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CLAUDE DELAVAL COBHAM
Exerpta Cypria
page 319

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conjectures of the ancient poets has even added to this swarm of natural beauties the birth of the Cytherean, and filled their lyric songs with numberless scenes of grace and charm. On such a theatre, onco dedicated to learning and good cheer, now, alas! expatiate tho barbarians, who have transformed it into an abode of ruin and slavery. Where once charms so many and so great reigned, there now rules a devouring tyranny. So that even husbandry has ceased to spread its treasures over the wonderful plains, and tho glory of an island once blessed is extinguished aud darkened. The treasures, of which historians have said so much, which it hold's buried in its breast, have been buried deeper still by tyranny, or by the earth heaped over them. All excavation, exploration or search for metals has been forbidden by its rulers, and the copper once so precious and plentiful remains nnworked in the bosom of the mountains which enfold it, as well as vitriol of two kinds, lead, iron and other metals, which formerly made this island universally known and renowned. L And gold, the end and aim aud active cause of airman's efforts and energy—gold, which the corruption which daily swells aud spreads among us tends to fix as the necessary and inevitable curse upon which our wannest and most earnest wishes are set—this too has veins in the land. But they have been choked and hidden for long ages, and a mere tradition survives to hint at the spots which once yielded this sweetest and much-desired wealth. The mines of this precious metal lie near the village now called Chrysochos, formerly Acamantis, one of tho famous cities of the island. There are other veins about Tamasia, aud again on the lower slopes of Mount Trogodos. Copper is chiefly found near that famous city of antiquity Amathns, and the city close by called then Nemesos, and now corruptly Leinesos. There is found buried that fine copper which natnre alone has cleansed, preparing it beforehand for man's handicrafts. This was the copper first known to, and first found in, the world, and especially sought after by the ancients for the preparation of that famous Corinthian metal, a blending and fusing of this copper with gold and silver, a thing of great price, whose preparation, the means employed, and the proportion of the metals used, remain entirely hidden and unknown to us. Vitriol, the natural kind and bine vitriol, is found in abundance in the aforesaid copper mines, but chiefly in those of Tamasia and Chrysophou. Iron mines occur over the island. So too there is found in the mountains near Paphos a kind of liquid congealed by cold into exquisite crystal, which is called the Paphos diamond. The folds of the higher hills contain also emeralds and amethysts. The jasper of Scythia was considered by the ancients the most precious until that of Cyprus appeared, and at last that of Egypt. The river Pedseus, which takes its rise in the hills near Leucosia, washes down with its limpid stream quite large fragments of fine red jasper. The aniiantus, that thread of the ancients which was neither consumed nor injured by fire, is still fonnd in the hills of Acamas. The island is rich too in gypsum, and dyes of various hues. To all these products must be added salt, extracted from its salines, which in the days of the Venetians was a source of great revenue. The circumference of this salt lake, which is near the modern Scala, was formerly about five miles. But under the Turks, as the export grew less, the lake partially dried up, so that the water now collected in it both from the sea and the rain cover a surface of scarcely two miles. The force of the heat of the blazing sun evaporates all the moisture and effluvia of the waters of the lake, and leaves on the surface a thick layer of salt, which is collected about September and October. The gifts of husbandry are little fewer in number than those precious metallic treasures: but in both cases nature's gift has fallen into careless and ignorant hands. The olive trees are not so many as they were formerly, and their produce is not always sufficient for the eoNSTANTirs. 309

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