Mutability is the appropriate motto of humanity; for what are men but creatures of a day; monarchs, but transient shadows of earthly greatness; empires, but passing events? Time, with more than eagle swiftness, hurls all things into the great bosom of Eternity. Futurity is dark and impenetrable, but the present is with us, and still more the past, teeming with vast records of human life, of rising and falling empires, bloody tales of extinguished armies and extirpated races of mankind, detailing the effects of the wild ambition of kings, emperors, sultans, themselves but atoms, yet involving the whole mass in their career.
Contrast is often the greatest source of pleasure to the mind; therefore do the citizens of this New World delight to revel in the scenes of the olden hemisphere, which was in full glory when this vast continent lay in undiscovered obscurity.
Orientalism! Talisman to conjure up the shades of the very parents of our race, and of the old patriarchs of Israel, to array in picturesque and savage beauty the vision of Arabian horsemen, flying steeds, vast encampments on arid plains, tribes of wandering Tartars, and almost to awaken the echoes of the clashing and blood-stained scimitars of the desperate champions of the Crescent, the followers of the Prophet. And while there is a wall of iron between us and our future, the eventful record of by-gone times displays to us the development of all that was hidden to our ancestors.
There is a great difference between the primitive condition of the human race and the effects which Time has produced upon that wonderful structure, MAN!
Simplicity, almost childlike, seems to characterize the living mind of man in its embryo state, while years of successive re-conceptions have continued to develop this noble emanation from the great spirit of the universe.
But how deeply interesting to us, who are the embodiment of the more mature and experienced human wisdom, to look into the vast womb of the Past, and trace the growth of the great human fœtus.
The impress of the original condition of our race is yet upon the nations of the East, and wonderfully do they still retain the habits and ideas of the earliest ages.