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and steeples and other magnificent ornaments, contrived for the solace and recreation of this great man.
The personal title of the following tremendous old gentleman (called “Senex” by the first translator of (derico) means nothing more, with the “reasonable,” than Sheik, or Elder. He is a kind of dreadful Alderman. But who would part with the words “Old Man of the Mountain,"—their wrinkled old vigour and reverend infamy! He is first cousin of the shocking old fellow in Sinbad, the Old Man of the Sea, who rode upon the shoulders of that voyager like a nightmare, and stuck his knees in his sides. It is proper to retain the “Of” in the old heading of the story. Of the old man,” &c., is much more ancient and mysterious than the modern custom of beginning with “The.”
OF THE OLD MAN OF THE MOUNTAIN.
Proceeding on my travels towards the south, I arrived at a certain pleasant and fertile country, called Melistorte, in which dwells a certain aged person called the Old Man of the Mountain. This
had surrounded two mountains by a high wall, within which he had the finest gardens and finest fountains in the world, inhabited by great numbers of most beautiful virgins. It was likewise supplied with fine horses, and every article that could contribute to luxury and delightful solace; on which account it was called by the people of the country, the terrestrial paradise. Into this delightful residence the old man used to entice all the young and valiant men he could procure, where they were initiated into all the delights of the earthly paradise, in which milk and wine flowed in abundance, through certain hidden conduits. When desirous of assassinating any prince or nobleman, who had offended him, the old man would order the governor of his paradise to entice into that place some acquaintance or servant of the prince or baron whom he wished to slay. Allowing this person to take a full taste of the
delights of the place, we was cast into a deep sleep by means of a strong potion, in which state he was removed from paradise; on recovering from his sleep, and finding himself excluded from the pleasures of paradise, he was brought before the old
man, whom he entreated to restore him to the place from whence he had been taken. He was then told, that if he would slay such or such a person, he should not only be permitted to return into paradise, but should remain there for ever.
By these means the old man used to get all those murdered against whom he had conceived any displeasure; on which account all the kings and princes of the east stood in awe of him and paid him tribute.
When the Tartars had subdued a large portion of the earth, they came into the country of the old man, and took from him his paradise. Being greatly incensed at this, he sent out many of his resolute and desperate dependents, by whom numbers of the Tartar nobles were slain.
Upon this the Tartars besieged the city of the old man of the mountain ; and making him prisoner, they put him to a cruel and ignoble death.
The famous Prester John must by no means be omitted in the list of these remote personages who sit “throned” in old books. Prester, that is to say, Presbyter, or Priest John, has generally been thought in later times to mean the Christian King of Abyssinia; but the most recent investigators are inclined to restore him his old locality, and consider him as a Tartar king, probably a Mongol of the name of Whang, who was supposed to have been converted to the Christian faith by Nestorian missionaries. Whang is almost identical with the pronunciation of the Spanish form of John_Juan ; which is very unlike what we call it in England. The imagination is to consider Prester John as a compound of priest and sovereign, an eastern pope or Christian Grand Lama, sitting clothed in white, and holding a cross instead of a sceptre. He is a Christian Tartar, subjugating the nations around him,
till he is conquered by the more famous Zinghis Khan. Little, however, is known of him beyond his name. The most wonderful anecdote we can find of him is one that is related by Friar John de Carpini, who was sent ambassador to the Tartars by Pope Innocent IV., in the middle of the thirteenth century. It seems to anticipate the appearance of artillery in Europe.
HOW PRESTER JOHN BURNT UP HIS ENEMY'S MEN AND HORSES.
When Zinghis and his people had rested some time after their conquest of Cathay, he divided his army, and sent one of his sons, named Thosut Khan, against the Comainans, whom he vanquished in many battles, and then returned into his own country. Another of his sons was sent with an army against the Indians, who subdued the Lesser India. These Indians are the Black Saracens, who are also named Ethiopians. From thence the Mongol army marched to fight against the Christians dwelling in the greater part of India ; and the king of that country, known by the name of Prester John, came forth with his army against them. This prince caused a number of hollow copper figures to be made, resembling men, which were stuffed with combustibles and set upon horses, each having a man behind on the horse, with a pair of bellows to stir up the fire. When approaching to give battle, these mounted images were first sent forwards against the enemy, and the men who rode behind set fire by some means to the combustibles, and blew strongly with their bellows; and the Mongol men and horses were burnt with wild-fire, and the air was darkened with smoke. Then the Indians charged the Mongols, many of whom were wounded and slain, and they were expelled from the country in great confusion, and we have not heard that they ever ventured to return.
It is a pity we cannot give a hundred other romantic particulars out of these old travellers, from the times of Herodotus downwards; but our limits will not permit us. We must pass, with a due amount of delight or horror, his semi-annual sleepers and pious cannibals; the isle of Nearchus, from which no one returned; the accounts of Gog and Magog, and the wall of Doolkarnien; the one-eyed and one-legged people of Mandeville, the latter of whom make an umbrella of their foot; isles of giants and rivers of gems; goblets of wine that came to the drinker of their own accord; and the Region of Darkness where there never appeared sun, moon, or star, &c. Sindbad or Ulysses could not beat them; sometimes had the same identical experiences, as in valleys of diamonds and raw-men-eating giants. We must escape from old fictions founded on truth, to modern narratives full of truth and more touching than fiction. And first for honest, admirable
LEDYARD's touching praise of women and of the kindness which he ever experienced at their hands, has been repeated in many a book of selections; but who shall be the first person to leave it out? Certainly not the compiler of this. Ledyard was a man who possessed every qualification for a traveller of the highest order, except a little more composure of purpose. He had health, strength, observation, reflection, integrity, undauntedness, enthusiasm, but was somewhat too restless and impatient; and this single flaw in his perfections probably tended to shorten his career and leave him without a great practical
He was an American, and intended for a missionary; but he could not bear to remain at school. He became a sailor, a marine, circumnavigated the world with Cook (who respected and made use of him), and finally went to Africa under the auspices of the association for making discoveries, but died prematurely in Egypt, in the year 1788. When he presented himself at the Institute as a candidate for discovery, he was asked when he would be ready to set out. He answered, “To-morrow morning.”
The following passage from a letter which he wrote before embarking for Africa, will show the natural dignity and purity of his character.
" I was last evening in company with Mr. Jarvis, of New-York, whom I accidentally met in the city, and invited to my lodgings. When I was in Paris in distress, he behaved very generously to me, and, as I do not want money at present, I had a double satisfaction in our meeting, being equally happy to see him, and to pay him one hundred livres, which I never expected to be able to do, and I suppose he did not think I should. If he goes to New-York as soon as he mentioned, I shall trouble him with this letter to you, and with some others to your address for my other friends. I wrote you last from this place, nearly two years ago, but I suppose you
heard from me at Petersburg, by Mr. Franklin of New York. promised to write you from the remote parts of Siberia. I promise everything to those I love; and so does fortune to me sometimes, but we reciprocally prevent each other from fulfilling our engagements. She left me so poor in Siberia, that I could not write you, because I could not frank the letter.”
Ledyard's honest biographer, though a great and intelligent admirer of his hero, finds fault with his style for its incorrectness. The faulty if it existed, must be confined to passages in his journal, not given by Mr. Sparks, for we cannot discover it in those which he has. To us it appears admirable ; quite correct and pure; indeed the best we ever saw for sheer, unaffected eloquence from an American pen. The one before us is a positive masterpiece, in style as well as feeling.
LEDYARD'S PRAISE OF WOMEN.
MEMOIRS OF HIS LIFE AND TRAVELS, BY JARED SPARKS."
HAVE observed among all nations that the women
ornament themselves more than the men; that wherever found, they are the same civil, kind, obliging, humane,