(In the Gîzeh Museum)
Mighty mother of Priest-kings, say
How fares it now in the ‘Fields of the Sun,’
Does the little gazelle of your earthly play
To the voice of your calling run?
You are sleeping still in your painted chest,
The funeral meats at your side are laid,
Three thousand years you have taken your rest,
And still your soul is a shade!1
She who could call her gazelle so fond
Back from its haunts in the Theban hill,
She who believed in a life beyond
For creatures we care but to kill.
She who dying could think of the dead
—Her playmate wrapped in its linen rolls,
And pray it might lie at her feet, or her head,
For joy in the land of souls.
Uast-Em-Khebit, the broiderers bent,
Not without tears, o’er their task that morn;
They stitched at the glorious funeral tent
Whereunder your body was borne.
When the patch-work squares into beauty grew,
And the hawk of the sun shone out like fire,
They thought of your soul as a hawk that flew,
They remembered your soul’s desire.
And there on the curtain, your sleep above,
They wrought, ‘mid the clusters of palm, the
And about its neck, for a garland, wove
The lilies you loved so well.
[1 At the end of the three thousand years it was believed the soul would re-enter the body, and the dead would arise.]
NOTE.—In the coffin of Uast-Em-Khebit, mother of Pinotem III., last of the Priest-King dynasty of the Her-Hor line (twenty-first dynasty, 1100-1000 B.C.), were found not only the mummied funeral meats, but a very carefully embalmed gazelle, in a coffin shaped to its body form. The funeral tent of this Queen was also discovered, close by the coffin, in the great Deir el Bahari Royal-mummy find, 1881. It is of leathern patch-work, of squares of various colours. Amongst the ornaments of this funeral canopy or tent may be seen stars, daisies, scarabs, uraeus-disk basilisks, and a great hawk of gold; while on the frieze have been wrought, by way of ornament, gazelles crouching by palm clusters, having lotus garlands round their necks. This unique and interesting object is after careful restoration preserved in the Gîzeh Museum, where also may be seen the mummied gazelle of the Egyptian Queen.
(Idylls and Lyrics of the Nile, p. 47)