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elaborate and florid ; in being strong and true in their pictures of general manners and principal personages, and in the reflections naturally incorporated with the narrative, so that they should not appear to be obtruded. The eloquence of Demosthenes belongs not to Thucydides; a studied harangue, put into the mouth of a hero who never pronounced it, is, in the opinion of many enlightened minds, nothing more than a splendid defect.
If, however, these licences be permitted, the following is an occasion in which Mezerai, in his great history, may obtain grace for a boldness so approved by the ancients, to whom he is equal, at least on this occasion. It is at the commencement of the reign of Henry IV. when that prince, with very few troops, was opposed near Dieppe by an army of thirty thousand men, and was advised to retire into England, Mezerai excels himself in making a speech for marshal Biron, who really was a man of genius, and might have said a part of that which the historian attributes to him:
What, sire, are you advised to cross the sea, as if there was no other way of preserving your kingdom than by quitting it? If you were not in France, your friends would have you run all hazards and surmount all obstacles to get there; and now you are here, they would have you depart, would have you voluntarily do that to which the greatest efforts of your enemies ought not to constrain you ? In your present state, to go out of France only for four-and-twenty hours, would be to banish yourself from it for ever. As to the danger, it is not so great as represented; those who think to overcome us are either the same whom we shut
up so easily in Paris, or people who are not much better, and will rapidly have more subjects of dispute among themselves than against us. In short, sire, we are in France, and we must remain here; we must show ourselves worthy of it; we must either conquer it or die for it; and even when there is no other safety for your sacred person than in flight, I well know that you would a thousand times rather die planted in the soil, than yourself by such means. Your majesty would never himself, you
suffer it to be said, that a younger brother of the house of Lorraine had made you retire, and, still less, that you had been seen to beg at the door of a foreign prince. No, no, sire, there is neither crown nor honour for you across the sea;
thus demand the succour of England, it will not be granted; if you present your self at the port of Rochelle, as a man anxious to save
will only meet with reproaches and contempt. I cannot believe that you would rather trust your person to the inconstancy of the waves, or the mercy of a stranger, than to so many brave gentlemen and old soldiers, who are ready to serve you as ramparts and bucklers; and I am too much devoted to your majesty to conceal from
your safety elsewhere than in their virtue, they will be obliged to seek theirs in a different party from your own."
This fine speech which Mezerai puts into the mouth of marshal Biron, is no doubt what Henry IV. felt in his heart.
Much more might be said upon the subject; but the x books treating of eloquence have already said too much; and in an enlightened age, genius, aided by examples, knows more of it than can be taught by all the masters in the world.
EMBLEMS. FIGURES, ALLEGORIES, SYMBOLS, &c. In antiquity, every thing is emblematical and figura. tive. The Chaldeans began with placing a ram, two kids, and a bull among the constellations, to indicate the productions of the earth in spring. In Persia, fire is the emblem of the divinity; the celestial dog gives notice to the Egyptians of the inundations of the Nile; the serpent, concealing its tail in its head, becomes the image of eternity. All nature is painted and disguised. There are still to be found in India
of those gigantic and terrific statues which we have already mentioned, representing virtue furnished with ten arms, with which it may successfully contend against
the vices, and which our poor missionaries mistook for representations of the devil; taking it for granted, that all those who did not speak French or Italian, were worshippers of the devil.
Show all these symbols devised by antiquity to a man of clear sense, but who has never heard them at all mentioned or alluded to, and he will not have the slightest idea of their meaning. It would be to him a perfectly new language.
The ancient poetical theologians were under the necessity of ascribing to the deity eyes, hands, and feet; of describing him under the figure of a man.
St. Clement of Alexandria * quotes verses from Xenophanes the Colophonian, which state that every species of animal supplies metaphor to aid the imagination in its ideas of the deity,—the wings of the bird, the speed of the horse, and the strength of the lion. It is evident, from these verses of Xenophanes, that it is by no means a practice of recent date for men to represent God after their own image. The ancient Thracian Orpheus, the first theologian among the Greeks, who lived long before Homer, according to the same Clement of Alexandria, describes God as seated upon the clouds, and tranquilly ruling the whirlwind and the storm. His feet reach the earth, and his hands extend from one ocean to the other. He is the beginning, middle, and end of all things.
Everything being thus represented by figure and emblem, philosophers, and particularly those among them who travelled to India, employed the same method; their precepts were emblems, were enigmas.
“ Stir not the fire with a sword;" that is, aggravate not men who are angry.
“ Place not a lamp under a bushel:” conceal not the truth from men.
“ Abstain from beans:" frequent not popular assemblies, in which votes were given by white or black beans.
“ Have no swallows about your house:” keep away babblers.
* Stromat, book v.
“ During a tempest, worship the echo:” while civil broils endure, withdraw into retirement. “ Never write on snow:” throw not away
instrucs tion upon
weak and imbecile minds. “ Never devour either
brains :" never give yourself up to useless anxiety or intense study.
Such are the maxims of Pythagoras, the meaning of which is sufficiently obvious.
The most beautiful of all emblems is that of God, whom Timæus of Locris describes under the image of “ A circle whose centre is everywhere and circum. ference nowhere." Plato adopted this emblem, and Pascal inserted it among his materials for future use, which he entitled his “ Thoughts."
In metaphysics and in morals, the ancients have said everything We always encounter or repeat them. All modern books of this description are merely repetitions.
The farther we advance eastward the more prevalent and established we find the employment of emblems and figures: but, at the same time, the images in use are more remote from our own manners and customs.
The emblems which appear most singular to us, are those which were in frequent if not in sacred use among the Indians, Egyptians, and Syrians. These people bore aloft in their solemn processions, and with the most profound respect, the appropriate organs for the perpetuation of the species--the symbols of life. We smile at such practices, and consider these people as simple barbarians. What would they have said on seeing us enter our temples wearing at our sicco the weapons
of destruction ? At Thebes, the sins of the people were represented by a goat. On the coast of Phenicia, a naked woman with the lower part of her body like that of a fish was the emblem of nature.
We cannot be at all surprised if this employment of symbols extended to the Hebrews, as they constituted a people near the Desart of Syria.
Of some Emblems used by the Jewish Nation. One of the most beautiful emblems in the Jewish books, is the following exquisite passage in Ecclesiastes :
“ When the grinders shall cease because they are few; when those that look out of the windows shall be darkened; when the almond tree shall flourish; when the grasshopper shall become a burden; when desire shall fail; the silver cord be loosed; the golden bowl be fractured; and the pitcher broken at the fountain."
The meaning is, that the aged lose their teeth; that their sight becomes impaired; that their hair becomes white, like the blossom of the almond tree; that their feet become like the grasshopper;* that their hair drops off like the leaves of the fir tree; that they have lost the power of communicating life; and that it is time for them to prepare for their long journey.
The Song of Songs, as is well known, is a continued emblem of the marriage of Jesus Christ with the church.
“ Let him kiss me with a kiss of his mouth, for thy breasts are better than wine. Let him put his left hand under my head, and embrace me with his right hand. How beautiful art thou, my love: thy eyes are like those of the dove; thy hair is as a flock of goats ; thy lips are like a ribband of scarlet, and thy cheeks like pomegranates; how beautiful is thy neck! how thy lips drop honey! my beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved for him; thy navel is like a round goblet; thy belly is like a heap of wheat set about with lilies; thy two breasts are like two young roes that are twins; thy neck is like a tower of ivory; thy nose is as the tower of Lebanon; thy head is like mount Carmel; thy stature is that of a palm tree. I said, I will ascend the palm tree and will gather of its fruits. What shall we do
* This is some allusion which possibly the natural history of the grasshopper will bear out, but it is certainly not obvious, any more than the English scriptural translation of the passage, “ When the grasshopper shall become a burden.”—T.