Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 80.djvu/464

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buried in its interior. What had been its astrologic platform on top was continued on to an apex and then the whole structure sealed up, to remain, so it was fondly hoped, inviolate through time.

One reflection well worth our thought the pyramids suggest: the enduring character of the past beside the ephemeralness of our day. We build for the moment; they built monumentally. True we have printing which they had not. But libraries are not lasting. Fire accidental or purposive has destroyed the greater part of the learning of the far past and promises to do so with what we write now; and what escapes the fire mold may claim. Only that idea which is materially most effectively clothed can withstand for long the gnawing disintegration of time. The astronomic thought of the pyramid-builders lives on to-day; where will record of ours be, I wonder, five thousand years hence. We may be quoted indeed with ever-increasing inaccuracy of transcription, but the star-priests of α Draconis's time speak in their own words still.

To us Cheops is hardly more than a name; long since his ashes were scattered to the winds; but the building those old Chaldean soothsayers constructed for him remains, not only to-day the grandest monument of man but the oldest and most significant astronomical observatory the world has ever had.