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principal object of their promised bliss; Addison, therefore, in his allegory of Mirza, is faithful to the visions of that enthusiastic people. There is a tribe of America, too, who believe, that the souls of good men are wafted to a valley, abounding in guavas and other delicious fruits. The Celts called their heaven Flath-Innis, “ the island of the good and brave;" while the Druids, as Ammianus Marcellinus informs us, believed, that the souls of good men are wafted, in progressive course, from planet to planet; enjoying, at every successive change, a more sublime felicity, than in the last.
The Negroes of the Gold Coast of Guinea' imagine, that they will be gently wafted down a river; when, if they have been good, they will arrive at a country, abounding in all kinds of pleasures :—if bad, they will be drowned, and lost in oblivion.
EVERY one has heard of the Hesperian Gardens ; though the country, in which they were situated, has never been accurately ascertained. While some have placed them at Larach in the kingdom of Fez, others have assigned Lixus? or Susa, in Morocco3; Zeres, in the province of Andalusia'; Ethiopia; Scythia; India; the Balearic, and the Cape de Verd Islands; the Canaries; the Isles of Man and Anglesea?; while Rudbecks was so enamoured of northern scenery, as to suppose them to have been situated in Sweden 3! Some at the mouth of the Niger 4: and others, among whom we may particularize Monsieur Bailly, place those gardens, as well as Indra, the fairy land of the Persian poets, beyond the mouth of the Oby in the Frozen Sea”!
· Vid. Bosman, p. 131. Ed. 1721.
? The island of Gezira, in the river Lixus, abounded in olives, previous to the time of Domitian. There was an altar, dedicated to Hercules; and many persons supposed, therefore, that the gardens of the Hesperides were situated there.
3 Virgil, En. iv. l. 481. Plin. N. H. xxi. c. 4.
where towards the pole it spreads ;
Camoens, (Mickle,) b. iii.
It is, however, most probable, that they were situated in the Cape de Verd Islands; and that the golden fruit, stolen by Hercules, were no other than oranges. To these islands Sertoriuso, whose aqueduct at Evora still attests the usefulness of Roman grandeur, formed a reso
Apollonius saw in a temple among the Gades of Spain the twelve Labours of Hercules, with the Golden Olive of Pygmalion ; the fruit of which seemed to grow out of an emerald. Philostratus in Vit. Apol. v. c. 5.
? Vid. Fragmentum Historiæ Britannicæ. Also D'Hancarville's Researches on the Origin and Progress of the Arts in Greece, vol. i.
3 Vid. Athlantica, sive Manheim, vera Japheti posterorum sedes ac patria. For Extracts, vid. Bayle, Republique des Lettres. Pindar places the Hyperborean country on the banks of the Danube. Pyth. Od. x.
The Hyperboreans were supposed to have enjoyed every species of felicity; and the sun was said to rise and set only once a year.
* Salmasius near the Equinoctial. Salmas. Exercitat. in Solin. p. 656. ed. 1703. 3 Nova Zembla.
Fragmenta Sallustii, p. 153. ed. 1713.
lution of retiring, when weary of the perpetual wars, in which he was engaged; and thither he had actually retired, but for the treachery of his crew. These gardens were, also, the Fortunate Islands of the poets: of which Plutarch gives the following description.
“ They are two in number, separated only by a narrow channel; at the distance of ten thousand furlongs from the African coast. They are called the Fortunate Islands. Rain seldom falls there; and when it does, it falls moderately: but they generally have soft breezes, which scatter such rich dews, that the soil is not only good for sowing and planting, but spontaneously produces the most excellent fruits; and those in such abundance, that the inhabitants have nothing more to do, than to indulge themselves in the enjoyment of ease. The air is always so pleasant and salubrious, that it is generally believed, even among the barbarians, that these are the Elysian Fields, which Homer1 has so beautifully described.”
To these favoured spots Horace, in a time of great public calamity, invited his countrymen to accompany him. “ Let us go," said he, “ in search of those happy fields, where the earth, untilled, yields annual fruit, and the vines flourish so abundantly: where honey flows from the trunk of the oak; and murmuring streams roll slowly down the mountains ?." Some poets have extended their riches and beauties, by decking their shores with shells, corals, and pearls.
i Odyss. iv.-Plutarch.—Tasso describes these islands in his usual style of beauty.-Jer. Del. Lib. xv. st. 35. Hoole, b. xv. l. 257.
These islands (after all memory of them had been lost among the ruins of the Roman empire) were discovered by the Genoese. Don Lewis la Cerda, of Spain, soon after, requested Pope Clement to bestow them upon him. Thę pope, proud, as it is said, of an opportunity of giving away a kingdom, consented; and crowned him with much ceremony at Avignon. Lewis, who was the eldest son of Alphonso, king of Castile, thus obtained the title of - Prince of the Fortunate Islands.” When the news of this transaction reached England, says Petrarch, the people, thinking the name of fortunate belonged only to themselves, were highly displeased and alarmed, that his holiness should presume to give them away!
These islands are supposed to be the fragments of Atlantis, which Plato? represents, as being as large as Syria and Asia Minor; and which, in the splendour of its architecture, the richness of its metals, the beauty of its landscapes, the bloom of its flowers, above all, in the excellence of its sciences and arts, surpassed every country of the ancient worlds. It is possible, that the Atlantis refers to the American continent. Æliano mentions a new country of immense extent; Senecas alludes to it; and Diodorus' relates, that when it was first discovered by the Carthaginians, they made a law, that no one should settle in it on pain of death?. And while Lucretius speaks of countries beyond the Atlantic Ocean, Claudian enquires
i Galvano's Hist. Mar. Disc. p. 25.
3 Pausan. viii. • Ælian says, that Silenus told Midas, that Europe, Africa, and Asia, were islands; that there was but one continent; and that lay beyond the sea.Lib. iii. 18.
5 Medea. y. 374.
Quid numerem gentes, Atlarteosque recessus
And yet these allusions, perhaps, may relate to the islands near Mount Teneriffe ; particularly since, in the Periplus of Hanno, we are told, that when the Carthaginians were sailing on the western coast of Africa, they saw an immense mountain, whose head was lost in clouds; and out of the summit of which flames burst forth, at intervals, illuminating the sea to a great distance. This volcano, Hanno's interpreters called “the Chariot of the Gods."
The existence of Atlantis seems to have been firmly believed by many of the best ancient writers. Plato heard it from Socrates, Socrates from Critias, Critias from his grandfather, his grandfather from Solon, and Solon from the Egyptian priests. Proclus, in reference to this, relates, that Marcellus 3, in his history of Ethiopia,
· Perhaps these islands may relate to the three islands on the coast of Arabia Felix, called Panchæa; yielding myrrh and frankincense, and abounding in every natural beauty.—Diodorus describes it, v. 42.
Vid. also Plin. Nat. Hist. ii. c. 90.