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her dreaded and detested power, and minutely
catalogues most of the evils and mischiefs attendant
in her train : —

lv.

' Night ! thou foule mother of annoyaunce sad,
Sister of heavie death, and nourse of woe,
Which wast begot in heaven, but for thy bad
And brutish shape thrust downe to hell below,
Where, by the grim floud of Cocytus slow,
Thy dwelling is in Herebus' black hous,
(Black Herebus, thy husband, is the foe
Of all the gods), where thou ungratious
Halfe of thy dayes doest lead in horrour hideous.

LVI.

What had th' eternall Maker need of thee
The world in his continuall course to keepe,
That doest all things deface, ne lettest see
The beautie of his worke 1 Indeed, in sleepe
The slouthfull body that doth love to steepe

1 Revelation xxii. 5.



NIGHT. 275

His lustlesse limbes, and drowne his baser mind,
Doth praise thee oft, and oft from Stygian deepe
Calles thee his goddesse, in his errour blind,
And great Dame Natures handmaide chearing every kind.

LVII.

But well I wote, that to an heavy hart
Thou art the roote and nourse of bitter cares,
Breeder of new, renewer of old smarts :
Instead of rest thou lendest rayling teares ;
Instead of sleepe thou sendest troublous feares
And dreadfull visions, in the which alive
The dreary image of sad death appeares :
So from the wearie spirit thou doest drive
Desired rest, and men of happinesse deprive.

LVIII.

Under thy mantle black there hidden lye

Light-shonning thefte, and traiterous intent,

Abhorred bloodshed, and vile felony,

Shamefull deceipt, and daunger imminent,

Fowle horror, and eke hellish dreriment :

All these, I wote, in thy protection bee,

And light doe shonne for feare of being shent ;

For light ylike is loth'd of them and thee :

And all that lewdnesse love doe hate the light to see.

LIX.

For day discovers all dishonest wayes,
And sheweth each thing as it is in deed :
The prayses of high God he faire displayes,
And his large bountie rightly doth areed :
Dayes dearest children be the blessed seed
Which darknesse shall subdue and heaven win ;
Truth is her daughter ; he her first did breed
Most sacred virgin without spot of sinne.
Our life is day, but death with darknesse doth begin.' l

1 Compare George Chapman —

' Type and nurse of death,
Who, breathless, feeds on nothing but our breath.'

Uymnus in Nod em, 1. 5.



( 276 )



CHAPTER XII.

THE WORDS 'WEST' — l EAST* — 'AURORA? SUPER-
STITIONS CONNECTED WITH THE WEST AND
NORTH AS REGIONS OF DARKNESS — THE WEST
THE LAND OF THE DEAD — THE NORTH THE
devil's QUARTER.

The west, as being the quarter of the heavens
where daylight dies, was constantly associated
with night, the deathlike, and received a name of
similar meaning.

'West,' (A.-Sax.) west, (Ger.) westen, (Mid. H.
Ger.) wester, (0. H. Ger.) westar, (Scand.) vestr,
has been traced to the Sanskrit root vas or vast,
to kill. The same root is found in the Sanskrit
vasra (death), vasu (barren), vasati (night — i.e.,
6 the dead season'), (Lat.) vastus, our i waste.'
Thus i west ' is connected with the (A.-Sax.) weste
(desert), westan (to lay waste), westnes (desola-
tion), 1 and denotes the waste or barren quarter,

1 Connected also is (0. H. G.) wosti, (Scand.) vast, ivoest (the sea,
lit., 'the waste' of waters). Cf. (Lat.) mare (lit. the dead and
barren, Sans, mtra), tt6i>tos drpvyeros (Homer), vastitm mare. (Pictet,
Orig. Indo-Europ. vol. i. p. 110 seq). With 'west' compare (Heb.)
ereb evening, (Assyr. ) ereb, the west, darkness, akin to ardbdh (the
desert), ardb, Arabia. It may be noted in passing that the second



west. 277

the point at which the god of light and life sinks

below the verge, at which the reign of desolation

and darkness begins — the region of death. 1

Compare these lines of Lord Lytton's —

1 But oft in the low west, the day-
Smouldering, sent up a sullen flame
Along the dreary waste of gray.'

The EarVs Return.

So the Sanskrit asta means (1) the end, death;
(2) the western mountain, sunset (M. Williams).
Comparative mythologists have placed it beyond
doubt that in the infancy of our race our Aryan
forefathers watched with intense interest the
splendid drama that is being daily enacted in the
skies. The varying fortunes of the sun, the sun-
set and the dawn, ' the morning's war, when
dying clouds contend with growing light ' (Shaks-
pere), that glorious pageantry of the shifting

or ' raven's twilight ' of the Jewish Rabbins, mentioned by De
Quincey, vol. i. p. 87, seems to be a play upon the resemblance of
the words ereb and oreb (the dark and ravening bird). The words
for evening and west are identical in most languages — e.g., (Ger.)
abend, ' even-ing,' also the west ; (Irish) siar, (1) evening, (2) west ;
(Lat.) vesper, evening and west ; zep7iyrtts, £e'0u/>os (west wind),
from £6(pos, (1) darkness, (2) west; occidens (1) sunset, (2) west.
Cf. the use of oriens, ortus, Ger. morgen, Levant, Anatolia, &c.

1 Pictet, while deducing the word as above, gives a different
account of it — ' Si Ton souvient que les Ario-Germains ont du
occuper precisement les portions occidentales de lAriane primitive,
un peu au nord des Celtes, et qu'ils touchaient, par consequent, au
grand desert, on comprendra comment ce mot de west, qui se rattache
a la fois aux sens divers de desert, de nuit, de mer, et d'occident,
a pu rester plus specialement dans leur langues comme un souvenir
incompris des circonstances qui lui ont donne naissance' (Orig.
Indo-Europ. vol. i. p. 113). Ed. Miiller connects ' west ' with vespera,
euirepa (Etym. Worterbuch), and so Garnett, Philolog. Soc. Proceed-
ings, vol. ii. p. 235.



278 THE SADNESS OF SUNSET.

clouds, which Mr Ruskin alone of the moderns
seems duly to have appreciated, was to them a
never-failing source of wonder and speculation.
Nay, it was the original inspiration (as Max
Miiller has pointed out) of all ancient poetry and
religious feeling.

1 If sunrise inspired the first prayers, called forth the first
sacrificial flames, sunset was the other time when again the
whole frame of man would tremble. The shadows of night
approach, the irresistible power of sleep grasps man in the
midst of his pleasures, his friends depart, and in his loneliness
his thoughts turn again to higher powers. "When the day
departs, the poet bewails the untimely death of his bright
friend — nay, he sees in his short career the likeness of his own
life. Perhaps, when he has fallen asleep, his sun may never
rise again, and thus the place to -which the setting sun with-
draws in the far west rises before his mind as the abode where
he himself would go after death, where " his fathers went
before him." ' x

1 And when, at the end of a dreary day, the Sun seemed to
die away in the far West, still looking for his Eastern bride,
and suddenly the heavens opened, and the image of the Dawn
rose again [i.e., in the evening twilight], her beauty deepened
by a gloaming sadness — would not the poet gaze till the last
ray had vanished, and would not the last vanishing ray linger
in his heart, and kindle there a hope of another life, where he
would find asrain what he had loved and lost ] ' 2



The Irish bard Moore felt something of these
primeval aspirations appropriate to eventide when
he composed these lines —



1 M. Miiller, Oxford Essays, 1856, p. 60. The Assyrians
named the region where the sun took his farewell, and sank to his
peaceful rest, shalamu, a word near akin to the Hebrew shdldm,
peace.

2 Ibid., p. 65. Cf. Christian Year, 16th S. after Trinity, v. 10.



THE POETRY OF SUNSET. 279

* How dear to me the hour when daylight dies,
And sunbeams melt along the silent sea,
For then sweet dreams of other days arise,
And memory breathes her vesper sigh to thee.

And as I watch the line of light that plays

Along the smooth wave tow'rd the burning west,

I long to tread that golden path of rays,
And think 'twould lead to some bright isle of rest ! '

One of Faber's beautiful hymns has consecrated
the same idea to Christian uses —

1 The Land beyond the Sea !
How close it often seems,

When flushed with evening's peaceful gleams ;

And the wistful heart looks o'er the strait and dreams !
It longs to fly to thee,
Calm Land beyond the Sea ! . . .

The Land beyond the Sea !

Sometimes across the strait,
Like a drawbridge to a castle gate,
The slanting sunbeams lie, and seem to wait

For us to pass to thee,

Calm Land beyond the Sea ! . . .

The Land beyond the Sea !

When will our toil be done 1
Slow-footed years ! more swiftly run
Into the gold of that unsetting sun !

Home-sick we are for thee,

Calm Land beyond the Sea !

The Land beyond the Sea !

Why fadest thou in light 1
Why art thou better seen towards night ?
Dear Land ! look always plain, look always bright,

That we may gaze on thee,

Calm Land beyond the Sea ! '



280 SADNESS OF THE WEST.

But that rich glow of warmth and beauty bathes
the earth and sea with only a transitory glory.
The sunny smile vanishes away, all too soon, and
sobers into the cold bleakness of the dusky twi-
light. ' The bridal of the earth and sky ' is past.
The landscape seems desolate. The greyness of
old age and the sables of mourning widowhood
succeed to the rosy bloom of the day's maiden
prime. Its ( tender grace ' will come back no
more for ever. 1 The region of waning brightness
has become a westnes, a waste, a desolation — the
whole creation is veiled in a muffled stillness, and
' night's black blank mystery ' 2 reigns supreme.

We can thus easily understand how thoughts of
pensive sadness came to be associated with the
west. All its splendours, glorious as they may
be for a while, inevitably tend towards the gloom
and darkness of death. It came to be regarded,
therefore, as the natural contrast to the joyous
east, where the light shineth ever ' more and more
into the perfect day ' — the east, ' the bright and
warm' (0. Norse austur, Sans, vastar)? from

1 Compare a stanza in Tennyson's Dream of Fair Women, where
the form of expression is not altogether free from obscurity —
• The dim red morn had died, her journey done,

And with dead lips smiled at the twilight plain,
Half-fall'n across the threshold of the sun,
Never to rise again.' Poems (7th ed.), p. 150.

G. Eliot, The Spanish Gypsy, p. 312.
* From the root ush (vas), to burn, ' uro.' Cf. (Lat.) duster, the
warm Bouth wind. Austria, (Ger.) Ocsterreich, is said to have
been so called from its being the eastern part of Charlemagne's
dominions. Cf. Australia (the southern regions).



AURORA. 281

whose golden portals the beauteous Aurora comes
dancing forth — Aurora, the 6 golden-throned,' < saf-
fron-robed,' 6 fair-haired,' i white-winged,' ' rosy-
fingered ' 1 goddess, beloved of all, who brings to
mortals light, activity, and joy.

Her name, 2 which is connected with the Latin
aurum, gold, suggests the brightness of her ad-
vent, the golden lustre that fringes the clouds
when she rises over the eastern hills, just as in
Irish oir, the east, is also the word for golden ;
and so Shakspere, who lets no phase of Nature's
beauty pass unnoticed, speaks in one place of
c the golden window of the east' (Romeo and
Juliet, i. 1), and in another says —

' See how the morning opes her golden gates,
And takes her farewell of the glorious sun.'

3d PL Henry VI., ii. 1.

An ancient Yedic hymn in honour of the Dawn
has these words 3 —



1 These are the epithets given to her in the Greek poets, espe-
cially Homer — XP V(T ^P 0V0S ) KpoKoireirXos, evTrXoKa/xos, XevKdirrepos,
pododa.KTv'Xos.

2 Aurora, originally Ausosa, the bright and golden one, (Lith.)
Auszra, (Sans.) Usrd, from the root aur = ur = ush, to burn, whence
(Lat.) uro, burn, aura, the bright morning air, aurum, (Gk.) atpa,
atipiov, Tjws, fjpi, ' ear-ly.' The Dawn was also called in Sanskrit
Arj-una, ' the silvern one,' connected with 6.pyevvbs, dpyvpos, apyos,
argentum, silver. Hence also 'Apyvwis, a name of the sea-born
Aphrodite, i.e., the Dawn. So Aevitodea, ' the white goddess,' cor-
responds to the Tuscan Mater matuta, ' mother of the morning,'
designating the pale silvery light of the early dawn (Donaldson).
Cf. the Sanskrit sveta, silver, and svett, the dawn.

" 3 Quoted by Miiller, Chips, vol. i. p. 36.



282 THE RICHES OF THE WEST.

' She rose up, .spreading far and wide, and moving every-
where. She grew in brightness, wearing her brilliant gar-
ment. . . . The leader of the days, she shone gold-coloured,
lovely to behold. She, the fortunate, who brings the eye of
the gods, who leads the white and lovely steed (of the sun) —
the Dawn was seen revealed by her rays, with brilliant trea-
sures following everyone/

This rosy goddess, Aurora, was lost to view during
the day, but was supposed to return when the sun
1 Towards heaven's descent had sloped his westering wheel,' l

and men recognised her again in the peaceful
splendours of the evening sky. When they ob-
served the whole heavens i from the zenith
to the horizon become one molten mantling sea of
colour and fire, every black bar turn into massy
gold, every ripple and wave into unsullied shadow-
less crimson and purple and scarlet, and colours
for which there are no words in language,' 2 they
recognised a counterpart of that spectacle which
they had witnessed in the early morning, and they
grieved as they saw those countless treasures of
topaz and ruby, of amethyst and glittering gold,
which had been scattered so lavishly over the path
of the sinking sun, 3 gradually drawn down after



1 Milton, Lycidas.

2 Ruskin, Modern Painters, vol. i. Pt. II., sec. 2, ch. ii.

3 This, as Mr Cox points out, is the dazzling vision of golden cups
and gleaming coffers and many-coloured gems upon which Beowulf
feasts his eyes before they are closed in death. ' It may seem but
a barbaric vision, yet/ the splendour which soothes the eye of the
dying hero is but the brilliance of the golden doors and brazen
stringcourses, the youths of gold holding up everlasting torches,



THE RECOVERY IN THE EAST. 2S3

him, one by one, till the last faint trace of their
fading beauty died out in the north-west. The re-
splendent treasures thus robbed from their gaze they
conceived to be buried beneath the dark horizon.
And when, after hours of weary watching, they
descried a flush of glowing red arising in the
north-east, and saw first one bar of gold and then
another cast up from the under-world, they
thought that the entire wealth of the previous
evening, which had been hidden for the night in
the caverns of the gloomy north, was being re-
stored, and they hailed the ' golden goddess ' who
brought it back to them. Accordingly, in the
Rigveda 1 Aurora is represented as the Saviour of
mortals, awaking to life and activity all sleepers,
with her pure and purifying light discomfiting
her enemies the shades of night, opening the gates
of the cavernous gloom, and exposing to view the
treasures hidden by the darkness. Compare these
lines of Milton —

1 Now morn, her rosy steps in the eastern clime
Advancing, sow'd the earth with orient pearl/

Paradise Zost } Bk. v. I. 1.

' So sinks the day-star in the ocean bed,
And yet anon repairs his drooping head,



which shed their dazzling lustre on the palace of Alkinoos. So far
as the conception differs, the contrast is but the result of impres-
sions made by the phenomena of sunset on the mind of the Teuton
beneath his harsher sky, and of the Greek in his more genial home '
(Popular Romauces of the Middle Ages, p. 79).
1 De Gubernatis, Mythical Zoology, vol. i. p. 35.



2S4 BURIED TREASURE OF THE NORTH.

And tricks his beams, and with new-spangled ore
Flames in the forehead of the morning sky.' 1

Zycidas.

We find another interesting illustration in the book
of Job (ch. xxxvii. 22), where it is said, 'Gold 2
cometh out of the north,' a figurative expression
for that golden light which is seen in the west, is
hidden in the north, and emerges thence, as a
herald of the dawn, in the east. It is observable,
also, that tzepkunim, the Hebrew word for riches,
treasures, is near akin to tzdpkon 9 the north (literally
' the hidden or obscure quarter '), both being from
tz&pkan (to hide, conceal, store up). The father
of history, who is a great retailer of myths, tells us
that a very great quantity of gold lay in the north,



1 It is curious to observe how exactly the conception of Milton
coincides with that of the Sanskrit Rdmdyanam. * With a mountain
metal of a colour similar to that of the young sun, the sun Hamas im-
prints a dazzling mark on the forehead of the dawn Sita, as if to be
able to recognise her — that is to say, he places himself upon the
forehead of the Aurora or Dawn ' (Quoted by De Gubernatis, Myth-
ical Zoology, vol. i. p. 55).

2 LXX. v€(pT] xP vcrav y°^" Ta (clouds gold-gleaming), Authorised
Version ' fair weather.' Compare —

' Yonder comes the powerful king of day-
Rejoicing in the east. The lessening cloud,
The kindling azure, and the mountain's brow,
Illumined with fluid gold his near approach
Betoken glad.' Thomson, Seasons.

So Ossian's Address to the Sun, ' Thy yellow-golden locks are
spread on the face of the clouds in the east;' which recalls
Peacham's pretty couplet —

' Clouds were fled that overcast the ayre,
And Phoebus threw about his golden hayre ; '

and Sylvester's

' Pure goldy-locks, Sol, States-friend, ITonour giuer,
Light-bringer, Laureat, Leach-man, all Reyiuer.'

Divine Weekes, p. 80.



pluto. 285

guarded by the Griffins, from whom a one-eyed
race of people named the Arimaspians used to steal
it (Herodotus, vol. iii. p. 115), all which put into
plain prose seems to mean, that the sun steals the
golden light from the churlish powers of darkness,
and brings it out of the north. iEschylus (Prom.
Vinct. 11. 805, 806), informs us that these Griffins
and Arimaspians were to be found in the far west
(which mythologically is the same thing as the
north, both being unexplored regions of darkness),
and that they dwelt beside a stream that flowed
with gold, at Pluto's ford, i.e., where was the pas-
sage to the infernal world.

We are now in a position to understand why it
is that Sanskrit kuvera, the god of riches, was con-
sidered to preside over the north, as Agni, the
fire-god, does over the east ; why, in Greek, Pluto
(IIXovtcov), the god of the dark nether-world, was
identified with Plutus, the god of riches (IIXovtos) ;
and why the same deity in Latin had the name of
Dis, which is only another form of Dives, rich. 1
The infernal regions being fabled to lie in the
gloomy quarter of the west, where the sun goes



1 ' The poets feign Pluto to be the god of hell and the god of
riches, as if riches and hell had both one master ' (Adams' Sermons,
The Temple). In the Scandinavian mythology the god Njord, a
name which is probably connected with nor¥»\ north, is so wealthy
that he can give possessions and treasures to those who call on him
for them (Prose Edda). The Sanskrit vas-u, wealth, vas-ara, day,
vi-vas-vat, the sun, are kindred words, and contain the same root,
vas, to be bright.



28G AMENTI. EIIEBUS.

down, or of the north, where he never shines, the
ruler of it was naturally conceived to be the lord
of its sunken treasure. 1

The ancient Egyptians considered that Amenti, the
world beyond the grave, lay in the west (ement), and
were in the habit, therefore, of interring their dead
on the western bank of the Nile, where the evening
sun seemed to descend into the iDfernal night.
The west was to them the symbol of futurity, and
the abode of Osiris. 2 Erebus C'Epe/3o?), near akin
to the Hebrew ereb (evening), is in Homer the
place of nether darkness which must be passed in
£oin£ to Hades, and is situated in the west. 3
Zophos (&o$os) is in Greek the west, the realm of



1 Cf. Spenser, Faerie Queeue,Bk. II. 7, xxi, xxi. The ancient Irish
believed there was a sunken land lying to the north or north-west of
Ireland which contained a city called Tir-Hudi, or city of Hud, that
once possessed all the riches of the world. The Assyrian Anu, corre-
sponding to Hades or Pluto, bears such titles as ' king of the lower
world,' ' lord of darkness ' or ' death,' ' ruler of the far-off city,' and
is also c the layer up of treasures,' ' the lord of the earth ' or
'mountains,' from whence the precious metals are extracted (Raw-
linson, Herodotus, vol. i. p. 591). It is significant to find that the
god Anu, apparently known to the Greeks as Erebus (i.e., Assyrian
ereb, 'setting,' ' the west,' 'darkness'), was considered the father
of Martu, ' the west,' gave his name to one of the principal metals,
had the western gate of the city Dur-sargina dedicated to him, was
also known by the name Dis, and especially presided over Urea or
Orech, which w r as emphatically 'the city of the dead,' the great
necropolis of Babylonia. The resemblance of the Latin urcus is
curious (Rawlinson, Herodotus, vol. i. pp. 592 scq.)

2 The series of Egyptian kiugs at Abydos is depicted as present-
ing offerings to Osiris, in the character of Lord of the West and
Pluto of their Hades (Bunsen, Egypt, vol. i. p. 46). Atum, who
held the office of judge in the lower world, was the god of the set-
ting sun, the west (Ibid., p. 398).

3 Odyssey, xii. 81.



THE WEST THE LAND OF THE DEAD. 287

darkness, and also the netlier-world ; and in
Sophocles 1 Hesperos Thdos (^Earepos @eo?) is the
western god, the god of darkness, and designates
Hades or Pluto.

' By the simplest poetic adaptation of the sun's daily life '
(says Mr Tylor in his most interesting work on ' Primitive
Culture ' 2 ) ' typifing man's life in dawning beauty, in midday
glory, in evening death, mythic fancy even fixed the belief in
the religions of the world, that the land of Departed Souls lies
in the Far "West, or the World below.'

* Man is a summer day, whose youth and fire
Cool to a glorious evening, and expire.' 3

To the same learned anthropologist I am in-
debted for the following illustrations of this world-
wide superstition. Most savage peoples 4 place the
world of departed souls in the west, whither the
sun descends at evening to his daily death.

1 The Chilians say that the soul goes westward over the sea
to Gulclieman, the dwelling-place of the dead beyond the
mountains. The Haitians describe the paradise of the dead as
lying in the lovely western valleys of their island. The
Australians think that the spirit of the dead hovers awhile on
earth, and goes at last towards the setting sun, or westward
over the sea to the island of souls, the home of his fathers.
The classic paradise lay in the Fortunate Islands of the far
western ocean.' 5

1 CEdip. Tyran., 1. 178.

2 Vol. ii. p. 44. Harpocrates, the Egyptian Aurora, or god of the
sunrise, not only represented the beginning of day, but was the
emblem of childhood. He was portrayed as an infant, rising out
of the lotus, the flower of Hades (Rawlinsoo, Herodotus, vol. ii.
p. 149).

3 Vaughan, Siiex Scintillans, Pt. I. p. 57 (ed. 1655).

4 E.g., the Brazilians, Samoan Islanders, Indians, &c. (Tylor,
Primitive Culture, vol. ii. pp. 60-62, 70, 85, 309).

5 Ibid., vol. ii. pp. 55 seq.



288 THE WEST THE LAND OF THE DEAD.

Reigna, the New Zealander's world of departed
souls, lies in the west. 1 Hine-nui-te-po, '-Great-
woman-night,' who dwells on the horizon, is their
Hades, the goddess both of night and death. They
hold that the sun descends at night into his cavern,
bathes in the rcai ora tane, i the water of life/ and
returns at dawn from the under-world ; hence
they think that if man could likewise descend into
Hades, and return, his race would be immortal. 2

In the North American mythology, Ning-gah-be-
ar-nong Manito, the spirit of the west, is god of
the country of the dead, in the region of the set-
ting sun. 3

Far away in that same quarter are the delight-
ful hunting-grounds, whither the Choctaws believe
the spirit travels after death by a rugged path full
of difficulties and dangers. 4 In the doctrine of
Buddhism, the paradise of Fo, where the saints
enjoy eternal felicity, is also called the paradise of
the west.

It is at the western Land's End that Maori
souls are conceived by the New Zealander to
descend into the subterranean region of the dead,
because there the sun is seen to descend to the
western Hades, the under-world of night and death,
which is incidentally identified with the region of
subterranean fire and earthquake. Among the

1 Tylor, Primitive Culture, vol. ii. p. 2S1.

2 Ibid., vol. L p. 302 seq. 3 Ibid., vol. i. p. 304.


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