صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

guard, and prevent any body's going thither, lest much mischief, and even murder, might be committed by unthinking people. For example, it would be an irreparable damage to a beautiful lady, when she lives again, to see a deep scar in her forehead, by the scratch of a rustic's stick, while he was awkwardly admiring her in her petrified condition; and how unhappy must others be to find themselves deprived of legs and arms, who have no way of getting a subsistence but by the use of them ; nor would others be better satisfied to have the beauty and gracefulness of their persons spoiled and destroyed by blows; not to mention, that every hollow place, every break in any part of the body, must, when they breathe again, be painful gashes and ragged wounds.

My friend was pleased with thinking me brought over to his opinion, and took his leave. He had not long been gone, e'er I went to bed, ruminating on his discourse. I closed my eyes; fancy began to operate, and I dreamed as follows.

I thought myself travelling in search of this strange city, and that I saw it just before me. I found the avenues all guarded : but, applying to the chief commander, I obtained permission to take a view of it, and had an officer appointed to conduct me, and interpret all its wonders. When we had passed the gates, along the high street I saw every thing that answered the hurry of a great town, but motion. People seemed ready to throng and pass by each other, although they stood stock still. The haste of business appeared in most of them; and people of all ages and conditions expressed in their faces their different cares and manners; which, methought, I observed with the same pleasure as I often have from a window in Cheapside, It is impossible to tell the different postures of the statues: I took notice of two particularly, very earnest, the one speaking, the other attend. ing. He that spoke stroked his beard with one hand; which, as my guide informed me, was to signify the great truth of what he said, according to the custom of that country. Several of the poorer sort were carrying burdens, which they were doomed to labour under till the instantaneous thaw of this hard state, when the blood again will circulate, and they may go unload themselves.

Being desirous to see what was in the houses, we entered one;" and I found it fared within doors, as in the streets, and that every thing remained just as the petrifying quality found it; for my guide told me the whole city was metamorphosed thus all at once, and did not stiffen by degrees as water hardens into ice. We came into a public room, where a crowd of people was got together, like as at our coffee-houses : here I observed that all the company had cast their eyes on one that stood at the upper end: he was tall, broad-faced, and lusty ; his right arm was extended; it seemed as if he was making a great bustle by his talk; and by his habit he was known to be a priest of that country. In his features was an exceeding vehemence; his mouth remained in such a manner open, as when a man is speaking loud and earnest; and he must continue to be the figure of one making a noise, until he shuts it at the general change.

From hence we went through a long alley into an open area.

The statues here were not so thick, nor seemed so full of business. A stately building fronted us, of which we took a view. It was the temple of their god. Descending a few steps, we came into a spacious aile, on each side whereof there ran a row of pil. lars, exceeding beautiful, though very different from any order I had ever seen. At the east end, a square place, into which we went down several more steps, was separated from the rest by a partition finely wrought. Here stood the


image of their deity, formed of white stone, naked in several parts of the body, and in others gilded and diversely coloured. It had many heads, all of them very frightful, though each seemed to intend something of a human countenance. Its hands I could not number, there were so many of them, and every one held somewhat ; this a sword, that a pouring bottle, one a battle-axe, another forked thunder ; but allo denoting wrath and terror. The temple was full of people standing all upright : their countenances were serene and placid, which I imputed to the music playing at their ceremonies ; for I observed the religious officers with their uplifted trumpets and other instruments, in the posture the petrifaction found them.

As we came from the temple, in a bye-corner we saw two persons richly habited, stabbing at each other with a kind of weapon something like the swords of our horse-guards, but longer. The history of their quarrel is not guessed, but the passion against his enemy, and the defence of himself, is wonderful in both. Tradition says, one of them is a person of great merit, which makes people under great concern for him. The weapon of his enemy is now but half

way its push, although it touches his beliy;


and the fear is, that upon the instant return of life and sensation, it will rush onwards, and go quite through the body. I would have broke the weapons, to put them both out of danger; but my guide informed me, that, as this judgment came on them from above, altering any thing would be impiously to oppose God's will; “ and therefore (said he), though you may pity this poble person, yet, if thus you should save his life, I must immediately destroy yours."

In the upper part of the town, that way which leads from the temple, we found but few people, excepting some on the tops of the houses, leaning over a kind of rails, and others looking out of the windows. At the turning of a street we met a funeral; and a father's grief (which, in the picture of Agamemnon following his daughter to be sacrificed, the famous painter, unable to draw, covered with a veil) was here expressed in statuary. The mother and relations of the deceased African maid, whom they surrounded, appeared like real Niobes turned to stone with weeping

From this place, in a little time we came to the great square before the palace, where I had the pleasure to see a whole troop of horse in stone: every soldier had his particular martial

« السابقةمتابعة »