« IndietroContinua »
era'of the Iliad. As Alba Longa illus- Athens afterwards said probably saved trates the Æneid, and the towers of old me from a fatal malarious fever. The Florence the Divina Comedia, so the stenmer touching at Nauplia at the end gray walls of Mycenæ, do Homer's song. of three days, I went on to Athens, and The colossal Cyclopean masonry of the lay there quite sick for some time; and Acropolis, still comprehending a large although managing, contrary to orders, area, shows great mechanical skill, and to ride to Eleusis, and even to Mara-So scientific men say-considerable thon, the pleasure and profit of the rest knowledge of the art of fortification. of my Greek tour were greatly dimin
The “Gate of Lions" is composed of ished. three stones, the upper one, or impost, It is a six or seven hours' ride on horsebeing fifteen feet long and nearly seven back from Athens to Marathon, over a feet high in the middle. The sculptured lonely region, across the barren spurs lions have been justly remarked to be of Mt. Pentelicus. After passing through of extraordinary strength and vigor of the immediate environs of Athens, we execution, rude and archaic as they are. met nothing on our way but shepherds Under this gateway of fabulous antiqui- and their flocks of sheep and goats. ty rolled the chariot-wheels of the kings The first view of the plain where was “of Pelops' line," and within the in- fought the Gettysburg of Greece, burst closure of these massive walls the dark upon us from the brow of a mountain ; storm of the passions and woes of broad and smooth it lay beneath, surOrestes burst. Here the signal-fires of rounded by the solemn mountains. The Clytemnestra came flaming from the chain of mountdins which bounds it on Saronic Gulf, and Arachne, and Argos, the north stretches out into the sea, and swooping down on Agamemnon's making a curved arm, which forms the roof. The scene of the opening act of bay of Marathon. The only conspicuthe “ Electra " was laid at the entrance ous object on the whole surface of the of this very “Gate of Lions."
plain, is the sandy tumulus raised near But while I was esploring the ruins, the seashore by the Athenians over the and the circular subterranean chambers bodies of their slain fellow-citizens. where these Homeric kings and heroes Having reached the foot of the mounwere doubtless buried with their treas- tain, we galloped fast toward the ures, and filling my mind with new mound. From the mountains to the convictions of the simplicity and essen- tumulus is nearly two miles, while the tial historic truth upon which the Iliad plain extends along the seacoast for rests, I was seized with the first dizzy about six miles. It was slightly cultisymptoms of a fever, which compelled vated, and I observed here and there me to leave at once, and go down into thin crops of cotton and grain, and a few the plain to a little village about half- droves of cows and horses; otherwise way to Argos. There, for many hours, all was as still and unfrequented as the I lay unconscious of what was going grave.
From the summit of the little on outside, but with all the griefs of conical tumulus, now somewhat worn Orestes within the brain ; nevertheless, away by the rain and more by the I was nursed very carefully and tender- antiquarian mole, one can see all the ly by my guide, of whom heretofore I features of the landscape, and how the have not spoken in the most flattering fight went on, on that immortal day. terms. We at last rode on at a snail's One can distinguish on each extremipace into Argos, where, procuring a ty of the plain the places of the mo: vehicle which was probably a relic of rasses which so embarrassed the move the Trojan wars, we drove on to Nau- ments of the Persian cavalry. These plia, starting once more the echoes of were at the time dry, but after a rainy ancient Tiryns with the sound of char- autumn (and at this season the battle iot-wheels. At Nauplia I was bled by was fought) they are filled with water. 2 Greek barber, which the physician in Sir John Hobhouse thinks that the
battle was begun toward the northwest mented by a delicate frieze, some of the of the plain, and that the barbarians carvings, of which are visible.
The were gradually driven toward the sea, Ionic temple of Minerva Polias, and the and the general rout took place in the portico of Bacchus supported by Caryaneighborhood of the Athenian mound. tides, are the best preserved group of With their faces turned westward, the buildings on the Acropolis; they are beams of the setting sun streamed into strikingly contrasted in their feminine the eyes of the Persians, blinding them, Ionic gracefulness with the Doric severiand completing their discomfiture. Thus ty of the Parthenon. That, in masculine Nature—thus God fought for Miltiades. force and condensation, is a counterpart
As I crawled about Athens, of course of Demosthenes' “Oration on the the one spot unfailing in attraction, and Crown.” It is now doubly stern in to which I returned again and again, decay, unsoftened by the spirited sculpwas the area on the Acropolis. This ture with which Phidias adorned the whole oval space, lifted into the pure grave simplicity of the temple; thus air of the plain of Attica, was originally blending the abstract majesty and sense levelled smooth and paved with marble; of power which there is in architecture, and it is amazing what an amount of with the feeling and life that sculpture the finest Pentelican and Parian marble, lends. This living spirit of Nature after the lapse of ages and its indis- penetrates and vitalizes the Phidian criminate use for all kinds of purposes, sculpture and architecture, as it does still strews the whole area of the Acro- the Iliad and the Greek dramas. The polis. One immense block of marble I Greek artist did not work so much by remember near the entrance of the pro- rule as he did by a certain instinctive pylæa, which formerly was part of the feeling of the beautiful; and yet how entablature, is as white as the driven simply! The Parthenon is not a great snow, though the standing walls and idea run to hyperbole, and expressing the pillars of the Parthenon are tinted greatness by size, but rather by proporwith golden and scarlet weather-stains. tion, by the harmony of parts, by the On the broken fragments lying around, pure form, by the thought which lives morsels and stains of iron, and of olive in it. That thought was doubtless a wood, show how they were originally religious one. It was a reflection of fastened together. The masonry of the natural ideas concerning divine things Parthenon is of unsurpassed perfection in the human mind-of the mind ob--one stone resting upon another with servant of the phenomena of Nature so great nicety, that the line of separa- and life, of the solemn uniformity and tion is hardly noticeable, excepting harmony of Nature, its power and rewhere decay has widened it.
pose. We see the secret of the transThe propylæa is still in a pretty good cendent greatness of Greek art, in that state of preservation, and forms a noble it sprung from the depths of the mind, introduction to the more elaborate and striving after some fit expression of the beautiful though ruined works within. divine; but getting no higher than the On the left hand of the steps of the spirit of Nature, than the enshrining of propylæa, as you enter, is a singular buman nature, its wisdom, power, and sqnare pedestal of bevelled stone, upon beauty. It never gained a glimpse bewhich probably were two equestrian stat- yond the expressionless calm of the face ues of the sons of Xenophon. Upon the of Pallas Athena. There is no divine right hand of the steps is the beautiful soul in Greek art, although it was religlittle temple of Victory, built by Cimon, ious. Yet surely it is not possible that and described by Pausanias, and not any less earnest idea of Art than this, many years since discovered under a
any superficial conception which traveshuge mass of Turkish fortification. It ties the religious sentiment, which subconsists of a small square cella, sur- serves the sensual taste, which adde rounded by Ionic columns, and orna- to the adorning of private and public vanity, or which is the fruit of a merely the greatest freedom, freshness, and intellectual and self-conscious system of force, we must go to the Greek models coldly scientific rules, can expect to rival To be educated, it is not enough to the Greek art in its simplicity and beauty. learn the facts of the outer universe;
In Greek literature and philosophy this is but a part, though important there are a few minds who soar above part of education; but it is far more the region of Greek art, which lies after important to understand the inner world all exclusively in Nature, and who seem of mind, and to be developed from withto grasp moral ideas. Such minds as in outward. Here the subtle spirit of Pindar and Pericles, Plato, and he who Plato is still our guide, until a greater has been called “a plank from the than Plato become our Teacher in spirwreck of Paradise," the almost right- itual truth. That very truth Plato eous Socrates—these show the heights seems almost to have grasped intuitiveof the Greek genius, and its original ly; yet no one knows the precious boon fiery power of thought, unaided by of Christianity until he knows somerevelation, to attain to truth. In these thing of Greek literature, and Greek days when classical education is de- philosophy, by which he sees how much cried, it is well for us to think what the by wisdom the world knew not, and world would be without the educating how far the greatest minds, the brightagency of the Greek mind. Perfection est intellects that were ever created, of language remains with the ancients. failed to come to the knowledge of God, If we wish to express our thoughts with by the way of pure thought.
And crave of Him His pardon for sins of the past day !
And pray that for the love of Christ our sins be washed away.
For the spirit craves a shrine where to worship and to pray.
The vesper-chant of nations at closing of the day.
As the sun in march sublime keeps upon his onward way.
The evening turns to morning! the Night into the Day!
And crave of Him His pardon for sins of the past day!
We feel that for the love of Him our sins are washed away.
TOO TRUE-A STORY OF TO-DAY.
A MIDNIGHT PERIL.
which she could but feel, lifted,-how perfectly happy she should then be!
She returned to her chair, all smiles and The next morning, at breakfast, the excitement, while Lissa's face grew cold family were disposed to rally Lissa on and fixed in its expression. the devotion of the heir to the splen- “I wish my parents to advise me,” dors of Rose Villa.
she said, presently. “I have promised an “ It is no jest,” she said, in the midst answer Monday. Of course, I should of their mirth ; " Mr. Grizzle has pro- not accept him without their consent posed marriage to me. He caught me, and approbation." yesterday, where I could not escape, and “But you must act as your own heart had courage enough to declare himself.” dictates." "! What did you say?"
Again that strange smile came at her It was Milla who asked the question; father's remark. There was more satire her parents remained silent. Lissa look- in it than the poor child was aware of. ed into her sister's eager face. “I have “ If you have no serious objections to not decided yet; but I think I shall him or his family, I shall think favoraaccept him."
bly of it.” “Oh, dear Lissa, I am so glad. Do They had serious objections. Were you think you will really like him ? not ignorance, incompatibility of tastes, he's so good-tempered, and you can serious objections ? But it was true bave all you wish."
that their dear daughter was no longer "Well, yes,” said Elizabeth, calmly; happy at home, and if she decided in “Sam is good-tempered, and Rose Villa favor of Rose Villa, ought they to disis a gorgeous sort of place. As you suade her ? Such thoughts were in the say, I need not live a life of self-denial. minds of both, when Lissa continuedI infer, unless I flatter myself, that Mrs. “Don't let it spoil the breakfast. Grizzle is very fond of me. I should Father, your tea is getting cold. I want have a good home."
no one's decision to-day. Let the matMilla left her chair to kiss her sister's ter rest.' cheek, which flushed deep-red under her “Monday," repeated Milla, presently, touch.
" That's the day of the soirée dansante. “'I am so glad !” said the younger Papa, do you know, I would like to go, sister again, and the other felt as if a and wear my jewels." fine knife had stabbed her.
“How absurd !” her mother was “You are upsetting my cup,” she about to say; but, ever careful of the said, with a little mocking laugh. child's feelings, she checked herself,
"I beg your pardon, sister, but I was answering instead, 80 surprised. You will be so near us, “ You are too young to wear many of and every thing will look so much them, my dear. You might wear the brighter."
ear-drops,-they are small,--and some Milla's face glowed with pleasure. It thing to fasten your sash." was, indeed, only what she always had "Oh, mamma, but I want them all, believed, that Lissa would soon have at least, to take my choice out of other suitors, and would love again, and them. It is an occasion of very great be happy. It was only herself whose importance to me,-my first evening out life, whose reason, were wrapped up in as a young lady." the devotion to one man! Then, too, “ You shall be dressed prettily, Milla; to have all that shadow of remorse but I doubt if Mr. Dassel would ap
prove of your making such a splurge,' “But Lissa wishes her blue-silk gored as Robbie says.”
and trained for the soirée." " I'm quite willing to be guided by “There will be ample time to do that him," she answered, “only, do, please, Monday. We will help all we can.” papa, bring home the casket to-mor- “ What is the haste about the gray
suit, Milla ?" “ It will be some trouble. The fact A burning blush rose to the young is, I don't like to have them in the girl's cheek; her eyes sapk; but in an house, for fear of accidents.”
instant she raised them, saying in a low “Then, of what use are they, pray? voice, that the sempstress' might not My aunt Mildred intended I should hear, wear them, no doubt."
“ Mr. Dassel has promised to take me The voice trembled, the long lashes riding Sabbath afternoon. You know glittered with tears.
how fastidious he is, and I would like “What a baby you are! You must to wear something suitable." learn to control yourself better, my “Well, well, child, I will see what little girl," and Mr. Cameron, having can be done,”—and Milla was risen from the table, swept the light gratified, by having her dress in process form up in the hollow of his arm, and of making. kissed the wet check.
“ When do you
That day and the next Mrs. Cameron expect to assume wifely dignities unless and Elizabeth were apparently absorbed you grow out of babyhood ?"
in patterns, trimmings, etc. Whatever The blue eyes flashed up into his with was in either mind, there was oppora singular look which haunted him all tunity to say but little; the subject of day, he knew not why.
Sam's hopes was not even referred to. “ Bring home the casket, papa; if it Milla, useless and sweet, as usual, flitted is lost I will take the consequences.” in, occasionally, to note the progress of
How wilful Milla was growing ! Mrs. her own garments; Louis spent a part Cameron looked at her with sternness. of both afternoons alone with her, in She wondered that the child, who usu- the parlor; no one, not even her mother, ally shrank from drawing attention to noticed her nervous manner, nor the herself, who would not play or sing for feverish flush upon her cheek. She was strangers, nor wear any dress which unusually gay; they, unusually busy. might attract especial observation, Saturday evening Mr. Cameron should now seek to make herself an brought home two precious things; firstobject of remark, and probably ridicule, ly, Milla's casket of jewels, secondly, a by an undue splendor of jewelry. letter from Robbie. The boy was well,
“Louis will laugh at her, when he not home-sick, happily settled in his hears of her intention, and that will be school; the only accident he had met the end of it,” the mother consoled her with was that upon going aboard the self by thinking
steamer. Eve:y body cried over the Mrs. Cameron was hurried, that morn- first foreign letter, although there was ing, and was obliged to put aside these nothing to cry about, but rather, reason weighty matters for affairs of minor for rejoicing. There was a little sealed Interest. The dressmaker had arrived; note in the missive, directed to Lissa. there was plenty of work awaiting her; Her fingers quivered as she opened it; and as soon as pater familias could be but when she saw how brief it was, sho kissed all 'round, and decently hurried grew calmer, reading hastily : out of the house, the ladies repaired to the sewing-chamber.
“My dear Lissa: “What is first upon the carpet ? ” “I have not yet had opportunity to
Oh, mamma, I wish you would allow do what I proposed. But in a month, my gray suit to be made up first. It or six weeks, I shall have completed my could be finished by to-morrow night.” self-imposed task. In the meant