The Reliquary Volume 18 Page 103

The Reliquary Volume 18 Page 103 is in The Reliquary.

On Arbor Low [Map] V by William Henry Goss.

Some Fergussonian archaeologists seem to expect of me that I should furnish data rather than mere arguments, in combatting the theory of the Arthurian origin of the stone circles, and supporting and strengthening, not a new theory of my own, but that older hypothesis which has been held by numerous most learned and sage students of the matter in and from olden times. And yet there are no positive data whatever in the world wherewith to lift either hypothesis into the region of demonstrated facts. The utmost one can do is to collect glimpses of the past as revealed to us by archaic vestiges and history, pre-Roman and post-Roman, and see into which era these rude monuments most consistently fit. This I have been doing, and have, I think, shown that the rude circles in no wise fit a post-Roman period of literature and architecture in this land, while they most consistently fit rude, letterless, and, comparatively, toolless antiquity. The reasoning which I have already used is too elaborate for recapitulation, and those who would weigh it must turn back to the previous chapters "On Arbor Low." In assigning these monuments to pre-literary times, I place them beyond the companionship of all data ; and the assignment is fortified by the fact that there are no data whatever known respecting them. It is for those who assign to them an origin, and -an important origin, as mementos of great national events in historical — and, comparatively, modern historical — times, to furnish data; because, in that case, data there should be. Its absence is very damaging to the Arthurian theory ; but to the more archaic theory, as I have already said, it adds strength. To furnish data in support of what I claim to belong to a dataless age, would be like writing "Pre-historic Annuls " of something. But, as to the Arthurian theory, is it probable that King Arthur, a comparatively modern hero, two thousand years later than Cecrops, and four thousand years later than Cheops, not to count a few centuries more, should have left no records, no archives, no vestiges, not a scrap of an inscription, or chapter of contemporaneous history respecting his circles, which circles, however, are only his work by one man's guess-work of yesterday. It is not to be supposed that his majesty. King Arthur, took with him all the archives of his reign and realm to that last fatal battle-field, where the enemy. Sir Mordred, met him with a hundred thousand warriors, and on which battle-field at the close of the day Sir Mordred alone survived of all his hundred thousand ; and on the side of King Arthur only the king himself and two of his knights. Sir Lucan, and Sir Bevedere, "and they were right sore wounded." What a carnage for one day and one field ! If equally matched there would be two hundred thousand slain, and all without the aid of a single gun. There is no record that the king, when he afterwards discovered Sir Mordred alive and slew him, getting wounded himself in so doing, took any luggage with him when Sir Bevedere took his majesty on his back "and so went with him to the water's side ; and, when they were at the water's side, even fast by the bank hoved a little barge, with many fair ladies in it : and among them all was a queen, and all they had black hoods; and they wept and shrieked when they saw king Arthur." When Sir Belvedere had placed the king in the barge softly, "there received him three queens with great mourning ; and so these three queens sat them down, and in one of their laps King Arthur laid his head. And then that queen said, 'Ah! dear brother, why have ye tarried so long from me? Alas! this wound on your head has taken over much cold.' And so they rowed from the land." "But evermore the queens and the ladies wept and shrieked, that it was pitiful for to hear them." There is nothing here to show that king Arthur carried away with him, in that his last adventure in the boat, all the data of his reign. But, further on. Sir Thomas Maleor speaks of an inscription ; so here is a record of a record after all. He says, " Some men yet say, in many parts of England, that King Arthur is not dead ; but by the will of our Lord Jesu Christ, into another place : and men say, that he will come again, and he shall win the holy cross. I will not say that it shall be so ; but rather I will say, that here in this world he clianged his life. But many men say that there is written upon his tomb this verse

Hie jacet Arthurus rex quondam, rex futurus."