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النشر الإلكتروني

In the Old Testament,* there are various ordinances of ceremonial purification, by bathing or ablution, in which it may be supposed by some, that immersion would take place. We have already seen that the supposition is questionable. But what we would remark at present is, that such purification was always performed by the unclean person himself, (and indeed decency required this, because this kind of purification never appears to have been the immersing of persons with their clothes on,) whereas the mode was always different, when the purification was administered by another.

Among the rites of the hospitality of the heathens indeed, we find even female attendants on Strangers of the other sex, when they received the refreshment of the bath.

Τόφρα δὲ Τηλέμαχον λοῦσιν καλὴ Πολυκάστη,
Νέστορος ὁπλοτάτη θυγάτηρ Νηληϊάδαο.
Αὐτὰρ ἐπεὶ λοῦσέν τε, καὶ ἔχρισεν λίπ ̓ ἐλαίῳ,

̓Αμφί δέ μιν φᾶρος καλὸν βάλεν ἠδὲ χιτῶνα,

or your posts by his posts; but your sacrament, your sign, call it what you will, by his sacrament, baptizing the Christian infant with a solemn sprinkle, and unbaptizing for your own part with a profane and impious forefinger: as if when ye had laid the purifying element upon his forehead, ye meant to cancel and cross it out again with a character not of God's bidding."

The Reason of Church Government urged against Prelaty.
Book II. Chap. ii.

* Lev. xv. 5, 8, 11, 13, 21, 22, 27. and xvi. 26, 28. and xvii. 15. and Num. xix. 7, 8, 19.

*Εκ ῥ ̓ ἀσαμίνθου βῆ, δέμας ἀθανάτοισι ὁμοῖος.

Πὰρ δ' ἄρα Νέστορ' ἰὼν κατ' ἄρ, ἕζετο, ποιμένι λαῶν.
'OA. г'. 464–469.

Mean time the youngest of the daughters fair
Of Nestor, beauteous Polycaste lav'd,
Anointed, and in vest and tunic cloth'd
Telemachus, who, so refresh'd, stepp'd forth
From the bright laver graceful as a God,
And took his seat at ancient Nestor's side.

Odyssey III. 583-588.

On this custom I have no objection to the remarks of Cowper, who says in a Note on the preceding passage: "The strict morality and modesty of the ancients may be fairly enough inferred from the custom of employing young women, to perform this office for strangers young as themselves. Had the consequences been such as we should have reason to apprehend from the same practice here, it would either never have obtained so universally as it did in Greece, or would quickly have been discontinued." -It appears, however, that this custom, if it really existed as is here supposed, did not receive the sanction of the wise Ulysses.

̓Αμφίπολοι, στῆθ' οὕτω ἀπόπροθεν, ὄφρ ̓ ἐγὼ αὐτὸς
“Αλμην ὤμοιῖν ἀπολούσομαι, ἀμφὶ δ ̓ ἐλαίῳ

Χρίσσομαι· ἦ γὰρ δηρὸν ἀπὸ χροός ἐστιν ἀλοιφή.

*Αντην δ ̓ οὐκ ἂν ἔγωγε λοέσσομαι· αἰδέομαι γὰρ

Γυμνοῦσθαι, κούρῃσιν ἐϋπλοκάμοισι μετελθών. ΟΔ. Ζ'. 218-222.

Ye maidens, stand apart, that I may cleanse,
Myself, my shoulders from the briny surf,

And give them oil, which they have wanted long.

But in your presence I bathe not, asham'd

T' appear uncover'd in a woman's sight. Od. VI. 268-272.

Nay, there is reason to doubt whether the hospitable attention shown by female attendants to strangers ever implied personal attendance, and service, during the whole operation, or ever extended further than to the washing of their feet. When Nausicaa, in the passage from which the preceding quotation is taken said to her Maidens concerning Ulysses,

Λούσατε δ ̓ ἐν ποταμῷ, ὅθ ̓ ἐπὶ σκέπας ἔστ ̓ ἀνέμοιο. 210.

And lave him where the stream is shelter'd most, 258.

they understood her to mean, carry him to a proper place, and furnish him with the means of bathing himself. Accordingly, when they had done so, it is said,

Ἤνωγον δ' ἄρα μιν λοῦσθαι ποταμοῖο ῥοῇσι. 216.

They EXHORTED him to bathe in the river's stream.

Ernesti's note on the 210 line is

Aovoare . Non lavate ipsum: turpe hoc: et ipse se lavat, ver. 219. nec vult præsentibus ipsis lavari. Sensus est: Facite ut lavari possit: suppeditando oleo, et locum ostendendo.—Not bathe him, that would be shameful: he both bathes himself, ver. 219, and refuses to do it, in their presence. The meaning is : do what may be necessary for his bathing, by supplying him with oil, and pointing out a proper place.

When Ulysses recites all this kindness of Nausicaa to her Father Alcinous, he uses the same general language, but evidently in the same restricted meaning,

Kal λovo v Torauw-H'. 296. Literally "bathed me in the river." Cowper renders it" taught me where

to bathe." And Ernesti's Note is, " Non, et lavit in flumine; quomodo virgini et veritati, ('. 219. conveniat ? Et lavandi copiam fecit. Vid. ad . 210." Not and bathed me in the river; how would that suit the character of a virgin, and the truth of the fact as stated vi. 219. and gave him an opportunity of bathing. See note on'vi, 210. In like manner, when Penelope desires her maidens to give the bath to Ulysses, still known to her only as a stranger; although she uses general terms, such as ἀλλά μιν, ἀμφίπολοι, ἀπονίψατε, “ give him the bath, my maidens,” and ἠωθεν δὲ μάλ' ἦρι λοέστ σαί τε χρισαίτε,” “ at early dayspring also serve him well with bath and unction;" yet he understands her as meaning nothing more than the washing of his feet; and it is worthy of particular notice that, even in that case, he declines the service unless it should be performed by one that was aged, which agrees exactly with the practice as sanctioned by the holy scriptures.

Οὐδέ τί μοι ΠΟΔΑ ΝΙΠΤΡΑ ποδῶν ἐπιήρανα θυμῷ
Γίγνεται· οὐδὲ γυνὴ ποδὸς ἅψεται ἡμετέροιο
Τάων, αἵ τοι δῶμα κάτα δρήστειραι ἔασιν,

Εἰ μή τις γρηῦς ἐστὶ παλαιὴ, κέδν ̓ εἰδυῖα.
Ητις τέτληκεν τόσσα φρεσὶν, ὅσσα τ ̓ ἐγώ περ·
Τήνδε δ ̓ ἂν οὐ φθονέοιμι ποδῶν ἅψασθαι ἐμεῖο·

OA. T. 343-348.

Nor me the FOOT BATH pleases more; my foot
Shall none of all thy minist'ring maidens touch,
Unless there be some ancient matrón grave
Among them, who hath pangs of heart endur'd
Num'rous, and keen as I have felt myself;
Her I refuse not. She may touch my feet.
Odyssey XIX. 416-421.

Compare this with 1 Tim, v. 9, 10. "Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man, well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, IF SHE HAVE WASHED THE SAINTS' FEET, IF SHE HAVE RELIEVED THE AFFLICTED, if she have diligently followed every good work."

The only decisive instance of any further female service in bathing the body, and to which even Ulys. ses is represented as submitting, was in the sensual palace of Circe. I quote it for the sake of acknowledging the exception, and also to show the Reader a -Bath, not by immersion, but effusion.

'Η δὲ τετάρτη ὕδωρ ἐφόρει, καὶ πῦρ ἀνέκαιο Πολλὸν ὑπὸ τρίποδι μεγάλῳ· ἰαίνετο δ ̓ ὕδωρο Αὐτὰρ ἐπειδὴ ζέσσεν ὕδωρ ἐνὶ ἤνοπι χαλκῷ,

Ες ῥ ̓ ἀσάμινθον ἕσασα, λό ̓ ἐκ τρίποδος μεγάλοιο,


Οφρα μοι ἐκ κάματον θυμοφθόρον εἵλετο γείων.

Αὔταρ ἐπεὶ λουσέν τε, καὶ ἔχρισεν λίπ ̓ ἐλαίῳ,
̓Αμφὶ δέ με χλαίναν καλὴν βάλεν, ἠδὲ χιτῶνα
Εἶσε δέ μ' εἰσαγαγοῦσα ἐπὶ θρόνου ἀργυροήλου,
Καλοῦ, δαιδαλέου· ὑπὸ δὲ θρῆνες ποσὶν ἦεν.

· ΧΕΡΝΙΒΑ. δ ̓ ἀμφίπολος προχόῳ ΕΠΕΧΕΥΕ φέρουσα

· Καλῆ, χρυσείη, ὑπὲρ ἀργυρέοιο λέβητος,

Νίψασθαι· παρὰ δὲ ξεστὴν ἐτάνυσσε τράπεζαν. ΟΔ. Κ'. 558.970.

The fourth brought water, which she warm'd within

An ample vase, and, when the simm'ring flood

Sang in the tripod, led me to a bath,

And lav'd me with the pleasant stream profuse

POUR'D O'ER MY NECK AND BODY,* till my limbs,

* Compare this warm bath of Homer with the cold bath of Livy I. 45. as quoted in page 41,


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