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Old 05-11-2013, 02:39 AM   #1
AlexBell
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Help with quotation please

I'm working on The Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain for the MR Library, have been very impressed with the breadth of his knowledge of poetry and scripture, and have been trying to annotate each of the things he quotes.

But there is one I can't definitely locate: 'Though old as history itself, thou art fresh as the breath of spring, blooming as thine own rose-bud, and fragrant as thine own orange flower, O Damascus, pearl of the East!.' These lines occur as an epigraph in The Romance of Lady Isabel Burton, by Isabel Burton, but I have been unable to find the original. It's possible that they are from A Thousand and One Nights by her husband, but I can't confirm that.

Can anyone help?
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Old 05-11-2013, 04:32 AM   #2
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It is near the start of Chapter 26 of "The Ship Dwellers" by Albert Paine.
The Ship Dwellers
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Old 05-12-2013, 02:42 AM   #3
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It is near the start of Chapter 26 of "The Ship Dwellers" by Albert Paine.
The Ship Dwellers
Thanks for your help. I have downloaded it and have found the quotation. But The Ship Dwellers was published in 1910, and The Innocents Abroad was published in 1869. So I wonder if Paine was quoting Twain - or quoting from wherever Twain found it.
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Old 05-12-2013, 07:06 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexBell View Post
I'm working on The Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain for the MR Library, have been very impressed with the breadth of his knowledge of poetry and scripture, and have been trying to annotate each of the things he quotes.

But there is one I can't definitely locate: 'Though old as history itself, thou art fresh as the breath of spring, blooming as thine own rose-bud, and fragrant as thine own orange flower, O Damascus, pearl of the East!.' These lines occur as an epigraph in The Romance of Lady Isabel Burton, by Isabel Burton, but I have been unable to find the original. It's possible that they are from A Thousand and One Nights by her husband, but I can't confirm that.

Can anyone help?
interesting
especially is Damascus reference
Ottoman?
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Old 05-12-2013, 07:32 AM   #5
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http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/b/burt...chapter21.html

It appears to be a quote from her husband's translation of Arabian Nights.

(Oops. Sorry, you appear to have found that already. That's what I get for reading your post and waiting a day to answer it without re-reading carefully.)

Last edited by BenG; 05-12-2013 at 07:54 AM.
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Old 05-12-2013, 07:35 AM   #6
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Here at the bottom.

\Third Millennium Library

THE LIFE OF SALADIN AND THE FALL OF THE KINGDOM OF JERUSALEM

CHAPTER XII.
DAMASCUS.
1183-1186.

1184] Damascus.

Saladin, meanwhile, made the most of his leisure to set the affairs of his realm in order. Once more Damascus had become the seat of sovereignty. Saladin used to say that Syria was the Root and Basis of Empire: Julian had called Damascus the Eye of the East. Before the beginning of history Damascus was a city. From the time when Abram took his servant Eliezar from among its citizens the ancient Syrian capital has been renowned. In the days of Ezekiel its commerce was famous, and to the port of Tyre it was written : “Damascus was thy merchant in the multitude of the wares of thy making, for the multitude of all riches”. In all the ancient empires of the East, Damascus has played its part, as the natural metropolis of its region, the meeting place of the people. Through its busy markets passed the trade of Babylonia and Persia and furthest India, borne from immemorial days by endless caravans, journeying from the Euphrates by Palmyra or Aleppo, and carrying their precious bales onward to the Mediterranean ports, or turning south to Egypt and Arabia. To Damascus came the wandering nation of the Bedouins in their countless tribes, who grazed their flocks in spring and winter on the light fodder of the desert, roaming every year between Arabia and the Great River along the familiar chains of wells ; a race of cattle-dealers and camel-drivers, carriers of other men's wealth and sellers of their own pastoral produce in exchange for the goods of the merchants.

Rich and populous, Damascus owed all to its central situation and its natural advantages. The Greeks called it “Most Beauteous”, and the Arabs named it “The Bride of the Earth”, “The Garden of the World”. And looking down upon the ancient city from the Dome of Victory which crowns the near range of Antilibanus on the west, one understands the pride of the Damascene in his earthly Paradise. The famed level plain, the Ghuta, richly fertile, though it forms part of the high Syrian plateau rising two thousand feet above the sea, gains in beauty by contrast with the brown desert and the girdling rocky hills, through which the Barada, well- named “Gold-streaming” by the Greeks, forces its path, and spreading in seven streams over the plain gives it abundant life. A great green field stretches for miles from the mountains to the desert, and in its midst, in an emerald girdle of gardens and orchards, of orange and citron and jessamine, in a babel of gurgling brooks, rise the old Roman walls of the city, the yellow sea of its clay houses, a forest of minarets, and the great dome of the Omayyad Mosque, once the Church of St. John the Baptist, and before that, perhaps, the House of Rimmon. “Though old as history itself, thou art fresh as the breath of Spring, blooming as thine own rosebud, fragrant as thine own orange flower, O Damascus, Pearl of the East!”
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Old 05-13-2013, 02:35 AM   #7
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Thanks so much, forsooth, that's most helpful.
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