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BAS-RELIEF OF TEL NIMROUD.
of spoiling the buried mound—the buried treasures of Chaldæa : “And Chaldæa shall be spoilt ; all that spoil her shall be satisfied.” * We too have rifled the treasures in her bosom, and are satisfied.
A Mosulean Christian, the overseer of the work, provided us with an excellent breakfast, after which we started for the Mound. The country around is a perfect plain, now busy with reapers gathering in their crops. From the village we could see the Mound, the famed Tel Nimroud, peculiar among all others I have seen, from a conical elevation which rose on its north-west. Its whole outward form is now much altered, from the trenches and openings excavated in it. We passed rapidly over them : unlike those of Koyunjik, the trenches are open to the sky, as little space seems generally to have intervened between the surface and the basrelief. Many of the bas-reliefs from this mound are in London ; many of great beauty still remain.
; They are certainly of a higher, bolder, larger class than those of Koyunjik : many of the best now here are again covered.
It would be beyond my province to particularise each passage and trench ; the excavations are
* Jeremiah, i. 10.
THE WORKMEN ON THE PYRAMID.
scattered over a great extent of ground, and though much has been removed, much covered, there was sufficient to keep me in a high state of activity for many days. While looking at the workmen, they turned out a jar ; it resembled in everything those now in use, and had it been found elsewhere would have been thrown aside. It broke in the endeavour to remove it, displaying its contents, earth and burnt ashes. The workmen were now at work on the Pyramid, whose outer wall they had dug round, forming a passage between it and the earth. Below, it is encased by a solid stone wall, some nine feet thick ; above, of sun-baked bricks, covered with cuneiform character, as fresh and sharp as if cut yesterday.
After a very hasty survey we retired to one of the trenches; carpets and pillows were spread. Mr. Layard was hard at work copying off inscriptions ; I was soon deep in Moore's Epicurean—at least as deep as the lively scene before one would allow; the Arabs shouting, as they bore their tiny loads of earth ; the people coming for orders, or mysteriously approaching with a handful of dirt. Now a visit, now a petition; then a great bustle consequent on the arrival of Mr. Layard. After
DISPOSITION OF THE EXHUMED FIGURES.
a short rest in the passage, we adjourned to where two enormous winged bulls still stood on their original site : a light awning had been spread overhead to keep off the rays of the sun, but the heat was very oppressive. I lay back in a retired corner : how was it possible to resist a feeling of awe at the figures before one? They stood, freed from the earth, displaying their admirable proportions-emblems of strength, gigantic, passive strength, in perfect repose—the claws doubled up : the whole powerful, but quiescent; the countenance worthy of Jove himself.
Between them was a broad slab of cuneiformcovered stone, which added very much to the effect, and much should I like to see them thus placed in our own Museum. The doorway of the room opened to admit of their standing as an entrance to the Assyrian chamber, and here, immovable, grand, solemn, magnificent, they had stood for ages, since time was young. They grew into this mighty life beneath the sculptor's touch ; thousands on thousands have passed between them, trembling with awe, strong in zeal, or mighty for their minute. Vengeance overlooked them, and the earth covered them. Unchanged, they guarded
SOLEMN EFFECT PRODUCED.
the holy fane : mighty men from lands grown old during their strength again laid them bare : no longer worshipped, they are found still faithful to their charge. Imposingly grand they stand, unmoved, untouched, strong as of yore. Perhaps we see them to more advantage than those who thronged here, when the temples were perfect ; then the errors and coarseness of the detail would have been noticed ; time has removed these, and we cannot descend to criticise. When formed, to any thinking mind, these were but stone ; but antiquity casts her shadow around ; history lies buried in the dust ; and we long to ask of this strange guardian of the fane, his tale, his founder, and his name.
It was an epicurean dream thus to remain watching these figures, or rather becoming one of the particles of dust that remained at his gate for a second, and then passed away, blown—who knows where ?—while they remain in the position of ages. The sun caused a sleepy, heavy feeling ; the body yielded to the heat, and a dreamy state possessed one.
“ Then memory, too, with her dreams will come,
Dreams of a former happier day,
And her wings had not yet fallen away.”
GAZING ON THE FIGURES.
These figures, perhaps, gained greatly in their effect from standing at the entrance of a dark mysterious excavation, instead of at the door of a temple ; but, whatever the cause, never before had any work of man made such an impression on me. You descend from above, and arrive at a large open space, whence the earth has been cleared. In front are these mysterious, strange figures ; behind opens a passage leading to the bas-reliefs. On each side are three figures, admirably cut, ono over another. The winged bulls, therefore, form the entrance to the passage, dark as contrasted with the outer light. There is a distance of, perhaps, twenty feet between them, paved with a huge slab of stone, covered with cuneiform characters : this distance apart is in good proportion to the height of the bulls, and well adapted to display their massive forms.
Again I returned to the passage, in whose further recesses the flocks of the people sought shelter from the noon-day heat. Our coffee was cooked on splinters of cedar wood, dug from the buildings. The Arabs resumed their work, stretching from the sleep they had enjoyed after their frugal meal : they cursed the people who