The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 09, No. 54, April, 1862

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Title: The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 09, No. 54, April, 1862

Author: Various

Release date: April 1, 2004 [eBook #12097]
Most recently updated: December 14, 2020

Language: English


Produced by Joshua Hutchinson, Tonya Allen and PG Distributed

Proofreaders. Produced from page scans provided by Cornell University.


VOL. IX.—APRIL, 1862.—NO. LIV.


My dear young gentleman or young lady,—for many are the Cecil Dreemes of literature who superscribe their offered manuscripts with very masculine names in very feminine handwriting,—it seems wrong not to meet your accumulated and urgent epistles with one comprehensive reply, thus condensing many private letters into a printed one. And so large a proportion of "Atlantic" readers either might, would, could, or should be "Atlantic" contributors also, that this epistle will be sure of perusal, though Mrs. Stowe remain uncut and the Autocrat go for an hour without readers.

Far from me be the wild expectation that every author will not habitually measure the merits of a periodical by its appreciation of his or her last manuscript. I should as soon ask a young lady not to estimate the management of a ball by her own private luck in respect to partners. But it is worth while at least to point out that in the treatment of every contribution the real interests of editor and writer are absolutely the same, and any antagonism is merely traditional, like the supposed hostility between France and England, or between England and Slavery. No editor can ever afford the rejection of a good thing, and no author the publication of a bad one. The only difficulty lies in drawing the line. Were all offered manuscripts unequivocally good or bad, there would be no great trouble; it is the vast range of mediocrity which perplexes: the majority are too bad for blessing and too good for banning; so that no conceivable reason can be given for either fate, save that upon the destiny of any single one may hang that of a hundred others just like it. But whatever be the standard fixed, it is equally for the interest of all concerned that it be enforced without flinching.

Nor is there the slightest foundation for the supposed editorial prejudice against new or obscure contributors. On the contrary, every editor is always hungering and thirsting after novelties. To take the lead in bringing forward a new genius is as fascinating a privilege as that of the physician who boasted to Sir Henry Halford of having been the first man to discover the Asiatic cholera and to communicate it to the public. It is only stern necessity which compels the magazine to fall back so constantly on the regular old staff of contributors, whose average product has been gauged already; just as every country-lyceum attempts annually to arrange an entirely new list of lecturers, and ends with no bolder experiment than to substitute Chapin and Beecher in place of last year's Beecher and Chapin.

Of course no editor is infallible, and the best magazine contains an occasional poor article. Do not blame the unfortunate conductor. He knows it as well as you do,—after the deed is done. The newspapers kindly pass it over, still preparing their accustomed opiate of sweet praises, so much for each contributor, so much for the magazine collectively,—like a hostess with her tea-making, a spoonful for each person and one for the pot. But I can tell you that there is an official person who meditates and groans, meanwhile, in the night-watches, to think that in some atrocious moment of good-nature or sleepiness he left the door open and let that ungainly intruder in. Do you expect him to acknowledge the blunder, when you tax him with it? Never,—he feels it too keenly. He rather stands up stoutly for the surpassing merits of the misshapen thing, as a mother for her deformed child; and as the mother is nevertheless inwardly imploring that there may never be such another born to her, so be sure that it is not by reminding the editor of this calamity that you can allure him into risking a repetition of it.

An editor thus shows himself to be but human; and it is well enough to remember this fact, when you approach him. He is not a gloomy despot, no Nemesis or Rhadamanthus, but a bland and virtuous man, exceedingly anxious to secure plenty of good subscribers and contributors, and very ready to perform any acts of kindness not inconsistent with this grand design. Draw near him, therefore, with soft approaches and mild persuasions. Do not treat him like an enemy, and insist on reading your whole manuscript aloud to him, with appropriate gestures. His time has some value, if yours has not; and he has therefore educated his eye till it has become microscopic, like a naturalist's, and can classify nine out of ten specimens by one glance at a scale or a feather. Fancy an ambitious echinoderm claiming a private interview with Agassiz, to demonstrate by verbal arguments that he is a mollusk! Besides, do you expect to administer the thing orally to each of the two hundred thousand, more or less, who turn the leaves of the "Atlantic"? You are writing for the average eye, and must submit to its verdict. "Do not trouble yourself about the light on your statue; it is the light of the public square which must test its value."

Do not despise any honest propitiation, however small, in dealing with your editor. Look to the physical aspect of your manuscript, and prepare your page so neatly that it shall allure instead of repelling. Use good pens, black ink, nice white paper and plenty of it. Do not emulate "paper-sparing Pope," whose chaotic manuscript of the "Iliad," written chiefly on the backs of old letters, still remains in the British Museum. If your document be slovenly, the presumption is that its literary execution is the same, Pope to the contrary notwithstanding. An editor's eye becomes carnal, and is easily attracted by a comely outside. If you really wish to obtain his good-will for your production, do not first tax his time for deciphering it, any more than in visiting a millionnaire to solicit a loan you would begin by asking him to pay for the hire of the carriage which takes you to his door.

On the same principle, send your composition in such a shape that it shall not need the slightest literary revision before printing. Many a bright production dies discarded which might have been made thoroughly presentable by a single day's labor of a competent scholar, in shaping, smoothing, dovetailing, and retrenching. The revision seems so slight an affair that the aspirant cannot conceive why there should be so much fuss about it.

  "The piece, you think, is incorrect; why, take it;
  I'm all submission; what you'd have it, make it."

But to discharge that friendly office no universal genius is salaried; and for intellect in the rough there is no market.

Rules for style, as for manners, must be chiefly negative: a positively good style indicates certain natural powers in the individual, but an unexceptionable style is merely a matter of culture and good models. Dr. Channing established in New England a standard of style which really attained almost the perfection of the pure and the colorless, and the disciplinary value of such a literary influence, in a raw and crude nation, has been very great; but the defect of this standard is that it ends in utterly renouncing all the great traditions of literature, and ignoring the magnificent mystery of words. Human language may be polite and powerless in itself, uplifted with difficulty into expression by the high thoughts it utters, or it may in itself become so saturated with warm life and delicious association that every sentence shall palpitate and thrill with the mere fascination of the syllables. The statue is not more surely included in the block of marble than is all conceivable splendor of utterance in "Worcester's Unabridged." And as Ruskin says of painting that it is in the perfection and precision of the instantaneous line that the claim to immortality is made, so it is easy to see that a phrase may outweigh a library. Keats heads the catalogue of things real with "sun, moon, and passages of Shakspeare"; and Keats himself has left behind him winged wonders of expression which are not surpassed by Shakspeare, or by any one else who ever dared touch the English tongue. There may be phrases which shall be palaces to dwell in, treasure-houses to explore; a single word may be a window from which one may perceive all the kingdoms of the earth and the glory of them. Oftentimes a word shall speak what accumulated volumes have labored in vain to utter: there may be years of crowded passion in a word, and half a life in a sentence.

Such being the majesty of the art you seek to practise, you can at least take time and deliberation before dishonoring it. Disabuse yourself especially of the belief that any grace or flow of style can come from writing rapidly. Haste can make you slipshod, but it can never make you graceful. With what dismay one reads of the wonderful fellows in fashionable novels, who can easily dash off a brilliant essay in a single night! When I think how slowly my poor thoughts come in, how tardily they connect themselves, what a delicious prolonged perplexity it is to cut and contrive a decent clothing of words for them, as a little girl does for her doll,—nay, how many new outfits a single sentence sometimes costs before it is presentable, till it seems at last, like our army on the Potomac, as if it never could be thoroughly clothed,—I certainly should never dare to venture into print, but for the confirmed suspicion that the greatest writers have done even so. I can hardly believe that there is any autograph in the world so precious or instructive as that scrap of paper, still preserved at Ferrara, on which Ariosto wrote in sixteen different revisions one of his most famous stanzas. Do you know, my dear neophyte, how Balzac used to compose? As a specimen of the labor that sometimes goes to make an effective style, the process is worth recording. When Balzac had a new work in view, he first spent weeks in studying from real life for it, haunting the streets of Paris by day and night, note-book in hand. His materials gained, he shut himself up till the book was written, perhaps two months, absolutely excluding everybody but his publisher. He emerged pale and thin, with the complete manuscript in his hand,—not only written, but almost rewritten, so thoroughly was the original copy altered, interlined, and rearranged. This strange production, almost illegible, was sent to the unfortunate printers; with infinite difficulty a proof-sheet was obtained, which, being sent to the author, was presently returned in almost as hopeless a chaos of corrections as the manuscript first submitted. Whole sentences were erased, others transposed, everything modified. A second and a third followed, alike torn to pieces by the ravenous pen of Balzac. The despairing printers labored by turns, only the picked men of the office being equal to the task, and they relieving each other at hourly intervals, as beyond that time no one could endure the fatigue. At last, by the fourth proof-sheet, the author too was wearied out, though not contented. "I work ten hours out of the twenty-four," said he, "over the elaboration of my unhappy style, and I am never satisfied, myself, when all is done."

Do not complain that this scrupulousness is probably wasted, after all, and that nobody knows. The public knows. People criticize higher than they attain. When the Athenian audience hissed a public speaker for a mispronunciation, it did not follow that any one of the malcontents could pronounce as well as the orator. In our own lyceum-audiences there may not be a man who does not yield to his own private eccentricities of dialect, but see if they do not appreciate elegant English from Phillips or Everett! Men talk of writing down to the public taste who have never yet written up to that standard. "There never yet was a good tongue," said old Fuller, "that wanted ears to hear it." If one were expecting to be judged by a few scholars only, one might hope somehow to cajole them; but it is this vast, unimpassioned, unconscious tribunal, this average judgment of intelligent minds, which is truly formidable,—something more undying than senates and more omnipotent than courts, something which rapidly cancels all transitory reputations, and at last becomes the organ of eternal justice and infallibly awards posthumous fame.

The first demand made by the public upon every composition is, of course, that it should be attractive. In addressing a miscellaneous audience, whether through eye or ear, it is certain that no man living has a right to be tedious. Every editor is therefore compelled to insist that his contributors should make themselves agreeable, whatever else they may do. To be agreeable, it is not necessary to be amusing; an essay may be thoroughly delightful without a single witticism, while a monotone of jokes soon grows tedious. Charge your style with life, and the public will not ask for conundrums. But the profounder your discourse, the greater must necessarily be the effort to refresh and diversify. I have observed, in addressing audiences of children in schools and elsewhere, that there is no fact so grave, no thought so abstract, but you can make it very interesting to the small people, if you will only put in plenty of detail and illustration; and I have not observed that in this respect grown men are so very different. If, therefore, in writing, you find it your mission to be abstruse, fight to render your statement clear and attractive, as if your life depended on it: your literary life does depend on it, and, if you fail, relapses into a dead language, and becomes, like that of Coleridge, only a Biographia Literaria. Labor, therefore, not in thought alone, but in utterance; clothe and reclothe your grand conception twenty times, until you find some phrase that with its grandeur shall be lucid also. It is this unwearied literary patience that has enabled Emerson not merely to introduce, but even to popularize, thoughts of such a quality as never reached the popular mind before. And when such a writer, thus laborious to do his utmost for his disciples, becomes after all incomprehensible, we can try to believe that it is only that inevitable obscurity of vast thought which Coleridge said was a compliment to the reader.

In learning to write availably, a newspaper-office is a capital preparatory school. Nothing is so good to teach the use of materials, and to compel to pungency of style. Being always at close quarters with his readers, a journalist must shorten and sharpen his sentences, or he is doomed. Yet this mental alertness is bought at a severe price; such living from hand to mouth cheapens the whole mode of intellectual existence, and it would seem that no successful journalist could ever get the newspaper out of his blood, or achieve any high literary success.

For purposes of illustration and elucidation, and even for amplitude of vocabulary, wealth of accumulated materials is essential; and whether this wealth be won by reading or by experience makes no great difference. Coleridge attended Davy's chemical lectures to acquire new metaphors, and it is of no consequence whether one comes to literature from a library, a machine-shop, or a forecastle, provided he has learned to work with thoroughness the soil he knows. After all is said and done, however, books remain the chief quarries. Johnson declared, putting the thing perhaps too mechanically, "The greater part of an author's time is spent in reading in order to write; a man will turn over half a library to make one book." Addison collected three folios of materials before publishing the first number of the "Spectator." Remember, however, that copious preparation has its perils also, in the crude display to which it tempts. The object of high culture is not to exhibit culture, but its results. You do not put guano on your garden that your garden may blossom guano. Indeed, even for the proper subordination of one's own thoughts the same self-control is needed; and there is no severer test of literary training than in the power to prune out one's most cherished sentence, when it grows obvious that the sacrifice will help the symmetry or vigor of the whole.

Be noble both in the affluence and the economy of your diction; spare no wealth that you can put in, and tolerate no superfluity that can be struck out. Remember the Lacedemonian who was fined for saying that in three words which might as well have been expressed in two. Do not throw a dozen vague epithets at a thing, in the hope that some one of them will fit; but study each phrase so carefully that the most ingenious critic cannot alter it without spoiling the whole passage for everybody but himself. For the same reason do not take refuge, as was the practice a few years since, in German combinations, heart-utterances, soul-sentiments, and hyphenized phrases generally; but roll your thought into one good English word. There is no fault which seems so hopeless as commonplaceness, but it is really easier to elevate the commonplace than to reduce the turgid. How few men in all the pride of culture can emulate the easy grace of a bright woman's letter!

Have faith enough in your own individuality to keep it resolutely down for a year or two. A man has not much intellectual capital who cannot treat himself to a brief interval of modesty. Premature individualism commonly ends either in a reaction against the original whims, or in a mannerism which perpetuates them. For mannerism no one is great enough, because, though in the hands of a strong man it imprisons us in novel fascination, yet we soon grow weary, and then hate our prison forever. How sparkling was Reade's crisp brilliancy in "Peg Woffington"!—but into what disagreeable affectations it has since degenerated! Carlyle was a boon to the human race, amid the lameness into which English style was declining; but who is not tired of him and his catchwords now? He was the Jenner of our modern style, inoculating and saving us all by his quaint frank Germanism, then dying of his own disease. Now the age has outgrown him, and is approaching a mode of writing which unites the smoothness of the eighteenth century with the vital vigor of the seventeenth, so that Sir Thomas Browne and Andrew Marvell seem quite as near to us as Pope or Addison,—a style penetrated with the best spirit of Carlyle, without a trace of Carlylism.

Be neither too lax nor too precise in your use of language: the one fault ends in stiffness, the other in slang. Some one told the Emperor Tiberius that he might give citizenship to men, but not to words. To be sure, Louis XIV. in childhood, wishing for a carriage, called for mon carrosse, and made the former feminine a masculine to all future Frenchmen. But do not undertake to exercise these prerogatives of royalty until you are quite sure of being crowned. The only thing I remember of our college text-book of Rhetoric is one admirable verse of caution which it quoted:—

  "In words, as fashions, the same rule will hold,
  Alike fantastic, if too new or old;
  Be not the first by whom the new are tried,
  Nor yet the last to lay the old aside."

Especially do not indulge any fantastic preference for either Latin or Anglo-Saxon, the two great wings on which our magnificent English soars and sings; we can spare neither. The combination gives an affluence of synonymes and a delicacy of discrimination such as no unmixed idiom can show.

While you utterly shun slang, whether native-or foreign-born,—(at present, by the way, our popular writers use far less slang than the English,)—yet do not shrink from Americanisms, so they be good ones. American literature is now thoroughly out of leading-strings; and the nation which supplied the first appreciative audience for Carlyle, Tennyson, and the Brownings, can certainly trust its own literary instincts to create the new words it needs. To be sure, the inelegancies with which we are chiefly reproached are not distinctively American: Burke uses "pretty considerable"; Miss Burney says, "I trembled a few"; the English Bible says "reckon," Locke has "guess," and Southey "realize," in the exact senses in which one sometimes hears them used colloquially here. Nevertheless such improprieties are of course to be avoided; but whatever good Americanisms exist, let us hold to them by all means. The diction of Emerson alone is a sufficient proof, by its unequalled range and precision, that no people in the world ever had access to a vocabulary so rich and copious as we are acquiring. To the previous traditions and associations of the English tongue we add resources of contemporary life such as England cannot rival. Political freedom makes every man an individual; a vast industrial activity makes every man an inventor, not merely of labor-saving machines, but of labor-saving words; universal schooling popularizes all thought and sharpens the edge of all language. We unconsciously demand of our writers the same dash and the same accuracy which we demand in railroading or dry-goods-jobbing. The mixture of nationalities is constantly coining and exchanging new felicities of dialect: Ireland, Scotland, Germany, Africa are present everywhere with their various contributions of wit and shrewdness, thought and geniality; in New York and elsewhere one finds whole thoroughfares of France, Italy, Spain, Portugal; on our Western railways there are placards printed in Swedish; even China is creeping in. The colonies of England are too far and too provincial to have had much reflex influence on her literature, but how our phraseology is already amplified by our relations with Spanish-America! The life-blood of Mexico flowed into our newspapers while the war was in progress; and the gold of California glitters in our primer: Many foreign cities may show a greater variety of mere national costumes, but the representative value of our immigrant tribes is far greater from the very fact that they merge their mental costume in ours. Thus the American writer finds himself among his phrases like an American sea-captain amid his crew: a medley of all nations, waiting for the strong organizing New-England mind to mould them into a unit of force.

There are certain minor matters, subsidiary to elegance, if not elegancies, and therefore worth attention. Do not habitually prop your sentences on crutches, such as Italics and exclamation-points, but make them stand without aid; if they cannot emphasize themselves, these devices are commonly but a confession of helplessness. Do not leave loose ends as you go on, straggling things, to be caught up and dragged along uneasily in foot-notes, but work them all in neatly, as Biddy at her bread-pan gradually kneads in all the outlying bits of dough, till she has one round and comely mass.

Reduce yourself to short allowance of parentheses and dashes; if you employ them merely from clumsiness, they will lose all their proper power in your hands. Economize quotation-marks also, clear that dust from your pages, assume your readers to be acquainted with the current jokes and the stock epithets: all persons like the compliment of having it presumed that they know something, and prefer to discover the wit or beauty of your allusion without a guide-board.

The same principle applies to learned citations and the results of study. Knead these thoroughly in, supplying the maximum of desired information with a minimum of visible schoolmaster. It requires no pedantic mention of Euclid to indicate a mathematical mind, but only the habitual use of clear terms and close connections. To employ in argument the forms of Whately's Logic would render it probable that you are juvenile and certain that you are tedious; wreathe the chain with roses. The more you have studied foreign languages, the more you will be disposed to keep Ollendorff in the background: the proper result of such acquirements is visible in a finer ear for words; so that Goethe said, the man who had studied but one language could not know that one. But spare the raw material; deal as cautiously in Latin as did General Jackson when Jack Downing was out of the way; and avoid French as some fashionable novelists avoid English.

Thus far, these are elementary and rather technical suggestions, fitted for the very opening of your literary career. Supposing you fairly in print, there are needed some further counsels.

Do not waste a minute, not a second, in trying to demonstrate to others the merit of your own performance. If your work does not vindicate itself, you cannot vindicate it, but you can labor steadily on to something which needs no advocate but itself. It was said of Haydon, the English artist, that, if he had taken half the pains to paint great pictures that he took to persuade the public he had painted them, his fame would have been secure. Similar was the career of poor Horne, who wrote the farthing epic of "Orion" with one grand line in it, and a prose work without any, on "The False Medium excluding Men of Genius from the Public." He spent years in ineffectually trying to repeal the exclusion in his own case, and has since manfully gone to the grazing regions in Australia, hoping there at least to find the sheep and the goats better discriminated. Do not emulate these tragedies. Remember how many great writers have created the taste by which they were enjoyed, and do not be in a hurry. Toughen yourself a little, and perform something better. Inscribe above your desk the words of Rivarol, "Genius is only great patience." It takes less time to build an avenue of shingle palaces than to hide away unseen, block by block, the vast foundation-stones of an observatory. Most by-gone literary fames have been very short-lived in America, because they have lasted no longer than they deserved. Happening the other day to recur to a list of Cambridge lyceum-lecturers in my boyish days, I find with dismay that the only name now popularly remembered is that of Emerson: death, oblivion, or a professorship has closed over all the rest, while the whole standard of American literature has been vastly raised meanwhile, and no doubt partly through their labors. To this day, some of our most gifted writers are being dwarfed by the unkind friendliness of too early praise. It was Keats, the most precocious of all great poets, the stock victim of critical assassination,—though the charge does him utter injustice,—who declared that "nothing is finer for purposes of production than a very gradual ripening of the intellectual powers."

Yet do not be made conceited by obscurity, any more than by notoriety. Many fine geniuses have been long neglected; but what would become of us, if all the neglected were to turn out geniuses? It is unsafe reasoning from either extreme. You are not necessarily writing like Holmes because your reputation for talent began in college, nor like Hawthorne because you have been before the public ten years without an admirer. Above all, do not seek to encourage yourself by dwelling on the defects of your rivals: strength comes only from what is above you. Northcote, the painter, said, that, in observing an inferior picture, he always felt his spirits droop, with the suspicion that perhaps he deceived himself and his own paintings were no better; but the works of the mighty masters always gave him renewed strength, in the hope that perhaps his own had in their smaller way something of the same divine quality.

Do not complacently imagine, because your first literary attempt proved good and successful, that your second will doubtless improve upon it. The very contrary sometimes happens. A man dreams for years over one projected composition, all his reading converges to it, all his experience stands related to it, it is the net result of his existence up to a certain time, it is the cistern into which he pours his accumulated life. Emboldened by success, he mistakes the cistern for a fountain, and instantly taps his brain again. The second production, as compared with the first, costs but half the pains and attains but a quarter part of the merit; a little more of fluency and facility perhaps,—but the vigor, the wealth, the originality, the head of water, in short, are wanting. One would think that almost any intelligent man might write one good thing in a lifetime, by reserving himself long enough: it is the effort after quantity which proves destructive. The greatest man has passed his zenith, when he once begins to cheapen his style of work and sink into a book-maker: after that, though the newspapers may never hint at it, nor his admirers own it, the decline of his career is begun.

Yet the author is not alone to blame for this, but also the world which first tempts and then reproves him. Goethe says, that, if a person once does a good thing, society forms a league to prevent his doing another. His seclusion is gone, and therefore his unconsciousness and his leisure; luxuries tempt him from his frugality, and soon he must toil for luxuries; then, because he has done one thing well, he is urged to squander himself and do a thousand things badly. In this country especially, if one can learn languages, he must go to Congress; if he can argue a case, he must become agent of a factory: out of this comes a variety of training which is very valuable, but a wise man must have strength to call in his resources before middle-life, prune off divergent activities, and concentrate himself on the main work, be it what it may. It is shameful to see the indeterminate lives of many of our gifted men, unable to resist the temptations of a busy land, and so losing themselves in an aimless and miscellaneous career.

Yet it is unjust and unworthy in Marsh to disfigure his fine work on the English language by traducing all who now write that tongue. "None seek the audience, fit, though few, which contented the ambition of Milton, and all writers for the press now measure their glory by their gains," and so indefinitely onward,—which is simply cant. Does Sylvanus Cobb, Jr., who honestly earns his annual five thousand dollars from the "New York Ledger," take rank as head of American literature by virtue of his salary? Because the profits of true literature are rising,—trivial as they still are beside those of commerce or the professions,—its merits do not necessarily decrease, but the contrary is more likely to happen; for in this pursuit, as in all others, cheap work is usually poor work. None but gentlemen of fortune can enjoy the bliss of writing for nothing and paying their own printer. Nor does the practice of compensation by the page work the injury that has often been ignorantly predicted. No contributor need hope to cover two pages of a periodical with what might be adequately said in one, unless he assumes his editor to be as foolish as himself. The Spartans exiled Ctesiphon for bragging that he could speak the whole day on any subject selected; and a modern magazine is of little value, unless it has a Spartan at its head.

Strive always to remember—though it does not seem intended that we should quite bring it home to ourselves—that "To-Day is a king in disguise," and that this American literature of ours will be just as classic a thing, if we do our part, as any which the past has treasured. There is a mirage over all literary associations. Keats and Lamb seem to our young people to be existences as remote and legendary as Homer, yet it is not an old man's life since Keats was an awkward boy at the door of Hazlitt's lecture-room, and Lamb was introducing Talfourd to Wordsworth as his own only admirer. In reading Spence's "Anecdotes," Pope and Addison appear no farther off; and wherever I open Bacon's "Essays," I am sure to end at last with that one magical sentence, annihilating centuries, "When I was a child, and Queen Elizabeth was in the flower of her years."

And this imperceptible transformation of the commonplace present into the storied past applies equally to the pursuits of war and to the serenest works of peace. Be not misled by the excitements of the moment into overrating the charms of military life. In this chaos of uniforms, we seem to be approaching times such as existed in England after Waterloo, when the splenetic Byron declared that the only distinction was to be a little undistinguished. No doubt, war brings out grand and unexpected qualities, and there is a perennial fascination in the Elizabethan Raleighs and Sidneys, alike heroes of pen and sword. But the fact is patent, that there is scarcely any art whose rudiments are so easy to acquire as the military; the manuals of tactics have no difficulties comparable to those of the ordinary professional text-books; and any one who can drill a boat's crew or a ball-club can learn in a very few weeks to drill a company or even a regiment. Given in addition the power to command, to organize, and to execute,—high qualities, though not rare in this community,—and you have a man needing but time and experience to make a general. More than this can be acquired only by an exclusive absorption in this one art; as Napoleon said, that, to have good soldiers, a nation must be always at war.

If, therefore, duty and opportunity call, count it a privilege to obtain your share in the new career; throw yourself into it as resolutely and joyously as if it were a summer-campaign in the Adirondack, but never fancy for a moment that you have discovered any grander or manlier life than you might be leading every day at home. It is not needful here to decide which is intrinsically the better thing, a column of a newspaper or a column of attack, Wordsworth's "Lines on Immortality" or Wellington's Lines of Torres Vedras; each is noble, if nobly done, though posterity seems to remember literature the longest. The writer is not celebrated for having been the favorite of the conqueror, but sometimes the conqueror only for having favored or even for having spurned the writer. "When the great Sultan died, his power and glory departed from him, and nothing remained but this one fact, that he knew not the worth of Ferdousi." There is a slight delusion in this dazzling glory. What a fantastic whim the young lieutenants thought it, when General Wolfe, on the eve of battle, said of Gray's "Elegy," "Gentlemen, I would rather have written that poem than have taken Quebec." Yet, no doubt, it is by the memory of that remark that Wolfe will live the longest,—aided by the stray line of another poet, still reminding us, not needlessly, that "Wolfe's great name's cotemporal with our own."

Once the poets and the sages were held to be pleasing triflers, fit for hours of relaxation in the lulls of war. Now the pursuits of peace are recognized as the real, and war as the accidental. It interrupts all higher avocations, as does the cry of fire: when the fire is extinguished, the important affairs of life are resumed. Six years ago the London "Times" was bewailing that all thought and culture in England were suspended by the Crimean War. "We want no more books. Give us good recruits, at least five feet seven, a good model for a floating-battery, and a gun to take effect at five thousand yards,—and Whigs and Tories, High and Low Church, the poets, astronomers, and critics, may settle it among themselves." How remote seems that epoch now! and how remote will the present soon appear! while art and science will resume their sway serene, beneath skies eternal. Yesterday I turned from treatises on gunnery and fortification to open Milton's Latin Poems, which I had never read, and there, in the "Sylvarum Liber," I came upon a passage as grand as anything in "Paradise Lost,"—his description of Plato's archetypal man, the vast ideal of the human race, eternal, incorrupt, coeval with the stars, dwelling either in the sidereal spaces, or among the Lethean mansions of souls unborn, or pacing the unexplored confines of the habitable globe. There stood the majestic image, veiled in a dead language, yet still visible; and it was as if one of the poet's own sylvan groves had been suddenly cut down, and opened a view of Olympus. Then all these present fascinating trivialities of war and diplomacy ebbed away, like Greece and Rome before them, and there seemed nothing real in the universe but Plato's archetypal man.

Indeed, it is the same with all contemporary notorieties. In all free governments, especially, it is the habit to overrate the dramatis personae of the hour. How empty to us are now the names of the great politicians of the last generation, as Crawford and Lowndes!—yet it is but a few years since these men filled in the public ear as large a space as Clay or Calhoun afterwards, and when they died, the race of the giants was thought ended. The path to oblivion of these later idols is just as sure; even Webster will be to the next age but a mighty tradition, and all that he has left will seem no more commensurate with his fame than will his statue by Powers. If anything preserves the statesmen of to-day, it will be only because we are coming to a contest of more vital principles, which may better embalm the men. Of all gifts, eloquence is the most short-lived. The most accomplished orator fades forgotten, and his laurels pass to some hoarse, inaudible Burke, accounted rather a bore during his lifetime, and possessed of a faculty of scattering, not convincing, the members of the House. "After all," said the brilliant Choate, with melancholy foreboding, "a book is the only immortality."

So few men in any age are born with a marked gift for literary expression, so few of this number have access to high culture, so few even of these have the personal nobleness to use their powers well, and this small band is finally so decimated by disease and manifold disaster, that it makes one shudder to observe how little of the embodied intellect of any age is left behind. Literature is attar of roses, one distilled drop from a million blossoms. Think how Spain and Portugal once divided the globe between them in a treaty, when England was a petty kingdom of illiterate tribes!—and now all Spain is condensed for us into Cervantes, and all Portugal into the fading fame of the unread Camoens. The long magnificence of Italian culture has left us only I Quattro Poeti, the Four Poets. The difference between Shakspeare and his contemporaries is not that he is read twice, ten times, a hundred times as much as they: it is an absolute difference; he is read, and they are only printed.

Yet, if our life be immortal, this temporary distinction is of little moment, and we may learn humility, without learning despair, from earth's evanescent glories. Who cannot bear a few disappointments, if the vista be so wide that the mute inglorious Miltons of this sphere may in some other sing their Paradise as Found? War or peace, fame or forgetfulness, can bring no real injury to one who has formed the fixed purpose to live nobly day by day. I fancy that in some other realm of existence we may look back with some kind interest on this scene of our earlier life, and say to one another,—"Do you remember yonder planet, where once we went to school?" And whether our elective study here lay chiefly in the fields of action or of thought will matter little to us then, when other schools shall have led us through other disciplines.

* * * * *


The guard-house was, in fact, nothing but a shed in the middle of a stubble-field. It had been built for a cider-press last summer; but since Captain Dorr had gone into the army, his regiment had camped over half his plantation, and the shed was boarded up, with heavy wickets at either end, to hold whatever prisoners might fall into their hands from Floyd's forces. It was a strong point for the Federal troops, his farm,—a sort of wedge in the Rebel Cheat counties of Western Virginia. Only one prisoner was in the guard-house now. The sentry, a raw boat-hand from Illinois, gaped incessantly at him through the bars, not sure if the "Secesh" were limbed and headed like other men; but the November fog was so thick that he could discern nothing but a short, squat man, in brown clothes and white hat, heavily striding to and fro. A negro was crouching outside, his knees cuddled in his arms to keep warm: a field-hand, you could be sure from the face, a grisly patch of flabby black, with a dull eluding word of something, you could not tell what, in the points of eyes,—treachery or gloom. The prisoner stopped, cursing him about something: the only answer was a lazy rub of the heels.

"Got any 'baccy, Mars' John?" he whined, in the middle of the hottest oath.

The man stopped abruptly, turning his pockets inside out.

"That's all, Ben," he said, kindly enough. "Now begone, you black devil!"

"Dem's um, Mars'! Goin' 'mediate,"—catching the tobacco, and lolling down full length as his master turned off again.

Dave Hall, the sentry, stared reflectively, and sat down.

"Ben? Who air you next?"—nursing his musket across his knees, baby-fashion.

Ben measured him with one eye, polished the quid in his greasy hand, and looked at it.

"Pris'ner o' war," he mumbled, finally,—contemptuously; for Dave's trousers were in rags like his own, and his chilblained toes stuck through the shoe-tops. Cheap white trash, clearly.

"Yer master's some at swearin'. Heow many, neow, hes he like you, down to Georgy?"

The boatman's bony face was gathering a woful pity. He had enlisted to free the Uncle Toms, and carry God's vengeance to the Legrees. Here they were, a pair of them.

Ben squinted another critical survey of the "miss'able Linkinite."

"How many wells hev yer poisoned since yer set out?" he muttered.

The sentry stopped.

"How many 'longin' to de Lamars? 'Bout as many as der's dam' Yankees in
Richmond 'baccy-houses!"

Something in Dave's shrewd, whitish eye warned him off.

"Ki yi! yer white nigger, yer!" he chuckled, shuffling down the stubble.

Dave clicked his musket,—then, choking down an oath into a grim Methodist psalm, resumed his walk, looking askance at the coarse-moulded face of the prisoner peering through the bars, and the diamond studs in his shirt,—bought with human blood, doubtless. The man was the black curse of slavery itself in the flesh, in his thought somehow, and he hated him accordingly. Our men of the Northwest have enough brawny Covenanter muscle in their religion to make them good haters for opinion's sake.

Lamar, the prisoner, watched him with a lazy drollery in his sluggish black eyes. It died out into sternness, as he looked beyond the sentry. He had seen this Cheat country before; this very plantation was his grandfather's a year ago, when he had come up from Georgia here, and loitered out the summer months with his Virginia cousins, hunting. That was a pleasant summer! Something in the remembrance of it flashed into his eyes, dewy, genial; the man's leather-covered face reddened like a child's. Only a year ago,—and now——The plantation was Charley Dorr's now, who had married Ruth. This very shed he and Dorr had planned last spring, and now Charley held him a prisoner in it. The very thought of Charley Dorr warmed his heart. Why, he could thank God there were such men. True grit, every inch of his little body! There, last summer, how he had avoided Ruth until the day when he (Lamar) was going away!—then he told him he meant to try and win her. "She cared most for you always," Lamar had said, bitterly; "why have you waited so long?" "You loved her first, John, you know." That was like a man! He remembered that even that day, when his pain was breathless and sharp, the words made him know that Dorr was fit to be her husband.

Dorr was his friend. The word meant much to John Lamar. He thought less meanly of himself, when he remembered it. Charley's prisoner! An odd chance! Better that than to have met in battle. He thrust back the thought, the sweat oozing out on his face,—something within him muttering, "For Liberty! I would have killed him, so help me God!"

He had brought despatches to General Lee, that he might see Charley, and the old place, and—Ruth again; there was a gnawing hunger in his heart to see them. Fool! what was he to them? The man's face grew slowly pale, as that of a savage or an animal does, when the wound is deep and inward.

The November day was dead, sunless: since morning the sky had had only enough life in it to sweat out a few muddy drops, that froze as they fell: the cold numbed his mouth as he breathed it. This stubbly slope was where he and his grandfather had headed the deer: it was covered with hundreds of dirty, yellow tents now. Around there were hills like uncouth monsters, swathed in ice, holding up the soggy sky; shivering pine-forests; unmeaning, dreary flats; and the Cheat, coiled about the frozen sinews of the hills, limp and cold, like a cord tying a dead man's jaws. Whatever outlook of joy or worship this region had borne on its face in time gone, it turned to him to-day nothing but stagnation, a great death. He wondered idly, looking at it, (for the old Huguenot brain of the man was full of morbid fancies,) if it were winter alone that had deadened color and pulse out of these full-blooded hills, or if they could know the colder horror crossing their threshold, and forgot to praise God as it came.

Over that farthest ridge the house had stood. The guard (he had been taken by a band of Snake-hunters, back in the hills) had brought him past it. It was a heap of charred rafters. "Burned in the night," they said, "when the old Colonel was alone." They were very willing to show him this, as it was done by his own party, the Secession "Bush-whackers"; took him to the wood-pile to show him where his grandfather had been murdered, (there was a red mark,) and buried, his old hands above the ground. "Colonel said 't was a job fur us to pay up; so we went to the village an' hed a scrimmage,"—pointing to gaps in the hedges where the dead Bush-whackers yet lay unburied. He looked at them, and at the besotted faces about him, coolly.

Snake-hunters and Bush-whackers, he knew, both armies used in Virginia as tools for rapine and murder: the sooner the Devil called home his own, the better. And yet, it was not God's fault, surely, that there were such tools in the North, any more than that in the South Ben was—Ben. Something was rotten in freer States than Denmark, he thought.

One of the men went into the hedge, and brought out a child's golden ringlet as a trophy. Lamar glanced in, and saw the small face in its woollen hood, dimpled yet, though dead for days. He remembered it. Jessy Birt, the ferryman's little girl. She used to come up to the house every day for milk. He wondered for which flag she died. Ruth was teaching her to write. Ruth! Some old pain hurt him just then, nearer than even the blood of the old man or the girl crying to God from the ground. The sergeant mistook the look. "They'll be buried," he said, gruffly. "Ye brought it on yerselves." And so led him to the Federal camp.

The afternoon grew colder, as he stood looking out of the guard-house. Snow began to whiten through the gray. He thrust out his arm through the wicket, his face kindling with childish pleasure, as he looked closer at the fairy stars and crowns on his shaggy sleeve. If Floy were here! She never had seen snow. When the flakes had melted off, he took a case out of his pocket to look at Floy. His sister,—a little girl who had no mother, nor father, nor lover, but Lamar. The man among his brother officers in Richmond was coarse, arrogant, of dogged courage, keen palate at the table, as keen eye on the turf. Sickly little Floy, down at home, knew the way to something below all this: just as they of the Rommany blood see below the muddy boulders of the streets the enchanted land of Boabdil bare beneath. Lamar polished the ivory painting with his breath, remembering that he had drunk nothing for days. A child's face, of about twelve, delicate,—a breath of fever or cold would shatter such weak beauty; big, dark eyes, (her mother was pure Castilian,) out of which her little life looked irresolute into the world, uncertain what to do there. The painter, with an unapt fancy, had clustered about the Southern face the Southern emblem, buds of the magnolia, unstained, as yet, as pearl. It angered Lamar, remembering how the creamy whiteness of the full-blown flower exhaled passion of which the crimsonest rose knew nothing,—a content, ecstasy, in animal life. Would Floy——Well, God help them both! they needed help. Three hundred souls was a heavy weight for those thin little hands to hold sway over,—to lead to hell or heaven. Up North they could have worked for her, and gained only her money. So Lamar reasoned, like a Georgian: scribbling a letter to "My Baby" on the wrapper of a newspaper,—drawing the shapes of the snowflakes,—telling her he had reached their grandfather's plantation, but "have not seen our Cousin Ruth yet, of whom you may remember I have told you, Floy. When you grow up, I should like you to be just such a woman; so remember, my darling, if I"——He scratched the last words out: why should he hint to her that he could die? Holding his life loose in his hand, though, had brought things closer to him lately,—God and death, this war, the meaning of it all. But he would keep his brawny body between these terrible realities and Floy, yet awhile. "I want you," he wrote, "to leave the plantation, and go with your old maumer to the village. It will be safer there." He was sure the letter would reach her. He had a plan to escape to-night, and he could put it into a post inside the lines. Ben was to get a small hand-saw that would open the wicket; the guards were not hard to elude. Glancing up, he saw the negro stretched by a camp-fire, listening to the gaunt boatman, who was off duty. Preaching Abolitionism, doubtless: he could hear Ben's derisive shouts of laughter. "And so, good bye, Baby Florence!" he scrawled. "I wish I could send you some of this snow, to show you what the floor of heaven is like."

While the snow fell faster—without, he stopped writing, and began idly drawing a map of Georgia on the tan-bark with a stick. Here the Federal troops could effect a landing: he knew the defences at that point. If they did? He thought of these Snake-hunters who had found in the war a peculiar road for themselves downward with no gallows to stumble over, fancied he saw them skulking through the fields at Cedar Creek, closing around the house, and behind them a mass of black faces and bloody bayonets. Floy alone, and he here,—like a rat in a trap! "God keep my little girl!" he wrote, unsteadily. "God bless you, Floy!" He gasped for breath, as if he had been writing with his heart's blood. Folding up the paper, he hid it inside his shirt and began his dogged walk, calculating the chances of escape. Once out of this shed, he could baffle a blood-hound, he knew the hills so well.

His head bent down, he did not see a man who stood looking at him over the wicket. Captain Dorr. A puny little man, with thin yellow hair, and womanish face: but not the less the hero of his men,—they having found out, somehow, that muscle was not the solidest thing to travel on in war-times. Our regiments of "roughs" were not altogether crowned with laurel at Manassas! So the men built more on the old Greatheart soul in the man's blue eyes: one of those souls born and bred pure, sent to teach, that can find breath only in the free North. His hearty "Hillo!" startled Lamar.

"How are you, old fellow?" he said, unlocking the gate and coming in.

Lamar threw off his wretched thoughts, glad to do it. What need to borrow trouble? He liked a laugh,—had a lazy, jolly humor of his own. Dorr had finished drill, and come up, as he did every day, to freshen himself with an hour's talk to this warm, blundering fellow. In this dismal war-work, (though his whole soul was in that, too,) it was like putting your hands to a big blaze. Dorr had no near relations; Lamar—they had played marbles together—stood to him where a younger brother might have stood. Yet, as they talked, he could not help his keen eye seeing him just as he was.

Poor John! he thought: the same uncouth-looking effort of humanity that he had been at Yale. No wonder the Northern boys jeered him, with his sloth-ways, his mouthed English, torpid eyes, and brain shut up in that worst of mud-moulds,—belief in caste. Even now, going up and down the tan-bark, his step was dead, sodden, like that of a man in whose life God had not yet wakened the full live soul. It was wakening, though, Dorr thought. Some pain or passion was bringing the man in him out of the flesh, vigilant, alert, aspirant. A different man from Dorr.

In fact, Lamar was just beginning to think for himself, and of course his thoughts were defiant, intolerant. He did not comprehend how his companion could give his heresies such quiet welcome, and pronounce sentence of death on them so coolly. Because Dorr had gone farther up the mountain, had he the right to make him follow in the same steps? The right,—that was it. By brute force, too? Human freedom, eh? Consequently, their talks were stormy enough. To-day, however, they were on trivial matters.

"I've brought the General's order for your release at last, John. It confines you to this district, however."

Lamar shook his head.

"No parole for me! My stake outside is too heavy for me to remain a prisoner on anything but compulsion. I mean to escape, if I can. Floy has nobody but me, you know, Charley."

There was a moment's silence.

"I wish," said Dorr, half to himself, "the child was with her cousin
Ruth. If she could make her a woman like herself!"

"You are kind," Lamar forced out, thinking of what might have been a year ago.

Dorr had forgotten. He had just kissed little Ruth at the door-step, coming away: thinking, as he walked up to camp, how her clear thought, narrow as it was, was making his own higher, more just; wondering if the tears on her face last night, when she got up from her knees after prayer, might not help as much in the great cause of truth as the life he was ready to give. He was so used to his little wife now, that he could look to no hour of his past life, nor of the future coming ages of event and work, where she was not present,—very flesh of his flesh, heart of his heart. A gulf lay between them and the rest of the world. It was hardly probable he could see her as a woman towards whom another man looked across the gulf, dumb, hopeless, defrauded of his right.

"She sent you some flowers, by the way, John,—the last in the yard,—and bade me be sure and bring you down with me. Your own colors, you see?—to put you in mind of home,"—pointing to the crimson asters flaked with snow.

The man smiled faintly: the smell of the flowers choked him: he laid them aside. God knows he was trying to wring out this bitter old thought: he could not look in Dorr's frank eyes while it was there. He must escape to-night: he never would come near them again, in this world, or beyond death,—never! He thought of that like a man going to drag through eternity with half his soul gone. Very well: there was man enough left in him to work honestly and bravely, and to thank God for that good pure love he yet had. He turned to Dorr with a flushed face, and began talking of Floy in hearty earnest,—glancing at Ben coming up the hill, thinking that escape depended on him.

"I ordered your man up," said Captain Dorr. "Some canting Abolitionist had him open-mouthed down there."

The negro came in, and stood in the corner, listening while they talked. A gigantic fellow, with a gladiator's muscles. Stronger than that Yankee captain, he thought,—than either of them: better breathed,—drawing the air into his brawny chest. "A man and a brother." Did the fool think he didn't know that before? He had a contempt for Dave and his like. Lamar would have told you Dave's words were true, but despised the man as a crude, unlicked bigot. Ben did the same, with no words for the idea. The negro instinct in him recognized gentle blood by any of its signs,—the transparent animal life, the reticent eye, the mastered voice: he had better men than Lamar at home to learn it from. It is a trait of serfdom, the keen eye to measure the inherent rights of a man to be master. A negro or a Catholic Irishman does not need "Sartor Resartus" to help him to see through any clothes. Ben leaned, half-asleep, against the wall, some old thoughts creeping out of their hiding-places through the torpor, like rats to the sunshine: the boatman's slang had been hot and true enough to rouse them in his brain.

"So, Ben," said his master, as he passed once, "your friend has been persuading you to exchange the cotton-fields at Cedar Creek for New-York alleys, eh?"

"Ki!" laughed Ben, "white darkey. Mind ole dad, Mars' John, as took off in der swamp? Um asked dat Linkinite ef him saw dad up Norf. Guess him's free now. Ki! ole dad!"

"The swamp was the place for him," said Lamar. "I remember."

"Dunno," said the negro, surlily: "him's dad, af'er all: tink him's free now,"—and mumbled down into a monotonous drone about

"Oh yo, bredern, is yer gwine ober Jordern?"

Half-asleep, they thought,—but with dull questionings at work in his brain, some queer notions about freedom, of that unknown North, mostly mixed with his remembrance of his father, a vicious old negro, that in Pennsylvania would have worked out his salvation in the under cell of the penitentiary, but in Georgia, whipped into heroism, had betaken himself into the swamp, and never returned. Tradition among the Lamar slaves said he had got off to Ohio, of which they had as clear an idea as most of us have of heaven. At any rate, old Kite became a mystery, to be mentioned with awe at fish-bakes and barbecues. He was this uncouth wretch's father,—do you understand? The flabby-faced boy, flogged in the cotton-field for whining after his dad, or hiding away part of his flitch and molasses for months in hopes the old man would come back, was rather a comical object, you would have thought. Very different his, from the feeling with which you left your mother's grave,—though as yet we have not invented names for the emotions of those people. We'll grant that it hurt Ben a little, however. Even the young polypus, when it is torn from the old one, bleeds a drop or two, they say. As he grew up, the great North glimmered through his thought, a sort of big field,—a paradise of no work, no flogging, and white bread every day, where the old man sat and ate his fill.

The second point in Ben's history was that he fell in love. Just as you did,—with the difference, of course: though the hot sun, or the perpetual foot upon his breast, does not make our black Prometheus less fierce in his agony of hope or jealousy than you, I am afraid. It was Nan, a pale mulatto house-servant, that the field-hand took into his dull, lonesome heart to make life of, with true-love defiance of caste. I think Nan liked him very truly. She was lame and sickly, and if Ben was black and a picker, and stayed in the quarters, he was strong, like a master to her in some ways: the only thing she could call hers in the world was the love the clumsy boy gave her. White women feel in that way sometimes, and it makes them very tender to men not their equals. However, old Mrs. Lamar, before she died, gave her house-servants their free papers, and Nan was among them. So she set off, with all the finery little Floy could give her: went up into that great, dim North. She never came again.

The North swallowed up all Ben knew or felt outside of his hot, hated work, his dread of a lashing on Saturday night. All the pleasure left him was 'possum and hominy for Sunday's dinner. It did not content him. The spasmodic religion of the field-negro does not teach endurance. So it came, that the slow tide of discontent ebbing in everybody's heart towards some unreached sea set in his ignorant brooding towards that vague country which the only two who cared for him had found. If he forgot it through the dogged, sultry days, he remembered it when the overseer scourged the dull tiger-look into his eyes, or when, husking corn with the others at night, the smothered negro-soul, into which their masters dared not look, broke out in their wild, melancholy songs. Aimless, unappealing, yet no prayer goes up to God more keen in its pathos. You find, perhaps, in Beethoven's seventh symphony the secrets of your heart made manifest, and suddenly think of a Somewhere to come, where your hope waits for you with late fulfilment. Do not laugh at Ben, then, if he dully told in his song the story of all he had lost, or gave to his heaven a local habitation and a name.

From the place where he stood now, as his master and Dorr walked up and down, he could see the purplish haze beyond which the sentry had told him lay the North. The North! Just beyond the ridge. There was a pain in his head, looking at it; his nerves grew cold and rigid, as yours do when something wrings your heart sharply: for there are nerves in these black carcasses, thicker, more quickly stung to madness than yours. Yet if any savage longing, smouldering for years, was heating to madness now in his brain, there was no sign of it in his face. Vapid, with sordid content, the huge jaws munching tobacco slowly, only now and then the beady eye shot a sharp glance after Dorr. The sentry had told him the Northern army had come to set the slaves free; he watched the Federal officer keenly.

"What ails you, Ben?" said his master. "Thinking over your friend's sermon?"

Ben's stolid laugh was ready.

"Done forgot dat, Mars'. Wouldn't go, nohow. Since Mars' sold dat cussed
Joe, gorry good times 't home. Dam' Abolitioner say we ums all goin'
Norf,"—with a stealthy glance at Dorr.

"That's more than your philanthropy bargains for, Charley," laughed

The men stopped; the negro skulked nearer, his whole senses sharpened into hearing. Dorr's clear face was clouded.

"This slave question must be kept out of the war. It puts a false face on it."

"I thought one face was what it needed," said Lamar. "You have too many slogans. Strong government, tariff, Sumter, a bit of bunting, eleven dollars a month. It ought to be a vital truth that would give soul and vim to a body with the differing members of your army. You, with your ideal theory, and Billy Wilson with his 'Blood and Baltimore!' Try human freedom. That's high and sharp and broad."

Ben drew a step closer.

"You are shrewd, Lamar. I am to go below all constitutions or expediency or existing rights, and tell Ben here that he is free? When once the Government accepts that doctrine, you, as a Rebel, must be let alone."

The slave was hid back in the shade.

"Dorr," said Lamar, "you know I'm a groping, ignorant fellow, but it seems to me that prating of constitutions and existing rights is surface talk; there is a broad common-sense underneath, by whose laws the world is governed, which your statesmen don't touch often. You in the North, in your dream of what shall be, shut your eyes to what is. You want a republic where every man's voice shall be heard in the council, and the majority shall rule. Granting that the free population are educated to a fitness for this,—(God forbid I should grant it with the Snake-hunters before my eyes!)—look here!"

He turned round, and drew the slave out into the light: he crouched down, gaping vacantly at them.

"There is Ben. What, in God's name, will you do with him? Keep him a slave, and chatter about self-government? Pah! The country is paying in blood for the lie, to-day. Educate him for freedom, by putting a musket in his hands? We have this mass of heathendom drifted on our shores by your will as well as mine. Try to bring them to a level with the whites by a wrench, and you'll waken out of your dream to a sharp reality. Your Northern philosophy ought to be old enough to teach you that spasms in the body-politic shake off no atom of disease,—that reform, to be enduring, must be patient, gradual, inflexible as the Great Reformer. 'The mills of God,' the old proverb says, 'grind surely.' But, Dorr, they grind exceeding slow!"

Dorr watched Lamar with an amused smile. It pleased him to see his brain waking up, eager, vehement. As for Ben, crouching there, if they talked of him like a clod, heedless that his face deepened in stupor, that his eyes had caught a strange, gloomy treachery,—we all do the same, you know.

"What is your remedy, Lamar? You have no belief in the right of
Secession, I know," said Dorr.

"It's a bad instrument for a good end. Let the white Georgian come out of his sloth, and the black will rise with him. Jefferson Davis may not intend it, but God does. When we have our Lowell, our New York, when we are a self-sustaining people instead of lazy land-princes, Ben here will have climbed the second of the great steps of Humanity. Do you laugh at us?" said Lamar, with a quiet self-reliance. "Charley, it needs only work and ambition to cut the brute away from my face, and it will leave traits very like your own. Ben's father was a Guinea fetich-worshipper; when we stand where New England does, Ben's son will be ready for his freedom."

"And while you theorize," laughed Dorr, "I hold you a prisoner, John, and Ben knows it is his right to be free. He will not wait for the grinding of the mill, I fancy."

Lamar did not smile. It was womanish in the man, when the life of great nations hung in doubt before them, to go back so constantly to little Floy sitting in the lap of her old black maumer. But he did it,—with the quick thought that to-night he must escape, that death lay in delay.

While Dorr talked, Lamar glanced significantly at Ben. The negro was not slow to understand,—with a broad grin, touching his pocket, from which projected the dull end of a hand-saw. I wonder what sudden pain made the negro rise just then, and come close to his master, touching him with a strange affection and remorse in his tired face, as though he had done him some deadly wrong.

"What is it, old fellow?" said Lamar, in his boyish way. "Homesick, eh? There's a little girl in Georgia that will be glad to see you and your master, and take precious good care of us when she gets us safe again. That's true, Ben!" laying his hand kindly on the man's shoulder, while his eyes went wandering off to the hills lying South.

"Yes, Mars'," said Ben, in a low voice, suddenly bringing a blacking-brush, and beginning to polish his master's shoes,—thinking, while he did it, of how often Mars' John had interfered with the overseers to save him from a flogging,—(Lamar, in his lazy way, was kind to his slaves,)—thinking of little Mist' Floy with an odd tenderness and awe, as a gorilla might of a white dove: trying to think thus,—the simple, kindly nature of the negro struggling madly with something beneath, new and horrible. He understood enough of the talk of the white men to know that there was no help for him,—none. Always a slave. Neither you nor I can ever know what those words meant to him. The pale purple mist where the North lay was never to be passed. His dull eyes turned to it constantly,—with a strange look, such as the lost women might have turned to the door, when Jesus shut it: they forever outside. There was a way to help himself? The stubby black fingers holding the brush grew cold and clammy,—noting withal, the poor wretch in his slavish way, that his master's clothes were finer than the Northern captain's, his hands whiter, and proud that it was so,—holding Lamar's foot daintily, trying to see himself in the shoe, smoothing down the trousers with a boorish, affectionate touch,—with the same fierce whisper in his ear, Would the shoes ever be cleaned again? would the foot move to-morrow?

It grew late. Lamar's supper was brought up from Captain Dorr's, and placed on the bench. He poured out a goblet of water.

"Come, Charley, let's drink. To Liberty! It is a war-cry for Satan or

They drank, laughing, while Ben stood watching. Dorr turned to go, but Lamar called him back,—stood resting his hand on his shoulder: he never thought to see him again, you know.

"Look at Ruth, yonder," said Dorr, his face lighting. "She is coming to meet us. She thought you would be with me."

Lamar looked gravely down at the low field-house and the figure at the gate. He thought he could see the small face and earnest eyes, though it was far off, and night was closing.

"She is waiting for you, Charley. Go down. Good night, old chum!"

If it cost any effort to say it, Dorr saw nothing of it.

"Good night, Lamar! I'll see you in the morning."

He lingered. His old comrade looked strangely alone and desolate.


"What is it, Dorr?"

"If I could tell the Colonel you would take the oath? For Floy's sake."

The man's rough face reddened.

"You should know me better. Good bye."

"Well, well, you are mad. Have you no message for Ruth?"

There was a moment's silence.

"Tell her I say, God bless her!"

Dorr stopped and looked keenly in his face,—then, coming back, shook hands again, in a different way from before, speaking in a lower voice,—

"God help us all, John! Good night!"—and went slowly down the hill.

It was nearly night, and bitter cold. Lamar stood where the snow drifted in on him, looking out through the horizon-less gray.

"Come out o' dem cold, Mars' John," whined Ben, pulling at his coat.

As the night gathered, the negro was haunted with a terrified wish to be kind to his master. Something told him that the time was short. Here and there through the far night some tent-fire glowed in a cone of ruddy haze, through which the thick-falling snow shivered like flakes of light. Lamar watched only the square block of shadow where Dorr's house stood. The door opened at last, and a broad, cheerful gleam shot out red darts across the white waste without; then he saw two figures go in together. They paused a moment; he put his head against the bars, straining his eyes, and saw that the woman turned, shading her eyes with her hand, and looked up to the side of the mountain where the guard-house lay,—with a kindly look, perhaps, for the prisoner out in the cold. A kind look: that was all. The door shut on them. Forever: so, good night, Ruth!

He stool there for an hour or two, leaning his head against the muddy planks, smoking. Perhaps, in his coarse fashion, he took the trouble of his manhood back to the same God he used to pray to long ago. When he turned at last, and spoke, it was with a quiet, strong voice, like one who would fight through life in a manly way. There was a grating sound at the back of the shed: it was Ben, sawing through the wicket, the guard having lounged off to supper. Lamar watched him, noticing that the negro was unusually silent. The plank splintered, and hung loose.

"Done gone, Mars' John, now,"—leaving it, and beginning to replenish the fire.

"That's right, Ben. We'll start in the morning. That sentry at two o'clock sleeps regularly."

Ben chuckled, heaping up the sticks.

"Go on down to the camp, as usual. At two, Ben, remember! We will be free to-night, old boy!"

The black face looked up from the clogging smoke with a curious stare.

"Ki! we'll be free to-night, Mars'!"—gulping his breath.

Soon after, the sentry unlocked the gate, and he shambled off out into the night. Lamar, left alone, went closer to the fire, and worked busily at some papers he drew from his pocket: maps and schedules. He intended to write until two o'clock; but the blaze dying down, he wrapped his blanket about him, and lay down on the heaped straw, going on sleepily, in his brain, with his calculations.

The negro, in the shadow of the shed, watched him. A vague fear beset him,—of the vast, white cold,—the glowering mountains,—of himself; he clung to the familiar face, like a man drifting out into an unknown sea, clutching some relic of the shore. When Lamar fell asleep, he wandered uncertainly towards the tents. The world had grown new, strange; was he Ben, picking cotton in the swamp-edge?—plunging his fingers with a shudder in the icy drifts. Down in the glowing torpor of the Santilla flats, where the Lamar plantations lay, Ben had slept off as maddening hunger for life and freedom as this of to-day; but here, with the winter air stinging every nerve to life, with the perpetual mystery of the mountains terrifying his bestial nature down, the strength of the man stood up: groping, blind, malignant, it may be; but whose fault was that? He was half-frozen: the physical pain sharpened the keen doubt conquering his thought. He sat down in the crusted snow, looking vacantly about him, a man, at last,—but wakening, like a new-born soul, into a world of unutterable solitude. Wakened dully, slowly; sitting there far into the night, pondering stupidly on his old life; crushing down and out the old parasite affection for his master, the old fears, the old weight threatening to press out his thin life; the muddy blood heating, firing with the same heroic dream that bade Tell and Garibaldi lift up their hands to God, and cry aloud that they were men and free: the same,—God-given, burning in the imbruted veins of a Guinea slave. To what end? May God be merciful to America while she answers the question! He sat, rubbing his cracked, bleeding feet, glancing stealthily at the southern hills. Beyond them lay all that was past; in an hour he would follow Lamar back to—what? He lifted his hands up to the sky, in his silly way sobbing hot tears. "Gor-a'mighty, Mars' Lord, I'se tired," was all the prayer he made. The pale purple mist was gone from the North; the ridge behind which love, freedom waited, struck black across the sky, a wall of iron. He looked at it drearily. Utterly alone: he had always been alone. He got up at last, with a sigh.

"It's a big world,"—with a bitter chuckle,—"but der's no room in it fur poor Ben."

He dragged himself through the snow to a light in a tent where a voice in a wild drone, like that he had heard at negro camp-meetings, attracted him. He did not go in: stood at the tent-door, listening. Two or three of the guard stood around, leaning on their muskets; in the vivid fire-light rose the gaunt figure of the Illinois boatman, swaying to and fro as he preached. For the men were honest, God-fearing souls, members of the same church, and Dave, in all integrity of purpose, read aloud to them,—the cry of Jeremiah against the foul splendors of the doomed city,—waving, as he spoke, his bony arm to the South. The shrill voice was that of a man wrestling with his Maker. The negro's fired brain caught the terrible meaning of the words,—found speech in it: the wide, dark night, the solemn silence of the men, were only fitting audience.

The man caught sight of the slave, and, laying down his book, began one of those strange exhortations in the manner of his sect. Slow at first, full of unutterable pity. There was room for pity. Pointing to the human brute crouching there, made once in the image of God,—the saddest wreck on His green foot-stool: to the great stealthy body, the revengeful jaws, the foreboding eyes. Soul, brains,—a man, wifeless, homeless, nationless, hawked, flung from trader to trader for a handful of dirty shinplasters. "Lord God of hosts," cried the man, lifting up his trembling hands, "lay not this sin to our charge!" There was a scar on Ben's back where the lash had buried itself: it stung now in the cold. He pulled his clothes tighter, that they should not see it; the scar and the words burned into his heart: the childish nature of the man was gone; the vague darkness in it took a shape and name. The boatman had been praying for him; the low words seemed to shake the night:—

"Hear the prayer of Thy servant, and his supplications! Is not this what Thou hast chosen: to loose the bands, to undo the heavy burdens, and let the oppressed go free? O Lord, hear! O Lord, hearken and do! Defer not for Thine own sake, O my God!"

"What shall I do?" said the slave, standing up.

The boatman paced slowly to and fro, his voice chording in its dull monotone with the smothered savage muttering in the negro's brain.

"The day of the Lord cometh; it is nigh at hand. Who can abide it? What saith the prophet Jeremiah? 'Take up a burden against the South. Cry aloud, spare not. Woe unto Babylon, for the day of her vengeance is come, the day of her visitation! Call together the archers against Babylon; camp against it round about; let none thereof escape. Recompense her: as she hath done unto my people, be it done unto her. A sword is upon Babylon: it shall break in pieces the shepherd and his flock, the man and the woman, the young man and the maid. I will render unto her the evil she hath done in my sight, saith the Lord.'"

It was the voice of God: the scar burned fiercer; the slave came forward boldly,—

"Mars'er, what shall I do?"

"Give the poor devil a musket," said one of the men. "Let him come with us, and strike a blow for freedom."

He took a knife from his belt, and threw it to him, then sauntered off to his tent.

"A blow for freedom?" mumbled Ben, taking it up.

"Let us sing to the praise of God," said the boatman, "the sixty-eighth psalm," lining it out while they sang,—the scattered men joining, partly to keep themselves awake. In old times David's harp charmed away the demon from a human heart. It roused one now, never to be laid again. A dull, droning chant, telling how the God of Vengeance rode upon the wind, swift to loose the fetters of the chained, to make desert the rebellious land; with a chorus, or refrain, in which Ben's wild, melancholy cry sounded like the wail of an avenging spirit:—

  "That in the blood of enemies
    Thy foot imbrued may be:
  And of thy dogs dipped in the same
    The tongues thou mayest see."

The meaning of that was plain; he sang it lower and more steadily each time, his body swaying in cadence, the glitter in his eye more steely.

Lamar, asleep in his prison, was wakened by the far-off plaintive song: he roused himself, leaning on one elbow, listening with a half-smile. It was Naomi they sang, he thought,—an old-fashioned Methodist air that Floy had caught from the negroes, and used to sing to him sometimes. Every night, down at home, she would come to his parlor-door to say good-night: he thought he could see the little figure now in its white nightgown, and hear the bare feet pattering on the matting. When he was alone, she would come in, and sit on his lap awhile, and kneel down before she went away, her head on his knee, to say her prayers, as she called it. Only God knew how many times he had remained alone after hearing those prayers, saved from nights of drunken debauch. He thought he felt Floy's pure little hand on his forehead now, as if she were saying her usual "Good night, Bud." He lay down to sleep again, with a genial smile on his face, listening to the hymn.

"It's the same God," he said,—"Floy's and theirs."

Outside, as he slept, a dark figure watched him. The song of the men ceased. Midnight, white and silent, covered the earth. He could hear only the slow breathing of the sleeper. Ben's black face grew ashy pale, but he did not tremble, as he crept, cat-like, up to the wicket, his blubber lips apart, the white teeth clenched.

"It's for Freedom, Mars' Lord!" he gasped, looking up to the sky, as if he expected an answer. "Gor-a'mighty, it's for Freedom!" And went in.

A belated bird swooped through the cold moonlight into the valley, and vanished in the far mountain-cliffs with a low, fearing cry, as though it had passed through Hades.

They had broken down the wicket: he saw them lay the heavy body on the lumber outside, the black figures hurrying over the snow. He laughed low, savagely, watching them. Free now! The best of them despised him; the years past of cruelty and oppression turned back, fused in a slow, deadly current of revenge and hate, against the race that had trodden him down. He felt the iron muscles of his fingers, looked close at the glittering knife he held, chuckling at the strange smell it bore. Would the Illinois boatman blame him, if it maddened him? And if Ben took the fancy to put it to his throat, what right has he to complain? Has not he also been a dweller in Babylon? He hesitated a moment in the cleft of the hill, choosing his way, exultantly. He did not watch the North now; the quiet old dream of content was gone; his thick blood throbbed and surged with passions of which you and I know nothing: he had a lost life to avenge. His native air, torrid, heavy with latent impurity, drew him back: a fitter breath than this cold snow for the animal in his body, the demon in his soul, to triumph and wallow in. He panted, thinking of the saffron hues of the Santilla flats, of the white, stately dwellings, the men that went in and out from them, quiet, dominant,—feeling the edge of his knife. It was his turn to be master now! He ploughed his way doggedly through the snow,—panting, as he went,—a hotter glow in his gloomy eyes. It was his turn for pleasure now: he would have his fill! Their wine and their gardens and——He did not need to choose a wife from his own color now. He stopped, thinking of little Floy, with her curls and great listening eyes, watching at the door for her brother. He had watched her climb up into his arms and kiss his cheek. She never would do that again! He laughed aloud, shrilly. By God! she should keep the kiss for other lips! Why should he not say it?

Up on the hill the night-air throbbed colder and holier. The guards stood about in the snow, silent, troubled. This was not like a death in battle: it put them in mind of home, somehow. All that the dying man said was, "Water," now and then. He had been sleeping, when struck, and never had thoroughly wakened from his dream. Captain Poole, of the Snake-hunters, had wrapped him in his own blanket, finding nothing more could be done. He went off to have the Colonel summoned now, muttering that it was "a damned shame." They put snow to Lamar's lips constantly, being hot and parched; a woman, Dorr's wife, was crouching on the ground beside him, chafing his hands, keeping down her sobs for fear they would disturb him. He opened his eyes at last, and knew Dorr, who held his head.

"Unfasten my coat, Charley. What makes it so close here?"

Dorr could not speak.

"Shall I lift you up, Captain Lamar?" asked Dave Hall, who stood leaning on his rifle.

He spoke in a subdued tone, Babylon being far off for the moment. Lamar dozed again before he could answer.

"Don't try to move him,—it is too late," said Dorr, sharply.

The moonlight steeped mountain and sky in a fresh whiteness. Lamar's face, paling every moment, hardening, looked in it like some solemn work of an untaught sculptor. There was a breathless silence. Ruth, kneeling beside him, felt his hand grow slowly colder than the snow. He moaned, his voice going fast,—

"At two, Ben, old fellow! We'll be free to-night!"

Dave, stooping to wrap the blanket, felt his hand wet: he wiped it with a shudder.

"As he hath done unto My people, be it done unto him!" he muttered, but the words did not comfort him.

Lamar moved, half-smiling.

"That's right, Floy. What is it she says? 'Now I lay me down'——I forget. Good night. Kiss me, Floy."

He waited,—looked up uneasily. Dorr looked at his wife: she stooped, and kissed his lips. Charley smoothed back the hair from the damp face with as tender a touch as a woman's. Was he dead? The white moonlight was not more still than the calm face.

Suddenly the night-air was shattered by a wild, revengeful laugh from the hill. The departing soul rushed back, at the sound, to life, full consciousness. Lamar started from their hold,—sat up.

"It was Ben," he said, slowly.

In that dying flash of comprehension, it may be, the wrongs of the white man and the black stood clearer to his eyes than ours: the two lives trampled down. The stern face of the boatman bent over him: he was trying to stanch the flowing blood. Lamar looked at him: Hall saw no bitterness in the look,—a quiet, sad question rather, before which his soul lay bare. He felt the cold hand touch his shoulder, saw the pale lips move.

"Was this well done?" they said.

Before Lamar's eyes the rounded arch of gray receded, faded into dark; the negro's fierce laugh filled his ear: some woful thought at the sound wrung his soul, as it halted at the gate. It caught at the simple faith his mother taught him.

"Yea," he said aloud, "though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for Thou art with me."

Dorr gently drew down the uplifted hand. He was dead.

"It was a manly soul," said the Northern captain, his voice choking, as he straightened the limp hair.

"He trusted in God? A strange delusion!" muttered the boatman.

Yet he did not like that they should leave him alone with Lamar, as they did, going down for help. He paced to and fro, his rifle on his shoulder, arming his heart with strength to accomplish the vengeance of the Lord against Babylon. Yet he could not forget the murdered man sitting there in the calm moonlight, the dead face turned towards the North,—the dead face, whereon little Floy's tears should never fall. The grave, unmoving eyes seemed to the boatman to turn to him with the same awful question. "Was this well done?" they said. He thought in eternity they would rise before him, sad, unanswered. The earth, he fancied, lay whiter, colder,—the heaven farther off; the war, which had become a daily business, stood suddenly before him in all its terrible meaning. God, he thought, had met in judgment with His people. Yet he uttered no cry of vengeance against the doomed city. With the dead face before him, he bent his eyes to the ground, humble, uncertain,—speaking out of the ignorance of his own weak, human soul.

"The day of the Lord is nigh," he said; "it is at hand; and who can abide it?"




  I would I were a painter, for the sake
    Of a sweet picture, and of her who led,
    A fitting guide, with light, but reverent tread,
  Into that mountain mystery! First a lake
    Tinted with sunset; next the wavy lines
      Of far receding hills; and yet more far,
    Monadnock lifting from his night of pines
      His rosy forehead to the evening star.
  Beside us, purple-zoned, Wachuset laid
  His head against the West, whose warm light made
      His aureole; and o'er him, sharp and clear,
  Like a shaft of lightning in mid launching stayed,
    A single level cloud-line, shone upon
    By the fierce glances of the sunken sun,
      Menaced the darkness with its golden spear!

  So twilight deepened round us. Still and black
  The great woods climbed the mountain at our back;
  And on their skirts, where yet the lingering day
  On the shorn greenness of the clearing lay,
    The brown old farm-house like a bird's nest hung.
  With home-life sounds the desert air was stirred:
  The bleat of sheep along the hill we heard,
  The bucket plashing in the cool, sweet well,
  The pasture-bars that clattered as they fell;
  Dogs barked, fowls fluttered, cattle lowed; the gate
  Of the barn-yard creaked beneath the merry weight
    Of sun-brown children, listening, while they swung,
      The welcome sound of supper-call to hear;
      And down the shadowy lane, in tinklings clear,
    The pastoral curfew of the cow-bell rung.
  Thus soothed and pleased, our backward path we took,
    Praising the farmer's home. He only spake,
    Looking into the sunset o'er the lake,
      Like one to whom the far-off is most near:
  "Yes, most folks think it has a pleasant look;
    I love it for my good old mother's sake,
      Who lived and died here in the peace of God!"
    The lesson of his words we pondered o'er,
  As silently we turned the eastern flank
  Of the mountain, where its shadow deepest sank,
  Doubling the night along our rugged road:
  We felt that man was more than his abode,—
    The inward life than Nature's raiment more;
  And the warm sky, the sundown-tinted hill,
    The forest and the lake, seemed dwarfed and dim
  Before the saintly soul, whose human will
      Meekly in the Eternal footsteps trod,
  Making her homely toil and household ways
  An earthly echo of the song of praise
    Swelling from angel lips and harps of seraphim!


At a certain depth, as has already been intimated in our literature, all bosoms communicate, all hearts are one. Hector and Ajax, in Homer's great picture, stand face to face, each with advanced foot, with levelled spear, and turgid sinew, eager to kill, while on either side ten thousand slaughterous wishes poise themselves in hot breasts, waiting to fly with the flying weapons; yet, though the combatants seem to surrender themselves wholly to this action, there is in each a profound element that is no party to these hostilities. It is the pure nature of man. Ajax is not all Greek, nor is Hector wholly Trojan: both are also men; and to the extent of their mutual participation in this pure and perpetual element of Manhood, they are more than friends, more than relatives,—they are of identical spirit. For there is an imperishable nature of Man, ever and everywhere the same, of which each particular man is a testimony and representation. As the solid earth underruns the "dissociating sea"—Oceano dissociabili—and joins in one all sundered lands, so does this nature dip beneath the dividing parts of our being, and make of all men one simple and inseparable humanity. In love, in friendship, in true conversation, in all happiness of communion between men, it is this unchangeable substratum or substance of man's being that is efficient and supreme: out of divers bosoms, Same calls, and replies to Same with a great joy of self-recognition. It is only in virtue of this nature that men understand, appreciate, admire, trust each other,—that books of the earliest times remain true in the latest,—that society is possible; and he in whom the virtue of it dwells divinely is admitted to the secret confidence of all bosoms, lives in all times, and converses with each soul and age in its own vernacular. Socrates looked beyond the gates of death for happy communion with Homer and all the great; but already we interchange words with these, whenever we are so sweetly prospered as to become, in some good degree, identical with the absolute nature of man.

Not only, moreover, is this immortal substance of man's being common and social, but it is so great and venerable that no one can match it with an equal report. All the epithets by which we would extol it are disgraced by it, as the most brilliant artificial lights become blackness when placed between the eye and the noonday sun. It is older, it is earlier in existence than the earliest star that shone in heaven; and it will outlive the fixed stars that now in heaven seem fixed forever. There is nothing in the created universe of which it was not the prophecy in its primal conception; there is nothing of which it is not the interpretation and ultimatum in its final form. The laws which rule the world as forces are, in it, thoughts and liberties. All the grand imaginations of men, all the glorified shapes, the Olympian gods, cherubic and seraphic forms, are but symbols and adumbrations of what it contains. As the sun, having set, still leaves its golden impress on the clouds, so does the absolute nature of man throw up and paint, as it were, on the sky testimonies of its power, remaining itself unseen. Only, therefore, is one a poet, as he can cause particular traits and events, without violation of their special character, or concealment of their peculiar interest, to bear the deep, sweet, and infinite suggestion of this. All princeliness and imperial worth, all that is regal, beautiful, pure in men, comes from this nature; and the words by which we express reverence, admiration, love, borrow from it their entire force: since reverence, admiration, love, and all other grand sentiments, are but modes or forms of noble unification between men, and are therefore shown to spring from that spiritual unity of which persons are exponents; while, on the other hand, all evil epithets suggest division and separation. Of this nature all titles of honor, all symbols that command homage and obedience on earth, are pensioners. How could the claims of kings survive successions of Stuarts and Georges, but for a royalty in each peasant's bosom that pleads for its poor image on the throne?

In the high sense, no man is great save he that is a large continent of this absolute humanity. The common nature of man it is; yet those are ever, and in the happiest sense, uncommon men, in whom it is liberally present.

But every man, besides the nature which constitutes him man, has, so to speak, another nature, which constitutes him a particular individual. He is not only like all others of his kind, but, at the same time, unlike all others. By physical and mental feature he is distinguished, insulated; he is endowed with a quality so purely in contrast with the common nature of man, that in virtue of it he can be singled out from hundreds of millions, from all the myriads of his race. So far, now, as one is representative of absolute humanity, he is a Person; so far as, by an element peculiar to himself, he is contrasted with absolute humanity, he is an Individual. And having duly chanted our Credo concerning man's pure and public nature, let us now inquire respecting this dividing element of Individuality,—which, with all the force it has, strives to cut off communication, to destroy unity, and to make of humanity a chaos or dust of biped atoms.

Not for a moment must we make this surface nature of equal estimation with the other. It is secondary, very secondary, to the pure substance of man. The Person first in order of importance; the Individual next,—

"Proximus huic, longo sed proximus intervallo,"—

"next with an exceeding wide remove."

Take from Epaminondas or Luther all that makes him man, and the rest will not be worth selling to the Jews. Individuality is an accompaniment, an accessory, a red line on the map, a fence about the field, a copyright on the book. It is like the particular flavors of fruits,—of no account but in relation to their saccharine, acid, and other staple elements. It must therefore keep its place, or become an impertinence. If it grow forward, officious, and begin to push in between the pure nature and its divine ends, at once it is a meddling Peter, for whom there is no due greeting but "Get thee behind me, Satan." If the fruit have a special flavor of such ambitious pungency that the sweets and acids cannot appear through it, be sure that to come at this fruit no young Wilhelm Meister will purloin keys. If one be so much an Individual that he wellnigh ceases to be a Man, we shall not admire him. It is the same in mental as in physical feature. Let there, by all means, be slight divergence from the common type; but by all means let it be no more than a slight divergence. Too much is monstrous: even a very slight excess is what we call ugliness. Gladly I perceive in my neighbor's face, voice, gait, manner, a certain charm of peculiarity; but if in any the peculiarity be so great as to suggest a doubt whether he be not some other creature than man, may he not be neighbor of mine!

A little of this surface nature suffices; yet that little cannot be spared. Its first office is to guard frontiers. We must not lie quite open to the inspection or invasion of others: yet, were there no medium of unlikeness interposed between one and another, privacy would be impossible, and one's own bosom would not be sacred to himself. But Nature has secured us against these profanations; and as we have locks to our doors, curtains to our windows, and, upon occasion, a passport system on our borders, so has she cast around each spirit this veil to guard it from intruding eyes, this barrier to keep away the feet of strangers. Homer represents the divinities as coming invisibly to admonish their favored heroes; but Nature was beforehand with the poet, and every one of us is, in like manner, a celestial nature walking concealed. Who sees you, when you walk the street? Who would walk the street, did be not feel himself fortressed in a privacy that no foreign eyes can enter? But for this, no cities would be built. Society, therefore, would be impossible, save for this element, which seems to hinder society. Each of us, wrapt in his opaque individuality, like Apollo or Athene in a blue mist, remains hidden, if he will; and therefore do men dare to come together.

But this superficial element, while securing privacy to the pure nature, also aids it to expression. It emphasizes the outlines of Personality by gentle contrast. It is like the shadow in the landscape, without which all the sunbeams of heaven could not reveal with precision a single object. Assured lovers resort to happy banter and light oppositions, to give themselves a sweeter sense of unity of heart. The child, with a cunning which only Nature has taught, will sometimes put a little honey of refusal into its kisses before giving them; the maiden adds to her virgin blooms the further attraction of virgin coyness and reserve; the civilizing dinner-table would lose all its dignity in losing its delays; and so everywhere, delicate denial, withholding reserve have an inverse force, and add a charm of emphasis to gift, assent, attraction, and sympathy. How is the word Immortality emphasized to our hearts by the perpetual spectacle of death! The joy and suggestion of it could, indeed, never visit us, had not this momentary loud denial been uttered in our ears. Such, therefore, as have learned to interpret these oppositions in Nature, hear in the jarring note of Death only a jubilant proclamation of life eternal; while all are thus taught the longing for immortality, though only by their fear of the contrary. And so is the pure universal nature of man affirmed by these provocations of contrast and insulation on the surface. We feel the personality far more, and far more sweetly, for its being thus divided from our own. From behind this veil the pure nature comes to us with a kind of surprise, as out of another heaven. The joy of truth and delight of beauty are born anew for us from each pair of chanting lips and beholding eyes; and each new soul that comes promises another gift of the universe. Whoever, in any time or under any sky, sees the worth and wonder of existence, sees it for me; whatever language he speak, whatever star he inhabit, we shall one day meet, and through the confession of his heart all my ancient possessions will become a new gain; he shall make for me a natal day of creation, showing the producing breath, as it goes forth from the lips of God, and spreads into the blue purity of sky, or rounds into the luminance of suns; the hills and their pines, the vales and their blooms, and heroic men and beauteous women, all that I have loved or reverenced, shall come again, appearing and trooping out of skies never visible before. Because of these dividing lines between souls, each new soul is to all the others a possible factor of heaven.

Such uses does individuality subserve. Yet it is capable of these ministries only as it does indeed minister. All its uses are lost with the loss of its humility and subordinance. It is the porter at the gate, furthering the access of lawful, and forbidding the intrusion of unlawful visitors to the mansion; who becomes worse than useless, if in surly excess of zeal he bar the gate against all, or if in the excess of self-importance he receive for himself what is meant for his master, and turn visitors aside into the porter's lodge. Beautiful is virgin reserve, and true it is that delicate half-denial reinforces attraction; yet the maiden who carries only No upon her tongue, and only refusal in her ways, shall never wake before dawn on the day of espousal, nor blush beneath her bridal veil, like Morning behind her clouds. This surface element, we must remember, is not income and resource, but an item of needful, and, so far as needful, graceful and economical expenditure. Excess of it is wasteful, by causing Life to pay for that which he does not need, by increase of social fiction, and by obstruction of social flow with the fructifications which this brings, not to be spared by any mortal. Nay, by extreme excess, it may so cut off and sequester a man, that no word or aspect of another soul can reach him; he shall see in mankind only himself, he shall hear in the voices of others only his own echoes. Many and many a man is there, so housed in his individuality, that it goes, like an impenetrable wall, over eye and ear; and even in the tramp of the centuries he can find hint of nothing save the sound of his own feet. It is a frequent tragedy,—but profound as frequent.

One great task, indeed the great task of good-breeding is, accordingly, to induce in this element a delicacy, a translucency, which, without robbing any action or sentiment of the hue it imparts, shall still allow the pure human quality perfectly and perpetually to shine through. The world has always been charmed with fine manners; and why should it not? For what are fine manners but this: to carry your soul on your lip, in your eye, in the palm of your hand, and yet to stand not naked, but clothed upon by your individual quality,—visible, yet inscrutable,—given to the hearts of others, yet contained in your own bosom,—nobly and humanly open, yet duly reticent and secured from invasion? Polished manners often disappoint us; good manners never.

The former may be taken on by indigent souls: the latter imply a noble and opulent nature. And wait you not for death, according to the counsel of Solon, to be named happy, if you are permitted fellowship with a man of rich mind, whose individual savor you always finely perceive, and never more than finely,—who yields you the perpetual sense of community, and never of confusion, with your own spirit. The happiness is all the greater, if the fellowship be accorded by a mind eminently superior to one's own; for he, while yet more removed, comes yet nearer, seeming to be that which our own soul may become in some future life, and so yielding us the sense of our own being more deeply and powerfully than it is given by the consciousness in our own bosom. And going forward to the supreme point of this felicity, we may note that the worshipper, in the ecstasy of his adoration, feels the Highest to be also Nearest,—more remote than the borders of space and fringes of heaven,—more intimate with his own being than the air he breathes or the thought be thinks; and of this double sense is the rapture of his adoration, and the joy indeed of every angel, born.

Divineness appertains to the absolute nature of man; piquancy and charm to that which serves and modifies this. Infinitude and immortality are of the one; the strictest finiteness belongs to the other. In the first you can never be too deep and rich; in the second never too delicate and measured. Yet you will easily find a man in whom the latter so abounds as not only to shut him out from others, but to absorb all the vital resource generated in his own bosom, leaving to the pure personality nothing. The finite nature fares sumptuously every day; the other is a heavenly Lazarus sitting at the gate.

Of such individuals there are many classes; and the majority of eccentric men constitute one class. If a man have very peculiar ways, we readily attribute to him a certain depth and force, and think that the polished citizen wants character in comparison. Probably it is not so. Singularity may be as shallow as the shallowest conformity. There are numbers of such from whom if you deduct the eccentricity, it is like subtracting red from vermilion or six from half a dozen. They are grimaces of humanity,—no more. In particular, I make occasion to say, that those oddities, whose chief characteristic it is to slink away from the habitations of men, and claim companionship with musk-rats, are, despite Mr. Thoreau's pleasant patronage of them, no whit more manly or profound than the average citizen, who loves streets and parlors, and does not endure estrangement from the Post-Office. Mice lurk in holes and corners; could the cat speak, she would say that they have a genius only for lurking in holes. Bees and ants are, to say the least, quite as witty as beetles, proverbially blind; yet they build insect cities, and are as invincibly social and city-loving as Socrates himself.

Aside, however, from special eccentricity, there are men, like the Earl of Essex, Bacon's soi-disant friend, who possess a certain emphatic and imposing individuality, which, while commonly assumed to indicate character and force, is really but the succedaneum for these. They are like oysters, with extreme stress of shell, and only a blind, soft, acephalous body within. These are commonly great men so long as little men will serve; and are something less than little ever after. As an instance of this, I should select the late chief magistrate of this nation. His whole ability lay in putting a most imposing countenance upon commonplaces. He made a mere air seem solid as rock. Owing to this possibility of presenting all force on the outside, and so creating a false impression of resource, all great social emergencies are followed by a speedy breaking down of men to whom was generally attributed an able spirit; while others of less outward mark, and for this reason hitherto unnoticed, come forward, and prove to be indeed the large vessels of manhood accorded to that generation.

Our tendency to assume individual mark as the measure of personality is flattered by many of the books we read. It is, of course, easier to depict character, when it is accompanied by some striking individual hue; and therefore in romances and novels this is conferred upon all the forcible characters, merely to favor the author's hand: as microscopists feed minute creatures with colored food to make their circulations visible. It is only the great master who can represent a powerful personality in the purest state, that is, with the maximum of character and the minimum of individual distinction; while small artists, with a feeble hold upon character, habitually resort to extreme quaintnesses and singularities of circumstance, in order to confer upon their weak portraitures some vigor of outline. It takes a Giotto to draw readily a nearly perfect O; but a nearly perfect triangle any one can draw. Shakspeare is able to delineate a Gentleman,—one, that is, who, while nobly and profoundly a man, is so delicately individualized, that the impression of him, however vigorous and commanding, cannot be harsh: Shakspeare is equal to this task, but even so very able a painter as Fielding is not. His Squire Western and Parson Adams are exquisite, his Allworthy is vapid: deny him strong pigments of individualism, and he is unable to portray strong character. Scott, among British novelists, is, perhaps, in this respect most Shakspearian, though the Colonel Esmond of Thackeray is not to be forgotten; but even Scott's Dandie Dinmonts, or gentlemen in the rough, sparkle better than his polished diamonds. Yet in this respect the Waverley Novels are singularly and admirably healthful, comparing to infinite advantage with the rank and file of novels, wherein the "characters" are but bundles of quaintnesses, and the action is impossible.

Written history has somewhat of the same infirmity with fictitious literature, though not always by the fault of the historian. Far too little can it tell us respecting those of whom we desire to know much; while, on the other hand, it is often extremely liberal of information concerning those of whom we desire to know nothing. The greatest of men approach a pure personality, a pure representation of man's imperishable nature; individual peculiarity they far less abound in; and what they do possess is held in transparent solution by their manhood, as a certain amount of vapor is always held by the air. The higher its temperature, the more moisture can the atmosphere thus absorb, exhibiting it not as cloud, but only as immortal azure of sky: and so the greater intensity there is of the pure quality of man, the more of individual peculiarity can it master and transform into a simple heavenliness of beauty, of which the world finds few words to say. Men, in general, have, perhaps, no more genius than novelists in general,—though it seems a hard speech to make,—and while profoundly impressed by any manifestation of the pure genius of man, can observe and relate only peculiarities and exceptional traits. Incongruities are noted; congruities are only felt. If a two-headed calf be born, the newspapers hasten to tell of it; but brave boys and beautiful girls by thousands grow to fulness of stature without mention. We know so little of Homer and Shakspeare partly because they were Homer and Shakspeare. Smaller men might afford more plentiful materials for biography, because their action and character would be more clouded with individualism. The biography of a supreme poet is the history of his kind. He transmits himself by pure vital impression. His remembrance is committed, not to any separable faculty, but to a memory identical with the total being of men. If you would learn his story, listen to the sprites that ride on crimson steeds along the arterial highways, singing of man's destiny as they go.


The extreme southwestern corner of Germany is an irregular right-angle, formed by the course of the Rhine. Within this angle and an hypothenuse drawn from the Lake of Constance to Carlsruhe lies a wild mountain-region—a lateral offshoot from the central chain which extends through Europe from west to east—known to all readers of robber-romances as the Black Forest. It is a cold, undulating upland, intersected with deep valleys which descend to the plains of the Rhine and the Danube, and covered with great tracts of fir-forest. Here and there a peak rises high above the general level, the Feldberg attaining a height of five thousand feet. The aspect of this region is stern and gloomy: the fir-woods appear darker than elsewhere; the frequent little lakes are as inky in hue as the pools of the High Alps; and the meadows of living emerald give but a partial brightness to the scenery. Here, however, the solitary traveller may adventure without fear. Robbers and robber-castles have long since passed away, and the people, rough and uncouth as they may at first seem, are as kindly-hearted as they are honest. Among them was born—and in their incomprehensible dialect wrote—Hebel, the German Burns.

We dislike the practice of using the name of one author as the characteristic designation of another. It is, at best, the sign of an imperfect fame, implying rather the imitation of a scholar than the independent position of a master. We can, nevertheless, in no other way indicate in advance the place which the subject of our sketch occupies in the literature of Germany. A contemporary of Burns, and ignorant of the English language, there is no evidence that he had ever even heard of the former; but Burns, being the first truly great poet who succeeded in making classic a local dialect, thereby constituted himself an illustrious standard, by which his successors in the same path must be measured. Thus, Bellman and Béranger have been inappropriately invested with his mantle, from the one fact of their being song-writers of a democratic stamp. The Gascon, Jasmin, better deserves the title; and Longfellow, in translating his "Blind Girl of Castèl-Cuillè," says,—

  "Only the lowland tongue of Scotland might
  Rehearse this little tragedy aright":—

a conviction which we have frequently shared, in translating our German author.

It is a matter of surprise to us, that, while Jasmin's poems have gone far beyond the bounds of France, the name of John Peter Hebel—who possesses more legitimate claims to the peculiar distinction which Burns achieved—is not only unknown outside of Germany, but not even familiarly known to the Germans themselves. The most probable explanation is, that the Alemannic dialect, in which he wrote, is spoken only by the inhabitants of the Black Forest and a portion of Suabia, and cannot be understood, without a glossary, by the great body of the North-Germans. The same cause would operate, with greater force, in preventing a translation into foreign languages. It is, in fact, only within the last twenty years that the Germans have become acquainted with Burns,—chiefly through the admirable translations of the poet Freiligrath.

To Hebel belongs the merit of having bent one of the harshest of German dialects to the uses of poetry. We doubt whether the lyre of Apollo was ever fashioned from a wood of rougher grain. Broad, crabbed, guttural, and unpleasant to the ear which is not thoroughly accustomed to its sound, the Alemannic patois was, in truth, a most unpromising material. The stranger, even though he were a good German scholar, would never suspect the racy humor, the naïve, childlike fancy, and the pure human tenderness of expression which a little culture has brought to bloom on such a soil. The contractions, elisions, and corruptions which German words undergo, with the multitude of terms in common use derived from the Gothic, Greek, Latin, and Italian, give it almost the character of a different language. It was Hebel's mother-tongue, and his poetic faculty always returned to its use with a fresh delight which insured success. His German poems are inferior in all respects.

Let us first glance at the poet's life,—a life uneventful, perhaps, yet interesting from the course of its development. He was born in Basle, in May, 1760, in the house of Major Iselin, where both his father and mother were at service. The former, a weaver by trade, afterwards became a soldier, and accompanied the Major to Flanders, France, and Corsica. He had picked up a good deal of stray knowledge on his campaigns, and had a strong natural taste for poetry. The qualities of the son were inherited from him rather than from the mother, of whom we know nothing more than that she was a steady, industrious person. The parents lived during the winter in the little village of Hausen, in the Black Forest, but with the approach of spring returned to Basle for their summer service in Major Iselin's house.

The boy was but a year old when his father died, and the discipline of such a restless spirit as he exhibited in early childhood seems to have been a task almost beyond the poor widow's powers. An incorrigible spirit of mischief possessed him. He was an arrant scape-grace, plundering cupboards, gardens, and orchards, lifting the gates of mill-races by night, and playing a thousand other practical and not always innocent jokes. Neither counsel nor punishment availed, and the entire weight of his good qualities, as a counterbalance, barely sufficed to prevent him from losing the patrons whom his bright, eager, inquisitive mind attracted. Something of this was undoubtedly congenital, and there are indications that the strong natural impulse, held in check only by a powerful will and a watchful conscience, was the torment of his life. In his later years, when he filled the posts of Ecclesiastical Counsellor and Professor in the Gymnasium at Carlsruhe, the phrenologist Gall, in a scientific séance, made an examination of his head. "A most remarkable development of"——, said Gall, abruptly breaking off, nor could he be induced to complete the sentence. Hebel, however, frankly exclaimed,—"You certainly mean the thievish propensity. I know I have it by nature, for I continually feel its suggestions." What a picture is presented by this confession! A pure, honest, and honorable life, won by a battle with evil desires, which, commencing with birth, ceased their assaults only at the brink of the grave! A daily struggle, and a daily victory!

Hebel lost his mother in his thirteenth year, but was fortunate in possessing generous patrons, who contributed enough to the slender means he inherited to enable him to enter the Gymnasium at Carlsruhe. Leaving this institution with the reputation of a good classical scholar, he entered the University of Erlangen as a student of theology. Here his jovial, reckless temperament, finding a congenial atmosphere, so got the upperhand that he barely succeeded in passing the necessary examination, in 1780. At the end of two years, during which time he supported himself as a private tutor, he was ordained, and received a meagre situation as teacher in the Academy at Lörrach, with a salary of one hundred and forty dollars a year! Laboring patiently in this humble position for eight years, he was at last rewarded by being transferred to the Gymnasium at Carlsruhe, with the rank of Sub-Deacon. Hither, the Markgraf Frederick of Baden, attracted by the warmth, simplicity, and genial humor of the man, came habitually to listen to his sermons. He found himself, without seeking it, in the path of promotion, and his life thenceforth was a series of sure and moderate successes. His expectations, indeed, were so humble that they were always exceeded by his rewards. When Baden became a Grand Duchy, with a constitutional form of government, it required much persuasion to induce him to accept the rank of Prelate, with a seat in the Upper House. His friends were disappointed, that, with his readiness and fluent power of speech, he took so little part in the legislative proceedings. To one who reproached him for this timidity he naively wrote,—"Oh, you have a right to talk: you are the son of Pastor N. in X. Before you were twelve years old, you heard yourself called Mr. Gottlieb; and when you went with your father down the street, and the judge or a notary met you, they took off their hats, you waiting for your father to return the greeting, before you even lifted your cap. But I, as you well know, grew up as the son of a poor widow in Hausen; and when I accompanied my mother to Schopfheim or Basle, and we happened to meet a notary, she commanded, 'Peter, jerk your cap off, there's a gentleman!'—but when the judge or the counsellor appeared, she called out to me, when they were twenty paces off, 'Peter, stand still where you are, and off with your cap quick, the Lord Judge is comin'!' Now you can easily imagine how I feel, when I recall those times,—and I recall them often,—sitting in the Chamber among Barons, Counsellors of State, Ministers, and Generals, with Counts and Princes of the reigning House before me." Hebel may have felt that rank is but the guinea-stamp, but he never would have dared to speak it out with the defiant independence of Burns. Socially, however, he was thoroughly democratic in his tastes; and his chief objection to accepting the dignity of Prelate was the fear that it might restrict his intercourse with humbler friends.

His ambition appears to have been mainly confined to his theological labors, and he never could have dreamed that his after-fame was to rest upon a few poems in a rough mountain-dialect, written to beguile his intense longing for the wild scenery of his early home. After his transfer to Carlsruhe, he remained several years absent from the Black Forest; and the pictures of its dark hills, its secluded valleys, and their rude, warm-hearted, and unsophisticated inhabitants, became more and more fresh and lively in his memory. Distance and absence turned the quaint dialect to music, and out of this mild home-sickness grew the Alemannic poems. A healthy oyster never produces a pearl.

These poems, written in the years 1801 and 1802, were at first circulated in manuscript among the author's friends. He resisted the proposal to collect and publish them, until the prospect of pecuniary advantage decided him to issue an anonymous edition. The success of the experiment was so positive that in the course of five years four editions appeared,—a great deal for those days. Not only among his native Alemanni, and in Baden and Würtemberg, where the dialect was more easily understood, but from all parts of Germany, from poets and scholars, came messages of praise and appreciation. Jean Paul (Richter) was one of Hebel's first and warmest admirers. "Our Alemannic poet," he wrote, "has life and feeling for everything,—the open heart, the open arms of love; and every star and every flower are human in his sight…. In other, better words,—the evening-glow of a lovely, peaceful soul slumbers upon all the hills he bids arise; for the flowers of poetry he substitutes the flower-goddess Poetry herself; he sets to his lips the Swiss Alp-horn of youthful longing and joy, while pointing with the other hand to the sunset-gleam of the lofty glaciers, and dissolved in prayer, as the sound of the chapel-bells is flung down from the mountains."

Contrast this somewhat confused rhapsody with the clear, precise, yet genial words wherewith Goethe welcomed the new poet. He instantly seized, weighed in the fine balance of his ordered mind, and valued with nice discrimination, those qualities of Hebel's genius which had but stirred the splendid chaos of Richter with an emotion of vague delight. "The author of these poems," says he, in the Jena "Literaturzeitung," (1804,) "is about to achieve a place of his own on the German Parnassus. His talent manifests itself in two opposite directions. On the one hand, he observes with a fresh, cheerful glance those objects of Nature which express their life in positive existence, in growth and in motion, (objects which we are accustomed to call lifeless,) and thereby approaches the field of descriptive poetry; yet he succeeds, by his happy personifications, in lifting his pictures to a loftier plane of Art. On the other hand, he inclines to the didactic and the allegorical; but here, also, the same power of personification comes to his aid, and as, in the one case, he finds a soul for his bodies, so, in the other, he finds a body for his souls. As the ancient poets, and others who have been developed through a plastic sentiment for Art, introduce loftier spirits, related to the gods,—such as nymphs, dryads, and hamadryads,—in the place of rocks, fountains, and trees: so the author transforms these objects into peasants, and countrifies [verbauert] the universe in the most naïve, quaint, and genial manner, until the landscape, in which we nevertheless always recognize the human figure, seems to become one with man in the cheerful enchantment exercised upon our fancy."

This is entirely correct, as a poetic characterization. Hebel, however, possesses the additional merit—no slight one, either—of giving faithful expression to the thoughts, emotions, and passions of the simple people among whom his childhood was passed. The hearty native kindness, the tenderness, hidden under a rough exterior, the lively, droll, unformed fancy, the timidity and the boldness of love, the tendency to yield to temptation, and the unfeigned piety of the inhabitants of the Black Forest, are all reproduced in his poems. To say that they teach, more or less directly, a wholesome morality, is but indifferent praise; for morality is the cheap veneering wherewith would-be poets attempt to conceal the lack of the true faculty. We prefer to let our readers judge for themselves concerning this feature of Hebel's poetry.

The Alemannic dialect, we have said, is at first harsh to the ear. It requires, indeed, not a little practice, to perceive its especial beauties; since these consist in certain quaint, playful inflections and elisions, which, like the speech of children, have a fresh, natural, simple charm of their own. The changes of pronunciation, in German words, are curious. K becomes a light guttural ch, and a great number of monosyllabic words—especially those ending in ut and üh—receive a peculiar twist from the introduction of e or ei: as gut, früh, which become guet, früeih. This seems to be a characteristic feature of the South-German dialects, though in none is it so pronounced as in the Alemannic. The change of ist into isch, hast into hesch, ich into i, dich into de, etc., is much more widely spread, among the peasantry, and is readily learned, even by the foreign reader. But a good German scholar would be somewhat puzzled by the consolidation of several abbreviated words into a single one, which occurs in almost every Alemannic sentence: for instance, in woni he would have some difficulty in recognizing wo ich; ságene does not suggest sage ihnen, nor uffeme, auf einem.

These singularities of the dialect render the translation of Hebel's poems into a foreign language a work of great difficulty. In the absence of any English dialect which possesses corresponding features, the peculiar quaintness and raciness which they confer must inevitably be lost. Fresh, wild, and lovely as the Schwarzwald heather, they are equally apt to die in transplanting. How much they lose by being converted into classical German was so evident to us (fancy, "Scots who have with Wallace bled"!) that we at first shrank from the experiment of reproducing them in a language still farther removed from the original. Certainly, classical English would not answer; the individual soul of the poems could never be recognized in such a garb. The tongue of Burns can be spoken only by a born Scot; and our Yankee, which is rather a grotesque English than a dialect, is unfortunately so associated with the coarse and the farcical—Lowell's little poem of "'Zekel's Courtship" being the single exception—that it seems hardly adapted to the simple and tender fancies of Hebel. Like the comedian whose one serious attempt at tragic acting was greeted with roars of laughter, as an admirable burlesque, the reader might, in such a case, persist in seeing fun where sentiment was intended.

In this dilemma, it occurred to us that the common, rude form of the English language, as it is spoken by the uneducated everywhere, without reference to provincial idioms, might possibly be the best medium. It offers, at least, the advantage of simplicity, of a directness of expression which overlooks grammatical rules, of natural pathos, even,—and therefore, so far as these traits go, may reproduce them without detracting seriously from the original. Those other qualities of the poems which spring from the character of the people of whom and for whom they were written must depend, for their recognition, on the sympathetic insight of the reader. We can only promise him the utmost fidelity in the translation, having taken no other liberty than the substitution of common idiomatic phrases, peculiar to our language, for corresponding phrases in the other. The original metre, in every instance, has been strictly adhered to.

The poems, only fifty-nine in number, consist principally of short songs or pastorals, and narratives. The latter are written in hexameter, but by no means classic in form. It is a rough, irregular metre, in which the trochees preponderate over the dactyls: many of the lines, in fact, would not bear a critical scansion. We have not scrupled to imitate this irregularity, as not inconsistent with the plain, ungrammatical speech of the characters introduced, and the homely air of even the most imaginative passages. The opening poem is a charmingly wayward idyl, called "The Meadow," (Die Wiese,) the name of a mountain-stream, which, rising in the Feldberg, the highest peak of the Black Forest, flows past Hausen, Hebel's early home, on its way to the Rhine. An extract from it will illustrate what Jean Paul calls the "hazardous boldness" of Hebel's personifications:—

  Beautiful "Meadow," daughter o' Feldberg, I
    welcome and greet you.
  Listen: I'm goin' to sing a song, and all in
    y'r honor,
  Makin' a music beside ye, follerin' wherever
    you wander.
  Born unbeknown in the rocky, hidden heart
    o' the mountain,
  Suckled o' clouds and fogs, and weaned by
    the waters o' heaven,
  There you slep' like a babblin' baby, a-kep'
    in the bed-room,
  Secret, and tenderly cared-for: and eye o'
    man never saw you,—
  Never peeked through a key-hole and saw
    my little girl sleepin'
  Sound in her chamber o' crystal, rocked in
    her cradle o' silver.
  Neither an ear o' man ever listened to hear
    her a-breathin',
  No, nor her voice all alone to herself
    a-laughin' or cryin'.
  Only the close little spirits that know every
    passage and entrance,
  In and out dodgin', they brought ye up and
    teached ye to toddle,
  Gev' you a cheerful natur', and larnt you
    how to be useful:
  Yes, and their words didn't go into one ear
    and out at the t'other.
  Stand on your slippery feet as soon as may
    be, and use 'em,
  That you do, as you slyly creep from your
    chamber o' crystal
  Out o' doors, barefoot, and squint up to
    heaven, mischievously smilin'.
  Oh, but you're pretty, my darlin', y'r eyes
    have a beautiful sparkle!
  Isn't it nice, out o' doors? you didn't guess
    't was so pleasant?
  Listen, the leaves is rustlin', and listen, the
    birdies a-singin'!
  "Yes," says you, "but I'm goin' furder, and
    can't stay to hear 'm:
  Pleasant, truly, 's my way, and more so the
    furder I travel."

  Only see how spry my little one is at her
  "Ketch me!" she shouts, in her fun,—"if
    you want me, foller and ketch me!"
  Every minute she turns and jumps in another

  There, you'll fall from the bank! You see,
       she's done it: I said so.
  Didn't I say it? And now she wobbles
       furder and furder,
  Creepin' along on all-fours, then off on her
       legs she's a-toddlin',—
  Slips in the bushes,—"Hunt me!"—and
       there, on a sudden, she peeks out.
  Wait, I'm a-comin'! Back o' the trees I
       hear her a-callin':
  "Guess where I am!"—she's whims of her
       own, a plenty, and keeps 'em.
  But, as you go, you're growin' han'somer,
       bigger, and stronger.
  Where the breath o' y'r breathin' falls, the
       meadows is greener,
  Fresher o' color, right and left, and the
       weeds and the grasses
  Sprout up as juicy as can be, and posies o'
       loveliest colors
  Blossom as brightly as wink, and bees come
       and suck 'em.
  Water-wagtails come tiltin',—and, look!
       there's the geese o' the village!
  All are a-comin' to see you, and all want to
       give you a welcome;
  Yes, and you're kind o' heart, and you
       prattle to all of 'em kindly;
  "Come, you well-behaved creeturs, eat and
       drink what I bring you,—
  I must be off and away: God bless you,
       well-behaved creeturs!"[A]

[Footnote A: As the reader of German may be curious to see a specimen of the original, we give this last passage, which contains, in a brief compass, many distinctive features of the Alemannic dialect:—

  "Nei so lucg me doch, wie cha mi Meiddeli springe!
  'Chunnsch mi über,' seits und lacht, 'und witt
       mi, se hol mi!'
  All' wil en andere Weg, und alliwil anderi
  Fall mer nit sel Reiuli ab!—Do hemmer's, i sags io—
  Hani's denn nit gseit? Doch gauckelet's witers
       und witers,
  Groblet uf alle Vieren, und stellt si wieder uf
       d' Beinli,
  Schlieft in d' Hürst—iez such mer's eisl—dört
       güggelet's use,
  Wart, i chumm! Druf rüefts mer wieder hinter
       de Bäume:
  'Roth wo bin i iez!'—und het si urige Phatest.
  Aber wie de gosch, wirsch sichtli grösser und
  Wo di liebligen Othern weiht, so färbt si der Rase
  Grüener rechts und links, es stöhn in saftige
  Gras und Chrüter uf, es stöhn in frischere Gstalte
  Farbigi Blüemli do, und d' Immli chömmen und
  'S Wasserstelzli chunnt, und lueg doch,'s Wuli
       vo Todtnau!
  Alles will di bschauen, und Alles will di bigrüsse,
  Und di fründlig Herz git alle fründligi Rede:
  'Chömmet ihr ordlige Thierli, do hender, esset
       und trinket!
  Witers goht mi Weg, Gsegott, ihr ordlige Thierli!'"

The poet follows the stream through her whole course, never dropping the figure, which is adapted, with infinite adroitness, and with the play of a fancy as wayward and unrestrained as her own waters, to all her changing aspects. Beside the Catholic chapel of Fair-Beeches she pauses to listen to the mass; but farther down the valley becomes an apostate, and attends the Lutheran service in the Husemer church. Stronger and statelier grown, she trips along with the step of a maiden conscious of her own beauty, and the poet clothes her in the costume of an Alemannic bride, with a green kirtle of a hundred folds, and a stomacher of Milan gauze, "like a loose cloud on a morning sky in spring-time." Thus equipped, she wanders at will over the broader meadows, around the feet of vineyard-hills, visits villages and churches, or stops to gossip with the lusty young millers. But the woman's destiny is before her; she cannot escape it; and the time is drawing near when her wild, singing, pastoral being shall be absorbed in that of the strong male stream, the bright-eyed son of the Alps, who has come so far to woo and win her.

  Daughter o' Feldberg, half-and-half I've got
       a suspicion
  How as you've virtues and faults enough now
       to choose ye a husband.
  Castin' y'r eyes down, are you? Pickin' and
       plattin' y'r ribbons?
  Don't be so foolish, wench!—She thinks I
       know nothin' about it,
  How she's already engaged, and each is
       a-waitin' for t'other.
  Don't I know him, my darlin', the lusty
       young fellow, y'r sweetheart?

  Over powerful rocks, and through the hedges
       and thickets,
  Right away from the snowy Swiss mountains
       he plunges at Rheineck
  Down to the lake, and straight ahead swims
       through it to Constance,
  Sayin': "'T's no use o' talkin', I'll have
       the gal I'm engaged to!"

  But, as he reaches Stein, he goes a little more slowly,
  Leavin' the lake where he's decently washed his feet and his body.
  Diessenhofen don't please him,—no, nor the convent beside it.
  For'ard he goes to Schaffhausen, onto the rocks at the corner;
  There he says: "It's no use o' talkin', I'll git to my sweetheart:
  Body and life I'll stake, cravat and embroidered suspenders."
  Woop! but he jumps! And now he talks to hisself, goin' furder,
  Giddy, belike, in his head, but pushes for'ard to Rheinau,
  Eglisau, and Kaiserstuhl, and Zurzach, and Waldshut,—
  All are behind him, passin' one village after another
  Down to Grenzach, and out on the broad and beautiful bottoms
  Nigh unto Basle; and there he must stop and look after his license.

* * * * *

  Look! isn't that y'r bridegroom a-comin' down yonder to meet you?—
  Yes, it's him, it's him, I hear't, for his voice is so jolly!
  Yes, it's him, it's him,—with his eyes as blue as the heavens,
  With his Swiss knee-breeches o' green, and suspenders o' velvet,
  With his shirt o' the color o' pearl, and buttons o' crystal,
  With his powerful loins, and his sturdy back and his shoulders,
  Grand in his gait, commandin', beautiful, free in his motions,
  Proud as a Basle Councilman,—yes, it's the big boy o' Gothard![B]

[Footnote B: The Rhine.]

The daring with which Hebel countrifies (or, rather, farmerizes, to translate Goethe's—word more literally) the spirit of natural objects, carrying his personifications to that point where the imaginative borders on the grotesque, is perhaps his strongest characteristic. His poetic faculty, putting on its Alemannic costume, seems to abdicate all ambition of moving in a higher sphere of society, but within the bounds it has chosen allows itself the utmost range of capricious enjoyment. In another pastoral, called "The Oatmeal Porridge," he takes the grain which the peasant has sown, makes it a sentient creature, and carries it through the processes of germination, growth, and bloom, without once dropping the figure or introducing an incongruous epithet. It is not only a child, but a child of the Black Forest, uttering its hopes, its anxieties, and its joys in the familiar dialect. The beetle, in his eyes, becomes a gross, hard-headed boor, carrying his sacks of blossom-meal, and drinking his mug of XX morning-dew; the stork parades about to show his red stockings; the spider is at once machinist and civil engineer; and even the sun, moon, and morning-star are not secure from the poet's familiarities. In his pastoral of "The Field-Watchmen," he ventures to say,—

  Mister Schoolmaster Moon, with y'r forehead wrinkled with teachin',
  With y'r face full o' larnin', a plaster stuck on y'r cheek-bone,
  Say, do y'r children mind ye, and larn their psalm and their texes?

We much fear that this over-quaintness of fancy, to which the Alemannic dialect gives such a racy flavor, and which belongs, in a lesser degree, to the minds of the people who speak that dialect, cannot be successfully clothed in an English dress. Let us try, therefore, a little poem, the sentiment whereof is of universal application:—


  I guess I'll take my pouch, and fill
  My pipe just once,—yes, that I will!
  Turn out my plough and home'ards go:
  Buck thinks, enough's been done, I know.

  Why, when the Emperor's council's done,
  And he can hunt, and have his fun,
  He stops, I guess, at any tree,
  And fills his pipe as well as me.

  But smokin' does him little good:
  He can't have all things as he would.
  His crown's a precious weight, at that:
  It isn't like my old straw hat.

  He gits a deal o' tin, no doubt,
  But all the more he pays it out;
  And everywheres they beg and cry
  Heaps more than he can satisfy.

  And when, to see that nothin' 's wrong,
  He plagues hisself the whole day long,
  And thinks, "I guess I've fixed it now,"
  Nobody thanks him, anyhow.

  And so, when in his bloody clo'es
  The Gineral out o' battle goes,
  He takes his pouch, too, I'll agree,
  And fills his pipe as well as me.

  But in the wild and dreadfle fight,
  His pipe don't taste ezackly right:
  He's galloped here and galloped there,
  And things a'n't pleasant, anywhere.

  And sich a cursin': "Thunder!" "Hell!"
  And "Devil!" (worse nor I can tell:)
  His grannydiers in blood lay down,
  And yonder smokes a burnin' town.

  And when, a-travellin' to the Fairs,
  The merchant goes with all his wares,
  He takes a pouch o' th' best, I guess,
  And fills and smokes his pipe, no less.

  Poor devil, 't isn't good for you!
  With all y'r gold, you've trouble, too.
  Twice two is four, if stocks'll rise:
  I see the figgers in your eyes.

  It's hurry, worry, tare and tret;
  Ye ha'n't enough, the more ye get,—
  And couldn't use it, if ye had:
  No wonder that y'r pipe tastes bad!

  But good, thank God! and wholesome's mine:
  The bottom-wheat is growin' fine,
  And God, o' mornin's, sends the dew,
  And sends his breath o' blessin', too.

  And, home, there's Nancy bustlin' round:
  The supper's ready, I'll be bound,
  And youngsters waitin'. Lord! I vow
  I dunno which is smartest, now.

  My pipe tastes good; the reason's plain:
  (I guess I'll fill it once again:)
  With cheerful heart, and jolly mood,
  And goin' home, all things is good.

Hebel's narrative poems abound with the wayward pranks of a fancy which seems a little too restive to be entirely controlled by his artistic sense; but they possess much dramatic truth and power. He delights in the supernatural element, but approaches it from the gentler human side. In "The Carbuncle," only, we find something of that weird, uncanny atmosphere which casts its glamour around the "Tam O'Shanter" of Burns. A more satisfactory illustration of his peculiar qualities is "The Ghost's Visit on the Feldberg,"—a story told by a loafer of Basle to a group of beer-drinkers in the tavern at Todtnau, a little village at the foot of the mountain. This is, perhaps, the most popular of Hebel's poems, and we therefore translate it entire. The superstition that a child born on Sunday has the power of seeing spirits is universal among the German peasantry.


Hark ye, fellows o' Todtnau, if ever I told you the Scythe-Ghost[C] Was a spirit of Evil, I've now got a different story. Out of the town am I,—yes, that I'll honestly own to,— Related to merchants, at seven tables free to take pot-luck. But I'm a Sunday's child; and wherever the ghosts at the cross-roads Stand in the air, in vaults, and cellars, and out-o'-way places,— Guardin' hidden money with eyes like fiery sauce-pans, Washin' with bitter tears the spot where somebody's murdered, Shovellin' the dirt, and scratchin' it over with nails all so bloody,— Clear as day I can see, when it lightens. Ugh! how they whimper! Also, whenever with beautiful blue eyes the heavenly angels, Deep in the night, in silent, sleepin' villages wander, Peekin' in at the windows, and talkin' together so pleasant, Smilin' one at the t'other, and settin' outside o' the house-doors, So that the pious folks shall take no harm while they're sleepin': Then ag'in, when in couples or threes they walk in the grave-yard, Talkin' in this like: "There a faithful mother is layin'; And here's a man that was poor, but took no advantage o' no one: Take your rest, for you're tired,—we'll waken ye up when the time comes!" Clearly I see by the light o' the stars, and I hear them a-talkin'. Many I know by their names, and speak to, whenever I meet 'em, Give 'em the time o' day, and ask 'em, and answer their questions. "How do ye do?" "How's y'r watch?" "Praise God, it's tolerable, thank you!" Believe it, or not! Well, once on a time my cousin, he sent me Over to Todtnau, on business with all sorts o' troublesome people, Where you've coffee to drink, and biscuit they give you to soak in 't. "Don't you stop on the road, nor gabble whatever comes foremost," Hooted my cousin at startin', "nor don't you let go o' your snuff-box, Leavin' it round in the tavern, as gentlemen do, for the next time." Up and away I went, and all that my cousin he'd ordered Fairly and squarely I fixed. At the sign o' the Eagle in Todtnau Set for a while; then, sure o' my way, tramped off ag'in, home'ards, Nigh by the village, I reckoned,—but found myself climbin' the Feldberg, Lured by the birdies, and down by the brooks the beautiful posies: That's a weakness o' mine,—I ran like a fool after such things. Now it was dusk, and the birdies hushed up, settin' still on the branches. Hither and yonder a starlie stuck its head through the darkness, Peekin' out, as oncertain whether the sun was in bed yet,— Whether it mightn't come, and called to the other ones: "Come now!" Then I knowed I was lost, and laid myself down,—I was weary: There, you know, there's a hut, and I found an armful o' straw in 't. "Here's a go!" I thinks to myself, "and I wish I was safely Cuddled in bed to home,—or 't was midnight, and some little spirit Somewhere popped out, as o' nights when it's twelve they're accustomed, Passin' the time with me, friendly, till winds that blow early o' mornin's Blow out the heavenly lights, and I see the way back to the village." Now, as thinkin' in this like, I felt all over my watch-face,— Dark as pitch all around,—and felt with my finger the hour-hand, Found it was nigh onto 'leven, and hauled my pipe from my pocket, Thinkin': "Maybe a bit of a smoke'll keep me from snoozin'": Thunder! all of a sudden beside me was two of 'em talkin', Like as they'd business together! You'd better believe that I listened. "Say, a'n't I late a-comin'? Because there was, over in Mambach, Dyin', a girl with pains in the bones and terrible fever: Now, but she's easy! I held to her mouth the drink o' departure, So that the sufferin' ceased, and softly lowered the eyelids, Sayin': 'Sleep, and in peace,—I'll waken thee up when the time comes!' Do me the favor, brother: fetch in the basin o' silver Water, ever so little: my scythe, as you see, must be whetted." "Whetted?" says I to myself, "and a spirit?" and peeked from the window. Lo and behold, there sat a youngster with wings that was golden; White was his mantle, white, and his girdle the color o' roses, Fair and lovely to see, and beside him two lights all a-burnin'. "All the good spirits," says I, "Mr. Angel, God have you in keepin'!" "Praise their Master, the Lord," said the angel; "God thank you, as I do!" "Take no offence, Mr. Ghost, and by y'r good leave and permission, Tell me, what have you got for to mow?" "Why, the scythe!" was his answer. "Yes," says I, "for I see it; and that is my question exackly, What you're goin' to do with the scythe." "Why, to mow!" was his answer. Then I ventur'd to say: "And that is my question exackly, What you're goin' to mow, supposin' you're willin' to tell me." "Grass! And what is your business so late up here in the night-time?" "Nothin' special," I answered; "I'm burnin' a little tobacco. Lost my way, or most likely I'd be at the Eagle, in Todtnau. But to come to the subject, supposin' it isn't a secret, Tell me, what do you make o' the grass?" And he answered me: "Fodder!" "Don't understand it," says I; "for the Lord has no cows up in heaven." "Not precisely a cow," he remarked, "but heifers and asses. Seest, up yonder, the star?" and he pointed one out with his finger. "There's the ass o' the Christmas-Child, and Fridolin's heifers,[D] Breathin' the starry air, and waitin' for grass that I bring 'em: Grass doesn't grow there,—nothin' grows but the heavenly raisins, Milk and honey a-runnin' in rivers, plenty as water: But they're particular cattle,—grass they must have every mornin', Mouthfuls o' hay, and drink from earthly fountains they're used to. So for them I'm a-whettin' my scythe, and soon must be mowin': Wouldn't it be worth while, if politely you'd offer to help me?" So the angel he talked, and this way I answered the angel: "Hark ye, this it is, just: and I'll go wi' the greatest o' pleasure. Folks from the town know nothin' about it: we write and we cipher, Reckon up money,—that we can do!—and measure and weigh out, Unload, and on-load, and eat and drink without any trouble. All that we want for the belly, in kitchen, pantry, and cellar, Comes in lots through every gate, in baskets and boxes, Runs in every street, and cries at every corner: 'Buy my cherries!' and 'Buy my butter!' and 'Look at my salad!' 'Buy my onions!' and 'Here's your carrots!' and 'Spinage and parsley!' 'Lucifer matches! Lucifer matches!' 'Cabbage and turnips!' 'Here's your umbrellas!' 'Caraway-seed and juniper-berries! Cheap for cash, and all to be traded for sugar and coffee!' Say, Mr. Angel, didst ever drink coffee? how do you like it?" "Stop with y'r nonsense!" then he said, but he couldn't help laughin'; "No, we drink but the heavenly air, and eat nothin' but raisins, Four on a day o' the week, and afterwards five on a Sunday. Come, if you want to go with me, now, for I'm off to my mowin', Back o' Todtnau, there on the grassy holt by the highway." "Yes, Mr. Angel, that will I truly, seein' you're willin': Seems to me that it's cooler: give me y'r scythe for to carry: Here's a pipe and a pouch,—you're welcome to smoke, if you want to." While I was talkin', "Poohoo!" cried the angel. A fiery man stood, Quicker than lightnin', beside me. "Light us the way to the village!" Said he. And truly before us marched, a-burnin', the Poohoo, Over stock and rock, through the bushes, a travellin' torch-light. "Handy, isn't it?" laughin', the angel said. —"What are ye doin'? Why do you nick at y'r flint? You can light y'r pipe at the Poohoo. Use him whenever you like: but it seems to me you're a-frightened,— You, and a Sunday's-child, as you are: do you think he will bite you?" "No, he ha'n't bit me; but this you'll allow me to say, Mr. Angel,— Half-and-half I mistrust him: besides, my tobacco's a-burnin'. That's a weakness o' mine,—I'm afeard o' them fiery creeturs: Give me seventy angels, instead o' this big burnin' devil!" "Really, it's dreadfle," the angel says he, "that men is so silly, Fearful o' ghosts and spectres, and skeery without any reason. Two of 'em only is dangerous, two of 'em hurtful to mankind: One of 'em's known by the name o' Delusion, and Worry the t'other. Him, Delusion, 's a dweller in wine: from cans and decanters Up to the head he rises, and turns your sense to confusion. This is the ghost that leads you astray in forest and highway: Undermost, uppermost, hither and yon the ground is a-rollin', Bridges bendin', and mountains movin', and everything double. Hark ye, keep out of his way!" "Aha!" I says to the angel, "There you prick me, but not to the blood: I see what you're after. Sober am I, as a judge. To be sure, I emptied my tankard Once, at the Eagle,—once,—and the landlord 'll tell you the same thing, S'posin' you doubt me. And now, pray, tell me who is the t'other?" "Who is the t'other? Don't know without askin'?" answered the angel. "He's a terrible ghost: the Lord forbid you should meet him! When you waken early, at four or five in the mornin', There he stands a-waitin' with burnin eyes at y'r bed-side, Gives you the time o' day with blazin switches and pinchers: Even prayin' don't help, nor helps all your Ave Marias! When you begin 'em, he takes your jaws and claps 'em together; Look to heaven, he comes and blinds y'r eyes with his ashes; Be you hungry, and eat, he pizons y'r soup with his wormwood; Take you a drink o' nights, he squeezes gall in the tankard; Run like a stag, he follows as close on y'r trail as a blood-hound; Creep like a shadow, be whispers: 'Good! we had best take it easy'; Kneels at y'r side in the church, and sets at y'r side in the tavern. Go wherever you will, there's ghosts a-hoverin' round you. Shut your eyes in y'r bed, they mutter: 'There 's no need o' hurry; By-and-by you can sleep, but listen! we've somethin' to tell you: Have you forgot how you stoled? and how you cheated the orphans? Secretly sinned?'—and this, and t'other; and when they have finished, Say it over ag'in, and you get little good o' your slumber." So the angel he talked, and, like iron under the hammer, Sparked and spirited the Poohoo. "Surely," I says to the angel, "Born on a Sunday was I, and friendly with many a preacher, Yet the Father protect me from these!" Says he to me, smilin': "Keep y'r conscience pure; it is better than crossin' and blessin'. Here we must part, for y'r way turns off and down to the village. Take the Poohoo along, but mind! put him out, in the meadow, Lest he should run in the village, settin' fire to the stables. God be with you and keep you!" And then says I: "Mr. Angel, God, the Father, protect you! Be sure, when you come to the city, Christmas evenin', call, and I'll hold it an honor to see you: Raisins I'll have at your service, and hippocras, if you like it. Chilly 's the air, o' evenin's, especially down by the river." Day was breakin' by this, and right there was Todtnau before me! Past, and onward to Basle I wandered, i' the shade and the coolness. When into Mambach I came, they bore a dead girl to the grave-yard, After the Holy Cross, and the faded banner o' Heaven, With the funeral garlands upon her, with sobbin' and weepin'. Ah, but she 'd heard what he said! he'll waken her up when the time comes. Afterwards, Tuesday it was, I got safely back to my cousin; But it turned out as he said,—I'd somewhere forgotten my snuff-box!

[Footnote C: Dengle-Geist, literally, "Whetting-Spirit." The exact meaning of dengeln is to sharpen a scythe by hammering the edge of the blade, which was practised before whetstones came in use.]

[Footnote D: According to an old legend, Fridolin (a favorite saint with the Catholic population of the Black Forest) harnessed two young heifers to a mighty fir-tree, and hauled it into the Rhine near Säckingen, thereby damming the river and forcing it to take a new course, on the other side of the town.]

In this poem the hero of the story unconsciously describes himself by his manner of telling it,—a reflective action of the dramatic faculty, which Browning, among living poets, possesses in a marked degree. The "moral" is so skilfully inwoven into the substance of the narrative as to conceal the appearance of design, and the reader has swallowed the pill before its sugar-coating of fancy has dissolved in his mouth. There are few of Hebel's poems which were not written for the purpose of inculcating some wholesome lesson, but in none does this object prominently appear. Even where it is not merely implied, but directly expressed, he contrives to give it the air of having been accidentally suggested by the theme. In the following, which is the most pointedly didactic of all his productions, the characteristic fancy still betrays itself:—


  D' ye know the road to th' bar'l o' flour?
    At break o' day let down the bars,
  And plough y'r wheat-field, hour by hour,
    Till sundown,—yes, till shine o' stars.

  You peg away, the livelong day,
    Nor loaf about, nor gape around;
  And that's the road to the thrashin'-floor,
    And into the kitchen, I'll be bound!

  D' ye know the road where dollars lays?
    Follow the red cents, here and there:
  For if a man leaves them, I guess,
    He won't find dollars anywhere.

  D' ye know the road to Sunday's rest?
    Jist don't o' week-days be afeard;
  In field and workshop do y'r best,
    And Sunday comes itself, I've heerd.
  On Saturdays it's not fur off,
     And brings a basketful o' cheer,—
  A roast, and lots o' garden-stuff,
     And, like as not, a jug o' beer!

  D' ye know the road to poverty?
     Turn in at any tavern-sign:
  Turn in,—it's temptin' as can be:
     There's bran'-new cards and liquor fine.

  In the last tavern there's a sack,
     And, when the cash y'r pocket quits,
  Jist hang the wallet on y'r back,—
     You vagabond! see how it fits!

  D' ye know what road to honor leads,
     And good old age?—a lovely sight!
  By way o' temperance, honest deeds,
     And tryin' to do y'r dooty right.

  And when the road forks, ary side,
     And you're in doubt which one it is,
  Stand still, and let y'r conscience guide:
     Thank God, it can't lead much amiss!

  And now, the road to church-yard gate
     You needn't ask! Go anywhere!
  For, whether roundabout or straight,
     All roads, at last, 'll bring you there.

  Go, fearin' God, but lovin' more!—
     I've tried to be an honest guide,—
  You'll find the grave has got a door,
     And somethin' for you t'other side.

We could linger much longer over our simple, brave old poet, were we sure of the ability of the reader approximately to distinguish his features through the veil of translation. In turning the leaves of the smoky book, with its coarse paper and rude type,—which suggests to us, by-the-by, the fact that Hebel was accustomed to hang a book, which he wished especially to enjoy, in the chimney, for a few days,—we are tempted by "The Market-Women in Town," by "The Mother on Christmas-Eve," "The Morning-Star," and the charming fairy-story of "Riedliger's Daughter," but must be content to close our specimens, for the present, with a song of love,—"Hans und Verene,"—under the equivalent title of


  There's only one I'm after,
     And she's the one, I vow!
  If she was here, and standin' by,
  She is a gal so neat and spry,
        So neat and spry,
     I'd be in glory now!

  It's so,—I'm hankerin' for her,
     And want to have her, too.
  Her temper's always gay, and bright,
  Her face like posies red and white,
        Both red and white,
     And eyes like posies blue.

  And when I see her comin',
     My face gits red at once;
  My heart feels chokin'-like, and weak,
  And drops o' sweat run down my cheek,
        Yes, down my cheek,—
     Confound me for a dunce!

  She spoke so kind, last Tuesday,
     When at the well we met:
  "Jack, give a lift! What ails you? Say!
  I see that somethin' 's wrong to-day:
        What's wrong to-day?"
     No, that I can't forget!

  I know I'd ought to tell her,
     And wish I'd told her then;
  And if I wasn't poor and low,
  And sayin' it didn't choke me so,
        (It chokes me so,)
     I'd find a chance again.

  Well, up and off I'm goin':
     She's in the field below:
  I'll try and let her know my mind;
  And if her answer isn't kind,
        If 't isn't kind,
     I'll jine the ranks, and go!

  I'm but a poor young fellow,
     Yes, poor enough, no doubt:
  But ha'n't, thank God, done nothin' wrong,
  And be a man as stout and strong,
        As stout and strong,
     As any roundabout.

  What's rustlin' in the bushes?
     I see a movin' stalk:
  The leaves is openin': there's a dress!
  O Lord, forbid it! but I guess—
        I guess—I guess
     Somebody's heard me talk!

  "Ha! here I am! you've got me!
     So keep me, if you can!
  I've guessed it ever since last Fall,
  And Tuesday morn I saw it all,
        I saw it all!
     Speak out, then, like a man!

  "Though rich you a'n't in money,
     Nor rich in goods to sell,
  An honest heart is more than gold,
  And hands you've got for field and fold,
         For house and fold,
      And—Jack—I love you well!"

  "O Maggie, say it over!
     O Maggie, is it so?
  I couldn't longer bear the doubt:
  'Twas hell,—but now you've drawed me out,
       You've drawed me out!
    And will I? Won't I, though!"

The later years of Hebel's life quietly passed away in the circle of his friends at Carlsruhe. After the peculiar mood which called forth the Alemannic poems had passed away, he seems to have felt no further temptation to pursue his literary success. His labors, thenceforth, were chiefly confined to the preparation of a Biblical History, for schools, and the editing of the "Rhenish House-Friend," an illustrated calendar for the people, to which he gave a character somewhat similar to that of Franklin's "Poor Richard." His short, pithy narratives, each with its inevitable, though unobtrusive moral, are models of style. The calendar became so popular, under his management, that forty thousand copies were annually printed. He finally discontinued his connection with it, in 1819, in consequence of an interference with his articles on the part of the censor.

In society Hebel was a universal favorite. Possessing, in his personal appearance, no less than in his intellect, a marked individuality, he carried a fresh, vital, inspiring element into every company which he visited. His cheerfulness was inexhaustible, his wit keen and lambent without being acrid, his speech clear, fluent, and genial, and his fund of anecdote commensurate with his remarkable narrative power. He was exceedingly frank, joyous, and unconstrained in his demeanor; fond of the pipe and the beer-glass; and as one of his maxims was, "Not to close any door through which Fortune might enter," he not only occasionally bought a lottery-ticket, but was sometimes to be seen, during the season, at the roulette-tables of Baden-Baden. One of his friends declares, however, that he never obtruded "the clergyman" at inappropriate times!

In person he was of medium height, with a body of massive Teutonic build, a large, broad head, inclined a little towards one shoulder, the eyes small, brown, and mischievously sparkling, the hair short, crisp, and brown, the nose aquiline, and the mouth compressed, with the commencement of a smile stamped in the corners. He was careless in his gait, and negligent in his dress. Warm-hearted and tender, and especially attracted towards women and children, the cause of his celibacy always remained a mystery to his friends.

The manner of his death, finally, illustrated the genuine humanity of his nature. In September, 1826, although an invalid at the time, he made a journey to Mannheim for the sake of procuring a mitigation of the sentence of a condemned poacher, whose case appealed strongly to his sympathy. His exertions on behalf of the poor man so aggravated his disease that he was soon beyond medical aid. Only his corpse, crowned with laurel, returned to Carlsruhe. Nine years afterwards a monument was erected to his memory in the park attached to the Ducal palace. Nor have the inhabitants of the Black Forest failed in worthy commemoration of their poet's name. A prominent peak among the mountains which inclose the valley of his favorite "Meadow" has been solemnly christened "Hebel's Mount"; and a flower of the Forest—the Anthericum of Linnaeus—now figures in German botanies as the Hebelia Alemannica.


  Then bless thy secret growth, nor catch
    At noise, but thrive unseen and dumb,
  Keep clean, bear fruit, earn life, and watch
    Till the white-winged reapers come.—Henry Vaughan

I had never thought of knowing a man so thoroughly of the country as this friend of mine, and so purely a son of Nature. Perhaps he has the profoundest passion for it of any one living; and had the human sentiment been as tender from the first, and as pervading, we might have had pastorals of which Virgil and Theocritus would have envied him the authorship, had they chanced to be his contemporaries. As it is, he has come nearer the antique spirit than any of our native poets, and touched the fields and groves and streams of his native town with a classic interest that shall not fade. Some of his verses are suffused with an elegiac tenderness, as if the woods and fields bewailed the absence of their forester, and murmured their griefs meanwhile to one another,—responsive like idyls. Living in close companionship with Nature, his Muse breathes the spirit and voice of poetry; his excellence lying herein: for when the heart is once divorced from the senses and all sympathy with common things, then poetry has fled, and the love that sings.

The most welcome of companions, this plain countryman. One shall not meet with thoughts invigorating like his often; coming so scented of mountain and field breezes and rippling springs, so like a luxuriant clod from under forest-leaves, moist and mossy with earth-spirits. His presence is tonic, like ice-water in dog-days to the parched citizen pent in chambers and under brazen ceilings. Welcome as the gurgle of brooks, the dripping of pitchers,—then drink and be cool! He seems one with things, of Nature's essence and core, knit of strong timbers, most like a wood and its inhabitants. There are in him sod and shade, woods and waters manifold, the mould and mist of earth and sky. Self-poised and sagacious as any denizen of the elements, he has the key to every animal's brain, every plant, every shrub; and were an Indian to flower forth, and reveal the secrets hidden in his cranium, it would not be more surprising than the speech of our Sylvanus. He must belong to the Homeric age,—is older than pastures and gardens, as if he were of the race of heroes, and one with the elements. He, of all men, seems to be the native New-Englander, as much so as the oak, the granite ledge, our best sample of an indigenous American, untouched by the Old Country, unless he came down from Thor, the Northman; as yet unfathered by any, and a nondescript in the books of natural history.

A peripatetic philosopher, and out of doors for the best parts of his days and nights, he has manifold weather and seasons in him, and the manners of an animal of probity and virtues unstained. Of our moralists he seems the wholesomest; and the best republican citizen in the world,—always at home, and minding his own affairs. Perhaps a little over-confident sometimes, and stiffly individual, dropping society clean out of his theories, while standing friendly in his strict sense of friendship, there is in him an integrity and sense of justice that make possible and actual the virtues of Sparta and the Stoics, and all the more welcome to us in these times of shuffling and of pusillanimity. Plutarch would have made him immortal in his pages, had he lived before his day. Nor have we any so modern as be,—his own and ours; too purely so to be appreciated at once. A scholar by birthright, and an author, his fame has not yet travelled far from the banks of the rivers he has described in his books; but I hazard only the truth in affirming of his prose, that in substance and sense it surpasses that of any naturalist of his time, and that he is sure of a reading in the future. There are fairer fishes in his pages than any now swimming in our streams, and some sleep of his on the banks of the Merrimack by moonlight that Egypt never rivalled; a morning of which Memnon might have envied the music, and a greyhound that was meant for Adonis; some frogs, too, better than any of Aristophanes. Perhaps we have had no eyes like his since Pliny's time. His senses seem double, giving him access to secrets not easily read by other men: his sagacity resembling that of the beaver and the bee, the dog and the deer; an instinct for seeing and judging, as by some other or seventh sense, dealing with objects as if they were shooting forth from his own mind mythologically, thus completing Nature all round to his senses, and a creation of his at the moment. I am sure he knows the animals, one by one, and everything else knowable in our town, and has named them rightly as Adam did in Paradise, if he be not that ancestor himself. His works are pieces of exquisite sense, celebrations of Nature's virginity, exemplified by rare learning and original observations. Persistently independent and manly, he criticizes men and times largely, urging and defending his opinions with the spirit and pertinacity befitting a descendant of him of the Hammer. A head of mixed genealogy like his, Franco-Norman crossed by Scottish and New-England descent, may be forgiven a few characteristic peculiarities and trenchant traits of thinking, amidst his great common sense and fidelity to the core of natural things. Seldom has a head circumscribed so much of the sense of Cosmos as this footed intelligence,—nothing less than all out-of-doors sufficing his genius and scopes, and, day by day, through all weeks and seasons, the year round.

If one would find the wealth of wit there is in this plain man, the information, the sagacity, the poetry, the piety, let him take a walk with him, say of a winter's afternoon, to the Blue Water, or anywhere about the outskirts of his village-residence. Pagan as he shall outwardly appear, yet he soon shall be seen to be the hearty worshipper of whatsoever is sound and wholesome in Nature,—a piece of russet probity and sound sense that she delights to own and honor. His talk shall be suggestive, subtile, and sincere, under as many masks and mimicries as the shows he passes, and as significant,—Nature choosing to speak through her chosen mouth-piece,—cynically, perhaps, sometimes, and searching into the marrows of men and times he chances to speak of, to his discomfort mostly, and avoidance. Nature, poetry, life,—not politics, not strict science, not society as it is,—are his preferred themes: the new Pantheon, probably, before he gets far, to the naming of the gods some coming Angelo, some Pliny, is to paint and describe. The world is holy, the things seen symbolizing the Unseen, and worthy of worship so, the Zoroastrian rites most becoming a nature so fine as ours in this thin newness, this worship being so sensible, so promotive of possible pieties,—calling us out of doors and under the firmament, where health and wholesomeness are finely insinuated into our souls,—not as idolaters, but as idealists, the seekers of the Unseen through images of the Invisible.

I think his religion of the most primitive type, and inclusive of all natural creatures and things, even to "the sparrow that falls to the ground,"—though never by shot of his,—and, for whatsoever is manly in man, his worship may compare with that of the priests and heroes of pagan times. Nor is he false to these traits under any guise,—worshipping at unbloody altars, a favorite of the Unseen, Wisest, and Best. Certainly he is better poised and more nearly self-reliant than other men.

Perhaps he deals best with matter, properly, though very adroitly with mind, with persons, as he knows them best, and sees them from Nature's circle, wherein he dwells habitually. I should say he inspired the sentiment of love, if, indeed, the sentiment he awakens did not seem to partake of a yet purer sentiment, were that possible,—but nameless from its excellency. Friendly he is, and holds his friends by bearings as strict in their tenderness and consideration as are the laws of his thinking,—as prompt and kindly equitable,—neighborly always, and as apt for occasions as he is strenuous against meddling with others in things not his.

I know of nothing more creditable to his greatness than the thoughtful regard, approaching to reverence, by which he has held for many years some of the best persons of his time, living at a distance, and wont to make their annual pilgrimage, usually on foot, to the master,—a devotion very rare in these times of personal indifference, if not of confessed unbelief in persons and ideas.

He has been less of a housekeeper than most, has harvested more wind and storm, sun and sky; abroad night and day with his leash of keen scents, bounding any game stirring, and running it down, for certain, to be spread on the dresser of his page, and served as a feast to the sound intelligences, before he has done with it. We have been accustomed to consider him the salt of things so long that they must lose their savor without his to season them. And when he goes hence, then Pan is dead, and Nature ailing throughout.

His friend sings him thus, with the advantages of his Walden to show him in Nature:—

  "It is not far beyond the Village church,
  After we pass the wood that skirts the road,
  A Lake,—the blue-eyed Walden, that doth smile
  Most tenderly upon its neighbor Pines;
  And they, as if to recompense this love,
  In double beauty spread their branches forth.
  This Lake has tranquil loveliness and breadth,
  And, of late years, has added to its charms;
  For one attracted to its pleasant edge
  Has built himself a little Hermitage,
  Where with much piety he passes life.

  "More fitting place I cannot fancy now,
  For such a man to let the line run off
  The mortal reel,—such patience hath the Lake,
  Such gratitude and cheer is in the Pines.
  But more than either lake or forest's depths
  This man has in himself: a tranquil man,
  With sunny sides where well the fruit is ripe,
  Good front and resolute bearing to this life,
  And some serener virtues, which control
  This rich exterior prudence,—virtues high,
  That in the principles of Things are set,
  Great by their nature, and consigned to him,
  Who, like a faithful Merchant, does account
  To God for what he spends, and in what way.
  Thrice happy art thou, Walden, in thyself!
  Such purity is in thy limpid springs,—
  In those green shores which do reflect in thee,
  And in this man who dwells upon thy edge,
  A holy man within a Hermitage.
  May all good showers fall gently into thee,
  May thy surrounding forests long be spared,
  And may the Dweller on thy tranquil marge
  There lead a life of deep tranquillity,
  Pure as thy Waters, handsome as thy Shores,
  And with those virtues which are like the Stars!"



I come now to an obscure part of my subject, very difficult to present in a popular form, and yet so important in the scientific investigations of our day that I cannot omit it entirely. I allude to what are called by naturalists Collateral Series or Parallel Types. These are by no means difficult to trace, because they are connected by seeming resemblances, which, though very likely to mislead and perplex the observer, yet naturally suggest the association of such groups. Let me introduce the subject with the statement of some facts.

There are in Australia numerous Mammalia, occupying the same relation and answering the same purposes as the Mammalia of other countries. Some of them are domesticated by the natives, and serve them with meat, milk, wool, as our domesticated animals serve us. Representatives of almost all types, Wolves, Foxes, Sloths, Bears, Weasels, Martens, Squirrels, Rats, etc., are found there; and yet, though all these animals resemble ours so closely that the English settlers have called many of them by the same names, there are no genuine Wolves, Foxes, Sloths, Bears, Weasels, Martens, Squirrels, or Rats in Australia. The Australian Mammalia are peculiar to the region where they are found, and are all linked together by two remarkable structural features which distinguish them from all other Mammalia and unite them under one head as the so-called Marsupials. They bring forth their young in an imperfect condition, and transfer them to a pouch, where they remain attached to the teats of the mother till their development is as far advanced as that of other Mammalia at the time of their birth; and they are further characterized by an absence of that combination of transverse fibres forming the large bridge which unites the two hemispheres of the brain in all the other members of their class. Here, then, is a series of animals parallel with ours, separated from them by anatomical features, but so united with them by form and external features that many among them have been at first associated together.

This is what Cuvier has called subordination of characters, distinguishing between characters that control the organization and those that are not essentially connected with it. The skill of the naturalist consists in detecting the difference between the two, so that he may not take the more superficial features as the basis of his classification, instead of those important ones which, though often less easily recognized, are more deeply rooted in the organization. It is a difference of the same nature as that between affinity and analogy, to which I have alluded before, when speaking of the ingrafting of certain features of one type upon animals of another type, thus producing a superficial resemblance, not truly characteristic. In the Reptiles, for instance, there are two groups,—those devoid of scales, with naked skin, laying numerous eggs, but hatching their young in an imperfect state, and the Scaly Reptiles, which lay comparatively few eggs, but whose young, when hatched, are completely developed, and undergo no subsequent metamorphosis. Yet, notwithstanding this difference in essential features of structure, and in the mode of reproduction and development, there is such an external resemblance between certain animals belonging to the two groups that they were associated together even by so eminent a naturalist as Linnaeus. Compare, for instance, the Serpents among the Scaly Reptiles with the Caecilians among the Naked Reptiles. They have the same elongated form, and are both destitute of limbs; the head in both is on a level with the body, without any contraction behind it, such as marks the neck in the higher Reptiles, and moves only by the action of the back-bone; they are singularly alike in their external features, but the young of the Serpent are hatched in a mature condition, while the young of the type to which the Caecilians belong undergo a succession of metamorphoses before attaining to a resemblance to the parent. Or compare the Lizard and the Salamander, in which the likeness is perhaps even more striking; for any inexperienced observer would mistake one for the other. Both are superior to the Serpents and Caecilians, for in them the head moves freely on the neck and they creep on short imperfect legs. But the Lizard is clothed with scales, while the body of the Salamander is naked, and the young of the former is complete when hatched, while the Tadpole born from the Salamander has a life of its own to live, with certain changes to pass through before it assumes its mature condition; during the early part of its life it is even destitute of legs, and has gills like the Fishes. Above the Lizards and Salamanders, highest in the class of Reptiles, stand two other collateral types,—the Turtles at the head of the Scaly Reptiles, the Toads and Frogs at the Lead of the Naked Reptiles. The external likeness between these two groups is perhaps less striking than between those mentioned above, on account of the large shield of the Turtle. But there are Turtles with a soft covering, and there are some Toads with a hard shield over the head and neck at least, and both groups are alike distinguished by the shortness and breadth of the body and by the greater development of the limbs as compared with the lower Reptiles. But here again there is the same essential difference in the mode of development of their young as distinguishes all the rest. The two series may thus be contrasted:—

Naked Reptiles. Toads and Frogs, Salamanders, Caecilians.

Scaly Reptiles. Turtles, Lizards, Serpents.

Such corresponding groups or parallel types, united only by external resemblance, and distinguished from each other by essential elements of structure, exist among all animals, though they are less striking among Birds on account of the uniformity of that class. Yet even there we may trace such analogies,—as between the Palmate or Aquatic Birds, for instance, and the Birds of Prey, or between the Frigate Bird and the Kites. Among Fishes such analogies are very common, often suggesting a comparison even with land animals, though on account of the scales and spines of the former the likeness may not be easily traced. But the common names used by the fishermen often indicate these resemblances, —as, for instance, Sea-Vulture, Sea-Eagle, Cat-Fish, Flying-Fish, Sea-Porcupine, Sea-Cow, Sea-Horse, and the like. In the branch of Mollusks, also, the same superficial analogies are found. In the lowest class of this division of the Animal Kingdom there is a group so similar to the Polyps, that, until recently, they have been associated with them,—the Bryozoa. They are very small animals, allied to the Clams by the plan of their structure, but they have a resemblance to the Polyps on account of a radiating wreath of feelers around the upper part of their body: yet, when examined closely, this wreath is found to be incomplete; it does not, form a circle, but leaves an open space between the two ends, where they approach each other, so that it has a horseshoe outline, and partakes of the bilateral symmetry characteristic of its type and on which its own structure is based. These series have not yet been very carefully traced, and young naturalists should turn their attention to them, and be prepared to draw the nicest distinction between analogies and true affinities among animals.


After this digression, let us proceed to a careful examination of the natural groups of animals called Families by naturalists,—a subject already briefly alluded to in a previous chapter. Families are natural assemblages of animals of less extent than Orders, but, like Orders, Classes, and Branches, founded upon certain categories of structure, which are as distinct for this kind of group as for all the other divisions in the classification of the Animal Kingdom.

That we may understand the true meaning of these divisions, we must not be misled by the name given by naturalists to this kind of group. Here, as in so many other instances, a word already familiar, and that had become, as it were, identified with the special sense in which it had been used, has been adopted by science and has received a new signification. When naturalists speak of Families among animals, they do not allude to the progeny of a known stock, as we designate, in common parlance, the children or the descendants of known parents by the word family; they understand by Families natural groups of different kinds of animals, having no genetic relations so far as we know, but agreeing with one another closely enough to leave the impression of a more or less remote common parentage. The difficulty here consists in determining the natural limits of such groups, and in tracing the characteristic features by which they may be defined; for individual investigators differ greatly as to the degree of resemblance existing between the members of many Families, and there is no kind of group which presents greater diversity of circumscription in the classifications of animals proposed by different naturalists than these so-called Families.

It should be remembered, however, that, unless a sound criterion be applied to the limitation of Families, they, like all other groups introduced into zoölogical systems, must forever remain arbitrary divisions, as they have been hitherto. A retrospective glance at the progress of our science during the past century, in this connection, may perhaps help us to solve the difficulty. Linnaeus, in his System of Nature, does not admit Families; he has only four kinds of groups,—Classes, Orders, Genera, and Species. It was among plants that naturalists first perceived those general traits of resemblance which exist everywhere among the members of natural families, and added this kind of group to the framework of their system. In France, particularly, this method was pursued with success; and the improvements thus introduced by the French botanists were so great, and rendered their classification so superior to that of Linnaeus, that the botanical systems in which Families were introduced were called natural systems, in contradistinction especially to the botanical classification of Linnaeus, which was founded upon the organs of reproduction, and which received thenceforth the name of the sexual system of plants. The same method so successfully used by botanists was soon introduced into Zoölogy by the French naturalists of the beginning of this century,—Lamarck, Latreille, and Cuvier. But, to this day, the limitation of Families among animals has not yet reached the precision which it has among plants, and I see no other reason for the difference than the absence of a leading principle to guide us in Zoölogy.

Families, as they exist in Nature, are based upon peculiarities of form as related to structure; but though a very large number of them have been named and recorded, very few are characterized with anything like scientific accuracy. It has been a very simple matter to establish such groups according to the superficial method that has been pursued, for the fact that they are determined by external outline renders the recognition of them easy and in many instances almost instinctive; but it is very difficult to characterize them, or, in other words, to trace the connection between form and structure. Indeed, many naturalists do not admit that Families are based upon form; and it was in trying to account for the facility with which they detect these groups, while they find it so difficult to characterize them, that I perceived that they are always associated with peculiarities of form. Naturalists have established Families simply by bringing together a number of animals resembling each other more or less closely, and, taking usually the name of the Genus to which the best known among them belongs, they have given it a patronymic termination to designate the Family, and allowed the matter to rest there, sometimes without even attempting any description corresponding to those by which Genus and Species are commonly defined.

For instance, from Canis, the Dog, Canidae has been formed, to designate the whole Family of Dogs, Wolves, Foxes, etc. Nothing can be more superficial than such a mode of classification; and if these groups actually exist in Nature, they must be based, like all the other divisions, upon some combination of structural characters peculiar to them. We have seen that Branches are founded upon the general plan of structure, Classes on the mode of executing the plan, Orders upon the greater or less complication of a given mode of execution, and we shall find that form, as determined by structure, characterizes Families. I would call attention to this qualification of my definition; since, of course, when speaking of form in this connection, I do not mean those superficial resemblances in external features already alluded to in my remarks upon Parallel or Collateral Types. I speak now of form as controlled by structural elements; and unless we analyze Families in this way, the mere distinguishing and naming them does not advance our science at all. Compare, for instance, the Dogs, the Seals, and the Bears. These are all members of one Order,—that of the Carnivorous Mammalia. Their dentition is peculiar and alike in all, (cutting teeth, canine teeth, and grinders,) adapted for tearing and chewing their food; and their internal structure bears a definite relation to their dentition. But look at these animals with reference to form. The Dog is comparatively slender, with legs adapted for running and hunting his prey; the Bear is heavier, with shorter limbs; while the Seal has a continuous uniform outline adapted for swimming. They form separate Families, and are easily recognized as such by the difference in their external outline; but what is the anatomical difference which produces the peculiarity of form in each, by which they have been thus distinguished? It lies in the structure of the limbs, and especially in that of the wrist and fingers. In the Seal the limbs are short, and the wrists are on one continuous line with them, so that it has no power of bending the wrist or the fingers, and the limbs, therefore, act like flappers or oars. The Bear has a well-developed paw with a flexible wrist, but it steps on the whole sole of the foot, from the wrist to the tip of the toe, giving it the heavy tread so characteristic of all the Bears. The Dogs, on the contrary, walk on tip-toe, and their step, though firm, is light, while the greater slenderness and flexibility of their legs add to their nimbleness and swiftness. By a more extensive investigation of the anatomical structure of the limbs in their connection with the whole body, it could easily be shown that the peculiarity of form in these animals is essentially determined by, or at least stands in the closest relation to, the peculiar structure of the wrist and fingers.

Take the Family of Owls as distinguished from the Falcons, Kites, etc. Here the difference of form is in the position of the eyes. In the Owl, the sides of the head are prominent and the eye-socket is brought forward. In the Falcons and Kites, on the contrary, the sides of the head are flattened and the eyes are set back. The difference in the appearance of the birds is evident to the most superficial observer; but to call the one Strigidae and the other Falconidae tells us nothing of the anatomical peculiarities on which this difference is founded.

These few examples, selected purposely among closely allied and universally known animals, may be sufficient to show, that, beyond the general complication of the structure which characterizes the Orders, there is a more limited element in the organization of animals, bearing chiefly upon their form, which, if it have any general application as a principle of classification, may well be considered as essentially characteristic of the Families. There are certainly closely allied natural groups of animals, belonging to the same Order, but including many Genera, which differ from each other chiefly in their form, while that form is determined by peculiarities of structure which do not influence the general structural complication upon which Orders are based, or relate to the minor details of structure on which Genera are founded. I am therefore convinced that form is the criterion by which Families may be determined. The great facility with which animals may be combined together in natural groups of this kind without any special investigation of their structure, a superficial method of classification in which zoölogists have lately indulged to a most unjustifiable degree, convinces me that it is the similarity of form which has unconsciously led such shallow investigators to correct results, since upon close examination it is found that a large number of the Families so determined, and to which no characters at all are assigned, nevertheless bear the severest criticism founded upon anatomical investigation.

The questions proposed to themselves by all students who would characterize Families should be these: What are, throughout the Animal Kingdom, the peculiar patterns of form by which Families are distinguished? and on what structural features are these patterns based? Only the most patient investigations can give us the answer, and it will be very long before we can write out the formulae of these patterns with mathematical precision, as I believe we shall be able to do in a more advanced stage of our science. But while the work is in progress, it ought to be remembered that a mere general similarity of outline is not yet in itself evidence of identity of form or pattern, and that, while seemingly very different forms may be derived from the same formula, the most similar forms may belong to entirely different systems, when their derivation is properly traced. Our great mathematician, in a lecture delivered at the Lowell Institute last winter, showed that in his science, also, similarity of outline does not always indicate identity of character. Compare the different circles,—the perfect circle, in which every point of the periphery is at the same distance from the centre, with an ellipse in which the variation from the true circle is so slight as to be almost imperceptible to the eye; yet the latter, like all ellipses, has its two foci by which it differs from a circle, and to refer it to the family of circles instead of the family of ellipses would be overlooking its true character on account of its external appearance; and yet ellipses may be so elongated, that, far from resembling a circle, they make the impression of parallel lines linked at their extremities. Or we may have an elastic curve in which the appearance of a circle is produced by the meeting of the two ends; nevertheless it belongs to the family of elastic curves, in which may even be included a line actually straight, and is formed by a process entirely different from that which produces the circle or the ellipse.

But it is sometimes exceedingly difficult to find the relation between structure and form in Families, and I remember a case which I had taken as a test of the accuracy of the views I entertained upon this subject, and which perplexed and baffled me for years. It was that of our fresh-water Mussels, the Family of Unios. There is a great variety of outline among them,—some being oblong and very slender, others broad with seemingly square outlines, others having a nearly triangular form, while others again are almost circular; and I could not detect among them all any feature of form that was connected with any essential element of their structure. At last, however, I found this test-character, and since that time I have had no doubt left in my mind that form, determined by structure, is the true criterion of Families. In the Unios it consists of the rounded outline of the anterior end of the body reflected in a more or less open curve of the shell, bending more abruptly along the lower side with an inflection followed by a bulging, corresponding to the most prominent part of the gills, to which alone, in a large number of American Species of this Family, the eggs are transferred, giving to this part of the shell a prominence which it has not in any of the European Species. At the posterior end of the body this curve then bends upwards and backwards again, the outline meeting the side occupied by the hinge and ligament, which, when very short, may determine a triangular form of the whole shell, or, when equal to the lower side and connected with a great height of the body, gives it a quadrangular form, or, if the height is reduced, produces an elongated form, or, finally, a rounded form, if the passage from one side to the other is gradual. A comparison of the position of the internal organs of different Species of Unios with the outlines of their shells will leave no doubt that their form is determined by the structure of the animal.

A few other and more familiar examples may complete this discussion. Among Climbing Birds, for instance, which are held together as a more comprehensive group by the structure of their feet and by other anatomical features, there are two Families so widely different in their form that they may well serve as examples of this principle. The Woodpeckers (Picidae) and the Parrots (Psittacidae), once considered as two Genera only, have both been subdivided, in consequence of a more intimate knowledge of their generic characters, into a large number of Genera; but all the Genera of Woodpeckers and all the Genera of the Parrots are still held together by their form as Families, corresponding as such to the two old Genera of Picus and Psittacus. They are now known as the Families of Woodpeckers and Parrots; and though each group includes a number of Genera combined upon a variety of details in the finish of special parts of the structure, such as the number of toes, the peculiarities of the bill, etc., it is impossible to overlook the peculiar form which is characteristic of each. No one who is familiar with the outline of the Parrot will fail to recognize any member of that Family by a general form which is equally common to the diminutive Nonpareil, the gorgeous Ara, and the high-crested Cockatoo. Neither will any one, who has ever observed the small head, the straight bill, the flat back, and stiff tail of the Woodpecker, hesitate to identify the family form in any of the numerous Genera into which this group is now divided. The family characters are even more invariable than the generic ones; for there are Woodpeckers which, instead of the four toes, two turning forward and two backward, which form an essential generic character, have three toes only, while the family form is always maintained, whatever variations there may be in the characters of the more limited groups it includes.

The Turtles and Terrapins form another good illustration of family characters. They constitute together a natural Order, but are distinguished from each other as two Families very distinct in general form and outline. Among Fishes I may mention the Family of Pickerels, with their flat, long snout, and slender, almost cylindrical body, as contrasted with the plump, compressed body and tapering tail of the Trout Family. Or compare, among Insects, the Hawk-Moths with the Diurnal Butterfly, or with the so-called Miller,—or, among Crustacea, the common Crab with the Sea-Spider, or the Lobsters with the Shrimps,—or, among Worms, the Leeches with the Earth-Worms,—or, among Mollusks, the Squids with the Cuttle-Fishes, or the Snails with the Slugs, or the Periwinkles with the Limpets and Conchs, or the Clam with the so-called Venus, or the Oyster with the Mother-of-Pearl shell,—everywhere, throughout the Animal Kingdom, difference of form points at difference of Families.

There is a chapter in the Natural History of Animals that has hardly been touched upon as yet, and that will be especially interesting with reference to Families. The voices of animals have a family character not to be mistaken. All the Canidae bark and howl: the Fox, the Wolf, the Dog have the same kind of utterance, though on a somewhat different pitch. All the Bears growl, from the White Bear of the Arctic snows to the small Black Bear of the Andes. All the Cats miau, from our quiet fireside companion to the Lions and Tigers and Panthers of the forest and jungle. This last may seem a strange assertion; but to any one who has listened critically to their sounds and analyzed their voices, the roar of the Lion is but a gigantic miau, bearing about the same proportion to that of a Cat as its stately and majestic form does to the smaller, softer, more peaceful aspect of the Cat. Yet, notwithstanding the difference in their size, who can look at the Lion, whether in his more sleepy mood as he lies curled up in the corner of his cage, or in his fiercer moments of hunger or of rage, without being reminded of a Cat? And this is not merely the resemblance of one carnivorous animal to another; for no one was ever reminded of a Dog or Wolf by a Lion. Again, all the Horses and Donkeys neigh; for the bray of the Donkey is only a harsher neigh, pitched on a different key, it is true, but a sound of the same character,—as the Donkey himself is but a clumsy and dwarfish Horse. All the Cows low, from the Buffalo roaming the prairie, the Musk-Ox of the Arctic ice-fields, or the Jack of Asia, to the Cattle feeding in our pastures. Among the Birds, this similarity of voice in Families is still more marked. We need only recall the harsh and noisy Parrots, so similar in their peculiar utterance. Or take as an example the web-footed Family,—do not all the Geese and the innumerable host of Ducks quack? Does not every member of the Crow Family caw, whether it be the Jackdaw, the Jay, the Magpie, the Rook in some green rookery of the Old World, or the Crow of our woods, with its long, melancholy caw that seems to make the silence and solitude deeper? Compare all the sweet warblers of the Songster Family,—the Nightingales, the Thrushes, the Mocking-Birds, the Robins; they differ in the greater or less perfection of their note, but the same kind of voice runs through the whole group. These affinities of the vocal systems among animals form a subject well worthy of the deepest study, not only as another character by which to classify the Animal Kingdom correctly, but as bearing indirectly also on the question of the origin of animals. Can we suppose that characteristics like these have been communicated from one animal to another? When we find that all the members of one zoological Family, however widely scattered over the surface of the earth, inhabiting different continents and even different hemispheres, speak with one voice, must we not believe that they have originated in the places where they now occur with all their distinctive peculiarities? Who taught the American Thrush to sing like his European relative? He surely did not learn it from his cousin over the waters. Those who would have us believe that all animals have originated from common centres and single pairs, and have been distributed from such common centres over the world, will find it difficult to explain the tenacity of such characters and their recurrence and repetition under circumstances that seem to preclude the possibility of any communication, on any other supposition than that of their creation in the different regions where they are now found. We have much yet to learn in this kind of investigation, with reference not only to Families among animals, but to nationalities among men also. I trust that the nature of languages will teach us as much about the origin of the races as the vocal systems of the animals may one day teach us about the origin of the different groups of animals. At all events, similarity of vocal utterance among animals is not indicative of identity of Species; I doubt, therefore, whether similarity of speech proves community of origin among men.

The similarity of motion in Families is another subject well worth the consideration of the naturalist: the soaring of the Birds of Prey,—the heavy flapping of the wings in the Gallinaceous Birds,—the floating of the Swallows, with their short cuts and angular turns,—the hopping of the Sparrows,—the deliberate walk of the Hens and the strut of the Cocks,—the waddle of the Ducks and Geese,—the slow, heavy creeping of the Land-Turtle,—the graceful flight of the Sea-Turtle under the water,—the leaping and swimming of the Frog,—the swift run of the Lizard, like a flash of green or red light in the sunshine,—the lateral undulation of the Serpent,—the dart of the Pickerel,—the leap of the Trout,—the rush of the Hawk-Moth through the air,—the fluttering flight of the Butterfly,—the quivering poise of the Humming-Bird,—the arrow-like shooting of the Squid through the water, —the slow crawling of the Snail on the land,—the sideway movement of the Sand-Crab,—the backward walk of the Crawfish,—the almost imperceptible gliding of the Sea-Anemone over the rock,—the graceful, rapid motion of the Pleurobrachia, with its endless change of curve and spiral. In short, every Family of animals has its characteristic action and its peculiar voice; and yet so little is this endless variety of rhythm and cadence both of motion and sound in the organic world understood, that we lack words to express one-half its richness and beauty.


The well-known meaning of the words generic and specific may serve, in the absence of a more precise definition, to express the relative importance of those groups of animals called Genera and Species in our scientific systems. The Genus is the more comprehensive of the two kinds of groups, while the Species is the most precisely defined, or at least the most easily recognized, of all the divisions of the Animal Kingdom. But neither the term Genus nor Species has always been taken in the same sense. Genus especially has varied in its acceptation, from the time when Aristotle applied it indiscriminately to any kind of comprehensive group, from the Classes down to what we commonly call Genera, till the present day. But we have already seen, that, instead of calling all the various kinds of more comprehensive divisions by the name of Genera, modern science has applied special names to each of them, and we have now Families, Orders, Classes, and Branches above Genera proper. If the foregoing discussion upon the nature of these groups is based upon trustworthy principles, we must admit that they are all founded upon distinct categories of characters,—the primary divisions, or the Branches, on plan of structure, the Classes upon the manner of its execution, the Orders upon the greater or less complication of a given mode of execution, the Families upon form; and it now remains to be ascertained whether Genera also exist in Nature, and by what kind of characteristics they may be distinguished. Taking the practice of the ablest naturalists in discriminating Genera as a guide in our estimation of their true nature, we must, nevertheless, remember that even now, while their classifications of the more comprehensive groups usually agree, they differ greatly in their limitation of Genera, so that the Genera of some authors correspond to the Families of others, and vice versa. This undoubtedly arises from the absence of a definite standard for the estimation of these divisions. But the different categories of structure which form the distinctive criteria of the more comprehensive divisions once established, the question is narrowed down to an inquiry into the special category upon which Genera may be determined; and if this can be accurately defined, no difference of opinion need interfere hereafter with their uniform limitation. Considering all these divisions of the Animal Kingdom from this point of view, it is evident that the more comprehensive ones must be those which are based on the broadest characters,—Branches, as united upon plan of structure, standing of course at the head; next to these the Classes, since the general mode of executing the plan presents a wider category of characters than the complication of structure on which Orders rest; after Orders come Families, or the patterns of form in which these greater or less complications of structure are clothed; and proceeding in the same way from more general to more special considerations, we can have no other category of structure as characteristic of Genera than the details of structure by which members of the same Family may differ from each other, and this I consider as the only true basis on which to limit Genera, while it is at the same time in perfect accordance with the practice of the most eminent modern zoologists. It is in this way that Cuvier has distinguished the large number of Genera he has characterized in his great Natural History of the Fishes, in connection with Valenciennes. Latreille has done the same for the Crustacea and Insects; and Milne Edwards, with the coöperation of Haime, has recently proceeded upon the same principle in characterizing a great number of Genera among the Corals. Many others have followed this example, but few have kept in view the necessity of a uniform mode of proceeding, or, if they have done their researches have covered too limited a ground, to be taken into consideration in a discussion of principles. It is, in fact, only when extending over a whole Class that the study of Genera acquires a truly scientific importance, as it then shows in a connected manner, in what way, by what features, and to what extent a large number of animals are closely linked together in Nature. Considering the Animal Kingdom as a single complete work of one Creative Intellect, consistent throughout, such keen analysis and close criticism of all its parts have the same kind of interest, in a higher degree, as that which attaches to other studies undertaken in the spirit of careful comparative research. These different categories of characters are, as it were, different peculiarities of style in the author, different modes of treating the same material, new combinations of evidence bearing on the same general principles. The study of Genera is a department of Natural History which thus far has received too little attention even at the hands of our best zoologists, and has been treated in the most arbitrary manner; it should henceforth be made a philosophical investigation into the closer affinities which naturally bind in minor groups all the representatives of a natural Family.

Genera, then, are groups of a more restricted character than any of those we have examined thus far. Some of them include only one Species, while others comprise hundreds; since certain definite combinations of characters may be limited to a single Species, while other combinations may be repeated in many. We have striking examples of this among Birds: the Ostrich stands alone in its Genus, while the number of Species among the Warblers is very great. Among Mammalia the Giraffe also stands alone, while Mice and Squirrels include many Species. Genera are founded, not, as we have seen, on general structural characters, but on the finish of special parts, as, for instance, on the dentition. The Cats have only four grinders in the upper jaw and three in the lower, while the Hyenas have one more above and below, and the Dogs and Wolves have two more above and two more below. In the last, some of the teeth have also flat surfaces for crushing the food, adapted especially to their habits, since they live on vegetable as well as animal substances. The formation of the claws is another generic feature. There is a curious example with reference to this in the Cheetah, which is again a Genus containing only one Species. It belongs to the Cat Family, but differs from ordinary Lions and Tigers in having its claws so constructed that it cannot draw them back under the paws, though in every other respect they are like the claws of all the Cats. But while it has the Cat-like claw, its paws are like those of the Dog, and this singular combination of features is in direct relation to its habits, for it does not lie in wait and spring upon its prey like the Cat, but hunts it like the Dog.

While Genera themselves are, like Families, easily distinguished, the characters on which they are founded, like those of Families, are difficult to trace. There are often features belonging to these groups which attract the attention and suggest their association, though they are not those which may be truly considered generic characters. It is easy to distinguish the Genus Fox, for instance, by its bushy tail, and yet that is no true generic character; the collar of feathers round the neck of the Vultures leads us at once to separate them from the Eagles, but it is not the collar that truly marks the Genus, but rather the peculiar structure of the feathers which form it. No Bird has a more striking plumage than the Peacock, but it is not the appearance merely of its crest and spreading fan that constitutes a Genus, but the peculiar structure of the feathers. Thousands of examples might be quoted to show how easily Genera may be singled out, named, and entered in our systems, without being duly characterized, and it is much to be lamented that there is no possibility of checking the loose work of this kind with which the annals of our science are daily flooded.

It would, of course, be quite inappropriate to present here any general revision of these groups; but I may present a few instances to illustrate the principle of their classification, and to show on what characters they are properly based. Among Reptiles, we find, for instance, that the Genera of our fresh-water Turtles differ from each other in the cut of their bill, in the arrangement of their scales, in the form of their claws, etc. Among Fishes, the different Genera included under the Family of Perches are distinguished by the arrangement of their teeth, by the serratures of their gill-covers, and of the arch to which the pectoral fins are attached, by the nature and combination of the rays of their fins, by the structure of their scales, etc. Among Insects, the various Genera of the Butterflies differ in the combination of the little rods which sustain their wings, in the form and structure of their antennae, of their feet, of the minute scales which cover their wings, etc. Among Crustacea, the Genera of Shrimps vary in the form of the claws, in the structure of the parts of the mouth, in the articulations of their feelers, etc. Among Worms, the different Genera of the Leech Family are combined upon the form of the disks by which they attach themselves, upon the number and arrangement of their eyes, upon the structure of the hard parts with which the mouth is armed, etc. Among Cephalopods, the Family of Squids contains several Genera distinguished by the structure of the solid shield within the skin of the back, by the form and connection of their fins, by the structure of the suckers with which their arms are provided, by the form of their beak, etc. In every Class, we find throughout the Animal Kingdom that there is no sound basis for the discrimination of Genera except the details of their structure; but in order to define them accurately an extensive comparison of them is indispensable, and in characterizing them only such features should be enumerated as are truly generic; whereas in the present superficial method of describing them, features are frequently introduced which belong not only to the whole Family, but even to the whole Class which includes them.


There remains but one more division of the Animal Kingdom for our consideration, the most limited of all in its circumscription,—that of Species. It is with the study of this kind of group that naturalists generally begin their investigations. I believe, however, that the study of Species as the basis of a scientific education is a great mistake. It leads us to overrate the value of Species, and to believe that they exist in Nature in some different sense from other groups; as if there were something more real and tangible in Species than in Genera, Families, Orders, Classes, or Branches. The truth is, that to study a vast number of Species without tracing the principles that combine them under more comprehensive groups is only to burden the mind with disconnected facts, and more may be learned by a faithful and careful comparison of a few Species than by a more cursory examination of a greater number. When one considers the immense number of Species already known, naturalists might well despair of becoming acquainted with them all, were they not constructed on a few fundamental patterns, so that the study of one Species teaches us a great deal for all the rest. De Candolle, who was at the same time a great botanist and a great teacher, told me once that he could undertake to illustrate the fundamental principles of his science with the aid of a dozen plants judiciously selected, and that it was his unvarying practice to induce students to make a thorough study of a few minor groups of plants, in all their relations to one another, rather than to attempt to gain a superficial acquaintance with a large number of species. The powerful influence he has had upon the progress of Botany vouches for the correctness of his views. Indeed, every profound scholar knows that sound learning can be attained only by this method, and the study of Nature makes no exception to the rule. I would therefore advise every student to select a few representatives from all the Classes, and to study these not only with reference to their specific characters, but as members also of a Genus, of a Family, of an Order, of a Class, and of a Branch. He will soon convince himself that Species have no more definite and real existence in Nature than all the other divisions of the Animal Kingdom, and that every animal is the representative of its Branch, Class, Order, Family, and Genus as much as of its Species, Specific characters are only those determining size, proportion, color, habits, and relations to surrounding circumstances and external objects. How superficial, then, must be any one's knowledge of an animal who studies it only with relation to its specific characters! He will know nothing of the finish of special parts of the body,—nothing of the relations between its form and its structure,—nothing of the relative complication of its organization as compared with other allied animals,—nothing of the general mode of execution,—nothing of the plan expressed in that mode of execution. Yet, with the exception of the ordinal characters, which, since they imply relative superiority and inferiority, require, of course, a number of specimens for comparison, his one animal would tell him all this as well as the specific characters.

All the more comprehensive groups, equally with Species, have a positive, permanent, specific principle, maintained generation after generation with all its essential characteristics. Individuals are the transient representatives of all these organic principles, which certainly have an independent, immaterial existence, since they outlive the individuals that embody them, and are no less real after the generation that has represented them for a time has passed away than they were before.

From a comparison of a number of well-known Species belonging to a natural Genus, it is not difficult to ascertain what are essentially specific characters. There is hardly among Mammalia a more natural Genus than that which includes the Rabbits and Hares, or that to which the Rats and Mice are referred. Let us see how the different Species differ from one another. Though we give two names in the vernacular to the Genus Hare, both Hares and Rabbits agree in all the structural peculiarities which constitute a Genus; but the different Species are distinguished by their absolute size when full-grown,—by the nature and color of their fur,—by the size and form of the ear,—by the relative length of their legs and tail,—by the more or less slender build of their whole body,—by their habits, some living in open grounds, others among the bushes, others in swamps, others burrowing under the earth,—by the number of young they bring forth,—by their different seasons of breeding,—and by still minor differences, such as the permanent color of the hair throughout the year in some, while in others it turns white in winter. The Rats and Mice differ in a similar way: there being large and small Species,—some gray, some brown, others rust-colored,—some with soft, others with coarse hair; they differ also in the length of the tail, and in having it more or less covered with hair,—in the cut of the ears, and their size,—in the length of their limbs, which are slender and long in some, short and thick in others,—in their various ways of living,—in the different substances on which they feed,—and also in their distribution over the surface of the earth, whether circumscribed within certain limited areas or scattered over a wider range. What is now the nature of these differences by which we distinguish Species? They are totally distinct from any of the categories on which Genera, Families, Orders, Classes, or Branches are founded, and may readily be reduced to a few heads. They are differences in the proportion of the parts and in the absolute size of the whole animal, in the color and general ornamentation of the surface of the body, and in the relations of the individuals to one another and to the world around. A farther analysis of other Genera would show us that among Birds, Reptiles, Fishes, and, in fact, throughout the Animal Kingdom, Species of well-defined natural Genera differ in the same way. We are therefore justified in saying that the category of characters on which Species are based implies no structural differences, but presents the same structure combined under certain minor differences of size, proportion, and habits. All the specific characters stand in direct reference to the generic structure, the family form, the ordinal complication of structure, the mode of execution of the Class, and the plan of structure of the Branch, all of which are embodied in the frame of each individual in each Species, even though all these individuals are constantly dying away and reproducing others; so that the specific characters have no more permanency in the individuals than those which characterize the Genus, the Family, the Order, the Class, and the Branch. I believe, therefore, that naturalists have been entirely wrong in considering the more comprehensive groups to be theoretical and in a measure arbitrary, an attempt, that is, of certain men to classify the Animal Kingdom according to their individual views, while they have ascribed to Species, as contrasted with the other divisions, a more positive existence in Nature. No further argument is needed to show that it is not only the Species that lives in the individual, but that every individual, though belonging to a distinct Species, is built upon a precise and definite plan which characterizes its Branch,—that that plan is executed in each individual in a particular way which characterizes its Class,—that every individual with its kindred occupies a definite position in a series of structural complications which characterizes its Order,—that in every individual all these structural features are combined under a definite pattern of form which characterizes its Family,—that every individual exhibits structural details in the finish of its parts which characterize its Genus,—and finally that every individual presents certain peculiarities in the proportion of its parts, in its color, in its size, in its relations to its fellow-beings and surrounding things, which constitute its specific characters; and all this is repeated in the same kind of combination, generation after generation, while the individuals die. If we accept these propositions, which seem to me self-evident, it is impossible to avoid the conclusion that Species do not exist in Nature in any other sense than the more comprehensive groups of the zoological systems.

There is one question respecting Species that gives rise to very earnest discussions in our day, not only among naturalists, but among all thinking people. How far are they permanent, and how far mutable? With reference to the permanence of Species, there is much to be learned from the geological phenomena that belong to our own period, and that bear witness to the invariability of types during hundreds of thousands of years at least. I hope to present a part of this evidence in a future article upon Coral Reefs, but in the mean time I cannot leave this subject without touching upon a point of which great use has been made in recent discussions. I refer to the variability of Species as shown in domestication.

The domesticated animals with their numerous breeds are constantly adduced as evidence of the changes which animals may undergo, and as furnishing hints respecting the way in which the diversity now observed among animals has already been produced. It is my conviction that such inferences are in no way sustained by the facts of the case, and that, however striking the differences may be between the breeds of our domesticated animals, as compared with the wild Species of the same Genus, they are of a peculiar character entirely distinct from those that prevail among the latter, and are altogether incident to the circumstances under which they occur. By this I do not mean the natural action of physical conditions, but the more or less intelligent direction of the circumstances under which they live. The inference drawn from the varieties introduced among animals in a state of domestication, with reference to the origin of Species, is usually this: that what the farmer does on a small scale Nature may do on a large one. It is true that man has been able to produce certain changes in the animals under his care, and that these changes have resulted in a variety of breeds. But in doing this, he has, in my estimation, in no way altered the character of the Species, but has only developed its pliability to the will of man, that is, to a power similar in its nature and mode of action to that power to which animals owe their very existence. The influence of man upon Animals is, in other words, the action of mind upon them; and yet the ordinary mode of arguing upon this subject is, that, because the intelligence of man has been able to produce certain varieties in domesticated animals, therefore physical causes have produced all the diversities among wild ones. Surely, the sounder logic would be to infer, that, because our finite intelligence can cause the original pattern to vary by some slight shades of difference, therefore an infinite intelligence must have established all the boundless diversity of which our boasted varieties are but the faintest echo. It is the most intelligent farmer that has the greatest success in improving his breeds; and if the animals he has so fostered are left to themselves without that intelligent care, they return to their normal condition. So with plants: the shrewd, observing, thoughtful gardener will obtain many varieties from his flowers; but those varieties will fade out, if left to themselves. There is, as it were, a certain degree of pliability and docility in the organization both of animals and plants, which may be developed by the fostering care of man, and within which he can exercise a certain influence; but the variations which he thus produces are of a peculiar kind, and do not correspond to the differences of the wild Species. Let us take some examples to illustrate this assertion.

Every Species of wild Bull differs from the others in its size; but all the individuals correspond to the average standard of size characteristic of their respective Species, and show none of those extreme differences of size so remarkable among our domesticated Cattle. Every Species of wild Bull has its peculiar color, and all the individuals of one Species share in it: not so with our domesticated Cattle, among which every individual may differ in color from every other. All the individuals of the same Species of wild Bull agree in the proportion of their parts, in the mode of growth of the hair, in its quality, whether fine or soft: not so with our domesticated Cattle, among which we find in the same Species overgrown and dwarfish individuals, those with long and short legs, with slender and stout build of the body, with horns or without, as well as the greatest variety in the mode of twisting the horns,—in short, the widest extremes of development which the degree of pliability in that Species will allow.

A curious instance of the power of man, not only in developing the pliability of an animal's organization, but in adapting it to suit his own caprices, is that of the Golden Carp, so frequently seen in bowls and tanks as the ornament of drawing-rooms and gardens. Not only an infinite variety of spotted, striped, variegated colors has been produced in these Fishes, but, especially among the Chinese, so famous for their morbid love of whatever is distorted and warped from its natural shape and appearance, all sorts of changes have been brought about in this single Species. A book of Chinese paintings showing the Golden Carp in its varieties represents some as short and stout, others long and slender,—some with the ventral side swollen, others hunch-backed,—some with the mouth greatly enlarged, while in others the caudal fin, which in the normal condition of the Species is placed vertically at the end of the tail and is forked like those of other Fishes, has become crested and arched, or is double, or crooked, or has swerved in some other way from its original pattern. But in all these variations there is nothing which recalls the characteristic specific differences among the representatives of the Carp Family, which in their wild state are very monotonous in their appearance all the world over.

Were it appropriate to accumulate evidence here upon this subject, I could bring forward many more examples quite as striking as those above mentioned. The various breeds of our domesticated Horses present the same kind of irregularities, and do not differ from each other in the same way as the wild Species differ from one another. Or take the Genus Dog: the differences between its wild Species do not correspond in the least with the differences observed among the domesticated ones. Compare the differences between the various kinds of Jackals and Wolves with those that exist between the Bull-Dog and Greyhound, for instance, or between the St. Charles and the Terrier, or between the Esquimaux and the Newfoundland Dog. I need hardly add that what is true of the Horses, the Cattle, the Dogs, is true also of the Donkey, the Goat, the Sheep, the Pig, the Cat, the Rabbit, the different kinds of barn-yard fowl,—in short, of all those animals that are in domesticity the chosen companions of man.

In fact, all the variability among domesticated Species is due to the fostering care, or, in its more extravagant freaks, to the fancies of man, and it has never been observed in the wild Species, where, on the contrary, everything shows the closest adherence to the distinct, well-defined, and invariable limits of the Species. It surely does not follow, that, because the Chinese can, under abnormal conditions, produce a variety of fantastic shapes in the Golden Carp, therefore water, or the physical conditions established in the water, can create a Fish, any more than it follows, that, because they can dwarf a tree, or alter its aspect by stunting its growth in one direction and forcing it in another, therefore the earth, or the physical conditions connected with their growth, can create a Pine, an Oak, a Birch, or a Maple. I confess that in all the arguments derived from the phenomena of domestication, to prove that all animals owe their origin and diversity to the natural action of the conditions under which they live, the conclusion does not seem to me to follow logically from the premises. And the fact that the domesticated animals of all races of men, equally with the white race, vary among themselves in the same way and differ in the same way from the wild Species, makes it still more evident that domesticated varieties do not explain the origin of Species, except, as I have said, by showing that the intelligent will of man can produce effects which physical causes have never been known to produce, and that we must therefore look to some cause outside of Nature, corresponding in kind, though so different in degree, to the intelligence of man, for all the phenomena connected with the existence of animals in their wild state. So far from attributing these original differences among animals to natural influences, it would seem, that, while a certain freedom of development is left, within the limits of which man can exercise his intelligence and his ingenuity, not even this superficial influence is allowed to physical conditions unaided by some guiding power, since in their normal state the wild Species remain, so far as we have been able to discover, entirely unchanged,—maintained, it is true, in their integrity by the circumstances that were established for their support by the power that created both, but never altered by them. Nature holds inviolable the stamp that God has set upon his creatures; and if man is able to influence their organization in some slight degree, it is because the Creator has given to his relations with the animals he has intended for his companions the same plasticity which he has allowed to every other side of his life, in virtue of which he may in some sort mould and shape it to his own ends, and be held responsible also for its results.

The common sense of a civilized community has already pointed out the true distinction in applying another word to the discrimination of the different kinds of domesticated animals. They are called Breeds, and Breeds among animals are the work of man;—Species were created by God.

* * * * *


  Many and many a year ago,—
  To say how many I scarcely dare,—
  Three of us stood in Strasburg streets,
  In the wide and open square,
  Where, quaint and old and touched with the gold
  Of a summer morn, at stroke of noon
  The tongue of the great Cathedral tolled,
  And into the church with the crowd we strolled
  To see their wonder, the famous Clock.
  Well, my love, there are clocks a many,
  As big as a house, as small as a penny;
  And clocks there be with voices as queer
  As any that torture human ear,—
  Clocks that grunt, and clocks that growl,
  That wheeze like a pump, and hoot like an owl,
  From the coffin shape with its brooding face
  That stands on the stair, (you know the place,)
  Saying, "Click, cluck," like an ancient hen,
  A-gathering the minutes home again,
  To the kitchen knave with its wooden stutter,
  Doing equal work with double splutter,
  Yelping, "Click, clack," with a vulgar jerk,
  As much as to say, "Just see me work!"

  But of all the clocks that tell Time's bead-roll,
  There are none like this in the old Cathedral;
  Never a one so bids you stand
  While it deals the minutes with even hand:
  For clocks, like men, are better and worse,
  And some you dote on, and some you curse;
  And clock and man may have such a way
  Of telling the truth that you can't say nay.

  So in we went and stood in the crowd
  To hear the old clock as it crooned aloud,
  With sound and symbol, the only tongue
  The maker taught it while yet 't was young.
  And we saw Saint Peter clasp his hands,
  And the cock crow hoarsely to all the lands,
  And the Twelve Apostles come and go,
  And the solemn Christ pass sadly and slow;
  And strange that iron-legged procession,
  And odd to us the whole impression,
  As the crowd beneath, in silence pressing,
  Bent to that cold mechanic blessing.

  But I alone thought far in my soul
  What a touch of genius was in the whole,
  And felt how graceful had been the thought
  Which for the signs of the months had sought,
  Sweetest of symbols, Christ's chosen train;
  And much I pondered, if he whose brain
  Had builded this clock with labor and pain
  Did only think, twelve months there are,
  And the Bible twelve will fit to a hair;
  Or did he say, with a heart in tune,
  Well-loved John is the sign of June,
  And changeful Peter hath April hours,
  And Paul the stately, October bowers,
  And sweet, or faithful, or bold, or strong,
  Unto each one shall a month belong.

  But beside the thought that under it lurks,
  Pray, do you think clocks are saved by their works?


To win such love as Arthur Hugh Clough won in life, to leave so dear a memory as he has left, is a happiness that falls to few men. In America, as in England, his death is mourned by friends whose affection is better than fame, and who in losing him have met with an irreparable loss. Outside the circle of his friends his reputation had no large extent; but though his writings are but little known by the great public of readers, they are prized by all those of thoughtful and poetic temper to whose hands they have come, as among the most precious and original productions of the time. To those who knew him personally his poems had a special worth and charm, as the sincere expression of a character of the purest stamp, of rare truthfulness and simplicity, not less tender than strong, and of a genius thoroughly individual in its form, and full of the promise of a large career. He was by Nature endowed with subtile and profound powers of thought, with feeling at once delicate and intense, with lively and generous sympathies, and with conscientiousness so acute as to pervade and control his whole intellectual disposition. Loving, seeking, and holding fast to the truth, he despised all falseness and affectation. With his serious and earnest thinking was joined the play of a genial humor and the brightness of poetic fancy. Liberal in sentiment, absolutely free from dogmatism and pride of intellect, of a questioning temper, but of reverent spirit, faithful in the performance not only of the larger duties, but also of the lesser charities and the familiar courtesies of life, he has left a memory of singular consistency, purity, and dignity. He lived to conscience, not for show, and few men carry through life so white a soul.

A notice of Mr. Clough understood to be written by one who knew him well gives the outline of his life.

"Arthur Hugh Clough was educated at Rugby, to which school he went very young, soon after Dr. Arnold had been elected head-master. He distinguished himself at once by gaining the only scholarship which existed at that time, and which was open to the whole school under the age of fourteen. Before he was sixteen he was at the head of the fifth form, and, as that was the earliest age at which boys were then admitted into the sixth, had to wait for a year before coming under the personal tuition of the headmaster. He came in the next (school) generation to Stanley and Vaughan, and gained a reputation, if possible, even greater than theirs. At the yearly speeches, in the last year of his residence, when the prizes are given away in the presence of the school and the friends who gather on such occasions, Arnold took the almost unexampled course of addressing him, (when he and two fags went up to carry off his load of splendidly bound books,) and congratulating him on having gained every honor which Rugby could bestow, and having also already distinguished himself and done the highest credit to his school at the University. He had just gained a scholarship at Balliol, then, as now, the blue ribbon of undergraduates.

"At school, although before all things a student, he had thoroughly entered into the life of the place, and before he left had gained supreme influence with the boys. He was the leading contributor to the 'Rugby Magazine'; and though a weakness in his ankles prevented him from taking a prominent part in the games of the place, was known as the best goal-keeper on record, a reputation which no boy could have gained without promptness and courage. He was also one of the best swimmers in the school, his weakness of ankle being no drawback here, and in his last half passed the crucial test of that day, by swimming from Swift's (the bathing-place of the sixth) to the mill on the Leicester road, and back again, between callings over.

"He went to reside at Oxford when the whole University was in a ferment. The struggle of Alma Mater to humble or cast out the most remarkable of her sons was at its height. Ward had not yet been arraigned for his opinions, and was a fellow and tutor of Balliol, and Newman was in residence at Oriel, and incumbent of St. Mary's.

"Clough's was a mind which, under any circumstances, would have thrown itself into the deepest speculative thought of its time. He seems soon to have passed through the mere ecclesiastical debatings to the deep questions which lay below them. There was one lesson—probably one only—which he had never been able to learn from his great master, namely, to acknowledge that there are problems which intellectually are not to be solved by man, and before these to sit down quietly. Whether it were from the harass of thought on such matters which interfered with his regular work, or from one of those strange miscarriages in the most perfect of examining machines, which every now and then deprive the best men of the highest honors, to the surprise of every one Clough missed his first class. But he completely retrieved this academical mishap shortly afterwards by gaining an Oriel fellowship. In his new college, the college of Pusey, Newman, Keble, Marriott, Wilberforce, presided over by Dr. Hawkins, and in which the influence of Whately, Davidson, and Arnold had scarcely yet died out, he found himself in the very centre and eye of the battle. His own convictions were by this time leading him far away from both sides in the Oxford contest; he, however, accepted a tutorship at the college, and all who had the privilege of attending them will long remember his lectures on logic and ethics. His fault (besides a shy and reserved manner) was that he was much too long-suffering to youthful philosophic coxcombry, and would rather encourage it by his gentle 'Ah! you think so?' or, 'Yes, but might not such and such be the case?'"

Clough was at Oxford in 1847,—the year of the terrible Irish famine, and with others of the most earnest men at the University he took part in an association which had for its object "Retrenchment for the sake of the Irish." Such a society was little likely to be popular with the comfortable dignitaries or the luxurious youth of the University. Many objections, frivolous or serious as the case might be, were raised against so subversive a notion as that of the self-sacrifice of the rich for the sake of the poor. Disregarding all personal considerations, Clough printed a pamphlet entitled, "A Consideration of Objections against the Retrenchment Association," in which he met the careless or selfish arguments of those who set themselves against the efforts of the society. It was a characteristic performance. His heart was deeply stirred by the harsh contrast between the miseries of the Irish poor and the wasteful extravagance of living prevalent at Oxford. He wrote with vehement indignation against the selfish pleas of the indifferent and the thoughtless possessors of wealth, wasters of the goods given them as a trust for others. His words were chiefly addressed to the young men at the University,—and they were not without effect. Such views of the rights and duties of property as he put forward, of the claims of labor, and of the responsibilities of the aristocracy, had not been often heard at Oxford. He was called a Socialist and a Radical, but it mattered little to him by what name he was known to those whose consciences were not touched by his appeal. "Will you say," he writes toward the end of this pamphlet, "this is all rhetoric and declamation? There is, I dare say, something too much in that kind. What with criticizing style and correcting exercises, we college tutors perhaps may be likely, in the heat of composition, to lose sight of realities, and pass into the limbo of the factitious,—especially when the thing must be done at odd times, in any case, and, if at all, quickly. But if I have been obliged to write hurriedly, believe me, I have obliged myself to think not hastily. And believe me, too, though I have desired to succeed in putting vividly and forcibly that which vividly and forcibly I felt and saw, still the graces and splendors of composition were thoughts far less present to my mind than Irish poor men's miseries, English poor men's hardships, and your unthinking indifference. Shocking enough the first and the second, almost more shocking the third."

It was about this time that the most widely known of his works, "The Bothie of Toper-na-Fuosich, a Long-Vacation Pastoral," was written. It was published in 1848, and though it at once secured a circle of warm admirers, and the edition was very soon exhausted, it "is assuredly deserving of a far higher popularity than it has ever attained." The poem was reprinted in America, at Cambridge, in 1849, and it may be safely asserted that its merit was more deeply felt and more generously acknowledged by American than by English readers. The fact that its essential form and local coloring were purely and genuinely English, and thus gratified the curiosity felt in this country concerning the social habits and ways of life in the mother-land, while on the other hand its spirit was in sympathy with the most liberal and progressive thought of the age, may sufficiently account for its popularity here. But the lovers of poetry found delight in it, apart from these characteristics,—in its fresh descriptions of Nature, its healthy manliness of tone, its scholarly construction, its lively humor, its large thought quickened and deepened by the penetrating imagination of the poet.

"Any one who has read it will acknowledge that a tutorship at Oriel was not the place for the author. The intense love of freedom, the deep and hearty sympathy with the foremost thought of the time, the humorous dealing with old formulas and conventionalisms grown meaningless, which breathe in every line of the 'Bothie,' show this clearly enough. He would tell in after-life, with much enjoyment, how the dons of the University, who, hearing that he had something in the press, and knowing that his theological views were not wholly sound, were looking for a publication on the Articles, were astounded by the appearance of that fresh and frolicsome poem. Oxford (at least the Oriel common room) and he were becoming more estranged daily. How keenly he felt the estrangement, not from Oxford, but from old friends, about this time, can be read only in his own words." It is in such poems as the "Qua Cursum Ventus," or the sonnet beginning, "Well, well,—Heaven bless you all from day to day!" that it is to be read. These, with a few other fugitive pieces, were printed, in company with verses by a friend, as one part of a small volume entitled, "Ambarvalia," which never attained any general circulation, although containing some poems which will take their place among the best of English poetry of this generation.

"Qua Cursum Ventus.

  "As ships, becalmed at eve, that lay
     With canvas drooping, side by side,
  Two towers of sail at dawn of day,
     Are scarce long leagues apart descried:

  "When fell the night, upsprung the breeze,
     And all the darkling hours they plied,
  Nor dreamt but each the self-same seas
     By each was cleaving side by side:

  "E'en so——But why the tale reveal
     Of those whom, year by year unchanged,
  Brief absence joined anew to feel,
     Astounded, soul from soul estranged?

  "At dead of night their sails were filled,
     And onward each rejoicing steered:
  Ah, neither blame, for neither willed,
     Or wist, what first with dawn appeared!

  "To veer, how vain! On, onward strain,
     Brave barks! In light, in darkness too,
  Through winds and tides one compass guides:
     To that, and your own selves, be true!

  "But, O blithe breeze! and O great seas!
     Though ne'er, that earliest parting past,
  On your wide plain they join again,
     Together lead them home at last!

  "One port, methought, alike they sought,
     One purpose hold where'er they fare:
  O bounding breeze! O rushing seas!
     At last, at last, unite them there!"

"In 1848-49 the revolutionary crisis came on Europe, and Clough's sympathies drew him with great earnestness into the struggles which were going on. He was in Paris directly after the barricades, and in Rome during the siege, where he gained the friendship of Saffi and other leading Italian patriots." A part of his experiences and his thoughts while at Rome are interwoven with the story in his "Amours de Voyage," a poem which exhibits in extraordinary measure the subtilty and delicacy of his powers, and the fulness of his sympathy with the intellectual conditions of the time. It was first published in the "Atlantic Monthly" for 1858, and was at once established in the admiration of readers capable of appreciating its rare and refined excellence. The spirit of the poem is thoroughly characteristic of its author, and the speculative, analytic turn of his mind is represented in many passages of the letters of the imaginary hero. Had he been writing in his own name, he could not have uttered his inmost conviction more distinctly, or have given the clue to his intellectual life more openly than in the following verses:—

  "I will look straight out, see things, not try to
          evade them:
  Fact shall be Fact for me; and the Truth the
          Truth as ever,
  Flexible, changeable, vague, and multiform
          and doubtful."

Or, again,—

  "Ah, the key of our life, that passes all wards,
          opens all locks,
  Is not I will, but I must. I must,—I must,
         —and I do it."

And still again,—

  "But for the steady fore-sense of a freer and
          larger existence,
  Think you that man could consent to be
          circumscribed here into action?
  But for assurance within of a limitless ocean
          divine, o'er
  Whose great tranquil depths unconscious
          the wind-tost surface
  Breaks into ripples of trouble that come and
          change and endure not,—
  But that in this, of a truth, we have our
          being, and know it,
  Think you we men could submit to live and
          move as we do here?"

"To keep on doing right,—not to speculate only, but to act, not to think only, but to live,"—was, it has been said, characteristic of the leading men at Oxford during this period. "It was not so much a part of their teaching as a doctrine woven into their being." And while they thus exercised a moral not less than an intellectual influence over their contemporaries and their pupils, they themselves, according to their various tempers and circumstances, were led on into new paths of inquiry or of life. Some of them fell into the common temptations of an English University career, and lost the freshness of energy and the honesty of conviction which first inspired them; others, holding their places in the established order of things, were able by happy faculties of character to retain also the vigor and simplicity of their early purposes; while others again, among whom was Clough, finding the restraints of the University incompatible with independence, gave up their positions at Oxford to seek other places in which they could more freely search for the truth and express their own convictions.

It was not long after his return from Italy that he became Professor of English Language and Literature at University College, London. He filled this place, which was not in all respects suited to him, until 1852. After resigning it, he took various projects into consideration, and at length determined to come to America with the intention of settling here, if circumstances should prove favorable. In November, 1852, he arrived in Boston. He at once established himself at Cambridge, proposing to give instruction to young men preparing for college, or to take on in more advanced studies those who had completed the collegiate course. He speedily won the friendship of those whose friendship was best worth having in Boston and its neighborhood. His thorough scholarship, the result of the best English training, and his intrinsic qualities caused his society to be sought and prized by the most cultivated and thoughtful men. He had nothing of insular narrowness, and none of the hereditary prejudices which too often interfere with the capacity of English travellers or residents among us to sympathize with and justly understand habits of life and of thought so different from those to which they have been accustomed. His liberal sentiments and his independence of thought harmonized with the new social conditions in which he found himself, and with the essential spirit of American life. The intellectual freedom and animation of this country were congenial to his disposition. From the beginning he took a large share in the interests of his new friends. He contributed several remarkable articles to the pages of the "North American Review" and of "Putnam's Magazine," and he undertook a work which was to occupy his scanty leisure for several years, the revision of the so-called Dryden's Translation of Plutarch's Lives. Although the work was undertaken simply as a revision, it turned out to involve little less labor than a complete new translation, and it was so accomplished that henceforth it must remain the standard version of this most popular of the ancient authors.

But all that made the presence of such a man a great gain to his new friends made his absence felt by his old ones as a great loss. In July, 1853, he received the announcement that a place had been obtained for him by their efforts in the Education Department of the Privy Council, and he was so strenuously urged to return to England, that, although unwilling to give up the prospect of a final settlement in America, he felt that it was best to go home for a time. Some months after his return he was married to the granddaughter of the late Mr. William Smith, M.P. for Norwich. He established himself in a house in London, and settled down to the hard routine-work of his office. In a private letter written not long after his return, he said,—"As for myself, whom you ask about, there is nothing to tell about me. I live on contentedly enough, but feel rather unwilling to be re-Englished, after once attaining that higher transatlantic development. However, il faut s'y soumettre, I presume,—though I fear I am embarked in the foundering ship. I hope to Heaven you'll get rid of slavery, and then I shouldn't fear but you would really 'go ahead' in the long run. As for us and our inveterate feudalism, it is not hopeful."

In another letter about this time, he wrote,—"I like America all the better for the comparison with England on my return. Certainly I think you are more right than I was willing to admit, about the position of the poorer classes here. Such is my first reimpression. However, it will wear off soon enough, I dare say; so you must make the most of my admissions."

Again, a little later, he wrote,—"I do truly hope that you will get the North erelong thoroughly united against any further encroachments. I don't by any means feel that the slave-system is an intolerable crime, nor do I think that our system here is so much better; but it is clear to me that the only safe ground to go upon is that of your Northern States. I suppose the rich-and-poor difficulties must be creeping in at New York, but one would fain hope that European analogies will not be quite accepted even there."

His letters were reflections of himself,—full of thought, fancy, and pleasant humor, as well as of affectionateness and true feeling. Their character is hardly to be given in extracts, but a few passages may serve to illustrate some of these qualities.

"Ambrose Philips, the Roman Catholic, who set up the new St. Bernard Monastery at Charnwood Forest, has taken to spirit-rappings. He avers, inter alia, that a Buddhist spirit in misery held communication with him through the table, and entreated his confessor, Father Lorraine, to say three masses for him. Pray, convey this to T—— for his warning. For, moreover, it remains uncertain whether Father Lorraine did say the masses; so that perhaps T——'s deceased co-religionist is still in the wrong place."

Some time after his return, he wrote,—"Really, I may say I am only just beginning to recover my spirits after returning from the young and hopeful and humane republic, to this cruel, unbelieving, inveterate old monarchy. There are deeper waters of ancient knowledge and experience about one here, and one is saved from the temptation of flying off into space; but I think you have, beyond all question, the happiest country going. Still, the political talk of America, as one hears it here, is not always true to the best intentions of the country, is it?"

Writing on a July day from his office in Whitehall, he says, after speaking of the heat of the weather,—"Time has often been compared to a river: if the Thames at London represent the stream of traditional wisdom, the comparison will indeed be of an ill odor; the accumulated wisdom of the past will be proved upon analogy to be as it were the collected sewage of the centuries; and the great problem, how to get rid of it."

In March, 1854, he wrote,—"People talk a good deal about that book of Whewell's on the Plurality of Worlds. I recommend Fields to pirate it. Have you seen it? It is to show that Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, etc., are all pretty certainly uninhabitable,—being (Jupiter, Saturn, etc., to wit) strange washy limbos of places, where at the best only mollusks (or, in the case of Venus, salamanders) could exist. Hence we conclude we are the only rational creatures, which is highly satisfactory, and, what is more, quite Scriptural. Owen, on the other hand, I believe, and other scientific people, declare it a most presumptuous essay,— conclusions audacious, and reasoning fallacious, though the facts are allowed; and in that opinion I, on the ground that there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in the inductive philosophy, incline to concur."

Of his work he wrote,—"Well, I go on in the office, operose nihil agenda, very operose, and very nihil too. For lack of news, I send you a specimen of my labors."—"We are here going on much as usual, —occupied with nothing else but commerce and the money-market. I do not think any one is thinking audibly of anything else."—"I have read with more pleasure than anything else that I have read lately Kane's Arctic Explorations, i.e., his second voyage, which is certainly a wonderful story. The whole narrative is, I think, very characteristic of the differences between the English and the American-English habits of command and obedience."

In the autumn of 1857, after speaking of some of the features of the Sepoy revolt, he said,—"I don't believe Christianity can spread far in Asia, unless it will allow men more than one wife,—which isn't likely yet out of Utah. But I believe the old Brahmin 'Touch not and taste not, and I am holier than thou, because I don't touch and taste,' may be got rid of. As for Mahometanism, it is a crystallized monotheism, out of which no vegetation can come. I doubt its being good even for the Central negro."

March, 1859. "Excuse this letter all about my own concerns. I am pretty busy, and have time for little else: such is our fate after forty. My figure 40 stands nearly three months behind me on the roadway, unwept, unhonored, and unsung, an octavum lustrum bound up and laid on the shelf. 'So-and-so is dead,' said a friend to Lord Melbourne of some author. 'Dear me, how glad I am! Now I can bind him up.'"

It was not until 1859 that the translation of Plutarch, begun six years before, was completed and published. It had involved much wearisome study, and gave proof of patient, exact, and elegant scholarship. Clough's life in the Council-Office was exceedingly laborious, and for several years his work was increased by services rendered to Miss Nightingale, a near relative of his wife. He employed "many hours, both before and after his professional duties were over, to aid her in those reforms of the military administration to which she has devoted the remaining energies of her overtasked life." For this work he was the better fitted from having acted, during a period of relief from his regular employment, as Secretary to a Military Commission appointed by Government shortly after the Crimean War to examine and report upon the military systems of some of the chief Continental nations. But at length his health gave way under the strain of continuous overwork. He had for a long time been delicate, and early in 1861 he was obliged to give up work, and was ordered to travel abroad. He went to Greece and Constantinople, and enjoyed greatly the charms of scenery and of association which he was so well fitted to appreciate. But the release from work had come too late. He returned to England in July, his health but little improved. In a letter written at that time he spoke of Lord Campbell's death, which had just occurred. "Lord Campbell's death is rather the characteristic death of the English political man. In the Cabinet, on the Bench, and at a dinner-party, busy, animated, and full of effort to-day, and in the early morning a vessel has burst. It is a wonder they last so long." But of himself he says, in words of striking contrast,—"My nervous energy is pretty nearly spent for to-day, so I must come to a stop. I have leave till November, and by that time I hope I shall be strong again for another good spell of work." After a happy three weeks in England, he went abroad again, and spent some time with his friends the Tennysons in Auvergne and among the Pyrenees. In September he was joined by his wife in Paris, and thence went with her through Switzerland to Italy. He had scarcely reached Florence before he became alarmingly ill with symptoms of a low malaria fever. His exhausted constitution never rallied against its attack. He sank gradually away, and died on the 13th of November. "I have leave till November, and by that time I hope I shall be strong again for another good spell of work." That hope is accomplished;—

  "For sure in the wide heaven there is room
  For love, and pity, and for helpful deeds."

He was buried in the little Protestant cemetery at Florence, a fit resting-place for a poet, the Protestant Santa Croce, where the tall cypresses rise over the graves, and the beautiful hills keep guard around.

"Every one who knew Clough even slightly," says one of his oldest friends, "received the strongest impression of the unusual breadth and massiveness of his mind. Singularly simple and genial, he was unfortunately cast upon a self-questioning age, which led him to worry himself with constantly testing the veracity of his own emotions. He has delineated in four lines the impression which his habitual reluctance to converse on the deeper themes of life made upon those of his friends who were attracted by his frank simplicity. In one of his shorter poems he writes,—

  'I said, My heart is all too soft;
  He who would climb and soar aloft
  Must needs keep ever at his side
  The tonic of a wholesome pride.'

That expresses the man in a very remarkable manner. He had a kind of proud simplicity about him singularly attractive, and often singularly disappointing to those who longed to know him well. He had a fear, which many would think morbid, of leaning much on the approbation of the world. And there is one remarkable passage in his poems in which he intimates that men who live on the good opinion of others might even be benefited by a crime which would rob them of that evil stimulant:—

  'Why, so is good no longer good, but crime
  Our truest, best advantage, since it lifts us
  Out of the stifling gas of men's opinion
  Into the vital atmosphere of Truth,
  Where He again is visible, though in anger.'

"So eager was his craving for reality and perfect sincerity, so morbid his dislike even for the unreal conventional forms of life, that a mind quite unique in simplicity and truthfulness represents itself in his poems as

  'Seeking in vain, in all my store,
  One feeling based on truth.'

"Indeed, he wanted to reach some guaranty for simplicity deeper than simplicity itself. We remember his principal criticism on America, after returning from his residence in Massachusetts, was, that the New-Englanders were much simpler than the English, and that this was the great charm of New-England society. His own habits were of the same kind, sometimes almost austere in their simplicity. Luxury he disliked, and sometimes his friends thought him even ascetic.

"This almost morbid craving for a firm base on the absolute realities of life was very wearing in a mind so self-conscious as Clough's, and tended to paralyze the expression of a certainly great genius. He heads some of his poems with a line from Wordsworth's great ode, which depicts perfectly the expression often written in the deep furrows which sometimes crossed and crowded his massive forehead:—

'Blank misgivings of a creature moving about in worlds not realized.'

"Nor did Clough's great powers ever realize themselves to his contemporaries by any outward sign at all commensurate with the profound impression which they produced in actual life. But if his powers did not, there was much in his character that did produce its full effect upon all who knew him. He never looked, even in time of severe trial, to his own interest or advancement. He never flinched from the worldly loss which his deepest convictions brought on him. Even when clouds were thick over his own head, and the ground beneath his feet seemed crumbling away, he could still bear witness to an eternal light behind the cloud, and tell others that there is solid ground to be reached in the end by the weary feet of all who will wait to be strong. Let him speak his own farewell:—

  'Say not the struggle nought availeth,
     The labor and the wounds are vain,
  The enemy faints not nor faileth,
     And as things have been things remain.

  'Though hopes were dupes, fears may be liars;
     It may be, in yon smoke concealed,
  Your comrades chase e'en now the fliers,
     And but for you possess the field.

  'For though the tired wave, idly breaking,
     Seems here no tedious inch to gain,
  Far back, through creek and inlet making,
     Came, silent flooding in, the main.

  'And not through eastern windows only,
     When daylight comes, comes in the light;
  In front the sun climbs slow,—how slowly!
     But westward—look! the land is bright.'"


We have many precedents upon the part of the "Guardian of Civilization," which may or may not guide us. Not to return to that age "whereunto the memory of man runneth not to the contrary," "the day of King Richard our grandfather," and to the Wars of the Roses, we will begin with the happy occasion of the Restoration of King Charles of merry and disreputable fame. Since he came back to his kingdoms on sufferance and as a convenient compromise between anarchy and despotism, he could hardly afford the luxury of wholesale proscription. What the returning Royalists could, they did. It was obviously unsafe, as well as ungrateful, to hang General Monk in presence of his army, many of whom had followed the "Son of the Man" from Worcester Fight in hot pursuit, and had hunted him from thicket to thicket of Boscobel Wood. But to dig up the dead Cromwell and Ireton, to suspend them upon the gallows, to mark out John Milton, old and blind, for poverty and contempt, was both safe and pleasant. And civilization was guarded accordingly. One little bit of comfort, however, was permitted. Scotland had been the Virginia of his day, and Charles had the satisfaction of hearing that the Whigs, who had betrayed and sold his father, and who had (a far worse offence) made himself listen to three-hours' sermons, were chased like wild beasts among the hills, after the defeat of Bothwell Brigg. But what Charles could not do was permitted to his brother. After the rebellion of Monmouth was put down, the West of England was turned to mourning. From the princely bastard who sued in agony and vain humiliation, to the clown of Devon forced into the rebel ranks,—from the peer who plotted, to the venerable and Christian woman whose sole crime was sheltering the houseless and starving fugitive, there was given to the vanquished no mercy but the mercy of Jeffreys, no tenderness but the tenderness of Kirk.

But the House of Stuart was not always to represent the side of victory. Thirty years after the Rout of Sedgemoor, the son of James, whose name was clouded by rumor with the same stain of spuriousness as that of his unfortunate cousin, was proclaimed by the Earl of Mar. The Jacobites were forced to drink to the dregs the cup of bitterness they had so gladly administered to others. Over Temple Bar and London Bridge the heads of the defeated rebels bore witness to the guardianship of civilization as understood in the eighteenth century.

Another thirty years brings us to the landing of Moidart, the rising of the clans, the fall of Edinburgh and Carlisle, the "Bull's Run" at Prestonpans, and the panic of London. If we are anxious to guard our civilization according to Hanoverian precedents, there is one name commonly given to the Commander-in-chief at Culloden which Congress should add to the titles it is preparing against McClellan's successful advance. The "Butcher Cumberland" not only hounded on his troops with the tempting price of thirty thousand pounds for the Pretender dead or alive, but every adherent of the luckless Jefferson Davis of that day was in peril of life and wholesale confiscation. The House of Hanover not only broke the backbone of the Rebellion, but mangled without mercy its remains.

We come now, in another thirty years, to the next struggle of England with a portion of her people. It is impossible, as well as unfair, to say what might have been done with "Mr. Washington, the Virginia colonel," and Mr. Franklin, the Philadelphia printer, had they not been able to determine their own destiny. We can only surmise, by referring to two well-known localities in New York, the "Old Sugar-House" and the "Jersey Prison-Ship," how paternally George III was disposed then to resume his rights. And without disposition to press historic parallels, we cannot but compare Arnold and Tryon's raid along the south shore of Connecticut with a certain sail recently made up the Tennessee River to the foot of the Muscle Shoals by the command of a modern Connecticut officer.

But as we were spared the necessity of testing the royal clemency to the submitted Provinces of North America, we had better pass on twenty years to the era of the Act of Union between Great Britain and Ireland. In this country the Irishman need not "fear to speak of '98," and in this country he still treasures the memory of the whippings and pitch-caps of Major Beresford's riding-house, and other pleasant souvenirs of the way in which, sixty years ago, loyalty dealt with rebellion. There is no inherent proneness to treason in the Hibernian nature, as Corcoran and the Sixty-Ninth can bear witness; nor is Pat so fond of a riot that he cannot with fair play be a—well, a good citizen. Yet at home he has been so "civilized" by his British guardian as to be in a chronic state of discontent and fretfulness.

We must, however, hasten to our latest precedent,—England in India. The Sepoy Rebellion had some features in common with our own. It was inaugurated by premeditated military treachery. It seized upon a large quantity of Government munitions of war. It only asked "to be let alone." It found the Government wholly unprepared. But it was the uprising of a conquered people. The rebels were in circumstances, as in complexion, much nearer akin to that portion of our Southern citizens which has not rebelled, and which has lost no opportunity of seeking our lines "to take the oath of allegiance" or any other little favor which could be found there. We do not defend their atrocities, although a plea in mitigation might be put in, that these "were wisely planned to break the spell which British domination had woven over the native mind of India," and that they were part of that decided and desperate policy which was designed to forever bar the way of reconstruction. But toward the recaptured rebels there was used a course for which the only precedent, so far as we know, was furnished by that highly civilized guardian, the Dey of Algiers. These prisoners of war were in cold blood tied to the muzzles of cannon and blown into fragments. The illustrated papers of that most Christian land which is overcome with the barbarity of sinking old hulks in a channel through which privateers were wont to escape our blockade furnished effective engravings "by our own artist" of the scene. Wholesale plunder and devastation of the chief city of the revolt followed. The rebellion was put down, and put down, we may say, without any unnecessary tenderness, any womanish weakness for the rebels.

We have thus established what we believe is called by theologians a catena of precedents, coming down from the days of the Commonwealth to our own time. It covers about the whole period of New England history. And we next propose to ask the question, how far it may be desirable to be bound by such indisputable authority.

Is it too late to reopen the question, and to retry the issue between sovereign and rebel, less with respect to ancient and immemorial usage, and more according to eternal principle? We answer, No. The same power that enables us to master this rebellion will give us original and final jurisdiction over it.

But one principle asserts itself out of the uniform coarse of history. The restoration of the lawful authority over rebels does not restore them to their old status. They are at the pleasure of the conquering power. Rights of citizenship, having been abjured, do not return with the same coercion which demands duties of citizenship. Thus, to illustrate on an individual scale, every wrong-doer is ipso facto a rebel. He forfeits, according to due course of law, a measure of his privileges, while constrained to the same responsibility of obedience. His property is not exempt from taxes because he is in prison, but his right of voting is gone; he cannot bear arms, but he must keep the peace, he must labor compulsorily, and attend such worship as the State provides. In short, he becomes a ward of the State, while not ceasing to be a member. His inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness were inalienable only so long as he remained obedient and true to the sovereign. Now this is equally true on the large scale as on the small. The only difficulty is to apply it to broad masses of men and to States.

It may not be expedient to try South Carolina collectively, but we contend that the application of the principle gives us the right. Corporate bodies have again and again been punished by suspension of franchise, while held to allegiance and duties.

The simple question for us is, What will it be best to do? The South may save us the trouble of deciding for the present a part of the many questions that occur. We may put down the Confederate Government, and take military occupation. We cannot compel the Southerners to hold elections and resume their share in the Government. It can go on without them. The same force which reopens the Mississippi can collect taxes or exact forfeitures along its banks. If Charleston is sullen, the National Government, having restored its flag to Moultrie and Sumter, can take its own time in the matter of clearing out the channel and rebuilding the light-houses. If a secluded neighborhood does not receive a Government postmaster, but is disposed to welcome him with tarry hands to a feathery bed, it can be left without the mails. The rebel we can compel to return to his duties; if necessary, we can leave him to get back his rights as he best may.

But we are the representatives of a great political discovery. The American Union is founded on a fact unknown to the Old World. That fact is the direct ratio of the prosperity of the parts to the prosperity of the whole. It is the principle upon which in every community our life is built. We cannot, therefore, afford to have any part of the land languishing and suffering. We are fighting, not for conquest, for we mean to abjure our power the moment we safely can,—not for vengeance, for those with whom we fight are our brethren. We are compelled by a necessity, partly geographical and partly social, into restoring a Union politically which never for a day has actually ceased.

Let us advert to one fact very patent and significant. We have heard of nearly all our successes through Rebel sources. Even where it made against them, they could not help telling us (we do not say the truth, for that is rather strong, but) the news. Never did two nations at war know one-tenth part as much of each other's affairs. Like husband and wife, the two parts of the country cannot keep secrets from one another, let them try ever so hard. And the end of all will be that we shall know and respect one another a great deal better for our sharp encounter.

But this necessity of union demands of the Government, imperatively demands, that it take whatever step is necessary to its own preservation. It is as with a ship at sea,—all must pull together, or somebody must go overboard. There can be no such order of things as an agreed state of mutiny,—forecastle seceding from cabin, and steerage independent of both.

Not only is rebellion to be put down, therefore, but to be kept from coming up again. It is obvious to every one, not thoroughly blinded by party, how it did come up. The Gulf States were coaxed out, the Border States were bullied or conjured out. A few leading men, who had made the science of political management their own, got the control of the popular mind. One great secret of their success was their constant assumption that what was to be done had been done already. It is the very art of the veteran seducer, who ever persuades his victim that return is impossible, in order that he may actually make it so. North Carolina, as one expressively said, "found herself out of the Union she hardly knew how." Virginia was dragged out. Tennessee was forced out. Missouri was declared out. Kentucky was all but out. Maryland hung in the crisis of life and death under the guns of Fort McHenry. In South Carolina alone can it be said that any fair expression of the popular will was on the Secession side. The Rebellion was the work of a governing class, all whose ideas and hopes were the aggrandizement of their own order. Terrorism opened the way, reckless lying made the game sure. If any one is inclined to doubt this, let him look at the sway which Robespierre and his few associates exercised in Paris. Some seventy executions delivered that great city from its nightmare agony of months. A dozen resolute, united men, with arms and without scruples, could seize almost any New England village for a time, provided they knew just what they wanted to do. Decision and energy are master-keys to almost most all doors not fortified by Hobbs's patent locks. A party of tipsy Americans one night stormed a Parisian guard-house, disarmed the sentry, and sent the guard flying in desperate fear, thinking that a general émente was in progress. Now one issue of the Rebellion must be to put down, not only this governing class, but also the system from which it springs. We have no such class at the North. We can have no such class. The very collision of interests, the rivalries of trade, the thousand-and-one social relations, all neutralize each other, are checks and counterchecks, which, like the particles in a vessel of water, always tend toward the level of an equilibrium. Two men meet in their lodge as Odd-Fellows, but they are opponents on "town-meeting day." Two partners in business are, one the most bitter of Calvinists, and the other the most progressive of Universalists. Dr. A. and the Rev. Mr. B. pull asunder the men whom 'Change unites. But with the Southerner of the governing class it is not so. One sympathy, more potent than any other can be, leagues them all. All are masters of the Helot race upon which their success and station are built. It is a living relation, the most powerful and vital which can bind men together, that sense of authority borne by the few over the many.

The Norman barons after the Conquest, the Spanish conquerors in Mexico and Peru, the Englishmen of the days of Clive and Hastings in India, are all examples of that thorough concentration of strength which must arise in the conflicts of races. Republics have fallen through their standing armies. The proprietary class at the South was the most dangerous of standing armies, for it was disciplined to the use of power night and day. The overthrow of the Rebellion will to a great degree ruin this class. But since it is one not founded on birth or culture, but simply on white blood and circumstance, (for no Secessionist is so fierce as your converted Northerner,) it cannot fall like the Norman nobility in the Wars of the Roses, or waste by operation of climate like the masters of Mexico and Hindostan. It renews itself whenever it touches slave-soil. That gives it life. We contend that Government must for its own preservation go to the root of the matter. And we cannot see that there is any Constitutional difficulty. There are probably not ten slave-proprietors in the South whom it has not the right to arrest, try, and hang, for high-treason. Of course, every one can see the practical difficulty, as well as the manifest folly, of doing this. But if it has that right toward these individuals, it certainly may say, by Act of Congress, if we choose, that it will not waive it except upon conditions which shall secure it from any further trouble. It seems to us fully within our power. And we will use an illustration that may help to show what we mean. President Lincoln has no right to require of any citizen of the United States that he take the temperance-pledge. But suppose a murderer who has taken life in a fit of drunkenness applies for pardon to the Executive. The Executive, Governor or President, as the case may be, may surely then impose that condition before commuting the sentence or releasing the prisoner. Now the Nation stands toward the Rebels in a like attitude. It may be good policy to take them back as fast as they submit, it may be Christian magnanimity to make the way as easy as possible for their return, but they have no right to come back to anything but a prison and hard labor for life. Many of them have trebly forfeited their lives,—as traitors, as deserters from the naval and military service, and as paroled prisoners who have broken their parole. And therefore we say, since we cannot deal with all the individuals, we must deal with the masses, and that in their corporate capacity. If South Carolina is a sovereign State, is in the Union as a feudal chief in his king's court, with power to carry from York to Lancaster and from Lancaster to York his subject vassals, then South Carolina has dared the hazard of rebellion, and her political head is forfeit.

It is next to be asked, what these conditions are to be. And that is not to be answered in a breath. That they can have but one result, emancipation, is a foregone conclusion; but the mode of reaching it is not so easily determined. A cotton-loaded ship took fire at sea. It would have been easy to pump in water enough to drown the fire. But the captain said, "No," for that would swell the bales to such an extent as to open every seam and start every timber. So with, the ship now carrying King Cotton: you may indeed quench the fire, but you may possibly turn the ship inside out into the bargain.

But something we have a right to insist on. We have it, over and above the Constitutional right shown just now, upon the broad principle of necessity. Slavery has proved itself a nuisance. Just as we say to the owner of a bone-boiling establishment, "You poison the air; we cannot live here; you must go farther off,"—and if a fever break out which can be clearly traced to that source, we say it emphatically: so now Slavery having proved itself pestilential, we say, "March!"

We are not disposed, à la Staten Island, to burn down our yellow-feverish neighbor's house. We will give everybody time to pack up. We will make up a little purse for any specially hard case which the removal may show. But stay and be plague-stricken we will no longer; nor are we disposed to spend our whole income in burning sulphur, saltpetre, and charcoal to keep out infection. And certainly, when by neglect to pay ground-rent, or other illegality, the owner of our nuisance has forfeited his right to stay, no mortal can blame us for taking the strictest and most decisive steps known to the law to remove him.




Agnes entered the city of Rome in a trance of enthusiastic emotion, almost such as one might imagine in a soul entering the heavenly Jerusalem above. To her exalted ideas she was approaching not only the ground hallowed by the blood of apostles and martyrs, not merely the tombs of the faithful, but the visible "general assembly and church of the first-born which are written in heaven." Here reigned the appointed representative of Jesus,—and she imagined a benignant image of a prince clothed with honor and splendor, who was yet the righter of all wrongs, the redresser of all injuries, the friend and succorer of the poor and needy; and she was firm in a secret purpose to go to this great and benignant father, and on her knees entreat him to forgive the sins of her lover, and remove the excommunication that threatened at every moment his eternal salvation. For she trembled to think of it,—a sudden accident, a thrust of a dagger, a fall from his horse might put him forever beyond the pale of repentance,—he might die unforgiven, and sink to eternal pain.

If any should wonder that a Christian soul could preserve within itself an image so ignorantly fair, in such an age, when the worldliness and corruption in the Papal chair were obtruded by a thousand incidental manifestations, and were alluded to in all the calculations of simple common people, who looked at facts with a mere view to the guidance of their daily conduct, it is necessary to remember the nature of Agnes's religious training, and the absolute renunciation of all individual reasoning which from infancy had been laid down before her as the first and indispensable prerequisite of spiritual progress. To believe,—to believe utterly and blindly,—not only without evidence, but against evidence,—to reject the testimony even of her senses, when set against the simple affirmation of her superiors,—had been the beginning, middle, and end of her religious instruction. When a doubt assailed her mind on any point, she had been taught to retire within herself and repeat a prayer; and in this way her mental eye had formed the habit of closing to anything that might shake her faith as quickly as the physical eye closes at a threatened blow. Then, as she was of a poetic and ideal nature, entirely differing from the mass of those with whom she associated, she had formed that habit of abstraction and mental reverie which prevented her hearing or perceiving the true sense of a great deal that went on around her. The conversations that commonly were carried on in her presence had for her so little interest that she scarcely heard them. The world in which she moved was a glorified world,—wherein, to be sure, the forms of every-day life appeared, but appeared as different from what they were in reality as the old mouldering daylight view of Rome is from the warm translucent glory of its evening transfiguration.

So in her quiet, silent heart she nursed this beautiful hope of finding in Rome the earthly image of her Saviour's home above, of finding in the head of the Church the real image of her Redeemer,—the friend to whom the poorest and lowliest may pour out their souls with as much freedom as the highest and noblest. The spiritual directors who had formed the mind of Agnes in her early days had been persons in the same manner taught to move in an ideal world of faith. The Mother Theresa had never seen the realities of life, and supposed the Church on earth to be all that the fondest visions of human longing could paint it. The hard, energetic, prose experience of old Jocunda, and the downright way with which she sometimes spoke of things as a trooper's wife must have seen them, were repressed and hushed, down, as the imperfect faith of a half-reclaimed worldling,—they could not be allowed to awaken her from the sweetness of so blissful a dream. In like manner, when Lorenzo Sforza became Father Francesco, he strove with earnest prayer to bury his gift of individual reason in the same grave with his family name and worldly experience. As to all that transpired in the real world, he wrapped himself in a mantle of imperturbable silence; the intrigues of popes and cardinals, once well known to him, sank away as a forbidden dream; and by some metaphysical process of imaginative devotion he enthroned God in the place of the dominant powers, and taught himself to receive all that came from them in uninquiring submission, as proceeding from unerring wisdom. Though he had begun his spiritual life under the impulse of Savonarola, yet so perfect had been his isolation from all tidings of what transpired in the external world that the conflict which was going on between that distinguished man and the Papal hierarchy never reached his ear. He sought and aimed as much as possible to make his soul like the soul of one dead, which adores and worships in ideal space, and forgets forever the scenes and relations of earth; and he had so long contemplated Rome under the celestial aspects of his faith, that, though the shock of his first confession there had been painful, still it was insufficient to shake his faith. It had been God's will, he thought, that where he looked for aid he should meet only confusion, and he bowed to the inscrutable will, and blindly adored the mysterious revelation. If such could be the submission and the faith of a strong and experienced man, who can wonder at the enthusiastic illusions of an innocent, trustful child?

Agnes and her grandmother entered the city of Rome just as the twilight had faded into night; and though Agnes, full of faith and enthusiasm, was longing to begin immediately the ecstatic vision of shrines and holy places, old Elsie commanded her not to think of anything further that night. They proceeded, therefore, with several other pilgrims who had entered the city, to a church specially set apart for their reception, connected with which were large dormitories and a religious order whose business was to receive and wait upon them, and to see that all their wants were supplied. This religious foundation is one of the oldest in Rome; and it is esteemed a work of especial merit and sanctity among the citizens to associate themselves temporarily in these labors in Holy Week. Even princes and princesses come, humble and lowly, mingling with those of common degree, and all, calling each other brother and sister, vie in kind attentions to these guests of the Church.

When Agnes and Elsie arrived, several of these volunteer assistants were in waiting. Agnes was remarked among all the rest of the company for her peculiar beauty and the rapt enthusiastic expression of her face.

Almost immediately on their entrance into the reception-hall connected with the church, they seemed to attract the attention of a tall lady dressed in deep mourning, and accompanied by a female servant, with whom she was conversing on those terms of intimacy which showed confidential relations between the two.

"See!" she said, "my Mona, what a heavenly face is there!—that sweet child has certainly the light of grace shining through her. My heart warms to her."

"Indeed," said the old servant, looking across, "and well it may,—dear lamb come so far! But, Holy Virgin, how my head swims! How strange!—that child reminds me of some one. My Lady, perhaps, may think of some one whom she looks like."

"Mona, you say true. I have the same strange impression that I have seen a face like hers, but who or where I cannot say."

"What would my Lady say, if I said it was our dear Prince?—God rest his soul!"

"Mona, it is so,—yes," added the lady, looking more intently,—"how singular!—the very traits of our house in a peasant-girl! She is of Sorrento, I judge, by her costume,—what a pretty one it is! That old woman is her mother, perhaps. I must choose her for my care,—and, Mona, you shall wait on her mother."

So saying, the Princess Paulina crossed the hall, and, bending affably over Agnes, took her hand and kissed her, saying,—

"Welcome, my dear little sister, to the house of our Father!"

Agnes looked up with strange, wondering eyes into the face that was bent to hers. It was sallow and sunken, with deep lines of ill-health and sorrow, but the features were noble, and must once have been, beautiful; the whole action, voice, and manner were dignified and impressive. Instinctively she felt that the lady was of superior birth and breeding to any with whom she had been in the habit of associating.

"Come with me," said the lady; "and this—your mother"—she added.

"She is my grandmother," said Agnes.

"Well, then, your grandmother, sweet child, shall be attended by my good sister Mona here."

The Princess Paulina drew the hand of Agnes through her arm, and, laying her hand affectionately on it, looked down and smiled tenderly on her.

"Are you very tired, my dear?"

"Oh, no! no!" said Agnes,—"I am so happy, so blessed to be here!"

"You have travelled a long way?"

"Yes, from Sorrento; but I am used to walking,—I did not feel it to be long,—my heart kept me up,—I wanted to come home so much."

"Home?" said the Princess.

"Yes, to my soul's home,—the house of our dear Father the Pope."

The Princess started, and looked incredulously down for a moment; then noticing the confiding, whole-hearted air of the child, she sighed and was silent.

"Come with me above," she said, "and let me attend a little to your comfort."

"How good you are, dear lady!" said Agnes.

"I am not good, my child,—I am only your unworthy sister in Christ"; and as the lady spoke, she opened the door into a room where were a number of other female pilgrims seated around the wall, each attended by a person whose peculiar care she seemed to be.

At the feet of each was a vessel of water, and when the seats were all full, a cardinal in robes of office entered, and began reading prayers. Each lady present, kneeling at the feet of her chosen pilgrim, divested them carefully of their worn and travel-soiled shoes and stockings, and proceeded to wash them. It was not a mere rose-water ceremony, but a good hearty washing of feet that for the most part had great need of the ablution. While this service was going on, the cardinal read from the Gospel how a Greater than they all had washed the feet of His disciples, and said, "If I, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, ye also ought to wash one another's feet." Then all repeated in concert the Lord's Prayer, while each humbly kissed the feet she had washed, and proceeded to replace the worn and travel-soiled shoes and stockings with new and strong ones, the gift of Christian love. Each lady then led her charge into a room where tables were spread with a plain and wholesome repast of all such articles of food as the season of Lent allowed. Each placed her protégée at table, and carefully attended to all her wants at the supper, and afterwards dormitories were opened for their repose.

The Princess Paulina performed all these offices for Agnes with a tender earnestness which won upon her heart. The young girl thought herself indeed in that blessed society of which she had dreamed, where the high-born and the rich become through Christ's love the servants of the poor and lowly,—and through all the services she sat in a sort of dream of rapture. How lovely this reception into the Holy City! how sweet thus to be taken to the arms of the great Christian family, bound together in the charity which is the bond of perfectness!

"Please tell me, dear lady," said Agnes, after supper, "who is that holy man that prayed with us?"

"Oh, he—he is the Cardinal Capello," said the Princess.

"I should like to have spoken with him," said Agnes.

"Why, my child?"

"I wanted to ask him when and how I could get speech with our dear Father the Pope,—for there is somewhat on my mind that I would lay before him."

"My poor little sister," said the Princess, much perplexed, "you do not understand things. What you speak of is impossible. The Pope is a great king."

"I know he is," said Agnes,—"and so is our Lord Jesus,—but every soul may come to him."

"I cannot explain to you now," said the Princess,—"there is not time to-night. But I shall see you again. I will send for you to come to my house, and there talk with you about many things which you need to know. Meanwhile, promise me, dear child, not to try to do anything of the kind you spoke of until I have talked with you."

"Well, I will not," said Agnes, with a glance of docile affection, kissing the hand of the Princess.

The action was so pretty,—the great, soft, dark eyes looked so fawn-like and confiding in their innocent tenderness, that the lady seemed much moved.

"Our dear Mother bless thee, child!" she said, laying her hand on her head, and stooping to kiss her forehead.

She left her at the door of the dormitory.

The Princess and her attendant went out of the church-door, where her litter stood in waiting. The two took their seats in silence, and silently pursued their way through the streets of the old dimly-lighted city and out of one of its principal gates to the wide Campagna beyond. The villa of the Princess was situated on an eminence at some distance from the city, and the night-ride to it was solemn and solitary. They passed along the old Appian Way over pavements that had rumbled under the chariot-wheels of the emperors and nobles of a by-gone age, while along their way, glooming up against the clear of the sky, were vast shadowy piles,—the tombs of the dead of other days. All mouldering and lonely, shaggy and fringed with bushes and streaming wild vines through which the night-wind sighed and rustled, they might seem to be pervaded by the restless spirits of the dead; and as the lady passed them, she shivered, and, crossing herself, repeated an inward prayer against wandering demons that walk in desolate places.

Timid and solitary, the high-born lady shrank and cowered within herself with a distressing feeling of loneliness. A childless widow in delicate health, whose paternal family had been for the most part cruelly robbed, exiled, or destroyed by the reigning Pope and his family, she felt her own situation a most unprotected and precarious one, since the least jealousy or misunderstanding might bring upon her, too, the ill-will of the Borgias, which had proved so fatal to the rest of her race. No comfort in life remained to her but her religion, to whose practice she clung as to her all; but even in this her life was embittered by facts to which, with the best disposition in the world, she could not shut her eyes. Her own family had been too near the seat of power not to see all the base intrigues by which that sacred and solemn position of Head of the Christian Church had been traded for as a marketable commodity. The pride, the indecency, the cruelty of those who now reigned in the name of Christ came over her mind in contrast with the picture painted by the artless, trusting faith of the peasant-girl with whom she had just parted. Her mind had been too thoroughly drilled in the non-reflective practice of her faith to dare to put forth any act of reasoning upon facts so visible and so tremendous,—she rather trembled at herself for seeing what she saw and for knowing what she knew, and feared somehow that this very knowledge might endanger her salvation; and so she rode homeward cowering and praying like a frightened child.

"Does my Lady feel ill?" said the old servant, anxiously.

"No, Mona, no,—not in body."

"And what is on my Lady's mind now?"

"Oh, Mona, it is only what is always there. To-morrow is Palm Sunday, and how can I go to see the murderers and robbers of our house in holy places? Oh, Mona, what can Christians do, when such men handle holy things? It was a comfort to wash the feet of those poor simple pilgrims, who tread in the steps of the saints of old; but how I felt when that poor child spoke of wanting to see the Pope!"

"Yes," said Mona, "it's like sending the lamb to get spiritual counsel of the wolf."

"See what sweet belief the poor infant has! Should not the head of the
Christian Church be such as she thinks? Ah, in the old days, when the
Church here in Rome was poor and persecuted, there were popes who were
loving fathers and not haughty princes."

"My dear Lady," said the servant, "pray, consider, the very stones have ears. We don't know what day we may be turned out, neck and heels, to make room for some of their creatures."

"Well, Mona," said the lady, with some spirit, "I'm sure I haven't said any more than you have."

"Holy Mother! and so you haven't, but somehow things look more dangerous when other people say them.—A pretty child that was, as you say; but that old thing, her grandmother, is a sharp piece. She is a Roman, and lived here in her early days. She says the little one was born hereabouts; but she shuts up her mouth like a vice, when one would get more out of her."

"Mona, I shall not go out to-morrow; but you go to the services, and find the girl and her grandmother, and bring them out to me. I want to counsel the child."

"You may be sure," said Mona, "that her grandmother knows the ins and outs of Rome as well as any of us, for all she has learned to screw up her lips so tight"

"At any rate, bring her to me, because she interests me."

"Well, well, it shall be so," said Mona.



The morning after her arrival in Rome, Agnes was awakened from sleep by a solemn dropping of bell-tones which seemed to fill the whole air, intermingled dimly at intervals with long-drawn plaintive sounds of chanting. She had slept profoundly, overwearied with her pilgrimage, and soothed by that deep lulling sense of quiet which comes over one, when, after long and weary toils, some auspicious goal is at length reached. She had come to Rome, and been received with open arms into the household of the saints, and seen even those of highest degree imitating the simplicity of the Lord in serving the poor. Surely, this was indeed the house of God and the gate of heaven; and so the bell-tones and chants, mingling with her dreams, seemed naturally enough angel-harpings and distant echoes of the perpetual adoration of the blessed. She rose and dressed herself with a tremulous joy. She felt full of hope that somehow—in what way she could not say—this auspicious beginning would end in a full fruition of all her wishes, an answer to all her prayers.

"Well, child," said old Elsie, "you must have slept well; you look fresh as a lark."

"The air of this holy place revives me," said Agnes, with enthusiasm.

"I wish I could say as much," said Elsie. "My bones ache yet with the tramp, and I suppose nothing will do but we must go out now to all the holy places, up and down and hither and yon, to everything that goes on. I saw enough of it all years ago when I lived here."

"Dear grandmother, if you are tired, why should you not rest? I can go forth alone in this holy city. No harm can possibly befall me here. I can join any of the pilgrims who are going to the holy places where I long to worship."

"A likely story!" said Elsie. "I know more about old Rome than you do, and I tell you, child, that you do not stir out a step without me; so if you must go, I must go too,—and like enough it's for my soul's health. I suppose it is," she added, after a reflective pause.

"How beautiful it was that we were welcomed so last night!" said
Agnes,—"that dear lady was so kind to me!"

"Ay, ay, and well she might be!" said Elsie, nodding her head. "But there's no truth in the kindness of the nobles to us, child. They don't do it because they love us, but because they expect to buy heaven by washing our feet and giving us what little they can clip and snip off from their abundance."

"Oh, grandmother," said Agnes, "how can you say so? Certainly, if any one ever spoke and looked lovingly, it was that dear lady."

"Yes, and she rolls away in her carriage, well content, and leaves you with a pair of new shoes and stockings,—you, as worthy of a carriage and a palace as she."

"No, grandmamma; she said she should send for me to talk more with her."

"She said she should send for you?" said Elsie. "Well, well, that is strange, to be sure!—that is wonderful!" she added, reflectively. "But come, child, we must hasten through our breakfast and prayers, and go to see the Pope, and all the great birds with fine feathers that fly after him."

"Yes, indeed!" said Agnes, joyfully. "Oh, grandmamma, what a blessed sight it will be!"

"Yes, child, and a fine sight enough he makes with his great canopy and his plumes and his servants and his trumpeters;—there isn't a king in Christendom that goes so proudly as he."

"No other king is worthy of it," said Agnes. "The Lord reigns in him."

"Much you know about it!" said Elsie, between her teeth, as they started out.

The streets of Rome through which they walked were damp and cellar-like, filthy and ill-paved; but Agnes neither saw nor felt anything of inconvenience in this: had they been floored, like those of the New Jerusalem, with translucent gold, her faith could not have been more fervent.

Rome is at all times a forest of quaint costumes, a pantomime of shifting scenic effects of religious ceremonies. Nothing there, however singular, strikes the eye as out-of-the-way or unexpected, since no one knows precisely to what religious order it may belong, or what individual vow or purpose it may represent. Neither Agnes nor Elsie, therefore, was surprised, when they passed through the door-way to the street, at the apparition of a man covered from head to foot in a long robe of white serge, with a high-peaked cap of the same material drawn completely down over his head and face. Two round holes cut in this ghostly head-gear revealed simply two black glittering eyes, which shone with that singular elfish effect which belongs to the human eye when removed from its appropriate and natural accessories. As they passed out, the figure rattled a box on which was painted an image of despairing souls raising imploring hands from very red tongues of flame, by which it was understood at once that he sought aid for souls in Purgatory. Agnes and her grandmother each dropped therein a small coin and went on their way; but the figure followed them at a little distance behind, keeping carefully within sight of them.

By means of energetic pushing and striving, Elsie contrived to secure for herself and her grandchild stations in the piazza in front of the church, in the very front rank, where the procession was to pass. A motley assemblage it was, this crowd, comprising every variety of costume of rank and station and ecclesiastical profession,—cowls and hoods of Franciscan and Dominican,—picturesque headdresses of peasant-women of different districts,—plumes and ruffs of more aspiring gentility,—mixed with every quaint phase of foreign costume belonging to the strangers from different parts of the earth;—for, like the old Jewish Passover, this celebration of Holy Week had its assemblage of Parthians, Medes, Elamites, dwellers in Mesopotamia, Cretes, and Arabians, all blending in one common memorial.

Amid the strange variety of persons among whom they were crowded, Elsie remarked the stranger in the white sack, who had followed them, and who had stationed himself behind them,—but it did not occur to her that his presence there was other than merely accidental.

And now came sweeping up the grand procession, brilliant with scarlet and gold, waving with plumes, sparkling with gems,—it seemed as if earth had been ransacked and human invention taxed to express the ultimatum of all that could dazzle and bewilder,—and, with a rustle like that of ripe grain before a swaying wind, all the multitude went down on their knees as the cortege passed. Agnes knelt, too, with clasped hands, adoring the sacred vision enshrined in her soul; and as she knelt with upraised eyes, her cheeks flushed with enthusiasm, her beauty attracted the attention of more than one in the procession.

"There is the model which our master has been looking for," said a young and handsome man in a rich dress of black velvet, who, by his costume, appeared to hold the rank of first chamberlain in the Papal suite.

The young man to whom he spoke gave a bold glance at Agnes and answered,—

"Pretty little rogue, how well she does the saint!"

"One can see, that, with judicious arrangement, she might make a nymph as well as a saint," said the first speaker.

"A Daphne, for example," said the other, laughing.

"And she wouldn't turn into a laurel, either," said the first. "Well, we must keep our eye on her." And as they were passing into the church-door, he beckoned to a servant in waiting and whispered something, indicating Agnes with a backward movement of his hand.

The servant, after this, kept cautiously within observing distance of her, as she with the crowd pressed into the church to assist at the devotions.

Long and dazzling were those ceremonies, when, raised on high like an enthroned God, Pope Alexander VI. received the homage of bended knee from the ambassadors of every Christian nation, from heads of all ecclesiastical orders, and from generals and chiefs and princes and nobles, who, robed and plumed and gemmed in all the brightest and proudest that earth could give, bowed the knee humbly and kissed his foot in return for the palm-branch which he presented. Meanwhile, voices of invisible singers chanted the simple event which all this splendor was commemorating,—how of old Jesus came into Jerusalem meek and lowly, riding on an ass,—how His disciples cast their garments in the way, and the multitude took branches of palm-trees to come forth and meet Him,—how He was seized, tried, condemned to a cruel death,—and the crowd, with dazzled and wondering eyes following the gorgeous ceremonial, reflected little how great was the satire of the contrast, how different the coming of that meek and lowly One to suffer and to die from this triumphant display of worldly-pomp and splendor in His professed representative.

But to the pure all things are pure, and Agnes thought only of the enthronement of all virtues, of all celestial charities and unworldly purities in that splendid ceremonial, and longed within herself to approach so near as to touch the hem of those wondrous and sacred garments. It was to her enthusiastic imagination like the unclosing of celestial doors, where the kings and priests of an eternal and heavenly temple move to and fro in music, with the many-colored glories of rainbows and sunset clouds. Her whole nature was wrought upon by the sights and sounds of that gorgeous worship,—she seemed to burn and brighten like an altar-coal, her figure appeared to dilate, her eyes grew deeper and shone with a starry light, and the color of her cheeks flushed up with a vivid glow,—nor was she aware how often eyes were turned upon her, nor how murmurs of admiration followed all her absorbed, unconscious movements. "Ecco! Eccola!" was often repeated from mouth to mouth around her, but she heard it not.

When at last the ceremony was finished, the crowd rushed again out of the church to see the departure of various dignitaries. There was a perfect whirl of dazzling equipages, and glittering lackeys, and prancing horses, crusted with gold, flaming in scarlet and purple, retinues of cardinals and princes and nobles and ambassadors all in one splendid confused jostle of noise and brightness.

Suddenly a servant in a gorgeous scarlet livery touched Agnes on the shoulder, and said, in a tone of authority,—

"Young maiden, your presence is commanded."

"Who commands it?" said Elsie, laying her hand on her grandchild's shoulder fiercely.

"Are you mad?" whispered two or three women of the lower orders to Elsie at once; "don't you know who that is? Hush, for your life!"

"I shall go with you, Agnes," said Elsie, resolutely.

"No, you will not," said the attendant, insolently. "This maiden is commanded, and none else."

"He belongs to the Pope's nephew," whispered a voice in Elsie's ear.
"You had better have your tongue torn out than say another word."
Whereupon, Elsie found herself actually borne backward by three or four
stout women.

Agnes looked round and smiled on her,—a smile full of innocent trust,—and then, turning, followed the servant into the finest of the equipages, where she was lost to view.

Elsie was almost wild with fear and impotent rage; but a low, impressive voice now spoke in her ear. It came from the white figure which had followed them in the morning.

"Listen," it said, "and be quiet; don't turn your head, but hear what I tell you. Your child is followed by those who will save her. Go your ways whence you came. Wait till the hour after the Ave Maria, then come to the Porta San Sebastiano, and all will be well."

When Elsie turned to look she saw no one, but caught a distant glimpse of a white figure vanishing in the crowd.

She returned to her asylum, wondering and disconsolate, and the first person whom she saw was old Mona.

"Well, good morrow, sister!" she said. "Know that I am here on a strange errand. The Princess has taken such a liking to you that nothing will do but we must fetch you and your little one out to her villa. I looked everywhere for you in church this morning. Where have you hid yourselves?"

"We were there," said Elsie, confused, and hesitating whether to speak of what had happened.

"Well, where is the little one? Get her ready; we have horses in waiting. It is a good bit out of the city."

"Alack!" said Elsie, "I know not where she is."

"Holy Virgin!" said Mona, "how is this?"

Elsie, moved by the necessity which makes it a relief to open the heart to some one, sat down on the steps of the church and poured forth the whole story into the listening ear of Mona.

"Well, well, well!" said the old servant, "in our days, one does not wonder at anything,—one never knows one day what may come the next,—but this is bad enough!"

"Do you think," said Elsie, "there is any hope in that strange promise?"

"One can but try it," said Mona.

"If you could but be there then," said Elsie, "and take us to your mistress."

"Well, I will wait, for my mistress has taken an especial fancy to your little one, more particularly since this morning, when a holy Capuchin came to our house and held a long conference with her, and after he was gone I found my lady almost in a faint, and she would have it that we should start directly to bring her out here, and I had much ado to let her see that the child would do quite as well after services were over. I tired myself looking about for you in the crowd."

The two women then digressed upon various gossiping particulars, as they sat on the old mossy, grass-grown steps, looking up over house-tops yellow with lichen, into the blue spring air, where flocks of white pigeons were soaring and careering in the soft, warm sunshine. Brightness and warmth and flowers seemed to be the only idea natural to that charming weather, and Elsie, sad-hearted and foreboding as she was, felt the benign influence. Rome, which had been so fatal a place to her peace, yet had for her, as it has for every one, potent spells of a lulling and soothing power. Where is the grief or anxiety that can resist the enchantment of one of Rome's bright, soft, spring days?



The villa of the Princess Paulina was one of those soft, idyllic paradises which lie like so many fairy-lands around the dreamy solitudes of Rome. They are so fair, so wild, so still, these villas! Nature in them seems to run in such gentle sympathy with Art that one feels as if they had not been so much the product of human skill as some indigenous growth of Arcadian ages. There are quaint terraces shadowed by clipped ilex-trees whose branches make twilight even in the sultriest noon; there are long-drawn paths, through wildernesses where cyclamens blossom in crimson clouds among crushed fragments of sculptured marble green with the moss of ages, and glossy-leaved myrtles put forth their pale blue stars in constellations under the leafy shadows. Everywhere is the voice of water, ever lulling, ever babbling, and taught by Art to run in many a quaint caprice,—here to rush down marble steps slippery with sedgy green, there to spout up in silvery spray, and anon to spread into a cool, waveless lake, whose mirror reflects trees and flowers far down in some visionary underworld. Then there are wide lawns, where the grass in spring is a perfect rainbow of anemones, white, rose, crimson, purple, mottled, streaked, and dappled with ever varying shade of sunset clouds. There are soft, moist banks where purple and white violets grow large and fair, and trees all interlaced with ivy, which runs and twines everywhere, intermingling its dark, graceful leaves and vivid young shoots with the bloom and leafage of all shadowy places.

In our day, these lovely places have their dark shadow ever haunting their loveliness: the malaria, like an unseen demon, lies hid in their sweetness. And in the time we are speaking of, a curse not less deadly poisoned the beauties of the Princess's villa,—the malaria of fear.

The gravelled terrace in front of the villa commanded, through the clipped arches of the ilex-trees, the Campagna with its soft, undulating bands of many-colored green, and the distant city of Rome, whose bells were always filling the air between with a tremulous vibration. Here, during the long sunny afternoon while Elsie and Monica were crooning together on the steps of the church, the Princess Paulina walked restlessly up and down, looking forth on the way towards the city for the travellers whom she expected.

Father Francesco had been there that morning and communicated to her the dying message of the aged Capuchin, from which it appeared that the child who had so much interested her was her near kinswoman. Perhaps, had her house remained at the height of its power and splendor, she might have rejected with scorn the idea of a kinswoman whose existence had been owing to a mésalliance; but a member of an exiled and disinherited family, deriving her only comfort from unworldly sources, she regarded this event as an opportunity afforded her to make expiation for one of the sins of her house. The beauty and winning graces of her young kinswoman were not without their influence in attracting a lonely heart deprived of the support of natural ties. The Princess longed for something to love, and the discovery of a legitimate object of family affection was an event in the weary monotony of her life; and therefore it was that the hours of the afternoon seemed long while she looked forth towards Rome, listening to the ceaseless chiming of its bells, and wondering why no one appeared along the road.

The sun went down, and all the wide plain seemed like the sea at twilight, lying in rosy and lilac and purple shadowy bands, out of which rose the old city, solemn and lonely as some enchanted island of dream-land, with a flush of radiance behind it and a tolling of weird music filling all the air around. Now they are chanting the Ave Maria in hundreds of churches, and the Princess worships in distant accord, and tries to still the anxieties of her heart with many a prayer. Twilight fades and fades, the Campagna becomes a black sea, and the distant city looms up like a dark rock against the glimmering sky, and the Princess goes within and walks restlessly through the wide halls, stopping first at one open window and then at another to listen. Beneath her feet she treads a cool mosaic pavement where laughing Cupids are dancing. Above, from the ceiling, Aurora and the Hours look down in many-colored clouds of brightness. The sound of the fountains without is so clear in the intense stillness that the peculiar voice of each one can be told. That is the swaying noise of the great jet that rises from marble shells and falls into a wide basin, where silvery swans swim round and round in enchanted circles; and the other slenderer sound is the smaller jet that rains down its spray into the violet-borders deep in the shrubbery; and that other, the shallow babble of the waters that go down the marble steps to the lake. How dreamlike and plaintive they all sound in the night stillness! The nightingale sings from the dark shadows of the wilderness; and the musky odors of the cyclamen come floating ever and anon through the casement, in that strange, cloudy way in which flower-scents seem to come and go in the air in the night season.

At last the Princess fancies she hears the distant tramp of horses' feet, and her heart beats so that she can scarcely listen: now she hears it,—and now a rising wind, sweeping across the Campagna, seems to bear it moaning away. She goes to a door and looks out into the darkness. Yes, she hears it now, quick and regular,—the beat of many horses' feet coming in hot haste along the road. Surely the few servants whom she has sent cannot make all this noise! and she trembles with vague affright. Perhaps it is a tyrannical message, bringing imprisonment and death. She calls a maid, and bids her bring lights into the reception-hall. A few moments more, and there is a confused stamping of horses' feet approaching the house, and she hears the voices of her servants. She runs into the piazza, and sees dismounting a knight who carries Agnes in his arms pale and fainting. Old Elsie and Monica, too, dismount, with the Princess's men-servants; but, wonderful to tell, there seems besides them to be a train of some hundred armed horsemen.

The timid Princess was so fluttered and bewildered that she lost all presence of mind, and stood in uncomprehending wonder, while Monica pushed authoritatively into the house, and beckoned the knight to bring Agnes and lay her on a sofa, when she and old Elsie busied themselves vigorously with restoratives.

The Lady Paulina, as soon as she could collect her scattered senses, recognized in Agostino the banished lord of the Sarelli family, a race who had shared with her own the hatred and cruelty of the Borgia tribe; and he in turn had recognized a daughter of the Colonnas.

He drew her aside into a small boudoir adjoining the apartment.

"Noble lady," he said, "we are companions in misfortune, and so, I trust, you will pardon what seems a tumultuous intrusion on your privacy. I and my men came to Rome in disguise, that we might watch over and protect this poor innocent, who now finds asylum with you."

"My Lord," said the Princess, "I see in this event the wonderful working of the good God. I have but just learned that this young person is my near kinswoman; it was only this morning that the fact was certified to me on the dying confession of a holy Capuchin, who privately united my brother to her mother. The marriage was an indiscretion of his youth; but afterwards he fell into more grievous sin in denying the holy sacrament, and leaving his wife to die in misery and dishonor, and perhaps for this fault such great judgments fell upon him. I wish to make atonement in such sort as is yet possible by acting as a mother to this child."

"The times are so troublous and uncertain," said Agostino, "that she must have stronger protection than that of any woman. She is of a most holy and religious nature, but as ignorant of sin as an angel who never has seen anything out of heaven; and so the Borgias enticed her into their impure den, from which, God helping, I have saved her. I tried all I could to prevent her coming to Rome, and to convince her of the vileness that ruled here; but the poor little one could not believe me, and thought me a heretic only for saying what she now knows from her own senses."

The Lady Paulina shuddered with fear.

"Is it possible that you have come into collision with the dreadful
Borgias? What will become of us?"

"I brought a hundred men into Rome in different disguises," said Agostino, "and we gained over a servant in their household, through whom I entered and carried her off. Their men pursued us, and we had a fight in the streets, but for the moment we mustered more than they. Some of them chased us a good distance. But it will not do for us to remain here. As soon as she is revived enough, we must retreat towards one of our fastnesses in the mountains, whence, when rested, we shall go northward to Florence, where I have powerful friends, and she has also an uncle, a holy man, by whose counsels she is much guided."

"You must take me with you," said the Princess, in a tremor of anxiety.

"Not for the world would I stay, if it be known you have taken refuge here. For a long time their spies have been watching about me; they only wait for some occasion to seize upon my villa, as they have on the possessions of all my father's house. Let me flee with you. I have a brother-in-law in Florence who hath often urged me to escape to him till times mend,—for, surely, God will not allow the wicked to bear rule forever."

"Willingly, noble lady, will we give you our escort,—the more so that this poor child will then have a friend with her beseeming her father's rank. Believe me, lady, she will do no discredit to her lineage. She was trained in a convent, and her soul is a flower of marvellous beauty. I must declare to you here that I have wooed her honorably to be my wife, and she would willingly be so, had not some scruples of a religious vocation taken hold on her, to dispel which I look for the aid of the holy father, her uncle."

"It would be a most fit and proper thing," said the Princess, "thus to ally our houses, in hope of some good time to come which shall restore their former standing and possessions. Of course some holy man must judge of the obstacle interposed by her vocation; but I doubt not the Church will be an indulgent mother in a case where the issue seems so desirable."

"If I be married to her," said Agostino, "I can take her out of all these strifes and confusions which now agitate our Italy to the court of France, where I have an uncle high in favor with the King, and who will use all his influence to compose these troubles in Italy, and bring about a better day."

While this conversation was going on, bountiful refreshments had been provided for the whole party, and the attendants of the Princess received orders to pack all her jewels and valuable effects for a sudden journey.

As soon as preparations could be made, the whole party left the villa of the Princess for a retreat in the Alban Mountains, where Agostino and his band had one of their rendezvous. Only the immediate female attendants of the Princess, and one or two men-servants, left with her. The silver plate, and all objects of particular value, were buried in the garden. This being done, the keys of the house were intrusted to a gray-headed servant, who with his wife had grown old in the family.

It was midnight before everything was ready for starting. The moon cast silver gleams through the ilex-avenues, and caused the jet of the great fountain to look like a wavering pillar of cloudy brightness, when the Princess led forth Agnes upon the wide veranda. Two gentle, yet spirited little animals from the Princess's stables were there awaiting them, and they were lifted into their saddles by Agostino.

"Fear nothing, Madam," he said, observing how the hands of the Princess trembled; "a few hours will put us in perfect safety, and I shall be at your side constantly."

Then lifting Agnes to her seat, he placed the reins in her hand.

"Are you rested?" he asked.

It was the first time since her rescue that he had spoken to Agnes. The words were brief, but no expressions of endearment could convey more than the manner in which they were spoken.

"Yes, my Lord," said Agnes, firmly, "I am rested."

"You think you can bear the ride?"

"I can bear anything, so I escape," she said.

The company were now all mounted, and were marshalled in regular order. A body of armed men rode in front; then came Agnes and the Princess, with Agostino between them, while two or three troopers rode on either side; Elsie, Monica, and the servants of the Princess followed close behind, and the rear was brought up in like manner by armed men.

The path wound first through the grounds of the villa, with its plats of light and shade, its solemn groves of stone-pines rising like palm-trees high in air above the tops of all other trees, its terraces and statues and fountains,—all seeming so lovely in the midnight stillness.

"Perhaps I am leaving all this forever," said the Princess.

"Let us hope for the best," said Agostino. "It cannot be that God will suffer the seat of the Apostles to be subjected to such ignominy and disgrace much longer. I am amazed that no Christian kings have interfered before for the honor of Christendom. I have it from the best authority that the King of Naples burst into tears when he heard of the election of this wretch to be Pope. He said that it was a scandal which threatened the very existence of Christianity. He has sent me secret messages divers times expressive of sympathy, but he is not of himself strong enough. Our hope must lie either in the King of France or the Emperor of Germany: perhaps both will engage. There is now a most holy monk in Florence who has been stirring all hearts in a wonderful way. It is said that the very gifts of miracles and prophecy are revived in him, as among the holy Apostles, and he has been bestirring himself to have a General Council of the Church to look into these matters. When I left Florence, a short time ago, the faction opposed to him broke into the convent and took him away. I myself was there."

"What!" said Agnes, "did they break into the convent of the San Marco?
My uncle is there."

"Yes, and he and I fought side by side with the mob who were rushing in."

"Uncle Antonio fight!" said Agnes, in astonishment.

"Even women will fight, when what they love most is attacked," said the knight.

He turned to her, as he spoke, and saw in the moonlight a flash from her eye, and an heroic expression on her face, such as he had never remarked before; but she said nothing. The veil had been rudely torn from her eyes; she had seen with horror the defilement and impurity of what she had ignorantly adored in holy places, and the revelation seemed to have wrought a change in her whole nature.

"Even you could fight, Agnes," said the knight, "to save your religion from disgrace."

"No," said she; "but," she added, with gathering firmness, "I could die. I should be glad to die with and for the holy men who would save the honor of the true faith. I should like to go to Florence to my uncle. If he dies for his religion, I should like to die with him."

"Ah, live to teach it to me!" said the knight, bending towards her, as if to adjust her bridle-rein, and speaking in a voice scarcely audible. In a moment he was turned again towards the Princess, listening to her.

"So it seems," she said, "that we shall be running into the thick of the conflict in Florence."

"Yes, but my uncle hath promised that the King of France shall interfere. I have hope something may even now have been done. I hope to effect something myself."

Agostino spoke with the cheerful courage of youth. Agnes glanced timidly up at him. How great the change in her ideas! No longer looking on him as a wanderer from the fold, an enemy of the Church, he seemed now in the attitude of a champion of the faith, a defender of holy men and things against a base usurpation. What injustice had she done him, and how patiently had he borne that injustice! Had he not sought to warn her against the danger of venturing into that corrupt city? Those words which so much shocked her, against which she had shut her ears, were all true; she had found them so; she could doubt no longer. And yet he had followed her, and saved her at the risk of his life. Could she help loving one who had loved her so much, one so noble and heroic? Would it be a sin to love him? She pondered the dark warnings of Father Francesco, and then thought of the cheerful, fervent piety of her old uncle. How warm, how tender, how life-giving had been his presence always! how full of faith and prayer, how fruitful of heavenly words and thoughts had been all his ministrations!—and yet it was for him and with him and his master that Agostino Sarelli was fighting, and against him the usurping head of the Christian Church. Then there was another subject for pondering during this night-ride. The secret of her birth had been told her by the Princess, who claimed her as kinswoman. It had seemed to her at first like the revelations of a dream; but as she rode and reflected, gradually the idea shaped itself in her mind. She was, in birth and blood, the equal of her lover, and henceforth her life would no more be in that lowly plane where it had always moved. She thought of the little orange-garden at Sorrento, of the gorge with its old bridge, the Convent, the sisters, with a sort of tender, wondering pain. Perhaps she should see them no more. In this new situation she longed once more to see and talk with her old uncle, and to have him tell her what were her duties.

Their path soon began to be a wild clamber among the mountains, now lost in the shadow of groves of gray, rustling olives, whose knotted, serpent roots coiled round the rocks, and whose leaves silvered in the moonlight whenever the wind swayed them. Whatever might be the roughness and difficulties of the way, Agnes found her knight ever at her bridle-rein, guiding and upholding, steadying her in her saddle when the horse plunged down short and sudden descents, and wrapping her in his mantle to protect her from the chill mountain-air. When the day was just reddening in the sky, the whole troop made a sudden halt before a square stone tower which seemed to be a portion of a ruined building, and here some of the men dismounting knocked at an arched door. It was soon swung open by a woman with a lamp in her hand, the light of which revealed very black hair and eyes, and heavy gold earrings.

"Have my directions been attended to?" said Agostino, in a tone of command. "Are there places made ready for these ladies to sleep?"

"There are, my Lord," said the woman, obsequiously,—"the best we could get ready on so short a notice."

Agostino came up to the Princess. "Noble Madam," he said, "you will value safety before all things; doubtless the best that can be done here is but poor, but it will give you a few hours for repose where you may be sure of being in perfect safety."

So saying, he assisted her and Agnes to dismount, and Elsie and Monica also alighting, they followed the woman into a dark stone passage and up some rude stone steps. She opened at last the door of a brick-floored room, where beds appeared to have been hastily prepared. There was no furniture of any sort except the beds. The walls were dusty and hung with cobwebs. A smaller apartment opening into this had beds for Elsie and Monica.

The travellers, however, were too much exhausted with their night-ride to be critical, the services of disrobing and preparing for rest were quickly concluded, and in less than an hour all were asleep, while Agostino was busy concerting the means for an immediate journey to Florence.



Father Antonio sat alone in his cell in the San Marco in an attitude of deep dejection. The open window looked into the garden of the convent, from which steamed up the fragrance of violet, jasmine, and rose, and the sunshine lay fair on all that was without. On a table beside him were many loose and scattered sketches, and an unfinished page of the Breviary he was executing, rich in quaint tracery of gold and arabesques, seemed to have recently occupied his attention, for his palette was wet and many loose brushes lay strewed around. Upon the table stood a Venetian glass with a narrow neck and a bulb clear and thin as a soap-bubble, containing vines and blossoms of the passion-flower, which he had evidently been using as models in his work.

The page he was illuminating was the prophetic Psalm which describes the ignominy and sufferings of the Redeemer. It was surrounded by a wreathed border of thorn-branches interwoven with the blossoms and tendrils of the passion-flower, and the initial letters of the first two words were formed by a curious combination of the hammer, the nails, the spear, the crown of thorns, the cross, and other instruments of the Passion; and clear, in red letter, gleamed out those wonderful, mysterious words, consecrated by the remembrance of a more than mortal anguish,—"My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"

The artist-monk had perhaps fled to his palette to assuage the throbbings of his heart, as a mourning mother flies to the cradle of her child; but even there his grief appeared to have overtaken him, for the work lay as if pushed from him in an access of anguish such as comes from the sudden recurrence of some overwhelming recollection. He was leaning forward with his face buried in his hands, sobbing convulsively.

The door opened, and a man advancing stealthily behind laid a hand kindly on his shoulder, saying softly, "So, so, brother!"

Father Antonio looked up, and, dashing his hand hastily across his eyes, grasped that of the new-comer convulsively, and saying only, "Oh, Baccio! Baccio!" hid his face again.

The eyes of the other filled with tears, as he answered gently,—

"Nay, but, my brother, you are killing yourself. They tell me that you have eaten nothing for three days, and slept not for weeks; you will die of this grief."

"Would that I might! Why could not I die with him as well as Fra
Domenico? Oh, my master! my dear master!"

"It is indeed a most heavy day to us all," said Baccio della Porta, the amiable and pure-minded artist better known to our times by his conventual name of Fra Bartolommeo. "Never have we had among us such a man; and if there be any light of grace in my soul, his preaching first awakened it, brother. I only wait to see him enter Paradise, and then I take farewell of the world forever. I am going to Prato to take the Dominican habit, and follow him as near as I may."

"It is well, Baccio, it is well," said Father Antonio; "but you must not put out the light of your genius in those shadows,—you must still paint for the glory of God."

"I have no heart for painting now," said Baccio, dejectedly. "He was my inspiration, he taught me the holier way, and he is gone."

At this moment the conference of the two was interrupted by a knocking at the door, and Agostino Sarelli entered, pale and disordered.

"How is this?" he said, hastily. "What devils' carnival is this which hath broken loose in Florence? Every good thing is gone into dens and holes, and every vile thing that can hiss and spit and sting is crawling abroad. What do the princes of Europe mean to let such things be?"

"Only the old story," said Father Antonio,—"Principes convenerunt in unum adversus Dominum, adversus Christum ejus."

So much were all three absorbed in the subject of their thoughts, that no kind of greeting or mark of recognition passed among them, such as is common when people meet after temporary separation. Each spoke out from the fulness of his soul, as from an overflowing bitter fountain.

"Was there no one to speak for him,—no one to stand up for the pride of
Italy,—the man of his age?" said Agostino.

"There was one voice raised for him in the council," said Father Antonio. "There was Agnolo Niccolini: a grave man is this Agnolo, and of great experience in public affairs, and he spoke out his mind boldly. He told them flatly, that, if they looked through the present time or the past ages, they would not meet a man of such a high and noble order as this, and that to lay at our door the blood of a man the like of whom might not be born for centuries was too impious and execrable a thing to be thought of. I'll warrant me, he made a rustling among them when he said that, and the Pope's commissary—old Romalino—then whispered and frowned; but Agnolo is a stiff old fellow when he once begins a thing,—he never minded it, and went through with his say. It seems to me he said that it was not for us to quench a light like this, capable of giving lustre to the faith even when it had grown dim in other parts of the world,—and not to the faith alone, but to all the arts and sciences connected with it. If it were needed to put restraint on him, he said, why not put him into some fortress, and give him commodious apartments, with abundance of books, and pen, ink, and paper, where he would write books to the honor of God and the exaltation of the holy faith? He told them that this might be a good to the world, whereas consigning him to death without use of any kind would bring on our republic perpetual dishonor."

"Well said for him!" said Baccio, with warmth; "but I'll warrant me, he might as well have preached to the north wind in March, his enemies are in such a fury."

"Yes, yes," said Antonio, "it is just as it was of old: the chief priests and Scribes and Pharisees were instant with loud voices, requiring he should be put to death; and the easy Pilates, for fear of the tumult, washed their hands of it."

"And now," said Agostino, "they are putting up a great gibbet in the shape of a cross in the public square, where they will hang the three holiest and best men of Florence!"

"I came through there this morning," said Baccio, "and there were young men and boys shouting, and howling, and singing indecent songs, and putting up indecent pictures, such as those he used to preach against. It is just as you say. All things vile have crept out of their lair, and triumph that the man who made them afraid is put down; and every house is full of the most horrible lies about him,—things that they said he confessed."

"Confessed!" said Father Antonio,—"was it not enough that they tore and tortured him seven times, but they must garble and twist the very words that he said in his agony? The process they have published is foully falsified,—stuffed full of improbable lies; for I myself have read the first draught of all he did say, just as Signor Ceccone took it down as they were torturing him. I had it from Jacopo Manelli, canon of our Duomo here, and he got it from Ceccone's wife herself. They not only can torture and slay him, but they torture and slay his memory with lies."

"Would I were in God's place for one day!" said Agostino, speaking through his clenched teeth. "May I be forgiven for saying so."

"We are hot and hasty," said Father Antonio, "ever ready to call down fire from heaven,—but, after all, 'the Lord reigneth, let the earth rejoice.' 'Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness.' Our dear father is sustained in spirit and full of love. Even when they let him go from the torture, he fell on his knees, praying for his tormentors."

"Good God! this passes me!" said Agostino, striking his hands together. "Oh, wherefore hath a strong man arms and hands, and a sword, if he must stand still and see such things done? If I had only my hundred mountaineers here, I would make one charge for him to-morrow. If I could only do something!" he added, striding impetuously up and down the cell and clenching his fists. "What! hath nobody petitioned to stay this thing?"

"Nobody for him," said Father Antonio. "There was talk in the city yesterday that Fra Domenico was to be pardoned; in fact, Romalino was quite inclined to do it, but Battista Albert talked violently against it, and so Romalino said, 'Well, a monk more or less isn't much matter,' and then he put his name down for death with the rest. The order was signed by both commissaries of the Pope, and one was Frà Turiano, the general of our order, a mild man, full of charity, but unable to stand against the Pope."

"Mild men are nuisances in such places", said Agostino, hastily; "our times want something of another sort."

"There be many who have fallen away from him even in our house here," said Father Antonio,—"as it was with our blessed Lord, whose disciples forsook him and fled. It seems to be the only thought with some how they shall make their peace with the Pope."

"And so the thing will be hurried through to-morrow," said Agostino, "and when it's done and over, I'll warrant me there will be found kings and emperors to say they meant to have saved him. It's a vile, evil world, this of ours; an honorable man longs to see the end of it. But," he added, coming up and speaking to Father Antonio, "I have a private message for you."

"I am gone this moment," said Baccio, rising with ready courtesy; "but keep up heart, brother."

So saying, the good-hearted artist left the cell, and Agostino said,—

"I bring tidings to you of your kindred. Your niece and sister are here in Florence, and would see you. You will find them at the house of one Gherardo Rosselli, a rich citizen of noble blood."

"Why are they there?" said the monk, lost in amazement.

You must know, then, that a most singular discovery hath been made by your niece at Rome. The sister of her father, being a lady of the princely blood of Colonna, hath been assured of her birth by the confession of the priest that married him; and being driven from Rome by fear of the Borgias, they came hither under my escort, and wait to see you. So, if you will come with me now, I will guide you to them."

"Even so," said Father Antonio.



In a shadowy chamber of a room overlooking the grand square of Florence might be seen, on the next morning, some of the principal personages of our story. Father Antonio, Baccio della Porta, Agostino Sarelli, the Princess Paulina, Agnes, with her grandmother, and mixed crowd of citizens and ecclesiastics who all spoke in hushed and tremulous voices, as men do in the chamber of mourners at a funeral. The great, mysterious bell of the Campanile was swinging with dismal, heart-shaking toll, like a mighty voice from the spirit-world; and it was answered by the tolling of all the bells in the city, making such wavering clangors and vibrating circles in the air over Florence that it might seem as if it were full of warring spirits wrestling for mastery.

Toll! toll! toll! O great bell of the fair Campanile! for this day the noblest of the wonderful men of Florence is to offered up. Toll! for an era is going out,—the era of her artists, her statesmen, her poets, and her scholars. Toll! for an era is coming in,—the era of her disgrace and subjugation and misfortune!

The stepping of the vast crowd in the square was like the patter of a great storm, and the hum of voices rose up like the murmur of the ocean; but in the chamber all was so still that one could have heard the dropping of a pin.

Under the balcony of this room were seated in pomp and state the Papal commissioners, radiant in gold and scarlet respectability; and Pilate and Herod, on terms of the most excellent friendship, were ready to act over again the part they had acted fourteen hundred years by before. Now has arrived the moment when the three followers of the Man of Calvary are to be degraded from the fellowship of His visible Church.

Father Antonio, Agostino, and Baccio stood forth in the balcony, and, drawing in their breath, looked down, as the three men of the hour, pale and haggard with imprisonment and torture, were brought up amid the hoots and obscene jests of the populace. Savonarola first was led before the tribunal, and there, with circumstantial minuteness, endued with all his priestly vestments, which again, with separate ceremonies of reprobation and ignominy, were taken from him. He stood through it all serene as stood his Master when stripped of His garments on Calvary. There is a momentary hush of voices and drawing in of breaths in the great crowd. The Papal legate takes him by the hand and pronounces the words, "Jerome Savonarola, I separate thee from the Church Militant and the Church Triumphant."

He is going to speak.

"What says he?" said Agostino, leaning over the balcony.

Solemnly and clear that impressive voice which so often had thrilled the crowds in that very square made answer,—

"From the Church Militant you may divide me; but from the Church Triumphant, no,—that is above your power!"—and a light flashed out in his face as if a smile from Christ had shone down upon him.

"Amen!" said Father Antonio; "he hath witnessed a good confession,"—and turning, he went in, and, burying his face in his hands, remained in prayer.

"When like ceremonies had been passed through with the others, the three martyrs were delivered to the secular executioner, and, amid the scoffs and jeers of the brutal crowd, turned their faces to the gibbet.

"Brothers, let us sing the Te Deum," said Savonarola.

"Do not so infuriate the mob," said the executioner,—"for harm might be done."

"At least let us repeat it together," said he, "lest we forget it."

And so they went forward, speaking to each other of the glorious company of the apostles, the goodly fellowship of the prophets, the noble army of martyrs, and giving thanks aloud in that great triumphal hymn of the Church of all Ages.

When the lurid fires were lighted which blazed red and fearful through that crowded square, all in that silent chamber fell on their knees, and Father Antonio repeated prayers for departing souls.

To the last, that benignant right hand which had so often pointed the way of life to that faithless city was stretched out over the crowd in the attitude of blessing; and so loving, not hating, praying with exaltation, and rendering blessing for cursing, the souls of the martyrs ascended to the great cloud of witnesses above.



A few days after the death of Savonarola, Father Antonio was found one morning engaged in deep converse with Agnes.

The Princess Paulina, acting for her family, desired to give her hand to the Prince Agostino Sarelli, and the interview related to the religious scruples which still conflicted with the natural desires of the child.

"Tell me, my little one," said Father Antonio, "frankly and truly, dost thou not love this man with all thy heart?"

"Yes, my father, I do," said Agnes; "but ought I not to resign this love for the love of my Saviour?"

"I see not why," said the monk. "Marriage is a sacrament as well as holy orders, and it is a most holy and venerable one, representing the divine mystery by which the souls of the blessed are united to the Lord. I do not hold with Saint Bernard, who, in his zeal for a conventual life, seemed to see no other way of serving God but for all men and women to become monks and nuns. The holy order is indeed blessed to those souls whose call to it is clear and evident, like mine; but if there be a strong and virtuous love for a worthy object, it is a vocation unto marriage, which should not be denied."

"So, Agnes," said the knight, who had stolen into the room unperceived, and who now boldly possessed himself of one of her hands—"Father Antonio hath decided this matter," he added, turning to the Princess and Elsie, who entered, "and everything having been made ready for my journey into France, the wedding ceremony shall take place on the morrow, and, for that we are in deep affliction, it shall be as private as may be."

And so on the next morning the wedding ceremony took place, and the bride and groom went on their way to France, where preparations befitting their rank awaited them.

Old Elsie was heard to observe to Monica, that there was some sense in making pilgrimages, since this to Rome, which she had undertaken so unwillingly, had turned out so satisfactory.

In the reign of Julius II., the banished families who had been plundered by the Borgias were restored to their rights and honors at Rome; and there was a princess of the house of Sarelli then at Rome, whose sanctity of life and manners was held to go back to the traditions of primitive Christianity, so that she was renowned not less for goodness than for rank and beauty.

In those days, too, Raphael, the friend of Frà Bartolommeo, placed in one of the grandest halls of the Vatican, among the Apostles and Saints, the image of the traduced and despised martyr whose ashes had been cast to the winds and waters in Florence. His memory lingered long in Italy, so that it was even claimed that miracles were wrought in his name and by his intercession. Certain it is, that the living words he spoke were seeds of immortal flowers which blossomed in secret dells and obscure shadows of his beautiful Italy.

* * * * *


      Hear ye not how, from all high points of Time,—
        From peak to peak adown the mighty chain
      That links the ages,—echoing sublime
        A Voice Almighty,—leaps one grand refrain,
    Wakening the generations with a shout,
    And trumpet-call of thunder,—Come ye out!

      Out from old forms and dead idolatries;
        From fading myths and superstitious dreams;
      From Pharisaic rituals and lies,
        And all the bondage of the life that seems!
    Out,—on the pilgrim path, of heroes trod,
    Over earth's wastes, to reach forth after God!

      The Lord hath bowed His heaven, and come down!
        Now, in this latter century of time,
      Once more His tent is pitched on Sinai's crown!
        Once more in clouds must Faith to meet Him climb!
  Once more His thunder crashes on our doubt
  And fear and sin,—"My people! come ye out!

    "From false ambitions and base luxuries;
      From puny aims and indolent self-ends;
    From cant of faith, and shams of liberties,
      And mist of ill that Truth's pure daybeam bends:
  Out, from all darkness of the Egypt-land,
  Into My sun-blaze on the desert sand!

    "Leave ye your flesh-pots; turn from filthy greed
      Of gain that doth the thirsting spirit mock;
    And heaven shall drop sweet manna for your need,
      And rain clear rivers from the unhewn rock!
  Thus saith the Lord!" And Moses—meek, unshod—
  Within the cloud stands hearkening to his God!

    Show us our Aaron, with his rod in flower!
      Our Miriam, with her timbrel-soul in tune!
    And call some Joshua, in the Spirit's power,
      To poise our sun of strength at point of noon!
  God of our fathers! over sand and sea,
  Still keep our struggling footsteps close to Thee!

* * * * *


The history of Virginia opens with a romance. No one will be surprised at this, for it is a habit histories have. There is Plymouth Rock, for example; it would be hard to find anything more purely romantic than that. Well do we remember the sad day when a friend took us to the perfectly flat wharf at Plymouth, and recited Mrs. Hemans's humorous verse,—

  "The breaking waves dashed high,
  On a stern and rock-bound coast."

"Such, then," we reflected, "is History! If Plymouth Rock turns out to be a myth, why may not Columbus or Santa Claus or Napoleon, or anything or anybody?" Since then we have been skeptical about history even where it seems most probable; at times doubt whether Rip Van Winkle really slept twenty years without turning over; are annoyed with misgivings as to whether our Western pioneers Boone, Crockett, and others, did keep bears in their stables for saddle-horses, and harness alligators as we do oxen. So we doubted the story of John Smith and Pocahontas with which Virginia opens. In one thing we had already caught that State making a mythical statement: it was named by Queen Elizabeth Virginia in honor of her own virgin state,—which, if Cobbett is to be believed, was also a romance. Well, America was named after a pirate, and Sir Walter Raleigh, who suggested the name of the Virgin Queen, was fond of a joke.

But notwithstanding the suspicion with which we entered upon the investigation, we are convinced that the romance of Pocahontas is true. As only a portion of the story of this Indian maiden, "the colonial angel," as she was termed by the settlers, is known, and that not generally with exactness, we will reproduce it here.

It will be remembered that Pocahontas, when about thirteen years of age, saved the young English captain, John Smith, from the death which her father, Powhatan, had resolved he should suffer. As the tomahawk was about to descend on his head, the girl rushed forward and clasped that head in her arms. The stern heart of Powhatan relented, and he consented that the captive should live to make tomahawks for him and beads and bells for Pocahontas. Afterward Powhatan agreed that Smith should return to Jamestown, on condition of his sending him two guns and a grindstone. Soon, after this Jamestown with all its stores was destroyed by fire, and the colonists came near perishing from cold and hunger. Half of them died; and the rest were saved only by Pocahontas, who appeared in the midst of their distress, bringing bread, raccoons, and venison.

John Smith and his companions after this explored a large portion of the State, and a second time came to rest at the home of Powhatan and his beautiful daughter. The name of the place was Werowocomoco. His visit this time fell on the eve of the coronation of Powhatan. The king, being absent when Smith came, was sent for; meanwhile Pocahontas called together a number of Indian maidens to get up a dramatic entertainment and ballet for the handsome young Englishman and his companions. They made a fire in a level field, and Smith sat on a mat before it. A hideous noise and shrieking were suddenly heard in the adjoining woods. The English snatched up their arms, apprehending foul play. Pocahontas rushed forward, and asked Smith to slay her rather than suspect her of perfidy; so their apprehensions were quieted. Then thirty young Indian maidens issued suddenly from the wood, all naked except a cincture of green leaves, their bodies painted. Pocahontas was a complete picture of an Indian Diana: a quiver hung on her shoulder, and she held a bow and arrow in her hand; she wore, also, on her head a beautiful pair of buck's horns, an otter's skin at her girdle, and another on her arm. The other nymphs had antlers on their heads and various savage decorations. Bursting from the forest, they circled around the fire and John Smith, singing and dancing for an hour. They then disappeared into the wood as suddenly as they had come forth. When they reappeared, it was to invite Smith to their habitations, where they danced around him again, singing, "Love you not me? Love you not me?" They then feasted him richly, and, lastly, with pine-knot torches lighted him to his finely decorated apartments.

Captain John Smith was, without doubt, an imperial kind of man. His personal appearance was fine, his sense and tact excellent, his manners both cordial and elegant. There is no doubt, as there is no wonder, that the Indian maiden felt some tender palpitations on his account. Once again, when, owing to some misunderstanding, Powhatan had decreed the death of all the whites, Pocahontas spent the whole pitch-dark night climbing hills and toiling through pathless thickets, to save Smith and his friends by warning them of the imminent danger. Smith offered her many beautiful presents on this occasion, evidently not appreciating the sentiment that was animating her. To this offer of presents she replied with tears; and when their acceptance was urged, Smith himself relates, that, "with the teares running downe her cheeks, she said she durst not be seen to have any, for, if Powhatan should know it, she were but dead; and so she ran away by herself, as she came."

There is no doubt what the Muse of History ought to do here: were she a dame of proper sensibilities, she would have Mr. John Smith married to Miss P. Powhatan as soon as a parson could be got from Jamestown. Were it a romance, this would be the result. As it is, we find Smith going off to England in two years, and living unmarried until his death; and Pocahontas married to the Englishman John Rolfe, for reasons of state, we fear,—a link of friendship between the Reds and the Whites being thought desirable. She was of course Christianized and baptized, as any one may see by Chapman's picture in the Rotunda at Washington, unless Zouave criticism has demolished it. Immediately she went with her husband to England. At Brentford, where she was staying,. Captain John Smith went to visit her. Their meeting was significant and affecting. "After a modest salutation, without uttering a word, she turned away and hid her face as if displeased.". She remained thus motionless for two or three hours. Who can know what struggles passed through the heart of the Indian bride at this moment,—emotions doubly unutterable to this untaught stranger? It seems that she had been deceived by Rolfe and his friends into thinking that Smith was dead, under the conviction that she could not be induced to marry him, if she thought Smith alive. After her long, sad silence, before mentioned, she came forward to Smith and touchingly reminded him, there in the presence of her husband and a large company, of the kindness she had shown him in her own country, saying, "You did promise Powhatan what was yours should be his, and he the like to you; you called him 'Father,' being in his land a stranger, and for the same reason so I must call you." After a pause, during which she seemed to be under the influence of strong emotion, she said, "I will call you Father, and you shall call me Child, and so I will be forever and ever your countrywoman." Then she added, slowly and with emphasis, "They did tell us always you were dead, and I knew no other till I came to Plimoth; yet Powhatan did command Uttamattomakin to seeke you and know the truth, because your countrymen will lie much." It was not long after this interview that Pocahontas died: she never returned to Virginia. Her death occurred in 1617. The issue of her marriage was one child, Thomas Rolfe; so it is through him that the First Families of Virginia are so invariably descended from the Indian Princess. Captain Smith lived until 1631, and, as we have said, never married. He was a noble and true man, and Pocahontas was every way worthy to be his wife; and one feels very ill-natured at Rolfe and Company for the cruel deception which, we must believe, was all that kept them asunder, and gave to the story of the lovely maiden its almost tragic close.

One can scarcely imagine a finer device for Virginia to have adopted than that of the Indian maiden protecting the white man from the tomahawk. But, alas! with the departure of Smith the soul seems to have left the Colony. The beautiful lands became a prey to the worn-out English gentry, who spent their time cheating the simple-hearted red men. These called themselves gentlemen, because they could do nothing. In a classification of seventy-eight persons at Jamestown we are informed that there were "four carpenters, twelve laborers, one blacksmith, one bricklayer, one sailor, one barber, one mason, one tailor, one drummer, one chirurgeon, and fifty-four gentlemen." To this day there seems to be a large number in that vicinity who have no other occupation than that of being gentlemen, and it is evidently in many cases just as much as they can do.

When Pocahontas died, the last link was broken between the Indian and the settler. Unprovoked wars of extermination were begun to dispossess these children of Nature of the very breasts of their mother, which had sustained them so long and so peacefully. For a century the Indian's name for Virginian was "Longknife." The very missionaries robbed him with one hand whilst baptizing him with the other. One story concerning the missionaries strikes us as sufficiently characteristic of the wit of the Indian and the temper of the period to be preserved. There was a branch of the Catawbas on the Potomac, in which river are to be found the best shad in the world. The missionaries who settled among this tribe taught them that it would be a good investment in their soul-assurance to catch large quantities of the shad for them, the missionaries. The Indians earnestly set themselves to the work; their reverend teachers taking the fish and sending them off secretly to various settlements in Virginia and Maryland, and making thereby large sums of money. The Indians worked on for several months without receiving any compensation, and the missionaries were getting richer and richer,—when by some means the red men discovered the trick, and routed the holy men from their neighborhood. Many years afterward the Catholics made an effort to establish a mission with this same tribe. The priest who first addressed them took as his text, "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters,"—and went on in figurative style to describe the waters of life. When the sermon was ended, the Indians held a council to consider what they had just heard, and finally sent three of their number to the missionaries, who said, "White men, you speak in fine words of the waters of life; but before we decide on what we have heard, we wish to know whether any shad swim in those waters."

It is very certain that Christianity, as illustrated by the Virginians, did not make a good impression on these savages. They were always willing to compare their own religion with that of the whites, and generally regarded the contrast as in their favor. One of them said to Colonel Barnett, the commissioner to run the boundary-line of lands ceded by the Indians, "As to religion, you go to your churches, sing loud, pray loud, and make great noise. The red people meet once a year at the feast of New Corn, extinguish all their fires and kindle up a new one, the smoke of which ascends to the Great Spirit as a grateful incense and sacrifice. Now what better is your religion than ours?" One of the chiefs, it is said, received an Episcopal divine who wished to indoctrinate him into the mystery of the Trinity. The Indian, who was a "model of deportment," heard his argument; and then, when he was through, began in turn to indoctrinate the divine in his faith, speaking of the Great Spirit, whose voice was the thunder, whose eye was the sun. The clergyman interrupted him rather rudely, saying, "But that is not true,—that is all heathen trash!" The chief turned to his companions and said gravely, "This is the most impolite man I have ever met; he has just declared that he has three gods, and now will not let me have one!"

The valley of Virginia, its El Dorado in every sense, had a different settlement, and by a different people. They were, for the most part, Germans, of the same class with those that settled in the great valleys of Pennsylvania, and who have made so large a portion of that State into a rich ingrain-carpet of cultivation upon a floor of limestone. One day the history of the Germans of Pennsylvania and Virginia will be written, and it will be full of interest and value. They were the first strong sinews strung in the industrial arm of the Colonies to which they came; and although mingled with nearly every European race, they remain to this day a distinct people. A partition-wall rarely broken down has always inclosed them, and to this, perhaps, is due that slowness of progress which marks them. The restless ambition of Le Grand Monarque and the cruelties of Turenne converted the beautiful valley of the Rhine into a smoking desert, and the wretched peasantry of the Palatinate fled from their desolated firesides to seek a more hospitable home in the forests of New York and Pennsylvania, and thence, somewhat later, found their way into Virginia. The exodus of the Puritans has had more celebrity, but was scarcely attended with more hardship and heroism. The greater part of the German exiles landed in America stripped of their all. They came to the forests of the Susquehanna and the Shenandoah armed only with the woodman's axe. They were ignorant and superstitious, and brought with them the legends of their fatherland. The spirits of the Hartz Mountains and the genii of the Black Forest, which Christianity had not been able entirely to exorcise, were transferred to the wild mountains and dark caverns of the Old Dominion, and the same unearthly visitants which haunted the old castles of the Rhine continued their gambols in some deserted cabin on the banks of the Sherandah (as the Shenandoah was then called). Since these men left their fatherland, a great Literature and Philosophy have breathed like a tropic upon that land, and the superstitions have been wrought into poetry and thought; but that raw material of legend which in Germany has been woven into finest tissues on the brain-looms of Wieland, Tieck, Schiller, and Goethe, has remained raw material in the great valley that stretches from New York to Upper Alabama. Whole communities are found which in manners and customs are much the same with their ancestors who crossed the ocean. The horseshoe is still nailed above the door as a protection against the troublesome spook, and the black art is still practised. Rough in their manners, and plain in their appearance, they yet conceal under this exterior a warm hospitality, and the stranger will much sooner be turned away from the door of the "chivalry" than from that of the German farmer. Seated by his blazing fire, with plenty of apples and hard cider, the Dutchman of the Kanawha enjoys his condition with gusto, and is contented with the limitations of his fence. We have seen one within two miles of the great Natural Bridge who could not direct us to that celebrated curiosity; his wife remarking, that "a great many people passed that way to the hills, but for what she could not see: for her part, give her a level country."

The first German settler who came to Virginia was one Jacob Stover, who went there from Pennsylvania, and obtained a grant of five thousand acres of land on the Shenandoah. Stover was very shrewd, and does not at all justify the character we have ascribed to his race: there is a story that casts a suspicion on his proper Teutonism. The story runs, that, on his application to the colonial governor of Virginia for a grant of land, he was refused, unless he could give satisfactory assurance that he would have the land settled with the required number of families within a given time. Being unable to do this, he went over to England, and petitioned the King himself to direct the issuing of his grant; and in order to insure success, had given human names to every horse, cow, hog, and dog he owned, and which he represented as heads of families, ready to settle the land. His Majesty, ignorant that the Williams, Georges, and Susans seeking royal consideration were some squeaking in pig-pens, others braying in the luxuriant meadows for which they petitioned, issued the huge grant; and to-day there is serious reason to suppose that many of the wealthiest and oldest families around Winchester are enjoying their lands by virtue of titles given to ancestral flocks and herds.

The condition of Virginia for the period immediately preceding the Revolution was one which well merits the consideration of political philosophers. For many years the extent of the territory of the Old Dominion was undecided, no lines being fixed between that State and Ohio and Pennsylvania. Virginia claimed a large part of both these States as hers; and, indeed, there seems to be in that State an hereditary unconsciousness of the limits of her dominion. The question of jurisdiction superseded every other for the time, and the formal administration of the law itself ceased. There is a period lasting through a whole generation in which society in the western part of the State went on without courts or authorities. There was no court but of public opinion, no administration but of the mob. Judges were ermined and juries impanelled by the community when occasion demanded. Kercheval, who grew from that vicinity and state of things, and whose authority is excellent, says,—"They had no civil, military, or ecclesiastical laws,—at least, none were enforced; yet we look in vain for any period, before or since, when property, life, and morals were any better protected." A statement worth pondering by those who tell us that man is nought, government all. The tongue-lynchings and other punishments inflicted by the community upon evil-doers were adapted to the reformation of the culprit or his banishment from the community. The punishment for idleness, lying, dishonesty, and ill-fame generally, was that of "hating the offender out," as they expressed it. This was about equivalent to the [Greek: atimia] among the Greeks. It was a public expression, in various ways, of the general indignation against any transgressor, and commonly resulted either in the profound repentance or the voluntary exile of the person against whom it was directed: it was generally the fixing of any epithet which was proclaimed by each tongue when the sinner appeared,—e.g., Foultongue, Lawrence, Snakefang. The name of Extra-Billy Smith is a quite recent case of this "tongue-lynching." It was in these days of no laws, however, that the practice of duelling was imported into Virginia. With this exception, the State can trace no evil results to the period when society was resolved into its simplest elements. Indeed, it was at this time that there began to appear there signs of a sturdy and noble race of Americanized Englishmen. The average size of the European Englishman was surpassed. A woman was equal to an Indian. A young Virginian one day killed a buffalo on the Alleghany Mountains, stretched its skin over ribs of wood, and on the boat so made sailed the full length of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. But this development was checked by the influx of "English gentry," who brought laws and fashions from London. The old books are full of the conflicts which these fastidious gentlemen and ladies had with the rude pioneer customs and laws. The fine ladies found that there was an old statute of the Colony which read,—"It shall be permitted to none but the Council and Heads of Hundreds to wear gold in their clothes, or to wear silk till they make it themselves." What, then, could Miss Softdown do with the silks and breastpins brought from London? "Let her wear deer-skin and arrow-head," said the natives. But Miss Softdown soon had her way. Still more were these new families shocked, when, on ringing for some newly purchased negro domestic, the said negro came into the parlor nearly naked. Then began one of the most extended controversies in the history of Virginia,—the question being, whether out-door negroes should wear clothes, and domestics dress like other people. The popular belief, in which it seems the negroes shared, was, that the race would perish, if subjected to clothing the year round. The custom of negro men going about in puris naturalibus prevailed to a much more recent period than is generally supposed.

One by one, the barbarisms of Old Virginia were eradicated, and the danger was then that effeminacy would succeed; but a better class of families began to come from England, now that the Colony was somewhat prepared for them. These aimed to make Virginia repeat England: it might have repeated something worse, and in the end has. About one or two old mansions in Maryland and Virginia the long silvery grass characteristic of the English park is yet found: the seed was carefully brought from England by those gentlemen who came under Raleigh's administration, and who regarded their residence in these Colonies as patriotic self-devotion. On one occasion, the writer, walking through one of these fields, startled an English lark, which rose singing and soaring skyward. It sang a theme of the olden time. Governor Spottswood brought with him, when he came, a number of these larks, and made strenuous efforts to domesticate them in the neighborhood of Fredericksburg, Virginia. He did not succeed. Now and then we have heard of one's being seen, companionless. It is a sad symbol of that nobler being who tried to domesticate himself in Virginia, the fine old English gentleman. He is now seen but little oftener than the silver grass and the lark which he brought with him. But let no one think, whilst ridiculing those who can now only hide their poor stature under the lion-skin of F-F-V-ism, that the race of old Virginia gentlemen is a mythic race. Through the fair slopes of Eastern Virginia we have wandered and counted the epitaphs of as princely men and women as ever trod this continent. Yonder is the island, floating on the crystal Rappahannock, which, instead of, as now, masking the guns which aim at Freedom's heart, once bore witness to the noble Spottswood's effort to realize for the working-man a Utopia in the New World. Yonder is the house, on the same river, frowning now with the cannon which defend the slave-shamble, (for the Richmond railroad passes on its verge,) where Washington was reared to love justice and honor; and over to the right its porch commands a marble shaft on which is written, "Here lies Mary, the Mother of Washington." A little lower is the spot where John Smith gave the right hand to the ambassadors of King Powhatan. In that old court-house the voice of Patrick Henry thundered for Liberty and Union. Time was when the brave men on whose hearts rested the destinies of the New World made this the centre of activity and rule upon the continent; they lived and acted here as Anglo-Saxon blood should live and act, wherever it bears its rightful sceptre; but now one walks here as through the splendid ruins of some buried Nineveh, and emerges to find the very sunlight sad, as it reveals those who garnish the sepulchres of their ancestors with one hand, whilst with the other they stone and destroy the freedom and institutions which their fathers lived to build and died to defend.

And this, alas! is the first black line in the sketch of Virginia as it now is. The true preface to the present edition of Virginia, which, unhappily, has been for many years stereotyped, may be found in a single entry of Captain John Smith's journal:—

"August, 1619. A Dutch man-of-war visited Jamestown and sold the settlers twenty negroes, the first that have ever touched the soil of Virginia."

They have scarcely made it "sacred soil." A little entry it is, of what seemed then, perhaps, an unimportant event,—but how pregnant with evil!

The very year in which that Dutch ship arrived with its freight of slaves at Jamestown, the Mayflower sailed with its freight of freemen for Plymouth.

Let us pause a moment and consider the prospects and opportunities which opened before the two bands of pilgrim. How hard and bleak were the shores that received the Mayflower pilgrims! Winter seemed the only season of the land to which they had come; when the snow disappeared, it was only to reveal a landscape of sand and rock. To have soil they must pulverize rock. Nature said to these exiles from a rich soil, with her sternest voice,—"Here is no streaming breast: sand with no gold mined: all the wealth you get must be mined from your own hearts and coined by your own right hands!"

How different was it in Virginia! Old John Rolfe, the husband of Pocahontas, writing to the King in 1616, said,—"Virginia is the same as it was, I meane for the goodness of the scate, and the fertilenesse of the land, and will, no doubt, so continue to the worlds end,—a countrey as worthy of good report as can be declared by the pen of the best writer; a countrey spacious and wide, capable of many hundred thousands of inhabitants." It must be borne in mind that Rolfe's idea of an inhabitant's needs was that he should own a county or two to begin with, which will account for his moderate estimate of the number that could be accommodated upon a hundred thousand square miles. He continues,—"For the soil, most fertile to plant in; for ayre, fresh and temperate, somewhat hotter in summer, and not altogether so cold in winter as in England, yet so agreable is it to our constitutions that now 't is more rare to hear of a man's death than in England; for water, most wholesome and verie plentifull; and for fayre navigable rivers and good harbors, no countrey in Christendom, in so small a circuite, is so well stored." Any one who has passed through the State, or paid any attention to its resources, may go far beyond the old settler's statement. Virginia is a State combining, as in some divinely planned garden, every variety of soil known on earth, resting under a sky that Italy alone can match, with a Valley anticipating in vigor the loam of the prairies: up to that Valley and Piedmont stretch throughout the State navigable rivers, like fingers of the Ocean-hand, ready to bear to all marts the produce of the soil, the superb vein of gold, and the iron which, unlocked from mountain-barriers, could defy competition. But in her castle Virginia is still, a sleeping beauty awaiting the hero whose kiss shall recall her to life. Comparing what free labor has done for the granite rock called Massachusetts, and what slave labor has done for the enchanted garden called Virginia, one would say, that, though the Dutch ship that brought to our shores the Norway rat was bad, and that which brought the Hessian fly was worse, the most fatal ship that ever cast anchor in American waters was that which brought the first twenty negroes to the settlers of Jamestown. Like the Indian in her own aboriginal legend, on whom a spell was cast which kept the rain from falling on him and the sun from shining on him, Virginia received from that Dutch ship a curse which chained back the blessings which her magnificent resources would have rained upon her, and the sun of knowledge shining everywhere has left her to-day more than eighty thousand white adults who cannot read or write.

It was at an early period as manifest as now that a slave population implied and rendered necessary a large poor-white population. And whilst the pilgrims of Plymouth inaugurated the free-school system in their first organic law, which now renders it impossible for one sane person born in their land to be unable to read and write, Virginia was boasting with Lord Douglas in "Marmion,"

  "Thanks to Saint Bothan, son of mine
  Could never pen a written line."

Sir William Berkeley, Governor of Virginia for thirty-six years, beginning with 1641, wrote to the King as follows:—"I thank God, there are no free schools nor printing, and I hope we shall not have these hundred years; for learning has brought disobedience and heresy and sects into the world, and printing has divulged them, and libels upon the best governments. God keep us from both!" Most fearfully has the prayer been answered. In Berkeley's track nearly all the succeeding ones went on. Henry A. Wise boasted in Congress that no newspaper was printed in his district, and he soon became governor.

It gives but a poor description of the "poor-white trash" to say that they cannot read. The very slaves cannot endure to be classed on their level. They are inconceivably wretched and degraded. For every rich slave-owner there are some eight or ten families of these miserable tenants. Both sexes are almost always drunk.

There is no better man than the Anglo-Saxon man who labors; there is no worse animal than the same man when bred to habits of idleness. When Watts wrote,

  "Satan finds some mischief still
  For idle hands to do,"

he wrote what is much truer of his own race than of any other. This law has been the Nemesis of the young Virginian. His descent demands excitement and activity; and unless he becomes emasculated into a clay-eater, he obtains the excitement that his ancestors got in war, and the New-Englander gets in work, in gaming, horse-racing, and all manner of dissipation. His life verifies the proverb, that the idle brain is the Devil's workshop. He is trained to despise labor, for it puts him on a level with his father's slaves. At the University of Virginia one may see the extent of demoralization to which eight generations of idleness can bring English blood. There the spree, the riot, and we might almost say the duel, are normal. About five years ago we spent some time at Charlottesville. The evening of our arrival was the occasion of witnessing some of the ways of the students. A hundred or more of them with blackened or masked faces were rushing about the college yard; a large fire was burning around a stake, upon which was the effigy of a woman. A gentleman connected with the University, with whom we were walking, informed us that the special occasion of this affair was, that a near relative of Mrs. Stowe's, a sister, perhaps, had that day arrived to visit her relative, Mrs. McGuffey. The effigy of Mrs. Stowe was burned for her benefit. The lady and her friends were very much alarmed, and left on the early train next morning, without completing their visit.

"They will close up by all getting dead-drunk," said our friend, the

"But," we asked, "why does not the faculty at once interfere in this disgraceful procedure?"

"They have got us lately," he replied, "where we are powerless. Whenever they wish a spree, they tackle it on to the slavery question, and know that their parents will pardon everything to the spirit of the South when it is burning the effigy of Mrs. Stowe or Charles Sumner, or the last person who furnishes a chance for a spree. To arrest them ends only in casting suspicion of unsoundness on the professor who does it."

Virginia has had, for these same causes, no religious development whatever. The people spend four-and-a-half fifths of their time arguing about politics and religion,—questions of the latter being chiefly as to the best method of being baptized, or whether sudden conversions are the safest,—but they never take a step forward in either. Archbishop Purcell, of Cincinnati, stated to us, that, once being in Richmond, he resolved to give a little religious exploration to the surrounding country. About seven miles out from the city he saw a man lying down,—the Virginian's natural posture,—and approaching, he made various inquiries, and received lazy Yes and No replies. Presently he inquired to what churches the people in that vicinity usually went.

"Well, not much to any."

"What are their religious views?"

"Well, not much of any."

"Well, my friend, may I inquire what are your opinions on religious subjects?"

"The man, yet reclining," said the Archbishop, "looked at me sleepily a moment, and replied,—

"'My opinion is that them as made me will take care of me.'"

The Archbishop came off discouraged; but we assured him that the man was far ahead of many specimens we had met. We never see an opossum in Virginia—a fossil animal in most other places—but it seems the sign of the moral stratification around. There are many varieties of opossum in Virginia,—political and religious: Saturn, who devours his offspring, has not come to Virginia yet.

Old formulas have, doubtless, to a great extent, lost their power there also, but there is not vitality enough to create a higher form. For no new church can ever be anywhere inaugurated in this world until the period has come when its chief corner-stone can be Humanity. Till then the old creeds in Virginia must wander like ghosts, haunting the old ruins which their once exquisite churches have become. Nothing can be more picturesque, nothing more sad, than these old churches,—every brick in them imported from Old England, every prayer from the past world and its past need: the high and wide pews where the rich sat lifted some feet above the seats of the poor represent still the faith in a God who subjects the weak to the strong. These old churches, rarely rebuilt, are ready now to become rocks imbedding fossil creeds. In these old aisles one walks, and the snake glides away on the pavement, and the bat flutters in the high pulpit, whilst moss and ivy tenderly enshroud the lonely walls; and over all is written the word DESOLATION. Symbol it is of the desolation which caused it, even the trampled fanes and altars of the human soul,—the temple of God, whose profanation the church has suffered to go on unrebuked, till now both must crumble into the same grave.

* * * * *


A certain degree of progress from the rudest state in which man is found,—a dweller in caves, or on trees, like an ape, a cannibal, an eater of pounded snails, worms, and offal,—a certain degree of progress from this extreme is called Civilization. It is a vague, complex name, of many degrees. Nobody has attempted a definition. Mr. Guizot, writing a book on the subject, does not. It implies the evolution of a highly organized man, brought to supreme delicacy of sentiment, as in practical power, religion, liberty, sense of honor, and taste. In the hesitation to define what it is, we usually suggest it by negations. A nation that has no clothing, no alphabet, no iron, no marriage, no arts of peace, no abstract thought, we call barbarous. And after many arts are invented or imported, as among the Turks and Moorish nations, it is often a little complaisant to call them civilized.

Each nation grows after its own genius, and has a civilization of its own. The Chinese and Japanese, though each complete in his way, is different from the man of Madrid or the man of New York. The term imports a mysterious progress. In the brutes is none; and in mankind, the savage tribes do not advance. The Indians of this country have not learned the white man's work; and in Africa, the negro of to-day is the negro of Herodotus. But in other races the growth is not arrested; but the like progress that is made by a boy, "when he cuts his eye-teeth," as we say,—childish illusions pricing daily away, and he seeing things really and comprehensively,—is made by tribes. It is the learning the secret of cumulative power, of advancing on one's self. It implies a facility of association, power to compare, the ceasing from fixed ideas. The Indian is gloomy and distressed, when urged to depart from his habits and traditions. He is overpowered by the gaze of the white, and his eye sinks. The occasion of one of these starts of growth is always some novelty that astounds the mind, and provokes it to dare to change. Thus there is a Manco Capac at the beginning of each improvement, some superior foreigner importing new and wonderful arts, and teaching them. Of course, he must not know too much, but must have the sympathy, language, and gods of those he would inform. But chiefly the sea-shore has been the point of departure to knowledge, as to commerce. The most advanced nations are always those who navigate the most. The power which the sea requires in the sailor makes a man of him very fast, and the change of shores and population clears his head of much nonsense of his wigwam.

Where shall we begin or end the list of those feats of liberty and wit, each of which feats made an epoch of history? Thus, the effect of a framed or stone house is immense on the tranquillity, power, and refinement of the builder. A man in a cave, or in a camp, a nomad, will die with no more estate than the wolf or the horse leaves. But so simple a labor as a house being achieved, his chief enemies are kept at bay. He is safe from the teeth of wild animals, from frost, sunstroke, and weather; and fine faculties begin to yield their fine harvest. Invention and art are born, manners and social beauty and delight. 'T is wonderful how soon a piano gets into a log-hut on the frontier. You would think they found it under a pine-stump. With it comes a Latin grammar, and one of those towhead boys has written a hymn on Sunday. Now let colleges, now let senates take heed! for here is one, who, opening these fine tastes on the basis of the pioneer's iron constitution, will gather all their laurels in his strong hands.

When the Indian trail gets widened, graded, and bridged to a good road,—there is a benefactor, there is a missionary, a pacificator, a wealth-bringer, a maker of markets, a vent for industry. The building three or four hundred miles of road in the Scotch Highlands in 1726 to 1749 effectually tamed the ferocious clans, and established public order. Another step in civility is the change from war, hunting, and pasturage, to agriculture. Our Scandinavian forefathers have left us a significant legend to convey their sense of the importance of this step. "There was once a giantess who had a daughter, and the child saw a husbandman ploughing in the field. Then she ran and picked him up with her finger and thumb, and put him and his plough and his oxen into her apron, and carried them to her mother, and said, 'Mother, what sort of a beetle is this that I found wriggling in the sand?' But the mother said, 'Put it away, my child; we must begone out of this land, for these people will dwell in it.'" Another success is the post-office, with its educating energy, augmented by cheapness, and guarded by a certain religious sentiment in mankind, so that the power of a wafer or a drop of wax or gluten to guard a letter, as it flies over sea, over land, and comes to its address as if a battalion of artillery brought it, I look upon as a fine metre of civilization.

The division of labor, the multiplication of the arts of peace, which is nothing but a large allowance to each man to choose his work according to his faculty, to live by his better hand, fills the State with useful and happy laborers,—and they, creating demand by the very temptation of their productions, are rapidly and surely rewarded by good sale: and what a police and ten commandments their work thus becomes! So true is Dr. Johnson's remark, that "men are seldom more innocently employed than when they are making money."

The skilful combinations of civil government, though they usually follow natural leadings, as the lines of race, language, religion, and territory, yet require wisdom and conduct in the rulers, and in their result delight the imagination. "We see insurmountable multitudes obeying, in opposition to their strongest passions, the restraints of a power which they scarcely perceive, and the crimes of a single individual marked and punished at the distance of half the earth."[A]

[Footnote A: Dr. Thomas Brown.]

Right position of woman in the State is another index. Poverty and industry with a healthy mind read very easily the laws of humanity, and love them: place the sexes in right relations of mutual respect, and a severe morality gives that essential charm to woman which educates all that is delicate, poetic, and self-sacrificing, breeds courtesy and learning, conversation and wit, in her rough mate; so that I have thought it a sufficient definition of civilization to say, it is the influence of good women.

Another measure of culture is the diffusion of knowledge, overrunning all the old barriers of caste, and, by the cheap press, bringing the university to every poor man's door in the newsboy's basket. Scraps of science, of thought, of poetry are in the coarsest sheet, so that in every house we hesitate to tear a newspaper until we have looked it through.

The ship, in its latest complete equipment, is an abridgment and compend of a nation's arts: the ship steered by compass and chart, longitude reckoned by lunar observation, and, when the heavens are hid, by chronometer; driven by steam; and in wildest sea-mountains, at vast distances from home,

  "The pulses of her iron heart
  Go beating through the storm."

No use can lessen the wonder of this control, by so weak a creature, of forces so prodigious. I remember I watched, in crossing the sea, the beautiful skill whereby the engine in its constant working was made to produce two hundred gallons of fresh water out of salt water, every hour,—thereby supplying all the ship's want.

The skill that pervades complex details; the man that maintains himself; the chimney taught to burn its own smoke; the farm made to produce all that is consumed on it; the very prison compelled to maintain itself and yield a revenue, and, better than that, made a reform school, and a manufactory of honest men out of rogues, as the steamer made fresh water out of salt: all these are examples of that tendency to combine antagonisms, and utilize evil, which is the index of high civilization.

Civilization is the result of highly complex organization. In the snake, all the organs are sheathed: no hands, no feet, no fins, no wings. In bird and beast, the organs are released, and begin to play. In man, they are all unbound, and full of joyful action. With this unswaddling, he receives the absolute illumination we call Reason, and thereby true liberty.

Climate has much to do with this melioration. The highest civility has never loved the hot zones. Wherever snow falls, there is usually civil freedom. Where the banana grows, the animal system is indolent and pampered at the cost of higher qualities: the man is grasping, sensual, and cruel. But this scale is by no means invariable. For high degrees of moral sentiment control the unfavorable influences of climate; and some of our grandest examples of men and of races come from the equatorial regions,—as the genius of Egypt, of India, and of Arabia.

These feats are measures or traits of civility; and temperate climate is an important influence, though not quite indispensable, for there have been learning, philosophy, and art in Iceland, and in the tropics. But one condition is essential to the social education of man,—namely, morality. There can be no high civility without a deep morality, though it may not always call itself by that name, but sometimes the point of honor, as in the institution of chivalry; or patriotism, as in the Spartan and Roman republics; or the enthusiasm of some religious sect which imputes its virtue to its dogma; or the cabalism, or esprit du corps, of a masonic or other association of friends.

The evolution of a highly destined society must be moral; it must run in the grooves of the celestial wheels. It must be catholic in aims. What is moral? It is the respecting in action catholic or universal ends. Hear the definition which Kant gives of moral conduct: "Act always so that the immediate motive of thy will may become a universal rule for all intelligent beings."

Civilization depends on morality. Everything good in man leans on what is higher. This rule holds in small as in great. Thus, all our strength and success in the work of our hands depend on our borrowing the aid of the elements. You have seen a carpenter on a ladder with a broad-axe chopping upward chips and slivers from a beam. How awkward! at what disadvantage he works! But see him on the ground, dressing his timber under him. Now, not his feeble muscles, but the force of gravity brings down the axe; that is to say, the planet itself splits his stick. The farmer had much ill-temper, laziness, and shirking to endure from his hand-sawyers, until, one day, he bethought him to put his saw-mill on the edge of a waterfall; and the river never tires of turning his wheel: the river is good-natured, and never hints an objection.

We had letters to send: couriers could not go fast enough, nor far enough; broke their wagons, foundered their horses; bad roads in spring, snow-drifts in winter, heats in summer; could not get the horses out of a walk. But we found out that the air and earth were full of electricity; and it was always going our way,—just the way we wanted to send. Would he take a message? Just as lief as not; had nothing else to do; would carry it in no time. Only one doubt occurred, one staggering objection,—he had no carpet-bag, no visible pockets, no hands, not so much as a mouth, to carry a letter. But, after much thought and many experiments, we managed to meet the conditions, and to fold up the letter in such invisible compact form as he could carry in those invisible pockets of his, never wrought by needle and thread,—and it went like a charm.

I admire still more than the saw-mill the skill which, on the sea-shore, makes the tides drive the wheels and grind corn, and which thus engages the assistance of the moon, like a hired hand, to grind, and wind, and pump, and saw, and split stone, and roll iron.

Now that is the wisdom of a man, in every instance of his labor, to hitch his wagon to a star, and see his chore done by the gods themselves. That is the way we are strong, by borrowing the might of the elements. The forces of steam, gravity, galvanism, light, magnets, wind, fire, serve us day by day, and cost us nothing.

Our astronomy is full of examples of calling in the aid of these magnificent helpers. Thus, on a planet so small as ours, the want of an adequate base for astronomical measurements is early felt, as, for example, in detecting the parallax of a star. But the astronomer, having by an observation fixed the place of a star, by so simple an expedient as waiting six months, and then repeating his observation, contrived to put the diameter of the earth's orbit, say two hundred millions of miles, between his first observation and his second, and this line afforded him a respectable base for his triangle.

All our arts aim to win this vantage. We cannot bring the heavenly powers to us, but, if we will only choose our jobs in directions in which they travel, they will undertake them with the greatest pleasure. It is a peremptory rule with them, that they never go out of their road. We are dapper little busybodies, and run this way and that way superserviceably; but they swerve never from their fore-ordained paths,—neither the sun, nor the moon, nor a bubble of air, nor a mote of dust.

And as our handiworks borrow the elements, so all our social and political action leans on principles. To accomplish anything excellent, the will must work for catholic and universal ends. A puny creature walled in on every side, as Donne wrote,—

———"unless above himself he can Erect himself, how poor a thing is man!"

but when his will leans on a principle, when he is the vehicle of ideas, he borrows their omnipotence. Gibraltar may be strong, but ideas are impregnable, and bestow on the hero their invincibility. "It was a great instruction," said a saint in Cromwell's war, "that the best courages are but beams of the Almighty." Hitch your wagon to a star. Let us not fag in paltry works which serve our pot and bag alone. Let us not lie and steal. No god will help. We shall find all their teams going the other way,—Charles's Wain, Great Bear, Orion, Leo, Hercules:—every god will leave us. Work rather for those interests which the divinities honor and promote,—justice, love, freedom, knowledge, utility.

If we can thus ride in Olympian chariots by putting our works in the path of the celestial circuits, we can harness also evil agents, the powers of darkness, and force them to serve against their will the ends of wisdom and virtue. Thus, a wise Government puts fines and penalties on pleasant vices. What a benefit would the American Government, now in the hour of its extreme need, render to itself, and to every city, village, and hamlet in the States, if it would tax whiskey and rum almost to the point of prohibition! Was it Bonaparte who said that he found vices very good patriots?—"he got five millions from the love of brandy, and he should be glad to know which of the virtues would pay him as much." Tobacco and opium have broad backs, and will cheerfully carry the load of armies, if you choose to make them pay high for such joy as they give and such harm as they do.

These are traits, and measures, and modes; and the true test of civilization is, not the census, nor the size of cities, nor the crops,—no, but the kind of man the country turns out. I see the vast advantages of this country, spanning the breadth of the temperate zone. I see the immense material prosperity,—towns on towns, states on states, and wealth piled in the massive architecture of cities, California quartz-mountains dumped down in New York to be re-piled architecturally along-shore from Canada to Cuba, and thence westward to California again. But it is not New-York streets built by the confluence of workmen and wealth of all nations, though stretching out towards Philadelphia until they touch it, and northward until they touch New Haven, Hartford, Springfield, Worcester, and Boston,—not these that make the real estimation. But, when I look over this constellation of cities which animate and illustrate the land, and see how little the Government has to do with their daily life, how self-helped and self-directed all families are,—knots of men in purely natural societies,—societies of trade, of kindred blood, of habitual hospitality, house and house, man acting on man by weight of opinion, of longer or better-directed industry, the refining influence of women, the invitation which experience and permanent causes open to youth and labor,—when I see how much each virtuous and gifted person whom all men consider lives affectionately with scores of excellent people who are not known far from home, and perhaps with great reason reckons these people his superiors in virtue, and in the symmetry and force of their qualities, I see what cubic values America has, and in these a better certificate of civilization than great cities or enormous wealth.

In strictness, the vital refinements are the moral and intellectual steps. The appearance of the Hebrew Moses, of the Indian Buddh,—in Greece, of the Seven Wise Masters, of the acute and upright Socrates, and of the Stoic Zeno,—in Judea, the advent of Jesus,—and in modern Christendom, of the realists Huss, Savonarola, and Luther, are causal facts which carry forward races to new convictions, and elevate the rule of life. In the presence of these agencies, it is frivolous to insist on the invention of printing or gunpowder, of steam-power or gas-light, percussion-caps and rubber-shoes, which are toys thrown off from that security, freedom, and exhilaration which a healthy morality creates in society. These arts add a comfort and smoothness to house and street life; but a purer morality, which kindles genius, civilizes civilization, casts backward all that we held sacred into the profane, as the flame of oil throws a shadow when shined upon by the flame of the Bude-light. Not the less the popular measures of progress will ever be the arts and the laws.

But if there be a country which cannot stand any one of these tests,—a country where knowledge cannot be diffused without perils of mob-law and statute-law,—where speech is not free,—where the post-office is violated, mail-bags opened, and letters tampered with,—where public debts and private debts outside of the State are repudiated,—where liberty is attacked in the primary institution of their social life,—where the position of the white woman is injuriously affected by the outlawry of the black woman,—where the arts, such as they have, are all imported, having no indigenous life,—where the laborer is not secured in the earnings of his own hands,—where suffrage is not free or equal,—that country is, in all these respects, not civil, but barbarous, and no advantages of soil, climate, or coast can resist these suicidal mischiefs.

Morality is essential, and all the incidents of morality,—as, justice to the subject, and personal liberty. Montesquieu says,—"Countries are well cultivated, not as they are fertile, but as they are free"; and the remark holds not less, but more, true of the culture of men than of the tillage of land. And the highest proof of civility is, that the whole public action of the State is directed on securing the greatest good of the greatest number.

Our Southern States have introduced confusion into the moral sentiments of their people, by reversing this rule in theory and practice, and denying a man's right to his labor. The distinction and end of a soundly constituted man is his labor. Use is inscribed on all his faculties. Use is the end to which he exists. As the tree exists for its fruit, so a man for his work. A fruitless plant, an idle animal, is not found in the universe. They are all toiling, however secretly or slowly, in the province assigned them, and to a use in the economy of the world,—the higher and more complex organizations to higher and more catholic service; and man seems to play a certain part that tells on the general face of the planet,—as if dressing the globe for happier races of his own kind, or, as we sometimes fancy, for beings of superior organization.

But thus use, labor of each for all, is the health and virtue of all beings. ICH DIEN, I serve, is a truly royal motto. And it is the mark of nobleness to volunteer the lowest service,—the greatest spirit only attaining to humility. Nay, God is God because he is the servant of all. Well, now here comes this conspiracy of slavery,—they call it an institution, I call it a destitution,—this stealing of men and setting them to work,—stealing their labor, and the thief sitting idle himself; and for two or three ages it has lasted, and has yielded a certain quantity of rice, cotton, and sugar. And standing on this doleful experience, these people have endeavored to reverse the natural sentiments of mankind, and to pronounce labor disgraceful, and the well-being of a man to consist in eating the fruit of other men's labor. Labor: a man coins himself into his labor,—turns his day, his strength, his thought, his affection into some product which remains as the visible sign of his power; and to protect that, to secure that to him, to secure his past self to his future self, is the object of all government. There is no interest in any country so imperative as that of labor; it covers all, and constitutions and governments exist for that,—to protect and insure it to the laborer. All honest men are daily striving to earn their bread by their industry. And who is this who tosses his empty head at this blessing in disguise, the constitution of human nature, and calls labor vile, and insults the faithful workman at his daily toil? I see for such madness no hellebore,—for such calamity no solution but servile war, and the Africanization of the country that permits it.

At this moment in America the aspects of political society absorb attention. In every house, from Canada to the Gulf, the children ask the serious father,—"What is the news of the war to-day? and when will there be better times?" The boys have no new clothes, no gifts, no journeys; the girls must go without new bonnets; boys and girls find their education, this year, less liberal and complete. All the little hopes that heretofore made the year pleasant are deferred. The state of the country fills us with anxiety and stern duties. We have attempted to hold together two states of civilization: a higher state, where labor and the tenure of land and the right of suffrage are democratical; and a lower state, in which the old military tenure of prisoners or slaves, and of power and land in a few hands, makes an oligarchy: we have attempted to hold these two states of society under one law. But the rude and early state of society does not work well with the later, nay, works badly, and has poisoned politics, public morals, and social intercourse in the Republic, now for many years.

The times put this question,—Why cannot the best civilization be extended over the whole country, since the disorder of the less civilized portion menaces the existence of the country? Is this secular progress we have described, this evolution of man to the highest powers, only to give him sensibility, and not to bring duties with it? Is he not to make his knowledge practical? to stand and to withstand? Is not civilization heroic also? Is it not for action? has it not a will? "There are periods," said Niebuhr, "when something much better than, happiness and security of life is attainable." We live in a new and exceptional age. America is another word for Opportunity. Our whole history appears like a last effort of the Divine Providence in behalf of the human race; and a literal slavish following of precedents, as by a justice of the peace, is not for those who at this hour lead the destinies of this people. The evil you contend with has taken alarming proportions, and you still content yourself with parrying the blows it aims, but, as if enchanted, abstain from striking at the cause.

If the American people hesitate, it is not for want of warning or advices. The telegraph has been swift enough to announce our disasters. The journals have not suppressed the extent of the calamity. Neither was there any want of argument or of experience. If the war brought any surprise to the North, it was not the fault of sentinels on the watch-towers, who had furnished full details of the designs, the muster, and the means of the enemy. Neither was anything concealed of the theory or practice of slavery. To what purpose make more big books of these statistics? There are already mountains of facts, if any one wants them. But people do not want them. They bring their opinions into the world. If they have a comatose tendency in the brain, they are pro-slavery while they live; if of a nervous sanguineous temperament, they are abolitionists. Then interests were never persuaded. Can you convince the shoe interest, or the iron interest, or the cotton interest, by reading passages from Milton or Montesquieu? You wish to satisfy people that slavery is bad economy. Why, the "Edinburgh Review" pounded on that string, and made out its case forty years ago. A democratic statesman said to me, long since, that, if he owned the State of Kentucky, he would manumit all the slaves, and be a gainer by the transaction. Is this new? No, everybody knows it. As a general economy it is admitted. But there is no one owner of the State, but a good many small owners. One man owns land and slaves; another owns slaves only. Here is a woman who has no other property,—like a lady in Charleston I knew of, who owned fifteen chimney-sweeps and rode in her carriage. It is clearly a vast inconvenience to each of these to make any change, and they are fretful and talkative, and all their friends are; and those less interested are inert, and, from want of thought, averse to innovation. It is like free trade, certainly the interest of nations, but by no means the interest of certain towns and districts, which tariff feeds fat; and the eager interest of the few overpowers the apathetic general conviction of the many. Banknotes rob the public, but are such a daily convenience that we silence our scruples, and make believe they are gold. So imposts are the cheap and right taxation; but by the dislike of people to pay out a direct tax, governments are forced to render life costly by making them pay twice as much, hidden in the price of tea and sugar.

In this national crisis, it is not argument that we want, but that rare courage which dares commit itself to a principle, believing that Nature is its ally, and will create the instruments it requires, and more than make good any petty and injurious profit which it may disturb. There never was such a combination as this of ours, and the rules to meet it are not set down in any history. We want men of original perception and original action, who can open their eyes wider than to a nationality, namely, to considerations of benefit to the human race, can act in the interest of civilization. Government must not be a parish clerk, a justice of the peace. It has, of necessity, in any crisis of the State, the absolute powers of a Dictator. The existing Administration is entitled to the utmost candor. It is to be thanked for its angelic virtue, compared with any executive experiences with which we have been familiar. But the times will not allow us to indulge in compliment. I wish I saw in the people that inspiration which, if Government would not obey the same, it would leave the Government behind, and create on the moment the means and executors it wanted. Better the war should more dangerously threaten us,—should threaten fracture in what is still whole, and punish us with burned capitals and slaughtered regiments, and so exasperate the people to energy, exasperate our nationality. There are Scriptures written invisibly on men's hearts, whose letters do not come out until they are enraged. They can be read by war-fires, and by eyes in the last peril.

We cannot but remember that there have been days in American history, when, if the Free States had done their duty, Slavery had been blocked by an immovable barrier, and our recent calamities forever precluded. The Free States yielded, and every compromise was surrender, and invited new demands. Here again is a new occasion which Heaven offers to sense and virtue. It looks as if we held the fate of the fairest possession of mankind in our hands, to be saved by our firmness or to be lost by hesitation.

The one power that has legs long enough and strong enough to cross the Potomac offers itself at this hour; the one strong enough to bring all the civility up to the height of that which is best prays now at the door of Congress for leave to move. Emancipation is the demand of civilization. That is a principle; everything else is an intrigue. This is a progressive policy,—puts the whole people in healthy, productive, amiable position,—puts every man in the South in just and natural relations with every man in the North, laborer with laborer.

We shall not attempt to unfold the details of the project of emancipation. It has been stated with great ability by several of its leading advocates. I will only advert to some leading points of the argument, at the risk of repeating the reasons of others.[B]

[Footnote B: I refer mainly to a Discourse by the Rev. M.D. Conway, delivered before the "Emancipation League," in Boston, in January last.]

The war is welcome to the Southerner: a chivalrous sport to him, like hunting, and suits his semi-civilized condition. On the climbing scale of progress, he is just up to war, and has never appeared to such advantage as in the last twelve-month. It does not suit us. We are advanced some ages on the war-state,—to trade, art, and general cultivation. His laborer works for him at home, so that he loses no labor by the war. All our soldiers are laborers; so that the South, with its inferior numbers, is almost on a footing in effective war-population with the North. Again, as long as we fight without any affirmative step taken by the Government, any word intimating forfeiture in the rebel States of their old privileges under the law, they and we fight on the same side, for Slavery. Again, if we conquer the enemy,—what then? We shall still have to keep him under, and it will cost as much to hold him down as it did to get him down. Then comes the summer, and the fever will drive our soldiers home; next winter, we must begin at the beginning, and conquer him over again. What use, then, to take a fort, or a privateer, or get possession of an inlet, or to capture a regiment of rebels?

But one weapon we hold which is sure. Congress can, by edict, as a part of the military defence which it is the duty of Congress to provide, abolish slavery, and pay for such slaves as we ought to pay for. Then the slaves near our armies will come to us: those in the interior will know in a week what their rights are, and will, where opportunity offers, prepare to take them. Instantly, the armies that now confront you must run home to protect their estates, and must stay there, and your enemies will disappear.

There can be no safety until this step is taken. We fancy that the endless debate, emphasized by the crime and by the cannons of this war, has brought the Free States to some conviction that it can never go well with us whilst this mischief of Slavery remains in our politics, and that by concert or by might we must put an end to it. But we have too much experience of the futility of an easy reliance on the momentary good dispositions of the public. There does exist, perhaps, a popular will that the Union shall not be broken,—that our trade, and therefore our laws, must have the whole breadth of the continent, and from Canada to the Gulf. But, since this is the rooted belief and will of the people, so much the more are they in danger, when impatient of defeats, or impatient of taxes, to go with a rush for some peace, and what kind of peace shall at that moment be easiest attained: they will make concessions for it,—will give up the slaves; and the whole torment of the past half-century will come back to be endured anew.

Neither do I doubt, if such a composition should take place, that the Southerners will come back quietly and politely, leaving their haughty dictation. It will be an era of good feelings. There will be a lull after so loud a storm; and, no doubt, there will be discreet men from that section who will earnestly strive to inaugurate more moderate and fair administration of the Government, and the North will for a time have its full share and more, in place and counsel. But this will not last,—not for want of sincere good-will in sensible Southerners, but because Slavery will again speak through them its harsh necessity. It cannot live but by injustice, and it will be unjust and violent to the end of the world.

The power of Emancipation is this, that it alters the atomic social constitution of the Southern people. Now their interest is in keeping out white labor; then, when they must pay wages, their interest will be to let it in, to get the best labor, and, if they fear their blacks, to invite Irish, German, and American laborers. Thus, whilst Slavery makes and keeps disunion, Emancipation removes the whole objection to union. Emancipation at one stroke elevates the poor white of the South, and identifies his interest with that of the Northern laborer.

Now, in the name of all that is simple and generous, why should not this great right be done? Why should not America be capable of a second stroke for the well-being of the human race, as eighty or ninety years ago she was for the first? an affirmative step in the interests of human civility, urged on her, too, not by any romance of sentiment, but by her own extreme perils? It is very certain that the statesman who shall break through the cobwebs of doubt, fear, and petty cavil that lie in the way, will be greeted by the unanimous thanks of mankind. Men reconcile themselves very fast to a bold and good measure, when once it is taken, though they condemned it in advance. A week before the two captive commissioners were surrendered to England, every one thought it could not be done: it would divide the North. It was done, and in two days all agreed it was the right action. And this action which costs so little (the parties injured by it being such a handful that they can very easily be indemnified) rids the world, at one stroke, of this degrading nuisance, the cause of war and ruin to nations. This measure at once puts all parties right. This is borrowing, as I said, the omnipotence of a principle. What is so foolish as the terror lest the blacks should be made furious by freedom and wages? It is denying these that is the outrage, and makes the danger from the blacks. But justice satisfies everybody,—white man, red man, yellow man, and black man. All like wages, and the appetite grows by feeding.

But this measure, to be effectual, must come speedily. The weapon is slipping out of our hands. "Time," say the Indian Scriptures, "drinketh up the essence of every great and noble action which ought to be performed, and which is delayed in the execution."

I hope it is not a fatal objection to this policy that it is simple and beneficent thoroughly, which is the attribute of a moral action. An unprecedented material prosperity has not tended to make us Stoics or Christians. But the laws by which the universe is organized reappear at every point, and will rule it. The end of all political struggle is to establish morality as the basis of all legislation. It is not free institutions, 't is not a republic, 't is not a democracy, that is the end,—no, but only the means. Morality is the object of government. We want a state of things in which crime shall not pay. This is the consolation on which we rest in the darkness of the future and the afflictions of to-day, that the government of the world is moral, and does forever destroy what is not.

It is the maxim of natural philosophers, that the natural forces wear out in time all obstacles, and take place: and 't is the maxim of history, that victory always falls at last where it ought to fall; or, there is perpetual march and progress to ideas. But, in either case, no link of the chain can drop out. Nature works through her appointed elements; and ideas must work through the brains and the arms of good and brave men, or they are no better than dreams.

* * * * *

Since the above pages were written, President Lincoln has proposed to Congress that the Government shall coöperate with any State that shall enact a gradual abolishment of Slavery. In the recent series of national successes, this Message is the best. It marks the happiest day in the political year. The American Executive ranges itself for the first time on the side of freedom. If Congress has been backward, the President has advanced. This state-paper is the more interesting that it appears to be the President's individual act, done under a strong sense of duty. He speaks his own thought in his own style. All thanks and honor to the Head of the State! The Message has been received throughout the country with praise, and, we doubt not, with more pleasure than has been spoken. If Congress accords with the President, it is not yet too late to begin the emancipation; but we think it will always be too late to make it gradual. All experience agrees that it should be immediate. More and better than the President has spoken shall, perhaps, the effect of this Message be,—but, we are sure, not more or better than he hoped in his heart, when, thoughtful of all the complexities of his position, he penned these cautious words.

* * * * *


  In the strength of the endeavor,
  In the temper of the giver,
  In the loving of the lover,
    Lies the hidden recompense.

  In the sowing of the sower,
  In the fleeting of the flower,
  In the fading of each hour,
    Lurks eternal recompense.



To the Editors of the ATLANTIC MONTHLY.

Jaalam, 10th March, 1862.

GENTLEMEN,—My leisure has been so entirely occupied with the hitherto fruitless endeavour to decypher the Runick inscription whose fortunate discovery I mentioned in my last communication, that I have not found time to discuss, as I had intended, the great problem of what we are to do with slavery, a topick on which the publick mind in this place is at present more than ever agitated. What my wishes and hopes are I need not say, but for safe conclusions I do not conceive that we are yet in possession of facts enough on which to bottom them with certainty. Acknowledging the hand of Providence, as I do, in all events, I am sometimes inclined to think that they are wiser than we, and am willing to wait till we have made this continent once more a place where freemen can live in security and honour, before assuming any further responsibility. This is the view taken by my neighbour Habakkuk Sloansure, Esq., the president of our bank, whose opinion in the practical affairs of life has great weight with me, as I have generally found it to be justified by the event, and whose counsel, had I followed it, would have saved me from an unfortunate investment of a considerable part of the painful economies of half a century in the Northwest-Passage Tunnel. After a somewhat animated discussion with this gentleman, a few days since, I expanded, on the audi alteram partem principle, something which he happened to say by way of illustration, into the following fable.


  Once on a time there was a pool
  Fringed all about with flag-leaves cool
  And spotted with cow-lilies garish,
  Of frogs and pouts the ancient parish.
  Alders the creaking redwings sink on,
  Tussocks that house blithe Bob o' Lincoln.
  Hedged round the unassailed seclusion,
  Where muskrats piled their cells Carthusian;
  And many a moss-embroidered log,
  The watering-place of summer frog,
  Slept and decayed with patient skill,
  As watering-places sometimes will.

  Now in this Abbey of Theleme,
  Which realized the fairest dream
  That ever dozing bull-frog had,
  Sunned on a half-sunk lily-pad,
  There rose a party with a mission
  To mend the polliwogs' condition,
  Who notified the selectmen
  To call a meeting there and then.
  "Some kind of steps." they said, "are needed;
  They don't come on so fast as we did:
  Let's dock their tails; if that don't make 'em
  Frogs by brevet, the Old One take 'em!
  That boy, that came the other day
  To dig some flag-root down this way,
  His jack-knife left, and 't is a sign
  That Heaven approves of our design:
  'T were wicked not to urge the step on,
  When Providence has sent the weapon."

  Old croakers, deacons of the mire,
  That led the deep batrachiain choir,
  Uk! Uk! Caronk! with bass that might
  Have left Lablache's out of sight,
  Shook knobby heads, and said, "No go!
  You'd better let 'em try to grow:
  Old Doctor Time is slow, but still
  He does know how to make a pill."

  But vain was all their hoarsest bass,
  Their old experience out of place,
  And, spite of croaking and entreating,
  The vote was carried in marsh-meeting.

  "Lord knows," protest the polliwogs,
  "We're anxious to be grown-up frogs;
  But do not undertake the work
  Of Nature till she prove a shirk;
  'T is not by jumps that she advances,
  But wins her way by circumstances:
  Pray, wait awhile, until you know
  We're so contrived as not to grow;
  Let Nature take her own direction,
  And she'll absorb our imperfection;
  You mightn't like 'em to appear with,
  But we must have the things to steer with."

  "No," piped the party of reform,
  "All great results are ta'en by storm;
  Fate holds her best gifts till we show
  We've strength to make her let them go:
  No more reject the Age's chrism,
  Your cues are an anachronism;
  No more the Future's promise mock,
  But lay your tails upon the block,
  Thankful that we the means have voted
  To have you thus to frogs promoted."

  The thing was done, the tails were cropped,
  And home each philotadpole hopped,
  In faith rewarded to exult,
  And wait the beautiful result.
  Too soon it came; our pool, so long
  The theme of patriot bull-frogs' song,
  Next day was reeking, fit to smother,
  With heads and tails that missed each other,—
  Here snoutless tails, there tailless snouts:
  The only gainers were the pouts.


  From lower to the higher next,
  Not to the top, is Nature's text;
  And embryo Good, to reach full stature,
  Absorbs the Evil in its nature.

I think that nothing will ever give permanent peace and security to this continent but the extirpation of Slavery therefrom, and that the occasion is nigh; but I would do nothing hastily or vindictively, nor presume to jog the elbow of Providence. No desperate measures for me till we are sure that all others are hopeless,—flectere si nequeo SUPEROS, Acheronta movebo. To make Emancipation a reform instead of a revolution is worth a little patience, that we may have the Border States first, and then the non-slaveholders of the Cotton States with us in principle,—a consummation that seems to me nearer than many imagine. Fiat justitia, ruat coelum, is not to be taken in a literal sense by statesmen, whose problem is to get justice done with as little jar as possible to existing order, which has at least so much of heaven in it that it is not chaos. I rejoice in the President's late Message, which at last proclaims the Government on the side of freedom, justice, and sound policy.

As I write, comes the news of our disaster at Hampton Roads. I do not understand the supineness which, after fair warning, leaves wood to an unequal conflict with iron. It is not enough merely to have the right on our side, if we stick to the old flint-lock of tradition. I have observed in my parochial experience (haud ignarus mali) that the Devil is prompt to adopt the latest inventions of destructive warfare, and may thus take even such a three-decker as Bishop Butler at an advantage. It is curious, that, as gunpowder made armour useless on shore, so armour is having its revenge by baffling its old enemy at sea,—and that, while gunpowder robbed land-warfare of nearly all its picturesqueness to give even greater stateliness and sublimity to a sea-fight, armour bids fair to degrade the latter into a squabble between two iron-shelled turtles.

Yours, with esteem and respect,


P.S. I had wellnigh forgotten to say that the object of this letter is to inclose a communication from the gifted pen of Mr. Biglow.

  I sent you a messige, my friens, t' other day,
  To tell you I'd nothin' pertickler to say:
  'T wuz the day our new nation gut kin' o' stillborn,
  So't wuz my pleasant dooty t' acknowledge the corn,
  An' I see clearly then, ef I didn't before,
  Thet the augur in inauguration means bore.
  I needn't tell you thet my messige wuz written
  To diffuse correc' notions in France an' Gret Britten,
  An' agin to impress on the poppylar mind
  The comfort an' wisdom o' goin' it blind,—
  To say thet I didn't abate not a hooter
  O' my faith in a happy an' glorious futur',
  Ez rich in each soshle an' p'litickle blessin'
  Ez them thet we now hed the joy o' possessin',
  With a people united, an' longin' to die
  For wut we call their country, without askin' why,
  An' all the gret things we concluded to slope for
  Ez much within reach now ez ever—to hope for.
  We've all o' the ellermunts, this very hour,
  Thet make up a fus'-class, self-governin' power:
  We've a war, an' a debt, an' a flag; an' ef this
  Ain't to be inderpendunt, why, wut on airth is?
  An' nothin' now henders our takin' our station
  Ez the freest, enlightenedest, civerlized nation,
  Built up on our bran'-new politickle thesis
  Thet a Guv'ment's fust right is to tumble to pieces,—
  I say nothin' henders our takin' our place
  Ez the very fus'-best o' the whole human race,
  A-spittin' tobacker ez proud ez you please
  On Victory's bes' carpets, or loafin' at ease
  In the Tool'ries front-parlor, discussin' affairs
  With our heels on the backs o' Napoleon's new chairs,
  An' princes a-mixin' our cocktails an' slings,—
  Excep', wal, excep' jest a very few things,
  Sech ez navies an' armies an' wherewith to pay,
  An' gittin' our sogers to run t' other way,
  An' not be too over-pertickler in tryin'
  To hunt up the very las' ditches to die in.

  Ther' are critters so base thet they want it explained
  Jes' wut is the totle amount thet we've gained,
  Ez ef we could maysure stupenjious events
  By the low Yankee stan'ard o' dollars an' cents:
  They seem to forgit, thet, sence last year revolved,
  We've succeeded in gittin' seceshed an' dissolved,
  An' thet no one can't hope to git thru dissolootion
  'Thout sonic kin' o' strain on the best Constitootion.
  Who asks for a prospec' more flettrin' an' bright,
  When from here clean to Texas it's all one free fight?
  Hain't we rescued from Seward the gret leadin' featurs
  Thet makes it wuth while to be reasonin' creaturs?
  Hain't we saved Habus Coppers, improved it in fact,
  By suspending the Unionists 'stid o' the Act?
  Ain't the laws free to all? Where on airth else d' ye see
  Every freeman improvin' his own rope an' tree?

  It's ne'ssary to take a good confident tone
  With the public; but here, jest amongst us, I own
  Things looks blacker 'n thunder. Ther' 's no use denyin'
  We're clean out o' money, an' 'most out o' lyin',—
  Two things a young nation can't mennage without,
  Ef she wants to look wal at her fust comin' out;
  For the fust supplies physickle strength, while the second
  Gives a morril edvantage thet's hard to be reckoned:
  For this latter I'm willin' to du wut I can;
  For the former you'll hev to consult on a plan,—
  Though our fust want (an' this pint I want your best views on)
  Is plausible paper to print I.O.U.s on.
  Some gennlemen think it would cure all our cankers
  In the way o' finance, ef we jes' hanged the bankers;
  An' I own the proposle 'ud square with my views,
  Ef their lives wuzn't all thet we'd left 'em to lose.
  Some say thet more confidence might be inspired,
  Ef we voted our cities an' towns to be fired,—
  A plan thet 'ud suttenly tax our endurance,
  Coz 't would be our own bills we should git for th' insurance;
  But cinders, no metter how sacred we think 'em,
  Mightn't strike furrin minds ez good sources of income,
  Nor the people, perhaps, wouldn't like the eclaw
  O' bein' all turned into paytriots by law.
  Some want we should buy all the cotton an' burn it,
  On a pledge, when we've gut thru the war, to return it,—
  Then to take the proceeds an' hold them ez security
  For an issue o' bonds to be met at maturity
  With an issue o' notes to be paid in hard cash
  On the fus' Monday follerin' the 'tarnal Allsmash:
  This hez a safe air, an', once hold o' the gold,
  'Ud leave our vile plunderers out in the cold,
  An' might temp' John Bull, ef it warn't for the dip he
  Once gut from the banks o' my own Massissippi.
  Some think we could make, by arrangin' the figgers,
  A hendy home-currency out of our niggers;
  But it wun't du to lean much on ary sech staff,
  For they're gittin' tu current a'ready, by half.
  One gennleman says, ef we lef' our loan out
  Where Floyd could git hold on 't, he'd take it, no doubt;
  But 't ain't jes' the takin', though 't hez a good look,
  We mus' git sunthin' out on it arter it's took,
  An' we need now more 'n ever, with sorrer I own,
  Thet some one another should let us a loan,
  Sence a soger wun't fight, on'y jes' while he draws his
  Pay down on the nail, for the best of all causes,
  'Thout askin' to know wut the quarrel's about,—
  An' once come to thet, why, our game is played out.
  It's ez true ez though I shouldn't never hev said it
  Thet a hitch hez took place in our system o' credit;
  I swear it's all right in my speeches an' messiges,
  But ther' 's idees afloat, ez ther' is about sessiges:
  Folks wun't take a bond ez a basis to trade on,
  Without nosin' round to find out wut it's made on,
  An' the thought more an' more thru the public min' crosses
  Thet our Treshry hez gut 'mos' too many dead hosses.
  Wut's called credit, you see, is some like a balloon,
  Thet looks while it's up 'most ez harnsome 'z a moon,
  But once git a leak in 't an' wut looked so grand
  Caves righ' down in a jiffy ez flat ez your hand.
  Now the world is a dreffle mean place, for our sins,
  Where ther' ollus is critters about with long pins
  A-prickin' the globes we've blowcd up with sech care,
  An' provin' ther' 's nothin' inside but bad air:
  They're all Stuart Millses, poor-white trash, an' sneaks,
  Without no more chivverlry 'n Choctaws or Creeks,
  Who think a real gennleman's promise to pay
  Is meant to be took in trade's ornery way:
  Them fellers an' I couldn' never agree;
  They're the nateral foes o' the Southun Idee;
  I'd gladly take all of our other resks on me
  To be red o' this low-lived politikle 'con'my!

  Now a dastardly notion is gittin' about
  Thet our bladder is bust an' the gas oozin' out,
  An' onless we can mennage in some way to stop it,
  Why, the thing's a gone coon, an' we might ez wal drop it.
  Brag works wal at fust, but it ain't jes' the thing
  For a stiddy inves'ment the shiners to bring,
  An' votin' we're prosp'rous a hundred times over
  Wun't change bein' starved into livin' on clover.
  Manassas done sunthin' tow'rds drawin' the wool
  O'er the green, anti-slavery eyes o' John Bull:
  Oh, warn't it a godsend, jes' when sech tight fixes
  Wuz crowdin' us mourners, to throw double-sixes!
  I wuz tempted to think, an' it wuzn't no wonder,
  Ther' wuz reelly a Providence,—over or under,—
  When, all packed for Nashville, I fust ascertained
  From the papers up North wut a victory we'd gained,
  'T wuz the time for diffusin' correc' views abroad
  Of our union an' strength an' relyin' on God;
  An', fact, when I'd gut thru my fust big surprise,
  I much ez half b'lieved in my own tallest lies,
  An' conveyed the idee thet the whole Southun popperlace
  Wuz Spartans all on the keen jump for Thermopperlies,
  Thet set on the Lincolnites' bombs till they bust,
  An' fight for the priv'lege o' dyin' the fust;
  But Roanoke, Bufort, Millspring, an' the rest
  Of our recent starn-foremost successes out West,
  Hain't left us a foot for our swellin' to stand on,—

  We've showed too much o' wut Buregard calls abandon,
  For all our Thermopperlies (an' it's a marcy
  We hain't hed no more) hev ben clean vicy-varsy,
  An' wut Spartans wuz lef' when the battle wuz done
  Wuz them thet wuz too unambitious to run.

  Oh, ef we hed on'y jes' gut Reecognition,
  Things now would ha' ben in a different position!
  You'd ha' hed all you wanted: the paper blockade
  Smashed up into toothpicks,—unlimited trade
  In the one thing thet's needfle, till niggers, I swow,
  Hed ben thicker 'n provisional shinplasters now,—
  Quinine by the ton 'ginst the shakes when they seize ye,—
  Nice paper to coin into C.S.A. specie;
  The voice of the driver'd be heerd in our land,
  An' the univarse scringe, ef we lifted our hand:
  Wouldn't thet be some like a fulfillin' the prophecies,
  With all the fus' fem'lies in all the best offices?
  'T wuz a beautiful dream, an' all sorrer is idle,—
  But ef Lincoln would ha' hanged Mason an' Slidell!
  They ain't o' no good in European pellices,
  But think wut a help they'd ha' ben on their gallowses!
  They'd ha' felt they wuz truly fulfillin' their mission,
  An', oh, how dog-cheap we'd ha' gut Reecognition!

  But somehow another, wutever we've tried,
  Though the the'ry's fust-rate, the facs wun't coincide:
  Facs are contrary 'z mules, an' ez hard in the mouth,
  An' they allus hev showed a mean spite to the South.
  Sech bein' the case, we hed best look about
  For some kin' o' way to slip our necks out:
  Le''s vote our las' dollar, ef one can be found,
  (An', at any rate, votin' it hez a good sound,)—
  Le''s swear thet to arms all our people is flyin',
  (The critters can't read, an' wun't know how we're lyin',)—
  Thet Toombs is advancin' to sack Cincinnater,
  With a rovin' commission to pillage an' slarter,—
  Thet we've throwed to the winds all regard for wut's lawfle,
  An' gone in for sunthin' promiscu'sly awfle.
  Ye see, hitherto, it's our own knaves an' fools
  Thet we've used,—those for whetstones, an't' others ez tools,—
  An' now our las' chance is in puttin' to test
  The same kin' o' cattle up North an' out West.
  I——But, Gennlemen, here's a despatch jes' come in
  Which shows thet the tide's begun turnin' agin,—
  Gret Cornfedrit success! C'lumbus eevacooated!
  I mus' run down an' hev the thing properly stated,
  An' show wut a triumph it is, an' how lucky
  To fin'lly git red o' thet cussed Kentucky,—
  An' how, sence Fort Donelson, winnin' the day
  Consists in triumphantly gittin' away.


The Sisters, Inisfail, and other Poems. By AUBREY DE VERE. London.

Whatever Mr. De Vere writes is welcomed by a select audience. Not taking rank among the great masters of English poetry, he yet possesses a genuine poetic faculty which distinguishes him from "the small harpers with their glees" who counterfeit the true gift of Nature. In refined and delicate sensibility, in purity of feeling, in elevation of tone, there is no English writer of verse at the present day who surpasses him. The fine instinct of a poet is united in him with the cultivated taste of a scholar. There is nothing forced or spasmodic in his verse; it is the true expression of character disciplined by thought and study, of fancy quickened by ready sympathies, of feeling deepened and calmed by faith. As is the case with most English poets since Wordsworth, he invests the impressions received from the various aspects of Nature with moral associations, and with fine spiritual insight he seeks out the inner meaning of the external life of the earth. No one describes more truthfully than he those transient beauties of Nature which in their briefness and their exquisite variety of change elude the coarse grasp of the common observer, and too frequently pass half unnoticed and unfelt even by those whose temperament is susceptive of their inspiring influences, but whose thoughts are occupied with the cares and business of living. But it is especially as the poet of Ireland, and of the Roman Church, that Mr. De Vere presents himself to us in this last volume; and while, consequently, the subject and treatment of many of the poems contained in it give to them a special rather than a universal interest, the patriotic spirit and the fervor of faith manifest in them appeal powerfully to the sympathies of readers in other countries and of other creeds. "'Inisfail' may be regarded as a sort of National Chronicle, cast in a form partly lyrical, partly narrative…. Its aim is to record the past alone, and that chiefly as its chances might have been sung by those old bards, who, consciously or unconsciously, uttered the voice which comes from a people's heart." In this attempt Mr. De Vere has had an uncommon measure of success. The strings of the Irish harp sound with the cadences of fitting harmonies under his hand, as he sings of the sorrows and the joys of Ireland, of the wild storms and the rare sunshine of her pathetic history,—as he denounces vengeance on her oppressors, or blesses the saints and the heroes who have made the land dear and beautiful to its children. The key-note of the series of poems which form this poetic chronicle is struck in the fine verses with which it begins, entitled "History," and of which our space allows us to quote but the opening stanza:—

  "At my casement I sat by night, while the wind far off in dark valleys
  Voluminous gathered and grew, and waxing swelled to a gale;
  An hour I heard it, or more, ere yet it sobbed on my lattice:
  Far off, 't was a People's moan; hard by, but a widow's wail.
  Atoms we are, we men: of the myriad sorrow around us
  Our littleness little grasps; and the selfish in that have no part:
  Yet time with the measureless chain of a world-wide mourning hath
     wound us;
  History but counts the drops as they fall from a Nation's heart."

One of the most vigorous poems in the volume is that called "The Bard Ethell," and which represents this bard of the thirteenth century telling in his old age of himself and his country, of his memories, and of the wrongs that he and his land had alike suffered:—

  "I am Ethell, the son of Conn;
    Here I live at the foot of the hill;
  I am clansman to Brian, and servant to none;
    Whom I hated, I hate; whom I loved, love still."

Here is a passage from near the end of this poem:—

  "Ah me, that man who is made of dust
    Should have pride toward God! 'T is an angel's sin!
  I have often feared lest God, the All-Just,
    Should bend from heaven and sweep earth clean,
  Should sweep us all into corners and holes,
  Like dust of the house-floor, both bodies and
  I have often feared He would send some
  In wrath, and the nation wake up stone-blind!
  In age or youth we have all wrought ill."

But a large part of the volume before us is made up of poems that do not belong to this Irish series, and the readers of the "Atlantic" will find in it several pieces which they will recognize with pleasure as having first appeared in our own pages, and which, once read, were not to be readily forgotten. Mr. De Vere has expressed in several passages his warm sympathy in our national affairs, and his clear appreciation of the great cause, so little understood abroad, which we of the North are engaged in upholding and maintaining. And although in these days of war there is little reading of poetry, and little chance that this volume will find the welcome it deserves and would receive in quieter times in America, we yet trust that it will meet with worthy readers among those who possess their souls in quietness in the midst of the noise of arms, and to such we heartily commend it.

A Book about Doctors. By J. CORDY JEAFFRESON, Author of "Novels and Novelists," "Crewe Else," etc., etc. New York: Rudd & Carleton. 12mo.

Mr. Jeaffreson is not usually either a brilliant or a sensible man with pen in hand, albeit he dates from "Rolls Chambers, Chancery Lane." He is apt to select slow coaches, whenever he attempts a ride. His "Novels and Novelists" is a sad move in the "deadly lively" direction, and his "Crewe Rise" has not risen to much distinction among the reading crew. In those volumes of departed rubbish he sinks very low, whenever he essays to mount; but his dulness is innoxious, for few there be who can say, "We have read him." His "Book about Doctors" is the best literary venture he has yet made. It is not a dull volume. The anecdotes so industriously collected keep attention alert, and one feels inclined to applaud Mr. Jeaffreson as the leaves of his book are turned.

Everything about Doctors is interesting. Here are a few Bible verses which it will do no harm to quote in connection with Mr. Jeaffreson's volume:—

"Honor a physician with the honor due unto him for the uses which you have made of him: for the Lord hath created him."

"For of the Most High cometh healing, and he shall receive honor of the king."

"The skill of the physician shall lift up his head; and in the sight of great men he shall be in admiration."

"The Lord hath created medicines out of the earth; and he that is wise will not abhor them."

It was no unwise thing in Mr. Jeaffreson to bring so many noble men together, as it were into one family. What "names embalmed" one meets with in the collection! Here are Sydenham, Goldsmith, Smollett, Sir Thomas Browne, and a golden line of other Doctors, nearly all the way down to our own time. (Our well-beloved M.D. [Monthly Diamond] contributor is too young to be included.) Keats is among the worthies, although he got no farther into the mysteries than the apothecary's counter. Meeting with this interesting series of splendid medicine-men leads us to muse a good deal about the Faculty, and to re-read several good anecdotes about the great symptom-watchers of the past and the present day.

When Sir Richard Blackmore asked the great Sydenham, "Prince of English physicians," what he would advise him for medical reading, he is said to have replied, "Read Don Quixote, Sir." Sensible and witty old man!

We are struck with the cheerful character of nearly all the M.D.s mentioned in the volume, and are constantly reminded of the advice we once read of an old Doctor to a young one:—"Moreover, let me tell you, my young doctor friend, that a cheerful face, and step, and neckcloth, and button-hole, and an occasional hearty and kindly joke, a power of executing and setting a-going a good laugh, are stock in our trade not to be despised."

"I may give an instance," says the same good-natured physician, "when a joke was more and better than itself. A comely young wife, the 'cynosure' of her circle, was in bed, apparently dying from swelling and inflammation of the throat, an inaccessible abscess stopping the way; she could swallow nothing; everything had been tried. Her friends were standing round the bed in misery and helplessness. 'Try her wi' a compliment,' said her husband, in a not uncomic despair. She had genuine humor, as well as he; and an physiologists know, there is a sort of mental tickling which is beyond and above control, being under the reflex system, and instinctive as well as sighing. She laughed with her whole body, and burst the abscess, and was well."

Mr. Jeaffreson's book might be better, but it might be worse. We cannot forgive him for his "Novels and Novelists" and his "Crewe Rise," two works which go far to prove their author a person of indefatigable incoherency; but we thank him for the industry which brought together so much that is very readable about Doctors.

John Brent. By THEODORE WINTHROP, Author of "Cecil Dreeme." Boston: Ticknor & Fields. 16mo.

It is probable that we have not yet completely appreciated the value of the bright and noble life which a wretched Rebel sharp-shooter extinguished in the disastrous fight of Great Bethel. "John Brent" is a book which gives us important aid in the attempt to form an adequate conception of Winthrop's character. Its vivid pages shine throughout with the author's brave and tender spirit. "Cecil Dreeme" was an embodiment of his thoughts, observations, and imaginations; "John Brent" shows us the inbred poetry and romance of the man in the grander form of action. The scene is placed in the wild Western plains of America, among men entirely free from the restraints of conventional life; and the book has a buoyancy and brisk vitality, a dashing, daring, and jubilant vigor, such as we are not accustomed to in ordinary romances of American life. Sir Philip Sidney is the type of the Anglo-Saxon hero; but we think that Winthrop was fully his match in delicacy and intrepidity, in manly courage, and in sweet, instinctive tenderness. As to style, the American far exceeds the Englishman. A certain conventional artifice and dainty affectation clouded the clear and beautiful nature of Sidney, when he wrote. The elaborate embroidery of thought, the stiff and cumbrous Elizabethan dress of language, with all its ruffles and laces, make the "Arcadia" an imperfect exponent of Sidney's nature. His intense thoughts, delicate emotions, and burning passions are half concealed in the form he adopts for their expression. But Winthrop is as fresh, natural, strong, and direct in his language as in his life. He used words, not for ornament, but for expression. Every phrase is stamped by a die supplied by reflection or feeling, and not a paragraph in "John Brent" differs in spirit from the practical heroism which urged the author to expose himself to certain death at Great Bethel. The condensed, lucid, picturesque, and sharp-cut sentences, flooded with will, show the nature of the man,—a man who announced no sentiments and principles he was not willing to sacrifice himself to disseminate or defend. A living energy of soul glows over the whole book,—swift, fiery, brave, wholesome, sincere, impatient of all physical obstacles to the operation of thought and affection, and eager to make stubborn facts yield to the impatient pressure of spiritual purpose.

We cannot say much in praise of the plot of "John Brent," but it at least enables the author to supply a good framework for his incidents, descriptions, and characters. The plot is based rather on possibilities than probabilities; but the men and women he depicts are thoroughly natural. It would be difficult to point to any other American novel which furnishes incidents that can compare in vigor and vividness with some of the incidents in this romance. The ride to rescue Helen Clitheroe from her kidnappers is a masterpiece, worthy to rank with the finest passages of Cooper or Scott. The fierce, swift black stallion, "Don Fulano," a horse superior to any which Homer has immortalized, is almost the hero of the romance. That Winthrop, with all his sympathy with the "advanced" ideas and sentiments of the reformers and philanthropists of the time, was not a mere prattling and scribbling sentimentalist, is proved by his glorious idealization of this magnificent horse. He raises the beast into a moral and intellectual sympathy with his human rider, and there is a poetic justice in making him die at last in an attempt to further the escape of a fugitive slave.

The characterization of the book is original. Gerrian, Jake Shamberlain, Armstrong, Sizzum, the Mormon preacher, are absolutely new creations. Hugh Clitheroe may suggest Dickens's Skimpole and Hawthorne's Clifford, but the character is developed under entirely new circumstances. As for Wade and Brent, they are persons whom we all recognize as the old heroes of romance, though the conditions under which they act are changed. Helen, the heroine of the story, is a more puzzling character to the critic; but, on the whole, we are bound to say that she is a new development of womanhood. The author exhausts all the resources of his genius in giving a "local habitation and a name" to this fond creation of his imagination, and he has succeeded. Helen Clitheroe promises to be one of those "beings of the mind" which will he permanently remembered.

Heroism, active or passive, is the lesson taught by this romance, and we know that the author, in his life, illustrated both phases of the quality. His novels, which, when he was alive, the booksellers refused to publish, are now passing through their tenth and twelfth editions. Everybody reads "Cecil Dreeme" and "John Brent," and everybody must catch a more or less vivid glimpse of the noble nature of their author. But these books give but an imperfect expression of the soul of Theodore Winthrop. They have great merits, but they are still rather promises than performances. They hint of a genius which was denied full development. The character, however, from which they derive their vitality and their power to please, shines steadily through all the imperfections of plot and construction. The novelist, after all, only suggests the power and beauty of the man; and the man, though dead, will keep the novels alive. Through them we can commune with a rare and noble spirit, called away from earth before all its capacities of invention and action were developed, but still leaving brilliant traces in literature of the powers it was denied the opportunity adequately to unfold.

* * * * *


To keep pace with the productions of foreign literature is a task beyond the possibilities of any reader. The bibliographical journals of France, Germany, Italy, and Spain weekly present such copious lists of new works, that a mere mention of only the principal ones would far exceed the limits we have proposed to ourselves. However, from the chaos of contemporary productions it is our intention to sift, as far as lies in our power, such works as may with justice be styled representative of the country in which they are produced. Ranging in this introductory article through the year 1861, we shall limit ourselves to a few of the contributions upon French literary history.

No branch of letters is richer at the present time than that in which the writer, laying aside all thought of direct creativeness, confines himself to the criticism of the works of the past or present, analyzing and studying the influences that have been brought to hear upon the poet, historian, or novelist, anatomizing literature and resolving it into its elements, pointing out the action exercised upon thought and expression by the age, and seeking the effects of these upon society and politics as well as upon the general tastes and moral being of a generation. Methods of writing are now discussed rather than put in practice. We are in a transition age more than politically. Creative genius seems to be resting for more marked and permanent channels to be formed; so that, though every year gives birth to numberless works in every branch of art, original production is rarer than the activity, the restlessness of the time might lead us to expect.

In no country has literary criticism more life than in France. It engages the attention of the best minds. No writer, whatever be his speciality, thinks it derogatory to give long and elaborate notices in the daily press of new books or new editions of old books. Thus, Sainte-Beuve in the "Moniteur," De Sacy, Saint-Marc Girardin, Philarète Chasles, Prévost-Paradol in the "Journal des Débats," not to mention the numerous writers of the "Revue des Deux Mondes," the "Européenne," and the "Nationale," vie with each other in extracting from all that appears what is most acceptable to the general reader.

M. Sainte-Beuve may be taken as a type of the avowedly professional critic. Whatever he may accomplish as the historian of Port-Royal, it is to his weekly articles, informal and disconnected as they are, that he owes his high rank among French authors. These "Causeries du Lundi" have now reached the fourteenth volume.[A] In the last we find the same easy admiration, facility of approbation, and suppleness that enable him to praise the "Fanny" of Feydeau, calling it a poem, and on the next page to do justice to the last volume of Thiers's "Consulate and Empire," or to the recent publication of the Correspondence of Buffon. The most important articles in the volume are those on Vauvenargues, on the Abbé de Marolles, and on Bonstetten.

[Footnote A: Causeries du Lundi. Par C.A. Sainte-Beuve, de l'Académie
Française. Tome Quatorziéme. Paris: Garnier Frères. 12mo. pp. 480.]

Of quite a different school is M. Armand de Pontmartin, who, under the titles of "Causeries du Samedi," "Causeries Littéraires," etc., has now issued over a dozen volumes touching on all points of contemporary letters, often very severe in their strictures. The last, "Les Semaines Littéraires,"[B] contains notices of late works by Cousin, About, Quinet, Laprade, and others, and concludes with an article on Scribe. Pontmarlin represents the Catholic sentiment in literature. He measures everything as it agrees or disagrees with Legitimacy and Ultramontanism. His works are a continual defence of the Bourbons and the Pope. Modern democracy he cannot pardon. Without seeking to deny the excesses and shortcomings of his own party, he finds an explanation for all in the levelling tendencies of the age. He cannot be too severe on the first French Revolution and its results. "In letters," he tells us, "it has led to materialism and anarchy, while the Bourbons personify for France peace, glory," etc.

[Footnote B: Les Semaines Littéraires. Troisième Série des Causeries Littéraires. Par Armand de Pontmartin. Paris: Michel Lévy Frères. 12mo. pp. 364.]

Pontmartin is an able representative of the side he has taken. He believes in and ably defends those heroes of literature so well characterized as "Prophets of the Past," Chateaubriand, De Bonald, and J. de Maistre. His special objects of antipathy are writers like Michelet and Quinet, pamphleteers like About, and critics like Sainte-Beuve.

The last he cannot pardon for his work on Chateaubriand,[C] published in the early part of the year 1861. The time is past for giving a fuller account of this remarkable production of the historian of Port-Royal. Suffice it to say, that, though it deals in very small criticism indeed, though its author seems to have made it his task to sum up all the weaknesses of one the prestige of whose name fills, in France at least, the first half of this century, yet there exists no more valuable contribution to the history of literature under the first Empire. It has been called "a work no one would wish to have written, yet which is read by all with exquisite pleasure." Nothing could be truer.

[Footnote C: Chateaubriand et son Groupe Littéraire sous l'Empire. Cours professé à Liége en 1848-1849, par C.A. Sainte-Beuve, de l'Académie Française. Paris: Garnier Frères. 2 vols. 8vo. pp. 410, 457.]

"Chateaubriand and his Literary Group under the Empire" is a course of twenty-one lectures delivered by Sainte-Beuve at Liège, whither he repaired soon after the Revolution of 1848 broke out in Paris. Fragments of the work appeared in the "Revue des Deux Mondes," among others the paper on Chênedollé, which forms the most interesting portion of the second division. In this are to be found several original letters, now published for the first time, casting much new light on the life of that unfortunate poet.

Of more general interest, however, are the pages on Chateaubriand himself. It was the fate of this writer to be flattered beyond measure in his lifetime, and now come the first judgments of posterity, which deals with him no less harshly than it has already begun to deal with another idol of the French people, Béranger. Sainte-Beuve has constituted himself judge, reversing even his own adulatory articles, as they may be read in the earlier volumes of the "Causeries." It is at best an ungrateful task to dissect a reputation in the way in which we find it done in the present work. It must seem strange to many a reader that the very man who in early life could utter such sweet flattery, who long was the foremost to bear incense, should now consider it his duty "to seek the foot of clay beneath the splendid drapery, and to replace about the statue the aromas of the sanctuary by the perfumes of the boudoir." In spite of this, "Chateaubriand and his Literary Group" must be ranked among the most remarkable of literary biographies. Here the critic gives full scope to his inclination for minute analysis; the history of the author of "René" explains his works, and these in turn are made to tell his life,—that life so full of love of effect, and constant painstaking to seem rather than to be. Even in his religious sentiments the author of the "Genius of Christianity" appears lukewarm, not to say more.

In comprehensive works on literary history France is far from being as rich as Germany. Beyond the native literature little has been accomplished; and even in this, works of importance may be counted on the fingers. The past year saw the conclusion of Nisard's work, the most comprehensive history of French literature. The fourth volume[D] is devoted to the eighteenth century, and concludes with a few general chapters on the nineteenth.

[Footnote D: Histoire de la Literature Française. Par D. Nisard, de l'Académie Française, Inspecteur-Général de l'Enseignement Supérieur. Tome Quatrième, Paris: Firmin Didot Frères, Fils, et Cie. 8vo. pp. 584.]

The work of M. Gerusez, "History of French Literature from its Origin to the Devolution,"[E] although it had the honor of being considered worthy of the prix Gobert by the French Academy, is far from satisfying the requirements of general literary history. It may rather be considered a systematic series of essays, beginning with the "Chansons de Geste," analyzing several poems of the cycle of Charlemagne, and followed by successive independent chapters on the Middle Ages, the revival of letters, and modern times down to the Revolution. It will be remembered that in 1859 M. Gerusez published a "History of Literature during the French Revolution, 1789-1800." This also obtained a prize from the Academy,—much more deservedly, we think, than the last production, when we consider the interest he cast over the literary efforts of a period much more marked by action than by artistic productiveness of any kind. The German writer Schmidt-Weiszenfels in the same year issued a work with the pretentious title, "History of the Revolution-Literature of France."[F] This is little more than a declamatory production, wanting in what is most characteristic of the German mind, original research. The "Literary History of the National Convention," [G] by E. Maron, is devoted more to politics than to letters.

[Footnote E: Histoire de la Littérature Française, depuis ses Origines jusqu'à la Revolution. Par Eugène Gerusez. Paris: Didier et Cie. 2 vols. 8vo. pp. 488, 507.]

[Footnote F: Geschichte der Französischen Revolutions-Literatur, 1789-1795. Von Schmidt-Weiszenfels. Prague: Kober und Markgraf. 8vo. pp. 395.]

[Footnote G: Histoire Littéraire de la Convention Nationale. Par
Eugène Maron. Paris: Poulet-Malassis et De Boise. 12mo. pp. 359.]

To return to the volumes of M. Gerusez. It is rather a sign of poverty in general literary history, that detached sketches, with little connection beyond their chronological order, should have been deemed worthy of the prize and the praises awarded to them. However, though lacking in comprehensive views such as we have a right to expect from an author who attempts to portray the rise, growth, and full expansion of a literature, the work of M. Gerusez may be perused with pleasure and profit by the student. It is clear and satisfactory in the details. Thus, the pages devoted to the writers of the "Encyclopédie," though few, may vie with any that have been written to set in their true light men whose influence was so great on the generation that succeeded them. If impartiality consisted in always steering in the juste-milieu, M. Gerusez would be the most impartial of historians. As it is, we have to thank him for a good book, regretting only that he has gone no farther.

Far otherwise is it with M. Saint-Marc Girardin. The eloquent Sorbonne professor has seen his fame increase with every new volume of his "Course of Dramatic Literature." We have now the fourth volume.[H] "A Course of Dramatic Literature";—it is more. It is the history of the expression of Passion among the ancients and the moderns, by no means confined to the drama. The present volume, as well as the third, published several years ago, is devoted to the analysis of Love as expressed in different ages and by different nations, under the two divisions of L'Amour Ingénu and L'Amour Conjugal.

[Footnote H: Cours de Littérature Dramatique. Par Saint-Marc Girardin,
de l'Académie Française, Professeur à la Faculté des Lettres de Paris,
Membre du Conseil Impérial de l'Instruction Publique. Tome IV. Paris:

The first he had studied in the authors of antiquity in his third volume, beginning in this with the episode of Cupid and Psyche in Apuleius; then following up, through the moderns, the expression of Ingenuous Love in Corneille, La Fontaine, Sédaine, Bernardin de Saint-Pierre, Milton, Gessner, Voss, André Chénier, and Chateaubriand. For the last he finds more blame than praise. Indeed, this effect-seeking writer, with all his genius, seemed less fitted than any one to express the natural and spontaneous. His Atala, who charms us so at the first reading, deals in studied emotions. As to René, his is the vain sentimentality parading its own impotency for higher feelings, a virtual boasting of want of soul,—the sickly dissatisfaction of Werther, without his passion for an excuse. M. Saint-Marc Girardin then follows up his subject through later authors, even in Madame George Sand and in Madame Émile de Girardin. He is particularly severe upon Lamartine, that poet "who for more than thirty years seemed best to express love as our century understands it," but who in Raphael and Graziella destroyed, by disclosing too much, the power of his "Méditations Poétiques."

On Conjugal Love the classic models are first consulted,—Oenone, Evadne, Medea,—these characters being followed through the delineation of modern dramatists. We know of no more exquisite criticism than the pages devoted to Griseldis. Analyzing the accounts of Boccaccio, Chaucer, and Perault, our author concludes with the play of "Munck Bellinghausen." The last chapters, on "Love and Duty," are among the most eloquently written in the volume. For style, M. Saint-Marc Girardin is second to no living author of France.

In this course we find an evident predilection for the models of antiquity. When a comparison is instituted between the ancients and the moderns, we feel pretty certain of the result before the writer has proceeded very far. Not that we ever find a systematic idolizing of all that is classic merely. Far from it. Modern writers are not neglected. In this particular a genuine service is done to critical literature. It often seems as if literary lecturers and historians were attacked by an aesthetic presbyopy. For them the present age never produces anything worth even a passing remark. The masterpieces they notice must be old and time-honored. Not so in the present studies on the passions. Ponsard finds his place side by side with older names. After an appreciative notice of the Lucretia of Livy, we find a comment on the Lucretia which may have been played the week before at the Théâtre Français. Nor is it a slight service done to contemporary letters, when a master-critic turns his thoughts to works which, if they do not hold the first rank, yet, by the talent of their authors and the nature of their subjects, have attracted all eyes for a time. Such are the writings of Madame George Sand. Of these, "André," "La Mare au Diable," and "La Petite Fadette" are reviewed with praise in the work under consideration, while the force of criticism is expended on "Indiana," "Lelia," and "Jacques."

* * * * *

Whatever claims the academician Victor de Laprade may have to poetic talent, he certainly sinks below mediocrity when he attempts to discuss the principles of the art he practises. Since it has been his good-fortune to be numbered among the illustrious Forty he has several times attempted literary criticism, but never so extensively as in his last work, "Questions d'Art et de Morale."[I] This is a series of discursive essays, a few upon art in general, the greater part, however, restricted to letters; the whole written in a poetic prose not without a certain charm, but wearisome for continuous reading.

[Footnote I: Questions d'Art et de Morale. Par Victor de Laprade, de l'Académie Française. Paris: Didier et Cie. 8vo.]

The object of M. de Laprade is to defend what he calls "Spiritualism in Art." He wages an unrelenting war against the modern school of Realism. It is not the representation of visible Nature that the artist must seek; his aim must be "the representation of the invisible." He grows eloquent when he develops his favorite theories, and always succeeds in interesting when he applies them successively to all the arts. As to the author's political opinions, he takes no pains to conceal them. His work is an outcry against equality and universal suffrage. He traces the apathy of poetic creativeness in France to the sovereignty usurped everywhere "by the inferior elements of intelligence in the State." He seems to think, that, as humanity grows older, art falls from its divine ideal. Of contemporary architecture, he says that it can produce nothing original save railroad depots and crystal palaces. "A glass architecture is the only one that fully belongs to our age." Music, the "vaguest and most sensuous of all the arts," he regards as the art of the present. The religious worship of the future appears to him "a symphony with a thousand instruments executed under a dome of glass."

As to the purely literary essays of M. de Laprade, they may be read both with more pleasure and more profit than those in which he attempts to discuss the principles of aesthetics. "French Tradition in Literature," and "Poetry, and Industrialism," are full of suggestive thoughts, and, coming in the latter half of the volume, make us forget the pretentious nature of the first.

* * * * *

M. Gustave Merlet is a more modest opponent of some of the tendencies of the age. He presents his first book to the public under the title, "Réalisme et Fantaisie,"[J] earnestly and loyally attacking the two extremes of literature.

[Footnote J: Le Réalisme et la Fantaisie dans la Littérature. Par
Gustave Merlet. Paris: Didier et Cie. 12mo. pp. 431.]

Two styles of writing, diametrically opposed in every particular, have of late years flourished in the lighter productions of France. Some there are who would seek to incarnate in letters Nature as it is, without adornings, without ideal additions. The cry of the upholders of this doctrine is: Truth in art, war against the freaks of the imagination that colors all in unreal tints. The writers who have adopted such sentiments have been termed "Realists," much to their dissatisfaction. Balzac was the greatest of them. Champfleury may be called the most strenuous supporter of the system. There is a certain force, a false air of truth, in this daguerreotype process of writing, that seduces at first sight. When a man of some genius, as Gustave Flaubert in "Madame Bovary," undertakes to paint Nature, he sets details otherwise revolting in such relief that the very novelty and boldness of the attempt put us off our guard, and we are in danger of admitting as beauties what, after all, are only audacities.

The other extreme into which the literature of the day in France has fallen is an excess of fancy. A writer like Arsène Houssaye will write his "King Voltaire" or his "Madame de Pompadour," or Capefigue his "Madame de la Vallière," in which the judgment seems to have been set aside, and historical facts accumulated in some opium-dream are strangely woven into a narrative representing reality, with about as much truth as Oriental arabesques, or the adornings of richly wrought tapestry. This extreme is even more dangerous than the former, for it makes of letters a mere plaything, and recommends itself to many by its very faults. Paradox and overdrawn scenes usurp the place of the real. The world presented by the exclusive worshippers of fancy is little better than that "Pompadour" style of painting in which the carnation-tipped checks of shepherds and shepherdesses take the place of a too healthy Rubens-like portraiture. There are dainty, well-trimmed lambs, with pretty blue favors tied about their necks, just like dragées and bonbons. As we wander among those opera-swains in silk hose and those shepherdesses in satin bodices, their perfumes tire and nauseate, till we fairly wish for a good breeze wafted from some farm-yard, reconciled in a measure to the extravagances of the so-called "school of Nature."

M. Merlet's subject, it may be seen, is of interest merely to the student of the latest French literature. A more comprehensive study would not have been out of place in his volume. To those who may be interested in writers like Murger, Feydeau, Houssaye, and Brifaut, the book is full of interesting matter. To the general reader it may be of value as characterizing with fidelity some of the tendencies of French thought.

* * * * *

We must not omit mentioning a work published in Germany on the "Literature of the Second Empire since the Coup d'État of the Second of December, 1852."[K] The nature of this sketch could almost be predicated with certainty from the state of feeling towards France in the capital in which it was issued, and the encomiums it received from the Prussian political press. The author, William Reymond, who has proved himself no mean critic in some of his former essays upon the modern productions of France, addresses himself almost exclusively to a German public. His work, as he himself seemed to fear, is not calculated for the taste of Paris, even if it were considered unobjectionable there on the score of the political strictures that are introduced, whether in the discussion of the last play or in the analysis of the last volume of poems.

[Footnote K: Études sur la Littérature du Second Empire Français, depuis le Coup d'État du deux Decembre. Par William Reymond. Berlin: A. Charisius. 12mo. pp. 227.]

The truth is, M. Reymond, with much apparent praise, very nearly comes to the conclusion that the second Empire has no literature, and very little philosophy is granted to it in the chapter, "What remains of Philosophy in France." The Novel and the Theatre fare little better at his hands. He has literally made a police investigation of what is most objectionable in French letters, citing now and then some great name, but dwelling with complacency on what is deserving of censure. The influence of France, and of Paris in particular, on the tastes of the Continent, irritates him. He seeks to impress upon his readers the venality of letters and the general debasement of character and of talent that are prevalent in that capital. Such is the spirit of these "Études." The author has, unfortunately, not to seek far for a practical corroboration of his theory, though it is but justice to say that the verses he quotes as characteristic are far from being so. It is to be feared that M. Reymond has rather sought out the blemishes. He has found many, we admit. His readers will thank him for his clever exposition of them, satisfied in many cases to accept the results he presents, without feeling inclined to make such a personal investigation into the lower regions of letters.

* * * * *

"The Political and Literary History of the Press in France,"[L] by Eugene Hatin, is now concluded. As early as 1846, this author published a small work, "Histoire du Journal en France." Since that time he has devoted himself exclusively to the study of French journalism. Though liberal in his views, he is not in favor of unlimited liberty of the press. He believes it to be the interest of society that a curb should be put on its excesses. "What we must hope for is a liberty that may have full power for good, but not for evil."

[Footnote L: Histoire Politique et Littéraire de la Presse en France.
Avec une Introduction Historique sur les Origines du Journal et la
Bibliographie Générale des Journaux, depuis leur Origine. Par Eugène
Hatin. Paris: Poulet-Malassis et De Boise. 8 vols. 12mo.]

The two volumes published in 1861 contain the history of journalism during the latter part of the French Revolution, under the first Empire, the Restoration, and the Government of July. The work may be said to conclude with 1848, as less than twenty pages are devoted to the twelve years following. In this, however, the writer has done all he could be expected to do. This is no time for the candid historian to utter his thoughts of the present régime in France. Since the fatal decree of the 17th of February, 1852, the press has had only so much of life as the present sovereign has thought fit to grant it. Then it was that a representative of the people uttered the words,—"We must overthrow the press, as we have overthrown the barricades." Such were the sentiments of the National Assembly,—not understanding, that, when it struck at such an ally, it destroyed itself. And, indeed, it was but a short time before the tribune shared the fate of journalism. Better things had been hoped on the accession of the present Minister of the Interior, but as yet they have not been realized.



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The Spirit of the Hebrew Poetry. By Isaac Taylor, Author of "Saturday
Evening," etc., etc. With a Biographical Introduction by Wm. Adams,
D.D., Pastor of the Madison-Square Presbyterian Church, N.Y. New York.
G.W. Carleton. 8vo. pp. 386.

Ethical and Physiological Inquiries, chiefly Relative to Subjects of Popular Interest. By A.H. Dana. New York. C. Scribner. 12mo. pp. 308. $1.00.

The New American Cyclopaedia: A Popular Dictionary of General Knowledge.
Edited by George Ripley and Charles A. Dana. Volume XIV. Reed-Spire. New
York. D. Appleton & Co. 8vo. pp. 850, viii. $3.00.

Tracts for Priests and People. By Various Writers. Boston. Walker, Wise, & Co. 12mo. pp. 372. $1.00.

Method of Teachers' Institutes, and the Theory of Education. By
Samuel P. Bates. A.M., Deputy-Superintendent of the Common Schools of
Pennsylvania, and Author of "Institute Lectures." New York. Barnes &
Burr. 8vo. pp. 75. 50 cts.