Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

THE

GENTLEMAN'S

MAGAZINE.

NOVEMBER, 1825.

ORIGINAL COMMUNICATIONS.

COSMOGONY OF THE TAHEITEANS.

Mr. URBAN,

Nov. 1. It

the least resemblance in the mythologic traditions and Pagan superstition of the inhabitants of the South Seas, to those of the old world. Cut off for many years from all intercourse with the Continent, bounded in their transactions by the group of islands in their own more immediate neighbourhood, it could not be expected that much primitive tradition would be preserved. If we further take into consideration, the frequent occurrence of war, and the almost exterminating conduct with which it is carried on, astonishment will arise, not at the paucity of such indications, but that even the slightest trace should exist of former connexion with the rest of the world.

I do not profess to be fully competent to the inquiry, my knowledge of the Australian language being very limited; but I doubt not with that intimate acquaintance with its different dialects which the Missionaries have obtained, should any one undertake such an investigation, the search would not be altogether fruitless. A long time has elapsed since the voyagers of the South Şe:: formed a part of my reading; as, however, the few memoranda on this subject, which I then made, may shew that such an investigation would not be without encouragement, I transmit to you the following:

Cosmogony of the Taheiteans. Dr. Hawkesworth, in his relation of Cook's first voyage to the South Seas, observes : “pothing is more obvious to a rational being, however ignorant or stupid, ihan that the universe and ils various parts, as far as they fall under his notice, were produced by some agent inconceivably more powerful than himself; and nothing is more difficult to be conceived, even by the most sagacious and knowing, than the production of thein from nothing, which among us is expressed by the word Creation. It is natural, therefore, as no Being apparently capable of producing the universe is to be seen, that he should be supposed to reside in some distant part of it, or to be in his nature invisible, and that he should have originally produced all that now exists in a manner similar to that in which Nature is renovated by the succession of one generation to another; but the idea of procreation includes in it that of two persons, and from the conjunction of two persons these people imagine every thing in the universe either originally or derivatively to proceed.”

This sentiment is by no means to be considered as exclusively characteristic of the Australians, the whole system of Pagan mythology is connected in a similar manner, and seems soon after the first dispersion of mankind 10-haye been adopted by every tribe, except that peculiarly favoured one, which was destined to convey to posterity the only rational and authentic account, clothed in the simple garb of truth.

The various systems of Cosmogony, of all the nations of the old world, on being collected and compared with each other, appear to be but a corrupted representation of the Mosaic record, affording at the same time a curious and most gratifying confirmation of its authenticity, exhibiting, as they do, the imperfect reseinblances of a bright original from which they undoubtedly have been copied.

Of the formation of the Universe, according to the ideas of the Taheiteans, we have the accounts of two priests; that most in detail was given by ManncManne, the chief-priest; the other by Tupia, also a priest, and of great mysti

cal

389
Cosmogony of the Tuheiteans.

(Nov. cal learning. Neither of their statements, in the form in which we have them, can be considered as quite accurate; Manne-Manne's being interpreted by an ignorant Swedish sailor in the English language, of which he could know little more than of that of O Taheite ; and Sir

Joseph Banks, to whom Tupia's information was given, observing that “the religious language is in Olaheite as in China, different from that which is in common use; so ihat Tupia, who took great pains to instruct us, having no words to express his meaning, which we understood, gave us lectures to very liule purpose.'

Imperfect, therefore, as these accounts must be, and on the present occasion rendered still more so by my ignorance of the language not permitting me in many instances accurately to translate names under which much real informiation is often mystically veiled, a close connection with the Mosaic cosmogony must not be expected ; 'still, however, a distorted resemblance may be traced in the following comparison. Mosaic.

Taheilean. In the beginning God created the heaven In the beginning Tāne (husband) took and the earth ; and the earth was without Tarða (earth) and begat Avye (fresh water) form and void, and darkness was upon the Te Mydē (the sea) and Awa (the waterface of the deep, and the spirit of God spout). He also begat Po (night or darkmoved upon the face of the waters. ness) and Hooa no Eatooa (the Spirit of

God) was called Fwhanow Põ (the offspring

of darkness). And God said, “Let there be light,' Then he begat Mahānna (the sun) as and God called the light day, and the dark well as Po (darkness). ness he called night, &c. *

And God said, “Let there be a firmament After this he begat Matāi (the wind) and in the midst of the waters, and let it divide Arye (the sky). the waters from the waters t," and God called the firmament Heaven.

And God said, “ Let the waters under the Then he made a rock, which he called heaven be gathered together unto one place, Poppo-harra Harreha I, (the ..... mesand let the dry land appear ;” and it was so, senger) and all the brethren and sisters of and God called the dry land earth.

Mahāuna (the Sun) at his birth turned

to earth. And God said, “Let the earth bring forth Mabānna having assumed the shape of a grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit man, was called Oēroa Tabova, (the very tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself sacred .........) and he embraced the rock after its kind," and God saw that it was Poppo-harra Harreha, which consequently good, and the evening and the morning were produced Te Tooboo Amata hatoo (the ...... the third day.

branches) after which the rock returned to its original state, and Oērða Tabooa died and

returned to dust. And God said, “ Let there be lights in When Mahānna (the sun) was begotten, the firmament of the lieaven to divide the bis brethren and sisters all turned to earth, day from the night; and let them be for but Tane (creator) had another daughter, signs, and for seasons, and for days and whose name was Townoo (.....) Mahāpna years; and let them be for lights in the therefore, under the name and form of firmament of the heaven to give light upon Oēroa Taboa took her to wife, and she conthe earth;" and it was so, and God made ceived and bare thirteen children, who are two great lights, the greater to rule the the thirteen months. Their names were, day, and the lesser to rule the night, he 1. Papeeree. 2. Ownoonoo. 3. Pararomoree. made the stars also. And God set them in 4. Paroromoree. 5. Mooreeha. 6. Heaiha. 7. the firmament of the heaven to give light Taoa. 8. Hoororoera. 9. Hooreeama. 10. upon the earth, and to rule over the day Teayre. 11. Tetgi. 12. Waelo. 13. Weand over the night, and to divide the light aha. After this Mahānna copulating with from the darkness.

(eclipsing 8) Malama (the moon) produced

Whettua (the stars). It is remarkable that in the Taheitean language the saine word expresses both night and darkpess.

+ In the Taheitean account the several kinds of water are mentioned distinctively in the first part of the cosmogony.

This is an allegory for the genial influence of the sun on the earth in the production of vegetable substances.

§ When an eclipse takes place, the Taheiteans suppose the luminaries to be in the act of copulation, a notion common to all Pagans.

Manne

1825.]
Cosmogony of the Taheiteans.

389 Manne-Manne, in this account of the Cosmogony, has omitted to state any productions similar to what, according to the Mosaic doctrine, occupied the Deity on the fifth day. Something analogous might probably have been detailed, had the question been directly put, but omissious have been sufficiently accounted for in the preceding observations. Mosaic.

Taheitean, And God said, “ Let us make man in our Te Tooboo amata hatoo embraced the image, after our likeness; and let them have sand of the sea, which conceived a son of dominion, &c.” So God created man in the name of Tee (inferior spirit *) and a his own image, in the image of God created daughter called Opeera (.........). Te Toohe him, male and female created he them. boo amata hatoo dying, and returning to

earth, Tee took his sister Opeera to wife. The following seems to relate to the wicked transactions in the garden of Eden.

Behold the man is become as one of us to Opeera became ill, and in her illness she know good and evil, and now lest he put entreated her husband to cure her, and she forth his hand and take also of the tree of would do the same for him if he fell sick, life, and eat, and live for ever ; therefore the ' that thus they might live for ever ; but he Lord God sent bim forth from the garden of refused, and she died. Eden to till the ground whence he was taken.

Next appears to follow an account of Noah, who being considered as a second Adam, or universal progenitor, bore the same title Tee, and his wife is said to have been the daughter that is descended from Opeera.

In the self-same day entered Noah, and Tee having preferred his daughter, named Shem, and Ham, and Japhet, the sons of Oheera Reene Moonoa, (the .... Noah, and Noah's wife, and the three wives clean spirit) + had by her three sons and of his sons with them.

three daughters: the sous were named Ora These are the families of the sons of Noah (.....) Wanoo (.....) and Tytory after their generations in their nations : and the daughters Hennatoomorroora (.....) by these were the nations divided in the earth Henaroa (tall ......) and Noowya (.....). after the flood.

The father and mother dying, the brothers and sisters said, “Let us take our sisters to wife and become many.” So men bagan to

multiply upon the earth. Here ends the curious specimen given by Manne-Manne; Tupia's account to Sir Joseph Banks was as follows:

The Supreme Deity, one of the two first beings according to the traditions of Taheite, is called Taroa Taihe Toomoo (causer of earthquakes) and the other whom they suppose to have been a rock, Te Papa I (the sky). A daughter of these was. T'ettow Mata Tayo §, (the ...... friend) the year or thirteen months collectively, and she, by the common father, produced the months, and the months by conjunction with each other, the days. The stars are partly the immediate offspring of the first pair, and the remainder have increased among themselves; the different species of plants were produced in the same manner. Among other progeny of Taroa Taihe 'Toomo and Te Papa were an inferior race of deities, who are called Eatua. Two of these Eatuas (or inferior spirits) at some very remote period of time, inhabited the earth, and were the parents of the first men. When ihis man, their common ancestor was born, he was round like a ball, but his mother, with great care, drew out his limbs, and having at length moulded him as in man's present form, she called him Eothe (finished). He being proinpted by the universal instinct to propagate his kind, and being able to find no female

........... un

* This inferior spirit, sometimes bad and some:imes good, is like the manes of antiquity, the departed soul of a man, and then considered his guardian angel. The Taheitean description comes nearer chap. ii. verse 7. And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul.

+ Or “unclean lying down." Moe is “to lie down,” and Mooe is “ the principle of life." I regret much that I am unable to translate Heera Reene, as much information might be derived therefrom.

Papa, in the language of Tonga Taboo, signifies the sky or horizon, the English being called Papa langee, "men of the sky."

§ This name the Taheiteads regard as so sacred that except upon this occasion, they dever mention it.

but

390
Cosmogony of the Tuheiteans.

(Nov. but his mother, he begot upon her a daughter, and upon the daughter other daughters for several generations before there was a son; a son, however, being born, he with the assistance of his sisters peopled the world. Besides their daughter T'ettow Mata Tayo, the first progenitors of nature had a son whom they called Tāne *, and as he takes a greater part in the affairs of mankind than the other gods, the Taheiteans generally address their prayers to him.

Contemplating these strong but disguised resemblances, we cannot but admit, and must do it with gratifying feelings, mixed with reverential awé, that they exhibit the distorted features of the simple, yet sublime detail of Moses ; and this circumstance acquires a stronger effect, when it is remembered that it is an universal practice in all the tales of mythology, to make a person one while the father, and at another the son. The various characters of polytheism, and even those composing the same genealogy, have been fairly demonstrated by the pioneers to mystical lore, Bryant, Faber, Maurice, and Davies, to be often but one and the same person; we may therefore regard the Taheitean cosinogony as not altogether so wild and distempered a composition, as it at first sight appears.

Triune Deity of the Taheiteans. It is a fact no less curious than undeniable, that traces of that most obstruse doctrine of our faith, the blessed Trinity, are to be found, not only in the fabulous traditions of antiquity, but in the Pagan nations of the present day. The Brahminical Triad of India, which has received so much illustration from the indefatigable research and ingenuity of the late Rev. Mr. Maurice, is not a more striking evidence of this, than ihe triune Deity of the Taheiteans. We learn from the missionary voyage, that the general name for the deity in all its rainifications is Eatova, a word that seems to signify spiritual essence in opposition to matter.

An appellation thus single with regard to itself, but admitting of the most extensive application, appears to carry with it the idea of one Supreme Being, and of his being contemplated under different characters. Accordingly on investigation we shall find this to be the case. The comprehensive utle of the supreme god, Tupia told Sir Joseph Banks was Taroa Taihe Toomo (the causer of earthquakes) a name of the most awful import in reference to Taheite, as that island, and the other society isles, are very frequently visited by this dreadful monitor of mortality.

But, according to the Missionaries, the Deity is also viewed in his three-fold character; for that is what is to be understood when they say “Three are equally held supreme, standing in a height of celestial dignity, that no others can approach unto; and what is more extraordinary, the names are personal appellations." Not only is the circunstance thus noticed as extraordinary, but the very import of the terins still more wonderfully striking.

The triadic titles are :

1. Tāne, te Medova (Creator, the father).
Eatooa (God) 2. Oro mattow, 'Tooa tee te Myda (...... God in the son).

3. Taroa, Mannoo te Hooa (terrestial bird, the Spirit +). The eternity of the Triune Deity is clearly expressed by making him both singly and in his threefold character Fwhanow Po (the offspring of night or primæval darkness).

The Missionaries considering these as they would Roman divinities have termed them Dii majores, and give us the following account. To these dii majores they only address their prayers in times of greatest distress, and seasons of peculiar exigency, supposing them too exalted to be troubled with matters of less moment than the illuess of a chief, storms, devastations, war, or any great calamity. Indeed fear and suffering seem to be more motives to worship ihan gratitude."

Husband, and therefore the father and creator of all things. Their own ignorance of the origin of their traditions has them into error, or they might be regarded as offering cheir prayers to the Deity under this title, rather than to address a separate god.

+ The holy spirit assuming on earth the form of a bird. That remarkable parallel passage, “The spirit of God descending (i.e. coming to the earth) like a dove," will naturally occur to every one.

From

1995.)
Visits to St. Katherine's by the Tower.

391 From the same source we learn that "the house of these Fwhanow Po," by which we are most probably to understand the temple where they were worshipped, is as Opārre, the residence, particularly appropriated to the Earhea rahie (sovereign, or supreme lord) or king. s.

; I shall, probably, if I succeed in collecting my memoranda, trouble you with some remarks on ihe mythology of other Australian isles." á "fiS. R. M. :

Mr. URBAN,

Nov. 1. tion pressed forward through the arch ON the 30th of October the beau- which cance sustained the rood-loft, Katherine by the Tower finally closed, building soon exhibited a moveable previously to its destruction by the St. mass of people, filling up every corKatherine's Dock Company. "Though ner : the former sacredness of the now earnest appeals were in vain made to desecrated edifice did not prevent the Parliament for its preservation, it has expression of just feelings of indignarecently been much' visited by persons tion against the ruthless destroyers of of taste and high rank; and, indeed, the ill-fated building, and more parmay be said to have very strongly ex

ticularly when the majestic organ, to cited the public attention.

be broken up on the morrow, pealOn the morning of the Sunday ed forth the anthem of God save the above - mentioned, the edifice was King. So warm were the feelings of crowded by a most numerous con

the admirers of the old Church, that gregation; so that many retreated

even a relic of it seemned a valuable acfrom want of room. A Sermon al- quisition ; and some paltry: modern luding to the circumstances was deli- Gothic ornaments attached to the altarvered by the Rev. R. R. Bailey. His rails were eagerly snatched off by the text was from James, iv. 13, “Go first who could get them, and a piece of to now, ye that say, to-day or 10

red velvet at the altar, with a tarnished morrow we will go into such city, glory, was pulled down and distribute and continue there a year, and buyed among ihe many who sought for and sell and get gain.'

The uncer

a remembrance of the venerated build. tainty of human projects, and the frailty

ing. I then thought that the sale of the of our best-formed designs, formed the materials would produce less than the theme of the discourse. The approach- jobbers expected, and at the same ing destruction of the temple by “the

time I could not help adıniring the un feeling and encroaching hand of natural good sense which always marks Commerce" was briefly, but touch

the English character in every expresingly, remembered; and many a breast

sion of popular feeling. Although the among the congregation was deeply

scene appeared somewhat to savour of affected.

disorder, no attempt was made to inThe service was concluded with a jure the stalls or monuments : the hymn sung by the “sixty poor child-threadbare velvet and the painted deal ren of the precinct," and the melody ornaments of the modern altar-rails received a great increase of interest satisfied the sounewhat too eager enfrom the reflection, that the fine

deavours of those whose, anxiety to toned and celebrated organ was on the

preserve a vestige of their condemned morrow to be pulled down.

favourite, led them somewhat beyond

the strict limits of propriety. I could Yours, &c.

N. P.

nou belp contrasting iheir conduct with

that of the individuals who have aca Mr. URBAN,

complished the destruction of this saNov. 3.

cred building. Can it be expected, I O of

N the afternoon of Sunday last, I thought, that an undertaking founded Divine service in the devoted Church supporied by sacrilege, will answer? of St. Katherine by the Tower. The To one who looks on the consecration Clergyman who officiated made no of a Church as something more than allusion 10 the sacrilegious destruc- 'a mere form,—who regards the ceretion of the Church, nor to the cupi- mony as a solemn dedication of a dity which allowed it. After the con- building to the Almighty, and to His cluding Amen, the whole congrega. use alone,-the destruction of such a

building,

« ZurückWeiter »