« ZurückWeiter »
a land not inhabited; and he shall let go the goat in the desert.” Of the moral elements here involved much will have to be said hereafter. This demon ultimately turned to a devil; and persisting through both forms is the familiar principle that it is ‘well enough to have friends on both sides’ so plainly at work in the levitical custom; but it is particularly interesting to observe that the same animal should be used as offerings to the antagonistic deities. In Egyptian Mythology we find that the goat had precisely this two-fold consecration. It was sacred to Chem, the Egyptian Pan, god of orchards and of all fruitful lands; and it became also sacred to Mendes, the ‘Destroyer,' or ‘Avenging Power’ of Ra. It will thus be seen that the same principle which from the sun detached the fructifying from the desert-making power, and made Typhon and Osiris hostile brothers, prevailed to send the same animal to Azazel in the Desert and Jehovah of the milk and honey land. Originally the goat was supreme. The Samaritan Pentateuch opens, “In the beginning the Goat created the heaven and the earth.” In the Hebrew culture-myth of Cain and Abel, also brothers, there may be represented, as Goldziher supposes, the victory of the agriculturist over the nomad or shepherd; but there is also traceable in it the supremacy of the Goat, Mendez or Azima. ‘Abel brought the firstling of the goats.' Very striking is the American (Iroquois) myth of the conflict between Joskeha and Tawiscara,_the White One and the Dark One. They were twins, born of a virgin who died in giving them life. Their grandmother was the moon (Ataensic, she who bathes). These brothers fought, Joskeha using as weapon the horns of a stag, Tawiscara the wild-rose. The latter fled sorely wounded, and the blood gushing from him turned to flint-stones. The victor, who used the stag-horns (the same weapon that Frey uses
THE WILD ROSE. 189
against Beli, in the Prose Edda, and denoting perhaps a primitive bone-age art), destroyed a monster frog which swallowed all the waters, and guided the torrents into smooth streams and lakes. He stocked the woods with game, invented fire, watched and watered crops, and without him, says the old missionary Brebeuf, “they think they could not boil a pot.’ The use by the desert-demon Tawiscara of a wild rose as his weapon is a beautiful touch in this myth. So much loveliness grew even amid the hard flints. One is reminded of the closing scene in the second part of Goethe's Faust. There, when Faust has realised the perfect hour to which he can say, “Stay, thou art fair l’by causing by his labour a wilderness to blossom as a rose, he lies down in happy death; and when the demons come for his soul, angels pelt them with roses, which sting them like flames. Not wild roses were these, such as gave the Dark One such poor succour. The defence of Faust is the roses he has evoked from briars.
RELATED to the demons of Barrenness, and to the hostile human demons, but still possessing characteristics of their own, are the demons supposed to haunt gorges, mountain ranges, ridges of rocks, streams which cannot be forded and are yet unbridged, rocks that wreck the raft or boat. Each and every obstruction that stood in the way of man's plough, or of his first frail ship, or his migration, has been assigned its demon. The reader of Goethe's page has only to turn to the opening lines of Walpurgisnacht in Faust to behold the real pandemonium of the Northern man, as in Milton he may find that of the dweller amid fiery deserts and volcanoes. That labyrinth of vales, crossed with wild crag and furious torrent, is the natural scenery to surround the orgies of the phantoms which flit from the uncultured brain to uncultured nature. Elsewhere in Goethe's great poem, Mephistopheles pits against the philosophers the popular theory of the rugged remnants of chaos in nature, and the obstacles before which man is powerless.
Faust. For me this mountain mass rests nobly dumb ;
. The summit and abyss her pleasure made,
Mountain to mountain, rock to rock she laid;
Mephistopheles. So say ye It seems clear as noon to ye,
The great American poet made his pilgrimage to the mountain so beautiful in the distance, thinking to find there the men of equal elevation. Did not Milton describe Freedom as “a mountain nymph 2'
To myself I oft recount
* Faust, ii. Act 4 (Hayward's Translation).
Like wise preceptor, lure his eye To sound the science of the sky. But instead of finding there the man using those crags as a fastness to fight pollution of the mind, he searched the region round And in low hut my monarch found: He was no eagle, and no earl;Alas ! my foundling was a churl,
With heart of cat and eyes of bug,
Ruskin has the same gloomy report to make of the mountaineers of Europe. ‘The wild goats that leap along those rocks have as much passion of joy in all that fair work of God as the men that toil among them. Perhaps more.’ ‘Is it not strange to reflect that hardly an evening passes in London or Paris but one of those cottages is painted for the better amusement of the fair and idle, and shaded with pasteboard pines by the scene-shifter ; and that good and kind people,_poetically minded,— delight themselves in imagining the happy life led by peasants who dwell by Alpine fountains, and kneel to crosses upon peaks of rock 2 that nightly we lay down our gold to fashion forth simulacra of peasants, in gay ribbons and white bodices, singing sweet songs and bowing gracefully to the picturesque crosses; and all the while the veritable peasants are kneeling, songlessly, to veritable crosses in another temper than the kind and fair audiences dream of, and assuredly with another kind of answer than is got out of the opera catastrophe.”
The writer remembers well the emphasis with which a poor woman at whose cottage he asked the path to the Natural Bridge in Virginia said, ‘I don't know why so many people come to these rocks; for my part, give me a
* “Emerson's Poems. Monadnoc.” * “Modern Painters,’ Part V. 19.