Page images
PDF
EPUB

down to thee, and shall lick the dust off thy feet. And in the 72nd Psalm it is predicted that the enemies of Messiah shall lick the dust.' These expressions evidently are descriptive of deep humiliation.”

I recollect, in that account which you lent me of Hugh Boyd's embassy to Ceylon, he says, that when he was called to visit the king, he knelt before him; but he adds, My companions almost literally licked the dust; prostrating themselves with their faces almost close to the stone floor, and throwing out their arms and legs; then, rising on their knees, they repeated, in a very loud voice, a certain form of words of the most extravagant kind that can be conceived ; such as that the head of this king of kings might reach beyond the sun; that he might live a thousand years, &c. What nonsense, father !"

“ Nonsense indeed, Harry. The Persian monarchs never admitted any one into their presence who did not perform this act of adoration. Alexander, when he had conquered Asia, was so vain of his achievements, that he too would be reverenced after the manner of the gods. His attendants, and those who came to converse with him, prostrated themselves before him. Mr. Harmer, from D'Herbelot, mentions a remarkable instance of the submission of a conquered prince to an Eastern monarch. * This prince threw himself one day on the ground, and kissed the prints that his victorious enemy's horse had made there; reciting some verses in Persian which he had composed.

« The mark that the foot of your horse has left upon the dust, serves me now for a crown.

[ocr errors]

The ring, which I wear as the badge of my slavery, is become my richest ornament.

While I shall have the happiness to kiss the dust from your feet, I shall think, that fortune favours me with its tenderest caresses and sweetest kisses."

What a slave he must have been, father!”

"Surely he was; but much allowance must be made for the difference in our manners and theirs. It is only a few days since, that I was reading an account of an audience which the American missionaries had with the Emperor of Burmah; it strongly proves that the revolution of centuries has made but little change in the manners of the Eastern world. They took as a present to his Majesty the Bible, in six volumes, covered with gold leaf, and each volume enclosed in a rich wrapper.

When

they got to Ava, they petitioned to behold the golden face.Golden face! father !" “Yes, the face of the Emperor is called golden -his feet are called golden, and, indeed, every thing pertaining to him is called golden. • At the outer court,' say they, “we were detained a long time, until the various officers were satisfied that we had a right to enter; after which we deposited a present for the private minister of state, and were ushered into his apartments in the palace yard. He received us very pleasantly, and ordered us to sit before several governors and petty kings, who were waiting at his levee. Some one now announced that the golden foot was about to advance; on which, the minister hastily rose up, and put on his robes of state, saying that he must seize the moment to present us to the Emperor. He conducted us through various apartments of splendour and parade, until we ascended a flight of stairs and entered a most magnificent hall. He directed us where to sit; and taking his place on one side, had the present deposited on the other. The scene to which we were now introduced really surpassed our expectation. The spacious extent of the hall, the number and magnitude of the pillars, the height of the dome, the whole completely covered with gold, presented a most grand and imposing spectacle. Very few were present, and those evidently great officers of state. We remained about five minutes, when every one put himself into the most respectful attitude, and the chief minister whispered that his Majesty had entered. We looked through the hall, as far as the pillars would allow, and presently caught a glimpse

« PreviousContinue »