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by the pope, and split the whole country into factions; | Beylan, the Gates of Syria anu Amanus of antiquity, and by joining with Count Raymond of Tripoli he which in all ages have been fortified, but in none was greatly accessory to the fall of the kingdom of more strongly than the present; yet, in consequence Jerusalem. The year of his death is uncertain, but of the successes of the Allies in other quarters, they after that event we find the principality of Antioch have recently been abandoned by the troops of the and the county of Tripoli (greatly curtailed, however, Pacha. The mountains, which these passes traverse, in extent,) both held by the same individuals, and have ever been the usual, because the natural, bounboth also claimed by the Latin kings of Cyprus. In dary of Syrịa, and they therefore afford the appropri1230, the house of Bohemond being extinct, the fief ate point for the conclusion of these sketches. was bestowed by the Emperor, Frederic II., upon his natural son Frederic, who on his death in 1251 transmitted it to his son Conrad, the last Christian

THE CORAL AND BELLS. possessor; for Conrad having visited Europe to succour his kinsman Conradin, against Charles of Anjou,

TƠ MY GODSON, . C., WITH A SMALL PRESENT. the city was in his absence captured by the Mameluke Accept, my dear babe, this slight earnest of truth sultan of Egypt, in June, 1268. The inhabitants, of From one who stands pledged for the faith of thy youth. whatever creed, were either massacred or carried into

'Tis a glittering trinket of silver and coral, slavery; the churches and convents, near 400 in num

Framed for play and for use, fraught with mirth and a moral.

Here's a whistle, shrill pitch-pipe of nursery glee; ber, and esteemed the most splendid in the East, were

Jingling bells, too, for infantile minstrelsie: levelled with the earth, and the city reduced to the And the smooth taper stem, with its deep crimson-glow, state of desolation in which it yet appears. It passed, To beguile thy first pangs of corporeal woe. with the rest of the country, from the Egyptian to

But when infancy merges in boyhood's glad prime the Circassian Mamelukes; from the latter to the

Thou shalt yield to the younger the whistle and chime, Turks, (A.D. 1516); has been since repeatedly the

And the coral, bright coral! Yet not without thought

For the marvel-born lessons thou then wouldst be taught, seat of an independent governor, and in 1832 was

Archly challenging elder instruction; which tells captured by the troops of Mehemet Ali, who still

Silver's mingled with dross, and the fool keeps the bells, hold it. During all this time it has been subordinate And that better than crystal, pearl, ruby, or gold, to Aleppo, which may be said to have risen upon its

Are the riches which Wisdom's pure precepts unfold: ruins; and though the great Syrian earthquake of

Then the coral, (no more to be mentioned than they 1822 levelled both cities, the restoration of Aleppo has

In compare of her gifts, as the holy words say*,)

Shall blushingly point to its own native sea, been far more complete than of Antioch.

An emblem of boundless eternity, Returning to the coast, about half a mile to the And timely forewarn thee of sin's sunken reef north of Swediyah, are seen the ruins of Seleucia That by little and little accumulates grief, Pieris, standing on the side and summit of a rock, While we heedlessly glide where its perils are rife, having in the plains below a walled harbour, commu

And are wrecked in full sail on the voyage of life. nicating with the sea by a canal a mile long cut in the

But this coral was torn from some beautiful pile,

A submarine temple of colnmn and aisle, rock. The situation is exceedingly strong by nature, With pagoda-like pinnacles tier upon tier, and the remains of the walls and towers prove that Which beneath the green wave tiny architects rear, no pains were spared to render it impregnable ; yet it Who anon sleep entombed in its myriad cells, has been frequently captured, and that too with little

While each billow retiring their requiem knells, resistance. There are many large and handsome exca

Till nature o'erroofs it with verdure and sheen,

And continents stretch where erst ocean had been. vated tombs, a gate towards Antioch with lofty towers,

Thus indeed, like these diligent insects, should man, and the ruins of several Christian churches; and on the

Duly plying his toil on the same Master's plan, sea shore at the mouth of the canal, where stands a In his cause upward build, though earth yields but a tomb. Christian village called Kepse, are two piers, one 350, Yet will earth be renewed with Elysian bloomt, the other 600 feet long, formed of stones of vast mag

And peopled by saints from the realms of the blest nitude. It was at Seleucis that the Apostles Paul

Attending their lord at his glorious behest, and Barnabas embarked for Cyprus. (Acts xiji. 4.)

When the sea, and the land, and the depths of the ball

Shall resound but the praise of the Father of all. The rock on which Seleucis is situated is an offshoot of the Musab Dagh, (Mountains of Moses,)

REV. T. A. IIOLLAND, which form the southern portion of the ancient • Job xxviii, 18, &c. &c. + Rev. xxii. ], &c. &c. Rhusus; the western extremity of Rhosus runs out to sea a few miles further north, ending in a bold headland, called Ras el Khanzir, at the entrance of the Bay

THE JACKDAW, (Corvus monedula.) of Scanderoun. The mountains are covered with valuable timber, which has been of late monopolized We have already presented to our readers separate by the Egyptian government; they are also rich in sketches of the character and habits of the rook, the minerals; but the rarrow plain at their foot, which crow, and the raven: we now come to another memforms the shore of the bay, is a pestilential marsh. So ber of the Corvus family, the noisy, active, and famifatal, indeed, is the climate, that though Scanderoun liar jackdaw,-a bird as well known as he is celebrated possesses the best harbour in Syria, its population does for his sagacity and cunning, for his lively bustling not consist of more than 200 persons, who are chiefly manners, and his pilfering disposition. in the employ of the government. The houses are of The jackdaw is a much smaller bird than either of the most wretched description; the town is only those we have yet described as belonging to this family. approachable by land in certain seasons of the year, It is about fourteen inches long, twice as much in the and the sea is retiring; an old building which bears stretch of the wings, and weighs about nine ounces. the name of Godfrey de Bouillon's Castle, and has in The head, bill, and legs are black, as are also the wingits walls rings for fastening boats, being now a mile coverts, and secondary quills. The nape of the neck from the beach. Some attempts have been made by is smoke-gray, and the other parts of the body are the Egyptian government to drain the marshes, but black, with bluish or violet refle ions. This is their the present aspect of affairs leads to the conclusion ordinary appearance, but we have heard of consider. that the work will proceed no further. In the vicinity able variety in the hue of these birds, some being of a of Scanderoun are the passes of Saggal Doutan and pale gray, almost approaching to white, others on the

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250

SOME ACCOUNT OF MALTA. No. III.

18. ANTIQUITIES.

any opinion as to the period at which they were excarated.

The catacombs of Citià Vecchia also belong to a doubtIn the historical sketch which we gave of Malta, we traced ful era. They are hewn out of the solid rock, and the island through the possession, successively, of the contain a labyrinth of galleries which are said to extend Tyrians, Carthaginians, Romans, Goths, Arabs, Normans, several miles in length. We traversed them for a very Knights of St. John, French, and English. Each of them considerable distance, but were constantly impeded in our held the island during a considerable period, with the progress by walls abruptly built up to prevent, so our guides exception of the French, and left behind them traces of informed us, the curious traveller losing his way amirlst their several languages, babits, architecture, &c. The the intricate passages. We saw reason to believe that these language of the Maltese is an oral one,--that is, spoken catacombs had been used as a place of refuge for the living, only, and not written in permanent characters, -and it has at a period doubtless subsequent to the age when they consequently possessed no means of recording its own

offered an asylum for the dead. changes. The habits of a people are as transient, but the Fragments of Roman marbles and coins are frequently architecture, the public and private buildings, coins, found. In a former Supplement we mentioned that a coin, domestic hardware, funereai memorials, &c., are less bearing the female figure of Britannia, which had been dostructible; these remain to tell their tale to after ages, struck for the Roman colony of Britain, was found in a and are to us the most living history of the past. Stem- sepulchral urn at Gozo. ming the stream of time, let us try to reach records of The Carthaginian and Tyrian periods of Maltese history Maltese history that are not to be found in the pages of are associated with the foundation of the old city of Rabbato ancient chroniciers.

in Gozo, and of Città Vecchia in Malta,—but from whom The good Queen Dowager of England is now building did the Tyrians, the first recorded possessors of Malta, a Protestant church at Valetta; the British parliament wrest these islands ? Were they then for the first tinie erected a fine hospital on Bighi Point: these and other peopled? or did the Celts live there before that era ? The works will record to future ages the dominion of the Celts are the most ancient inhabitants that can be traced English nation over Malta. The power of the French was in Western Europe. It is to them that we refer the oldest too limited in point of time, and we may justly add, too ruins that exist in Britain; and if we could find remains un principled, to leave any record but that of ruin. The in Malta or Gozo similar to the Celtic or Druidical erecstupendous fortifications of Valetta; the Cotonera; the tions that are extant in our own country, we should be Aquecluct; the domestic palaces, which it is sad to see fully justified in referring them to this primevai family of tenanted only by im poverished, and often noble families; Europe. the mosaic church of St. John;-these are the proper monu The most ancient specimens of Cyclopic walling to be ments of the Knights.

found in Greece is near Mycenæ. It is composed of huge Tl:e one Norman chureh that remained to tell of the masses of rock roughly hewn and piled together, with the sway of Roger, the conqueror of Sicily, was destroyed in interstices at the angles filled up with small stones, but 1832; but there still exist many remarkable relics of without mortar or cement of any kind. Whether this was early Christian art of the thirteenth, fourteenth, fifteenth, the work of Phænician colonists, or of the earlier Celtic and sixteenth centuries, during which period these islands inhabitants, is not yet determined, although the opinions of were attached to Sicily. Giuseppe Hyzler, a Maltese the learned lean strongly in favour of the latter. According artist of great talent, has lately made 300 finished drawings to Professor Heeren, the Phænician colonists arrived in of the must valuable of these works, which are, for the most Greece between 1600 and 1400 before Christ. part, wholly unknown to Europe. Mr. Hyzler enumerates, Thus it is seen that the roughly hewn rock work of

Firstly, Paintings in fresco, which adorn the wall of the Mycenæ is considered Celtic; but, in the Maltese islands, crypts, or subterranean chapels which served as places of huge unheun blocks are set up after the fashion of Druidiworship to the early Christians. The crypt of St. Agatha, cal structures, now endways, now lengthways—and in one the patroness of Malta, is hewn in the living rock, and the instance with a transverse block above, exactly as at walls were decorated with twenty-four figures nearly as Stonehenge, leaving in the mind of the beholder no doubt as large as life. Of these, some are almost entirely effaced to their Celtic origin. by damp, or crumbling of the rock; of others, enough The “Giant's Tower" at Gozo is one of the most remarkable remains to show the inimitable grace, and purity of design of these structures. We are happily enabled to give a and expression, which characterize the early specimens of ground plan of this curious enclosure, and as we measured the Tuscan school of painting. The colouring (we are every stone for ourselves upon the spot with the patient quoting froin Mr. Hyzler), where not corroded, is as temper of an antiquary, we have reason to believe that the gorgeous and harmonious as a Venetian picture, and the proportion of the several parts is retained with considerable fresco, for hardness and polish of surface, equal to the accuracy. One glance at the plan will give the reader a most celebrated of Italy.

clearer idea of the place than a personal visit would withSecondly, There are paintings on wood, cotemporaneous out it, for the immense thickness of the walls, and their with the frescos. There are several curious specimens of broken condition, prevent the observer connecting together the Byzantine school; we may particularly mention the . in his own mind the relative position of the parts. The picture of St. Paul in the cathedral at Città Vecchia, the exterior, also, is so rugged-masses of rude rock thrown as drapery of whieh, in conformity with a practice introduced it were upon one another—that the traveller might easily at a later age of Byzantine art, is covered with massive pass it by as no other than nature's order of architecture. silver in relief, the lines of the folds exactly corresponding Such, indeed, had long been its fate, for the resident told with those of the painting beneath.

us that, not many years since, he remembered shooting Thirilly, Tarsià, or inlaid wood. This art was carried to orer the spot, at which time it had scarcely attracted any perfection by the great masters of Italy in the fifteenth attention, and that since then he himself had caused the century, and a few of the most admirable productions now interior to be excavated. remain. They were the first to yield to the desolating Suppose a rough block of stone, (take for example the effects of war, or to the accidents of fire. The ground is largest in the ruin, which is 19 feet 9 inches long, and 10 composed of the noce, or black walnut wood of Sicily. We feet broad, and of a proportionate thickness,) placed horihave already spoken of a fine specimen of this work in the zontally upon the ground, and another block set up end. cathedral of Città Vecchia.

ways, close to the former, and so on, alternately, one Mr. Hyzler's labours prove the remarkable fact, that lengthways, and the next upright; and upon this foundapainting was cultivated in the island of Malta at the same tion imagine other masses of lesser magnitude piled iime that it gave signs of revival in Italy, and that it irregularly, and without cement, and the reader will have continued to advance with equal strides so long as circum- a tolerable idea of the exterior wall of the Giant's Tower. stances permitted. We know of no Arabian or Gothic traces to detain us,

In this way is described a greater curve of 196} feet, and a unless we except the sepulchral grottos in the Benjemma * So called because supposed to belong to the fabulous age of the mountains; but not having visited these, we cannot give | Cy ops, which were imaginary one-eyed and monstrous giants.

iesser curve of 136 feet 5 inches, and an irregular frontage y charged with perfumes, above all with that of the intoxiof 118 feet 7 inches, -making altogether a circumference cating orange-Hower; the May, which in England hardly of 451 feet. In the frontage are two entrances, each makes good its name, is shedding its white blossoms, and leading into two enclosures, the arrangement and relative losing its fresh odour; violets are gone; roses, carnations, size and form of which will be immediately understood by jessamine, honeysuckles, stocks, wallflowers are in full reference to the plan.

beauty. The rose of Malta, matchless for its rich and deli-' The enclosures are small compared with the extent of the cate perfume, may be had in favoured spots all the year, external walls, the intermediate space being filled up with but now it is coming out in every garden. Its fragrance is rubbish, and forming one solid wall of amazing strength. | like the most luxurious attar, tempered by the delicate freshIt would seem that l'esistance from without had been far ness of nature. Every crevice of the rock has nursed some more an object with the builders than what we might small wild tower, which is now gratefully adorning its naturally suppose necessary for the celebration of religious sterile cradle. The blue anemone, and the bright scarlet rites within, ihe purpose for which tradition says the place pheasant's-eye, and the tall white lily, and many more, are was used. It is said that the sea at one time came gone. The small blue iris, which seems to spring out of much nearer to it than at present, and that people landed the bare and solid rock, is in all its beauty; with a hundred here to worship. Names have been given to different parts more whose names I do not know. The crimson sulla, or that follow out the same idea ; besides the recesses called clover, the handsomest of crops, is disappearing, field after altars, a slightly concave surface in the pavement of the field, and the gorgeous carpet of crimson and green before largest enclosure is pointed out as the spot where burnt another week will be converted into hay. Making hay for sacrifices were offered. On the other hand, the rock-like the summer, is one of the expressions that startles an strength of the external walls; the narrow entrances, on English ear*." the sides of which are large holes, in one instance a foot in The fourth verse of the third chapter of St. Matthew is diameter, for bars or chains for the purpose of securing the well illustrated at Malta :-“And the same John had bis passage; and the very name of the Giant's Tower, would all raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his seem to denote a place of refuge ;-and such indeed might loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey." The have been the double end of the religious temples of the capote, as seen upon the quay of Valetta upon the Greek, earlier ages; the outward security offered by a building and occasionally the Maliese, is made, either of goat's made with hands, might have been the type of future peace, hair, or of long white shaggy wool, and seems to answer the promise of their faith.

exactly to our ideas of the raiment of the Baptist; while, The external walls of the Giant's Tower, together with a as regards his food, wild honey is frequently met with in circular enclosure near to the same spot, as well as some every part of the Levant, and whether the locusts mentioned ruins upon the south coast of Malta, similar to those at in the sacred text were the insects we know by that name, Gozo, we refer with confidence to the Celtic era of Maltese or the fruit of the tree so called, it matters little ; both are history, previous both to the Tyrian and Carthaginian; but to be seen at Malta, and the living habits of to-day concur there are certain portions of the Giant's Tower which we to fill up the picture represented in the above verse, for cannot but consider as additions made at a later age. The both the insect and the fruit are still eaten as food. doorways, the altars so called, a portion of the internal walls, The locust, the insect, is frequently seen at Malta, but as well as the pavements, are composed of stones neatly rarely in considerable numbers, and we are not aware that hewn, and belong altogether to a later period. In the it is ever eaten by the Maltese; but in countries where it is largest enclosure, which is 74 feet in length, and of which we more abundant--in Arabia, for example--it is considered a have given a sketch which we took on the spot, is pointed delicacy. “We saw locusts," says Niebuhr, “put into bags out a bas-relief, said to represent a dog-fish; and in the or on strings, in several parts of Arabia. In Barbary they adjoining conipartment there is an elegant scroll, sculptured are boiled, and then dried upori the roofs of the houses. The in a masterly manner upon the surface of some hewn stones. Bedouins of Egypt roast them alive, and devour them with No coins have been found in these excavations.

the utmost rapacity.” Jackson says they taste like prawns. We commenced our history with the earliest written But the locust-tree, so common in Malta and Palestine, records of Malta, and brought it down to our own times : we produces a hard dry seed, which is eaten by the poorest, for then retraced our steps backwards to a still earlier period, want of bread. This fruil is still considered hard fare, and taking the existing relics of antiquity as our guide: turning the purport of detailing the food of St. John was evidently from the past to the present, let us now regard the natural to portray his abstinent habits of life; and this indifferent and artificial products of the islands, the character and substitute for bread would have been a more natural concohabits of the natives, and their commercial resources. mitant with the wild honey than the prawn-like locusts.

Such minute questions as these, however, are wholly un19 NATURAL HISTORY.

worthy of debate upon religious grounds: as historical facts, Without hedges, and with but few trees, and these only indeed, it is curious to observe in what respects the habits of of a shrubby size, the eye of an Englishman at first sadly past generations were like those of to-day. This gives life misses his green fields and lofty forest trees; but after a

to history; but to bring such petty facts as proofs of the aushort residence upon the island, the wild carob-tree, the thenticity of Scripture is like obtruding tithes of mint and paper, and common, mulberry-tree, the Indian and Asiatic anise and cummin, and neglecting the weightier matters fig, the cotton-plant, cares and palms, groves of orange,

of the law,--judgment, mercy, and faith. If these do not lemon, and olive trees;-these and many others, by their satisfy the reader's convictions, insisted upon as they are in matchless luxuriance of fruit and tower, and by contrast

the Bible, with a power unknown in any human system of with the burning soil out of which they spring, disposeess the narrative and prevailing customs compel him to do

eibics, neither will minute and curious coincidences between from the chief place in the observer's mind the unvaried and monotonous garb of green that clothes the lowland justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with his God.” landscapes of more temperate climes.

The caper-plant grows abundantly upon the walls of There are no trees of large size, because the soil is not of

Valetta. Various medicinal plants are found here; the sufficient depth to afford either nourishment enough or

bitter or squirting cucumber, the squill, the castor oil plant, anchorage against the winds, that blow here sometimes &c.; but the most curious vegetable production of these with the fury of a hurricane. There is no general verdure

islands is the Fungus Melitensis. to comfort the eye, except in winter and spring, because

Most general readers are acquainted with the gigantic the temperature which ripens tropical fruits' is intolerable flower discovered by Dr. Arnold in 1818, and nanied after to the vegetation of European plants. These two facts

him and Sir Stamford Raffles, with whom he traveiled; stated and accounted for, we have said ali that can be but few are aware that the Mediterranean produces a simibrought to detract from the capabilities and beauty of the lar plant, small indeed, but belonging to the same natural Maltese country. On the other hand, the winter at Malta

vegetable division. The Maltese champignon, or mushis like an English spring, and the spring is the parallel of

room of Malta, the Fungus Meliiensis of old botanists, and our summer, but the summer and autumn are altogether the Cynomarium coccineum of modern ones, is no mushroom African and Asiatic. The unbroken weather seems indeed properiy so called, but an extremely curious production, more like one “long bright golden day," than the uncertain agreeing with the Rafflesia Arnoldi, and a few others, in: season which we call summer.

the following particulars. A day of March at Malta has thus been described, and

These plants have no proper roots of their own, and they will prove that this spot is not destitute of beauty that is derive their nourishment from the vegetables on which they familiar to us here in our daily paths. “Now the air is

of Quoted from the Atheneum, No. 550, p.314.

545–2

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