Imágenes de páginas
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]


[merged small][ocr errors][graphic][merged small]

Agra is another of those cities of India, which, like Cawnpore, are inhabited by Europeans, and are, therefore, called Mofussil stations. Under the act for the renewal of the East India Company's charter, it is intended to form the seat of a fourth government in India. It is situated on the left bank of the river Jumna, and is distant one hundred miles from Delhi, and nine hundred and forty from Calcutta.

Agra is not so well known as a city deserves to be, which possesses much of that magnificence which the imagination has pictured to itself from the glowing descriptions of Eastern tales. Bishop Heber, who possessed a true taste for the sublime and beautiful, and who delighted, with all a poet's enthusiam, in the picturesque, has hardly done justice to Agra, in his most interesting history. He was ill during the short period that he tarried there, and saw the place to a disadvantage, having come immediately from its rival city, Delhi. This is the more unfortunate for Agra, as his work, being deservedly popular, will naturally lead persons to imagine that ruin and desolation form its chief features; whereas, though certainly much shorn of the splendour it once possessed, it is still a place of worth and importance, inhabited by rich natives, both Mussulman and Hindu, and carrying on an extensive trade.

The part along which the military cantonments extend, is certainly far from remarkable for beauty. It is a wide bare plain, enlivened only by a few Vol. III.

trees, named Parkinsonias, from the officer who introduced them into India, which are too uniformly covered with yellow flowers to add much to the effect, unless mingled with others of a more varied appearance. The river Jumna here also is completely hidden from view, by high sandy banks. The outside of the bungalows or houses are, with few exceptions, remarkably ugly; they are usually built of brick, a material amply supplied by the ruins in the neighbourhood; and the gateless, and sometimes fenceless compounds or paddocks, have a desolate appearance. A handsome church, however, presents a redeeming picture to the scene.

But it is the city of Agra itself, and its neighbourhood, which demand our chief attention. The Taaje Mahal, or '* Palace-tomb," as that name implies, deserves our first description. As a mausoleum or royal burying-place, it has not its equal in the world. The reader of eastern story may here find the reality of what he has fancied in his dreams of fairy-land. Imagine a wild plain, broken into deep sandy ravines, the very picture of rudeness and desolation. In the midst of this horrid wilderness, a palace suddenly appears of deep red stone, inlaid with white marble, and covered by domes and cupolas. To enter, you ascend by flights of steps. In the centre is a large hall, which with its roof and a gallery running round, is all in the most beautiful eastern fashion of building. This is the gate of the


Taaje Mahal, and is in itself so magnificent, that in any other place it would detain the visiter in rapture, at the perfection and grandeur of its proportions, and the exquisite elegance of the finishing. But the eye has caught a glimpse of a delicious garden beyond, and the splendours, therefore, of this noble entrance are little regarded. At the end of a long avenue of graceful cypresses, whose rich branches are beautifully reflected in the waters of some marble hasins, filled by streams flowing from numerous sparkling fountains, the Taaje rises like a fairypalace. The whole is composed of polished marble, of the very whitest kind, nay, of so splendid a character, that it conveys the idea of something even more brilliant than marble, mother-of-pearl, or glistening spar: and it is inlaid with precious stones. No description can do justice to this shining edifice. It seems rather to belong to the visions of a dream, than to any thing in real life. The mausoleum itself stands on a terrace or platform of white marble, raised to the height of about twelve or fifteen feet.

The actual place of burial is in the centre of the chief building, and round it, on three sides, are sets of rooms, three on each side, all likewise of white marble. Even the window frames are of that beautiful material. On the outside of the building, there rises, in the centre, a lofty tower or dome, seventy yards across, or in diameter, (which is in shape something like the domes on the King's Pavilion at Brighton); this dome is surrounded by others of the same shape, but considerably less in size. The whole building, with its terrace, occupies a space of about 190 square yards. At each of the four corners of the terrace, a very high minaret raises its towering head. In short, nothing can be more chaste or beautiful, than the whole building. Standing as it does amid orange-groves, it seems, as before observed, like a fairy-palace. Nor, if we enter the mausoleum itself, shall we fail to be struck by the elegance and beauty of the interior; for it is embellished with beautiful mosaics, that is, pictures formed by small stones of different colours, so as to represent things in nature. These mosaics are here in rich patterns of flowers, so delicately fashioned that they look like embroidery upon white satin. In one of them, there are actually thirty-five different specimens of cornelians employed in a single leaf of a carnation, whilst agates, lapis-lazuli, turquoise, and other precious materials, are to be seen there in plentiful profusion.

But we must not leave the Taaje Mahal without bestowing some attention upon the garden in which it is sit>i»n»u. Being washed by the Jumna, it looks out upon that bright and rapid river; and its enchanting game» extending over many acres, planted with flowering& forest trees and interspersed with buildings and fountains, stretch along to the banks of the stream. Imagine it, moreover, enlivened by numbers of birds of the most beautiful and variegated plumage, and adorned with flowers and blossoms of every scent and every hue. But you will perhaps ask, for what purpose, or at least for whom, this building was erected? The history is this. The Emperor Shah Jehan raised it to the memory of his beloved wife Moom Taze Mahal. When she lay dying, in the lassionate anguish of his heart, he assured her, that as, whilst alive, she surpassed in loveliness and virtue all the women of her time, so after her decease she should have a monument over her, which should be unequalled in the world. He fulfilled his promise. This princely palace was raised at his command. The plan of it, which is purely eastern, is said to have been formed by himself, and executed

by foreigners of eminence. It is reported to have cost 750,000/., and is generally considered the finest edifice in the Indian empire. It was his intention to have built a mausoleum for himself of similar magnificence, upon the other side of the Jumna, and to have connected them together by a marble bridge across that river. But the troubles of his reign prevented him from accomplishing so superb a design, and his remains therefore are placed beside those of her to whom he was so much attached whilst on earth. The natives of Agra are justly proud of the Taaje Mahal. They are pleased with the admiration which it draws forth from strangers, and are gratified by the care and attention bestowed on it by government to keep it in repair. In the cool of the evening, crowds of Mussulmans of all descriptions, rich and poor, visit the gardens; when it is very common for them to add a flower to the fresh coronals which are every day strewed on the monarch's grave, and their presence in the gardens contributes not a little to the attraction of the scene.

At the distance of about a mile from "the Palace Tomb" stands the Fort of Agra, a place of great strength before the introduction of fire-arms. One side is defended by the river, the others are surrounded by high battlemented walls of red stone, furnished with turrets and loop-holes, and in addition to several postern entrances, a magnificent building called the Delhi-gate. With many persons the sensations of the mind will naturally be very overpowering, when gazing, for the first time, upon the golden crescent of the Moslems, glittering high in the fair blue heavens, from the topmost pinnacle of this splendid edifice, which stands now as a proof of the greatness of their power and their pride. They may then feel that the gorgeous palaces, and glittering thrones with which eastern story is so plentifully adorned, had at least some foundation in truth.

The Fort is of very considerable extent, and contains many objects of interest and curiosity. The Mootee Musjid, or Pearl Mosque, is by some preferred for its beauty to the Taaje Mahal. Neither drawing nor description can do justice to it: for the purity of the material of which it is formed, and the splendour of its architecture, defy the powers of the pencil and the pen. A long and splendid hall extends along one side of a noble quadrangle or square. This quadrangle is surrounded by richly sculptured cloisters, from which rise at intervals light and elegant cupolas, supported on slender pillars. The whole is of polished white marble, carved even to the very slabs that compose the pavement; and when moonlight shines brightly on the scene, the effect is quite magical. In fact, Europe itself does not possess a more interesting relic of the glory of days departed, than that which is afforded in Asia by the Fort of Agra.

The next building worthy of observation is the Palace of Agra. This palace, though rich and splendid, is not equal to those beautiful structures which have been already described. It is, however, interesting, from having been the residence of some of the most celebrated conquerors of the East. The hall, formerly ceiled with silver, is still a fine apartment. But the smaller rooms, being more singular, are more interesting to strangers. They are mostly formed of eight sides, and generally leading out of each other. The walls, floors, and roofs, are all composed of the same white marble. The walls are ornamented with rude mosaics ot flowers. One of the rooms, intended as a place of retreat during the hot winds which prevail at times in India is very curious. It is a square apartment of a good size, but entirely without windows. The walls are adorned with spars, silver, and other glittering ornaments, intermixed with pieces of looking-glass. The pavement is cut into channels, so as to let water continually run through it. Here the emperors spent the sultry hours by torch light. The palace is pleasantly situated on the banks of the Jumna, on which many of its windows with their balconies overlook. The river is gay with boats, and the opposite bank is finely planted, adorned with bright pavilions, peeping amidst the trees, or raised upon some jutting point of land. The plan of the whole building is best seen from the roof, which is flat. It is laid out in small quadrangles or courts, each with its garden or its bath in the centre. A noble view is also obtained of the surrounding country from this height.

On the opposite bank of the Jumna are the stately gardens of the Rombaugh, said to have been originally planted and laid out by the Emperor Jehanghire, the son of Shah Jehan. Near these, stands another of the most beautiful specimens of Eastern architecture which India can boast,—the tomb of Utta ma Dowlah. It was the work of his daughter, the Empress Nourmahal. Anxious that it should be built of the most durable material, she proposed that it should be constructed of silver. But she was persuaded to erect it of marble as less likely to be destroyed. Not being kept in repair by government, time has much injured it; but it still remains a noble monument of the great lord to whose memory it was built, who was once the pride and glory of the East. In fact, Utta ma Dowlah's tomb is one of the most attractive spots in the neighbourhood of Agra. It is within the compass of a morning or evening drive. The gardens of the Rombaugh, which are close to it, are as splendid as those which are described in the Arabian tales. From the roof of this monument one of those views is obtained, which once seen can never be forgotten. The blue waters of the Jumna wind along through a country remarkable for its richness, with gardens stretching down on each bank to its rippling current; opposite stands, in all the pomp of Eastern architecture, the city of Agra, with its strong and striking fort, its beautiful marble palace and splendid cupolas intermixed with trees; below, in silvery pride, is seen the lustrous Taaje Mahal; and as far as the eye can reach, the countryhouses present themselves, decorated with light pavilions, rising into sight close to the very edge of the stream, and giving a pleasing variety to the scene.

One other building must be mentioned. It is the mausoleum or tomb of the Emperor Acbar. The care of the dead forms a very striking feature in the Mussulman character. Kingdoms have passed away, and lines of princes have been lost, and whilst nothing of the magnificence of those that are in the silent tomb remains except the mere name, their graves are honoured and respected, and flowers are strewed over them, and lamps are burned by those who now own themselves subjects of a far different race of princes. As Acbar was first of the Mogul emperors, who, preferring Agra as a residence to the neighbouring city of Delhi, embellished and beautified that city, his name as "the mighty lord," is still held in great reverence by the inhabitants, and his tomb which, is about five miles distant, is scarcely less an object of admiration than the Taaje Mahal. It is a gorgeous structure, something in the form of a pyramid, built of red stone, and of a character for rudeness and splendour suited to the barbarian chief to whose memory it was raised.

It is chiefly remarkable for its peculiar form, and its immense size, which give it a majesty and splen

dour which it would hardly otherwise possess. There is something, also, striking, in its having superb colonnades or cloisters of white marble extending along its sides, as they form a strong contrast to the red stone of which the building itself is constructed. Below, in a dark vault, illumined only by a single lamp, lies the body of Acbar. From different parts of the edifice, magnificent views are obtained. It is, however, to be regretted, that the tomb, like that of Utta ma Dowlah, is, from want of repair and attention, falling into a state of decay.

Other proofs of the splendour of the city of Agra may be mentioned, but those already described will be sufficient to show, not only what Agra was, but what it still is.

[Chiefly abridged from it paper in the Asiatic Journal.)

D. I. E.

DULWICH COLLEGE. In the pleasant hamlet of Dulwich, anciently spelt Dilwyshe, in Surrey, at the five-mile stone from London, is the College represented in the engraving. It was founded in the reign of James the First, by Edward Alleyn, Esq. The chapel was finished in 1616, and on the 13th of September, 1619, the foundation of the college was completed, the name of God's Gift College having been fixed upon by the founder. It was established for a master, warden, four fellows, six poor brethren, six poor sisters, all of whom must be unmarried, and twelve poor scholars, to be maintained, educated, and ruled, according to the regulations of the statutes.

For this purpose, Mr. Alleyn bought the manor of Dulwich, and other estates in the neighbourhood, as well as lands and tenements in other places. In addition to this handsome provision, he erected alms-houses in the parishes of St. Botolph Bishopsgate, St. Saviour Southwark, and St. Giles without Cripplegate, for thirty poor men and women, ten from each parish, to be elected by the respective churchwardens and vestry, and to be admitted afterwards into God's Gift College as vacancies occurred, under certain conditions, particularly that of the parties being single and elderly. The churchwardens of these parishes are appointed assistants of the master, warden, and fellows. One of the brethren, two of the sisters, and three of the scholars, just specified as belonging to the college, are chosen out of the parish of Camberwell, in which the college is situated; the remaining nine brethren and sisters, and nine scholars, coming from the three parishes abovementioned.

By the terms of the statutes, it is necessary that the master and warden should be unmarried, and have the founder's name of Allen. It is also required, that three of the fellows should be clergymen, the fourth being the organist, and that they should all be single persons. Although the words of the foundation-deed are express on the latter point, the first master and warden, Thomas and Matthias Alleyn, were married men, and the founder himself showed his approval of the state of matrimony by marrying secondly, after the death of his first wife Joan, who lies buried in the chapel. Some of the masters have endeavoured to procure leave to marry, but without success, owing to the clear terms of the will.

The mode of election to the vacant situations in the college was settled by the founder. On that of the master being void, the warden at once succeeds to it; but the appointment to the office of warden is vested in the body, namely, the master, assistants, and fellows, who, if there are more than two candi dates, reduce, by their votes, the number to two, which two then draw lots. Two small pieces of paper are rolled up, within one of which is written "God's Gift," the other being left blank: the box in which they are placed, is then "thrice shaken up and down, and the elder person of the two draws the first lot, the youngest the second;" and the drawer of the written paper is instantly elected. The choice of fellows is very similar. The late organist, the Rev. Ozias Linley, brother of the first Mrs. Brinsley Sheridan, drew the successful lot against the celebrated bass-singer, Mr. Bartleman. The poor brethren and sisters, and the poor scholars, also draw lots in the same manner, the candidates having been sent by the churchwardens of their respective parishes.

[graphic][merged small]

Edward Alleyn, or Allen, to whose benevolence this college owes its foundation, was born in London in 1566, and became one of the most admired actors of the time: he was called the Roscius of his age, and probably gained a large portion of his fortune by his performances at the Fortune playhouse in Whitecross-Street, London, of which he was the owner, and which he left at his death for the benefit of the College. He was also proprietor of a bear-garden at Bankside, near the Borough, and afterwards held the place of "Master of the King's Bears," a lucrative situation, when great and accomplished persons, as well as others, took a horrible delight in watching the cruelties wantonly practised on inferior creatures. It is strange, but true, that Queen Elizabeth was partial to the sport of bull and bear-baiting. May it not be hoped that at no distant day, the people of Spain may look back with wonder and shame at the prevalence of such savage sports as their bull-fights, in which, even now, ladies of that country find amusement, thus giving up the claim of belonging to the softer and kinder sex!

But to return to Alleyn. At the period of his making this endowment, he had for some time retired from the stage. A story has been told by Aubrey, of the cause of this retirement; namely, that in publicly appearing as one of a band of demons, in company with his brother actors, he saw the evil spirit himself; an event which drove him to a life of retirement, penitence, and charity. This anecdote may probably nave been the invention of an age, in which superstition prevailed to a vast extent; when the existence and power of witches was not doubted; and even the philosophic mind of Lord Bacon himself was clouded with many of the foolish notions common at the time.

Alleyn had some difficulty in fulfilling his design, as to the college, partly in consequence of the obr jections of Lord Chancellor Bacon to his settling his estates in mortmain; the statute of mortmain (which means a dead hand, that is, an unproductive possession), having been made, to check the power of corporate bodies in the purchases of lands. Having, however, obtained the king's license, he completed his foundation, and afterwards went to live at the manor-house of Dulwich, called Hall Place. The inscription on his grave-stone, in the college chapel, states that he died in 1626.

It has been thought by some, that the college was built by the famous Inigo Jones, the king's surveyor; he having been present with the Lord Chancellor, Lord Arundel, and others, at the ceremony of the foundation: but it is scarcely probable that so good an architect could have been employed, as we find that the steeple fell down in 1638. This so injured the revenues of the college, as to occasion its being dissolved for six months, during which the master and fellows received no salary; but the poor people and scholars had two shillings a week each. Not long after this, another portion of the building fell down; and, in 1703, the porch and other parts followed. Frequent repairs were accordingly made, which appear to be marked by dates in parts of the college.

Dulwich college had its full share of the havoc committed by the fanatics in the Civil Wars. It was turned into quarters for a company of soldiers of Fairfax's army, who, it is said, took up the leaden coffins in the chapel, and melted them into bullets. The fellows of the college were in arms for the king; in consequence of which, they were deprived of their fellowships; and a school-master and usher were appointed in their stead. During the government of Oliver Cromwell, and the short power of his son and successor, Richard, the lands and goods of the college were taken away, and its rights set aside. But at the Restoration, these were recovered, and have since remained secure.

The site of this College begins at the five-mile stone, on the back of which are the words, Siste Viator*, T. T. 1772. The initials are those of a Thomas Treslove, Esq., a magistrate of Surrey, who was active in repairing the roads in the neighbourhood, and was probably of other service to the college. The gates are of curiously wrought iron, surmounted with the founder's arms, crest and motto, "God's

Stop, Traveller I

Gift." These lead into the outer court or green. The college stands in the inner court. The west wing is the most ancient. The east wing, which contains among other apartments, those of the" fellows, and the school-room, bears the date of 1739. The front of the college is divided in the centre by a porch, over which is the treasury-chamber. On the east side of the porch is the Chapel, which is plain and unornamented, except by a painting over the communion-table; it is a noble copy of Raphael's Transfiguration, the work of his pupil, Julio Romano, who, it is said, followed Raphael to the grave, assisting to bear the original picture (said to be the finest in the world), as a trophy of his art. The chapel serves as a chapel of ease for this village, to the church of Camberwcll. Although built for the college, it is frequented by the inhabitants, and has been enlarged for their accomodation. On the west side of the porch is the College-hall, where the elections are held, and where the scholars usually dine; and adjoining it, is the dining-room of the master, warden, and fellows. Above, are the Library, and the apartments of the master and warden.

A valuable addition was made, in 1746, to the college trusts, by James Allen, Esq., master, who by will, granted a freehold piece of ground at Kensington'Gravel-pits, the rents and profits of which should be applied towards providing a school-mistress to teach poor boys and girls, children of poor people resident in Dulwich, or within a mile of it.

One of the chief attractions to the numerous visiters of Dulwich college, is the collection of pictures given by the late Sir Francis Bourgeois, in 1811. It contains many beautiful specimens of the best masters of the Italian, Flemish, and English schools. A spacious gallery has been built for their reception at the south end of the college; and in a small apartment, or mausoleum, adjoining the gallery, are two stone coffins, containing the bodies of Sir Francis and Lady Bourgeois. The view of the pictures is open to the public gratuitously.

THE CONDOR VULTURE. Vultur gryphus.Linnjbus.

The pleasure arising from seeing others laugh is a common cause of laughter, so common, that it is difficult to refrain, even without knowing the cause of their mirth. "I was," says Goldsmith, "by nature, an admirer of happy human faces, and I seldom, if ever, enter a merry party without sharing the mirth." Walking, some time since, in Lincoln'sInn Fields, I followed a party of chimney-sweepers, who, at the turning under the gateway, suddenly met three Chinese, apparently just arrived in London. It was clear they had never before seen chimney-sweepers, and it seemed that the chimney-sweepers had never, till that moment, seen such figures as the Chinese. Each party, and every spectator, was in a convulsion of laughter. Thoughts on Laughter,

It would not, indeed, be reasonable to expect, did we not know the inattention and perverseness of mankind, that any one who had followed a funeral, could fail to return home without new resolutions of a holy life; for who can see the final period of all human schemes and undertakings, without conviction of the vanity of all that terminates in the present state? For who can see the wise, the brave, the powerful, or the beauteous, carried to the grave, without reflection on the emptiness of all those distinctions which set us here in opposition to each other? And who, when he sees the vanity of all terrestrial advanges, can forbear to wish for a more permanent and certain happiness? Such wishes, perhaps, often arise, and such resolutions are often formed; but, before the resolution can be exerted—before the wish can regulate the conduct—new prospects open before us, new impressions are received; the temptations of the world solicit, the passions of the heart are put into commotion; we plunge again into the tumult, engage again in the contest; and forget that what we gain cannot be kept, and that the life for which we are thus busy to provide must be quickly at an end. Johnson.


It is a curious fact, that we possess no accurate account of this ferocious bird of earlier date than that afforded by Humboldt, the celebrated naturalist, on his return to Europe, after his laborious researches in South America. The flight of the condor is loftier than that of any other bird ; it sometimes is found nearly four miles above the level of the sea; and frequents, in great numbers, the immense chain of the Andes, on the limits of perpetual snow. It is more famous for its ferocity and strength than for its great size, its usual length from tip to tip of the wing, when expanded, being about nine feet; and the largest specimen we have any authentic account of did not exceed fourteen feet. The beak of this bird is extremely large and strong, flat on the top, but strongly hooked at the tip; its claws, also, are very large and powerful, and, unlike other vultures, it feeds upon living prey, as well as carrion, although it gives a preference to the latter. Some idea may be formed of the strength of these birds, by the following account of theirmode of attacking their prey. "Two condors will dart upon the deer of the Andes, upon the puma, the vicugna, and the guanaco. They will even attack a heifer: they pursue it for a long time, wounding it with their beak and talons, until the animal, breathless and overwhelmed with fatigue, thrusts out its tongue, bellowing; the condor then seizes the tongue, a morsel to which it is most attached; it also tears out the eyes of the victim, which sinks to the earth and slowly expires. In the province of Quito, the mischief done to cattle, but more especially to sheep and cows, by this formidable bird, is immense. In the savannahs of Antisana, between twelve and thirteen thousand feet above the level of the sea, bulls are constantly found which have been wounded in the back by condors."

The young of the condor, for the first few months of its existence, presents no appearance of feathers, but is covered with a whitish kind of down; at the age of two years, its feathers are of a uniform brown

« AnteriorContinuar »