Imagini ale paginilor
PDF
ePub

from the floor to the highest part of the ceiling. The walls are of pebble and clay intermixed: they “ are, on three sides, fifteen feet thick, and on the fourth side nine; the lower range of windows is thirteen feet in height. The ceiling itself is of a very curious constructure: it is composed of strong pieces of wood in admirable preservation, which are keyed and fastened together in such a manner, that, on pressing the feet on the centre of the summit, the whole vibrates like a tight rope. Above the ceiling is the roof, which could not be exhibited in our plate: it is formed of strong scantling of ten inches square deal, and laid close together, with cross braces at the angles. Upon these rafters the bricks are laid, and upon them is a coating of lime, over which the bricks and tiles are placed, that form the exterior of the roof. The windows command a most delightful and extensive prospect. At the foot of the palace, the Darro winds its fertilizing streams: and from this place the view takes in the greater part of the city, together with the verdant mountains which rise above it, and of the charming hill which forms its base. Well might Charles V. exclaim, as he is reported to have done, on his first entering the Tower of Comares, when he visited this sumptuous hall, and beheld the magnificent prospect from its windows: I would rather," said he, “ have this place for a sepulchre, than the Alpujarras for an inheritance!"-Alluding to the last Moorish king of Grenada; who, on the surrender of this fortress, stipulated for a residence in the Alpujarras mountain, which lies on the east side of the Sierra Nevada.' (Arabian Antiq. of Spain, p. 14, 15.)

We have devoted so much space to the consideration of the Alhamrā, in consequence of the imperfect accounts given of this celebrated palace by the generality of travellers, that our notice of the remaining specimens of Arabian architecture in the Peninsula must necessarily be very brief. Passing, therefore, Mr. Murphy's numerous plates of mosaics, paintings, Arabesques, inscriptions, columns, and other ornaments, we now proceed to

4. The royal Villa of Al Generalife, or Generaliffe, as it is variously written. The import of this name is the House of Love or of Pleasure, than which appellation no term more appropriate, perhaps, could be given. This villa is finely situated on the side of a steep and lofty mountain, opposite to the Alhamrā,-a spot favoured by nature and art. Concerning the time of its foundation, historians and antiquaries are by no means agreed; but the most probable conjecture is, that it was erected during the seventh century of the Hijra, corresponding with the thirteenth century of the Christian æra. The situation of the Generalife is healthy, and the prospect it commands is truly delightful. The distribution of the edifice, and of the gardens annexed to it, is admirably adapted to the shelving ground. Externally, nothing more than mere convenience seems to have been regarded; but, internally, the same attention has been given to the gratification of voluptuous ease as in the Alharrā, to which its interior decorations are in no respect inferior, in point of elegance and splendour. The gardens of this palace of love still retain their original features: they are disposed in the form of an amphitheatre, and are irrigat. VOL. XII.

64

ed by streams issuing from the summit of the mountain; which, after forming numerous cascades, lose themselves among the trees and flowering shrubs. The ancient cypress-trees still exist, whose foliage overshadowed this spot when it was the abode of pleasure and of luxury.

The protracted length of this article forbids us to enter into the authentic and curious details, relative to the history and progress of Moorish architecture, recorded in the History of the Mahometan Empire in Spain;' we can only remark that the modern Spaniards are indebted to their Moslem conquerors for their present mode of roofing their houses, and that the same attention to personal comfort and gratification was bestowed on the interior of the private Moorish dwellings, which we have seen so conspicuously displayed in the structure and arrangement of the Alhamrā. In Granada, we are informed that there was a garden attached to every house, planted with orange, lemon, citron, laurel, and other odoriferous trees and plants, whose fragrance purified the air, and promoted the health of the inhabitants. All the houses were supplied with running water: and, in every street, through the munificence of successive sovereigns, there were copious fountains for the public convenience, as well as for the performance of religious ablutions.

From the architecture and fine arts of the Spanish Arabs the ransition to music is natural and easy. For this art they cherished the same passionate attachment which characterised the eastern Arabs, during the reigns of Almansūr, Harun-ar-Rāshid, and other khaliffs, who have been most celebrated for their encouragement of literature, the sciences, and the fine arts. Of the sovereigns of Moorish Spain, Abdurrahmān, II. was the most eminent for his love of music; and, of his veneration of its most eminent possessors, we have a memorable instance in his riding forth from his palace to meet and welcome the illustrious musician Zaryāb, who in the year of the Hijra 206 (A. D. 821.) came from Irāk into Spain. Under this monarch's auspices, Zaryal founded the famous school of music at Cordova, which afterwards produced so many celebrated professors.

But, marvellous as were the effects of Arabian music, it is to be regretted that little is known with certainty, either of the different kinds of their melody, or of their rules for singing. The late learned and industrious historian of this art (Dr. Burney) has not taken the slightest notice of Arabian or of Moorish music; and the little we have been able to collect concerning this interesting topic, is, that the Arabians had four principal modes or harmonic phrases, which they termed roots; and to which they gave the names of different countries. These modes further had a certain number of derivatives, each adapted to one particular kind of poetry, or to the expression of one distinct passion. Thus the

termed Ishak, was that appropriated to love, and the Dougrief: and their most learned accompaniments were con

still re

fined to playing in the octave. There is a very striking resemblance between the Arabian gamut and that of the Italians, which renders it highly probable that the old mode of teaching music by what is usually called sol-faing, was borrowed from the Arabs, or Moors of Spain, whose notes are named, A la mi re; B fa pe mi; C sol fa ut, &c. We are, at least, indebted to the Arabians for the invention of the lute, which they accounted the most pleasing of all musical instruments, they also made use of the organ, flute, harp, tabor, and mandoline, a small species of guitar. This last mentioned instrument was a great favourite with the Arabian conquerors of Spain; who appear not only to have introduced it, but also the custom of serenading with it their mistresses, tained by the Spaniards; on which occasion, the words of their songs, the airs of the music, and even the colour of their habits, were expressive of the triumph of the fortunate, or the despair of the rejected lover.' (Hist. of Mahom. Emp. in Spain, p. 296.)

Of the Moorish government, succession to the crown, army, and military tactics, we have a concise account in the work just cited; but on these topics there is the less occasion for remark, as a great similarity appears to have subsisted between the manners of the Moors in Spain, and those of the Arabians, which have so often been described. Hence we find the same generous hospi. tality, the same high resentment of injuries, the same devoted obedience to the khaliffs, and in domestic life, the same veneration for parents and for the aged; together with the same unqualified submission to the head of each family, which characterises the patriarchal times. From the interesting portrait, however, of the inhabitants of Granada, which has been drawn by the accurate historian Ibnu-l-Khatib or Alkhatib, it would appear that the manners of the Spanish Arabs were much softened by the cultivation of literature, and the arts.

We shall notice only that part of his account of the Granadian ladies, which we have taken the trouble to compare with those of some modern writers; who, professing to have consulted original authorities, have blindly copied each other, and have made the historian, who is remarkable for the simplicity and gravity of his narrative, to describe things and persons which never existed. We shall only premise that the representation of the Arabian author, as given us in the history of the Mahometan empire in Spain,' is a faithful version of the literal translation into Latin by the learned and almost proverbially correct Abbé Casiri.

• According to Ibnu-l-Khatīb, the women of Granada were handsome, and mostly of a middle stature, affable, and suffered their hair to grow to a considerable length. They were lavish in the use of the most fragrant perfumes, and their teeth were beautifully white; their gait was light and airy, their wit acute, and their conversation smart. In this age, the historian concludes, the vanity of the sex has carried the art of dressing themselves out with elegance, profusion, and magnificence, to such an excess, that it can no longer be called luxury,

but has become almost a madness. (Hist. of Mahom. Emp. in Spain, p. 299.)

It is impossible for any reflecting mind to contemplate, without surprise, the very low rank which the natives of Arabia now hold, as a nation, in the republic of letters. Their climate has undergone no change; their religion, their government, their manners, and their sentiments generally, have undergone no change: what, then, can be the cause of the existing ignorance which prevails among the Saracens?' This is a question of no common interest and importance, both in a literary and in a philosophical point of view, which we have neither room nor leisure to discuss; and it would have been more satisfactory to us, if, instead of proposing this query as many learned men have done, they had applied themselves to its investigation and solution.

Long as our account has been of Mr. Murphy's splendid volume, it can convey but an inaccurate idea of it to our readers. The engravings are one hundred in number, and we have seldom seen so many and such various specimens of art executed in such a style of beauty, and with so much fidelity. It forms a valuable appendage to the works of Dawkins and Wood, of Stuart and Revell; and we trust that the proprietors will be remunerated for their spirited expenditure. Art. 7.-Notoria; or Miscellaneous Articles of Philosophy,

Literature and Politics.

loaded with plants, does not allow them From the third volume of Humboldt's Per space enough to unfold themselves.sonal Travels.

The trunks of the trees are every

where concealed under a thick carpet When a traveller newly arrived from of verdure; and if we carefully transEurope penetrates for the first time into planted the orchidae, the pipers, and the the forests of South America, nature pre- pothos, which a single courbaril or Asents herself to him under an unexpect- merican fig tree nourishes, we should ed aspect. The objects that surround

cover a vast extent of ground. By this him recall but feebly those pictures, singular assemblage, the forests, as which celebrated writers have traced well as the flanks of the rocks and on the banks of the Mississippi, in Flo- mountains, enlarge the domain of orrida, and in other temperate regions of ganic nature. The same liapas as the new world. He feels at every step creep on the ground, reach the tops of that he is not on the confines, but in the the trees, and pass from one to another centre of the torrid zone: not in one of at the height of more than a hundred the West India islands, but on a vast feet. Thus by a continual interlacing continent, where every thing is gigan- of parasite plants, the botanist is often tic, the mountains, the rivers, and the led to confound the flowers, the fruits mass of vegetation. If he feel strongly and leaves, which belong to different the beauty of picturesque scenery, he species. can scarcely define the various emo We walked for some hours under the tions, which crowd upon his mind; he shade of these arcades, that scarcely can scarcely distinguish what most ex admit a glimpse of the sky; which apcites his admiration, the deep silence of peared to me of an indigo blue, so much those solitudes, the individual beauty the deeper as the green of the equiand contrast of forms, or that vigour noctial plants is generally of a stronger and freshness of vegetable life, which hue, with somewhat of a brownish tint. characterize the climate of the tropics. A great fern tree, very different from It might be said that the earth, over the pollypodium arboreum of the West

THE CARACC.AS.

SCENERY OF SOUTH AMERICA.

Indies, rose above masses of scattered minds to the most advanced age. Curocks. In this place we were struck mana and it's dusty soil are still more for the first time with the sight of those frequently present to my imagination, Dests in the shape of bottles, or small than all the wonders of the Cordilleras. pockets, which are suspended to the Beneath the fine sky of the south, the branches of the lowest trees, and wbich light and the magic of the aerial hues, attest the admirable industry of the embellish a land almost destitute of veorioles, that mingle their warblings getation. The sun does not merely with the hoarse cries of the parrots and enlighten, it colours the objects, and the macaws. Tbese last, so well known wraps them in a thin vapour, which, for their vivid colours, fly only in pairs, without changing the transparency of while the real parrots wander about in the air, renders it's tints more harmoflocks of several hundreds. A man pious, softens the effects of the light, must have lived in those climates, par- and diffuses over nature that calm, ticularly in the hot valleys of the An- which is reflected in our souls. To exdes, to conceive how these birds some- plain this vivid impression, which the tiines drown with their voice the noise aspect of the scenery of the two Indias of the torrents, which rush down from produces, even on coasts where there rock to rock.

is little wood, it will be sufficient to reThere is something so great, so pow. collect, that the beauty of the sky augerful, in the impression made by nature ments from Naples toward the equator, in the climate of the Indies, that after almost as much as from Provence toan abode of a few months we seemed to ward the south of Italy. have lived there during a long succes. While we take in at one view the sion of years. In Europe, the inhabi- vast landscape, we feel little regret, tant of the north and of the plains feels that the solitudes of the New World are an almost similar emotion, when he not embellished with the images of past quits even after a short abode the times. Wherever, under the torrid shores of the bay of Naples, the delici- zone, the earth, studded with mountains ous country between Tivoli and the and overspread with plants, has preLake of Nemi, or the wild and solemn served it's primitive characteristics, scenery of the Higher Alps and the Py- man no longer appears as the centre of

Yet every where under the the creation. Far from taming the temperate zone, the effects of the phy- elements, all his efforts tend to escape siognomy of the vegetables afford little from their empire. The changes made contrast. The firs and the oaks that by savage nations during the lapse of crown the mountains of Sweden, have ages on the surface of the globe disapa certain family air with those, that ve pear before those, that are produced in getate in the fine climates of Greece a few hours by the actions of volcanic and Italy. Between the tropics on the fires, the inundations of mighty floods, contrary, in the lower regions of both and the impetuosity of tempests. It is Indies, every thing in nature appears the conflict of the elements, which charnew and marvellous.

acterizes in the New World the aspect plains, and amid the gloom of forests, of nature. A country without populaalmost all the remembrances of Eu tion appears to the people of cultivated rope are effaced; for it is the vegetation Europe like a city abandoned by its inthat determines the character of a habitants. In America, after baring landscape, and acts upon our imagina- lived during several years in the forests tion by it's mass, the contrast of it's of the low regions, or on the ridge of forms, and the glow of it's colours. In the Cordilleras; after having surveyed proportion as impressions are powerful countries as extensive as France, conand new, they weaken antecedent im- taining only a small number of scatterpressions, and their strength gives them ed huts; a deep solitude no longer afthe appearance of duration. I appeal frights the imagination. We become to those, who, more sensible of the accustomed to the idea of a world, that beauties of nature than of the charms supports only plants and animals; where of social life, have long resided in the the savage has never uttered either the torrid zone. How dear, how memora shout of joy, or the plaintive accents of ble during life, is the land where they first disembarked! A vague desire to A man giving suck. In the village revisit that spot roots itself in their of Arenas, on the road from San Fer

renees.

In the open

sorrow

« ÎnapoiContinuați »