Page:Frederic Shoberl - Persia.djvu/208

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179
PERSIA.

minated at the higher extremity by a view of the palace, while a temple appears here also between the spacious arcade of trees. Narrow secluded walks shaded above and enamelled with flowers below, with cuts of clear and sparkling water, silvering the ground and cooling the air, vary the scene from parts which neglect, or taste assuming graceful negligence, has left in a state of romantic wildness. The trees are all full grown and luxuriant in foliage, while their lofty stems, nearly covered by a rich underwood of roses, lilac, and other fragrant and aromatic shrubs, form the finest natural tapestry of leaves and flowers.

On my first entering this bower of fairy land, says Sir Robert Porter, I was struck with the appearance of two rose-trees full fourteen feet high, laden with thousands of flowers, in every degree of expansion, and of a bloom and delicacy of scent that imbued the whole atmosphere with exquisite perfume. Indeed, I believe that in no country of the world does the rose grow in such perfection as in Persia; in no country is it so cultivated and prized by the natives. Their gardens and courts are crowded by its plants, their rooms ornamented with vases filled with its gathered bunches, and every bath strewed with the full-blown flowers plucked from the ever-replenished stems. Even the humblest individual, who pays a piece of copper money for a few whiffs of a kallioun, feels a double enjoyment when he finds it stuck with a bud of his dear native tree. But in this delicious garden of Negauristan, the eye and the smell are not the only senses regaled by the presence of the rose. The ear is enchanted by the wild and beautiful notes of multitudes of nightingales, whose warblings seem to increase in melody and softness with the unfolding of their favourite flowers. Here, indeed, the stranger is more powerfully reminded, that he is in the genuine country of the nightingale and the rose.

At the upper end of the garden is a small and fantastically built palace, inclosed in a little paradise of sweets. The Shah often retires thither for days together at the beginning of summer, before he removes to more distant and temperate regions, and, accompanied by the females of his family, forgets awhile that life or the world have other seasons than the gay and lovely spring. This building is of light architecture, nearly circular, full of elegant apartments, brilliantly adorned with gilding, arabesques, looking-glasses, and flowers, natural and painted in every quarter. Some of the largest saloons are additionally ornamented with pictures; portraits of the Shah and his sons, of the chief personages at court, also of foreign ministers, and among the rest Sir John Malcolm, Sir Harford Jones, Sir Gore Ouseley, General Gardanne, &c. all portrayed in high costume