Imágenes de páginas

On leaving Samaria the tribe of Issachar presented themselves to me in Galilee, with the fountain of Israel, and plain of Esdraelon, over which the eye cannot reach ; Endor, at the foot of the second Hermon, known by the victory of Deborah and Barak. Sophos, the native place of James and of the friend of his master; Cana, the country of Simon and Nathaniel ; Tabor, terminating with Heaven; beautiful ports of Zabulon ; Bethsaida, the country of Peter and Andrew on the shores of that water, abundant in the deeds of the Divine Instructor of virtue.

Returned to Tiberias, I undertook the analyssis of those mineral waters, and in the city where lives, in retired delight, that de. serving member of society, the noble gentleman Raphael de Piciotlo, consul-general of Austria in Syria, whose roof and whose fortune never denied to any one a constant and sacred hospitality.

And you must know a propos, that, amongst the Hebrews dispersed in the various regions of the globe, and amongst those of Asia and Africa particularly, there exists an ancient custom of coning to finish their days upon the spot, bedewed by the sweat of their ancestors. Such a sentiment gladdens their heart from the most tender years of youth, and hence it is moving to see arrive in the ports of Palestine, the aged Israelite, who, leaning upon the shoulder of his old consort, approaches with her amidst the cheers of hope, to deposit his ragged spoils in the sepulchre of their forefathers.

The heats suffered upon the lake of Gennesareth having moderated, I revisited the tribe of Issachar, and having ascended Carmel, I dropped down to Hepna, to Dora, to Cesarea, to Manasseh; and, passing in the tribe of Asher, over the space of Semeron and the waters of Cenderia, I continued afterwards the Belus to Ptolemais, still dyed with that blood which the cruel Djezar caused to flow in torrents.

Thus following the course of the Phænician shore, every moment appeared to me an age which interfered with that which showed me in a miserable rock, surrounded with water and with sand, that once powerful mistress of the sea.

The Greek archbishop, D. Cirillo Debbas, received me cordially in his house, and causing to be prepared a frugal repast, placed on the ground, after the fashion of the East, and sitting himself down beside me, spoke as follows:— Eat with good will, that God may preserve it to thee. I receive thee negligently after the manner of the apostles, and this scanty food I consume with thee in good will, as I do daily with the other guests. If I had more I would give thee more, but my only income, which is that of the archbishopric of Tyre, does not produce me more than two hundred crowns (schdi) annually of thy country, the half of which I employ to nourish the poor of my diocese. Besides being their spiritual, I am also their temporal, physician, and lend gratuitously my remedies wherever they are necessary. The other prelates live more secure under cover of the mountains, but I am more fortunate than they are, who divide with my flock the days of sorrow and of joy." May those be blessed who speak and reason with so much truth.

Leaving Tyre with the benedictions and sincere embraces of my host, I passed the Well of Living Waters, the Pseudo Eleutherius, and Sarepta, where the smiling plain of that Sidon opened itself before me, which struggled hard with its approaching fall. Monsieur Ruffin, French consul, politely offered me a reception, and I deplore the loss he has since sustained in a companion who was the model of the tender sex.

The Lady Esther Stanhope, who, for so many years, has attracted the attention of Asia and Europe, by the singular manuer of life she has adopted, is encamped one hour's distance from Sidon, in a small habitation called Ceraba ; and, in order to render herself still more remarkable, she insists upon her will being obeyed, that no European shall approach her, even for a moment. Would it not be an act of intolerance to blame her for it?

Traversing that mountain which includes so many mountains, and may properly be called a kingdom, and which I shall call Libania, I hastened forward to Cilicia, and thence to Damascus, the name of which imposes more than is due to it.

In all the circuit of Libanus, as well as in Carmel, I collected ra thousand fruits and petrified testaceous substances, the proof of a tremendous deluge.

My intention of going from Damascus to Palmyra not succeeding at that time, I came to Balbec, where it appeared to me as if Thebes were revived in the midst of Syria.

An entire volume would be insufficient for the description of the Temple of the Sun.

Six columns arise among the marshes, each in height seventyone feet, and twenty-one feet eight inches in circumference. Three stones of granite occupy the space of one hundred and seventy-five and a half feet, and another has sixty-nine feet of length, twelve of breadth, and thirteen of thickness. You alone, sublime genius! can solve the problem, whether it is the work of common men, or of a race of beings superior to our own.

Re-ascending mount Libanus, I wished to smell its boasted cedars, see Eden, the grottos of Canobin, and the horrible cave of the great Egyptian hermit. Oh! how the pure and sweet life of the patriarchs flourishes here. Here is that simplicity and peace that man in vain seeks aniongst mankind.

After returning to Phænicia, I went to Tripoli, to Tortosa, witness of the great congress in the first crusade; to Eleutherius, Sober; to the city of Gabale, which preserves one of its amphitheatres; to Laodicea, where Signor Agostino Lazzari entertained me with more than social treatment; and penetrating amongst the mountains of the Arsarites, I arrived at the Milky Waters of Orontes and at Antioch, an object worthy of contest.

From Theopolis, by a road covered with abusive inhabitants, I came to the more flourishing Aleppo, thence to the Euphrates, and hardly touching Mesopotamia, the sound of Ninevah and Babylon already struck my fancy, and drew it away more rapidly than the steed of Elimaides, the chariot of Cyrus.

Passing again through Aleppo, I kept the other road of Damascus by Apamea, Cima, and Emesa, where the delicately fairhaired, wbite-complexioned nymphs display themselves, with their black eyes, more beautiful than were ever produced by the native of Urbino or by Titian.

Whilst I was enjoying the presence of Emesa, the catastrophe of the Palmyrenes came to my memory, and the blood of the acute Longinus almost drew from me a tear.

Warmly recommended to the governor of Damascus by the excellent Piciotto, consul-general of Austria in Aleppo, a son worthy of his father, I advanced towards Palmyra, in company with a single guide, and, after five days of a most troublesome journey, reposed in the court of Odenatus and Zenobia.

But what can I tell you of this memorable spot, which so much electrifies the intellects, unless that about thirty towers, the Temple of the Sun, and three hundred columns scattered here and there, over a soil covered with sand, and still standing to eternize VOL. XII.


the great Palmyra? What I pass over in silence shall blossom in my future little work.

In fifteen months, and about seven thousand miles, I have passed through the Mediterranean, Misraim, Nubia, Kedar, Idumea, Phi. listia, Judea, Samaria, Galilee, Phænicia, Cæle, Syria, and Mesopotamia, having seen the sea of Pentapolis, have drank of that of Tiberias, and the Nile, the Jordan, Orontes, and Euphrates; have ascended the Pyramids, Sion, Gerezim, Tabor, Libanus, and Car. mel, and have reposed in the tombs of Thebes, amongst the cata. racts of Nubia, and upon the dust of Memphis, Heliopolis, Ash kalon, Tyre, Sidon, Balbeck, Palmyra, Samaria, and Jerusalem.


Maunt Sinai, 8th May, 1819.

I write to you from the most memorable heights in the world; but hear how I came hither.

Having closed the letter which I directed to you from the ruins of Palmyra, I followed the silent contemplation of those remarkable remains, and, under the protection of the hospitality of the modern Palmyrenes, who are the best Arabs I know of, I passed joyful and tranquil hours.

Their questions turned upon Boneborte (Bonaparte) and my Lady Stanhope; the former they remembered from his expedition into Soria, for the fame of him resounded greatly amongst them; and the latter for the liberality displayed in the journey which she undertook in the desert.

Their curiosity and my own being satisfied, I continued my journey with my guide, and arrived at Damascus. Thence, through Cæle and Syria, I ascended Libanus once more, which I was delighted to contemplate amidst the horrors of the winter, and descending to Berytus by Phænicia, the pleasant Philistia, and the wearisome Elam, I returned to the Nile.

After one day's repose, I went to offer my personal tribute to Che pyramids, and a-propos of these heaps, while I was writing my name upon the third, called Phryne, I perceived that Frediani was thı anagram of Dia Frine.

I then returned to Cairo, and as the pestilential scourge was beginning to mow down human victims, instead of remaining

there I thought it better to continue my journey, and three days of sand made me ejaculate Dulce Videte Suez.

Having admired the progress and decrease of the waters, I put myself on board an India ship, commanded by the excellent captain Laudale ; and embarking afterwards in a small boat, I sailed as far as Der Essefran, where it is believed Israel passed over, and traversing almost in a right line the famous sea, I approached Del el Hamman.

Departing by the waters of Suez, I had ordered my Arabs to wait for me at a place indicated, and judge of my surprise upon my arrival to find no one there!

The solitude of the place, the inefficiency of the bark to continue as far as Tor, the wind contrary for my return to Suez, the want of provisions, and water particularly, were the mournful thoughts that sat heavy upon my heart.

But that immutable eternal Providence, ever present where he least appears so, but where most necessary, caused in an instant my guides to approach : whence by the path of the Chosen People I trod upon Pavan and Sin, and sighing, arrived at the sides of these mountains, which are Sinai and Horeb.

The first idea I conceived, when for the first time I heard of Mount Libanus, was that of an insulated mountain, and in such respect all the ideas of men are alike, whence I shall call it Country of Libany, instead of Libanus; that country as large almost as our Abruzzo, and larger than our Tyrol, which comprises luxuriant valleys, fertile meadows, flowing rirers, beautiful hills, very high mountains, populous towns, ten bishoprics, seventy principalities, and which can produce fifty thousand champions for the protection of its precious liberty.


Cairo, 181 December, 1820.

Leaving Horeb and Sinai, from the summits of which I gazed at lands which form lucid points in the blaze of human intellect I descended into the country of Elim, where still are to be seen the palms and the wells that quenched the thirst of the Jews.

Having cooled myself in Tor, where I tried its waters, I rewrned by the road of Suez to Cairo, and going down to Alexan

« AnteriorContinuar »