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THE CITIES OF THE PLAIN.

The fearful morning dawn'd in “grim repose,”
As Abraham sleepless from the mountain rose :
The earth had been his bed, for luxury then
Had tainted few among the sons of men;
Courts knew it well, but patriarch, youth, and sage,
Were strangers to its power in that young age,
And missd it not, and Abrahanı, just and wise,
Arose and gazed upon the eastern skies,
And trembling at their aspect, saw them glow
In preparation for the work of woe.
The sun's broad disk gleam'd of a sulphurous huc,
Ray-shorn, nor broke the lurid welkin through ;
The expanse of Heaven was clogg'd with heavy light,
Till night seem'd following in the rear of night.
Portentous omens to the Patriarch tell
The hour approaches, which he knows too well-
The time of 'Heaven's hot vengeance, that shall sweep
Cities and nations down oblivion's steep;
He sees them on the distant plain appear
Entire, though dim in the thick atmosphere:
And round them like a garment lies their doom,
And o'er them, and below them :-now the gloom
Brightens with lightnings hurtling here and there,
In their career resistless, through mid air
Shooting their arrowy splendours every side
In fearful havoc upon human pride-
While meteors transverse rush, or hissing fall,
And trail their liquid fires on parapet and wall.
Upon that champaigu rich, where yesterday
Man joyous revelld mid the landscape gay;
Where 'field and fruitage waved in prospect wide,
And blue lakes sparkled in the bright noon-tide;
Where roof and minaret in grey distance blent
Rose tranquilly a long and vast extent,
Gathering in force and reddening as they rolld,
Volumes of fame their quivering wreaths unfold;
A fiery ocean the far scene o'erspread,
While man and nature blazed and vanished !

The Patriarch wept that awful sight to see,-
All men are brethren in mortality;
And 'twas not impious he should shed a tear,
O’er suffering Nature's desolated bier;
Where nought but his was left, where all beside
Extinct, extinguish'd, in that blaze had died,
Now falling prostrate, to his God he pray'd
The God of vengeance, that his arm would aid
And shield him from the danger, and supply
Courage to meet his coming destiny,
And guide him to some country where might rest
His weary flocks with tranquil plenty blest.
Prayer-strengthen’d thus, his soul felt less dismay,
And soon he saw Lot's wearied family
Approach from Zoar, their refuge, angel-led
Further from danger to the mountain head.
They all were safe, save one, who, looking round
At the red hail that kindled all the ground,

For disobedience stricken, saw and died,
Before the scene of horror petrified.
Ages a stony monument she stood
Of Heaven's fierce wrath and Sodom's burning food,
Close at the bound where in their vengeful play
The fiery waves shook their red foam away.
For Lot had heard Heaven's messenger declare
The coming wreck, and warn him to beware,
And ere the dawn, the fatal dawn was nigh,
Bid him arouse his little family,
To Zoar escape, and find within its wall
A momentary refuge-thus had all
Been rescued from a far devouring, grave,
The flaming sepulchre of lord and slave !

O, when that realm like one wide furnace burn'd,
And wall and column, in the fame o'erturn'd,
Melted like drossy ore, and seethed, and broke
In billowy flame and jets of wreathing smoke,
That with commotion Heaven's high arch divide,
Rolling their volumes dense from side to side
And reddening earth's dark canopy—where then
Lay there a refuge for unhappy men,
Who heard not, thought not, till the moment canie,
Of the dire ravage of that flood of Alame ;-
Who scarcely saw, ere life was scorch'd away,
The wave that on them closed elernally!
Some, while asleep, were chark'd beneath the tide,
With unclosed eyes and without pain they died
And some there were that waking from a dream
Of hell, knew at the sight its angry gleam
In their own hemisphere-yet hardly knew
Ere they had breathed its air, that hotter grew
And shrivelled their parch'd lungs, and from their veins
Drank dry the life-blood ;-scarce their fever'd pains
They felt and they were dead—a wrinkled scroll

They blacken first, then round and round them roll
The fierce red surges, and they disappear
As fuel Aung within a furnace clear.
No shriek was ever heard,--they had no space
For suffering's utterance, scarcely had the face
Time to express its death-hue, ere it lay
Dissolved or bome on bubbling fires away.
Thus myriads in a mighty mass expire
Molten with street and dwelling quench'd in fire !
A liquid chaos blending men and things,
Altars and people, palaces and kings-
A universe of ruin! schemes of ill
And crime were dead, and vain desires were still ;
And thoughts of virtue, if such thoughts were there,
And hope with fairy face, and wan despair,
And thousand budding joys and high desires,
And youth and age, the children and the sires.
Like a volcano springs the smoke to Heaven,
In eddying whirls by raging fire-storms driven,
Bearing a crowd of souls to judgment sent,
And longer woes and keener punishment.

Within a marble turret's ponderous wall,
A monument of strength, inassy and tall,

A few lone inmates mark'd the livid hail
Descend upon their city-they grew pale,
And closed their iron doors; it would not then,
Vainly they hoped, dissever them from men!
A mother and her infant son were there;
He was her treasure even in despair:
She all forgot but him; and when the fire
Began t'ascend, and higher climb and higher,
She mounted step by step from the fierce heat
That burn'd the very air :-ai last her feet
Could mount no more, and then she sat her down
Near a slim loophole, thoughtless of the town
And aught but her dear burthen :-higher still
The blazing tide rose awfully, until
Life could be life no longer, and to die
Was her allotment; yet her tearless eye
Lay on her writhing child that gasp'd in pain
Of its hot suffocation-gasp'd in vain,
And perish'd !-but a moment's space alone
The parent lived, for soon the solid stone
Glow'd like an oven, yet it had no power
T'abate her love in that love-trying hour,
But to her death of agony she past,
With the dry corpse clasp'd in convulsion fast
With both her arms; and as she lay, her trunk
Scath'd up and curld, and to a mummy shrunk
And redden'd as a cinder, while the tower,
Calcined to dust before th' elemeni's power,
Fell on the lake of fame that lash'd its base,
Nor left one relic of its resting-place!

Within the waste where ruin'd Sodom lay,
Or rather where it flourish'd yesterday,
Now floating dross upon the burning tide-
One massy building long the assault defied;
Above the flame its walls with redness glow'd
Intensely horrible, then it lava Aow'd.
It was the palace of the king, replete
With every empty pomp that fools call'd great,
Or rather deem'd to be so, custom led,
Putting vile gauds and show in reason's stead:
With all that profligacy e'er could drcam
To pamper royal vice in pleasure's name;
With every tawdry bauble that could kill
The weary time, or toy to please the will.
There gold and purple robes of tints that vied
With the bright hues of glorious eventide,
Wastefully worn, in day's full splendour shone,
For a delighted king to gaze upou,
And talk of, praise, or in procession vain
Admire while glittering in the courtiers' train.
That morn the swollen, weak, and boastful thing,
Most imbecile in soul, an eastern king,
Slumber'd amid his high magnificence,
Drunken with folly and the joys of sense :
That morn on şilken couches lay the fair,
The beautiful, the young, the amorous pair,
Satiate in love's fruition—there the maid
Of jetty tresses, traind desire to aid
By luscious dances at the timbrel's sound;
And there the slave with golden cincture bound,

That bore the perfumed censer, or that fanned
In noonday hours the monarch of the land.
There halls in sculptured richness glossy shone,
And gilded roofs dazzling to gaze upon,
And hoary courtiers lay, and glozing, men,
Who dealt in flattery, to be paid again
With interest by the gold from labour wrung.
And there were priests who kindly said or sung
Their own religion-to the courtier gave
An essenced heaven, which they denied his slave.
These and a thousand such secure were there,
Hoping the sunshine of the crown to share.
But in a moment, with no time to pray,
Unwarn’d, unhousell’d, they were borne away,
Leaving no remnant, not an idle name
To cheat mankind upon the roll of fame!
And none were left io mourn them those who knew
And might perchance have wept them, perish'd 100;
Annulld, annihilated, drown'd'in fire,
Whelm'd in the storm of God's avenging ire !

They are, and they are not! short history
Of land renown'd, all that man knows of thee!
None of thy realm survived its tale to tell,
Though, haply, from the centre of that hell
The most remote-though at the utmost verge
Where the red ocean roll'd its angry surge.
For death reach'd far beyond its sanguine bound,
Unseen, but felt. Through many a league around,
And where no flame extended, forests stood
Wither'd and chark'd; rocks soften'd to a flood
Floated along, and granite ridges bare
Smooth'd their rough crags before the fiery air.
The feather'd brood, the eagle high away,
Undazzled, gazing on the solar ray,
Felt unaccustom'd heat, his pinions flagg'd,
Till in the burning vortex powerless dragg’d,
Faint, fluttering, he dropp'd into the flame,
That blotted Nature from creation's frame
In that ill-fated land. Ages have pass’d
And it is still with horrors overcast,
A salt and howling desert. Fruits are there

That well may grow in regions of despair:
Lovely to view, like lawless pleasure’s race,
With festering hearts beneath a joyous face-
They hold but bitter ashes. Jordan's sea
Rolls its dead waters now where formerly
The cursed cities stood deep, deep below
Their ashes lie, beneath the stagnant flow
Of the thick wave bituminous, that creeps
Along the shore where Nature ever sleeps,
And the extinguish'd sulphur marks the bound
Of its black line upon the arid ground.
No creature lives within it-all is dead,
Desolate as those below it! man hath Aed
That lonely shore, and voiceless it shall be,
Life's antipode till time lapse in eternity!

THE ASHANTEES.

Ten years ago the Ashantees were a people scarcely known to Englishmen even by name.

As
many

months ago they were regarded as a tribe of undisciplined savages, capable of being kept in awe by a handful of us cultivated Europeans, and formidable only to themselves, and to the other scarcely more contemptible hordes who might incur their barbarous displeasure. Lately, however, those in authority over u3 have been taught to rue their blunder, by the loss of not a little valuable British blood, and have now discovered (too late) that the Ashantees are a powerful and warlike nation, able, if they please, to cope with a greater force than we can possibly send against them, and not unlikely to drive us with disgrace from all our African settlements.

It is true that about five years ago Mr. Bowdich published a quarto on the subject of this singular people; in which he treated us with numerous tempting accounts of the “ barbaric pomp and gold” which glittered at and glorified the "court” of his Ashantee majesty. But though much of these pomps and splendours were clearly attired, if not absolutely created, by the warmth of a youthful imagination, Mr. Bowdich obtained the avowed object of his mission, in the form of a treaty of perpetual peace and amity between the Ashantee king and the British subjects residing on the Gold Coast. That a "perpetual" treaty of this kind should be broken in pieces in the course of six months, was naturally to be expected ; for Mr. Bowdich had not contrived to give this cunning negro any vast notion either of the white men's wisdom, or good faith. This young traveller's report, however, of the extraordinary wealth of the court he had just visited, having reached England, it was speedily determined, by the government here, to send out another envoy, commissioned directly from itself, and furnished with somewhat more of prudence, knowledge, and local experience than the previous self-constituted ambassador of the African Company had proved himself to possess. Mr. Joseph Dupuis was the gentleman entrusted with this commission; and the volume we are now to notice is the only valuable result which has hitherto attended the measure just alluded to. In saying this, however, it is but fair to add, that the blame of this negative success, and of the disastrous and fatal effects which have followed it, is attributable to any party rather than the government who ordered this commission, and the gentleman who executed it. And, in fact, it cannot for a moment be denied, that if the knowledge obtained by Mr. Dupuis during his mission had been duly weighed, and his suggestions, which were consequent upon it, had been wisely attended to, the late disastrous and disgraceful defeat of the British arms on the coast of Africa would have been totally avoided; and the most important commercial advantages might have been obtained in its place.

Jou

of a Residence in Ashantee, &c. by Joseph Dupuis, Esq. + Our readers are probably aware that Mr. James was the envoy appointed by the Company of African Merchants ; and that Mr. Bowdich accompanied him as a subordinate agent. But while at Ashantee, Mr. B. contrived to supersede his superior, and get the office confirmed to himself; having previously, however, taken it upon him by force of tougue! Sce his own account of the matter in his work.

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