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near them, that the only claim to the possession of any particular spot, is that of having ploughed and sown it, which entitled the person so doing to the harvest of his toils for the present season. In all their occupations they continue to be armed ... They informed us of their being the inhabitants of a village near, and offered to conduct us to their sheikh ... we accordingly followed them.
“As we continued to advance, going always on a general course of north-east . . . we came into cultivated land, sown with corn, the young blades of which were already appearing above the earth, from their having had gentle showers on the mountains, while all the country west of the Jordan was parched with drought ... Every new direction of our path opened upon us views which surprised and charmed us by their grandeur and their beauty. Lofty mountains gave an outline of the most magnificent character : flowing beds of secondary hills softened the romantic wildness of the picture ; gentle slopes, clothed with wood, gave a rich variety of tints, hardly to be imitated by the pencil ; deep valleys, filled with murmuring streams and verdant meadows, offered all the luxuriance of cultivation; and herds and flocks gave life and animation to (the scene.)
“It was about four o'clock when we approached the village of Boorza ... seated on the brow of a hill facing towards the south-east, and (commanding) a prospect which no language can adequately describe.”
Mr. Buckingham continued his journey until he reached Djerash, supposed to be the ancient Geraza, the wonderful ruins of which he minutely describes. Afterwards he went to the village of Soof, not far distant, and thence north-west to Oom Kess (Gadara), but which Mr. B. considers to be the ancient city Gamala. “ On leaving Soof, we descended," writes Mr. Buckingham, “ into a fine valley, and again rising on a gentle ascent, the whole being profusely and beau
tifully wooded with evergreen oaks below, and pines upon the ridge of the hills above, as well as a variety of the lesser trees. This forest, for it fully deserved the name, continued for about four or five miles, when we opened on a more park-like scenery, the ground showing here and there a rich green turf, and the woods becoming less crowded than before. The soil of the road on which we travelled was clayey, with a fine yellow gravel on the surface; and the track was broad and beaten. As we descended to a lower level, the pines disappeared, and on the side of one of the hills, close to the road on our right, we observed a grotto, carefully hewn down in front, with an arched door of entrance, and a small court and cistern before it. On alighting to examine it, we found it to be an excavated tomb, now containing three stone sarcophagi, of the usual form and size. Were it not for the actual presence of these, we should have thought it to have been a cell of residence for some solitary living being, rather than a place of sepulture for the dead, as we knew of no ancient site in the immediate vicinity of the place, nor could we find any traces of other tombs near. Although this solitude had been chosen, and wild bushes had so overgrown its front as almost to conceal it from the view, this sepulchre had been violated as well as all the rest, and its cistern was choked, its court partly filled up, and its sarcophagi uncovered and empty... We reached, at length, a beautiful dell, wooded round on all sides, where we found a small encampment of Bedouins striking their tents, and removing from the more open part of the vale to seek shelter beneath the trees, (on account of the rain)... A large fire was kindled, warm cakes were baked for us, coffee burnt, pounded, and prepared, our pipes lighted, and, in short, every office performed for our comfort and refreshment, by these hospitable wanderers, without a thought of compensation. After a stay of about half an hour, we departed from hence, continuing still through the most
beautifully-wooded scenery on all sides. Mr. Bankes, who had seen the whole of England, the greater part of Italy, and France, and almost every province of Spain and Portugal, frequently remarked, that, in all his travels, he had met with nothing equal to it, excepting only in some parts of the latter country ... It is certain that we were perpetually exclaiming at every turn, how rich! how picturesque! how magnificent! how beautiful!—and that we both conceived the scenery alone to be quite worth all the hazard and privation of a journey to the eastward of Jordan.”—BUCKINGHAM's Palestine, vol. ii. pp. 103—119, 240—244.
“ A fruitful land maketh He barren, for the wickedness of them
that dwell therein."
“ Let Zion's time of favor come!
O bring the tribes of Israel home!
Gentiles and Jews in Jesu's fold.” “ THE great quantity of rock on the surface, and the little earth that is at times to be seen, must at first strike the observer as a great objection to this country, and may lead to the inquiry, How could such a rocky land be called the land flowing with milk and honey, -—the glory of all lands ?
“ There are many districts that are sadly encumbered with rock, yet the soil among these rocks is of a very superior kind : and were the rock somewhat broken up, the large pieces piled, and the small mixed with the soil, it might be made very productive. There is very striking proof of this in some districts, as that about Hebron, which abounds with rock, and yet is covered with the most productive vineyards. As to such a rocky country being so spoken of in the days of the Patriarchs, I suppose that it was in truth, at that time, the finest of lands; that the rock, which now lies bare in so many places, was then all covered with earth of the richest kind ...
“ The more I see of Palestine, the more I am persuaded that it was once one of the first countries in the world. The time was, I doubt not, when all these rocks were covered with a fine vegetable mould.”—Paxton's Letters, p. 148.
Maundrell, speaking of the naked rocky districts in some parts of Palestine, observes, “ that, at sight of them, pilgrims are apt to be much astonished and
baulked in their expectations; finding that country in such an inhospitable condition, concerning whose pleasantness and plenty they had before formed in their minds such high ideas from the description given of it in the word of God. . . . But it is certain that any man, who is not a little biassed to infidelity before, may see, as he passes along, arguments enough to support his faith against such scruples.
“For it is obvious ... that these rocks and hills must have been anciently covered with earth, and cultivated, and made to contribute to the maintenance of the inhabitants, no less than if the country had been all plain—nay, perhaps much more; forasmuch as such a mountainous and uneven surface affords a larger space of ground for cultivation than this country would amount to, if it were all reduced to a perfect level.
“ For the husbanding of these mountains, their manner was to gather up the stones, and place them in several lines along the sides of the hills, in form of a wall. By such borders, they supported the mould from tumbling, or being washed down, and formed many beds of excellent soil, rising gradually one above another from the bottom to the top of the mountains.
“Of this form of culture you see evident footsteps wherever you go, in all the mountains of Palestine : thus the very rocks were made faithful. And, perhaps, there is no spot of ground in this whole land that was not formerly improved, to the production of something or other, ministering to the sustenance of human life; for, than the plain countries, nothing can be more fruitful, whether for the production of corn or cattle, and consequently of milk. The hills, though improper for all cattle, except goats, yet being disposed into such beds, as are before described, served very well to bear corn, melons, gourds, cucumbers, and such-like gardenstuff, which makes the principal food of these countries for several months in the year. The most rocky parts of all, which could not well be adjusted in that manner