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story of St. George, or else, we conceive the literal acception to be a misconstruction of the symbolical expression; apprehending a veritable history, in an emblem or piece of Christian poesy. And this emblematical construction hath been received by men not forward to extenuate the acts of saints: as, from Baronius, Lipellous the Carthusian hath delivered in the life of St George; Picturam illam St. Georgii quâ effingitur eques armatus, qui hastæ cuspide hos. tem interficit, juxta quem etiam virgo posita manus supplices tendens ejus explorat auxilium, symboli potiùs quàm historia alicujus censenda expressa imago. Consuevit quidem ut equestris militiæ miles equestri imagine referri. That is, the picture of St. George, wherein he is described like a Cuirassier or horseman completely armed, &c. is rather a symbolical image, than any proper figure.
Now in the picture of this saint and soldier, might be implied the Christian soldier, and true champion of Christ : A horseman armed cap à pié, intimating the panoplia or complete armour of a Christian combating with the dragon, that is, with the devil, in defence of the king's daughter, that is the Church of God. And therefore although the history be not made out, it doth not disparage the knights and noble order of St. George: whose cognisance is honourable in the emblem of the soldier of Christ, and is a worthy memorial to conform unto its mystery. Nor, were there no such person at all, had they more reason to be ashamed, than the noble order of Burgundy, and knights of the golden fleece ; whose badge is a confessed fable.”
some conceive, &c.] First added in every Christian soule, and comprehen2nd edition.
sively may signifye, the Church of God. 9 The picture, &c.] First added in 2nd -Wr. edition.
2 fable.] Borowed from that old storye I Church of God.] Or rather the soule, of the Argo-nauts, or Argo-knights, as for soe in the picture and story shee is wee may call them, though the golden called (psyche] that is the soul of man, fleece be a meer romance. -Wr. which in a specificall sense is endeed
Of the Picture of Jerome.
The picture of Jerome usually described at his study, with a clock hanging by, is not to be omitted; for though the meaning be allowable, and probable it is that industrious father did not let slip his time without account, yet must not perhaps that clock be set down to have been his measure thereof. For clocks 3 or automatous organs, whereby we now distinguish of time, have found no mention in any ancient writers, but are of late invention, as Pancirollus observeth. And Polydore Virgil discoursing of new inventions whereof the authors are not known, makes instance in clocks and guns. Now Jerome is no late writer, but one of the ancient fathers, and lived in the fourth century, in the reign of Theodosius the first.
It is not to be denied that before the days of Jerome there were horologies, and several accounts of time; for they measured the hours not only by drops of water in glasses called clepsydra, but also by sand in glasses called clepsammia. There were also from great antiquity, scioterical or sundials, by the shadow of a stile or gnomon denoting the hours of the day; an invention ascribed unto Anaximenes by Pliny. Hereof a memorable one there was in Campus Martius, from an obelisk erected, and golden figures placed horizontally about it; which was brought out of Egypt by Augustus, and described by Jacobus Laurus.* And another of great an
• A peculiar description and particular construction hereof out of R. Chomer,
is set down, Curios. de Caffarel. chap. ix.
clocks.] The ancient pictures of St. been senator and of a noble familye, Hierom were naked, on his knees, in a picture him in the habit of the cardinals, cave, with an hour.glasse and a scull by leaning on his arm at a desk in study him, intimating his indefatigable con- with a clock hanging by him, and his tinuance in prayers and studye while hee finger on a scull: and this they take to lived in the cave at Bethleem. But the bee a more proper symbol of the cardinal later painters at Rome, bycause hee had eminencye.-Wr.
tiquity we meet with in the story of Ezechias; for so it is delivered in 2 Kings xx. “ That the Lord brought the shadow backward ten degrees by which it had gone down in the dial of Abaz.” That is, say some, ten degrees, not lines; for the hours were denoted by certain divisions or steps in the dial, which others distinguished by lines, according to that of Persius,
Stertimus indomitum quod despumare Falernum
That is, the line next the meridian, or within an hour of
Of later years there succeeded new inventions, and horologies composed by trochilick or the artifice of wheels; whereof some are kept in motion by weight, others perform without it. Now as one age instructs another, and time, that brings all things to ruin, perfects also every thing; so are these indeed of more general and ready use than any that went before them. By the water glasses the account was not regular; for from attenuation and condensation, whereby that element is altered, the hours were shorter in hot weather than in cold, and in summer than in winter. As for scioterical dials, whether of the sun or moon, they are only of use in the actual radiation of those luminaries, and are of little advantage unto those inhabitants, which for many months enjoy not the lustre of the sun,
It is I confess no easy wonder how the horometry of antiquity discovered not this artifice, how Architas, that contrived the moving dove, or rather the helicosophy of Archimedes, fell not upon this way. Surely as in many things, so in this particular, the present age hath far surpassed antiquity; whose ingenuity hath been so bold not only to proceed below the account of minutes; but to attempt perpetual motions, and engines whose revolutions (could their substance answer the design) might out-last the exemplary mobility, and out-measure time itself. For such a one is that mentioned by John Dee, whose words are these,
* perpetual motions.] John Romilly, neva, wrote a letter on the impossibility a celebrated watch maker, born at Ge- of perpetual motion.---Jeff.
in his learned preface unto Euclid : “By wheels, strange works and incredible are done: a wondrous example was seen in my time in a certain instrument, which by the inventor and artificer was sold for twenty talents of gold; and then by chance had received some injury, and one Janellus of Cremona did mend the same, and presented it unto the emperor Charles the Fifth. Jeronymus Cardanus can be my witness, that therein was one wheel that moved at such a rate, that in seven thousand years only his own period should be finished; a thing almost incredible, but how far I keep within my bounds many men yet alive can tell.”
of the Pictures of Mermaids, Unicorns, and some others.
Few eyes have escaped the picture of mermaids ;; that is, according to Horace's monster, with a woman's head above, and fishy extremity below; and these are conceived to answer the shape of the ancient sirens that attempted upon
mermaids.] The existence of mer salmon in poor Dr. Philip's “ undoubted maids has been so generally ridiculed, original,” I persist in expecting one day and high authorities have so repeatedly to have the pleasure of beholding—A denounced as forgeries, delusions, or MERMAID! traveller's wonders, the detailed narra But what is a mermaid ? Aye, there tives and exhibited specimens of these is the very gist of the question. Cicero sea-nymphs, that it must be a Quixotic little dreamt of his classical rule being venture to say a word in their defence. degraded by application to such a discusYet am I not disposed to give up their sion as the present; but I shall neverthecause as altogether hopeless. I cannot less endeavour to avail myself of his admit the probability of a belief in them maxim ;—Omnis disputatio debet a defihaving existed from such remote anti- nitione proficisci. What is a mermaid ? quity, and spread so widely, without Not the fair lady of the ocean, admiring some foundation in truth. Nor can I herself in a hand-mirror, and bewitchconsent to reject en masse such a host of ing the listener by her song ;—not the delightfully pleasant stories as I find re- triton, dwelling in the ocean-cave, and corded of these daughters of the sea, sounding his conch-like cornet or trum(as Illiger call the Dugongs) merely be- pet;—not the bishop-frocked creature of cause it is the fashion to decry them. I Rondeletius; nor Aldrovandus' mer-devil, must be allowed, then, to hold my opi- with his horns and face of fury; nor the nion in abeyance for further evidence. howling and tempest-stirring monsters of Unconvinced even by Sir Humphry Olaus Magnus—not, in short, the creaDavy's grave arguments to prove that ture of poetry or fiction : but a most supsuch things cannot be, and undismayed posable, and probably often seen, though by his asserted detection of the apes and hitherto undescribed, species of the her
Ulysses. Which notwithstanding were of another description, containing no fishy composure, but made up of man and bird : the human mediety variously placed not only above, but below, according unto Ælian, Suidas, Servius, Boccatius, and Aldrovandus, who hath referred their description unto
bivorous cetacea, (the seals and laman- supplies of air." What is to be said of tins,) more approaching, in several re a naturalist who argues against the possispects, the human configuration, than bility of any creature provided with lungs any species we know.
residing in the sea, in the face of so Let us hear and examine Sir Humphry's important an example of the fact as we arguments against the probability of such have in the entire class of cetacea ? a discovery. He says, that "a human What would Cuvier, with all his readihead, human hands, and human mammæ, ness 10 do homage to genius in any man, are wholly inconsistent with a fish's tail.” and especially in so splendid an instance In one sense this is undeniable ; viz. as Davy,—what must he have thought, since homo sapiens is (begging Lord Mon- had he read his preceding remarks ? boddo's pardon) an incaudate animal,- Magnus aliquando dormitat Homerus ! it follows that the head, hands, and mam It is the more remarkable, as Sir mæ of any creature furnished also with Humphry actually mentions some spea tail, could not be human : and so, con cies of this very tribe as having probably versely, the tail of such a creature could given rise to some of the stories about not be a fish's tail. But this is a truism, mermaids. And as to mamma and hands, only to be paralleled by the exclama to which he also objects if in company tion attributed by Peter Pindar to Sir with the fish's tail, we must here again Joseph Banks, when he had boiled the have recourse to the protection of Cuvier fleas and found they did not turn red,- against our mighty assailant. “The first “ Fleas are not lobsters! &c.” Davy's family," (herbivorous cetacea,) says Cuwas not a nominal objection, a mere vier, " frequently emerge from the water play upon words: he goes on to say, to seek for pasture on the shore. They "the human head is adapted for an erect have two mammæ on the breast, and posture, and in such a posture an ani- hairs like mustachios, two circumstances mal with a fish's tail could not swim.” which, when they raise the anterior part The head of our mermaid, however, may of the body above water, give them some more strongly resemble the human head, resemblance to men and women, and than any described animal of its tribe, have probably occasioned those fables of and yet preserve at the same time the the ancients concerning Tritons and Sy. power which they all have, of raising the rens. Vestiges of claws may be discohead perpendicularly out of the water vered on the edges of their fins, which while swimming, as Sir Humphry him- they use with dexterity in creeping, and self probably did, when he was mistaken carrying their little ones. This has given by the fair ladies of Caithness for a mer- rise to a comparison of these organs with maid ! Cuvier remarks, moreover, that hands, and hence these animals have the tails of these herbivorous cetacea dif- been called manatis," (or lamantins.) fer from those of fish in their greater
Thus I have sketched the sort of creaadaptation to maintain an erect posture. ture, which may be supposed to exist : Sir Humphry proceeds —"A creature nor can I deem it unreasonable to exwith lungs must be on the surface seve. pect such a discovery, though Davy, after ral times in a day; and the sea is an in- saying, “ It doubtless might please God convenient breathing place !" I must to make a mermaid; but I do not believe take the liberty of confronting this most God ever did make one:"-somewhat singular observation with a much greater arrogantly pronounces that “such an aniauthority. Cuvier says, (and surely Sir mal, if created, could not long exist, and, Humphry must have for the moment with scarce any locomotive powers, would forgotten,) that the cetacea, though con. be the prey of other fishes formed in a stantly residing in the sea, “as they manner more suited to their element." respire by lungs, are obliged to rise fre It is singular that a writer in the Enc. quently to the surface to take in fresh Metropolitana should have concluded a