« 上一頁繼續 »
custome. But other incinerable substances were
That Bay-leaves were found green in the Tomb of S. Humbert,2 after an hundred and fifty years, was looked upon as miraculous. Remarkable it was unto old Spectators, that the Cypresse of the temple of Diana, lasted so many hundred years: The wood of the Ark and Olive Rod of Aaron, were older at the Captivity. But the Cypresse of the Ark of Noah, was the greatest vegetable Antiquity, if Josephus were not deceived, by some fragments of it in his dayes. To omit the Moore-logs and firre-trees found under-ground in many parts of England ; the undated ruines of windes, flouds, or earthquakes ; and which in Flanders still shew from what quarter they fell, as generally lying in a North-East position.
But though we found not these peeces to be Wood, according to first apprehension, yet we missed not altogether of some woody substance; For the bones were not so clearly pickt but some coals were found
amongst them; A way to make wood perpetuall, and en a fit associat for metall whereon was laid the founda
tion of the great Ephesian Temple, and which were made the lasting tests of old boundaries and Landmarks. Whilest we look on these, we admire not Observations of Coals found fresh, after four hundred years. In a long-deserted habitation 5 even egg-shells have been found fresh, not tending to corruption.
In the Monument of King Childerick the Iron
1 Plin. l. xvi. Inter žúra åsarn numerat Theophrastus. 3 Gorop. Becanus in Niloscopio. • Of Beringuccio nella pyrotechnia. 5 At Elmham.
Reliques were found all rusty and crumbling into peeces. But our little Iron pins which fastened the Ivory works, held well together, and lost not their Magneticall quality, though wanting a tenacious moisture for the firmer union of parts, although it be hardly drawn into fusion, yet that metall soon submitteth unto rust and dissolution. In the brazen peeces we admired not the duration, but the freedome from rust, and ill savour; upon the hardest attrition, but now exposed unto the piercing atomes of ayre; in the space of a few moneths, they begin to spot and betray their green entrals. We conceive not these Urnes to have descended thus naked as they appear, or to have entred their graves without the old habit of flowers. The Urne of Philopæmen was so laden with flowers and ribbons, that it afforded no sight of itself. The rigid Lycurgus allowed Olive and Myrtle. The Athenians 'might fairly except against the practise of Democritus, to be buried up in honey; as fearing to embezzle a great commodity of their Countrey, and the best of that kinde in Europe. But Plato seemed too frugally politick, who allowed no larger Monument than would contain for Heroick Verses, and designed the most barren ground for sepulture: Though we cannot commend the goodnesse of that sepulchrall ground which was set at no higher rate then the mean salary of Judas. Though the earth had confounded the ashes of these Ossuaries, yet the bones were so smartly burnt, that some thin plates of brasse were found half melted among them: whereby we apprehend they were not of the meanest carcasses, perfunctorily fired as sometimes in military, and commonly in pestilence, burnings; or after the manner of abject corps, hudled forth and carelessly burnt, without the Esquiline Port at Rome ; which was an affront continued upon ‘Tiberius, while they but half burnt his body, and in the amphitheatre, according to the custome in notable Malefactors; whereas Nero seemed not so i
i Sueton, in vita Tib. Et in amphitheatro semiustulandum, not. Casaub.
much to feare his death as that his head should be cut off, and his body not burnt entire.
Some finding many fragments of sculs in these Urnes, suspected a mixture of bones; in none we searched was there cause of such conjecture, though sometimes they declined not that practise. The ashes of Domitianl were mingled with those of Julia, of Achilles with those of Patroclus : All Urnes contained not single ashes; Without confused burnings they affectionately compounded their bones ; passionately endeavouring to continue their living Unions. And when distance of death denied such conjunctions, un
satisfied affections, conceived some satisfaction to be te neighbours in the grave, to lye Urne by Urne, and
touch but in their names. And many were so curious to continue their living relations, that they contrived large, and family Urnes, wherein the Ashes of their nearest friends and kindred might successively be received, at least some parcels thereof, while their collaterall memorials lay in minor vessels about them.
Antiquity held too light thoughts from Objects of mortality, while some drew provocatives of mirth from Anatomies, 3 and Jugglers showed tricks with Skeletons. When Fidlers made not so pleasant mirth as Fencers, and men could sit with quiet stomacks, while hanging was plaied before them. Old considerations made few memento's by sculs and bones upon their monuments. In the Ægyptian Obelisks and Hieroglyphicall figures is not easie to meet with bones. The sepulchrall Lamps speak nothing lesse then sepulture; and in their literall draughts prove often obscene and
i Sueton, in vitâ Domitian.
? See the most learned and worthy Mr. M. Casaubon upon Antoninus.
3 Sic erimus cuncti, &c. Ergo dum vivimus vivamus. 4 'Ayúvov malfelv. A barbarous pastime at Feasts, when men stood upon a rolling Globe, with their necks in a rope, and a knife in their hands, ready to cut it when the stone was rolled away, wherein if they failed, they lost their lives to the laughter of their spectators. -Athenaus.
antick peeces: Where we finde D. M.1 it is obvious to meet with sacrificing patera's and vessels of libation, upon old sepulchrall Monuments. In the Jewish Hypogæum2 and subterranean Cell at Rome, was little observable beside the variety of Lamps, and frequent draughts of the holy Candlestick. In authentick draughts of Anthony and Jerome we meet with thighbones and deaths-heads; but the cemeterial Cels of ancient Christians and Martyrs, were filled with draughts of Scripture Stories; not declining the flourishes of Cypresse, Palmes, and Olive; and the mysticall Figures of Peacocks, Doves and Cocks. But iterately affecting the pourtraits of Enoch, Lazarus, Jonas, and the Vision of Ezechiel, as hopefull draughts, and hinting imagery of the Resurrection; which is the life of the grave, and sweetens our habitations in the Land of Moles and Pismires.
Gentile Inscriptions precisely delivered the extent of mens lives, seldome the manner of their deaths, which history itself so often leaves obscure in the records of memorable persons. There is scarce any Philosopher but dies twice or thrice in Laertius ; Nor almost any life without two or three deaths in Plutarch; which makes the tragicall ends of noble persons more favourably resented by compassionate Readers, who finde some relief in the Election of such differences.
The certainty of death is attended with uncertainties, in time, manner, places. The variety of Monuments hath often obscured true graves; and cenotaphs confounded Sepulchres. For beside their reall Tombs, many have found honorary and empty Sepulchres. The variety of Homers Monuments made him of various Countreys. Euripides 3 had his Tomb in Africa, but his sepulture in Macedonia. And Severus4 found his real Sepulchre in Rome, but his empty grave in Gallia.
1 Diis manibus.
He that lay in a golden Urne, eminently above the Earth, was not like to finde the quiet of these bones. Many of these Urnes were broke by a vulgar discoverer in hope of inclosed treasure. The ashes of Marcellus were lost above ground, upon the like account. Where profit bath prompted, no age hath wanted such miners. For which the most barbarous Expilators found the most civill Rhetorick. Gold once out of the earth is no more due unto it; What was unreaonably committed to the ground is reasonably resumed from it : Let Monuments and rich Fabricks, not Riches adorn mens ashes. The commerce of the living is not to be transferred unto the dead; It is not injustice to take that which none complains to lose, and no man is wronged where no man is possessor.
What virtue yet sleeps in this terra damnata and aged cinders, were petty magick to experiment; These crumbling reliques and long-fired particles superannate such expectations; Bones, hairs, nails, and teeth of the dead, were the treasures of old Sorcerers. In vain we revive such practices; present superstition too visibly perpetuates the folly of our Fore-fathers, wherein unto old Observations this Island was so complete, that it might have instructed Persia.
Plato's historian of the other world, lies twelve dayes incorrupted, while his soul was viewing the large stations of the dead. How to keep the corps seven dayes from corruption by anointing and washing, without exenteration, were an hazardable peece of art, in our choicest practise. How they made distinct separation of bones and ashes from fiery admixture, hath found no historicall solution. Though they seemed to make a distinct collection, and overlooked not Pyrrhus his toe. Some provision they might make by fictile Vessels, Coverings, Tiles, or flat stones,
2 Plut. in vit. Marcelli. The commission of the Gothish King Theodoric for finding out sepulchrall treasure.-Cassiodor. var. 1.4.
3 Britannia hodie cam attonitè celebrat tantis ceremoniis, ut dedisse Persis videri possit.-Plin. I. 29.