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hills, the pyramids of Abusir, Sakarah, and Ghizeh, these last being “ The Pyramids,” and the nearest. There is something very striking in their total disconnection with Cairo. They stand alone on the edge of that green vale, which is Egypt. There is no intermingling, as in ancient and modern Rome. It is as if you looked out on Stonehenge from London, or as if the Colosseum stood far away in the depths of the Campagna. Cairo is not "the ghost of the dead Egyptian Empire," nor anything like it. Cairo itself leaves a deep feeling that, whatever there was of greatness or wisdom in those remote ages and those gigantic monuments, is ‘now the inheritance, not of the East, but of the West. The Nile, as it glides between the tombs of the Pharaohs and the city of the Caliphs, is indeed a boundary between two worlds.
Through two hours of green fields, -green with corn and clover,avenues of tamarisk, fig-trees, and acacia ; along causeways raised high above these fields,—that is, above the floods of the summer inundations,—we rode to Heliopolis. At every turn there was the grateful sound of little rills of living water, worked by water-wheels, and falling in gentle murmurs down into these little channels along the roadside, whence they fell off into the fields, or the canals. The sides of these canals were black with the deep soil of the land of Ham. Beyond was the green again, and, close upon that, like the sea breaking upon the shore, or (to compare, what is the most like it in England, though on a very small scale) the Cornish sandhills overhanging the brook of Perranzabuloe, rose the yellow hills of the bazy desert.
At the very extremity of this cultivated ground are the ruins of On or Heliopolis. They consist simply of a wide enclosure of earthen mounds, partly planted with gardens. In these gardens are two vestiges of the great Temple of the Sun, the high-priest of which was father-in-law of Joseph, and, in later times, the teacher of Moses.
One is a pool, overhung with willows and aquatic vegetation, the Spring of the Sun.
The other, now rising wild aniidst garden shrubs, the solitary obelisk which stood in front of the temple, then in company with another, whose base alone now remains. This is the first obelisk I have seen standing in its proper place, and there it has stood for nearly four thousand years. It is the oldest known in Egypt, and therefore in the world,—the father of all that have arisen since. It was raised about a century before the coming of Joseph; it has looked down on his marriage with Asenath ; it has seen the growth of Moses ; it is mentioned by Herodotus ; Plato sate under its shadow : of all the obelisks which sprung up around it, it alone has kept its first position. One by one, it has seen its sons and brothers depart to great destinies elsewhere. From these gardens came the obelisks of the Lateran, of the Vatican, and of the Porta del Popolo; and this venerable pillar (for so it looks from a distance) is now almost the only landmark of the great seat of the wisdom of Egypt.
But I must not forget the view from the walls. Putting out of sight the minarets of Cairo in the distance, it was the same that Joseph and Moses had as they looked out towards Memphis,—the sandy desert; the green fields of Egypt; and, already in their time ancient, the Pyramids in the distance. This is the first day that has really given me an impression of their size. In this view, the two great pyramids stand so close together, that they form one bifurcated cone; and this cone does, indeed, look like a solitary peak rising over the plain,—like Etna from the sea. On the other side, in the yellow desert, seen through the very stems of the palmtrees, rise three rugged sand-hills, indicating the site of Leontopolis, the City of the Sacred Lions; where in after-times rose the second colony and temple of the Jews under Onias.
One more object I must mention, though of doubtful interest, and thus, unlike the certainties that I have just been describing. In a garden immediately outside the walls, is an ancient fig-tree, in form not unlike the sacred Ash of the sources of the Danube, its immense gnarled trunk covered with the names of travellers, where Coptic belief and the tradition of the Apocryphal Gospels fix the refuge of Mary and Joseph on the flight into Egypt. There can, of course, be no proof, but it reminds us that for the first time, our eyes may have seen the same outline that was seen by our Lord.
4. THE NILE VALLEY.
I am now confined within the valley of the Nile-I may say literally confined. Never in my life have I travelled continuously along a single valley with all the outer world so completely shut off. Between two limestone ranges, which form part of the table-land of the Arabian and African desert, flows the mighty river, which the Egyptians called Hapi-Mu, “the genius of the waters;" which the Hebrews called sometimes “Ior,” from some unknown meaning, sometimes “ Sihor," the black.' Its brown colour, seen from the heights on either side and contrasted with the still browner and
blacker colours of all around it, seenis as blue and bright as the rivers of the North; hence, some say, the word “Nile,” which is the form adopted by the Greeks, and by all the world since.
The two limestone ranges press it at unequal intervals, sometimes leaving a space of a few miles, sometimes of a few yards, sometimes even a large plain. They
They are truly parts of a table-mountain. Hardly ever is their horizontal line varied; the only change in them is their nearer or less approach to the stream. In this respect the eastern range is a much greater offender than the western ; and therefore the great line of Egyptian cities is on the western, not on the eastern shore; and hence Egypt has never, in its political divisions, followed the two shores, but the upper and lower course of the river. On the other hand, the western range, where it does approach, is more formidable, because it comes clothed with the sands of the African desert-sands and sand-drifts, which in purity, in brightness, in firmness, in destructiveness, are the snows and glaciers of the South. Immediately above the brown and blue waters of the broad, calm, lake-like river, rises a thick, black bank of clod or mud, mostly in terraces. Green-unutterably greenmostly at the top of these banks, though sometimes creeping down to the water's edge, lies the Land of Egypt. Green-unbroken, save by the mud villages which here and there lie in the midst of the verdure, like the marks of a soiled foot on a rich carpet; or by the dykes and channels which convey the life-giving waters through the thirsty land. This is the Land of Egypt, and this is the memorial of the yearly flood. Up to those black terraces, over the green fields, the water rises and descends;
“Et viridem Ægyptum nigrá fæcundat arena."
And not only when the flood is actually there, but throughout the whole year, is water continually ascending through innumerable wheels worked by naked figures, as the Israelites of old “in the service of the field,” and then flowing on in gentle rills through the various allotments. To the seeds of these green fields, to the fishes of the wide river, is attached another natural phenomenon, which I never saw equalled; the numbers numberless, of all mannur of birds-vultures, and cormorants, and geese, flying like constellations through the blue heavens; pelicans standing in long array on the water side; hoopoos and ziczacs, and the (so-called) white ibis, the gentle symbol of the god Osiris in his robes of white ; év trocin FiM Úpevou-walking under one's very feet.
5. THE TOMBS OF BENI-HASSAN.
High along the eastern shore-sometimes varied by a green strip of palms, sometimes a sheer slope of Desert-sand, broken only by the shadow of a solitary Arab-rises a white wall of limestone rock. In the face of this cliff are thirty holes—the famous tombs of BeniHassan, that is, of the children of Hassan, the wild Arab-tribe once settled near the spot. These tombs of Beni-Hassan are amongst the oldest monuments of Egypt, during or before the time of Joseph, yet exhibiting, in the most lively manner, hunting, wrestling, and dancing—and curious as showing how gay and agile these ancient people could be, who in their architecture and graver sculptures appear so solemn and immoveable. Except a doubtful figure of Osiris in one, and a mummy on a barge in another, there is nothing of death or judgment or sorrow.
Every one looks here for the famous procession long supposed to be the presentation of Joseph's brethren to Pharaoh. Clearly it cannot be this. Besides the difference of numbers, and of gifts, and of name, there is no presentation to any one. The procession is in one of three compartments; the two lower show the ordinary droves of oxen and Egyptian servants, all equally relevant or irrelevant to the colossal figure of the owner of the tomb, who stands in the corner towering above the rest, with his dog by his side. Possibly, as the procession is of Asiatics—and yet not prisoners of war—they may, if the date will admit, be a deputation of Israelites after their settlement in Goshen.
6. THE TOMBS AND HERMITS.
The rocky wall still continues on the eastern side, still called by the names of successive Sheykbs or hermits who have lived or died on its desert heights—still perforated by the square holes which indicate ancient tombs. This eastern range is thus the long cemetery, the Appian Way, the Valley of Jehoshaphat, of Egypt. It is, indeed, the Land of the Dead. Israel might well ask, “Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou brought us to die in the wilderness ?” The present use of the tombs also brings before us how those deserted dwellings of the dead made Egypt the natura) parent of anchorites and monks.
In one of these caves, close by the water's edge, lived for twelve years Sheykh Hassan, with his wife, two daughters, and his son-a hermit, though according to the Mahometan notions, which permitted him still to have his family about him. Below was a little island
which he cultivated for lentiles. The two daughters at last married into the village on the opposite shore, which here, as usual, spreads out its green plain for cultivation and habitation ; whilst on the white cliffs of the eastern bank, the only mark of the fertilising inundation is in the line of brown discoloration immediately above the river-here alone unprofitable, or profitable only to such little portions of soil as the hermit had rescued. He still lived on with his wife and the little boy. One day the child climbed down the rocks to play on the island; a crocodile came and carried him off. 6. This was four years ago; and “from that time," said the Arabs, who related the story, “the Sheykh is gone-we have seen him no more—be took everything away ; and as soon as he was gone, the river washed away the island,” and now nothing is left but the empty cave.
7. COLOSSAL STATUES OF THEBES.
No written account has given me an adequate impression of the effect, past and present, of the colossal figures of the Kings. What spires are to a modern city,—what the towers of a cathedral are to its nave and choir,—that the statues of the Pharaohs were to the streets and temples of Thebes. The ground is strewed with their fragments : there were avenues of them towering high above plain and houses. Three of gigantic size still remain. One was the granite statue of Rameses himself, who sate on the right side of the entrance to his palace. By some extraordinary catastrophe, the statue has been thrown down, and the Arabs have scooped their millstones out of his face, but you can still see what he was,—the largest statue in the world. Far and wide that enormous head must have been seen, eyes, mouth, and ears. Far and wide you must have seen his vast hands resting on his elephantine knees. You sit on his breast and look at the Osiride statues which support the portico of the temple, and which anywhere else would put to shame even the statues of the cherubs in St. Peter's—and they seem pigmies before him. His arm is thicker than their whole bodies. The only part of the temple or palace at all in proportion to him must have been the gateway, which rose in pyramidal towers, now broken down, and rolling in a wild ruin down to the plain.
Nothing which now exists in the world can give any notion of what the effect must have been when he was erect. Nero towering above the Colosseum may have been something like it; but he was of bronze, and Rameses was of solid granite. Nero was standing without any object; Rameses was resting in awful majesty after the conquest of