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“7. Taking a guide, we set out for the cedars. In about two hours we came in sight of them, and in another hour reached them. Instead of being on the highest summit of Lebanon, as has sometimes been said, they are situated at the foot of a high mountain, in what may be considered as the arena of a vast amphitheatre, opening to the W. with high mountains on the N. S. and E. The cedars stand on five or six gentle elevations, and occupy a spot of ground about three-fourths of a mile in circumference.
I walked around it in fifteen minutes. We measured a number of the trees. The largest is upwards of forty feet in circumference. Six or eight others are also very large, several of them nearly the size of the largest. But each of these was manifestly two trees or more, which have grown together, and now form one. They generally separate a few feet from the ground into the original trees. The handsomest and tallest are those of two or three feet in diameter, the body straight, the branches almost horizontal, forming a beautiful cone, and casting a goodly shade. We measured the length of two by the shade, and found each about 90 feet. The largest are not so high, but some of the others, I think, are a little higher. They produce a conical fruit in shape and size like that of the pine. I counted them and made the whole number 389. Mr. King counted them, omitting the small saplings, and made the number 321. I know not why travellers and authors have so long and so generally given twentyeight, twenty, fifteen, five, as the number of the cedars. It is true, that of those of superior size and antiquity, there are not a great number; but then there is a regular gradation in size, from the largest down to the merest sapling.
“Before seeing the cedars, I had met with a European traveller who had just visited them. He gave A short account of them, and concluded with saying, It is as with miracles, the wonder all vanishes when
you reach the spot. What is there at which an infidel cannot sneer? Yet let even an infidel put himself in the place of an Asiatic passing from barren desert to barren desert, traversing oceans of sand and mountains of naked rock, accustomed to countries like Egypt, Arabia, Judea, and Asia Minor, abounding in the best places only with shrubbery and fruit trees; let him, with the feelings of such a man, climb the ragged rocks, and pass the open ravines of Lebanon, and suddenly descry among the hills, a grove of 300 trees, such as the cedars actually are, even at the present day, and he will confess that to be a fine comparison in Amos ii,9, “Whose height was as the height of the cedars, and he was strong as the oaks. Let him after a long ride in the heat of the sun, sit down under the shade of a cedar, and template the exact conical form of its top, and the beautiful symmetry of its branches, and he will no longer wonder that David compared the people of Israel, in the days of their prosperity, to the 'goodly cedars.' Psalm 1xxx, 10.
“A traveller, who had just left the forests of America, might think this little grove of cedars not worthy of so much notice, but the man who knows how rare large trees are in Asia, and how difficult it is to find timber for building, will feel at once that what is said in Scripture of these trees is perfectly natural. It is probable that in the days of Solomon and Hiram there were extensive forests of cedars on Lebanon. A variety of causes may have contributed to their diminution and almost total extinction. Yet, in comparison with all the other trees that I have seen on the mountain, the few that remain may still be called the glory of Lebanon.'
“From the cedars we returned to Besharry, a delightful and healthy place for a summer residence. We lodged with shekh Girgis, (George) by whom we were received with special tokens of hospitality.
“8. Left Besharry early in the morning for Balbec.
Passed near the cedars, and then ascended the mountain east of them. We saw on our left hand, what I take to be the highest summit of Lebanon. It has often been asserted that there is snow on Mount Lebanon during the whole year. We wished to ascertain the fact. As the heat of summer was now past, we concluded that if we could find snow in October, it was not likely to be wanting at any season of the year. On reaching the summit of the mountain, we left the road, and turned north, in a direction which our guide said would carry us to snow. After riding without a path, and over very bad ground for about an hour, we came to a little valley opening to the south east, in which the snow was about two feet deep. In another valley near it, there was a still greater quantity. In the course of the day we saw snow at a distance in several other places. I strongly suspect, however, that mariners often mistake the white rock of the mountain for snow. At only a short distance it has precisely the same appearance.
"Returning from the snow to the road, we pursued our way down the mountain to Ain el Ata, where is a fountain of good water, and the ruins of an old village."
From this place they directed their course to Diar el Ahmar, a miserable place, where they lodged for the night, being allowed by the people to select the house that suited them best. The earth was the floor and bushes the roof of it. A small, dark, damp apartment was found, which was occupied as a church,
“9. We started early and pursued our way across the plain of Celo-Syria in a south and south east direction. The plain extends between Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon, and runs nearly north east and south west. It is a fine rich plain, but badly cultivated. We passed only one small village, and saw no other houses. Two large flocks of sheep and goats, attended by their Bedouin shepherds, were feeding near our road. Balbec is at the extremity of the plain at the
foot of Anti-Libanus. The principal thing to be seen at Balbec, is the Temple of the Sun, which stands in the north west part of the present town. part of the walls and many of the columns are still standing. The whole length of the building from E. to W. is near 300 paces, and the width from N. to S. about 170 paces at the west end: the east end is much narrower.
There are various indications that many parts of the walls are more modern than the original building, and that what was first a place of idolatrous worship, has been more recently a Turkish fortress.
“There are several passages leading to the upper story, which was the principal part of the temple. From a hexagonal room you enter the largest, though probably not the most splendid apartment of the temple. It is 125 paces from north to south, and not much less from east to west. On the N. and S. sides are several niches where statues were probably erected. The ruins of a wall show that an inner apartment occupied the centre of this apartment, a room within a room."
A minute description of this magnificent temple is given by Mr. Fisk. He measured its arches, wings, Corinthian columns, and architraves, all of giant architecture, evincing an astonishing degree of mechanical power and skill.
“One of the greatest wonders of the whole building is the large stones hich are found in the walls near the north west corner. On the north side there are nine stones in a row, each 30 feet long, about 10 thick, and 12 high. These constitute the foundation of a wall which seems never to have been finished. On the west side there are two tiers of large stones, three in each. The lower tier is raised 15 feet from the ground; the height and thickness of the stones appear to be the same with those on the north side, so that the upper tier is about 27 feet from the ground, and each of these stones is upwards
of 60 feet in length. Here again one asks with amazement, 'How was it ever possible to raise a stone 60 feet by 10 and 12! The Arabs, who were around us while we were looking at the temple, said it was done by satan. Magnificent as this temple must have been, I strongly suspect the original plan was never completed.
“Balbec is now a ruinous village, containing about 200 human dwellings. There are a few families of Greek Catholics, the only Christians in the place. With them we lodged, and before parting, gave them several copies of the Scriptures. The great body of the inhabitants are Metonalis, who are numerous in the adjacent parts. They are Mussulmans of the sect of Ali, like the Persians. They are numerous at Tyre, and are found in some places on Mount Lebanon. Balbec is now governed by an emeer, who is only nineteen or twenty years old. He had long been at war with an uncle, who had command of some village or district in the vicinity. The day that we arrived at Balbec, they had an interview, by desire of the emeer, and pretended to make peace. The emeer conducted his uncle into Balbec in the afternoon with great pomp. His horsemen to the number of more than 100 pranced their Arabian steeds about the plain, and fired their muskets and pistols in the air; and the women came out of the village to meet them with songs and instruments of music. In the evening we heard that on reaching his dwelling, the emeer had quietly put his uncle in chains. What was to follow, we did not learn. The Metonalis have the reputation, among the other inhabitants of the country, of being treacherous, thievish, and in a word, a lawless banditti.
“10. From what we heard of the character of the emeer of Balbec, we apprehended further exactions, and therefore we left before day, guided by the stars. We had not proceeded far, before the clouds gathered and it soon began to rain. Our