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abundance. The awful inhabitants of this heaven-embowering clime, this empyrean, are the abavalon, the undying, the immortals. Sometimes they withdraw into their respective dwellings and jurisdictions; at other times they keep high banquet and hold solemn debate. One while they separate as stars, the next mingle as constellations. On the lofty throne of that exalted state sits the Sire of gods and men. The cloud-compelling Jupiter,— his eagle Perknos couching at his feet,-his brow clothed with thunder, -his nod affrighting the universe, -he proclaims supremacy, and defies fate. Juno with her perfect beauty reclines by the monarch's side, — she is sceptred,—the peacock spreads his argus-eyed train of plumes in advance of her, — or many of this glorious bird yoke themselves to her car, while her hand-maid Iris throws the variegated arch above her head. The ivy-wreathed hair of Bacchus sets off his perennial youth, his thyrsus rules his panthers, and his only wrath pursues the goat because it roots up the vines: Silenus and his satyrs follow him not thither, nor do his earthly orgies and dithyrambics disturb the sky. Mars glitters in his mail. Apollo, that noble charioteer with his fiery-footed steeds of immortal race, only circles heaven in his daily course, and unfatigued relieves the “noctes, cænæque Deum” with his noble gesture, and sweet harp, and the eloquence of which men can only say that the most perfect imitators “ Phæbo digna locuti.” Vesta is mysteriously silent ; her thought is fixed and impassioned ; the holy veil covers her face ; she muses “in pure white robes, like very sanctity.” And now for tricksy Mercury, ever voluble but ever humorous and ready to oblige, prepared to fly headforemost with his petasus, and with his talaria or winged heels just touching earth to rebound to his native seat with all the news of earth. Pallas, the Tritogeneia, with corslet and helm, often quells the anger of her father Jove by her wisdom and moderation, and leaving the wine-god to his magpie, prefers the grave monotonous whoop of her owl. Venus, and Cupid, here offer little annoyance to “ the immortal shapes of bright aerial spirits ;” while the boy's sportive archery need not be feared so long as he is in point-blank range of the Pythian “ Lord of the unerring bow.” Diana, with her crescent ensign, is a still better protectress, and she stands braced and pure as new risen from the Castalian fount. Old Neptune, though always leaning on his trident and surveying his ocean-realm, proves his amphibious capacity and seems happier aloft than in his coral caves. Some subordinate powers here receive a welcome and an office, - though they can plead no prescriptive title to the place. Aurora, always the earliest riser, unbars the threshold of that vast festive pile at dawn. Hebe and Ganymedes are the graceful cup-bearers when it pleases their superiors to quaff. Momus is zany of the court. The Hours weave their zone. The Muses fill their choir. The Graces twine their group. There too are they who were of divine descent, but still not summoned to this nobility,—like commoners courteously distinguished during their aristocratic fathers' lamented lifetime: and a few who, though displaying a sinister bend of earthliness in their shield, are admirable heroes of exploit and fame. Vulcan, that skilful armourer and forger of thunderbolts, often leaves his smithy of Etna to take his patent's rank and seat. Esculapius has abandoned practice, and takes no less medicine above than he did below. Hercules, Castor, and Pollux, though the writ of summons could not avail them but only a new creation, disgrace not the “ætherea domus” to which they have been called.

The conception of this Mythology,—though often halting in consistency and always deformed by absurdity,-is confessedly great and magnificent. The ideas of power, beauty, authority, are caught, detained, and represented. Impalpable essences are arrested and clothed in appropriate forms. There is the relief of variety and force of contrast. Their immense superiority is felt to the allegories of the highest poetry. Æschylus has attempted to personify strength and other abstractions ; but the harmony is wanting which fills up the dimensions, and the taste which supports the probabilities, of the deific fiction !

But let us look a little more closely at this hierarchy of the Pagan divinities, the Dii majores et minores. The poetic glare being withdrawn, though still magnified through a poetic medium, how do their proportions dwindle, and to what contemptible frivolity and baseness are they reduced! What shrew and scold ever brawled in terms so gross as Juno allows her tongue? What female bosom was ever so relentless ? Well may Virgil speak of “ sævæ memorem Junonis ob iram ;" and enquire, “ Tantæne animis celestibus iræ ?" Her large blue eyes, which Homer compares to those of an ox, shoot forth the successive fires of jealousy, cruelty, and revenge. She can threaten like any beldame: “Flectere si nequeo superos, Acheronta movebo.” Jupiter was “ like the air, a chartered libertine,” adopting the vehicle of metamorphosis for every evil end, -reckless of his victims, though his queen was sure to pursue them with the cruelty of an Alecto,—and writing his history in one disgusting tale of brutal passion. Minerva induces Pandarus, during an armistice, to aim a shaft at the breast of Menelaus. The guilt of Mars and Venus, and their detection by Apollo, is but an article of amusing scandal to their peers. And when not morally vile, they are convicted of abjectness and levity. Hercules rescued them from the Titans,-a mortal delivered them ere he was the demigod! Horace in his fourth ode of the third book declares,

“ Magnum illa terrorem intulerat Jovi

Fidens juventus horrida brachiis." How unsuitable the panic in Him who should have loured thunder, who should have crushed rebellion, who should have despised the puny effort against his dominion, being himself the god' of gods. They can sink to what is undignified, and light, and by a no painfully difficult descent. Minerva banters the phrensied Ajax. The limping gait and awkward assiduity of Vulcan convulse the divine revellers into a besos ye.ws. Venus is wounded by Diomed, and she retreats with a sore hand, but endeavours to make the best of it in the presence of Jupiter: but when Mars is wounded by the spear of the same warrior, he flies to heaven scared and groaning, filling the firmament with his shrieks, complaining to the Mighty Father, who soundly rates and ridicules him for his pains. Then when assembled, they

cannot
agree
about the contest in the Troad after

many consultations; so, by the express command of the Thunderer, they, like us poor mortals, leave it as an open question, and agree to differ. Thus, in the fifth book of the Iliad, to which there has been already allusion, they absolutely fight against each other, take their sides, inspire their partisans, backing hero against hero, and a chance-medley it proves !

Though nothing can be more improbable than that this mythology was the vision of poetic imagination,—though we disbelieve that Homer and Hesiod could have originated it,yet we think that we see in it marks of a modified continuation. This was not the first thought. This is not the original system. It has grown out of much that is antecedent. The form and consistence are superinduced upon an ancient substance. And history assures us that there is a greatly earlier date, and previous theory, of polytheism : polytheism more simple and elemental,—and as less ornate and elaborate, to our better reason less revolting. It is obvious that the records of the most distant times avoid the violent imaginings of the classic ages : and that in the Epicurean period of the classic ages, the learned resorted to a more cautious phraseology. There was an advised and measured mode of speaking which reveals a conscious necessity for circumspection and subdued statements. I can easily understand that a man in modern times who does not wish to commit himself to a certain belief,—to an avowal of a moral character and a moral government on the part of the Great First Cause, -will feel himself relieved by such general words as almighty power and eternal fitness and right. He

escapes censure for scepticism ; and yet never can be called to a reckoning for one tenable substantive opinion. So it may have been felt, by some ancient, a happy thought, an adroit expedient, when instead of a homage to any particular deity, he spoke of a Numen ; and in appealing for a vindication of any cause and right, he invoked a Nemesis and a Themis. These are generalities, with which the credulous thought they fully agreed, and to which the suspicious could not openly object. And it must be remembered that, when a great antagonist system had well nigh subverted heathenism, the philosophers, who still adhered to it, never ventured to defend that form of it which was classical and poetic, but that earlier pretension which was mystic and symbolical. This was the last plank of the wreck to which they clung! All besides,—the most ornamental and exquisite parts,- they abandoned as corruptions.

The more intelligent, therefore, adopted a fable which served to connect the poetic economy of the gods with an earlier and more philosophic theory. It was supposed that during the invasion and assault of the Celestial abode by the Giants,—some of them having fifty heads, and others a hundred hands,-having already heaped Ossa on Pelion,—the affrighted deities fled into Egypt. As that famous land was the principal reservoir of tradition and source of knowledge, as it could boast so superior an antiquity to Greece,—this was a happy conjunction of interests. The modern could then represent that the difference between it and the ancient was rather verbal than real. Both systems became fraternised, conscious that they must stand or fall together. The latter also found the necessity of borrowing the typical key from the former. It is only the poetry of Virgil which would make the gods of Egypt fight against those of Rome.*

And thence arose one of the most pointed characteristics of the Pagan hypothesis. It is generally denominated, the intercommunity. It may be easily explained. The gods were local and provincial in their tutelage. This country was sacred to one, that to another. But men could not remain always in the place of their nativity: the ends both of education and commerce demanded travel. But what was the devotee to do when he entered the land of another divine patron ? Must he preserve his fealty or transfer it? Must he practise the rites of the country in which he sojourned? The presiding powers were certainly restricted. They were called Indigetes, 0:01 Taigwo.. The knot was cut by this explanation, which is a refinement upon

all the liberalism ever recorded, one was as good as another. This is a great truth. For were the greater number

Æneid : lib. viii, 698.

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