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toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward } people who colonised these villages preall the land of the plain, and beheld ; and {pared the asphaltus, and carried on a lo, the smoke of the country went up as useful trade in it. the smoke of a furnace."

The arid and burning desart, extending These five towns, Sodom, Gomorrah, } from Segor to the territory of Jerusalem, Zeboin, Adamah, and Segor, must then produces balm and aromatic herbs, for the have been situated on the borders of the same reason that it supplies naptha, cor Dead Sea. How, it will be asked, in a rosive salt and sulphur. desart so uninhabitable as it now is, It is said that petrifaction takes place where there are to be found only a few } in this desart with astonishing rapidity; hordes of plundering Arabs, could there and this, according to soine natural philobe five cities, so opulent as to be immersed sophers, makes the petrifaction of Lot's in luxury, and even in those shameful wife Edith a very plausible story, pleasures which are the last effect of the But it is said that this woman, “having refinement of the debauchery attached to looked back, became a pillar of salt.” wealth? It may be answered, that the This, then, was not a natural petrifaction, country was then much better.

operated by asphaltus and salt, but an Other critics will say-how could five evident miracle. Flavius Josephus says, towns exist at the extremities of a lake, that he saw this pillar. St. Justin and the water of which, before their destruc- St. Irenæus speak of it as a prodigy, tion, was not potable? The Scripture } which in their time was still existing, itself informs us, that all this land was These testimonies have been looked asphaltic before the burning of Sodom; } upon as ridiculous fables. It would, "And the vale of Sodom was full of however, be very natural for some Jews slime-pits ; and the kings of Sodom and } to amuse themselves with cutting a hean Gomorrah fled, and fell there.

of asphaltus into a rude figure, and calling Another objection is also started. } it Lot's wife. I have seen cisterns of Isaiah and Jeremiah say, that Sodom asphaltus, very well made, which may and Gomorrah shall never be rebuilt: } last a long time. But it must be owned but Stephen, the geographer, speaks of that St. Irenæus goes a little too far when Sodom and Gomorrah on the coast of { he says, that Lot's wife remained in the the Dead Sea; and the History of the country of Sodom no longer in corrupliCouncils mentions bishops of Sodom ble flesh, but as a permanent statue of and Segor.

salt, her feminine nature still producing To this it may be answered, that God the ordinary effects :-"Uxor remansit filled these towns, when rebuilt, with less in Sodomis, jam non caro corruptibilis guilty inhabitants; for at that time there } sed statua salis semper manens, et per was no bishop in partibus.

naturalia ea quæ sunt consuetudinis hoBut, it will be said, with what water minis ostendens." could these new inhabitants quench their St. Irenæus does not seem to express thirst? all the wells are brackish ; you himself with all the precision of a good find asphaltus and corrosive salt on first naturalist, when he says, Lot's wife is no striking a spade into the ground. longer of corruptible flesh, but still re

It will be answered that some Arabs tains her feminine nature. still subsist there, and may be habituated

In the poem of Sodom, attributed to to drinking very bad water ; that the Tertullian, this is expressed with still Sodi m and Gomorrah of the Eastern { greater energyEmpire were wretched hamlets; and that

Dicitur et vivens alio sub corpore sexûs, at ti at time there were many bishops

Miriticè solito dispungere sanguine menses. whose whole diocese consisted in a poor This was translated by a poet of Henry village. It may also be said, that the {II.'s time, in his Gaulish style

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Saepe lupum fieri Moerim, et se condere silvis.

La feinme à Loth, gooique sel devenue,

Arabic; for he was probably a man Est femme cacor ; car elle a sa menstrue.

turned into an ass by the power of BacThe land of aromatics was also the chus, and Bacchus, we know, was an sand of fables. Into the desarts of Arabia Arab. Petræa the ancient mythologists pretend

Virgil speaks of the transformation of that Myrrha, the grand-daughter of a } Mæris into a wolf, as a thing of very statue, fled after committing incest with

ordinary occurrence her father, as Lot's daughters did with theirs, and that she was metamorphosed Oft changed to wolf, he seeks the forest shade. into the tree which bears myrrh. Other Was this doctrine of metamorphoses profound mythologists assure us, that she derived from the old fables of Egypt, Aed into Arabia Felix; and this opinion which gave out that the gods had changed is as well supported as the other. themselves into animals, in the war

Be this as it may, not one of our tra- against the giants ? vellers has yet thought fit to examine the The Greeks, great imitators and imsoil of Sodom, with its asphaltus, its salt, provers of the Oriental fables, metamorits trees and their fruits, to weigh the phosed almost all the gods into men or water of the lake, to analyse it, to ascer- into beasts, to make them succeed the tain whether bodies of greater specific | better in their amorous designs. gravity than common water float upon its If the gods changed themselves into surface, and to give us a faithful account ( bulls, horses, swans, doves, &c.; why of the natural history of the country. I should not men have undergone the same Our pilgrims to Jerusalem do not care { operation ? to go and make these researches : this Several commentators, forgetting the desart has become infested by wandering respect due to the Holy Scriptures, have Arabs, who range as far as Damascus, cited the example of Nebuchadnezzar iind retire into the caverns of the moun- changed into an ox; but this was a mitains—the authority of the pacha of Da- }racle—a divine vengeance-a thing quite nascus having hitherto been inadequate out of the course of nature, which ought 10 repress them. Thus the curious have not to be examined with profane eyes, very little information about anything and cannot become an object of our reconcerning the Asphaltic Lake.

searches. As to Sodom, it is a melancholy re- Others of the learned, perhaps with flection for the learned that, among so } equal indiscretion, avail themselves of many who may be deemed natives, not what is related in the Gospel of the Inone has furnished us with any notion { fancy. An Egyptian maiden having enwhatever of this capital city.

tered the chamber of some women, saw

there a mule with a silken cloth over his ASS.

back, and an ebony pendant at his neck. We will add a little to the article Ass These women were in tears, kissing in the Encyclopedia, concerning Lucian's } him and giving him to eat. Tle mule Ass, which became golden in the hands was their own brother. Some sorceresses of Apuleius. The pleasantest part of the had deprived him of the human figure: adventure, however, is in Lucian ;-that but the Master of Nature soon restored it. a lady fell in love with this gentleman Although this gospel is apocryphal, while he was an ass, but would have no- the very name which it bears prevents us thing inore to say to him when he was from examining this adventure in detail ; but a man. These metamorphoses was only it may serve to show how much very common throughout antiquity. Si- metamorphoses were in vogue almost lenus' Ass had spoken; and the learned throughout the earth. The Christians, have thought that he explained himself in who composed this gospel, were

un

doubtedly honest men. They did not so extravagant yet so general an opinion. seek to fabricate a romance, they related If some father said to his son, sunk in with simplicity, what they had heard. į ignorance and filthy debauchery, you are The church, which afterwards rejected į a hoy, a horse, or an ass, and afterwards this gospel, together with forty-nine { made him do penance with an ass's cap others, did not accuse its authors of im- on his head, and some servant-girl of the piety and prevarication : those obscure neighbourhood gave it out that this young individuals addressed the populace in { man had been turned into an ass as a language conformable with the prejudices į punishment for his faults, her neighbours of the age in which they lived. China would repeat it to other neighbours, and was perhaps the only counuy exempt from from mouth to mouth this story, with a these superstitions.

thousand embellishments, would make The adventure of the companions of the tour of the world. An ambiguous Ulysses, changed into beasts by Circe, expression would suffice to deceive the was much more ancient than the dogma whole earth. of the metempsychosis, broached in Greece Here then let us confess, with Boileau, and Italy by Pythagoras.

that ambiguity has been the parent of On what can the assertion be founded, most of our ridiculous follies. that there is no universal error which is Add to this the power of magic, which not the abuse of some truth; that there has been acknowledged as indisputable have been quacks only because there in all nations, and you will no longer be have been true physicians ; and that false astonished at anything. prodigies have been believed, only be- One word more on asses.

It is said, cause there have been true ones?

that in Mesopotamia they are warlike, and Were there any certain testimonies that that Mervan, the twenty-first caliph, was men had become wolves, oxen, horses, or surnamed the Ass, for his valour. asses? This universal error had for its The patriarch Photius relates, in the principle only the love of the marvellous extract from the Life of Isidorus, that and the natural inclination to superstition. { Ammonius had an ass which had a great

One erroneous opinion is enough to fill { taste for poetry, and would leave his the whole world with fables. An Indian manger to go and hear verses. doctor sees that animals have feeling and The fable of Midas is better than the memory. He concludes that they have tale of Photius. a soul. Men have one likewise. What becomes of the soul of man after death?

Machiavel's Golden Ass. What becomes of that of the beast? They Machiavel's Ass is but little known. must go somewhere. They go into the { The dictionaries which speak of it say, nearest body that is beginning to be that it was a production of his youth : it formed. The soul of a Brahmin takes up { would seem, however, that he was of its abode in the body of an elephant, the mature age ; for he speaks in it of the soul of an ass in thai of a little Brahmin. misfortunes which he had formerly and Such is the dogma of the metempsychosis, { for a long time experienced. The work which was built upon simple deduction. is a satire on his contemporaries. The

But it is a wide step from this dogma author sees a number of Florentines, of to that of metamorphosis. We have no whom one is changed into a cat, another longer a soul without a tenement, seeking into a dragon, a third into a dog that a lodging; but one body changed into bays the moon, a fourth into a fox who another, the soul remaining as before. does not suffer himself to be caught:

Now, we certainly have not in nature each character is drawn under the name any example of such legerdemain. of an animal. The factions of the house

Let us then enquire into the origin of of Medicis and their enemies, are double

Adventabit asinus,

less figured therein ; and the key to this } bly might be an old ass in the neighbourcomic apocalypse would admit us to the hood of Verona, on whose back the secrets of Pope Leo and the troubles of populace remarked a finer cross than his Florence. This poem is full of morality }brethren could boast of: some good old and philosophy. 'It ends with the very woman would be at hand to say, that this rational reflections of a large hog, which was the ass on which Christ rode into addresses man in nearly the following Jerusalem: and the ass would be hoterms:

noured with a magnificent funeral. The Ye naked bipeds, without beaks or craws,

feast established at Verona passed into Harriess, and featherless, and tender-hided,

other countries, and was especially celeWeeping ye come into the world-because Ye feel your evil destiny decided :

brated in France. In the mass was Nature has given you industrious paws;

You, like the parrots, are with speech provided : sung-
But bave ye honest hearts ? - Alas! alas !

Orientis partibus
In this we swipe your bip.dship: surpass !
Man is far worse than we-more fierce, more wild-

Pulcher et fortissimus
Coward or madman, sinoing every minute ;
By frenzy and by rear in turn beguiled,

There was a long procession, headed
He dreads the grave, yet plunges headlong in it:
If pigs fall out, they soon are reconciled :

by a young woman with a child in her Their quarrel s ended ere they well begin it. arms mounted on an ass, representing the If crime with manhood always must combine, Good Lord, let me for ever be a swine.

Virgin Mary going into Egypt. At the This is the original of Boileau's Satire end of the pass the priest, instead of on Man, and La Fontaine's fable of the saying Ite missa est, brayed three times Companions of Ulysses; but it is very } with all his might, and the people anlikely that neither La Fontaine nor Boi- swered iu chorus. leau had ever heard of Machiavel's Ass. We have books on the feast of the Ass,

and the feast of Fools : they furnish maThe Ass of Verona.

terials towards a universal history of the I must speak the truth, and not de- } human mind, ceive my readers. I do not very clearly ASSASSIN-ASSASSINATION. know whether the Ass of Verona still

SECTION I. exists in all his splendour; but the tra. vellers who saw him forty or fifty years A NAME corrupted from the word ayo agree in saying, that the relics were Ehissessin. Nothing is more common to inclosed in the body of an artificial ass those who go into a distant country than made on purpose, which was in the keep- ; to write, repeat, and understand incoring of forty monks of Our Lady of the rectly in their own language what they Organ, at Verona, and was carried in have misunderstood in a language entirely procession twice a year. This was one foreign to them, and afterwards to deceive of the most ancient relics of the town. their countrymen as well as themselves. According to the tradition, this ass, having Error flies from mouth to mouth, from carried our Lord in his entry into Jeru- pen to pen, and to destroy it requires salem, did not choose to abide any longer ages. in that city, but trotted over the sea- In the time of the crusades, there was which for that purpose became as hard as a wretched little people of mountaineers his hoof–hy way of Cyprus, Rhodes, inhabiting the caverns near the road to Candia, Malta, and Sicily. There he Damascus. These brigands elected a went to sojourn at Aquilea; and at last chief, whom they named Cheik Elchashe settled at Verona, where he lived a sissin. It is said that this honorific title long while.

of cheik originally signified old, as with This fable originated in the circum- us the title of seigneur comes from senior, stance, that most asses have a sort of elder, and the word graf, a count, signiblack cross on their backs. There possi- {fies old among the Germans ; for, in ancient times, almost every people con- ders' vessel ready to convey them in an ferred the civil command upon the old amicable manner, and the two last must men. Afterwards, the command having have found another. become hereditary, the title of cheik, graf, However, a hundred authors, one after seigneur, or count, has been given to another, have related this adventure, children; and the Germans call a little though Joinville, a contemporary, who master of four years old, the Count - was on the spot, says nothing about it.that is, the old gentleman.

Et voilà justement comme on écrit l'histoire. The crusaders named the old man of

The Jesuit Maimbourg, the Jesuit the Arabian mountains, the Old Man of the Hill , and imagined him to be a great rai—though he was not a Jesuit-have

Daniel, twenty other Jesuits, and Mézeprince, because he had caused a Count of Montserrat and some other crusading in his llistory of France, tells it over again

repeated this absurdity. The Abbé Véli, nobles to be robbed and murdered on the with perfect complaisance, without any highway. These people were called the assussins, and their cheik the king of the

discussion, without any examination, and

on the word of one William of Nangis, vast country of the assassins. This vast

who wrote about sixty years after this territory is five or six leagues long by two or three broad, being part of Anti-Liba- time when history was composed from

fine affair is said to have happened, at a nus, a horrible country, full of rocks, like almost all Palestine, but intersected by

nothing but town talk.

If none but true and useful things pleasant meadow-lands, which feed nuinerous flocks, as it is attested by all who livraries would be reduced to a very nar

were recorded, our immense historical have made the journey from Aleppo to Damascus.

row compass; but we should know more,

and know it better. The cheik or senior of these assussins could be nothing more than a chief of {been told over and over again, of the Old

For six hundred years the story has banditti; for there was at that time a

Man of the Hill (le vieur de la montagne) soldan of Damascus who was very pow-} who, in his delightful gardens, intoxicated erful. Our romance-writers of that day, as

his young elect with voluptuous pleafond of chimeras as the crusaders, thought in paradise, and sent them to the ends or

gures, made them believe that they were proper to relate that, in 1236, this great the earth to assassinate kings in order to prince of the assassins, fearing that Louis Íx. of whom he had never heard, would

merit an eternal paradise. put himself at the head of a crusade, and come and take from him his territory, Not that he owned enormous heaps of gold, sent two great men of his court from the

But on his people's minds he things impressed, caverns of Anti-Libanus to Paris, to as- Which filled with desperate courage every breast.

The boldest of his subjects first he took, sassinate that king; but that having the of paradise to give them a foretastenext day heard how generous and ami

The paradise his lawgiver had painted :

With every joy the lying prophet's book able a prince Louis was, he immediately Within his falsely-pictured heaven bad placed,

They thought their senses had become acquainted. sent out to sea two more great men to countermand the assassination :-I say,

Of this they drank till every sense gave way,

Ard, while in drunken lethargy th y las, out to sea : for neither the two emissaries Were boroe, according to their chiel s design, sent to kill Louis, nor the two others sent

To sports of pleasant ness-to sunshine glades,

Delightful gardens and inviting shades. to save him, could make the voyage with- Young tender beauties were abundant there,

In earliest bloom, and exquisitely fair; out embarking at Joppa, which was then

These gaily thronged around the sleeping men, in the power of the crusaders, which ren- Who, when at length they were awake again,

Wondering to see ihe beauteous objects round, ders the enterprise doubly marvellous.

Those fields of bliss, in every beauty decked, The two first must have found a crusa- The false Mahomet promised his elect.

Near the Levantine slores there dwelt of uld
An aged ruler, feared in every land:

Not that vast armies marched at his comminand,

And how was this effected? "Twas by wine ;

Beli ved that some way they'd already found

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