Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 28.djvu/652

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that in Homer she is a light-goddess, or when, because no one denies that Phoibos is a light-name, therefore the Apollo of Homer was the Sun, then indeed, not etymology, but the misuse of etymology, hinders and misleads us. In a question of etymology, however, I shall no more measure swords with Mr. Max Müller than with Mr. Huxley in a matter of natural science, and this for the simple reason that my sword is but a lath. I therefore surrender to the mercy of this great philologist the derivation of dine and diner from déjeuner; which may have been suggested by the use of the word dine in our Bible (as John xxi. 12) for breakfasting; a sense expressed by La Bruyère (xi.) in the words, Cliton n'a jamais eu, toute sa vie, que deux affaires, qui sont de diner le matin, et de souper le soir.

But, Mr. Max Müller says, I have offended against the fundamental principles of comparative mythology (N. C. p. 919). How, where, and why, have I thus tumbled into mortal sin? By attacking solarism. But what have I attacked, and what has he defended? I have attacked nothing but the exclusive use of the solar theory to solve all the problems of the Aryan religions; and it is to this monopolizing pretension that I seek to apply the name of solarism, while admitting that "the solar theory has a most important place" in solving such problems (N. C. p. 704). But my vis-à-vis, whom I really can not call my opponent, declares (N. C. p. 919) that the solarism I denounce is not his solarism at all; and he only seeks to prove that "certain portions of ancient mythology have a directly solar origin." So it proves that I attack only what he repudiates, and I defend what he defends. That is, I humbly subscribe to a doctrine, which he has made famous throughout the civilized world.

It is only when a yoke is put upon Homer's neck, that I presume to cry "hands off." The Olympian system, of which Homer is the great architect, is a marvelous and splendid structure. Following the guidance of ethnological affinities and memories, it incorporates in itself the most diversified traditions, and binds them into an unity by the plastic power of an unsurpassed creative imagination. Its dominating spirit is intensely human. It is therefore of necessity thoroughly anti-elemental. Yet, when the stones of this magnificent fabric are singly eyed by the observer, they bear obvious marks of having been appropriated from elsewhere by the sovereign prerogative of genius; of having had an anterior place in other systems; of having belonged to Nature-worship, and in some cases to Sun-worship; of having been drawn from many quarters, and among them from those which Mr. Max Müller excludes (p. 921): from Egypt, and either from Palestine, or from the same traditional source, to which Palestine itself was indebted. But this is not the present question. As to the solar theory, I hope I have shown either that our positions are now identical, or that, if there be a rift between them, it is so narrow that we may conveniently shake hands across it.—Nineteenth Century.