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than is a knowledge of the Christian religion for the personi who would know the ecope and meaning of the philosophical or scientific writers of our own age and nation--because their religion entered more extensively into the writings of all classes amongst them than does ours into the compositions of our mere secular authors. Perhaps I shall be thought at least rash for the assertion that this field is very little examined into, but I could easily sustain my position, first because the value of mythology is greatly underrated, next because when a mere vague general notion of its nature is formed, it is thought to be sufficiently known, and thirdly, because many persons through an affectation of contempt for its puerility and folly, regard its study as at least a great waste of time.
I shall only say that some of the finest passages of the poets and philosophers are scarcely intelligible to those who do not trace mythological history from the first aberrations of the human mind in the ancient nations through all their varied forms of worshipping the host of heaven instead of its creator; of paying the highest homage to genii, to angels and to demons, whilst they denied it to the God who made them, of beholding the universal soul spread through the whole visible world and manifesting itself in the fire of Persia; in the waters of Egypt, entering into its oxen and its leeks,-found in the rude stone of the Scythian equally as in the Bactrian torrent, the Druid's oak or the African sun. Nor is it for the classics alone this research is necessary; its results elucidate the pages of the old Testament: and the reveries of Manes and the imaginings of Plato must be known in order to comprehend the inspired passages of St. Paul and St. John. But I touch upon a topic from which I have determined to abstain. It will suffice for me to say that an extensive and precise acquaintance with mythology is required for a classical scholar, and that to obtain it he must go over a multitude of facts. By means of the knowledge thus obtained he will find little difficulty in understanding customs that would be otherwise inexplicable and perhaps that would else be obscure. The histories of Saturn, of Jupiter
he must go
and of the other deities, as they are styled, are of a later date, and their character brings them nearer to the period of a more degenerate worship. To obtain this mythological knowledge requires that the student should traverse all the known regions of the ancient world, that his search should be continued through many centuries, that he should be the associate of the philosopher, the companion of the monarch, the observer of the priest; that he should go into the camp with the soldier, be seated in the hall of legislation, mingle with the shepherds as they tend their flocks or rehearse their lays ;
down with the mariner upon the deep, observe the courses of the stars, learn their influences, not only upon the regions of Eolus, but upon the destinies of men. With the augur he must study the habits of the birds, by the soothsayer he will be taught the arrangement and the anatomy of beasts, and in company
with the Pythoness he must be filled with the inspirations of Heaven. Think you that if the study of man be useful, this is a criminal waste of time?
There is in the palace of the Vatican at Rome a long coridor well known to the visiters of that magnificent depository of arts and of literature. As you enter; upon your right hand, the wall is lined from the floor to the ceiling with fragments of marble containing the rude and the improved inscriptions of Italy in the days of Heathenism. “An immense vista opens
before you, and to its extremity this monumental partition continues: the images of gods, the fragments of idols, the busts of beroes, the figures of philosophers, the figures of emperors, sarcophagi and pedestals range along its base: and the learned, the curious, the powerful and the beautiful, the unbelieverand the pious, the gay and the grave, the libertine and the pilgrim, the British peer, the Spanish Grandee, the American citizen, the Oriental sage, and the Italian peasant, in all the varied costumes of rank, of nation, of taste and of caprice move along the hall, reading the history of other days and admiring the works of artists who for multiplied centuries have been insensible to censure or to praise. There you may detect their liv
ing forms giiding between stern warriors frowning in marble, amidst petrified consuls and gladiators, blended with matrons, nymphs and satyrs. One of the fathers of the church has appropriately remarked, that, any one possessing eyes may look upon the characters of an illuminated volume and admire the richness of the tints, the beauty of the letters, the decorations of the vellum ; but had he been taught to read, how much more information would he gather from the document itself!How much more valuable would it be in his estimation ? So to the scholar how rich is the mine of knowledge which that corridor contains ? and are not his authors and his recollections like that corridor to him who has become familiar with their contents ?
On your left, as you enter, monuments of another language are presented to your view. The walls are covered, but the devices are not the same; the emblems are occasionally varied. One monogram, however, in those of the earliest epoch seems to pervade:- the rish is sculptured upon the greater number:the dove with the small sprig of olive in its bill is there ;palm branch tinted with red distinguishes not a few; an ark borne upon the waters surmounted by an arch is discernible amongst them; the worii Pax is nearly universal. The archeologist recognizes the symbolic language of early christendom and the busts and statues of some of her heroes and the ornaments of the Galilean religion, mingled with many a relic of those olden days arranged under the significant and instructive emblem of the Oriflam, exhibit the contest and the suffering and the triumph of Christianity :-In studies like this the understanding is informed, the memory is strengthened, and the mind is relieved. In the midst of our struggles through this changing life, it is well to have in those moments' of care, of oppression and of dejection some classic scenery which will be to us as a city of refuge, until we shall be able to recruit: The effect will be like that described by the favorite bard of Ireland,
"Let fate do her worst, there are relics of joy,
The knowledge of geography it is clear is required equally as is that of history, and it is impossible to understand the ancient authors without having an intimate acquaintance with the lands and the waters of which they treat. Hence no person has ever been regarded as worthy of the appellation of a scholar who could not at each epoch describe the political divisions of the earth. Do we allude to dialects in Greece: it will be as necessary for us to be acquainted with the vicinity of the state in which the dialect was used, as with the locality of the state itself. We may illustrate this by viewing the continent of Europe to-day. The traveller in Switzerland, for instance, will find in Geneva and the Jura the language to be generally French, because of their vicinity to France. Let him pass through the Valais, he finds Italian idioms and pronunciation becoming more prevalent as he goes to the south-east, and upon the Simplon he will almost fancy himself already in Italy. Proceeding however from Berne towards Zurich, the German is blended with the French, and when he arrives at St. Gall or upon the borders of the lake of Constance, his French is next to useless, and before he crosses the Rhine he is a bewildered stranger unless he can use German expressions.
The language which is spoken becomes in some measure that which is written where the body of the people could write, and amongst ourselves, I expect it would not be hard to calculate the land whence came the man who tells us that he has notions for sale : and I reckon we should speedily tell the abode of a traveller who would ask the conductor of a rail-road car to be careful of his plunder! Customs vary with geographi
cal limits, and we should be amused at the ignorance of him who would clothe the Scythian in the Persian's flowing stole or invest the Ethiopian with the toga, with equal justice as we would at the folly of him who would declare it absolutely necessary to procure a powdered wig and ermined robes from Westminster hall to enable a Georgian Judge to open his commission.— The Romans knew as little of passing their children through the fire of Beal as the Scandinavian did of the worship of Astharte.
Gather to-day the remains which may yet be found on the sites of the Volscian cities, take those of a more remote region of Etruria, and place them by the side of the vast collections that the Græcia Magna of ancient days has yielded together with the excavations of Pompeii and of Herculanium, to the splendid collections of Naples, from them you will learn the diversity of epochs, of customs and of arts, and you will perceive the influence of geographical distinction as well as of distant times. I have seen the outlines of figures drawn with anatomical accuracy in frescoes that have during more than three thousand years preserved their original tints in an unimpaired brilliancy. I have seen the vases of a later period in another region, and I have seen the productions of the mighty masters who two thousand years since filled Southern Italy with works of various art, that have exceeded those of the most glorious days of Eastern Greece. The phraseology of the several writers who described those ages and their customs came vividly to my recollection, as I contemplated the “breathing brass,” or as I saw the evidences of the custom. And I felt how groundless is the notion which some persons would inculcate that classical studies are but the learning of a dead language! They demand close and unremitting attention to the geography of ancient times tracing the origin and the migrations of colonies, their settlement, their neighbors, their border quarrels, their tactics, their success or their extinction, their government, their customs, their language and its modifi