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horizon was just perceptible over the range of land near the sea-coast. From the west to the south the Plain of Esdraelon extended over a vast space, bounded on the south by Mount Hermon.-From the south-east to the east, is the plain of Galilee, [approaching Scythopolis] being almost a continuation of Esdraelon, and like it appearing to be highly cultivated, being now ploughed for seed throughout.-The range which bounds the eastern view, is thought to be the mountains of Gilboa. 1 Sam. xxxi.—The Sea of Tiberias, or Lake of Gennesareth, is seen on the north-east, filling the hollow of a deep valley; and contrasting its light blue waters with the dark brown shades of the barren hills by which it is hemmed around.-The whole view north-eastwards is bounded by the high range of Gebel-el-Telj, or the mountain of snow, [part of the chain of Lebanon] whose summit was at this moment clothed with one white sheet, without a perceptible breach or dark spot in it.-Saphet was pointed out in the same direction. [Pococke says it is north-west of the Lake on a lofty mountain].-To the north were the stony hills over which we had journeyed hither: and these completed this truly grand and interesting panoramic view "*
We return to Nazareth, and accompany Lamartine in his picturesque tour to Mount Carmel, in aid of which the reader may consult the view of the Kishon and of part of Carmel, in the Landscape Illustrations, by Captain Fitzmaurice, whose pencil, like the pen of Lamartine, displays the power of genius. Lamartine visited the scene in Oct. 1832; Fitzmaurice in March 1833, when, he says, "the river was much swollen, in consequence of the mountain rains, and came tumbling down through the rocks like distant thunder." His account confirms the glowing representations of the French poet respecting the woody clothing of Carmel; (others have described its barren appearance from the sea); and he adds, "wild boars, gazelles, and hares find shelter in the underwood; and all the streams swarm with every species of water-fowl."
"On quitting Nazareth", says Lamartine- I generally employ the spirited translation, in which great justice is done to the Author-" our road wound round a mountain clothed with fig-trees and nopals—the plant to which the cochineal adheres. To the left opened a green and shady valley. After two hours march we reached a succession of little valleys, gracefully interspersed between hills that are covered with beautiful forests of green oaks.-Mount Carmel, an elevated chain of hills which terminate in a peak on the sea, begins to show itself on our left; its dark green outline detaching itself from the deep blue sky, all undulated with vapours warm as those which issue from a furnace. Its sides are strewed with luxuriant and hardy vegetation; and its entire surface is thickly clothed with shrubs, contrasted at distances by the majestic height of the oaks whose heads tower above them. Masses of grey rock, chisseled by nature into grotesque and colossal forms, pierce the verdure here and there, and reflect the brilliant rays of the sun. Such is the prospect which extended as far as the eye could reach to our left. At our feet, the valleys we were traversing fell in gentle slopes, and began to open on the beautiful vale of Kaïpha. [This seems to be an extension of the Plain of Zabulon to the south-east, running on to that of Esdraelon.] We climbed the last of the
• Here and elsewhere, in passages thus quoted, there are commonly omissions of parts not needed for the present object.
mounts which separated us from it, and only lost sight of it one moment to recover it the next. These little elevations, situated between Palestine and maritime Syria, form one of those sights at once the most soothing and solemn we had contemplated. Here and there the forests of oak, confined exclusively to that species of vegetation, form extensive glades, covered with a carpet of verdure as rich as in our meadows of the west. Behind, the summit of Mount Tabor rises, like a majestic altar covered with green garlands, in a sky of flame. Still further, the blue tops of Mount Gilboa, and the hills of Samaria, tremble in the vagueness of the horizon. Mount Carmel throws his dark curtain on one of the sides of the scene; and the eye, in following him, reaches to the sea, which closes all, as the sky does in a lovely landscape.”
Lamartine goes on to speak of such places as being well-suited to an agricultural settlement; enumerating among the advantages, the beauties of the different spots, the lovely climate, the prodigious fertility of the soil, the variety of tropical productions one might there demand from the bounteous earth, and the neighbourhood of two immense plains, well-watered and fruitful, though now uncultivated.
Such are some of the scenes near Nazareth. It cannot be supposed that they were never visited by our Lord in the days of his youth and early manhood; and the belief that they were, sheds over them a glowing richness of sentiment, which makes us thankful that they have been so delineated. The descriptions of Lamartine would be full of beauty to the eye of imagination, if their originals had been without such associations: but when we can assure ourselves that here our Saviour (perhaps often) wandered, in the period of preparation and obscurity; that here his eye contemplated the works of his Heavenly Father; that here he meditated on the faithful duty of the servants of the Lord in former days, and on his own great work in prospect; the natural impressions from such scenes become blended with solemn and elevated emotion, and we feel that we tread on holy ground. With similar trains of sentiment, Lamartine says that he felt, on first entering the region of Galilee, "what one feels on going from the street into the temple-something that inspires meditation, a calm internal peace, tender and consolatory, which we do not perceive elsewhere.”—One more delineation must be given of the characters of this sublime region.
"We were overtaken by a storm (Oct. 20) in the middle of the day. I have witnessed few so terrible. The clouds rose perpendicularly, like towers, above Mount Carmel, and soon covered all the length of the summit of this chain of hills. The mountain, just now so brilliant and serene, was plunged by degrees in rolling waves of darkness, split here and there with trains of fire. All the horizon sank in a few moments, and seemed to close around us. The thunder did not burst in claps; it threw out one single majestic rolling, continual and deafening, like the waves on the shore of the sea during a tempest. The lightning might be truly said to rush like torrents of fire from heaven, on the black flanks of Carmel. The oaks on the mountain, and on the hill on which we were journeying, bent like young plants. The winds which rushed from the caverns,
and from between the hills, must have swept us from our horses, if we had not speedily alighted, and found a little shelter behind a fragment of a rock in the dry bed of a torrent. The withered leaves, upraised in masses by the storm, were carried above our heads like clouds; and the slender broken branches of the trees showered around us.”
"Having rested a short time about half-way between Nazareth and Kaïpha, we continued our route along the foot of Carmel, the mountain on our left, and a vast plain, watered by a river, on our right. Mount Carmel, which we traced in this way during a march of about four hours, presented every where the same severe and solemn aspect. It is a gigantic wall, rising almost perpendicularly, and every where covered by a bed of shrubs and odoriferous herbs. The rock is seldom entirely naked. Some broken fragments of the mountain have rolled down into the plain.-— Kaïpha rises at the foot of Mount Carmel, on a shore of white sand close to the sca; and over its cultivated plain, Mount Carmel throws its mighty shadow. At the back of Kaipha is a forest of thriving olive-trees. Still further on, is a road cut in the rock and leading to the summit of Mount Carmel: below which, immense caverns are hollowed in the granite of the mountain."
Lamartine afterwards proceeded southward along the coast as far as Jaffa. Our object leads us to survey other parts of Galilee.
From the bay between Ptolemais and Carmel, in a south-easterly direction, lies the Plain of Esdraelon. This extensive level tract appears to be between thirty and forty miles in length, and from six or eight to fifteen or even twenty in breadth. It may be described as extending from the Mediterranean on the north-west, to the mountains of Gilboa on the east; lying between the southern hills of Galilee and Mount Tabor on the north, and the range of Carmel and the hills of Samaria on the south-west and south. Travelers represent it, the central part especially, as every where cultivated, very thinly populated, but having a few small villages in different parts of it. Dr. Clarke describes it as one vast meadow, covered with the richest pasturage. Dr. Morehead's anonymous traveler says that there are in it neither rocks nor trees. Mr. Hardy states that the soil is in some places more than six feet thick, and exceedingly rich. He crossed it on the 26th of April: when the party arrived at Nazareth, they "halted a few hours during the heat of the day;" and the same night. "slept under a fig-tree."
Lamartine had gone from Nazareth to the Lake of Galilee, along the northern part of this Plain; and as his narrative presents some features of the Lake which those travelers do not give who went to it by the northern road from Nazareth to Tiberias, his route will be followed first.
"After having passed along, for the space of six hours, this yellow, rocky, yet fertile plain, [this was on the northern and north-eastern part,] we perceived the land slope suddenly before us, and discovered the immense valley of the Jordan, and the first azure reflections of the beautiful Lake of Gennesareth, or the Sea of Galilee, as the ancients and the Evangelists call it. It soon spread entirely before us, surrounded on all sides, except at the south, with high grey or black mountains." "The Caravan (Oct. 14)
ascended on the western side of the Lake, at a few paces from its waves, upon a rocky and sandy shore, with here and there tufts of rose-laurel, and some shrubs with slightly indented leaves, bearing a flower similar to our lilac. On our left, a chain of peaked hills, black, barren, hollowed in profound ravines, and spotted, at varions distances, by immense isolated volcanic stones, extended the whole length of the western coast [i. e. till it expands to the west]; and advancing in a sombre and naked promontory to nearly the middle of the sea, hid from us the city of Tiberias." Here Lamartine describes, in glowing terms, the sentiments which rose within him in contemplating these scenes, as having often been witnessed and traversed by Christ;-terminating thus: "With his mortal eyes, he saw this sea, these hills, these rocks; or rather, this sea, these hilis, these rocks saw him. He trode, a hundred times, that path on which I now respectfully walk." "He sailed in the barks of the fishermen of the Lake of Galilee. He calmed its tempests. He walked upon its waves, and gave his hand to the Apostle, like myself, of little faith,-that celestial hand, of which I have more need than he, in the more terrible tempest of opinions."
"The Sea of Galilee is about a league broad at its southern extremity where we approached it. It then widens insensibly to Emmaus [Ammaus] placed at the extremity of that promontory which concealed Tiberias from us. The mountains, which had confined it thus far, suddenly open into large gulphs on both sides, and form a vast and nearly circular basin, in which its waters expand themselves in a bed from thirty to forty miles in circuit. This basin is not regular in its form. The mountains do not every where descend to its waters. Sometimes they separate and open, to give entrance to the blue waves, in the inlets excavated at their feet and darkened by their shade.” “On the east, they form, from the summits of Gilboa, which are perceived on the south, to the summits of Lebanon which display themselves on the north, a confined but undulating and winding chain. They are not terminated at their summits by sharp points and rugged inequalities; but present a waving outline of rounded hills, of steep or gentle ascent, some clothed with oaks, and others with verdant shrubs; others naked, but fertile and displaying various traces of cultivation; others, again, merely borrowing and reflecting the various tints of morning and evening, by shades of pale yellow, blue, and violet, in richer hues than ever painter's pallet produced. Their sides, though they present no proper valleys, do not form a regular rampart, but are split, in various parts, into deep ravines, sometimes luminous, but more frequently dark with shade. Lower down from the summit of the 1ange, they lessen in size, and as they approach the Lake present a number of small round bills, which form a gentle transition from the greatest heights, to the water which reflects them. Scarcely any where, on the eastern side, does the rock pierce the thick bed of vegetation with which it is covered; and this Arcadia of Palestine, therefore, always unites, with the majesty and gravity of mountainous countries, the smiling image of fertility, and a varied abundance of productions."
"To return to the western side. The volcanic hills already described, uniformly continue as far as Tiberias. Avalanches of black stones, hurled from the still-open craters of a hundred extinguished volcanoes, continually obstruct the path on this dark and gloomy coast. The road presented no variety, except in the strange forms and colours of the lofty masses of hardened lava which surrounded us on every side, and the fragments of walls and columns which our horses struck at every step, the wrecks of cities long destroyed."
4. Galilee WEST of the LAKE.
We now again commence from Nazareth our survey of this region of the Gospel-the land of Zabulon; in order to follow another route towards the Lake, and then northwards along its western shores. This will present views of Galilee more accordant with the representations of Josephus, than the district does on the south-west of the Lake; and at the same time it will delineate a tract of country which must have been often trodden by Christ and his first disciples. Pococke, Clarke, and Buckingham will be our chief guides.
The road to the middle of the western shore, and towards Capernaum also, first passes the hills that embosom the secluded vale of Nazareth, and then descends into some fine and well-cultivated valleys, conducting to Cana, already spoken of. See p. lxxxviii. Two or three miles further on, a village presents itself now called Turan. Between these places are observed basaltic phenomena; and from this district the country appears to descend, by successive steps, to the Lake of Galilee. After passing Turan, the earth was covered, says Dr. Clarke, with a variety of thistles: one kind of these "grew to such a size, that some of its blossoms were near three inches in diameter, forming a sphere equal in bulk to the largest fruit of the pomegranate. Its leaves and stems, while living, exhibited a dark but vivid sky-blue colour."
"The heat of this day (July 5) was greater" says the traveler " than any to which we had yet been exposed in the Levant; nor did we afterwards experience any thing so powerful. The mercury in a gloomy recess under ground, perfectly shaded, while the scale was placed so as not to touch the rock, remained at 100°. As to making any observations in the sun's rays, it was impossible.”—On each of the four following days, however, the heat was exceedingly intense. He and his companions had set out early, hoping to visit Tabor; but he says, "All the pleasure of traveling, at this season of the year, in the Holy Land, is suspended by the excessive heat of the sun. A traveler, wearied and spiritless, is often more subdued at the beginning than at the end of his day's journey. All nature seems to droop; every animal seeks for shade, which it is extremely difficult to find. But the chameleon, the lizard, the serpent, and all sorts of beetles, basking, even at noon, upon rocks and in sandy places, exposed to the most scorching rays, seem to rejoice in the greatest heat wherein it is possible to exist.” July the 9th, on the road from Sychar to Jerusalem, he says that as the day dawned, "a cloudless sky foretold the excessive heat we should have to encounter in this day's journey; and before noon, the mercury, in the most shaded situation we could find, stood 100° Fahr." The Simoom, too, was blowing at that period: "its parching influences pervaded all places alike, and coming as from a furnace, it seemed to threaten us all with suffocation."
Similar statements respecting the summer heat of Palestine are made by other travelers. Burckhardt, in the latter part of June, speaks of the sun at noon as intensely hot; and Joliffe, on the 10th of August, 1817, says,