436 PICTURESQUE PALESTLNE.
People came from all parts to hear the plaintive song which Memnon raised to his mother, the
rosy-fingered Dawn, and those who heard it cut their names and elegiacs. One inscription tells
us that " Sabina Augusta, the consort of the Emperor Caesar Augustus [Hadrian], twice
heard the voice of Memnon during the first hour ; " another is in verse, and ends —
'iavrotQ rote IXiyotg TltrpioviavoQ as yepaipu)
ai)3t)fvri Qtifi fjiovffiKa (Hwpa didov£
TlarpdOsv ovvojx' t\iov AovkiXioq, 'IraXoc avr\p
aXka (TV fioi Zwttv dqpov, ava^, xapicrac
while a third testifies that the voice was twice heard " when the sun left the majestic waves of
ocean " by Gemellos, who " came here with his well-beloved wife Rufilla and his children"
(ow KedvPf (iXo^w ^Pov^cWij ical TeKeeaat).
At length the emperor Septimius Severus essayed the dangerous office of restorer, and
reaped the usual fruits. He rebuilt the ruined upper part of the statue with layers of sandstone,
and thereby silenced Memnon for ever. Severus was the last who ever heard the song to the
dawn, and, though Juvenal could write—
Dimidio magicae resonant ubi Memnone chordae,
there is now no voice ; the two weird sentinels in solemn silence sit and brood over the glory
that is departed from them and the house that is left desolate.
The southernmost of the memorial temples of Thebes is that of Rameses III., or Medinet
Habu. His tomb in the Valley of the Kings, generally known as Bruce's, is one of the most
magnificent, and though its sculptures cannot compare with those of Seti's tomb, the subjects
in the side chambers are peculiarly interesting as records of the life of the Egyptians, and
some, as the well-known picture of the Harpers, are executed with exceeding skill. But if
Rameses III.'s tomb may be contrasted unfavourably wdth others, his temple in the plain below
may challenge comparison with any in Egypt. Setting aside the minor temple of Thothmes III.
—which shows signs of frequent and ill-judged restoration, yet presents a fine vista of pylons
and courts (see page 438), albeit the proportions are mean—and confining the attention to the
large temple of Rameses III., it is impossible to deny it one of the first places in the long
series of Egyptian monuments. None certainly is more impressive. You enter, through
immense pylons, two spacious courts, both open to the sky, the first with a covered colonnade
at each side, the second cloistered all round; the columns supporting the roof of the cloister
have heavy lotus-bud capitals, or else the colonnade consists of a row of square pillars, with
the much-defaced figure of Osiris, or rather of Rameses III. in the attributes of Osiris,
sculptured on the side next the court. The second of these magnificent quadrangles was once
used as a Christian church, for Roman pillars are still standing on one side, dwarfed by their
gigantic neighbours (see page 439), and many lie around on the floor. Beyond is the hall of
columns, which must have been too crowded for a just effect, but the merits of which are now
beyond discussion, since the columns have all been cut down to four or six feet from the ground
to suit the requirements of the Coptic settlement which till lately encumbered the spot. Various
chambers and sanctuaries lay beyond the hypostyle hall, but they are mainly destroyed now.