صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

mustered aft on the quarter-deck, and announced that they would do no more work unless they were to get more 'grub.' This being refused, on the ground that they had more than what they had signed for in the ship's articles, and as they still refused to turn to,' the captain had no help but wait till next day, and take them on shore to the police magistrate. On stating their complaint to this functionary, and being asked to descend to particulars, the only thing they had to say was that they did not get enough potatoes, and what they got were not good. Now, potatoes being entirely extra, and not mentioned at all in the dietary scale, their complaints were of course adjudged to be groundless, and they were ordered to return to their duty or be sent to prison. They chose the former alternative; and on getting on board again-having accomplished, I believe, all they wanted, namely, a trip on shore-they set to with a will, and got the anchor up and sail made in fine style. On such frivolous pretences on the part of English sailors are ships often subjected to delay and expense in foreign ports.

Before leaving the subject of China entirely, I have a remark to venture on the character of the people. Previous to going there, I was led to believe, both from oral and written testimony, that the Chinese were a dishonest, double-dealing race, ever ready to take advantage of the ignorance or inexperience of Europeans, and so expert in their nefarious practices that no watchfulness would protect a person from being cheated or robbed. My experience was of course too short to enable me to form a decided opinion; but, during a stay of more than two months, and in the course of frequent dealings with shopkeepers and artizans, I never suffered myself, nor did I | see any other person suffer, from their want of honesty. On the contrary, they always appeared to me a cheerful and industrious people, peaceable and friendly among themselves, and as honest in their dealings with strangers as people of the same class generally are in more civilised regions. From this estimate the low rabble must, of course, be excluded: they are a pest not only to foreigners but also to the decent Chinese themselves; and that even the better classes do cheat very cleverly at times cannot be denied, for otherwise the opinion would not be so commonly held; but I suspect that the individuals who have occasion to form a low estimate of the honesty of the Chinese in general are chiefly those who go everywhere armed with suspicion, and who pride themselves in their sagacity in making bargains, and their skill in detecting a cheat. It were a pity if such persons were to find their keenness and vigilance altogether useless.


No nation of antiquity furnishes so much of interesting material for the historian as Greece. Her sons were long and greatly distinguished for their martial superiority. Glorious laurels were won by them on the plains of Marathon, where 10,000 Athenians, under the command of Miltiades, gained the memorable victory over the Persian army, numbering upwards of 100,000 foot and horse. No less brave, though less favoured by fortune, were the 300 Spartans, who disputed for three successive days the straits of Thermopylæ, with, according to some authorities, nearly five million Persians under Xerxes. It is a sad reflection, that a nation so accomplished in arms, and therefore so well able to beat back the approaches of the common enemy, should have, in the course of time, yielded to feelings of weak rivalry and bitter jealousy, and turned their arms against each other. In the order of events, we shall have to chronicle the subjugation of the high-minded and noble Athenians, by the warlike Spartans and their allies. The wisdom of her laws has been long and widely celebrated. Those enacted by Draco were minutely, and even in the then state of society, needlessly severe-the punishment of death being awarded to every offence. But those promulgated by Solon and Lycurgus, though marked by great decision, were characterised by a large amount of fairness. It


would be too much to expect in them perfect consistency; but none has ever denied to them a minute acquaintance with human nature, and a wise application of necessary restraints. Greece was the home of poetry, eloquence, and philosophy. Here old Homer recited the immortal productions of his muse, and inspired the populace with the love of song; Socrates and Plato cultivated the various departments of an advanced philosophy; Aristotle trained the youth in subtle dialectics; Demosthenes charmed and swayed the people by a commanding eloquence. Ancient Greece was divided into the five following divisions: Peloponnesus, Epirus, Thessaly, Macedonia, and Greece proper. Greece, properly so called, was again divided into a number of parts:-Etolia, Doris, Boeotia, and Attica. Athens was the capital of Attica, and is now that of the modern kingdom of Greece.


Attica has been compared to a triangle, and the comparison is accurate. Two sides, the east and south, are washed by the sea, and the other is bounded by a range of mountains. Athens, of whose site, and history, and antiquities, we now proceed to furnish a brief sketch, was the capital of this district. It stood at the distance of five miles from the sea, but had attached to it three harbours, situated not at great distances from each other. From the harbour at either extremity a high and strong wall extended to the city, thus at once enclosing the intervening space and securing a safe and unbroken connection with the sea. This arrangement gave to Athens an importance and power which no inland town, however well-chosen the situation, and however splendid and extensive its buildings might be, can ever possess. In the plain there rises a huge rock with three abrupt sides. It is only accessible at one point-the north-west. many of the isolated rocks in our own country, it presents a flat surface, though somewhat rugged and uneven. On this and two or three other eminences the early inhabitants of the plain seem to have begun to erect buildings, probably in the first instance for safety. Gradually the site was occupied; and at length, streets, and temples, and statues, rose around its base, and stretched in all directions. We may, for the sake of illustration, suppose the city to have formed a circle, and the hilly eminences to have occupied the centre. The Acropolis, Areopagus, and the Hill of the Museum were all within the walls of the ancient city; while mount Lycabettus, with its peaked summit, rose on the north-east just without the walls. On the east, the river Ilissus, on whose banks was erected a temple sacred to the muses, separated the city from the heights of Hymettus. In the hot season of the year its waters are exhausted before it reaches the sea, by the natural heat and numerous channels for artificial irrigation. Around the city were the cemeteries, especially on the north and north-west. They commenced in this direction immediately without the walls, and stretched to considerable distances. The road from the gate Dipylum to the Academy was lined with the tombs of illustrious men, such as Pericles, Thrasybulus, Chabrias, and Phormion. Here too were the monuments of those who fell in their country's service: a slab of stone, with the name and township of each individual, was the honour paid by the state to its citizens who died in battle. The academy was surrounded with a wall, planted with trees, and ornamented with fountains of water. Near it was the tomb of Plato.' The wall that enclosed the city was strengthened by towers at regular intervals. The walls that joined the city with the ports were strengthened and protected in a similar manner. The space enclosed by these walls was, in the best days of Athens, largely occupied with houses; and the three sea-ports extended so much as to form, combined, a city larger then Athens itself. Nothing now remains of these extensive buildings save the ruins of a temple, and the foundation of some parts of the walls. Such is the end of human greatness. The limited district of Attica is not the most beautiful or fertile portion of Greece; yet it is varied in scenery, and deeply interesting to the man of taste. The hills, girdled with wood, enclose delightful valleys, where sparkle, as

in days of old, the crystal fountain and the fairy stream. The climate is still delicious and the sky serene. It is still the land of poetry:


'Where'er we tread, 'tis haunted holy ground;
No earth of thine is lost in vulgar mould:
But one vast realm of wonder spreads around,
And all the muses' tales seem truly told;
Till the sense aches with gazing to behold
The scenes our earliest dreams have dwelt upon.
Each hill and dale, each deepening glen and wold,
Defies the power which crushed thy temples gone;
Age shakes Athena's power, but spares grey Marathon,
Long to the remnants of thy splendours past
Shall pilgrims pensive and unwearied .hroug;
Long shall the voyager with th' Ionian blast
Hail the bright clime of battle and of song!
Long shall thine annals and immortal tongue
Fill with thy fame the youth of many a shore-
Boast of the aged, lesson of the young,

Which sages venerate and bards adore

As Pallas and the muse unveil their awful lore.'--Byron.

The history of Attica is lost in the fables that surround its origin. According to all accounts, however, it appears certain that the first form of government recognised was monarchical. Seventeen kings reigned in succession, and it is interesting to observe that the last of these, Codrus by name, was contemporary with Saul the first king of Israel. Medon, the son of Codrus, was placed at the head of the commonwealth with the title of Archon, or goverThe archons were originally appointed for life, afterward for ten years, and at a still later period for one year only. In the eyes of the Athenians, jealous of their liberties, the office, as originally instituted, resembled too closely the regal power they had just destroyed. The monarchy gave place to an oligarchy, and this again to the democratic form of government. It is rather curious that at the time the children of Israel were murmuring against God, and demanding a king to go before them to battle, like the other nations, the Athenians had grown. disgusted with their kings, and had resolved to abolish the office. Under the democracy, Athens increased in importance, power, and splendour. The naturally unproductive soil of Attica seems to have been productive of two results that mightily influenced, and consolidated the power of her inhabitants. First, for a long period, no enemy cast a longing eye upon their territories, deeming them unworthy the cost of conquest. They were thus left to reap the consequences of a lengthened peace. Besides, at an early period of their history, the various townships seem to have been brought into a close and friendly alliance. Secondly, the unproductiveness of the soil, coupled as it was with a natural and universal abstemiousness, in all probability contributed not a little to that state of mental superiority and philosophie attainment which so leng distinguished the Athenians. the other hand, the naturally fertile district of Boeotia supported a population notorious for their rudeness and intellectual indolence. Perhaps the history of nations will be found to support our philosophy on this point. Where the people feed but sparingly, and have few luxuries, the spiritual man is more fully developed, and his various capacities better and more extensively exercised. At all events, in the case before us, the period of the Athenian influence and glory was co-existent with the period of their frugality and temperance. In proportion as riches and effeminacy increased, so were developed those principles and passions that first corroded the unity and strength of Athens, and then easily worked her overthrow.


Under this new order of things many turbulent spirits arose, and by their lengthened contentions endangered in no small degree the safety of the state. Her power during this period did not increase; and she was fortunate in being able to retain her former position and influence. The experience through which the Athenians passed, appears to have impressed them with the conviction that the governing power was now incapable of regulating and controlling the numerous elements that were at work. It was accordingly resolved to entrust the management of the state to a legislator, who should be

endowed with the requisite authority. The choice fell upon Draco, a man of wisdom and integrity. At this time the social condition of the people was deplorable. The poorer classes were not only indebted to the rich; but many of them had been compelled, through want, to sell themselves to this class as slaves. They were clamorous for a new division of the lands, being persuaded that this would prove a remedy for all their evils. All eyes were turned to Draco. His well-known wisdom and interest in the poor emboldened the sufferers to anticipate the most complete reformation; on the other hand, his integrity, and being himself a wealthy man, gave the rich ground to believe that he would give due consideration to their lawful claims. There seems to have been no written laws previous to this date (B.c. 624). The new legislator published, in course, certain laws, which astonished the people by their rigour. Every offence, great and small, was to be punished with death; a circumstance which led Demades long after to say that the laws of Draco were written, not with ink, but with blood. On the matter of debt and slavery-the vital question between the body of the people and the rich-he seems to have come to no decision. His laws, however, because of their severity, were speedily rendered all but void, through the sentiments of humanity that influenced the judges. Twenty years after the issuing of these laws, and when society was threatened with a relapse, because of their disuse, the eyes of the chief men were directed towards a man greatly distinguished for his wisdom, integrity, and moderation. This person was Solon, the true founder of Athenian law. He was born at Salamis, but educated at Athens. By his father he was descended from King Codrus. After finishing his studies, he travelled through the other Grecian stat s. On his return he was chosen supreme legislator. He might have become absolute, and been recognised as king of Athens, as there was at this time a wide-spread desire among the wealthy to return to the ancient form of government. But Solon would not accept the proffered crown; he contented himself with the office of lawgiver. The vexed question of the debts and slavery of the poor soon came up; and on it his decision was such as neither to satisfy the one party nor the other. He decreed that all debts should be iminediately cancelled; and that no man should be deprived of liberty on the ground of inability to pay his redemption-money. The rich were irritated by the law, and the poor were disappointed. Solon, however, stood firm, and ultimately prevailed. He softened the laws of Draco; abolishing death for every crime save that of murder, and instituted many others, conceived on such an enlightened and liberal principle as rendered them remarkably appropriate to the existing circumstances, and still renders them the admiration of all. He regulated offices and magistracies, all of which he left in the hands of the rich; and balanced this power by conferring upon the people certain privileges. Solon augmented the authority of the Areopages, giving to that tribunal, as the supreme court of judicature, a general inspection over all affairs, and also the care of seeing the laws put into execution. When these laws had been published, and the people by oath had engaged to respect and follow them, he removed from Athens. In his absence disputes arose, and the people were gathered into parties, with men accomplished and brave at their head. On his return he exerted his authority to remedy the evils that threatened the liberties of the state, but was unsuccessful. Pisistratus, the leader of the moantaineers and handicraftsmen, gained the ascendency. Two years after this Solon died, much regretted by the usurper, who always treated him with respect, and even kindness. For about fifty years Athens was governed by tyrants, with various fortunes; at length in 508 B.C. they were driven from the city-the same year the kings were banished from Rome. The Athenians manifested the greatest desire to honour the memories of their deliverers, Harmodius and Aristogiton, and acted in the most generous manner towards their descendants. With the recovery of her liberty, Athens recovered her spirit and

martial energy, but for a time was still subject to disputes and outbreaks. It was now that the Spartans, for the first time, allowed their envy and jealousy to appear, and urge them to interfere with the affairs of Athens. It was proposed by them to their ailies that the son of one of the tyrants should be again brought to Athens, and by their united force placed upon the Athenian throne. This base attempt was crushed in the bud, mainly by the noble stand taken by the representative of Corinth. However, what the Spartans did not do, was attempted by Artaphernes the Persian; and hence the origin of the wars between the Persians and the Greeks.


was completely broken the numerous army of Darius, and, by Athenian valour, Greece was saved. Immediately after the battle, and while yet reeking with blood, a soldier made his way for Athens. He arrived at the magistrate's house with the happy news, and was able only to utter these words, Rejoice! the victory is ours,' before he fell down and expired. So confident were the Persians of victory that they had brought marble with them to Marathon to erect a trophy there. The Grecians made of it a statue to the goddess Nemesis, who had a temple near the spot where the battle was fought. The camp of the enemy, containing all manner of costly things, fell into the hands of the Athenians. The Persian fleet, instead of sailing for Asia, attempted to make a descent upon Athens, but was prevented by the hurried march of the victorious army from the field of battle. Thus the designs of Darius upon the Greeks were, for the time, completely defeated; but the news of the defeat of his army only roused him to the greater determination to subdue the refractory Greeks.

Darius now resolved to raise a still more numerous army, at the head of which he should himself march, in order to accomplish his object-the entire subjugation of the Grecian states. But God, the righteous governor of the universe, cut short his specious plans and splendid hopes of victory, by sending the messenger of death, and withdrawing him from this earthly scene. Xerxes succeeded to his father's throne and his father's ambition. Preparations for the war went forward. In due time an enormous army marched for Europe, at the head of which was the king. The army was supported by a fleet consisting of many hundred sail. Altogether, there were not fewer persons engaged in this mad enterprise than five millions. Strange things are told of the arrogance and folly of the Persian monarch. It is said that he ordered 300 lashes to the waters of the Hellespont for having broken down his bridge of boats, by which he intended to transport his army. After incredible labour and loss of time, he succeeded in constructing a bridge of boats and trunks of trees lashed together with strong cables, along which the army took several days to file. The Greeks were not idle in the interval. Every effort was made to prevail on the different states to join in an honourable al

It is said that Darius was so incensed against the Greeks that a servant every evening, by his order, repeated these words in the king's hearing-Remember, O king, to punish the Athenians. Preparations were made on a vast scale to invade Greece, and subdue its turbulent inhabitants. An army of not less than 100,000 men, and according to some 600,000, was speedily raised and despatched on this important expedition, under the command of Datis and Artaphernes, who superseded Mardonius in the command in these parts. Before engaging in the enterprise, Darius sent heralds to the different states in Greece, to demand of them, in token of submission, according to the Persian custom, earth and water. Most of the states were so terrified at the name and number of the Persians that they without delay acceded to the request, but Athens and Sparta sent a very different reply. The heralds to these cities were cast, the one into a well and the other into a ditch, and told to take thence earth and water to their master. No time was now lost in prosecuting the war-the Persians making all necessary preparations for the attack, and the Grecians providing for the defence. Darius had given instructions to his generals to plunder and burn Eretria and Athens, not even sparing the temples, and to take the inhabitants prisoners, to be transmitted to Persia. So certain were they of victory that they provided themselves with chains and fetters for this purpose. At length the army reached Eretria, a city of Euboea, which they took after a siege of seven days, but only by the treachery of some of the principal inhabitants. Meanwhile the fleet had taken possession of most of the islands in the Egean Sea. The city was reduced to ashes, and the inhabitants were sent in chains to Per-liance against the common foe. But, partly through fear, sia. The victorious Persians now advanced towards Attica, and arrived at the town of Marathon, ten miles from Athens. The fate of Eretria was made known to the Athenians, and they were called on to surrender. In the meantime they had sent to Lacedæmon to desire succours against the common enemy. Their desire was promptly granted; but, owing to a superstitious notion, the Spartans could not march till the full moon. Not only the fate of Athens but that of all Greece must be decided before the full moon. The Athenians, then, to the number of 10,000, aided by 1,000 Platace, met the enemy on the plain of Marathon, resolved to conquer or to die. The enemy, according to the most sober calculations, amounted to upwards of 100,000 men. Ten to one did the Athenians fight that day at Marathon! The common danger quenched the feelings of jealousy among the Athenian generals, and by common consent the command was entrusted to Miltiades. He chose a strong position, protected in the rear by a hill, and flanked on both sides by large trees, where he awaited the signal for battle. No sooner was this given than the Athenians rushed upon the enemy, and, by the suddenness and fierceness of the attack, shook the Persian lines. The battle was fierce and obstinate. Victory oscillated in the balance. Now the Athenian centre gives way; but already had the Persian wings been driven back with great loss and confusion. The whole body of the Greeks now press upon the Persian centre, and speedily regain the ground lost. The enemy wavers, and takes to flight, and the Grecians are left undisputed masters of the field. The Persians fled to their vessels, thinking by this means to escape the fury of their enemies, but in vain. Many were overtaken and slain, and many more perished in the waters. Thus

and partly through petty jealousies, the confederacy was li-
mited to the Athenians and Spartans. Taught by expe-
rience, the Greeks had now a considerable navy at their
service, the command of which was entrusted to Eurybiades,
a Lacedæmonian. The land army was under the leader-
ship of Leonidas, one of the kings of Lacedæmon. It
was resolved in a council of war to choose a favourable po-
sition, and give the enemy an early opportunity of judg-
ing of Grecian courage and prowess. Thermopyla was
fixed upon for this purpose. This is a narrow pass of
Mount Eta, between Thessaly and Phocis, and only
twenty-five feet broad. There was no other way by which
the Persian army could enter Achaia. and it was capable
of being defended by a mere handful of men. The Gre-
cian army amounted in all to 11,200, of which number
4000 were appointed to defeud the pass. When Xerxes
arrived at Thermopyla, he was astonished to find that the
Greeks were resolved to stop his progress.
He sent a
party to reconnoitre, and delayed four days, thinking that
the presence of his army would lead them to break their
resolution and retreat. In this he was deceived; these
men knew that their liberties and lives were in the most
imminent peril, and their determination was to conquer
or to die. When the army was found steadfast, Xerxes
tried the effect of bribes and flattery on their general.
Leonidas had made to him the most splendid promises,
with the assurance that, should he come over to the king's
party, he would be crowned king of all Greece. The pro-
posals were rejected with scorn and indignation; and
when afterwards he was written to, to deliver up his arms,
his spirited reply was, Come and take them.' Nothing
now remained but to march to the pass and engage the
Grecians. Orders were issued to take them alive and

[ocr errors]

bring them to the king. The first onset was terrific; the Persians were repulsed and put to flight. The immortal band, consisting of 10,000 veterans, were next ordered to face the Spartans; but they were as unsuccessful as those that preceded them. Xerxes was now driven to his wit's end, and feared that by force the pass never could be taken. At this juncture, a countryman sought the Persian camp, and pointed out a secret path which conducted to an eminence which commanded the Spartan forces. This eminence was immediately seized, and now it was obvious to the band of patriots that they had been betrayed. Victory was impossible; nothing remained but certain death or ignominious flight. Leonidas instantly made his choice-he resolved to die. But the loss of four thousand brave men was more than Greece could in the present emergency afford, consequently he ordered the whole to retreat save his 300 Spartans, who were prepared with their leader to sell their lives at the highest price. Animated by a brief but spirited address from Leonidas, they received the attack of the Persians with firmness; but the shock was violent and bloody. Their noble-minded leader was the first who fell; and around his dead body the battle raged with the utmost fury. Incredible deeds were performed by the Spartans, multitudes of their enemies were cut down, but nothing could turn the day in their favour. At length, they were overwhelmed with numbers, not conquered, and one only of the devoted 300 escaped with his life. The results of this engagement were of the most beneficial nature; all Greece longed to imitate, and show themselves worthy of the brave Spartans. In after times, a magnificent monument was erected at Thermopylæ, in honour of those who fell there in defence of their country. One of the inscriptions was couched in these appropriate words :- Go, passenger, and tell at Lacedæmon that we died here in obedience to our sacred laws.'

On the same day on which the action at Thermopyla was fought, a naval engagement took place, which, though not decisive in favour of the Greeks, was yet encouraging to them. Several other actions followed of a similar character; but that which gave the advantage to the Greeks, and broke the spirit of the Persians, was the naval battle of Salamis. After the action at Thermopyla, the latter pushed forward to Athens, where they found a city deserted of its inhabitants, with only a handful of brave men, who would not, for any consideration, leave their post in the citadel, and who were put to the sword. The city itself was laid in ashes. Themistocles, in accordance with the response of the oracle of Delphi, that there would be no other way of saving Athens but by wooden walls, prevailed upon the people, after much eloquent pleading, to evacuate the city, and betake themselves to the fleet. The aged, the women, and their children were conveyed to an island where they were considered safe. With their homes in ashes, and their fathers, wives, and children thus exposed and constituted spectators of their valour, the Athenians met the enemy. Thus situated, and impelled by such considerations, though greatly inferior in point of numbers, victory could not but be theirs. Xerxes, who had caused a platform to be erected, from which he might witness the engagement, was compelled to behold the defeat and destruction of his numerous fleet, without having it in his power to render the slightest service, either by word or action. He returned with the utmost precipitancy to Asia, and left the prosecution of the war to Mardonius, with an army of 300.000 men. The crisis was now past, and though the Athenians were compelled again to evacuate their city, and to fight another battle-the battle of Plataæ-yet even their enemies do not seem to have anticipated now the accomplishment of their object. At length, they entirely disappeared, leaving behind them vast spoil, by which the Grecians were enriched, and we may add enervated. The Persians and the Greeks still lived at variance; but we cannot trace the matter further. No sooner were the states of Greece delivered from the presence and terror of their formidable enemy than they began to differ among themselves. Athens and

Sparta grew jealous of each other. The latter, especially, feared the restoration of her rival to her former power and glory; and actually attempted to prevent her from rebuilding her walls. But the Athenians, by a stratagem, succeeded in effecting their purpose before the Lacedremonians were aware. At length, matters came to a crisis, and the whole of Greece was involved in the quarrel. Several of the states took part with the Spartans, while others cast in their influence in favour of the Athenians. Hence the origin of the Peloponnesian war. This famous but unnatural war lasted twenty-seven years, and was characterised by great cruelty on both sides. The first blow was struck on the 7th of May, B.C. 431. The King of Sparta followed this up by an invasion of Attica at the head of 60,000 men, and wasted the country with fire and sword. Pericles, who was at the head of the Athenian government, did not attempt to stop his progress, but immediately commanded a fleet to sail and ravage the coasts of the Peloponnesus. For a time various fortune followed the Athenians; and at length their superiority was so far acknowledged by the Spartans, as to lead them to sue for peace. The terms were rejected, and the war continued. Greek fought with Greek as if bent on a war of exter mination. The result of the whole was, that after, through the intrigues of the allies, all proposals of peace were rejected, the Athenians were shut up in their city, and through the intrigues of the aristocracy were forced to capitulate on dishonourable terms. The defences at the sea-ports were destroyed, the walls that joined these with the city were thrown down, and their fleet was reduced to some dozen vessels. They resigned every pretension to their ancient dominions; and were compelled to recall those members of the aristocracy who had been banished the republic for seeking its overthrow. The whole was wound up with a festival, and the appointment of thirty tyrants, by Lysander, over the unfortunate city. The Athenians laboured long under their calamities; and though they gained some of their ancient spirit in the time of Philip of Macedon, yet they could not resist the golden influence of this prince. They became subject to the Romans B.C. 86. and latterly were brought under the cruel || sway of the Turk, from which they were but recently delivered. In the year 1834 was instituted the modern kingdom of Greece, of which Athens is the capital. Such is a brief history of a people most distinguished for their love of liberty, and from whom sprung some of the wisest, most able, and most eloquent of men. This is a subject on which one is strongly tempted to moralise; but, considering the great length to which this paper has already extended, this exercise must be devolved upon the reader.

Before we conclude, we must devote a paragraph to the interesting antiquities that abound in and around the city. The most striking object is the Acropolis or Citadel, a rock which rises abruptly from the plain, and is crowned with the Parthenon. Opposite to the west end of the Acropolis, and separated from it by a depression, is the Areopagus, or Hill of Mars, on the eastern and highest extremity of which was the court of the Areopagus. Adjacent to the Areopagus on the west was the Pnyx, where the public meetings were held in the more ancient period of the state, and where a bema, or pulpit of stone, still marks the place from which the assembly was addressed.' The principal ornament of the Acropolis was the Parthenon, or Temple of Minerva. The circumstances that related to the early life of the goddess were all represented with wonderful minuteness on the entrance. The statue of the goddess was composed of gold and ivory, and stood twenty-six cubits high. It was reckoned one of the masterpieces of Phidias. To those who approached Athens by sea, the spear and helmet of this colossal figure are said to have been visible at a great distance. At the west end of the Acropolis, which was the only entrance, there was a magnificent work of Pentelic marble, which served both as an approach and a defence to the citadel. This splendid building existed as late as the year 1676, but is now demolished. The great theatre for dramatic exhibitions and the musical theatre stood on the Acropolis. A

noble figure, seated, which stood here, is now in the Elgin room of the British Museum, and is known as the statue of Bacchus. Many temples were scattered over the city; 'the city was indeed wholly given to idolatry.' The Temple of Theseus, which stood north of the Areopagus, and is built of beautiful white marble, is one of the best preserved buildings of ancient Athens. Areopagus, or Mar's Hill, is an isolated precipitous rock. It stood in the centre of ancient Athens. It was here that the court of the same name held its sittings in the open air, and under night. It was to this spot, and before this court, the most famous in the world, that Paul, the apostle of the Gentiles, was brought, that the Athenians might have the opportunity of ascertaining the nature of his doctrines. The following description is from Dr Clarke:- It is not possible to conceive a situation of greater peril, or one more calculated to prove the sincerity of a preacher, than that in which the apostle was here placed; and the truth of this will perhaps never be better felt than by a spectator, who, from this eminence, actually beholds the monuments of pagan pomp and superstition, by which he, whom the Athenians considered as the setter forth of strange gods, as then surrounded; representing to the imagination the disciples of Socrates and Plato, the donatist of the porch and the sceptic of the academy, addressed by a poor and lowly man, who, rude in speech, and without the enticing words of men's wisdom, enjoined precepts contrary to their taste, and very hostile to their prejudices. One of the peculiar privileges of the Areopagitæ seems to have been set at defiance by the zeal of Paul on this occasion, namely, that of inflicting extreme and exemplary punishment upon any person who should slight the celebration of the holy mysteries, or blaspheme the gods of Greece. We ascended to the summit by means of steps cut in the natural stone. The sublime scene here exhibited is so striking, that a brief description of it may prove how truly it offers to us a commentary on the apostle's words, as they were delivered on the spot. He stood upon the top of the rock, and beneath the canopy of heaven. Before him there was spread a glorious prospect of mountains, islands, seas, and skies: behind him towered the lofty Acropolis, crowned with all its marble temples. Thus every object, whether in the face of nature or among the works of art, conspired to elevate the mind and to fill it with reverence towards that Being who made and governs the world, who sitteth in that light which no mortal eye can approach, and yet is nigh to the meanest of his creatures-in whom we live and move and have our being.'

The topography of Athens has been greatly corrected by recent investigations, carried on principally by Germans. Besides other works that treat of this subject, the reader who may be desirous of investigating it further may be referred to 'Stuart's Athens,' London, 1827; 'Leake's Topography of Athens,' London, 1841; in the last of which he will find an account of the more recent discoveries.




Where are thy thoughts, thou fair and dreaming child?
What can it be that haunts thy dreaming hours?

Thy life hath been as yet one dream of joy—
Bright as an April sky, without its showers.

Love is around thee, smiling on thy home;
The fervent love of many hearts is thine;
Near and more near each closing day are drawn
The links which bind thy childish heart to mine.
Thou art before me now in slumbers deep,
Hush'd is thy merry langh, thy childish glee,
Upon thy lips one rosy smile seems curl'd,
And yet they breathe a sigh-whence can it be?
Ah! who can trace the spirit's onward flight
To unseen worlds conceal'd from mortal eye:

Or the strange wandering of the soul in dreams,
Even in the early hours of infancy?

It may be that thy soul hath converse deep
With things too bright for erring man to know,

Or the dim curtain o'er the future cast,
May have unveil'd thy onward path below.

Ah! who can tell what thy deep thoughts may be?
There is no shadow left for us to trace

The lights and shades which flit across thy soul,
Leaving no shadow on thy slumb'ring face.

Sadly and solemnly my heart is stirr'd:
Sadly, for human love must ever be
Link'd all too closely in this lower world,
With dark'ning thoughts of dim futurity;
And solemnly across my soul will come,
Visions of future quickly-coming hours;
Yet why, amid the glorious hours of June,
Think ever of the fading of the flowers?

Sleep on, sweet dreamer, though thy dreams be sad,
Soon will the shadow leave the midnight dream!
Would that the ills to which our race is heir
As quickly faded from life's troubled stream!

It cannot be. Man's destiny is dark.

Life is the passage leading to the tomb;

Nought but the light which shines beyond the grave
Can chase away the shadows from its gloom. MRS HARNER,

WILHELM, THE KNIFE GRINDER. WISE men, in their illustrations of life and manners, generally go to find their extremes in the city and in the wilderness. Politeness and the mental and social embellishments and comforts attendant upon the arts and sciences are attributed without exception to the city, while mere physical vegetativeness and the manifestations of a rude and savage condition of humanity are the prescribed residents of the uncultured wilds. We do not require, however, to go beyond the moral boundaries with which the social economics of capital and labour have environed the homes of men to find the antipodes of human existence; the positive and negative conditions of life, like the points of a straight line, are to be found in every city; wealth lolling on its Sybarite cushions, feasting on its ambrosial dainties, and breathing its odour of roses, luxuriates hard by the dark and noisome caverns of ignorant, hungry, and almost naked poverty. Outcasts from the world of soul, and sense, and virtue, and home-life and love, drag on a weary load of proscribed debasement and suffering within the demesne of religion, and beneath the eyes of charity; while the former stretches her gentle helping hand to raise the darkling savage, and the latter looks with her tearful dove-like eyes across the sea to men in pathless wilds, without seeming to know that there is a moral wilderness at home, peopled with types of poor humanity, more distant from heaven's light and radiance than he who, from his wigwam-door, can look at morn and evening upon the sun and feel its warming beams. It is to the wilderness, however, that men have gone and go to find their demigod heroism; it is there that they bend their pilgrim steps to look upon incarnate endurance and temerity, and to bend to them in worship; but, even in the close-pent home of that neglected pariah poverty, there resides a heroism which is unseen of men, but known and loved by angels; there love has its heart-warmed temple, resignation its martyrs, and charity its dwelling-spots.

Knives to grind,' cried Wilhelm, as he limped through the streets of Brussels, driving his old crazy machine before him. Knives and scissors to grind.' Wilhelm did not limit his trade to the grinding of knives and scissors exclusively; he would not refuse to put an edge upon a butcher's cleaver, and he was even very thankful to obtain a hatchet to reduce to chopping acuteness, but he only cried Knives and scissors to grind,' as has been the custom of itinerant cutlers since the days of Cataline. Wilhelm drove his machine before him very slowly, and he perhaps required to do so, as it was rather fragile in its

« السابقةمتابعة »