« PředchozíPokračovat »
placed. Except Athens, I had never witnessed any scene more essentially impressive. 6. I will not place this spectacle below the city of Miner
Athens and the holy city in their glory must have been the finest representations of the beautiful and the sublime, the holy city, - for the elevation on which I stood was the Mount of Olives, and the city on which I gazed was Jerusalem! The dark gorge beneath me was the vale of Jehoshaphat; further on was the fountain of Siloah. I entered by the gate of Bethlehem, and sought hospitality at the Latin convent of Terra Santa.
7. Easter was approaching, and the city was crowded with pilgrims. I had met many caravans in my progress. The convents of Jerusalem are remarkable.' That of the Armenian Christians, at this time, afforded accommodation for four thousand pilgrims. :: It is a town of itself, and possesses within its walls streets and shops.
8. The Greek convent held perhaps half as many. And the famous Latin convent of Terra Santa, endowed by all the monarchs of Catholic Christendom, could boast only of one pilgrim, myself. The Europeans have ceased to visit the Holy Sepulchre.
9. As for the interior of Jerusalem, it is hilly and clean. The houses are of stone, and well built, but, like all Asiatic mansions, they offer nothing to the eye but blank walls and dull portals. The mosque I had admired was the famous mosque of Omar, built upon the supposed site of the Temple. It is perhaps the most beautiful of the Mahometan temples; but the Frank, even in the Eastern dress, enters it at the risk of his life.
10. The Turks of Syria have not been contaminated by the heresies of their enlightened Sultan. · In Damascus, it is impossible to appear in the Frank dress without being pelted; and although they would condescend, perhaps, at Jerusalem, to permit an infidel dog to walk about in his national dress, he would not escape many a curse, a scornful exclamation of Giaor!'
11. There is only one way to travel in the East with ease, and that is with an appearance of pomp. The Turks are much influenced by the exterior, and, although they are not mercenary, a well-dressed and well-attended infidel will command respost.
12. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is nearly in the middle of the city, and professedly built upon Mount Calvary, which it is alleged was levelled for the structure. Within its walls, they have contrived to assemble the scenes of a vast number of incidents in the life of the Saviour, with a highly romantic violation of the unity of 'place. Here, the sacred feet were anointed; there, the sacred garments parcelled; from the pillar of the scourging to the rent of the rock, all is exhibited in a succession of magical scenes.
13. The truth is, the whole is an ingenious fiction of a comparatively recent date, and we are indebted to that fa. vored individual, the Empress Helen, for this exceedingly clever creation, as well as for the discovery of the true cross. The learned believe, and with reason, that Calvary is at present, as formerly, without the walls, and that we must seek for the celebrated elevation in the lofty hill, now called Sion.
14. The church is a spacious building, surmounted by a dome. - Attached to it are the particular churches of the various Christian sects, and many chapels and sanctuaries. Mass, in some part or other, is constantly celebrating, and companies of pilgrims may be observed in all directions, visiting the holy places and offering their devotions.
15. Latin, and Armenian, and Greekfriars are everywhere moving about. The court is crowded with the venders of relics and rosaries. The Church of the Sepulchre itself is a point of common union, and, in its bustle, and lounging character, rather reminded me of an exchange, than a temple.
LESSON XLVII. Egypt.
1. A RIVER is suddenly found flowing through the wilderness; its source is unknown. On one side are interminable wastes of sand; on the other, a rocky desert and a
Thus it rolls on for five hundred miles, throwing up on each side, to the extent of about three leagues, soil fertile as a garden. Within a hundred and fifty miles of the sea, it divides into two branches, which wind through
an immense plain, once the granary of the world. Such is Egypt !
2. From the cataracts of Nubia to the gardens of the Delta, in a course of twelve hundred miles, the banks of the Nile are covered at slight intervals with temples and catacombs, pyramids, and painted chambers. The rock temples of Ipsambol, guarded by colossal forms, are within the roar of the second cataract; avenues of sphinxes lead to Derr, the chief town of Nubia.
3. From Derr to the first cataract, the Egyptian boundary, a series of rock temples conduct to the beautiful and sacred buildings of Philæ ; Edfou and Esneh are a fine preparation for the colossal splendor and the massy grace of ancient Thebes.
4. Even after the inexhaustible curiosity and varied magnificence of this unrivalled record of ancient art, the beautiful Dendera, a consummate blending of Egyptian imagination and Grecian taste, will command your enthusiastic gaze; and, if the catacombs of Siout, and the chambers of Benihassen prove less fruitful of interest after the tombs of the Kings, and the cemeteries of Gornou, before you are the obelisks of Memphis, and the pyramids of Gizeh, Saccarah, and Dashour !
5. The traveller who crosses the desert, and views the Nile with its lively villages, clustered in groves of palm, and its banks entirely lined with that graceful tree, will bless with sincerity that “ Father of Waters." "T is a rich land, and indeed flowing with milk and honey. The Delta, in its general appearance, somewhat reminded me of Belgi
The soil everywhere is a rich, black mud, without a single stone.
6. The land is so uniformly flat, that those who arrive by sea do not detect it until within half a dozen miles, when a palm-tree creeps upon the horizon ; and then you observe the line of land that supports it. The Delta is intersected by canals, that are filled with the rising Nile.
It is by their medium, and not by the absolute overflowing of the river, that the country is periodically deluged.
7. The Arabs are gay, witty, vivacious, and very susceptible and acute. It is difficult to render them miserable, and a beneficent government 'might find in them the most valuable subjects. A delightful climate is some compensation
for a grinding tyranny. Every night, as they row along the moon-lit river, the boatmen join in a melodious chorus, shouts of merriment burst from each illumined village, everywhere are heard the bursts of laughter and of music, and, wherever you stop, you are saluted by the dancing-girls.
8. These are always graceful in their craft; sometimes very agreeable in their persons. They are gayly, even richly dressed; in bright colors, with their hair braided with pearls, and their necks and foreheads adorned with strings of gold coins. In their voluptuous dance, we at once detect the origin of the boleros, fandangos, and castanets of Spain.
9. I admire very much the Arab women. They are very delicately moulded. Never have I seen such little, twinkling feet, and such small hands. Their complexion is clear, and not dark; their features beautifully formed, and sharply defined ; their eyes bright with intelligence.
10. The traveller is delighted to find himself in an Oriental country where the women are not imprisoned and scarcely veiled. For a long time, I could not detect the reason why I was so charmed with Egyptian life. At last, I recollected that I had recurred, after a long estrangement, to the cheerful influence of women.
11. Cairo is situate on the base of considerable hills, whose origin cannot be accounted for, but which are undoubtedly artificial. They are formed by the ruins and rubbish of long centuries. When I witness these extraordinary formations, which are not uncommon in the neighborhood of Eastern cities, I am impressed with the idea of the immense antiquity of Oriental society.
12. There is a charm about Cairo, and it is this, - that it is a capital in a desert. In one moment, you are in the stream of existence, and in the other in boundless solitude, or, which is still more awful, in the silence of tombs. I speak of the sepulchres of the Mamlouk Sultans without the city. They form what may indeed be styled a city of the dead, an immense Necropolis, full of exquisite buildings, domes' covered with fret-work, and minarets carved and moulded with rich and elegant fancy.
13. To me they proved much more interesting than the far-famed Pyramids, although their cones at a distance are indeed sublime, - their grey cones, soaring in the light blue
sky. The genius that has raised the tombs of the sultans, may also be traced in many of the mosques of the city, splendid specimens of Saracenic architecture. In gazing upon these brilliant creations, and also upon those of ancient Egypt, I have often been struck by the felicitous system which they display, of ever forming the external ornaments of inscriptions.
14. How far excelling the Grecian and Gothic method ! Instead of a cornice of flowers, or an entablature of unmeaning fancy, how superior to be reminded of the power of the Creator, or the necessity of governments, the deeds of conquerors, or the discovery of arts.
LESSON XLVIII. Falls of the Niagara.
1. There is a power and beauty, I may say a divinity, in rushing waters, felt by all who acknowledge any sympathy with nature. The mountain stream, leaping from rock to rock, and winding, foaming, and glancing through its devious and stony channels, arrests the eye of the most careless or business-bound traveller ; sings to the heart, and haunts the memory, of the man of taste and imagination ; and holds, as by some indefinable spell, the affections of those who inhabit its borders.
2. A waterfall, of even a few feet in height, will enliven the dullest scenery, and lend a charm to the loveliest; while a high and headlong cataract has always been ranked among the sublimest objects to be found in the compass of the globe.
3. It is no matter of surprise, therefore, that lovers of nature perform journeys of homage to that sovereign of cataracts, that monarch of all pouring floods, the Falls of Niagara. It is no matter of surprise, that, although situated in what might have been called, a few years ago, but cannot be now, the wilds of North America, five hundred miles from the Atlantic coast, travellers from all civilized parts of the world have encountered all the difficulties and fatigues of the path, to behold this prince of water-falls amidst its ancient solitudes, and that, more recently, the broad highways to its dominions have been thronged.