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Through the calm region, fades upon the ear,
“ Descending,” however, from these “Imaginative Heights," which, as the poet justly observes, yield
“ Par-stretching views into Eternity," let us contemplate for a moment the singular scene which, on the night in question, actually presented itself to the view of Mungo Park.
The river, in this place, as he observes in his journal, is smooth and deep, and has very little current. Two tall trees, when tied together by the tops, are sufficiently long to reach from one side to the other; the roots resting upon the rocks; and the tops floating in the water. When a few trees have been in this manner placed across the stream, they are covered with dry bamboos; and thus form a sufficient bridge. Such a bridge is represented in the accompanying engraving, and being in keeping with the romantic scenery around, its appearance is highly picturesque. This bridge is every year, as it is needless to say, carried away during the rainy season, by the swelling of the Black River. It is, however, as constantly rebuilt by the inhabitants of the neighbouring village of Manna; who, in consideration of this service, demand a small trībute from every passenger who avails himself of the accommodation thus afforded.
Similar bridges are, in all parts of the world, common among the wild recesses of mountain-scenery; and often bear witness to a degree of mechanical skill on the part of those who construct them, which could scarcely be excelled among civilized architects.
Poor Mungo Park ! His memory will long be held in affectionate respect. Who can think of his lonely wanderings, his laborious efforts in the cause of geographical science, and, above all, of his “exile’s grave,” without feelings of melancholy regret !
Far from his father-land,
In Afric's solemn wild,
Like rising sea-waves piled,
With dauntless heart, and brave,
Boldly did he press on ;
Until his task were done;
In visions of the night,
When all was calm and still,
Of many a vale and hill,
While treading that frail bridge,
The dark, deep stream beneath,-
And wild-flowers' fragrant breath
Years have rollid on since then,
But he return'd no more
His patient toil is o'er.
In the death of the amiable and enterprising Mungo Park, this country not only suffered the loss of one of the most distinguished travellers of modern times, but had also to lament the failure of an expedition no less interesting to humanity than to science.
Since his days, however, the ever-execrable slave-trade has been, so far as England is concerned, abolished; and the great scientific designs which he doubtless contemplated, having of late engaged the attention of other celebrated and enlightened travellers, will, it may be hoped, in due time be fully accomplished.
With coral lips,—and blue, bright eyes,-
It seems a fable-only fit
I swear it by the Powers divine,
I saw them! In their rugged shells,
And still she stoop'd her radiant head,
Oh ! coral mouth! I whisper'd low,
Or, floating hair, whose threads of gold
The lady smiled :—the coral door
• The shell of the Pinna Marina is found covered with long silken hair ; gloves have been woven of this curious material.