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The Splendors of Lebanon


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The Splendors of Lebanon
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Joined: 09 Mar 2007
Posts: 509
Location: Jbeil Byblos

Post The Splendors of Lebanon Reply with quote
Speaking for myself, after twelve years gone past, there is not a single morning when I do not regret that I am not waking up over there. I recall a typical day begun down near the waves of the sea in a sleepy world of geraniums and orange groves. One hour was enough for me to be transported to some mountain ledge where my feet sank deep in the snow. What pure air on that height! What appetite it gave! The gently gathering mist set us apart from the rest of the world. The bells of a nearby monastery seemed to be sounding in Paradise itself. Why not remain in such a place? What was the point of going down again? It is true that more than once I did not go down, as on that particular day. I waited for the morrow or even for the following week. That night when I awoke I had the music of the waterfalls to remind me of where I was. I feel no need to name this place, for so many in Lebanon resemble it! Every mountain bears on its slopes some villages where it is enough to seat oneself to feel one’s heart expand and one’s soul relax into tranquility.

It is now that we shall be more able to contemplate you and to know you better, sweet richness of Lebanon! With what splendid sheen the evening twilight gives you color! The tints are of turquoise, amethyst and purple overlapping! The light evening breeze sways the palm trees. It seems to give yet more life to the murmur of the racing waters. Not far from here, at Ain Zhalta, I invite you to come and sit down if only for a few moments. I beg you, do not say No! It is indeed no longer the strolling wanderer but the author who implores you. Make this one little sacrifice to his vanity. Like at the fair, it is on leaving that one pays and then only if satisfied.

On the left of the way that takes us to Beirut, it is only a short aside. But from the moment we leave the road you will perceive that the landscape will be suddenly transformed. The vegetation will disappear. Suddenly we shall find ourselves penetrating a Lebanon that we never expected to see, a Lebanon wilderness of rocks, of tawny shade of the coat of a lion.

The mighty summits stand against the sky with a clarity such that one feels one has only to extend one’s hand to touch them. The rarified air of the mountains gives every detail a relief, a sharp-cut precision, one that I have seen nowhere else, not even in the brightly lit scenery in the land of the Moors, in Catalonia, or in the Sahara. What do you think of it? Is that good enough for you, this scene of desolation?

The mortal woman whom I allow myself to treat so lightly is none other than Athelstane, lady of the castle El-Thara, whose residence you will never see, although it stands not far from here. I keep its secret close to my heart together with the portrait of its owner, the lady I have so much loved; for to give form to her I have only to beg from my old friends the ladies of Lebanon just a little of their grace, their mystery, their language, their beauty.

Pierre Benoît of the Académie Française
Translation: K.J. Mortimer
Mon Sep 29, 2008 12:12 pm View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website

Post Reply with quote
Verily Lebanon is a land that is not to be forgotten by any who visit it.
I will never forget all the joy of being there
Wed Dec 10, 2008 1:24 pm

Joined: 29 Oct 2009
Posts: 9
Location: Italy

Post Planet Reply with quote
Lebanon summarizes the entire world, geographic and social... Razz Very Happy

Lebanon is Arab but at the same time it provides many other aspects. Lebanon cannot be only Arab! Lebanon is: Arabs, Modern Phoenicians, Armenians, Kurds, Jews etc
Sun Nov 01, 2009 5:26 pm View user's profile Send private message
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