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pass, for the water was stained to a surprising redness, and the sea was discoloured a great way on to a reddish hue, occasioned doubtless by a sort of red earth washed into the river by the violence of the rain."
The sides of the rocks in this vicinity are in many places covered with Greek and Latin inscriptions, and with symbolical figures sculptured upon its face, whose meaning cannot now be deciphered; probably they relate to the worship of Adonis formerly practised in these regions, for, according to tradition, temples and funereal solemnities were dedicated to him near the spot where he perished. The Nahr-el-Kelb is clear and rapid, like most of the streams that flow from Lebanon: the shores rise, like two perpendicular walls of rock, two or three hundred feet in height, in some parts occupying the whole ravine, in others leaving between its waters and the rock a narrow margin covered with trees and rushes. In one part a ruined khan juts out on a point of the rock upon the very brink of the water, opposite a bridge, of which the arch is so tall and slender, that it cannot be crossed without trembling. Arab patience has cut in the face of the rocks forming this defile some narrow stone steps, which, although they hang almost perpendicularly over the flood, must yet be traversed on horseback. "We trusted," observes a late traveller, "to the instinct of our sure-footed steeds; but the steepness of the steps, the smooth polish of the stones, and the depth of the precipice, made it at times impossible not to close our eyes. On this very path, a few years since, the pope's last legate to the Maronites was precipitated by a stumble of his horse into the gulf below, and perished. The path issues upon an elevated platform smiling with tillage, vineyards, and little Maronite villages. On an opposite hill appears a pretty new house, of Italian architecture, with porticos, terraces, and balustrades, constructed by Signor Lozanna, bishop of Abydos, the present legate of the holy see in Syria, for his winter retreat" The country in the interior, after passing this river, is still worthy of the praises which the ancients bestowed on the haunts of Adonis and Venus: gardens of mulberry, fig, and olive trees; woods of pine, and chesnut, and vineyards, with many a torrent foaming through its noble crags, on whose crests and sides are neat villages, built of white stone.
"All he had loved and moulded into thought,
From shape, and hue, and odour, and sweet sound,
Grieved for Adonis. Morning sought
Her eastern watch-tower, and her hair unbound,
Wet with the tears which should adorn the ground.
Afar the melancholy thunder moaned,
Pale ocean in unquiet slumber lay,
And the wild winds flew round, sobbing in tneir dismay.
Whence are we? and why are we? of what scene
The actors or spectators? Great and mean
Meet massed in death, who lends what life must borrow.
As long as skies are blue and fields are green,
Evening must usher night, night urge the morrow,
Month follow month with woe, and year wake year to sorrow."
In the pagan mythology it is said that Adonis, the son of Myrrha, daughter of Cinyras, king of Cyprus, was born in Arabia, whither his mother had fled: he grew up a model of manly beauty, and was passionately beloved by Venus, who quitted Olympus to dwell with him. Hunting was his favourite pursuit, until, having gone to the chase against the entreaties of his mistress, he was mortally wounded in the thigh by a wild boar. This story appears to have been introduced into Greece from Syria. According to Pausanias, Sappho sung of Adonis; but it is by the Greek poets of later date, and their Latin imitators, Theocritus, Bion, and Ovid, that his story has been probably expanded, and invested with the elegance which is the peculiar character of the Grecian mythology. The Adonia are mentioned by Aristophanes among the Athenian festivals: the rites began with mourning for the death of Adonis, then changed into rejoicing for his return to life and to Venus, and concluded with a procession, in which the images of both were carried, with rich offerings. In Syria the worship of Thammuz, who was the same personage, was probably of much older date: the adoration of the latter was one of the abominations of Judah six centuries before the Christian revelation: thus in Ezekiel, "Turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations that they do. Then he brought me to the door of the gate of the temple, which was towards the north; and, behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz." Byblas, a town near the river Adonis, was one of the chief seats of this worship.
"O weep for Adonis—he is dead!
SCENE IN MOUNT LEBANON,
ABOVE THE VALLEY OF THE KADESHA, OR HOLY VALLEY.
This is Lebanon, in her wild and imperishable glory: solitary, her multitudes passed away, there is no voice in the air, save that of the eagle What a prodigal luxury of nature is here! Forest, valley, precipice, cataract, almost unseen, untrodden—yet beautiful as if fresh from the Creator's hand. Did the harvest ever wave on these fields, did the vineyards ever climb these eminences, or hamlets and villages people them? there is a loneliness, a sadness, around, as if the words of the prophet were fulfilled, that "Lebanon mourneth, because the people are gone down from his shadow." There is no confusion of objects in these exquisite wilds, no alpine chaos, of enormous fragments fallen from above, of impassable and obscure abysses; the painter might have dreamed of this scene, and then made an ideal picture: each fearful declivity has its covering and graceful forest, from which the groups of granite rocks break forth at intervals. The vallies, that seem so narrow at the top, are every one accessible by winding paths, to where the stream blesses as it winds, but blesses only a wilderness. The paths require a careful eye on the mule; the steps, either natural or cut, that form part of the way, being sometimes several feet deep in the rock, and on the verge of a tremendous precipice: it is safest to travel here on foot There is something so hushed in the solitude around: the tempest wakes terrifically here, but now it is noon-day: a summer's day. The sound of waters comes faintly from beneath; many a weary step ere the traveller rests on their bank: the heat is oppressive, and the air so transparent, that the peaks of snow look, in the dazzling beams, like so many fiery crests, on which a few thin clouds are floating, like little isles faintly peopling a lone and beautiful sea. The Syrian guards and passengers were armed; and, accustomed to the rugged path, walked as carelessly as on table-land: there is little danger to be apprehended from the bandit or the robber: the straggling soldiers are, during the quarrels and disputes of the chiefs, the most unsafe people to meet with. Many a projecting ledge, many a noble tree growing out of the clefts of the rock, invited to a few moments' pause, to gaze on the defiles beneath, or on the rich banks of wild flowers on every side. There is no fear of passing the night in the woods, or in the shepherd's hut; one of the most agreeable features of a tour in Lebanon, is the certainty of an excellent and hospitable asylum, at the close of almost every day's journey. The gate of one of the numerous convents is sure to open to the wanderer, where a clean cell, a refreshing, and often luxurious repast, with the mountain wines, is soon prepared. Should it happen that no convent is within reach, the house of the Sheich of the Maronite village is a welcome, and sometimes a better, substitute—most welcome, after a weary day's march over heights, and gulfs, and savage ways. Dinner is at all times out of the question on such a journey: the traveller must be an epicure who