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I regard the ancient gods Cabiri as having been the first gods of Thrace, whatever Greek names may have been afterwards given to them.
There is something however still more curious, respecting the history of Samothrace. We know that Greece and Thrace were formerly afflicted by many inundations. We have read of the deluges of Deucaleon and Ogyges. The isle of Samothrace boasted of a yet more ancient deluge; and its deluge corresponds, in point of time, with the period in which it is contended that the ancient king of Thrace, Xixuter, lived, whom we have spoken of under the article ARARAT.
You may probably recollect, that the gods of Xixuter, or Xissuter, who were in all probability the Cabiri, commanded him to build a vessel about thirty thousand feet long, and an hundred and twelve wide; that this vessel sailed for a long time over the mountains of Armenia during the deluge; that, having taken on board with him some pigeons and many other domestic animals, he let loose his pigeons to ascertain whether the waters had withdrawn; and that they returned covered with dirt and slime, which induced Xixuter to resolve on disembarking from his immense vessel.
You will say that it is a most extraordinary circumstance, that Sanchoniathon does not make any mention of this curious adventure. I reply, that it is impossible for us to decide whether it was mentioned in his history or not, as Eusebius, who has only transmitted to us some fragments of this very ancient historian, had no particular inducement to quote any passage that might have existed in his work respecting the ship and pigeons. Berosus however relates the case, and he connects it with the marvellous, according to the general practice of the ancients.
The inhabitants of Samothrace had erected monuments of this deluge.
What is more extraordinary and astonishing still is, as indeed we have already partly remarked, that neither Greece, nor Thrace, nor tħe people of any other country, ever knew anything of the real and great deluge, the deluge of Noah.
How could it be possible, we once more ask, that an event so awful and appalling as that of the submersion of the whole earth should be unknown by the survivors ? How could the name of our common father Noah, who re-peopled the world, be unknown to all those who were indebted to him for life? It is the most prodigious of all prodigies, that, of so many grandchildren, not one should have ever spoken of his grandfather!
I have applied to all the learned men that I have seen, and said, Have you ever met with any old work in Greek, Tuscan, Arabian, Egyptian, Chaldean, In
dian, Persian, or Chinese, in which the name of Noah 1 is to be found? They have all replied in the negative.
This is a fact that perpetually perplexes and confounds me.
But that the history of this universal inundation should be found in a single page of a book written in the wilderness by fugitives, and that this page should have been unknown to all the rest of the world till about nine hundred years after the foundation of Rome,—this perfectly petrifies me. I cannot recover from its impression. The effect is completely overpowering. My worthy reader, let us both together exclaim“ altitudo ignorantiarum !”
In quality of poor alphabetical compilers, collectors of anecdotes, gatherers of trifles, pickers of rags at the corners of the streets, we glorify ourselves with all the pride attached to our sublime science, on having discovered that “Sampson the Strong,' a tragedy, was played at the close of the sixteenth century, in the town of Rouen, and that it was printed by Abraham Couturier. John Milton, long-time a schoolmaster of London, afterwards Latin secretary to the protector, Cromwell,-Milton, the author of Paradise Lost' and
Paradise Regained,' wrote the tragedy of Sampson Agonistes;' and it is very unfortunate that we cannot
tell in what year.
We know however, that it has been printed with a preface, in which much is boasted, by one of our brethren, the commentator named Paræus, who first perceived by the force of his genius, that the Apocalypse is a tragedy. On the strength of this discovery he divided the Apocalypse into five acts, and inserted chorusses worthy of the elegance and fine nature of the piece. The author of this preface speaks to us of the fine tragedies of St. Gregory of Nanzianzen. He asserts, that a tragedy should never have more than five acts, and to prove it, he gives us the 'Sampson Agonistes of Milton, which has but one. Those who like elabo, rate declamation will be satisfied with this piece.
A comedy of Sampson was played for a long time in Italy. A translation of it was made in Paris in 1717, by one named Romagnesi; it was represented on the French theatre of the pretended Italian comedy, formerly the palace of the dukes of Burgundy. It was published, and dedicated to the duke of Orleans, regent of France.
In this sublime piece, Arlequin, the servant of Sampson, fights with a turkey-cock, whilst his master carries off the gates of Gaza on his shoulders.
In 1732, it was wished to represent, at the opera of Paris, a tragedy of Sampson, set to music by the celebrated Rameau ; but it was not permitted.
There was neither Arlequin norturkey-cock; but the thing appeared too serious; besides, certain people were very glad to mortify Rameau, who possessed great talents. Yet at that time they performed the opera of Jephtha,' extracted from the Old, and the comedy of the Prodigal Son,' from the New Testament.
There is an old edition of the • Sampson Agonistes' af Milton, preceded by an abridgment of the history of the hero. The following is this abridgment:
The Jews, to whom God promised by oath all the conntry which is between the river of Egypt and the Euphrates, and who through their sins never had this country, were on the contrary reduced to servitude, which slavery lasted for forty years. Now there was a Jew of the tribe of Dan, named Manoah; and the wife
of this Manoah was barren; and an angel appeared to this woman, and said to her, “ Behold, thou shalt conceive and bear a son; and now drink no wine nor strong drink, neither eat any unclean thing; for the child shall be a Nazarite to God, from the womb to the day of his death.”
The angel afterwards appeared to the husband and wife; they gave him a kid to eat; he would have none of it, and disappeared in the midst of the smoke; and the woman said, We shall surely die, because we have seen God: but they died not.
The slave Sampson being born, was consecrated a Nazarite. As soon as he was grown up, the first thing which he did was to go to the Phenician or Philistine town of Timnath, to court a daughter of one of his masters, whom he married.
In going to his mistress he met a lion, and tore him in pieces with his naked hand, as he would have done a kid. Some days after, he found a swarm of bees in the throat of the dead lion, with some honey, though bees never rest on carrion,
Then he proposed this enigma to his companions :Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness; if you guess, I will give you thirty tunics and thirty gowns; if not, you shall give me thirty gowns and thirty tunics. The comrades, not being able to guess in what the solution of the enigma consisted, gained over the young wife of Sampson; she drew the secret from her husband, and he was obliged to give them thirty tunics and thirty gowns. Ah, said he to them, if ye had not ploughed with my heifer, ye would not have found out my riddle.
Soon after, the father-in-law of Sampson gave another husband to his daughter.
Sampson, enraged at having lost his wife, immediately caught three hundred foxes, tied them two together by the tails with lighted firebrands, and they fired the corn of the Philistines.
The Jewish slaves, not willing to be punished by their masters for the exploits of Sampson, surprised
-him in the cavern in which he dwelt, tied him with great ropes, and delivered him to the Philistines. As soon as he was in the midst of them, he broke his cords, and finding the jawbone of an ass, with one effort he killed a thousand Philistines. Such an effort making him very warm, he was dying with thirst, on which God made a fountain spout from one of the teeth of the ass's jaw-bone. Sampson, having drank, went into Gaza, a Philistine town; he there immediately became smitten with a courtezan. As he slept with her, the Philistines shut the gates of the town, and surrounded the house, when he arose, took the gates, and carried them away. The Philistines, in despair at not being able to overcome this hero, addressed themselves to another courtezan named Dalilah, with whom he afterwards slept. She finally drew from him the secret in which his strength consisted : it was only necessary to shave him, to render him equal to other men. shaved, became weak, and his eyes being put out, he was made to turn a mill and to play on the violin. One day, while playing in a Philistine temple, between two of its columns, he became indignant that the Philistines should have columned temples, whilst the Jews had only a tabernacle supported on four poles. He also felt that his hair began to grow; and being transported with a holy zeal, he pulled down the two pillars; by which concussion the temple was overthrown, the Philistines were crushed to death, and himself also.
Such is this preface, word for word.
This is the history which is the subject of the piece of Milton, and Romagnesi: it is adapted to Italian farce.
SATURN'S RING. This astonishing phenomenon, but not more astonishing than others, this solid and luminous body, which surrounds the planet Saturn, which it enlightens, and by which it is enlightened, whether by the feeble reflection of the sun's rays, or by some unknown