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THE MONTHLY REPOSITORY,
AND LIBRARY OF
THE RUINS OF PERSEPOLIS. Empires have risen-flourished-mouldered down, And nameless myriads closed life's fleeting dream, Since thou the peerless garden's height didst crown, Which hung in splendor o'er the ancient stream: Fountains, and groves, and palaces were here, And fragrance filled the breeze, and verdure decked the year.
WE herewith present a very spirited view of the celebrated ruins of Persepolis, the ancient capital of Persia, which, in the days of its prosperity, was one of the wealthiest, as well as august cities of the world.* The magnificent pile of ruins which remains after the lapse of so many ages, was the royal palace of Darius. This grand and stately structure was surrounded with a triple wall. The first was sixteen cubits high, adorned with many splendid buildings and lofty turrets: the second was built in the same manner, but was as high again. The third was drawn like a quadrant, four square, and sixty cubits high—all of hardest marble, and so cemented, as almost to defy the ravages of time. On the four sides were brazen gates, with curtains or palisades of
* It is supposed that Alexander took one hundred and twenty thousand talents of pure gold from the city. The covetous Macedonian, not content with this, robbed the inhabitants of the city and plain of all their valuable goods, and the spoil was so great, that it required nearly six thousand camels and mules to carry it off.
the same metal, one hundred and twenty cubits high, for the double purpose of giving defence to the city, and striking the beholder with terror; these curtains or palisades were four hundred and ten paces long, and from twenty-one to thirty cubits high. This superb edifice has the walls of three of its sides still standing. The front extends six hundred paces from north to south, while the side reaching from east to west, extends 396 paces. The numerous columns, 'porticos, staircases, images and relievos, are exceedingly magnificent even in their ruined state, and induce the belief, that the Persian empire in all its grandeur could boast of nothing more glorious, nor have left any thing to posterity more astonishing than the report and ruins of this once splendid city.
The city stood in one of the finest plains of the east; twenty leagues long by six leagues broad; and within the compass of this plain were more than one thousand villages, adorned with beautiful gardens. Hither the victorious Alexander repaired after the sanguinary battle of Abella, in which the Persians sustained so signal a defeat; and taking Persepolis by storm, put its unoffending inhabitants to the sword, or sold them as slaves.Alexander, during his conquest, gave himself up to feasting and drinking; during one of his entertainments, one of his mistresses assured him that it would be matter of inexpressible joy to her, were she permitted to burn the stately palace. In this request she was sustained by the courtiers and courtezans, and the drunken king cried out, “Let us revenge Greece, and fire the palace.” He arose, threw the first brand into the palace, and the harlot who had urged him to the deed, applied the second match. The palace was soon wrapped in flames—but the sequel proved that it was not the only building devoted to the destroying element. The flames rolled onward like an overwhelming and resistless deluge; and in a little while this dwelling place of thousands presented nothing but a heap of smoking ruins--one vast picture of desolation.
It is by studying at home, that we must obtain the ability of travelling with intelligence and improvement.
FEMALE INFLUENCE ON CHILDREN. The power which well adapted books may exert on the minds of children, can hardly be stated in too extravagant terms, and will be allowed by every one to be great. And when we consider farther, that early impressions, though often weakened, are seldom entirely erased ; that good seed on good ground affords an abundant return at the harvest time; that “the child is father of the man ;” and that a strong direction once given, is long, and in a majority of cases always retained: and to put the subject in one other point of view, when we consider that the mother's influence, which next to the influence of heaven itself, is the best and dearest, and most heavenly, and has been the most frequently and gratefully acknowledged by its objects, may be so effectually aided in its operations by the hints which the parent receives, and the stores of aux iliary instruction and entertainment which are placed at her disposal, in judicious books for children, we shall regard such books not with pleasure alone, but with re.. spect; we shall esteem it no act of condescension in ourselves, nor in any one, to turn over their pages; we shall perceive more solid instruction, more beauty, truth, power, in many a little work stitched up in colored paper, bearing a simple wood cut on each side, and thrown about the nursery with as much freedom of dissemination as the most ardent republican could desire, than in many a proud octavo, redolent of Russia, and tenacious of its standing on shelves of mahogany.
Such being the importance of juvenile books, who are best qualified to make them? To the first question, we answer—women. They are the best qualified to make books for children, who are most in the company of children; who have almost the sole care of children ; whose natural sympathies unite them most closely with children, even such of them as have never been mothers themselves; who best know the minds, the wants, the hearts of children; and whose tenderness and gentleness gracefully bend to the ignorance of children, and assimilate most easily and happily with their soft and confiding natures. The child, in its early years especially, has no guardian like woman, and can therefore have no instructor like woman.
And, when we come to answer the next question, who have really devoted their best talents and most anxious care to the education of children, who have written the best books for and about children? We are thankful we again can answer-women. Thirty years ago, if we had been in existence then, we could not have answered thus. We should have been compelled to say, There are no books for children ; these important members of the human family are destitute; this immense, valuable, and indefinitely fertile field, lies neglected and runs to waste. No seed has been sown there for the propitious skies to mature; the grain has yet to be deposited; the weeds are yet to be eradicated; both man and woman pass it by, and take their labor to other places, and think not of redeeming it, nor know that by care and culture it may be made to blossom like the rose, and fill the earth with its fruits. This we should at that time have been obliged to say. But now we can say, that those whose part and province it was to do this work, have done it, and done it well. We can point to the names of Barbauld and Edgeworth, Taylor and Hofland, and confidently ask where there are worthier, Men talk of eras in literature. The era of the two first named of those ladies, the era of the hymns for children and the Parent's Assistant, was a golden era, pure and bright, and full of riches, and deserving a rank among the most glorious dates of improvement, Since that time, laborers have been fast coming into the same field, and have worked it well; though we must still say that those who came first worked best. Our own countrywomen have been neither tardy in advancing to this delightful task, nor inefficient in their services. We believe that the best children's books which we have, and we have many which are excellent, are the composition of females; and if we felt ourselves at liberty to do so, we could repeat an honorable, and by no means scanty list of the names of those who have earned something better than mere reputation, by contributing to form the minds and hearts of our children. Those who are conscious that they belong to the catalogue, have little to ask of fame, and certainly nothing to receive from it half so valuable as that which they already possess—the gratulations of their own hearts.
The department of juvenile literature, then, is almost cntirely in female hands. Long may it remain there. Long, for the interests of virtue and the improvement of our kind, may it be in the heart of woman to nurture the growth, and watch over and direct the early puttingsforth of youthful intellect and feeling. While she retains the office, so delightful in itself, and so grave and momentous in its ends, and even adds to its beautiful dignity by the graceful and effectual manner in which she has hitherto performed its duties, she inspires us with an admiration of a deeper and more lasting, and we must also believe, inore flattering character, than was the most glowing and romantic love of the days of chivalry. Talk not to us of chivalry, unless it be in poetry, and with the usual latitude and license of poetry. In truth and in prose, the most refined devotion of knighthood and chivalry is no more to be compared, in purity and elevation, to the sentiments which female excellence now commands, than are those fair ones who ' then presided at the great duels which we read of under the poetical name of tournaments, and who by their presence and plaudits animated the legalized and courtly slaughter, which was raging and struggling beneath them, to be compared to the females of our own time, who as beautiful, no doubt, and as accomplished as they, find it their more appropriate privilege and pleasure to stimulate the fresh powers of childhood to the competitions of knowledge and virtue, and to hold out the meed of approbation to the exertions of innocent and ingenuous minds.
Too much reading and too little meditation, may produce the effect of a lamp inverted, which is extinguished by the very excess of that aliment, whose property it is to feed it.