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The natural deductions from the existence of such a document bear apparently with equal force against the Gallic theory and the Trojan of one of Geoffry of Monmouth. The manners and customs, too, of the early Britons, and the names of their gods, would point us rather to Phænicia than to Troy, as the place from which the colonists originally came. Considering, however, that at least the machinery of the Illiad must be Homer's own, and that the worship and superstitions of the Trojans, at the time that event took place, must bear much closer resemblance to these originally extant among the Hammonians, (from which the Greek mythologies arose) than he has made them appear ; considering, moreover, that two of the most erudite men of modern times, Jacob Bryant and Herbert, the author of “ Nimrod, or some Passages of History and Fable,” have come to the conclusion that all the traditions of Troy and its ten years' siege may be referred to Babel, as my purpose is not to lay down dogmas, but to institute an inquiry, I shall not condemn the. Monmouth Chronicler unheard, any more than I shall his Gallic opponents. I am the more inclined to show this lenity to Geoffry, because most historians pass over his records with nothing more than a sneer; and because most of the objections brought against him are not, if well considered, so valid as at first sight they appear to be.
It is brought as an accusation against Geoffry's records, that he is the first of our annalists who makes mention of Brute, or Brutus, the grandson of Eneas. But if his book be, as he relates, chiefly a manuscript brought out of Wales, by Walter, Archdeacon of Exeter, that is not to be wondered at, after the destruction of British literature, in all but the northern and western parts of the island, by the Romans. It is objected, too, that the silence of the Roman historians concerning Brutus, the son of Sylvius Eneas, if he had, as related in our annals, been exiled from Latinum for accidentally killing his father, would be wholly unpardonable. It must be remembered, however, that the Latin annals were as obscure to the historians of Rome, at the time they wrote, as the British are to us at the present day. This, the fables and monstrous mythological statements they have made, are sufficient to demonstrate. Nor are their dark annals without some tradition concerning a Brutus, who is not mentioned in them ; for it is clearly stated that when the wife of Tarquin gave that name to Lucius Junius, it was given as one rendered infamous. It is objected also against Geoffry, that when Cæsar invaded Britain, he found it in a very different state from what his records would
have led us to suppose ; and that, instead of the southern part being governed by one monarch, it was divided into many petty principalities. The records, however, from which that historian, or fable-writer--whichever he may be—has drawn so largely, appear to be almost confined, especially in the latter part of it, to the nation of the Trinovaunts, with only occasional allusions to the neighbouring states. There is, moreover, for many generations before the invasion of Cæsar, so little said, as to leave room for the subdivision of the island, the settling of other colonists, and the narrowing of the boundaries of Trinovantine rule, without in any way contradicting a single passage. Or even supposing the chronology to apply to the whole island, the kings mentioned may be the heads or vergobreti. Neither does it seem to me quite logical to allow Cæsar so full a knowledge of our country by what he could gather during a military campaign, as to render his testimony perfectly conclusive. We should not suppose, in the present day, that the account of Pizarro, had he written one of his American expedition, was sufficient to overthrow the Royal Commentaries of Peru. As to the matter that Cæsar found the Britons in too barbarous a state to admit of their being a colony from the east, it must be remembered that a thousand years had passed between the supposed landing of Brute and the invasion of Julius Cæsar; and also, that the Romans termed all people barbarians whose manners and customs differed from their own, as they themselves were in turn termed barbarians by the Greeks.
The last objection against our chronicler it may be needful to notice is, that at the time of the Romish invasion, the language of the Gauls and Britons was very much the same. This, however, seems almost a gratuitous assertion, as there is evidence enough in being that the Britons themselves did not all speak one language. The Roman historians might take the idea from some of the maratime nations lately settled on the coast, which living tradition, in their time, stated the Belgians to have done. But even granting that this was true of the whole island, a thousand years' intercourse between nations who had no grammar or lexicon to refer to as a standard, might bring about a resemblance in language, especially as Britain was at that time the academy of the west. Nor does there seem any necessity even for this supposition if we take other traditions into consideration ; for the Gauls and Germans declared themselves to be descendants from Francus, a son of Hector; and though all the northern tribes of Europe, who have since possessed themselves of nearly its whole extent, were evidently of the race of Japhet, to whom God, in the prophecy of Noah, had promised eventual enlargement and dominion ; yet most of its maratime nations trace their origin to the “noble stock of Troy the Great."
Having thus generally introduced my subject, and by way of palliation entered into a slight defence of the Monmouth historian, I will now state the plan upon which I intend to conduct the inquiry (for I would rather call it an inquiry than a dissertation) which these papers will embrace. I shall first notice the records of the Trojan dynasty, giving illustrations from independent sources. Next I shall give the few Celtic and Samothean traditions which have been handed down to us, with the best evidence which has been brought forward of a Gallic origin. Thirdly, I shall inquire into the manners and customs, and religious observances of the Britons, to see how far these accord with either of the two theories, or point us to an origin distinct from both : and then humbly endeavour to draw my own conclusions.
(To be continued in our next.)
Our Only Pilot.
My Saviour be thou near me
Through life's night,
Be my light.
Where all is bright.
Ob, thro’ time's swelling ocean
Be my guide,
Hide, oh, hide.
On that calm tide.
The Mansion House.
BY J. J. BRITTON.
Fair and well builded seemed the mansion; its height and its length, however, ye might not tell, for the huge trees on the forest-borders bent their dark clouds of foliage downwards, and shrouded it.
Covered in part was the face of its stone-work with creeping plants, and well were their green depths lighted up by the many-hued flowers. And over the numerous portals where the flowers and the leaves were thickest, they twined quaintly into the likeness of a word—“LIFE.”
A crowd of spirits newly alighted from heaven stood waiting to enter the dwelling at the opening of those portals.
One by one the bars fell to the ground, and one by one the spirit-crowd passed inwards. And in the far distance, as they passed, might be seen, sailing downwards like a flock of sun-tinted cloudlets, another host of spirits, bright as the departed, coming · in their turn to enter the Mansion-house.
There were numerous suites of rooms, and each doorway opened upon a single suite; and crossing them were long, wide corridors ; the rooms upon the far side of which were dark, and on the near side were smiling in light.
The Genii of the Past had taken up his stand in the first of these corridors; and the spirits that had entered the Mansion but as an hour ago, came singly out from the chambers of light. Stayed were they as they came by the past-guardian, and he waved his thin hand towards the dim future with a shudder, and stretched out his arm before them and bade them to pause.
Foremost of those came a young girl, ripe, healthy, happylooking, and innocent.
Spake the Genii, gazing upon the damsel with a human love :
“Oh! maiden, pass not, the halls of the future are shadowcumbered; oh, return, return, through the rooms of light, through the scenes that have painted the bloom on thy young fresh face ; surely they were pleasant, most pleasant !”
And the maiden cast down her bright eyes, and wreathing her white arms before her, thought for a moment. Raising up her face, flushed with pleasure, she turned as if to re-enter the hinder rooms; ere, however, she had taken a single step, the light of joy had given place to the dark cast of sorrow, and her blue eyes shone bluer through their tears. Covering up her face in her fair hands, she turned quickly to the darkness.
" Then wilt thou not return?”. “Oh, heaven, no !”
“And why ?—Tell me thy tale, and I will weigh thy good with thine evil for thee, well.”
And the girl (as she best might between her sobbing and her tears-falling) began her story, and said :
“When first I passed through my flower-wrought portal, the rooms were light and pleasant, and the floor was spread with toys and baubles for childhood, -and they were mine, and I had playmates of my own age in plenty; but my dearest playmate-my closest friend—was far older than I, and her mild eyes lighted up when mine sparkled, and her cheery laugh rang out when I was merry in play-and she would call me to her and curl my hair round her fingers, and dismiss me again with a kiss and a blessing.–And they said she was my mother ; and there was nothing to stay my mirth but a tale that she would tell me sometimes of a man whose portrait was upon her breast, and for whose sake she wore her crape so constantly,—and she called him my father."
The tears fell fast.
" Dark seemed the onward rooms I entered them and they lightened. Music and song surrounded me—frolic and school-day thoughtlessness. I passed on still—and on and on—when suddenly, in a nook in these happy chambers, bounding in school-girl health, I came,”—fast, faster, fell the warm tears,—“ I came—to a window that was shrouded from the light, as I had seen no window before, and near it, on a table hung with black, there was placed a coffin ; and I saw an old dear face therein, known by my heart even in its haggard stillness. And—and my mother praised no more my school-progress, and my brow was a stranger to her evening kiss, and I heard no more tales of my father from her.