« VorigeDoorgaan »
HISTORIC and LOCAL
NEW BATH GUIDE.
The Fabulous Account of the Origin of Bath.
THE medicinal waters of the City of Bath, have induced
the Monkish writers to let fancy rove uncontrouled, in search of a Fable, that may give the discovery of them, and the founding of the City, a higher antiquity than perhaps, they can justly claim; thinking that no tradition could carry conviction with it, unless its origin sprung from miracles, pious kings, or renowned heroes in exile. To this end, they figure to themselves a learned Prince infected with a loathsome disease, banished from his royal parents; after wandering some time, reduced to the necessity of becoming servant to a swincherd, and then to be the founder of Bath, and the first discoverer of the healing virtues of its waters. Thus substituting fiction for reality, they intended to impose on posterity,as authentic history, what a wild imagination suggested.
Before the time of the Romans, the religion of the Britains formed a principal part of their Government. The Druids (who were the guardians of it, and the writers of those days), possessed great authority among them. The austerity of their manners, and simplicity of their lives, impressed ignorance with an admiration of their supposed sanctity. They lived in woods, caves, and hollow trees; their food was acorns and berries, their drink water; by these arts, they were
paid a respect to by the people that bordered on adoration. It is evident then, that whatever such men as these were pleased to say, was received with avidity by those who revered them, and whom they partly governed; but to find that succeeding generations would give credit to such legendary tales, is a matter of surprize to the present enlightened age.
From Mr Wood's History of Bath, who extracted it from Mr. Camden's Brittannia we here subjoin the fabulous History of this City and its renowned author King Bladud. To this end, the reader's attention must be directed to the rambles of Brutus, with whose adventures Bladud is connected; being according to the account delivered us, the ninth in descent from the great grandson of Æneas.*
"Whilst the mother of Brutus was with child of him, his grandfather Ascanius, the son of the famous Æneas, commanded his magicians to consult of what sex the damsel had conceived. Satisfied of the event, they told him she was big of a boy, who would kill his father and mother; and, after travelling over many countries, would at last arrive at the highest pitch of glory. Nor were they mistaken in their prediction, for at the time of travail the woman brought forth a son, and died at his birth, but the child having been delivered to a nurse, and called Brutus, he, after the expiration of fifteen years. accompanied his father Sylvius in hunting, killed him undesignedly by the shot of an arrow; for which heineous act his kinsmen were so enraged, that they forthwith expelled him Italy,
"Thus banished, Brutus flew into Greece; and finding the posterity of Helenus, son of Priam, kept in slavery by Pandrasus, King of the Grecians he undertook to be their General, and free them from their servitude. This he soon accompisked; for having defeated the Grecian army, and taken the
* Dr. Jozes, in his "Bathes of Bathes Ayde," gives Bladud a much higher antiquity, making him the thirtieth person in a direct line from AHi Book is a curious work, bearing the following title: "The Bathes of Bathes Ayde; wonderfull and most excellent agaynst very many sicknesses: approved by authoritie; confirmed by reason: and *dayley tried by experience: with the antiquitie, commoditie, property, knowledge, use, aphorisms, diet, medicine, and other thinges, there to be considered and observed. Compendiously compiled by John Jones, phisitian, anno salutis 1572, at Aspple-Hall, besides Nottingham. Print ed at London, for William Jones, 13 Maii.
King prisoner, Pandrasus, to save his own life, not only gave his eldest daughter Ignoge in marriage to Brutus, but permitted the Trojans to leave his kingdom, giving them gold, silver, ships, corn, wine, oil and whatever they found necessary for their voyage to another country.
The Trojans, thus released, forthwith embarked in a fleet consiting of three hundred and twenty four ships, laden with all manner of provisions, and setting sail with a fair wind, in two days and a night they arrived at an island called Laogecia. Brutus, desirous to know who inhabited it, sent three hundred armed men ashore for that purpose; who, returning to their ships, reported that there was no human creature to be met with, but that they had found a desolate city, wherein there was a temple of Diana, with a statue of the goddess in it, which gave answers to those who came to consult her.
"The Trojans, though pleased with this account, were so far from seizing upon the island, that they thought it expedient to consult the oracle, and let the goddess determine what country was allotted them for their place of settlement. To this end, Brutus was advised to go to the city, and address the deity of the place, which he consented to do; and being attended by Gerion the augur, and twelve of the ancientest men, he set forward to the temple, with all things necessary, to invoke the goddess by sacrifice to return him an answer to the following question:
"Goddess of woods! tremendous in the chace,
"Brutus reposing himself before the altar, and falling into a deep sleep, the goddess seemed to present herself before him, and thus deliver her answer to the hero's question:
"Brutus! there lies beyond the Gallic bounds
"Which time shall ne'er destroy, nor bounds confine,"
"Gerion and the elders were so rejoiced with this answer, that they urged Brutus to return to the fleet, and while the wind favoured them, to hasten their voyage towards the west in pursuit of what the goddess had disclosed. Without delay, therefore, they re-imbarked, and setting sail, a course of thirty days brought them to Africa, from whence they proceeded to the Philenean altars, and to a place called Salina; and sailing afterwards between Ruscidada and the mountains of Azara, they there fell among the Pirates, whom they fortunately vanquished, enriching themselves with their spoils. After this, passing the river Malua, they arrived at Mauritania, where the want of provisions obliged them to go on shore, and lay the whole country in waste, to store their ships; which they had no sooner done, than they steered to Hercules's Pillars, but with the utmost peril of their lives; for some of the seamonsters called Syrens surrounded their ships, and were near overturning them.
"Escaping this danger, they came to the Tyrrhenian sea, upon the shores of which they found four several nations descended from the banished Trojans, that had accompanied Antenor in his flight; and these people having been headed by a person whose name was Corineus, they readily joined themselves with Brutus. So that the whole body of Trojans pursuing their voyage, they next arrived at Aquitain; and entering the mouth of the Loire, there cast anchor and spent seven days in viewing the country.
"Goffarius Pictus being then king of Aquitain, he was vastly alarmed at the arrival of a foreign people with so great a fleet upon his coasts; and a war immediately commencing between them, Brutus soon routed the King, destroyed Aquitain with fire and sword, and enriched himself with the treasures that were hidden in the cities burnt by him.
"In the midst of this destruction, Brutus coming to a convenient place for a camp, forthwith pitched one at it, the bet-ter to enable hind to give battle, a second time, to Goffarius and the twelve princes of Gaul, who had all joined their forces against hii; and in two days after the Camp was.completed, Brutus, in a pitched battle, gained a complete victory over the united force of the Gauls and Aquitains.
"In this battle, his nephew Turonus was slain, and from him the city of Tours derived its name because he was buried.there. This city was built where Brutus had pitched his camp. The
success of this battle gave Brutus a pretence for an honourable retreat from the continent, to go in quest of the island which the goddess had pointed out to him; so that repairing to the fleet, and lading it with the riches and precious spoils he had gotten, he, without any further delay, set sail with a fair wind towards the promised island, and the first place he arrived at was the shore of Totness.
"Albion was the name which the promised island then bore, and Brutus landing upon it, found that it was inhabited by none but giants: he was nevertheless willing to fix his habitation in it, being allured thereunto by the pleasant situation of places, by the plenty of rivers, and by the engaging prospect of woods; so that dividing the country among his company, and Corineus taking Cornwall for his share,*they began to till the ground, and to build houses; the giants every where flying from them, and retreating to the caves in the mountains.
When this was done, Brutus resolved upon erecting a city, and in order to it travelled through the land to find out a convenient situation, and coming to the River Thames, he walked along the shore, and at last pitched upon a place very fit for his purpose. Here therefore he built a city, to which he gave the name of New Troy, and having made choice of the citizens that were to inhabit it, prescribed them laws for their able government.
"During these transactions Brutus had by his wife Ignoge three sons, whom he named Locrin, Albanact, and Camber; and the King dying in the twenty-fourth year after his arrival
This province received its name from the redoubtable companion and fellow-adventurer of Brutus, who acquired it by overcoming its Prince, the mighty Gogmagog, in the field of battle.
A grete clerke come with him also,
He was a gyant of grete strength;
And X fote from the elbow to the honde;
Aud XX fote in breade (breadth) in hym were fownde.