AUEUM: Χρυσός: Gold.
19) launches out into a set of reflections in his own quaint style,
astonished as to what possible motives could have induced all mankind
to make Gold, wherever known, the first and chiefest representative of
value. It was and is indeed a strange coincidence in the notions of
races, however remote from or unconnected with one another, that must
early have puzzled every observer, and which still remains a problem
admitting of no satisfactory solution. " It was not so accepted,"
pursues the old naturalist, " on account of its utility, in which point
it yields immeasurably to iron; nor for ite heaviness or ductility, in
both which lead surpasses it [which however is far from true] ; nor yet
for its colour, for yellow is not particularly admired in other
things. The only reason, therefore, must have been its
indestructibility, for gold is the only substance known that resists
the fire, and is no more than improved by repeated fusion."
this explanation, however satisfactory to the refined philosopher, is
evidently much too transcendental to have influenced the primaeval
savage mind to which the metal hath ever been to the full as precious,
though existing only in the shape of a personal decoration, as to the
civilized intelligence which sees therein concentrated power, pleasure,
and the veneration of his fellow mortals.
In spite of Pliny's dictum, the universal love must in the first instance have been won by its colour, a colour certainly the most gorgeous of all : and the reason is mam-