« PreviousContinue »
to suppose science and civilisation reserved for us of these later ages, when here are works in whose presence it is a task for the imagination to overtake the eyesight!
8. I went first to the gateway; and it seemed to me, as I clambered about its ruins, that the stones of this outwork alone would build a cathedral. A loosened jamb which slanted over my head made me feel as one might under a falling oak. Looking through towards the palace I saw what at once drew my eyes away from the ranges of columns and perspective of courts and chambers—the largest statue that even Egypt ever produced.
9. It is only from a distance that this mass of granite would be perceived to be a statue, so enormous is its bulk. It lies overthrown among the fragments of its limbs; the fragments themselves being masses which it would not be easy to move.
The foot looks like a block preparing for a colossal statue. I had the curiosity to measure the second toe, and found its length from the fork to be two feet seven inches. The features are gone, the greater part of the face being split away for millstones by the Arabs!
10. How such a mass could be overthrown from the base remains a mystery. Every writer seems to conclude that the Persians or one of the Ptolemies effected this kind of ruin, but I do not know why we may not suppose an earthquake to have been the agent. The question, however, still remains how this mighty Ramases came here from Syene. Whether the working was done here or at Syene, the granite was brought from thence. Sir G. Wilkinson gives its weight as somewhere about 887 tons 51 cwt. How should we now set about quarrying and conveying such a mass some hundreds of miles ?
Beyond this statue which used to sit in the area beside the entrance to the palace the building looks like a wood in some petrified region outside our world.— Miss Martineau (1802–1876).
Questions on the lesson :—Where were the Pair sitting? What behind them? What was the impression they produced? How do they sit? What is said of their thrones? Who shattered the Memnon? To what extent? What are the statues when the Nile rises ? How did they stand formerly? What gave grandeur to the palacetemple? What change has taken place as regards the elevation of the ground? How high do the figures stand above the soil? How much below? What is the length of the arm? What custom of the kings of Egypt in regard to temples and palaces is referred to? In view of the ruins what is said of the violence used? What of the art? What of the dimensions of the gigantic Ramases ? What question is asked about its preparation?
Thebes, the ancient capital of Upper Egypt, and in former times the chief city of the whole country. Its ruins, held to be the most magnificent in the world, fill the whole valley of the Nile at this point on either side. Two modern villages on the eastern side of the river, Karnak and Luxor, are included within the compass of the ruins. “Its temples are as vast as cities.”
The Pair, twin colossal figures, each formed out of a single stone, standing near one another on the western plain. One is entire, but the upper parts of the other have fallen down. One of them was believed to emit a harp-like sound at sunrise of every day. It has been thought that the priests had a secret chamber in the body of the statue from which, without being perceived, they were able to strike a certain sonorous stone which lies in the lap of the statue, and thus impose upon the credulous multitude.
the Memnon, the name given by the Greeks to the great statue referred to in the previous note. The Egyptians called it Amenophis. “This colossal figure, made of black stone in a sitting posture, with its feet close together, and the hands leaning on its seat, was broken in the middle, so that the upper part had fallen down,” but it was afterwards restored.
Colossus, plural colossi, is a statue larger than life.
Sphinx, a figure having the body of a lion and the head of a human being or of a ram. The Egyptian sphinxes were generally placed at the entrance to temples, and sometimes formed a long
enue lead. ing to the temple.
Pharaohs. The native kings of Egypt were called by this name. The word Pharaoh means the sun, and was applied to the king as the representative of the sun-god.
Ptolemies. This name is given to the Greek kings of Egypt who reigned from about B.c. 300.
Syene. The most southern city of Egypt. A famous kind of granite was found in its neighbourhood.
1. When Contagion with mephitic breath
And wither'd Famine urged the work of death;
Or with new life relumed the swimming eye. 2. And now, Philanthropy! thy rays divine
Dart round the globe from Zembla to the line;
Like northern lustres o'er the vault of night.
Where'er Mankind and Misery are found,
Thy Howard journeying seeks the house of woe. 4. Down many a winding step to dungeons dank,
Where anguish wails aloud, and fetters clank,
And cells, whose echoes only learn to groan;
No sunbeam enters, and no zephyr blows,
6. With soft assuasive eloquence expands
Power's rigid heart, and opes his clenching hands,
If not to sever, to relax the chains;
And shows the prison, sister to the tomb;
To her fond husband liberty and life.
Wide o'er these earthly scenes their partial eye,
They saw her Howard traversing the globe, 9. Mistook a Mortal for an Angel-Guest,
And ask'd what Seraph-foot the earth imprest.
-Dr. Erusmus Darwin (1731–1802).
Marseilles' good Bishop, was indefatigable in visiting, relieving and comforting the sick during a visitation of the plague which made dreadful havock in the city in 1720 and 1722.
London's generous Mayor; during the great plague of 1665, Sir John Lawrence, who was then Lord Mayor of London, refused to leave his post in the city. The day after it was known that the plague had broken out, 40,000 servants, it is said, were dismissed by their masters and turned into the streets. From the villages in the neighbourhood of London they were driven away with pitchforks and firearms. Sir John Lawrence supported them all, at first from his own fortune, afterwards by subscriptions which he was able to raise.
Zembla, Nova Zembla or Novaia Zemlia (“ new land”), N.E. of Arkhangel
Crescent, the figure of the new moon borne in the Turkish flag. The word is used symbolically for the Turkish power.
Howard, the famous philanthropist. See Graded Reader No. V.
THE EVENING CLOUD.
1. A cloud lay cradled near the setting sun;
A gleam of crimson tinged its braided snow;
O'er the still radiance of the lake below:
Even in its very motion there was rest;
3. Emblem, methought, of the departed soul!
To whose white robe the gleam of bliss is given ;
And by the breath of mercy made to roll
Where to the eye of Faith it peaceful lies,
-John Wilson (1785–1854).