Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Mellichampe: A Legend of the Santee >> Chapter III: The Companions >> Page 30

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Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
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30 MELLICHAMPE.
dense and sheltered abodes, the meditative and melancholy
mind might fitly seek, and readily obtain, security from all
obtrusion of uncongenial objects. Even the subtile and op-
pressive beams of the August sun come as it were by stealth,
and tremblingly, into their solemn and sweet recesses. Their
tops, gently waving beneath the pressure of the slight breeze as
it hurries over them, yield a strain of murmuring song like the
faint notes of some spirit mourner, which accords harmoniously
with the sad influence of their dusky forms. The struggling and
stray glance of sunlight, gliding along their prostrated vistas,
rather contributes to increase than remove the sweet gloom
of these deep abodes. The dim ray, like an intrusive pres-
ence, flickering between their huge figures with every move-
ment of the declining sun, played, as it were, by stealth,
among the brown leaves and over the gray bosom of the earth
below. Far as the eye can extend, these vistas, so visited,
spread themselves away in fanciful sinuosities, until the mind
becomes unconsciously and immeasurably uplifted in the con-
templation of the scene, and we feel both humbled and eleva-
ted as we gaze upon the innumerable forms of majesty before
us, rising up, it would seem, without a purpose, from the bosom
of earth�living without notice and without employ un-
curbed in their growth untroubled in their abodes and
perishing away in season only to give place to succeeding myr-
iads having a like fortune.
On the other hand, as it were, to relieve the mind of the
spectator from the monotonous influence of such a survey, how
different is the woods�how various the other features of the
scene around us. Directly opposed to the pine-groves on the
one hand, we behold the wildest and most various growth of
the richest southern region rising up, spreading and swelling
around in the most tangled intricacy--in the most luxurious
strength. There the hickory and gum among the trees attest
the presence of a better soil for cultivation, and delight the
experienced eye of the planter. With these, clambering over
their branches, come the wild vines, with their thorny arms
and glowing vegetation. Shrubs gather in the common way ;
dwarf trees and plants, choked, and overcome, yet living still,