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The troops defiling over the bridge to the ancient castle, are a part of the forces of Ibrahim Pasha, in a costume half Asiatic, half European: the tents of the cavalry are pitched on the banks of the Sihoun: these men all fought gallantly in the battles which gained Syria and Asia Minor for their leader: the Nubian infantry, well disciplined by French officers, proved themselves equal in bravery and firmness to the Albanians, who were the flower of the Turkish army: the writer saw the Nubian troops, when training carefully; tall of stature and slender, and well accoutred, it was not easy to recognize in these soldiers, in close rank and file, the wild and ungovernable inhabitants of the desarts, save by their swarthy complexion. They have learned, after much pains, the use of the bayonet, frequently charging in this campaign, with the order and determination of Europeans: and the Turks, unused to this mode of fighting, often recoiled from the charge. The treaty of peace between the Sultan and his victorious subject was delayed on account of the principality of Adana: Ibrahim, aware of the value of its position, was inflexible in his demand that it should be rendered to him: and the Sultan was reluctantly forced to comply; and at the same time gave to his conqueror the titles of Pasha of Abyssinia and Jidda, and Governor of the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. The French officers, whose long discipline and persevering efforts prepared the Egyptian forces for these successes, served the Pasha well; a few of them have fallen by sickness or the sword: the most eminent was Colonel Selves, a great favourite of the Viceroy of Egypt, who allowed him a large salary: he followed Ibrahim to the Morea, where he died of his wounds, in a war which he deeply regretted—without glory, or plunder.
THE RIVER BARRADA, THE ANCIENT PHARPAR.
"Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Jordan 7" was a boast very natural for one who had loved their shores perhaps from childhood, to whom the plain of Damascus was as the garden of Eden; but the river of Israel is more considerable and more pleasant to the eye, than the Pharpar, or Barrada, which rises in the rocky hills twenty miles above Damascus, and is afterwards drawn off in many little streams among the gardens in the plain, till its diminished tide joins those of the other rivers in the cataract without the walls. Like the Jordan, it is clear and rapid, and wanders circuitously for several leagues through a wilderness of gardens, whose innumerable fruit-trees, flowers, and water-works it keeps perpetually fresh and full: it is a stream that peculiarly ministers to luxury and enjoyment; every fathom of its course is precious and useful to the pleasure-loving Damascenes, who, reclining on its banks, beneath the shadow of their own trees, or in a little summer-house, listen to its quick murmur, smoke, and sip coffee, while their beautiful Arab steeds, richly caparisoned, are near, to take their indolent masters home in the cool of the evening. Yet to the eye that loves to feast on the waters, of river or sea—on their wildness or repose— Damascus cannot give the delight or inspiration of Constantinople or Cairo: its "cribb'd and cabin'd" streams are exquisite additions to the landscape, but do not wake "the dreaminess, the far, resistless musings," which are felt beneath the groves of the Bosphorus or the Nile.
The scene in the plate is a large meadow without the city, through which the Barrada flows: to the right is an ancient mosque, now an hospital, and some smaller mosques lift their minarets above the trees: the ancient wall is said to be about five miles in circumference, low, and incapable of a good defence. The tents of the caravan from Damascus to Bagdad are pitched on each shore: among the figures are several Persian hadgees, or pilgrims, in a costume quite contrasted with the Arab or Turkish. After the fatigues and privations of the pilgrimage, this large, cool, and pleasant meadow is a welcome resting-place to the caravan: the luxuriant trees, the river, the luxuries of the city close at hand, without its heat or crowd: the spacious tents stand temptingly open; cooking, conversing, making bargains, reclining on carpets: contrast is the food, the marrow, of an Oriental's life: the Prophet would have done an infinite service to all his believers, if he had absolutely commanded every one of them to go occasionally on pilgrimage. "Sweets to the sweet" continually, is enough to cloy and weary mind and body; and the indolent, and mostly unintellectual Oriental, dreams away his life amidst the fumes of his pipe and mocha, and the smiles of his women: his horse, his splendid Arab, of purest blood and fire, alone tempts him to exertion. Even the paradise of the Prophet, to which his fatalist followers look, is but an eternity of sweets, shades, perfumes, murmuring streams, lovely women—without expansion of the soul or imagination, without any glories and revelations breaking on the heart and eye, and making time itself an eternal excitement The Eden of the Turk is an endless repetition of what he has enjoyed and thought when in life: the pipe and the mocha not being in the other world, will be a heavy loss to him: day and night for ever circling—how is he to get well through them, when he cannot pass one day on earth without these indulgences. The dislike, and even aversion, of the Turks to the Christian faith is great; in Damascus it is peculiarly so, for its people are the most bigoted and intolerant in the whole empire: yet it is not impossible that the time may arrive, when, in the dispensation of mercy, their heads also shall bow, and their hearts be subdued.