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Etching 7 Broad fields from Martius's Flora Brasiliensis 1840. Thanks to Lehigh U., Special Collections ! Color by Alberto and C. Miranda Chor

#7 Broad fields next to the Serra de Mantiqueira, near Lorena, in the province of Sao Paulo


Latin translation by Ben Hennelly

If we affirm rightly that Brazil is one of the most beautiful regions of our globe, it should be said at the same time that this is so because there nature presents to our view the most diverse and, as it were, opposite manners of beauty. For even the extremely great abundance of things, the varied richness of the plant life, the spectacular brilliance of a sky that favors humankind in every season, the most perfect loveliness, which is seen in the delightful features of the land, in the shape of the mountains and peaks, in the distribution of the waters and rivers, would not be able to induce us to call that land extremely beautiful, even a human Elysium (1), if they were arranged everywhere in the same manner and stretched out uniformly. But we would assert that, very much to the contrary, not only are these truly features of Brazil, but they are ordered, as it were, and distributed in delightful alternation. This indeed can be felt nowhere more forcefully and, so to speak, more powerfully than if the traveler comes out 

Serra do Mar, unknown photographer. Thanks to

Serra do Mar, provinces of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro 

from the night of the primeval forests that cover the far-spreading tract of the Serra do Mar, and passes into the broad valley of the river Paraiba's lower realm, in the province of Sao Paulo.

Rio Paraiba, unknown photographer. Thanks to

Valley of the river Paraiba, province of Sao Paulo 

When we came upon these places in our journey, we seemed as if newly born, looking out from the narrow shadows of the forests into the magnificence of the open valley, which was brightly lit by the sun and offered altogether new plant life to our amazement and pleasure. The river Paraiba for most of its way passes southwards through open fields of the kind we have already discussed and depicted in etching #4. The broad valley whose bottom the river occupies is formed by the rise of the Serra doMar and the fall of the Serra de Mantiqueira, and when the traveler 

Serra Mantiqueira, unknown photographer. Thanks to

Serra Mantiqueira 

leaves behind the outermost woods of that mountain and can first turn his liberated eyes into the distance, the lovely contours of those mountains are presented to him. The Serra do Mar overall looks from the north toward the south, but the individual peaks and ridges it comprises are by no means situated in a uniform manner, and often are mixed together while stretching in different directions. They are generally vested with primeval forests, and are covered with fields only in certain sloping places or on their upper extremities. 

The Serra de Mantiqueira is quite different; this ridge is part of a large series of mountains, which Guilielm de Eschweg, a man I very much esteem, wanted with good reason to call the Serra do Espinhaco, because it runs like a spine through the interior part of eastern Brazil, and here and there surpasses the mountains of all Brazil with the great height of its uppermost peaks.

Serra Mantiqueira, unknown photographer. Thanks to

This mountain only rarely consists of foliaceous red-spotted granitegranite, and psaronite syenite --- which is the case just about everywhere in the Serra do Mar ---, but rather, throughout large areas, consists of scissile (2) kinds of mountains, schistose red-spotted graniteand common schist, quartzose schist mixed with thin layers of silvery chloaugis , which they call "ita-columite" or flexible cement. A quartzose, clayey cement containing parts of iron and mixed with broken stones often settles into these rock formations. This make-up predominates also in the valley we spoke of.

Etching commentary #7