The Lands of the Saracen eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 452 pages of information about The Lands of the Saracen.

Chapter XVIII.

The Pass of Mount Taurus.

We enter the Taurus—­Turcomans—­Forest Scenery—­the Palace of Pan—­Khan Mezarluk—­Morning among the Mountains—­The Gorge of the Cydnus—­The Crag of the Fortress—­The Cilician Gate—­Deserted Forts—­A Sublime Landscape—­The Gorge of the Sihoon—­The Second Gate—­Camp in the Defile—­Sunrise—­Journey up the Sihoon—­A Change of Scenery—­A Pastoral Valley—­Kolue Kushla—­A Deserted Khan—­A Guest in Ramazan—­Flowers—­The Plain of Karamania—­Barren Hills—­The Town of Eregli—­The Hadji again.

        “Lo! where the pass expands
  Its stony jaws, the abrupt mountain breaks,
  And seems, with its accumulated crags,
  To overhang the world.”  Shelley.

Eregli, in Karamania, June 22, 1852.

Striking our tent in the gardens of Tarsus, we again crossed the Cydnus, and took a northern course across the plain.  The long line of Taurus rose before us, seemingly divided into four successive ranges, the highest of which was folded in clouds; only the long streaks of snow, filling the ravines, being visible.  The outlines of these ranges were very fine, the waving line of the summits cut here and there by precipitous gorges—­the gateways of rivers that came down to the plain.  In about two hours, we entered the lower hills.  They are barren and stony, with a white, chalky soil; but the valleys were filled with myrtle, oleander, and lauristinus in bloom, and lavender grew in great profusion on the hill-sides.  The flowers of the oleander gave out a delicate, almond-like fragrance, and grew in such dense clusters as frequently to hide the foliage.  I amused myself with finding a derivation of the name of this beautiful plant, which may answer until somebody discovers a better one.  Hero, when the corpse of her lover was cast ashore by the waves, buried him under an oleander bush, where she was accustomed to sit daily, and lament over his untimely fate.  Now, a foreign horticulturist, happening to pass by when the shrub was in blossom, was much struck with its beauty, and asked Hero what it was called.  But she, absorbed in grief, and thinking only of her lover, clasped her hands, and sighed out:  “O Leander!  O Leander!” which the horticulturist immediately entered in his note-book as the name of the shrub; and by that name it is known, to the present time.

For two or three hours, the scenery was rather tame, the higher summits being obscured with a thunder-cloud.  Towards noon, however, we passed the first chain, and saw, across a strip of rolling land intervening, the grand ramparts of the second, looming dark and large under the clouds.  A circular watch-tower of white stone, standing on the summit of a promontory at the mouth of a gorge on our right, flashed out boldly against the storm.  We stopped under an oak-tree to take breakfast; but there was no water; and two Turks, who were resting while their horses grazed

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The Lands of the Saracen from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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