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his reason. He fears lest the English reader should blame Homer, whom he idolises, though hardly more than I, for such constant repetition. But them I shall not alter. They are necessary to a just representation of the original. In the affair of Outis, I shall throw him flat on his back by an unanswerable argument, which I shall give in a note, and with which I am furnished by Mrs. Unwin. So much for hypercriticism, which has run away with all my paper. This critic by the way is —, I know him by infallible indications.
« W. C.”
to the Rev. M. R. hu Rois. Weston, Feb. 23, 1793.
“My eyes, which have long been much inflamed, will hardly serve me for Homer, and oblige me to make all my letters short. You have obliged me much by sending me so speedily the remainder of your notes. I have begun with them again, and find them, as before, very much to the purpose. More to the purpose they could not have been, had you been poetry professor already. I rejoice sincerely in the prospect you have of that office, which, whatever may be your own thoughts of the matter, I am sure you will fill with reat sufficiency. Would that my interest and power to serve you were greater. One string to my bow I have, and one only, which shall not be idle for want of my exertions. I thank you likewise for your very entertaining notices
and remarks in the natural way. The hurry in which I write would not suffer me to send you many in turn, had I many to send, but only two or three present themselves. “Frogs will feed on worms. I saw a frog gathering into his gullet an earth-worm as long as himself; it cost him time and labour, but at last he succeeded. “Mrs. Unwin and I, crossing a brook, saw from the foot-bridge somewhat at the bottom of the water which had the appearance of a flower. Observing it attentively, we found that it consisted of a circular assemblage of minnows; their heads all met in a centre, and their tails diverging at equal distances, and being elevated above their heads, gave them the appearance of a flower half blown. One was longer than the rest, and as often as a straggler came in sight, he quitted his place to pursue him, and having driven him away, he returned to it again, no other minnow offering to take it in his absence. This we saw him do several times. The object that had attached them all, was a dead minnow, which they seemed to be devouring. “After a very rainy day, I saw on one of the flower borders, what seemed a long hair, but it had a waving twining motion. Considering more nearly, I found it alive, and endued with spontaneity, but could not discover at the ends of it either head or tail, or any distinction of parts. I carried it into the house, when the air of a warm room dried and killed it presently. “ W. C.”
Of the REPUTE and VALUE of the Ass in EAstern Countries.
[From Mr. Bryant's Observations upon some Passacts in ScRIPTURE.]
4& S I have mentioned the contempt which was shown to this object by the Grecians, it will be proper to describe, on the other side, the repute, and even sanctity, in which it was held by other nations. Of this something has been said, and I shall now roceed further. Both the male and the female were esteemed as sacred representatives, but with a different reference. The mule was sacred to Baal-Peor, the same as Peor Apis. He was the very obscene deity Priapus of Greece to whom the ass was a constant companion. Baal-Peor was sometimes expressed Baal Phegor, and by Jerome is said to have been— Idolum Moabitarum, quem nos Priapum possumus ... nominare. Hieron. in Hoseam. lib. ii. cap. ix. Baal Phegor—Idolum Moab, quem Latini Priapum vocant. Isidor. Orig. lib. viii. p. 1025. Phegor is the same as Peor, only aspirated. The ram, the goat, the baboom, as well as the ass, were, for particular reasons, made emblems of the same original object. He was accordingly, in different temples, worshipped under their similitude. What analogy subsisted between the primary being and the substitute, I shall not take upon me to explain, nor say any thing of the rites and mysteries, which were base and abject, and the most obscene of any, that were ever practised. As the sacred writer has chosen to draw a
veil over them, I shall not presume further to disclose them.
“ Obtenta sacri suppuro silentii Intrare noli; sed pudenter practeri.
“ It may be proper to add, that in Egypt they used to stamp their sacred cakes with the figure of an ass bound. This was done in honour of Typhon. The ass was said to be like this deity, whom they esteemed the same as Seth ; and they accordingly introduced him as his emblem and representative. As such, he seems to have had the same honours as the bull at Memphis, and the goat at Mendes. Epiphanius, speaking of the base worship of the Egyptians, tells us—II+, usz 73, Ozz sis To ovzuz row Sză, osy row T.:-yo; Textra; tızyzgava v. In some places they perform sacred rites to the ass in the name of Seth, the same as the god Typhon. It is from hence manifest that this animal was oftentimes esteemed sacred: and, however ridiculous it may appear, had divine honours. This, I imagine, obtained in the Sethroite name of Egypt, which was denominated from the deity Seth.
“The female was looked upon as sacred for many reasons; one of these was its sagacity, which, however, it shared in common with the male; and for which they were looked upon as inspired by Heaven. Concerning this I have spoken. But there was another cause, which arose from a benefit peculiar to the female, that nutricious juice which it afforded : hence she was worshipped among the Midianites and Arabians upon this account, and by other people, as the cow was at Momemphis, and in other parts of Egypt. It was upon this acceunt that the preference was given to the female in this part of the world ; for, as the natives had few or no cows, this brood was made a happy substitute. The cow demands a moister soil, and more succulent vegetables than can be found in a dry or parched soil, and amid rocks and sands; but asses will live upon less copious browse, and upon a more coarse and scanty herbage.
“Of what use these animals were, and in what estimation, in those parts, of which I have been treating, may be further seen in the history of Job, and in the account of his wealth. It is said of this person that he lived in the land of Uz, which is rendered by the Seventy Avair, ; and is supposed by the learned to have been in Arabia, and in the vicinity of Kedar, Teman, Midian, and Edom. Some have not scrupled to make Job an Edomite. This was an opinion, of which Eusebius makes mention in his account of Idumaea. I32.9%ziz, %2:2 Hazv– E32p: szzxeiro. Es- og au.g. row IIsroay Tešaxovy x22.299.3%, ’’ xzTa Tiwa; Avairs;, Yazo. 729 Iwo. Idumata was the region of Esau, which had also the name of Edom. It is that part which lies about Petra, and is called Gebalene, which has been thought to have been the
same as Ausitis, the country of Job. We are told, that his substance was seven thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she-asses, and a very great household. It is remarkable, that the most useful animals, the cows, are not here mentioned, unless they are included in the yokes of oxen, which can hardly be allowed. If there be an omission, the reason probably was, because, on account of the barrenness of the soil, there were but few ; and the oxen were in great measure imported, for the sake of cultivating the land. It is true, that a cow can live wherever an ox can subsist; but she will not af. ford a due supply of milk without proper pasture: and if this portion of aliment should be want- ing, she becomes in a manner useless. In the prophet Ezekiel we have an account of the great trade of Tyre; and among other regions, which afforded supplies, Arabia is mentioned, and also Kedar, which was a part of it. Arabia, and the princes of Kedar, occupied thee (O Tyre), in lambs, and rams, and goats. Chap. xxvii. ver. 21. Not a word is here said either of ox or cow, which makes me think that they were not the natural breed of Arabia, but in great measure imported from Egypt, and other places. “ It is equally remarkable, that, in the passage from Job, female asses only are enumerated : the reason is, because in them great part of their wealth consisted; the males being few, and not held in equal estination. We find that the former were chosen for riding by the natives of these parts; and the ass of Balaam is distinguished as a female. They were probably led to this choice from
from convenience; for, where the country was so little fertile, no other animal could subsist so easily as this: and there was another superior advantage in the fe-, male, that whoever traversed these wilds upon a she-ass, if he could but find for it sufficient browse, and water, was sure to be rewarded with a more pleasing and nutricious beverage. This gave it a great advantage over the male. There were, therefore, comparatively few of the latter breed maintained, on account of the scarcity of grass and forage. The conclusion of Job’s history is amaRogous to the former part.—So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job hore than the beginning; for he had jourteen thousand sheep, and sir thousand camels, and a thousand 3yoke of oren, and a thousand she(18StS. “ But we find a somewhat different account from Egypt, the land of pastures and plenty ; for, among the good things afforded by Pharaoh to Abraham, during his residence in the country, mention is made of sheep and oren, and he-asses, as well as she-asses and camels. He enjoyed a rich soil during his stay ; and when he retired, he betook himself to a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and pools, that spring out of valleys and hills. A land of wheat and barley, and vines and fig-trees, &c. This is very different from that country where they chiefly trusted to the moisture of heaven for the chief preservation of their fruits and cattle : for though the soil of Edom may have been in some places fertile, yet it abounded not with water. Hence Jehovah, in his benediction to Esau, tells him, Behold thy dwelling skull be the fatness of
the earth, and the dew of heaten from above. Genesis, chap. xxvii. ver. 39.
THE ASS A SACRED APPENDAGE To several, De Ities.
“ It has been my endeavour to show that this animal, however contemptible it may appear, was an instrument in the hand of Heaven, by which it pleased God to rebuke a false Fol. and to prevent any foul illusions taking place among his people. I have further attempted to prove from the purport of the name, that Petor, the city of his residence, was esteemed a place of divination, ifi which he probably presided as chief priest, and in consequence of it was called Balaan the Diviner. Balaam also the Diviner they slew with the sword. It further appears, that the worship
in Midian and Moab was address
ed principally to Baal-Peor, the sanie as Peor-Apis, or Priapus of Greece, to whom the ass was particularly sacred. That in the temple at Petor this animal was represented as a type of the Deity, and, like many animals in Egypt. held sacred and prophetic. In consequence of this, the miracle exhibited was particularly proper, being well adapted to humble the false prophet, and to enlighten the eyes of God’s people. It was further thought to be endowed with a divine forecast, from its sagacity in finding out water in the desert. And this was another reason why it was esteemed sacred to Baal-Peor, the same as Priapus, who was the reputed god of springs and fountains, and the director to hidden waters, as has been shown. He was also styled
was once in great peril, by being nearly lost in a vast bed of waters, which he was not able to pass over. At this time, these Aselli, or at least one of them, came to his assistance, and carried him over with safety; so that he did not so much as wet his feet. Non nulli etiam dixerunt Asino illi, quo fuerat vectus, vocem huHygini Astronom. cap. xxiii. pag. 474. Some say, that he gave to this animal, ly which he was wafed, a human voice. A similar history was preserved in Egypt concerning. Seth, or Typhon; and it was said, that when he in great danger fled, the same animal saved him. Plu
tarch, Is. et Osir. vol. i. p. 362.
“If it be thought a matter of wonder that the prophet should show but little respect to an animal esteemed sacred, it must be observed, that this imputed sanctity was confined merely to those that were enshrined, and did not extend to the race in general. There were animals in many countries, to which a religious regard was paid, but it was a limited observance. The Apis and Mnevis, in their respective cities, and the Goat at Mendes, were worshipped; also the Ram in Libya; but the flocks and herds in general had no such honours. In many parts of Egypt the ox and the goat were caten, and the sheep underwent the same fate. The Serpent was reverenced and killed by the same people. They deified the bird that destroyed it—Ille colít saturam serpentibus ibim,”