(The) or Montagnards. The extreme democratical
party in the first French Revolution; so called because they seated
themselves on the highest benches of the hall in which the National
Convention met. Their leaders were Danton and Robespierre, but under
them were Marat, Couthon, Thuriot, St. André, Legendre,
Camille-Desmoulins, Carnot, St. Just, and Collot d'Herbois, the men
who introduced the “Reign of Terror.” Extreme Radicals are still called
in France the “Mountain Party,” or Montagnards.
Old Man of the Mountain.
Imaum Hassan ben Sabbah el Homairi. The Sheik Al Jebal was so
called, because his residence was in the mountain fastnesses of Syria.
He was the prince of a Mahometan sect called Assassins (q.v.),
and founder of a dynasty in Syria, put an end to by the Moguls in the
twelfth century. In Rymer's Fædera (vol. i,) two letters of this
sheik are inserted. It is not the province of this Book of Fables to dispute their genuineness.
If the mountain will not come to Mahomet, Mahomet must go to the mountain.
If what I seek will not come to me without my stir, I must exert
myself to obtain it; if we cannot do as we with, we must do as we can.
When Mahomet first announced his system, the Arals demanded
supernatural proofs of his commission.
“Moses and Jesus,” said they, “wrought miracles in testimony of
their divine authority; and if thou art indeed the prophet of God, do
so likewise.” To this Mahomet replied, “It would be tempting God to do
so, and bring down His anger, as in the case of Pharaoh.” Not satisfied
with this answer, he commanded Mount Safa to come to him, and when it
stirred not at his bidding, exclaimed, “God is merciful. Had it obeyed
my words, it would have fallen on us to our destruction. I will
therefore go to the mountain, and thank God that He has had mercy on a
The mountain in labour.
A mighty effort made for a small effect. The allusion is to the
celebrated line of Horace, “Parturiunt montes, nascetur ridiculus
mus, ” which Creech translates, “The travailing mountain yields a
silly mouse;” and Boileau, “La montagne en travail enfante une
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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