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the naturalization of the emblematical unicorn in Scotland, and its return into England under the Stuart dynasty.” 1
“The earliest extant example of the unicorn as a supporter in the royal arms of Scotland, appears to be that which occurs in the royal achievement carved above the gateway of Rothsay Castle. The Lyon king of arms, who examined it carefully last summer, told me that this carving appeared to him to be contemporaneous with the part of the building in which it is inserted, which, considering the style of the architecture and various entries in the Exchequer Rolls relative to the building of Rothsay Castle, he was disposed to assign to the time of Robert II. or III. (1380–1400]. In 1486 or 1487 two gold coins were struck, value respectively 188. and 98., and called the unicorn and half-unicorn, from the circumstance that they bore on one side the figure of a unicorn sejant supporting the royal escutcheon. In the same reign—that of James III.—we first find unicorn pursuivant.'2
The following instances (amongst many) exhibit the Unicorn as a Charge :
The Arms of Sir John Rest, Lord Mayor of London in 1516, are Azure, on a Fess, between 3 Crosses Milroine, Or, a Unicorn couchant, Gules. This position of the Unicorn is very unusual. Mythologically, the bronze-red setting Moon. ·
1 Brunet, Regal Armorie of Great Britain, 219. 2 T etter from Thomas Dickson Esq., dated July 1, 1880.
The Family of Harling bore Argent, a Unicorn Sejant, Sable ; mythologically, the Moon in eclipse.
The Family of Musterton bore Gules, a Unicorn with dexter leg raised, i.e., tripping, Argent; mythologically, 'the Moon walking in brightness.' 1
The Family of Farrington bore Sable, 3 Unicorns, Current, Argent, 1&1&1; mythologically, the wild white Moon of triple aspect, flying through the dark clouds.
The Family of Shelley bore Gules, 3 Unicorn's heads couped, by 2 & 1.
The Tincture of the Unicorn is generally Argent, i.e., the ordinary colour of the Moon, Leukothee, • the White-goddess,' 3 the Semitic Lebhânâ, the Paleshiner, as distinguished from the burning, golden Tammuz-Adonis, the Akkadian Dumuzi or “Only-son' of the diurnal heaven.'4 The proper colour of the moon we in Heraldry take to be Argent, both for the weakness of the light, and also for the distinction betwixt the blazoning of it and the Sun; and therefore when we blazon by Planets, we name Gold Sol, and Silver Luna.'5
One or two Crests in which the Unicorn appears are of special interest inasmuch as most archaic ideas seem to have been unconsciously preserved in them. Thus :
The Crest of the Bickerstaff Family is the Sun with sable rays (i.e., the nocturnal sun), surmounted by a Unicorn rampant, i.e., the nightly triumph of the Moon over the Sun. In a variant form of this device the Unicorn is statant.
1 Job. xxxi. 26.
2 Vide sec. VI. 4 Vide R. B. Jr., G. D. M. i. 256.
3 Vide sec. VIII. $ Guillim, D. H. 111.
The Crest of the Curteis Family is a Unicorn passant, between four trees; mythologically, a most interesting allusion to the archaic myth of the Grove of the Underworld.
The Heraldic Moon is either Increscent, i.e., the new moon with horns turned towards the dexter side of the shield ; in Complement, i.e., the full moon; Decrescent, i.e., the waning moon with horns turned towards the sinister side of the shield; or in Detriment, i.e., when eclipsed. In this state it is emblazoned Sable. The Face in the Orb 3 is shown at times.
James I. introduced the (Scottish) Unicorn, argent, as the Sinister Supporter of the Royal Arms; and Guillim describes the Arms of Charles I. as supported by a Lyon rampand, SOL: and an Unicorn, LUNA.'4 1 Vide sec. XII., subsec. 3.
» Vide sec. V. 3 Vide secs. V., VII.
4 D. H. 440. The Throne is thus represented as firmly established as the course of nature.
OPINIONS RESPECTING THE TERRESTRIAL EXISTENCE OF
As the Unicorn was not found in the flesh near home, and as its terrestrial existence was firmly believed in, it became necessary to locate the animal in some distant region. Perhaps the most celebrated of his supposed haunts is the English Version of the Old Testament, where the word “unicorn,' in deference to the Movoképws of the LXX., the Unicornis of the Vulgate, has unfortunately been introduced in several passages. The animal really referred to is the Rêm, the Assyrian Rimu or Wild Bull, respecting which the Rev. W. Houghton observes :
The species of wild cattle hunted by the Assyrian monarchs is either the Bos primigenius or some closely allied species ; it is apparently identical with the gigantic urus, which Caesar and the Roman legions saw in the forests of Belgium and Germany.'1
Thus we read ;– He hath as it were the towering horns (lit. eminences) of a wild bull.'2
And again ;— Glorious is the firstling of his
i Gleanings from the Natural Hist. of the Ancients, 172–3.
bullock, and his horns (i.e., two horns) are like the horns of a wild bull.'1 Here the LXX. absurdly read képata uovoképwTOS Tà képata aŭtoll, and our translators render the singular by the plural to preserve consistency. The other passages in the Old Testament where the Unicorn is mentioned are similar.
The cuneiform ideograph for the Rêm is or Y**, each of which forms show the two projecting horns in front. Compare our letter A, originally the Phoenician and Moabite Stone 4, i.e., the rude representation of a bull's horns.
So the form Ee (i.e., Elle doubled) is the plural, • cattle,' which, when domesticated, appear Sy, i.e., in an enclosure V.
Pliny observes that the Unicorn cannot be taken alive;'? and Guillim remarks that some have made doubt whether there be any such beast as this or not. Bụt the great esteem of his Horne (in many places to be seen) may take away that needlesse scruple.'3 Horns, no doubt, can be seen in various places, and • the spiral tusk of the Narwhal was accustomed to be sold as the real horn of the unicorn ; and as an accredited part of that animal, forming [a supposed] direct proof of its existence, it used to fetch a very high price.' 4 The heirs of the Chancellor to Christian Frisius of Denmark valued one at 8,000
1 Deuteronomy, xxxiii. 17.
3 D. H. 175. 4 Rev. J. G. Wood, Illustrated Natural History, 85-6.