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Those charmed his eye, but this entranced his soul,
And, like his Maker, saw that all was good.
It reigned in Eden When the arch-tempter sought our mother's bower, Its thrilling charm her yielding heart assailed, And e'en o'er dread Jehovah's word prevailed. There the fair tree in fatal beauty grew,
And hung its mystic apples to her view:
"Eat!" breathed the fiend, beneath his serpent guise;
"Ye shall become like God!"-transcendent fate!
To weep, to wander, die, and be forgot.
It came from heaven it reigned in Eden's shadesIt roves on earth, and every walk invades : Childhood and age alike its influence own; It haunts the beggar's nook, the monarch's throne; Hangs o'er the cradle, leans above the bier, Gazed on old Babel's tower, and lingers here.
To all that's lofty, all that's low, it turns; With terror curdles, and with rapture burns ; Now feels a seraph's throb, now, less than man's; A reptile tortures and a planet scans; Now idly joins in life's poor, passing jars, Now shakes creation off, and soars beyond the stars. 'Tis Curiosity—who hath not felt
Its spirit, and before its altar knelt?
In the pleased infant see the power expand,
Nor yet alone to toys and tales confined, It sits, dark brooding, o'er his embryo mind: Take him between your knees, peruse his face, While all you know, or think you know, you trace;
Tell him who spoke creation into birth,
Arched the broad heavens, and spread the rolling earth;
Boldly ne knocks at wisdom's inmost gate,
wh: - when, whence, where, what, which, why, while, whirl,
when, wen; where, wear; while, wile; whether, weather; which, witch.
The Nile. DUBLIN UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE.
FOR many an hour have I stood upon the city-crowning citadel of Cairo, and gazed unweariedly on the scene of matchless beauty and wonder that lay stretched beneath my view cities and ruins of cities, palm-forests and green savannas, gardens, and palaces, and groves of olive. On one side, the boundless desert, with its pyramids; on the other, the land of Goshen, with its luxuriant plains, stretching far away to the horizon. Yet this is an exotic land! That river, winding like a serpent through its paradise, has brought it from far regions, unknown to man. That strange and richly-varied panorama has had a long voyage of it! Those quiet plains have tumbled down the cataracts; those demure gardens have flirted with the Isle of Flowers, five hundred miles away; and those very pyramids have floated down the waves of the Nile. In short, to speak chemically, that river is a solution of Ethiopia's richest regions, and that vast country is merely a precipitate.
The sources of the Nile are as much involved in mystery as every thing else connected with this strange country.
The statue, under which it was represented, was carved out of black marble, to denote its Ethiopian origin, but crowned with thorns, to symbolize the difficulty of approaching its fountain-head. It reposed appropriately on a sphinx, the type of enigmas; and dolphins and crocodiles disported at its feet. The pursuit has baffled the scrutiny and self-devotion of modern enterprise as effectually as it did the inquisitiveness of ancient despots, and the theories of ancient philosophers. I have conversed with slave-dealers who were familiar with Abyssinia, as far as the Galla country, and still their information was bounded by the vague word south still from the south gushed the great river.
From the junction of the Taccaze or Astaboras, the Nile runs a course of upwards of twelve hundred miles, to the sea, without one tributary stream. During this career, it is exposed to the evaporation of a burning sun, drawn off into a thousand canals, absorbed by porous and thirsty banks, drunk by every living thing, from the crocodile to the pasha, from the papyrus to the palm-tree; and yet, strange to say, it seems to pour into the sea a wider stream than it displays between the cataracts a thousand miles away.
The Nile is all in all to the Egyptian; if it withheld its waters for a week, his country would become a desert. It waters and enriches his fields, it supplies his harvest, and then carries off its produce to the sea. He drinks of it; he fishes in it; he travels on it. It is his slave, and used to be his god. Egyptian mythology recognized in it the Creative Principle, and, very poetically, engaged it in eternal war with the desert, under the name of Typhon, or the destructive principle.
The Arab looks upon all men as aliens who were not fortunate enough to be born beside the Nile; and the traveller is soon talked into a belief that it affords the most delicious water in the world. Shiploads of it are annually sent to Constantinople, where it is in great request.
The natives dignify their beloved river with the title of
"El Bahr," the sea, and pass one third of their lives with watching the flow, and the remainder with watching the ebb, of its mighty tide. The inundation begins in May, attains its full height in August, and thenceforth diminishes until freshly swollen the following year.
The stream is economized within its channel until it reaches Egypt, when it spreads abroad over the vast valley. Then it is that the country presents the most striking of its Protean aspects: it becomes an archipelago, studded with green islands, and bounded only by the chain of the Libyan Hills and the purple range of the Mokattan Mountains. Every island is crowned with a village, or an antique temple, and shadowy with palm-trees, or acacia groves. Every city becomes a Venice, and the bazaars display their richest and gayest cloths and tapestries to the illuminations that are reflected from the streaming streets. The earth is sheltered from the burning sun, under the cool, bright veil of water; the labor of the husbandman is suspended: it is the season of universal festivity. Boatmen alone are busy; but it would seem to be pleasant business; for the sound of music is never silent beneath those large, white, wing-like sails, that now glitter in the moonlight, and now gleam ruddily, reflecting the fragrant watchfires on the deck.
In one place, you come upon a floating fair, held in boats, flushed with painted lanterns, and fluttering with gay flags. In another, a bridal procession is gliding by, as her friends convey some bride, with mirth and music, to her bridegroom. On one island you find a shawled and turbaned group of bearded men, smoking their chibouques and sipping coffee; and on another a merry band of Arab girls is dancing to the music of their own wild song.
A great part of this picture is of rare occurrence, however, the inundation seldom rising to a height greater than what is necessary for purposes of irrigation, and presenting, alas! rather the appearance of a swamp than of an archipelago.