« 上一頁繼續 »
ALBANIA DURING THE GREEK WAR. 79
cannot be that our life is a bubble, cast up by the ocean of Eternity to float a moment upon the wave, and then sink into darkness and nothingness. Else why is it, that the aspirations which leap like angels from the temple of our hearts are forever wandering abroad unsatisfied?
6. Why is it that the rainbow and the cloud come over us with a beauty that is not of earth, and then pass off and leave us to muse upon their faded loveliness? Why is it that the stars, which hold their festival around the midnight throne, are set so far above the grasp of our limited faculties, forever mocking us with their unapproachable glory? And, finally, why is it that bright forms of human beauty are presented to our view and then taken from us, leaving the thousand streams of our affection to flow back in cold and Alpine torrents upon our hearts?
7. We are born for a higher destiny than that of earth. There is a realm where the rainbow never fades, where the stars will be spread out before us like the islands that slumber on the ocean, and where the beautiful beings that here pass before us like visions, will stay in our presence forever.
LESSON XXXI. Albania during the late Greek War.
1. AFTER having crossed one more range of steep mountains, we descended into a vast plain, over which we journeyed for some hours, the country presenting the same mournful aspect which I had too long observed; villages in ruins and perfectly desolate,-khans deserted, and fortresses razed to the ground, olive woods burnt up, and fruit-trees cut down.
2. So complete had been the work of destruction, that I often unexpectedly found my horse stumbling amid the foundations of a village, and what at first appeared the dry bed of a torrent, often turned out to be the backbone of the skeleton of a ravaged town.
3. At the end of the plain, immediately backed by very lofty mountains, and jutting into the beautiful lake that bears its name, we suddenly came upon the city of Yanina;
suddenly, for a long tract of gradually rising ground had hitherto concealed it from our sight.
4. At the distance at which I first beheld it, this city, once, if not the largest, one of the most thriving and brilliant, in the Turkish dominions, was still imposing; but when I entered, I soon found that all preceding desolation had been only preparatory to the vast scene of destruction now before me. We proceeded through a street, winding in its course, but of very great length.
5. Ruined houses, mosques with their towers only standing, streets utterly razed, - these are nothing. We met great patches of ruin a mile square, as if an army of locusts had had the power of desolating the works of man, as well as those of God. The great heart of the city was a sea of ruin, arches and pillars, isolated and shattered, still here and there jutting forth, breaking the uniformity of the annihilation, and turning the horrible into the picturesque.
6. The great Bazaar, itself a little town, had been burned down only a few days before my arrival, by an infuriate band of Albanian warriors, who heard of the destruction of their chiefs by the Grand Vizier. They revenged themselves on tyranny by destroying civilization.
7. But, while the city itself presented this mournful appearance, its other characteristics were anything but sad. At this moment, a swarming population, arrayed in every possible and fanciful costume, buzzed and bustled in every direction. As I passed on, I myself of course not unobserved, where a Frank had not penetrated for nine years, a thousand objects attracted my restless attention and roving
8. Everything was so strange and splendid, that for a moment I forgot that this was an extraordinary scene even for the East, and gave up my fancy to a full credulity in the now almost obsolete magnificence of Oriental life, and longed to write an Eastern tale.
brought before me all the popular characteristics of which I had read, and which I expected occasionally to observe during a prolonged residence. I remember, as I rode on this day, I observed a Turkish Scheik, in his entirely green vestments, a scribe with his writing materials in his girdle, an ambulatory physician and his boy.. I gazed about me with a mingled feeling of delight and wonder.
11. Suddenly, a strange, wild, unearthly drum is heard, and, at the end of the street, a huge camel, with a slave sitting cross-legged on its neck, and playing upon an immense. kettle-drum, appears, and is the first of an apparently interminable procession of his Arabian brethren. The camels were very large; they moved slowly, and were many in number. There were not less than a hundred moving on, one by one.
12. To me, who had then never seen a caravan, it was a novel and impressive spectacle. All immediately hustled out of the way of the procession, and seemed to shiver under the sound of the wild drum. The camels bore corn for the Vizier's troops, encamped without the walls.
13. At length, I reached the house of a Greek physician, to whom I carried letters. My escort repaired to the quarters of their chieftain's son, who was in the city, in attendance on the Grand Vizier; and, for myself, I was glad enough once more to stretch my wearied limbs under a Christian roof.
A TURKISH CHIEF.
LESSON XXXII. A Turkish Chief.
1. THE next day, I signified my arrival to the Kehaya Bey of his Highness, and delivered, according to custom, a letter, with which I had been kindly provided by an eminent foreign functionary. The ensuing morning was fixed for my audience. I repaired, at the appointed hour, to the celebrated fortress palace of Ali Pacha, which, although greatly battered by successive sieges, is still inhabitable, and still affords a very fair idea of its pristine magnificence
2. Having passed through the gates of the fortress, I found myself in a number of small dingy streets, like those in the liberties of a royal castle. These were all full of life,
stirring and excited. At length, I reached a grand square, on which, on an ascent, stands the palace.
3. I was hurried through courts and corridors, full of guards, and pages, and attendant chiefs, and, in short, every variety of Turkish population; for, among the Orientals, all depends upon one brain, and we, with our subdivisions. of duty, and intelligent, responsible deputies, can form no idea. of the labor of a Turkish premier. At length, I came to a vast irregular apartment, serving as the immediate antechamber of the hall of audience.
4. This was the first thing of the kind I had ever yet seen. In the whole course of my life, I had never mingled in so picturesque an assembly. Conceive a chamber of very great dimensions, full of the choicest groups of an Oriental population, each individual waiting by appointment for an audience, and probably about to wait forever.
5. It was a sea of turbans, and crimson shawls, and golden scarfs, and ornamented arms. I marked with curiosity, the haughty Turk, stroking his beard, and waving his beads; the proud Albanian, strutting with his tarragan, or cloak, dependent upon one shoulder, and touching with impatient fingers his silver-sheathed arms; the olive-visaged Asiatic, with his enormous turban and flowing robes, gazing, half with wonder, and half with contempt, at some scarlet colonel of the newly disciplined troops, in his gorgeous, but awkward imitation of Frank uniforms; the Greek, still servile, though no more a slave; the Nubian eunuch, and the Georgian page.
6. In this chamber, attended by the dragoman who presented me, I remained about ten minutes, too short a time. I never thought I could have lived to wish to kick my heels in a ministerial ante-chamber
7. Suddenly, I was summoned to the awful presence of the pillar of the Turkish empire; the man who has the reputation of being the mainspring of the new system of regeneration, the renowned Redschid, an approved warrior, a consummate politician, unrivalled as a dissembler, in a country where dissimulation is the principal portion of moral culture.
8. The hall was vast, entirely covered with gilding and arabesques, inlaid with tortoise-shell and mother of pearl. Here, squatted up in a corner of the large divan, I bowed
THE ALPINE HORN.
to a little ferocious-looking, shrivelled, care-worn man, plainly dressed, with a brow covered with wrinkles, and a countenance clouded with anxiety and thought.
9. I had entered the shed-like divan of the kind and comparatively insignificant Kalio Bey, with a feeling of awe; I now seated myself on the divan of the Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire, who, as my attendant informed me, had destroyed, in the course of the last three months, not in war, "upwards of four thousand of my acquaintance," with the self-possession of a morning visit.
10. At a distance from us, in a group on his left hand, were his secretary, and his immediate suite. The end of the saloon was lined with lackeys in waiting, with crimson dresses, and long silver canes.
11. Some compliments passed between us. I congratulated his Highness on the pacification of Albania, and he rejoined, that the peace of the world was his only object, and the happiness of his fellow-creatures his only wish. Pipes and coffee were brought, and then his Highness waved his hand, and in an instant the chamber was cleared.
LESSON XXXIII. The Alpine Horn.
1. THE Alpine Horn is an instrument constructed with the bark of a cherry tree; and which, like a speaking trumpet, is used to convey sounds to a great distance. When the last rays of the sun gild the summit of the Alps, the shepherd who dwells the highest on those mountains, takes his horn and calls aloud, "Praised be the Lord!"
2. As soon as he is heard, the neighboring shepherds leave their huts and repeat those words. The sound lasts many minutes, for every echo of the mountains, and grot of the rocks, repeat the name of God.
3. How solemn the scene! imagination cannot picture to itself anything more sublime. The profound silence that succeeds, the sight of those stupendous mountains, upon which the vault of heaven seems to rest,-everything excites the mind to enthusiasm.
4. In the mean while, the shepherds bend their knees, and pray in the open air, and soon after retire to their huts to enjoy the repose of innocence.