William Beckford: FRAGMENTS OF AN ENGLISH TOUR (1779)

William Beckford's first narrative of travel, the Fragments of an English Tour, was written in 1779. It is a short, diary-based manuscript based loosely on Beckford's experiences during a short tour of England late in the summer of the same year.

The extant manuscript notes on the tour (Bodleian shelfmark MS Beckford d.3) comprises some four thousand words in all. This short manuscript is divided into two main parts: first, a fair copy in the hand of an amanuensis (and with alterations by Beckford) of some sixteen pages of notes, dated between August 24 and September 29, 1779. Whilst making up the bulk of the manuscript, this first part only covers events on four different days, in Plymouth and in York (the version chosen for publication here is fols. 10-18; the fragments are fols. 1-9). The second part is a small collection of fragments in Beckford’s own hand – rough sketches outlining moods, events and ideas. There are eight fragments catalogued by the Bodleian as belonging to this collection, but there may well have been others. They are probably the earliest extant drafts of the English Tour. Though none of them was expanded for use in the sixteen page fair copy, they outline events taking place in between the visits to Plymouth and York, during a tour of the Lake District.

While The Beckford Journal contains an edition complete with lengthy footnotes and an introduction, this present edition for Beckfordiana is simply an edition of the manuscript itself.

This edition is published with the kind permission of the Bodleian Library. The transcription is (c) Dick Claésson.


[1] Plymouth August 24th 1779

If you had been with me to night we should have walked together on the Cliffs and mutually delighted in the Moon which illuminated them. The Sky was serene and I lay peaceably beneath its expanse on a smooth Down sloping towards the Sea.
There were but few Ships in the Port, a circumstance which to say truth I rejoiced in. Except a small fishing Boat that danced on the Waves immediately below me, no vessel interrupted the solitude of the Ocean. I was all attention to the murmur of the Tide flowing over the base of the Precipices and listened to the hum of distant Voices.
At intervals a strange melancholy Tune which came from the Boat passed with the Winds by my Ear.
The Turf was so full of Herbs and Fragrance that I could willingly have reposed the whole Night upon its Bosom and should have seen wondrous things “Dreaming by Night under the open Sky”; but so many recollections of Achs and Rheumatisms poured in upon me that I arose not without reluctance and wished myself in some Country remote from Europe with the Worshippers of the Moon – How I lamented – how often I lamented that you or some such Lunatic was not leaning on a Rock by my side, enjoying the Moonshine that rested on the Hills, on the Woods of Mount Edgecumbe on the Waters beneath.
Never can I behold a lovelier Scene – It reminds me of former Moonlights. Just such a sky and such a Moon hung over the Groves of Evian where my Hours glided so smoothly along. It was on an Evening like this that I crossed the Lake from Vevay and coasted the Shores of Savoy filled with a succession of ever [2] new and ever Youthful Ideas. Can I forget the sensations I experienced when the Sun sinking behind the Jura tinged the Rock of Meillerie and all the Labyrinth of Woods and hanging Meadows above with his softest and most affecting Rays? – now the ensueing Twilight during which the sad Scenes of the Heloise glowing with Rousseau’s impassioned eloquence passed in succession before me? Shall I live and not remember that moment when the Thickets above the Castle of Blonay began to glimmer and the Moon rising cast her serene light on the most interesting of countenances – absorbed in the contemplation of that blest vision, twas then I tasted happiness & gave myself freely up to the enjoyment of the Scene expressing every Idea, however wild and singular, which it suggested with an unbounded Confidence. My supreme pleasure is now to recollect those departed hours, & to dwell on the minutest circumstance connected with them – My Imagination delights in haunting the woody hills and Vallies which lie concealed and sheltered at the feet of the Alps. – There every Night do I seem to wander the instant my eyes are closed and fancy I hear the same Springs which were used to lull me and think myself listening to that voice, whose thrilling accents sunk with such pleasing pain – such melancholy tenderness into the inmost recesses of my existence. –
And even when light begins to dawn I seem listening to former Songs and past conversations are repeated, nay even the Forms of those I so tenderly loved appear faintly around me and stretching out my hands towards them I often awake in Tears. What would I not give to transport them hither or rather to transport myself to them; for at this Period or indeed at any period England is not the Island they would admire. Few that I have met with in this phlegmatic [3] Region comprehend the wild & strange delight arising from new and singular Situations. To strike boldly into any untrodden path is in this Country, a mighty Trespass and every thing like Originality either in Taste or Conversation is always thrown, by the English World into the Tub of Whimsies a most contemptible Situation in their Eyes, of course an eligible one in mine. Probably we have been both sent there before now, and it is best to be reconciled to ones Fate.
To morrow I expect Mount Edgecumbe and the Ocean to appear in great Splendor; for the Sunset was cloudless and the brightness of the Moon promises a delightful Day. –
I am quite impatient to walk on the Promontories and cast an eager Look over the Plains of Sea. But it grows late my Eyes are overpowered with Sleep and I am sinking apace into the Bosom of Delusions. –

…… des Nuits la noire Deité
Du haut d’un Char d’Ebene marqueté
Repand sur nous les Pavots et les Songes
Et nous endort dans le Sein des Mensonges


Plymouth August 25th 1779

It is a lovely Morning and the Sun smiles upon the Sea.
I long to be out of this noisy Town whose Inhabitants are all in Confusion, filled with alarms and suspicions staring about with rusty guns in one hand and Telescopes in the other. –
Well wish me joy the Carriage is at the Door and I shall soon take refuge in the Groves of Mount Edgecumbe. – : – : – : –
[4] After passing Streets, Lanes and Alleys all equally dirty and disagreeable we arrived, thro’ Clouds of Dust, at the Dock which like other Docks was crowded with buzy Faces. – From hence we made the best of our way to the Ferry where a Boat waited to carry us over an arm of the Sea which separates Plymouth and all its impertinences from the more tranquil Shores of Mount Edgecumbe.
My Spirits grew lighter when I found myself on the Waves and I need not say t’was without regret that I left the Dust, the Mob and the Politicians behind me. – In about a quarter of an Hour we were landed beneath an ascent covered with tall Trees under which we proceeded, mounting higher and higher till we reached an irregular Glade; delightfully green, shaded by Spanish Chestnuts and fanned by breezes which played amongst their foliage. – Here I rested beneath a weeping Willow for several moments, admiring the variety of Ground which appeared on all sides and catching, the Groves moving with the Wind, glimpses of blue Sea between their Branches. After this short repose we looked up several Terraces to the House whose Porches, Turrets and Battlements were thrown into an agreeable Confusion and reminded me at the first glance, of those airy Palaces and Castles which Spencer so often discribes. However we did not recoinoitre this Edifice which pleased me so much at a Distance; but kept aloof and heard a Voice singing in one of the Towers, as we passed the Slopes beneath.
The Sun was powerful and we gladly ascended a Terrace of the finest Turf shaded by a Row of Oaks and commanding an uninterrupted prospect of the Dock, the Citadel and Port – Building above Building and a rising [5] Country striped with white Walls and dotted with the Tents of an Encampment beyond.
This was not exactly the View I coveted and I turned from it with pleasure to contemplate the woods and verdure which encircled me.
Their Charms were enhanced by Contrast and it was with peculiar Satisfaction I plunged into a deep impenetrable Grove of Beech Chesnuts and Acacias hanging wildly on the Brow of the Mountain, Sea below and green pasture above fed by Deer. –
A winding Path led us thro’ the Grove to some retired mossy Seats on all which severally we reposed and enjoyed the fragrance of the Woods and heard the Waves yet unseen, murmuring beneath. – From these Seats our Path brought us to other shady Declivities where we wandered till a spring we perceived issuing from beneath a rugged Cove inclined us to halt by its margin. –:–:–
The perfume of the Flowers that sprang wildly from every crevice in the Rocks and the soft Sea Air breathed such Inspiration that I persuaded myself I was no longer in England. The [6] more I advanced along the Mountainside, the more every Object conspired to favour this Idea. – Emerging from the Woods I found myself on a vast Lawn suspended above the Ocean, which I crossed swiftly to enter other thickets composed of Beeches and Walnuts. To these succeeded a truly Sicilian Vegetation, of Laurel and Arbutus cloathing the romantic Steeps of the Mountain with the utmost Luxuriance. Here and there large Rocks peeped from amongst the bright greens of the Shrubbery, some rough and exposed, others covered with a blooming variety of Heaths. –:– Behind these masses and high above the Paths several Pines and Cypresses spired up into the Sky and waved with the breezes.
When gazing at the vast expanse of Ocean, to all appearance surrounding this enchanted Spot I could not help imagining myself suddenly conveyed to some fortunate Island and when I looked up to the Pines and Cypresses waving on the Cliffs – I believed this divine Abode inhabited by no less a Personage than Calypso herself whose Grotto I was every Instant in expectation of discovering. Surely said I to myself there are the promontories where she used to walk disconsolately with Eyes fixed on the Ocean and under that Ilex she has often wept the departure of Ulysses. Having indulged for a while these fancies and blessed the Prospects which revived some of Homer’s descriptions in my mind I prepared to explore the mazes of the Thickets fringing the Steeps, above, below and on every Side. Descending some Steps shaped rudely in the Rock I came to another Labyrinth hanging directly above the Shore over which the intermingled branches of the Pine and Arbutus cast a refreshing Shade. –:–:–:–
[7] Spots of the smoothest Turf often occurred in these cool Alleys where I sat down amidst Plants and Flowers. All vegetation thrives in these Recesses cherished by a happy exposure and screened from the Northern Winds by Woods rising one above the other, terminated by pointed Rocks and Pines that flourish on their very extremities. –
After passing many moments in the pleasing gloom of these retirements I ascended another series of rugged steps, oerhung by arching Shrubs, which brought me suddenly to the edge of a Precipice from which I started back dazzled by the Sun beaming in full Splendor on the Ocean. A deep recess in the Cliffs presented itself as I turned from the glittering Sea where I retired and cast myself on a little Ledge of Rock defended from the Sun by clusters of Ivy. There I caught every gale that blew and whilst carelessly reclined in the Shade contemplated the shining Plains and bright sky that lay stretched out in full prospect before me. –
It was Mid-day and the Winds fell – the surrounding Woods grew still, the Cypresses no longer waved on the Rocks and the Ocean calming by degrees assumed such transparent cærulean Colours as Words cannot describe. No Sail appeared on the Horizon, and from my Recess no point of Land was visible. My Eyes lifted upwards roved in the blue Æether – cast down they wandered without interruption over an expanse of azure Sea.
To the right of my rustic Couch a huge Rock projected into the Waves with a Path stealing along its Summit that Polypheme would have chosen for his airy walk. – You know how he loved situations which commanded Galatea’s Element and Pinnacles high above [8] the waves where he might waste whole Hours in fond Complaints and vain Invitations.
I too should have soothed myself somewhat in a similar manner with Poetry and Song, but I feared to raise my Voice. Theocritus has taught me to venerate the mighty Pan who always slumbers at Noon and I knew not how near the Thicket might be which concealed him. – Fearing then to intrude upon this Sacred repose I quitted my retreat and paced in silence along a narrow track amongst the Shrubs. This Track led me after mounting and descending in a very irregular manner to a round of Turf inclosed by the Cypress & the Ilex. – The whole Air I breathed in this spot impregnated with the perfume of Myrtles convinced me it was the beloved haunt of a Deity: Nor was I surprized at discovering amongst these elegant plants an Altar inscribed to the Sea-born Venus. How happily could I have passed my Hours within this Circle of Cypresses had you or some one of those, with whom I lived on the banks of the Lake, been present. – How would that Friend I have so frequently described to you have felt the elegance of this simple and sequestered Scene! Not one of its beauties would have passed unregarded. To Day no one was near to notice them or collect the Myrtle Blossoms which whitened the Ground. Their delicate Fragrance was lavished upon me alone and I had no more a Companion capable of lingering with me in these Paths till the close of Day. – These Solitudes this soft Light let in thro’ the Woods which surround them, the noise of the distant Surges all reminded me of delightful moments passed in similar situations. Every Leaf that [9] stirred, every Insect that buzzed in the Air affected me. – The glimpses I caught of the Sea beneath the Shades, that vast expanse which separated me from the Companions of my happiest Hours filled me with melancholy Sensations and the sad Idea of having perhaps beheld the fair Forms for the last time haunted me whilst I leaned on the Altar. Should I even in some future period again behold them how may they be changed! – The Scenes from which we caught our purest pleasures remain unalterable whilst we experience a thousand Vicissitudes. Every Spring restores to them their Blossoms and their Foliage; but the bloom of youthful Ideas passes swiftly away – alas too swiftly; for it passes never to return. –:–:–
Reluctantly quitting the Altar and ascending the Steeps I soon left the pendent Woods and Shrubberies below me and found myself amongst Pines on the loftiest Region of the Mount, where I paused an instant to cast still one more look on the azure Sea. Then moving forwards I reached a green plain on the brow of these Eminences where I accosted several Herds of Deer that as you may suppose returned no answer, but running wildly over the Lawn left me in entire Solitude.
A little path led across the Plain which I pursued and attained but too speedily the Boundary of these affecting Scenes.–:–:–:–


[10] York September 27th 1779 8 o’Clock Eve

There was no object I reckoned more upon seeing during the whole Course of my Journey than the Cathedral of York. The moment I entered I was seized with admiration scarcely knowing which way to turn myself. Lost in the immensity and variety of the Structure, I remained several moments motionless at the grand Entrance of the Cross aile gazing at the long perspectives of clustered Columns rising on every side, the rich Windows between and the vast expansion of the Arches above.
The Evening was drawing on and the Sun gleaming thro’ the western Windows cast the Shadows of their Paintings on the Pavement beneath.
Innumerable reds and purples in the liveliest tints shone all around me.
Recovering by degrees from my first surprize I advanced slowly towards the Center of the Edifice and pausing under the great Tower began to notice the beautiful Design and Symmetry of the whole. Twas in vain however to examine every Nitch, every Tabernacle, every slender pillar or canopy of elaborate carved work and I was soon bewildered in the attempt; but the more I looked the more I discovered and the more I was astonished. Whilst I was contemplating the Nave and admiring its magnificent Arches, the Service began and soon the [11] Organ breathed such lofty and solemn Airs as lifted me above myself and banished all worldly thoughts from my Mind. Never was I more solemnly affected than upon this Occasion; but I should tell you I was not in the Choir – I saw no singing Men and had a right to imagine (and I beg you you will not doubt) that the Sounds proceeded from some Sanctuary beyond the groups of Pillars, some holy place into which it was not lawful to penetrate. Half an Hour passed away I believe whilst I leaned against one of the great Columns which support the Tower, absorbed in a train of legendary Ideas and quite transported by the Harmony which filled the Place to those Regions inhabited by the Saints whose Images appeared glowing between every Arch and terminating every Aile. –:–:–:–
The Music ended and the Voices died away amongst the Arches before I left my Column to enter the Choir, which was now deserted. No one remained but a Verger who after repeating his daily Histories of Monuments and Epitaphs quitted me conduct some other more attentive Personage. –:–:–
I was now alone in the Choir and ascending several flights of Steps examined the Screen above the Altar which consists of eight Arches enriched with delicate Sculpture and adorned with pinnacles of the lightest Workmanship. The openings are now glazed with plate glass and admit a partial prospect of one of the noblest Windows in the Universe rising nearly from the base to the very summit of the Edifice, filled up with exquisite Tracery and displaying the most vivid Paintings. Not content with viewing them [12] thro’ the medium of the glass I descended the Steps and leaving the Choir walked along an Isle rich with fret work and imagery to the eastern extremity of the Building, where this great Window appears in full majesty and again fixed my attention.
But what suggested a finer idea of Vision and Miracle than anything I ever beheld was (upon my turning round) its reflection on the glazed work of the Screen which as I advanced all the way communicating my own motion, spread wider and wider and rose every step I took till the whole in all its varied Hues and splendid Colouring hung suspended in the Air. –:–:–
This apparition held me in astonishment till the Sun disappeared and the Twilight increasing it faded away. I now retreated, and moving slowly along reached my old station beneath the Tower. Happily no People were passing thro’ the Ailes, the stilness, the Solitude of the vast space around me was uninterrupted except by the warblings of a few Red-Breasts in the Cloisters and hanging Galleries high above the Arcades. – A solemn Evening Light admitted thro’ the mosaic of the Windows was spread over the Tower under which I stood whilst the extremities of the Ailes and recesses of the Cloisters were already in deep Shade. –
Twas impossible in such a Situation not to be affected with the most religious Sensations. For my own part I was filled with Awe and looked up to the Range of Cloisters dimly seen above the Arches with peculiar Veneration. – There was some thing so strange and mysterious in these Galleries that I almost imagined the holy Spirits of the Founders of the [13] Pile still loved to linger in their Recesses. Impressed with this Idea I remained a long while beneath the Tower wishing every Instant some Form might look over the Parapet of the Galleries or some Voice be heard calling to me from their Shades. But alas I received no admonitions – no intelligence was imparted to me from that dark Country to which so many great and venerable Fathers are retired. All was gloom and Silence and they reigned profoundly throughout the whole Structure. – Awed by the solemnity of the Scene, under some sense of unworthiness I retired from the consecrated Walls and casting one more Look on the Tombs of their revered Founders left them to sleep in peace.[14] September 29th 1779
We left York on a sunny Evening and I was sorry when the Towers of its Cathedral began to lessen on my sight.
It was late before we reached Rippon and the next Morning I rode eight Miles thro common Lanes and every day inclosures to Hackfall, a deep rocky Valley rapt up in Groves and Thickets. I heard the trickling of Rills in the Woodlands before I entered their Shade and listened with pleasure to the distant Song of the Birds which inhabit them. The Solitary Air and unexpected wildness of the Prospect inspired a sentiment of serenity and freedom which I did not find lessened on descending amongst Steeps and Copses that looked quite detached from the World. A Rivulet flows rapidly down these Declivities and covering every Rock, or mossy Root which opposes its passage with the clearest Waters forms a succession of romantic Falls which glimmer amongst impending Groves and Fragments. A Path is conducted on the edge of the Stream and follows all its Descents and Windings till it opens to a Glen with a Seat where I rested, soothed with the tranquility of this Sylvan Region. – It was a mild autumnal Day and the Sun cast a gleam on the Woods lighting up their Foliage and gilding the Springs that ran murmuring beneath. Before me rose a lofty Rock almost concealed by a thick Vegetation of bushy Oaks and Hazels from under whose Stems a transparent Stream issued and hurrying along a ledge intirely mossed over cast itself from the Steep into the Rivulet below. – Beds of Moss carpet the edge of the Waters softer and more delicious than any I think ever rivulet enjoyed. I need not tell you that I reposed upon them, poring over the Brook according to my old Custom and prying into the Copse where it lost itself in depths and hollows and gurgled unseen. These are truly Haunts for rural Powers – Springs and Fountains over which the Naids need not blush to preside.
I could have passed the whole Day in this Glen, slumbering by the bubbling Waters and harkening to the whispers of an ancient Oak, whose appearance was perfectly oracular; but a Desire of exploring what lay beyond amongst the Woods, urged me forwards. – After roving a while thro’ the thickets which skirt the extremity of the Glen, I came to a second opening surrounded by hanging Woods and Cliffs with Ruins on their craggy Summits, a River rolling beneath, precipices on every Side and Streams precipitating themselves from their Declivities.
A Rude Temple rises in this central point where the murmur of the Woods and Waters is heard in perfection. –
This must have been the Throne of Melancholy, “the wild sequestered Seat” where she sat retired as Collins found her. From hence [16] a shady Alley led me to another Glade of Greenswerd, tall Oaks and Ashes rising irregularly from the Turf between whose Branches other distant Wilds and Steeps were discovered. In Front a vast Theatre of Woods crowned by ruined Arches and the remains of an aweful Temple just such as Gasper delighted in painting. – to the left a venerable Cell, mantled with Ivy, probably the abode of an Anchoret who often meditates on the mossy Stones scattered thro’ this Glade. I suppose he shunned me and sought the Depths of the Thickets. Unwilling to intrude upon his Concealments I clambered up a rugged Eminence amongst clusters of Fern and having attained its Summit walked along this wild Terrace which overlooks all the mazes of the Woods and the windings of the River till I came to a Spot darkly shaded by Oaks overgrown with Ivy and Misletoe, strewed with dry leaves and so strangely hemmed in by mis-shapen Roots that I could not help thinking I was entering the Domain of a Wizard. The Rustling of my footsteps amongst decayed leaves disturbed the devotions of a solemn Owl (perhaps the Wizard himself) who sat moping in the hollow of an Oak. –:–:–
He opened a very suspicious Eye upon my approach and sailing away over the Vale beneath hid himself in the distant Solitudes. I pursued my Rout without meeting with any further indications of Sorcery and reaching the extremity of the Groves got into the Carriage which waited there and was driven to Studley Park.




A dark solemn Hall of a strange mysterious architecture. – the sages & magi around the Monarch. – Daniel kneeling – his whole figure illuminated by the glow of an immense opal or carbuncle which forms the chief ornament of the throne. – The Sages pale with wonder. the Monarch in dreadful suspense nothing can be imagined so sacred & apalling as the Light – the whole proceeding from the gem. – the velvets & draperys the carpet all tinged with this mystic radiance – –
Picture by Rembrandt at Keddleston –


At length I am arrived within sight of the Mountains: Canals, flat country, manufacturing Towns &c &c are left behind & I shall soon breathe a purer air amongst Lakes & wildernesses. – My expectations are not very warm. I shall see no Glacieres, no Carthusian deserts, no cataracts like those of the Valorsine. but I think I may reasonably look for arid Landscapes & rocky Scenery, the miniatures of these I have been acostomed to behold. – – – If these Prospects do but in the least remind me of those in Savoy, I shall be fully satisfied with my journey & readily chime in with all the glorious descriptions Messrs West & Hutchinson have so minutely given of these till then unknown Lakes & neglected Mountains. —


a dreary Mountain’s side specled with withering fern & blasted yews – All down the Steeps appeared trunks of decayed trees – of the strangest shapes imaginable – whose appearance this misty & showery weather was almost formidable – they seemed to me like Spectres, frowning upon the pass below. – Under one of the Yews lay three black Heifers that looked portentous & odd – as if they belonged to somebody I fear to name
– – Upon the shore under swelling Mountains & wrapped up in the thickest Wood lies Koniston Hall a ruinated place as my Driver told me & inhabited by a very antient Man. –


Koniston Lake
a wildness – a variety of irregular forms here sweet copses stealing along the shore, there savage rocky cliffs – of a brown uncommon hue that look as if they produced potent herbs such as one might reap by moonlight with a brazen sicle. –
Whilst I stand & write – waters bubble around me & I scent the furze in blossom – Forth from a shady creek sails an odd indian looking bark – the only one visible on the Lake - & I almost imagine it will cast anchor to night before some Wigwam in these wildernesses.–


[1] Crossed Poley Bridge. cast a glance on the Lake as I passed over it & came immediatly under the woody Hill of Dunmallert, devided by an avenue bordered by Pines & fir trees whose dark colouring appeared to advantage backed by the lighter greens of Beech & Hazel. – – – –
This avenue led quite to the summit of the Hill & the Sun breaking forth – lighted up the Lake & cast the warmest tints on a plain between several round & beautifully swelling Hills – – green paths stealing amongst Beds of Fern which autumn had already tinged with a glowing brown. beyond[?] Mountains of the deepest blue closed the scene.
I remained at least half [2] an hour on the brow of the Hill basking in the Sun – the greens of the Landscape growing more & more vivid & the Lake bluer & bluer every instant. – On the gentle slope of the Mountains are spread out many inclosures framed in by little copses & woods of the deepest verdure - & low points advancing into the Lake fringed with trees to their very extremities –
Descending between[?] the steep I hung a few minutes quite over the Lake & began the more I gazed to distinguish little rural cots & comfortable Farm Houses some quite on its margin, others higher on the Hills & embosomed in wood. – Here & there broad tracts of pasture intervened dotted by sheep. –
A long grassy walk & many young light elegant trees hanging over [3] the water, where I walked joyously along – boughs trembling above my head & the Lake glittering & murmuring below.
From hence turned into another shady alley & looked up amongst light spreading trees quite to the summit where I had enjoyed such pleasant moments. –
This brought me soon to the foot of the great avenue, where I lay down on some mossy roots & had it been night should probably have seen something more than boughs glancing across it. –
From hence I returned in the Evening Sun to a Cottage almost opposite & fed upon Honey butter & delicious Bread.


The clear Torrent streams rapidly down a declivity foaming over many rocks – on each side rising ground, overspread with copse wood – branching oaks impending above the floods & large cluster of fern springing from every cleft in the rocks. –
The Reeds, & many aquatic plants on the brink of the stream, together with the variety of shrubs & mosses above on the crags exibit rich groups of vegetation.
To the right strange roofs & black wheels casting around them a perpetual rain – The hollow wind in the woods mixed with the rushing of waters, whilst the forges thundred in my ear. – To the left a black quaking Bridge leading to other Wilds. – Within a glowing furnace machines hammering huge bars of redhot iron, which at intervals cast a bright light & innumerable sparks thro’ the gloom. Several boughs fixed on a beam above, shook & trembled with the strokes.–


I never see such Rocks but like the cornish Miners I wish to burrough in them & make unto myself a den.
I should love to lead a wild & savage Life in these primæval Regions & fish for Sustenance. – Mr L too, exclaimed I should like to lead a Life of three Moons amongst the Lakes.


Mr L has much sagacity in finding out chapels & Churches – he pointed at several I s.d never have discovered or thought of so snugly were they mantled in Wood or hid by eminences. – –
The head of the Lake ravished us beyond expression – loosing itself in green meads & flowery pastures rising one above the other till they toutch the base of rugged rocky mountains.
These are Scenes truly arcadian The white Cottages peeping here & there from amongst oaks & Hollies added not a little to the Landscape. Close to almost every one, a spring tricled along – conducted from the rock by a trough to supply little natural basons scooped out of the living rock. – on the edge of which I noticed several bright jugs of earthern ware that reminded me of patriarchal times & made me venerate these fountains.

"Sinking apace into the bosom of delusions"
[William Beckford. An artist's impression]
[This page was last updated on April 21, 2001]