Imatges de pÓgina

and idolatrous worship. It is well known that the custom of making funeral orations in praise of the dead obtained among them. The manner in which their funeral fervices were performed is as follows: "Upon the eighth day,

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that is, after the perfon's decease, a certain cryer, in manner of a bell-man, "went about the town to call the people to the folemnization of the funeral, "in this form of words, Exequias L. Titio L. Filio quibus eft commodum ire. Jam tempus eft, ollus ex ædibus effertur. After the people had affembled them"felves together, the bed being covered with purple, or other rich coverings, "the laft conclamation being ended, a trumpeter went before all the company, certain poor women, called Prafice, following after, and finging fongs in "the praise of the party deceased. Thofe that carried this bed, were the "next of the kin, fo that it fell often among the fenators themselves to bear "the corps; and because the poorer fort were not able to undergo the charges "of fuch folemnities, thereupon were they buried commonly in the dusk of "the evening; and hence a vefpertino tempore, those that carried the corps, "were termed vespa, or vespillones. In the burial of a senator, or chief. "officer, certain waxen images of all his predeceffors were carried before him upon long poles, or fpears, together with all the enfigns of honour which "he deferved in his life time. Moreover, if any fervants had been manu"mized by him, they accompanied the mourners, lamenting for their master's "death. After the corps followed the dead man's children, the next of the "kin, and other of his friends, atrati, that is to fay, in mourning apparel. "The corps being thus brought into their great oratory, called the Roftra, "the next of the kin laudabat defun&tum pro roftris, id eft, made a funeral "oration in the commendations principally of the party deceased, but touching the worthy acts also of those his predeceffors, whose images were there "prefent.".

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The account given by a later writer, is in thefe words: "In all the fu"nerals of note, fays he, especially in the public, or indictive, the corps was "first brought, with a vast train of followers, into the Forum; here one of "the nearest relations afcended the Roftra, and obliged the audience with an' "oration in praife of the deceased. If none of the kindred undertook the "office, it was discharged by fome of the most eminent perfons in the city for learning and eloquence, as Appian reports of the funeral of Sylla. And Pliny the younger, reckons it as the last addition to the happiness of a

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P Godwin's Rom. Hift. Antholog.. 12. fect. 2. c. 24. -9 Rofin. Antiq. 1.5.
Seuton, Jul. Cæfar. c. 6.

* Έμφυλ, lib. 1.

.: very

Kennet's Antiq, of Rome, part 2. b. 5. c. so. p. 351. "Lib. 2. ep. 1.

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very great man, that he had the honour to be praised at his funeral by the "most eloquent Tacitus, then Conful; which is agreeable to Quintillian's ac"count of this matter, Nam & funebres, c. For the funeral orations, fays he, depend very often on fome public office, and by order of fenate, "are many times given in charge to the magiftrates, to be performed by *themselves in perfor. The invention of this custom is generally attributed "to Valerius Poplicola, foon after the expulfion of the regal family. Plutarch "tells us, that honouring his collegue's obfequies with a funeral oration, it "fo pleased the Romans, that it became cuftomary for the beft men to cele“brate the funerals of great perfons with speeches in their commendations."

Thus Julius Cæfar, according to cuftom, made an oration in the Roftra, in praise of his wife Cornelia, and his aunt Julia, when dead; wherein he shewed, that his aunt's defcent, by her mother's fide, was from kings, and by her father's from the gods. Plutarch fays, that "He approved of the law of "the Romans, which ordered fuitable praifes to be given to women as well as "to men, after death." Though by what he fays in another place, it seems that the old Roman law was, that funeral orations fhould be made only for the elder women; and therefore he fays, that Cafar was the first that made one upon his own wife, it not being then usual to take notice of younger women in. that way but by that action, he gained much favour from the populace, who afterwards looked upon him, and loved him as a very mild and good man.. The reafon why fuch a law was made in favour of the women, Livy tells us, was this, That when there was fuch a scarcity of money in the public treasury, that the fum agreed upon to give the Gauls to break up the fiege of the city and capitol, could not be raised, the women collected among themselves, and made it up; who hereupon, had not only thanks given them, but this additional honour, that after death, they should be folemnly praised, as well as the men which looks as if before this time, only the men had those funeral orations made for them.

But to proceed: This cuftom of the Romans very early obtained among the Chriftians; fome of their funeral fermons or orations are now extant, as that of Eufebius on Conftantine, and thofe of Nazianzen on Bafil and Cæfarius; and. of Ambrofe on Valentinian, Theodofius, and others. Gregory, the brother of Bafil, made, indoor, a funeral oration for Melitius, Bishop of Antioch: in which orations, they not only praised the dead, but addreffed themselves to

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De Mulier. virtut. in principio. Hift ab U. C. 1. 5. c. 50.

them, which seems to have introduced the custom of praying to departed faints. Now these orations were ufually made before the bodies of the deceased were committed to the ground, which cuftom has been, more or less, continued ever fince, to this day.

And now, Sir, having thus far proceeded in my enquiries on this subject, I cannot but conclude, that those rites and ceremonies among the heathens, which have been thus delivered from one people to another, are what have given birth to funeral fermons and orations among us Chriftians; and though the practice, no doubt, is confiderably improved, and cleared of many things which would fmell too rank of paganism, and is thrown into a method which, perhaps, may be of some service to Christianity, yet notwithstanding this new drefs, its original may very eafily be difcerned. The method in which the characters of deceased perfons are given in our funeral fermons, is very much the fame with that observed in those pagan orations, where first an account is given of the parentage of the deceased, then of his education; after that, we hear of his conduct in riper years: then his many virtues are reckoned up, with his generous, noble, and excellent performances.

I would not be understood as though I condemned the practice because of its rife and original; for why may not the customs of heathens, if just and laudable in themselves, and no ways pernicious to Christianity in their confe quences, be followed by us Chriftians? And feeing we are come into this practice, there is one thing we should take care to follow them in, and that is, not to make those sermons or orations for every one; but for those only whose characters are diftinguishing, who have been eminently useful in the world, and in the church of Chrift. The old heathens only honoured those with this part of the funeral folemnity, who were men of probity and juftice, or renowned for their wisdom and knowledge, or famous for warlike exploits : This, as Cicero informs us, being part of the law for burials, which directs, that the praises only of honourable perfons fhall be mentioned in the oration. The Jews alfo make funeral orations in praise of the party deceased, provided he is a person of note, or a man of worth and value amongst them, fuch as the minifter of the congregation, or the like. It would be much more agreeable, if our funeral discourses were not fo common, and if the characters given of the deceased were more juft; devoid of that fulfom flattery, with

Qnuphrius de fepel. mort c. 8.



eHonoratorum virorum laudes in concione memorantor, &c. De legibus, 1. 2. prope finem. 'Buxtorff Jud Synag. c. 49. Leo Modena's Hift. of the rites, cuftoms, &c. of the prelent Jews. par. 5. c. 8. fect. 4.

which they too often abound. I would not be understood, as though I thought the deceased lady, whofe funeral fermons have occafioned this effay, was a person undeserving of having her memory perpetuated this way, or that what is there faid of her is not just and true.

As for scripture hiftory, I cannot, Sir, recollect any paffage which gives countenance to our practice, unless that short oration of David's at the grave of Abner, may be judged of this fort, 2 Sam. iii. 33, 34. Jofephus & seems to have this view of it, when he fays, David buried him very magnificently, and compofed funeral Lamentations for him.

And it is obfervable, that Cocceius, in his Funeral Oration on Maccovius, after he had remarked, that the practice was agreeable, not only to the ancient custom of that University, before whom he delivered it; but also to the customs of the Athenians and Romans, who judged it very ornamental and profitable to the Commonwealth, to praise those who had been famous in peace or war he further directs his auditors to David's Elogium on Saul and Jonathan, in 2 Sam, i. 17, &c. and to the anniversary lamentation of the daughters of Ifrael for the daughter of Jeptbab, in Judges xi. 40. in favour of this cuftom. But, with fubmiffion, I take it, that these inftances will rather justify the use of funeral odes, than of funeral fermons and orations.

And now, Sir, if I thought, I fhould not trefpafs too much upon your patience, I would briefly enquire into the rife and original of our funeral elegies and odes, which are likewise made to perpetuate the memory, and celebrate the praises of the dead. Who were the inventors of elegy is very uncertain, for Horace tells us it was controverted in his time, and left undetermined by the critics". As to the original of the name, the Grecians' “ had "a custom of drawling out their words, and repeating the interjection, ,,,, with tears; and hence, if we may credit the Scholiast "tophanes, funeral lamentations were called yor, Elegies."

upon Arif

With respect to finging at the interment of the dead, Macrobius' fays, " It "is established by the practice of moft nations or countries, who do it upon. "this persuasion, that after the decease of the body, the foul returns to the "original of the sweetness of mufic, that is, to heaven:" And it is no great difficulty to collect fome instances of this kind.

Potter fays on this head, that the Gracians" had mourners and musicians "to increase the folemnity: these Homer calls taps Sp, because they en"deavoured

• Exilapius oulypa&ameros Spares. Antic. lib. 7.
i Potter's Archeolog. Græc. vol. 2. par. 4. c. 5.
1 Somn. Scip. 1. 2. c. 3.
Potters Antiq. vol. 2.

h De arte poetica.
* Avibus.

"deavoured to excite forrow in all the company, by beating their breasts, "and counterfeiting all the actions of the most real and paffionate grief. "They are likewife termed, aodos, poowdary &c. from the fongs they fung at "funerals. Of these there feem to have been three, one in the proceffion, "another at the funeral pile, a third at the grave." The pipes or flutes they made use of at thofe folemnities were those of the Carian, Myfian, Lydian, and Phrygian original.

"Those who were killed by elephants, either in the hunting of them, or "in battle, Elian informs us ", were buried very honourably, and had cer"tain hymns fung in their honour by the Lybians. The argument of these "hymns was, That those were valiant men, who engaged with fuch a beaft; "and that the best funeral ornament was to die glorioufly."

What was the custom of the ancient Romans in the burial of their dead, is fufficiently notorious. It has been already obferved, that at the funeral procefs, certain poor women, called Prafica, fung fongs in the praise of the party deceased; these women were hired for this purpose, making a trade of it, and getting their livelihood by it. Befides these, there were also, Siticines, and Tibicines. "The name Siticines, A. Gellius derives from fitus and cano, "from finging to the dead: They were of two forts, fome founding on the· That the trumpets had a fhare in

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trumpet, others on the flute or pipe. "this folemnity, we learn from Virgil, in the funeral of Pallas,” Æn. xi.

"Exoritur clamorque virum, clangorque tubarum”.

And from Propertius, Lib. 2. Eleg. 7.

"Ab! mea tum quales caneret tibi, Cynthia, fomnos
"Tibia, funefta triftior illa tuba.

«Suetonius mentions the Tibia, in the funeral of Julius Cæfar, and Seneca in that of Claudius'; and Ovid fays of himself in plain words,

Interea noftri quid agant nifi trifte libelli? "Tibia funeribus convenit ifta meis."

Trift. 5. Eleg. 1.

Cicero' fays, It was the custom, not only that the praises of deserving men fhould be mentioned in the oration, but also " that Tibicines, or pipers should "..follow

Var. Hift. l. 12. c. 55P Lib. 20. C. 3.

• Kennet's Antiq. par. 2. b. 5. p. 345.

C. 84.

Vid. Apocol. • De legibus, 1. 2. prope fin.

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