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extremity of the table of the gods (the milky way). It is held by Ganymede or Aquarius, the guardian of the southern fishes (king Pecheur?); and it is only by a favourable lot from this urn of destiny, that the soul is enabled to find a passage through the portal of the gods (Capricorn) to the circle of eternal felicity.
The sacred vessel of modern fiction is no less distinguished for its attributes. The seat reserved for it at the Round Table, was called “the siege perilous," of which a hermit had declared: “There shall never none sit in that siege but one, but if he be destroyed,” [and that one] “shall win the Sancgreall128. On the day this seat was to receive its appointed tenant, two inscriptions were found miraculously traced upon
ing the cauldron of inspiration, till three terram desinat, tam ima quam summa drops of the precious compound alight postremitas : igitur sphæra Martis ignis on his finger. On tasting these, every habeatur, aer Jovis, Saturni aqua, terra event of futurity becomes unfolded to vero Aplanes, in qua Elysios campos esse his view. This appears to be the “no- puris animis deputatos antiquitas nobis vum potum materialis alluvionis,” the intelligendum reliquit: de his campis intoxicating draught which inspires the anima, cum in corpus emittitur, per tres soul with an irresistible propensity to a elementorum ordines, trina morte, ad corporeal existence. “ Hæc est autem corpus usque descendit.” (Ib.) The purhyle, quæ omne corpus mundi quod suit of Ceridwen would then be
perubicumque cernimus ideis impressa for- sonification of that necessity, by which mavit.” (Macrob. i. 12.) It is this which souls are compelled to descend, in order protrudes the soul into Leo, and furnishes that the economy of the universe may be it with a prescience of its future career, sustained. “ For the sensitive life suf(* cum vero ad Leonem labendo perve- fers from the external bodies of fire and nerint, illic conditionis futuræ auspican- air, earth and water falling upon it; and tur exordium." Ib.) Gwyon is now considering all the passions as mighty pursued by Ceridwen, and transforms through the vileness of its life, is the himself successively into a hare, a fish, cause of tumult to the soul.” Procl, in and a bird, while the goddess becomes Tim. as cited by Mr. Taylor, ii. p. 513. a greyhound-bitch, an otter, and a spar- Another favourite figure of the same row-hawk. Despairing of escape he school is, that the soul is hurled like seed assumes the form of a grain of wheat, into the realms of generation. Ib. 510. and is swallowed by Ceridwen in the The remainder of the tale is a piece of shape of a black high-crested hen. Ce common mythology. Mr. Davies adridwen becomes pregnant, and at the ex- mits that the bardic lore was a compound piration of nine months brings forth Ta- of Pagan and Christian dogmas; and it liessin, whom she exposes in a boat or therefore becomes a question, whether coracle. In this we appear to have the this Paganism was purely Druidical, or soul's progression through the various that syncretic system adopted by Pelagius elements which supply it with the vehicles from the Platonizing fathers of the necessary for incorporation. “ Tertius Eastern church. The theological tenets vero elementorum ordo, ita ad nos con- of the triads (Williams's Poems, vol. ii.) versus, habeatur, ut terram ultimam fa- are obviously derived from this source. ciat, et cæteris in medium redactis in 12 Morte Arthur, P. iii. c. 1.
it : “ Four hundred winters and four and fifty accomplished after the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ ought the siege to be fulfilled :” and, “ This is the siege of Sir Galahad the good knight.” The healing virtues of the Graal are exemplified on the wounded persons of Sir Bors and Sir Percival , two of the knights destined to accomplish the Quest. A cripple of ten years suffering is restored to health by touching the table on which it is borne; and a nameless knight of perfect and unspotted life is admitted to kiss it, and finds an instantaneous cure for his maladies. But the courage, prowess and chivalric accomplishments of Sir Launcelot are rendered unavailing in the Quest, by his guilty commerce with Queen Guenever. He is permitted to see its marvellous effects upon the knight already mentioned, and who, less worthy than himself in earthly endowments, is yet uncontaminated by mortal sin; and once indeed he is suffered to approach the chamber containing it. But a voice forbids his penetrating to the interior of the sanctuary: yet, having rashly disregarded the admonition, he falls a victim to his fatal curiosity, and continues in an almost lifeless condition for four-and-thirty days. A similar punishment is inflicted upon king Evelake, who having “nighed so nigh” to the holy vessel “ that our Lord was displeased with him,” he became “ blasted with excess of light,” and remained “almost blind” the rest of his life 130. The most solemn instance of its agency in the presence of a profane assembly, occurs on the day of Sir Galahad's assuming the siege perillous: “Then anon they heard cracking and crying of thunder, that hem thought the place should all torive. In the midst of the blast, entered a sunbeam, more clear by seven times than ever they saw day; and all they were alighted of the grace of the holy ghost 13. Then there entered into the hall, the holy Grale covered with white samite; but there was none that might see it, nor who bare it; and then was all the hall full filled with good odours; and every knight had such meat and drink as he best loved in this world; and when the holy Grale had been borne through the hall, then the holy vessel departed suddenly, that they wist not where it became.” (c. 35.) But these are the mere secular benefits in the power of the sacred cup to bestow. To those allowed to share in its spiritual advantages, who by a life of purity and blameless conduct had capacitated themselves for a more intimate communion with it, it became a cup of eternal life and salvation. On its first epiphany to Sir Galahad and his fellows, the great mystery of the Romish church is visibly demonstrated
129 On this occasion Sir Percival resigned themselves to Desire, were “had a glimmering of that vessel, and of doomed to spend their time in fruitless the maiden that bore it; for he was per. attempts to fill a bottomless or broken fect and clene.” (M. Arth. c. 14.) And vase, or a perforated sieve; and to beagain : “I wot wele what it is. It is an come the standing types of the uninitiholy vessel that is borne by a maiden, ated, or souls wallowing in the mire of and thereon is a part of the holy blood material existence. (The story of the of our blessed Saviour." Ib. There is murder was unknown to Homer and no clue in the romance to the gene- Apollodorus, and was doubtlessly a alogy of this damsel. But Mr. Creuzer later fiction.) The Greeks also placed has shown that “a perfect and clean a vase upon the graves of the unmarried maiden ” who bore a holy vessel, was a persons, as a symbol of celibacy; a well known character in Grecian story. practice that seems to illustrate the lanAmymone, the blameless daughter of guage of Joseph of Arimathy, to Sir Danaus, was exempt from the punish- Percival: “And wotest thou wherement inflicted upon her father's chil- fore [our Lord] hath sent me more than dren, because she had resisted the soli- other? for thou hast resembled me in citations of a Satyr (sensual love). two things; one is, that thou hast seen Hence she was permitted to draw the the Sancgreall
, and the other is that cooling reviving draught of consolation thou hast been a clene maiden as I am." and bliss in a perfect vase. Her sisters who had yielded to temptation, who had
130 The punishment here inflicted the god Ammon, we are told this diupon Sir Lancelot and king Evelake, vinity assumed a ram's vizor, a fiction is founded upon an idea, which seems which seems to be connected with the to have pervaded the mythology of most same common opinion. (Herod. ïi. 42.) nations, that the person of the Deity is The numerous veiled statues seen by too effulgent for mortal sight, and that Pausanias in his tour through Greece, any attempt at a direct inspection, is the veiled goblet carried in the Dionysic sure to be punished with a loss of vision procession at Alexandria (Athen. lib. v. or the senses. Hence the stories of 268.), and the general introduction of Tiresias and Actæon, of Herse and the Graal (wherein was “a part of the Aglauros, (Paus. i. 18.) of Eurypylus holy blood of our blessed Saviour") (Ib. vii. 19.) and Maneros, (Plut. de covered with samyte, may be considered Isid. et Osirid. c. 17.) and the explana- as further illustrations. tion given to the disease called nym
131 In the ancient world a cup or pholepsy is clearly referable to the goblet was not only considered as the same opinion: “ Vulgo autem memoriæ most suitable kind of vessel for libations, proditum est, quicumque speciem quan but it was also regarded as an approdam e fonte, id est, effigiem nymphæ priate type of the Deity. This no viderint, furendi non fecisse finem, quos doubt arose from the widely extended Græci voupoanatous, Latini lymphatos dogma, that the Demiurgus of the uniappellant." Festus. Hence also the eyes verse framed the world in his own image. were averted on meeting a hero or The illustrations of this opinion, as exheroical demon; and an Heroon was emplified in votive offerings, in the passed in silence. Schol. in Aristoph. form of an egg, a globe, sphere, hemiAves, 1490–3. The same opinion ap- sphere, cup, dish, &c. would fill a pears to have been current among the volume ; and happily Mr. Creuzer by Germanic tribes who worshiped the ' his “ Dionysus has rendered further goddess Hertha. Her annual circuit proof on the subject unnecessary. In was made in a veiled car; but the ser- Ægyptian processions a vase led the vants who washed the body of the god- way as an image of Osiris (Plut. 496); dess on her return, and who conse- a small urn was the effigy of Isis quently must have gazed upon her per- (Apuleius Metamorph. xi. p. 693); son, were reported to have been “swal- a bowl or goblet was borne on a chariot, lowed up quick” by the earth. When as the emblem of Dionysus, in the fesHercules demanded an epiphany of tival described by Colixenus (Athe
næus, v. 268); and hence the long xadxã, se répanoy Tewüxóv. (Dion. catalogue of craters, tripods, &c. so Hal. i. 67.) With the true or fictitious common in the furniture of ancient history of Æneas we are not concerned; temples. That the same symbol was it is sufficient to know the form of those acknowledged in other countries pre- symbols which were acknowledged in viously to any general intercourse with Italy as suitable representations of the the Roman powers, is more than Penates. For an explanation of the probable. Herodotus has stated of the caduceal figures we may refer to Servius: Issedones, that they decorated the skulls “ Nullus enim locus sine Genio est, of the departed with gold, reserving qui per anguem plerumque ostenditur. them as images (see Salmas, in Solin. The Trojan bowl and Issedonian skull p. 192.) of their ancestors, when they will illustrate each other. Livy has performed those annual rites which the also said: “ Galli Boii caput ducis (PosGreeks called yuvioso. From this we tumii) præcisum ovantes templominmay infer that the Issedones entertain- tulere: purgato inde capite, ut mos iis ed the same notions of the dead, that est, calvum auro cælavere: idque sacrum we find prevailing in almost every an- vas iis erat, quo solennibus libarent : cient and modern nation in a Pagan poculumque idem sacerdoti esse ac temstate; and that they enrolled their de- pli antistitibus.” It will be remembered ceased relatives among those domestic that according to the Edda the skull deities, who by a general system of eu
of Ymir was converted into the canopy phemy have been called 9:01 xenoto, of heaven (Dæmesaga). Something is Düi Manes, Gütichen and Guid Neigh- said on this subject at page xxxiv. bours. As the guardians of the family below, which, though written without the hearth, and the household gods of their passages above cited being in the Edi. descendants, the same class of spirits tor’s recollection, he by no means wishes was also termed by the Greeks and to retract, so far as the moderns are conRomans Itoà xeroxidio, Lares, tampac cerned. Through inadvertency the auIsoi, and Dii Penates. (See Salmasius thorities for that note have been omitted, Exercit. Plin. p. 46.) Now the images viz. Bartholin for the facts, and the shown at Lavinium, as the identical « Transactions of the Scandinavian Sostatues of the Penales brought to Italy ciety,” page 323. 1813, for the correcby Æneas, consisted of xngúxia sidneã ã tion. VOL. I.
before them. The transubstantiation of the sacred wafer is effected in their presence, palpably and sensibly; the hallowed “bread become flesh” is deposited in the cup; and the Redeemer of the world emerges from it to administer to his “knights servants and true children, which (were] come out of deadly life into spiritual life, the high meat which (they] had so much desired.” Still they “did not see that which they most desired to see, so openly as they were to behold it in the city of Sarras in the spiritual place.” Here Sir Galahad's vision of the transcendent attributes of the Graal is perfected; his participation in its hallowed contents is consummated to the full extent of his wishes; he has now obtained the only meed for which this life is worth enduring a certainty of passing to a better: his earthly travails close, “his soul departs unto Christ, and a great multitude of angels" is seen to “bear it up
to heaven. Also his two fellows saw come from heaven a hand, but they saw not the body; and then it came right to the vessel and took it ..... and so bare it up to heaven. Sithence was there never no man so hardy for to say that he had seen the Sangreall.”
In the Arabic version the holy vessel is delivered by an angel to Titurel, at whose birth another minister of heaven attended, and foretold the infant hero's future glory, by declaring that he was destined to wear the crown of Paradise. By him a temple is built for its preservation upon Montsalvaez, “a sacred mountain, which stands in Salvatierra», a district of Arragon, and lying adjacent to the valley of Roncevalles and upon the high road from France to Compostella.” The materials for this structure are of the most costly and imperishable description: they are all produced in their
12 This Montsalvaez in Salvatierra This would account for the castle of is in all probability the Salisberi of the Luces Sieur de Gast being “pres de Norman Romancers; the Mons salutis Salisberi," or adjoining the sanctuary (Sawles-byrig?) of the Christian world. in which the Graal was preserved