he, makes the entrails to be roasted on five spits, which was the proper manner of the Æolians, who only, of all the nations of Græcia used to sacrifice in that sort. By which he inferreth necessarily, that Homer was an Æolian. And by the same reason may I as reasonably conclude, that the Irish are descended from the Scythians; for that they use (even to this day) some of the same ceremonies which the Scythians anciently used. As for example, you may read in Lucian, in that sweet dialogue, which is intitled, Toxaris, or, Of Friendship, that the comnon oath of the Scythians was by the sword and by fire; for that they accounted those two especial divine powers, which should work vengeance on the perjurers. So do the Irish at this day, when they go to battle, say certain prayers or charms to their swords, making a cross therewith upon the earth, and thrusting the points of their blades into the ground, thinking thereby to have the better success in fight. Also they use commonly to swear by their swords. Also the Scythians used, when they would bind


solemn vow or combination amongst them, to drink a bowl of blood together, vowing thereby to spend their last blood in that quarrel; and even so do the wild Scots, as you may read in Bu'chanan; and some of the northern Irish. Likewise at the kindling of the fire, and lighting of candles, they say certain prayers, and use some other superstitious rites, which shew that they honour the fire and the light: for all those northern nations having been used to be annoyed with much cold and darkness, are wont therefore to have the fire and the sun in great veneration : like as contrariwise the Moors and Egyptians, which are much offended and grieved with extreme heat of the sun, fall to cursing and banning of him as their plague. You may also read in the same book, in the tale of Arsacomas, that it was the manner of the Scythians, when any one of them was heavily wronged, and would assemble unto him any forces of people to join with him in -his revenge, to sit in some public place on certain days upon an ox-hide, to which there would resort all such persons as, being disposed to take arms, would enter into his pay, or join with him in his quarrel. And the same you may likewise read to have been the ancient manner of the wild Scots, which are indeed the very natural Irish. Moreover, the Scythians used to swear by their king's hand, as Olaus sheweth. And so do the Irish use now to swear by their lord's hand; and to forswear it, hold it more criminal than to swear by God. Also the Scythians said, that they were once a year turned into wolves, and so is it written of the Irish: though Master Camden in a better sense doth suppose


was a disease, called Lycanthropia, so named of the wolf, And yet some of the Irish do use to make

the woff their gossip. The Scythians used also tu seeth the Aesh in the hide; and so do the northern Irish. The Scythians used to draw the blood of the beast living, and to make meat thereof: and so do the Irish in the north still. Many such customs I could recount unto you, as of their old manner of marrying, of burying, of dancing, of singing, of feasting, of cursing, though christians have wiped out the inost part of them: by resemblance whereof, it might plainly appear to you, that the nations are the same, but that by the reckoning of these few, which I have told unto you, I find my speech drawn out to a greater length than I purposed. Thus much only for this time, I hope, shall suffice you, to think that the Irish are anciently deduced from the Scythians.

Eudox. But have you (I pray you) observed any such customs amongst them, brought likewise from the Spaniards or Gauls, as these from the Scythians ? That may sure be very material to your first purpose.

Iren. Some perhaps I have, and who that will by this occasion more diligently mark and compare their customs, shall find many more.

But there are fewer remaining of the Gauls or Spaniards, than of the Scythians, by reason that the parts which they then possessed, lying upon the coast of the western and southern sea, were sithence visited with strangers

[ocr errors]

and foreign people, repairing thither for traffic, arid for fishing, which is very plentiful upon those coasts: for the trade and inter-deal of sea-coast nations one with another worketh more civility and good fashions (all seamen being naturally desirous of new fashions) than amongst the inland folk, which are seldom seen of foreigners; yet some of such as I have noted, I will recount unto you. And first, I will for the better credit of the rest, shew you one out of their statutes, among which it is enacted, that no man shall wear his beard, only on the upper lip, shaving all his chin. And this was the ancient manner of the Spaniards, as yet it is of all the Mahometans, to cut off all their beards close, save only their muschachios which they wear long. And the cause of this use was, for that they being bred in a hot coun'try, found much hair on their faces and other parts to be noyous unto them; for which cause they did cut it most away: like as contrarily all other nations brought up in cold countries, do use to nourish their hair, to keep them the warmer; which was the cause that the Scythians and Scots wore glibbs, (as I shewed you) to keep their heads long beards to defend their faces from cold. From them also (I think) came saffron shirts and stocks, which were devised by them in those hot countries, where saffron is very common and rife, for avoiding that evil which cometh by much sweating, and long

warm, and

And so

[ocr errors]

wearing of linen: also the women amongst the old
Spaniards had the charge of all household affairs,
both at home and abroad as Boemus writeth) though
now the Spaniards use it quite otherwise.
have the Irish women the trust and care of all things,
both at home and in the field. Likewise round lea-
ther targets is the Spanish fashion, who used it (for
the most part) painted, which in Ireland they use
also in many places, coloured after their rude fashion.
Moreover, the manner of their women's riding on

wrong side of the horse, I inean with their faces toward the right side, as the Irish use, is (as they say) old Spanish, and some say African: for amongst them the women (they say) use so to ride. Also the deep smock sleeve, which the Irish women use, they say, was old Spanish, and is used yet in Barbary: ‘and yet that should seem rather to be an old English fashion : for in armoury the fashirn of the manche,' which is given in arms, by many, being indeed nothing else but a sleeve, is fashioned much like to that sleeve. And that knights in ancient times used to wear their mistresses' or love's sleeve upon their arms; as appeareth by that which is written of sir Launcelot, that he wore the sleeve of the fair maid of Asteloth in a tourney, whereat queen Guenever was much displeased.



imanche, Fr. sleeve.

« VorigeDoorgaan »