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that wait on the bride. Every part of the marriage ceremony is thus viewed in a poetic light.f It would be difficult to find a more curious class of lyric poems than the marologia, or laments sung over the corpses of the dead. Unlike the verses repeated at nuptial festivities, which are nearly always of a stereotype form, the macrologia are the spontaneous product of the imagination in each particular case. The name seems to mean a lament over the fate of an individual. When the body of the deceased has been decently laid out upon a bed, ready to be carried to its last restingplace, the relatives and friends assemble round the lifeless remains, to take a last farewell of what they lately held so dear. Now they pour out their vain regrets. But the marologia are not mere expressions of feeling; they are chiefly made up of a history of the departed. If it be a woman, the survivors relate her fortunes, and dwell upon her beauty, her virtues, or her wealth. If a man, they celebrate his strength and courage, and the stratagems or treachery of his enemy. The wife not unfrequently reverts to the time of her betrothal, and tells the story of her married life. In one, when a husband had been basely murdered by those whom he had entertained under his own roof, the indignant widow exclaims: “Fire and poison may that bread and wine become which they ate and drank; for instead of bread they gave him a ball, and the wine became like powder.” In this recital, the faults of the dead are not unfrequently set forth as prominently as his excellences. The speakers are mostly of the female sex, while the men are passive spectators. Some women have enjoyed a great reputation for their wonderful facility in this sort of improvising. The heartless practice of hiring mourners is, however, I believe, confined to Asiatic Greece. Yet it is no uncommon occurrence for a perfect stranger to step into the sad circle of friends, and, addressing the corpse as if he could hear, beg him to carry some message to departed friends. The tidings thus intrusted to the soul, which, it is imagined, has not yet * In a pamphlet giving an account of the forms accompanying the
marriage rite, I find no less than twenty-six pieces of poetry, to be repeated at as many different stages of the ceremony.
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commenced its journey to the nether world, relate to those matters which here interested it most—to family events, or to the success or reverses of domestic feuds. So important has the recital of the marologia come to be regarded, that in some places, when a person has died in a foreign land, these songs are addressed to a figure that personates him, extended on a funeral bed. Of a character entirely different are the religious poems, in which the most striking historical passages of Holy Writ are represented in dramatic form. The “Mirror for Women” is a thick volume containing a large number of these pieces, wherein various Scriptural characters are held up as models for imitation, or as warnings to the female sex. More celebrated than any of these is the “Sacrifice of Abraham”—a drama, as has been truly remarked, “full of touches of most natural pathos.” The style is easy, and the language makes no pretension to classic elegance. It is, indeed, just such a composition as the most illiterate can read with entertainment and profit. Although written no later, certainly, than the last century, it has retained its hold on the people, and has been reprinted within a few years. In this brief description of some of the kinds of popular poetry, allusion has been made to prevalent superstitions whose existence they indicate. There are others equally curious. Charon no longer appears as the ancient ferryman of the Styx; but has usurped the place of Mercury, and figures as conductor of the dead. Every object, both animate and inanimate, is supposed to be guarded by a spirit. The plague is personified as a blind old woman, groping along the sides of walls. The small-pox, that fearful curse of the poor man's hovel, is represented as a fury: but the same fear that led the ancients to forbear uttering words of ill omen, lest they should provoke the ire of evil spirits, induces the modern peasant to call her “eulogia”—the blessing. It is a noteworthy fact that, while the attention of the modern Greeks has naturally been bestowed mainly on those treasures of ancient lore which constitute their lawful patrimony, it has not been altogether withdrawn from their own popular ballads, in which so much of recent history, and of
customs that are fast becoming extinct, is recorded. Mr. Fauriel's work, in the French · language, was the first to awaken general interest on the subject. His preliminary remarks
upon the habits of the klefts, and the nature of the ballads relating to their exploits, are as yet unsurpassed. Since then there have been published numerous collections, and now not a year passes without fresh additions to this interesting department of literature.*
* Four collections of ballads are before me, published in Athens alone, between 1835 and 1848; and there are doubtless many more. A young writer, Mr. Lelekos, commenced in 1852 a serial containing a considerable number of interesting pieces connected with the manners and customs of the people. More recently, a native of Laconia, in a pamphlet of 40 pages, published a metrical description of his country written at the close of the 18th century, and ten interesting mærologia, a species of poetry which, from its ephemeral character, has until now seldom found its way into print. Perhaps the best collection of kleftic songs is to be found in the “Demotic Songs” of S. Zampelios of Corfu, who has prefixed six hundred pages of learned disquisition on the state of the Greek race in the Middle Ages.
FRIDAY, the 5th of March (New Style) 1852, was the day set for the trial of Dr. King, before the Criminal Court of Athens, on the charge of reviling, the Greek Church. The incessant clamors of the newspaper AEon, the organ of the Russian party, had finally induced the king's attorney to institute a prosecution against the foreign missionary: and the opponents of religious liberty already exulted in view of their approaching triumph. On the preceding day, a friend of Dr. King had brought to him a small printed hand-bill, which, he said, was being industriously circulated through the city, and posted along the streets, with the evident purpose of inciting the people to acts of violence toward Dr. King. It read as follows:
“To-morrow, Friday, the 22d of February (Old Style), the famous false apostle, Jonas King, will at last be tried before
the Criminal Court of Athens. Accordingly, as many Christloving people as desire to be present at this curious trial may attend the said court at ten o'clock A.M., and hear the false apostle convicted of the foolish babblings he has uttered against the Mother of God, the Saints, the Images, and, in a word, all the Sacraments, Doctrines, and Traditions of our Holy Church.” In consequence of this notice, a demand was made of the police for additional protection on the day of the trial. The first token of the requisition was the appearance of a detachment of four police-officers at the gate of the Consulate early on Friday morning. They had come to attend and protect Dr. King on his way to the court-room. After a short season of prayer with his family, he expressed his readiness to go. I walked with him, while his young son followed, under the care of the faithful man-servant, old Barba Constantinos. Two of the most prominent lawyers of Athens had been retained as counsel. We took the house of one of them on our way. Mr. Pelicas was waiting to escort us. He was a small man, with fine features and an intellectual countenance, esteemed to be one of the most upright members of the Athenian bar, and at this time professor of law, and Prytanis (or President) of the University of Otho. The king's attorney had proposed to Mr. Pelicas that Dr. King should wait at his house until sent for; but the missionary determined to be present, at all events, at the appointed time. The Criminal Court held its sessions in an old building at the corner of Athena Street and a small lane. The lane, from which access was gained by a broad flight of steps to the court-room, was already crowded with old and young; but no disturbance occurred on our arrival. The chief of police, who was rather friendly to Dr. King, had detached a number of policemen, armed with musket and bayonet; and presently that individual came in person. The more fanatical part of the assemblage had already found their way into the court-room, and were impatiently awaiting the process. The space allotted to the audience was crowded to
its utmost capacity, and here and there appeared the black coat and cap of a priest.