Page images
PDF
EPUB

folio, stuffed full of fables of the most home, standing immediately before the incredible kind. They have a faint book of Job, which is its proper place that wrestled with the devil in the shape in the Abyssinian canon; and a third of a serpent nine miles long, threw him copy he presented to the Bodleian lifrom a mountain, and killed him. An- brary at Oxford. other saint who converted the devil, The Abyssinian annals mention an turned monk, and lived in great holiness expedition to have happened into the forty years after his conversion, doing farthest part of Arabia Felix, which the penance for having tempted our Saviour Arabian authors, ayd indeed Mahomet upon the mountain : what become of himself in the Koran calls by the name hiin after, they do not say. Again, of the War of the Elephant, and the another saint, that never até nor druk cause of it was as follows-- There was from his mother's womb, went to Je- a temple nearly in the middle of the rufalem, and said mass every day at the peninsula of Arabia, that had been holy sepulchre, and came home at night held in the greatest veneration for about in the shape of a stork. The last Mr. one thousand four hundred years. The Bruce mentions, was a saint, who, being Arabs fay, that Adai, when shut out very fick, and his stoinach in disorder, of paradise, pitched his tent on this took a longing for partridges; he callo spot; while Eve, from some accident ed upon a brace of them to come to or other, died and was buried on the him, and immediately two roasted par- more of the Red Sea, at Jidda. Two tridges came flying, and rested upon his days journey east from this place, her plate, to be de coured. These Itories grave, of green sods about fifty yards are circumstantially told and vouched in length, is Mewn to this day. In by unexceptionable people, and were a this temple alfo was a black stone, upon grievous itumbling-block to the Je- which Jacob saw the vision mentioned suits, who could not pretend their own in fcripture, of the angels descending, miracles were either better established, and ascending into Heaven. It is likeor more to be credited.

wise said, with more appearance of proThe last of this Ethiopic library is bability, that this temple was tuilt by the book of Enoch. Upon hearing Seloftris, in his voyage to Arabia Felix, this book first mentioned, many literati and that he was worshipped there under in Europe had a wonderful desire to see the name of Osiris. it, thinking that, no doubt, many fe. This tower, and idol, being held in crets and unknown histories might be great veneration by the neighbouring drawn from it. Upon this, fome im- nations, suggested the very natural poftor getting an Ethiopic book into thought of making the temple the marhis hands, wrote for the title, The ket for the trade from Africa and Prophecies of Enoch, upon the front India. They chose this town in the page of it. M. Pierisc no sooner heard heart of the country, accessible on all of it than he purchased it of the im- fides, and commanded on none, calling poftor for a considerable ium of money: it Becca, which signifies the house; being på ced afterwards in cardinal though Mahomet, after breaking the Mazarine's library, where Mr. Ludolf idol and dedicating the temple to the had access to it, he found it was a true God, named it Mecca, under Gnostic book upon mysteries in heaven which name it has continued, the centre and earth, but which mentioned not a or great mart of the India trade to this word of Enoch, or his prophecy, from day. beginning to end; and, from this dif. Abreha, in order to divert this trade appointment, he takes upon him to deny into a channel more convenient for his the existence of any such book any present dominions, built a very large where else. This, however, is a mil. church or temple, in the country of the take; for, among the articles Mr. Homerites, and nearer the Indian Ocean. Bruce consigned to the library at Paris, To encourage also the resort to this was a very beautiful and magnificent place, he extended to it all the pricopy of the prophecies of Enoch, in vileges, protection, and emolumnents, large quarto ; another is amongst the that belonged to the Pagan temple books of scripture which he brought of Mecca.

Among

ments.

Among the various tribes of Arabs, the temple, which he had in that case one called Beni Koreish, had the care of resolved in his mind to do, could not the Caba, the name by which the round conceal his astonishment at fo filly a tower of Mecca was called. These requet, and he could not help testifying people were exceedingly alarmed at the this to Abou Thaleb, in a manner that proipeet of their temple being at once shewed it had lowered him in his esteem. deserted, both by its votaries and mer- Abou Thaleb, smiling, replied very chants, to prevent which, a party of calmly, If that before you is the them, in the night, entered Abreha's temple of God, as I believe it is, you temple, and having first burned what shall never destroy it, if it is his will part of it could be consumed, they pole that it should stand: if it is not the luted the part that remained, by be temple of God, or, which is the same finearing it over with human excre- , thing, if he has ordained that you should

destroy it, I Mail not only assist you in So gross an affront could not be demoliming it, but shall help you in passed unnoticed by Abreha, who, carrying away the last stone of it upon mounted upon a white elephant, at the my shoulders : but as for me, I ain a head of a considerable army, resolved, shepherd, and the care of cattle is my in return, to destroy the temple of profession; twenty of the oxen which Mecca, and with this intent laid siege are stolen are not my own, and I shall to that place. Abou Thaleb was then be put in prison for them to-morrow; keeper of the Caba, who had interest for neither you nor I can believe that with his countrymen the Beni Koreish this is an affair God will interfere in ; to prevail upon them to make no relift, and therefore I apply to you for a fol: ance, nor thew any signs of wishing to dier who will seek the thief, and bring inake a defence. He had presented back my oxen, that my liberty be not himself early to Abreha upon bis march. taken from me.” There was a temple of Osiris at Taief, Abreha had now refreshed his

army, which, as a rịval to that of Mecca, was and, from regard to his guest, had looked upon by the Beni Koreish with not touched the temple; when, says & jealous eye. Abreha was so far mis- the Arabian author, there appeared, led by the intelligence given him by coming from the sea, a flock of birds Abou Thaleb, that he mistook the called Ababil, having faces like lions,' temple of Taief for that of Mecca, and and each of them, in his claws, holding razed it to the foundation, after which a small stone like a pea, which he let he prepared to return home.

Abreha's army,

fo that they Being soon afterwards informed of were all deitroyed. The author of the his miitake, and not repenting of what manuscript from which Mr. Bruce took he had already done, he resolved to this fable, and which is also related by destroy Mecca also. Abou Thaleb, several other historians, and mentioned however, had never left his side ; by his by Mahomet in the Koran, does not great hospitality, and the plenty he pro- seem to swallow the story implicitly. cured to the einperor's army, he lo For he says, that there is no bird that gained Abreha, that hearing, on in- has a face like a lion, that Abou Tha-' quiry, he was no mean man, but a leb was a Pagan, Mahomet being not prince of the tribe of Beni Koreilh, then come, and that the Christians were noble Arabs, he obliged him to sit in worshippers of the true God, the God his presence, and kept him constantly of Mahomet; and, therefore, if any with him as a companion. At last, miracle was wrought here, it was a pot knowing how to reward him fuffi. miracle of the devil, a victory in favour ciently, Abreha desired him to ask any of Paganism, and destructive of the bething in his power to giant, and he lief of the true God. In conclusion, would satisfy him. Abou Thaleb, he says, that it was at this time that the taking him his word, wished be small-pox and measles first broke out in provided with a man, that should bring Arabia, and almost totally destroyed the back forty oxen, the soldiers had stoleñ army of Abreha. But if the stone, as from him. Abreha, who expected that big as a pea, thrown by the Ababil, had the favour he was to ask, was to spare killed Abrela's army to the last man,

fall upon

it does not appear how any of them eldeft son Yafous living below with his could die afterwards, either by the father, no room feemed to remain for finall-pox or meales. All that is ma- attempting a revolution, by the young terial, however, to us, in this tact, is, candidates escaping from the mountain. that the time of the fiege of Mecca will This oblivion to which they were conbe the æra of the first appearance of that figned, melancholy as it was, proved terrible disease, the imall-pox, which the best ftate these unhappy prisoners we shall let down about the year 356; could have wished; for to be much and it is highly probable, from other known for either good or bad qualities, circumstances, that the Abyshinian army did always at some period become fatal was the firft victim to it.

to the individuals. Punishment always As for the church Abreha built near followed inquiries after a particular the Indian ocean, it continued free from prince; and all messages, questions, or any further insult till the Mahometan visits, at the instance of the king, were conquelt of Arabia Felix, when it was constantly forerunners of the loss of finally destroyed in the Khalifat of life, or amputation of limbs, to these Omar. This is the Abyslinian account, unhappy exiles. To be forgotten, then, and this the Arabian history of the was to be safe ; but this fafety carried War of the Elephant, which are stated very heavy distress along with it. Their as found in the books of the most cre- revenues were embezzled by their offidible writers of those times.

cers or keepers, and ill paid by the The remainder of Mr. Bruce's first king: and the sordid temper of Hannes volume is occupied with the following had often reduced them all to the danfubjects-Persecution of the Christians ger of perising with hunger and cold. in Arabia by the Jews Their defeat “ Yarous, as he was well acquainted by the Abyssinians-Mahomet's Pre- with all these circumstances, so he was, tenfion to a divine Mission--Opinion in his nature and disposition, as perrefpecting the Koran-Revolution un- fectly willing to repair the injuries der Judith, queen of the Abyslinian that were past, and prevent the like in Jews_And, Restoration of the line of future. Nothing tended so much to Solomon from Shoa.

conciliate the minds of the people to Mr. Bruce opens his second volume their sovereign as this behaviour of with a translation of the annals of Yasous. Abyffinia, including a history of that « In the midst of his relations there country from the restoration of the line now appeared (as risen from the dead) of Solomon, to the period of Mr. Bruce's Claudius, son of Socinios, the first exarrival in Abyssinia.

ite who was sent to the mountain of In the reign of Yafous I. which Wechné by his brother Facilidas, continued from 1680 to 1704, we find a grandfather of Yafous. singular mark of condescension, which, “ There came from the mountain also it seems, however natural, had never the fons of Facilidas, with their fami. occurred before.

lies; and likewise his own brothers, “ Attended only by his nobility, of Ayto Theophilus, and Ayto Claudius, whom a great number had flocked to 'fons of his father Hatzè Hannes. The him, he fat down at the foot of the fight of so many noble relations, fome mountain of Wechné, and ordered all advanced in years, fome in the flower of the princes of the royal family who their youth, and some yet children ; were banilhed, and confined there, to all, however, in tatters, and almost be brought to him.

naked, made such an impreffion on the “During the last reign, the mountain young king, that he burst into tears. of Wechne, and thole forlorn princes Nor was his behaviour to the respective ahat lived upon it, had been, as it were, degrees of them less proper or engaging. 2otally forgotten*. Hannes having To the old he paid that reverence and fons of an age fit to govern, and his respect due to parents; to those about

* It is a custom in Abyssinia to confine or as interest prevails. In the kingdom of all the younger branches of the royal family Senaar, all the brothers of the prince who to fome mountain; from whence a luccellor succeeds, are murdered, unless they are for, to the crown is called, sometimes as policy tunate enough to escape to Abyflinia,

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

his own age, a kind and liberal fainili- with tears flowing from sensible and arity; while he bestowed upon the thankful hearts; and all the mountain young ones caresses and commenda- relounded with prayers for the long life tions, tweetened with the hopes that and prosperity of the king, and that the they might see better times.

crown niight never leave the lineal de“ His first care was to provide them scendants of his family. It was very all plentifully with apparel and every remarkable, that, during this long neceffary. His brothers he drefled like reign, though he was constantly inhimself, and his uncles till more richly. volved in war, no competitor from the He then divided a large sum of money mountain ever appeared in breach of among them all.

those vows they had so voluntarily una " In the month of December, which dertaken,”: is the pleasanteft season of the whole We cannot pass over a singular inyear, the fun being moderately hot, the stance of excessive affection which Ya. íky constantly clear and without a cloud, sous discovered for his mistress, Ozoro all the court was encainped under the Keduftè. It happened, while he mountain, and the inferior Sort itrewed was watchirg the motions of the Galla, along the grass. All were treated at news were brought that Ozoro Kędulte the expence of the king, passing the day had been taken ill of a fever; and and night in continual festivats. It is though, upon this intelligence, he disa but right, said the king, that I Mould posed his affairs so as to return with all pay for a pleasure, so great that none of possible expedition, yet when he came to my predecessors ever dared to taste it ; Bercanté, the lady's house, he found alid of all that noble assembly, none that she was not only dead, but had feemed to enjoy it more sincerely than been for fome time buried. All his the king. All pardons solicited for presence of mind now left him; he fell criminals at this time were granted. into the most violent transport of wild In this manner having spent a whole, despair, and, ordering her tomb to be month, before his departure the king opened, he went down into it, taking called for the deftar, (i. e. the treasury his three fons along with him, and be book) in which the account of the sum came fo frantic at the sight of the corpfe, allowed for the maintenance of these that it was with the utmost difficulty prisoners is stated; and having inquired he could be forced again to leave the Atrictly into the expenditure, and can. fepulchre. He returned first to Goncelled all grants ihat had been made of dar, then he retired to an island. in the any part of that sum to others, and pro-, lake Tzana, there to mourn his lost vided in future for the full, as well as inistress. yearly payment of it, he, for his last act, “ It has been said,, contrary to all gave to the governor of the mountain a truth, by those who have wrote travels, large accession of territory, to make him into this country, that fons born in ample amiends for the lots of the dues marriage had the fame preference in he was understood to be intitled to fiom, succession as they have in other coun. that revenue. After this, he embraced tries,; But this, as I have said, is enthem all, assuring them of his constant tirely without foundation, for, in the protection; and, mounting his horse, first place, there is no such thing as a he topk the keeper along with him, regular marriage in Abyssinia;, all.conleaving all the royal family at their li- fifts in mere consent of parties, But, berty at the foot of the mountain. ; allowing this to be regular, not only

"This last mark of confidence, more, natural children, that is, those born in than all the relt, touched the minds of, concubinage where no marriage was in that noble troop, who hurried every contemplation; and adulterous, bal'man with his utmost speed to restore tards, that is, the sons of unmarried themselves voluntarily to their melan.. women by married men ; and all man. choly prison, imputing every moment ner of fons whatever, succeed equally of delay as a step towards treason and as well to the crown as to private inhe. ingratitude to their munificent, com- ritance; and there cannot be a more paifionate, and magnanimous bene clear example of this than in the present factor. All their way was moistened king, 'who, although he had a fon, Yow, II,

Ra

· Tecla

Tecla Haimanout, born of the queen Tecla Haimanout, but in every respect Malacotawit in wedlock, was yet fuc- conformable to that of the monks of ceeded by three bastard brothers, all Gojam, followers of Abba Eustathius, fons of Yasous, born in adultery, that and that of the iteghè, Malacotawit, is, in the life of the queen, David and Dermin, and Paulos. A violent claHannes were fons of the king by his mour was instantly raised against the favourite Ozoro Keduftè; Bacuffa, by king by the priests of Debra Libanos, another lady of quality.

as having forfaken the religious princi“ Although the queen, Malacotawit, ples of his predeceffors. But the king had paffed over with seeming indif. was in flexible; and this ingratiated him ference the preference the king had more with the inhabitants of Gojam. given his mistress, Ozoro Kedufte, du- Not many days after, the king arrested ring her lifetime, yet, from a very the master of the horse, Johannes Pa. unaccountable kind of jealousy, the lambaras, the Betwudet Tigi, and secould not forgive those violent tokens veral others, all fuppofed to be conof affection the king had thewn after eerned in the murder of the late king, her death, by going down with his sons and confined them in several places and and remaining with the body in the prifoms. grave. Full of resentment for this, the • This laft a&tion of the king enbad persuaded her son, Tecla Haiman- tirely relieved the minds of alš the out, that Yalous had determined to de. friends of Tecla Haimanout from any prive him of his fucceffion, to send him further fear of being called to account and her, his mother, both to Wechnè, for the murder of Yalous; and, in conand

place his bastard brother, David, fon fequence of this, the queen Malocoof Ozoro Keduftè, upon the throne. tawir, with frer brothers Dermin and

" It was therefore agreed to fend a Paulus, and all the murderers of the message to Yasous by a common soldier, late king Yasous, came to Gondar that informing him, that he would do well fame winter to do homage to Theophito retire to fome convent for the re- lus, whom they now thought their mainder of his life, and leave the go- greatest protector. vernment in the hands of his son Tecla “ But the wife and fagasious king Haimanout. The anfwer of Yasous had kept his secret in his own bofom. may be easily conceived; he advanced, All his behaviour hitherto had been at the head of his army, to quell this only diflimulation, to induce his bro. insurrection ; but in his march through ther's murderers to come within his the low country of Dembea, was at power. And no sooner did he fee tacked by a putrid fever. This fuf- that he had succeeded in this, than the pended his operation; and the queen, very first day, while they were yet at hearing of the circumstance, privately audience, he ordered an officer, in his dispatched two of her brothers, Dermin own presence, to arrest forft the queen, and Paulus, properly attended, to the and then her two brothers Dermin and place where the king lay ill, two of Paulus. He gave the fame directions whom Thot and dilabled him while concerning the rest of the confpirators, Sitting on a couch, while Dermin thrust who were all feattered about Gondar, him through with a sword.”

eating, drinking, and fearing nothing, Haimanout, in his turn, after reign- but rejoicing at the happy days they ing two years, was affaffinated by the had promised themselves, and were now friends of Yalous, while on a hunting: to see: he ordered the whole of them, party ; in consequence of which, The- amounting to thirty-feven persons, maophilus, brother to the late king Yafous, ny of thefe of the first rank, to be all was chosen to reign.

executed that same forenoon. “ Theophilus, a few days after his “ He began with the queen, who was coronation, having called the whole taken immediately from his prefence, court and clergy together, declared to and hanged by the common hangman them, that his faith upon the disputable on the tree before the palace gate; the point concerning our Saviour's incare first of her rank, it is believed, that Datiwal was different from that of his ever died fo vile a death, either in brother Yafous, or that of his pephew Abyffinia or any other country, the

historie

« PreviousContinue »