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a figure in the polite world, as well as in his own family, has often told me that he could not have supported an absence of three years without this expedient.”
ADDISON. “ Henry the Third of England used to say, that he would rather converse one hour with God in prayer, than hear others speak of Him for ten.”
“An hour of solitude passed in sincere and earnest prayer, or the conflict with, and conquest over, a single passion or subtle bosom sin, will teach us more of thought, will more effectually awaken the faculty, and form the habit of reflection, than a year's study in the schools without them.”
COLERIDGE's Aids TO REFLECTION.
AN OLD SONG.
'Twas an old song; and long ago, in happy infancy,
And this old song was very sad, with cadence slow and sweet, Like chiming bells from some lone fane, where rippling waters
meet; It told of change and sorrow-false friends-departed loveAnd of starry spirit watchers, in realms of bliss above.
When this old song oft made me weep, beneath the chestnut tree, (My nurse was wont to warble as I rested on her knee), " It is not well," she, chiding, said, “to shed such causeless
tears; Reserve them for realities of grief in coming years."
This old sad song !--I hear it now, beneath the selfsame tree, Again I hear those warning words the good dam e spake to me: Ah! I turn away and smile, but the mourner's heart doth
know, Such smiles, with painful meaning fraught, when tears have ceased to flow.
C. A. M. W.
NOTICES OF NEW WORKS.
Nineveh and its Remains : with an Account of a Visit to the
Chaldean Christians of Kurdistan and the Yesedes ; and an Inquiry into the Manners and Habits of the Ancient Assyrians. By Austen Henry Layard, Esq., D.C.L. 2 vols. 8vo. London: John Murray. 1849.
There is, perhaps, no class of men to whom England is more justly indebted than to those rare and dauntless spirits whose energy or whose insatiable thirst for knowledge and discovery has from time to time irresistibly impelled to brave the severest toils and dangers, in order to penetrate the hidden and mysteri. ous, and open new sources of enlightenment to their fellow men. Unlike other challengers of the world's applause, men of science, founders of institutions, the peculiar obstacles and discouragements which attend the path of the adventurer and traveller, which in reality increase their claim to our admiration and assistance, are too often the means of our withholding it. We have an instinctive unwillingness to enlist our services in aiding projects, where impediment and difficulty so predominate, as to give it the colour of a speculation, in which it would be hazardous to engage in the mere probability of success, however triumphant in the issue. Happy it is for us, that so great is the invigorating impulse of patriotic ardour in some breasts, that the cause of such men, however arduous or ill requited, will ever be esteemed honourable and enviable. Indeed, the unmerited hardships of a Columbus, or a Raleigh, so far from deterring
future aspirants to adventurous honours, seem to afford additional incitement, as if their misfortunes, like the crown of martyrs, shed a brighter lustre round their fame.
In modern times, a Werne, and a Layard, afford evidence of this. The last-named gentleman we have to thank, in addition to those valuable discoveries for which alone he may justly be esteemed a benefactor of his country, for one of the most interesting and instructive books of travel we possess. Mr. Layard has given us a most entertaining narrative of his adventures and occupations in the East: and by this means enriched our literary, no less than our scientific, possessions. Any account of the acquisition of a noble addition to our national antiquities must have been welcomed by us with peculiar interest and with gratitude, for the energy and perseverance necessary to obtain them. But the agreeable style of narration, no less than the nature of the subject, inspires us with deepfelt interest and admiration. Our sympathy is awakened throughout. Whether we accompany our traveller under the thrilling influence inspired by the exciting nature of his discoveries; wander with him among the Chaldean Christians; with the strolling Arabs in the native desert; or pitying behold him enter the mud-built hut, toil-worn and weary, for repose; we experience equally friendly interest in his company. Throughout the volumes are dispersed most attractive sketches of climate and scenery, charming pictures of patriarchal and pastoral life, diversified with amusing incidents of local character and custom. We are chained to the perusal of these volumes as by the witchery of a romance. Wending our way in imagination through the labyrinth of chambers which once constituted the palace of the Assyrian princes, we watch with eager curiosity what new event of history, or what unknown custom or religious ceremony, may be illustrated by the elaborate sculpture around ; and on closing the book, we look around in vain for any traces of the wonders we have just seen, and “ feel half inclined,” with our author, “to believe that we have dreamed a dream, or been listening to some tale of eastern romance." Unlike the colossal temples and sculptured tombs of Egypt, which have long attracted the scrutiny, and been made the subject for the investigation of the learned, an impenetrable mystery surrounds the events and characters of Assyrian history. Ninus, Semiramis, and Sardanapulus, are exceptions. But the authenticity of the accounts received of them rests upon such a slender foundation, that it is doubtful whether to class them among the fabulous or genuine historical records. Assyria, the name of a nation which once maintained its sway of the largest portion of the civilised world, the birthplace of the patriarchs, and the seat of the earliest settlements of the human race, by that mighty name alone is known to us. “It is indeed one of the most remarkable facts in history," observes Mr. Layard, “ that the records of an empire, so renowned for its power and civilization, should have been entirely lost; and that the site of a city as eminent for its extent as its splendour, should for ages have been a matter of doubt. It is not, perhaps, less curious that an accidental discovery should suddenly lead us to hope that these records may be recovered, and this site satisfactorily identified.” The honour of this discovery, one of the most remarkable and important in an age distinguished for a spirit of inquiry, is awarded to Mr. Layard. Who would have imagined that from beneath those vast mysterious mounds on the solitary shore of the Tigris, were to be disinterred the magnificent memorials of the splendour of ancient Assyria ? from the shapeless ruins which alone mark the site of her once stupendous cities, should be revealed after a slumber of ages, records from which the history of her religion, manners, and customs, might be ascertained ?
“The ruins in Assyria and Babylonia,” says Mr. Layard, “chiefly huge mounds, had long excited curiosity, from their size and evident antiquity. They were at the same time the only remains of an unknown period--of a period antecedent to the Macedonian conquest-consequently they alone could be identified with Nineveh and Babylon, and could afford a clue to the site and nature of their cities. There is, at the same time, a vague mystery attaching to remains like these which induces travellers to regard them with more than ordinary interest, and even with some degree of awe. A great vitrified mass of brick work, surrounded by the accumulated rubbish of ages, was believed to represent the identical tower which called down the Divine vengeance, and was overthrown, according to universal tradition, by the ares of Heaven. The mystery and dread which attached to the place was kept up by exaggerated accounts of wild beasts, who haunted the subterraneous passages, and of the no less savage tribes who wandered among the ruins. Other mounds in the vicinity were identified with the hanging gardens and those marvellous structures attributed to the queens Semiramis and Nitocris. The difficulty of reaching the site of these remains increased the curiosity and interest with which they were regarded, and a fragment from Babylon was deemed a precious relic, not altogether devoid of a sacred character. The ruins which might be presumed to occupy the site of the Assyrian capital, were even less known and less visited than those in Babylon."
The first who entered into any serious investigation of these mounds of Assyria, was Mr. Kirk, resident of the East India
Company.urable character: Hillah were thes to discoveries of the
tabservation.mely valuabuted the t. In retwain attracbut wit
Baghdaopography Outed the fou description o discoveries of his
Company at Baghdad ; a man whose influence, from his position and honourable character, peculiarly well qualified him for the task. The remains near Hillah were the first subject of his observation. The results, though trilling as to discoveries made, were extremely valuable from his description of the site of the ruins, having constituted the foundation of further inquiries into the topography of Babylon. In returning from Kurdistan to Baghdad, by way of Mosul, he was again attracted by these vast mounds, and engaged in a further research ; but with the exception of a small stone chair, and a few remains of inscriptions, Mr. Kirk obtained no other Assyrian relics from the ruins on the site of Nineveh. These few fragments, afterwards transported to the British Museum, were but lately the chief, if not the sole collection of Assyrian antiquities in Europe! It was reserved for the honourable enterprise and industry of Mr. Layard to bestow upon us the benefit of those important discoveries by which lie has so much enriched both our science and literature.
The reflections so forcibly impressed on the mind of the writer whilst contemplating the ruins of falleu magnificence, are vividly conveyed to us in the following language. “The scene around is worthy of the ruin contemplated. Desolation meets desolation. A feeling of awe succeeds to wonder; for there is nothing to relieve the mind, to lead to proof, or to tell of what has gone by. These huge mounds of Assyria made a deeper impression upon me, gave rise to more earnest thought and serious reflection, than the temples of Babylon or the theatres of Ionia.”
In the middle of April our traveller departed from Mosul for Baghdad; and, in descending the Tigris, again beheld the ruins of Nimroud, under more auspicious circumstances for examining them. The spring rains had covered the mound with verdure, and the meadows around were luxuriant in flowers of varied hue. Amidst this vegetation might be discovered fragments of bricks, pottery, and alabaster, upon which were the well-defined wedges of the cuneiform character which served to distinguish the mound from a natural elevation of land. It was at this period that Mr. Layard formed the resolution of thoroughly investigating these ruins, whenever he might be enabled at any future period to do so.
When again passing through Mosul, in the summer of 1812, Mr. Layard ascertained that M. Botta, French consul there, had already commenced excavations in the large mounds on the opposite side of the river, called in the country Kongunjik. Mr. Layard thereupon directed M. Botta's attention to the mound of Nimroud, which suggestion, however, M. Botta de