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sought city, then sparkling in all the radiance of a setting-sun. Capt. Mnggs is aware that the same enthusiasm which almost intoxicated Mr. Bruce as he bestrode the sources of the Nile, may have induced him to attribute an undue magnificence to the capital which he has discovered; but after his senses have been sobered by a lapse of several months, he remains still convinced that its first aspect is decidedly superior to that of the finest Kraal of Hottentots in all CafTraria. The mud of which the hovels are constructed is of a finer texture, and the architecture, if that term may be applied to buildings seldom exceeding eight feet in height, is of a more artificial kind, approaching in several instances to the ingenuity displayed in the nidification of birds. Not only are the dunghills before the doors smaller and less offensive, but civilization has made such progress, that in several of the houses of the nobility a hole has been left in the thatched roof for the escape of the smoke, a luxury quite unknown to the Hottentots. The royal palace stood proudly eminent in the middle of the city, being full three feet higher than any other building, and having a pyramid of human skulls on each side of the door, which was guarded by half-naked soldiers, armed with bows and poisoned arrows.
It happened to be a grand levee on the day of our traveller's arrival, and as he was immediately conducted into the royal presence, he had an opportunity of observing the court etiquette. His woolly majesty was seated on a throne of skulls, and, spite of his diminutive stature, distorted features, and an exorbitant squint, preserved an air of dignity which fully proclaimed him to be "every inch a king." A red cloth, nearly as fine as a hopsack, was girt round his loins; in his right hand was a crocodile's jaw for a sceptre ; in his left, a bunch of feathers for a fan; and two attendants were constantly employed in anointing his most sacred and woolly head with fat, grease, and soot. On either side were ranged his guards, each wielding a long lance with a skull at the top; and at a signal given by the Poet Laureate, the whole court fell prostrate, and chanted in chorus the following legitimate ode, or loyal address to their Sovereign Lord, King Quashiboo.
"Hoo! Tamarama bow-now!
Hurrah! for the son of the Sun!
Throughout all the world there is none
Like Quashiboo the only one
Buflalo of Buffaloes, and Bull of Bulls!
Hail to the royal Quashiboo,
Emperor and Lord of Timbuctoo!
Referring to the forthcoming volumes for the particulars of this most interesting audience, we- shall merely observe, that as to the com
* Their principal idol, whose temple adjoins the palace.
mercial advantages to be derived from an intercourse with this people, Captain Muggs is of opinion that as they all wear a coarse cloth round their bodies, there might be a considerable sale of this article, did they not unfortunately manufacture it much cheaper for themselves than it could be conveyed to them across the desert; and he has no doubt there would be an almost unlimited demand for perfumery, could the natives be once induced to discontinue the use of their present cosmetics: videlicet, buffalo's fat, soot, pitch, tar, grease, and cow-dung. Our limits not allowing us to go into any further details, we must hasten to conclude with a few specimens of their poetry, furnished by the Court Laureate, and translated by Captain Muggs, who has devoted his fourth quarto volume to their preservation, and assures us that his version is as literal as the different idioms of the languages will allow. The Timbuctoo tongue is excessively guttural and harsh, nearly as much so as the Dutch, of the Anthology of which we have lately had specimens, and the reader will, perhaps, be surprised that any thing so cacophonous, and apparently barbarous, should be made the medium of such refined and delicate sentiments as are exhibited in the following
"Funke rumbo yaya, blubdub mum y funghyzz."
Awed as 1 am and in thy presence dumb,
Deny me not the solitary bliss
Lips that seem form'd as cushions for a kiss.
Thy flatten'd nose still haunts me in my sleep,
Where Cupid lingers, playing at bo-peep,
With gooroo juice are stain'd thy yellow teeth,
Tobacco gives its perfume to thy breath,
0 wert thou mine, Tambooshie I I would make
Then powder it with bucku dust, and take
Ah! when the mothers o'er their shoulders throw
The husband's, father's joys I sigh to know,
Presumptuous thought!—Tambooshie for my wife!
1 feel that 1 must love her all my life,
But hope both life and love wdl soon be o'er.
We shall only offer one more selection from their amatory poetry, which, we think, our readers will confess to be not altogether unworthy of Shenstone.
A common practice in the interior of Africa.
"Schneik-boo Dsirika cha-cha ben."
And I '11 creep by the light of the moon
To steal a young howling baboon.
And feed it with lizards and frogs,
Shall bait and torment it with dogs.
1 will catch her a fat yellow snake,
To be eaten with crocodile's eggs,
And a jam of tarantula's legs.
From the banks of the Niger I '11 bring
And sew up live worms in a ring,
I told her my plan, but her heart
Is so tender she winced at the worms,
Before she accepted my terms.
"I had rather," she cried, quick as thought,
'' On my finger a wedding-ring hung; And I loved her the more when 1 caught
Such a delicate hint from her tongue.
Their lyric poetry possesses a most noble and animated paean or battle-ode, which has been much admired by the critics for the truly Pindaric and daring abruptness of its commencement, and which, moreover, is curious not only as describing the Timbuctoo mode of battle, but as containing their most approved receipt for dressing and eating the prisoners. We had begun its translation, but as its beauties could not be fully felt in an extract, and our limits would not allow us to insert the whole, we were reluctantly compelled to desist.
It will perhaps excite some surprise when we state that their literature is richer in epigrams than any other with which we are conversant, the point being generally made to turn upon some familiar proverbs, and their proverbs bearing such a striking affinity to ours, that with no other than the fair latitude of a free translation they might be actually identified. Fragments of Latin are not unfrequently encountered in these caustic and witty effusions, an additional proof that Timbuctoo was the actual city discovered by the Nasamones, to whom we have already made allusion, and who must have lefc behind them these curious relics of the Roman tongue. It is principally on this account that we select the following
As Slue-shoo was courting the fat-smear'd Boo-jeer,
Her lover pass'd by, and cxclaim'd with a sneer,
The next which we shall translate was composed upon Squosh, a prime minister, who appears to have severely oppressed the people for the gratification of his own architectural extravagance, and to have richly merited the cutting irony of the last line.
"Pilferbo pickpock Squosb."
Squosh ravages, pillages,
Houses and villages,
But, egad, it's no wonder
The rogue's fond of plunder,
Some of our own exquisites might be benefited if they would pay due attention to the sting of this happy jtu d'espiit.
"Bu dripscotce switchcoo turpen."
With suet-dripping head and pitch'd rattan,
Perfumed with tar, a dandy in attire,
The reason's plain—a burnt child dreads the fire.
We shall conclude with a brilliant sally, which, had it been launched upon the banks of Cam or Isis, would have alone established the fame of its author as a sparkling epigrammatist.
On Cvurla a celebrated beauty, wearing the cheek-bones of sacrificed prisoners in her ears. "Avah flatsnoutab tani bu dirali." Forbear, proud beauty, with such cruel skill To make dead heroes their survivors kill; Too many cooks, we know, will spoil the broth. So cut your coat according to your cloth. II
STUDIES IN SPANISH HISTORY.—NO. II*
Prince Don Juan Manuel, and his Book El Conde Lucanor; with the History of Count Don Rodrigo the Liberal, and his Knights.
The love of letters appears at an early period among the sovereigns who reigned in different parts of Spain. Alfonso III. who held the crown of Leon from 862 to 910, is believed to be the author of one of the Spanish chronicles. But the learning of that age hardly deserves the name of literature, in the sense which we are accustomed to give that word. The dim rays of knowledge which are discovered in the scanty documents of that century, whether proceeding from a crowned or a tonsured head, are all the legitimate offspring of the cloisters.
Not so the polite literature of the courts of Aragon and Castille from the twelfth to the fifteenth century, which, perfectly independent of the clerical schools, sprang up round the thrones, and flourished in the camps of those noble-hearted nations. Four kings of Aragon, three of whom stood in the relation of father, son, and grandson, were poets historians, and legislators.t Ferdinand III., in whose person the crowns of Leon and Castille were finally and permanently united, notwithstanding his incessant and successful wars against the Moors,
* It is not intended tbat these sketches should appear in a chronological order. They are, in fact, what their title imports, short essays, towards a work which the writer has in contemplation, and for which he is collecting materials.
t Alfonso II., James I., Peter HI., and Alfonso III. Sec Nicholas Antonio, Ditliolheca Fetus.
by width he confined them to the kingdom of Granada, had (says his son Alfonso the Sage*) a great value for minstrels, whose art he possessed; and shewed favour to high-bred gentlemen who were poets and musicians. To this taste for literature that great man united a love of every kind of useful knowledge. He gave his son and successor, Alfonso the Sage, an education which has immortalized his name as a man of learning. The cultivation of the mind, according to the means which that age afforded, still continued to be an object of the first consideration in the royal family of Castille. Sancho IV., the Strong, second son of Alfonso the Sage, who usurped the throne from the children of his deceased brother, Ferdinand de la Cerda, found leisure among the employments of a warlike and ambitious life, to write a work on general knowledge, which might supply the deficiencies of the theological system of instruction which the regular tutors of princes and noblemen seem to have pursued in that age. His work, el Lucidario, is still in manuscript at the royal libraries of Madrid and the Escurial. It is written in questions and answers, the dialogue being opened by an observation of the pupil, that though he is indebted to his tutor for the knowledge of many things, yet they all relate to divinity.t On this ground the learned king catechises the imaginary tutor, furnishing him with answers in Nat iral Philosophy, Ethics, and even Divinity, which a real one might probably have been at a loss to give.
But the most striking proof of talent and literary acquirements exhibited by that family, is the work which affords a subject to the present article. Don Juan Manuel, the author of the Conde Lucanor, was a
frandson of Ferdinand III., called the Saint, by the Prince Don lanuel, third son of Alfonso the Sage, and a younger brother of Sancho IV., called the Strong. We cannot learn the year of his birth, though it is known that in 1310, his cousin, Ferdinand IV., el Emplazado,X made him Lord High Steward of his household. On the death, however, of that monarch, the heir, Alfonso XI., being an infant, a contest for the guardianship arose among his numerous and powerful relations; and three guardians were finally appointed, one of whom was our author.
During the minority of Alfonso, Don Juan Manuel appears to have enjoyed the favour of his royal relative, from whom he obtained the command of the Moorish frontiers, and a promise of marriage with his daughter Constanza Manuel.
The talents of Don Juan Manuel were no less fitted for private than public and military life. He greatly distinguished himself against the Moors of Granada, whom he distressed and defeated by frequent inroads. But the turbulent state of the Castilian court soon turned his
* In the preface to a book entitled El Setenario. "Pagabasc de hombrcs cantadores; sabiendolo el fazer \ e otrosi pagandose de homes de Cone que subien Men trobar c cantar."
t Yo so tu discipnlo, e th me has ensenado mucho. Empero el saber que tu me mostraste, es todo de Teologia." Bayer, in a note to Nicholas Antonio, Hill. Fetus, tells us, that the Lucidario was translated into Italian, and that the translation is mentioned by Maittaire, Annates Typographic!.
J The Summoned. Two brothers, the Caravajales, who, on suspicion of having committed a murder, were precipitated from the Rock of Marios, summoned the kins; to appear before God forty days after their death. Ferdinand died at the end of the appointed period.