68 PLCTURESQUE PALESTLNE.
;<the silver streak" which severs Africa from Asia? Where is Migdol, the frontier fort in
Ezekiel's days, and Pelusium, the " City of Sweet Repose," near the Serbonian bog, and Avaris,
" which commanded the border, at once the place of arms and the last possession of the
mysterious shepherds " ? A few high mounds are all that break the desolate scene of Pompey's
murder. Migdol is supposed by some to be represented by the hillock called Tell-es-Samut.
Lofty mounds, again, and the scattered ruins of temples near Zakazik are what remain to us of
that famous city of Bubastis, at which Herodotus marvelled, and whither, he tells us, seven
hundred thousand pilgrims yearly came to celebrate the festival of Bast, the cat-headed goddess
of burning love, with riotous rites, just as their descendants keep the Molid of the Muslim saint
Ahmad El-Bedawy at Tanta hard by. The young men of Pi-beseth, as the Hebrew prophet
called Bubastis, have fallen by the sword, and the cities went into captivity (Ezekiel xxx. 17).
Nothing more impressive exists in all the wonderful sights of Egypt than this total overthrow
of the great cities of the Delta. The " best of the land " is become a very Golgotha of a
vanished and unreturning splendour. Turkish conquest and Roman neglect have verified the
words, " I will make the canals dry, and sell the land into the hand of the wicked : and I will
make the land waste, and all that is therein, by the hand of strangers : I the Lord have
spoken" (Ezekiel xxx. 12).
Goshen itself, the city which gave its name to half the " Arabian Nome," and which was
the capital of the district assigned to Joseph's kinsfolk, has shared the fate of all the border-
cities. The site can be shown at Fakus, in which we trace the Greek Phaccusa, the Egyptian
Pa-Kesem, and the Hebrew Goshen. We can now go by railway to the place whither Jacob
journeyed, full of years and troubles, to end his days near his son, the famous viceroy of Egypt.
But of the Hebrew capital—as of all the cities of the Delta—there remains nothing but the
inevitable mounds. Everywhere throughout this wonderful land, where the Shepherd Kings
conquered, where the children of Israel toiled, where a Pharaoh oppressed and another Pharaoh
pursued, the plain is varied only by this one monotonous feature : mounds in every direction
show the traveller where the buried cities of Zoan and Goshen lie waiting the tardy labours of
the explorer to render up their secrets and tell something of their eventful and mysterious
history. No part of Egypt demands excavation more loudly than the eastern half of the
Delta; nowhere are the problems to be resolved so novel or so important. The cultus ot
the Shepherds, at present shrouded in obscurity, but offering already strange and remarkable
features, bears, we know not how vitally, upon the religion of Israel ; the sojourn of the
Hebrews in Egypt await illustration in wall-sculptures of tombs ; the mummies of the children
of Israel themselves are beneath these mounds, if only the trouble were taken to uncover
them. Mariette, ever in the van, did something for Zoan, but there remains a splendid field
for a discoverer. The remarkable success attending the excavations at Pithom in 1883 is a
good omen for the future; and Tanis and Daphnse only await a like exploration to reveal,
perhaps, even more astonishing results.
Near Cairo, forming the southern point of the triangle which included the land of Goshen,