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mian, and a Coptic Bishop, and once a powerful Coptic colony, of which all travellers speak—but who would stop at them when Gebel Gournou is in sight in the distance, and we are so near mighty Thebes !. Here in times of earliest Egypt Osiris lived. At Coptos were celebrated the sacred rites of Isis, and here were legends of her. It was said here she bewailed the loss of her husband Osiris. At Took, we gained a beautiful view of the mountains, and a break in the valley discovered some of the finest scenery on the Nile; and there, in the distance, is the lofty mountain of Gournou; and soon we will gain the view of Gebel Luxor. Thus, then, the object of all my aspirations, the reward of all my difficulties of travel, is attained. Thebes, Luxor, Karnac, are within less than twenty-four hours' voyage. All my spirit was, however, in the race. The boats gained upon me, but until sunset my colors were triumphant; finally, however, their boats came up. We saluted with our flags at half-mast, and in a few minutes put to the shore, where I accepted my friend's invitation to come into his boat. We passed gayly the evening before Luxor, and, while dreaming on the divan at midnight, I felt the boat stop.
The next morning I was greeted by Luxor's famed temple as I issued from the cabin. I was soon there, and could scarcely disagree with my Scotch friend, who returned to the boat with a long, sad face, saying, there was nothing to see but a very fine obelisk; that he thought there was something to see, but there was nothing: and, indeed, when you see Luxor, it loses much of its impressiveness from the barking dogs, and modern Turkish towns, and Governors and Gwawazie, and Arab huts, that guard every approach; and filthy Arabs about it.
But the impression, as you approach for the first time on the north side a temple of ancient Egypt, for I had never seen one before, and see those half-buried statues, and that obelisk, whose fellow in proud grandeur towers above the palaces, even of Napoleon, in the Place de la Concorde in Paris; when you trace that battle scene of Sesostris, defaced so by Persian vandalism; when you wind up that worn staircase and stand on the top, passing the names of Osiren and the great Rameses, seen for the first time, and look around over the wide plain of Thebes to Karnac and its city of ruins; not all you have ever read of travellers' descriptions or paintings can equal this sublime impression.
It was, as I have said, morning, and my boat lay beneath the great temple of Luxor. It was a proud moment as I hurried over the stairs, and stood before the time-worn portico. The battles of the conquering Sesostris are still sculptured on the walls; the helmeted statues are still grand. The obelisk is still beautiful, but lonely, as if the loss of its brother, which the French Emperor had carried to Paris, had tamed its pride.* I clambered to the summit of the edifice; I gazed over the plains of Thebes on the opposite side of the Nile. The statues of Memnon stand clear in the morning light. Behind, the ruins of Memnonium, so called, invite to the beautiful repository of Egyptian art. To the north are the temples and palaces of Medinet Habou, and behind them all, the mountain where sleep the queens. To the northwest lies Gournou, with its less distinct ruins, and behind El Assasif, the sacred valley of the temple of the Dair, and the tombs of the priests and sages of old Egypt; and over that lofty mountain, is the deserted valley of Biban el Memlook and the wonderful tombs of the kings. Between them and us are the plains of Thebes; we are gazing upon it from the ancient Diospolis. Its walls, its hundred gates, its twenty thousand chariots! What we sse is all that remains. The Nile flows on as when Luxor was founded by the people who survived the flood. This barbaric structure upon which we stand has the impress of ages. The name of Sesostris is upon the walls; his conquests cover the temple. It is the least interesting of the ruins of Thebes; and yet, when you look at its single obelisk transported to Paris, towering, as it does, above the temples there, who cannot feel how noble was the aim of the ancient Egyptians! We mount the other side of the temple; my Champollion's Grammar and Dictionary are faithful, and I can read the hieroglyphics, the secrets of more than thirty centuries. The architecture strikes you as rude, like the Etruscan architecture of Italy; like the rude works of a primeval age, the first endeavor of a race to build structures. It is more rude than Medinet Habou, or even Southern Dair, and only the structure at Gournou, which bears the name of King Osiren, the father of Sesostris, can at all compare with it in antiquity.
* Since writing the above at Luxor, I have again seen the obelisk of the Place de Concorde at Paris, surrounded with the paltry trappings of the fete of May How insignificant they seemed, and what a profanation of Luxor!
But the temple of Luxor, whose columns so strike you from the ruins, is too well described for me to say any thing new here. Engravings and paintings have made it familiar. It is beautiful when seen from the river, but disgusting from the huts about it; half of the sculptures are covered by wretched Arab huts, where you gain admission through the miserable entrances. Dogs are barking at you for being a Christian, and women barking at you for backsheesh; taken all together, it spoils the effect of the whole. There is none