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silent discourses, to express complexed significations, they took a liberty to compound and piece together creatures of allowable forms into mixtures inexistent. Thus began the descriptions of griffins, basilisks, phoenix, and many more; which emblematists and heralds have entertained with significations answering their institutions; hieroglyphically adding martegres, wivernes, lion-fishes, with divers others. Pieces of good and allowable invention unto the prudent spectator, but are looked on by vulgar eyes as literal truths or absurd impossibilities; whereas indeed they are commendable inventions, and of laudable significations.
Again, beside these pieces fictitiously set down, and having no copy in nature, they had many unquestionably drawn, of inconsequent signification, nor naturally verifying their intention. We shall instance but in few, as they stand recorded by Orus. The male sex they expressed by a vulture,1 because of vultures all are females, and impregnated by the wind; which authentically transmitted hath passed many pens, and became the assertion of Elian, Ambrose, Basil, Isidore, Tzetzus, Philes, and others. Wherein notwithstanding what injury is offered unto the creation in this confinement of sex, and what disturbance unto philosophy in the concession of windy conceptions, we shall not here declare. By two drachms they thought it sufficient to signify an heart;2 because the heart at one year weigheth two drachms, that is, a quarter of an ounce, and unto fifty years annually increaseth the weight of one drachm, after which in the same proportion it yearly decreaseth; so that the life of a man doth not naturally extend above an hundred. And this
The authors on whom Browne relies, especially Pierius, are by no means to be received without the caution expressed in the foregoing quotation.
The male sex, &c.] See Pierius Hieroglyphica, fol. 1626, lxxiii. c. 1, 4. Horapollo (4to. curâ Pauw), No. 12.
2 By two drachms, &c.] Pierius says that the Egyptians used the vulture to symbolize two drachms, or a heart; and he gives other reasons for the adoption of the symbol, though he deems that mentioned by Browne the most probable (Ibid. 1. xviii. c. 20). Horapollo says, they used the vulture to represent two drachms, because unity was expressed by two lines; and, unity being the beginning of numbers, most fitly doth its sign express a vulture, because, like unity, it is singly the author of its own increase (Ibid. No. 12).
was not only a popular conceit, but consentaneous unto the physical principles, as Hernius hath accounted it.*
A woman that hath but one child, they express by a lioness; for that conceiveth but once.3 Fecundity they set forth by a goat, because but seven days old it beginneth to use coition. The abortion of a woman they describe by an horse kicking a wolf; because a mare will cast her foal if she tread in the track of that animal.5 Deformity they signify by a bear; and an unstable man by a hyæna, because that animal yearly exchangeth its sex. A woman delivered of a female child they imply by a bull looking over his left shoulder; because if in coition a bull part from a cow on that side, the calf will prove a female.9
All which, with many more, how far they consent with truth we shall not disparage our reader to dispute; and though some way allowable unto wiser conceits who could distinctly receive their significations, yet carrying the majesty of hieroglyphicks, and so transmitted by authors, they crep *In his Philosophia Barbarica.
3 A woman, &c.] Pierius, lib. i. c. 14, Horapollo, No. 82. Fecundity, &c.] Pierius, lib. x. c. 10, Horapollo, No. 48. 5 The abortion, &c.] Pierius, lib. xi. c. 9, Horapollo, No. 45. Whether the tracke of the wolfe will cause abortion in a mare is hard to bee knowne: but the mare does soe little feare the wolfe, that (as I have heard itt from the mouth of a gentleman, an eye-witness of what he related) as soone as shee perceaves the wolfe to lye in watch for her young foale, she will never cease hunting with open mouth till shee drive him quite away: the wolfe avoyding the gripe of her teeth, as much as the stroke of her heeles: and to make up the probability hereof, itt is certaine that a generous horse will fasten on a dog with his teeth, as fell out anno 1653, in October, at Bletchinden (Oxon), a colt being bated by a mastive (that was set on by his master to drive him out of a pasture) tooke up the dog in his teeth by the back, and rann away with him, and at last flinging him over his head lefte the dog soe bruised with the gripe and the fall, that hee lay half dead; but the generous colte leapt over the next hedge, and ran home to his own pasture unhurt.-Wr.
6 Deformity, &c.] Pierius, 1. xi. c. 42. Horapollo, No. 83, says, "Hominem, qui initio quidem informis natus sit, sed postea formam acceperit, innuunt depicta ursa prægnante."
7 an unstable, &c.] Pierius, 1. xi. c. 24, Horapollo, No. 69.
8 A woman, &c.] Pierius, 1. iii. c. 6. Horapollo, who adds also the converse of the proposition, No. 43.
female.] I have heard this avowed by auncient grave farmers.-Wr.
into a belief with many, and favourable doubt with most. And thus, I fear, it hath fared with the hieroglyphical symbols of Scripture; which, excellently intended in the species of things sacrificed, in the prohibited meats, in the dreams of Pharaoh, Joseph, and many other passages, are ofttimes racked beyond their symbolizations, and enlarged into constructions disparaging their true intentions.'
Of the Picture of Haman Hanged.
IN common draughts, Haman is hanged by the neck upon an high gibbet, after the usual and now practised way of suspension: but whether this description truly answereth the original, learned pens consent not, and good grounds
'intentions.] Ross despatches the 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th chapters in the following summary remarks:
"In some subsequent chapters the doctor questions the pictures of St. Christopher carrying Christ over the river: of St. George on horseback killing the dragon; of St. Jerom with a clock hanging by; of mermaids, unicorns, and some others; with some hieroglyphick pictures of the Egyptians. In this he doth luctari cum larvis, and with Æneas in the poet, Irruit et frustra ferro diverberat umbras. He wrestles with shadows; for he may as well question all the poetical fictions, all the sacred parables, all tropical speeches; also escutcheons, or coats of arms, signs hanging out at doors-where he will find blue boars, white lions, black swans, double-headed eagles, and such like, devised only for distinction. The like devices are in military ensigns. Felix, Prince of Salernum, had for his device a tortoise with wings, flying, with this motto, amor addidit; intimating, that love gives wings to the slowest spirits. Lewis of Anjou, King of Naples, gave for his device, a hand out of the clouds, holding a pair of scales, with this motto, Equa durant semper. Henry the First, of Portugal, had a flying horse for his device. A thousand such conceits I could allege, which are symbolical, and therefore it were ridiculous to question them, if they were historical. As for the cherubims, I find four different opinions. 1. Some write they were angels in the form of birds. 2. Aben Ezra thinks the word cherub signifieth any shape or form. 3. Josephus will have them to be winged animals, but never seen by any. 4. The most received opinion is, that they had the shape of children; for rub in Hebrew, and rabe in Chaldee, signifieth a child; and che, as: so then, cherub signifieth as a child, and it is most likely they were painted in this form.'
2 Chap. xxi.] The whole chapter first added in 6th edition.
there are to doubt. For it is not easily made out that this was an ancient way of execution in the public punishment of malefactors among the Persians, but we often read of crucifixion in their stories. So we find that Orostes, a Persian governor, crucified Polycrates the Samian tyrant. And hereof we have an example in the life of Artaxerxes, King of Persia (whom some will have to be Ahasuerus in this story), that his mother, Parysatis, flayed and crucified her eunuch. The same also seems implied in the letters patent of King Cyrus: Omnis qui hanc mutaverit jussionem, tollatur lignum de domo ejus, et erigatur, et configatur in eo.*
The same kind of punishment was in use among the Romans, Syrians, Egyptians, Carthaginians, and Grecians. For though we find in Homer that Ulysses in a fury hanged the strumpets of those who courted Penelope, yet it is not so easy to discover that this was the public practice or open course of justice among the Greeks.
And even that the Hebrews used this present way of hanging, by illaqueation or pendulous suffocation, in public justice and executions, the expressions and examples in Scripture conclude not, beyond good doubt.
That the King of Hai was hanged, or destroyed by the common way of suspension, is not conceded by the learned Masius in his comment upon that text; who conceiveth thereby rather some kind of crucifixion, at least some patibulary affixion after he was slain, and so represented unto the people until toward the evening.
Though we read in our translation that Pharaoh hanged the chief baker, yet learned expositors understand hereby some kind of crucifixion, according to the mode of Egypt, whereby he exemplarily hanged out till the fowls of the air fed on his head or face, the first part of their prey being the eyes. And perhaps according to the signal draught hereof in a very old manuscript of Genesis, now kept in the Emperor's library at Vienna, and accordingly set down by the learned Petrus Lambecius, in the second tome of the description of that library.
When the Gibeonites hanged the bodies of those of the
* In Ezra vi.
house of Saul, thereby was intended some kind of crucifying,3 according unto good expositors, and the vulgar translation; crucifixerunt eos in monte coram domino. Nor only these, mentioned in Holy Scripture, but divers in human authors, said to have suffered by way of suspension or crucifixion might not perish by immediate crucifixion;4 but however otherwise destroyed, their bodies might be afterward ap⚫pended or fastened unto some elevated engine, as exemplary objects unto the eyes of the people. So sometimes we read of the crucifixion of only some part, as of the heads of Julianus and Albinus, though their bodies were cast away.5 Besides, all crosses or engines of crucifixion were not of the ordinary figure, nor compounded of transverse pieces, which make out the name, but some were simple, and made of one arrectarium serving for affixion or infixion, either fastening or piercing through; and some kind of crucifixion is the setting of heads upon poles.
That legal text which seems to countenance the common way of hanging, if a man hath committed a sin worthy of death, and they hang him on a tree,* is not so received by Christian and Jewish expositors. And, as a good annotator of ours+ delivereth, out of Maimonides: the Hebrews understand not this of putting him to death by hanging, but of hanging a man after he was stoned to death, and the manner is thus described; after he is stoned to death they fasten a piece of timber in the earth, and out of it there cometh a piece of wood, and then they tie both his hands one to another, and hang him unto the setting of the sun.
* Deut. xxi.
3 the Gibeonites, &c.] The Jews, as is just afterwards remarked, inflicted the infamy (rather than punishment) of hanging after death. And so might these Gibeonites. But they were not Israelites, as Rev. T. H. Horne has observed, but Canaanites, and probably retained their own laws. See his section on the punishments mentioned in Scripture; Introduction, &c. part ii. ch. iii. §iv.
4 Nor only, &c.] This sentence is inserted, in MS. SLOAN. 1827, instead of the following: "Many, both in Scripture and human writers, might be said to be crucified, though they did not perish immediately by crucifixion."
5 cast away.] The succeeding sentence was added from MS. SLOAN. 1827.