« VorigeDoorgaan »
unlocked the door of what seem- flames, and all the phantasmagoria of ed a small boudoir, in which were sev- imposture : but we conjure up no de. eral open caskets filled with ladies' trin- mons except those that follow the surkets, and two or three sets of gold and feit of our suppers, and need no surer silver dressing-plate, elegantly packed machinery than those triokets which as if ready for gifts. Along covered you saw prepared as bribes for the vaia passage led the astonished judge into a women who imagine themselves initiahall which he remembered to be the ted among a secret sect of omnipotent place of the inidnight lectures given by philosophers. ibe cabalist. And the count completed “My lord, it was no reproach to the his amazement by the taking up the gar- chamber of Wetzlar that they misjods. ment of the lecturer, which layin a corner, ed the fate of their chancellor. How and throwing it over himself. Lobenstein much eloquence was wasted to prove stood silent, unable to express his con- that he provoked his death, and that the fusion of ideas, and the count laughed assassin rather deserved fame than punheartily. “My loyal and learned friend, ishment ! How little could those young you have seen the whole secret of that philosophers, who believe all actions iremendous cabalism which is now an justified by their motive, judge either of engine of state-affairs. Did you expect the motive or the fact !—The chancelto find this place really contrived for was not murdered, nor did any one the invention of aurum potabile or elir- compass his death. He fell dead in ir vitæ ?-No, my dear lord :—those apoplexy at the house of a friend to who enter it imagine they shall be ini- whom he went to communicate the tiated into some powerful and unknown scene in the alchymist's academy; and society, but the only secret power is that friend, secretly purposing to ruin that which their curiosity or vanity sup- the emperor's favourite Otto, placed the plies. For vapourish Englishmen, who body with a sash twisted 'round the must have bugbears, we have the won- neck in such a place as to fix suspicion ders of the Gnostics and the dreams of on him. The Austrian Jew, who their own Lilly and Dr. Dee clothed in amused the emperor by his pretended modern jargon. For Frenchmen, alchymy, fell into the hands of our po whose theatrical existence is governed lice by offering himself to me as the by spectacles, who know no greater agent of a society, devised only to de men than Vestris and Voltaire, we tect such impostors by seeming their keep that library of useless books, into confederates. If ancient sages had, as which we usher them with great myste- it is pretended, the pyramids of Egypt ry, as into the temple of the illuminati; to conceal their secret chambers, we and, by studying their ambition discové politicians have the still broader pyraer their secrets. You expected, per- mid of human folly to conceal our's." haps, to see iron wheels, phosphoric
VARIETIES From the Imperial Magazine, April 1820. ing this creature, which I have recently THE DEATH WATCH.
witnessed. Mr. Editor,
One evening, about eight or nine THAT CHAT superstition which first de- o'clock, my attention was called to an
nominated this curious insect as vousual clicking, which, even at the above, still continues in numerous in. distance of eight or nine feet, resembled stances to render it more an object of exactly the noise made in a watchmaterror than a subject of curiosity. Be- ker's window, excepting that the time ing desirous of exciting the attention of was from 10 to 15 minutes faster tbag entomologists to this diminutive part of the beats of a well regulated watch. I patural history, permit me to lay before soc i found that the scene of this burry, you the following ciscumstances respect- was on a screen of stretched silk paper,
stiffened with glue water. My ape house, an active depredator, and someproach with the candle, a little disturb- times, through superstitious fear, the ed the performers; and some of them terror of the family. desisted entirely. On a close inspection, I saw one or two of them running ROME BY MOONLIGHT. from the light, and found them to be of the sensibility, eloquence, pervading truth and the species of little white worms or in grandeur of imagination, in these beautiful passages, sects, which we sometimes call book will be only obscured by any comment. worms, thousands of which we have The evenings here are often so exconstantly preying upon the wood work tremely beautiful, that we bave occasof our furniture, about the size of a ionally been tempted to visit the maglouse, and uncommonly nimble and sby. nificent antiquities by mood-light.
Towards the close of the last summer, The column of Trajan, that glorious after a removal to a new situation, I was memorial of Roman dignity, appeared again repeatedly amused with similar when viewed thus, to great advantage. performances at various hours of the The contrast of the light of the passing day. They were assembled on a blue flambeaux, glowing on the enriched paper lining to a perforated door of a basemeat, while the beautiful embossed book case.
shaft reflected the silver moon, had an Prior to these observations, I al- effect indescribably fine. Part of the ways coosidered then to be solitary sculpture was distinctly seen, while disturbers of the wakeful hours of re- other parts, as time obliterates names pose, only one of which I had heard and facts, were lost in oblivion. From without dismay, in the course of fifty various situations, the columo was opyears, and that was wben I was a boy. posed to dark and shaded buildings, One of our learned cyclopedists says, which gave it a point and character, that this watch-like ticking is a signal and reminded us of the diamond on between the sexes. If this be correct, the sable hair of beauty.
The temples the circumstances I have witnessed of Nerva and Pallas were greatly immight have been some great festival or proved by Cyothia's beams; and the merry-making amongst them. As our shadows and fine touches of light upon ideas are frequently involuntary, the the entablature and columns-ihe myssometimes accumulated and confused terious and solemn aspect of the whole, ticking of many of them at once, put uoited, in one sentiment, the past and me forcibly in miad of one of our po- the present, and impressed us with a etic or prose writers on the battle of deep, yet pleasing melancholy. The Waterloo, when describing the last Temple of Peace was impressive in the great charge of cavalry, that it resem- silence of night. bled to a by-stander the noise of a thou As we approached the Coliseum, sand tinkers, hammering their utensils. the moon pointed out innumerable collo what way such mites as these can ef- umns of marble and granite, some of fect so great a sound, and by what ana- them entire, and others broken by brutal tomical mechanism that sound shall so violence. When we entered the Colisexactly imitate the beating of a watch eum itself, the moon was in full splenio quick time, may be equally difficult dour; but, in attempting to describe this to resolve, if not more so than the hith- mighty work, I feel how utterly ioadeerto mysterious performance of the au- quate my powers are to my subject. The tomaton chess-player ; but as the former innumerable open arches, with the belongs to those works of the almighty, moon-beams shining through them, which are sought out by all those who were like the eyes of past ages looking have pleasure therein, some of your upon us. The very masses of huge learned correspondents may be able to square blocks, though inconsiderable add to our scanty information on this accessories, were in theireffect extremeinsect; which contemptible as it may ly grand; we could only move, without Beem, is an inmate in almost every enquiring why we were impressed with
qG ATHENEUM VOL. 7.
such solemn awe. We walked by the at the the cross below, of the connection pale beams through all the witchery of between this and another world. the place ; silence and uncertainty pre The triumphal arches, the remains vailed ; and a single drop of water, of palaces and temples, addressing the falling from the vaulted roof, was heard mind through every stain and every dye at a great distance. We a-cended the of crumbling and dejected ruin, their first and second corridors, where suc- last shadows recalling to our contemcessive generations of Romans, from plation Roman glory, Roman honour, the emperor to the meanest slave, bad Roman virtue, Roman geoius, Roman crowded to witness the mutual butchery cruelty and folly, formed a spectacle of gladiators, and the conflicts of bu- that spoke to the beart, and bade the man beings with furious wild beasts. eye obey its sad emotion. Sometimes we wandered in the dark ; Objects often derive a character from at other times we were led by the glim- the state of mind in which they are view. mering, light of scattered moon-beanis ed. While we stood in the ancient Roseen from afar, and casting shadows man Forum, with the Capitol before us, wbich appeared like the phantoms of the beauteous moon seemed doubly iothe departed. As we advanced, the teresting; and while we contrasted light became stronger, and we perceive her with the affecting edifices around, ed that we were yet among the living, she and her train of stars appeared like -a circumstance which mystery, un- tears in the scutcheon of Roman grancertainty, and the impression of ancient deur. times, had made us almost forget. Ascending higher among the ruins, we MACBETH AND THE WITCHES. . took our station where the whole magnitude of the Coliseum was visible :
A new Picture, by John Martin; the what a fulness of mind the first glance subject, Macbeth upon bis return from excited! yet how inexpressible at the the Highlands, after the defeat of Macsame time were our feelings ! The aw- dopald, meets the Weird Sisters on the ful silence of this dread ruin still ap- blasted heath before Sun-set.” pealed to our hearts. The single sentinel's Macb.-Stay, you imperfect speakers, tell me more. iread, and the ticking of our watches,
Banquo-Whither are they vanished ? were the only sounds we heard, while The artist has not depended altogether
was marching in the vault upon the actors in the above passage. of night, and the stars were peeping The landscape is not merely a subordithrough the various openings ; the sha- nate accessory, but a principal and powdows of the flying clouds being all that erful instrument of effect. A stupenreminded us of motion and of life. dous succession of rocky mountains rises We were tempted to exclaim : Whero in wild grandeur, from the foreground are the five thousand wild beasts that to the horizon, exceptiog wbere the view tore each other to pieces, on the day is diversified by a remote lake or estu. on which this mighty pile was opened ? ary. Near the ceatre of the foreground Silent now are those unnatural shouts Macbeth stands beside Banq'io, in an of applause called forth by the murder- attitude of astonishment and awe. His ous fights of the gladiators ;—what a head and the upper part of his figure contrast to this death of sound ! are thrown back; his hands raised, and
On taking our last look, and give the red mane of his helm uprises in the ing our farewell sighs to the night, the blast. The glare of the lightning illugrand effect of the whole was striking mines his figure, and his dark eye is bent to the last degree. While one part in vebement perturbation on the Weird was in shadow against the light of the Sisters. These visionary beings are sky, other parts were mingled in the borne off the earth in the dark whirl deepened indigo, and seemed, as it of a fiery cloud. They rise one above were, blended with the heavens,— another, in a diagonal direction, and a strongly reminding us, while we looked flash of lightning, descending gear tliem,
breaks into meteoric coruscations on the ideas of magnitude. The unity of an foregrouod. The witbered unworldly army in motion, fills the imagination look of these agents of darkness is fine- with the most sublime conception of buly imagined : and their spectral eyeballs man power, the power of a countless are turned with ominous ghastliness up- multitude condensed into one body, imon Macbeth. Just beneath the place pelled by one will, and moving to one where they are mounted upon the wind, purpose.
When Homer's armies and melting into dense air, a dark glen march, we fancy the earth trembles. appears, and, in the side of its further. They fill the universe. What can esleep, the yawning depths of a hoary qual the conception of a body describcavern are dimly discernible in shadowy ed in the verse of a British poet, obscurity. The painter, in the true " Whose rear lay wrapt in night, while breaking spirit of Shakspeare, has iodicated this fearful opening, as their means of de
Roused the broad front, and led the battle on.” scent to another world. They are
We behold the most minute and disbloodless, gray, and visionary; but the
tant files of Macbeth's army, and its red Aare of the flashing fires in the hea- whole line of march, in all its windings, vens, is reflected on the brows of the to where the leading ranks are wheeling rocky eminences, above, below, and round the hollow way, and the broad Dear them on each side ; while a dun van is seen, with martial step and glityellow, and dismal blueish light gleams tering arms and banners, advancing up darkly on the eddying circles of the the foot of the front steep, amidst the cloud, in which they rise.
flashes of supernatural light in the heaThe array of Macbeth's army i vens, the clangor of warlike instruments,
and the sound of thunder. grandly conceived, and its gradual expansion from rear to front, admirably
One of the Captains, who leads the delineated. The rear,composed of the march, casts a look of anxious scrutiny baggage train, is diminished, by remote
towards Macbeth and Banquo; and adistance, almost to an attenuated line of bother has turned round on tipioe, with sparkling points. It is first descried voice and arms raised, and every muscle near the right side of the prospect, after their General. There is so much
on the stretch, to quicken their steps moving in a horizontal direction to the left, from the far-off lake at the foot of greatness in the conception of this warthe hills.
The idea of its unbroken rior, and so much fire in his action, that march, in all its windings through an
bis figure has a colossal effect the immense country, is not interrupted by mind, and we cannot see his target and a nearer part of the column being con- spear ebrown up above his head, and his cealed, for a short space, in a hollow
whole stature dilated in sbouting to the behind the rocky eminence, on which
army, without thinking of Achilles on Macbeth and Banquo stand. We see
the rampart, raising his voice to the conits united force, like a mighty river, flicting armies of Greece and Troydeepening and widening in its progress
“ Thrice from the trench his dreadful *. ice he
raised, nearer to the eye.
And thrice they fled confounded and amazed." * Under their valiant leaders, on they move Indissolubly firm ; nor long fatigue,
The action of this immense host is Nor chance, nor straitning vale, nor stream divides beheld with a single glance. We conTheir perfect ranks.”
ceive it as distinctly as a traveller from Titian, whose landscapes afford more a height, beholds the motion of an enorinstances of true grandeur jhan those of mous serpent in the desert regions of any other landscape painter, has fre- the Andes, rolling and winding its glitquently produced a wonderful effect, by tering spires in the sun. The whole introducing a city, on a distant eleva- army is as sublimely one in the mind's tion, with all its lofty towers and stee- eye,' as the sky with all its radiant ples, thrown into shade as one object, night-fires ; the sea with all its dread wbich "the mind ever associates with magnificence of waves.
The dreary sterility of those huge er as he rides along, and must turn out hills, which spread in desert loneliness of bis way if he wishes to examine it
, around, partakes of the same sublime which will occupy a longer time than unity, and produces similar impressions. travellers generally have leisure for, as No flower, no plant, no tree is seen, appears from their own acknowledgeexcepting the dark, browo, and empur- ments, not to notice their dread of being pled heath on the rocky foreground, surprised by the wandering Arabs. and some distant spots. This token of As to the other travellers who have visbarrenness is the only sign of vegetation. ited this celebrated spot, it would be No trace of human habitation, of pres- carrying complaisance too far to place ent or former human being, or of any implicit confidence on their relations, living thing dwelling thereon, is in view. as they appear merely to have passed The accidental march of Macbeth and over the ground, and sometimes not his army through these immeasurable even to know that they were amidst the wilds, does not change the idea of their ruins, until their guides told them it solitude. Even the Weird Sisters ap- was Babel they were riding over. They pear as beings not of this earth, and are of course had no time to examine the vanishing from it. It is as if neither heaps of rubbish. bird nor beast could dwell in a place, “Other travellers visited only one blasted by the baunt of beings, who bank of the Euphrates, pot caring to held communion with fiends, and gob- risk meeting with the Arabs while gratlins, and the unquiet spirits of the dead. ifying their curiosity on the other. The rocky ridges of those stupendous From Belus's tower (which is four mountains appear as if the surges of the miles from Hillah in a direct line) there great deluge had been suddenly petrifi- are no more mounds on the bank of the ed and left, with their thin after-cover- river for the distance of twelve miles ing of beath, as an eternal monument above the tower, when you are shown of that tremendous desolatiod.
a small heap of white and red furnace“ In such a place as this, so wild, so drear,
baked bricks, called by the Arabs the If aught of ancestry can be believed,
hummum or bath. I strongly suspect Ascending spirits have conversed with man this to be the remains of a modern
building, from the size, colour, and RUINS OF BABYLON.
general appearance of the bricks, which,
in my opinion, bear not the slightest reAll information relative to the once semblance to those I had previously powerful and mighty city of Babylon seen. This spot, I should imagine, had must excite the most pleasing emotions not been visited by any traveller, as it in the mind of the traveller and histori- lies at a great distance from the main an. Even its very site deeply impres- road from Hillab to Bagdad ; indeed, ses the imagination with an awful sense no one mentions ever having seen it. of its former greatness. It is with infi- These are all the mounds, or ruios, as nite pleasure we extract a few remarks they are called, of Babylon, that are from a communication made by Capt. generally shown to travellers under the Edward Frederick to the Literary So- general denomination of Babel. I ciety of Bombay.
however discovered, after much inquiry, After adding some general observa- that there were some heaps on the right tions on the ancient condition of that bank, at the distance of somę, miles once flourishing city, he proceeds to de- from Hillah, between the scribe the existing state of the ruins, Karakoolee and the river. and introduces many interesting re “I accordingly rode to them, and marks on the present appearance of the perceived that, for the space of about country.
" that the ruins of half a mile square, the country was the mound lie on the left a short dis- covered with fragments of different tance off the direct road from Hillah; kinds of bricks, but none of them led and a traveller merely sees Belus's tows me to conclude that they were of the
And told the secrets of the world unknown."