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in the world may be seen—I mean the deserted solitude of the valley of tombs behind, and the magnificent desolation and fertility combined of the plain of Thebes in front—lies the temple of Dayr el Bayr, or the "Temple to the North." I have already spoken of the ruined avenue of sphinxes which led to it from the Memnonium; near it is the Zyxog, or sacred inclosure, of one of the most ancient of temples. It was supposed to communicate with the tombs of the kings, and Dr. Yates says with the tomb of Sammis. Dr. Richardson considers it, with the small temple of Isis behind the Memnonium, to be one of the most ancient fabrics in Thebes. At the end of the avenue of sphinxes formerly stood some obelisks, which you can barely trace.
The gateway of the temple is of fine architecture, and in several of the chambers there are granite tablets, or steles, which have been described by Champollion.
On the way to the ruins of Gournou are fragments of a colossal statue, formerly, as it is supposed, of Rameses II. The whole way is strewn with fragments of statues.
Returning from Gournou by moonlight, with the guide, while galloping along the desert, near what the rubbish and bricks denoted as the site of a ruined town, in a most desolate and dreary cemetery, with a few turban headstones, my horse started at a fierce growl, or snarl, from an animal before him. Riding on, I saw a horrid sight; a wild dog had just been feeding on a carcass of what seemed in the moonlight to have been the body of a newly buried Arab, but it might have been the carcass of some other animal: and this sight, so common in the desert outskirts of Egypt, would hardly have attracted me or the horse, had not another more ferocious beast just approached, and whose glaring eyes, and whining, screeching howl, told me that it was the hideous hyena. Two vultures and some buzzards were shrieking above, and stooping down at intervals. The dog was scarcely willing to relinquish his unhallowed feast, even for so hideous a visitor; and, while peeling the flesh from the leg, "as ye peel the fig when the fruit is fresh," the hyena, snapping at him, seized another part of the carcass. At this hideous struggle, horrid as it was, I gazed an instant, but I saw a jackal, who had snuffed the carcass, bounding up, and as instantly away; •and in two minutes a distant, horrid roar came upon the wind. By this time the guide had ridden up with his spear, and cried, "Howaga, Assed! saba!! a lion! a lion!" We were now with both our horses on the full run; and when I thought of all the tales of jackals informing lions of prey, and considered our danger, I could almost feel the lion leaping upon my horse's back, his hot breath behind, and his claws tearing the flesh off my back. But our terror was changed into joy at seeing in the distance before us the white turbans of some horsemen, and we soon distinguished the tarbouches and dark robes, and gleaming pistols and harness of two Effendis of Luxor, of the Governor's, or Kaschid's house, who had been upon a ride over to Gournou, and were returning to their boats to cross the river. Our galloping up, and terror at the lion, only seemed to amuse them, as their attendants prepared their arms; but the old Effendi assured me, "Monch assed" (it was no lion :) and I thought that only perhaps the horrid hyena, or wild dog's howl, had even magnified the guide's fears as well as mine, into a lion's roar. We soon reached our boats.
Visit to Biban-el-Memlook.—Tombs of the Kings.
We left the valley of Hadj Achmed in the evening for a moonlight ride over to the Tombs of the Kings. A more wild, romantic ride I scarce ever had; the lone mountain and the sterile rocks are unlike any scenery I have ever seen, save the Pass of the Splugen in Switzerland, and the gorges of rock, and flint, and limestone exhibit such desolation of nature as I have never seen approached in any scenery in the world—the valley of Hinnom itself could scarce surpass it. Half way up the mountain we reached Lepsius's tomb, so called because he opened it; the figures are fresh and beautiful, and paintings almost fascinating; the entrance is a mere hole which you have to squeeze through. Lepsius has taken from here some figures as a reward to his sovereign, for the munificent expense which the King of Prussia incurred to make these excavations. Lepsius's firman ran in the express words, "to go where he pleased, to take what he pleased, and do what he pleased." In no place are his mutilations more apparent than in the tombs of the kings; the finest processions interrupted, the best figures cut away, while the wide, gaping space remains to attest the vandalism of the work. In the same spirit of obliging his royal master, the king, Chevalier Bunsen dedicates his work to him in return for his scientific commission. Would that the use made of that expedition in the hands of Lepsius and Bunsen, might lead to a fair exposition of Scripture truth from the monuments, instead of being tortured by ex parf» revelations of them to wild chronological conclusions.
We soon started again on foot to cross over the mountain, and a more dreary, solitary walk up peaks, along precipices, fearful gorges below, and the moon shining bright as day, could not be imagined. The guide, far before us, was leading the way with his long spear; and the boys, trying to keep the tinder, looked like little demons. We reached a point looking down into the deserted valley of Biban el Memlook, and soon arrived at No. 17, Belzoni's celebrated tomb, and the Arab boys having wonderfully preserved their fire, we were soon, with each a lighted candle in his hand, descending the handsome staircase, which opens from the wayside of the desolate mountain into its halls of paintings and histories. This beautiful work of the Theban sextons has been admired and described again and again. We were delighted all the way down the staircase with the processions of sacred boats carrying the soul along, and as our eyes flew from one beautiful, or mystical, or expressive object to another, we exclaimed that it was far the finest part of Egypt. Certainly of all the monuments, it is best preserved. Soon we meet the name of Osiren, the father of Sesostris, for whom this tomb was constructed; then follow the mythological processions—the allegory of the sun through the hours, figures of the winged globe and the scarabaei, sacrifices of bulls and human sacrifices, female forms and faces on the columns, that almost induce you to fall in love with their complexion and beauty. I cannot here, for want of time and illustration, go through the halls and chambers that open one upon the other. The paintings arc copied with fine exactness in Wilkinson's last works, and Rosellini, and fully described in the guide-books of Egypt. Hours were spent in it in most rapturous enjoyment. In some places the painting is left unfinished. In the celebrated Hall of Beauty, is the beautiful zodiac which decorates the ceiling, and the sacred boat and the last judgment where Osiren is brought before Amenti, and his offerings to the Theban triad are rehearsed, as the best of his deeds to recommend him to benignity; you see it distinctly, and the fire that the Arab makes on the floor of straw, lights up the bright colors like day. The names of several Americans, and names from every part of the world are read on the walls in the chambers after the second descent; Champollion and Lepsius have defaced it by their destructions.
To see the tombs is to see the completion of Egyptian mythology and philosophy; their belief, the aim of their life and ambition. They seem rather a palace than a tomb; the colors are as bright as if of yesterday.
In these tombs the procession of four different people, so often described as four Egyptians, called the Rotno, and of three other species, receives additional interest, from the same name having been found by Mr. Layard in Nineveh.
I recall the entering descent of the staircase, the serpents representing Kneph, the spirit of good taking the body, the sacred boats, the Theban triad, the procession, sacrifices of the bull, &,c. The beautiful figures of the Egyptian women and their noble expression of countenances:—the American, English and French names, and the devastations of Lepsius and Champollion are here. Then the interior room, astronomical ceiling, and judgment of Amenti follows.
In this tomb we see on the walls figures painted of the Egyptian queens' lovely faces; their beautiful dark hue pos