Emerson says: “Whilst common sense looks at things or visible nature as real and final facts, poetry, or the imagination which dictates it, is a second sight, looking through these, and using them as types or words for thoughts which they signify.” Using these faculties and not mere eyesight, one must surely say: “Since this world, in power, fineness, finish, beauty, and adaptations not only surpasses our accomplishment, but also is past our finding out to its perfection, it must have been made by One stronger, finer, and wiser than we are.”
Reprinted from _The Chautauquan_.
When the Russians charged on the Grivitza redoubt at Plevna they first launched one column of men that they knew would be all shot down long before they could reach it. But they made a cloud of smoke under the cover of which a second column was launched. They would all be shot down. But they carried the covering cloud so far that a third column broke out of it and successfully carried the redoubt. They carried it, but ten thousand men lay on the death-smitten slope.
So the great ocean sends eight or ten thousand columns a day to charge with flying banners of spray on the rocky ramparts of the shore at Santa Cruz, California.
There are not many things in the material world more sublime than a thousand miles of crested waves rushing with terrible might against the rocky shore. While they are yet some distance from the land a small boat can ride their foaming billows, but as they approach the shallower places they seem to take on sudden rage and irresistible force. Those roaring waves rear up two or three times as high. They have great perpendicular fronts down which Niagaras are pouring. The spray flies from their tops like the mane of a thousand wild horses charging in the wind. No ship can hold anchor in the breakers. They may dare a thousand storms outside, but once let them fall into the clutch of this resistless power and they are doomed. The waves seem frantic with rage, resistless in force; they rush with fury, smite the cliffs with thunder, and are flung fifty feet into the air; with what effect on the rocks we will try to relate.
[Illustration: “The Breakers,” Santa Cruz, Cal.]
No. 1 of our illustrations shows “The Breakers,” a two-story house of that name where hospitality, grace, and beauty abide; where hundreds of roses bloom in a day, and where flowers, prodigal as creative processes, abound. The breakers from which the house is named are not seen in the picture. When the wind has been blowing hard, maybe one hundred miles out at sea, they come racing in from the point, feather-crested, a dozen at once, to show how rolls the far Wairoa at some other world’s end. All these pictures are taken in the calm weather, or there would be little seen besides the great leaps of spray, often fifty feet high. At the bottom of the cliff appear the nodules and bowlders that were too hard to be bitten into dust and have fallen out of the cliff, which is fifty feet high, as the sea eats it away. Some of these are sculptured into the likeness effaces and figures, solemn and grotesque. It is easy to find Pharaoh, Cleopatra, Tantalus, represented here.