Obrazy na stronie

and their elegant and stately forms, nants, as it were, of the superstitions have a fine effect amidst the confusion of our infancy, which, I believe, most of a populous and bustling city. This men experience while wandering abird, like the ibis among the ancient lone, and in darkness, among those Egyptians, is considered sacred by the venerable piles which have been for so Hollanders. It is never killed or dis- many ages consecrated to the purposes turbed, however familiar or trouble- of religion. some it may prove, and that dwelling But must, for the present, bid is considered as fortunate on which it adieu to these “ dwellers in the temchooses to take up its summer abode. ple,” though what I have said is due The young are, however, sometimes to their memory, from the pleasure captured and sold to slavery, which which they afforded me during one seems in some degree inconsistent beautiful evening of summer. with the veneration which is paid to Delft, where I now am, is said to be the personal dignity of the parent bird. an ancient town, and so it appears, for I am informed, that they observe an as the canals are green and stagnant, and tonishing regularity in the periods of the streets narrow, except at the great their migrations to and from this central square, which is certainly not country. They usually make their insignificant. As usual, the canals are appearance in spring about the end of numerous, and bordered with rows of March, and depart in the autumn trees. A Dutchman, with whom I about the beginning of September. travelled for a few hours in the treckThey are said to winter in Egypt and schuit, informed me, that the canals the north of Africa. Yesterday even of the town might be cleaned, by ing, which was beautifully calm and means of sluices, every day, and that serene, when the sun had sunk and the frequency of this operation acdim twilight overspread the land, I counted for the greater purity to be found myself alone in a church-yard, observed in their waters. He like--not a voice was audible to disturb wise mentioned, that he was a native, the utter solitude and silence with of the town of Delft, from which cirwhich I was surrounded,-a soft and cumstance, as I remarked rather the winnowing sound in the air suddenly reverse of a superiority in the particuattracted my attention, and immedi- lar alluded to, I infer that he was ately a beautiful pair of storks alight- inclined to flatter the place of his naed in the church-yard, within a few tivity. paces of the place where I stood. It Here I visited the principal church, was a mild and dewy night, and they which is well worthy of inspection for were no doubt attracted there by the its own intrinsic excellence, and still expectation of a plentiful supper on more so on account of the remains the slugs and insects, which might of many illustrious men which have have left their hiding places. My un been deposited in it, and the superb expected presence, however, seemed monuments which a grateful country to disturb them, for in a few seconds have erected to perpetuate their methey mounted to the steeple of the mory. church, where they sat uttering their The church itself is very large, and wild and singularly plaintive cries, is divided in the interior by two ranges which added greatly to those impres- of magnificent arched pillars; and sions of loneliness and seclusion which there are no galleries to diminish the the situation naturally tended to in- grandeur produced by the great height spire. Besides the usual note, I ob- of the walls and the vaulting of the serve these birds make a singular superb roof. noise, apparently by striking the two The monuments are worthy of bemandibles of the bill forcibly against ing held in undying remembrance, each other. This too, in the stillness Indeed I have somewhere read, that of a summer night, during which it is Delft might be considered as the Westusually made ; and when heard from minster of Holland, on account of the the top of some lofty cathedral, a remains of warriors and of learned name which most of the churches in men which it contains. In the centre Holland deserve to bear, produces a of one compartment of the church fine effect, and is, indeed, in my mind, stands the splendid mausoleum of already intimately connected with William I. Prince of Orange, a man those undefinable sensations, the rem- who is justly considered as the found


er of Dutch liberty, and whose me- pation which was the certain consemory is revered throughout the land. quence of their fortitude and virtue. It is the finest monument in Holland, Between these statues, a little adand is thought, by some competent vanced beneath the canopy, there is a judges, to present one of the most per- statue of Fame. The attitude is comfect specimens of architectural mag- mon place, but the execution is fine. nificence in Europe.

Above the canopy there is a large and It consists of a square base of white beautiful alabaster urn, on which a marble and bronze, and of a beautiful suit of armour of white marble, and of canopy of similar materials, support- most exquisite workmanship, is placed, ed by four abaster pillars. Betwe and near it the prince is represented the two pillars facing the great organ, stretched upon his tomb. At his feet sits a bronze statue of the prince, in there is the figure of the dog, which, complete armour, seemingly occupied at a former period, having saved his in the administration of justice. "On life, by awakening him when his tent his right side there is a fine statue of was beset by Spaniards, is reported to the goddess of Liberty, and on his left have refused all sustenance after the stands Justice with her scales. The death of its beloved master. This former struck me as being the more great prince, if my memory serves me, beautiful; it is a production of real · was assassinated by a native of Burgenius,--and the greater is the pity gundy, who shot him in the breast that a work so perfect should be de- with three balls, when he was deformed by any thing incongruous or scending his own staircase after dinabsurd,

The assassin, whose name was * That it is true 'tis pity, and pity 'tis 'tis Baltazar Gerard, was supposed to true.”

have been instigated on the one hand But either the evil star of the artist has, by the machinations of some diaboliin an inauspicious hour, darkened the cal monks, and, on the other, allured light of his genius, -or some patriotic by the gold and by the promises of son of Batavia, avidous of immortality, the perfidious Philip. Gerard, like has generously offered himself as the many other villains, was well endowed amender of a work, which, from the with personal courage, and with a reimprovement suggested by him, he solution worthy of a better cause ;could not possibly understand ; for he sacrificed his own life in order to over the left hand of the beautiful destroy this famous restorer and procreature before mentioned, is placed tector of religious liberty. a ponderous chapeau bras, richly gild Besides the ornaments which I have ed, and sufficiently large, in the eye of already described, there are several taste and feeling, to overshadow one weeping cherubim near the body of half of the mausoleum itself, though, white marble, and in the same masno doubt, in the opinion of its infatuat- terly style; and many figures of smalled manufacturer, spreading a halo light er size adorn the base of the pedestal through every corner of the edifice. It and the friezework of the canopy, all is considered, even by well-educated equally worthy of attention and adDutchmen, as an elegant emblem of miration. that noble spirit which resisted the op The following is a translation of the pression of the cruel Spaniard, and inscription, the original of which is worthy of being placed as a glory a without beauty of sentiment round the head of their sainted prince. and elegance of expression :-" To At each corner, on the opposite side, God, whose power and goodness have there is a female figure of great ex no bound; and to the eternal mecellence. These I believe to be em- mory of William of Nassau, Soveblematic of Religion and Strength. reign Prince of Orange, the father of The one stands upon a pillar of white this country, the welfare of which he marble, on which the name of Christ preferred to his own, and to that of is engraven in letters of gold, and his family ;-who raised and headbears the representation of a church ed, at two different times, and chiefly in her hand, the other holds a book. at his own expense, a powerful army, They are probably meant to perpetuate with the approbation of the States ;the memory of the sufferings of the who repulsed the tyranny of Spain ;people during the times of religious who re-established the worship of true persecution, and that happy emanci- religion, as well as the ancient laws of


the country ;-in fine, who left, at his rows of trees, and canals glittering in death, his son Maurice, an heir to his the sun. There were farm-houses many and royal virtues, together with with groves of chesnuts, villages with the care of 'finally establishing that spires and poplars, and the fantastic liberty which he had prepared. The city stretched beneath our feet; the confederate Belgian Provinces have whole appearing more like the gay erected this monumen to the memory creation of some whimsical monarch of this pious and invincible hero. than the habitations of the plodding Philip II. King of Spain, the terror of and phlegmatic Dutchman. After Europe, dreaded him ;-he never van- gazing for some time, I became at quished him,-he never intimidated length quite unconscious of the great him,-but he was base enough to use extent of the view, and could have bethe hand of an infamous and mean as lieved that the whole visible world was sassin to take away his life.”

converted into an extensive garden, It is, upon the whole, a most mag- with walks, and fish-ponds, and shady nificent production, and well worthy terraces-Chinese bridges, and basons the inspection of every one who has for gold fish—with peacocks, painted eyes to see, and soul to comprehend. barnacles, and Mandarins' summer

To the left of this beautiful struc- houses. ture is the grave of Grotius, with a From this elevated situation I had a monument, but paltry in comparison fine view of my old friends the storks, with the former. It consists chiefly all busily employed in feeding their of a large medallion, representing the young. I could even keep them in head of Grotius, in white marble, and sight during their excursions to the a child leaning upon an urn with an neighbouring canals, in search of food inverted torch. As the medallion is for their unfledged offspring. The considered as very like him, he must impatience of the callow nestlings, on have been an ugly man. This city is perceiving the approach of the assithe place of his birth.

duous parent, was extreme. They At the other end of the church, in stretched their long necks over the a lonely corner, lie the remains of nests from the chimney tops, the soonLeuwenhoeck, famous for his micro er to enjoy the wished-for morsel, and scopical discoveries. Over his cold appeared every moment as if about to earth a plain monument is erected by precipitate themselves into the streets his daughter, on which there is a head below. of the naturalist, and a simple, though En passant, I may remark, that when beautiful, inscription in Latin. I was in Rotterdam, I questioned a Dutchpleased by the utter stillness and se man concerning the probable origin of clusion of this corner of the church; the respect and protection which is af. it felt like a place where the person forded to this bird; he answered, as I whose ashes it contained would have expected, that it was on account of delighted to pursue his beautiful dis, their clearing the canals and marshes coveries unmolested by the world, and of frogs and other amphibious gentry, in death accorded well with the gentle with which they abound. I had not, spirit of him whose life was the life of however, proceeded ten yards after peace.

Mynheer had left me, when I observed Having seen every thing worthy of an old woman sitting under a tree, being seen in the body of the church, with a most excellent supply of frogs I ascended to the top of the spire, and in a basket ready for sale ; and in fact, an arduous ascent it was; but the la- before I left her, a girl came up, bour was amply repaid by the view nothing loth," and made a purchase, which I enjoyed. Few sights will If, therefore, frogs are in request as astonish a stranger more than the first an article of food, as it is known they view from the top of a Dutch steeple. have been for centuries, no thanks are The immense extent of the prospect, due to the storks for their efforts in without a hill or a valley, a rock or a diminishing their numbers; and as, winding river, is indeed most singu- in as far as I have heard or read, there lar. Every thing is rich and luxuri are no noxious or poisonous animals ant, but flat and uniform ; the land- in the country, it is probable the poscape appeared like one prodigious pular superstition in favour of these plain, extending on all sides as far as birds must have. originated in some the eye could reach, with green fields, other cause. Besides, it is generally


admitted, that still waters stagnate land, Spain, England, and Germany, sooner when deprived of animal life was concluded. than when teeming with aquatic my The Hague is the court, though not riads, so that their claims to protec- the capital of Holland. The general tion, as purifiers of the water, are, at appearance of the people here is less the best, of a dubious nature. They characteristic than in the other Dutch may, however, act as a check to the towns which I have seen. There are, superabundant production of such crea- however, many excellent and amusing tures during the heats of summer, the figures among the fishermen and increase of which is no doubt favour- country people. On account of its ed by the natural moisture of the soil not being surrounded by walls like. and climate.

the other towns in Holland, and beHaving descended once more to the ing destitute of municipal rights, the habitations of the well-fed Dutchman, Hague has been denominated a vilI found myself in a few minutes in, lage, and in that view is probably the another cathedral. It is named the largest in the world. It contains nearOude Kerk (old church), and contains ly 40,000 inhabitants, and is adorned a fine monument to the memory of by many fine public buildings. the renowned Dutch Admiral, Von I was indeed much struck by the Tromp. Its most interesting feature magnificent palaces of which this eleis a recumbent statue of the hero him- gant city is chiefly composed. I had self, in white marble, the head resting no where seen so many princely town upon a pillow of the same material, residences in one place. Having been which, in appearance, has all the deli- long the seat of a rich and powerful cacy and softness of the finest down. government, and the residence of the Above the figure are certain allegorical Stadtholder and the Dutch noblesse, personages, and beneath is a repre- the Hague has not the same air of trade sentation of the battle in which he and commerce, or, excepting its hotels, fell. He was killed in a fight against any thing connected with the “ the English in 1653, and is popularly of money catching.”. All is elegance, known in Holland by the title of the and splendour, and repose. There is Great father of the sailors.". Here a noble square or place in the centre, the tomb of Peit-Hein, Admiral of the adorned with a large bason of water, Indian Company, is also to be seen. in which there is a little island cover

I may notice, that, in many of the ed with flowering shrubs and plants, cathedrals and churches of this coun and inhabited by swans and other aquatry, the French, for what reason it is tic birds, for whose convenience, and not easy to guess, have obliterated the that of their young, there are little inscriptions upon a great number of stairs on the margin of the lake, and monuments ; even those of eminent shelter for their nests upon the island. private persons, merely distinguished, These birds are there in perfect safety, it is said, for their virtue, or piety, or the water being very deep; and they learning, have been erased from the are all of course, as to health, and lusstone. It is difficult to conceive any tre, and plumage, in the “ prime of thing more wretchedly barbarous than May,” and familiar enough.

“ warring with the dead.” What pleased me much, in admiring Yet in many places you see a large the Hague, was the great number and and stately ornamented marble pre extent of noble edifices, and these not senting a universal blank.

elbowed and shouldered by mean habiLeaving Delft,

and travelling through tations. In some places kingly palaces a pleasant district, with smiling cot are darkened by the gloom of surroundtages and lovely gardens on every side, ing hovels, and so mingled with each I found myself at the Hague in the other, that greater magnificence and course of an hour. Near Ryswick, in more slovenly wretchedness can hardparticular, the trees are tall and ma- ly be imagined. It is like passing jestic, and the general scenery most from Elysium to Tartarus. But here picturesque. Where that branch of no such objection is to be found. the canal, which conducts to the The palace of the Stadtholder is in Hague, leaves the great one leading a great measure surrounded by canals direct to Leyden, the Castle of Rys- and drawbridges. It seems a large wick is to be seen, where the treaty of building, and consists of several divi1697, between Louis XIV. and Hol- sions, which vary in aspect, and must

this savage


have been erected at different times. seeming to consider it for a moment The principal street is the Voorhout. possible that any rational being would It is of great length, and contains ever think of accommodating his own many houses built in a style of sin- pleasures to those of another, or be in gular elegance.

the slightest degree guided by any There are, however, in this town, principle or feeling but the immediate certain attendant evils, which perhaps gratification of every momentary imtend in a considerable degree to di- pulse of his own coarse spirit. After minish those advantages and superiori- dinner, an interesting Prussian girl ties which in other respects it may be came to sing some of her native airs. said to enjoy. The canals, 'at least Her voice was musical in the extreme, during my short stay, were greener but her " sounds of sweetest melody.” and more stagnant than any I had yet were constantly interrupted by the

The people seem less primitive hoarse laughs of the Dutchmen, some in their manners, and the doors and of whose remarks, I have no doubt, windows of the inns are constantly from the merriment they excited, beset by crowds of officious beggars, were of a most brilliant and refined whom it is impossible to satisfy, as nature. one horde is no sooner dismissed than During my stay in this town, while a fresh swarm arrives, equally rapa- sitting at the window of a front room, cious with the former, and rendered I was treated with a most extraordimore clamorous by the success of their nary spectacle. A tawdry ill-dressed predecessors.

woman, of a dark complexion and I lodged at the Twee Steden (Two' diminutive stature, entered the room, Cities), not the best auberge I believe. and suddenly adjusting her garments, But even here I had some difficulty not in the most delicate manner, she in obtaining access. The preference commenced upon the stone floor a long is always given, as is natural, to any continued series of feats of activity, overgrown Englishman who arrives certainly unparalleled by any thing i with three or four carriages occupied had ever before witnessed; bending her by a colony. I happened at this time limbs and body into every form which to be alone and on foot, that is, from it was possible to conceive. It was a the treckschuit; and I am, moreover, painful sight, and is a repulsive suba little man, with a sallow complexion, ject; but, as a single example of her and somewhat of a mean appearance.

power, I may mention, that at the Here I dined at the ordinary, and close of her performance, when a shilwas not particularly delighted with ling was thrown to her, she turned the specimen which it exhibited of herself round, and bending fearfully Dutch manners. The general aspect backwards, till her face touched the of the guests was certainly by no means ground, and her forehead was within prepossessing, though I trust, for the a few inches of her heels, she picked sake of Dutch refinement, that the up the shilling with her mouth, and picture which it presented was not without touching the floor with her one which 'ought to be considered in hands, she resumed the attitude of a the light of a characteristic representa- human being. tion.

Upon the whole, I was not much At the public table I found assem- gratified by my visit to the Hague. bled a motley group of different as Without doubt there are in it many pects and professions, and from various pleasing squares--magnificent palaces climes. The greater proportion, how- -handsome houses, and fine churches; ever, were Dutchmen, and these, but the little I saw of its men and judging from their external charac manners presented a coarse and uninters, were chiefly merchants and mer tellectual aspect; and, with the excepchants' clerks-lieutenants and ensigns tion of the blue-eyed Prussian, I did in the army-captains of trading ves not see one person whom I should ever selsand gaunt attornies,- all equally desire to see again. vociferous and ulgar in their man The House of the Wood (Maison de ners : every one whistling, singing, Bois), belonging to the Sovereign laughing, and talking, and puffing Prince, and the ancient summer reout most elaborate fumes of abomi- sidence of the Stadtholders, is placed nable tobacco to the other side of the nearly two miles northward of the table, as he felt inclined, without city, at the extremity of a noble forest.

« PoprzedniaDalej »