Imatges de pàgina

Rameses built, as the tower of London is built upon Caesar's foundations. "Here once stood a flourishing empire P From here what civilization had its rise! I once thought the age of Sesostris ancient; how ancient Herodotus thought it, but how modern it seems; what a Periclean advance upon his predecessors, standing here upon the ruins of This. He built here; and when you creep into the inner parts of these old temples, and the palace where his statue was found—into places so filled that you cannot enter, where Miss Martineau said she sent in the Arabs to count the alabaster columns; when you look at these walls, covered with sand, you sigh, that Rameses should have looked upon the ruins of his predecessors as we look upon his. The distinctness of the bas-reliefs and figures is such, and the paintings so beautiful and so delicately executed, that you would fancy you were in Pompeii, or Herculaneum, or some remains of an era of eighteen centuries, instead of one of three thousand years.

Here doubtless Menes, or his successors of the first and second dynasty, established their seat as the capital of Upper Egypt, as they settled first at Memphis, and thence proceeded up the Nile, (for, ethnologically and historically, the fable of Meroe and the descent has been exploded.) Five thousand five hundred years ago, (according to Bunsen's questionable chronology,) Menes turned the course of the river Nile, making the change so spoken of.

Abydos was on the road to the Great Oasis; Ethiopia had early been settled, and hence here This was the favorite site by which it attained its grandeur. The other remains at Abydos are only some mounds and rubbish; and, save these remains of the palace, there is nothing. But a locality older than the pyramids—a locality older than any site save Memphis—how it grows on one! Let us turn to Miss Martineau's work for the recapitulation of the history. Abydos, like Luxor, and Gournou, part of Karnac, and most of Thebes, was built by Rameses, and his father Osiren, who has dedicated the temple to Osiris; and the whole area is sacred to him. But where were the Hebrews while Rameses was building here? Joshua* was vanquishing those nations of Palestine and Syria who were opposed to the Jews. Of these circumstances there can be no doubt. The tablet of Abydost of the predecessors of Sesostris agrees perfectly with all the monuments in the orders of reigns and dates, which is more than can be said of the only other royal story of Egypt of Manetho, and is in accordance with the temples. How unfortunate for the early tales of Egypt, that the beginning is broken away. What might it not teach us of the patriarchs and earlier prophets 1 But we turn away from this interesting place, from its dust-covered mounds, its sand-covered palace, and its napping bats. Why does not Mohammed Ali clear this out as he has so well done Dendera and Esne l How the sandstone roof shines in the sun, as if in hope of the memory of Rameses being better represented. We leave the clear sculptures and paintings with regret, among which was the boat of which Miss Martineau speaks. The ride from the temple to Balliani is like the ride from Girgeh to Abydos. The sweet perfume of the fields, the bright sun, the happy and industrious people going to and returning from the fair fields, crops of vetches, wheat, barley, lentils, flax, the Egyptian bean and sugar-cane, enchanted me the whole way. Miss Martineau, St. John, and all writers, have dwelt on the beauty of this

* Champollion. t Miss Martineau.

plain. Farewell to thee, Abydos! well art thou called Arabat el Matfoun (Arabat beneath the sands).

On our return from Abydos I met my boat at Balliani and there being a settlement of the Alme" here, I was forced to see again this exhibition as a pastime, while waiting for my boat. I stopped here both going up and coming down. It is a small place with only one or two mosques.

Rouda, and a sugar manufactory.—Passing this place we stopped a moment. Piles of sugar-cane were lying upon the shore and guarded by Arab soldiers. It had been brought here by the boats, and we could not purchase one stick for love or money. In the sugar manufactory bones are used to heat the boilers, and rags and papyri, and the remains of Egypt's necropolis.

So we go; manufactories and steam engines on the site of the towns of Rameses, and the Setorsasens. Any thing but railroad and steamboat on the beautiful old Nile.

Such is our life on the Nile. A strange, rare luxury it is, unlike any thing else in the world. Now you can take your gun and go on shore, and though the middle of January, walk through a rich plantation of dourra or the bearded wheat, or maize, or some fragrant field of the plenteous land. A mound or dike separates you from the view; you jump over it, and find yourself in the town of some ferocious dogs or hospitable Bedouin. Now you are tired and wander back to your boat, popping over a few birds to save your reputation. Now you sail by a mountain filled with the caves of anchorite Eremites. Now you go ashore at a town where there is a market and an assemblage of Gwawazie. Now an ancient Egyptian structure of the Pharaohs. Now a pile of the Romans. Now you sketch the picturesque mountains. Now you study the formation of the strata. Now 'tis a pipe. Now coffee. Now a tale from your dragoman. Now a song from your Arabs. Now a boat passes laden with pottery from Geneh. Now another with slaves from Darfour. Now one with the Sultan's flag, and the wives of some Turk. Now a crowd of trading Arabs, whom our boatmen hail and try to excel in blackguardism, in Arab style. Now groves of palm alone to gaze at. Now picturesque landscape of acacia groves, villages with their eternal dove-cotes, and the date-tree, all along the shore, ever having under them a clay-built village or Belled, and ever beautiful. Now your boatman cries, Timseach, "a crocodile," and has his spear ready or your gun, but is always too late. I never could shoot one, but always fancied, as does every one, "that 1 hit him." The dryness of the atmosphere is a great peculiarity. Meat of a sheep that I gave my boatmen at Osiout has hung nearly a week in the open sun and air and not spoiled, though it is as warm as summer.


Visit to the temple of Dendera.—The walk through the doom-palm Villages.— Crossing the river.—First sight of temple.—Rubbish.—Ruins.—The temple.— The effect of the front.—Columns.—Countenance of Athor the Egyptian Venus.—The idea of the temple.—The ruined temple.—Grand temple.—Typhonium.—Sculptures of thi> gods.—Sunset from the temple.—Evening in the temple.—The supper.—The Bedouin camp.—The bivouac.—The fires.— The watch-dog.—Canopus and the southern cross.—Mussulman virtues.— The women.—The morning.—The Repast.—Second visit to Dendera.—The smaller temple posterior.—Historical part of the temple.—Sculpture of Cleopatra and the Ptolemies, Alexander, &c.—View from the mound.


After landing at Dishna, about four leagues south of Geneh, I started on a very bad 'donkey, with one of the boatmen, to visit the temple of Dendera. After an hour I sent back the donkey, and proceeded on foot through the delightful groves of doom palms, of which Juvenal speaks in his satires. About two hours before sunset, we crossed the river in a ferryboat, and after walking an hour, beheld on a distant mound of rubbish, the far-famed temple of Dendera. Another hour's walk carried us through fields of barley, beans, vetches, and lentils, and over the mounds of rubbish which completely surrounded and partly concealed the temple. But what an awful feeling of grandeur struck upon me, when, without waiting to go round through the portico, I bounded down the wall and stood before the striking fabric. There on the ceiling move

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