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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 8, 1897.djvu/405

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Reviews. 369

Christian era, among the Slavs and Lithuanians down to the Middle Ages, and, as a matter of fact, it still furnishes a very large part of peasant custom and belief throughout Europe. Some time after 2000 B.C. began the great migration to Hellas, Italy, Iran, and North-west India, lasting to 1500 B.C. at latest, with its new practices of patriarchy, corpse-burning, and the completed con- ceptions of Skin-changing or Metamorphosis and of a Happy Otherworld, which took shape before they were brought into connection (possibly though Egyptian influence) with a doctrine of what happens to man after death. In Greece the eschatologic doctrine developed in the seventh to the fifth centuries B.C. very swiftly and strongly, and ended " in the construction of an ethico- philosophic doctrine respecting the relation of this to the other-life." But this Hellenic movement was neither so extensive nor so re- volutionary as the parallel movements which culminated in Bud- dhism and Jainism among the Vedic Indians. About 1000 — 800 B.C. the Celtic Aryans began to move, and of these the Northern Celts, though they threw off matriarchy, retained the other concep- tions of the premigration stage, so that what is a mere survival in Hellas is "high-water mark of Irish pre-Christian development," and we "owe to Ireland the preservation of conceptions and visions more archaic in substance, if far later in record, than the great mythologies of Greece and Vedic India." It is not without good reason that Mr. Nutt appeals to Englishmen and Irishmen to take up the study of Celtic literature. No Aryan literature has such help to give to the antiquarian, the archaeologist, the student of human developments, none has been so little worked. More has been done by aliens than Englishmen, more by Englishmen than Irishmen, as far as real study as distinct from pure or impure speculation and guesswork. We are still waiting for an Irish Text Society, still face to face with immense masses of unpubUshed MS. that, even looked on as literature, have interest of a high kind. The sum that would build and endow a convent, or keep half-a- dozen members of parliament, or half-a-dozen Castle ofificials (which after all are luxuries), would suffice to set going a fund that would do for Irish texts what Dr. Furnival's society has done for English texts — texts of much less importance, value, and in- terest, as any scholar would at once admit. Many of us too would agree with Mr. Nutt when he says : " I rest my advocacy of the fostering of Celtic studies upon other than scientific or

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