Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 26, 1915.djvu/361

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The Religions Basis of Social Union. 351

It is easy to justify the Elders in their suspicious and adroit use of the royal Shavian. He is clearly on his way to become a God Incarnate, but the divine is capricious and cannot be reckoned with. Their system of fetish- monarchy — in theory everything, in effect nothing — is an honest attempt to centralize and render innocuous the magical viaua for the tribal good — to forestall its unauthor- ized abuse for private ends. Hence the trappings of royalty — the crown, the sceptre, the throne — are far more important than the wearer for the time being: as in the tribal life-current, here once again the impersonal is pro- minent. The king unites the functions of a deity, a rain- maker, a healer (at least down to Queen Anne and Dr. Johnson), a magician, a harvest-victim, a piacular scapegoat : the spirit must pass from him into his successor when he is in full vigour before its power has evaporated. This monarchy differs toto calo from the Sire's patriarchal absolutism, often wrongly described as its origin. It is the first reflective or calculated form of government : the mana of the tribe, the uncovenanted ' grace ' and holiness of the unit must be localized and concentrated for tribal purposes like a charge in a galvanic battery ; it must then be guarded with the utmost care. It is curious to note the changes in this notion of Sacrosanct Royalty : the wizard-king, the personal fetish empowered by the sorcerers to be the vehicle of power, the divine son of Solar ancestry, the incarnate deity, the monarch ruling by ' right divine,' the elective popular monarch, who is even to-day in Servia and Norway something quite different from a mere official or first magistrate in virtue of the mystic act of crowning. He represents, as our Gracious Sovereign to-day, the con- tinuous tradition and stability of the realm, the unity and harmony (if this be possible) of the incoherent aggregate of conflicting races, interests and creeds within it. For such an idea no possible substitute could be found among the shifting adventurers of demagogy or upon the impenetrable