« PreviousContinue »
That in the North
At his gay coming forth.
How soon joys vary?
But here had list, not tarry.
No, no, his beams
Like nourishing silver streams,
Yet, in this lies
His glory from our eyes.
And make heaven ring
That earth has such a king.
And we must put a close to our extracts. We, however, refer the "curious reader” (if any of our readers should be curious) to the Latin oration, delivered by one of the scholars of St. Paul's school, to his Majesty, as well as to “ Tower of Pleasure," erected in Fleet Street, “ fourscore and ten feet in heighth, and fifty in breadth," where sat “ Justice," lately descended from Heaven," and " Virtue, with Fortune by her side." Here, also, was “Envy, unhandsomely attired in black,” casting her eyes, sometimes on the four Cardinal Virtues, and sometimes on his Majesty's four kingdoms of England, Scotland, France!!! and Ireland. We have then the four Elements, in their “ proper shapes,” and“ Zeal,” who lays before his Majesty two pages of rhyme, the proper offspring of Thomas Middleton. But these, and indeed all other things, we must pass over, and conclude with the following song, which “ went forth,” as it is said, to the sound of hautboys and other loud instruments.
Where are all the honours owing?
Tell me, tell me, rumour !
More often to be lying,
Yet, alter now that fashion,
Let the voice swim smooth and clear,
Behold! where Jove, and all the states
All in glory riding,
The milky way do cover ;
The Deities convent,
This is not Jove, but one as great—King James ! This last line is worthy of an especial note of admiration. King James never heard, in public, we believe, these songs sung to " loud instruments ;" but there was a vast deal of si. lent incense offered up to him (as well as to the bull Apis), in the shape of poems and compliments, and, we confess, that we are at times a little ashamed of the prostration of poets before the " golden calves" of past years, when the most preposterous praise and contemptible servility distinguished but too many of the irritable tribe. There are a few, indeed, upon record, such as Milton and Marvel, who did not lie prone that fools might tread upon them; or who, like Shakspeare, avoided, as well as could be done, that laughable deference to “the great,"
which we, of the present time, so unfeignedly despise. But the majority, we fear, were times-servers, and parasites of power : and, unfortunately, Thomas Dekker, a noble dramatist and a gifted poet, had not resolution enough to condemn the reigning fashion. He has, in the present instance, thoroughly bepraised our magnanimous king, James the First, and he has done it by anticipation, which was unwise. As for the monarch himself, he was not very nice as to the mental provender on which he fed. He was a good-tempered man, and a little foolish (albeit a latinist), and when he came here to England to marry his national flower to our red and white roses, and to give evidence that he could digest any compliments, and exist upon any soil, to the utter forgetfulness of the one which he had left, he proved nothing, but that the ass can feed on other things beside thistles, and that a Scotsman is every where at home.
Art. VI.-The Historie of the West Indies ; containing the
Actes and Aduentures of the Spaniards, which haue conquered and peopled those Countries, inriched with varietie of pleasant relation of the Manners, Ceremonies, Lawes, Gouernments, and Warres of the Indians. Published in Latin by Mr. Hakluyt, and translated into English by M. Lok, Gent. London: Published for Andrew Hebb, and are to be solde at the signe of the Bell in Paul's Church-yard.
Whether the inhabitants of the American Continent are to be considered as aborigines of the soil, or as emigrants from the old world, is a question which, at this day, it is impossible to settle. Neither, 'if the latter supposition be true, is it of much consequence to determine from which division of the old quarter of the globe the new one was peopled. The Egyptians were, most probably, the first who launched their keels upon the trackless waters; but, as the construction of their single sail was only adapted to a free or fair wind, it is by no means unlikely, that, when blown from the coast, by strong gales, they continued to drive across the Atlantic till they arrived at those delightful shores, where nature is spontaneously bountiful, and from which they could have had (after the fatigues and hunger they must have endured) but few motives to induce them to recede. Indeed, supposing attempts to return were made, they must have been soon abandoned, from the great difficulties attendant on the enterprise--the utter ignorance of navigation, and the want of that necessary instrument, the mariner's compass, to direct their way.
Several hundred years before the Christian Era, the Egyptians and Phenicians made frequent voyages to various parts of the Mediterranean, and along the western shores of Africa; nor were their successors, the Carthaginians, less enterprising in their naval adventures. Ancient writers assert, and we see no reason to doubt the truth of their relation, that the Phenicians discovered the Azores (a great advance towards the Western World), and even proceeded as far to the northward as our own island, which they visited ; perhaps, catching the trade-winds near the Western Islands. We read in Scripture, of the fleets of Solomon navigating the Red Sea, under the guidance of Phenician mariners, and thence to the western shores of Hindostan, where we feel convinced vast fields for scientific discovery yet remain unexplored. In a voyage undertaken about this time (upwards of two thousand years before De Gama doubled the Cape of Good Hope), and which occupied a period of more than two years, Herodotus writes, that the King of Egypt, having abandoned his project of uniting the Nile to the Arabian Gulph, supplied the Phenicians with ships, “ commanding them to enter the Northern Sea by the Pillars of Hercules, and sail back by that route to Egypt.” The Phenicians, sailing from the Red Sea, , afterwards entered the Southern ocean, and “ returned to Egypt, passing by the Pillars of Hercules,” that is, through the Straits of Gibraltar; and they affirmed," that sailing round Libya, they had the sun on the right.” This certainly is conclusive evidence of their having crossed the Equator, and, most probably, when the sun had a southern declination; but as their voyage continued so long, if they actually did pass round the Cape, the sun would naturally appear to the northward, when on the Meridian. To those who have been accustomed to, or have ever witnessed, a north-wester off the southern promontory of Africa, even in a stout ship, well rigged and ably manned, when, for days together, the only canvas spread, or that could possibly be spread, has been a main stay-sail, the above account must appear rather improbable ; particularly, as they saw the sun to the right, or to the north, it must then have been crossing, or near, the Equator, or, perhaps, to the northward of it, when gales of wind are most frequent.* Still we do not consider it as wholly
* The Memorial Universel, tom. xiii. p. 288, announces that vessel of cedar has been discovered in the earth in the neighbourhood of the Cape of Good Hope. It bears the appearance of being the remains of a Phenician vessel, which, if it is true, looks like a confirmation of the story of Herodotus.
impossible; for ships sometimes sail round that once-dreaded point with a fair breeze, and without encountering a single peril; yet it is remarkable, that such a command should be given, and such a voyage undertaken, when the existence of the southern promontory was actually unknown. If, however, it was achieved, and we see no absolute cause totally to discredit the worthy old Grecian, it certainly displays a very great knowledge of seamanship, more, indeed, than the pride of our modern tars would give them credit for, and may readily account for peopling a considerable portion of the new hemisphere, from the old.
Columbus, in his second voyage, discovered part of a vessel; on the shore, at Guadaloupe, which affords some presumption that the new world had been visited before, though it supplies no evidence that any individual had ever returned to announce the discovery. Another almost undeniable proof is, that at a place called Quarequa, in the Gulph of Darien, Vasco Nunez met with a colony of negroes! Plato, in his dialogue, entitled Timæus, wherein he speaks of the universal nature and frame of the world, relates the history of an ancient island to the west, named Atalantis, imagined to have existed before the flood, and to be much larger than Africa and Asia, combined. The inhabitants are represented as a bold and warlike people, capable of great exertion, and famed for heroic exploits. By this island was a passage to numerous other islands, and from those islands to the Continent " which was right over against it, near unto the sea." This fabulous island is said to have been engulphed in the ocean, and all its warlike inhabitants to have perished. Plato states that he derived his information from an Egyptian priest, who delivered the tradition to Solon, and the latter communicated it to the uncle of Critias, the individual whom the philosopher introduces as rehearsing it. That this fable operated powerfully on the understandings of after-ages, is highly probable, for, as science began to emerge from the depths of monastic solitude, and man shook off the trammels of superstition and ignorance, so the moral or sequel to the tale was made apparent.
Seneca, in his Medea, utters, almost in the spirit of prophecy, his belief, that new worlds would be discovered. Whether
any attempts were made to search for this promised land before the Genoese flourished in their maritime commerce, and were esteemed the first navigators of the day, we have no positive information. The earliest accounts of such an undertaking proceed from the unsuccessful project of two skilful natives of Genoa, in the thirteenth century, Tedisia Doria and Ugolino Vivaldi, who sailed with the express intention of discovering new countries, and of circumnavigating the globe by a western