« 前へ次へ »
depth and variety of learning, and a more perfect perusal, which allowed me to feel nothing but the command of his intellectual treasures. It was not interest of a narrative, always animated, and, notmerely with the main stream of Roman history that withstanding its extent and the variety of objects he was familiar. All its accessaries and tributaries which it makes to pass before the view, always -the art of war, philosophy, theology, jurisprudence, perspicuous, I entered upon a minute examination geography (down to its minutest point), every shade of the details of which it was composed, and the of manners, opinions, and public character, in Roman opinion which I then formed was, I confess, sinand contemporaneous history, he had studied with gularly severe. I discovered, in certain chapters, laborious diligence and complete success. Hume errors which appeared to me sufficiently important was elaborate, but it was only with respect to style. and numerous to make me believe that they had Errors in fact and theory were perpetuated through been written with extreme negligence; in others, I every edition, while the author was purifying his was struck with a certain tinge of partiality and periods and weeding out Scotticisms. The labour prejudice, which imparted to the exposition of the of Gibbon was directed to higher objects—to the facts that want of truth and justice which the Engaccumulation of facts, and the collation of ancient | lish express by their happy term, misrepresentation. authors. His style, once fixed, remained unaltered. Some imperfect quotations, some passages omitted In erudition and comprehensiveness of intellect, unintentionally or designedly, have cast a suspicion Gibbon may therefore be pronounced the first of on the honesty of the author; and his violation of English historians. The vast range of his subject, the first law of history-increased to my eyes by and the tone of dignity which he preserves through- the prolonged attention with which I occupied out the whole of his capacious circuit, also give him myself with every phrase, every note, every refleca superiority over his illustrious rivals. In concen- tion-caused me to form on the whole work a judgtrating his information, and presenting it in a clear ment far too rigorous. After having finished my and lucid order, he is no less remarkable, while his labours, I allowed some time to elapse before I revivid imagination, quickening and adorning his viewed the whole. A second attentive and regular varied knowledge, is fully equal to his other powers. perusal of the entire work, of the notes of the author, He identifies himself with whatever he describes, and of those which I had thought it right to subjoin, and paints local scenery, national costume or man- showed me how much I had exaggerated the imners, with all the force and animation of a native portance of the reproaches which Gibbon really or eye-witness. These solid and bright acquirements deserved : I was struck with the same errors, the of the historian were not, however, without their same partiality on certain subjects; but I had been drawbacks. His mind was more material or sen- far from doing adequate justice to the immensity sual than philosophical-more fond of splendour of his researches, the variety of his knowledge, and, and display than of the beauty of virtue or the above all, to that truly philosophical discrimination grandeur of moral heroism. His taste was vitiated justesse d'esprit) which judges the past as it would and impure, so that his style is not only deficient in judge the present; which does not permit itself to chaste simplicity, but is disfigured by offensive be blinded by the clouds which time gathers around pruriency and occasional grossness. His lofty ornate the dead, and which prevent us from seeing that diction fatigues by its uniform pomp and dignity, under the toga as under the modern dress, in the notwithstanding the graces and splendour of his senate as in our councils, men were what they still animated narrative. Deficient in depth of moral are, and that events took place eighteen centuries feeling and elevation of sentiment, Gibbon seldom ago as they take place in our days. I then felt touches the heart or inspires true enthusiasm. that his book, in spite of its faults, will always be The reader admires his glittering sentences, his a noble work; and that we may correct his errors, tournaments, and battle-pieces, his polished irony and combat his prejudices, without ceasing to admit and masterly sketches of character; he marvels that few men have combined, if we are not to say at his inexhaustible learning, and is fascinated in so high a degree, at least in a manner so complete by his pictures of military conquest and Asiatic and so well regulated, the necessary qualifications luxury, but he still feels, that, as in the state of for a writer of history.' ancient Rome itself, the seeds of ruin are developed amidst flattering appearances : 'the florid bloom [Opinion of the Ancient Philosophers on the Immortality but ill conceals the fatal malady which preys upon
of the Soul.] the vitals."* The want of one great harmonising spirit of humanity and genuine philosophy to give The writings of Cicero represent in the most lively unity to the splendid mass, becomes painfully visible colours the ignorance, the errors, and the uncertainty on a calm review of the entire work. After one of the ancient philosophers with regard to the immorattentive study of Gibbon, when the mind has be- tality of the soul. When they are desirous of arming come saturated with his style and manner, we sel- their disciples against the fear of death, they inculdom recur to his pages excepting for some particu- cate, as an obvious though melancholy position, that lar fact or description. Such is the importance of the fatal stroke of our dissolution releases us from the simplicity and purity in a voluminous narrative, calamities of life; and that those can no longer suffer that this great historian is seldom read but as a who no longer exist. Yet there were a few sages of study, while Hume and Robertson are always per- Greece and Rome who had conceived a more exalted, used as a pleasure.
and in some respects a juster idea of human nature; The work of Gibbon has been translated into though, it must be confessed, that in the sublime inFrench, with notes by M. Guizot, the distinguished quiry, their reason had often been guided by their philosopher and statesman. The remarks of Guizot, imagination, and that their imagination had been with those of Wenck, a German commentator, and prompted by their vanity. When they viewed with numerous original illustrations and corrections, are complacency the extent of their own mental powers ; embodied in a fine edition by Mr Milman, in twelve when they exercised the various faculties of memory, volumes, published by Mr Murray, London, in 1838. of fancy, and of judgment, in the most profound M. Guizot has thus recorded his own impressions on speculations, or the most important labours; and when reading Gibbon's history :- After a first rapid they reflected on the desire of fame, which transported
them into future ages, far beyond the bounds of death and of the grave; they were unwilling to confound
* Hall on the Causes of the Present Discontents.
themselves with the beasts of the field, or to suppose double wall was of a circular form; and such was the that a being, for whose dignity they entertained the rapid increase of a capital now dwindled to a provincial most sincere admiration, could be limited to a spot town, that the funeral of a popular saint might be of earth, and to a few years of duration. With this attended by eight hundred thousand men and sixty favourable prepossession, they summoned to their aid thousand women of Bagdad and the adjacent villages. the science, or rather the language, of metaphysics. In this city of peace, amidst the riches of the east, They soon discovered, that as none of the properties the Abbassides soon disdained the abstinence and of matter will apply to the operations of the mind, frugality of the first caliphs, and aspired to emuthe human soul must consequently be a substance late the magnificence of the Persian kings. After his distinct from the body-pure, simple, and spiritual, wars and buildings, Almansor left behind him in gold incapable of dissolution, and susceptible of a much and silver about thirty millions sterling; and this higher degree of virtue and happiness after the release treasure was exhausted in a few years by the vices or from its corporeal prison. From these specious and virtues of his children. His son Mahadi, in a single noble principles, the philosophers who trod in the pilgrimage to Mecca, expended six millions of dinars footsteps of Plató deduced a very unjustifiable conclu- of gold. A pious and charitable motive may sanctify sion, since they asserted not only the future immor- the foundation of cisterns and caravanseras, which he tality, but the past eternity of the human soul, which distributed along a measured road of seven hundred they were too apt to consider as a portion of the infi- miles; but his train of camels, laden with snow, nite and self-existing spirit, which pervades and sus- could serve only to astonish the natives of Arabia, tains the universe. A doctrine thus removed beyond and to refresh the fruits and liquors of the royal banthe senses and the experience of mankind might serve quet. The courtiers would surely praise the liberality to amuse the leisure of a philosophic mind; or, in the of his grandson Almamon, who gave away four-fifths silence of solitude, it might sometimes impart a ray of the income of a province-a sum of two millions of comfort to desponding virtue ; but the faint impres- four hundred thousand gold dinars before he drew sion which had been received in the school was soon his foot from the stirrup. At the nuptials of the same obliterated by the commerce and business of active prince, a thousand pearls of the largest size were life. We are sufficiently acquainted with the eminent showered on the head of the bride, and a lottery of persons who fourished in the age of Cicero, and of the lands and houses displayed the capricious bounty of first Cæsars, with their actions, their characters, and fortune. The glories of the court were brightened their motives, to be assured that their conduct in this rather than impaired in the decline of the empire, life was never regulated by any serious conviction of and a Greek ambassador might admire or pity the the rewards or punishments of a future state.* At magnificence of the feeble Moctader. “The caliph's the bar and in the senate of Rome the ablest orators whole army,' says the historian Abulfeda, 'both horse were not apprehensive of giving offence to their hear- and foot, was under arms, which together made a ers by exposing that doctrine as an idle and extra- body of one hundred and sixty thousand men. His vagant opinion, which was rejected with contempt state-officers, the favourite slaves, stood near him in by every man of a liberal education and under- splendid apparel, their belts glittering with gold and standing.
gems. Near them were seven thousand eunuchs, four Since, therefore, the most sublime efforts of philo- thousand of them white, the remainder black. The sophy can extend no farther than feebly to point out porters or doorkeepers were in number seren hundred. the desire, the hope, or at most the probability, of a Barges and boats, with the most superb decorations, future state, there is nothing except a divine reve were seen swimming upon the Tigris. Nor was the lation that can ascertain the existence and describe place itself less splendid, in which were hung up the condition of the invisible country which is des- thirty-eight thousand pieces of tapestry, twelve thoutined to receive the souls of men after their separation sand five hundred of which were of silk embroidered from the body.
with gold. The carpets on the floor were twenty-two thousand. A hundred lions were brought out, with
a keeper to each lion. Among the other spectacles of [The City of Bagdad—Magnificence of the Caliphs.]
rare and stupendous luxury, was a tree of gold and Almansor, the brother and successor of Saffah, laid silver spreading into eighteen large branches, on the foundations of Bagdad (A.D. 762), the imperial which, and on the lesser boughs, sat a variety of birds seat of his posterity during a reign of five hundred years. made of the same precious metals, as well as the The chosen spot is on the eastern bank of the 'T'igris, leaves of the tree. While the machinery affected about fifteen miles above the ruins of Modain : the spontaneous motions, the several birds warbled their
natural harmony. Through this scene of magnificence * This passage of Gibbon is finely illustrated in Tall's the Greek ambassador was led by the visier to the foot Funeral Sermon for Dr Ryland :
of the caliph's throne.' In the west, the Ommiades *If the mere conception of the reunion of good men in a of Spain supported, with equal pomp, the title of future state infused a momentary rapture into the mind of commander of the faithful. Three miles from CorTully; if an airy speculation, for there is reason to fear it had dova, in honour of his favourite sultana, the third and little bold on his convictions, could inspire him with such de- greatest of the Abdalrahmans constructed the city, light, what may we be expected to foel who are assured of such palace, and gardens of Zehra. Twenty-five years, and an event by the true sayings of God! How should we rejoice in above three millions sterling, were employed by the the prospect, the certainty rather, of spending a blissful eter-founder: his liberal taste invited the artists of Connity with those whom we loved on earth, of seeing them stantinople, the most skilful sculptors and architects emerge from the ruins of the tomb, and the deeper ruins of of the age; and the buildings were sustained or the fall, not only uninjured, but refined and perfected, “ with adorned by twelve hundred columns of Spanish and every tear wiped from their eyes," standing before the throne of African, of Greek and Italian marble. The hall of God and the Lamb, “in white robes, and palms in their hands, audience was incrusted with gold and pearls, and a crying with a loud voice, Salvation to God that sitteth upon the throne, and to the Lamb, for ever and ever!" What delight will great bason in the centre was surrounded with the it afford to renew the sweet counsel we have taken together,
curious and costly figures of birds and quadrupeds. to rocount the toils of combat and the labour of the way, and in a lofty pavilion of the gardens, one of these basons to approach not the house bu throne of God in company, and fountains, so delightful in a sultry climate, was in order to join in the symphony of heavenly voices, and lose replenished not with water but with the purest quickourselves amidst the splendours and fruitions of the beatific silver. The seraglio of Abdalrahman, his wives, convision.'
cubines, and black eunuchs, amounted to six thousand
three hundred persons; and he was attended to the brutal force, they burst the first barrier, but they were field by a guard of twelve thousand horse, whose belts driven back with shame and slaughter to the camp: and scimitars were studded with gold.
the influence of vision and prophecy was deadened by In a private condition, our desires are perpetually the too frequent abuse of those pious stratagems, and repressed by poverty and subordination; but the lives time and labour were found to be the only means of and labours of millions are devoted to the service of victory. The time of the siege was indeed fulfilled in a despotic prince, whose laws are blindly obeyed, and forty days, but they were forty days of calamity and whose wishes are instantly gratified. Our imagina- anguish. A repetition of the old complaint of famine tion is dazzled by the splendid picture ; and what may be imputed in some degree to the voracious or diserer may be the cool dictates of reason, there are few orderly appetite of the Franks, but the stony soil of among us who would obstinately refuse a trial of the Jerusalem is almost destitute of water; the scanty comforts and the cares of royalty. It may therefore springs and basty torrents were dry in the summer seabe of some use to borrow the experience of the same son; nor was the thirst of the besiegers relieved, as in Abdalrahman, whose magnificence has perhaps excited the city, by the artificial supply of cisterns and aqueour admiration and envy, and to transcribe an authen- ducts. The circumjacent country is equally destitute tic memorial which was found in the closet of the de- of trees for the uses of shade or building, but some ceased caliph. 'I have now reigned above fifty years large beams were discovered in a cave by the cruin victory or peace; beloved by my subjects, dreaded saders: a wood near Sichem, the enchanted grove of by my enemies, and respected by my allies. Riches Tasso, was cut down : the necessary timber was tranand honours, power and pleasure, have waited on my sported to the camp by the vigour and dexterity of call, nor does any earthly blessing appear to have Tancred; and the engines were framed by some Gebeen wanting to my felicity. In this situation I noese artists, who had fortunately landed in the harhave diligently numbered the days of pure and genu- bour of Jaffa. Two movable turrets were constructed ine happiness which have fallen to my lot: they at the expense and in the stations of the Duke of Loramount to fourteen. O man! place not thy confi- raine and the Count of Tholouse, and rolled forwards dence in this present world.'
with devout labour, not to the most accessible but
to the most neglected parts of the fortification. Ray[Conquest of Jerusalem by the Crusaders, A. D. 1099.]
mond's tower was reduced to ashes by the fire of the
besieged, but his colleague was more vigilant and Jerusalem has derived some reputation from the successful; the enemies were driven by his archers number and importance of her memorable sieges. It from the rampart; the drawbridge was let down; and was not till after a long and obstinate contest that on a Friday, at three in the afternoon, the day and Babylon and Rome could prevail against the obsti- hour of the Passion, Godfrey of Bouillon stood vicnacy of the people, the craggy ground that might torious on the walls of Jerusalem. His example was supersede the necessity of fortifications, and the walls followed on every side by the emulation of valour; and towers that would have fortified the most acces- and about four hundred and sixty years after the consible plain. These obstacles were diminished in the quest of Omar, the holy city was rescued from the age of the crusades. The bulwarks had been com- Mohammedan yoke. In the pillage of public and pripletely destroyed and imperfectly restored : the Jews, vate wealth, the adventurers had agreed to respect the their nation and worship, were for ever banished; but exclusive property of the first occupant; and the nature is less changeable than man, and the site of spoils of the great mosque-seventy lamps and massy Jerusalem, though somewhat softened and somewhat vases of gold and silver-rewarded the diligence and removed, was still strong against the assaults of an displayed the generosity of Tancred. A bloody sacrienemy. By the experience of a recent siege, and a fice was offered by his mistaken votaries to the God three years' possession, the Saracens of Egypt had been of the Christians : resistance might provoke, but taught to discern, and in some degree to remedy, the neither age nor sex could mollify their implacable defects of a place which religion as well as honour rage; they indulged themselves three days in a proforbade them to resign. Aladin or Iftikhar, the miscuous massacre, and the infection of the dead caliph's lieutenant, was intrusted with the defence; bodies produced an epidemical disease. After seventy his policy strove to restrain the native Christians by thousand Moslems had been put to the sword, and the the dread of their own ruin and that of the holy harmless Jews had been burnt in their synagogue, sepulchre; to animate the Moslems by the assurance they could still reserve a multitude of captives whom of temporal and eternal rewards. His garrison is said interest or lassitude persuaded them to spare. Of to have consisted of forty thousand Turks and Ara- these savage heroes of the cross, Tancred alone bebians; and if he could muster twenty thousand of trayed some sentiments of compassion ; yet we may the inhabitants, it must be confessed that the besieged praise the more selfish lenity of Raymond, who granted were more numerous than the besieging army. Had a capitulation and safe conduct to the garrison of the the diminished strength and numbers of the Latins citadel. The holy sepulchre was now free; and the allowed them to grasp the whole circumference of bloody victors prepared to accomplish their vow. four thousand yards (about two English miles and a Bareheaded and barefoot, with contrite hearts, and in half), to what useful purpose should they have de- a humble posture, they ascended the hill of Calvary scended into the valley of Ben Himmon and torrent amidst the loud anthems of the clergy; kissed the of Cedron, or approached the precipices of the south stone which had covered the Saviour of the world, and east, from whence they had nothing either to and bedewed with tears of joy and penitence the hope or fear? Their siege was more reasonably monument of their redemption. directed against the northern and western sides of the city. Godfrey of Bouillon erected his standard on the first swell of Mount Calvary; to the left, as
[Appearance and Character of Mahomet.] far as St Stephen's gate, the line of attack was con According to the tradition of his companions, Matinued by Tancred and the two Roberts ; and Count homet was distinguished by the beauty of his personRaymond established his quarters from the citadel to an outward gift which is seldom despised, except by the foot of Mount Sion, which was no longer included those to whom it has been refused. Before he spoke, within the precincts of the city. On the fifth day, the orator engaged on his side the affections of a pubthe crusaders made a general assault, in the fanatic lic or private audience. They applauded his comhope of battering down the walls without engines, and manding presence, his majestic aspect, his piercing of scaling them without ladders. By the dint of | eye, his gracious smile, his flowing beard, his counte
nance that painted every sensation of the soul, and (Term of the Conquest of Timour, or Tamerlane; his his gestures that enforced each expression of the Triumph at Samarcand; his Death on the Road to tongue. In the familiar offices of life he scrupulously, China (A. D. 1405); Character and Merits of Timour.] adhered to the grave and ceremonious politeness of his country: his respectful attention to the rich and From the Irtish and Volga to the Persian Gulf, powerful was dignified by his condescension and affa- and from the Ganges to Damascus and the Archipe bility to the poorest citizens of Mecca; the frankness lago, Asia was in the hand of Timour; his armies of his manner concealed the artifice of his views ; and were invincible, his ambition was boundless, and his the habits of courtesy were imputed to personal friend. zeal might aspire to conquer and convert the Chrisship or universal benevolence. His memory was capa- tian kingdoms of the west, which already trembled at cious and retentive, his wit easy and social, his ima- his name. He touched the utmost verge of the land; gination sublime, his judgment clear, rapid, and but an insuperable though narrow sea rolled between decisive. He possessed the courage both of thought the two continents of Europe and Asia, and the lord and action ; and although his designs might gradu- of so many tomans, or myriads of horse, was not master ally expand with his success, the first idea which he of a single galley. The two passages of the Bosphorus entertained of his divine mission bears the stamp of and Hellespont, of Constantinople and Gallipoli, were an original and superior genius. The son of Abdallah possessed, the one by the Christians, the other by the was educated in the bosom of the noblest race, in the Turks. On this great occasion they forgot the diffeuse of the purest dialect of Arabia ; and the fluency rence of religion, to act with union and firmness in of his speech was corrected and enhanced by the prac- the common cause: the double straits were guarded tice of discreet and seasonable silence. With these with ships and fortifications; and they separately powers of eloquence, Mahomet was an illiterate bar- withheld the transports, which Timour demanded of barian ; his youth had never been instructed in the either nation, under the pretence of attacking their arts of reading and writing ; the common ignorance enemy. At the same time they soothed his pride exempted him from shame or reproach, but he was with tributary gifts and suppliant embassies, and reduced to a narrow circle of existence, and deprived prudently tempted him to retreat with the honours of of those faithful mirrors which reflect to our mind the victory. Soliman, the son of Bajazet, implored his minds of sages and heroes. Yet the book of nature clemency for his father and himself; accepted, by a and of man was open to his view; and some fancy has red patent, the investiture of the kingdom of Romania, been indulged in the political and philosophical ob- which he already held by the sword; and reiterated servations which are ascribed to the Arabian traveller. his ardent wish, of casting himself in person at the He compares the nations and religions of the earth ; feet of the king of the world. The Greek emperor discovers the weakness of the Persian and Roman (either John or Manuel) submitted to pay the same monarchies; beholds with pity and indignation the tribute which he had stipulated with the Turkish degeneracy of the times ; and resolves to unite, under sultan, and ratified the treaty by an oath of allegiance, one God and one king, the invincible spirit and primi- from which he could absolve his conscience so soon as tive virtues of the Arabs. Our more accurate inquiry the Mogul arms had retired from Anatolia. But the will suggest, that instead of visiting the courts, the fears and fancy of nations ascribed to the ambitious camps, the temples of the east, the two journeys of Tamerlane a new design of vast and romantic comMahomet into Syria were confined to the fairs of pass-a design of subduing Egypt and Africa, marchBostra and Damascus ; that he was only thirteen years ing from the Nile to the Atlantic Ocean, entering of age when he accompanied the caravan of his uncle, Europe by the straits of Gibraltar, and, after imand that his duty compelled him to return as soon as posing his yoke on the kingdoms of Christendom, of he had disposed of the merchandise of Cadijah. In returning home by the deserts of Russia and Tartary. these hasty and superficial excursions, the eye of This remote and perhaps imaginary danger was averted genius right discern some objects invisible to his by the submission of the sultan of Egypt; the honours grosser companions; some seeds of know night of the prayer and the coin attested at Cairo the sube cast upon a fruitful soil ; but his ignorance of the premacy of Timour; and a rare gift of a giraffe, or Syriac language must have checked his curiosity, and camelopard, and nine ostriches, represented at SamarI cannot perceive in the life or writings of Mahomet cand the tribute of the African world. Our imaginathat his prospect was far extended beyond the limits tion is not less astonished by the portrait of a Mogul of the Arabian world. From every region of that who, in his camp before Smyrna, meditates and alsolitary world the pilgrims of Mecca were annually most accomplishes the invasion of the Chinese empire. assembled, by the calls of devotion and commerce : Timour was urged to this enterprise by national in the free concourse of multitudes, a simple citizen, honour and religious zeal. The torrents which he had in his native tongue, might study the political state shed of Mussulman blood could be expiated only by and character of the tribes, the theory and practice of an equal destruction of the infidels; and as he now the Jews and Christians. Some useful strangers might stood at the gates of paradise, he might best secure be tempted or forced to implore the rites of hospi- his glorious entrance by demolishing the idols of China, tality; and the enemies of Mahomet have named the founding mosques in every city, and establishing the Jew, the Persian, and the Syrian monk, whom they profession of faith in one God and his prophet Maaccuse of lending their secret aid to the composition homet. The recent expulsion of the house of Zingis of the Koran. Conversation enriches the understand was an insult on the Mogul name; and the disorders ing, but solitude is the school of genius; and the uni- of the empire afforded the fairest opportunity for reformity of a work denotes the hand of a single artist. venge. The illustrious Hongvou, founder of the From his earliest youth Mahomet was addicted to dynasty of Ming, died four years before the battle of religious contemplation : each year, during the month | Angora; and his grandson, a weak and unfortunate of Ramadan, he withdrew from the world and from youth, was burnt in his palace, after a million of the arms of Cadijah: in the cave of Hera, three miles Chinese had perished in the civil war. Before he from Mecca, he consulted the spirit of fraud or enthu- evacuated Anatolia, Timour despatched beyond the siasm, whose abode is not in the heavens but in the Sihoon a numerous army, or rather colony, of his old mind of the prophet. The faith which, under the and new subjects, to open the road, to subdue the name of Islam, he preached to his family and nation, pagan Calmucks and Mungals, and to found cities is compounded of an eternal truth and a necessary and magazines in the desert; and by the diligence of fiction—that there is only one God, and that Mahomet his lieutenant, he soon received a perfect map and is the apostle of God.
description of the unknown regions, from the source