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people in the world. It appears from Scripture this has always been their character. One may say of them in all ages that which David did, They bless with their mouths, but they curse inwardly. .
How noble the expressions as well as the postures of Eastern salutation ! but how unhappy that the tongue and the heart are at such variance ! This account, however, explains the ground on which the Scriptures so often call the salutations and farewells of the East by the term blessing.
Sometimes the Inferior mentions himself before the
Person he intends to honour.
Full of reverence as the Eastern addresses are, and especially of those to the great, in some points they are not so scrupulous as we are in the West. An inferior's mentioning himself before he names his superior is an instance of this kind.
Every body knows in how odious a light Cardinal Wolsey's naming himself before his king, Ego et Rex meus, appeared in England, in the sixteenth century. It was thought the most consummate arrogance; nevertheless Sir J. Chardin assures us it is customary among the
Persians, for the speaker to name himself first.
He mentions this in one of his MSS. as illustrating 1 Sam. xxiv. 12. The LORD judge between me and thee. David spoke after this, manner to Saul, and that when he treated that prince with great reverence: David stooped with his face to the earth, and bowed himself, says the eighth verse. Gen. xxiii. 15, compared with verse 6, is another instance of it. David's mentioning himself first therefore, when speaking to Saul, marks out no insolence in him ; it was on the contrary perfectly agreeable to the modern ceremonial of Eastern courts, at least to that of Persia.
Prostrations, and kissing the Feet sometimes practised
in the East.
I HAVE been supposing that the falling down at a person's feet signifies kissing his feet, which, according to Dr. Shaw, is a way of expressing respect among the present Arabs; but I am not sure that this is perfectly exact : there is an Eastern way of complimenting, not precisely the same, though very near akin to it, which very possibly may be referred to in some of those passages I mentioned. But if it should, it makes no alteration of importance : accuracy, how
ever, requires me to take notice of it. What is more, it is necessary to the explaining some other passages.
Pabous uwyol is a Persian word, which signifies kissing the fect, a cereinony very ancient in Persia, for it was instituted by its first king, as a mark, not only of the reverence to be paid kings by their subjects, but of the taking the oath of fidelity and homage by vassal or feudatory princes to their sovereigns. This ceremony was afterwards changed as to subjects of lower rank, into kissing the ground in the presence of their princes : this the Persians in their language call, 0-4; $9, Rouee zomeen, which signifies the face to the earth; and that of kissing the feet was reserved for strangers, and subjects of the highest quality.
It seems however that this limited use of kissing the ground, which d'Herbelot speaks of, did not always continue, since he tells us, that Mohammed Kothbeddin, the Khouarezmian, who succeeded his father in the year of our Lord 1199, was installed in the throne of his ancestors by his great lords, who took the oath of fidelity to him, and paid him due homage. This ceremony was called in the Persian language, which the Khouarezmians made use of,
روی زمین ,and Toutee taneen بوس زمین ,b00s 1emteel
دادن e To these forms may be added
dumen boos daden, to kiss the hem of the garment; a custom also among the Persians.-From the Persian moun boos, probably our buss, a kiss, is derived.. Edit.
that is, kissing the earth, and the face to the earth; because, according to the ancient Persian custom, which continues to this day, homage was paid to their sovereign by kissing the earth, . or touching it with their foreheads in their presence..
I will not attempt to cite every passage of d’Herbelot which makes mention of this ceremony; but I must by no means omit a very remarkable account relating to it,' in which he describes the behaviour of an Eastern prince toward his conqueror. This prince, he says, threw himself one day on the ground, and kissed the prints that his victorious enemy's horse had made there, reciting some verses in Persian which he had composed, to this effect: • The mark that the foot of your horse has
left upon the dust, serves me now for a
crown. “ The ring which I wear as the badge of my
slavery, is become my richest ornament. " While I shall have the happiness to kiss
the dust of your feet, I shall think that fortune favours me with its tenderest, ca
resses, and its sweetest kisses." This flattery, was so well received by the conqueror, who was a very vain-glorious prince, and fond of adulation, that from that time forward he would always have the unfortunate prince near him ; and he so well improved that favourable circumstance as at length to obtain
his liberty, and a little after his entire re-establishment.
We may see, I think, in these fragments of oriental history, that kissing the feet and lying prostrate in the dust before a person, are not merely expressions of reverence, but also, which is not so well known, of vassalage; and kissing the earth, of the most abject vassalage, sometimes arising from the low rank of those that paid the homage, and sometimes arising from dejection and adulation.
When then the Psalmist says, Ps. lxxï 8, 9, He shall have dominion from sea to sea, and from the river to the end of the earth; he marks out extent of empire; when he adds, they that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him, it would be extremely wrong to suppose, he is only specifying one particular part of that extensive authority he had before expressed in general terms, for he greatly enlarges the thought, it is equivalent to saying, “ the wild Arabs, that the greatest conqueror could never tame, shall bow before him, or become his vassals;" nay, his enemies, and consequentlythese Arabs, among the rest,“ shall lick the dust," or court him with the most abject submissions.
Conquered princes themselves, we see in d'Herbelot, have actually prostrated themselves in the dust before their victors : and therefore the expressions of Isaiah, ch. xlix. 23, Kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their Queens thy nursing mothers : they shall bow down to