Page:Notes and Queries - Series 9 - Volume 5.djvu/494

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towns along the coast of the Pacific and in the interior, together with much information as to the scenery elsewhere, and the customs of the inhabitants, both Indian and European. T. P. ARMSTRONG.


MELEK TAUS (9 th S. v. 336). The following appears on p. 47 of Layard's * Discoveries in the Ruins of Nineveh and Babylon,' published 1853, four years later than the work referred to by DR. SMYTHE PALMER :

" The Cawals, who are sent yearly by Hussein Bey and Sheikh Nasr to instruct the Yezedis in their faith, and to collect the contributions forming the revenues of the great chief, and of the tomb of

Sheikh Adi, were now in Red wan The Yezedis

are parcelled out into four divisions for the purpose

of these annual visitations The Yezedis of the

Mosul districts have the Cawals always amongst them. I was aware that on the occasion of these journeys the priests carry with them the celebrated Melek Taous, or brazen peacock, as a warrant for their mission. A favourable opportunity now offered itself to see this mysterious figure, and I asked Cawal Yusef to gratify my curiosity. He at once acceded to my request, and the Cawals and elders offering no objection, I was conducted early in the morning into a dark inner room in Nazi's house. It was some time before my eyes had become sufficiently accustomed to the dim light to distinguish an object, from which a large red cover- let had been raised on my entry. The Cawals drew near with every sign of respect, bowing and kissing the corner of the cloth on which it was placed. A stand of bright copper or brass, in shape like the candlesticks generally used in Mosul and Baghdad, was surmounted by the rude image of a bird in the same metal, and more like an Indian or Mexican idol than a cock or peacock. Its peculiar workman- ship indicated some antiquity, But I could see no traces of inscription upon it. Before it stood a copper bowl to receive contributions, and a bag to contain the bird and stand, which takes to pieces when carried from place to place. There are four such images, one for each district visited by the Cawals. The Yezedis declare that, notwithstanding the frequent wars and massacres to which the sect has been exposed, and the plunder and murder of the priests during their journeys, no Melek Taous has ever fallen into the hands of the Mussulmans. Cawal Yusef, once crossing the desert on a mission to the Sinjar, and seeing a body of Bedouin horse men in the distance, ouried the Melek Taous Having been robbed and then left by the Arabs, he dug it up, and carried it in safety to its destination Mr. Hormuzd Rassam was alone permitted to visi 1 the image with rne. As I have elsewhere observec (' Nineveh and its Remains,' i. 298), it is not lookec upon as an idol, but as a symbol or banner, as Sheikh Nasr termed it, of the house of Hussein Bey."

A drawing of the Melek Taous appears ir the book; it looks not unlike a lectern.

HERBERT B. CLAYTON. 39, Renfrew Road, Lower Kennington Lane.

DR. SMYTHE PALMER will find an account of the worship of this bird in Mr. Moncure D

Jon way's l Demonology and Devil -Lore,' ~ol. i. pp. 27-9. Reference is there made ,o another account by C. W. King, * The Gnostics,' &c ., p. 153. C. C. B.

DRYDEN (9 th S. v. 353). It seems clear, as

he Editor remarks, that Virgil and Gray

were indebted to Lucretius ; but there is

lothing in the lines quoted from him to

ndicate the climbing of the knees, whereas

his action is comprehended in my quotations.

The line that I quoted from Dryden's

Georgic ' has been appropriated by Thom-

lon, who has set it in a translation from a

'amous ode of Horace. This extraordinary

mixture of the poetry of others is presented

)y Thomson as an original part of his own

poem :

On earth his manly look Relentless fixed, he from a last embrace,

chains polluted, put his wife aside,

little children climbing for a kiss ; ["hen dumb through rows of weeping, wondering


new illustrious exile, passed along. STor less impatient did he pierce the crowds, )pposing his return, than if, escaped ?rom long litigious suits, he glad forsook The noisy town a while, and city cloud, To breathe Venafrian or Tarentine air.

' Liberty,' part iii. lines 170-80.


PICTS AND SCOTS (9 th S. v. 261, 418). My note on the Picts and Scots has been received with such unexpected acquiescence that it only remains to thank your six correspondents for their remarks and information, and to endeavour to answer some inquiries that have been made. Skene, in his ' Celtic Scot- land,' vol. i. pp. 3-6, gives a catena of authori- ties establishing the proposition that the name Scotia, prior to the tenth century, applied to Ireland alone, showing that the Scotia of the three succeeding centuries was a limited district, and that it was gradually extended to the east. I need hardly say that, on a question of a new and progressive science like prehistoric ethnology, a modern scholar like Skene is an immeasurably better authority than any scholar of the Georgian era Pinkerton, Chalmers, Whitaker, or even Gibbon. C. S. will find in Skene the best possible definition of the varying limits of Erseland and Pictland.

DR. PALMER is quite right in asserting that lobeless ears are a mark of the Scandinavian type, but, I think, not distinctive, as it is found also among the Iberian races. I judge from Dr. Beddoes's photographs of Silurian Welshmen and Irish Cruithne, and from Collignon's photographs of Iberians of Dor- dogne and of Berbers, who are believed to be