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“Yet, hope had not entirely left me. I sought in the remotest and most obscure dwellings, if perchance I might find some human being —some child,— whom disease, or at least death had not reached; but I found none; and when assured I had no living associate, I felt a strange consolation in the companionship of the dead. In their faces and forms, there were recollections of living men; and I sat by them for hours and days, and disputed the possession of them with the wild beasts : but, one by one, they snatched them from me; and the traces of the living passed away, till nothing remained to remind me of my race. Next, the brute creation disappeared : during fifty years, birds and beasts sometimes visited the City; but at length they came no more. The last creature I have seen, was a Pelican, that more than nine hundred years ago, sat one morning, on the sun-dial before the great temple.
“ Dreadful has been the curse of life, and more dreadful has it been every day. I would have made a companion of the hyæna; I would have associated with any thing that had life. While watching the winged race, called into existence by the sunbeams, I have felt less wretched; for, like me, they were endued with life: but many centuries have passed away since this small sympathy has been mine. A curse is upon earth and air, as well as upon me; even the insects that used to float in this basin, and with whose imperfect life I have felt some sympathy, have long been extinct. I would have
given,—but what had I to give ? yet had I possessed one blessing, I would have resigned it, to have heard even the cry of a jackal, or the scream of a vulture !
“When life in animated beings could no longer be found, I sought life or motion in inanimate things. I have sat on these steps, and listened for centuries to the gushing of that fountain; but it has long ceased to afford this consolation, for see, the water comes drop by drop. I have watched the flowers that grew, watered by its spray, and the weeds that sprung up among the ruins, but they are all withered; and the country around is a desert : these date trees, that afford me sustenance, alone survive. All this, is the curse of selfishness, the punishment of longing after length of years. I might have given my sympathy, and died with my kindred ; but I refused it, and lo! I have received none for a thousand years. A thousand years have I wandered, the sole tenant of these silent streets: I have seen the tooth of time gnaw the records of perishing men; its triumphs are the sole disturbers of the silence that reigns around, as columns fall to the earth, or dwellings crumble into dust.”
The aged man paused for a moment. “It is now only mid-day,” continued he; “Go, walk through the City, meditate on what thou hast heard, and return hither at sunset.”
I went into the City; I entered the habitations that had been tenantless a thousand years. I entered the dwelling of kings, and saw the vacant throne, and the enamelled
floor, once swept by the purple of past ages. I stood among the ruins of temples, and stumbled over the mutilated idols that were mingling with the dust of those who had worshipped them; and I gazed on the sun-dial, that time had spared, to be his chronicler.
At sunset, I returned to the garden: the aged man still sat on the marble steps, and seemed to be watching the far horizon: I sat down beside him, and both were silent. The light of day was fast waning; the rosy hues of sunset died away; fainter grew the scene; at length a pale light on the horizon appeared, and grew, till the moon rose slowly up into the wide sky: soon, the date tree, and the pinnacle of the fountain were tipped with silver: the aged man then arose, and taking the last pebble from the basin, threw it on the ground. One drop of water hung trembling from the fountain; it fell, but none other came; and when I raised my eyes to the countenance of the old man, I saw that his race was ended.
I quitted the garden to enter again upon my journey through the desert; and as I passed by the sun-dial, I saw that time had no longer a record in the City of the Desert : the pedestal which had supported it, had fallen! SONG.
Alone beneath the moon I roved,
And thought how oft in hours gone by,
To look upon a moonlight sky!
Till moonlight came, with lustre meek,
Like smiles upon a mourner's cheek.
I called to mind from Eastern books • A thought that could not leave me soon ;“ The moon on many a night-flower looks,
The night-flower sees no other moon.” And thus I thought our fortunes run,
For many a lover sighs to thee; While oh! I feel there is but one, One Mary in the world for me!
THE SMUGGLERS' ISLE.
A Tale of the Sea.
BY THE AUTHOR OF “ TALES AND CONFESSIONS."
The sea-port town of Mowbray, every body knows, rose, flourished, and fell with the last war. A faithful chronicle of its fortunes would, no doubt, be interesting to the curious reader, but the unthinking many would, I fear, prefer the stories of Tyre and Carthage. There is one incident, however, in the annals of its zenith, which I cannot help imagining deserves a place in history, and it is, therefore, hereinunder set forth, with the brevity and simplicity which should characterise the historic style. No sooner had Mowbray begun to emerge from the insignificance of a fishing village, and to assume a place among the number of maritime towns, than it split, according to what seems to be a law “made and provided” in such cases, into a variety of petty factions. Every man's hand was against his neighbour, and every woman's tongue against hers. The jarring atoms of