Изображения страниц
[blocks in formation]

On the steep mountains their abode they find,
Clad in my livery, and bereft of mind !
With them, oh Thebes, are there thy Daughters all,-
Struck by my furies, they have fled thy wall,-
Mix'd with thy sons, they there their seats have made,
High on the hills, beneath the cedar's shade.
For, let this city,—to my mystic rite
Not yet obedient,-in its own despite
Learn, that I here my mother's truth will prove,
And men shall own the god she bore to Jove !


During no part, perhaps, of his eventful travels, did Mungo Park suffer more or greater hardships, than when, after having obtained from Ali, the Moorish chief or sovereign of Ludamar, permission to pass through his territories, he was seized, and conducted as a captive to the Camp at Benown, on the borders of the Great Desert. His own description of Ali's residence, and of the treatment which he himself received from the chief and his attendants, as well as from the Moors who had taken him prisoner, is highly graphic, and fully justifies him in declaring the Moors to be “the rudest savages on earth.”

The Camp of Benown, on the great traveller's approach, presented to his view a considerable number of dirty-looking tents, scattered, without order, over a large space of ground; large herds of camels, cattle, and goats, being stationed among the tents. His reception by the inmates of this princely residence was of a singular character. Men, women, and children, on horseback, or on foot, came galloping, or running towards him; and having formed a circle around him, one examined the texture of his dress ; another removed his hat from his head; a third investigated his buttons ; while others, in a threatening manner, insisted upon his pronouncing, in the Moorish language, certain words, signifying, “ There is but one God; and Mohammed is his Prophet.” It would have been well, had this been all ; but other, and much greater annoyance, was to follow; and Ali himself, though" an old man, of the Arab cast, with a long white beard,” took his full share in insulting the lonely Christian stranger.

“In a little time," writes Mungo Park, “the priest announced evening prayers; but before the people departed, the Moor who had acted as interpreter, informed me that Ali was about to present me with something to eat; and looking round, I observed some boys bringing in a wild hog, which they tied to one of the tent-strings, and Ali made signs to me to kill and dress it for supper. Though I was very hungry, I did


[blocks in formation]

not think it prudent to eat any part of an animal so much detested by the Moors, and therefore told him, that I never ate such food. They then untied the hog, in the hope that it would run immediately at me; for they believe that a great enmity subsists between hogs and Christians. In this, however, they were disappointed; for the animal no sooner regained his liberty, than he began to attack indiscriminately every person that came in his way; and at last took shelter under the couch upon which the king was sitting.”

The assembly being thus hastily dissolved, the persecuted Christian, after tasting a little boiled corn with salt and water, was permitted to pass the night on a mat spread upon the sand, outside the door of the hut occupied by Ali's chief slave.

In the morning, at sun-rise, Ali, with a few attendants, came to visit his prisoner; and signified that he had provided for him a hut, which would shelter him from the sun. This he had in fact done; and the hovel, constructed of “corn-stalks set up on end,” was sufficiently cool and pleasant. Even in his humanity, however, the Moorish chief discovered his savage nature. To one of the stakes of the hut prepared for the traveller, was tied the identical wild hog, which had caused the disturbance on the preceding evening; and this animal had been tied there by Ali's order, by way of insult to his Christian captive!

With each returning day, a new round of insult and persecution commenced. 'I was a stranger," writes Park; “I was unprotected; and I was a CHRISTIAN; and each of these circumstances is sufficient to drive every spark of humanity from the heart of a Moor. I endeavoured," he continues, “patiently to bear every insult; but never did any period of my life pass away so heavily; from sunrise to sunset, I was obliged to suffer, with an unruffled countenance, the insults of the rudest savages

upon earth.”

It is not, however, only among the uncivilized inhabitants of Africa, that the Christian must be prepared to "suffer for the Cross."

Soon as the church of Christ below
Shed o'er the earth a heavenly glow
Of pure, high faith—that hour began
To spring within the heart of man,
The weed, that in forthcoming days,
Should feed foul persecution's blaze.
Roam o'er each savage realm and clime,
Scan all the lore of ancient time,
Gaze on Idolatry's dark brow,
List while th' unpitying accents flow
From all, and each ; and thou shalt see
How man with ruthless cruelty,
Offers his brother's blood to God!
How from the breezy mountain-sod,

[graphic][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]



And from the city's ceaseless din,
Uprises that loud wail of sin,
That cry of blood, reproach, and shame,
Man slaying man, in God's own name !
Here fire and sword no longer slay ;
In England, bigotry's rude sway
Now rules no more: yet still foul scorn
Is pour'd on many a one forlorn,
Who dares to bear his Master's name,
Despising cruel taunt, and shame.
For Thee, lone Wanderer in the wild,
Who dared'st to own thyself His child
By whom this glorious world was made,
And at whose word all things must fade,
Didst thou not think, in that dark hour,
Of ONE who came to earth and bore
Pain, grief, and death e'en for thy sake?
Sure, when thy heart was like to break
With savage taunt and cruel scorn,
The thought of Him, the Virgin-born,
Rose in thy soul and bade thee rest,
And droop not, till on earth's calm breast
Thy wearied frame should rest in peace,
And every strife and conflict cease!

[ocr errors]




Well, my dear, everything prospers !-I am happy and contented;
And yesterday I went to Court, to be what they call “presented.”
You must know, that our cousin Bellamont, though a beauty of renown,
And we think, a star in the country, is a little lady in town;
So, in her usual generous way, never thinking of self at all,
But only of my advantage, she ask'd the old Countess Crawl,
(A courtier of three generations,) to take me under her wing,
That I might enter the world with eclat, in this my first London spring.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »