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worthy, than the design of the Egyptian kings contemptibie and ridiculous.
5. But what we should most admire in these ancient mol numents, is the true and standing evidence they give of the skill of the Egyptians in astronomy ; that is a science which! seems incapable of being brought to perfection, but by a long series of years, and a great number of observations. It has been found, that the four sides of the great pyramid named were turned exactly to the four quarters of the world; and consequently showed the true meridian of that place. Now, as so exact a situation was in all probability purposely pitched upon by those who piled up this huge mass of stones, abore three thousand years ago, it follows, that during so long space of time, there has been no alteration in the heavens in that respect, or, which amounts to the same thing, in the poles of the earth or the meridians.
THE FALLING TOWER.
Mark ye the tower, whose lonely halls
Re-echo to yon falling stream ?
While slowly fades the sinking beam ?
Hears the lorn red-breast's plaintive moan;
Heaves from its base some mould'ring stone.
War wav'd his glittering banners high ;
And many a beauty tranc'd the eye.
Yet never midst the gorgeous scene,
Midst the proud feasts of splendid power,
So bright as gilds its falling hour. .
What is most to be admired in the pyramids ?-What astronomical fact do they furnish ?
Oh! thus, when life's gay scenes shall fade,
And pleasure lose its wonted bloom,
And point me to the silent tomb;
Then may religion's hallow'd flame
Shed on my mind its mildest ray,
One bright eternity of day.
THE RIVER NILE. 1. The overflowing of the Nile procures every advantage, and supplies the want of rain, which never falls in Egypt. | This river has its source in the mountains of Abyssinia, from whence it does not arrive in Egypt till it has been precipitated over seven cataracts, with a noise that is heard several leagues. It begins to swell in the month of May, and by a gradual increase, which is almost imperceptible at first, it arrives at a sufficient height to overflow the country, and remains in that state from the month of June till October.
2. The ancients, who were ignorant of the causes of the inundation, have assigned some fabulous reasons, which will always be the case when people substitute conjectures
instead of facts. At present, we know, that it rains in EthiHopia five months in the year, from April to September, which is the secret of the overflowing of the Nile. And the precious mud which it brings along with it produces the amazing fertility of Egypt. Thus lands, which are naturally 'dry and sandy, become the best soil in the world. | 3. The husbandman in this country never tires himself with holding the plough, or breaking the clods of the earth. As soon as the Nile retires he has nothing to do but to turn up the earth, and temper it with a little sand, in order to lessen its rankness; after which he sows it with great ease, and with little or no expense. Two months after, it is covered with all sorts of corn and pulse. The Egyptians generally
What supplies the want of rain in Egypt?-What occasions the inundations of the Nile ?-At what time does it begin to rise, and - What time does it continue to overflow the country?Why do the
inundations of the Nile produce so great fertility in the soil of Egypt?
sow in October and November, according as the waters draw off; and their harvest is in March and April. The same land, in one year, produces three or four different kinds of crops. Lettuces and cucumbers are sown first; then corn; and after harvest, several kinds of pulse, which are peculiar to Egypt.
4. As the riches of Egypt depend on the inundation of the Nile, all the circumstances and different degrees of its increase have been carefully considered ; and by a long series of regular observation, made during many years, the inundation itself discovered what kind of harvest the ensuing year was likely to produce. The kings had placed at Memphis a measure on which these different increases were marked; and from thence notice was given to all the rest of Egypt, the inhabitants of which knew by that means, beforehand, what they might fear or promise themselves from the harvest.
5. The same custom is preserved to this day at Grand Cairo. In the court of a mosque, there stands a pillar on which are marked the degrees of the Nile's increase ; and common criers every day proclaim, in all parts of the city, i how high it is risen. The tribute paid to the Grand Seignior for the lands is settled by the inundation. The day it rises to such a height is kept as a grand festival, and solemnized with fire works, feastings, and all the demonstrations of public rejoicing ; and in the remote ages the overflowing of the Nile was always attended with an universal joy throughout all Egypt, that being the foundation of its happiness.
6. There cannot be a finer sight than Egypt at two seasons of the year. For if a man ascends some mountain, or one of the largest pyramids of Grand Cairo, in the months July and August, he beholds a vast sea, in which numberless towns and villages appear, with several causeways leading from place to place; the whole interspersed with groves and fruit trees, whose tops only are visible; all which forms a delightful prospect. This view is bounded by mountains and woods, which terminate, at the utmost distance the eye can discover, the most beautiful horizon that can be imagined.
At what time do the Egyptians generally sow their seed ?-Do they obtain more than one crop ?-In what way are they able to determinine se quantity of crops beforeband ?
On the contrary, in winter, that is to say, in the months of anuary and February, the whole country is like one coninued scene of beautiful meadows, whose verdure, enamelled ith flowers, charms the eye. The spectator beholds, on very side, flocks and herds dispersed over all the plains with afinite numbers of husbandmen and gardeners. The air is hen perfumed by the great quantity of blossoms on the range, lemon, and other trees; and is so pure, that a wholesomer or more agreeable is not found in the world ; so that
ature being then dead as it were in all other climates, seems o be alive only for so delightful an abode.
7. Long has my curious soul, from early youth,
Then say, what source the famous stream supplies,
This let me know, and all my toils shall cease,
THE PROGRESS OF WRITING. 1. PICTURES were undoubtedly the first essay towards writ-ing. Imitation is so natural to man, that in all ages, and
among all nations, some methods have obtained of copying or tracing the likeness of sensible objects. Those methods would be soon employed by men, for giving some imperfect information to others at a distance, of what had happened ; -or for preserving the memory of facts, which they sought to record. Thus, to signify that one man killed another, they drew the figure of one man stretched upon the earth, and of another standing by him with a deadly weapon in his hand.
2. We find, in fact, that when America was first discovered, this was the only sort of writing known in the kingdom
E' What was probably the first essay towards writing ?--How would one, killing another, have been represented ?
of Mexico. By historical pictures, the Mexicans are said to have transmitted the memory of the most important transac tions of their empire. These, however, must have been ex tremely imperfect records ; and the nations who had no other must have been very gross and rude. Pictures could do no more than delineate external events. They could neither exhibit the connexions of them, nor describe such qualities as were not visible to the eye, nor convey an idea of the dispositions or words of men.
3. To supply, in some degree, this defect, there arose, in process of time, the invention of what are called hieroglyphical characters; which may be considered as the second stage of the art of writing. Hieroglyphics consist in certain symbols which are made to stand for invisible objects, on account of an analogy or resemblance which some symbols were supposed to bear to the objects. Thus, an eye was the hieroglyphical symbol of knowledge; a circle, of eternity, which has neither beginning nor end. Hieroglyphics, therefore, were a more refined and extensive species of painting. Pictures delineated the resemblance of external visible objects, by analogies taken from the external world.
4. Egypt was the country where this sort of writing was most studied, and brought into a regular art. In hierogly. phics, they conveyed all the boasted wisdom of their priests. According to the properties which they ascribed to animals, or qualities with which they supposed natural objects to be endued, they pitched upon them to be the emblems or hieroglyphics of moral objects; and employed them in their writing for that end. Thus, ingratitude was denominated by a viper ; imprudence, by a fy; wisdom, by an ant; victory, by a hawk ; a dutiful child, by a stork; a man universally shunned, by an eel, which they supposed to be found in company with no other fish. Sometimes they joined together two or more of these hieroglyphical characters ; as, a serpent with a hawk's head, to denote nature, with God presiding over it.
5. From hieroglyphics, or symbols of things invisible,
Were pictures a perfect representation of facts ?-What method of writing next succeeded pictures ?-- What are hieroglyphics ?-How was knowledge represented ?-How was eternity ?-Where was this sort of writing most used ?-How did the Egyptians represent ingratitude? How imprudence ?-Hon wisdom?-How victory ? -How a dutiful child ?- How a man universally shunned ?