James and Mary Ford, eds. Every Day in the Year. 1902.

April 30

For the Picture

By J. M. W. Turner (1775–1851)

  • “The Eruption of the Sauffrier Mts.” In the Island of St. Vincent, April 30, 1812.
    The Vincentian Soufriere burst forth in all its fury in 1812, opening a circular chasm over half a mile in diameter and nearly 500 feet deep. So awful was the discharge from that stupendous mouth that even Barbadoes, a hundred miles away, was thickly covered with the volcanic dust. But soon, after wreck and horror, St. Vincent laughed again in all its superlative loveliness, and the grim volcano gathered flowers to its sides, and rested until this recent eruption.
    A picture of the scene was painted which called forth the following sonnet from Turner, the artist:

  • THERE in stupendous horror grew

    The red volcano to the view,

    And shook in thunders of its own,

    While the blazed hill in lightnings shone,

    Scatt’ring thin arrows round.

    As down its sides of liquid flame

    The devastating cataract came,

    With melting rocks and crackling woods,

    And mingled roar of boiling floods,

    And rolled along the ground!