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mean, in the Etrnscan language, God. So small a spark lighted up the large fire." We are irresistibly reminded of Goropins and his "conseqnenter fatendum est antiquissima hoc Psammetichi sententia."
The translation of the Eugnbian tablets, however, is but a part of the huge mass of absurdity piled up on these two little syllables, Ae-sar. There is a second volume, in which all the topographical extravagances of Scricck arc played over again, praconis adfastidinm, with this difference, however, that where Scrieck, in his interpretations, gave genuine Dutch, Betham, in his, gives spurious Irish; for he owns himself, that "if a sentence be formed of these obsolete monosyllabic words, the translation in English making good sense, the original, if read to the best Irish scholar of the day, will appear to him an unknown tongue." He begins first with Sanconiathan, which he makes the name of the book, not of the author, sean cead na than; i. e. "the old beginning of time," when the gods spoke in monosyllabic Irish, and called chaos cead-os, "the first intelligence." And here it must be admitted that the Dutchmen are outdone: for neither Becan nor Scrieck went above Adam. But Betham is as much at home on Olympus as either of the Dutchmen was in Paradise; and with the aid of his monosyllabic glossary, transmutes the celestials intoTcagues and Oonahs as fast as bis sybilline syllables can be put together. Apollo is ab ol lo, "the mighty lord of the waters;" (this is hardly as good as the off-hole-loose of Goropins -.) Minerva is Ma na er ar fad, (a terribly long recipe for a name this,) or "the good, the illustrious guiding wisdom." Hermes is turmees, "the messenger of the wind." Hercules is er at lais, "the illustrious hero of light;" but he seems to be sadly at sea for a derivation for Neptune, whom he is obliged to turn into a Tyrrhenian catamaran or Irish currow, Naebh tonn "the ship of the sea." Jupiter (not being an Etruscan, he is not here allowed the pas) indh bit er, "day being great," (which is a very dark saying.) Bacchus, bac aois, "the sustaincr of time." Mercury, meer at re, "the swift champion of the moon"—really this is mere lunacy.
Any one might, with equal plausibility, derive the whole Pantheon from the English, as Apollo, " aye follow," because day always follows night, and Apollo always followed pretty girls, Daphne in particular; Mercury, "mirk hurry," because Mercury hurried the ghosts down through the mirk or murky darkness to the Styx. Hercules," he reckless," because Hercules was a great daredevil. Venus, "vain is," because a pretty woman is too often vain of her good looks. Juno, "do now," because people were in the habit of making their requests to her, or, perhaps, because Jupiter used to say so when he wished her to give him a kiss. Jupiter, "stupider," because it waa natural that Juno should say ho was the stupider of the two when they happened to differ; or, pace viri tanti, "you pitier," when poor mortals raised their sorrowful supplications to him.
Scrieck's foundation for all his extravagant topographical derivations was the passage from Plato. Doctor Johnson seems to have been the Plato of these new etymological rambles; but we apprehend that neither the Greek nor the British philosopher would be much edified by the philological excursions of the Irish disciple. Nothing can be more perfect in its way than the dogmatic andacity with which he assigns his derivations; it is in the true vein of Bickerstaff, and a model to quacks of all classes.
"Before we commence our examination into the geographical divisions of Italy, it is necessary to say something of that portion of the world with which the Phoenicians became for the first time acquainted after their settlements in Syria, since called Europe, by an accident as trivial and unlikely to happen as that by which the new world in modern times was denominated America, that is, by a blunder of the Greeks. The fable of the rape of Europa, lie, was a mere national allegory, of which the following is the substance. When the Phoenician IIomenta; had discovered
the Mediterranean, &c they sent out
vessels to explore it, e,' it,' t,'from,' ro, 'to go,' bn, 'was,' tur, 'voyage,' rot,'to the promontory ;' i. E. it u/at to go from a voyage to (Italy) the promontory. This was, as usual of the Greeks taking sound for sense, made into a lady and a bull—tur rot must be the Greek Tuvt-a;, and the Lady Europa was to ride the bull to Crete, which was one of the first discoveries and settlements. Of the children or results, Minos has been already explained as mian, 'minis,' nos, 'knowledge,' or • the art of mining.' Rhadamanthus means nothing more than that the voyage to Crete was the first great result of discoveries on this sea: ra, 'going,' ad, 'illustrious,' am, 'great sea,' en, 'the,' tus, 'first.' So simple is the explanation !—(Vol. ii. p. 244.)
Scrieck had some remains of the modesty of learning, which prevent his becoming a complete master of this style. The Peloponnesus might perhaps possibly, he owned, have been derived from Pelops; though 'twas more likely it should come from P/el-op-on, &c. &c. That admission was ill-jndged: he ought to have denied that Pelops ever existed, and laughed at the blundering Greeks. But the Irishman is a deacon of his craft, and settles the point like an adept. "peloponnesus, according to the Greek, the island of Pelops. But the name was of much greater antiquity than Greek civilization, and was, like all others, given by the Phoenicians. Pelops was an imaginary character. The meaning of the word is, the promontory of the courteous people; bel, 'mouth,' aiobh, 'courteous,' a, 'the,' neas, 'promontory,' aos, 'community, race of people.'"—(Vol. ii. p. 254.)
When Partridge, the almanackmaker, had overlived the fatal day assigned for his decease by Bickerstaff, he intimated as much to his friends and the public, assuring them that he was not only then alive, but had also been alive on the very 29th March, when the wise astrologer had foretold he should die.
"Now," says Bickerstaff in reply, "I will plainly prove him to be dead
out of his own almanack for this year, and from the very passage which he produceth to make us think him alive. He says, he is not only now alive, but was alive upon that very 29th of March which I foretold he should die on; by this he declares his opinion that a man may be alive now who was not alive a twelvemonth ago. And, indeed, there lies the sophistry of his argument. He dares not assert that ho was alive ever since that 29th of March, but that he is now alive, and was so on that day. I grant the latter; for he did not die till night, as appears by the printed account of his death in a letter to a lord, and whether he since revived I leave the world to jndge. This, indeed, is perfect cavilling; and I am ashamed to dwell any longer upon it."
So if the shade of Pelops will receive our counsel, we advise him to abstain from vouching any of tho family of Tantalus to testify to the reality of his existence; for he has to deal with a Bickerstaff, by whom it has been demonstrated that Tantalus is nothing but tain tal ais, "waUr receding backwards," or an incarnation of those fabulous times when water was supposed to run uphill, whence it appears that the whole race of Atreus is a mere series of non-existences. It is true we take this latter derivation from an extract from another of this jndicious discriminator's labours, in the Transactions of his Academy, where, among other etymological curiosities, we have that very Irish youth Narcissus, a beautiful youth, who, seeing his own image reflected in a stream, became enamoured of it, thinking it the nymph of the water. Naobh cms as—" the sight of a nymph in the stream." Pythia, "the priestess of Apollo at Delphos. She always delivered her oracles in hexameter verses, and with musical intonation— pittad, 'music,' from whence the name." •
* "Now, as Serapio was about to have added something of the same nature, the stranger, taking the words out of his mouth—I am wonderfully pleased, said he, to hear discourses upon such subjects as these; but am constrained to claim your first promise, to tell the reason wherefore now the Pythian prophetess no longer delivers her oracles in poetic numbers and measures. Upon which Theo interposing—It cannot be denied, said he, but that there have been great changes and mnovations in reference to poetry and the sciences, yet it is as certain that from all antiquity oracles have been delivered in prose. For we find in Thucydides that the Lacedaemonians, desirous to know the issue of the war then entered into against the Athenians, were answered in prose." * * * "And so of Dinomenes the Sicilian, Procles, tyrant of Epidaurus and Timarchus; and, which is more, the oracular answers, according to which Lycurgus conferred the form of the Lacedemonian commonwealth, were also so given."—Plutarch. Moral.
Saneoniathon, no longer the "old beginning of time," appears here as san, "holy," con, "understanding, sense, or wise men," niod, "real," taw, "of the country "—" the sacred writer or wise recorder of the events of his country." Pygmalion, big, "little," mallein, " mule," the little mule, or person of a low stature and obstinate disposition. This is hardly so good as Swift's pigmy lion. "Pasiphae, ba sabas, 'the propensity, fancy, or disposition of a cow;' and, proh pndor, Venus, 'herself,' bhean, 'the woman,' aois, 'of the community '—pronounced vanus, 'the
or woman of the townl'"
But to come back to the geographical division of the Levant, to which e it ro ba tur ros, which the foolish Greeks construed Europa and the bull, were only preparatory, we have another luculent example of the Bickerstaff style in Gallia Togata.
"It is said the country was called Togata by the Romans, because they wore the Roman toga or gown. This seems doubtful; for when a country became a Roman province, the same reason for the name should apply universally. We must therefore seek a more satisfactory derivation for that - name, to be found in the circumstances of the country. Gallia Togata consists of the plain country intersected by the Po and its numerous tributaries, and surrounded on the north and west by the high ranges of the Alps, on the south by the Apennines, and on the east by the Adriatic. It is, perhaps, the best-watered and most fertile country in Europe, enjoying a delightful climate. Its name, Togata, says all this, togh, it is the chosen land, or, to use an English idiom, choice land, the most desirable and delightful country; togh a to, literally the chosen spot or place. Sound, not sense, suggested the Roman derivation."
Of course Gallia' Braccata and Gallia Comata had just as little to say to 4' long hair," or a "pair of breeches," as Gallia Togata to a Roman gown, and the application of gens togata to
the inhabitants of Italy, as contradistinguished from the transalpine and other provinces, was altogether a blunder of the ancients.
"We have before us again Cbeta, the largest of the Greek islands. Its name is derived by some from the Curetes, who are said to have been its first inhabitants; by others from the nymph Crete, daughter of Hesperus; and by others from Creos, a son of Jupiter, and the nymph Idoea. These are private conceits. It derives its name from its shape and external appearance from the sea; and had such an island been discovered in modern times by English navigators, it would have been called the ridge island, the precise meaning of its name in Celtic creit a, "the ridge," putting the article last, in conformity to idiom."
Ctthera, " one of the Ionian IslandsLike all the other names for which the Greeks had no known origin, they derived it from an individual called Cytherus. It is subject to heavy showers, from which the name cith, showers, er, great, a, the,—that is, the island of heavy showers."
Zacynthus.—" A small island to the south of Cephalonia, (cefal ia; i. e. the fruitful plains country.) The Greeks say the island was named from a companion of Hercules, who, dying from the bite of a serpent, was buried there. It was so called, because a strong current is there first felt by the mariner coming from the. east, za cing thus, current, strong, first,"
We really find some difficulty in believing that it is not Swift's Essay on the Antiquity of the English Language that we have before us.
"My present attempt is to assert the antiquity of our English tongue, which, as I shall undertake to prove by invincible arguments, hath varied very little for these two thousand six hundred and thirty-four years past. And my proof shall be drawn from etymology, wherein I shall use my matter much better than Skinner, Verstegan, Cambden, and many other superficial pretenders have done; for I will put no force upon tho words, nor desire any more favour than to allow for the usual accidents of composition, or the avoiding a cacophonia.
"I will begin with the Grecians, among whom the most ancient are the Greek leaders on both sides at the siege of Troy. For it is plain, from Homer, that the Trojans spoke Greek, as well as the Grecians. Of these latter Achilles was the most valiant. This hero was of a restless, unquiet nature, and therefore, as Uuy of Warwick was called a Killcare, and another terrible man a KillDevil, so this general was called a KillEase, or destroyer of ease, and at length by corruption Achilles.
"Hector, on the other side, was the bravest among the Trojans. He had destroyed so many of the Greeks by hacking and tearing them, that his soldiers, when they saw him fighting, would cry out, ' Now the enemy will be hackl —now he will be tore.' At last, by putting both words together, the appellation was given to their leader under the name of Hack-tore, and, for the more commodious sounding, Hector.
"The next I shall mention is Andromache, the famous wife of Hector. Her father was a Scottish gentleman of a noble family still subsisting in that ancient kingdom; but being a foreigner in Troy, to which city he led some of bis countrymen in the defence of Priam, as Dictt/s Cretensis learnedly observes, Hector fell in love with his daughter, and the father's name was Andrew Maekay. The young lady was called by the same name, only a little softened to the Greek accent."
And now, and as no Irish antiquary can be well supposed to write a complete book without giving his own theory of the round towers of that country, we come to the chapter on these singular structures, in which, of course, all former enquirers are proved to have been egregiously wrong, and a new theory established on incontrovertible evidence; viz. that the round towers were monuments erected over different incarnations of the god Bnddho. As usual, there is the alleged mistake of sound for sense to account for the reason why their common appellation of clogteach, or " bell house," should not truly express their use.
"I shall remark upon a vulgar error which has had great currency among Irish antiquarians, who have asserted that
they were called clogteach,' steeples, 'belfries.' Bells are of comparatively recent introduction into' Ireland, and clock, from which the word has evidently been derived, still more modern. The blunder has arisen from ignorance of the language. I have a memorandum in an Irish MS., that they were called by the people leactaidh, that is, monuments of the dead, the sound of which has been mistaken by those who but imperfectly knew the language. Many writers have been mistaken by this."
The memorandum in the Irish MS. looks very like BickerstafFs Letter to a Lord. We could wager our crutch against the baton of the Ulster king, that the memorandum is in his own or his scribe's handwriting, and the language in which it is imagined, a variety of that new dialect in which Mr Silk Buckingham declares that his Irish friends converse with the Phoenician aborigines of Mount Atlas. But the proof of the pndding is the eating of it, and it seems that under one of the towers they have fotmd Bnddho himself, body and bones, which puts the matter beyond controversy; for if Bnddho be buried under the tower, the tower itself must needs be Bnddho's monument. At p. 2I0, (Vol. ii.,) we have a representation of the Indian divinity (how comes it" that Bnddho is not made an Etruscan ?) lying buried in the basement ot the tower at a place called Ardmore. There seems to be no question that a skeleton was got m the bottom of this tower, and another in another; and the discoverers of the fact deserve credit for their addition to the slight stock of knowledge that the Irish antiquarians seem to possess of those which are perhaps the most singular monuments in their country; but that the bones are those of a Bnddho! really this exceeds our largest estimate of human fatuity.
But for the communications announcing these discoveries, the two volumes would be altogether destitute of a single fact, or even useful hint, bearing on the diversified subjects which their prodigiously ignorant and andacious author has presumed to handle. How far the fact of these skeletons being found in such a situation, may affect the rational investigation of the question, we do not pretend to jndge. We would merely observe, that human interments are found under most ecclesiastical foundations, and that their occurrence under the " turres ccclesiasticae" of Cambrensis, seems at present no more wonderful than their occurrence in the vaults of an ordinary church.
But we really were surprised, after our long familiarity with "the holy illustrious guiding one of the sea"— "the mighty lord of the waters"— "the swift champion of the moon," and tho other moonstruck psendo deities of the Eugubian tables, to find the chief place and honour in the island of their own discovery and adoption taken from them, and bestowed on the Indian Bnddho. The "swift champion of the moon" seems to have been sensible of the affront, and to have made his indignation perceptible in tho suggestion of an argument that can hardly have descended from any but the lunar sphere; viz. that because the Bnddhists of the east raise monumental dagobas over the relics of their deity, and the Irish round towers, as is alleged, (by a nameless interpolation in a nameless Irish MS.,) have been called by a name arguing monumental purposes, that therefore the Irish towers arc dagobas, and any bones that may be found in or about their foundations are relics of Bnddho. The dagobas of Ceylon and India are buildings of a totally different character from these towers; they do strongly resemble the pyramidal structures of
Yucatan, but bear not the remotest likeness to any round tower either in Ireland or elsewhere. Such facts might furnish grounds for arguing an identity between Bnddho and Quaecalcoatle, (and such an identity appears by no means improbable ;) but thence to attempt the deduction of any argument applicable to the round towers in Ireland or Great Britain, only shows the illogical constitution of the arguer's mind.
We have given the book and the subject more space than we intended, and certainly much more than the former, by itself, is worth; but the subject is one that, whether magnified into an undne importance by having been repeatedly treated by men of note and learning or not, does, in the present state of European literature, stand high among the loftiest marks aimed at by human intellect; and any one singling himself from the crowd of lookers-on, and addressing himself to hit it, makes himself, for the moment, the observed of the whole learned world, and by his success or his failure acquires honour, or brings down reproach upon his country. Wc cannot permit British literature to be scandalized by the'failure of one from our ranks who is manifestly inadequate to the task even of handling his piece, much less of bringing down the popinjay, without condemning the rashness of the attempt, and exonerating ourselves from any charge of participating in it.