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are ov13. from the real difference of the Nile's in-
cou'rees of its increase have been carefully consider'd; Lib. 17. by a long series of regular obfervations, made dup. 789.
thng many years, the inundation itself discover'd what
the inhabitants of which knew, by that means, befor thisehande what they might fear or promise themselves mon dirom the harvest. Strabo speaks of a well on
the banks of the Nile near the town of Syene, made for that purpose.
-The same custom is observed to this day at Grand Herod. Cairo. 'n the court of a mosque there stands a pil1. 2. C.-19. bar, on wich are mark'd the degrees of the Nile's Diod. l. 1. mcrease; and common criers every day proclaim in P. 32.
All parts of the city, how high it is risen. The tri-
protector of idolatry, caus'd this pillar to be replaced in the same temple, out of which ic was again remov'd by the command of Theodosius. ? 6. The canals of the Nile and spiral pumps.
Divine Providence, in giving so beneficent a river to Egypt, did not thereby intend, that che inhabitants of it should be idle, and enjoy so great a blesing, without taking any pains. One may na- turally suppose, that as the Nile could not of itself cover che whole country, great labour was to be us’d
10 facilitate the overflowing of the lands; and num. - berless canals cur, in order to convey the waters to all parts. The villages, which stood very thick on the banks of the Nile on eminences, had each their canals, which were open'd at proper times, to let the water into the country. The more diftant villages had theirs also, even to the extremitie of the : Kingdom. Thus the waters are successi ely con ; vey'd to the most remote places. Persons are not
permitted to cut the trenches to receive the waters, till -- the river is at such a height, nor to open them all.
together ; because otherwise fome lands would be too much overflow'd, and others not covered enough. . They begin with opening them in Upper, and af
terwards in Lower Egypt, according to the rules È prescribed in a roll or book, in which all the measures
are exactly set down. By this means the water is disposed with such care, that it spreads it feff over all
the lands. The countries overflowed by the Nile are ; fo extensive, and lie so low, and the number of, ça
nals so great, chat of all the waters which now dito Egypt during the months of June, July and Auguit, 'tis believed that not a tenth part of them reaches the sea.
But as, notwithstanding all these canals, there are abundance of high lands which cannot receive the benefit of the Nile's overflowing ; this want is fup: C 2
plied by spiral pumps, which are turned with oxen, in order to bring the water into pipes, which convey
it to these lands. Diodorus speaks of such an engine's
i (called Cochlea Ægyptia) invented by Archimedes in N p. 30. & 1. 5. p.
his travels into Egypt. 1° 313.
7. The fertility caus’d by the Nilea There is no country in the world where the soil : is more fruitful than in Egypt; which is owing entirely to the Nile t. For whereas other rivers, when they overflow lands, wash away and exhaust their vivific moisture; the Nile, on the contrary, by the excellent fime it brings along with it, fattens and enriches them in such a manner, as sufficiently compensates for what the foregoing harvest had impair'd. The husbandman, in this country, never cires himself with holding the plough, or breaking the clods Ef earth. As soon as the Nile retires, he has nothing *co do but to turn up the earth, and temper ic with a little fand, in order to lefsen its ranknefs ; after which he rows it with great ease, and with little or no expence. Two months after, it is covered with all sorts of corn and pulse. The Egyptians generally fow in October and November, according as the waters draw off, and their harveft is in March and April... . The same land bears, in one year, three or four different kinds of crops. Lettices and cucumbers are sown first; then corn; and, after harvest, several sorts of pulse which are peculiar to Egypt. As the sun is extremely hue in this country, and that rains fall very seldom in it; 'tis natural to sup. pose, that the earth would soon be parched, and the corn and pulse burnt up by so scorching 2
+ Cum cæteri amnes ablu- juvat agros duabus ex caufis, & ant terras & eviscerent; Nilus quod inundat, & quod oblimat. adeo nihil \exedit nec abradit ; Senec. Nat. Quæft. 1. 4.6. 2.. ut contr , adjiciat vires. ... Ita
heat, heat, were it not for the canals and reservoirs with which Egypt abounds; and which, by the drains from thence, amply-fupply wherewith to water and refresh the fields and gardens.
The Nile contributes no less to the nourishment of cattle, which is another source of wealth to Egypt. The Egyptians begin to turn them out to grass in November, and they graze till the end of March. Words could never express how rich their pastures are ; and how fat the focks and herds, (which, by reason of the mildness of the air, are out night and day) grow in a very little time. During the inundation of the Nile, they are fed with hay and cut straw, barley and beans, which are their common food.
A MAN cannot, says Corneille le Bruyn in his tra-v vels, help observing the admirable Providence of God to this country, who sends at a fixed season such great quantities of rains in Ethiopia, in order to water Egypt, where a shower of rain scarce ever falls; and who, by that means, causes the driest and moit sandy soil, to become the richest and most fruitful country in the universe.
ANOTHER thing to be observed here, is that, (as the inhabitants say) in the beginning of June and the four following months, the north-east winds blow : constantly, in order to keep back the waters which otherwise would flow too fast; and to hinder them. from discharging themselves into the sea, the entrance to which these winds bar up, as it were from them. The ancients have not omitted this circumstance.
The same Providence, whose ways are wonderful Multiforand infinitely various, displayed itself after a'quite mis sapidifferent manner in Palestine, in rendering it exceed- entia. ingly fruitful, not by rains, which fell during the ? course of the year, as is usual in other places ; nor by a peculiar inundation like that of the Nile in Egypt'; but by sending fixed rains at two seasons, when the people were obedient to God, to make them more
· C3 .. sensible
sensible of their continual dependence upon him.
God himself commands chem, by his servant Moses, Deut. 11. to make this reflection. The land whither thou goeft 10-13. in to possess it, is not as the land of Egypt, from whence
ye came out, where thou fowedst thy feed and wateredst it with thy foot as a garden of herbs: But the land whitber ye go to possess it, is a land of bills and valleys, and drinketh water of the rain of heaven. After this, God promises to give his people, so long as they shall continue obedient to him, the former and the latter rain: The first in autumn, to bring up the corn; and the fecond in the spring and summer, to make it grow and ripen.
.8. Two different prospects exhibited by the Nile.
THERE cannot be a finer light than Egypt at two seasons of the year * For if a man ascends fome 'mountain, or one of the largest pyramids of Grand Cairo, in the months of July and August, he beholds a vast sea, in which numberless towns and villages appear, with several causeys leading from place to place; the whole interspers’d with groves and fruittrees, whose tops are only visible, all which forms a delightful prospect. This view is bounded by mountains and woods, which terminate, at the utmost diftance the eve can discover, a most lovely sky. On the contrary, in winter, that is to say, in the months of January and February, the whole country is like one continued scene of beautiful meadows, whose verdure, enamelled with flowers, charms the eye. The spectator beholds, on every side, flocks and herds dispersed over all the plains, with infinite numbers of husbandmen and gardeners. The air is then perfumed by the great quantity of blossoms on the
* Illa facies pulcherrima eft, terraneis, nifi per navigia, comçum jam fe in agros Nilus inger mercium eft: majorque est lætifit. Latent campi, .opertæque tia in gentibus, quo minus terrafunt vailes : oppida insularum rum suarum vident. Senec. Nat. modo extant. Nullum in medio Quæft. 1. 4.6:2.