Page:The Mythology of the Aryan Nations.djvu/82

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50
MYTHOLOGY OF THE ARYAN NATIONS.

BOOK I. allows that what he terms allegory is one of the constituent elements of Greek mythology.^ But even if we admit the objection in its full force, we lack but a single link to complete the chain of evidence and turn an overwhelming probability into fact. Have we any records of that old time in which men spoke as Greek and Norse myths seem to tell us that they spoke ? Have we any actual relics of that speech in which men talked of Daphne as chased by Phoibos, even while Daphne was still a common name of the dawn, and Phoibos meant simply the sun ? ^

The mis- The Vedic hymns of the Mantra period stand forth to give us the smf lied in ^^swer ; but they do so only to exhibit a fresh marvel. While they the older show to US the speech which was afterwards petrified into the forms poems. of Greek and Norse mythology, they point to a still earlier time, of which no record has come down, and of which we can have no further evidence than that which is furnished by the laws which determine the growth of language. Even in the Mantra period, the earliest in all Sanskrit, and therefore (as exhibiting the earliest form of thought) the oldest in all human literature, the whole grammar is definitely fixed, and religious belief has assumed the character of a creed. And if in this period man has not lived long enough to trace analogies and arrive at some idea of an order of nature, he has grown into the strongest conviction that behind all the forms which come before his eyes there is a Being, unseen and all-powerful, whose bidding is done throughout the wide creation, and to whom men may draw nigh as children to a father. The key to When, therefore, in these hymns, Kephalos, Prokris, Hermes, mytho-^^ Daphne, Zeus, Ouranos, stand forth as simple names for the sun, the logy. dew, the wind, the dawn, the heaven and the sky, each recognised as such, yet each endowed with the most perfect consciousness, we feel that the great riddle of mythology is solved, and that we no longer lack the key which shall disclose its most hidden treasures. When

  • History of Greece, vol. i. p. 2. of the German faith with the Norse, and
  • It is scarcely necessary to say that the antiquity of the latter, are thereby

on this evidence of language Grimm vindicated." Thus of the identity of lays the greatest possible stress. The their mythic notions and nomenclature affinity of the dialects spoken by all " the agreement of the O.I I. G. w//.f/////, Teutonic and Scandinavian tribes being O. .Sax. miKhpelli, with the Eddie ;//«j- admittcd, we have to consider the fact pell, of the O. H.G. it is, A. Sax. ides, of their joint possession of terms relating with the Eddie dis, or of the A. Sax, to religious worshij). " If," he says, brosiuga-mene with the Eddie brSsinga- " we are able to produce a word used men, affords perfectly conclusive evi- by the Goths in the fourth century, by dence." — Icutonie Mytholog}<, Stally- the Alemanni in the eighth, in exactly brass. the same form and sense as it continues '

Max Midler, History of Sanskrit to bear in the Norse authorities of the Literature, pp. 528, 557.

twelfth or thirteenth century, the affinity