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more poignant grief they cut it off ; but in a sudden and violent paroxysm, they plucked it off with their hands. Such a violent expression of sorrow is exemplified in the conduct of Ezra, which he thus describes : “ And when I heard this thing I rent my garment and my mantle, and plucked off the hair of my head, and of my beard, and sat down astonied."s The Greeks, and other nations around them, expressed the violence of their sorrow in the same way; for in Homer, Ulysses and his companions bewailing the death of Elpinor, howled and plucked off their hair :
Εζομενοι δε ενιαυθα γιων τιλλοντο σε χαλας. . They withdrew as much as possible from the world; they abstained from banquets and entertainments; they banished from their houses as unsuitable to their circumstances, and even painful to their feelings, musical in struments of every kind, and whatever was calculated to excite pleasure, or that wore an air of mirth and gaiety; they frequented no public solemnities, and often denied themselves the comforts and convenienees of life; they loathed the light of heaven, and sought only the dark shade and lonely retirement, which were supposed to bear some resemblance to their misfortunes. Thus Admetus in Euripides, overwhelmed with affliction for the death of Alcestis :
Παυσω δε κωμες, συμποσων 9' ομιλιας
Στεφανες τε, μεσαν 9' η κατ' ειχε πριν δομος. “ I will no more indulge in public entertainments, in the conversation of my friends, in chaplets and music, which formerly cheered my dwelling.” Thus did the king of Persia testify his sorrow for the decree, into which his s Jer. ix, 3.
+ Potter's Gr. Antiq. vol. ii, p. 195.
wily courtiers had betrayed him, and which, without the miraculous interposition of heaven, had proved fatal to his favourite minister : “ Then the king went to his palace, and spent the night fasting ; neither were instruments of music brought before him.”u
Oriental mourners divested themselves of all ornaments, and laid aside their jewels, gold, and every thing rich and splendid in their dress. The Grecian ladies were directed in this manner to mourn the death of Achilles :
Mησε χρυσω φαιδρα καλλυνεις ρεθη, &c. “ Not clothed in rich attire of gems and gold, with glittering silks or purple.” This proof of humiliation and submission Jehovah required of his offending people in the wilderness : “ Therefore, now put off thy ornaments from thee, that I may know what to do unto thee. And the children of Israel stripped themselves of their ornaments by the mount Horeb.” Long after the time of Moses, that rebellious nation again received a command of similar import : “ Strip you, and make you bare, and gird sackcloth upon your loins."x
The garments of the mourner were always black ; Progne, having notice of Philomela's death, lays aside her robes, beaming with a profusion of gold, and appears in sable vestments; and Althæa, when her brethren were slain by Meleager, exchanged her glittering robes for black :
6 et auratas mutavit vestibus atris.”
These sable vestments differed from their ordinary dress,
u Dan, vi, 18.
Potter's Gr. Antiq. vol. ii, p. 195. See also Diodorus Sic. lib. i, cap. 72, vol. i, p. 83.
* Exod. xxxiii, 5, 6. * Isa. xxxii, 11. See Morier's Tray. vol. i, p. 178.
not only in colour, but also in value, being made of cheap and coarse stuff, as appears from these lines of Terence :
“ Texentem telam studiose ipsam offendimus
Ejus anus causa, opinor, quæ erat mortua.” 6. We found her busy at the loom, in a cheap mourning habit, which she wore I suppose for the old woman's death."y
In Judea, the mourner was clothed in sackcloth of hair ; and by consequence, in sable robes. If dead bodies in the east were shrouded in cloth of this kind, surviving relatives probably wore it in assimilation to the departed; and penitents, by assuming it, seemed to confess, that their guilt exposed them to death. Some of the eastern nations in modern times, bury in linen ; but Chardin informs us, that others still retain the use of sackcloth for that purpose.
These signs of mourning were, in times of public calamity or danger, extended to domestic animals, and sometimes to inanimate objects, that every thing might correspond as much as possible with the general feeling. The horses of Achilles mourned the death of his friend Patroclus with dishevelled manes. Admetus, upon the death of Alcestis, commanded his chariot horses to be shorn:
Τεθριππα τι ζευγνυσθε, και μοναμπυκας
Πωλες σιδερω τεμνες' αυχενων φοβην. Eurip. Alcest. 428. “ My chariot horses too my grief shall share,
Let them be shorn, cut off their comely manes." The people of Thessaly cut off their own hair, and their horses' manes, at the death of Pelopidas. When Masis. tius was slain in a skirmish with the Athenians, the Pery Potter's Gr. Antiq. vol. ii, p. 196.
z Iliad. lib. xxiß, l. 283.
sians shaved themselves, their horses, and their mules. On the prediction of Jonah being reported to the king of Nineveh, “ he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh, by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing; let them not feed nor drink water. But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily to God.”a
To sit in sackcloth and ashes, was a frequent expression of mourning in the oriental regions; and persons overwhelmed with grief, and unable to sustain the weight of their calamities, often threw themselves upon the earth, and rolled in the dust; and the more dirty the ground was, the better it served to defile them, and to express their sorrow and dejection. Thus Eneus mourned the death of his son Meleager:
" Pulvere canitiem genitor, vultusque seniles
Ovid. Met. lib. viii, 1. 528.
When Achilles received the news of his friend Patroclus' death, he cast himself on the ground, and with furious hands spread the ashes upon his head, tore his garments, and rolled himself in the dust, lamenting his departed friend with loud screams. And aged Priam lamented the fall of Hector in the same manner :
Αλλ' αιει ξεναχω, και κηδεα μυρια πισσω,
a Jonah iii, 6, 7, 8.
b Iliad. lib. xviii, 1. 23 ; et lib. xix, l. 5.
Sleep has never closed these eyes, from the time my son lost his life under thy hands ; but without ceasing, I groan and ruminate on my innumerable sorrows, weltering in the mire."
In this way, Tamar signified her distress, after being dishonoured by Amnon; “ She put ashes on her head ;" and when Mordecai understood that the doom of his nation was sealed, he “ rent his clothes, and put on sackcloth with ashes.” Our Lord alludes to the same custom, in that denunciation; “ Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida ! for if the mighty works which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, in sackcloth and ashes."c
Intimately connected with this, is the custom of putting dust upon the head. When the armies of Israel were defeated before Ai, “ Joshua rent his clothes, and fell to the earth upon his face, he and the elders of Israel, and put dust upon
their heads." And Hushai came to meet his sovereign, when he fled before Absalom, with his coat rent, and dust upon his head. The mourner sometimes laid his hands upon his head; for the prophet, expostulating with his people, predicts their humiliation in these words: “ Yea; thou shalt go forth from him, and thine hands upon thine head; for the Lord hath rejected thy confidences, and thou shalt not prosper in them."e In both these cases, the head of the mourner was uncovered ; but they sometimes adopted the opposite custom, and covered their heads in great distress, or when they were loaded with disgrace and infamy. When Darius was informed
c Matth. xi, 21.
Morier's Trav. vol. i, p. 59. The same custom prevailed in Greece froin the earliest times. Odyss. lib. xxiv, 1. 315.
e Jer. ii, 37.