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A VERY ANCIENT VARIATION OF THE LEGEND OF THE MOST HOLY ST. DUN-
STAN, ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY. BY ROBERTSON NOEL, ESQ., LL.D. 292
LIFE AND REMINISCENCES OF THOMAS CAMPBELL. BY CYRUS REDDING, ESQ.
AN ATTEMPT TO SHOW THAT FISH ARE THE REAL LORDS OF CREATION
THE CASTLEREAGH MEMOIRS AND CORRESPONDENCE
MR. JOLLY GREEN'S IMPRISONMENT IN THE CHATEAU DE VINCENNES
ANCIENT AND MODERN MONSTER REPTILES. BY W. FRANCIS AINSWORTH, ESQ. 519
LITERARY NOTICES (FOR SEPTEMBER):-THE DISCIPLINE OF LIFE.-
AMYMOME. BY THE AUTHOR OF "AZETH, THE EGYPTIAN."-GOWRIE;
OR, THE KING'S PLOT. BY G. P. R. JAMES, ESQ.-TALES, ESSAYS, AND
POEMS. BY JOSEPH GOSTICK.-A YACHT VOYAGE TO NORWAY, DENMARK,
AND SWEDEN. BY W. A. ROSS, ESQ.-OBSERVATIONS ON ANEURISM, AND
ITS TREATMENT BY COMPRESSION. BY O'BRYEN BELLINGHAM, M.D.
:-AFFECTION: ITS FLOWERS AND FRUITS.
A TALE OF THE TIMES.-BEAUCHAMP; OR, THE ERROR. BY G. P. R.
JAMES, ESQ.-PRESBYTERY EXAMINED: AN ESSAY, CRITICAL AND HIS-
TORICAL, ON THE ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY OF SCOTLAND SINCE THE
REFORMATION. BY THE DUKE OF ARGYLL.-DIARY AND CORRESPOND-
ENCE OF SAMUEL PEPYS. EDITED BY LORD BRAYBROOKE. VOL. III.
BY H. C. ANDERSEN.-MARY BARTON: A TALE OF MANCHESTER LIFE.-
LADY GRANARD'S NIECES: A NOVEL.-MR. EDWIN LEE'S NEW WORKS.
-THE MORAL, SOCIAL, AND PROFESSIONAL DUTIES OF ATTORNIES AND
(FOR DECEMBER):-THE YOUNG COUNTESS; OR, LOVE
AND JEALOUSY. BY MRS. TROLLOPE.-PERCY: OR THE OLD LOVE AND
THE NEW. BY THE AUTHOR OF "THE HEN-PECKED HUSBAND.'
CLARA FANE. A NOVEL. BY LOUISA STUART COSTELLO.-THE TOWN;
ITS MEMORABLE CHARACTERS AND EVENTS. BY LEIGH HUNT.-BEL-
GIUM, THE RHINE, ITALY, GREECE, AND THE SHORES AND ISLANDS OF
THE MEDITERRANEAN. BY THE REV. G. N. WRIGHT AND L. F. A. BUCK-
INGHAM, ESQ.-FISHER'S DRAWING-ROOM SCRAP-BOOK.
NEW MONTHLY MAGAZINE.
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF AN ANCIENT EGYPTIAN DANDY.
BY THE AUTHOR OF AZETH: THE EGYPTIAN."
It seems a contradiction to speak of a dandy of Ancient Egypt; of that stern valley with its wide faith, its dark philosophy, its eternal pyramids and mighty works: it seems impossible that a land which brought forth such enduring mementos of its majesty, should have also cradled children whose sole existence was a gentle vanity, whose worst sin was folly, whose highest virtue was harmlessness from their very weakness. As little as for fair fragile flowers on the rough rock should we think to find our curled and perfumed fop, a thing of such inanity and foolishness, in the same country as that which Isis and Osiris blessed, and for which Rameses and Psamettichus bled. Amidst that giant structure filled with its colossal figures of such surpassing grandeur, rearing up his gentle life like a young blue blossom in the Theban tombs, stands forth the Egyptian dandy. Speak tenderly of his follies; cover up his frailties with the wide cloak of charity; there are more noxious weeds on the bosom of the earth than our vain young fop; and though he does but little good in his brief day, save perhaps to mark by contrast how grand and noble a thing humanity may be made, yet even for his puerilities we have patience, even for his foolish life we have love.
A dandy in Egypt!-a thing of paint and perfume, of lisping speech and empty brain, in that valley which the Nile bound with its living zone, the holy tomb of the members of a God! Strange union this; strange comradeship in blood and land for the descendants of Menes and for the subjects of the Pharaohs. But in Egypt too the earth brought forth the corn-field and the poppy together; and among her sons were the true and the reverent, the earnest and the thoughtful, walking through crowds of fools and foplings whose lives were but the scarlet poppies of the corn-field. Side by side with the swart priest who knows such deep things of Nature and of Nature's God, stands that gentle, vain, bejewelled thing, to whom art and science are but master-workmen for his luxury, to whom the grand world of his religion is but illimitable darkness, and the philosophy of the adytum a chaos of terrifying dread where he is lost without redemption. To him each mythe is a practical fact, which he must believe against reason as he best may; each legendary impersonation is a living existence which he must reconcile with the known laws of nature as he can. He has neither faith nor courage to pierce the outward husk and find the truth which lay concealed beneath all these wrappages of mythe, and God, and sacred life. He believes in the outward; and fears for piety's sake the daring which would lead him to examine his belief. For the priest understanding, for the fopling credence: but can any man believe if he does really understand? And Sept.-VOL. LXXXIV. No. CCCXXXIII.
yet a faith without scrutiny is but cowardice before the truth, though zealots name that scrutiny blasphemy, and its result, if against the public religion, is ranked as one of the actual sins of the day. Our dandy is no religionist, he is no philosopher; delicately he walks through the flower-gardens of life, but the brick-kiln, and the quarry, and the harvest-field, and the workshops of the more stalwart, he passes by as overstern schools for his dainty senses. His God is pleasure; and his shrine is not to be found in the temple or in the labour-field.
Yet though they numbered coquettes and fops among them, there was but little folly for all that in the "Sons of Khem." For the most part they were grave and solemn: even in their lightest arts still recurring to the mysteries of their faith, and in their grander works proving a sublimity of idea overwhelming to us of this pigmy day. But they had both luxury and humour, aye, and the spirit of beauty too among them; though many will smile at this, remembering only the stiff, flat, angular figures painted in red and blue and yellow on the walls, with disproportioned shoulders drawn in front when the figure itself is in profile, with hands long, lean, and skinny, and fingers joined together most uselessly, with large flat feet advanced before each other in a mode which rendered locomotion impossible; all these offences against artistic beauty will rise up in condemnation of our words, and we shall be voted a theorist who takes ideas for substances and wishes for actualities. Forget their delineation of the human figure, where the archaic stiffness of a rude and early time was perpetuated for sanctity in a refined and cultivated age, and instead of priests and kings (though we often find much sweetness, dignity, and grace, with all their angularity and wooden hardness), look at those things which the narrowing hand of religion had not touched. Their vases, cups, baskets, jewellery, and furniture, illustrate their perception and appreciation of beauty; while their architecture and statuary attest to their grandeur, their sublimity, their majesty; and their painted satires prove the humorousness which lurked beneath all their gravity and solid stern philosophy.
The Egyptian architecture stands alone. Neither Parthenon nor Erechtheion, neither Temple of Theseus nor Fane of Artemis, neither Olympeion nor Choragic monument, nor any of the most beautiful temples of Greece, rich as she was in all noble structures, were more harmonious in detail or more grand in idea than the Nile-washed Gods' houses. Symmetry in the parts, and a visible intention throughout the whole, made Egypt's temples the noblest buildings in the world. The heart of the nation was in the work; and when this is the case the result must be proportionately grand.
As to their satire, it must be borne in mind how massive and severe was the genius of the Mizraimites. They had nothing of the Athenian's lighter graces, they had nothing (to judge by analogy) of the sparkling wit, the rapid flow of genial life, the graceful gay luxuriousness, the thoughtless chace of pleasure, which formed the chief elements of Ionian existence; but a staid humour, a seriousness even in frivolity, a power even in weakness, appear through the Egyytian efforts of painted satiric poetry. And thus we exhume torn scrolls and half-effaced pictures of biting satire, together with sacred bird and adored divinity, together with holy amulet and mystic scarab, piled up around the blackened corse of what was once the casket of so much proud fervid life. The tombs on the lonely desert
sands give these to the Arab fellah and the English noble, and with them one of the saddest moral lessons we may learn.
In our example of Egyptian frivolity, an Egyptian daudy, we shall see whether in him, too, are not the characteristics of the nation, despite all his efforts to overlay the core of native solemness with the foreign gilding of gaiety and luxury. See him as he rises from that elegantly-shaped and highly-chased bronze bedstead, tossing aside the fine linens so sweetly. perfumed and so richly embroidered, perhaps in his eagerness tossing them on the blue and ornamented alabaster head-pillow where his head has rested the whole night through, his soul luxuriating in the dreams that floated about him. Grave and decorous is his mien, for all that he is still young enough to gain pardon for any levity; his first waking reflection is, whether the gods have spoken favourably to him through his dreams, and whether they promise him good fortune during the day by the omen of the words first heard. If words of pleasant import, if a blessing or the promise of a happy future, if words of praise, or love, or kindness, then his brow is smooth and bright as a young child's, and the smiles which play around his lips have in them a world of mindless happiness never seen in the smiles of men. And lighter, too, is the weighty business of the toilet, than if weeping, wrangling, discomfort, dispraise, or sorrow, have first greeted him as he awoke from his long soft sleep. The flight of birds, favourable if to the right hand, ominous if to the left, has also the power to affect our dandy as he watches them sail across the square opening from which he has withdrawn the drapery that curtained out the sun; and by such signs as these he interprets of the wrath or favour of the gods; by such small, simple, fortuitous, events the will of the Great Creator, the design of the Awful Wisdom, is fathomed and displayed. This is called piety.
Be the auguries as they may, his day begins with that diurnal curse of civilised man, to shave or to be shaved, as custom and character make it verb active or passive. The Egyptian man of fashion and breeding would probably imitate the upper class of his country, and that upper class was the priestly. This was Mizraim's aristocracy; and wisely and mightily had they welded the political and ecclesiastical power into one giant sword of rule, under which the laymen passed as captives under the harrows. Now the priests, we are told by dear old Herodotus, shaved the whole body for the sake of a cleanliness well-prized in a country which forbade swine's flesh and produced palm-trees; and to be in this hieratic fashion our dandy passes under the knife. Perhaps it is of finely tempered steel, beautifully damaskeened, or inlaid with gold; most likely it is of this, or even a richer pattern, if belonging to himself; but if the property of the barber then a blade of metal, plain and unornamented, or simpler still, a sharp flake of Ethiopian flint shocks our fopling's delicacy and removes his hairy superfluities at the same time. But as the Egyptians hedged round all things pertaining to their religion with peculiar sanctity, and as these Ethiopian flints were used by the incisor to the embalmer, it is probable that the laity were not thus far honoured. For in all its branches embalming was a highly religious rite; and every thing connected with it, excepting the incisor before mentioned, was endowed with a peculiar sacredness unknown to the uninitiated.
After the shaving comes the bath, the most delicious of the luxuries with which every hour of the day is enframed as gems in gorgeous casings.
While he lies in the large cool marble bed, whose sides are covered all over with glowing pictures and marked with gay devices, the huge jars or amphora of unglazed porous earthenware stand round, from whence the cold fresh water is poured over him in a gentle stream by his careful attendants, and flowers and fruits are strown upon the bath to delight the voluptuary idling there. Sweet herbs are gathered up in handfuls; fresh flowers are heaped upon the stands in a pyramid of perfumed loveliness; and the finest gums and essences of Arabia are burnt or scattered round. What a heaven he lies in now! with the bright water laving his delicate body, the breath of the young blossoms and the heavier scents of the burning incense wreathing about him, every luxury of nature and of art collected there for his sole pleasure, and he himself one of a land which was supreme in the earth, one of a race which the gods loved to the exclusion of all foreign and polluted brethren. Bright thoughts are they which fleet through his mind as the clear water slowly trickles round!
And now his body must be anointed with unguents, and scented with other and more precious perfumes of that dear Araby whose very soil is odorous, so steeped in all most exquisite sweetness is it. The ointment is so precious that it is bought with many a one of those massive golden rings, or circular bars, which he keeps in the treasure chests and closets, piled up in small pyramids according to the prevailing fashion. After his body, not his own natural mother-given hair, but that large, bushy, curled, and plaited wig which hangs on the cedar-wood stand near his ebony dressing-table, must also be scented and anointed. The slave who pours the unctuous drops on those black threads is careful not to allow the smallest stain to fall on the carved and gilded stand. For our dandy disdains all his native woods. The sycamore, tamarisk, acacia, and dômpalm trees are not fit to form the furniture of his aristocratic chambers; or if admitted, it is only when dyed, or stained, or gilded, or veneered, or painted, that he could suffer their homeliness to make part of a collection so rare and costly. Cedar, ebony, ivory, cinnamon wood, all and every richest produce of distant lands he diligently collects together in that place of refinement and one of their charms to him is their very costliness.
His eyes and eyebrows must now be painted with the black kohl or collyrium, which he keeps in a small case made of fine porcelain, or of the substance called the false emerald, of the lazule stone, of transparent glass, of agate, gem, or gold, as it suits his fancy. This case or bottle has separate compartments, into which is carefully plunged the slight bronze or golden needle; for it is a delicate operation, requiring skill and much dexterity. In this practice of blackening his eyes he imitates the example of the sweet women of his land, whose languishing orbs have been the theme of praise for ages long. He cannot have more bright examples than the women of his day; superior then and ever in all the graces and adornments of life man cannot err when he takes them as his guides. Our dandy thinks this, though his lips are silent, as he looks into that round highly-polished metal mirror, whose gilded handle, formed perhaps in the likeness of Athor, the dearest and most beautiful of the goddesses, brings a mingled sense of religious, personal, and human admiration, as the goddess, himself, or the woman, is the image most regarded.
His robe of fine linen fringed and bordered with purple, blue, or scarlet, the breast and shoulder-straps being worked in gold, and the full