Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

Thus they never pronounce the name of 7717Jehovah but upon occasions of extraordinary solemnity; and when at the commencement of the festival of Cheipur, the priest prays aloud from the hechal, the people repeat after him in a low voice that is scarcely audible.

The real meaning of the word recutita has been rightly guessed at by Stelluti and Holyday. A more modern translator has strangely rendered it curtailed.

« Strictly observant of the curtail'd race, “ Poor thou, with anguish brooding on thy face.”

But by what miracle did this translator account for the continuation of the curtailed race? I believe this question would have puzzled the whole Sanhedrim, if God, instead of ordering the males of his chosen people to be circumcised, had ordered them to be curtailed.

The severity which Persius displays in this fassage, arose from a prejudice (if it was one) general among the Romans. The obstinacy, the treachery, and the intolerance of the Jews disgusted their conquerors. The usual lenity of the Caesars towards the inhabitants of the provinces annexed to their empire, was necessarily violated towards the children of Israel; and in endeavouring to subdue their untractable spirit, Rome was provoked to acts of cruelty and oppression unexampled in her annals.

The rigid observance of their laws, as well as of the most minute ceremonies, rendered the Jews objects of derision to other nations, who considered them as the most ignorant and superstitious of mankind. But as the Roman arms gradually broke down the fence

Cursed be the man–ארור אדם שלמד בגו תכמה יוונית

which separated them from the rest of the world, their ancient institutions could not prevent the inundation of new opinions. Various sects suddenly sprang up, who disputed with all the subtlety of dialecticians. Philosophical questions, never before heard of within the walls of the synagogue, startled Superstition in her dotage. The children of the house of Aaron beheld with indignation the progress of Gentile doctrines, and denounced angry curses against those who neglected the laws of Israel, to teach the philosophy of Greece,

-man instructing his son in the wisdom of the Greeks.

In the age of Persius, the Jews were become better known to the Romans; but their new masters-treated them only with contempt. The satirist, without doubt, thought the worst opprobrium he could throw upon the votary of superstition, was to represent him observ. ing the rites and ceremonies of the Jews and Syr:ans. Little did he know, that in that same country of Judea, where he believed misanthropy reigned with er. ror, bigotry, and ignorance, a system was already taught, whose morality was simpler and sublimer than his own; and whose pure, benevolent, and exalted principles, far eclipsed all the splendid precepts admired in the school of Zeno.

Ver. 185. Tunc nigri lemures, ovoque pericula rupto;

Hinc grandes Galli, et cum sistro lusca sacerdos,
Incussere Deos inflantes corpora, si non
Prædictum ter mane caput gustaveris alli.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

The reader will probably smile at the translation
Dryden has given of this passage.

" Then a crack'd eggshell thy sick fancy frights,
“ Besides the childish fear of walking sprites,
“ Of o’ergrown gelding priests thou art afraid ;
“ The timbrel, and the squintifego maid
« Of Isis awe thee:" &c.

These priests were indeed what Dryden calls them.
Herodian informs us how they received the appella-
tion of Galli,-παλαι μην Φρυγες οργίαζαν επι ώ πολαμώ
raraw Trápageovlo, from which, continues he, the topics
jegouevos received their surname: they were generally
called at Rome by names more descriptive of their si-
tuation than Galli, such as, evirati, abscissi, semi-viri,
&c. Lucian thus describes the ceremony of their in-
auguration. Adolescens quicunque ad hoc paratus venit,
abjectis vestibus, magna voce in medium progreditur, atque
ensem distringit: accepto autem eo, continuo se ipsum secat,
curritque per urbem, et ea quæ resecuit in manibus portat.
In
quamcunque

autem domum hæc abjicit, ex ea, et vestem fæmineam, et ornamentum muliebrem accipit.

These eunuchs were the priests not of Isis, but of Cybele or Cybebe, the goddess of the Phrygians. I have preferred giving her the latter name, as being more expressive. Κυβήσειν κυρίως το επι την κεφαλήν ρίπlειν' όθεν και την μητέρα των Θεών από 18 ένθεσιασμου Κυβηβην λεγεσιν. αλία γαρ ενθεσιασμδυ τοις μύσαις γίνεται. .

The sistrum belonged equally to the Phrygian and Egyptian goddesses. Apuleius describes it as a brazen

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

timbrel-cujus per angustam laminam in modum balthei recurvatam, trajectæ mediæ, parvæ virgulæ, crispante bra. chio, tergeminos ictus reddebant argutum sonum.

Plutarch pretends, that the rods were expressive of the four elements,—why not the four cardinal points, or the four seasons ? This is an ill-founded conjecture, Besides the sistrum had sometimes only three rods.

Ver. 32.

SATIRE VI.

ne pictus oberret Cærulea in tabula.Sailors escaped from shipwreck, were wont to carry about with them a picture descriptive of their misfortune. This was painted of a blue colour. See Casaubon.

Ver. 79.

Depinge ubi sistam Inventus, Chrysippe, tui finitor acervi. In the preceding satire, it may have been observed, that I have rendered fruge Cleanthea literally Cleanthean corn. This may appear obscure, and it may be thought, that I might have said better with Dryden, Stoic institutes, or even with Brewster, Stoic seed. But it ap. peared to me, that Persius probably had some reason for expressing himself as he did, and I am confirmed in this opinion by the words above quoted.

After Zeno, Cleanthes and Chrysippus were the most distinguished teachers among the Stoics. Cleanthes appears to have followed pretty closely the steps of his master Zeno; but Chrysippus has in many things differed from both. Hence the Stoics were not thoroughly agreed amongst themselves; some following Cleanthes, and others-Chrysippus. Persius, both by his using the expression fruge Cleanthea in the fifth satire, and by this sarcasm against Chrysippus in the sixth, seems desirous to mark whom of the two philosophers he preferred.

1. The first point concerning which Cleanthes and Chrysippus differed, was with respect to perception. The former thought, that sensible impressions were made

upon the brain, and that the objects of its contemplation were actually imprinted upon it. This opinion is not very dissimilar to those of Democritus, Leucippus, and Aristotle. It was, however, justly controverted by Chrysippus. The doctrine of material images floating betwixt mind and matter, and of the sensible species of things leaving impressions upon the brain, is one of the most vulnerable parts, either of the Epicurean, or of the Aristotelian philosophy.

2. The next question, upon which these two philo. sophers disagreed, was, whether or not virtue could be lost, after having been once acquired. Cleanthes maintained that it could not, Chrysippus that it could. If human virtue were perfect virtue, I should think with Cleanthes.

3. The tendency of the Stoics to materialism, did not prevent them from asserting, that the world had a mind which guided, and a providence which protected it. Chrysippus maintained that providence

« PredošláPokračovať »