Imagens da página
PDF
ePub

it became quite evident that we should never teach the shore if we did not close our ears to these supplications. In fact, we had almost resolved, hard-hearted as it may seem, to walk on as fast as we could, without heeding the wounded and dying, when a number of artillery waggons, sent out from the city, came galloping along, with orders to glean' up all the sufferers who could not readily find their way alone.

\s we came nearer to Corunna, we found this precaution had already been taken, so that such of the wounded people as we now fell in with on foot (and these were many hundreds,) were trudging on, 1 can hardly call it merrily, but with a degree of animation, which, considering the frightful predicament of many of them, was truly wonderful. Generally speaking, indeed, the soldiers displayed a great degree of fortitude. We passed a cart filled with men, none of whom uttered a complaint, though I could observe more than one stream of blood trickling on the road through the openings between the planks.

BURIAL PLACES.

No. III.

The tombs of illustrious men cannot be looked upon with indifference. The last narrow homes of princes, philosophers and poets, are worthy of a pilgrimage, and the time occupied in visiting them will not be wasted. If the spirit is susceptible of solemn impressions, the contemplation of the ashes of the great will not be without effect. The broken sceptre, or the unstrung lyre, which imagination engraves on their monuments do more than "point a moral or adorn a tale."

A large sarcophagus, or sepulchre, brought from Alexandria, in Egypt, and now deposited in the British museum, is said to have been the coffin of Alexander the Great. Those who have visited it, have doubtless wished this was true, since our moral sentiments could desire no better comment on the vanity of human wishes. Could we be sure that more than two thousand years ago, the conqueror of the world, in the pride of manhood, was deposited in this marble receptacle, it would indeed be a sublime study, to be reflected on again and again until we caught the full spirit of the inspired testimony, "man in his best state is altogether vanity." But the mathematical precision of historic research will not allow the tradition respecting this sarcophagus to be correct. A tomb of Alexander did exist, and was known to the ancients, but where it now is no tongue can tell. The poet Lucan, in his Pharsalia, gives an account of Caesar's visit to this tomb. After describing the manner in which Caesar viewed "the monuments of Macedonian power," he proceeds;—

"Careless, he runs their gods and temples o'er,

The monuments of Macedonian power;

But neither god, nor shrine, nor mystic rite,

Their city, nor her walls, his foul delight.

Their caves beneath his fancy chieBy led,

To search the gloomy mansions of the dead;

Thither with secret pleasure he descends,

And to the guide's recording tale attends.

There the vain youth who made the world his prize,

That prosperous robber, Alexandir , lies.

When pitying death, at length, had freed mankind,

To sacred rest his bones were here consigned:

His bones that better had been tossed and hurled,

With just contempt around the injured world.

But fortune spared the dead, and partial fate

For ages fixed his Pharian empire s date.

If e'er our long lost liberty return.

That carcase is reserved for public scorn.

Now it remains a monument confest,

How one proud man could lord it o'er the rest."

[rowe.]

[ocr errors]

The tombs of great men of modern times, if destitute of the charm of antiquity, have the attractions of a deeper sympathy. After the bard of Avon has delighted us with his imperishable strains, we are prepared to gaze upon his resting place with more than ordinary emotions. Washington Irving, in the Sketch Book, has given us this simple statement respecting it. "The tomb of Shakspeare is in the chancel of the church of Stratford-on-Avon. The place is solemn and sepulchral. Tall elms wave before the pointed windows, and the Avon, which runs at a short distance from the walls, keeps up a low perpetual murmur. A flat stone marks the spot where the bard is buried. There are four lines insciibed upon it, said to have been written by himself, and which have in them something extremely awful. If they are indeed his own, they shew that solicitude about the quiet of the grave, which seems natural to fine sensibilities and thoughtful minds:

'Good friend, for Jesus sake forbeare
To dig the dust inclosed here:
Blessed be he that spares these stones.
And cursed be he that moves my bones.'

Just over the grave, in a niche of the wall, is a bust of Shakspeare, put up after his death, and considered as a resemblance. The aspect is pleasant and serene, with a finely arched forehead; and 1 thought I could read in it clear indications of that cheerful, social disposition, by which he was as much characterized among his contemporaries, as by the vastness of his genius. The inscription mentions his age at the time of his decease—fifty-three years; an untimely death for the world; for what fruit might not have been expected from the golden autumn of such a mind, sheltered as it was from the stormy vicissitudes of life, and flourishing in the sunshine of popular and royal favour,"

Napoleon was execrable as a tyrant, but his fate has partially thrown his faults into the shade. His youth was the season of splendor and renown, his decline was characterized by humiliation and sorrow. Had he been allowed to go on in "the greatness of his way" for a few more years, the sepulchre of the kings of France would have unfolded its brazen gates to receive him, and he would have ended such a life as would have harmonized with its course. But after all, a more majestic sepulchre is his. St. Helena is his tomb. The immense rocks of that distant isle form his monument, and to after ages it will tell the tale, Napoleon lies here. In Bennett's and Tyerman's voyages, his burial place is prettily drawn." Of course, I visited Longwood, and Napoleon's grave. The latter is in the depth of a narrow, winding, green valley. He

'Who left a Dame at which the world grew pale.
To point a moral, or adorn a tale,'

lies under a flat, uninscribed stone, level with the grass, surrounded by plain iron railing. The spot itself is overshadowed with weeping willows, which bear the marks of many a petty theft by visitors. The beautiful horse-shoe geranium blooms in profusion all round the enclosure; and the flowers of this fragrant plant are not less tempting, you may be sure, to curious fingers, in spite of the tall veteran corporal who keeps watch over these treasures, having strict orders, as he says, to prevent spoliation. A spring of pure water close by the rails, bubbles up in a little well, and, escaping over the edge, runs and sparkles along the valley, at the foot of the almost perpendicular hill."

The inscription on Shakspeare quoted above, reminds us how sadly the tombs of great men have been rifled. Hyrcanus opened the sepulchre of David, and took out of it 3000 talents. The remains of Milton were exposed to the light of day, in the church of Cripplegate, a few years back. By the command of George the fourth, when Regent, a coffin, supposed to be that of Charles the first, in the cemetery at Windsor, was opened. Charles indeed was there, the head severed from the body, and the countenance corresponding with his portraits. Such cases are perhaps excusable, as the results of an overruling curiosity, which is not always inconsistent with reverence.

OBSERVATIONS ON THE NATURAL HISTORY

OF LEECHES.

[Concluded from page 72.]

There is no great art in applying leeches to the body; but a person who is accustomed to it, will always do it better than one who is not. In the most experienced hands, however, they will sometimes refuse to fasten themselves, either from not being hungry at the time, or from the surface of the skin, or the blood, on their making the attempt, being unpleasant to their taste. The wound they make out of water is more sensible than what they make in water; but in the latter case, particularly when the water is somewhat warm, the blood flows more freely. When it is necessary they should cease from sucking before they they have fully gorged themselves, a small quantity of salt, tobacco, or snuff, will cause them to drop off in convulsions, and they soon afterwards die. On the contrary, when it is considered necessary that they should draw from the wound more blood than their stomach will contain, it is sometimes customary to cut off the posterior extremity of their body, out of which the surplus of blood will flow as through a tube.

For some years it has at different times been asserted, that by means of leeches it is possible to foretell the various changes of weather, both of heat and cold, of rain and fair. The means of doing this have been variously laid down. A French clergyman, who attended to this subject for many years, has asserted, that a leech kept in a decanter filled with water in a window, will continue at the bottom, without any motion, if the following day is about to be serene and pleasant. If rain is about to fall, before or after noon, he says, that the little animal will ascend the side of the glass, to the surface of the water, and there continue till very nearly the Jime, when the fine weather returns; and, previously to the commencement of high winds, that it will

« AnteriorContinuar »