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the story of fabulous birds ; according to the description of Ovid, and the account thereof in Hyginus, that they were the daughters of Melpomene, and metamorphosed into the shape of man and bird by Ceres.
And therefore these pieces, so common among us, do rather derive their original, or are indeed the very descriptions of Dagon, which was made with human figure above, and fishy shape below; whose stump, or, as Tremellius and our margin render it, whose fishy part only remained, when the hands and upper part fell before the ark.
Of the shape of Artergates, or Derceto, with the Phænicians, in whose fishy and feminine mixture, as some conceive, were implied the moon and the sea, or the deity of the waters; and therefore in their sacrifices, they made oblations of fishes. From whence were probably occasioned the pictures of Nereides and Tritons among the Grecians, and such as we read in Macrobius, to have been placed on the top of the temple of Saturn.
We are unwilling to question the royal supporters of England, that is, the approved descriptions of the lion and the unicorn. Although, if in the lion the position of the pizzle
long and amusing article with the margi- The ears, nose, lips, chin, breasts, fingnal note, “mermaids impossible animals;" ers, and nails, resemble the human subsupported solely by the very extraordinary ject. Eight incisores, four canine, eight arguments of Sir Humphry.
molares. The animal, though shrunk, is Those who are desirous of seeing an about three feet long; its resemblance to enumeration of all the supposed mer a man having ceased immediately under maids and monsters, which have at vari- the mamma. On the line of separation, ous times amused the public, may refer and immediately under the breast, are to the article just quoted, and to a mis- two fins. Below, it resembles a salmon. cellaneous volume, entitled the Working It is covered with scales—but which on Bee, published by Fisher and Co. New- the upper part are scarcely perceptible : gate street, in which is an Historical Me- it was caught somewhere on the north of moir of Syrens or Mermaids.
China by a fisherman, who sold it for a In explanation of one or two allusions trifle. At Batavia it was bought by Capt. in my preceding remarks, I may just Eades, in whose possession it then was. mention that in the Evangelical Maga- This very specimen Davy pronounced to zine, for Sept. 1822, is inserted part of a be composed of the head and bust from letter from the Rev. Dr. Philip, dated two apes, fastened to the tail of the Cape Town, April 20th, 1822. The kipper salmon,-salmo salar. Dr. says, he had just seen a mermaid, He also notices another instance of then exhibiting in that town. The head a supposed mermaid, seen off the coast is about the size of a baboon's, thinly of Caithness, which turned out to have covered with black hair ; a few hairs on been a gentleman bathing. He is asthe upper lip. The forehead low, but serted to have intended himself. See his with better proportioned and more like Salmonia. human features than any of the baboons.
be proper, and that the natural situation, it will be hard to make out their retrocopulation, or their coupling and pissing backward, according to the determination of Aristotle; all that urine backward do copulate yndòv, clunatim, or aversely, as lions, hares, lynxes.
As for the unicorn, if it have the head of a deer and the tail of a boar, as Vertomannus describeth it, how agreeable it is to this picture every eye may discern. If it be made bisulcous or cloven-footed, it agreeth unto the description of Vertomannus, but scarce of any other; and Aristotle supposeth that such as divide the hoof, do also double the horn; they being both of the same nature, and admitting division together. And lastly, if the horn have this situation and be so forwardly affixed, as is described, it will not be easily conceived how it can feed from the ground; and therefore we observe that nature, in other cornigerous animals, hath placed the horns higher and reclining, as in bucks; in some inverted upwards, as in the rhinoceros, the Indian ass, and unicornous beetles; and thus have some affirmed it is seated in this animal.
We cannot but observe that in the picture of Jonah and others, whales are described with two prominent spouts on their heads; whereas indeed they have but one in the forehead, and terminating over the windpipe. Nor can we overlook the picture of elephants with castles on their backs, made in the form of land castles, or stationary fortifications, and answerable unto the arms of Castile, or Sir John Oldcastle ; whereas the towers they bore were made of wood, and girt unto their bodies, as is delivered in the books of Maccabees, and as they were appointed in the army of Antiochus.
We will not dispute the pictures of retiary spiders, and their position in the web, which is commonly made lateral, and regarding the horizon, although, if observed, we shall commonly find it downward, and their heads respecting the centre. We will not controvert the picture of the seven
iwo prominent points, &c.] The ce other, in others close together, and in tacea have all two spiracles, but on some some so near that they seem to unite in they are considerably remote from each one and the same opening.
stars; although if thereby be meant the Pleiades, or subconstellation upon the back of Taurus, with what congruity they are described, either in site or magnitude, in a clear night an ordinary eye may discover from July unto April. We will not question the tongues of adders and vipers, described like an anchor, nor the picture of the fleur-de-lis: though how far they agree unto their natural draughts, let every spectator determine.
Whether the cherubims about the ark be rightly described in the common picture,* that is, only in human heads, with two wings, or rather in the shape of angels or young men, or somewhat at least with feet, as the Scripture seems to imply. Whether the cross seen in the air by Constantine, were of that figure wherein we represent it, or rather made out of X and P, the two first letters of Xgorós. Whether the cross of Christ did answer the common figure; whether so far advanced above his head; whether the feet were so disposed, that is, one upon another, or separately nailed, as some with reason describe it, we shall not at all contend. Much less whether the house of Diogenes were a tub framed of wood, and after the manner of ours, or rather made of earth, as learned men conceive, and so more clearly make out that expression of Juvenal. We should be too critical to question the letter Y, or bicornous element of Pythagoras, that is, the making of the horns equal ;' or the left less than the right, and so destroying the symbolical intent of the figure; confounding the narrow line of virtue with the larger road of vice, answerable unto the narrow door of heaven, and the ample gates of hell, expressed by our Saviour, and not forgotten by Homer in that epithet of Pluto's house. I
Many more there are whereof our pen shall take notice, nor shall we urge their enquiry; we shall not enlarge with
• 2 Chron. iii, 13.
† -Dolia magni non ardent Cynici, &c.
the letter Y, &c.] An allusion to ing: with some excellent observations on this letter, in Dr. Donne's sermon on the style of the old sermon writers."Where your treasure is, there will your Jeff. heart be also,” is mentioned by Dr. Vi 8 Whether the cherubims, fc.] This cesimus Knox in his 38th Winter Even- paragraph first added in 2nd edition.
what incongruity, and how dissenting from the pieces of antiquity, the pictures of their gods and goddesses are described, and how hereby their symbolical sense is lost; although herein it were not hard to be informed from Phornutus,* Fulgentius, † and Albricus. I Whether Hercules be more properly described strangling than tearing the lion, as Victorius hath disputed; nor how the characters and figures of the signs and planets be now perverted, as Salmasius hath learnedly declared. We will dispense with bears with long tails, such as are described in the figures of heaven; we shall tolerate flying horses, black swans, hydras, centaurs, harpies, and satyrs, for these are monstrosities, rarities, or else poetical fancies, whose shadowed moralities requite their substantial falsities. Wherein indeed we must not deny a liberty; nor is the hand of the painter more restrainable than the pen of the poet. But where the real works of nature, or veritable acts of story are to be described, digressions are abberrations; and art being but the imitator or secondary representor, it must not vary from the verity of the example, or describe things otherwise than they truly are, or have been. For hereby introducing false ideas of things, it perverts and deforms the face and symmetry of truth.
Of the Hieroglyphical Pictures of the Egyptians.
CERTAINLY of all men that suffered from the confusion of Babel, the Egyptians found the best evasion; for, though words were confounded, they invented a language of things,
* Phornut. De Natura Deorum.
+ Fulg. Mythologia. Albric. De Deurum Imaginitus.
flying horses, &c.] Modern disco I a language, &c.] A common lanveries have lessened this list. The black guage might possibly bee framed which swan, though rara avis, is no longer a all should understand under one characpoetical fancy. There was a time when ter, in their own tongue, as well as all the camelopard was deemed imaginary. understand in astronomy the 12 signes,
and spake unto each other by common notions in nature. Whereby they discoursed in silence, and were intuitively understood from the theory of their expresses. For they assumed the shapes of animals common unto all eyes, and by their conjunctions and compositions were able to communicate their conceptions unto any that coapprehended the syntaxes of their natures. This many conceive to have been the primitive way of writing, and of greater antiquity than letters; and this indeed might Adam well have spoken, who, understanding the nature of things, had the advantage of natural expressions. Which the Egyptians but taking upon trust, upon their own or common opinion, from conceded mistakes they authentically promoted errors; describing in their hieroglyphicks creatures of their own invention, or from known and conceded animals, erecting significations not inferible from their natures.
the 7 planets, and the several aspects; kinds ;-one representing objects properor in Geometry, a triangle, a rhombe, ly, another metaphorically, a third eniga square, a parallelogram, a helix, a de- matically. The great discovery made cussation, a cross, a circle, a sector, and by Dr. T. Young, from the Rosetta insuch like very many: or the Saracenicall cription, was that some of the hieroglyphs and algebraick characters in arithmetick, were the signs of sounds, each hieroglyph or the notes of weight among physitians signifying the first letter of the Egyptian and apothecaryes: or lastly, those marks name of the object represented. Supof punctuations and qualityes among posing all their picture-writing to be grammarians in Hebrew under, in Ara- symbolical, then it would be manifestly bick above, the words. To let pass Para- impossible to hope to read it. For excelsus his particular marks, and the com- ample, we are told that the figure of a mon practice of all trades.-Wr. bee expressed the idea of royalty; but
* by their conjunctions, fc.] More who could have guessed this ? Supposing clearly, “ by the conjunction and compo on the other hand that the hieroglyphs sition of those shapes of animals, &c." were entirely phonetic (which was not
3 which the Egyptians, &c.] How lit- the case, nor can we possibly ascertain tle, alas, do we know of the picture- in what proportion they were so,) supwriting of the Egyptians, even after all posing them also to be certain and deterthe profound researches of Young, Cham- minate signs of sounds, one and the same pollion, Klaproth, Akerblad, De Sacy, sign always employed to represent one and others : and how little (we may per. and the same sound ;-supposing in short haps add) can we hope ever to see ef- that “we could spell syllables and disfected. We are told by Clemens Alex- tinguish words with as much certainty andrinus (and subsequent researches have and precision as if they had been written done little more than enable us to com in any of the improved alphabets of the prebend his meaning,) that the Egyptians west, there would yet always remain used three modes of writing ;—the epis one difficulty over which genius itself tolographic, (called demotic by Herodo- could not triumph ; namely, to discover tus and Diodorus, and enchorial in the the signification of the words, when it is Rosetta inscription,) the hieratic, (em- not known by tradition or otherwise :" ployed by the sacred scribes,) and the —when the original language has long hieroglyphick, -consisting of the kuriolo- since utterly vanished :--and when the gic, (subsequently termed phonetic,) and only instrument left wherewith we can the symbolic, of wbich there are several labour (the Coptic) is but the mutilated