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SIX DETACHED PILLARS OF THE GREAT TEMPLE AT BELBEC.
Amidst so vast a field of ruin, the interest of the visitor often attaches to some favourite scene or locality, to which his steps turn oftener than to any other: the stream, in whose bosom the fallen fragments are mirrored, the small temple in the plain beyond, &c.: but no isolated portion is so exceedingly beautiful as the Six Pillars which stand apart and alone; there is about them that appealing and inexpressibly mournful air, that the beholder feels as if he could almost sit at their feet and weep. More slender, more elegant, more lofty, than any others of the numerous and noble pillars—on them the sun seems to dart his first, and to linger with his latest rays: they stand on rather higher ground than the great temple, from which they are fifty yards distant, and their stately architrave and cornice almost entire: they are the only remains of some very august pile. Their being in shadow prevents the richness of the frieze from being adequately given: the moonlight is on the temple: the pigeons of many-coloured plumage, that fly about and perch on the ruins by day, have disappeared: and the bats are flitting round with their hideous shapes: the darkness is deep on the vast blocks of fallen walls and pillars. There is a mighty mass rising against the sky, and enclosing all with its almost unearthly magnitude: it is the wall, the covering walk of height and thickness enough to have defended Babylon of old: all gloomy and sublime it stands, even the shadows rest heavy on it: the eye turns away gladly to the colonnades, the chapels, the windows, and arches, on which the moon rests like snow on the Eastern mountain's breast—as if it fell suddenly and vainly: shrouding faintly each ravage on the beautiful friezes, on the costly niches, in each of which a statue stood. This light, this shadow, is suited to the six melancholy columns, to their admirable beauty, to their unutterable loneliness: could Wordsworth sit for an hour on one of the fragments, the genius that gave a voice to Yarrow, to the aged tree, would touch with eloquence those exquisite shafts, would gather fire even from the faded altar of the temple.
They are composed of light yellow stone, and are formed of only two or three blocks, which are so perfectly joined together, that the junction lines are scarcely discernible: their diameter is seven feet, and their height between fifty and sixty feet, exclusive of the epistylia, which is twenty feet deep, and composed of immense blocks of stone, in two layers of ten feet each in depth. The whole of this is most elaborately ornamented with rich carved work in various devices. "They rose," finely observes a traveller, "like a pharos above the horizon of the ruins: large birds like eagles, scared by the sound of our footsteps, fluttered above the capitals of the columns, where they had built their nests; and, returning, perched upon the acanthus of the cornices, striking them with their beaks, and flapping their wings, as if living ornaments of these inanimate wonders."
PASS OF BEILAN, LOOKING TOWARDS THE SEA.
This is one of the three great passes into Cilicia, and was anciently called the Gates of Syria: it is now the caravan road from Scanderoon to Aleppo. From Beilan to the former place, the descent from the mountains to the sea is very striking: the heights are lofty, picturesque, well covered with wood, and a great part of them planted with vines, disposed in the neatest order, and carefully cultivated. The vineyards of Beilan have lost the hands that so carefully improved them: the aspect of this alpine asylum is changed, not by the cruel exactions of the Pacha, or the pestilence, the frequent causes of the depopulation of Eastern habitations. The roofs of many are gone, the walls are still entire, and the sun falls through the empty casements, from which the lights, a few years since, streamed down the precipice, and voices came on the traveller's ear. Many are still entire, with their little verandahs and rustic porticos: for it is a hard thing to forsake a mountain home such as Beilan, its bold and beautiful heights and ravines, where infancy was fostered, to which manhood has clung; and it is not a solitary place, for the caravans from Scanderoon to Aleppo frequently pass and return, and their route lies through the town and before the doors: camels, horses, merchants, and traders of various nations, with various produce; and sometimes they rest in the khan of Beilan. Two young women, clad in the rather loose and high robe, and in their hand the long-necked water-pots, so universal in Syria and Palestine, with which they have been to the fountain, are gazing on the ruins of their neighbours' homes; even the goats, wandering wistfully about, seem to have lost their masters, and muse with a sad consciousness around the desolate places. The fountain by the wayside, the Turkish tomb just below, and the cemetery and caravanserai beneath the cliff, are the same as when this was a region of peace. The latter building, of firmer architecture than the dwellings, still offers its shelter and rest to the traveller; but half the town is in a ruinous state, the result of the marches and fighting in its vicinity. Husseyn, generalissimo of the Turkish forces, after the defeat of the Asiatic pashas at Homs by Ibrahim, made a rapid movement upon Aleppo, with the view of saving it from the Egyptians. By the time, however, that he arrived near that city, so ill had he taken his precautions, that the provisions of his army were nearly exhausted, and no relief or assistance could be obtained from the inhabitants, who refused even to admit him within their walls. Husseyn made no attempt to force an entrance, as the Egyptians were now advancing; and after a stay of two days in the neighbourhood, he retreated to Antioch without having effected any thing. The successful Ibrahim had advanced upon Aleppo, principally by night, in consequence of the intense heats and the scarcity of water: after a triumphal entry into it on the 15th July, he appointed civil and military authorities, left a garrison, and then proceeded to give battle to Husseyn, wherever he might find him. The Turkish field-marshal, after the defeat of the nine Pashas in the great battle of Homs, seemed to be bewildered in his exertions, from the scarcity of provisions, the discouragement of his army, and the