« EdellinenJatka »
contained nothing more than a reservoir of water. Upon this information, we made an experiment, by throwing down some stones, which rumbling along the sides of the descent for some time, the sound seemed at last quashed in a bed of water. In order, however, to be more certain, we sent in a Levantine mariner, who, by the promise of a good reward, ventured, with a flambeau in his hand, into this narrow aperture. After continuing within it for about a quarter of an hour, he returned, bearing in his hand, some beautiful pieces of white spar, which art could neither equal nor imitate. Upon being informed by him that the place was full of these beautiful incrustations, I ventured in once more with him, about fifty paces, anxiously and cautiously descending, by a steep and dangerous way. Finding however, that we came to a precipice which led into a spacious amphitheatre, (if I may so call it,) still deeper than any other part, we returned, and being provided with a ladder, flambeau, and other things to expedite our descent, our whole company, man by man, ventured into the same opening; and descending one after another, we at last saw ourselves all together in the most magnificent part of the cavern."
The grotto of Antiparos continued.
OUR candles being now all lighted up, and the whole place completely illuminated, never could the eye be presented with a more glittering, or a more magnificent scene. The whole roof hung with solid icicles, transparent as glass, yet solid as marble. The eye could scarcely reach the lofty and noble ceiling; the sides were regularly formed with spars; and the whole presented the idea of a magnificent theatre, illuminated with an immense profusion of lights. The
floor consisted of solid marble; and, in several places magnificent columns, thrones, altars, and other objects, appeared, as if nature had designed to mock the cu riosities of art. Our voices, upon speaking or singing, were redoubled to an astonishing loudness; and upon the firing of a gun, the noise and reverberations were almost deafening. In the midst of this grand amphitheatre rose a concretion of about fifteen feet high, that, in some measure, resembled an altar; from which, taking the hint, we caused mass to be celebrated there. The beautiful columns that shot up round the altar, appeared like candlesticks; and many other natural objects represented the customary ornaments of this.
"Below even this spacious grotto, there seemed another cavern; down which I ventured with my former mariner, and descended about fifty paces by means of a rope. I at last arrived at a small spot of level ground, where the bottom appeared different from that of the amphitheatre, being composed of soft clay, yielding to the pressure, and in which I thrust a stick to the depth of six feet. In this however, as above, numbers of the most beautiful crystals were formed; one of which, particularly, resembled a table. Upon our egress from this amazing cavern, we perceived a Greek inscription upon a rock at the mouth, but so obliterated by time, that we could not read is distinctly. It seemed to import that one Antipater, in the time of Alexander, had come hither; but whether he pene trated into the depths of the cavern, he does not think fit to inform us."-This account of so beautiful and striking a scene, may serve to give us some idea of the subterraneous wonders of nature.
Earthquake at Catanea.
ONE of the earthquakes most particularly described in history, is that which happened in the year 1693; the damages of which were chiefly felt in Sicily, but. its motion was perceived in Germany, France, and England. It extended to a circumference of two thousand six hundred leagues; chiefly affecting the sea coasts, and great rivers; more perceivable also upon the mountains than in the valleys. Its motions were so rapid, that persons who lay at their length, were tossed from side to side, as upon a rolling billow. The walls were dashed from their foundations; and no fewer than fifty-four cities, with an incredible number of vil lages, were either destroyed or greatly damaged. The city of Catanea, in particular, was utterly overthrown. A traveller who was on his way thither, perceived, at the distance of some miles, a black cloud, like night, hanging over the place. The sea, all of a sudden, began to roar; mount Etna to send forth great spires of flame ; and soon after a shock ensued, with a noise as if all the artillery in the world had been at once discharged. Our traveller being obliged to alight instantly, felt himself raised a foot from the ground; and turning his eyes to the city, he with amazement saw nothing but a thick cloud of dust in the air. The birds flew about astonished; the sun was darkened; the beasts ran howling from the hills; and although the shock did not continue above three minutes, yet near nineteen thousand of the inhabitants of Sicily perished in the ruins. Catanea, to which city the describer was travelling, seemed the principal scene of ruin; its place only was to be found; and not a footstep of its former magnificence was to be seen remaining. GOLDSMITH.
forts to others, which they afforded to himself. posed upon particular occasions, yet designed for ge neral use; delivered out as services for Israelites under the Law, yet no less adapted to the circumstances of Christians under the Gospel; they present religion to us in the most engaging dress; communicating truths which philosophy could never investigate, in a style which poetry can never equal; while history is made the vehicle of prophecy, and creation lends all its charms to paint the glories of redemption. Calculated alike to profit and to please, they inform the understanding, elevate the affections, and entertain the ima gination. Indited under the influence of HIM, to whom all hearts are known, and all events foreknown, they suit mankind in all situations; grateful as the manna which descended from above, and conformed itself to every palate.
The fairest productions of human wit, after a few perusals, like gathered flowers, wither in our hands, and lose their fragrancy: but these unfading plants of paradise become, as we are accustomed to them, still more and more beautiful; their bloom appears to be daily heightened; fresh odours are emitted, and new sweets extracted from them. He who has once tasted their excellencies, will desire to taste them again; and he who tastes them oftenest, will relish them best.
And now, could the author flatter himself, that any one would take half the pleasure in reading his work, which he has taken in writing it, he would not fear the loss of his labour. The employment detached him from the bustle and hurry of life, the din of politics, and the noise of folly. Vanity and vexation flew away for a season; care and disquietude came not near his dwelling. He arose, fresh as the morning, to his task; the silence of the night invited him to pursue it; and he can truly say, that food and rest were not preferred before it. Every psalm improved infinitely upon his acquaintance with it, and no one gave him uneasiness
but the last for then he grieved that his work was done. Happier hours than those which have been spent in these meditations on the songs of Sion, he never expects to see in this world. Very pleasantly did they pass; they moved smoothly and swiftly along; for when thus engaged, he counted no time. They are gone; but they have left a relish and a fragrance upon the mind: and the remembrance of them is sweet.
Character of ALFRED, king of England.
THE merit of this prince, both in private and public life, may, with advantage, be set in opposition to that of any monarch or citizen, which the annals of any age, or any nation, can present to us. He seems, indeed, to be the complete model of that perfect character, which, under the denomination of a sage or wise man, the philosophers have been fond of delineating, rather as a fiction of their imagination, than in hopes of ever seeing it reduced to practice: so happily were all his virtues tempered together; so justly were they blended; and so powerfully did each prevent the other from exceeding its proper bounds.
He knew how to conciliate the most enterprising spirit with the coolest moderation; the most obstinate perseverance, with the easiest flexibility; the most severe justice, with the greatest lenity; the greatest rigour in command, with the greatest affability of deportment; the highest capacity and inclination for science, with the most shining talents for action.
Nature also, as if desirous that so bright a production of her skill should be set in the fairest light, had bestowed on him all bodily accomplishments; vigour of limbs, dignity of shape and air, and a pleasant, engaging, and open countenance. By living in that