網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

a citizen would do honor to any country, and the constant veneration and affection of his country, will show that it was worthy of such a citizen.

Ames
SECTION 11.

The Grave of Jefferson. 1. I ascended the winding road which leads from Char. kottsville to Monticello, up the miniature mountain to the farm and the grave of Jefferson. On entering the gate which opens into the enclosure, numerous paths diverges in various directions, winding through beautiful groves to the summit of the hill. From the peak on which the house stands, o grand and nearlv unlimiied virt' opens to the thickly wooded hills and fertile valleys which stretch out on either side. The University, with its done, porticos, and colonnade, looks like a fair city in the plain: Charlottsville setnis io le directly beneath.

2. No spor can be imagined as combining greater advarı tages of grandeur, healthfulness, and scclusion. The house is noble in its appearance: two large columns support a portico, which extends from the wings, and into it the front door opens. The apartments are ncatly furnis!ır, and embellish). ed with statues, busts, portraits, and natural curiositics. 'I he grounds andouthouses liave beeiineplerted; Mr. Jefierson's atLention having been absorbed from sich personal concerns, by the cares attendant on the superintendence of the University.

3. At a short distance behind the mansion, in a quiet, sladed spot, the visitor sees a stare cor!(:sure, surrounded by a low, un mortarrd stone wall, which he cities by a nat wooden gate. This is the family burial ground, containing ten or fifteen graves, none of them marked by ppitaphs, and only a few distinguished by any memorial. On one side of this simple cemetery, is the testing place of the patriot and philosopher. Wheri saw it, the vault had just been arched, ed in readiness for the plain stone which was to cov!'s it.

4. May it ever continue, like Washington's, without any adventitiousattractions or conspicuousness; for when we of our posterity need any other menentor of our debt of honor to those names, than their simple inscription on paper, gorgeous'. tombs would be a mockery in their memories When gratifnde shall conse to concentrate their remein-rance in the hearts of our citizens, no cenotaphs win inspire the reverence we owe to them.

34.pnto, a hint to wakon memory. Mi.vppve', foc!maart finm a point. creme-te-ry, a plan for the buital or Al-ven ti" cious inscritai.

Mini--fufr. fmallinesk

Gorro-0118, sho'r glittering.

Cenotaph, a nionunent for one but Him elsewhere.

he dead

SECTION III.

The last days of Herculaneum.1. A GREAT city, situated amidst all that nature could create of beauty and profusion, or art collect of science and magnificence, ---the growth of inany ages,--the residencé of enlightened multitudes,--the scene of splendor, and fes tivity, and happiness,---in one moment withered as by ý spell, --its palaces, its streets, its temples, its gardens, "glowing with eternal spring," and its inhabitants in the full enjoyment of all life's blessings, obliterated from their very place in creation),---not by war, or famine, or disease, or any of the natural causes of destruction to which carth had been accustomeid, --but in a single night, as if by inagic, and amid the conflagration, as it were, of nature itself---presonted a subject on which the wildest imagination might grow weary, without even equaling the grand and terrible reality.

2. The eruption of Vesuvius, by which Herculaneum and Pompeii where overwhelmed, has been chiefly described to us in the letters of Pliny the younger to Tacitus, giving an account of his uncle's fate, and the situation of the writer and nis mother. The elder Pliny had just returned from the bath, and was retired to his study, when a small speck or cloud, which seemed to ascend from Mount Vesuvius, attracted his attention.

3. This cloud gradually increased, and at length assumed the shape of a pine tree, thetrunk of earth and vapor, and the leaves,“ red cinders.” Pliny ordered his galley, and, urged by his philosophic spirit, went forward to inspect the pheno

In a short time, however. philosophy gave way to humanity, and he zealously and adventurously employed his galley, in saving the inhabitants of the various beautiful villas which studded that enchanting coast. Among others he went to the assistance of his friend Pomponianus, who was then at Strabiæ.

4. The storm of fire, and the tempest of earth, increased; and the wretched inhabitants were obliged, by the continual rocking of their houses, to rush out into the fields with pillows tied down by napkins upon their heads, as their sole de sense against the shower of stones which fell on them. This, in the course of nature, was in the middle of the day but a deeper darkness than that of a winter night had closed

menon.

& Mag-ic, dealing with spirtos c Ob-lit'em, hlotted ott, de:1:oyed. Gal-ley, a kind of vessel.

a Her-cu la-no-um, a city in Ilair.

Spell, a chain

5.ration, a hreaking forth.

around the ill-fated inmates of Herculaneum. This artificial darkness continued for three days and nights, and when, at length, the sun again appeared over the spot where Herculaneum stood, his rays fell upon an ocean of lava!

5. There was neither tree, nor shrub, nor field, nor house, nor living creature; nor visible reinnant of what human hands had reared,--there was nothing to be seen but one black extended surface, still streaming with mephitica vapor, und heaved innto calcined" waves by the operation of fire, and the undulations of the earthquake! Pliny was found dead upon the sea-shore, stretched upon a cloth which had been spread for him, where it was conjectured he had perished carly, his corpulent and apoplectic habit rendering him an easy prey to the suffocating atmosphere.

SECTION IV.

Passage of the Poto:nuc and Shordialcah Rivers through the

Blue Ridge. 1. The passage of the Potomac through the Blue Ridge, is perhaps one of the most stupendous scenes in nature. You stand on a very high point of land. On your right comes up the Shenandoah, haring ranged along the foot of the mountain a hundred iniles to seek a vent. On your left approaches the Potomac, in quest of a passage also. In2 tiie moment of their junction they rush together against the mountain, rend it asun ter, and piss 099 to the sea.

2. The first glance of this scene hurries our senses into the opinion, that this partlilias been created in tine; that the mountains were former first ; that the rivers began to flow afterwards; that, in this place particularly, they have been dammed up by the l?lue Ridge of mountains, and have formed an occan which filled the whole valley; that, continuing to rise, they have at length broken over at this spot, and have tora the mountain down from its summit to its buse. The piles of rock on each hand, particularly the Shenandol,--the evident marks of their disrupture and avulsions from their beds, by the most powerful agents of nature, cor roborate this impression.

3. But the distant finishing which nature has given to the picture, is of a very different charactr. It is a true conirast to the fore-gr:unt. That is as placid and delightful, as this is wild and tremendous. The mountain bring cloven semnder, pres 'uits to your eye; through the cleft, a small catch a bitic. Di 0:108, 10:10:15. Cic-el, reilural oa powder! heu

clinculations, waving notit.... a A.vulsion, a pulling one from other. a Horizon, the line which hounds the pght

[ocr errors]

of smooth blue horizon, at an infinitc distance in the plain country, inviting you as it were from the riot and tumult roaring round, to pass through the breach, and participate of the calm below,

4. Here the eye ultimately composes itself; and that way, too, the road happens actually to lead. You cross the Potomac above the junction, pass along its side through the base of the mountain for three miles,-its terrible precipices hanging in fragments over you. This scene is worth a vovage across tlie Atlantic; yet here, as in the neighborhood of the Natural Bridge, ai people who have passed their lives within half a dozen miles, and have never been to survey these monuincuts of a war between rivers and mountains :-hich inust have shaken the earth itself to its center.

Jefferson

SECTION V.

The Egyptian Pyramils. 1. The pyramids of Egypt are well entitled to a place, among the most interesting curiosities in the world. The principal ones stand opposite Cairo, on the west side of the river Nile. They are built of stones, which overleap each other, and thus form steps from the bottom to the top. The perpendicular height of the largest is about 500 feet, and the areas of its basis contains nearly 500.000 square feet, or something more than eleven English acres of ground. Some idea may be formed of the cost and labor in the structure of this pyramid, from the fact that thirty years were spent in building it, and that 100,000 men were constanıly employed on the work.

2. Such were the famous Egyptian pyramids, which by their figure as well as size have triumphed over the injuries of time and the barbarians. But whatever efforts men make, their own nothingness will always appear. These pyramids were tombs; and there is still to be seen, in the middle of the largest, an empty sepulcher, cut out of entire stone, about three feet deep and broad, and a little above six feet long.

3. Thus, all this bustle, all this expense, and all the labor of so many thousand men, ended in procuring a prince, in this vast and almost boundless pile of buildings, a little vault six feet in length. Besides, the kings who built these pyramids had it not in their power to be buried in them, and

Jurc'tion, act of joining, union.

c Ca-1-ro, a city in Egypt.
d A're-a, he superficial contents
e Sep'.ul.cher, a grave, a tomb,

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

so did not enjoy the sepulcher they had built. The public hatred which they incurred by reason of their unhcard of erinelties to their subjects, in laying such heavy tasks upon them, occasioned their being interred in some obseure place, to prevent their bodies from being exposed to the fury and vengeance of the populace.

This last circumstance, of which historians have taken articular notice, teaches us what judgment we ought to pass en these edifices,« so much boasted of by the ancients. It is but just to remark and esteem the noble genius which the Egyptians had for architecture," genius that prompted them from the earliest times, and before they could have any models to imitate, lo aim in all things at the grand and magnificent;

and to be intent on rcal bcauties, without deviating in the least from a noble simplicity, in which the highest persection of the art consists,

5. I. ut what idea ought we to form of those princes, who considered as something grand, the raising, by a multitude of hands and by the help of money, immense structures, with the sole view of rendering their names inmortal ; and who did not scruple to destroy thousands of their subjects to satis fy their vain glory! They differed very much from the Romans, who sought to immortalize themselves by works of a magnificent kind, but at the same time of public utility.

6. Pliny gives us, in a few words, a just idea of these pv ramids when he calls them a foolish and useless ostentations of the wealth of Egyptian kings; and adds, that hy a just punishment their memory is buried in oblivion -historians not agreeing among themselves about the names of those who first raised those vain monuments. In a word, according to the judicious remark of Diodorus, the industry of the architects of those pyramids is no less valuable and praise worthy, than the design of the Egyptian kings contemptible and ridiculous.

7. But what we should most admire in these ancient mo nunienis, is, the true and standing evidence they give of the skin of the Egyptians in astronoinythat is a science which et mo la apable of being brought to perfection but hy a long

ex ipo w years, and a great number of observations. It has beta jound, that the four sides of the great pyramid name were turned exactly to the four quarters of the world; and consequently showed the true meridiau of that place.

8. As so exact a situation was in all probability purposeiy

Ea-i--cas, huilelings.

d Astronomy: the science of the hear D Ach -1.Lecture, the selenor or building. venly bojes cOS-tent.a'.tion vain show.

iri-es, & connecter succession or things

« 上一頁繼續 »