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The Psalms, the Hymns, and Odes, mentioned by Saint Paul in his Epistle to the Colossians, (ch. iii, 16.) were apparently supposed to be of the same extemporar y kind, for they were to be the vehicles of appropriate instruction and admonition ; frequency of singing and externporaneousness of composition, are both supposed there.
These valedictory songs, however, which the Prefetto takes notice of, are not to be supposed to be a constant prelude to their journies, but only those of the most solemn kind ; and there is therefore an energy in those words of Laban, which ought to be remarked, Why didst thou not tell me, that I might have sent thee away, and taken my leave of my daughters, going such a journey, with all due solemnity, according to the custom of my country?
Their Nanner of Travelling by Camels, Dromeda
ries, Boats, &c.
The common pace of travelling in these countries is very slow; other motions then must have appeared very rapid.
The common pace of camels in travelling, the creature most frequently used, without doubt, in the country of Job, is little more than two miles an hour; so Plaistead supposese he travelled through the desert at the rate of
e P. 81.
thirty miles a day, and that they were in mo. tion thirteen hours each day; which motion is at the rate of two miles and one-third an hour. The reason of this very slow pace is, because the camels perpetually nibble everything they find proper for food, as they pass along.
Those that carried messages in haste moved very differently, It appears, by Esth. viii. 10, that the word runners, or posts, as we translate it, does not always signify those that carried dispatches on foot; and that they sometimes rode dromedaries, a sort of camel which is ex tremely swift. Lady Montague tells us, “that after the defeat at Peter waradan, they far outran the swiftest horses, and, brought the first news of the battle at Belgtrade." Agreeably to this Dr. Shaw assures' us, that the Sheekh that conducted him to Mount Sinai and rode upon a camel of this kind, would depart from the caravan where he was, “reconnoitre another just in view, and return in less than a quarter of an honr.” Even their messengers that run on foot with dispatches, move with amazing speed in Barbary, they will run one hundred and fifty miles in less than twenty-four hours; which is five times farther thần a camelcaravan goes in a day.”
With what energy then might Job say, ch. ix, 25, My days are swifter than a post,-instead | Lett. vol. 2, p. 75.
& P. 167. h Dr. Russell declares, (in a M$. note) that he never hcard of any thing like this, and suspects the account to be highly exaggerated. Edit.
of passing away with a slowness of motion like that of a caravan, my days of prosperity have disappeared with a swiftness like that of a messenger carrying dispatches, mounted on a dromedary.
The man of patience goes on, and complains, they are passed away as the swift ships. I shall not examine what commentators have conjectured concerning these ships of Ebeh, but would set down the remark of Sir J. Chardin on this place, which I read, I confess, with some surprise. His manuscript note is to this purpose : “Şenaut, in his paraphrase describes these as vessels laden with fruit, whose mariners, apprehensive of their lading being in danger of being spoiled, navigated them with all the sail they could make.” Sir John, on the contrary, “believes this to be a great error of that learned, eloquent writer, and that Job is speaking of boats carried by the stream, not by the wind, down the Tygris, which pass along with extreme rapidity. The image is formed from these boats, and from those of the Euphrates.”
Whatever may be the signification of the ships of Ebeh, vessels that move swiftly are certainly meant. Many writers have imagined the words are to be understood of the boats of the Nile, and particularly of those extremely light vessels made of the papyrus, of which Isaiah is supposed to speak, ch. xviii. 2. It is a happy thought in Chardin, I should apprehend, to refer the complaint of Job to the swift boats used in rivers near his own country, rather than to those of the Nile. God might be represented, in the close of the book, as adducing, in his expostulations with him, instances of his power from the ends of the earth, for he is Creator of universal nature; but it is more natural to refer the images used in the complaint of an Arab, made to his own countrymen, to things in or near that country, rather than to what passed in Egypt.
Be this, however, as it will, I cannot apprehend the supposition just, that those boats of antiquity, formed of the papyrus, moved with superior rapidity to other vessels. Things of so slight a texture cannot be imagined to cut their way in the water with any force; their moving against the stream must soon have demolished them, and their moving with the stream, but with a degree of celerity far greater than the water, must have produced the like effect. Their celerity then could not have been very great, since the Nile, if Dr. Perry be to be credited,k never moves with a rapidity greater than that of three miles an hour, which is not one-third faster than that of a common caravan-camel,”; “We have carefully examined,” says this author, “the degree or quantity of the Nile's current, at different seasons of the year; and though in the month of August, (the time of its inundation y it runs near three miles an hour, yet in the month of November it did not run above two iniles an hour; and in the months of April or May, no more than half a league.”
i If the stream moved with a rapidity marked out by the letter A, and the papyraceous boat with a superadded de. gree of velocity expressed by B, much more considerable than A, the whole velocity of the boat would be equal to A+B, and the resistance from the water the same thing, I imagine, as if the vessel moved in a stagnant lake with a force equal to B; which force, if considerable, must soon have destroyed so delicate a structure. And agrccably to this apprehension, their barques used now on the Nile are universally of sycamore, and those tender vessels no more made use of: at least I do not remember any modern tra. veller that has mentioned his having seen there any boats made of the papyrus.
Accordingly, when Dr. Perry went up the Nile, a run of about thirty leagues as he reckoned, cost him three days, though for two of them they had a fair and strong gale of wind. This was no more than a caravan pace, reckoning it at a medium. And Captain Norden was sixteen days sailing an hundred leagues up the Nile, or three hundred miles ; and if we suppose his barque was in motion but ten days out of the sixteen, and thirteen hours in the day, it was only caravan-pace. He was eleven days coming the same length of way down stream; so that he cannot be imagined, if we make great allowances for stopping, though he returned with the stream, to have come down, more than forty miles a day, which is no extraordinary rapidity. The cause of this might be the wind's being commonly in the North, consequently against his return; but so it generally
* P. 476.