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the Po is called, by Virgil, king of rivers. Foe in Chinese betokens wet, as Fo in the Irish word foal, water. This river has three sources 2, but one alone is called the Po, which, like the Ganges, bursts in a full stream from the side of a high mountain, anciently called Mons Vesulus, now Monte Vizo, which is full as great a change as that of Fo from Bud or Phut. It is remarkable that the Ligurian interpretation of Bodincus was bottomless3, and a similar meaning may be assigned to Vesul: for Sul in Chaldee is bottom 4; and Ve, in the composition of Latin words, sometimes means without. Thus Vecors is without understanding, and Vesanus without sanity. The meaning of the name, therefore, may have been transferred from the hill to the stream which flowed from it, in the same way as the name itself has been transferred, in another instance, from the hill to the city built upon it. Vesoul, a French city, in the department of the Upper Saone, stands upon a Mons Vesulus, the base of which is washed by a rivulet. The same word, however, will bear another meaning, equally pertinent to this inquiry; for
1 Vallancey, Collect. de Reb. Hibern. iii. 139.
2 Padus a jugis Alpium fusus ex tribus fontibus oritur, ex quibus uni vocabulum est Podus. Isidorus, Originum, 1. xiii. c. xxi.
3 Fundo cavens. Pliny, iii. 16. M. Bullet says, that in Gaulic Bod is bottom, and enc, or inc, without.— Mem. sur le Lang. Celt. i. 447.
5 Ve particula tum intensionem significat, tum minutionem. Aulus Gellius, l. xvi. c. v.
6 Vecors et Vesanus privationem significant cordis et saniatis. Macrob. Sat. 1. vi. c. viii.
from the same root an Arabic word is formed, which signifies a stone lifted up', and also the first month of the year; and since grammarians say that Ve in composition is intensive as well as privative, the whole word may have signified, originally, the rock which was left bare by the waters in the first month; in the same way as Vesuvius is, probably, the burning mountain, from a Syriac word Shub, signifying to burn.2 The Ve, however, may have borne a more important sense, if it can be allowed to have had a common origin with two Celtic words; for Fou in Welsh, and Vou or Vau in Cornish, signify a cave. But if a recent author is to be trusted, there is yet another sense of that little word, still more to the purpose; "The Persians, it is stated, used to prefix the syllable Veh, sacred, to their rivers." If this be so, the meaning of Vesul will be the sacred rock. But Bodincus also is capable of another interpretation, and may mean, the young Budh 4, who, when he left the ark,
1 Under the root, Castell gives the Arabic nouns Shiwal and Shewal, Lapis qui extollitur, and Mensis decimus, primus Arabum.
If Paisana, the name of the town near the source of the Po, be no modern invention, but a remnant of antiquity, it may be supposed that the river was once called Pison, i. e. the Ganges, for so that river was interpreted by Eusebius and Jerome; and the oriental origin of the natives is shown in their name Taurini. The inhabitants of Paisana were indeed called Vibienses by the Romans, which may have implied the people of Bud or Bo.
3 Lardner's Cabinet Cyclopædia, Geography, p. 83.
4 Incus from infans: one of the Arabic names for Noah is Inguc. Inachus has probably the same origin.
was supposed to have been born again, and commenced another avatar, notwithstanding the Ligurian interpretation given by Pliny; for probably he knew nothing about it, and was easily satisfied with any explanation which tended to magnify "the king of rivers." This very title, however, must have been derived from some other cause than its magnitude: for what is the Po compared with the Rhine, or the Rhone, or the Danube, all rivers well known to the Romans? much less was its importance sufficient to exalt it to the heavenly sphere; and whatever might be the partiality of Italians for their largest river, if the figure of Eridanus had been drawn by the astronomers of Greece from the river Po, they would have hardly assigned to it a situation south of the equator, and reaching almost to the antarctic circle, where it never could be seen by the inhabitants either of Italy or Greece. The astronomical poet Aratus calls that constellation "the remnant of Eridanus, the stream of many tears." If Eridanus be nothing more than the river Po, these words have no meaning: but if it be a vestige of the deluge, a memorial of that woful catastrophe, the description is significant and forcible. Ovid makes Phaeton, when the course of nature was disturbed by his driving the chariot of the sun, fall into the river Po: he refers to some vague tradition of a day of entire darkness
1 Λείψανον Ἠριδανοῖο πολυκλαύστου ποταμοῖο. Arat. Phænom. p. 47. Ox. 1672.
at that time, and describes the waters quenching the three-cleft flame that consumed him. Why was the Po selected for this purpose? Why not the Adriatic, or the Mediterranean, if it were not a type of something greater than either? And why should the flame be trifid? It is no character of fire; and though lightning is said to be forked, no one imagines it to be three-pointed. But the Indian Meru, or Ararat, was divided into three peaks, which were immersed under the deluge: if it had not been for the stubbornness of a tradition which he did not understand, there was reason enough for his keeping clear of the Po. Amber was said to come from the Po; and accordingly he is forced to metamorphose into amber the tears of Phaeton's sisters, dropping from Italian poplars into its waters; and yet he must have known perfectly well, that not a particle of amber is to be found in the Hesperian river of that name. Herodotus explains this difficulty: he had heard that Eridanus flowed into the northern ocean: any great river might bear that name as a type of the deluge; but perhaps it was the Baltic, and the Veneti who dwelt there collected the amber, which they carried to the Veneti of the Adriatic, who sold it to the Greeks; and so it came to be concluded, that the Padus of Italy was the Eridanus from which the amber
came; but Ovid must have known better. Nevertheless, since Eridanus in the heavenly sphere flows from the foot of Orion, I cannot but suspect that the true name is, by a very slight transposition of the letters, Bodicnus', signifying, like the Sree Padum, on the high peak of Ceylon, called Samanella, the sacred footstep of Buddha, for another name of this river is Padus, and Pad2 in Sanscrit is a foot. It is not a local superstition, nor confined to India, for there was one of these impressions at Mecca before Islamism prevailed: in the time of Herodotus there was one near Tyras, on the banks of the Syros or Dniester; another, on the authority of a Hindoo traveller, near the northwest corner of the Chinese wall, and memorials of the same kind have been found on the banks of the Ohio. At Chemmis, in Egypt, the priests of the temple of Perseus showed what was said to be the mark of his foot, two cubits in length: at Ponoodang, the stone is six feet in length, and three wide. That the foot bears the name of the
1 The X of Bod; the right spelling, therefore, would be Bodichnus.
2 From Pad comes pes, TOUS. Colonel Franklin remarked round the summit of the Pars'wanat'ha mountain twenty small Jain temples, in shape very much resembling an extinguisher (i. e. conical), and containing Vasu'pa'dukas or sacred feet.-Trans. As. Soc. ii. 530. 3 L. iv. c. 82.
4 Perseus, as well as Hercules and Mercury, was the son of Jupiter Picus, i. e. the Peak, and named Tarsus ἐκ τοῦ κρησμοῦ τοῦ ἰδίου αὐτοῦ ποδός. Malal. Hist. Chron. 43. The name of the mountain was sometimes transferred to the priest of the mountain. Thus Bogdo is the name of a mountain in the Steppes of Tartary and of the Grand Lama of Thibet. The Dalai Lama lives in a temple on Mount Putala.-Zwick and Schill. Account of Calmuc Tartary, 1831.