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METAPHYSICS AND POETRY.
North. It is not safe to say, James, open afore you, rational aneuch-ae that any one single thought that ever that you canna help believin' that each was in the mind is forgotten. It o' them has flung doon a great big may be gone, utterly gone-like a bunch o' keys, wi' a clash on the table, bird out of a cage. But a thought that'll enable you to open a' the locks is not like a bird, a mortal thing; o'a'the doors o'the Temple o' Natur. and why may it not, after many, ma- But, dog on't! the verra first lock ny long years have past by—so niany you try, the key'll no fit! Or if it and so long that we look with a sort fits, you cannot get it to turn roun', of quiet longing on the churchyard though you chirt wi' your twa hands. heaps—why may it not return all at till you're baith black and red in the once from a “far countrée,” fresh, face, and desperate angry. A' the. and fair, and bright, as of yore, when Metapheesicks that ever were theofirst it glided into being, up from reezed into a system o' Philosophy 'll among the heaven-dew-opened pores never clear up the mystery o' memory in the celestial soil of the soul, and ae hue, or enable me nor onybody “possessed it wholly," as if there for- else to understand hoo, at ae time, ever were to have been its blissful ye may knock on your head wi' your abiding-place, in those sunny regions loof or nieve till it's sair, without where sin and sorrow as yet had awakening a single thocht, ony mair shown their evil eyes, but durst not than you would awauken a dormouse venture in, to scare off from the para- in the heart o' the bole of an aik, by dise even one of all its divinest in- tappin' on the rough hide ; while at males! Why nay not the thought, another time, you canna gie your head I ask, return-or rather, rise up a jie to the ae side, without tens o' again on the spirit, from which it has thousans o'thochts fleein' out o' your never flown, but lain hushed in that mouth, your nose, and your een, just mysterious dormitory, where ideas like a swarm o' bees playin' whurrsleep, all ready to awake again into and bum—into the countless sky, life, even when most like death—for when by chance you hae upset a skep, Ideas are as birds of passage, and they or the creturs o' thair accord, and in are also akin to the winter-sleepers, the passion o' their ain instinck, are so that no man comprehends their ex- aff after their Queen, and havin' torits or their entrances, or can know mented half the kintra-side for hours, whether any one of all the tribe is at a’ at last settle down on the branch o' any one moment a million of miles an apple-tree perhaps—the maist unoff, or wheeling round his head, and likely, to all appearance, they could ready to perch on bis hand !
find—and perplexin' to the man wi' Shepherd.—Alloo me, sir, noo to the ladder, and the towel outower his press you to anither glass o' Mrs. face,-because the Queen-Bee preferGentle's elder-flower wine.
red, for some inscrutable reason, that North. — Frontignac! - Now, do ackward branch to a' ither resting. you, James, take up the ball—for I'm places on which she could hae rested out of breath.
her doup, although it was physically Shepherd. - To please you, sir, I hae and morally impossible that she could read lately—or at least tried to read ever hae seen the tree afore, never thae books, and lectures, and what havin' been alloo'd to set her foot not, on the Association o’Ideas—and ayont the door o' the skep, for reayon explanations and theories of Tam sons best known to her subjects, or at mas Broon's, and Mr. Dugald Stew- least her Ministers, wha, unlike some art's, and Mr. Alison's, and the lave, ithers I micht mention, dinna despise seem, at the time the volume's lyin' the voice o' the people, even though
it should be nae louder nor a murmur remorses-strange bed-fellows indeed, or a hum!
sir-some skuddy-naked, some clothed North.—Come, James, no politics, in duds, and some gorgeously appakeep to philosophy.
relled, ready to rise up and sit down Shepherd.—The Queen-Thocht's at feasts and festivalsthe same's the Queen-Bee—and when North.-Stop, James, stopshe's let loose intill heaven, out flees Shepherd.—'Tis the poet alane, sir, the haill swarm o'winged fancies at that can speak to ony purpose about her tail, wi' a noise like thunder. sic an association o'ideas as that, sir;
North. But we were speaking of he kens at every hotch amang them, Keepsakes
whilk is about to start up like a sbeetShepherd.–And sae we are still. I ed cadaver shiverin' cauld-rise as the see the road windin' alang on the grave, or a stoled queen, a rosy, balmy, richt haun yonner—but we're like pas- fragrant-bosomed queen, wi' lang, sengers loupin' aff the tap o' the cotch white, satin arms, to twine roun' your at the fit o' a hill, and divin' devious verra sowle! But the metaphyseecian, through a wood by a short cut, to what kens he about the matter ! catch her again afore she get through Afore he has putten the specs astradthe turnpike.
dle o' his nose, the floor o' the imagiNorth.—The pleasantest way either nation is a' astir like the foaming sea of travel or of talk.
--and aiblins hushed again into a cawm Shepherd.—Ten hunder thousan' as deep as that o' a sunny hill, where million thochts and feelings, and fan- lichts and lambs are dancin' thegether cies, and ideas, and emotions, and on the greensward, and to the music passions, and what not, a' lie thege- of the lilting linties amang the golden ther, heads and thraws, in the great, groves o' broom, proud to see their wide, saft, swellin', four-posted, mony- yellow glories reflected in the pools, pillowed bed o' the Imagination. Joys, like blossoins bloomin' in anither sorrows, hopes, fears, raptures, ago- warld belonging to Naiads and the nies, shames, horrors, repentances, mermaids !
DESCRIPTION OF MEKKA.
MEKKA may be styled a handsome necessary to leave the passages wide, town; its streets are in general broader for the innumerable visiters who bere than those of eastern cities; the houses crowd together; and it is in the lofty, and built of stone; and the nu- houses adapted for the reception of merous windows that face the streets pilgrims and other sojourners, that give them a more lively and European the windows are so contrived as to aspect than those of Egypt or Syria, command a view of the streets. where the houses present but few The city is open on every side ; windows towards the exterior. Mek- but the neighboring mountains, if ka (like Djidda) contains many houses properly defended, would form three stories high ; few at Mekka are barrier of considerable strength against white-washed; but the dark grey co an enemy. In former times it had lor of the stone is much preferable to three walls to protect its extremities; the glaring white that offends the eye one was built across the valley, at the in Djidda. In most towns of the Le- street of Mala ; another at the quarter vant the narrowness of a street contri- of Shebeyka ; and the third at the butes to its coolness; and in countries valley opening into the Mesfale. where wheel-carriages are not used. These walls were repaired in A.H.816 a space that allows two loaded camels and 828, and in a century after some to pass each other is deemed suffi - traces of them still remained. cient. Ai Mekka, however, it was The only public place in the body
of the town is the ample square of the terraces, which are often beautifully great mosque ; no trees or gardens built of stone ; here they resort during cheer the eye ; and the scene is enli- the summer evenings, and often to sup vened only during the Hadj by the and pass the night. All the houses of great number of well-stored shops the Mekkawys, except those of the which are found in every quarter. principal and richest inhabitants, are Except four or five large houses belong- constructed for the accommodation of ing to the Sherif, two medreses or col- lodgers, being divided into many leges (now converted into corn maga- apartments, separated from each othzines), and the mosque, with some er, and each consisting of a sittingbuildings and schools attached to it, room and a small kitchen. Since Mekka cannot boast of any public the pilgrimage has begun to deedifices, and in this respect is, per- cline, (this happened before the Wahahaps, more deficient than any other by conquest,) many of the Mekkawys, eastern city of the same size. Nei- no longer deriving profit from the letther khans, for the accommodation of ting of their lodgings, have found themtravellers, or for the deposit of mer- selves unable to afford the expense of chandize, nor palaces of grandees, nor repairs ; and thus numerous buildings mosques, which adorn every quarter in the outskirts have fallen completely of other towns in the East, are here into ruin, and the town itself exhibits to be seen; and we may perhaps at- in every street houses rapidly decaytribute this want of splendid buildings ing. I saw only one of recent conto the veneration which its inhabitants struction ; it was in the quarter of El entertain for their temple; this pre- Shebeyka, belonged to a Sheriff, and vents them from constructing any edi- cost, as report said, one hundred and fice which might possibly pretend to fifty purses ; such a house might have rival it.
been built at Cairo for sixty purses. The houses have windows looking The streets are all unpaved ; and towards the street; of these many in summer time the sand and dust in project from the wall, and have their them are as great a nuisance as the frame-work elaborately carved, or mud is in the rainy season, during gaudily painted. Before them hang which they are scarcely passable aster blinds made of slight reeds, which a shower; for in the interior of the exclude lies and goats, while they town the water does not run off, but admit fresh air. Every house has its remains till it is dried up. It may be terrace, the floor of which (composed ascribed to the destructive rains, of a preparation from lime-stone) is which, though of shorter duration than built with a slight inclination, so that in other tropical countries, fall with the rain-water runs off through gutters considerable violence, that no ancient into the street; for the rains here are buildings are found in Mekka. The so irregular that it is not worth while mosque itself has undergone so many to collect the water of them in cis- repairs under different sultans, that it terns, as is done in Syria. The ter- may be called a modern structure ;
are concealed from view by and of the houses, I do not think there slight parapet walls; for throughout exists one older than four centuries ; the east, it is reckoned discreditable it is not, therefore, in this place that that a man should appear upon the the traveller must look for interesting terrace, whence he might be accused specimens of architecture, or such of looking at women in the neighbor- beautiful remains of Saracenic strucing houses, as the females pass much tures, as are still admired in Syria, of their time on the terraces, employ- Egypt, Barbary, and Spain. In this ed in various domestic occupations, respect the ancient and far-famed such as drying corn, hanging up linen, Mekka is surpassed by the smallest &c. The Europeans of Aleppo alone provincial towns of Syria or Egypt. enjoy the privilege of frequenting their The same may be said with respect
to Medina, and I suspect that the are covered with a thick layer of towns of Yeman are generally poor stone and cement. I heard that it in architectural remains.
had not been cleaned during the last Mekka is deficient in those regula- fifty years ; the consequence of this tions of police which are customary negligence is, that the most of the in Eastern cities. The streets are water is lost in its passage to the city totally dark at night, no lamps of any through apertures, or slowly forces kind being lighted; its different quar- its way through the obstructing sediters are without gates, differing in this ment, though it flows in a full stream respect also from most Eastern towns, into the head of the aqueduct at Arawhere each quarter is regularly shut fat. The supply which it affords in up after the last evening prayers. ordinary times is barely sufficient for The town may therefore be crossed at the use of the inhabitants, and during any time of the night, and the same the pilgrimage sweet water becomes attention is not paid here to the secu an absolute scarcity; a small skin of rity of merchants, as well as of hus, water (two of which skins a person bands, (on whose account, principally, may carry) being then often sold for the quarters are closed,) as in Syrian one shilling-a very high price among or Egyptian towns of equal magni- Arabs. tude. The dirt and sweepings of the There are two places in the interior houses are cast into the streets, where of Mekka where the aqueduct runs they soon become dust or mud accord- above ground; there the water is let ing to the season. The same custom off into small channels or fountains, seems to have prevailed equally in at which some slaves of the Sherif ancient times; for I did not perceive are stationed, to exact a toll from in the skirts of the town any of those persons filling their waler-skins. In heaps of rubbish which are usually the time of the Hadj, these fountains found near the large towns of Turkey. are surrounded day and night by
With respect to water, the most crowds of people quarrelling and fightimportant of all supplies, and that ing for access to the water. Dur. which always forms the first object of ing the late siege, the Wahabys cut inquiry among Asiatics, Mekka is not off the supply of water from the aquemuch better provided than Djidda ; duct; and it was not till some time there are but few cisterns for collect- after, that the injury which this strucing rain, and the well-water is so ture then received, was partially rebrackish that it is used only for culi- paired. nary purposes, except during the time There is a small spring which oozes of the pilgrimage, when the lowest from under the rocks behind the great class of hadjys drink it. The famous palace of the Sherif, called Beit el well of Zemzem, in the great mosque, Sad; it is said to afford the best wais indeed sufficiently copious to sup- ter in this country, but the supply is ply the whole town; but, however very scanly. The spring is enclosed, holy, its water is heavy to the taste and appropriated wholly to the Sheand impedes digestion; the poorer rif's family. classes besides have not permission Beggars, and infirm or indigent to fill their water-skins with it at hadjys, often entreat the passengers pleasure. The best water in Mekka in the streets of Mekka for a draught is brought by a conduit from the vi- of sweet water; they particularly cinity of Arafat, six or seren hours surround the water-stands, which are distant. The present government, seen in every corner, and where, for instead of constructing similar works, two paras in the time of the Hadj, neglects even the repairs and requi, and for one para at other times, as site cleansing of this aqueduct. It is much water may be obtained as will wholly built of stone; and all those fill a jar. parts of it which appear above ground,
“ Come, let us stray Where Chance or Fancy leads our roving walk."
ORIGIN OF SIGNS. THE CAT AND
planation ever given of this wonderful
union, appears to be, that once upon No part of the history of civilized na a time a gentleman kept a public tions is involved in such deep obscuri- house with the sign of a Cat, and a ty as the origin and progress of their lady one, with the sign of a Fiddle, names. I do not mean their names of or vice versâ ; that these two persons men and women, the etymology of fell in love, married, and set up an which is easy; for any stupid fellow Inn, which, to commemorate their can see with half an eye that Xisu, early loves, they called the Cat and tbrus and Noah are one and the same the Fiddle. Such reasoning is experson; and that Thoth can only be ceedingly poetical, and also (inind, Hermes ;-nor is there any discerni- also, not therefore) exceedingly nonble difference between Pelagius and sensical. No, Sir, the Cat and the Morgan : but when we come to ac- Fiddle is of greater antiquity. Did count for the names of places or of you ever read the history of Rome ! signs, then indeed are we lost in a Thence comes the Cat and the Fidvast field of metaphysical disquisition dle, in somewhat a roundabout way, and conjectural criticism. The Spec- perhaps, but so it is : tator threw much light upon the sci
Vixtrix causa Diis placuit, sed victa Catoni. ence, but still he left it in its infancy. To be sure he traced the “ Bull and Cato was faithful to the sacred Mouth” to the Boulogne Mouth, but cause of liberty, and disdained to surI don't remember that he made many vive it; and now for the fiddle. In other discoveries in this terrâ incogni- the days of good Queen Bess, when tá. However, he hinted that the those who had horne the iron yoke of roots of most of these old saws were Mary, ventured forth and gloried in to be found in the French language, that freedom of conscience which had or rather in the jargon spoken by the lately been denied them, a jolly innwould-be fine people, in imitation of keeper having lately cast off the shacthe court, and by them called French. kles of the old religion, likened himNeither the Spectator, however, nor self to the old Roman, and wrote over any of his periodical imitators, have his door l’Hostelle du Caton fidele. ever found out why a certain head- The hostelle and its sign lasted longer land, bare as the back of my hand, than the worthy gentleman, and have should be dignified with the appella- ing gone shockingly to decay, was tion of Beechey Head ; unless indeed, many years afterwards reëstablished. according to the Elon grammar, our But alas ! the numerous French words ancestors used the rule of lucus a non once mixed with our language had lucendo. The reason, however, is to vanished, become barbarized, and be found in the French language, and ground down into a heterogeneous Beechey Head is the present guide of mass of sounds; and le Caton fidele the old Beau Chef, whereby this point was no longer known to his best friends was once known. The Spectator, al- when resuscitated under the anomaso, if I remember right, declared the lous title of the Cat and the Fiddle ! old sign of the Cat and the Fiddle to be quite beyond his comprehension.
ALMANACS. In truth, no two objects in the world Ahout nine or ten years ago the have less to do with each other than editors of Moore's Almanac attempted a cat and a violin; and the only ex: to improve the work placed under