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They bid him listen to the tales they tell
Of nations perish'd and embalm'd in story ;
How inly rotting they were sapp'd and fell,
Like some proud oak whilome the forest's glory.

Sepulchral ruins crumble where a maze
Of busy streets once rang with life's commotion;
Where sculptured palaces in bygone days
Were gorged with spoils of conquer'd earth
and ocean.

For Faction rent the seamless robe of Peace,
And, parting children of a common mother,
Bade fealty and loving concord cease
To link the hearts he sever'd from each other.

Such is the burthen of those solemn notes
That issue from the haunted graves of nations ;
Where, spread by Time, a veiling shadow floats
O'er spirits preaching from their ruin'd stations.


ONE of the most agreeable places in Egypt, is
old Cairo, either to pass through, or to reside in.
After jogging through a mile or two of narrow
bustling streets, with tall houses and balconies
jealously excluding the sun, and leaving the
sacred precincts of Sitti Zeyneb behind, you
emerge suddenly behind rubbish-mounds and
villages into full view of the great aqueduct
winding down on your left to the river's
edge. Tho sun beats, and the wind blows
clouds of dust; donkeys laden with burseem,
camels, andsuch is the progress of civilisation
water-carts pour along in unbroken
succession; women scream, and men roar,
and beggars importune. Luckily the navigation
is short. You go round the head of the
aqueduct, and suddenly find yourself in the
nicest little street you can imagine, the
entrance shaded by trees, and the distant
vista prolonged by treesthe houses small
and quiet-looking, with flowers in the
windows and pretty faces at the doors
nothing but the costume to tell you that you
are not in a tranquil village in England.

A little farther the scene changesyou are
almost out in the country again; and the
breaks between the houses and the trees on
the right, show the rapid narrow channel of
the Nile, that runs between you and Rhoda
Island, where a succession of palm-groves and
white palaces, with romantic-looking landing
stairs, shaded by some drooping sycamore,
strongly remind one of many scenes in the
"Arabian Nights." In the other direction, the
gigantic tapering minarets of the new Mosque
on the citadel constantly reappear as you
ride along.

But the street closes in again, and assumes
a different character. Large walled gardens,
within which one can occasionally distinguish
corners or pinnacles of mysterious-looking
houses embowered in trees; courtyards devoted
to business, and containing huge mountains of
grain or of chopped straw; boat-builders'
stations, and all the signs of a commercial
place, soon begin to appear. And then you
get into a bazaar or street of ships; and then
into the market-place, from near which the
ferry-boats start for Gizeh and the Pyramids ;
and then into another bazaar, and to the
neighbourhood of the Custom-house, where
first this huge by-street makes a bend, and
after going through a neighbourhood principally
devoted to private houses and gardens,
becomes at length a country road, leading
out to the Attar-En-Nebbi or Prophet's

What I have thus endeavoured to describe,
is almost the only aspect of Old Cairo which
visitors usually witness ; and indeed there
are many parts of the place which it is not
easy to see, unless you go with a very positive
determination to do so. If you turn off from
the great street in any other direction but the
real bazaar, you are instantly assailed by the
information, generally vouchsafed by old
women and children, that there is no
thoroughfare; you turn, and twist, and wind,
and generally come back to the place from
which you started, after having passed through
a variety of narrow lanes, and ventured into
twenty blind alleys. The town, in fact, is
divided into quarters, each with its separate
gate, and each inhabited, no doubt, by a kind
of class of peoplethe relics, probably, of the
original population that settled here in the
time of Amer-ibn-el-As, some twelve hundred
years ago. It is impossible to imagine anything
more quiet than these quarters, without
being dismal. For, although the light of the
sun is generally shut out, yet here and there
a few bright beams find their way down upon
some carved projecting window, or into some
little square, where perhaps a single palm-tree
bends gracefully over, and throws a small
patch of shadow upon some snug corner,
where two or three children gracefully sit,
and look in unfeigned astonishment, at the
intruder in another costume, and of another

The bazaar is in itself tolerably well-stocked,
although many shops are closed. A
certain bustle prevails, because boatmen and
country people often come there to buy ; but
the manners of the place seem a century
behind those of Cairo. The dealers are more
grave, and more impressed with the importance
of their social position, and, without being
in the slightest degree rude, evidently regard
a Frank as an object of curiosity. There they
sit, pipe in hand, calmly waiting for customers,
generally in silence, sometimes talking with
neighbours over the way ; but all with a
decent gravity quite delightful to behold.

There are a good many other things to see
and notice in and about the strange old
decayed city, as the fortified convent where
the Chamber of the Virgin is shown ; but the
most curious object is the Mosque of Amer,
that stands on the eastern side. I went one
day to visit it, in company with a devout Arab.
It stands almost alone amidst dusty mounds,

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