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were called about; what they determined on in the controversy about Easter; the tenets of the Gnostics, Sabellians, Arians, Nestorians; the difference between St. Cyprian and Stephen about re-baptization; the schisms, &c. We leaped from that to other things totally different-to Olympic years and synchronisms; we asked him questions which could not be resolved without considerable meditation and judgment ; nay, of some particulars of the civil laws, of the digest, and code. He gave a stupendous account of both natural and moral philosophy, and even in metaphysics.
Having thus exhausted ourselves rather than this wondrous child, or angel rather, (for he was as beautiful and lovely in countenance as in knowledge,) we concluded with asking him if, in all he had read or heard of, he had ever met with anything which was like the expedition of the Prince of Orange, with so small a force to obtain three great kingdoms, without any contest. After a little thought he told us, he knew of nothing which did more resemble it, than the coming of Constantine the Great out of Britain, through France and Italy, so tedious a march, to meet Maxentius, whom he overthrew at Pons Milvius with very little conflict, and at the very gates of Rome, which he entered, and was received with triumph, and obtained the empire, not of three kingdoms only, but of all the known world. He was perfect in Latin authors, spoke French naturally, and gave us a description of France, Italy, Savoy, Spain, anciently and modernly divided, as also of ancient Greece, Scythia, and northern countries and tracts. We left questioning farther. He did this without any set or formal repetitions, as one who had learned things without book, and as if he minded other things, going about the room and toying with a parrot there; and, as he was at dinner, (tanquam aliud agens, as it were,) seeming to be full of play, of a lively, sprightly temper, always smiling and exceeding pleasant, without the least levity, rudeness, or childish ness.
“ His father assured us he never imposed any thing to charge his memory by causing him to get things by heart, not even the rules of grammar; but his tutor (who was a Frenchman) read to him first in French, then in Latin ; that he usually played amongst other boys four or five hours every day, and that he was as earnest at his play as at his study. He was perfect in arithmetic, and now newly entered into Greek. In sum, horresco referens, I had read of divers forward and precocious youths, and some I have known; but I never either did hear or read of anything like to this sweet child, if it be right to call him child, who has more knowledge than most men in the world. I counselled his father not to set his heart too much on this jewel. Immodicis brevis est ætas, et rara senectus."
Should any one reject the above as an incredible story, I venture to vindicate its truthfulness on the following grounds :-1, Evelyn's character for veracity is too well known to the world to be reasonably called in question. His very tombstone, on which were inscribed, at his dying request, the words, “ All is vanity, which is not honest,” is an indirect witness to his integrity. 2. Mr. Pepys was then alive, and could have contradicted the statements, if false ; which he never did. To assume their falsehood, therefore, involves him in a guilty connivance at the fraud upon the public. 3. The circumstantiality of the narrative is no mean evidence of its truth; for, if not facts, they are fictions, their very circumstantiality taking them out of the sphere of mere exaggerations. 4. No reasonable inotives can be Sesigned for the fabrication of such a tissue of imputed falsehood. 5. All the cases of extraordinary intellect known to us, and they are many, make the story less improbable. Scepticism is rebuked by all such instances of stapendous genius, which should be hailed as proofs at once of the existence and power of the Deity, and of His regard for man. They moreover afford no faint glimpses of that exalted condition of human nature, for which man is destined as an heir of immortality.
PALMYRA IN THE WILDERNESS.
BY PROFESSOR PORTER.
The first view of that classic city was strange and impressive, far beyond all our anticipations. We reached the pass through the low eastern ridge ; He began the ascent of a rising ground that forms the crown of the pass. So far we saw nothing, except the old castle frowning overhead on the left, · and a few tower-like tombs on the hill-sides. The crest was gained at last, and then the whole site of the city burst upon our view.
Immediately before us lay a white plain, some three or four miles in circuit, entirely covered, and in many places heaped up with ruins. Through the centre ran a grand Corinthian colonnade. Away beyond it, on the east, nose the great Temple of the Sun, itself almost a city for magnitude. To the right and left, în endless variety, were scattered groups of columns, and single monumental pillars; while everywhere the ground was thickly strewn with broken shafts, and great shapeless piles of ruins, all white and glistening in the bright sunlight. Such a sight no eye ever saw elsewhere.
-Temples, palaces,—a wondrous dream,
for many a league
, too, was desolate. Like bleached bones on a long neglected battle-field those ruins lie, lonely and forsaken.
On the southern side of the city a tiny stream flows from a chasm in the mountain side, and winds eastward with a fringe of grass and tender foliage, until it ends in a circlet of gardens, the brilliant verdure of whose orchards and palm-groves contrasts beautifully with the intense whiteness of the ruins, and of the boundless plain beyond. Palmyra was a double oasis in the desert-an oasis of nature and of art; of physical richness, and of architectural splendour.
THE TEMPLE OF THE SUN. This is the finest building in Palmyra, and for extent and beauty it is VOL. XI.-FIFTH SERIES.
scarcely surpassed in the world. A great court, two hundred and fifty yards square, was encompassed by a wall seventy feet high, richly ornamented externally with pilasters, frieze, and cornice. The entrance was through a noble portico of ten columns. Round the whole interior ran a double colonnade, forming "porches,” or cloisters, like those of the temple at Jerusalem. Each pillar in the cloisters had a pedestal, or bracket, for a statue. Near, but not in, the centre of the court, is the naos, or temple itself -in this respect also resembling Herod's temple. It was encircled by a single row of fluted Corinthian columns, with bronze capitals, supporting an unbroken entablature richly ornamented with festoons of fruit and flowers, held up at intervals by winged genii. The effect of the whole—the white pillars, the bronze capitals, the sculptured cornice, the noble cloisters, the long ranges of statues—must have been grand. We have scarcely any building now that will bear comparison with it.
The encircling wall is still tolerably perfect, and the naos is nearly complete. Above a hundred of the pillars in the cloisters remain standing ; but the greater part of the interior is encumbered with the miserable hovels of the modern inhabitants, who have all clustered together bere for safety.
THE GRAND COLONNADE.
Next to the Temple of the Sun, the Colonnade is the most remarkable object in Palmyra. Commencing on the east at a splendid triumphal arch, it runs through the centre of the city, and is nearly an English mile in length. There were originally four rows of columns, about sixty feet high, forming a grand central and two side avenues. When complete, it must have contained above fifteen hundred columns, more than one hundred and fifty of which still stand. Each column has on its inner side, about eight feet above its base, a bracket for a statue. One remarkable feature of the Colonnade is, that it is bent slightly in the middle ; and on looking along it one sees how much this adds to its effect. What a noble promenade for the old Palmyrenes !-sheltered from the sun's fierce rays; open to every gentle breeze; statues of their country's nobles and patriots, poets and philosophers, ranged in long lines beside them; and the background filled in with the gorgeous façades of temples and palaces, tombs and monuments ! Broken and shattered though it is, with hundreds of its polished shafts prostrate, and long ranges of its sculptured cornice lying amidst dust and rubbish, the Colonnade of Tadmor forms one of the most imposing pictures in the world. I was never tired of looking at it. I saw some new and striking feature from every point of view.
It is a curious fact that every great city of the East had a via recta—“a straight street,” or “high street"-somewhat similar in plan and ornament to that at Palmyra. Traces of the streets and colonnades may still be seen at Gerasa, and Samaria, and Bozrah, and Apamea ; and after a little investigation I discovered that “the street called Straight” in Damascus (Acts ix. 11) was of the same kind.
The Palmyrenes, like all other Eastern nations, gave special honour to the memory of the dead. Among the most beautiful and remarkable of the monuments are sepulchres. Some of those within the city were of great size, and appear to have been intended for temples as well as tombs. Rock sepulchres, so common throughout Syria, Edom, and Egypt, are here unknown ; and their place is taken by tower-shaped structures which seem to be peculiar to Palmyra. They are very numerous. One sees them in the plain all round the city, on both sides of the pass which leads to it from the west, and a few are perched on the tops of neighbouring peaks. The plan of all is the saine, though they vary greatly in the style and richness of the internal ornaments. They are square, measuring from twenty to thirty feet on each side, generally four stories in height. Each story consists of a single chamber constructed with tiers of deep loculi, or recesses, on each side, reaching from floor to ceiling. It was usual to place busts of the dead, with names and dates, either at the openings of the loculi, or on the walls or ceilings. The decorations of some of these mansions of the dead are exceedingly rich and chaste. The tiers of recesses are separated by slender pillars of marble, and the walls and ceilings panelled and ornamented with festoons of fruit and flowers, and with finely executed busts. Inscriptions are exceedingly numerous, and almost all in the Palmyrene character. The effect of the decorations is greatly heightened by chaste colouring. The ground is generally a delicate blue, which throws out in bolder relief the pure white masses of sculpture. The inscriptions on these tombs show that they were almost all erected during the first three cen
turies of our era.
la addition to the tower-tombs, there are, in the plain to the north and south of the city, immense numbers of subterranean sepulchres. They are not hewn in the rock, but appear to have been built in natural or artificial cavities, and then covered over with soil. Those which have been opened were found to contain loculi, busts, statues, and inscriptions, like the other sepulchres. Numbers of them still remain unexplored, and may one day. afford rich treasures to the antiquary. The mode of sepulture appears to have been always as follows:- The body was embalmed, wrapped tightly up in linen, and placed in a recess, the door of which was then closed and hermetically sealed.
The walls of Palmyra are now in ruins. In some places it is with difficulty one can even trace their foundations. Not a solitary building within the city remains standing. A strong castle, situated on the summit of a steep conical peak, a short distance from the city, is also in ruins. On 8 calm bright evening during my stay, I clambered up the hill, scaled the shattered battlements, and took my seat on the top of its highest tower. I can never forget that view. It is photographed on my memory in all its vast extent, in all its wild grandeur, in all its strange and terrible desolation. Westward my eye roamed far away, through the long vista of a bare white valley, to where the sun's last rays gilt the snow-capped summits of Lebanon. On the north and south were mountain ranges, which, though naked and barren, now exhibited a richness and delicacy of colouring never seen in the West. It was not that of green turf, nor of brown heath, nor of mottled and variegated foliage, nor of transparent blue tinted by the air of heaven. It was totally different from all these. The highest peaks and crags were tipped as with burnished gold. Beneath this was a clear silvery grey, which was shaded gradually into a deep rich purple in the glens and valleys. These soft and strange tints gave the mountains a dreamy, etherial look, such as one sees in some of the wondrous pictures of Turner...... On the east, a glowing horizon swept round a semicircle of unbroken, snow-white plain. At my feet, in the centre of all, lay the ruins of the desert city, magnificent even in their utter desolation.
Some letters in “The Times,” about two months ago, on the claims of various churches to be the largest or the longest, showed that the subject is thought interesting, and also that there is very little correct information about it; and any one who tries to get it will find it less easy than might be expected. Most local histories, and many architectural books, deal inore in epithets than in figures. The figures that are given are so often wrong, that it is never safe to trust them, except in books of known accuracy ; and the same may be said even of printed plans, which are sometimes scandalously wrong, far beyond what the damping and drying of the paper will account for. Small plans, without some figured dimensions, are never to be relied on.
I have, therefore, taken some pains to get plans and measures enough to enable me to make out a table of the sizes of all our large churches, down to the size of the least cathedrals. Absolute agreement between different measures is unattainable, except for buildings of the simplest form ; but I have no doubt this list is substantially correct, and it certainly contains all the very large churches. If there are any others entitled to a place in it, I shall be thankful for plans of them, however rough, with accurate dimensions. What are called the great London churches do not come near it ; eight thousand feet of area, or room for one thousand people on the floor, seems to be quite their maximum. As such a catalogue is to be found nowhere else, and cannot fail to be interesting to architecturists, (to coin a word that is wanted,) I cannot do less than offer it for publication, now that I have been enabled to make it, by the kindness of various clergymen, architects, and others whom I have asked for information.
A little explanation of the figures is necessary.