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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
An Excursion into Armenia
By Friedrich von Bodenstedt (1819–1892)
 
From the ‘Thousand and One Days in the East’

NOW follow me into that blessed land wherein tradition places Paradise, and wherein I also placed it, until I found that it lay in thine eyes, thou, mine Edlitam!  1
  Follow me to the banks of the Senghi and Araxes, rich in bloom, sacred in tradition; where I sought for rest after long wandering in the mazes of a strange land, until I knew that rest is nowhere to be found but in one’s own bosom; follow me into the gardens where Noah once planted the vine for his own enjoyment and heart’s delight, and for the gladness of all subsequent races of toiling men; follow me through the steep mountain-paths overhung with glaciers, to the arid table-lands of Ararat, where, clad in a garment red as blood, on his steed of nimble thigh, the wild Kurd springs along, with flashing glance and sunburnt face, in his broad girdle the sharp dagger and long pistols of Damascus, and in his practiced hand the slender, death-slinging lance of Bagdad—where the nomad pitches his black tent, and with wife and child cowers round the fire that scares away the beasts of the wilderness—where caravans of camels and dromedaries wend their way, laden with the treasures of the Orient, and guided by watchful leaders in wide many-colored apparel—where the Tartar, eager for spoil, houses in hidden rocks, or in half-subterranean, rudely excavated huts; follow me into the fruitful valleys, where the sons of Haïghk, like the children of Israel, far from the corruption of cities, still live in primeval simplicity, plough their fields and tend their flocks, and practice hospitality in Biblical pureness; follow me to Ararat, which still bears the diluvian Ark upon his king-like, hoary head—follow me into the highlands of Armenia!  2
  In Paradise we will be happy, and refresh our eyes with a glance at the fair daughters of the land; and at the grave of Noah we will sit down, the drinking-horn in our hand, a song on our lips, and joyous confidence in our hearts; for the God who once when the whole world deserved hanging favored mankind with a watery grave, and suffered only Noah to live because he cultivated the vine and rejoiced in love and drinking, will also to us, who cherish like desires, be as favorable as to the father of post-diluvian men.  3
 
 
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