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Behold, now, our Gauls returned to the cradle of the Kymry, not far from the "Beisfor Cymreig;" behold them established upon the ruins of "Troiau," and in the mountains of Asia Minor, whither the French will lead a similar crusade so many centuries after, under the banners of Godfrey de Bouillon, and Louis the Young."
About 200 years after the preceding events we find them, according to Plutarch, creating a tumultuous Cimbricus vel Gallicus, a Cimbric or Gallic panie, and threatening Rome itself, under their king Belin, or Beleus. But, eventually, they were forced, notwithstanding all the military skill and bravery of Belin, to succumb to Marius, the Roman general, after one of the bloodiest battles on record, when 100,000 (some say 200,000), were either killed, taken prisoners, or put to flight, A. U. C 640, or 112 B. C The vanquished on this occasion, according to Cicero, included Gauls, and, according to other authors referring to the same event, the defeated army was indiscriminately styled Galli vel Cimbri, accompanied by Teutones.
Juvenal, 'inter alios,' corroborates the peril incurred by the Roman republic, in the tottering condition of its capital, and the total discomfiture of the Cimbro-Teuton-Celtic army, in the following emphatic language:—
"Hie tamen, et Cimbros et summa pericula rerum
"Excipit, et solus trepidantem protegit urbem
"Atque ideo, postquam ad Cimbros stratemque volebat."
The coat of mail, also, of their King Beleus, which was dug up at Aquee Sextise, or Aix, in Province, where Marius routed them, proves the mutual identification, or amalgamation, of these dauntless warriors, by the well-known antiquarian inscription in Cimbric Coelbrenic characters, which I have put in Roman letters, as " Beleos Cimbros."
And, finally, to sum up. the question, let us now ascertain what are the opinions of the learned and accomplished Arnold on this Celtic question of Italian, Roman, Grecian, and Asian invasions; he will, I trust, decide, when doctors disagree. He propounds several questions, amongst others: "To what Celtic race did the Gauls who invaded Italy belong?" Were they Gael, or were they Kymry (Cimbri)? or, did they belong to some third division, distinct from each of these, which has since utterly perished." He then goes on to prove from Diodorus the distinction between the Gauls and the Celts according to the Romans, and states his own impression that Celt and Gaul are but different forms of the same race; and further states, " that to these more remote tribes belonged the Kimbri, whom some writers identified with old Cimmerians, and that these Kimbri were the people who took Rome, and sacked Delphi, and carried their conquests even to Asia;" as we have already seen. And further, he adds that he "considered the more remote Gauls," i. e., the Gauls, in allusion to the difference of language, on the shores of the ocean, that is, on the shores of the British Channel and the North Sea, to " include, according to Diodorus, the people called Kimbri; that the people now calling themselves Kymry, namely, the Welsh, differed in language and customs from the Celtic tribes in Ireland and Scotland, and that the Keltse and Galatae of Diodorus were two great divisions of the same race, analogous to the Gael and Kymry existing at this day in Great Britain."
"Oh England! thou who art so great and free
"As oft thy children vaunt, and foes confess;
"Think that thy might was not conceded thee
"To scorn thine elder sister and oppress;
"No! 't was to aid, acknowledge her, and bless:
"For God hath fixed her dwelling place apart,
"And given her gifts that thou dost not possess;
"Hurt not her shieldless form with envious dart,
"But bear her by thy side with nobly generous heart."
"Nations like phantasms have haunted her,
"And passed as vapours from the rising day;
"Creed, custom, speech, opinion, that confer
"On them a character, have died away
"To newer forms of up-growth and decay;
"But she has kept alive her ancient fire,
"Through Persian, Grecian, Roman, English sway;
"Oh! cherish it, and it shall not expire
"Until her mountains feed earth's last great funeral pyre."
It will not, perhaps, be deemed uninteresting, at this final stage of our peregrinations, to us who have essayed to weather the storm of Hume-an and Macaulay-an contumely and of wrong, to ascertain somewhat of the Cimbro-Celts, independently of their warlike achievements, as partially seen through the dim contracted foci of Grecian or of Roman spectacles.
Caesaris, vel Voluseni, vel Scaligeri commentariis relictis.
We cannot, of course, expect to retain, more than did our modern-life forefathers about forty or fifty years ago, mutatis mutandis, in reference to the alleged barbarous, and wits frightened ideas then afloat of the first Napoleonic empire, as affecting the whole nation, on the then shores of Britain, the most favourable, the most trustworthy impressions. The moral or physical phase of the Celts, taken in the light either of foes, rivals, or obstructionists, to grasping interlopements of territory, would be hypothetically characterised on the coloring historic principle hitherto adopted of " Albus est niger, et vice versa, ne.c niger color est."
I will now endeavor to unravel the mental calibre, or the moral or immoral qualities of the Cimbro-Celtic race, the Hume-an "hordes of ignorant savages," as depicted by the conflicting testimonies of antiquity, irrespective of what has been already proved to the contrary; and when I do so, I trust you will cast a furtive glance now and then upon other nations, ancient as well as modern, imputed to have been so pre-eminently superior to them in all the amiable attributes of civilised life, and ascertain whether they be exempt from the faults and frailties of poor human nature,so unmercifully categorised and pilloried by "envy, malice, and all uncharitableness," upon the heads of the CimbroCelts.
In this pourtrayal of Cimmerian antecedents I would not altogether lose sight of external and internal facts connected with the more refined times, with the more humanising policy of a Colisceum, a Tower of London, a Bastille, or an Inquisition. Let historic Brennus and Belen, Caractacus and Cassivelaunus, and Boadicea, be compared with a Nero, a Caligula of one era; with an Eighth Harry, or a Ninth Charles, a Mary, or a Borgia, or any other angelic, merciful, or life-unpoisoned potentate of a more enlightened period.
According to the opinion of Livy, the Celts of Gaul, as of Prydain, were a " nata in vanos tumultus gens," "a nation born
to vain tumults." Are not the masses of (pick and choose
the country yourselves) occasionally guilty of this very "tumultuous" and vainglorious attribute?
Cicero speaks of them as "a people replete with rhetorical disquisitions and warlike virtue"—" bellicosam virtutem."
Diodorus designates them "the children of the nascent world; with large humid frames, fair skin, and light air, with elastic energy, but little power of endurance or length of wind. Men of rough, wild, joviality, of boundless hope, vain as not having yet encountered anything that could stand in their way."
Elsewhere he describes them as "having an immemorial taste for foreign expeditions and adventurous wars; irritable, prompt to fight; in other respects simple and guileless;" and 'arrayed' in what? in perpetual skins, or rouged with universal paint, according to the cracked, distorted prism, the dim, one-eyed, glass of a self-dictating scribe? Non! mille fois non! but 'clothed,' sometimes in " black or white garments wove of fur and wool," peculiarly their own; sometimes "in tissues of variegated colours," as transmitted down to us in pattern plaids of European taste and skill; at other times loaded " with chains of massive gold around their necks" on certain festivals, on ceremonies of state, and on the battle-field.
Again, the author goes on to say that the Cimbro-Celts are "fond of associating in vast multitudes in capacious towns or villages, in vast plains wholly plain," (do we act differently now T) "readily connecting themselves with strangers," (a proof of gentlemanlike urbanity), "not un-familiar with persons unknown to them," (not sulky, ill-bred, boors, too often met with), "great talkers, laughers, orators; mingling with all men upon every occasion; dissolute from levity, blindly revelling in adultery, but evincing all the good qualities, and all the vices of quick sympathies. No self-arrogant nations of our day, abstractedly speaking, can 'lay the holy unguent to their souls,' and throw the immaculate stone of proud defiance, with all the other lights of 'moral right and wrong,' against their compeers of the past in this respect: "Judicibus, Doctore Forbes Winslow, aliisque Sciptoribus Europe vel Asiee." Let every country have its due.
Strabo also avers that they were a nation " susceptible of cultivation, and of literary instruction;" and, again, that "relying on their tall stature and their numbers, they readily assembled in great multitudes; that, simple and spontaneous, they willingly take in hand the cause of the oppressed." "Such is," adds Michelet, "the first glance cast by philosophy upon the most sympathetic and most perceptible of human races."
"To all apparent beauties blind,
"Each blemish strikes the envious mind."
Let opticians of 'historic lights' henceforth attempt, before they lead the blind, to purify or re-adjust their ancient lens. Let all the dust-massed cracks of misty films, that age of iron or of brass, or copying-inexperience may have wrested from the truthful angle of its light, be cleansed, exposed to view of parallel day, face to face with slanderous, old or new, malversions; or expurgation of error-coined, of error-borrowed schools.
In terminating my remarks on the Cimbro-Oeltic families, methinks about a century after the defeat at Aquee Sextise, I see depicted—as though confirmed by 'ancientnotes and queries' of that courtly age, through posthumous vellum parchments of a Martial or a Tacitus, that were, of late,' ex-Humed by Author of the Lays,' out of a Teuton urn at Rome, and by him faithfully transcribed to a New Zealand page of legendary lore, in all the glowing colours of a British plaid—the barbarous, the undisciplined Imperator Gentium of the Hyperborean isle; his unclothed and tatooed nobles; his unlettered, painted bards; his cannibalistic Ovatean ministers of state; his undisciplined, besotted, skin-clad Druids; his hideous, amazonian, furrugged sisters, imputed, without a shadow of a proof, as having married, one, a Roman of the patrician order; another, a viceroy of the isle that gave them birth; and all, as having been, when pardoned, either imperial guests of Claudius, in the palace of the Csesars, or recipients of his bounty in Imperial Rome, according to the wrong-formed version of a Seneca.
"Long from a nation ever hardly used,
"At random censured, and by turns abused,
"Have Britons drawn their sport; with partial view,
"Formed general notions from the rascal few."
On the other hand, in all the glow of truth, I seem to view the Cimbric-Celtic peasant wives of yore as those of Sparta, or Ecbatana, personified in the present Cambrian race, so well described by Parry in his tour through Wales, as "nurturing their offspring, not in sloth and inactivity, but inuring them early to undergo hardships and fatigues. Let the fair daughters of indolence and ease contemplate the characters of these patterns of industry, who are happily unacquainted with the gay follies of life; who enjoy health without medicine, and happiness without affluence. Equally remote from the grandeur and the miseries of life, they participate of the secret blessings of content, under the homely dwelling of a straw-thatched cottage."
"Whose little store their well-taught mind does please;
And now, my friends, I say:—
"To all, to each, a fair good night,
"And pleasing dreams, and slumbers light!"