Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

was about to curtsey myself out of the room, when the former intercepted me to ask, “How far my residence was from town?”

I told her, and Mrs. Roberts interposed with an inquiry, as to whether the coach started from any place in the vicinity? She seemed rather unpleasantly illuminated, when I told her my only conveyance was by steam; and that as the last boat had long since left, I had no choice but to remain in town all night.

“I suppose you have some friends here,” said the gentle-looking woman beside her, in whose thoughtful countenance I could read concern, and kindly feeling, not unmingled with generous indignation, that evinced itself in her lessening timidity; and in the tone of absolute reproach with which, on my answering with much naïveté, “that indeed I had not,” she remarked to Mrs. Roberts, “ What a pity to have brought her so far! I would advise you," she said, addressing me, to go to some respectable inn; it is an awkward thing for so young a person as yourself to be alone in this city, but at an hotel you will be quite safe.”

I looked my thanks, for I am sure heartfelt kindness dictated this suggestion, as, however commonplace the remark may appear on paper, her look and voice evidenced no ordinary degree of interest; but I found it impossible to answer her orally. The reaction of excited feeling and overthrown hope, only wanted this lady's evident sympathy, to make me think myself even more sorrowfully situated than I really was. I had scarcely patience to listen to Mrs. Roberts' parting exordium, as, holding the embroidered bell-rope in her hand, she suspended its movement to exclaim

“Oh, yes; by all means go to an hotel, and if this other person does not suit, I will be sure and write to you—only you don't look old enough. Good morning to you. Some family hotel will be the best!”

I curtseyed myself silently out of the room, and was very civilly shewn the outside the house, by one of the “party-coloured varlets” in waiting

Need I say, I never after heard from Mrs. Roberts, but I did of her, and solved the mysterious incongruity of that apartment, filled with precious things, into which I had been ushered.

Of course, I have not used her real name—that would be scarcely fair, to one who had apparently so many years to acquire those delicate and subtle instincts of our nature, that teach us to be as careful and far-sighted for another as if ourselves were concerned.

At this distance of time, the incident which then appeared a trial to me, has assumed an almost comic complexion; and the contrast my real situation offered to that of the pretty (and surely petted) Mrs. Roberts, a mere illuminated page in my book of life—a picture, illustrative of “silver spoons and wooden ladles," with a dash of Hogarth's satire, in the working out. With all her happy inexperience of worldly exigence, I, too, had been born in affluence—my wants as carefully attended to—my education as refined—my feelings equally sensitive; but for all this, her feet rested on the raised dais of luxury, while mine had trodden the red-hot ploughshares of penury and trial.

Surely, all who run may read the moral of our meeting, and learn from their own acute sensibilities (where self is concerned) the necessity of consideration on behalf of another.

[blocks in formation]

As some sweet dead from her sepulchral rest
At that fix'd day shall meet all mankind blest,
When the deform'd and fair together rise,
To reign one brotherhood along the skies,
So, as I stood to watch the first grey streak
Of morn, on Konigstuhl's* aspiring peak,
Fair GERALDINE from forth her casement's height,
Angelic burst into her kindred light!

Thus as I noticed the Teutonic maid,
In flaky whiteness, airily array'd,
Blending as much of earthly beauty's share,
As pure divinity would stoop to wear,
I gazed, like Joshua, on the orb of day,
And prayed her still to linger on her way.

Ah! soft illusion, unassailed by throes,
For adoration ever is repose ;
I gazed again, and tremulously, while
I fancied something mortal in the smile,
So like the smile I almost could declare
The sweetest woman of our earth would wear ;
Yet as divine I fain would still adore,
Nor by believing less have felt the more.

In all that's heavenly, all that's peaceful lies,
Except that heaven which beams in woman's eyes,
There mortal promptings smouldering lurk within,
And heavenly semblance ministers to sin;
For calm my breast whilst adoration warm’d,
Ere woman smiled and eartbly throes alarm’d,
I knew no envy, no impatience felt,
But undisturb'd, discern'd how others knelt;
Such was my peace, whilst yet belief display'd
A heavenly seraph in the earthly maid.

But happier now, though banished to that land,
Where ocean washes on a Libyan strand,
Whose task-doom'd sons relentless nature chides,
And where the burning ray directly strides;
Or milder chance, what though condemn'd alone,
The torpid wanderer of the rigid zone,
Where no kind soil responds to human might,
And the coy sun protracts the polar night;
And so hy fate irrevocably crost,
To hope most hopelessly for ever lost,
Than daily thus in agony to view
The fairest image nature ever drew,
Awakening tumult but to feed despair-
Condemn'd to know but never blest to share.

Ah! wherefore is it, false tyrannic love,
That form’st the joy of all on earth that move,
In human hosoms dost thyself disown,
And mak’st the misery of man alone?
For where is he, so mighty in control,
Who can direct this rebel of his soul,
Like the proud Persian king its course divide,
As 'twere the Ganges, in a various tide?

Thus 'scaped my piety to realms above,
And left me all the turbulence of love!

* A lofty elevation near Heidelberg. Travellers frequently resort hither to

see the sun rising.

THE TERMINATION OF THE TRANSPORT.

BY W. FRANCIS AINSWORTH.

The city of Antioch.- Its present condition.-Its antiquities, sculptures, walls, and

towers.--Its reverses. The station at Murád Páshá.- A few facts in Natural History. The station at Jindarís.- History of Dervish ’Alí.–Plains of North Syria.- Arrive at Port William.-Termination of the Transport.

BEFORE quitting Antioch, and after a residence there, on and off, of upwards of six months, I may be allowed to say a few words as to its present condition, and its remaining monuments of antiquity.

The modern Antákiyeh is but a small town, covering only a very inconsiderable part of the site of ancient Antioch, the remainder being for the most part occupied by mulberry groves, vineyards, and fruit and vegetable gardens.

The population, according to a census taken in Ibráhím Páshá’s time, did not exceed 5600 souls, of whom a large proportion were Syrians of the Greek church; and the town contains a church of that persuasion, a synagogue for the Jews, fourteen mosques, a Mohammedan college, and several khans and public baths. None of these edifices are, however, conspicuous by their loftiness, or by any pretensions to architectural beauty.

The houses are Turkish as to plan, usually of stone, but sometimes consisting of a wooden frame filled up with sun-dried bricks, and having a pent roof covered with red tiles. In some, exterior staircases lead from the courts to corridors and balconies; in others, the staircase is in the interior. Many of the courts are pleasantly shaded by orange and pomegranate trees, and the doors and windows of the buildings generally face the west, for the sake of the cool breezes coming from that quarter during the greater part of summer. The streets are narrow and dirty, being but partially cleansed by a gutter in the centre.

The bazaars are poor, the principal products being confined to fruits, silk, cotton, leather, goats'-hair, and the ordinary supplies of food. Near to the river side are several tan-yards, and in the same neighbourhood are the offal-houses, the thresholds of which are frequented by the white vulture. Ibrahím Páshá adorned the town by erecting to the westward a seras, or palace, which afterwards became an hospital, and beyond it extensive barracks; but unfortunately these were constructed out of the materials of the western portion of the wall.

The river is crossed by a bridge, some of the foundations of which have the aspect of antiquity, and which is approached by a covered way and gate, called Báb Hadíd, or the Iron Gate. Beyond this gate was a military school and a burial-ground, with gardens in the rear; and the river is diversified by several large wheels, some of which are nearly sixty feet in diameter, and which make a monotonous noise. Their power in working corn-mills is increased by dams of interlaced reeds and stakes, and other light materials, which raise the water, and at the same time serve the purpose of productive fish-weirs.

Besides the “ Iron Gate,” there are also the Báb Gineïn, or the Gate of the Gardens, the Báb Ládíkiyeh, or of Lattaquia, and sepa

a

rated from the modern town by a mile of tree and shrub-clad ruins, but within the ancient walls, is the gate known as the Báb Baulus, or of Saint Paul's. It is a light and handsome structure, with a circular arch resting on lofty upright pilasters, the intervening spaces between which are filled up with solid stone masonry. Close by is a plane of gigantic size, overshadowing an open court, from whence coffee is distributed to the traveller. It is a beautiful spot, the walls commencing from this point to climb the rugged hills beyond, and the tall towers skirting the ramparts like guardian giants. It is a locality also suggestive of reflections of no ordinary interest; for under this very gate it is by no means improbable, that Paul, and Barnabas, and Simeon, that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, and a host of other apostles and fathers of the church, may have passed. In this respect it is the most interesting remnant of Antioch, for there are now few other relics of the times of early Christianity.

The antiquities of Antioch are, indeed, most advantageously considered in relation to the epochs which they illustrate. It appears that there existed a previous city near the site of Antioch, which had been a repair of Antigonus, and was called after his name, and that Seleucus Nicator removed the inhabitants of this Antigonia to the first quarter of the new city; the inhabitants themselves built a second quarter, Seleucus Callinicus built a third, and Antiochus Epiphanes a fourth. While the flatterer Libanius, and the old chronicler Malela, would have us believe that the city was founded by Alexander himself, Julian in his Misopogon, gave the credit of its origin to Antiochus, son of Seleucus, for some satirical reason, the point of which is lost in the obscurity of the past.

Nothing now, probably, remains of this Tetrapolis of the Antiochidæ, nor of the city described by Pliny as existing on the other side of the river; and excepting the coins which have been occasionally found, and the traces of the temple of Daphne, there are few remains in the present day of this early period in the history of Antioch. In the vicinity of the excavated churches of Saint James and Saint Paul, there are found the traces of a colossal head, apparently of a sphynx, and also a full length Egyptian figure, both in bold relief, cut in the solid rock, evidently at a very remote period. From the intimate connexion which existed between the dynasties of the Ptolemys and the Antiochidæ, there is every reason to believe that these sculptures belong to that epoch; and it is not improbable that the neighbouring grottoes were the tombs of some of the Egyptian princesses, who were wedded to the kings of Antioch, before they became Christian chapels.

During the several centuries of Roman prefectureship of Syria, Antioch continued its importance as the capital of that great province, of which the land of Judea was but a dependent procuratorship. It was still the seat of pleasure, and the centre of a most extensive com

It is to this period that the walls of Antioch-the most remarkable, perhaps, of all the Syrian monuments—belong, although afterwards repaired by Mohammedans and Christian crusaders.

These walls have a circumference of upwards of four miles, and form an irregular parallelogram, with one of its longer sides touching the Orontes, and the other crowning the summits of a rocky range, which bounds the city to the south east. For the defence of the lower part of the city, no particular effort of skill was necessary; but in the

merce.

higher, the greatest ingenuity was exercised by securing the weak points at the opposite extremity of its rugged contour. Walls and circular turrets of different ages occupy the northern extremity of the range, at the head of the ravine from whence the castellated building, once the Acropolis, commands an extensive prospect.

By a bold effort of genius, a wall has been carried from the eastern side of the castle down the almost vertical face of the cliff, and again from thence across the deep valley beneath, beyond which, in a no less extraordinary manner, it is made to ascend the opposite steep hill in a zig-zag direction, and it is again carried in the same daring manner down the opposite hill-side, till it joins the eastern walls near Saint Paul's gate.

But it was in overcoming the defects of the ground at the southern extremity of the city, that the skill of the Romans is conspicuous. Owing to the steepness of the declivity, the ordinary platform surmounting the wall, here becomes a succession of steps between the towers, which are close to one another, and have a story rising above the wall to protect the intervening portions from the commanding ground outside. These towers are of uniform construction, about thirty feet square, and they project each way, so as to defend the interior side as well as the exterior face of the wall, the latter is from fifty to sixty feet high, and eight or ten feet broad at top, which is covered with cut stones terminating in a cornice.

The towers are perfectly upright, and have interior staircases, and three loop-holed stages resting on brick arches—the uppermost having a stone platform, and a small cistern beneath. Low doors, or rather posterns, afford a passage along the parapets, so that to use an expression of Colonel Chesney's, to whose frequent conversations I am solely indebted for the discrimination of many of the above described peculiarities, these structures may be regarded as a chain of small castles connected by a curtain, rather than simple towers.

It was by the betrayal of one of these towers—called that of the two sisters, but afterwards designated as the tower of Saint George-by the Christian Pyrrhus, that the Crusaders were enabled to obtain possession of their first Syrian principality. And on another there still exists the fragments of a Greek inscription in iambic trimeter verse, of which only the following words can be deciphered :

“ Sunk to ruin by time and tumult,

* * Medon had hastily built
With haste and difficulty the army of the *

The Tower.” Innumerable coins, belonging to the epoch of the Romans, are still found wherever excavations are carried on, and not unfrequently marble busts are also dug out, in which the familiar features of Aurelian, or of Trajan, are chiefly recognised.

The reverses of Antioch constitute, after its Christian eminence, the most remarkable feature in its history. Its kingly splendour-its pleasurable attractions — its commercial and industrial power—its learning and religious zeal, are all dimmed by the most fearful prostrations which dreadful earthquakes, and wars from without, and civil wars within, could combine to produce. Civil wars began under Seleucus Callinicus, and were continued under Antiochus the Great. Religious zeal attained its height under Antiochus Epiphanes, and exVOL. VI.

R

« EdellinenJatka »