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trusion of the profane. “ There was something in the Druidical species of heathenism," exclaims Mr. Whitaker, in a style truly oriental,

" that was well calculated to arrest the attention and impress the mind. The rudely majestic circle of stones in their temples, the enormous Cromlech, the massy Logan, the huge Carnedde, and the magnificent amphitheatre of woods, would all very strongly lay hold upon that religious thoughtfulness of soul, which has ever been so natural to man, amid all the wrecks of humanitythe monument of his former perfection !" That Druidism, as existing originally in Devonshire and Cornwall, was immediately transported, in all its purity and perfection, from the East, seems extremely probable.

Among the sacred rites of the Druids there were none more celebrated than that they used of the misletoe of the oak. They believed this tree was chosen by God himself. The misletoe was what they found but seldom : whenever, therefore, they met with it, they fetched it with great ceremony, and did it on the sixth day of the moon, with which day they began both their months and their years. They gave a name to this shrub, denoting that it had the virtue of curing all diseases.

They sacrificed victims to it, believing that, by its virtue, the barren were made fruitful. They looked upon it likewise as a preservative against all poisons. Thus do several nations of the world place their religion in the observation of trifles.

The Druids were also extremely superstitious in relation to the herb selago, which they reckoned a preservative against sore eyes, and almost all misfortunes. Another herb called samotis, which they imagined had a virtue to prevent diseases among cattle, they were very ceremonious about gathering. The person was obliged to be clad in white, and was not suffered to handle it ; and the ceremony was preceded by a sacrifice of bread and wine.

The Druids had another superstition amongst them, in regard to their serpents' eggs, which they supposed were formed of the saliva of many of those creatures, at a certain time of the moon : these they looked upon as a sure prognostic of getting the better of their enemies. These, with many other ridiculous fooleries, were imposed upon the credulous people, as they were very much attached to divination. The Druids regarded the misletoe as an antidote against all poisons, and they preserved their selago against all misfortunes. The Persians had the same confidence in the efficacy of several herbs, and used them in a similar manner. The Druids cut their misletoe with a golden hook, and the Persians cut the twigs of Ghez, or haulm, called bursam, with a peculiar sort of concentrated knife. The candidates for the British throne had recourse to the fatal stone to determine their pretensions; and on similar occasions the Persians had recourse to the Artizoe.

From every view of the Druid religion, Mr. Polwhele concludes that it derived its origin from the Persian magi. Dr. Borlasse has drawn a long and

elaborate parallel between the Druids and Persians, where he has plainly proved that they resembled each other, as strictly as possible, in every particular of religion.*

* See account of Druidism in Polewhele's Historical Views of Devonshire, vol. 1.

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CHAPTER VI.

ESCULAPIAN MYSTERIES, &c.

APOLLO is said to have been one of the most gentle, and at the same time, as may be inferred from his numerous issue, one of the most gallant of the heathen deities. The first and most noted of his sons was Æsculapius, whom he had by the nymph Coronis. Some say that Apollo, on account of her infidelity, shot his mother when big with child with him ; but repenting the fact, saved the infant, and gave him to Chiron to be instructed in physic. * Others report, that as King Phlegyas, her father was carrying her with him into Peloponnesus, her pains surprised her on the confines of Epidauria where, to conceal her shame, she exposed the infant on a mountain. The truth, however is, that this Æsculapius was a poor infant cast away, a dropt

* Ovid, who relates the story of Coronis in his fanciful way, tells us that Corvus, or the raven, who discovered her armour, had, by Apollo, his feathers changed from black to white.

child, laid in a wood near Epidaurus, by his unnatural parents, who were afterwards ashamed to own him ; he was shortly afterwards found by some huntsmen, who, seeing a lighted flame or glory surrounding his head, looked

upon

it as a prognostic of the child's future glory. The infant was delivered by them to a nurse named Trigo, but the poets say he was suckled by a goat. He studied physic under Chiron the centaur, by whose care he made such progress in the medical art, as gained him so high a reputation that he was even reported to have raised the dead. His first cures were wrought upon Ascles, King of Epidaurus, and Aunes, King of Daunia, which last was troubled with sore eyes.

In short, his success was so great, that Pluto, seeing the number of his ghosts daily decrease, complained to Jupiter, who killed him with his thunderbolts. Such was his proficiency in medical skill, that he was generally esteemed the god of physic.

In the city of Tetrapolis, which belonged to the Ionians, Æsculapius had a temple full of rare cures, dedicated to him by those who ascribed their recovery to him ; and its walls were covered and hung with memorials of the miracles he had performed.

Cicero reckons up three of the names of Æscu. lapius. The first the son of Apollo, worshipped in Arcadia, who invented the probe and bandages for wounds ; the second the brother of Mercury, killed by lightning ; and the third the son of Arsippus Arsione, who first tavght the art of tooth-drawing

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