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BY THE DEAN OF CANTERBURY.
Surely the western glow lay warm on the
vaults of the temple,
When the parents came in, with the doves, the DARKLY the minster towers, against the glow of
poor man's offering, the sunset,
Bringing the holy Child to do as the law comRise from the purple band of mist that beleaguers
manded. the city :
Fell not the roseate light on the snow-white hair Golden the sky behind, into purest silver melting,
of the ancient, Then dissolved into azure, and arching over the Lit it not up in his arms the soft fair flesh of the zenith ;
Infant, Azure, but flushed with rose, in token that day Sparkled it not on the tear in the eye of the yet lingers.
maiden mother, Porcelain-blue in their haze, the hills watch over while like incense there rose from the depths of our dwellinge ;
the satisfied spirit O’er them the evening-star its pale, clear beacon - Let me depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen
hath kindled. Al is calmness and silence,-a scene from the Therefore the Church doth sing her Nunc di
thy promise!" happier country.
mittis at evening, Oh, blest shades of eve! Oh, gentle parting of Evening, when all is peace, and the land of peace daylight!
looks closest, Masses of color divine, all human skill surpass- When life seems at an end, and all its troubles ing!
behind us, Earthly pleasures may fit, and leave but a pang And the salvation so near, that the soul yearns behind them :
forth to grasp it. Friends that we love may die, and their faces be
past recalling ; Only an hour like this fades never away from re
Burned not the domes of the city with day's membrance,
last beam in the distance, Only thoughts like these track all our life with When those two turned in, arrived at their door blessing.
in the village, If the sun setteth no more in the golden country When they besought Him, saying, “ Abide with of promise,
us, for it is evening?" Then must all be changed,
,-or else were this Fell not the purpling shadows o'er rock and earth more lovely !
crumbling ruin, Sunset, beautiful sunset-summer and winter As they sped joyful back to tell their tale to the and autumn,
mourners ? Ay, and the budding springtide—what were they all without thee?
Thus doth the spirit, in singing of earth, Lulling the day to sleep with all its busy distrac
pause ever and listen, tions,
Seeking an echo from Him, her centre of life and Calming the soul from toil to share the blessing blessing : of converse,
Thus flows forth all beauty from Him, who is best Tinting the skies with a thousand hues unknown and brightest. to the daylight,
All fair things are of Thee, thou dear Desire of Touching the temples of earth with a coal from the nations, the fire of the altar,
Thou art the Sun of Life, and day is alone where Fading away into calmness, and bringing the Thou art : mood of devotion :
Thine the effulgence there, and Thou the orb of Hail, thou time of prayer and praise and holy its glory. remindings !
Set Thou never on me, best light of my soul ! Never does God come down on the soul, as at fall Be near me of evening :
In the meridian hours, the toil and heat of the Fair is the rise of the sun, and glorious the east
noonday: in its kindling,
Nor do Thou fail, when the night falls round, But then comes the day, and the surface of and the shadows enwrap me.
thought is ruffled; Day, with the world and with care, and with
But by this, from the western heaven hath men's importunate faces.
faded the daylight, Far more blessed is eve ; when all her colors are
Vesper hath trimmed his lamp, and the keen brightest,
stars twinkle around him ; One by one they have time to grow slowly fainter still loom forth from the bank of mist that hath and fainter,
buried the city Fade and fade and fade, like music that dies in
Darkly the minster-towers; but gone is the glow the distance :
of the sunset. Then still night draws on, and drops her veil over all things,
Scotland Hills, Canterbury, Sealing the memory up, a possession of beauty
Feb. 1863. for ever.
From The Athenæum. |tain ceremonies were gone through as a welDespatches from Commodore Wilmot respect- come. They were received most cordially by
ing his Visit to the King of Dahomey, in the yavogah and other officials, with drums December, 1862, and January, 1863. (Pre- beating, colors flying, muskets firing, caboosented to the House of Commons.)
ceers as well as soldiers dancing, and the latTHESE despatches throw some new light on ter singing warlike songs. 66 We were also that strange region well known as the Garden treated,” remarks the commodore, with the of Africa, and give a graphic account of its simplicity of a man accustomed to strange extraordinary sovereign. The King of Da- sights, “ to the manoeuvres of a slave hunt." homey has recently obtained the reputation The yavogah and chiefs accompanied them to of being one of the chief promoters of slave the English fort, where the king's stick was traffic ; hence English cruisers and English presented, and the healths of the Queen of missionaries have been hovering about his England and the King of Dahomey were territories. Towards the end of last year, drunk. Having secured hammock-men, carCommodore Wilmot, of the Rattlesnake, was riers for luggage, and guides, and being furinformed by the Rev. P. W. Bernasko, Wes- nished with a bodyguard of soldiers, they leyan Missionary in the English fort, that started the following afternoon, accompanied the King of Dahomey was most anxious to by the Rev. Mr. Bernasko and his servants. see somebody of consideration from England They arrived at Cannah, eight miles from -"a real Englishman ”—with whom he Abomey, in the evening, when the king was might converse on the affairs of his country. holding his court. At all places on the road Having mentioned this to the Yavogah of the head men turned out with their soldiers, Whydah, the latter said, “ If you will come and received the strangers with firing, danback again in seven days, I will send to the cing and the usual presents of water, fowls, king, and let you know if he will see you." and goats. Speeches were made expressive He accordingly sent to the king, saying that of their desire to go to war and cut off heads Mr. Wilmot was a “good and proper person, for their master. The war-dance was percome out as a messenger from the Queen of formed by women and children, and motions England.” Before making up his mind to made with swords as if in the act of decapiaccept the king's invitation, there were many tating their enemies. This show of war did points, Mr. Wilmot tells us, to be considered. not interefere with hospitality, for at the vilIt had been said that our late attack on Porto lages where they slept, comfortable quarters Novo had enraged the king's mind to such an had been provided, and water furnished. The extent that he had expressed a strong desire latter is, however, denounced by the commoto lay hands upon an English officer in order dore as very bad, scarce, and unwholesome. to avenge the destruction of that place. Porto The king had sent three of his sticks by speNovo belongs to his brother; and the Euro- cial messengers to meet them on their way, pean residents at Whydah had spread the with inquiries about their health ; and at ten most alarming reports of the disposition of o'clock on the morning of the 10th he sumthe king towards Englishmen, and his hatred moned them to his reception. They went in of them. But after mature consideration he full dress, and remained under some large resolved to go, and place implicit trust in the trees, in an open space. After a short time, king's good faith.
the chiefs arrived in succession with their Having made preparations for an absence followers, according to their rank, and were of fourteen days, he landed on the 22d of De- duly introduced, the same drumming, firing, cember, in company with Capt. Luce and Dr. dancing, and singing being carried on as at Haran, of the Brisk, who had volunteered to Whydah. When this, which occupied a conaccompany him. The Rattlesnake and the siderable time, was over, the commodore and Brisk were sent to cruis and both vessels his companions got into the hammocks and were ordered to return on the 14th of the went to the palace, outside of which, in a next month. The three Englishmen were large square, were assembled all the chiefs conveyed in hammocks across the lagoon and with their people, as well as large bodies of through the wet and marshy ground, almost | the king's soldiers. The gaudy colors of the impassable in the rainy months, to a large large umbrellas, the dresses of the head men, tree at the entrance of Whydah, where cer- the firing of the muskets, the songs of the
people, the beating of the war-drums, the introduction, nothing political was entered savage gestures of the soldiers, and their fe- into. The king then gave orders for his rocious appearance, made the travellers at Amazons to perform a variety of movements, first a little uncomfortable. All, however, which they did most creditably. They loaded treated them with marked respect, while, ac- and fired quickly, singing songs all the time. cording to custom, they were carried three In Mr. Wilmot's opinion they are a very fine times round the square. After the third body of women, and are very active in their time, they got down and entered the palace- movements, being remarkably well limbed gates, passing through a row of chiefs on each and strong. No one is allowed to approach side. They found the courtyard of the palace them except the king, who lives amongst presenting a spectacle not easily forgotten. them. They are first in honor and imporAt the further end was a large building, of tance. All messages are carried by them to some pretensions to beauty in that country, and from the king and his chiefs. Every one being made of thatch, and supported by col- kneels down while delivering a message, and umns of wood, roughly cut. In front of this, the men touch the ground with their heads and close to it, leaving an open space for ad- and lips before the king. The women do mission to the king, was placed a large array not kiss the ground nor sprinkle themselves of variegated umbrellas, to be used only by with dust as the men do. When a man apthe sovereign. Near these were congregated pears before the king he is obliged to perform his principal chiefs. On either side of him, the ceremony of covering his head and upper under the building, were his wives, to the part of his body with dust before he rises, as number of about one hundred, gayly dressed, much as to say, “ I am nothing but dirt bemost of them young and exceedingly pretty. fore thee !” Though the commodore admits
The king was reclining on a raised dais that this is rather a degrading spectacle, he about three feet high, covered with crimson says, " but, after all, it is only the custom of cloth, smoking his pipe, whilst one of his the country.” After the Amazons had finwives held a glass sugar-basin as a royal spit- ished the manoeuvres, they came to the strantoon. He was dressed very plainly, the up-gers and gave them their compliments, singper part of his body being bare, with only a ing songs in praise of their master, and saying silver chain holding some fetich charm round they were ready for war, suiting the action his neck, and an unpretending cloth around to the word by going through the motions of his waist. The left side of the courtyard cutting off heads. The king then introduced was filled with Amazons, from the walls up all his princes, chiefs, and warriors, in sucto the king's presence, all armed with vari- cession, according to rank; then the chiefs ous weapons, such as muskets, swords, gigan- and captains of the Amazons; then the printic razors for cutting off heads, bows and cesses, daughters of the late king: in fact, he arrows, and blunderbusses. Their large war- brought up and named one by one everybody drum was conspicuous, being surrounded of importance in his kingdom, including the with human skulls. The visitors advanced mother of the king and the mothers of his with due form and ceremony to where the principal chiefs. After each group was inking was sitting ; and, when close to him, all troduced, a bottle of rum was given, the the respect due to royalty was paid by bow- usual present after such a ceremony, ing, which he gracefully acknowledged by signal that they had permission to retire. bowing himself, and waving his hand. Hav- To the head chiefs a glassful each was preing sat down close to him, in chairs that had sented, which was drunk by themselves, or been brought from Whydah, the conversa- given to one of their followers. When once tion commenced with the usual compliments. in the king's presence, or in his capital, no He asked about their health, and how they one, European or native, can leave without got on during the journey. He then in- this customary present. After all the presquired about the queen and all her family, entations, the king called the Amazons again asking many questions about the form of to salute the strangers, and then offered them government in England. Mr. Wilmot said water and spirits, which he drank with them ; the queen sent her compliments to him, and and thus terminated the first visit. No one hoped he was quite well, at which he seemed is permitted to see the king drink : all turn much pleased ; but this being only a visit of their faces away, and a large cloth is held up
by his wives while the royal mouth takes in ways to submit to this, which caused a great the liquid.
drain upon their resources. Next day the When the visitors were going away the king's jesters danced before them. One of king got up, it being almost dark, and walked the Amazons, in firing, had injured her hand beside them across the courtyard, through very much by the bursting of the musket, and the gates, and nearly half a mile on the road a messenger arrived from the king with a retowards their house, which was considered a quest that the doctor might be allowed to great compliment. The whole court followed, attend her. This was granted, and Dr. Haran with the exception of the Amazons and the saw her twice a day until the wound was wives, who never join in such processions. healed and a perfect cure made. The wound The soldiers shouted and sang their war was a very severe one, and Mr. Wilmot thinks songs, while certain chiefs went in front of it was fortunate for the Amazon that the the king to clear the road and point out any skill of Dr. Haran was called in. dirt or inequalities of ground before the feet The commodore has no small opinion of royal. The sight was imposing, and im- his own tact. He says: “I have reason to pressed Mr. Wilmot with the power of the believe that my line of conduct was rewarded king amongst his people. He seemed much by the whole country being laid open before feared as well as much beloved. Indeed, he us, and the whole people, king, chiefs, and appears to have produced no small effect on all, being our friends. The greater part of the commodore himself, who describes him what we saw I firmly believe was entirely got as a very fine-looking man, upwards of six up for my sake, and certainly no white men feet high, broad-shouldered, and with a pleas- ever saw what we did, or were treated with ant countenance when he likes. His eyes such marked consideration.' are bloodshot. He
a great smoker, but While at Cannah the king invited them on does not indulge much in the bottle. His the afternoon of two days to witness the firskin is much lighter than that of most of his ing of his Amazons and soldiers with ball at people, resembling the copper color of the a mark. They found him about two miles American Indians. He is very active, and outside the town in a very large open space fond of dancing and singing, which he prac- which had been cleared away, surrounded by tises in public during the “ customs.” He his chiefs and people, to the number of sevis an admirer of the fair sex, of whom he eral thousand, preparing to practise at a possesses as inany as he likes. He is about number of goats, which were tied to stakes forty-three years old. Before leaving the pal- driven in the ground at intervals of about ace, the king saluted the queen with twenty- fifteen yards, under a mud wall of considerone guns, from pieces of all sizes, the largest able length, and about ten feet high. The being a three-pounder. These guns are, king received them very cordially, and told usually, carried on men's heads, and occa- the prince to place them under his own umsionally placed on the ground and fired off. brellas in a convenient place for seeing everyThe king also saluted his visitors with nine thing. The firing commenced, and the king's guns. The number of guns fired was shown bodyguard of Amazons distinguished themby a corresponding number of musket-balls selves as good shots. The king fired several produced in an iron pot.
times himself. The soldiers fired also exOnarriving at their quarters after this day's ceedingly well, and taking into consideration ceremony, the prince, who had accompanied the quality of the flint musket and the iron them from Whydah, asked for a present for ball, which is jagged and fits loosely in the the soldiers and Amazons. He said he hoped barrel, the display they made astonished the they would not make him ashamed before his strangers. Several goats were killed, and on people, as he had brought the party up, and the second day four of those despatched were was ordered to attend upon them. Mr. Wil- sent to Mr. Wilmot as a present. These had mot immediately acquiesced, and made them been selected by the Amazons as a particular a handsome present, which was thankfully present to the visitors, and until they were acknowledged. Whenever strangers meet, killed no other goat was fired at. The firing they either drink with each other on their was very rapid, and the ladies' weapons were first arrival, or when they are about to de- well handled. Some heads were cut off durpart. Of course, our countrymen had al- ing the night, and this appears to be the
practice whenever the king returns to his the King of Dahomey are one. The queen capital. Eight heads were in the doorway is the greatest sovereign in Europe and I am of the palace on the following morning, and king of the blacks. I will hold the head of more of these trophies were inside. Mr. the kingdom of Dahomey, and you shall hold Wilmot and his companions remained in the tail.” Mr. Wilmot then gave him a Abomey five weeks, and daily witnessed few small presents from himself, with which scenes of a very extraordinary character, such he was very much delighted and grasped him as the dancing of the Amazons, their warlike warmly by the hand. His council particisongs, the dancing and songs of the soldiers, pated in these feelings, and said, “ At last the distribution of presents to the princes, good friends have met.” Then commenced chiefs, captains, and head men of the troops, the delivery of the message which the comthe “ passing" of the king's drummers, of modore thought it his duty to lay before the the captains of the Amazons, of the king's king. The first subject was the slave trade, jesters, and a variety of other people which on which he argued apparently at great length. appear before the king during the “cus- He then gave the king an admonition about toms."
human sacrifices, and the threatened occupaUpon the last day but one of the “ cus- tion of Abbeokuta, winding up with the sugtoms,” late in the afternoon, a large body of gestion of an embassy, an extension of trade soldiers, with their attendants carrying their and missionary schools. The king listened camp equipage, made their appearance from a attentively to the message, and made several place about three days' journey in the inte- remarks during its delivery. The usual cererior, belonging to the king. These men had mony of drinking was not forgotten, and he been sent to the assistance of a small town accompanied Mr. Wilmot through the gates belonging to a chief on friendly terms with of the palace far on the road to his quarters, the king, who had been threatened by the amidst the cheers of the soldiers and people. Abbeokutans, and who had applied to Abomey They remained a month in Abomey after the for assistance. The king had granted the delivery of this message, in consequence of assistance required, and despatched two of the “ customs” going on. Nothing could his head warriors with about six hundred persuade the king to let them go until this men for this purpose. When these men ar- was over, as he was most anxious that they rived at the town, they found that the Abbeo- should see everything and report it. kutans, hearing of their approach, had run They saw the royal treasures pass round in away, and hence their return to Abomey. the interior of the palace, preceded by all the As usual, on their return the king made them principal ministers, princes, and chiefs, in a long speech, and gave them presents. their court costume. The captains of the
On the Saturday, six days after the Eng- Amazons passed round in the same way. lish party's arrival at Abomey, the king saw The costume worn, the different colors disthem privately in his own palace, and they played according to etiquette, the ornaments gave him the presents brought up for the oc- of silver round the necks, with an occasional casion. He was attended by six of his Privy skull at the waist-belt of the Amazons, and Council, his most trusted friends ; also by the half-savage appearance of all, notwithfive of his principal wives. He would only standing their good manners and modest bereceive the presents from Mr. Wilmot's hands. havior, were peculiarly interesting. It was He gave him first the picture of the queen, during the procession of the king's treasures, saying that her majesty had sent this out as that the “human sacrifices" came round, a mark of her friendship, and her wish to be after the cowries, cloths, tobacco, and rum on good terms with him. He took it in his had passed, which were to be thrown to the hands and admired it very much. In this people. A long string of live fowls on poles picture the queen is represented in her cor- appeared, followed by goats in baskets, then onation robes, with crown on her head and by a bull, and lastly half a dozen men with sceptre in her hand. The frame is very hand- hands and feet tied, and a cloth fastened in a some, and the picture is a large one. After peculiar way round the head. looking at it attentively, he asked many A day or two after these processions, the questions concerning the dress, and then said, king appeared on the first platform : there “From henceforth the Queen of England and were four of these platform, two large and