صور الصفحة

Wordsworth's theory of poetry has been altogether without effect upon his practice, but it has shown itself rather by some deficiency of refinement in his general manner, than by very much that he has written in express conformity with its requisitions. We might affirm, indeed, that its principle is as much contradicted and confuted by the greater part of his own poetry as it is by that of all languages and all times in which poetry has been written, or by the universal past experience of mankind in every age and country. Wordsworth is a great poet, and has enriched our literature with much beautiful and noble writing, whatever be the method or principle upon which he constructs, or fancies that he constructs his compositions. His " Laodamia," his " Lonely Leech-gatherer," his " Ruth," his "Tintern Abbey," his " Feast of Brougham," the " Water-Lily," the greater part of the "Excursion," most of the Sonnets, and many of his shorter lyrical pieces are nearly as unexceptionable in diction as they are deep and true in feeling, judged according to any rules or principles of art that are now recognized by the critics. It is part, and a great part, of what the literature of Germany has done for our literature within the last 60 years, that it has given a wider scope and a deeper insight to our perception and mode of judging of the poetical in all its forms and manifestations; and the poetry of Wordsworth has materially aided in establishing this revolution of taste and critical doctrine, by furnishing the English reader with some of the earliest and many of the most successful or most generally appreciated examples and illustrations of the precepts of the new faith. His noble autobiographical poem, "The Prelude," or the " Growth of the Poet's Mind," was a posthumous publication. His nephew, Canon Wordsworth, published the "Memoirs of Wordsworth."

Worcester, Edward Somerset, Marquis of, (1601-1667,) distinguished as the inventor of the steam-engine. He spent some years in foreign travel, then gave himself up to his favorite mathematical and mechanical studies, and in 1641 entered into the service of Charles I. In 1650 he drew up his famous " Century of Inventions," which was first printed in 1663. Among them is that for which he is deservedly remembered, "an admirable and most forcible way to drive up water by fire;" which was in fact a steamengine. Although it was seen by eminent persons, the invention seems to have been little thought of, and the inventor was equally slighted. He

spent a large sum of money on the erection of his great water-works at Vauxhall, and died in April, 1667. His character, abilities, and inventions have been admirably illustrated by Dicks, in his work entitled "The Life, Times, and Scientific Labors of the Second Marquis of Worcester." It includes a reprint of the " Century of Inventions."

Wolsey, Thomas, (1471-1530,) Cardinal Archbishop of York, and minister of state under Henry VIII., was the son of a butcher at Ipswich. After finishing his education at Oxford, he became tutor to the sons of the marquis of Dorset; was subsequently domestic chaplain to the archbishop of Canterbury; and, on going to court, he gained the favor of Henry VII., who sent him on an embassy to the emperor, and on his return made him dean of Lincoln. In 1514 he was advanced to the see of Lincoln, and the year following to the archbishopric of York. Insatiable in the pursuit of emolument, he obtained the administration of the see of Bath and Wells, and the temporalities of the abbey of St. Alban's, soon after which he enjoyed in succession the rich bishoprics of Durham and Winchester. By these means his revenues nearly equalled those of the crown, part of which he expended in pomp and ostentation, and part in laudable munificence for the advancement of learning. He founded several lectures at Oxford, where he also erected the college of Christ Church, and built a palace at Hampton Court, which he presented to the king. He was at this time in the zenith of power, and had a complete ascendency over the mind of Henry, who made him lord chancellor, and obtained for him a cardinalship. He was also nominated the Pope's legate; and aspired to the chair of St. Peter. In this he failed, and a few years later he lost all the power and possessions he had gained. His advice in the matter of the king's divorce from Queen Katharine, the ruinous taxation he had imposed, and the enmity of some powerful persons, combined for his overthrow. He was deprived of everything, and sent to live in retirement. Although the king restored him to some of his offices soon after, and he returned to his see of York, a charge of treason was brought against him. In 1530 he was apprehended at York, but was taken ill, and died at Leicester on his way to London, exclaiming, "Had I but served my God as faithfully as I have served my king, he would not have given me over in my gray hairs." An account of his life was written by his gentleman-usher, George Cavendish, portions of which are appended to Gait's "Life of Wolsey."

Wyckliffe, John, (1324-1384,) was a learned ecclesiastic and professor of theology in Baliol College, Oxford, where, soon after the year 1372, he began to challenge certain doctrines of the Church. In contending against these, and also against the worldly life of many of the prelates, he produced many controversial works, some of which were in English. But his greatest work was a translation of the Old and New Testaments, which he

executed in his latter years, with the assistance of a few friends, and which, though taken from the Latin medium, instead of the original Hebrew and Greek, and though performed in a timid spirit with regard to idioms, is a valuable relic of the age, both in a literary and a theological view. Wyckliffe was several times cited for heresy and brought into great personal danger; but partly through accidental circumstances, and partly through the friendship of the duke of Lancaster, he escaped every danger, and at last died in a quiet country parsonage. There is a good Life of Wyckliffe by Dr. Robert Vaughan.

[ocr errors]

Xenophon, the amiable pupil and biographer of Socrates, continued the Greek history from the period where the narrative of Thucydides terminates. In a short outline he has preserved to future times the course of events, from the sea-fight near the Arginusw (406 B. C.) to the battle of Mantinea, (362 B. C.) We have also from him a biographical memoir of the Spartan king Agesilaus, an analysis of the Lacedaemonian and Athenian constitutions, and an account of the retreat of the 10,000 Greeks. (See Anabasis.) His style is not less lively, and still more simple than that of Herodotus. The only ornament of both is the refined moral feeling

which pervades their writings. Xenophon affords an excellent model of perspicuity in narration. His piety and his love of justice so win the hearts of his readers, that they forgive him when he puts his philosophy even into the mouths of barbarous chieftains, whose thoughts were never so perspicuously arranged. His work was completed in advanced age, and some parts of It may therefore want the last polish. The good reception which he found at Sparta, when the turbulent democrats of Athens had driven him into exile, gave him a particular attachment to the former commonwealth, which philosophers were generally inclined to regard with esteem.


THE cradle of our race was in Asia. It arose in that region which extends southward lis far as the 40th degree of north latitude. On the north, this district was bounded by what was then the open North Sea, with the Ural as an island; on the east, it was surrounded by the Altai and the Chinese Himalaya; ou the south by the chain of the Paropamisus, extending from Asia Minor to Eastern Asia: and on the west by the Caucasus and Ararat. We have, therefore, a primeval country, containing on an average 11 degrees of latitude and 40 degrees of longitude. In this garden of delight, (Eden.) with its four streams, the Euphrates and Tigris on the west, the Oxus and Jaxartes on the east, mankind spent its infancy.


The one great barrier between man and the brute is language. It is the natural, the spontaneous, the inevitable result of man's organization. Originally, "the whole earth was of one language and of one speech." At this stnge, of which the old Chinese is the deposit, there prevailed a grand simplicity in the expression of the external phenomena. Every syllable was a word, that is, a sentence: the judgment of man about external objects, according to their properties, represented artistically, in a musical and an architectonical shape. The natural accompaniment of this language was universal gesticulation, and afterward picture-writing, the portrayal, not of sounds, but of the objects.

This stream of undivided speech divided itself into three mighty arms:

The Turanian; 2, the Semitic; and 3, the Aryan.

1. The name Turanian is used in opposition to Aryan, and is applied to the languages spoken by the nomadic races of Asia. These nomadic or Turanian races are opposed to the agricultural or Aryan races.

2. The Semitic speech is the common mother of the languages spoken by the

Syrian, Israelite, and Arabic nations. Hence they ore called collectively the Semitic race.

3. The Aryan speech is the common mother of the Indian, Persian, and European languages. It was originally spoken by a small tribe settled probably on the highest elevation of Central Asia. Those men were the true ancestors of our raoe. We are by nature Aryan, not Semitio. A deep sense of diversity has always severed and still severs the Aryan from the Semitic nations.


The civilization of the human race is principally due to two great families of nations: the Semitic and the Aryan. They occupy the four western peninsulas of the Ancient World. They are: 1. India with Persia; 2. Arabia; 3. Asia Minor; and 4. Europe. Both races once spoke the same language, which we may call the Semitico-Aryan, the language of primitive Asia. During this Seiuitico-Aryan period, some settlers migrated from Asia into the lower part of the Nile valley. They were the ancestors of the Egyptians, whose language and religion retained to the last, vestiges of the original identity of the Semitic and Aryan races. All historical nations are either Aryan or Semitic, except Egypt, the oldest of all.


The real history of a nation never recedes much farther back than its oldest contemporaneous authorities. For nations only obtain historical consciousness and historical experience when they begin to produce monuments, especially written monuments, to hear witness to posterity of what is occurring. Monuments form the dial-plate of history; until they exist, the present alone belongs to a nation, not the past — it exists without a history. It is in this that exists the claim of priority of the history of Egypt above all other histories. In Egypt we have the earliest contemporaneous authorities, and that the most direct, which exist; namely, monumental authorities. History begins with Egypt.



Egyptian history subdivides itself into three comprehensive periods:

1. The Old Empire, which ended about 2100 B. C. (Dynasties I.—XIII.)

It is divided into three subdivisions: ,i

A. The Empire of the l'yramitk. The greater part of the pyramids were erected during this period, (before 2500 B. c.,) which marks the culminating point of the Old Empire. (Dynasties I.-IV.)

B. The Empirr of t he Obrlisks. The oldest obelisks belong to this period, which mark the decline of the Old Empire. (Dynasties V.-XI.) These obelisks were pillars formed of a single block of granite, square at the base, and terminating in a point. Their height differed from 50 to 180 feet, with a base from 5 to 25 feet.


C. The Empire of the Sesortasens, (about 2250.) It is as remarkable from its sudden rise as its speedy downfall. (Dynasties XII.-XIII.) The largest and most splendid edifice and the most useful work in Egypt, the Labyrinth and Lake Moeris, were executed during this period. The invasion of the Shepherds, about 2100 B. c, coincides with its close.

II. The Middle Empire, (2090-1580 B. C.,) a period of 611 years, during which Egypt was tributary to the Hyksos or Shepherd kings. No great historical monuments exist of this period.

III. The New Empire, (1580-525 B. P ,) comprising Dynasties XV1II.-XXVI. The deliverance of Egypt from the Hyksos had proceeded from Upper Egypt.

I 69

Thebes had been the centre of the resistance against the invaders. A Theban king (Amosis) drove them finally from Egypt. The whole of the country was then united under one king, who justly claimed the title of lord of the "two regions," that is, of Upper and Lower Egypt. Thebes remained their residence. It is divided into four divisions:

A. The Egyptian ascendency in Western Asia, (1500-1200.) The Pharaohs of this period (Dynasties XV1II.-XXI.) are not buried in the Pyramids, but in the Necropolis of Thebes. The most remarkable kings belong to the 19th dynasty, which began with Rameses I., whose son Sethos and grandson Rameses II. were employed during their long reigns in extending the conquests of Egypt and in recording them on the numerous and splendid monuments they erected in every part of the country. The reign of Rameses II. is especially remarkable. It lasted 66 years. He inherited from his father a mighty empire and an army accustomed to fight and to conquer. With it he subdued Nubia, Mesopotamia, and Palestine, but he left behind him an exhausted and debilitated kingdom. The greatness of this Pharaoh then must depend upon his edifices. These certainly arc marvellous. It was, above all, in the two great capitals of his empire, in Memphis and in Thebes, that the monumental splendor of Rameses struck the observers of antiquity. His principal building is the great house of Rameses, (Ramesseum.) on the western side of Thebes. It was formerly known as the Memnonium. Here it was lhat Rameses erected the largest of all the colossi, the sitting figure of himsolf, about 40 feet high from the seat. The structures of Karnac, which contained among them the first temple of the Egyptian Empire, date also from his reign.

15. The decline and fall of the Egyptian ascendency, (1200-1000 B. o.) The sceptre finally passed into the hands of warlike high-priests, who gained the throne through the influence of Assyrian conquerors. These invaders restricted the powers of the Pharaohs more and more within the limits of the sacerdotal office and their sovereignty to the district of Tan (Tanis, Zoan) in N. E. Egypt.

C. The restoration of the Egyptian ascendency, (1000-650 B. c.) Sheshonk, prince of Bubastis, in Lower Egypt, was a great conquering warrior, who threw off the Assyrian yoke, and extended Egyptian influence through southwestern Asia. He ransacked Jerusalem in the 5th year of Rehoboam, and when he made an addition to the palace at Thebes, he set up the genuine Jewish figure of the

subjugated kingdom of Judah. Under his successors great changes were beginning in Asia. The powerful kingdom of Assyria was already preparing to supplant the rule of the Egyptians in Syria. Before they had succeeded in this, Egypt itself had succumbed to southern conquerors, who succeeded to the inheritance of the Sheshonks. After a bloody struggle, Sabaco, the Ethiopian, became king of EgyP''. (715 B. c.) His successor Tirhako re-established Egyptian rule in Asia. Napata, in Nubia, was his capital. .

D. The transition period and final fall of the national Egyptian Empire, (650525 B. C.) The marriage of Psammetichus with an Ethiopian princess resulted in the restoration of the native Egyptian line of Saite kings in his person. This restoration had, however, been effected by means of Greek mercenaries, who continued to guard the new ruler and his empire. This excited the jealousy of the native troops, who withdrew into Ethiopia and settled beyond Mcroe.

During this period, Egypt witnessed a revival of its ancient prosperity, and began once more to aspire to the possession of Syria. The taking of the strong town of Ashdod gave Psammetichus a firm footing. His successor Necho conquered the whole of Syria. Josiah, king of Judah, wishing to ingratiate himself with the Babylonians, ventured to oppose him in the valley of Megiddo, but in v*'"• Pressing forward to the Euphrates, he attacked and took Carchemish, which guarded the passage of the river. The whole of Syria submitted to him, and for three years he remained in the undisturbed possession of his conquests. Then the Babylonians began to bestir themselves, and the Egyptians were driven forever out of Asia. Under Necho's grandson, Apries, the Babylonians conquered Egypt itself. The race of Psammetichus was destroyed, (570 B. c.,) and Amasia, a Babylonian dependant, raised to the throne of the Pharaohs. After Babylonia had been absorbed by the Persian monarchy, Egypt had to submit to the same fate. Amasis was succeeded by his son Psammenitus, whose reign was cut short by the conquest of Cambyses, in 525 B. c.

This put an end to the New Empire of Egypt, which had been nothing but an abortive attempt at a real restoration of national life. In reviewing it, we see that it exercises a controlling influence on the affairs of the world only intermittently, and the most brilliant conquests are often immediately succeeded by the deepest degradation. We feel that everything depends on the reigning individual: popular life is only exhibited in a state of suffering or in mere mockery, often simply as a negation.


I. Chaldma.

The Chaldaean monarchy is rather curious from its antiquity than illustrious from its groat names or admirable for the extent of its dominions.

Less ancient than the Egyptian, it claims the advantage of priority over every empire which has grown up upon the soil of Asia, and it stauds forth as the great parent of Asiatic civilization. The great men of this empire are three:

1. Nimrod, the founder, the mighty hunter before the Lord.

2. Urukh, the architect, the mighty temple-builder.

3. Chcdor-laomcr. the soldier, the mighty conqueror, who, nearly 20 centuries before our era, marched an army a distance of 1,200 miles, from the shores ot ine Persian gulf to the Dead sea, and held Palestine and Syria in subjection tor i.i

He is the forerunner of all those great Oriental conquerors who from time to time have built up vast empires in Asia, which have in a larger or a shorter spites successively crumbled to decay.

The downfall of the Chaldajan Empire seems to have been the result of a great invasion by Arabs, after it had lasted above 7 centuries. •

II. Assyria.

The independent kingdom of Assyria covered a space of at least a thousand years; but the empire can only at the utmost be considered to have lasted six centuries and a half. (1270-625 B. c.,) and the Assyrian ascendency in Western Asia 5 centuries, (1150-650 n. c.)

The limits of the dominion varied considerably within these 5 centuries, the empire expanding or contracting according to the circumstances of the time and the personal -character of its ruler. The extreme extent appears not to have been reached until almost immediately before the last rapid decline set in, the widest dominion belonging to the time of Asshur-bani-pal, (about liiii; n. c.,) the conqueror of Egypt, of Susiunu, and of the Armenians. At that time Assyria was paramount over the portion of western Asia iucluded between the Mediterranean and the Halys on the one hand, the.Caspian sea and the great Persian desert on the other. The southern boundary was the desert and the Persian gulf. The northern boundary of Armenia was its utmost northern limit. Assyrian authority was at that time also acknowledged by Egypt.

To prevent rebellion in this extended territory, wholesale deportation of the inhabitants was resorted to. In the most flourishing period of their dominion — the reigns of Sargon, Sennacherib, and Esarhaddou, (721-667.)— it prevailed most widely and was carried to the greatest extent. Chaldraans were transported into Armenia; Israelites into Assyria and Media; Arabians, Babylonians, Susianians, and Persian-* into Palestine. Thus, rebellion was in some measure kept down, and the position of the sovereign state was rendered so far more secure; but this security was gained by a great sacrifice of strength, and when foreign invasion came, the subject kingdom?, weakened at onoe and alienated by the treatment which they had received, were found to have neither the will nor the power to give any effectual aid to their enslaver.

In 625, Assyria was simultaneously attacked by the Medes from the east and the Susianians from the south, the Median kingCynxares directing the movements of both. To meet this double danger, Saracus, the Assyrian king, determined on dividing his forces; and while he intrusted a portion of them to Nabopolassar, to defend the south, he himself made ready to receive the Medes. But Nabopolassar saw in his sovereign's difficulty his own opportunity, and, instead of marching against the enemy, he secretly negotiated an arrangement with Cyaxares, agreed to become his ally, and obtained the Median king's daughter as a bride for Nebuchadnezzar, his eldest son. Cyaxares and Nabopolassar then joined their efforts against Nineveh, and Saracus, unable to resist them, took

counsel of his despair, and. after all means^f resistance were exhausted, burned himself in his palace, (625.) The conquerors divided the empire between them.

III. Babylonia.

The history of the Babylonian Empire commences with Nabopolassar, who mounted the throne in 625 B. c, and ruled 21 years. Babylon enjoyed her newposition at the head of an empire too much to endanger it by aggression, and her peaceful attitude provoking no hostility, she was for a while left unmolested by her neighbors. Media could be relied upon as a firm friend; Persia was too weak, Lydia too remote to be formidable. In Egypt alone was there a combination of hostile feeling with military ardor such as might have been expected to lead speedily to a trial of strength, But while Psainmetichus lived, Babylon hail little to fear; he being an aged and wary prince, whose years forbade his engaging in any distant enterprise. Psammctichus died in 610 B.c , and was succeeded by his son Necho, who was in the prime of life, and who in disposition was bold and enterprising. He crossed his frontier and invaded the territories of Nabopolassar, ((108 B. c) and established his dominion over the whole tract between Egypt and the Euphrates. Necho enjoyed his conquests for the space of at least three full years. At length, (605 B. c.,) Nabopolassar resolved to intrust his forces to Nebuchadnezzar, his son, and to send him to conteud with the Egyptians. He rapidly recovered the lost territory, (battle of Carchemish, on the left bank of the Euphrates,) recovered the old frontier line, and pressed on into Egypt itself. But his father's death compelled him to pause, to conclude a hasty arrangement with Necho, and to return to his capital. This Nebuchadnezzar is the great monarch of the Babylonian Empire, which, lasting only 88 years, (025-5M8 u. e.,) was for nearly half the time under his sway. This great monarch, who hud already recovered Syria, crushed rebellion in Judtca, took Tyre, and humiliated Egypt. These victories were not without an effect on his home administration, and on the construction of the vast works with which his name is inseparably associated. He adopted the Assyrian system of forcibly removing the whole population of a conquered country. Crowds of captives were settled in various parts of Mesopotamia, and it seems to have been chiefly by their exertions that the magnificent series of great works was accomplished which formed the special glory of the Babylonian Empire, (the wall of Babylon, the hanging gardens, many canals, palaces, temples, etc.) The most remarkable circumstance in Nebuchadnezzar's life was his lycanthropy, which consists in the belief that one is not a man, but a beast. The great king became during seven years a wretched maniac; then suddenly the king's intellect returned to him, and his last days were as brilliant as his first. He died 561 B. C. Five years afterward the power passed from the house of Nabopolassar, which had held the throne for 70 years. The last king of the Babylonian Empire was the usurper Nabonadius, who. (558 B. c.,) after the fall of Babel, surrended himself and his empire to Cyrus, who incorporated Babylonia with the Persian Empire.

« السابقةمتابعة »