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surrounded by a crowd of feathered the future opulence of the sleeping attendants whom it far outshone in boysplendour of plumage, took its flight to Heliopolis, the city of the sun.'
" They don't wear out their time in sleeping and
play, The Roman historian does us the fa- But gather up corn in a sunshiny day, vour to inform us tbat “when its time
And for winter they lay up their stores :
They manage their work in such regular forms, of death approaches, the phænix con. One would think they foresaw all the frosts and structs a nest in its native country, which it inundates with a generative
And so brought their food within doors." principle. From this nest springs a Bees clustered round the cradle of new phanix, which, on attaining ma- the sleeping Plato, alighted on his turity, takes diligent care to perform lips, and intimated that the wisdom, of the funeral rites of its deceased parent, which bees are an emblem, should one and exhibits extraordinary sagacity in day issue from his eloquent lips. Seraccomplishing its pious task. It carries pents climb up and lock the infant bundles of myrrh from great distances, Roscius in their folds; and, in the to accustom itself to bear burdens, and, great pitched battles of the Roman when strong enough in the wing, takes armies, eagles are seen hovering in the its deceased parent on its back, and sky, as heralds of victory. bears it through the air to the altar of Mysteries to which men are blind the sun, where, laying the body down, are clearly perspicuous to birds; and it burns it with spices."
this, owing to their elevation over Believed by the people, and bla- terrestrial things, the great length of zoned by poetry, and recorded by his- their vision, the purity of their aerial tory, religion also lent its sanction to element, the innocency of their lives, these fables, while painting and sculp- and their power of ascending into the ture gave them universal currency. heavens. The debates in the councils The humbler animals, not sufficiently of the gods are audible to birds ; inelevated when placed merely on a level deed augury takes its name from them, with mortals, were advanced to the augur and augurium being, according dignity of internuncios between gods to Varro, derived from avium garritus, and human beings; they were oracles the chattering of the feathered race. of the future, and revealed the Divine As polytheism was altogether a reliwill. The most momentous affairs, the gion of ceremony, negligent of morals armies and the colonies of the ancients, and void of dogma, it consecrated all were, in all dangerous and foreign ex- these dreams, and thus resigned the peditions, guided by birds. The
management of most magnificient emdripping fugitives who escaped from pires to the meanest animals. the deluge of Deucalion, were guided Rome the consuls and emperors have to safety by a pack of wolves, and, in much less influence," says Pliny, gratitude, their new city was named " than the sacred chickens. The Wolftown. Egypt was indebted to the peckings of domestic fowls are con. same animal for its safety from Ethio- templated with awe and solicitude, pian invasion. The sites of the most The proceedings of the magistrates are renowned cities were indicated to their regulated according to the caprices of founders by quadrupeds or birds, as these fowl. As the chickens show an was specially the case in the instance appetite or reluctance to feed, the ma. of Rome, Alba, and Constantinople. gistrates open or shut their houses. The lower animals were the real priests The legions engage the enemy when of ancient prophecy, and in the very
the chickens are vivacious; they progdesirable quality of clearness, the lan- nosticate victory, and command the guage of the brutes always surpasses commanders of the world.” that of the oracles. Achilles is told by But it was not merely the Romans his horse, without a shadow of ambi. the deities of Olympus applied for inguity, that he must die before Troy. formation to birds. Jupiter, the mas, In the midst of the Forum, a patriotic ter of the universe, was at one time ox warns the astonished people, bellows somewhat puzzled to make out the prehis threats, of the dangers which en, cise centre of the earth ; so he engaged viron the republic. Ants are seen two eagles to fly, the one to the east, busily engaged in conveying grains of the other to the west, and proceed corn, and placing them in the mouth of constantly forward till they met. The the infant Midas, thereby intimating eagles obeyed, and the oracle of Del
phi being the spot over which they temples to house quadrupeds, and hol
together, the ancients bes lowed ponds for the evolutions of finny lieved Delphi to be the umbilical divinities. At Melita a serpent lay point, the óle padós of the earth ; and coiled within a tower erected exclu. in grateful memory of the meeting of sively for its preservation, while trains the eagles, the Delphians placed two of priests and servants were seen every golden images of that bird in the tem- day proceeding to lay flowers and hople of Apollo. Delplii was to Greece ney on the altar of this reptile. what Meath was to Ireland, or the The countless multitudes of Egypt Midhyama of the Hindoos, the Midheim sadden at once into the deepest mournof the Scandinavians, the Cuzco of the ing at that (to them) appalling event Peruvians, and the Palestine of the the death of a dog, a cat, an ibis, or Hebrews.
a jackal. The mourning nation em. To place animals in temples and so- balms them with pious solicitude, lemnly consecrate them was not enough weeps over their inanimate forms, for Polytheism. It raised them to conveys them with solemn pomp into Olympus, where it associated them the sepulchres of royalty, and tenderwith gods. The eagle, bearing thun. ly places them beside the “ buried maderbolts in its pounces, was alike the jesty" of Egypt. The insanity of instrument of the pleasures and of the Egypt having deified the brutes, went vengeance of Jupiter. Standing by a step farther - an awful step: men his throne, it was ever ready to sweep pale and trembling in ligatures were forward with the message of wrath or dragged to their shrines and solemnly the pledges of his affection. Polythe. murdered before the unintelligent eyes ism twisted serpents round the cadu- of these “ monster gods,” fully justifyceus of Mercury, placed an owl on the ing the remark of the Stagyrite, “man helm of Minerva, fed the horses of is in many instances more stupid and Olympus with ambrosia, endowed meaner than the beasts." “Oh! how them with immortality, and extolled vile must man be,” exclaims Pascal, them as more rapid than the very gods. “when he subjects himself to quadru
It was not enough for Polytheism, peds, and adores brutes as deities!” which a father of the Church terms “the The vileness which Pascal laments, madness of mankind” to blend brutes originates in an ignorance which he indiscrimately with deities ; it raised could not remedy. To human inves. them from the humility of associates tigation the intellect of brutes presents to the dignity of gods themselves. the most puzzling enigma in the visiThus Rome instituted the worship of ble creation, and what man cannot the locust, and celebrated its festival understand, he naturally, if not inevi. on the eighth of the kalends of Decem- tably, reverences. Man, unenlighten. ber, the object being to prevail on ed by revelation, could not answer the those creatures to forbear destroying query
of the poetthe harvests of Italy. Fetishism seemed pushed to its utmost extravagance by
“ Who taught the nations of the field and flood
To shun their poison and to choose their food ? the Babylonians and Canaanites, but Prescient, the tides or tempest to withstand, Egypt really perfected the superstition.
Who made the spider parallels design, The animal kingdom furnished the country of the sphynx with nearly all Who bade the stork, Columbus-like, explore its religious emblems. Birds, quad
Who calls the council states the certain day? rupeds, and reptiles swarmed in its Who forns the phalanx and who points the way ?" temples, and were deified by its priests. Not satisfied with this, Egyptian ima- The question was first clearly stated gination furnished the devotees of by Montaigne and Pereira, philosoEgypt with what may be termed phers who laid the foundation of the “monster-gods." It dignified or de. two distinct schools which divide the graded Anubis with the head of a dog, philosophic world at this moment into and set off Isis with the head of a cow,
One of these schools, while Osiris was made to look cunning which may easily trace its origin to and ridiculous with the head of a Pereira, refuses intelligence, or even hawk. Jupiter Ammon looks foolish feeling, to lower animals, while feeling, through the head of a ram, and Sa. and intelligence, and even soul, are turn grins portentously with the long conceded to the brutes by the disciples snout of a crocodile. Paganism built of Montaigne. The foremost cham.
Build on the wave or arch beneath the sand ?
Sure as Demoirre, without rule or line ?
Heavens not his own, and worlds unknown before ?
pions of the spirituality of the human sitates to admit the superiority of our soul may be found among those who species. He declares that some men, make the souls of brutes material ; and no doubt himself among the numwhile, on the other hand, those philo- ber, are decidedly superior to brutes, sophers who are most liberal in en. while the difference between certain dowing brutes with spiritual intelli- stupid men and certain intelligent gences, are very niggardly and stingy quadrupeds is so small, that he doubts in allowing men any souls at all. if any difference really exists, or adBrutes are considered by Pereira as mitting its existence, that the advan. insensible puppets, which some veiled tage is on the human side. He argues hand jerks this way and that ; and for the immortality of the souls of though they utter cries of joy or brutes, and sorrow, without being sensible of either sorrow or joy; and though they " Thinks, admitted to an equal sky,
His faithful dog shall bear him company." eat they are not hungry, though they drink they are not thirsty. According to these philosophers, animals do not
But brutes must be gifted with conact from anything resembling human
science, knowledge, and responsibility knowledge, but solely from the dispo
before they can be admitted to the sition of their organs. Descartes ad
dignity of another life ; and accordingmits, what it would be very difficult ly, these attributes are freely given to deny, that brutes possess life; but
them by the naturalist Bonnet. while he allows them feeling he refuses
Cuvier, Buffon, Locke, and Voltaire, them intelligence. He illustrates his
and all the writers who have endeaargument by comparing brutes to
voured to penetrate the mystery of watches, which though made exclu
existence through the medium of mesively of insensible machinery, wheels
taphysical inquiry, or the study of and springs, can, nevertheless, count
animal organisation, have devoted meminutes and measure time more accu.
ditation and investigation to what some rately than men. “ The Being who
term the intellect, and some the automade them,” says Malebranche, “ in
matism, of the lower animals. Their order to preserve them, endowed brutes
contradictions are innumerable. But with an organisation which mechani
the medium between the preposterous cally avoids destruction and danger;
extravagance of refusing sensation to but in reality they fear nothing and
the very organs of the senses, and the desire nothing.” The automatism of
no less ridiculous theory which lodges animals was the fashionable philosophy
an immortal spirit in a flea, is to be of the Cartesians and Jansenists, and
found in what is termed instinct.
“ But what is instinct ?” asks Vol. was at one time all the rage in France. During the last century a swarm of
taire. “ It is a substantial power,' books was published on the subject,
it is a “plastic energy C'est je ne which instead of elucidating the mat
sais quoi, c'est de l'instinct. The nater, only rendered it more obscure.
ture of instinct has been often can. The most unfeigned astonishment is
vassed subsequently to this writer, but expressed by many of these writers at the discussion bas invariably termi. the marvels of instinct, but these are
nated in some unsatisfactory definition, the very writers who are most em
proving the invincible ignorance of phatic in declaring animals mere ma
man on this subject, and that, chines.
" Well hast thou said, Athena's wisest son, The followers of Descartes, who All that we know is, little can be known." maintained that the animals were inferior to machines, were opposed by the
It is one of those mysteries the solu
tion of which is concealed in the mind followers of Pereira, who maintained that they were superior to men. The
of the Godhead. The unaided intel. animals are endowed by these philoso
lect of man will never pierce it. phers with freewill and foresight; the
* What is this mighty breath, ye sages say, brutes speak, laugh, and reflect as we That in a powerful language, felt, not heard, do. Leibnitz, after carefully balancing
Inspiring God, who, boundless Spirit, all the attributes of men and brutes, he
Adjusts, sustains, and agitates the whole."
Instructs the fowls of heaven?
What bu: God,
VOL. XLVI.NO. CCLXXIII.
ITALIAN LITERATURE DURING THE TERCENTO.
It is an observation, as trite as it is fifth century. Boethius, in the suc-
duced nothing superior to the barbarThe truth of the positions which we ous rhythm and rude style of “ the have just advanced is strikingly exem- Cid,” or the monkish poems of Gonzaplified by the revival of literature in lez de Berceo and Lorenza Segura Italy during the latter portion of the while the English language was in the thirteenth and the fourteenth century. process of evolving itself from the The classical literature of Greece and Anglo-Saxon, and could exbibit noItaly, long decaying, may be said to thing less rude than the composihave perished with the subjugation of tions of Layamon and the rhyming the Roman Empire in the West in the chronicles of Robert of Gloucester
while France was occupied with scho- Jonson, and Beaumont, and Fletcher, lastic thcology and metaphysics, pro- and Spenser. Had Jolin Milton lived pounded in her colleges and monas- a century before his time, he would teries through the medium of Latin, place the Elizabethan age of England and leaving the laity in gross barbar- even above the “Tercento" of the ism and ignorance — the language of Italians. Italy had acquired considerable polish, To estimate fairly the position which and was advancing rapidly towards the “ Tercento" occupies in the annals perfection. The courts and schools of of literary achievement, we must not Palermo, Naples, and Salerno were only regard the three great writers of thanks to the encouragement of Fre- that age according to their intrinsic derick and his sons—the rendezvous of excellence as writers, but we must conpoets, orators, and men of genius. sider, likewise, what they, and through Already Pier del Vigne composed with them, the age in which they flourished much elegance of thought, purity of achieved for literature independent of style, and harmony of language ; and what they actually wrote—not only as Ricordano Malaspina wrote his His- conferring the highest and last polish tory of Florence in a style so pure and upon a language but just before perfect, that, as M. Sismondi truly re- emerged from rudeness and barbarism, marks, it may be pronounced a mas- but also as giving a tone and impetus terpiece at the present day. Foremost to the literature of other countries, by amongst the followers of the new and which they, indeed, continued to probeautiful language which had its birth fit when Italy herself, during an enin Sicily-extricated from the corrup- tire century, failed to display any protion of the Latin, and tinctured with gress; and further still, as the seduthe spirit and taste of the Arabians lous revivors and cultivators of all that and Provençals – foremost of these in was instructive and elegant in the Italy were 'Guido Guinicelli, whom philosophy and literature of the LiDante bas honoured with high eulogy, tins and the Greeks, when that of the Fabrizio, and Onesto, natives of Bo- former was buried in monasteries, and logna; while Florence produced, ere that of the latter almost forgotten in the close of the century, amongst western Europe. others, Guittone d'Arezzo, Brunetti Previous to the appearance of “the Latini, the tutor, and Guido Caval- great master,” the Italian poets of the canti, the friend of Dante. Thus the age had contented themselves with light of a new language and a new li. such vehicles of thought and feeling terature had arisen in Italy before the as the madrigal, the sonnet, or the commencement of the fourteenth cen- canzone afforded, and with such themes tury.
for their muse as the fables of ancient I'he “Tercento," as it is denomi- mythology, the achievements of chinated in Italy, or, as we would call it, valry, the incidents of romance, or, the fourteenth century, is regarded by more frequently than any others, the Italians with a justifiable pride. It charms of their mistresses, and the stands prominently out not only in the gallantries of the times. But the cahistory of the literature of their own pacious and accomplished mind, the Jand, but in that of the world. There profoundly contemplative and imagiis assuredly none to transcend it. The native spirit of Dante, sought after Augustan age of Rome produced its higher food to satisfy its cravings. Horace and its Ovid, its Virgil and its With reviving, literature a spirit of Sallust, Tibullus and Propertius; but scholastic theology had come in, and the genius of Dante towers above them the mysteries of the unseen world, and all-poet, historian, philosopher, and the speculations of faith, occupied statesman. One epoch there is the more than heretofore the minds of epoch of England's Elizabeth—which
Availing bimself of this, the can alone compare with it; the age master-mind of Dante built up from which produced a wondrous galaxy of the materials around him a poem, the genius, the poet of all times and of all sublimest in conception, the most maglands, the “minister et interpres na- nificent in imagery, the profoundest in turæ,” the immortal Shakspeare, and thought, the boldest in plan, the most the stellæ minores, which would have masterly in execution, the most viblazed as stars of the first magnitude, gorous, the most lifelike that the world were he not above the horizon - Ben has ever seen. A poem justly esteemed