The Vale of Tempe

Nineteenth Century Literature and the Vale of Tempe 


Not in nature but in man is all the beauty and worth he sees.The world is very empty, and is indebted to this gilding, exalting soul for all its pride. "Earth fills her lap with splendors" on her own. The vale of Tempe, Tivoli and Rome are earth and water, rocks and sky. There are as good earth and water in a thousand places, yet how unaffecting!
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Essays: First Series (1841)

The finest scenery in the world cannot, then, ‘create’ genius. A dunce, born in the Vale of Tempe, will remain a dunce still.
Rev. George Gilfillan (1813-1848)
The Poetical Works of Beattie, Blair and Falconer; with Lives, Critical Dissertations and Explanatory Notes

The scenery on the Avon is said to strikingly resemble the vale of Tempe in Greece. The student of nature may there enjoy “communion sweet,” with all that his heart holds dear as life’s blood.
The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction, Vol. 14, Issue 398
(November 14, 1829)

There was a rocky valley between Buxton and Bakewell, once upon a time, divine as the Vale of Tempe; you might have seen the gods there morning and evening – Apollo and all the sweet muses of the Light – walking in fair procession on the lawns of it, and to and fro among the pinnacles of its crags.
John Ruskin (1819-1900)

Never had I seen a picture of such wild primitive loneliness as that presented by this beautiful fertile valley, encircled by smoking volcanoes and snow-covered mountains, yet green as the Vale of Tempe, teeming with animal and vegetable life, yet solitary, uninhabited by man, and apparently unknown.
George Kennan
Tent Life in Siberia (1868)

The King, who will have nothing but what is magnificent in all he undertakes, wished to give his court an entertainment which should comprise all that the stage can furnish. To facilitate the execution of so vast an idea, and to link together so many different things, his Majesty chose for the subject two rival princes, who, in the lovely vale of Tempe, where the Pythian Games were to be celebrated, vie with each other in fêting a young princess and her mother with all imaginable gallantries.
Charles Heron Wall
Preface, The Magnificent Lovers by Moliere (1891)

Apollo kills the Pythoness by the necessity of his nature. It is his virtue. But his virtue is a crime that must be expiated. No sooner is the deed done, than, by a necessity as irresistible as that by which he did it, he flies from the scene of the slaughter toward the old Vale of Tempe for purification.
Elizabeth P. Peabody
The Dorian Measure, With a Modern Application
Aesthetic Papers (1849)