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the Corps; as also a Candle in some places. The learned Moresin tells us, “ That Salt is the Emblem
of Eternity and Immortality : It is not liable to “ Putrefaction itself, and it preserves Things that «s. are seasoned with it from Decay.”He gives us also his Conjecture on the Use of a Candle * on this Occasion : “ It was an Egyptian Hieroglyphic “ for Life, meant to express the ardent Defire of 66 having had the Life of the Deceased prolonged."
Our Funeral Entertainments are of old Date. Cecrops † is said to have instituted them, for the Purposes of renewing decayed Friendship amongst old Friends, &c.-Moresin tells us, that in England they were so profuse on this Occasion, that it cost less to portion of a Daughter, than to bury a dead
quia Sal æternitatis est et immortalitatis fignum, neque putredine neque corruptione infestatur unquam, fed ipfe ab his omnia vendicat.
Deprav. Rel. &c. p. 154. Considered in reference to this symbolical Explication, how beau. tiful is that Expression, '“ Ye are the Salt of the Earth !” . * Lucerna, feu Candela mortuis cadaveribus semper apponitur in domibus eţ templis, quamdiu fupra terram sunt-an hinc ducto more, oculo, vel Lucerna incenfa veteres Ægyptii vitam fignificabant, unde veteres foliti sunt lucernas ardentes fepulchris imponere, hac faltem ratione significantes se mortuorum quamdiu pofsent vitas producturos. Deprav. Rel. Orig. p. 89. Thus Mr. Pope, conversant in papal Antiquities :
“ Ah hopeless lasting Flames ! like those that burn
Eloise to Abelard. - Jubet Papa Cadaveris Expiationes fieri, ut quod valde immundum est, aspergatur aqua benedicta, thurificetur, exorcisetur facris orationibus, illufiretur facris luminibus, quoufque fupra Terram fuerit, &c. Moresin Deprav. Rel. Orig. p. 26.
+ Convivia funebria Cecrops primus instituit prudenter, ut amici amicitiam fortasse remislam renovarent, & pro uno defuncto acqui. rerent his mediis plures amicos, &c.-In Anglia ita ftrenuè hanc curam obeunt, ut viliori pretio constet clocatio Filix, quam Uxoris mortua inhumatio Ibid. p. 44.
Wife. These Burial Feasts are still retained in the
We have the very Coffin of the present Age de-
It appears that among the primitive Christians the Corps was sometimes kept four Dayst. Pe. lagiat, in Gregory of Turon, requests of her Son, that her Corps may not be interred till after four Days. .
The Payment of Mortuàries is of great Antiquity: It was antiently done by leading or driving a Horse or Cow, &c. before the Corps of the Dea ceased at his Funeral. It was considered as a Gift left by a Man at his Death, by Way of Recompence for all Failures in the Payment of Tithes and Oblations, and called a Corse-preferit. It is mentioned in the national Council of Engsham, about the Year 1006. Some Antiquaries have been led into a Mistake by this leading a Horse before the Corps, and have erroneously represented it as peculiar to Military Characters.
The Abuse of this Vigil, or Lake-wake; is of pretty old standing.--I find the following Account
:* Corpus lotum 'et findone obvolutum, ac loculo conditum, ve-
Loculus is a Box or Chest.-Thus I find Coffins called Kifts ; i.e.
+ It was customary in the Christian Burials of the Anglo-Saxons.
I Postulabat a Filio, ne eam, ante diem quartum sepeliret.
of a Canon, made at the provincial Synod held in London in the Time of Edward III. in Collier's Ecclefiaftical History, Vol. I. p. 546, “ The 10th “ Canon endeavours to prevent the Disorders com6 mitted at People's watching a Corps before Bu. « rial. Here the Synod takes Notice, that the De« sign of People's meeting together upon such Oc6 casions, was to join their Prayers for the Benefit “ of the dead Person ; that this antient and fer“ viceable Usage was over-grown with Supersti« tion, and turned into a Convenience for Theft “ and Debauchery : Therefore for a Remedy against * this Disorder, 'tis decreed, that upon the Death “ of any Perfon, none should be allowed to watch « before the Corps in a private House, excepting s near Relations and Friends of the Deceased, and es such as offered to repeat a set Number of Psalms “ for the Benefit of his Soul.” The Penalty annexed is Excommunication. This is alfo men. tioned in Becon's * Reliques of Rome, and comprised in the Catalogue of those Crimes that were antiently cursed with Bell, Book, and Candle.
Mr. Bourne complains of the Sport, Drinking, and Lewdness used at these Lake-wakes t in his
* Fol. 253.
+ Mr. Pennant, in describing Highland Ceremonies, calls this Meeting the Late-wake; I suspect he has put a t for a k. Thus, in describing Coken, a romantic Seat near Chester-le-street, he fpells it erroneously Coker. His Words are, “ The Late-wake “ is a Ceremony used at Funerals: The Evening after the Death “ of any Person, the Relations or Friends of the Deceased meet “ at the House, attended by Bag-pipe or Fiddle; the nearest of “ Kin, be it Wife, Son, or Daughter, opens a melancholy Ball, " dancing and greeting, i.e. crying violently at the same Time;
Time. They still continue to resemble too much the antient Bacchanalian Orgies.-An Instance of Depravity that highly disgraces human Nature! It would be treating the serious Subject with two much levity, to say, that if the inconsiderate Wretches, who abuse such solemn Meetings, think at all, they think with Epicurean licentiousness, that since Life is so uncertain, no Opportunity should be neglected of transmitting it, and that the Loss, by the Death of one Relation, should be made up as soon as possible by the Birth of another.
Our Author uses a remarkable Metaphor in this Paffage; he talks, or rather babbles, concerning 66 putting on undecent Pastime."- If one were disposed to banter, it might be observed, that a Wardrobe of “ undecent Pastime" must consist of very light Habits! It may be questioned also, whether in any Affliction we can discover “ too great 66 Resignation?"
« and this continues till Day-light, but with such Gambols and " Frolicks among the younger Part of the Company, that the “ Loss which occasioned them is often more than supplied by the “ Consequences of that Night. If the Corps remains unburied for “ two Nights, the same Rites are renewed. Thus, Scythian-like, “ they rejoice at the Deliverance of their Friends out of this Life " of Misery.”—He tells us in the same Place, “ that the Goranich, “ or singing at Punerals, is still in Use in fome Places. The Songs “ are generally in Praise of the Deceased; or a Recital of the va. “ liant Deeds of him or Ancestors.
Perhaps Mr. Pennant, in spelling Late-wake, wished to have the Name derived from watching late :-None can suppose this, but those who are totally ignorant of our antient. Language, which is preserved in all its pristine Purity in the vulgar Dialect of the North.
CH A P. III.
Of following the Corps to the Grave, what it
is an Emblem of: Of carrying Greens in our Hand, what it hgnifies, what Use it may be of: Of Psalmody, its Antiquity, the Advantage and Use of it.
TT hath been observed among all Nations, 1 both in the Heathen and the Christian World, as a becoming and profitable. Ceremony, to follow the Corps to the Grave. The Heathens observed it, * because it presented to them, what would shortly follow, how they themselves should be fo carried out, and laid down in the Grave. The going of the Corps before, shewed that their friend was gone before them to the State of Death ; and their following after, was as much as to say, that they must also in a short Time follow him thither. For this Reason the Christian also observes the Custom, and may, if he pleafes, as he follows the Body to the Grave, entertain himself with a pious Meditation upon it, in such like Thoughts as these of the Pral
' * Præcedenti pompa funebri, vivi fequuntur, tanquam haudmulto post morituri. Al. ab. Alex. Lib. 3. p. 67. Et Pol. Vir. Lib. 6. G. 10. P. 405.