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THE Lake of Killarney, in the province of Munster and county of Kerry, affords the most beautiful and picturesque prospects in nature. This lake is divided into three parts, called the upper, middle, and lower lake. The northern, or lower lake, is six miles in length, and from three to four in breadth. On the side of one of the mountains is O'Sullivan's Cascade, which falls into the lake, making a noise which strikes the spectator with awe. The view of this sheet of water is uncommonly fine, appearing as if descending from an arch of wood, which overhangs it above seventy feet in height from the point of view. The islands are not so numerous in this as in the upper lake; but there is one of uncommon beauty, called Innisfallen, nearly opposite O'Sullivan's Cascade, which contains eighteen Irish acres. In this island are the ruins of an ancient abbey, founded by St.
Finian, the patron saint of those parts, the situation of which is romantic and retired. There was formerly a chronicle kept in this abbey, called the Annals of Innisfallen. They contain a sketch of universal history, from the creation of the world, to the year 430; but from that period, the annalist has amply prosecuted the affairs of Ireland down to his own time, (1215). The promontory of Mucross, which divides the upper from the lower lake, is a perfect land of enchantment, and a road is carried through the centre of this promontory, which unfolds all the interior beauties of the place. Among the distant mountains, Turk appears an object of magnificence, and Mangerton's more lofty and more interesting summit soars above the whole.
The passage of the upper lake is round the extremity of Mucross, which confines it on one side, and the approaching mountains on the other. Here is a celebrated rock, called the Eagle's Nest, which produces wonderful echoes. A French horn sounded here, raises a concert superior to that of a hundred instruments; and the report of a single cannon is answered by a succession of peals resembling the loudest thunder, which seem to traverse the surrounding scenery, and die away among the distant mountains. The upper lake is four miles in length, and from two to three in breadth. It is almost surrounded by mountains, from which descend a number of beautiful cascades. The islands in the lake are numerous, and afford an amazing variety of picturesque scenes.
The centre lake, which communicates with the
upper, is small in comparison with the other two, and cannot boast of equal variety, but the shores are, in many places, indented with beautiful bays, surrounded by dark groves of trees. The eastern boundary is formed by the base of Mangerton, down to the steep side of which descends a cascade, visible for 150 yards. This fall of water is supplied by a circular lake near the summit of the mountain, called the Devil's Punch-Bowl, which, on account of its immense depth, and the continual overflow of water, is considered as one of the greatest curiosities of Killarney.
One of the best prospects which this admired lake affords, is from a rising ground, near the ruined cathedral of Aghadoe. The depth of this lake is equally surprising, places under the rocky shores being from fifteen to twenty fathoms, and some parts from seventy to eighty fathoms deep.
The island of Innisfallen, in the lower lake, already mentioned, is generally the dining place, where there is a kind of hall fitted up by Lord Kenmare. What is very surprising here, is the spontaneous production of the arbutus, or strawberry-tree, which is found in great plenty and perfection in many of these islands; it was probably introduced here by the monks who inhabited this place at a very early period. This plant was not much known about London, so late as 1770. Near the Lake of Killarney, there is a rich copper mine wrought, which produces from fifty to sixty tons of ore per week.
THE emperor Julian, the immediate successor of the sons of Constantine, had apostatized from the Christian faith, openly professed himself a pagan, and endeavoured, by every means, which the most malignant ingenuity could devise, to extirpate the religion he had abandoned. All his efforts were unavailing, but the very malignity of the impious prince was soon to furnish additional testimony to the divinity of our Redeemer, and to the truth and perpetuity of his doctrine. The Jewish temple had long been in ruins; its sacrifices abolished and almost forgotten. The prophet Daniel had distinctly foretold its final desolation; and our Redeemer himself had expressly declared, that not one stone of it should remain upon another. In order to falsify these predictions, and thus to render the Christian religion contemptible, Julian assembled the chief among the Jews, encouraged them to renew their ancient sacrifices, and, as Jerusalem was the only place at which the Jewish law permitted those sacrifices to be offered, he promised to assist them in rebuilding their temple.
He then collected the ablest workmen from all parts of the empire, hired numerous labourers, and committed the superintendence of the work to Alipius, one of his most faithful officers.
The Jews repaired in triumph to Jerusalem from all parts of the world, proclaiming everywhere, that the kingdom of Israel was about to be reestablished. That they might participate in the glory of the enterprise, the women of every rank assisted in digging the foundations, and carried their enthusiasm so far as to remove the rubbish in their gowns and aprons. The rich contributed their most costly ornaments, and it is even said, that, either through respect or ostentation, several of the spades and baskets used in the prosecution of the work were made of silver. The Jews, long the objects of opprobrium, now suddenly elevated by the imperial protection, failed not to insult the Christians in every possible manner. The holy bishop St. Cyril, on his return from banishment, witnessed their efforts without the least emotion. He assured the faithful, that they would soon receive a striking demonstration of the impotency of men and of the extravagance of their opposition to the decrees of heaven.
The remains of the ancient temple were easily destroyed, so that, according to the very letter of the Scriptures, not a stone was left upon a stone. The foundations of the intended building were prepared, but as soon as the first stones were laid, a frightful earthquake threw them from their places, and scattered them to a considerable distance.