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pose essentially useful. This is intended as an apology another denomination of nard ; and the physician, who for the pains which have been taken to procure a de- produced that authority, brought, as a specimen of terminate answer to a question of no apparent utility, sumbul, the very same drug, which my pandit, who but which ought to be readily answered in India. is also a physician, brought as a specimen of the ja
What is Indian spikenard?” All agree, that it is an tamansi: a brahman of eminent learning gave me a odoriferous plant, the best sort of which, according parcel of the same sort, and told me that it was used to Ptolemy, grew about Rangamritica or Rangamati, in their sacrifices; that, when fresh, it was exquisiteand on the borders of the country now called Butan: ly sweet, and added much to the scent of rich esit is mentioned by Dioscorides, whose work I have sences, in which it was a principal ingredient; that not in my possession; but his description of it must the merchants brought it from the mountainous counbe very imperfect, since neither Linnæus nor his dis- try to the northeast of Bengal; that it was the entire ciples pretend to class it.
plant, not a part of it, and received its Sanscrit names " In order to procure information from the learned from its resemblance to locks of hair ; as it is called natives, it was necessary to know the name of the spikenard, I suppose from its resemblance to a spike, plant in some Asiatic language. The very word when it is dried, and not from the configuration of its nard occurs in the Song of Solomon; but the name flowers, which the Greeks probably never examined. and the thing were both exotic: the Hebrew lexicog- The Persian author describes the whole plant as reraphers imagine both to be Indian; but the word is sembling the tail of an ermine; and the jatamansi, in truth Persian.
which is manifestly the spikenard of our druggists, “ The Arabs have borrowed the word nard, but in has precisely that form, consisting of withered stalks the sense, as we learn from the Kamus, of a com and ribs of leaves, cohering in a bundle of yellowish pound medicinal unguent. Whatever it signified in brown capillary fibres, and constituting a spike about old Persian, the Arabic word sumbul, which, like the size of a small finger. We may on the whole be sumbalah means an ear or spike, has long been sub- assured, that the nardus of Ptolemy, the Indian sumstituted for it; and there can be no doubt, that by the bul of the Persians and Arabs, the jalamansi of the sumbul of India the Mussulmen understand the same Hindoos, and the spikenard of our shops, are one and plant with the nard of Ptolemy and the nardostachys, the same plant; but to what class and genus it belongs or spikenard, of Galen.
in the Linnæan system, can only be ascertained by an “A Mussulman physician from Delhi assured me inspection of the fresh blossoms. Dr. Patrick Řuspositively, that the plant was not jatamansi, but sud, sell, who always communicates with obliging facility as it is named in Arabic, which the author of the Toh his extensive and accurate knowledge, informed me fatu’Mumenin particularly distinguishes from the by letter, that “spikenard is carried over the desert, Indian sumbul. He produced on the next day an from India, I presume, to Aleppo, where it is used in extract from the Dictionary of Natural History, to substance, mixed with other perfumes, and worn in which he had referred ; and I present you with a small bags, or in the form of essence; and kept in translation of all that is material in it. “Ist, Sud has little boxes or phials, like atar of roses.” a rounddish olive-shaped root, externally black, but suaded, and so am I, that the Indian pard of the white internally, and so fragrant as to have obtained ancients, and that of our shops, is the same vegetain Persia the name of subterranean musk; its leaf ble. has some resemblance to that of a leek, but is longer “ I am not indeed of opinion, that the nardum of and narrower, strong, somewhat rough at the edges, the Romans was merely the essential oil of the plant, and tapering to a point. 2dly, Surnbul means a spike or from which it was denominated, but am strongly inear, and was called nard by the Greeks. There are clined to believe, that it was a generic word, meaning three sorts of sumbul or mardin; but when the word what we now call atar, either the atar of roses from stands alone, it means the sumbul of India, which is Cashmir and Persia, that of Cetaca or Pandanus, an herb without flower or fruit (he speaks of the drug from the western coast of India, or that of Aguru, or only) like the tail of an ermine, or of a small weasel, aloe wood, from Asam or Cochin China, the process but not quite so thick, and about the length of a fin of obtaining which is described by Abulfazl, or the ger. It is darkish, inclining to yellow, and rery fra mixed perfume called abir, of which the principal grant; it is brought from Hindostan, and its medicinal ingredients were yellow sandal, violets, orange flow. virtue lasts three years.” It was easy te procure the ers, wood of aloes, rose water, musk, and true spikedry jatamansi, which corresponded perfectly with nard : all those essences and compositions were costthe description of the sumbul'; and, though a native ly; and most of them being sold by the Indians to Mussulman afterward gave me a Persian paper, writ- the Persians and Arabs, from whom, in the time of ten by himself, in which he represents the sumbul of Octavius, they were received by the Syrians and India, the sweet sumbul, and the jatamansi as three Romans, they must have been extremely dear at Jedifferent plants, yet the authority of the Tohfatu'l rusalem and at Rome. There might also have been Mumenin is decisive, that the sweet sumbul is only a pure nardine oil, as Atheneus calls it; but nardum
He is per
probably meant, and Koenig was of the same opinion, the Devaraja call it also pampi, and by their account an Indian essence in general, taking its name from the dried specimens, which look like the tails ofermines, that ingredient, which had, or was commonly thought rise from the ground, resembling ears of green wheat to have, the most exquisite scent."
both in form and colour : a fact, which perfectly acWhen the Philosophical Transactions, containing counts for the names slachys, spica, sumbul, and the essay of Dr. Blane, reached India, sir William khush, which Greeks, Romans, Arabs, and Persians Jones supported his opinion by additional arguments, have given to the drug, though it is not properly a but their application is not much to our present pur- spike, and not merely a root, but the whole plant, pose. He says,
which the natives gather for sale, before the radical “My own inquiries have convinced me, that the leaves, of which the fibres only remain after a few Indian spikenard of Dioscorides is the sumbulu'l hind, months, have unfolded themselves from the base of the and that the sumbulu'l hind is the jatamansi of Amar- stem. It is used, say the Butan agents, as a perfume sinh. I am persuaded, that the true nard is a species of and in medicinal unguents, but with other fragrant valerian, produced in the most remote and hilly parts of substances, the scent and power of which it is thought India, such as Nepal, Morang, and Butan, near which to increase : as a medicine, they add, it is principally Ptolemy fixes its native soil : the commercial agents of esteemed for complaints in the bowels.”
Botanical Observations on the Spikenard of the Ancients : intended as a Supplement to the late sir Wil
liam Jones's Papers. By William Roxburgh, M.D. VALERIANA.
ed, there issues several smaller fibres. No. 5. is an
other plant with a long root; here the hair-like sheaths, Generic Character. Flowers triandrous, leaves beginning at a, are separated from this, the perennial entire, four fold, the inner radical pair petioled, and part of the stem, and turned to the right side ; at the cordate; the rest smaller, sessile, and sub-lanceolate; apex is seen the young shoot, marked b, which is not seeds crowned with a pappus.
so far advanced as at No. 6; ccc show the remains The plants now received, are growing in two small of last year's annual stem.
of last year's annual stem. When the young shoot baskets of earth; in each basket there appears above is a little further advanced than in No. 5. and not so the earth between thirty and forty hairy spike-like far as in No. 6. they resemble the young convolute bodies, but more justly compared to the tails of er- shoots of monocotyledonous plants. mines, or small weasels; from the apex of each, or at June, 1795. The whole of the above plants have least of the greater part of them, there is a smooth perished, without producing flowers, notwithstanding lanceolate, or lanceolate-oblong, three or five-nerved, every care that could possibly be taken of them. The short petioled, acute or obtuse, slightly serrulate leaf principal figure in the drawing, marked No. 4. and or two shooting forth. [The term spica, or spike, is the following description, as well as the above defininot so ill applied to this substance as may be imagined; tion, are therefore chiefly extracted from the engravseveral of the Indian grasses, well known to me, have ing and description in the second volume of the Respikes almost exactly resembling a single straight searches, and from the information communicated to piece of nardus : and when those hairs, or flexible me by Mr. Burt, the gentleman who had charge of the arista-like bristles are removed, Pliny's words, fru- plants that flowered at Gaya, and who gave sir Wilter radice pingui et crassa,” are by no means inap- liam Jones the drawing and description thereof. plicable. See Nos. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.] No. 6. repre- [Which we have copied from the Calcutta edition. sents one of them in the above state; and on gently Vide No. 3.] removing the fibres or hairs which surround the short petiols of these leaves, I find it consists of numerous
DESCRIPTION OF THE PLANT. sheaths, of which one, two, or three of the upper or Root, it is already described above. interior ones are entire, and have their fibres connect Stem, lower part perennial, involved in fibrous ed by a light brown coloured membranous substance, sheaths, &c. as above described ; the upper part heras at b; but in the lower exterior sheaths, where this baceous, sub-erect, simple, from six to twelve inches connecting membrane is decayed, the more durable long. hair-like fibres remain distinct, giving to the whole Leaves, four fold, the lowermost pair of the four the appearance of an ermine's tail: this part, as well radical are opposite, sessile, oblong, forming, as it as the root, are evidently perennial. The root itself, were, a two-valved spathe ; the other pair are also opbeginning at the surface of the earth where the fibrous posite, petioled, cordate, margins waved and pointed; envelope ends, is from three to twelve inches long, those of the stem sessile and lanceolate; all are smooth covered with a pretty thick light brown coloured on both sides. bark; from the main root, which is sometimes divid Corymb, terminal, first division trichotomous. VOL. IV.
5. is said to have been worth more than three hunCalyx, scarce any:
dred pence, denarii ; and John, xii. 3. mentions "a Corol, one petaled, funnel-shaped, tube somewhat pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly; the house gibbous. Border five cleft.
was filled with the odour of the ointment, it was Stamens, filaments three, project above the tube of worth three hundred pence,” denarii. As this evanthe corol; anthers incumbent.
gelist has determined the quantity, a pound, and the Pistil, germ beneath. Style erect, length of the lowest value, for Mark says more, was eight pounds tube. Stigma simple.
fifteen shillings, I think we may safely suppose that Pericarp, a single seed crowned with a pappus.” this was not a Syrian production, or an ointment made
from any fragrant grass growing in the neighbouring The result of these observations is, that there grew districts; but was a true atar of Indian spikenard ; an in Arabia and Syria a fragrant grass, which was con unguent containing the very essence of the plant, sidered as a nard, and was probably known under that and brought at a great expense from a remote counname. 2dly, That the true Indian nard, or spikenard, try. was a plant of a different kind, and not native of Syria. I would query also whether there might not be in 3dly, That the atar, or essential fragrance of this the answer of our Lord, sotne allusion to the remoteplant, is called absolutely nard, or spikenard ; and ness of the country from whence this unguent was probably was known anciently under the same appel- brought : “wheresoever this Gospel shall be preachlation.
ed throughout the whole world, Xoruov, shall be her I apprehend that these three particulars occur in memorial.” q.d.
memorial.” q.d. “This unguent came from a distant Scripture ; and that they deserve our attention. country, to be sure, but the Gospel shall spread to a This word nard is repeated somewhat awkwardly, much greater distance, yea, all over the world; so Cant. iv. 13, 14. “ Camphire with spikenard : spike- that in India itself, from whence this unguent came, nard with saffron.” Why should this plant be twice shall the memorial of its application to my sacred pernamed ? It will appear that this peculiarity struck us son be mentioned with honour.” The idea of a far formerly, vide FRAGMENTS, on Solomon's Song, and country, connected with the ointment, seems to have not without reason : but if we may suppose that the suggested that of “all the world." first nard means the Syrian or Arabian plant, or the The above instance, is, I think, clear; and perhaps, whole genus of scented grasses,
three sorts of nar we may now revert with advantage to the Canticles, din,” which no doubt was well known to Solomon, where we find the bride saying, “My spikenard sendbut the second nard means the Indian nard, or true eth forth the smell thereof." From the word nard spikenard, then it is very probable that the words are being singular here, literally “my nard giveth his clear, and that the latter word merely wants some scent,” shall we say this was in the form of an "esdiscriminating epithet, answering to spike, which tran sence, in a small bag,” or, was it a number of sprigs scribers not understanding, have dropped ; or, that a of the fragrant grass, worn like a nosegay in the bodifferent mode of pronunciation distinguished the som of this fair lady? It is certain that the “savour of names of these two plants when mentioned in dis- her good ointments” is mentioned, verse 3. as highly course ; (they are also differently pointed in the print- attractive : and that an ointment of spikenard might ed copies] and I think it worth observing, that the first be intended, as used for perfume, needs no proof: word is nardim, plural. “Copherim, henna plants, but, if so, then we have this perfume in its artificial plural, with nardim, nards.” But the following seems state alluded to, both in the old and the new testato be put absolutely, “nard, or the nard, singular, ment, and the passages which mention it, mutually ilwith the crocus." This distinction, if admitted, and lustrate each other. it certainly was admitted by the ancients, and in the It appears, on the whole, that we are beholden to Arabic Dictionary of natural history, as we have seen both the gentlemen who have obliged the world with above, removes all difficulty, and completely justifies their opinions on the subject of the spikenard ; and
though they differ in respect to the particular plant The third acceptation of the term nard, or spike- intended by the Indian spikenard, yet they have each nard, occurs in the Gospels. Mark, xiv, 3. mentions of them contributed to illustrate the application and “nintment of spikenard, very precious;" which, verse use of this word in Scripture.
I rose to open to my beloved ; and my hands in his hand by the hole, and my bowels were moved dropped with inyrrh, and my fingers with sweet smell. for him.”. He attempted, that is, apparently, to open ing myrrh, upon the handles of the lock.
the door by putting in his finger at the key hole, ac
cording to some such method as that described by My beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door, Thevenot : he attempted, but it did not open; my and my bowels were moved for him.
heart then was greatly moved. But what a strange The following remarks are from Mr. Harmer, vol. explanation does bishop Patrick give of these words, i. p. 207.
“ He put in his hand by the hole, i.e. at the window, “The curious have remarked, that if their gates or casement; as if he would draw her out of bed,” &c. are sometimes of iron and brass, their locks and keys How unacquainted was this good prelate with some are often of wood; and that not only of their houses, of the customs of the Levant, or at least how inattenbut sometimes of their cities too. Russell, I think, tive to them in this place, not to say how indelicate!" makes this remark on the houses of Aleppo, as Rauwolff did long before him. As to those of their cities, We find the same kind of lock applied to one of Thevenot, speaking of Grand Cairo, part i. p. 143. the gates of the city of Jerusalem, Nehem. iii. 3. says, “ All their locks and keys are of wood, and “The fish gate ... the doors thereof, and the locks they have none of iron, no not for their city gates, thereof, and the bars thereof." The same should which
may be all easily opened without a key. The appear also to have been used to the summer parlour keys are bits of timber, with little pieces of wire, that of Eglon, king of Moab, Judg. iii. 23. and we are told
up.other pieces of wire, which are in the lock, and that Ehud carefully “shut the doors of the parlour enter into certain little holes, out of which the ends upon him, and locked them.” This deceived bis of wire that are in the key having thrust them, the servants, till “ they took a key and opened them.” gate is open. But without the key, a little soft paste This was probably an instrument of the same nature upon the end of one's finger will do the job as well." as that on our Plate: and tbus we may gather the Rauwolff, p. 23, 24. does not speak of the locks and Hebrew names of both its parts, the lock, Sayan, fig. keys of wood in those terms of universality that D. E. F. and the key, nnen, fig. I. Thevenot makes use of ; he only says, their doors and houses are generally shut with wooden bolts, and that they unlock them with wooden keys. Probably D. an Egyptian wooden lock: it is nailed on to it was so anciently, and that in contradistinction to the door posts, and has in it certain holes at G. It thern we read of cities with walls and brasen bars, 1 is fastened to the door at D. and at E. are wires, so Kings, iv. 13. and of breaking in pieces gates of brass placed in holes corresponding to the holes in G. F. and bars of iron, Isai. xlv. 2. And according to this as that falling down they go into them, and the door there may be something more in the emphasis of the is locked; there is a hole for the key H. to go into it, following passage than has been remarked. “A which having wires fixed to it, so as to go into the brother offended is harder to be won than a strong holes at G. they thrust up the wires at E. and the city; and their contentions are like the bars of a door is unlocked, and may be opened. These wires castle,” not merely hard to be removed on account are shown, in this handle, or key, more distinctly of their size, but on account of the materials of which they were made, as not being of wood, but of iron or From this figure the reader will easily conceive of brass."
the rattling made by a person attempting to open the “ What Thevenot observes, of the ease with which door. The myrrh dropped on the lock, has been their locks are often opened without a key, puts one attempted to be explained elsewhere. Vide FRAG. in mind of those words, Cant. v. 4. “ My beloved put MENT, No. 449.
EXPLANATION OF THE FIGURE.
I AM A WALL, AND MY BREASTS LIKE TOWERS :
fact, they study the plumpness, the enbonpoint of appearance, to a degree uncommon among ourselves;
and what in the temperate regions of Europe might be The character of the female sex has led them to a called an elegant slenderness of shape, they would certain display of their bosoms, and we have seen in consider as a meagre appearance of starvation. They our own days, a mode of dress adopted, which did indulge these notions to excess.
It is necessary to not tend to diminish the amplitude in point of appear- premise this, before we can enter thoroughly into the ance of this part of female beauty. Nevertheless, the spirit of the language before us: which we take the women in the East are much more desirous than those liberty to render somewhat differently from our pubof northern climates, of a full and swelling breast: in lic translation. Beide. Our sister is little, and she hath no breasts : being as yet too young : immature.
What shall we do for our sister, in the day when she shall be spoken for? BRIDEGROOM. If she be a wall, we will build on her [ranges) turrets of silver :
If she be a doorway, we will frame around her pannels of cedar. Bride. I am a wall, and my breasts like kiosks,
So I appeared in his eyes as one who offered peace (repose.] The ideas couched in these verses appear to be leads us to the answer of the bride, who is understood, these, “Our sister is quite young, says the bride," I imagine, to be speaking to herself, aside, “As my but, says the bridegroom, “she is upright as a wall; sister is compared to a wall, I also in my person am upand if her breasts do not project beyond her person, right as a wall: and I have this further advantage, that as kiosks project beyond a wall, we will ornament her my bosom is ample and full, as a kiosk projecting over a dress, [q. head dress?] in the most magnificent man. wall: and though kiosks offer repose and indulgence, ner with decorations, ranges, even of silver.” This yet my bosom offers to my spouse more effectual