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Abel his brother, and slew him," Gen. iv. 8. And a monumental figure of Prayer. “Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice," Psa. cxli. 2.
There is a gallery of paintings here, in which are a few good pictures, and many that are curious; but it does not form a part of the Colosseum exhibition. I have walked through it alone, and am now on the lawn, on my way to the conservatory. The figure of Time, there, is in artificial stone, and the two Dogs are bold representations of the celebrated dogs at the entrance of the public gallery at Florence.
I could linger in this conservatory for an hour. It somewhat reminds me of the huge glass erections in Loddige's garden at Hackney, in which is so fine a collection of palms, cocoa-nut, and other tropical trees, that a tiger, with a little brushwood, is only wanted to form a complete Indian scene. The trees and plants, here, flourish luxuriously, for the temperature of the several compartments of the conservatory is adapted to their several natures and qualities. The botanist will not hastily leave the place, finding, as he will, the finest specimens of various plants and trees; and the Christian spectator may be reminded that
Believing hearts are gardens too,
For grace has sown its seeds,
But thorns and worthless weeds.
In opening the door which divides one part of the conservatory from the other, the visitor is suddenly confronted by an imposing figure close before him : this is no other than his own reflection mirrored in the glass door. The suddenness of this unlooked for stranger
many to give an instantaneous start. Few of us are so well acquainted with our full length figure, as instantly to recognise it when it unexpectedly appears before us.
I have not passed by the gold and silver fish in their miniature-sculptured pond, without a gaze; nor neglected the aviary, wherein is one garrulous bird, whose language, for the greater part, is unintelligible. The cage, here, is indeed a curiosity, for within its wiry precincts, rats and cats, guinea pigs, pigeons, and starlings, are congregated together in peace; the rats running underneath the soft furry bellies of the cats to hide themselves from the light and from the gaze of the approaching spectator. There is, at this moment, a rat on one of the elevated bars, almost asleep; he nods and dozes, and dozes and nods, until his head hangs down many inches lower than the rest of his body. Half a dozen times has he saved himself just in time to prevent his tipping over. I have pointed him out to a few visitors who are gazing on him with interest and wonder.
The lofty dome which is now above my head, glazed from the ground to the summit, has a lightsome and agreeable effect, heightened by the abundant flowers, creepers, and pendant plants, which adorn it. The fountain, too, with its circular basin, beautified with shell and coral, adds much to the fairy scene. The ring of jets-d'eau is admirably contrived, flinging up a beautiful transparent veil of crystal water high in the air. The fountain, basin, and rock work; the shell, coral, and moss, lit up by the rays
and beautified by the prismatic colours on the spray and falling waters, form a scene equally novel and delightful. The
eye has a wondrous property of accommodating
itself to different degrees of light. When I entered this grotto and marine cave, five minutes ago, I could scarcely discern a single object, whereas now every thing is comparatively clear to me. The wall and floor of rugged rock; the uneven roof incrusted with stalactites; the yellow gold-like glare of the sun on the massive pillars and huge misshaped crags; the crystal pools and waterfalls around, become every moment more distinctly visible. This is a fit place for contemplation. Just such a residence for an anchorite, as starts up in our imagination, when we read of the hermit, of whom it is said,
“Remote from man, with God he pass'd his days;
Prayer all his business; all his pleasure praise." The ship there, seen through the opening, heaving and tossing on the billowy waters, though on a miniature scale, has, when in better trim, been very effective, assisted by the sea-like sound that accompanies its rising and sinking amid the foamy surge. I can fancy myself on the pebbled beach, gazing on the heaving ocean.
* The sea it is deep, and the sea it is wide,
Ere the mountains were, God fashion'd thee!" Whatever may be the disposition of the visitor to this place, he cannot, with any colour of propriety, complain of the scantiness, or want of variety in his entertainment. The panorama of London, the conservatories, fountains and waterfalls, the grotto and marine cave, the Swiss cottage, rock scenery, camera obscura, and cosmoramic views, supply as much amusement as can reasonably be expected, and occupy quite as much time, in their enjoyment, as the generality of people have at command.
The Swiss cottage has four apartments, fitted up in the manner in which cottages in Switzerland are usually furnished; and the attendant, a civil attentive man, habited in the costume of a Swiss peasant, helps to carry on the agreeable delusion, that Mont Blanc and the Lake of Geneva are at no great distance from the place. The view from the recessed window is of a very romantic kind. Mountains, rocks, pointed crags, and caverns; waterfalls, lakes, and streams: with birds of prey, wild ducks, and creeping plants are so agreeably blended, and so beautifully reflected in the water, that imagination has much to assist it in conjuring up all that is wild and wonderful in nature.
There is something in a waterfall that affects us in a different manner to other things, especially if it assume the ungovernable rage of the thundering cataract. The broad-breasted mountain, the rifted crag, the fearful precipice, are arresting: but the headlong torrent, dashing its foaming waters over the pointed rocks, adds heartstirring motion to its imposing appearance, and creates a more active and turbulent interest in the mind. It seems a correct image of that glory for which so many jeopardize their bodies and their souls.
“O Glory! Glory! mighty one on earth!
How justly imaged in the waterfall!
“How many a wandering eye is turn'd to thee,
In admiration lost ! short-sighted men !
Unwearied, scattering blessings as it goes." The Swiss view, with the chapel erected in remembrance of the patriot William Tell; The Lake of Lucerne; the silver mine of Mexico; the missionary station at Malacca, with the Anglo-Chinese college, where Dr. Morrison carried on his Chinese translation of the Holy Scriptures, and composed his Anglo-Chinese dictionary; all these have their several interests; and the visitor lingers, or hurries on, as his mind is impressed, or his associations called forth."
Independent of the things immediately appertaining to the exhibition, there are many fortuitous circumstances, always occurring to the quick eye and active mind, that vary the scene and increase the amount of pleasure. A well-dressed young woman, perhaps, seats herself in “ Queen Adelaide's or the Stuart's chair;" and it is plain, that for the moment she is fancying herself to be a queen. An ardent young man reclines at full length on the bench of Napoleon Buonaparte;" his imagination supplies all that is wanted to make him an emperor, and a visionary diadem is glittering on his brow.
Nor are the more sober and reflective less likely to be moved to follow out their contemplative inclinations. Here a faded branch gives a colour to their shadowy