صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

Yet more, the Billows and the Depths have more!

High hearts and brave are gathered to thy breast!
They hear not now the booming waters roar,-

The battle-thunders will not break their rest,
Keep thy red gold and gems, thou stormy grave!-

Give back the true and brave!

Give back the lost and lovely!—Those for whom

The place was kept at board and hearth so long;
The prayer went up through midnight's breathless gloom,

And the vain yearning woke 'midst festal song!
Hold fast thy buried isles, thy towers o'erthrown,-

But all is not thine own!

To thee the love of woman hath gone down;

Dark flow thy tides o'er manhood's noble head,
O'er youth's bright locks, and beauty's flowery crown!

Yet must thou hear a voice-Restore the dead!
Earth shall reclaim her precious things from thee!~

Restore the dead, thou Sea!

The reader will not find it difficult to sympathize with the feelings of Colonel Vyse, in the loss of one of the most valuable results of his laborious and costly investigations. Other relics, however, found in the same pyramid, were fortunately despatched by a different conveyance, and reached their destination. A considerable portion of the top of a mummy-case, inscribed with hieroglyphics, and part of the mummy which it had inclosed, probably that of the mighty Egyptian for whom so vast a sepulchre was reared, were found, and are now safely deposited in the British Museum. The hieroglyphic inscription on the mummy case shows it to be that of Mycerinus, and thus furnishes the most remarkable confirmation of the accuracy and trustworthiness of Herodotus. According to him the third pyramid was built by Mucherinos, the successor of Chephrên, the son or brother of Cheops, or Suphis, who erected the great pyramid. Such a discovery is alone honour and reward enough for all the labour and cost incurred by this zealous and intelligent explorer of the remains of ancient Egypt. The entire inscription so far as the present knowledge of hieroglyphics admits of it being deciphered, consists of an address to the deceased monarch, as identified with Osiris. It may be thus translated, the peculiar phraseology being an embodiment of the Egyptian creed, which implied that the deceased returned into the divine essence from whence the soul had emanated, and hence Mycerinus is spoken of throughout, under his new character of Osiris, or the Osirian,-he who has returned to the supreme Deity :

Osirian, king Men-kah-re, inheritor of eternal life engendered of the heaven, child of Netpe (Osiris being the son of Netpe and Seb, the Egyptian Rhea and Saturn), who extends her care over thee as thy mother. Nepte guardian of thee, may she watch thy abode of rest in heaven, revealing thee to the God supreme over thy impure enemies. King Men-ka-re living for ever, or the immortal.

Some words have been supplied as indispensable to the complete illustration of the ideas designed to be embodied in this inscription. But as a whole, we believe, it conveys a nearly literal meaning of the Egyptian record. It

may be received by the reader as a tolerably fair example of hundreds of the hieroglyphic inscriptions. The same, or a somewhat similar formula is repeated on sarcophagi, and tombs. Other formulas are to be found, equally unvarying, on temples, obelisks, and even on the little mummy figures, sarabei, and other diminutive Egyptian relics. The cartouche is generally the chief object of interest, but its discovery is frequently, as in this instance, invaluable to the historian. We learn, however, from these and similar inscriptions, what were the ideas, and what was the nature of the ancient mythology of the Egyptians, and thus are we enabled to obtain an insight into the character of the people, and their cast of thought; thereby recovering much know

ledge, which throws new light on the later creeds of Greece and Rome, as well as on the mythology of the great empires of Assyria, and even of India.



Gods of the heathen, lights amid that waste,
Raying down darkness on its hopeless gloom;
An immortality without the life
The gospel gives it; an eternity
Like your own mummied dead, that will not rot,
A life in death, that vainly craves to die.


The sources whence a knowledge of Egyptian theology may be obtained, we examine, with the firm conviction, that as the characteristics of the mind of man change not with changing seasons, however strange we imagine their religious opinions, or mysterious the sacred usages of their temples, they sprang from the conception of minds, gifted with the same faculties which we ourselves possess. So that to a certain extent we may regard the ancient Egyptians as ourselves, placed in their peculiar circumstances, and their habits of thinking and modes of acting as ours, and thus we trace out their distinguishing characteristics with greater zeal and interest, by identifying ourselves with them; a mode of regarding the actions of nations long extinct, which adds greatly to the interest of their history, if we are but careful to make concessions for national peculiarities, the result of differences in climate, government, and religion, as well as the other great moral and physical causes which exert an influence over the condition of man.

The sources whence our information is to be obtained, at first sight seem ample and satisfactory. We have their sacred temples, still in high preservation, open to our examination, bearing on their gorgeous walls the forms of the deities who received adoration, the symbols used in connexion with the worship, and pictorial representations of the ceremonies accompanying the sacred celebration, and long tablets of hieroglyphics, now no longer altogether sealed volumes. To explain these rites or doctrines, which could not be learned from the pantomime of the temple, we have the explanations of the sacred priests themselves, which through various channels have reached us; and the records of those Greeks their contemporaries, who visited their temples, beheld their penetralia, and learned from their ministering hierophants the lessons taught to the worshipping throng. From that period down to the present time, we have a host of historians, commentators, and travellers, who have compared the records of former writers with the existing remains at their own day, pointing out those ancient opinions which are at variance with the sacred ruins as seen by themselves, and explaining after a novel and often more satisfactory manner, those sacred rites and representations which admit of so varied and often contradictory interpretations. But much of this array of evidence fails us on closer examination. Perfect though the temples are, we gaze on many pictures, strange forms, and confused symbols, and walls covered with mysterious hieroglyphics, but we cannot understand them; nor on this account have we to regret that time and violence have dilapidated many an edifice, while we cannot explain what the destroyer has left. Hence too the commentaries, whether of contemporary or succeeding writers, avail


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us little; they could not explain the devices they studied, and often guessed at their hidden meaning. They amount to no more than opinion, they never can be termed facts, and we are perplexed with the knowledge that no theory, however ingenious it might be, has served to reconcile the contradictions of their creed, and on some points we are as much perplexed now with all our discoveries in the intricacies of hieroglyphics, as were the Greek philosophers in the days of Pythagoras.

The explanation is found, in part at least, in the peculiar mental constitution of the people, and the great subtilty of the sacred priests, whose design it was to conceal from all but the initiated, those esoteric doctrines which owed much of their solemnity and admiration to the mystery in which they were shrouded ;-and well have these ghostly advisers effected their purpose; they have clothed every rite and doctrine in hieroglyphic and symbol,-every metaphysical notion and even historical fact, in a cloak of mystery, which the unwearied efforts of the learned of all ages have in vain essayed to remove. Hence there is still doubt, confusion, and perplexity; every theory failing to explain contradictions, or give a satisfactory explanation of the peculiar rites of the creed. There is thus no room left for dogmatizing, and, it might be imagined, little for a record of facts; yet enough remains known and probable to make the study both interesting and instructive.

A dogma prevailed over the whole ancient world, that there brooded over the earth a certain formative and conservative power, from the mighty workings of which the world sprang into existence, and to whose constant operations the permanence and perfection of all things were owing. This belief seems to have early prevailed among the Brahmins of India, who entertained the notion of an elementary fire, the soul of the world. A similar belief existed in Egypt, of which the famous Hermes Trismegistus

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