(From a 1911 edition, published by The Century Co., New York.)
COLOSSI OF MEMNON
THE TOMBS OF THE KINGS
Why do you come to Egypt? Do you come to gain a dream, or to regain
lost dreams of old; to gild your life with the drowsy gold of romance,
to lose a creeping sorrow, to forget that too many of your hours are
sullen, grey, bereft? What do you wish of Egypt?
The Sphinx will not ask you, will not care. The Pyramids, lifting
their unnumbered stones to the clear and wonderful skies, have held,
still hold, their secrets; but they do not seek for yours. The
terrific temples, the hot, mysterious tombs, odorous of the dead
desires of men, crouching in and under the immeasurable sands, will
muck you with their brooding silence, with their dim and sombre
repose. The brown children of the Nile, the toilers who sing their
antique songs by the shadoof and the sakieh, the dragomans, the
smiling goblin merchants, the Bedouins who lead your camel into the
pale recesses of the dunes--these will not trouble themselves about
your deep desires, your perhaps yearning hunger of the heart and the
Yet Egypt is not unresponsive.
I came back to her with dread, after fourteen years of absence--years
filled for me with the rumors of her changes.