Page:Notes and Queries - Series 9 - Volume 10.djvu/127

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9^s.x.AuG.9,i902.] NOTES AND QUERIES.


and his explanations are often, necessarily, con- jectural.

Not easy is the matter to deal with, on account of its range and extent and the manner in which it links itself to all phases of early belief. The notion that deities are to be propitiated, or even coerced, is found in all primitive and most existing religions, and prevails after nineteen centuries of Christianity. Anathemata, or permanent memorials of a special benefit to the deity whom gifts are supposed to please or propitiate, date back to the earliest times of Greek religion. They were most frequently an acknowledgment of favours conferred, but were also intended to disarm wrath or obtain benefits. In later days they often took the shape of works of art or value, but they were given by rich and poor alike. Few gifts were more common m the early days than locks of hair, and the custom survived until later days. The youthful bride si.ore or cut off a portion of her tresses and dedicated it to some deity. We believe, though we speak without exact information, that it is, or was, common for Hebrew brides to denude their heads. Costly garments and gifts of gold were accepted forms of propitiation in Homeric times. Mistaking Odysseus for a god, Telemachus implores him, "Be gracious, that we may give thee sacrifices to please thee aye, gifts of wrought gold." The crew of Odysseus, when about to steal the Sun's oxen, vow to build a temple to the Sun and fill it with fine offerings. Many a crime in mediaeval days has been expiated in similar fashion, and many a Christian fane owes its erection to an enforced penance and may be regarded as a votive offering. We are everywhere met by modern analogy to ancient pagan practice. What is the custom of hanging up in our cathedrals flags cap- tured in combat but a survival of votive offerings ? So large is the entire subject that one is dismayed and knows not where to begin. Sometimes, after the successful execution of a task, a workman dedicates at some shrine the tools with which the labour was accomplished. Horace tells of hanging his Dank and dropping weeds To the stern god of sea,

and Theocritus devotes to Aphrodite the garments of which the shepherdess is deprived.

Among more luxurious offerings were richly orna- mented craters from which the guests at Greek banquets were supplied with mixed wine and water. The shields of enemies and the dress pierced by the spear were hung up in temples, and Heracles dedicated at Delphi the spoils of the Amazons. Most interesting of the things dedicated to the heroes and the Chthonian deities are the reliefs, always numerous, and largely increased by recent discoveries. At times the hero is repre- sented by customary attributes, as Heracles by the club and the lion skin. Ordinarily he is a hand- some young man, seated or recumbent, and accom- panied by other figures, masculine or feminine. In the case of deities, although, as might be supposed, special gifts are assigned to certain gods, it is curious to see how large a variety of gifts might be dedicated to the same being, from whom also an undefined number of blessings might be expected.

We have but dipped into a book of exceptional interest, and have selected from it almost at haphazard. There is not a page of the four hundred and more which constitute the work that does not supply matter interesting and often discutable. Mr. Rouse is commendably free from dogmatism,

and is, indeed, singularly pioderate in statement. He is careful to assert that his main purpose is less to deal with tithes and firstfruits, important and interesting as these are, than to collect and classify the offerings which are not immediately perishable, and to trace so far as is possible the motives of the dedicator and the meaning of the votive act. The illustrations, which are numerous, add to the value of a book which scholars are bound to welcome.

All's Well that End* Well: King Henry VIII. With Introductions and Notes by John Dennis and Illustrations by Byam Shaw. (Bell & Sons. ) Two further volumes have been added to the dainty " Chiswick Shakespeare" of Messrs. Bell & Sons. Both keep up the merits and attractions of this prettiest and most convenient of editions. In the case of the earlier play Mr. Dennis shows himself stricter than Hazlitt and Lamb, and declares that " this beautiful girl's design and its accomplish- ment are incompatible with womanly modesty," which is judging yesterday by the standard of to-day. We do not agree with Mr. Dennis that Fletcher, Shakespeare's associate in 'King Henry VIII. ,' is in that play a*bove his best ; but these are matters on which differences of opinion will always exist. The notes remain short and useful, and the, illustrations are -full of character.

SLADEN'S London and its Leaders (Sands & Co. ) is a guide-book serving a purpose similar to that of 'Who's Who,' of which Mr. Douglas Sladen was formerly editor. It supplies portraits of leading ladies of the Court, a list of hostesses, alpha- betical lists of the tftbility and the House of Commons, and, in fact, is a guide-book' to most that concerns the existence of the day.

M. MAURICE MAETERLINCK, the mistrusted of authority, sends to the fortnightly ' The Foretelling of the Future,' an article in which he shows the consequences of an application to modern sibyls, prophets, and seers. Tne results that attended his investigations are precisely those which are to be expected in all cases of so-called spiritualism. There is revelation only of what lurks within the mind of some one partaking in the ceremony. In the instance in which, through the agency of a " seer," a mislaid and half -forgotten object is recovered, the diviner is naturally supposed to have found and awakened " the latent and almost animal memory and brought it to the human light, which it had vainly tried to reach." We are a little puzzled to find M. Maeterjinck declaring it "almost incredible that we should not know the future." ' With the Eyes of Youth,' by the late William Black, describes boy life in an insignificant Scotch village. It shows the pow.ers of observation with which that writer has always been credited, and is informed by the very spirit of boyhood. Dr. Karl Blind tells why Alsace-Lorraine is to remain German. In 'Some Phases in Fiction* Mr. Walter Sichel shows how great is the change from the novels of Fielding, Scott, Jane Austen, and Trollope to those of Miss Marie Corelli, Ouida; and other modern novelists. Many things said are sensible and just, but the complaint becomes a little monotonous. The same may be said of the second part of ' An Author at Grass,' edited by Mr. George Gissing. One side of a question is seen very clearly, and is not badly put. Mr. Gissing does not, however, cover the whole question at issue. He marvels at those