mean, Which on such golden memories can lean?
At the same time the change which has taken place in the character of our religion has in one respect weakened the hold which Nature has upon our feelings. To the Greeks--to our own ancestors,--every River or Mountain or Forest had not only its own special Deity, but in some sense was itself instinct with life. They were not only peopled by Nymphs and Fauns, Elves and Kelpies, were not only the favourite abodes of Water, Forest, or Mountain Spirits, but they had a conscious existence of their own.
In the Middle Ages indeed, these spirits were regarded as often mischievous, and apt to take offence; sometimes as essentially malevolent--even the most beautiful, like the Venus of Tannhäuser, being often on that very account all the more dangerous; while the Mountains and Forests, the Lakes and Seas, were the abodes of hideous ghosts and horrible monsters, of Giants and Ogres, Sorcerers and Demons. These fears, though vague, were none the less ext