Obrazy na stronie

the caricature, that formerly made them ridiculous, that has disappeared.

This institution, which is a strange compound of the military and ecclesiastic, has now subsisted for near seven hundred

years ;

and though, I believe, one of the first-born, has long survived every other child of chivalry. It possesses great riches in most of the catholic countries of Europe ; and did so in England too, before the time of Henry VIII., but that capricious tyrant did not choose that any institution, however ancient or respected, should remain in his dominions, that had any doubt of his supremacy and infallibility; he therefore seized on all their possessions, at the same time that he enriched himself by the plunder of the church. It was in vain for them to plead that they were rather a military than an ecclesiastic order, and by their valour had been of great service to Europe, in their wars against the infidels: it was not agreeable to his system ever to hear a reason for any thing; and no person could possibly be right, that was capable of supposing that the king could be wrong.

Malta, as well as Sicily, was long under the tyranny of the Saracens ; from which they were both delivered about the middle of the



eleventh century, by the valour of the Nor. mans : after which time the fate of Malta commonly depended on that of Sicily, till the emperor Charles V. about the year 1530, gave it, together with the island of Gozzo, to the knights of St. John of Jerusalem, who at that time had lost the island of Rhodes. In testimony of this concession, the grand master is still obliged every year to send a falcon to the king of Sicily, or his viceroy ; and on every new succession to swear allegiance, and to receive from the hands of the Sicilian monarch the investiture of these two islands.

Ever since our arrival here, the weather has been perfectly clear and serene, without a cloud in the sky; and for sometime after sun-set, the heavens exhibit a most beautiful appearance, which I don't recollect to have observed any where else. The eastern part of the hemisphere appears of a rich deep purple, and the western is the true yellow glow of Claud Lorrain, that you used to admire so much. The weather, however, is not intolerably hot; the thermometer stands commonly betwixt 75 and 76. Adieu. We are now preparing for a long voyage, and it is not easy to say from whence I shall write you next.



Ever yours.


Agrigentum, June 11.


WE left the port of Malta in a sparonaro which we hired to convey us to this city.

We coasted along the island, and went to take a view of the north port, its fortifications and lazaretto. All these are very great, and more like the works of a mighty and powerful people, than of so small a state. The mortars cut out of the rock are a tremendous invention. There are about fifty of them, near the different creeks and landing-places round the island. They are directed at the most probable spots where boats would attempt a landing. The mouths of some of these mortars are about six feet wide, and they are said to throw a hundred cantars of cannon-ball or stones. A cantar is, I think, about a hundred pounds weight; so that if they do take place, they must make a dreadful havock amongst a debarkation of boats.

The distance of Malta from Gozzo is not above four or five miles, and the small island of Commino lies betwixt them. The coasts of all the three are bare and barren, but covered over with towers, redoubts, and fortifications of various kinds.

As Gozzo is supposed to be the celebrated island of Calypso, you may believe we expected something very fine ; but we were disappointed. It must either be greatly fallen off since the time she inhabited it, or the archbishop of Cambray, as well as Homer, must have flattered greatly in their painting. We looked as we went along the coast, for the grotto of the goddess, but could see nothing that resembled it. Neither could we observe those verdant banks eternally covered with flowers ; nor those lofty trees for ever in blossom, that lost their heads in the clouds, and afforded a shade to the sacred baths of her and her nymphs. We saw, indeed, some nymphs; but as neither Calypso nor Eucharis seemed to be of the number, we paid little attention to them, and I was in no apprehension about my Telemachus : indeed, it would have required an imagination as strong as Don Quixote's, to have brought about the metamorphosis.

Finding our hopes frustrated, we ordered our sailors to pull out to sea, and bade adieu to the

island of Calypso, concluding either that our intelligence was false, or that both the island and its inhabitants were greatly changed. We soon found ourselves once more at the mercy of the waves : night came on, and our rowers began their evening song to the Virgin, and beat time with their oars. Their offering was acceptable ; for we had the most delightful weather. We wrapt ourselves up in our cloaks, and slept most comfortably, having provided matrasses at Malta. By a little after day-break, we found we had got without sight of all the islands, and saw only part of Mount Ætna smoking above the waters. The wind sprung up fair, and by ten o'clock we had sight of the coast of Sicily.

On considering the smallness of our boat, and the great breadth of this passage, we could not help admiring the temerity of these people, who, at all seasons of the year, venture to Sicily in these diminutive vessels; yet it is

very seldom that any accident happens; they are so perfectly acquainted with the weather, foretelling, almost to a certainty, every storm many hours before it comes on.

The sailors look upon

this passage as one of the most stormy and dangerous in the Mediterranean. It is

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