On the January 14th, 1822, after 14 years of study, Jean Fran?ois
Champollion deciphered the names Ramses and Touthmosis on a copy of the
Rosetta stone and became the first modern man to read an egyptian
hieroglyph. He ran to his brother's office, shouted "Je tiens
l'affaire!" (I hold the key!) and collapsed. He was unconcious for four
Champollion dreams of the god Anubis,
his dog jaws snapping at the scholar's bed,
he dreams of Set, and beautiful Isis,
and hawk head Horus awaiting the dead.
He dreams in Coptic and ancient Sanscrit,
phonetic glyphs tumbling off of his lips,
he dreams of Ramses, king of Egypt,
and slaves quaking beneath their masters whips.
Champollion dreams of the meandr'ing Nile,
past Catfish, Crockodile, Ibis and Lynx.
Beneath a circle sun, with a weary smile,
he waits a while beside the waiting Sphynx.
He dreams of the stone in Memphis sand
the British Museum now guarding that prize,
and shudders beneath his brothers hand
as his own copy fades before his eyes.
He dreams of poverty closing its grip,
of years of work and candle-lit despair.
A single cartouche to end his hardship.
I have the key - Je tiens l'affair.