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regards physical outline, structure, symmetry, mien, and movements. But there is the like moral attached in holy writ to these twain. The nature of either is a fixed type, unchangeable. You may paint out the spots of the leopard, but it is only whitening the sepulchre. The spots are still there, irremovable, ineradicable, a constant quantity; no brush of yours will efface those ingrained, inborn, and inbred signs of that wild, cruel, stealthy, treacherous, feline nature. “Out, damned spot !” wailed the sleep-walking murderess; but the wail was in vain, all Arabia's perfumes could not cleanse that little hand. Not less vain any endeavour to extirpate the branded spots on that sleek satiny hide. “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots,” so as to become, as well as seem, in the laureate's phrase, “most loving"?i That is a millennial day the prophet speaks of when the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid. No changing of the spots until then. A surface cleansing may hide them, but the nature of the beast will anon vindicate their meaning. So with the sow that is washed : there is no regeneration for the sow in any amount of washing by water; the ablution over, away she wends again to her wallowing in the mire. It is the nature of the beast, and nature will have
i Enone bethinks her she must be fair, for yesterday,
“When I passed by, a wild and wanton pard,
Eyed like the evening star, with playful tail,
Crouched fawning in the weed. Most loving is she." Archbishop Chichely's query, as versified by Wordsworth in an ecclesiastical sonnet, is
" What beast in wilderness or cultured field
The lively beauty of the leopard shows ? Thomson again pictures
“ The lively shining leopard, speckled o'er
With many a spot, the beauty of the waste.” Southey is trenching on supernatural ground when, in the Curse of Kehama, he subdues the leopard nature to Kailyal's hallowed influence :
“ A charm was on the leopard when he came
Within the circle of that mystic glade;
1 Like the canine race (dishonourably characterised in the same
true proverb”), the porcine is of ill account in holy writ. As the flesh of the swine is formally prohibited as unclean," in Leviticus, so in Isaiah the offering of swine's blood is, by implication, denounced as almost inconceivably abominable; and the “ eating swine's flesh, and the abomination, and the mouse,” are with execration connected together (Isa. lxvi. 3, 17). Cowper has some familiar rhymes on Mahomet's formally partial, but practically complete, prohibition of swine's flesh :
“ Thus says the prophet of the Turk,
Good Mussulman, abstain from pork ;
And thus he left the point at large.' The result being, as Cowper rhymes and reasons it out, that much controversy arose as to which joint the prophet had it in his mind to forbid; some chose the back, others the head and tail : sequitur,
"thus conscience freed from every clog, Mahometans eat up the hog.” More staunch to their principles are the Jews, as Shakspeare forgets not to exemplify in Shylock, who, invited by Venetian gentlemen and Christians to dinner, disdainfully replies : “Yes, to smell pork ; to eat of the habitation which your Prophet, the Nazarite, conjured the devil into.” Yet of the Mahometans too we are assured that nothing in the creed or practice of Christians does so much to envenom the hatred of Mahometans against them, as the fact of their eating pork. There are few acts which Christians and Europeans regard with more unaffected disgust, Mr. Stuart Mill asserts, than Mussulmans regard this particular mode of satisfying hunger. Besides its being an offence to their religion, their aversion to the flesh of the “unclean beast” resembles an instinctive antipathy, such as the idea of uncleanness, when once it thoroughly sinks into the feelings, seems always to excite in those whose personal habits are anything but scrupulously cleanly.” Mr. Walter Savage Landor, by the way, ironically or otherwise, accounts it one among the prejudices of former times, that pigs are uncleanly animals, and fond of wallowing in the mire for mire's sake. “Philosophy has now discovered,” he makes Lucian say, in one of the Imaginary Conversations, “that when they roll in mud and ordure, it is only
from an excessive love of cleanliness, and a vehement desire to rid themselves of scabs and vermin.” Christians, generally speaking, recognise no application to them of the Mosaic prohibition. Not but that a Christian now and then urges, on physical and sanitary ground, if not on moral and ceremonial, the application, as worthy of all men to be received and enforced. The author, for instance, of that eccentric little book with an eccentric title, the Blood of the Aristocracy, who insists that the pig is an
Naturam expellas furcâ, tamen usque recurret. So again the proverb that says the wolf may change his hair, but
uncleanly feeding creature, eating garbage and carrion wherever it can, and that all who eat its flesh defile themselves and destroy their health, at once physical, intellectual, and moral. One of this author's critics submits that, in that case, the Jews, it would seem, are the only possible saviours of society; and that “Mr. Disraeli might perhaps lead the Tory party to some good purpose if he held the pure tradition of his fathers." It is also suggested, in reference to the author's own reference to America, that on his showing the health of a people who invented the expression “pork is lively” must certainly be undergoing a rapid, though unseen, decline. Johnson would tell with zest what Dr. Barrowby, the physician, who was
very fond of swine's flesh,” said one day while eating it, namely, “I wish I was a Jew.”. “Why so ?”, said somebody; "the Jews are not allowed to eat your favourite meat.” “Because,” replied the doctor, “I should then have the gust of eating it, with the pleasure of sinning.” Gens humana ruit per vetitum et nefas.
Our best Christian historian of the Jews takes note of the tendency of the flesh of swine in southern countries to produce cutaneous maladies, the disease to which the Jews were peculiarly liable ; besides that the animal, being usually left in the east to its own filthy habits, is not merely unwholesome, but disgusting, it being the scavenger of the towns. Sir Thomas Browne says the Jews abstained from swine's flesh at first symbolically, as an emblem of impurity, and not fear from of the leprosy, Tacitus would put upon them”; and the old physician declares the similar abstinence of the Cretans to have been superstitious, upon tradition that Jupiter was suckled in that country by a sow; that of some Egyptians political, because swine “supplied the labour of ploughing, by rooting up the ground”; while that of the Phoenicians and Syrians, Arabians and Indians, is assignable to “like considerations”: a great part of mankind “refraining one of the best foods, and such as Pythagoras himself would eat; who, as Aristoxenus records, refused not to feed on pigs.” When Macilente, in one of Jonson's comedies, scouts pork as a hatefully “greasy dish,” Carlo is unctuously fervid in its defence : 6. Thou knowest not a good dish, thou. Oh, it's the only nourishing meat in the world. No marvel though, that saucy, stubborn generation, the Jews, were forbidden it; for what would they have done, well pampered with fat pork, that durst murmur at their Maker out of garlick and onions ? axiom in natural philosophy, what comes nearest the nature of that it feeds converts quicker to nourishment, and doth sooner assimilate. Now nothing in flesh and entrails assimilates or resembles man more than a hog or swine.
“ Macil. True ; and he, to requite their courtesy, oftentimes doffeth his own nature, and puts on theirs; as when he becomes as churlish as a hog, or as drunk as a sow; but to your conclusion.
“ Car. Marry, I say, nothing resembling man more than a swine, it 1ollows nothing can be more nourishing,
Pork, pork, is your only feed.”—Every Man out of his Humour, Act v., sc. 4.
Reciting the attractions of Cologne, Gerard, in Mr. Charles Reade's masterly matter of fact romance of the fifteenth century, makes mention of
not his nature : Lupus pilum mutat, non mentem. The fox, as Shakspeare's Worcester has it, though ne'er so tame, so cherished, and locked up, will have a wild trick of his ancestors. The narrative as well as the moral of La Fontaine's La Chatte Métamorphosée en Femme, is at least as old as Æsop.
“ Tant le naturel a de force !
Il reviendra par les fenêtres.” Bacon adverts to the same fable, by an older hand, in his essay
“ Of Nature in Men," where he warns a man against trusting his victory over his nature too far, “ for nature will lie buried for a great time, and yet revive upon the occasion or temptation ; like as it was with Æsop's damsel, turned from a cat to a woman, who sat very demurely at the board's end till a mouse ran before her.” There is no one circumstance, says Fielding, in which the distempers of the mind bear a more exact analogy to those which are called bodily, than that aptness which both have to a relapse. Scott's Harry the
" What scurvy
the church of the Maccabees, and the caldron in which they and their mother Solomona were boiled by a wicked king for refusing to eat swine's flesh. “O peremptory king, and pig-headed Maccabees !” exclaims that roystering Burgundian man at arms, Denys. “I had eaten bacon with my pork, liever than change places at the fire with words are these ? It was their faith,” Gerard rebukingly replies.— The Cloister and the Hearth, chap. xxvii.
The sheikh who entertained Mr. Drummond Hay in the Camel's Neck pass, in Western Barbary, professed to suppose his guests had made but a poor feast, for lack of pig, your proper food, without which you do not thrive." Invited to talk “about this meat of pig,” the sheikh said, “God forbid ! it is a sin even to think of it.” Dean Ramsay records a similar “superstition” as lately existing among the lower orders of the coast of Fife, once prevalent in Scotland generally.
1 This is plain, he adds, in the violent diseases of ambition and avarice. He professes to have known ambition, when cured at court hy frequent disappointments (which are the only physic for it), to break out again in a contest for foreman of the grand jury at an assizes ; and he tells by hear
Smith is reasonably incredulous of Catherine Glover's success in civilising and taming the rude Highland lad, Connachar: “He will be just like the wolf cub that I was fool enough to train to the office of a dog, and every one thought him reclaimed till, in an ill hour, I went to walk on the hill of Moncrieff, when he broke loose on the laird's flock, and made a havoc" after his kind—an unkindly kind. Manly reasons rationally of such a one, in Ben Jonson:
“ But he therein did use but his old manner,
And savour strongly what he was before.
say of a man who had seemingly got the better of avarice, comforting himself at last, on his death bed, by making a crafty and advantageous bargain concerning his ensuing funeral, with an undertaker who had married his only child.
The thread that nature spins, to use South's figure of speech, is seldom broken off by anything but death. Not that by this he would limit the grace of God, “for that may do wonders ” ; but humanly speaking, and according to the method of the world and the little correctives supplied by art and discipline, it seldom fails but an ill principle, he contends, has its course, and nature makes good its blow. As Boileau puts it, in his eleventh satire :
“Le naturel toujours sort, et sait se montrer :
Vainement on l'arrête, on le force à rentrer;
Il rompt tout, perce tout, et trouve enfin passage.” 1 Tytler in his History of Scotland presents Macsorlie (Sir James Macdonald, of Dunluce) as a perfect specimen of those “Scoto-Hebridean” barons who so often concealed the ferocity of the Highland freebooter under a polished exterior learnt superficially at court. He would sometimes outshine the gayest at Falkland or Holyrood, and fascinate all observers by the splendour of his tastes and the elegance of his manners; but suddenly would come a message from some Highland ally, and “ Macsorlie flew back to his native islands, where, the moment his foot touched the heather, the gay courtier became a rampant and blood-bolstered savage.” Tytler, History of Scotland, vol. iv., chap. x., sub anno 1598.
Addison and others moralise on the inhabitant of Nova Zembla who, after living in civilised Denmark with every indulgence, took the first opportunity of making his escape back to his native regions of cold, poverty, and nakedness; and again, on the Hottentot who was brought to England, taught English, and in a great measure polished out of his natural barbarity, but who, at the first chance that offered, “mixed in a kind of transport with his countrymen,” and “brutalised” with them in their habit and manners, as of yore.