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Muzio, the heretic hunter, and that he passed freely
Lando's genius is essentially humorous and
The same spirit of paradox is found in his life as in his books. His fate combined the disadvantages of noble birth, and of mediocre if not lowly station. He wandered hither and thither in search of unattained ideals. He ate the bread of dependence, and repaid his protectors by adulation too boundless to be sincere, and yet was ready to sacrifice all at the bidding of an irascible and imperious temper, Steeped in erudition, he mocks at learning. He has a prodigious memory for all the knowledge that was current in his own day, yet where it should bave been most useful he is often slipshod. He is careless of finish, and neglects that beauty of form, that perfect expression, without which literature can bave no permanence. Herein we may bave the secret of his failure to command a more than ephemeral reputation. Ortensio Lando is an interesting figure for the student, but he belongs to the byways and not to the highways of literature. He is the author
of half a century of books; all of them are clever, brilliant, audacious, and learned, and all have passed out of the memory of the world.
“ Habent sua fata libelli,” says Terentianus-a forgotten poetand oblivion is the fate from which not one of the many books of Hortensius Trauquillus has escaped.
BURTON'S PILGRIMAGE TO MECCA; AN
UNPUBLISHED MS. OF THE LATE SIR
WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY W. H. WILKINS, M.A., F.R.S.L.,
EDITOR OF THE BURTON MSS.
[Read February 8th, 1899.]
Ir would be impossible for me in the short space of time at my command to do justice to all the aspects of Burton's many-sided character; I might treat of him as an ethnologist, as a student and a thinker, as a soldier and a soldier of fortune, as an Orientalist and a mystic, and still there would be something left to say, for Burton was all these things and more. But it is as an explorer that I am going to speak of him to-night, and the manuscript which I shall read to you treats of one of the most remarkable episodes in bis
his pilgrimage to Mecca. It is his own manuscript, and I shall read it in his own words. It has never been published in England, but was delivered by Burton in 1866 as a lecture (in French) before the Emperor and Empress of Brazil at Rio.
As you are doubtless aware, Sir Richard was an untiring literary worker, and when he died be left no fewer than thirty manuscripts in a more or less advanced stage of completion. His widow, Lady
Burton, in exercising the discretion he committed to her, suppressed some, and published others; she would have published the rest but her labours were interrupted by her death. It was then that her sister and executrix, Mrs. Fitzgerald, requested me to take charge of the remaining Burton manuscripts, and edit and prepare them for publication, One, The Jew, the Gypsy, and El Islam, was published last May, and others, I hope, will follow in due course. Out of the large mass of unpublished papers at my disposal, I chose this one to read to you to-night in preference to others of a more literary and esoteric nature, because it deals with the most striking part of Burton's career. For when all that he wrote and wrought will have passed away into that limbo of forgetfulness which awaits the labours of even the most distinguished among us, I think this, at least, will be remembered to his honour--that he was the first Englishman who penetrated to the Holy of Holies at Mecca. I say the first Englishman advisedly. I am aware that Burckhardt, a Swiss explorer, bad gone part of the way before him, and since his day one or two have made the pilgrimage; but though it is a sufficiently difficult and perilous thing to undertake a journey to Mecca now, it was much more difficult wlien Burton did it in 1853. He was not a man to do things by halves; be made the pilgrimage thoroughly, absolutely living the life of the Moslems, wearing their clothes, eating their food, joining in their prayers, sacrifices and ritual, and speaking their language; he did all this carrying his life in his hand, for one false step, one prayer
unsaid, or trifling item of shibboleth omitted, and
ask: “If Burton were indeed so great à man, how came it that his abilities were not sooner recognised by the State ?” But he was not a man of the type the State delights to honour. He spent the best part of his life fighting for recognition, and, when that recognition came, it came too late. I do not believe it would have ever come if it had not been for the labours of his noble and devoted wife, whose love encompassed him for thirty years, and who, after his death, guarded his fair name against all the world. There must have been something great about the man to have won such love as this. But that his greatness was not recognised by the State was not, I think, altogether the fault of those in authority. Burton