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SOUTHERN QUARTERLY REVIEW.
Art. I.—Nineveh and its Remains: with an account of a visit to the Chaldaean Christians of Kurdistan, and the Yezidis or Devil-worshippers, and an inquiry into the manners and arts of the ancient Assyrians; by Austen Henry Layard, Esa., D.C.L. New-York: G. P. Putnam. 1849. 2 vols. 8vo.
No portion of the earth's surface, save Palestine, can vie in historical interest with that now almost desert plain, which, rising from the waters of the Persian Gulf and stretching north-westwardly along the mountains of Kurdistan, reaches to those of Armenia. Here it was that the Lord God planted the Garden of Eden, bringing forth all manner
"Of goodliest trees, loaden with fairest fruit;
Blossoms and fruits at once of golden hue
Appear'd, with gay enamel'd colors mix'd,
On which the sun more glad impress'd his beams,
Than in the fair ev'ning cloud or humid bow,
When God hath show'r'd the earth: so lovely seem'd
That Jandskip." Par. Lost, b. iv.
Here still flow on the Tigris and the Euphrates, named in Holy Writ (Gen. ii., 14,) as rivers of Eden. Their waters still fertilize a soil which, accurst though it be, will yet yield, even to rude and imperfect culture, a harvest of 1 Vol. xvi.—No. 31.
an hundred fold. Here our first parents spent their brief hours of innocence, ere they had sinned and by their sin
"Brought death into the world and all our woe."
Here, too, driven from Eden, they wandered in sorrow, and tilled the earth hi the sweat of their brow. On this plain, when the waters of the Deluge had passed away, did the children of Noah, while yet of the same tongue, assemble together, and, forgetful of the power of God, say to each other: "Let us make a city and a tower, the top whereof may reach to heaven; and let us make our name famous before we be scattered abroad into all lands." (Gen. xi., 4.) From this centre, when the Lord had confounded their speech and humbled their pride, did they go forth to people the entire earth. Here Nimrod became a mighty hunter before the Lord, and ruled over his fellow men. Here he built Babylon, afterwards so renowned in history. Flying from his face, or perhaps leaving at the general dispersion, Assur crossed the Tigris and gave his name to the eastern portion of the valley between that river and the mountains, founding Resen and Calah and Nineveh, known even in the days of Moses as the great city.
For twenty centuries, as the Assyrian, the Babylonian, the Mede, the Persian and the Greek succeeded each other on the throne, the tributes and the spoils of surrounding nations were here lavishly squandered in every mode that could display the magnificence or perpetuate the memory of mighty sovereigns. Each seemed, with the land, to inherit the ambitious desire of the builders of Babel, Each strove to found cities, to erect towers; to build walls and to raise structures, which neither man nor time nor the hand of heaven should destroy. For twenty centuries the work was pursued without intermission. Neither time nor wealth nor skill was spared. Nothing that man could do was left undone. Yet how vain and futile his mightiest effort! The decree went forth that Nineveh should be laid waste, and that Babylon should be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. This plain, once filled with gorgeous cities and countless villages, chequered with fruitful groves and cultivated fields, has become a wild deserted waste, over which the wandering Arab drives his flock in search of a precarious pasturage, and from which even he is forced to flee, as the grass withers under thei