Page:Frederic Shoberl - Persia.djvu/25

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abundance of exquisite fruit and succulent plants. Wheat, barley, millet, rice, grow almost every where. Melons and culinary vegetables of all sorts are plentiful and excellent. The grapes of Basan, the dates of Kerman, the pomegranates and figs of Yezd, the plumbs of Khorasan, the pistachio-nuts of Casbin, the pears, apples, oranges, and quinces, of Mazanderan—in short, almost all the fruits of Europe, and many which we have not, are of exquisite flavour. From September to the end of April, Mazanderan is covered with flowers and fruit. The jessamine, the carnation, the tulip, the anemone, the hyacinth, the lily, the myrtle, surpass in the splendour, the variety, the richness and the purity of their colours, and in their exquisite perfume, the most renowned productions of the kind that the West can boast of. The queen of the garden, the constant object of the tender love and the melodious strains of the nightingale, the rose, whose charms, whose blandishments, and whose fickleness have been described in harmonious verse by the most eminent Persian poets, here attains unrivalled luxuriance and beauty: and after adorning the gardens in the spring, she comes in the form of an ethereal essence to charm Europeans and Asiatics with her perfume.

Among the productions of another class we find silk, wool and goats' and camels' hair: these supply the Persian manufactures, by which they are converted into rich stuffs, costly and ordinary carpets, and garments of all kinds, and form the most important branch of the commerce of Persia with the East. We also meet with cotton, inferior indeed to that of India, but superior to the Turkish, madder, sugar, manna, asphaltum, naphtha, tutty, bezoar and gum-dragon.

If not more than a twentieth part of Persia be now under cultivation, the fault lies not so much in Nature as in the inhabitants. Let the religion of the Persians, like that of their ancestors, impose on them the duty of propagating their own species, useful animals and all the vegetables necessary to man; let the peace of the kingdom rest on a solid basis, and agriculture and commerce will flourish and mutually support each other. The ancient canals will be repaired and new ones dug; the rain or snow water, collected in the ravines and valleys, and judiciously employed, will fertilize the land. Success will give a fresh impulse to exertion, the valleys will be covered with willows, sycamores, poplars, and lime-trees; the fields with rich crops of cotton, Turkey corn, and tobacco; and the whole country with vegetables. The heat will then decrease, the atmosphere become more damp and rain more frequent: the number of springs and streams will increase, and Nature will from day to day he come more and more profuse of her bounty.