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covery of the head of the Nile will not, it is imagined, be unacceptable to the reader.
Father Lobo, the Portuguese Missionary, embarked, in 1622, in the same fleet with the Count Vidigueira, who was appointed, by the king of Portugal, Viceroy of the Indies. They arrived at Goa; and, in January 1624, Father Lobo set out on the mission to Abyssinia. Two of the Jesuits sent on the same commission, were murdered in their attempt to penetrate into that empire. Lobo had better success; he surmounted all difficulties, and made his way into the heart of the country.
Then follows a description of Abyssinia, formerly the largest empire of which we have an account in history. It extended from the Red Sea to the kingdom of Congo, and from Ægypt to the Indian Sea, containing no less than forty provinces. At the time of Lobo's mission, it was not much larger than Spain, consisting then but of five kingdoms, of which part was entirely subject to the Emperor, and part paid him a tribute, as an acknowledgment. The provinces were inhabited by Moors, Pagans, Jews, and Christians. The last was in Lobo's time the established and reigning religion. The diversity of people and religion is the reason why the kingdom was under different forms of government, with laws and customs extremely various. Some of the people neither sowed their lands, nor improved them by any kind of culture, living upon milk and flesh, and, like the Arabs, encamping without any settled habitation. In some places they practised no rites of worship, though they believed that, in the regions above, there dwells a Being that governs a world. This Deity they call in their own language Oul. The Christianity, professed by the people in some parts, is so corrupted with superstitions, errors, and heresies, and so mingled with ceremonies borrowed from the Jews, that little, besides the name of Christianity, is to be found among them. The Abyssins cannot properly be said to have either cities or houses; they live in tents or cottages made of straw or clay, very rarely building with stone. Their villages or towns consist of these huts; yet even of such villages they have but few ; because the grandees, the viceroys, and the emperor himself, are always in camp, that they may be prepared, upon the most sudden alarm, to ineet every emergence in a country which is engaged every year either in foreign wars or intestine commotions. Ethiopia produces very near the same kinds of provision as Portugal, though, by the extreme laziness of the inhabitants, in a much less quantity. What the ancients imagined of the torrid zone being
part of the world uninhabitable, is so far from being true, that the climate is very temperate. The blacks have better features than in other countries, and are not without wit and ingenuity. Their apprehension is quick, and their judgement sound. There are in the climate two harvests in the year: one in winter, which lasts through the months of July, August, and September; the other in the spring. They have, in the greatest plenty, raisins, peaches, poinegranates, sugar-canes, and some figs. Most of
these are ripe about Lent, which the Abyssins.
be the vents of a great subterraneous lake. At a small distance to the South, is a village called Guir, through which
to the top of the mountain, where there is a little hill, which the idolatrous Agaci hold in great veneration. Their priest calls them together to this place once a year : and every one sacrifices a cow, or more, according to the different degrees of wealth and devotion. Hence we have sufficient proof, that these pations always paid adoration to the Deity of this famous river.
“ As to the course of the Nile, its waters, after their first rise, run towards the East, about the length of a musket-shot; then, turning northward, continue hidden in the grass and weeds for about a quarter of a league, when they re-appear amongst a quantity of rocks. The Nile from its source proceeds with so inconsiderable a current, that it is in danger of being dried up by the hot season; but soon receiving an increase from the GEMMA, the Keltu, the BRANSA, and the other smaller rivers, it expands to such a breadth in the plains of Boad, which is not above three days journey from its source, that a musket-ball will scarcely fly from one bank to the other. Here it begins to run northward, winding, however, a little to the east, for the space of nine or ten leagues, and then enters the so-much-talked-of Lake of DAMBIA, flowing with such violent rapidity, that its waters may be distinguished through the whole passage, which is no less than six leagues. Here begins the greatness of the Nile. Fifteen miles further, in the land of ALATA, it rushes precipitately from the top of a high rock, and forins one of the most beautiful water-falls in the world,
Lobo says, he passed under it
without being wet, and resting himself, for the sake of the coolness, was charmed with a thousand delightful rainbows, which the sun-beams painted on the water, in all their shining and lively colours * The fall of this mighty stream, from so great a height, makes a noise that may be heard at a considerable distance; but it was not found, that the neighbouring inhabitants were deaf. After the cataract, the Nile collects its scattered stream among the rocks, which are so near each other, that, in Lobo's time, a bridge of beams, on which the whole imperial army passed, was laid over them. Sultan SEgued has since built a stone bridge of one arch, in the same place, for which purpose he cured masons from India. Here the river alters its course, and passes through various kingdoms, such as AMHARA, OLACA, CHOAA, DAMOT, and the kingdom of GoIAMA, and, after various windings, returns within a short day's journey of its spring. To pursue it through all its mazes, and accompany it round the kingdom of GOIAMA, is a journey of twenty-nine days. From Abyssinia, the river passes into
* This Mr. Bruce, the late traveller, avers to be a downright falsehood. He says, a deep pool of water reaches to the very foot of the rock; and, allowing that there was a seat or bench (which there is not) in the middle of the pool, it is absolutely impossible, by any exertion of human strength, to have arrived at it. But it may be asked, can Mr Bruce say, what was the face of the country in the year 1622, when Lobo saw the magnificent sight which he has described ? Mr. Bruce's pool of water may have been formed since ; and Lobo, perhaps, was content to sit down without a bench.