There with a little tinge of phantasy, Fantastic faces moped and mowed on high : And there a mitre or a shrine would fix The eye upon its secmihg crucifix. Thus Nature played with the stalactites, And built herself a chapel.
I am far from being a devotee, but I confess that for some moments I felt overpowered by mingled feelings of awe and veneration, which can only be felt, not described. It was not fear The violent exercise and the situation I had attained in so singular a way had excited my feelings to a high degree, and my reflections were not ill-suited to the place and circumstances.
We had penetrated nearly eight hundred yards into the very entrails of the earth, to a spot now for the first time profaned by human footsteps, wrhere Nature herself seemed to have raised an altar to the honour of the Divinity. The only outlet was a narrow aperture, which a single stone might block up for ever. At that same hour on the very day before, an earthquake had shaken every house in Manilla to its foundations, and the end of the very grotto itself seemed choked by an croulement of stones and earth, evidently of very recent date. I do not believe that any man, even of the strongest nerves, could have prevented some reflections of a serious nature from passing through his mind.
But all this while I have forgotten my poor compagnon de voyage, who, being unfortunately an inch or two broader across the shoulders than me, was exhausting himself in vain efforts to force his way through, and almost crying with vexation and disappointment. I went to his aid, and we hammered away alternately till the hole was sufficiently enlarged ; but still he did not get through without some severe bruises ; and I confess I was not without considerable uneasiness as to how he would get back again on our return, as the difficulty of our exit, feet foremost, would be considerably increased ; but reflections were useless, all we had to do was to employ our time to the best advantage, and endeavour to make farther discoveries while our candles lasted.
The grotto might be generally from forty to sixty feet in height, but in the clefts of the rock the summit could not be distinguished ;The grotto might be generally from forty to sixty feet in height, but in the clefts of the rock the summit could not be distinguished ;