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THE PALACE OF ZENOBIA is one of the principal remains of the city of Palmyra. The Corinthian style of architecture, with the vastness that characterized the Egyptian buildings, are both sufficiently apparent. Palmyra was the Tadmor of king Solomon, a magnificent city of Syria, the stupendous ruins of which are situated in the midst of a sandy and sterile desert, around which, on three sides, mountains rise of considerable eminence. Zenobia was Queen of Palmyra. Beautiful in person, and of extraordinary intellect, she united the refinement of the Grecian with the hardihood of the Roman character: this was her palace. In the pride of her power, she thought lightly of Rome; but Aurelian came as a conqueror, and her city was swept with the besom of destruction. Palmyra was a splendid city, afterwards a town of little note; at a still later date it was an unimportant fortress, and now it is a mere miserable village. The costly ruins or its former greatness form a strange contrast to its present humiliation ; for mud cottages now stand in the spacious court of the once splendid temple.
The owlet builds her nest in princely halls;
As I gaze on the painting, it wonderfully improves in appearance: what was a mere picture is now a real ruin, and, in fancy, I am standing in the midst of its mouldering magnificence. Mark the square blocks of stone, through the principal portal, and the beautiful pillars, in the distance to the left, contrasted with the strength of the foreground.
Palmyra tells a tale of other times:
CONSTANTINOPLE, DURING THE CONFLAGRATION OF 1839, must have been an awful spectacle. The little device of introducing an apparent flame that bursts forth, flinging a frightful red glare on the city, and then as suddenly subsides, involving the place in portentous gloom, is very effective. It gives a reality to the representation.
What a dreadful calamity is an extensive fire ! Three thousand seven hundred houses were destroyed. Despairing fathers, frantic mothers, shrieking children, bedridden and helpless old age, all at their wits' end. Alarm visited
house! Terror strided through the streets, and destruction in all directions raged abroad.
The shout of fire, a dreadful cry,
The building at the entrance of the Bosphorus, there, is the seraglio, or palace of the sultan. To the right is the dome of Santa Sophia, the most celebrated mosque of the Moslems; and yonder is Pera, where the foreign ambassadors, the dragomans, and Frank merchants reside. Visit Constantinople as you will, by the Dardanelles and Sea of Marmora, by the Black Sea and the Bosphorus, by the plains of Thrace or the hills of Asia, she will always be seen to advantage.
At present, the inhabitants of Constantinople follow the false prophet; but the Christian humbly believes that the Mohammedan crescent will yet wane before the Star of Bethlehem. In vain shall the enemies of the cross contend against Almighty power; at the appointed time, “the Lamb shall overcome them ; for he is King of kings, and Lord of lords : and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful," Rev. xvii. 14.
THE PALACE OF VERSAILLES is an admirable view. The building, trees, gardens, flowers, hedges, grass, and water, are all excellent. Years have passed since I looked on the real palace ; but this representation of it brings it back to my gaze, as though it were just before me The façade of one thousand nine hundred feet, the projections, Ionic columns, and statues of marble and bronze, are truly magnificent.
The centre statue, in the distance, represents
Marcus Curtius leaping into the abyss, as sacrifice for the good of his country; and the fountain on the left is the Fontaine de Pyramide, formed of four basins, one rising above another. Every spectator will be interested by this view of the palace of Versailles. Such as have seen the original will admire it for its correctness ; and those who have not will be spell-bound by its beauty and magnificence.
A group of children have entered the place, to witness the wonders of the Cosmorama. They are peeping through the little windows at the different views, full of joyous exclamation. With children, pictures are always perfect.
In happy ignorance of art, they see
Let there be red, and blue, and green, and yellow enough in his brush, and a painter may calculate on the youthful world for his admirers.
This GENERAL VIEW OF ROME takes not my fancy, though it will be full of interest to those who never saw a better representation of the “ Eternal City,” as it is called by some, though improperly. St. Peter's and the Vatican, with its colonnade, and obelisk,, and fountain; the Pantheon, the Colosseum, and the Antonine and Trajan pillars, are objects which associations render attractive; but in so miniature a scale, they can scarcely be expected to be very effective. The road between the trees, there, would be accurately traced by the eye of a Roman Catholic, for it leads to that mother of churches, St. Giovanni Laterana, the oldest in Europe, wherein the pope is consecrated. The scene before me takes back the thought
To that proud capital, where Cæsars found a home,
The temple of Jupiter Stator, the ruins of the palace of the emperors, and the Fontana Paolina, the finest fountain in Rome, may all be clearly distinguished by those who have a knowledge of the once imperial city. The Corso, the finest street in Rome, may also be traced, with the Quirinal Palace, the towers of St. Maria Maggiore, and the receding waters of the river Tiber.
Though the imperial city of Rome had not, like Athens, an altar inscribed “To the unknown God,” yet did its citizens as ignorantly worship stocks and stones, as the people of Athens. They were “wholly given to idolatry.”
THE PARK OP VERSAILLES, like the palace, is an object which at once arrests the attention ; and the longer you gaze, the more you are disposed to linger on the scene before you.