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X.-1. Annals of the Artists of Spain. By WILLIAM STIRLING,
M.A. 3 vols. 8vo. London: Ollivier, 1848.

2. Reports of the Commissioners on the Fine Arts; 5th,

6th, and 7th. London, 1846-7.





ART. I.-Hekla og dens sidste Udbrud, den 2den September, 1845. En Monographi af J. C. SCHYTHE. (Hekla and its latest Eruption, on the 2nd of September, 1845. A Monograph by J. C. SCHYTHE.) 8vo. pp. 154. With 10 lithographed plates, and 2 maps. Copenhagen, 1847.

BOUT two years ago, some imperfect notices appeared

bering volcano of Hekla, in Iceland, had again woke up into activity. From the Orkneys and Shetland Islands accounts were also received, that a shower of fine volcanic sand or dust, had fallen in September, 1845, in these remote portions of the British dominions, and that this phenomenon was probably occasioned by the outbreak of some volcano in the northern seas. Naturally enough, however, the subject attracted but little attention, except from a few scientific men, and the public was perfectly well satisfied with a representation of Mount Hekla in eruption, which appeared in one of the illustrated newspapers, where that volcano was depicted as a conical rock on the borders of the ocean, belching forth fire and smoke, and sending a copious stream of lava directly down into the waves which boiled around its base. Inaccurate and absurd as this delineation undoubtedly was, we will assert that it was fully commensurate with the amount of actual knowledge possessed by the majority of the reading English public, in regard to the true position and character of this remarkable volcano, and of the island in which it is situated. Iceland is indeed classed by our countrymen in the same category as Spitz




bergen and Nova Zemlaia; it is to them a frozen land clothed in perpetual ice and snow, where no grass springs, and no bush can exist, and on whose southern shore an ever burning mountain flames up, as a beacon to guide the mariner who shuns the inhospitable coast. The perils of a long sea voyage, the difficulties of an almost unknown language, and the very want of information respecting this remote island, have caused Iceland to remain more or less of a terra incognita," while every nook and cranny of the continent of Europe have been explored by our adventurous countrymen. We do not possess a single good work on the physical geography of Iceland, such as a hundred years ago was published in Denmark by the diligent investigators, Olaffsen and Povelsen. We have, indeed, scattered and imperfect notices of the natural phenomena it presents, in the travels of Sir George Mackenzie, of Dr. Hooker, and of Dr. Henderson, and one or two more recent observers: while, for its remarkable history, both literary and civil, we can only refer to the volume on Iceland, Greenland, and the Faroe Isles, published eight years ago in the Edinburgh Cabinet Library. * Few indeed, then, are aware, that this northern land is not the ice-bound country that it is generally represented, that the flocks and herds of the Icelander afford no contemptible proof of its general prosperity, and that the numerous warm springs, and the internal volcanic fires smouldering beneath, impart to the soil a degree of fertility that could not otherwise be looked for so near the Arctic circle.

The volume now before us, can be regarded only as a contribution to the geology and physical history of Iceland; but it is evidently the production of a competent and scientific observer. Mr. Schythe had ample opportunities for personally studying the volcano and the surrounding districts, shortly after the eruption of 1845. With the true spirit of an ardent naturalist, he remained for weeks in the neighbourhood of the mountain, and wandered day after day amid the most hideous solitudes, with the firm resolve of seeing all for himself, and of not trusting to the imperfect or exaggerated descriptions of others. In his zeal,

*We think it right to observe, that this little volume is admirably compiled and arranged, and for its compass presents us with an exceedingly accurate and complete view of the present state and past condition of Iceland.

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