UNDER THE WILLOW THEE 475
world appear freer to him ; and now his thoughts were turned without, and tears came into his «yes.
The Alps appeared to him as the folded wings of the earth ; how if they were to unfold themselves, and display their variegated pictures of black woods, foaming waters, clouds, and masses of snow ? At the last day, he thought, the world will lift up its great wings, and mount upwards towards the sky, and burst like a soap-bubble in the glance of the Highest!
1 Ah,' sighed he, ' that the Last Day were come !' Silently he wandered through the land, that seemed to him as an orchard covered with soft turf. From the wooden balconies of the houses the girls who sat busy with their lace-making nodded at him ; the summits of the mountains glowed in the red sun of the evening ; and when he saw the green lakes gleaming among the dark trees, he thought of the coast by the Bay of Kjoge, and there was a longing in his bosom, but it was pain no more.
There where the Rhine rolls onward like a great billow, and bursts, and is changed into snow-white, gleaming, cloud-like masses, as if clouds were being created there, with the rainbow fluttering like a loose ribbon above them ; there he thought of the water-mill at Kjoge, with its rushing, foaming water.
Gladly would he have remained in the quiet Rhenish town, but here also were too many elder trees and willows, and therefore he journeyed on, over the high, mighty mountains, through shattered walls of rock, and on roads that clung like swallows' nests to the mountain-side. The waters foamed on in the depths, the clouds were below him, and he strode on over thistles, Alpine roses, and snow, in the warm summer sun ; and saying farewell to the lands of the North, he passed on under the shade of chestnut trees, and through vineyards and fields of maize. The mountains were a wall between him and all his recollections ; and he wished it to be so.
Before him lay a great glorious city which they called Milan, and here he found a German master who gave him work. They were an old pious couple, in whose workshop he now laboured. And the two old people became quite fond of the quiet journeyman, who said little, but worked all the