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in that each of them was surmounted with a little silver vessel like a censer. Is is said that within some charms were put, to which they attributed a power of making the Iman invincible. Many other standards were furled with the same censer-like vessels, but without any regularity. In one word, the whole train was numerous, and in some measure magnificent, but no order seemingly was observed."
It appears by the carvings at Persepolis, umbrellas were very anciently used by the Eastern princes; charms, we have reason to believe, were at least as ancient: may we not, with some degree of probability, suppose then this 121st. Psalm refers to these umbrellas, where the response made, probably, by the ministers of the sanctuary, to the declaration of the king, in the two first verses, reminded him that JEHOVAH Would be to him all that heathen princes hoped for, as to defence and honour, from their royal umbrellas and their sacred charms, but hoped for in vain, as to them? The LORD shall be thy shade on thy right hand, The sun shall not smite thee by day nor the moon by night.*
Une petite cassolette d'argent.
Voy. tom. i. p. 337.
* There is now before me the coronet of a Mohammedan chief from the interior of Africa. It is surrounded with a number of small cushions, each about three inches long, two broad, and one thick: curiosity led me to examine their contents, and I found them to contain a number of spells and charms for the protection of the wearer. They are slips of paper filled with diagrams, and select portions of the Koran, in the African niskh character. EDIT.
Feathers used as Ornaments in the East.
THE feathers of herons and ostriches are now used, in these countries of the East, by way of ornament, and more especially in times of rejoicing; it is reasonable to believe the same obtained anciently, and perhaps as far back as the time of Job.
The Turks, who, according to Baron de Tott, make pomp the characteristic of their nation, make great use of these two sorts of feathers in days of parade. Thus this writer, in describing what answers among them to the solemnity of a coronation, tells us, that one set of officers, who appeared in that procession, wore an ostrich's feather on the side of their turbans; and that the led horses of the Grand Seignior were covered with very rich trappings trailing on the ground, leaving nothing to be seen but the head of the animal, of which the front was ornamented by a large plume of heron feathers. Attendants of another description are said to have worn plumes of feathers shaped like a fan, above which towered those the Grand Seignor himself bore.
De Tott has not told us what kind of feathers these last were, but other authors have informed us, that they are those of herons that the Turkish Memoirs, part 1. p. 235.
* P. 119.
■ P. 121, 122.
emperor himself wears in his turban, at least upon other solemn occasions. So when Thevenot saw him riding in state, upon occasion of the coming of an ambassador to him from the Great Mogul, he wore in his cap two black heron's tops, adorned with large stones, above two fingers high; the one stood upright, and the other pointed downwards.
Such great use is made of ostrich-feathers, that Maillet makes it an article of commerce, in the account he gives of what is imported into Egypt by the caravan from Nubia, which brings with it the merchandize of Ethiopia. "One can hardly believe," he says, the riches it contains. From divers parts of Africa it brings hither gold-dust, elephants' teeth, ebony, musk, civet, ambergris, ostrich feathers, several kinds of gum, and an infinity of other valuable merchandize. But its most considerable commerce consists of two or three thousand blacks, which the caravans brings to sell in Egypt, each of which, taking them one with another, is not worth less to his master than 200 livres."
Herons' feathers, however, are not a discriminating mark of royalty, and confined to the heads of princes and of their horses; Thevenot saw them on the head of the new Basha of Egypt when he made his entry into Grand
Travels, part 1. book x. ch. Ivii.
Let. xiii.p. 197.
About eight guineas. There is a mistake here certainly perhaps there should have been another cypher.
Cairo, "He wore a chiaoux cap, with two black heron's tops standing upright upon it. But they are, I think, only worn in times of prosperity. At least Thevenot remarks, that when his predecessor quitted that government, and departed in a solemn procession, he wore on his head a chiaoux cap, but without a heron's top."
As feathers are made use of among the Turks, so they are used we find among the modern Arabs too. When de la Roque put himself into the dress of an Arab of figure, he had an ostrich feather near the top of his lance; and when the French gentlemen that waited on the king of Yemen, on account of the coffee trade, saw the procession that attended him to his public devotions on the sacred day of the Mohammedans, they observed fifty horses, richly caparisoned, were led in view of the way in which he was to pass, and as many camels perfectly well equipped, which had on their heads large tufts of black ostrich feathers. This was all for parade, and to do honour to the sacred day, for they were only led before him, and several times round the place where he performed his devotions, and put to no other use."
If then the Arabs of our days make use of feathers in times of joyful and sacred parade; it is by no means unnatural or difficult to suppose, that the Arabs of elder times might do
Part I. book ii. ch. 23.
8 Voy. dans la Palestine, p. 4.
Voy. de l'Arabie Heureuse, p. 213.
the same, and even the Arabs of the land of Uz in the age of Job: since they are allowed to be a people that have as much, or more than any, retained their old customs, on the one hand; and since, on the other, the adorning themselves with the most beautiful feathers of the birds of their respective countries, is the common prac tice of those nations that are the most remote from our modes of civilization, and most nearly approach the state of mankind in the first and rudest ages. The way of adorning themselves made use of by many of the wild tribes of America, as well as that of the inhabitants of many of the new-discovered islands of the South Seas, are an incontrovertible proof of it.
If so, the translation that Aquila has given us, of a clause of a very difficult verse of the book of Job, may be allowed to be sufficiently easy and natural. The verse is the 13th of the xxxixth chapter, and is thus translated in our version: Gavest thou the goodly wings unto the peacock? or wings and feathers unto the ostrich? or, according to the marginal translation of the last clause, the feathers of the stork and ostrich.
Great objections have been made to this translation, and very justly. They are not the wings of the peacock that are remarkably goodly, but the tail; nor is it the same Hebrew word elsewhere translated peacocks, but a very different one. It is not then at all probable that peacocks were meant here.
Aquila, who has given us an ancient Greek.