Oh, thou beneficent and bounteous stream !
Thou Patriarch River ! on whose ample breast
We dwelt the time, that full at once could seem
Of busiest travel and of softest rest.
R. M. Milnes.
What a versatile power our mind possesses of adapting nature to
its mood ! It is not what a country is, but what we are, that ren-
ders it rich in interest or pregnant with enjoyment. Even in
this monotonous life we lead upon the Nile, though the scenery,
and even the events among which we live, are generally the re-
petition of the former day's experience ; yet the fluctuating mind
makes its own variety, and, to say truth, we are not a little in-
debted to the illusion. Even Egypt cannot supply an inexhausti-
ble excitement of interesting objects; and, although these are
unique in their way, the traveller requires to have recourse to
study or sheer exercise, if he would preserve his elasticity of
mind. The same river is ever murmuring round us; each
clay-built village, buried in its graceful grove of palms, appears
but a recurrence of the last; the same range of the Arabian
mountains, unvarying in form, runs along our left; here and
there, the Lybian chain of hills advances and retires from the
banks, but it seems always the same hill or glen that lies before
us ; there are ever the same cloudless sky and delicious tempe-
rature (how precious would be a storm !) ; the same gorgeous
sunsets and nightly blue, starry with constellations by which
Abraham steered his course from the land of Chaldea: day by
day, and week by week, we are tranquilly floating by colossal
temples, mountain pyramids, excavated hills, man-made rivers,
and monk-made hermitages in which a hysena might feel lonely.
But, lest my reader should weary of such scenery, I will sum up