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of the foxes, which are numerous and very mischievous in Iceland, (Vol. II. p. 98.) be introduces, with expressions of uncertainty whether it should be positively disbelieved, the wellknown tale which describes the foxes at the northernmost extremity of the island, as accustomed to assemble in a wrestling match, to ascertain which is the strongest; and then, in order to reach the sea-fowl sitting on the ledges and in the holes of the rocky perpendicular coast, suspending themselves from the edge of the clift in a cbain, formed by their bolding, each a tail in its inouth, the strongest stationed at the top, and holding the whole adventurous band. We must stop, at any rate, at the line of mechanical inpossibility, in that tendency to credulity, which is evidently an unavoidable and rational consequence of our enlarging knowledge of the natural history of the world. That such is the natural consequence, no one can deny who considers what a multitude of things have been placed on the ground of incontestable fact, within the last balf century, which, if previously asserted, would have encountered universal disbelief.
A vumber of hours were spent in exploring the grand cavern of Surtshallir, extending about a mile under an eporinous lava from the Bald Yokul, of the dimensions, through two thirds of its length, of fifty feet in breadth, and forty in height, and reputed, by the early ivhabitants, to be the abode of Surtur, the
black prince of the regions of fire,' whose appointed office, according to their mythology, was to burn the world at the conclusion of the present system of things Thé description of one part of this cavern will recal that of Antiparos. Its lag fic cent exhibition is indeed of a more frail material, but it will is fact probably last as long.
• The roof and sides of the cave were decorated with the most superb icicles, crystallized in every possible form, many of which rivalled in minuteness the finest Zeolites; while, from the icy floor, sose pillars of the same substance, assuming all the curious and fantastic shapes imagin ble, mocking the proudest specimens of art, and counterfeiting many well-known objects of animated nature. A more brilliant scene perhaps never presented itself to the human eye, nor was it easy to divest ourselves of the idea that we actually beheld one of the fairy scenes depicted in eastern fable. The light of the torches rendered it peculiarly enchanting.'
From this cavern, the route was directed toward the hot springs of Hveravellir, across a trackless desert, of lonely and formidable aspect, shining and frowning with icy and volcanie sublimities, and of a substance which entirely baffled the magnetic needle to which the party had recourse on their becoming enveloped in a very dark mist, in a place where they were passing among deep chasms, and where a temporary return of light presented to their view, directly before then, an immense Al-, i pine barrier,' which forbade all further progress. The only ex. pedient for extrication was to go with the course of a great
ancient stream of lava, which brought them at length, after į many hours of toil, during which their anxiety would not per
mit the examination of · volcanic chimpies' on their right hand or their left, to the welcome banks of a rivulet, at a spot
whence they proceeded the next day to the boiling springs. It I was not,' says Dr. H. ' without sensations of awe, that we bea
held the columns of smoke that were issuing from almost ino numerable apertures, and heard the thundering noise attending
its escape.' Among this prodigious and raging assemblage of ¡ cauldrons, most of them, like the Geysers, ejecting at intervals,
columns of water, there is the grand singularity denominated the
• Roaring Mount,' ! - a circular mount of indurated bolus, about four feet in height
from an aperture, on the west side of which a great quantity of steam makes its escape with a noise louder than that of the most tremen. dous cataract. The steam issues with such force, that any stones you may throw into the aperture are instantly ejected to a considerable height. On thrusting a pole down the hole, we observed a very considerable increase, both in the quantity of steam emitted, and the noise accompanying its escape,'
Exceedingly s'riking too, is the account of the regulated system manifest throughout the trennendous tumult of operations, to which this singular ? Moupt seems appointed to act. in quality of a magnificent trumpeter, a part which is performed in a manner which may, without presumption, claim to appropriate the description,
Sonorous as immortal breath can blow.' • From an elevated part of the adjoining lava we had a grand view of the tract, and could not sufficiently admire the connexion and regularity observable in the bursts of steam and jets of water that continued to ascend into the atmosphere the whole of the evening. The order they maintained can only be compared to that observed in the firiog of the different companies of a regiment drawn up in the order of battle. The play commenced on a signal being given by the Roaring Mount, which was instantaneously followed by an 'eruption of the largest jetting fountain at the opposite end of the tract ; on which the turn went to the rest, vast columns of steam bursting from the surface of the general mound, while the jets, rose and fell in irregular beauty. Having continued to play in this manner for the space of four minutes and a half, the springs abated for nearly two minutes; when the Roaring Mount renewed the signal, and the explosions took place as before.'
In this tract of fires and thunders, the Campi Phlegræi of Iceland, as, our Author justly denominates it, there are still and
silent objects which give an impressive idea of what there has been in the past; mounds and depositions which tell of ancient boiling fountains of enormous magnitude ; especially,' says our Author, one which exbibits the remains of a mount twice • as large in circumference as that of the great southern Geyser.'
In advancing laboriously northward, it was not an unpleasing diversification of the scene, to come into a tract of fine meadows, numerous flocks, and good farmhouses; or to fall in with a travelling company of the natives, one of whom was an ingenious goldsmith and watchmaker, and another, mistaken at first by Dr. H. for a dull and stupid man, surprised him by an intelJigent and animated talk on a plurality of worlds, zealously maintaining that those worlds must be inhabited, and regretting he could not see Dr. Herschel, to whom be should be glad to propose many questions. It was a still greater luxury to pass a few days at Modrufell, with an enlightened, and zealous, and excellent clergyman, whom he had seen and admired the preceding year, and who evinced an ardent interest in all that is done, and is to be done, for the Christian cause, in Iceland and in the wide world.
After going on some distance eastward from this last imentioned station, the Traveller bastened his return to the south, directly through the centre of the island; and we soon find him again at the Geysers, at Skalholt, and in the neighbourhood of Mount Hekla, with extremely brief intermediate notices of his course. Wonders had already been too much multiplied to be any longer, with a few exceptions, minutely recorded. From those of the volcanic class there. was no escape or remission but by quitting the island. When a little to the south-west of Skalbolt, be says,
• After passing a number of red cones, of immense size, I encoun. tered a dreary tract of lava, over which I had to scramble for several hours, and which presented such prodigious heights and gulleys, that were the sea, when brought into agitation by the most violent storm, and running, as the phrase is, mountains higli, suddenly to congeal, it would scarcely furnish a counterpart to the scene before me. What then must have been the terrific appearance of this region, when the red hot flood of melted substances rolled across it, consuming every thing that lay in its way, and raising its fiery waves to the height they still exhibit !
He had not time to visit the wild scenes of the Gullbringe Syssel, the south-western peninsula. The last superb spectacle he was destined to contemplate and describe, were the boiling springs and geysers of Reykium. He reached Reykiavik but just in time to make a few hasty arrangements before the sailing of the Danish vessel, in which he embarked on the 20th of August, and after a rough passage of seventeen days, arrived at Copenhagen. He describes the deep emotions with which
om of Natcepted a which,"s to her at the
he looked back on this unparalleled region while it receded, and at length vanished from his sight.
Displeased as we sincerely are at the measureless length of this article, we are yet willing to hope that the extraordinary interest of the book, of which, after all, it is but a slight abstract, may be an accepted apology. The grand and the strange phenomena of Nature form, perbaps, on the whole, the most attractive portion of the descriptive narration brought us from foreign climes; and in this order of subjects this journal in Iceland contains as much as could be collected from some twenty respectable contemporary books of travels. Those of our readers who may not yet have obtained it, may in the mean time see, in these pages, a faithful slight sketch of the magnificent picture; and they who have hastily looked over that original, may here in few moments renew in their memory the images of the most prominent objects.
Of one matter, continually and necessarily intervening in the course of the narration, we have made but very few notices, that is, the communications held with the clergymen, magistrates, and commercial residents, at all the stations, relative to Dr. H.'s main object, the circulation of the Scriptures. Every where these principal persons shewed the greatest readiness, in most instances a lively zeal, to co-operate in his design, by undertaking to ascertain the wants of the people, in this respect, and concert. ing with him the best plans for supplying them. This informa. tion and these plans will be rapidly combined and brought to their practical effect, by the Icelandic Bible Society, of which he had the happiness to promote and to see the provisional forma. tion, under favourable auspices, before he left the island.
Great and urgent as the want of the Sacred Book might paturally bave been presumed to be, it was found to be actually still greater than had been presumed. Under such a destitution of the standard of religious faith, it was somewhat surpri. sing, and greatly delightful, to our Author, to find that a peculiar Providence bad preserved much of the purity and simplicity of that faith among the people. This preservation he attributes in a considerable degree, as an immediate cause, to Vidalin's printed sermons, a book universally popular among them, and, he says, deserving to be so, for its genuine principles and spirit of Christianity.
The state of the people is no small testimony in favour of their clergy, with whom, on the whole, he was greatly satisfied and pleased. The friendly and even affectionate treatment so constantly experienced by the stranger, and the gladness excited by bis object, naturally inclined him to pronounce rather too positively for so very transient an acquaintance. Perhaps reflection sometimes made hiin sensible of this; for we have observed here
turalleat and Fourable augmote and'ic Bible Soed and bi
and there, especially in the emphatic and distinguishiog praise of several individuals, some expressions appearing to carry an implication of a defect of the religious sprit in many others of the class. Nevertheless, the general effect of his testimony, after every fair abatement, seems to be, that the Icelandic clergy are as much superior, in moral and religious character, to those of other countries, as the people are in this respect superior to other nations. As to learning, it seems a considerable number of them evinced attainments rather wonderful in a polar island without schools. It is almost the universal practice of the preachers to read their sermons.
Dr. H. gives an interesting brief history of the commerce of Iceland, a very simple concern indeed, but of extreme importance to the people. They exchange fish, salted mutton, oil, tallow, wool, and woollen stuffs, skins, feathers, and sulphur, against rye, barley, oat-meal, pease, bread, potatoes, rum, brandy, wine, coffee, tea, sugar, tobacco, salt, wood, iron, flax, lines, hooks, indigo, cotton, and silk handkerchiefs. Coffee and tobacco, the latter of which they chew, are consumed in a quantity disproportionate to their means. For this traffic they come down in June to the Danish factories on the different parts of the coast, but espe. cially to Reykiavik. Their treatment by the merchants and factors is just such as might be expected towards persons who are from year to year on the debtor side of the books, in which predicament they are willingly kept by their dealers, for an obvious purpose. Many of them are thus in a kind of slavery all their lives. As to the history of their commerce relatively to its regulation by government, it is very much a matter of course that it should be a record of gross mismanagement and oppression.
It is needless to say how many important matters for geologic cal disea-sion are supplied by the multifarious descriptions of the composition of so strange a territory: Dr. H. is wisely sparing of theoretic speculation. He has introduced several curious philosophico-biblical speculations. He is very often reminded by the objects before him, of facts and sentiments in the Bible, and suggests many real parallels, perhaps some rather forced ones. His mode of expression is generally perspicuous, free, and unaffected ; very seldom that of a man eager to make the most of his subject. The incorrectness sometimes observable, may be partly ascribed to his having become almost a foreigner to his own language and country.
Besides a map, ratber too scanty of names, but, we apprehend, more correct than any former one, there are thirteen plates, after sketches by the Author and a Captain Frisak. Not making the first pretensions, on the score of art, they are, however, very neat and illustrative. That which represents the great Geysers, is very striking, and gives, we think, a more picturesque image