Page images

As to the sequel, it was ports once, instead of points; Mr. Pope, I think, first altered it, and Mr. Theobald followed him, but upon what authority I know not; but if this emendation be not warranted by any old edition, I should be for retaining ports, it being very good English to say, the wind blows such or such a port. Besides, as quarters follows, the word points seems to me to make a meer tautology, for I know no difference in respect of winds between quarters and points; I am sure we make none in common discourse, it being the same thing for us to say, the wind's in such a quarter, or in such a point. But one can make no very good sense of this passage as it now stands, with either of these readings; wherefore I suspect the rhymes have been transposed in copying, and that the whole ought to be restored thus;

I myself have all the other,
And the very* ports do know,
All the quarters that they blow

I'th' shipman's card. She has the other winds, she says, and what is moro knows the several ports they blow to, and all the quarters they blow from.

But to return now to what we were upon, viz. the dealings of magicians and enchanters with winds: “The Laplanders,” says Scheffer, “have a cord tied with knots for the raising of wind; they, as Ziegler relates it, tie their magical knots in this cord; when they untie the first there blows a favourable gale of wind; when the second, a brisker; when the third, the sea and wind grow mighty stormy, and tempestuous. This that we have reported concerning the Laplanders, is by Olaus Magnus, and justly related of the Finlanders, who border on the sea, and sell winds to those merchants that traffic with them, when they are at any time detained by a contrary one.”

Scheffer' thinks that whạt Ziegler relates of the Laplanders, does not, in fact, belong to them, but to the Finlanders of Norway, because no other writers mention it, and because the Laplanders live in an inland country. However, the method of selling winds is this: “They deliver a

An attempt has been made to change very into various, but there is no occasion for it. The sense is, my knowledge is so perfect and exact in this matter, that I know the very ports which the several winds blow. This is both very good sense, and very good Evglish.

small rope with three knots upon it, with this caution, that when they loose the first, they shall have a good wind; if the second, a stronger; if the third, such a storm will arise that they can neither see how to direct the ship and avoid rocks, or so much as stand upon the decks, or handle the tackling." He notes also another particular, not less extraordinary than their selling of winds. ““ Those,” says he, “that are skilled in this art, have command chiefly over the winds that blow at their birth, so that this wind obeys principally one man, that another, as if they obtained this power when they first received their birth.” Something of this, of one person's having power over one wind, and another over another, is evidently alluded to in the conversation of the witches in Macbeth, quoted above. These northern wizards pretended also to a power of stopping the course of ships; this, it seems, was attributed both to the Finlanders of Nora way and the Laplanders, who, according to the different affection they have for merchants, make the sea either calmer or more tempestuous*.

But, Sir, I shall now shew you, that these notions and practices were not confined to these northern parts only, but likewise extended to the more southern ones. Thus Pomponius Mela, who wrote in the reign of the Emperor Claudius, delivers, concerning a set of priestesses in the island of Sena, or the isle des Saints, on the coast of Gaul, “ Sena in Britannico mari Osismicis adversa littoribus, Gallici numinist oraculo insignis est: cujus antistites, perpetua virginitate sanctæ, numero novem esse traduntur: Barrigenas vocant, putantque ingeniis singularibus præditas, maria ac ventos concitare carminibus, seque in quæ velint animalia vertere, sanare quæ apud alios insanabilia sunt, scire ventura et prædicare: sed non nisi deditas navigantibus, et in id tantum ut se consulerent profectis;" which may be translated thus: “ The island of Sena, which lies in the British sea, opposite to the coast of the Osismici, is famous for an oracle of a Gaulish deity. The priestesses, who profess perpetual virginity, are said to be in number nine: they call them Barrigene, and esteem them to be endowed with very extraordinary qualities; such as troubling the sea, and

* Scheffer's Hist. of Lapland, p. 58.

f It is uncertain whether this means the Gallic deity, xat' i oxir or only a Gallic deity. I understood it in the latter sense, and small intimate in a future letter, that he was probably the God whoin the Gauls worshipped under the idea, and with the attributes of Bacchus.


raising the winds by their enchantments; transforrning themselves into whatever animals they please; curing disorders incurable by every body else, and knowing and foretelling things future. However, they are subservient only to seafaring people, and only to such of them as come on purpose to consult them.”

It is remarkable that they were thought not only able to disturb the sea, and raise the wind, as the Laplanders, or rather Finlanders, above, are supposed to be; but moreover, to be employed, as they were, chiefly in the service of navigators, which makes the resemblance more striking. A learned man thinks, and another great scholar assents to it, that the French word baragouin comes from the, mumblings and gibberish of these sorcerers, who were called Barrigenæ. But this shall be considered in another paper.

But there is an instance still more apposite than this: Ranulph Higden tells us in the Polychronicon, p. 195, that the witches in the Isle of Man, anciently sold winds to mariners, and delivered them in knots tied upon a thread, exactly as the Laplanders did. “In illa insula vigent sortilegia, superstitiones, atque præstigia, nam mulieres ibidem navigaturis ventum vendunt, quasi sub tribus fili nodis inclusum, ita ut sicut plus de vento habere voluerint plures nodos evolvant.”

This notion of confining and bestowing winds, is as ancient as it was extensive, for thus it is said of Æolus in the Odyssey,

The king with mighty gifts my suit approv'd;
The adverse winds in leathern bags he brac'd,
Compress’d their force, and lock'd each struggling blast;
These in my hollow ships the monarch hung
Securely fetter'd by a silver thong*.

Eustathius says, they who practised the art of incantation, or charms, made use of the skin of a dolphin, and pretended, by certain ceremonies, to bind or loose the winds as they pleased.t

. However, Ulysses's companions were so foolish, afterwards as to set these adverse winds at liberty. But there, is some difference between this case and those above-mentioned; Æolus, being king of the winds, was a proper power to dispose of them; and moreover, they were the adverse, or unfriendly winds that were imprisoned, whilst the favours

# Pope's Odyss. Lbi. x. 18. seq.

+ See the notes on Pope's Odysse

able ones were at liberty. Calypso, in other places of the Odyssey, is supposed to be able to confer favourable winds*. This approaches nearer to the cases of Lapland, and the Isle of Man, only it is not said that her winds were confined, as those of the witches and sorcerers of the north are supposed to be.

Our sailors, I am told, at this very day, I mean the vulgar sort of them, have a strange opinion of the devil's power and agency in stirring up winds, and that this is the reason they so seldom whistle on ship-board, esteeming that to be

mocking, and consequently an enraging of the devil. And it

appears now, that even Zoroaster himself imagined there was an evil spirit called Vato, that could excite violent storms of winds. But notwithstanding all this, God is said to bring the winds out of his treasures; it is also written, that at his word the stormy wind ariseth; so that the devil was formerly endeavouring to ape the divine omnipotency, in this particular as well as so many others. He is, indeed, called in scripture, the prince of the power of the airt, and it is wonderful to reflect how far and how wide, and how generally, he has propagated the false persuasion, that he and his instruments, witches and wizards, had it in their power to raise or abate, to change, to communicate, to sell and transfer, a wind.

Yours, &c. 1763, Jan.

T. Row.

XXXVI. A Passage in P. Mela considered.

MR. URBAN, THE Gauls, in Cæsar's time, were extremely addicted to superstition of all kinds, as he tells us, Lib. vi. de Bello Gall. Sect. 15. “Natio est omnis Gallorum, admodum dedita religionibus.". And so it seems they continued. The passage which I lately cited from Pomp. Mela iii. C. 6. being a fagrant instance of it; “Sena in Britannico mari Osismicis adversa litoribus, Gallici numinis oraculo insignis est: cujus Antistites, perpetua viginitate sanctæ, numero novem esse traduntur: Barrigenas vocant, putantque ingeniis singularibus præditus, maria ac ventos concitare carminibus, seque

* See Lib. V. 216, 341, and Lib. VII. 35.,

f Ephes. ii. %.

in quæ velint animalia vertere, sanare quæ apud alios insanabilia sunt, scire ventura et prædicare: sed non nisi deditas navigantibus, et in id tantum ut se consulerent profectis." But the word Barrigenas, which occurs in the neat edition of Abr. Gronovius, and is the reading of his father Jacob, and of Is. Vossius, stands, in my opinion, upon no solid bottom. The MSS. have Gallicenas, Galligenas; and from hence Is. Vossius corrected it Barrigenas, which is now comnronly received.

It happens, Sir, that Ricardus Corinensis, lately published by M. Bertram at Copenhagen, has transcribed this passage, p. 47, and in the MS. he used, it stood Senas Galli vocant by which transposition, and the reading of Senas for Genus, the principal foundations of Vossius's conjecture are totally subverted and destroyed.

But let us examine, before we finally discard it, what he has alleged in support of it.

He cites the Glossaries, to shew Barrigenæ signified Peregrine; but what reason is there for thinking the priestesses Gallici numinis were Peregrine? In others they are called Bareginnæ, and Bargenna, which signifies a barbarous cry, or acelamation; which is still as little to the purpose;"since these priestesses, though they were superstitious enough, were not more barbarous than the rest of the Gauls He next observes, the women might be called Bargine, and the men Bargi, which he asserts to be the same with Bardi. If this were the case, the Barrigene, who ranked with the Bards, could never with any propriety be taxed with barbarism ; since they must have been rather more civilized and learned than the rest of the Gauls; and if Bargus were the masculine, the feminine, one would rather expect, should be Barga, than Bargina. He then tells us, that Gronovius: thought the French word Baragouin was deduced from the barbarous sounds uttered by these Barrigena, in their incantations, and he highly approves it. But now the French themselves, particularly the most learned and po. lite Menage, give a more rational etymology of that word. Baragouin," says this excellent author, de ces deux mots bara et guin, qui signifient en Bas-Breton pain et vin, qui sont les deux choses dont on apprend premierement les noms quand on apprend les langues estrangeres. De ce mot Buragouin on a fait la verbe baraguiner, qui est comme qui diroit ne sçavoir autre chose d'une langue que les mots du Pain et de Vin, &c.” This now agrees very well with the Glossaries, where Barrigene are explained by Peregrine and Barbare; and is, in my opinion, the true original of the word Baragouin.

« PreviousContinue »