Writing and Literature 77
fested. It is a clumsy production, revealing a heavy kind of
humour. It will be news to some readers that the Egyptians
had a sense of humour, but such is the fact, as much evidence
could be brought to show.
This very incomplete sketch cannot be concluded without
reference to the lyrical poetry of which we possess all too few
and too unintelligible specimens. The love-songs might have
been written by Heine himself. The quotation of one will be
more eloquent than any description:
Seven days from yesterday I have not seen my beloved,
And sickness hath crept over me.
And I am become heavy in my limbs,
And am unmindful of mine own body.
If the master-physicians come to me,
My heart hath no comfort of their remedies,
And the magicians, no resource is in them,
My malady is not diagnosed.
Better for me is my beloved than any remedies,
More important is she for me than the entire compendium of medicine.
My salvation is when she enters from, without,
When I see her, then am I well;
Opens she her eye, my limbs are young again;
Speaks she, and I am strong.
And when I embrace her, she banishes evil,
And it passes from me for seven days.
Perhaps the only blemish in this, from the modern point of
view, is the artificial introduction of the word 'seven' in the
first and last lines. The poem comes from a book in which each
love-song is ushered in and ended with a numeral, or with a pun
upon it. A tedious device, but not enough to spoil the poem
as a whole.
. Another love-song .runs as follows:
Mayst thou come to thy beloved quickly
Like a royal envoy whose lord is impatient for his message,