GERALD MASSEY (1828-1907): EARLY
"The overall importance of socio-political and
religious reform verse in the first half of the 19th century,
particularly when written by artisans, is only recently being
considered. Radical newspapers and periodicals provided the
largest circulation for this material, with many provincial papers
publishing verse which had political protest or land reform as their
theme. Massey's considerable output during four years of active
involvement with Republicanism and the Christian Socialists'
Co-operative ventures, played an essential role in the dissemination of
radicalism to the working class. Critics of poetry have denounced
such verse as 'shouts' without taking into consideration the readership
for whom it was intended or the importance of its social function."
David Shaw, from his
Gerald Massey's best known (and arguably his best) poetry is that which he
wrote at the start of his "lyrical life" for publication in unstamped
radical newspapers of the late 1840s and early 1850s. He wrote
much poetry thereafter but nothing that approaches the
drama of these exhortatory, fiery protests, verse that provides us with a window
onto the aspirations of the working-classes in an age when their daily
struggle for survival was quite literally that. But as
J. J. Bezer and (in an earlier era)
Samuel Bamford together with countless others found to
their cost, mounting any meaningful protest was fraught with grave
risk—the prison cell and the transportation ship beckoned. To
those who read them (or to whom they were read), Massey's
radical poems, such as Hope
On! Hope Ever!; Yet We
Are Brothers Still; Up
And Be Stirring; We'll
Win Our Freedom Yet!;
The Famine-Smitten; Song Of
The Red Republican; and his notable
The Cry Of The Unemployed,
while doing nothing to fill empty bellies, gave hope …
There be stern days a-coming—
The dark days of reckoning!
The clouds are uplooming—
The long-nurs'd storms wak'ning!
On heaven blood shall call
Earthquake with pent thunder;
And shackle and thrall
Shall be riven asunder!
It will come! it shall come!
Impede it what may:—
Up, People! and welcome
Your glorious day!
From … The Famine-Smitten.
Not everyone agreed that the publication of such revolutionary
sentiments served a useful purpose. One literary
critic—who unlike Massey probably had barely a nodding acquaintance with the
working-classes—in reviewing The
Battle Day and Other Poems (by Ernest
Jones) considered it preferable to make one's political point languishing in
prison cell, as had Jones, rather than "raving
like a madman" …
"We were never more struck by contrast than when a
comparison suggested itself with Gerald Massey's first volume.
How startling is the difference between the man who does and he
who talks of doing. The young Republican poet tells us
(and we fancy him foaming at the mouth as he does so) that
"We'll win our freedom yet". He declaims most furiously
against tyrants in general, and does not simply "war", but
howls, for liberty, and that, too, in tremendous tones.
But we have yet to learn that he has, by active personal
exertion, done anything to swerve the ranks of the democratic
party either at home and abroad. Mr Jones, on the
contrary, whose whole life, since he first attached himself to
the cause of freedom, has been (with the exception of the two
years languished in prison), of incessant exertion on behalf of
the popular right, is content to let his actions speak for him,
and, with a taste that does him an infinite amount of credit,
avoids raving like a madman, choosing rather to strike the lyre
as a master."
The Bucks Advertiser & Aylesbury News,
15 Dec., 1855.
Although Chartism, that great socio-political movement to which Massey gave
his support during his early years withered and died during the 1850s, its
principles had rooted themselves
too deeply in the British psyche to be forgotten to the extent that the
continues to affect our lives strongly today …
". . . . how many of the greatest movements
in history began in failure, and how often has
a later generation reaped with little effort abundant
crops from fields which refused to yield fruit to their
first cultivators? . . . . in
the long run Chartism by no means failed . . . . the principles of the Charter
have gradually become parts of the British
constitution . . . . its restricted platform of
political reform, though denounced as revolutionary at
the time, was afterwards substantially adopted by the
British State . . . . before all the Chartist leaders
had passed away, most of the famous Six Points became
the law of the land . . . . the Chartists have
substantially won their case. England has become a
democracy, as the Chartists wished, and the domination
of the middle class . . . . is
at least as much a matter of ancient history as the
power of the landed aristocracy."
in history . . . Hovell "The
Massey christened his first published poetry
collection, "Original Poems and Chansons". Although no copy
is known to survive, a review published in the
Bucks Advertiser and Aylesbury
News on 8th May, 1847, tells us something about it. The book's
publisher was Garlick (untraced in local trade directories of the time),
it contained 72 pages and was offered for sale in Massey's home town of Tring in Hertfordshire;
another source records that 250 copies were printed and sold at one shilling
each. It is not known if Massey had a publisher or, as the newspaper article seems to
suggest, it was published by subscription. The newspaper's reviewer quotes extracts from the "Battle of Ferozepore" and two other poems,
each of which is lost. Nothing else is known of Massey's first published
While researching local newspapers of the period,
historian Wendy Austin, besides uncovering the review of "Original Poems and Chansons" referred to,
discovered that during 1847 and for
a number of years thereafter, Massey's poems were published occasionally
in the Bucks Advertiser,
being variously attributed to A TRING
MASSEY, a peasant; T. MASSEY; T. G. MASSEY; and later, to
GERALD MASSEY. It is
also known that Massey published poetry in various radical newspapers and
periodicals with which he was associated during this period, sometimes
using the pen names BANDIERA or
ARMAND CARREL—a prudent
precaution at a time when it was unwise to associate oneself too closely
political views, particularly within the pages of an unstamped newspaper. Thus, although no copy of
"Original Poems and Chansons" has survived, the following poems taken from the
Bucks Advertiser and
publications of this period serve to illustrate Massey's
developing style prior to his earliest surviving published collection, "Voices of Freedom and Lyrics of Love"
The following are listed in chronological order
within the journals from which they were taken. Massey often revised
his poems between publication, sometimes quite substantially, as is
illustrated, for example, by comparing the first edition of his popular
No Dearth Of Kindness" (November, 1849) with editions published
in 1850, 1851,
and his final thoughts on the subject in 1889.
THE WORKING TAILORS' ASSOCIATION, LONDON.
A Chapter Towards The Associative History, by Gerald Massey.
The oak is contained in the acorn, the universal in the
individual, and even as the history and experience of one man's life may
be a matter of national interest, so may the history and experience, the
origin, rise, errors, and successes of one Association contain a
warning, a stern lesson, and a wholesome example for all Associations
that follow after. It is an old saying, 'that a fool may profit by
his own experience, but a wise man profits by the experience of
others.' Pioneers are usually sent in advance to clear away
obstructions and unveil the pitfalls, and so in this cause, we should
reap advantage from those who have gone before us. Why should we
eternally repeat their errors and blunders? They have erected
signposts to mark the spots, let us read them. Their failures in
the Past we should make the stepping-stones for our success in the
Future. With this view, I propose to jot down a few facts relating
to the 'Working Tailors' Association,' which claims to be the
Standard-bearer of the present Co-operative Movement. It is
pre-eminent among the London Associations, as being the first in
starting, first in success, and, certainly, first in blundering.
Its history has yet to be written; the present editor of the Journal
of Association, wrote a sketch of it in the earliest part of its
career; and Walter Cooper also contributed a portion of its history to
the Christian Socialist, but the public can have no definite idea
of the matter, as such a mass of misrepresentation has been circulated,
and innumerable conflicting statements made respecting it. This
Association does not assume to be the Moses of the nineteenth century,
missioned to lead the people out of their worse than Egyptian bondage,
but it does assume to aim a blow at that Moses of this century, who is
leading and crushing them into that deeper and bitterer slavery - Moses
of the 'Mart,' whose customers are martyrs. Moreover, though not
the first English Association established on the Cooperative principle,
it is the first that purposes devoting one third of its profits to
assist the establishment of other Associations upon the same
principle. It also, of all others, claims to have made Association
a veritable, practical, living fact. And that is worth much in
this age of theories and palaver-panaceas. It is worth more than
preaching. It has very forcibly illustrated what working men may
do in spite of all present difficulties, if they will but unite and
direct their own industrial energies with their own intelligence for
their mutual benefit. Work for each other instead of working
against each other and competing with each other in a hand-to-throat
strife for the means of living; even while they permit the capitalists
to stand like the Croupier at the head of the gaming board and take up
all the wealth, which they, poor gamblers, for life and death have
toiled, and hungered, and suffered, to produce. We, the advocates and
exponents of the associative principle can now say to its opponents,
combat association in theory and on paper as much as you please, and as
successfully as you may, this association in practice is a far different
thing; now combat that. You have said that working men did not
possess business tact necessary to the carrying on of business on their
own account. You have said that working men would never
sufficiently conquer their mutual jealousies, and vanquish their mutual
distrust, and work together in fraternal unity. We can now reply -
come see how signally your taunts and assertions have been
defeated. We have replied to you by silently working out our
maligned, but glorious principles, and now we are triumphantly
successful. I do not write about this experiment because it is
arrogated that a few tailors assembled in Castle Street, for their
mutual, mental, moral, and monetary profit will save the world.
Nothing of the kind. But their rise and progress has been
anxiously marked by deeply interested thousands, and the name of
association has become a magic word of talismanic influence. It
has been a rallying sign for those who have long waited in doubt and
darkness, looking for a sign. Day by day has new strength been
added to our movement, not only in town and city, but in the obscure
nooks of village and hamlet. This is a success which cannot be
contravened. These co-operative associations and stores may yet go
down, but the lesson learned by those who have worked in them can never
be forgotten; the insight obtained into the practical working of
self-government can never be effaced. They will have learned that
the man who is a slave in his own heart, and a tyrant in his own
household, would be a slave and tyrant still, even though social and
political thraldom were abolished tomorrow - an experience which can
never be lost, while the fact of such associative success, in the face
of such difficulties, must live on as a matter of history, leaving proud
testimony to the truth and vitality of our principles.
Nor was it anticipated that all would be
smooth and serene, - we expected the storm and strife. We have
against us mighty monopolies of capital, law and government; and not
only have we to fight these, but, worst of all, we shall have to bear
with, and to live down the jealousies and prejudices of our own class,
which will be excited against us; for so fatally have want and misery
done their daunting work on thousands. In turning our attention to
self government on a small scale - in humbly endeavouring to realise the
republic in our workshops - in clubbing our little monies for the
purpose of carrying on production and distribution on our own account,
we might not have expected to be indiscriminately and virulently
maligned and attacked by the professed friends and representatives of
the working classes. Nor did we deserve to be taunted as being the
recipients of 'demoralising charity,' who paid four percent interest for
the capital worked with. Again, as working men, we anticipated
being frequently found illustrating that peculiar fraternity so often
existing between brothers, a kind of chartered right to quarrel; and, as
associates, we arrogated to ourselves a kind of associative prerogative
to pitch into each others productions and proceedings; but we did not
trade in it, nor did we extend such co-operative privilege to those who
Much of the sympathy called forth for the forlorn Seamstresses
and 'Sweated' Tailors, - indeed the mission of Mayhew himself in that
good work of his, may be traced to the effect wrought by poor Tom Hood's
'Song of the Shirt.' A greater Sartor Resartus, or Clothes
Philosophy, was contained in that than in Carlyle's work of that
name. It burst like a thunder clap upon startled society, which
began to tremble, and so investigate the appalling truth. And it
was discovered that human beings, tender females, were toiling and
starving, and stitching their lives into their work for twopence-halfpenny
per day! That whole families were toiling worse than the slaves in
Egypt, in foodless and fireless garrets for a few shillings a week to
subsist on! It was discovered that side-by-side with all our
boasted wealth and magnificence was the most hideous poverty and the
most squalid wretchedness. Pictures of horror and terror were
graphically portrayed of the scenes wherein the children of labour, born
in tears and reared in misery were ending their dark and damning destiny
with the pauper's grave. The Tailoring trade called special
attention. Meetings were held, and the poor slop workers
themselves gave their terrible experiences to the world. It was
shown that even where a tolerably fair price was given in the first
place for the making of garments, the intermediate 'sweaters' were
reaping rare profits out of it, and the work was absolutely done for
nothing. Thus, if Nicol - one of the most respectable rascals -
wanted a hundred Paletots made, he would give them out to some
contractor to have them done, say for 7s 6d. each. This fellow
would transfer the clothes to some other of the tribe, to be made for 5s
each, and in turn would visit the slop workers in their dirty dens, and
get them made for 3s., or 2s 6d. each. It was thought that the
best remedy for this would be in setting the workers up in business upon
their own account, and upon the associative principle. It would at
least conserve to the workers the profits of those middle-men. On
this ground many support Association who would not support it did they
foresee its ultimate tendencies. It does more - it conserves to
the men all the profits of capital and previous cost of mastership,
which in most cases amounts to more than labour gets out of its own
produce. Walter Cooper chanced to be a tailor by trade, and an
Association was determined upon under his management. And now, to
my thinking, the first error was committed. It was in promising
too much - in raising expectation too high. We did not rightly
estimate what we had to do. We spoke of gain continually, instead
of demanding sacrifice; and self-interest is not one of the best
elements for a true bond of unity. We did not calculate the
difficulties that lay ahead, the mighty monopolies of Capital and Law
that were against us, the plots that would be formed to thwart us, and
the opposition we should receive from our own class. That it would
need the united energies of men prepared to do and suffer, rather than
men who came merely to get what they could, to carry such an experiment
to success, and work out Association. Again, in starting in such a
cause, it is a most fatal thing to bring in personal friends with you;
like most others, the Associative Cause has been more cursed in its
friends than its enemies. So Walter Cooper has found it. He
gathered around him some personal friends to start with in this
experiment - men he was solemnly warned of, and assured that he could
not work with. But Walter Cooper thought that the millenium, at
least, had dawned, and the reign of fraternity begun. He would
waive all differences of opinion and, like the magnanimous French people
after the struggle of February on launching their young Republic, he had
neither suspicion nor fear. Therefore he took no precaution and,
like them, he found himself deceived. On the 11th of February
1850, commodious workshops and premises having been taken in Castle
Street East, twelve men, called together promiscuously, were set to
work, and before the expiration of that first week their number had
increased to twenty. Work came in thick and fast, for the
promoters had organised a valuable custom - almost calculated to keep a
considerable business going - among their own immediate friends and
circle of connection. And to see the anomalous classes of
supporters which thronged to that Association, any man as sanguine as
Walter Cooper might reasonably have thought it personified the millenium,
and the most clashing and conflicting interests became mutual in
supporting that Association. Lords, bishops, duchesses, clergymen,
mechanics and labourers were chronicled in its list of customers and,
for a time, 'all went merry as a marriage ball.' It was proposed
that the men should work together for three months on probation, to test
each others social and working qualities, and their mutual fitness for
entering upon the life in association. Meanwhile they were to
discuss a code of laws which they would agree to work under when the
Association was formed. And here was perpetrated the greatest
error at starting. Instead of the promoters drawing up a code of laws
and presenting it to the men, asking whether they would be willing to
form an association and work together on such and such terms, at least
until the borrowed capital had been repaid, a set of laws translated
from the French by M. Le Chevalier was given to them to discuss, which
suited them admirably for, mark you, these were the laws of an
Association which had found its own capital and, consequently, was its
own master. Therefore they were in no-wise applicable to an
association which had not found its own capital, and which was to be
governed not by a manager of its own choosing, but by one who was placed
over it to represent that capital, and for which he was held solely
responsible. Here began the struggle between manager and men.
The Cause of Quarrel
The moment we differ how easy it is to attribute bad motives
and evil intentions which, most probably have no existence, but were
purposely conjured up by the feeling which we nurture, evil begetting
evil. I believe there can be no general progression for humanity
until we have an identity of interests, which would develop men by
attraction; whereas this terrible competition or antagonism of interests
develops man by repulsion. And it also shows how easy it was for
Walter Cooper and the men to differ and suspect each others motives on
their first cause of quarrel. I have mentioned that the laws which
had been translated for the men at Castle Street were the laws of an
association which had found its own capital, and therefore had a right
to make its own laws. These the men claimed. Walter Cooper
objected. These laws would have given the men the power of
introducing new members and of discharging others, without the veto of
the manager. Now this would have been perfectly just if the men
had provided their own capital, but here the capital was lent to the
manager, who was held solely responsible. These men assumed to be
Democrats, and yet they would have legislated as they pleased with other
people's money, and because they were not permitted to do so, they
branded as a tyrant the man who thwarted them, and who was responsible
for the money. It appears to me that all the men had to do, or
could reasonably expect, was to make the best terms compatible with
their relative positions, and make all haste in paying the borrowed
capital and escaping from the 'tyrrany' which it imposed. But the
great reason for this struggle and the maligning of the manager as a 'tyrant'
was this - certain of the probationers had got an inkling that the
manager had found them out, and could not work with them, and that they,
therefore, stood but little chance of becoming associates. They
talked to the men of 'Democracy,' 'Tyrrany,' and 'Slavery,' irritated
them, aroused their pride and bound them to stand by them in their
dictatorship, and back them in their demands. So determined was
the principal man in this affair not to leave the Association, but to
have a hand in it and oust the manager, that he proposed to buy the
concern, or rather sell it out of the hands of the Promoters, and
offered to borrow £200 as his part towards it. This was dangerous
talk for a young Association (indeed, it was not yet an Association)
struggling with difficulties and surrounded with battling
enmities. Was it not an imperative necessity to be rid of such
men, and where was the tyrrany in excluding them? Walter Cooper would
have been a traitor to his order, and a traitor to the principle of
Co-operation, not to have done so. Honour to him, say we, for
daring to act in the manner he did! For he knew that it was the
sacrifice of his reputation with hundreds of working men, who are so
easy to catch at, and believe any calumny or lie spoken against one of
themselves, especially if he is represented as a tyrant. The
Association was formed, when seventeen out of twenty were elected to
become associates. The excluded boasted that they had left a
faction behind which would yet break up the Association, in revenge for
their dismissal. They continued to agitate until it became a
matter of stern necessity to send others away. After this, things
went on calmly for some months, though it was felt the calm was an
ominous one. There were continual indications of smouldering
disquiet and discontent, yet the Association was successful in a
pecuniary sense. Never was an effort of working men for their
mutual betterance more eminently prosperous and never was a cause more
bedevilled by those engaged in it. Why, we had our balance sheet
made out by an accountant for the first quarter, and divided some £40
in profit, when it was afterwards discovered that more than that amount
had been spent, without the invoices having been entered, which if
entered, would have left no profit at all to divide. Yet we always
balanced our cash! Of course such a state of things was a fair
ground of complaint on the part of the men, only they made the fatal
mistake (that is, the faction left behind) of making it the medium of
their revenge and over-reached themselves. The books of the
Association were always open to the men and to the customers and, at the
expiration of nine months, they were given up to those appointed to
examine them. There were blunders and mistakes enough in all
conscience to have satisfied the most hungry mistake mongers, but they
lay on both sides, and about outset each other, this demonstrating that
there had been no 'cooking' of accounts, with all our ignorance of
business routine. But the appointed examiners only looked for
mistakes on one side, and that of course against the management, and
thus defeated their own aims. Fifty four of the alleged mistakes
were reduced to four. Still, the blundering and misrepresentation
of these men caused great irritation amongst the rest of the associates,
and we went from bad to worse. Finally, the promoters of the
experiment were called in to make a binding decision. This was
given - printed in the Christian Socialist and in Notes to the People -
that the Association should be dissolved, and a new one formed.
The basis should consist of the Manager, the Cutter, and two men out of
the shop, whom the promoters specified. It was stipulated that
these four should elect a fifth, the five should choose a sixth, and so
on. The promoters had no voice in the non re-election of certain
members and the men took the opportunity to sift the Association of all
bad and indifferent workers. This was a painful day, because a man
might be an indifferent worker, and yet a 'jolly good fellow,' but it
was resolved to sacrifice friendship at the shrine of principle.
Altogether, nine of the old associates were not re-elected; but these
were not robbed of the fruit of their accumulated labour. Each man
had his fair share of the net profits, earned while he was an associate,
as estimated by a competent accountant.
Eliza Cook (1812–1889),
poet and journalist.
The Cooper-haters - for I cannot call them Co-operators - never
let slip an opportunity of reviling the Association, especially its
Manager. Some few of them held together and formed a new
Association, appointing the leader of them to be their Manager - poor
fellow! One could not have prayed a worse punishment for
him. They did not cling together long, but broke up, calling each
other sorry names; and poor Benny! he was denounced worse than
Cooper. Many false statements were circulated regarding their
leaving the Working Tailors' Association, none more damaging than the
one averring that they had been robbed of the fruits of their
accumulated labour, which was simply a lie! Seeing that each man
received his full share of the profits earned while he was a member,
over and above his weekly earnings, leaving the Association worth about
as much as its liabilities amounted to! Various statements of this
kind were sent to the press; among other journals I may mention the Leader,
the Northern Star, Eliza Cook's Journal, etc. These were
received with caution. The various Editors applied to us at the
Association for our report of the affair, which we furnished, so that
they had both versions to judge by; in each case, save one, this had the
effect of determining them not to publish it. The one illustrious
exception was Mr. Ernest Jones. At this time he had began to
manifest his strange, unwarranted, and suicidal opposition to the
Co-operative Movement. Without consulting Walter Cooper, or any
other parties connected with the Associations - without knowing anything
of the quarrel or the men, save from a Mr. Harris, one of the ejected,
Mr. E. Jones inserted in his journal Notes to the People all the
atrocious lies and dastardly insinuations which that worthy had
furnished him with, without enquiring as to their veracity.
Because we did not think it worth while to reply, Mr. Jones endorsed
them, and proclaimed them to be true. So it followed that any
infamous statement made in his paper which might be thought too vile and
contemptible for denial in the columns of the Christian Socialist,
must inevitably be true. And why were Mr. Harris's statements not
replied to? Because, at Castle Street, he was known for a drunken
and disreputable person. In one place Mr. Jones asserts, 'I always
averred that the very spirit of incarnate selfishness was in your plan
of Cooperation.' Yet the Central Agency divides profits with its
customers and in the Associations they have always shared equally,
whether they were associates or auxiliaries. One of our laws
provides that when we have repaid the borrowed Capital, one third of our
net profits shall go to the general Associative Fund to assist
others. Another, that if the Association be broken up from any
other cause than insolvency, four-fifths of the whole property shall be
given up to the general fund. This is a check against grasping
selfishness which might break up the Association for its profits.
I cannot glean from the writings of Mr. Jones that he has any honest and
tangible complaint to substantiate against this Cooperative Movement -
no earnest desire to set it right wherein it may have been wrong, nor
any competent plan for doing so. Old Chartists and Socialists,
farther-seeing, farther-reaching than Mr. Jones are to be found in the
present movement. Indeed, the very flower and chivalry of English
Democratic workmen, not yet fossilised in the political stagnation are
there, grasping the means within their more immediate reach, for the
enfranchisement of their class. And so far from their not seeing
the utility of Political Reform, I dare aver, that they best comprehend
the value and necessity of such Reform in effecting the Social
Revolution they are engaged in. We are at a loss to lay our hand
on the incentive to Mr. Jones' opposition. At the end of the first
year, the Castle Street Association had done business to the amount of
four thousand pounds and upwards, and at the end of the second year it
had doubled that amount. The average weekly wage of the London
tailors, according to the last census taken, was 14s 6d. The
average of the men in Castle Street has been 23s., which, with the
inestimable benefit of clean and healthy workshops, demonstrates the
immense superiority of Co-operation over Competition. Looking then
upon what has been done, we cannot join with those who assert that
nothing can be done until the political Revolution be first
accomplished. Doubtless, that would be the greatest leverage the
people could obtain for the working out of the Social Revolution, if
they knew what they wanted, and possessed sufficient unity to accomplish
it. But let us not decry any honest attempt to emancipate even the
few from the grinding tyranny of Capital - any such movement is better
than apathetic suffering and deadly starvation.
Star of Freedom, Apr., May, Jun., 1852.
The "MILTONIC EPITAPH"
— a debate concerning an unpublished poem ascribed to
Milton! Thou should'st be living at this hour:
England hath need of thee.....
The Times for July 16, 1868, published a letter by Henry Morley,
Professor of English Literature at University College, London. In the
letter Morley stated that he had found a poem, entitled 'An Epitaph,' in
Milton's handwriting, on a blank page in the 1645 volume of Poems both
English and Latin. This book was in the British Museum's King's
Library, formed by George III, the poem being written on the reverse of the
blank end page. The poem consisted of 54 lines, packed into the size
of a piece of notepaper, with a signature appearing to be 'J.M., Ober,
1647.' A British Museum stamp partly covered the signature.
The poem, with modernised spelling as published, is shown below. The lines
have been numbered throughout to aid reference.
1. He whom Heaven did call away
Out of this Hermitage of clay
Has left some reliques in this Urn
As a pledge of his return.
5. Meanwhile the Muses do deplore
The loss of this their paramour,
With whom he sported ere the day
Budded forth its tender ray.
And now Apollo leaves his lays
10. And puts on cypress for his bays;
The sacred sisters tune their quills
Only to the blubbering rills,
And while his doom they think upon
Make their own tears their Helicon;
15. Leaving the two-topt Mount divine
To turn votaries to his shrine.
Think not, reader, me less blest,
Sleeping in this narrow chest,
Than if my ashes did lie hid
20. Under some stately pyramid.
If a rich tomb makes happy, then
That Bee was happier far than men
Who, busy in the thymy wood,
Was fettered by the golden flood
25. Which from the Amber-weeping tree
Distilleth down so plenteously:
For so this little wanton elf
Most gloriously enshrined itself.
A tomb whose beauty might compare
30. With Cleopatra's sepulchre.
In this little bed my dust
Incurtained round I here intrust;
While my more pure and nobler part
Lies entomb'd in every heart.
35. Then pass on gently, ye that mourn,
Touch not this mine hallowed Urn;
These Ashes which do here remain
A vital tincture still retain;
A seminal form within the deeps
40. Of this little chaos sleeps;
The thread of life untwisted is
Into its first existencies;
Infant nature cradled here
In its principles appear;
45. This plant though entered into dust
In its Ashes rest it must
Until sweet Psyche shall inspire
A softening and ætific fire,
And in her fostering arms enfold
50. This heavy and this earthly mould.
Then as I am I'll be no more
But bloom and blossom [as] b[efore]
When this cold numbness shall retreat
By a more than chymick heat.
J.M., Ober, 1647."
Comments and criticisms were quick to follow in
The Times and in other principal papers. A leader in the
Daily Telegraph the following day applauded the discovery, stating
that, "A careful perusal and reperusal of the literary windfall, will
corroborate the belief that it really is a piece of John Milton's work..."
However, in a letter to The Times, Lord Winchilsea (George
Finch-Hatton) firmly disagreed, referencing a number of incongruities, one
being the rhyming of Line 35:
pass on gently, ye that mourn,
Touch not this mine hallowed Urn."
said, "granting its authenticity, Milton must have been very old and very
ill when he commenced this poem, but towards the end he must have
certainly gone, what is vulgarly called, 'off his head.' Upon no
other principle could the most careful, the most learned, the most
rhythmical, and the most Christian of our great poets have concluded what
Mr. Morley would have us suppose he intended for his epitaph with such a
jumble from Bedlam as the last ten lines."
Further doubt as to the poem's authenticity was given
at the same time by W.B. Rye, Assistant-Keeper of the Department of
Printed Books at the British Museum, who stated, "....I am induced to make
it known that the poem is subscribed with the initials 'P.M.,' and not 'J.M.,'
as represented by Mr. Morley; and that, moreover, the handwriting is not
Milton's. In this opinion I am confirmed by Mr. Bond, the Keeper of
the Department of MSS."
The letters now became personal. One author
commented that, "....Whether the poem be by Milton or not, it is at least
as good as any of the verses with which Lord Winchilsea has favoured an
unappreciative public..." With this remark he was probably referring
to Free-Trade Hexameters and Abd-el-Kader published under
the name of Viscount Maidstone that were reviewed in the Athenæum
of June 8 1850 and July 5 1851 respectively.
Another writer, in the Morning Star of July
20, ended his letter thus: "Lord Winchilsea has proved nothing but his own
astonishing self-conceit, and his absolute ignorance of the subject on
which he was at once so funnily dogmatic and so dismally facetious."
An anonymous letter published in the Pall Mall
Gazette noted again that the signature was considered by the British
Museum to be "P.M.," and not "J.M.," and not in Milton's handwriting.
The writer asked how could it be, as the writing is "P.M.'s" and not
Milton's? "Who P.M. was nobody knows, and in the words of the old stave, nobody cares, for we judge
from the poem which Mr. Morley has exhumed, our literature is not
considerably indebted to him. When 'P.M.' 'tuned his quills,' it was
not to the melody of the author of 'Il Penseroso,' and it is to be hoped
that no one else will find any more of his precious remains."
Amongst the personal attacks, there were some who
cared more for semantics than abuse. 'T.C.' in The Times
quoted line 14: "Make their own tears their Helicon," and commented,
"Surely Milton, with his accurate learning, would have known that Helicon
is a mountain, and not a streamlet. He would not have confounded it,
as the author of these verses apparently does, with Hippocrene."
On the 21 July David Masson joined the debate.
Masson, Professor of English Literature at Edinburgh University, was
later to publish an analysis of Milton's poetical works (1874) but was
then at work on his Life of Milton, a complete history and
critical analysis in 7 volumes, which appeared between 1859 and 1894.
Always polite, Masson wrote that he had seen the lines in the volume
mentioned by Morley and had written a note at the time that in his
opinion the handwriting was contemporary and not Milton's.
However, he could not be sure — especially when so good an authority as
Morley had formed a contrary opinion — and asked that a comparison be
made with further examples of Milton's handwriting. He also
thought the internal evidence was rather against, there being nothing
especially Miltonic in the whole — if, indeed, there were not minute
dissonances to an experienced ear. Furthermore, the lines under
debate do not appear in the second edition of Milton's poems published
in 1673 (the year before Milton's death), which included pieces not in
the first edition.
The debate continued. Another correspondent
referring to line 14 — "Make their own tears their Helicon" — noted that
there were two fountains on this — Aganippe and Hippocrene — for which
Helicon itself could be substituted by a figure of speech.
On the 24 July, commenting further on the issue David
Masson wondered why he had not previously noted that the word 'its'
occurs three times in the poem:—
Line 7 "Ere the day
Budded forth its tender ray."
Line 41 "The thread of life untwisted is
Into its first existencies."
Line 43 "Infant Nature cradled here
In its principles appear."
'its' being an utterly un-Miltonic word, occurring only three times
in the whole body of Milton's poetry. In every other case where we
should use its, Milton in the original editions used the form
his or the substitute her. In ordinary modern editions
its has crept into the text, sometimes through ignorant printing.
Masson considered this fatal to the controversy.
Correspondence on the subject continued.
Contrary to the general trend of opinion, Hepworth Dixon, writing in
The Times and in the Athenæum, made further pro-Milton semantic
criticisms while Henry Morley remained convinced that the poem was
On the 10 August, Massey, a fervent admirer of
Milton, entered the lists. In publishing his letter the Editor of
the Pall Mall Gazette hoped to remove any lingering doubts about
the real character of the epitaph "so absurdly ascribed to Milton" —
Massey's thorough analysis and typically uncompromising conclusion appears
to have achieved that end.......
of the PALL MALL
Sir,—Will you permit me a word on this subject, although I am late in the
field ? From the first I did not, could not, feel that the lines
ascribed to Milton were really his. I saw no sign of the master's
hand ; felt no thrill of his mental presence. I did not believe that
that he would have made such a dramatic blunder as we have in the
confusion of the first and third person. I could not fancy the hater
of "like endings" who spoke of rhymes as jingle, writing these two lines
Line 19 Than if my ashes did he hid
Under some stately pyramid.
Nor could I feel
that I was marching with Milton through the other lines to so lame and
impotent a conclusion. But I felt no immediate necessity for rushing
into the controversy, and thrusting my private opinion upon the public.
However, an echo of something familiar in the lines would continue to
haunt me, and the other day, as I was wondering afresh whose voice it was
I seemed to hear, it suddenly struck me the likeness must be Crashawe's.
"Blubbering rills," I thought; surely that is very like Crashawe ! I
turned to his poems. First, I came upon "blubbered face" (p. 17,
Nichol's ed.) ; then I found—
At my feet the blubbering mountain
Weeping, melts into a fountain.—P. 25.
Which sounded rather like the idea of the Heliconian hill
becoming a stream as it does in the epitaph.
Curiously enough, Crashawe persistently makes Helicon
a stream, and not the hill, e.g. :—
Whose banks the Muses dwelt upon
More than their own Helicon.—P. 87.
I pray, he chides,
And pointing to dull Morpheus, bids me take
My own Apollo, try if I can make
His Lethe be my HELICON.—P.
went on likeness after likeness became apparent. These are the
first three lines of the now famous epitaph :—
Line 1 He whom Heaven did call away
Out of this hermitage of clay
Has left some reliques in this urn.
The first line of one of Crashawe's
(he wrote several) begins thus :—
Dear reliques of a dislodged soul.—P. 88.
Five of Crashawe's poems were written on the death of Mr.
Herrys, of Pembroke Hall, a friend of the poet's ; of whom he says :—
Him the Muses love to follow;
Him they call their Vice-Apollo.—P. 81.
Of its subject the epitaph sings :—
Line 5 Meanwhile the Muses do deplore
The loss of this their paramour.
The epitaph runs—
Line 9 And now Apollo leaves his lays,
And puts on Cypress for his bays.
Crashawe has it—
For the laurel in his verse,
The sullen Cypress o'er his hearse.—P. 78.
Again, the epitaph says :—
Line 11 The sacred sisters tune their
Only to the blubbering rills,
And whilst his doom they think upon,
Make their own tears their Helicon.
Leaving the two-topt mount divine,
To turn votaries to his shrine.
And here is the whole of Crashawe's "Epitaph upon Dr.
A brook whose stream, so great, so good,
Was loved, was honoured as a flood,
Whose banks the Muses dwell upon
More than their own Helicon,
Here at length hath gladly found
A quiet passage under ground;
Meanwhile his loved banks, now dry,
The Muses with their tears supply.
Here we have the idea of the Muses leaving the
"two-topped mount divine" to dwell on the banks of this new Helicon,
which is supplied by their own tears. And here, I fancy, may be
found the reason why Helicon in the epitaph is turned into a stream.
In both cases it is a stream of tears. Next let us take some other
———— The golden flood
Which from the Amber-weeping Tree
Distilleth down so plenteously.
For so this little wanton Elf
Most gloriously enshrined itself.
Not the soft gold which
Steals from the Amber-weeping Tree
Makes sorrow half so rich
As the drops distilled from thee.
Line 31 In this little bed my dust
Incurtained round I here entrust,
Whilst my more pure and nobler part
Lies entomb'd in every heart.
Then pass on gently ye that mourn.
Enough now; (if thou canst) pass on,
For now (alas!) not in this stone
(Passenger, whoe'er thou art)
Is he entomb'd, but in thy heart.—P. 86.
And to make assurance doubly sure let
me point out that the "little bed incurtained round" is also
Crashawe's. Most readers of poetry know his "Epitaph upon Husband
and Wife who died and were buried together." In this they will
fine these lines :—
To these whom Death again did wed,
This grave, the second marriage bed.
Let them sleep, let them sleep on,
Till this stormy night be gone,
And the eternal morrow dawn;
Then the curtains will be drawn.—P. 87.
Again, the epitaph runs thus :—
Line 41 The thread of life untwisted is
Into its first existencies.
Death tore not (therefore) but sans strife
Gently untwined his thread of life.—P. 112.
Other plagiarisms might be noted, but I do not think that
I have left much of the poem for Milton. The poems of Crashawe
from whom I quote were first published in 1646, the year before the date
assigned to Milton's supposed poem, so that Crashawe could not copy from
the epitaph. Is it to be supposed, then, that Milton, in his
thirty-ninth year, would vamp up such a thing as that, and rifle
Crashawe's poems of almost every idea for so poor a purpose ? So
far as internal evidence can go, I for one think this conclusive, and
the most bigoted in favour of the Miltonic authorship must surely admit
that it affords fresh cause for doubt.
Do I, then, imagine that Crashawe wrote the epitaph
in question ? Assuredly not. Poets do not steal from
themselves in that way, whether consciously or unconsciously ; nor would
Crashawe, a man of fertile, quick fancy, have scattered a dozen ideas
over half a dozen poems, and then collected them again to twist them
into one poem precisely of the same nature. If the handwriting of
the epitaph be really like Milton's and the initials "J.M.," I should be
very much tempted to conclude that the plagiarist is also the
August 10, 1868.
[We have waived our decision not to
insert any more correspondence on this subject in favour of Mr. Massey's
letter, in the hope that it may remove any lingering doubts of the real
character of the epitaph so absurdly ascribed to Milton, and put an end
to a childish controversy.]
A scrapbook kept by Morley containing
cuttings of the correspondence together with his handwritten marginalia
is in the British Library, Shelfmark 11826.k.16
A PROPHET OF ILL: GERALD MASSEY UPON THE LABOUR
QUESTIONS OF THE DAY.
Dangers from Dynamite - Men Who Fail to Do Their Duty -
A Remedy for Threatened Anarchy in America.
Massey, the English poet, lecturer, philosopher and theorist, is at
present in this city. A child of poverty and reared in the midst of
squalor, Mr. Massey has built for himself a niche in the temple of fame,
for he is honored among men as a high example of the possibilities of
mental growth under the circumstances of the most disadvantageous nature.
A prominent advocate of the laboring classes, and a co-organiser with
Professor Morris, Charles Kingsley and Thomas Hughes of the co-operative
system that has already gained such a foothold in Great Britain, Mr.
Massey's views upon the relative duties of labor and capital are held as
valuable and most worthy of study. He is at present on route to
Australia, and tarries with us for the purpose of giving two of his quaint
lectures that have aroused so much attention in England and in this
country. A representative of THE CALL met him yesterday and
requested an interview upon the labor in this country and the probable
outcome of our system of popular government. Mr. Massey's remarks
may be premised by the statement that Mr. Massey has visited America
several times, and that this latest sojourn here has already extended over
eight months. "My belief is still strong," said he, "in the probable
Between labor and capital, although the results have fallen far short of
what I had hoped to see before this time. So far as I can see, the
only means of securing the peace and prosperity of a nation will be found
in the unity of capital and labor. The workingman revolts against
what he believes to be an unjust division of profits and the unhealthy
accumulation of wealth in the hands of a few to the despoiling of the
many. In this he is certainly to a great extent right,
although it is difficult to say exactly where the line shall be drawn
between reason and groundless assertion. It is questionable that the
present system is working serious harm to all classes of society,
and it must result sooner or later, in a condition of government and
commercial anarchy. Everything tends to force this conclusion upon
the mind of a thoughtful man, and to fill him with astonishment at the
blindness of the powers that be. It did seems at one
time as though the difficulty would be solved through the help of
co-operation, but unfortunately, the moneyed classes did not recognize the
value of this remedial agent, and as little good could be accomplished
without their aid the principle has found small chance of development.
With co-operation there would be an end to strikes, while with strikes
there can be only one result, and that is horrible to think of. In
this country more than anywhere else in the world, the danger is imminent,
for you have more liberty here than you know what to do with and you erect
no safeguards against the unbridled passions of the people. In this
land crude individuality is rampant, for each man is, to an alarming
extent, a law unto himself, and takes but little heed of anything that is
not connected with his own immediate interests. Your men of labor,
of brains, and of business experience
AVOID THE PATHS OF PUBLIC LIFE,
And devote themselves exclusively to the amassing of fortunes and the
gratifying of their personal whims. Look at the condition of your
jury system, see how your party representatives are selected, study the
history of your ballot-box, scan the digests of your laws, and then tell
me if your best citizens do their duty to their fellow-men and to
themselves. To your land are drawn the aggressive elements of labor
from the crowded centres of Europe, and here they are allowed to gather
together in your large cities and hatch out rebellion in whatever shape
most please them. Many of these people are common enemies of
mankind, for their only aim is to plunder, and their only joy destruction;
yet your leaders blindly pass them by and take no measures to prevent what
must come if there be no prevention used. This frightful amount of
combustible material in your cities will take flame one day, and then who
knows when the incendiary torch can be quenched, or in what form of
anarchy or despotism the revolt of the masses may end. You may think
this is all unfounded speculation, but I tell you, the history of the
world points to this conclusion, and it is accentuated by the supineness
of your government and the criminal indifference of those who should be
your mental leaders. Although nominally so intended, do you really
believe all this dynamite business will be confined to Europe? In
view of the widespread dissatisfaction among your people, such an idea
cannot possibly be true. Are you not on the eve of a social
explosion? What else can these well-organized and constantly
recurring strikes mean; these
DAILY INSTANCES OF MOB VENGEANCE
Against those who should be only subject to the law, these riots in
Pittsburg among the railwaymen, among the miners, and especially this last
one in Cincinnati? And yet in the light of these warnings, your
government allows the dynamiters to foster their plans unchecked. In
Brooklyn I found a Russian, one Professor Mezzerow, openly training large
classes of dangerous men in the art of preparing and handling dynamite.
The time may come, and perhaps ere long, when some of these pupils will
use their dangerous knowledge for other purposes than those at present
avowed, and right here in your midst. Everything moves faster in America
than elsewhere, for your people are progressive in all things, except the
regulating of government, and if dynamite outrages once begin here, their
horrors will be multiplied with unparalleled rapidity. When that time
comes, when riot, bloodshed and rapine are devastating the country, your
better men will come to the front, and will perhaps succeed in quelling
the passions of the mob - but why should they wait until then? There is
probably yet time to avoid these evils if prompt measures be taken by
those who appreciate the need, and who will take sufficient time from
their daily vocations to study out and put in force the proper remedies.
Through long centuries labour has been oppressed and ill-paid, and now,
when the working classes are just learning the great strength of their
power, is the time when their movements should be guided by those who can
appreciate their rights and who can secure them without the employment of
Should be set aside and their places taken in each community by men of
acknowledged worth. The labourer has grasped the crude idea that capital
makes all the laws of usury and feeds upon the substance of the poor. Let
him find that the honest men of the better educated classes are determined
he shall no longer be treated as a machine, and he will gratefully accept
their guidance, to the bettering of himself and his country. If such a
course be adopted, you will find that the communistic spirit will die out
more rapidly than it has grown, for you Americans strike me as a kindly
and longsuffering class, and therefore as a people who have been slowly
driven to the verge of excess, but who could be easily turned away from
their wrath by judicious and kindly treatment. The agitators who now play
so prominent a part in the embittering of public sentiment, would be
discarded at once, and sink into utter insignificance, if those who were
born to be leaders of the popular thought would only assert themselves and
perform their duty by the Government they profess to cherish, but which
they really ignore. I honestly think the adoption of such a course is
your only chance to avoid a far more terrible state of affairs even than
the one that is now threatened in Great Britain. Here, anarchy would find
supporters in every city in the Union, while there, the labouring classes
have almost ceased to think of their own grievances, so overwhelmed are
they with indignation over the later phases of the Irish question."
After this the conversation turned upon light topics,
and finally the journalist took his leave, most pleasantly impressed with
the versatile thought and conversational powers of Mr. Gerald Massey.
Cincinnati Call, 24 Jun., 1884.
by Gerald Massey
from Lucifer magazine, Vol. I, November 1887.
An article referring to The Blood-Covenant, a Primitive Rite, and its
bearings on Scripture, by H. Clay Turnbull, DD. (London, Redway,
has been recently directed to this subject of Blood-Covenant by the
experiences of explorers in Africa, who appear to have discovered in
that Dark Land some of the primitive facts the gory ghost of which has
long haunted our European mind in the Eschatological phase. Stanley, an
especial sufferer from the practice, denounces the blood-brotherhood as
a beastly cannibalistic ceremony. "For the fiftieth time my poor arm was
scarified and my blood shed for the cause of civilization." As the
writer of this book observes: "The blood of a fair proportion of all the
first families of equatorial Africa now courses in Stanley's veins; and
if ever there was an American citizen who could pre-eminently
appropriate to himself the national motto 'E pluribus unum,' Stanley is
In his book, Dr. Trumbull has collected a mass of data from a
wide range of sources to illustrate what he terms the "Primitive rite of
covenanting by the inter transfusion of blood." Dr. Trumbull is
anxious to make the efficacy of the rite depend upon the recognition of
a vivifying virtue in the blood itself, as the essence of life.
But such recognition appears to have been remote enough from the
Primitive thought. The Aborigines were not Jews or Christians.
They gave of their life without always thinking of the exact equivalent
or superior value received. They gave it as the witness to the
troth they plighted and the covenant which they intended to keep.
His theory of interpretation is that there was a dominating and
universal conviction that the "blood is the life; that blood-transfer is
soul-transfer, and that blood-sharing, human or divine-human, secures an
inter-union of natures; and that a union of the human nature with the
divine is the highest ultimate attainment reached out after by the most
primitive, as well as the most enlightened, mind of humanity." His
collection of facts may serve a most useful purpose as eye-openers to
other people (and for other facts to follow), just as they appear to
have been to himself. The book is interesting, if not profound;
and nothing that follows in this article is intended to decry it, or to
prevent the readers of Lucifer from looking into it if they do not feel
too great a "scunner" at sight of the gilded-gory illustration on the
cover. But the work is written by one who talks to us out of a
window of Noah's Ark, and who still seems to think the Hebrew Bible is
the rim of the universe. We value and recommend the book solely
for its facts, not for its theories, nor for its bibliolatry.
In all studies of this kind which make use of the word
"Primitive," it is the fundamental facts that we first need; and next a
first-hand acquaintanceship with all the facts, so that we may do our
own thinking for ourselves and strike our light within by which we can
read the facts without, as the primary and essential procedure in the
endeavour to attain the truth. Also the facts may be genuine and
honestly presented, yet the interpretation may be according to an
inadequate or a "bogus" theory. The truth is that no bibliolator
can be trusted to interpret the past of our race now being unveiled by
evolution. He is born and begotten with the blinkers on. His
mode of interpretation is to get behind us, to lay the hands upon our
eyes in front, and ask us to listen whilst he gives us his views of the
past! But the non-evolutionist cannot interpret the past from lack
of a true standpoint with regard to the beginnings or rather the
processes of becoming. He can begin anywhere and at any time short
of the starting-point. There is nothing for it but to break away,
and turn round to see for ourselves whether the traditionary vision of
the Blinkerists be true or false. The facts alone are the final
determinatives of the Truth. But we must have the whole of them
and not a few, whether judiciously or Jesuitically selected to support a
Christian theory. Whereas, the object and aim of this work the
bias of the writer, and the trend of his arguments, are all on the line
of showing or suggesting that the blood-covenant was the result of some
innate instinct or divine revelation which prefigured and foreshadowed,
and may be taken to indicate and authorize, the Christian scheme of
atonement, and the remission of sin by the shedding of innocent blood.
The writer asserts that this primitive symbolism was "made a reality in
Jesus Christ," in whom "God was to give of his blood in the blood of his
Son for the revivifying of the sons of Abraham in the Blood of the
Eternal Covenant." But it can be demonstrated that the covenant by
blood did not commence where Dr. Trumbull begins—with a religious
yearning God-ward for the establishing of a brotherhood between the
human nature and the Divine. The root-idea was not that of an
"inter-union of the spiritual natures by the inter-commingling of blood
for the sake of an inter-communion with deity." That, at least,
was by no means the "primitive rite," which the blood-covenant is here
called. The many forms of the blood-covenant can only be unified
at the root, i.e., in the beginning, not at the end. They are not
to be understood apart from the primitive language of signs; as in
Tattoo, the very primitive biology of the early observers, and the most
primitive sociology of the Totemic times.
Time was, and may be still, when the blood-covenant would
often serve as the one protection against being killed and eaten.
Even the cannibals will not partake of their own Totemic brothers.
Also the covenant was extended to certain animals which were made of kin
and held to be sacred as brothers of the blood.
The Blood-covenant takes many forms besides that of the
blood-brotherhood, which are not to be explained by this writer's theory
of exchange. When the blood of an African woman accidentally
spurted into the eye of Dr. Livingstone, she claimed him for her blood
relation, without there being any exchange of blood for blood.
Dr. Trumbull claims the Egyptians as witnesses to the truth
of his interpretation. But so far from their highest conception of
"a union with the Divine nature" being an inter-flowing and interfusion
of blood, the soul of blood was the very lowest, that is the first, in a
series of seven souls! Their highest type of the soul was the sun
that vivified for ever called Atmu, the Father Soul.
The bases of natural fact which lie at the foundation of the
Blood-covenant, preceded any and all such ideas as those postulated by
the writer as being extant from the first, such as "a longing for
oneness of life with God;" an "out-reaching after inter-union and
inter-communion with God." There was no conception of a one God
extant in the category of human consciousness when the rites of a
blood-covenant were first founded. There could be no atonement
where there was no sense of sin or a breaking of the law. All
through, the writer is apt to confuse the past with the present, and
eager to read the present into the past. 
The real roots of matters like these are to be found only in
certain facts of nature which were self-revealing, and not in the sphere
of concepts and causation! And it is only when we can reach the
natural genesis of primitive customs and fetishtic beliefs, and trace
their lines of descent, that we can understand and interpret their
meaning in the latest symbolical and superstitious phase of religious
rites. Nothing can be more fatally false than to interpret the
physics of the past by means of modern metaphysic, with the view of
proving that certain extant doctrines of delusion are the lineal
descendants of an original Divine revelation, which has been bound up in
two Testaments for the favoured few. The blood-covenant is
undoubtedly a primitive rite; but the author of this work does not
penetrate to its most primitive or significant phases. These are
not to be read by the light of Hebrew revelation, but by the light of
nature if at all. Many primitive customs and rites survived
amongst the Semites, but they themselves were not amongst the aboriginal
races of the world. We have to get far beyond their stage to
understand the meaning of the myths, legends, rites, and customs, that
were preserved by them as sacred survivals from the remoter past.
The symbolical and superstitious phases of custom cannot be directly
explained on the spot where we may first meet with them in going back.
In becoming symbolical they had already passed out of their primary
phase, and only indirectly represent the natural genesis of the truly
primitive rite. I have spent the best part of my life in tracking
these rites and customs to their natural origin, and in expounding the
typology and symbols by which the earliest meaning was expressed.
What then was the root-origin of a blood-covenant? The
primary perceptions of primitive or archaic men included the observation
that they came from the mother, and first found themselves at her
Next they saw that the child was fleshed by the mother, and
formed from her blood, the flow of which was arrested to be solidified,
and take form in their own persons. Thus the red amulet which was
worn by the Egyptian dead, was representative of the blood of Isis, who
came from herself, and made her own child without the fatherhood, when
men could only derive their blood and descent from the mother.
This amulet was put on by her, says Plutarch, when she found herself
enceinte with Horus, her child, who was derived from the mother alone,
or was traced solely to the blood of Isis.
Primitive men could perceive that the children of one mother
were of the same blood. This, the first form of a
blood-brotherhood, was the first to be recognised as the natural fact.
Uterine brothers were blood-brothers. The next stage of the
brotherhood was Totemic; and the mode of extending the brotherhood to
the children of several mothers implies, as it necessitated, some form
of symbolic rite which represented them as brothers, or as typically
becoming of the one blood. Here we can track the very first step
in sociology which was made when the typical blood-brotherhood of the
Totem was formed in imitation of the natural brotherhood of the
mother-blood. The modes and forms of the Covenant can be
identified by the Totemic mysteries, some of which yet survive in the
crudest condition. The brotherhood was entered at the time of
puberty; that is, at the time of rebirth, when the boy was re-born as a
man, and the child of the mother attained the soul of the fatherhood,
and was permitted to join the ranks of the begetters. The mystery
is one with that of Horus, child of the mother alone, who comes to
receive the soul of the father in Tattu, the region of establishing the
son as the father, which is still extant in the mysteries, and the
symbolism of Tattoo. This re-birth was enacted in various ways by
typically re-entering the womb. One of these was by burial in the
earth, the tomb or place of re-birth being the image of the maternal
birth-place all the world over. Thus when the Norsemen or other
races prepared a hole under the turf, and buried their cut and bleeding
arms to let the blood flow, and commingle in one as the token of a
covenant, they were returning typically to the condition of uterine
twins, and the act of burial for the purpose of a re-birth was a
symbolical mode of establishing the social brotherhood upon the original
grounds of the natural brotherhood of blood. Thus the
blood-covenant did not originate in the set transfusion or inter-fusion
of blood. In the Totemic mysteries the pubescent lad was admitted
by the shedding of his blood, with or without any interchange. The
blood itself was the symbol of brotherhood, and the shedding of it was
the seal of a covenant. Nor was this merely because flesh was
formed of blood, or the first men were made of the mystical red soil, as
with the aarea of the Tahitians, or the red earth of the Adamic man.
Most of these primitive rites, the Blood-Covenant included, had their
starting-point from the period of puberty. It was at this time the
lads who were not brothers uterine were made brothers of the Totem at
what was termed the festival of young-man-making. The proper
period for circumcision, or cutting and sealing, as still practised by
the oldest aborigines, is the time of puberty, the natural coming of
age. It is then they enter the Totemic Brotherhood. [Some
tribes. eg. the Dogon, circumcise between the ages of 9-12. Female
children also have—usually—a milder form between the ages of 7-8.
This is regarded as being necessary for the individual to gain gender,
and is a form of initiation predating Judaic, Christian or Islamic
influence. See Wikipedia for a selection of authorities concerning
this. Ed.]. Now in Egyptian, the word khet or khut = out,
means to cut and to seal. Khetem is to enclose, bind, seal, and is
applied to sealing. The same root passes into Assyrian and Hebrew
as Khatan, Katam or Chatan, with the same meaning. In Arabic,
Khatana is to circumcise. Cutting and sealing are identical as the mode
of entering into a Blood-Covenant. Circumcision was one form of the
sealing, but there were various kinds of cuts employed, and different
parts of the body were scarified and tattooed. In the primary phase,
then, the blood-brotherhood was established by the shedding of blood;
the register was written in blood, and instead of the covenant being
witnessed by the seal of red wax, it was stamped in blood. The
reason for phallic localization is to be sought in the fact that the
young men not only entered the Brotherhood by the baptism of blood, they
were also received into the higher ranks of the fathers, and sworn in to
live an orderly, legal and cleanly life, henceforth, as the procreators
and loyal preservers of the race.
But this was not the only clue directly derived from nature.
There is another reason why blood should have become the sacred sign of
a covenant. Amongst many primitive races blood, or the colour red,
is the symbol of Tapu, the sign of sanctity. The bones of the dead
were covered with red ochre as a means of protection by the most widely
scattered races in the world. The stamp of a red hand on the
building, or a crimson daub upon the gravestone will render them sacred.
The Kaffirs will wash their bodies with blood as a protection against
being wounded in battle. The colour of robin-redbreast still
renders him tapu or sacred to English children. Blood having
become a sign of that which is true and sacred, on account of the
Covenant, it is then made the symbol of all that is sacred. It can
be used for the purpose of anointing the living or the dead, can be the
seal of the marriage or other ceremonies and rites of, covenanting.
It is the primæval token of tapu.
As I have elsewhere shown, blood was sworn by as the type of
that which was true, the primary one of the typical Two Truths of Egypt.
It was so in all the mysteries, and is so to-day, including the
mysteries of Masonry. I have suggested the derivation of the
masonic name from the Egyptian Sen = son, for blood and brotherhood.
The working Mason in Egyptian is the makh (makht) by name. Makh means to
work, inlay by rule and measure. We see that makh modifies into mâ
for measure, and for that which is just and true. Mâ-sen = Mason, would
denote the true brotherhood; and as sen is also blood, the true
brotherhood as the blood-brotherhood would be the masons in the mystical
or occult sense. Red is the colour of Mâ or Truth personified, and
sen is blood. Blood is sworn by because it is the colour of truth,
or the true colour. Now in old English the word seng means both
"blood" and "true." Here, then, we find the origin of the oath,
which constitutes the supreme expression in the vocabulary of our
English roughs, when they use the oath of the blood-covenant, and swear
by the word "bloody!" When they wax emphatic, every thing they say
becomes "bloody true." This is the exact equivalent of "seng it
is" for "it is true." According to the primitive mysteries, this
mode of swearing, or establishing the covenant, was sacred whilst kept
piously secret, and it becomes impious when made public or profane. Such
mysteries were very simply natural at first, and it was this primitive
simplicity and nearness to nature which demanded the veil to protect
them from the gaze of the later consciousness. Time was when the
English felon would carry a red handkerchief with him to the scaffold,
and hold it in his hand as a signal that he had betrayed no secrets, but
died "bloody true," or true blood.
These customs were symbolical, but there is a hint of the
blood-covenant beyond them—a hint received direct from Nature
herself—call it revelation if you please. In the first rude ethics
we find that the time for the sexes to come together was recognised by
the intimation of nature, made in her own sign-language at the period of
feminine pubescence. Nature gave the hint, and a covenant was
established. Henceforth, the child that could not enter that
covenant would be protected from brutal assault, and was allowed, or
rather compelled, to run about unclothed in token of her exemption.
It is here in the swearing-in and covenanting of the sexes at the time
of pubescence that we discover another real and most secret, i.e.,
sacred root of the rite.
The self-revelation made by nature to primitive man was very
primitive in its kind. She not only demonstrated that the blood
was the life, or that the life passed away with the letting out of the
blood, but in another domain, which our author has not entered, she
showed that blood was, and how it was, the future life. Blood was
the primary witness to the future life which the child received from the
mother. It was the token of the time when the female could become
the bearer of that future life which took flesh and form in her blood.
The blood-covenanting of the primitive races is still a part
of the most elaborate system of making presents, which are the express
witnesses of proffered troth and intended fealty. The most
precious or sacred things are parted from in proof. The best is
given on either side. And in the offering of blood, they were
giving their very life, that in which the best attains supremacy.
But these primitive rites can never be truly read except by those who
are deeply grounded in the fact, and well acquainted with the evidence,
that sign-language was primordial, that gestures preceded verbal speech,
and acting was an earlier mode of representing than talking.
Primitive men could only do that which we can say. In
Egyptian that which is said is done. And in these primitive
customs and religious rites we see the early races of men performing in
pantomime the early drama of dumb or inarticulate humanity. And it
seems as if this primitive language could produce an impression and
reach a reality that is unapproachable by means of words. The
significance of the teaching went all the deeper when it was incised in
the flesh and branded into the blood. For example, what a terrific
glimpse of reality is revealed by the fact that the Malagasy make their
sign of a blood-covenant by an incision in the skin that covers the
bosom, and this opening with its utterance of blood is called ambavfo,
the "mouth of the heart." Thus the covenant is made in the blood,
which is the very life, uttering itself with the mouth of the heart. In
Egyptian the covenant, the oath, and the life, have the same name of
Ankhu; and the greatest oath was to swear by the life or the blood of
the Pharaoh. The primitive mode was to slash the flesh and let the
hot blood spout and speak for itself with the "mouth of the heart," the
utterance of the living letter and red seal of the wound, as true
No verbal covenant or written record of the modern races has
ever had the full force and effect of these modes of covenanting amongst
the primitive people of the past. The moderns do not keep their
word with anything like the inviolable sanctity of the aborigines; when
once they are sworn to fealty, the covenant is almost never broken.
Few things in poetry are more pathetic than the story related of Tolo, a
chief of the Shastika Indians on the Pacific Coast. In the year
1852 he entered into a tribal treaty with Colonel McKee and was desirous
of making a covenant for life in some way that could not possibly be
violated. Instead of exchanging blood he proposed a transfer of their
own two personal names. Henceforth he was to be known as McKee,
and the Colonel as Tolo. But the treaty was discarded, the
covenant was not kept by the American Government. In reply, the
Indian cast off the title of McKee and refused to resume his own
tarnished and degraded name of Tolo! He considered that his very
identity was lost by this mode of losing his good name! I doubt
whether 1,800 years of Christianity have evolved in the later races of
men a consciousness of truth, probity, and loyalty, so quick and
profound as that!
The writer of this book remains stone-blind to its own
teachings with regard to the doctrine of survivals, and of the past
persisting as a pattern for the present. To quote his own words,
he rejoices in the "blessed benefits of the covenant of blood," and is
still a fervent supporter of the great delusion inculcated by the gospel
of ruddy gore. The doctrine is fundamentally the same whether the
Greek murderer was cleansed from his guilt by the filthy purification of
pig's blood or the modern sinner is supposed to be washed white in the
Blood of the Lamb. As I had already written in my Natural Genesis,
"the religious ritual of the moderns is crowded like a kitchen-midden
with the refuse relics of customs that were natural once, and are now
clung to as if they were supernatural in their efficacy because their
origin has been unknown. Indeed, the current masquerade in these
appurtenances of the past is as sorry a sight to the archaic student as
are the straw crowns and faded finery of the kings and queens whose
domain is limited to the lunatic asylum." Dr. Trumbull endorses
the doctrine that "Mortals gave the blood of their first-born sons in
sacrifice to the Supreme Being, then the Supreme Being gave the blood of
his first-born male in sacrifice" for men; and there you have the
covenant of blood in its final form!
It is true that first-born children were offered in sacrifice
just as the first take of fish was returned to the waters with a lively
sense of future favours from the Typhonian power thus propitiated, but
where is the sense of talking about the thought of an intercommunion
with the divine nature through a blood-union with God as a concept in
the mind of primitive man? It is true the recognized
nature-powers, or devils of physical force, were invoked with blood, but
what was the status of these powers when the beasts of blood were their
representatives on earth, and the blood, which is the life, was given to
the Serpent, for instance, as the likeness of life itself because it
sloughed its own skin and manifested the enviable power of self-renewal?
The profounder and more fundamental our researches, the more clearly
does it become apparent that we have been victimised by the unsuspected
survival of the past in the present, and that the veriest leavings of
primitive man have been palmed off upon us by the ignorant as sacred
mysteries and revelations guaranteed to be original and divine.
Continually we find that our errors of belief are based upon very simple
truths that have been misunderstood through a misinterpretation of
primitive matters and modes of representation by means of modern
ignorance. The blood-covenant of the aboriginal races has
undoubtedly survived and culminated as Christian in the frightful
formula, "Without blood there is no remission of sin." Not merely
the blood of beasts or human creatures this time, but the ruddy life and
ichor of a supposed Divine Being, who was made flesh on purpose to pour
out the blood for Almighty vengeance to lap in the person of a gory
ghost of God. One of the seven primal powers in Egypt was
represented by the hawk, because it drank blood. One of the Seven
in Akkad was the vampire. And this type of blood-drinking has been
divinised at last as the Christian God. Pindar says: "It is impossible
for me to call one of the blessed gods a cannibal." But the
Christian scheme makes the Only God a cannibal, who offers the flesh and
blood of his own Son and Very Self as sacrificial food made sacred for
his followers. Such a god is, in two senses, chimerical. How
natural an accompaniment is the picture of the Crucified Christ to the
Zuni saying, "My Father, this day shalt thou refresh thyself with
blood!" Such a doctrine is but an awful shadow of the primitive
past—the shadow, so to say, of our old earth in the very far-off
past—that remains to eclipse the light of Heaven to-day, and darken the
souls of men in the present through the survival of savage spiritualism
in its final Christian phase, where the extant doctrines are little more
than an ignorant perversion of the most primitive knowledge. It is
in this final and not in the primitive phase that we shall identify the
irrationalty, the impiety, the disgusting grossness of Mythology under
the surface of theological varnish and veneer. The only
senselessness is in the survival of Myths without their sense.
Lastly, it is observable that in the genuine rite the
covenant-makers always bled directly and suffered each for themselves.
Later on we find that other victims were substituted by purchase, by
fraud, or by force; hence the blood-covenant by proxy. Now the
Christian scheme is that which culminated in the blood-covenant and
atonement by proxy. "His offspring for his life he gave," is said
of an Akkadian ruler who sacrificed his own son as an expiatory offering
to save himself from the consequences of his own sin. And this
doctrine of the despicable, this type of the fatherhood, is elevated to
the status of divinity by Dr. Trumbull. To quote his own words,
the inspired author of the narrative found in the Hebrew Genesis shows
"Abel lovingly and trustfully reaching out toward God with substitute
blood!" And there began for the Historic Christians that vast
perversion of a primitive custom which culminated at last in the
Christian doctrine of vicarious sacrifice, based upon the mythology of
the Old Testament being literalized in the New. Now we have the
ludicrous spectacle of salvation by means of a rite which has lost all
the manhood, all the morality, all the meaning, that was put into it by
the despised races of uncivilized men.
The eucharistic rite is incredibly primitive when really
understood. The bread and wine of the Christian sacrament still
represent the male spirit and the female source of life. The
"Blood of Jesus," which was to be "drink indeed," is identical with the
"Blood of Bacchus," which preceded historic Christianity, and has been
substituted for the human or animal blood of the earlier mysteries.
Imbibing the blood of the Christ did not originate in any historic or
personal transaction. Also the blood of Christ, or Mithras, or
Horus, employed in drinking the covenant, was preceded by the blood of
Charis. In some of the Gnostic mysteries we have the proof that
the first form of the saving blood was feminine, not masculine at all.
Irenæus presents us with a picture of profound interest from the
anthropological point of view. He tells us how Marcus performed
the eucharistic rite with the blood of Charis, instead of the blood of
Christ. He handed cups to the women and bade them consecrate these
in his presence. Then, by the use of magical incantation, "Charis
was thought to drop her own blood into the cup" thus consecrated. (B. 1.
13, 2.) There is but one known fact in natural phenomena which
will fitly account as Vera Causa for a monthly Sacrament, celebrated
every twenty-eight days, or thirteen times to the year; which fact was
commemorated by the Blood-Covenant of Charis (Vide Natural Genesis V.
ii. section 12, for proofs). This kind of blood-covenant can be
paralleled in the Yain or Yonian mysteries of India. When rightly
understood, the eucharist is a survival of the "beastly cannibalistic
ceremony," whether considered as the blood of Charis or the blood of
Christ, or partaken of as the red Tent wine or the "bloody wafer" of
We welcome Dr. Trumbull's contribution on the subject,
although he has but "breathed a vein" of it, because these rites and
customs have to be unveiled, and when they are at last exposed in all
the simplicity of naked nature the erroneous ideas read into them, the
delusive inferences drawn from them, the false illusions painted upon
the veil that concealed the truth about them, will be doomed to pass
away. To explain the true is the only effectual mode of exploding
Footnotes (by the Editor of Lucifer).
[1.] The Theosophists are reminded that the "seven souls" are what we
call the "seven principles" in man. "Blood" is the principle of
the Body, the lowest in our septenary, as the highest is "Atma," which
may well be symbolized by the Sun; Atma being the light and life in man,
as the physical sun is the light and life of our solar system.
[2.] The arcane doctrine teaches that the "blood " rites are as old as
the Third-Root race, being established in their final form by the Fourth
Parent race in commemoration of the separation of androgynous mankind,
their forefathers, into males and females. Mr. G. Massey is a
strict scholar, who holds only to that which is made evident to him, and
ignores the Occultistic division of mankind into Races, and the fact
that we are in our Fifth-Root race, and would, of course, refuse to
carry mankind back into pre-Tertiary times. Yet his researches and
the fruit of his life-labour, corroborate, by their numberless new facts
revealed by him, most wonderfully, the teachings of the "Secret
MYTH AND TOTEMISM AS PRIMITIVE MODES OF
by GERALD MASSEY
from The National Review, Oct. 1888, 238-59.
An article in response to Andrew Lang's Myth, Ritual and Religion
(London, Longmans, 1887).
This article was reprinted in 1995 (London, Karpatenland Press). In an
introduction by Rey Bowen, he considers that a vehicle for transmitting
culture—how one's past is interpreted—is through a community's
mythology, and that mythology can be defined either as a mode of
explaining natural phenomena, or as modes of representation. Lang
believed that Max Müller's origins of mythology were lacking in
comparative evidence, and that humankind personified the elements,
describing them as extensions to their personalities. Massey's
opinion was that it was both mental poverty and poverty of language that
gave rise to representation of natural forces by the use of signs and
symbols. Bowen noted that Lang thought that the myths about
totemic origins were of no historical value, but Massey stated that a
totem, whether a natural element, an animal or a plant—although it was
never meant to be an object of worship—was a means of distinguishing one
clan from another—of knowing the group's historical background.
Myth and totemism were more than modes of representation—they were the
earliest means of recording human history before there were written
records. To further develop this theme, but not necessarily in
agreement, later authors such as Claude Lévi-Strauss can be consulted.
IN his recent well-written study of Myth, Ritual, and
Religion, Mr.Andrew Lang has said much concerning the irrationality, the non-naturalness, and the grossness of Mythology in general, and of Savage Myth in particular.
He asserts, and strenuously insists, that "everything in the civilized mythologies which we regard as irrational seems only part of the accepted and natural order of things to contemporary savages, concerning whom we have historical information."
He describes the Savage Mythos as being a "jungle of foolish fancies, a Walpurgis Nacht of gods and beasts and men and stars and ghosts, all moving madly on a level of common personality and animation, and all changing shapes at random" in a "burlesque ballet of Priapus," where "everything may be anything; where nature has no laws, and imagination no limits."
This state of things, or the appearance of such a state of things, which, as we shall see, is very widely different, he attributes to "savage beliefs," "savage fancies," "savage conceptions," and "savage confusions," which survive from a condition of primordial
savagery—in short, to the primitive perversion, if not the original sin or "cussedness " of savage nature, that from the beginning persisted in prepensely going against the commonest testimony of the simplest senses in
everyday matters of fact. The great and prevalent mistake here made is a result of assuming that the non-natural features of mythology in its latest phases are anything like a faithful reflection of the primal mental condition of aboriginal men in some apocryphal past, when everything in nature could be seen non-naturally, and anything believed in which could not be seen.
The mirror might have been trusted more if these things had been a direct survival.
But they are not; and it is we who are being befooled by this mode of producing evidence that savages are the living representatives of a primordial race of born natural-fools.
Before we attempt to measure the intellectual status, or determine the mental condition and standpoint, of the men who first thought and spoke mythically, we must at least learn something of their symbolical mode of
language. The symbolism is not a veil with which a more refined age sought to cover the rudeness of reality; myth and symbol are twin brothers from the birth.
It is the mode more than the matter which makes the mythos. Much that appears irrational when the matter is taken literally may become congruous and rational when we can understand the indirect method of representation.
And if it can be shown that a primitive mode of expression has become the later mould of thought, it follows that the later thought or belief may be no true guide to, or criterion of, the earlier standpoint.
According to the mythic mode, then, one thing can be equated by another to express the unknown by the known, as serpent = lightning, scorpion = sunstroke, crocodile = darkness, cow = mother, beetle = creator, cat = moon, hawk = sun, ape = typhoon, or hippopotamus = deluge.
But supposing we are unable to read this hieroglyphical language, and have no
misgivings on the score of our importance, it is just possible that we may transfer our own
mental mist of confusion to the primitive or other misrepresented man, and charge him with not knowing a serpent from the lightning-stroke, the scarabaeus from a god, a woman from a cow, or big B from a bull's foot.
This is exactly what has been, and still is, done by writers who entirely misinterpret the primitive typology, and tell us that the early men made no distinction between themselves and the lower animals, but believed they could transform into
each other at will because originally reversible, as if they were the natural prototypes of Mr. Hyde and Dr. Jekyl.
To us this ancient typology is one of the dead languages, and the oldest of them all.
But we can no more understand the ideas of primitive or uncivilized men in
survival without mastering their earliest mode of expressing them, than we can read the
language of gestures and hieroglyphics without first learning the current value of the signs.
What are the reasons, with any root of reality in human experience, for thinking with Mr. Lang that there ever was a mental condition in which all that is irrational, monstrous, and non-natural now-a-days could be looked upon as natural, every-day
occurrences of old? It never could have been a matter of savage any more than civilized experience that men had the same nature or possessed the power to change shapes with the beasts.
Dress themselves as they might in feathers, they never learned to fly; nor could they live under water, for all their totemic kinship with the water-cow or crocodile.
And yet this is supposed to have been a common if not the universal "belief", without any actual basis whatever, resulting, as Mr. Lang says, from the "eternal confusion of the savage mind."
But surely there must be some other way of accounting for such perplexing appearances!
The evolutionist, at least, may rest assured that early men were not the victims of that modern disease, subjectivity; not the sufferers from introspection or innate illusions; not the
natural transformers of external objects into living subjects; but close clingers to their rock of reality rather than the self-deluded dreamers of vain dreams, or the fools of metaphysical fancies.
If they had not secured a firm foot-hold, however slowly, on the ground of natural fact, however limited they could not have beaten out a practical pathway for those who followed after them.
The present contention is that there never was such an original savage as postulated, whose brain was turned by watching the whirl round of things which he could not keep up with; that there never existed such a mental condition as that of conscious myth-making men; that mythology does not begin with a series of rude guesses at an explanation of natural phenomena; and that, primarily, the myths are not attempts to account for the facts in nature, or to read the riddle of the universe, by way of satisfying a primordial crave of curiosity
concerning the cause of things in general. It is in no wise probable that very early or savage men began by asking where the river came from, and then started off to seek its source.
They drank of it as an element of life, or were drowned in it, and the power of drowning was imaged by the crocodile, hippopotamus, or other wide-jawed dweller in the waters.
Mythology and zootypology are among the results deposited by the primitive mode of representation, but they do not offer reasons, and are not an explanation.
Explanation is the function of later science, not of the earliest observation.
Simple explanation would not have needed so much explaining! It is this looking upon the myths as an explanation of natural phenomena, instead of a limited means of representation, that makes them appear so irrational at times, so unnatural.
But those who have done this and denounced the "myth-makers" as senseless, insane, obscene, and blasphemous, or suffering from
mental aberration, have been spitting beside the mark. The senselessness of the Mythos comes in mainly where we have lost the sense.
It can certainly be demonstrated that the asserted tendency of the human mind to project itself and mould external phenomena in its own
likeness does not go back to the beginnings of mythology, and that anthropomorphic representation was not the primary mode; it can further be shown that the natural genesis of myth was
not in a faculty of non-natural conception or a primitive system of false explanation, but in a symbolical kind of representation which was necessitated for those who had to think in things and make use of signs when there was no other mode of expression.
Here at starting there is a wide gulf fixed between mythology considered as a mode of representing
phenomena, and mythology as a system of explaining it. In the one case we have the results of objective observation presented in a primitive phase of sign-language; in the other, a
subjective interpretation of nature in the sphere of causation.
When the moon was represented by the cat who sees in the dark, or by the tadpole that
transforms in the water, that implies no attempt at accounting for phenomena, no concern as to cause, no veiling of an esoteric meaning in a physical allegory.
And when the condemned soul in the Egyptian Judgment Scenes is compelled to enter into the black pig and be driven down into the abyss, that is the typological representation of its being Typhonian, not a
picture of the transmigration of human souls into the bodies of animals.
Primitive mythology when "simple of itself," unadulterated or unperveted, was neither confused, immoral, insane, nor obscene.
It was nothing more than unmoral, with no pretence of moralizing.
The phenomena represented belonged to external nature and were not human.
The primary actors in its drama were not human beings, but the elements themselves, or the beasts, birds, reptiles, fishes or insects, the natural types of elemental powers, which were continued as ideographs in the representation of later ideas.
The moderns do but apply a false standard if they consider that to be obscene which was only childish.
In the presence of primitive nature we have no call to keep on blushing publicly for shame; no need to foist a fig-leaf kind of consciousness on the face of very simple folk.
Notwithstanding the physical nudity of Egyptian art, for example, the spirit of it is seriously pure.
It is perversion from intended use that is always and everywhere the most fatal cause of debasement and degradation.
The comparative mythologist who is also an evolutionist has no business to speak of the "barbarous and
brutal disguises" in which the Egyptians veiled their deities, as if they had sought to vulgarise the divine.
There is no meaning in such language when the course of development is
properly apprehended. They neither placed the animals on a level with man nor reduced the gods to the status of beasts; at least that is not the real clue to the mode of representation.
This counter-postulate can be proved.
The Mother of the Beginnings is as general in mythology as she was in the Totemic system of sociology.
She is Typhon in Egypt, who is portrayed as the water-cow, or the crocodile, because she brought forth her brood of the nature-powers from the abyss.
She is Tavthe or Tiamat in Babylonia, the Dragon of the beginning, because this beginning with birth from the waters necessitated the water-type, whence the fish-mother.
The water-cow as Typhon in Egypt was the primary form of the old first bringer-forth.
Next the Great Mother as Hathor was the milch-cow. Lastly, the beast becomes a woman as the Mother-Nature.
The Bushman pantheon consists of zootypes with "an old woman" as the fountain-head of all. The Mangaian Great Mother is the old woman named
Vari-ma-takere, "the very beginning." The Andaman Islanders trace their origin to the "First Woman", who was found by Pulugu "swimming about in the waters."
With the Eskimo all descent is from a "nameless female" who has her dwelling deep under the sea.
The beginning and mode of representation are identical in each form of the mythos, and the mother is the same whether imaged by the water-cow or crocodile, the nameless female under the
sea—La Source—or the first woman "swimming about in the waters" on the way to becoming the mythical mermaid.
The Zulu tradition that men were not born but were belched forth by a cow, can be read right back to this beginning, whether as the cow on land or in the water.
As the cow the mother first gave the breath of life to men, or rather to the powers first born of nature; indeed, one form of these powers is described as the Seven destroying Winds or Storm-spirits, like the Seven Maruts of India; breath and spirit being at one time identical or synonymous.
Those who related these things with knowledge were able to distinguish the elemental forces that could be "belched up" like the Seven Winds or Spirits of the Tempest, whereas the later storytellers Unwittingly made them Men and the First Mother a Woman, instead of the dragon, the cow, or other animal.
This conversion of the zootype into the human being was a primary cause of the great confusion that has not hitherto been explained.
For example, the first Great Mother when represented as a crocodile could bring forth the young of crocodiles without any violation of natural law.
But when the same old genetrix gives birth in human form as Isis-Neith, and is portrayed in the act of nursing two crocodiles, we are then left to marvel in the maze of mythology.
The same change from the zoomorphic to the anthropomorphic representation will account for the tradition of the African Balakai that it was a woman who gave birth to their totemic animals.
The elemental conflict of light and darkness was portrayed by means of two birds as zootypes of the air.
In the Egyptian representation the bird of day is the golden hawk.
The bird of night is a black vulture called the Neh. The two are twinned together to typify the power of darkness and light in the double image of Sut-Horus.
These are paralleled by the crow and eagle of the Australian Aborigines, which are in eternal conflict as the two
natural opponents, whose contest as such is true to nature. Also as birds they are true to the elemental typology.
Later on the representation is humanized, whilst the matter of the myth remains the same.
Now the same phenomena are interpreted by human beings, and the two actors become the well-known twin-brothers as Sut and Osiris, Cain and Abel, or Gaunab and Tsuni-Goam, who are always seeking to slay each other.
Here the venue is entirely changed. If the devourer of the lunar light be a jackal, wolf, or the dragon of eclipse, it does not matter morally; but when it comes to a brother killing his brother, or a son swallowing his own father, as Sut=Jackal is said to swallow Osiris; or the child Heitsi-Eibib violates his own mother; Rhea brings forth a fawn; Neith nurses twin-crocodiles; and these things are related as histories, whether human or divine, then the myth becomes obscene, or savage, or senseless.
The female in mythology, as in sociology, was the primary parent or producer.
She, as we have seen, was the dragon of darkness, or the cow, that brought forth the child of light.
Later on, her child, who was also her consort, attains to the supremacy of the individualized and causative fatherhood, whereupon his own mother-becomes his own daughter, and the
mother, wife, and daughter of the Egyptian sun-god Ra, are all one!
This will show how the matter of mythology may be, and has been, deposited by the mode of representation, and did not originate in false belief or natural nastiness.
Thus we can comprehend how the non-human became inhuman, and the ante-human was changed into the
anti-human, so that the matter of the primitive mythos can only be really read as pre-human.
For instance, when the Athenians honoured as ancestors the men and women who were anciently transformed into birds, they were reversing the typology and handing it on by the wrong end.
The early observers of nature have been libelled by the misinterpreters of mythology, especially by those who have impotently applied the philological method of explanation to
matters that were extant before either written or spoken language existed.
Professor Sayce, in his Hibbert lectures, says: "We find that primitive peoples confound (the stars) with animals, their automatic motions being apparently explicable by no other theory."
Doubtless the human childhood had its puerilities, but one would think that such an
explanation belongs rather to the second childhood of the race. Why should the silent dog-star be mistaken for a barking dog, or still earlier, the howling jackal?
Surely no people, however primitive, could have thought or fancied the starry system turning round the pole was a real live serpent.
They saw it glide round subtly as the reptile, and so we find it figured as the great polar serpent or dragon.
The dog-star in Egypt was first adopted as the Watcher above, and therefore it was a typical announcer of the coming Nile, as the dog that watched and made the announcement.
The moon was only like a cat as the seer by night; or like a frog because it transformed.
To suppose the Aborigines went upon direct likeness in these matters is not to correct the primitive ignorance by modern knowledge, but to confuse and obscure the ancient knowledge through modern ignorance of its mode of representation.
Bird-men, bird-gods, and bird-ghosts were not begotten of belief; they are not creations or chimeras of early human fancy, nor grotesque conceptions of the savage mind, any more than is the sphinx, the centaur, or the seven-headed serpent, portrayed in Egypt, India, and Babylonia.
When Berosus describes these compound types depicted on the walls of the Temple of Belus in Babylon, he calls them an allegorical description of nature; they belong to the mythical mode of representing ideas in combination, and did not originate ready-made in any form of savage belief.
The one-legged people of the past were no false creations of belief, nor are they the abortions of verbal metaphor.
One-legged was simply the image of an undivided stock.
Bleeck tells us that the bushmen believe or imagine that their sorcerers and magicians, i.e. the wise men, the wizards can and do assume the form of jackals!
Now if we turn to the Egyptian hieroglyphics we find the jackal " Seb" (which is also the wolf) is the zootype of wisdom, craft, and cunning.
His name signifies the councillor. In fact, the jackal is the wise one, the magus in animal guise, but not in disguise.
This shows how the wizard could transform into the jackal or be represented by and as the wolf.
The type is the same whether as living animal or graven ideograph, although the primitive mode of
imaging may come to be mistaken for the later belief or imagining.
Bosman speaks of the African belief that man was made by Ananzie, a spider with ten legs.
It is also said that the Bushmen think that "most things" were created by the mantis insect, Cagn, their Supreme Being.
But did these Africans believe or conceive, imagine or assume, that the Creator of most
things—if not all—became incarnate in the mantis or the spider?
Did the Egyptians believe that the world was made by a beetle when they imaged the Creator as Khepr the Scarabaeus rolling up its little globe of earth as a nidus for its seed?
Not at all. They were simple naturalists, who observed curiously, and named the beetle as the Former, and then applied the type to other modes of forming.
Hence the Supreme Former or Creator could be and was at length represented by (or as) the beetle.
In this way Egypt shows us how to read the typology of the spider and the mantis in Africa beyond.
The spider manifested a power of weaving, of suspending itself, of bridging space, beyond the reach of man, and so was made use of in sign-language as the figure of a power beyond the human range.
We are told that the Maori believe the souls of the true and faithful dead can pass to Heaven by a bridge of gossamer filaments woven by the spider.
The name of the insect is pungawere—were, from punga, "to anchor," and
werewere, "to be suspended." This shows how the spider could become the type of an anchorage above, a hope fixed on heaven, a mode of crossing the gulf of death.
And if we were to search all nature through, we should find no apter ideograph of an invisible power, whether considered as delusive and deadly, or as the likeness of life that may exist and lurk beyond appearance, than is to be found in the
mantis faustus, which imitates the forms and colours of the leaves around, and thus presents a
living effigy of that which is and is not according to appearance, an external type of the god who, like the beetle Khepr-Ptah, "concealeth his form."
Speaking of the mysteries of the mantis Cagn, the bushman Qing said to Mr. Orpen, "Only the initiated men of that dance know these things."
He, himself, did not dance that dance, or was not master of the Gnosis.
Again, in the Egyptian hieroglyphics the dead are portrayed as the reversed or capsized.
Hence the soul of the deceased who finds that he lives on, exclaims, "I do not walk on my head" (ch. 53).
He went down as one of the reversed, but has righted again. So it is with the Red men, who reverse the totemic figure on their grave-posts as the sign of the dead.
The Maori likewise describe a Spirit or atua as one who comes walking in a reverse position, and in that manner "little Maui," a mythical character, descends the hill-side.
In all three the description of the dead is identical. Again, we may ask if this is the result of a universal Savage belief that such was the mode of locomotion practised by the departed, or does it belong to a typical phase of expression that was common to all three
races—the very image being presented in nature by the dying moon that descends, with horns inverted, to the underworld in this reversed position of the dead, and looking like the boat capsized, which gets righted again with every re-appearance of the new moon.
If the belief of the Savage today be practically limitless, this mode of representing natural phenomena never did originate in primitive belief, or faith, however foolish.
All the folly is inherent to the false interpretation, whether that be the work of savage or civilized ignorance.
The aborigines of Victoria are credited with the belief that their wild dog at one time was able to talk; and in Egypt the dog, or dog-headed ape is the Speaker impersonated as Taht, the Word, Speech, or Logos, of the later gods.
Taht was the man in the moon, whose dog was the cynocephalus, i.e. the dog-headed clicking ape, and its mode of speaking was as the teller of time by the lunations.
He is sometimes portrayed in the act of jotting down the dates, with a branch of date-palm for his tally; the Talker and Writer in one.
In another case it is the serpent that talks, as we meet with it in the Hebrew book of Genesis.
This likewise is one of the talkers in the hieroglyphics, where it is an ideograph of Tet, the mouth, tongue, word, or speech.
As the Ru, or reptile, it is also synonymous with the mouth. A moment's thought will show that the serpent is all mouth, so to say, from its lack of other members.
It is a mouth personified. As such it was adopted straight from nature as a mouthsign, or mouth-piece, of speech, and became the serpent that talked, according to later " belief," or ignorance.
Moreover, we may read upon the monuments some of the things it said.
Because the serpent was seen to slough its skin periodically, it became the supreme type of "renewal coming of itself."
It was worn as the symbol of reproduction in the phase of motherhood.
It was an image of a λιγγευεσια
applied to the reproducing, fructifying, earth; a type of transformation in the lunar phenomena.
It was set in the stars of heaven as a figure of time. The periods of time are called the serpents of Kronus (Seb).
The serpent could be recognized at a known value for an ideograph in a dozen different phases of
character as one of the transformers, and as an emblem of re-genesis it was also the ideograph of future life.
The dead in the Egyptian Ritual actually make their transformation in this likeness of future life, the serpent (ch. 87).
The root-meaning is the same when the Marawi or the Zulus are said to believe that the spirits of their dead ancestors return to their huts in the shape of serpents.
Here the serpent is but a type, not to be confused with a spirit, as the Zulus hold the
revenant to be a reality; and those Savages who recognise their dead as ghosts are careful to distinguish them from the spirits or powers of the elements, which continued to be represented by the totemic zootypes; they strive not to have them mixed up together.
As Mariner testifies, the primitive divinities or nature-powers of the Tongans are expressly represented by such zootypes as the lizard, water-snake, and porpoise; and these are the images of the gods as distinguished from the human ghosts, who do not return, or are not recognized in the forms which are held exclusively sacred to the primary super-human powers.
The Savages distinguish. Hence the Thlinkeets assert emphatically that the ancestor of the Wolfclan does not
reappear to them in the wolf form. They recognize the difference between the totemic type and the ancestral spirit.
It is our modern metaphysical explanation, and the vague theories of a universal animism that confuse the gods and ghosts together, elemental spirits with human, and the zootypes with the non-totemic ancestors.
In the Book of the Dead, the Cat and the Ass are two of the "Sayers of Great Words" in the House of Heaven.
Not because the Egyptians ever believed the cat and donkey talked.
The cat was an animal that could see and pounce on her prey in the dark.
She was made a zootype of the moon, the seer in heaven by night. In this character she watches while men sleep, and bruises or holds down the head of the serpent of darkness all through the night.
The ass in three characters of the mother, colt, and virile male, was a triple type of the moon's three, phases reckoned at ten days each.
But did the Egyptians adore the cat and the ass in consequence? The ignorant on-lookers, ancient or modern, might fancy so, because they could not read the
signs. When Porphyry asserts that the Egyptians believed the beasts to be common and akin to men and gods, it merely shows be did not understand the ideographic nature of their symbolism any more than he could read the hieroglyphics. But we are now in a
position to correct the errors and false inferences of the Greeks concerning that which they continued but did not comprehend.
There is ample evidence to show that these were first adopted for use and not for worship; hence the head of the ass remains in the hieroglyphics as the numeral sign for thirty, the number of days in a soli-lunar month.
The ass was also stationed in the planisphere as a teller of time, a "Sayer of Great Words" in heaven, and in later
legendary lore we meet naturally enough with an ass that talks. The crocodile having represented the dragon of darkness that swallowed the light, its head survives as the sign of an eclipse in the Calendar, and its tail as the ideograph of the word
Kam for blackness in the Egyptian hieroglyphics.
Thus we see that the language assigned to beasts and birds in the folk-tales did not originate in the fancy of any ancient fabulists, nor in the primitive beliefs of incredibly credulous simpletons, but in the beasts, birds, and reptiles having been made use of as signs, as the living images or zootypes in the earliest language of men.
The Egyptians have preserved for us and bequeathed the means of interpreting this typology
of the early thought. The primitive consciousness or knowledge which has lapsed or got
confused in Inner Africa, or Australia, India, or Greece, lived on and left its record in their
system. If the Australian savage does attribute the earliest marriage laws to a crow, he is but
saying the same thing as Hor-Apollo (1, 8-9), who tells us that when the Egyptians denote
marriage they depict two crows, because the birds cohabit in the human fashion, and their laws of intercourse are strictly monogamic.
The great power, or most potent medicine of the supreme being Cagn, the Bushman's deity, lies in his tooth; and we find the tooth, "Hu," in the hieroglyphics is the type of the adult male, and that it bears the name of the sphinx-god, "Hu."
This emblem of virility was extracted in the mystery of young-man-making when the youth was typically reduced to the most childish status, to be reborn into the tribe and become a blood-brother as an adult male.
The tail of the lioness worn by the Pharaoh is the same sign of power when suspended from the roof of his hut by the Xosa Kaffir chief as his symbol of supremacy.
The hare, the jackal, and vulture have the same characters in the Hottentot tales that they keep when they become three divine types, or gods and goddesses in Egyptian mythology.
Certain races identify the crocodile with the human soul, and it is reported as a belief, both of the Batavian aborigines and some inner Africans, that when the mother gives birth to a child she at the same time brings forth a crocodile.
But Egypt shows us how this belongs to the zoomorphic typology. The crocodile, Sevekh, was a type of extreme intelligence (Plutarch says supreme) or a soul.
The spirit of the deceased during his transformations in the Ritual, exclaims, "I am the crocodile whose soul comes from men"; that was as the type of great intelligence.
Whether applied to the birth or re-birth, the symbolism is the same.
When the Zulus say that mankind came "out of a bed of reeds," the typology is that of the Egyptian hieroglyphics in which we find one reed stands for "A," the old, first one; another reed, " Su," is the sign for the child; and the reed denotes origin for Egypt itself.
The credulity of living savages may be, in some respects, as Mr. Lang says, "practically boundless," without the necessity of our assuming that any aboriginal race of men did ever believe, conceive, imagine, or suppose that they came from a bed of reeds, or a mantis, a snail, an ant, a snipe, a snake, a frog, skunk, or bird, or plant.
No wonder that certain totemic tribes should claim descent from the plant or other vegetable product, when we find the god Seb in Egypt, who
personates the earliest form of the fatherhood in this very phase, as the lord of nutriment, the soul of sap and leafy life.
Seb is god of the earth, and he symbols fecundity in an ithyphallic form of vegetation, or the element of wood as the productive power of earth.
The plant-life and human form are both united in Seb, who is sometimes portrayed lying on the ground covered with leaves.
In the Bundahish (ch. 15) the primal pair of human beings Mashya and Mashydoi spring from a plant.
The natural allegory had then passed into historic narrative, and the early mode of expression had become the later mould of thought.
But the Egyptians never thought or taught that man descended from a plant or from wood, when they imaged the father on earth (who preceded the father in heaven) as the ithyphallic
planter of human existence, the figure of fertility, the masculine tree of life.
Doubtless the ideal significance of the zootypes may be mistaken for reality in the later stage of interpretation by the savage, as it constantly is by the civilized man.
Indeed, it is certain
that the zootypes were confused with the superhuman powers of nature, as when the Zunis pray to the animal gods and call them their fathers, or the Omahas say to the dying man, "You came hither from the animals, and you are going back thither.
Do not face this way again. When you go, continue walking!"—like a man.
Also, when the New Caledonians will stay a child from killing a lizard by telling him to "beware of killing his own ancestor."
But the confusion is only mystical, not actual. The mist is raised by the mode of expression, which needs interpretation.
The mist may get into the child's mind, but no brotherhood or family of men who knew they were born of a mother from whom they traced their line of descent, ever thought, believed, conceived, or fancied they came from a lizard, or the lizard from a woman.
Nor is the gnosis of the original representation quite extinct. Even a race so
degraded or undeveloped as the Bushmen have their hidden wisdom, their magi, with an esoteric interpretation of their dramatic dances and pantomime which preserve and perpetuate the mythic meaning of their religious mysteries.
What we do really find is that the Inner Africans and other aborigines still continue to talk and
think their thought in the same figures of speech that are made visible by art, such as is yet extant amongst the Bushmen; that the Egyptians also preserved the primitive consciousness together with the clue to this most ancient knowledge, with its symbolic methods of communication, and that they converted the living types into the later lithographs and hieroglyphics.
Animals that talk in the folk-tales of the Bushmen or the Indians, or the Marchen of Europe, are still the living originals which became pictographic and ideographic in the zootypology of Egypt, where they represent divinities or devils, i.e. nature-powers at first and deities afterwards, then ideographs and finally the phonetics of the Egyptian alphabet.
The elemental origin of the powers first portrayed by means of the zootypes is still recognizable, when everything in nature is classified according to the elements and divided on that
principle among the totems of certain Australian and American tribes.
Moreover, the Kamilaroi have their ideographs of the pre-human "Sayers" which are continued in their " Sayings" (Gurre); and these are reducible to phonetic value as the Kangaroo=B; Emu=D; Sheep=J; Duck=E; Eagle=M; Snake=N; a Stork with fish=G, etc. (Ridley).
It can thus be shown that the hypothetical "myth-making man" in the sense of a conscious fabulist or an inventor of impossibilities, is (in the modern sense of the word) the greatest myth of all; that mythology
was not a system of explanation but typological mode of representing natural phenomena; that the earliest actors or
dramatis personae in this mode of representation were animals and not human beings; that the transformations and shape-shifting betwixt the beasts and men did not originate in savage beliefs, savage perversions of nature or universal confusion of
personality; that the persistence of the same mythos with a change of characters from animal to human is accountable for much that is non-natural in later phases; and that as mythology is a mirror of sociology which reflects the changes in human relationships and reckonings of descent from the female or the father, these changes have seriously affected the morals of the later gods and goddesses, more particularly in Greece.
It was not the primitive races who fancied that the gods were fond of disguising themselves and appearing to men as trees
walking, or carrying on their amours with women as masqueraders in animal forms.
The perplexities presented by mythology in its later phases, such as the Greek, are not the result of a simple or direct survival of savage belief so much as the consequence of ignorant
perversion and misrepresentation of the original matter and mode of portrayal, which have been the cause of a very chaos of confusion.
It has been suggested by Mr. Herbert Spencer that Totemism originated in a
misinterpretation of nicknames; but Totemism is a department of this same primitive system of Zootypology which goes back to the time before personal names could have existed, when the thinking and the labelling had to be done in things or the images of things, with the aid of gesture signs.
It has now to be shown that Totemism, or tribe-heraldry, was not founded on the human worship of animals, birds, reptiles, and insects. Zootypology, in Totemism as elsewhere, did not commence as Zoolatry.
The term "worship" is too often imported into the remotest past from lack of the larger knowledge which might have supplied a more rational explanation of human phenomena.
If the primitive or archaic men had begun by worshipping beasts and holding their deadliest foes religiously sacred as their dearest friends, if they had not fought with them for very
existence every foot of the way, and conquered at last, they never could have attained
supremacy over their natural enemies of the animal world. Totemism does not imply any worship of animals on the part of primitive men.
It is the sheerest fallacy to suppose that the most undeveloped aborigines began to worship, say, fifty beasts, reptiles, insects, or birds, because each in some way or measure fulfilled one of fifty different conceptions of the deity that was recognized beneath its half-hundred masks.
Nor does Totemism prove the existence of an alleged "savage mental attitude," which assumes a kindred between man and beast, nor of a "savage habit of confusing in a community of kinship men, stars, plants, beasts, the heavenly bodies, and the forces of nature."
This is to confuse the mystical descent according to the totemic type with an actual descent from the original animal; to mistake the sign of kin for kinship.
The confusion here is mainly modern; civilized not savage. Totemism was earlier than the anthropomorphic mode of representation; hence the system remains almost universally pre-human, and is to a large extent zootypological.
The ancestor of the Takulli Indians was a dog; and "takulli" is their name for the dog.
Like the Tinneh, they are the Dog-Indians. The name of the African Gbe tribe signifies the dog.
In both cases the progenitor is but the Totemic type. It would be going directly against all ; known natural tendency for us to imagine that human nature in the early stage of Totemic sociology was confused with that of the lower animals.
The very earliest operation of the consciousness that discreted the creature with a thumb from those who were falling behind him on four feet, was by distinguishing himself from his predecessors; and the line of
difference once drawn, the mental landmark once laid down, must have broadened with every step in his advance.
His recognition of himself depended on his perceiving the unlikeness to them, and fishes were first adopted as zootypes on account of their superior power in relation to the various elements, and, therefore,
because of their unlikeness to the nature of man.
The ancestral animal, then, is neither an ideal nor imaginary being as a primitive parent
supposed to have been a beast, or a bird, a star, any more than the first female as head of the Gaelic Clan Chatton was a Great Cat, or was believed to be the Great Cat.
The life-tie assumed between totemic man and the totemic animal, or zootype, was
consciously assumed and we can perceive by what processes and on what ground the assumption was made.
The zootype being adopted as a badge of distinction the primeval coat of arms, it was a custom for the human beings to enter into a brotherhood of blood.
That is, the men who were not
born of the same mother, or the two sisters, could extend natural tie of blood by a typical rite to others who were born of different mothers.
In this way the larger family, tribe, clan, or sept was formed on the basis of brotherhood under some totemic sign.
One mode of entering this second blood-brotherhood was by the shedding, the exchanging, or the interfusion of blood.
In the mysteries of pubescence, or young-man-making, there was a process of regeneration or re-birth, by which a new life-tie was engendered; this was held to be closer than that of nature, and a bond of covenant was established which was
considered more inviolate than that of uterine relationship, because it was an institution consciously created for the most important purpose of avoiding promiscuity or incest, as then reckoned.
In some of the mysteries the totemic animal was tattooed on the body of the initiate, burned into the flesh, or branded in his blood, which served as the crimson of covenant equally well with the later seal of red wax.
Moreover, the rite of this blood-covenant was further extended to the beast of the Totem.
In an early phase of Sociology the same covenant was made between man and beast as between the affiliated human brothers, and their blood was
likewise shed to be commingled together, or smeared upon the stone of witness, to be made one.
In this case also the beast would be the totemic type that was thus made akin to the family or tribe.
Now if the animal becomes of kin to the human brother by virtue of a covenant intentionally made in the blood of both, that proves the kinship did not exist before.
The relationship did not spring from any root in nature, or false belief, but was planted for the purpose, and is consequently limited to the particular beast and brotherhood.
The bear is only kinsman to those whom he serves as a totem, an image of the ancestor, female or male, and a type of the fraternity.
So is it with all the other zootypes which had been employed from before the time when the individual fatherhood was known.
There is no necessary confusion of identity. An African woman of the ape totem may be seen in the act of suckling a child at one breast and a monkey at the other (as described by Schomburgh) without our inferring that she thinks the monkey is her child or was her ancestor.
If men had abstained from eating the animals on the ground of spiritual kinship and intercommunion of nature, because of a confusion or identification of themselves with the beasts, they ought to have abstained from eating any, whereas they ate them all in turn, the
exceptions being made solely on the artificial ground of the totemic brotherhood. The beast only became of the "same flesh" with the particular family because it had been consciously
adopted as their totem, ancestral animal, or foster brother of the blood-covenant, and not on account of any belief that they descended from this or the other non-human parent with a
different progenitor for every separate group. Even in the human relationship the being "of one flesh" is determined by the totemic typology rather than by the ties of blood.
Those of the same totem are always and everywhere of "one flesh," which shows that the system represents a later extension of the same family that first derived from one mother; the mode of extension being by the blending of blood, the re-birth, the drinking of the covenant and
eating of the fetish. But there was nothing promiscuous in this
arrangement, which had been made on purpose to avoid promiscuity.
They did eat, and did not tolerate being eaten by, each other's totems.
The relationship of men with beasts was most deliberately adopted, and the partnership was held with the strictest regard to the law of limited liability.
blood-brotherhood with the beasts was not based on any belief that they were on a level with the human being, nor on any mental confusion respecting their oneness of nature.
At least it was not that which first rendered the animals tapu, or made them sacred.
The typical character of the totemic animal was continued in various ways; putting on the skin was a mode of assimilating the wearer to the Powers beyond the beast, the superhuman forces which the beasts had represented in visible symbolry. Hence, on going to battle they wore the skins and acted the role of the animals, birds, and reptiles, as their link of alliance with the superhuman nature-powers that were over all.
In like manner the god Shu, the warrior of the gods, the Egyptian Mars, does battle whilst wearing the superhuman power of the lioness on his head!
And the moon-god, Taht-Aan, is clothed with the power of the great ape, the ideograph of superhuman rage when he fights against the demons of darkness by night, on behalf of the absent solar god.
In performing the magic passes, for the purpose of healing, the Indian medicine-men would clothe themselves in these signs of superior potency; and we are told that in the act of healing the Omahas would imitate the motions and the cries of their totemic animals.
In this sense the Minnitaree Indians considered the wolf to be a very powerful medicine.
This transformation of the medas or medicine-men was connected with the abnormal condition of trance.
Into this they entered at times, wrapped up in the skin of the totemic beast, for the purpose of communing with the spirits of the dead.
Thus the trance, the transformer, and the transformation; the beast, the nature-power, and the human ghost, got all mixed up together.
Such being the fact, it is easy to identify the foundation of the faith or belief that the medicine-men had
everywhere the power of transforming into wolves, hymnas, or tigers themselves, and that would cause the fear lest they should apply this power of metamorphosis to others, and ultimately create the belief in their power to transform human beings into animal shapes.
The only veritable power of metamorphosis possessed by the ancient medicine-men or mages, the
witches or wizards, was that of inducing the condition of trance. This was and is a fact in nature with which the primitive races were profoundly well acquainted.
But those who are ignorant of such phenomena will be apt to mistake a surface appearance for the underlying reality, and must find it difficult to distinguish between the
vera causa and a false belief.
The representative character of the animal is unconsciously acknowledged, even where it is not actually known, as shown by the recognition of some great prototype, such as the Indian bear that "does not die," the bird that "lives again," or the turtle that is eternal; which is not any individual bear, or bird, or turtle.
Not only were blood-covenants enacted with the beasts of prey as representatives of the destroying nature-powers, called by Zunis the "prey-gods"; not only were the beasts
considered too sacred to be eaten by the human brothers, except as a sacrament; the human
brothers also offered their own flesh and blood to the totemic animals in the most solemn
sacrifice. Garcilasso affirms that men offered up to their totemic animals "what they usually saw them eat"; and as most of the great powers amongst the elementals were the devourers of flesh and drinkers of blood these were offered to them in a propitiatory sacrifice, the
practice being perpetuated when the sun, or some more abstract conception of power, had taken the place of the
Carnivora. In the mysteries they changed place and shape and nature with the beasts of prey.
They masked themselves in the skins of animals, reptile and birds, and
sat at feast in those forms to devour the sacrifice when the human brother or substitute was slain.
In that way they transformed, and were said to change themselves into wolves or tigers, bears or crocodiles, to partake of this most primitive eucharistic rite.
For it did become a religions ceremony and a mode of entering into alliance and communion with the powers first apprehended as super-human.
When the ghastly grim reality had passed into the legendary phase, we are told, as Plato tells us in the Republic, that those who ate of the human sacrifices offered to the wolf were transformed into wolves.
Herodotus likewise relates that the Neurian wizards changed themselves into wolves for a few days once a year.
First, the men who ate human flesh had changed themselves into wolves to eat it, according to the mode of masking.
Next, it was said that by eating human flesh men would become Were-wolves, and, lastly, we have the were-wolf as a man who turns into the wolf on
purpose to devour human flesh. Such are the tricks of typology, based on the primitive
simplicity and the ignorant misinterpretation of later times when the mythos passes into the fable which deposits these types of the were-wolf, the mermaid, the cockatrice, the serpentwoman, the vampire, or the moon-calf.
It was a masquerade; but the men beneath the masks originally knew they were acting in characters which they themselves had created.
They wore skins in a typical transformation; they clothed themselves thus in the super-human powers for a definite purpose, and not because they were returning to the condition of beasts from which they came.
The masking and metamorphosis were but a mode of the mysteries, which included the mystery of trance.
This primitive drama is not yet played out. It is still to be recognized in certain scenes, characters, and transformations of our Christmas pantomime.
The non-natural masks and shapes of beasts still represent the nature-powers, the elementals, or spirits of the elements now become gnomes and fairies, giants, and dwarfs, and other types of beings that never were human.
The rites and doctrines are also to be identified at times as survivals in religious
ritual. A startling illustration may be seen in a collection of English hymns (1754) where these lines occur:
What greater glory could there be
Than to be clothed with God?
He drew his skin upon my skin,
His blood upon my blood.
That son of the Incas, Garcilasso de la Vega, tells us in his valuable commentaries how, in the beginning men had only sought for
pacharissa (or totems), whereby to discriminate one human stock from another.
"Each desired to have a god (or figure) that was different from the other, and their only thought was how to make one different from another,"
for the purpose of distinguishing the one stock, group, or brotherhood from all the rest.
The origin of family or tribal Totemism could not be more explicitly stated.
Also, the Dieri tribe of Australian aborigines have a legend that mankind had married promiscuously until the good spirit ordered them to be divided into groups which were to be called after such of the zootypes as Dogs, Emus, Iguanas, and other totems, the members of each branch being forbidden to intermarry. Thus Totemism was evolved as the necessary means of dividing the race, of establishing the social group, and distinguishing each from all around, by making use of the beasts for the particular badges; the earliest mode of doing so being by wearing their skins,
before their likenesses could be otherwise imaged; and, therefore, it did not arise
from nicknaming individuals after the animals, nor from any desire on the part of primitive men to merge their newly-found identity with the nature of the beasts, or lose it through claiming a common kinship with reptiles, plants, and stones.
The cause of a mystical relationship that was recognized between man and the animals may now be traced on grounds less lofty than that of the supposed divine incarnations, and more natural than that of an animistic interfusion which led to a confusion of identity or personality.
The animals were first recognized as powers in themselves, but they were also adopted as the living, visible
symbols of elemental powers that were superior to both the animal and the human as a means of representing natural phenomena.
They were further adopted into the human family as totemic types with religious rites that gave them all the sanctity of the blood-covenant, and made them of one flesh with the human brothers.
Thus they were doubly adopted; and this led to their becoming later living fetishes as the naturalized representatives of super-human powers, if not as the objects of direct human worship.
The blood-covenant which had been entered into with the beasts was still further extended to the powers they represented considered as elemental spirits.
These were offered the first lap of the life newly shed. It is at this depth we should have to grope for the origin of human sacrifice, and of the Cannibalistic gods.
If it stood alone, the making of a blood-covenant with the totem and its elemental power would account for later belief in a mysterious liferelationship between the man and animal.
The Geawegal of N. S. Wales thought they were related to their totem, but in a way that could not be explained.
And in the course of descent, as the zootype became fetishtic in the superstitious phase, the life-tie might be looked upon as hereditary and pre-natal by those who came later and could not keep track of the
beginnings, and who consequently confused the symbolical with an actual descent, and
confounded the ancestral animal with an animal ancestor.
The theory of interpretation now presented is that the primitive thinkers were
thingers; that gesture-signs and zootypes were among the earliest means and modes of expression; that as the elements manifested the primary powers recognized in the phenomena of destruction and physical forces inimical to man, so the beast of prey were first identified as fitting
representatives on some natural ground of likeness in the mode of manifestation, or equivalence of power, to express the earliest perception of that which was superhuman.
The animals and reptiles thus acknowledged were primarily the most terrible and fearsome, and therefore they were both really and ideally the fetishes of fear, on the way to becoming the sacred zootypes of later times and more complex conditions of thought and expression.
We find the human development is reflected in the modification of the significance assigned to the zootypes, as when the serpent, once evil, was changed into a symbol of that which is good; the crocodile, as devourer, was turned into a type of intelligence; the water-cow, as mother of life, was supplemented by the milch-cow, as Hathor, the Egyptian Goddess of Love.
With the development of perception, and the necessity for an increase in the means of
expression, the range of the types was extended to innumerable living things differing according to the
fauna of different lands, which were self-suggested, and then adopted as symbols of other, later ideas.
The facts can be followed in totemic typology, in the Marchen of races, both civilized and savage, in their characters of mythology; and the register may be read in
the Egyptian system of hieroglyphy, in the petroglyphs and pictographs of the Red Indians and Bushmen, in canting heraldry; in metaphor, as when the brave man is called a lion, the greedy one a hog, the cunning one a fox; and lastly, in ancestral names.
It has often been a matter of wonder why the men of the Palaeolithic age should have shown such skill in the drawing of animals, and left an art beyond that of the Neolithic age which followed.
But this may possibly be explained by the scarcity of skins and the growing need of copying the totemtic zootypes.
As the first objects required from the sign-painters were symbolic animals, that may account for the most primitive races having been most expert in
pictographic art as it is found in the European bone-caves, and amongst the Bushmen.
The tattoo marks showed the tribe or totem at a glance. As one of the Haida Indians said to Mr. Swan, "If you were tattooed with the design of a swan, the Indians would all know your family name."
The zootypes were adopted for the ideal purpose they served.
They were made totemic; their likenesses were assumed in the mysteries of masking; they were imitated in tattoo; they were copied on bones and shells and stones; they culminated in the hieroglyphical signs which finally became phonetic in the Egyptian alphabet, where we find A as the Eagle, B as the Ram, F the Snake, H the Frog, K the Calf, M the Vulture, N the Fish, P the Widgeon, R the Lion, S the Goose, T the Beetle, U the Hare.
From first to last the natural living types were made use of as humanly adopted and humanly developed ideographs derived from the prehuman "Sayers."
This zoomorphic and totemic typology was eternalized in the zodiacal and other celestial signs as determinatives of time and starry ideographs of the elements and seasons, which will remain the everlasting witnesses to this primitive mode of representation.
An old English name for the zodiac at one time was the "Bestiary."
And in the Egyptian Ritual the sun-god or Soul of the Deceased, in the eschatological phase, passes through the "Bestiary"; only instead of saying that he enters into or passes through the signs, they represent him as making his transformation into the Ram or Bull, the Lion or Cat, by assuming the shape of the animal.
He becomes the Hawk at one equinox, the Phoenix at the other; the Ape in the fury of Tempest; the Jackal of thunder, the Lion of heat, the Fish of the waters, the Beetle of transformation, the Bennu of resurrection, the Serpent of eternal life.
This was the same drama of metamorphosis that was first performed in the Totemic Mysteries; the zootypes being continued
faute de mieux as the extra-human means of expressing the later ideas of spiritual forces and of super-human life.
The Powers, Spirits, or Gods of Mythology had been derived from the elements.
They were represented by the zootypes, and to that origin we may look for the Cannibalistic or
unintelligent deities. In the chief mythologies they are seven in number, or
eight—the Ogdoad—with the Mother included. The number seven identifies the elementals as non-human
The powers were seven at first as destroyers in physical phenomena; seven as the giants or Titans that were dispossessed and superseded; seven as the gods of constellations, the seven Watchers in heaven; and they were seven finally in the planetary phase.
The seven in Egypt became the seven souls of the sun-god, the Supreme Being in whom the elemental and starry pantheon was unified, humanized, and spiritualized at last.
This One God was worshipped
as Osiris in one cult; as Amen-Ra in another; Sevekh-Ra in another, and Atum-Ra in
another. In this last the One God "without change" was portrayed in the human likeness as the Divine Father in heaven, the creator of a son or soul "beyond time" on earth.
His material type in each of these four religions was the sun in the underworld, the Seer unseen, the Vivifier for ever.
It has often been asserted that monotheism was of Semitic origin; but this goal had been reached, this type of Eternal attained in Egypt when the monuments began, that is, more than six thousand years ago; how many aeons earlier no mortal knows.
Nevertheless, the zootypes survived and the Eel of Atum, the Hare of Osiris, the Crocodile of Sevekh, the Kaf-Ape of Shu, the Jackal of Sut-Anup, the Serpent of Seb, the Lioness of Tefnut, the Scorpion of Serk, the Cat of Pasht, the Hawk of Horus, the Ibis of Taht, and Water-Cow of Typhon, still survived as Determinatives of the Primary Powers; their dead bodies being frequently embalmed in mummied forms; and they still remain as witnesses to the immense period of pre-monumental development in the old Totemic times of Egypt that preceded this
anthropomorphic representation of the One Supreme God.
ASPECTS OF PERSONALITY
A reader of any biography should be able to discern the active
constituents of the main character's personality. From
publications in books and periodicals, correspondence and second-hand
anecdotes, a structure is built to compose both positive and negative
aspects. More, of course can be revealed should the person still
be living, with close friends and acquaintances adding other, perhaps
more complex perspectives to those already adduced. But if the
subject has been dead for some hundred years, material upon which a more
accurate portrait can be built may be non-existent. Despite this
there are methods, one of which has proven aspects of scientific
validity, that are able to suggest possible motivating aspects to the
personality structure. It must be noted that the development of
any structure has always to include the effect of early environment.
In the case of Gerald Massey, literary
remains including correspondence, primary and secondary material in
periodicals, together with photographs now provide the sole source for
this information. From these, he can be judged as extraversive,
with a friendly, restless, 'bright and breezy' personality.
Idealistically goal-orientated to excess, there was an ambitious,
demonstrative, but capable desire for self-advancement. Those
factors together with impatience and sensitivity produced stress-related
tension, at times inducing physical symptoms, and he developed a
forceful reactive opposition to external conditions. Positively,
and early in life this was a protest against social injustice, but it
developed later into sharp responses against criticism of his
ideas. When lecturing he never had any apprehension, saying that
he felt barely conscious of the audience, as if he were 'isolated' or 'insulated'
from them. Humane and fond of animals, he considered that the
practice of vivisection, which he opposed, was due to the pernicious
religious doctrine still promulgated by some theologians today, that
animals have no souls and cannot therefore join the elect Homo Sapiens
in Heaven. Most recently, an American creationist (Intelligent
Design movement), stated that one of the reasons why humans and
chimpanzees cannot share a common ancestor is that humans have immortal
souls and chimps do not (New Scientist, 9 July 2005, p.12). Although bronchitis precluded him from smoking, he was
not completely teetotal and the family in later years made the usual
In considering some other methods of
personality assessment, no published time of birth has been traced, so
the much disputed use of astrology cannot be applied. Another such
subject is phrenology, which had a very popular vogue in the 1800s and
early 1900s. Hypothesized by Drs Francois Gall and Johann
Spurzheim in the late 1700s, with support given also by Sir G. S.
Mackenzie FRS, it developed via medical practitioners who demonstrated
The concept of localisation, duplicated in
each hemisphere of the brain, divided forty-one areas of mental function
in the cerebrum and one in the cerebellum into seven functional
groups. Those areas had their locations featured outwardly by
degrees of protuberation on the outer surface of the skull. The
groups, such as Literary-Observing-Knowing, and Selfish Propensities,
included the faculties of Form, Size, Colour, Time, Language, Executive
or Aggressive energy, Acquisitiveness, and Secretiveness. Each of
the faculties was localised to a specific brain area. In analysis,
account was made of the degree of dominance of a faculty, together with
the blending effect of combinations of several. Due to continued
research into neuropathology, and the findings that areas were less
defined than previously made out, the subject declined, and the last
Phrenological Society was disbanded in 1967. Since then,
contemporary research publications have related some areas in more
general terms to phrenological groupings, thus returning to some
localisation of various faculties. The frontal lobes now
associated with language, picture design and arrangement, were assigned
by phrenology to perceptives, such as size, weight, colour and
order. Arithmetic and abstraction are parietal, whereas the
phrenologists assigned arithmetic (as calculation) to the frontal
orbital area, as part of the perceptives. Abstraction in the
parietal had, for the phrenologists, areas of veneration, benevolence,
hope, and spirituality. There must be also correlation between
colour and sound, as in synesthesia, where sound in some persons induces
visualisation of a certain colour. It is probable that in the
future, there will be a redefining of the groups together with some of
the areas, but in terms not completely aligned with the original
interpretations. Although research into area
imaging of visual and emotional impressions is progressing with the aid
of Positron Emission Tomography and magneto-encephalography, abstract
mental processes are more structurally complex.
In any case, the outward bony manifestations of the functions essential
to the claims of popular phrenologists is also disputed; either the
skull prominences grow to match the convolutions of the brain, or the
convolutions grow to match the prominences and depressions.
A very brief, generalised, and therefore not
truly representative phrenological reading from a photograph of Massey
was given in an American journal, using the now out of date terminology
of the period:
The face indicates a high order of temperament
and organic development. It is a refined character. That
mold of face, did one know ought of the man, would impress him with a
sense of its origin from the highest sources. There is nothing in
it which furnishes a clue to the fact that its derivation should be
sought among the low and untutored. In saying this we treat the
subject from the point of view of the people generally, not from the
point of view of the physiological scientist, leaving entirely out of
sight those germinal principles which so strangely relate to the
ante-natal life of man. The intellect of Mr. Massey is evidently
clear, sharp, comprehensive and esthetical. The upper portion of
the brain is developed somewhat more than the lower, hence he is much
given to the investigation of abstract subjects, considering questions
chiefly in connection with their moral aspects. He belongs to the
type of thinkers who urge radical measures of reform, who would break
down entirely a system or institution, although it might be
constructively useful in its practical application to every-day affairs,
if it were, nevertheless, based upon error. Yet he is broad and
liberal in moral thought, prone to discuss religious questions, not
shirking a declaration of his own views when called upon. In regard to
the consideration of moral and economic affairs he is, in the main,
scientific. While a Tyndall—whom he somewhat resembles—or a Youmans would investigate physical matters, searching out their
underlying causes and defining their resultant consequences, Mr. Massey
is found looking into the underlying causes of moral movements, and
tracing them in their influences and results. His temperament is highly
sanguine, its influence being to quicken, energize, and warm up the
intellectual activities. He is a hopeful, cheerful spirit as well
as earnest and progressive - an enthusiast in most senses of the term,
and, like enthusiasts, given to over-endeavour through the fullness and
depth of his sincerity. His errors are chiefly on the side of
excessive action or thought.
Based on firmer ground, although not without
opposition, is handwriting analysis, the origins of which date to the
17th century. Extensive and continuing research from the early
1900s received an impetus from Professor Rudolph Pophal (1893-1966) who
held the Chair of Graphology at the University of Hamburg. He
confirmed that the physiological basis of handwriting movements are
related to brain and muscle structures. As an expressive dynamic
movement combining factors of three dimensional tension and release,
handwriting was ideal for the development of clinical handwriting
psychology. Emotions, personal relations, integrated and
disintegrated states of personality in relationship to handwriting were
studied, particularly in Universities in Europe. The results
assured accreditation for the inclusion of handwriting analysis in the
psychology syllabus of a number of European universities. These
included Munich, Freiburg, Berlin, Urbino, Madrid and Salamanca, as well
as the Institute for Applied Psychology, Zurich, and the School of
Forensic Medicine, Valencia. In addition to Dr Rudolph Pophal's
appointment, Dr Lutz Wagner was appointed Professor of Graphology,
University of Munich, from 1955-1975.  While increasing popularity
in the subject has ensured continuing research, in common with all
disciplines that gain a certain acceptance, this also breeds
commercialism which leads too often to superficiality. Critics
then accuse the subject of generality and lacking depth. However,
analytical notes of serial samples of Massey's handwriting appear to
provide a greater insight into the motivation that acted both positively
and negatively in the development of his personality.
The small samples illustrated above
show the development of his handwriting over a period of forty
years. The first sample at the age of 18 was written specifically
for a manuscript journal, and demonstrates his slow, careful and
originally learned virtually copy-book style. In terms of
psychology, out of the four functions described by Jung, thinking,
sensation, intuition and feeling, his primary function was that of
sensation. This gives strong reality orientation, with details and
affairs of the moment perceived as standing apart from and being of
greater importance than the overall context. His over-descriptive
poetry and early prose works show this in operation. The secondary
function was thinking, which seeks to understand the world and to adjust
to it by logical inferences. Both functions were extraversive,
giving immediate sociable spontaneity, adaptability and interest in the
spirit of the times. Due to his puritanical and hard childhood his
emotional life had not evolved normally, his moral code developing as a
performance-image - nothing can be achieved except through hard
work. At the age of 26 he presents a developed positive
inferiority complex giving him a strong and effective drive towards
creative skills. However, this came with suppressed aggression
giving restlessness, over-compensated by strong idealism, bluff
behaviour and a desire for dominance in personal contacts. His
feelings of inferiority were probably enforced physically by his short
stature, which he attempted to offset through the presentation of a
distinctive personal appearance with much facial hair. Whilst
security was sought through activity and a high social profile and he
felt relaxed within group contacts, relationships at a more personal
level, apart from family and close friends, gave him unease, making him
appear at times rather cold and detached. His inferiority complex
made him also at times sensitive to criticism. At the age of 32, a
time of poverty and misfortune, the writing sample indicates his open
depression and chaotic emotions. There is neurotic uncertainty
that conflicted with his desire for positive progress.
From the sample at age 41, now requiring
less security and wishing for greater freedom and independence, his
inferiority shows over-compensation by exaggerated displays of
self-confidence, despite hidden depression that he defends by
exaggerated extraversion. A further defence is his aesthetic
image, which received expression at that time in his poetic work, A
Tale of Eternity.
At age 45, just prior to leaving England for
his first American tour, his writing shows considerable fear for the
unknown; he realised that failure of the tour would mean financial
disaster. He defended his anxiety by using emotional control and
over-planning to ensure that nothing could go wrong, yet at the same
time fearing that it would.
The last sample at age 58 [see also other
examples of his later
continued restlessness with over exaggerated self-demonstration.
High ideals combined with anxiety for security gave him poor
self-control, and even increased literary activity did not provide any
Overall, his main direction in life was
dictated by strong mental intensity concentrated solely towards ideals,
since all else he tended to find as lacking in satisfaction.
Nevertheless, as in the personalities of Goethe, Jack London and Hermann
Hesse, sound feeling for surroundings developed actively and creatively
through his lyric and aesthetic guiding image.
These comments have been kindly provided by
John Beck, President of The Graphology Society, London, and Dr Christian
Dettweiler, Internationale Gesellschaft für Dynamische und Klinische
Schriftpsychologie, Stuttgart. See also Nevo, B. (ed.) Scientific
Aspects of Graphology (Springfield, Charles Thomas, 1986).
to Appendix G
Sir G.S., Illustrations of Phrenology (London, Constable, 1820)
gives the Orders and Genus of brain correspondences according to
Spurzheim and Gall.
Frances, Phrenology. A Study of Mind (London, Fowler, 1970).
McFie, John, 'Recent Advances in Phrenology' in the Lancet, 12
Aug. 1961, 360-3. Jerison, Harry, 'Should Phrenology be
Rediscovered?' in Current Anthropology, 18, (Dec. 1977), 744-6.
Clarke, E., Dewhurst, K. An Illustrated History of Brain Function
(Oxford, Sandford, 1972).
McCrone's article 'Maps of the Mind' in the New Scientist, 145,
(7 Jan. 1995), 30-34.
Hollander, in his Scientific Phrenology (London, Grant Richards,
1902) considered the 'bump-theory' a misrepresentation of the subject.
The actual mental functions were denoted by the relative development of
different regions in the brain. He attributed intellect and moral
sense to the frontal lobes, propensities to the temporal and parietal
lobes, and affections to the occipital lobe.
There appears to be more evidence concerning
localisation. In BBC News online (Sci/Tech) 17 June 2002 it
was reported that professional musicians have more grey matter in a part
of the brain involved in processing music. This finding was made by
a team at the University of Heidelburg. The region in the brain is
Heschl's (transverse temporal) gyrus, part of the auditory cortex situated
in the Sylvan fissure, and it was found to be some 130% larger in
professional musicians. Rhythm and pitch tend to be processed in the
left-hand side of the brain, while timbre and melody is dealt with on the
right. See also (briefly) New Scientist 22 June 2002 p. 25.
This specified area appears to be close to the Phrenological area
allocated to 'Tune'. A further example can be cited from University
College London, following the results of research concerning the
navigation ability of London Taxi drivers. MRI brain scans showed
slightly enlarged areas that processed orientation, within the
Hippocampus. (Proc. Nat. Academy of Sciences 97, 8, Apr.11, 2000, pp
4398-403). Ongoing research (Scientific American Special Edition 2004,
vol. 14, 1, 24-31) into specialised brain functions has noted that music
is processed in various areas of the brain. Simple rhythmic
relations in a melody are processed (with some other areas) in sections of
the parietal lobe in the left hemisphere. More complex
relations such as between meter and rhythms are dealt with mainly in the
frontal lobe and right upper temporal lobe regions in the right
hemisphere. This equates in some degree with the Phrenologists
areas of Tune and Time, situated in the second frontal convolution, and in
the third frontal convolution, below the temporal ridge. See Frances
Hedderly's Phrenology (London, Fowler, 1970). It should be
noted that the Phrenologists had assumed that brain faculties were
duplicated in both hemispheres of the brain, and were far less complex
than is now realised.'
Phrenological Journal and Life Illustrated (New York), 58, (Jan.
the works of Dr Rudolph Pophal, Dr Lutz Wagner, Dr Oskar Lockowandt
etc., also Scientific Aspects of Graphology Nevo, B. (ed.)
(Springfield, Charles Thomas, 1986).