Fragrant Quote for June 9th, 2012 from Damascus- By John Aiton

Citadel of Damascus.

Damascus- By John Aiton

No journey was ever taken with so much interest as this; the mind is delighted to dwell upon it, and we are eager to imagine all its details, but everything would be guesswork, endless and bewildering. But this every traveller can attest: the singular beauty, fertility, and fragrance of these groves; the copiousness of the fountains and perennial streams, distributing thei...r channels into so many watercourses, and spread for miles in all directions over a wilderness of tangled shrubberies, orange and lemon trees, with their dark foliage, surrounded by the bending leaves of the banana, reposing in every hue of light and beauty, amid a boundless panorama of gardens and green lawns, with their low walls, and water-wheels, and most profuse variety of fruits and flowers. The white buildings of the city stand fair to the sun, and present to the eye of the pilgrim a gleaming contrast to the verdant, inexhaustible paradise of green shades and glittering cascades. The beautiful blossoms of the acacia impart fragrance to the air, and there is balm, in all the atmosphere around. But plenty of cool, clear water, sparkling everywhere, like diamonds of the desert, is the rare and richest treasure of Damascus. Oh, lovely Damascus! thy plants are an orchard of pomegranates with pleasant fruits; camphire with spikenard; spikenard and saffron; calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense; myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices; a fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon. Well, indeed, might Naaman extol the rivers of Damascus more than the waters of Israel. Even the Greeks, Strabo, Ptolemy, and Pliny, call these streams "rivers of gold." To the inhabitants of that burning clime they are richer than the gold of Ophir, and sweeter far than honey from the honeycomb. The thousand purling waters, ever on the move, give life to the luscious calm. In the silence of midnight, the song of the nightingale and the murmur of unseen rivulets are the only sounds, and they never cease. In the terrific hot glare of Doon the sight everywhere of the clear, clever-like, gushing water, is a perpetual refreshment. In the shining beams of the morning spread out on the mountains, these fountains and small ponds at every dwelling are reflected like so many mirrors. And at night, when the sun has set behind Lebanon, and the momentary twilight has sunk into darkness, the torch-lights and lanterns of Damascus are seen flashing on the waters in every direction.