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in a state of partial equality, hunting wild animals, tending their flocks and herds, and preserving the honey of bees, the natural fertility of their soil enabling them to live without toil, ambition, or any violent passion. They never went to war, and never travelled out of their own country.
The inhabitants of the Arabian deserts are descendants of Ishmael, the son of Abraham and Hagar, of whom Moses relates that God declared before his birth that “he should be a wild man; that his hand should be against every man, and that every man's hand should be against him.” Ishmael became an archer, and dwelt in the wilderness, where his descendants remain even to this day, liv. ing in clans or tribes. As Ishmael was an archer, so were his descendants in the age of Isaiah ; and, up to the time when firearms were introduced, they were the most skilful archers in the world. From age to age have these Ishmaelites been in perpetual hostility with the surrounding nations, and yet they occupy the same wilderness still. They retain the same character, manners, and customs. Savage in disposition, they are social only to those of their own tribe. They wander from spring to spring, subsisting chiefly on their herds and the milk of their camels, and living in tents covered with skins. Like the Jews, they refer to twelve original tribes; they practise circumcision, marry only among themselves, and retain with equal pertinacity their peculiar habits and prejudices. "In one remarkable circumstance, however, they differ: the Jews still adhere to the dispensations of Moses; the Ishmaelites have embraced the faith of Mohammed ; and while all the countries which surround them have been subject to storms and revolutions beyond those of any other quarter of the globe, and while the Jews are scattered through all the nations of the earth, they have remained the same under every vicissitude. Though Sesostris, the Persians, Alexander, Pompey, Gallus, Trajan, and Severus raised large armies with a view of extirpating them, they were never able to do them any serious injury. They rode without saddles or bridles, and in the hottest of the engagement managed their horses with their whips alone, charging their enemies generally in the night. They were a healthy, long-lived people; they clad themselves in loose garments, had a plurality of wives, and seldom indulged in meat, living chiefly on herbs, roots, milk, cheese, and honey.
If the Numidians were superior to the Nigratiæ, Gætulians, and Mauritanians, the inhabitants of the deserts of Petra seem as much to have surpassed the Numidians. When Demetrius, by order of his father Antigonus, sat down before Petra with an army, and began an attack upon it, an Arab accosted him after the following manner: “King Deme. trius, what is it you would have? What madness can have induced you to invade a people, inhabiting a wilderness where neither corn, nor wine, nor any other thing you can subsist upon is to be found? We dwell in these desolate plains for the sake of liberty, and submit to such inconveniences as no other people can bear in order to enjoy it. You can never force us to change our sentiments or our way of life; therefore we desire you to retire out of our country, since we have never injured you; to accept some presents from us, and to prevail with your father to rank us among his friends." Upon hearing this, Demetrius accepted their gifts and raised the siege.
STORMS AND TEMPESTS.
High winds, tornadoes, and thunder-storms are peculiarly impressive to men of lofty imaginations. In the Greek mythology Jupiter was represented as the deity of clouds, lightning, thunder, and tempests.* • Many are the passages in the poets in which these
phenomena are described in adequate terms of admiration. What a fine effect is produced in the Iliad, where the thunder strikes awe into the hearts of Nestor and Diomed, and completely unmans their companions! And where the chiefs are suddenly startled in the midst of their carousals :
Humbled they stood : pale horror seized them all;
While the deep thunder shook the aerial hall. In the Hebrew writings, also, the Deity is frequently represented as employing tempests against the enemies of his chosen people. Tasso has not neglected to imitate these fine examples. Milton has improved upon them, and Ossian has almost sur. passed both Tasso and Milton.
The storms of Europe, sublime as they are, cannot compare with those of Africa, Asia, and America. The mountains of Kondokoo, near the Gambia, are cultivated to the summits; villages are erected in romantic glens between them, and the inhabitants listen, with solenn yet not undelighted awe, from their tremendous precipices, as the thunder rolls in lengthening volumes from one narrow defile to another.
Thunder is often heard among the Andes, but lightning is said to be entirely unknown in Scythia, Egypt, and Chili. In the south of Italy it lightens both in summer and winter. At the Cape of Good Hope lightning is rarely seen, and thunder still more rarely heard. In the deserts to the north, however, both the one and the other assume the most fright
* Lui-shin, the Chinese god of thunder, has the wings, beak, and talons of an eagle. The Gauls and Scythians worshipped thunder, under the name of Taranis; and the Druidesses, who pretended to be able to transform themselves and others into animals, to cure diseases, and to foretel events, affected, also, to have the power of raising and quelling storins. The Lapa landers once adored thunder, under the name of Horagalles.
ful character, there being nothing to conduct the electric fluid to the earth. At these times the Boshmen relieve their fears by uttering the bitterest imprecations. In Sumatra thunder and lightning are so frequent that they attract no attention except during the northwest monsoon, when the lightning forks in all directions, the sky appears like an ocean of fire, and the ground trembles as in an earthquake.
The West Indies are subject to hurricanes, and the East Indies to typhons. Than a typhon few things are more sublime in the whole range of Nature's phenomena. That at the setting in of the southwest monsoon, in the middle of June, is preceded by furious blasts of wind, followed by lightning in the distant horizon, and which soon approaches nearer, appearing and disappearing every instant. The loud pealing of the thunder is next heard, until at length it bursts in tremendous crashes. As soon as the thunder ceases, rain begins to descend, and continues for many days. The sky after this clears, and Nature, which had before been fainting with drought, assumes everywhere a renovated aspect. The rivers are full and tranquil, the air is pure and delicious, and the sky varied and embellished with fleecy clouds. Gentle rains then ensue; in July they become more violent; in September they gradually abate, and, towards its close, depart as they came, amid thunder, and lightning, and tempests of wind.
One of the most dreadful typhons on record is that witnessed and recorded by Forbes. The British combined force lay encamped at Baroche, and were preparing to resume their march after the ene. my the next morning. But in the night the heat became oppressive, the sky darkened, stillness pervaded the air, and in a few moments the clouds burst, and a deluge poured upon the plain such as is scarcely conceivable. The tents soon gave way, the water suddenly rose, and 200,000 horses, oxen, camels, and elephants, with 100,000 human beings, were exposed to the full fury of the tempest, in a strange country, and in the midst of darkness, rendered more awful and sublime by vivid flashes of lightning. It was discovered in the morning that a great number of persons had perished. The plain was covered with the carcasses of oxen, camels, and horses, some half buried in the mud, and others already in a state of putrefaction. Females were seen expiring with wet and exhaustion, old men contending for life, and parents bearing the dead bodies of their children.
A flash of lightning once discovered an immense treasure. Near the city of Paz, in Peru, stands a mountain which the natives call Telemani, on which the lightning discharging itself, severed a crag from its suinmit, and this, falling on the side of a hill, was found to contain such a quantity of gold in its fragments that this metal, says Ulloa, sold at Paz for some time even as low as eight pieces of eight per ounce. This incident would seem to have promised inexhaustible wealth to the proprietors of the mountain; but the part whence the crag was severed is so entirely covered with snow and ice during the whole year, that the owners have never been able to realize any other benefit than that obtained in the first instance.
Gomorrah was destroyed by lightning, as were Job's flocks and shepherds, and the whole army of Sennacherib. The temple of Apollo, at Daphne, was destroyed by the electric fluid ; also the town of Volscinium, in Italy ; and Romulus and Æsculapius met a similar fate, the latter while trying experiments on the nature of that fluid.*
In some parts of Greece, places struck by lightning were esteemed sacred. In others, persons struck by it were instantly buried, as hateful objects. In some, again, they were not buried at all,
* This very remarkable circumstance has been little noticed.