Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

first proceedeth from it. And thus may it also be in the generation and sperm of Negroes; that being first and in its naturals white, but upon separation of parts, accidents before invisible become apparent; there arising a shadow or dark efflorescence in the outside, whereby not only their legitimate and timely births, but their abortions are also dusky, before they have felt the scorch and fervor of

the sun.

CHAPTER XI.

Of the same. A SECOND opinion4 there is, that this complexion was first a curse of God derived unto them from Cham, upon whom it was inflicted for discovering the nakedness of Noah. Which notwithstanding is sooner affirmed than proved, and carried with it sundry improbabilities. For first, if we derive the curse on Cham, or in general upon his posterity, we shall denigrate a greater part of the earth than was ever so conceived, and not only paint the Ethiopians and reputed sons of Cush, but the people also of Egypt, Arabia, Assyria, and Chaldea, for by this race were these countries also peopled. And if concordantly unto Berosus, the fragment of Cato de originibus, some things of Halicarnasseus, Macrobius, and out of them Leandro and Annius, we shall conceive of the travels of Camese or Cham, we may introduce a generation of Negroes as high as Italy, which part was never

a second opinion.] Possevine, in his 2 tom, and 252 page, does much applaud himself as the first inventor of this conceite. But Scaliger, in his 244 exercitation, sifting that quere of Cardan, why those that inhabite the hither side of the river Senega, in Affrick, are dwarfish and ash colour ; those on the other side are tall and Negroes ; rejects all arguments drawn from naturall reasons of the soile, &c. and concludes that the Asanegi on this side the river formerly inhabited on both sides of it, but were

driven out of their countrye into this side of the river by the black Moores, drawne thither by the richnes of the soile on the further side. And doubtles considering that the maritime Moors of Barbarye, who lye 900 miles on this side the tropicke, are blacker then those of the posteritye of Chus, in Arabia, which lyes under the tropick; wee must needs conclude that this is but a poore conceyte, not unlike many other roving phancyes wherein the Jesuit is wont to vaunt himselfe.- Wr.

4

culpable of deformity, but hath produced the magnified examples of beauty.

Secondly, the curse mentioned in Scripture was not denounced upon Cham, but Canaan, his youngest son; and the reasons thereof are divers. The first from the Jewish tradition, whereby it is conceived that Canaan made the discovery of the nakedness of Noah, and notified it unto Cham. Secondly, to have cursed Cham, had been to curse all his posterity, whereof but one was guilty of the fact. And lastly, he spared Cham because he had blessed him before. Now if we confine this curse unto Canaan, and think the same fulfilled in his posterity, then do we induce this complexion on the Sidonians, then was the promised land a tract of Negroes, for from Canaan were descended the Canaanites, Jebusites, Amorites, Girgashites, and Hivites, which were possessed of that land.

Thirdly, although we should place the original of this curse upon one of the sons of Cham, yet were it not known from which of them to derive it. For the particularity of their descents is imperfectly set down by accountants, nor is it distinctly determinable from whom thereof the Ethiopians are proceeded. For whereas these of Africa are generally esteemed to be the issue of Chus, the elder son of Cham, it is not so easily made out. For the land of Chus, which the Septuagint translates Ethiopia, makes no part of Africa, nor is it the habitation of blackamoors, but the country of Arabia, especially the Happy and Stony possessions and colonies of all the sons of Chus, excepting Nimrod and Havilah, possessed and planted wholly by the children of Chus, that is, by Sabtah and Ramah, Sabtacha, and the sons of Raamah, Dedan, and Sheba ; according unto whose names the nations

of those parts have received their denominations, as may be collected from Pliny and Ptolemy, and as we are informed by credible authors, they hold a fair analogy in their names even unto our days. So the wife of Moses translated in Scripture an Ethiopian, and so confirmed by the fabulous relation of Josephus, was none of the daughters of Africa, nor any Negro of Ethiopia, but the daughter of Jethro, prince and priest of Midian, which was a part of Arabia the Stony, bordering upon the Red Sea. So the

queen of Sheba came not unto Solomon out of Ethiopia,

[merged small][ocr errors]

but from Arabia, and that part thereof which bore the name of the first planter, the son of Chus. So whether the eunuch, which Philip the deacon baptized, were servant unto Candace, queen of the African Ethiopia (although Damianus à Goes, Codignus, and the Ethiopic relations aver it), is yet by many, and with strong suspicions, doubted. So that the army of a million, which Zerah, king of Ethiopia, is said to bring against Asa, was drawn out of Arabia, and the plantations of Chus; not out of Ethiopia, and the remote habitations of the Moors. For it is said that Asa pursuing his victory took from him the city Gerar; now Gerar was no city in or near Ethiopia, but a place between Cadesh and Zur, where Abraham formerly sojourned. Since therefore these African Ethiopians are not convinced by the common acception to be the sons of Chus, whether they be not the posterity of Phut or Mizraim, or both, it is not assuredly determined. For Mizraim, he possessed Egypt, and the east parts of Africa. From Lubym, his son, came the Libyans, and perhaps from them the Ethiopians. Phut possessed Mauritania, and the western parts of Africa, and from these perhaps descended the Moors of the west, of Mandinga, Meleguette, and Guinea. But from Canaan, upon whom the curse

was pronounced, none of these had their original ; for he was restrained unto Canaan and Syria, although in after ages many colonies dispersed, and some thereof upon

the coasts of Africa, and prepossessions of his elder brothers.

Fourthly, to take away all doubt or any probable divarication, the curse is plainly specified in the text, nor need we dispute it, like the mark of Cain; Servus servorum erit fratribus suis,"Cursed be Canaan, a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren;" which was after fulfilled in the conquest of Canaan, subdued by the Israelites, the posterity of Sem. Which prophecy Abraham well understanding, took an oath of his servant not to take a wife for his son Isaac out of the daughters of the Canaanites, and the like was performed by Isaac in the behalf of his son Jacob. As for Cham and his other sons, this curse attained them not; for Nimrod, the son of Chus, set up his kingdom in Babylon, and erected the first great empire ; Mizraim and his posterity grew mighty monarchs in Egypt; and the empire of the Ethiopians hath been as large as either. Nor did the curse descend in general upon the posterity of Canaan, for the Sidonians, Arkites, Hamathites, Sinites, Arvadites, and Zemerites seem exempted. But why there being eleven sons, five only were condemned, and six escaped the malediction, is a secret beyond discovery.5

Lastly, whereas men affirm this colour was a curse, I cannot make out the propriety of that name, it neither seeming so to them, nor reasonably unto us, for they take so much content therein, that they esteem deformity by other colours, describing the devil and terrible objects white ; and if we seriously consult the definitions of beauty, and exactly perpend what wise men determine thereof, we shall not apprehend a curse, or any deformity therein. For first, some place the essence thereof in the proportion of parts, conceiving it to consist in a comely commensurability of the whole unto the parts, and the parts between themselves, which is the determination of the best and learned writers. Now hereby the Moors are not excluded from beauty, there being in this description no consideration of colours, but an apt connection and frame of parts and the whole. Others there be, and those most in number, which place it not only in proportion of parts, but also in grace of colour. But to make colour essential unto beauty, there will arise no slender difficulty. For Aristotle, in two definitions of pulchritude, and Galen in one, have made no mention of colour. Neither will it agree unto the beauty of animals, wherein notwithstanding here is an approved pulchritude. Thus horses are handsome under any colour, and the symmetry of parts obscures the consideration of complexions. Thus in concolour animals and such as are confined unto one colour, we measure not their beauty thereby; for if a crow or blackbird grow white, we generally account it more pretty; and in almost a monstrosity descend not to opinion of deformity.

way
likewise the Moors

escape

the curse of deformity, there concurring no stationary colour, and sometimes not any unto beauty.

The Platonick contemplators reject both these descriptions founded upon parts and colours, or either, as M. Leo, the Jew, hath excellently discoursed in his Genealogy of Love, defining beauty a formal grace, which delights and moves

Nor did the curse, &c.] First added in 2nd edition.

By this

them to love which comprehend it. This grace, say they, discoverable outwardly, is the resplendour and ray of some interior and invisible beauty, and proceedeth from the forms of compositions amiable. Whose faculties if they can aptly contrive their matter, they beget in the subject an agreeable and pleasing beauty; if overruled thereby, they evidence not their perfections, but run into deformity: For seeing that out of the same materials, Thersites and Paris, monstrosity and beauty may be contrived, the forms and operative faculties introduce and determine their perfections. Which in natural bodies receive exactness in every kind, according to the first idea of the Creator, and in contrived bodies the fancy of the artificer, and by this consideration of beauty, the Moors also are not excluded, but hold a common share therein with all mankind.

Lastly, in whatsoever its theory consisteth, or if in the general we allow the common conceit of symmetry and of colour, yet to descend unto singularities, or determine in what symmetry or colour it consisted, were a slippery designation. For beauty is determined by opinion, and seems to have no essence that holds one notion with all; that seeming beauteous unto one, which hath no favour with another; and that unto every one, according as custom hath made it natural, or sympathy and conformity of minds shall make it seem agreeable. Thus flat noses seem comely unto the Moor, an aqueline or hawked one unto the Persian, a large and prominent nose unto the Roman ; but none of all these are acceptable in our opinion. Thus some think it most ornamental to wear their bracelets on their wrists, others say it is better to have them about their ankles ; some think it most comely to wear their rings and jewels in the ear, others will have them about their privities; a third will not think they are complete except they hang them in their lips, cheeks, or noses. Thus Homer to set off Minerva, calleth her yavrūtis, that is, gray, or light-blue eyed; now this unto us seems far less amiable than the black. Thus we that are of contrary complexions accuse the blackness of the Moors as ugly; but the spouse in the Canticles excuseth this conceit, in that description of hers, I am black but comely. And howsoever Cerberus, and the furies of hell be described by the poets under this complexion, yet in the

« PredošláPokračovať »