The Unicorn, a Mythological Investigation, by Robert Brown, , at sacred-texts.com
THIS little brochure is a contribution, however humble, to the science of psychology; not merely a notice of curious, still less of idle, fancies. The study of man to be successful must commence with his earlier, that is to say, simpler, phases. The 'solar myth,' vaguely so called, is often ridiculed but never by anyone who has carefully examined it; and the history of the Lion and the Unicorn exhibits one aspect of the ideas of Time and Kosmic Order as shown in the most obvious divisions of periodDay and Night. The indirect influence of our present civilization and the repetition of phenomena produce a sadly deadening effect upon the vast majority of minds as regards appreciation of the external world, and render it extremely difficult for us to place ourselves near the mental standpoint of primitive, or even of archaic, man. We do not wonder at the sun, or at the genius which has contrived by the use of only ten signs to express any number, or indeed at anything which, though marvellous in itself, is somewhat
familiar to the senses and ordinary apprehension. Even scientific research often resolves itself into an anatomical dissection, which is equivalent to the knowledge of the way about a cathedral, combined with an appreciation of the principles of masonry, but accompanied by total ignorance of, or utter indifference to, the real forces which produced the building.
With respect to the evidence adduced in the particular case, its combined weight is specially to be considered; the various points are not links in a chain, the failure in any one of which is fatal, but items in a description.
As, according to Prof. Ludwig Noiré, the discovery of the axe assured the triumph of the kingdom of man upon earth, so the idea of Time, solar (day), lunar (week-month), and sidereal (year), was a mighty mental axe with which Thought hewed its way to noble victories. I treat here merely of the Day and of that which by division makes itthe Night, and of but one mythic phase of these; yet, be it remembered, the idea of Day contained the germ of the idea of Eternity, so far as such a concept is possible to man; for Time is Division, a Day the primary division, and Eternity merely infinitely reduplicated Time.
Oct. 1, 1881.