« PreviousContinue »
the immortality!” Then the pious soul went joyfully onward to Ormazd, to the immortal saints, to the golden throne, to Paradise. As for the wicked, when they fell into the gulf, they found themselves in outer darkness, in the kingdom of Angrô-mainyus, where they were forced to remain and to feed upon poisoned banquets. ...
Two phases of the early Iranic religion have been described: The first a simple and highly spiritual creed, remarkable for its distinct assertion of monotheism, its hatred of idolatry, and the strangely marked antithesis which it maintained between good and evil; the second — a natural corruption of the first — Dualistic — complicated by the importance which it ascribed to angelic beings, verging upon polytheism. It remains to give an account of a third phase into which the religion passed, in consequence of an influence exercised upon it from without by an alien system. When the Iranic nations, cramped for space in the countries east and south of the Caspian, began to push themselves farther to the west, and then to the south, they were brought into contact with various Scythic tribes, whose religion appears to have been Magism. ...
Magism was essentially the worship of the elements — the recognition of Fire, Air, Earth, and Water as the only proper objects of human reverence. The Magi held no personal gods, and therefore naturally rejected temples, shrines, and images, as tending to encourage the notion that gods existed of a like nature with man, i. e., possessing personality — living and intelligent beings. Theirs was a nature-worship, but a natureworship of a very peculiar kind. They did not place gods over the different parts of nature, like the Greeks; they did not even personify the powers of nature, like the Hindoos; they paid their devotion to the actual material things themselves. Fire, as the most subtle and ethereal principle, and again as the most powerful agent, attracted their highest regards; and on their fire-altars the sacred flame, generally considered to have been kindled from heaven, was kept burning uninterruptedly from year to year and from age to age by hands of priests, whose special duty it was to see that the sacred spark was never extinguished. To defile the altar by blowing the flame with one's breath was a capital offence; and to burn a corpse was regarded as an act equally odious. Next to Fire, Water was reverenced. Sacrifice was offered to rivers, lakes,
and fountains. No refuse was allowed to be cast into a river, nor was it even lawful to wash one's hands in one. Reverence for Earth was shown by sacrifice, and by abstention from the usual mode of burying the dead. ....
The original spirit of Zoroastrianism was fierce and intolerant. The early Iranians abhorred idolatry, and were disinclined to tolerate any religion except that which they had themselves worked out. But with the lapse of ages this spirit became softened. By the time that the Zoroastrians were brought into contact with Magism, the fervor of their religious zeal had abated, and they were in that intermediate condition of religious faith which at once impresses and is impressed, acts upon other systems and allows itself to be acted upon. The result which supervened upon contact with Magism seems to have been a fusion, an absorption into Zoroastrianism of all the chief points of the Magian belief, and all the more remarkable of the Magian religious usages.
HARDWICK DRUMMOND RAWNSLEY.
RAWNSLEY, HARDWICK DRUMMOND, an English poet and clergyman; born at Shiplake-on-Thames, September 28, 1850. He was educated at Uppingham and Balliol College, Oxford, and after taking holy orders in the English Church was for a time engaged in clerical work at Bristol, and later became Vicar of Crosthwaite, Keswick. His especial excellence as a poet is in the sonnet. He has published “A Book of Bristol Sonnets" (1877); “Sonnets at the English Lakes” (1881); “ Village Sermons" (1883–85); “Sonnets Round the Coast” (1887); “Edward Thring: Teacher and Poet” (1889); “Poems, Ballads, and Bucolics” (1890); “ Notes for the Nile" (1892); “ Valete: Tennyson and Other Memorial Poems” (1893); “Idylls and Lyrics of the Nile” (1894); “Literary Associations of the English Lakes" (1894).
SERVICE IN THE OLD PARISH CHURCH, WHITBY.
The king who struck for Christ, and striking fell;
Beyond the harbor, tolled the beacon bell;
A ship's mid-hold, — we almost felt the swell
And common praise, new wind was in our sails, –
A ship that meets all storms, rides out all gales !
THE JET WORKER.
The treadle murmurs sad beneath his heel,
Emblems of sorrow from the darkened womb
Of worlds on which the Deluge set its seal —
And leaps out joyous from the heart of jet.
In darkest souls Thy life and light are set.
How free and fair the land from Esk to Tees,
Where Gower grew great, and Roger Ascham strolled,
Where that old Bible-rhymer, cloistered, told
To purple moors, by lines of hedge are rolled;
The corn plates all the seaward cliffs with gold,
Hunt through the gleaming night the silver droves;
And men have bruised the hills and mined the coves, Still by his long-backed barn the thatcher sings,
And in the barn is heard the sound of flails.
THOMAS BUCHANAN READ.
READ, THOMAS BUCHANAN, an American artist and poet; born in Chester County, Pa., March 12, 1822; died at New York, May 11, 1872. At the age of fifteen he made his way to Cincinnati, and not long afterward he became a portrait-painter in the West. In 1842 he took up his residence at Boston. In 1850, and again in 1853, he went to Italy in order to study art. He returned to the United States a short time before the outbreak of the Civil War, during which he composed several patriotic ballads, one of which, “ Sheridan's Ride,” became very popular. His first volume of poems appeared in 1847. It was followed the next year by a collection of “Lays and Ballads." A complete collection of his “Poems” was published in 1867. He possessed considerable merit as a painter, and made some not unsuccessful attempts as a sculptor. During most of the late years of his life he resided chiefly at Rome.
My soul to-day
Is far away,
My winged boat,
A bird afloat,
Round purple peaks
It sails, and seeks
Where high rocks throw,
Through deeps below,
Far, vague, and dim,
The mountains swim;
With outstretched hands,
The gray smoke stands