Графични страници
PDF файл
[blocks in formation]


This extraordinary offspring of human industry is on Elephantalfland, fo called from the ftatue of an elephant, of natural fize, tolerably cut out of a folid rock, on its weft coaft, which is nearly fix miles from the caftle of Bombay the caves are about the middle of this iflet; the approach to them being through a deep ravine, fo that one is ftruck with furprize at coming fuddenly on their openings, and feeing an abrupt precipice, of more than 60 feet perpendicular, rifing from the roofs of thefe excavations, and covered at the fummit with fhrubs and trees, that hang over the rock, which is of hard ftone, more fo than that usually employed in our home edifices: but as many quarries are known to indurate when exposed to the air, it may not be unreafonable to infer, that its prefent denfity is partly original and partly acquired; but of this, however, I neither made experiment, nor fought information.

Of these caves there are three; the principal being in the centre, and the

leffer ones on either hand, tho' not placed in fimilar directions; one having a common front, the other be ing at right angles with it: in each of the inferior ones is a small chapel with baths at the end.

To the grand cave, or temple, there are three entrances by porticoes of four pillars each, of the fame order with those within. Its elevation is very difproportionate to its area, which laft is nearly a square of 40 yards, whilft its height is not more than half as many feet: but the eye is not only offended at firft by the lownefs, but alfo by the flatnefs of the roof; which certainly would have acquired more of grandeur by being arched, the effect of which we obferve in our own churches. This roof is fupported by 36 columns, placed at equal diftances, tho' fome of them have been broken down by the intemperate zeal of the Portuguefe to exterminate idolatry; which, as well as the taftelefs curiofity of later vifitants, has likewife impaired many of the figures.

Each column is divided into three

equal parts; the pedeftal being one, the fhaft another, and the capital, including the entablature, the third: the pedeftals are fquare; the shafts rudely grooved, and not, as ufual, cylindrical, but gradually bulbing outwards to the centre, their greatest diameter being more than half their height. The capitals are, as their fhafts, grooved, and appear, to use the miner's phrase, like globes flattened by the preffure of country on them. The entablatures are fimple, and without diftinct divifions of members. I hefe proportions and forms, fo different from Grecian rules, are not pleafing to a corrected taste; but as having in themselves the ftricteft uniformity of common principle, they undoubtedly prove the arts to have been far advanced at the early period of their conftruction.

To the right, and within the large

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

cave, extending the fquare of four pillars, which form its angles, is a Imall temple or chapel, having on the ground a large altar, oblong, fomewhat raised, or coarfely cut; on the top of which is a cone, resembling the pivots of the rocking ftones in Cornwall, or at Stone Henge, the tops of the uprights for receiving their tranfems, and, perhaps, in its defigns, for fome fuch purpose. In each of the leffer caves, there are feveral chapels.

On the fides of the porticoes, and in compartments at the further end, are, in baffo-relievo, pieces of fculpture, most of their figures being Coloffian, and all representing parts of the Gentoo mythology; the centre is an image of the quadruple-faced Brimha, the god of the Bedas. These ftatutes, fuch as we see them, grotefque and fanciful, are to us the objects of eaftern adoration, and, in their prefent mutilated ftate, prove the artist neither unfkilful or unacquainted with animal proportions, which are well preferved, even in those which extend the height of the excavation, or which the hieroglyphic doctrines of the bramins reprefent most whimfically; for, indeed, the acquaintance with nature and fymmetry may as well be difplayed in the ftatues of a Silenus or Medea, as in thofe of an Apollo or Venus.

May 20. WENT down to the House -fworn in-odd faces afked Pearfon who the new people were -he feemed crofs at my afking him, and did not know-I took occafion to inspect the water-clofets.

I have had the greater pleasure in fketching this account, as it brings to remembrance one of the most agreeable parties I was ever on. This was given to General M'Leod, a man of public merits and private virtues, by Mr Hull; the charms and manners of whofe lady added elegance to the hofpitable repast of friendship. To me it will be now a full recompeace for thefe minutes, if they but recal to her mind half the fatisfactions fhe then imparted to those whofe fortune it was to be of her company; and to her, therefore, I take the liberty of addreffing them, and the following occafional Sonnet.

[ocr errors]

N. B. To tell Rofe, that I found three cocks out of repair-didn't know what to do-left my name at the Duke of Queensberry's-dined at White's the peafe tough

[blocks in formation]

Diary of a young Nobleman during the firft Week of the New Parliament. In the manner of Doddington's Diary.

Happy the pupil who at once furveys

The architype of fymmetry and grace; Then fees the types correcteft tafte displays, And thence is learn'd fymmetric rules to


The leffon taught is to the teacher due, And what belongs of right, the mufe devotes to you.

Lord Apfley thought they ought to be boiled in fteam-Villiers very warm in favour of hot water-Pitt for the new mode-and much talk of taking the fenfe of the club-but happily I prevented matters going to extremity.

May 21. Bought a tooth-pick cafe, and attended the treafury-boardnothing at the House but fwearing -rode to Wilberforce's at Wimbledon-Pitt, Thurlow, and Dundas,


[blocks in formation]

The account that follows, however romantic it may appear, is a positive fact. There are now living, as boarders in the abbatial nunnery of Parthemont, three young ladies, the eldeft of whom is not above fourteen years old. Having lived for fome years in the strictest intimacy, and the end of all womankind, matrimony, running ftrongly in their heads, they mutually deplored a time which daily approached, of their being feparated, efpecially as their parents lived in vavious and diftant provinces. How to avoid fo dire a fate in a country where a man is doomed to have but one wife, did not readily occur to them. After many confultations on the fubject, the beft-read of the three, remembered what books had taught her of the Turkish polygamy. She communicated her thoughts to her two friends; and the three came to a refolution of applying by letters to the grand Turk. Therein they expofed the reafon of fuch an application, gave an account of their refpective high birth and fortune, humbly requesting his fublime highnefs would take them to wives, and afk the confent of their parents. This letter, ad

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

Parifian Intelligence.

[ocr errors]

dreffed fimply "To the grand Signor, Con ftantinople,' was put into the post-office. So fingular a direction attracted the notice of the principal clerk, who laid it as a curi ofity before the poft-mafter.

The latter having broke the feal, and ha ving perused the strange petition it contained, fent it to the minifter. His majesty, who faw it, could not refrain from breaking into his accustomed roar of laughing; for, by-theby, he is the loudeft laugher in all his dominions, He not only gave particular orders to the abbefs not to notice fo unaccountable a ftep, which after all was the confequence of folid tho' not altogether enlightened friendfhip, but even condefcend to fignify to the parents of the three little fairies, his with that family-affairs might be fo adjusted, that the three daughters fhould he difpofed of in mar riage as near the fame fpot as conveniency could make it poffible, in order to try whether fuch refined and uncommon fentiments of the fair fex, fhall be able to withstand the intrigues and viciffitudes of this bustling world. Com

A Comparative View of the INFERNO of DANTE, with fome other Epic Poems; by H. BOYD, who has lately published a correct and spirited Translation of that Poem in English Verse.

HE venerable old bard, who is the fubject of the prefent inquiry, has been long neglected, perhaps because the merit of his poem could not be tried by the reigning laws of criticifm, of which the author was ignorant, or which he did not choose to obferve: He always indeed was a favourite with fuch as were poffeffed of true tafte, and dared to think for themselves; but fince the French, the reftorers of the art of criticism, caft a damp upon original invention, the character of Dante has been thrown under a deeper fhade. That agreeable and volatile nation found in themselves an infuperable averfion to the gloomy and romantic bard, whose genius, ardent, melancholy, and fublime, was fo different from their own, and it is well known how foon they became the fovereign arbiters of tafte, and how univerfally the French school of compofition fucceeded to the Italian. Like Shakespeare, the poetry of Dante, unfettered by rules, is diftinguished by bold original ftrokes of fublimity and pathos, and often by just and striking delineations of character; but the nature of epic poetry (if his will be allowed that name) and the obfcurity of his language, deprived him of fome advantages poffeffed by the British bard. An epic poet cannot immediately appeal to the feelings of the crowd as the writer of the drama can. He must be content with the approbation of the ftudious, or at least of fuch as have leifure to read; but the dramatist, even if his genius be not of the foremost kind, has the affiftance of the actor to envigorate his fentiments. His heroes appear to the naked eye-the heroes of epic poetry only are feen through the telefcope of fancy, by the eye of the VOL. II. N° 7.

reclufe contemplatift:—the formerare favourites of the multitude, and the multitude gives immediate fame. The laurels of the heroic bard are of more tardy growth, and are more at the mercy of chance. To be convinced that this diverfity proceeds from the operation of caufes that act uniformly, we need only reflect on the different fortunes of Homer, and his three pupils, Æfchylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, during their lives, not to mention our own Milton and Shakefpeare.

Dante and Homer are fo far fimilar in their fortunes and genius, that they were both the earliest poetical writers known in their respective languages, and both were remarkable for a fimplicity of style and a greatnefs of thought: Both were wanderers; and, at leaft for part of their lives, dependant upon precarious bounty. But the parallel proceeds no further: Homer had the advantage of choofing for his subject, an event, one of the moft illuftrious and interefting in the annals of the world; an event which gave occafion to the difplay of a variety of characters, and the agency of every paffion. This noble scene he has unfolded with fuch peculiar art; he has fhown fuch a knowledge of the fprings of human action, and defcribed a feries of incidents depending upon each other, in a manner fo probable, and yet fo interefting, that the rules of writing an epic poem, drawn from his Iliad and Odyffey, have been long reduced into a fyftem. Thefe rules Dante could not obferve, as it is probable he did not know them; however, he does not write without a plan, still more fimple and lefs complicated than Homer's, The converpon of a finner by a fpiritual guide, difplaying in a feries of terrible vifions the fecrets of Divine Ju


[ocr errors]

Juftice, and whofe interpofition had been
procured by the fupplication of a faint in
paradife, deeply interested in his eternal
welfare. Here is a caufe, an effect,
and the probable means by which
this effect is produced: the means are
of a nature that rouse the strongest
paffions, terror and pity; and the ef-
fect is deeply and univerfally intereft-
ing. It is true, this plan does not
admit of a train of connected inci-
dents, nor a variety of action, arifing
from that oppofition of interefts and
play of the paffions, which muft na-
turally arife in defcribing the confe-
quence of the wrath of Achilles; but
an uniform fcene of flaughter must
tire, though diverfified with all the
various fortunes of the day, and all
the jarring paffions of gods and men.
The wrath of Achilles gives rife to a
scene of bloodshed, and his reconci-
liation only gives occafion to accu-
mulated ruin. Here then, in the
province of defcription, the Floren-
tine (I think) has the advantage.
The different allotments of his cri-
minals afford room for a wonderful
variety of fublime imagery; and the
adaptation of their punishments to
their crimes, gives a noble opportu-
nity for the exertions of fancy. The
machinery, or the part that spiritual
agents are employed in, is to us the
leaft interesting part in both Homer's
poems; but the machinery of Dante,
though lefs diverfified, is much more
folemn and affecting: It coincides
with the rational belief of the en-
lightened mind, and no lefs with the
fuperftition of the vulgar; and we
may justly observe, in the words of
the first critic of his age, that with
refpect to him, as well as Milton
the probable is marvellous, and the
marvellous is probable."


By the complication and oppofition of interefts which muft arife in an action fit for the fubject of epic poetry, the human character muft appear in the ftrongest and most affec

ting points of view, as well as in the greatest variety of fituations; yet in the courfe of a martial enterprise, among a people uncivilized and rude, thofe profpects must be rather fimilar, and this variety very much confined-It muft indeed be confeffed, that the modern poet, from the na ture of his plan, was obliged to fhow all his characters either in the circumftance of actual fuffering, or in dread of fuffering :-Yet, it must be obferved, that in the Iliad we only fee the heroes of ancient times, as they appear to each other in public, in the bustle of a camp, or the heat of a difpute. It is not fo in the Inferno. By Dante, we are indulged with a nearer and more inward view of the man, as he really is; or, in other words, as his character appears in the eye of offended and omnifcient juftice. In Homer, our profpect is confined to one walk of life, one fpecies of action, one heroic age, in many circumftances very remote from our prefent modes of acting and thinking. We are entirely (I speak of the Iliad) confined to the camp, the counfel, and the field of battle. This unity of time and place, it is true, gives an opportunity to the bard of ennobling a very fhort period, or a very limited fcene, with a great variety of incidents, all connected together; and the more probable fuch incidents are, the greater tribute we pay his genius. But this is rather inventing incidents than delineating characters; for in fuch an action as the Iliad, the characters must be pretty much the fame, or they will at least be diftinguished by traits of a very minute kind. But the greater the variety of characters delineated in any poem, the genius of the author, tho' perhaps lefs cultivated, must be allowed to be more exuberant.. Dante's plan, like Shakefpeare's, allowed him the liberty of expatiating in the walks of public and private

*See Johnson's Life of Milton.

« ПредишнаНапред »