The Outlook In The Orient -- By: Ernest Bourner Allen
BSac 63:251 (July 1906) p. 443
The Outlook In The Orient
Nothing is more remarkable, once we think of it, than the influence of relatively small nations upon the world’s history. Gibraltar has often been likened to the British lion couchant in stone. It stands the silent sentinel of the Mediterranean, and the suggestion of England’s greatness. To see the flag of that island empire, or her famous fortress at Gibraltar, is to recall Webster’s unmatched metaphor: “The drum-beat of England, keeping time with the hours, follows the sun in his course round the world.”
One stands upon the Acropolis at Athens in reverent wonder at these magnificent monuments of another age, the Golden age of Greece. He exclaims, “If we must have ruins, let them be like these!” Here the consummate art of Phidias, the typical master of Greek art, has left imperishable and majestic witness to the noble supremacy of Hellenic sculpture, and literature as well. Nothing surpasses the grandeur of the Acropolis, looking out over Mars’ Hill and the Temple of Jupiter, over the bema of Demosthenes and the Temple of Theseus, with the heights of Parnassus in the distance.
Again, one may take the trolley from Cairo to the Pyramids, crossing the lazy Nile, the mother of fertility, and pass all the panoramic oddity and beauty of the East—camels, carts, carriages, caravans; beasts, Bedouins, burden-bearers; water-wheels, wagons, hucksters; Africans, Arabs, Americans, Asians; Turks, troubadours, and natty “Tommy Atkins” in his impossible cap; fertile fields, sands of the desert, grace-
BSac 63:251 (July 1906) p. 444
ful palms and tall lebbek-trees. There are the pyramids, the unique and constantly challenging marvels of another day, forty centuries back, when Egypt was young and in her prime. We are eager to read their history, yet we may feel about them as did a typical Yankee who discussed their value with an enthusiastic Briton. Said the latter: “You haven’t any-
think like that in your country.” “No,” replied the Yankee, as he threw away his straw, “but there ain’t no special demand for pyramids just now.” And under the gigantic shadow of the pyramids rises the Sphinx, rugged, weird, watchful, and impenetrable, the eternal symbol of man’s unsolved problems and the silences of the universe of God.
And then one may stand in Rome, that once
“Sat upon her seven hills, and
From her throne of beauty ruled the world.”
She has left her ruined palaces, aqueducts, temples, and woods on every continent around the Mediterranean, and is herself the garden-spot of ruins and remnants and glories in the present day. Her laws, her g...
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