Page:The Rambler in Mexico.djvu/155

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149
THE PYRAMIDS.

Innumerable groups or "systems" of small pyramidical tumuli are disposed, at a greater or less distance, on either side of this great road, which may be distinguished bearing away for miles across the broad plain, towards the mountains in the direction of the remarkable hill of Tezcozingo. Is not this properly the Micoatl, or Path of the Dead?

Look where you will on the great level at your feet, you see innumerable shapeless heaps and swells which mark the accumulation of artificial rubbish. Who shall say but this wide field affords a grave to millions?

To the eastward, at the distance of some miles, rises the inconsiderable ridge which divides the valley of San Juan Teotihuacan from the plains of Otumba; and westward, the eye rests upon the pretty groves and churches of the town, and the neighbouring villages, backed by the expanding vista, where the valley opens upon the blue waters of Lake Tezcuco, and the main valley of Mexico, with the double range of noble mountains in the background. A glorious view, truly, both for extent, colouring, and interest!

In a locality like this, the features of which I have been attempting to describe; surrounded by monuments whose history has eluded the most patient researches hitherto, the mind is naturally disposed to speculation. It matters little that the origin of the objects around you is hidden in the impenetrable mist of past ages; that their design and appropriation has alternately occupied and baffled the wits of far wiser than yourself; that the most laborious collation of evidence has only brought to light isolated and uncertain items of intelligence with respect to them—speculate you must.

You need not be reminded that our range of knowledge as Europeans, with regard to the history of this vast continent, and this portion of it in particular, only extends over a space of a little more than three centuries. From this period, tracing time towards its beginning, the vague chronicles of the aborigines at the date