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living one, a professor named Mezzofanti, who, without ever having left his native country, speaks, I believe, about thirty-five languages, the common ones perfectly, and understands grammatically above forty.” In a footnote he says, " I saw and conversed with Mezzofanti twice when at Bologna with Lady Sykes in 1829. His manner was very pleasing and agreeable, but he did not give me the idea of a person of extensive information, his whole mind having been absorbed in acquiring languages. Those with which I was acquainted, English, French, and German (besides his own), he spoke with wonderful accuracy, both of phrase and accent, so much so, that even in English I could scarcely detect any peculiarity. He talked of acquiring a language as a matter of perfect facility. During the war, when many strangers, especially Poles, were in Italy, his power of entering into conversation with the natives of any country was of great service.” At Florence he had an introduction which brought recollections of Scottish history. Sir Archibald was presented to the Countess of Albany, the widow of Bonnie Prince Charlie, who was afterwards married privately to Alfieri, the poet. The Venus de Medicis entranced him. “The hand of man," he says, “has never, in my opinion, executed anything superior, if equal, to this piece of art.”
Whilst Sir Archibald was making his way up the Nile, he met the celebrated Belzoni. He was on his way to Alexandria, with the wonderful alabaster sarcophagus which he had discovered. He showed it to Sir Archibald, and was evidently proud of the discoveries he had made, and the prize he carried with him. On the advice of Belzoni he was induced to visit the Great Oasis. “Our conversation,” he says, “lasted about half an hour, and I did not meet this enterprising person
again till two years after in London." Sir Archibald visited the sepulchre which Belzoni had found. “It is not easy,” he writes, “ to describe the different chambers and passages in this wonderful excavation; the vividness of the colouring of the figures, however, cannot be conceived by one who has not seen the original. Of the figures themselves, a group forming part of a procession, and, as we supposed, Jewish captives, interested us most. The figures. all relate to the King Osiris, father of Ramesses Sesostris, whose sepulchre this was, 1385 B.C.”
Leaving behind him the Great Oasis, the wonders of Karnac and Luxor, the pyramids and temples of Egypt, Sir Archibald bent his steps for Syria, and spent some weeks in exploring the antiquities of the Holy Land. As he crossed the sacred borders “sacred recollections thronged his mind with almost painful intensity." To the end of his days the excursion was to him a source of fresh and never failing delight, nor was there any period of his life of which he would have regretted so much to lose the memory as the few weeks occupied in investigating the localities of Judea. He made a methodical study of Jerusalem and the places most intimately associated with the life and passion of our Lord. He visited Bethlehem and Jericho. He bathed in Jordan. Leaving Jerusalem by the way of Shechem (Nablous), he passed through the plain of Esdraelon. The plan of his route included Nazareth, Tabor, the Sea of Galilee, and Mount Carmel. His intention was to push onward to Damascus and the Lebanon, but two of his travelling companions having to return homewards, he was prevailed upon to forego this part of his journey, and accompanied them in a Greek vessel from Acre to Scala Nova. Parting from his friends, he journeyed to Constantinople. Sailing down the Sea of Marmora, he landed at Dardanelles town, and solaced his classical enthusiasm by exploring the Troad, climbing Mount Ida, and visiting the ruins of Assos. Sir Archibald made a detour to Joannina to see Ali Pasha and his dark, swarthy son, Mouctar. The traveller thought he was treated with less consideration than former visitors, but he praises the excellent character of Mouctar and his wise policy. Ali had a singular career. After a variety of fortunes, during which he had made use of every artifice which deceit and cunning could suggest, and treachery and cruelty put into practice, he was at that time undisputed master of the whole of Albania, from the Austrian frontier to the Gulf of Lepanto. When Sir Archibald visited him he was in the pride of his power and the possession of undisputed sovereignty. Having declared himself in open rebellion against the Porte, the armies of Turkey invaded his territory, and fifteen months after, his power was destroyed, he himself assassinated, and his kingdom divided between Turkey and Greece. In praise of Ali and Mouctar, Byron, in the second canto of “Childe Harold,” chants the rolling “Tambourgi! Tambourgi !"
I talk not of mercy, I talk not of fear,
On his way to Athens, Sir Archibald visited the Vale of Tempe and the heroic scenes of Pharsalia and Thermopylæ. He drank of the Castalian spring, and, with undue self-depreciation, lamented that, so far as he was concerned, it seemed to have lost its power. At Athens our traveller lodged in the house of Signora Macri, the widow of the last English Consul. She had three lovely daughters, who were celebrated by the name of Consulinas. The two elder were brunettes, with dark hair and eyes. The youngest, Marianna, was very fair, and her countenance had a gayer expression than her sisters. Their persons were elegant, their manners pleasing and lady-like. They possessed considerable powers of conversation, and more instruction than is generally possessed by Greek women. They were as much distinguished for their virtue as for their beauty. It was in praise of Theresa, the eldest of these, that Byron composed his famous song, “Maid of Athens.” Sir Archibald occupied the apartments which had been in the tenancy of the English poet. He makes the observation : “ The eldest, Theresa, was Lord Byron's Maid of Athens,' but ten years had made a considerable impression on a face, though still handsome, in this precocious region.” The lady was afterwards married, and died not so many years ago. At Naples, hearing of his father's serious illness, he hastened home, and arrived in London on the 17th August, 1820. Sir Archibald's visit to the Great Oasis is the only section of his travels which has been published. This too brief account of his tour has been gleaned from his extensive manuscript journal.
Some time after the completion of his tour, Sir Archibald Edmonstone commenced the composition of “ Fitzwalter,” a romance. It was completed in 1829, but, as if loath to let it out of his hands, he submitted it to various revisions and alterations, and it was not published till the year 1861. The tale was intended rather to embody a theory of Christian character in the higher walk of life than as a narrative to excite stirring interest. As a first attempt in this form of literature it is entirely praiseworthy, and strongly confirms our belief that if he had concentrated his powers on this department of romance, he would have found such a free and unconstrained sphere for the exercise of his varied knowledge and cultivated faculties as could hardly have failed to secure a pre-eminent success.
But Sir Archibald had a higher ambition. He early determined on the winning of the poet's name, and his persistent devotion to “Polymnia,” the Muse of the sublime hymn, cost him the laurels which he would certainly have received from the nameless goddess of the popular novel. Sir Archibald also published in his lifetime a considerable quantity of poetry. “The Progress of Religion,” a poem, appeared in 1842; “ The Devotional Reflections ” in 1858; and the “ Dramas” in the latter years of his life. But these were not all. There were fugitive contributions to magazines, and at his death there were found amongst his MSS. a lengthy poem on “ Happiness,” another on “Hades," and a large number of hymns, translations, and sonnets. Here and there they manifest an impatience of the labour of the line, but, taken as a whole, they are most praiseworthy productions. “The Progress of Religion” is a noble poem, in four cantos, carefully conceived, and painstakingly executed. That Sir Archibald was no novice in the management of the difficult Spenserian versification such stanzas as these are sufficient witness :
“ Through the deep shades of night the orient dawn
Cheeringly breaks upon yon reddening hill ;
The insects wheeling in their mazy play-