Imágenes de páginas

stands a pyramid, measuring five hun- lintel of stone, containing two double dred and fifty feet at its base, gradually rows of hieroglyphics, with a sculptured drawing in towards the summit, which ornament intervening. Above these are presents a large platform, upon which the remains of hooks carved in stone, with is erected a square building, about raised lines of drapery running through twenty fect in height, making the them, which, apparently have been brokwhole of the structure one hundred and

en off by the falling of the heavy finishing twenty feet high. This pyramid con

from the top of the building, over which, tained rooms, curiously constructed, beautifully executed borders, encircled

surrounded by a variety of chaste and and ornamented with rare carvings and within a wreath, is a female figure in a architectural devices, which are de- sitting posture, in basso-relievo, having a tailed by our author with great mi- heail-dress of feathers, cords, and tassels, nuteness.

and the neck ornamented. The angles of About the centre of the city of Chi- this building are tastefully curved. The Chen is the Dome, a structure of beau- ornaments continue around the sides, tiful proportions, though partially in which are divided into two compartments, ruins. " It rests upon a finished found- different in their arrangement, though not ation, the interior of which contains in style. Attached to the angles are large three conic structures, one within the projecting hooks, skilfully worked, and other, a space of six feet intervening; perfect rosettes and stars, with spears reeach cone communicating with the versed, are put together with the utmost others by door-ways, the inner one


“ The ornaments are composed of small forming the shaft. At the height of about ten feet the cones are united by about one to one and a half inches, ap

square blocks of stone, cut to the depth of means of transoms of zuporte. Around

parently with the most delicate instruthese cones are evidences of spiral ments, and inserted by a shaft in the wall. stairs, leading to the summit."

The wall is made of large and uniformly But by far the most extraordinary square blocks of limestone, set in a morruin, as we judge from the author's tar which appears to be as durable as the description, that has yet been discover- stone itself. In the ornamental borders ed in Central America, is the “House of this building I could discover but little of the Caciques,” a front view of which, analogy with those known to me. The through the kindness of the author, we most striking were those of the cornice have been permitted to present to our

and entablature, chevron and the cable readers. The engraving represents

moulding, which are characteristic of the merely the front of a portion of the Norman architecture.

“ The sides have three door-ways, each main building. A view of the rest of this stupendous edifice, which may be finished with smooth square blocks of

opening into small apartments, which are found in the work, gives one the most stone; the floors of the same material, exalted idea of the skill and wealth of but have been covered with cement, its unknown architects. We do not which is now broken. The apartments hesitate to present Mr. Norman's de- are small, owing to the massive walls enscription of these ruins at length: closing them, and the acute-angled arch,

forming the ceiling. The working and “Situated about three rods south-west laying of the stone are as perfect as they of the ruins of the Dome, are those of the could have been under the directions of a House of the Caciques. I cut my way modern architect. through the thick growth of small wood “ Contiguous to this front are two irreto this sublime pile, and by the aid of my gular buildings, as represented in the compass was enabled to reach the east plan. The one on the right, situated front of the building. Here I felled the some twenty-five feet from it, (about two trees that hid it, and the whole front was feet off the right line), has a front of opened to my view, presenting the most about thirty-five feet, its sides ten wide, strange and incomprehensible pile of ar- and its height twenty feet, containing one chitecture that my eyes ever beheld--ela- room similar in its finish to those before borate, elegant, stupendous, yet belong. described. The front of this building is ing to no order now known to us. The elaborately sculptured with rosettes and front of this wonderful edifice measures borders, and ornamental lines; the rear thirty-two feet, and its height twenty, ex- is formed of finely cut stone, now much tending to the main building fifty feet. broken. Near by are numerous heaps of Over the door-way, which favors the hewn and broken stones, sculptured work Egyptian style of architecture, is a heavy and pillars. VOL. XI.-NO, LIII.


“ The other building on the left is about the interior of the main building. I diseight feet from the principal front, mea- covered two breaches, caused, probably, suring twenty-two feet in length, thirteen by the enormous weight of the pile, and in width, and thirty-six in height. The in these apertures I made excavations; top is quite broken, and has the appear- but could not discover anything like apartance of having been much higher. The ments of any description. It seemed to agave Americana was growing thriftily be one vast body of stone and mortar, upon its level roof. On all sides of this kept together by the great solidity of the building are carved figures, broken ima- outer wall, which was built in a masterly ges, in sitting postures; rosettes and or- manner, of well-formed materials. The namental borders, laid off in compart- angles were finished off with circular ments; each compartment having three blocks of stones, of a large and uniform carved hooks on each side and angle. size.” This building contains but one room, similar to that on the right. A soil has Mr. Norman subsequently visited collected on the tops or roofs of these the ruins of Ichmul, of Kahbah, Zayi, structures to the depth of three or four Nohcacab, Uxmal, and Campeachyfeet, in which trees and other vegetation all of which are described with great are flourishing. “ From these portions of the ruins I

fidelity. They are all more or less worked my way through the wild thicket, to our readers a view of the ruins of

striking and indicative. We present by which they are surrounded, to the north side of the main building, in the Zayi, taken by our author, with his centre of which I found a flight of small own description of them : stone steps, overgrown with bushes and vines, which I cut away, and made an

“ The Ruins of Zayi are situated in the ascent by pulling myself up to the summit, midst of a succession of beautiful hills, a distance of forty feet. This platform forming around them, on every side, an is an oblong square, one hundred by se enchanting landscape. venty-five feet. Here a range of rooms

“ The principal one is composed of a were found, occupying about two-thirds single structure, animmense pile, facing of the area; the residue of the space pro- the south, and standing upon a slight nabably formed a promenade, which is now

tural elevation. The first foundation is filled up with crumbling ruins, covered

now so broken that its original form canwith trees and grass. These rooms varied not be fully determined; but it probably in size; the smallest of which measured was that of a parallelogram. Its front six by ten, and the largest six by twenty- wall shows the remains of rooms and ceiltwo feet.

ings, with occasional pillars, which, no “ The most of these rooms were plaster- doubt, supported the corridors. The ed, or covered with a fine white cement, height of this wall is about twenty feet, some of which was still quite perfect. By and, as near as I was able to measure washing them, I discovered fresco paint- around its base, (owing to the accumulaings; but they were much obliterated. tion of ruins), it was two hundred and The subjects could not be distinguished. sixty-eicht feet long, and one hundred On the eastern end of these rooms is a

and sixteen wide. hall running transversely, four feet wide,

"In the centre of this foundation (having the high angular ceiling), one stands the main building, the western half side of which is filled with a variety of only remaining, with a portion of the sculptured work, principally rosettes and steps, outside, leading to the top. This borders, with rows of small pilasters; part shows a succession of corridors, ochaving three square recesses, and a small cupying the whole front, each supported room on either side. Over the doorways by two pillars, with plain square caps of each are stone lintels, three feet square, and plinths, and intervening spaces, filled carved with hieroglyphics both on the with rows of small ornamented pillars. front and under side. The western end In the rear of these corridors are rooms of these rooms is in almost total ruins. of small dimensions and angular ceilings, The northern side has a flight of stone without any light except that which the steps, but much dilapidated, leading to front affords. Over these corridors, or the top; which, probably, was a look-out rillars, is a fine moulding finish, its angle place, but is now almost in total ruins. ornamented with a hook similar to those of The southern range of rooms is much Chi-Chen." broken; the outside of which yet shows the elaborate work with which the whole

Mr. Norman devotes a separate chapbuilding was finished.

ter at the conclusion of his detail of “ I vainly endeavored to find access to the ruins to answering the three ques.

tions, by whom, for what purpose, and health. That such cannot be the case when were these ruined cities built. might, we think, be proved à priori, To the two first he professes to have without a single experiment—that no very definite opinions, but relies such is not the case has already been chiefly upon the authority of Waldeck, pretty clearly demonstrated by the inDe Solis, Morton, Wirt, Priest, Ledyard, Hexible logic of facts. The city of Bradford, and others who have specu- Guatimala is situated about five thoulated upon this subject. Upon the last sand feet above the level of the sea, and question of their daie he differs entirely presents the unvarying temperature of froin Mr. Stephens, and we presume spring from one year's end to another. from the current of opinion,-though The temperature is said never to oscilwe think for very plausible reasons, late more than eight or ten degrees. in attributing io them as much as Add to this the country is visited by no three thousand years of age. The ruins fevers, or epidemics, or pestilential disof Chi-Chen Mr. Norman thinks by far eases; yet the people, says Dunn,-a the oldest ruins that have yet been very intelligent traveller in that counseen in Central America, and he bases try—the people are almost uniformly his dissent principally upon his observe enervated both in body and in mind, ations there. How far other travellers and the average mortality is about one may be disposed to concur with him thirtieth annually. when they have visited Chi-Chen, and The situation of the city of Lima has how far Mr. Stephens, who, we under- also been distinguished for the uniform stand, subsequently went to these temperature of its climate. Dr. Archiruins, will see fit to modify his own bald Smith, who resided for a long peprevious impressions upon this subject, riod in that country, and published ihe remains to be seen. So far as Mr. result of his experience, in a book enStephens is concerned we are happy to titled “ Peru as it is," tells us that add (en parenthèse) that this detention the effect of this equability of tempewill not probably be long,

rature was "to enervate and degrade.” Which shall eventually prove the Indeed the inhabitants of Lima seem true theory we do not yet presume even to pride themselves upon the subjugatto have an opinion. We have great ing influence of their climate, claiming respect for Mr. Norman's candor and its influence as a part of their national fidelity. We grieve, however, for all discipline. A writer in “Blackwood,” that, ihat these people could not have speaking on this subject, says that left

us something to mark time when a European arrives among them with-something the age of which in what is vulgarly called rude health we know, that we might have com- -and rude it does certainly appear to pared these ruins with it. As it is, the effeminate Limeno—ihey survey we can only conjecture. We never him with a smile, and a Dejale; before appreciated so fully the import- luego caerá," which may be Englished ance and extent of the poet's mission. in the words of the old song, There were more brave men than Horace ever thought of who lived before

“ Never mind him, let him bethe time of Agamemnon,

By and by he'll follow thee.”

When that ferocious and truculent “Sed omnes illachrymabiles old Viceroy Amat arrived in Lima, the Urgentur ignotique longa

following pasquinade was put up in Nocte, carent quia vate sacro." the public square, “Aquí se amansan

leones, "“ Lions tamed here," and it is Mr. Norman appears to have but said that they one day brought the one opinion about the unfavorableness matter to the test by throwing a line of the Yucatan climate to longevity. across the street where his carriage was Nor does he recommend it to valetu- waiting at the palace gates so as to dinarians, under any circumstances. stop his way. But how tame and how We regret that he had not extended patient was the lion become ! He his researches in this direction, for we merely ordered his coachman to turn think he might have found more un- around, and take the opposite direction. mistakable proof of the absurdity quite In the city of Lima, says Mr. Smith, prevalent with us of looking to cli- one twentieth of the population die mates of uniform temperature for good annually--a most alarming average.

It is very rare that one encounters character from any single change of an aged native of any climate of an this kind, or who could attribute any equable temperature. It is to be re new sensation, impression, or capabigretted that statistics upon this subject lity, to any such external accident in are at present so deficient.

particular; but when we reflect how In the second place, we have no incessantly these influences are operate doubt that such a climatic condition is ing upon us by night and by day, at equally adverse to the activity of the our labors or our amusemenis, silting menial forces. For a glaring illustra- or walking, consciously and uncontion of this, observe the population of sciously to ourselves, it will be very the uniformly hot climates of Southern obvious that these educational infuenAsia and Central Africa, and unless ces cannot be spared, and that their they live upon islands, or near the sea, absence should be looked upon as a where the temperature undergoes va- calamity, riaiion, they are scarcely more intelli The plates, of which there are some gent than brutes. Or take the people thirty or foriy in this volume, do great residing in the polar regions, where ihe credit to Mr. Norman, who sketched climate is uniformly cold. We look in them himself upon the spot. They vain in either of these quarters of the represent all the important ruins which world for great thinkers, for invention, the author visited the city of Camor for discovery. The reasons are so peachy from the water-the port of obvious that we could foretell the fact Sisal, " the Dome” and “the Pyraif it had not already passed into his- mid,” at Chi-Chen, “ the Governor's tory. To say nothing of the debilitat- House," “ the Pyramid,” “ the Pigeon ing effects of an unchanging tempera- Houses,” at Uxmal, &c. ture upon the physical energies, and In referring to the plates we are rethus indirectly upon the mind, making minded of one of the most interesting it indisposed to labor-the same variety and valuable features of the work, of sensations, and therefore the same which had nearly escaped us. While amount of experience, is not acquired in Yucatan Mr. Norman informs us by the inhabitant of such a climate that he found a collection of twelve or as of one like ours, subject to fre-fourteen idols, which he supposes to quent and severe changes. He does have been worshipped by the original not acquire as much of that untaught inhabitants of this country. They knowledge which constitutes by far the were found among the ruins which he largest portion of man's real learning. visited. They are composed of clay, Every change should give us a new apparently hardened by fire, and reidea ; but to remain for a long time semble the pottery of the present day. before one class of objects, and subject They are hollow, and contain little to a single class of 'impressions, will balls, about the size of a pea, which inevitably debilitate some other facul- are supposed to have been formed of ties which are not provoked to activity. the ashes of victims sacrificed to the “Adeo sentire semper idem, et non sen- god they inhabit. Careful copies of tire, ad idem recidunt,” says Hobbes. these idols have been made, and will It is a familiar fact to the physiologist, be found among the other engravings that keeping a limb for a long time in with which this work is illustrated. one position will end in paralysing it. We regret that we have no more It is precisely, thus with the mind: space to devote to this very interesting unless the subjects of its activity are work; but no adequate idea of the frequently changed it will become pa- extent and magnificence of these ruins ralysed. Who shall pretend to mea can be presented within the limited sure the influence wrought upon our range of a magazine. It is a book judgment, our tastes, our moral char- which all will desire to read, and we acter, our wills, &c., by the frequent should do injustice, both to the author changes and annoyances of our uneven and his readers, by dissipating the climate? One should be a very close enjoyment which may be anticipated student of the phenomena of his own from a careful perusal of the“Rambles nature that could detect any percepe in Yucatan.” tible accretion to the volume of his

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