to any thing which
I ever afterwards saw on the shores of the
far famed Rhine. There was, to me, a
great sameness throughout the whole of
the course of the latter river, and, for its
fortresses, it is positively too much of a good
thing, a tiresome repetition of ruins, and
ruins too, which do not altogether agree
with my idea of what ruins ought to be.
But for the Meuse, the infinite variety of scene–
ry. k the impossibility of seeing every successive

change as you feel that it ought to be seen —, and,
finally, the tantalizing rate at which you dash
away from that which you could feast upon, and
look upon, and dwell upon, for — ages I was going
to say, months, I will say, are enough to enchant
you with anything. If you wish to see rock scen‐
ery in perfection, go to the Meuse, 7 for never were
rocks more beautifully disposed, more richly and
delicately wooded, or more finely contrasted with
the amazing richness of the surrounding scenery.
But alas, it was but a forenoon ride, and the eve
saw us quit the magnificent Meuse with sorrow
for the smoky streets and coal wharfs of Liege, r
and the round, dumpy, shapeless hills of Spa. 8
Liège [drawing]
Pen and ink, approx. ? × ? cm (image only). The editors of the Library Edition describe the image as a “a full‐page illustration of a courtyard, with a pillared corridor, steps etc.” (Ruskin, Works, 2:350 n. 2). The drawing is a copy of Palais du Prince, Liège, by Samuel Prout (1783–1852), in Facsimiles of Sketches Made in Flanders and Germany (1833). The scene is set inside the Renaissance arcade (the “Court of Honor”) of the Palais des Princes‐Évêques in Liège, constructed under the patronage of the prince‐bishop, Érard de la Marck (1472–1538, ruled 1506–38). In an 1828 tour account by John Barrow (1764–1848), a description of the palace suggests the picturesque scene inside the arcade that captured Samuel Proutʼs imagination: “an imposing old edifice, though somewhat heavy, with an interior quadrangle containing the public offices and records, and several courts for civil and provincial affairs” (the prince‐bishopric having succumbed to the French Republic even before the Belgian Revolution of 1830). “The columns supporting the arcade are short and thick, having very much of the Moorish character. Under the arcade are little cells or shops, in which small articles of daily use of every description are exposed for sale” (Family Tour through South Holland, 239). Ruskinʼs cousin, Mary Richardson, mentions the family visiting the palace on 23 May 1833 (Diary of Mary Richardson, 1833, p. 11).