Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

for lest witches should draw or prick their names herein, and veneficiously mischief their persons, they broke the shell, as Dalecampius hath observed.

5. The true lovers' knot is very much magnified, and still retained in presents of love among us; which though in all points it doth not make out, had perhaps its original from the nodus Herculanus, or that which was called Hercules his knot, resembling the snaky complication in the caduceus or rod of Hermes; and in which form the zone or woollen girdle of the bride was fastened, as Turnebus observeth in his Adversaria.

6. When our cheek burneth or ear tingleth, we usually say that somebody is talking of us, which is an ancient conceit, and ranked among superstitious opinions by Pliny; Absentes tinnitu aurium præsentire sermones de se, receptum est; according to that distich noted by Dalecampius;

Garrula quid totis resonas mihi noctibus auris?
Nescio quem dicis nunc meminisse mei.

Which is a conceit hardly to be made out without the concession of a signifying genius, or universal Mercury, conducting sounds unto their distant subjects, and teaching us to hear by touch.

7. When we desire to confine our words, we commonly say they are spoken under the rose; which expression is

5 lest witches.] Least they perchance might use them for boates (as they thought) to sayle in by night.- Wr.

6 lovers' knot.] The true lovers' knot is magnified, for the moral signification not esily untyed; and for the naturall,-bycause itt is a knot both wayes, that is, two knots in one.- Wr.

7 tingleth.] The singing of the eare is frequent upon the least cold seizing on the braine: but to make construction hereof, as yf itt were the silent humme of some absent friendly soule (especially falling most to bee observed in the night, when few friends are awake) is one of the dotages of the heathen.-Wr.

8 rose.] Of those that commonlye use this proverb few, besides the learned, can give a reason why they use itt: itt is sufficient that all men knowe what wee meane by that old forme of speeche, thoughe (as of manye other such like) they know not the originall.—Wr.

Warburton (says Brand) commenting on that passage of Shakspeare in Henry VI. :

"From off this briar pluck a white rose with me," supposes the present saying to have originated in the struggle between

commendable, if the rose from any natural property may be the symbol of silence, as Nazianzen seems to imply in these translated verses;

Utque latet Rosa verna suo putamine clausa,
Sic os vincla ferat, validisque arctetur habenis,
Indicatque suis prolixa silentia labris:

Est rosa flos Veneris, cujus quò facta laterent,
Harpocrati matris, dona dicavit amor;

Inde rosam mensis hospes suspendit amicis,
Convivæ ut sub eâ dicta tacenda sciant.9

And is also tolerable, if by desiring a secrecy to words spoken under the rose, we only mean in society and compotation, from the ancient custom in symposiack meetings, to wear chaplets of roses about their heads: and so we condemn not the German custom, which over the table describeth a rose in the ceiling. But more considerable it is, if the original were such as Lemnius and others have recorded, that the rose was the flower of Venus, which Cupid consecrated unto Harpocrates the God of silence, and was therefore an emblem thereof, to conceal the pranks of venery, as is declared in this tetrastich:

8. That smoke doth follow the fairest, is an usual saying with us,2 and in many parts of Europe; whereof although there seem no natural ground, yet is it the continuation of a very ancient opinion, as Petrus, Victorius, and Casaubon have observed from a passage in Athenæus; wherein a parasite thus describeth himself:

the two houses of York and Lancaster; in which secrecy must very often have been enjoined, on various occasions, and probably was so "under the rose."

In Pegge's Anonymiana, the symbol of silence is referred to the rose on a clergyman's hat, and derived from the silence which popish priests kept as to the confessions of their people.-Jeff.

9 sciant.] The discourses of the table among true loving friendes require as stricte silence, as those of the bed between the married.-Wr.

1

1 fairest.] The fairest and tenderest complexions are soonest offended with itt: and therefore when they mplain, nen use this suppling proverb.—Wr.

an usual saying with us.] An observation of Brand (Popular Antiquities) seems to imply that he considered the saying to have become extinct since the days of Browne. This is by no means the case. It is still very common in Norfolk.

To every table first I come,
Whence porridge I am call'd by some:
A Capaneus at stairs I am,

To enter any room a ram;
Like whips and thongs to all I ply,
Like smoke unto the fair I fly.

:

9. To sit cross-legged,3 or with our fingers pectinated or shut together, is accounted bad, and friends will persuade us from it. The same conceit religiously possessed the ancients as is observable from Pliny; poplites alternis genibus imponere nefas olim and also from Athenæus, that it was an old veneficious practice, and Juno is made in this posture to hinder the delivery of Alcmana. And therefore, as Pierius observeth, in the medal of Julia Pia, the right-hand of Venus was made extended with the inscription of Venus Genitrix; for the complication or pectination of the fingers was an hieroglyphick of impediment, as in that place he declareth.

10. The set and statary times of pairing of nails, and cutting of hair,4 is thought by many a point of consideration; which is perhaps but the continuation of an ancient superstition. For piaculous it was unto the Romans to pare their nails upon the Nundina, observed every ninth day; and was also feared by others in certain days of the week; according to that of Ausonius, Ungues Mercurio, Barbam Jove, Cypride Crines; and was one part of the wickedness that filled up the measure of Manasses, when 'tis delivered that he observed times.*

11. A common fashion is to nourish hair upon the moles of the face; which is the perpetuation of a very ancient

* 1 Chron. xxxv.

3 To sit cross-legged.] There is more incivilitye in this forme of sitting, then malice or superstition; and may sooner move our spleen to a smile then a chafe.-Wr.

▲ hair.] They that would encrease the haire maye doe well to observe the increasing moone at all times, but especially in Taurus or Cancer: they that would hinder the growthe, in the decrease of the moone, especially in Capricornus or Scorpio: and this is soe far from superstitious folly that it savours of one guided by the rules of the wise in physic. And what is sayd of the haire may bee as fitly applied to the nayles.-Wr. Oh! Mr. Ďean!

5 piaculous] Requiring expiation.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

custom and, though innocently practised among us, may have a superstitious original, according to that of Pliny: Navos in facie tondere religiosum habent nunc multi. From the like might proceed the fears of polling elvelocks or complicated hairs off the heads, and also of locks longer than the other hair; they being votary at first, and dedicated upon occasion; preserved with great care, and accordingly esteemed by others, as appears by that of Apuleius, adjuro per dulcem capilli tui nodulum.

12. A custom there is in some parts of Europe to adorn aqueducts, spouts and cisterns with lions' heads; which though no illaudable ornament, is of an Egyptian genealogy, who practised the same under a symbolical illation. For because, the sun being in Leo, the flood of Nilus was at the full, and water became conveyed into every part, they made the spouts of their aqueducts through the head of a lion." And upon some celestial respects it is not improbable the great Mogul or Indian king both bear for his arms the lion and the sun.8

13. Many conceive there is somewhat amiss, and that as we usually say, they are unblest, until they put on their girdle. Wherein (although most know not what they say) there are involved unknown considerations. For by a girdle or cincture are symbolically implied truth, resolution, and readiness unto action, which are parts and virtues required in the service of God. According whereto we find that the Israelites did eat the paschal lamb with their loins girded;9

* Isa. xi.

elvelocks.] Such is the danger of cutting a haire in the Hungarian knot that the blood will flow out of itt, as by a quill, and will not bee stanched. And thence perhaps the custome first sprange, though since abused.-Wr.

7 lion.] Architects practise this forme still, for noe other reason then the beautye of itt.- Wr.

8

sun.] These two are the emblems of majestye: the sonne signifying singularity of incommunicable glory: the lyon sole soveraintye, or monarchall power; and therefore most sutable to their grandour.-Wr.

9

girded.] I suppose this innocent custome is most comely and most Christian, partly in observation of the old precept of St. Paule [Ephes. vi. 14], and partly in imitation of him in the first of the revelation, who is described doubly girt, about the paps, and about the loyns. See the Icon of St. Paul before his Epistles, in the Italian Testament, at Lions, 1556.- Wr.

and the Almighty challenging Job, bids him gird up his loins like a man. So runneth the expression of Peter, "Gird up the loins of your minds, be sober and hope to the end;" so the high priest was girt with the girdle of fine linen; so is it part of the holy habit to have our loins girt about with truth; and so is it also said concerning our Saviour," Righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins."

Moreover by the girdle, the heart and parts which God requires are divided from the inferior and concupiscential organs; implying thereby a memento, unto purification and cleanness of heart, which is commonly defiled from the concupiscence and affection of those parts; and therefore unto this day the Jews do bless themselves when they put on their zone or cincture. And thus may we make out the doctrine of Pythagoras, to offer sacrifice with our feet naked, that is, that our inferior parts, and farthest removed from reason, might be free, and of no impediment unto us. Thus Achilles, though dipped in Styx, yet, having his heel untouched by that water, although he were fortified elsewhere, he was slain in that part, as only vulnerable in the inferior and brutal part of man. This is that part of Eve and her posterity the devil still doth bruise, that is, that part of the soul which adhereth unto earth, and walks in the path thereof. And in this secondary and symbolical sense it may be also understood, when the priests in the law washed their feet before the sacrifice; when our Saviour washed the feet of his disciples, and said unto Peter, "If I wash not thy feet, thou hast no part in me." And thus is it symbolically explainable, and implieth purification and cleanness, when in the burnt-offerings the priest is commanded to wash the inwards and legs thereof in water; and in the peace and sinofferings, to burn the two kidneys, the fat which is about the flanks, and as we translate it, the caul above the liver. But whether the Jews, when they blessed themselves, had any eye unto the words of Jeremy, wherein God makes them his girdle; or had therein any reference unto the girdle, which the prophet was commanded to hide in the hole of the

The Israelites ate the paschal lamb with their loins girt, as being in readiness to take their journey (from Egypt).

« PredošláPokračovať »