صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

tent was a spacious one, a load for three camels, with the women's tents on the one side and that of the horses on the other, all under the same covering. Mats and

cushions were spread on the floor of the tent, on which the Hawar, Layard, and I sat, as did his brother, his uncle, and others of the magnates of the tribe, while the rest stood in a semicircle at the door. A noble huntinghawk stood on his perch in the centre. We partook of spiced coffee, discussed the business on which we came, and dined in the tent on a capital stew of mutton, pumpkins, rice, and sour milk. After we had partaken, the rest of the tribe made their repast, a certain number sitting down together, each man rising when he was satisfied, and a sort of master of the ceremonies calling out the name of the man who was to succeed him. There was no bustle or indecorum. After dinner they all said their prayers. We had set on our tents, which, by the way, got very wet crossing the river, and we pitched them close to that of the Sheikh. The next day the encampment changed its quarters. I have seldom seen a more picturesque sight. The Sheikh's tent was struck first, and the long procession of laden camels, horsemen, donkeys, and cattle, stretched as far as the eye could reach. I calculated that there were about two thousand persons with their camels, horses, and cattle. We paid our visit to Feras, the rival Sheikh, taking with us the brother of the Hawar. We were well received, though not with the same dignified courtesy. While we were away the workmen had opened a trench, by Layard's direction, to show my wife a certain slab which he had buried; in doing so they uncovered three copper cauldrons of immense size, and some huge dishes of metal. Layard carefully removed the earth from one cauldron, which was partially filled with it, and discovered an immense variety of ivory ornaments, an iron axe-head, and innumerable other articles, which, for the present, I must forbear to mention,

having promised secrecy. Layard removed as many as he could and covered the rest with earth. It is by far the most important discovery that has yet been made. He has placed them under my charge, and given me the direction of the workmen, as he is obliged to go to Mossul to make preparations for the removal of the two finest colossal lions that have yet been discovered, which will, I trust, be on their way to England in a month or two. After that we shall cross the Zab with our tents, encamp there, and pass our time alternately in hunting and digging in the mound. You can have no idea of the difficulties Layard has to contend with, or the energy, talent, perseverance, and shrewdness with which he sur mounts them, or the exquisite tact and good humour with which he manages the different people he has to deal with. In the first place he has nothing but conjecture to guide him in his researches; it is literally groping in the dark, and all sorts of buried treasures may lie within his reach, while, from the very small amount of funds placed at his disposal, he is unable to make anything like a proper search, and contents himself with sinking trenches almost at hazard as it were.

[ocr errors]

January 6.—Yesterday we removed more than thirty metal vases, bowls, and saucers, most beautifully embossed and engraved, some shields and swords, of which the handles remain alone, the iron blades being decomposed, and a small marble vase. The cups and bowls and other ornaments are of some unknown alloy of metals, but they are all so encrusted with decomposed and crystallized copper, and so fragile that they cannot be handled without great danger, and Dr. Layard is sending them home in the state in which he found them, without attempting to remove the rust. I spent eight hours yesterday scratching them out of the clay with my hands, as the operation was too delicate to allow even a knife to be used. My wife was employed the whole night in packing

them. We may now congratulate the British nation in being possessed of an entirely unique collection, the value of which is inestimable. The ornaments and sculptures on the vases denote a very advanced stage of civilization. Not the least curious of the discoveries are several hundred mother-o'-pearl studs, in form exactly resembling our shirt buttons."

But still more remarkable disclosures are since an nounced by Dr. Layard himself. Letters have been re ceived from him giving intelligence of new and important discoveries in the Nimroud mound. He has made fresh and extensive excavations in parts of the eminence not yet explored, and the result has been the finding of what is believed to be the throne upon which the Assyrian monarch, some three thousand years ago, sat in state, in the splendid palace whose ruined heaps are now being explored. It is composed of metal and of ivory, the metal being richly wrought and the ivory beautifully carved. It seems that the throne was separated from the state apartments by means of a large curtain, the rings by which it was drawn and undrawn having been preserved. No human remains have come to light, and everything indicates the destruction of the palace by fire. The throne has been partially fused by the heat; but it is thought it can be sufficiently preserved to exhibit to us so remarkable a relic of ancient art and royal pomp.

These can be regarded as only the first fruits of the harvest, and while it must be owned that the British government has more important duties to perform with its revenues than the search for Assyrian sculptures in the mounds of Koyunjik and Nimroud, it will be a just cause of regret, if, after an expedition has been sent out, it should be crippled, or rendered fruitless, from an illjudged economy.



In ages past all glorious was the land,

And lovely were thy borders, Palestine

The heavens were wont to shed their influence bland
On all those mountains and those vales of thine,

But there survives a tinge of glory yet

O'er all thy pastures and thy heights of green,
Which, though the lustre of thy day hath set,
Tells of the joy and splendour that hath been.


AROUND the capital of Judah lingers an interest which the associations of no other scene can parallel. Amid the hills and valleys of the ancient land which the seed of Abraham inherited, the perverse and accursed seed of Canaan established their footing almost immediately after the abated flood had restored the world to the human race. The promised inheritors of the favoured land sojourned in Egypt for four hundred years, until the iniquity of the Amorites was full, and they were doomed to be extirpated, like the inhabitants of the plain, whose ranker crime had first ripened them for judgment. There, at the appointed time, entered the wanderers born in the wilderness, through the dried-up bed of the Jordan, into the inheritance of their fathers.

Babylon, Assyria, Egypt, Tyre, Carthage, Rome, and other younger cities, claim indeed the world's notice by the large field they occupy, in some respects, in its elder history. Excepting during Solomon's glorious reign, Judah claims no part among the mighty nations of the earth, but she stands apart with a lasting glory, compared

with which all the associations of the "Eternal City" sink into utter insignificance.

The feelings with which we look upon this remarkable land have been expressed somewhat in these terms. Abstracting our thoughts from all the considerations of supernatural agency which are suggested by the inspired narrative, we still feel compelled to acknowledge that the course of events which constitutes the history of ancient Palestine has no parallel in any other part of the world. Fixing our eye on the small district of Judah, we call to mind that, eighteen hundred years ago, there dwelt in that little region a singular people, differing from all the rest of mankind in the very important circumstance of not being idolaters. Looking around upon every other country of the earth at the same era, we discover superstitions of the most hateful and degrading kind darkening all the prospects of man, and corrupting his moral nature in its very source. Some of these nations are seen to be far advanced in many intellectual accomplishments, yet, being unable to shake off the tremendous load of error by which they are pressed down, are equally irregular and capricious in the exercise of their reason and in the application of their affections. Yet this little spot called Palestine is seen to be despised and scorned by those proud kingdoms, whose wise men will not imagine that any specula tion or tenet, arising from so ignoble a quarter, ought to have the slightest influence upon their belief, or could in any way affect the general character of their social institutions. But, behold, while we yet muse over this interesting scene, a Teacher springs up among this people, -himself not less contemned by his countrymen than they were by the warlike Romans and the philosophic Greeks, whose doctrines, notwithstanding, continued to gain ground on every hand, till at last the proud monuments of pagan superstition, consecrated by the worship of a thousand years, and supported by the authority of


« السابقةمتابعة »