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extended from Quito to Cuzco, and, again diverging from the capital, continued in a southern direction towards Chili.
3. One of these roads passed over the grand plateau, and the other along the lowlands on the borders of the ocean. The former was much the more difficult achievement, from the character of the country. It was conducted over pathless sierras buried in snow; galleries were cut for leagues through the living rock; rivers were crossed by means of bridges that swung suspended in the air ; precipices were scaled by stairways hewn out of the native bed; ravines of hideous depth were filled up with solid masonry; in short, all the difficulties that beset a wild and mountainous region, and which might appall the most courageous engineer of modern times, were encountered and successfully overcome.
4. The length of the road, of which scattered fragments only remain, is variously estimated, from fifteen hundred to two thousand miles ; and stone pillars, in the manner of European mile-stones, were erected at stated intervals of somewhat more than a league, all along the route. Its breadth scarcely exceeded twenty feet. It was built of heavy flags of freestone, and in some parts, at least, covered with a bituminous cement, which time has made harder than the stone itself. In some places, where the ravines had been filled up with masonry, the mountain torrents, wearing on it for ages, have gradually eaten a way through the base, and left the superincumbent mass-such is the cohesion of the materials—still spanning the valley like an arch.
5. Over some of the boldest streams it was necessary to construct suspension bridges, as they are termed, made of the tough fibres of the maguey, or of the osier of the country, which has an extraordinary degree of tenacity and strength. These osiers were woven into cables of the thickness of a man's body. The huge ropes, then stretched across the water, were conducted through rings or holes cut in immense buttresses of stone raised on the opposite banks of the river, and there secured to heavy pieces of timber.
6. Several of these enormous cables, bound together, formed a bridge, which, covered with planks, well secured and defended by a railing of the same osier materials on the sides, afforded a safe passage for the traveler. The length
of this aërial bridge, sometimes exceeding two hundred feet caused it, confined, as it was, only at the extremities, to dip with an alarming inclination towards the center, while the motion given to it by the passenger occasioned an oscillation still more frightful, as his eye wandered over the dark abyss of waters that foamed and tumbled many a fathom beneath
7. Yet these light and fragile fabrics were crossed without fear by the Peruvians, and are still retained by the Spaniards over those streams which, from the depth or impetuosity of the current, would seem impracticable for the usual modes of conveyance. The wider and more tranquil waters were crossed on balsas-a kind of raft still much used by the natives—to which sails were attached, furnishing the only instance of this higher kind of navigation among the American Indians.
8. The other great road of the Incas lay through the level country between the Andes and the ocean. It was constructed in a different manner, as demanded by the nature of the ground, which was for the most part low, and much of it sandy. The causeway was raised on a high embankment of earth, and defended on either side by a parapet or wall of clay; and trees and odoriferous shrubs were planted along the margin, regaling the sense of the traveler with their perfumes, and refreshing him by their shades, so grateful under the burning sky of the tropics. In the strips of sandy waste which occasionally intervened, where the light and volatile soil was incapable of sustaining a road, huge piles, many of them to be seen at this day, were driven into the ground to indicate the route to the traveler.
9. All along these highways, caravansaries, or tambos, as they were called, were erected, at the distance of ten or twelve miles from each other, for the accommodation more particularly of the Inca and his suite, and those who journeyed on the public business. There were few other travelers in Peru. Some of these buildings were on an extensive scale, consisting of a fortress, barracks, and other military works, surrounded by a parapet of stone, and covering a large tract of ground. These were evidently destined for the accommodation of the imperial armies, when on their march across the country.
10. The care of the great roads was committed to the districts through which they passed, and a large number of hands was constantly employed under the Incas to keep them in repair. This was the more easily done in a country where the mode of traveling was altogether on foot; though the roads are said to have been so nicely constructed, that a carriage might have rolled over them as securely as on any of the great roads of Europe. Still, in a region where the elements of fire and water are both actively at work in the business of destruction, they must, without constant supervision, have gradually gone to decay.
11. Such has been their fate under the Spanish conquerors, who took no care to enforce the admirable system for their preservation adopted by the Incas. Yet the broken portions that still survive, here and there, like the fragments of the great Roman roads scattered over Europe, bear evidence to their primitive grandeur, and have drawn forth the eulogium from a discriminating traveler, usually not too profuse in his panegyric, that “the roads of the Incas were among the most useful and stupendous works ever executed by man."
XC.—THE MOUNTAINS OF LIFE.
JAMES G. CLARK.
Where they know not the sorrows of time:
And life is a treasure sublime ;
On the evergreen mountains of life.
2. Our gaze cannot soar to that beautiful land,
But our visions have told of its bliss,
When we faint in the deserts of this.
And we sometimes have longed for its holy repose, When our spirits were torn with temptations and woes, And we've drunk from the tide of the river that flows
From the evergreen mountains of life.
3. O! the stars never tread the blue heavens at night
But we think where the ransomed have trod. And the day never smiles from his palace of light
But we feel the bright smile of our God. We are traveling homeward, through changes and gloom, To a kingdom where pleasures unchangingly bloom, And our guide is the glory that shines through the tomb
From the evergreen mountains of life.
XCI.—ALL WE LOVE MUST DIE.
J. W. HANSON. 1. The trailing banners of sunset
Floated from earth away,
Faded to dull, cold gray,
Proclaiming the death of day!
Passing from evening's sky,
That so oft I have heard reply_
2. By the seaside I heard the anthem,
As the waves with endless moan
The sad, low monotone
That comes from the sea alone ;
The pines' low, pensive sigh,
They ever made reply-
3. I have heard it from spring's first blossom,
From the earliest, youngest bloom,
Have caught that word of doom,
Proclaiming the coming tomb!
Leaves, flowers, and softened sky,
Have hurried swiftly by
4. The flushes that gild the morning,
The brightness that clothes the noon,
The coming and going moon,
All chant the same sad tune ;
As they look from the somber sky,
And ever sadly cry,
5. From the tombs of the buried nations,
As they lie in their silent sleep,
In tones that are low and deep
Evermore low and deep.
And have laid life's burdens by,
They lift the same sad cry—
6. O, the brows that my lips are caressing!
O, the hearts that are knit to mine!
How can I your pressure resign?
Your pressure how can I resign?