Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Africa: Vol. XXIV. 1876–79.

Egypt, Nubia, and Abyssinia: Heliopolis (Mataria)


By Joseph Ellis (1815–1891)

(From Caesar in Egypt)

NEXT Heliopolis, City of the Sun,—

A shattered sepulchre, a wreck of shrines!

Here Cæsar, zealous, “This must we survey;

The hallowed spot where Plato and Eudoxus

Conceived new thoughts,—where Moses, legislator,

Derived his wisdom to instruct mankind,—

Moses, prime leader of a tribe heroic,

Who told of heaven and earth, in godlike words.

This city first-named On, whence Joseph took,

For wife, the high-priest’s daughter, Asenath;

Whence later Baruch, Jeremiah sang.

This seat of learning where sage Manetho wrote,

Which fostered Solon and Pythagoras,

Where somewhile dwelt sublime Euripides.”

So saw he vestiges of those grand temples

Built to the Sun-god Re; and obelisks,

Ancient when seen by Moses and by Plato,—

Transported now to European shores.