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the lifeless marble had begun to live, and your children and grandchildren, lie down to become living history; and the short to rest full of days, like this dead man, words worked like inspiration in the pres- for whose memory ye may utter a prayer.” ence of this record of Persian history. I Often as I have entered an old Egyptian stood before a memorial of Cyrus the Great mausoleum, and often as I have passed by on the world-famed plain of Pasagadæ. It the grave-stones in the pillared hall of the was long before I could tear myself away Egyptian museum at Berlin, I can never from the venerable stone; and when I did without emotion withdraw my gaze from so, it was with a feeling almost of envy for this solemn warning which speaks so dithe brown nomads who pass it by every rectly to our own generation. year ; although, indeed, to them, the image In most cases, however, the stones adis that of the incarnate devil, which must dress these earnest words, not to all mannot be looked at for fear of the evil eye. kind, but to the cultured classes of the
But when I think of all that the old Egyptian people of different ranks, from stones have to tell of the development of the high priest of their chief deity to the man in the twilight of antiquity, I am poorest scribe; or, as we should express it crushed by the overpowering mass of ma- in modern language, to the humblest littératerial, with which neither a human life nor leur. a human brain could ever attempt to cope. The cultivated Egyptians were peculiarly In view then of my short space, I shall proud of being worthy worshipers of Thoth, gladly follow my own bent, and turn to the Egyptian Hermes ; and the sages of the the Egyptian stone world, which beside the land loved to point out the toil and misery, advantage of the highest antiquity has the the vexation and thanklessness of any other mysterious charm of being almost unex. state. The most attractive sayings of this plored. And now I will tell what the sort are to be found on the graves. Thus stones hidden in the darkness of the tomb, there are long inscriptions representing in a and speaking after thousands of years of strong light the peacefulness of scientific silence, relate of the worth and wisdom of pursuits in contrast to the sufferings of war mankind.
and agriculture, as follows: I give the preference to the grave-stones “What can any one mean by saying that as narrators, for the cogent reason that ac- à Lieutenant is better off than a scholar? cording to the Egyptian view, this sem. Only observe the condition of a Lieutenant; blance of life was but a preparation for the how countless are his miseries! If he is real life beyond, or, one may say, the thresh- young, he is kept imprisoned in the military old of eternity. It was for this cause that academy; he is beaten till his head bleeds the Egyptians built their earthly houses and stretched out for a lashing. Then he out of the crumbling Nile mud and brick, is sent to the war in Syria, and obliged to while their eternal dwellings were made of wander over steep heights with his food and hard, enduring limestone or granite, unless drink hanging on his arm, like the load of they preferred to hew the vast ante-cham- a beast of burden. Though his neck is bers, rooms and corridors out of the solid bowed like the neck of an ass, and his back rock.
is bent by fatigue, he can get nothing to At the very entrance of the dark tombs, drink but dirty water. Now he reaches which modern curiosity and scientific zeal the outposts. The enemy appears and
. have re-opened to the light of a later day, takes him as in a trap. If he is lucky enough the walls and pillars cry out warningly to to get back to Egypt, he is like worm-eaten
wood. If, in addition to this, he is ill, he “Oye who dwell upon the earth, who still is laid on a bier, and carried on donkeycling to life and hate death, when ye enter back. His baggage is stolen by thieves, and into this tomb, and behold this monument, his servant runs away.” praise and glorify the God of your people, It was not the aim of the Egyptian and gladly resigning office and dignity to scholar, who in the fourteenth century
B. C. drew this picture of an Egyptian hands to satisfy his hunger, as the honey is campaigner, to underrate the military the food of those who prepare it.” caste; he merely wished to represent very This praiseworthy bias towards culture, strongly the contrast between the quiet this zeal for scientific inquiry, is a fundaof scientific study and the stormy unrest mental trait in the character of the old of the soldier's life. The following pass- Egyptians, which does them great honor; age will show how he describes agricul- for the moral feeling of humanity is the ture:
natural result of a bigh degree of mental “Why wilt thou forsake the sciences, culture. Thousands and thousands of and occupy thyself with the labor of the voices from the stones cry out to the after fields ? Hast thou never looked at the life generations in witness of it. of a farmer? Before the reaping time, the At the entrance of one of the tombs at worm comes, and consumes one half of his El Kab, in Upper Egypt, the stone wall crop, while the other is devoured by ani- speaks as follows of the Egyptian buried mals; for countless rats appear in the field, within: the grasshoppers fall on it from above, the “He loved his father and brother, and cattle feed on it here and there, and the honored his mother. He never entered his sparrows steal what they can. If the farmer house with an angry heart. He never fadoes not watch what remains of the produce vored the nobleman above the simple." of his fields, it is stolen by rogues. The Of another Egyptian, also buried at El iron on the plough-share grows blunt; and Kab more than four thousand years ago, the farm-horse dies of exhaustion while the rock says, speaking in the person of the drawing the plough. The government sec- deceased : retary stops at the village to collect the “On earth I was a prudent and wise man, tribute, and the officers who accompany him and my soul ever loved God. If I was a threaten the farmer with cudgels, the black brother to the noble, I was a father to the slaves with palm-sticks. They cry out to poor, and never scattered hatred among him, There, give us corn for a present!' men.” and if he refuse to do it, they stretch him On the rocky wall of another tomb the on the ground and beat him. He is fet- inmate thus addresses those who enter it: tered, ducked in the water, and rudely “I will tell you, O ye that live after me, struck; his wife is bound before his eyes, how it was with me during my life. I was and his children's garments are taken away not haughty, neither did I curse, neither from them; his servants fly and forsake the did I revile, neither did I love to quarrel crop. The work of the scholar stands with my neighbor. I never withstood the higher than any other calling. He does poor and the oppressed, but always sought not need to fatigue himself, and has no by word and deed for reconciliation.” tribute to pay. Think well of that?” The inscription on the statue of one of
In the naïve style of this narrative – the priests of the Egyptian Pallas, at Sais, (which, by the way, shows that the so-called who lived at the unhappy time when CamFellahin were not a whit better off three byses undertook his military expedition thousand years ago under the native Pha- against Egypt, begins in the same way roahs than to-day under the Turco-Egyp with the words : tian rule,) — the inscriptions depict the “I honored my father, and respected my pains and toil of every other profession, mother, and loved my brother. I provided down to that of the barber, of whom they burial for those that died and were not laid tell as follows:
in the earth, and supported the children “The barber must shave until late in the who were born. I founded houses for them, night. He bends his back and his arms and filled them with good deeds, as a father without ceasing. He runs from tavern to dealeth by his own children. For, behold! tavern to collect gossip. He is a miserable it was an evil time in Sais, when the great man, for he has only the earnings of his disaster passed over Egypt."
The following touching confession, in- bread to the hungry, water to the thirsty, scribed on the side wall of the famous vault and clothing to the naked, and have given at Beni Hassan, does more honor to the shelter to the wanderer. I honored the provincial governor whom it commemorates, gods with sacrifices, and the dead with futhan the list of his war-like traits, which neral offerings." the same stone records :
After this general avowal, bearing wit“I will relate what I have done. I was ness to his chief virtues, the king turns to full of goodness, and my love was bound- his divine judges, and repeats his denial of less. Never did I oppress the poor man's the forty-two deadly sins of the old Egypchild, never did I offend the widow. I left tian law, which stand in tabular order on the fisherman undisturbed, and the shep- the rocky wall, and of which a few examherd in quiet. Never did I burthen a man ples may be given here: with forced labor. There was no famine “I have not robbed, nor have I cheated, in my day, and the bread never failed, for I nor have I lied, nor have I cursed, nor have planted the fields of iny domain, from north I tyrannized, nor have I reviled God, my to south to its utmost boundaries, that I parents or the king, nor have I banished might distribute food to its dwellers, and God from my heart.” that none might go unfed. I aided the The best measure of a people's moral widow as I did the matron, and when I greatness is drawn from the degree of honor gave away, I never preferred the man of and influence which they accord to their high standing to the humble.”
women ; and in this respect the stones tesI could call up many more witnesses from tify that the old Egyptians, at the very among the stones, to show the strictness dawn of history, treated the weaker sex with which, thousands of years before our with thoughtful tenderness. day, the old Egyptians kept their moral In a vault at Lykopolis, at whose base the laws, and to prove that they held it the modern Arabian town of Ossiut has sprung noblest of memorials to let the stones tes- up, the cold rock commends the goodness of tify aloud to their good works.
an ancient Nomarch with this graceful It was the height of their ambition, nay, praise: “Never did he tear the child from the very
end of their existence, to establish its mother's bosom, nor the poor man from their good report after death, that, as the the side of his wife.” A mother, the stones stones
say, “their names might be preserved say, protects and covers her child with love, to eternity, that their houses might be main- as the hen shelters her chickens under her tained, and that their descendants might wings; and her dignity is so great, that the continue on the earth.”
stones in their genealogical records, are Despite all their power, their outward more apt to overlook the father's than the splendor, and the sacredness of their per
mother's name. The only wife whose love sons, the Pharaohs did not hold it beneath for her husband is mentioned by the stones their dignity to confess to later generations as her crowning merit, bears the honorable their trial before the judgment of the dead, title, “ Mistress of the House.” And though which was held over the deceased with the the stones seldom care to deal in imagery, utmost solemnity. The stone walls of the yet in their loftier mood they describe womcelebrated royal tombs at Biban el Moluk, en as “fair palms, whose fruit is love;" in the western ravine of Thebes, still re- while the gods promise to their darlings count in touching and simple words, the among the sons of men the choicest gift arowal of the Pharaoh before God and they can offer to mankind, “ the respect of
men and the love of women." “I have had my being in truth, saith the The fairest among the goddesses, Hathor, king, and in righteousness have I nourished the Egyptian Aphrodite, whom the stones myself. All my deeds to men were full of call “ the heavenly, golden lady," who “ fills kindness; and how I loved God, God and heaven and earth with her comeliness," and my own heart know. I have dealt out whose golden crown symbolizes the band of
love, binding together all things in Nature open cheerfulness and love of life, filled the and in the spiritual life,—this lovely god heart of the old Egyptians. In joy and dess was honored as the Queen of Women; sorrow, in mirth and terror, in victory and and the reigning Queen of Egypt, clad as overthrow, the hand of an all-ruling God is Hathor, was worshiped by the women as acknowledged by praise and prayer. On the earthly representative of the goddess of the long wall of the temple of Amon at Melove.
dinet-Habu, where those whom Rameses III. We cannot help noticing the bombastic subdued are represented as being led into style of official speech on the Egyptian Egypt in triumphant procession, the stone stones, and in the gay hieroglyphics spe- relates: “ Thus saith the King to the chiefs cially meant for the light of day. Yet we and the mighty ones that surround him: must be convinced by the inward warmth of Ye have seen the endless mercy shewn unto the language, speaking to us from the night me, his child, by the king of the gods ;” and of the grave, that truth and justice, broth- the same is repeated on the southern wall erly kindness of heart, and all the moral of the temple of Amon at Thebes. graces were looked upon, even in those ear- When Rameses II. (the classic Sesostris) liest
ages of history, as the crown of man- cut off from his army, is shut in near the kind, ranking higher than title, station or shore of the Syrian Orontes by the powerful wealth,-a
,-a crown which the great ones of Hittites, and stands alone in his chariot, the nation envied and sought as the goal of seemingly a lost man, the cold stone puts their earthly pilgrimage. “If the breath of these glowing words into his mouth : the soul, pure and clear as the sun daily ris- “My archers and my chariots have foring in the East, was breathed by God into saken me; not one has stayed to fight for the nostrils of men, it should sink into rest me. Where art thou, my heavenly Father at the end of its course as spotless as the sun Amon? Shall a father so forget his child? setting in the West, to lay down its confes- Have I ever trusted in my own might? sion before the eternal Judge, and unite Wheresoever I went, wheresoever I stood, itself to the eternal Godhead.” So say the was not my face turned to thee? Have I stones, word for word.
not always dealt according to the words of It is a great comfort to learn from the old thy mouth, and have I not followed thy stones that the hideous images, half human, mighty counsels alone? O thou great Lord half beastly, represented in the painting and of Egypt, confound the people that encomcarving on the monuments, were not the pass me! What are these herds to whom true Egyptian gods, but only religio-politi- Ainon is nothing, who know nothing of cal masks. The stones say that the God- God? Have I not built great and countless head was an eternal, creative, and undivided monuments to thy glory? Have I not filled unity which revealed itself without a name thy sanctuary with captives, who have made to the initiated soul, like the Mosaic “ I am for thee a long-enduring temple ? Have I that I am.” But it was only to the initiated not slaughtered hecatombs, and burnt sweetthat this pure truth was unveiled; and the smelling herbs? I have built thee a house stones give a warning against disclosure of stone, and set eternal columns therein, when they cry out to the disciples of the and brought obelisks from Elephantina. mysteries: “That is a very hidden book; let For thee have I sent ships over seas, to no one ever know of it anywhere; speak of bring the works of all nations to thy feet. it to no man; let no eye see it, no ear hear Has another ever done this? He is put to of it; thou alone shalt know it, with him shame who withstands thy will, but he is that taught it thee.”
uplifted who confesses thee, O Amon! Not only on the stones within the graves, From the fullness of my heart, I cry to thee but on those publicly exposed to the light, in need, my Father Amon! I am girt about we find in the deeds of the kings and great by countless folk of every nation. I am men of the land, an eloquent witness to the alone; there is none with me. My archers trust in God which, side by side with an and my chariots have forsaken me. Seized
by fear, not one has answered to my call. changes of the seasons, the higher truths of But Amon is better than myriads of archers, the imperishableness of man, and the imthan ten thousand chosen young men, were mortality of the soul. The old Egyptians they all gathered together in one spot. The have fulfilled their mission in the world as help of men goes for nought, for Amon an aspiring and cultured people. Standing stands higher than they."
on the utmost horizon of historic research, With these words, so full of naïve Ho- they sowed the seeds of culture in the hoarmeric simplicity, the King seizes his weap- iest antiquity, and in the words of a great ons with fresh strength and courage, and thinker, " gave the first impulse to that Amon comes so visibly to his help, that he range of thought and feeling which tends not only happily escapes all danger, but to humanize and uplift a people. What we strews the bloody earth with the bodies of could before only infer from the vague his slaughtered foes.
statements of later eye-witnesses, is told us My space unhappily does not permit my to-day by the stones past which armies and bringing any more proofs from the stones caravans have journeyed for thousands of to show that even in the days when the years, without a suspicion of their precious wanderings of Abraham brought him to the records.” fruitful shores of the Nile, the power of the But above all, it was this earnest view of moral law had already planted, at the feet the meaning of life, and this deeply-rooted of the Pyramids, a state whose highest aim religious feeling, which won so many faithwas this education for the real life after ful adherents to the teachings of Christiandeath, through the love of God and one's ity among the Egyptians. It is not chance, neighbor.
but the order of the world's history, that Of the great and inexhaustible mass of places side by side with the old stones, comold Egyptian records, which have been torn memorating, in tomb and temple, the deeds from their places and brought to the muse- of heathen gods and kings, their younger ums of modern Europe, I am certain that neighbors telling in humble language the the majority bear the impression of that pious thoughts and firm faith of the earliest truth which I have called the first and high- Christians. est law of old Egyptian ethics.
Nor were the old Egyptians the only race Even in the wildest revelry the symbolic in whom dwelt this boundless desire to inmemento of the last hour restrained the sen- scribe their gravestones with the thoughts, sual as much as it enhanced the spiritual deeds, passions—in short, the lives of the pleasure.
dead; to hand down their manner of life to When the old Egyptians sat at meat, a posterity in words of glowing praise. In man entered the banquet hall at the end of the East, to-day, we find an inborn love for the meal, carrying a little coffin with a the stones ; and these are still constrained to wooden image of death in it, which he speak aloud of the thoughts and feelings of showed in turn to each of the guests, saying men. The European who traverses the narat the same time: “Look at this, and then row streets of the Turkish towns, beginning drink and be merry; for when thou art at the brilliant capital on the Bosphorus ; dead, thou shalt be like this.” And even who wanders from the inhospitable northin the old song which was ang to a mourn- west corner of Africa to the plateaux of cenful tune by the Egyptians at their carousals, tral Asia, will find everywhere along the the sad and the merry sides of life are crooked streets and the long route of the strangely mingled. When they mourned caravans, these story-telling stones. over the autumnal decay of Nature, as sym- On either side of the roads, trodden bolized by the death of the god Osiris at by human feet, lie these white monuthe hands of the demon Typhon, and when ments, whose voice addresses the wanderer they rejoiced in his resurrection as the em- as he passes them by. Silently they cry blem of returning spring, they celebrated out to him, in the words of the Italian in the life and death of their god and in the poet: