Character Sketches of Romance Volume Iii Part 149

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_Duration of the Sleep._ The _Koran_ says it was "300 years and nine years over;" the _Oriental Tales_ say the same; but if Gregory of Tours is followed, the duration of the sleep was barely 230 years.

_The Legend of the Seven Sleepers._ (1) According to Gregory of Tours.

Gregory says they were seven n.o.ble youths of Ephesus, who fled in the Decian persecution to a cave in Mount Celion, the mouth of which was blocked up by stones. After 230 years they were discovered, and awoke, but died within a few days, and were taken in a large stone coffin to Ma.r.s.eilles. Visitors are still shown, in St. Victor's Church, the stone coffin.

If there is any truth at all in the legend, it amounts to this: In A.D.

250, some youths (three or seven) suffered martyrdom under the Emperor Decius, "fell asleep in the Lord," and were buried in a cave of Mount Celion. In 479 (the reign of Theodosius) their bodies were discovered, and, being consecrated as holy relics, were removed to Ma.r.s.eilles.

(2) According to the _Oriental Tales_. Six Grecian youths were slaves in the palace of Dakianos (_Decia.n.u.s_, _Decius_). This Dakianos had risen from low degrees to kingly honors, and gave himself out to be a G.o.d.

Jemlikha was led to doubt the divinity of his master, because he was unable to keep off a fly which persistently tormented him, and being roused to reflection, came to the conclusion that there must be a G.o.d to whom both Dakianos and the fly were subject. He communicated his thoughts to his companions, and they all fled from the Ephesian court till they met the shepherd Keschetiouch, whom they converted, and who showed them a cave, which no one but himself knew of. Here they fell asleep, and Dakianos, having discovered them, commanded the mouth of the cave to be closed up. Here the sleepers remained 309 years, at the expiration of which time they all awoke, but died a few hours afterwards.

_The Dog of the Seven Sleepers._ In the notes of the _Koran_, by Sale, the dog's name is Kratim, Kratimer, or Katmir. In the _Oriental Tales_ it is Catnier, which looks like a clerical blunder for Catmer, only it occurs frequently. It is one of the ten animals admitted into Mahomet's paradise. The _Koran_ tells us that the dog followed the seven young men into the cave, but they tried to drive him away, and even broke three of its legs with stones, when the dog said to them, "I love those who love G.o.d. Sleep, masters, and I will keep guard." In the _Oriental Tales_ the dog is made to say, "You go to seek G.o.d, but am not I also a child of G.o.d?" Hearing this, the young men were so astounded, they went immediately, and carried the dog into the cave.

_The Place of Sepulture of the Seven Sleepers._ Gregory of Tours tells us that the bodies were removed from Mount Celion in a stone coffin to Ma.r.s.eilles. The _Koran_, with Sale's notes, informs us they were buried in the cave, and a chapel was built there to mark the site. (See SLEEPER.)

_The Seven Sleepers turning on their sides._ William of Malmesbury says that Edward the Confessor, in his mind's eye, saw the seven sleepers turn from their right sides to their left, and (he adds) whenever they turn on their sides, it indicates great disasters to Christendom.

Woe, woe to England! I have seen a vision: The seven sleepers in the cave of Ephesus Have turned from right to left.

Tennyson, _Harold_, i. 1.

=Seven Wise Masters.= Lucien, the son of Dolopathos, was placed under the charge of Virgil, and was tempted in manhood by his step-mother. He repelled her advances, and she accused him to the king of taking liberties with her. By consulting the stars it was discovered that if he could tide over seven days his life would be spared; so seven wise masters undertook to tell the king a tale each, in ill.u.s.tration of rash judgments. When they had all told their tales, the prince related, under the disguise of a tale, the story of the queen's wantonness; whereupon Lucien was restored to favor, and the queen was put to death.--Sandabar, _Parables_ (contemporary with King Courou).

? John Rolland, of Dalkeith, has rendered this legend into Scotch verse.

There is an Arabic version by Nasr Allah (twelfth century), borrowed from the Indian by Sandabar. In the Hebrew version by Rabbi Joel (1270), the legend is called _Kalilah and Dimnah_.

=Seven Wise Men= (_The_).

One of Plutarch's _brochures_ in the _Moralia_ is ent.i.tled "The Banquet of the Seven Wise Men," in which Periander is made to give an account of a contest at Chalcis between Homer and Hesiod, in which the latter wins the prize, and receives a tripod, on which he caused to be engraved this inscription:

This Hesiod vows to the Heliconian nine, In Chalcis won from Homer the divine.

=Seven Wise Men of Greece= (_The_), seven Greeks of the sixth century B.C., noted for their maxims.

BIAS. His maxim was, "Most men are bad" ("There is none that doeth good, no, not one," _Psalm_ xiv. 3): ?? p?????? ?a???[TN-167] (fl. B.C. 550).

CHILO. "Consider the end:" ????? ???? a???? ??? (fl. B.C. 590).

CLEOBULOS. "Avoid extremes" (the golden mean): ???st?? ?t??? (fl. B.C.


PERIANDER. "Nothing is impossible to industry" (patience and perseverance overcome mountains): ?e??t? t? p?? (B.C. 665-585).

PITTACOS. "Know thy opportunity" (seize time by the forelock): ?a????

????? (B.C. 652-569).

SOLON. "Know thyself:" G???? sea?t?? (B.C. 638-558).

THALES (2 _syl._). "Suretys.h.i.+p is the forerunner of ruin." ("He that hateth suretys.h.i.+p is sure," _Prov._ xi. 15): ????a, p??a d? ?t? (B.C.


First Solon, who made the Athenian laws, While Chilo, in Sparta, was famed for his saws; In Miletos did Thales astronomy teach; Bias used in Priene his morals to preach; Cleobulos of Lindos, was handsome and wise; Mitylene, gainst thraldom saw Pittacos rise; Periander is said to have gained, thro' his court, The t.i.tle that Myson, the Chenian, ought.

? It is Plato who says that Myson should take the place of Periander as one of the Seven Wise Men.

=Seven Years.=

Barbarossa changes his position in his sleep every seven years.

Charlemagne starts in his chair from sleep every seven years.

Ogier, the Dane, stamps his iron mace on the floor every seven years.

Olaf Redbeard of Sweden uncloses his eyes every seven years.

=Seven Year's War= (_The_), the war maintained by Frederick II. of Prussia against Austria, Russia, and France (1756-1763).

=Seven Against Thebes= (_The_). At the death of dipus, his two sons, Eteocles and Polynices, agreed to reign alternate years, but at the expiration of the first year Eteocles refused to resign the crown to his brother. Whereupon, Polynices induced six others to join him in besieging Thebes, but the expedition was a failure. The names of the seven Grecian chiefs who marched against Thebes were: Adrastos, Amphiaraos, Kapaneus, Hippomedon (_Argives_), Parthenopaeos (_an Arcadian_), Polynices (_a Theban_), and Tydeus (_an aeolian_). (See EPIGONI.)

aeschylos has a tragedy on the subject.

=Severn=, a corruption of Averne, daughter of Astrild. The legend is this: King Locryn was engaged to Gwendolen, daughter of Corineus, but seeing Astrild (daughter of the king of Germany), who came to this island with Homber, king of Hungary, fell in love with her. While Corineus lived he durst not offend him, so he married Gwendolen, but kept Astrild as his mistress, and had by her a daughter (Averne). When Corineus died, he divorced Gwendolen, and declared Astrild queen, but Gwendolen summoned her va.s.sals, dethroned Locryn, and caused both Astrild and Averne to be cast into the river, ever since called Severn fron[TN-168] Averne "the kinges dohter."

=Sevier= (_Dr._), New Orleans physician. "His inner heart was all of flesh, but his demands for the rect.i.tude of mankind pointed out like the muzzles of cannon through the embrasures of his virtues." He befriends the struggling Richlings, setting John upon his feet time and again, and in his last illness, never leaving him until he goes out and closes the door upon the dying man, reunited to his wife and child. Dr. Sevier finds work for the widow, and educates little Alice, named for his own dead wife.

"And oh! when they two, who have never joined hands on this earth, go to meet John and Alice,--which G.o.d grant may be at one and the same time,--what weeping there will be among G.o.d'S poor!"--George W. Cable, _Dr. Sevier_ (1883).

=Sewall= (_Judge_) Colonial judge in Ma.s.sachusetts. He has left in his diary a circ.u.mstantial account of his courts.h.i.+p of Madam Winthrop, also a curious "confession" made by him in church of the "Guilt contracted upon the opening of the late Commission of Oyer and Terminer, at Salem."--_Sewall Papers_ (1697).

_Sewall_ (_Rev. Mr._). Boston clergyman, liberal in opinion, and large of heart. He counsels the Lapham parents in their family perplexities, and becomes the not-too-willing sponsor of Lemuel Barker, a rustic aspirant after literary honors.--W. L. Howells, _The Rise of Silas Lapham_ and _The Minister's Charge_.

=s.e.x.= Milton says that spirits can a.s.sume either s.e.x at pleasure, and Michael Psellus a.s.serts that demons can take what s.e.x, shape, and color they please, and can also contract or dilate their forms at pleasure.

For spirits when they please, Can either s.e.x a.s.sume, or both; so soft And uncompounded is their essence pure; Not tied or manacled with joint and limb, Nor founded on the brittle strength of bones, Like c.u.mbrous flesh.

_Paradise Lost_, i. 423, etc. (1665).

_s.e.x._ Caeneus and Tire'sias were at one part of their lives of the male s.e.x, and at another part of their lives of the female s.e.x. (See these names.)

Character Sketches of Romance Volume Iii Part 149

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Character Sketches of Romance Volume Iii Part 149 summary

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