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which it is very exhilarating to be- not be permitted, first of all, to dehold.
scribe them by the one peculiarity We have all heard, at least, of the that they have only stone weapons, speculations to which the examina- and then, in order to account for their tion of certain cromlechs, or ancient appearance in these islands, instruct burying-places, has given rise. These them in the use of iron. And why have been classed as belonging to should Mr Sullivan conclude that three ages, or three peoples, from the boats made of the bark of trees, or nature of the implements discovered the skins of wild animals, stretched in them-the Stone, the Bronze, and upon stout wicker-work, should be the Iron age. These graves, these incapable of a voyage across the tumuli, or cromlechs, have been in- Straits ? Unless the books which we vestigated with peculiar care, it read at school taught us wrong, or seems, in Denmark; and Professor travellers' stories are all untrue, both Worsae and other learned men have the savages of olden time, and savages come to the conclusion that the stone that now exist in remote parts of the graves ---those in which only flint world, have performed voyages quite axes, flint arrow-heads, and the like, as long, and quite as dangerous, in have been found-belonged to a pre- boats that were constructed of these historic people. From want of a materials. better name, Mr Sullivan calls them the “Stone people.'
“Moreover,” continues Mr Sullivan,
In our own island, burial-places, he remarks, Celtic has been found in Britain ; the
no trace of any language older than similar to those of the Stone age peculiar sepulchres do not appear in one of Denmark, have been discovered, district only, but are thinly scattered “ if not numerous, at least widely through the islands, and modern Irish spread." But while making this (therefore Hiberno · Celtic) shows admission, Mr Sullivan will not strong phonetic tinge, not belonging to allow that the “Stone people” came
the original stock, which exists to some into England earlier than the Celts.
extent in all the modern Tatár languages.
These evidences (!) strongly support the He has a theory that they were a Tartar tribe, who came over in com
conjecture that the ukuown people
were a Tatár tribe, and were mixed pany with the Celts; which theory with the earlier division of the Celtic he demonstrates in the following in- immigrants.” genious manner :
We leave Mr Sullivan in undis“ Are we now to conclude that the people of the Stone age of Denmark turbed possession of whatever evifound their way hither, and explored dence he can find in that
strong the seas and channels of which the phonetic tinge” which it seems the Romans showed so much fear, in canoes
modern Irish has in common with made by the process of hollowing single the Tartar languages. We are utlogs with fire and flint ? Much more terly incapable of forming any judgprobable is it that they only reached ment on this matter. But it may be these islands in company with the Celts, worth while to inquire what, in such after having obtained metal weapons, and
a case as this, can be meant when having learned the construction of some better kind of boat."-P. 16.
we say that there is “
no trace of
any language older than Celtic to be Thus our Stone people do not come found in Britain.” The earliest lanover till they have “obtained metal guage that is extant cannot surrenweapons "—till they have ceased to der up to us its etymologies (if such be Stone people! This is a some- exist) from a language that, in its what Hibernian method of account separate form, has become entirely ing for their arrival in this island. unknown. No Greek scholar could Mr Sullivan is quite at liberty to detect a derivation from the Sanspeculate as he pleases upon these scrit, if Sanscrit had never been unknown and pre-historic people— heard of. The hypothesis is that if pre-historic they are; he has as the language of these Stone people much right to bring them from Tar- has become extinct; that, as a sepatary as from any other part of the rate and peculiar mode of human world; but even an ethnologist can speech, not a word of it remains. It lay
Whether this hypothesis is correct, great proprietor of the district, whator whether this Stone people ever ever his legal title might be, kept existed on these islands as a sepa- a less watchful eye over his land rate people, we do not pretend to than he, or his steward, is accusdecide; but adopting this hypothesis, tomed to do at the present time. it must follow that the most learned Let land lie open to the first comer, etymologist could not possibly de- and it will not be long before some tect what impression such a lan- one attempts its cultivation. It is guage had made upon the Celtic. true that, if the soil is very poor, How could he say that the “Stone he will repent his experiment, and idiom” had, or had not, left traces retreat from his sterile acquisition. of itself in the Celtic names of things Neither is there anything here to and places, whilst he knows not a prove to us that the experiment was syllable of that Stone idiom ? successful, or was repeated.
The other instance in which Mr Mr Sullivan adopts none of these Sullivan volunteers an explanation suppositions. He has a theory that or theory of his own, is equally the first settlers chose the tops of the curious. In some of our Cumber- hills in preference to the valleys, land hills, traces of the plough are which were then covered with trees. detected, and that on elevated posi- The high ground was more healthy, tions where there has been no culti- and needed no clearance. vation of the soil within the memory open already to the sunshine ; they of man.
It is not, of course, the perched like so many winged creafurrows themselves which the plough tures at once upon the pleasant, and, leaves, that have resisted for cen- we hope, fruitful summits. turies the action of winds and
“ These first settlers (the first instalwaters and the melting snow, but
ment of Hiberno-Celts), the pioneers of the undulating ridges into which
British civilisation, were partly a pasploughed land is thrown for the sake
toral people, and partly subsisted on of drainage. This artificial undula
hunting and fishing. In them we see a tion of the surface may remain visi- tendency to avoid the valleys, and, for ble, it seems, through many gene- permanent residences, to seek the highrations of mankind.
est ground, suited to their occupations. people have, or had, the notion that The reasons are obvious: the valleys during the interdict laid by the Pope Yential marshes ; the high grounds
were impenetrable thickets and pestion King John, all enclosed fields were forbidden to be cultivated, and healthier, and less obstructed by forest.
Those traces of the plough that have thus recourse was had to land that
been observed on the hills and commons, had not hitherto been broken up. uncultivated even at the present day, People better skilled in history have
belong to this early period, and show attributed the tillage of these unpro that agriculture had made progress on ductive spots to those periods when the lands of the first colonists. the Border strife raged with so much the phenomenon has remained a puzzle animosity as to render the cultiva- to the latest times ; and on it has been tion of the valley altogether useless.
founded the popular story that it was For the Scot was not always con- laid as a penance on King John's subtent with carrying off his neighbour's jects, during the interdict, to till no cattle : when the Border war was at
enclosed fields, or lands ordinarily cultiits height, he destroyed whatever he yated, for the space of a year and a
day.” could not appropriate ; and doubtless the measure that he dealt was dealt Of the two explanations we should to him again. It is supposed that certainly prefer the popular story at some period of this terrible inse- about the Pope's interdict to the hycurity, an attempt had been made pothesis of Mr Sullivan, which reto grow corn, or other produce, on quires us to believe that these traces land that lay remote from the usual of the plough were left by a people inroads of the enemy. For our own who had not learnt to clear the parts, we are inclined to look no woods and make use of the richer further back than to some period soil of the valley. when the lord of the manor, or the But we will not enter further into
any of these ethnological “ puzzles.” Persians and Egyptians, is evident, but Let us see what Mr Sullivan has to there is no trace of any reciprocation. tell us of the existing people of Cum- The contact of the Syro-Phenicians and berland, or of such traditions, cus
Persians took place in Torvastrian times, toms, or superstitions, as have till · long before which the Celts had their lately lingered amongst them. We worship of the sun. Why then adopt
this word in connection with their anhave a variety of topics to choose cient worship? Can we suppose the Phefrom. Here are chapters on Fire- nicians brought the name to Cornwall ? worship, chapters on Fairies, on
The supposed Baal worship is unknown Witchcraft, on Sacred Wells, Giants, in Cornwall, and the Beltain is confined and the like. As being the bject to districts known to have been partly most venerable for its antiquity, we colonised by Scandinavians. The word will turn to the chapter on Fire- Baal, erroneously supposed to mean the worship
sun, is always to be interpreted Dominus. The Beltein or Beltane, a festival
Then the Egyptian Seb, &c." in which a sacred fire was lit, with All this looks
formidable ; but many various ceremonials, has been if the Celts brought their religion with longer preserved in Scotland and them into Britain, and if that religion Ireland than in any parts of Eng- derived its origin from some great land. But there are parts of Cum- monarchy or people in the East, it is berland where the fires lit on the eve of St John still remind the antiquary came from the same source.
not improbable that this word 'Baal
That of the old Druidical worship. The the Druidical religion originated in Beltein, we used to be told, signifies Britain, is a mere conjecture, which the fire of Baal. But another deriva- Cæsar reports, and which, we appretion of the word has taken the field, hend, no scholar of the present day for which Mr Sullivan contends very adopts. The word Baal, whose first warmly. He traces the word to the meaning was the sun, came to be Danes or Scandinavians, who coined
synonymous with Lord or God; and it partly from their own dialect, and notwithstanding all that Mr Sullivan partly from the Hiberno-Celtic. Baal has so distinctly laid down as to the is Danish for a pile of wood, and religious culture of the Syro-Pheniteine is Hiberno-Celtic, for fire. Bel- cians, we are persuaded that if he tein is, therefore, simply a fire made chose to give us the benefit of his with a pile of wood.
ingenuity, he could find some road for “ The Scandinavians,” says Mr Sulli- the passage of this word into the van, “ as they settled in England and
England and Celtic language. Ireland, freely adopted the national rites
“ Several Cumbrian hills," Mr Sullivan and customs. Having been indoctrinated with the fire-worship of the Celts, proceeds to say, “ received their names
from the sacrifices of the Beltain, of they continued it under the name of the Baaltine or Beltain, a compound formed highest is Hill Bell, the hill of the baal,
which they were the sites. Of these the from both languages."
or Beltain, in Westmoreland; Bell Hill, The Scandinavians, it appears, near Drigg, in Cumberland, confirms this adopted the rite and half the word etymology of the name. Besides these for it, from the Celts, showing their
we bave Bells and Green Bells, in Westindependence and originality by sup- moreland, and Cat Bells, Derwentwater.
Fire-worship, or a commemoration plying the other half. In a note, our
thereof, can be traced to a late period at etymologist adds :
the four great festivals of the seasons. “ As there are yet many persons who On the establishment of Christianity in cling to the imaginative derivation from Ireland, the care of the sacred fire was the god Baal or Bel of the East, it may be intrusted to St Bridget and her society as well to add a word or two, with the of nuns, and the eve of the first of Febhope of converting those benighted idola- ruary still witnesses a rude custom in ters. Baal belongs to the Syro-Phenicians, connection therewith. Candlemas-day whose primitive religion was a simple star- doubtless originated as an adaptation of worship. Being pressed southwards by the worship of this season, as did the the Arians (Indo - Europeans), these Firebrand Sunday of Burgundy, and the people entered Egypt. That they freely more general observance of St Blaze's adopted tenets and deities from both day !"
What a brilliant personification is these counties. It was once an annual this of St Blaze! We have a St observance, and is still occasionally em. Sunday presiding over a noble crag ployed in the dales and some other locain Ullswater, but he must hide his lities (according to the import of the head in the presence of this glorious
name cattle-fire, nöd Danish for cattle),
as a charm for various diseases to which St Blaze.
cattle are liable. All the fires in the “ The Midsummer rejoicings are most village are first carefully put out, a depugenerally known under the name of bone- tation going round to each house to see fires, being so called from the custom of that not a spark remains. Two pieces burning bones on that night. In all the of wood are then ignited by friction, and country parts of England the Midsum- within the influence of the fire thus mer fires were continued to a late period, kindled the cattle are brought. The together with sports, which were kept scene is one of dire bellowing and conup, in some places, till midnight, in others fusion, but the owner is especially till cock-crow.
anxious that his animals should get “ According to the general opinion of 'plenty of the reek.' The charm being the old writers, the bone-fires were in- ended in one village, the fire may be tended to drive away dragons and evil transferred to the next, and thus propaspirits by their offensive smell. Stow gated as far as it is required. Miss thinks that a great fire purges 'the infec- Martineau (Lake Guide) remarks the tion of the air;' but another author continuance of this custom, and relates declares that‘dragons hate nothyog more the story of a certain farmer, who, when than the stenche of brennynge bones.”” all his cattle had been passed through
the fire, subjected an ailing wife to the They had a more delicate nostril influence of the same potent charm." than we gave them credit for. But, Whence came our Fairies? From for all this, we have our doubts both the East or from the North? were about the dragons and the bones,
they Peris, or Devs, or of Gothic ex“ The old Midsummer custom of the traction ? were they Pagan deities bone-fire is still observed at Melmerby, lingering in the fields they loved till perhaps the only place in these counties a Christian era dwarfed them to the at which this remnant of fire-worship pigmies they became ? Whence was now lingers. Until within two or three
even the word derived ? “By some years since, old Midsummer-eve was kept etymologists," says Sir Walter Scott, as the annual village festival.
It was a
" of that learned class who not only holiday for a considerable extent of the fell-sides, and used to be attended by a
know whence words come, but also great concourse of people. Preparations whither they are going, the term on a most extensive scale were made, Fairy, or Faërie, is derived from Fae, partly for the accommodation of the which, again, is derived from nymgeneral public, but still more for the pha.” Mr Sullivan leans to that private entertainment of friends. For view of their origin which is still several days previous to the feast, the current in Ireland. “When the revillage ovens were in continual daily and bellion of the angels,” he tells us nightly requisition. But this reunion of “ brought about their expulsion from friends, which was however already declining, has been quite discontinued since heaven, the archangel Michael, who the establishment of certain cattle-fairs
was placed at the gate, after some in the spring and autumn; and for
time made intercession with these these times the annual visits are now
words, O Lord, the heavens are reserved."
emptying !' The wrath of the AlWe see here, on a small scale, how to remain in the state of the moment
mighty ceased, and all were suffered it is that our social wants and plea- until the consummation of the world, sures keep up many a ceremony whose At that precise time many of the original meaning is lost or become fallen angels were already in the botindifferent. People must have times tomless abyss, but some were still in and places for general concourse. When the cattle-fair supplied this the sea." And thus air, earth, and
the air, others on the earth, others in want, farewell for ever to the fires of Old Midsummer Eve.
sea, became peopled with spirits.
But from whatever quarter they “ The superstition of the need.fire is came, we know that they are now the only other remains of fire-worship in gone. We know this in Cumber
land not only negatively, because no ical circle near Penrith. It is called fairies are now seen, but positively, Long Meg and her Daughters. But because their departure has been wit- ask for any legend or history of this nessed.
strange and uncouth Niobe in stone, “An inhabitant of Martindale, Jack and you will find none whatever. Wilson by name, was one evening cross- The Cumberland imagination got so ing Sandivick Rigg on his return home, far as to see a rude similitude bewhen he suddenly perceived before him tween these upright stones and a tall in the glimpses of the moon, a large com- woman and her daughters. Such rude pany of fairies, intensely engaged in their similitude forced itself on the slugfavourite diversions. He drew near un
gish imagination, but prompted no observed, and presently descried a stee legend or fable to account for the (ladder) reaching from amongst them up into a cloud. But no sooner was the strange apparition of a mother and presence of mortal discovered, than all daughters transformed to stone in made a busy retreat up the stee. Jack
that desolate spot. If an Irishman rushed forward, doubtless firmly deter- had gone so far as to give this name mined to follow them into fairyland, but to the stones, he must have gone fararrived too late. They had effected ther still ; he would have coined halftheir retreat, and quickly drawing up the a-dozen histories to account for the stee, they shut the cloud, and disap- terrible transmutation. peared. And, in the concluding words The late Professor Wilson, in one of Jack's story, which afterwards became proverbial in that neighbourhood,
of his admirable criticisms on Shake'yance gane, ae gane, and niver saw mair
speare, has remarked on the perplexo them. The grandson of the man who ity into which the reader is thrown thus strangely witnessed the last appari.
when he attempts to form to himself tion of the fairies, bimself an old man,
any image of the fairies of Jidsumwas appealed to not long ago on the mer Night's Dream. He is required truth of this tradition. Having listened at one time to think of them as of to the account of it already printed, he the stature of men and women ; at declared it was a' true, however, for he another time as being no larger than heard his grandfather tell it many a insects. They make love to mentime.'"
they hide in the blossom of a cowWe the more readily quote this slip. But this perplexity accompastory, because it bears all the marks nies us also throughout the traditions of a genuine delusion, or trick of the and popular stories which Shakeimagination. We have no doubt that speare adopted. He took them as Jack Wilson really saw, or thought he found them. Perhaps he perhe saw, what he described. The ceived that it would be utterly immist, and the moonlight, and the beer possible to reconcile their incongruiworking in his brain, as well as the ties without forming a new mythoreports of fairies, and some biblical logy, which would no longer have recollections of Jacob's ladder, ac- the sanction of popular credulity. count very satisfactorily for his vision, We hear of the fairies dancing in the and he just tells us so much as he shape of most diminutive creatures
The stee was drawn up, and by moonlight on the grass, and the there an end of it. Our Cumberland next moment these delicate elves peasantry are not an inventive or have large changeling babies to disimaginative race. They just have pose of, which they surreptitiously an honest delusion occasionally, or place in some honest countrywoman's they repeat some absurd tradition, cradle. The only hypothesis that but they do not consciously set their can extricate us from the difficulty ingenuity or imagination to work to is, that these ethereal spirits had no contrive legends or conjure up spirits. fixed definite form, but were capable Mr Crofton Croker would have found of assuming what shape they pleased. amongst them very scanty materials And this we are expressly told in the on which to exercise his pleasant veritable ballad of The Young T'ampowers of narrative.
lane, which may be read in Scott's We have an ance of this stoli- Border Minstrelsy, was the peculiar dity of the Cumberland peasant in privilege of the race of fairies. One the name given to the famous Druid of them tells us :