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And some, with sullen plunge, do mock our sight,
Whose heart so long hath held thy form enshrined;
Oh let my memory, Isbal, haunt thy mind.
Not for myself-oh! not for me be given
Vain thoughts of vain regret, though that were sweet;
Where, if thou willest it, we yet may meet.
Those scenes to mind, in which I had a share;
Together, yet asunder in one home-
Yes, Isbal, yes; to thee I owe the shade
That prematurely darkens on my brow;
But-but that-see! the vision haunts me now!"
Our forms were pictured seated side by side;
I gazed on them, and hers was very fair;
And mine-was as thou seest it now, my bride.
And all her ebon curls were streak'd with grey;
On which spring showers and summer warmth are wasted.'
Such passages as these sufficiently show where Mrs Norton's true field lies, and how likely she is, within her proper department, to attain an elevated place in poetry. Other proofs might easily be selected from the miscellaneous poems which are appended in the Undying One; among which that entitled, Recollections,' is perhaps the most striking. There is a peculiarly graceful flow of versification, and simplicity of expres sion, in the following stanzas:—
'Do you remember when we first departed
From all the old companions who were round us,
And talked with smiles of all the links which bound us?
With unfelt weariness o'er hill and plain,
How our young hearts kept boiling up, and burning,
'Do you remember how the dreams of glory
When a light breeze, a flower, hath brought to mind
The present volume is an improvement on its predecessor.* The next (for in the glass of futurity we see others) will, we are sure, be a still greater improvement on the present, provided always Mrs Norton eschews the supernatural and the exaggerated, and trusts to her power of depicting the calmer aspects of life, and
The common thoughts of mother earth,
Its simpler mirth and tears.'
The Sorrows of Rosalie, written, we believe, when Mrs Norton was very young.
ART. V.-Lettres à M. Letronne, Membre de l'Institut, et de la Légion d'Honneur, Inspecteur-Général de l'Université de France, sur les Papyrus Bilingues et Grecs, et sur quelques autres Monumens Gréco-Egyptiens du Musée d'Antiquités de l'Université de Leide. Par C. J. C. REUVENS, Professeur d'Archéologie, et Directeur du Musée. 4to. (Avec un Atlas, fol.) A Leide: 1830.
THE HE Museum of Egyptian Antiquities at Leyden, although of very recent formation, is indisputably one of the most interesting and valuable in Europe. It consists, firstly, of the celebrated Anastasy collection, the acquisition of which is due to the liberality of the Netherlands government, by whom it was purchased for a large sum in the year 1828; secondly, of the minor collections previously acquired, of M. de l'Escluze, a merchant of Bruges, and the Signora Cimba of Leghorn; thirdly, of a variety of articles separately obtained either by purchase or donation; forming altogether an assemblage of monuments worthy of being classed with the first cabinets in Europe, and greatly superior to all those of secondary importance. Inferior in grand monuments to the superb Drovetti collection at Turin, that of the Chevalier d'Anastasy, here deposited, is certainly equal, both in the number and value of its contents, to the collection of Mr Salt, our late consul-general at Alexandria, which now forms the principal ornament of the Egyptian division of the new Museum in the Louvre; whilst, in some things, particularly Græco-Egyptian manuscripts, it is decidedly superior to both. Of grand monuments, it contains a monolithic chapel, statues, sarcophagi, stelæ, mummies, and fragments, some of them covered with hieroglyphic sculptures; the smaller articles are of all the kinds and classes known to travellers or antiquaries; and in the department of manuscripts it is exceedingly rich; containing in all a hundred and thirty-two, of which above a hundred are papyral, strictly so called, and twenty-four are written on cloth. Of the papyri, twenty are in Greek, and three bilingual; not to mention demotic contracts with apposite registries in Greek, nor interlineations and transcriptions in the Grecian character, which appear on several of these manuscripts. The total number of
* Swedish vice-consul at Alexandria, and well known for the zeal, industry, and perseverance with which he devoted himself to the study as well as the collection of Egyptian antiquities.
papyri in the Museum is a hundred and forty-seven, of which fifteen, obtained prior to the purchase of the Anastasy collection, are purely Egyptian, and in a high state of preservation.
The Lettres which Professor Reuvens, the keeper of the Museum, has addressed to the distinguished author of L'Histoire de l'Egypte tirée des Inscriptions Grecques, may be considered as the precursors of a more extensive and complete work on these monuments. They are three in number, and are devoted, the first to an elaborate analysis and illustration of two very remarkable bilingual manuscripts in papyrus; the second, to an exposition of a Greek inscription on a monument in marble, believed, with reason, to be of Egyptian origin; and the third, to a variety of analytical details respecting the Greek papyri, which occupy so prominent a place in this collection. The first, however, is, in several respects, the most curious and important; for although considerable ingenuity is evinced in the restoration of the inscription on the marble monument, and very satisfactory information is conveyed respecting the subject-matter of the Greek papyri examined, yet Professor Reuvens greatly overrates the importance of the one, and there seems to be but little that is really interesting or valuable in the contents of the other. But it is otherwise with the bilingual manuscripts; which, independently altogether of their contents, remarkable as these undoubtedly are, afford the means of adding considerably to the number of demotic characters or groups already ascertained, and of contributing to the extension of the enchorial alphabet, as well as to the enlargement of the enchorial lexicon. This, it is true, is a task which still remains to be performed. Profoundly versed in archæological learning, and having easy access to the contents of these manuscripts through the medium of the Greek versions, M. Reuvens has applied his erudition and ingenuity to the illustration of the strange philosophical fancies with which they are filled; to the exclusion of the more humble but useful labour of determining new groups of characters, and thus increasing the means of deciphering such manuscripts as are purely Egyptian. He has forgotten that we are much more in want of elementary knowledge than of learned disquisitions; and that the discovery of a new fact is worth a thousand speculations, however ingenious, on a subject where, as yet, but little is really known, and even that little imperfectly. Until we are able, without accidental or factitious aids, to decipher Egyptian writings, whether in the sacred, the hieratic, or the enchorial character, it is vain to hope that any effectual progress will be made in the wide field of enquiry, which has at length been opened to enlightened curiosity; and hence the improvement of
the instrument, or key, by which alone this can be accomplished, ought, in our opinion, to engross a corresponding and pre-eminent share of attention. At the same time, it is but just to say that, in the secondary investigations to which Professor Reuvens has confined himself, he has not only displayed an intimate acquaintance with Egyptian archæology in its principal branches, but, by a happy concentration of numerous scattered rays, scarcely discernible by an ordinary eye, he has succeeded in throwing a powerful and steady light on several points which were previously involved in mystery and darkness; and particularly in detecting the real source of those theosophistical extravagancies which, engrafted on Christianity, constituted the Gnosticism of the first ages of the church.*
The two bilingual papyri analyzed by Professor Reuvens are numbered 65 and 75 in the catalogue of the Museum. The former, considered by M. d'Anastasy, as one of the principal ornaments of his collection, he describes as grand papyrus en 'caractères hiératique sou démotiques, se déroulant en rituel à pages; les lignes entremêlées de caractères Grecs dans presque 'toutes les pages et espaces plus ou moins: sur le revers écrit avec lacunes dans la partie supérieure seulement, en hiéro'glyphes, caractères hiératiques ou démotiques et Grecs.' The latter, transmitted in a third supplement to his collection, he represents as'écrit d'un côté en Grec, de l'autre en démotique;' expressions which, as we shall presently see, require correction. No. 65 is principally in the hieratic character; but with some Greek texts, it moreover contains interlinear transcriptions of demotic words written in Greek, and is thus of inestimable value both for the verification and extension of the new system of Egyptian interpretation; although, as we have already remarked, Professor Reuvens has unaccountably neglected to apply it to the purpose for which it is so singularly adapted. This papyrus, which is rolled, and, excepting the beginning, in a good state of preservation, is ten feet in length by nine inches and a half in breadth. No. 75 is only about half the length of No. 65, but
*The promptitude of M. Reuvens is not less remarkable than his learning. Although the negotiations were concluded early in 1828, the Anastasy collection did not reach Leyden until the commencement of 1829, and the gratuitous additions, transmitted by the chevalier, were only received in August 1830: yet these Lettres were published before the close of last year; and moreover the appendix contains an account of a papyrus, which must have arrived after a considerable portion of the work had passed through the press. The activity and readiness of the learned keeper are therefore manifest.