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CLAUDE DELAVAL COBHAM
Exerpta Cypria
page 412

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Idalium shonld be considered as having formed parts of her gardens : that had there been a poet in the island be would doubtless have glorified these things while he sang the apotheosis of his heroine : that he would have made her one with Venus, daughter of Jove : an allegory of the fecundity of matter, or, better still, of the universal law of attraction, which preceded by long ages the civilisation of the Greeks or even that of the Egyptinns, their teachers. According to this supposition poetic genius gave immortality to an object whieh was naturally far from deserving it. In the highest room, which is roofless, is a wild cypress. 1 carried off a branch with its fruit, and then climbing the wall 1 picked out the highest stone of the building. From this point one enjoys a magnificent view. Excepting a little comer hidden by the mountains of Paphos, or Mount Olympus, yon get a bird's eye view, as on a map, of nearly the whole circumference of Cyprus. On the north, at the foot, as it were, of the mountain, you see the little town of Chìrigna. I took an observation, aud comparing the position of Nicosia, I determined the latitude of Chirigna to be 85" 25' 0" N. and the longitude 8Γ Γ SV E. of Paris. The horizon on the sea is of so vast a stretch tliat the sight confuses sea and sky in a kind of chaos or thick mist. There is no spring on the rock, I suspect that in old times there was one. Perhaps that in the convent of S. John Chiysostom is an ancient spring diverted from its original direction. On this peak one breathes a remarkably pure air, bnt the temperature certainly allows me to affirm that the goddess, at least (lining her sojourn here, could not have been so lightly clothed as it has pleased painters and sculptors to imagine. The peak soars into the air in complete isolation from the adjoining range, aud forms a kind of lightning conductor. I have several times observed from the plain that the clouds which rose from the other mountains, and were driven by the wind, clung round its summit : a phenomenon favourable to the religious illusions of a mystic mind. At nine in the morning I left the Palace of the Queen. We encountered as much danger and trouble in descending the rock as we had in ascending it. At the foot of the peak 1 mounted my mule, and at ten o'clock joined the doctor and my servant at the monastery. We rested an hour, then descended the lower slopes of the basaltic mountains nnd the clay hills at their foot, and reached the plain at half past twelve. It requires then two hours and a quarter to come down from the ruins of the palace on the summit of the peak to the plain. Keeping to the S.W. I crossed the torrent of Nicosia, which is waterless except during the rainy season. A quarter of an honr later we passed a village called Oaîmakî, and reached Nicosia at two. Next day, April 5,1 left the capital at a quarter past eight, and crossed the great plain in a S.E. direction: then crossing some clay hills, 1 turned S. about half past eleven, aud following the left bank of a veiy small river, which we crossed at noon, soon entered Idalium. This place, once so famous for its groves, is only a wretched village, situated in a valley almost entirely surrounded with hills of pure clay, absolutely barren and most melancholy. The houses are miserable and badly bnilt, the inhabitants extremely poor: there are just a few trees and vegetable-gardens, wheat nnd barley alone are sown. In short the modern IdRlium, which resembles the poorest village in the plaine of the Beauce, is as sad a place as yon can imagine. The people of the place believe that the ancient Idalium was ou a slight mound, a mile away from the modern village. I went there, but saw no relic of antiquity. But I saw quite clearly the peak of the Palace of the Queen. Finding nothing worthy of notice I started again at a quarter past two, I passed a village in a dreary country lying between low hills of clay entirely ban-en, returned to the 402 EXCERPTA CYPRTA.

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