« FöregåendeFortsätt »
placing them singly is equally ancient. Statius calls it the solitary yew: and it was, at one time, as common in the church-yards of Italy as it is now in North and South Wales. In many villages of those two provinces the yew-tree and the church are coeval with each other.
The palm, the plantain, the olive a, and the pepper-plant, seem to have been instinctively used as emblems of peace, by many nations. Hence Tasso call the former “le sacre palme b.” The natives of Australia del Espiritu Santo invited the friendship of the discoverers by holding boughs of palm-trees in their hands. When Vancouver was at the Island of Otaheite, the messenger, whom he had sent to inform the king of his arrival, returned with a present of plantain, as a peace-offering d: and when a misunderstanding had occurred between Krusenstern and the king of Nukahiwa e, the king sent him a pepper-plant, as a token of reconciliation. Branches of trees seem, in all ages and countries, to be used as emblems of peace, from the time of Noahf to that of Hannibal , when the inhabitants of one of the Alpine towns met him with garlands and branches h. “We have
a Olive wreaths were annually worn by the soldiers of Rome, on the day on which they were reviewed by their generals ; when every soldier appeared decorated with the ornaments he had received as rewards of his valour. “This review," says Dionysius of Halicarnassus, who describes the whole ceremony, “ formed a most magnificent sight, worthy the grandeur and majesty of Rome.” --Lib. vi. Cæsar first adopted the laurel wreath ; and the Germans and Gauls used branches of trees in various ceremonies.- Lucan, lib. iii. Claudian, in Laud. Stilich.
b Jer. Del. b. iii. st. 75. c Fernand. de Quiro's Voy. to Polynesia, &c., 156, ed. 1606.-In several islands of the South Sea, chiefs present the fruits of their orchards, as peaceofferings to strangers.
a yoy. Discov. i. 254.-An old man in the Great Loo-choo Island approached Mr. Clifford with a green bough in his hand; which Mr. C. observing, broke one from a tree, and exchanged boughs with him.—Hall, p. 145, 4to. e Krusenstern's Voy., vol. i. p. 160. Gen. ch. viii. ver. 11.
8 Vide Polyb. iii. 50—52. When Dampier was off New Guinea, the natives made signs of friendship by pouring water on their heads with one hand, which they dipped in the sea.Voy., vol. iii. part ii. p. 97.
planted the tree of peace,” says an American Indian, “ and we have buried the axe under its roots ; we will henceforth repose under its shade; and we will join to brighten the chain, which binds our nation together.”
Nearly through all the empires, countries, and islands of Eastern Asia, peace, friendship, and benevolence are signified by the presentation of a betel leaf. In Africa it is still a leaf or a bough. When Captain Tuckey, in his expedition to the Congo, appeared at a feast given by the chenoo of Embomma, the chief seemed to be dubious as to the real motive of his voyage. At length an old man rose up hastily, ånd taking a leaf from a neighbouring tree, exclaimed, “ If you come to trade with us, swear by your God, and break this leaf.”. This Captain Tuckey refused to do. Then said the old man, “ If you come with no design of making war upon us, swear by your God, and break this leaf.” Captain Tuckey immediately took the oath, and broke the leaf. Upon which the whole party rose up, and danced for a considerable time ; and all was cheerfulness and satisfaction.
Palms were worn, as emblems, by those, who had made pilgrimages to the Holy Land : and the custom of carrying branches of palms, on Palm-Sunday, is said to have been derived from the worshippers of Serapis. It was introduced into the service of Christianity by Origen ;—that Origen, who taught the doctrine of the plurality of worlds, and who illustrated Christianity by the Alexandrian system of philosophy; who esteemed gods, angels, and the souls of men, to be of one substance; who believed that the soul had a pre-existent state ; and that those of good men advanced in regular gradation to a higher state of perfection. .
Garlands of olives are also of high antiquity. It was with a garland of this plant that the women of Jerusalem crowned Judith, when she returned from the camp of Holofernes a. They met her on the way, and blessed her; and leading her
Judith, xv. 12, 13.
in triumph to Jerusalem, carried olive branches in their hands, and sang songs in honour of her. · By analogy, we associate good fortune with a fine morning ; ignorance with darkness ; youth with spring; manhood with summer; and autumn with that season of life, when, as Shakspeare observes, in a fine vein of melancholy, we are fallen into “ the sere and yellow leaf.” Winter we associate with age.
It is this striking analogy, which enables Thomson and Young so intimately to connect the seasons with each other a. We associate Summer and Winter, too, with good and ill fortune ; an instance of which occurs in Cymbeline b. Even the art of war has some analogies with natural objects; hence in
Behold, fond man!
And shuts the scene! Dante metaphorically compares the dispensations of Fortune to the progress of the seasons. Vide Inferno, canto vii. st. 14.-Thus Ford :
Here, in this mirror,
Winter at last draws on the night of age:--The Sun's Darling. The seasons were represented in Egypt by a rose, an ear of corn, and an apple : spring, summer, and winter. The Egyptians, like the ancient Germans, are said to have divided their year into three seasons only, autumn being unknown. Macrobius *, however, states to the contrary; for he says that the Egyptians drew the sun at the winter solstice as an infant ; at the vernal equinox as a youth ; at the summer solstice as a man in the highest state of vigour; and at the autumnal equinox as an old man. The analogy, therefore, between the seasons and human life may be traced to Egypt.
b Act iij. sc. 6.-Also, Richard 111., act i. sc. 2.
* Saturnalia, lib. i.
gunnery, when ordnance, from being ill-cast, is spongy, it is called honey-comb : and hence among generals, it is no unfrequent practice, to encamp forces in a form, which they descriptively call the “rose-bud ;” the works flanking and covering each other, like the lips of roses a.
Pythagoras was the first, among the Greeks, who compared the four ages of man to the four seasons :-other philosophers had divided them into three only; the green age; the ripe age; and the mellow age b. And, here, perhaps, we may be permitted to observe, that the colouring of Rubens has been likened to spring; that of Claude to summer; Titian's to autumn; and Vanderveldt's to winter. The Four Seasons of Haydn exhibit more sublimity, in respect to music, than any of his works, if we except the Creation.
The poets associate wisdom and content with vales ; philosophy with shades; and ambition with mountains. Availing ourselves of similar analogical licenses, we may compare a dingle to a smiling infant; a glen to a beautiful girl ; a valley to a captivating virgin ; and when the valley opens into a vale, it may, not inelegantly, be associated with the idea of a well-formed, finished matron. In speaking of the sun, if we may be allowed to indulge in flowers of rhetoric, so excursive, we might almost be excused for saying, that it rises from behind rocks of coral, glides in a universe of sapphire over fields of emerald, mounts its meridian among seas of crystal ; and, tinging every cloud with indigo, sinks to slumber among beds of amethysts.
a Cæsar speaks of a military disposition, in the form of a lily. • Hippocrates and Galen compared youth to summer, and manhood to winter.
THE IRON AGE-THE SILVER AGE—THE GOLDEN AGE.
AFTER the same manner, the three first periods of society were allegorically distinguished by different aspects of Nature, and fecundity of soil. Thus the IRON AGE was deformed by clouds and storms; the bowels of the earth were searched for minerals ; while its surface was utterly neglected ; untilled by the husbandman, and ungrazed by the shepherd. Every morning was gloomy, and every night tempestuous. In the SILVER AGE, the year was divided into seasons. Then were first experienced the heat of summer, and the vicissitudes of winter. Serpents were then endued with poison ; wolves began to prowl; and the sea to be agitated by storms. Honey was shaken from the leaves of trees; and rivers, which, in the golden age, ran with wine, overflowed with water; and then was invented the art of catching beasts in toils, birds with lime, and fish with nets. In the GOLDEN AGE, when men lived on fruits and vegetables, the seasons were distinguished by perpetual temperature; the air shone with a light allied to purple ; the earth was profusely fertile ; and flowers, vines, olives, and every luxury of Nature, had consequent effects upon the minds, manners, and morals of mankind. In Nature all was blooming and captivating ; among men all was virtue, security, and happiness. The names of master and servant were unrecognized; and every one having Nature for his guide, love and friendship were inheritances, and law and property were alike unheard of and unknown. Grapes grew upon brambles; oaks distilled honey; alders bloomed with the narcissus ; and tamarisks oozed with amber. Wolves and sheep drank at the same stream; owls rivalled swans; and sheep dyed their own fleeces. Bees then first gained their intelligence ; trees produced fruits twice a year ; milk watered the plains, and rivers rolled with nectar; while