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they spin ; and assuredly Solomon, with all his wisdom, never dreamed of such a thing as one of these!
Many have asked, as we did, and many more will ask, “How do these people live ? Ask him who feeds the ravens, for no one else can answer. That they do not work, is certain ; that they neither beg nor steal, is to be inferred from the fact that their fellow Statenlanders have never accused them, and that they have never undergone the rebuke of the law. They are as harmless and inoffensive as they are useless. They are proverbially good-natured and honest; they do not get drunk, or abuse tobacco ; for although some of them have a relish for these luxuries, it would cost too much trouble to earn the price of them. Otherwise, they are the very Yahoos of Gulliver.
Some philosophers have taught that content is the grand desideratum, the summum bonum of earthly felicity. The contentment of savages and of negro slaves is brought to support their position. It is true that these are happy under their painful and degrading yoke; but what of that? Simon Stylites was no doubt happy on his pillow of torment: an ox, on the same principle, and for the same reason, is happier still, and the life of an oyster is bliss superlative. “The Royal Family of Staten Island' are an example, before our eyes, to show how closely contentment may be allied with the extremes of degradation
In a village rude,
While lately standing at his door,
His worthy consort Joan
I turned away,
"The hour of spiritual enfranchisement is eyen this : when your ideal world, wherein the whole man has been dimly struggling and inexpressibly languishing to work, becoines revealed and thrown open.'
And must these glories fade?
In busy scenes of life,
In hues of Heaven's own birth ?
Where rude cliffs blacken round,
Earth's beauteous offerings rise.
Though wild and drear the vale,
Beneath the moon rolls glimmering :
The approach of morn and even
O’er earth perennially.
Is barren life alone
With ever-restless wings ?
For Truth my mind has wrought,
Or acted, in all time.
My heart has burned with love,
And blessed its spell divine.
Honor has fired my soul,
Faith, beyond death's dark flood.
Must these sink in decay,
Dark stumble to the tomb ?
Far better to believe
For their eternal sphere!
THE CRAYON PAPERS.
EDITOR OF THE KNICKERBOCKER. Sie: The following letter was scribbled to a friend during my sojourn in the Alhambra, in 1828. As it presents scenes and impressions noted down at the time, I venture to offer it for the consideration of your readers. Should it prove acceptable, I may from time to time give other letters, written in the course of my various ramblings, and which have been kindly restored to me by my friends.
LETTER FROM GRANADA.
Granada, 1828 Religious festivals furnish, in all Catholic countries, occasions of popular pageant and recreation; but in none more so than in Spain, where the great end of religion seems to be, to create holidays and ceremonials. For two days past, Granada has been in a gay turmoil with the great annual fête of Corpus Christi. This most eventful and romantic city, as you well know, has ever been the rallying point of a mountainous region, studded with small towns and villages. Hither, during the time that Granada was the splendid capital of a Moorish kingdom, the Moslem youth repaired from all points, to participate in chivalrous festivities; and hither the Spanish populace, at the present day, throng from all parts of the surrounding country, to attend the festivals of the church.
As the populace like to enjoy things from the very commencement, the stir
of Corpus Christi began in Granada on the preceding evening. Before dark, the gates of the city were thronged with the picturesque peasantry from the mountain villages, and the brown laborers from the Vega, or vast fertile plain. As the evening advanced, the Vivarambla thickened and swarmed with a motley multitude. This is the great square in the centre of the city, famous for tilts and tourneys, during the times of Moorish domination, and incessantly mentioned in all the old Moorish ballads of love and chivalry. For several days the hammer had resounded throughout this square. A gallery of wood had been erected all round it, forming a covered way for the grand procession of Corpus Christi. On this eve of the ceremonial, this gallery was a fashionable promenade. It was brilliantly illuminated, bands of music were stationed in balconies on the four sides of the square, and all the fashion and beauty of Granada, and all its population that could boast a little finery of apparel, together with the majos and majas, the beaux and belles of the villages, in their gay Andalusian costumes, thronged this covered walk, anxious to see and to be seen. As to the sturdy peasantry of the Vega, and such of the mountaineers as did not pretend to display, but were content with hearty enjoyment, they swarmed in the centre of the square; some in groups, listening to the guitar and the traditional ballad ; some dancing their favorite boléro; some seated on the ground
making a merry though frugal supper; and some stretched out for their night's repose.
The gay crowd of the gallery dispersed gradually toward midnight; but the centre of the square resembled the bivouac of an army; for hundreds of the peasantry, men, women, and children, passed the night there, sleeping soundly on the bare earth, under the open canopy of heaven. A summer's night requires no shelter in this genial climate ; and with a great part of the hardy peasantry of Spain, a bed is a superfluity which many of them never enjoy, and which they affect to despise. The common Spaniard spreads out his manta, or mule-cloth, or wraps himself in his cloak, and lies on the ground, with his saddle for a pillow.
The next morning I revisited the square at sun-rise. It was still strewed with groups of sleepers: some were reposing from the dance and revel of the evening; others had left their villages after work, on the preceding day, and having trudged on foot the greater part of the night, were taking a sound sleep to freshen them for the festivities of the day. Numbers from the mountains, and the remote villages of the plain, who had set out in the night, continued to arrive, with their wives and children. All were in high spirits; greeting each other, and exchanging jokes and pleasantries. The gay tumult thickened as the day advanced. Now came pouring in at the city gates, and parading through the streets, the deputations from the various villages, destined to swell the grand procession. These village deputations were headed by their priests, bearing their respective crosses and banners, and images of the blessed Virgin and of patron saints ; all which were matters of great rivalship and jealousy among the peasantry. It was like the chivalrous gatherings of ancient days, when each town and village sent its chiefs, and warriors, and standards, to defend the capital, or grace its festivities.
At length all these various detachments congregated into one grand pageant, which slowly paraded round the Vivarambla, and through the principal streets, where every window and balcony was hung with tapestry. In this procession were all the religious orders, the civil and military authorities, and the chief people of the parishes and villages : every church and convent had contributed its banners, its images, its reliques, and poured forth its wealth, for the occasion. In the centre of the procession walked the archbishop, under a damask canopy, and surrounded by inferior dignitaries and their dependants. The whole moved to the swell and cadence of numerous bands of music, and, passing through the midst of a countless yet silent multitude, proceeded onward to the cathedral.
I could not but be struck with the changes of times and customs, as I saw this monkish pageant passing through the Vivarambla, the ancient seat of modern pomp and chivalry. The contrast was indeed forced upon the mind by the decorations of the square. The whole front of the wooden gallery erected for the procession, extending several hundred feet, was faced with canvass, on which some humble though patriotic artist had painted, by contract, a series of the principal scenes and exploits of the conquest, as recorded in chronicle and romance. It is thus the romantic legends of Granada mingle themselves with every thing, and are kept fresh in the public mind.
Another great festival at Granada, answering in its popular character to our Fourth of July, is El Dia de la Toma ; . The day of the Capture :' that is to say, the anniversary of the capture of the city by Ferdinand and Isabella. On this day all Granada is abandoned to revelry. The alarm-bell on the Terre de la Campana, or watch-tower of the Alhambra, keeps up a clangor from morn till night; and happy is the damsel that can ring that bell : it is a charm to secure a husband in the course of the year.
The sound, which can be heard over the whole Vega, and to the top of the mountains, summons the peasantry to the festivities. Throughout the day the Alhambra is thrown open to the public. The halls and courts of the Moorish monarchs resound with the guitar and castanet, and gay groups, in the fanciful dresses of Andalusia, perform those popular dances which they have inherited from the Moors.
In the mean time a grand procession moves through the city. The banner of Ferdinand and Isabella, that precious relique of the conquest, is brought forth from its depository, and borne by the Alferez Mayor, or grand standard-bearer, through the principal streets. The portable camp-altar, which was carried about with them in all their campaigns, is transported into the chapel royal, and placed before their sepulchre, where their effigies lie in monumental marble. The procession fills the chapel. High mass is performed in memory of the conquest ; and at a certain part of the ceremony, the Alferez Mayor puts on his hat, and waves the standard above the tomb of the conquerors.
A more whimsical memorial of the conquest is exhibited, on the same evening at the theatre, where a popular drama is performed, entitled Ave Maria. This turns on the oft-sung achievement of Hernando del Pulgar, surnamed El de las Hazañas, ' He of the Exploits, the favorite hero of the populace of Granada.
During the time that Ferdinand and Isabella besieged the city, the young Moorish and Spanish knights vied with each other in extravagant bravados. On one occasion Hernando del Pulgar, at the head of a handful of youthful followers, made a dash into Granada at the dead of the night, nailed the inscription of Ave Maria, with his dagger, to the gate of the principal mosque, as a token of having consecrated it to the Virgin, and effected his retreat in safety.
While the Moorish cavaliers admired this daring exploit, they felt bound to revenge it. On the following day, therefore, Tarfe, one of the stoutest of the infidel warriors, paraded in front of the Christian army, dragging the sacred inscription of Ave Maria at his horse's tail. The cause of the Virgin was eagerly vindicated by Garcilaso de la Vega, who slew the Moor in single combat, and elevated the inscription of Ave Maria, in devotion and triumph, at the end of his lance.
The drama founded on this exploit is prodigiously popular with the common people. Although it has been acted time out of mind, and the people have seen it repeatedly, it never fails to draw crowds, and so completely to engross the feelings of the audience, as to have almost the effect on them of reality. When their favorite Pulgar strides about with many a mouthy speech, in the very midst of the