Page images

y measure, iban I ever heard. This is not the first time that this insect has been

made the subject of verse. It is the not upfrequent subject of the Greek Anthologies. There is one of those beintiful little poems by Meleager, addressed to the Cicata, which is translated by Mr. Merirule, und introduced into his rew Edition of the Greek Anthologies, first collected by the late Rev. Robert Bland, and others. It begins tlius:


“Noisy Insect! drunken still
With dew drops like the stars in number,
Voice of tlie désert, loud and chrill
That wakest echo from her slumber,
Aud sitting on the blooniy spray,
Carol'st at ease thy merry lay."

" The insectosays the learned translator in a note-here apostrophized, is the sort of grass-hopper called by the Greeks tettiz, .and is described by the writers on Entomology, in terms which show the accuracy of the poet's observation. The males of the perfect insect, in general, chirp like tho cricket; and some of the larger kinds of the Tettigonia family possess two particular drum-like organs, which emit à loud and incessant noise, at the pleasure of the insect.".

This description agrees. with the habits of the insect in Ceylon, which I suppose to be the Cicada. In the maritime provinces, this insect, carols a merry lay.” It is perhaps of a smaller kind than that in the lonely and darksome foods, and forests, and jungles of the interior. These are "tlre larger kinds of the Tettigonia family;" their cry is harsh and melancholy. The same cry is noticed in the second part of "Škétchès" LVÍI written on my return through the same wood.

I may mention, once for all, that the want of birds, and of animal lito. generally, sare of reptiles, is the most discouraging feature of the scenery of this island, in other respects so generally delightful: It is perhaps the case of India generally; but of this I am not able to speak. In passing through the gloomy jungle and forests of this clime, we remember our native wonds. We hear them, as it were, echoing and re-echoing with innumerable birds, their notes almost as numerous and as various as themselves. We dwell upon these remembered scenes with the same affection and tenderness, with slich we

call to mind our English Grosides, our absent famílies, and our absent friends,

• Sole sub urdenti resonant arbusta cicadis-Virg: Edlog: 11. 13.

There are, however, scenes of exquisite beauty. The grander features of the island are noble, and often sublime. A person of taste, especially if conibined with religious feeling, can scarcely be unhappy, at least actively so, amid such glorious works of the Almighty,-however strange the cli. mate, however remote the situation. But we cannot say with the distracted man mentioned by a traveller in another part of the East, As quoted in the notes to Mr. Merivale's beautiful collection of Anthologies, already noticed : “I heard the nightingales, in the trees, the partridges in the mountains and the brutes in the desert, uttering their plaintive notes, and doleful lamen, tations. I reflected that it did not become a human being to be asleep, whilst all other creatures were celebrating the praises of God." Alas! ro nightingale pours forth his "plaintive notes," or merrier song in the soli. tudes of Tropical countries. Our woods resound indeed at night with“ doleful lamentations." The jackalls hunt their prey witb al, but not musical sounds.

The solitary night bird utters his monotonous and disagreeable


The Over and Route:




It was a moment of emotion when the French Steamer the Sea sostris weighed anchor in tlie harbour of Syia and set her course for Alexandria. This was to bid farewell to Europe and to look to Asia and Africa for the next land-It was to bid farewell to the beautiful child and to go and see the venerabile parent ; for thus stands Egypt related to Greece, and not to Greece only' but through Grecce to Rome, and through Rome to Europe generally. The idea of seeing Egypt was truly delightful. What country of all tbe world so deeply and delightfully associated with early religious feelings; and independantly of all association, what country is more interesting at the present moment in all its relations and prospects ?

After leaving the Archipelago the first land we made was the Island of Candia— Along which we coasted feasting our eyes on the beautifully formed summets of its snow-capped mountains which were very pleasing to look at, for the weather was now very sunny nnd warın. Unfortunately there was no one to point out to us Mount Ida. But how sad to think that an island which was so great not only in classic times, but when under the Venetians in modern times, should be now, as it '

were, sunk and lost to the human species, in consequence of Mahommedan sway and the anarchy into which the Ottoman empire has fallen.


When Candia sauk in the horizon behind us ibere was nothing left for lis to admire for a time, but the brillianicy of the sky and the blue of the Ocean of these, the latter is so clear in the Mediterranean that it seems as it the whole water had been linted with ultra-ınarine ; and whereever there is a cave in a rock into which the sea flows, as for instauce the grollo Azuro in the island of Capri, and the light of day belore it can illuminule the caye įnust pass ilirough the waters, the whole is of such a bright azure that the effect seems quite magical. At present we had not long to wait before we were enterlaiving hopes of seeing land again. On the fourth morning by break of day are were all looking out for the land of Egypt. And indeca np sooner was the sun risen ihan Egypt was stretching out like a line along the horizon towards which our course was direcled-The first sight at this land was so interesting that we continued gazing at it till we could distinctly see the shipping in the harbour of Alexandria, the Arab fower, ihe numerous windmills on the heights, Pompeys pillar, the palace of Mahomet Ali and other objects of interest. Our progress at this time towards ibe shore was howeyer very slow, in consequence of a strong current wbich sels out from the land in this direction. But siill before it was noon ye were at anebor in the barbour of Alexandria in the midst of the united Turkish and Egyptian fleets, a splendid armament which in the eye of a landsman at least, seemed to consist of ships as fine, well found, and warlike as could be seen at Spithead or Toulon. Besides this fleet there were also many other vessels in this fine þarbour, and the whole formed a very imposing sight. When viewed in the distance wbere the lasty masts of the shipping were but obscarely seen surmounting the low-lying land around, we seemed to be looking wwards some seaport of Eogland about the mouth of the Thames. Such is the general aspect of Alexandria viewed from the sea, And now that we were in the midst of it we thought that if it did not look like England; it looked very like game which England would fly at some day.

When we were in Greece we heard yery alarming accounts of the extent to which the plagne was raging in Alexandria, we were therefore very well pleased to learn from the boats which come along side (in the stern of one of which the redoubtable Mr. Wayhorn was pointed out) that the degths from this scourge did not exceed halt a dozen a day. We therefore proceeded to land without apprehension ; and fortunaiely among our letters of introduction there was to a gentleman

rho now came alongside, expecting 10 find bis wife, wbo however having remained behind at Malta, thus left her husband free to accommodate us in her stead. By his kind assistance every thing . was soon provided for our voyage to Cairo, and indeed we saw all that was worth seeing in Alexandria. And for the travelJer who has previously only been in Europe and America it is truly delightful to look around him in the city of the Pto. lomies. Here at last is something new. Here an order of things prevails which is quite different from any thing in the west. The canels, tui band men and veiled women, are at first sight so remurkuble that though there were nu other iudications, one could not



fail to perceive that the type of civilisation was materially changece from what it is in the west. Add 10 these things ibe groses of date palms, the Moresque fortificatious and buildings, the sandy roads and the numberless Joukies and donkey boy's soily of all praise, and the scene is, upon the whole, most novel and not less pleasing than it is new.

In the modern city of Alexandria there are not many traces of its former greatness. Instead of 700,000 souls which ii comained in the reign of Augustus it uumbers now not more than 30,000. And as to libraries and learned men, of which Alexandria possessed many long alter both books and learniug had fallen into dire.. plite and been abandoned both at Athens und Rome, not a trace exists. For lo Mohamet Ali the present governor, so much lauded by the French, we cannot accord any thing of that nolle taste fur learning which distinguished the dynasty of the Ptolomies, or indeed much of what many are disposed to ascribe to him. Mohamet Ali is a stranger to every liberal pursuit and every noble principle. Sull, Egypt owes him much. In fact he is a great man of a certain kind; and strangely unites in one heart ihe character istics of the savage and tbe diplomatist. He is at heart a cruel and a tyrannical man. But he is also on fit occasions capable of the most fascinating refinement of conduct as the followiny anec, dote will prove. A lady whom he allowed to be introduced to him, (for he is no stickler for the Muhomedan regime) thinking perhaps to fatter bim, said that she had a locket in which there were two locks of hair the one of Napoleon the other of the Duke of Wellington and that she was very anxions to possess a loek of his beard to put up along with the others. To this courteous speech the self-possessed 'Pacha who most probably despised the lady and her fallery, made this most becoming answer "I am not a great man" said he “like Napoleon and the Duke of Wellington but if I become great before I die, I shall leave it in my will that you are to have some of the hair of my beard." In this way he got rid of the lady's importunity somewhat more civilly than Napoleon who in answer to the enti catics of a lady (Madame de Staël ?) whom he had expressed his readiness 10 oblige and who requested to be honoured with his miniature, put bis haud into his pocket and presented her with a five-franc-piece !

Our time in Alexandria spent, we embarked on the Malmoudee canal for Attch, a village where the traveller enters Nile in ascendiug to Cairo. The banks of this canal present little that is interesting to the traveller. It is a very bad piece of work

as might be expected from the forced manner in which it was dug out--in a feir weeks I believe, and by the death of an immense number of the labonrers. The great whoject of the 11aveller is to pass along as fast üs possible. Tracked by buses we accoraplished the whole in about 10 hours, a party of our fellow travellers who had put themselves under Mr. Waghorn requiring nearly 30 to do the same, by the aid of his arrangements.

Early next morning on board a canjah belonging to the Pasha

upon ibe

were on

with a crew of six men and the rais or commander, we the Nile. The night was perfectly still. The waters of the noble river were gliding down like a liquid inirror towards the sea; and we could not very well linderstand how we were Lo ascend the strenin in a bürge which seemed designed for twenty passengers instead of two. It was the choice of the kind friend however to whom ve had the iptroduction already relerred to, who accompaned us all the way to Atleh, so that we were neither in a position to complaina por to suggest any ibing different from his choice. Meanwhile we were delighted to tind ourselves on the broad bosom of the river of Egypt, and we waited anxieusiy for the dawn that we might see wbat suits of objects lay aronnd vs. The bowling of dogs all night assured us that not ihe village of Alleh only but the whole country, was well peopled, but we lurged to see it. And now bạving seen it we must contess that the banks of the Nile are very seldom pleasing to look upon. The river is in deed all that one could wish the Nile lo be, and the valley, or rather the plain, which it traverses is as tine a plain as possible. But what neglect of agriculture! what wretched yillages! what squalid poverty and degradation of their inhabitants ! Uuder an enlightened govcinment and with a practible population the valley of the Nile miglit certainly be again all that ii ever was in ancient times. But except here and ihere, where some Franc .encouraged by the security of life and property (which it is Mahomet Ali's glory to have established in his dominions for foreigners) has cultivated a farm of two or three hundred acres, the whole may be said to be lying waste, the richness of the soil leng indicated cnly by the rankuess of the thorns and thistles and oiber weeds which ii prod;ces. The sight is truly distressing. Is it pol most painful to think that there should be such a combination as the finest climate, the richest soil, and yet the people thic poorest that can be imagined ? Thus it is in Egypt, under the n.asterly but yet grinding lyranny of Mahomet Ali.' The ancient inhabitants of this once favoured land were even at the worst much better than their neigbbours that they were admilled into the congregation of the Lord in the third generation, while the others were debarred till the tenth and twelfth, or even for ever, but now they are the most degraded, the lowest of the low.

Among the beautiful features of the climate of this once savoured land here is one of which we experienced the accominodation even the first day we were there. During the greater part of the season the wind in the valley of the Nile blows from the north, that is up the river. In consequence of this vessels going up 10 Cairo may almost count upon a fair wind, while those ihat

are coming down are certain of the current in their favoar. We soon caught the breeze that has bevid referred w, and

no small satisiaction we found that our canjah though so disproportionale in size to the number of the passengers, sailed beau:ifully over the stream; avd even when it fell calm, as it did every evening, and the crew, pilied their oars to the pleasing chant of Salami Sala or leaped on slure and towed the canjah alung, we made such progress as con


[ocr errors]


« PreviousContinue »