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ON THE WATCH TOWER, Issue 15677, 16 December 1914
ON THE WATCH TOWER
[By Abibl.] Some time ago I pointed out how ominous wero the names of the threo cruisers Cressy. Hogue, and Aboukir—three great English victories, all gone to the bottom. Cressy is in tho region now so strenuously defended by tho Allies, about 40 miles in our rear, ,-Cape Hoguo is in the Channel, and the old battlo meant'our mastery of the narrow,, sea. Aboukir stood for our influence in, the East, especially in tho Mohammedan world. Then came the loss of the Good Hopo in battle. Tho Cape fairly stands for South Africa. Here were four ominous names, and the enemy had it in their plans to make good tho omens. Cressy and Calais would have gone together, and with them the Channel. The Boer rebellion and the Turkish war threatened to fulfil the rest of tho omens. But the hour of darkness has passed; tho threats have failed, and the enemy have now to look to thcmeelvc6. They have to get away from the YjnTes region and leave the mastery of the Channel where it is. Their Turkish, schemes have brought Kuj mania and Bulgaria to a decision, and will tighten our grip on Egypt; while the putj ting down of the rebellion by the Boers themselves is a new glory to "' sham Empire," and makes the low "of German South Africa pretty certain. The very people who, if they had been lot alone, would probably have resented our attacking that German colony are now red-hot to attack it themselves. The wicked havo digged a pit, and have fallen into it. ******* Now I have another set of omens which, I fancy, have a bettor chance than those just jiamod of being realised. Tho foreboding names are Falkland, Scharnhorst, Gneisnau, Leipsig, and Nurnberg. The Falkland Islands are tho most remote of British colonies. They abound in excellent harbors, and though not used yet in world strategy they aro the key of two great oceans. They aro the Gibraltar or the Heligoland of tho Southern Pacific and Southern Atlantic. They wero taken 140 years ago with a view to their value for dominating the passage of the Horn. One day the Empire will make a stronghold there. Meantime the omen shows that the islands are not a place of safety for our 'enemies, but 'if anyone is to coal there, it must be ourselves. Scharnhorst was tho patriotic statesman who stirred Germany to cast off the yoke of Napoleon, and who introduced the short service svstem bv which Prussia prepared 180,000 men for the final struggle in 1813. He represents, in fact, the Prussian universal service, which in its later developments has been such a curse to the world. Well, the Scharnhorst is smashed and sunk in a "still vexed sea." Gneisenau was the general who supplied brains to the tough old Blucher from 1813 to Waterloo. He is universally admitted to have represented Prussian strategy in that great crisis. Well, the Gneisenau keeps company with the Scharnhorst a hundred fathoms low, Leipzig was the scene of the " Battle of the Nations " in 1813, in which Napoleon wa,s defeated and hurled headlong back into France. That battle really led to the first Prussian occupation of Paris in 1814. As we know, the badges bearing the legend "Paris, 1814-1914," were all ready; but now the Leipzig has also gone to Davy Jones, and so has the occupation of Paris. Nurnberg, the old Bavarian city, was one of the earliest possessions of the Hohenzollerns, and is tho most typical medieval German city—tho German Louvain, in fact. The Nurnberg has gone, too. I leave the omen to the Kaiser.
****** * Dear "Ariel," —I was hasty and impatient when our ships were lost off Chile. I seemed to see the trident slipping from our grasp. I thought we had fallen into the hands of incompetents and bunglers, and woidd have to hide our diminished heads. I take it all back, and am once more proud to be an Englishman. The meteor flag of England Shall still terrific burn, Till danger's troubled night depart, And the star of peace return. —Anxious. I am with you, my friend, hand and heart. I almost forgot to vote over it. I wanted to shout and wave a flag. Mafficking was a trifle to the relief of heart strain that our Sturdee tars brought us. " Sturdee !" There is another omen. Our men are sturdy hearts of oak still, God bless them! surely we. ought to have come civic rejoicing over this deliverance. It restores to us our great heritage in tho pathways of the sea. It takes away a deep feeling of humiliation that we" all suffered. Ave have risen in our might and simply skelped the impudent intruders on our domain. We, have dashed to atoms the pride and the boasting of the insulting foe. We thunder from the ends of tho earth, "Come out and fight, ve admirals of 'the Atlantic, who would wield the trident; come out!" All tho same, your poet Campbell, no less, should not expect the star to return when the night has departed. ******* There arc a lot of names likely to become historical and to be often mentioned in recent events. I bear many ghastly attempts to pronounce them, oven among the educated. Pardon, therefore, a few hints on tho matter. Scharnhorst is Sharn-horst, rhyming with "darn horse'd," but with a good Scotch roll on the two " r's," and a little extra hiss on the " Sh." Gneisenau is simply " nigh-sen-(h)ow." not sounding the " hj," of course. Leipzig has its first syllable like "lie" with the "p" on the end, as if it were " Lipe" rhyming with "pipe." The " z " is sounded like " ts " and the "g" like a Scotch " ch," in " licht." If you can pronounce " licht," just drop tho " t," and you have the sound of the "ig." In Nurnberg sound the first syllable "Noorn," not forgetting to trill tho " r." Liege may be pronounced " Leo-ayzh," but it will not be a display of ignoranco to call it simply " Leege'' as in "my liege." .The name in German is Luettich, and a foreigner may pronounce " Lue " as "Leo." The "e" following the "u" represents the two dots over the latter. German " u's " so dotted may bo pronounced as " ee," which is the nearest English sound. Tho Outlanders called President Krugor " Kreer" or " Kree-er," but that was because they could not sound the " g" as explained above, and as our own " gh's, ' now silent, were once sounded. Ypres. is not "Eye-press," but simply "Eep." We have to pay the penalty in these names of having the schoolmaster abroad. When we possessed Calais our ancestors boldly called it " Cay-liss," but now "trait" is "tray," and "valet" is " valay." I have even heard a graduate in English talk of Butler's famous poem as " Hudibraa," but many rhymes in the poem itself show- that it is " Hu-di-brass." ******* The Prophecy of Brother Johannes, which has appeared in tho ' Evening Standard ' and other English papers, and is alleged to have been first printed in the ' Figaro,' is a clever production, and deceives the credulous by tho thousand. A clergyman, a lawyer, nnd a banker all told me of it with bated breath in one afternoon. I find that the account of Brother Johannes ie suitably vag-ie. He is believed to have been a French rumk of the sixteenth century, and :rs Lai.'n prophecy was found among the pat ers of a deceased gentleman, who is believed to have obtained it from a priest who had it from a monk who lived to a great age, etc. The prophecy contains 34 short paragraphs, like verses of Scripture. It is a detailed description of Antichrist and his methods and of the tokens by which he can be recognised. "2. The veritable Antichrist will be one of the raon*rchi »f hii tim«, * »on of Luther; he will fnvek* <Jh»d »nd c*ll himself hi» mMinnr. 3. The Prinoe «f Li«« will •wear by th* Bible. . . . 4. H« will only have one arm. ... 5. For a long time he ■will, act by ruse and treason; his spies will spread over the earth, and he will be master of the secrets of those in power. ... 8. Tha war will call to arms all Christians and Mohammedans, and even other very distant peoples. Atmies will be formed in the four parts of k the world. • • ,* 12. .Ha will die
cursed by Pope Benedictus; 13. Priests and monks will fight. 15. The cock, tho leopard, and the white eagle would not suffice to' overcome the black eagle if they wore not helped by the prayers of the human race. 18. Near the year 2.000 Antichrist will appear. His armies will siirpaas anything hcrcbefore imagined. . , . 19. The heavens, the earth, tho water, and the air will be red. 20. The cock would be annihilated but for the help of the leopard. 21. The black eagle will surprise the cock, coming by another side. ... 23. Tho whito eagle (Russia) will surprise tho black eagle. . . . 23. The black eagle will bo forced to leave the cock to fight the white eagle. 24. All former battles will bo small in •comparison. 26. Rivers will be crossed over masses of dead 'bodies. 27. Antichrist will several times ask for peace . . . hut he must be crushed like straw on the threshing floor. 31. The Antichrist will lose his crown and will die demented and alone. His empire will be divided into 22 iStates having neither royal house, nor army, nor ships. 32. The white eagle will drive tho crescent from Europe"—and they will live happily ever afterwards. if ***** » It ought to be perfectly obvious that this is only history written backwards. Its minute accuracy gives it away, whilo the style might be sworn to as not a translation from Latin. Yet add but the useless religious verbiage that I have dropped, put in a few mystical clauses that nobody can understand, and add a clever introduction about monks, monasteries, and manuscripts, and almost the very elect aro deceived. The sympathies of the writer aro distinctly English, though he tries to coyer up his tracks. His several references to Luther all lack the spirit of the sixteenth contury. Indeed, the thing, though clever, is beneath criticism in any serious way. Yet thousands are anxious to believe it, and look upon it with a kind of religious awe. Thirty years ago the alleged prophecies of Mother Shipton, of the fourteenth century I think, had their anxious believers. Thoso predictions set forth in doggerel rhyme that carriages without horses shall go, and the Princess Royal will marry the Prussian prince, and after similar trifles as an introduction, and a ground for credulity, the prophecy ended with i The world then to an end shall come In eighteen hundred and eighty-one. There were not a few serious people whoso critical faculties wero not sufficient to enable them to cast such rubbish to the wind. "If she foresaw the railway, why not the end of the world ?" seemed to them a final poser. The author of the. forgery confessed long before the date fixed for the end of the M-orld, but not many noticed him. He had done it to earn a few shillings. The. forger of Brother Johannes is in the same box, and yet. the ' Evening .Standard ' has had to print his predictions three times over. ******* The history of literary forgery is quite an extensive one, and it seems that the practice has had a special affinity for religious and semi-religious matters". In the earlier ages epistles, decretals, and histories wore produced at need, and no one. seems to have thought it wrong to write what he believed ought to have been written by an earlier age. Perhaps tho most influential forgery in English was the collection of prayers and meditations attributed to Charles I. It was called 'Eikon Basilike,' the portraiture of the King, and was written by a chaplain whose soul was ploughed by the tragedy of the. time. The public took it as being indeed the picture of the pure soul of the King, and that belief had much io do with keeping the "martyr" in countenance in tho Church and with rcstor- j ing his family to the Throne. In the world of literature, apart from religion, j the forgeries of Chattorton are tho most j remarkable. Chattcrlon, as a mere youth, I had a poetic gift such as no other of his years had displayed : but not being able to command a market in his own name, he pretended to find the poems of "Rowley."' a moidc of the fifteenth century, in an old chest in a belfry. He studied the ancient spelling in a black-letter Bible, and used that with monstrous spellings of his own ; but he did not catch tho diction of the past, his style being' quite modern. His discoveries were, however, received wkh applause even by the learned. The spelling, though incorrect, deceived them. Stripped of its ridiculous disguise, here is one of his stanzas : Come with acorn cup and thorn. Drain my heart's blood all away; Life and all its good I scorn. Dance by night, or feast by day. My love is dead, Gone to his death-bed. All under the. willow-tree. The one. little word "its" was enough to show- an expert that the lines wore not written till more, than two centuries after ; their pretended date. lie should havo written " his " or " her," for " its " occurs only once in the Bible and but three times in Shakespeare, and was not established even in Milton's time, who writes : His form had not yet lost All her original brightness.
ON THE WATCH TOWER, Issue 15677, 16 December 1914
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