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-j amid men scenes as this, Must they have dwelt— the bards of old. Whose numbers, of Arcadian bliss, And Tempo's beauteous vale, bave told.* Many an exquisite story has been embalmed in the spirit of song, or invested with the pleasing garb of tradition, while the lighter incidents of life have faded into oblivion without a tongue to record them. One of these, selected from the many which my heart has kept sacted among the dim recollections of the past, sustains the interest of my present sketch; and a more amusing recital I have never yet transmitted to the pages of The Mirror.
It was a night of deep and tranquil loveliness—a night that seldom fails to soften the excitement produced by the feverish pursuits of day. The vivid glow of an eastern sunset quivered on the mountains, and the clouds that displayed their crystal forms in its western glory, seemed coloured with a tint of the richest crimson. In the azure vault above,emblazoned in the spiritof Byron's splendid, intellectual coruscation, With— Hues that bave words and speak to ye of heaven.
thousands of silver orbs sparkled and gleamed like fairy lamps of fire; and the bowers, in which the "Sultana of the Nightingale" inspired a song from her minstrel lover, assumed the dreamlike repose which 'pervaded the surrounding scenes, and extended its influence to the city of Aleppo.
At this silent hour I wandered among the tombs that lay within the cemetery at some distance from the city: they were arranged with the most pleasing care, and the statuary exhibited on many of them formed an ornamental grace to their sepulchral beauty. Some were wholly shrouded in cypress, while others shone in the moonlight beneath a wreath of consecrated roses, designed to embalm the mementos of mouldering marble. Here a sister's affection might be traced—one who had lived long enough to lay her sacred offering upon the tomb, and bedew it with the tears of grief. Notwithstanding its solemn associations, it was withal a place adapted to the most exquisite feelings, and a sanctuary where the heart might forget its worldly aspirations. But the Turks, in selecting their cemeteries, far transcend the boasted intellectual superiority of Europeans; and the one which lay beneath the walls of Aleppo, was, in every point of view, eminently calculated to confirm me in such an opinion. Its cypress trees,
The only constant mourners o'er tlit dead, * Bernard Barton.
when the hearts that deplored the destiny of their friends had mingled with them in the dust, appeared perfectly congenial with the natural solemnity of the place; and the vortex of succeeding events has not yet swept away the charm they impressed upon my memory.
As I stood m a state of silent abstraction, beside a tomb distinguished from the others by a sculptured turban, the sound of a lute excited my attention, and instantly averting my head from the object placed before it, I perceived the tall shadowy figure of a man, partially concealed among the cypress trees.— This nocturnal wanderer, my only companion in the "City of the Dead," dispelled my gloomy reflections at once, and inspired some vivid ideas relative to - his appearance in such a place. Wishing to attam some means of elucidating the mystery, I concealed my person behind a tomb attached to that portion of the cemetery, well adapted to shield me from observation, and by the adoption of this judicious expedient, I succeeded in the accomplishment of my design; but after the " unearthly phantom" had riveted my gaze for a few minutes, he sank into a sepulchre, and left me to a series of vague and unprofitable conjectures. In a short time, however, I observed him quietly proceeding amid the mingled ranks of rose-bowers and tombs, and as he agitated the silent leaves, he accompanied the music of his lute with one of the sweetest melodies which Nature has assigned to a human voice. His manner was decidedly captivating, and his fine manly features produced in my mind a favourable impression of his urbanity. I advanced therefore from the place of concealment, and explaining the object of my intrusion, expressed my sincere regret at being obliged to witness the singular transaction in which he had been engaged. He paused awhile, but at length replied in a strain of such agreeable language, that if I had entertained any doubt of his cheerful disposition, his frank and persuasive humour would have finally removed it.
"How the devil came you here?'' ejaculated the stranger, putting aside the lute, which hung suspended from his neck by a diamond chain. "You are deeply in love with the dead, cavalier, to select such a place as this for the haunt of your meditative dreams."
"Your Turkish cemeteries," I replied, "possess an indisputable superiority over the sepulchnd gardens of Europe. To wander through these bowers of rose and cypress trees at this beautiful hour of night, enchants the heart with imaginings that soar above our earthly sphere. But were you inspired by the same lofty feelings when I first saw you?"
"Not I, cavalier; I came to these charnel vaults to exchange a kiss or two on the lovely lips of the Pacha's daughter, though, the plague to my whiskers 1 if the gloomy Mahometans were in possession of my secret, I should be impaled before sunrise, and my blue-eyed Sultana would doubtless expiate the crime of "lighting up her heart'' at the shrine of affection, by being closed in a sack and thrown into the lake. But, I felt persuaded, there was something English m the tones of your voice. Did you forsake Old Albion for the sultry, pestilential deserts of these infernal realms?"
"Not absolutely; my travels would have terminated at Constantinople—at the Gem of Turkish Cities—if the Sultan had not commanded me to convey a message to the Pacha of Aleppo, relalative to the punishment of lome refractory rebels.
"Oh ! oh! then you will remain here. But the time of my departure is rapidly approaching, for when the beams of tomorrow's sun again illumine the earth, I shall make my best bow to Aleppo—to its angelic Peris, and retire with my beautiful Sultana—the charm and grace of this eastern fairy land I But tliable! you love a story, and I will tell you of every circumstance combined with my singular adventure for a wife. Sit down, cavalier, and lend an ear to my romance.''
I complied; and the associate of my solitude amused me by exhibiting his humorous loquacity.
"It was sunset, and the starry loveliness of the skies had not assumed the splendour which now deepens around them with a tinge of purple, when I left the Turkish Divan, and, after dismissing my companions, proceeded ad libitum along the streets of Aleppo. You may feel surprise at my temerity, but, remember, that a person delegated by the Porte is as secure in the public walks as if he were honoured with the chains and straw of a dungeon in the Pacha's palace. But, as I pursued my path with sauntering steps, I heard the sound of a lute, accompanied by one of the sweetest voices that ever beguiled a Peri, and turning to ascertain the cause of the music, I caught a glimpse of the loveliest woman in Aleppo; but I forgot, in the fervour of the moment, that my feet were treadimg on hallowed and gardens and se
my leet were treading i forbidden ground—the
raglio of the Pacha !—and if my beautiful visitant had not expressed her assurance of unalterable protection, I should have resigned the rose of my story—the loadstar of my life. But why should I extend my recital. I succeeded in captivating the affection of a Pacha's daughter, and, to brighten my future hopes, she revealed her elevated rank to me;—yes, I obtained a triumph which far transcends the energetic deeds of the warrior, and immortalized my adventure with vows of eternal constancy! Since that period, we have selected this cemetery as a place more exclusively designed for the effectual development of our concerted escape, and I have at length adopted the determination of depriving the Divan of its brightest gem. To-morrow we shall quit this enchanted land, and pursue our course to the Island of the West. But hark! I hear the sound of my Peri's lute among the. cypress trees—she is waiting to embrace me. Farewell! and if she is not my bride ere another sunset, I will consent to have my body suspended, like the coffin of Mahomet, between earth and sky."
Deal. R. A.
LITERARY NOTICES OF
PUR8UIT Or KNOWLEDGE UNDER
(Library of Entertaining Knowledge, vol. viii.)
The concluding portion of this volume has lately appeared, and is entitled to equal commendation with its predecessors. Among the most important of the anecdotical lives are, Roger Bacon, Herschel, Watt, and Arkwright—names nearly and dearly allied with the triumphs of science in this country. In Arkwright's Memoir are some important as well as interesting particulars of the Cotton Manufacture in England. Our quotation is, however, from another portion of the volume, illustrating, as we conceive it does, a species of character which can scarcely be estimated in too amiable a light.
The wonderful Robert Walker, as he is still called in the district of the country where he resided, was curate of Seathwaite in Cumberland during the greater part of last centnry. The fullest account that has appeared of Mr. Walker is that given, in the notes to his series of sonnets entitled " The River Duddon," by Mr. Wordsworth, in whose poem of the Excursion the worthy clergyman is also noticed with the commendations due to his singular virtues. From this memoir it appears that Walker was born in the parish of Seathwaite in 1709; that being of delicate constitution, it was determined by his parents, whose youngest child he was, to breed him a scholar; and that accordingly he was taught the elements of reading, writing, and arithmetic by the clergyman of the parish, who also officiated as schoolmaster. He afterwards contrived to acquire a knowledge of the classics; and, becoming in this manner qualified for taking holy orders, was ordained, and appointed to the curacy of his native parish, which was at this time (about the year 1735) of the value of five pounds per annum. On obtaining possession of this living Walker married, his wife bringing him what he calls himBelf, in one of his letters, " a fortune" of forty pounds. We must refer to Mr. Wordsworth's pages, and the documents which will be found printed there, for a detail of all that the industry and economy of the curate and his wife contrived to accomplish upon these scanty resources. Suffice it to say, that about twenty years after Walker's entrance upon his living we find its value, according to his own statement, increased only to the amount in tdl of seventeen pounds ten shillings. At a subsequent period it received a further augmentation, to what amount is not stated; but it was not considerable. Before this Mr. Walker had declined to accept the adjoining curacy of Ulpha, to be held, as proposed by the bishop, in conjunction with that of Seathwaite, considering, as he says himself, that the annexation "would be apt to cause a general discontent among the inhabitants of both places, by either thinking themselves slighted, being only served alternately, or neglected in the duty, or attributing it to covetousness in me; all which occasions of murmuring I would willingly avoid." Yet at this time he had a family of eight or nine children. One of his sons he afterwards maintained at the college of Dublin till he was ready for taking holy orders. He was, like his predecessors in the same cure, schoolmaster as well as clergyman of his parish; but" he made no charge," says his biographer, "for teaching school; such as could afford to pay gave him what they pleased." His hospitality to his parishoners every Sunday was literally without limitation; he kept a plentiful table for all who chose to come. Economical as he was, no act
of his life was chargeable with any thing ia the least degree savouring of avarice on the contrary, many parts of his conduct displayed what in any station would have been deemed extraordinary disinterestedness and generosity. Finally, at his death, in 1802, he uctually left behind him no less a sum than two thousand pounds.
There is in all this, as Mr. Wordsworth remarks, something so extraordinary, as to make some explanatory details necessary. These we shall give in his own words. "And to begin,'' says he, "with his industry; eight hours in each, day, during five days in the week, and half of Saturday, except when the labours of husbandry were urgent, he was occupied in teaching. His seat was within the rails of the altar; the communion table was his desk; and, like Shenstone's schoolmistress, the master employed himself at the spinningwheel, while the children were repeating their lessons by his side. Every evening, after school hours, if not more profitably engaged, he continued the same kind of labour, exchanging, for the benefit of exercise, the small wheel, at which he had sate, for the large one on which wool is spun, the spinner stepping to and fro. Thus was the wheel constantly in readiness to prevent the waste of a moment's time. Nor was his industry with the pen, when occasion called for it, less eager. Entrusted with extensive management of public and private affairs, he acted in his rustic neighbourhood as scrivener, writing out petitions, deeds of conveyance, wills, covenants, 'fec., with pecuniary gain to himself, and to the great benefit of his employers. These labours, at all times considerable, at one period of the year, viz., between Christmas and Candlemas, when money transactions are settled in this part of the country, were often so intense, that he passed great part of the night, and sometimes whole nights, at his desk. His garden, also, was tilled by his own hand; he had a right of pasturage upon the mountains for a few sheep and a couple of cows, which required his attendance; with this pastoral occupation he joined the labours of husbandry upon a small scale, renting two or three acres in addition to his own, less than one acre of glebe; and the humblest drudgery which the cultivation of these fields required was performed by himself. He also assisted his neighbours in haymaking and shearing their flocks, and in the performance of this latter service he was eminently dexterous. They, in their turn, complimented him with the pre
them, as he afl'ectinglj »ays, "from wanting the necessaries of life," but affording them an unstinted education, and the means of raising themselves in society.
SACRIFICE OF A MORISCOE GIRL.
It would be unreasonable to expect analyses of Novel stories in a periodical sheet like our Miscellany. We rarely attempt the task of giving them; but prefer giving occasionally a running notice of a meritorious work of this class, and then leave the reader to indulge his taste at the nearest library, upon the strength of our recommendation. To let him into the plot or thread of the story woufd be ill-judged: for one of the greatest delights of reading, of all ages, is to expect, hope, and despair, by turns, and thus become identified with the feelings and actions of all parties concerned in the narrative. Every lover of novel, tale, and romance must recollect the pleasure of reading Mr. Grattan's Highways and Byways, and how beautifully the scenes and incidents were grouped in those little series of tales by the roadside. The charming interest of one of them is worth a whole volume of lumbering history of a revolution or royal line. Mr. Grattan, too, has taken all the Low Countries to himself, and the literature of their life belongs to him. The other day he published a history of the Netherlands (noticed in the last volume of the Mirror, page 257); end here we have him again, with The Heiress of Bruges, a tale of the year 1600.
The main story needs not be told; but a scene may be easily detached, to show what spirit-stirring scenes may be expected throughout the work. It needs only be premised that Beatrice, in our extract, is the co-heroine of the Heiress of Bruges, and is sacrificed by the Inquisition in Brussels:—
A law of the Emperor Charles V., passed half a century before, had deCreed the frightful punishment of living burial against female heretics, and many executions of the kind had varied by their bloodless atrocity the horrid butcheries committed all through the Low Countries during the tyranny of Alva. After that period such sacrifices had been less frequent; but as late as three years before the date of our story, an instance of this barbarity had publicly taken place in Brussels, by the orders of Albert, who at that time held the highest dignity of the Christian priesthood, next to that of its supreme head. A poor servant girl, named Anne Vanderhove, arrested on a charge of heresy, refused, in all the pride of martyrdom, to renounce her faith. She was condemned to the grave—not to the common occupancy of that cold refuge of the lifeless body, but to all the horrors of living contact and hopeless struggles with the suffocating clay. She suffered her punishment, in the midst of a crowd of curious fanatics; but such was the disgust inspired by the spectacle, that it was thought impolitic to hazard in the face of day another exhibition of the kind. Beatrice's judges, therefore, after a summary hearing, decreed that she too„should be buried alive—but at night. She heard her sentence, in just sufficient exercise of reason to comprehend and shudder at it. But her mind, wandering and unsettled, had not force enough to dwell on the contemplation of what awaited her, and unconscious of her approaching fate gave her the semblance of indifference. • But Beatrice, with all her pride, and almost unfeminine force of character, was not proof against a fate so horrible. As the hour drew nigh when she was to be led forth to execution, the blood in her throbbing veins seemed suddenly frozen, like the hot streams of lava checked in its molten flow. Her blanched cheeks and starting eyeballs told that her lever was quenched, and her insensibility awakened to a full sense of her terror.
In darkness and silence the sad procession moved from the prison's most private door, on the night fixed for the execution, the third after the hapless girl's arrival in Brussels. The persons employed were few; no sympathizing crowd attended to strain the victim's pride and courage, and make her for very shame's sake brave the terrific scene. Lone and desolate, she was led along by two brutal men, with taunt and execration; they, dressed in the dark habits of their office: she, bare-footed, and clothed in the yellow garment called a san benito, her beautiful jet locks cut close, and her disfigured head and pallid face surmounted by the conical cap in which the inquisition decked its victims for sacrifice. Four masked men walked first in the procession, two carrying spades, and two bearing the insignia of the Holy Office. Next followed the secretary, with a book and materials for writing, ready to record the particulars of the execution. Then came Beatrice, dragged onwards by her supporters, and urged towards the closing scene by the
odious voice of Dom Lupo, pouring a strain of pious blasphemies into her reluctant ears. He stepped close in her tract, and leant his head forward, determined that she should not have a moment's respite till the damp earth closed those ears for ever. A dozen armed men brought up the march; and no suspicion of the inquisitor's proceeding aroused the citizens, in the narrow and unlit streets through which it moved.
In less than half an hour, Beatrice's bruised and lacerated feet, felt a sudden relief that spread up refreshingly through her whole frame, on pressing a grass plot, moistened by the night dew. At the same moment, a gleam from a lantern opened by one of the men close to her, showed that she stood on the brink of a newly-dug grave. She started back at the appalling sight—and was upheld from falling by her attendants, on whose faces she saw a malignant grin; while the tones of Dom Lupo's voice seemed to hiss in her ears, like the serpent triumph of a fiend.
"Erring daughter of the only true and most merciful church," gloomed he, "unrepented sinner, on the verge of death—ere the grave close over thy living agony—ere the arm of Almighty wrath shove thee into the pit of hell, and eternal flames enfold thee—listen to the last offer of the mother thou hast outraged, of the faith thou hast defiled. Recant thy errors—renounce thy false Gods—confess thy crimes—and return into the blessed bosom of the church!"
Beatrice, rousing the whole force of her latent energy, pushed the inquisitor from her, with a look of scorn, burst from her keepers' arms, and sprang into the open grave.
"Lost and condemned for ever and ever—let the earth lie heavy on her head !" exclaimed the furious priest, stamping his foot with rage, and motioning to the familiars, who instantly commenced to shovel the earth into the grave. Not a sound was heard but the soft rustling of the leaves overhead, for this scene took place in the open ground above the Sablon, formerly mentioned as the scene of some earlier executions; and Beatrice's grave was dug at the very foot ef the tree, where the Jews, in 1370, had expiated their imputed sacrilege.
Not a murmur, not a movement betrayed an instant's shrinking from her fate, as the cold heap of clay covered Beatrice to the very neck. Her face was still above ground, and the infuriated it, whose word was to save her or her voice for ever, once more ap