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tions and the galaxy of our heavens me in my anguish-« Oh! creature stood far below our feet as a little of little faith! Look up! the most nebula amongst other yet more dis- ancient light is coming!” I looked ; tant nebulæ. Thus we flew on and in a moment came a twilightthrough the starry wildernesses: one in the twinkling of an eye a galaxy, heaven after another unfurled its im- and then with a choral burst rushed measurable banners before us, and in all the company of stars.
For then rolled up behind us : galaxy be- centuries gray with age, for millenhind galaxy towered up into solemn nia hoary with antiquity, had the altitudes before which the spirit shud- starry light been on its road to us; dered; and they stood in long array and at length out of heights inaccesthrough the fields of the infinite space sible to thought it had reached us. like triumphal gates through which Now then, as through some renothe Infinite Being might pass in pro- vated century, we flew through new gress.-Sometimes the Form that cycles of heavens. At length again lightened would outfly my weary came a starless interval; and far thoughts; and then it would be seen longer it endured, before the beams far off before me like a coruscation of a starry host again had reached amongst the stars till suddenly I us. thought again to myself the thought As we thus advanced for ever of There, and then I was at its side. through an interchange of nights and But, as we were thus swallowed up by solar heavens,and as the interval grew one abyss of stars after another, and still longer and longer before the last the heavens above our eyes were not heaven we had quitted contracted to emptier-neither were the heavens a point,--and as once we issued sudbelow them fuller; and as suns with- denly from the middle of thickest out intermission fell into the solar night into an Aurora Borealis the ocean like water-spouts of a storm herald of an expiring world, and we which fall into the ocean of waters; found throughout this cycle of solar —then at length the human heart systems that a day of judgment had within me was overburthened and indeed arrived; the suns had sickenweary, and yearned after some nare ed, and the planets were heavingrow cell or quiet oratory in this me- rocking-yawning in convulsions, the tropolitan cathedral of the universe. subterraneous waters of the great And I said to the Form at my side deeps were breaking up, and light“ Oh! Spirit! has then this universe nings that were ten diameters of a no end?
And the Form answered world in length ran along--from east and said—“ Lo! it has no be- to west-from Zenith to Nadir; and ginning."
here and there, where a sun should Suddenly however the heavens have been, we saw instead through above us appeared to be emptied, the misty vapour a gloomy-ashyand not a star was seen to twinkle in leaden corpse of a solar body, that the mighty abyss—no gleam of light sucked in flames from the perishing to break the unity of the infinite world—but gave out neither light nor darknese. The starry hosts behind heat; and as I saw, through a vista us had all contracted into an obscure which had no end, mountain towering nebula : and at length that also had above mountain and piled up with what vanished. And I thought to myself, seemed glittering snow from the con-"At last the universe has ended :" flict of solar and planetary bodies ;and I trembled at the thought of the then my spirit bent under the load of illimitable dungeon of pure-pure the universe, and I said to the Form darkness which here began to im- “Rest, rest: and lead me no farther : prison the creation : I shuddered at I am too solitary in the creation itthe dead sea of nothing, in whose self; and in its desarts yet more so: unfathomable zone of blackness the the full world is great, but the empty jewel of the glittering universe seem- world is greater; and with the unied to be set and buried for ever: and verse increase its Zaarahs.” through the night in which we moved Then the Form touched me like the I saw
the Form which still lightened the flowing of a breath, and spoke as before but left all around it un- more gently than before: “ In the illuminated. Then the Form said to presence of God there is no emptiness: above, below, between, and the whole creation, and lengthens as round about the stars, in the dark- any finite being attempts to raise it. ness and in the light, dwelleth the And in sight of this immeasurability true and very Universe, the sum and of life, no sadness could endure; vut fountain of all that is. But thy spi- only joy that knew no limit, and rit can bear only earthly images of happy prayers. the unearthly: now then I cleanse But in the midst of this great vision thy sight with euphrasy; look forth, of the Universe the Form that lightand behold the images.” Imme- ened eternally had become invisible, diately my eyes were opened ; and or had vanished to its home in the I looked, and I saw as it were an in- unseen world of spirits: I was left terminable sea of light-sea' immea- alone in the centre of a universe of surable; sea unfathomable, sea with life, and I yearned after some symout a shore. All spaces between all pathising being. Suddenly from the heavens were filled with happiest starry deeps there came floating light: and there was a thundering through the ocean of light a planetary of floods :' and there were seas above body; and upon it there stood a the seas, and seas below the seas: woman whose face was as the face and I saw all the trackless regions of a Madonna; and by her side there that we had voyaged over: and my stood a child, whose countenance eye comprehended the farthest and varied not neither was it magnified the nearest : and darkness had be- as he drew nearer. This child was a come light, and the light darkness: King, for I saw that he had a crown for the desarts and wastes of the upon his head: but the crown was a creation were now filled with the crown of thorns. Then also I persea of light, and in this sea the suns ceived that the planetary body was floated like ash-gray blossoms, and our unhappy earth: and, as the earth the planets like black grains of seed. drew near, this child who had come Then my heart comprehended that forth from the starry deeps to comimmortality dwelled in the spaces fort me threw upon me a look of genbetween the worlds, and death only tlest pity and of unutterable loveamongst the worlds. Upon all the so that in my heart I had a sudden suns there walked upright shadows rapture of joy such as passes all unin the form of men: but they were derstanding; and I awoke in the tuglorified when they quitted these pe- mult of my happiness. rishable worlds, and when they sank I awoke: but my happiness surinto the sea of light: and the murky vived my dream: and I exclaimedplanets, I perceived, were but cra- Oh! how beautiful is death, seeing dles for the infant spirits of the uni- that we die into a world of life and verse of light. In the Zaarahs of the of creation without end! and I creation I saw-I heard—I felt—the blessed God for my life upon earth, glittering—the echoing—the breath- but much more for the life in those ing of life and creative power. unseen depths of the universe which The suns
were but as spinning- are emptied of all but the Supreme wheels, the planets no more than Reality, and where no earthly life nor weavers' shuttles, in relation to the perishable hope can enter. infinite web which composes the veil
X. Y. Z. of Isis ; * which veil is hung over
* On this antique mode of symbolizing the mysterious Nature which is at the heart of all things and connects all things into one whole, possibly the reader may feel not une willing to concur with Kant's remark at p. 197, of his Critik der Urtheilskraft: “Per. haps in all human composition there is no passage of greater sublimity, nor amongst all sublime thoughts any which has been more sublimely expressed, than that which occurs. in the inscription upon the temple of Isis (the Great Mother-Nature): I am whatsoever is_whatsoever has been—whatsoever shall be: and the veil which is over my counte. nance, no mortal hand has ever raised.".
CAPTAIN W. H. SMYTH'S MEMOIR
DESCRIPTIVE OF SICILY AND ITS ISLANDS.*
Time was, when a pbilosopher and the British empire; we like to would have deliberated for one or a national work brought out, two years, whether he should under like this, in a style befitting the natake to write a quarto volume, and tional grandeur. But with respect his printer for at least half a dozen, to the body of the work, the “ Mebefore he would have ventured to moir” itself, an humble octavo with publish it. "The world has grown moderate type and margin, would be bolder, however, if not wiser ; au- fully sufficient to the display of its thors and printers have at length merits. Nay, we have often collecthappily got rid of their foolish ter- ed from a slight duodecimo (fairly rors, and the only question now is, printed too) as much information as whether the former shall write quar- is here expanded over three huntos, or the latter publish them, with dred pages. The importance of the the least consideration. Readers, matter contained in this part of the too, have begun to regard these book is by no means commensurate a terrible big books” in a light not with the magnificence in which it is altogether so appalling: like Fabri- arrayed; we undertake to say, that cius and the elephant, the simplest the really useful portion of it, in a of us all can now look a quarto- pretty sizeable type, might be imauthor straight in the face, without pressed with the utmost ease on the trembling or taking to his heels at margin alone. This much it was the sight of so prodigious a creature. our duty to premise, in order that In fact, the prejudice is now begin- the public should not think, when ning to set the other way; six or they buy fifty shillings' worth of seven pounds' weight of solid paper, paper and printing, that they also enclosed between two royal squares buy fifty shillings' worth of genius of paste-board, and printed in tele- and knowledge. We will now prograph letter, are prima facie pre- ceed to a brief analysis of the work. sumptions that it is either a book of The author is evidently a man of poetry, a tour, or a “ sketch," which education; and the scientific part: encumbers our table: and, for our of his work appears to us clear, own part, upon being introduced to precise, and satisfactory. His first the author of a quarto which we chapter discusses what may be genehave not read, we instinctively look rally denominated the superficial under his cape for a glimpse of the character of the island : ex. gr. long ears, and expect almost to hear
GEOLOGY.-From many peculiarities obhim bray, when he first opens his servable in the stratification and direction mouth, ,--so great are our suspicions. of its mountains, it has been inferred that
Sicily and its islands came before Sicily was once joined to the continent, and us underall these disadvantages of that it was separated by some dreadful imposing shape, fine print, and ele- convulsion of nature, beyond the reach of gant paper; nor was the unfavoure history or tradition : and, as some suppose, able impression completely removed before the craters of Stromboli
, Ætna, Ve till we got to the appendix of the suvius, and Lipari, gave vent to the subvolume. This, as a nautical docu- terraneous fires. The whole of Sicily, its ment, conveying important informa- adjacent islands, and the south of Italy, tion, and being moreover intended tive earthquakes, and other volcanic phe
being still subject to frequent and destructo accompany the Atlas of Sicily, nomena, adds much to the probability of previously published, ought to ap- the supposed ancient connexion between pear on a scale worthy of the subject the Apennine and Neptunian ranges.
* Memoir descriptive of the Resources, Inhabitants, and Hydrography of Sicily and its Islands, interspersed with Antiquarian and other Notices. By Captain' w, H. Smyth, R. N. R. S. F., &c. 4to. London, 1824. J. Murray, 21. 12s. 6d. MARCH, 1824.
Next to Ætna, the principal mountains of ravines, through which they rush with imSicily are the Madonia and Pelorean or petuosity to the sea, carrying every thing Neptunian ranges, forming the north and before them. Their strength, however, north-eastern coasts, and from thence gra- soon exhausts itself; and when dry, their dually shelving down to the south-west channels become tolerable roads to the dispart of the island, with inferior chains di- tance of three or four miles inland, exhi. verging in various ramifications. These biting peculiar picturesque beauties. The are of a primitive formation, more or less boisterous force of the Fiumare while flow. covered with a calcareous stratum, inter- ing, the badness of the roads, and the want mixed with pyrites, schistus, talc, and ma. of bridges, render travelling in the winter rine deposits, and abounding with mineral dangerous, and at times wholly impracriches and organic remains. The soil ticable. affords great variety, being loamy, argilla- Travelling in Sicily is by no means an ceous, aluminous, siliceous, or calcareous ; easy undertaking at any season ; the mode and of considerable depth. By the genial of proceeding being either on mules, or on influence of the climate, vegetation is ren. horseback, but more generally in a lettiga dered quick and abundant, and the country (a corruption of lectica), a kind of narrow is altogether one of the most productive chaise, with room for two persons to sit spots on earth. This fecundity may be opposite to each other, mounted on two long owing, in part, to a volcanic influence, for poles, and carried by mules at the average lava, scoriæ, and ashes, are not confined to rate of three miles and a half an hour. the neighbourhood of Ætna, but extend from that mountain to Cape Passaro. little different from a double-sedan,
The lettiga thus appears to be Masses of pozzolana occur at Leutini, Vize zini, Palazzolo, and Palica ; and various except that it is borne by mules insubstances, that have evidently undergone stead of men. If the reputed obstithe action of fire, are observable in several nacy of the former animal adhere to parts of the interior, where the superin- him in Sicily, a traveller might often cumbent strata have been riven by tor. find himself in curious predicaments, rents. The central divisions of the island whilst he thus lies at the mercy of contain large tracts of bitumen, and though his forefooted chairmen, perhaps on sulphur is rather a cause than a product of the summit of a precipice, or in the volcanos, it may be noticed, that it is found middle of a fiumare. in immense quantities at Mussumeli, Cato tolica, Girgenti, Naro, Mazzarino, and of method and scholastic learning
There is a considerable display Alicata.
throughout this volume. In a geoThe general aspect of Sicily is graphical treatise especially, the mountainous and varied :
system of regular classification is not The appearance of the coast of the is- only useful, but almost indispensaland is romantic, and formed by nature ble; it may nevertheless be carried into strong positions of defence ; while the further than is necessary or agreeable. interior presents a combination of mountains, ravines, and valleys, the latter of ductive of the confusion which it is
Besides, it is not infrequently prowhich, in many parts, branch out into extensive plains, presenting a pleasing as.
introduced to dispel. Thus, for insemblage of rural scenes, possessing a soil stance, the first portion of this work exuberantly fertile, and animated by nu
is subdivided with logical precision merous flocks and herds scattered around. into the several departments of geoThe hilly regions presenting, alternately, logy, mineralogy, climate, aspect, undulating slopes, bold crags, and rugged produce, and resources; yet we may elevations, with woody declivities abound be permitteni to question what light ing with elms, chesnuts, pines, oaks, ash, the latter part of the division throws and other timber, complete the prospect. upon the subject. There may, we
Travelling, as may be supposed, acknowledge, be some doubt wheover such a country is difficult as ther “ tunnies” (which are classed well as delightful; and the danger is under resources can be properly considerably increased, in the winter said to grow upon the shores of the season, by those heavy rains which island whence they derive their susare peculiar to sultry climates : tenance, but there can be none, we
The violent rains that deluge the island apprehend, whatever, that wheat, at this season swell the rivers, damage the grapes, olives, and other vegetable roads, and set the Fiumare running; these products enumerated, form a principal are torrents, occasioned by the waters de resource of the kingdom. We cite svending from the mountains into deep this venial error, merely because we think the practice of making dis- COMMUNITY.--The Sicilians are of a tinctions without differences" is too middle stature, and well made, with dark prevalent amongst our modern tra- eyes, and coarse black hair ; they have betvellers, who would fain give an ap- ter features than complexions, and attain pearance of magnitude and import- maturity, and begin to decline, earlier than ance to that which is really insigni- In conversation they are cheerful, inquisi
the inhabitants of more northern regions. ficant.
tive and fanciful, with a redundance of unThe beauty of continuity is like
meaning compliments, showing themselves wise sacrificed, by the system of di- not so deficie. in natural talents, as in the viding and decomposing a voyage or due cultivation of them. Their delivery is a tour, a memoir or an itinerary, vehement, rapid, full of action, and their gesinto separate, independent articles. ticulation violent; the latter is so significant The mind does not flow over the page, as almost to possess the powers of speech, and but has, every now and then, to stop animates them with a peculiar vivacity, bor and prepare itself for a new course of dering, however, rather on conceits than wit, reflection. In the popular part of on farce than humour. But the principal the work before us, where the rigour characteristic is an effeminate laziness among of philosophical arrangement might, attempt to excuse, by alleging the intense without any disadvantage, be ex
heat of the climate, without taking exchanged for the ease and grace of a ample from the warmer regions of Egypt looser narrative, our author still pro- and India, or the energy of the British coceeds with inflexible gravity, to dis- lonists in the torrid zone; in fact, they patch-NOBLES, MECHANICS, LAW- have a practical illustration close to them, YERS, PEASANTS, Nuns, and Relie in the hardy labor and patient industry of GIOUS Institutions, under these spe- the peasants, calessiers, and porters, of cific heads and designations. The eye
Malta. stumbles upon a heap of large Roman Are they so ignorant of their own capitals at the beginning of every third annals, as not to know that their or fourth paragraph, and the second Island was once the granary of Italy, Chapter, instead of exhibiting the and that it was the labour of the SiciSicilian community as it exists, and lian husbandman which formerly supas the spectator must have beheld it, plied the physical energies of the Ropresents us with an elaborate draught man legions ? of each independent particular, leav- Notwithstanding our author's proing it to us to combine, as we may, the pensity to classification, division, and heterogeneous mass into an harmonic mathematical exactness, there is a ous picture. Separate essays upon good deal of what Lady Macbeth diet, dwellings, burials, births, mar- would call, admirable disorder, in riages, &c. &c. &c. each subject be- his method of arranging his subjects. ing carefully set apart and labelled One would naturally suppose that for distinct perusal, gives the volume, the disposition of the people should in our opinion, less the appearance be next spoken of, after their outof a “ Memoir," than of a Treatise ward form and manners had been on Physic, or a Book of Cookery. described; yet more than a dozen It must however be recollected, that different lots of dissertation occur be Captain Smyth is a Fellow of the tween COMMUNITY and Disrosition, Astronomical Society, and was sent the latter being found above twenty out by the Lords Commissioners of pages onwards, where we least exthe Admiralty for the express pur- pected it, most preposterously inpose of drawing up a complete Sur- terposed between Amusements and vey of Sicily; the habits of the se- FESTIVALS-two kindred discussions. verer sciences may have unfitted his Such a very unceremonious diversimind for the discursive familiarity of fication of matter would be, per, narration, and he may have thought haps, excusable in an easy journal that their Lordships would be bet- or memoir, but the lucidus ordo shoulà ter pleased with an accurate than not be attempted in a work of this an elegant display of his acquired kind, unless it could be in some information. We must therefore ba- measure attained. We are sorry to lance the loss of ease and freedom perceive that the scale in which we with the profit of exactness and per- had deposited our author's “ exactspicuity.
ness and perspicuity,” as some com