Within a gun-shot of this remnant of Eden, are the remains of an ancient hermitage, called St. Pedro. While I was there, my hermit followed me; but I too coveted retirement. I had just bought a fine fowling-piece at Barcelona; and when he came, I was availing myself of the hallowed spot, to make my vow never to use it. In truth, dear Sir, there are some sorts of pleasures too powerful for the body to bear, as well as some sort of pain: and here I was wrecked upon the wheel of felicity; and could only say, like the poor criminal who suffered at Dijon,—O God! O God! at every coup.
I was sorry my host did not understand English, nor I Spanish enough, to give him the sense of the lines written in poor Shenstone’s alcove.
“O you that bathe in
“Or toyle in fortune’s giddy spheare;
“Do not too rashly deeme amisse
“Of him that hides contented here.
I forgot the other lines; but they conclude thus:
“For faults there beene in
From which these peaceful glennes are free.”
I know you will not like to leave St. Catherine’s harmonious cell so soon;—nor should I, but that I intend to visit it again. I will therefore conduct you to St. Juan, about four hundred paces distant from it, on the east side of which, you look down a most horrid and frightful precipice,—a precipice, so very tremendous, that I am persuaded there are many people whose imagination would be so intoxicated by looking at it, that they might be in danger of throwing themselves over: I do not know whether you will understand my meaning by saying so; but I have more than once been so bewildered with such alarming coup d’oeil on this mountain, that I began to doubt whether my own powers were sufficient to protect me:—Horses, from sudden fright, will often run into the fire; and man too, may be forced upon his own destruction, to avoid those sensations of danger he has not been accustomed to look upon. Perhaps I am talking non-sense; and you will attribute what I say to lowness of spirits; on the contrary, I had those feelings about me only during the time my eyes were employed upon such frightful objects; for my spirits were enlivened by pure air, exercise, and temperance:—nay, I remember to have been struck in the same manner, when the grand explosion of the fireworks was played off, many years ago, upon the conclusion of peace! The blast was so great, that it appeared as if it were designed to take with it all earthly things; and I felt almost forced by it, and summoned from my seat, and could hardly refrain from jumping over a parapet wall which stood before me. The building of this hermitage, however, is very secure; nothing can shake or remove it, but that which must shake or remove the whole mountain.