Boekgegevens
Titel: First English reading book: Engelsch leesboek voor instituten, gymnasiën en hoogere burgerscholen: met Nederlandsche woordenlijst
Auteur: Herrig, Ludwig
Uitgave: Arnhem: J. Voltelen, 1869 *
Auteursrechten: Zie auteursrechten
Citeerinstructie: Bijzondere Collecties van de Universiteit van Amsterdam, UBM: IWO 513 H 21
URL: https://schoolmuseum.uba.uva.nl/bookid/LCSM_204683
Onderwerp: Taal- en letterkunde naar afzonderlijke talen: Engelse taalkunde
Trefwoord: Leesvaardigheid, Engels, Leermiddelen (vorm)
* jaar van uitgave niet op de gebruikelijke wijze verkregen, mogelijk betreft het een schatting
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•244
They could find no better type of intellect
and knowledge than the head of the man;
of strength, than the body of the lion; of
ubiquity, than the wings of the bird. These
winged human - headed hons were not idle
creations, the offspring of mere fancy —
their meaning was written upon them. They
had awed and instructed races which flou-
rished three thousand years ago. Through
the portals which they guarded, kings,
priests, and warriors had borne sacrifices
to their altars, long before the wisdom of
the East had penetrated to Greece, and
had furnished its mythology with symbols
recognised of old by the Assyrian votaries.
They may have been buried, and their exist-
ence may have been unknown before the
foundation of the eternal city. For twenty-
five centuries they have been hid from the
eye of man, and they now shine forth once
more in their ancient majesty. But how
changed was the scene around them! The
luxury and civilisation of a mighty nation
had given place to the wretchedness and
ignorance of a few half - barbarous tribes.
The wealth of temples, and the riches of
great cities, had been succeeded by ruins
and shapeless heaps of earth.'
Having once found an entrance into the
grand palace, chamber led into chamber,
each with its sculptured walls, and more
than fabled figures. Of winged giants, of
viziers and their attendants, of captives and
tribute-bearers, of eagle-headed figures, of
castles built on an island, of the roar of
battles, of sieges, and other historical sub-
jects, much might be said, but we must for-
bear. One slab represented the king hold-
ing a bow in one hand and the arrows in
the other, followed by his attendant slave
bearing a second bow and a quiver for his
use, and a mace with a head in the form
of a rosette, while his ministers and his ser-
vants are portrayed in the humblest posture
of submission. These figures, which were
exquisitely finished, were about eight feet
high, and tha ornaments rich and elaborate,
one of them carrying an antelope, such as
still abound on the hills in the neighbour-
hood, and having a branch of the holy tree
in his hands. Some of the^ representations
were hunting scenes, in wHich the monarch
is the principal actor, and in which his
courage, wisdom, and dexterity, seem as
conspicuous as in his martial exploits.
Others exhibited warriors in the act of
making their escape from the hand of the
enemy. The Assyrian Hercules, represent-
ed as strangling the lion, is full of mean-
ing. This figure is sometimes found be-
tween the winged bulls, which are placed at
the grand entrance of some of the nobler
structures. What the ring on the back of
the hon in one of the slabs, is meant
to symbolise, it is difficult to determine.
The noble animal is in bronze, and of one
piece, and the cast displays great faithful-
ness to nature. It may be that the ring is
the symbol of the divinity, or it may have
been expressive of some more mysterious
truth in their spiritual and religious
ideas.
The discovery of what the Arabs believ-
ed to be the very head of Nimroud him-
self, the founder of the Assyrian empire,
gave birth to no every-day feehngs of dc-
hght. When this interesting object came
into view, Mr. Layard was not present. On
his way to the ruins, where his men were
at work, he met two Arabs riding at full
speed, who, on seeing him, suddenly stop-
ped, and looking half-serious and half-frigh-
ened in his face, exclaimed — 'Hasten, O
Bey! hasten to the diggers, for they have
found Nimroud himself. Wallah! it is won-
derful, but it is true. We have seen him
with our eyes. There is no God but God!'
And so saying they galloped ofl" to their
tents. On reaching the ruins, and examin-
ing the head, he was convinced that it be-
longed to a winged lion or bull. It was
in admirable preservation, and the outline
of the features showed a freedom and
knowledge of art scarcely to be looked for
in works of so remote a period. His ac-
count of the scene connected with this dis-
covery is worthy of insertion. He says: —
'I was not surprised that the Arabs had
been amazed and terrified at this appari-
tion. It required no stretch of imagination
to conjure up the most strange fancies.
This gigantic head, blanched with age, thus
rising from the bowels of the earth, might
well have belonged to one of those fearful
beings which are pictured in traditions of
the country as appearing to mortals, slow-
ly ascending from the regions below. One
of the workmen, on catching the first
glimpse of the monster, had thrown down
his basket, and run off towards Mosul as
fast as his legs could carry him.' Very
soon the sheikh, followed by half his tribe,
appeared on the edge of the trench; but
it was some time before he could be pre-
vailed upon to descend into the pit, and
convince himself that the image which he
saw was of stone. This is not the work
of men's hands,' he exclaimed, but of those
infidel giants of whom the prophet — peace
be with him! — has said, that they were
taller than the highest date trees; this is
one of the idols which Noah — peace be