WELCH Genealogies have long been a standing jest: who does not know their partiality to Cadwallader? Yet there are others which can disturb the muscles of the gravest Philosopher; and, perhaps, make the most ingenious Herald smile at his own ingenuity. Charles the Fifth, and Louis the Thirteenth, have caused their Genealogies to reach to Adam. De Crouy, who married the heiress of the De Crouys in the time of Saint Louis, because he came from Hungary, resolved, if he brought nothing, at least to bring a Genealogy: and ventured to trace his descent from Attila, King of the Huns; who, it must be allowed, is a more regal ancestor than Adam himself.
Arthur Kelton, a miserable versifier, who wrote in the reign of Edward the Sixth, published, at the end of his CHRONICLE, a GENEALOGY of the BRUTES, in which the pedigree of our young monarch is lineally drawn through thirty-two generations, from Osiris, the first King of Egypt! Wood reproaches our author for his ignorance; but, as Warton observes, “in an heraldic enquiry, so difficult and so new; many mistakes are pardonable.”
In a book published in 1604, James the First has his genealogy derived from Noah. And William Slater more elaborately draws it from Adam.
To give the most splendid genealogy possible, I shall present the reader with that of Semiramis; with which Mr. T. Taylor, the modern Platonist, has favoured me. He is not a little delighted with the expressive grandeur of the names, and the sublimities of her pretensions.
Babylonic Saturn; my Great-grandfather
Ethiopian Saturn; my Great
grandfather’s father Ægyptian
Saturn; and my
Cœlus Phœnix Ogyges. From Ogyges to my
Grandfather, THE SUN has wandered round
his orb once and thirty hundred times.
From my Grandfather to my Fa-
ther six and fifty times. From
my Father to me, twice and
Semiramis in this mountain
Dedicates to her Father-in-law
Jupiter Belus, and to her
This Column, Temple, and
The arms of modern families are, for the greater part (observes Menage) the signs of their ancient shops.
Fuller, in his Worthies of England, amongst several exceptions which he supposes may be made to his work, has one very applicable to the present subject. In his Eighth Exception it is said, “You, out of flattery, conceal the mean extraction of many (especially modern) men, who have attained to great preferment, pointing at the place of their birth, but suppressing their parentage.”
To this he answers—“I conceive myself to have done well in so doing. If enquiry be made into all men’s descent, it would be found true what the poet doth observe—
Majorum primus quisquis fuit ille tuorum
Aut pastor fuit, aut illud quod dicere nullo.
The first of all thine ancestors of yore,
Was but a shepherd, or—I say no more.
The caustic Boileau has two excellent lines on the subject of Genealogies, in his fifth Epistle—
“Quoique fils de Meûnier, encor blanc du Moulin,
Il est pret à fournir ses titres en Velin.
A miller’s son, scarce clean’d from dirt and flour,
Does proudly on his vellum titles pore.”