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but is content and even solicitous to be concealed. He delights to trace the irregula lar windings of the brook, where, by the luxuriance of foliage, the sun is completely shut out, or only plays in a few interrupted beams on the glittering surface of the water."
The history of the Robin (Turdus Migratorius) is accompanied by a striking representation of that well known bird, which we instantly recognise. But the Gold-winged Woodpecker (Picus Auratus) challenges still more our attention. This bird, we are told, has been described by Europeans, as forming an intermediate link between the Cuckoos and Woodpeckers, having the greatest resemblance to the former, so as to have been arranged by several eminent ornithologists with the Cuckoo. This notion Mr. Wilson endeavours to prove to be without foundation, by a minute description of the conformation of the tongue of the species, the tail-feathers, manners, food, mode of constructing its nest, and a variety of other circumstances. He attempts also, and with considerable humour and effect, to vindicate this species from the aspersions thrown on the whole of the woodpecker tribe, in the well known philipick of Buffon. The following are the passages we refer to.
“ The abject and degraded character which the count de Buffon, with equal elo. quence and absurdity, has drawn of the whole tribe of Woodpeckers, belongs not to the elegant and sprightly bird now before us. How far it is applicable to any of them will be examined hereafter. He is not " constrained to drag out an insipid existence in boring the bark and hard fibres of trees to extract his prey;" for he frequently finds in the loose mouldering ruins of an old stump (the capital of a nation of pismires) more than is sufficient for the wants of a whole week. He cannot be said to "lead # mean and gloomy life, without an intermission of labour," who usually feasts by the first peep of dawn, and spends the early and sweetest hours of morning on the highest peaks of the tallest trees, calling on his mate or companions; or pursuing and gainboling with them round the larger limbs and body of the tree for hours together; for such are really his habits. Can it be said that " sity never grants an interval of sound repose” to that bird, who, while other tribes are exposed to all the peltings of the midnight storm, lodges dry and secure in a snug chamber of his own constructing; or that “the narrow circumference of a tree circumscribes his dull round of life,” who, as seasons and inclination inspire, roams from the frigid to the torrid zone, feasting on the abundance of various regions ? Or is it a proof that “ his appetite is never softened by delicacy of taste" because he so often varies his bill of furc, occasionally preferring to animal food the rich milkiness of young Indian corn, and the wholesome and nourishing berries of the wild cherry, sour gum, and red cedar? Let the reader turn to the faithful repre. sentation of him given in the plate, and say whether his looks be “sad and melancholy," It is truly ridiculous and astonishing that such absurdities should escape the lips or pen of one so able to do justice to the respective merits of every spe. cies; but Buffon had too often a favourite theory to prop up, that led him insensibly astray; and so, forsooth, the whole family of woodpeckers must look sad, sour, and he miserable, to satisfy the caprice of a whimsical philosopher who takes it into his head that they are, and ought to be so.
“But the count is not the only European who has misrepresented and traduced this beautiful bird, One has given him brown legs,* another a yellow neck,f a third has declared him a cuckoo it and in an English translation of Linnæus's System of Nature, lately published, he is characterized as follow's : “ Body striated with black and grey; cheeks red; chin black; never climbs on trees ;'S which is just as correct as if in describing the human species we should say-skin striped with blick and green; cheeks blue; chin orange; never walks on foot, &c. The pages of na. tural history should resemble a faithful mirrour, in which mankind may recognise the true images of the living originals; instead of which we find uiis depart. ment of thein, too often, like the hazy and rough medium of wretched window glass, through whose crooked protuberances every thing appears so strangely distortes, that one scarcely knows their most intimate neighbours and acquaintances.”
(TO BE CONTINUED.)
See Encyc. Brit. Art. Picus, | Latham. Klein. " P. griseo nigroque trausversiin etriatus." truncos arborum non scandit" Ind. Orn. vol. i. p. 242.
SPIRIT OF THE MAGAZINES,
THE HINDOO CITY, DHCBOY. The following description of the once celebrated Hindoo city, Dhuboy, situated to
the northward of Baroach, is entirely new to the European world. We have reason to believe that there are in India many cities, now fallen from their original splendour, or even in ruins, which formerly boasted of their illustrious residents, and their own magnificence. They deserve the attention of the curious, as marking the manners of a part of mankind; and even the histories of their foundations are not without interest, as they manifest the mode of narration adopted by the natives; and their traditionary variations from simple truth
DHUBOY is a Hindoo city, that can boast of the most valuable re. mains of very remote antiquity. The fortifications which surround it are nearly three miles in circumference; and the ancient parts, that yet remain, are constructed in an elegant and costly manlier, being formed entirely of a beautiful hewn stone, having a covered piazza, supported by pillars and pilasters that are formed of triangular stones, and are adorned by very curi. ous sculpture.
The four principal entrances, or gates of the city, are yet more magnificently decorated, and exhibit a more expensive, and valuable species of workmanship, particularly that which opens towards the east. This is called, by way of eminence, the gate of diamonds.
Many lacks of rupees were expended upon the decorations of this gate alone, and so great is the profusion of carved work and fine basso-relievos, and for the Indian style of sculpture, they are so admirably executed, that the most superficial and idle spectator must, of necessity, be forcibly struck by its magnificent appearance.
Near the centre of this justly celebrated city, a spacious tank of the purest water expands its broad and placid surface, which is adorned by several small but beautiful islands, bearing groves of trees that are clothed by an eternal verdure.
This artificial tank is surrounded, for the greatest part, by flights of marble steps, which descend to the very bottom of the water. It was originally made for a reservoir of water, for the use of the inhabitants, and was formed at a vast expense. Notwithstanding it adorns the centre of a large city, and that containing many very considerable manufactures, the banks are ornamented by beautiful groves of mango and tamarind trees, that suspend their luxurious foliage and fruits over the reflecting surface of the tank; while all around, trees of the same species are seen overshadowing the Hindoo pagodas and splendid houses of the Bramins, who are a very numerous class of people in Dhuboy.
I have seldom seen so interesting a spectacle as is to be observed almost every day in this city. Under the grateful shade of these verdant canopies, the weavers fix their looms, and carry on various branches of the cotton manufacture; and, together with the surrounding objects, form a most pleasing and gratifying sight, to a man who feels delight in the contemplation of earthly comfort, and of human happiness.
As the harmless inhabitants never persecute, or even molest, *any part of the animal creation, the face of this beautiful tank is covered with large flocks of wild ducks, pelicans, and a variety of water fowl, which remain in perfect security, and feed unconscious of fear; while the trees are lilled with peacocks, cranes, cloves, and many other beautiful birds; and thousands of monkeys jump about, and play their antick tricks, even on the very roofs of the houses. These animals swarm, to such a degree, in the streets of Dhuboy, that they appear far more numerous than the other inhabitants
The multiplicity of birds and monkeys, resident in Dhuboy, is owing to the universal protection that is afforded to them by the Hindoos who are the principal and most numerous inhabitants of the city, which is by much the most beautiful and interesting place I have seen in the east ; and the appearance of so many animals, that in other places are wild and will scarcely allow a stranger to approach them, but which are here so tame that they exist under the immediate power of the lords of the creation, forms a striking picture, and recalls to the mind of the spectator, the beautiful allegory of men in a state of innocence, when surrounded by all the monsters of the forest, and the various species of the animated creation, without fear of danger or dread of persecution.
The scite of this city is so extremely low, wet, and marshy, that the stranger is astonished how its early founders came to fix upon so disagreeable a spot (when compared with the delightful situations that almost every where surround it) for the foundation of so famed a city. But an account of its origin, which has been carefully handed down to the present generation, and which is generally believed by the inhabitants to be true, at once explains the cause.
I have little doubt but this story is founded upon fact; but. as almost all the Asiatick traditions, and what the natives term historical facts are mingled with the most extravagant fable, it requires a long and accurate intimacy with their manners, customs, and literature, in order to select that which can be relied upon as truth, and distinguish its simple garb, from the rich and many coloured robes that clothe their fable, allegory, and metaphor; but, as I am convinced that all those of my readers, who possess even the smallest degree of taste, will be much gratified by the account of the origin of this city, I will present them with the best authenticated relation I have been able to obtain.
Many centuries have now rolled away, and have shrouded the innumerable events and actions of men, in a universal gloom of doubt and uncertainty, that now can never be removed ; yet, amongst those few records which have survived the wreck of ages, is one that remains to inform pos:erity, that the rich and powerful kingdom of Guzerat was in the early ages of Asiatick history) governed by a mighty, and invincible monarch, named Sadara Jaising (which, according to the derivation of their peculiar language, means the successful and strong lion) who held his residence at Putton, a celebrated and magnificent city of the north.
This powerful monarch was blessed in the possession of seven wives who were the most beautiful and accomplished females of his empire, and by them he had many children; but, as is always the case, where one man is in possession of so many women, he had his favourite, and this was the youngest and most fascinating of his wives, who, by way of eminence, was called, Ruttanalee, or the Lustre of Jewels ; but unfortunately for her, and for her royal consort, she had not the happiness to be a mother.
The other ladies of the haram, who were extremely jealous of Ruttanalee, and had ever entertained a deadly hate towards her, and sought by all the means in their power to weaken that peculiar affection which the Rajah always evinced towards her, had hitherto made the unfortunate circumstance of her barrenness, their principal plea in order to alienate his love.
But, notwithstanding the beauteous Ruttanalee produced not the delightful fruits of her interesting connexion with the puissant emperour of Guzerat; yet that virtuous monarch had too much judgment, and too ardent a love for her who contributed so much towards his earthly happiness, to cast her off at the iniquitous instigations of a nest of jealous, envious, and abandoned women.
But at length, a circumstance occurred, that caused a very great sensation throughout the haram. This was no other than the long-wished-for pregnancy
of Ruttanalee, which had been so ardently longed after by herself, and the Rajah; but no event, whatever, could have been more unwelcome to her enemies, and their hatred became still more rancorous ; till, at length, it knew no bounds, and they were determined to have recourse to supernatural agency, in order to prevent the birth of the expected infant.
According to the superstitious opinions and customs of the Indians, they firmly believe in the power of the charms and spells which are made use of ly their religious devotees; and in the belief that the existence of the child, wiose birth was so much dreaded by the implacable enemies of Ruttanalee, could be averted by these means; those wicked wretches imme. diately employed the necessary agents, and as soon as the superstitious rites were performed, they remained easy, under the ridiculous idea, that the unborn babe would never be an inhabitant of this world.
Indeed, so credulous was the much envied Rutianalee, that she firmly believed in the power of the witchcraft that had been employed against her; and was very uneasy under the idea, that the talisman haeb already taken effect, and that so long as she remained in the place where she then was, her babe would never see the light.
Impressed with these melancholy ideas, she requested permission from the Rajah, to remove from the haram. to a considerable distance in the country, there to remain until the days of her travail should be passed; and, in order to prevail with him the more effectually, she stated to him some of her reasons for wishing to take this step.
The Rajah immediately consented, and ordered a very numerous, and splendid retinue to accompany her, together with every necessary and luxury she might want; and with this magnificent equipage, she set out from the imperial city of Guzerat, in order to sacrifice at a distant but sacred temple of the Hindoo gods, situated on the verdant banks of the majestick Norbudda.
After a very long, and tedious journey, she arrived, about the close of the day, at a hallowed grove, about ten miles distant from the temple to which she was travelling, and which was situated in the very spot where the city of Dhuboy now stands. The dews of night falling around, and the light of day gradually giving place to the increasing gloom of darkness, she ordered her camp to be fixed in the grove for that night, intending to pursue her journey on the following morning.
While engaged in her evening devotions, in her own tent, a holy dervise, or faqhir, who had long ago renounced all connexions with the world, and who had, for many years, resided in the recesses of that grore, in a seat of
religious retirement, arrived at her camp, and requested an immediate audience with the princess.
Being admitted into her presence, he informed her, that the place upon which she had fixed her tent, was sacred and unpolluted ground; and that, if she remained where she was, she would, in a very few days, be delivered of a fine boy, that should be the delight and support of his country.
Ruttanalee, who had, from her infancy, been taught to place implicit confidence in the predictions of holy men, instantly determined to con. tinue in her present encampment, and dismissed the dervise with many protestations of regard, and great fervency of gratitude, for his favourable prognostications.
The holy man's prophecy was actually fulfilled in a very short period, and the delighted Ruttanalee was delivered of a most beautiful prince, who, at the particular request of the dervise, was named Viseldow, or the long expected child.
The happy news of the birth of a son was immediately conveyed to the imperial city, and so delighted was the monarch at these joyful tidings, that he instantly declared the young prince heir to the throne of Guzerat ; and being informed that his beloved Ruttanalee was charmed with the spot where she had been blessed by the favouring gods with a lovely boy, and was fearful of the jealousy of her rivals at his court, and did not wish to return, he ordered a spacious tank to be formed, and sent skilful artificers of every description, to build a large city, and surrounded it by strong fortifications; he also commanded the most eminent artists in his empire to decorate the new city, by every species of costly ornament.
Having collected together the most celebrated artisans, from every part of his dominions, he placed them under the direction and control of one architect, a man of remarkable abilities, and exquisite taste, who had the good fortune to live till this extraordinary work was completed, which has not only immortalized his fame, as one of the most mighty men that ever existed, but which has ever been considered by the Hindoos, as one of the most astonishing productions of one man's genius, that the world has ever seen.
So many years were necessary to complete this immense work, that by the time it was finished the young prince, who had been born on its scite, had succeeded his distinguished father, as monarch, or Rajah Guzerat ; and he was so much pleased with the place of his nativity, that he made it the seat of government; and having sent for those artists who had survived the undertaking, he gave them valuable presents, as tokens of his royal approbation ; but wishing to distinguish the man, to whose very superiour talents the city owed its greatest beauty and chief advantages, above the rest, he desired him to name any reward for his services, that he could bestow, and he should directly have it.
The artist replied, that being happy in the gracious favour of his sovereign, he wanted neither money nor jewels; but as the place was yet without a name, he should deem it a high honour, and an adequate reward for his labour, if he might be permitted to give it the title of his own, which was Dhuboy. The prince immediately gave his consent, and it has ever Tetained the same name, even unto this day.