The skies they were ashen and sober; The leaves they were crisped and sere -- The leaves they were withering and sere; It was night in the lonesome October Of my most immemorial year: It was hard by the dim lake of Auber, In the misty mid region of Weir: -- It was down by the dank tarn of Auber, In the ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir.
Our talk had been serious and sober, But our thoughts they were palsied and sere -- Our memories were treacherous and sere; For we knew not the month was October, And we marked not the night of the year --(Ah, night of all nights in the year!) We noted not the dim lake of Auber,(Though once we had journeyed down here) We remembered not the dank tarn of Auber, Nor the ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir.
Well I know, now, this dim lake of Auber -- This misty mid region of Weir: -- Well I know, now, this dank tarn of Auber -- This ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir."
It was possible, I reflected, that a mere different arrangement of the particulars of the scene, of the details of the picture, would be sufficient to modify, or perhaps to annihilate its capacity for sorrowful impression; and, acting upon this idea, I reined my horse to the precipitous brink of a black and lurid tarn that lay in unruffled lustre by the dwelling, and gazed down--but with a shudder even more thrilling than before--upon the remodelled and inverted images of the grey sedge, and the ghastly tree-stems, and the vacant and eye-like windows.
Perhaps the eye of a scrutinizing observer might have discovered a barely perceptible fissure, which, extending from the roof of the building in front, made its way down the wall in a zigzag direction, until it became lost in the sullen waters of the tarn.
He was enchained by certain superstitious impressions in regard to the dwelling which he tenanted, and whence, for many years, he had never ventured forth--in regard to an influence whose supposititious force was conveyed in terms too shadowy here to be re-stated--an influence which some peculiarities in the mere form and substance of his family mansion, had, by dint of long sufferance, he said, obtained over his spirit--an effect which the physique of the grey walls and turrets, and of the dim tarn into which they all looked down, had, at length, brought about upon the morale of his existence.
It was during one of my lonely journeyings, amid a far distant region of mountain locked within mountain, and sad rivers and melancholy tarn
writhing or sleeping within all -- that I chanced upon a certain rivulet and island.
Strait of Magellan -- Port Famine -- Ascent of Mount Tarn -- Forests -- Edible Fungus -- Zoology -- Great Sea-weed -- Leave Tierra del Fuego -- Climate -- Fruit-trees and Productions of the Southern Coasts -- Height of Snow-line on the Cordillera -- Descent of Glaciers to the Sea -- Icebergs formed -- Transportal of Boulders -- Climate and Productions of the Antarctic Islands -- Preservation of Frozen Carcasses -- Recapitulation.
When the Beagle was here in the month of February, I started one morning at four o'clock to ascend Mount Tarn, which is 2600 feet high, and is the most elevated point in this immediate district.
Over the Tarn
and the Garonne, through the vast quagmires of Armagnac, past the swift-flowing Losse, and so down the long valley of the Adour, there was many a long league to be crossed ere they could join themselves to that dark war-cloud which was drifting slowly southwards to the line of the snowy peaks, beyond which the banner of England had never yet been seen.
The mountain streams flow into a sort of natural reservoir or tarn
up here; the earth they bring down has silted it up, and he is engaged in clearing it out.
For the first week, whenever I looked out on the pond it impressed me like a tarn
high up on the side of a mountain, its bottom far above the surface of other lakes, and, as the sun arose, I saw it throwing off its nightly clothing of mist, and here and there, by degrees, its soft ripples or its smooth reflecting surface was revealed, while the mists, like ghosts, were stealthily withdrawing in every direction into the woods, as at the breaking up of some nocturnal conventicle.