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foreign sources than originating in muse of choric dancing; to another a national inspiration. In speak- of Hermes, and the muse of the ing of inmost thought we refer azure robe ; and the invention of to the ethics of life, the faith the rhythm of verse and melody of as to God and man, and omit con- music is ascribed to him. Hercules, sideration of the phases of intellec- blind Thamyris, and Orpheus are tual scepticism, or the progress of said to have been among his physical science.
disciples. He is reputed to have But there is a reason why we written in Pelasgian characters, should do well to turn more lov- which Herodotus calls a barbarous, ingly to the Greek thinkers, from or extra-Hellenic, language. The the Ğnomic Poet to the Stoic Sage; probable date of the Pelasgian and that is, that what they do think epoch is about seventeen centuries they think clearly, so that their ex- before our era, a time when Egypt pression is like the perfect carving was in the height of her glory, and of a statue-firm, full, and artistic just changing from an Asiatic to in form.
a national dynastic line, when India In case of question as to the ne- was at its Vedic period, and Moses glect referred to, it may be sufficient was not yet born. The Pelasgian to point to the fact that there is no tribe (rovers, wandering storks,' modern text, and no recent trans- as the name probably implies) is lation whatever, published in this acknowledged to have brought into country of the literary remains rude Greece a religious system and of the school of Pythagoras; that theology, to have established the the works of a voluminous Eng- Dodona oracle, and instituted the lish Platonist of a former genera- Cabeiric mysteries, which seem to tion are scarce in the book market, have had a Phænician origin. because when they emerge from old The primitive character of the libraries they are demanded for time is shown by the remains of America. That it is only within a its massy walls, formed of polyyear or two that Epictetus has ap- gonal blocks of stone, roughly peared in the series of translations wrought rather by friction than by that includes most of the works of chisel. the dramatists, the historians, and Though Linus himself is named the orators of Greek-speaking in Homer and Herodotus, we only tribes; that of the remains of Hera- have fragments of his poems on clitus, Empedocles, Menander, the doubtful authority of collectors Epicurus, Cleanthes-to take names of fifteen to twenty-two centuries almost at random—there is no Eng- after his time; so that, although it lish version to be found; while would be pleasant to note with Anacreon and Theocritus, as repre- what optimism philosophy begins senting the gayest poetry of pagan- in the land that bore so much of ism pure and simple, have, not- beauty, we must doubt whether withstanding the anomaly in a we have any evidence of the fact, professedly anti-pagan land, en- or whether the following are veritjoyed a considerable currency. able words of Linus :
Linus is the name of the most ancient Greek poet, and is men
"In all things we must hope ; for tioned in the “Iliad." Not prose, but
nothing at all is hopeless. poetry only, was literature in Greece All things are easy unto God to in his day: and the poet was the
perfect, and nothing is vain. thinker. He is, according to one Mark how all by struggle is legend, son of Apollo and of the controlled throughout.
Never arrives an end, while always mysteries of the mother goddess of having ends.
earthly plenty, Demeter, of which What sort of source had this that he becomes hierophant.
. Of the is as it is?
family of Eumolpus, whose descenImmortal death so wraps all with dants presided over the spiritual. mortality
istic mysteries and claimed from All corruptible dies, and what sub- father to son the prophetic gift, sists doth alter its guise,
was Musæus the bard, placed at With shows in circles of change 1426 B.c. in the Arundel marbles. and fashions of form
From him, the servant of the That veiled is the sight of the muses, comes our word“ museum."
whole: it will be incorruptible. His words come down to us that And ever-during, insomuch as it for mortals of brief span of life has reached what it is.
the sweetest refuge is to sing. The seventh day is of the good,
How often from heroic times, the seventh is the birthday :
when life is heartily enjoyed, comes Of the first things is the seventh,
that undertone of lament for its the seventh the consummation."
shortness, and consciousness of
necessity of a sturdy cheerfulness. Tradition carries on his name as In periods when the flower of that of a song or lay, sung by a boy national life
overblown, to the cithara, while the vintagers the days are too full of surfeit for are at work. As the name has either young or old to cry so been found in Phoenicia, Cyprus, eagerly for more of them. and Egypt, perhaps Linus is only The following are among the a tradition of music; an embodi- fragments of Musæus : ment of a soft, simple, plaintive melody. The Greek word ailinos
“For ever Art than Strength is which represents a crooning dirge,
better far." is said to be derived from a cry In this single line, so trite in the signifying Ah for me Linos. midst of civilisation, we see the
In our word“ linen ” perhaps we progress of a young community. have the clue to the origin of at The following is more significant least the name Linus,” in the
of an ethical bent: flaxen string of the cithara. Early Greek history is a singular
“ Like as the fruitful earth procompound of the poetically mythic
duceth leaveswith probable facts. Inachus from
Some on th ash tree die while Phænicia, who builds Argos, and Cecrops from Egypt, who institutes
Leaves of the race of men, they the Areopagus, stand in the list eddy too.” of early kings with Amphictyon,
And the following shows the who is the offspring of a sort of
belief in an encompassing cloud of Greek Noah. Cadmus introduces spiritual vicegerents of God as the alphabet from Phænicia, having to do with the direction Danaus brings a
of men, or perhaps marks the Egypt, Minos brings from Crete position held by the oracle in the laws that lasted a thousand years, religious idea of the time : and side by side with them is Eumolpus, reputed the son of Gladly to hear what the immortal Poseidon, the sea god. He migrates from Thrace to Attica, and is To men assigned, from cowards initiated into the Eleusinian marks the brave."
It is significant how in times of were the production of Cecrops the simplicity of life, when men are in Pythagorean ; and the Peplus and the perfection of physical health, the Physics of Brontinus.” This and, on a materialistic hypothesis, account is very hearsay to us, since there would seem
no reason to a very large number of the books expect an under-current of mystery, which Clement cites
are lostthe problem of life with its spiritual probably having perished in the solution
present. library in which he wrote. But Musæus, though a priest, is a the confused rumours point at least believer; it is a most arrogant and to an Orphic traditional lore which absurd assumption that the pro- was familiar to Pythagoras. phetic leaders of men were always Plato refers to " what is called laughing in their sleeves, and the Orphic life" as a discipline practising deceits for a wage. A including among its tenets the servant of the oracle, he proclaims doctrine of abstinence from all that to live in blind revel of animal things that had life, which would existence is cowardly; to open the point to a brotherhood of the eyes and ears, and face what gleams Indian order, where bodily purifiand whispers of destiny may be cation is an essential. The story caught from the undying world in of Triptolemus, the minister of the its relation with men, is the clearest goddess Demeter, to whom Plato sign that marks a noble and brave refers also as representing that man.
period, is a legend showing a The name of Orpheus has so familiarity with speculation upon much allied with it, that we may the relation of body and soul. fairly imagine it to have been Triptolemus is so favoured by the borne by a line of hierophants, earth-mother, on a special ground and to have been made to of gratitude, that she feeds him stand for the mystical legends of with her own milk and places him a cycle. Clement of Alexandria on burning coals during the night records the opinions of his time to destroy the particles of mortality about the legend : “ Onomacritus he had received from his parents. the Athenian, who is said to have The natural mother, giver of that been the author of the poems body which is being transformed, inscribed to Orpheus, is ascertained so marvels at the unearthly growth to have lived in the reign of the of her son, that she spies on Pisistratidæ, about the fiftieth Demeter and the process is disOlympiad [the early part of the turbed. 6th century B.C.]; and Orpheus, Of Orpheus the best known who sailed with Hercules, was the story is that of his descent into pupil of Musæus. Amphion pre- Hades. Having lost his wife, he cedes the Trojan war by two gene
gains, through the music of a lyre rations.
Crateres of received from Apollo, an admission Orpheus are said to be the pro
to the under-world, soothing even duction of Zopyrus of Heraclea, Cerberus, the dog-guardian of and The Descent to Hades that of Hades, with his strain. The deities Prodicus of Samos. Ion of Chios of that region consent to restore relates
that Pythagoras his lost bride, provided that on ascribed certain works of his own departing he forbears looking beto Orpheus. Epigenes, in his book hind him until he exchanges their respecting The Poetry ascribed to borders for those of earth. He Orpheus, says that The Descent to promises, but either curiosity as to Hades and the Sacred Discourse the process of the re-incarnation, or
his pent-up love for his wife yet the Pythagorean or Egyptian unseen, or a doubt whether she is school fairly represented the origiactually following him, presumably nals in what is given as Orphic it gets the better of him.
would be difficult to judge. The her, but it is only for a moment; following are specimens : she vanishes in a dissolving vision, “I will utter to such as have the and can be found no more.
right, the doors Such stories as these it has been Close ye forthwith on the profane!" the fashion of late years to take as mythological representations of Close
ye upon your ears, profane!” natural facts; and some of the
“ But thou, simply poetic impersonations of Hearken, Musæus, son of lightGreek fable no doubt are to bearing moon, be so accounted for. But the For truth I will declare, and let not theory has been run to death, and things has been too much of a mere That formerly your bosom cogitated theory. When we find in Egypt, Amerce you of dear life. But long before the rudest beginnings looking toward of Greece, the religious doctrine of The word divine, hang closely over an under-world with its Typhonic it, beast, to which Cerberus corre- Keeping aright the heart's percepsponds, and find also in Aryan tive frame. books accounts of a similar entry Yea enter well the path without a into Hades, we are bound to take turn, such a Greek tradition as the above And gaze upon the universal King. to be derived from these foreign He is one, self-proceeding; from sources, and to have been in its essence passed on from one priest Are all things born evolved; circling to another as occult religious lore, he acts rather than originating as the Himself in them ; himself no morspontaneous outgrowth of a natural. istic poet.
But he sees all. To mortals are What Orpheus is said to have
his gifts, known must constitute the body of Evil come after good, and bloody learning of a whole period at least.
war, He is supposed to have left behind And tearful woes. Beside the metric writings on theology and mighty king cosmogony, hymns, epigrams, trea- There is none else, and him I may tises on agriculture, physics, astrology precious stones, botany, For round about him is established chorography, medicine, laws, and cloud. matters relating to Argos. What Yea
eyes a veil con. we have now under his name is but
tainlittle, and probably most, if not all A mortal pupil, powerless to perof it, of later date than that of the ceive Orphic tradition. In fact, to such Zeus who hath guard o'er all. critical minds as Aristotle, Cicero, Within the sky and Suidas, it appeared probable That is as brass, upon a golden that no single versicle certainly throne attributable to Orpheus was then Is he set firm, and lights upon the in existence. That there once were earth, in existence true Orphic verses And stretches a right hand beyond there seems little doubt; whether
Past ocean's every side ; the moun- The force of tireless fire, the wide tains high
sea's root, Are of a tremble round, the rivers Sun and moon both, of all archtoo,
fount and king, And depth of hoary and coerulean One force, one spirit, source im.
mense of all.” Again :
These probably are much more “Ruler of Ether, Hades, Sea, and
modern than the date ascribed to Land,
Orpheus. Plato quotes a fragment Who with thy bolts Olympus'
or two, showing that there were strong-built home
Orphic collections existing in his Dost shake ; whom demons dread, day. The following shows the and whom the throng
warm poetic mould into which the Of gods do fear; whom, too, the
Greek mind was wont to pour its fates obey,
consciousness of the beautiful and Relentless though they be. 0
mysterious processes of nature : deathless One, Our mother's sire! whose wrath Fair-flowing Ocean it was did makes all things reel;
first begin Who mov'st the winds and shroud'st Marriage, and wedded Tethys, in clouds the world,
sister-kin.” Broad Ether cleaving with thy The first lines quoted under the lightning gleams,
name of Orpheus are perhaps more Thine is the order ’mongst the likely to be authentic than the rest, stars, which run
as belonging to the period when As thine unchangeable behests di- religious rites
guarded from any but the initiated. Before thy burning throne the The great ones were few-princes angels wait,
who were the centre of the com. Much-working, charged to do all munity's wealth, and had ornathings for men.
ments and drinking vessels of gold, Thy young spring shines, all while the bulk of the people were
pranked with purple flowers ; in a state of almost savage simThy winter with its chilling clouds plicity, touched by bravery, poetry, assails;
and superstition. As the palace Thine autumn noisy Bacchus dis- was inaccessible to the community, tributes.
in whom the rich valuables might Decayless, deathless, by undying but awaken a passion of rapine, so
was the shrine of religious studies And none else utterable! Greatest also secluded, that no interloper god
should disturb the repose necessary Over all gods by mighty fate, O for the commune of the priestesses come,
with the invisible world, and that Dread, invincible, vast, decayless no one receiving truths within an one,
unprepared mind should alarm the Whom the blue ether as a chaplet vulgar and destroy by force the crowns."
only centres of profound wisdom. “ From Zeus all things proceed, Thomas Taylor, the Platonist, in Zeus is both male
his study of Orpheus, very fairly And maid immortal, head and midst shows that the hymns bearing the is he,
name were at least destined for use Earth’s base and starry heaven's, by a line of ministering, priests. breath of all,
They are, in fact, sacrificial invoca