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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 8, 1897.djvu/393

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Reviews. 357

similar rubrics in the Atharva-Veda of the Hindus, and not much more so than the rubrics of the Christian liturgy.

The rubrics are attached to hymns and incantations to the gods, which had to be recited in a particular way and with the accompaniment of certain observances. A single mistake in the recitation or in the observances vitiated the whole ceremony and deprived the suppliant of its benefits. Hence it was necessary that the rubrics should be clear and precise. The translation of them is difificult, principally on account of the numerous ideo- graphs which they contain. Here, however, is a translation of one which is transliterated by Mr. King on page 54 of his book, though he has translated only a small portion of it :

" Do as follows. In the night sprinkle a green bough with pure water. Plant a cut reed before {the image of) Merodach. Heap up dates and cones (?). Offer a gar of oil, a drink-offering of water, honey, and butter. Set a censer (there). Heap up win- nowed (?) corn. Then set on twigs {tarritini) of cypress. Offer wine. Before the (sacred) enclosure lay leaves of" three kinds of trees which have not been identified. " Lay a cloth upon the . . . behind the enclosure (along with) herbs. Offer a lamb. Place (there) portions of the flesh. Take oil from two kinds of tree and cast into this oil silver, gold, green corn, barley-straw (?), the white herb, cypress, briars and thorns," with other herbs not yet identi- fied. " Place them at the side of the enclosure. For the powers of evil prepare one piece of alabaster, one piece of gold, one piece of lapis lazuli, and one piece of papyrus (?). The alabaster, gold, lapis, and papyrus mix in a goblet in the sight of the powers of evil. Place it at the side of the enclosure in a bowl. Bring the clothing (?) of these gods with oil and sherbin wood. Place it with two (unidentified) kinds of wood at the side of the enclosure. Take the hand of the sick man and repeat three times this incan- tation to Merodach." Then follows a hymn which is addressed to " Merodach, the Lord of the World." Our knowledge of Babylonian botany is. still so slight that unfortunately very few of the names of the plants mentioned in the rubric can be identified with certainty.

The hymns are naturally older than the rubrics, and, as Lenor- mant pointed out, must for the most part have come from a sort of Babylonian Rig-Veda which had acquired a sacred character. But they have been adapted to the special purpose of the ceremony