Friday, August 27

Enchanted Isles (The Encantadas)

"I once landed on its western side," says a sentimental voyager long ago, "where it faces the black buttress of Albemarle. I walked beneath groves of trees -- not very lofty, and not palm trees, or orange trees, or peach trees, to be sure -- but, for all that, after long seafaring, very beautiful to walk under, even though they supplied no fruit. And here, in calm spaces at the heads of glades, and on the shaded tops of slopes commanding the most quiet scenery -- what do you think I saw? Seats which might have served Brahmins and presidents of peace societies. Fine old ruins of what had once been symmetric lounges of stone and turf, they bore every mark both of artificialness and age, and were, undoubtedly, made by the Buccaneers. One had been a long sofa with back and arms, just such a sofa as the poet Gray might have loved to throw himself upon, his Crebillon in hand."

-- Salvator R. Tarnmoor (Herman Melville's pseudonym) The Piazza Tales