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travellers who visited Egypt, and in pointing out to them the best road to pursue. Only a week before his death he had been engaged in chasing some books for Lord Belmore, when he met with a copy of the Antar for your brother, now in my possession.'*
The Antar here mentioned is a personage hitherto but obscurely known to the European public as the author of one of the seven poems called the Moallakat,' which were suspended in the temple of Mecca about the commencement of the Mahommedan æra. His history, as far as we know it, is told in a few words :Antar was originally a black slave, who, by his fidelity and courage, raised himself to a high rank among the Bedouins of the Arabian deserts, and became in time the confidant of his prince and the general of his armies. His prowess in battle (and he is for ever engaged in war, either in his own cause or that of his sovereign) is only equalled by that of the heroes of the Iliad, the knights of the Round Table, or the Paladins of Charlemagne. Having been betrothed to the mistress of his heart, Ibla, he is persecuted in a thousand ways by her relations :--exposed by their treachery to dangers, which put his skill and his courage to the severest trials, he at length attains the object of his wishes. In a later part of his life, his ambition led him to have one of his poems written in praise of Ibla suspended in the temple of Mecca. The tribe in possession of the town opposed it, and he only succeeded after many well-fought battles. He is the ally of Chosroes, king of Persia; and there are as many traits of his frankness and generosity in private life as of his unconquerable courage in war. Towards the close of the
* The following extract of a letter written to a friend in England, in March last, presents a lively picture of the feelings with which a hasty perusal of a part of. The Life and Adventures of Antar' had inspired this accomplished Orientalist :-
When you ask me whether I know Antàr, you probably forget that the first knowledge I gained of that work was from an odd volume in your own library. I fully agree with you in your sentiments concerning it; it has certainly every requisite to be called an epopee; it is throughout of high interest, and often sublime. I have attentively read little more than one twelfth part of it. Its style is very remarkable ; without descending to the tone of common observation, as the Thousand and one Nights often do, it is simple and natural, and clear of that bombast and those forced expressions and far fetched metaphors, which the Orientals admire even in their prosaists, but which can never be to the taste of an European critic. The poetry appears almost everywhere to be the effusion of real sentiment; and the heroic strain of Antàr's war and love-songs, his satires and bursts of self-praise, are as exalted as they are natural.'
Our readers will learn with pleasure, that Antar is likely soon to be as well known to us as any of the heroes or sages of antiquity. His work, of which but three copies exist in Europeone, we believe, in Vienna, and two (including that mentioned in the text) in England-has recently been translated into English by a gentleman who has been residing for some time at Constantinople, in the character of oriental secretary to the British embassy. The original, like most oriental productions, particularly those which rank among the popular tales of the East, is of considerable extent, consisting, we are told, of no less than forty volumes of various sizes. A very sınall part of the translation has hitherto reached England; but the specimens of it wbich have come under our notice give us a most favourable opinion of its nierit as a tale and as a poem. The translation of the poetical parts is made in what is commonly called the Ossianic style, in which, it seems, the oriental imagery and idiom can be best trans, fused into our northern tongue.
poem, some allusion is, for the first time, made to the appearance of Mahomet, the whole body of the work being entirely free from the customs and principles of Islamism: and one of the few supernatural phenomena related in it is the extraordinary effect produced by the first uttering of the name of the prophet. The episodes which are here and there introduced into the work add to the interest of the story, paint the manners of the desert to the life, and afford a variety of humorous and tender scenes. The female sex bears throughout a much more important part in the conduct of the poem than is now allowed to it by Mahomedan jealousy; and, contrary to the supposed usages of Arabian poetry, women are made often to appear clothed in armour, and to fight as stoutly as any heroine of our Christian romances. The narrative part of the work is in plain and unadorned prose; but most of the speeches are in the highest strain of Arab poetry. There are but few references to the superstitions, or religion of the time. The Christians are mentioned, but with no peculiar marks of aversion. The chiefs in their oaths swear by their idols, and they appear to have peculiar images in the temple which they worship, and to which victims are offered. The Kaaba is spoken of as a sacred object. The sudden burst of a tempest is at times attributed to the immediate interference of the Deity, though never to magical illusions. A talismanic ring relieves diseases, and now and then a sorceress is employed in good or evil deeds.
T'he Memnon' mentioned in the Consul-general's letter is the head of a colossal statue found at Thebes, and brought from that place to Alexandria at the joint expense of our deceased traveller and Mr. Salt, as a present to the British Museum, where, while we are writing, it has just arrived in safety. This extraordinary head is, without doubt, the finest specimen of ancient Egyptian sculpture which has yet been discovered.* It is formed of a single block of granite about ten tons in weight. Under the direction of M. Belzoni, it was moved by the sheer labour of the Arab peasantry two
* After all I have said on the subject of the statue of Memnon, I am very much inclined to think that there were pretended vocal statues at Thebes; and that the one which Philostratus speaks of, as having, besides its youthful appearance and other circumstances above mentioned, a peculiar
intelligence in its eyes, and a mouth as if on the point of speaking, was placed within the temple called the Memuonian. The head of such a statue is still to be seen within this building, and it is certainly the most beautiful and perfect piece of Egyptian sculpture that can be seen throughout the whole country. We were struck with its extraordinary delicacy; the very uncommon expression visible in its features; and with a marked character that well entitled it to the admiration of Damis. It is of granite, the stone the ancients very commonly denomipated as the pénaiva aídos. Its proportions are not so colossal as those of the two which are together in the plain ; and the place in which it is to be found exactly answers to the télɛvos tô Méuvovos, -as described by the same biographer,-a space within a ruined temple, such as often occurs in abandoned cities, strewed with fragments of columns, traces of walls, pedestals, doorways, and statues of Hermes, or the Egyptian Mercury, partim manu, partim tempore consumpta. Hamilton's Egyptiaca.
miles, and, without the aid of any kind of machinery, embarked on the Nile. The French, unable to remove it, attempted to blow off with gunpowder the large mass of hair behind, forming that bushy coëffure so common on Egyptian statues, and part of the bust; fortunately, the face has sustained no injury. If we mistake not, there is a plate of this bust, not exactly as it now is, but as the French savans had intended it to be after the operation of blowing off the wig.
By the indefatigable labour of M. Belzoni and Mr. Salt, the British Museum is likely to become the richest depositary in the world of Egyptian antiquities. They uncovered the front of the great sphynx, when nuinerous pieces of antiquity, as unexpected as extraordinary, were developed, pieces which, for many centuries, had not been exposed to human eyes. Among other things, a beautiful monolithic temple of very considerable dimensions was discovered between the legs of the sphynx, having within it a sculptured lion and a small sphynx. In one of the paws of the great sphynx was another temple, with a sculptured lion standing on an altar. In front of the great sphynx were the remains of buildings, apparently temples, and several granite slabs with inscriptions cut into them, some entire, and others broken. One of these is by Claudius Cæsar, recording his visits to the pyramids, and another by Antoninus Pius; both of which, with the little lions, are now in the British Museum. Several paint-pots were also found fronting the sphynx, with paint of different colours in them. At Thebes, M. Belzoni has made many new and curious discoveries, and found many valuable relics which had escaped the ravages of the invading Persians and the modern Arabs: he has also uncovered six tombs of the kings of Egypt, which for centuries had not been entered or, indeed, known. That of Apis he represents as uncommonly magnificent and interesting. • It is certainly,' he says, “the most curious and astonishing thing in Egypt, and impresses one with the highest idea of the workmanship of the ancient inhabitants. The interior, from one extremity to the other, is one hundred and ninety feet, containing a great number of apartments and galleries. The walls are every where covered with hieroglyphics and bas-reliefs, in fresco colours, which are brighter than any colour we have, and as fresh as if they had been only just
But the finest antique in this place is in the principal chamber. It is a sarcophagus, formed of a single piece of alabaster, nine feet seven inches long, three feet nine inches wide, the interior and the exterior being equally covered with hieroglyphics and figures, hollowed with a chissel. This sarcophagus sounds like a silver bell, and is as transparent as ice; no doubt, when I shall have it transported to England, as I hope to do successfully, it will be esteemed as one of the most precious treasures of which any European museum can boast.' But we must return to the afflicting task from which the seductive
and interesting nature of our correspondence almost unconsciously withdrew us. The last victim (would he might be the last !) that we have to mention is LIEUTENANT STOKO E, of the navy. This brave officer was severely wounded when our little squadron so galJantly defended itself against an overwhelming force on lake Erie; and when taken prisoner was marched several hundred miles into Kentucky, handcuffed like a felon. After the war, he was appointed lieutenant of the Inconstant, commanded by Sir James Yeo; and being sent to Sierra Leone in a prize, and unwilling to remain there inactive, first joined the unfortunate expedition of Major Peddie, and after a long detention in the Foolah country by the rains, and by fruitless palavers, returned in November last to Sierra Leone, where he unfortunately died.
The retrospective view of African discoveries, which will be found in various Numbers of our Journal, has hitherto, it must be owned, been rather of a gloomy nature. Many, however, as the sufferers have been in the hazardous enterprize of exploring the mysterious Niger, or in attempting to reach the celebrated city of Tonbuctoo, new adventurers start up, ready to run the same career of difficulties and dangers. Captain Gray, of the Royal African corps, who has been seven years in that country, and who has made himself well acquainted with the Jaloff language, has assumed the command of a new expedition, more likely to be successful than the former, by taking the route of the Gambia. In the early part of this
year he had entered this river; and letters from him state that his preparations were nearly complete, his people all well and in good spirits, and that he waited only the arrival of a transport which had been sent to the Cape de Verde islands for horses and mules, and which was daily expected, to commence his journey into the interior: the rains bad ceased, and the season was favourable.
The time must come, and we are willing to hope it is not very distant, when the veil of African mystery will be drawn aside. Even now the prospective view appears to be enlivened with a brighter colouring than has yet tinted the African landscape. Never, certainly, was there a fairer prospect of success, in pushing researches into the interior, than under the pledged protection of the present bashaw of Tripoli; whose earnest and anxious wish to do that which may be acceptable to the Prince Regent and his government, whose marked attention to Englishmen, whose alliance with Fezzan and Bournou, and offers of protection to any English traveller who may be disposed to visit those countries, are guarantees of safety which no former traveller enjoyed. We mentioned in a former Number, that he had given permission to Captain Smith and Mr. Warrington, to excavate and explore the ruins of ancient Leptis, and to carry away the columns, statues, fragments of antiquities, or whatever else they might discover; and that, with the assistance of the
Arab peasantry, they had succeeded in procuring many remains of ancient art, some fine porphyritic columns, parts of frizes, and fragments of statues, which have since arrived at the British Museum. Some of these columns are represented as of large dimensions and of beautiful marble: it may be doubted, however, if Lebida contained any sculpture of much value. The zeal of the Vandal Christians, under Genseric, led them to destroy all pagan monuments within their reach, and what escaped them fell by the blind fury of the Arabs. Add to this, that Louis XIV. had the ransacking of Lebida, and carried away the choicest columns of granitic porphyry which could be found, and which now adorn the church of St. Germains in Paris.
The temper and disposition of the Bey, the encouraging frankness with which he enters on the subject of discoveries in the interior of Africa, and the sincerity of his intentions to fall in with the views of the English, are strongly evinced in a conversation which Captain Smith and our consul recently held with him and with some of his officers, which is so curious as well as important, that our readers, we think, will not be displeased with having it laid before them from the original minutes.
Q. His Royal Highness the Prince Regent, by a magnanimous perseverance in the cause of humanity and justice, having bestowed peace on Europe, is now solicitous to extend his benevolent views to the natives of those regions lying to the southward of the dominions of your Highness, and the several kings, your allies; will your Highness therefore assist so laudable an object by affording your powerful protection?
A. I shall be happy to render every assistance to such an undertaking; I have already shewn that to two Englishmen who came here some years ago.
Q. Is your Highness certain they were Englishmen?
A. They said they were, and that they came from Egypt by way of Fezzan.
Q. Does your Highness, or any person in the Divan, recollect either of their names?
No answer was given to this question for some time; on which I asked if the name of one might not be Horneman, when Mourad Reis said he now recollected it was.
Q. How long is it since they were in Tripoli ?
Q. What became of them after they left Tripoli; and where were they bound to?
A. They returned to Fezzan with intent to penetrate southward to the Nile (Niger) and thence by the river to Tombuctoo, but one of them who had been ill of a fever, occasioned by drinking too much bad water after fatigue, died at Aucalas.
Q. Was that the same person mentioned to me last winter by the Bey of Fezzan?
VOL. XVIII. NO. XXXVI.