« AnteriorContinuar »
From the whole, then, we may draw this gereral inference, that nothing but nature, and a long and attentive study of the ancient and modern structures, will enrich the mind sụficiently to excel in this noble and useful art.
UR Gothic ancestors had juster and manlier notions than the more
dern mimics of Greek and Roman magnificence ; which, becanse the thing does honour to their genius, I shall endeavour to explain. All our ancient churches are called, without distinction, GOTHIC, but erroneously. They are of two sorts; the one built in the Saxon times, the other during oar Norman race of kings. Several cathedral and col. legiate churches of the first sort are yet remaining, either in whole or in part, of which this was the original : When the Saxon kings became Christians, their piety (which was the piety of the times) consisted in building churches at home, and performing pilgrimages to the Holy Land: and these spiritual exercises assisted and supported one another. For the most venerable, as well as most elegant models of religious edifices, were those in Palestine. From these
our Saxon builders took the whole of their ideas, as may be seen by comparing the drawings which travellers have given us of the churches yet standing in that country, with the Saxon remains of what we find at home; and particularly in that sameness of style in the later religious edifices of the Knights Templars (professedly buiit upon the model of the church of the Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem), with the earlier remains of our Saxon edifices. Now the architecture of the Holy Land was entirely Grecian, but great1y fallen from its ancient elegance. Our Saxon performance was indeed bad copy
of it, and as much inferior to the works of St. Helene, as hers were to the Grecian models she had followed. Yet still the footsteps of ancient art appeared in the circular arches, the entire columns, the division of the entablature into a sort of architecture, frize and cornish, and a solidity equally diffused over the whole mass. This, by way of distinction, I would calf the Saxon Architecture.
Bút our Norman works had a very different original. When the Goths had conquered Spain, and the genial warmth of the climate, and the religion of the old inhabitants had ripened their wits, and inflamed their mistaken piety (both kept in exercise by the neighbourhood of the Saracens, through emulation of their science and aversion to their superstition), they struck out a new species of architecture unknown to Greece and Rome, upon original principles and ideas much nobler eran what had given birth even to classical magnificence. For having been
accustomed, during the gloom of Paganism, to worship the Deity in groves (a practice common to all nations), when their new religion required covered edifices, they ingeniously projected to make them resemble
groves as nearly as the distance of architecture would permits at once indulging their old prejudices, and providing for their present conveniences, by a cool receptacle in a sultry climate. And with what art and success they executed the project, appears from hence: that no attentive cbserver ever viewed a regular avenue of well-grown trees intermixing their branches overhead, but it presently put him in mind of the long visits through a Gothic cathedral; or ever entered one of the larger and more elegant edifices of this kind, but it represented to his imagination an avenue of trees. And this alone is that which can be truly called the Gothic style of architecture,
Under this idea of so extraordinary a species of architecture, all the irregular transgressions against art; all the monstrous offences against nature disappear; every thing has its reason=revery thing is in order, and an harmonious whole arises from the studious application of means proper and proportioned to the end. For could the arche; be other.' wise thar pointed when the workman was to imitate that curve which branches make by their intersection with one another? Or could the columns be otherwise than split into distinct shafts, when they were to represent the stems of a groupe of trees? On the same principle was formed the spreading ramification of the stone-work in the windows, and the stained glass in the insterstices, the one being to represent the branches, and the other the leaves of an opening grove ; and both con. curring to preserve that gloomy light inspiring religious horror, Lastly, we see the reason of their stupid aversion to apparent solidity in these stupendous masses, deemed so absurd by men accustomed to the apparent, as well as real strength of Grecian architecture, Had it been only a wanton exercise of the artist's skill to shew he could give real strength without the appearance of any, we might indeed admire his superior science, but we must needs condemn his ill-judgment. But when we consider, that this surprising lightness was necessary to complete the execution of his idea of a rural place of worship, one cannot sufficiently admire the ingenuity of the contriyance.
This too will account for the contrary qualities in what I call the SAXON ARCHITECTURE. These artists copied, as has been said, from the churches in the Holy Land, which were built on the models of Grecian architecture, but corrupted by prevailing barbarism; and still further, depraved by a religious idea. The first places of Christian worship were sepulchres, and subtersanegus caverns, places of necessity, low and heavy. When Christianity became the religion of the state, and sumptuous temples began to be erected, they yet, in regard to the first pious ages, preserved the massive style, which was made still more venerable by the church of the Holy Sepulchre: This, on a double account being more than ordinarily heavy, was for its superior sanctity generally imitated.
Such then was Gothic Architecture.' And it would be no disi credit to the warmest admirers of Jones and Palladio to acknowledge it has its merit. They must at least confess it had a nobler birti, though an humbler fortune than the Greek and Roman architectule,
Essay IV.-Voyages to Iceland, Greenland, & ço
we shall proceed to our main design to detail those particular voyages which remain on record, and to point out such parts of them äs have tended to improve the art of navigation, and have rendered aný accession to our geographic knowledge.
One of the earliest, of which a particular account is preserved, is is one of the northern pirates (anno 861), called Nadodd, who was thrown by a storm on an island never before discovered, which on account of the snow that lay on the high mountains, he called Schnee or Snow land; from the report he made, a Swede, by name Guarda Suafarsson, who was settled in Denmark, undertook an expedition thither (864), and having sailed quite round it, named it Gardaholm, or Çardas's Island. Having wintered there, on his return he made such a good report, that another Swede, named Flocke, sailed to the same Island, and wintered there on the north side of the island, where he met with a great quantity of drift ice, on which account he named it Iceland, a name it still bears. It is said these peo's ple, who first discovered it, found, on landing, some Irish books, bells, and bishops' croziers ; if so, some other adventurers must have been there before them,
Our king Alfred was informed by one Ohthere, a man of some consequence, from Norway, that he had proceeded due north from his own country, and sailed within three days as far north as the whale hunters go; then proceeded eastward for four days, and then by help of a northerly wind, he sailed due south for five days : from this account of his voyage we may judge, that he doubled the north cape, and entered the White Sea. Ohthere being a contemporary with Alfred, points out nearly the time of this voyage,
The people of antiquity made use of sails but seldom, and that Only when the wind was táir; if it was contrary, they were obliged
to make for a harbour, or take to their oars : but the voyages of the Normans on the ocean, sufficiently indicate, that they knew how to use their sails, even when they had only a side wind. It does not appear,however, that this great art of setting the sails of a shipaccording to the wind, was generally known in those times; as, of such as did possess it, it was affirmed,' that as soon as their vessels had their lading, they had only to set their sails, and set off directly, without troubling themselves in the least from what quarter the wind blew. perty was attributed to the ship called the Drache Ufanaut, and to Freyer's ship the Skydblander, in the Edda, and in Torsten's Vikingsons Saga. It was supposed, that this was effected by sorcery ; though, in fact, it proceeded from nothing more than a certain degree of kill and dexterity in setting and shifting the sails, founded on experience and mechanical science, This way of sailing with the wind half, or almost quite contrary, or, as it is called by the mariners, near the wind, is in reality one of the greatest and most ingenious inventions made by man. As the mariner's compass has thirty-two points from which the wind may blow, and which have been distinguished by peculiar names; and from which soever of these the wind blows, it is in the power of the mariner to avail himself of one and the same wind, to carry him to twenty different points or quarters of the globe; so that, the six points excepted which are on each side of the line of dis rection in which the wind blows, he is able to sail with this wind on any other course.
In A. C. 982 or 983, a new country was discovered, One Eric Raude, or Redhead, being condemned to banishment for many misdemeanors, determined to make a voyage of discoveries. Being in, formed by one Gunbiorn that a large country was situated west of Iceland, he sailed thither, and entered a place now called Eric's Sound, where he wintered, and next year made further discoveries along the coast, and returned in the third year to Iceland; to the place he had discovered he gave the name of Greenland. From the report
gave of the place, several vessels with colonists embarked to settle there. This is the common account of the discovery and settlement of Greenland, although it is asserted that Greenland was known long before.
To this dreary country several voyages were made ; fome with a view of further discovery, others of settling. But a voyage made from Iceland demands particular attention. An Icelander, of the name of Herjolf, was accustomed, together with his son Biorn, to make a trip every year to different countries, for the sake of trading. About the year 1991, their ships were separated by a storm. Biorn being arrived at Norway, heard that his father Herjolf was gone to Greenland, Upon this he resolved upon following his father thither; but another storm drove him a great way to the south-west of his track. In consequence of this, he descried a flat country, covered all over with thick woods; and just as he set out on his return, he discovered an island likewise, He made no stay at either of these places, but hastened as much as the wind would allow him to do, which had now fallen greatly, by a north-easterly course to Greenland. Here this event was na
sponer known, than" Leif, the son of Eric Redhead, who had an inors dinate desire to acquire glory, like his father, by making discoveries and founding colonies, fitted out a vessel, carrying thirty-five men, and taking Biorn with him, set out for this newly-discovered country, Having set sail, the first land he saw was rocky and barren. Accordingly, he called it Helleland, or Rockland. Upon this he came to a low land, with a sandy bottom, which, however, was over-grown with wood; on which account he named it Markland, or Woodyland, Two days after this he saw land again, and an island lying before the northern coast of it. Here was a river, up which they sailed. The bushes on the banks of it bore sweet berries ; the temperature of the air was mild, the soil fertile, and the river well stored with fish, and particularly with very fine salmon. At last they came to a lake, from which the river took its rise. Here they determined to pass the winter, which they accordingly did; and in the shortest winter day, saw the sun eight hours above the horizon: this therefore supposes that the longest day (exclusive of the dawn and twilight) must have been sixteen hours long. Hence again it follows, that this place being in the 45th degree of north latitude, in a south-westerly direction from Old Greenland, must either be the river Gander, or the Bay of Exploits, in Newfoundland, or else some place on the northern coast of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Here they erected several hụts ; and they one day found in the thickets a German of the name of Tyrker, who had been missing, making himself very happy at having found grapes, from which he told them, in his country they used to make wine, Leif having tasted them, from this circumstance, which appeared to him very remarkable, called the country Winland dat Gode; l. 6. the Good Wine Country *.
[ To be continued. ]
VOLUME of Medical Enquiries and Observations, lately pub
lished by Dr. Rush, of Philadelphia, contains the following curious remarks on the probable causes of Longevity. An account of the state of the Body and Mind in old age ; with Observations on its Diseases, and their Remedies.
Most of the facts which I shall deliver upon this subject are the result of observations made during the last five years, upon persons of both sexes, who had passed the 8oth year of their lives, " I intended to
* It is true that grapes grow wild in Canada; but, though they are good to yet nobody has ever been able to make any tolerable wine of their juice. But whether these wild grapes are to be found as far to the eastward as' Newfoundland, I cannot say. The species of vines which grow in North America, are called by Linnzusa " Vitus labrusca, vulpina et arbores."