Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

While I was observing them, the sun began to colour the balustrades of the palaces, and the pure exhilarating air of the morning drawing me abroad, I procured a gondola, laid in my provision of bread and grapes, and was vowed under the Rialto, down the Grand Canal, io the marble steps of S. Maria della Salute, erected by the senate in performance of a vow to the Holy Virgin, who begged off a terrible pestilence in 1630. The great bronze portal opened whilst I was standing on the steps which lead to it, and discovered the interior of the dome, where I expatiated in solitude; no morial appearing, except one old priest, who trimmed the lamps, and muttered a prayer before the high-altar. still wrapped in shadows. The sunbeams began to strike against the wivdows of the cupola, just as I left the church, and was wafted across the waves to the spacious platforin in front of St. Giorgio Maggiore, one of the most celebrated works of Palladio. When my first transport was a little subsided, and I had examined the graceful design of each particular ornament, and united the just proportion and grand effect of the whole in my mind, I planted my umbrella on the margin of the sea, and viewed at my leisure the vast range of palaces, of porticos, of towers, opening on every side, and extending ont of sight. The doge's palace, and the tall columns at the entrance of the piazza of St. Mark, form, together with the arcades of the public library, the lofty Campanile, and the inpolas of the ducal church, oix of the most striking groups of buildings that art can boast of. To bebold at one glance these stuttely fabrics, so illustrious in the recorde of former ages, before which, in the flourishing times of the republic. so many valiant chi fs and princes Lave landed, loaded withi i riental fpoils, was a spectacle I had long and ardently desired. I thonght of the days of Frederick Barbarossa, when looking up the piazza of St. Mark, along which he marched in folemn procession to cast himself'at the feet of Alexander III., and pay a tardy homage to St. Peter's successor, Here were no longer those splendid fleeis that attended his progress; one solitary gallas was all I behuld, anchored opposite the palace of the doge, and surronnded by crowds of goudolas, whose sable hues contraeted strongly with its vermilion varg and shining ornaments. A party-coloured multitude was continually shifting from one side of the piazza to the other: whilst senators and inay istrutes, in long black robes, were already arriving to fill their respective officer.

I conteinplated the busy scene from my peaceful platform, where nothing stirred hut aged devotees creeping to their devotions: ard whilst I remained thus calm and tranquil, heard the disiant buzz of the town. Fortunately, some length of waves rolled between me and its tumults, so that I ate my grapes and read Metastasio undisturbed by officiousness or curiosity. When the sun became too powerful, I entered the nave.

After I bad admired the masterly structure of the roof and the lightness of its arches, my eyes naturally directed themselves to the pavement of white and ruddy narble, polished, and reflecting like a mirror the columns which rise from it. Over this I walked to a door tbat admitted me into the principal quadrangle of the convent, surrounded by a cloister supported on Ionic pillars beautifully proportioneil. A figlit of stairs opens into the court, adorned with balustrades and pedestals sculptured with elegance truly Grecian. This brought me to the refectory, where the chef-d' curre of Paul Veronese, representing the marriage of Cana in Galilee, was the first object that presented itself. I never beheld so gorgeous a group of wedding-garments before; there is every variety of fold and plait that can possibly be imagined. The attitudes and countevances are more uniform, and the guests appear a very venteel, decent sort of people, well used to the mode of their times, and accustomed to miracles.

Having examined this fictitious repast, Icast a look on a long range of tables covered with very excellent realities, which the mouks were coming to devour with energy, if one might judge from their appearance. These sons of penitence and mortification possess one of the most spacious islands of the whole cluster; a princely habitation, with gardens and open porticos that engross every breath of uir; and what adds not a little to the charins of their abode, is the faciliiy of making excursions from it whenever they have a mind. Description of Pompeii. From Williams' 'Trare's in Italy, Greece,' &c.

Pompeii is getting daily disencumbererl, and very considerable part of this Grecian city is unveiled.

We en

by the Appian Way, through a narrow street of marble tombs, beautifully executed, witu the names of the deceased plain and logible. We looked into the columbary below that of Marius Arius Diomedes, and perceived jars containing the ashes of the dead, with a small lamp at the side of each. Arriving at the gate, we perceived a sentry-box, in which the skeleton of a soldier was fond with a lamp in his band :* proceeding up the street beyond the gate, we went into several streets, and entered what is called a coffee-house, the marks of cups being visible on the stone; we came likewise to a tavern, and found the sign-uot a very decent one-near the entrance. The streets are lined with public buildings and private houses, most of which have their original painted decorations fresh and entire. The paveme t of the streets is much worn by carriage-wheels, and boles are cut through the side stones for the purpose of fastening animals in the market-place; and in certain situations are placed stepping-stones, which give us a rather unfavourable idea of the state of the streets. We passed two beautiful little temples; went into a surgeon's house, in the operation-room of which chirurgical instruments were fouud; entered an ironmouger's shop, where an anvil avd hammer were discovered ; a sculpa tor's and a baker's shop, in the latter of which may be seen an oven and grinding-mills, like old Scotch querns.

We examined likewise an oilman's shop, and a wine-shop lately opened, where money was found in the till; a school, in which was a smail pulpit, with steps up to it, in the middle of the apartment; a great theatre; a temple of justice; an amphitheatre about 220 feet in length; various temples; a barrack for soldiers, the columns of which are scribbled with their names and jists; Wells, cisterns, seats, tricliniums, beautiful mosaic; alturs, inscript ons. fragme:.ts of statues, and many other curious remains of antiquity. Among tbe most iemarkable objects was an anciegt wall, with part of a still inore ancient marble frieze built in it as a common stone; and a stream which has flowed under this once subtips om ons city long before its burial; pipes of terra-cotta to convey the water to the utforint streets: stocks for prisoners, in one of which a skeleton was found. All these things incline one almost to look for the inhabitants, and wonder at the «iezolate silence of the place.

The houses in general are very low and the rooms are small ; I should think not above ten feet high. Every house is provided with a well and a cistern. Everything seems to be in proportion. The principal streets do not appear to exceed 16 feet in width, with side-pavements of about 3 feet; some of the subordinate streets are from 6 to 10 feet wide, with side-pavements in proportion; there are occasionally high, and are reached by steps. The columns of the barracks are about 15 feet in height; they are made of tufa with stucco; one-third of the shaft is smoothly plastered, the rest fluted to the capital. The walls of the houses are often painted red, and some of them have borders and antique ornaments, masks, and imitations of marble; but in general poorly executed. I have observed on the walls of an eatingroom various kinds of food and game tolerably represented : one woman's apartment was adorned with subjects relating to love, and a man's with pictures of a martial character. Considering that the whole has been under ground upwards of seventeen centuries, it is certainly surprising that they should be as fresh as at the period of their burial. The whole extent of the city, not one half of which (only a third) is excavated, may be about four miles.

ARCTIC DISCOVERY-ROSS, PARRY, FRANKLIN, LYON, BEECHEY, ETC.

Contemporaneous with the African expeditions already described, a strong desire was felt in this country to prosecute our discoveries in the northern seas, which for fifty years had been neglected. The idea of a north-west passage to Asia still presented attractions, and on the close of the revolutionary war, an effort to discover it was resolved upon. In 1818 an expedition was fitted out, consisting of two ships, one under the command of CAPTAIN John Ross, and another under LIEUTENANT, afterwards Sir EDWARD PARRY. The most interesting feature in this voyage is the account of a tribe of Esqui

• This story has since been proved to be fabulous. The place in question was no sentry-box. but it funeral monument of an Augustal named M. Cerinius Restitutus, a appeared from an inscription.-Dyer's Pompeii, p. 531.

maux nitherto unknown, who inhabited a tract of country extending on the shore for 120 miles, and situated near Ballin's Bay. A singu. lar phenomenon was also witnessed--a range of cliffs covered with snow of a deep crimson colour, arising from some vegetable substance. When the expedition came to Lancaster Sound, a passage was confidently anticipated; but after sailing up the bay, Captain Ross conceived that be saw land-a high ridge of mountains, extending directly across the bottom of the inlet-and lie abandoned the enterprise. Lieutenant Parry and others entertained a different opinion from that of their commander as to the existence of land, and the Admiralty fitted out a new expedition, which sailed in 1819, for the purpose of again exploring Lancaster Sound. The expedition, including two ships, the Hecla and Griper, was intrusted to Captain Parry, who had the satisfaction of verifying the correctness of his former impressions, by sailing through what Captain Ross supposed to be a mountain-barrier in Lancaster Sound. • To have sailed upwards of thirty degrees of longitude beyond the point reached by any former navigator—to have discovered many new Jands, islands, and bays—to have established the much-contested existence of a Polar Sea north of America-finally, after a wiutering of eleven months, to have brought back his crew in a sound and vigorous state—were enough to raise his name above that of any former Arctic voyager.' The long winter sojourn in this Polar region was relieved by various devices and amusements: a temporary theatre was fitted up, and the officers came forward as amateur.per. formers. A sort of newspaper was also established, called the * North Georgian Gazette,' to which all were invited to contribute; and excursions abroad were kept up as much as possible. The brilliant results of Captain Parry's voyage soon induced another expedition to the northern seas of America. That commander hoisted his llag on board the Fury, and Captain Lyon, distinguished by his ser. vices in Africa, received the command of the Tecla. The ships sailed in May 1821. It was more than two years ere they returned; and though the expedition, as to its main object of finding a passage into the Polar Sea, was a failure, various geographical discoveries were made. The tediousness of winter, when the vesseis were frozen up, was again relieved by entertainments similar to those formerly adopted; and further gratification was afforded by intercourse with the Esquimaux, who, in their houses of snow and ice, burrowed along the shores. We shall extract part of Captain Parry's account of this shrewd though savage race.

Description of the Exquimaux. The Esquim: tx exhibit a strange mixture of intellect and dollness, of cunning and simpiciiv, of inomaity and stupidity; few of them could count weyond five. ali pot op of them beyond ton. nor could any of them speak a dozen w rds of English after a constant inter ourse of eventeen or eighteen months; vet inny of them could imitate the manners and actions of the strangers, and were on the whole ex

[ocr errors]

cellent mimics. One woman in particular, of the name of Iligluik, very soon attracted the attention of our voyagers by the various traits of that superiority of nderstanding for which, it was found, she was remarkably distinguished, and held in este m even by her own countrymen. She had a great fondness for singing, possessed it soft voice and an excellent ear; but, like another great singer who figured in a different society, there was scarcely any stopping her whence she had once begun;' sho would listen, however, for hours together to the tunes played on the organ. Ker snperior intelligence was perhaps most conspicuous in the readiness with which she was made to comprehend the manner of laying down on paper the geographical outline of that part of the coast of America she was acquainted with, and the neighbouring islands, so as to construct a chart. At first it was found difficult to make her comprehend what was meant; but when Captain Parry had discovered that the Esquimaux were already acquainted with the four cardinal points of the compass for which they have appropriate names, he drew them on a sheet of paper, together with that portion of the coast just discovered, which was opposite to Winter Island, where they then were, and of course well known to her.

We desired her (suys Captain Parry) to complete the rest, and to do it, mikkee (small), when, with a countevance of the moet grave attention and peculiar intelligence, she drew the coast of the continent beyond her own country, as ļving nearly north from Winter Island. The most important part still remained, and it would bave amused an unconcerned looker-on to have observed the anxiety and suspense depicted on the countenances of our part of the group till this was accomplished. for wever were the tracings of a pencil watched with more eager solicitude. Our suiprise and satisfaction may iherefore in some deyree be irpagined when, without iaking it froin the paper, Iligluik

bronght the continental coast short round to the westward. and afterward to the S.S.W., so as to come within three or four days journey of Repulse Bay.

I am, however, compelled to acknowledge, that in proportion as the superior understanding of this extraordinary woman became more and more developed, her head--for what female head is indifferent to praise ?--began to be turned by the .general attention and numberless presents she received. The superior decency and even modesty of her behaviour bad combined, with her intelectual qualities, to raise her in our estimation far above her companions; and I often heard others express what I could not but agree in, that for Iligluik alone, of all the Esquimaux women, that kind of respect could be entertained which modesty in a female never fails to command in our sex. Thus regarded, she had always been freely admitted into the ships, the quarter-masters at the gangway never thinking of refusing entrance to

the wise woman,' as they called her. Whenever any explanation was necessary b,'tween the Esquimaux and ns, Iligluik was sent for as an interpreter; information was chiefly obtained through her, and she thus found herself rismy into a degree of consequence to which, but for us, the conld never have attained. Notwithstün ing & more than ordinary share of good sense on her part, it will not therefore be woridered at if she became giddy with her exaltation-considered her admission into tie ships and most of the cabins no longer an indulgence, but a righi--ceased to return the slightest acknowledgment for any kindness or presents-became listk ss and inattentive in unravelling the meaning of our questions, and careless wheti er hr answers conveyed the information we desired. In short, Iligluik in Februnry end Iligluik in April were confessedly very different persons; and it was at last amusing to recollect, though not very easy to persuade one's self, that the woman who new Bat demurely in a chair. so confidently expecting the notice of those around her, ani she who had at first, with eager and wild delight, assisted in cutting snow for me building of a hut, and with the bope of obtaining a single needle, were actually one and the same individual.

No kind of distress can deprive the Esquimaux of their cheerful temper and gooil. bnmour, which they prescrve even when reverely pinched withi hunger and co dno wholly deprived for days together both of food and fuel-a situation to which ih y are very frequently reduced. Yet no calamity of this kind can teach them to bi provident, or to take the least thought for the morrow; with them, indeed, it is always either a feast or a fainine. The enormous quantity of animal food-shey bave no other-which they devour at a time is almost incredible. The quantity of mout which they procured between the first of October and the first of April was sufficient to have furnished about double the wumber of working-people, who were inoderace

eaters, and had any idea of providing for a future day, but to individuals who can demolish four or five pounds at a sitting, and at least ten in the course of a day, and who never bestow a thoug it ou to-morrow. üt least with the view to provide for it by economy, there is scarcely any supply which could secure them from occisional scarci:y. It is highly probable that the alternat: feasting and fasting to which the gluttony and improvidence of these pop.e ro constantiy subject them, may have occasioned many of the complaints that proved fatal during the winter; and on this account we hurdly knew whether to rejoice or not at the general success of their fishery.

A third expedition was undertaken by Captain Parry. assisted by Captain Hoppner, in 1824, but it proved still more unfortunate. The broken ice in Baffin's Bay retarded his progress until the season was too far advanced for navigation in that climate. After the winter broke up, buge masses of ice drove the ships on shore, and the Fury was so much injured, that it was deemed necessary to abandon her with all her stores. In April 1827, Captain Parry once more sailed in the Hecla, to realise, if possible, his sanguine expectations; but on this occasion he projected reaching the North Pole by employing light boats and sledges, which might be alternately used, as compact fields of ice or open sea interposed in his route. On reaching Hecla Cove, they left the ship to commence their journey on the ice. Vigorous efforts were made to reach the Pole, still 500 miles distant; but the various impediments they had to encounter, and particularly the drifting of the snow-fields, frustrated all their endeavours; and after two months spent on the ice, and penetrating. about a degree farther than any previous expedition, the design was abandoned-having attained the latitude of 82 degrees 45 minutes. These four expeditions were described by Captain Parry in separate volumes, which were read with great avidity. The whole have since been published in six small volumes, constituting one of the most interesting series of adventures and discoveries recorded in our language. On his return, Captain Parry was appointed Hydrographer to the Admiralty, and received the honour of knighthood. From 1829 10 1834 he resided in New South Wales as commissioner to the Australian Agricultural Company. Fle again returned to England, and held several Admiralty appointments, the last of which was governor of Greenwich Hospital. In 1852, he attained to the rank of rearadmiral, and died, universally regretted, July 1855, aged sixty-five.

Following out the plan of northern discovery, an expedition was, in 1819, despatched overland to proceed from the Hudson's Bay factory, tracing the coast of the Northern Ocean. This expedition was commanded by CAPTAIN JOIN FRANKLIN, accompanied by Dr. Richardson, a scientific gentleman; two midshipmen-Mr. Hood and Mr. (afterwards Sir George) Back-and two seamen. The journey to the Coppermine River displayed the characteristic ardour and hardihood of British seamen. Great suffering was experienced. Mr. Hood lost his life, and Captain Franklin and Dr. Richardson were at the point of death, when timely succour was afforded by some Indians. • The results of this journey, which, including the navigation along the

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »