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TEMPORA MUTANDUR

When Nile was young; when Britain“s savage hordes
Woad-stained, lurked beastlike in their woods and caves,
Whilst daily battling with the wolf and bear,
And mighty Urus: then, wast Thou divine!
“Fore Thee a priesthood, wise in ancient lore
Spread offerings rich an drare, and humbly bowed,
Whilst Temple girls paced in the votive dance,
With Utchat-Amulet of gold adorned,
Thou didst recline on Pharaoh“s golden throne;
And when Thy time upon this earth was o“er
- And mighty Pharaoh, too, must pass away,
Ptah-Seker-Asar having called ye hence -
Then cunning workmen wrapped Thy slender form
In choicest swaddling-cloths, with spices rare,
And, jewel-decked, Thou shareds“t the Pharaoh“s tomb.
Egypt fell
On evil days: the Roman Eagles waved
Their threatening pinions o“er Nile“s yellow sand -
“Gainst Thee the Roman raised an impious hand -
Not yet, not yet, was Egypt“s spirit dead!
"The Roman slew a cat!" - Athirst for blood -
Forgotten dread of Rome - the swarthy mob
Poured, howling vengeance, from each alley-way -
And the proud Roman knew the taste of death -
For he had slain a cat! ... Far, far away
Are now those Pagan days! O“er all our heads
Civilisation“s blessings freely pour;
O, Bast, look downward through the centuries,
And see Thy children! Timorous through the streets
Some crouch, the sport of every ruffian lad;
Cold-blooded tortures wrench their tender limbs
In name of Science: others meet their end
Choking and struggling in the deadly gas,
Whilst white-clad savants, smiling, book their throues,
And khaki soldiers, shuddering, stand aghast -
Yet scarce a soul lifts a protesting voice!

We are not pagans, as those sons of Nile!
Let uns give thanks we are not such as they!

(H.C. Brooke: "Lines to an Abyssinian Cat", 1925)

 


Mau Bast! Mau Bast! A Basti, per em setat,
erta-na chu em asui neter sentra semu hena
net'emmit, hetep ab em asui tau heqt.

Translation.

Hail Bast! Hail Bast! Hail Bast,
coming forth from the secret place,
may there be given to me splendor
in the place of incense, herbs,
and love-joys, peace of heart in the
place of bread and beer.

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