Franz Lindenmayr / Man and Cave

Fingal's Cave on Staffa

- a special chapter of anthropospeleology

In 1829 Felix Mendelsohn Mendelsohn-Barthold visited Scotland and composed two pieces of music, the "Scottish Symphony" and the "Hebrides" Overture, Op. 26 (Fingals Cave). This famous piece of music is the perfect audio background for this homepage.

If we were birds, then we could see the island of Staffa from a perspective which is similar to one which you can under one the links underneath..

You can see to the right the entrance to one of the most famous caves on earth - Fingal's Cave.

There is probably no other cave on this planet, with which so many different important artists have dealt in so many different ways. The following pages are dedicated to them.

Beside Mendelsohn's symphony exist at least 3 further pieces of music, which were devoted to this wonder of nature:

Now to paintings, engravings, fiction and poetry. A small selection...

"...Cliffs of darkness, caves of wonder, Echoing the Atlantic's thunder...."

Sir Walter Scott

" This was architectur'd thus
By the great Oceanus -
Here his mighty waters play
Hollow organs all the day;
Here, by turns his dolphins all,
Finny palmers, great and small,
Come to devotion due,
Each a mouth of pearls must strew.
Many a mortal of these days
Dares to pass our sacred ways:
Dares to touch audaciously
This cathedral of the sea....."
John Keats, 1818

"Thanks for the lessons of this spot....
The pillard vestibule,
Expanding yet precise, the roof embowed,
Might seem designed to humble man, when proud
Of his best workmanship by plan and tool.
Down-bearing with his whole Atlantic weight
Of tide and tempest on the structure's base,
And flashing to that structure's topmost height,
Ocean has proved its strength, and of its grace
In calm is conscious, finding for its freight
Of softest music some responsive place."
William Wordsworth, 1833

Skizze W. Turner

"Dark Staffa! in thy grotto wild,
How my wrapt soul is tought to feel!
Oh! well becomes it Nature's child
Now in her stateliest shrine to kneel!
Thou art no fiends' nor giants' home -
Thy piles of dark and dismal grain,
Bespeak thee, dread and sacred dome,
Great temple of the Western Main!..

James Hogg

  Compared to this what are the cathedrals or the palaces built by men! Mere models or playthings, imitations as diminuitive as his works will always be when compared to those of nature

Joseph Banks, 1774



An excellent outline of the fascinating paintings, which have Staffa and the Fingals Cave as main motive, supplies the book of Watteville.

Jules Verne should here also be mentioned. He visited the island in 1859. A few years later Verne used this experience in his novel "The Green Ray". If the sun sinks behind the horizon, there is to be a green ray or lightning, which the persons of the novel standing at the west edge of the island, are once able to observe under special atmospheric conditions. A quotation: " outer-dedans une sort de silence sonore - s'il permis more d'accoupler ces est deux mots - régnait, ce silence spécial aux excavations profondes, que les visiteurs ne songeaient pas à interrompre. Seul, le vent y promenait un EFF-LUFFS de ces ongs accords, qui semblent faits d'une m'lancolique série de sptième dininuées, s'enflant et s'éteignant peu à peu. On eut cru entrendre, sous son souffle puissant, more résonner tous ces prismes comme les languettes d'un énorme harmonica. N'est ce pas à cet effet bizarre qu'est you le nom d'An well Vine, " la grotte harmonieuse ", ainsi que cette caverne est appelée EN langage celtique? "

For a while there were even stamps of the island and its beauty. A few examples:



In the years 1992 and 1993 a theatre group dared to perform on German stages with the piece of " pi - a cave excursion", which referred strongly in their program to Fingals Cave, i.e. into the Black box in Munich. Unfortunately their excursion remained rather puzzling for most visitors.

photos Lindenmayr


Links and literture see German version

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