Page images
PDF
EPUB

girdle that naked body, and imprison him in one enforced position. His hands and his feet are thrust through with the spikes that nail them to the rock. By day the sun's burning rays scorch his body; in the night the frosts consume him; or the thick heavy chilling dews make even the sun's return a relief to him. One companion has be, only one, and such a one as that he might well wish far away. A foul bird, no bird of earth, is with him, tearing his flesh and devouring the prey; and as fast as he tears, lo! the flesh grows again, and affords fresh food to the bird's never satisfied maw. For he who is so tortured is an Immortal ; be cannot die, and of his sufferings there can be no end, unless Zeus, the new lord of Olympus, take pity on him, undo his own work, and release him from that prison in which his own agents, Strength and Force, aided by the Fire-king have enclosed him. Who is he? and what has he done to merit so hard a fate ?

He is the friend of man; for that he is suffering. He saved man from destruction ; he taught him much that is good; he made known to him the arts of civilized life; he taught him to use his own innate powers. For this he suffers so miserably.

He is the Titan, Prometheus, one of the gods of the more ancient stock. He assisted Zeus, the present lord of Olympus, to win his throne. But when he opposed the tyrant will of Zeus, and thwarted his stern purpose with regard to men, then all his old good deeds were forgotten, then this sad fate fell upon him. For Zeus wished to destroy the race of men from the face of the earth, and bring in a new creation of his own in their stead. But Prometheus loved them and maintained their cause. He had already from his love to them benefited them much. The sad knowledge of the future, whereby each could read beforehand the events and issue of his own life, he had taken from them, and had given them hope instead. He had drawn down fire from heaven, which hitherto they had not known, and given to them its inestimable gift. He had taught them to use the powers which their Creator had planted in them, to build houses instead of living in caves or dens among the rocks, to learn the signs of the changing seasons, and win the knowledge yielded by the rising and the setting stars. The science of numbers also, the queen of inventions, was his gift to them, and the art of writing. He also taught them how to tame the wild beasts of the field to domestic uses, and to cross the sea in ships. He revealed to them the hitherto unknown power of herbs to cure diseases, and so gifted them with

VOL. XIX.

F

length of days. He instructed them in the art of working metals. Such was his great love for man, and for this he brought upon himself the wrath of the new ruler of heaven. But when to all these he added yet further that he stood between man and his destruction which Zeus was meditating, then in fierce anger at the failure of his plans the king of gods and men had let loose upon him the instruments of his vengeance, Strength and Force, with Hephæstus, the lord of the flame. They had nailed him to this Scythian rock; and there he was now, tortured by a living death and a dying life, and yet by his own sufferings winning for man life, and all that can make life happy.

But still, in the midst of his sufferings he was not without his consolations. He had sympathising friends, the sea nymphs, the daughters of old Father Oceanus, who came to him to soothe him in his sorrow, and breathe upon his heated brow their own soft and refreshing breezes. Old Ocean himself, their father, felt for him, and visited him in his distress with words of well meaning though ill timed and fruitless counsel. All nature moaned for him. He saw also another, a weaker than he, the victim of the same sad tyrant power. And by pouring into her ears words of prescient and kindly warning he half forgot his own deep woes. He had also the joy of the good deeds that he had done, the consciousness that man had been saved by him; and still there was hope, hope of a new order of things, hope that this tyranny might yet pass away, and more than hope, an assurance that this tyranny must pass away. With this certainty he soothed and comforted himself in the midst of his awful sufferings.

But as he thus lay in his agony, and gave vent to his assurance in darksome words, tidings of this, his assurance and a few dark hints of his predictions came to the ears of Zeus. He sent the conducting Hermes, the messenger of the gods, to demand an explanation of his tortured victim. This Prometheus refused with just indignation, and the fierce wrath of the Ruler fell upon him. The thunder roared, the winds howled, the lightning flashed, the rocks were rent asunder by an earthquake. But still the sufferer did not give way, for he kept the confidence that his wrongs might yet be righted. Therefore from the hail cloud that encircled him were yet heard words of indignant appeal against the wrongs that had been his own, and against the sufferings that he was so undeservedly undergoing.

[I have followed Æschylus in this tale. Hesiod's version is somewhat different.]

S. C. A.

67

EPIPHANY.

They departed into their own country another way."

Vainly ye

Why take your Myrrh, your Frankincense, and Gold ?

dream that ye have found your King ; Come,- learn the wisdom I have stored of old,

Come,—to its light your fond illusions bring. Why take your love? Let love on me be spent ;

Why take your worship ? Am I godless all ? Why take your sorrow? I will give content,

Sweetness for bitter, liberty for thrall. What? ye will leave me? Well, then go your way ;

(No door so close but I can entrance win,) Ye will return to me this very day,

Go, seek His Courts-ye cannot dwell therein. World, if thou come, who shall give heed to thee?

For thou shalt stand (yea, be it within the gate,) Spell-bound and mute, while every faithful knee

Bends where our King holds Court in lowly state.

Nay, then begone! Return ye when ye will,

And be my guests, and taste my bounteous fare ; Forswear your King ? Not so, but serve Him still,

Sweet amity, not service be my share !

King of Kings;
O how blest the learning
Whose end was the discerning

Of Thy very Light;
Wisdom of Thy giving
Ends in holy living

Ever in Thy sight.

King of Kings ;
Worship, love, and sorrow,
All our store we borrow

From Thyself alone;
Thou our hearts first filling,]
We by humble willing,

Give Thee of Thine own.

King of Kings ;
From Thy Throne Thou bendest
Nay, but Thou descendest-

O, how shall this be ?
Scarce our eyes we lift,
Royal, Royal Gift,

Comest Thou to me?

Now from the Palace of our King forth faring,

Rested, refreshed, our pilgrim way we take ;
Narrow and steep the path that we are daring,

Ah, who could choose it, LORD, but for Thy sake ?
Narrow and steep ; poor World, thou canst not follow,

Not for thy chariot-wheels our mountain track !
Far, far below, thy voice sounds faint and hollow,

Threaten or woo, 'tis vain, we turn not back.
Steep, narrow, chasm-verged ; a path of fear,

Still ridge on ridge recedes the mountain crest,-
Ah, those still Courts-

Faint not ;"

Who speaks so near? “ My Presence goes with you, to give you rest.

E. M. B.

THE CAUCASUS AND GEORGIA.

“The Georgian States on the southern side of the Caucasus may amount to 150,000 families, of whom probably 50,000 are Armenian. The atrocities committed by the Turkish troops in the neighbourhood of Akkiska will oblige the whole of the Christian states to take up arms to defend their lives and families. Formerly full 5000 Christian slaves were annually sold at Akkiska and on the Turkish frontier. Had the Russians not occupied Georgia, it would have been depopulated, or the inhabitants would have been compelled to change their religion. This was the case at Akkiska, which was once a Georgian city, and subsequently in the hands of the Turks became the greatest scourge of that province. Numerous bands of Lesghi, Abkhasi, Kagi, and Turkish slave-hunters were established at Akkiska, Kars, and Batoum, and the nature of the country-rugged mountains covered with forests-enabled these miscreants to penetrate into every part of Georgia, and carry off the people.”

The above was part of a long letter written by an Englishman to a London paper from Asia Minor, in February, 1854, just before we entered upon the Crimean War, and while the Russians were already engaged with the Turks in Russian Armenia. The disturbances in the Caucasus prevented Russia from reinforcing her army by that route, and the allied fleets had received orders to prevent any of her vessels from appearing on the Black Sea, while the Turks were at liberty to recruit and supply their armies, which were marching on Georgia, with their fleets at Batoum and Sinope. The Czar's answer to our threats was the attack on the Turkish fleet at Sinope, which completely destroyed it, and compelled the retreat of the Sultan's army across the Russian frontier. One of our most distinguished generals in a letter to Lord Palmerston, dated from Asia Minor, before the siege of Kars in 1855, draws a horrible picture of what the condition of Georgia would have been if these brutes," as he calls the Turkish commanders, had succeeded in penetrating into Georgia at that time, or if the Treaty of Peace had eventually made it over to Turkey.

No country has suffered more from heathen and infidel aggression during thirteen hundred years than the little kingdom of Georgia, now included in the Russian province of Transcaucasia, or than Armenia, now divided between Turkey and Russia. Yet these provinces were converted to Christianity as early as the third century, and are indeed striking proofs of the superior vitality of the Christian faith over the heresies which have threatened its destruction. A nation of fire-worshippers, the Jewish kingdom of Chazaria, now Astrakhan, and the Mahometan kingdom of Bulgaria on the Volga (of which Bulgaria on the Danube was a colony,) were swept away in the common ruin which involved all the independent states of Western Asia, including Georgia and Armenia, during the Mogul conquests in the thirteenth century, and have never re-appeared, except in a Mahometan garb, while Georgia and Armenia have preserved the Apostolical succession of their priesthood, and their noble families still boast of ancient pedigrees

in which no Mahometan or heathen link can be shown. Early in the third century Armenia was a Christian state, and through the influence of a young Armenian slave over King Micaus of Georgia, who reigned from A.D. 265—318, Christianity was established in this neighbouring kingdom. Although the Bible was not translated into the Georgian tongue till the eighth century, when a learned Armenian accomplished this task, to counteract the influence of the Koran, which was forced upon the Georgians by the Saracens ; yet Georgia resisted all the proselytizing efforts of the Persian Shah

« PreviousContinue »