Huddersfield Chronicle (09/Mar/1895) - A Golcar Sunset

The following is a transcription of a historic newspaper article and may contain occasional errors. If the article was published prior to 1 June 1957, then the text is likely in the Public Domain.


(From Our Correspondent "Cid.")

Turn to the east as the black night first ebbs
In the white throbbings of the lifting dawn,
And wonder at the sight. Then as the clouds,
In topmost sky, catch glimmers of the sun,
Receive the impress on their woolly wings
And on each other smile, reflectedly,
Look on and smile in hope’s expectancy
That soon another day will be proclaimed.
Slowly, but certainly, silent, but sure,
The light creeps up the sky as clouds array
Themselves in layers on the horizon,
Or trail their fleecy masses, golden-fringed,
Upon the distant hills to north or south.
Then, glorious change, the panoramic view
Is decked with all the colours of the sun,
From deepest red to faintest violet,
And all the hues imagination can
Conceive or truth portray. The clear, cool air,
Refreshing, sweet, and pure, yet hesitates
Which way to blow; it comes, it goes, then moves
The mists away that the deep blue may show
Itself in contrast to the light and shade
Of early morn. Then the bright sun appears,
And with its melting smile gives the breeze balm.
As it drives shades away and mounts aloft.
Again, look to the south and note its brilliance
The horizon bedecked with clouds, above
Is flecked with feathery, misty argosies;
The sun tops the meridian and marks,
With geometric accuracy full noon,
And as it seems to hesitate and hang
Without decision ere it does descend
Into the afternoon, it warms all life
To happy indolence, to peaceful ease,
While the sweet breeze is lotus-laden and
Beyond compare.
Once more, see mom repeats itself at eve,
In reverse order, magnificence
Now wanes in grand gradation; lessened light,
But not less brilliance, rare saffron hues
Tip hills and clouds with gold delightfully,
In ever wondrous change; now cloud, now sun,
In glorious alternation. Down and still down
Till hill and sea are kissed, and shafts of light
Pillar the sky; reflection takes the place
Of the real light; a golden ocean gleams,
While on its bosom mighty cloud-ships sail
Into the blue, into eternity.
Surely the heavens declare some mighty Power
When the sun leaves the world in eve’s twilight;
Surely the heart, the meditating soul,
Sees in the ending hour of passing day,
Omnipotence; strange Majesty, a Power
Which in Itself is all in all.
Then, as the vault is swept of clouds, and stars,
In myriad twinklings, greet the earth, one sees
A universe revealed; ten thousand suns,
Bright, moving orbs and wandering mists, all held
In their high places by some subtle force
Surpassing man’s conception. Surely there is
Design in this! What is beyond it all,
Whence cometh it and whither does it trend?
What does it mean and how will it all end?

We pass into the street and walk towards the station. A train is nearly due for Huddersfield, but when I glance into the heavens I see them preparing for a magnificent sunset. I prefer to mount the hills again, that I might enjoy what is evidently about to be a scene of surpassing grandeur, so the Carlilian Reformer and I, with good wishes, go our separate ways. I have seen many delightful sunsets and terrible storms from the hills that surround Slaithwaite. No season passes without some superlative picture of the earth or sky being indelibly painted on my memory in the Colne Valley. I have, in this locality, witnessed panoramas in white, in vernal beauty, in summer’s radiant gladsomeness, and in autumn’s golden fruitfulness, when the imagination was surpassed by scenes of happy blending of colours, and softened breezes were suffused with the sweetest perfumes. I can, at will, pass these scenes before my mind’s eye, re-enjoy them, and thus carry about with me a natural picture gallery, which makes me independent of unappreciative Huddersfield, which is too mean and poverty-stricken to provide for the works of art from the brush and pencil of her skilled sons a picture gallery worthy of the town. As I hurry up the valley, Crimble way, I am impatient to get out of the hollow and reach Westwood, Golcar. To the casual observer there is nothing peculiar about the sky, but to me there is something imposingly fine. Right overhead the leaden and dismal clouds are grandly dividing themselves, while the blue beyond is flecked with cloudlets that trim the sapphire shell with seraphs and cherubs of light. All manner of forms are moulded and sculptured there. Then, as the rent broadens, the imagination is humbled by this transcendent reality. All this time the sun is not visible, but its glorious rays are effulgently illuminating the tops of the dark wool-packs, painting the argosies of the air, and transforming the dismal and the sombre into soft radiance and mingled colouring. A mighty, vapoury mountain is now forced from its moorings, and is blown over me like a frightened demon, which would ascend, but cannot, and which would rob those above it of their virtuous purity and shut out their light, but is not permitted to do so. Instead of that, it is quietly and gradually changed into an archangel itself, and is then divided and sub-divided until it dissolves and vanishes, while the opening in the zenith increases, the western half apparently sinking and the eastern half moving stately away, and above it all a third heaven of downy fleeciness is revealed in the limitless beyond. The middle layers are also moving south-west, the highest with scarcely a perceptible motion, while the foundations of the lower masses seem to rest and roll on the earth until they look like bastions, on which the ever widening arch of blue and white presents a semi-circle of faultless accuracy. It is marvellous! It is wonderful! It is grand! I know the sun must soon appear. Pole Moor and the hills beyond are darkly draped in weird shadows, and nearly indistinguishable. By gradual degrees one spot, just above the highest peak, has its black pall relieved. It turns to leaden grey, and is then made like night again. The spot soon turns to deep red, and gradually enlarges from the centre to an extending circumference, the sun evidently bent on boring through before long. The light is now blood red, but only emphasises the dark surroundings, which seem to become blacker and more intensified by comparison. Broader and broader from centre to circumference it grows until a thick cloud breaks away and hides the bright spot for a few moments as does the moon when the sun is eclipsed. The wind, however, bears it away, and the light becomes more pronounced. The breeze now increases from the west, and it helps the sun to pierce the constantly melting obstruction. More dazzling light and breaking clouds; more radiance and less shade; more blinding splendour and less gloom; more movement and smiling beauty, and less sluggish shadows and sombreness follow, until a blaze of light leaps through, and on turning away from it my elongated shadow is as clearly cat on the meadow as ever silhouette was or could be. There is now half a gale, and clouds are rolling away to north and south and to the zenith in magnificent but stately commotion. What was a tunnel of changing splendour is now a mingled mass of lights and shades and brilliantly painted clouds of innumerable shapes and sizes, and the sun is once more the master of the day, while the thick clouds cast their shadows away from me and present but their bosoms of milky white as they recede and disperse to gradual nothingness. What was dark is now light red, what was gloomy is now purple, what was dull-grey is now saffron, the light-grey has turned to orange and purple, and what had a hesitancy between light and shade now as completely hesitates between blue and white, while all the lights and shades that the sun and clouds can delineate or portray are shaped and moulded into changing forms of blinding colours as they move so surely and so calmly from the west apparently in every direction. It is entrancing! “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth His handiwork.” It is surprising! I have never seen so many beautifully limned pictures in so short a time. How marvellous that all this can pass through the apple of one’s eyes and be painted on the tablets of one’s brain in unbroken succession, scene upon scene, picture upon picture, grandeur upon grandeur, magnificence upon magnificence, and yet the memory be able to reproduce them all in continuous order or in separate delineations, at will or in reverie, day or night, now or in years to come! How plain, yet how incomprehensible all this is! What a terrible thing blindness must be to a Milton, and what a blessing sight it to us all!

(To be continued.)