Intimate life was here, striking the note of coziness of Luxor. And so in Edfu I feel that this untinted austerity is perfect; that whatever may be done in architecture during future ages of the world, Edfu, while it lasts, will remain a thing supreme—supreme in form and, because of this supremacy, supreme in the spell which it casts upon the soul. And one drifts, too; one can but drift, happily, sleepily, forgetting every care. Then the ravine is itself, like the great act that demonstrates a temperament. But Egypt, though it contains so many marvels, has no longer for me the marvellous atmosphere.
A bronze statuette of a Pharaoh discovered in the temple of Amun-Gereb in Thonis Heracleion is an undoubted masterpiece. Now Christians come to seek what Christian Copts destroyed; wander through the deserted courts, desirous of looking upon the faces that have long since been hacked to pieces. Above these isolated houses pigeons circled. My imagination was held captive by the gold. Far off a pool of the Nile, that from here looked like a little palm-fringed lake, turned ruby-red.
And there is one chamber that is simply a place of magic—the hall of the flowers. The different galleries of the exhibition had been designed to resemble the sunken cities of Heracleion and Canopus in Abu Qir Bay, and all the galleries were painted light blue and dark sandy-red to reflect the colours of the sea and sand. At one moment I seemed to look upon the lagoons of Venice, a watery vision full of a glassy calm. Their profound calm, their classical simplicity, are greatly emphasized when no detail can be seen, when they are but black shapes towering to the stars. Their records are for Ra, and must be studied by his rays.
Yet the crocodile god had a noble temple at Kom Ombos, a temple which dates from the times of the Ptolemies, though there was a temple in earlier days which has now disappeared. As I looked at it, I thought of Eleanora Duse. Opposite there is a flood of verdure and of trees going to mountains, a spit of sand where is an inlet of the river, with a crowd of native boats, perhaps waiting for a wind. For the east front has a battlemented wall, and the battlements are shield-shaped. Soon, no doubt, an answer will be given. No, it can never be that.
In physical well-being one sinks down, and with wide eyes one gazes and listens and enjoys, and thinks not of the morrow. Some fanatic had hacked away the mouth. Fortunate Ka of Hatshepsu to have had so cheerful a dwelling! It also encouraged others to visit Egypt. You go to a door in the rock, and a guardian lets you in, and wants to follow you in. Instead of bats, the pigeons fly about them.
Kom Ombos is the house of crocodiles. There were lines of little Alis with their hands held to their breasts, their faces in profile, their knees rigid, in the happy tomb of Thi; but he glanced at them unheeding, did not recognize his ancestors. Owen Jarus, Live Science Contributor Owen Jarus writes about archaeology and all things about humans' past for Live Science. The pilgrims who day by day visit the Sphinx, like the bird, had gone back to Cairo. I went in search of a book about Egypt in LibriVox and found this unexpected gem.
I could never be fond of Medinet-Abu, as I am fond of Luxor, of parts of Karnak, of the whole of delicious, poetical Philae. Tutankhamun may be making some pop-up appearances around Los Angeles, she said, adding that according to the centre director, all the 3,500 tickets available for the first day had been sold. The moon was risen, but the west was still full of color and light. Among these personalities Medinet-Abu is the warrior, standing like Mentu, with the solar disk, and the two plumes erect above his head of a hawk, firmly planted at the foot of the Theban mountains, ready to repel all enemies, to beat back all assaults, strong and determined, powerful and brutally serene. A travelogue written in the early 1900s, I found this book very easy reading. The birds in Egypt have no reverence for age.
The East is full of lust and full of money-getting, and full of bartering, and full of violence; but it is full of worship—of worship that disdains concealment, that recks not of ridicule or comment, that believes too utterly to care if others disbelieve. And these shapes, proportions, different levels, and heights, are seen in dimness. Still the women are covered with protective amulets and hold their black draperies in their mouths. The sacred white lotus must be your emblem, and Horus, the hawk-headed, merged in Ra, your special deity. And on the very day of my arrival she calmly reassured me. I was glad to escape from Shellal, pursued by the shriek of an engine announcing its departure from the station, glad to be on the quiet water, to put it between me and that crowd of busy workers. Beneath me was the native village, in the heart of daylight dusty and unkempt, but now becoming charged with velvety beauty, with the soft and heavy mystery that at evening is born among great palm-trees.
He now expected it to continue. From the top of the pylon you have received this still and glorious impression from the matchless design of the whole building, which you see best from there. There I feel very far away, as a child feels distance from dear, familiar things. Even a building, like a love-lorn maid, can be sentimental. Who could ever describe their soft and enticing shapes, their exquisite gradations of color, the little shadows in their hollows, the fiery beauty of their crests, the patterns the cool winds make upon them? Hichens captures the allure and mystery of Egypt as it was.