Page:Democracy in America (Reeve, v. 1).djvu/55

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.


plants, and resembling baskets of flowers floating on the tranquil surface of the ocean. Every object which met the sight, in this enchanting region, seemed prepared to satisfy the wants, or contribute to the pleasures of man. Almost all the trees were loaded with nourishing fruits, and those which were useless as food delighted the eye by the brilliancy and variety of their colours. In groves of fragrant lemon-trees, wild figs, flowering-myrtles, acacias, and oleanders, which were hung with festoons of various climbing-plants, covered with flowers, a multitude of birds unknown in Europe displayed their bright plumage, glittering with purple and azure, and mingled their warbling with the harmony of a world teeming with life and motion[1].

Underneath this brilliant exterior, death was concealed. The air of these climates had so enervating an influence, that man, completely absorbed by present enjoyment, was rendered regardless of the future.

North America appeared under a very different aspect: there, everything was grave, serious, and solemn; it seemed created to be the domain of intelligence, as the South was that of sensual delight. A turbulent and foggy ocean washed its shores. It was girded round by a belt of granitic rocks, or by wide plains of sand. The foliage of its woods was dark and gloomy; for they were composed of firs, larches, evergreen oaks, wild olive-trees, and laurels.

  1. See Appendix, B.