THE CRESCENT AND THE CROSS. [chap. vra.
cairo-its port—view from without—within—the citadel,
While far as sight can reach, beneath as clear
And blue a heaven as ever blessed this sphere,
Gardens, and minarets, and glittering domes,
And high-built temples, fit to be the homes
Of mighty gods, and pyramids whose hour
Outlasts all time, above the waters tower.
Morning found us anchored off Boulac, the port of Cairo.
Toward the river it is faced by factories and storehouses : within,
you find yourself in a labyrinth of brown narrow streets, that
resemble rather rifts in some mud mountain, than anything with
which architecture has had to do. Yet here and there the
blankness of the walls is broken and varied by richly-worked
lattices, and specimens of arabesque masonry. Gaudy bazaars
strike the eye and relieve the gloom, and the picturesque popu-
lation that swarms everywhere keeps the interest awake.
On emerging from the lanes of Boulac, Cairo, Grand Cairo !
opens on the view ; and never yet did fancy flash upon the poet's
eye a more superb illusion of power and beauty than the " city
of Victory " * presents from a distance. The bold range of the
Mokattam mountains is purpled by the rising sun, its craggy
summits are cut clearly out against the glowing sky, it runs like a
promontory into a sea of the richest verdure, here wavy with a
breezy plantation of olives, there darkened with acacia, groves.
Just where the mountain sinks upon the plain, the citadel stands
upon its last eminence, and widely spread beneath it lies the city,
a forest of minarets with palm trees intermingled, and the domea
* " El Kahira," the Arabic epithet of this city, means " the Victorious
whence our word Cairo : in Arabic " Misr."