caused a wind to pass over the earth; and the waters subsided. 2. And the fountains of the deep and the windows of heaven were closed, and the rain from heaven was


is the Biblical doctrine. It is, therefore, The Ararat consists of two unequal scarcely a poetical metaphor if the text peaks, both of which disappear in the adds, that the fountains of the deep and the clouds; the loftier summit is 16,254 l'ariwindows of heaven were closed; the waters sian fect high, whilst the other north. ceased to flow from the two sources which western pinnacle rises to the elevation of had contributed their stores for the catas- 12,284 Parisian feet above the level of the trophe; and a hundred and fifty days after Both are 12,000 yards distant from the commencement of the flood, the billows each other. According to the Treaty of began to retire from the earth. Exactly Turkomanshee (concluded in 1828), the after five months, the ark of Noah boundary limit between the empires of grounded “ on the mountains of Ararat." Russia, Turkey, and Persia passes over

If tradition is at all received as a histo- the summit of the Little Ararat. The rical witness, the situation of the country, north-eastern declivity of the whole mounand of the famous mountains of Ararat, tain is about 20 versts in length, its northis indisputably certain; they forin a part western, 30. The region around the of Armenia ; for Ararat was used as mountain makes the impression of a dreary, synonymous with the whole of that devastated wilderness; it is haunted by country It is situated between the bears, small tigers, lynxes, and lions, and Araxes and the lakes of Van and Ormiah. is infested by large and extremely venue The vegetation of Armenia is beautiful mous serpents, which frequently impede and abundant: its pastures rival the re- the progress of caravans; and great numnowned fields of Media, and render it one bers of wild boars live in the swamps of the most fertile countries of the earth. But which abound on the banks of the Araxes, the whole land is intersected by extensive and the foot of the Ararat. At a little tracts of high and naked table-lands; the distance, the summit does not appear parpeaks are generally not of very great ele- ticularly imposing; for numerous lower vation, but they are, even in the warmest mountains obstruct the view; and the season, not freed from the snow which plateau itself on which it rises, is of conperpetually envelopes them. But, in the siderable height. But, viewed from the province of Erivan, which formerly be- vast plain which skirts its base, it appears longed to Persia, but was, in 1828, ceded as if the hugest mountains of the world to Russia, is an extensive plateau which had been piled upon each other lo form ascends 2,740 feet above the level of the this one sublime immensity of earth, and sea; there, about seven geographical miles rock, and snow.” Here the aspect is overto the south of the town of Erivan, on the powering; it awes the mind with the sturight side of the river Araxes, nearly equi. pendous power of the Creator; the peaks distant from the Black and Caspian Seas, seem to reach into the very heart of hearises a gigantic peak, clad in eternal ice, ven; and the sides disappear dimly in the overtopping the whole region in solitary endless horizon. All the surrounding and gloomy grandeur, and hitherto but mountains sink into insignificance. Its rarely trod by human feet; "a giant who shape is almost regular; it is not deformed rises to spread terror.” This is the moun- by any unusual prominence; the slope totain to which all but universal tradition wards the summit is at first gradual; but has given the name of Mount Ararat. becomes abrupt when it reaches the region And here the second father of mankind of snow. If the rays of the sun fall upon is said to have landed when the waters of it, it shines in indescribable splendour. the flood began to subside.

The shape of the Little Ararat is almost


stopped; 3. And the waters retired from the earth more and more: and at the end of a hundred and fifty

a perfect conc, only marked by numerous of never melting ice of the dimensions of small furrows radiacing from the summit; enormous towers. And this stupendous but seen from the top of the Great Ararat, and fearful abyss is probably the exhausted its head appears like the section of a crater of the Ararat, become wider than square truncated pyramid, with rocky ever since the eruption of 1840, and, since elevations on the edges and in the middle. that catastrophe, exposing on its upper Around are situated the monuments of sides the white, yellow, and vitreous fearful volcanic eruptions; calcined stones, feldspars of which the mountain conand masses of cinders give witness of the sists. Pious herinits secm, in that feardestructive powers which mysteriously ful precipice, to have sought refuge work in the interior of the mountain; in from the cares and vanities of the world; 1783, a devastating eruption is recorded to but robbers and outlaws also have have taken place; so late as in the year here found almost impregnable strong1840, huge rocks were hurled down by a holds, powerful enough to defy the arm of volcanie earthquake, destroyed many lives, justice. The vegetation on the sides of and buried whole villages, and their in- the mountain is extremely scanty; stones, habitants; 3,000 houses were thrown down sand, and lava form their mass. Eagles in the district of Sharur alone; and the and hawks soar round its majestic sumhavoc was greater still in other parts; the mits. In the hottest season only, the snow banks of the Araxes gaped in cracks 10 melts on the peak of the Little Ararat; to 12 feet wide, and threw out water and this event is used as a kind of calendar and great quantities of sand; while the by the agriculturists in the surrounding river itself was in many parts quite dry, villages. In September and October it is and in others was in a boiling agitation; generally free of its hoary crust. But the the monastery of St. James, and the vil. Great Ararat is, for about three miles from lage Arghuri were among the first places the suminit, in an oblique direction, covered destroyed by the earthquake; they were with eternal snow and ice, and, for the overwhelmed by the ruins from the moun- greater part of the year, gloomily shrouded tain; streams of melted snow, ejected from in dense and heavy clouds. The summit the raging chasm, covered the fields and of this noble mountain forms a slightly gardens around; the wide plains of the convex, almost circular platform, about Araxes bear still witness of the calamity; two hundred paces in circuit. The perdeep fissures have been left in the surface petual ice is unbroken by rock or stone. of the earth; and these awful convulsions The prospect from this awful spot is lasted more than two months. The vol. boundless, but desolate; the whole valley canic productions which are found at the of the Araxes seems covered with a grey southern side of the Caucasus, a distance mist; the town of Erivan is scarcely dis. of 220 versts, are probably violent ejec- cernible by the black kernel which it forms; tions once borne thither from the Ararat the view to the south is somewhat more in a formidable explosion. The mound, distinct; on the western and south-eastern which evidently once was a volcano, and sides appear a great number of mountains which is obviously different in its nature with conical summits, and with hollows from the main body, rises to the height of which indicate their volcanic nature; but an imposing mountain. The two peaks it is remarkable, that the Lake Goktschai of the Ararat are separated by a wild and is visible behind the lofty chain of moundark chasm, cutting deeply into the inte- tains which enclose it on the south; and rior of the mountain, filling the spectator lie before the eye like a beautiful darkwith horror and shuddering, containing blue plain. At the margin, the summit in its innermost recesses immense masses slopes off precipitously, especially on the

days the waters decreased. 4. And the ark rested, in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, over

north-eastern and south-eastern sides. A precious relic, in the cathedral of Etchgentle depression connects this pinnacle miadzen. — However, in spite of this vewith a somewhat lower eminence at a dis- nerable tradition, the German traveller, tance of 397 yards. Here it is believed Dr. Parrot, after two fruitless attempts, that the ark of Noah rested.

effected an indisputable ascent of the sumThe perils and fatigues of the ascent of mit of the Greater Ararat, on the 9th of this mountain are so considerable, that it October, 1829; and, five years later, in was several times unsuccessfully attempt- August, 1834, the traces of Dr. Parrot ed. The rarefaction of the air in the up. were followed, and his accounts verified, per part causes violent oppressions of the by the Russian traveller Antornomoff. chest; detached masses of ice and snow It is, indeed, not the fault of these two frequently roll down, to the greatest dan- intrepid men, if their reports are disdainger of the travellers; and huge stones fully rejected by the pious Armenians as threaten at every moment to crush them; barefaced impositions. The latest successsteps must be cut in the ice, and hown in ful ascent was made in the course of 1856, the rocks of the precipices; and the chasms by five English travellers (Maj. Rob.Stuart, and abysses, the steepness of some of the Maj. Fraser, Rev. Walter Thursby, Mr. rocky tracts, the deep cracks occasionally Theobald, and Mr. Evans), who have condividing the ice, and the smoothness of siderably enriched our knowledge of these the glaciers, make the experiment one of interesting regions. They saw uninjured the utmost risk. The French traveller, the oak cross which Professor Abich had, Tournefort, undertook the ascent with the in 1845, fixed about 1,200 feet below the

same inauspicious result in 1700, as the peak the cone, and the ian inbashaw of Bayazeed in the beginning of scription on it was still perfectly legible. the present century. These disappoint- But the fact, that the ark was not found ments rejoiced the hearts of the Armenians. on the summit, caused serious uneasiFor, they considered, that the sanctity of ness, even to European scholars; they the mountain would lose, if its heights thought this a very untoward circumstance; were searched by the curiosity of man. and at last entirely renounced the idea, It is almost an article of faith with them, that the ark landed on Mount Ararat; that the summit of the Mount Ararat is they now firmly assert, that it happened inaccessible; and they firmly believe, that to float merely in its neighbourhood at the the ark of Noah still exists on that solemn end of the 150 days, but that it was then peak. These convictions have been slowly carried along in an eastward direcstrengthened by ancient legends, busily tion (comp. xi. 2); and that the real place spread and confirmed by the Church. of its concealment is entirely withdrawn It is reported, that the monk James, who from human knowledge. — But the words, was later patriarch of Nisibis, a contem- “the ark rested over the mountains of porary of St. Gregory, wished to see, with Ararat,” exclude this conception; and his own eyes, the sacred ark; he tried an admit of no other interpretation but that ascent; from exhaustion he frequently of actual cessation of floating. Nor need fell asleep; and when he awoke, he in- we despondingly ask, how Noah, his family, variably found, that he had slipped back and the numberless animals preserved in the to the point from whence he had started. ark, were able to effect the dangerous deA vision in a dream at last informed him scent, utterly difficult as it proved for many of the impossibility of his purpose; but, centuries later to persons furnished with as a reward for his zeal, God sent him all serviceable auxiliaries and implements; down a piece of the ark, which is pre- the supposition of a miracle is not even served, by the Armenians, as their most necessary; for, according to the text, they

the mountains of Ararat. 5. And the waters decreased continually until the tenth month: in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, appeared the tops of the mountains.-6. And it came to pass, at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made: 7. And he sent out the raven; and it went to and fro, until the waters were dried up from the earth. 8. And he sent out the dove from him, to see if the waters had abated from the face of the ground; 9. But the dove

left the ark only after it had reached the delicate bird found nowhere a restingground with the gradually subsiding place; the whole surface of the earth was waters.

still covered with water; no trace of vege6. The ark had been raised and borne tation or animal life was visible; and the up above the level of the earth as the faithfully-gniding instinct led the dove waters increased (vii.17); it had been car- soon back to Noah, who received it again ried along the surface of the waves as long in the ark. The waters were, however, as they were augmenting in quantity (vii. manifestly decreasing; after other seven 18); but it ceased to float as soon as the days the dove was again despatched; it infusion of new waters ceased to agitate could now stay out nearly a whole day; the current of the floods; it rested, in the but towards the evening it returned with a seventh month, over the mountains of fresh olive-leaf in its mouth, as a cheering Ararat (viii. 4); it gradually descended proof that the tops, at least, of the trees as the waters subsided; and, on the first had emerged from the floods, although day of the tenth month, it grounded on the return itself of the freedom-loving the peaks of Ararat (viii. 5). The highest bird satisfied him that the earth was not points of the mountains, which the waves sufficiently restored to its normal condihad overtopped by fifteen cubits (vii. 20), tion to yield the necessary food. Another now became visible amidst the dreariness week was enough to work this longof the universal sea (viii. 5), and affordeal

desired effect. The dove was sent out a a resting-place to the only structure then third time, and returned no more. Not enclosing living creatures.

many days later, in the beginning of the 6–14. From this lofty elevation, Noah first month, the surface of the earth was enjoyed a distant prospect over the ad- free from the waters (ver. 13), and on the jacent countries; for forty days more he twenty-seventh day of the second month, saw nothing but endless waves around, the ground itself was perfectly dry (ver. and a misty sky, enveloped in grey va- 14), so that God could now command pours, above; then, at last, he thought it Noah to leave the ark with all those who time to test the condition of the earth; he had been saved in it. This is the consent out a raven, which, though delighting nection of the narrative; thus understood in the humid atmosphere, returned pe- it is not only clear, but logical and forriodically to the ark to take its food; but cible in the highest degree. It is usual to this confirmed to him only that the higher conceive the raven here as the bird which regions were free from the immersing easily discovers, and greedily feeds on floods; he desired to learn how far the carrion; and to understand the dove and water had subsided, and whether it was the olive-leaf, as harbingers of restored already lower over the earth (ver. 8); peace. But this is to be taken with a he cherefore sent out the dove, probably certain necessary limitation. The raven, seven days after the raven; but that more the name of which signifies the black

found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned to him into the ark, for the waters were still on the face of the whole earth: and he stretched out his hand, and took her, and brought her back to himself into the ark. 10. And he waited yet other seven days; and again he sent out the dove from the ark; 11. And the dove came back to him in the evening; and, behold, in her mouth was a fresh olive-leaf: and Noah knew that the waters had abated from the earth. 12. And he waited yet other seven

bird, or the bird of night, is generally dove as a holy bird, which it was crimiused as a creature of mysterious, if not nal to kill, or to cat. Its plaintive notes awful qualities; it belongs, with its whole move the softest chords of the heart; and species, to the unclean and forbidden the very grief which they express is soothbirds; it fills the air with wild shrieks ing to the afflicted soul; it is far from when it despairingly searches for its aggressive; it is the type of suffering scanty food; but was just for this reason innocence, and of that Divine wisdom employed to convey miraculous and which enlightens while it purifies; it is plentiful food to the prophet; it is cold frightened from its resting place and and loveless to its young; and though it pursued; its wings are its only protecmay not, as the ancients believed, for- tion; and it seeks refuge from the virusake its white offspring immediately after lence of the persecutor in the rocks of their birth, it certainly expels them from the mountains, and the clefts of the dethe nest, and even from the surrounding sert; it is faithful and affectionate, and places, as soon as they are able to fly, serves, therefore, to express the fondthough they may still be too helpless to est love; it is the most endearing, most find their own food; it inhabits the places caressing term for tender and fervent of the most dreary devastation; it is es- attachment; the most beautiful part sential to complete the picture of awful of the human face, and that most betraydesolation, and it is, in this sense, men- ing the passion which burns in the soul, tioned together with the pelican, the the eye, is compared to doves hovering urchin, and the heron, the jackal and the over water-brooks and bathed in milk; ostrich, the dragon and the vulture. It “my sister, my friend, my dove, my virindeed preys upon putrifying corpses; and tuous bride,” is the effusion of a devoted is especially eager to pick out the eyes lover's heart; and the people of Israel itof the dead; it attacks sometimes even the self has no more beautiful name, than eyes of the living; but our context seenis "the turtle-dove of God.”—Hence, it to imply, that the raven sent out by Noah is manifest how appropriately the raven, regularly returned for its food to the aik, on the one hand, remained without as the till the waters had entirely abated. The inauspicious witness of solitude and death; dove is, in almost all respects, regarded while the dove, on the other hand, anin a perfectly opposite light. It is lovely nounced the regeneration of nature, and to the eye by the silvery brightness of its the animating spirit of life which began wings; it is a clean bird, and the only again to pervade the general silence. But one which was fit for sacrifices, especially we have no scriptural evidence for the for burnt and expiatory offerings. This opinion that the ancient Hebrews rewas, perhaps, intended to counteract the garded olive branches as a symbol of general superstition of the Syrians, Phoe- peace and joy; though it is generally nicians, and others, who considered the known that the classical nations con

« ElőzőTovább »