Page images

Yet all nmidst her wrecks

And her gore,

Proud Denmark blessed our chief,
That lie gave her wounds relief,
And the sounds of joy and grief

Filled her shore.

Around, outlandish cries

Loudly broke;
But a nobler note was rung,
When the British, old and young,
To their bands of music sung

"Hearts of oak."

Cheer, cheer, from park and tower,

London town!

When the king shall rido in state
From St. James' royal gate,
And to all his peers relate

Our renown.

The bells shall ring, the day

Shall not close,
But a blaze of cities bright
Shall illuminate the night,
And the wine cup shine in light

As it flows.

Tet, yet amid the joy

And uproar,

Let us think of them that sleep
Full many a fathom deep,
By thy wild and stormy steep,

Elsinore 1

Brave hearts, to Britain's weal

Once so true,

Though death has quenched your flame,
Yet immortal be your name,
For ye died the death of fame

With Eiou.

Soft sigh the winds of heareu

O'er your grave;
While the billow mournful rolls,
And the mermaid's song condoles,
Sing glory to tho souls

Of the brave.


Oh, the beautiful strange visions seen within the silent night!

Then when heavy eyelids weigh on heavy eyes that hate the fight,

When the careworn spirit, resting from the penance nnd tho pain,

Sees in dreams long-vanished Edcns rich with love and life again.

Then dark thoughts no more molest us: dull and leaden-hearted men,

Cruel in their lust of riches, make not breath seem bitter then.

Doubt costs not its poisonons shadow. Slow despairs, that rankle deep,

Pass away, as if forever, exiled from tho land of sleep.

Then once more we see the faces that are lail

beneath the mould; Then wo hear sweet-meaning voices—voices that

we loved of old;

Then the stainless life returneth laughing through

tho merry hours, On the ancient paths of childhood, sown around

with starry flowers.

Who would lose the dear illusion—who would

wish to feel it less, Though it make tho radiant morning thick with

blight and barrenness? Let tho weary waking hours, forlorn of hope,

creep slowly on, So on slumber's conch we borrow joy aunce from

tho summers gone.

O Sleep! dear to all, then dearest when strong

sorrow bows us down, Charming care with golden hours, and smoothing

out the furrowed frown; Thou that blottest from existence half the fever

and tho fear— Come, kind minister of healing, come, for thou

art needed here.

Come, as yesternight thou earnest. I had deemed

that nevermore, Save to grief, my darkened spirit should unlock

its sealed door; For within my breast I shuddered, shadowing

forth the things unseen, And tho Past, savo in its sorrow, seemed as it

had never been.

For I thought on wasted life—I saw a future

fearful hour, Dread misgivings, formless terrors, evil sights

of evil power, When the clock ticks slow, the minutes linger in

their sullen flight, And the ghastly day's oppression is but trebled

in tho night.

When no more the shattered senses round the

throne of reason dwell, Thinking every sight a spectre, every sound a

passing bell; When tho mortal desolation fullcth on the soul

liko rain, And the wild hell-phantoms dance and revel in

the burning brain.

Now tho months and years of old, far from the

outer feud and strife, Lay before mo like a picture breathing with the

breath of life; And I saw my early home, as when it was a

homo to mo, In a happy land, and fairer than bright lands

beyond the sea.

There it stood—the self-same village—even as in hours of old,

When the stately sun descending dipped the dazzling panes in gold;

And mcthought for many an hour, yea many a peaceful day nnd night,

All that space of earth was steeped in one delicious faery light.

And I marvelled not, though round me clustering life and beauty grew In the paradisal stillness visited by forms I knew; Yet there were, beyond all others, features that

I loved to trace— Ah! too truly I remember—for it was my

mother's face.

'Twas no wonder that I knew thec, as thy kind

eyes turned to mine, Happy in my happiness, while I was thinking

not of thine; And I heard thy silver accents sweeter than all

music flow— Ah me, but tlic Inpse of summers changes many

tilings below!

"Mother, we will dwell together evermore," I

seemed to sny, Far from hcnco life's wheels are whirling; scarce

an echo comes this way. Here an uneventful rest shall fold us in a dream

of peace, Here our love through silent seasons grow with

infinite increase."

But I woke—as one who, coming from far lands

beyond the wave, Finds not any face of welcome—all he loved arc

in the grave. Scarce the ancient house remaineth, bartered for

a stranger's pold ;— Foreign fires upon the hearth, whoso very flame

is deathly cold!

Surely, 'twas some evil angel woke me ere the dawn began—

Fiend, who could hare bean to break the slumbers of a wretched man!

Time enough griefs drooping banners once more to behold unfurled,

When the warm imperial sunlight widens through a weeping world I

Breathing soon n finer sorrow, I, who had not wept for years,

As I pondered on the vision felt my eyes grow dim with tears;

And I know that never, never, while Time wings his weary flight,

From my heart of hearts shall perish the remembrance of that night.

God In- thanked that thy sweet phantom swept across my dreary way,

Lighting up thine own dear footprints lest thy child should turn astray.

Now for me, my loving sisters, Hope and Memory embrace,

Each alike henceforward living in the sunshine of thy face.

Let me pass in some sweet vision of the seasons

long gone by! Some stray touch of dreamy fancy haunt me

slumbering ere I die! Kindred hands of welcome lead me to the country

far away, Where the spirit never ncedcth interchange of

Night and Day!


Dlackicood's Magazine.

Hush ! speak low—tread softly—

Draw the sheet aside:
Yes, she docs look peaceful;

With that smile she died.

Yet stern want and sorrow

Even now you trace
On tho wan, worn features

Of tho still, white face.

Restless, helpless, hopeless,

Was her bitter part; Now, how still tho violets

Lie upon her heart.

She who toiled and labored

For her daily bread: Sec the velvet hangings

Of this stately bed.

Yes, they did forgive her,

Brought her homo at last, Strove to cover over

Their relentless past.

Ah, they would have given
Wealth and name and pride,

To Pco her looking happy
Once before she died.

They strove hard to please her,

But, when death is near, All, you know, is deadened—

Hope and joy and fear.

And, besides, one sorrow—

Deeper still, one pain— Was beyond them: healing

Came to-day in vain.

If she had but lingered

Just n few hours more;
Or had this letter reached her

Just one day before!

I can almost pity

Even him to-day, Though he let this anguish

Eat her heart away.

Yet she never blamed him,

One day you shall know How this sorrow happened:

It was long ago.

I have read his letter:

Many a weary year
For one word she hungered—

There are thousands hero!
If she could but hear it,

Could bat understand!
Sec, I put tho letter

In her cold white hand.
Even these words, Bo longed for,

Do not stir her rest.
Well, I should not murmur,

For God judges best.
She needs no more pity;

Bnt I mourn his fate, When he hears his letter

Came a day too late.

All the Year Round. From The Constitutional Press Magazine.



I HAVE been asked " What is the good of hieroglyphics?" and found it hard to give an answer. The investigation of these primeval records of what men thought and did, two, three, and even four thousand years ago, has been in general pursued with little or no reference to what men now think and do. Learning and patience have been devoted to minute questions; while the grand human subjects, of which these are insignificant portions, have been neglected. Thus a pursuit rich in its promise has been confined to a few, and the many have not cared for it. Were it generally known what real good may be derived from this difficult study, what unveiling of the inner life of the oldest of settled nations, what clear recovery of traces of man's first true belief, what a new and independent commentary on the Bible, the learning of Egypt would not be almost as great a mystery as when the priests refused to tell the sacred name of Osiris.

I know that many are weary of the very mention of Egyptian or any other archaeology in relation to the Bible. They say, "We have read so many books and essays on this subject, arguing on matters prejudged, that we do not believe in your impartiality." I quite admit that on the religious side there has been reason enough to offend any clear-headed or honest inquirer. But I have found, and still find, quite as much written on the other side, which is as repugnant to ell notions of judgment and fairness. To the end of time the majority on both sides will, intentionally or not, wrest arguments and reason on false grounds, but this does not justify any one in shutting his ears to a fair statement of a weighty question.

The first point on which I wish to touch is the evidence of a primeval revelation afforded by the Egyptian mythology. It is now admitted by every competent scholar that, inwoven with the tangled web of myths and superstitions which mainly compose the strange belief of Egypt, we trace ever and anon the golden thread of truth. Base as were many of the tenets among which the truth was thus preserved, it was never lost j and not only so, but it ever maintained its superiority. The whole moral teaching of the priests depended upon it. To it was due the majestic art of the nation. It alone had principles of vitality.

The Egyptians believed in life after death, in judgment according to man's deeds on earth, and in future rewards and punish

ments. Their belief in these broad truths is quite certain; the more minute definition of them may be doubtful. It has not been determined how far the immortality of tie soul was held; whether the ultimate state was supposed to be one of separate existence or of absorption or annihilation; whether the rewards or punishments were believed to be purgatorial or eternal. The judge of the dead was Osiris, the great foe of the power of evil. Every man was examined before him as to his deeds on earth. He had to reply to forty-two questions, each one relating to the commission of a particular sin.| If acquitted, he became an Osiris, taking the name and form of the judge, and being admitted to the joys of the Egyptian Paradise, the Aahloo, whence the Greeks derived their Elysian Fields. A woman also became an Osiris, taking the name of the judge, and not that of Isis his wife.

If I were to cite late and second-hand authority, I might much enlarge this account, and show a greater closeness of agreement with revelation. I prefer to confine myself to what can be learnt from the Egyptian Ritual and the early religious representations of the monuments. The Eitual was the sacred book of the Egyptians. Countless copies of parts and some of the whole, written on papyrus, have been found in Egypt, chiefly in the burial-grounds. It consists of prayers mainly to be said by the deceased in the separate state, and therefore to be learnt by him while on earth. Portions of it are known to be as old as two thousand years B.c., and there are copies of the whole written one thousand five hundred or one thousand four hundred years B.c. Much of it is still unintcrprctcd, but the general truths I have mentioned are admitted to be declared in it with great clearness.*

This discovery bears with surprising force upon a controversy of the highest importance. The old idea that Moses based the law upon the Egyptian belief, has lately found many adherents in the German school. These have been so accustomed to repeat this old scandal that they have ceased to question its truth, and have allowed themselves to drift away into a very dangerous position. So long as we knew nothing of the Egyptian religion, except from the representations of the monuments and the incorrect statements of ancient writers, it was easy enough to assert, on the evidence of a few outward agreements, that the two systems were identical. Now, however, our fuller

* The reader will find an interesting paper on the Ritual, by H. do Rougtf, in the February number of the Jlerue Archeoloyiqut for the present year. I am not, however, prepared to accept his close definition of the principles of the Egyptian religion. knowledge has enabled us to find the very groundwork of the Egyptian religion, and the result is this paradox for the Germans. They derive the law from a system altother opposite to it. The law taught the

doctrine of rewards and punishments during

life, the Egyptian religion held out rewards

and punishments after death. Yet the very

people who maintain the Egyptian origin of | basis of teaching, but we nowhere find it

the law, have alleged the absence in it of a j denied. Like other points of patriarchal

In their very rejoicing it was not absent, even if the story of the mummy at the feast bo not true. Hence it is quite clear, that the Israelites, living among the Egyptians, themselves Egyptians in every thing but race,

must have Known that there was a future state of rewards and punishments. The Mosaic law did not take this doctrine ag a

clear mention of a future state, as proving that Moses was not acquainted with that great truth; which truth we now positively know to have been the primary doctrine of the Egyptian religion.

It may be remarked that the knowledge •we now'have of the current belief of the Egyptians clears up what was certainly a great difficulty. Formerly, we held that the learned among them had some dim idea of a future state, but we had not evidence to show that even they believed in it universally, or whether it was a religious doctrine, or merely the result of philosophic speculation. Now we know that the whole nation believed in life after death and future rewards and punishments ; that these doctrines were the basis of the moral system of the priests; and that the architecture, the literature, and the very life of the Egyptians had more regard to the future, than to the present state. Each king occupied years, if not his whole reign, in making his tomb. So important was the work, that he generally began it at his accession; sometimes even before. All the ceremonies of burial, the embalming and preservation of the body, had reference to the after-life of the soul. If the tomb were rock-hewn, its walls were decorated with sculptures or paintings relating to the future state; representing the terrible judgmcntscene, the happiness of the blessed, and the misery of the lost. So, too, with the subjects, though their tombs, in the earlier ages of the monarchy, bear representations referring to their occupations during life. The ancient Egyptian's card represented him as a dead

man, "the Osiris" "justified,"* and

he never "left it" except on such occasions as the funerals of the bulls Apis. If a young Egyptian chose a scarabams with a device to give to a friend, he would wish " a perfect life," or more distinctly, a happy resurrection, "May your name remain, and your being be renewed." Thus the idea of the future state and man's condition ns depending upon his works done in this life, was always present to the whole nation, from the king, who superintended the making of his tomb, to the priestly sculptor and the common workman.

* This terra '•justified," literally "truth-spoken" or "jnstice-spoKcn," is sometimes replaced by "a time living."

belief, it was retained by the people in general, and, if almost lost in the troublous and ignorant days of the Judges, it afterwards gained greater and greater hold on the belief of the nation, until it was clearly proclaimed under the new and more distinct revelation of the gospel.

The illustration of details of Biblical history which the Egyptian monuments afford, is a subject of great importance, from its bearing upon the accuracy of tho Bible. It has been very much neglected, in consequence of the extravagant expectations of many, who, in the early days of Egyptian archaeology, looked for an exact account of Israel in Egypt from the monuments. They never perceived, what is clear enough, though few are willing to admit it, that we have no consecutive chain of historical monuments stretching through many centuries. In the remotest past there is the group of tombs around the greatest pyramids of Memphis, which tell us, in their sculptures and inscriptions, of the life of the Egyptians of that time, about four thousand years ago. This group may extend over two centuries. Then there is a great blank, with here and there a doubtful and shifting stepping-stone in a dark stream of historical oblivion, until we reach the monuments of the Twelfth Dynasty, lasting for about a century and a'half, from Abraham's time. Then thereis another great chasm, still more obscure than the earlier one, and we come to the Eighteenth Dynasty, beginning about luOO B.c. The second and more dense time of darkness is accounted for by the invasion and subjugation of Egypt by a foreign race, the Shepherds, and the paucity of its monuments confirms the statement of Manetho, the native historian, that this was a period of terrible intestine war. From the Eighteenth Dynasty the evidence is more connected, although often a hundred years or more is nearly a blank in the history. From this it follows, that if the Israelites were in Egypt in any of the times as to which we know nothing from the Egyptian monuments, we could expect no distinct account of their sojourn and exodus. If we take the ordinary reckoning in the margin of our Bibles— Usshcr's Chronology — the sojourn would mainly fall before the Eighteenth Dynasty, and the exodus early in that dynasty. If we take the reckoning of Hales, which many are disposed to consider the best Bible chronology, both sojourn and exodus would fall in the time before this dynasty. In either case we could scarcely expect any reference to the Israelites. But setting this aside, although Joseph's administration might have been recorded, the disasters of the exodus would have found no place in the annals of a nation that was especially averse to chronicling defeat. The kind of illustration we have a right to expect does not relate to the main facts of the history, but to such matters as the details of manners.

In these matters the accuracy of tho Bible is strikingly shown. The Greek writers, some of whom, and especially Herodotus, were not inaccurate observers, have been cited to set right the Biblical account. In every case the monuments have proved that the sacred historian was correct, and the profane historian in error. The most interesting illustrations are, however, those which show a perfect knowledge of the country. These are quite as frequent in the Prophets as in the Pentateuch. Thus we read in Exodus, that when the Israelites saw Pharaoh in pursuit of them "they said unto Moses, because [there were] no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness." (XIV. II.) The prophet Hosea declared of the fugitives of Ephraim, " Egypt shall gather them up, Memphis shall bury them." (IX. C.) Egypt is, above all countries, a land of ancient tombs. The rocky ridge that shuts in the plain and valley is honeycombed in its face with sepulchral grottos; in the edge of the desert are countless mummy-pits j on its surface arc many built tombs. Scarcely a day's journey passes but the voyager up the Nile sees some of these; first, the great chains of the Pyramids; then, when the mountain approaches, the entrances of grottos along its face, sometimes a field of sepulchres. Numerous as are the modern tombs, they are insignificant by the side of their truly innumerable predecessors. But of all the ancient sites, Memphis has the greatest necropolis. For about fifteen miles this city of the dead extends along the edge of the Great Desert, marked from afar by the pyramids rising regally above the smaller monuments. Wherever excavations have been made, it seems as though there had been an economy of space, for there is frequently but a narrow passage between the lines of tombs. No other graveyard in Egypt rivals this. Therefore the prophet spoke of it instead of Thebes the seat of empire, or any other great town better known in Palestine. Amos again uses the inundation of the Nile, " the flood of Egypt," as a symbol of the destruc

tion that was coming upon his land and people, (vm. 8; ix. 5.) I have never seen any thing that so completely brought before me the idea of a destroying flood as the inundation of the Nile. The river bursts through its banks and covers the whole valley; in the midst rushes a broad turbid stream agitated by the strong north wind blowing against its current; on cither side landmarks are carried away, and the villages stand like islands connected by dykes, which the water threatens to break. Until custom has used one to the scene, it is a terrible realization of the calamities of a flood. I have dwelt upon these less-known topics in preference to the histories of Joseph and Moses which have been more carefully studied. Yet both these will gain a fresh interest with those who will read them with the Egyptian monuments for illustration. There th ey may see tho investiture of a Joseph with his badges of office, the robe of fine linen, and collar of gold; there they may see the corn carefully stored in granaries, as though for the years of famine. Such boats as the papyrus-ark of Moses are there shown, and there are foreign brickmakers under hard taskmasters. The whole series of sculptures is an unintended commentary upon, and an impartial witness to, the truth of the Bible history.

I may here mention a modern illustration. It is well-known that many ancient Egyptian customs are yet observed. Among these one of the most prominent is the wailing for the dead by the women of the household, as well as those hired to mourn. In the great cholera of 1848 I was at Cairo. This pestilence frequently follows the course of rivers. Thus, on that occasion, it ascended the Nile, and snowed itself in great strength at Boolak, the port of Cairo, distant from the city a mile and a half to the westward. For some days it did not traverse this space. Every evening at sunset, it was our custom to go up to the terrace on the roof of our house. There, in that calm still time, I heard each night the wail of the women of Boolak for their dead borne along in a great wave of sound a distance of two miles, the lamentation of a city stricken with pestilence. So, when the first-born were smitten, "there was a great cry in Egypt; for [there was] not a house where [there was] not one dead." (Exodus xin. 30.)

Perhaps the most important use of Egyptian archaeology in reference to the Bible is the manner in which it illustrates the fulfilment of phropheey. Here, again, I know that many, wearied by the rash and presumptuous interpretations of prophecy which have of late years abounded, will object to the very discussion of the subject. Yet if they acknowledge the truth of the Bible, they

« PreviousContinue »