Imágenes de páginas

a citizen would do honor to any country, and the constant reneration and affection of his country, will show that it was worthy of such a citizen.



The Grave of Jefferson. 1. I ascended the winding road which leads from Charlottsville to Monticello, up the miniature mountain to the farm and the grave of Jefferson. On entering the gate which opens into the enclosure, numerous paths diverge in various directions, winding through beautiful groves to the summit of the hill. From the peak on which the house stands, a grand and nearly unlimited view opens to the thickly woodad hills and fertile valleys which stretch out on either side. The University, with its dome, porticos, and colonnade, looks like a fair city in the plain: Charlottsville seems to be di rectly beneath.

2. No spot can be imagined as combining greater advan: lages of grandeur, healthfulness, and seclusion.-The house is noble in its appearance: two large columns support a por (ico, which extends from the wings, and into it the front door opens. The apartinents are neatly furnished, and embellished with statues, busts, portraits, and natural curiosities. The grounds and outhouses have been neglected; Mr. Jefferson's atfention having been absorbed from such personal concerns, by the cares attenda::t on the superintendence of the University.

3. At a short distance behind the mansion, in a quiet, shared spot, the visitor sees a square enclosure, surrounded by a low, unmortared stone wall, which he enters by a neat wooden gate. This is the family burial ground, containing len or fifteen graves, none of thein marked by epitaphs, and wly a few distinguished by any memorial. "On one side o. this simple cemetery, is the resting place of the patriot and philosopher. When i saw it, the vault had just been arched, and in readiness for the plain stone which was to cover it.

4. May it ever continue, like Washington's, without any alventitious attractions or conspicuousness; for when we or our posterity need any other inementoe of our debt of honor to those names, than their simple inscription on paper, gorgeous' tombs would be a mockery to their memories. When gratitude shall cease to concentrate their remembrance in the hearts of our citizens, no cenotaphs will inspire the reverence we owe to them.

C Memento, a hint to waken: meniory. Di-verge', to depart from a point.

a Mini-ure, small likeness.

c Cem'-e-te-ry, a place for the rurial of the fra d Andreia-Li"-uousrucicru.

f Gorgeous, showy, glittering.

Cen-o-tapl., a sonument for one ou ries Sisownt.c.


[ocr errors]

The last days of Herculaneum.a 1. A GREAT city, situated amidst all that nature could create of beauty and profusion, or art collect of science and magnificence,--the growth of many ages,-the residence of enlightened multitudes,--the scene of splendor, and festivity, and happiness,-in one moment withered as by a spell, h-its palaces, its streets, its temples, its gardens

glowing with eternal spring,” and its inhabitants in the full enjoyment of all life's blessings, obliterated from their very place in creation, --not by war, or famine, or disease, or any of the natural causes of destruction to which earth had been accustomed, -but in a single night, as if by magic," and amid the conflagration, as it were, of nature itself,- presented a subject on which the wildest imagination might grow weary, without even equaling the grand and terrible reality.

2. The eruption of Vesuvius, hy which Herculaneum and Pompeii where overwhelmed, has been chiefly described to us in the letters of Pliny the younger to Tacitus, giving an account of his uncle's fate, and the situation of the writer and nis mother. The elder Pliny had just returned from the bath, and was retired to his study, when a small speck or cloud, which seemed to ascend from Mount Vesuvius, aitracted his attention.

3. This cloud gradually increased, and at length assumerl the shape of a pine tree, thetrunk of earth and vapor, and the leaves, “ red cinders.” Pliny ordered his galley, and, urged by lis philosophic spirit, went forward to inspect the phenomenon. In a short time, however, philosophy gave way to humanity, and he zealously and adventurously employed his galley, in saving the inhabitants of the various beautiful vil. las which studded that enchanting coast. Among others lio went to the assistance of his friend Pomponianus, who was then at Strabiæ.

4. The storm of fire, and the tempest of earth, increased ; and the wretched inhabitants were obliged, by the continual rocking of their houses, to rush out into the fields with pillows tied down by napkins upon their heads, as their sole do fense against the shower of stones which fell on them 'This, in the course of nature, was in the middle of the day but a deeper darkness than that of a winter night had closes? a Her-cu-la'-ne-um, a city in Italy.

d Mag'-ic, dealing with spirits. cob-lt-ara-ted, blotted out, destroyed. Gal-ley, a kind of versal.

Spell, a charm.

e E-ruption, a breaking forth.

around the i!l-fated inmates of Herculaneum. This artificial darkness continued for three days and nights, and when, at iength, the sun again appeared over the spot where Herculaneum stood, his rays fell upon an ocean of lava!

5. There was neither tree, nor shrub, nor field, nor house, nor living creature ; nor visible remnant of what human hands had reared, -there was nothing to be seen but one olack extended surface, still streaming with mephitica vapor, and heaved into calcined" waves by the operation of fire, and the undulations of the earthquake! Pliny was found dead upon the sea-shore, stretched upon a cloth which had been spread for him, where it was conjectured he had perished early, his corpulent and apoplectic habit rendering him an easy prey to the suffocating atmosphere.


Passage of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers through the

Blue Ridge 1. The passage of the Potomac through the Blue Ridge, is perhaps one of the most stupendous scenes in nature. You stand ou a very high point of land. On your right comes up the Shenandoah, having ranged along the foot of the mountain a hundred miles to seek a vent. On your left approaches the Potomac, in quest of a passage also. In The moment of their junction they rush together against the mountain, rend it asunder, and pass off to the sea.

2. The first glance of this scene hurries our senses into the opinion, that this earth has been created in time; that the inountains were formed first ; that the rivers began to flow afterwards; that, in this place particularly, they have been dammed up by the Blue Ridge of mountains, and have formed an ocean which filled the whole valley; that, continuing to rise, they have at length broken over at this spot, and liave torn the mountain down from its summit to its base. 'The piles of rock on each hand, particularly the Shenan"loah,—the evident marks of their disrupture and avulsiond from their beds, by the most powerful agents of nature, cosroborate this impression.

3. But the distant finishing which nature has given to the picture, is of a very different character. It is a true conrast to the fore-ground. That is as placid and delightful, us this is wild and tremendous. The mountain being cloven sunder, presents to your cye, through the cleft, a small catch a Me-phit:!o, poisonous, nogjens. Calciumi, reduced to a powucr by heat a A-vul-sion, a pulling one svin another. of smooth blue horizon, at an infinite distance in the plain country, inviting you as it were from the riot and tunult roaring round, to pass through the breach, and participate of the calm below.

c'n-du-la'tions, waving innsinns.

4. Here the eye ultimately composes itself; and that way too, the road happens actually to lead. You cross the Potoinac above the junction, pass along its side through the base of the mountain for three miles,-its terrible precipices hanging in fragments over you. 'l'his scene is worth a voyage across the Atlantic; yet here, as in the neighborhood of the Natural Bridge, are people who have passed their lives within half a dozen miles, and have never been to survey these monuments of a war between rivers and mountains Which must have shaken the earth itself to its center.



The Egyptian Pyramids. 1. The pyramids of Egypt are well entitled to a place, among the most interesting curiosities in the world. The principal ones stand opposite Cairo,e on the west side of the river Nile. They are built of stones, which overleap cach other, and thus form steps from the bottom to the top. The per pendicular height of the largest is about 50C fect, and ihe aread of its basis contains nearly 500.000 square feet, or something more than eleven English acres of ground. Some idea inay be formed of the cost and labor in the structure of this pyranid, from the fact that thirty years were spent in building it, and that 100,000 men were constantly einployed on the work.

2. Such were the famous Egyptian pyramids, whicli hy their figure as well as size have triumphed over the injuries of time and the barbarians. But whatever efforts men make, their own nothingness will always appear. These pyramids were tombs; and there is sțill to be seen, in the middle of the largest, an einpty sepulcher," cut out of entire stone, about three feet deep and broad, and a little above six feet long.

3. Thus, all this bustle, all this expense, and all the labor of so many thousand men, ended in procuring a princa, m this vast and almost boundless pile of buildings, a lililo vault six feet in length. Besides, the kings who built these pyramids had it not in their power to be buried in them, and a lluri-zon, the line which bounds the Ca-1-10, city in Egypt.

dArea, b2 superticial contents U Jurction, act of joining, union.

€ Sep-ul-cher, a rave, il tono.


so did not enjoy the sepulcher they had built. The public hatred which they incurred by reason of their unheard of ruelties to their subjects, in laying such heavy tasks upon liem, occasioned their being interred in some obscure place, w prevent their bodies from being exposed to the fury and Tengeance of the populace.

4. This last circumstance, of which historians have taken part icular notice, teaches us what judgment we ought to pass on these edifices," so much boasted of by the ancients. It is but just to remark and esteem the noble genius which the Egyptians had for architecture, "--a genius that prompted shem froin the earliest times, and before they could have any models to imitate, to aim in all things at the grand and maghificent; and to be intent on real beauties, without deviating in the least from a noble simplicity, in which the highest persection of the art consists.

5. But what idea ought we to form of those princes, who ronsidered as something grand, the raising, by a multitude of liands and by the help of money, immense structures, with the sole view of rendering their names immortal; and wlio did not scruple to destroy thousands of their subjects to satis fy thcir vain glory! They differed very much from the Romans, who sought to iminortalize themselves by works of a magnificent kind, but at the same time of public utility.

6. Pliny gives us, in a few words, a just idea of these pv ramids when he calls them a foolish and useless ostentation' of the wealth of Egyptian kings; and adds, that by a just punishment their memory is buried in oblivion - historians not agreeing among themselves about the names of those who first raised those vain monuments. In a word, according to the judicious remark of Divdorus, the industry of the architects of those pyramids is no less valuable and praiseworthy, than the design of the Egyptian kings contemptilile and ridiculous.

7. But what we should most admire in these ancient monuments, is, the true and standing evidence they give of the skill of the Egyptians in astronomy; that is a science which seems incapable of being brought to perfection but by a long seriese of years, and a great mimber of observations. It has been found, that the four sides of the great pyramid named, were turned exactly to the four quarters of the world; and consequently showed the true meridian of that place.

8. As so exact a situation was in all probability purposely, buildings.', the science of the lies Lichitectuure, the science of building. venly bodies. Ctent-a-1011 vain siiow.

...ries, it connected succession of things

« AnteriorContinuar »