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a row before him. These figures, fixed as statues, and, to all appearance, equally insensible, neither moved hand nor eye. As I advanced to make my salem to the Grand Seignor's representative, who received me with a most gracious nod of the head, his interpreter announced to what nation I belonged, and my own individual warm partiality for the Sublime Porte.
• As soon as I had taken my seat in a ponderous fauteuil of figured velvet, coffee was carried round in cups of most delicate china, with gold enamelled saucers. Notwithstanding my predilection for the East, and its customs, I could hardly get this beverage down, it was so thick and bitter. Whilst I was making a few wry faces in consequence, a low murmuring sound, like that of flutes and dulcimers, accompanied by a sort of tabor, issued from behind a curtain which separated us from another apartment. There was a melancholy wildness in the melody, and a continual repetition of the same plaintive cadences, that soothed and affected me.
• The ambassador kept poring upon my countenance, and appeared much delighted with the effect his music seemed to produce upon it. He is a man of considerable talent, deeply skilled in Turkish literature; a native of Bagdad ; rich, munificent, and nobly born, being descended from the house of Barmek; gracious in his address, smooth and plausible in his elocution; but not without something like a spark of despotism in a corner of his eye. Now and then I fancied that the recollection of having recommended the bowstring, and certain doubts whether he might not one day or other be complimented with it in his turn, passed across his venerable and interesting physiognomy.
My eager questions about Bagdad, the Tomb of Zobeïda, the vestiges of the Dhar al Khalifat, or Palace of the Abassidæ, seemed to excite a thousand remembrances which gave him pleasure; and when I added a few quotations from some of his favourite authors, particularly Mesihi, he became so flowingly communicative, that a shrewd, dapper Greek, called Timoni, who acted as his most confidential interpreter, could hardly keep pace with him. Had not the hour of prayer arrived, our conversation might have lasted till midnight. Rising up with much stateliness, he extended his arms to bid me a good evening, and was assisted along by two good-looking Georgian pages to an adjoining chamber, where his secretaries, dragoman, and attendants were all assembled to perform their devotions, each on his little carpet, as if in a mosque; and it was not unedifying to witness the solemnity and abstractedness with which these devotions were performed.'
Our last specimen of this charming book shall be extracted from a letter describing the author's first visit to the Escurial.
• I hate being roused out of bed by candle-light, of a sharp wintry morning ; but as I had fixed to-day for visiting the Escurial, and had stationed three relays on the road, in order to perform the journey expeditiously, I thought myself obliged to carry my plan into execution, The weather was cold and threatening; the sky red and deeply. coloured. Roxas was to be of our party, so we drove to his brother, the Marquis of Villanueva's, to take him up. He is one of the bestnatured and most friendly of human beings, and I would not have gone without him on any account; though in general I abhor turning and twisting about a town in search of anybody, let its soul be never so transcendent.
• It was past eight before we issued out of the gates of Madrid, and rattled along an avenue on the banks of the Manzanares, full gallop, which brought us to the Casa del Campo, one of the king's palaces, wrapped up in groves and thickets. We continued a mile or two by the wall of this inclosure, and leaving La Sarsuela, another royal villa, surrounded by shrubby hillocks on the right, traversed three or four leagues of a wild, naked country; and, after ascending several considerable eminences, the sun broke out, the clouds partially rolled away, and we discovered the white buildings of this far-famed monastery, with its dome and towers detaching themselves from the bold background of a lofty, irregular mountain.
• We were now about a league off, and the country wore a better aspect than near Madrid. To the right and left of the road, which is of a noble width, and perfectly well made, lie extensive parks of greensward, scattered over with fragments of rock and stumps of oak and ash trees. Numerous herds of deer were standing stock still, quietly lifting up their innocent noses, and looking us full in the face with their beautiful eyes, secure of remaining unmolested, for the king never permits a gun to be discharged in these inclosures.
The Escurial, though overhung by melancholy mountains, is placed itself on a very considerable eminence, up which we were full half an hour toiling--the late rains having washed this part of the road into utter confusion. There is something most severely impressive in the façade of this regal convent, which, like the palace of Persepolis, is overshadowed by the adjoining mountain ; nor did I pass through a vaulted cloister into the court before the church, solid as if hewn out of a rock, without experiencing a sort of shudder, to which, no doubt, the vivid recollection of the black and blood-stained days of our gloomy Queen Mary's husband not slightly contributed. The sun being again overcast, the porches of the church, surrounded by grim statues, appeared so dark and cavern-like, that I thought myself about to enter a subterraneous temple set apart for the service of some mysterious and terrible religion; and when I saw the high altar, in all its pomp of jasper steps, ranks of columns one above the other, and paintings filling up every interstice, full before me, I felt completely awed.
· The sides of the recess in which this imposing pile is placed, are formed by lofty chapels almost entirely occupied by catafalts of gilt enamelled bronze. Here, with their crowns and sceptres humbly prostrate at their feet, bare-headed and unhelmed, kneel the figures,
as large as life, of the Emperor Charles V., and his imperious son, the second Philip, accompanied by those of their unhappy consorts, and ill-fated children. My sensations of dread and dreariness were not diminished upon finding myself alone in such company, for Roxas had left me to deliver some letters to his Right Reverence the Prior, which were to open to us all the arcana of this terrific edificemat once a temple, a palace, a convent, and a tomb.
Presently my amiable friend returned, and with him a tall old monk with an ash-coloured forbidding countenance, and staring eyes, the expression of which was the farthest removed possible from any thing like cordiality. This was the mystagogue of the place, the prior in propria persona, the representative of St. Jerome, as far as this monastery and its domain is concerned, and a disciplinarian of celebrated rigidness. He began examining me from head to foot, and, after what I thought rather a strange scrutiny, asked me, in broad Spanish, what I wished particularly to see; then turning to Roxas, said, loud enough for me to hear him, “ He is very young-does he understand what I say to him ? But as I am peremptorily commanded to show him about, I suppose I must comply, though I am quite unused to the office of explaining our curiosities. However, if it must be it must, so let us begin and not dally. I have no time to spare, you well know, and I have quite enough to do in the choir and the convent."
• After this not very gracious exordium, we set forth on our tour. First, we visited some apartments with vaulted roofs, painted in arabesque, in the finest style of the sixteenth century; and then a vast hall, which had been used for the celebration of mass whilst great church was building, where I saw the Perla in all its purity—the most delicately finished work of Raphael-and the Pesce, with its divine angel, graceful infant, and devout young Tobit, breathing the very soul of pious unaffected simplicity. My attention was next attracted by that most profoundly pathetic of pictures-Jacob weeping over the bloody garment of his son--the loftiest proof in existence of the extraordinary powers of Velasquez in the noblest walk of art.
• These three pictures so absorbed my admiration, that I had little left for a host of glorious performances by Titian and the highest masters, which cover the plain, massive walls of these conventual rooms with a paradise of glowing colours. So I passed along, almost as rapidly as my grumbling cicerone could desire, and followed him up several flights of stairs, and through many and many an arched passage and vestibule, all of the sternest Doric, into the choir, which is placed over the grand western entrance, right opposite, at the distance of more than two hundred feet, to the high altar and its solemn accompaniments. No regal chamber I ever beheld can be compared, in point of sober harmonious majesty, to this apartment, which looks more as if it belonged to a palace than a church.
• The series of stalls, designed in a severer taste than was common in the sixteenth century, are carved out of the most precious woods
the Indies could furnish. At the extremity of this striking perspective of onyx-coloured seats, columns, and canopies, appears, suspended upon a black velvet pall, that revered image of the crucified Saviour, formed of the purest ivory, which Cellini seems to have sculptured in moments of devout rapture and inspiration.
It is by far his finest work: his Perseus at Florence is tame and laboured in comparison
• In a long narrow corridor, which runs behind the stalls, pannelled all over like an inlaid cabinet, I was shown a beautiful little organ in a richly-chased silver case, which accompanied Charles V. in his African expedition, and must often have gently beguiled the cares of empire ; for he played on it, tradition says, almost every evening. That it is worth playing upon even now, I can safely vouch, for I never touched any instrument with a tone of more delicious sweetness; and touch it I did, though my austere conductor, the sour-visaged prior, looked doubly forbidding on the occasion.
• If the stalls I have just mentioned are less exuberantly ornamented than those I have seen at Pavia, and many other monasteries, the space above them,—the ceiling, in short, of this noblest of choirs, displays the most gorgeous of spectacles; the heavens, and all the powers therein. Imagination can scarcely conceive the pomp and prodigality of pencil with which Luca Giordano has treated this subject, and filled every corner of the vast space it covers with well-rounded forms, that seem actually starting from the glowing clouds with which they are environed.—" Is not this fine ?” said the monk; “ nothing like it in your country.”
Here we close our citations, which, though strung together as carelessly as possible, must, we think, produce altogether a powerful impression of the strength, the grace, and the varied animation of the author's manner. We risk nothing in predicting that Mr. Beckford's Travels will henceforth be classed among the most elegant productions of modern literature: they will be forthwith translated into every language of the Continent—and will keep his name alive, centuries after all the brass and marble he ever piled together have ceased to vibrate with the echoes of Modenhas.
you can have
Art. VIII.—Excursions in the North of Europe, through parts of
Russia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, and Norway, in the years
1830 und 1839. By John Barrow, Junior. London. 1834. FOREIGNERS are apt to complain of the supercilious pre
ference which Englishmen give to their own country, but at least they cannot say that it is sans connoissance de cause. The great majority of those French writers who assure their readers that France is the finest country in the world the most polished
the most social—the most fertile-the most prolific--the most picturesque-the most favoured, in short, by God, and the most ornamented by man, of all terrestrial tracts—have a sure and certain basis for at least the sincerity (if not the abstract truth) of their assertions: they have taken the preliminary precaution of seeing no other. The Englishman, on the other hand, is never very loud in general encomiums on his own country; and although it is evident, that, on the whole, he prefers it, in all its moral, and in many of its natural, aspects, to other regions, he does not give his opinion without having at least endeavoured to form an accurate idea of his neighbours by personal inspection and comparison. In all countries there have been a few-pauci quos æquus amavit Jupiter—who have sought knowledge of this kind by actual travel; Denmark is proud of Niebuhr and Spor, Prussia of her Humboldt, Russia of Pallas—and France quotes her Choiseul, her Volney, and her Chateaubriand; but every Englishman is a kind of Anarcharsis—ay, and not Englishmen alone, but Englishwomen and English youths are to be found in every—(the most distant and desolate, as well as more accessible and inviting), region of the world. A Frenchman, young, rich, and titled,if he had been smitten by so extraordinary a mania as the love of nature and the pursuit of science-would have attained a great reputation by studying, as Buffon did, the natural world in the Jardin des Plantes, and the moral world in the Bibliothèque Royale. If he had thought, like our Sir Joseph Banks, of visiting, in person, the Arctic regions, and then making a voyage round the World, his friends would have moderated his enthusiasm by a lettre de cachet, and limited his travels to Charenton, or at least to a maison de santé. But, on the other hand, no Englishman thinks his education perfect, till, after the usual course of domestic instruction, he studies mankind—10t through the spectacles of books, but with his own eyes; and strives to improve his intellect by the same course in which the wisest hero of antiquity (though somewhat against his will) earned his wisdom :
Qui mores hominum multorum vidit et urbes.' The little work before us suggests, by its very title-page, such considerations as these. The elder Mr. Barrow was known to the public— before he attained the important situation he has so long and so usefully filled - as an extensive traveller; and now we see the same spirit of laudable curiosity reproduced in his son, who, it seems, has employed the scanty vacations of his subordinate official year, not in the ordinary relaxation of a country excursion, or of a visit to a watering-place, but in visiting Gottenburgh and Moscow-St. Petersburg and Dronthiem-the steppes of Russia, and the mountains of Finland. If the work