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PRINTED FOR LONGMAN, HURST, REES, ORME, AND
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THE FIRST VOLUME.
|2||Etymology of Dunce||•||•||5|
|6||The Camel and the Needle||•||•||9|
|9||Methodist Camp Meetings||•||•||13|
|10||Law of the Mozcas||•||•||•||21|
|11||Inferiority of Women||•||•||22|
|15||Three methods of lessening the number of rats||ib.|
|19||St Andrew's Cross||•||•||•||32|
|23||Effect of Music upon animals||•||•||36|
|26||Touching for the Evil||•||•||43|
|27||The Oak of Marmre||•||•||•||44|
|28||Invention for the Blind||•||•||45|
|29||Words and Symbols||•||•||•||47|
|30||Stilling the Sea with Oil||•||•||48|
|31||An heptastic Vocable||•||•||49|
|32||Service for the Prisoners||•||•||50|
|33||Mode of ventilating a Town||•||•||51|
|36||Coup de soleil||•||•||•||56|
|38||The Composition of Body in receiving||•||58|
|39||Fr. Domenico Ottomano||•||•||60|
|41||Juan de Esquivel Navarro||•||•||ib.|
|42||The Virgin Mary's Milk||•||•||73|
|45||Thomas O'Brien Mac Mahon||•||•||77|
|48||Poetical Moods and Tenses||•||•||85|
|49||Garden at Banstead||•||•||•||86|
|51||Queen Mary's Funeral||•||•||89|
|52||Bunyan's Holy War||•||•||90|
|53||A Dual Giant||•||•||•||ib.|
|55||The worst of all Puns||•||•||93|
|56||Poem attributed to Sir Walter Ralegh||•||94|
|57||Steel Mirrors for assisting the Sight||•||99|
|58||Classification of Novels||•||•||101|
|61||Grapes in Madagascar||•||•||104|
|63||Defence of Popery||•||•||•||110|
|67||Catholic Devotion to the Virgin||•||123|
|68||Cupid and Psyche||•||•||•||128|
|70||Lions of Romance||•||•||•||134|
|73||Odour of Sanctity||•||•||•||ib.|
|75||Amadis and Esplandian||•||•||145|
|78||Stationers in Spain||•||•||•||148|
|83||Cold Bathing in Fevers||•||•||157|
|84||Payment of a Copyer of Books||•||ib.|
|85||Animals in Paradise||•||•||158|
|87||*The French Decade||•||•||161|
|89||*Ride and Tie||•||•||•||187|
|95||Frith the Martyr||•||•||•||193|
|99||Meditation and Contemplation||•||200|
|101||The Carpenter Bird||•||•||204|
|107||Hereticks of the early ages||•||•||211|
|109||*Origin of the Worship of Hymen||•||215|
|111||*Cap of Liberty||•||•||•||217|
|112||Ablactation,—as our old Dictionaries call it||218|
|115||Change of Climate||•||•||•||222|
|116||Gift of Tongues||•||•||•||226|
|118||*Επεα πτερόεντα, i.e. Hasty Words||•||228|
|119||*Motives and Impulses||•||•||ib.|
|121||*The Vices of Slaves no excuse for Slavery||232|
|122||*Circulation of the Blood||•||•||234|
|123||*Perituræ parcere chartæ||•||•||236|
|124||*To have and to be||•||•||•||237|
|126||*Goodness of Heart indispensible to a man of genius||239|
|127||*Milton and Ben Jonson||•||•||ib.|
|130||Christianus Franciscus Paullinus||•||245|
|134||Government of Norcia||•||•||251|
|135||Early English Metre||•||•||253|
|136||Troilus and Credseide||•||•||255|
|137||Miraculous Combustion of wood without ashes, and oil without smoke||256|
|138||Two Modes of Atheism||•||•||262|
|142||The Night Mare||•||•||•||270|
|143||Sects in Egypt||•||•||•||271|
|146||Tree of Life||•||•||•||276|
|149||He shall set the Sheep on his right hand, but the Goats on his left. Matt. xxv. 33.||289|
|150||Dogs at Court||•||•||•||292|
|155||*Negroes and Narcissuses||•||•||304|
|156||* An anecdote||•||•||•||ib.|
|157||*The Pharos at Alexandria||•||•||ib.|
|158||*Sense and Common Sense||•||•||305|
|160||*Hint for a new Species of History||•||313|
|165||Effect of Domestication upon the Skin and Tendons of Animals||331|
- * The articles marked thus are by a different writer.
Pope Innocent X. appointed a religioner of great virtue, discretion, and experience, secretly to visit the nunneries, and inspect not merely their general discipline, but look at the separate cells, and persuade the nuns to discard every thing that was not perfectly consistent with the state which they had embraced. After some months had been employed in this commission, the visitor made his report to his holiness. He returned, he said, greatly edified with what he had seen, but not altogether satisfied; edified, because he had found such penances, such lasting, such discipling, such cilices, such praying and devotions, that it had been necessary for him to moderate the excess of the sisters in these things, and to check their ardour. Edified also, because, having found in the cells some articles of furniture more costly, or of better kind than suited with religious poverty and simplicity, he had succeeded, notwithstanding some repugnance on the part of the nuns, in persuading them to part with all these things,.. except one. And because he had not been able to make them part with that one from their walls, and still more from their affections (except in a very few rare instances) he was not altogether satisfied with the success of his commission. And what was the piece of furniture, said his holiness. It was the Looking Glass. Vieyra heard this story from Pope Innocent himself, and made a resolution at the time that he would repeat it when next he preached in a Portugueze nunnery.
Vieyra's rhetoric seems to have been efficacious. One of the sisters of S. Clara at Coimbra, seeing herself by accident in some water, observed that she had just seen the face of a nun in that convent, which she had not seen there for more than thirty years. When I was last at * * a nun made her escape from the Irish nunnery. The first thing for which she enquired, when she reached the house in which she was to be secreted till she could be conveyed on board ship, was a looking glass. She had entered the convent when only five years old, and from that time had never seen her own face. This was not vanity. A man in the same situation might have been allowed to interpret γνωθι σεαιυτον in the same manner.
The Hindoo women wear a small mirror in a ring,—the Chury, Sir William Jones calls it. We have them in pocket books; and the ladies at Antwerp had them set in prayer books, for the purpose of what old Latimer calls prinking and pranking at mass. Etiam in libellis, quos ad Ecclesiam deprecaturæ adferunt, specula componant, quibus mundum muliebrem, et phaleras suus, ac capellitium inter fervidas scilicet suas preces adornent.
There was however a degree of modesty in concealing the mirror; a few generations earlier it was the fashion to wear them pendant from the waist, a fashion far more probably alluded to by Tasso, than as his biographer supposes introduced by him, in his picture of Rinaldo.
Dal fianco de l'amante, estranio arnese,
Un christallo pendea, lucido e netto.
Gier. Lib. Cant. xvi.
Lope de Vega curses the inventor of looking glasses—
O quanto mal han hecho espejos vanos!
Maldiga el cielo el inventor primero.
from whence it may be inferred that he did not, like Zebedee, shave himself. But he goes on to say, that if Venetian mirrors had not been invented, water would have been applied to the same purpose.
Mas que inportaran vidros Venecianos
Si el agua supo hazer caso tan fiero.
Hermosura de Angelica, Cant 3.
No poet or romancer with whom I am acquainted has made so beautiful a use of the looking glass, as Francisco Botello in his Alphonso. (Salamanca edition L. 7, st. 20.) Cydipe is contemplating herself in one, and by the agency of Venus, the living portraiture is rendered permanent in the mirror.
- Serm. t. 11. p. 284.
- Manoel da Esperanca, Hist. Serafica. l. 6. c. 24 §2.
- Theatrum humanæ Vitæ, quoted by Vieyra, t. II. p. 299.
- Des Coures. Cur. of Literature; quoted in Black's Life of Tasso. Vol I. p. 382.
2. Etymology of Dunce.
Dunce is said by Johnson to be a word of unknown etymology. Stanihurst explains it. The term Duns, from Scotus, "so famous for his subtill quiddities, he says, is so trivial and common in all schools, that whoso surpasseth others either in cavilling sophistrie, or subtill philosophic, is forthwith nicknamed a Duns." This, he tells us in the margin is the reason, "why schoolmen are called Dunses." (Description of Ireland, p. 2.) The word easily past into a term of scorn, just as a blockhead is called Solomon; a bully, a Hector; and as Moses is the vulgar name of contempt for a Jew.
3. Plum Pudding.
T. 1. p. 154.
- Arveo was the name of his family, whence the Harveys of England. The branch from which he sprung settled in Provence, and when he appeared at Court it was under the name of Arviou. Cette terminaison, says P. Labat, parut dure, et on s'accoutuma a l'apeller Arvieu. But when he was sent envoy extraordinary to Constantinople, M. de Lionne, the Secretary of State, being still dissatisfied with the name, la corrigea dans ses instructions, en ajoutant un x a la fin, et un d apostrophe au commencement.
4. Medical Poets.
"Such physicians, says Huarte, as I have marked to be good practitioners, do all piddle somewhat in the art of versifying, and raise not up their contemplation very high, and their verses are not of any rare excellencie." If this observation be true, Dr. Ferriar of Manchester has given proof in his poetry of his talents for physic.
- Examen de Inginios. Engl. trans. p. 82.
5. Taudry Lace.
It was formerly the custom in England for women to wear a necklace of fine silk, called Taudry Lace, from St. Audrey. She in her youth had been used to wear carkanets of jewels, and being afterward tormented with violent pains in her neck, was wont to say, that God in his mercy had thus punished her, and the fiery heat and redness of the swelling which she endured was to atone for her former pride and vanity. Probably she wore this lace to conceal the scrofulous appearance, and from this, when it was afterward worn as an ornament which was common and not costly, the word taudry may have been taken to designate any kind of coarse and vulgar finery.
It would not be readily supposed that Audrey is the same name as Ethelreda.
- Cressy's Church History, 16. 5. § 7.
6. The Camel and the Needle.
Matt. 19. 24.
"It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of Heaven." Vieyra, quoting the text in one of his sermons (t. 10. p. 249.) uses cable instead of camel, following a plausible but erroneous interpretation. It suited his purpose better in this place. "What remedy then, says he, is there for the rich man, that he may enter Heaven? I will tell you. Untwist the cable, and then thread by thread it may go through the needle. Christ Himself has taught how this is to be done, by saying, sell that thou hast, and give it unto the poor."
There is a print of the Camel and the Needle in one of the little books, of Drexelius,..if I remember rightly: a man is beating the beast forward towards a needle which some unseen hand is holding down, and though it is big enough to have been Gargamelle's stocking needle, the camel appears perfectly sensible of the impossibility of effecting his passage. That ϰαμηλος is to be rendered camel is proved by three Hebrew adages which Drusius has collected. Facilius Elephas per foramen acus. Non est Elephas qui intret per foramen acus. Forte ex Pombodita tu es, ubi traducunt Elephantem per foramen acus. The latter applied to a liar, the two former, what he calls Proverbia τȣ αδυνατȣ. Hoc adagium, he adds, usurpat o σωτηρ. Matt. 19. 24. in hyperbolâ, Non enim αδυνατου divitem introire in regnum cœlorum, sed admodum difficile. Ibidem pro Elephante Camelus legitur. Nam ϰαμηλος est Camelus vel Syro interprete, qui גבזל vertit, voce minime ambiguâ: quæ animans, cum notior sit vulgo in Judæa quam Elephas, libet suspicari ideo in Elephanti loco positam esse a Christo. Adagia Ebraica,p. 40.
Many mischievous alterations of Shakespere have been proposed, in that spirit of criticism which would make all the parts of a metaphor fit in as if they were dove-tailed. It is of the very essence of passion to speak in hints and fragments, and they who censure a figurative expression as contrary to the principles of taste, because it may appear abrupt to their conception,.. may as well maintain that every rainbow must be a perfect arch, and that all broken ones violate the principle of optics.
The vile word Citizeness was coined by some of our translators in the days of the French revolution. Gower might have suggested a more allowable term.
The thirde daie she goth to plaine
With many a worthie citezaine,
And he with many a cirtezeine
Citizen and Citizene might perhaps have been used upon this authority, and the analogy of hero and heroine. The word would not be worth a hint were it not for Madame Roland's writings.
8. Cauda Diaboli.
All painters represent the devil with a tail and in one of the prints to the Dutch translation of Bunyan's Holy War, it may be seen in what manner his breeches maker accommodates it. Pereant qui ante nos nostra dixissent,.. might be said on this occasion by the author of that stanza in the Devil's Thoughts, which describes this convenient tail-hole. But them; and though many sinners, and still more saints who have seen him, have noticed this appendage, it is not so generally known how he came by it. It grew at his fall, as an outward and visible token that he had lost the rank of an angel, and was fallen to the level of a brute.
Vieyra. Serm. t. 11. p. 291
9. Methodist Camp Meetings.
The Rev. Samuel Coats (in the Methodist Magazine for May, 1804) gives an account of a Camp-Meeting held about fifteen miles from Baltimore. It was held in a forest, in a very retired situation, with only one blind road leading to it. A stand was erected in the midst of a piece of ground containing three or four acres: and round this, the tents, waggons, carts, coaches, chairs, horses, &c. were arranged in a circle. Fires were kindled at the front of each tent. The number of those who encamped on the ground, was not above two or three hundred, owing partly to a fear of catching cold; partly to "a prejudice which had been taken up against camp-meetings." On this account also there were fewer preachers than there would otherwise have been, there being only about twenty. But the number of people who attended on the week days, was from 1000 to 1500, and more than 5000 on the Sunday.
A horn was blown in the morning to collect the people to a general prayer meeting at eight o'clock. This lasted till ten, and then preaching began. The same order was observed in the afternoon; one sermon was preached at each time, and two or three exhortations deliered. "During this time, (says Mr. Coats) the minds of the people were affected in a most extraordinary manner. Many fell down slain (so to speak) with the sword of the spirit; the word of God, and groaned like men dying in the field of battle, while rivers of tears ran down their cheeks. A number of souls were quickened and comforted on Saturday and through the Sabbath: but the most glorious times were on the evening of the Sabbath, and the Monday following. It appeared as if nothing could stand before the word of God. If we only spoke to any of the bye-standers, they were melted down like wax before the fire. It seemed as though all oppositions were fled, and their minds were stript of every plea except... God be merciful to us sinners. Oh my dear sir, if you had been there, you would have been astonished. In one place you would have seen a poor sinner leaning with his head against a tree, with tears running from his eyes like drops of rain upon the ground, while some went to him, and pointed to him the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world. In another place you would have observed a whole groupe of people, and from the midst of them would have heard the piercing cries of broken hearted penitents. If you had turned your eyes in another direction, you would have discovered a grey-headed father and his two daughters, all down upon their knees together among the leaves and dirt, crying upon God to have mercy upon their poor souls. I could have led you from thence a little way along a gradual ascent to a spot highly favoured of Heaven, where was a tent filled with happy souls to the number of fourteen or fifteen, who had either been assured of God's pardoning mercy, had been more fully renewed in love, or had received some peculiar comfort that day. In the meantime, prayer, which was fervent and unceasing, was so remarkably answered, that if a mourner only prayed a few minutes for his own soul, he was generally assured of his acceptance immediately, and rejoiced in God his Saviour. I understand that two whole waggon loads of people, who came thither from a distance, returned home, rejoicing in the love of God.
"This scene continued three days and nights, with scarcely an hour's intermission. Not less than 100 persons are supposed to have been convinced; and I have no doubt, (says Mr. Coats) but if the generality of those who were together on the Sabbath day, had encamped on the ground, and continued there day and night, we should have had many more brought to God. For these camp-meetings are the most calculated to free the mind from the cares of the world, to divest it of pride and self-love, and to work upon the tender feelings of the heart, of any thing I ever saw. The appearance of the place at night was very solemn, and at the same time romantic. When going to the place, a person heard the preaching, singing, and other exercises of devotion at some distance off; and coming by a winding path through a thick wood, all on a sudden he beheld a large congregation of people, and a whole train of fires all around them; candles and lanthorns hung on the trees in every direction, and the lofty oaks with their spreading boughs formed a canopy over our heads, while every thing conspired with the solemnity of the night, to make the place seem aweful. This is only a faint description."
In the same magazine for February, 1806, Mr. John Wright describes another of these meetings, where there were two methodist bishops, about 100 preachers, between 4 and 5000 people, and about 300 waggons, all encamped in the woods in a square. This meeting lasted four days, and "although the rain began on Friday evening, and continued, till Sunday morning very heavy and without intermission, there was no cessation of divine worship: it continued night and day, and the sermons, exhortations, and prayers, says the writer, were the most powerful I ever heard. The power of God was there, and sinners were cut to the heart, and fell down under the word like grass before the scythe. There was no respect of persons, but high and low, young and old, were arrested by the mighty hand of God. Some seemed to have the most aweful apprehensions, and were in the greatest distress of any I ever saw, under a sense of their guilt and a fear of Hell, whilst others were apparently lifeless for three or four hours. The first word they are generally heard to speak after they are delivered, is 'glory' and they generally whisper it before they have strength to speak aloud. Afterwards they usually call on their wicked companions, and pray and exhort them to flee to Jesus."
Another writer, (Methodist Mag. April 1806,) describes the ceremonies at breaking up. "At seven o'clock, we prepared for our christian parting, it was ushered in by two of the preachers walking around the camp, blowing the trumpets: after this, the preachers all assembled on the preaching stand, with the congregation before them. Brother J. Lee spoke a little upon the occasion. The preachers then fell upon each other's necks and wept; after which we took leave of the people, expecting to see many of them no more, until we meet in our Father's house. The place was truly a Bochim."
At this Camp there were from 9 to 10,000 persons; and "people of all descriptions, from the grey-headed, down to little children, were crying for mercy."
When the judgement of the Conference at Liverpool, 1807, was asked concerning camp-meetings, the answer was, "It is our judgement, that even supposing such meetings to be allowable in America, they are highly improper in England, and likely to be productive of considerable mischief, and we disclaim all connection with them."
10. Law of the Mozcas.
A very remarkable law prevailed among the Mozcas, one of the tribes of the Nuevo Reyno de Granada. There, as among more advanced nations, the King could do no wrong,.. but the subordinate chiefs could;.. these chiefs were men, the people reasoned, like themselves; they could not be punished by their vassals;.. for there would be a natural unfitness in that: the King, it seems, was not expected to interfere, except in case of state offences; the power of punishment, therefore, was vested in their wives, and a power it was, says Piedrahita, which they exercised famously whenever it fell to them to be judges of their poor husbands. The conqueror Quesada calling one morning upon the chief of a place called Suesca, found him under the hands of his nine wives, who were tying him, and having so done, proceeded, in spite of Quesada's intercession, to flog him one after the other. His offence was, that some Spaniards the night before had lodged in, his house, and he had partaken too freely of their Spanish wine. Drunkenness was one of the sins which fell under the cognizance of his wives: they carried him to bed that he might sleep himself sober; and then awoke him in the morning to receive the rigour of the law. Hist. del N. Reyno. l. 1. c. 4.
11. Inferiority of Women.
If the authority of the latin grammar be not sufficient to establish that the masculine gender is more worthy than the feminine, a physiological opinion of our fathers may be adduced, which it would certainly be difficult to disprove. They held that the soul insinuated itself into, and invested itself with the body of the male embryo, at the seven and thirtieth day after conception, whereas the female embryo is not endowed with a soul till the fortieth.
Charron of Wisdom, Eng. Trans, p. 10.
12. Steam Engines.
Silvester II. (who is commonly called pope Silvester, being the most notorious of the name,) made clocks and organs which were worked by steam. The old historian explains intelligibly to us what he did not understand himself: fecit arte mechanica orologium, et organa hydraulica, ubi, mirum in modum, per aqua calefactæ violentiam, implet ventus emergens concavitem barbiti, et permulti foratiles tractus æreæ fistulæ modulatos clamores emittunt.
Prideaux (an older author than the biographer of Mahomet, but resembling him in blind and brutal bigotry) classes Silvester among the Egyptian magicians, by no means the worst of the orders into which he has distributed the popes.
Yepes, t. 5. ff. 255. Vincentius Belvacensis, c. 24. c. 98, quoted, and the continuator of Bede c. 2. c 14.
Aristotle has been libelled in all ages. The ancient calumniators said of him that he spent his patrimony in riotous gluttony, then turned soldier, and proving a coward, betook himself to the safer method of destroying men as an apothecary. He has been accused of poisoning Alexander, for which reason, a Frenchman of more Greek learning than usually falls to the share of a learned man in France, calls him equally a poisoner of soul and body. Martin Luther was of opinion that he was certainly dead and damned. There is a scurvy jest of him in the Gesta Romanorum, how his mistress saddled and bridled him like an ass, and rode upon his back. In our own country, he meets with still worse usage from those dirty booksellers, who fall under the notice of the Society for the suppression of vice. I was once in a shop when a fellow from the country came in with a written order for Harry Stottel's Master-Piece.
- Telemacomanie. p. 6.
- Quoted by Wiliam Dell the Quaker.
14. Arrow-headed letters.
About half way between Bassora and Aleppo, near a place called Argia, are, or were two centuries ago, some ruins containing inscriptions in the character which has of late excited so much attention among our oriental scholars. Some of these letters are described as resembling a pyramid on its side, evidently the arrow-headed letter; others like a star, with eight rays. They were, like those from Babylon, upon bricks, and also upon black marble.
Pietro della Valle. French trans, t. 8. p. 76.
15. Three methods of lessening the number of rats.
I. Introduce them at table as a delicacy. They would probably be savoury food, and if nature hath not made them so, the cook may. Rat pye would be as good as Rook pye; and four tails inter-twisted like the serpents of the delphic tripod, and rising into a spiral obelisk, would crest the crust more fantastically than pigeon's feet. After a while they might be declared game by the legislature, which would materially expedite their extirpation.
II. Make use of their fur. Rat-skin robes for the ladies would be beautiful, warm, costly, and new. Fashion requires only the two last qualities; it is hoped the two former would not be objectionable. The importance of such a fashion to our farmers ought to have its weight. When our nobles and gentlemen feed their own pigs; perform for a Spanish tup, the office of Pandarus of Troy, and provide heifers of great elegance for bulls of acknowledged merit; our ladies may perhaps be induced to receive an addition to their wardrobe from the hands of the Rat-catcher, for a purpose of less equivocal utility.
III. Inoculate some subjects with the small-pox, or any other infectious disease, and turn them loose. Experiments should first be made, lest the disease should assume in them so new a form as to be capable of being returned to us with interest. If it succeeded, man has means in his hand which would thin the Hyenas, Wolves, Jackals, and all gregarious beasts of prey.
N.B. If any of our patriotic societies should think proper to award a gold medal, silver cup, or other remuneration to either of these methods, the projector has left his address with the Publisher.
It has been well said, that to translate a book is like pouring honey from one vessel into another,.. something must always be lost.
Both the Dutch and the French words for translated, will bear to be literally rendered; overgezet, and traduit. Milton may more truly be said to be overset in one language, and traduced in the other, than translated into either. Done into English was not so happy a phrase, for many a book was undone by the operation.
Bellarmin makes sweating and crowding one of the chief torments of Hell, which Lessius (no doubt after an actual and careful survey,) affirms to be exactly a Dutch mile, (about a league and a half English,) in diameter. But Ribera, grounding his map on deductions from the Apocalypse, makes it 200 Italian miles. Lessius, it may be presumed, was a protestant, for whom, of course, a smaller Hell would suffice.
In the early part of the last century an enquiry was published by the Rev. Tobias Swinden, into the nature and place of Hell. The former, according to this Divine, had been accurately understood, burning being the punishment, and the duration without end; but as to the "local habitation" of the reprobate, all opinions had been erroneous. Drexeluis had estimated the sum total of the damned at one hundred thousand millions, all of whom, (like Lessius) he calculated might be contained within a square German mile, and not stowed closer than negroes in a Liverpool slave ship: but this appeared to the English Theologian "a poor, mean, and narrow conception both of the numbers of the damned, and of the dimensions of Hell;" for if their immateriality and compressibility were to be alleged, you might as well, he said, squeeze them at once into a common baker's oven. His ideas were upon a grander scale. There was not room enough, according to him, in the centre of the earth for "Eternal Tophet." Burnet's absorpt sun he thought a much more noble idea of such a furnace of fire. But his own opinion was, that Tophet was our very Sun, which must be acknowledged by all to be capacious enough for the purpose. The time of the sun's creation is a strong reason for admitting the hypothesis, being just after the fall of the Devil and his angels. It is true that the sun is said to have been made on the fourth day; but light, and evening and morning, are mentioned as having previously existed; now these as proceeding from the sun, could not have been before it; making on the fourth day therefore can only mean putting it in motion. The darkness which is predicated of Tophet may at first, he admits, seem an objection, but it exists in the maculcæ, the spots of the sun, which may be deep caverns and dens, proper seats of the blackness of darkness. Upon this hypothesis, the reason why sun-worship has been found so widely extended becomes manifest; it would be as peculiarly acceptable to Satan, as serpent-worship is known to have been.
This was indeed making the souls of the wicked of some use, as Nero did the Christians when he rolled them up in tow, dipt them in pitch, and set fire to them, as torches to light up the streets of Rome. They were so many living wicks of Asbestos, fed with the inextinguishable oil of divine vengeance, that they might be burning and shining lights to the world. If Jonathan Edwards had seen this book he might have adopted its hypothesis as a new proof of "the glory of God in the damnation of sinners."
With what feelings could this man have looked at the setting sun ?
18. Transplanting Trees.
The King of the Adites, in Thalaba, removes a full grown forest to his garden of Irern.
———Should the King
Wait for slow Nature's work ?
Vol. i. p. 23.
Where romancers and novelists stop short of positive miracle, their most extraordinary inventions are paralleled or exceeded by the history of real life. The Czar Peter did the same thing as Shedâd, and his method may be recommended to our Nabobs who want trees about their mansions, and can afford to pay for the removal of live timber. They were dug up in winter with plenty of earth about their roots, which being frozen did not drop off. It would be advisable to dig round them before the frost set in. Care should be taken to replant the tree in the same position as that in which it grew; if its southern side be turned to the north, it will have new habits to learn, and may die before it has acquired them.
- Mem. of P. H. Bruce. Book 4.
19. St. Andrew's Cross.
St. Andrew's Cross is, as is well known, always represented in the shape of the letter X : but that this is an error, ecclesiastical historians prove by appealing to the Cross itself on which he suffered, which St. Stephen of Burgundy gave to the Convent of St. Victor, near Marseilles, and which, like the common Cross, is rectangular. The cause of the error is thus explained; when the Apostle suffered, the Cross, instead of being fixed upright, rested on its foot and arm, and in this posture he was fastened to it; his hands to one arm and the head, his feet to the other arm and the foot, and his head in the air.
Yepes, t. 6. ff. 297.
About the middle of the 16th century, Frey Rodrigo de Corcuera, invented a mill which worked like a clock: a model of which he laid before Charles Vth. It was considered as an invention of considerable importance in a country where running streams are scarce, and calms frequent, and the Emperor ordered him to erect one at Aguilar de Campos. He died before it was completed. This same Monk presented Maximilian with a sword, which by means of a spring, shot out a point of diamond with such force as to pierce the strongest breast-plate.
Yepes, t.6. 'ff'. 91.
Locke's simile of the sheet of white paper is to be found in Hooker, "the soul of man being at first as a book wherein nothing is, and yet all things may be imprinted;" and Hooker, perhaps, remembered Aristotle, who compares it to a tablet without a picture.
22. Hans Engelbrecht.
Francis Okely, of St. Johns, Cambridge, translated in 1780 some of the works of the German visionary Hans Engelbrecht, who wrote an account of his own death and recovery, and of what he had seen in the other world. The sign which he gave to prove that he had seen hell was not an unapt one. "God," says he, "made the people who were with me to smell such a diabolical, horrible, and infernal stench, whilst I was getting out of bed, which was so immeasurably bad, and such a dreadful stench, that no other stench they could think of in all the world was comparable to it; and I thereupon said, by this you are to conclude infallibly that I have been before hell." Had the bystanders taken a candle to look for it, it is possible that poor Hans might have exhibited a specimen of the blue flames of the lower regions also.
This Engelbrecht wrote an account of his own death and recovery, and of what he had seen in his journey to the other world. Heaven, Hell, the Mountain of Salvation, &c. An Angel expressly ordered him to write a full and particular narative and publish it; "now, he says, this was my motive for getting up very early this morning at four o'clock to begin,.. and therefore do I exhort you, all ye men in the world who get the reading of this narrative into your hands, to be sure not to suffer your reason to perk up and be dictating therein, but believe you this simply, just as I have written it down." This is as rich a passage as any in the whole Bibliotheca Fanatica, and might serve as a text to half the volumes which compose it. "Such as will not believe what I am now about to write will be damned,"... says this poor crazy German; crazy however as he was, he found a believer and translator at Cambridge, above a century after his death;.. and the volume of his revelations which I picked up at a stall, bears throughout the marks of a thumb warm with devotion.
23. Effect of Music upon Animals.
A few years ago some French philosophers made a concert for the national elephants, to try their taste for music. The same thing had been done forty years before them by John Wesley. "I thought," says he, "it would be worth while to make an odd experiment. Remembering how surprisingly fond of music the lion at Edinburgh was, I determined to try whether this was the case with all animals of the same kind. I accordingly went to the Tower with one who plays on the German flute; he began playing near four or five lions; only one of these (the rest not seeming to regard it at all) rose up, came to the front of his den, and seemed to be all attention; meantime a tyger in the same den started up, leaped over the lion's back, turned and ran under his belly, leaped over him again, and so to and fro incessantly. Can we account for this by any principle of mechanism? Can we account for it at all?" Where is the mystery? Animals are affected by music just as men are who know nothing of the theory, and, like men, some have musical ears and some have not. One dog will howl at a flute or trumpet, while another is perfectly indifferent to it. This howling is probably not the effect of pain, as the animal shews no mark of displeasure; he seems to mean it as a vocal accompaniment.
Sir William Jones relates some remarkable instances of the effect of music upon animals, which has certainly been known from time immemorial; the tales of Orpheus would not else have existed. The fact is applied to good purpose by the eastern snake-catchers, and perhaps the story of the pied piper of Hammel is but an exaggerated account of some musical rat-catcher. Beasts of prey are less likely to be affected by it than such as live upon the alarm, and have consequently a quicker and finer sense of hearing.
There is a chapter in one of our metaphysical writers, shewing how dogs make syllogisms. The illustration is decisive. A dog loses sight of his master, and follows him by scent till the road branches into three; he smells at the first, and at the second, and then, without smelling farther, gallops along the third. That animals should be found to posses in perfection every faculty which is necessary for their well-being, is nothing wonderful; the wonder would be if they did not: but they sometimes display a reach of intellect beyond this.
For instance—dogs have a sense of time so as to count the days of the week. My grandfather had one, who trudged two miles every Saturday to market, to cater for himself in the shambles. I know another more extraordinary and well authenticated example: A dog which had belonged to an Irishman, and was sold by him in England, would never touch a morsel of food upon a Friday; the Irishman had made him as good a catholic as he was himself. This dog never forsook the sick bed of his last master, and, when he was dead, refused to eat, and died also.
A dog of my acquaintance found a bitch in the streets who had lost her master, and was ready to whelp; he brought her home, put her in possession of his kennel, and regularly carried his food to her, which it may be supposed he was not suffered to want, during her confinement. For his gallantry, his name deserves to be mentioned,..it was Pincher. Some of his other acquaintance may remember him. Whenever Pincher saw a trunk packing up in the house, he absconded for the next four-and-twenty hours. He was of opinion that home was the best place.
25. St. Romuald.
In the second volume of the Annual Anthology, is a tale of St. Romuald, stating that the Spaniards meant to murder him for the sake of securing his relicks. Andrews is referred to in his Chronological History of England, and he follows St. Foix. The circumstance happened in Aquitain. St. Foix liked the story, but did not like to relate it of the French, and so fathered it upon the Spaniards. It is such writers as St. Foix who have brought a general suspicion upon French literature. The design of the peasants is called Impia pietas by S. Pietro Damiano.
St. Romuald's father took the habit of St. Benedict as well as his son; he did not like a monastic life and was devising means how to get his vows repealed, and return once more into the world. The monks of his convent wrote in all haste for Romuald, who ordered him down into the dungeon, put him in the stocks, had him well flogged, and dietted him upon bread and water, till he brought him to such a state of godiiness, that he was favoured with extasies and revelations. Impia pietas might have been said of this also! We are, however, only told, that it is a thing not to be imitated, unless by persons who are impelled by a superior power, as it is believed St. Romuald was. The fifth commandment is as little respected by Popery as the second.
This St. Romuald, who was the founder of the Camaldulenses, must not be confounded (as sometimes has been the case) with the St. Rumbald, of whom many traces remain in England. Little Rumbald was a far more extraordinary fellow; he was the son of S. Kineburga, daughter of king Penda, of Mercia, and wife of the Northumbrian king Alfred. The saintling lived only three days, during which time he wrought miracles and made his will, by which he bequeathed his body to be kept one year at King's Sutton, the place of his birth; two years at Brackley, in Northamptonshire; and then to be deposited for ever at Buckingham. The executors seem to have disregarded these injunctions, for it was not translated to Brackley till three years after his death, and there it was detained; —circumstances which render it probable that the will was never proved at Doctors Commons; this is to be regretted, for it would have been the greatest curiosity there.
Yepes t. 5. ff. 248. Cressy's Church History of Britain p. 503. Entick's Present State of the British Empire.
26. Touching for the evil.
The following public notice was issued by Charles II. May 18, 1664.
His sacred Majesty having declared it to be his royal will and purpose to continue the healing of his people for the Evil during the month of May, and then give over till Michaelmas next, I am commanded to give notice thereof, that the people may not come up to the town in the interim and lose their labour.
It is said, that the Kings of England exercised this miraculous prerogative as Kings of France, to whom it was granted at St. Marculf's intercession; a miracle which, it is observed, is not common in Hagiology. If this be the case, we have waived it by dropping the title, and the gift vests in Buonaparte since his anointment. Our Kings have, however, the uncontested power of blessing rings, which they used to give away, and which were of special virtue against the falling sickness. When was this custom disused? It is spoken of by Polydore Virgil as a thing well known in his time.
27. The Oak of Mamre.
In one remarkable instance the Jews, the Christians, and the pagan Arabs united in religious feelings. This was in their reverence for the Oak of Mamre, where the angels appeared to Abraham: for Abraham's sake the Jews held the place holy; the Arabs for the angels'; the Christians, because, in their ignorance of their own scriptures, they affimed, that the Son of God had accompanied those angels to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. An annual fair was held there, and every man sacrified after the manner of his country; nor was the meeting ever disgraced by any act of intemperance or indecency. Nothing had been done to injure the venerable antiquity of the place. There was nothing but the well which Abraham had dug, and the buildings which he had inhabited, beside the oak. These remains were destroyed by order of Constantine, in abhorrence of the impious toleration exhibited there! A church was built upon the spot, and Mamre, so interesting to the poet, the philosopher, and the pious man, became a mere den of superstition.
Sozomen, l 2. c. 3.
28. Invention for the blind.
In the library of the Liverpool Athenæum is a book in French, printed for the use of the blind: the letters, which are very large, are raised cameo like, so as to be distinguished, it is supposed, by a practised touch. This is a very useless invention; whatever blind man could afford to purchase books printed in this manner, could afford to keep a person to read to him.
I have no where met with a more useful hint for the learned blind, than in the following passage from Thevenot's Travels.
"At Ispahan I saw one of those princes at his house whose eyes had been plucked out; he is a very learned man, especially in the mathematics, of which he has books always read to him: and as to astronomy and astrology, he has the calculations read unto him, and writes them very quickly with the point of his finger, having wax, which he prepares himself, like small twine less than ordinary packthread, and this wax he lays upon a large board or plank of wood, such as scholars make use of in some places that they may not spoil paper when they learn to design or write: and with this wax which he so applies he forms very true letters, and makes great calculations; then with his finger's end he casts up all that he has set down, performing multiplication, division, and all astronomical calculations, very exactly."
Words and Symbols.
29. A ridiculous instance of enforcing words by symbols, after the Oriental manner, occurs in Arabian history. When the people of Medina revolted against Yezid the first, they assembled in the mosque. One of them rose up, took off his turban, and flinging it on the ground, exclaimed, "I depose Yezid from the caliphate in the same manner as I cast away my turban." In an instant all who were near enough to understand him followed his example, and immediately a multitude of turbans were thrown down, and every one was repeating the same formula. In another corner of the mosque, a Moslem took off his slippers, and threw them away, and cried, "I depose Yezid from the caliphate as I throw away my slippers." They who were near him took off their slippers in all haste, threw them away, and repeated this formula also. The ceremony went no farther, or perhaps the whim of some violent symbolist might have given rise to a set of Mahommedan Adamites.
30. Stilling the Sea with Oil.
Dr. Franklin's idea of pouring oil upon the sea to still the waves, has often been put in practice. There is scarcely a commoner miracle in British hagiology. It is mentioned also by Erasmus, among other superstitions practised during a tempest. An easy method of effecting the same purpose is mentioned by Martin in his account of the Western Islands.
"The steward of Kilda, who lives in Pabbay, is accustomed in time of a storm to tie a bundle of puddings, made of the fat of sea-fowl, to the end of his cable, and lets it fall into the sea behind the rudder; this, he says, hinders the waves from breaking, and calms the sea; but the scent of the grease attracts the whales, which put the vessel in danger."
31: An heptastic Vocable
At the end of Littleton's Dictionary is an inscription for the Monument, wherein this very learned scholar proposes a name for it, worthy for its length of a sanscrit legend. It is a word which extends through seven degrees of longitude, being designed to commemorate the names of the seven Lord Mayors of London, under whose respective mayoralties the Monument was begun, continued, and completed.
Quam non una aliqua ac simplici voce, uti istam quondam Duilianam;
Sed, ut vero eam Nomine indigites, Vocubulo con structiliter Heptastego
"Well might Adam Littleton call this an heptastic vocable, rather than a word.
32. Service for Prisoners.
It is not, perhaps, generally known, that we have a form of prayer for prisoners, which is printed in the Irish common prayer-book, though not in our's. Mrs. Berkeley, in whose Preface of Prefaces to her son's poems I first saw this mentioned, regrets the omission, observing, that the very fine prayer for those under sentence of death, might, being read by the children of the poor, at least keep them from the gallows. The remark is just. If there be not room in our prayer-book, we have some services there which might better be dispensed with. It was not very decent in the late abolition of holydays, to let the two Charleses hold their place, when the Virgin Mary and the Saints were deprived of their red-letter privileges. If we are to have any state service, it ought to be for expulsion of the Stuarts. Guy Faux also might now be dismissed, though the eye of Providence would be a real loss. The Roman Catholics know the effect of such prints as these, and there can be no good reason for not imitating them in this instance. I would have no prayer-book published without that eye of providence in it. The experience of two thousand years has proved that fable and allegory are the best vehicles for popular instruction.
33. Mode of ventilating a Town.
The town of Montalvan, in Arragon, is ventilated in a very simple manner. It stands in a deep valley, surrounded with mountains, and is exposed to excessive heat. Much wine is made in the neighbourhood, and every house has its cellar underneath, dug to a great and unusual depth, because of the hot situation. Every cellar has its vent hole to the street, and from each of them a stream of cold air continually issues out,
mountains they dig great cellars and grottos, and strike a hole about a foot square, ten or twelve feet into the hill, which all the summer long blows a fresh air into the cellar, so that the wine in those cellars drinks almost as cold as if it were in ice. But this wind-pipe did not blow when I was there, which was toward the end of September; for the sun opening the pores of the earth and rarifying the exterior air, that which is compressed within the cavities that are in the mountains, rushes out with a constant wind; but when the operation of the sun is weakened, this course of the air is less sensible. Before, or over those vaults they build little pleasant houses like summer houses, and in them they go to collation generally at night, in summer."
Letters from Switzerland and Italy,
Edit. 1087.— p. 76.
According to old physicians, perfect melancholy is the complexion of the ass. This would have supplied a good allusion in the days of Ben Jonson, when it was the humour of fools to be melancholy. It would be well if our fools could be persuaded into the same humour, but they imitate the magpie instead of the owl. We shall lose our character as a serious nation. In all that sort of conversation which is denominated small talk, and of which, like small beer, most use is made, it may be observed that the listener always laughs. Young ladies would do well to remember, that if laughter displays dimples, it creates dells; and young gentlemen, when they practise at the glass, would also do well to observe how far more becoming a long face is than a broad one. Broad faces are vulgar, and of all things they should avoid vulgarity. Laughter also is a plebeian emotion; nothing beyond a silent and transitory simper should ever be indulged in by the refined ranks. Be melancholy, be melancholy, according to your complexion! It was when our statesmen had long faces that the phrase long-headed was introduced as synonimous with wise. If the national physiognomy goes on for another century receding from the oval as it has done for the last, the next new mythology will make the man in the moon our progenitor, and prove the genealogy by the likeness.
- Miedes. l. 10. c. 5.
The plague of flies is of all plagues the most intolerable. Settlements and cities have been deserted in consequence of it. The mosquito, which is of all the race the most noxious, breeds in the water. Might it not be possible at the seasons when they emerge, and when they deposit their eggs upon the surface, to diminish their numbers by pouring oil upon great standing waters and large rivers, in those places which are most infested by them?
36. Coup de soleil.
I have seldom seen, especially in modern writers, so gross an instance of credulity as the following:
"I have forgotten to notice in the body of my work," says P. Labat, in one of his prefaces, "an infallible and easy remedy for those Strokes of the Sun, which are so dangerous, especially since both men and women have thought proper to go bare-headed, for fear of deranging the economy of their hair. Messrs. les Medecins, of whose number I have not the honour to be, will, I hope, pardon me this little infringement upon their rights. Here is the remedy. When a person is struck with the sun, he must as soon as possible point out with his finger the place where he feels the most acute pain; the hair must then be shaved there, and a bottle of cold water applied to it, so dexterously inserted upon the place as not to run out, the bottle being nearly full. Thus it must be held till the water begins to bubble and toss as if it were upon a fire: and then a fresh bottle is to be promptly substituted from time to time, till the water ceases to contract any heat, when the patient will be entirely cured, and out of all danger. This remedy is simple and easy, and the reader may be assured that its efficacy has been repeatedly proved." Had not the account been related with such absurdity as well as exaggeration, it might have been inferred that the affusion of cold water on the head had been used with success.
37. Anthony Purver,
a poor Quaker carpenter, conceived that the spirit impelled him to translate the Bible. He accordingly learnt Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, and published a literal version of the Old and New Testament in two vols. folio, 1764.
This book is curious for its Hebrew idioms. By adhering to these, Anthony has in some rare instances excelled the common version; but when he alters only for the sake of alteration, he makes miserable work. E. g. A hind let go may exhibit genteel Naphtali; he gives fine words— for, "Naphtaii is a hind let loose; he giveth goodly words."
I am he who am, is better than I am that I am.
He calls the Song of Solomon, the Poem of Solomon; "Song, (he says) being of profane use"
I copy from an old English Catholic book this precious specimen of superstitious trifling.
The composition of body in receiving.
1. Let the hands be held before the breast, not lifted so high that they may hinder the priest.
2. Let the head be conveniently lifted up, and inclined unto neither side, that without difficulty the mouth may be reached.
3. Let the eyes be shut, or bent downward; for it is unseemly at that time, either to look upon the priest, or to turn the eyes otherwhere.
4. Let the mouth be altogether quiet, without any reading or moving of lips, reasonably open, and not gaping.
5. Let the tongue touch the side of the lip (not too much put forth) that it may receive the host and bring it into the mouth, and that being reverently held so long that it be moistened, it may be let down into the body. For it is not to be chewed with the teeth, nor to be brought to the roof of the mouth, but to be swallowed (if it may be) before the ablution.
6. Let the whole body be erected and quiet without any motion. Sighings, blowings, groanings, knocking of the breast, exclamations, vocal prayers, and other like things, which oftentimes bring danger either of the fall of the host, or of the touching of the teeth or lips, in the time of the holy communion, are to be omitted.
7. Finally, for the space of a quarter of an hour after receiving, let spitting be avoided; which, if it cannot be, at the least it is decent to spit where it may not be trodden on.
The Societie of the Rosary.
39. Fr. Domenico Ottomano.
In the history of Isuf Bassa (London 1684) is an account of a man who excited considerable attention in Christendom in the latter part of the 17th century. It is there stated that Sultan Ibrahim had a son by a Georgian slave of the grand Sultana. This Georgian requested permission to make her pilgrimage to Mecca, and take her child there to be circumcised; her health also required that she should use the baths at Rhodes upon the way, for slow poison had been administered to her by her mistress, and one motive for taking this pilgrimage was to escape the farther effects of her jealousy. On the voyage she was captured by some Maltese gallies, after a desperate action, and carried into Malta, where she soon died. The Grand Master gave the child to the care of the Dominicans, and when he grew up he entered their order, and took the name of Fr. Domenico Ottomano. In 1665 he was at Paris with the Venetian ambassador: the Friars had instructed him so well that he was skilled in many sciences, and spake five or six languages. He was a man of strict piety, and had he been indeed of the Ottoman blood, would have been every way the happiest of his race.
In 1669, a book was published with this title: "The History of the Three late famous Impostors, viz. Padre Ottomano, Mahomed Bei, and Sabatai Sevi."
This title conveys a false meaning; for it appears on examination, that Padre Ottomano, though no Ottoman, was certainly no impostor. The author of this little book, who signs himself J. E., says that the story, as above related, was "the believed report at his being at Venice the very year this action fortuned, and it has since gained credit, and filled our ears and all the histories of this age as a thing unquestionable." But on the authority of a Persian whom he had known in England, he relates this as the real history of the child.
Sultan Ibrahim's Kislar Aga, or chief eunuch, bought a beautiful Russian slave for his harem, who soon proved to be pregnant. The Kislar Aga was greatly enraged at this; but as the infant happened to be exceedingly beautiful, he grew fond of it. The chief Sultana was brought to bed about the same time; being indisposed, she wanted a nurse for the young Turk, and the Kislar Aga, whose charge it was to provide one, sent his slave with her child into the seraglio, where she stayed nearly two years. Ibrahim unluckily grew fonder of this child than of his own, which made the Sultana mortally hate mother and child, and the Kislar Aga also; he, in consequence, began to fear for his life, obtained leave to make the pilgrimage to Mecca, and embarked for Alexandria with the Russian and the child in 1644. On the way they fell in with six Maltese gallies; the Turkish fleet consisted of eight vessels; an obstinate battle ensued; the Aga was killed, and the ship in which he was, taken. Sciabes, as the Russian was called, died during the action "of very fright and apprehension" The Maltese boarding their prize, and seeing so many women and eunuchs, asked whom they belonged to, "and what pretty child that was,..the distracted people, partly out of terror, and haply upon hope of better quarter, tell them that he was the son of Sultan Ibrahim going to Mecca to be circumcised." With this joyful tidings the gallies returned to Malta. The Grand Master and the Knights began to think of proposing an exchange for Rhodes. They gave out that the mother as well as the child was in their hands, and wrote to Constantinople, Smyrna, and other places, to spread intelligence where these prisoners might be found, provided the Porte would come up to their conditions. But to their great surprize they received no application for their ransom."
In 1649 a Persian, returning from Rome, where he had been studying in the college de Propagandá Fide, to his own country, touched at Malta, and the Grand Master employed him as a fit person to go to Constantinople, and ascertain whether their little prisoner was the son of the Sultan or not. This Persian learnt these circumstances, and it is from him that the English author says he delivers them. "The Order, however, though they dropt the ceremony which they had used to their captive, yet having for a long time abused the world, as ashamed at their credulity, and to prevent reproach, they continually endeavoured to have it still thought true, and therefore gave the boy the title of Ottomano, which he wears to this day. Non per dignitatem (says our ingenious informer) ma per la vanita.
"But what may farther elucidate the utter impossibility of Padre Ottomano's title as heir to that family,.. no prince of the Ottoman blood, nor the Sultana herself, does ever travel to any place whatsoever out of the palace but when the emperor goes himself in person. This being so, how probably and likely is it he should hazard the great Sultana and the heir of the crown in a weak and ordinary caravan, with so small an equipage, and so little concernment of their loss, as never so much as to treat about their release, &c. let any rational man determine upon mature consideration and prospect of the circumstances.
"Besides, as our intelligence argues, and assures us, those of Malta are so insatiably covetous, that if they could sell even the very Maltese themselves, they would not stick to make money of them; and that it is familiar with these holy corsairs to spoil all the oriental christians without distinction who come in their way, neither regarding their faith nor their profession; so as whenever they surprize any miserable slaves, who for the dread of torment have been forced to turn renegadoes, but would now most chearfully revert to their faith again, the Maltese would not hearken to them, but sell them a second time to the Turks to satisfy their prodigious avarice. How much more then, as our informer concluded, had it been to their advantage to have sold this pretended royal boy, being a natural Turk, than to have suffered him to hecome a christian? But they reserved him upon future hopes, and when they perceive that fail them, to rid their hands of the expence of the mock state they had so long been at, and yet to preserve their reputation, make out their boast, and credit their religion, they find a pretence of sending him to be bred in Italy, and now suffer him to be made a Dominican friar, forsooth, under the pompous title of Padre Ottomano."
From all this it is evident that the Dominican was no Ottoman; but he had certainly done nothing for which he deserved to be ranked with the swindler Mahomed Bei, and with the impostor Sabatai Sevi. The poor child was altogether innocent of any deception. He was indeed, in a more extraordinary predicament respecting his birth than even prince Pettyman. The prince did not know whether he was the son of a king or of a fisherman, but Fr. Domenico's lawful father was the Kislar Aga, so that he might well doubt whether he had any father at all. The whole account of his birth rests on the authority of this Persian convert, and it is of no consequence whether that be true or not: but as the war between Ibrahim and the Venetians, which ended in the loss of Candia, is attributed to the loss of the child, (for it is said he vented his resentment there, that being the most vulnerable part of Christendom) a little time has not been thrown away in thus explaining an error which has crept into history.
The accession of Ibrahim, P. Ottomano's imputed father, was marked by some impressive circumstances. During the reign of his brother Amurat, he had been spared from the usual family butchery, because he was supposed to have too little intellect to be dangerous; but he was closely confined, with only a black female mute to attend him. When Amurat died, all the great officers went into his prison to tell him that he was now Sultan; they came in time, for none but the negress ever entered his apartment. She had died in the room and her corpse was putrifying there. He suspected it was a trick of Amurat's to take away his life; and, clinging to a miserable existence, lifted up his hands and prayed Allah to preserve the Sultan, his brother, for the prosperity and glory of the Ottoman empire. He would not venture over the threshold of his prison till he saw his brother's body, and even then, afraid of the very corpse of one who had kept him so many years intombed. alive, felt with his hands if he were really dead; and not yet satisfied with feeling him cold and stiff, knelt down and put his mouth to the dead mouth to try whether it breathed.
P. Labat uses the word in his account of Cayenne, and thinks it necessary to explain it. C'est ainsi qu'on appelle les lieux où l'on èleve des bestiaux et des volailles, et où l'on cultive le manioc et les autres grains et fruits qui servent à le nourrituredes Habitans et de leurs Esclaves. This, therefore, is probably the origin of the word.
42. Juan de Esquivel Navarro.
Vestris used to say there were but three great men in Europe: Voltaire, the king of Prussia, and himself. It is a a proof of greatness in this Dieu de la Dance as he called himself, that he admitted the co-equality of the two former, allowed the head to be worthy of reputation as well as the heels, and thought the evolutions of a battle might be performed in as masterly a manner as those of a dance. How must he have admired those courts where there was a royal professor of dancing! Philip IV. of Spain conferred this dignity upon Antonio Almenda, his own preceptor in the gentle art; for surely if shoemaking be called in honourable distinction from all other trades the gentle craft, dancing is in like manner entitled to be distinguished from all other arts. Almenda, like the druids and philosophers, communicated his mysteries only by oral precept; they were reduced to writing by his disciple Juan de Esquivel Navarro, of Seville. His work is entitled, Discurso sobre el arte del Danzado y sus excellencias y primer origen, reprobando las acciones deshonestas. Sevilla, 1642. I know not whether there be any earlier treatise upon the art.
Whether Philip profited by the lessons of his royal professor it would be in vain to inquire. He made many false steps in politics, whatever he may have done in the saloon; and however Almenda may have instructed him to carry himself, Olivares prevented him from walking uprightly through the world.
Some celebrity a prince may acquire by dancing. Oh mine Gott! an old German used to say, who remembered the last Duke of York upon his travels, Oh mine Gott! de Duke of York vas-de mose accompleesh gentleman dat ever I did see at dance-a de minnuett! He never went into a ball room withing regretting the Duke of York, and sighing for the inferiority of all who attempted to dance a de minnuett after him. The Duke's fame has probably died with this old German. There is something melancholy in calling to mind the barren accomplishments of the dead, even more so than in remembering beauty which is faded. In all the operations of nature there is a view to the future; it should be so with the actions of man, and those pursuits which have no other aim beyond mere present gratification, are unworthy of him. I subscribe therefore, to the prohibition of the Quakers against music and dancing, were it only upon the ground that they cannot "leave a joy for memory." This is somewhat too serious a strain to be introduced by Vestris, the royal professor, and the Duke of York; but they who understand the process of the associations of thought may see how I have slipt into this moralizing mood, by writing slowly, idiy, and letting thought ramble on. If further exemplification be needful, go and read Montaigne.
42. The Virgin Marys Milk.
The relicks of the Virgin Mary's milk are well explained by Pietro della Valle. They shew a cave at Bethlehem where she is said to have hidden herself and the child from Herod. The soil is a soft white stone, which is of course excellent in all diseases, but has a special virtue to bring back the milk to a mother who may have lost it. For this reason the powder is called by the monks who administer it in water, the Virgin's Milk. It would be brought to Europe as a treasure, and the origin of the name is quite as likely to have been mistaken by pious credulity, as to have been concealed by fraud.
43. Omar II.
Mogiouschon, an author famous for his visions, asserted that he had seen Omar II. in Paradise, reposing upon the bosom of the Prophet, having Abubeker at his right hand, and the first Omar at his left. Astonished to see this preference over the two first Caliphs given to Omar-ebn Abdalazis, Mogiouschon asked an angel the reason, who replied that Abubeker and Omar had exercised justice, and practised the law in the first age and fervour of their religion; but that Omar-ebn Abdalazis had surpassed them in merit, because he exercised the same virtues in an age of injustice and corruption.
When the French, in their war with Pedro of Aragon, took Gerona, a swarm of white flies is said to have proceeded from the body of St. Narcis, in the church of St. Phelin (I copy the names as they stand in the Catalan author) which stung the French, and occasioned such a mortality, that they evacuated the city. This is so extraordinary a miracle that there is probably some truth in it, because miracle-mongers have never the least invention, and because a curious fact in confirmation of it is to be found in the Monthly Magazine for December, 1805. "In preparing for the foundation of the New Church at Lewes, it became necessary to disturb the mouldering bones of the long defunct, and in the prosecution of that unavoidable business a leaden coffin was taken up, which, on being opened, exhibited a complete skeleton of a body that had been interred about sixty years, whose leg and thigh bones, to the utter astonishment of all present, were covered with myriads of flies (of a species, perhaps, totally unknown to the naturalist) as active and strong on the wing as gnats flying in the air, on the finest evening in summer. The wings of this non-descript are white, and for distinction's sake, the spectators gave it the name of the coffin-fly. The lead was perfectly sound, and presented not the least chink or crevice for the admission of air. The moisture of the flesh had not yet left the bones, and the fallen beard lay on the under jaw."
Such a swarm of white flies very probably proceeded from the Saint's coffin; that he produced them by virtue of his saintship, and that they produced the infection among the French, would be believed in that age by all parties.
- Pere Tomich. ff. 39.
45. Thomas O'Brian Mac Mahon.
I have a book, the author of which must have been in a violent passion during the whole time that he was writing it, and certainly had not cooled when he penned the title page,—for thus it is entiled,
The Candor and Good Nature of Englishmen exemplified in their deliberate, cautious, and charitable way of characterizing the Customs, Manners, Constitution, and Religion of Neighbouring Nations, of which their own Authors are every where produced as Vouchers: their moderate, equitable, and humane mode of governing States dependent on them; their elevated, courteous, and conciliating Stile and Deportment, on all occasions; with, in particular, a true and well-supported specimen of the ingenuous and liberal manner in which they carry on Religious Controversy. By Thomas O'Brien Mac Mahon.
This book contains one very amusing passage. You sent out the Children of your princes,' says he, addressing the Irish, 'and sometimes your princes in person, to enlighten this kingdom, then sitting in utter darkness; and how have they recompenced you? Why, after lawlessly distributing your estates, possessed for thirteen centuries or more by your illustrious families, whose antiquity and nobility, if equalled by any nation in the world, none but the immutable God of Abraham's ever beloved and chosen, though at present wandering and afflicted, people surpasses; after, I say, seizing on your inheritances, and flinging them among their Cocks, Hens, Crows, Rooks, Daws, Wolves, Lions, Foxes, Rams, Bulls, Hogs, and other birds and beasts of prey; or vesting them in the sweepings of their jails, their Small-woods, Dolittles, Barebones, Strangeways, Smarts, Sharps, Tarts, Sterns, Churls, and Savages; their Greens, Blacks, Browns, Grays, and Whites; their Smiths, Carpenters,
46. Solan Geese.
A very odd argument was invented, to show that Solan Geese might lawfully be eaten on fast days; and a still more extraordinary one was used in reply to it. It is scarcely necessary to premise that these Barnacles were, according to common opinion, "fowles lyke to wylde ghees, which growen wonderly upon trees, as it were nature wrought agayne kynde. Men of relygyon, (continues the Polycronycon,) ete bernacles on fastynge dayes, by cause they ben not engendred of flesshe, wherin as me thynketh they erre. For reason is agaynste that. For yf a man had eten of Adam's legge, he had eten flesshe, and yet Adam was not engendred of fader and moder, but that flesshe came wonderly of the erthe, and so this flesshe cometh wonderly of the tree." Polycronycon, Lib. i. cap. 32.
This argument however does not satisfy my old friend Stanihurst. "The Irish clergy" he says, "did not so far stray in their opinion, as Cambrensis and Polycronycon in their reproof. For the framing of Adam and Eve was supernatural, only done by God, and not by the help of angels or any other creature. But the ingendering of barnacles is natural, and therefore the examples are not like. Now it should seem that the Irish clergy builded their reason upon this plot: whatsoever is flesh, is naturally begotten or engendered of flesh; barnacles are not naturally engendered of flesh, but only of timber and wood; barnacles therefore are not flesh, unless you would have them to be wooden flesh. And if the reason be so knit it may not be disjointed by Cambrensis his example...If any be desirous to know my mind herein, I suppose, according to my simple judgement, (under the correction of both parties) that the barnacle is neither fish nor flesh, but rather a mean between both. As, put the case it were enacted by Parliament that it were high treason to eat flesh on Friday, and fish on Sunday; truly, I think that he that eateth barnacles both these days, should not be within the compass of the estatute. Yet I would not wish my friend to hazard it, least the barnacle should be found in law fish or flesh; yea, and perhaps fish and flesh.— But some will peradventure marvel that there should be any living thing that were not fish nor flesh; but they have no such cause at all. Nits, fleshworms, bees, butterflies, caterpillers, snails, grasshoppers, beetles, earwikes, reremice, frogs, toads, adders, snakes, and such others, are living things and yet neither fish, flesh, nor yet red-herring, ...as they that are trained in scholastical points may easily judge. And so I think that if any were so sharp set (the estatute above rehearsed, presupposed) as to eat fried flies, buttered bees, stewed snails, either on Friday or Sunday, he could not be therefore indicted of haulte treason; albeit I would not be his guest, unless I took his table to be furnished with more wholesome and licorous viands.
Holinshed. vol. 6. p. 19, 20.
Most usually, Stanihurst tells us, the religious of strictest abstinence eat the Solan Goose upon fish days. So the French, according to Ledwich,eat the macreuse, or sea duck, as being fish and not fowl. It is a remark, he adds, of the honest Quaker, Dr. Rutty, that they who can believe bread to be flesh, may well be excused for believing flesh to be fish.
47. Hole's Arthur.
It is said in a late number of the Critical Review, that Mr. Hole's Arthur "failed of success, because published at the same time with the Joans of Arc, Alfreds, and Cœur de Lions, which disgusted the world with the very name of Epic." Arthur, or the Northern Enchantment, was published in 1789, Joan of Arc in 1796, the Alfreds and Cœur de Lion in 1800. The failure of Mr. Hole's poem, therefore, is not attributed to the true cause; and it cannot be necessary to point out the motive which induced the critic to assign a false one.
Mr. Hide's Arthur failed of success because it did not deserve it. The poem had fair play: it appeared before reviews were converted into tools of party, and before the butchers' phrase, "cutting up" was supposed to be synonymous with criticizing. The journals gave it at least as much praise as it deserved, and it failed in spite of them, as the Epigoniad had done before it. The subject was not ill chosen, (for that we have the authority of Dryden;) but it was ill handled, so ill handled, indeed, that all the advantages which it really possesses, were made of no avail. There is no name with which a chivalrous or a poetical mind associates more delightful recollections than with the name of Arthur; but it is with the Arthur of The Round Table, and of Spenser; for there are enough indications in the Faery Queen, that if that wonderful poem had been completed, the hero would have been sufficiently identified with the Arthur of Romance. Mr. Hole's hero bears no more resemblance to him than to Arthur O'Bradley; and the reader, when he dis- covers this, feels as if he had met an old friend with a new face.
The world has, perhaps, been "disgusted with the very name of epic" Mr. Hole's poem, however, could not have suffered from that disgust, because it was published ten years before the swarm of epics appeared; and I believe it will be thought probable that this swarm was occasioned by the success of Joan of Arc, notwithstanding the great and numerous defects of that poem, defects which have been weeded out in each successive edition, though they never can be totally removed.
48. Poetical Moods and Tenses.
Let us examine the moods and tenses of the poets.
He who plays off the amiable in verse, and writes to display his own fine feelings, is in the sentimental or indicative mood. Didactic poets are in the imperative, satirists in the potential, your amourist in the optative. The classification is defective in the other moods.
The fame of those who write personal satire is in the present tense,..that of most poets in the imperfect. The great ones who are dead, in the perfect,.. the great ones who are living must be content to have theirs in the future.
49. Garden at Banstead.
Is there any remembrance at Banstead of a clergyman, who amused himself there for fifty years with ornamenting his gardens, and died in a state of dotage about the beginning of the last century? The company from Epsom used to visit his 'curiosities,' as they might well call them! for this gentleman had discovered more capabilities in wood and stone, than ever Lancelot Brown dreamt of. You ascended one of his trees by a straight flight of steps, the lop had been flattened in the middle, and the boughs round about dipt into a parapet; here there was an octagon bench; and this place he called his Teneriffe. Another tree was manufactured into Mount Parnassus, and there Apollo was to be seen, perched with the nine Muses. That they might not want worthy company, the Great Mogul, the Grand Seignor, the Cham of Tartary, and the Tzar of Muscovy were all to be seen in the garden. Two other trees, clothed with ivy, and cut smooth, stood for the Pillars of Hercules. The old gentleman was a wit as well as a scholar; he had cut one tree into the shape of a rose, and placed a bench under it, where lovers might talk 'under the rose.' Uncle Toby might also have found something to interest him in these gardens. There were the whole confederated army and their generals represented by stones, of which the large ones were the officers, and the little ones the men.— Within doors he had montero caps, shoulders of mutton, apples, &c. cut in stone and painted.
Epsom was at this time so much frequented, that forty coaches-and-six were sometimes to be seen at evening in the ring. On Monday mornings they had some little diversion, such as racing of boys, or rabbits, or pigs."
A remarkable foot-race was run about the year 1699, which is thus described in the manuscript journal of a lady who was one of the spectators, 'I drove through the forest of Windsor to see a race run by two footmen, an English and a Scotch, the former a taller bigger man than the other. The ground measured and cut even in a round was about four miles; they were to run it round so often as to make up twenty-two miles, which was the distance between Charing Cross and Windsor Cross, that is, five times quite round, and so far as made up the odd miles and measure. They ran a round in twenty-five minutes. I saw them run the first three rounds and half another in an hour and seventeen minutes, and they finished it in two hours and a half. The Englishman gained the start the second round, and kept it at the same distance the five rounds, and then the Scotchman came up to him and got before him to the post. The Englishman fell down within a few yards of the post. Many hundred pounds were won and lost about it. They ran both very neatly, but my judgment gave it to the Scotchman, because he seemed to save himself to the last push.'
51. Queen Mary's Funeral.
In the manuscript already quoted, is an account of queen Mary's Funeral. 'The body was reposed in a mausoleum in form of a bed, with black velvet and silver fringe round, hanging in arches; at the four corners were tapers, and in the middle a bason, supported by cupids on cherubims shoulders, in which was a great lamp burning, After the service, which was performed with solemn musick and singing, the sound of a drum unbraced, the breaking the white staves of all the queen's officers, and throwing in their keys of office, the tomb was sealed.'
52. Bunyan's holy War.
A very beautiful manuscript was once put into my hands by a provincial bookseller, to whom it had been offered for publication, containing two tragedies upon the subject of John Bunyan's Holy War. It was the composition of a lady, who had fitted together scraps from Shakspeare, Milton, Young's Night Thoughts, and Erskine's Gospel Sonnets, into this form, with no other liberty than that of occasionally altering a name. The Lady Constance, I remember, was converted into the Lady Conscience, and whole speeches and scenes were thus introduced in a wholesale sort of cento. The Ghost in Hamlet also did for an Earl Conscience.
53. A Dual Giant.
In the Clarimundo of the great Joam de Barros, there is an extraordinary giant introduced.
From the middle upwards this giant was double. The one half was a female, her name was Panta; the other a male, and he was ...christened, I was about to say,.. Fasul. The whole giant was called Pantafasul. In the battle Fasul fought with a sword, Panta with a battle axe, Belifont conquers the monster by an odd consequence of this duality. Panta, 'as it is the nature of women to be impatient in anger' grew angry with her wounds, and quarrelled with Fasul who should get the best place for fighting their enemy; so while they were quarrelling, the knight killed both.
The hero's sword in battle cried out on the name of his mistress Clarinda, striking Cla— and ringing the rinda after.
54. Henrietta Maria.
The priests whom Henrietta Maria brought over with her to this country, were absurd and insolent enough to bid her, as a penance, walk barefoot to Tyburn, and pray upon the spot for those of her own religion who had been executed there for treason.
This is mentioned in a little book entitled, "The Life and Death of Henrietta Maria de Bourbon, Queen to that Blessed King and Martyr, Charles the first;" it is "dedicated and devoted to the most high and mighty Monarch, the Grand Exemplar of Magnanimity, Majesty, and Mercy, Charles the second;" and this is somewhat remarkable, as it did not appear till after his death, James the second being mentioned in the title-page.
The muttering of some is spoken of, who said they, "could discern no cause of joy in her being pregnant, God having better provided for us in the hopeful progeny of the Queen of Bohemia." It is no wonder that such mutterers were called scandalous and seditious at the time; but it must be admitted now, that they spake with that wise foresight which may be called political prophecy.
55. The worst of all Puns.
At Nuremburg a wolf's tooth was shown to travellers (such, says Keysier, as in some places is given to children instead of a coral when they cut their teeth) on which an Abbé is represented lying dead in a meadow, with three lilies growing out of his posteriors. This is not only the worst pun that ever was carved upon a wolf's tooth, but the worst that ever was or will be made. The Abbé is designed to express the Latin word Habe. He is lying dead in a meadow,..mort en pré; this is for mortem præ; and the three lilies in his posteriors are to be read oculis, ..au cu lis. Thus, according to the annexed explanation, the whole pun, rebus, or hieroglyphic, is Habe mortem pra oculis.
Charles VIIth of France, when Dauphin, bore upon his standard a device which was in a similar taste, though not so rich a specimen of it. He was in love with a virtuous damsel, the daughter of Messire Guillaume Cassinel; she was usually called La Cassinelle after her father's name, and the Prince expressed his affection for her by bearing on his standard, in gold, un K, un cigne et une L.
Juvenal Des Ursins.
56. Poem attributed to Sir Walter Ralegh.
Mr. Cayley, in his life of Ralegh, inserts the following poem, which is said to have been written by Sir Walter the night preceding his execution.
Give me my scallop-shell of quiet,
My staff of faith to walk upon,
My scrip of joy,.. immortal diet;
My bottle of salvation,
My gown of glory, hopes true gage,
And thus I'll take my pilgrimage.
Blood must be my bodies balmer,
While my soul, like quiet palmer,
Travelleth toward the land of heaven;
No other balm will here be given.
Over the silver mountains
Where spring the nectar fountains,
There will I kiss
The bowl of bliss,
And drink mine everlasting fill
Upon every milken hill;
My soul will be a-dry before,
But after, it will thirst no more.
I'll take them first
To quench my thirst,
And taste of nectars suckets
At those clear wells
Where sweetness dwells,
Drawn up by saints in crystal buckets.
Then by that happy blestful day,
More peaceful pilgrims I shall see,
That have cast off their rags of clay,
And walk apparelled fresh like me.
And when our bodies and all we
Are fill'd with immortality,
Then the bless'd paths we'll travel,
Strew'd with rubies thick as gravel,
Ceilings of dimond, sapphire flowers,
High walls of coral, pearly bowers.
From thence to heaven's bribeless hall,
Where no corrupted voices brawl,
No conscience molten into gold,
No forged accuser bought or sold,
No cause deferr'd, no vain-spent journey,
For there Christ is the king's attorney;
Who pleads for all without degrees;
And he hath angels, but no fees.
And when the twelve grand million jury
Of our sins, with direful fury
Against our souls black verdicts give,
Christ pleads his death, and then we live.
Be thou my speaker, taintless pleader!
Unblotted lawyer! true proceeder!
Thou wouldst salvation e'en for alms,
Not with a bribed lawer's palms.
And this is mine eternal plea
To him that made heaven, earth, and sea;
That since my flesh must die so soon,
And want ahead to dine next noon,
Just at the stroke, when my veins start and spread,
Set on my soul an everlasting head!
Then am I ready, like a palmer fit,
To tread those bless' d paths which before I writ.
Of death and judgment, heaven and hell,
Who oft doth think, must needs die well.
The germ of the first stanza is to be found in P. Louis Richeome's Pilgrim of Loreto. "Our Pilgrim," he says, "shall allegorize all the parts of his furniture and apparel, and shall attire his soul to the likeness of his body. For his hat he shall take the assistance of God; his shooes shall be the mortification of his affictions; patience shall be his mantle, or leether cloake; civility shall be his coate or cassacke; chastity his girdle; contemplation and meditation shall be his bag and bottle; the love of the crosse his pilgrime's staff; faith, charity, and good workes, shall be his purse and money; so shall he spiritually attire the inward man of the spirit to the immitation of the Apostle St. Paul; who arming the christian souldier, giveth him his furniture, framed of the stuft of such like allegories, and armes, forged of the same mettal. The shield of verity, a breast plate of justice, shooes of the preparation to the gospell, the buckler of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit of God."
The Annual Reviewer of Mr. Cayley's book observes that this poem is not in Ralegh's usual style, and doubts its authenticity; yet adds, that there is a troubled wildness of thought and expression which may be admitted as strong internal evidence in its favour. This evidence goes to prove that the poem was written under the circumstances assigned, but by no means points to Ralegh as the author. Ralegh would not have written in that strain of piety. I believe it to be a catholic poem, and the production of one of the many good, but dangerous men who suffered in those days for a religion which it was impossible to tolerate. Is it by Robert Southwell the Jesuit? a writer of no ordinary powers; yet he was too pure a writer to have made the miserable pun upon angels: there is a levity in that, and in the conceit about wanting a head to dine with, which, if the language were older, might lead one to attribute it to Sir Thomas More. One thing, and only one, is in Ralegh's temper; the allusions to the king's attorney. It is likely that one of the last things which he remembered with indignation, would be the cruel and cowardly virulence of Coke. That it is catholic, however, I consider as beyond a doubt.
57. Steel Mirrors for assisting the sight.
In an old and rare Spanish book, known by the title of "Las Preguntas del Almirante." there are these two coplas.
Los que acostumbran al estudiar
y hallan el molde a la vista danoso,
dan por remedio el mas provechoso
en un fino espejo de azero mirar.
y pues vos en esto ya soys tan artista,
sabed que esta dubda me tiene perplexo,
de espejo que es concavo, o plano, o convexo,
qual dellos mejor conserva la vista?
Repuesta del Auctor.
A mi me paresce sin otra revista
que el espejo plano es mas conveniente,
porque a los ojos, si mucho no dista,
reflecte los rayos mas perfetamente.
Porque el convejo por su derredor
difunde los rayos que son visuales,
y el concavo en si incluye los tales,
por tanto el mas plano es mucho mejor.
The Letrado, who propounds the question, says, that those persons who are accustomed to study, and find that the print hurts their eyes, recommend looking in a fine steel mirror as the best remedy, and he enquires what mirror will preserve the sight best... plane, concave, or convex. The author replies, that the plane mirror is best. This is the sum of the two coplas which I have given at full. In what manner can such a mirror possibly have been used?
As Nicolas Antonio did not know the name of the author from whose very singular work this is extracted, it may be worth while to mention, that it appears by an acrostic at the beginning of the sixth part, to have been Fray Luys d'Escobar. The book was first licensed in 1543, but he complains that it had been printed out of the kingdom without his knowledge, and in an incorrect state.
58. Classification of Novels
Novels may be arranged according to the botanical system of Linnæus.
Monandria Monogynia is the usual class, most novels having one hero and one heroine. Sir Charles Grandison belongs to the Monandria Digyma. Those in which the families of the two lovers are at variance may be called Diœcious. The Cryptogamia are very numerous, so are the Polygamia.— Where the lady is in doubt which of her lovers to chuse, the tale is to be classed under the Icosandria. Where the party hesitates between love and duty, or avarice and ambition, Didynamia. Many are poisonous, few of any use, and far the greater number are annuals.
The natives of Madagascar worship the crocodile as the Egyptians did before them: but I know not whether the Egyptians had so good a reason to allege for their worship as these savages. The crocodile supplies them with a trial by ordeal. The party accused, invokes this Jacaret, as they call it, and adjures it to spare him if he is innocent, but to devour him, if what he swears be false: then he plunges into the water. I do not remember any other ordeal which has been so totally referred to chance.
Those Egyptians who were wise enough not to worship crocodiles, had an excellent method of destroying them. They laid a bait for them, and made a pig cry upon the shore to attract them. As soon as one was hooked and drawn out of the water, they threw dust in its eyes; and having thus blinded it, were easily able to destroy it.
This animal is tameable. The Egyptians of Thebes and those who dwelt near Lake Mœris, each had one which would suffer itself to be handled, and wore earrings and bracelets. The Javanese take a fancy, that a particular crocodile is their brother or sister, and accustom it to come at a call and be fed. Less cost of money than was expended upon Cleopatra's barge, would have sufficed to have trained crocodiles to draw it.
The testicles of the crocodile are greatly valued in some parts of India for their strong musky odour.
60. Small Wit.
"Many there are (says an old writer) that will lose their friend rather than their jest, or their quibble, pun, punnet or pundigrion, fifteen of which will not make up one single jest." Is there any commentator who can explain the punnet and pundigrion, or must they be enumerated in the next work which shall be written De rebus deperditis? The recovery of this lost species of the small currency of wit, would be of signal advantage to our modern dramatists.
What was the clench, another favourite figure of wit in old times; but which was going out of fashion in the days of the pundigrion?
'Clenches and quibbles are now out of date,'
is a line of Flecknoe's.
—Children find, if they endeavour it,
Your learning, chronicle; clinches your wit
Sir William Davenant.
The quip seems to be another lost species, and we now hear of no quirks but those of pettyfogging lawyers.
61. Grapes in Madagascar.
The grape was believed to be poisonous in Madagascar till the French taught the natives to eat it. Can this have been a mere prejudice, or was the opinion introduced by some of their Moorish visitors, who thought prejudice a better security against the abuse of the grape than prohibition would be.
- Dellon, t. 1. c. 9.
62. Richard Flecknoe.
Flecknoe has these excellent lines addrest to a miser.
Money's like muck, that's profitable while
'T servs for manuring of some fruitful soil
But on a barren one, like thee, methinks,
'Tis like a dunghill that lies still and stinks
What was the cause of Dryden's enmity to this poor author? so far from having provoked it, Flecknoe has even written an epigram in his praise: this tribute, and his religion (for he was a Catholic) it might have been thought, would have saved him. Perhaps Dryden was offended at his invectives against the obscenity of the stage, feeling himself more notorious, if not more culpable than any of his rivals, for this scandalous and unpardonable offence.
Flecknoe is by no means the despicable writer that we might suppose him to be from the nich in which his mighty enemy has placed him. These stanzas are well turned in their way.
DRAWING THE COUNTESS 0F CASTELMAIN'S PICTURE.
Stay, daring man, and ne'er presume to draw
Her picture, till thou may'st such colours get
As Zeuxis and Apelles never saw,
Nor e'er were known by any painter yet.
'Till from all beauties thou extracts the grace,
And from the sun the beams that gild the skies,
Never presume to draw her beauteous face,
Nor paint the radiant brightness of her eyes.
In vain the whilst thou dost thy labour take,
Since none can set her forth to her desert;
She who's above all Nature e'er did make,
Much more's above all can be made by Art.
Yet be'n't discouraged, since whoe'er do see't,
At least with admiration must confess,
It has an air so admirably sweet,
Much more than others, tho' than her's much less.
So those bold giants who would scale the sky,
Altho' they in their high attempt did fall,
This comfort had, they mounted yet more high
Than those who never strove to climb at all.
Comfort thee then, and think it no disgrace
From that great height a little to decline,
Since all must grant the reason of it was,
Her too great excellence and no want of thine.
He seems to have imitated the manner of his friend Davenant's versification in these lines: but he has likewise followed the evil fashion just then introduced, of degrading our written language by the use of colloquial contractions.
Be the other merits of his verses what they may, he has this rare merit (if the little volume of his epigrams which I possess may be considered as a sample of his other works) that he is never in the slightest degree an immoral writer himself, and that he expresses a due abhorrence of the mischievous and disgraceful writings of his contemporaries.
This is from his divine epigrams.
Do good with pain, the pleasure in't you find,
The pain's soon past, the good remains behind:
Do ill with pleasure, this y'ave for your pains,
The pleasure passes soon, the ill remains.
Madam, that you are innocent I knew,
But the world wants innocence to think you so.
Here is the germ of a well-known epigram.
|Shepherd.||Since you are resolved, farewell,|
|Look you lead not apes in hell.|
|Nymph.||Better lead apes thither, than|
|Thither to be led by men.|
He says in the epistle dedicatory to his noble friends, "There is none prints more, nor publishes less than I, for I print only for myself and private friends." This volume, however, he made public, because he thought it more passable than the rest. "I write chiefly to avoid idleness, and print to avoid the imputation; and as others do it to live after they are dead, I do it only not to be thought dead whilst I can live. Epigram in general is a quick and short kind of writing, rather a slight than any great force of the spirit, and therefore the more fit for me, who love not to take pains in any thing, and rather affect a little negligence than too great curiosity. For these here, they are chiefly in praise of worthy persons, of which none ever had a more plentiful supply than I, having been always conversant with the best and worthiest in all places where I came; and amongst the rest with ladies, in whose conversation, as in an academy of virtue, I learnt nothing but goodness, saw nothing but nobleness, and one might as well be drunk in crystal fountain, as have any evil thought whilst they were in their company, which I shall gladly always remember as the happiest and innocentest part of all my life."
Never stranger, he says, was more indebted than he to the queen's father Joam IV. of Portugal. It appears that he had been in Brazil, by the title of one of his epigrams, "on his Arara, drowned in his return from Brazil." Had he written travels instead of verses, he might have secured for himself a lasting and respectful remembrance. It is a vexatious thought, that the man who possessed knowledge, by which you might have been benefitted, and for which you would have been thankful, should have employed his time in producing poems for which nobody cares.
Of the man who has given name to such a satire as Macfleckno, these notices, trifling as they are, will not be thought wholly worthless.
I will add one quotation more; it is from an invocation to Silence.
Sacred Silence, thou that art
Flood-gate of the deepest heart,
Offspring of a heavenly kind,
Frost of the mouth, and thaw of the mind,
Admiration's readiest tongue.
63. Defence of Popery.
Father Parsons has been modest enough to make this comparison, 'expressing the different dealing of Catholics and Protestants about seeking the true church and religion.'
"The difference between us, and him, to wit, between Catholicks and Protestants, is not much unlike to that of the cloth sellers of London; the one a royal merchant, which layeth open his wares clearly, giveth into your hands the whole piece of cloth at mid-day, willeth you to view and behold it in the sun, removeth all veils, pentices, and other stoppings of light that may give obscurity or impediment to the manifest beholding, handling, and discerning thereof; whereas, contrariwise the other, being a crafty broker, or poore pedlar, having no substantial wares indeed to sell, but such as is false made and deceitfully wrought, and taken up also for the most part of the other's leavings, seeketh by all means possible to sell in corners, and to shut out the sun that it be not well seen, or to, give you a sight thereof by false lights only: neither will he deliver you the whole piece into your hand to be examined thoroughly by yourself, but sheweth you one end thereof only, different from the rest which he suppressed"
A Treatise of three Conversions of England, by N. D. 1603.
Mr. Robert Chambers, priest and confessor of the English dames in the city of Bruxelles, also boasts that the miracles of his church are not "wrought in hugger-mugger." Miracles lately wrought by the intercession of the glorious Virgin Marie, at Mont-aigu, nere unto Sichem in Brabant. Gathered out of the public instruments and informations taken thereof— By authority of the Lord Archbishop of Maclin. Antwarp, 1606.
A boast of singular felicity for the church, which exhibits annually the liquefaction of St. Januarius's blood, and which played off images that sweat and bleed, and weep, and nod their heads, and roll their eyes, and say,.. whatever the ventriloquist chuses to say for them! Of the odd expression which he has made use of, I recollect two remarkable examples, one by Sir John Harrington, in his version of Orlando Furioso, where it forms a conspicuous part of one of the oddest, but not the most decent couplets ever introduced into heroic poetry.— The other was by a tailor's wife who went abroad with a lady as nurse maid, and being a pretty woman, as well as a vain one, was easily taught to have a great contempt for her former way of life, and for vulgar notions of duty. On her return to England, she refused to go back to her husband, saying, with a toss of the head, "No, indeed! she had not been abroad for nothing, she knew better now than to go and live hugger-mugger with a tailor"
64. The Wafer.
Gage is a suspicious writer, because he has transcribed part of his book verbatim & literatim, from an old translation of Gomara, without acknowledgement. This is vexatious: there is much in the book which is very curious, and such an act of dishonesty throws a doubt over the whole. The history of his conversion is not improbable; and even if not true, is certainly well imagined.
"Whilst this traffick was at Portobel," he says, "it happened unto me that which I formerly testified in my Recantation Sermon at Paul's church, which if by that means it have not come to the knowledge of many, I desire again to record it in this my history, that to all England it may be published; which was, that one day saying the mass in the chief church, after the consecration of the bread, being with my eyes shut, at that prayer which the church of Rome calleth the Memento for their Dead, there came from behind the altar a mouse, which running about, came to the very bread or wafer-god of the papists, and taking it in his mouth, ran away with it, not being perceived by any of the people who were at mass, for that the altar was high, by reason of the steps going up to it, and the people far beneath. But as soon as I opened my eyes to go on with my mass, and perceived my god stolen away, I looked about the altar, and saw the mouse running away with it, which on a sudden did so stupifie me that I knew not well what to do or say; and calling my wits together, I thought that if I should take no notice of the mischance, and any body else in the church should, I might justly be questioned by the Inquisition: but if I should call to the people to look for the sacrament, then I might be but chid and rebuked for my carelessness, which of the two I thought would be more easily borne than the rigor of the Inquisition. Whereupon not knowing what the people had seen, I turned myself unto them, and called them unto the altar, and told them plainly, that whilst I was in my memento prayers and meditations, a mouse had carried away the sacrament, and that I knew not what to do, unless they would help me to find it out again. The people called a priest who was at hand, who presently brought in more of his coat: and as if their god had by this been eaten up, they presently prepared to find out the thief, as if they would eat up the mouse that had so assaulted and abused their god. They lighted candles and torches to find out the malefactor in his secret and hidden places of the wall; and after much searching and inquiry for the sacrilegious beast, they found at last in a hole of the wall, the sacrament half eaten up, which with great joy they took out, and, as if the ark had been brought again from the Philistines to the Israelites, so they rejoiced for their new-found god, whom, with many people now resorted to the church, with many lights of candles and torches, with joyful and solemn musick, they carried about the church in procession. Myself was present upon my knees, shaking and quivering for what might be done unto me, and expecting my doom and judgement. As the sacrament passed me, I observed in it the marks and signs of the teeth of the mouse, as they are to be seen in a piece of cheese gnawn and eaten by it.
"This struck me with such horror that I cared not at that present whether I had been torn in a thousand pieces for denying publicly that mouse-eaten god. I called to my best memory all philosophy concerning substance and accident, and resolved within myself, that what I saw gnawn was not an accident, but some real substance eaten and devoured by that vermin, which certainly was fed and nourished by what it had eaten; and philosophy well teacheth substantia cibi (non accidens) convertitur in substantiam aliti, the substance, not the accident of the food is converted and turned into the substance of the thing fed by it and alimented. Now here I knew that this mouse had fed upon some substance, or else how could the marks of the teeth so plainly appear? But no papist will be willing to answer that it fed upon the substance of Christ's body; ergo, by good consequence it follows that it fed upon the substance of bread, and so transubstantiation here in my judgement was confuted by a mouse; which mean and base creature God chose to convince me of my former errors, and made me now resolve upon what many years before I had doubted, that certainly the point of transubstantiation, taught by the church of Rome, is most damnable and erroneous.
"The event of this accident was not any trouble that fell upon me for it; for, indeed, the Spaniards, attributed it unto the carelessness of him who had care of the altars in the church, and not to any contempt in me to the sacrament. The part of the wafer that was left after the mouse had filled her belly, was laid up after the solemn procession about the church, in a tabernacle for that purpose; and because such a high contempt had been offered by a contemptible vermin to their bread-god, it was commanded through Portobel that day, that all the people should humble themselves and mourn, and fast with bread and water only."
Gage's Survey of the West Indies, 3d edit. 1677, p. 447.
Oldmixon says, that one Mr. Heveningham bought a dedication of Motteux, haggled with him about the price, and bargained for the number of lines and the superlatives of eulogy: not contented with this, he wrote the dedication himself, and made the miserable author put his name to it.
66. Public Accommodations.
We are behind hand with the orientals, and even with some European nations, in gratuitous accommodations for the public. In the Choultries of Hindostan the poor traveller finds shelter without expence. Dr. Buchanan notices another convenience in that country, "Near the road (he says) charitable persons have built many resting places for porters, who here carry all their burdens on the head. These resting places consist of a wall about four feet high, on which the porters can deposit their burdens, and from which, after having rested themselves, they can again, without assistance, take up their loads." There is a corner by St. Dunstan's church which serves for this purpose, and is so seldom without an occupier, that whoever has noticed it must wish such resting places were provided in the streets of London.
Digging tanks, building choultries, planting rows of trees, and such other acts of charity towards the public, form a separate class of virtues among the Hindoos, which they call Bourtam. The Man of Ross has had his fame in England for the practice of such virtues. Some Wiltshire poet may perhaps one day celebrate "the worthy Maud Heath, of Langley Burrell, spinster, who in the year of grace 1474, for the good of travellers, did in charity bestow in land and houses about eight pounds a year for ever, to be laid out on the highway and causey leading from Wick Hill to Chippenham Cliff." The Spaniards have a Saint who was put in the kalendar for mending the road to Santiago and building bridges. When the blessed day of reformation shall arrive in Spain, I hope his name will be suffered to hold its place.
There is little encouragement to the practice of this kind of charity in England. Mile-stones are defaced, directing posts broken, the parapets of bridges thrown down. We seldom see a new horse block erected at the top of the hill; and when a public pump is set up, no iron ladle is now appended to it, because it would in all probability be stolen. I once lived in a house which had a large porch by the road side; it was about two miles from a great city, and the milk-women had from time immemorial established a custom of rendezvousing in it. Of all nuisances that can be imagined, this was the most intolerable. "Rest and be thankful" was what they would not do. They "out-billingsgated Billingsgate," and were their beastliness to be related it would scarcely be believed. There was no remedy but destroying the porch.
Whenever public education shall become a part of the established system of England (as sooner or later, in spite of every political Maltenebros, it must) it would be wise and just to inculcate a belief, that of all property, public property is that which should be held most sacred.
- S. Domingo de la Calzada.
67. Catholic Devotion to the Virgin.
There is some ingenuity as well as some nonsense in this rhapsodical address to the great Goddess of the Roman Catholics.
"You, O Mother of God, are the spiritual Paradise of the second Adam; the delicate cabinet of that divine marriage which was made betwixt the two natures; the great hall wherein was celebrated the world's general reconciliation; you are the nuptial bed of the eternal word; the bright cloud carrying him who hath the cherubins for his chariot; the fleece of wool filled with the sweet dew of heaven, whereof was made that admirable robe of our royal Shepherd, in which he vouchsafed to look after his lost sheep; you are the maid and the mother, the humble Virgin and the high heaven both together; you are the sacred bridge whereby God himself descended to the earth; you are that piece of cloth whereof was composed the glorious garment of hypostatical union, where the worker was the Holy Ghost, the hand the virtue of the Most High, the wool the old spoils of Adam, the woof your own immaculate flesh, and the shuttle God's incomparable goodness, which freely gave us the ineffable person of the word incarnate.
"You are the container of the incomprehensible; the root of the world's first, best, and most beautiful flower; the mother of him who made all things; the nurse of him who provides nourishment for the whole universe; the bosom of him who unfolds all being within his breast; the unspotted robe of him who is clothed with light as with a garment; you are the sally-port through which God penetrated into the world; you are the pavilion of the Holy Ghost; and you are the furnace into which the Almighty hath particularly darted the most fervent sun-beams of his dearest love and affection.
"All hail! fruitful earth, alone proper and only prepared to bring forth the bread corn by which we are all sustained and nourished; happy leaven, which hath given relish to Adam's whole race, and seasoned the paste whereof the true life-giving and soul-saving bread was composed; ark of honour in which God himself was pleased to repose, and where very glory itself became sanctified; golden pitcher, containing him who provides sweet manna from heaven, and produces honey from the rock to satisfy the appetites of his hungry people; you are the admirable house of God's humiliation, through whose door he descended to dwell among us; the living book wherein the Father's eternal word was written by the pen of the Holy Ghost. You are pleasing and comely as Jerusalem, and the aromatical odours issuing from your garments outvie all the delights of Mount Lebanus; you are the sacred pix of celestial perfumes, whose sweet exhalations shall never be exhausted; you are the holy oil, the unextinguishable lamp, the unfading flower, the divinely-woven purple, the royal vestment, the imperial diadem, the throne of the divinity, the gate of Paradise, the queen of the universe, the cabinet of life, the fountain ever flowing with celestial illustrations.
"All hail the divine lanthorn encompassing that crystal lamp whose light outshines the sun in its mid-day splendour; the spiritual sea whence the world's richest pearl was extracted; the radiant sphere, inclosing him within your sacred folds, whom the heavens cannot contain within their vast circumference; the celestial throne of God, more glistering than that of the glorious cherubims, the pure temple, tabernacle, and seat of the divinity.
" You are the well-fenced orchard, the fruitful border, the fair and delicate garden of sweet flowers, embalming the earth and air with their odoriferous fragrance, yet shut up and secured from any enemy's entrance and irruption; you are the holy fountain, sealed with the signet of the most sacred Trinity, from whence the happy waters of life inflow upon the whole universe; you are the happy city of God, whereof such glorious things are every where sung and spoken.
"Jesus, Maria, Joseph, or the Devout Pilgrim of the Ever-Blessed Virgin Mary, in his Holy Exercises, Affections, and Elevations, upon the sacred Mysteries of Jesus, Maria, Joseph" Amsterdam, 1657.
The volume from whence these Flores Catholicæ are extracted has more pious finger unction upon it than any other in my library. Great is Diana of the Ephesians!
There is nothing in which the ingenuity of the papists has been more amusingly exercised than in converting the Old Testament into types of their own creature-worship. This address to their Magna Mater is a good instance. A more curious one is in one of the pictures in the Vatican, which in Lassels's time, was over the long room leading to the gallery of maps. "At the first looking upon it, he says, you see nothing but certain types or figures of the blessed sacrament, out of the Old Testament; but being placed directly under it, and looking upwards, you see all the fore-said types contracted into the form of a chalice and an host over it, to shew that those old types and shadows prefigured only the Body and Blood of our Saviour, in the holy sacrifice of the altar."
Italian Voyage, Part 2. 2d edit. p 36.
68. Cupid and Psyche.
The beautiful story of Cupid and Psyche has been represented in every possible form by poets, prosers, painters, sculptors, and opera dancers. Calderon has converted it into an Auto Sacramental, and it is amusing to see how easily it is allegorized to his purpose.
Old World has three daughters, of whom Idolatry, the eldest, is married to Gentile, emperor of the east; Synagogue, the second, is the wife of Jew, the emigrant; and Faith, the youngest and most beautiful, is still a virgin, and courted by Apostacy, king of the north. Old World favours his suit, but she has given her affections to Cupid, the sacramented god. One day when Apostacy is running after her and her servant Free Will to detain them, Cupid, with a white veil over his face, enters and protects them. Apostacy struggles with him, and is immediately tormented with an inward fire. His cries alarm the family, and when they come in, Cupid avows himself to be God, the maker of the world. Old World will not believe that God made him, and advances to pull off his veil and see his face, but he is stopt by some unseen power. Idolatry and the emperor Gentile say it is true that the world was made by a God, but that if it was made by him, he must be one of their deities; upon which they get a little nearer than old World, and then are stopt in like manner. Jew, the emigrant, and Synagogue, his wife, say there is but one God the Creator, and they advance beyond Idolatry and Gentile; but denying that Cupid is God, they can get no farther. Apostacy confesses one God incarnate, and precedes them all; he then asserts that God cannot be in body and spirit behind the white veil,.. and with that, his power ceases also. As they cannot get at Cupid, they vent their anger upon Faith, his mistress, force her into a ship with them, and expose her and her servant Free Will upon a desert shore: then the tale of Apuleius fits in.
A mountain opens and discovers the palace of the new Jerusalem, where Faith, the Psyche of this Cupid, is welcomed with hymns as mistress. No person is to be seen there; she gives Free Will a candle to look about for somebody; Cupid blows it out, and tells her that she shall yet enjoy that palace and his company; that all the nations of the earth, yea, Jew, Gentile, and her sisters, shall one day serve her, and that she shall have bread and wine for food, if she will only love him, and never seek to see him, for he will not be seen. She asks if she may see her father and sisters; he tells her that he will send doctors and saints and preachers to invite them.
The ship is wrecked; old World and his family escape by swimming and come to the palace. The sisters see Faith, hear of her happiness, envy her, and endeavour to ensnare her. They tell her that her lord and love is a serpent; Synagogue reminds her of the tricks which the Serpent played in Paradise; Apostacy tempts her to see if he be a serpent or not; she yields, and promises if Cupid is not God, that she will be his: Free Will brings the candle,.. the fatal light of enquiry; Cupid awakes in anger, the palace is destroyed, and Faith left to her punishment; but she repents and confesses, and Cupid returns with the pix and chalice,.. the precious gift of his body and blood.
Calderon has another Auto upon the same subject; the characters differently named, but with little variation of story. He says in his preface to these Autos (72 in number) that they have all but one subject and one set of characters; the greater, therefore, must his merit be, if he resembles nature, who makes so many faces with nothing but eyes, nose, and mouth, and yet no two alike.
69. Writing Tables.
It is remarkable, says Mr. Douce, that neither public nor private museums should furnish any specimens of these table-books, which seem to have been very common in Shakspeare's time; nor does any attempt appear to have been made towards ascertaining exactly the materials of which they were composed.
I happen to possess a table-book of Shakspeare's time. It is a little book, nearly square, being three inches wide, and something less than four in length, bound stoutly in calf, and fastening with four strings of broad, strong, brown tape. The title as follows: " Writing Tables, with a Kalendar for xxiiii yeeres, with sundrie necessarie rules. The Tables made by Robert Triplet. London. Imprinted for the Company of Stationers." The tables are inserted immediately after the almanack.
At first sight they appear like what we call asses-skin, the colour being precisely the same, but the leaves are thicker; whatever smell they may have had is lost, and there is no gloss upon them. It might be supposed that the gloss has been worn off, but this is not the case, for most of the tables have never been written on. Some of the edges being worn, shew that the middle of the leaf consists of paper; the composition is laid on with great nicety. A silver style was used, which is sheathed in one of the covers, and which produces an impression as distinct, and as easily obliterated as that of a black lead pencil. The tables are interleaved with common paper.
70. Lions of Romance.
Il est vray que le lyon est sire and roy de toutes les bestes du monde, et est de si franche nature et de si haulte que sil trouvoit fitz de roy de loyal pere et de loyalle mere ja nul mal ne luy feroit. (Lancelot du Lac. p. 2. ff 127.) The experiment was tried upon Lenvalles, son of king Eliezer, to prove his birth when he was three days old.
Beaumont and Fletcher have made a humorous use of this notion in the Mad Lover. When Memnon has lost his wits for love of the princess, they endeavour to pass upon him a woman of a very different description for her. The lady begins by giving him a kiss. He, however, takes her "royal hand as more than he must purchase," and finding good cause for suspicion, exclaims,
Fetch the Numidian lion I brought over,
If she be sprung from royal blood, the lion
Will do you reverence; else—
Woman. I beseech your lordship—
Memnon. He'll tear her all to pieces.
A century ago the lions in the Tower were named after the reigning kings; and "it has been observed," says a writer of that age, "that when a king dies, the lion of that name dies after him."
There is a distinction made in Palmerin de Oliva between Leones Coronados, aud Leones Pardos The former, who may be called Lions Royal, are those who know blood-royal instinctively, and respect it, I suppose, as a family sort of tie. The others have no such instinct.
Maulequi, the soldan of Babylon, had sworn to throw Palmerin into the lion's den; this oath he could not break, but, at his daughter Alchidiana's request, he gave orders that he should be put in the den and the gates shut upon him, and then instantly let out again. There were fifteen lions in the den, twelve royal ones, and three pardos; these three attacked him, for he did not chuse to retreat (c. 79). As all fifteen are called Lions, and the keeper is called Leonero, it is evident that the leones pardos are not meant to be leopards, but that it is some imaginary distinction. For though, according to old fabulous history, this was a species of mule beast, produced by the lioness and leopard having conjunction together, or the lion and leopardess, there was an enmity between the true lion and these bastards, so that they never could have been kept in one den. The true lion is jealous of the leopard, who "is a very tyrant, and advouterous in his kind;" and he knoweth,
sayth Pliny, when the lyonesse hath played him false play, and hath played the advoutresse with the libard, by a certain rammish smell or sweate which ariseth of them both; yet if she washeth herselfe throughly, she may deceyve him. The leoparde hath his cabbage in the yearth, with two contrary wayes undermined to enter into it, or to run out of it at his pleasure; verie wide at the coming in, but as narrow and straight about the mid cabbage: whether his enemie the lion, running sometimes after him and apace, at the first coming in thither, is narrowly pent, insomuch that he cannot neyther get forward nor backwarde. That seeing the leoparde, he runneth apace out of the furder hole, and commeth to that whereas the lion first ran in, and having him hard pent, and his back toward him, bighteth and scratcheth him with tooth and nayle, and so by art the leopard getteth the victory, and not by strength. "
The greene Forest, or a naturale historie. &c. compiled by John Maplet, M. of Arte, student in Cambridge, entending hereby that God might especially be glorified, and the people furdered. London, 1567.
- It is curious to see how this M. of Arte has debased
the expressions of Pliny—Odore pardi coitum sentit in
adultera lea, totaque vi consurgit in pœnam. Ideirco
ea culpa flumine abluitur, ant longius comitatur.
L.8. § 17
Diego Velazquez took Cortes with him to Cuba as one of his secretaries, a situation for which he was not at that time well qualified, being too apt to jest, and too fond of conversation. Whatever the cause may have been, they soon disagreed. Judges of Appeal arrived at Hispaniola, and the malcontents in Cuba drew out secretly their complaints against the governor. There was no other means of crossing over to present them than in an open canoe, and Cortes undertook this desperate service. Just as he was about to embark he was seized and the papers found upon him. Velazquez at first was about to hang him: but upon intercession, contented himself with putting him in irons, and embarking him on board ship to send him to Hispaniola. He contrived to rid himself of his fetters, and while the crew were asleep, got overboard, and trusted himself upon a log of wood, for he could not swim: it was ebb tide, and he was carried a league out from the ship; the flow drove him upon shore, but he was so exhausted that he was on the point of letting loose his hold and resigning himself to his fate. It was not yet day; he hid himself, knowing search would be made for him as soon as he was mist on board; and when the church doors were opened he took sanctuary.
Near this church there dwelt one Juan Xuares, who had a handsome sister of excellent character. Cortes liked her, and found means to let her know it. Whoever has seen Vertue's print of Cortes, from Titian's picture, will know that of all men he must have been one of the most beautiful. One day he was slipping out of the church to visit her, an Alguazil watched him, slipt in at another door, came out behind him, caught him behind, and carried him to prison.
Velazquez was about to proceed against him with extreme rigour, but this governor was of a generous nature, and was persuaded to forgive him; Cortes married the girl, and said he was as well contented with her as if she had been the daughter of a dutchess. The Alguzil, Juan Escudero, who had entrapped him, was one of the conspirators whom he afterwards hung in New Spain.
Of these singular facts in the history of so extraordinary a man, no mention is made by Robertson. What that author has said of Antonio de Solis may be applied to himself: "I know no author in any language whose literary fame has risen so far beyond his real merit."
72. Cocoa Cordage.
According to Barros, the salt water produces an effect upon it analogous to tanning ...enverdece com a agua salgada,.. and it becomes so strong, that it seems made of leather, contracting or dilating at the will of the sea; so that a thick cable of this material, when a ship riding at anchor bears upon it, will be stretched out so thin that it would appear too weak to secure a common bark, and when the ship falls back it shrinks up, and remains as thick as ever. D.3, l.3. c.7.
Coco is the Portugueze word for a bugbear; it was applied to the fruit from the resemblance of an ugly face, which may be traced at the stalk-end.
73. Odour of Sanctity.
When Swedenborg went through the whole process of death and resuscitation, that he might be enabled to speak of it with certainty, the heavenly spirits came to assist at his new birth, and "at the same time an aromatic odour, like that of a body embalmed, diffused itself around; for, on the presence of the celestial angels, that which would otherwise be a cadaverous smell, is changed into such a fragrancy. This, (the translator adds in a note), may serve to explain what many readers have met with, as related by authors of good credit, concerning certain persons of eminent piety, who are said to have died in the odour of sanctity, from the fragrancy that issued from their bodies after death. A truth easily admissible by all who believe an intercourse as subsisting between the spiritual and natural world."
Treatise concerning Heaven and Hell, No. 449.
The odour of sanctity, from being a figurative expression, soon became an outward and sensible sign. This is easily explained; a body which had been embalmed would retain the fragrance of gums and spices when it was dug up to be worshipped, and the saint would have credit for what was done by the embalmer. Dona Luisa de Carvajal procured the quarters of the catholic priests who suffered death in England, anointed them with the strongest spices, and retailed them in presents to her noble friends in Spain: the scent would be perceived by devotees, who would never think of inquiring in what manner the relicks had been prepared. The immediate odour perceived upon the death of saints who certainly never numbered cleanliness among the christian virtues, bears but one explanation;.. no trick is so easy .. and therefore no trick has been so common.
There is an odour of complexion which some saints may, perhaps, have enjoyed, though they cannot have been of the school of St. Romuald. Is it Lord Herbert of Cherbury, who says, that his linen always acquired a fragrance something resembling musk? Several similar facts are recorded, but the most remarkable one is mentioned by Barros. He speaks of a race of women called Padaminij, exquisitely well made and beautiful, but chiefly distinguished from all others by the fragrant smell of their bodies, which was imparted to their cloaths. The love of the Rajah Galacarna for one of these women, who was the wife of one of his chief captains, was the occasion of first bringing the Moors from Delhi into Guzarat.
The race was almost extinct in Guzarat when Barros wrote; but many, he says, were still to be found in Orixa.
- Southey's Letters from Spain, 3d edit. Vol I.
74. Mexican Tennis.
The Mexicans had one singular law in their play with the ball. In the walls of the court where they played, certain stones like mill-stones were fixed, with a hole in the middle, just large enough to let the ball pass through; and whoever drove it through, which required great skill, and was, of course, rarely effected, won the cloaks of the lookers-on. They, therefore, took to their heels to save their cloaks, and others pursued to catch them, which was a new source of amusement.
75. Amadis and Esplandian.
The Spanish editor of Amadis is Garciordonez de Montalvo. The author of Esplandian is called Garcia Gutierrez de Montalvo. Each is said to be Regidor of Medina del Campo. If they be the same person, there is an unusual error of the press. Garcia Gutierrez calls himself an old man (c. 98), and Esplandian was published so closely after Annadis, that unless the latter was a posthumous work, the authors cannot possibly have been father and son, even if any such relationship could be inferred from the name, which is not the case. There can be little doubt that it is a mistake.
76. The Gossamer.
Spenser calls the gossamer
The fine nets, which oft we woven see
Of scorched dew.
Henry More alludes to this opinion, which seems to have been then commonly held.
As light and thin as cobwebs that do fly
In the blew air, caused by autumnal sun
That boils the dew that on the earth doth lie,
May seem this whitish rag then is the scum,
Unless that wiser men make't the field-spiders loom
77. Ship's Names.
We have just taken possession of the little island of Marigalante. Columbus gave it this name after his own ship, which in English we should call Pretty Poll.
The propria quæ navibus of the Spaniards at the present day cannot so readily be rendered into sailor's English. The Santissima Trinidad, the St. Juan Nepomuceno, the St. Francisco, and the Nuestra-Senora, under her thousand and one different invocations, are curious proofs of that baneful superstition which, like a dry rot, has spread through the whole fabric of society in Spain. Our sailors, upon taking the Salvador del Mundo, and the St. Joseph in the same action, made irreverent jests, to which the catholics should not have exposed the first of these names. That ship ought to be named anew — To a thorough Papist nothing is too profane: I could adduce such instances of this from the writings of monks, nuns, doctors, and inquisitors, as can scarcely be parallelled from the abominations of Voltaire and his execrable school. But there is a decency in the reformed churches, and especially in our own, which should prevent us from thus using such a name as that of the Saviour of the World.
In old times we had the Paul of Plymouth. Have ship-builders retained the old name, and spelt it according to their own acceptation of the sound?
78. Stationers in Spain.
The law in the Partidas respecting stationers is curious.
"Every university, to be complete, should have stationers in it (estacionarios) who have in their shops (estaciones) good books, and legible, and correct both in text and in gloss, which they let out to the scholars, either to make new books from them, or to correct those which they have ready written. And no one ought to have such booth (tienda) or shop as this, without leave of the rector of the university. And the rector, before he grants his licence, ought first to have the books of this person who would keep the shop examined, to know whether they be good, and legible, and genuine. And he ought not to consent that anyone who has not such books should become a stationer, nor let out his books to the scholars, at least not before they have been corrected. Also the rector ought, with advice of others, to set a price how much the stationer should receive for every sheet which he lends the scholars to write from or to correct their books. And moreover he ought to demand good bond from him that he will preserve well and faithfully all books which are entrusted to him to sell, and not use any deceit whatsoever."
Tienda, which I have here rendered booth, is still the word in use for those inferior shops where every thing is sold. The word explains its own history. — Every army had traders who followed it to sell provisions and buy plunder, and their shops were tents. The corresponding word to estaciones would be standings, which is still in use at Bristol fair. These are, strictly speaking, booths. But when the Partidas were written, tienda meant a booth, and estacion a shop; for trade was advancing, and its improvement had given a new meaning to old terms.
Hence the word stationer, a name which would have been equally applicable to any other settled trade.
One of Sindbad's adventures has been invented by that liar Master Antonie Knivet.
He and twelve Portugals were, as they supposed, near Potosi. "We came into a fair country, and we saw a great glistering mountain before us, ten days before we could come to it; for when we came into the plain country, and were out of the mountains, and the sun began to come to his height, we were not able to travel against it, by the reason of the glistering that dazzled our eyes. At the last by little and little we came to the foot of this mountain, where we found great store of Tamandros. (Tamanduas. Ant-eaters.)
"We went along by this mountain at least twenty days before we could find any way to pass over it: at last we came to a river that passed under it; here we determined to make some shift to get through. Some of our company said that they thought it best to go still along by the foot of the mountain, rather than to venture to go through, for they said, if this water go not through, we are all cast away, for it is impossible to return again against the current. Then I answered, friends, we may as well adventure our lives now as we have done heretofore in many places; if not, we must make accompt to live here like wild beasts, where we shall have life as long as pleaseth God, without credit, name, or religion; wherefore I think that our best way is to go through if we can; for no doubt but that God that hath hitherto delivered us from dangers infinite, at this time will not forsake us; and questionless, if it be our fortunes to pass on the other side, we shall find either Spaniards or Indians, for I am sure that each of you hath heard, that on a fair day it is to be discerned from the top of Potasin to this mountain. After I had thus spoken, the Portugals determined to venture to go through: we made a great raft of great canes, three yards and a half broad and six yards long, that we might lie down and sleep upon it: we killed good store of Tamandros, and roasted them very dry for our provision, for we knew not how long we should be in the vault.
"After we had made all ready, taking good store of wood with us, commending ourselves to God, we put ourselves into the vault, which made such a noise with the running of the water, that we thought it had been some inchantment. We went in on Monday morning, and we came out on a morning: whether we were two days or one in the vault I know not. As soon as we perceived light we were very glad; but when we came out we saw on every side houses."
Nebuchadnezzar has been worse used in doggrel than even poor As-in-præsenti himself. But scurvily as he has been. be-rhymed for his conquest of Jerusalem, etymologists have as scurvily explained his name, and invented a story to explain their explanation. They say, he was exposed when an infant under a tree; a she goat gave him suck, and an owl hooted at noon day from the boughs above: this unusual noise excited the attention of a leper who was passing by; he turned aside to the tree, saw the child, and preserved him; and, in memory of these circumstances, named him Nabuchodonosor : Nabug, signifying in Chaldee an owl, codo a she goat, and nosor a leper.
The Atlas, a three-decker, was launched in 1782. When they came to ship her bowsprit, the figure stood so high that it was necessary to cut away part of the globe upon his shoulders, and that part happened to be America. Sailors remarked this as ominous at the time, and the event has not weakened their belief in omens.
An event of heavier import was noticed when the new standard was first hoisted on board the Royal William at Spithead, after the Union with Ireland. A gale of wind blew it from the mast-head, and the flag was lost. It was said, that when her sheet-anchor was weighed after the gale, the flag was found twined round its flukes. This was a pious fraud: they who invented it, endeavoured to counteract a superstition in others, which they were conscious of in themselves.
These omens, which are not generally known, deserve to be recorded; the first because it has been fulfilled, the second because it will not be. The winds may do their will with the standard of Great Britain, but it is safe from the power of man.
Statesmen have derided omens; but they do not deserve to be derided; for popular feeling is sometimes a barometer which perceives the change of atmosphere before it is visible. An historian, therefore, ought not to discard them. They are delightful to the poet, and valuable to the philosopher. Who can read in Josephus of the prodigies which announced the fall of Jerusalem without feeling his heart fail?
Were I to relate in poetry Rodrigo's descent into the cavern of Toledo, I would describe it as having the images of his predecessors, the Gothic kings, set up round the sides of the rock, and only one nich vacant. Torch-light and cave scenery would give a terrifying effect to what may be seen without any effect at all in the Royal Exchange.
Who is the author of Munchausen's Travels, a book which every body knows, because all boys read it?
Two of his stories are to be found in a Portugueze magazine, if so it may be called, published about fourscore years ago, with this title,.. Folheto de Ambas Lisboas, The seventh number contains a tale of a hunter shooting a wild-boar with a peach-stone, because he had exhausted all his ball, and afterwards meeting the same boar with a peach-tree growing out of his loins. The other resemblance is less striking. A waterman talked one night from the street to a woman at a window, and as neither of them could hear distinctly what the other said, What do you say was frequently repeated by both. The reason why they could not hear was, that it froze very hard at the time, and in the morning the wall was covered with, What do-you-says, in ice.
It is not likely that the author of Munchausen should have seen these Folhetos; the low wit which they are filled with could at no time have been well understood beyond the limits of Lisbon, and has long been obsolete there; and in all probability very few sets have escaped the common fate of worthless papers, published in loose sheets, and thereby tempting the destruction which they deserve. But it is probable that the Portuguese and English writers both have had recourse to the same store-house of fable.
83. Cold-bathing in Fevers.
Amerigo Vespucci describes cold bathing as the remedy for fever which was used by the American Indians; but they accompanied it with a practice which must have counteracted its beneficial effects. "Cum eorum quempiam febricitare contigit, horá quá febris eum asperius inquietat, ipsum in frigentissimam aquam immergunt & balneant, postmodumque per duas horas circa ignem validum, donec plurimum calescat, currere & recurrere cogunt, & postremo ad dormiendum deferunt, quo quidem medicamento complures eorum sanitati restitui vi imus"
84. Payment of a Copyer of Books.
The form of a written agreement, which is preserved in the Partidas, happens to relate to a curious subject. It is the bargain of a copyer or scribe.
"Know all men to whom this writing shall come, that Pero Martinez the scribe, promiseth, consenteth, and bindeth himself to the Dean of Toledo, to write for him the text of such a book, and that he will write it and go on with it till it be completed, in such a hand as he hath written for a sample in the first leaf of this book, before me N. Notary Public, who have made this writing, and the witnesses whose names are hereunto subjoined.— Also the aforesaid Scribe promiseth that he will not labour in writing any other work till this book be finished. And he engageth to do this for the sum of thirty maravedis, ten of which he acknowledged to have received from the aforesaid Dean, and the other maravedis are to be paid in this manner: ten when half the book shall have been written, and the other ten when it is finished."
85. Animals in Paradise.
The animals in Paradise are the prophet Saleh's camel, the ram which Abraham sacrificed instead of Isaac, Moses's cow, (the red cow, whose ashes were mingled with the water of purification), Soloman's ant (who, when all creatures, in token of their obedience to him, brought him presents, dragged before him a locust, and was therefore preferred before all others because it had brought a creature so much bigger than itself); the queen of Sheba's parrot, who carried messages between her and Solomon; Ezra's ass; Jonah's whale; Kitmer, the dog of the Seven Sleepers; and Mahommed's camel. Thevenot.
Most probably this suggested to Voltaire the dramatis personæ of his Taureau Blanc.
86. Glover's Leonidas.
Glover's Leonidas was unduly praised at its first appearance, and more unduly depreciated. The periodical publications of the day abound with criticisms and panegyrics upon it. The best piece of ridicule which appeared upon the occasion is the argument of an epic poem entitled, Jack the Giant-killer.
Book 1. A poetico-historical account how Jack went to an old witch to enquire how to make himself glorious. How the old witch told him, he must be knocked on the head at the Straits of Gibraltar. How Jack, who laughed at all witchcraft, followed the old witch's advice, but first took leave of his wife and family.
2. How Jack travelled and travelled till he came to the Straits. How the Giant sent word to Jack lie would eat him up. How Jack bade him kiss his ——.
3. How the giant brought all the world to fight against Little Jack.
4. 5. How Jack's men fought with the giant's men; but neither Jack nor the giant did any thing.
6, 7. How prince Prettyman fell in love, and how Miss Airy killed herself for the man she never spoke to.
8. 9. How Jack, who for a long while said nothing, said his prayers, went out, and was knocked on the head.
87. The French Decade.
We have nothing to say in defence of the French revolutionists, as far as they are personally concerned in this substitution of every tenth for the seventh day, as a day of rest. It was not only a senseless outrage on an ancient observance, around which a thousand good and gentle feelings had clustered; it not only tended to weaken the bond of brotherhood between France and the other members of Christendom; but it was dishonest, and robbed the labourer of fifteen days of restorative and humanizing repose in every year, and extended the wrong to all the friends and fellow-labourers of man in the brute creation. Yet when we hear protestants, and even those of the Lutheran persuasion, and members of the Church of England, inveigh against this change, as a blasphemous contempt of the fourth commandment, we pause: and before we can assent to the verdict of condemnation, we must prepare our minds to include in the same sentence, at least as far as theory goes, the names of several among the most revered reformers of Christianity. Without referring to Luther, we will begin with Master Frith, a founder and martyr of the Church of England, having witnessed his faith amid the flames in the year 1533. This meek and enlightened, no less than zealous and orthodox divine, in his "Declaration of Baptism," thus expresses himself: "Our forefathers, which were in the beginning of the church, did abrogate the Sabbath, to the intent that men might have an example of christian liberty. Howbeit, because it was necessary that a day should be reserved in which the people should come together to hear the word of God, they ordained instead of the sabbath, which was Saturday the next following, which is Sunday, And although they might have kept the Saturday with the Jew, as a thing indifferent, yet they did much better." Some three years after the martyrdom of Frith, i.e. anno 1536, being the 28th of Henry VIII, suffered Master Tindal, in the same glorious cause: and he likewise, in his answer to Sir T. More, hath similarly resolved this point. "As for the sabbath (writes this illustrious martyr, and translator of The Word of Life)— As for the sabbath, we be lords of the sabbath, and may yet change it into Monday, or any other day, as we see need; or we may make every tenth day Holy Day only, if we see cause why. Neither was there any cause to change it from the Saturday, save only to put a difference between us and the Jews: neither need we any Holy Day at all, if the people might be taught without it." This great man believed, that if christian nations should ever become christians indeed, there would every day be so many hours taken from the labour for the perishable body, to the service of the soul and the understandings of mankind, both masters and servants, as to supersede the necessity of a particular day. At present, our Sunday may be considered as so much Holy Land, rescued from the sea of oppression and vain luxury, and embanked against the fury of its billows.
The following narrative is from the periodical account of the Moravian Missions. It contains some of the most impressive description I ever remember to have read.
"Brother Samuel Liebisch (now a member of the Elders Conference of the Unity, being at that time entrusted with the general care of the brethren's missions on the coast of Labrador, the duties of his office required a visit to Okkak, the most northern of our settlements, and about one hundred and fifty English miles distant from Nain, the place where he resided. Brother William Turner being appointed to accompany him, they left Nain on March the 11th, 1782, early in the morning, with very clear weather, the stars shining with uncommon lustre. The sledge was driven by the baptized Esquimaux Mark, and another sledge with Esquimaux joined company."
An Esquimaux sledge is drawn by a species of dogs, not unlike a wolf in shape. Like them, they never bark, but howl disagreeably. They are kept by the Esquimaux in greater or larger packs or teams, in proportion to the affluence of the master. They quietly submit to be harnessed for their work, and are treated with little mercy by the heathen Esquimaux, who make them do hard duty for the small quantity of food they allow them. This consists chiefly in offal, old skins, entrails, such parts of whale-flesh as are unfit for other use, rotten whale-fins, &c. and if they are not provided with this kind of dogs meat, they leave them to go and seek dead fish or muscles upon the beach.
When pinched with hunger they will swallow almost anything, and on a journey it is necessary to secure the harness within the snow-house over night, lest by devouring it, they should render it impossible to proceed in the morning. When the travellers arrive at their night-quarters, and the dogs are unharnessed, they are left to burrow in the snow, where they please, and in the morning are sure to come at their drivers call, when they receive some food. Their strength and speed, even with an hungry stomach, is astonishing. In fastening them to the sledge, care is taken not to let them go abreast. They are tied by separate thongs, of unequal lengths, to an horizontal bar on the fore-part of the sledge; an old knowing one leads the way, running ten or twenty paces a head, directed by the driver's whip, which is of great length, and can be well managed only by an Esquimaux. The other dogs follow like a flock of sheep. If one of them receives a lash, he generally bites his neighbour, and the bite goes round.
To return to our travellers: the two sledges contained five men, one woman, and a child. All were in good spirits, and appearances being much in their favour, they hoped to reach Okkak in safety in two or three days. The track over the frozen sea was in the best possible order, and they went with ease at the rate of six or seven miles an hour. After they had passed the islands in the bay of Nain, they kept at a considerable distance from the coast, both to gain the smoothest part of the ice, and to weather the high rocky promontory of Kiglapeit. About eight o'clock they met a sledge with Esquimaux turning in from the sea. After the usual salutation, the Esquimaux alighting, held some conversation, as is their general practice, the result of which was, that some hints were thrown out by the strange Esquimaux, that it might be better to return. However, as the missionaries saw no reason whatever for it, and only suspected that the Esquimaux wished to enjoy the company of their friends a little longer, they proceeded. After some time, their own Esquimaux hinted that there was a ground swell under the ice. It was then hardly perceptible, except on lying down and applying the ear close to the ice, when a hollow disagreeably grating and roaring noise was heard, as if ascending from the abyss. The weather remained clear, except towards the east, where a bank of light clouds appeared, interspersed with some dark streaks. But the wind being strong from the North-west, nothing less than a sudden change of weather was expected. The sun had now reached its height, and there was as yet little or no alteration in the appearance of the sky. But the motion of the sea under the ice had grown more perceptible, so as rather to alarm the travellers, and they began to think it prudent to keep closer to the shore. The ice had cracks and large fissures in many places, some of which formed chasms of one or two feet wide, but as they are not uncommon even in its best state, and the dogs easily leap over them, the sledge following without dauger, they are only terrible to new comers.
As soon as the sun declined towards the west, the wind increased and rose to a storm, the bank of clouds from the east began to ascend, and the dark streaks to put themselves in motion against the wind. The snow was violently driven about by partial whirlwinds, both on the ice, and from off the peaks of the high mountains and filled the air. At the same time the ground swell had increased so much, that its effect upon the ice became very extraordinary and alarming. The sledges, instead of gliding along smoothly upon an even surface, sometimes ran with violence after the dogs, and shortly after seemed with difficulty to ascend the rising hill, for the elasticity of so vast a body of ice, of many leagues square, supported by a troubled sea, though in some places three or four yards in thickness, would, in some degree, occasion an undulatory motion not unlike that of a sheet of paper accommodating itself to the surface of a rippling stream. Noises were now likewise distinctly heard in many directions, like the report of cannon, owing to the bursting of the ice at some distance.
The Esquimaux therefore drove with all haste towards the shore, intending to take up their night-quarters on the south side of the Nivak. But as it plainly appeared that the ice would break and disperse in the open sea, Mark advised to push forward to the north of the Nivak, from whence he hoped the track to Okkak might still remain entire. To this proposal the company agreed, but when the sledges approached the coast, the prospect before them was truly terrific. The ice having broken loose from the rocks, was forced up and down, grinding and breaking into a thousand pieces against the precipices, with a tremendous noise, which added to the raging of the wind, and the snow driving about in the air, deprived the travellers almost of the power of hearing and seeing any thing distinctly.
To make the land at any risk, was now the only hope left, but it was with the utmost difficulty the frighted dogs could be forced forward, the whole body of ice sinking frequently below the surface of the rocks, then rising above it. As the only moment to land was that, when it gained the level of the coast, the attempt was extremely nice and hazardous. However, by God's mercy, it succeeded; both sledges gained the shore, and were drawn up the beach with much difficulty.
The travellers had hardly time to reflect with gratitude to God on their safety, when that part of the ice from which they had just now made good their landing burst asunder, and the water forcing itself from below, covered and precipitated it into the sea. In an instant, as if by a signal given, the whole mass of ice, extending for several miles from the coast, and as far as the eye could reach, began to burst, and be overwhelmed by the immense waves. The sight was tremendous and awfully grand; the large fields of ice, raising themselves out of the water, striking against each other, and plunging into the deep, with a violence not to be described, and a noise like the discharge of innumerable batteries of heavy guns. The darkness of the night, the roaring of the wind and sea, and the dashing of the waves and ice against the rocks, filled the travellers with sensations of awe and horror, so as almost to deprive them of the power of utterance. They stood overwhelmed with astonishment at their miraculous escape and even the heathen Esquimaux expressed gratitude to God for their deliverance.
The Esquimaux now began to build a snow-house, about thirty paces from the beach; but before they had finished their work, the waves reached the place where the sledges were secured, and they were with difficulty saved from being washed into the sea.
About nine o'clock all of them crept into the snow-house, thanking God for this place of refuge; for the wind was piercingly cold and so violent, that it required great strength to be able to stand against it.
Before they entered this habitation, they could not help once more turning to the sea, which was now free from ice, and beheld with horror, mingled with gratitude for their safety, the enormous waves, driving furiously before the wind, like huge castles, and approaching the shore, where with dreadful noise, they dashed against the rocks, foaming and filling the air with the spray. The whole company now got their supper, and having sung an evening hymn in the Esquimaux language, lay down to rest about ten o'clock. They lay so close, that if any one stirred, his neighbours were roused by it. The Esquimaux were soon fast asleep, but brother Liebisch could not get any rest, partly on account of the dreadful roaring of the wind and sea, and partly owing to a sore throat, which gave him great pain. Both missionaries were also much engaged in their minds in contemplating the dangerous situations into which they had been brought, and amidst all thankfulness for their great deliverance from immediate death, could not but cry unto the Lord for his help in this time of need.
The wakefulness of the missionaries proved the deliverance of the whole party from sudden destruction. About two o'clock in the morning, brother Liebisch perceived some salt water to drop from the roof of the snow-house upon his lips. Though rather alarmed on tasting the salt, which could not proceed from a common spray, he kept quiet, till the same dropping being more frequently repeated, just as he was about to give the alarm, on a sudden a tremendous surf broke close to the house, discharging a quantity of water into it; a second soon followed, and carried away the slab of snow placed as a door before the entrance. The missionaries immediately called aloud to the sleeping Esquimaux, to rise and quit the place. They jumped up in an instant, one of them with a large knife cut a passage through the side of the house, and each seizing some part of the baggage, it was thrown out upon a higher part of the beach, brother Turner assisting the Esquimaux. Brother Liebisch and the woman and child, fled to a neighbouring eminence. The latter were wrapt up by the Esquimaux in a large skin, and the former took shelter behind a rock, for it was impossible to stand against the wind, snow, and sleet. Scarcely had the company retreated to the eminence when an enormous wave carried away the whole house; but nothing of consequence was lost.
They now found themselves a second time delivered front the most imminent danger of death; but the remaining part of the night, before the Esquimaux could seek and find another more safe place for a snow-house, were hours of great trial to mind and body, and filled every one with painful reflections. Before the day dawned, the Esquimaux cut a hole into a large drift of snow, to screen the woman and child, and the two missionaries. Brother Liebisch, however, could not bear the closeness of the air, and was obliged to sit down at the entrance, where the Esquimaux covered him with skins, to keep him warm, as the pain in his throat was very great.
As soon as it was light, they built another snow house, and miserable as such an accommodation is at all times, they were glad and thankful to creep into it. It was about eight feet square and six or seven feet high. They now congratulated each other on their deliverance, but found themselves in very bad plight.
The missionaries had taken but a small stock of provisions with them, merely sufficient for the short journey to Okkak. Joel, his wife and child, and Kassigiak, the sorcerer, had nothing at all. They were obliged, therefore, to divide the small stock into daily portions, especially as there appeared no hopes of soon quitting this place and reaching any dwellings. Only two ways were left for this purpose, either to attempt the land pas- sage across the wild and unfrequented mountain Kiglapeit, or wait for a new ice track over the sea, which it might require much time to form; they therefore resolved to serve out no more than a biscuit and a half per day. But as this would not by any means satisfy an Esquimaux's stomach, the missionaries offered to give one of their dogs to be killed for them, on condition, that in case distress obliged them to resort again to that expedient, the next dog killed should be one of the Esquimaux's team. They replied that they should be glad of it, if they had a kettle to boil the flesh in, but as that was not the case, they must even suffer hunger, for they could not, even now, eat dogs flesh in its raw state. The missionaries now remained in the snow-house, and every day endeavoured to boil so much water over their lamp, as might serve them for two dishes of coffee apiece. Through mercy, they were preserved in good health, and brother Liebisch quite unexpectedly recovered on the first day of his sore throat. The Esquimaux also kept up their spirits, and even the rough heathen Kassigiak declared, that it was proper to be thankful that they were still alive, adding, that if they had remained a very little longer upon the ice yesterday, all their bones would have been broken to pieces in a short time. He had, however, his heels frozen, and suffered considerable pain. In the evening, the missionaries sung an hymn with the Esquimaux, and continued to do it every morning and evening. The Lord was present with them and comforted their hearts by his peace.
Towards noon of the thirteenth, the weather cleared up and the sea was seen. as far as the eye could reach, quite freed from ice. Mark and Joel went up the hills to reconnoitre, and returned with, the disagreeable news that not a morsel of ice was to be seen even from thence, in any direction, and that it had even been forced away from the coast at Nuasornak. They were therefore of opinion, that we could do nothing but force our way across the mountain Kiglapeit.
To day Kassigiak complained much of hunger, probably to obtain from the missionaries a larger portion than the common allowance. They represented to him, that they had no more themselves, and reproved him for his impatience. Whenever the victuals were distributed, he always swallowed his portion very greedily, and put out his hand for what he saw the missionaries had left, but was easily kept from any further attempt by serious reproof. The Esquimaux eat to day an old sack made of fish-skin, which proved indeed a dry and miserable dish. While they were at this singular meal, they kept repeating, in a low humming tone, "you was a sack but a little while ago, and now you are food for us." Towards evening some flakes of ice were discovered driving towards the coast, and on the fourteenth in the morning, the sea was covered with them. But the weather was again very strong, and the Esquimaux could not quit the snow-house, which made them very low spirited and melancholy. Kassigiak suggested, that it would be well to attempt to make good weather, by which he meant to practise his art, as a sorcerer, to make the weather good. The missionaries opposed it, and told him that his heathenish practices were of no use, but that the weather would become favourable as soon as it should please God. Kassigiak then asked, whether Jesus could make good weather. He was told, that to Jesus was given all power in heaven and earth; upon which he demanded, that he should be applied to. Another time he said, I shall tell my countrymen at Seglek. The missionaries replied, "Tell them that in the midst of this affliction, we placed our only hope and trust in Jesus Christ our Saviour, who loves all mankind, and has shed his blood to redeem them from eternal misery."
To day the Esquimaux began to eat an old filthy and worn-out skin, which had served them for a mattrass.
On the fifteenth the weather continued extremely boisterous, and the Esquimaux appeared every now and then to sink under disappointment. But they possess one good quality, namely, a power of going to sleep when they please, and, if need be, they will sleep for days and nights together.
In the evening the sky became clear, and their hope revived. Mark and Joel went out to reconnoitre and brought word that the ice had acquired a considerable degree of solidity, and might soon be fit for use. The poor dogs had meanwhile fasted for near four days, but now in the prospect of a speedy release, the missionaries allowed to each a few morsels of food. The temperature of the air having been rather mild, it occasioned a new source of distress, for by the warm exhalations of the inhabitants, the roof of the snow-house got to be in a melting state; which occasioned a continual dropping, and by degrees made every thing soaking wet. The missionaries report, that they considered this the greatest hardship they had to endure, for they had not a dry thread about them, nor a dry place to lie down in.
On the sixteenth early, the sky cleared, but the fine particles of snow were driven about like clouds. Joel and Kassigiak resolved to pursue their journey to Okkak, by the way of Nuasornak, and set out, with the wind and snow full in their faces. Mark could not resolve to proceed farther north, because, in his opinion, the violence of the wind had driven the ice off the coast at Tikkerasuk, so as to render it impossible to land; but he thought he might yet proceed to the south with safety, and get round Kiglapeit. The missionaries endeavoured to persuade him to follow the above mentioned company to Okkak, but it was in vain; and they did not feel at liberty to insist upon it, not being sufficiently acquainted with the circumstances. Their present distress dictated the necessity of venturing something to reach the habitations of men, and yet they were rather afraid of passing over the newly frozen sea under Kiglapeit, and could not immediately determine what to do; Brother Turner therefore went again with Mark to examine the ice, and both seemed satisfied that it would hold. They therefore came at last to a resolution to return to Nain, and commit themselves to the protection of the Lord.
On the seventeenth, the wind had considerably encreased, with heavy showers of snow and sleet, but they set off at half-past ten o'clock in the forenoon. Mark ran all the way round Kiglapeit, before the sledge, to find a good track, and about one o'clock, through God's mercy, they were out of danger and reached the bay. Here they found a good track upon smooth ice, made a meal of the remnant of their provisions, and got some warm coffee. Thus refreshed, they resolved to proceed without stopping, till they reached Nain, where they arrived at twelve o'clock at night. The brethren at Nain rejoiced exceedingly to see them return, for by several hints of the Esquimaux, who first met them going out to sea, and who then in their own obscure way, had endeavoured to warn them of their danger of the ground-swell, but had not been attended to, their fellow-missionaries, and especially their wives, had been much terrified. One of these Esquimaux, whose wife had made some article of dress for brother Liebisch, whom they called Samuel, addressed her in the following manner:— "I should be glad of the payment for my wife's work" "Wait a little," answered sister Liebisch "and when my husband returns he will settle with you, for I am unacquainted with the bargain made between you." "Samuel & William," replied the Esquimaux, "will not return any more to Nain." "How not return! what makes you say so!" After some pause, the Esquimaux replied in a low tone, "Samuel and William are no more all their bones are broken, and in the stomachs of the sharks." Terrified at this alarming account, sister Liebisch called in the rest of the family, and the Esquimaux was examined as to his meaning; but his answers were little less obscure. He seemed so certain of the destruction of the missionaries, that he was with difficulty prevailed on to wait some time for their return. He could not believe that they could have escaped the effects of so furious a tempest, considering the course they were taking.
It may easily be conceived, with what gratitude to God the whole family at Nain bid them welcome. During the storm, they had considered with some dread, what might be fate of their brethren, though at Nain its violence was not felt as much as on a coast, unprotected by any islands. Added to this, the hints of the Esquismaux had considerably increased their apprehensions for their safety, and their fears began to get the better of their hopes. All therefore joined most fervently in praise and thanks-giving to God, for this signal deliverance.
89. Ride and Tie.
"On a scheme of perfect retribution in the moral world"—(observed Empeiristes, and paused to look at, and wipe his spectacles.)—
"Frogs (interposed Musaello) must have been experimental philosophers, and experimental philosophers must all transmigrate into frogs."
The scheme will not be yet perfect, (added Gelon) unless our friend Empeiristes, is specially privileged to become an elect frog twenty times successively, before he reascends into a Galvanic philosopher.
"Well, well," (replied Empeiristes, with a benignant smile) I give my consent, if only our little Mary's fits do not recur."
Little Mary was Gelon's only child, & the darling & god-daughter of Empeiristes. By the application of galvanic influence, Empeiristes had removed a nervous affection of her right leg, accompanied with symptomatic epilepsy. The tear started into Gelon's eye, and he prest the hand of his friend, while Musaello half-suppressing, half-indulging a similar sense Of shame, sportively exclaimed— "Hang it, Gelon! somehow or other these philosopher fellows always have the better of us wits, in the long run!"
90. Jeremy Taylor..
The writings of Bishop Jeremy Taylor are a perpetual feast to me. His hospitable board groans under the weight and multitude of viands. Yet I seldom rise from the perusal of his works without repeating or recollecting the excellent observation of Minucius Felix:
"Fabulas et errores ab imperitis parentibus discimus; et quod est gravius, ipsis studiis et disciplinis elaboramus"
Many of our modern criticims on the works of our elder writers, remind me of the connoisseur, who taking up a small cabinet picture, railed most eloquently at the absurd caprice of the artist in painting a horse sprawling. Excuse me, Sir, (replied the owner of the piece) you hold it the wrong way: it is a horse galloping.
92. Public Instruction.
Our statesmen, who survey with jealous dread all plans for the education of the lower orders, may be thought to proceed on the system of antagonist muscles; and in the belief, that the closer a nation shuts its eyes, the wider it will open its hands. Or do they act on the principle, that the status belli is the natural relation between the people and the government, and that it is prudent to secure the result of the contest by gouging the adversary in the first instance. Alas! the policy of the maxim is on a par with its honesty. The Philistines had put out the eyes of Sampson, and thus, as they thought, fitted him to drudge and grind
"Among the slaves and asses, his comrades,
As good for nothing else, no better service."
But his darkness added to his fury without diminishing his strength, and the very pillars of the Temple of Oppression—
"With horrible convulsion, to and fro,
He tugged, he shook— till down they came, and drew
The whole roof after them, with burst of thunder,
Upon the heads of all who sat beneath,
Lords, ladies, captains, counsellors, and priests,
Their choice nobility !
The error might be less unpardonable with the statesmen of the continent,... but with Englishmen, who have Ireland in one direction, and Scotland in another; in the one ignorance, sloth, and rebellion, in the other general information, industry, and loyalty; verily it is not error merely, but infatuation.
The Tractors are no new mode of quackery,—witness this extract from one of the rogues of the days of old:
"How famous is that martial ring, which carried in some fit place, or rubbed on some such part, will allay and cure the pains of the teeth and head, the cramp, quartain ague, falling sickness, vertigo, apoplexy, plague, and other diseases! insomuch that the great captain of Hetruria commanded the inventor thereof (a brother of St. Augustine's order) to sell none to any but himself for some years. If this same were formed of some long horse shoe nail, pulled out of a horse's hoof on purpose, in the hour Mars reigns, it would be ready to contract itself to fit the least, and amplify itself for the greatest finger as you would.
Johnson derives this cant term, as he calls it, from black and guard, without attempting to explain their combination. Cant-words, above all others, have their origin in some strong figure of speech, or striking metaphor, and I believe the etymology of this is accidentally given by that strangest of all strange writers Stanihurst, in his explanation of an analogeous word among his own countrymen. "Kerne, he says, signifieth (as noble men. of deep judgement informed me) a shower of hell, because they are taken for no better than for rakehells, or the devil's black guard, by reason of the stinking stir they keep, wheresoever they be."
Holinshed, vol. 6, p. 68.
As Chaucer has been called the well of English undefiled, so might Stanihurst be denominated the common sewer of the language. He is, however, a very entertaining, and to a philologist, a very instructive writer. His version of the four first books of the Æneid, is exceedingly rare, and deserves to be reprinted for its incomparable oddity. It seems impossible that a man could have written in such a style without intending to burlesque what he was about, and yet it is certain that Stanihurst seriously meant to write heroic poetry.
95. Frith the Martyr.
Some of the writings of this venerable father of the English church were republished in consequence of a remarkable accident: "Upon Midsummer Eve, 1626, a codfish was brought to the market in Cambridge, and there cut up for sale, and in the maw thereof there was found a book in twelves, bound up in canvas containing several treatises of Mr. John Friths; this fish was caught upon the coasts of Lin, called Lindress, by one William Skinner; the fish being cut open the garbage was thrown by, which a woman looking upon, espied the canvas, and taking it out, found the book wrapped up in it, which was much soiled, and covered over with a kind of slime, and congealed matter, this was looked upon with great admiration, and by Benjamin Prime, the bachelors beadle, who was present at the opening of the fish, was carried to the vice chancellor, who took special notice of it, examining the particulars before mentioned, the leaves of the book were carefully opened and cleansed, the treatises contained in it were, a Preparation for the Cross; a Preparation for Death; the Treasure of Knowledge; a Mirrour or Looking-glass to know themselves by; a Brief Instruction to teach one willingly to Die, and not to fear Death: they were all reprinted, and how useful the reviving of these treatises by such a special providence hath been, may be easily discerned, by such as have lived since those times."
R. B. Admirable Curiosities
The works of this voluminous commentator had a luckier resurrection from the deep than even Frith's Treatises. Cardinal Ximenes, or rather Cisneros (as he should more properly be called) sent the manuscript to Venice to be printed; the ship in which they were embarked, encountered a violent storm in the Gulph of Lyons; all the lading was thrown overboard to lighten her, and the bishop's works among the rest. The passengers with great difficulty got to shore; and the next day they saw the chest which contained these papers come floating safely to the beach. The fact was proved at Rome by the deposition of sixteen eye-witnesses, and their legal attestations are probably at this time to be seen at Salamanca. It is not to be wondered at, that the Catholics were disposed to believe this circumstance miraculous, considering the specific gravity of the contents of the chest.
Nicholas Antonio relates this fact as well as Gil Gonzalez, who has recorded it in their different works. This useful historian was never weary of praising Tostado, hecause all his praises redounded to the honour and glory of Avila, the bishop's see, and the historians birth place. No mention of this singular circumstance is made by Hernando de Pulgar, his earliest biographer but this does not invalidate the story, because that author probably died before it occurred.
Gil Gonzalez in his His. del Rey. D. Henrique 3, has preserved the bishop's epitaph.
Aqui yaze sepultado
quien virgen vivio y murio;
en ciencias mas esmerado,
el nuestro Obispo Tostado,
que nuestro nation honró.
Es mui cierto que escrivio
para cada dia tres pliegos
de los dias que vivio :
su dotrina assi alumbro,
que haze ver a los ciegos.
97. Picturesque Words.
Who is ignorant of Homer's Πηλιον εινοσι ευλλον? Yet in some Greek Hexameters (MSS) we have met with a compound epithet, which may compete with it for the prize of excellence in "flashing on the mental eye" a complete image — It is an epithet of the brutified archangel (see p. 12) and forms the latter half of the Hexameter.
Ye youthful bards! compare this word with it's literal translation, "Tail-horn-hoofed Satan" and be shy of compound epithets, the component parts of which are indebted for their union exclusively to the printer's hyphen. Henry More indeed would have naturalized the word without hesitation, and Cercoceronychous would have shared the astonishment of the English reader in the glossary to his Song of the Soul, with Achronycul, Anaisthæsie, &c. &c.
The largest specimen of these substances which has ever been described, has escaped the notice of all the philosophers who have written upon the subject.
Walckcnaer in a note to Azara's Travels, upon the mass of iron and nickel found in the Chaco, says that two other such masses have been discovered; one which Pallas has described, and one which was dug up at Aken near Magdebourg. Gaspar de Villagra, in his Historia de la Nueva Mexico, mentions a fourth, evidently of the same nature as these, and considerably larger than the largest of them. The tradition of the natives concerning it supports the most probable theory of it's origin. A demon in the form of an old woman, appeared to two brothers, who were leading a horde or swarm of the ancient Mexicans, in search of a new country; she told them to separate, and threw down this block of iron which she carried on her head to be the boundary between them.
Villagra describes it as something like the back of a tortoise in shape, and in weight about eight hundred quintales; He calls it massy iron, "hierro bien mazizo y amasado;" it was smooth without the slightest rust, and there was neither mine near it, nor vein of metal, nor any kind of stone any way resembling it.
Y cemo quien de vista es buen testigo,
Digo que es un metal tan puro y liso,
Y tan limpio de orin como si fuera,
Una refina plata de Capella.
Y lo que mas admira nuestra caso,
Es que no vemos genero de veta,
Herrumbra, quemazon, o alguna piedra.
Con cuia fuerça muestre y nos paresca
Averse el gran mojon alli criado.
Canto 2. ff. 10.
- The quintal is 1321b. English. This estimate is of course given by guess; its size however is in some degree proved by this circumstance, that the priest who attended the army, consecrated it as an altar, and performed service upon it. The Chaco mass contains at present 624 cubic palms, of nine Spanish inches, but large pieces had been broken off before it was measured. The Siberian one 1680 Russian lbs. that in Germany from 15 to 17 milliers.
99. Meditation, and Contemplation.
The Jesuit Richeome distinguishes between Meditation and Contemplation in a manner worthy of being quoted in any book which should treat upon English synonimes, the distinction though applied in a religious sense, being general. "Contemplation, he says, is a regard of the eyes of the Soul fastened attentively upon some object, as if after having meditated of the creation, she should set the eye of her understanding fast affixed upon the greatness of God, upon the beauty of the Heavens; or having discoursed of the passion of our Saviour, she beholdeth him present, and seeth him crucified, and without any other discourse, persevereth constantly in this spectacle. Then the Soul doth contemplate upon her meditation: so that contemplation is more than meditation, and as it were the end thereof: and it groweth and springeth upon it many times, as the branch doth upon the body of the tree, or the flower upon the branch. For the understanding having attentively and with many reasons to and fro meditated the mystery, and gathered divers lights together, doth frame unto herself a clear knowledge, whereof, without further discourse one way or other, she enjoyeth (as I may say) a vision, which approacheth to the knowledge of Angels. Hereof we learn the difference betwixt these two actions: for meditation is less clear, less sweet, and more painful than Contemplation: it is as the reading of a book, which must be done sentence after sentence but Contemplation is like casting the eyes upon a picture discerning all at once. Meditation is like eating: Contemplation is like drinking,.. a work more sweet, cooling, and more delicate,.. less labour and more pleasure than eating is. For he that meditateth taketh an antecedent, doth behold, weigh, and consider it, as it were chewing the meat with some pain; and afterward doth gather conclusions one after another, as it were swallowing down of morsels, and taketh his pleasure by pieces: but he that contemplateth receiveth his object without pain, swiftly and as it were altogether, as if he took a draught of some delicate wine. Such is Meditation, and such is Contemplation.
Pilgrim of Loretto. p. 49.
Philosophical as this is, the consequences which must result from applying it to acts of devotion are apparent, and of this no doubt the Jesuit and the other teachers of this doctrine were well aware. Let but an enthusiast be once taught to keep the understanding passive, and the imagination awake, and dreams, apparitions, rapts, ecstasies, with all the other symptoms of hagiomania, will follow in the natural course of the disease.
Labat was told in Italy that books in carta pecora as they call it, were better preserved than in leather-binding. Il me semble qu'ils se trompent, he says, mais cette relieure est â beaucoup meilleur marchè et pese moins,.. ils ont raison par ces deux endroits. But the Italians were right; books in parchment are not so liable to be worm eaten:— I am not sure that they suffer at all from these insects which make such ravages upon leather bound books in a hot country, and sometimes even in our own. Perhaps the reason is, because those in parchment are usually without pasteboard. — On the other hand they are far more susceptible of damp. I have found some of them with their covers black and rotten after a voyage, though packed in the midst of a chest, where the books around them were perfectly uninjured by the sea.
Books which have these covers should never have them stiffened with any kind of boards, they cannot otherwise be read near the fire without inconvenience or injury. In the old fashion parchment is the lightest, cheapest, cleanest, and most durable form of binding, and if vellum be substituted, the most beautiful.
101. The Carpenter Bird.
Herrera (10.4. 11) describes a curious bird in the province of Chiapa, a sort of turdus which they called the Carpenter. This bird fed solely upon acorns, which it used to hoard in the trunk of the pine trees, boring with its beak a separate hole for every acorn; many trees were full of these holes in the nicest order, and they were so well fitted that the acorn could not be pulled out by the fingers, or otherwise than by some pointed instrument. The bird got them out by standing like a woodpecker with its feet on the trunk. It was black with a little red on the head and breast. This was a troublesome mode of hoarding, but the only secure one, as nothing could get at the hoards.
The state, with respect to the different sects of Religion under its protection, should resemble a well-drawn portrait. Let there be half a score individuals looking up at it, every one sees its eyes and its benignant smile directed toward himself.
The framer of preventive laws, no less than private tutors and schoolmasters, should remember, that the readiest way to make either mind or body grow awry, is by lacing it too tight.
It would have proved a striking part of a Vision presented to Adam, the day after the death of Abel, to have brought before his eyes half a million of men crowded together in the space of a square mile. When the first father had exhausted his wonder on the multitude of his offspring, he would then naturally inquire of his angelic instructor, for what purposes so vast a multitude had assembled? what is the common end? — alas! to murder each other, all Cains and yet no Abels!
104. Bishop Kenn.
Of Bishop Kenn Mrs. Berkeley has preserved some interesting anecdotes. They come on good authority, for Shotesbrook, the house of her grandfather Mr. Cherry, was a second home to the Bishop.
"When Charles the II. went down to Winchester with his court, the house of Dr. Kenn was destined to be the residence of Mrs. Gwynne. The good little man declared that she should not be under his roof. He was steady as a rock. The intelligence was carried to the King, who said, well then, Nell must take a lodging in the city. All the court divines &c. were shocked at Dr. Kenn's strange conduct, saying, that he had ruined his fortune, and would never rise in the church. Some months after, the bishopric of Bath and Wells becoming vacant, the minister, &c. recommended (as is always usual I suppose) some learned pious divines, to which the king answered, no, none of them shall have it I assure you; what is the name of that little man at Winchester that would not let Nell Gwynne lodge at his house? Dr. Kenn, please your Majesty: Well, he shall have it then: I resolved that he should have the first Bishopric that fell, if it had been Canterbury.— Just after the deprivation of the Bishops, a gentleman meeting Bishop Kenn, began condoling with his Lordship, to which he merrily replied, God bless you, my friend, do not pity me now, 'my father lived before me;' he was an honest farmer, and left me twenty pounds a year, thank God.— The bishop every morning made a vow that he would not marry that day. Mr. Cherry used frequently on his entering the breakfast room to say, well, my good Lord, is the resolution made this morning ? Oh yes Sir, long ago."
Parodies on new poems are read as satires; on old ones, (the soliloquy of Hamlet for instance) as compliments. A man of genius may securely laugh at a mode of attack, by which his reviler in half a century or less, becomes his encomiast.
106. M. Dupuis.
Among the extravagancies of faith, which have characterised many infidel writers, who would swallow a whale to avoid believing that a whale swallowed Jonas; a high rank should be given to Dupuis, who at the commencement of the French Revolution, published a work in twelve volumes octavo, in order to prove that Jesus Christ was the Sun, and all Christians, worshippers of Mithra. His arguments, if arguments they can be called, consist chiefly of metaphors quoted from the Fathers. What irresistable conviction would not the following passage from Souths' Sermons (Vol. v. p. 165) have flashed on his fancy, had it occurred in the writings of Origen or Tertullian! and how compleat a confutation of all his grounds does not the passage afford to those humble souls who, gifted with common sense alone, can boast of no additional light received through a crack in their upper apartments!
"Christ, the great Sun of Righteousness and Saviour of the World, having by a glorious Rising, after a red and bloody Setting, proclaimed his Deity to men and angels; and by a compleat Triumph over the two grand Enemies of Mankind, Sin and Death, set up the everlasting Gospel in the room of all false Religions, has now changed the Persian Superstition into the Christian Doctrine; and without the least approach to the idolatry of the former, made it henceforward the duty of all nations, Jews and Gentiles, to worship the rising Sun."
This one passage outblazes the whole host of Dupuis' Evidences and Extracts. In the same sermon, the reader will meet With Hume's argument against miracles anticipated, and put in Thomas's mouth.
107. Hereticks of the early ages.
The ancient hereticks are so extravagantly calumniated that it is not easy to discover their real opinions or character. Something however is to be made out.
The success of Christianity tempted some bold spirits to set up for themselves. Every thing about Simon Magus must be false, except perhaps his Simony; but it is plain that certain early hereticks took advantage of the promise of the Comforter. Montanus is said to have called himself the Paraclete. Others tried to amalgamate eastern superstition with Christianity. In both these attempts Mahommed succeeded. Mosellama was his Simon Magus, who declared against him, and failed.
Others saw that a new religion was likely to succeed, but wished to substitute some other object of adoration in the place of Christ,— probably to avoid the reproach of the crucifixion. Seth, Melchisedeck, and Moses were set up. The Pagans tried Apollonius Tyanæus. The stories of the Cainites cannot be true.
A large class consists of those who resisted the various corruptions of Christianity step by step, from Cerinthus down to Berenger. Another of those who proposed corruptions of their own,— in this are included all the species of Arians, and all the Greek metaphysical sects. Two other divisions remain,— plain, reasonable, pious non-conformists, to whom Robinson attributes too much,— and infatuated fanatics, whom he has not taken sufficiently into his view, but who, under some shape or other, have existed in all times and all countries.
It is curious to see how some of these heresies leavened the conquering Church. The distinguishing tenet of Manichæism, is the root and foundation of all ascetic rigour;— the celibacy of the clergy is traceable to Manes and Marcion, and fatalism, which infects us at this day under the name of Calvinism, its vilest and vulgarest form,— was brought by the Gnostics from the East.
108. The Needle.
There is a passage in the Partidas respecting the needle, which was written half a century before its supposed invention at Amalfi, and which I have never seen noticed by any writer upon the subject. It occurs in the form of a simile— the original words, in such cases as this ought always to be given.
E bién assi como los marineros se guian en la noche escura por el aguja, que les es medianera entre la piedra e la estrella, e les muestra por de vayan, tambien en los malos tiempos, como en los buenos; otrosi los que han de consejar al Rey, se deven siempre guiar por la justicia, que es medianera entre Dios e el mundo, en todo tiempo, para dar gualardon a los buenos, e pena a los malos, a cada uno segund su merescimiento.
2. Partida. Tit. 9. Ley 28.
"And even as mariners guide themselves in the dark night by the needle, which is their connecting medium between the stone and the star, and shows them where they go alike in bad seasons as in good; so those who are to give counsel to the King, ought always to guide themselves by justice, which is the connecting medium between God and the world at all times, to give their guerdon to the good and their punishment to the wicked; to each according to his deserts."
The compass must have been well known and in general use before it would thus be referred to as a familiar illustration. The Partidas were begun in 1250, and compleated in seven years.
It is deserving of notice that in the works of Pedro Nuñez, the well known writer upon navigation who flourished early in the 16th century, the compass is called figura nautici instrumenti quod Hispanicum appellant.
109. Origin of the worship of Hymen.
The origin of the worship of Hymen is thus related by Lactantius. The story would furnish matter for an excellent pantomime. Hymen was a beautiful youth of Athens, who for the love of a young virgin disguised himself, and assisted at the (Eleusinian) rites: and at this time, he, together with his beloved, and divers other young ladies of that city, was surprized and carried off by pirates; who supposing him to be what he appeared, lodged him with his mistress. In the dead of the night, when the Robbers were all asleep, he rose and cut their throats. Thence making hasty way back to Athens, he bargained with the Parents that he would restore to them their Daughter, and all her companions, if they would consent to her marriage with him. They did so, and this marriage proving remarkably happy, it became the custom to invoke the name of Hymen at all nuptials.
It is hard and uncandid to censure the great reformers in philosophy and religion for their egotism and boastfulness. It is scarcely possible for a man to meet with continued personal abuse on account of his superior talents without associating more and more the sense of the value of his discoveries or detections with his own person. The necessity of repelling unjust contempt, forces the most modest man into a feeling of pride and self-consciousness. How can a tall man help thinking of his size, when dwarfs are constantly standing on tiptoe beside him? Paracelsus was a braggard and a quack: so was Cardan; but it was their merits, and not their follies, which drew upon them that torrent of detraction and calumny, which compelled them so frequently to think and write concerning themselves, that at length it became an habit to do so. Wolff too, though not a boaster, was yet persecuted into a habit of Egotism both in his prefaces and in his ordinary conversation; and the same holds good of the founder of the Brunonian System, and of his great name-sake Giordano Bruno. The more decorous manners of the presentage have attached a disproportionate opprobrium to this foible, and many therefore abstain with cautious prudence from all displays of what they feel. Nay some do actually flatter themselves, that they abhor all Egotism, and never betray it either in their writings or discourse. But watch these men narrowly: in the greater number of cases you will find their thoughts, feelings, and mode of expression, saturated with the passion of Contempt, which is the concentrated Vinegar of Egotism,
111. Cap of Liberty.
Those who hoped proudly of human nature, and admitted of no distinction between Christians and Frenchmen, regarded the first constitution as a colossal statue of Corinthian brass, formed by the fusion and commixture of all metals in the conflagration of the state.— But there is a common fungus, which so exactly represents the pole and cap of Liberty, that it seems offered by Nature herself as the appropriate emblem of Gallic Republicanism... Mushroom patriots with a mushroom Cap of Liberty!
112. Ablactation... as our old Dictionaries call it.
Old Beuther, in calculating the number of years necessary for replenishing the world after the Deluge, allows two years for suckling a child. This therefore must have been the customary time of lactation in Spain. The Spaniards perhaps received it from the Moors, for Mahommed enjoins mothers to give their infants the breast during two compleat years, if they will take it so long. Immediately after laying down this law, the Koran with its usual inconsistency, gives full permission to any body to break it.
King Joam III. of Portugal was not weaned till he was three years and a half old, and then it was by an act of his own princely pleasure. In that same age it was a common custom in Germany to wean infants after the first month, feed them with cows-milk through a wooden tube, and administer the warm bath every third day.
Novi ego aliquem qui dormitabundus aliquando pulsari horam quartam audiverit, et sic numeravit, una, una, una, una; ac turn præ rei absurditate, quant anima concepiebat exclamavit, Næ! delirat Horologium! Quater pulsavit horam unam.
I knew a person who during imperfect sleep, or dozing as we say, listened to the clock as it was striking four, and as it struck, he counted the four, one, one, one, one; and then exclaimed, Why, the clock is out of its wits: it has struck one four times over.
This is a good exemplification of the nature of Bulls, which will be found always to contain in them a confusion of (what the Schoolmen would have called) Objectivety with Subjectivety, in plain English, the impression of a thing as it exists in itself and extrinsically, with the idea which the mind abstracts from the impression. Thus, number, or the total of a series, is a generalization of the mind, an ens rationis not an ens reale. I have read many attempts at a definition of a Bull, and lately in the Edinburgh Review, but it then appeared to me, that the definers had fallen into the same fault with Miss Edgeworth in her delightful essay on Bulls, and given the definition of the genus, Blunder, for that of the particular species, Bull. I venture therefore to propose the following: a Bull consists in a mental juxtaposition of incongruous ideas with the sensation, but without the sense, of connection. The psychological conditions of the possibility of a Bull, it would not be difficult to determine; but it would require a larger space than can be afforded in the Omniana, at least more attention, than our readers would be likely to afford.
There is a sort of spurious bull, which consists wholly in mistake of language, and which the closest thinker may make, if speaking in a language of which he is not master.
114. Wise Ignorance.
It is impossible to become either an eminently great, or truly pious man without the courage to remain ignorant of many things. This important truth is most happily expressed by the elder Scaliger in prose, and by the younger in verse; the latter extract has an additional claim from the exquisite terseness of its diction, and the purity of its latinity. We particularly recommend its perusal to the commentators on the apocalypse.
Quare ulterior disquisitio morosi atque satagentis animis est; humanæ enim sapientiæ pars est, quædam æquo animo nescire velle.
Scal. Ex. 307. § 29.
Ne curiosis quære causas omnium.
Quæcunque libris vis prophetarum indidit,
Afflata cælo, plena veraci Deo:
Nec operta sacri supparo silentii
Irrumpere ande; sed prudenter præteri!
Nescire velle qiæ magister optimus
Docere non vult, erudita inscitia est.
115. Change of Climate.
It is long since many, of whom I am one, says Lord Dreghorn, have maintained that the seasons are altered; that it is not so hot now in summer as when we were boys. Others laugh at this, and say, that the supposed alteration proceeds from an alteration in ourselves; from our having become older, and consequently colder. In 1783 or 1784, in the course of a conversation I had with my brewer, who is very intelligent and eminent in his way, he maintained that an alteration had taken place. This observation he made from a variety of circumstances; the diminution of the number of swallows, the coldness that attends rain, the alteration in the hours of labour at the time of sowing barley, which a great many years ago was a work performed very early in the morning on account of the intenseness of the heat after the sun had been up some time. He added, that for many years past, he had found, that the barley did not malt as formerly, and the period he fixed on was the year in which the earthquake at Lisbon happened. I was much surprised at this last observation, and did not pay much attention to it till last summer, when I happened to read Les Annales Politiques of Linguet, a very scarce book, which I was sure my brewer had never read; for there to my astonishment, I found the very same opinion, with this additional fact, that in Champagne, where he was born, they have not been able since that earthquake to make the same wine. He says too, that he has seen the title-deeds of several estates in Picardy, which proved that at that time they had a number of excellent vineyards, but that now no such crop can be reared there. He also attempts to account philosophically for that earthquake having such effects.
Thus far lord Dreghorn. The country about Placencia (the retreat of Charles V,) once one of the most fertile parts of Spain, is said by the inhabitants to have lost its fertility since that great earthquake. It is another extraordinary fact upon the same subject, that the herring fishery on our eastern coast commences now a month later than it did in the days of our grandfathers.
That the climate of England is changed within the last half century, it now generally admitted. Mr. Williams has lately attempted to account for it, by the great introduction of foreign trees and grasses, which, being natives of hotter climates, give out a far greater evaporation than our own indigenous vegetables. I have only seen an account of this gentleman's book, not the book itself. The fact is very curious, and the application highly ingenious. But it is manifest that this solution is not adequate to the phenomenon: for change of climate is equally complained of in other countries, where planting is not in fashion, and where no improvements in agriculture have been introduced. To those countries it is not applicable, neither will it explain the increased prevalence of west and south-west winds.
Mr. Williams proposes that electric mills should be erected over the country, to supply electricity to the atmosphere, when there is a deficiency, and draw it off when there is an excess. Darwin's scheme for towing Ice-islands to the Tropics was nothing when compared to this. But let philosophy tell us all its dreams: the more projects the better; there is no danger of their being adopted before they have been well weighed, and though ninety-nine may deserve the ridicule which the whole hundred are sure to incur, the hundredth may nevertheless succeed.
116. Gift of Tongues.
There is a curious question concerning the gift of tongues, in what mode the miracle was effected: many theologians, and Gregory Nazianzen among them, opining that the miracle took place in the atmosphere, and not in the ears of the hearers; because, they argued, if it were otherwise, the miracle must be ascribed to the hearers, and not the speakers.
Vieyra Sermones, T. 10, p. 444.
Triumphant generals in Rome wore Rouge. The ladies of France, we presume, and their fair sisters and imitators in Britain, conceive themselves always in the chair of triumph, and of course entitled to the same distinction. The custom originated, perhaps, in the humility of the conquerors, that they might seem to blush continually at their own praises. Mr. Gilpin frequently speaks of a "picturesque eye:" with something less of solœcism we may affirm, that our fair ever-blushing triumphants have secured to themselves the charm of picturesque cheeks, every face being its own portrait.
118. Επεα πτεροεντα, i.e. Hasty Words.
I crave mercy (at least of my contemporaries: for if the Omniana should outlive the present generation, the opinion will not need it), but I could not help writing in the blank page of a very celebrated work the following passage from Picus Mirandola in Epist. ad Hermol. Barb.
Movent mihi stomachum Grammatistæ quidam, qui cum duas tenuerint vocabulorum origines, ita se ostentant, ita venditant, ita circumferunt jactabundi ut præ ipsis pro nihilo habendos Philosophos arbitrentur.
119. Motives and Impulses.
It is a matter of infinite difficulty, but fortunately of comparative indifference, to determine what a man's motive may have been for this or that particular action. Rather seek to learn what his objects in general are. What does he habitually wish? habitually pursue? and thence deduce his impulses, which are commonly the true efficient causes of men's conduct; and without which the motive itself would not have become a motive. Let a haunch of venison represent the motive, and the keen appetite of health and exercise the impulse: then place the same or some more favourite dish, before the same man, sick, dyspeptic, and stomach-worn, and we may then weigh the comparative influences of motives and impulses. Without the perception of this truth, it is impossible to understand the character of Iago, who is represented as now assigning one, and then another, and again a third, motive for his conduct, all alike the mere fictions of his own restless nature, distempered by a keen sense of his intellectual superiority, and haunted by the love of exerting power, on those especially who are his superiors in practical and moral excellence. Yet how many among our modern critics have attributed to the profound author this, the appropriate inconsistency of the character itself!
A second illustration.— Did Curio, the quondam patriot, reformer, and semi-revolutionist, abjure his opinions, and yell the foremost in the hunt of persecution against his old friends and fellow-philosophists, with a cold clear pre-determination, formed at one moment, of making 5000l. a-year by his apostacy?— I neither know nor care. Probably not. But this I know, that to be thought a man of consequence by his contemporaries, to be admitted into the society of his superiors in artificial rank, to excite the admiration of Lords, to live in splendor and sensual luxury, have been the objects of his habitual wishes. A flash of lightning has turned at once the polarity of the compass needle: and so, perhaps, now and then, but as rarely, a violent motive may revolutionize a man's opinions and professions. But more frequently his honesty dies away imperceptibly from evening into twilight, and from twilight to utter darkness.— He turns hypocrite so gradually, and by such tiny atoms of motion, that by the time be has arrived at a given point, he forgets his own hypocrisy in the imperceptible degrees of his conversion. The difference between such a man and a bolder liar, is merely that between the hour-hand, and that which tells the seconds, on a watch. Of the former you can see only the motion, of the latter both the past motion and the present moving. Yet there is, perhaps, more hope of the latter rogue: for he has lied to mankind only and not to himself — the former lies to his own heart, as well as to the public.
120. Inward Blindness.
Talk to a blind man — he knows, he wants the sense of sight, and willingly makes the proper allowances. But there are certain internal senses, which a man may want, and yet be wholly ignorant that he wants them. It is most unpleasant to converse with such persons on subjects of taste, philosophy, or religion. Of course, there is no reasoning with them: for they do not possess the facts, on which the reasoning must be grounded. Nothing is possible, but a naked dissent, which implies a sort of unsocial contempt; or, what a man of kind dispositions is very likely to fall into, a heartless tacit acquiescence, which borders too nearly on duplicity.
121. The vices of Slaves no excuse for Slavery.
It often happens, that the slave himself has neither the power nor the wish to be free. He is then brutified; but this apathy is the dire effect of slavery, and so far from being a justifying cause, that it contains the grounds of its bitterest condemnation. The Carolingian race bred up the Merovingi as beasts; and then assigned their unworthiness as the satisfactory reason of their dethronement. Alas! the human being is more easily weaned from the habit of commanding than from that of abject obedience. The slave loses his soul when he loses his master: even as the dog that has lost himself in the street, bowls and whines till he has found the house again, where he had been kicked and cudgelled, and half-starved to boot. As we however or our ancestors must have inoculated our fellow-creatures with this wasting disease of the soul, it becomes our duty to cure him: and though we cannot immediately make him free, yet we can and ought to, put him in the way of becoming so at some future time, if not in his own person yet in that of his children. The French are not capable of freedom. Grant this! but does this fact justify the ungrateful traitor, whose every measure has been to make them still more incapable of it?
122. Circulation of the Blood.
The ancients attributed to the blood the same motion of ascent and descent which really takes place in the sap of trees. Servetus discovered the minor circulation from the heart to the lungs. Do not the following passages of Giordano Bruno (published, 1591), seem to imply more? We put the question, pauperis formâ, with unfeigned diffidence.
" De Inmenso et Innumerabili, lib vi. cap, 8.
Ut in nostro corpore sanguis per totum circumcursat
et recursat, sic in toto mundo, astro, tellure.
Quare non aliter quam nostro in corpore sanguis
Hinc meat, hinc remeat, neque ad inferiora fluit vi
Majore, ad supera a pedibus quam deinde recedat—
of the same book,
Quodam ni gyro Naturæ cuncta redirent
Ortus ad propirios rursum; si sorbeat omnes
Pontus aquas, totum non restituntque perenni
Ordine; qua possit rerum consistere vita?
Tanquam si totus concurrat sanguis in unam,
In qua consistat, pattem, nee prima revisat
Ordia. et antiquos cursus non inde resumat.
It is affirmed in the "Supplement to the Scotch Encyclopædia Britannica," that Des Cartes was the first who in defiance of Aristotle and the schools attributed infinity to the universe. The very title of Bruno's poem proves, that this honor belongs to him.
Feyjoo lays claim to a knowledge of the circulation for Francisco de la Reyna, a farrier, who published a work upon his own art at Burgos, in 1564. The passage which he quotes is perfectly clear. Por manera, que la sangre anda en torno, y en rueda por todos los miembros, excluye toda duda. Whether Reyna himself claimed any discovery, Feyjoo does not mention;... but these words seem to refer to some preceding demonstration of the fact. I am inclined to think that this, like many other things, was known before it was discovered; just as the preventive powers of the vaccine disease, the existence of Adipocire in graves, and certain principles in grammar and in population, upon which bulky books have been written, and great reputations raised in our own days.
123. Perituræ parcere chartæ.
What scholar but must at times have a feeling of splenetic regret, when he looks at the list of novels, in 2, 3, or 4 volumes each, published monthly by Messrs. Lane, &c. and then reflects, that there are valuable works of Cudworth, prepared by himself for the press, yet still unpublished by the University which possesses them, and which ought to glory in the name of their great author! and that there is extant in MSS a folio volume of unprinted sermons by Jeremy Taylor. Surely, surely, the patronage of the gentlemen of the Literary Fund might be employed more beneficially to the literature and to the actual literati of the country, if they would publish the valuable manuscripts that lurk in our different public libraries, and make it worth the while of men of learning to correct and annotate the copies, instead of ———, but we are treading on hot embers!
124. To have and to be.
The distinction is marked in a beautiful sentiment of a German poet: Hast thou any thing? Share it with me and I will pay thee the worth of it. Art thou any thing? O then let us exchange souls.
The following is offered as a mere playful illustration:
"Women have no souls, says Prophet Mahomet."
Nay, dearest Anna! why so grave?
I said, you had no soul, 'tis true:
For what you are, you cannot have—
'tis I, that have one, since I first had you.
125. Party Passion.
"Well, Sir!" (exclaimed a lady, the vehement and impassionate partizan of Mr. Wilkes, in the day of his glory, and during the broad blaze of his patriotism,) "Well, Sir! and will you dare deny, that Mr. Wilkes is a great man, and an eloquent man? Oh! by no means, Madam! I have not a doubt respecting Mr. Wilkes's talents.—Well, but, Sir! and is he not a fine man, too, and a handsome man?—Why he Madam! he squints — doesn't he? Squints! yes, to be sure, he does, Sir! but not a bit more, than a gentleman and a man of sense ought to squint!!
126. Goodness of Heart indispensable to a Man of Genius.
"If men will impartially and not asquint look toward the offices and function of a poet, they will easily conclude to themselves the impossibility of any man's being a great poet without being first a good man."
Ben Jonson's Dedication to Volpone.
Ben Jonson has borrowed this just and noble sentiment from Strabo, lib. i. Ουκ οιον αγαθον γενεσθαι ποιητην, μη προτερον γενηθεντα ανδρα αγαθον.
127. Milton and Ben Jonson.
Those who have more faith in parallelism than myself, may trace Satan's address to the Sun in Paradise Lost to the first lines of Ben Jonson's Poetaster:
"Light! I salute thee, but with wounded nerves,
Wishing thy golden splendor pitchy darkness!"
But even if Milton had the above in his mind, his own verses would be more fitly entitled an apotheosis of Jonson's lines than an imitation.
We all remember Burke's curious assertion that there were 80,000 incorrigible jacobins in England. Mr. Colquhoun is equally precise in the number of beggars, prostitutes, and thieves in the city of London. Mercetinus, who wrote under Lewis the 15th, seems to have afforded the precedent; he assures his readers, that by an accurate calculation there were "50,000 incorrigible Atheists in the city of Paris!! Atheism then may have been a co-cause of the French revolution; but it should not be burthened on it, as its monster-child.
The following ode was written by Giordano Bruno, under prospect of that martyrdom which he soon after suffered at Rome, for atheism: i. e. as is proved by all his works, for a lofty and enlightened piety, which was of course unintelligible to bigots, and dangerous to an apostate hierarchy. If the human mind be, as it assuredly is, the sublimest object, which nature affords to our contemplation, these lines, which pourtray the human mind under the action of its most elevated affections, have a fair claim to the praise of sublimity. The work, from which they are extracted, is exceedingly rare, (as are, indeed, all the works of the Nolan Philosopher,) and I have never seen them quoted.
Dædalias vacuis plumas nectere humeris
Concupiant alii; aut vi suspendi nubium
Alis, ventorumve appetant remigium;
Aut orbitæ flammantis raptari alveo;
Nos vero illo donati sumas genio,
Ut fatum intrepidi objectasque umbras cernimus,
Ne cæci ad lumen solis, ad perspicuas
Naturæ voces surdi, ad Divum munera
Ingrato adsimus pectore.
Non curamus stultorum quid opinio
De nobis ferat, aut queis dignetur sedibus
Alis ascendimus sursum melioribus!
Quid nubes ultra, ventorum ultra est semita
Vidimus, quantum satis est.
Illuc conscendent plurimi, nobis ducibus,
Per scalam proprio erectam et firmam in pectore,
Quam Deus, et vegeti sors dabit Ingeni,
Non manes, pluma, ignis, ventus, nubes, spiritus,
Non sensus vegetans, non me Ratio arguet
Non indoles exculti clara Ingenii;
Sed perfidi Sycophantæ supercilium
Absque Lance, Staterâ, Trutinâ, Oculo,
Miraculum armati se_ete.
Versificantis Grammatistæ eucomium,
Buglossæ Græcissantum, et Epistolia
Lectorem libri salutantum a limine,
Latrantum adversum Zoilos, Momos, Mastiges,
Hinc absint Testimonia!
Procedat nudus, quem non ornant Nubilæ,
Sol! Non conveniunt Quadrupedum phaleræ
Ilumano dorso! Porro Veri Species
Quæsita, inventa, et patefacta me efferat!
Etsi nullus intolligat,
Si cum Natura sapio, et sub Numine,
Id vere plusquam satis est.
The conclusion alludes to a charge of impenetrable obscurity, in which Bruno shares one and the same fate with Plato, Aristotle Kant, and in truth with every great discoverer and benefactor of the human race; excepting only when the discoveries have been capable of being rendered palpable to the outward senses, and have therefore come under the cognizance of our "sober judicious critics," the men of "sound common sense;" i.e. of those snails in intellect, who wear their eyes at the tips of their feelers, and cannot even see unless they at the same time touch.— When these finger-philosophers affirm that Plato, Bruno, &tc. must have been "out of their senses" the just and proper retort is: "Gentlemen! it is still worse with you! you have lost your reason."
By the bye, Addison in the Spectator has grossly misrepresented the design and tendency of Bruno's Bestia Triomphante; the object of which was to shew of all the theologies and theogonies, which have been conceived for the mere purpose of solving problems in the material universe, that as they originate in the fancy, so they all end in delusion, and act to the hindrance or prevention of sound knowledge and actual discovery. But the principal and more important truth taught in this allegory, is, that in the concerns of morality, all pretended knowledge of the will of heaven, which is not revealed to man through his conscience; that all commands, which do not consist in the unconditional obedience of the will to the pure reason, without tampering with consequences (which are in God's power not in our's); in short, that all motives of hope and fear from invisible powers, which are not immediately derived from, and absolutely coincident with, the reverence due to the supreme reason of the universe, are all alike dangerous superstitions. The worship founded on them, whether offered by the catholic to St. Francis, or by the poor African to his Fetish, differ in form only, not in substance. Herein Bruno speaks not only as a philosopher but as an enlightened christian: the evangelists and apostles every where representing their moral precepts, not as doctrines then first revealed, but as truths implanted in the hearts of men, which their vices only could have obscured.
130. Christianas Franciscus Paullinus.
A rascally quack who calls himself the famous worm-destroyer, is at this time travelling about the country, and vending his nostrum by means of hand-bills, with 'please to keep this clean till called for,' in large letters at the end. "Courteous reader, (he says,) had you seen a quarter of the dismal effects of these vermin upon the human body, you would believe with me, that these vermiculars have sent thousands to their long homes, under the name of such a fever, or such a distemper. Worms drop from the eyes like lice, from the nose like maggots, from the ears when imposthumed, and nave been found in the heart of those who have died of syphilis; wherefore I advise all persons to stop the progress of these pernicious vermin in time, and not stand idle while nature is worsted on unequal terms. These vermin are so pernicious, there is hardly any age, sex, or constitution, but is subject to them, nor any part but they affect, as there are no humours but may putrify one time or other, and this putrified matter having a heat apt for generation, produces worms; and if not, purification has in itself seeds as pernicious, causing the same disorders as vermin actually existing. This medicine not only destroys worms, but all kinds of matter, and is the only specific yet known."
The theory of which this ignorant fellow has got hold, is by no means an unpromising one for his purpose. About a century ago one Dr. Christianus Franciscus Paullinus published his Disquisitio Curiosa an mors naturalis plerumque sit substantia verminosa. He should not have written this book he says, if it had not been for the glory of God and the edification of the church. His notions of edification must have been very curious, and as for the glory of God, Jonathon Edwards himself did not attempt to support it in a more extraordinary manner. Never was there a more beastly collection of horrid and disgusting stories, yet it contained so many odd things that an idle after-dinner hour was not ill bestowed upon its perusal. Nine-tenths of the book were palpably false, and whatever approximation to truth there may be in the animalcular system of physics, of which Dr. Paullinus had persuaded himself, I recollected more facts, and bethought myself of more arguments in its support, than were to be found in his disquisition.
St. Pierre in his first work (Voyage to the isle of France) advances an hypothesis that trees, like Madrepores, are the work of animalculæ; you wonder that a theory which you cannot believe, should be maintained so ingeniously. Darwin in like manner explained the human economy; every gland, according to him was a nest of living atoms, each of whom (as he expressed himself in conversation) took from the circulating fluid what he liked best.
A burial-place like that into which Sindbad was let down with the body of his wife, is described by Henry Timberlake, as then in use at Jerusalem, in his Discourse of the Travels of two English Pilgrims, 1616. Re-printed in the Harl. Miscellany, vol. 1.
They brought me, he says, to the field, or rather to be more rightly termed, the rock, where the common burial-place is for strangers; being the very same, as they say, which was bought with the thirty pieces of silver that Judas received as the price of his master; which place is called Aceldama, and is fashioned as followeth:— It hath three holes above, and on the side there is a vent; at the upper holes they let down the dead bodies, to the estimation of about fifty feet down. In this place I saw two bodies new or very lately let down, and looking down, (for by reason of the three great holes above, where the dead bodies lie, it is very light) I received such a savour into my head, that it made me very sick, so that I was glad to entreat the friars to go no farther, but to return home to the city.
132. Mostansir Billah.
Mostansir Billah murdered his father and succeeded to the Caliphate. One day a carpet was spread before him, wherin was woven the likeness of a horseman having a diadem on his head, and a great circle round, inscribed with Persian characters. He called for a Persian to interpret the writing; the man changed colour, and when Mostansir asked what it was, he replied, it was only Persian trifling. Again the Caliph demanded the meaning of the inscription, and he denied that it contained any: but when the Caliph insisted upon hearing it, then said he, thus it saith, 'I, Siroes the son of Chosroes slew my father, and I possessed his kingdom only six months!' And the countenance of Mostansir changed, and he arose from his throne, and only six months did he reign.
Once, when he awoke in the night, crying aloud, one of his attendants said to him, O! commander of the faithful, why weepest thou? he replied, I saw my father Mutewekkel in my sleep, and he said to me, alas, Mostansir, thou hast slain me and seized my empire; but by God few are the days that thou shalt enjoy it after me, and then shalt thou enter the fire. I awoke and am not myself for fear. Then answered Abdalla, these are the confused thoughts of a dream, arising from thy own reflections; drive them from thee by joy and mirth — call for wine and regard not the vision: and he did as he was advised, but the fear continued upon him till his death; and when his sickness waxed more and more, his mother came and asked of him how he fared, but he answered, by God I am losing this world, and the life to come also!
Elmacin, p. 196—198.
133. Bishop Berkeley.
A journal of his travels in Italy, and many other of his papers, remain unpublished. His grandson, George Monck Berkeley, had he lived, would have given them to the public. I know not what is become of them since the family has been extinct, but of such a man, not a relick should be. lost.
134. Government of Norcia.
It is curious that an institution should exist in the Papal territories, founded upon an anti-clerical feeling, not less inveterate than that of the bigotted Quakers, who always say steeple-house instead of church. The little town of Norcia had the privilege of making its own laws and chasing its own magistrates, and so jealous were the people of all priests, that in order to prevent the possibility of any one obtaining authority among them, one of their laws was, that all men who could read and write, should be incapable of bearing a share in their government. Their magistracy therefore, which consisted of four persons, were called, Gli quatre Illiterati, the four illiterates,.. and as a necessary consequence of this singular institution, all causes were examined without writings, and decided orally.
I know not when this brutalizing system was established, nor what circumstances occasioned it. It would be interesting to trace its history;.... a Jack Cade establishing a permanent order of things is a phenomenon, of which there is no other instance. The fact is mentioned in a volume of letters concerning the state of Italy, in 1687, written as a supplement to Gilbert Burnet's Travels, p. 189. And as it is noticed by Busching also, as a still-existing custom, it was probably not abrogated till the general wreck of all the institutions in Italy under Buonaparte's tyranny.
This strange institution is the more remarkable, because Norcia is the birthplace of St. Benedict, one of the most eminent of the Romish Church, from whose institution almost all the Apostles of the North of Europe proceeded.
135. Early English Metre.
A remarkable rhyme occurs in the metrical Romance of Octouian Imperator.
Whan they were seght alle yn same,
And Florence herde Florentyne's name,
Sche swore her oth be Seynt Jame
Al so prest,
So hyght my sone that was take fre me
In that forest
Mr. Weber observes upon the passage, that "this singular rhyme strongly supports the opinion of Wallis and of Tyrwhitt in his Essay on the versification of Chaucer, that the final e which is at present mute, was anciently pronounced obscurely like the e feminine of the French."
Mr. Weber is so faithful and accurate an editor, that I doubt not the words fra me are divided as he has printed them in the manuscript which he has followed; but I find among my memoranda made in perusing Gower some years ago, some passages marked which lead to a contrary inference. In Berthelette's edition, 1554, this couplet occurs.
For love is ever fast byme
Which taketh none hede of due tyme.
So that the more me mervaileth
"What thyng it is my lady aileth,
That all myn herte, and all my tyme
She hath? and do no better byme.
In both places the words by me are thus contracted into one. This must have been because they were pronounced so in the printer's days;— whether they were so in the poet's might be determined by a manuscript, if there be any existing of his own age. The first stanza of Troilus and Creseide contains another instance of contraction.
The double sorow of Troilus to tellen
That was King Priamus sonne of Troy.
In loving how his aventuris fellen
From wo to wele, and after out of joy,
My purpose is, er that I part froy.
136. Troilus and Creseide.
It is evident from the first stanza of this poem (just quoted) when the narrator says, "er that I part froy," that Chaucer intended it for one of his Canterbury Tales, and this seems to be confirmed by the 65th stanza of the first book.
For aie the nere the fire the hotter is,
This (trow I) knoweth all this companie
I do not know whether this has been observed before, A compleat and faithful edition of the works of this great father of English poetry, with an accurate verbal index, as well as glossary, is much to be desired.
137. Miraculous combustion of wood without ashes, and oil without smoke.
There was in Kildare an ancient monument named the fire-house, wherein Cambrensis saith, was there continual fire kept day and night, and yet the ashes never increased. I travelled, says Stanihurst, of set purpose, to the town of Kildare to see this place, where I did see a monument like a vault, which to this day they call the fire house. (Holinslied's Chronicles, vol. 6, p. 38. Edit. 1808.)
The secret of this miracle had been lost at Kildare, but had Stanihurst (to use one of his own words) pilgrimaged to the monastery of N. Señora de Valvanera, Convent in pilgrimage from Rioja, Buraba, Navarre, Castille, and many other parts. And in a matter which can so easily be seen and brought to the proof, I would not venture to stake my credit (which I shall stand in need of to its full extent for the great history before me) if it were not a thing absolutely certain, notorious, and repeatedly tried and proved."
Cor. Gen. de S. Benito, T. 1. ff. 287.
The tradition of the country was that St. Athanasius, during the time of his persecution, hid himself in a chapel or hermitage here, and in his humility served as cook to the anchorites and the poor. But as it would have taken up much time and labour to carry away the ashes, God was pleased to invent this miracle for the sake of lessening his trouble, and giving him more leisure for prayer. Upon the faith of this tradition the convent made a festival of the saint's day, when Yepes wrote, and both the custom and the miracle may very possibly have continued till this dreadful convulsion, which, dreadful as it is, has already added more glory to the Spaniards, than the most splendid of all their ancient triumphs. It would be curious to know in what manner the miracle was performed, for mere slight-of-hand, or ordinary deception, will not account for it. It is the more remarkable because at Zaragoza the Jeronimites had the secret of making oil burn without producing smoke; a fact which the Bollandists, in some gnat-straining humour, affected candidly to doubt while they related it, but which Bourgoing witnessed in our own days. This writer was puzzled by it, but instead of attempting to explain it, he contents himself with a sneer at the supposition that God, who had performed no miracle to terminate the French revolution, should condescend to work one in an underground chapel at Zaragoza, where it was as useless as the existence of the monks who exhibited it. An esprit fort may be a very weak reasoner. The fact is exceedingly curious. Thirty lamps burnt day and night in the subterranean chapel of St. Engracia where the roof was little more than twelve feet high; the roof was never in the slightest degree sullied with smoke, and M. Bourgoing, who was invited to hold a piece of white paper over one of the lamps, confessed he saw, or thought he saw, that the paper was not blackened.
138. Two modes of Atheism.
D'Arvieux (t. 1, p. 308) attributes an extraordinary kind, of atheism to the Druses. "They acknowlege" he says, "that there was a God once, but they affirm that after he had created heaven and earth, he was blown away by a high wind, which carried him so far off that there has been no news of him since" I knew a philosopher who held an opinion not less whimsical, and directly the reverse of this. He was perfectly satisfied that there is no God at present, but he believed there would be one by and by: for as the organization of the universe perfected itself, a universal mind, he argued, would be the result. This he called the system of progressive nature. He explained it to me with great zeal when we were walking over the very ground, where, thirteen years afterwards, the battle of Coruñia was fought. Light lie the earth upon him! he was a kind-hearted man, and all his wishes were for the welfare and improvement of mankind; but it had been well for him if his other intellectual vagaries had produced as little mischief as his system of progressive nature.
139. Sea fires..
On Saturday, July 1, A.D. 949, a fire is said to have risen from the sea, and consumed many towns on the coast of Spain. It travelled on into the interior, and continued its work, destroying many places entirely, and part of Zamora, Carrion, Castro Xeriz, Burgos, Birviesca, Calzada, Pancorvo, and Buradon. The Añales Compostelanos, and many other ancient writings, record this phenomenon, which Morales calls strange and monstrous, and difficult to believe. Berganza thus quotes the original passage from the Memorias de Cardeña. Era 987. Kal Jun. dia de Sabado, a la hora de nona, salio flama del mar, è encendio muchas villas è cibdades, è omes, è bestias, è en esto mismo mar encendio peñas, è en Zamora un barrio, è en Carrion, è en Castro Xeriz, è en Burgos, è en Birbiesca, e en la Calçada, è en Pancorvo, è en Buradon, è en otras muchas villas.
A similar phenomenon is said to have occurred in our own island at a much later age. " In the year 1694, the country about Harlech in Merionethshire, was annoyed about eight months by a fiery exhalation, that was seen only in the night, and consisted of a livid vapour, which rose from the sea, or seemed to come from Carnarvonshire, across a bay of the sea eight or nine miles broad on the west side. It spread from this bay over the land, and set fire to all the barns, stacks of hay and corn in its way. It also infected the air, and blasted the grass and herbage in such a manner that a great mortality of cattle, sheep, and horses ensued. It proceeded constantly to and from the same place, in stormy as well as in calm nights; but more frequently in the winter than in the following summer. It never fired any thing but in the night, and the flames, which were weak and of a blueish colour, did no injury to human creatures; for the inhabitants did frequently rush into the middle of them, unhurt, to save their hay and corn. This vapour was at length extinguished by ringing bells, firing guns, blowing horns, and otherwise putting the air into motion whenever it was seen to approach the shore.
Entick's present State of the British Empire.
A man of science as well as of philosophic mind, would employ himself well in examining those accounts of prodigies in the early annalists and chroniclers, which of late years have been indiscriminately regarded as only worthy of contempt. The most superficial age of intellectual history is that which commenced with Mr. Locke's philosophy, and I fear cannot yet be said to have terminated with the French Revolution.
- L 16, c. 18, § 9,
- Antiguidades de Espana, l. 3, c. 10, § 104.
Jacob Bryant refers to the Saxon Chronicles, to Roger de Hoveden, Brompton, and Simon Dunelmensis for various accounts of fires breaking out from the earth in this country during various earthquakes, which occurred from the year 1032 to 1135, when the last eruption was recorded. "Fires" says Holinshed, "burst out of certain riffes of the earth, in so huge flames that neither by water nor otherwise it could be quenched." Bryant would fain prove the impossible authenticity of Rowley's poem by these phenomena, insisting that they are the gronfers which Chatterton interprets fires exhaled from a fen.
The ground-fire of 1048 is said to have burnt towns as well as fields of corn; villas et segetes multas ustulavit. Sim. Dun. This broke out in Derbyshire and the adjoining counties; but it is difficult if not impossible to conceive how any volcanic flames should have extended to towns, there being no mountain in eruption. The fiery vapour, whatever it may have been, seems more analogous to the sea-fire which extended so far into Spain.
In turning over a most worthless volume entitled Reflexions sur le Desastre de Lisbonne, an extract from Mezerai reminds me of what I have read in many old historians, that the pestilence which in the 14th century spread from the East over the whole of Europe, was believed to have been produced by a fiery vapour, horriblement puante, which issued from the earth in the province of Catag, in China, and consumed every thing within a circuit of two hundred leagues. I do not know to what authority this news from China is to be traced.
In 1802 a gentleman who is a native of Llantrissant in the county of Glamorganshire, was shooting upon the hills near that town; he had occasion to pass what appeared to him a patch of red mire, over which one step would have carried him; but having set his foot on it, it sunk; he fell and found his leg burnt through the boot so severely that he was confined many weeks by the wound. The place is remote from any path, but it was found upon enquiry that a few old persons knew that such a ground fire existed there, where it had been burning time out of mind. This is not related upon any doubtful authority. I heard the fact from the person to whom it happened. Some scientific traveller will do well to find out this singular spot, over which, if it were in their country, the Parsees would build a temple.
Lord Valentia was called in Bengal the grandson of Mrs. Company. The natives believe, he says, that the Company is an old woman, and the governors general her children. He has probably mistaken a metaphorical expression for an impossible blunder, The Deys of the Barbary states derive their title from such a metaphor. Dey is a Turkish word signifying maternal uncle; because the chief who bears it being Brother to the Republic, stands in that relation to the soldiers, who are her Children.
D'Arvieux, T. 4, 51. T. 5, 259.
142. The Night Mare.
The night mare has been a fruitful source of miracles and diablery in the Romish mythology. Stanihurst records a very clear case in the story of Richard de Haverings, who was made archbishop of Dublin in 1306. This prelate "after that he had continued well-near the space of five years in the see, was sore appalled by reason of an estrange and wonderful dream. For on a certain night he imagined that he had seen an ugly monster standing on his breast, who, to his thinking, was more weighty than the whole world, insomuch that being as he thought in manner squeezed or prest to death with the heff of this huge monster, he would have departed with the whole substance of the world, if he were thereof possessed, to be disburdened of so heavy a load. Upon which wish he suddenly awoke. And as he beat his brains in divining what this dream should import, he bethought himself of the flock committed to his charge, how that he gathered their fleeces yearly by receiving the revenues and perquisites of the bishopric, and yet he suffered his flock to starve for lack of preaching and teaching. Wherefore being for his former slackness sore wounded in conscience, he travelled with all speed to Rome, where he resigned up his bishopric, a burden too heavy for his weak shoulders, and being upon his resignation competently beneficed, he bestowed the remnant of his life wholly in devotion.
Holinshed, Vol. 6, p. 446.
143. Sects in Egypt.
Mr. Antes, in his Observations on the Egyptians, (p. 20) says, "The people are divided and called either Saad or Haram, somewhat in the same manner as the English into Whig and Tory. Though no animosity be observed between the parties yet any individual will immediately tell to what class this or that man belongs. I have for many years" he adds, "laboured to learn the origin of it, and have asked many hundred persons, but could never get a satisfactory answer, till shortly before I left Cairo, a person told me it originated from the death of Ali. When the party of Omar killed him they cried out Hadah nahar saad, which signifies, this is a lucky day the counter-party said Hadah haram — this is unlawful, or wrong. The circumstance of Ali's death is not accurately alluded to here; but the fact is curious: for it thus appears that the Fatimite caliphs have left a race in Egypt, who retain their opinions, so far at least as to have obtained a name from them, and yet none of that animosity prevails which exists elsewhere between Shiahs and Sunnis. This is probably because the Mamaluke government caring for neither, though Sunni itself, has equally oppressed both.
Were I a Mahommedan I should certainly join so far with the Persians as to pronounce a malediction against the three first caliphs for interlopers. But the point of difference ought to have nothing to do with doctrine. The Shiahs have grafted upon it such extraordinary and extravagant notions of Ali that they verily fall under the denunciation of the koran against creature-worship.
Shah Abbas insisted upon it that Santiago could be no other person than Ali, whose history the Spaniards had corrupted, and that the sword which the knights of his order bore in their insignia was meant to represent Sulfagar; other christians, he said, called him St. George. Pietro della Valle ventured to remark that there were chronological and geographical objections to this hypothesis; but he did not think it prudent to press the argument.
144. The Squid-hound.
The sea-snake has been found, and confirmed the credit of Egede (whose word I never doubted) and of Pontoppidan. We shall have the kraken next. A writer in the Naval Chronicle, who creates for the old bishop the new diocese of Pontoppidan, advertises for one "I have heard," he says, "such accounts of the squid-hound from people who have been on the southern whale fishery, and at Newfoundland, as certainly reduce all the bishop's crimes to a charge of exaggeration." Some parts of one, he had been told, were at Dartmouth, and he believed that naturalists were afraid to mention this great fish, lest they should be laughed at for their credulity. He, however, signing himself Fides, requests any of his readers to send him some well authenticated particulars of this monstrous animal. I have seen no answer to his request, and wish therefore by thus repeating it, to increase the chance of obtaining one.
145. The Stigmata
In 1222, a council was held at Oxford by the archbishop of Canterbury for reformation of the state ecclesiastical, and the religion of the monks. "In which council" says Holinshed, "two naughtie fellows wer presented before him that of late had been apprehended, either of them naming himself Christ, and preaching many things against such abuses as the clergy in those days used. Moreover to prove their error to have a show of truth, they showed certain tokens and signs of wounds in the body, hands, and feet, like unto our Saviour Jesus, that was nailed on the cross. In the end being well apposed, they were found to be but false dissemblers; wherefore by doom of that council they were judged to be nailed to a cross of wood, and so those to whom the execution was assigned had them forth to a place called Arborberie, where they nailed them to a cross, and there left them till they were dead." This is the only instance of crucifixion I have met with in any christian persecution, perhaps the only one of this mode of punishment in any christian country, since it was abolished by a feeling which might have been supposed to be inseparable from Christianity. The stigmata are proofs sufficient of imposture, and it is this circumstance which has made me notice a fact that might otherwise have well been past over with a silent shuddering. For two years afterwards Francesco of Assissi succeeded in the blasphemous trick for which these men were put to death. Is there any earlier example of it? It was often repeated in the golden age of catholic frauds till the detection of the Dominicans at Berne in their cruel and over-acted delusions upon Jetzer, and the discovery shortly afterwards of Maria da Visitiçam at Lisbon, brought it into disrepute.
146 Tree of Life.
In that part of the Romance of Lancelot du Lake which relates to the Sainct Graal, there is a curious account of the Tree of Life, which is more likely to be the traditionary belief of that age, than the invention of the mystical romancer who added these wild and incongruous fictions to the story.
When Adam and Eve were expelled from Paradise, Eve still carried in her hand, unconsciously, the fatal branch which she had plucked from the forbidden tree; and casting her eye upon it, and calling to mind all the evil of which it had been the occasion, she resolved that she would keep it for ever, as a memorial of her great misadventure. But then she recollected that she had neither coffer nor hutch to keep it in, for in those times it was not yet the custom to have such things, so she planted it upright in the earth, and by the will of the Lord it struck root, and became a great tree. Now the trunk and the branches and the leaves of this tree, were all as white as a peeled nut, that it might be a type of virginity, and by reason that she who planted it was yet a virgin. One day while they were lamenting their fall under this tree, a voice came forth from it and comforted them, so that thenceforth they took great joy in beholding it, and called it the Tree of Life, and planted many slips from it, all of which grew, and were white like their parent stock.
But when by the command of the Lord, Adam knew Eve his wife and she conceived of Abel under that tree, then the whole tree became green,and then it began to flower and produce fruit, which it had not done till then, and all the young trees which proceeded from it after that time, partook of the same nature, but those which had grown before continued white, after its former nature. And when Abel and his brother Cain grew up, and Cain killed Abel under that tree, upon the very place where he was begotten, then the tree became of the colour of blood, and from that day forth it never put forth fruit or flower, neither could any young tree be raised from it, but it continued just as it was, neither bettering nor worsening. Nevertheless, the trees which sprang from it, retained each its own nature, according to the nature of the stock at the time they were set off. And they continued thus till the time of the flood, and the waters of the flood, which destroyed all other things, did nothing harm these trees, and thus they continued till the age of Solomon,
Here the legend is connected with the story of the Sangraal and Sir Galaad. I do not know where the author of the romance found it; there is another fable respecting the Tree of Life which has been a received tradition among the more credulous catholicks, and of which traces were found in Abyssinia. The Sybil is referred to as the original authority...a book which I have at present no means of consulting. Adam being about to die, and in great fear of death, earnestly desired to obtain a branch of this Tree, thinking that so he might escape the dreadful effects which his sin had brought into the world, and he sent one of his sons to the gate of Paradise to solicit this favour. The son accordingly made his petition to the cherub who guarded the gate, and that angel gave him a bough, to the end that that which had been appointed might be fulfilled; for meanwhile Adam had departed. The son therefore planted it on his grave; and it struck root and became a great tree, and attracted the whole nature of Adam to its nutriment.
The Tree, with the bones of Adam from beneath it, was preserved in the Ark. After the waters had abated, Noah divided the bones as relics among his sons. The skull fell to the share of Shem, and he buried it on a mountain of Judæa, called from thence Golgotha, Calvary, or the Place of a Skull. The Tree was planted upon Lebanon, and it was of an extraordinary nature, for it was at once palm, cypress, and cedar, that it might be typical of victory, death, and eternity. Of this mystical wood the Cross was made, and it was erected upon the very spot where the skull of Adam had been deposited." So, says Tentzehus in his Mumial Treatise, that he who perpends the matter well shall find, that whole Adam as it were is re-collected in and under the Cross, and so with an admirable tie conjoined to the vivifical nature itself; which how pleasant, efficatious, and full of consolation, let each one consider; for he that deserved death, is present in and under the Cross, and he that repaired life, yea that is life itself, is affixed to the Cross; the true concordance of life and death, of a sinless saviour and a sinfull man; whereby life is united to death, and Christ to Adam, not without the superinfusion of blood, for better and more fecundity, that so Adam and his posterity, eating of the fruit of the forbidden tree might be really transplanted into Christ, and by a certain celestial magnetism and sympathy attracted to Heaven, translated to life, and made heirs of happiness."
- Si sachez que virginite et pucellage ne sont pas une mesme chose, ne une mesme vertu, mais y a grant difference entre lung et lautre, car pucellage ne se peut de trop comparer a virginite, et si vous diray pour quoy. Pucellage est une vertu que tous ceulx et toutes celles lout qui nont attouchement de charnelle compaignée; mais Virginite est trop plus haulte chose, et plus merveilleuse; car nul ne la peut avoir, soit homme ou femme, pourtant quil ait volunte de charnel attouchement, et celle virginite avoit encores Eve quant elle fut gectee hors de Paradis. Part 3, ff. 104.
- Fut toujours de verte couleur amont et aval;.. this manner of expressing above and below is worthy of notice.
- Being a natural account of the Tree of Life, and of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, with a mystical interpretation of that great secret, to wit, the Cabalistical Concordance of the tree of life and death, of Christ and Adam, translated by R. Turner , London, Φιλομαθης, 1657.
The wild application of a wild catholic tradition which has just been quoted, is introductory to a piece of quackery of the same imaginative character.
It is probable, says this German physician, that the Serpent had his cavern under or about the tree of knowledge, and this tree became scientifical by way of transplantation from the Serpent, that is, this tree and its fruit had both the spiritual essence and the spiritual virtue of the Serpent Communicated to them, and impressed in them, by virtue of the Serpent's cohabitation with them. For in nature we find that many bodies do not only by their qualities affect their adjacents, but also infuse their virtue into them, and endue them with the same faculty. Thus the magnet doth not only attract iron, but also communicates its virtues to it.
Upon this principle is founded what Theophrastus asserts, "that the hairy and white serpents in Germany are indued with such admirable and υπερ φυσιν αριοις,... supernaturally excellent virtues, that they are of special use for the attainment of knowledge, both natural and occult. The way then to get this spiritual mummy of the serpent, and to confer it upon man, is to take the sperm, that is the eggs of the serpent, which are τα σοχεια κὶ σχηματα, the elements and principles both of their corporal and spiritual mummy, and mixing them with fat earth, (for greater efficacy's sake in conferring knowledge) transplant them into some fruit appropriated to the brain. Place therefore a cherry tree in the earth, for so it will magnetically attract the mumial spirit of the serpent into its nutriment, whose virtue and quality will appear in the cherries; out of which by Vulcan's hammer, that is fire, you may elicit the spirit, and therewith roborate and acuate the brain, and no little advance knowledge."
But the grand receipt of Tentzelius is for Serpentine Mummy, and there cannot be a more complete specimen of mystical quackery.
"Take serpents, and detracting their sweat and colluvies from them, cut off their heads and tails (which are else of much use to other effects, as well as the other parts) and cast those away: but put their flesh under the stock, amongst the roots of a Juniper tree, and occlude the hole with a knot of a wild Plumb tree, for thus in winter time, the flesh will by the natural heat of the Juniper, which is temperate, be redacted to its first entity; and in the spring, the vegetable spirit of the Juniper will attract the balsam therof to its nutriment; insomuch that its fruits or berries will be indued with most eximious faculties, and enrich their possessor with a most admirable and excellent remedy against the Leprosy. For which end,
"Take the berries of the aforesaid Juniper, pour warm water, with a convenient quantity of leaven upon them, and thus let them macerate for eight days, till they be reduced into one mixed mass; for which purpose agitate them once or twice a day, then distil the mass through a vesica, at first with a slower, but gradually with a hotter fire, till all the spirit be distilled. And now because this spirit is mixed with phlegme, it must be rectified in B, M. through a cucurbite, and then again through a phiola, and so you shall have the true spirit of Juniper.
"Then calcinate the dead head into lees, and make salt thereof by evaporation, whereof take one pound, and resolving it in the former phlegme, mix it with a sufficient quantity of good and well-dried argil, till you may make it into pastils; which take, and distil in a close furnace, through a well-beaked retorta, putting a handfull or two of the berries into the receptacle. Let your fire be first slow, for the phlegme, afterwards hotter, and at last so hot, that the retorta may be made red therewith; for so you may extract all the spirits. Make salt again of the dead head, which mix with argil, and the fore-extracted spirit, and then distil it again into spirit; then so draw the spirit through a glass retorta in a dry bath, that the phlegme may be collected apart, and then the great secret may proceed in flave drops, which you must shut up in a glass with the seal of Hermes, and then insolate and repose it. "And thus you have that altogether praise-worthy remedy; for the berries of Juniper being of themselves so conducive to the cure of the leprosy, that they will not only preserve from it, but also in its initiation profligate it; they are now by this mystical art, and the participation of the serpentine faculty so much advanced that they will easily overcome it in it's height and strength."
148. Mayor Merino.
Holinshed will have the word Mayor to be derived from the hebrew mar, dominus. The ancient inhabitants of Franconia, he says, being descended from the old Hebrews, have retained many Hebrew words, either from the beginning, or else borrowed them abroad from other regions which they conquered. So, he continues, the head officers and lieutenants to the Prince in the cities of London and York for an augmentation of honours by an ancient custom (through ignorance what the title of mayor doth signify) have an addition, and are intituled by the name of lord mayor, when mayor simply pronounced by itself signifieth no less than lord without any such addition (Vol, 2, p. 298, ed. 1807). This is going a long way for an etymology which is to be found so near home. Even if it had travelled to us from the east it would more likely have come from the arabic mir or emir. Perhaps the old Leonese word merino is a mongrel diminutive of this title, likely enough to have been formed when the two languages were as it were running into each other. Mirquebir, the augmented title, was in use at Ormuz. Merino would be sufficiently explained by supposing it a diminutive grade. The opinion that it is derived from the sheep quasi marino I have elsewhere shown to be unfounded.
Mayor I supposed, as the reader will have perceived, came to us from Magister, or from Major through the French. But since this note was writing I have met with the word in the Laws of Hywel Dda, Maer. Wotton renders it Præpositus. Owen in his Dictionary derives it from Ma-er, but of the former of these words, he gives so wide and indefinite an explanation, that any thing may be derived from it. Terms of civil polity in the Welsh, are most likely of Roman origin. But when the word is found with such slight variations, in Hebrew, Arabic, the Keltic, and (as Holinshed implies) the Teutonic dialects also, the Roman word likewise must be supposed to have proceeded from the same primitive language.
149. He shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left. Mat. xxv, 33.
Because the Latin text says oves instead of arietes, Vieyra takes it for granted that ewes are meant, not rams, and explains it by affirming that more women than men are to be saved. This he proves not only by the text in question, but also by the parable of the wise and foolish virgins, in which as many entered as were excluded: whereas when men are spoken of as bidden to the marriage feast, it is written "that many are called but few chosen." In addition to these authorities he quotes S. Teresa, who affirms both from her own knowledge, and that of the blessed Fr. Pedro de Alcantara, that the Lord imparts his favours to many more women than men. Thus, he adds, we see in the lives of the saints that females are much more the darlings of God, and much more regaled by him, and the reason may be because the holiest of all pure creatures was a woman. But besides this, he says, there are many other strong reasons among christians. Women usually die with all the sacraments, which does not happen to men, of whom so many thousands
finish without confession in war, in shipwreck, in quarrels, in duels, &c. They have less occasion of damnation, for they are neither judges, nor advocates nor presidents, nor ministers of kings; neither are they bishops, nor priests; property in the ordinary course of things seldom passes through their hands;.. finally they are so free from occasion to offend God, that they who go to hell deserve double punishment there. Hæc pro devoto fæmineo sexu. That devout sex will acquit him of all flattery when they hear the conclusion of his argument... More frequently than men, he says, they may be saved by reason of invincible ignorance; because they have less understanding they have less malice, and being the weaker vessels, they move divine mercy the more to compassion.
Tirante el Blanco has also some curious reasons, theological and physical, why women are better than men. Because, says this strangest of all the knights of romance, Christ after his resurrection, appeared to his mother and to Mary Magdalen, before he appeared to the apostles: because God made man of clay, but woman of the man's rib: and because if a woman washes her hands thrice successively, the second water remains unsoiled, whereas let a man wash in fifty waters, the last will always be sullied: proof of his impure origin, his flesh being of the earth earthy, her's, as it were, of double refined materials.
Italian translation, T. 2. ff. 45.
- Sermoeus, t 15, p. 159
150. Dogs at Court.
The great Turk's dogs and manner of keeping them, says the merchant Sanderson, are worth the sight, for they have their several attendants as if they were great horses, and have their clothing of cloth of gold, velvet, scarlet, and other colours of cloth; their sundry couches, and the places where they are kept, most cleanly. My Lord Zouch when he was there, as Master Burton said, did like exceeding well of this place and attendance of the dogs. When the great Turk went out of the city toward the wars, it was with wonderful great solemnity and notable order, too long to describe particularly: but I remember a great number of dogs led afore him, well manned, and in their best apparel,.. cloth of gold, velvet, scarlet; and purple cloth.
Purchas, p. 1614. Do. p. 1620.
Sir Thomas Roe took out some English mastives to India, as a present for the Great Mogul; they were of marvellous courage. One of them leapt overboard to attack a shoal of porpoises, and was lost. Only two of them lived to reach India. They travelled each in a little coach to Agra: one broke loose by the way, fell upon a large elephant, and fastened in his trunk; the elephant at last succeeded in hurling him off. This story delighted the Mogul, and these dogs in consequence came to as extraordinary a fortune as Whittington's cat. Each had a palanquin to take the air in, with two attendants to bear him, and two more to walk on each side and fan off the flies; and the Mogul had a pair of silver tongs made, that he might when he pleased feed them with his own hand.
There was a Newfoundland dog on board the Bellona last war, who kept the deck during the battle of Copenhagen, running backward and forward with so brave an anger, that he became a greater favourite with the men than ever. When the ship was paid off after the peace of Amiens, the sailors had a parting dinner on shore. Victor was placed in the chair, and fed with roast beef and plumb pudding, and the bill was made out in Victor's name. He was so called after his original master, who was no less a personage than Victor Hugues.
The Rohandrians, or nobles, of Madagascar, kill their cattle themselves at their feasts;.. this is one of their privileges. One stage on in civilization, and the giver of the feast is the cook; next he becomes the serving-man, then the carver,.. lastly, he only presides at the board. The fears of eastern despotism have brought back the kitchen into the banqueting room.
Persian cookery is sometimes performed in the presence of the sovereign or of the nobles, in the apartment where they eat. The fire is sunk in the floor, and the smoke carried off by an underground chimney: a fountain plays by, to supply water, and wash the dishes, and this also runs off by a covered drain. Suspicion has been the motive for this; they live in fear of poison, and chuse to see their food prepared. Shah Abbas would often be his own cook, for this reason.
Pietro dalle Valle.
A fraud has been practised in France upon Goldsmith's reputation. At the end of a volume which bears date, 1774. is the following title in a list of new books, Histoire de François Witls, ou le Triomphe de le Bienfaisance, par l'Auteur du Ministre de Wakefield. Traduction de l'Anglois.
153. Aqua Vitæ.
One Theoricus (Episcopus Hermenensis in Romanula juxta Bononiam) wrote a proper treatise of Aqua Vitæ, says Stanihurst, wherein he praise it it unto the ninth degree. "He distinguished three sorts thereof, Simplex, Composita, and Perfectissima. He declareth the simples and ingrediences thereto belonging. He wisheth it to be taken as well before meat as after. It drieth up the breaking out of hands, and killeth the flesh worms , it you wash your hands therewith. It scbureth all scurf and scalds from the head, being therewith daily washt before meals. Being moderately taken, saith he, it sloweth age, it strengtheneth youth, it helpeth digestion, it cutteth phlegm, it abandoneth melancholy, it relisheth the heart, it lighteneth the mind, it quickeneth the spirits, it cureth the hydropsy, it healeth the strangury, it pounceth the stone, expelleth gravel, it puffeth away all ventosity, it keepeth and preserveth the head from whirling, the eyes from dazzling, the tongue from lisping, the mouth from maffling, the teeth from chattering, and the throat from rattling; it keepeth the weason from stifling, the stomach from wambling, and the heart from swelling; the belly from wirtching, the guts from rumbling, the hands from shivering, and the sinews from shrinking, the veins from crampling, the bones from aching, and the marrow from soaking."
The bishop writes of aqua vitæ as if he loved it. No doubt he was full of his subject, and the spirit moved him to pour forth this panegyric, which it might have puzzled any body except Stanihurst to translate. Stanihurst himself, in thus expatiating upon "the commodities of aqua vitæ," seems to have been no water-drinker. "Truly, (he adds,) it is a sovereign liquor, if it be orderly taken." The clerks of Ireland, according to old Higden, had a very orderly way of taking it,.. "they ben chaste, and sayen many prayers, and done great abstinence a-day, and drinketh all night."
- Holinshed, Vol. 6. p. 8,
- What is meant by this?
- Polychronicon, 1, 36.
154. Torrid Zone.
A curious theory concerning the climate of the torrid zone, is to be found in the Problemas of Dr. Cardenas, published at Mexico, in 1591 "That climate, (he says,) is hot and moist, and were it not for the moisture the heat would render it uninhabitable, as the ancients supposed it to be. But the soil of these Indies has this strange property, that it is full, or as it were every where, undermined with tremendous caverns, by which the frequency of earthquakes is explained. These hollows are full of water, or of air, which would be the same thing, for the intense cold of the abyss would convert it into water;— and the rays of a vertical sun acting continually upon the earth, draws up continual vapours from these immense reservoirs. So far therefore from the Indies being in the same proportion hot and dry, the hotter they are the moister they must needs be. This mighty force of heat acts upon the crust of the earth also, dissolving all which is capable of solution, and leaving it full of hollows, like an over-baked loaf: the more subtile particles which are thus sublimed rush upward with great force, and by their conflict with the air, occasion those tremendous winds to which these countries are subject: the more gross and earthy parts are the materials from which metals are concocted.
"The trees here are green and flourishing when the herbs are dried up, because their roots reach down to the moisture. But the reason why all trees here spread out their roots horizontally instead of striking them down as in Europe, is to be found in the climate, which necessarily occasions this defect. For in Europe the cold of winter drives back all vegetative virtue into the root, which then pushes out its fibres and strikes deep, growing and strengthening itself, till the warmer season comes, and draws the sap upward, and then the branches grow in their turn. But here the upper stratum of earth being hard and as it were burnt, and what lies immediately below weak and porous, the roots rest in that which affords them a firm hold, and seek not to penetrate deeper. Neither indeed is the weather ever cold enough for the vegetative power to accumulate in the roots; thus as they have no season for strengthening themselves, they have no strength to impart in their turn, and hence it is that the foliage of the tropical trees is usually pensile, because there is not vigour of vegetation enough for the branches to shoot upward."
A more philosophical hypothesis to account for the manner in which the American trees spread their roots horizontally is given by Volney.
"I must not omit, he says, a singular fact in natural history, which is well established in Kentucky, that many of the streams have become more abundant, since the woods in their neighbourhood have been cut down.
"I have discussed the causes of this phenomenon on the spot with witnesses deserving of credit; and it appeared to us that in times past the leaves of the forest trees, accumulating on the ground, formed there a thick compact bed, retaining the rain water on its surface, gave it time to evaporate, particularly in summer, before it could penetrate the ground. At present this bed of leaves not existing, and the bosom of the earth being opened by the plough, the rain, which is enabled to sink into it, establishes in it more durable and abundant reservoirs. This particular case, however, does not overturn the more general and more important doctrine, that cutting down woods, more especially on heights, in general diminishes the quantity of rain, and the springs resulting from it, by preventing the clouds from stopping and discharging their waters on the forests. Kentucky itself affords a proof of this, as well as all the other states of America; for a number of brooks are pointed out, which were never dried up fifteen years ago, and now fail every summer. Others have totally disappeared, and in New Jersey several mills have been relinquished on this account. It must be observed too, that formerly, the beds of the rivers being incumbered with trees blown down, and reeds, detained their waters more, which, now they are cleaned, they suffer to run off too fast.
"Another phenomenon observed in America, may perhaps be explained by means of the fact I have just mentioned. You cannot cross any forest in this continent without meeting with fallen trees; and it is remarkable that the root is only a superficial tuft, in the shape of a mushroom, and scarcely eighteen inches deep for a tree seventy feet high. If the trees put out no tap-root, was it not that they might avail themselves of the superficial humidity that covered them, and the rich mould arising from the decayed leaves, in which they found a substance much preferable to the interior strata, that remained dry, and consequently more hard to penetrate? And now, as they have contracted this habit through a lapse of ages, ages are requisite to change it."
Volney, p. 57
- Ch 2, 3, 5.
155. Negroes and Narcissuses.
There are certain tribes of negroes who take for the Deity of the day the first thing they see or meet with in the morning. Many of our fine ladies, and some of our very fine gentlemen, are followers of the same sect; though by aid of the looking-glass they secure a constancy as to the object of their devotion.
156. An Anecdote.
We here in England received a very high character of Lord E——— , during his stay abroad. "Not unlikely, Sir," replied the traveller, "a dead dog at a distance is said to smell like musk."
157 The Pharos at Alexandria.
Certain full and highly-wrought dissuasives from sensual indulgences, in the works of theologians as well as of satirists and story-writers, may, not unaptly, remind one of the Pharos; the many lights of which appeared at a distance as one, and this as a polar star.. so as more often to occasion wrecks than prevent them.
At the base of the Pharos the name of the reigning monarch was engraved, on a composition, which the artist well knew would last no longer than the king's life. Under this, and cut deep in the marble itself, was his own name and dedication: "Sostratos of Gyndos, son of Dexiteles, to the Gods, Protectors of Sailors."— So will it be with the Georgium Sidus, the Ferdinandia, &c. &c.— Flattery's Plaister of Paris will crumble away, and under it we shall read the names of Herschel, Piozzi, and their compeers.
158. Sense and Common Sense.
I have noticed two main evils in philosophizing. The first is the absurdity of demanding proof for the very facts which constitute the nature of him who demands it— a proof for those primary and unceasing revelations of self-consciousness, which every possible proof must pre-suppose; reasoning, for instance, pro and con, concerning the existence of the power of reasoning. Other truths may be ascertained; but these are certainty itself, (all at least which we mean by the word) and are the measure of every thing else which we deem certain. The second evil is that of mistaking for such facts mere general prejudices, and those opinions that, having been habitually taken for granted, are dignified with the name of Common Sense. Of these, the first is the more injurious to the reputation, the latter more detrimental to the progress of philosophy. In the affairs of common life we very properly appeal to common sense; but it is absurd to reject the results of the microscope from the negative testimony of the naked eye. Knives are sufficient for the table and the market,.. but for the purposes of science we must dissect with the lancet.
As an instance of the latter evil, take that truly powerful and active intellect, Sir Thomas Brown, who, though he had written a huge volume in detection of vulgar errors, yet peremptorily pronounces the motion of the earth round the sun, and consequently the whole of the Copernican system, unworthy of any serious confutation, as being manifestly repugnant to Common Sense: which said Common Sense, like a milner's scales used to weigh gold or gasses, may and often does, become very gross, though unfortunately not very uncommon, nonsense. And as for the former (which may be called Logica Præpostera), I have read, in metaphysical essays of no small fame, arguments drawn ab extra in proof and disproof of personal identity, which, ingenious as they may be, were clearly anticipated by the little old woman's appeal to her little dog for the solution of the very same doubts, occasioned by her peticoats having been cut round about.
"If it is not me, he'll hark and he'll rail;
"But if I be I, he'll wag his little tail."
I dare confess that Mr. Locke's treatise on Toleration appeared to me far from being a full and satisfactory answer to the subtle and oft-times plausible arguments of Bellarmin, and other Romanists. On the whole, I was more pleased with the celebrated W. Penn's tracts on the same subject. The following extract from his excellent letter to the King of Poland appeals to the heart rather than to the head, to the Christian rather than to the Philosopher; and besides, overlooks the ostensible object of religious penalties, which is not so much to convert the heretic, as to prevent the spread of heresy. The thoughts, however, are so just in themselves, and exprest with so much life and simplicity, that it well deserves a place in the Omniana.
"Now, O Prince! give a poor christian leave to expostulate with thee. Did Christ Jesus or his holy followers, endeavour, by precept or example, to set up their religion with a carnal sword? Called he any troops of men or angels to defend him? Did he encourage Peter to dispute his right with the sword? But did he not say, Put it up? Or did he countenance his over-zealous disciples, when they would have had fire from heaven, to destroy those that were not of their mind? No! But did not Christ rebuke them, saying, Ye know not what spirit ye are of? And if it was neither Christ's spirit nor their own spirit that would have fire from heaven— Oh! what is that Spirit that would kindle fire on earth, to destroy such as peaceably dissent upon the account of conscience!
"O King! when did the true Religion persecute? When did the true church offer violence for religion? Were not her weapons prayers, tears, and patience? Did not Jesus conquer by these weapons, and vanquish cruelty by suffering? Can clubs, and staves, and swords, and prisons, and banishments, reach the soul, convert the heart, or convince the understanding of man! When did violence ever make a true convert, or bodily punishment a sincere Christian? This maketh void the end of Christ's coming. Yea, it robbeth God's spirit of it's office, which is to convince the world. That is the sword by which the ancient Christians overcame."
The Theory of Persecution seems to rest on the following assumptions. I. A duty implies a right. We have a right to do whatever it is our duty to do. II. It is the duty, and consequently the right, of the supreme power in a state, to promote the greatest possible sum of well-being in that state. III. This is impossible without morality. IV. But morality can neither be produced or preserved in a people at large without true religion. V. Relative to the duties of the legislature or governors, that is the true religion which they conscientiously believe to be so. VI. As there can be but one true religion, at the same time, this one it is their duty and right to authorise and protect. VII. But the established religion cannot be protected and secured except by the imposition of restraints or the influence of penalties on those, who profess and propagate hostility to it. VIII. True religion, consisting of precepts, counsels, commandments, doctrines, and historical narratives, cannot be effectually proved or defended, but by a comprehensive view of the whole, as a system. Now this cannot be hoped for from the mass of mankind. But it may be attacked, and the faith of ignorant men subverted, by particular objections, by the statement of difficulties without any counter-statement of the greater difficulties which would result from the rejection of the former, and by all the other stratagems used in the desultory warfare of sectaries and infidels. This is, however, manifestly dishonest, and dangerous; and there must exist therefore a power in the state to prevent, suppress, and punish it. IX. The advocates of toleration have never been able to agree among themselves concerning the limits to their own claims; have never established any clear rules, what shall and what shall not be admitted under the name of religion and conscience. Treason and the grossest indecencies not only may be, but have been called, by these names: as among the earlier Anabaptists. X. And last, it is a petitio principii, or begging the question, to take for granted that a state has no power except in case of overt-acts. It is its duty to prevent a present evil, as much at least as to punish the perpetrators of it. Besides, preaching and publishing are overt acts. Nor has it yet been proved, though often asserted, that a Christian sovereign has nothing to do with the external happiness or misery of the fellow creatures entrusted to his charge.
160. Hint for a new species of History.
"The very knowledge of the opinions and customs of so considerable a part of mankind as the Jews now are, and especially have been heretofore, is valuable both for pleasure and use. It is a very good piece of history, and that of the best kind, viz. of Human Nature, and of that part of it, which is most different from us, and commonly the least known to us.— And indeed the principal advantage which is to be made by the wiser sort of men of most writings, is rather to see what men think and are, than to be informed of the natures and truth of things; to observe what thoughts and passions have occupied mens' minds, what opinions and manners they are of. In this view it becomes of no mean importance to notice and record the strangest ignorance, the most putid fables, impertinent trifling, ridiculous disputes, and more ridiculous pugnacity in the defence and retention of the subjects disputed." —Publishers Preface to the reader. Lightfoot's Works, vol. 1.
In the thick volume of title pages and chapters of contents (composed) of large and small works correspondent to each (proposed,). . by a certain omni-pregnant, nihili-parturient genius of the editor's acquaintance, not the least promising is "A History of the Morals and (as connected therewith) of the Manners of the English Nation from the Conquest to the present Time." From the chapter of contents it appears, that my friend is a steady believer in the uninterrupted progression of his fellow-countrymen; that there has been a constant growth of wealth and well-being among us, and with these an increase of knowledge; and with increasing knowledge an increase and diffusion of practical goodness. The degrees of acceleration, indeed, have been different at different periods. The moral being has sometimes crawled, sometimes strolled, sometimes walked, sometimes run; but it has at all times been moving onward. If in any one point it has gone backward, it has been only in order to leap forward in some other. The work was to commence with a Numeration Table, or Catalogue raisonnè, of these virtues or qualities, which make a man happy in himself, and which conduce to the happiness of those about him, in a greater or lesser sphere of agency. The degree and the frequency, in which each of these virtues manifested themselves, in the successive reigns from William the Conqueror inclusive, were to be illustrated by apposite quotations, from the works of contemporary writers, not only of historians and chroniclers, but of the poets, romance-writers, and theologians; not omitting the correspondence between literary men, the laws and regulations civil and ecclesiastical, and whatever records the industry of antiquarians have brought to light in their provincial, municipal and monastic histories.. (tall tomes and huge! undegenerate sons of Anac, which look down from a dizzy height on the dwarfish progeny of contemporary wit, and can find no associates in size at a less distance than two centuries; and in arranging which the puzzled librarian must commit an anachronism in order to avoid an anatopism!)
Such of these illustrations as most amused or impressed me, when I heard them (for alas! even his very title pages and contents my friend composes only in air) I shall probably attempt to preserve in different parts of the Omniana. At present I shall cite one article only which I found wafered on a blank leaf of his memorandum book, superscribed: "Flattering News for Anno Domini 2000, wherever it shall institute a comparison between itself and the 17th and 18th centuries." It consists of an extract, say rather, an exsection, from the Kingston Mercantile Advertiser, from Saturday, August the 15th, to Tuesday, August 18, 1801. This paper, which contained at least 20 more advertisements of the very same kind, was found by accident among the wrapping-papers in the trunk of an Officer just returned from the West India station. They stand here exactly as in the original, from which they are reprinted.
"Kingston, July 30, 1801.
"Ran away, about three weeks ago, from a penn near Halfway Tree, a negro Wench, named Nancy, of the Chamba country, strong made, an ulcer on her left leg, marked D C diamond between; she is supposed to be harboured by her husband Dublin, who has the direction of a wherry working between this town and Port Royal, and is the property of Mr. Fishley, of that place; the said negro man having concealed a boy in his wherry before. Half a joe will be paid to any person apprehending the above described wench, and delivering to Mr. Archibald M'Lea, East-end; and if found secreted by any person the law will be put in force."
"Kingston, August 13, 1801.
"Strayed on Monday evening last, a Neggro Boy of the Moco country, named JOE, the property of Mr. Thos. Williams, planter, in St. John's, who had sent him to town under the charge of a Negro Man, with a cart for provisions; the said Boy is perhaps from 15 to 18 years of age, about twelve months in the country, no mark, speaks little English but can tell his owner's name; had on a long oznaburgh frock. It is supposed he might have gone out to vend some pears and lemon-grass and have lost himself in the street. One Pistole will be paid to any person apprehending and bringing him to this Office."
"Kingston, July 1, 1801.
"Forty Shillings Reward.
"Strayed on Friday evening last, (and was seen going up West Street the following morning), a small bay
the left ear lapped, flat rump, much scored from the saddle on his back, and marked on the near side F M with a diamond between. Whoever will take up the said horse, and deliver him to W. Balantine, Butcher, back of West Street, will receive the above reward."
"Kingston, July 4, 1801.
"Strayed on Sunday morning last, from the subscriber's house, in East-street, a bright dun He-MULE, the mane lately cropped, a large chafe slightly skinned over on the near buttock, and otherwise chafed from the action of the harness in his recent breaking. Half-a-joe will be paid to any person taking up and bringing the said Mule to the Subscribers's house, or to the Store in Harbour-street.
"Kingston, July 2, 1801,
"TEN POUNDS REWARD.
"About two years ago, from the Subscriber, a Negro Woman, named
purchased from Alexander M'Kean, Esq. she is about 20 years of age, and 5 feet 6 or 7 inches high; has a mark on one of her shoulders, about the size of a quarter dollar, occasioned, she says, by the yaws; of a coal black complexion, very artful, and most probably passes about the country with false papers, and under another name; if that is not the case, it must be presumed she is harboured about Green Pond, where she has a mother and other connexions."
What a History! Horses and Negroes! Negroes and Horses! It makes me tremble at my own Nature!— Surely, every religious and conscientious Briton is equally a debtor in gratitude to Thomas Clarkson, and his fellow labourers, with every African: for on the soul of every individual among us did a portion of guilt rest, as long as the slave trade remained legal.
P.S. A few years back the public was satiated with accounts of the happy condition of the slaves in our colonies, and the great encouragements and facilities afforded to such of them, as by industry and foresight laboured to better their situation. With what truth this is stated as the general tone of feeling among our planters, and their agents, may be conjectured from the following sentences, which made part of (what in England we call) the leading paragraph of the same newspaper.
"Strange as it may appear, we are assured as a fact, that a number of slaves in this town have purchased lots of land, and are absolutely in possession of the fee simple of lands and tenements. Neither is it uncommon for the men slaves to purchase and manumize their wives, and vice versa, the wives their husbands. To account for this we need only look to the depredations daily committed, and the impositions practised to the distress of the community and ruin of the fair trader. Negro yards too, under such direction, will necessary prove the asylum of run-aways from the country."
161. Rabbinnical Legend.
There is a strange Rabbinnical Legend concerning the Messiah, from the Beresith Rabba.
The good father Ely, of happy memory, was travelling on that day when the Sanctuary was destroyed, and he heard a voice from heaven saving, the holy of holies,.. the house of the sanctuary is going to destruction; and at that Ely thought all the world would perish. But he past on, and found the sons of men tilling the earth and sowing their seed, and he said unto them, The most high God is incensed against his people, and will destroy his holy habitation and reduce his children to captivity, under the yoke of the idolaters, and yet behold ye are taking thought for this temporal life! But with that the voice which he had heard before came again upon him, saying, Let them be, for the Saviour of Israel is now born. And he asked, where is he? and the voice answered, in Bethlehem of Judaea. And he went there and found a woman sitting upon the floor of her house, and her new-born babe lying before her all bloody; and he said unto her, Daughter, hast thou brought forth a man child, yea, verily, said she, And what means it, he asked, that he is thus bloody? she answered and said, A great evil hath befallen, for on the day when he was born the sanctuary was destroyed. And he said, My daughter be not dismayed, but take thought only how to breed him up, for from his hand shall proceed great salvation to all Israel, whereat she was comforted, and began carefully to nurse him. And Ely left her and went his way, and after five years he bethought him and said within himself, I will return and see whether the Saviour of Israel be bred up after the manner of kings, or after the manner of angels, who are destined for the service of God. And he went straightways to the house of the woman, whom he found at her door, and he said unto her, Well my daughter how fareth it with the child? She answered, Master, said I, not truly that it would be ill done to breed him up, because on the day that he was born the sanctuary was destroyed? But this is not all, he hath feet and he walketh not, he hath eyes and he seeth not, he hath ears and he heareth nothing, he hath a mouth and he speaketh not; behold him lying there, and moving no more than a stone. And while Ely was communing with her, behold there arose a wind from the four corners of the world and carried away the child into the great sea, whereat Ely rent his garments, and began to tear his hair and his beard, saying, Alas, the salvation of Israel is lost! But the daughter of the voice, that is to say, the revelation, came again upon him and said, Not so Ely, for he must remain four hundred years in the great sea, and eighty in the vault of smoke with the children of Korah, and as many more at the gate of Rome, and the remainder of the years he shall pass through all the great cities, till the end of the appointed time.
162. St. Vitus.
Dr. Reid says it is remarkable that St. Vitus is no where to be found in the Romish kalendar; and he supposes that from "some misunderstanding or inaccuracy of manuscript chorea invita, the original and genuine name of the disease called St. Vitus's Dance, was read and copied chorea St. Viti" This is very probable; St. Vitus himself, who though not in the calendar, is well known in hagiology, has undergone a change equally remarkable, having not only been canonized among christians, but also deified among pagans. He is said to have been a native of Lycia, and to have suffered martyrdom under Diocletian; Fulrad, Abbot of St. Dennis, and chaplain to king Pepin and Charleman, got scent of his relics, and translated them to St. Dennis. As long as they remained there they were the palladium of France, and that country prospered in all its undertakings. But after Lewis the Pious in the 9th century founded the monastery of Corbeya, in Saxony, for his uncle St. Adelard, the Abbot Werner, who succeeded him, obtained permission from that Emperor to remove the body to this new foundation, and from that hour the fortunes of Saxony began to wax, and those of the race of Charleman to wane. The monks of Corbeya preached among the Russians and other Slavonic nations, among whom St. Vitus worked so many miracles, that after all other vestiges of Christianity had been lost among them, they continued their devotion to him, and metamorphosed him into a God who was worshipped by all the Northern Pagans, under the name of Swantowith.
Saxo Grammaticus (l. 14) describes this Idol as his image existed in the city of Arkon,.. a four headed figure, of which a print derived from this description may be seen in Sammes, p. 455. His white horse was famous, "peculiarem albi coloris equum titulo possidebat, cujus jubæ aut caudæ pilos convellere nefarium ducebatur. Hunc soli sacerdoti pascendi insidendique jus erat, ne divini animalis usus, quo frequentior, hoc vilior, haberetur. In hoc equo, opinione Rugiæ, Suantovitus adversum sacrorum suorum hostes bella gerere credebatur. Cujus rei præcipuum argumentum extabat, quod is nocturno tempore stabulo insistens, adeo plerumque manè sudore ac luto respersus videbatur, tanquam ab exercitatione veniendo magnorum itinerum spatium percurrisset.
Sammes traces the white horse of the Saxon arms to this superstition. Those which we see cut on the side of chalk hills in the South-west of England (Wessex) are not improbably derived from the same cause, and the pedigree of the white horse of Hanover perhaps extends to the same origin,
- Monthly Magazine, Dec, 1810,
- Yepes, T.4, ff. 21, ,5, ff, 41,
163. Burial Grounds.
The town of Tarma in Peru, is said to have been subject to a pestilential fever which returned annually, and frequently left a pain in the side behind it, and proved eventually fatal. De Juan Maria de Galvez, the Governor of that town, and its district, conjectured that it proceeded from the vile custom of burying the dead in the church. He therefore, not without great opposition, succeeded in abolishing this practice, and set apart a large burying ground, or Campo Santo, as it is called, about three musket shots from the town. From that time the fever has ceased to appear... Tarma stands in a spot which is so surrounded with mountains as to be absolutely unventilated;.. its unhealthiness had always been imputed to its situation, and it had obtained the name of el pais de las tercianas,.. the country of tertians.
Mercurio Peruana, Enero 27,
1791, T. 1, f.57.
I do marvail, says good old Bishop Latimer, that London, being so rich a city, hath no burying place without, for no doubt it is an unwholsome thing to bury within the city, specially at such a time when there be great sicknesses, and many die together. I think verily that many a man taketh his death in Paul's Church-yard; and this I speak of experience; for I myself when I have been there in some mornings to hear the sermons, have felt such an ill-favoured unwholesome savour, that I was the worse for it a great while after. And I think no less but it is the occasion of much sickness and diseases.
164. Image Worship.
The worship of images is mysteriously defended by Thomas Taylor, in a note to Julian's Oration to the Mother of the Gods. "The construction of the statues of the Gods, he says, was the result of the most consummate theological science, and from their apt resemblance to divine natures they became participants of divine illumination. For as Sallust well observes in his treatise On the Gods and the World; (chap. 15.) As the providence of the Gods is every where extended, a certain habitude or fitness is all that is requisite in order to receive their beneficent communications. But all habitude is produced through imitation and similitude; and hence temples imitate the heavens, but altars the earth; statues resemble life, and on this account they are similar to animals. Statues therefore, through their habitude or fitness, conjoin the souls of those who pray to them with the Gods themselves.
"Let not the reader, however, (says the Pagan Philosopher of the nineteenth century,) confound this scientific worship of the ancients, with the filthy piety of the Catholics, as Proclus in his hymn to the muses justly calls it"
165. Effect of domestication upon the skin and tendons of animals.
Mr. Barrow says that the skins of wild animals are much preferble for strength and durability to those that have been  domesticated. The forced heat in which domestic cattle are kept either when stabled or forced together in great numbers, may possibly account for this; but he mentions another fact which is not so easily explicable. The fibres of the tendons of the long dorsal muscle taken from various animals, are used for thread by the Caffres and Hottentots, and that made from wild animals is much stronger than that which is made from tame  ones. It might have been supposed that if any difference existed, the fibres of a beast used for draught would have been the toughest.
- Travels in Africa, vol 1. 133.
- Travels in Africa, p, 29.
166. Filtering Apparatus.
The simplest and most expeditious mode of filteration is one which Dr. Lind has described, Let a barrel with its head knocked out, be about half filled with clean sand or gravel; place a much smaller barrel without either end, or any open cylinder, upright in the middle of it, and let this be almost filled with the same. If the foul water be poured into the small cylinder, it will rise up through the sand of the larger barrel, and appear pure in the space between the two.
Fuller takes a curious method of proving the enormous size of the timber in Judea. "If the body of Hercules, (he says) may be guessed from his foot, take the mustard, the little toe of trees, into consideration, and thence collect the vast proportion of great woods. Our Saviour's words of the extraordinary growth of this plant must needs be true; and by the same proportion (surely the Jews had not more sauce than meat), other trees must be allowed to be of unusual greatness."
Pisgah View. Book 1, Chap. 4. §9.
This quaint old writer proves the extraordinary fertility of the holy land by some odd arguments. To the objection that it is a country insigificantly small, he replies, "that what it lacked in length and breadth, it had in depth, as if nature had heaped one acre upon another in the matchless fertility thereof." To the objection that it is full of mountains, he exclaims, "was ever a great belly brought for an argument of barrenness? especially seeing these mountains did not swell with a mock-mother tympany; but were pregnant with special commodities." Modern travellers report it to be a bare surface of sand. This he admits, and answers, in that happy manner which characterizes him. "Who can guess what Naomi was by what March is? (Ruth. 1.20.) The stump indeed stands still, but the branches are withered; the skeleton remains but the favour and flesh thereof is consumed Judea is, and is not what it was before; the same in bulk, not blessing, for fashion, not fruitfulness; the old instrument is the same; but it is neither strung with stock, nor played upon with the hand of skilful husbandry. The rose of Sharon is faded, her leaves lost, and now nothing but the prickles thereof to be seen."
The writer thinks that there are some footsteps of a scriptural story in the fable of Agamemnom sacrificing his daughter; for that Iphigeneia is "haply corrupted for Jepthagenia, or Jehptha's daughter."
(Pisgah View. B. 2. chap. 3. § 11.)
168. Earth Bathing.
Dr. Graham's earth bath was used as a remedy for drunkenness by the Irish rebel Shane O'Neil, in Elizabeth's days. "Subtle and crafty he was especially in the morning; but in the residue of the day very uncertain and unstable; and much given to excessive gulping, and surfetting. And albeit he had most commonly two hundred tuns of wines in his cellar at Dundrun, and had his full fill thereof; yet was he never satisfied till he had swallowed up marvellous great quantities of Usquebagh, or Aqua Vitæ of that country; whereof so immeasurably he would drink and brase, that for the quenching of the heat of the body, which by that means was most extremely inflamed and distempered, he was eftsoones conveyed (as the common report was) into a deep pit, and standing upright in the same, the earth was cast round about him up to the hard chin, and there he did remain until such time as his body was recovered to some temperature."
Holinshed, vol. 6. p. 331.
END OF VOL. I.