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elevate their character; to fill their minds with the noble senti. ments which dignify alike the cottage and the palace; to exhibit the triumph of virtue in the humblest stations over all that the world calls great; and without ever indulging a sentiment which inight turn them from the scenes of their real usefulness, bring home to every mind the “might that slumbers in a peasant's arm."
10. Above all, he has uniformly, in all his varied and exten. sive productions, shown himself true to the cause of virtue Amidst all the innumerable combinations of character, event, and dialogue, which he has formed, he has ever proved faithful to the polar star of duty; and alone, perhaps, of the great ro mance writers of the world, has not left a line which on his death-bed he would wish recalled.
HI E RO GLYPH ic is a sacred character or symbol: the word being compounded of two Greek words (HIERO, sacred, and GLYPHIC, relating to carving or carved work), and used to denote, especially, the ancient Egyptian picture-writing.
NO RELIGION WITHOUT MYSTERIES.
CHATEAUBRIAND. 1. There is nothing beautiful, sweet, or grand in life, but in its mysteries. The sentiments which agitate us most strongly, are enveloped in obscu -ity; modesty, virtuous love, sincere friendship, have all their secrets, with which the world must not be made acquainted. Hearts which love understand each other by a word; half of each is at all times open to the other. Innocence itself is but a holy ignorance, and the most ineffable of mysteries. Infancy is only happy, because it as yet knows nothing; age miserable, because it has nothing more to learn. Happily for it, when the mysteries of life are cuding, those of immortality commence.
2. If it is thus with the sentiments, it is assuredly not iess so with the virtues; the most angelic are those which, emanating directly from the Deity, such as charity, love to withdraw themselves from all regards, as if fearful to betray their celestial origin.
3. If we turn to the understanding, we shall find that the pleasures of thought, also, have a certain connection with the niysterious. To what sciences do we unceasingly return? To those which always leave something still to be discovered, and fix our regards on a perspective which is never to terminate. If we wander in the desert, a sort of instinct leads us to shun the plains where the sye embraces at once the whole circumference of nature, to plunge into forests — those forests — the cradle of religion, whose shades and solitudes are filled with the recollection of prodigies, where the ravens and the doves nourished the prophets and fathers of the church. If we visit a modern monument, whose origin or destination is known, it excites no attention; but, if we meet on a desert isle, in the midst of the ocean, with a mutilated statue pointing to the west, with its pedestal covered with hieroglyphics, and worn by the winds, what a subject of meditation is presented to the traveler! Everything is concealed, everything is hidden in the universe. Man himself is the greatest mystery of the whole. Whence comes the spark which we call existence, and in what obscurity is it to be extinguished? The Eternal has placed our birth, and our death, under the form of two vailed phantoms, at the two extremities of our career; the one produces the inconceivable gift of life, which the other is ever ready to devour.
4. It is not surprising, then, considering the passion of the human mind for the mysterious, that the religions of every country should have had their impenetrable secrets. God forbid! that I should compare the mysteries of the true faith, or the unfathomable depths of the Sovereign in the heavens, to the changiuż obscurities of those gods which are the work of humau hands. All that I observe is, that there is no religion without mysteries, and that it is they, with the sacrifice, which everywhere constitute the essence of the worship.
THE CHRISTIAN KNIGHT AND THE SARACEN CAVALIER: A PASSAGE AT ARMS.
AR WALTER SCOTT. 1. The burning sun of Syria had not yet attained its highest poir t in the horizon, when a knight of the Red Cross, who had left his distant northern home, and joined the host of the crusaders in Palestine, was pacing slowly along the sandy deserts which lie in the vicinity of the Dead Sea, where the waves of the Jordan pour themselves into an inland sea, from which there is no discharge of waters.
2. Upon this scene of desolation the sun shone with almost intolerable splendor; and all living nature seemed to have hidden itself from the rays, excepting the solitary figure which moved through the flitting sand at a foot's pace, and appeared the sole breathing thing on the wide surface of the plain. The dress of the rider and the accouterments of his horse were peculiarly unfit for the traveler in such a country.
3. A coat of linked mail, with long sleeves, plated gauntlets, and a steel breastplate, had not been esteemed a sufficient weight of armor; there was, also, his triangular shield suspended round his neck, and his barred helmet of steel, over which he had a hood and collar of mail, which was drawn around the warrior's shoulders and throat, and filled up the vacancy between the hauberk and the head-piece. His lower limbs were sheathed, like his body, in flexible mail, securing the legs and thighs, while the feet rested in plated shoes, which corresponded with the gauntlets.
4. A long, broad, straight-shaped, double-edged falchion, with a handle formed like a cross, corresponded with a stout poniard on the other side. The knight, also, bore, secured to his saddle, with one end resting on his stirrup, the long steel-headed lance, his own proper weapon, which, as he rode, projected backwards,
and displayed its little pennoncelle, * to dally with the faint breeze, or drop in the dead calm. To this cumbrous equipment must be added a surcoat of embroidered cloth, much frayed and worn, which was thus far useful, that it excluded the burning rays of the sun from the armor, which they would otherwise have rendered intolerable to the wearer.
5. The surcoat bore, in several places, the arms of the owner, alibough much defaced. These seemed to be a couchant le-pard, with the motto, “ I sleep-wake me not." An outline of the same device might be traced on his shield, though many a blow had almost effaced the painting. The flat top of his cumbrous cylindrical helmet was unadorned with any crest. In retaining their own unwieldy defensive armor, the northern crusaders seemed to set at defiance the nature of the climate and country to which they were come to war.
6. The accouterments of the horse were scarcely less massive and unwieldy than those of the rider. The animal had a heavy saddle plated with steel, uniting in front with a species of breastplate, and behind with defensive armor made to cover the loins. Then there was a steel ax, or hammer, called a mace-of-arms, and which hung to the saddle bow; the reins were secured by chain work, and the front stall of the bridle was a steel plate, with apertures for the eyes and nostrils, having in the midst a short, sharp pike, projecting from the forehead of the horse like the horn of the fabulous unicorn.
7. But habit had made the endurance of this load of panoply a second nature, both to the knight and his gallant charger. Numbers, indeed, of the western warriors who hurried to Palestine died cre they became inured to the burning climate; but there were others to whom that climate became innocent, and even friendly, and among this fortunate number was the solitary horseman who now traversed the border of the Dead Sea.
8. Nature, which cast his linibs in a mold of uncommon strength, fitted to wear his linked hauberk with as much ease as if the meshes had been formed of cobwebs, had endowed him
* Pennoncelle, a small flag or banner.
with a constitution as strong as his limbs, and which bade defiance to almost all changes of climate, as well as to fatigue and privations of every kind. His disposition seemed, in some degree, to partake of the qualities of his bodily frame; and as the one possessed great strength and endurance, united with the power of violent exertion, the other, under a calm and undistarbed semblance, had much of the fiery and enthusiastic love of glory which constituted the principal attribute of the renowned Norman line, and had rendered them sovereigns in every corner of Europe where they had drawn their adventurous swords.
9. Nature had, however, her demands for refreshment and repose, even on the iron frame and patient disposition of the Knight of the Sleeping Leopard; and at noon, when the Dead Sea lay at some distance on his right, he joyfully hailed the sight of two or three palm trees, which arose beside the well which was assigned for his midday station. His good horse, too, which had plodded forward with the steady endurance of his master, now lifted his head, expanded his nostrils, and quickened his pace, as if he snuffed afar off the living waters, which marked the place of repose and refreshment. But labor and danger were doomed to intervene ere the horse or horseman reached the desired spot.
10. As the Knight of the Couchant Leopard continued to fix his eyes attentively on the yet distant cluster of palm trees, it seemed to him as if some object was moving among them. The distant form separated itself from the trees, which partly hid its motions, and advanced towards the knight with a speed which soon showed a mounted horseman, whom his turban, long spear, and green caftan floating in the wind, on his nearer approach, proved to be a Saracen cavalier.* “In the desert,” saith an Eastern proverb, “no man meets a friend.” The crusader was totally indifferent whether the infidel, who now approached on his gallant barb, as if borne on the wings of an eagle, came as -
* This Saracen cavalier turns out, in the course of the story, (The Tuisman) to be the celebrated Saladin. See Note on Exercise LXXVIII.