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ed naturalist of Sweden, who flourished about the middle of the eighteenth century. These kingdoms, though distinct, are mutually connected; and it is not always easy to say a natural object to which of them it belongs.
The mineral kingdom indeed can never be confounded with the other two; for fossils are masses of mere dead unorganized matter, growing indeed by the addition of extraneous substances, but not fed by nourishment taken into an organized and living structure. Vegetables and animals, on the contrary, often resemble each other so closely as to render them scarcely distinguishable. If it be asked, what is the vital principle which belongs to the two last classes, and distinguishes them from the first, we must own our complete ignorance. We know it, as we know its Omnipotent Author, by its effects.
Reflections on the Moslem Domination in Spain.-IRVING.
ONE of my favorite resorts is the balcony of the central window in the hall of Ambassadors, in the lofty tower of Comares.* I have just been seated there, enjoying the close of a long brilliant day. The sun, as he sank behind the purple mountains of Alhambra, sent a stream of effulgence up the valley of the Darro, that spread a melancholy pomp over the ruddy towers of the Alhambra, while the Vega, covered with a slight sultry vapor that caught the setting ray, seemed spread out in the distance like a golden sea.
Not a breath of air disturbed the stillness of the hour, and though the faint sound of music and merriment now and then arose from the gardens of the Darro, it but rendered more impressive the monumental silence of the pile which overshadowed me. It was one of those hours and scenes in which memory asserts an almost magical power, and, like the evening sun beaming on these mouldering towers, sends back her retrospective rays to light up the glories of the past.
As I sat watching the effect of the declining daylight up
*This is one of the towers of the Alhambra, an ancient fortress or castellated palace of the Moorish kings of Granada, where they held their dominion over this their boasted terrestrial paradise, and made their last stand for empire in Spain.
on this Moorish pile, I was led into a consideration of the light, elegant and voluptuous character prevalent throughout its internal architecture, and to contrast it with the grand but gloomy solemnity of the Gothic edifices, reared by the Spanish conquerors. The very architecture thus bespeaks the opposite and irreconcilable natures of the two warlike people, who so long battled here for the mastery of the peninsula.
By degrees I fell into a course of musing upon the singular features of the Arabian or Morisco Spaniards, whose whole existence is as a tale that is told, and certainly forms one of the most anomalous yet splendid episodes in history. Potent and durable as was their dominion, we have no one distinct title by which to designate them. They were a nation, as it were, without a legitimate country or a name.
A remote wave of the great Arabian inundation, cast upon the shores of Europe, they seemed to have all the impetus of the first rush of the torrent. Their course of conquest from the rock of Gibraltar to the cliffs of the Pyrenees, was as rapid and brilliant as the Moslem victories of Syria and Egypt. Nay, had they not been checked on the plains of Tours, all France, all Europe, might have been overrun with the same facility as the empires of the east, and the crescent might at this day have glittered on the fanes of Paris and London.
Repelled within the limits of the Pyrenees, the mixed hordes of Asia and Africa that formed this great irruption, gave up the Moslem principles of conquest, and sought to establish in Spain a peaceful and permanent dominion. conquerors, their heroism was only equalled by their moderation; and in both, for a time, they excelled the nations with whom they contended. Severed from their native homes, they loved the land given them, as they supposed, by Allah, and strove to embellish it with every thing that could administer to the happiness of man.
Laying the foundations of their power in a system of wise and equitable laws, diligently cultivating the arts and sciences, and promoting agriculture, manufactures and commerce, they gradually formed an empire unrivalled for its prosperity, by any of the empires of Christendom; and gently drawing around them the graces and refinements, that marked the Arabian empire in the east at the time of its greatest civilization, they diffused the light of oriental knowledge through the western regions of benighted Europe.
The cities of Arabian Spain became the resort of Christian artisans, to instruct themselves in the useful arts. The universities of Toledo, Cordova, Seville and Granada,were sought by the pale student from other lands, to acquaint himself with the sciences of the Arabs, and the treasured lore of antiquity; the lovers of the gay sciences resorted to Cordova and Granada, to imbibe the poetry and music of the east; and the steel-clad warriors of the north hastened thither, to accomplish themselves in the graceful exercises and courteous usages of chivalry.
If the Moslem monuments in Spain, if the Mosque of Cordova, the Alcazar of Seville and the Alhambra of Granada, still bear inscriptions fondly boasting of the power and permanency of their dominion, can the boast be derided as arrogant and vain? Generation after generation, century after century had passed away, and still they maintained possession of the land. A period had elapsed longer than that which has passed since England was subjugated by the Norman conqueror; and the descendants of Musa and Tarik might as little anticipate being driven into exile, across the samé straits traversed by their triumphant ancestors, as the descendants of Rollo and William, and their victorious peers, may dream of being driven back to the shores of Normandy.
With all this, however, the Moslem empire in Spain was but a brilliant exotic,that took no permanent root in the soil it embellished. Secured from all their neighbors of the west by impassable barriers of faith and manners, and separated by seas and deserts from their kindred of the east, they were an isolated people. Their whole existence was a prolonged, though gallant and chivalric struggle for a foot-hold in a usurped land.
They were the outposts and frontiers of Islamism. The peninsula was the great battle ground, where the Gothic conquerors of the north, and the Moslem conquerors of the east, met and strove for mastery; and the fiery courage of the Arab was at length subdued by the obstinate and persevering valor of the Goth.
Never was the annihilation of a people more complete than that of the Morisco Spaniards. Where are they? Ask the shores of Barbary and its desert places. The exiled remnant of their once powerful empire, disappeared among the barbarians of Africa, and ceased to be a nation. They have not left even a distinct name behind them, though for nearly eight centuries they were a distinct people.
The home of their adoption and of their occupation for ages, refuses to acknowledge them but as invaders and usurpers. A few broken monuments are all that remain to bear witness to their power and dominion, as solitary rocks left far in the interior, bear testimony to the extent of some vast inundation. Such is the Alhambra. A Moslem pile in the midst of a Christian land; an oriental palace amidst the Gothic edifices of the west; an elegant memento of a brave, intelligent and graceful people, who conquered, ruled, and passed away.
Surrender of Granada by the Moors to Ferdinand and Isabella.-IRVING.
THE sun had scarcely begun to shed his beams upon the summits of the snowy mountains which rise above Granada, when the christian camp was in motion. A detachment of horse and foot, led by distinguished cavaliers, and accompanied by Hernando de Talavera, bishop of Avila, proceeded to take possession of the Alhambra and the towers.
When the detachment arrived at the summit of the hill, the Moorish king came forth from the gate, attended by a handful of cavaliers, leaving his vizier to deliver up the palace. 'Go, senior,' said he to the commander of the detachment, go and take possession of those fortresses, which Allah has bestowed upon your powerful sovereigns, in punishment of the sins of the Moors.' He said no more, but passed mournfully on, along the same road by which the Spanish cavaliers had come; descending to the Vega, to meet the Catholic sovereigns. The troops entered the Alhambra, the gates of which were wide open, and all its splendid courts and halls silent and deserted.
In the meantime, the christian court and army poured out of the city of Santa Fé, and advanced across the vega. The king and queen, with the prince and princess, and the dignitaries and ladies of the court, took the lead, accompanied by the different orders of monks and friars, and surrounded by the royal guards splendidly arrayed. The procession
inoved slowly forward, and paused at the village of Armilla, at the distance of half a league from the city.
The sovereigns waited here with impatience, their eyes fixed on the lofty tower of the Alhambra, watching for the appointed signal of procession. The time that had elapsed since the departure of the detachment seemed to them more than necessary for the purpose, and the anxious mind of Ferdinand began to entertain doubts of some commotion in the city. At length they saw the silver cross, the great standard of this crusade, elevated on the Great Watch-Tower, and sparkling in the sunbeams.
Beside it was planted the pennon of the glorious apostle St. James, and a great shout of 'Santiago! Santiago!' rose throughout the army. Lastly was reared the royal standard by the king of arms, with the shout of 'Castile! Castile! For king Ferdinand and queen Isabella!' The words were echoed by the whole army, with acclamations that resounded across the vega. At sight of these signals of possession, the sovereigns sank upon their knees, giving thanks to God for this great triumph; the whole assembled host followed their example, and the choristers of the royal chapel broke forth into the solemn anthem of Te Deum laudamus.'
The procession now resumed its march with joyful alacrity, to the sound of triumphant music, until they came to a small mosque, not far from the foot of the Hill of Martrys. Here the sovereigns were met by the unfortunate Boabdil, accompanied by about fifty cavaliers and domestics. As he drew near, he would have dismounted in token of homage, but Ferdinand prevented him. He then proffered to kiss the king's hand, but this sign of vassalage was likewise declined; whereupon, not to be outdone in magnanimity, he leaned forward and kissed the right arm of Ferdinand. Queen Isabella also refused to receive this ceremonial of homage, and, to console him under his adversity, delivered to him his son, who had remained as hostage ever since Boabdil's liberation from captivity. The Moorish monarch pressed his child to his bosom with tender emotion, and they seemed mutually endeared to each other by their misfortunes. He then delivered the keys of the city to king Ferdinand, with an air of mingled melancholy and resignation: "These keys,' said he, are the last relics of the Arabian empire in Spain: thine, Oh king! are our trophies, our kingdom, and our person. Such is the will of God! Receive them with the clemency thou hast promised, and which we look for at thy hands.'