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rise to the tradition that he was son of Mars. He raised a temple in honour of the god Pan, called by the Latins" Lupercus, at the foot of the Palatine Hill; and he exercised hospitality towards strangers with a liberal hand. His great popularity, and his fondness for agriculture, made his subjects revere him as one of their country deities after death. He was represented with all the equipage of the satyrs, and was consulted to give oracles.-- Dionys. 1, c. 7. Virg. Aen. 7, 47; 1. 8, 314; 1. 10, 55. Horat. 1, Od. 17. De Arte Poetica, 244.
Horace, in Carm. ii. Ode 17, ascribes his escape from the celebrated falling Tree, to the intervention of Faunus; and then, with his wonted vanity, he attributes his favour with him to his own erudition :
Me truncus illapsus cerebro
Custos virorum. From Faunus we come to the history of Fauna, a deity symbolically used by Naturalists to represent wild animals and rustic objects, and whom we have adopted to head our articles on natural history. She was the wife and sister of Faunus and daughter of Picus, and was originally called Marica. Her marriage with Faunus procured her the name of Fauna, and her knowledge of futurity that of Fatua and Fatidica. It is said that she never saw a man after her marriage with Faunus, and that her uncommon chastity occasioned her being ranked among the Gods after death. She is the same, according to some, as Bona Mater. Some mythologists accuse her of drunkenness and immoderate use of wine.–Virg. Aen. 7, v. 47, &c. Varro. Justin. 43, c. 1.
Veneration of any sort, even for departed persons, when undirected by powerful institutions, has a tendency to degenerate into superstition; and mythologists always going on blundering in the creation of new deities, at length produced the Fauni, certain deities of the country, represented as having the legs, feet, and ears of Goats, and the rest of the body human. They were called satyrs by the Greeks. The peasants offered to them a Lamb or a Kid with great solemnity.–Virg. G. 1, 10. Ovid. Met. 6, 392.
Similar circumstances, probably, after the death of Satyrus, produced another set of monsters, often confounded with the Fauni, namely the Satyri, demigods of the country, whose origin is unknown. They are represented like men, but with the feet and the legs of Goats, short horns on the head, and the whole body covered with thick hair.' They chiefly attended upon Bacchus, and rendered them
selves known in his orgies by their riot and lasciviousness. The first fruits of every thing were generally offered to them. The Romans promiscuously called them Fauni, Panes, and Sylvani. It is said that a Satyr was brought to Sylla, as that general returned from Thessaly. The monster had been surprised asleep in a cave; but his voice was inarticulate when brought into the presence of the Roman general, and Sylla was so disgusted with it, that he ordered it to be instantly removed. The monster answered in every degree the description which the poets and painters have given of the Satyrs.-Paus. 1, c. 23. Plut. in Syll. Virg. Ecl. 5, 13. Ovid. Heroid. 4, 171. See Gesner. H. A. Vol. I. P.
Becember 6. St. Nicholas of Myra Bishop and
Confessor. St. Nicholas of Pinara Bishop. SS.
St. Nicholas was born at Patara in Lycia, and became Bishop of Myra. He died in 343. He is called Patron of School Children: a clue to which is afforded to us by a writer in the Gentleman's Magazine for April, 1777, vol. xlvii. p. 158, who mentions having in his possession an Italian Life of St. Nicholas, 3d edit. 4to. Naples, 1645; from which he translates the following story, which fully explains the occasion of boys addressing themselves to St. Nicholas's patronage.
“ The fame of St. Nicholas's virtues was so great, that an Asiatic gentleman, on sending his two sons to Athens for education, ordered them to call on the Bishop for his benediction; but they, getting to Myra late in the day, thought proper to defer their visit till the morrow, and took up their lodgings at an inn, where the landlord, to secure their baggage and effects to himself, murdered them in their sleep, and then cut them into pieces, salting them, and putting them into a pickling tub, with some pork which was there already; meaning to sell the whole as such. The Bishop, however, having had a vision of this impious transaction, immediately resorted to the inn, and calling the host to him, reproached him for his horrid villany. The man, perceiving that he was discovered, confessed his crime, and intreated the Bishop to intercede on his beball to the Almighty for his pardon ; who, 'being moved with
compassion at his contrite behaviour, confession, and thorough repentance, besought Almighty God not only to pardon the murtherer, but also, for the glory of his name, to restore life to the poor innocents who had been so inhumanly put to death. The Saint had hardly finished his prayer, when the mangled and detached pieces of the two youths were by divine power reunited, and, perceiving themselves alive, were proceeding to prostrate themselves, and to thank the holy man for what they thought he had done ; but the Bishop, not suffering their humiliation, raised them up, exhorting them to return thanks to God alone for this mark of his mercy, and gave them good advice for the future conduct of their lives; and then, giving them his blessing, he sent them with great joy to prosecute their studies at Athens.” And adds: “This, I suppose, sufficiently explains the Naked Children and Tub,” the well known emblems of St. Nicholas.
Hospipian observes, that it used to be common on the Vigil of St. Nicholas, for parents to convey secretly various sorts of présents to their little sons and daughters, who were taught to believe that they owed them to the kindness of St. Nicholas and his train, who, going up and down among the towns and villages, came in at the windows, though they were shut, and distributed them. This custom, he says, originated from the legendary account of that Saint's having given portions to three daughters of a poor citizen, whose necessities had driven him to an intention of prostituting them; and this he effected by throwing a purse filled with money, privately, at night, in at the faiher's bedchamber window, to enable him to portion them out honestly.
Hospinian says, the invocation of St. Nicholas by sailors took its rise from the legendary accounts of Vincentius and Mantuanus :
“ Solet etiam Sanctus Nicolaus a periclitantibus in mari aut quavis aliâ aquâ, invocari. Huic Idolomaniae fabula originem dedit, quae extat apud Vincentium, libro xiv. capite 70; et Mantuanium, lib. xii. Fastorum, ubi sic canit:
• Cum Turbine Nautae
Hosp. De Festis, 153." Armstrong, speaking of Ciudadella, says: “ Near the entrance of the harbour stands a chapel dedicated to St. Nicholas, to which the sailors resort that have sufti red ship
wreck, to return thanks for their preservation, and to hang up Votive Pictures, representing the danger they have escaped, in gratitude to the Saint for the protection he vouchsafed them, and in accomplishment of the vows they made in the height of the storm. This custom, which is in use at present throughout the Roman Catholic world, is taken from the old Romans, who had it, among a great number of other superstitions, from the Greeks; for we are told that Bion the philosopher was shewn several of these votive pictures hung up in a temple of Neptune near the sea side. Horace alludes to them thus:
Me tabulâ sacer
Vestimenta maris Deo. - Lib. i. Od. 5. St. Nicholas is the present patron of those who lead a seafaring life, as Neptune was of old; and his churches generally stand within sight of the sea, and are plentifully stocked with pious moveables.
“ Mos est plurimis in locis, ut in Vigilia Sancti Nicolai parentes pueris ac puellis clam munuscula varii generis dent, illis opinantibus, S. Nicolaum cum suis famulis hinc inde per oppida ac vicos discurrere, per clausas fenestras ingredi, et dona ipsis distribuere.”
Naogeorgus on St. Nicholas. Saint Nicholas money usde to give to maydens secretlie, Wbo, that he still may use his wonted liberalitie, The mothers all their children on the Eeve do canse to fast, And, when they every one at night in senselesse sleepe are cast, Both Apples, Nuttes, and Peares they bring, and other things beside, As caps, and shooes, and petticotes, which secretly they hide, And in the morning found, they say, that this Saint Nicholas brought : Thus tender mindes to worship Saints and wicked things are taught.
The fasting on this day formerly practised, was taken from the account of this Saint's Fasting in the Golden Legend.
Brand, speaking of the singular religious mockery of electing Boy Bishops on this, on St. Catherine's, and on Holy Innocents' days, observes, " I know not precisely at what period the custom of electing Boy Bishops on St. Nicholas's Day commenced in England; but there is little doubt that, after it had been established on the Continent, it would soon be imported hither.
“ In the year 1299, we find Edward the First, on his way to Scotland, permitted one of these Boy Bishops to say vespers before him in his chapel at Heton, near Newcastle upon Tyne, and made a considerable present to the
said Bishop, and certain other boys that came and sang with him on the occasion, on the seventh of December, the day after St. Nicholas's Day."
The reader will also find in Ellis's edition of Brand, some extraordinary and almost incredible absurdities formerly committed during the Ceremonies and Processions of the Boy Bishop on this day in Spain, Germany, and in Switzerland, as well as in England.
St. Nicholas being the patron of Scholars, has at some Schools, as, for example, at Eton, a feast twice a year. Mr. Warton says that the custom of going ad montem at Eton, originated in an imitation of some of these ceremonies.
On the Montem at Eton.
When fed the raptured sight,
Devoured with delight:
Which on those hours await:
Long famed triennial Fête.—Poems by Henry Rowe. For more customs on this day, see Gent. Mag. for May 1777, and for December 1790; and Brand's Pop. Antiquit. supra cit.
St. Nicholas being the reputed Patron of Children, we may take occasion of his festival to give current publicity to an Act of Parliament passed in the reign of his late Majesty, to afford them further protection against the diabolical practice of childstealing, too commonly practised in England, though rarely with impunity. This act was passed on the 18th July, 1814, and by it the crime of wilfully stealing, leading astray, or enticing away any child under ten years of age is made felony. The act does not extend to Scotland, for in that country there already existed an act by which this offence is punishable with death. Since the passing of this act, many persons have been convicted for this offence.
A Mistake cleared up with respect to Doctrine. — The legendary history of the restoration to life of the two children related above, affords an illustration of a piece of catholic doctrine often misrepresented by protestants : part of it also admits of an illustration on the philosophical principles already laid down in this work. The Vision presented to St. Nicholas might be of that class which we have called an Image of Spectral Illusion; that is, the things seen had no Objectivity. See September 30th, p. 523. But this circum