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BABYLON IS FALLEN!
Fallen is stately Babyten!
Queen of the golden East! afar
Till God, by righteous anger driven,
For ever fled thy princely shrines,
Rich with their wreaths of clustering vines -.
Priest, censor, incenae—all are gone
From the deserted altar-stone.
Belshazzar's halls are desolate,
And banish'd their imperial state;
Even as the pageant of a dream
That floats unheard on Memory's stream.
Fallen is liahylon! and o'er
THE DUKE DE REICHSTADT'S FIRST INTERVIEW WITH HIS GRAND-FATHER, THE EMPEROR FRANCIS II.
A Traveller plainly dressed, and unattended, but whose air and manner bespoke him a man of rank, was seated in the common room of the Golden Sun, a tavern at Rambouillet, on the 15th of April 1814; when a stripling of an interesting appearance entered, and drawing the host on one side, spoke to him with earnestness, bursting at the same time into tears.
Pity made the traveller forgetful of etiquette: he approached the young man, saying in a kind tone,' What is the matter, Sir, why do you weep?'
'Let him alone,' said the host, ' The poor fellow is one of the Empress's pages, and he cries like a child, because they will not permit him to take a last look at his mistress: they will not suffer one of the Imperial household to approach her.'
The stranger made no reply, but he kept his eye fixed upon the page. In a few minutes, the latter departed, and our traveller followed, in the intention of consoling him. In effect he had, he believed, a means of entering the apartments of Marie Louise, and he meant to make the stripling the companion of his expedition. But in turning the corner of a street, he lost sight of him, and he pensively pursued his way to the chateau, reflecting on the vicissitudes of empires.
A master key admitted him to the gardens of the chateau. He stood for a moment contemplating a child who was playing with the sand in one of the walks. A lady was at some distance from him in a travelling dress, she was walking slowly and pensively: it was evident she was in tears. The lady looked up, the traveller saw he was discovered; he ,ipologised for his intrusion, and offered to retire. The Comtesse de M. lady of honor to the Empress, would not permit it. 'Ah! Sir,' said she, 'talk not of etiquette in such a day as this; it is not you, nor such as you whom we would exclude. We are too happy to see a friendly face—to find a heart a little touched at our misfortunes. But time presses—tell me, I beseech you, if you know aught of the future prospects of my unfortunate mistress.'
The stranger tried to predict something consoling ; he spoke cautiously, it was evident that he only allowed himself to look on the favorable side. The lady answered his arguments only with her tears. 'Yes, yes,' said she at length, 'they will separate us, and that child, that poor child, will be sent to die at Vienna.'
The child approached. The magnificence of his dress bore no testimony to his fallen fortunes; it was ornamented with brilliant buttons, brandebergs, and the most expensive furs; his little hands were full of sand.
'Poor Angel!' said the governess. 'One would almost think, Sir, that he has had all this morning a presentiment of his misfortune: he is so sad. He repulsed one of our ladies very rudely. I said to him: 'You are no longer a king, Sire, and you ought to be polite to everybody.' He looked at me for a long time: recollecting myself, I called him Monseigneur; he burst into tears.
The stranger gazed earnestly on that child, whom he beheld as he then feared, for the last time. His high forehead, and the fair curling locks which did not cover it, belonged to Marie Louise; but the chin, and above all, the eyes were those of Napoleon.
'He is a glorious creature,' said the stranger with a deep sigh; 'it will cost you dear to part with him. If Madame, under the circumstances, I
dared to ask you'
'To embrace him? Ah, Sir, pity for his fate would at this moment give that right to every Frenchman.'
The stranger stooped, the prince gravely presented him his little hand to kiss. Too deeply moved to think about etiquette, the stranger caught the little potentate in his arms, and imprinted upon his blooming cheek a kiss of unfeigned aiTection.
At that moment, the noise of a carriage entering the great gates of the chateau, made the lady of honor turn pale. The traveller assisted her to carry the prince round to the principal entrance. As they reached it, they saw three officers of the Holy Alliance descend from a plain carriage. At the same instant, the ex-Empress appeared at the head of the grand staircase, fo'lowed by some of her attendants. The child, who directly drew the attention of the visitors, burst into a laugh, and pointed with his finger at the eldest of the gentlemen, who advanced towards him.
He was a tall meagre personage, with a-long narrow visage and powdered hair. He was dressed in the uniform of an Austrian officer, white lined with red, a black stock, and acocked hat with aplume of black cocks' feathers. He stooped to embrace the young eaglet, who threw himself back, and screaming with anger, returned the caresses of his admirer, by the most vehement struggles to get away from him. Talk of the voice of Nature! it is evident that she is sometimes silent; for it was the grandfather of the illustrious child—it was Francis II. who embraced him.
One of the Emperor's attendants advanced; he was a man of about forty, of a slender and graceful figure, and a countenance which, without being handsome, was rather attractive, particularly when he smiled. 'Metternich,' said the Monarch in an embarrassed tone, ' take charge of this urchin.'
As he approached the staircase where his daughter waited to receive him, Francis turned towards his other attendant; one of his Chamberlain's and Field-Marshal of the Empire. His left eye was covered with a bandeau, very unlike that of Cupid, notwithstanding which, he was destined to console the widow of Napoleon le Grand.
'A little spoilt, Albert,' said the Emperor,' it is generally the case with only sons.'
It was the Comte de Neipperg, who bowed as the Emperor addressed him.
VISIT TO THE EDYSTONE LIGHTHOUSE.
I Had read Smeaton's account of the Edystone, and the difficulties and dangers he encountered while superintending its construction, and I felt an ardent desire to visit a spot where the genius and indefatigable zeal of a great man so happily comhined at once to bestow a valuable blessing on posterity, aud leave a lasting monument of his own fame. I arrived at Plymouth early in August, a season in which afranqnil sea may be expected: yet the weather had been for some time boisterous, and l was fearful of success in attempting an excursion to the Edystone.
The position of the rock, exposed as it is to the unbroken swell of the Atlantic, renders it extremely difficult to land at the bouse; and a traveller who is intent on visiting this solitary abode, may perform many unsuccessful voyages, even when the weather is most serene; for the swell at the lighthouse is frequently an undulation proceeding from causes not apparent on the spot, and often depends more on the winds that may chance to prevail at a distance in the channel, or even in the Atlantic, than on the state of the weather near shore. It may appear strange to a person who has never been at sea, that there should ever be rough water without wind; but the fact is, that in the ocean, or any open sea, the undulation produced by a distant gale extends far beyond the region of the wind that causes it; and it frequently happens that a gale is preceded by a heavy swell for twenty-four hours or more. Thus it is that the fineness of the weather in the neighborhood of Plymouth is often no criterion by which the tranquillity of the sea at the Edystone can be ascertained.
It is necessary, in visiting the lighthouse, to be conducted by persons who are well acquainted with the rooks and the precautions to be used on landing, i
The boats employed about the harbors of Plymouth are badly calculated for anything beyond the limited service for which they are destined; and as it would not have been agreeable to have proceeded so far to sea in a small open boat, I took the opportunity of going out by the Edystone Tender, a sloop of thirty tons, kept for the service of the lighthouse, with orders to supply the inmates with fresh provisions, at least twice a week, whenever the weather is sufficiently fine to allow a boat to land. This service is, however, chiefly confined to the summer months; and •uch is, at times, the difficulty of access to the house, that, in the winter of 1828, thirteen weeks elapsed without a single opportunity of communicating with the light-keepers.
I left Catwater at seven o'clock, on a morning by no means promising for such an excursion; and though our little vessel appeared to sail tolerably well, it was afternoon before we had a distinct view of the lighthouse. The gentle breeze, though contrary to our course, would long before h.ive brought us to the object of my curiosity, but for a long ground-swell, that rolled towards shore, not like the ruffled surface of a narrow channel, but the lengthened undulation of an ocean. As we proceeded slowly onwards by short tacks, the sea opposing the bows, and the rolling of the vessel shaking the little wind there was out of her sails, I thought of Smeaton, and the many tedious voyages he performed, when carrying on a work for which his name will ever be illustrious in the annals of science, philanthropy, and courage; and if one day seemed tiresome to a traveller whose only interest was to gaze at the production of so great a genius, bow much more tedious must have appeared the many weeks, and even months, lost by its founder in his protracted, and often fruitless excursions to the then houseless rock. It was past four when we arrived within half a mile of the rocks, and the swell had abated to a drgree I could not have imagined possible in so short a time. It was nearly flood, and the long chain of rocks which forms the principal reef was all above water. On the highest rock, at some distance from this chain, stands the house, and beyoud it a smaller reef, with a conical detacbed rock between them. Smeuton's description of the spot had indeed delighted me ; but the Edystone must be seen before one can fully feel the merit of its founder. The distant land was obscured by heavy rain, and the sharp blue line of the horizon everywhere defined and void of objects, save where the lighthouse rose, in solemn majesty, from the very surface of the sea. On a rock scarcely larger than its base, and entirely covered at high-water, with eleven miles of sea between it and the nearest land, exposed to all the fury of Atlantic seas, yet firm as its rockyfoundation, in .proud defiance of its powerful assailant, stands the graceful building! Painting may represent the scene in part, but what art can portray the wide expanse that everywhere surrounds the spectator?
The tide had now turned favorable to our course, and we rapidly advanced towards the house. When within two hundred yards, the boat was brought alongside, and, the casks of water and provisions being put into it, we rowed off.
The light-keepers had for some time perceived our approach, and, before wo arrived, the crane was in readiness to hoist the casks to the store-room on the second floor ; the door below was opened, and the steps put down to the highest point of the rock. One of the men descended with a short ladder to enable us to ascend the vertical face of the rock beneath—a height of about eight feet from the water.
We proceeded to the channel at the back or land side of the rock. The short ladder was fixed to irons placed for the purpose, and we ascended to the flat surface by the side of the house. A narrow slippery path, not a foot broad, cut into steps, leads round the rock to the ladder of the door, with an ascent of about eight feet more. The ladder itself is thirteen feet long, and is jointed, so that, when pulled up, it lies in the narrow passage to which it leads. The reason for placing the door so high appears to have been to provide a mass of solid masonry at the bottom of the building, and perhaps to prevent the possihility of invasion by pirates, who might be anxious to recruit their stock of provisions. The arrangement of the house itself is so completely detailed in Smeaton's work, that any description would be superfluous ; and I shall confine myself to such observations as conduce, either to confirm the just conceptions of its founder by the silent testimony of years, or relate to alterations which experience has suggested.
Three men constantly reside in this place of true retirement. The eldest, who is styled Captain, has been there seventeen years; and it appears that, though they have liberty to remain on shore each a month at a time at intervals in the year, they gradually lose all inclination to leave the house, and feel that their residence on shore constantly makes them ill—an effect probably arising from the irregularities of living, scarcely separable from a removal to the pleasures of society after extreme retirement. Each man has a salary amounting to neurly SOI. a year, besides provisions and a bottle of porter every day. The house is constantly furnished with three months' provisions of salt meat, hiscuit, and water, and an additional supply of one hundred pounds of beef. There is likewise a stock of five hundred gallons of oil for the lights. When the house was first built, the light consisted of twenty-four tallow candles, placed without reflectors. It must have been a very inefficient light, and extremely troublesome to the men, who were required to snuff the candles every half hour; but as candles were found to yield less soot than common lamps, they proved the best method of lighting then known. The invention of the Argand lamp was a valuable discovery for light