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service of God was freedom and happiness. All the regulations enjoin this, all the customs of Israel proceed from this principle, that the marks of mourning should be carefully removed from their worship. To praise, to give thanks and sing, to make a joyful noise unto the Lord, to be glad on the day which he had made, to rejoice in him, are all expressions by which their religious services are described. **** How earnestly do Ezra and Nehemiah exhort the people to lay aside their mourning, when the law was read at the feast of tabernacles, and the curse on its violation made known ! “ This day is holy unto the Lord your God : mourn not nor weep; neither be ye sorry, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. Go your way, eat the fat and drink the sweet; for this day is holy unto the Lord.”
This is certainly a delightful feature in the Jewish religion; and it is one which belongs equally to the Christian.
Helon, discovering that he has a hereditary descent from the first priest, Aaron, and of course a right to the sacerdotal office, is admitted to that holy calling, and thus affords an opportunity for describing at length the services of the priests in ihe temple during their turn of ministration, which camo but for two weeks in the year to each individual.
He travels to Jericho, and selects and is bethrothed to a wife. This affair is conducted by our author in the most business-like manner possible. He to be sure represents his hero as desperately in love, but that is a thing with which he has very little to do, and he makes no use of it for the purpose of exciting an interest in his characters and his story. Flis sole and simple object in this match is that he may have an opportunity of describing the forms and ceremonies of a betrothment and marriage. Nothing can really have less of the sentimental or romantic in it than this event. It is brought about in the most awkward manner imaginable, and the parties are engaged to each other in a very summary way, and with as little demur as if they had been a widow and widower in the third week of their bereavement.
One of the greatest defects in this work is the clumsiness with which those parts which are fictitious and those which relate to the history and customs of the Jews, are jointed together. It is all “turned the seamy side without”-we can sce the piccing and patching a great deal too plainly. Almost every important incident in the book is not only really, but very apparently, introduced for the sole purpose of furnishing an opportunity for the description of some ceremony, some custom, or some place, and for the exhibition of a sund of antiquarian knowledge. One might almost suppose that the author had taken his common-place book of Jewish
antiquities as a text-book, and worked in all the various items of information, just as they rose, as best he might, without being very scrupulous with regard to any interruption of the important parts of his plot which they would occasion.
Thus our hero is sent upon various cxcursions to different parts of Palestine, that the reader may be benefited by a political, historical, and topographical description of the towns, cities, &c. through which he passes, and in consequence some parts of the book are made to appear too much like the pages of a gazetteer.
He is made to lose his way in the desert in order that he may fall in with some lepers, of whose condition and treatment by the Jews, in conformity with the ordinances of their religion, an account becomes necessary. His wife is rendered liable to the imputation of unfaithfulness, for no other purpose but that we may be regaled with a description of the severe trial, through which she is made to pass, before her innocence can be fully made out; and finally, his venerable friend and preceptor, Elisama, becomes a homicide, that we may be edified with a detail of the powers and duties of the avenger of blood, and the nature of the protection afforded by cities of refuge. This piece of information also costs a quiet and unoffending citizen of Jericho his life.
In general we have no objection to this mode of management, but in the present case there is a great want of neatness and dexterity of manner; too much is attempted; the illustration of the greater part of the religious and political insti. tutions of a people, and of their domestic life and manners ; a description of their country, and an epitome of their national history, is almost too much to crowd into a single work which it is intended shall have the form and possess the interest of a novel.
But with all the faults we have indicated, Helon's Pilgrimage may be read with a great deal of pleasure and instruction. Defective as it is as a work of fancy, still its form and some very considerable excellencies of execution give an air of reality to many things of which from Scripture alone we are never able to form any adequate conception. We do not know whether it is so with others, but we always associate with the idea of the Jewish nation in Palestine, a rudeness, plainness, and primitive simplicity of manners and mode of living which probably did not belong to them. Such impressions the perusal of Helon's Pilgrimage will do much to
rcmove. Wealth, commerce, and intercourse with foreign nations produced the same changes in the Jews as they will in all people.
The manner in which the Jews made use of quotations from their sacred writings is well illustrated. These, it may be remarked, probably formed the great body of their literature, and were familiar to the memories of the people. When they wished to express themselves with unusual strength and energy, to give vent to their devotional feelings, or in short upon any occasion of excitement, they had recourse to that language which was to them the most forcible as well as the most holy, the language of Scripture. The introduction of these quotations is somes hat too frequent in the work before us, but they are selecird with great laste, and are given in a translation which prescrves their poetical form, as far probably as it is capable of being preserved.
DESCRIPTION OF MADRID.
PALACE ROYAL---PALACE OF THE RETIRO--EQUESTRIAN STATUE OF
PHILIP IV-MUSEUM OF THE PRADO-PUBLIC HOSPITALS-CHAPEL OF TRE CONVENT OF LAS SALESAS,
Madrid, 10th March, 1825. The Spanish capital, I believe, is less frequently visited by our countrymen than any other in Europe; and this, not so much from its being destitute of interest, as from causes peculiar to its situation, to the inattention paid to the comforts of travellers, -and particularly, at the present day, to the great insecurity of their persons and property. I will, therefore, in compliance with your desire, give you such a sketch of this capital as my hasty and busy visit will enable me to do.
In approaching Madrid from the north (and I am told it is the same from the other quarters) there is nothing which indicates the approach to a great and ancient city. No flourishing villages; no perceptible increase of travellers; no city equipages in pursuit of air and exercise; no trees, and but a scanty and imperfect cultivation of the soil. The city is not perceived from the road by which I came, till within half a mile of it; when it is suddenly, and for nearly its whole extent, presented to the view. Its first appearance is by no means prepossessing; indeed it was rather that of an Asiatic than of a European city, and reminded
me of the panorama I had seen of Grand Cairo. Nor does its interior correspond at all with its renown.
One would expect to see, in a city which had been the residence of a Charles V, and of a Philip II, into whose coffers the Americas had been so long emptying their inexhaustible supplies of gold and silver,-a city, within whose walls a king of France had been kept as a prisoner, and whose monarchs had given law to Europe,-something corresponding with such power and such riches ; but whoever expects this will be disappointed. The troops, who are garrisoned here for the preservation of the precious life of Ferdinand, give some life and animation to the scene ; but excepting these every thing wears the appearance of the poverty and distress inevitably resulting from the late repeated revolutions, not less than from present misrule.
Of the palaces, that in which the royal family now reside was intended to have been one of the most magnificent in the world, but a want of means has prevented its completion. As it is, however, it presents the most beautiful and chaste piece of architecture to be seen here. It is situated advantageously, on an eminence, with abundant space on every side. It forms a square, each side of which is four hundred and seventy feet, and is built of handsome grey stone. The workmanship of the interior, the paintings, tapestry, furniture, &c. are said to be of the richest and most costly kind, and worthy the observation of strangers ; but strangers are not admitted while the royal family inhabit it, which is the case during winter.
The palace of the Retiro, without the walls of the city, is likewise situated on an eminence, and with its gardens, woods, pond, &c. is enclosed within a high wall. This was the favourite residence of Philip IV, who was at great expense in ornamenting it; and of whom there is an equestrian statue of great beauty, which is so elevated as to be seen to advantage from without the wall. This statue is curious from the ingenuity and skill exhibited by the artist, in giving to such an enormous weight an equilibrium which enables it to be supported, on its hind feet only, in the attitude of rearing up. It is of four times the natural size, and weighs eighteen thousand pounds. This royal residence was much defaced by the French during the time of Napoleon.
Near to this, and fronting the Prado, is a magnificent building, in an unfinished state, of about four hundred feet front, called the Museum of the Prado. Its vast halls are used for the royal collection of paintings ; and there is an academy held here for instruction in that art. It is open two days in the week for visitors, when any well-dressed people are admitted gratis. The custom-house, the post-office, the house containing the cabinet of natural history, &c. are among the most splendid buildings of the
city ; the two former, in particular, are on a gigantic scale. There are also many of the houses of the nobles which are worthy of observation, rather however for extent and size than for beauty of material or chasteness of style ;-such as those of the duke of Medina Celi, of the duke of Villahermosa, of the duke of Liria, of the Prince of Peace, and others.
The three great hospitals are on a scale of magnitude corresponding with the former rich state of the country, to which they were an honour. They are said to receive, one year with another, from twenty to twenty-five thousand sick ; but this must have been before the great decline of the population of the city. There are, besides, a number of hospitals of less magnitude; and, moreover, a number of houses for charitable purposes, such as a foundling and a lying-in house, and one for the reception of the old and infirm, one for orphan-boys, and another for girls who are to be taken care of till they can earn their living, &c. And yet, with all these benevolent establishments, the streets are thronged with beggars. The houses generally, belonging to the commonalty of this city, make a very ordinary appearance without; and, owing to the economy necessary to be observed with regard to fuel, are, at this season of the year, very uncomfortable within. They are from two to four and a few of them five stories high, built of half-baked bricks, and plastered ; and the plaster, occasionally falling off, gives them a ruinous appearance. The windows of the lower story have a barricado of heavy iron bars the whole length, which give them the resemblance of prise ons. The entrance is by great, unwieldy doors, which are left open during the day, and the entry or court seems to be considered as much for the use of the public as the streets, and generally are much more offensive to the olfactories. To get at a family, who are up one flight of stairs, some preliminary steps are required. On ringing at the door, a servant comes, and before opening it, asks, “ Who's there ?" If the answer is not satisfactory, a slide is removed, which covers a hole cut in the door, about five inches square, across which are nailed pieces of iron. Here a parley takes place, and the person is admitted or not, as is judged proper. The rooms are generally lofty and finished with some taste, though roughly. Some few, inhabited by the most wealthy, have fire-places, which appear to have been constructed in the earliest period of the invention of those conveniences, being built square, and from three to four feet deep, so that those only who sit directly in front of the fire can see it or feel its effects. But, generally, families use the brazero, which is a great pan of coals set in a wooden frame in the centre of the room, and during dinner, under the table.
Fuel is very dear here. Wood is now at about forty cents the hundred