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new system has exhibited, even among its most eminent professors, very decided instances. This difference farther appears in the frequent use of rude, familiar, and prosaic expressions, wholly inconsistent with poetical diction; and which, if not duly measured, might well be mistaken for prose. Ex. gr.:
• This may be mere description; and there are
And think it nobler in a bard, by far,
To seek in narrative a livelier theme:
Where crowns are lost and won; or potent spell
If such alone can bid their bosoms swell
Enough there are who sing such themes as these,
I neither wish to fire the heart, nor freeze;
But seek their praise alone, whom gentler thoughts can please.' The sentiments in these verses are very good, and very pleasing in themselves, but surely we cannot admit the lines into the rank of poetry. The remainder of the volume consists of shorter pieces; in which, to use the author's own language, we conceive that he has effectually
'pleaded For nature, tenderness, and truth;'
as the following lines on Stoke Hills' exemplify:
It may be lovely, from the height
Of Skiddaw's summit, moss'd and gray,
On the magnificent array
Which such a prospect must display:
On Derwentwater's scatter'd isles;
I never gaz'd on such a scene;
But not in the exultant bliss
Where lakes expand, and mountains tower,
It is not that the landscape there
Can vie with Skiddaw's ampler scope;
With Cumbria's giant mountain cope:
The eye with rapture, or the mind
With transports, that thou mightst not find
< Outstretch'd beneath, indeed, may be,
A prospect beautiful, which he
Who has most frequently descried,
'O! nothing is more true than this;
From scenes which it may gaze upon:
Is shed on them by thoughts and feelings,
On the whole, then, we think that this additional volume, if not calculated to add much to the poetical reputation of its author, will by no means detract from it, in the estimation of readers who can be pleased with the exhibition of virtuous principles, and kind and affectionate feelings, expressed in simple and touching language. The great difficulty, as we have remarked on his former productions, which Mr. Barton has to encounter, is to prevent this simplicity from degenerating into a low, prosaic, and pedestrian style; like that which has infected the writings of almost all his associates in this novel line of composition, and which is the joint offspring of conceit and indolence.
ART. VII. An Account of Timbuctoo and Housa, Territories in the Interior of Africa, by El Hage Abd Salam Shabeeny; with Notes critical and explanatory. To which is added, Letters descriptive of Travels through West and South Barbary, and across the Mountains of Atlas, &c. &c. By James Grey Jackson, Resident upwards of sixteen Years in South and West Barbary, in a Diplomatic and in a Commercial Capacity. 8vo. pp. 547. 14s. Boards. Longman and Co.
If we are to become acquainted with Timbuctoo only through the relations of Moorish travellers, it is evident that we shall know little more of it than of El Dorado of Sir Walter Raleigh. Those who have lived among the people of the East will best appreciate the credence that is due to their narrations: but this observation applies with still greater force to the Moorish inhabitants of those countries. Nothing is more contrary to the genius and spirit of their language, than to relate things as they actually happened. If the fancy of the narrator be sufficiently inventive, we are sure to have an Arabian Nights' Entertainment: but those who are less gifted frequently make up in prolixity of detail, and apparent minuteness of circumstance, for their deficiency in warmth and vigor of imagination. It would be unjust, however, to apply these remarks to Shabeeny's details without some qualifications; since those details are not objectionable as exaggerated or hyperbolical, but seem from their indistinctness and confusion to have been the unconnected recollections of a man who observed little, and was not in the habit of recording even that little. The subsequent passages are rather favorable as specimens of his style and manner:
• Situation of the City of Timbuctoo.
'On the east side of the city of Timbuctoo, there is a large forest, in which are a great many elephants. The timber here is
very large. The trees on the outside of the forest are remarkable for having two different colours; that side which is exposed to the morning sun is black, and the opposite side is yellow. The body of the tree has neither branches nor leaves, but the leaves, which are remarkably large, grow upon the top only: so that one of these trees appears, at a distance, like the mast and round top of a ship. Shabeeny has seen trees in England much taller than these: within the forest the trees are smaller than on its skirts. There are no trees resembling these in the Emperor of Marocco's domi nions. They are of such a size that the largest cannot be girded by two men. They bear a kind of berry about the size of a walnut, in clusters consisting of from ten to twenty berries. Shabeeny cannot say what is the extent of this forest, but it is very large. Close to the town of Timbuctoo, on the south, is a small rivulet in which the inhabitants wash their clothes, and which is about two feet deep. It runs in the great forest on the east, and does not communicate with the Nile, but is lost in the sands west of the town. Its water is brackish: that of the Nile is good and pleasant. The town of Timbuctoo is surrounded by a mud-wall: the walls are built tabia-wise as in Barbary, viz. they make large wooden cases, which they fill with mud, and when that dries they remove the cases higher up till they have finished the wall. They never use stone or brick; they do not know how to make bricks. The wall is about twelve feet high, and sufficiently strong to defend the town against the wild Arabs, who come frequently to demand money from them. It has three gates; one called Bab Sahara, or the gate of the desert, on the north: opposite to this, on the other side of the town, a second, called Bab Neel, or the gate of the Nile: the third gate leads to the forest on the east, and is called Beb El Kibla. The gates are hung on very large hinges, and when shut at night, are locked, as in Barbary; and are farther secured by a large prop of wood placed in the inside slopingly against them. There is a dry ditch, or excavation, which circumscribes the town, (except at those places which are opposite the gates,) about twelve feet deep, and too wide for any man to leap The three gates of the town are shut every evening soon after sunset: they are made of folding-doors, of which there is only one pair. The doors are lined on the outside with untanned hides of camels, and are so full of nails that no hatchet can penetrate them; the front appears like one piece of iron.
The town is once and a half the size of Tetuan, and contains, besides natives, about 10,000 of the people of Fas and Marocco. The native inhabitants of the town of Timbuctoo may be computed at 40,000, exclusive of slaves and foreigners. Many of the merchants who visit Timbuctoo are so much attached to the place that they cannot leave it, but continue there for life. The natives are all blacks: almost every stranger marries a female of the town, who are so beautiful that travellers often fall in love with them at first sight.
REV. JUNE, 1822.
• Inns, or Caravanseras.
When strangers arrive they deposit their merchandise in large warehouses called fondacs; and hire as many rooms as they choose, having stables for their camels, &c. in the same place. These fondacs are private property, and are called either by the owner's name, or by that of the person who built them. The fondac, in which Shabeeny and his father lived, had forty apartments for men, exclusive of stables; twenty below and twenty above, the place having two stories. The staircase was within the inclosure, and was composed of rough boards; while he staid, the rooms were constantly occupied by natives and strangers; they hired rooms for three months, for which they paid thirty okiat, or fifteen shillings sterling per month. These fondacs are called Woal by the Negroes. The money was paid to the owner's agent, who always lives in the fondac for this purpose, and to accommodate strangers with provisions, &c. At their arrival, porters assisted them, and procured every thing they wanted; but when they were settled they hired a man and a woman slave to cook and to clean their rooms, and to do every menial office. Slaves are to be bought at all hours: the slave-merchants keep a great number ready for sale.
In the houses little furniture is seen; the principal articles (those of the kitchen excepted) are beds, mats on the floor, and the carpets, which cover the whole room. The rooms are about fourteen feet by ten; the kitchen and wash-house are generally to the right and to the left of the passage; the necessary is next the wash-house.'
Of Housa we have but scanty particulars.
The River Neel, or Nile.
The Neel El Kebeer, (that is, the Great Nile,) like the Neel Masser, or Nile of Egypt, is fullest in the month of August, when it overflows in some places where the banks are low; the water which overflows is seldom above midleg; the banks are covered with reeds, with which they make mats. Camels, sheep, goats, and horses, feed upon the banks, but during the inundation are removed to the uplands. The walls of the huts both within and without are cased with wood to the height of about three feet, to preserve them from the water; the wells have the best water after the swelling of the river. The flood continues about ten days; the abundance of rice depends on the quantity of land flooded. Shabeeny always understood that the Nile empties itself in the sea, the salt sea or the great ocean. There is a village at the port of Housa where he landed; the river here is much wider than where he embarked, and still wider at Jinnie. He saw no river enter the Nile in the course of his voyage. It much resembles the Nile of Egypt, gardens and lands are irrigated from it. Its breadth is various; in some places he thinks it narrower than the Thames at London, in others much wider; at the landing-place they slept in the hut of a native, and next morning at sunrise set off for Housa,