Page images

As, undismay'd amidst the tears of all,
He folds his mantle, regally to fall.
Hush, fond enthusiast !-still obscure and lonc,
Yet not less terrible because unknown,
Is the last hour of thousands—they retire
From life's throng'd path, unnoticed to expire.
As the light leaf, whose fall to ruin bears
Some trembling insect's little world of cares,
Descends in silence, while around waves on
The mighty forest, reckless what is gone !
Such is man's doom-and ere an hour be flown,

Start not, thou trifler, such may be thine own !—p. 25. The last poem is to the memory of his late Majesty : unlike courtly themes in general, this is one of the deepest, and most Jasting interest. Buried as the King had long been in mental and visual darkness, and dead to the common joys of the world, his death, perhaps, did not occasion the shock, or the piercing sorrow which we have felt on some other public losses; but the heart must be cold indeed, that could, on reflection, regard the whole fortune and fate of that venerable, gallant, tender-hearted and pious man, without a more than common sympathy. There was something in his character so truly national; his very errors were of so amiable a kind, his excellencies bore so high a stamp, his nature was so genuine and unsophisticated, he stood in his splendid court amidst his large and fine family, so true a husband, so good a father, so safe an example,; he so thoroughly understood the feelings, and so duly appreciated the virtues, even the uncourtly virtues of bis subjects; and, with all this, the sorrows from heaven rained down upon his head in so 'pitiless and pelting a storm;'-all these--his high qualities and unparalleled sufferings form such a subject for poetry, as nothing, we should imagine, but its difficulty and the expectation attending it, would prevent from being seized upon by the greatest poets of the day. We will not say that Mrs. Hemans has filled the whole canvass as it might have been filled, but unquestionably her poem is beyond all comparison with any which we have seen on the subject; it is full of fine and pathetic passages, and it leads us up through all the dismal colourings of the fore-ground to that bright and consoling prospect, which should close every Christian's reflections on such a matter. An analysis of so short a poem is wholly unnecessary, and we have already transgressed our limits; we will, therefore, give but one .extract of that soothing nature alluded to, and release our readers.

• Yet was there mercy still--if joy no more

Within that blasted circle might intrude,
Earth had no grief whose footstep might pass o’er
The silent limits of its solitude !

If all unheard the bridal song awoke

Our hearts' full echoes, as it swellid on high ;
Alike unheard the sudden dirge, that broke

On the glad strain, with dread solemnity.
If the land's rose unheeded wore its bloom,
Alike unfelt the storm that swept it to the tomb.
And she, who, tried thru' all the stormy past,

Severely, deeply proved, in many an hour,
Watch'd o'er thee, firm and faithful to the last,

Sustain'd, inspired, by strong affection's power; If to thy soul her voice no music bore,

If thy closed eye and wandering spirit caught
No light from looks, that fondly would explore

Thy mien, for traces of responsive thought;
Oh! thou wert spared the pang that would have thrillid
Thine inmost heart, when death that anxious bosom still'd.
Thy lov'd ones fell around thee--manhood's prime,

Youth, with its glory, in its fulness, age,
All, at the gates of their eternal clime

Lay down, and closed their mortal pilgrimage ; The land wore ashes for its perish'd flowers,

The grave's imperial harvest. Thou, meanwhile, Did'st walk unconscious thro' thy royal towers,

The one that wept not in the tearful isle ! As a tired warrior, on his battle-plain, Breathes deep in dreams amidst the mourners and the slain. And who can tell what visions might be thine?

The stream of thought, though broken, still was pure! Still o'er that wave the stars of heaven might shine,

Where earthly image would no more endure ! Tho' many a step, of once familiar sound,

Came as a stranger's o'er thy closing ear,
And voices breathed forgotten tones around,

Which that paternal heart once thrill’d to hear,
The mind hath senses of its own, and powers
To people boundless worlds, in its most wandering hours.
Nor might the phantoms, to thy spirit known,

Be dark or wild, creations of remorse ;
Unstain’d by thee, the blameless past had thrown

No fearful shadows o'er the future's course ; For thee no cloud, from memory's dread abyss,

Might shape such forms as haunt the tyrant's eye;
And closing up each avenue of bliss,

Murmur their summons, to “ despair and die !"
No! e'en tho' joy depart, tho' reason cease,
Still virtue's ruin'd home is redolent of peace.
They might be with thee still the loved, the tried,
The fair, the lost, they might be with thee still!


More softly seen, in radiance purified

From each dim vapour of terrestrial ill ;
Long after earth received them, and the note

Of the last requiem o'er their dust was pour’d,
As passing sunbeams o’er thy soul might float,

Those forms, from us withdrawn, to thee restored !
Spirits of holiness, in light reveald,

To commune with a mind whose source of tears was seald.'--p.9. It is time to close this article. Our readers will have seen, and xe do not deny, that we have been much interested by our subect: who or what Mrs. Hemans is, we know not; we have been old that, like a poet of antiquity,

-Tristia vitæ

Solatur cantuif it be so (and the most sensible breasts are not uncommonly nor unnaturally the most bitterly wounded), she seems from the tenor of her writings to bear about her a higher and a surer balsam than the praises of men, or even the sacred muse’ herself can impart. Still there is a pleasure, an innocent and an honest pleasure, even to a wounded spirit, in fame fairly earned; and such fame as may wait upon our decision, we freely and conscientiously bestow :-in our opinion all her poems are elegant and pure in thought and language; her later poems are of higher promise, they are vigorous, picturesque, and pathetic.

Art. VI.-1. Narrative of the Operations and Recent Discore

ries within the Pyramids, T'emples, Tombs, and Excavations in Egypt and Nubia, and of a Journey to the Coast of the Red Sea, in search of the Ancient Berenice; and another to the Oasis of Jupiter immon. By G. Belzoni. London. With

a Portrait. 4to. pp. 503. 1820. 2. Forty-four Coloured Plates, illustrative of the Researches and

Operations of G. Belzoni, in Egypt and Nubia. Folio. THE name of Belzoni must be familiar to the readers of our

journal. We may, indeed, take credit for having brought before the public eye whatever has appeared, (prior to the present publication,) of the important researches and discoveries made by this distinguished and meritorious individual, from information with which we were exclusively favoured from the scene of his operations. Mr. Belzoni has now, very properly, told his own story in his own way, and we may add, pretty nearly in his own words; having, as We understand, declined all literary assistance beyond that of the individual employed to copy out his manuscript and correct the

As I made my discoveries alone,' he says, 'I have been anxious to write my book by myself, though in so doing the reader


But though no scholar himself, 140 Belzoni's Operations and Discoveries in Egypt, &c. will consider me, and with great propriety, guilty of temerity; but the public will, perhaps, gain in the fidelity of my narrative what it loses in elegance. I am not an Englishman; but I prefer that my readers should receive from myself, as well as I am able to de scribe them, an account of my proceedings in Egypt, in Nubia, oa the Coast of the Red Sea, and in the Oasis ; rather than run the risk of having my meaning misrepresented by another; if I am intelligible, it is all that I can expect.' In this last respect, we may safely assure him that he has fully succeeded: he details with perspicuity, and, we have no doubt, with accuracy, all the occurrencës which befel him in the prosecution of his discoveries ; he describes

, with great simplicity, the means he employed for effecting his varous operations; the nature of the intercourse he held with the several natives with whom he was brought in contact, as well as the rooted prejudices which he had to combat, and the various difficulties created by the intrigues, the treachery, and the avarice of the Turkish chiefs; and, we regret to add, the jealousy of certain Europeans, of whose conduct he bitterly complains, and apparently not without reason : and on the whole, we may venture to say that he has produced a very instructive and entertaining volume.

Mr. Belzoni makes no pretension to classical literature or science of any kind. “I must apologize,' he modestly says, the few hunible observations I have ventured to give on some torical points ; but I had become so familiar with the sight of temples, tombs, and pyramids, that I could not help forming speculation on their origin and construction. The scholar and learned traveller will smile at my presumption; but do they always agree themselves in their opinions in matters of this sort, or even on those of much less difficulty ?' It is not to him, therefore, that we are to look for erudite historical disquisitions, or antiquanan elucidations; but, what is probably of more real value and inportance, we may implicitly trust bis pen and his pencil in what le may justly be considered as the pioneer, and a most powerful and useful one, of antiquarian researches; he points out the road and makes it easy for others to travel over; and, we may venture to say, in elucidation of this remark, and without the most distant intention of derogating one iota from the merit of Mr. W. Bankes, (whose labours, we have reason to believe, cannot be too bighly appreciated,) that we owe some of the most interesting and brilliant discoveries of that gentleman (we allude to the drawings and iscriptions of the Temple of Ipsambul) to the bold aud Perculean task undertaken in this instance by Belzoni, and finally plished by the personal exertions of liimself and his fellow labourers





[ocr errors]


The slight sketch of the life of Mr. Belzoni (No. XXXVIII.) s, we believe, tolerably correct in the main. In this we stated be cause of his going to Egypt. He was accompanied to that country by Mrs. Belzoni, whom he had married in England, and by an Irish lad of the name of James Curtain ; and reached Álexindria just as the plague was beginning to disappear from that city, is it always does on the approach of St. John's day, when, as ilmost every body knows, out of respect for the saint,' it entirely ceases. The state of the country was still very alarming, yet Mr. Belzoni and his little party ventured to land, and performed quarantine in the French quarter ; where, though really very unwell, they were wise enough to disguise their situation: •for the plague is so dreadful a scourge,' he observes,' and operates so powerfully on human fears and human prejudices, that, during its prevalence, if man be ill, he must be ill of the plague, and if he die, he must have died of the plague.' He died of the plague,' is the general cry, whatever may be the disease ; and as hundreds perish daily, this is the time for getting rid of rich or troublesome relations, as all who die are carried away to be buried without distinction and without inquiry.

On arriving at Cairo, Mr. Belzoni went to the house of Mr. Baghos, interpreter to Mahommed Ali, to whom he had been recommended, and who immediately prepared to introduce him to the Pasha, that he might come to some arrangement respecting the hydraulic machine, which he proposed to construct for watering the gardens of the seraglio, and which was in fact the main object of his visit to Egypt. As they were proceeding towards the palace, through one of the principal streets of Cairo, a brutal Turk'struck Mr. Belzoni so fiercely on the leg with his staff, that it tore away a large piece of Aesh. The blow was so severe, and the discharge of

so copious, that lie was obliged to be conveyed home, where he remained under cure thirty days before he could support himself on the wounded leg. When able to leave the house, he was presented to the Pasha, who received him very civilly; but on being

told of the misfortune which had happened to him, contented hiin: self with coolly observing that such accidents could not be avoided where there were troops. An

arrangement was immediately concluded for erecting a machine which was to raise as much water with one ox, as the ordinary ones do with four. Mr. Belzoni soon found, however, that he had many prejudices to encounter, and many obstacles to overcome, on part

of those who were employed in the construction of the work, as well as of those who owned the cattle engaged in drawing water for the Pasha's gardens. The fate of a machine which had been sent from England, taught him to augur no good




« PreviousContinue »