(In the Gîzeh Museum)
Lady of liquid eyes and skin more fair
Than that dear ‘favourite of the Sun,’ your lord,
Who one time wooed you with a lover’s word,
And bound the daisy fillet in your hair;
You saw Seneferu’s pyramid, stair on stair,
Rise snowy white, you heard with one accord
The wail of ancient Egypt when they stored,
Within, his bones who made ‘the Good’ his care.
You little thought that from his mountainous tomb
The King should cease, but you his prince’s wife,
Unharmed for full five thousand years would rest,
From out the dark sand’s tutelary womb
To bring the truth your faithful lips attest,
That Love’s great good is happy wedded life.
Close by the Mêdûm Pyramid, built by the last king of the third dynasty, Seneferu, whose name is said to mean ‘maker of the good,’ there was discovered in 1872, by Mariette Bey, what are probably the oldest portrait-statues in the world. Visitors to the Gîzeh will remember well the life-like expression, calm dignity of their faces, their marvellously fresh colouring, and their glistening eyes. These are the limestone statues of Ra Hotep, son of Seneferu, high priest of On, and commander of the king’s warriors, and his wife lady Nefert. They are seated side by side, Ra Hotep (favourite of the sun-god Ra) is of darker complexion, and sits bare to the waist, holding a roll of papyrus in his left hand to show that he is a man of education. Nefert, the beautiful, with fillet of riband starred with daisies in her hair, and with a banded necklet of pear-shaped jewels round her neck, is fairer of skin, and sits with folded hands, clad in a white garment close fitting above the breast. The eyes of both of these statues have a peculiar lustre, owing to the fact that behind the crystal of which they are composed, is a thin plate of silver to give light and life to them.
(Idylls and Lyrics of the Nile, p. 45)