Imatges de pàgina
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deceived by imagination, I have good grounds for maintaining, that the Head, now in the British Museum, is endued with qualities quite as inexplicable as any that have been attributed to its more enormous namesake. I had taken my seat before it yesterday afternoon, for the purpose of drawing a sketch, occasionally pursuing my work, and occasionally lost in reveries upon the vicissitudes of fate this mighty monument had experienced, until I became unconscious of the lapse of time, and, just as the shades of evening began to gather round the room, I discovered that every visitor had retired, and that I was left quite alone with the gigantic Head! There was something awful, if not alarming, in the first surprise excited by this discovery; and I must confess that I felt a slight inclination to quicken my steps to the door. Shame, however, withheld me; and as I made a point of proving to myself that I was superior to such childish impressions, I resumed my seat, and examined my sketch, with an affectation of nonchalance. On again looking up to the Bust, it appeared to me that an air of living animation had spread over its Nubian features, which had obviously arranged themselves into a smile. Belzoni says, that it seemed to smile on him, when he first discovered it amid the ruins ; and I was endeavouring to persuade myself that I had been deceived by the recollection of this assertion, when I saw its broad granite eyelids slowly descend over its eyes, and again deliberately lift themselves up, as if the Giant were striving to awaken himself from his long sleep! I rubbed my own eyes, and, again fixing them, with a sort of desperate incredulity, upon the figure before me, I clearly beheld its lips moving in silence, as if making faint efforts to speak--and, after several ineffectual endeavours, a low whispering voice, of melancholy tone, but sweet withal, distinctly uttered the follow

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In Egypt's centre, when the world was young,

My statue soar'd aloft-a man-shaped tower,
O'er hundred-gated Thebes, by Homer sung,

And built by Apis' and Osiris' power.
When the sun's infant eye more brightly blazed,

I mark'd the labours of unwearied time;
And saw, by patent centuries upraised,

Stupendous temples, obelisks sublime. Hewn from the rooted rock, some mightier mound,

Some new colossus, more enormous, springs, So vast, so firm, that, as I gazed around,

I thought them, like myself, eternal things.

Then did I mark in sacerdotal state,

Psamomis the king, whose alabaster tomb, (Such the inscrutable decrees of fate,)

Now floats ath wart the sea to share my doom. o Thebes, (I cried,) thou wonder of the world

Still shalt thou sòar, its everlasting boast ; When, lo! the Persian standards were unfurld,

And fierce Cambyses led th' invading host.

Where from the east a cloud of dust proceeds,

A thousand banner'd suns at once appear ; Nought else was seen; but sounds of neighing steeds,

And faint barbaric music met mine ear.

Onward they march, and foremost I descried

A cuirass'd Grecian band, in phalanx dense ;
Around them throng'd, in oriental pride,

Commingled tribes, a wild magnificence.
Dogs, cats, and monkeys, in their van they show,

Which Egypt's children worship and obey ;
They fear to strike a sacrilegious blow,

And fall—a pious, unresisting prey. Then, havoc leaguing with infuriate zeal,

Palaces, temples, cities, are o’erthrown; Apis is stabb'd! Cambyses thrust the steel,

And shuddering Egypt heaved a general groan.

The firin Memnonium mock'd their feeble power,

Flames round its granite colums hiss'd in vain
The head of Isis frowning o’er each tower,

Look'd down with indestructible disdain.
Mine was a deeper and more quick disgrace :

Beneath my shade a wondering army flock'd;
With force combined they wrench'd me from my base,

And earth beneath the dread concussion rock'd.

Nile from his banks receded with affright,

The startled Sphink long trembled at the sound; While from each pyramid's astounded height,

The loosen'd stones slid rattling to the ground.

I watch'd, as in the dust supine I lay.

The fall of Thebes--as I had mark'd its fame-
Till crumbling down, as ages rolld away,

Its site a lonely wilderness hecame.
The throngs that choak’d its hundred gates of yore,

Its fleets, its armies, were no longer seen;
Its priesthood's pomp-its Pharaohs were no more-

All-all were gone as if they ne'er had been.

Deep was the silence now, unless some vast

And time warn fragment thunder'd to its base ;
Whose sullen echoes, o’er the desert cast,

Died in the distant solitudes of space :

Or haply, in the palaces of kings,

Some stray jackal sat howling on the throne;
Or, on the temple's holiest altai, springs
Some gaunt hyæna, laughing all alone.
Nature o'erwhelms the relics left by time;

By slow degrees entombing all the land,
She buries every monument sublime,

Beneath a mighty winding sheet of sand.
Vain is each monarch's unremitting pains,

Who in the rock his place of burial delves; Behold! their proudest palaces and fanes

Are subterraneous sepulchres themselves.
Twenty-three centuries unmoved I lay,

And saw the tide of sand around me rise ;
Quickly it threaten'd to engulf its prey,

And close in everlasting night mine eyes.
VOL. II.

S

Snatch'd in this crisis from my yawning grave,

Belzoni rolld me to the banks of Nile,
And slowly heaving o'er the western wave,

This massy fragment reach'd th' imperial isle.
In London now with face erect I gaze

On England's pallid sons, whose eyes up cast
View my colossal features with amaze,

And deeply ponder on my glories past.
But who my future destiny shall guess ?

Saint Paul's may lie-like Memnon's temple-low;
London, like Thebes, may be a wilderness;

And Thames, like Nile, through silent ruins flow.
Then haply may my travels be renew'd:

Some transatlantic hand may break my rest,
And bear me from Augusta's solitude,

To some new seat of empire in the west.
Mortal!-since human grandeur ends in dust,

And proudest piles must crumble to decay,
Build up the tower of thy final trust

In those blest realms where nought shall pass away!

LAST YEAR.

“See the minutes, how they run:
How many make the hour full complete,
How many hours bring about the day,
How many days will fish up the year.
How many years a mortal iman may live."-SAAKSPEARE.

EIGHTEEN hundred and twenty four years have elapsed since the infant of Bethlehem changed the history of the universe. If we cast our eyes backward along the stream of time, from the present moment to that eventful æra, what a strange succession of human revolutions crowd upon our vision ! The Roman empireMy dear sir, exclaims the reader, Gibbon's Deciine and Fall occupies of itself twelve goodly volumes, and if you purpose leading us through all the intermediate time, even in the briefest summary, we may come to the end of our days before you will have completed your centuries.

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Your exordium is too solemn and grandiloquent: what is antiquity to us, or we to it? Time in the wholesale is rather too bulky a commodity for either a writer or reader of periodicals; but if you have any little retail article referring to that portion of it with which we have both been conversant, and which therefore comes home to our business and bosoms, any epitaph, for instance, upon the year which has just expired, we will promise you, provided it be not too much in the lapidary style, (as Dr. Johnson terms it,) to honour it with a resolute attempt at perusual. Contributors to magazines are like actors, “they who live to please must please to live," and therefore, most conditional reader, (for I dare not assume thy retention of that title, if I do not tickle the sides of thine understanding,) I promise to limit our excursion to the three hundred and sixty-five days which our common hobby horse, the earth, has employed in performing his last gallop around the

A foreigner of distinction once asked a British member of Parliament what had passed in the last session; “ Five months and fourteen days," was the reply: and if many of us were asked what we had accomplished in the last year, we might be reduced to the necessity of stating, that we had not only become twelve months older, but that, exclusive of our little terrestrial excursions from London to our country-houses and back, we had been travelling round the sun at the rate of fifty-eight thousand miles every hour, and, in the rotatory motion of the earth upon its own axis, had completed an additional five hundred and eighty miles in every similar space

of time. So far we have established our claim to be considered as a part of the sublime scheme of creation ; but as to any thing that we have performed worthy of an intelligent being, moving in such a magnificent pageant, and obviously framed for the most noble destinies, it is to

sun.

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