Page images


remarkably similar both in its own character and that of the surround ing scenery to some of the harbours in the west Highlands of Scol. land. Many buildings bare also been already erected there since the Constitution; and if modern Athens ever become a place of impurtance again the Pyræus will no doubt be the place where the com mercial part of the cominunity will chiefly reside. It is distant from Athens about live miles, and at this day ihere are still to be seen bere and there fragments of the long walls which formerly united the port and the city. On approaching Athens the eye soon fixes on the Acropolis, although the view of this most noble rock and citadel is most provokingly interfered with, by the insiguificant monument of Philopappus on the neighbouring hill. Notwithstanding this however the Acropolis when from his road is all that can be wished and ihe traveller only longs to be nearer. Nor has he to wait long; for soon after, he finds himself passing the Temple of Theseus; and soon after, he is in Athens. And what is the impressiou which the modern city makes on him who has a good idea of what the ancient city was ? Nothing can be poorer or more insignificant than modern Athens when viewed in relation 10 the ruins which lies around and beneath. It looks like a

mere in: crustation or disease of the skin on the giant form of a most uoble city whose rains are rising up every where. The streets are dirty and narrow, the houses generally very mean, and the shops in many of them only one degree better than Cingalese bazaars. How melancholy it must bave been but a lew years ago when the mighty dead, whose toiphs beautified every rising ground, and the ruins of wbose city around fill the soul of the beholder with such solenın yet deligbtful contemplations, bad no other representatives among the living, except the abject tenants of that most pititul tawn. But a new era bas opened upon Greece. Covstitutional liberiy bas been restored. A monarchy has been established. There is public contielence iv the stale. Men of capital from other countries are coming to invest it and settle in Greece. An Athenian begins to feel himself agam to be somehody. Education is so liburally encouraged by the Government that but of 20,000 which is the number of inhabitants of Athens, 2,000 are „now in training either in the university, the Gynasium or inferior schools. And what it is most deliglitlul io consider is the fact that the clergy of the Greek Church are among the foremost not ouly to .couuunance the spread of knowledge but to avail themselves of it Neither do they forbid the popular nse of the Bible as the Romish clergy do. The English and American missionaries are also doing much for the elevation of the Atbemans to a prer form of cbristianity.

word nothing appears

be interfering with the progress of the nation, but Russian influence; which indeed may jusuy excite not a few anxiulies, especially when it is considered that neither the King nor the Queen have proved themselves capable of much. let us hope however that King Otho will yet prove himself worthy of the throne of Greece. The young man is certainly not destitute of spirit, as the




of a

following anecdote will prove. One of the days we spent in Greece was the great festival-monday by which the Greek church usher in lent. At the Athenians, and all the peasantry of the neighbourhood were assembled in the fields and gardens which lie around the temple of Jupiter Olympias, and there they danced and sang and played all day, in groups of friends consisting of from len to kwenlv in number. When the lête was at the height the King and Queen accompanied by several ladies and gentlemen of the court lode wver the ground, and when passing one of the happy group's a fine hoking fellow stepped out of the circle, and will one hand a kimbo held out to the King as he passed a Mask of wine with the other. It was

a trying moment for an unpopular monarcb. tt was known that he was to visit the scene ; and might it sot have been a cup of poison ? However it was no sooner offered than lie laid hold of it, and saying to the giver " viva" drank it gallantly off.

But let us spend a day among the ruins. And first let us visit the Acropolis. It is too painful to be kupi off longer by that lofty Turkish embrazured wall, which surrounds the whole citadel like a curtain, and permit us to see the beautiful topis merely, of the Propylæst the Erecilicium and the Parthenon. But iv leaving ihe hotel we may as well visit the prison of Socrates and the Areopagns on the way. The former is an artificial cavern hewn out iv the face

rock which fronts the Acropolis, and which indeed is so unlike the place where one expects the philosopher (or rather the moralist) to bave been confined, that one can scarcely prevent himself from being visited by fears that Socrates never there. But indeed how often is it all over with association, if ve venture to look at cvidence in other cases

as well

as this ? Certain it is howo ever, that one

cave in

a rock which is pointed out to the visitor as the prison of Socrates. And if one pleases he may make enquiries npon the spot. We did But it cannot be said that the result was very satisfactory. Al the door of the cave, when we were there, stood a picturesque old man feeding an ass, and within, there hung upon a string the raw skins of ihree goats ; and this was all. In these circumstances we addressed onrselves to the old man and asked him if this was the prisoner of Socrates But he only grinned at us. Again making a change in the questioner we asked bim in the best modern greek (lot one of our party could speak it), but he only grinned the more and shook his head ; and when we were answering his silence by much conversation he stooped down and untied his ass and went off from

several times that we looked back in his direction, as we walked away, we still saw the old ass-keeper grinning

When standing at the mouth of this prison the Areopagus srtetches out before the eye, a rocky round-backed ridge, of which the highest part approaches so near the Areopagus that it is separated from it by a

ravine only. That is also the aspect of the gateway into the Acropolis. Let us than walk along and ascend. The door will be opened for a foreigner at any time but lest the visiter should carry away any of the relics a custode



[ocr errors]

us; and

at us.


is always sent along with him. After entering the gate the visifor ascends by a fortnous path irregularly walled on both sides, and strewed beneath with fragments often sculptured of snow white marble, the Parian (which was used for the most exquisite parts) distinguishing irself from the Centelic by its greater transparency and larger granulations. The first object that arrests the eve on ascending is the Propylæ or ancient gateway, which has lately been so successfully uncovered that a distinct idea of its original beauty may be formed ; and truly that beauty must have been exquisite. The Doric columns which still Jemain are at once so beautiful and so noble, so graceful and yet so manly, that for the moment one wonders why any other order save the Doric should ever be, imitated in modern times. But yet beautiful as the Propylae is, it sinks into ntter insignificance when after walking on about a hundred yards the spectator finds himself looking up to the columus of the Parthenon. This truly noble lemple even in įts ruins is grand beyond comparison or description; and all that it has lost in favour of the Britisb museum scarcely alters its aspect or takes froin its general appearance. Its structare is so well known that it need not now be described. It may be remarked, however, that no description or drawing can give any just idea of its grandeur, or of that peculiar aspect of solidity which impresses the beholder with the ceriainty that it had been designed for eternity, of which indeed it still seems to breathe. But all exquisite as the ruins of the Parihenon are, who will say they are more exquisite than those of the Erectheium which stands by its side. On gazing at the beautiful Ionic teniple which forms part of this building one is tempted now to question whether the Ionic order be not after all more beautiful than the Doric. But let him not compare

them as rivals nor think that he will ever decide such a question on such a theme ; let hiin but muse wbile he descends and dll he finds bimself gazing on the beautiful Corinthian columns of the Temple of Jupiter Olympius, and when there possibly he will selile the question so far by declaring that the Corinthian is the most beautiful of all the three. The truth is that all the three are most heautiful, each has its own features which are all admirable, while there is not a bad point about any one of them. The Greeks avpear to have exhausted the science of the beautiful in architecture and sculpture, if not in all the fine arıs. So exquisite was the taste of that people, that they appear to have carried these arts to a degree of perfection which cannot be surpassed nor ever equalled otherwise than by a perfect imitation. In sculpture the moderns have excelled just in the proportion that they have approximated the Greek models, and in architecture the same is true-excepting in relation to ibe Gothic which is new idea, altogether distinct from any which the Greeks appear to have worked upon, and which thongh very censurable in many points of view is yet singularly picturesque, heautiful and grand, and worthy of being placed by the side as a rival in beanty of any thing ihat is Greek. There are Gothic buildings in England - which thongh no doubt expressing quite another idea, are yet at once so venerable, and so noble, that


[ocr errors]



the eye when viewing them as they stand “Bosom'd bigh in turied trees” would not turn away from then though the Parıhenon itself standing on the Acropolis were placed by their side.

But here let us cut short our criticism and turn for a moment to the Greeks themselves. And shall we rot say at once that we think very much may be expected if not from the present generation, yet certainly from their children? Now that they begin to breathe as freemen, and to be instructed in the patriotism and glory of their forefathers may we not safely expect, that that character for timidity and untruth, which they have been so accused of, will vanish, and something at least better than that of a Turk


in its stead. The men even are certainly a very fine looking

Their physical aspect is tull of promise. Why it is that the

are so inferior and indeed so plain that notbing entitled in any degree to the name of beauty was any where to be seen, was a problem which perplexed us all.

If there be any thing that will prevent Greece from tising among the nations it will be the sterility of its soil, a state of things which seems to apply not only to a great part of Negropont, but also to a great part of the Kingdom north of the I:ihmus. If any thing could be more wild and desolate-looking than the country round Cape Matapan with its piratical villages of Suliotes, it is that round Athens-Mount Penteticus and Hymettas, the island of Salamis and Egina are far more pleasing to the ear than the eye, and except a wood of stinted olive trees and two or three date palms there are no trees visible anywhere within the compass of the horizon. It may be bowever that the country looks very different on a summerday: When we were there, though it was the second of Mareh, it snowed almost without intermission, and the wind was so peircingly cold that we could not manage any how or any where to make ourselves comfortably warm. But yet we were in Athens, and the fact that when we were watching the thinning away of the snow showers it was the Temple of Theseus or the Parthenon, or some other exquisite ruin that the eye discovered, more than reconciled us to the weather - Yes, there is a charm about Athens wbich it is in vain lo attempt to describe.

Notes from pome.





LITERARY NOVELTIES.--The Cash- new invention at Pesth, in Hangary, Shawl ;

eastern romance. for composing and distributing printing. By C. White Esq. A Year's Resi- types by means of mecbanism, that' dence among the Circassians, By D. two Frenchmen have invented a mad. Longworth Esq. Journal of a Re- chine for the same purpose, by which sidence in Circassia. By J. S. Bell they say they have produced even su. Esq. The Budget of the Bubble Fa. perior results to those which have been' mily. By Lady Bulwer. The British obtained by the machine at Pesth. Army as it was, is, and ought to be. Patents for this discovery, says the . By Lieut. Col: J. Campbell. The In- bats, were applied for in England and dian Revenue System, as it is. By in Franco. K. Tuckett Esq. An account of the

FATE OF recent persecution of the Jews at Da thousand and twenty three poets in the

POETS.-There are five By D. Solomous Esq. The

United States. Last Days of a Condemned: from the

Of these, ninety-four french of Victor Hugo. By Sir P. H. and eleven in the lunatic asylums, and

are in the states prisons, fire bundred Fleetwood.

two hundred and eighty in the debtors' A German Journal states, that, M. prisou. de Kiegler of Perth has invented a Machine for composition in printing has invented a machine which discharges

NEW ENGINE OP WAR.-M. Billot which effects an entire revolution in 2,000 balls, of half a pound each, every that art. The Machine which is of an Octagon form has as muny divi: minute, or 120,000 per hour without sious as there are letters in the al

cessation, Its -action may be continued phabet, and on pressure the letters fall

or arrested at the will of the party in out and take their places in the re

charge of it. The discbarge takes place quired order. The composition goes directed at as many objects, or united

at four differeut points, and may be on it is said with such rapidity, that

against one. The machine weighs about a single workman can compose the matter for a large sheet in less than 851b., and its range is about 3,280

constructed of an hour and a half. The distribution feet; but, if one were of the type when done with, is said ahout 8fcwt., its range would be quadto be carried on with still greater speed not depend upon gunpowder air, or

The use of the machine does and facility. A Cylinder is turned, and the letters are restored in regular steam, as a motive power. order to the divisious from which they Lieutenant Janvier, of the French were taken. It is asserted that a large navy, is said to have discovered the sheet and a half of type may be thus means of getting up the steam of en. distributed in one hour. The Journal gines with such rapidity, that in ten from which we take this account says ininutes from the first lighting of the that the process bas been witnessed fire, and although the water in the by the University of Perth, and that boiler be quite cold, a veseel may be the Russian Ambassador at Vienna set in motion. This is, it is added, to having heard of the invention, and be accomplished witbout any additional received the particulars of it, immedi apparatus, and very liule expense;ately orilered a Machine for the Em

BALLOONS.-- The Paris papers give an peror Nicolas. Wo give this

account of a remarkable invention, which, ordinary statement as we find it, and past wait for further accounts before

if it bu correctly described, there is nowe can give entire credit to it, for the thing to prevent balloons being at once mode of distribution alluded to

adopteil iu lieu of oinnibusses. The prizes us more than the composition. experiment of which the papers have Something of the kind was attempted days ago, a small group of the learned

cognizance is the following :-a few in England a great many years ago, and noble, wbich included M. Chateauand completely failed.

briand, M. de Tocqueville, the Duc The Débals states, in allusion to the de Noailles, and al. Ampere, were as



« PreviousContinue »