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14 CHRISTOPHER North, in one of his pleasant pa
pers, says of the chief of English lakes :—“Live by it fifty years, and by degrees you may have come to know something worth telling of Windermere!" If it be necessary to have lived as long by the chief of English rivers to know something worth telling of it, I must confess to insufficiency. My knowledge of the Thames is of some years' shorter duration. But if a familiarity amounting to friendship of a few years' less standing will entitle me to guide a rambler along it, I have some right to venture on the undertaking; and gratitude as well as friendship will prompt me, for with the poet I can
“I have loved the rural walk through lanes
Of grassy swath close cropt by nibbling sheep,
And skirted thick with intertexture fine
Of thorny boughs; have loved the rural walk
CowPER, Task, book i.
While, however, to enjoy a ramble on the banks of Thames actually is an easy matter, to describe it, or to enjoy it in a description, is not so easy.. The general character of the scenery of the Thames is that of a calm and tranquil beauty, but with so much of sameness, that a continuous account of it would speedily become tedious: get the endeavour to enliven it by digressions, however tempting, would protract a: rable: beyond any reasonable length ; while to enter, except in a cursory manner, into historical-ori antiquarian details, would little accord with aưrañible at all. The space we are to pass over is so considerable, and the objects of interest in our way are so many,
that we must of necessity keep close to the river and only slightly survey what catches our attention as we saunter along it. We must not pretend to notice every thing that deserves to be noticed, and we must confine ourselves to a general view. We shall thus, however, find sufficient to occupy us— -I hope with out wearying us—or at least with only occasional weariness: there are spots beside every stream so absolutely barren, that weariness must be felt even by the best tempered, and I cannot expect that my river will be found an exception.
To speak of the importance of the THAMES the most important of all rivers would be almost an impertinence; and it will be best to let its peculiarities develope themselves as we accompany it. A few words respecting the name may