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horse. Then when they saw the King fast in the giant's arms, they came and loosed him ; and then King Arthur commanded Sir Kaye to smite off the giant's head, and to set it upon a truncheon of a spear, and bear it to Sir Howel, and tell him that his enemy is slain ; and after let his head be bound to a barbican, that all the people may see and behold it ; and go ye two to the mountain, and fetch me my shield, and my sword, and also the great club of iron; and as for the treasure, take it to you, for ye shall find there goods without number; so that I have his kirtle and the club, I desire no more. This was the fiercest giant that ever I met with, save one in the mount of Araby, which I overcame; but this was greater and fiercer.'" *
*“Of the two proposed books, respecting which you ask me the particulars," writes Leigh Hunt to John Forster, “one is ‘The Fabulous World,' the chief portion of which, though not under that title, or, indeed, under any general one, appeared many years ago in the 'New Monthly Magazine,' as articles on Satyrs, Nymphs, Giants, Mermaids, &c. They were written with my customary painstaking, interspersed with quotations from poets of divers languages (translated when necessary), and very much approved. Everybody, to whom their incorporation into a volume was talked of, seemed to hail the notion ; and, in truth, there is no such book in the language, nor, I believe, in any other. I propose to complete what was wanting to it in the New Monthly,' and to add the miraculous goods and chattels belonging to my fabulous people, such as Enchanted Spears, Flying Sophas, Illimitable Tents that pack up in nutshells, &c.” “The Fabulous World” was never published, and the articles that were to have formed the greater part of the volume are here first collected together. – Ed.
GOG AND MAGOG, AND THE WALL OF
SHADOW seems to fall upon our paper at the very mention of the words, “Gog and Magog,” — fine, mouth-filling, mysterious names; and of whom ? Nobody knows. The names,
we doubt not, have helped to keep up the interest; but the mystery is a mighty one of itself, and is found in reverend places. The grand prophet Ezekiel has a long mention of Gog and Magog, and describes them as a terrible people ; but nobody has yet discovered who they are. They have been thought to be Goths, Celts, Germans, Tartars, &c.; but the most received opinion is, that they are Scythians; and there is a curious chapter in Bochart, which would corroborate a notion that is said to have prevailed among the Turks, and to which late events have given additional color : to wit, that the Russians are a part of their family.* At all events, dear reader, Gog and Magog are not the giants of Guildhall; albeit the latter, like the former, are unappropriated phenomena — supposed, we believe, to represent an ancient Briton and a Roman, and to be the relics of some quondam city pageant.
It seems agreed, however, that although nobody knows who Gog and Magog are, they are mixed up somehow
“Geographia Sacra," cap. 13. [The reader will find a pleasant passage concerning Bochart in the article on “ Bricklayers and an Old Book,” in “The Seer.” Hallam, too, in the “ Literature of Europe,'' has a good word for the fine old scholar. – ED.]
with the region about Caucasus; and the Orientals, who call them Yàjouje and Màjouje, * think they are to come out of the mountains on the Caspian, and overrun the world. Some hold them to be giants; others say they are an innumerable race of pigmies. Bruce was asked about them during his travels, and informed that they were horribly little. “By God's help,” said the traveller, “I shall not be afraid of them, though they be a hundred times less."
An old tradition, at strange variance with prophecy, says that Gog and Magog are Jews, and that they are to appear at the time of anti-Christ, and do great harm to believers. Hear Mandeville on the subject, whose old language adds to the look of seriousness and mystery: “Among thes hillis that be there,” quoth the knight,“ be the Jews of the ix. kyndes enclosed, that men call Gog and Magog, and they may not come out on no syde. Here were enclosed xxii. kynges, with her folke that dwellyd ther before, and between the hilles of Sichy (Scythæ ? Scythians) and the kingdom of Alisaunder. He droffe hem theder among thes hillis, for he trowed for to have enclosyd hem there thourgh strength and worckyng of mannys hond, but he myght not. And than he prayed God that he wold fullfill that he had begon, and God hard his prayer, and enclosyd thes hillis togedyr, so that the Jews dwell there as they were lokyd and speryd inne (sparred, i.e. shut up); and there be hillis all abought hem but on one syde. Why ne go they not out? seist thou. But therto I answer, thou yt be soo that yt be called a cee, yt ys a stanke (standing water) stonding among hillis. And yt ys the greatest stanke of all the world, and yf they went over the cee, they wot not where to aryve, for they wot not to speke but her owne langage; and ye shall (knowe) that the Jues have no lond of her owne in all the worlde, but they that dwellen in the hillis, and yet they bere tribute to the quene of Ermony. And sometyme yt ys soo that some Jewes gon on the hill, but they mey not passe, for thes hillis be so heigh ; neverthelesse men seye of that cuntre ther bye, that in the tyme of Antecriste they shall comen out, and do moch yll herme to Cristen men. And therefore all the Jewes that dwellen in dyvers partise of the world lern to speke Ebrewe, for they trowe that dwell amonge thes hillis schall com out, and (if) they speke Ebrewe and not ellis. And in tyme of Antecriste shall thyse Jewes comen out and speke Ebrewe, and leden other Jewes into Cristendom for to destroy Cristenmen; for they wotte be her prophecies that they shall com out of Cristenmen, shall be in her subieccion, as they be now under Cristenmen. An yf ye will wit howe they shall com and fynd passage out as I have hard saye, I schall tell you. At the comynge of Antecrist, a fox schall com and make his den in the sam place where that kyng Alisaunder ded make the gattes, and schall travaille so on the erth and perce yt thorowe till that he com among the Jewes ; and whan they see thys fox, they schall have great marwell of hym, for they seye never such maner of bestes, for other bestes they have amonge hem many, but non such; and they schall chese the fox, and pursue him till he be fled agen to the hole ther he cam out of; and than schall they grave after hym tyll the time they com to the gates that kyng Alisaunder dyde make of gret stonys will dight with symend (cement); and they schall brek thes gates, and so schall they fynd issue.” *
* It is a whim of the Eastern nations, when names are familiarly coupled in history, to make them rhyme. Thus, Cain and Abel, are Cabil and Habil ; and there are several other instances, but we have not time to look for them. If Beaumont and Fletcher had written among them, they would have tried hard to call them Beaumont and Fleaumont.
The story of the fox is idle enough ; but in the Pecorone of Sir Giovanni Fiorentino, quoted by the same authority, is a version of this story, in which a very romantic manoeuvre of Alexander is mentioned. In order to keep his captives in subjection, “he fixed a number of trumpets on the top of the mountains, so cunningly framed that they resounded in every breeze. In the course of time certain birds built their nests in the mouths of the trumpets, and stopped them up, so that the clangour gradually lessened. And when the trumpets were quite silent, the Jews ventured to climb over the mountains, and sallied forth.”
It is curious to fancy the imprisoned nation listening year after year, and finding the sound of Alexander's dreadful trumpets grow less and less, till at length they are “silent.” What has happened? Is the king dead ? Have his army grown less and less, or feebler and feebler, so as to be unable to blow them? Are they all dead? Let us go and see. And forth they go, but cautiously — climbing the mountains with due care, and many listening delays. At length they arrive at the top, and see nobody
- only those mighty scarecrows of trumpets, their throats stuffed up with the nests of birds ! f
In these traditions there is a confusion common in the East of Alexander of Macedon, called by the Orientals
* Quoted by Mr. Weber in the notes to his “ Metrical Romances," vol. iii. p. 323. It has long been supposed that the Jews had a national settlement somewhere about this quarter. See D'Herbelot, “ Bibliothèque Orientale," art. Jahoud; and the late English travellers, particularly Elphinstone in his “Account of Caubul.”
† Leigh Hunt tells this story more minutely in his fine poem entitled The Trumpets of Doolkarnein. — Ed.