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rude touches of early imagination, while at the same time one of the noblest and boldest expressions of pantheistic thought is attributed to him. From the same source are drawn ideas as pure as those of the philosophical Vedic hymn,[1] and as wild as those of the Vedic Purusha Sukta, or legend of the fashioning of the world out of the mangled limbs of Purusha. The authors of the Orphic cosmogony appear to have begun with some remarks on Time (Κρόνος). "Time was when as yet this world was not."[2] Time, regarded in the mythical fashion as a person, generated Chaos and Æther. The Orphic poet styles Chaos χάσμα πελώριον, the "monstrous gulf," or "gap." This term curiously reminds one of Ginnunga-gap in the Scandinavian cosmogonic legends. "Ginnunga-gap was light as windless air," and therein the blast of heat met the cold rime, whence Ymir was generated, the Purusha of Northern fable.[3] These ideas correspond well with the Orphic conception of primitive space.[4]

In process of time Chaos produced an egg, shining and silver white. It is absurd to inquire, according to Lobeck, whether the poet borrowed this widely spread notion of a cosmic egg from Phœnicia, Babylon, Egypt (where the goose-god Seb laid the egg), or whether the Orphic singer originated so obvious an idea. Quærere ludicrum est. The conception may have been borrowed, but manifestly it is one of the earliest

  1. Rig-Veda, x. 90.
  2. Lobeck, Aglaophamus, i. 470. See also the quotations from Proculus.
  3. Gylfi's Mocking.
  4. Aglaophamus, p. 473.