Open main menu

Page:Notes and Queries - Series 9 - Volume 9.djvu/111

This page needs to be proofread.


9'* s. ix. FEB. s, 1902.] NOTES AND QUERIES.


103


Tell me who was thy nurse ?

Fresh youth in sugred ioy.

What was thy meate and dayly f oode ?

Sad sighes with great annoy.

What hadst thou then to drinke ?

Unfayned lovers teares.

What cradle wert thou roeked [sic] in ?

In hope devoyde of feares. Pp. 215-6.

Puttenham's volume, as I have said, was published in 1589 ; Watson's ' Passionate Centurie of Love' in 1582, with a dedication to De Vere ; and it is beyond doubt that the latter was indebted to the twenty-second poem in that book for his subject and much of his language. Watson's inspiration was derived from the Italian, as he himself informs us. I cannot quote the whole piece, but the following lines will show that the earl's verses are only an adaptation and can claim no originality :

When werte thou borne sweet Love ? who was thy

sire?

When Flora first adorn'd Dame Tellus lap, Then sprung I forth from Wanton hote desire : Who was thy nurse to feede thee first with pap? Youth first with tender hand bound up my heade, Then saide, with Lookes alone I should be fed ; What maides had she attendant on her side, To playe, to singe, to rock thee fast a sleepe ?

Though this is not such a glaring case as the other, it may perhaps be assumed that De Vere could never have written the lines attributed to him had he been unacquainted with those of Thomas Watson. There I leave the matter. JOHN T. CURRY.


THE ESSENES.

FEW problems have vexed the souls of historians more intensely than the product called Essenism, which apparently sprang into being during the tempestuous reigns of the Hasmonean princes in the second century B.C. At any rate, nothing seems to be de- finitely known of their existence prior to this date, unless the Beisussim mentioned in the Talmud, who were in open contest with the Sopherim or Scribes, may be the party sub- sequently designated the Essenes. Their political influence on their brethren was practically nil, and it is even questionable whether their impress on literature and morals was much more. One or two famous dicta in the Gemara seem directly traceable to them, such as " Heaven can control all things except reverence," " Work is preferable to worship," " Work not for personal gain, but for its own sake," "Communism or death." In these relics there may lurk much indirect material by which we can reconstruct the popular attitude towards these Jewish


Socialists, and also gauge the ethical value of their services to posterity.

It might prove interesting to sketch what seem to be the "converging lines" of the ethnic developments that made the Mac- cabean era a fitting nidus for the reception of Essenic germs in the Hebraic organism. Essenism is briefly a compound of Judaism, Parseeism, and Hellenism. Now Judaism, much as it is a sensuous religion, partakes also of the nature of asceticism, which it derives in the first instance from the Egyptian hierarchy. The question of " clean and un- clean," the Sabbath dogmas, the Expiation regulations, and so forth, all indicate a con- siderable degree of self-repression and mon- astic reserve which came to Jewry via Egypt. The Nazarite and Rechabite groups, also the Cohaniui (priestly caste), show strong ten- dencies towards groupings or classifications even in pre-exile times. So that a disposi- tion towards a principle which apparently wars with the major forces of Mosaism lay latent in its bosom, needing merely the con- fluence of generating stimuli to excite it into a living entity in any given era of the Jewish state. Unfavourable conditions alone must be alleged for its non-arrival or birth sooner than later, among which the most favourable was the spread of Hellenism in Judsea through the domination of the Seleucidee on the one side, and of the Lagidse in Alexandria on the other. Parseeism, to which a short reference is necessary, made its appearance in the lite- rature and dogmas of the Jews in the fourth century B.C., during which period it is sur- mised that the ' Jobeid ' and many of the Psalms were composed. Angelology, which is a striking feature of Essenism and of the Zohar, chisels its features deeply into the tenets of this strange sect. The Hebrews themselves derived many practices from their Persian rulers, one of which (introduced by Ezra i.e., of reading portionsof the Scriptures on Sabbaths) has survived to this day. More- over, there are not wanting thinkers who hold, from the similarity of many of the rites of the ancient Parsees and the Jews, that they both sprang from some common ances- tor. In any case, Persian dualism is un- mistakably imbedded in many of the later writings of the Jews. How far this Parsee element was powerful to colour the cere- monies of the Greek world before and after Persia was conquered by Alexander, 331 B.C., has always remained an unsettled point ; but that the early settlers in Greece (who came f rom Asia Minor, and brought with them the Lydians, whose Semitic origin has been clearly ascertained) imported many Persian