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And on the northerly side, or right hand, of the statue, is this inscription, in verse:
Barbariæ talen se debellator ERASMUS,
Maxima laus Batavi nominis, ore tulit,
De tanto spolium nacta quod urna viro est :
In allusion, probably, to the circumstance that the Spaniards destroyed a statue of Erasmus in stone, which formerly stood on the same spot, in place of which the existing one was afterward erected. In honor, also, of the same great scholar, the Latin school of the city is called the Gymnasium of Erasmus.
If the senate and people of Rotterdam, as they are affectedly styled in the inscription, would take some little pains to keep the statue of Erasmus free from the little shops or booths by which it is almost surrounded, and from defilements of a worse kind, they would act more in the spirit of their worshipped predecessors. Market women, and other small dealers, plant themselves in close contact with the statue. The square, which it overlooks, is indeed the scene of the greatest activity of the dealers in fruit, at all times during the fruit season; and on the market days, is completely crowded with the booths and stalls of itinerant traders in haberdashery, jewelry, and fancy goods, which are closely arranged together, so as to form as it were little temporary streets, all over the market place. Most of the retailers are women, who sit behind their neat and tasteful counters, knitting or sewing with the greatest assiduity, in the intervals of traffic, and sometimes continuing their indefatigable industry in the very moment of loud and busy bargaining. All of them wore their little Dutch caps instead of bonnets; for while the dress of the merchants, and of the better sort of persons of both sexes, is substantially after the French style, which pervades all Europe, that of the market women and laboring classes, apparently remains but little changed from the genuine Dutch model of other times. But however ungainly may be their costume, this much it is safe to say in its favor, that nothing can exceed the unblemished neatness of it, in all its parts. Of the fruits which abound in this market, the most inviting are the large strawberries, offered for sale in conical baskets of various sizes, or small earthen jars of like form. The same perfect cleanliness and neatness, which characterize the appearance of things here, is observable in the other markets.
Pelf is our god; it is the mighty calf,
But the warm heart that lights the poor man's door,
The public mind is wrong: the frugal swain,
In a republic like ours, where a man is said to be 'worth so much,' according to the amount of wealth which he possesses, the inculcations of these extracts may prove salutary. The entire poem, which is too long for these pages, has been placed in our hands by the author, for promulgation in another form, should any metropolitan publisher be desirous of undertaking the venture of a thin poetical pamphlet. EDS. KNICKERBOCKER.
And thus it is; while solid Virtue's sneered,
There's Tom, the cobbler, honest and sincere,
Rains down her wealth-converts him by the shower;
His wicked spirit, poverty, and sin;
Instead of 'Tom," 't is Thomas Browne, Esquire,'
A poor man, though the very king of wit,
But bass-wood heads, with thousands, say four-score,
A million! and no Solomon more wise;
'Rothschild, the Rich,' is shouted in the crowd;
The other half divine, yet scarcely known;
See Rothschild move, though empires 'bend and crack ;'
Behold the dark machinery of stocks!'
Knows not more frenzy than these gamesters feel;
THE island of Staten Land, which lies south-east of Terra del Fuego, from which it is separated by the Strait le Maire, when seen from a short distance, has a most barren and forbidding appearance; but such is not its real character. The tops of the mountains, composed of immense masses of granite, produce, it is true, little vegetation; but on their sides, and what may be called the low-lands, there is a rich thick mould, formed by the decomposition of their natural productions, and beautified with the most luxuriant verdure.
Near the entrance of Port Hatches, is a cavern, long known as the retreat of a few patriarchs of the ocean, to whom its deep recesses had been, until the period of which I am about to speak, a safe protection. The opening of this sea-lion's den is about thirty feet in width, its base being on a level with the sea, at low water mark. The whole length of the cave, beneath the base of the precipice, is two hundred and twenty paces, beautifully arched over with stalactites, and in some places changing its course from a direct line, and forming little apertures, which communicate with the main entrance.
To enter this cavern, explore its secret chambers, and provoke a combat with the ancient holders and proprietors of this wild citadel, was the object of one of our boat excursions. Preparatory to our advance into this
'cavern hoar, That stands all lonely on the sea-beat shore,'
fires were placed, one after another, with a distance of thirty yards between each two, to answer the double purpose of guiding our progress, and of securing a speedy retreat, should we be too roughly received by the old phoca, who, with a number of clap-matches in his suite, had taken up a position in the farthest corner of the den.
With lighted torches, we now advanced into the abyss, which the ancient Romans would have consecrated to deified nymphs, and the Persians have assigned as the seat of their god Mithras. The fires cast a dim, flickering light, which rendered visible the darkness in our rear. Every thing around us seemed to partake of the gloomy silence of the tomb, until the stillness was suddenly broken by the roar of the old lion, more appalling, by far, than that of his fierce namesake, of the Moorish plains. Having approached so near that we could see the monster's glaring eye-balls, we discharged our muskets, and continued, alternately retiring to load, and advancing to fire, until our ears were stunned, and our heads bewildered, with the reverberations of the reports, mingled with the roarings of the whole maddened group, now closely pressed, and severely wounded.
Our lights failing for an instant, we retreated to replenish them. The lashings of the waves at the mouth of the cavern, though distant, echoed and rumbled so loudly through the vaulted passages, that we could not hear each others' voices. As we again moved forward, to discharge our pieces, the old sea-lion broke out into a new par
oxysm of rage, tearing up the gravel and rocks with his claws and teeth. The white foam, mixed with blood, dropped from his large red tongue; while so hoarse, so loud and deafening, was his howl, that we were obliged to stop our ears with our hands, to prevent being pained by it.
The scene around us had now indeed become one of inconceivable wildness and horror. Two hundred paces within the mouth of a cave which man had never before entered, the dim flickering light of our torches, and the decaying fires in our rear, together with the suffocating smoke from the frequent firing, rendered it necessary to retrograde. Nor did we commence retreating a moment too soon. Wounded and infuriate, the old lion now began to move toward us, as we gradually returned, step by step, throwing stones and firebrands, to keep him in check, until we had reached so near the mouth of the cavern, that with deliberate aim, Captain Palmer, of the Penguin, shot him. This was his death wound, although he had previously received no less than ten balls.
After recruiting our fires with the blubber of our victim, we returned to the charge; and soon succeeded in taking the remaining five females and their pups. The old sea-lion (phoca jubata,) measured ten feet six inches in length, and eight feet round the shoulders; and, as we supposed, could not weigh less than four hundred pounds. The females were from six to seven feet in length, and of a more slender form.
VISIT TO A PENGUIN ROOKERY.
WE next visited the 'King Penguin Rookery,' about two miles west of the harbor; and we do not believe the whole range of natural history can furnish a more interesting spectacle. Indeed, to an enthusiastic admirer of nature, this curiosity alone is worth a voyage to Staten Land. The King Penguins stand perfectly erect; they measure from two and a half to three feet in height, and each weigh from thirty to forty pounds. Their color is a delicate pale ash, breast white, bill long and tapering; with two yellow streaks around the neck, like a cravat. Of their number, we could form no just estimate; but the beach, for more than a mile, was covered with them, standing and moving in squads, or solid columns, of from one to four, and six hundred birds. When viewed from a distance, they appeared like an army, performing its evolutions, rather than any thing else to which we can compare them.
Extending back from the shore, in this part of the island, is a prairie, or low marsh, covered with a luxuriant growth of coarse grass, through which the penguins had made their little roads, and where they were formed in small companies, more than a mile inland. They betrayed little apprehension on being approached, and would often stand still, holding down their heads to have their necks patted, and feathers smoothed down. We took three of them on board, where they remained for some time, making no effort to escape, and apparently not insensible to kind treatment. The sea, however, is their favorite element, and in its waters they are perfectly at home. The peacock is not vainer of its gaudy plumes, than is the penguin of the garb in which the Creator has arrayed him. These birds go