"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, 1 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 d the scenery of continental rivers, but this
part of the Meuse appeared to me infinitely
preferable (not in point of sublimity or
beauty, f 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. j 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, 2 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, q
and the round, dumpy, shapeless hills of Spa. 3