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On the Gardens of Antiquity-Gardens of Paradise-Pensile, or
hanging, of Babylon, ascribed to Semiramis—Those of Nebuchodonosor— Name (Paradise), Persian origin of —Cyrus, the elder, so improved the gardens of Babylon, that he was thought the author of them—Cyrus, the younger, brother of Artaxerxes, a manual planter of gardens—Xenophon's description of his plantation at Sardis—Explanation of the rhomboidal or lozenge formation - Compared to St. Andrew's Cross-And the Egyptian crux ansata—Dr. Young's remark on this last—The Tenupha of the Jewish rabbins—The quincunx much used by the ancients ; little discoursed of by the moderns—Considerable, for its several commodities, mysteries, parallelisms, and resemblances, both in nature and art-Used in the Gardens of Babylon and Alcinous ; the plantations of Diomed's father, and Ulysses ; in those described by Theophrastus and Aristotle and in later plantations—Probably by Noah, and if so, why not before the flood ?-In Abraham's grove at Beersheba ; in the garden of Solomon—In paradise the tree of knowledge would supply a centre and rule of decussation.
That Vulcan gave arrows unto Apollo and Diana the fourth day after their nativities, according to Gentile theology, may pass for no blind apprehension of the creation of the sun and moon, in the work of the fourth day: when the diffused light contracted into orbs, and shooting rays of those luminaries. Plainer descriptions there are from Pagan pens, of the creatures of the fourth day. While the divine philosopher unhappily omitteth the noblest part of the third, and Ovid (whom many conceive to have borrowed his description from Moses), coldly deserting the remarkable account of the text, in three words describeth this work of the third day,—the vegetable creation, and first ornamental scene of nature,—the primitive food of animals, and first story of physic in dietetical conservation.
For though Physic may plead high, from that medical act of God, in casting so deep a sleep upon our first parent, and Chirurgery find its whole art, in that one passage concerning the rib of Adam ; yet is there no rivality with Garden contrivance and Herbery; for if Paradise were planted the third day of the creation, as wiser divinity concludeth, the nativity thereof was too early for horoscopy : gardens were before gardeners, and but some hours after the earth.
Of deeper doubt is its topography and local designation; yet being the primitive garden, and without much controversy seated in the east, it is more than probable the first curiosity, and cultivation of plants,
most flourished in those quarters. And since the ark of Noah first touched upon some mountains of Armenia, the planting art arose again in the east, and found its revolution not far from the place of its nativity, about the plains of those regions. And if Zoroaster were either Cham, Chus, or Mizraim, they were early proficients therein, who left, as Pliny delivereth, a work of Agriculture.
However, the account of the pensile or hanging gardens of Babylon, if made by Semiramis, the third or fourth from Nimrod, is of no slender antiquity; which being not framed upon ordinary level of ground, but raised upon pillars, admitting under-passages, we cannot accept as the first Babylonian gardens,-but a more eminent progress and advancement in that art than
any that went before it ; somewhat answering or hinting the old opinion concerning Paradise itself, with many conceptions elevated above the plan of the earth.
Nebuchodonosor (whom some will have to be the famous Syrian king of Diodorus) beautifully repaired that city, and so magnificently built his hanging gardens, that from succeeding writers he had the honour of the first. From whence overlooking Baby
lon, and all the region about it, he found no circumscription to the eye of his ambition ; till over-delighted with the bravery of this Paradise, in his melancholy metamorphosis he found the folly of that delight, and a proper punishment in the contrary habitation-in wild plantations and wanderings of the fields.
The Persian gallants, who destroyed this monarchy, maintained their botanical bravery. Unto whom we owe the very name of Paradise, wherewith we meet not in Scripture before the time of Solomon, and conceived originally Persian. The word for that disputed garden expressing, in the Hebrew, no more than a field enclosed, which from the same root is content to derive a garden and a buckler.
Cyrus the Elder, brought up in woods and mountains, when time and power enabled, pursued the dictate of his education, and brought the treasures of the field into rule and circumscription. So nobly beautifying the hanging gardens of Babylon, that he was also thought to be the author thereof.
Ahasuerus (whom many conceive to have been Artaxerxes Longi-manus), in the country and city of flowers, and in an open garden, entertained his princes and people, while Vashti more modestly treated the ladies within the palace thereof.