The spires reach the almost unexampled height of five hundred and twelve feet, which is just equal to the entire length of the cathedral; and the height of the gable in the transept exactly corresponds to the cathedral's width. It is, therefore, the most regular and stupendous Gothic structure in existence, the consummation of grandeur and religion. When one stands at night beside its base, and lets his gaze climb slowly upward over its enormous buttresses and towers, the effect is mountainous, and its architecture appears Alpine in sublimity, the mighty shafts (which seem as solid as the eternal hills yet are as graceful as the elm) rising until their summits vanish in the gloom, like a colossal stairway leading up to heaven. At such a time, when we consider all the numberless details of the vast edifice, in flying-buttresses, statues, gargoyles, turrets, foliage, and fretwork, - each perfect and complete, and wrought in centuries past by men who did their little part, and then passed on, yielding their place to others, - the grand cathedral seems a fitting emblem of the progress of our race, and the lesson which it teaches may be thus interpreted:

The Cathedral

The Cathedral.

The Towers

The Towers.

"Life is a leaf of paper white, Whereon each one of us may write His word or two, and then comes night. Greatly begin ! though thou have time But for a line, be that sublime,- Not failure, but low aim, is crime."

Moreover, the history of this building is as full of interest as its grand framework is of majesty. The hands of cunning artisans were fashioning its walls two hundred and fifty years before Columbus sailed for the New World. It antedates by fifty years the founding of the Turkish Empire. Kingdoms have risen and fallen, cities and dynasties have flourished and have passed away since the original architect of this cathedral saw its first stone lowered into the place where it has slumbered all these years. And now that the great work is done, and the cross gleams upon its loftiest pinnacle, how sad it seems that its creator's name should be unknown ! For it is his design that has thus triumphed over time and all inferior suggestions for six hundred years. This fact has been accounted for by a legend, which states that the architect was one night walking on the river's bank, despairing of ever achieving his ideal, when Satan suddenly appeared to him and offered him the most magnificent plan, if he would give him in exchange his soul. "Will my name become famous?" asked the artist. "It will forever rank with that of Phidias," was the reply. The architect begged for a night in which to consider the matter, and consulted a cunning priest, who advised him to take the devil's plan for a moment in his hands, and, while conversing, to glance at it and master its details. The artist did so, and then declined to make the bargain. Whereupon Satan, seeing himself outwitted, cried: "You have broken faith with me. So be it. Only remember this, and let it haunt your dying hour, that when this temple shall have been completed after my design, and the whole world is ringing with its praises, your name will be entirely unknown." Whatever we may think of the legend, the architect's reward has certainly been oblivion.

The Glory Of Cologne

The Glory Of Cologne.

The Interior Of Cologne Cathedral

The Interior Of Cologne Cathedral.

Beyond Cologne, the Rhine sweeps onward like a king whose fame and power are secure. Its life-work is well-nigh accomplished. It has apparently received from the uplifted towers of the old cathedral its absolution and its benediction. What a career it has had since we first beheld it, leaving its cradle in the glacier, clearing Schaffhausen's barrier at a bound, or gliding by the castles on its banks! Once more it calls to mind a human life, but now, a life the sands of which are running low, and whose long drama hastens to completion; for at its terminus, silently awaiting its inevitable coming, is the open sea.

The Open Sea

"The Open Sea."

Disraeli said that life consists of three parts: youth, a delusion; manhood, a struggle; old age, a regret. How true this is of the delusion and the struggle, we all know; but few regrets can sadden a career which, like the noble river we have followed, leaves, after years of progress and beneficence, its finished duties and confining shores for the unbounded ocean of a higher destiny.

The Rhine 123