The Project Gutenberg eBook of Library of the World's Best Literature, Ancient and Modern — Volume 05

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Title: Library of the World's Best Literature, Ancient and Modern — Volume 05

Editor: Charles Dudley Warner

Hamilton Wright Mabie

Lucia Isabella Gilbert Runkle

George H. Warner

Release date: September 24, 2004 [eBook #13520]
Most recently updated: December 18, 2020

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Juliet Sutherland, Charlie Kirschner and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team.









Connoisseur Edition





Professor of Hebrew,



Professor of English in the Sheffield Scientific School of



Professor of History and Political Science,



Professor of Literature,



President of the



Late Professor of the Germanic and Scandinavian Languages and Literatures,



Director of the Lick Observatory, and Astronomer



Professor of the Romance Languages,



Dean of the Department of Arts and Sciences, and Professor of English and History,



Professor of Greek and Latin Literature,



United States Commissioner of Education,



Professor of Literature in the





By Munroe Smith

Letters-- To Fran von Arnim

To His Wife: Aug. 7, 1851; June 6, 1859; June 8, 1859; June 28, 1859; July 26, 1859

To Oscar von Arnim

To His Wife: Aug. 4, 1862; July 9, 1866; Sept. 3, 1870; June 23, 1852

Personal Characteristics of the Members of the Frankfort Diet

From a Speech on the Military Bill


By William Morton Payne

Over the Lofty Mountains ('Arne')

The Cloister in the South ('Arnljot Gelline')

The Plea of King Magnus ('Sigurd Slembe')

Sin and Death (same)

The Princess

Sigurd Slembe's Return

How the Mountain Was Clad ('Arne')

The Father


The End of Macleod of Dare

Sheila in London ('A Princess of Thule')


A Desperate Venture ('Lorna Doone')

A Wedding and a Revenge (same)

Landing the Trout ('Alice Lorraine')

A Dane in the Dike ('Mary Anerley')

WILLIAM BLAKE -- 1757-1827



The Two Songs


The Piper and the Child

Holy Thursday

Cradle Song

The Little Black Boy

The Tiger

CHARLES BLANC -- 1813-1882

Rembrandt ('The Dutch School of Painters')

Albert Dürer's 'Melancholia' (same)

Ingres ('Life of Ingres')

Calamatta's Studio ('Contemporary Artists')

Blanc's Début as Art Critic (same)

Delacroix's 'Bark of Dante' (same)

Genesis of the 'Grammar'

Moral Influence of Art ('Grammar of Painting and Engraving')

Poussin's 'Shepherds of Arcadia' (same)

Landscape (same)

Style (same)

Law of Proportion in Architecture (same)


A Picture

The Knitting-Room

The Hosier

MATHILDE BLIND -- 1847-1896

From 'Love in Exile'


Songs of Summer

A Parable

Love's Somnambulist

The Mystic's Vision

From 'Tarantella'

O Moon, Large Golden Summer Moon

Green Leaves and Sere


By W.J. Stillman

Frederick of the Alberighi and His Falcon

The Jew Converted to Christianity by Going to Rome

The Story of Saladin and the Jew Usurer

The Story of Griselda






The Poetry of Mirza-Schaffy ('Thousand and One Days in the East')

Mirza-Schaffy (same)

The School of Wisdom (same)

An Excursion into Armenia (same)


Wisdom and Knowledge


Kinship of the Arts ('Rubens')

Poetry and Painting ('Holbein')

Tribute to Tobacco ('Dürer')

BOËTIUS -- 475-525

Of the Greatest Good ('Consolations of Philosophy')


Advice to Authors ('The Art of Poetry')

The Pastoral, the Elegy, the Ode, and the Epigram (same)

To Molière ('The Satires')

GASTON BOISSIER -- 1823-2152

Madame de Sévigné as a Letter-Writer ('Life of Madame de Sévigné')

French Society in the Seventeenth Century (same)

How Horace Lived at his Country-House ('The Country of Horace and Virgil')

GEORGE H. BOKER -- 1823-1890

The Black Regiment

The Sword-Bearer



By Thomas Davidson

On the Beholding of God in His Footsteps in This Sensible World

GEORGE BORROW -- 1803-1881

By Julian Hawthorne

At the Horse-Fair ('Lavengro')

A Meeting ('The Bible in Spain')

JUAN BOSCAN -- 1493-?1540

On the Death of Garcilaso

A Picture of Domestic Happiness ('Epistle to Mendoza')


By Adolphe Cohn

From the Sermon upon 'The Unity of the Church'

Opening of the Funeral Oration on Henrietta of France

From the 'Discourse upon Universal History'

Public Spirit in Rome

JAMES BOSWELL -- 1740-1795

By Charles F. Johnson

An Account of Corsica

A Tour to Corsica

The Life of Samuel Johnson


The American Family ('Outre-Mer')

The Aristocratic Vision of M. Renan ('Study of M. Renan')

SIR JOHN BOWRING -- 1792-1872

The Cross of Christ

Watchman! What of the Night?


From Luis de Gongora: Not All Nightingales

From John Kollar: Sonnet

From Bogdanovich (Old Russian): Song

From Bobrov: The Golden Palace

From Dmitriev: The Dove and The Stranger

From Sarbiewski: Sapphics to A Rose


A Norwegian Dance ('Gunnar')


Advent of the Hirelings ('The Christmas Hirelings')

"How Bright She Was--" etc. ('Mohawks')


By William Morton Payne

Björnson ('Eminent Authors of the Nineteenth Century')

The Historical Movement in Modern Literature ('Main Currents in the Literature of the Nineteenth Century')


The Universal Shyp

Of Hym That Togyder Wyll Serve Two Maysters

Of To[o] Moche Spekynge or Bablynge



Saint Dunstan (Colored Plate) Frontispiece
Bismarck (Portrait) 1930
"The Surrender at Sedan" (Photogravure) 1944
Richard Doddridge Blackmore (Portrait) 2012
"Rembrandt and His Wife" (Photogravure) 2055
Giovanni Boccaccio (Portrait) 2090
"The Decameron" (Photogravure) 2108
"Fatima" (Photogravure) 2120
"Domestic Happiness" (Photogravure) 2206


Björnstjerne Björnson
William Black
William Blake
Mathilde Blind
Friedrich M. von Bodenstedt
Johann Jakob Bodmer
Nicholas Boileau-Despréaux
Gaston Boissier
George H. Boker
George Borrow
Jacques Bénigne Bossuet
James Boswell
Paul Bourget
Sir John Bowring
Hjalmar Hjorth Boyesen
Georg Brandes
Sebastian Brandt




tto Edward Leopold, fourth child of Charles and Wilhelmina von Bismarck, was born at Schönhausen in Prussia, April 1, 1815. The family was one of the oldest in the "Old Mark" (now a part of the province of Saxony), and not a few of its members had held important military or diplomatic positions under the Prussian crown. The young Otto passed his school years in Berlin, and pursued university studies in law (1832-5) at Göttingen and at Berlin. At Göttingen he was rarely seen at lectures, but was a prominent figure in the social life of the student body: the old university town is full of traditions of his prowess in duels and drinking bouts, and of his difficulties with the authorities. In 1835 he passed the State examination in law, and was occupied for three years, first in the judicial and then in the administrative service of the State, at Berlin, Aix-la-Chapelle, and Potsdam. In 1838 he left the governmental service and studied agriculture at the Eldena Academy. From his twenty-fourth to his thirty-sixth year (1839-51) his life was that of a country squire. He took charge at first of property held by his father in Pomerania; upon his father's death in 1845 he assumed the management of the family estate of Schönhausen. Here he held the local offices of captain of dikes and of deputy in the provincial Diet. The latter position proved a stepping-stone into Prussian and German politics; for when Frederick William IV. summoned the "United Diet" of the kingdom (1847), Bismarck was sent to Berlin as an alternate delegate from his province.

The next three years were full of events. The revolution of 1848 forced all the German sovereigns who had thus far retained absolute power, among them the King of Prussia, to grant representative constitutions to their people. The same year witnessed the initiation of a great popular movement for the unification of Germany. A national Parliament was assembled at Frankfort, and in 1849 it offered to the King of Prussia the German imperial crown; but the constitution it had drafted was so democratic, and the opposition of the German princes so great, that Frederick William felt obliged to refuse the offer. An attempt was then made, at a Parliament held in Erfurt, to establish a "narrower Germany" under Prussian leadership; but this movement also came to nothing. The Austrian government, paralyzed for a time by revolts in its own territories, had re-established its power and threatened Prussia with war. Russia supported Austria, and Prussia submitted at Olmütz (1850). In these stirring years, Bismarck--first as a member of the United Diet and then as a representative in the new Prussian Chamber of Deputies--made himself prominent by hostility to the constitutional movement and championship of royal prerogative. He defended the King's refusal of the imperial crown, because "all the real gold in it would be gotten by melting up the Prussian crown"; and he compared the pact which the King, by accepting the Frankfort constitution, would make with the democracy, to the pact between the huntsman and the devil in the 'Freischütz': sooner or later, he declared, the people would come to the Emperor, and pointing to the Imperial arms, would say, "Do you fancy this eagle was given you for nothing?" He sat in the Erfurt Parliament, but had no faith in its success. He opposed the constitution which it adopted, although this was far more conservative than that drafted at Frankfort, because he deemed it still too revolutionary. During the Austro-Prussian disputes of 1850 he expressed himself, like the rest of the Prussian Conservatives, in favor of reconciliation with Austria, and he even defended the convention of Olmütz.

After Olmütz, the German Federal Diet, which had disappeared in 1848, was reconstituted at Frankfort, and to Frankfort Bismarck was sent, in 1857, as representative of Prussia. This position, which he held for more than seven years, was essentially diplomatic, since the Federal Diet was merely a permanent congress of German ambassadors; and Bismarck, who had enjoyed no diplomatic training, owed his appointment partly to the fact that his record made him persona grata to the "presidential power," Austria. He soon forfeited the favor of that State by the steadfastness with which he resisted its pretensions to superior authority, and the energy with which he defended the constitutional parity of Prussia and the smaller States; but he won the confidence of the home government, and was consulted by the King and his ministers with increasing frequency on the most important questions of European diplomacy. He strove to inspire them with greater jealousy of Austria. He favored closer relations with Napoleon III., as a make-weight against the Austrian influence, and was charged by some of his opponents with an undue leaning toward France; but as he explained in a letter to a friend, if he had sold himself, it was "to a Teutonic and not to a Gallic devil."

In the winter of 1858-9, as the Franco-Austrian war drew nearer, Bismarck's anti-Austrian attitude became so pronounced that his government, by no means ready to break with Austria, but rather disposed to support that power against France, felt it necessary to put him, as he himself expressed it, "on ice on the Neva." From 1859 to 1862 he held the position of Prussian ambassador at St. Petersburg. In 1862 he was appointed ambassador at Paris. In the autumn of the same year he became Minister-President of Prussia.

The new Prussian King, William I., had become involved in a controversy with the Prussian Chamber of Deputies over the reorganization of the army; his previous ministers were unwilling to press the reform against a hostile majority; and Bismarck, who was ready to assume the responsibility, was charged with the premiership of the new cabinet. "Under some circumstances," he said later, "death upon the scaffold is as glorious as upon the battlefield." From 1862 to 1866 he governed Prussia without the support of the lower chamber and without a regular budget. He informed a committee of the Deputies that the questions of the time were not to be settled by-debates, but by "blood and iron."

In the diplomatic field it was his effort to secure a position of advantage for the struggle with Austria for the control of Germany,--a struggle which, six years before, he had declared to be inevitable. During his stay in St. Petersburg he had strengthened the friendly feeling already subsisting between Prussia and Russia; and in 1863 he gave the Russian government useful support in crushing a Polish insurrection. To a remonstrance from the English ambassador, somewhat arrogantly delivered in the name of Europe, Bismarck responded, "Who is Europe?" While in Paris he had convinced himself that no serious interference was to be apprehended from Napoleon. That monarch overrated Austria; regarded Bismarck's plans, which appear to have been explained with extraordinary frankness, as chimerical; and pronounced Bismarck "not a serious person." Bismarck, on the other hand, privately expressed the opinion that Napoleon was "a great unrecognized incapacity." When, in 1863, the death of Frederick VII. of Denmark without direct heirs raised again the ancient Schleswig-Holstein problem, Bismarck saw that the opportunity had come for the solution of the German question.

The events of the next seven years are familiar history. In 1864 Prussia and Austria made war on Denmark, and obtained a joint sovereignty over the duchies of Holstein and Schleswig. In 1866, with Italy as her ally, Prussia drove Austria out of the German Confederation; annexed Schleswig, Holstein, Hanover, Electoral Hesse, and Frankfort; and brought all the German States north of the Main, except Luxemburg, into the North German Confederation, of which the King of Prussia was President and Bismarck Chancellor. When war was declared by France in 1870, the South German States also placed their forces at the King of Prussia's disposal; and before the war was over they joined the newly established German Empire, which thus included all the territories of the old Confederation except German Austria and Luxemburg. The old Confederation was a mere league of sovereign States; the new Empire was a nation. To this Empire, at the close of the war, the French Republic paid an indemnity of five milliards of francs, and ceded Alsace and Lorraine.

In giving the German people political unity Bismarck realized their strongest and deepest desire; and the feeling entertained toward him underwent a sudden revulsion. From 1862 to 1866 he had been the best hated man in Germany. The partial union of 1867--when, as he expressed it, Germany was "put in the saddle"--made him a national hero. The reconciliation with the people was the more complete because, at Bismarck's suggestion, a German Parliament was created, elected by universal suffrage, and because the Prussian ministers (to the great indignation of their conservative supporters) asked the Prussian Deputies to grant them indemnity for their unconstitutional conduct of the government during the preceding four years. For the next ten years Bismarck had behind him, in Prussian and in German affairs, a substantial nationalist majority. At times, indeed, he had to restrain their zeal. In 1867, for instance, when they desired to take Baden alone into the new union,--the rest of South Germany being averse to entrance,--Bismarck was obliged to tell them that it would be a poor policy "to skim off the cream and let the rest of the milk turn sour."

Bismarck remained Chancellor of the Empire as well as Minister-President of Prussia until 1890, when William II. demanded his resignation. During these years the military strength of the Empire was greatly increased; its finances were placed upon an independent footing; its authority was extended in legislative matters, and its administrative system was developed and consolidated. Conflicts with the Roman Catholic hierarchy (1873-87), and with the Social Democracy (1878-90) resulted indecisively; though Bismarck's desire to alleviate the misery which in his opinion caused the socialistic movement gave rise to a series of remarkable laws for the insurance of the laboring classes against accident, disease, and old age. With a return to the protective system, which Bismarck advocated for fiscal reasons, he combined the attempt to enlarge Germany's foreign market by the establishment of imperial colonies in Africa and in the Pacific Ocean. In other respects his foreign policy, after 1870, was controlled by the desire to preserve peace. "Germany," he said, "belongs to the satisfied nations." When the Russian friendship cooled, he secured an alliance with Austria (1879), which Italy also joined (1882); and the "triple alliance" thus formed continued to dominate European politics for many years after Bismarck's withdrawal from office.

Of Bismarck's State papers, the greater portion are still buried in the Prussian archives. The most important series that has been published consists of his dispatches from Frankfort (Poschinger, Preussen im Bundestag, 1851-8, 4 vols.). These are marked by clearness of statement, force of argument, and felicity of illustration. The style, although less direct and simple than that of his unofficial writings, is still excellent. A large part of the interest attaching to these early papers lies in their acute characterization of the diplomatists with whom he had to deal. His analysis of their motives reveals from the outset that thorough insight into human nature which was to count for so much in his subsequent diplomatic triumphs. Of his later notes and dispatches, such as have seen the light may be found in Hahn's documentary biography ('Fürst Bismarck,' 5 vols.). His reports and memorials on economic and fiscal questions have been collected by Poschinger in 'Bismarck als Volkswirth.'

Of Bismarck's parliamentary speeches there exists a full collection (reproduced without revision from the stenographic reports) in fifteen volumes. Bismarck was not an orator in the ordinary acceptation of the word. His mode of address was conversational; his delivery was monotonous and halting. He often hesitated, searching for a word; but when it came, it usually seemed the only word that could have expressed his meaning, and the hesitation that preceded it gave it a singular emphasis. It seemed to be his aim to convince his hearers, not to win them; his appeal was regularly to their intelligence, not to their emotions. When the energy and warmth of his own feelings had carried him into something like a flight of oratory, there was apt to follow, at the next moment, some plain matter-of-fact statement that brought the discussion back at once to its ordinary level. Such an anti-climax was often very effective: the obvious effort of the speaker to keep his emotions under restraint vouched for the sincerity of the preceding outburst. It should be added that he appreciated as few Germans do the rhetorical value of understatement.

He was undoubtedly at his literary best in conversation and in his letters. We have several volumes of Bismarck anecdotes, Bismarck table-talk, etc. The best known are those of Busch, which have been translated into English--and in spite of the fact that his sayings come to us at second hand and colored by the personality of the transmitter, we recognize the qualities which, by the universal testimony of those who knew him, made him one of the most fascinating of talkers. These qualities, however, come out most clearly in a little volume of letters ('Bismarck briefe'), chiefly addressed to his wife. (These letters have been excellently translated into English by F. Maxse.) They are characterized throughout by vivid and graphic descriptions, a subtle sense of humor, and real wit; and they have in the highest degree--far more than his State papers or speeches--the literary quality, and that indescribable something which we call style.

Bismarck furnishes, once for all, the answer to the old French question, whether a German can possibly have esprit--witness his response to the German prince who desired his advice regarding the offer of the crown of one of the Balkan States:--"Accept, by all means: it will be a charming recollection for you." He possessed also to a high degree the power of summing up a situation or characterizing a movement in a single phrase; and his sayings have enriched the German language with more quotations than the spoken words of any German since Luther.

Of the numerous German biographies, Harm's gives the greatest amount of documentary material; Hesekiel's (which has been translated into English) is the most popular. The best French biography is by Simon; the only important English work is that by Lowe. For bibliography, see Schulze and Roller, (Bismarck-Literatur) (1895), which contains about 600 titles. The Frankfort dispatches and the speeches have been translated into French, but not into English.


SCHÖNHAUSEN, August 7th, 1850.

The fact is, this journey, and I see it more clearly the nearer it approaches, gives me a right of reversion on the new lunatic asylum, or at least a seat for life in the Second Chamber. I can already see myself on the platform of the Genthiner station; then both of us packed in the carriage, surrounded with all sorts of child's necessaries--an embarrassing company; Johanna ashamed to suckle the baby, which accordingly roars itself blue; then the passports, the inn; then at Stettin railway station with both bellowing monkeys; then waiting an hour at Angermünde for the horses; and how are we to get from Kröchlendorf to Külz? It would be perfectly awful if we had to remain for the night at Stettin. I did that last year with Marie and her squallings. I was in such a state of despair yesterday over all these visions that I was positively determined to give the whole thing up, and at last went to bed with the resolve at least to go straight through, without stopping anywhere; but what will one not commit for the sake of domestic peace? The young cousins, male and female, must become acquainted, and who knows when Johanna will see you again? She pounced upon me last night with the boy in her arms, and with all those wiles which formerly lost us Paradise; of course she succeeded in wringing my consent that everything should remain as before. I feel, however, that I am as one to whom fearful injustice is done, and I am certain that I shall have to travel next year with three cradles, wet-nurses, long-clothes, and counterpanes. I am now awake by six o'clock, and already in a gentle simmer of anger; I cannot get to sleep, owing to all the visions of traveling which my imagination paints in the darkest colors, even up to the "picnics" on the sandhills of Stolpmünde. And then if one were only paid for it! But to travel away the last remnants of a once handsome fortune with sucking babies!--I am very unhappy!

Well--Wednesday, then, in Gerswalde--I should have done probably better by driving over Passow, and you would not have had so far to Prenzlau as to G----. However, it is now a fait accompli, and the pain of selection is succeeded by the quiet of resignation. Johanna is somewhat nervous about her dresses, supposing you Boitzenburgers have company.


FRANKFORT, August 7th, 1851.

I wanted to write to you yesterday and to-day, but, owing to all the clatter and bustle of business, could not do so until now, late in the evening on my return from a walk through the lovely summer-night breeze, the moonlight, and the murmuring of poplar leaves, which I took to brush away the dust of the day's dispatches and papers. Saturday afternoon I drove out with Rochow and Lynar to Rüdesheim; there I took a boat, rowed out upon the Rhine, and swam in the moonlight, with nothing but nose and eyes out of the water, as far as the Mäusethürm near Bingen, where the bad bishop came to his end. It gives one a peculiar dreamy sensation to float thus on a quiet warm night in the water, gently carried down by the current, looking above on the heavens studded with the moon and stars, and on each side the banks and wooded hill-tops and the battlements of the old castles bathed in the moonlight, whilst nothing falls on one's ear but the gentle splashing of one's own movements. I should like to swim like this every evening. I drank some very fair wine afterwards, and then sat a long time with Lynar smoking on the balcony--the Rhine below us. My little New Testament and the star-studded heavens brought us on the subject of religion, and I argued long against the Rousseau-like sophism of his ideas, without, however, achieving more than to reduce him to silence. He was badly treated as a child by bonnes and tutors, without ever having known his parents. Later on, in consequence of much the same sort of education as myself, he picked up the same ideas in his youth; but is more satisfied and more convinced by them than ever I was.

Next day we took the steamer to Coblenz, stopped there an hour for breakfast, and came back the same way to Frankfort, where we arrived in the evening. I undertook this expedition with the intention of visiting old Metternich, who had invited me to do so at Johannisberg; but I was so much pleased with the Rhine that I preferred to make my way over to Coblenz and to postpone the visit. When you and I saw it we had just returned from the Alps, and the weather was bad; on this fresh summer morning, however, and after the dusty monotony of Frankfort, the Rhine has risen very considerably in my estimation. I promise myself complete enjoyment in spending a couple of days with you at Rüdesheim; the place is so quiet and rural, honest people and cheap living. We will hire a small boat and row at our leisure downwards, climb up the Niederwald and a castle or two, and return with the steamer. One can leave this place early in the morning, stay eight hours at Rüdesheim, Bingen, or Rheinstein, etc., and be back again in the evening. My appointment here appears now to be certain.

Moscow, June 6th, 1859.

I will send you at least a sign of life from here, while I am waiting for the samovar; and a young Russian in a red shirt is exerting himself behind me with vain attempts to light a fire--he puffs and blows, but it will not burn. After having complained so much about the scorching heat lately, I woke to-day between Twer and here, and thought I was dreaming when I saw the country and its fresh verdure covered far and wide with snow. I shall wonder at nothing again, and having convinced myself of the fact beyond all doubt, I turned quickly on the other side to sleep and roll on farther, although the play of colors--from green to white--in the red dawn of day was not without its charm. I do not know if the snow still lies at Twer; here it has thawed away, and a cool gray rain is rattling on the green tin of the roofs. Green has every reason to be the Russian favorite color. Of the five hundred miles I have passed in traveling here, I have slept away about two hundred, but each hand-breadth of the remainder was green in every shade. Towns and villages, and more particularly houses, with the exception of the railway stations, I did not observe. Bushy forests with birch-trees cover swamp and hill, a fine growth of grass beneath, long tracts of meadow-land between; so it goes on for fifty, one hundred, two hundred miles. Ploughed land I do not remember to have remarked, nor heather, nor sand. Solitary grazing cows or horses awoke one at times to the presumption that there might be human beings in the neighborhood. Moscow, seen from above, looks like a field of young wheat: the soldiers are green, the cupolas green, and I do not doubt that the eggs on the table before me were laid by green hens.

You will want to know how I come to be here. I also have already asked myself this question, and the answer I received was that change is the soul of life. The truth of this profound saying becomes especially obvious after having lived for ten weeks in a sunny room of a hotel, with the look-out on pavements. The charms of moving become rather blunted if they occur repeatedly within a short period; I therefore determined to forego them, handed over all paper to----, gave Engel my keys, declared that I would put up in a week at Stenbock's house, and drove to the Moscow station. This was yesterday at noon, and this morning, at eight o'clock, I alighted here at the Hôtel de France. First of all I shall pay a visit to a charming acquaintance of former times, who lives in the country, about twenty versts from here; to-morrow evening I shall be here again; Wednesday and Thursday shall visit the Kremlin and so forth; and Friday or Saturday sleep in the beds which Engel will meantime buy. Slow harnessing and fast driving lie in the character of this people. I ordered the carriage two hours ago: to every call which I have been uttering for each successive ten minutes of an hour and a half, the answer is, "Immediately," given with imperturbably friendly composure; but there the matter rests. You know my exemplary patience in waiting, but everything has its limits; afterwards there will be wild galloping, so that on these bad roads horse and carriage break down, and at last we reach the place on foot. I have meanwhile drunk three glasses of tea and annihilated several eggs; the efforts at getting warm have also so perfectly succeeded that I feel the need of fresh air. I should, out of sheer impatience, commence shaving if I had a glass. This city is very straggling, and very foreign-looking, with its green-roofed churches and innumerable cupolas; quite different from Amsterdam, but both the most original cities I know. No German guard has a conception of the luggage people drag with them into the railway carriage; not a Russian goes without two real pillows in white pillow-cases, children in baskets, and masses of eatables of every kind. Out of politeness they bowed me into a sleeping car, where I was worse off than in my seat. Altogether, it is astonishing to me to see the fuss made here about a journey.

Moscow, June 8th.

This city is really, as a city, the handsomest and most original existing: the environs are cheerful, not pretty, not ugly; but the view from the top of the Kremlin on this panorama of green-roofed houses, gardens, churches, spires of the strangest possible form and color, mostly green, or red or bright blue, generally crowned at the top with a gigantic golden onion, and mostly five or more on one church,--there are certainly a thousand steeples!--anything more strangely beautiful than all this lit up by the slanting rays of the setting sun it is impossible to see. The weather has cleared up again, and I should stay here a few days longer if there were not rumors of a great battle in Italy, which may perhaps bring diplomatic work in its train, so I will be off there and get back to my post. The house in which I am writing is, curiously enough, one of the few that survived 1812; old, thick walls, like those at Schönhausen, Oriental architecture, big Moorish rooms.

June 28th, Evening.

After a three hours' drive through the gardens in an open carriage, and a view of all its beauties in detail, I am drinking tea, with a prospect of the golden evening sky and green woods. At the Emperor's they want to be en famille the last evening, as I can perfectly well understand; and I, as a convalescent, have sought retirement, and have indeed done quite enough to-day for my first outing. I am smoking my cigar in peace, and drinking excellent tea, and see, through the smoke of both, a sunset of really rare beauty. I send you the inclosed jasmine as a proof that it really grows and blossoms here in the open air. On the other hand, I must own that I have been shown the common chestnut in shrub-form as a rare growth, which in winter is wrapped up; otherwise, there are very fine large oaks, ash-trees, limes, poplars, and birches as thick as oaks.

Petersburg, July 26, 1859.

Half an hour ago a cabinet courier woke me with war and peace. Our policy drifts more and more into the Austrian wake; and when we have once fired a shot on the Rhine, it is over with the Italian-Austrian war, and in its place a Prussian-French comes on the scene, in which Austria, after we have taken the burden from her shoulders, stands by us or fails to stand by us just so far as her own interests require. She will certainly not allow us to play a very brilliant victor's part.

As God wills! After all, everything here is only a question of time: nations and individuals, folly and wisdom, war and peace, they come and go like the waves, but the sea remains. There is nothing on this earth but hypocrisy and jugglery; and whether fever or grape-shot tear off this fleshly mask, fall it must sooner or later: and then, granted that they are equal in height, a likeness will after all turn up between a Prussian and an Austrian which will make it difficult to distinguish them. The stupid and the clever, too, look pretty much alike when their bones are well picked. With such views, a man certainly gets rid of his specific patriotism; but it would indeed be a subject for despair if our salvation depended on them.


RHEINFELD, August 16th, 1861.

I have just received the news of the terrible misfortune which has befallen you and Malwine, My first thought was to come to you at once, but in wanting to do so I overrated my powers. My régime has touched me up a good deal, and the thought of suddenly breaking it off met with such decided opposition that I have resolved to let Johanna go alone. Such a blow goes beyond the reach of human consolation. And yet it is a natural desire to be near those we love in their sorrow, and to lament with them in common. It is the only thing we can do. A heavier sorrow could scarcely have befallen you. To lose such an amiable and a so-happily-thriving child in such a way, and to bury along with him all the hopes which were to be the joys of your old days,--sorrow over such a loss will not depart from you as long as you live on this earth; this I feel with you, with deep and painful sympathy. We are powerless and helpless in God's mighty hand, so far as he will not himself help us, and can do nothing but bow down in humility under his dispensations. He can take from us all that he gave, and make us utterly desolate; and our mourning for it will be all the bitterer, the more we allow it to run to excess in contention and rebellion against his almighty ordinance. Do not mingle your just grief with bitterness and repining, but bring home to yourself that a son and a daughter are left to you, and that with them, and even in the feeling of having possessed another beloved child for fifteen years, you must consider yourself blessed in comparison with the many who have never had children nor known a parent's joy.

I do not want to trouble you with feeble grounds for consolation, but only to tell you in these lines how I, as friend and brother, feel your suffering like my own, and am moved by it to the very core. How all small cares and vexations, which daily accompany our life, vanish at the iron appearance of real misfortune! and I feel like so many reproaches the reminiscences of all complaints and covetous wishes, over which I have so often forgotten how much blessing God gives us, and how much danger surrounds us without touching us. We are not to attach ourselves to this world, and not regard it as our home. Another twenty, or in happiest case thirty years, and we are both of us beyond the cares of this life, and our children have reached our present standpoint, and find with astonishment that the freshly begun life is already going down hill. It would not be worth while to dress and undress if it were over with that.

Do you still remember these words of a fellow-traveler from Stolpemünde? The thought that death is the transition to another life will certainly do little to alleviate your grief; for you might think that your beloved son might have been a true and dear companion to you during the time you are still living in this world, and would have continued, by God's blessing, the memory of you here. The circle of those whom we love contracts itself and receives no increase till we have grandchildren. At our time of life we form no fresh bonds which are capable of replacing those that die off. Let us therefore keep the closer together in love until death separates us from one another, as it now separates your son from us. Who knows how soon? Won't you come with Malle to Stolpmünde, and stay quietly with us for a few weeks or days? At all events I shall come to you at Kröchlendorf, or wherever else you are, in three or four weeks. I greet my dearest Malle with all my heart. May God give her, as well as you, strength to bear and patiently submit.


BIARRITZ, August 4th, 1862.

I am afraid I have caused some confusion in our correspondence, as I induced you to write too soon to places where I have not yet arrived. It will be better for you to address your letters to Paris, just as though I were there; the embassy then sends them after me, and I can more quickly send word there if I alter my route. Yesterday evening I returned from St. Sebastian to Bayonne, where I slept, and am now sitting here in a corner-room of the Hotel de l'Europe, with charming view on the blue sea, which drives its white foam through the curious cliffs against the lighthouse. I have a bad conscience for seeing so many beautiful things without you. If one could transport you here through the air, I would go directly back again to St. Sebastian, and take you with me. Fancy the Siebengebirge with the Drachenfels placed by the sea; close by, Ehrenbreitstein, and between the two, pushing its way into the land, an arm of the sea, somewhat broader than the Rhine, and forming a round bay behind the mountains. In this you bathe in transparently clear water, so heavy and so salt that you swim on the top of it by yourself, and look through the broad gate of rocks into the sea, or landward where the mountain chains top each other, always higher, always bluer.

The women of the middle and lower classes are strikingly pretty, occasionally beautiful; the men surly and uncivil; and the comforts of life to which we are accustomed are missing. The heat is not worse here than there, and I do not mind it; find myself, on the contrary, very well, thank God. The day before yesterday there was a storm, such as I have never seen anything like. I had to take a run three times before I could succeed in getting up a flight of three steps on the jetty; pieces of stone and large fragments of trees were carried through the air. Unfortunately, therefore, I countermanded my place in a sailing vessel to Bayonne, for I could not suppose that after four hours all would be quiet and cheerful. I lost thus a charming sail along the coast, remained a day more at St. Sebastian, and left yesterday in the diligence, rather uncomfortably packed between nice little Spanish women, with whom I could not talk a syllable. So much Italian, however, they understood that I could demonstrate to them my satisfaction with their exterior. I looked to-day at a railway guide to see how I could get from here--that is, from Toulouse--by railway over Marseilles to Nice, then by boat to Genoa; from there over Venice, Trieste, Vienna, Breslau, Posen, Stargard to Cöslin! If it were only possible to go over Berlin! I cannot very well pass through there just now.


HOHENMAUTH, Monday, July 9th, 1866.

Do you still remember, my heart, how nineteen years ago we passed through here on the way from Prague to Vienna? No mirror showed the future, neither when, in 1852, I went along this line with the good Lynar. Matters are going well with us; if we are not immoderate in our demands, and do not imagine that we have conquered the world, we shall acquire a pace which will be worth the trouble. But we are just as quickly intoxicated as discouraged, and I have the ungrateful task of pouring water in the foaming wine, and making them see that we are not living alone in Europe, but with three neighbors still. The Austrians are in Moravia, and we are already so bold that their positions to-day are fixed for our headquarters to-morrow. Prisoners are still coming in, and one hundred and eighty guns since the 3d up to to-day. If they call up their southern army, with God's good help we shall beat them again. Confidence is universal. I could hug our fellows, each facing death so gallantly, so quiet, obedient, well-behaved, with empty stomachs, wet clothes, wet camp, little sleep, the soles of their boots falling off, obliging to everybody, no looting, no incendiarism, paying where they can, and eating moldy bread. There must after all abide in our man of the soil a rich store of the fear of God, or all that would be impossible. News of acquaintances is difficult to obtain; people are miles apart from one another; no one knows where the other is, and nobody to send; men enough, but no horses. I have had Philip searched for, for four days; he is slightly wounded in the head by a lance, as G---- wrote to me, but I cannot find out where he is, and now we are already forty miles farther on.

The King exposed himself very much indeed on the 3d, and it was a very good thing that I was with him; for all warnings on the part of others were of no avail, and no one would have ventured to speak as I allowed myself to do the last time, and with success, after a heap of ten men and fifteen horses of the Sixth Regiment of cuirassiers were wallowing in their blood near us, and the shells whizzed round the sovereign in the most unpleasant proximity. The worst luckily did not burst. But after all I like it better than if he should err on the other side. He was enchanted with his troops, and rightly, so that he did not seem to remark all the whistling and bursting about him; as quiet and comfortable as on the Kreuzberg, and kept constantly finding battalions that he wanted to thank and say good evening to, until there we were again under fire. But he has had to hear so much about it, that he will leave it alone for the future, and you can be at ease; besides, I hardly believe in another real battle.

If you have no news of a person, you can all implicitly believe that he lives and is well, as all casualties occurring to one's acquaintances are known in twenty-four hours at the longest. We have not come at all into communication with Herwarth and Steinmetz, but know that they are both well. G----- quietly leads his squadron with his arm in a sling. Good-bye, I must go on duty.



Note.--This letter did not reach its destination, but, together with the entire post, was captured by franc-tireurs and published by a French newspaper.

VENDRESSE, 3 September [1870].

My Dear Heart:

I left my present quarters before early dawn the day before yesterday, came back to-day, and have in the mean time witnessed the great battle of Sedan, in which we made about thirty thousand prisoners, and threw the remainder of the French army, which we have been pursuing since Bar-le-Duc, into the fortress, where they had to surrender themselves, along with the Emperor, prisoners of war. Yesterday morning at five o'clock, after I had been negotiating until one o'clock A.M. with Moltke and the French generals about the capitulation to be concluded, I was awakened by General Reille, with whom I am acquainted, to tell me that Napoleon wished to speak with me. Unwashed and unbreakfasted, I rode towards Sedan, found the Emperor in an open carriage, with three aides-de-camp and three in attendance on horseback, halted on the road before Sedan. I dismounted, saluted him just as politely as at the Tuileries, and asked for his commands. He wished to see the King; I told him, as the truth was, that his Majesty had his quarters fifteen miles away, at the spot where I am now writing. In answer to Napoleon's question where he should go to, I offered him, as I was not acquainted with the country, my own quarters at Donchéry, a small place in the neighborhood, close by Sedan. He accepted, and drove, accompanied by his six Frenchmen, by me and by Carl (who in the mean time had ridden after me) through the lonely morning towards our lines. Before coming to the spot, he began to hesitate on account of the possible crowd, and he asked me if he could alight in a lonely cottage by the wayside; I had it inspected by Carl, who brought word that it was mean and dirty. "N'importe," said N., and I ascended with him a rickety, narrow staircase. In an apartment of ten feet square, with a deal table and two rush-bottomed chairs, we sat for an hour; the others were below. A powerful contrast with our last meeting in the Tuileries in 1867. Our conversation was a difficult thing, if I wanted to avoid touching on topics which could not but affect painfully the man whom God's mighty hand had cast down. I had sent Carl to fetch officers from the town and to beg Moltke to come. We then sent one of the former to reconnoitre, and discovered two and one-half miles off, in Fresnois, a small château situated an a park. Thither I accompanied him with an escort of the cuirassier regiment of life-guards, which had meantime been brought up; and there we concluded with the French general-in-chief, Wimpffen, the capitulation by virtue of which forty to sixty thousand Frenchmen,--I do not know it accurately at present,--with all they possess, became our prisoners. Yesterday and the day before cost France one hundred thousand men and an Emperor. This morning the latter, with all his suite and horses and carriages, started for Wilhelmshöhe, near Cassel.

It is an event of great weight in the world's history, a victory for which we will humbly thank the Almighty, and which decides the war, even if we have to carry it on against France shorn of her Emperor.

I must conclude. With heartfelt joy I learnt from your and Maria's letters that Herbert has arrived among you. Bill I spoke to yesterday, as already telegraphed, and embraced him from horseback in his Majesty's presence, while he stood motionless in the ranks. He is very healthy and happy. I saw Hans and Fritz Carl, both Billows, in the Second dragoon guards, well and cheerful.

Good-by, my heart; love to the children.



Photogravure from a Painting by Anton Von Werner.

The surrender, at Sedan, in 1870, of the French army of 84,000 under Napoleon III.,
MacMahon and Wimpffen, to the Germans, 250,000 strong, under William I., was
the signal for the downfall of the French empire and the establishment of the
republic. In the accompanying picture, the figure seated at the extreme
left is GENERAL FAURE; the middle figure of the group of three, standing,
MacMahon as commander Sept. 1 and signed the capitulation
Sept. 2, stands in a stooping posture, leaning upon his chair
and the table. Across the table, his right hand resting
upon it, and standing erect, is GENERAL MOLTKE,
The seated figure in the foreground is BISMARCK;
behind whom, writing, stands COUNT NOSTIZ.


OFEN, June 23d, 1852.

I have just come from the steamer, and do not know how better to employ the moment I have at my disposal before Hildebrand follows with my things, than by sending you a little sign of life from this very easterly but very beautiful world. The Emperor has been graciously pleased to assign me quarters in his castle; and here I am in a large vaulted hall, sitting at an open window through which the evening bells of Pesth are pealing. The outlook is charming. The castle stands high; beneath me, first, the Danube, spanned by the suspension bridge; across it, Pesth; and further off the endless plain beyond Pesth, fading away into the purple haze of evening. To the left of Pesth I look up the Danube; far, very far away on my left,--that is, on its right bank,--it is first bordered by the town of Ofen; back of that are hills, blue and still bluer, and then comes the brown-red in the evening sky that glows behind them. Between the two towns lies the broad mirror of water, like that at Linz, broken by the suspension bridge and a wooded island. The journey here, too, at least from Gran to Pesth, would have delighted you. Imagine the Odenwald and the Taunus pushed near to each other, and the space between filled with the waters of the Danube. The shady side of the trip was its sunny side; it was as hot as if Tokay was to be grown on the boat: and the number of tourists was great, but--only think of it--not an Englishman! They cannot yet have discovered Hungary. There were, however, odd customers enough, of all races, oriental and occidental, greasy and washed. A very amiable general was my chief traveling companion; I sat and smoked with him nearly the whole time, up on the paddle-box.

I am growing impatient as to what has become of Hildebrand; I lean out of the window, partly mooning and partly watching for him as if he were a sweetheart, for I crave a clean shirt--if you could only be here for a moment, and if you too could now see the dull silver of the Danube, the dark hills on a pale-red background, and the lights that shine up from below in Pesth, Vienna would go down a good way in your estimation as compared with "Buda-Pesth," as the Hungarians call it. You see that I too can go into raptures over nature. Now that Hildebrand has really turned up, I shall calm my fevered blood with a cup of tea, and soon after go to bed.

JUNE 24TH: Evening.

As yet I have had no opportunity to send this off. Again the lights are gleaming up from Pesth; on the horizon, in the direction of the Theiss, there are flashes of lightning; above us the sky is clear and the stars are shining. I have been a good deal in uniform to-day; presented my credentials, in formal audience, to the young ruler of this country, and received a very agreeable impression. After dinner the whole court made an excursion into the hills, to the "Fair Shepherdess"--who, however, has long been dead; King Matthias Corvinus loved her several hundred years ago. There is a view from there (over wooded hills, something like those by the Neckar) of Ofen, its hills, and the plain. A country festival had brought together thousands of people; they pressed about the Emperor, who had mingled with the throng, with ringing shouts of "eljen" [vive]; they danced the csardas, waltzed, sang, played music, climbed into the trees, and crowded the court. On a grassy slope there was a supper table for some twenty persons, with seats on one side only, while the other was left free for the view of forest, castle, city, and country. Above us were tall beeches, with climbing Hungarians on the branches; behind and quite near us, a closely crowded and crowding mass of people; further off, music from wind instruments, alternating with song--wild gipsy melodies. Illumination--moonlight and sunset-red, with torches scattered through the forest. It might all be produced without a change as grand scenic effect in a romantic opera. Next to me sat the white-haired Archbishop of Gran, in a black silk gown with a red hood; on the other side a very amiable, trig cavalry general. You see the picture was rich in contrasts. Then we drove home in the moonlight with an escort of torches....

It is very quiet and comfortable up here now; I hear nothing but the ticking of a clock on the wall, and the distant rumble of carriages below. May angels watch over you; over me, a grenadier in a bearskin does it, six inches of whose bayonet I see projecting above the window-sill, a couple of arm's-lengths from me, and reflecting a ray of light. He is standing above the terrace on the Danube, and thinking perhaps of his Nancy.


Confidential Dispatch to Minister Von Manteuffel, May 30th, 1853

In connection with my report of to-day regarding the attitude of certain envoys in the Kettenburg affair, I take the liberty of making some confidential remarks regarding the personal traits of my colleagues in general, in case it should interest your Excellency to have the information.

Herr von Prokesch is probably well enough known in Berlin to make further indications of his personal characteristics unnecessary; at the same time, I cannot refrain from remarking that the calmness and ease with which he advances false statements of fact, or contests true statements, surpass my expectations, although I have been led to expect a good deal in this direction. These qualities are supplemented by a surprising degree of coolness in dropping a subject or making a change of front, as soon as the untruth which he has taken as his point of departure is identified beyond the possibility of evasion. In case of necessity he covers a retreat of this sort by an ebullition of moral indignation, or by an attack, often of a very personal character, which transfers the discussion to a new and quite different field. His chief weapons in the petty war which I am obliged to wage with him, as often as the interests which we represent diverge, are: (1) Passive resistance, i.e., a dilatory treatment of the affair, by which he forces upon me the rôle of a tiresome dun, and not infrequently, by reason of the nature of the affair, that of a paltry dun. (2) In case of attack, the fait accompli, in the shape of apparently insignificant usurpations on the part of the Chair. These are commonly so calculated that any protest on my part cannot but seem like a deliberate search for points of controversy or like captious verbal criticism. It is therefore scarcely possible for me to avoid, in my dealings with him, the appearance of quarrelsomeness, unless I am willing to sacrifice the interests of Prussia to a degree which every concession would increase....

The Bavarian envoy, Herr von Schrenk, I place among the best elements in the assembly, as regards both his capacity and his character. He is a thorough and industrious worker, and practical in his views and opinions; although his predominantly juristic training and mode of thinking make him at times disputatious, and tend to impede the progress of affairs. In official intercourse he is frank and obliging, so long as his [Bavarian] patriotism, which is high-strung and extremely irritable, is treated with consideration; a foible for which I take particular pains to make allowance.

Our Saxon colleague, Herr von Nostitz, inspires in me less confidence. It seems to me that he has at bottom a traditional inclination toward Prussia and its political system, which is nourished in part by a Protestantism that is more rationalistic than orthodox, and by his fear of Ultramontane tendencies. I believe, however,--and I should be glad to find that I do him an injustice,--that on the whole, personal interests take precedence with him over political interests, and that the suppleness of his character permits him to view the latter in whatever light best suits the former. His economic position is dependent upon his place, aside from the salary, by reason of the fact that he owns a house here in which he lives, which he bought before 1848 at a high price, and which he has vainly attempted to rent for the last five years. His political course is therefore controlled by his desire of remaining in his official position under every contingency; and with the present tendency of the Saxon government, Austria has certainly more opportunity to help him in keeping his place than has Prussia. This circumstance indeed does not prevent Herr von Nostitz from avoiding, as far as his instructions will allow, any patent injury to Prussia; but with his great capacity for labor, his intelligence, and his long experience, he constitutes the most effective support of all Austria's efforts in the federal assembly. He is particularly adroit in formulating reports and propositions in awkward controversial questions; he knows how to give his draught a color of compromise without the least sacrifice of any Austrian interest, as soon as the correct interpretation comes to the aid of the apparently indeterminate expression. When his draughts become the basis of subsequent discussion, it is then usually discovered for the first time that the real purpose for which they were drawn is contained in what seemed to be casual and incidental words. If the current in Dresden should shift in the Prussian direction, the valuable personal assistance which Herr von Nostitz is able to render by means of his sense, his experience, and the credit both have won him, would be thrown on the Prussian side with the same certainty as now on the Austrian, unless too strong a tie were found in the fact that one of his sons is being educated in the Austrian Naval School, while another is already an officer in the imperial service.

Herr von Bothmer returned to this place a few days ago as representative of Hanover; I learn from him, however, with regret, that his further stay here is in no wise assured. Not only is his a straightforward character that awakens confidence, but he is also the only one of my colleagues who has sufficient independence to give me anything more than passive assistance when I am obliged to protest against the conduct of the Chair.

His opposite is found in Herr von Reinhard. While Herr von Bothmer is thorough, clear, and objective in his productions, those of the Würtemberg envoy bear the stamp of superficiality and confused thinking. His removal from the federal assembly might justly be regarded as a great gain for us. I do not know whether his departure from Berlin was connected with circumstances which have left in him a lasting dislike of Prussia, or whether confused political theories (regarding which he expresses himself with more ease and with greater interest than regarding practical affairs) have brought him to believe that the Prussian influence in Germany is deleterious: but at all events his antipathy to us exceeds the degree which, in view of the political situation of Würtemberg, can be supposed to exist in the mind of his sovereign; and I have reason to assume that his influence upon the instructions which are sent him, and his activity, so far as this is independent of instructions, are exerted, as a matter of principle, to the disadvantage of Prussia.... In his bearing towards me personally there is nothing which would justify the conclusion that his feelings are of the sort I have indicated; and it is only rarely that a point is reached in our debates at which, moderated by a certain timidity, his suppressed bitterness against Prussia breaks out. I may remark incidentally that it is he who invariably appears at our sessions last, and too late; and who, through want of attention and through subsequent participation in the discussion on the basis of misapprehensions, occasions further repetitions and waste of time.

The envoy from Baden, Herr von Marschall, is not without sense and fitness for affairs, but is scrupulously careful to avoid the responsibility of an independent opinion, and to discover in the least dubitable matter an intermediate point of view from it may be possible to agree with both sides, or at least to disagree with neither. If there is no escape, he inclines, either for family reasons or because his government is more afraid of Vienna than of Berlin, to the Austrian side rather than to ours. Support against the Chair--as, for example, in the matter of the order of business, upon which he is charged with a report--I can hardly expect from him.

Our colleague from the Electorate, Herr von Trott, takes as little part as possible in the affairs of the Diet; especially avoids reports and committee work; and is frequently absent, making the representative from Darmstadt his proxy. He prefers country life and hunting to participation in assemblies, and gives the impression rather of a jovial and portly squire than of an envoy. He confines himself to announcing his vote, briefly and in the exact language of his instructions; and while the latter are invariably drawn by the Minister, Hassenpflug, in accordance with the directions received from Austria, it does not appear to me that either Austria or the States of the Darmstadt coalition enjoy the personal support of Herr von Trott any more than we do--an impartiality which is rendered easy to the Hessian envoy as much by his distaste for affairs, and I like to think by the revolt of his essentially honorable nature against all that savors of intrigue, as by his formerly indubitable sympathy for Prussia's interests.

We find a more inimical element in the Grand-Ducal Hessian envoy, Baron von Münch-Bellinghausen. While this gentleman is attached from the start to the interests of Austria by his family connections with the former presidential envoy of the same name, his antagonism to Prussia is considerably intensified by his strong, and I believe sincere, zeal for the Catholic Church. In private intercourse he is a man of agreeable manners; and as regards his official attitude, I have to this extent no cause of complaint--that beyond the degree of reserve imposed upon him by the anti-Prussian policy of his government, I have observed in him no tendency towards intrigue or insincerity. For the rest, he is a natural opponent of the Prussian policy in all cases where this does not go hand in hand with Austria and the Catholic Church; and the warmth with which he not infrequently supports his opinion against me in discussion, I can regard only as a proof of the sincerity of his political convictions. It is certainly, however, an anomalous thing that a Protestant sovereign, who at this moment is in conflict with Catholic bishops, is represented in the Confederacy by Herr von Münch....

One of our trustiest allies is Herr von Scherff, who personally is altogether devoted to the Prussian interests, and has moreover a son in our military service; he is experienced in affairs, and prudent to the point of timidity. This latter trait, as well as the sort of influence which his Majesty the King of the Netherlands exercises upon the federal instructions, often prevents him from giving me, in the sessions of the Diet, that degree of support which I should otherwise receive from him. Outside of the sessions I have always been able to count on him with confidence, whenever I have called upon him for advice, and whenever it has been a question of his aiding me through his influence upon some other envoy or through the collection of information. With his Royal Highness the Prince of Prussia, Herr von Scherff and his family justly stand in special favor.

Nassau and Brunswick are represented by the Baron von Dungern, a harmless character, who has neither the personal capacity nor the political credit requisite to give him influence in the Federal Assembly. If the difference that exists in most questions between the attitude of Brunswick and that of Nassau is settled in most cases in favor of the views held by Nassau, (i.e., by Austria,) this is partly due indeed to the connection of Herr von Dungern and his wife with families that are in the Austrian interest, and to the fact that the envoy, who has two sons in the Austrian military service, feels more dread of Austria's resentment than of Prussia's; but the chief mistake lies in the circumstance that Brunswick is represented by a servant of the Duke of Nassau, who lives here in the immediate neighborhood of his own court,--a court controlled by Austrian influences,--but maintains with Brunswick, I imagine, connections so closely restricted to what is absolutely necessary that they can hardly be regarded as an equivalent for the five thousand florins which his Highness Duke William contributes to his salary.

The Mecklenburg envoy, Herr von Oertzen, justifies in all respects the reputation of an honorable man which I had heard attributed to him before he assumed his present position. In the period immediately following the reopening of the Federal Diet, he, like a large number of his fellow-countrymen, showed an unmistakable leaning to Austria; but it seems to me indubitable that his observation for two years of the methods which Austrian policy employs here through the organ of the Chair has aroused in Herr von Oertzen's loyal nature, in spite of the fact that he too has a son in the Austrian army, a reaction which permits me to count fully upon him as far as his personal attitude is concerned, and upon his political support as far as his instructions--of the character of which, on the whole, I cannot complain--in any wise permit. In any case I can depend upon his pursuing, under all circumstances, an open and honorable course.... His attitude in the debates is always tranquil, and in favor of compromise....

The representative of the Fifteenth Curia is Herr von Eisendecher, a man whose ready sociability, united with wit and vivacity in conversation, prepossesses one in his favor. He was formerly an advanced Gothaite, and it seems that this tendency of his has shaded over into a lively sympathy for the development of the Confederation as a strong, unified, central power; since in this way, and with the help of Austria, he thinks that a substitute will be discovered for the unsuccessful efforts towards unity in the Prussian sense. The Curia, it is reported, is so organized that the two Anhalts and the two Schwarzburgs, if they are united among themselves, outvote Oldenburg.

It is in a simpler way and without stating his reasons that the representative of the Sixteenth Curia, Baron von Holzhausen, throws his influence on the Austrian side of the scales. It is said of him that in most cases he draws up his own instructions, even when he has ample time to send for them, and that he meets any protest raised by his principals by holding his peace, or by an adroit use of the large number of members of his Curia and the lack of connection between them. To this it is to be added that the majority of the little princes are not disposed to spend upon their federal diplomacy the amount that would be required for a regular and organized chancelry and correspondence; and that if Herr von Holzhausen, who after the departure of Baron von Strombeck obtained the place as the lowest asker, should resign from their service, they would hardly be able, with the means at their disposal, to secure so imposing a representative as this prosperous gentleman, who is decorated with sundry grand-crosses and the title of privy councillor, and is a member of the oldest patrician family of Frankfort. The nearest relations of Herr von Holzhausen, who is himself unmarried and childless, are in the service of Austria. Moreover, his family pride, which is developed to an unusual degree, points back with all its memories to the imperial city patriciate that was so closely associated with the glorious era of the Holy Roman Empire; and Prussia's entire position seems to him a revolutionary usurpation, which has played the most material part in the destruction of the privileges of the Holzhausens. His wealth leads me to assume that the ties that bind him to Austria are merely ambitious tendencies--such as the desire for an imperial order or for the elevation of the family to the rank of Austrian counts--and not pecuniary interests, unless his possession of a large quantity of [Austrian] mining shares is to be regarded in the latter light.

If your Excellency will permit me, in closing, to sum up the results of my report, they amount to what follows:--

The only envoys in the Federal Diet who are devoted to our interests as regards their personal views are Herren von Fritsch, von Scherff, and von Oertzen. Herein the first of these follows at the same time the instructions of the government which he represents. Personally assured to Austria, on the other hand, without it being possible to make the same assertion as regards the governments they represent, are Herren von Eisendecher and von Holzhausen, and von Dungern as representing Brunswick. On the Austrian side, besides these, are almost always, in accordance with the instructions of their governments, Herr von Nostitz, Herr von Reinhard, Herr von Münch, Herr von Trott (who, however, displays greater moderation than his Darmstadt colleague), and Herr von Dungern as representing Nassau.

A position in part more independent, in part more mediatory, is assumed by Herren von Schrenk, von Bothmer, von Bülow, von Marschall, and by the representatives of the Free Cities; and yet in the attitude of these envoys also, Austrian influences are not infrequently noticeable.



When I say that we must constantly endeavor to be equal to all contingencies, I mean by that to claim that we must make greater exertions than other powers in order to attain the same result, because of our geographical position. We are situated in the middle of Europe. We have at least three fronts of attack. France has only its eastern frontier, Russia only its western frontier, on which it can be attacked. We are, moreover, in consequence of the whole development of the world's history, in consequence of our geographical position, and perhaps in consequence of the slighter degree of internal cohesion which the German nation as compared with others has thus far possessed, more exposed than any other people to the risk of a coalition. God has placed us in a situation in which we are prevented by our neighbors from sinking into any sort of indolence or stagnation. He has set at our side the most war-like and the most restless of nations, the French; and he has permitted warlike inclinations, which in former centuries existed in no such degree, to grow strong in Russia. Thus we get a certain amount of spurring on both sides, and are forced into exertions which otherwise perhaps we should not make. The pikes in the European carp-pond prevent us from becoming carps, by letting us feel their prickles on both our flanks; they constrain us to exertions which perhaps we should not voluntarily make; they constrain us Germans also to a harmony among ourselves that is repugnant to our inmost nature: but for them, our tendency would rather be to separate. But the Franco-Russian press in which we are caught forces us to hold together, and by its pressure it will greatly increase our capacity for cohesion, so that we shall reach in the end that state of inseparableness which characterizes nearly all other nations, and which we still lack. But we must adapt ourselves to this decree of Providence by making ourselves so strong that the pikes can do no more than enliven us....

The bill gives us an increase in troops trained to arms--a possible increase: if we do not need it, we need not call for it; we can leave it at home. But if we have this increase at our disposal, and if we have the weapons for it, ... then this new law constitutes a reinforcement of the guarantees of peace, a reinforcement of the league of peace, that is precisely as strong as if a fourth great power with an army of 700,000 men--and this was formerly the greatest strength that existed--had joined the alliance. This powerful reinforcement will also, I believe, have a quieting effect upon our own countrymen, and lessen in some degree the nervousness of our public opinion, our stock-market, and our press. I hope it will act upon them as a sedative when they clearly comprehend that from the moment at which this law is signed and published the men are there. The armament too may be said to be ready, in the shape of what is absolutely necessary: but we must procure a better, for if we form an army of triarians of the best human material that we have,--of the men above thirty, the husbands and fathers,--we must have for them the best weapons there are. We must not send them into the fight with an outfit that we do not regard as good enough for our young troops of the line. The solid men, the heads of families, these stalwart figures that we can still remember from the time that they held the bridge of Versailles,--these men must have the best rifles on their shoulders, the completest armament, and the amplest clothing to protect them from wind and weather. We ought not to economize there.--But I hope it will tranquilize our fellow-citizens, if they are really thinking of the contingency (which I do not expect to occur) of our being attacked simultaneously on two sides,--of course, as I have pointed out in reviewing the events of the last forty years, there is always the possibility of any sort of coalition,--I hope it will tranquillize them to remember that if this happens, we can have a million good soldiers to defend each of our frontiers. At the same time we can keep in the rear reserves of half a million and more, of a million even, and we can push these forward as they are needed. I have been told, "That will only result in the others going still higher." But they cannot. They have long ago reached their limits.... In numbers they have gone as high as we, but in quality they cannot compete with us. Bravery, of course, is equal among all civilized nations; the Russian and the Frenchman fight as bravely as the German: but our men, our 700,000 new men, have seen service; they are soldiers who have served their time, and who have not yet forgotten their training. Besides--and this is a point in which no people in the world can compete with us--we have the material for officers and under-officers to command this enormous army. It is here that competition is excluded, because it involves a peculiarly broad extension of popular culture, such as exists in Germany and in no other country....

There is a further advantage that will result from the adoption of this law: the very strength at which we are aiming necessarily makes us peaceful. That sounds paradoxical, but it is true. With the powerful machine which we are making of the German army no aggression will be attempted. If I saw fit--assuming a different situation to exist from that which in my conviction does exist'--to come before you here to-day and say to you, "We are seriously menaced by France and Russia; the prospect is that we shall be attacked: such at least is my conviction, as a diplomatist, on the basis of the military information that we have received; it is to our advantage to defend ourselves by anticipating the attack, and to strike at once; an offensive war is a better one for us to wage, and I accordingly ask the Imperial Diet for a credit of a milliard or half a milliard, in order to undertake to-day the war against our two neighbors,"--well, gentlemen, I do not know whether you would have such confidence in me as to grant such a request. I hope not. But if you did, it would not be enough for me. If we in Germany desire to wage a war with the full effect of our national power, it must be a war with which all who help to wage it, and all who make sacrifices for it--with which, in a word, all the nation--must be in sympathy. It must be a people's war; it must be a war that is carried on with the same enthusiasm as that of 1870, when we were wickedly attacked. I remember still the joyful shouts that rang in our ears at the Cologne station; it was the same thing from Berlin to Cologne; it was the same thing here in Berlin. The waves of popular approval bore us into the war, whether we liked it or not. So it must be, if a national force like ours is to be brought fully into operation. It will be very difficult, however, to make it clear to the provinces, to the federal states and to their people, that a war is inevitable, that it must come. It will be asked: "Are you so sure of it? Who knows?" If we finally come to the point of making the attack, all the weight of the imponderables, which weigh much more than the material weights, will be on the side of our antagonist whom we have attacked. "Holy Russia" will be filled with indignation at the attack. France will glisten with weapons to the Pyrenees. The same thing will happen everywhere. A war into which we are not borne by the will of the people--such a war will of course be carried on, if in the last instance the established authorities consider and have declared it to be necessary. It will be carried on with energy and perhaps victoriously, as soon as the men come under fire and have seen blood; but there will not be back of it, from the start, the same dash and heat as in a war in which we are attacked....

I do not believe--to sum up--that any disturbance of the peace is in immediate prospect; and I ask you to deal with the law that lies before you, independently of any such idea or apprehension, simply as a means for making the great force which God has lodged in the German nation completely available in the event of our needing it. If we do not need it, we shall not call for it. We seek to avoid the chance of our needing it. This effort on our part is still, in some degree, impeded by threatening newspaper articles from foreign countries; and I wish to address to foreign countries especially the admonition to discontinue these threats. They lead to nothing. The threat which we receive, not from the foreign government, but in the press, is really a piece of incredible stupidity, if you think what it means--that by a certain combination of words, by a certain threatening shape given to printer's ink, a great and proud power like the German Empire is assumed to be capable of intimidation. This should be discontinued; and then it would be made easier for us to assume a more conciliatory and obliging attitude toward our two neighbors. Every country is responsible in the long run, somehow and at some time, for the windows broken by its press; the bill is presented some day or other, in the ill-humor of the other country. We can easily be influenced by love and good-will,--too easily perhaps,--but most assuredly not by threats. We Germans fear God, but nothing else in the world; and it is the fear of God that makes us love and cherish peace. But whoever, despite this, breaks it, will find that the warlike patriotism that in 1813, when Prussia was weak, small, and exhausted by plunder, brought her whole population under her banners, has to-day become the common heritage of the whole German nation; and whoever attacks the German nation will find it united in arms, and in every soldier's heart the firm faith "God will be with us."




f The two great writers who have, more than any others, made it possible for Norway to share in the comity of intellectual intercourse so characteristic of the modern literary movement, it must be granted that Björnson is, more distinctly than Ibsen, the representative of their common nationality. Both are figures sufficiently commanding to belong, in a sense, to the literature of the whole world, and both have had a marked influence upon the ideals of other peoples than that from which they sprung; but the wider intellectual scope of Ibsen has been gained at some sacrifice of the strength that comes from taking firm root in one's native soil, and speaking first and foremost to the hearts of one's fellow-countrymen. What we may call the cosmopolitan standpoint of the greater part of his work has made its author less typically a Norwegian than Björnson has always remained. It is not merely that the one writer has chosen to spend the best years of his life in countries not his own, while the other has never long absented himself from the scarred and storm-beaten shores of the land, rich in historic memories and "dreams of the saga-night," that gave him birth and nurture. Tourguénieff lived apart from his fellow-countrymen for as many years as Ibsen has done, yet remained a Russian to the core. It is rather a difference of native intellectual bent that has left Björnson to stand as the typical representative of the Norwegian spirit, while the most famous of his contemporaries has given himself up to the pursuit of abstractions, and has been swept along by a current of thought resulting from the confluence of many streams. The intensely national character of Björnson's manifold activity is well illustrated by a remark of Georg Brandes, to the effect that mention of Björnson's name in the presence of any gathering of Norwegians is like running up the national flag. And it seems, on the whole, that the sum total of his literary achievement must be reckoned the greatest to be set down to the credit of any one Norwegian since Norway began to develop a literature of her own. Far nobler and finer than that of either Wergeland or Welhaven, the two most conspicuous of his predecessors, this achievement is challenged by that of Ibsen alone, and even then in but a single aspect. It is only as dramatists that suspense of judgment between the two men is for a moment admissible; as a poet the superiority of Björnson is unquestionable, while his rank as the greatest of Norwegian novelists is altogether beyond dispute.


The chief facts of Björnson's life may be briefly set forth. The son of a parish priest, he was born December 8th, 1832, at Kvikne. When the boy was six years of age, his family removed to the Romsdal, and a few years later Björnstjerne was sent to school at Molde. His childhood was thus passed in the midst of the noblest scenery of Norway, and in regions of the richest legendary association. The austere sublimity of the Jötunheim--the home of the frost-giants--first impressed his childish sensibilities, but was soon exchanged for the more varied and picturesque but hardly less magnificent scenery of the western fjords. At the age of seventeen the boy was sent to school in Christiania, and in 1852 entered the University. Instead of devoting himself to his studies, he wrote a play called 'Valborg,' which was actually accepted by the management of the Christiania Theatre. The piece was, however, never printed or even performed; for the author became so conscious of its imperfections that he withdrew it from rehearsal. But it gave him the entrée of the playhouse, a fact which did much to determine the direction of his literary activities. He left the University with his course uncompleted, and for two or three years thereafter supported himself by journalism. In 1857, at the age of twenty-four, his serious literary career began with the publication of 'Synnöve Solbakken,' his first novel, and 'Mellern Slagene' (Between the Battles), his first printed dramatic work. In this year also, upon the invitation of Ole Bull, he went to Bergen, where he remained for two years as director of the theatre. In 1860 he secured from the government a traveling stipend, and spent the greater part of the next two years abroad, mostly in Rome, busily writing all the time. Returning to Norway, he has since remained there for the most part, although his winters have frequently been spent in other countries. For a long time he lived regularly in Paris several months of each year; one winter (1879-80) he was the guest of the Grand Duke of Meiningen; the following (1880-81) he spent in the United States, lecturing in many cities. Since 1874 his Norwegian home has been at Aulestad in the Gausdal, where he has an estate, and occupies a capacious dwelling--half farm-house, half villa--whose broad verandas look out upon the charming open landscape of Southern Norway. For the last twenty years he has been almost as conspicuous a figure in the political as in the literary arena, and the recognized leader of the Norwegian republican movement. Numerous kinds of social and religious controversy have also engaged his attention, and made his life a stirring one in many ways.

In attempting to classify Björnson's writings for the purpose of rendering some critical account of the man's work, the first impulse is to group them into the three divisions of fiction, lyric, and drama. But the most obvious fact of his long literary life is after all not so much that he has done great work in all three of these fundamental forms, as that the whole spirit and method of his work, whatever the form, underwent a radical transformation about midway in his career. For the first twenty years of his active life, roughly speaking, he was an artist pure and simple; during the subsequent twenty years, also roughly speaking, he has been didactic, controversial, and tendentious. (The last word is good Spanish and German and ought to be good English.) For the purpose of the following summary analysis, I have therefore thought it best to make the fundamental grouping chronological rather than formal, since the plays and the novels of the first period have much more in common with one another than either the plays or the novels of the first period have in common with the plays or the novels of the second.

Björnson's work in lyrical and other non-dramatic poetry belongs almost wholly to the first period. It consists mainly of short pieces scattered through the idyllic tales and saga-plays that nearly make up the sum of his activity in its purely creative and poetic phase. Some of these lyrics strike the very highest and purest note of song, and have secured lasting lodgment on the lips of the people. One of them, indeed, has become pre-eminently the national song of Norway, and may be heard wherever Norsemen are gathered together upon festal occasions. It begins in this fashion:--

"Ay, we love this land of ours,
  Crowned with mountain domes;
Storm-scarred o'er the sea it towers
  With a thousand homes.
Love it, as with love unsated
  Those who gave us birth,
While the saga-night, dream-weighted,
  Broods upon our earth."

Another patriotic song, hardly less popular, opens with the following stanza:--

"There's a land where the snow is eternally king,
To whose valleys alone come-the joys of the spring,
Where the sea beats a shore rich, with lore of the past,
But this land to its children is dear to the last."

The fresh beauty of such songs as these is, however, almost utterly uncommunicable in another language. Somewhat more amenable to the translator is the song 'Over de Höje Fjelde' (Over the Lofty Mountains), which occurs in 'Arne,' and which is perhaps the best of Björnson's lyrics. An attempt at a version of this poem will be found among the illustrative examples appended to the present essay. The scattered verses of Björnson were collected into a volume of 'Digte og Sange' (Poems and Songs) in 1870, and in the same year was published 'Arnljot Gelline,' the author's only long poem not dramatic in form. This uneven and in passages extraordinarily beautiful work is a sort of epic in fifteen songs, difficult to read, yet simple enough in general outline. Arnljot Gelline was a sort of freebooter of the eleventh century, whose fierce deeds were preserved in popular tradition. The 'Heimskringla' tells us how, grown weary of his lawless life, he joined himself to Olaf the Holy, accepted baptism, and fell at Stiklestad righting for Christianity and the King. From this suggestion, the imagination of the poet has worked out a series of episodes in Arnljot's life, beginning with his capture of the fair Ingigerd--whose father he slew, and who, struggling against her love, took refuge in a cloister--and ending with the day of the portentous battle against the heathen. It is all very impressive, and sometimes very subtle, while occasional sections, such as Ingigerd's appeal for admission to the cloister, and Arnljot's apostrophe to the sea, must be reckoned among the finest of Björnson's inspirations. Since 1870 Björnson has published little verse, although poems of an occasional character and incidental lyrics have now and then found their way into print. 'Lyset' (The Light), a cantata, is the only recent example of any magnitude.

Björnson first became famous as the delineator of the Norwegian peasant. He felt that the peasant is the lineal descendant of the man of the sagas, and that in him lies the real strength of the national character. The story of 'Synnöve Solbakken' (1857) was quickly followed by 'Arne' (1858), 'En Glad Gut' (A Happy Boy: 1860), and a number of small pieces in similar vein. They were at once recognized both at home and abroad as something deeper and truer of their sort than had hitherto been achieved in the Scandinavian countries, and perhaps in Europe. In their former aspect, they were a reaction from the conventional ideals hitherto dominant in Danish literature (which had set the pace for most of Björnson's predecessors); and in their latter and wider aspect they were the Norwegian expression of the tendency that had produced the German and French peasant idyls of Auerbach and George Sand. They embodied a return to Nature in a spirit that may, with a difference, be called Wordsworthian. They substituted a real nineteenth-century pastoral for the sham pastoral of the eighteenth century. They reproduced the simple style of the sagas, and reduced life to its primitive elements. The stories of 'Fiskerjenten' (The Fisher Maiden: 1868), and 'Brude Slaaten' (The Bridal March: 1873), belong, on the whole, with this group; although they are differentiated by a touch of modernity from which a discerning critic might have prophesied something of the author's coming development. These stories have been translated into many languages, and have long been familiar to English readers. It is worth noting that 'Synnöve Solbakken,' the first of them all, appeared in English a year after the publication of the original, in a translation by Mary Howitt. This fact seems to have escaped the bibliographers; which is not surprising, since the name of the author was not given upon the title-page, and the name of the story was metamorphosed into 'Trust and Trial.'

The inspiration of the sagas, strong as it is in these tales, is still more evident in the series of dramas that run parallel with them. These include 'Mellem Slagene' (Between the Battles: 1858), 'Halte Hulda' (Lame Hulda: 1858), 'Kong Sverre' (1861), 'Sigurd Slembe' (1862), and 'Sigurd Jorsalfar' (Sigurd the Jerusalem-Farer: 1872). The first two of these pieces are short and comparatively unimportant. 'Kong Sverre' is a longer and far more ambitious work; while in 'Sigurd Slembe,' a trilogy of plays, the saga-phase of Björnson's genius reached its culmination. This noble work, which may almost claim to be the greatest work in Norwegian literature, is based upon the career of a twelfth-century pretender to the throne of Norway, and the material was found in the 'Heimskringla.' There are few more signal illustrations in literature of the power of genius to transfuse with its own life a bare mediæval chronicle, and to create from a few meagre suggestions a vital and impressive work of art. One thinks instinctively, in seeking for some adequate parallel, of what Goethe did with the materials of the Faust legend, or of what Shakespeare did with the indications offered for 'King Lear' and 'Cymbeline' by Holinshed's chronicle-history. And the two greatest names in modern literature are suggested not only by this general fact of creative power, but also more specifically by certain characters in the trilogy. Audhild, the Icelandic maiden beloved of Sigurd, has more than once been compared with the gracious and pathetic figure of Gretchen; and Earl Harald is one of the most successful attempts since Shakespeare to incarnate once again the Hamlet type of character, with its gentleness, its intellectuality, its tragic irony, and the defect of will which forces it to sink beneath the too heavy burden set upon its shoulders by fate. 'Sigurd Jorsalfar,' the last of the saga-plays, was planned as the second part of a dramatic sequence, of which the first was never written. Another work in this manner, having for its protagonist the great national hero, Olaf Trygvason, was also planned and even begun; but the author's energy flagged, and he felt himself irresistibly impelled to devote himself to more modern themes dealt with in a more modern way. But before leaving this phase of Björnson's work, mention must be made of 'Maria Stuart i Skotland' (1864), chronologically interjected among the saga-plays, and dealing with the more definite history of the hapless Queen of Scots in much of the saga-spirit. Björnson felt that the Scots had inherited no little of the Norse blood and temper, and believed that the psychology of his saga-heroes was adequate to account for the group of men whose fortunes were bound up with those of Mary Stuart in Scotland. He finds his key to the problem of her career in the fact that she was by nature incapable of yielding herself up wholly to a man or a cause, yet was surrounded by men who demanded of her just such whole-souled allegiance. Bothwell and Knox were pre-eminently men of this stamp; as were also, in some degree, Darnley and Rizzio. The theory may seem fanciful, but there is no doubt that Björnson's treatment of this fascinating subject is one of the strongest it has ever received, and that his play takes rank with such European masterpieces as Scott's novel, and Alfieri's tragedy, and Swinburne's great poetic trilogy.

The late sixties and the early seventies were with Björnson a period of unrest and transformation. His previous work had been that of a genius isolated, comparatively speaking, and concentrated upon a small part of human life. His frequent journeys abroad and the wider range of his reading now brought him into the full current of European thought, and led to a substitution of practical ideals for those of the visionary. He felt that he must reculer pour mieux sauter, and for nearly a decade he produced little original work. Yet his first attempt at a modern problem-play, 'De Nygifte' (The Newly Married Pair), curiously enough, dates from as far back as 1865. This work was, however, a mere trifle, and has interest chiefly as a forerunner of what was to come. It was not until 1874 that Björnson became conscious that his new thought was ripe enough to bear fruit, and that he began with 'Redaktören' (The Editor) the series of plays dealing with social problems that have been the characteristic work of his second period. It is interesting to note, for comparison, the fact that the similar striking transformation of energy in Ibsen's case dates from 1877, when 'Samfundet's Stötter' (The Pillars of Society) was produced, and that this work had, like Björnson's 'Redaktören,' a forerunner in 'De Unges Forbund' (The League of Youth), published in 1869. The list of Björnson's problem-plays--many of which have been extraordinarily successful upon the stage, both in the Scandinavian countries and in Germany--includes in addition to 'Redaktören,' seven other pieces. They are: 'En Fallit' (A Bankruptcy: 1875), 'Kongen' (The King: 1877), 'Leonarda' (1879), 'Det Ny System' (The New System: 1879), 'En Hanske' (A Glove: 1883), 'Over Ævne' (Beyond the Strength: 1883), and 'Geografi og Kjærlighed' (Geography and Love: 1885). A sequel to 'Over Ævne' has also recently appeared. The most noteworthy of these works, considered as acting plays, are 'Redaktören' and 'En Fallit.' The one has for its subject the degradation of modern journalism; the other attacks the low standard of commercial morality prevailing in modern society. 'En Hanske' plants itself squarely upon the proposition that the obligations of morality are equally binding upon both sexes; a problem treated by Ibsen, after a somewhat different fashion, in 'Gengangere' (Ghosts). This play has occasioned much heated discussion, for its theme is of the widest interest, besides being pivotal as regards Björnson's sociological views. 'Over Ævne' is a curiously wrought and delicate treatment of religious mysticism, fascinating to read, but not very definite in outcome. 'Kongen' is probably the most remarkable, all things considered, of this series of plays, and Björnson told me some years ago that he considered it the most important of his works. Taking frankly for granted that monarchy, whether absolute or constitutional, is an outworn institution, the play discusses the question whether it may not be possible so to transform the institution as to fit it for a prolongation of existence. The interest centres about the character of a king who is profoundly convinced that the principle he embodies is an anachronism or a lie, and who seeks to do away with the whole structure of convention, and ceremonial, and hypocrisy, that the centuries have built about the throne and its occupants. But his dearest hopes are frustrated by the forces of malice, and dull conservatism, and invincible stupidity; the burden proves too heavy for him, the fight too unequal, and he takes his own life in a moment of despair. The terrible satirical power of certain scenes in this play would be difficult to match were our choice to range through the whole literature of Revolt. Its production brought upon the author a storm of furious denunciation. He had outraged both throne and altar, and his sacrilegious hand had not spared things the most sacrosanct. But a less passionate judgment, while still deprecating something of the author's violence, will recognize the fact that the core of the work is a noble idealism in both politics and religion, and will justify the hot indignation with which the author assails the shams that in modern society stifle the breath of free and generous souls.

During all these years of writing for the stage Björnson did not, however, forget that he was also a novelist; and it is in fiction that he has scored the greatest of his recent triumphs. But the world of 'Synnöve' and 'Arne' is now far behind him. The transition from his earlier to his later manner as a novelist is marked by two or three stories delicate in conception but uncertain of utterance, and relatively unimportant. These books are 'Magnhild' (1877), 'Kaptejn Mansana' (1879), and 'Stöv' (Dust: 1882). They were, however, significant of a new development of the author's genius, for they were the precursors of two great novels soon thereafter to follow. 'Det Flager i Byen og paa Havnen' (Flags are Flying in Town and Harbor) appeared in 1884. (Paa Guds Veje) (In God's Way) was published in 1889. These books are experiments upon a larger scale than their author had previously attempted in fiction, and neither of them exhibits the perfect mastery that went to the simpler making of the early peasant tales. They are somewhat confused and turbulent in style, and it is evident that their author is groping for adequate means of handling the unwieldy material brought to his workshop by so many currents of modern thought. The central theme of 'Det Flager' (in its English translation called, by the way, 'The Heritage of the Kurts') is the influence of heredity upon the life of a family group. The process of rehabilitation, resulting from the introduction of a healthy and vigorous strain into a stock weakened by the vices and passions of several generations, and aided by a scientific system of education, is carried on before our eyes, and the story of this process is the substance of the book. Regeneration is not wholly achieved, but the end leaves us hopeful for the future; and the flags that fly over town and harbor in the closing chapter have a symbolical significance, for they announce a victory of spirit over sense, not alone in the case of certain individuals, but also in the case of the whole community with which they are identified. If this book comes to be forgotten as a novel (which is not likely), it will have a fair chance of being remembered, along with 'Levana' and 'Emile,' as a sort of educational classic. 'Paa Gud's Veje,' the last great work of Björnson, is also strongly didactic in tone, yet it attains at its highest to a tranquillity of which the author seemed for many years to have lost the secret. The struggle it depicts is that between religious bigotry and liberalism as they contend for the mastery in a Norwegian town; and the moral is that "God's way" is the way of people who order their lives aright and keep their souls sweet and pure, rather than the way of the Pharisee who pins his faith to observances and allows the letter of his religion to overshadow the spirit. Not an unchristian inculcation, surely; yet for it and for similar earlier utterances Björnson has been held up as Antichrist by the ministers of a narrow Lutheran orthodoxy, very much as the spokesmen of an antiquated caste-system of society have esteemed his ideas to be those of the most ruthless and radical of iconoclasts. But he is a stout fighter, and attacks of this sort only serve to arouse him to new energy. And so he toils manfully on for the enlightenment of his people, knowing that his cause is the cause of civilization itself--of a rational social organization, an exalted ethical standard, and a purified religion.

Since the period when Björnson began to merge the artist in the thinker and prophet, his work has given a strong impetus to progress in religious, educational, and political affairs. As regards the first of these matters, it must be remembered that the sort of intolerance with which he has had to contend more resembles that of eighteenth-century New England puritanism than anything we are familiar with in our own time. As for the second matter, all of his work may in a sense be called educational, while such a book as 'Det Flager' shows how closely he has considered the subject of education in its special and even technical aspects. Finally, as a political thinker, he has identified himself indissolubly with the movement for the establishment of an independent Norwegian Republic, although he is not sanguine of the near realization of this aim. But if time should justify his prophetic attitude and give birth to a republic in the north of Europe, however remote may be the event, the name of Björnson will be remembered as that of one of the founders, although as the Mazzini rather than as the Cavour of the Norse Risorgimento. And whatever may be the future of the land that claims him for her own, his spirit will walk abroad long after he has ceased to live among men. His large, genial, optimistic personality is of the sort that cannot fail to stamp itself upon other generations than the one that actually counts him among its members.

[The following selections are given in translations of my own, excepting 'The Princess,' which was made by Mr. Nathan Haskell Dole, and the last two, for which I am indebted to the edition of Björnson's novels translated by Professor Rasmus B. Anderson, and published by Messrs. Houghton, Mifflin & Co. The extracts from 'Sigurd Slembe' are taken from my translation of that work published by the same firm.--W.M.P.]


(From 'Arne')

Often I wonder what there may be
       Over the lofty mountains.
    Here the snow is all I see,
Spread at the foot of the dark green tree;
   Sadly I often ponder,
   Would I were over yonder.

Strong of wing soars the eagle high
   Over the lofty mountains;
Glad of the new day, soars to the sky,
Wild in pursuit of his prey doth fly;
   Pauses, and, fearless of danger,
   Scans the far coasts of the stranger.

The apple-tree, whose thoughts ne'er fly
   Over the lofty mountains,
Leaves when the summer days draw nigh,
Patiently waits for the time when high
   The birds in its bough shall be swinging,
   Yet will know not what they are singing.

He who has yearned so long to go
   Over the lofty mountains--
He whose visions and fond hopes grow
Dim, with the years that so restless flow--
   Knows what the birds are singing,
   Glad in the tree-tops swinging.

Why, O bird, dost thou hither fare
   Over the lofty mountains?
Surely it must be better there,
Broader the view and freer the air;
   Com'st thou these longings to bring me--
These only, and nothing to wing me?

Oh, shall I never, never go
   Over the lofty mountains?
Must all my thoughts and wishes so
Held in these walls of ice and snow
   Here be imprisoned forever?
   Till death shall escape be never?

Hence! I will hence! Oh, so far from here,
  Over the lofty mountains!
Here 'tis so dull, so unspeakably drear;
Young is my heart and free from fear--
  Better the walls to be scaling
  Than here in my prison lie wailing.

One day, I know, shall my free soul roam
  Over the lofty mountains.
O my God, fair is thy home,
Ajar is the door for all who come;
  Guard it for me yet longer,
  Till my soul through striving grows stronger.


From 'Arnljot Gelline'

"Who would enter so late the cloister in?"
      "A maid forlorn from the land of snow."
    "What sorrow is thine, and what thy sin?"
      "The deepest sorrow the heart can know.
    I have nothing done,
      Yet must still endeavor,
    Though my strength is none,
      To wander ever.
Let me in, to seek for my pain surcease;--
      I can find no peace."

"From what far-off land hast thou taken flight?"
  "From the land of the North, a weary way."
"What stayed thy feet at our gate this night?"
  "The chant of the nuns, for I heard them pray,
    And the song gave peace
      To my soul, and blessed me;
    It offered release
      From the grief that oppressed me.
   Let me in, so if peace to give be thine,
      I may make it mine."

"Name me the grief that thy life hath crossed."
  "Rest may I never, never know."
"Thy father, thy lover, thou hast then lost?"
  "I lost them both at a single blow,
    And all I held dear
      In my deepest affection,
    Ay, all that was near
      To my heart's recollection.
Let me in, I am failing, I beg, I implore,
      I can bear no more."

"How was it that thou thy father lost?"
  "He was slain, and I saw the deed."
"How was it that thou thy lover lost?"
  "My father he slew, and I saw the deed.
      I wept so bitterly
         When he roughly would woo me,
      He at last set me free,
         And forbore to pursue me.
Let me in, for the horror my soul doth fill
         That I love him still."


Come child, come bride,
To God's own side.
From grief find rest
On Jesus' breast.
Rest thy burden of sorrow
  On Horeb's height;
Like the lark, with to-morrow
  Shall thy soul take flight.

Here stilled is all yearning,
No passion returning,
No terror come near thee
Where the Saviour can hear thee!
For He, if in need be
  Thy storm-beaten soul,
Though it bruised as a reed be,
  Shall raise it up whole.


From 'Sigurd Slembe'

"But once more let me the heavens see,
    When the stars their watch are keeping,"
  Young Magnus begged, and fell on his knee;
      It was sad to see,
And the women away turned weeping.

"Let me once more the mountains see,
  And the blue of the ocean far-reaching,
Only once more, and then let it be!"
      And he fell on his knee,
While his friends were for pity beseeching.

"Let me go to the church, that the sacred sight
  Of the blood of God may avail me;
That my eyes may bathe in its holy light,
      Ere the day take flight,
And my vision forever shall fail me!"

But the sharp steel sped, and the shadows fell,
  As the darkness the day o'erpowers.
"Magnus our king, farewell, farewell!"
      "So farewell, farewell,
All my friends of so many glad hours."

Copyrighted by Houghton, Mifflin and Company, Boston.


From 'Sigurd Slembe'

Sin and Death, at break of day,
      Day, day,
Spoke together with bated breath;
Marry thee, sister, that I may stay,
      Stay, stay,
    In thy house, quoth Death.

Death laughed aloud when Sin was wed,
      Wed, wed,
  And danced on the bridal day;
But bore that night from the bridal bed,
      Bed, bed,
    The groom in a shroud away.

Death came to her sister at break of day,
      Day, day,
  And Sin drew a weary breath;
He whom thou lovest is mine for aye,
      Aye, aye,
  Mine he is, quoth Death.

Copyrighted by Houghton, Mifflin and Company, Boston.


The Princess sat lone in her maiden bower,
  The lad blew his horn at the foot of the tower.
  "Why playest thou alway? Be silent, I pray,
  It fetters my thoughts that would flee far away,
      As the sun goes down."

In her maiden bower sat the Princess forlorn,
The lad had ceased to play on his horn.
"Oh, why art thou silent? I beg thee to play!
It gives wings to my thoughts that would flee far away,
      As the sun goes down."

In her maiden bower sat the Princess forlorn,
Once more with delight played the lad on his horn.
She wept as the shadows grew long, and she sighed:
"Oh, tell me, my God, what my heart doth betide,
    Now the sun has gone down."

Copyrighted by T.Y. Crowell and Company.


The scene is at first empty. Then Sigurd Slembe enters, climbing over a rock; he comes forward in silence, but powerfully agitated.

The Danes forsake me! The battle is lost! Thus far--and no farther!

Escape to the mountains to-night! Exchange my ships for freedom! There are herds of horses on the mountains: we will climb up there and then fall upon the valleys like a snowstorm.

But when winter comes? To begin at the beginning: the outlaw's life--never more! I have made my last effort; had it been successful, men would have wondered at me. It has failed, and vengeance is loose. I cannot gather another force in Norway!

All over? Thus far and no farther? No! The Danes sail, but we will sail with them! This night, this very night we will raise our yards and follow them to the open sea.

But whither shall we turn our prows? To Denmark? We may raise no third force in Denmark. Start out again as merchant? No! Serve in foreign lands? No! Crusade? No! Hither and no farther! Sigurd, the end has come!

[Almost sobbing.] Death! The thought sprang up in my mind as a door swings open, clashing upon its hinges; light, air, receive me! [He draws his sword.] No; I will fall fighting in the cause I have lived for--my men shall have a leader!

Is there no chance of victory? no trick? Can I not get them ashore? Can I not get them in the toils? try them in point-blank fight, man to man, all the strength of despair fighting with me? Ah, could they but hear me, could I but find some high place and speak to them; tell them how clear as the sun is my right, how monstrous the wrongs I have borne, what a crime is theirs in withstanding me! You murder not me alone, but thousands upon thousands of thoughts for my fatherland's welfare; I have carried nothing out, I have not sown the least grain, or laid one stone upon another to witness that I have lived. Ah, I have strength for better things than strife; it was the desire to work that drove me homewards; it was impatience that wrought me ill! Believe me, try me, give me but half what Harald Gille promised me, even less; I ask but very little, if I may still live and strive to accomplish something! Jesus, my God, it was ever the little that thou didst offer me, and that I ever scorned!

Where am I? I stand upon my own grave, and hear the great bell ring. I tremble as the tower beneath its stroke, for where now are the aims that were mine? The grave opens its mouth and makes reply. But life lies behind me like a dried-up stream, and these eighteen years are lost as in a desert. The sign, the sign that was with me from my birth! In lofty flight I have followed it hither with all the strength of my soul, and here I am struck by the arrow of death. I fall, and behold the rocks beneath, upon which I shall be crushed. Have I, then, seen a-wrong? Ah, how the winds and currents of my life stood yonder, where it was warm and fruitful, while I toiled up where it grew ever colder, and my ship is now clasped by the drifting icebergs; a moment yet, and it must sink. Then let it sink, and all will be over. [On his knees.] But in thy arms, All-Merciful, I shall find peace!

What miracle is this? For in the hour I prayed the prayer was granted! Peace, perfect peace! [Rises.] Then will I go to-morrow to my last battle as to the altar; peace shall at last be mine for all my longings.

[Holds his head bowed and covered by his hands. As he, after a time, slowly removes them, he looks around.]

How this autumn evening brings reconciliation to my soul! Sun and wave and shore and sea flow all together, as in the thought of God all others; never yet has it seemed so fair to me! Yet it is not mine to reign over this lovely land. How greatly I have done it ill! But how has it all come so to pass? for in my wanderings I saw thy mountains in every sky, I yearned for home as a child longs for Christmas, yet I came no sooner, and when at last I came--I gave thee wound upon wound.

But thou, in contemplative mood, now gazest upon me, and givest me at parting this fairest autumn night of thine. I will ascend yonder rock and take a long farewell. [Mounts up.]

And even thus I stood eighteen years ago,--thus looked out upon the sea, blue beneath the rising sun. The fresh breezes of morning seemed wafted to me from a high future; through the sky's light veil a vision of strange lands was mine; in the glow of the morning sun, wealth and honor shone upon me; and to all this, the white sails of the Crusaders should swiftly bear me.

Farewell, dreams of my youth! Farewell, my sweet country! Ah, to what sorrow thou hast brought me forth! But now it will soon be over.              [ He descends.]

If these ships should sail up to me this very night bearing the fulfillment of all my dreams! Could any one of them be now in truth mine,--or may a tree bear fruit twice in one year?

I give way to make room for some better man. But be thou gracious to me, and let death be mine with these feelings in my heart, for strength to be faithful might not long be vouchsafed me.

"Thou shalt die to-morrow!" How sure a father-confessor is that word! Now for the first time I speak truth to myself.

Ivar [climbing' over a rock]--Yes, here he is. [Gives his hand to the nun.]

The Nun [without seeing]--Sigurd! [Mounts up.] Yes, there he is!


The Nun--My child, found once more! [They remain long clasped in each other's arms.] My son, my son, now shalt thou no more escape me!

Sigurd--O my mother!

The Nun--Thou wilt keep away from this battle, is it not so? We two will win another kingdom,--a much better one.

Sigurd--I understand thee, mother. [Leads her to a seat, and falls upon his knee.]

The Nun--Yes, dost thou not? Thou art not so bad as all men would have it. I knew that well, but wanted so much to speak with thee,--and since thou art wearied and hast lost thy hopes for this world, thou hast come back to me, for even now there is time! And of all thy realm they must leave thee some little plot, and there we will live by the church, so that when the bells ring for vespers we shall be near the blessed Olaf, and with him seek the presence of the Almighty. And there we will heal thy wounds with holy water, and thoughts of love, more than thou canst remember ever to have had, shall come back to thee robed in white, and wondering recollection shall have no end. For the great shall be made small and the small great, and there shall be questionings and revelations and eternal happiness. Thou wilt come and thus live with me, my son, wilt thou not? Thou wilt stay from this battle and come quickly?

Sigurd--Mother, I have not wept till now since I lay upon the parched earth of the Holy Land.

The Nun--Thou wilt follow me?

Sigurd--To do thus were to escape the pledges I have made but by breaking them.

The Nun--To what art thou now pledged?

Sigurd--Pledged to the blind king I took from the cloister; pledged to the men I have led hither.

The Nun--And these pledges thou shalt redeem--how?

Sigurd--By fighting and falling at their head.

The Nun [springs to her feet. Sigurd also rises.]--No! No! No! Shall I now, after a lifetime of sorrow, behold thy death?

Sigurd--Yes, mother. The Lord of life and death will have it so.

The Nun--Ah! what sufferings a moment's sin may bring! [She falls upon his breast, then sinks, with outstretched arms.] O my son, spare me!

Sigurd--Do not tempt me, mother!

The Nun--Hast thou taken thought of what may follow? Hast thou thought of capture, of mutilation?

Sigurd--I have some hymns left me from childhood. I can sing them.

The Nun--But I--thy mother--spare me!

Sigurd--Make not to me this hour more bitter than death itself.

The Nun--But why now die? We have found one another.

Sigurd--We two have nothing more to live for.

The Nun--Wilt thou soon leave me?

Sigurd--Till the morning sun appear we will sit together. Let me lift thee upon this rock. [He does so, and casts himself at her feet.] It was fair that thou shouldst come to me. All my life is now blotted out, and I am a child with thee once more. And now we will seek out together the land of our inheritance. I must away for a moment to take my leave, and then I shall be ready, and I think that thou too art ready.

Ivar Ingemundson [falling on his knee]--My lord, now let me be your friend.

Sigurd [extending his hand]--Ivar, thou wilt not leave her to-morrow?

Ivar Ingemundson--Not until she is set free.

Sigurd--And now sing me the Crusader's song. I may joyfully go hence after that.

Ivar Ingemundson [rises and sings]--

      Fair is the earth,
      Fair is God's heaven;
Fair is the pilgrim-path of the soul.
      Singing we go
Through the fair realms of earth,
Seeking the way to our heavenly goal.

      Races shall come,
      And shall pass away:
And the world from age to age shall roll;
      But the heavenly tones
      Of our pilgrim song
Shall echo still in the joyous soul.

      First heard of shepherds,
      By angels sung,
Wide it has spread since that glad morn:
      Peace upon earth!
      Rejoice all men,
For unto us is a Savior born[1].

[The mother places both her hands on Sigurd's head, and they look into one another's eyes; he then rests his head upon her breast.]

[1] This song is borrowed by Björnson from the Danish poet B.S. Ingemann, although it is slightly altered for its present use.

Copyrighted by Houghton, Mifflin and Company, Boston.


From 'Arne'

There was a deep gorge between two mountains. Through this gorge a large, full stream flowed heavily over a rough and stony bottom. Both sides were high and steep, and so one side was bare; but close to its foot, and so near the stream that the latter sprinkled it with moisture every spring and autumn, stood a group of fresh-looking trees, gazing upward and onward, yet unable to advance this way or that.

"What if we should clothe the mountain?" said the juniper one day to the foreign oak, to which it stood nearer than all the others. The oak looked down to find out who it was that spoke, and then it looked up again without deigning a reply. The river rushed along so violently that it worked itself into a white foam; the north wind had forced its way through the gorge and shrieked in the clefts of the rocks; the naked mountain, with its great weight, hung heavily over and felt cold. "What if we should clothe the mountain?" said the juniper to the fir on the other side. "If anybody is to do it, I suppose it must be we," said the fir, taking hold of its beard and glancing toward the birch. "What do you think?" But the birch peered cautiously up, at the mountain, which hung over it so threateningly that it seemed as if it could scarcely breathe. "Let us clothe it, in God's name!" said the birch. And so, though there were but these three, they undertook to clothe the mountain. The juniper went first.

When they had gone a little way, they met the heather. The juniper seemed as though about to go past it. "Nay, take the heather along," said the fir. And the heather joined them. Soon it began to glide on before the juniper. "Catch hold of me," said the heather. The juniper did so, and where there was only a wee crevice, the heather thrust in a finger, and where it first had placed a finger, the juniper took hold with its whole hand. They crawled and crept along, the fir laboring on behind, the birch also. "This is well worth doing," said the birch.

But the mountain began to ponder on what manner of insignificant objects these might be that were clambering up over it. And after it had been considering the matter a few hundred years, it sent a little brook down to inquire. It was yet in the time of the spring freshets, and the brook stole on until it reached the heather. "Dear, dear heather, cannot you let me pass? I am so small." The heather was very busy; only raised itself a little and pressed onward. In, under, and onward went the brook. "Dear, dear juniper, cannot you let me pass? I am so small." The juniper looked sharply at it; but if the heather had let it pass, why, in all reason, it must do so too. Under it and onward went the brook; and now came to the spot where the fir stood puffing on the hill-side. "Dear, dear fir, cannot you let me pass? I am really so small," said the brook,--and it kissed the fir's feet and made itself so very sweet. The fir became bashful at this, and let it pass. But the birch raised itself before the brook asked it. "Hi, hi, hi!" said the brook, and grew. "Ha, ha, ha!" said the brook, and grew. "Ho, ho, ho!" said the brook, and flung the heather and the juniper and the fir and the birch flat on their faces and backs, up and down these great hills. The mountain sat up for many hundred years musing on whether it had not smiled a little that day.

It was plain enough: the mountain did not want to be clad. The heather fretted over this until it grew green again, and then it started forward. "Fresh courage!" said the heather.

The juniper had half raised itself to look at the heather, and continued to keep this position, until at length it stood upright. It scratched its head and set forth again, taking such a vigorous foothold that it seemed as though the mountain must feel it. "If you will not have me, then I will have you." The fir crooked its toes a little to find out whether they were whole, then lifted one foot, found it whole, then the other, which proved also to be whole, then both of them. It first investigated the ground it had been over, next where it had been lying, and finally where it should go. After this it began to wend its way slowly along, and acted just as though it had never fallen. The birch had become most wretchedly soiled, but now rose up and made itself tidy. Then they sped onward, faster and faster, upward and on either side, in sunshine and in rain. "What in the world can this be?" said the mountain, all glittering with dew, as the summer sun shone down on it. The birds sang, the wood-mouse piped, the hare hopped along, and the ermine hid itself and screamed.

Then the day came when the heather could peep with one eye over the edge of the mountain. "Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear!" said the heather, and away it went. "Dear me! what is it the heather sees?" said the juniper, and moved on until it could peer up. "Oh dear, oh dear!" it shrieked, and was gone. "What is the matter with the juniper to-day?" said the fir, and took long strides onward in the heat of the sun. Soon it could raise itself on its toes and peep up. "Oh dear!" Branches and needles stood on end in wonderment. It worked its way forward, came up, and was gone. "What is it all the others see, and not I?" said the birch; and lifting well its skirts, it tripped after. It stretched its whole head up at once. "Oh,--oh!--is not here a great forest of fir and heather, of juniper and birch, standing upon the table-land waiting for us?" said the birch; and its leaves quivered in the sunshine so that the dew trembled. "Ay, this is what it is to reach the goal!" said the juniper.


The man whose story is here to be told was the wealthiest and most influential person in his parish; his name was Thord Overaas. He appeared in the priest's study one day, tall and earnest.

"I have gotten a son," said he, "and I wish to present him for baptism."

"What shall his name be?"

"Finn,--after my father."

"And the sponsors?"

They were mentioned, and proved to be the best men and women of Thord's relations in the parish.

"Is there anything else?" inquired the priest, and looked up.

The peasant hesitated a little.

"I should like very much to have him baptized by himself," said he, finally.

"That is to say, on a week-day?"

"Next Saturday, at twelve o'clock noon."

"Is there anything else?" inquired the priest.

"There is nothing else;" and the peasant twirled his cap, as though he were about to go.

Then the priest rose. "There is yet this, however," said he, and walking toward Thord, he took him by the hand and looked gravely into his eyes: "God grant that the child may become a blessing to you!"

One day sixteen years later, Thord stood once more in the priest's study.

"Really, you carry your age astonishingly well, Thord," said the priest; for he saw no change whatever in the man.

"That is because I have no troubles," replied Thord.

To this the priest said nothing, but after a while he asked, "What is your pleasure this evening?"

"I have come this evening about that son of mine who is to be confirmed to-morrow."

"He is a bright boy."

"I did not wish to pay the priest until I heard what number the boy would have when he takes his place in church to-morrow."

"He will stand Number One."

"So I have heard; and here are ten dollars for the priest."

"Is there anything else I can do for you?" inquired the priest, fixing his eyes on Thord.

"There is nothing else."

Thord went out.

Eight years more rolled by, and then one day a noise was heard outside of the priest's study, for many men were approaching, and at their head was Thord, who entered first.

The priest looked up and recognized him.

"You come well attended this evening, Thord," said he.

"I am here to request that the banns may be published for my son: he is about to marry Karen Storliden, daughter of Gudmund, who stands here beside me."

"Why, that is the richest girl in the parish."

"So they say," replied the peasant, stroking back his hair with one hand.

The priest sat awhile as if in deep thought, then entered the names in his book, without making any comments, and the men wrote their signatures underneath. Thord laid three dollars on the table.

"One is all I am to have," said the priest.

"I know that very well, but he is my only child; I want to do it handsomely."

The priest took the money.

"This is now the third time, Thord, that you have come here on your son's account."

"But now I am through with him," said Thord, and folding up his pocket-book he said farewell and walked away.

The men slowly followed him.

A fortnight later, the father and son were rowing one calm, still day, across the lake to Storliden to make arrangements for the wedding.

"This thwart is not secure," said the son, and stood up to straighten the seat on which he was sitting.

At the same moment the board he was standing on slipped from under him; he threw out his arms, uttered a shriek, and fell overboard.

"Take hold of the oar!" shouted the father, springing to his feet and holding out the oar.

But when the son had made a couple of efforts he grew stiff.

"Wait a moment!" cried the father, and began to row toward his son.

Then the son rolled over on his back, gave his father one long look, and sank.

Thord could scarcely believe it; he held the boat still, and stared at the spot where his son had gone down, as though he must surely come to the surface again. There rose some bubbles, then some more, and finally one large one that burst; and the lake lay there as smooth and bright as a mirror again.

For three days and three nights people saw the father rowing round and round the spot, without taking either food or sleep; he was dragging the lake for the body of his son. And toward morning of the third day he found it, and carried it in his arms up over the hills to his gård.

It might have been about a year from that day, when the priest, late one autumn evening, heard some one in the passage outside of the door, carefully trying to find the latch. The priest opened the door, and in walked a tall, thin man, with bowed form and white hair. The priest looked long at him before he recognized him. It was Thord.

"Are you out walking so late?" said the priest, and stood still in front of him.

"Ah, yes! it is late," said Thord, and took a seat.

The priest sat down also, as though waiting. A long, long silence followed. At last Thord said:--

"I have something with me that I should like to give to the poor; I want it to be invested as a legacy in my son's name."

He rose, laid some money on the table, and sat down again. The priest counted it.

"It is a great deal of money," said he.

"It is half the price of my gård. I sold it to-day."

The priest sat long in silence. At last he asked, but gently:

"What do you propose to do now, Thord?"

"Something better."

They sat there for awhile, Thord with downcast eyes, the priest with his eyes fixed on Thord. Presently the priest said, slowly and softly:--

"I think your son has at last brought you a true blessing."

"Yes, I think so myself," said Thord, looking up, while two big tears coursed slowly down his cheeks.



n view of Mr. Black's accurate and picturesque descriptions of natural phenomena, it is interesting to know that of his varied youthful studies, botany most attracted him, and that he followed it up as an art pupil in the government schools. But his bent was rather for journalism than for art or science. Before he was twenty-one he had written critical essays for a local newspaper on Ruskin, Carlyle, and Kingsley; and shortly afterward he wrote a series of sketches, after Christopher North, that at this early age gave evidence of his peculiar talent, the artistic use of natural effects in the development of character, the pathos of the gray morning or the melancholy of the evening mist when woven in with tender episode or tragic occurrence.

William Black

William Black was born in Glasgow, Scotland, November 6th, 1841, and received his early education there. He settled in London in 1864, and was a special correspondent of the Morning Star in the Franco-Prussian war, but after about ten years of the life of a newspaper man, during which he was an editor of the London News, he abandoned journalism for novel-writing in 1875. In the intervals of his work he traveled much, and devoted himself with enthusiasm to out-door sports, of which he writes with a knowledge that inspires a certain confidence in the reader. A Scotch skipper once told him he need never starve, because he could make a living as pilot in the western Highlands; and the fidelity of his descriptions of northern Scotland have met with the questionable reward of converting a poet's haunt into a tourist's camp. Not that Mr. Black's is a game-keeper's catalogue of the phenomena of forest or stream, or the poetic way of depicting nature by similes. The fascination of his writing lies in our conviction that it is the result of minute observation, with a certain atmospheric quality that makes the picture alive. More, one is conscious of a sensitive, pathetic thrill in his writing; these sights and sounds, when they are unobtrusively chronicled, are penetrated by a subtle human sympathy, as if the writer bent close to the earth and heard the whispers of the flowers and stones, as well as the murmur of the forest and the roar of the sea.

He is eminently a popular writer, a vivacious delineator of life and manners, even when he exhibits his versatility at the cost of some of his most attractive characteristics. In 'Sunrise' we have a combination of romance and politics, its motive supplied by the intrigues of a wide-spread communistic society. 'Kilmeny' is the story of a painter, 'Shandon Bells' of a literary man, 'The Monarch of Mincing Lane' tells of the London streets, the heroine of 'The Handsome Humes' is an actress, the scenes in 'Briseis' are played in Athens, Scotland, and England. All these novels have tragic and exceptional episodes, the humor is broad, as the humor of a pessimist always is, and the reader finds himself laughing at a practical joke on the heels of a catastrophe. Mr. Black knows his London, especially the drawing-room aspect of it, and his latest novel is sure to have the latest touch of fad and fashion, although white heather does not cease to grow nor deer to be stalked, nor flies to be cast in Highland waters. We cannot admit that he is exceptionally fortunate in the heroines of these novels, however, for they are perfectly beautiful and perfectly good, and nature protests against perfection as a hurt to vanity. Our real favorites are the dark-eyed Queen Titania, the small imperious person who drives in state in 'Strange Adventures of a Phaeton,' and sails with such high courage in 'White Wings,' and the half-sentimental, half-practical, wholly self-seeking siren Bonny Leslie in 'Kilmeny' who develops into something a little more than coquettish in the Kitty of 'Shandon Bells.'

These and half a dozen other novels by Mr. Black entitle him to his place as a popular novelist; they are alternately gay and sad, they are spirited and entertaining; certain characters, like the heroine of 'Sunrise,' cast a bright effulgence over the dark plots of intrigue. But Mr. Black is at his best as the creator of the special school of fiction that has Highland scenery and Highland character for its field. He has many followers and many imitators, but he remains master on his own ground. The scenes of his most successful stories, 'The Princess of Thule,' 'A Daughter of Heth,' 'In Far Lochaber,' 'Macleod of Dare,' and 'Madcap Violet,' are laid for the most part in remote rural districts, amid lake and moorland and mountain wilds of northern Scotland, whose unsophisticated atmosphere is invaded by airs from the outer world only during the brief season of hunting and fishing.

But the visit of the worldling is long enough to furnish incident both poetic and tragic; and when he enters the innocent and primitive life of the native, as Lavender entered that of the proud and beautiful Princess of Thule sailing her boat in the far-off waters of Skye, or the cruel Gertrude in the grim castle of Dare, he finds all the potencies of passion and emotion.

The temperament of the Highlander is a melancholy one. The narrow life, with its isolation and its hardships, makes him pessimistic and brooding, though endowed with the keen instinct and peculiar humor of those who are far removed from the artificialities of life. But Mr. Black ascribes this temperament, not to race or hardship or isolation, but to the strange sights and sounds of the sea and land on which he dwells, to the wild nights and fierce sunsets, to the dark ocean plains that brood over the secrets that lie in their depths.

Under his treatment nature is subjective, and plays the part of fate. Natural scenery is as the orchestra to a Wagnerian opera. The shifting of the clouds, the voice of the sea, the scent of the woods, are made the most important factors in the formation of character. He whose home is in mountain fastnesses knows the solemn glory of sunrise and sunset, and has for his heritage the high brave temper of the warrior, with the melancholy of the poet. The dweller on tawny sands, where the waves beat lazily on summer afternoons and where wild winds howl in storm, is of like necessity capricious and melancholy. The minor key, in which Poe thought all true poetry is written, is struck in these his earlier novels. Let the day be ever so beautiful, the air ever so clear, the shadows give back a sensitive, luminous darkness that reveals tragedies within itself.

Not that the sentient background, as he has painted it, is to be confounded with the "sympathy of nature with character" of the older school, in which hysterical emotion is accentuated by wild wind storms, and the happiness of lovers by a sunshiny day. But character, as depicted by him in these early novels, is so far subordinate to nature that nature assumes moral responsibility. When Macleod of Dare commits murder and then suicide, we accept it as the result of climatic influences; and the tranquil-conscienced Hamish, the would-be homicide, but obeys the call of the winds. Especially in the delightful romances of Skye, Mr. Black reproduces the actual speech and manners of the people.

And as romance of motive clothes barren rocks in rich hues and waste bogland in golden gorse, it does like loving service for homely characters. The dialect these people talk, without editorial comment, delights and amuses from its strangeness, and also from the conviction that it is as real as the landscape. They tell wonderful tales of moor and fen as they tramp the woods or sail on moonlit waters, and sitting by a peat fire of a stormy night, discuss, between deep pulls of Scotch whisky, the Erastianism that vitiates modern theology. We must look in the pages of Scott for a more charming picture of the relation of clansman to chief.

But Mr. Black is his own most formidable rival. He who painted the sympathetic landscapes of northern Scotland has taught the reader the subtle distinction between these delicate scenes and those in which nature's moods are obtrusively chronicled. There are novels by Mr. Black in reading which we exclaim, with the exhausted young lady at the end of her week's sight-seeing, "What! another sunset!" And he set himself a difficult task when he attempted to draw another character so human and so lovable as the Princess of Thule, although the reader were ungracious indeed did he not welcome the beautiful young lady with the kind heart and the proud, hurt smile, whom he became familiar with through frequent encounters in the author's other novels. And if Earlscope, who has a dim sort of kinship with the more vigorous hero of 'Jane Eyre,' has been succeeded by well-bred young gentlemen who never smoke in the presence of their female relatives, though they are master hands at sailing a boat and knocking down obtrusive foreigners, Mr. Black has not since 'A Daughter of Heth' done so dramatic a piece of writing as the story of the Earl's death and Coquette's flight. The "Daughter of Heth," with her friendly simplicity and innocent wiles, and Madcap Violet, the laughter-loving, deserve perhaps a kinder fate than a broken heart and an early grave.

But what the novelist Gogol said of himself and his audience fifty years ago is as true as ever: "Thankless is the task of whoever ventures to show what passes every moment before his eyes." When he is heart-breaking, and therefore exceptional, Mr. Black is most interesting. A sad ending is not necessarily depressing to the reader. "There is something," says La Rochefoucauld, "in the misfortunes of our best friends that doth not displease us."

In Mr. Black's later novels, the burden of tradition has been too heavy for him, and he has ended them all happily, as if they were fairy tales. He chose a more artistic as well as a more faithful part when they were in keeping with life.


"DUNCAN." said Hamish in a low whisper,--for Macleod had gone below, and they thought he might be asleep in the small hushed state-room--"this is a strange-looking day, is it not? And I am afraid of it in this open bay, with an anchorage no better than a sheet of paper for an anchorage. Do you see now how strange-looking it is?"

Duncan Cameron also spoke in his native tongue, and he said:--

"That is true, Hamish. And it was a day like this there was when the Solan was sunk at her moorings in Loch Hourn. Do you remember, Hamish? And it would be better for us now if we were in Loch Tua, or Loch-na-Keal, or in the dock that was built for the steamer at Tiree. I do not like the look of this day."

Yet to an ordinary observer it would have seemed that the chief characteristic of this pale, still day was extreme and settled calm. There was not a breath of wind to ruffle the surface of the sea; but there was a slight glassy swell, and that only served to show curious opalescent tints under the suffused light of the sun. There were no clouds; there was only a thin veil of faint and sultry mist all across the sky: the sun was invisible, but there was a glare of yellow at one point of the heavens. A dead calm; but heavy, oppressed, sultry. There was something in the atmosphere that seemed to weigh on the chest.

"There was a dream I had this morning," continued Hamish, in the same low tones. "It was about my little granddaughter Christina. You know my little Christina, Duncan. And she said to me, 'What have you done with Sir Keith Macleod? Why have you not brought him back? He was under your care, grandfather.' I did not like that dream."

"Oh, you are becoming as bad as Sir Keith Macleod himself!" said the other. "He does not sleep. He talks to himself. You will become like that if you pay attention to foolish dreams, Hamish."

Hamish's quick temper leaped up.

"What do you mean, Duncan Cameron, by saying 'as bad as Sir Keith Macleod'? You--you come from Ross: perhaps they have not good masters there. I tell you there is not any man in Ross, or in Sutherland either, is as good a master and as brave a lad as Sir Keith Macleod--not any one, Duncan Cameron!"

"I did not mean anything like that, Hamish," said the other, humbly. "But there was a breeze this morning. We could have got over to Loch Tua. Why did we stay here, where there is no shelter and no anchorage? Do you know what is likely to come after a day like this?"

"It is your business to be a sailor on board this yacht; it is not your business to say where she will go," said Hamish.

But all the same the old man was becoming more and more alarmed at the ugly aspect of this dead calm. The very birds, instead of stalking among the still pools, or lying buoyant on the smooth waters, were excitedly calling, and whirring from one point to another.

"If the equinoctials were to begin now," said Duncan Cameron, "this is a fine place to meet the equinoctials! An open bay, without shelter; and a ground that is no ground for an anchorage. It is not two anchors or twenty anchors would hold in such a ground."

Macleod appeared: the men were suddenly silent. Without a word to either of them--and that was not his wont--he passed to the stern of the yacht. Hamish knew from his manner that he would not be spoken to. He did not follow him, even with all this vague dread on his mind.

The day wore on to the afternoon. Macleod, who had been pacing up and down the deck, suddenly called Hamish. Hamish came aft at once.

"Hamish," said he, with a strange sort of laugh, "do you remember this morning, before the light came? Do you remember that I asked you about a brass-band that I heard playing?"

Hamish looked at him, and said with an earnest anxiety:--

"O Sir Keith, you will pay no heed to that! It is very common; I have heard them say it is very common. Why, to hear a brass-band, to be sure! There is nothing more common than that. And you will not think you are unwell merely because you think you can hear a brass-band playing!"

"I want you to tell me, Hamish," said he, in the same jesting way, "whether my eyes have followed the example of my ears, and are playing tricks. Do you think they are bloodshot, with my lying on deck in the cold? Hamish, what do you see all around?"

The old man looked at the sky, and the shore, and the sea. It was a marvelous thing. The world was all enshrouded in a salmon-colored mist: there was no line of horizon visible between, the sea and the sky.

"It is red, Sir Keith," said Hamish.

"Ah! Am I in my senses this time? And what do you think of a red day, Hamish? That is not a usual thing."

"Oh, Sir Keith, it will be a wild night this night! And we cannot stay here, with this bad anchorage!"

"And where would you go, Hamish--in a dead calm?" Macleod asked, still with a smile on the wan face.

"Where would I go?" said the old man, excitedly. "I--I will take care of the yacht. But you, Sir Keith; oh! you--you will go ashore now. Do you know, sir, the sheiling that the shepherd had? It is a poor place--oh yes; but Duncan Cameron and I will take some things ashore. And do you not think we can look after the yacht? She has met the equinoctials before, if it is the equinoctials that are beginning. She has met them before; and cannot she meet them now? But you, Sir Keith, you will go ashore!"

Macleod burst out laughing, in an odd sort of fashion.

"Do you think I am good at running away when there is any kind of danger, Hamish? Have you got into the English way? Would you call me a coward too? Nonsense, nonsense, nonsense, Hamish! I--why, I am going to drink a glass of the coal-black wine, and have done with it. I will drink it to the health of my sweetheart, Hamish!"

"Sir Keith," said the old man, beginning to tremble, though he but half understood the meaning of the scornful mirth, "I have had charge of you since you were a young lad."

"Very well!"

"And Lady Macleod will ask of me, 'Such and such a thing happened: what did you do for my son?' Then I will say, 'Your ladyship, we were afraid of the equinoctials; and we got Sir Keith to go ashore; and the next day we went ashore for him; and now we have brought him back to Castle Dare!'"

"Hamish, Hamish, you are laughing at me! Or you want to call me a coward? Don't you know I should be afraid of the ghost of the shepherd who killed himself? Don't you know that the English people call me a coward?"

"May their souls dwell in the downmost hall of perdition!" said Hamish, with his cheeks becoming a gray white; "and every woman that ever came of the accursed race!"

He looked at the old man for a second, and he gripped his hand.

"Do not say that, Hamish--that is folly. But you have been my friend. My mother will not forget you--it is not the way of a Macleod to forget--whatever happens to me."

"Sir Keith!" Hamish cried, "I do not know what you mean! But you will go ashore before the night?"

"Go ashore?" Macleod answered, with a return to this wild bantering tone, "when I am going to see my sweetheart? Oh no! Tell Christina, now! Tell Christina to ask the young English lady to come into the saloon, for I have something to say to her. Be quick, Hamish!"

Hamish went away; and before long he returned with the answer that the young English lady was in the saloon. And now he was no longer haggard and piteous, but joyful, and there was a strange light in his eyes.

"Sweetheart," said he, "are you waiting for me at last? I have brought you a long way. Shall we drink a glass now at the end of the voyage?"

"Do you wish to insult me?" said she; but there was no anger in her voice: there was more of fear in her eyes as she regarded him.

"You have no other message for me than the one you gave me last night, Gerty?" said he, almost cheerfully. "It is all over, then? You would go away from me forever? But we will drink a glass before we go!"

He sprang forward, and caught both her hands in his with the grip of a vise.

"Do you know what you have done, Gerty?" said he, in a low voice. "Oh, you have soft, smooth, English ways; and you are like a rose-leaf; and you are like a queen, whom all people are glad to serve. But do you know that you have killed a man's life? And there is no penalty for that in the South, perhaps; but you are no longer in the South. And if you have this very night to drink a glass with me, you will not refuse it? It is only a glass of the coal-black wine!"

She struggled back from him, for there was a look in his face that frightened her. But she had a wonderful self-command.

"Is that the message I was to hear?" said she, coldly.

"Why, sweetheart, are you not glad? Is not that the only gladness left for you and for me, that we should drink one glass together, and clasp hands, and say good-by? What else is there left? What else could come to you and to me? And it may not be this night, or to-morrow night; but one night I think it will come; and then, sweetheart, we will have one more glass together, before the end."

He went on deck. He called Hamish.

"Hamish," said he, in a grave, matter-of-fact way, "I don't like the look of this evening. Did you say the sheiling was still on the island?"

"Oh yes, Sir Keith," said Hamish, with great joy; for he thought his advice was going to be taken, after all.

"Well, now, you know the gales, when they begin, sometimes last for two or three or four days; and I will ask you to see that Christina takes a good store of things to the sheiling before the darkness comes on. Take plenty of things now, Hamish, and put them in the sheiling, for I am afraid this is going to be a wild night."

Now indeed all the red light had gone away; and as the sun went down there was nothing but a spectral whiteness over the sea and the sky; and the atmosphere was so close and sultry that it seemed to suffocate one. Moreover, there was a dead calm; if they had wanted to get away from this exposed place, how could they? They could not get into the gig and pull this great yacht over to Loch Tua.

It was with a light heart that Hamish set about this thing; and Christina forthwith filled a hamper with tinned meats, and bread, and whisky, and what not. And fuel was taken ashore, too; and candles, and a store of matches. If the gales were coming on, as appeared likely from this ominous-looking evening, who could tell how many days and nights the young master--and the English lady, too, if he desired her company--might not have to stay ashore, while the men took the chance of the sea with this yacht, or perhaps seized the occasion of some lull to make for some place of shelter? There was Loch Tua, and there was the bay at Bunessan, and there was the little channel called Polterriv, behind the rocks opposite Iona. Any shelter at all was better than this exposed place, with the treacherous anchorage.

Hamish and Duncan Cameron returned to the yacht.

"Will you go ashore now, Sir Keith?" the old man said.

"Oh no; I am not going ashore yet. It is not yet time to run away, Hamish."

He spoke in a friendly and pleasant fashion, though Hamish, in his increasing alarm, thought it no proper time for jesting. They hauled the gig up to the davits, however, and again the yacht lay in dead silence in this little bay.

The evening grew to dusk; the only change visible in the spectral world of pale yellow-white mist was the appearance in the sky of a number of small, detached bulbous-looking clouds of a dusky blue-gray. They had not drifted hither, for there was no wind. They had only appeared. They were absolutely motionless. But the heat and the suffocation in this atmosphere became almost insupportable. The men, with bare heads, and jerseys unbuttoned at the neck, were continually going to the cask of fresh water beside the windlass. Nor was there any change when the night came on. If anything, the night was hotter than the evening had been. They waited in silence what might come of this ominous calm.

Hamish came aft.

"I beg your pardon, Sir Keith," said he, "but I am thinking we will have an anchor-watch to-night."

"You will have no anchor-watch to-night," Macleod answered slowly, from out of the darkness. "I will be all the anchor-watch you will need, Hamish, until the morning."

"You, sir!" Hamish cried. "I have been waiting to take you ashore; and surely it is ashore that you are going!"

Just as he had spoken, there was a sound that all the world seemed to stand still to hear. It was a low, murmuring sound of thunder; but it was so remote as almost to be inaudible. The next moment an awful thing occurred. The two men standing face to face in the dark suddenly found themselves in a blaze of blinding steel-blue light, and at the very same instant the thunder-roar crackled and shook all around them like the firing of a thousand cannon. How the wild echoes went booming over the sea!

Then they were in the black night again. There was a period of awed silence.

"Hamish," Macleod said, quickly, "do as I tell you now! Lower the gig; take the men with you, and Christina, and go ashore and remain in the sheiling till the morning."

"I will not!" Hamish cried. "O Sir Keith, would you have me do that?"

Macleod had anticipated his refusal. Instantly he went forward and called up Christina. He ordered Duncan Cameron and John Cameron to lower away the gig. He got them all in but Hamish.

"Hamish," said he, "you are a smaller man than I. Is it on such a night that you would have me quarrel with you? Must I throw you into the boat?"

The old man clasped his trembling hands together as if in prayer; and he said, with an agonized and broken voice:--

"O Sir Keith, you are my master, and there is nothing I will not do for you; but only this one night you will let me remain with the yacht? I will give you the rest of my life; but only this one night--"

"Into the gig with you!" Macleod cried, angrily. "Why, man, don't you think I can keep anchor-watch?" But then he added very gently, "Hamish, shake hands with me now. You were my friend, and you must get ashore before the sea rises."

"I will stay in the dingy, then?" the old man entreated.

"You will go ashore, Hamish; and this very instant, too. If the gale begins, how will you get ashore? Good-by, Hamish--good-night!"

Another white sheet of flame quivered all around them, just as this black figure was descending into the gig; and then the fierce hell of sounds broke loose once more. Sea and sky together seemed to shudder at the wild uproar, and far away the sounds went thundering through the hollow night. How could one hear if there was any sobbing in that departing boat, or any last cry of farewell? It was Ulva calling now, and Fladda answering from over the black water; and the Dutchman is surely awake at last!

There came a stirring of wind from the east, and the sea began to moan. Surely the poor fugitives must have reached the shore now. And then there was a strange noise in the distance: in the awful silence between the peals of thunder it would be heard; it came nearer and nearer--a low murmuring noise, but full of a secret life and thrill--it came along like the tread of a thousand armies--and then the gale struck its first blow. The yacht reeled under the stroke, but her bows staggered up again like a dog that has been felled, and after one or two convulsive plunges she clung hard at the strained cables. And now the gale was growing in fury, and the sea rising. Blinding showers of rain swept over, hissing and roaring; the white tongues of flame were shooting this way and that across the startled heavens; and there was a more awful thunder than even the falling of the Atlantic surge booming into the great sea-caves. In the abysmal darkness the spectral arms of the ocean rose white in their angry clamor; and then another blue gleam would lay bare the great heaving and wreathing bosom of the deep. What devil's dance is this? Surely it cannot be Ulva--Ulva the green-shored--Ulva that the sailors, in their love of her, call softly Ool-a-va--that is laughing aloud with wild laughter on this awful night? And Colonsay, and Lunga, and Fladda--they were beautiful and quiet in the still summer-time; but now they have gone mad, and they are flinging back the plunging sea in white masses of foam, and they are shrieking in their fierce joy of the strife. And Staffa--Staffa is far away and alone; she is trembling to her core: how long will the shuddering caves withstand the mighty hammer of the Atlantic surge? And then again the sudden wild gleam startles the night, and one sees, with an appalling vividness, the driven white waves and the black islands; and then again a thousand echoes go booming, along the iron-bound coast. What can be heard in the roar of the hurricane, and the hissing of rain, and the thundering whirl of the waves on the rocks? Surely not the one glad last cry: SWEETHEART! YOUR HEALTH! YOUR HEALTH IN THE COAL-BLACK WINE!

The poor fugitives crouching in among the rocks--is it the blinding rain or the driven white surf that is in their eyes? But they have sailors' eyes; they can see through the awful storm; and their gaze is fixed on one small green point far out there in the blackness--the starboard light of the doomed ship. It wavers like a will-o'-the-wisp, but it does not recede; the old Umpire still clings bravely to her chain cables.

And amidst all the din of the storm they hear the voice of Hamish lifted aloud in lamentation:--

"Oh, the brave lad! the brave lad! And who is to save my young master now? and who will carry this tale back to Castle Dare? They will say to me, 'Hamish, you had charge of the young lad; you put the first gun in his hand; you had charge of him; he had the love of a son for you: what is it you have done with him this night?' He is my Absalom; he is my brave young lad: oh, do you think that I will let him drown and do nothing to try to save him? Do you think that? Duncan Cameron, are you a man? Will you get into the gig with me and pull out to the Umpire?"

"By God," said Duncan Cameron, solemnly, "I will do that! I have no wife; I do not care. I will go into the gig with you, Hamish; but we will never reach the yacht--this night or any night that is to come."

Then the old woman Christina shrieked aloud, and caught her husband by the arm.

"Hamish! Hamish! Are you going to drown yourself before my eyes?"

He shook her hand away from him.

"My young master ordered me ashore: I have come ashore. But I myself, I order myself back again. Duncan Cameron, they will never say that we stood by and saw Macleod of Dare go down to his grave!"

They emerged from the shelter of this great rock; the hurricane was so fierce that they had to cling to one bowlder after another to save themselves from being whirled into the sea. But were these two men by themselves? Not likely! It was a party of five men that now clambered along the slippery rocks to the shingle up which they had hauled the gig, and one wild lightning-flash saw them with their hands on the gunwale, ready to drag her down to the water. There was a surf raging there that would have swamped twenty gigs: these five men were going of their own free will and choice to certain death--so much had they loved the young master.

But a piercing cry from Christina arrested them. They looked out to sea. What was this sudden and awful thing? Instead of the starboard green light, behold! the port red light--and that moving! Oh, see! how it recedes, wavering, flickering through the whirling vapor of the storm! And there again is the green light! Is it a witch's dance, or are they strange death-fires hovering over the dark ocean-grave? But Hamish knows too well what it means; and with a wild cry of horror and despair, the old man sinks on his knees and clasps his hands, and stretches them out to the terrible sea.

"O, Macleod, Macleod! are you going away from me forever? and we will go up the hills together and on the lochs together no more--no more--no more! Oh, the brave lad that he was! and the good master! And who was not proud of him--my handsome lad--and he the last of the Macleods of Dare?"

Arise, Hamish, and have the gig hauled up into shelter; for will you not want it when the gale abates, and the seas are smooth, and you have to go away, to Dare, you and your comrades, with silent tongues and sombre eyes? Why this wild lamentation in the darkness of the night? The stricken heart that you loved so well has found peace at last; the coal-black wine has been drunk: there is an end! And you, you poor, cowering fugitives, who only see each other's terrified faces when the wan gleam of the lightning blazes through the sky, perhaps it is well that you should weep and wail for the young master; but that is soon over, and the day will break. And this is what I am thinking of now: when the light comes and the seas are smooth, then which of you--oh, which of you all will tell this tale to the two women at Castle Dare?

So fair shines the morning sun on the white sands of Iona! The three-days' gale is over. Behold how Ulva--Ulva the green-shored--the Ool-a-va that the sailors love--is laughing out again to the clear skies! And the great skarts on the shores of Erisgeir are spreading abroad their dusky wings to get them dried in the sun; and the seals are basking on the rocks in Loch-na-Keal; and in Loch Scridain the white gulls sit buoyant on the blue sea. There go the Gometra men in their brown-sailed boat to look after the lobster traps at Staffa, and very soon you will see the steamer come round the far Cailleach Point; over at Erraidh they are signaling to the men at Dubh-Artach, and they are glad to have a message from them after the heavy gale. The new, bright day has begun; the world has awakened again to the joyous sunlight; there is a chattering of the sea-birds all along the shores. It is a bright, eager, glad day for all the world. But there is silence in Castle Dare!


From 'A Princess of Thule'

She asked if they were lords who owned those beautiful houses built up on the hill, and half-smothered among lilacs and ash-trees and rowan-trees and ivy.

"My darling," Lavender had said to her, "if your papa were to come and live here, he could buy half a dozen of these cottages, gardens and all. They are mostly the property of well-to-do shopkeepers. If this little place takes your fancy, what will you say when you go South--when you see Wimbledon and Richmond and Kew, with their grand old commons and trees? Why, you could hide Oban in a corner of Richmond Park!"

"And my papa has seen all these places?"

"Yes. Don't you think it strange he should have seen them all, and known he could live in any of them, and then gone away back to Borva?"

"But what would the poor people have done if he had never gone back?"

"Oh, some one else would have taken his place."

"And then, if he were living here, or in London, he might have got tired, and he might have wished to go back to the Lewis and see all the people he knew; and then he would come among them like a stranger, and have no house to go to."

Then Lavender said, quite gently:--

"Do you think, Sheila, you will ever tire of living in the South?"

The girl looked up quickly, and said with a sort of surprised questioning in her eyes:--

"No, not with you. But then we shall often go to the Lewis?"

"Oh, yes," her husband said, "as often as we can conveniently. But it will take some time at first, you know, before you get to know all my friends, who are to be your friends, and before you get properly fitted with your social circle. That will take you a long time, Sheila, and you may have many annoyances or embarrassments to encounter; but you won't be very much afraid, my girl?"

Sheila merely looked up to him; there was no fear in the frank, brave eyes.

The first large town she saw struck a cold chill to her heart. On a wet and dismal afternoon they sailed into Greenock. A heavy smoke hung about the black building-yards and the dirty quays; the narrow and squalid streets were filled with mud, and only the poorer sections of the population waded through the mire or hung disconsolately about the corners of the thorough-fares. A gloomier picture could not well be conceived; and Sheila, chilled with the long and wet sail and bewildered by the noise and bustle of the harbor, was driven to the hotel with a sore heart and a downcast face.

"This is not like London, Frank?" she said, pretty nearly ready to cry with disappointment.

"This? No. Well, it is like a part of London, certainly, but not the part you will live in."

"But how can we live in the one place without passing the other and being made miserable by it? There was no part of Oban like this."

"Why, you will live miles away from the docks and quays of London. You might live for a lifetime in London without ever knowing it had a harbor. Don't you be afraid, Sheila. You will live in a district where there are far finer houses than any you saw in Oban, and far finer trees; and within a few minutes' walk you will find great gardens and parks, with lakes in them and wild fowls, and you will be able to teach the boys about how to set the helm and the sails when they are launching their small boats."

"I should like that," said Sheila, her face brightening.

"Perhaps you would like a boat yourself?"

"Yes," she said, frankly. "If there were not many people there, we might go out sometimes in the evening--"

Her husband laughed and took her hand: "You don't understand, Sheila. The boats the boys have are little things a foot or two long--like the one in your papa's bedroom in Borva. But many of the boys would be greatly obliged to you if you would teach them how to manage the sails properly, for sometimes dreadful shipwrecks occur."

"You must bring them to our house. I am very fond of little boys, when they begin to forget to be shy, and let you become acquainted with them."

"Well," said Lavender, "I don't know many of the boys who sail boats in the Serpentine: you will have to make their acquaintance yourself. But I know one boy whom I must bring to the house. He is a German-Jew boy, who is going to be another Mendelssohn, his friends say. He is a pretty boy, with ruddy-brown hair, big black eyes, and a fine forehead; and he really sings and plays delightfully. But you know, Sheila, you must not treat him as a boy, for he is over fourteen, I should think; and if you were to kiss him--"

"He might be angry," said Sheila, with perfect simplicity.

"I might," said Lavender; and then, noticing that she seemed a little surprised, he merely patted her head and bade her go and get ready for dinner.

Then came the great climax of Sheila's southward journey--her arrival in London. She was all anxiety to see her future home; and as luck would have it, there was a fair spring morning shining over the city. For a couple of hours before, she had sat and looked out of the carriage-window as the train whirled rapidly through the scarcely awakened country, and she had seen the soft and beautiful landscapes of the South lit up by the early sunlight. How the bright little villages shone, with here and there a gilt weathercock glittering on the spire of some small gray church, while as yet in many valleys a pale gray mist lay along the bed of the level streams or clung to the dense woods on the upland heights! Which was the more beautiful--the sharp, clear picture, with its brilliant colors and its awakening life, or the more mystic landscape over which was still drawn the tender veil of the morning haze? She could not tell. She only knew that England, as she then saw it, seemed a great country that was very beautiful, that had few inhabitants, and that was still and sleepy and bathed in sunshine. How happy must the people be who lived in those quiet green valleys by the side of slow and smooth rivers, and amid great woods and avenues of stately trees, the like of which she had not imagined even in her dreams!

But from the moment that they got out at Euston Square she seemed a trifle bewildered, and could only do implicitly as her husband bade her--clinging to his hand, for the most part, as if to make sure of guidance. She did indeed glance somewhat nervously at the hansom into which Lavender put her, apparently asking how such a tall and narrow two-wheeled vehicle could be prevented toppling over. But when he, having sent on all their luggage by a respectable old four-wheeler, got into the hansom beside her, and put his hand inside her arm, and bade her be of good cheer that she should have such a pleasant morning to welcome her to London, she said "Yes," mechanically, and only looked out in a wistful fashion at the great houses and trees of Euston Square, the mighty and roaring stream of omnibuses, the droves of strangers, mostly clad in black, as if they were going to church, and the pale blue smoke that seemed to mix with the sunshine and make it cold and distant.

They were in no hurry, these two, on that still morning; and so, to impress Sheila all at once with a sense of the greatness and grandeur of London, he made the cabman cut down by Park Crescent and Portland Place to Regent Circus. Then they went along Oxford Street; and there were crowded omnibuses taking young men into the city, while all the pavements were busy with hurrying passers-by. What multitudes of unknown faces, unknown to her and unknown to each other! These people did not speak: they only hurried on, each intent upon his own affairs, caring nothing, apparently, for the din around them, and looking so strange and sad in their black clothes in the pale and misty sunlight.

"You are in a trance, Sheila," he said.

She did not answer. Surely she had wandered into some magical city, for now the houses on one side of the way suddenly ceased, and she saw before her a great and undulating extent of green, with a border of beautiful flowers, and with groups of trees that met the sky all along the southern horizon. Did the green and beautiful country she had seen, shoot in thus into the heart of the town, or was there another city far away on the other side of the trees? The place was almost as deserted as those still valleys she had passed by in the morning. Here in the street there was the roar of a passing crowd; but there was a long and almost deserted stretch of park, with winding roads and umbrageous trees, on which the wan sunlight fell from between loose masses of half-golden cloud.

Then they passed Kensington Gardens, and there were more people walking down the broad highways between the elms.

"You are getting nearly home now, Sheila," he said. "And you will be able to come and walk in these avenues whenever you please."

Was this, then, her home? this section of a barrack-row of dwellings, all alike in steps, pillars, doors, and windows? When she got inside, the servant who had opened the door bobbed a courtesy to her: should she shake hands with her and say. "And are you ferry well?" But at this moment Lavender came running up the steps, playfully hurried her into the house and up the stairs, and led her into her own drawing-room. "Well, darling, what do you think of your home, now that you see it?"

Sheila looked around timidly. It was not a big room, but it was a palace in height and grandeur and color compared with that little museum in Borva in which Sheila's piano stood. It was all so strange and beautiful--the split pomegranates and quaint leaves on the upper part of the walls, and underneath a dull slate-color where the pictures hung; the curious painting on the frames of the mirrors; the brilliant curtains, with their stiff and formal patterns. It was not very much like a home as yet; it was more like a picture that had been carefully planned and executed; but she knew how he had thought of pleasing her in choosing these things, and without saying a word she took his hand and kissed it. And then she went to one of the three tall French windows and looked out on the square. There, between the trees, was a space of beautiful soft green; and some children dressed in bright dresses, and attended by a governess in sober black, had just begun to play croquet. An elderly lady with a small white dog was walking along one of the graveled paths. An old man was pruning some bushes.

"It is very still and quiet here," said Sheila. "I was afraid we should have to live in that terrible noise always."

"I hope you won't find it dull, my darling," he said.

"Dull, when you are here?"

"But I cannot always be here, you know."

She looked up.

"You see, a man is so much in the way if he is dawdling about a house all day long. You would begin to regard me as a nuisance, Sheila, and would be for sending me to play croquet with those young Carruthers, merely that you might get the rooms dusted. Besides, you know I couldn't work here: I must have a studio of some sort--in the neighborhood, of course. And then you will give me your orders in the morning as to when I am to come round for luncheon or dinner."

"And you will be alone all day at your work?"


"Then I will come and sit with you, my poor boy," she said.

"Much work I should do in that case!" he said. "But we'll see. In the mean time go up-stairs and get your things off: that young person below has breakfast ready, I dare say."

"But you have not shown me yet where Mr. Ingram lives," said Sheila before she went to the door.

"Oh, that is miles away. You have only seen a little bit of London yet. Ingram lives about as far away from here as the distance you have just come, but in another direction."

"It is like a world made of houses," said Sheila, "and all filled with strangers. But you will take me to see Mr. Ingram?"

"By-and-by, yes. But he is sure to drop in on you as soon as he fancies you are settled in your new home."

And here at last was Mr. Ingram come; and the mere sound of his voice seemed to carry her back to Borva, so that in talking to him and waiting on him as of old, she would scarcely have been surprised if her father had walked in to say that a coaster was making for the harbor, or that Duncan was going over to Stornoway, and Sheila would have to give him commissions.

Her husband did not take the same interest in the social and political affairs of Borva that Mr. Ingram did. Lavender had made a pretense of assisting Sheila in her work among the poor people, but the effort was a hopeless failure. He could not remember the name of the family that wanted a new boat, and was visibly impatient when Sheila would sit down to write out for some aged crone a letter to her grandson in Canada. Now Ingram, for the mere sake of occupation, had qualified himself during his various visits to Lewis, so that he might have become the home minister of the King of Borva; and Sheila was glad to have one attentive listener as she described all the wonderful things that had happened in the island since the previous summer.

But Ingram had got a full and complete holiday on which to come up and see Sheila; and he had brought with him the wild and startling proposal that in order that she should take her first plunge into the pleasures of civilized life, her husband and herself should drive down to Richmond and dine at the Star and Garter.

"What is that?" said Sheila.

"My dear girl," said her husband, seriously, "your ignorance is something fearful to contemplate. It is quite bewildering. How can a person who does not know what the Star and Garter is, be told what the Star and Garter is?"

"But I am willing to go and see," said Sheila.

"Then I must look after getting a brougham," said Lavender, rising.

"A brougham on such a day as this?" exclaimed Ingram. "Nonsense! Get an open trap of some sort; and Sheila, just to please me, will put on that very blue dress she used to wear in Borva, and the hat and the white feather, if she has got them."

"Perhaps you would like me to put on a sealskin cap and a red handkerchief instead of a collar," observed Lavender, calmly.

"You may do as you please. Sheila and I are going to dine at the Star and Garter."

"May I put on that blue dress?" said the girl, going up to her husband.

"Yes, of course, if you like," said Lavender meekly, going off to order the carriage, and wondering by what route he could drive those two maniacs down to Richmond so that none of his friends should see them.

When he came back again, bringing with him a landau which could be shut up for the homeward journey at night, he had to confess that no costume seemed to suit Sheila so well as the rough sailor dress; and he was so pleased with her appearance that he consented at once to let Bras go with them in the carriage, on condition that Sheila should be responsible for him. Indeed, after the first shiver of driving away from the square was over, he forgot that there was much unusual about the look of this odd pleasure party. If you had told him eighteen months before that on a bright day in May, just as people were going home from the Park for luncheon, he would go for a drive in a hired trap with one horse, his companions being a man with a brown wide-awake, a girl dressed as though she were the owner of a yacht, and an immense deerhound, and that in this fashion he would dare to drive up to the Star and Garter and order dinner, he would have bet five hundred to one that such a thing would never occur so long as he preserved his senses. But somehow he did not mind much. He was very much at home with those two people beside him; the day was bright and fresh; the horse went a good pace; and once they were over Hammersmith Bridge and out among fields and trees, the country looked exceedingly pretty, and all the beauty of it was mirrored in Sheila's eyes.

"I can't quite make you out in that dress, Sheila," he said. "I am not sure whether it is real and business-like or a theatrical costume. I have seen girls on Ryde Pier with something of the same sort on, only a good deal more pronounced, you know, and they looked like sham yachtsmen; and I have seen stewardesses wearing that color and texture of cloth--"

"But why not leave it as it is," said Ingram--"a solitary costume produced by certain conditions of climate and duties, acting in conjunction with a natural taste for harmonious coloring and simple form? That dress, I will maintain, sprang as naturally from the salt sea as Aphrodite did; and the man who suspects artifice in it, or invention, has had his mind perverted by the skepticism of modern society."

"Is my dress so very wonderful?" said Sheila, with a grave complacence. "I am pleased that the Lewis has produced such a fine thing, and perhaps you would like me to tell you its history. It was my papa bought a piece of blue serge in Stornoway: it cost three shillings sixpence a yard, and a dressmaker in Stornoway cut it for me, and I made it myself. That is all the history of the wonderful dress."

Suddenly Sheila seized her husband's arm. They had got down to the river by Mortlake; and there, on the broad bosom of the stream, a long and slender boat was shooting by, pulled by four oarsmen clad in white flannel.

"How can they go out in such a boat?" said Sheila, with great alarm visible in her eyes. "It is scarcely a boat at all; and if they touch a rock, or if the wind catches them--"

"Don't be frightened, Sheila," said her husband. "They are quite safe. There are no rocks in our rivers, and the wind does not give us squalls here like those on Loch Roag. You will see hundreds of those boats by and by, and perhaps you yourself will go out in one."

"Oh, never, never!" she said, almost with a shudder.

"Why, if the people here heard you they would not know how brave a sailor you are. You are not afraid to go out at night by yourself on the sea, and you won't go on a smooth inland river--"

"But those boats: if you touch them they must go over."

She seemed glad to get away from the river. She could not be persuaded of the safety of the slender craft of the Thames; and indeed, for some time after seemed so strangely depressed that Lavender begged and prayed of her to tell him what was the matter. It was simple enough. She had heard him speak of his boating adventures. Was it in such boats as that she had just seen? and might he not be some day going out in one of them and an accident--the breaking of an oar, a gust of wind--

There was nothing for it but to reassure her by a solemn promise that in no circumstances whatever would he, Lavender, go into a boat without her express permission, whereupon Sheila was as grateful to him as though he had dowered her with a kingdom.

This was not the Richmond Hill of her fancy--this spacious height; with its great mansions, its magnificent elms, and its view of all the westward and wooded country, with the blue-white streak of the river winding through the green foliage. Where was the farm? The famous Lass of Richmond Hill must have lived on a farm; but here surely were the houses of great lords and nobles, which had apparently been there for years and years. And was this really a hotel that they stopped at--this great building that she could only compare to Stornoway Castle?

"Now, Sheila," said Lavender, after they had ordered dinner and gone out, "mind you keep a tight hold on that leash, for Bras will see strange things in the Park."

"It is I who will see strange things," she said; and the prophecy was amply fulfilled. For as they went along the broad path, and came better into view of the splendid undulation of woodland and pasture and fern, when on the one hand they saw the Thames far below them flowing through the green and spacious valley, and on the other hand caught some dusky glimpse of the far white houses of London, it seemed to her that she had got into a new world, and that this world was far more beautiful than the great city she had left. She did not care so much for the famous view from the hill. She had cast one quick look to the horizon, with one throb of expectation that the sea might be there. There was no sea there--only the faint blue of long lines of country, apparently without limit. Moreover, over the western landscape a faint haze prevailed, that increased in the distance and softened down the more distant woods into a sober gray. That great extent of wooded plain, lying sleepily in its pale mists, was not so cheerful as the scene around her, where the sunlight was sharp and clear, the air fresh, the trees flooded with a pure and bright color. Here indeed was a cheerful and beautiful world, and she was full of curiosity to know all about it and its strange features. What was the name of this tree? and how did it differ from that? Were not these rabbits over by the fence? and did rabbits live in the midst of trees and bushes? What sort of wood was the fence made of? and was it not terribly expensive to have such a protection? Could not he tell the cost of a wooden fence? Why did they not use wire netting? Was not that a loch away down there? and what was its name? A loch without a name! Did the salmon come up to it? and did any sea-birds ever come inland and build their nests on its margin?

"O, Bras, you must come and look at the loch. It is a long time since you will see a loch."

And away she went through the thick bracken, holding on to the swaying leash that held the galloping greyhound, and running swiftly as though she had been making down for the shore to get out the Maighdean-mhara.

"Sheila," called her husband, "don't be foolish!"

"Sheila," called Ingram, "have pity on an old man!"

Suddenly she stopped. A brace of partridges had sprung up at some distance, and with a wild whirr of their wings were now directing their low and rapid flight toward the bottom of the valley.

"What birds are those?" she said peremptorily.

She took no notice of the fact that her companions were pretty nearly too blown to speak. There was a brisk life and color in her face, and all her attention was absorbed in watching the flight of the birds. Lavender fancied he saw in the fixed and keen look something of old Mackenzie's gray eye: it was not the first trace of a likeness to her father he had seen.

"You bad girl!" he said, "they are partridges."

She paid no heed to this reproach, for what were those other things over there underneath the trees? Bras had pricked up his ears, and there was a strange excitement in his look and in his trembling frame.

"Deer!" she cried, with her eyes as fixed as were those of the dog beside her.

"Well," said her husband calmly, "what although they are deer?"

"But Bras--" she said; and with that she caught the leash with both her hands,

"Bras won't mind them if you keep him quiet. I suppose you can manage him better than I can. I wish we had brought a whip."

"I would rather let him kill every deer in the Park than touch him with a whip," said Sheila proudly.

"You fearful creature, you don't know what you say. That is high treason. If George Ranger heard you, he would have you hanged in front of the Star and Garter."

"Who is George Ranger?" said Sheila with an air as if she had said, "Do you know that I am the daughter of the King of Borva, and whoever touches me will have to answer to my papa, who is not afraid of any George Ranger?"

"He is a great lord who hangs all persons who disturb the deer in this Park."

"But why do they not go away?" said Sheila impatiently. "I have never seen any deer so stupid. It is their own fault if they are disturbed: why do they remain so near to people and to houses?"

"My dear child, if Bras wasn't here you would probably find some of those deer coming up to see if you had any bits of sugar or pieces of bread about your pockets."

"Then they are like sheep--they are not like deer," she said with some contempt. "If I could only tell Bras that it is sheep he will be looking at, he would not look any more. And so small they are! They are as small as the roe, but they have horns as big as many of the red-deer. Do people eat them?"

"I suppose so."

"And what will they cost?"

"I am sure I can't tell you."

"Are they as good as the roe or the big deer?"

"I don't know that either. I don't think I ever ate fallow-deer. But you know they are not kept here for that purpose. A great many gentlemen in this country keep a lot of them in their parks merely to look pretty. They cost a great deal more than they produce."

"They must eat up a great deal of fine grass," said Sheila almost sorrowfully. "It is a beautiful ground for sheep--no rushes, no peat moss, only fine good grass and dry land. I should like my papa to see all this beautiful ground."

"I fancy he has seen it."

"Was my papa here?"

"I think he said so."

"And did he see those deer?"


"He never told me of them."

By this time they had pretty nearly got down to the little lake, and Bras had been alternately coaxed and threatened into a quiescent mood.

Sheila evidently expected to hear a flapping of sea-fowls' wings when they got near the margin; and looked all round for the first sudden dart from the banks. But a dead silence prevailed; and as there were neither fish nor birds to watch, she went along to a wooden bench and sat down there, one of her companions on each hand. It was a pretty scene that lay before her--the small stretch of water ruffled with the wind, but showing a dash of blue sky here and there--the trees in the inclosure beyond, clad in their summer foliage, the smooth greensward shining in the afternoon sunlight. Here at least was absolute quiet after the roar of London; and it was somewhat wistfully that she asked her husband how far this place was from her home, and whether, when he was at work, she could not come down here by herself.

"Certainly," he said, never dreaming that she would think of doing such a thing.

By-and-by they returned to the hotel; and while they sat at dinner a great fire of sunset spread over the west; and the far woods became of a rich purple, streaked here and there with lines of pale white mist. The river caught the glow of the crimson clouds above, and shone duskily red amid the dark green of the trees. Deeper and deeper grew the color of the sun as it sank to the horizon, until it disappeared behind one low bar of purple cloud; and then the wild glow in the west slowly faded away; the river became pallid and indistinct; the white mists over the distant woods seemed to grow denser; and then, as here and there a lamp was lit far down in the valley, one or two pale stars appeared in the sky overhead, and the night came on apace.

"It is so strange," Sheila said, "to find the darkness coming on, and not to hear the sound of the waves. I wonder if it is a fine night at Borva."

Her husband went over to her and led her back to the table, where the candles, shining over the white cloth and the colored glasses, offered a more cheerful picture than the darkening landscape outside. They were in a private room; so that when dinner was over, Sheila was allowed to amuse herself with the fruit, while her two companions lit their cigars. Where was the quaint old piano now; and the glass of hot whisky and water; and the 'Lament of Monaltrie,' or 'Love in thine eyes forever plays'? It seemed, but for the greatness of the room, to be a repetition of one of those evenings at Borva that now belonged to a far-off past. Here was Sheila, not minding the smoke, listening to Ingram as of old, and sometimes saying something in that sweetly inflected speech of hers; here was Ingram, talking, as it were, out of a brown study, and morosely objecting to pretty nearly everything Lavender said, but always ready to prove Sheila right; and Lavender himself, as unlike a married man as ever, talking impatiently, impetuously, and wildly, except at such times as he said something to his young wife, and then some brief smile and look, or some pat on the hand, said more than words. But where, Sheila may have thought, was the one wanting to complete the group? Has he gone down to Borvabost to see about the cargoes of fish to be sent off in the morning? Perhaps he is talking to Duncan outside about the cleaning of the guns, or making up cartridges in the kitchen. When Sheila's attention wandered away from the talk of her companions, she could not help listening for the sound of the waves; and as there was no such message coming to her from the great wooded plain without, her fancy took her away across that mighty country she had traveled through, and carried her up to the island of Loch Roag, until she almost fancied she could smell the peat-smoke in the night air, and listen to the sea, and hear her father pacing up and down the gravel outside the house, perhaps thinking of her as she was thinking of him.

This little excursion to Richmond was long remembered by those three. It was the last of their meetings before Sheila was ushered into the big world to busy herself with new occupations and cares. It was a pleasant little journey throughout; for as they got into the landau to drive back to town, the moon was shining high up in the southern heavens, and the air was mild and fresh, so that they had the carriage opened, and Sheila, well wrapped up, lay and looked around her with a strange wonder and joy as they drove underneath the shadow of the trees and out again into the clear sheen of the night. They saw the river, too, flowing smoothly and palely down between its dark banks; and somehow here the silence checked them, and they hummed no more those duets they used to sing up at Borva. Of what were they thinking, then, as they drove through the clear night along the lonely road? Lavender at least was rejoicing at his great good fortune that he had secured for ever to himself the true-hearted girl who now sat opposite to him, with the moonlight touching her face and hair; and he was laughing to himself at the notion that he did not properly appreciate her or understand her or perceive her real character. If not he, who then? Had he not watched every turn of her disposition, every expression of her wishes, every grace of her manner and look of her eyes? and was he not overjoyed to find that the more he knew of her the more he loved her? Marriage had increased rather than diminished the mystery and wonder he had woven about her. He was more her lover now than he had been before his marriage. Who could see in her eyes what he saw? Elderly folks can look at a girl's eyes, and see that they are brown or blue or green, as the case may be; but the lover looks at them and sees in them the magic mirror of a hundred possible worlds. How can he fathom the sea of dreams that lies there, or tell what strange fancies and reminiscences may be involved in an absent look? Is she thinking of starlit nights on some distant lake, or of the old bygone days on the hills? All her former life is told there, and yet but half told, and he longs to become possessed of all the beautiful past that she has seen. Here is a constant mystery to him, and there is a singular and wistful attraction for him in those still deeps where the thoughts and dreams of an innocent soul lie but half revealed. He does not see those things in the eyes of women he is not in love with; but when in after years he is carelessly regarding this or the other woman, some chance look, some brief and sudden turn of expression, will recall to him, as with a stroke of lightning, all the old wonder-time, and his heart will go nigh to breaking to think that he has grown old, and that he has forgotten so much, and that the fair, wild days of romance and longing are passed away forever.



he literary success of Blackmore came late in life. He was born in Longworth, Berkshire, England, in 1825, was graduated at Exeter College, Oxford, and afterwards studied law in the Middle Temple, practicing his profession as a conveyancer.

But his heart was in an outdoor life. Like his own John Ridd, the hero of 'Lorna Doone,' he is a man of the moors and fields, with a fresh breeze blowing over him and a farmer's cares in his mind. In 1854-5 he published several volumes of poems under the pen-name of "Melanter." 'The Bugle of the Black Sea' and a complete translation of Virgil's 'Georgics' appeared in 1871.

Other volumes of verse followed, of which it may be said that he is a poet more sensitive to influence than fertile in original impulse; although some of his prose, in which even rhythm is observed in what seems to be an unconscious manner, displays high original quality. It is therefore fair to say of him as a poet that while his works did not gain him the reputation that has placed him among the foremost literary men of the day, the subtle influence rural nature exerts on man, and the part it bears in the sweet harmonies of life, are told in passages that are resonant with melody.

The poet's delight is in the prosperity of the fields, as if they were his friends, and in the dumb loving motherhood with which all nature seems, to his eyes, to surround him.

As the precursor of a summer that yielded such a mellow harvest, the spring of Mr. Blackmore's fiction was slow and intermittent. The plot of his stories is never probable, but in his first novel, 'Clara Vaughan,' published in 1864, it impairs belief in the general reality of the book; and though there is hint of the power to excite sympathy of which his latter novels prove him so great a master, the intelligence refuses such shrieking melodrama. 'Lorna Doone' therefore came unheralded. It was published in London in 1869 and slowly grew in favor, then leaped into popularity. In 1878 twenty-two editions had been printed.

Other novels followed. 'The Maid of Sker,' 'Alice Lorraine,' 'Cripps the Carrier,' 'Erema,' 'Mary Anerley,' 'Christowell,' 'Sir Thomas Upton,' came in rapid succession. The paternity of no novel of Mr. Blackmore's is doubtful. All have marked characteristics. They are long and exceedingly minute in detail. With all his finish, he tells his story almost with a child's elaborateness of incident. Every change of the seasons, the history of every walk is set down. He is in love with every feature of the landscape, be it the wild doons of Exmoor or the wilder Yorkshire coast, or, across the seas, the plains of the Sierras. He is a story-teller of the days in which it was quite unimportant whether tales should come to an end or not. He would have saved Scheherazade all her trouble and enjoyed the task. He cannot pass carelessly by the slightest incident; it is his nature to approfondir all his surroundings: if the hero breaks his stirrup and stops at the blacksmith's to have it mended, the blacksmith will appear at the end of the story united to the rider, from the third and fourth generation, by a subtle thread of connection. But all these details, while they encumber the tale, contribute to a harmonious whole; for he has in a peculiar degree an instinct for the judicious introduction of telling human characters that are as much a part of the detail of the scene as the trees and stones. Upon these characters he expends a wealth of humor, and his humor is characteristic of Blackmore alone. It is full of unexpected turns and twists of fancy, quiet fun when we expect grave comment. Friendly old people appear, full of innumerable quips of individuality, and breezy fields and wealthy orchards and a general mellow fruitfulness form the background of the play.

Especially in his prodigality is Blackmore characteristic of Blackmore. Other writers keep their quaint reflections for their dialogue, and confer immortality on their principal characters. But Blackmore has no sense of economy. As Mr. Saintsbury says of Thackeray, he could not introduce a personage, however subordinate, without making him a living creature. He does little with a character he has described in such powerful lines as Stephen Anerley. The fisher village folks, wild and hardy, with their slow speech and sly sagacity, the men at sea and the women at home; the maimed and broken-down yet jolly old tars; the anxious little merchants, and the heavy coast-guardsmen, we learn to know as we know the rocks and caves, the fishing cobbles in their bright colors, the slow-tongued gossips pouring out their long-voweled speech. All these characters, although they have a general resemblance to each other, have also a peculiar, quaint simplicity and wisdom that is Blackmoreish, as Thackeray's characters are Thackeraian. The author steps in and gives his puppets his little twist, the characteristic obliquity each possesses, his quips and cranks. If he would but confine the abundant tide of his flowing and leisurely utterances, he would have more time to bestow on really exciting and dramatic episodes, instead of going off into a little corner and carefully embellishing it, while the denouement waits and the interest grows cold. Neither can he write a page without sending a sly bolt of amused perception through it, in which he discovers some foible or pricks some bubble of pretension, but always tenderly, as if he loved his victim. To the fact that Mr. Blackmore's success came late in life, we have perhaps to be thankful for the softened and indulgent maturity which finds a hundred excuses, and knows that nothing is as good or as bad as it seems.

The best expression of his genius in the delineation of character is not--with perhaps the exception of John Ridd--in his heroes and heroines. The former are drawn with the stronger hand. The maidens are pretty girls, sweet and good and brave for the sake of their fathers, and cunning for their lovers. His young men are gallant and true; but as exemplary love is apt to run smooth, it is not here that the drama finds the necessary amount of difficulty and pain. The interest centres in such delicious conceptions as Parson Short, full of muscular energy and sound doctrine, in Dr. Uperandown, his salt-water parish rival, the carrier Cripps, Parson Chowne, and the renowned highwayman Tom Faggus, of whom they were immensely proud. These people, before he has done with them, get hold of our sympathies, while the author keeps perennially fresh his enjoyment of human follies. His rustics do not talk with elaborate humor, nor are they amiable, but they are racy of the soil.

One cannot dismiss a novelist without a reference to his plots, unless indeed he discards plots as an article of faith. Mr. Blackmore has no such intention. His stories are full of adventure and dramatic situations, and his melodrama is of the lurid kind on which the calcium light is thrown. Sometimes, as in 'The Maid of Sker' and 'Cripps' they violate every probability. In others, as in 'Mary Anerley,' the mystery is childishly simple, the oft-repeated plot of a lost child recovered by certain strangely wrought gold buttons. In 'Erema,' the narrative suffers for want of vraisemblance, and loses by being related by a very young girl who has had no opportunity of becoming familiar with the world she describes. He is constantly guilty of that splendid mendacity which fiction loves, but which is nearly impossible to actual life. Self-sacrifice as depicted in 'Christowell,' involving much suffering to little purpose, is unsatisfactory; and it is a sin against the verities to make unreasonable generosity the basis of fiction representing life.

But while the reader quarrels with a waste of precious material, Mr. Blackmore pursues his meditative way, with his smile of genial observation, himself the best of all his personages. The smell of the heather and the wild moorland odors, the honeyed grass and the fragrant thyme, the darker breathings of the sea, get into his pages and render them fragrant. A few villages lie on the edge of that wild region, and a living trout stream darts by, but the landscape does not obtrude itself nor interrupt the story. The quaint philosophy flows on spontaneously, with a tender humanity and cheerful fun. A writer like this may be pardoned if he is an indifferent builder of a tale.

The scene of 'Lorna Doone,' the novelist's masterpiece, is laid in Devonshire; and what Wordsworth did for the lake country, Blackmore has done for the fairest county in England. The time is that of Charles II. The book is historical, it is very long, it is minute in detail, and it is melodramatic: but it is alive. The strange adventures may or may not have happened, but we believe in them, for it is real life that is set before us; and whatever the author may tell us of robber caves and black-hearted villains, there is nothing incredible in any of his confidences. Nothing in recent novel writing is more vivid than the contrast between these outcast nobles the Doones, robbers and brigands, living in the wilds of Bagworthy Forest, locked fast in the hills,--and the peaceful farm-house of the yeoman Ridd who lives on the Downs. This home is not idealized. From the diamond-paned kitchen come savory smells of cooking and substantial fare. Pretty Annie, whose "like has never been seen for making a man comfortable," Lizzie, who was undersized and loved books, "but knew the gift of cooking had not been vouchsafed her by God," the sweet homely mother, and above all the manly figure of the young giant John, make a picture of which the gloomy castle of the Doones is the shadow. And what more charming than the story of the love that takes possession of the young boy, making a poet, a soldier, a knight of him, through a chance encounter with Lorna, the queen of the wild band, the grandchild of old Sir Ensor Doone?

With John Ridd,--"Grit Jan"--the author dwelt till he possessed him with human attributes and made him alive. Around him the interest of the story centres. He is full of mother-wit and observation of men and things, especially of every changing mood of the nature he regards as his true mother. He is brave and resourceful, and rescues Lorna and himself from numberless difficulties by his native shrewdness. And his love is a poem, an idyl that crowns him a shepherd king in his own green pastures. Nothing that he does in his plodding, sturdy way wearies us. His size, his strength, his good farming, the way he digs his sheep out of the snow, entertain us as well as his rescue of Lorna from the clan.

The texture of this novel is close, the composition elaborate. It is impossible to escape from it, the story having been once begun. 'Lorna Doone' is Blackmore at his highest point, full of truest nature and loveliest thoughts.


From 'Lorna Doone'

The journey was a great deal longer to fetch around the southern hills, and enter by the Doone gate, than to cross the lower land and steal in by the water-slide. However, I durst not take a horse (for fear of the Doones, who might be abroad upon their usual business), but started betimes in the evening, so as not to hurry, or waste any strength upon the way. And thus I came to the robbers' highway, walking circumspectly, scanning the sky-line of every hill, and searching the folds of every valley, for any moving figure.

Although it was now well on toward dark, and the sun was down an hour or so, I could see the robbers' road before me, in a trough of the winding hills, where the brook plowed down from the higher barrows, and the coving banks were roofed with furze. At present there was no one passing, neither post nor sentinel, so far as I could descry; but I thought it safer to wait a little, as twilight melted into night; and then I crept down a seam of the highland, and stood upon the Doone track.

As the road approached the entrance, it became more straight and strong, like a channel cut from rock, with the water brawling darkly along the naked side of it. Not a tree or bush was left, to shelter a man from bullets; all was stern, and stiff, and rugged, as I could not help perceiving, even through the darkness: and a smell as of churchyard mold, a sense of being boxed in and cooped, made me long to be out again.

And here I was, or seemed to be, particularly unlucky; for as I drew near the very entrance, lightly of foot, and warily, the moon (which had often been my friend) like an enemy broke upon me, topping the eastward ridge of rock, and filling all the open spaces with the play of wavering light. I shrank back into the shadowy quarter on the right side of the road, and gloomily employed myself to watch the triple entrance, on which the moonlight fell askew.

All across and before the three rude and beetling archways hung a felled oak overhead, black and thick and threatening. This, as I heard before, could be let fall in a moment, so as to crush a score of men, and bar the approach of horses. Behind this tree the rocky mouth was spanned, as by a gallery, with brushwood and piled timber, all upon a ledge or stone, where thirty men might lurk unseen, and fire at any invader. From that rampart it would be impossible to dislodge them, because the rock fell sheer below them twenty feet, or it may be more; while overhead it towered three hundred, and so jutted over that nothing could be cast upon them, even if a man could climb the height. And the access to this portcullis place--if I may so call it, being no portcullis there--was through certain rocky chambers known to the tenants only.

But the cleverest of their devices, and the most puzzling to an enemy, was that, instead of one mouth only, there were three to choose from, with nothing to betoken which was the proper access, all being pretty much alike, and all unfenced and yawning. And the common rumor was that in times of any danger, when any force was known to be on muster in their neighborhood, they changed their entrance every day, and diverted the other two, by means of sliding-doors, to the chasm and dark abysses.

Now I could see those three rough arches, jagged, black, and terrible, and I knew that only one of them could lead me to the valley; neither gave the river now any further guidance, but dived underground with a sullen roar, where it met the cross-bar of the mountain. Having no means at all of judging which was the right way of the three, and knowing that the other two would lead to almost certain death, in the ruggedness and darkness--for how could a man, among precipices and bottomless depths of water, without a ray of light, have any chance to save his life?--I do declare that I was half inclined to go away, and have done with it.

However, I knew one thing for certain, to wit, that the longer I stayed debating, the more would the enterprise pall upon me, and the less my relish be. And it struck me that, in times of peace, the middle way was the likeliest; and the others diverging right and left in their further parts might be made to slide into it (not far from the entrance) at the pleasure of the warders. Also I took it for good omen that I remembered (as rarely happened) a very fine line in the Latin grammar, whose emphasis and meaning is, "Middle road is fastest."

Therefore, without more hesitation, I plunged into the middle way, holding a long ash-staff before me, shodden at the end with iron. Presently I was in black darkness, groping along the wall, and feeling a deal more fear than I wished to feel; especially when, upon looking back, I could no longer see the light, which I had forsaken. Then I stumbled over something hard, and sharp, and very cold; moreover, so grievous to my legs that it needed my very best doctrine and humor to forbear from swearing in the manner they use in London. But when I arose, and felt it, and knew it to be a culverin, I was somewhat reassured thereby, inasmuch as it was not likely that they would plant this engine except in the real and true entrance.

Therefore I went on again, more painfully and wearily, and presently found it to be good that I had received that knock, and borne it with such patience; for otherwise I might have blundered full upon the sentries, and been shot without more ado. As it was, I had barely time to draw back, as I turned a corner upon them; and if their lantern had been in its place, they could scarce have failed to descry me, unless indeed I had seen the gleam before I turned the corner.

There seemed to be only two of them, of size indeed and stature as all the Doones must be; but I need not have feared to encounter them both, had they been unarmed, as I was. It was plain, however, that each had a long and heavy carbine, not in his hands (as it should have been), but standing close beside him. Therefore it behooved me now to be exceeding careful; and even that might scarce avail, without luck in proportion. So I kept well back at the corner, and laid one cheek to the rock face, and kept my outer eye round the jut in the wariest mode I could compass, watching my opportunity; and this is what I saw:

The two villains looked very happy--which villains have no right to be, but often are, meseemeth; they were sitting in a niche of rock, with the lantern in the corner, quaffing something from glass measures, and playing at pushpin, or shepherd's chess, or basset, or some trivial game of that sort. Each was smoking a long clay pipe, quite of new London shape, I could see, for the shadow was thrown out clearly; and each would laugh from time to time as he fancied he got the better of it. One was sitting with his knees up, and left hand on his thigh; and this one had his back to me, and seemed to be the stouter. The other leaned more against the rock, half sitting and half astraddle, and wearing leathern overalls, as if newly come from riding. I could see his face quite clearly by the light of the open lantern, and a handsomer or a bolder face I had seldom if ever set eyes upon; insomuch that it made me very unhappy to think of his being so near my Lorna.

"How long am I to stay crouching here?" I asked of myself at last, being tired of hearing them cry, "Score one," "Score two," "No, by ----, Charlie!" "By ----, I say it is, Phelps."

And yet my only chance of slipping by them unperceived was to wait till they quarreled more, and came to blows about it. Presently, as I made up my mind to steal along towards them (for the cavern was pretty wide just there), Charlie, or Charleworth Doone, the younger and taller man, reached forth his hand to seize the money, which he swore he had won that time. Upon this the other jerked his arm, vowing that he had no right to do it; whereupon Charlie flung at his face the contents of the glass he was sipping, but missed him and hit the candle, which sputtered with a flare of blue flame (from the strength, perhaps, of the spirit), and then went out completely. At this one swore and the other laughed; and before they had settled what to do, I was past them and round the corner.

And then, like a giddy fool as I was, I needs must give them a startler--the whoop of an owl, done so exactly, as John Fry had taught me, and echoed by the roof so fearfully, that one of them dropped the tinder-box, and the other caught up his gun and cocked it--at least as I judged by the sounds they made. And then, too late, I knew my madness: for if either of them had fired, no doubt but what all the village would have risen and rushed upon me. However, as the luck of the matter went, it proved for my advantage; for I heard one say to the other:--

"Curse it, Charlie, what was that? It scared me so, I have dropped my box; my flint is gone, and everything. Will the brimstone catch from your pipe, my lad?"

"My pipe is out, Phelps, ever so long. D--n it, I am not afraid of an owl, man. Give me the lantern, and stay here. I'm not half done with you yet, my friend."

"Well said, my boy, well said! Go straight to Carver's, mind you. The other sleepy-heads be snoring, as there is nothing up to-night. No dallying now under captain's window: Queen will have naught to say to you, and Carver will punch your head into a new wick for your lantern."

"Will he, though? Two can play at that."

And so, after some rude jests and laughter, and a few more oaths, I heard Charlie (or at any rate somebody) coming toward me, with a loose and not too sober footfall. As he reeled a little in his gait, and I would not move from his way one inch, after his talk of Lorna, but only longed to grasp him (if common sense permitted it), his braided coat came against my thumb, and his leathern gaiters brushed my knee. If he had turned or noticed it, he would have been a dead man in a moment; but his drunkenness saved him.

So I let him reel on unharmed; and thereupon it occurred to me that I could have no better guide, passing as he would exactly where I wished to be--that is to say, under Lorna's window. Therefore I followed him, without any special caution; and soon I had the pleasure of seeing his form against the moonlit sky.

Down a steep and winding path, with a hand-rail at the corners (such as they have at Ilfracombe), Master Charlie tripped along--and indeed there was much tripping, and he must have been an active fellow to recover as he did--and after him walked I, much hoping (for his own poor sake) that he might not turn and espy me.

But Bacchus (of whom I read at school, with great wonder about his meaning--and the same I may say of Venus), that great deity, preserved Charlie, his pious worshiper, from regarding consequences. So he led me very kindly to the top of the meadow-land where the stream from underground broke forth, seething quietly with a little hiss of bubbles. Hence I had fair view and outline of the robbers' township, spread with bushes here and there, but not heavily overshadowed. The moon, approaching now the full, brought the forms in manner forth, clothing each with character, as the moon (more than the sun) does to an eye accustomed.

I knew that the captain's house was first, both from what Lorna had said of it, and from my mother's description, and now again from seeing Charlie halt there for a certain time, and whistle on his fingers, and hurry on, fearing consequence. The tune that he whistled was strange to me, and lingered in my ears, as having something very new and striking and fantastic in it. And I repeated it softly to myself, while I marked the position of the houses and the beauty of the village. For the stream, in lieu of the street, passing between the houses, and affording perpetual change and twinkling and reflections--moreover, by its sleepy murmur, soothing all the dwellers there--this, and the snugness of the position, walled with rock and spread with herbage, made it look in the quiet moonlight like a little paradise. And to think of all the inmates there sleeping with good consciences, having plied their useful trade of making others work for them, enjoying life without much labor, yet with great renown!

Master Charlie went down the village, and I followed him carefully, keeping as much as possible in the shadowy places, and watching the windows of every house, lest any light should be burning. As I passed Sir Ensor's house, my heart leaped up, for I spied a window, higher than the rest above the ground, and with a faint light moving. This could hardly fail to be the room wherein my darling lay; for here that impudent young fellow had gazed while he was whistling. And here my courage grew tenfold, and my spirit feared no evil; for lo! if Lorna had been surrendered to that scoundrel Carver, she would not have been at her grandfather's house, but in Carver's accursed dwelling.

Warm with this idea, I hurried after Charleworth Doone, being resolved not to harm him now, unless my own life required it. And while I watched from behind a tree, the door of the furthest house was opened; and, sure enough, it was Carver's self, who stood bareheaded, and half undressed, in the doorway. I could see his great black chest and arms, by the light of the lamp he bore.

"Who wants me this time of night?" he grumbled, in a deep, gruff voice; "any young scamp prowling after the maids shall have sore bones for his trouble."

"All the fair maids are for thee, are they, Master Carver?" Charlie answered, laughing; "we young scamps must be well content with coarser stuff than thou wouldst have."

"Would have? Ay, and will have," the great beast muttered, angrily. "I bide my time; but not very long. Only one word for thy good, Charlie. I will fling thee senseless into the river if ever I catch thy girl-face here again."

"Mayhap, Master Carver, it is more than thou couldst do. But I will not keep thee; thou art not pleasant company to-night. All I want is a light for my lantern, and a glass of schnapps, if thou hast it."

"What is become of thy light, then? Good for thee I am not on duty."

"A great owl flew between me and Phelps as we watched beside the culverin, and so scared was he at our fierce bright eyes that he fell and knocked the light out."

"Likely tale, or likely lie, Charles! We will have the truth to-morrow. Here, take thy light, and be gone with thee. All virtuous men are in bed now."

"Then so will I be; and why art thou not? Ha! have I earned my schnapps now?"

"If thou hast, thou hast paid a bad debt! there is too much in thee already. Be off! my patience is done with."

Then he slammed the door in the young man's face, having kindled his lantern by this time; and Charlie went up the watch-place again, muttering, as he passed me, "Bad lookout for all of us when that surly old beast is captain. No gentle blood in him, no hospitality, not even pleasant language, nor a good new oath in his frowzy pate! I've a mind to cut the whole of it; and but for the girls I would do so."

My heart was in my mouth, as they say, when I stood in the shade by Lorna's window, and whispered her name gently. The house was of one story only, as the others were, with pine-ends standing forth the stone, and only two rough windows upon that western side of it, and perhaps those two were Lorna's. The Doones had been their own builders, for no one should know their ins and outs; and of course their work was clumsy. As for their windows, they stole them mostly from the houses round about. But though the window was not very close, I might have whispered long enough before she would have answered me, frightened as she was, no doubt, by many a rude overture. And I durst not speak aloud, because I saw another watchman posted on the western cliff, and commanding all the valley. And now this man (having no companion for drinking or for gambling) espied me against the wall of the house, and advanced to the brink, and challenged me.

"Who are you there? Answer. One, two, three and I fire at thee."

The nozzle of his gun was pointed full upon me, as I could see, with the moonlight striking on the barrel; he was not more than fifty yards off, and now he began to reckon. Being almost desperate about it, I began to whistle, wondering how far I should get before I lost my windpipe; and as luck would have it, my lips fell into that strange tune I had practiced last; the one I had heard from Charlie. My mouth would hardly frame the notes, being parched with terror; but to my surprise, the man fell back, dropped his gun, and saluted. Oh, sweetest of all sweet melodies!

That tune was Carver Doone's passport (as I heard long afterward), which Charleworth Doone had imitated, for decoy of Lorna. The sentinel took me for that vile Carver, who was like enough to be prowling there for private talk with Lorna, but not very likely to shout forth his name, if it might be avoided. The watchman, perceiving the danger, perhaps, of intruding on Carver's privacy, not only retired along the cliff, but withdrew himself to good distance.

Meanwhile he had done me the kindest service; for Lorna came to the window at once to see what the cause of the shout was, and drew back the curtain timidly. Then she opened the rough lattice, and then she watched the cliff and trees, and then she sighed very sadly.

"O Lorna, don't you know me?" I whispered from the side, being afraid of startling her by appearing over-suddenly.

Quick though she always was of thought, she knew me not from my whisper, and was shutting the window hastily, when I caught it back and showed myself.

"John!" she cried, yet with sense enough not to speak aloud; "oh, you must be mad, John!"

"As mad as a March hare," said I, "without any news of my darling. You knew I would come--of course you did."


From 'Lorna Doone'

However humble I might be, no one knowing anything of our part of the country would for a moment doubt that now here was a great to-do and talk of John Ridd and his wedding. The fierce fight with the Doones so lately, and my leading of the combat (though I fought not more than need be), and the vanishing of Sir Counselor, and the galloping madness of Carver, and the religious fear of the women that this last was gone to hell,--for he himself had declared that his aim, while he cut through the yeomanry,--also their remorse that he should have been made to go thither, with all his children left behind--these things, I say (if ever I can again contrive to say anything), had led to the broadest excitement about my wedding of Lorna. We heard that people meant to come from more than thirty miles around, upon excuse of seeing my stature and Lorna's beauty, but in good truth out of sheer curiosity and the love of meddling.

Our clerk had given notice that not a man should come inside the door of his church without shilling fee, and women (as sure to see twice as much) must every one pay two shillings. I thought this wrong; and as churchwarden, begged that the money might be paid into mine own hands when taken. But the clerk said that was against all law; and he had orders from the parson to pay it to him without any delay. So, as I always obey the parson when I care not much about a thing, I let them have it their own way, though feeling inclined to believe sometimes that I ought to have some of the money.

Dear mother arranged all the ins and outs of the way in which it was to be done; and Annie and Lizzie, and all the Snowes, and even Ruth Huckaback (who was there, after great persuasion), made such a sweeping of dresses that I scarcely knew where to place my feet, and longed for a staff to put by their gowns. Then Lorna came out of a pew half-way, in a manner which quite astonished me, and took my left hand in her right, and I prayed God that it were done with.

My darling looked so glorious that I was afraid of glancing at her, yet took in all her beauty. She was in a fright, no doubt, but nobody should see it; whereas I said (to myself, at least), "I will go through it like a grave-digger."

Lorna's dress was of pure white, clouded with faint lavender (for the sake of the old Earl Brandir), and as simple as need be, except for perfect loveliness. I was afraid to look at her, as I said before, except when each of us said, "I will;" and then each dwelt upon the other.

It is impossible for any who have not loved as I have to conceive my joy and pride when, after ring and all was done, and the parson had blessed us, Lorna turned to look at me with her glances of subtle fun subdued by this great act.

Her eyes, which none on earth may ever equal or compare with, told me such a depth of comfort, yet awaiting further commune, that I was almost amazed, thoroughly as I knew them. Darling eyes, the sweetest eyes, the loveliest, the most loving eyes--the sound of a shot rang through the church, and those eyes were filled with death.

Lorna fell across my knees when I was going to kiss her, as the bridegroom is allowed to do, and encouraged, if he needs it: a flood of blood came out upon the yellow wood of the altar steps; and at my feet lay Lorna, trying to tell me some last message out of her faithful eyes. I lifted her up, and petted her, and coaxed her, but it was no good; the only sign of life remaining was a spurt of bright red blood.

Some men know what things befall them in the supreme time of their life--far above the time of death--but to me comes back as a hazy dream, without any knowledge in it, what I did, or felt, or thought, with my wife's arms flagging, flagging, around my neck, as I raised her up, and softly put them there. She sighed a long sigh on my breast, for her last farewell to life, and then she grew so cold, and cold, that I asked the time of year.

It was now Whit-Tuesday, and the lilacs all in blossom; and why I thought of the time of year, with the young death in my arms, God or his angels may decide, having so strangely given us. Enough that so I did, and looked, and our white lilacs were beautiful. Then I laid my wife in my mother's arms, and begging that no one would make a noise, went forth for my revenge.

Of course I knew who had done it. There was but one man in the world, or at any rate in our part of it, who could have done such a thing--such a thing. I use no harsher word about it, while I leaped upon our best horse, with bridle, but no saddle, and set the head of Kickums toward the course now pointed out to me. Who showed me the course I cannot tell. I only know that I took it. And the men fell back before me.

Weapon of no sort had I. Unarmed, and wondering at my strange attire (with a bridal vest wrought by our Annie, and red with the blood of the bride), I went forth just to find out this--whether in this world there be or be not a God of justice.

With my vicious horse at a furious speed, I came up Black Barrow Down, directed by some shout of men, which seemed to me but a whisper. And there, about a furlong before me, rode a man on a great black horse, and I knew that man was Carver Doone.

"Your life, or mine," I said to myself; "as the will of God may be. But we two live not upon this earth one more hour together."

I knew the strength of this great man; and I knew that he was armed with a gun--if he had time to load again, after shooting my Lorna--or at any rate with pistols, and a horseman's sword as well. Nevertheless, I had no more doubt of killing the man before me than a cook has of spitting a headless fowl.

Sometimes seeing no ground beneath me, and sometimes heeding every leaf, and the crossing of the grass-blades, I followed over the long moor, reckless whether seen or not. But only once the other man turned round and looked back again, and then I was beside a rock, with a reedy swamp behind me.

Although he was so far before me, and riding as hard as ride he might, I saw that he had something on the horse in front of him; something which needed care, and stopped him from looking backward. In the whirling of my wits, I fancied first that this was Lorna; until the scene I had been through fell across hot brain and heart, like the drop at the close of a tragedy. Rushing there through crag and quag at utmost speed of a maddened horse, I saw, as of another's fate, calmly (as on canvas laid), the brutal deed, the piteous anguish, and the cold despair.

The man turned up the gully leading from the moor to Cloven Rocks, through which John Fry had tracked Uncle Ben, as of old related. But as Carver entered it, he turned round, and beheld me not a hundred yards behind; and I saw that he was bearing his child, little Ensie, before him. Ensie also descried me, and stretched his hands and cried to me; for the face of his father frightened him.

Carver Doone, with a vile oath, thrust spurs into his flagging horse, and laid one hand on a pistol-stock, whence I knew that his slung carbine had received no bullet since the one that pierced Lorna. And a cry of triumph rose from the black depths of my heart. What cared I for pistols? I had no spurs, neither was my horse one to need the rowel; I rather held him in than urged him, for he was fresh as ever; and I knew that the black steed in front, if he breasted the steep ascent, where the track divided, must be in our reach at once.

His rider knew this, and having no room in the rocky channel to turn and fire, drew rein at the crossways sharply, and plunged into the black ravine leading to the Wizard's Slough. "Is it so?" I said to myself, with brain and head cold as iron: "though the foul fiend come from the slough to save thee, thou shalt carve it, Carver."

I followed my enemy carefully, steadily, even leisurely; for I had him as in a pitfall, whence no escape might be. He thought that I feared to approach him, for he knew not where he was; and his low disdainful laugh came back. "Laugh he who wins," thought I.

A gnarled and half-starved oak, as stubborn as my own resolve, and smitten by some storm of old, hung from the crag above me. Rising from my horse's back, although I had no stirrups, I caught a limb, and tore it (like a mere wheat-awn) from the socket. Men show the rent even now with wonder; none with more wonder than myself.

Carver Doone turned the corner suddenly on the black and bottomless bog; with a start of fear he reined back his horse, and I thought he would have turned upon me. But instead of that, he again rode on, hoping to find a way round the side.

Now there is a way between cliff and slough for those who know the ground thoroughly, or have time enough to search it; but for him there was no road, and he lost some time in seeking it. Upon this he made up his mind; and wheeling, fired, and then rode at me.

His bullet struck me somewhere, but I took no heed of that. Fearing only his escape, I laid my horse across the way, and with the limb of oak struck full on the forehead his charging steed. Ere the slash of the sword came nigh me, man and horse rolled over and well-nigh bore my own horse down with the power of their onset.

Carver Doone was somewhat stunned, and could not arise for a moment. Meanwhile I leaped on the ground and awaited, smoothing my hair back, and baring my arms, as though in the ring for wrestling. Then the little boy ran to me, clasped my leg, and looked up at me, and the terror in his eyes made me almost fear myself.

"Ensie dear," I said quite gently, grieving that he should see his wicked father killed, "run up yonder round the corner, and try to find a pretty bunch of bluebells for the lady." The child obeyed me, hanging back, and looking back, and then laughing, while I prepared for business. There and then I might have killed mine enemy with a single blow while he lay unconscious, but it would have been foul play.

With a sullen and black scowl, the Carver gathered his mighty limbs and arose, and looked round for his weapons; but I had put them well away. Then he came to me and gazed, being wont to frighten thus young men.

"I would not harm you, lad," he said, with a lofty style of sneering: "I have punished you enough for most of your impertinence. For the rest I forgive you, because you have been good and gracious to my little son. Go and be contented."

For answer I smote him on the cheek, lightly, and not to hurt him, but to make his blood leap up. I would not sully my tongue by speaking to a man like this.

There was a level space of sward between us and the slough. With the courtesy derived from London, and the procession I had seen, to this place I led him. And that he might breathe himself, and have every fibre cool, and every muscle ready, my hold upon his coat I loosed, and left him to begin with me whenever he thought proper.

I think he felt that his time was come. I think he knew from my knitted muscles, and the firm arch of my breast, and the way in which I stood, but most of all from my stern blue eyes, that he had found his master. At any rate, a paleness came, an ashy paleness on his cheeks, and the vast calves of his legs bowed in, as if he were out of training.

Seeing this, villain as he was, I offered him first chance. I stretched forth my left hand as I do to a weaker antagonist, and I let him have the hug of me. But in this I was too generous; having forgotten my pistol-wound, and the cracking of one of my short lower ribs. Carver Doone caught me round the waist with such a grip as never yet had been laid upon me.

I heard my rib go; I grasped his arm and tore the muscle out of it[2] (as the string comes out of an orange); then I took him by the throat, which is not allowed in wrestling, but he had snatched at mine; and now was no time of dalliance. In vain he tugged and strained and writhed, dashed his bleeding fist into my face, and flung himself on me with gnashing jaws. Beneath the iron of my strength--for God that day was with me--I had him helpless in two minutes, and his fiery eyes lolled out.

[2]A far more terrible clutch than this is handed down, to weaker ages, of the great John Ridd.--ED. L.D.

"I will not harm thee any more," I cried, so far as I could for panting, the work being very furious: "Carver Doone, thou art beaten; own it, and thank God for it; and go thy way, and repent thyself."

It was all too late. Even if he had yielded in his ravening frenzy--for his beard was like a mad dog's jowl--even if he would have owned that for the first time in his life he had found his master, it was all too late.

The black bog had him by the feet; the sucking of the ground drew on him, like the thirsty lips of death. In our fury we had heeded neither wet nor dry, nor thought of earth beneath us. I myself might scarcely leap, with the last spring of o'erlabored legs, from the engulfing grave of slime. He fell back, with his swarthy breast (from which my grip had rent all clothing), like a hummock of bog-oak, standing out the quagmire; and then he tossed his arms to heaven, and they were black to the elbow, and the glare of his eyes was ghastly. I could only gaze and pant; for my strength was no more than an infant's from the fury and the horror. Scarcely could I turn away, while, joint by joint, he sank from sight.


From 'Alice Lorraine'

The trout knew nothing of all this. They had not tasted a worm for a month, except when a sod of the bank fell in, through cracks of the sun, and the way cold water has of licking upward. And even the flies had no flavor at all; when they fell on the water, they fell flat, and on the palate they tasted hot, even under the bushes.

Hilary followed a path through the meadows, with the calm bright sunset casting its shadow over the shorn grass, or up in the hedge-road, or on the brown banks where the drought had struck. On his back he carried a fishing-basket, containing his bits of refreshment; and in his right hand a short springy rod, the absent sailor's favorite. After long council with Mabel, he had made up his mind to walk up-stream as far as the spot where two brooks met, and formed body enough for a fly flipped in very carefully to sail downward. Here he began, and the creak of his reel and the swish of his rod were music to him, after the whirl of London life.

The brook was as bright as the best cut-glass, and the twinkles of its shifting facets only made it seem more clear. It twisted about a little, here and there; and the brink was fringed now and then with something, a clump of loosestrife, a tuft of avens, or a bed of flowering water-cress, or any other of the many plants that wash and look into the water. But the trout, the main object in view, were most objectionably too much in view. They scudded up the brook at the shadow of a hair, or even the tremble of a blade of grass; and no pacific assurance could make them even stop to be reasoned with, "This won't do," said Hilary, who very often talked to himself, in lack of a better comrade. "I call this very hard upon me. The beggars won't rise till it is quite dark. I must have the interdict off my tobacco, if this sort of thing is to go on. How I should enjoy a pipe just now! I may just as well sit on a gate and think. No, hang it, I hate thinking now. There are troubles hanging over me, as sure as the tail of that comet grows. How I detest that comet! No wonder the fish won't rise. But if I have to strip, and tickle them in the dark, I won't go back without some for her."

He was lucky enough to escape the weight of such horrible poaching upon his conscience; for suddenly to his ears was borne the most melodious of all sounds, the flop of a heavy fish sweetly jumping after some excellent fly or grub.

"Ha, my friend!" cried Hilary, "so you are up for your supper, are you? I myself will awake right early. Still I behold the ring you made. If my right hand forget not its cunning, you shall form your next ring in the frying-pan."

He gave that fish a little time to think of the beauty of that mouthful, and get ready for another, the while he was putting a white moth on, in lieu of his blue upright. He kept the grizzled palmer still for tail-fly, and he tried his knots, for he knew that this trout was a Triton.

Then, with a delicate sidling and stooping, known only to them that fish for trout in very bright water of the summer-time,--compared with which art the coarse work of the salmon-fisher is as that of a scene-painter to Mr. Holman Hunt's--with, or in, or by, a careful manner, not to be described to those who have never studied it, Hilary won access of the water, without any doubt in the mind of the fish concerning the prudence of appetite. Then he flipped his short collar in, not with a cast, but a spring of the rod, and let his flies go quietly down a sharpish run into that good trout's hole. The worthy trout looked at them both, and thought; for he had his own favorite spot for watching the world go by, as the rest of us have. So he let the grizzled palmer pass, within an inch of his upper lip; for it struck him that the tail turned up in a manner not wholly natural, or at any rate unwholesome. He looked at the white moth also, and thought that he had never seen one at all like it. So he went down under his root again, hugging himself upon his wisdom, never moving a fin, but oaring and helming his plump, spotted sides with his tail.

"Upon my word, it is too bad," said Hilary, after three beautiful throws, and exquisite management down-stream; "everything Kentish beats me hollow. Now, if that had been one of our trout, I would have laid my life upon catching him. One more throw, however. How would it be if I sunk my flies? That fellow is worth some patience."

While he was speaking, his flies alit on the glassy ripple, like gnats in their love-dance; and then by a turn of the wrist, he played them just below the surface, and let them go gliding down the stickle, into the shelfy nook of shadow where the big trout hovered. Under the surface, floating thus, with the check of ductile influence, the two flies spread their wings and quivered, like a centiplume moth in a spider's web. Still the old trout, calmly oaring, looked at them both suspiciously. Why should the same flies come so often, and why should they have such crooked tails, and could he be sure that he did not spy the shadow of a human hat about twelve yards up the water? Revolving these things, he might have lived to a venerable age but for that noble ambition to teach, which is fatal to even the wisest. A young fish, an insolent whipper-snapper, jumped in his babyish way at the palmer, and missed it through over-eagerness. "I'll show you the way to catch a fly," said the big trout to him: "open your mouth like this, my son."

With that he bolted the palmer, and threw up his tail, and turned to go home again. Alas! his sweet home now shall know him no more. For suddenly he was surprised by a most disagreeable sense of grittiness, and then a keen stab in the roof of his month. He jumped, in his wrath, a foot out of the water, and then heavily plunged to the depths of his hole.

"You've got it, my friend," cried Hilary, in a tingle of fine emotions; "I hope the sailor's knots are tied with professional skill and care. You are a big one, and a clever one too. It is much if I ever land you. No net, or gaff, or anything. I only hope that there are no stakes here. Ah, there you go! Now comes the tug."

Away went the big trout down the stream, at a pace very hard to exaggerate, and after him rushed Hilary, knowing that his line was rather short, and that if it ran out, all was over. Keeping his eyes on the water only, and the headlong speed of the fugitive, headlong over a stake he fell, and took a deep wound from another stake. Scarcely feeling it, up he jumped, lifting his rod, which had fallen flat, and fearing to find no strain on it. "Aha, he is not gone yet!" he cried, as the rod bowed like a springle-bow.

He was now a good hundred yards down the brook from the corner where the fight began. Through his swiftness of foot, and good management, the fish had never been able to tighten the line beyond yield of endurance. The bank had been free from bushes, or haply no skill could have saved him; but now they were come to a corner where a nut-bush quite overhung the stream.

"I am done for now," said the fisherman; "the villain knows too well what he is about. Here ends this adventure."

Full though he was of despair, he jumped anyhow into the water, kept the point of his rod close down, reeled up a little as the fish felt weaker, and just cleared the drop of the hazel boughs. The water flapped into the pockets of his coat, and he saw red streaks flow downward. And then he plunged out to an open reach of shallow water and gravel slope.

"I ought to have you now," he said, "though nobody knows what a rogue you are; and a pretty dance you have led me!"

Doubting the strength of his tackle to lift even the dead weight of the fish, and much more to meet his despairing rally, he happily saw a little shallow gut, or back-water, where a small spring ran out. Into this by a dexterous turn he rather led than pulled the fish, who was ready to rest for a minute or two; then he stuck his rod into the bank, ran down stream, and with his hat in both hands appeared at the only exit from the gut. It was all up now with the monarch of the brook. As he skipped and jumped, with his rich yellow belly, and chaste silver sides, in the green of the grass, joy and glory of the highest merit, and gratitude, glowed in the heart of Lorraine. "Two and three quarters you must weigh. And at your very best you are! How small your head is! And how bright your spots are!" he cried, as he gave him the stroke of grace. "You really have been a brave and fine fellow. I hope they will know how to fry you."

While he cut his fly out of this grand trout's mouth, he felt for the first time a pain in his knee, where the point of the stake had entered it. Under the buckle of his breeches blood was soaking away inside his gaiters; and then he saw how he had dyed the water. After washing the wound and binding it with dock-leaves and a handkerchief, he followed the stream through a few more meadows, for the fish began to sport pretty well as the gloom of the evening deepened; so that by the time the gables of the old farm-house appeared, by the light of a young moon, and the comet, Lorraine had a dozen more trout in his basket, silvery-sided and handsome fellows, though none of them over a pound perhaps, except his first and redoubtable captive.


From 'Mary Anerley'

Now, whether spy-glass had been used by any watchful mariner, or whether only blind chance willed it, sure it is that one fine morning Mary met with somebody. And this was the more remarkable, when people came to think of it, because it was only the night before that her mother had almost said as much.

"Ye munna gaw doon to t' sea be yersell," Mistress Anerley said to her daughter: "happen ye mought be one too many."

Master Anerley's wife had been at "boarding-school," as far south as Suffolk, and could speak the very best of southern English (like her daughter Mary) upon polite occasion. But family cares and farm-house life had partly cured her of her education, and from troubles of distant speech she had returned to the ease of her native dialect.

"And if I go not to the sea by myself," asked Mary, with natural logic, "why, who is there now to go with me?" She was thinking of her sadly missed comrade, Jack.

"Happen some day, perhaps, one too many."

The maiden was almost too innocent to blush; but her father took her part as usual.

"The little lass sall gaw doon," he said, "wheniver sha likes." And so she went down the next morning.

A thousand years ago the Dane's Dike must have been a very grand intrenchment, and a thousand years ere that perhaps it was still grander; for learned men say that it was a British work, wrought out before the Danes had ever learned to build a ship. Whatever, however, may be argued about that, the wise and the witless do agree about one thing--the stronghold inside it had been held by Danes, while severed by the Dike from inland parts, and these Danes made a good colony of their own, and left to their descendants distinct speech and manners, some traces of which are existing even now. The Dike, extending from the rough North Sea to the calmer waters of Bridlington Bay, is nothing more than a deep dry trench, skillfully following the hollows of the ground, and cutting off Flamborough Head and a solid cantle of high land from the rest of Yorkshire. The corner so intercepted used to be and is still called "Little Denmark"; and the in-dwellers feel a large contempt for all their outer neighbors. And this is sad, because Anerley Farm lies wholly outside of the Dike, which for a long crooked distance serves as its eastern boundary.

Upon the morning of the self-same day that saw Mr. Jellicorse set forth upon his return from Scargate Hall, armed with instructions to defy the devil, and to keep his discovery quiet--upon a lovely August morning of the first year of a new century, Mary Anerley, blithe and gay, came riding down the grassy hollow of this ancient Dane's Dike. This was her shortest way to the sea, and the tide would suit (if she could only catch it) for a take of shrimps, and perhaps even prawns, in time for her father's breakfast. And not to lose this, she arose right early, and rousing Lord Keppel, set forth for the spot where she kept her net covered with sea-weed. The sun, though up and brisk already upon sea and foreland, had not found time to rout the shadows skulking in the dingles. But even here, where sap of time had breached the turfy ramparts, the hover of the dew-mist passed away, and the steady light was unfolded.

For the season was early August still, with beautiful weather come at last; and the green world seemed to stand on tiptoe to make the extraordinary acquaintance of the sun. Humble plants which had long lain flat stood up with a sense of casting something off; and the damp heavy trunks which had trickled for a twelvemonth, or been only sponged with moss, were hailing the fresher light with keener lines and dove-colored tints upon their smoother boles. Then, conquering the barrier of the eastern land crest, rose the glorious sun himself, strewing before him trees and crags in long steep shadows down the hill. Then the sloping rays, through furze and brush-land, kindling the sparkles of the dew, descended to the brink of the Dike, and scorning to halt at petty obstacles, with a hundred golden hurdles bridged it wherever any opening was.

Under this luminous span, or through it where the crossing gullies ran, Mary Anerley rode at leisure, allowing her pony to choose his pace. That privilege he had long secured, in right of age, and wisdom, and remarkable force of character. Considering his time of life, he looked well and sleek, and almost sprightly; and so, without any reservation, did his gentle and graceful rider. The maiden looked well in a place like that, as indeed in almost any place; but now she especially set off the color of things, and was set off by them. For instance, how could the silver of the dew-cloud, and golden weft of sunrise, playing through the dapples of a partly wooded glen, do better (in the matter of variety) than frame a pretty moving figure in a pink checked frock, with a skirt of russet murrey, and a bright brown hat? Not that the hat itself was bright, even under the kiss of sunshine, simply having seen already too much of the sun, but rather that its early lustre seemed to be revived by a sense of the happy position it was in; the clustering hair and the bright eyes beneath it answering the sunny dance of life and light. Many a handsomer race, no doubt, more perfect, grand and lofty, received--at least if it was out of bed--the greeting of that morning sun; but scarcely any prettier one, or kinder, or more pleasant, so gentle without being weak, so good-tempered without looking void of all temper at all.

Suddenly the beauty of the time and place was broken by sharp, angry sound. Bang! bang! came the roar of muskets fired from the shore at the mouth of the Dike, and echoing up the winding glen. At the first report the girl, though startled, was not greatly frightened; for the sound was common enough in the week when those most gallant volunteers entitled the "Yorkshire Invincibles" came down for their annual practice of skilled gunnery against the French. Their habit was to bring down a red cock, and tether him against a chalky cliff, and then vie with one another in shooting at him. The same cock had tested their skill for three summers, but failed hitherto to attest it, preferring to return in a hamper to his hens, with a story of moving adventures.

Mary had watched those Invincibles sometimes from a respectful distance, and therefore felt sure (when she began to think) that she had not them to thank for this little scare. For they always slept soundly in the first watch of the morning; and even supposing they had jumped up with nightmare, where was the jubilant crow of the cock? For the cock, being almost as invincible as they were, never could deny himself the glory of a crow when the bullet came into his neighborhood. He replied to every volley with an elevated comb, and a flapping of his wings, and a clarion peal, which rang along the foreshore ere the musket roar died out. But before the girl had time to ponder what it was, or wherefore, round the corner came somebody, running very swiftly.

In a moment Mary saw that this man had been shot at, and was making for his life away; and to give him every chance she jerked her pony aside, and called and beckoned; and without a word he flew to her. Words were beyond him, if his breath should come back, and he seemed to have no time to wait for that. He had outstripped the wind, and his own wind, by his speed.

"Poor man!" cried Mary Anerley, "what a hurry you are in. But I suppose you cannot help it. Are they shooting at you?"

The runaway nodded, for he could not spare a breath, but was deeply inhaling for another start, and could not even bow without hindrance. But to show that he had manners, he took off his hat. Then he clapped it on his head and set off again.

"Come back!" cried the maid; "I can show you a place. I can hide you from your enemies forever."

The young fellow stopped. He was come to that pitch of exhaustion in which a man scarcely cares whether he is killed or dies. And his face showed not a sign of fear.

"Look! That little hole--up there--by the fern. Up at once, and this cloth over you!"

He snatched it, and was gone, like the darting lizard, up a little puckering side issue of the Dike, at the very same instant that three broad figures and a long one appeared at the lip of the mouth. The quick-witted girl rode on to meet them, to give the poor fugitive time to get into his hole and draw the brown skirt over him. The dazzle of the sun, pouring over the crest, made the hollow a twinkling obscurity; and the cloth was just in keeping with the dead stuff around. The three broad men, with heavy fusils cocked, came up from the sea-mouth of the Dike, steadily panting, and running steadily with a long-enduring stride. Behind them a tall bony man with a cutlass was swinging it high in the air, and limping, and swearing with great velocity.

"Coast-riders," thought Mary, "and he a free-trader [smuggler]! Four against one is cowardice."

"Halt!" cried the tall man, while the rest were running past her; "halt! ground arms; never scare young ladies." Then he flourished his hat, with a grand bow to Mary. "Fair young Mistress Anerley, I fear we spoil your ride. But his Majesty's duty must be done. Hats off, fellows, at the name of your king! Mary, my dear, the most daring villain, the devil's own son, has just run up here--scarcely two minutes--you must have seen him. Wait a minute; tell no lies--excuse me, I mean fibs. Your father is the right sort. He hates those scoundrels. In the name of his Majesty, which way is he gone?"

"Was it--oh, was it a man, if you please? Captain Carroway, don't say so."

"A man? Is it likely that we shot at a woman? You are trifling. It will be the worse for you. Forgive me--but we are in such a hurry. Whoa! whoa! pony."

"You always used to be so polite, sir, that you quite surprise me. And those guns look so dreadful! My father would be quite astonished to see me not even allowed to go down to the sea, but hurried back here, as if the French had landed."

"How can I help it, if your pony runs away so?" For Mary all this time had been cleverly contriving to increase and exaggerate her pony's fear, and so brought the gunners for a long way up the Dike, without giving them any time to spy at all about. She knew that this was wicked from a loyal point of view; not a bit the less she did it. "What a troublesome little horse it is!" she cried. "O Captain Carroway, hold him just a moment. I will jump down, and then you can jump up, and ride after all his Majesty's enemies."

"The Lord forbid! He slews all out of gear, like a carronade with rotten lashings. If I boarded him, how could I get out of his way? No, no, my dear, brace him up sharp, and bear clear."

"But you wanted to know about some enemy, captain. An enemy as bad as my poor Lord Keppel?"

"Mary, my dear, the very biggest villain! A hundred golden guineas on his head, and half for you. Think of your father, my dear, and Sunday gowns. And you must have a young man--by-and-by, you know--such a beautiful maid as you are. And you might get a leather purse, and give it to him. Mary, on your duty, now?"

"Captain, you drive me so, what can I say? I cannot bear the thought of betraying anybody."

"Of course not, Mary dear; nobody asks you. He must be half a mile off by this time. You could never hurt him now; and you can tell your father that you have done your duty to the king."

"Well, Captain Carroway, if you are quite sure that it is too late to catch him, I can tell you all about him. But remember your word about the fifty guineas."

"Every farthing, every farthing, Mary, whatever my wife may say to it. Quick! quick! Which way did he run, my dear?"

"He really did not seem to me to be running at all; he was too tired."

"To be sure, to be sure, a worn-out fox. We have been two hours after him; he could not run; no more can we. But which way did he go, I mean?"

"I will not say anything for certain, sir; even for fifty guineas. But he may have come up here--mind, I say not that he did--and if so, he might have set off again for Sewerby. Slowly, very slowly, because of being tired. But perhaps, after all, he was not the man you mean."

"Forward, double-quick! We are sure to have him!" shouted the lieutenant--for his true rank was that--flourishing his cutlass again, and setting off at a wonderful pace, considering his limp. "Five guineas every man Jack of you. Thank you, young mistress--most heartily thank you. Dead or alive, five guineas!"

With gun and sword in readiness, they all rushed off; but one of the party, named John Cadman, shook his head and looked back with great mistrust at Mary, having no better judgment of women than this, that he never could believe even his own wife. And he knew that it was mainly by the grace of womankind that so much contraband work was going on. Nevertheless, it was out of his power to act upon his own low opinions now.

The maiden, blushing deeply with the sense of her deceit, was informed by her guilty conscience of that nasty man's suspicions, and therefore gave a smack with her fern whip to Lord Keppel, impelling him to join, like a loyal little horse, the pursuit of his Majesty's enemies. But no sooner did she see all the men dispersed, and scouring the distance with trustful ardor, than she turned the pony's head toward the sea again, and rode back round the bend of the hollow. What would her mother say if she lost the murrey skirt, which had cost six shillings at Bridlington fair? And ten times that money might be lost much better than for her father to discover how she lost it. For Master Stephen Anerley was a straight-backed man, and took three weeks of training in the Land Defense Yeomanry, at periods not more than a year apart, so that many people called him "Captain" now; and the loss of his suppleness at knee and elbow had turned his mind largely to politics, making him stiffly patriotic, and especially hot against all free-traders putting bad bargains to his wife, at the cost of the king and his revenue. If the bargain were a good one, that was no concern of his.

Not that Mary, however, could believe, or would even have such a bad mind as to imagine, that any one, after being helped by her, would be mean enough to run off with her property. And now she came to think of it, there was something high and noble, she might almost say something downright honest, in the face of that poor persecuted man. And in spite of all his panting, how brave he must have been, what a runner, and how clever, to escape from all those cowardly coast-riders shooting right and left at him! Such a man steal that paltry skirt that her mother made such a fuss about! She was much more likely to find it in her clothes-press filled with golden guineas.

Before she was as certain as she wished to be of this (by reason of shrewd nativity), and while she believed that the fugitive must have seized such a chance and made good his escape toward North Sea or Flamborough, a quick shadow glanced across the long shafts of the sun, and a bodily form sped after it. To the middle of the Dike leaped a young man, smiling, and forth from the gully which had saved his life. To look at him, nobody ever could have guessed how fast he had fled, and how close he had lain hid. For he stood there as clean and spruce and careless as ever a sailor can be wished to be. Limber yet stalwart, agile though substantial, and as quick as a dart while as strong as a pike, he seemed cut out by nature for a true blue-jacket; but condition had made him a smuggler, or, to put it more gently, a free-trader. Britannia, being then at war with all the world, and alone in the right (as usual), had need of such lads, and produced them accordingly, and sometimes one too many. But Mary did not understand these laws. This made her look at him with great surprise, and almost doubt whether he could be the man, until she saw her skirt neatly folded in his hand, and then she said, "How do you do, sir?"

The free-trader looked at her with equal surprise. He had been in such a hurry, and his breath so short, and the chance of a fatal bullet after him so sharp, that his mind had been astray from any sense of beauty, and of everything else except the safety of the body. But now he looked at Mary, and his breath again went from him.

"You can run again now; I am sure of it," said she; "and if you would like to do anything to please me, run as fast as possible."

"What have I to run away from now?" he answered, in a deep sweet voice. "I run from enemies, but not from friends."

"That is very wise. But your enemies are still almost within call of you. They will come back worse than ever when they find you are not there."

"I am not afraid, fair lady, for I understand their ways. I have led them a good many dances.... When they cannot take another step, they will come back to Anerley for breakfast."

"I dare say they will; and we shall be glad to see them. My father is a soldier, and his duty is to nourish and comfort the forces of the King."

"Then you are young Mistress Anerley? I was sure of it before. There are no two such. And you have saved my life. It is something to owe it so fairly."

The young sailor wanted to kiss Mary's hand; but not being used to any gallantry, she held out her hand in the simplest manner to take back her riding skirt; and he, though longing in his heart to keep it, for a token or pretext for another meeting, found no excuse for doing so. And yet he was not without some resource.

For the maiden was giving him a farewell smile, being quite content with the good she had done, and the luck of recovering her property; and that sense of right which in those days formed a part of every good young woman said to her plainly that she must be off. And she felt how unkind it was to keep him any longer in a place where the muzzle of a gun, with a man behind it, might appear at any moment. But he, having plentiful breath again, was at home with himself to spend it.

"Fair young lady," he began, for he saw that Mary liked to be called a lady, because it was a novelty, "owing more than I ever can pay you already, may I ask a little more? Then it is that on your way down to the sea, you would just pick up (if you should chance to see it) the fellow ring to this, and perhaps you will look at this to know it by. The one that was shot away flew against a stone just on the left of the mouth of the Dike, but I durst not stop to look for it, and I must not go back that way now. It is more to me than a hatful of gold, though nobody else would give a crown for it."

"And they really shot away one of your earrings? Careless, cruel, wasteful men! What could they have been thinking of?"

"They were thinking of getting what is called 'blood-money.' One hundred pounds for Robin Lyth. Dead or alive--one hundred pounds."...

"Then are you the celebrated Robin Lyth--the new Robin Hood, as they call him? The man who can do almost anything?"

"Mistress Anerley, I am Robin Lyth; but, as you have seen, I cannot do much.... They have missed the best chance they ever had at me; it will make their temper very bad. If they shot at me again, they could do no good. Crooked mood makes crooked mode."

"You forget that I should not see such things. You may like very much to be shot at; but--but you should think of other people."

"I shall think of you only--I mean of your great kindness, and your promise to keep my ring for me. Of course you will tell nobody. Carroway will have me like a tiger if you do. Farewell, young lady--for one week, fare well." With a wave of his hat he was gone, before Mary had time to retract her promise; and she thought of her mother.



oet-painter, visionary, and super-mystic in almost all capacities, William Blake was born in London in 1757. He was the second son of humble people--his father but a stocking merchant. An "odd little boy," he was destined to be recognized as "one of the most curious and abnormal personages of the later eighteenth and earlier nineteenth centuries." Allan Cunningham describes him by saying that Blake at ten years of age was an artist and at twelve a poet. He seems really to have shown in childhood his double gift. But the boy's education was rudimentary, his advantages not even usual, it would seem. To the end of his life, the mature man's works betray a defective common-schooling, a lamentable lack of higher intellectual training--unless we suspect that the process would have disciplined his mind, to the loss of bizarre originality. Most of what Blake learned he taught himself, and that at haphazard. The mistiness and inexplicability of his productions is part of such a process, as well as of invincible temperament.

William Blake

In 1767 Blake was studying drawing with Mr. Pars, at the sometime famous Strand Academy, where he was reckoned a diligent but egotistical pupil. At fourteen he became apprenticed, for a livelihood,--afterward exchanged for the painter's and illustrator's freer career,--to James Basire, an academic but excellent engraver, whose manner is curiously traceable through much of Blake's after work. Even in the formal atmosphere of the Royal Academy's antique school, Blake remained an opinionated and curiously "detached" scholar, with singular critical notions, with half-expressed or very boldly expressed theories as to art, religion, and most other things. In 1782 he married a young woman of equally humble derivation, who could not even sign the marriage register. He developed her character, educated her mind, and made her a devoted and companionable wife, full of faith in him. Their curious and retired ménage was as happy in a practical and mundane aspect as could be hoped from even a normal one.

In 1780 he began to exhibit, his first picture being 'The Death of Earl Godwin.' After exhibiting five others, however, ending with 'Jacob's Dream,' he withdrew altogether from public advertisement. Several devoted patrons--especially Mr. Linnell, and a certain Mr. Thomas Butts, who bought incessantly, anything and everything,--seized upon all he drew and painted. In his literary undertakings he was for the most part his own editor and printer and publisher. His career in verse and prose began early. In 1783 came forth the charming collection 'Poetical Sketches,' juvenile as the fancies of his boyish days, but full of a sensitive appreciation of nature worthy of a mature heart, and expressed with a diction often exquisite. The volume was not really public nor published, but printed by the kindly liberality of two friends, one of them Flaxman. In 1787, "under the direction of the spirit of his dead brother," Robert, he decided on publishing a new group of lyrics and fancies, 'Songs of Innocence,' by engraving the text of the poems and its marginal embellishments on copper--printing the pages in various tints, coloring or recoloring them by hand, and even binding them, with his wife's assistance. The medium for mixing his tints, by the by, was "revealed to him by Saint Joseph."

With this volume--now a rarity for the bibliophile--began Blake's system of giving his literary works and many of his extraordinary artistic productions their form and being. Like a poet-printer of our own day, Mr. William Morris, Blake insisted that each page of text, all his delicate illustrations, every cover even, should pass through his own fingers, or through those of his careful and submissive helpmeet. The expense of their paper was the chief one to the light purse of the queerly assorted, thrifty pair.

In 1789 appeared another little volume of verses, 'Songs of Innocence.' This also was ushered into existence as a dual book of pictures and of poetry. In 1794 came the 'Songs of Experience,' completing that brief lyrical trio on which rests Blake's poetical reputation and his claim on coming generations of sympathetic readers. To these early and exquisite fruits of Blake's feeling succeeded a little book 'For Children,' the mystic volume 'The Gates of Paradise,' 'The Visions of the Daughters of Albion,' 'America, a Prophecy,' Part First of his 'Book of Urizen,' and a collection of designs without text, treated in the methods usual with him, besides other labors with pencil and pen.

But the wonderful and disordered imagination of the artist and poet now embodied itself in a strange group of writings for which no parallel exists. To realize them, one must imagine the most transcendent notions of Swedenborg mingled with the rant of a superior kind of Mucklewrath. Such poems as 'The Book of Thel,' in spite of beautiful allegoric passages; 'The Gates of Paradise'; 'Tiriel,' an extended narrative-fantasy in irregular unrhymed verses; even the striking 'Marriage of Heaven and Hell,'--may be reckoned as mere prologues to such productions as 'Jerusalem,' 'The Emanation of the Giant Albion.' 'Milton,' and the "prophecies" embodied in the completed 'Urizen,' the 'Europe,' 'Ahania,' and 'The Book of Los.' Such oracular works Blake put forth as dictated to him by departed spirits of supreme influence and intellectuality, or by angelic intelligences, quite apart from his own volition; indeed, only with his "grateful obedience." Such claims are not out of place in the instance of one who "saw God"; who often "conversed familiarly with Jesus Christ"; who "was" Socrates; who argued conclusions for hours at a time with Moses, with Milton, with Dante, with the Biblical prophets, with Voltaire; who could "see Satan" almost at will--all in vivid conceptions that sprang up in his mind with such force as to set seemingly substantial and even speaking beings before him. In his assumption of the seer, Blake was not a charlatan: he believed fully in his supernatural privileges. To him his modest London lodging held great company, manifest in the spirit.

Blake's greater "prophetic" writings ended, he busied himself with painting and illustration. He was incessant in industry; indeed, his ordinary recreation at any time was only a change of work from one design to another. So were wrought out the (incomplete) series of plates for Young's 'Night Thoughts'; the drawings for Hayley's 'Life of Cowper,' and for the same feeble author's 'Ballads on Anecdotes relating to Animals'; the 'Dante' designs: the 'Job' series of prints; a vast store of aquarelle and distemper paintings and plates, and a whole gallery of "portraits" derived from sitters of distinction in past universal history. These sitters, it is needless to say, were wholly invisible to other eyes than Blake's. The subjects vary from likenesses of Saint Joseph and the Virgin Mary to those of Mahomet and Shakespeare. Sundry of the old masters, Titian included, reviewed his efforts and guided his brush! Such assertions do not ill accord with the description of his once seeing a fairy's funeral, or that he first beheld God when four years old.

But all his fantasies did not destroy his faith in the fundamentals of orthodoxy. He never ceased to be a believer in Christianity. His convictions of a revealed religion were reiterated. While incessant in asserting that he had a solemn message-spiritual to his day and generation, he set aside nothing significant in the message of the Scriptures. There is something touching in the anecdote of him and his devoted Kate told by the portrait-painter Richmond. Himself discouraged with his imperfect work, Richmond one day visited Blake and confessed his low mood. To his astonishment, Blake turned to his wife suddenly, and said, "It is just so with us, is it not, for weeks together, when the visions forsake us! What do we do then, Kate?" "We kneel down and pray, Mr. Blake."

So passed Blake's many years, between reality and dream, labors and chimeras. The painter's life was not one of painful poverty. He and his Kate needed little money; and the seer-husband's pencils and burin, or the private kindness so constantly shown him, provided daily bread. Despite the visions and inspirations and celestial phenomena that filled his head, Blake withal was sane enough in everyday concerns. He lived orderly, even if he thought chaos. Almost his last strokes were on the hundred water-colors for the 'Divina Commedia,' the 'Job' cycle, the 'Ancient of Days' drawing, or a "frenzied sketch" of his wife which he made, exclaiming in beginning it, "Stay! Keep as you are! You have ever been an angel to me. I will draw you." Natural decay and painful chronic ailments increased. He seldom left his rooms in Fountain Court, Strand, except in a visit to the Linnells, at Hampstead. He died gently in 1827, "singing of the things he saw in Heaven." His grave, to-day unknown, was a common one in Bunhill Fields Cemetery. Many friends mourned him. With all his eccentricities and the extravagances of his "visions" and "inspirations," he was loved. His ardor of temperament was balanced by meekness, his aggressiveness by true politeness. He was frank, abstemious, a lover of children,--who loved him,--devout in prayer, devoid of vice. Yet whenever he was in contact with his fellow-men, he was one living and walking apart. As an influence in literature he is less considerable than in painting. In the latter art, a whole group of contemporary notables, intellectualists, and rhapsodists of greater or less individuality have to do with him, among whom Dante Gabriel Rossetti was in much his literary child, still more his child in art.

A brief and early 'Life' of Blake, prepared by his intimate friend Allan Cunningham, appeared in 1829. In 1839, for the first time, his works were really given to the public. Mr. Gilchrist's invaluable biography and study appeared in 1863; revised and enlarged in an edition of 1880. Mr. Swinburne's critical essay on him is a notable aid to the student. The artist-poet's complete works were edited by Mr. William Michael Rossetti in 1874, with a complete and discriminating memoir. More recent contributions to Blake literature are the Ellis and Yeats edition of his works, also with a Memoir and an Interpretation; and Mr. Alfred J. Story's volume on 'The Life, Character, and Genius of William Blake.' Some of the rarest of his literary productions, as well as the scarcest among his drawings, are owned in America, chiefly by two private collectors in the Eastern States.


My silks and fine array,
  My smiles and languished air,
By love are driven away,
  And mournful lean Despair
Brings me yew to deck my grave:
Such end true lovers have.

His face is fair as heaven
  When springing buds unfold;
Oh, why to him was 't given,
  Whose heart is wintry cold?
His breast is Love's all-worshiped tomb,
Where all Love's pilgrims come.

Bring me an axe and spade,
  Bring me a winding-sheet;
When I my grave have made,
  Let winds and tempests beat:
Then down I'll lie, as cold as clay:
True love doth never pass away.


Love and harmony combine
And around our souls entwine,
While thy branches mix with mine
And our roots together join.

Joys upon our branches sit,
Chirping loud and singing sweet;
Like gentle streams beneath our feet,
Innocence and virtue meet.

Thou the golden fruit dost bear,
I am clad in flowers fair;
Thy sweet boughs perfume the air,
And the turtle buildeth there.

There she sits and feeds her young;
Sweet I hear her mournful song;
And thy lovely leaves among,
There is Love: I hear his tongue.

There his charmed nest he doth lay,
There he sleeps the night away,
There he sports along the day,
And doth among our branches play.


I HEARD an Angel singing
When the day was springing:
"Mercy, pity, and peace,
Are the world's release."

So he sang all day
Over the new-mown hay,
Till the sun went down,
And the haycocks looked brown.

I heard a devil curse
Over the heath and the furse:
"Mercy could be no more
If there were nobody poor,

And pity no more could be
If all were happy as ye:
And mutual fear brings peace.
Misery's increase
Are mercy, pity, peace."

At his curse the sun went down,
And the heavens gave a frown.


From 'Songs of Innocence'

The sun descending in the west,
The evening star does shine,
The birds are silent in their nest,
And I must seek for mine.
The moon, like a flower
In heaven's high bower,
With silent delight,
Sits and smiles in the night.

Farewell, green fields and happy groves
Where flocks have ta'en delight;
Where lambs have nibbled, silent move
The feet of angels bright;
Unseen they pour blessing,
And joy without ceasing,
On each bud and blossom,
And each sleeping bosom.

They look in every thoughtless nest,
Where birds are covered warm;
They visit caves of every beast,
To keep them all from harm;
If they see any weeping
That should have been sleeping,
They pour sleep on their head,
And sit down by their bed.

When wolves and tigers howl for prey,
They pitying stand and weep;
Seeking to drive their thirst away,
And keep them from the sheep.
But if they rush dreadful,
The angels most heedful
Receive each wild spirit,
New worlds to inherit.

And there the lion's ruddy eyes
Shall flow with tears of gold;
And pitying the tender cries,
And walking round the fold,
Saying, "Wrath by His meekness,
And by His health, sickness,
Are driven away
From our immortal day.

"And now beside thee, bleating lamb,
I can lie down and sleep,
Or think on Him who bore thy name,
Graze after thee and weep.
For washed in life's river,
My bright mane forever
Shall shine like the gold,
As I guard o'er the fold."


Introduction to 'Songs of Innocence'

Piping down the valleys wild,
  Piping songs of pleasant glee,
On a cloud I saw a child,
  And he laughing said to me:--

"Pipe a song about a lamb."
  So I piped with merry cheer.
"Piper, pipe that song again:"
  So I piped; he wept to hear.

"Drop thy pipe, thy happy pipe;
  Sing thy songs of happy cheer:"
So I sang the same again,
  While he wept with joy to hear.

"Piper, sit thee down and write,
  In a book that all may read."
So he vanished from my sight;
  And I plucked a hollow reed;

And I made a rural pen,
  And I stained the water clear,
And I wrote my happy songs
  Every child may joy to hear.


From 'Songs of Innocence'

'Twas on a Holy Thursday, their innocent faces clean,
Came children walking two and two, in red and blue and green:
Gray-headed beadles walked before, with wands as white as snow,
Till into the high dome of Paul's they like Thames waters flow.

Oh, what a multitude they seemed, these flowers of London town!
Seated in companies they sit, with radiance all their own.
The hum of multitudes was there, but multitudes of lambs,
Thousands of little boys and girls raising their innocent hands.

Now like a mighty wind they raise to heaven the voice of song,
Or like harmonious thunderings the seats of heaven among:
Beneath them sit the aged men, wise guardians of the poor.
Then cherish pity, lest you drive an angel from your door.


From 'Songs of Experience'

Sleep, sleep, beauty bright,
Dreaming in the joys of night;
Sleep, sleep; in thy sleep
Little sorrows sit and weep.

Sweet babe, in thy face
Soft desires I can trace,
Secret joys and secret smiles,
Little pretty infant wiles.

As thy softest limbs I feel,
Smiles as of the morning steal
O'er thy cheek and o'er thy breast,
Where thy little heart doth rest.

Oh, the cunning wiles that creep
In thy little heart asleep!
When thy little heart shall wake,
Then the dreadful light shall break.


From 'Songs of Innocence'

My Mother bore me in the Southern wild,
  And I am black, but oh, my soul is white!
White as an angel is the English child,
  But I am black, as if bereaved of light.

My mother taught me underneath a tree,
  And sitting down before the heat of day,
She took me on her lap and kissed me,
  And, pointing to the East, began to say:--

"Look on the rising sun: there God does live,
  And gives his light, and gives his heat away,
And flowers and trees and beasts and men receive
  Comfort in morning, joy in the noonday.

"And we are put on earth a little space,
  That we may learn to bear the beams of love;
And these black bodies and this sunburnt face
  Are but a cloud, and like a shady grove.

"For when our souls have learned the heat to bear,
  The cloud will vanish, we shall hear his voice,
Saying, 'Come out from the grove, my love and care,
  And round my golden tent like lambs rejoice.'"

Thus did my mother say, and kissèd me,
  And thus I say to little English boy:
When I from black, and he from white cloud free,
  And round the tent of God like lambs we joy,

I'll shade him from the heat till he can bear
  To lean in joy upon our Father's knee;
And then I'll stand and stroke his silver hair,
  And be like him, and he will then love me.


From 'Songs of Experience'

Tiger! Tiger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Framed thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burned that fire within thine eyes?
On what wings dared he aspire?
What the hand dared seize the fire?

And what shoulder, and what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
When thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand formed thy dread feet?

What the hammer, what the chain,
Knit thy strength and forged thy brain?
What the anvil? What dread grasp
Dared thy deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And watered heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did He who made the lamb make thee?



e have few personal details of Charles Blanc. We know that he lived in a luminous world of form and thought, a life in harmony with his work; we have books containing his conception of art; we know that art was his one absorbing passion: and this should satisfy us, for it was his own opinion that all which does not tend to illustrate an artist's conception of art is of but secondary importance in his life.

Of Franco-Italian extraction, Charles Blanc was born in Castres, France, on the 15th of November, 1813. When in 1830 he and his brother Louis, youths of eighteen and nineteen, came to Paris, their aged father, an ex-inspector of finance whose career had been ruined by the fall of Napoleon, was dependent on them for support. Louis soon procured work on a newspaper; but Charles, whose ambition from his earliest years was to become a painter, spent his days in the Louvre, or wandering about Paris looking in the old-print-shop windows, and he thus learned much that he afterwards developed in his works. As his brother's position improved, he was enabled to study drawing with Delaroche and engraving with Calamatta. His masters gave him but little encouragement, however, and he soon turned his thoughts to literature, his maiden effort being a description of the Brussels Salon of 1836 for his brother's paper.

Exquisite sensitiveness and responsiveness to beauty eminently fitted Charles Blanc for the position of art critic, and gave a charm to his earliest writings. He brought to his new task the technical knowledge of an artist, and a penetrating critical insight which, aided by study, ripened rapidly. The evidence of talent afforded by his first art criticism induced Louis Blanc to confide to him successively the editorship of several provincial papers. But Charles's inclinations were toward the calm atmosphere of art; he was, and ever remained, indifferent to politics, and looked upon the fiery, active Louis with astonishment, even while catching his energy and ambition. On his return to Paris he began a history of the 'French Painters of the Nineteenth Century,' but one volume of which appeared; and the 'Painters of All Schools,' completed in 1876. Very little was then known of the lives of the painters. By illustrating each biographical sketch with engravings of the artists' pictures, Blanc met a long-felt want. As the work was intended for the general reader, it was not overloaded with erudition: but numerous anecdotes, combined with vivacity of style, aroused interest in painting and created a public for the more purely technical works which followed. Though assisted by others in this undertaking, Blanc himself planned the method of treatment, and wrote the history of the Dutch and French schools; and the work justly retains his name.

The Socialists had taken a prominent part in the events of February, 1848, which led to the overthrow of Louis Philippe; and they yielded to the universal desire by appointing Charles Blanc Director of Fine Arts--a position which he had prophesied to his friends several years before that he would one day fill. When he assumed office, the position of artists was critical; as, owing to social convulsions, government and private orders had dwindled into insignificance. Thanks to his energy, work was resumed on public monuments, and the greater part of the sum of 900,000 francs, voted by the National Assembly for the Champs de Mars festival, was devoted to work which gave employment to a legion of decorative painters and sculptors. After the Salon of 1848, as the government coffers were depleted, he obtained 80,000 francs' worth of Sèvres porcelain from the Minister of Commerce, to give as prizes. He combated a proposition made by the Committee on Finance to suppress the Louvre studios of molding; he opposed the motion to reduce the corps of professors at the School of Fine Arts, and defended the School of Rome, threatened with suppression.

While Director of Fine Arts, Blanc fought his first and only duel, in defence of his brother, although he had never fired a pistol in his life. During the political agitation of 1848, Louis was condemned by the National Assembly, and fled to London. After his departure, he was abused in very insulting language by one Lacombe, and Charles called the latter to account. In the duel which followed, Lacombe was hit, but the ball struck his pocket-book and glanced off, when Méry, one of the seconds, exclaimed, "That was money well invested!" and there the matter ended.

Another event, which occurred several years previous, has a certain psychological significance. One evening Charles Blanc was visiting a friend who resided a distance of one hundred and fifty miles from Paris. In the midst of conversation, he suddenly grew pale and exclaimed that he had received a shock, adding that something must have happened to Louis. The next day his fears were confirmed by the receipt of a letter, telling him that the latter had been knocked down in the streets of Paris by a blow across the forehead. When Dumas père heard of this coincidence, he utilized it in his 'Corsican Brothers.'

Notwithstanding his fine record as an administrator and his encouragement of talent, Blanc was sacrificed to the spirit of reaction which set in about 1850. His removal displeased the entire art world, so highly was he esteemed for his integrity, his progressive ideas, and his unerring taste. On his return to private life he resumed his 'History of the Painters.' 'L'Oeuvres de Rembrandt' (1853 to 1863), containing also a life of the artist, was illustrated by the first photographic plates which ever appeared in a book.

The name 'Peintres des Fêtes Galantes' was derived by Blanc from the title conferred on Watteau by the French Academy. Of the artists therein mentioned, Watteau occupied the realm of poetry; Lancret that of the conventional, the fashionable; Pater that of vulgar, jovial reality; Boucher, the most distinctively French of artists, that of brilliancy, dash, and vivacity. These painters are a curious study for the historian interested in the external forms of things.

With the exception of Dupré, Blanc knew all the painters of whom he writes in the 'Artistes de mon Temps' (Artists of My Time). The work is therefore replete with personal recollections. Here again the general interest is deepened by the warm interest which the author takes in the men and events of the time. There are many charming pages devoted to Félix Duban, Delacroix, and Calamatta; to the contemporary medallions of David d'Angers; to Henri Leys, Chenavard, and Troyon; to Corot, the lover of nature who saw her through a veil of poetry; to Jules Dupré and Rousseau, who saw the poetry innate in her. He introduces us to the caricaturists Grandville and Gavarni; to Barye's lifelike animals. On reading the lives of these men, one is struck by the fact that they produced their masterpieces at about the age of twenty years.

The 'Treasures of Art in Manchester,' and 'From Paris to Vienna,' were published in 1857. The latter contained curious information about the sale of art works during the seventeenth century, with the prices they brought, and is enlivened with short spirited sketches of artists and amateurs. In 1867 Blanc became a member of the Academic des Beaux Arts. The 'Treasures of Curiosity' is a catalogue of pictures and engravings sold between 1830 and the date of the appearance of the book.

Devoted to purely artistic subjects, the Journal des Beaux Arts, founded by Blanc, rendered great service to art by spreading a taste for it among the cultivated classes. The 'Grammar of Painting and Engraving' first appeared in this periodical. Though given up to a consideration of technical subjects, the work abounds in poetic touches and has great interest for the general reader. In 1875 it was discussed in the French Academy, when its author competed for the chair left vacant by the death of Vitel. He was not elected until the following year, though his book met with great success, and led to the revival of engraving in France.

When he began his studies for the life of Ingres, which appeared in 1867, he found many letters of the artist, which enabled him to follow the latter through the various phases of his life: to know the changes of his temper, the inflexibility of his character; his emotions day by day; his momentary discouragements, his great will-power; the heroic efforts he made to reach the heights; his ideas on art, his opinions of others as well as himself: and thanks to these documents, he was enabled to reproduce one of the most remarkable personalities, if not the most original one, of the French school.

In 1870 he was again made Director of Fine Arts. He introduced several reforms in the organization of the Salon, and founded a 4,000-franc prize. But the spirit of reaction could not forgive his political antecedents; and in 1873, on the fall of Thiers, he was removed before he could complete his plan for establishing a museum of copies to reproduce the masterpieces of painting. One well-deserved satisfaction was granted him in 1878 by the creation of a chair of Æsthetics and Art History in the College of France, which he was called by special decree to fill; and there he taught for three years.

The first part of the 'Grammar of the Decorative Arts' appeared in 1881; the second part, dealing with interior decorations, in 1882. The third part, 'The Decoration of Cities,' was not completed, owing to his sudden death. Elected President of the French Academy in 1882, he did not enjoy this well-deserved honor long. A few weeks before his death--which occurred on February 17th, 1882, from the effects of an operation for cancer--he began a catalogue of the collection presented by Thiers to the Louvre. This was the last work of a pen wielded with unimpaired vigor to the end.

"The great artist," wrote Blanc, "is he who guides us into the region of his own thoughts, into the palaces and fields of his own imagination, and while there, speaks to us the language of the gods;" and to none are these words more applicable than to himself. In the world of thought he was a man of great originality, though neither architect, painter, nor sculptor. He had all the artist nature from a boy, and never lost the tender sensibility and naïf admiration for the beautiful in nature and art which give such glow of enthusiasm to his writings. His 'Grammar of Painting and Engraving' founded the scientific method of criticism. In this work he brought his intellectual qualifications and extensive reading to bear upon a subject until then treated either by philosophical theorizers or eloquent essayists. He has left one of the purest literary reputations in France. He was above all an idealist, and made the World Beautiful more accessible to us.

Rembrandt and his Wife
Photogravure from the original Painting by Rembrandt.
Dresden Gallery.


From 'The Dutch School of Painters'

Rembrandt has taken great pains to transmit to us paintings of his person, or at least of his face, from the time of his youth up to that of shrunken old age. He was a man at once robust and delicate. His broad and slightly rounded forehead presented a development that indicated a powerful imagination. His eyes were small, deep-set, bright, intelligent, and full of fire. His hair, of a warm color bordering on red and curling naturally, may possibly have indicated a Jewish extraction. His head had great character, in spite of the plainness of his features; a large flat nose, high cheek-bones, and a copper-colored complexion imparted to his face a vulgarity which, however, was relieved by the form of his mouth, the haughty outline of his eyebrows, and the brilliancy of his eyes. Such was Rembrandt; and the character of the figures he painted partakes of that of his own person. That is to say, they have great expression, but are not noble; they possess much pathos, while deficient in what is termed style.

An artist thus constituted could not but be exceedingly original, intelligent, and independent, though selfish and entirely swayed by caprice. When he began to study nature, he entered upon his task not with that good nature which is the distinctive characteristic of so many of the Dutch painters, but with an innate desire to stamp upon every object his own peculiarity, supplementing imagination by an attentive observation of real life. Of all the phenomena of nature, that which gave him most trouble was light; the difficulty he most desired to conquer was that of expression.


From 'The Dutch School of Painters'

The love of the extravagant and fantastic observable in Dürer's first pictures never abandoned him. He has probably expressed the inspiration of his own soul in the figure of Melancholy, who, seated on the sea-shore, seems trying to penetrate with her gaze into infinite space. For my part, I have this picture always before me. How could it be possible to forget an engraving of Dürer's, even though seen but once? I can see her proud and noble head resting thoughtfully upon one hand, her long hair falling in disheveled tresses upon her shoulders; her folded wings emblematic of that impotent aspiration which directs her gaze towards heaven; a book, closed and useless as her wings, resting upon her knee. Nothing can be more gloomy, more penetrating, than the expression of this figure. From the peculiar folds of her dress, one would suppose she was enveloped in iron draperies. Near her is a sun-dial with a bell which marks the hours as they glide away. The sun is sinking beneath the ocean, and darkness will soon envelop the earth. Above hovers a strange-looking bat with spreading wings, and bearing a pennon on which is written the word "Melancholia."

All is symbolical in this composition, of which the sentiment is sublime. Melancholy holds in her right hand a pair of compasses and a circle, the emblem of that eternity in which her thoughts are lost. Various instruments appertaining to the arts and sciences lie scattered around her; after having made use of them, she has cast them aside and has fallen into a profound revery. As typical of the mistrust which has crept into her heart with avarice and doubt, a bunch of keys is suspended to her girdle; above her is an hour-glass, the emblem of her transitory existence. Nothing could be more admirable than the face of Melancholy, both in the severe beauty of her features and the depth of her gaze.

Neither the sentiment of melancholy nor the word which expresses it had appeared in art before the time of Albert Dürer.


From the 'Life of Ingres'

Small of stature, square of figure, rough of manner, devoid of distinction, Ingres's personality afforded a great contrast to the refinement of his taste and the charm of his feminine figures. I can hardly conceive how a man thus built could show such delicacy in the choice of his subjects; how those short, thick fingers could draw such lovely, graceful forms.

Ingres hated academic conventionality; he mingled the Florentine and Greek schools; he sought the ideal not outside of reality but in its very essence, in the reconciliation of style with nature. Color he considered of secondary importance; he not only subordinated it voluntarily to drawing, but he did not have a natural gift for it. Ingres is the artist who has best expressed the voluptuousness not of flesh but of form; who has felt feminine beauty most profoundly and chastely.


From 'Contemporary Artists'

I can still see Lamennais, with his worn-out coat, his round back, his yellow, parchment-like face, his eyes sparkling beneath a forehead imprinted with genius, and resembling somewhat Hoffmann's heroes. George Sand sometimes visited us, and it seemed to me that her presence lighted up the whole studio. She always spoke to me, for she knew that I was the brother of a distinguished writer, and when she looked over my plate I trembled like a leaf.

Thus our calm sedentary life was enlivened by an occasional sunbeam; and when I was hard at work with my graver, my mind was nourished by the minds of others. Giannone, the poet, read his commentaries on Shakespeare to us, and Mercure always had a witty retort in that faulty French which is so amusing in an Italian mouth. Calamatta would listen in silence, his eyes glued to his drawing of the 'Joconde,' at which he worked on his good days.


From 'Contemporary Artists'

In those days things happened just as they do now; the criticism is almost invariably the work of beginners. A youth who has acquired a smattering of learning, who has caught up the slang of the studios, and pretends to have a system or to defend a paradox, is chosen to write an account of the Salon. I was that youth, that novice. And after all, how become a workman unless you work? how become expert if you do not study, recognize your mistakes and repair them? Beneath our mistakes truth lies hidden.

So I arrived at Brussels to exercise the trade of critic, and found myself in the presence of two men who were then making a brilliant debut as painters: De Keyser and Henri Leys. I hope I shall be forgiven if I reproduce my criticism of the latter's 'Massacre of the Magistrates of Louvain.'

"Imagine to yourself a small public square, such as might have existed in Louvain in the fourteenth century; this square filled with angry people demanding satisfaction for the death of their chief, Gautier de Lendes, assassinated by the nobles; the approach to the palace of justice crowded with men armed to the teeth; at the top of the stairs the city magistrates on their way to execution, some as calm as if about to administer justice, others bewailing that the people know not what they do; peasants awaiting them at the foot of the stairs, dagger in hand, a smile upon their lips; here and there fainting women, dead bodies being stripped, dying men being tortured, and an inextricable confusion of monks, burghers, soldiers, children and horses. Then if you fancy this scene painted with the warmth and impetuosity of a Tintoretto, or as Hugo would have written it, you will have an idea of Leys's picture. It may not be prudent to trust an enthusiastic criticism; but my opinion is shared by every one. I may be rash in praising a young man whose wings may melt in the sun; but when, as is the case with M. Leys, the artist possesses exact knowledge of the times and manners, when he has verve, dash, and deep feeling, he needs only to moderate ardor by reflection, and to ripen inspiration by study, in order to become great."

One must admit that the above was not a bad beginning for an apprentice-connoisseur, and that I was fortunate in praising an unknown artist destined to make a great reputation.... There is something more real than reality in what passes in the soul of a great artist!


From 'Contemporary Artists'

An admirable and altogether new quality is the weird harmony of color which makes the painting vibrate like a drama; or in other words, that sombre harmony itself is the foundation of the tragedy. Lyricism is expressed by mere difference in tones, which, heightened by their contrasts and softened by their analogy, become harmonious while clashing with each other. A new poetry was born of the French school, until then so sober of color, so little inclined to avail itself of the material resources of painting. And yet the expression thus achieved by Delacroix appeals to the soul as much as to the eyes. It is not merely optical beauty, but spiritual beauty of the highest order, that is produced by his superb coloring. In this picture the young painter's genius was revealed unto himself. He then knew that he had guessed the secret of an art which he was to carry to a perfection undreamed of before,--the orchestration of color....

Delacroix was the hero of Romanticism. His life was one long revolt in the name of color against drawing, of flesh against marble, of freedom of attitude against traditionary precision. He is an essentially modern genius inflamed by the poetry of Christianity, and he added tumultuous passions and feverish emotions to the antique serenity of art.

In those days youth was entirely given up to noble aspirations, to dreams of glory, to enthusiasm for beauty of expression and feeling, to an ardent love of liberty. Men were indifferent to stock quotations, but they rated spiritual values high. Mere theories inspired passion; quarrels on the subject of style and painting were common; men became enthusiastic over poetry and beauty--the ideal!


At dinner one day with the dignitaries of one of the largest cities of France, conversation turned upon the arts. All of the guests spoke of them, and well; but each intrenched himself behind his own personal views, in virtue of the adage "One cannot argue about tastes." I protested in vain against this false principle, saying that it was inadmissible, and that the classic Brillat-Savarin would have been shocked at such blasphemy. Even his name had no weight, and the guests separated gayly, after uttering heresies that made you shiver. Among the eminent men present there was one, however, who seemed somewhat mortified that he had not the most elementary idea of art; and he asked me if there was not some book in which its principles were presented in a clear and brief form. I replied that no such book existed, and that on leaving college I should have been only too happy to find such a work; and thereupon determined to write one.


From 'Grammar of Painting and Engraving'

Painting purifies people by its mute eloquence. The philosopher writes his thoughts for those who can think and read. The painter shows his thought to all who have eyes to see. That hidden and naked virgin, Truth, the artist finds without seeking. He throws a veil over her, encourages her to please, proves to her that she is beautiful, and when he has reproduced her image he makes us take her, and takes her himself, for Beauty.

In communicating to us what has been seen and felt by others, the painter gives new strength and compass to the soul. Who can say of how many apparently fugitive impressions a man's morality is composed, and upon what depends the gentleness of his manners, the correctness of his habits, the elevation of his thoughts? If the painter represents acts of cruelty or injustice, he inspires us with horror. The 'Unhappy Family' of Proudhon moves the fibres of charity better than the homilies of a preacher.... Examples of the sublime are rare in painting, as the painter is compelled to imprison every idea in a form. It may happen, nevertheless, that moved by thoughts to which he has given no form, the artist strikes the soul as a thunderbolt would the ear. It is then by virtue of the thought perceived, but not formulated, that the picture becomes sublime.


From 'Grammar of Painting and Engraving'

In a wide, heavily wooded country, the sojourning-place of that happiness sung by the poets, some peasants have discovered a tomb hidden by a thicket of trees, and bearing this brief inscription: "Et in Arcadia ego" (I too lived in Arcadia). These words, issuing from the tomb, sadden their faces, and the smiles die upon their lips. A young girl, carelessly leaning upon the shoulder of her lover, seems to listen, mute and pensive, to this salutation from the dead. The thought of death has also plunged into reverie a youth who leans over the tomb with bowed head, while the oldest shepherd points out the inscription he has just discovered. The landscape that completes this quiet picture shows reddened leaves upon arid rocks; hillocks that melt in the vague horizon, and in the distance, something ill-defined that resembles the sea. The sublime in this painting is that which we cannot see; it is the thought that hovers over it, the unexpected emotion that fills the soul of the spectator, transported suddenly beyond the tomb into the infinite unknown.


From 'Grammar of Painting and Engraving'

The poetry of the fields and forests is inseparable from truth. But the painter must idealize this truth by making it express some sentiment; faithfulness of imitation alone would not suffice. The artist, master of reality, enlightens it with his eyes, transfigures it according to his heart, and makes it utter what is not in it--sentiment; and that which it neither possesses nor understands--thought.


From 'Grammar of Painting and Engraving'

Drawing is a work of the mind; every drawing is the expression of a thought or sentiment, and is charged with showing us something superior to the apparent truth when that reveals neither sentiment nor thought. But what is this superior truth? It is sometimes the character of the object drawn, sometimes the character of the designer, and in high art is what we call style.

The artist sees in the creations of nature what he himself carries in the depth of his soul, tints them with the colors of his imagination, lends them the witchery of his genius. The temperament of the artist modifies the character of objects, and even that of living figures. But this power of taking possession is the appanage of great hearts, of great artists, of those whom we call masters,--who, instead of being the slaves of reality, dominate it. These have a style; their imitators have only a manner.

Aside from the style peculiar to every great master, there is in art something still superior and impersonal, which is style proper. Style is truth aggrandized, simplified, freed from all insignificant details, restored to its original essence, its typical aspect. This "style" par excellence, in which instead of recognizing the soul of an artist we feel the breath of the universal soul, was realized in the Greek sculpture of the time of Pericles.


From 'Grammar of Painting and Engraving'

Man, from the fact that he is the only intelligent being in creation, desires to show his intelligence in his works. In order to do so he makes them resemble himself in a measure, by impressing upon them the characteristic of his intelligence, which is logic, and that of his body, which is proportion. Architecture employs inorganic matter alone--stone, marble, brick, iron, wood, when the sap has been dried out of it and it ceases to be an organic substance; and yet, under the hand of the architect, this inert matter expresses sentiments and feelings. By subjecting it to the laws of order, symmetry, and proportion, in a manner which appeals to the eye, he lends them a semblance of life and an organism conceived after his own image. By this artificial proportion, inert matter is raised to the dignity of the animal kingdom; it is rendered eloquent and capable of expressing the soul of the artist, and often that of a race.

But human monuments have still another point in common with the body. Order, symmetry, and proportion are needed rigorously only on the exterior. Within, general beauty no longer dominates, but individual life. If we look at the interior of the human body we find no symmetry, no arrangement but that demanded by the function of the organs. The brain, it is true, has two symmetrical lobes, because the brain is destined to a life of relation, to the life of intelligence. But in their individual functions the life of the internal organs presents another aspect. The stomach is a shapeless bag; the heart is a single muscle which is not even placed in the centre; the left lung is longer and narrower than the right; the spleen is a ganglion placed on the left side without any corresponding organ; but all this mechanism, which scientists consider wonderful in its irregularity, is hidden beneath a layer of similar members which repeat each other and correspond at equal distances from a central line, and constitute symmetry in animals, beauty in man. Similar in this respect to the human body, architectural monuments have a double life and a double aspect.

On the exterior, it is meet that they should be regular, symmetrical--but symmetrical from left to right like man, not from top to bottom nor from face to back. Their resemblance to man is further shown by openings, which are as the eyes and ears of the persons who inhabit them; their entrance occupies the centre of the edifice, as the mouth is placed on the central line of the face; they have rounded or angular forms according as they have been built to express strength, a virile idea, or grace, a feminine one; lastly, they have proportion, for there is a harmonious relation between their apparent members, and a mutual dependence which subordinates the variety of the parts to the unity of the whole, and which constitutes the necessary conditions of the beautiful in art.

The interior is not subjected to the necessity for duplicate members, to regularity of façade, nor to unity of appearance. Thus when the artist who has designed the monument performs its autopsy,--so to say,--we see, as in the human body, unequal dimensions, irregular shapes, disparities which resemble disorder to the eye, but which constitute the individuality of the edifice. Within reigns relative beauty, free, with fixed rule; without reigns a necessary beauty subjected to its own laws.

In man, character is the soul's expression. In architecture, character is the moral physiognomy o£ a building. As a portrait without character is but a vain shadow of the person represented, so a monument which does not appeal to the intelligence, which evokes no thought, is merely a pile of stones, a body without a soul. The soul of architecture is the thought it expresses.

Character tends towards beauty in man as well as in his works. If we glance at human society, we see faces which appear to be nothing more than a sketch. Parsimonious nature has given them only sufficient life to move in a narrow circle; they are mere individuals; they represent nothing but themselves. However, in the midst of the crowd, some men are noticeable for an abundance of vitality, whom favorable events have developed along their natural tendencies: they impersonate many individuals in one; their unity is equal to numbers; for good or evil, they have a character. In proportion as an individuality becomes more enriched, more pronounced, it attains character; in proportion as character loses its roughness it becomes beauty. This is also true of architecture.



mong the men nearest to the heart of the Danish people is Steen Steensen Blicher, who was born in 1782 on the border of the Jutland heath with which his name is so inseparably linked. The descendant of a line of country parsons, he was destined like them to the ministry, and while awaiting his appointment he supported his family by teaching and by farming.

When after years of hardship he finally obtained a parish on the Jutland heath, the salary was too small to support his large family. It was only during the very last years of his life that he was freed from harassing cares by the generosity of three friends, who, grateful for his literary work, paid off his debts.

While he was in college at Copenhagen he heard the lectures of the Norwegian Henrik Steffens, an interpreter of the German philosophic and romantic school. Steffens aroused a reaction against the formalism of the eighteenth century, and introduced romanticism into the North by his powerful influence over men like Oehlenschläger, Grundtvig, and Mynster in Denmark, and Ling and the "Phosphorists" in Sweden. Through these lectures Blicher became much interested in the Ossianic poems, of which he made an. Excellent Danish translation.

The poems and dramas with which he followed this work were of no great importance. It was not until he began to look into the old Danish traditions that he found his true sphere. The study of these quaint and simple legends led him to write those national peasant stories which he began to publish in 1826. They are not only the best of their kind in Danish, but they bear favorable comparison with the same kind of work in other literatures. They are not written as a study of social problems, or of any philosophy of life or moods of nature as they are reflected in human existence; they are merely a reproduction of what the country parson's own eyes beheld--the comedy and tragedy of the commonplace. What a less sensitive observer might have passed in silence--the brown heath, the breakers of the North Sea, the simple heart and life of the peasant--revealed to him the poesy, now merry, now sad, which he renders with so much art and so delicate a sympathy. Behind the believer in romanticism stands the lover of nature and of humanity.

Among his works the best known are 'E Bindstouw' (The Knitting-room), a collection of stories and poems, full of humor, simple and naive, told by the peasants themselves in their own homely Jutland dialect. These, as well as some of his later poems, especially 'Sneklokken' (The Snowbell), and 'Trækfuglene' (Birds of Passage), possess a clear, true, and national lyric quality.

Dying in 1848, Blicher was buried in Jutland, near the heath on which he spent whole days and nights of happy solitude. On one side of the stone above his grave is engraved a golden plover, on the other a pair of heath-larks, and around the foot a garland of heather, in memory of that intimate life with nature which, through his own great love for it, he endeared to all his readers.


From the 'Poems'

I lay on my heathery hills alone;
  The storm-winds rushed o'er me in turbulence loud;
My head rested lone on the gray moorland stone;
  My eyes wandered skyward from cloud unto cloud.

There wandered my eyes, but my thoughts onward passed,
  Far beyond cloud-track or tempest's career;
At times I hummed songs, and the desolate waste
  Was the first the sad chimes of my spirit to hear.

Gloomy and gray are the moorlands where rest
  My fathers, yet there doth the wild heather bloom,
And amid the old cairns the lark buildeth her nest,
  And sings in the desert, o'er hill-top and tomb.

From Hewitt's 'Literature of Northern Europe.'


It was the eve before Christmas Eve--no, stop! I am lying--it was the eve before that, come to think of it, that there was a knitting-bee going on at the schoolmaster's, Kristen Kornstrup's,--you know him? There were plenty that knew him, for in the winter he was schoolmaster, and in the summer he was mason, and he was alike clever at both. And he could do more than that, for he could stop the flow of blood, and discover stolen goods, and make the wind turn, and read prayers over felons, and much more too. But at this exorcising he was not so good as the parson, for he had not been through the black school.

So we had gathered there from the whole town,--oh, well, Lysgaard town is not so mighty big: there are only six farms and some houses, but then they were there too from Katballe and Testrup, and I think the lads from Knakkeborg had drifted over too--but that doesn't matter. We had got it measured off at last, and all of us had got our yarn over the hook in the ceiling above the table, and had begun to let the five needles work. Then the schoolmaster says, "Isn't there one of you that will sing something or tell something? then it will go so nicely with the work here." Then she began to speak, Kirsten Pedersdatter from Paps,--for she is always forward about speaking:--"I could sing you a little ditty if you cared to hear it--" "That we do," said I, "rattle it off!"--And she sang a ditty--I had never heard it before, but I remember it well enough, and it ran this way:--

But now I will tell you a story about a Poorman [gipsy] and what happened to him.

"If," said he--Mads Ur--"if you have been in Herning or thereabout, you know that there is a great marsh south of it. That same marsh is not so very nice to cross for those that don't know it well.

"It was the summer I was working for Kristens that a cow sank down out there, and it was one of those I was watching. I took her by the horns and I took her by the tail, but she would not help herself at all, and when one won't do a little bit, what is going to become of one? As I stand there pulling at that same refractory cow, up comes a Poorman from over at Rind, one of those they call knackers. 'I'll have to help you,' said he: 'you take hold of the horns, and I'll lift the tail.' That worked, for he pricked her under the tail with his pikestaff, and she was of a mind to help herself too. 'What do you give me for that now?' said he. 'I have nothing to give you,' said I, 'nothing but thanks.' 'I won't have them,' answered he, 'but if ever I should sink down on one road or another, will you lend me a hand if you are near by?' 'That I will do, indeed,' answered I; and then he tramped up to town, and that was all.

"How was it now that I came to work in Sund's parsonage?--well, that doesn't matter--I could swing a scythe, but how old I was I don't remember, for I don't rightly know how old I am now. The parson was a mighty good man, but God help us for the wife he had! She was as bad to him as any woman could be, and he hadn't a dog's chance with her. I have saved him twice from her grip, for he was a little scared mite of a thing, and she was big and strong, but I was stronger still, and I could get the better of her. Once she chased him around the yard with a knife in her hand, and cried that she would be even with him. I did not like that, so I took the knife from her and warned her to behave herself,--but that wasn't what I meant to say. Well, once while I was working there I stood near the pond looking at the aftermath. And up comes this same customer--this Poorman--drifting along the road toward me, and he had two women following him, and they each had a cradle on their backs and a child in each cradle. 'Good day to you,' said I. 'Same to you,' said he; 'how is your cow? Have you let her get into the marsh since?' 'Oh, no,' said I, 'and here is another thank-ye to you.' 'Are you working in this here bit of a parsonage?' said he. 'That I am,' said I. 'Well, now listen,' said he; 'couldn't you hide me these two with their little ones a day or so? for to-morrow there is to be a raid on our people, and I wouldn't like to have these in Viborghouse; I can stow myself away easy enough.' 'I'll see what I can do,' answered I; 'let them come, say a little after bedtime, to the West house there, and I'll get a ladder ready and help them up on the hayloft,--but have you food and drink yourself?' 'Oh, I shall do well enough,' said he, 'and now farewell to you until the sun is down.' So then they drifted along the road to a one-horse farm, and that evening they came, sure enough, and I hid the two women and the children until the second night; then they slipped away again. Before I parted with them, the Poorman said, 'I'd like to repay you this piece of work: isn't there something you want very much?' 'Yes,' said I.--'What might it be?'--'Hm! The only thing is Morten's Ane Kirstine at the farm where you went last night. But her parents won't let me have her; they say I have too little, and that is true too.' 'Hm, man,' says he, 'you look as if you had a pair of strong arms of your own; that is a good heirloom, and she has some pennies,--in a couple of days you might go and see what the old man's mind is. I'll help along the best I know how.' I listened to that, for evil upon them, those gipsies--they are not such fools. They can tell fortunes and discover stolen goods, and they can do both good and evil as it may happen.

"I thought over this thing a couple of days and some of the nights too, and then the third day I drifted over to Morten's. Ane Kirstine stood alone outside the gate with her back turned, for she was busy whitewashing a wall, so I came upon her before she knew it. 'Mercy on us! is that you?' she cried, 'where have you been all these many days?'--'I have been at home, and in the field, and on the heath, as it happened, and now I come to take a look at you.'--'I am not worth looking at,' said she, and thrust her clay-covered hands down into the pail to rinse off the clay. 'I don't care,' says I, 'whether you are yellow or gray, for you are the best friend I've got in this world; but I suppose I shall never be worthy of taking you in my arms in all honor and virtue.'--'It would be bad if that couldn't be,' said she, 'but it may happen we have got to wait awhile.'--'I can't wait over-long,' said I, 'for my mother will have no roof over her head, and either I shall have to take the farm or else a sister; that is how it stands, and it cannot be otherwise.'--Then she began to sniffle, and dried her eyes and sighed, but said nothing. I felt sorry for her, but what was there for one to do?

"Well, some one came who could tell us what to do, and it was none other than that same Poorman. Along he tramps with one of his women, and had his glass case on his back and wanted to get into the farm." Then he turned toward us and said:--'Well, well! what are you two doing there? Come along in with me, little girl, and I'll see if I can't manage it for you; but you stay out here, my little man! then we'll see what may come of it.'--They went, and I sat down on a stone that was lying there and folded my hands. I was not over-happy. I don't know how long I sat there, for I had fallen asleep; but then I was waked by some one kissing me, and it was no other than Ane Kirstine. 'Are you sitting there sleeping?' said she; 'come along in now, it is as it ought to be. The knacker has spoken a good word for us to mother, and when nothing could change her he said, "There is a black cock sitting on the perch: maybe a red one will crow over you if you don't do as I say." At this she got a little bit scared, and said, "Then let it be! but this I tell you, Ane Kirstine, I'll keep the black-headed cow for milking, and I'll have all the hay that is my share."--"That is no more than reasonable," said I, "and now we have no more to quarrel about, I suppose." Now you can let them publish the banns when you please.' 'And now, Ane Kirstine,' said I, 'this tramp here, he must have a reward, and I'll give it with a good will; and if we can get hold of him when we have our feast, he shall have a pot of soup and a hen to himself and those women and children.'--'That is right enough,' said she; 'and I will give them a rag or so, or a few more of my half-worn clothes.'

"Well, then my mother-in-law made a splendid feast, and there was plenty of everything. The Poorman was there, too, with all his following; but they had theirs by themselves, as you might know, seeing that they were of the knacker kind. Him I gave a coat, and Ane Kirstine gave the women each a cap and a kerchief and a piece of homespun for a petticoat for each of the young ones, and they were mighty well pleased.

"I and Ane Kirstine had lived happily together for about four years, as we do still, and all that time we had seen nothing of that Poorman, although we had spoken of him now and again. Sometimes we thought he had perished, and sometimes that they had put him into Viborghouse. Well, then it was that we were to have our second boy christened, him we called Sören, and I went to the parson to get this thing fixed up. As I came on the marsh to the selfsame place where I saw that Poor-customer the first time, there was somebody lying at one edge of the bog, on his back in the heather and with his legs in the ditch. I knew him well enough. 'Why are you lying here alone?' said I: 'is anything the matter with you?' 'I think I am dying,' said he, but he gasped so I could hardly understand him. 'Where are those women,' said I, 'that you used to have with you? Have they left you to lie here by the road?' He nodded his head and whispered, 'A drop of water.' 'That I will give you,' said I, and then I took some of the rainwater that stood in the ditch, in the hollow of my hat, and held it to his mouth. But that was of no use, for he could drink no longer, but drew up his legs and opened his mouth wide, and then the spirit left him. I felt so sorry for him that when I came to the parson's I begged that his poor ghost might be sheltered in the churchyard. That he gave me leave to do, and then I fetched him on my own wagon and nailed a couple of boards together and laid him down in the northwestern corner, and there he lies."

"Well now, that was it," said Kristen Katballe, "but why do you sit there so still, Marie Kjölvroe? Can you neither sing nor tell us something?" "That is not impossible," said she, and heaved a sigh, and sang so sadly that one might almost think it had happened to her.


"The greatest sorrow of all down here,
Is to lose the one we hold most dear."

Sometimes, when I have wandered far out on the wide heath, where I have had nothing but the brown heather around me and the blue sky above me; when I walked far away from mankind and the monuments of its busy doings here below,--which after all are only molehills to be leveled by time or by some restless Tamerlane;--when I drifted, light-hearted, free, and proud, like the Bedouin, whom no house, no narrowly bounded field chains to the spot, but who owns, possesses, all he sees,--who does not dwell, but who goes wherever he pleases; when my far-hovering eye caught a glimpse of a house in the horizon, and was thus disagreeably arrested in its airy flight, sometimes there came (God forgive me this passing thought, it was no more than that) the wish--would that this dwelling of man were not! there too is trouble and sorrow; there too they quarrel and fight about mine and thine!--Oh! the happy desert is mine, is thine, is everybody's, is nobody's.--It is said that a forester has proposed to disturb the settlements, to plant forests on the fields of the peasants and in place of their torn-down villages; the far more inhuman thought has taken possession of me at times--what if the heather-grown heath were still here the same as it was centuries ago, undisturbed, untouched by the hand of man! But as I have said, I did not mean it seriously. For when tired and weary, suffering from hunger and thirst, I thought longingly of the Arab's tent and coffee-pot, I thanked God that a heather-thatched roof--be it even miles away--promised me shelter and refreshment.

On a still, warm September day, several years ago, I found myself walking on this same heath, which, Arabically speaking, I call mine. No wind stirred the blushing heather; the air was heavy and misty with heat. The far-off hills that limited the horizon seemed to hover like clouds around the immense plain, and took many wonderful shapes: houses, towers, castles, men and animals; but all of dark uncertain outline, changing like dream pictures; now a cottage grew into a church, and that in turn into a pyramid; here a spire arose, there another sank; a man became a horse, and this in turn an elephant; here floated a boat, there a ship with all sails set.

My eye found its pleasure for quite a while in watching these fantastic figures--a panorama which only the sailor and the desert-dweller have occasion to enjoy--when finally I began to look for a real house among the many false ones; I wanted right ardently to exchange all my beautiful fairy palaces for a single human cottage.

Success was mine; I soon discovered a real farm without spires and towers, whose outlines became distincter and sharper the nearer I came to it, and which, flanked by peat-stacks, looked much larger than it really was. Its inmates were unknown to me. Their clothes were poor, their furniture simple, but I knew that the heath-dweller often hides noble rental in an unpainted box or in a miserable wardrobe, and a fat pocketbook inside a patched coat; when therefore my eyes fell on an alcove packed full of stockings, I concluded, and quite rightly, that I was in the house of a rich hosier. (In parenthesis it may be said that I do not know any poor ones.)

A middle-aged, gray-haired, but still strong man rose from his slice and offered me his hand with these words: "Welcome!--with permission to ask, where does the good friend come from?"

Do not jeer at so ill-mannered and straightforward a question! the heath peasant is quite as hospitable as the Scotch laird, and but a little more curious; after all, he cannot be blamed for wanting to know who his guest is.

When I had told him who I was and whence I came, he called his wife, who immediately put all the delicacies of the house before me and begged me insistently, with good-hearted kindness, to eat and drink, although my hunger and thirst made all insistence unnecessary.

I was in the midst of the repast and a political talk with my host, when a young and exceedingly beautiful peasant girl came in, whom I should undoubtedly have declared a lady who had fled from cruel parents and an unwished-for marriage, had not her red hands and unadulterated peasant dialect convinced me that no disguise had taken place. She nodded in a friendly way, cast a passing glance under the table, went out and came in soon again with a dish of milk and water, which she put down on the floor with the words, "Your dog may need something too."

I thanked her for her attention; but this was fully given to the big dog, whose greediness soon made the dish empty, and who now in his way thanked the giver by rubbing himself up against her; and when she raised her arms, a little intimidated, Chasseur misunderstood the movement, put himself on the alert, and forced the screaming girl backwards toward the alcove. I called the dog back and explained his good intentions.

I would not have invited the reader's attention to so trivial a matter, but to remark that everything is becoming to the beautiful; for indeed this peasant girl showed, in everything she said and did, a certain natural grace which could not be called coquetry unless you will so call an innate unconscious instinct.

When she had left the room I asked the parents if this was their daughter. They answered in the affirmative, adding that she was an only child.

"You won't keep her very long," I said.

"Dear me, what do you mean by that?" asked the father; but a pleased smile showed that he understood my meaning.

"I think," I answered, "that she will hardly lack suitors."

"Hm!" grumbled he, "of suitors we can get a plenty; but if they are worth anything, that is the question. To go a-wooing with a watch and a silver-mounted pipe does not set the matter straight; it takes more to ride than to say 'Get up!' Sure as I live," he went on, putting both clenched hands on the table and bending to look out of the low window, "if there is not one of them--a shepherd's boy just out of the heather--oh yes, one of these customers' who run about with a couple of dozen hose in a wallet--stupid dog! wooes our daughter with two oxen and two cows and a half--yes, I am on to him!--Beggar!"

All this was not addressed to me, but to the new-comer, on whom he fastened his darkened eyes as the other came along the heather path toward the house. The lad was still far enough away to allow me time to ask my host about him, and I learned that he was the son of the nearest neighbor--who, by the way,



athilde Blind was born at Mannheim, Germany, March 21st, 1847. She was educated principally in London, and subsequently in Zurich. Since her early school days, with the exception of this interval of study abroad, and numerous journeys to the south of Europe and the East, she has lived in London. Upon her return from Zurich she was thrown much into contact with Mazzini, in London, and her first essay in literature was a volume of poems (which she published in 1867 under the pseudonym Claude Lake) dedicated to him. She was also in close personal relationship with Madox Brown, W.M. Rossetti, and Swinburne. Her first literary work to appear under her own name was a critical essay on the poetical works of Shelley in the Westminster Review in 1870, based upon W.M. Rossetti's edition of the poet. In 1872 she wrote an account of the life and writings of Shelley, to serve as an introduction to a selection of his poems in the Tauchnitz edition. She afterwards edited a selection of the letters of Lord Byron with an introduction, and a selection of his poems with a memoir. A translation of Strauss's 'The Old Faith and the New' appeared in 1873, which contained in a subsequent edition a biography of the author. In 1883, Miss Blind wrote the initial volume, 'George Eliot,' for the 'Eminent Women Series,' which she followed in 1886 in the same series with 'Madame Roland.' Her first novel, 'Tarantella,' appeared in 1885. Besides these prose works, she has made frequent contributions of literary criticism to the Athenaeum and other reviews, and of papers and essays to the magazines; among them translations of Goethe's 'Maxims and Reflections' in Fraser's Magazine, and 'Personal Recollections of Mazzin' in the Fortnightly Review.

Mathilde Blind.

Her principal claim to literary fame is however based upon her verse. This is from all periods of her productivity. In addition to the book of poems already noticed, she has written 'The Prophecy of St. Oran, and other Poems,' 1882; 'The Heather on Fire,' a protest against the wrongs of the Highland crofters, 1886; 'The Ascent of Man,' her most ambitious work, 1889; 'Dramas in Miniature' 1892; 'Songs and Sonnets,' 1893; and 'Birds of Passage: Songs of the Orient and Occident,' 1895.

'The Ascent of Man' is a poetical treatment of the modern idea of evolution, and traces the progress of man from his primitive condition in a state of savagery to his present development. Miss Blind has been an ardent advocate of the betterment of the position of woman in society and the State. To this end she has worked and written for an improved education, and against a one-sided morality for the sexes. In her verse she shows characteristically a keen appreciation of nature. Her minor poems particularly, many of which are strong in feeling and admirable in form, entitle her to a distinguished place among the lyric poets of England.

She died in London near the end of November, 1896.


I charge you, O winds of the West, O winds with the wings of the
That ye blow o'er the brows of my Love, breathing low that I
          sicken for love.

I charge you, O dews of the Dawn, O tears of the star of the morn,
That ye fall at the feet of my Love with the sound of one weeping

I charge you, O birds of the Air, O birds flying home to your nest,
That ye sing in his ears of the joy that for ever has fled from my

I charge you, O flowers of the Earth, O frailest of things, and most
That ye droop in his path as the life in me shrivels, consumed by

O Moon, when he lifts up his face, when he seeth the waning of thee,
A memory of her who lies wan on the limits of life let it be.

Many tears cannot quench, nor my sighs extinguish, the flames of
          love's fire,
Which lifteth my heart like a wave, and smites it, and breaks its

I rise like one in a dream when I see the red sun flaring low,
That drags me back shuddering from sleep each morning to life with
          its woe.

I go like one in a dream; unbidden my feet know the way
To that garden where love stood in blossom with the red and white
          hawthorn of May.

The song of the throstle is hushed, and the fountain is dry to its
The moon cometh up as of old; she seeks, but she finds him no more.

The pale-faced, pitiful moon shines down on the grass where I weep,
My face to the earth, and my breast in an anguish ne'er soothed
          into sleep.

The moon returns, and the spring; birds warble, trees burst into
But Love, once gone, goes for ever, and all that endures is the


     In many a shape and fleeting apparition,
       Sublime in age or with clear morning eyes,
     Ever I seek thee, tantalizing Vision,
         Which beckoning flies.
     Ever I seek Thee, O evasive Presence,
       Which on the far horizon's utmost verge,
     Like some wild star in luminous evanescence,
         Shoots o'er the surge.
     Ever I seek Thy features ever flying,
       Which, ne'er beheld, I never can forget:
     Lightning which flames through love, and mimics dying
         In souls that set.
     Ever I seek Thee through all clouds of error;
       As when the moon behind earth's shadow slips,
     She wears a momentary mask of terror
         In brief eclipse.
     Ever I seek Thee, passionately yearning;
       Like altar fire on some forgotten fane,
     My life flames up irrevocably burning,
         And burnt in vain.


     The songs of summer are over and past!
       The swallow's forsaken the dripping eaves;
       Ruined and black 'mid the sodden leaves
     The nests are rudely swung in the blast:
       And ever the wind like a soul in pain
       Knocks and knocks at the window-pane.
     The songs of summer are over and past!
       Woe's me for a music sweeter than theirs--
       The quick, light bound of a step on the stairs,
     The greeting of lovers too sweet to last:
       And ever the wind like a soul in pain
       Knocks and knocks at the window-pane.


     Between the sandhills and the sea
       A narrow strip of silver sand,
       Whereon a little maid doth stand,
     Who picks up shells continually,
     Between the sandhills and the sea.
     Far as her wondering eyes can reach,
       A vastness heaving gray in gray
       To the frayed edges of the day
     Furls his red standard on the breach
     Between the sky-line and the beach.
     The waters of the flowing tide
       Cast up the sea-pink shells and weed;
       She toys with shells, and doth not heed
     The ocean, which on every side
     Is closing round her vast and wide.
     It creeps her way as if in play,
       Pink shells at her pink feet to cast;
       But now the wild waves hold her fast,
     And bear her off and melt away,
     A vastness heaving gray in gray.


     Like some wild sleeper who alone, at night
     Walks with unseeing eyes along a height,
       With death below and only stars above,
     I, in broad daylight, walk as if in sleep
     Along the edges of life's perilous steep,
       The lost somnambulist of love.
     I, in broad day, go walking in a dream,
     Led on in safety by the starry gleam
       Of thy blue eyes that hold my heart in thrall;
     Let no one wake me rudely, lest one day,
     Startled to find how far I've gone astray,
       I dash my life out in my fall.


     Ah! I shall kill myself with dreams!
       These dreams that softly lap me round
     Through trance-like hours, in which meseems
       That I am swallowed up and drowned;
     Drowned in your love, which flows o'er me
     As o'er the seaweed flows the sea.
     In watches of the middle night,
       'Twixt vesper and 'twixt matin bell,
     With rigid arms and straining sight,
       I wait within my narrow cell;
     With muttered prayers, suspended will,
     I wait your advent--statue-still.
     Across the convent garden walls
       The wind blows from the silver seas;
     Black shadow of the cypress falls
       Between the moon-meshed olive-trees;
     Sleep-walking from their golden bowers,
     Flit disembodied orange flowers.
     And in God's consecrated house,
       All motionless from head to feet,
     My heart awaits her heavenly Spouse,
       As white I lie on my white sheet;
     With body lulled and soul awake,
     I watch in anguish for your sake.
     And suddenly, across the gloom,
       The naked moonlight sharply swings;
     A Presence stirs within the room,
       A breath of flowers and hovering wings:
     Your presence without form and void,
     Beyond all earthly joys enjoyed.
     My heart is hushed, my tongue is mute,
       My life is centred in your will;
     You play upon me like a lute
       Which answers to its master's skill,
     Till passionately vibrating,
     Each nerve becomes a throbbing string.
     Oh, incommunicably sweet!
       No longer aching and apart,
     As rain upon the tender wheat,
       You pour upon my thirsty heart;
     As scent is bound up in the rose,
     Your love within my bosom glows.


Sounds of human mirth and laughter from somewhere among them were borne from time to time to the desolate spot I had reached. It was a Festa day, and a number of young people were apparently enjoying their games and dances, to judge by the shouts and laughter which woke echoes of ghostly mirth in the vaults and galleries that looked as though they had lain dumb under the pressure of centuries.

There was I know not what of weird contrast between this gaping ruin, with its fragments confusedly scattered about like the bleaching bones of some antediluvian monster, and the clear youthful ring of those joyous voices.

I had sat down on some fragment of wall directly overhanging the sea. In my present mood it afforded me a singular kind of pleasure to take up stones or pieces of marble and throw them down the precipice. From time to time I could hear them striking against the sharp projections of the rocks as they leaped down the giddy height. Should I let my violin follow in their wake?

I was in a mood of savage despair; a mood in which my heart turned at bay on what I had best loved. Hither it had led me, this art I had worshiped! After years of patient toil, after sacrificing to it hearth and home, and the security of a settled profession, I was not a tittle further advanced than at the commencement of my career. For requital of my devoted service, starvation stared me in the face. My miserable subsistence was barely earned by giving lessons to females, young and old, who, while inflicting prolonged tortures on their victim, still exacted the tribute of smiles and compliments.

Weakened and ill, I shuddered to think of returning and bowing my neck once more to that detested yoke.

"No! I'll never go back to that!" I cried, jumping up. "I'll sooner earn a precarious livelihood by turning fisherman in this island! Any labor will be preferable to that daily renewing torture." I seized my violin in a desperate clutch, and feverishly leant over the wall, where I could hear the dirge-like boom of the breakers in the hollow caves.

Only he who is familiar with the violin knows the love one may bear it--a love keen as that felt for some frail human creature of exquisitely delicate mold. Caressingly I passed my fingers over its ever-responsive strings, thinking, feeling rather, that I could endure no hand to handle it save mine!

No! rather than that it should belong to another, its strings should for ever render up the ghost of music in one prolonged wail, as it plunged shivering from this fearful height.

For the last time, I thought, my fingers erred over its familiar chords. A thrill of horrid exultation possessed me, such as the fell Tiberius may have experienced when he bade his men hurl the shrinking form of a soft-limbed favorite from this precipice.

Possibly my shaken nerves were affected by the hideous memories clinging to these unhallowed ruins; possibly also by the oppressive heat of the day.

Sea and sky, indeed, looked in harmony with unnatural sensations; as though some dread burst of passion were gathering intensity under their apparently sluggish calm.

Though the sky overhead was of a sultry blue, yet above the coast-line of Naples, standing out with preternatural distinctness, uncouth, livid clouds straggled chaotically to the upper sky, here and there reaching lank, shadowy films, like gigantic arms, far into the zenith. Flocks of sea-birds were uneasily flying landward; screaming, they wheeled round the sphinx-like rocks, and disappeared by degrees in their red clefts and fissures.

All at once I was startled in my fitful, half-mechanical playing by a piercing scream; this was almost immediately followed by a confused noise of sobs and cries, and a running of people to and fro, which seemed, however, to be approaching nearer. I was just going to hurry to the spot whence the noise proceeded, when some dozen of girls came rushing towards me.

But before I had time to inquire into the cause of their excitement, or to observe them more closely, a gray-haired woman, with a pale, terror-stricken face, seized hold of my hand, crying:

"The Madonna be praised, he has a violin! Hasten, hasten! Follow us or she will die!"

And then the girls, beckoning and gesticulating, laid hold of my arm, my coat, my hand, some pulling, some pushing me along, all jabbering and crying together, and repeating more and more urgently the only words that I could make out--"Musica! Musica!"

But while I stared at them in blank amazement, thinking they must all have lost their wits together, I was unconsciously being dragged and pulled along till we came to a kind of ruined marble staircase, down which they hurried me into something still resembling a spacious chamber; for though the wild fig-tree and cactus pushed their fantastic branches through gaps in the walls, these stood partly upright as yet, discovering in places the dull red glow of weather-stained wall-paintings.

The floor, too, was better preserved than any I had seen; though cracked and in part overrun by ivy, it showed portions of the original white and black tessellated work.

On this floor, with her head pillowed on a shattered capital, lay a prostrate figure without life or motion, and with limbs rigidly extended as in death.

The old woman, throwing herself on her knees before this lifeless figure, loosened the handkerchief round her neck, and then, as though to feel whether life yet lingered, she put her hand on the heart of the unconscious girl, when, suddenly jumping up again, she ran to me, panting:--

"O sir, good sir, play, play for the love of the Madonna!" And the others all echoed as with one voice, "Musica! Musica!"

"Is this a time to make music?" cried I, in angry bewilderment. "The girl seems dying or dead. Run quick for a doctor--or stay, if you will tell me where he lives I will go myself and bring him hither with all speed."

For all answer the gray-haired woman, who was evidently the girl's mother, fell at my feet, and clasping my knees, cried in a voice broken by sobs, "O good sir, kind sir, my girl has been bitten by the tarantula! Nothing in the world can save her but you, if with your playing you can make her rise up and dance!"

Then darting back once more to the girl, who lay as motionless as before, she screamed in shrill despair, "She's getting as cold as ice; the death-damps will be on her if you will not play for my darling."

And all the girls, pointing as with one accord to my violin, chimed in once again, crying more peremptorily than before, "Musica! Musica!"

There was no arguing with these terror-stricken, imploring creatures, so I took the instrument that had been doomed to destruction, to call the seemingly dead to life with it.

What possessed me then I know not: but never before or since did the music thus waken within the strings of its own demoniacal will and leap responsive to my fingers.

Perhaps the charm lay in the devout belief which the listeners had in the efficacy of my playing. They say your fool would cease to be one if nobody believed in his folly.

Well, I played, beginning with an andante, at the very first notes of which the seemingly lifeless girl rose to her feet as if by enchantment, and stood there, taller by the head than the ordinary Capri girls her companions, who were breathlessly watching her. So still she stood, that with her shut eyes and face of unearthly pallor she might have been taken for a statue; till, as I slightly quickened the tempo, a convulsive tremor passed through her rigid, exquisitely molded limbs, and then with measured gestures of inexpressible grace she began slowly swaying herself to and fro. Softly her eyes unclosed now, and mistily as yet their gaze dwelt upon me. There was intoxication in their fixed stare, and almost involuntarily I struck into an impassioned allegro.

No sooner had the tempo changed than a spirit of new life seemingly entered the girl's frame. A smile, transforming her features, wavered over her countenance, kindling fitful lightnings of returning consciousness in her dark, mysterious eyes. Looking about her with an expression of wide-eyed surprise, she eagerly drank in the sounds of the violin; her graceful movements became more and more violent, till she whirled in ever-widening circles round about the roofless palace chamber, athwart which flurried bats swirled noiselessly through the gathering twilight. Hither and thither she glided, no sooner completing the circle in one direction than, snapping her fingers with a passionate cry, she wheeled round in an opposite course, sometimes clapping her hands together and catching up snatches of my own melody, sometimes waving aloft or pressing to her bosom the red kerchief or mucadore she had worn knotted in her hair, which, now unloosened, twined about her ivory-like neck and shoulders in a serpentine coil.

Fear, love, anguish, and pleasure seemed alternately to possess her mobile countenance. Her face indicated violent transitions of passion; her hands appeared as if struggling after articulate expression of their own; her limbs were contorted with emotion: in short, every nerve and fibre in her body seemed to translate the music into movement.

As I looked on, a demon seemed to enter my brain and fingers, hurrying me into a Bacchanalian frenzy of sound; and the faster I played, the more furiously her dizzily gliding feet flashed hither and thither in a bewildering, still-renewing maze, so that from her to me and me to her an electric impulse of rhythmical movement perpetually vibrated to and fro.

Ever and anon the semicircle of eagerly watching girls, sympathetically thrilled by the spectacle, clapped their hands, shouting for joy; and balancing themselves on tiptoe, joined in the headlong dance. And as they glided to and fro, the wild roses and ivy and long tendrils of the vine, flaunting it on the crumbling walls, seemed to wave in unison and dance round the dancing girls.

As I went on playing the never-ending, still-beginning tune, night overtook us, and we should have been in profound obscurity but for continuous brilliant flashes of lightning shooting up from the horizon, like the gleaming lances hurled as from the vanguard of an army of Titans.

In the absorbing interest, however, with which we watched the deliriously whirling figure, unconscious of aught but the music, we took but little note of the lightning. Sometimes, when from some black turreted thunder-cloud, a triple-pronged dart came hissing and crackling to the earth as though launched by the very hand of Jove, I saw thirteen hands suddenly lifted, thirteen fingers instinctively flying from brow to breast making the sign of the cross, and heard thirteen voices mutter as one, "Nel nome del Padre, e del Figlio, e dello Spirito Santo."

But the ecstatic dancer paused not nor rested in her incredible exertions; the excited girls alternately told their beads and then joined in the dance again, while the gray-haired mother, kneeling on the marble pediment of what might have been the fragment of a temple of Bacchus, lifted her hands in prayer to a little shrine of the Madonna, placed there, strangely enough, amidst the relics of paganism.

All of a sudden, however, a horrific blaze, emitted from a huge focus of intolerable light, set the whole heavens aflame. As from a fresh-created baleful sun, blue and livid and golden-colored lightnings were shivered from it on all sides; dull, however, in comparison to the central ball, which, bursting instantaneously, bathed the sky, earth, and air in one insufferable glare of phosphorescent light. The deadly blue flame lit up everything with a livid brightness unknown to day.

Walls and faded wall-paintings, limbs of decapitated goddesses gleaming white through the grass and rioting weeds, tottering columns, arches, and vaults, and deserted galleries receding in endless perspective, leaped out lifelike on a background of night and storm.

With piercing shrieks the horrified maidens scattered and fled to the remotest corner of the ruin, where they fell prone on their faces, quivering in a heap. In a voice strangled by fear, the kneeling mother called for protection on the Virgin and all the saints! The violin dropped from my nerveless grasp, and at the self-same moment the beautiful dancer, like one struck by a bullet, tottered and dropped to the ground, where she lay without sense or motion.

At that instant a clap of thunder so awful, so heaven-rending, rattled overhead, so roared and banged and clattered among the clouds, that I thought the shadowy ruin, tottering and rocking with the shock, would come crashing about us and bury us under its remains.

But as the thunder rolled on farther and farther, seemingly rebounding from cloud to cloud, I recovered my self-possession, and in mortal fear rushed to the side of the prostrate girl. I was trembling all over like a coward as I bent down to examine her. Had the lightning struck her when she fell so abruptly to the ground? Had life forever forsaken that magnificent form, those divinest limbs? Would those heavy eyelashes never again be raised from those dazzling eyes? Breathlessly I moved aside the dusky hair covering her like a pall. Breathlessly I placed my hand on her heart; a strange shiver and spark quivered through it to my heart. Yet she was chill as ice and motionless as a stone. "She is dead, she is dead!" I moaned; and the pang for one I had never known exceeded everything I had felt in my life.

"You mistake, signor," some one said close beside me; and on looking up I saw the mother intently gazing down on her senseless child. "My Tolla is not hurt," she cried: "she only fell when you left off playing the tarantella; she will arise as soon as you go on."

Pointing to the lightning still flickering and darting overhead, I cried, "But you are risking your lives for some fantastic whim, some wild superstition of yours. You are mad to brave such a storm! You expose your child to undoubted peril that you may ward off some illusory evil. Let me bear her to the inn, and follow me thither." And I was going to lift the senseless form in my arms when the woman sternly prevented me.

In vain I argued, pleaded, reasoned with her. She only shook her head and cried piteously, "Give her music, for the love of the dear Madonna!" And the girls, who by this time had plucked up courage and gathered round us, echoed as with one voice, "Musica! Musica!"

What was I to do? I could not drag them away by force, and certainly, for aught I knew, she might have been in equal danger from the poison or the storm, wherever we were. As for peril to myself, I cared not. I was in a devil of a mood, and all the pent-up bitter passion of my soul seemed to find a vent and safety-valve in that stupendous commotion of the elements.

So I searched for my instrument on the ground, and now noticed, to my astonishment, that although the storm had swept away from us, the whole ruin was nevertheless brightly illuminated. On looking up I saw the topmost branches of a solitary stone-pine one dazzle of flames. Rising straight on high from a gap in the wall which its roots had shattered, it looked a colossal chandelier on which the lightning had kindled a thousand tapers. There was not a breath of air, not a drop of rain, so that the flames burned clear and steady as under cover of a mighty dome.

By this brilliant light, by which every object, from a human form to a marble acanthus leaf, cast sharp-edged shadows, I soon discovered my violin on a tangle of flowering clematis, and began tuning its strings.

No sooner had I struck into the same lively tune, than the strange being rose again as by magic, and, slowly opening her intoxicating eyes, began swaying herself to and fro with the same graceful gestures and movements that I had already observed.

Thus I played all through the night, long after the rear-guard of the thunder-storm had disappeared below the opposite horizon whence it first arose--played indefatigably on and on like a man possessed, and still, by the torch of the burning pine, I saw the beautiful mænad-like figure whirling to and fro with miraculous endurance. Now and then, through the deep silence, I heard a scarred pine-bough come crackling to the earth; now and then I heard the lowing of the stabled cattle in some distant part of the ruin; once and again, smiting like a cry, I heard one string snapping after another under my pitiless hands.

Still I played on, though a misty quiver of sparks was dancing about my eyes, till the fallow-tinted dawn gleamed faintly in the east.

At last, at last, a change stole over the form and features of the indefatigable dancer. Her companions, overcome with fatigue, had long ago sunk to the ground, where, with their little ruffled heads resting on any bit of marble, they lay sleeping calmly like little children. Only the mother still watched and prayed for her child, the unnatural tension of whose nerves and muscles now seemed visibly to relax; for the mad light of exaltation in her eyes veiled itself in softness, her feet moved more and more slowly, and her arms, which had heretofore been in constant motion, dropped languidly to her side. I too relaxed in my tempo, and the thrilling, vivacious tune melted away in a dying strain.

At the expiring notes, when I had but one string left, her tired eyes closed as in gentlest sleep, a smile hovered about her lips, her head sank heavily forward on her bosom, and she would have fallen had not her mother received the swooning form into her outstretched arms.

At the same moment my last string snapped, a swarming darkness clouded my sight, the violin fell from my wet, burning hands, and I reeled back, faint and dizzy, when I felt soft arms embracing me, and somebody sobbed and laughed, "You have saved her, Maestro; praise be to God and all His saints in heaven! May the Madonna bless you forever and ever--" I heard no more, but fell into a death-like swoon.


O MOON, large golden summer moon,
  Hanging between the linden trees,
  Which in the intermittent breeze
Beat with the rhythmic pulse of June!

O night-air, scented through and through
  With honey-colored flower of lime,
  Sweet now as in that other time
When all my heart was sweet as you!

The sorcery of this breathing bloom
  Works like enchantment in my brain,
  Till, shuddering back to life again,
My dead self rises from its tomb.

And lovely with the love of yore,
  Its white ghost haunts the moon-white ways;
  But when it meets me face to face,
Flies trembling to the grave once more.


Three tall poplars beside the pool
  Shiver and moan in the gusty blast;
The carded clouds are blown like wool,
  And the yellowing leaves fly thick and fast.

The leaves, now driven before the blast,
  Now flung by fits on the curdling pool,
Are tossed heaven-high and dropped at last
  As if at the whim of a jabbering fool.

O leaves, once rustling green and cool!
  Two met here where one moans aghast
With wild heart heaving towards the past:
  Three tall poplars beside the pool.




t has been justly observed, and confirmed by all that we know of the early history of literature, that the first forms of it were in verse. This is in accordance with a principle which is stated by Herbert Spencer on a different but related theme, that "Ornament was before dress," the artistic instincts underlying and preceding the utilitarian preoccupations. History indeed was first poetry, as we had Homer before Thucydides, and as in all countries the traditions of the past take the form of metrical, and generally musical, recitation. An excellent and polished school of prose writers is the product of a tendency in national life of later origin than that which calls out the bards and ballad-singers, and is proof of a more advanced culture. The Renaissance in Italy was but the resumption of a life long suspended, and the succession of the phenomena in which was therefore far more rapid than was possible in a nation which had to trace the path without any survivals of a prior awakening; and while centuries necessarily intervened between Homer and the "Father of History," a generation sufficed between Dante and Boccaccio, for Italian literature had only to throw off the leaden garb of Latin form to find its new dress in the vernacular. Dante certainly wrote Italian prose, but he was more at ease in verse; and while the latter provoked in him an abundance of those happy phrases which seem to have been born with the thought they express, and which pass into the familiar stock of imagery of all later time, the prose of the 'Convito' and the 'Vita Nuova' hardly ever recalls itself in common speech by any parallel of felicity.

And Boccaccio too wrote poetry of no ignoble type, but probably because he was part of an age when verse had become the habitual form of culture, and all who could write caught the habit of versification,--a habit easier to fall into in Italian than in any other language. But while the consecration of time has been given to the 'Commedia,' and the 'Convito' passes into the shadow and perspective of lesser things, so the many verses of Boccaccio are overlooked, and his greatest prose work, the 'Decameron,' is that with which his fame is mostly bound up.

Born in 1313, at seven years of age he showed signs of a literary facility, and his father, a merchant of Florence, put him to school with a reputable grammarian; but afterward, deciding to devote him to merchandise, sent him to study arithmetic,--restive and profitless in which, he was sent to study canon law, and finding his level no better there, went back to traffic and to Naples in his father's business when he was about twenty. The story runs that the sight of the tomb of Virgil turned his thoughts to poetry; but this confusion of the post hoc with the propter hoc is too common in remote and romantic legend to value much. The presence of Petrarch in the court of Robert, King of Naples, is far more likely to have been the kindling of his genius to its subsequent activity: and the passion he acquired while there for the illegitimate daughter of the King, Maria,--the Fiammetta of his later life,--furnished the fuel for its burning; his first work, the 'Filocopo,' being written as an offering to her. It is a prose love story, mixed with mythological allusions,--after the fashion of the day, which thought more of the classics than of nature; and like all his earlier works, prolix and pedantic.

The 'Theseide,' a purely classic theme, the war of Theseus with the Amazons, is in verse; and was followed by the 'Ameto,' or 'Florentine Nymphs,' a story of the loves of Ameto, a rustic swain, with one of the nymphs of the valley of the Affrico, a stream which flows into the Arno not far from where the poet was born, or where at least he passed his youth; and to which valley he seems always greatly attached, putting there the scene of most of his work, including the 'Decameron.' 'Ameto' is a mythological fiction, in which the characters mingle recitations of verse with the prose narration, and in which the gods of Greece and Rome masque in the familiar scenes. Following these came the 'Amorosa Visione,' and 'Filostrato,' in verse; 'Fiammetta' in prose, being the imaginary complaint of his beloved at their separation; 'Nimfale Fiesolano,' in verse, the scene also laid on the Affrico; and then the 'Decameron,' begun in 1348 and finished in 1353, after which he seems to have gradually acquired a disgust for the world he had lived in as he had known it, and turned to more serious studies. He wrote a life of Dante, 'II Corbaccio,' a piece of satirical savagery, the 'Genealogy of the Gods,' and various minor works; and spent much of his time in intercourse with Petrarch, whose conversation and influence were of a different character from that of his earlier life.

Boccaccio died at Certaldo in the Val d'Elsa, December 2d, 1375. Of the numerous works he left, that by which his fame as a writer is established is beyond any question the 'Decameron,' or Ten Days' Entertainment; in which a merry company of gentlemen and ladies, appalled by the plague raging in their Florence, take refuge in the villas near the city, and pass their time in story-telling and rambles in the beautiful country around, only returning when the plague has to a great extent abated. The superiority of the 'Decameron' is not only in the polish and grace of its style, the first complete departure from the stilted classicism of contemporary narrative, the happy naturalness of good story-telling,--but in the conception of the work as a whole, and the marvelous imagination of the filling-in between the framework of the story of the plague by the hundred tales from all lands and times, with the fine thread of the narrative of the day-by-day doings of the merry and gracious company, their wanderings, the exquisite painting of the Tuscan landscape (in which one recognizes the Val d'Arno even to-day), and the delicate drawing of their various characters. It is only when all these elements have been taken into consideration, and the unity wrought through such a maze of interest and mass of material without ever becoming dull or being driven to repetition, that we understand the power of Boccaccio as an artist.

We must take the ten days' holiday as it is painted: a gay and entrancing record of a fortunate and brilliant summer vacation, every one of its hundred pictures united with the rest by a delicate tracery of flowers and landscape, with bird-songs and laughter, bits of tender and chaste by-play--for there were recognized lovers in the company; and when this is conceived in its entirety, we must set it in the massive frame of terrible gloom of the great plague, through which Boccaccio makes us look at his picture. And then the frame itself becomes a picture; and its ghastly horror--the apparent fidelity of the descriptions, which makes one feel as if he had before him the evidence of an eye-witness--gives a measure of the power of the artist and the range of his imagination, from an earthly inferno to an earthly paradise, such as even the 'Commedia' does not give us. In this stupendous ensemble, the individual tales become mere details, filling in of the space or time; and, taken out of it, the whole falls into a mere story-book, in which the only charm is the polish of the parts, the shine of the fragments that made the mosaic. The tales came from all quarters, and only needed to be amusing or interesting enough to make one suppose that they had been listened to with pleasure: stories from the 'Gesta Romanorum,' the mediæval chronicles, or any gossip of the past or present, just to make a whole; the criticism one might pass on them, I imagine, never gave Boccaccio a thought, only the way they were placed being important. The elaborate preparation for the story-telling; the grouping of them as a whole, in contrast with the greater story he put as their contrast and foil; the solemn gloom, the deep chiaroscuro of this framing, painted like a miniature; the artful way in which he prepares for his lieta brigata the way out of the charnel-house: these are the real 'Decameron.' The author presents it in a prelude which has for its scope only to give the air of reality to the whole, as if not only the plague, but the 'Decameron,' had been history; and the proof of his perfect success is in the fact that for centuries the world has been trying to identify the villas where the merry men and maidens met, as if they really had met.

"Whenever, most gracious ladies, I reflect how pitiful you all are by nature, I recognize that this work will in your opinion have a sad and repulsive beginning, as the painful memory of the pestilence gone by, fraught with loss to all who saw or knew of it, and which memory the work will bear on its front. But I would not that for this you read no further, through fear that your reading should be always through sighs and tears. This frightful beginning I prepare for you as for travelers a rough and steep mountain, beyond which lies a most beautiful and delightful plain, by so much the more pleasurable as the difficulty of the ascent and passage of the mountain had been great. And as the extreme of pleasure touches pain, so suffering is effaced by a joy succeeding. To this brief vexation (I call it brief, as contained in few words) follow closely the sweets and pleasures I have promised, and which would not be hoped for from such a beginning if it were not foretold. And to tell the truth, if I had been able frankly to bring you where I wished by other way than this rough one, I had willingly done so; but because I could not, without these recollections, show what was the occasion of the incidents of which you will read, I was obliged to write of them."

The elaborate description of the plague which follows, shows not only Boccaccio's inventive power,--as being, like that of Defoe of the plague of London (which is a curious parallel to this) altogether imaginary, since the writer was at Naples during the whole period of the pestilence,--but also that it was a part indispensable of the entire scheme, and described with all its ghastly minuteness simply to enhance the value of his sunshine and merriment. He was in Naples from 1345 until 1350, without any other indication of a visit to Florence than a chronological table of his life, in which occurs this item:--"1348, departs in the direction of Tuscany with Louis of Taranto:" as if either a prince on his travels would take the plague in the course of them, or a man so closely interested in the events of the time at Naples, and in the height of his passion for Fiammetta,--the separation from whom he had hardly endured when earlier (1345) he was separated from her by his duty to his aged father,--would have chosen the year of the pestilence, when every one who could, fled Florence, to return there; and we find him in May, 1349, in Naples, in the full sunshine of Fiammetta's favor, and remaining there until his father's death in 1350.

There is indeed in Boccaccio's description of the plague that which convicts it of pure invention, quickened by details gathered from eye-witnesses,--the very minuteness of the description in certain points not in accord with the character of the disease, as when he narrates that the hogs rooting in the garments of the dead thrown out into the streets "presently, as if they had taken poison, after a few dizzy turns, fell dead"; and this, which he says he saw with his own eyes, is the only incident of which he makes this declaration (the incident on which the unity of his work hinges, the meeting of the merry troupe in the church of S. Maria Novella, being recorded on the information of a person "worthy of belief"). Nor does he in his own person intrude anywhere in the story; so that this bit of intense realization thrown into the near foreground of his picture, as it were by chance, and without meaning, yet certified by his own signature, is the point at which he gets touch of his reader and convinces him of actuality throughout the romance.

And to my mind this opening chapter, with all its horrors and charnel-house realization, its slight and suggestive delineation of character, all grace and beauty springing out of the chaos and social dissolution, is not only the best part of the work, but the best of Boccaccio's. The well-spun golden cord on which the "Novelle" are strung is ornamented, as it were, at the divisions of the days by little cameos of crafty design; but the opening, the portico of this hundred-chambered palace of art, has its own proportions and design, and may be taken and studied alone. Nothing can, it seems to me, better convey the idea of the death-stricken city, "the surpassing city of Florence, beyond every other in Italy most beautiful,"--a touch to enhance the depth of his shade, than the way he brings out in broad traits the greatness of the doom: setting in the heavens that consuming sun; the paralysis of the panic; the avarice of men not daunted by death; the helplessness of all flesh before--

"the just wrath of God for our correction sent upon men; for healing of such maladies neither counsel of physician nor virtue of any medicine whatever seemed to avail or have any effect--even as if nature could not endure this suffering or the ignorance of the medical attendants (of whom, besides regular physicians, there was a very great number, both men and women, who had never had any medical education whatever), who could discover no cause for the malady and therefore no appropriate remedy, so that not only very few recovered, but almost every one attacked died by the third day-after the appearance of the above-noted signs, some sooner and some later, and mostly without any fever or violent symptoms. And this pestilence was of so much greater extent that by merely communicating with the sick the well were attacked, just as fire spreads to dry or oiled matter which approaches it.... Of the common people, and perhaps in great part of the middle classes, the situation was far more miserable, as they, either through hope of escaping the contagion or poverty, mostly kept to their houses and sickened by thousands a day, and not being aided or attended in any respect, almost without exception died. And many there were who ended their lives in the public streets by day or night, and many who, dying in their houses, were only discovered by the stench of their dead bodies; and of these and others that died everywhere the city was full. These were mainly disposed of in the same way by their neighbors, moved more by the fear that the corruption of the dead bodies should harm them than by any charity for the deceased. They by themselves or with the aid of bearers, when they could find any, dragged out of their houses the bodies of those who had died, and laid them before the doors, where, especially in the morning, whoever went about the streets could have seen them without number,--even to that point had matters come that no more was thought of men dying than we think of goats; more than a hundred thousand human beings are believed to have been taken from life within the walls of Florence, which before the mortal pestilence were not believed to have contained so many souls. Oh! how many great palaces, how many beautiful houses, how many noble dwellings, once full of domestics, of gentlemen and ladies, became empty even to the last servant! How many historical families, how many immense estates, what prodigious riches remained without heirs! How many brave men, how many beautiful women, how many gay youths whom not only we, but Galen, Hippocrates, or Esculapius would have pronounced in excellent health, in the morning dined with their relatives, companions and friends, and the coming night supped with those who had passed away."

The ten companions, meeting in the church of S. Maria Novella, seven ladies and three gentlemen, agree to escape this doom, and, repairing to one of the deserted villas in the neighborhood, to pass the time of affliction in merry doings and sayings; and with four maids and three men-servants, move eastward out of the gloomy city. Their first habitation is clearly indicated as what is known to-day as the Poggio Gherardi, under Maiano. After the second day they return towards the city a short distance and establish themselves in what seems a more commodious abode, and which I consider incontrovertibly identified as the Villa Pasolini, or Rasponi, and which was in their day the property of the Memmi family, the famous pupils of Giotto. The site of this villa overlooks the Valley of the Ladies, which figures in the framework of the "Novelle," and in which then there was a lake to which Boccaccio alludes, now filled up by the alluvium of the Affrico, the author's beloved river, and which runs through the valley and under the villa. The valley now forms part of the estate of Professor Willard Fiske. As the entire adventure is imaginary, and the "merry company" had no existence except in the dreams of Boccaccio, it is useless to seek any evidence of actual occupation; but the care he put in the description of the localities and surroundings, distances, etc., shows that he must have had in his mind, as the framework of the story, these two localities. The modern tradition ascribing to the Villa Palmieri the honor of the second habitation has no confirmation of any kind.

The house-flitting is thus told:--

"The dawn had already, under the near approach of the sun, from rosy become golden: when on Sunday, the Queen[3] arising and arousing all her company, and the chamberlain--having long before sent in advance to the locality where they were to go, enough of the articles required so that he might prepare what was necessary--seeing the Queen on the way, quickly loading all other things as if it were the moving of the camp, went off with the baggage, leaving the servants with the Ladies and the Gentlemen. The Queen, then, with slow steps, accompanied and followed by her Ladies and the three Gentlemen, with the escort of perhaps twenty nightingales and other birds, by a little path not too frequented, but full of green plants and flowers which by the rising sun began to open, took the road towards the west; and gossiping, laughing, and exchanging witticisms with her brigade, arrived before having gone two thousand steps at a most beautiful and rich palace, which, somewhat raised above the plain, was posted on a hill."
[3] Each day a Queen or King was chosen to rule over the doings of the company and determine all questions.

As the description of the surroundings of the villa into which the gay assembly now entered is one of the most vivid and one of the gayest pieces of description in the brilliant counterfoil which the author has contrived, to set off the gloom of the city, it is worth giving entire; being as well a noble example of the prose of the 'Decameron':--

"Near to which [the balcony on which they had reposed after their walk] having ordered to open a garden which was annexed to the palace, being all inclosed in a wall, they entered in; and as it appeared to them on entering to be of a marvelous beauty altogether, they set themselves to examine it in detail. It had within, and in many directions through it, broad paths, straight as arrows and covered with arbors of vine which gave indications of having that year an excellent vintage, and they all giving out such odors to the garden, that, mingled with those of many other things which perfumed it, they seemed to be in the midst of all the perfumeries that the Orient ever knew; the sides of the paths being closed in by red and white roses and jasmine, so that not only in the morning, but even when the sun was high, they could wander at pleasure under fragrant and odoriferous shade, without entanglement. How many, of what kind, and how planted were the plants in that place, it were long to tell; but there is nothing desirable which suits our climate which was not there in abundance. In the midst of which (which is not less delightful than other things that were there, but even more so) was a meadow of the most minute herbs, and so green that it seemed almost black, colored by a thousand varieties of flowers, and closed around by green and living orange and lemon trees, which, having the ripe and the young fruit and the flowers together, gave not only grateful shade for the eyes, but added the pleasures of their odors. In the midst of that meadow was a fountain of the whitest marble with marvelous sculptures. From within this, I know not whether by a natural vein or artificial, through a figure which stood on a column in the midst of it, sprang so much water, and so high, falling also into the fountain with delightful sound, that it would at least have driven a mill. This, then (I mean the water which ran over from the fountain), through hidden channels went out of the meadow, and by little canals beautiful and artfully made becoming visible outside of it, ran all around it; and then by similar canals into every part of the garden, gathering together finally in that part of it where from the beautiful garden it escaped, and thence descending limpid to the plain, and before reaching it, with great force and not a little advantage to the master, turned two mills. To see this garden, its beautiful orderliness, the plants and the fountain with the brooks running from it, was so pleasing to the ladies and the three youths that all commenced to declare that if Paradise could be found on earth, they could not conceive what other form than that of this garden could be given to it, nor what beauty could be added to it. Wandering happily about it, twining from the branches of various trees beautiful garlands, hearing everywhere the songs of maybe twenty kinds of birds as it were in contest with each other, they became aware of another charm of which, to the others being added, they had not taken note: they saw the garden full of a hundred varieties of beautiful animals, and pointing them out one to the other, on one side ran out rabbits, on another hares, here lying roe-deer and there feeding stags, and besides these many other kinds of harmless beasts, each one going for his pleasure as if domesticated, wandering at ease; all which, beyond the other pleasures, added a greater pleasure. And when, seeing this or that, they had gone about enough, the tables being set around the beautiful fountain, first singing six songs and dancing six dances, as it pleased the Queen, they went to eat, and being with great and well-ordered service attended, and with delicate and good dishes, becoming gayer they arose and renewed music and song and dance, until the Queen on account of the increasing heat judged that whoever liked should go to sleep. Of whom some went, but others, conquered by the beauty of the place, would not go, but remained, some to read romances, some to play at chess and at tables, while the others slept. But when passed the ninth hour, they arose, and refreshing their faces with the fresh water, they came to the fountain, and in their customary manner taking their seats, waited for the beginning of the story-telling on the subject proposed by the Queen."

Of the character of the Novelle I have need to say little: they were the shaping of the time, and made consonant with its tastes, and nobody was then disturbed by their tone. Some are indelicate to modern taste, and some have passed into the classics of all time. The story of 'Griselda'; that of 'The Stone of Invisibility,' put into shape by Irving; 'Frederick of the Alberighi and his Falcon'; 'The Pot of Basil'; and 'The Jew Abraham, Converted to Christianity by the Immorality of the Clergy,' are stories which belong to all subsequent times, as they may have belonged to the ages before. Those who know what Italian society was then, and in some places still is, will be not too censorious, judging lightness of tongue and love of a good story as necessarily involving impurity. And Boccaccio has anticipated his critics in this vein, putting his apology in the mouth of Filomena, who replies to Neifile, when the latter speaks of scandal growing out of their holiday, "This amounts to nothing where I live virtuously and my conscience in no wise reproaches me--let them who will, speak against me: I take God and the truth for my defense."


You must know that Coppo di Borghese Domenichi--who was in our city, and perhaps still is, a man of reverence and of great authority amongst us, both for his opinions and for his virtues, and much more for the nobility of his family, being distinguished and wealthy and of enduring reputation, being full of years and experience--was often delighted to talk with his neighbors and others of the things of the past, which he, better than anybody else, could do with excellent order and with unclouded memory. Amongst the pleasant stories which he used to tell was this:--

In Florence there was a young man called Frederick, son of Master Philip Alberighi, who for military ability and for courteous manners was reputed above all other gentlemen of Tuscany, He, as often happens with gentlemen, became enamored of a gentle lady called Madonna Giovanni, in her time considered the most beautiful and most graceful woman in Florence. In order that he might win her love he tilted and exercised in arms, made feasts and donations, and spent all his substance without restraint. But Madonna Giovanni, no less honest than beautiful, cared for none of these things which he did for her, nor for him. Frederick then spent more than his means admitted, and gaining nothing, as easily happens, his money disappeared, and he remained poor and without any other property than a poor little farm, by the income of which he was barely able to live; besides this, he had his falcon, one of the best in the world. On this account, and because unable to remain in the city as he desired, though more than ever devoted, he remained at Campi, where his little farm was; and there, as he might hunt, he endured his poverty patiently.

Now it happened one day when Frederick had come to extreme poverty, that the husband of Madonna Giovanni became ill, and seeing death at hand, made his will; and being very rich, in this will left as his heir his son, a well-grown boy; and next to him, as he had greatly loved Madonna Giovanni, he made her his heir if his son should die without legitimate heirs, and then died. Remaining then a widow, as the custom is amongst our women, Madonna Giovanni went that summer with her son into the country on an estate of hers near to that of Frederick, so that it happened that this boy, beginning to become friendly with Frederick and to cultivate a liking for books and birds, and having seen many times the falcon of Frederick fly, took an extreme pleasure in it and desired very greatly to have it, but did not dare to ask it, seeing that it was so dear to Frederick.

In this state of things it happened that the boy became ill, and on this account the mother sorrowing greatly, he being that which she loved most of everything which she had, tended him constantly and never ceased comforting him; and begged him that if there was anything that he wanted, to tell her, so that she certainly, if it were possible to get it, would obtain it for him. The young man, hearing many times this proposal, said: "Mother, if you can manage that I should have the falcon of Frederick, I believe that I should get well at once." The mother, hearing this, reflected with herself and began to study what she might do. She knew that Frederick had long loved her, and that he had never received from her even a look; on this account she said, How can I send to him or go to him, to ask for this falcon, which is, by what I hear, the thing that he most loves, and which besides keeps him in the world; and how can I be so ungrateful as to take from a gentleman what I desire, when it is the only thing that he has to give him pleasure? Embarrassed by such thoughts, and feeling that she was certain to have it if she asked it of him, and not knowing what to say, she did not reply to her son, but was silent. Finally, the love of her son overcoming her, she decided to satisfy him, whatever might happen, not sending but going herself for the falcon; and she replied, "My son, be comforted and try to get well, for I promise you that the first thing that I do to-morrow will be to go and bring to you the falcon;" on which account the son in his joy showed the same day an improvement. The lady the next day took as companion another lady, and as if for pleasure went to the house of Frederick and asked for him. It being early, he had not been hawking, and was in his garden attending to certain little operations; and hearing that Madonna Giovanni asked for him at the door, wondering greatly, joyfully went. She, seeing him coming, with a ladylike pleasure went to meet him, and Frederick having saluted her with reverence, she said, "I hope you are well, Frederick," and then went on, "I have come to recompense you for the losses which you have already had on my account, loving me more than you need; and the reparation is, then, that I intend with this my companion to dine with you familiarly to-day." To this Frederick humbly replied, "Madonna, I do not remember ever to have suffered any loss on your account, but so much good that if I ever was worth anything, it is due to your worth, and to the love which I have borne you; and certainly your frank visit is dearer to me than would have been the being able to spend as much more as I have already spent, for you have come to a very poor house." So saying, he received them into his house in humility and conducted them into his garden; and then, not having any person to keep her company he said, "Madonna, since there is no one else, this good woman, the wife of my gardener, will keep you company while I go to arrange the table."

He, although his poverty was so great, had not yet realized how he had, without method or pleasure, spent his fortune; but this morning, finding nothing with which he could do honor to the lady for whose love he had already entertained so many men, made him think and suffer extremely; he cursed his fortune, and as a man beside himself ran hither and thither, finding neither money nor anything to pawn. It being late, and his desire to honor the gentle lady in some manner, and not wishing to call on anybody else, but rather to do all himself, his eyes fell upon his beloved falcon, which was in his cage above the table. He therefore took it, and finding it fat, and not having any other resource, he considered it to be a proper food for such a woman; and without thinking any further, he wrung its neck and ordered his servant that, it being plucked and prepared, it should be put on the spit and roasted immediately. And setting the table with the whitest of linen, of which he had still a little left, with a delighted countenance he returned to the lady and told her that such dinner as he was able to prepare for her was ready. Thereupon, the lady with her companion, rising, went to dinner, and without knowing what she ate or what Frederick served, ate the good falcon.

Then leaving the table, and after pleasant conversation with him, it appeared to the lady that it was time to say what she had come for, and so she began amiably to say to Frederick:--"Frederick, recalling your past life and my honesty, which perhaps you considered cruelty and severity, I do not doubt in the least that you will be astonished at my presumption, hearing what I have come for; but if you had ever had children, through whom you might know how great is the love which one bears them, it seems to me certain that in part you would excuse me. But as you have not, I, who have one, cannot escape the law common to all mothers; obeying which, I am obliged, apart from my own pleasure and all other convention and duty, to ask of you a gift which I know is extremely dear, and reasonably so, because no other delight and no other amusement and no other consolation has your exhausted fortune left you; this gift is your falcon, which my boy has become so strongly enamored of, that if I do not take it to him I fear that his illness will become so much aggravated that I may lose him in consequence; therefore I pray you, not on account of the love which you bear me, but because of your nobility, which has shown greater courtesy than that of any other man, that you would be so kind, so good, as to give it to me, in order that by this gift the life of my son may be preserved, and I be forever under obligation to you."

Frederick, hearing what the lady demanded, and knowing that he could not serve her, because he had already given it to her to eat, commenced in her presence to weep so that he could not speak a word in reply; which weeping the lady first believed to be for sorrow at having to give up his good falcon more than anything else, and was about to tell him that she did not want it, but, hesitating, waited the reply of Frederick until the weeping ceased, when he spoke thus:--"Madonna, since it pleased God that I bestowed my love upon you, money, influence, and fortune have been contrary to me, and have given me great trouble; but all these things are trivial in respect to what fortune makes me at present suffer, from which I shall never have peace, thinking that you have come here to my poor house--to which while I was rich you never deigned to come--and asked of me a little gift, and that fortune has so decreed that I shall not be able to give it to you; and why I cannot do so I will tell you in a few words. When I heard that you in your kindness wished to dine with me, having regard for your excellence and your worth, I considered it worthy and proper to give you the dearest food in my power, and therefore the falcon for which you now ask me was this morning prepared for you, and you have had it roasted on your plate and I had prepared it with delight; but now, seeing that you desire it in another manner, the sorrow that I cannot so please you is so great that never again shall I have peace;" and saying this, the feathers and the feet and the beak were brought before them in evidence; which thing the lady seeing and hearing, first blamed him for having entertained a woman with such a falcon, and then praised the greatness of his mind, which his poverty had not been able to diminish. Then, there being no hope of having the falcon on account of which the health of her son was in question, in melancholy she departed and returned to her son; who either for grief at not being able to have the falcon, or for the illness which might have brought him to this state, did not survive for many days, and to the great sorrow of his mother passed from this life.

She, full of tears and of sorrow, and remaining rich and still young, was urged many times by her brothers to remarry, which thing she had never wished; but being continually urged, and remembering the worth of Frederick and his last munificence, and that he had killed his beloved falcon to honor her, said to her brothers:--"I would willingly, if it please you, remain as I am; but if it please you more that I should take a husband, certainly I will never take any other if I do not take Frederick degli Alberighi." At this her brothers, making fun of her, said, "Silly creature, what do you say? Why do you choose him? He has nothing in the world." To this she replied, "My brothers, I know well that it is as you say; but I prefer rather a man who has need of riches, than riches that have need of a man." The brothers, hearing her mind, and knowing Frederick for a worthy man,--although poor,--as she wished, gave her with all her wealth to him; who, seeing this excellent woman whom he had so much loved become his wife, and besides that, being most rich, becoming economical, lived in happiness with her to the end of his days.


As I, gracious ladies, have heard said, there was in Paris a great merchant, a very good man, who was called Gianotto di Chevigné, a man most loyal and just, who had a great business in stuffs, and who had a singular friendship with a rich Jew named Abraham, who also was a merchant and also an honest and loyal man. Gianotto, seeing his justice and loyalty, began to feel great sorrow that the soul of so worthy and good a man should go to perdition through want of religion, and on that account he began to beg in a friendly way that he would abandon the errors of the Jewish faith and become converted to Christian truth, in which he could see, being holy and good, that he would always prosper and enrich himself; while in his own faith, on the contrary, he might see that he would diminish and come to nothing, The Jew replied that he did not believe anything either holy or good outside of Judaism; that he in that was born and intended therein to live, and that nothing would ever move him out of it.

Gianotto did not cease on this account to repeat after a few days similar exhortations, showing him in a coarse manner, which merchants know how to employ, for what reasons our faith was better than the Jewish; and though the Jew was a great master in the Jewish law, nevertheless either the great friendship which he had with Gianotto moved him, or perhaps the words which the Holy Spirit put on the tongue of the foolish man accomplished it, and the Jew began finally to consider earnestly the arguments of Gianotto; but still, tenacious in his own faith, he was unwilling to change. As he remained obstinate, so Gianotto never ceased urging him, so that finally the Jew by this continual persistence was conquered, and said:--"Since, Gianotto, it would please you that I should become a Christian and I am disposed to do so, I will first go to Rome and there see him whom you call the vicar of God on earth, and consider his manners and his customs, and similarly those of his brother cardinals; and if they seem to me such that I can, between your words and them, understand that your religion is better than mine, as you have undertaken to prove to me, I will do what I have said; but if this should not be so, I will remain a Jew as I am." When Gianotto heard this he was very sorrowful, saying to himself: I have lost all my trouble which it seemed to me I had very well employed, believing that I had converted this man; because if he goes to the court at Rome and sees the wicked and dirty life of the priests, he not only, being a Jew, will not become a Christian, but if he had become a Christian he would infallibly return to Judaism.

Therefore Gianotto said to Abraham:--"Alas, my friend, why do you desire to take this great trouble and expense of going from here to Rome? By land and by sea, even to a rich man as you are, it is full of trouble. Do you not believe that here we can find one who will baptize you? and if perchance you have still some doubts as to the religion which I show you, where are there better teachers and wiser men in this faith than there are here, to immediately tell you what you want to know or may ask? On which account my opinion is that this voyage is superfluous: the prelates whom you would see there are such as you can see here, and besides they are much better, as they are near to the chief Shepherd; and therefore this fatigue you will, by my counsel, save for another time,--for some indulgence in which I may perhaps be your companion." To this the Jew replied:--"I believe, Gianotto, that it is as you say to me; but summing up the many words in one, I am altogether, if you wish that I should do what you have been constantly begging me to do, disposed to go there; otherwise I will do nothing." Gianotto seeing his determination said, "Go, and good luck go with you;" but he thought to himself that Abraham never would become a Christian if he had once seen the court of Rome, but as he would lose nothing he said no more.

The Jew mounted his horse, and as quickly as possible went to the court of Rome, where arriving, he was by his fellow Jews honorably received; and living there without saying to anybody why he came, began cautiously to study the manners of the Pope and the cardinals and the prelates and all the other courtesans; and he learned, being the honest man that he was, and being informed by other people, that from the greatest to the lowest they sinned most dishonestly, not only in natural but in unnatural ways, without any restraint or remorse to shame them; so much so that for the poor and the dissolute of both sexes to take part in any affair was no small thing. Besides this he saw that they were universally gluttons, wine-drinkers, and drunkards, and much devoted to their stomachs after the manner of brute animals; given up to luxury more than to anything else. And looking further, he saw that they were in the same manner all avaricious and desirous of money, so that human blood, even that of Christians, and sacred interests, whatever they might be, even pertaining to the ceremonies or to the benefices, were sold and bought with money; making a greater merchandise out of these things and having more shops for them than at Paris of stuffs or any other things, and to the most open simony giving the name and support of procuration, and to gluttony that of sustentation: as if God, apart from the signification of epithets, could not know the intentions of these wretched souls, but after the manner of men must permit himself to be deceived by the names of things. Which, together with many other things of which we will say nothing, so greatly displeased the Jew, that as he was a sober and modest man it appeared to him that he had seen enough, and proposed to return to Paris. Accordingly he did so; upon which Gianotto, seeing that he had returned, and hoping nothing less than that he should have become a Christian, came and rejoiced greatly at his return, and after some days of rest asked him what he thought of the Holy Father, the cardinals, and the other courtesans; to which the Jew promptly replied:--"It seems to me evil that God should have given anything to all those people, and I say to you that if I know how to draw conclusions, there was no holiness, no devotion, no good work or good example of life in any other way, in anybody who was a priest; but luxury, avarice, and gluttony,--such things and worse, if there could be worse things in anybody; and I saw rather liberty in devilish operations than in divine: on which account I conclude that with all possible study, with all their talent and with all their art, your Shepherd, and consequently all the rest, are working to reduce to nothing and to drive out of the world the Christian religion, there where they ought to be its foundation and support. But from what I see, what they are driving at does not happen, but your religion continually increases; and therefore it becomes clearer and more evident that the Holy Spirit must be its foundation and support, as a religion more true and holy than any other. On which account, where I was obstinate and immovable to your reasoning and did not care to become a Christian, now I say to you distinctly that on no account would I fail to become a Christian. Therefore let us go to church, and there according to the custom of your holy religion let me be baptized."

Gianotto, who had expected exactly the opposite conclusion to this, when he heard these things was more satisfied than ever a man was before, and with him he went to Notre Dame of Paris and requested the priest there to give Abraham baptism: who, hearing what he asked, immediately did so; and Gianotto was his sponsor and named him Giovanni, and immediately caused him by competent men to be completely instructed in our religion, which he at once learned and became a good and worthy man and of a holy life.


Saladin, whose valor was so great that he not only became from an insignificant man Sultan of Babylon, but also gained many victories over the Saracen and Christian kings, having in many wars and in his great magnificence spent all his treasure, and on account of some trouble having need of a great quantity of money, nor seeing where he should get it quickly as he had need to, was reminded of a rich Jew whose name was Melchisedech, who loaned at interest at Alexandria; and thinking to make use of him if he could, though he was so avaricious that of his own good-will he would do nothing, the Sultan, not wishing to compel him, but driven by necessity, set himself to devise means by which the Jew should satisfy him, and to find some manner of compelling him to do so with a good pretext. Thus thinking, he called him, and receiving him familiarly, said to him: "My good man, I hear from many here that you are the wisest and in divine affairs the most profound of men, and on that account I would like to know from you which of the three good religions you consider the true one: the Jewish, the Saracenic, or the Christian?" The Jew, who really was a wise man, saw too clearly that the Sultan desired to catch him in his words in order to raise against him some question, and decided not to praise any one of the religions more than the other, so that the Sultan should not accomplish his purpose; on account of which, as one who seemed to have need of a reply as to which there could not be any reasoning, and his wits being sharpened, there quickly came to him what he ought to say, and he said:--

"My lord, the question which you have put to me is important, and in order to explain to you what I think, it is necessary to tell you a fable which you will hear. If I do not mistake, I have heard tell many times of a great and rich man who lived once, and who amongst other jewels had a beautiful and valuable ring, the most precious in his treasury, which on account of its value and its beauty he desired to honor and to leave in perpetuity to his descendants; and he ordered that that one of his sons to whom this ring should be left, as it had been to him, should be considered his heir and be by all the others honored and reverenced. The one to whom this ring should be left should give a similar order to his descendants, and do as had done his predecessor. In short, this ring went from hand to hand to many successors, and finally came to the hands of one who had three sons, honest men, virtuous and all obedient to their father, on which account he loved all three equally; and the young men, who knew the custom of the ring, as each one desired to be the most honored amongst them, each one to the utmost of his power urged the father to leave the ring to him when death should take him. The worthy man, who loved them all alike, not knowing himself how to choose to whom he should leave it, decided, having promised each one, to satisfy all three: and secretly ordered from a good workman two others, which were so similar to the first that he himself who had made them could scarcely tell which was the true one; and death approaching, he secretly gave to each one of his sons his ring. After the death of the father, each one wishing to enjoy the heritage and denying it to the others, each produced a ring in evidence of his rights, and finding them so similar that no one could tell which was the true one, the question which was the real heir of the father remained undecided, and it is still undecided. And so I say to you, my lord, of the three religions given to the three people by God the Father, concerning which you put me this question, that each one believes that he has as his heritage the true law; but as it is with the three rings, the question is still quite undecided."

Saladin, recognizing how this man had most cleverly escaped from the trap which had been set before his feet, decided on that account to expose to him his necessities and see if he was willing to help him; and so he did, saying that which he had intended to say if the Jew had not replied so wisely as he had done. The Jew freely accorded to Saladin whatever he asked, and Saladin gave him entire security, and besides that he gave him great gifts and retained him always as his friend, and kept him in excellent and honorable condition always near to himself.


A long time ago, in the family of the Marquis Saluzzo, the head of the house was a young man called Walter, who, having neither wife nor children, spent his time entirely in hunting and hawking, and never troubled himself to marry or to have a family,--on account of which he was considered very wise. This thing not being pleasing to his retainers, they many times begged of him that he should take a wife, in order that he should not be without an heir and they without a master, offering to find him one descended from such a father and mother that he might hope to have successors and they be satisfied. To which Walter replied:--"My friends, you urge me to what I have never been disposed to do, considering how grave a matter it is to find a woman who adapts herself to one's ways, and on the contrary how great are the burdens and how hard the lives of those who happen on wives who do not suit them. And to say that you know daughters from the fathers and mothers, and from that argue that you can give me what will satisfy me, is a foolishness; since I do not know how you can learn the fathers or know the secrets of the mothers of these girls, since even knowing them oft-times we find the daughters very different from the fathers and mothers: but since you desire to entangle me in these chains, I wish to be satisfied; and in order that I should not have to suffer through others than myself if any mistake should be made, I wish myself to be the finder, assuring you that if I do not take this responsibility and the woman should not be honorable, you would find out to your very great loss how much opposed to my desire it was to have taken a wife at your supplication."

The good men were satisfied, so long as he would take a wife. For a long time the ways of a poor young woman who belonged to a little house near his own had attracted Walter, and as she was sufficiently beautiful, he considered that with her he might have a life peaceful enough; and on that account, without going any further, he proposed to marry this one, and calling upon her father, who was very poor, arranged with him to marry her. This being arranged, he convoked his friends and said to them: "My friends! it has pleased and pleases you that I should dispose myself to marry, and I am so disposed more to please you than for the desire that I should have a wife. You know what you promised me,--that is, to be satisfied with and to honor as your lady whoever I should select; and, for that the time has come that I should keep my promise to you, and I wish you to keep yours to me, I have found very near here a young woman according to my heart, whom I intend to take for my wife and to bring her in a few days to my house; and for this you must think how the entertainment of the day shall be attractive and how you will honorably receive her, in order that I may show myself satisfied with the fulfillment of your promise as you may consider yourselves with mine."

The good men, joyful, all replied that that gave them pleasure, and whoever it might be, they would accept her for lady and would honor her in everything as their lady. This being arranged, all set themselves to making a magnificent, joyful, and splendid festa, which also did Walter. He prepared for the wedding festivities very abundantly and magnificently, and invited many of his friends, great gentlemen, his relatives and others from all around. And beyond this he had dresses cut and made up by the figure of a young woman who, he thought, had the same figure as the woman he proposed to marry. And besides this, he arranged girdles and rings and a rich and beautiful coronet, and everything that a newly married bride should demand.

On the day settled for the wedding, Walter, about the third hour, mounted his horse, as did all those who had come to honor him, and having arranged everything conveniently, said, "Gentlemen, it is time to go to take the bride;" and starting with his company he arrived at the little villa, and going to the house of the father of the girl, and finding her returning in great haste with water from the spring, in order to go with the other women to see the bride of Walter, he called her by name,--that is, Griselda,--and asked her where her father was, to which she modestly replied, "My lord, he is in the house." Then Walter, dismounting and commanding his men that they should wait for them, went along into the little house, where he found her father, whose name was Giannucoli, and said to him, "I have come to marry Griselda, but I wish to learn certain things in your presence." He then asked her if, should he take her for his wife, she would do her best to please him, and at nothing that he should do or say would she trouble herself, and if she would be obedient, and many such-like questions, to all of which she replied "yes." Then Walter took her by the hand, and in the presence of all his company and all the other persons had her stripped naked, and calling for the dresses which he had had made, immediately had her dressed and shod, and on her hair, disheveled as it was, had the crown put; and all this being done while everybody marveled, Walter said:--"Gentlemen, this is she whom I intend shall be my wife if she wishes me for husband" and then, turning to her, who stood by herself abashed and confused, said to her, "Griselda, will you take me for your husband?" To which Griselda replied, "Yes, my lord;" and he said, "I desire her for my wife, and in the presence of the assembly to marry her;" and mounting her on a palfrey he led her, honorably accompanied, to his house. There the marriage ceremonies were fine and great, and the festivities were not less than if he had married the daughter of the king of France.

The Decameron

This is a collection of 100 tales written by Boccaccio, and published in 1353. Seven ladies and three gentlemen of Florence, during the plague of 1348, are supposed to be enjoying themselves in a garden telling stories--ten each day for ten days.

Photogravure from a Painting by Jacques Wagrez.

It seemed as if the young bride, in changing her vestments, changed her mind and her manners. She was, as we have said, in figure and face beautiful; and as she was beautiful she became so attractive, so delightful, and so accomplished, that she did not seem to be the daughter of Giannucoli the keeper of sheep, but of some noble lord, which made every man who had known her astonished; and besides this, she was so obedient to her husband and so ready in service that he was most contented and delighted; and similarly, toward the subjects of her husband she was so gracious and so kind that there was no one who did not love her more than himself; and gentlemen honored her with the best good-will, and all prayed for her welfare and her health and advancement. Whereupon they who had been accustomed to say that Walter had done a foolish thing in marrying her, now said that he was the wisest and the most far-seeing man in the world, because no other than he would have been able to see her great virtue hidden under the poor rags of a peasant's costume. In a short time, not only in his own dominions but everywhere, she knew so well how to comport herself that she made the people talk of his worth and of his good conduct, and to turn to the contrary anything that was said against her husband on account of his having married her.

She had not long dwelt with Walter when she bore a daughter, for which Walter made great festivities; but a little afterwards, a new idea coming into his mind, he wished with long experience and with intolerable proofs to try her patience. First he began to annoy her with words, pretending to be disturbed, and saying that his men were very discontented with her low condition, and especially when they saw that she had children; and of the daughter, that she was born most unfortunately; and he did nothing but grumble. But the lady, hearing these words, without changing countenance or her demeanor in any way, said, "My lord, do with me what you think your honor and your comfort demand, and I shall be satisfied with everything, as I know that I am less than they, and that I was not worthy of this honor to which you in your courtesy called me." This reply pleased Walter much, knowing that she was not in any arrogance raised on account of the honor which he or others had done her.

A little while afterwards, having often repeated to his wife that his subjects could not endure this daughter born of her, he instructed one of his servants and sent him to her, to whom with sorrowful face he said, "My lady, if I do not wish to die, I am obliged to do what my lord commands me; he has commanded that I should take your daughter and that I--" and here he stopped. The lady, seeing the face of the servant and hearing the words that he said, and the words said by her husband, bethinking herself, understood that this man had been ordered to kill the child; upon which, immediately taking her from the cradle, kissing her, and placing her as if in great sorrow to her heart, without changing countenance she placed her in the arms of the servant and said, "Take her and do exactly what your and my lord has imposed on you to do, but do not leave her so that the beasts and the birds shall devour her, unless he should have commanded you that." The servant having taken the child and having repeated to Walter what his wife had said, he, marveling at her constancy, sent him with her to Bologna to one of his relatives, beseeching him that without ever saying whose daughter she might be, he should carefully rear her and teach her good manners. It happened that the lady again in due time bore a son, who was very dear to Walter. But not being satisfied with what he had done, with greater wounds he pierced his wife, and with a countenance of feigned vexation one day he said to her, "My lady, since you have borne this male child I have in no way been able to live with my people, so bitterly do they regret that a grandchild of Giannucoli should after me remain their lord; and I make no question that if I do not wish to be deposed, it will be necessary to do what I did before, and in the end leave you and take another wife." The lady with patience heard him, and only replied, "My lord! think of your own content, and do your own pleasure, and have no thought of me; because nothing is so agreeable to me as to see you satisfied." A little after, Walter, in the same manner as he had sent for the daughter, sent for the son, and in the same way feigned to have ordered it to be killed, and sent him to nurse in Bologna as he had sent the daughter. On account of which thing the lady behaved no otherwise and said no other word than she had done for the daughter. At this Walter marveled greatly, and declared to himself that no other woman could have done what she did; and had it not been that he found her most affectionate to her children, as he saw her to be, he would have believed that she could only do so because she did not care for them, although he knew her to be very prudent. His subjects, believing that he had had the child killed, blamed him greatly and considered him a most cruel man, and had great compassion for the lady, who, with the women who came to condole with her on the death of her children, never said other thing than that that pleased her which pleased her lord who had begotten them.

But many years having passed since the birth of the daughter, it seemed time to Walter to make the last proof of her patience; and so he said to many of his people that in no way could he endure any longer to have Griselda for his wife, and that he recognized that he had done badly and like a boy when he took her for wife, and that on that account he intended to apply to the Pope for a dispensation that he might take another wife and leave Griselda. On which account he was much reproved by very good men, to which he replied in no other wise than that it was convenient that he should do so. The lady, hearing these things, and seeing that it was necessary for her to look forward to returning to her father's house, and perhaps to watch the sheep as she had in other times done, and to see that another should have him to whom she wished nothing but good, suffered greatly in her own mind; but also, as with the other injuries which she had endured from fortune, so with a firm countenance she disposed herself to support even this. Not long afterwards, Walter had caused to be sent to him counterfeit letters from Rome, which he showed to all his subjects to inform them that the Pope had given him the dispensation to take another wife and leave Griselda. After which, having called her to him, in the presence of many people he said:--"Lady, by the dispensation made to me by the Pope I may take another wife and leave you; and because my ancestors were great gentlemen and lords in this country, whereas yours have always been workmen, I mean that you shall not longer be my wife, but that you shall return to the house of your father with the dowry which you brought me, and that I shall take another wife whom I have found more fitting for me." The lady, hearing these words, not without great difficulty and contrary to the nature of women kept back her tears, and replied:--"I knew always my low condition not to suit in any way your nobility, and what I have done, by you and by God will be recognized: nor have I ever acted or held it as given to me, but simply always had it as a loan; it pleases you to take it back, and to me it ought to give pleasure to return it to you. Here is your ring with which you married me; take it. You command me to take back the dowry which I brought you; to do which neither of you to pay it nor of me to receive it will demand either a purse or a beast of burden, because it has escaped your mind that you took me naked: and if you consider it honest that this body by which I have borne the children begotten by you shall be seen by everybody, I will go away naked; but I pray you in consideration of my virginity, which I brought to you and which I cannot take away, that at least a single shirt more than my dowry it will please you that I shall take." Walter, who had more desire to weep than anything else, remained with a hard face and said, "You may take with you a shirt." He was prayed by all who were about him that one garment more he should give, that it should not be seen that she who had been his wife for thirteen years or more should leave his house so poorly and shamefully as to go away in her shirt; but in vain were the prayers made. On which account the lady in her shirt, and barefoot, and without anything on her head, went out of the house and returned to the house of her father with the tears and lamentations of all who saw her.

Giannucoli, who had never been able to consider it a reality that Walter should have taken his daughter for a wife, and expected every day this end, had kept the clothes which had been taken from her that morning that Walter married her; so that bringing them to her, she dressed herself in them and returned to the little service of her father's house as she had been accustomed, supporting with a strong mind these savage attacks of fortune. When Walter had done this, he gave his people to understand that he had taken the daughter of one of the Counts of Panago for a wife, and having great preparations made for the marriage, sent for Griselda that she should come; to whom, having come, he said:--"I bring this lady whom I have now taken, and intend on her arrival to honor her, and you know that I have not in the house women who know how to arrange the chambers and to do many things that pertain to such festivities; on which account you, who better than anybody else know the things in this house, shall put in order whatever there is to be done, and cause to be invited the ladies whom you see fit, as if you were mistress here; then, after the marriage ceremony, you can go back to your house." Although these words were like so many knives in the heart of Griselda, as she had not been able to divest herself of the love which she bore him as she had of her good fortune,--she replied, "My lord, I am ready and prepared;" and so entered with her coarse peasant's clothing in the house from which she had shortly before gone in her shirt, and began to sweep and put in order the rooms, the hangings and carpets for the halls, and to put the kitchen in order, and in every respect as if she had been a little servant in the house, did she put her hand. Nor did she pause until she had put everything in order and arranged it as it was most convenient. And having done this, and Walter at her indications having invited all the ladies of the country, she began to arrange the festivities; and when the day of the marriage came, with the apparel which she had on her back, but with the mind and manner of a lady, received with a cheerful countenance all the ladies who came. Walter, who had had his children educated carefully by a relative in Bologna who had married into the house of the Counts of Panago,--the girl being already of the age of twelve years and the most beautiful creature that ever was seen, and the boy being of six,--had written to his relative at Bologna, praying him that he would be kind enough to come with this his daughter to Saluzzo, and to arrange to bring with him a fine and honorable company, and to say to all that these things were brought for his wife, without telling anything to anybody that it was otherwise. Having done what the Marquis asked of him, the Count started on his way after several days with the girl and her brother and with a noble company, and arrived at Saluzzo at the hour of dinner, when all the peasants and many neighbors were present waiting for the new bride of Walter; who being received by the ladies and going into the hall where the tables were set, Griselda came forward joyfully to meet her, saying, "Welcome, my lady." The ladies (who had much, but in vain, prayed Walter that he would arrange that Griselda should remain in the chamber, or that he would give her some one of the dresses which had been hers, in order that she should not appear in this way before his strangers) were set at the table and had begun to be served. The girl was looked at by every man, and everybody said that Walter had made a good exchange: but amongst the others Griselda praised her most; both her and her little brother.

Walter, who seemed to have finally learned as much as he desired of the patience of his lady, and seeing that the enduring of these things produced no change in her, and being certain that this did not happen from hypocrisy, because he knew that she was very wise, considered it time to lighten her of the bitterness which he felt that she held hidden in her heart under her strong self-control. Therefore, calling her in presence of all the company, and smiling, he said, "What do you think of our bride?" "My lord," replied Griselda, "she seems to me very good, and if she is as wise as she is beautiful, as I believe, I do not doubt in the least that you will live with her the most comfortable gentleman in the world. But I pray you as much as I can that these cruelties which you bestowed on the other which was yours you will not give to this one, because I believe that she could not support them; partly because she is young, and again because she has been brought up delicately, while the other has been always accustomed to hardships from a child." Walter, seeing that she firmly believed that this one was his wife, nor on that account spoke otherwise than well, made her sit down at his side and said:--"Griselda, it is time now that you should feel the rewards of your long patience, and that those who have considered me a cruel, wicked, and brutal man should know that that which I have done was done for a purpose, wishing to teach you to be a wife, and them to know how to take and to keep one, and for myself for the establishment of unbroken quiet while I live with you. Because when I came to take a wife I had great fear that this could not be the case, and on that account, and to assure myself in all the ways which you know, I have tried to pain you. And yet I have never perceived that either in thought or deed have you ever contradicted my pleasure: convinced that I shall have from you that comfort which I desire, I now intend to return to you all at once what I took from you on several occasions; and with the greatest tenderness to heal the wounds which I have given you; and so with a happy soul know this one whom you believed to be my bride, and this one her brother, as your and my children; they are those whom you and many others have long believed that I had cruelly caused to be killed; and I am your husband who above all things loves you, believing that I may boast that there is no other man who may be as well satisfied with his wife as I am." And so saying he embraced her and kissed her, and with her, who wept for joy, rising, went where the daughter sat stupefied, hearing these things; and, embracing her tenderly and her brother as well, undeceived her and as many as were there. The ladies, joyfully rising, went with Griselda to her chamber, and with the most joyful wishes dressed her as a lady,--which even in her rags she had seemed,--and then brought her back to the hall; and there, making with the children a wonderful festivity, every person being most joyful over these things, the rejoicings and the festivities were kept up for many days, and they all considered Walter the wisest of men, as they had considered bitter and intolerable the proofs which he had imposed on his wife; and especially they considered Griselda most discreet.

The Count of Panago returned after a few days to Bologna, and Walter, having taken Giannucoli from his work, settled him in the condition of his father-in-law, so that he lived with great honor and with great comfort and so finished his old age. And Walter afterwards, having married his daughter excellently, long and happily lived with Griselda, honoring her always as much as he could. And here we may say that as in royal houses come those who are much more worthy to keep the hogs than to have government over men, so even into poor houses there sometimes come from Heaven divine spirits besides Griselda, who could have been able to suffer with a countenance not merely tearless but cheerful the severe, unheard-of proofs imposed on her by Walter; to whom it would perhaps not have been unjust that he should have happened on one who, when he turned her out of his house in her shirt, should have become unfaithful with another, as his actions would have made fitting.



odenstedt was born at Peine, Hanover, April 22d, 1819. From his earliest years his poetic nature broke through the barriers of his prosaic surroundings; but in spite of these significant manifestations, the young poet was educated to be a merchant. He was sent to a commercial school in Brunswick, and then put to serve an apprenticeship in business. His inclinations, however, were not to be repressed; and he devoted all of his holidays and many hours of the night to study and writing. At last he conquered his adverse fate, and at the age of twenty-one entered the University. He studied at Göttingen, Munich, and Berlin, and then through a fortunate chance went to Moscow as tutor in the family of Prince Galitzin. Here he remained three years, during which time he diligently studied the Slavonic languages and literature.


The first fruits of these studies were translations from the poems of Kaslow, Pushkin, and Lermontoff (1843); which were considered equal to the originals in poetic merit. In Stuttgart, two years later, appeared his 'Poetische Ukraine' (Poetical Ukraine). He went to Tiflis in 1842 as instructor in Latin and French in the Gymnasium. Here he studied the Tartar and Persian languages, under the direction of the "wise man" Mirza-Schaffy (Scribe Schaffy), and began to translate Persian poems. "It was inevitable," he afterwards said, "that with such occupations and influences many Persian strains crept into my own poetry." Here he wrote his first poems in praise of wine. Later he became an extensive traveler, and made long tours through the Caucasus and the East. The fruit of these journeys was the book 'Die Völker des Caucasus und ihre Freiheitskämpfe gegen die Russen' (The People of the Caucasus and their Struggle for Freedom against the Russians), published in 1848. After his return to Germany he settled in Münich to study political economy in the University.

Two years later, in 1850, appeared his delightful book in prose and poetry, 'Tausend und ein Tag im Orient' (Thousand and One Days in the East), a reminiscence of his Eastern wanderings and his sojourn at Tiflis, The central figure is his Oriental friend Mirza-Schaffy. "It occurred to me," he says, "to portray with poetic freedom the Caucasian philosopher as he lived in my memory, with all his idiosyncrasies, and at the same time have him stand as the type of an Eastern scholar and poet; in other words, to have him appear more important than he really was, for he never was a true poet, and of all the songs which he read to me as being his own, I could use only a single one, the little rollicking song, 'Mullah, pure is the wine, and it's sin to despise it.' For his other verse I substituted poems of my own, which were in keeping with his character and the situations in which he appeared." The poems by themselves, together with others written at different times and places, Bodenstedt published in 1856 under the title 'Lieder des Mirza-Schaffy' (Songs of Mirza-Schaffy). Quite unintentionally they have occasioned one of the most amusing of literary mystifications. For a long time they were supposed to be real translations; and even to-day, despite the poet's own words, the "Sage of Tiflis" is considered by some a very great poet. A Tartar by birth, who had absorbed Persian culture, he was a skillful versifier, and could with facility translate simple songs from the Persian into the Tartar language. Bodenstedt put into Mirza-Schaffy's mouth the songs which were written during his intercourse with the Eastern sage, to give vividness to the picture of an Eastern divan of wisdom.

They portray Oriental life on its more sensuous, alluring side. In most musical, caressing verse they sing of wine and love, of the charms of Zuleika and Hafisa, of earthly bliss and the delights of living. Yet with all their warm Eastern imagery and rich foreign dress they are essentially German in spirit, and their prevailing note of joyousness is now and again tempered by more serious strains.

The book was received with universal applause, and on it Bodenstedt's fame as poet rests. It has been translated into all the European languages, even into Hebrew and Tartar, and is now in its one hundred and forty-third German edition. Twenty-four years later Bodenstedt followed it with a similar collection, 'Aus dem Nachlass des Mirza-Schaffy' (From the Posthumous Works of Mirza-Schaffy: 1874), where he shows the more serious, philosophic aspect of Eastern life. Bodenstedt's poems and his translations of Persian poetry are the culmination of the movement, begun by the Romantic School, to bring Eastern thought and imagery home to the Western world. Other well-known examples are Goethe's 'West-Eastern Divan,' and the poems and paraphrases of Rückert and others; but the 'Songs of Mirza-Schaffy' are the only poems produced under exotic influences which have been thoroughly acclimatized on German soil.

Bodenstedt was for a time director of the court theatre at Meiningen; and though he held this difficult position for only a short time, he did much to lay the foundation of the success which the Meininger, as the best German stock company of actors, achieved later on their starring tours through the country. He was ennobled in 1867, while in this position. He spent the last year of his life at Wiesbaden, where he died in 1892.

Bodenstedt was a voluminous writer; his work includes poems, romances, novels, and dramas. 'Vom Atlantischen zum Stillen Ocean' (From the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean: 1882) is a description of his lecturing tour to the United States the year before. His autobiography, 'Erinnerungen aus Meinem Leben' (Recollections of my Life), gives interesting glimpses into his eventful career. His mind was more receptive than creative, and this, combined with his great technical skill and his quick intuition, fitted him peculiarly to be a translator and adapter. His translation of Shakespeare's works, in conjunction with Paul Heyse, Kurz, and others (fifth edition, Leipzig, 1890), is especially noteworthy, as also his rendering of Shakespeare's sonnets. But he will live in German literature as the poet Mirza-Schaffy.


To one exalted aim we both are tending,
               I and thou!
To one captivity we both are bending,
               I and thou!
In my heart thee I close--thou me in thine;
In twofold life, yet one, we both are blending,
               I and thou!
Thee my wit draws--and me thine eye of beauty;
Two fishes, from one bait we are depending,
               I and thou!
Yet unlike fishes--through the air of Heaven,
Like two brave eagles, we are both ascending,
               I and thou!


In THE goblet's magic measure,
  In the wine's all-powerful spirit,
    Lieth poison and delight:
Lieth purest, basest pleasure,
  E'en according to the merit
    Of the drinker ye invite.

Lo, the fool in baseness sunken,
  Having drunk till he is tired,
When he drinks, behold him drunken;
  When we drink, we are inspired.


Down on the vast deep ocean
  The sun his beams doth throw,
Till every wavelet trembles
  Beneath their ruddy glow.

How like thou to those sunbeams
  Upon my song's wild sea;
They tremble all and glitter,
  Reflecting only thee.


In early days methought that all must last;
  Then I beheld all changing, dying, fleeting;
But though my soul now grieves for much that's past,
  And changeful fortunes set my heart oft beating,
I yet believe in mind that all will last,
  Because the old in new I still am meeting.


From the 'Thousand and One Days in the East'

ABBAS KULI KHAN was one of those gifted ambiguous natures who, without inspiring confidence, always know how to work an imposing effect, inasmuch as they hold to the principle of displeasing no one, as a first rule of prudence.

It so happened then that even Mirza-Schaffy, bribed by the flattery which the Khan of Baku, when he once surprised us in the Divan of Wisdom, lavished upon him, declared him to be a great Wise Man.

The mutual praise, so overflowing in its abundance, which they bestowed on one another put them both in a very happy humor. From the Koran, from Saadi, Hafiz, and Fizuli, each authenticated the other to be the moving embodiment of all the wisdom of earth.

A formal emulation in old and original songs took place between them; for every piece of flattery was overlaid with a tuneful quotation. Unfortunately, however, the entertainment flowed so swiftly that I was unable to note down any coherent account of it.

Nevertheless, being unwilling to let the long session go by without any gain on my part, I requested the Khan to write for me one of his artistic songs in remembrance. He nodded with an approving look, and promised to write the most beautiful song that ever the mouth of man had uttered; a song in praise of his Fatima, playing on her stringed instrument.

Whilst Mirza-Schaffy raised a questioning look on hearing the praise which the Khan expended on himself, the latter took the kalem (reed-pen) and wrote what follows:--


"O'er the strings thy fingers are straying,
O'er my heart stray the tones;
And it wanders obeying,
Far away from the zones;
Up tending,
Round thee bending,
Round thy heart to be growing
And clinging,
Round thee flinging,
Its glad mirth overflowing--
Oh! thou Spirit from me springing,
Life on me bestowing!
Dazzled, blinded, confounded,
I see in thy glances
The whole world and its rounded
Unbounded expanses;
And round us it dances
In drunken confusion,
Like floating illusion;
Around thee I'm reeling,
All round me is wheeling--
And Heaven and Ocean,
In flashing commotion,
Round us both as thou singest,
Roll reeling and rushing--
Thou Joy to me that wingest,
Thou Soul from me outgushing!"

Photogravure from a Painting by G.C. Saintpierre.

"O'er the strings thy fingers are straying,
O'er my heart stray the tones."

"On the following evening," said Mirza-Schaffy, "I appeared at the appointed hour. During the day I had written a love song which none of womankind could resist. I had sung it over about twenty times to myself, in order to be sure of success. Then I had been into the bath, and had had my head shaved so perfectly that it might have vied in whiteness with the lilies of the vale of Senghi. The evening was calm and clear; from the garden-side where I stood, I could distinctly see my Zuléikha; she was alone with Fatima on the roof, and had her veil put a little back, as a sign of her favor. I took courage, and pushed my cap down behind to show my white head, just fresh shaved, to the maiden's eyes. Thou canst comprehend what an impression that would make on a woman's heart! Alas! my head was much whiter then than it is now. But that is more than ten years since!" he said sorrowfully, and would have continued in this digression if I had not interposed the words:--

"Thy head is quite white enough now to fascinate the most maidenly heart; but thou hast not yet told me how thou sangest thy love song, and what impression it made upon Zuléikha."

"I had folded the song," said the Mirza, "round a double almond kernel, and thrown it on the roof, as a keepsake for the Beauty, before I began to sing it; and then I began with clear voice:--

"What is the eye of wild gazelle, the slender pine's unfolding,
Compared with thy delightful eyes, and thine ethereal molding?
What is the scent from Shiraz' fields, wind-borne, that's hither
Compared with richer scented breath from thy sweet mouth

What is Ghazel and Rubajat, as Hafiz ere was singing,
Compared with one word's mellow tone, from thy sweet mouth

What is the rosy-chaliced flower, where nightingales are quaffing,
Compared with thy sweet rosy mouth, and thy lips' rosy laughing?
What is the sun, and what the moon, and all heaven's constellations?
Love-glancing far for thee they glow with trembling scintillations!
And what am I myself, my heart, my songful celebration,
But slaves of royal loveliness, bright beauty's inspiration!"

"Allah, how beautiful!" I cried. "Mirza-Schaffy, thy words sound as sweet as the songs of the Peris, in the world of spirits! What is Hafiz to thee? What is a drop to the ocean?"


From the 'Thousand and One Days in the East'

My first object in Georgia was to secure an instructor in Tartar, that I might learn as quickly as possible a language so indispensably necessary in the countries of the Caucasus. Accident favored my choice, for my learned teacher Mirza-Schaffy, the Wise Man of Gjändsha, as he styles himself, is, according to his own opinion, the wisest of men.

With the modesty peculiar to his nation, he only calls himself the first wise man of the East; but as according to his estimation the children of the West are yet living in darkness and unbelief, it is a matter of course with him that he soars above us in wisdom and knowledge. Moreover, he indulges the hope that, thanks to his endeavors, the illumination and wisdom of the East will also, in the progress of years, actually spread amongst us. I am already the fifth scholar, he tells me, who has made a pilgrimage to him for the purpose of participating in his instructions. He argues from this that the need of traveling to Tiflis and listening to Mirza-Schaffy's sayings of wisdom is ever becoming more vividly felt by us. My four predecessors, he is further of opinion, have, since their return into the West, promoted to the best of their ability the extension of Oriental civilization amongst their races. But of me he formed quite peculiar hopes; very likely because I paid him a silver ruble for each lesson, which I understand is an unusually high premium for the Wise Man of Gjändsha.

It was always most incomprehensible to him how we can call ourselves wise or learned, and travel over the world with these titles, before we even understand the sacred languages. Nevertheless he very readily excused these pretensions in me, inasmuch as I was at least ardently endeavoring to acquire these languages, but above all because I had made the lucky hit of choosing him for my teacher.

The advantages of this lucky hit he had his own peculiar way of making intelligible to me. "I, Mirza-Schaffy," said he, "am the first wise man of the East! consequently thou, as my disciple, art the second. But thou must not misunderstand me: I have a friend, Omar-Effendi, a very wise man, who is certainly not the third among the learned of the land. If I were not alive, and Omar-Effendi were thy teacher, then he would be the first, and thou, as his disciple, the second wise man!" After such an effusion, it was always the custom of Mirza-Schaffy to point with his forefinger to his forehead, at the same time giving me a sly look; whereupon, according to rule, I nodded knowingly to him in mute reciprocation.

That the Wise Man of Gjändsha knew how to render his vast superiority in the highest degree palpable to any one who might have any misgiving on the point, he once showed me by a striking example.

Among the many learned rivals who envied the lessons of Mirza-Schaffy, the most conspicuous was Mirza-Jussuf, the Wise Man of Bagdad. He named himself after this city, because he had there pursued his studies in Arabic; from which he inferred that he must possess more profound accomplishments than Mirza-Schaffy, whom he told me he considered a "Fschekj," an ass among the bearers of wisdom. "The fellow cannot even write decently," Jussuf informed me of my reverend Mirza, "and he cannot sing at all! Now I ask thee: What is knowledge without writing? What is wisdom without song? What is Mirza-Schaffy in comparison with me?"

In this way he was continually plying me with perorations of confounding force, wherein he gave especial prominence to the beauty of his name Jussuf, which Moses of old had celebrated, and Hafiz sung of in lovely strains; he exerted all his acuteness to evince to me that a name is not an empty sound, but that the significance attached to a great or beautiful name is inherited in more or less distinction by the latest bearers of this name. He, Jussuf, for example, was a perfect model of the Jussuf of the land of Egypt, who walked in chastity before Potiphar, and in wisdom before the Lord.


From the 'Thousand and One Days in the East'

"Mirza-Schaffy!" I began, when we sat again assembled in the Divan of Wisdom, "what wilt thou say when I tell thee that the wise men of the West consider you as stupid as you do them?"

"What can I do but be amazed at their folly?" he replied. "What new thing can I learn from them, when they only repeat mine?"

He ordered a fresh chibouk, mused awhile meditatingly before him, bade us get ready the kalemdan (writing-stand), and then began to sing:--

"Shall I laughing, shall I weeping
  Go, because men are so brute,
Always foreign sense repeating,
  And in self-expression mute?

"No, the Maker's praise shall rise
  For the foolish generation;
Else the wisdom of the wise
  Would be lost from observation!"

"Mirza-Schaffy," said I, interrupting him again, "would it not be a prudent beginning to clothe thy sayings in a Western dress, to the end that they might be a mirror for the foolish, a rule of conduct for the erring, and a source of high enjoyment for our wives and maidens, whose charm is as great as their inclination to wisdom?"

"Women are everywhere wise," replied my reverend teacher, "and their power is greater than fools imagine. Their eyes are the original seat of all true devotion and wisdom, and he who inspires from them needs not wait for death to enter upon the joys of Paradise. The smallest finger of woman overthrows the mightiest edifice of faith, and the youngest maiden mars the oldest institutions of the Church!"

"But thou hast not yet given me an answer to my question, O Mirza!"

"Thou speakest wisely. The seed of my words has taken root in thy heart. Write; I will sing!"

And now he sang to me a number of wonderful songs, part of which here follow in an English dress.


A learnèd scribe once came to me from far:
"Mirza!" said he, "what think'st thou of the Shah?
Was wisdom really born in him with years?
And are his eyes as spacious as his ears?"

"He's just as wise as all who round them bind
Capuche and gown: he knows what an amount
Of stupid fear keeps all his people blind,
And how to turn it to his own account."


Looking at thy tender little feet
Makes me always wonder, sweetest maiden,
How they so much beauty can be bearing!

Looking at thy lovely little hands
Makes me always wonder, sweetest maiden,
How they so to wound me can be daring!

Looking at thy rosy luring lips
Makes me always wonder, sweetest maiden,
How they of a kiss e'er can be sparing!

Looking at thy meaningful bright eyes
Makes me always wonder, sweetest maiden,
How for greater love they can be caring

Than I feel. Oh, look at me, and love!
Warmer than my heart, thou sweetest maiden,
Heart in thy love never will be sharing.

Listen to this rapture-reaching song!
Fairer than my mouth, thou sweetest maiden,
Mouth thy praise will never be declaring!


From the 'Thousand and One Days in the East'

Now follow me into that blessed land wherein tradition places Paradise, and wherein I also placed it, until I found that it lay in thine eyes, thou, mine Edlitam!

Follow me to the banks of the Senghi and Araxes, rich in bloom, sacred in tradition; where I sought for rest after long wandering in the mazes of a strange land, until I knew that rest is nowhere to be found but in one's own bosom; follow me into the gardens where Noah once planted the vine for his own enjoyment and heart's delight, and for the gladness of all subsequent races of toiling men; follow me through the steep mountain-paths overhung with glaciers, to the arid table-lands of Ararat, where, clad in a garment red as blood, on his steed of nimble thigh, the wild Kurd springs along, with flashing glance and sunburnt face, in his broad girdle the sharp dagger and long pistols of Damascus, and in his practiced hand the slender, death-slinging lance of Bagdad--where the nomad pitches his black tent, and with wife and child cowers round the fire that scares away the beasts of the wilderness--where caravans of camels and dromedaries wend their way, laden with the treasures of the Orient, and guided by watchful leaders in wide many-colored apparel--where the Tartar, eager for spoil, houses in hidden rocks, or in half-subterranean, rudely excavated huts; follow me into the fruitful valleys, where the sons of Haïghk, like the children of Israel, far from the corruption of cities, still live in primeval simplicity, plough their fields and tend their flocks, and practice hospitality in Biblical pureness; follow me to Ararat, which still bears the diluvian Ark upon his king-like, hoary head--follow me into the highlands of Armenia!

In Paradise we will be happy, and refresh our eyes with a glance at the fair daughters of the land; and at the grave of Noah we will sit down, the drinking-horn in our hand, a song on our lips, and joyous confidence in our hearts; for the God who once when the whole world deserved hanging favored mankind with a watery grave, and suffered only Noah to live because he cultivated the vine and rejoiced in love and drinking, will also to us, who cherish like desires, be as favorable as to the father of post-diluvian men.


See Mirza-Jussuf now,
How critical a wight 'tis!
The day displeases him,
Because for him too bright 'tis.

He doesn't like the rose,--
Her thorn a sad affront is;
And doesn't like mankind,
Because its nose in front is.

On ev'rything he spies
His bitter bane he passes;
For naught escapes his eyes,
Except that he an ass is.

Thus, evermore at strife
With Art and Nature too,
By day and night he wanders
Through wastes of misty blue,

Mirza-Schaffy bemocks him
With sly and roguish eye,
And makes of all his bitterness
The sweetest melody.


Friend, wouldst know why as a rule
Bookish learning marks the fool?
'Tis because, though once befriended,
Learning's pact with wisdom's ended.
No philosophy e'er throve
In a nightcap by the stove.
Who the world would understand
In the world must bear a hand.
If you're not to wisdom wed,
Like the camel you're bested,
Which has treasures rich, to bear
Through the desert everywhere,
But the use must ever lack
Of the goods upon his back.



n the beginning of the eighteenth century, the political and intellectual life of Germany showed no signs of its imminent awakening. French supremacy was undisputed. French was spoken by polite society, and only the middle and lower classes consented to use their mother tongue. French literature was alone fashionable, and the few scientific works that appeared were published in Latin. Life was hard and sordid. Thought and imagination languished. Such writings as existed were empty, pompous, and pedantic. Yet from this dreary waste-land was to spring that rich harvest of literature which, in a brief half-century, made the German nation famous.

Johann Jakob Bodmer.

Klopstock, Wieland, Lessing, Herder, Goethe, and Schiller--those were the great names that were soon to shine like stars in the literary firmament. But the lesser men who broke the ground and opened paths for their brilliant followers are almost forgotten.

Toward the middle of the century, there lived in Zürich a modest professor of history, Johann Jakob Bodmer by name (born July 19th, 1698), who spoke the first word for a national literature, and who was the first writer to attempt a scientific criticism of contemporary authors. His efforts were rude beginnings of a style that culminated in the polished essays of Lessing. It was Bodmer whose independence of thought and feeling first revolted from the slavish imitation of French culture that enchained the German mind. In his youth he had been sent to Italy to study commerce. This visit aroused his poetic and artistic nature. He forgot his business in listening to street singers, in imitation of whom he wrote Italian lyrics. He read French works on art, and wrote artificial French verses according to French models. With equal versatility he composed German poetry, copying Opitz, whom he esteemed a great poet. Nor did he hesitate to try his skill at Latin hexameters.

By chance a copy of Addison's Spectator fell into his hands. He turned at once from French and Italian culture to admire English classics. The first German to appreciate Milton and Shakespeare (the latter he called the English Sophocles), he never wavered in his devotion to the English school. With his faithful friend, Johann Jakob Breitinger, a conscientious scholar, he started in Zürich a critical weekly paper on the plan of the Spectator. It was called Discoursen der Mahlern (Discourses of the Painters), and its essays embody the first literary effort of the Swiss as a nation. A little weekly coterie soon gathered about Bodmer to discuss the conduct of the paper; but much of the spirit and enthusiasm of these councils evaporated in print, the journal being subjected to a rigid censorship. Not alone art and literature came under discussion, but social subjects. All contributions were signed with the names of famous painters, and dealt with mistakes in education, the evils of card-playing, the duties of friendship, love and matrimony, logic, morality, pedantry, imagination, self-consciousness, and the fear of death. These discourses were chiefly written by Bodmer and his colleague Breitinger. The earlier papers, awkwardly expressed, often in Swiss dialect, masqueraded as the work of Holbein, Dürer, Raphael, or Michael Angelo. Although intended at first for Swiss readers only, the little weekly soon captured a German public. Its purpose was to kindle the imagination, and to suggest a parallel between the art of painting and the art of literature. Bodmer only dimly outlined what an infinitely greater mind defined with unerring precision some twenty years later in the 'Laocoon.' But the service of the older man to literature is not therefore to be undervalued. Bodmer created the function of analytic and psychological criticism in Germany. Hitherto no writer had been called to account for any literary offense whatever. Bodmer maintained that the man who demanded a hearing from the public must show good cause for this demand.

After two years the Discourses were discontinued; but Bodmer had gained great influence over the young writers of the time. He increased his reputation by translating Milton's 'Paradise Lost,' which he considered "a masterpiece of poetic genius, and the leading work of modern times." He deplores, however, the low standard of public taste, which, delighting in inferior poets, cannot at once rise to the greatest works. Already there existed in Leipzig a sort of literary centre, where Gottsched was regarded as a dictator in matters of taste. This literary autocrat praised Bodmer's translation of 'Paradise Lost' more than the original poem, in which he condemned the rhymeless metre. A sharp controversy soon divided the literary world into two hostile parties, known in German literature as the "conflict between Leipzig and Zürich." Gottsched followed Voltaire in considering the English style rude and barbarous; whereas Bodmer, with keener artistic perception and deeper insight, defended Milton and Shakespeare. The quarrel, in which Zürich prevailed, called the attention of Germany to the English literature, so closely affiliated to the German mind and taste, and hastened its liberation from the French yoke. Besides these services, Bodmer showed untiring zeal in rescuing from oblivion the beautiful poems and epics of the Middle Ages. In his essay 'The Excellent Conditions for Poetic Production under the Rule of the Swabian Emperors,' he directs public attention to the exquisite lyrics of the Minnesänger. It was he who revealed that hidden treasure of German literature, the Nibelungenlied. By his studies and translations of Middle High German, he opened the vast and important field of Germanic philology. To the end of his eighty-five years he was occupied with preparing selections from the Minnesänger, and his joy was unbounded when his half-century of work was crowned with success, and the first volume of these poems was placed in his hands.

Notwithstanding his true appreciation of poetry, he could not write it. He placed the religious above all other poetic productions, and valued the fable highly.

His hospitable roof in Zürich had an ever cordial welcome for all writers, and many were the poets who sojourned in the "Dichterherberge" (poets' inn); among them Klopstock, Wieland, and Goethe. He held the esteem of the nation long after his own writings had been crowded into forgetfulness by the new men whose way he had prepared,--for the genius of Herder and Lessing may be said to have completed the work that was so courageously begun by Bodmer.


From 'Rubens'

When I consider the close relationship of the arts that are represented by the pen, brush, and chisel, I am inclined to think that the manes of these excellent painters and sculptors whose names our contributors have assumed would probably not be displeased with the liberty we have taken. Provided these departed spirits still feel a passionate interest in our worldly affairs, they might wish to instruct these painting writers to follow nature as closely and skillfully with their pens as they themselves had done with delicate brush or chisel. Nature is indeed the one universal teacher of all artists. Painter, sculptor, author, not one can succeed unless he hold counsel with her. The writer who does not respect her is a falsifier, and the painter or sculptor who departs from her is a dabbler. The highest place in art belongs to the writer, for his field comprehends most. With one stroke of the pen he will describe more than a painter can represent in a succession of pictures. On the other hand, the painter appeals more to the imagination, and leaves a stronger impression than description can possibly awaken.


From 'Holbein'

A true poet will try to paint pictures on the imagination, which at a man's birth is devoid of impressions, I hold that the imagination is a vast plain, capable of comprehending all that nature may bring forth, besides innumerable illusions, fancies, and poetic figures. A writer's pen is his brush, and words are his colors, which he must blend, heighten, or tone down, so that each object may assume a natural living form. The best poet will so paint his pictures that his readers will see the originals reflected as in a mirror. If his imagination be vivid, words grow eloquent, he feels all that he sees: he is impelled onward like a madman, and he must follow whither his madness leads. This frenzy need not be inspired by any real object, but it must kindle his imagination to arouse a real emotion. A new conception delights the fancy. The newest is the most marvelous. To this must be given a semblance of probability, and to probability a touch of the marvelous. The poet must portray to the imagination the struggles of passion and the emotions of the human heart. His diction must be splendid and emphatic. Casting aside all earthly love, he must depict the love that springs from the soul, the love felt by him whose thoughts soar towards heaven, where God is the source of eternal beauty. The most artistic ode is that in which art is concealed, and in which the poet, unfettered, is driven by his own ardor.


From 'Dürer'

Whoever excels in any direction desires to be considered an extraordinary personage. Even the coquettish Phryne, fearing that the arts in which she really excelled might be forgotten, offered to rebuild the walls of Thebes on condition that the following inscription were cut thereon:--"The great Alexander razed these walls, but the hetaira Phryne rebuilt them." Gentlemen, I adore tobacco, and I appeal to the world for recognition. The floor of my room is strewn with tobacco ashes, on which my footsteps fall like those of the priests in the temple of Babylon. Pipes that I have buried in this tobacco desert lift their bowls here and there like stones in a cemetery. I shall make a pyramid of these relics, yellow, brown, and black, from which I shall reap renown as others win it with trophies gained on the battle-field. Besides books, which I love best after tobacco, my shelves and walls hold pipes collected from all nations, and grouped as if they were guns or sabres. My favorite pipe I never fill except on birthdays or festivals. A Frenchman who brought this from Canada swore that it was an Iroquois pipe of peace. Certain people take me for an alchemist, and my pipes for retorts with chimneys; but they do me wrong. Not only do I draw smoke but food from my distilling apparatus. I should be hailed rather as a philosopher, for while I watch the floating smoke I meditate on the vanity of man and his fleeting occupations. The moral of my tale is moderation; for my pipe is food and drink at once, and I know no better example of Nature's frugality than the fact that an ounce of tobacco provides me with a meal. Women delight in tea even as men prize tobacco. This difference in taste leads to friction of temper. Drinkers of tea inhale many a disagreeable whiff of tobacco, and lovers of tobacco are driven to accept many an unwelcome cup of tea. I, as a sufferer, would gladly set on foot a formal league which should compel an armed neutrality, and protect the one belligerent from the odor of the delicious pipe and the other from the complaisance of the tyrannous tea-cup.

Breath is smoke, and reason is but a spark in our hearts. When the spark is extinguished, our body perishes like smoldering ashes, and our breath floats away like the smoke.



nicius Manlius Severinus Boëtius was born about 475 A. D. His father was Flavius Manlius Boëtius, a patrician of great wealth and influence, who was trusted by the Emperor Odoacer and held the consulship in 487. The father died before his son reached manhood; and the youth was left to the guardianship of his kinsmen Festus and Symmachus, by whom he was carefully educated. He was remarkable early in life for his scholarship, and especially for his mastery of the Greek language, an accomplishment unusual for a Roman of this period. He entered public life when about thirty years of age, but duties of State were not permitted to put an end to his studies. He had married Rusticiana, the daughter of his guardian Symmachus.


The Roman world was now ruled by Theodoric the Ostrogoth. This leader had succeeded to the headship of the Ostrogoths on the death of his father Theodomir in 474. For a time he was a pensioner of the Byzantine court, with the duty of defending the lower Danube; but in 488 he determined to invade Italy and become a sovereign subordinate to no one. By the defeat of Odoacer in 489 he accomplished that end; and desiring to conciliate the Senatorial party at Rome, he called Boëtius from his studious retirement, as one who by his position and wealth could reconcile his countrymen to the rule of a barbarian chief.

In 510 Boëtius was made consul, and he continued in the public service till after his sons Symmachus and Boëtius were elevated to the consulship in 522. Thus far he had enjoyed the full confidence of Theodoric; but in 523 he was thrown into prison in Pavia and his property confiscated, and the Senate condemned him to death. Two years later he was executed. Unfortunately, the only account we have of the causes which led to this downfall is Boëtius's own in the 'Consolations.' According to this, he first incurred Theodoric's displeasure by getting the province of Campania excepted from the operation of an edict requiring the provincials to sell their corn to the government, and otherwise championing the people against oppression; was the victim of various false accusations; and finally was held a traitor for defending Albinus, chief of the Senate, from the accusation of holding treasonable correspondence with the Emperor Justin at Constantinople. "If Albinus be criminal, I and the whole Senate are equally guilty, Boëtius reports himself to have said. There is no good reason to doubt his truthfulness in any of these matters; but he does not tell the whole truth, except in a sentence he lets slip later. Theodoric's act was no outbreak of barbarian suspicion and ferocity. Boëtius and the whole Senate were really guilty of holding an utterly untenable political position, which no sovereign on earth would endure: they wished to make the Emperor at Constantinople a court of appeal from Theodoric, as though the latter were still a subordinate prince. This may not have been technical treason, but it was practical insubordination; and under any other barbarian ruler or any one of fifty native ones, Rome would have flowed with blood. Theodoric contented himself with executing the ringleader, and the following year put to death Boëtius's father-in-law Symmachus in fear of his plotting revenge. Even so, the executions were a bad political mistake: they must have enraged and thoroughly alienated the Senatorial party,--that is, the chief Italian families,--and made a fusion of the foreign and native elements definitively out of the question. We need not blame Boëtius or the Senate for their very natural aspiration to live under a civilized instead of a barbarian jurisdiction, even though they had their own codes and courts; but the de facto governing power had its rights also.

In 996 Boëtius's bones were removed to the church of St. Augustine, where his tomb may still be seen. As time elapsed, his death was considered a martyrdom, and he was canonized as St. Severinus.

Boëtius was a thorough student of Greek philosophy, and formed the plan of translating all of Plato and Aristotle and reconciling their philosophies. This work he never completed. He wrote a treatise on music which was used as a text-book as late as the present century; and he translated the works of Ptolemy on astronomy, of Nicomachus on arithmetic, of Euclid on geometry, and of Archimedes on mechanics. His great work in this line was a translation of Aristotle, which he supplemented by a commentary in thirty books. Among his writings are a number of works on logic and a commentary on the 'Topica' of Cicero. In addition to these, five theological tracts are ascribed to him, the most important being a discussion of the doctrine of the Trinity.

The work which has done most to perpetuate his name is the 'Consolations of Philosophy,' in five books,--written during his imprisonment at Pavia,--which has been called "the last work of Roman literature." It is written in alternate prose and verse, and treats of his efforts to find solace in his misfortune. The first book opens with a vision of a woman, holding a book and sceptre, who comes to him with promises of comfort. She is his lifelong companion, Philosophy. He tells her the story of his troubles. In the second book, Philosophy tells him that Fortune has the right to take away what she has bestowed, and that he still has wife and children, the most precious of her gifts; his ambition to shine as statesman and philosopher is foolish, as no greatness is enduring. The third book takes up the discussion of the Supreme Good, showing that it consists not in riches, power, nor pleasure, but only in God. In the fourth book the problems of the existence of evil in the world and the freedom of the will are examined; and the latter subject continues through the fifth book. During the Middle Ages this work was highly esteemed, and numerous translations appeared. In the ninth century Alfred the Great gave to his subjects an Anglo-Saxon version; and in the fourteenth century Chaucer made an English translation, which was published by Caxton in 1480. Before the sixteenth century it was translated into German, French, Italian, Spanish, and Greek.

It is now perhaps best known for the place it occupies in the spiritual development of Dante. He turned to it for comfort after the death of his Beatrice in 1291. Inspired by its teachings, he gave himself up for a time to the study of philosophy, with the result of his writing the 'Convito,' a book in which he often refers to his favorite author. In his 'Divine Comedy' he places Boëtius in the Heaven of the Sun, together with the Fathers of the Church and the schoolmen.


From the 'Consolations of Philosophy'

Every mortal is troubled with many and various anxieties, and yet all desire, through various paths, to arrive at one goal; that is, they strive by different means to attain one happiness: in a word, God. He is the beginning and the end of every good, and he is the highest happiness. Then said the Mind:--This, methinks, must be the highest good, so that men should neither need, nor moreover be solicitous, about any other good besides it; since he possesses that which is the roof of all other good, inasmuch as it includes all other good, and has all other kinds within it. It would not be the highest good if any good were external to it, because it would then have to desire some good which itself had not. Then answered Reason, and said:--It is very evident that this is the highest happiness, for it is both the roof and the floor of all good. What is that then but the best happiness, which gathers the other felicities all within it, and includes and holds them within it; and to it there is a deficiency of none, neither has it need of any, but they come all from it and again all to it, as all waters come from the sea and again all come to the sea? There is none in the little fountain, which does not seek the sea, and again from the sea it returns into the earth, and so it flows gradually through the earth, till it again comes to the same fountain that it before flowed from, and so again to the sea.

Now, this is an example of the true good, which all mortal men desire to obtain, though they by various ways think to arrive at it. For every man has a natural good in himself, because every mind desires to obtain the true good; but it is hindered by the transitory good, because it is more prone thereto. For some men think that it is the best happiness that a man be so rich that he have need of nothing more, and they choose their life accordingly. Some men think that this is the highest good, that he be among his fellows the most honorable of his fellows; and they with all diligence seek this. Some think that the supreme good is in the highest power. These strive either themselves to rule, or else to associate themselves to the friendship of rulers. Some persuade themselves that it is best that a man be illustrious and celebrated and have good fame; they therefore seek this both in peace and in war. Many reckon it for the greatest good and for the greatest happiness that a man be always blithe in this present life, and follow all his lusts. Some indeed who desire these riches are desirous thereof because they would have the greater power, that they may the more securely enjoy these worldly lusts, and also the riches. Many there are who desire power because they would gather money; or again, they are desirous to spread their name.

On account of such and other like frail and perishing advantages, the thought of every human mind is troubled with anxiety and with care. It then imagines that it has obtained some exalted good when it has won the flattery of the people; and to me it seems that it has bought a very false greatness. Some with much anxiety seek wives, that thereby they may above all things have children, and also live happily. True friends, then, I say, are the most precious things of all these worldly felicities. They are not indeed to be reckoned as worldly goods, but as divine; for deceitful fortune does not produce them, but God, who naturally formed them as relations. For of every other thing in this world, man is desirous, either that he may through it obtain power, or else some worldly lust; except of the true friend, whom he loves sometimes for affection and for fidelity, though he expect to himself no other rewards. Nature joins and cements friends together with inseparable love. But with these worldly goods, and with this present wealth, men make oftener enemies than friends. From these, and from many such proofs, it may be evident to all men that all the bodily goods are inferior to the faculties of the soul. We indeed think that a man is the stronger, because he is great in his body. The fairness, moreover, and the strength of the body, rejoices and invigorates the man, and health makes him cheerful. In all these bodily felicities men seek one single happiness, as it seems to them. For whatsoever every man chiefly loves above all other things, that, he persuades himself, is best for him, and that is his highest good. When therefore he has acquired that, he imagines that he may be very happy. I do not deny that these goods and this happiness are the highest good of this present life. For every man considers that thing best which he chiefly loves above other things, and therefore he deems himself very happy if he can obtain what he then most desires. Is not now clearly enough shown to thee the form of the false goods; namely, riches, and dignity, and power, and glory, and pleasure? Concerning pleasure, Epicurus the philosopher said, when he inquired concerning all those other goods which we before mentioned: then said he, that pleasure was the highest good, because all the other goods which we before mentioned gratify the mind and delight it, but pleasure chiefly gratifies the body.

But we will still speak concerning the nature of men, and concerning their pursuits. Though, then, their mind and their nature be now obscured, and they are by that descent fallen to evil and inclined thither, yet they are desirous, so far as they can and may, of the highest good. As the drunken man knows that he should go to his house and to his rest, and yet is not able to find the way thither, so is it also with the mind, when it is weighed down by the anxieties of this world. It is sometimes intoxicated and misled by them, so far that it cannot rightly find out good. Nor yet does it appear to those men that they aught mistake who are desirous to obtain this, namely, that they need labor after nothing more. But they think that they are able to collect together all these goods, so that none may be excluded from the number....

Two things may dignity and power do, if they come to the unwise. It may make him honorable and respectable to other unwise persons. But when he quits the power, or the power him, then is he to the unwise neither honorable nor respectable. Has power, then, the custom of exterminating and rooting out vices from the minds of great men and planting therein virtues? I know, however, that earthly power never sows the virtues, but collects and gathers vices; and when it has gathered them, then it nevertheless shows and does not conceal them. For the vices of great men many men see; because many know them and many are with them. Therefore we always lament concerning power, and also despise it, when we see that it comes to the worst, and to those who are to us most unworthy.

Every virtue has its proper excellence; and the excellence and the dignity which it has, it imparts immediately to every one who loves it. Thus, wisdom is the highest virtue, and it has in it four other virtues; of which one is prudence, another temperance, the third is fortitude, the fourth justice. Wisdom makes its lovers wise, and prudent, and moderate, and patient, and just; and it fills him who loves it with every good quality. This they who possess the power of this world cannot do. They cannot impart any virtue to those who love them, through their wealth, if they have it not in their nature. Hence it is very evident that the rich in worldly wealth have no proper dignity; but the wealth is, come to them from without, and they cannot from without have aught of their own. Consider now, whether any man is the less honorable because many men despise him. But if any man be the less honorable, then is every foolish man the less honorable, the more authority he has, to every wise man. Hence it is sufficiently clear that power and wealth cannot make its possessor the more honorable. But it makes him the less honorable, when it comes to him, if he were not before virtuous. So is also wealth and power the worse, if he who possesses it be not virtuous. Each of them is the more worthless, when they meet with each other.

But I can easily instruct you by an example, so that you may clearly enough perceive that this present life is very like a shadow, and in that shadow no man can attain the true good. If any very great man is driven from his country, or goes on his lord's errand, and so comes to a foreign people, where no man knows him, nor he any man, nor even knows the language, do you think his greatness can make him honorable in that land? Of course it cannot. But if dignity were natural to wealth and were its own, or again if wealth were the rich man's own, then it could not forsake him. Let the man who possessed them be in whatsoever land he might, then his wealth and his dignity would be with him. But because the wealth and the power are not his own, they forsake him; and because they have no natural good in themselves, they go away like a shadow or smoke. Yet the mistaken opinion and fancy of unwise men judge that power is the highest good. It is entirely otherwise. When a great man is either among foreigners, or among wise men in his own country, his wealth counts nothing to either one when they learn that he was exalted for no virtue, but through the applause of the ignorant. But if his power arose from any personal merit, he would keep that even if he lost the power. He would not lose the good that came from nature; that would always follow him and always make him honorable, whatever land he was in....

Worthless and very false is the glory of this world! Concerning this a certain poet formerly sung. When he contemned this present life, he said:--O glory of this world! wherefore do erring men call thee, with false voice, glory, when thou art none!--For man more frequently has great renown, and great glory, and great honor, through the opinion of the unwise, than he has through his deserts. But tell me now, what is more unmeet than this; or why men may not rather be ashamed of themselves than rejoice, when they hear that any one belies them. Though men even rightly praise any one of the good, he ought not the sooner to rejoice immoderately at the people's words. But at this he ought to rejoice, that they speak truth of him. Though he rejoice at this, that they spread his name, it is not the sooner so extensively spread as he persuades himself; for they cannot spread it over all the earth, though they may in some land; for though it be to one known, yet it is to another unknown. Though he in this land be celebrated, yet is he in another not celebrated. Therefore is the people's favor to be held by every man for nothing; since it comes not to every man according to his deserts, nor indeed remains always to any one. Consider first concerning noble birth. If any one boast of it, how vain and how useless is the boast; for every one knows that all men come from one father and from one mother. Or again, concerning the people's favor, and concerning their applause, I know not why we rejoice at it. Though they whom the vulgar applaud be illustrious, yet are they more illustrious and more rightly to be applauded who are dignified by virtues. For no man is really the greater or the more praiseworthy for the excellence of another, or for his virtues, if he himself has it not. Are you ever the fairer for another man's beauty? A man is little the better though he have a good father, if he himself is incapable of anything. Therefore I advise that you rejoice in other men's good and their nobility, but so far only that you ascribe it not to yourself as your own; because every man's good, and his nobility, is more in the mind than in the flesh. This only, indeed, I know of good in nobility: that it shames many a man if he is worse than his ancestors were, and he therefore endeavors with all his power to imitate the manners of some one of the best, and his virtues.



he name of Louis XIV. suggests ultra-lavishness in life and taste; a time when French society, surfeited with pleasure, demanded a stimulus of continual novelty in current literature. The natural result was preciosité, hyperbole, falsetto sentiment, which ranked the unusual above the natural, clever conceit above careful workmanship. It was tainted with artificiality, and now seems mawkish and superficial.

But Boileau changed all that. Perhaps no author unendowed with genius has ever so influenced literature,


Aside from his work, the man and his life seem essentially commonplace. Nicholas Boileau, who, adding another name to his own,--quite a fashion then,--was usually called Despréaux by his contemporaries, was born in Paris, in the palace court, nearly opposite the royal Sainte Chapelle. He rarely went farther from the city than to the little house at Auteuil, where he spent twenty summers. So he knew his Paris very intimately, and was limited too by knowing only her life and thought. To his repressed youth, guarded by a strict father and a cross servant,--for his mother died in his babyhood,--is sometimes attributed his lack of emotional quality. But his was not an intense nature, and probably no training could have made the didactic poet lyric or passionate. Sincerity and common-sense were his predominating qualities, and he had the rare faculty of obedience to his own instincts. He first studied for the priesthood, but anything like mysticism was too repellent to his matter-of-fact mind. Then, as many of his family had been lawyers, he naturally turned toward that career. But the practice as taught him seemed senseless and arbitrary. Its rational basis upon a logical theory only dawned upon him later. In spite of his literary tastes, there was something extremely mundane about the pleasure-loving bachelor, so fond of good eating and of jovial café revels with Racine, Furetière, Ninon de L'Enclos, and other witty Bohemians. With them he was much happier than in the more fastidious society of the Hôtel Rambouillet, from which he retired after reading aloud a satiric poem not favorably received. Neither was he happy at court, in spite of the favor of Louis XIV., who, entertained by his rough honesty, gave him a pension of two thousand francs. Later, when appointed with Racine to write a history of the reign,--that unfortunate history which was accidentally burned,--we find him an unwilling follower on royal expeditions, his ungainly horsemanship the mock of high-bred courtiers. In fact, he was bourgeois through and through, and not at ease with the aristocrats. He was thrifty bourgeois too; so often called miserly as well as malicious that it is pleasant to remember certain illustrations of his nobler side. The man who offered to resign his own pension if that of old disfavored Corneille might be continued, and when the latter was forced to sell his library, paid him its full value and then left him in lifelong possession,--was generous if he did love to save sous. His was a fine independence, which felt his art too lofty for purchase, and would accept nothing from the booksellers.

He had always wished to be a poet. Feeble of body, asthmatic, and in later life deaf and almost deprived of voice, he found in writing all the charm of a brilliant and ingenious game. Then too he had something definite to say, as all his work consistently testifies. Neither rich nor poor, without family cares, he could give himself unreservedly to authorship. In 1660 he published a satire upon the vices of Paris, which inaugurated his great success. Seven satires appeared in 1666, and he afterward added five others. Their malicious wit, their novel form, the harmonious swing of the couplet rhyme, forced immediate attention. They held up contemporary literary weaknesses to scorn, and indulged in the most merciless personalities, sparing not even his own brother, the poet Gilles Boileau. All retorts upon himself the author bore with complacent superiority which forced his adversaries to feel worsted.

From 1666 to 1774 most of the 'Epistles' were written; and also his best known work, 'L'Art poétique' (The Art of Poetry). In the satires he had been destructive, but he was too practical to be negative. The 'Art of Poetry,' modeled after Horace's work of that name, offers the theory of poetic composition. It is a work in four cantos of couplets: the first setting forth general rules of metrical composition; the second a dissertation upon different forms--ode, sonnet, pastoral, and others; the third treating tragedy, comedy, and epic poetry; and the last consisting of general reflections and advice to authors. Briefly stated, Boileau's desire was to establish literature upon a foundation of unchanging laws. Why did some works speedily die while others endure through the centuries? Because works akin to the eternal classics did not, like much contemporary writing, reflect the trivial and evanescent. They contained what is perennially true of humanity; and stated this in a simple, interesting, and reasonable way. Above all, Boileau demands truth in subject, and the conscientious workmanship which finds the most suitable form of expression. To see a word at the end of a couplet only because it rhymes with the word above it, he finds inexcusable. Without a method resulting in unity, clearness, and proportion, writing is not literature. Later, in his 'Reflections upon Longinus,' Boileau repeated and emphasized these views.

His mock-heroic poem 'Le Lutrin' (The Reading-Desk), ridiculing clerical pettinesses, was strong in realistic descriptions, and was perhaps his most popular work.

A modern poet's definition of poetry as "the heat and height of sane emotion" would have been unintelligible to Boileau. Deficient in imagination, he always saw life on its material side, and was irritated by any display of emotion not reducible to logic. So his poetry is sensible, clear argument in exquisitely careful metre. His great strength lay in a taste which recognized harmony and fitness instinctively. To us his quality is best translated by the dainty, perfect couplets of his imitator Pope. His talent, essentially French in its love of effect and classification, has strewn the language with clever saws, and his works have been studied as authoritative models by generation after generation of students.

But after all, it is less as a poet than as a critic, "the lawgiver of the French Parnassus," that the world has always known Boileau, Before him the art of criticism had hardly existed. Authors had received indiscriminate praise or blame, usually founded upon interested motives or personal bias; but there had been little comparison with an acknowledged standard. This "slashing reviewer in verse," as Saintsbury calls him, was a severe pedagogue, but his public did learn their lesson. He made mistakes, was neither broad-minded nor profound in attainments, was occasionally unjust; but he showed readers why they should praise or blame; taught them appreciation of his greater friends Molière and Racine; and pointed out to authors what their purpose should be. With a greater creative power seeking self-expression, he might have accomplished less in literary reform.


From 'The Art of Poetry'

There is a kind of writer pleased with sound,
Whose fustian head with clouds is compassed round--
No reason can disperse them with its light;
Learn then to think, ere you pretend to write
As your idea's clear, or else obscure,
The expression follows, perfect or impure;
What we conceive with ease we can express;
Words to the notions flow with readiness.

Observe the language well in all you write,
And swerve not from it in your loftiest flight.
The smoothest verse and the exactest sense
Displease if uncouth language give offense;
A barbarous phrase no reader can approve;
Nor bombast, noise, or affectation love.
In short, without pure language, what you write
Can never yield us profit or delight.

Take time for thinking; never work in haste;
And value not yourself for writing fast;
A rapid poem, with such fury writ,
Shows want of judgment, not abounding wit.
More pleased we are to see a river lead
His gentle streams along a flowery mead,
Than from high banks to hear loud torrents roar,
With foamy waters, on a muddy shore.
Gently make haste, of labor not afraid;
A hundred times consider what you've said;
Polish, repolish, every color lay,
And sometimes add, but oftener take away.

'Tis not enough, when swarming faults are writ,
That here and there are scattered sparks of wit;
Each object must be fixed in the true place,
And differing parts have corresponding grace;
Till, by a curious art disposed, we find
One perfect whole of all the pieces joined.
Keep to your subject close in all you say,
Nor for a sounding sentence ever stray.

The public censure for your writings fear,
And to yourself be critic most' severe;
Fantastic wits their darling follies love,
But find you faithful friends that will reprove,
That on your works may look with careful eyes,
And of your faults be zealous enemies.
Lay by an author's pride and vanity,
And from a friend a flatterer descry,
Who seems to like, but means not what he says;
Embrace true counsel, but suspect false praise.

A sycophant will everything admire;
Each verse, each sentence, sets his soul on fire;
All is divine! there's not a word amiss!
He shakes with joy and weeps with tenderness;
He overpowers you with his mighty praise.

Truth never moves in those impetuous ways.
A faithful friend is careful of your fame,
And freely will your heedless errors blame;
He cannot pardon a neglected line,
But verse to rule and order will confine,
Reprove of words the too-affected sound,--
"Here the sense flags, and your expression's bound,
Your fancy tires, and your discourse grows vain;
Your term's improper;--make it just and plain."
Thus 'tis a faithful friend will freedom use.
But authors partial to their darling muse
Think to protect it they have just pretense,
And at your friendly counsel take offense.
"Said you of this, that the expression's flat?
Your servant, sir, you must excuse me that,"
He answers you. "This word has here no grace,
Pray leave it out."--"That, sir, 's the properest place."

"This term I like not."--"'Tis approved by all."
Thus, resolute not from one fault to fall,
If there's a symbol as to which you doubt,
'Tis a sure reason not to blot it out.
Yet still he says you may his faults confute,
And over him your power is absolute.
But of his feigned humility take heed:
'Tis a bait laid to make you hear him read;
And when he leaves you, happy in his muse,
Restless he runs some other to abuse.

And often finds; for in our scribbling times
No fool can lack a fool to praise his rhymes;
The flattest work has here within the court
Met with some zealous ass for its support;
And in all times a forward scribbling fop
Has found some greater fool to cry him up.


From 'The Art of Poetry'

As A fair nymph, when rising from her bed,
With sparkling diamonds dresses not her head,
But without gold, or pearl, or costly scents,
Gathers from neighboring fields her ornaments:
Such, lovely in its dress, but plain withal,
Ought to appear a perfect Pastoral.
Its humble method nothing has of fierce,
But hates the rattling of a lofty verse;
There native beauty pleases and excites,
And never with harsh sounds the ear affrights.

But in this style a poet, often spent
In rage, throws by his rural instrument,
And vainly, when disordered thoughts abound,
Amidst the eclogue makes the trumpet sound;
Pan flies alarmed into the neighboring woods,
And frighted nymphs dive down into the floods.

Opposed to this, another, low in style,
Makes shepherds speak a language low and vile;
His writings, flat and heavy, without sound,
Kissing the earth and creeping on the ground;
You'd swear that Randal, in his rustic strains,
Again was quavering to the country swains,
And changing, without care of sound or dress,
Strephon and Phyllis into Tom and Bess.

'Twixt these extremes 'tis hard to keep the right:
For guides take Virgil and read Theocrite;
Be their just writings, by the gods inspired,
Your constant pattern, practiced and admired.
By them alone you'll easy comprehend
How poets without shame may condescend
To sing of gardens, fields, of flowers and fruit,
To stir up shepherds and to tune the flute;

Of love's rewards to tell the happy hour,
Daphne a tree, Narcissus make a flower,
And by what means the eclogue yet has power
To make the woods worthy a conqueror;
This of their writings is the grace and flight;
Their risings lofty, yet not out of sight.

The Elegy, that loves a mournful style,
With unbound hair weeps at a funeral pile;
It paints the lover's torments and delights,
A mistress flatters, threatens, and invites;
But well these raptures if you'll make us see,
You must know love as well as poetry.

I hate those lukewarm authors, whose forced fire
In a cold style describes a hot desire;
That sigh by rule, and raging in cold blood,
Their sluggish muse whip to an amorous mood.
Their transports feigned appear but flat and vain;
They always sigh, and always hug their chain,
Adore their prisons and their sufferings bless,
Make sense and reason quarrel as they please.
'Twas not of old in this affected tone
That smooth Tibullus made his amorous moan;
Nor Ovid, when, instructed from above,
By nature's rule he taught the art of love.
The heart in elegies forms the discourse.

The Ode is bolder and has greater force;
Mounting to heaven in her ambitious flight,
Amongst the gods and heroes takes delight;
Of Pisa's wrestlers tells the sinewy force,
And sings the lusty conqueror's glorious course;
To Simois's streams does fierce Achilles bring,
And makes the Ganges bow to Britain's king.
Sometimes she flies like an industrious bee,
And robs the flowers by nature's chemistry;
Describes the shepherd's dances, feasts, and bliss,
And boasts from Phyllis to surprise a kiss,
When gently she resists with feigned remorse,
That what she grants may seem to be by force.
Her generous style at random oft will part,
And by a brave disorder shows her art.

Unlike those fearful poets whose cold rime
In all their raptures keeps exactest time;
That sing the illustrious hero's mighty praise--
Lean writers!--by the terms of weeks and days,
And dare not from least circumstances part,
But take all towns by strictest rules of art.
Apollo drives those fops from his abode;
And some have said that once the humorous god,
Resolving all such scribblers to confound,
For the short Sonnet ordered this strict bound,
Set rules for the just measure and the time,
The easy-running and alternate rime;
But above all, those licenses denied
Which in these writings the lame sense supplied,
Forbade a useless line should find a place,
Or a repeated word appear with grace.
A faultless sonnet, finished thus, would be
Worth tedious volumes of loose poetry.
A hundred scribbling authors, without ground,
Believe they have this only phoenix found,
When yet the exactest scarce have two or three,
Among whole tomes, from faults and censure free;
The rest, but little read, regarded less,
Are shoveled to the pastry from the press.
Closing the sense within the measured time,
'Tis hard to fit the reason to the rime.

The Epigram, with little art composed,
Is one good sentence in a distich closed.
These points, that by Italians first were prized,
Our ancient authors knew not, or despised;
The vulgar, dazzled with their glaring light,
To their false pleasures quickly they invite;
But public favor so increased their pride,
They overwhelmed Parnassus with their tide.

The Madrigal at first was overcome,
And the proud Sonnet fell by the same doom;
With these grave Tragedy adorned her flights,
And mournful Elegy her funeral rites,
A hero never failed them on the stage:
Without his point a lover durst not rage;
The amorous shepherds took more care to prove
True to his point, than faithful to their love.
Each word, like Janus, had a double face,
And prose, as well as verse, allowed it place;
The lawyer with conceits adorned his speech,
The parson without quibbling could not preach.
At last affronted reason looked about,
And from all serious matters shut them out;
Declared that none should use them without shame,
Except a scattering, in the epigram--
Provided that by art, and in due time,
They turned upon the thought, and not the rime.
Thus in all parts disorders did abate;
Yet quibblers in the court had leave to prate,
Insipid jesters and unpleasant fools,
A corporation of dull, punning drolls.
'Tis not but that sometimes a dextrous muse
May with advantage a turned sense abuse,
And on a word may trifle with address;
But above all, avoid the fond excess,
And think not, when your verse and sense are lame,
With a dull point to tag your epigram.


From 'The Satires'

Unequaled genius, whose warm fancy knows
No rhyming labor, no poetic throes;
To whom Apollo has unlocked his store;
Whose coin is struck from pure Parnassian ore;
Thou, dextrous master, teach thy skill to me,
And tell me, Molière, how to1 rhyme like thee!

You never falter when the close comes round,
Or leave the substance to preserve the sound;
You never wander after words that fly,
For all the words you need before you lie.
But I, who--smarting for my sins of late--
With itch of rhyme am visited by fate,
Expend on air my unavailing force,
And, hunting sounds, am sweated like a horse.
In vain I often muse from dawn till night:
When I mean black, my stubborn verse says white;
If I should paint a coxcomb's flippant mien,
I scarcely can forbear to name the Dean;
If asked to tell the strains that purest flow,
My heart says Virgil, but my pen Quinault;
In short, whatever I attempt to say,
Mischance conducts me quite the other way.

At times, fatigued and fretted with the pain,
When every effort for relief is vain,
The fruitless chase I peevishly give o'er,
And swear a thousand times to write no more:
But, after thousand vows, perhaps by chance,
Before my careless eyes the couplets dance.
Then with new force my flame bursts out again,
Pleased I resume the paper and the pen;
And, all my anger and my oaths forgot,
I calmly muse and resolutely blot.

Yet, if my eager hand, in haste to rhyme,
Should tack an empty couplet at a time,
Great names who do the same I might adduce;
Nay, some who keep such hirelings for their use.
Need blooming Phyllis be described in prose
By any lover who has seen a rose?
Who can forget heaven's masterpiece, her eye,
Where, within call, the Loves and Graces lie?
Who can forget her smile, devoid of art,
Her heavenly sweetness and her frozen heart?
How easy thus forever to compound,
And ring new changes on recurring sound;
How easy, with a reasonable store
Of useful epithets repeated o'er,
Verb, substantive, and pronoun, to transpose,
And into tinkling metre hitch dull prose.
But I--who tremble o'er each word I use,
And all that do not aid the sense refuse,
Who cannot bear those phrases out of place
Which rhymers stuff into a vacant space--Ponder
my scrupulous verses o'er and o'er,
And when I write five words, oft blot out four.

Plague on the fool who taught us to confine
The swelling thought within a measured line;
Who first in narrow thraldom fancy pent,
And chained in rhyme each pinioned sentiment.
Without this toil, contentment's soothing balm
Might lull my languid soul in listless calm:
Like the smooth prebend how might I recline,
And loiter life in mirth and song and wine!
Roused by no labor, with no care opprest,
Pass all my nights in sleep, my days in rest.
My passions and desires obey the rein;
No mad ambition fires my temperate vein;
The schemes of busy greatness I decline,
Nor kneel in palaces at Fortune's shrine.
In short, my life had been supremely blest
If envious rhyme had not disturbed my rest:
But since this freakish fiend began to roll
His idle vapors o'er my troubled soul,
Since first I longed in polished verse to please,
And wrote with labor to be read with ease,
Nailed to my chair, day after day I pore
On what I write and what I wrote before;
Retouch each line, each epithet review,
Or burn the paper and begin anew.
While thus my labors lengthen into years,
I envy all the race of sonneteers.

Hail, happy Scudére! whose prolific brain
Brings forth a monthly volume without pain;
What though thy works, offending every rule,
Proclaim their author an insipid fool;
Still have they found, whate'er the critic says,
Traders to buy and emptier fools to praise.

And, truly, if in rhymes the couplets close,
What should it matter that the rest is prose?
Who stickles now for antiquated saws,
Or cramps his verses with pedantic laws?
The fool can welcome every word he meets,
With placid joy contemplating his feats;
And while each stanza swells his wondering breast
Admires them all, yet thinks the last the best.
But towering Genius, hopeless to attain
That unknown summit which he pants to gain,
Displeased himself, enchanting all beside,
Scorns each past effort that his strength supplied,
And filling every reader with delight,
Repents the hour when he began to write.

To you, who know how justly I complain,
To you I turn for medicine to my pain!
Grant me your talent, and impart your store,
Or teach me, Molière, how to rhyme no more.



arie Louis Gaston Boissier is known in Paris as one of the most prominent professors of the Collège de France, and to the outside world as the author of a number of scholarly books of essays, most of them on Roman subjects. Born at Nîmes in 1823, his life has been devoted entirely to literature. Soon after his graduation from the École Normale he was made professor of rhetoric at Angoulême, and later held the same position at Nîmes. He has received the degree of Doctor, and occupied a number of high positions, culminating in that of professor of Latin poetry in the Collège de France, which he still holds. His works have a high value in the world of scholars, and have won him the red ribbon of the Legion of Honor, as well as a seat in the Académie Française, which he entered in 1876. His best known works, 'Cicero et ses Amis' (Cicero and His Friends), was crowned by the Académie; and 'Proménades Archéologiques, Rome et Naples,' written in 1880, has been translated into English, as has also his life of Madame de Sévigné, which contains many charming bits of comment on the seventeenth century. As a biographer, and also as a historian, he is quiet and accurate--never dry. He has great charm of style, and writes with elegance, correctness, clearness, and originality. He contributes largely, also, to the Revue des Deux Mondes and to scientific publications.

Gaston Boissier.


From the 'Life of Madame de Sévigné'

The passages just cited appear so simple, and utter so naturally what we all experience, that they are read the first time without surprise. There seems nothing remarkable about them except this very simplicity and naturalness. Now, these are not the qualities which attract attention. It is difficult to appreciate them in works where they occur, and it is only by reading works where they are lacking that we realize all their importance. But here, as soon as we reflect, we are astonished to perceive that this great emotion is expressed in language strong, confident, and correct, with no hesitation and no bungling. The lively sequence of these complaints implies that they were poured forth all at once, in a single outburst; and yet the perfection of the style seems impossible of attainment without some study and some retouching. It is sometimes said that a strong passion at once creates the language to express it. I greatly doubt this. On the contrary, it seems to me that when the soul is violently agitated, the words by which we try to express our feelings always appear dull and cold; we are tempted to make use of exaggerated and far-fetched expressions in order to rise to the level of our sorrow or joy. Hence come sometimes excessive terms, discordant metaphors. We might be inclined to regard these as thought out at leisure and in cold blood, while on the contrary they are the product of the first impulse of the effort we instinctively make to find an expression corresponding to the intensity of our passion. There is nothing of this kind in Madame de Sévigné's letters; and however violent her grief may be, it always speaks in accurate and fitting language. This is a valuable quality, and one extremely rare. That we may not be surprised at finding it so highly developed in her, we need only remember what has just been said of the way in which she was unconsciously prepared to become a great writer.

Another characteristic of Madame de Sévigné's letters, not less remarkable, is that generally her most loving messages are cleverly expressed. I do not refer merely to certain isolated phrases that have sometimes appeared rather affected. "The north wind bound for Grignan makes me ache for your chest." "My dear, how the burden within you weighs me down!" "I dare not read your letters for fear of having read them." These are only occasional flashes; but almost always, when on the point of giving way to all her emotion, she gives her phrase an ingenious turn, she makes witty observations, is bright, pleasing, elegant. All this seems to some readers to proceed from a mind quite self-possessed, and not so far affected by passion as to be inattentive to elegant diction.

Just now I placed naturalness among Madame de Sévigné's leading qualities. There are those who are not of this opinion, and contend that naturalness is just the merit she most lacks; but we must define our meaning. Naturalness for each one is what is conformable to his nature; and as each one of us has a nature of his own very different from that of his neighbors, naturalness cannot be exactly the same in every instance. Moreover, education and habit give us each a second nature which often has more control over us than the original one. In the society in which Madame de Sévigné lived, people made a point of speaking wittily. The first few times one appeared in this society, it required a little study and effort to assume the same tone as the rest. One had to be on the watch for those pleasant repartees that, among the frequenters of the Rambouillet and Richelieu houses, gave the new-comer a good reputation; but after a while these happy sayings came unsought. To persons trained in such a school, what might at first sight appear subtle and refined is ordinary and natural. Whether they speak or write, their ideas take a certain form which is not the usual one; and bright, witty, and dainty phrases, which would require labor from others, occur to them spontaneously.

To be sure, I do not mean that Madame de Sévigné wrote well without knowing it. This is a thing of which a witty woman always has an inkling; and besides, her friends did not permit her to be ignorant of it. "Your letters are delightful," they told her, "and you are like your letters." It was all the easier to believe this, because she paid to herself in a whisper such compliments as others addressed to her aloud. One day, when she had recently written to her friend Dr. Bourdelot, she said to her daughter, "Brava! what a good answer I sent him! That is a foolish thing to say, but I had a good, wide-awake pen that day." It is very delightful to feel that one has wit, and we can understand how Madame de Sévigné might sometimes have yielded to this feeling with some satisfaction. In her most private correspondence, that in which she least thought of the public, we might note certain passages in which she takes pleasure in elaborating and decorating her thought, and in adding to it new details more and more dainty and ingenious. This she does without effort, to satisfy her own taste and to give herself the pleasure of expressing her thought agreeably. It has been remarked that good talkers are not sensitive to the praises of others only: they also wish to please themselves, independently of the public around them; and like to hear themselves talk. It might be said in the same sense that Madame de Sévigné sometimes likes to see herself write. This is one of those pretty artifices which in women do not exclude sincerity, and which may be united with naturalness. Copyrighted by A.C. McClurg and Company, Chicago.


From the (Life of Madame de Sévigné)

Studying the seventeenth century in the histories is one thing, and seeking to become acquainted with it by reading contemporary letters is another and a far different thing. The two procedures give rise to conflicting impressions. Historians, taking a bird's-eye view of their subject, portray its most general characteristics; they bring out only the prominent features, and sacrificing all the rest, draw pictures whose precision and simplicity captivate our minds. We finally get into the habit of seeing an epoch as they have painted it, and cannot imagine there was anything in it besides the qualities they specify. But when we read letters relating, without alteration or selection, events as they took place, the opinions of men and things we have drawn from the historians are greatly modified. We then perceive that good and evil are at all times mingled, and even that the proportions of the mixture vary less than one would think. Cousin says somewhere, "In a great age all is great." It is just the contrary that is true: there is no age so great that there is not much littleness about it; and if we undertake to study history we should expect this, so as not to reckon without our host. No epoch has been more celebrated, more admired, than the reign of Louis XIV.; there is danger lest the correspondence of Madame de Sévigné may much abate the warmth of our admiration. She is constantly telling strange stories that compel us to pause and reflect. When, in a society represented as so noble, so delicate, so regular, we meet with so many shameful disorders, so many ill-assorted households, so many persons whose fortunes are sustained only by dishonest expedients, with great lords buying and not paying, promising and not keeping their word, borrowing and never returning, kneeling before ministers and ministers' mistresses, cheating at play like M. de Cessac, living like Caderousse at the expense of a great lady, surrendering like Soubise a wife to the king, or like Villarceaux a niece, or insisting with Bussy that "the chariest of their honor should be delighted when such a good fortune befalls their family,"--it seems to me we have a right to conclude that people then were hardly our superiors; that perhaps in some points we are better than they were; and that in any case it is not worth while to set them up as models to the disparagement of our own times.

In one respect, however, they were unlike us. In those days there were certain subjects on which people were generally agreed, and these were precisely the subjects that now give rise to the greatest divisions,--religion and politics. Not that all were pious then,--far from it,--but almost all were believers, and almost none contested the principle of royal authority. To-day, religious belief and belief in monarchy are well-nigh extinct; and there are hardly any left of those commonly received opinions, escaped by none, impregnating all, breathed in like the air, and always found at the bottom of the heart on occasions of grave need, despite all the inward changes that experience has wrought. Is this a good or an evil? Should we rejoice at it or regret it? Each one will answer according to his character and inclinations. Daring minds that feel strong enough to form their own convictions are glad to be delivered from prejudices interfering with independence of opinion, glad to have free scope. But the rest, who form the vast majority, who are without such high aims, and whose life is moreover taken up with other cares, are troubled, uncertain, ill at ease, when they have to settle these great problems independently. They regret that they can no longer find the solutions all worked out, and sadly repeat with Jocelyn:--

"Ah, why was I born in days stormy and dread,
When the pilgrim of life hath no rest for his head;
When the way disappears; when the spent human mind,
Groping, doubting, still strives some new pathway to find,
Unable to trust in the hopes of the Old
Or to strike out a New from its perishing mold!"

This sort of anguish of spirit was unknown in the seventeenth century, as Madame de Sévigné's letters clearly show.


From 'The Country of Horace and Virgil'

It is very annoying that Horace, who has described with so many details the employment of his days while he remained in Rome, should not have thought it necessary to tell us as clearly how he spent his life in the country. The only thing we know with certainty is that he was very happy there: he for the first time tasted the pleasure of being a proprietor. "I take my meals," said he, "before household gods that are mine own" ("ante larem proprium vescor"). To have a hearth and domestic gods, to fix his life in a dwelling of which he was the master, was the greatest happiness that could befall a Roman. To enjoy it, Horace had waited until he was more than thirty years of age. We have seen that his domain, when he took possession of it, was very much neglected, and that the house was falling into ruins. He first had to build and plant. Do not let us pity him; these cares have their charms. One loves one's house when one has built or repaired it, and the very trouble our land costs us attaches us to it. He came to it as often as he could, and always with pleasure. Everything served him as a pretext to leave Rome. It was too hot there, or too cold; the Saturnalia were approaching--an unbearable time of the year, when all the town was out of doors; it was the moment to finish a work which Mæcenas had pressingly required. Well, how could anything good be done at Rome, where the noises of the street, the bustle of intercourse, the troublesome people one has to visit or receive, the bad verses one has to listen to, take up the best part of your time? So he put Plato with Menander into his portmanteau, took with him the work he had begun, promising to do wonders, and started for Tibur. But when he was at home, his good resolutions did not hold out. He had something to do quite different from shutting himself up in his study. He had to chat with his farmer, and superintend his laborers. He went to see them at work, and sometimes lent a hand himself. He dug the spade into the field, took out the stones, etc., to the great amusement of the neighbors, who marveled both at his ardor and his clumsiness:--

"Rident vicini glebas et saxa moventem."

In the evening he received at his table a few of the neighboring proprietors. They were honest folk, who did not speak ill of their neighbors, and who, unlike the fops of Rome, had not for sole topic of conversation the races or the theatre. They handled most serious questions, and their rustic wisdom found ready expression in proverbs and apologues. What pleased Horace above all at these country dinners was that etiquette was laughed at, that everything was simple and frugal, that one did not feel constrained to obey those silly laws which Varro had drawn up, and which had become the code of good company. Nobody thought of electing a king of the feast, to fix for the guests the number of cups that must be drained. Every one ate according to his hunger and drank according to his thirst. "They were," said Horace, "divine repasts" ("O noctes cenæque Deum").

Yet he did not always stay at home, however great the pleasure he felt in being there. This steady-going, regular man thought it right from time to time to put a little irregularity into one's life. Does not a Grecian sage--Aristotle, I think--recommend that one excess per month be indulged in, in the interest of health? It serves at least to break the round of habit. Such also was the opinion of Horace. Although the most moderate of men, he found it pleasant to commit an occasional wildness ("dulce est desipere in loco"). With age these outbursts had become less frequent, yet he still loved to break the sage uniformity of his existence by some pleasure jaunt. Then he returned to Præneste, to Baiæ, or to Tarentum, which he had loved so much in his youth. Once he was unfaithful to these old affections, and chose for the goal of his journey spots that were new to him. The occasion of the change was this: Antonius Musa, a Greek physician, had just cured Augustus of a dangerous illness, which it had been thought must prove fatal, by means of cold water. Hydrotherapeutics at once became fashionable. People deserted the thermal springs, formerly so much sought after, to go off to Clusium, to Gabii, into the mountains, where springs of icy water were found. Horace did like the rest. In the winter of the year 730, instead of going as usual towards Baiæ, he turned his little steed towards Salerno and Velia. This was the affair of a season. Next year Marullus, the Emperor's son-in-law and heir, falling very ill, Antonius Musa was hastily sent for, and applied his usual remedy. But the remedy no longer healed, and hydrotherapeutics, which had saved Augustus, did not prevent Marullus from dying. They were at once forsaken, and the sick again began following the road to Baiæ.

When Horace started on these extraordinary journeys, he took a change of diet. "At home," said he, "I can put up with anything; my Sabine table wine seems to me delicious; and I regale myself with vegetables from my garden seasoned with a slice of bacon. But when I have once left my house, I become more particular, and beans, beloved though they be of Pythagoras, no longer suffice me." So before starting in the direction of Salerno, where he did not often go, he takes the precaution to question one of his friends as to the resources of the country; whether one can get fish, hares, and venison there, that he may come back home again as fat as a Phæacian. Above all, he is anxious to know what is drunk in those parts. He wants a generous wine to make him eloquent, and "which will give him strength, and rejuvenate him in the eyes of his young Lucanian sweetheart." We see he pushes precaution a considerable length. He was not rich enough to possess a house of his own at Baiæ, Præneste, or Salerno, the spots frequented by all the Roman fashionable world, but he had his wonted lodgings ("deversoria nota"), where he used to put up. When Seneca was at Baiæ, he lived above a public bath, and he has furnished us a very amusing account of the sounds of all kinds that troubled his rest. Horace, who liked his ease and wished to be quiet, could not make a very long stay in those noisy places. His whim gratified, he returned as soon as possible to his peaceful house amid the fields, and I can well imagine that those few fatiguing weeks made it seem more pleasant and more sweet to him.

One cannot read his works carefully without noticing that his affection for his country estate goes on constantly increasing. At first, when he had passed a few weeks there, the memory of Rome used to re-awaken in his thoughts. Those large towns, which we hate when we are forced to live in them, have only to be left in order to be regretted! When Horace's slave, taking an unfair advantage of the liberty of the Saturnalia, tells his master so many unpleasant things, he reproaches him with never being pleased where he is:--

"Romæ rus optas, absentem villicus urbem
Tollis ad astra levis?"

He was himself very much vexed at his inconstancy, and accused himself of "only loving Rome when he was at Tibur, and only thinking of Tibur from the moment he found himself in Rome." However, he cured himself at last of this levity, which annoyed him so much. To this he bears witness in his own favor in the letter addressed to his farmer, where he strives to convince him that one may be happy without having a public-house next door. "As for me," he tells him, "thou knowest that I am self-consistent, and that each time hated business recalls me to Rome I leave this spot with sadness." He doubtless arranged matters so as to live more and more at his country house. He looked forward to a time when it would be possible for him scarcely ever to leave it, and counted upon it to enable him to bear more lightly the weight of his closing years.

They are heavy, whatever one may do, and age never comes without bringing many griefs. Firstly, the long-lived must needs leave many friends upon the way. Horace lost some to whom he was very tenderly attached. He had the misfortune to survive Virgil and Tibullus ten years. What regrets he must have felt on the death of the great poet, of whom he said he "knew no soul more bright, and had no better friend"! The great success of Virgil's posthumous work could only have half consoled him for his loss, for he regretted in him the man as well as the poet. He had also great cause to grieve for Mæcenas, whom he so dearly loved. This favorite of the Emperor, this king of fashion, whose fortune all men envied, finished by being very unhappy. It is all very well to take every kind of precaution in order to insure one's happiness--to fly from business, to seek pleasure, to amass wealth, to gather clever men about one, to surround one's self with all the charms of existence; however one may try to shut the door on them, troubles and sorrows find a way in. The saddest of it all is that Mæcenas was first unhappy through his own fault. Somewhat late in life this prudent, wise man had been foolish enough to marry a coquette, and to fall deeply in love with her. He had rivals, and among them the Emperor himself, of whom he dared not be jealous. He who had laughed so much at others afforded the Romans a comedy at his own expense. His time was passed in leaving Terentia and taking her back again. "He has been married more than a hundred times," said Seneca, "although he has had but one wife." To these domestic troubles illness was added. His health had never been good, and age and sorrows made it worse. Pliny tells us that he passed three whole years without being able to sleep. Enduring pain badly, he grieved his friends beyond measure by his groans. Horace, with whom he continually conversed about his approaching end, answered him in beautiful verses:--

"Thou, Mæcenas, die first! Thou, stay of my fortune, adornment of my life! The gods will not allow it, and I will not consent. Ah! if Fate, hastening its blows, should tear from me part of myself in thee, what would betide the other? What should I henceforth do, hateful unto myself, and but half of myself surviving?"

In the midst of these sorrows, Horace himself felt that he was growing old. The hour when one finds one's self face to face with age is a serious one. Cicero, when approaching it, tried to give himself courage in advance, and being accustomed to console himself for everything by writing, he composed his 'De Senectute,' a charming book in which he tries to deck the closing years of life with certain beauties. He had not to make use of the consolations which he prepared for himself, so we do not know whether he would have found them sufficient when the moment came. That spirit, so young, so full of life, would I fear have resigned itself with difficulty to the inevitable decadences of age. Nor did Horace love old age, and in his 'Ars Poetica' he has drawn a somewhat gloomy picture of it. He had all the more reason to detest it because it came to him rather early. In one of those passages where he so willingly gives us the description of his person, he tells us that his hair whitened quickly. As a climax of misfortune he had grown very fat, and being short, his corpulence was very unbecoming to him. Augustus, in a letter, compares him to one of those measures of liquids which are broader than they are high. If, in spite of these too evident signs which warned him of his age, he had tried to deceive himself, there was no lack of persons to disabuse him. There was the porter of Neæra, who no longer allowed his slave to enter; an affront which Horace was obliged to put up with without complaining. "My hair whitening," said he, "warns me not to quarrel. I should not have been so patient in the time of my boiling youth, when Plancus was consul." Then it was Neæra herself who declined to come when he summoned her, and again resigning himself with a good enough grace, the poor poet found that after all she was right, and that it was natural love should prefer youth to ripened age.

Quo blandæ juvenum te revocant preces."

Fortunately he was not of a melancholy disposition, like his friends Tibullus and Virgil. He even had opinions on the subject of melancholy which differ widely from ours. Whereas, since Lamartine, we have assumed the habit of regarding sadness as one of the essential elements of poetry, he thought on the contrary that poetry has the privilege of preventing us from being sad. "A man protected by the Muses," said he, "flings cares and sorrows to the winds to bear away." His philosophy had taught him not to revolt against inevitable ills. However painful they be, one makes them lighter by bearing them. So he accepted old age because it cannot be eluded, and because no means have yet been found of living long without growing old. Death itself did not frighten him. He was not of those who reconcile themselves to it as well as they can by never thinking about it. On the contrary, he counsels us to have it always in mind. "Think that the day which lights you is the last you have to live. The morrow will have more charm for you if you have not hoped to see it:"--

"Omnem crede diem tibi diluxisse supremum;
Grata superveniet quæ non sperabitur hora."

This is not, as might be supposed, one of those bravadoes of the timid, who shout before Death in order to deaden the sound of his footsteps. Horace was never more calm, more energetic, more master of his mind and of his soul, than in the works of his ripe age. The last lines of his that remain to us are the firmest and most serene he ever wrote.

Then, more than ever, must he have loved the little Sabine valley. When we visit these beautiful tranquil spots, we tell ourselves that they appear made to shelter the declining years of a sage. It seems as if with old servants, a few faithful friends, and a stock of well-chosen books, the time must pass there without sadness. But I must stop. Since Horace has not taken us into his confidence respecting his last years, and nobody after him has told us of them, we are reduced to form conjectures, and we should put as few of them as possible into the life of a man who loved truth so well.

Copyrighted by G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York.



r. Boker was a man of leisure by inheritance, and a scholar and author by training and choice. His work is usually deliberate, careful, and polished: the work of a man of solid culture, of much experience and knowledge of the world; of a man of dignity and social position, not a Bohemian. It is thoughtfully planned and carefully executed, but not written through inspiration or prompted by passion. Yet it does not lack vigor, nor are his puppets merely automata. His plays have life and force; and they are moreover good acting dramas. 'Francesca da Rimini' especially, with Lawrence Barrett in the role of Lanciotto, was decidedly successful on the stage. In keeping with the character of his work, the scenes of his plays are all laid in foreign countries and in other times: Portugal, England, Spain, and Italy are the fields in which his characters play their parts. His personages have an individuality of their own and are consistently drawn; the action is lively, the humor is natural and a needful foil to the tragedy.

George H. Boker.

Mr. Boker was fond of the sonnet, as poets are apt to be who have once yielded to its attraction, and he used it with much effect. But chiefly his poems of the Civil War will make his name remembered. His lyre responded sympathetically to the heroic deeds which characterized that conflict--not always with the smoothness and polish of his more studied work, but worthily, and in the spirit of the time.

He was born in Philadelphia, October 6th, 1823, and died there January 2d, 1890. He was graduated from Princeton in 1842, and after studying law and traveling for a number of years in Europe, settled down in his native city, where most of his life was spent. He was Minister to Turkey from 1871 to 1875, and Minister to Russia from 1875 to 1879. His first volume, 'The Lesson of Life and other Poems,' was published in 1847, and was followed by various plays.--'Calaynos,' 'Anne Boleyn,' 'The Betrothal,' 'Leonor de Guzman,' 'Francesca da Rimini,' etc., which, with some shorter pieces, were collected in 'Plays and Poems,' published in 1856. His 'Poems of the War' appeared in 1864, and still later a number of other volumes: 'Street Lyrics,' 'Our Heroic Themes' (1865), 'Königsmark' (1869), 'The Book of the Dead' (1882), a very close imitation of 'In Memoriam' in both matter and form, and 'Sonnets' (1886).


From 'Plays and Poems'

Port Hudson, May 27th, 1863.

Dark as the clouds of even,
Ranked in the western heaven,
Waiting the breath that lifts
All the dread mass, and drifts
Tempest and falling brand
Over a ruined land;--
So still and orderly,
Arm to arm, knee to knee,
Waiting the great event,
Stands the black regiment.

Down the long dusky line
Teeth gleam and eyeballs shine;
And the bright bayonet,
Bristling and firmly set,
Flashed with a purpose grand,
Long ere the sharp command
Of the fierce rolling drum
Told them their time had come,
Told them what work was sent
For the black regiment.

"Now," the flag-sergeant cried,
"Though death and hell betide,
Let the whole nation see
If we are fit to be
Free in this land; or bound
Down, like the whining hound,--
Bound with red stripes of pain
In our old chains again!"
Oh, what a shout there went
From the black regiment!

"Charge!" Trump and drum awoke,
Onward the bondmen broke;
Bayonet and sabre-stroke
Vainly opposed their rush.
Through the wild battle's crush,
With but one thought aflush,
Driving their lords like chaff,
In the guns' mouths they laugh;
Or at the slippery brands
Leaping with open hands,
Down they tear man and horse,
Down in their awful course;
Trampling with bloody heel
Over the crashing steel,
All their eyes forward bent,
Rushed the black regiment.

"Freedom!" their battle-cry,--
Freedom! or leave to die!"
Ah! and they meant the word,--
Not as with us 'tis heard,
Not a mere party shout:
They gave their spirits out;
Trusted the end to God,
And on the gory sod
Rolled in triumphant blood.
Glad to strike one free blow,
Whether for weal or woe;
Glad to breathe one free breath,
Though on the lips of death.

Praying--alas! in vain!--
That they might fall again,
So they could once more see
That bust to liberty!
This was what "freedom" lent
To the black regiment.

Hundreds on hundreds fell;
But they are resting well;
Scourges and shackles strong
Never shall do them wrong.
Oh, to the living few,
Soldiers, be just and true!

Hail them as comrades tried;
Fight with them side by side;
Never, in field or tent,
Scorn the black regiment!

     Copyright: permission of George Boker, Esq.


From 'Poems of the War'

March 8th, 1862

Brave Morris saw the day was lost;
   For nothing now remained,
On the wrecked and sinking Cumberland,
   But to save the flag unstained.

So he swore an oath in the sight of Heaven,--
   If he kept it the world can tell:--
"Before I strike to a rebel flag,
   I'll sink to the gates of hell!

"Here, take my sword; 'tis in my way;
   I shall trip o'er the useless steel;
For I'll meet the lot that falls to all
   With my shoulder at the wheel."

So the little negro took the sword;
   And oh, with what reverent care,
Following his master step by step,
   He bore it here and there!

A thought had crept through his sluggish brain,
   And shone in his dusky face,
That somehow--he could not tell just how--
   'Twas the sword of his trampled race.

And as Morris, great with his lion heart,
   Rushed onward from gun to gun,
The little negro slid after him,
   Like a shadow in the sun.

But something of pomp and of curious pride
   The sable creature wore,
Which at any time but a time like that
   Would have made the ship's crew roar.

Over the wounded, dying, and dead,
   Like an usher of the rod,
The black page, full of his mighty trust,
   With dainty caution trod.

No heed he gave to the flying ball,
   No heed to the bursting shell;
His duty was something more than life,
   And he strove to do it well.

Down, with our starry flag apeak,
   In the whirling sea we sank,
And captain and crew and the sword-bearer
   Were washed from the bloody plank.

They picked us up from the hungry waves;--
   Alas! not all!--"And where,
Where is the faithful negro lad?"--
   "Back oars! avast! look there!"

We looked; and, as Heaven may save my soul,
   I pledge you a sailor's word,
There, fathoms deep in the sea, he lay,
   Still grasping the master's sword!

We drew him out; and many an hour
   We wrought with his rigid form,
Ere the almost smothered spark of life
   By slow degrees grew warm.

The first dull glance that his eyeballs rolled
   Was down towards his shrunken hand;
And he smiled, and closed his eyes again
   As they fell on the rescued brand.

And no one touched the sacred sword,
   Till at length, when Morris came,
The little negro stretched it out,
   With his eager eyes aflame.

And if Morris wrung the poor boy's hand,
   And his words seemed hard to speak,
And tears ran down his manly cheeks,
   What tongue shall call him weak?

This and the sonnets on next page are copyrighted, and used by permission of George Boker, Esq.


Either the sum of this sweet mutiny
  Amongst thy features argues me some harm,
  Or else they practice wicked treachery
Against themselves, thy heart, and hapless me.
  For as I start aside with blank alarm,
  Dreading the glitter which begins to arm
Thy clouded brows, lo! from thy lips I see
A smile come stealing, like a loaded bee,
Heavy with sweets and perfumes, all ablaze
  With soft reflections from the flowery wall
Whereon it pauses. Yet I will not raise
  One question more, let smile or frown befall,
Taxing thy love where I should only praise,
  And asking changes that might change thee all.

Oh for some spirit, some magnetic spark,
  That used nor word, nor rhyme, nor balanced pause
  Of doubtful phrase, which so supinely draws
My barren verse, and blurs love's shining mark
With misty fancies!--Oh! to burst the dark
  Of smothered feeling with some new-found laws,
  Hidden in nature, that might bridge the flaws
Between two beings, end this endless cark,
And make hearts know what lips have never said!
  Oh! for some spell, by which one soul might move
With echoes from another, and dispread
  Contagious music through its chords, above
The touch of mimic art: that thou might'st tread
  Beneath thy feet this wordy show of love!

Here let the motions of the world be still!--
  Here let Time's fleet and tireless pinions stay
  Their endless flight!--or to the present day
Bind my Love's life and mine. I have my fill
Of earthly bliss: to move is to meet ill.
  Though lavish fortune in my path might lay
  Fame, power, and wealth,--the toys that make the play
Of earth's grown children,--I would rather till
The stubborn furrows of an arid land,
  Toil with the brute, bear famine and disease,
  Drink bitter bondage to the very lees,
Than break our union by love's tender band,
Or drop its glittering shackles from my hand,
  To grasp at empty glories such as these.




aint Bonaventura, whose original name was Giovanni di Fidenza, was born at Bagnaréa in Tuscany in 1221. At the age of four he was attacked by a severe illness, during which his mother appealed to St. Francis for his prayers, promising that if the child recovered, he should be devoted to God and become one of Francis's followers. When the child did recover, the saint, seeing him, exclaimed "O bona ventura!" a name which clung to the boy ever afterwards, and under which he entered religion and the order of St. Francis in 1243.

Soon after, he went to the then world-renowned university of Paris, where he had for his teacher an Englishman, Alexander of Hales, the first of the schoolmen who studied the whole of Aristotle's works, and attempted to construct a Christian theology on the basis of them. Even at this time the young Italian's life was so saintly that his master (so it is reported) said of him that he seemed to have been born without the taint of original sin. He graduated in the same year as Thomas Aquinas, and immediately afterward began his career as a public teacher under the auspices of the Franciscan order, while Thomas did the same under those of the Dominican. These two men, the greatest of the schoolmen, and the sweetest and sanest of the mystics, were bosom friends; and one can hardly imagine a loftier friendship.

In 1256, at the early age of thirty-five, he became general of his order, a post which he held till his death. He did much to ennoble and purify the order, and to bring it back to orthodoxy, from which then, as nearly always, it was strongly inclined to swerve. In 1265 Clement V. nominated him to the see of York; but Bonaventura, unwilling probably to face so rude a climate and people, persuaded the Pope to withdraw the nomination. A few years later, under Gregory X., he was raised to the cardinalate and appointed bishop of Albano. In 1274 he attended the Council of Lyons, and must have been deeply affected when he learned that Thomas Aquinas had died on his way thither. The success of the efforts of the council to come to terms with the Greeks was mainly due to him.

This was Bonaventura's last work on earth. He died before the council was over, and was honored with a funeral whose solemnity and magnificence have seldom been equaled. It was attended by the Pope, the Eastern Emperor, the King of Aragon, the patriarchs of Antioch and Constantinople, and a large number of bishops and priests. His relics were preserved with much reverence by the Lyonnese until the sixteenth century, when the Huguenots threw them into the Saône. In 1482 he was canonized by Sixtus IV., and in 1588 declared a doctor of the Church by Sixtus V. Dante places him in the Heaven of the Sun.

Bonaventura is the sweetest and tenderest of all the mediæval saints. His mode of teaching was so inspiring that even in his lifetime he was known as the "Seraphic Doctor." He was a voluminous writer, his works in the Lyons edition of 1688 filling seven folio volumes. They consist largely of sermons, and commentaries on the Scriptures and the 'Sentences' of Peter the Lombard. Besides these, there is a number of 'Opuscula,' mostly of a mystic or disciplinary tendency. Most famous among these are the 'Breviloquium,' perhaps the best compend of mediæval Christian theology in existence; and the 'Itinerarium Mentis in Deum,' a complete manual of mysticism, such as was aspired to by the noblest of the mystics; a work worthy to be placed beside the 'Imitation of Christ,' though of a different sort.

Bonaventura was above all things a mystic; that is, he belonged to that class of men, numerous in many ages, who, setting small store by the world of appearance open to science, and even by science itself, seek by asceticism, meditation, and contemplation to attain a vision of the world of reality, and finally of the supreme reality, God himself. Such mysticism is almost certainly derived from the far East; but so far as Europe is concerned it owes its origin mainly to Plato, and his notion of a world of ideas distinct from the real world, lying outside of all mind, and attainable only by strict mental discipline. This notion, simplified by Aristotle into the notion of a transcendent God, eternally thinking himself, was developed into a hierarchic system of being by the Neo-Platonists, Plotinus, Porphyry, etc., and from them passed into the Christian Church, partly through Augustine and the Pseudo-Dionysius Areopagita (q.v.), and partly through the Muslim and Jewish thinkers of later times. Though at first regarded with suspicion by the Western Church, it was too closely interwoven with Latin Christianity, and too germane to the spirit of monasticism, not to become popular. Its influence was greatly strengthened by the mighty personality of that prince of mystics, St. Bernard (1091-1153), from whom it passed on to the monastery school of St. Victor in Paris, where it was worthily represented by the two great names of Hugo (1096-1141) and Richard (1100?-1173). From the writings of these, and from such works as the 'Liber de Causis,' recently introduced into Europe through the Muslim, Bonaventura derived that mystical system which he elaborated in his 'Itinerarium' and other works.

A magnificent edition of his works is now being edited by the fathers of the College of St. Bonaventura, at Quaracchi, near Florence (1882-). There is a small, very handy edition of the 'Breviloquium' and 'Itinerarium' together, by Hefele (Tübingen, 1861).


But since, as regards the mirror of sensible things, we may contemplate God not only through them as through footprints, but also in them in so far as he is in them by essence, power, and presence,--and this consideration is loftier than the preceding; therefore this kind of consideration occupies the second place, as the second grade of contemplation, whereby we must be guided to the contemplation of God in all created things which enter our minds through the bodily senses.

We must observe, therefore, that this sensible world, which is called the macrocosm--that is, the long world--enters into our soul, which is called the microcosm--that is, the little world--through the gates of the five senses, as regards the apprehension, delectation, and distinction of these sensible things; which is manifest in this way:--In the sensible world some things are generant, others are generated, and others direct both these. Generant are the simple bodies; that is, the celestial bodies and the four elements. For out of the elements, through the power of light, reconciling the contrariety of elements in things mixed, are generated and produced whatever things are generated and produced by the operation of natural power. Generated are the bodies composed of the elements, as minerals, vegetables, sensible things, and human bodies. Directing both these and those are the spiritual substances: whether altogether conjunct, like the souls of the brutes; or separably conjunct, like rational souls; or altogether separate, like the celestial spirits; which the philosophers call Intelligences, we Angels. On these, according to the philosophers, it devolves to move the heavenly bodies; and for this reason the administration of the universe is ascribed to them, as receiving from the First Cause--that is, God--that inflow of virtue which they pour forth again in relation to the work of government, which has reference to the natural consistence of things. But according to the theologians the direction of the universe is ascribed to these same beings, as regards the works of redemption, with respect to which they are called "ministering spirits, sent forth to do service for the sake of them that shall inherit salvation."

Man, therefore, who is called the lesser world, has five senses, like five gates, through which the knowledge of all the things that are in the sensible world enters into his soul. For through sight there enter the sublime and luminous bodies and all other colored things; through touch, solid and terrestrial bodies; through the three intermediate senses, the intermediate bodies; through taste, the aqueous; through hearing, the aërial; through smell, the vaporable, which have something of the humid, something of the aërial, and something of the fiery or hot, as is clear from the fumes that are liberated from spices. There enter, therefore, through these doors not only the simple bodies, but also the mixed bodies compounded of these. Seeing then that with sense we perceive not only these particular sensibles--light, sound, odor, savor, and the four primary qualities which touch apprehends--but also the common sensibles--number, magnitude, figure, rest, and motion; and seeing that everything which moves is moved by something else, and certain things move and rest of themselves, as do the animals; in apprehending through these five senses the motions of bodies, we are guided to the knowledge of spiritual motions, as by an effect to the knowledge of causes.

In the three classes of things, therefore, the whole of this sensible world enters the human soul through apprehension. These external sensible things are those which first enter into the soul through the gates of the five senses. They enter, I say, not through their substances, but through their similitudes, generated first in the medium, and from the medium in the external organ, and from the external organ in the internal organ, and from this in the apprehensive power; and thus generation in the medium, and from the medium in the organ, and the direction of the apprehensive power upon it, produce the apprehension of all those things which the soul apprehends externally.

This apprehension, if it is directed to a proper object, is followed by delight. The sense delights in the object perceived through its abstract similitude, either by reason of its beauty, as in vision, or by reason of its sweetness, as in smell and hearing, or by reason of its healthfulness, as in taste and touch, properly speaking. But all delight is by reason of proportion. But since species is the ground of form, power, and action, according as it has reference to the principle from which it emanates, the medium into which it passes, or the term upon which it acts, therefore proportion is observed in three things. It is observed in similitude, inasmuch as it forms the ground of species or form, and so is called speciosity, because beauty is nothing but numerical equality, or a certain disposition of parts accompanied with sweetness of color. It is observed in so far as it forms the ground of power or virtue, and thus is called sweetness, when the active virtue does not disproportionally exceed the recipient virtue, because the sense is depressed by extremes, and delighted by means. It is observed in so far as it forms the ground of efficacy and impression, which is proportional when the agent, in impressing, satisfies the need of the patient, and this is to preserve and nourish it, as appears chiefly in taste and touch. And thus we see how, by pleasure, external delightful things enter through similitude into the soul, according to the threefold method of delectation.

After this apprehension and delight there comes discernment, by which we not only discern whether this thing be white or black (because this alone belongs to the outer sense), and whether this thing be wholesome or hurtful (because this belongs to the inner sense), but also discern why this delights and give a reason therefor. And in this act we inquire into the reason of the delight which is derived by the sense from the object. This happens when we inquire into the reason of the beautiful, the sweet, and the wholesome, and discover that it is a proportion of equality. But a ratio of equality is the same in great things and in small. It is not extended by dimensions; it does not enter into succession, or pass with passing things; it is not altered by motions. It abstracts therefore from place, time, and motion; and for this reason it is immutable, uncircumscribable, interminable, and altogether spiritual. Discernment, then, is an action which, by purifying and abstracting, makes the sensible species, sensibly received through the senses, enter into the intellective power. And thus the whole of this world enters into the human soul by the gates of the five senses, according to the three aforesaid activities.

All these things are footprints, in which we may behold our God. For, since an apprehended species is a similitude generated in a medium and then impressed upon the organ, and through that impression leads to the knowledge of its principle,--that is, of its object,--it manifestly implies that that eternal light generates from itself a similitude or splendor co-equal, consubstantial, and co-eternal; and that He who is the image and similitude of the invisible God, and the splendor of the glory, and the figure of the substance which is everywhere, generates by his first generation of himself his own similitude in the form of an object in the entire medium, unites himself by the grace of union to the individual of rational nature, as a species to a bodily organ, so that by this union he may lead us back to the Father as the fontal principle and object. If therefore all cognizable things generate species of themselves, they clearly proclaim that in them, as in mirrors, may be seen the eternal generation of the Word, the Image, and the Son, eternally emanating from God the Father....

Since therefore all things are beautiful, and in a certain way delightful, and since beauty and delight are inseparable from proportion, and proportion is primarily in numbers, all things must of necessity be full of number. For this reason, number is the chief exemplar in the mind of the artificer, and in things the chief footprint leading to wisdom. Since this is most manifest to all and most close to God, it leads us most closely and by seven differences to God, and makes him known in all things, corporeal and sensible. And while we apprehend numerical things, we delight in numerical proportions, and judge irrefragably by the laws of these....

For every creature is by nature an effigy and similitude of that eternal Wisdom: but especially so is that creature which in the book of Scriptures was assumed by the spirit of prophecy for the prefiguration of spiritual things; more especially those creatures in whose effigy God was willing to appear for the angelic ministry; and most especially that creature which he was willing to set forth as a sign, and which plays the part not only of a sign, as that word is commonly used, but also of a sacrament.




eorge Borrow lived eight-and-seventy years and published ten books. In his veins was mingled the blood of Cornwall and of Normandy; but though proud of this strain, he valued still more that personal independence which, together with his love of strange tongues and his passion for outdoor life, molded his career. His nature was mystical and eccentric, and he sometimes approached--though he never crossed--the confines of insanity; yet his instincts were robust and plain, he was an apostle of English ale and a master of the art of self-defense, he was an uncompromising champion of the Church of England and the savage foe of Papistry, he despised "kid-glove gentility" in life and literature, and delighted to make his spear ring against the hollow shield of social convention. A nature so complicated and individual, so outspoken and aggressive, could not slip smoothly along the grooves of civilized existence; he was soundly loved and hated, but seldom, or never understood. And the obstinate pride which gave projection to most of his virtues was also at the bottom of his faults: he better liked to perplex than to open himself to his associates; he willfully repelled where he might have captivated, Some human element was wanting in him: he was strong, masculine, subtle, persistent; of a lofty and austere spirit; too proud even to be personally ambitious; gifted with humor and insight; fearless and faithful;--but no tenderness, no gentleness, no inviting human warmth ever appears in him; and though he could reverence women, and admire them, and appreciate them also from the standpoint of the senses, they had no determining sway over his life or thought. If there be any man in English history whom such a summary of traits as this recalls, it is Dean Swift. Nevertheless Borrow's differences from him are far greater than the resemblances between them. Giant force was in both of them; both were enigmas; but the deeper we penetrate into Borrow, the more we like him; not so with the blue-eyed Dean. Borrow's depths are dark and tortuous, but never miasmic; and as we grope our way through them, we may stumble upon treasures, but never upon rottenness.

George Borrow.

A man who can be assigned to no recognized type--who flocks by himself, as the saying is--cannot easily be portrayed: we lose the main design in our struggle with the details. Indeed, no two portraits of such a man can be alike: they will vary according to the temperament and limitations of the painter. It is safe to assert, however, that insatiable curiosity was at the base both of his character and of his achievements. Instincts he doubtless had in plenty, but no intuitions; everything must be construed to him categorically. But his capacity keeps pace with his curiosity; he promptly assimilates all he learns, and he can forget nothing. Probably this investigating passion had its cause in his own unlikeness to the rest of us: he was as a visitor from another planet, pledged to send home reports of all he saw here. His success in finding strange things is prodigious: his strange eye detects oddities and beauties to which we to the manner born were strange. Adventures attend him everywhere, as the powers of earth and air on Prospero. Here comes the King of the Vipers, the dry stubble crackling beneath his outrageous belly; yonder the foredoomed sailor promptly fulfills his own prediction, falling from the yard-arm into the Bay of Biscay; anon the ghastly visage of Mrs. Herne, of the Hairy Ones, glares for a moment out of the midnight hedge; again, a mysterious infatuation drives the wealthy idler from his bed out into the inclement darkness, and up to the topmost bough of the tree, which he must "touch" ere he can rest; and now, in the gloom of the memorable dingle, the horror of fear falls upon the amateur tinker, the Evil One grapples terribly with his soul, blots of foam fly from his lips, and he is dashed against the trees and stones. An adventure, truly, fit to stand with any of mediæval legend, and compared with which the tremendous combat with Blazing Bosville, the Flaming Tinman, is almost a relief. But in what perilous Faery Land forlorn do all these and a thousand more strange and moving incidents take place?--Why, in the quiet lanes and byways of nineteenth-century England, or perchance in priest-ridden Spain, where the ordinary traveler can for the life of him discover nothing more startling than beef and beer, garlic and crucifixes. Adventures are in the adventurer.

Man and nature were Borrow's study, but England was his love. In him exalted patriotism touches its apogee. How nobly and uncompromisingly is he jealous of her honor, her glory, and her independence! In what eloquent apostrophes does he urge her to be true to her lofty traditions, to trample on base expediency and cleave to the brave and true! In what resounding jeremiads does he denounce woe upon her traitors and seducers! With what savage sarcasm and scorn does he dissect the soul of the "man in black"! No other writing more powerful, picturesque, and idiomatic has been done in this century. He will advocate no policy less austere than purity, courage, and truth. There is in his zeal a narrowness that augments its strength, yet lessens its effect so far as practical issues are concerned. He is an idealist: but surely no young man can read his stern, throbbing pages without a kindling of the soul, and a resolve to be high in deed and aim; and there is no gauging the final influence of such spiritual stimulus. England and mankind must be better for this lonely, indignant voice.

England, and England's religion, and the Bible in its integrity,--these are the controlling strings of Borrow's harp. Yet he had his youthful period of religious doubt and philosophic sophism: has he not told how walls and ceilings rang with the "Hey!" of the man with the face of a lion, when the gray-haired boy intimated his skepticism? But vicissitudes of soul and body, aided by the itinerant Welsh preacher, cleansed him of these errors, and he undertook and carried through the famous crusade recorded in 'The Bible in Spain'--a narrative of adventure and devotion which fascinated and astonished England, and sets its author abreast of the great writers of his time. It is as irresistible to-day as it was fifty years ago: it stands alone; only Trelawny's 'Adventures of a Younger Son' can be compared with it as narrative, and Trelawny's book lacks the grand central feature which gives dignity and unity to Borrow's. Being a story of fact, 'The Bible in Spain' lacks much of the literary art and felicity, as well as the imaginative charm, of 'Lavengro'; but within its own scope it is great, and nothing can supersede it.

Gipsydom in all its aspects, though logically a side-issue with Borrow, was nevertheless the most noticeable thing relating to him: it engaged and colored him on the side of his temperament; and in the picture we form of a man, temperament tells far more than intellect because it is more individual. Later pundits have called in question the academic accuracy of Borrow's researches in the Romany language: but such frettings are beside the mark; Borrow is the only genuine expounder of Gipsyness that ever lived. He laid hold of their vitals, and they of his; his act of brotherhood with Mr. Jasper Petulengro is but a symbol of his mystical alliance with the race. This is not to say that he fathomed the heart of their mystery; the gipsies themselves cannot do that: but he comprehended whatever in them is open to comprehension, and his undying interest in them is due not only to his sympathy with their way of life, but to the fact that his curiosity about them could never be quite satisfied. Other mysteries come and go, but the gipsy mystery stays with us, and was to Borrow a source of endless content. For after sharpening his wits on the ethnological riddle, he could refresh himself with the psychical aspect of the matter, discovering in them the incarnation of one essential human quality, incompletely present in all men. They are the perfect vagabonds; but the germ of vagabondage inheres in mankind at large, and is the source of the changes that have resulted in what we call civilization. Borrow's nature comprised the gipsy, but the gipsy by no means comprised him; he wandered like them, but the object of his wanderings was something more than to tell dukkeripens, poison pigs, mend kettles, or deal in horseflesh. Therefore he puzzled them more than they did him.

'The Gipsies of Spain' (1841) was his first book about them; 'Lavengro' came ten years later, and 'Romany Rye' six years after that. In 1874 he returns to the subject in 'Roman Lavo-lil,' a sort of dictionary and phrase-book of the language, but unlike any other dictionary and phrase-book ever conceived: it is well worth reading as a piece of entertaining literature. His other books are translations of Norse and Welsh poetry, and a book of travels in 'Wild Wales,' published in 1862. All these works are more than readable: the translations, though rugged and unmusical, have about them a frank sensuousness and a primitive force that are amusing and attractive. But after all, Borrow is never thoroughly himself in literature unless the gipsies are close at hand; and of all his gipsy books 'Lavengro' is by far the best. Indeed, it is so much the best and broadest thing that he produced, that the reader who would know Borrow need never go beyond these pages. In 'Lavengro' we get the culmination of both the author and the man; it is his book in the full sense, and may afford profitable study to any competent reader for a lifetime.

'Lavengro,' in fact, is like nothing else in either biography or fiction--and it is both fictitious and biographical. It is the gradual revelation of a strange, unique being. But the revelation does not proceed in an orderly and chronological fashion: it is not begun in the first chapter, and still less is it completed in the last. After a careful perusal of the book, you will admit that though it has fascinated and impressed you, you have quite failed to understand it. Why is the author so whimsical? Wherefore these hinted but unconfessed secrets? Why does he stop short on the brink of an important disclosure, and diverge under cover of a line of asterisks into another subject?--But Borrow in 'Lavengro' is not constructing a book, he is creating one. He has the reserves of a man who respects his own nature, yet he treats the reader fairly. If you are worthy to be his friend, by-and-by you will see his heart,--look again, and yet again! That passage in a former chapter was incomplete; but look ahead a hundred pages and consider a paragraph there: by itself it seems to say little; but gradually you recognize in it a part of the inwoven strand which disappears in one part of the knot and emerges in another. Though you cannot solve the genial riddle to-day, you may to-morrow. The only clue is sympathy. This man hides his heart for him who has the mate to it; and beneath the whimsical, indifferent, proud, and cold exterior, how it heaves and fears and loves and wonders! This is a wild, unprecedented, eloquent, mysterious, artistic yet artless book; it is alive; it tells of an existence apart, yet in contact with the deep things of all human experience. No other man ever lived as Borrow did, and yet his book is an epitome of life. The magic of his personal quality beguiles us on every page; but deeper still lie the large, immutable traits that make all men men, and avouch the unity of mankind.

'Romany Rye' is the continuation of 'Lavengro,' but scarcely repeats its charm; its most remarkable feature is an 'Appendix,' in which Borrow expounds his views upon things in general, including critics and politics. It is a marvelously trenchant piece of writing, and from the literary point of view delightful; but it must have hurt a good many people's feelings at the time it was published, and even now shows the author on his harsh side only. We may agree with all he says, and yet wish he had uttered it in a less rasping tone.

Like nearly all great writers, Borrow, in order to get his best effects, must have room for his imagination. Mere fact would not rouse him fully, and abstract argument still less. In 'Lavengro' he hit upon his right vein, and he worked it in the fresh maturity of his power. The style is Borrow's own, peculiar to him: eloquent, rugged, full of liturgical repetitions, shunning all soft assonances and refinements, and yet with remote sea-like cadences, and unhackneyed felicities that rejoice the jaded soul. Writing with him was spontaneous, but never heedless or unconsidered; it was always the outcome of deep thought and vehement feeling. Other writers and their books may be twain, but Borrow and his books are one. Perhaps they might be improved in art, or arrangement, or subject; but we should no longer care for them then, because they would cease to be Borrow. Borrow may not have been a beauty or a saint; but a man he was; and good or bad, we would not alter a hair of him.

Nothing like an adequate biography of Borrow has ever been published: a few dates, and some more or less intelligent opinions about his character and work, are the sum of what we know of him--outside his own books. Some of the dates are probably guess-work; most of the opinions are incompetent: it is time that some adequate mind assembled all available materials and digested them into a satisfactory book. It is hardly worth while to review the few meagre details. Borrow was born in 1803 and died in 1881; his father, a soldier, failed to make a solicitor of him, and the youth, at his father's death, came up to London to live or die by literature. After much hardship (of which the chapters in 'Lavengro' describing the production of 'Joseph Sell' convey a hint), he set out on a wandering pilgrimage over England, Europe, and the East. As agent for the British and Foreign Bible Society he traversed Spain and Portugal, sending to the Morning Herald letters descriptive of his adventures, which afterwards were made the substance of his books. He married at thirty-seven, and lived at Outton Broad nearly all his life after. His wife died a dozen years before him, in 1869. She left no children.

His first book, a translation of Klinger's 'Faust,' appeared in 1825; his last, 'The Gipsy Dictionary,' in 1874; a volume called 'Penquite and Pentyre,' on Cornwall, was announced in 1857, but seems never to have been published, 'Targum,' a collection of translations from thirty languages and dialects, was a tour de force belonging to the year 1835. On the whole, Borrow was not a voluminous writer; but what he wrote tells.


From 'Lavengro'

"What horse is that?" said I to a very old fellow, the counterpart of the old man on the pony, save that the last wore a faded suit of velveteen, and this one was dressed in a white frock.

"The best in mother England," said the very old man, taking a knobbed stick from his mouth, and looking me in the face, at first carelessly, but presently with something like interest; "he is old like myself, but can still trot his twenty miles an hour. You won't live long, my swain; tall and overgrown ones like thee never do: yet, if you should chance to reach my years, you may boast to thy great-grand-boys, thou hast seen Marshland Shales."

Amain I did for the horse what I would neither do for earl or baron, doffed my hat; yes! I doffed my hat to the wondrous horse, the fast trotter, the best in mother England; and I too drew a deep ah! and repeated the words of the old fellows around. "Such a horse as this we shall never see again: a pity that he is so old."

Now, during all this time I had a kind of consciousness that I had been the object of some person's observation; that eyes were fastened upon me from somewhere in the crowd. Sometimes I thought myself watched from before, sometimes from behind; and occasionally methought that if I just turned my head to the right or left, I should meet a peering and inquiring glance; and indeed, once or twice I did turn, expecting to see somebody whom I knew, yet always without success; though it appeared to me that I was but a moment too late, and that some one had just slipped away from the direction to which I turned, like the figure in a magic lantern. Once I was quite sure that there were a pair of eyes glaring over my right shoulder; my attention, however, was so fully occupied with the objects which I have attempted to describe, that I thought very little of this coming and going, this flitting and dodging of I knew not whom or what. It was after all a matter of sheer indifference to me who was looking at me. I could only wish whomsoever it might be to be more profitably employed, so I continued enjoying what I saw; and now there was a change in the scene: the wondrous old horse departed with his aged guardian; other objects of interest are at hand. Two or three men on horseback are hurrying through the crowd; they are widely different in their appearance from the other people of the fair--not so much in dress, for they are clad something after the fashion of rustic jockeys, but in their look: no light-brown hair have they, no ruddy cheeks, no blue quiet glances belong to them; their features are dark, the locks long, black, and shining, and their eyes are wild; they are admirable horsemen, but they do not sit the saddle in the manner of common jockeys, they seem to float or hover upon it like gulls upon the waves; two of them are mere striplings, but the third is a very tall man with a countenance heroically beautiful, but wild, wild, wild. As they rush along, the crowd give way on all sides, and now a kind of ring or circus is formed, within which the strange men exhibit their horsemanship, rushing past each other, in and out, after the manner of a reel, the tall man occasionally balancing himself upon the saddle, and standing erect on one foot. He had just regained his seat after the latter feat, and was about to push his horse to a gallop, when a figure started forward close from beside me, and laying his hand on his neck, and pulling him gently downward, appeared to whisper something into his ear; presently the tall man raised his head, and scanning the crowd for a moment in the direction in which I was standing, fixed his eyes full upon me; and anon the countenance of the whisperer was turned, but only in part, and the side-glance of another pair of wild eyes was directed towards my face; but the entire visage of the big black man, half-stooping as he was, was turned full upon mine.

But now, with a nod to the figure who had stopped him, and with another inquiring glance at myself, the big man once more put his steed into motion, and after riding round the ring a few more times, darted through a lane in the crowd, and followed by his two companions, disappeared; whereupon the figure who had whispered to him, and had subsequently remained in the middle of the space, came towards me, and cracking a whip which he held in his hand so loudly that the report was nearly equal to that of a pocket-pistol, he cried in a strange tone:--

"What! the sap-engro? Lor! the sap-engro upon the hill!"

"I remember that word," said I, "and I almost think I remember you. You can't be--"

"Jasper, your pal! Truth, and no lie, brother."

"It is strange that you should have known me," said I. "I am certain, but for the word you used, I should never have recognized you."

"Not so strange as you may think, brother: there is something in your face which would prevent people from forgetting you, even though they might wish it; and your face is not much altered since the time you wot of, though you are so much grown. I thought it was you, but to make sure I dodged about, inspecting you. I believe you felt me, though I never touched you; a sign, brother, that we are akin, that we are dui palor--two relations. Your blood beat when mine was near, as mine always does at the coming of a brother; and we became brothers in that lane."

"And where are you staying?" said I: "in this town?"

"Not in the town; the like of us don't find it exactly wholesome to stay in towns: we keep abroad. But I have little to do here--come with me, and I'll show you where we stay."

We descended the hill in the direction of the north, and passing along the suburb reached the old Norman bridge, which we crossed; the chalk precipice, with the ruin on its top, was now before us; but turning to the left we walked swiftly along, and presently came to some rising ground, which ascending, we found ourselves upon a wild moor or heath.

"You are one of them," said I, "whom people call--"

"Just so," said Jasper; "but never mind what people call us."

"And that tall handsome man on the hill, whom you whispered: I suppose he's one of ye. What is his name?"

"Tawno Chikno," said Jasper, "which means the small one; we call him such because he is the biggest man of all our nation. You say he is handsome--that is not the word, brother; he's the beauty of the world. Women run wild at the sight of Tawno. An earl's daughter, near London--a fine young lady with diamonds round her neck--fell in love with Tawno. I have seen that lass on a heath, as this may be, kneel down to Tawno, clasp his feet, begging to be his wife--or anything else--if she might go with him. But Tawno would have nothing to do with her: 'I have a wife of my own,' said he, 'a lawful Romany wife, whom I love better than the whole world, jealous though she sometimes be.'"

"And is she very beautiful?" said I.

"Why, you know, brother, beauty is frequently a matter of taste; however, as you ask my opinion, I should say not quite so beautiful as himself."

We had now arrived at a small valley between two hills, or downs, the sides of which were covered with furze; in the midst of this valley were various carts and low tents forming a rude kind of encampment; several dark children were playing about, who took no manner of notice of us. As we passed one of the tents, however, a canvas screen was lifted up, and a woman supported upon a crutch hobbled out. She was about the middle age, and besides being lame, was bitterly ugly; she was very slovenly dressed, and on her swarthy features ill-nature was most visibly stamped. She did not deign me a look, but addressing Jasper in a tongue which I did not understand, appeared to put some eager questions to him.

"He's coming," said Jasper, and passed on. "Poor fellow," said he to me, "he has scarcely been gone an hour, and she is jealous already. Well," he continued, "what do you think of her? you have seen her now, and can judge for yourself--that 'ere woman is Tawno Chikno's wife!"

We went to the farthest of the tents, which stood at a slight distance from the rest, and which exactly resembled the one which I have described on a former occasion; we went in and sat down, one on each side of a small fire which was smoldering on the ground; there was no one else in the tent but a tall tawny woman of middle age, who was busily knitting. "Brother," said Jasper, "I wish to hold some pleasant discourse with you."

"As much as you please," said I, "provided you can find anything pleasant to talk about."

"Never fear," said Jasper; "and first of all we will talk of yourself. Where have you been all this long time?"

"Here and there," said I, "and far and near, going about with the soldiers; but there is no soldiering now, so we have sat down, father and family, in the town there."

"And do you still hunt snakes?" said Jasper.

"No," said I, "I have given up that long ago; I do better now: read books and learn languages."

"Well, I am sorry you have given up your snake-hunting; many's the strange talk I have had with our people about your snake and yourself, and how you frightened my father and mother in the lane."

"And where are your father and mother?"

"Where I shall never see them, brother; at least, I hope so."

"Not dead?"

"No, not dead; they are bitchadey pawdel."

"What's that?"

"Sent across--banished."

"Ah! I understand; I am sorry for them. And so you are here alone?"

"Not quite alone, brother."

"No, not alone; but with the rest--Tawno Chikno takes care of you."

"Takes care of me, brother!"

"Yes, stands to you in the place of a father--keeps you out of harm's way."

"What do you take me for, brother?"

"For about three years older than myself."

"Perhaps; but you are of the gorgios, and I am a Romany Chal. Tawno Chikno take care of Jasper Petulengro!"

"Is that your name?"

"Don't you like it?"

"Very much, I never heard a sweeter; it is something like what you call me."

"The horseshoe master and the snake-fellow--I am the first."

"Who gave you that name?"

"Ask Pharaoh."

"I would if he were here, but I do not see him."

"I am Pharaoh."

"Then you are a king."

"Chachipen Pal."

"I do not understand you."

"Where are your languages? you want two things, brother: mother-sense, and gentle Romany."

"What makes you think that I want sense?"

"That being so old, you can't yet guide yourself!"

"I can read Dante, Jasper."

"Anan, brother."

"I can charm snakes, Jasper."

"I know you can, brother."

"Yes, and horses too; bring me the most vicious in the land, if I whisper he'll be tame."

"Then the more shame for you--a snake-fellow--a horse-witch--and a lil-reader--yet you can't shift for yourself. I laugh at you, brother!"

"Then you can shift for yourself?"

"For myself and for others, brother."

"And what does Chikno?"

"Sells me horses, when I bid him. Those horses on the chong were mine."

"And has he none of his own?"

"Sometimes he has; but he is not so well off as myself. When my father and mother were bitchadey pawdel, which, to tell you the truth, they were for chiving wafodo dloovu, they left me all they had, which was not a little, and I became the head of our family, which was not a small one. I was not older than you when that happened; yet our people said they had never a better krallis to contrive and plan for them, and to keep them in order. And this is so well known, that many Romany Chals, not of our family, come and join themselves to us, living with us for a time, in order to better themselves, more especially those of the poorer sort, who have little of their own. Tawno is one of these."

"Is that fine fellow poor?"

"One of the poorest, brother. Handsome as he is, he has not a horse of his own to ride on. Perhaps we may put it down to his wife, who cannot move about, being a cripple, as you saw."

"And you are what is called a Gipsy King?"

"Ay, ay; a Romany Chal."

"Are there other kings?"

"Those who call themselves so; but the true Pharaoh is Petulengro."

"Did Pharaoh make horse-shoes?"

"The first who ever did, brother."

"Pharaoh lived in Egypt."

"So did we once, brother."

"And you left it?"

"My fathers did, brother."

"And why did they come here?"

"They had their reasons, brother."

"And you are not English?"

"We are not gorgios."

"And you have a language of your own?"


"This is wonderful."

"Ha, ha!" cried the woman who had hitherto sat knitting at the farther end of the tent without saying a word, though not inattentive to our conversation, as I could perceive by certain glances which she occasionally cast upon us both. "Ha, ha!" she screamed, fixing upon me two eyes which shone like burning coals, and which were filled with an expression both of scorn and malignity,--"it is wonderful, is it, that we should have a language of our own? What, you grudge the poor people the speech they talk among themselves? That's just like you gorgios: you would have everybody stupid single-tongued idiots like yourselves. We are taken before the Poknees of the gav, myself and sister, to give an account of ourselves. So I says to my sister's little boy, speaking Romany, I says to the little boy who is with us, 'Run to my son Jasper and the rest, and tell them to be off: there are hawks abroad.' So the Poknees questions us, and lets us go, not being able to make anything of us; but as we are going, he calls us back. 'Good woman,' says the Poknees, 'what was that I heard you say just now to the little boy?' 'I was telling him, your worship, to go and see the time of day, and to save trouble I said it in our language.' 'Where did you get that language?' says the Poknees. ''Tis our own language, sir,' I tells him: 'we did not steal it.' 'Shall I tell you what it is, my good woman?' says the Poknees. 'I would thank you, sir,' says I, 'for 'tis often we are asked about it.' 'Well, then,' says the Poknees, 'it is no language at all, merely a made-up gibberish.' 'Oh, bless your wisdom,' says I with a curtsey, 'you can tell us what our language is without understanding it!' Another time we meet a parson. 'Good woman,' says he, 'what's that you are talking? Is it broken language?' 'Of course, your reverence,' says I, 'we are broken people; give a shilling, your reverence, to the poor broken woman.' Oh, these gorgios! they grudge us our very language!"

"She called you her son, Jasper?"

"I am her son, brother."

"I thought you said your parents were ..."

"Bitchadey pawdel; you thought right, brother. This is my wife's mother."

"Then you are married, Jasper?"

"Ay, truly; I am husband and father, You will see wife and chabó anon."

"Where are they now?"

"In the gav, penning dukkerin."

"We were talking of languages, Jasper."

"True, brother."

"Yours must be a rum one."

"'Tis called Romany."

"I would gladly know it."

"You need it sorely."

"Would you teach it me?"

"None sooner."

"Suppose we begin now?"

"Suppose we do, brother."

"Not whilst I am here," said the woman, flinging her knitting down, and starting upon her feet; "not whilst I am here shall this gorgio learn Romany. A pretty manoeuvre, truly; and what would be the end of it? I goes to the farming ker with my sister, to tell a fortune, and earn a few sixpences for the chabés. I sees a jolly pig in the yard, and I says to my sister, speaking Romany, 'Do so and so,' says I; which the farming man hearing, asks what we are talking about. 'Nothing at all, master,' says I; 'something about the weather,'--when who should start up from behind a pale, where he has been listening, but this ugly gorgio, crying out, 'They are after poisoning your pigs, neighbor,' so that we are glad to run, I and my sister, with perhaps the farm-engro shouting after us. Says my sister to me, when we have got fairly off, 'How came that ugly one to know what you said to me?' Whereupon I answers, 'It all comes of my son Jasper, who brings the gorgio to our fire, and must needs be teaching him.' 'Who was fool there?' says my sister. 'Who indeed but my son Jasper,' I answers. And here should I be a greater fool to sit still and suffer it; which I will not do. I do not like the look of him; he looks over-gorgeous. An ill day to the Romans when he masters Romany; and when I says that, I pens a true dukkerin."

"What do you call God, Jasper?"

"You had better be jawing," said the woman, raising her voice to a terrible scream; "you had better be moving off, my gorgio; hang you for a keen one, sitting there by the fire, and stealing my language before my face. Do you know whom you have to deal with? Do you know that I am dangerous? My name is Herne, and I comes of the Hairy Ones!"

And a hairy one she looked! She wore her hair clubbed upon her head, fastened with many strings and ligatures; but now, tearing these off, her locks, originally jet black, but now partially grizzled with age, fell down on every side of her, covering her face and back as far down as her knees. No she-bear of Lapland ever looked more fierce and hairy than did that woman, as standing in the open part of the tent, with her head bent down and her shoulders drawn up, seemingly about to precipitate herself upon me, she repeated again and again--

"My name is Herne, and I comes of the Hairy Ones!"--

"I call God Duvel, brother."

"It sounds very like Devil."

"It doth, brother, it doth."

"And what do you call divine, I mean godly?"

"Oh! I call that duvelskoe."

"I am thinking of something, Jasper."

"What are you thinking of, brother?"

"Would it not be a rum thing if divine and devilish were originally one and the same word?"

"It would, brother, it would."

From this time I had frequent interviews with Jasper, sometimes in his tent, sometimes on the heath, about which we would roam for hours, discoursing on various matters. Sometimes mounted on one of his horses, of which he had several, I would accompany him to various fairs and markets in the neighborhood, to which he went on his own affairs, or those of his tribe. I soon found that I had become acquainted with a most singular people, whose habits and pursuits awakened within me the highest interest. Of all connected with them, however, their language was doubtless that which exercised the greatest influence over my imagination. I had at first some suspicion that it would prove a mere made-up gibberish; but I was soon undeceived. Broken, corrupted, and half in ruins as it was, it was not long before I found that it was an original speech; far more so indeed than one or two others of high name and celebrity, which up to that time I had been in the habit of regarding with respect and veneration. Indeed, many obscure points connected with the vocabulary of these languages, and to which neither classic nor modern lore afforded any clue, I thought I could now clear up by means of this strange broken tongue, spoken by people who dwelt amongst thickets and furze bushes, in tents as tawny as their faces, and whom the generality of mankind designated, and with much semblance of justice, as thieves and vagabonds. But where did this speech come from, and who were they who spoke it? These were questions which I could not solve, and which Jasper himself, when pressed, confessed his inability to answer. "But whoever we be, brother," said he, "we are an old people, and not what folks in general imagine, broken gorgios; and if we are not Egyptians, we are at any rate Romany Chals!"


From 'The Bible in Spain'

It was at this town of Badajoz, the capital of Estremadura, that I first fell in with those singular people, the Zincali, Gitanos, or Spanish gipsies. It was here I met with the wild Paco, the man with the withered arm, who wielded the cachas with his left hand; his shrewd wife, Antonia, skilled in hokkano baro, or the great trick; the fierce gipsy, Antonio Lopez, their father-in-law; and many other almost equally singular individuals of the Errate, or gipsy blood. It was here that I first preached the gospel to the gipsy people, and commenced that translation of the New Testament in the Spanish gipsy tongue, a portion of which I subsequently printed at Madrid.

After a stay of three weeks at Badajoz, I prepared to depart for Madrid. Late one afternoon, as I was arranging my scanty baggage, the gipsy Antonio entered my apartment, dressed in his zamarra and high-peaked Andalusian hat.

Antonio--Good evening, brother; they tell me that on the callicaste you intend to set out for Madrilati.

Myself--Such is my intention; I can stay here no longer.

Antonio--The way is far to Madrilati; there are, moreover, wars in the land, and many chories walk about; are you not afraid to journey?

Myself--I have no fears; every man must accomplish his destiny: what befalls my body or soul was written in a gabicote a thousand years before the foundation of the world.

Antonio--I have no fears myself, brother: the dark night is the same to me as the fair day, and the wild carrascal as the market-place or the chardi; I have got the bar lachí in my bosom, the precious stone to which sticks the needle.

Myself--You mean the loadstone, I suppose. Do you believe that a lifeless stone can preserve you from the dangers which occasionally threaten your life?

Antonio--Brother, I am fifty years old, and you see me standing before you in life and strength; how could that be unless the bar lachí had power? I have been soldier and contrabandista, and I have likewise slain and robbed the Busné. The bullets of the Gabiné and of the jara canallis have hissed about my ears without injuring me, for I carried the bar lachí. I have twenty times done that which by Busné law should have brought me to the filimicha, yet my neck has never yet been squeezed by the cold garrote. Brother, I trust in the bar lachí like the Caloré of old: were I in the midst of the gulf of Bombardó without a plank to float upon, I should feel no fear; for if I carried the precious stone, it would bring me safe to shore. The bar lachí has power, brother.

Myself--I shall not dispute the matter with you, more especially as I am about to depart from Badajoz: I must speedily bid you farewell, and we shall see each other no more.

Antonio--Brother, do you know what brings me hither?

Myself--I cannot tell, unless it be to wish me a happy journey: I am not gipsy enough to interpret the thoughts of other people.

Antonio--All last night I lay awake, thinking of the affairs of Egypt; and when I arose in the morning I took the bar lachí from my bosom, and scraping it with a knife, swallowed some of the dust in aguardiente, as I am in the habit of doing when I have made up my mind; and I said to myself, I am wanted on the frontiers of Castumba on a certain matter. The strange Caloró is about to proceed to Madrilati; the journey is long, and he may fall into evil hands, peradventure into those of his own blood; for let me tell you, brother, the Calés are leaving their towns and villages, and forming themselves into troops to plunder the Busné, for there is now but little law in the land, and now or never is the time for the Caloré to become once more what they were in former times. So I said, the strange Caloró may fall into the hands of his own blood and be ill-treated by them, which were shame: I will therefore go with him through the Chim del Manró as far as the frontiers of Castumba, and upon the frontiers of Castumba I will leave the London Caloró to find his own way to Madrilati, for there is less danger in Castumba than in the Chim del Manró, and I will then betake me to the affairs of Egypt which call me from hence.

Myself--This is a very hopeful plan of yours, my friend: and in what manner do you propose that we shall travel?

Antonio--I will tell you, brother. I have a gras in the stall, even the one which I purchased at Olivenças, as I told you on a former occasion; it is good and fleet, and cost me, who am a gipsy, fifty chulé: upon that gras you shall ride. As for myself, I will journey upon the macho.

Myself--Before I answer you, I shall wish you to inform me what business it is which renders your presence necessary in Castumba: your son-in-law Paco told me that it was no longer the custom of the gipsies to wander.

Antonio--It is an affair of Egypt, brother, and I shall not acquaint you with it; peradventure it relates to a horse or an ass, or peradventure it relates to a mule or a macho; it does not relate to yourself, therefore I advise you not to inquire about it--Dosta. With respect to my offer, you are free to decline it; there is a drungruje between here and Madrilati, and you call travel it in the birdoche, or with the dromalis; but I tell you, as a brother, that there are chories upon the drun, and some of them are of the Errate.

--Certainly few people in my situation would have accepted the offer of this singular gipsy. It was not, however, without its allurements for me; I was fond of adventure, and what more ready means of gratifying my love of it than by putting myself under the hands of such a guide? There are many who would have been afraid of treachery, but I had no fears on this point, as I did not believe that the fellow harbored the slightest ill-intention towards me; I saw that he was fully convinced that I was one of the Errate, and his affection for his own race, and his hatred for the Busné, were his strongest characteristics. I wished moreover to lay hold of every opportunity of making myself acquainted with the ways of the Spanish gipsies, and an excellent one here presented itself on my first entrance into Spain. In a word, I determined to accompany the gipsy. "I will go with you," I exclaimed; "as for my baggage, I will dispatch it to Madrid by the birdoche." "Do so, brother," he replied, "and the gras will go lighter. Baggage, indeed!--what need of baggage have you? How the Busné on the road would laugh if they saw two Calés with baggage behind them!"

During my stay at Badajoz I had but little intercourse with the Spaniards, my time being chiefly devoted to the gipsies: with whom, from long intercourse with various sections of their race in different parts of the world, I felt myself much more at home than with the silent, reserved men of Spain, with whom a foreigner might mingle for half a century without having half a dozen words addressed to him, unless he himself made the first advances to intimacy, which after all might be rejected with a shrug and a no entiendo; for among the many deeply rooted prejudices of these people is the strange idea that no foreigner can speak their language, an idea to which they will still cling though they hear him conversing with perfect ease; for in that case the utmost that they will concede to his attainments is, "Habla quatro palabras y nada mas." (He can speak four words, and no more.)

Early one morning, before sunrise, I found myself at the house of Antonio; it was a small mean building, situated in a dirty street. The morning was quite dark; the street, however, was partially illumined by a heap of lighted straw, round which two or three men were busily engaged, apparently holding an object over the flames. Presently the gipsy's door opened, and Antonio made his appearance; and casting his eye in the direction of the light, exclaimed, "The swine have killed their brother; would that every Busnó was served as yonder hog is. Come in, brother, and we will eat the heart of that hog." I scarcely understood his words, but following him, he led me into a low room, in which was a brasero, or small pan full of lighted charcoal; beside it was a rude table, spread with a coarse linen cloth, upon which was bread and a large pipkin full of a mess which emitted no disagreeable savor. "The heart of the balichó is in that puchera," said Antonio; "eat, brother." We both sat down and ate--Antonio voraciously. When we had concluded he arose. "Have you got your li?" he demanded. "Here it is," said I, showing him my passport. "Good," said he; "you may want it, I want none: my passport is the bar lachí. Now for a glass of repañi, and then for the road."

We left the room, the door of which he locked, hiding the key beneath a loose brick in a corner of the passage. "Go into the street, brother, whilst I fetch the caballerias from the stable." I obeyed him. The sun had not yet risen, and the air was piercingly cold; the gray light, however, of dawn enabled me to distinguish objects with tolerable accuracy; I soon heard the clattering of the animal's feet, and Antonio presently stepped forth, leading the horse by the bridle; the macho followed behind. I looked at the horse, and shrugged my shoulders. As far as I could scan it, it appeared the most uncouth animal I had ever beheld. It was of a spectral white, short in the body, but with remarkably long legs. I observed that it was particularly high in the cruz, or withers. "You are looking at the grasti," said Antonio: "it is eighteen years old, but it is the very best in the Chim del Manró; I have long had my eye upon it; I bought it for my own use for the affairs of Egypt. Mount, brother, mount, and let us leave the foros--the gate is about being opened."

He locked the door, and deposited the key in his faja. In less than a quarter of an hour we had left the town behind us. "This does not appear to be a very good horse," said I to Antonio, as we proceeded over the plain: "it is with difficulty that I can make him move."

"He is the swiftest horse in the Chim del Manró, brother," said Antonio; "at the gallop and at the speedy trot, there is no one to match him. But he is eighteen years old, and his joints are stiff, especially of a morning; but let him once become heated, and the genio del viejo comes upon him, and there is no holding him in with bit or bridle. I bought that horse for the affairs of Egypt, brother."

About noon we arrived at a small village in the neighborhood of a high lumpy hill. "There is no Caló house in this place," said Antonio: "we will therefore go to the posada of the Busné and refresh ourselves, man and beast." We entered the kitchen and sat down at the board, calling for wine and bread. There were two ill-looking fellows in the kitchen smoking cigars. I said something to Antonio in the Caló language.

"What is that I hear?" said one of the fellows, who was distinguished by an immense pair of mustaches. "What is that I hear? Is it in Caló that you are speaking before me, and I a chalan and national? Accursed gipsy, how dare you enter this posada and speak before me in that speech? Is it not forbidden by the law of the land in which we are, even as it is forbidden for a gipsy to enter the mercado? I tell you what, friend, if I hear another word of Caló come from your mouth, I will cudgel your bones and send you flying over the house-tops with a kick of my foot."

"You would do right," said his companion; "the insolence of these gipsies is no longer to be borne. When I am at Merida or Badajoz I go to the mercado, and there in a corner stand the accursed gipsies, jabbering to each other in a speech which I understand not. 'Gipsy gentleman,' say I to one of them, 'what will you have for that donkey?' 'I will have ten dollars for it, Caballero national,' says the gipsy: 'it is the best donkey in all Spain.' 'I should like to see its paces,' say I. 'That you shall, most valorous!' says the gipsy, and jumping upon its back, he puts it to its paces, first of all whispering something into its ear in Caló; and truly the paces of the donkey are most wonderful, such as I have never seen before. I think it will just suit me; and after looking at it awhile, I take out the money and pay for it. 'I shall go to my house,' says the gipsy; and off he runs. 'I shall go to my village,' say I, and I mount the donkey, 'Vamonos,' say I, but the donkey won't move. I give him a switch, but I don't get on the better for that. What happens then, brother? The wizard no sooner feels the prick than he bucks down, and flings me over his head into the mire. I get up and look about me; there stands the donkey staring at me, and there stand the whole gipsy canaille squinting at me with their filmy eyes. 'Where is the scamp who has sold me this piece of furniture?' I shout. 'He is gone to Granada, valorous,' says one. 'He is gone to see his kindred among the Moors,' says another. 'I just saw him running over the field, in the direction of ----, with the devil close behind him,' says a third. In a word, I am tricked. I wish to dispose of the donkey: no one, however, will buy him; he is a Caló donkey, and every person avoids him. At last the gipsies offer thirty reals for him; and after much chaffering I am glad to get rid of him at two dollars. It is all a trick, however; he returns to his master, and the brotherhood share the spoil amongst them: all which villainy would be prevented, in my opinion, were the Caló language not spoken; for what but the word of Caló could have induced the donkey to behave in such an unaccountable manner?"

Both seemed perfectly satisfied with the justness of this conclusion, and continued smoking till their cigars were burnt to stumps, when they arose, twitched their whiskers, looked at us with fierce disdain, and dashing the tobacco-ends to the ground, strode out of the apartment.

"Those people seem no friends to the gipsies," said I to Antonio, when the two bullies had departed; "nor to the Caló language either."

"May evil glanders seize their nostrils," said Antonio: "they have been jonjabadoed by our people. However, brother, you did wrong to speak to me in Caló, in a posada like this: it is a forbidden language; for, as I have often told you, the king has destroyed the law of the Calés. Let us away, brother, or those juntunes may set the justicia upon us."

Towards evening we drew near to a large town or village. "That is Merida," said Antonio, "formerly, as the Busné say, a mighty city of the Corahai. We shall stay here to-night, and perhaps for a day or two, for I have some business of Egypt to transact in this place. Now, brother, step aside with the horse, and wait for me beneath yonder wall. I must go before and see in what condition matters stand."

I dismounted from the horse, and sat down on a stone beneath the ruined wall to which Antonio had motioned me. The sun went down, and the air was exceedingly keen; I drew close around me an old tattered gipsy cloak with which my companion had provided me, and being somewhat fatigued, fell into a doze which lasted for nearly an hour.

"Is your worship the London Caloró?" said a strange voice close beside me.

I started, and beheld the face of a woman peering under my hat. Notwithstanding the dusk, I could see that the features were hideously ugly and almost black; they belonged, in fact, to a gipsy crone at least seventy years of age, leaning upon a staff.

"Is your worship the London Caloró?" repeated she.

"I am he whom you seek," said I; "where is Antonio?"

"Curelando, curelando; baribustres curelós terela," said the crone. "Come with me, Caloró of my garlochin, come with me to my little ker; he will be there anon."

I followed the crone, who led the way into the town, which was ruinous and seemingly half deserted; we went up the street, from which she turned into a narrow and dark lane, and presently opened the gate of a large dilapidated house. "Come in," said she.

"And the gras?" I demanded.

"Bring the gras in too, my chabó, bring the gras in too; there is room for the gras in my little stable." We entered a large court, across which we proceeded till we came to a wide doorway. "Go in, my child of Egypt," said the hag; "go in, that is my little stable."

"The place is as dark as pitch," said I, "and may be a well for what I know; bring a light, or I will not enter."

"Give me the solabarri," said the hag, "and I will lead your horse in, my chabó of Egypt--yes, and tether him to my little manger."

She led the horse through the doorway, and I heard her busy in the darkness; presently the horse shook himself. "Grasti terelamos," said the hag, who now made her appearance with the bridle in her hand; "the horse has shaken himself, he is not harmed by his day's journey; now let us go in, my Caloró, into my little room."

We entered the house, and found ourselves in a vast room, which would have been quite dark but for a faint glow which appeared at the farther end: it proceeded from a brasero, beside which were squatted two dusky figures.

"These are Callées," said the hag; "one is my daughter and the other is her chabi. Sit down, my London Caloró, and let us hear you speak."

I looked about for a chair, but could see none: at a short distance, however, I perceived the end of a broken pillar lying on the floor; this I rolled to the brasero, and sat down upon it.

"This is a fine house, mother of the gipsies," said I to the hag, willing to gratify the desire she had expressed of hearing me speak; "a fine house is this of yours, rather cold and damp, though; it appears large enough to be a barrack for hundunares."

"Plenty of houses in this foros, plenty of houses in Merida, my London Caloró, some of them just as they were left by the Corahanós. Ah! a fine people are the Corahanós; I often wish myself in their chim once more."

"How is this, mother?" said I; "have you been in the land of the Moors?"

"Twice have I been in their country, my Caloró--twice have I been in the land of the Corahai. The first time is more than fifty years ago; I was then with the Sesé, for my husband was a soldier of the Crallis of Spain, and Oran at that time belonged to Spain."

"You were not then with the real Moors," said I, "but only with the Spaniards who occupied part of their country."

"I have been with the real Moors, my London Caloró. Who knows more of the real Moors than myself? About forty years ago I was with my ro in Ceuta, for he was still a soldier of the king; and he said to me one day, 'I am tired of this place, where there is no bread and less water; I will escape and turn Corahanó; this night I will kill my sergeant, and flee to the camp of the Moor,' 'Do so,' said I, 'my chabó, and as soon as may be I will follow you and become a Corahani.' That same night he killed his sergeant, who five years before had called him Caló and cursed him; then running to the wall he dropped from it, and amidst many shots he escaped to the land of the Corahai. As for myself, I remained in the presidio of Ceuta as a sutler, selling wine and repañí to the soldiers. Two years passed by, and I neither saw nor heard from my ro. One day there came a strange man to my cachimani; he was dressed like a Corahanó, and yet he did not look like one; he looked more like a callardó, and yet he was not a callardó either, though he was almost black; and as I looked upon him, I thought he looked something like the Errate; and he said to me, 'Zincali, chachipé!' and then he whispered to me in queer language, which I could scarcely understand, 'Your ro is waiting; come with me, my little sister, and I will take you unto him.' 'Where is he?' said I, and he pointed to the west, to the land of the Corahai, and said, 'He is yonder away; come with me, little sister, the ro is waiting.' For a moment I was afraid, but I bethought me of my husband, and I wished to be amongst the Corahai; so I took the little parné I had, and locking up the cachimani, went with the strange man. The sentinel challenged us at the gate, but I gave him repañí, and he let us pass; in a moment we were in the land of the Corahai. About a league from the town, beneath a hill, we found four people, men and women, all very black like the strange man, and we joined ourselves with them, and they all saluted me, 'little sister.' That was all I understood of their discourse, which was very crabbed; and they took away my dress and gave me other clothes, and I looked like a Corahani; and away we marched for many days amidst deserts and small villages, and more than once it seemed to me that I was amongst the Errate, for their ways were the same. The men would hokkawar with mules and asses, and the women told baji, and after many days we came before a large town, and the black man said, 'Go in there, little sister, and there you will find your ro;' and I went to the gate, and an armed Corahanó stood within the gate, and I looked in his face, and lo! it was my ro.

"Oh, what a strange town it was that I found myself in, full of people who had once been Candoré, but had renegaded and become Corahai! There were Sesé and Laloré, and men of other nations, and amongst them were some of the Errate from my own country; all were now soldiers of the Crallis of the Corahai, and followed him to his wars; and in that town I remained with my ro a long time, occasionally going out to him to the wars; and I often asked him about the black men who had brought me thither, and he told me that he had had dealings with them, and that he believed them to be of the Errate. Well, brother, to be short, my ro was killed in the wars, before a town to which the king of the Corahai laid siege, and I became a piuli, and I returned to the village of the renegades, as it was called, and supported myself as well as I could; and one day, as I was sitting weeping, the black man, whom I had never seen since the day he brought me to my ro, again stood before me, and he said, 'Come with me, little sister, come with me; the ro is at hand;' and I went with him, and beyond the gate in the desert was the same party of black men and women which I had seen before. 'Where is my ro?' said I. 'Here he is, little sister,' said the black man, 'here he is; from this day I am the ro and you are the romi. Come, let us go, for there is business to be done.'

"And I went with him, and he was my ro, and we lived amongst the deserts, and hokkawar'd and choried and told baji; and I said to myself, 'This is good; sure, I am amongst the Errate in a better chim than my own.' And I often said that they were of the Errate, and then they would laugh and say that it might be so, and that they were not Corahai, but they could give no account of themselves.

"Well, things went on in this way for years, and I had three chai by the black man; two of them died, but the youngest, who is the Calli who sits by the brasero, was spared. So we roamed about and choried and told baji; and it came to pass that once in the winter time our company attempted to pass a wide and deep river, of which there are many in the Chim del Corahai, and the boat overset with the rapidity of the current, and all our people were drowned, all but myself and my chabi, whom I bore in my bosom. I had no friends amongst the Corahai, and I wandered about the despoblados howling and lamenting till I became half lili, and in this manner I found my way to the coast, where I made friends with the captain of a ship, and returned to this land of Spain. And now I am here, I often wish myself back again amongst the Corahai."

Here she commenced laughing loud and long; and when she had ceased, her daughter and grandchild took up the laugh, which they continued so long that I concluded they were all lunatics.

Hour succeeded hour, and still we sat crouching over the brasero, from which, by this time, all warmth had departed; the glow had long since disappeared, and only a few dying sparks were to be distinguished. The room or hall was now involved in utter darkness; the women were motionless and still; I shivered and began to feel uneasy. "Will Antonio be here to-night?" at length I demanded.

"No tenga usted cuidado, my London Caloró," said the gipsy mother in an unearthly tone; "Pepindorio has been here some time."

I was about to rise from my seat and attempt to escape from the house, when I felt a hand laid upon my shoulder, and in a moment I heard the voice of Antonio:--

"Be not afraid; 'tis I, brother. We will have a light anon, and then supper."

The supper was rude enough, consisting of bread, cheese, and olives; Antonio, however, produced a leathern bottle of excellent wine. We dispatched these viands by the light of an earthen lamp, which was placed upon the floor.

"Now," said Antonio to the youngest female, "bring me the pajandi, and I will sing a gachapla."

The girl brought the guitar, which with some difficulty the gipsy tuned, and then, strumming it vigorously, he sang:--

"I stole a plump and bonny fowl,
  But ere I well had dined,
The master came with scowl and growl,
  And me would captive bind.

"My hat and mantle off I threw,
  And scoured across the lea;
Then cried the beng with loud halloo,
  'Where does the gipsy flee?'"

He continued playing and singing for a considerable time, the two younger females dancing in the meanwhile with unwearied diligence, whilst the aged mother occasionally snapped her fingers or beat time on the ground with her stick. At last Antonio suddenly laid down the instrument, exclaiming:--

"I see the London Caloró is weary; enough, enough, to-morrow more thereof. We will now to the charipé."

"With all my heart," said I: "where are we to sleep?"

"In the stable," said he, "in the manger; however cold the stable may be, we shall be warm enough in the bufa."

We remained three days at the gipsies' house, Antonio departing early every morning on his mule, and returning late at night. The house was large and ruinous, the only habitable part of it with the exception of the stable being the hall, where we had supped; and there the gipsy females slept at night, on some mats and mattresses in a corner.

"A strange house is this," said I to Antonio, one morning as he was on the point of saddling his mule, and departing, as I supposed, on the affairs of Egypt; "a strange house and strange people. That gipsy grandmother has all the appearance of a sowanee."

"All the appearance of one!" said Antonio; "and is she not really one? She knows more crabbed things and crabbed words than all the Errate betwixt here and Catalonia. She has been amongst the wild Moors, and can make more draos, poisons, and philtres than any one alive. She once made a kind of paste, and persuaded me to taste, and shortly after I had done so my soul departed from my body, and wandered through horrid forests and mountains, amidst monsters and duendes, during one entire night. She learned many things amidst the Corahai which I should be glad to know."

"Have you been long acquainted with her?" said I. "You appear to be quite at home in this house."

"Acquainted with her!" said Antonio. "Did not my own brother marry the black Calli, her daughter, who bore him the chabí, sixteen years ago, just before he was hanged by the Busné?"

In the afternoon I was seated with the gipsy mother in the hall; the two Callées were absent telling fortunes about the town and neighborhood, which was their principal occupation.

"Are you married, my London Caloró?" said the old woman to me. "Are you a ro?"

Myself--Wherefore do you ask, O Dai de los Calés?

Gipsy Mother--It is high time that the lacha of the chabi were taken from her, and that she had a ro. You can do no better than take her for romi, my London Caloró.

Myself--I am a stranger in this land, O mother of the gipsies, and scarcely know how to provide for myself, much less for a romi.

Gipsy Mother--She wants no one to provide for her, my London Caloró: she can at any time provide for herself and her ro. She can hokkawar, tell baji, and there are few to equal her at stealing à pastesas. Were she once at Madrilati, where they tell me you are going, she would make much treasure; therefore take her thither, for in this foros she is nahi, as it were, for there is nothing to be gained: but in the foros baro it would be another matter; she would go dressed in lachipé and sonacai, whilst you would ride about on your black-tailed gra; and when you had got much treasure, you might return hither and live like a Crallis, and all the Errate of the Chim del Manró should bow down their heads to you. What say you, my London Caloró; what say you to my plan?

Myself--Your plan is a plausible one, mother, or at least some people would think so; but I am, as you are aware, of another chim, and have no inclination to pass my life in this country.

Gipsy Mother--Then return to your own country, my Caloró; the chabí can cross the paní. Would she not do business in London with the rest of the Caloré? Or why not go to the land of the Corahai? In which case I would accompany you; I and my daughter, the mother of the chabí.

Myself--And what should we do in the land of the Corahai? It is a poor and wild country, I believe.

Gipsy Mother--The London Caloró asks me what we could do in the land of the Corahai! Aromali! I almost think that I am speaking to a lilipendi. Are there not horses to chore? Yes, I trow there are, and better ones than in this land, and asses, and mules. In the land of the Corahai you must hokkawar and chore even as you must here, or in your own country, or else you are no Caloró. Can you not join yourselves with the black people who live in the despoblados? Yes, surely; and glad they would be to have among them the Errate from Spain and London. I am seventy years of age, but I wish not to die in this chim, but yonder, far away, where both my roms are sleeping. Take the chabí, therefore, and go to Madrilati to win the parné; and when you have got it, return, and we will give a banquet to all the Busné in Merida, and in their food I will mix drao, and they shall eat and burst like poisoned sheep.... And when they have eaten we will leave them, and away to the land of the Moor, my London Caloró.

During the whole time that I remained at Merida I stirred not once from the house; following the advice of Antonio, who informed me that it would not be convenient. My time lay rather heavily on my hands, my only source of amusement consisting in the conversation of the women, and in that of Antonio when he made his appearance at night. In these tertulias the grandmother was the principal spokeswoman, and astonished my ears with wonderful tales of the land of the Moors, prison escapes, thievish feats, and one or two poisoning adventures, in which she had been engaged, as she informed me, in her early youth.

There was occasionally something very wild in her gestures, and demeanor; more than once I observed her, in the midst of much declamation, to stop short, stare in vacancy, and thrust out her palms as if endeavoring to push away some invisible substance; she goggled frightfully with her eyes, and once sank back in convulsions, of which her children took no further notice than observing that she was only lili, and would soon come to herself.



he reign of Juan the Second of Spain (1406-1454), characterized as it was by a succession of conspiracies and internal commotions, represents also one of the most important epochs in the history of Spanish poetry, which up to that period had found expression almost exclusively in the crude though spirited historical and romantic ballads of anonymous origin: Iliads without a Homer, as Lope de Vega called them. The first to attempt a reform in Castilian verse was the Marquis of Villena (died 1434), who introduced the allegory and a tendency to imitate classical models; and although he himself left nothing of consequence, his influence is plainly revealed in the works of his far greater pupils and successors, the Marquis of Santillana and Juan de Mena. Strangely enough, the reigns of Ferdinand and Isabella, and of the Austrian Charles the Fifth, covering the most brilliant and momentous period in Spanish history, are yet marked by comparative stagnation in letters until after the first quarter of the sixteenth century. During the greater part of this period the increasing pomp and formality of the court rendered the poetry correspondingly artificial and insincere. It was not in fact until after many years of constant intercourse with Rome, Naples, and Florence, while the bulk of the noble youth of Spain resorted to the universities of those cities for higher education, that a wide-spread and profound admiration for Italian culture and refinement began to pave the way for another and more important revolution in Castilian poetry than that inaugurated by Villena.

Juan Boscan Almogaver, who was the first of his nation to compose verses after the manner of Petrarch, and whose successors in the sixteenth century include some of the most brilliant and inspired lyrists of Spain, was born in 1493 at Barcelona, a city which had witnessed the recent triumphs of the Provencal Troubadours. Boscan, however, from the beginning of his career, preferred to write in Castilian rather than in the Limosin dialect. Of patrician descent, and possessed of ample means, he entered the army like the majority of the young nobles of his age. After a brief but honorable service as a soldier he traveled extensively abroad, which led to his becoming deeply interested in the literature and art of Italy. Meanwhile he had produced verses in the ancient lyric style, but with only a moderate measure of success.

The year 1526 found Boscan at Granada, where Andrea Navagiero, Ambassador from Venice to the Court of Charles the Fifth, was then in residence. A common love of letters drew the two young men into closest intimacy with each other. "Being with Navagiero there one day," says Boscan in his 'Letter to the Duquesa de Soma,' "and discoursing with him about matters of wit and letters, and especially about the different forms they take in different languages, he asked me why I did not make an experiment in Castilian of sonnets and the other forms of verse used by good Italian authors; and not only spoke to me of it thus slightly, but urged me to do it.... And thus I began to try this kind of verse. At first I found it somewhat difficult; for it is of a very artful construction, and in many particulars different from ours. But afterwards it seemed to me--perhaps from the love we naturally bear to what is our own--that I began to succeed very well; and so I went on little by little with increasing zeal." Little dreamed the Venetian diplomat that, owing to his friendly advice, a school was destined to arise shortly in the poetry of Spain which would by no means have ceased to exist after the lapse of nearly four centuries. From that day Boscan devoted himself to the exclusive composition of verses in the Italian measure, undeterred by the bitter opposition of the partisans of the old school. The incomparable Garcilaso de la Vega, then scarcely past his majority, warmly supported the innovation of his beloved friend, and soon far surpassed Boscan himself as a writer of sonnets and canzones.

The Barcelonese poet spent the remainder of his life in comparative retirement, although he appeared occasionally at court, and at one time superintended the education of the young Duke of Alva, whose name afterwards became one of such terror in the annals of the Netherlands. Boscan's death took place at Perpignan about 1540.

An edition of Boscan's poems, together with those of his friend Garcilaso, was published at Barcelona in 1543. The collection is divided into four books, three of which are devoted to the productions of the elder poet. The first consists of his early efforts in the old style, songs and ballads--'Canciones y Coplas.' The second and third books contain ninety-three sonnets and canzones; a long poem on Hero and Leander in blank verse; an elegy and two didactic epistles in terza rima, and a half-narrative, half-allegorical poem in one hundred and thirty-five octavo stanzas. The sonnets and canzones are obvious imitations of Petrarch; yet at the same time they are stamped with a spirit essentially Spanish, and occasionally evince a deep passion and melody of their own, although they may lack the subtle fascination of their exquisite models. The 'Allegory,' with its cleverly contrasted courts of Love and Jealousy, suggests the airy, graceful humor of Ariosto, and is perhaps the most agreeable and original of all Boscan's works. The 'Epistle to Mendoza' is conceived in the manner of Horace, and amidst a fund of genial philosophic comment, contains a charming picture of the poet's domestic happiness. He also left a number of translations from the classics.

While in no sense a great poet, Boscan united simplicity, dignity, and classical taste in a remarkable degree; and, inclined as he seemed to entirely banish the ancient form of verse, he yet beyond question introduced a kind of poetry which was developed to a high degree of perfection in the Castilian tongue, and which may be studied with keen delight at this day in some of the noblest poetical monuments of Spanish literature.

The best modern edition of Boscan's works is published under the title of 'Las Obras de Juan Boscan' (Madrid, 1875).


Tell me, dear Garcilaso,--thou
  Who ever aim'dst at Good,
And in the spirit of thy vow,
  So swift her course pursued
That thy few steps sufficed to place
The angel in thy loved embrace,
  Won instant, soon as wooed,--
Why took'st thou not, when winged to flee
From this dark world, Boscan with thee?

Why, when ascending to the star
  Where now thou sitt'st enshrined,
Left'st thou thy weeping friend afar,
  Alas! so far behind?
Oh, I do think, had it remained
With thee to alter aught ordained
  By the Eternal Mind,
Thou wouldst not on this desert spot
Have left thy other self forgot!

For if through life thy love was such
  As still to take a pride
In having me so oft and much
  Close to thy envied side,--
I cannot doubt, I must believe,
Thou wouldst at least have taken leave
  Of me; or, if denied,
Have come back afterwards, unblest
Till I too shared thy heavenly rest.

Translation of Wipfen.

Domestic Happiness

Photogravure from a Painting by Eugen Klimsch.


From 'Epistle to Mendoza'

     This peace that makes a happy life,--
And that is mine through my sweet wife;
Beginning of my soul, and end,
I've gained new being through this friend;--
She fills each thought and each desire,
Up to the height I would aspire.
This bliss is never found by ranging;
Regret still springs from saddest changing;
Such loves, and their beguiling pleasures,
Are falser still than magic treasures,
Which gleam at eve with golden color,
And change to ashes ere the morrow.

But now each good that I possess,
Rooted in truth and faithfulness,
Imparts delight to every sense;
For erst they were a mere pretense,
And long before enjoyed they were,
They changed their smiles to grisly care.
Now pleasures please; love being single,
Evils with its delights ne'er mingle.

And thus, by moderation bounded,
I live by my own goods surrounded,
Among my friends, my table spread
With viands we may eat nor dread;
And at my side my sweetest wife,
Whose gentleness admits no strife,--

Except of jealousy the fear,
Whose soft reproaches more endear;
Our darling children round us gather,--
Children who will make me grandfather.
And thus we pass in town our days,
Till the confinement something weighs;
Then to our village haunt we fly,
Taking some pleasant company,--
While those we love not never come
Anear our rustic, leafy home.

For better 'tis to philosophize,
And learn a lesson truly wise
From lowing herd and bleating flock,
Than from some men of vulgar stock;
And rustics, as they hold the plough,
May often good advice bestow.
Of love, too, we may have the joy:
For Phoebus as a shepherd-boy
Wandered once among the clover,
Of some fair shepherdess the lover;
And Venus wept, in rustic bower,
Adonis turned to purple flower.
And Bacchus 'midst the mountains drear
Forgot the pangs of jealous fear;

And nymphs that in the water play
('Tis thus that ancient fables say),
And Dryads fair among the trees,
Fain the sprightly Fauns would please.
So in their footsteps follow we,--
My wife and I,--as fond and free,
Love in our thoughts and in our talk;
Direct we slow our sauntering walk
To some near murmuring rivulet,
Where 'neath a shady beech we sit,
Hand clasped in hand, and side by side,--
With some sweet kisses, too, beside,--
Contending there, in combat kind,
Which best can love with constant mind.

Thus our village life we live,
And day by day such joys receive;
Till, to change the homely scene,
Lest it pall while too serene,
To the gay city we remove,
Where other things there are to love;
And graced by novelty, we find
The city's concourse to our mind;
While our new coming gives a joy
Which ever staying might destroy.
We spare all tedious compliment;
Yet courtesy with kind intent,
Which savage tongues alone abuse,
Will often the same language use.

And Monleon, our dearest guest,
Will raise our mirth by many a jest;
For while his laughter rings again,
Can we to echo it refrain?
And other merriment is ours,
To gild with joy the lightsome hours.
But all too trivial would it look,
Written down gravely in a book:
And it is time to say adieu,
Though more I have to write to you.
Another letter this shall tell:
So now, my dearest friend, farewell.




aques Bénigne Bossuet, sacred orator, historian, theologian, and controversialist, was born in Dijon, capital of the then Burgundy, on September 27th, 1627. There is no question but he is the greatest Catholic divine whom France ever knew, and one of the greatest, some say the greatest, of prose writers and orators of that country. His importance in the literary history of France is due, moreover, not simply to the high excellence of his productions, but fully as much to their representative character. The power that was wielded with absolute authority by Louis XIV. found in Bossuet the theorist who gave it a philosophical basis, and justified to the Frenchmen of the seventeenth century the conditions under which they lived.


The future educator of Louis XIV.'s son sprang, like most of the great Frenchmen of that time, from the upper ranks of the bourgeoisie. The Bossuet family had been for a long time honorably connected with the legal profession and the judiciary: the father of Jacques Bénigne was in 1627 a counselor practicing before the "Parlement de Dijon," where his own father had sat as "Conseiller," or Associate Justice. Later in life he was himself called to a seat on the bench, when a new Parlement was organized in the city of Metz for the province of Lorraine (1638). Ten years later (January 24th, 1648) Bossuet, who had received his education partly from the Jesuits of Dijon, partly in the celebrated Collège de Navarre in Paris, and who had been shriven for the Catholic priesthood when only eight years of age, made what may be called his first public appearance when he defended his first thesis in theology. With this important event of his life we find connected the name of the most brilliant Frenchman of that time, the celebrated Prince de Condé,--famous already by many victories, though hardly twenty-six years of age,--who attended the disputation and had allowed the young theologian to dedicate his thesis to him. Thirty-nine years later, after a long period of close friendship, their names were again associated when the illustrious Bishop of Meaux delivered the funeral oration of the great warrior, and announced, at the close of a magnificent eulogy, that this would be the last occasion on which he would devote his oratory to the praises of any man; a promise which he kept, though he outlived his friend for no less than seventeen years.

Bossuet's period of study lasted until the year 1652, when at the age of twenty-five he was appointed Archdeacon of Sarrebourg. By virtue of his position he thenceforward, for no less than seven years, resided in Metz, a city whose peculiar position, especially in religious matters, exerted a powerful influence over the direction of his whole intellectual life. He found there what was very rare then in France, representatives of three religions. In addition to the Catholics to whom he was to minister, there were in Metz numerous Protestants,--both Lutherans, and Calvinists or Presbyterians,--and a not inconsiderable number of Jews; and the city was used to continuous theological controversy between minister, rabbi, and priest. The Protestants of Metz received the teachings of two brilliant ministers, David Ancillon and Paul Ferri, the latter of whom soon published a Catechism which was considered by the whole body of French Protestantism the clearest exposition of its doctrines. The Catholic clergy of France had then not yet renounced the hope of bringing all the inhabitants of the country to place themselves voluntarily under the spiritual guidance of Rome; and the conversions that were announced from time to time from the upper ranks both of Protestantism and Judaism to a certain degree justified such a hope.

Bossuet, while constantly improving his knowledge of the writings of the Fathers, especially of St. Augustine, threw himself into the contest with characteristic energy. As against the Jews he tried to demonstrate that the coming of Christ is clearly foretold in the Prophecies. He thus became more familiar with the Old Testament than any other Catholic theologian of his time, and so far molded his style on that of the Bible that it soon became difficult to distinguish in his productions that which came out of the sacred writings from the utterances which belonged only to him. This was done, however, strange to say, without any knowledge of the Hebrew language. Bossuet never read the Bible except in Greek or Latin. There was no good French version of the Bible; and it may be stated here that there is none to the present day which occupies in the French language anything like the position held in English by the Bible of King James, or in German by Luther's version.

His attitude in regard to the Protestants is more interesting, because more characteristic of the time in which he lived. France in the seventeenth century had become convinced that harmony, unity, fixedness, are the clearest manifestations of truth, the best guarantees of peace, happiness, and prosperity; that variety and change are signs of error and harbingers of disaster. Bossuet's whole effort in his controversy with Protestantism was directed towards demonstrating that Protestantism lacks and that Catholicism possesses the traits which were considered by his contemporaries to clearly belong to truth; and as his opponents were not unwilling to follow him on his chosen ground, as they never for a moment denied his main proposition,--his statement of the characteristics of truth,--as he even managed during the controversy to bring about a number of conversions to Catholicism, he left Metz fully convinced that he was waging a successful warfare upon unassailable ground.

He had been in Paris less than a year when an event happened which made him doubly sure of the soundness of his position, and tenfold increased his belief in the ultimate victory of his Church over all other denominations. The Commonwealth of England collapsed, and Charles II. was called to the throne from which his father had been hurled by Oliver Cromwell. Nothing can give any idea of the shock experienced by France on hearing of the development and success of the Great Rebellion in England. No Frenchman at that time understood what the English Constitution was. The course of French history had led the people of France to put all the strength they possessed in the hands of their kings, and to treat as a public enemy any one who resisted, or even attempted to limit in any way, the royal authority. To people holding such opinions the English nation after the month of January, 1649, appeared as a nation of parricides. And the feeling was intensified by the fact that the wife of the beheaded king, Henrietta Maria, was a sister of the King of France, a daughter of the beloved Henry IV., whose death by Ravaillac's dagger was still mourned by every French patriot. The triumph of Cromwell, the proud position which England occupied in Europe during his protectorate, left however hardly any hope that the rebellious nation would ever acknowledge the errors of her ways; and lo! in a moment, without any effort on his part, without any struggle, the dead king's son resumed his rights, and every one who had been in arms against him lay prostrate at his feet. The same nation that had rebelled against the levying of the "ship money" and the proceedings of the Star Chamber allowed Charles II. almost as absolute an authority as ever the King of France possessed. Once cured of her political errors, was England not to be soon cured of her theological errors? After repenting her rebellion against the King, was she not to repent her rebellion against the Pope? Such were the questions which Bossuet, which the whole of France, began to ask. Or rather, these were to them no longer questions: the people of France began to look across the Channel with confident expectation of a religious counter-revolution. The collapse of the Commonwealth could not but be followed by the collapse of the Reformation.

When Louis XIV., after Cardinal Mazarin's death, took in his own hands the management of the affairs of the State; when the marriage of the brilliant Henrietta of England with the Duke of Orleans made the sister of the English King a sister-in-law to the King of France; when triumph after triumph on the field of war, of diplomacy, of literature, of art, added to the power and glory of France, which had never swerved in her allegiance either to King or Church,--the feeling grew that only in unity of Faith, Law, and King were truth and prosperity to be found by nations. The saying "Une foi, une loi, un roi" (one faith, one law, one king), which may be said to sum up Bossuet's religious, social, and political beliefs, seemed to all an incontrovertible and self-evident axiom.

These were the times when Bossuet's utterances grew in power and magnificence. He was heard in a number of Parisian churches; he was heard at court, where he several times was appointed preacher either for Advent or Lent; he delivered panegyrics of saints, and was called upon to eulogize in death those who had held the highest rank in life. He had just delivered the most splendid and the most touching of his funeral orations, those on Henrietta of France, widow of Charles I. of England (November 16th, 1669), and less than a year later, on her unfortunate daughter, Henrietta of England, Duchess of Orleans (August 21st, 1670), when the King, at the request of the upright Duke de Montausier, called him to court from the bishopric of Condom to which he had been raised, and intrusted to him the education of his son and heir-apparent, the Dauphin of France.

Bossuet's royal pupil never reigned. He died in 1711, four years before his father's death: and it must be admitted that during the thirty-one years that elapsed between the moment when he came out of Bossuet's hands and the end of his life, he gave no evidence of being anything except a very commonplace sort of a man. No such halo surrounds him as surrounds his unfortunate son, the Duke of Burgundy, whose death two years after that of the Dauphin was mourned as a public calamity. Whether Bossuet's failure to make a great prince out of the Dauphin was due to a faulty system of education or to the unresponsive nature of the pupil, can hardly be considered to-day a matter of great interest. But French literature was certainly the gainer by the appointment of Bossuet to the post of tutor to the Prince. Three of his most remarkable works--his 'Discourse upon Universal History,' his 'Policy according to the Holy Writ,' and his 'Treatise on the Knowledge of God and Man'--were written especially for the Dauphin, and read by him as textbooks a long time before their publication. The opening sentence of the 'Discourse' tells us clearly the author's purpose: "Were history useless to other men, it would still be necessary to have it studied by princes."

In 1680 Bossuet left the Dauphin, who then married a Bavarian princess, and one year later he was called to the bishopric of Meaux. Louis XIV. was then taking steps leading to the important and fatal venture by which three years later he repealed the Edict of Nantes, and forbade the existence in France of the Protestant religion. No one can deny Bossuet's share in determining the king to follow a policy so fatal to the interests of France, but at the same time so much in accord with the views of Rome. A natural outcome would have been the raising of Bossuet, who was certainly then the greatest orator, the greatest writer, and the greatest theologian in the Catholic clergy, to the Cardinalate. Still Bossuet was never a cardinal.

The explanation lies in Bossuet's conduct in the year 1682. The King of France in that year called together a General Assembly of the clergy of France, a kind of National Council. His object was to have the clergy assert its national character, and to state that in civil matters it was subject not to the Pope, but to the King. The various statements to that effect constitute what is known as 'The Liberties of the Gallican Church.' The statements were adopted after being drafted by Bossuet, who had at the opening of the sessions delivered before the Assembly his celebrated 'Sermon on the Unity of the Church,' the main part of which is an eloquent defense of the above-stated views. France was too powerful then for the see of Rome not to yield, but no favors were thenceforth to be expected for the spokesman of the French national clergy.

Still the great divine continued his efforts, and in 1688 he put forth the most complete and masterly exposition of his beliefs, his 'History of the Variations of the Protestant Churches.' The Revolution of 1688-89 in England did not in the least, sad though it seemed, weaken his faith in the ultimate triumph of Catholicism. In France at that time the English revolution was not considered an assertion by the people of political and religious rights, but the carrying out of a detestable family conspiracy of a daughter and son-in-law with their father's enemy. This better than anything else explains the hatred which was harbored against William III., and which found expression in the works even of as free-minded a writer as La Bruyère. It is during the period of the fiercest struggle between Louis XIV. and William III. that Bossuet carried on with the German philosopher Leibnitz a series of negotiations, the object of which was the return to Catholicism of Protestant Germany. We need hardly state that the negotiations utterly failed.

In another controversy which occupied Bossuet's last years he was entirely successful. The most eloquent of his disciples, Fénélon, then Archbishop of Cambrai, seemed to him to have fallen into dangerous errors. He had adopted the mystic doctrine of Quietism, which had been made known to him first by an erratic woman, Madame Guyon. Bossuet determined that the eloquent archbishop must be compelled to recant. A number of works were published by him in support of his position, the most important one being his 'Relation on Quietism'; and he did not rest until the Pope had condemned his rival, and Fénélon had submitted to censure in his own cathedral at Cambrai. Some accuse Bossuet of too much harshness in the contest. The Pope himself was reported to have said, "The Archbishop of Cambrai sinned by too much love of God, the Bishop of Meaux by too little love of his fellow-man."

Bossuet was then a very old man, but neither growing age nor the care that he took of what he considered the general interests of Catholic Christianity ever kept him from giving the closest attention to the spiritual government of his flock. He was a model bishop. He died April 12th, 1704, aged seventy-six years, six months, and sixteen days.

Bossuet was a very prolific writer. In the best edition, that of Abbé Caron, begun in Versailles in 1815, his writings fill not less than forty-one volumes. But it must be stated at once that a great deal of this production belongs decidedly more to theology than to French literature. Some of it is not even in French, but in Latin; for instance, Bossuet's letter to the Pope on the subject of the education of the Dauphin. Although in French, such works as the 'Treatise on Communion' or the 'Explanation of John the Baptist's Revelation' are decidedly outside the pale of literature, as the word is usually understood. We shall mention here only those works of Bossuet which, by virtue of their perfect form and the accessibility of the subject to the general reader, are to this day more or less familiar to the best educated people in France.

The first to be mentioned among these are the 'Sermons,' the 'Funeral Orations,' and the 'Discourse upon Universal History.'

Bossuet's sermons undoubtedly were among his most perfect productions. He was a born orator; his majestic bearing, his melodious and powerful voice, his noble gestures, made the magnificent sentences, the beautiful and striking imagery of his speeches, doubly impressive. Unfortunately, with only a few exceptions Bossuet's sermons have reached us in a very imperfect form. He did not, as a rule, fully write them, and the art of taking down verbatim the utterances of public speakers had not yet been invented. The sermon 'On the Unity of the Church' we possess because Bossuet had committed it to writing before delivering it; other impressive sermons, those on 'Death,' on the 'Conversion of the Sinner,' on 'Providence,' on the 'Duties of Kings,' etc., have reached us in a sufficiently correct form to give us an idea of Bossuet's eloquence: but the reader who really wishes to know the great sacred orator of Louis XIV.'s reign had better turn at once to the 'Funeral Orations.'

Bossuet's funeral orations were prepared with great care. They were delivered as a rule several months after the death of the person to be eulogized, as part of a religious ceremony in which a mass was said for the repose of his soul.

Bossuet delivered eleven funeral orations, one of which--that of Anne of Austria, widow of Louis XIII. and mother of Louis XIV,--is lost. Of the other ten, four are youthful productions and deal with people of comparatively small importance. Six remain that are known as the great funeral orations, and they were delivered between November 16th, 1669, and March 10th, 1687. They are those on Henrietta of France, Queen of England; Henrietta of England, Duchess of Orleans; Maria Theresa of Spain, Queen of France; Anne of Gonzaga and Clèves, Princess of the Palatinate; Michel Le Tellier, High Chancellor of France; and Louis de Bourbon, Prince of Condé.

The most remarkable of these are the first two and the last one. In the funeral oration on Henrietta of France, Bossuet had just the kind of subject which he was best fitted to treat, and it must be considered his masterpiece. It presents in magnificent style, in pompous development, a complete exposition of his historical and political theories, together with a strikingly vivid account of the great English rebellion. His portraits of Charles I. and Oliver Cromwell--the one, of course, altogether too enthusiastic, the other too severe--stand out in as bold relief as the paintings of Van Dyck or Velasquez. His theory of revolutions, which he considers the punishments inflicted by God upon sovereigns for violations of His law, is presented with a wealth of illustrations which was simply overwhelming for the audience that listened to it. It remains to this day one of the most plausible, as it will remain forever one of the most eloquent pieces of historical and theological reasoning.

In the funeral oration on Henrietta of England we find little of history, still less of politics. Here we have a domestic catastrophe of appalling suddenness: a brilliant woman, the worshiped centre of the most brilliant court, one to whom the speaker himself was most tenderly attached, so abruptly snatched away by death that the suspicion of foul play at once arose and has not to this day been entirely dispelled. Nowhere has Bossuet, nor perhaps any other orator, so powerfully depicted the uncertainty of everything human. The closeness with which he treated his subjects is well illustrated by an anecdote that is connected with this oration. Only two or three hours before her death, when already conscious of her desperate position, the unfortunate princess had directed that an emerald ring of hers should be after her death handed to the great preacher. "What a pity," he was told, "that such an incident cannot find place in a funeral oration!"--"Why not" he answered. When he delivered the oration, the emerald ring was on one of the fingers of his right hand; and when speaking of the princess's virtues and charming qualities, he alluded to the art of giving, in which she signally excelled. "And this art," he went on, "never deserted her, not even, I know it, in the throes of death," at the same time raising his right hand and placing the precious jewel in full view of the audience.

The funeral oration on the Prince de Condé shows us how he triumphed over difficulties. He was a warm friend and ardent admirer of the Prince, and at the same time a devoted subject of the King, rebellion against whom he considered a very grievous sin. Yet the Prince had for years been a rebel against the King during the wars of the Fronde, and had continued in the ranks of the hostile Spaniards even after all the other rebels had submitted to the royal authority. After conducting his narrative down to the time when the Prince, still a faithful subject, was unjustly imprisoned by order of Cardinal Mazarin,--"And," he goes on, "since I have to speak of these things over which I would fain keep eternally silent, until this fatal imprisonment he had not even dreamed that anything could be attempted against the State.... This is what made him say (I certainly can repeat here, before these altars, the words I received from his lips, since they so clearly show the bottom of his heart)--he said then, speaking of this unfortunate prison, that he had entered it the most innocent, and had left it the guiltiest of men." Nearly the whole of this oration is devoted to history; it teems with brilliant passages, the most famous of which is the narrative of the Prince's first victory, the battle of Rocroi, in 1643.

Thoughtful readers seldom pass by the funeral oration on Anne of Gonzaga. It forms a curious incident in Bossuet's life. The great preacher's most striking fault was a lack of energy in his dealings with royal characters. "He lacks bones," some one said of him: and thus when his enemies so intrigued as to have him required to eulogize from the pulpit the erratic princess, who had been a political intriguer and the heroine of many scandals before repentance took hold of her, he lacked the courage to decline the doubtful honor. But in the pulpit, or whenever the priest had to appear, and not simply the man, his better manhood, pure and commanding, at once took the upper hand; and so, facing his critics,--"My discourse," he said, "which perhaps you think you are to judge, will judge you when the last day comes; and if you do not depart hence better Christians, you will depart hence guiltier men!"

With the funeral orations one might mention another series of religious discourses not strikingly different from them,--the panegyrics of saints, of which twenty have been preserved, that of Saint Paul being indisputably the best.

The 'Discourse upon Universal History,' which was originally written for the Dauphin, is a masterly attempt to give a philosophical explanation of the facts of history, beginning with the Biblical account of the Creation, and ending with the assumption by Charlemagne of the imperial crown in 800 A.D. It is divided into three parts: The Epochs; Religion; the Empires. The first part contains the significance of twelve events considered by Bossuet as epoch-making: the Creation, the Flood, the calling of Abraham, Moses and the giving of the Law, the taking of Troy, the building of the Temple of Solomon, the foundation of Rome, Cyrus and the re-establishment of Hebrew nationality, the defeat of Carthage, the birth of Christ, the triumph of the Church under Constantine, the re-establishment of the Empire with Charlemagne.

The second part, which contains thirty-one chapters, has a twofold object: to demonstrate that the coming of Christ is clearly foretold in the Old Testament, and that the Roman Catholic Church is the only faithful representative of true Christianity. The third part is less theological. It is an attempt to explain the facts of history, at least partially, by a study of the various influences to which the different nations have been subjected. The general purpose of the whole work is best explained by the last chapter of this third part, the title of which is: Conclusion of the whole Discourse, in which is shown that all events must be ascribed to a Divine Providence.

Next to the above works we must mention the 'History of the Variations of the Protestant Churches,' partly a work of theological controversy, but partly also a brilliant exposition, from a strictly Catholic point of view, of the history of the Reformation. It contains a portrait of Luther which is almost worthy to be compared with that of Cromwell in the funeral oration on Henrietta of France.

The only other works of Bossuet that we would mention here are two admirable devotional works, the 'Meditations upon the Gospel,' and the 'Contemplations on the Mysteries of the Catholic Religion,' the latter a clear and concise but now superannuated treatise on philosophy; the 'Treatise on the Knowledge of God and Man,' a very curious and eloquent and at the same time thoroughly Biblical treatise on theocratic policy; 'Policy according to the Holy Writ'; and finally his 'Relation on Quietism,' which shows what hard blows he could, when thoroughly aroused, deal to a somewhat disingenuous opponent.


When the time had come at which the Roman Empire of the West was to collapse and Gaul was to become France, God did not allow such a noble part of Christendom to remain long under idolatrous princes; and wishing to hand over to the kings of the French the keeping of his Church, which he had formerly intrusted to the emperors, he gave not to France only, but to the whole Western world, a new Constantine in the person of Clovis. The miraculous victory which he sent from heaven to each of these two princes in their wars was a pledge of his love, and the glorious inducement which attracted them to Christianity. Faith triumphed, and the warlike nation of the Franks knew that the God of Clotilda was the true God of armies.

Then Saint Remi saw that by placing the kings of France and their people in the bosom of Jesus Christ, he had given to the Church a set of invincible protectors. This great saint, this new Samuel called to anoint the kings, anointed these, in his own words, "to be the perpetual defender of the Church and the poor": a worthy object for royalty to pursue. After teaching them how to make churches flourish and populations thrive (believe ye that he himself is now speaking to you, as I only recite the fatherly words of this apostle of the French), day and night he prayed to God that they should persevere in His faith and reign according to the rules he had given them; assuring them at the same time that in enlarging their kingdom they would enlarge the kingdom of Christ, and that if they faithfully kept the laws he prescribed in the name of God, the empire of Rome would be given to them, so that from the kings of France would issue Emperors worthy of that title, through whom Christ would reign.

Such were the blessings which a thousand and a thousand times the great Saint Remi poured upon the French and their kings, whom he always called his dear children; unceasingly praising God for his kindness, because, with a view to strengthen the incipient faith of this God-blessed nation, he had deigned, through his own sinner's hands (these are his own words), to repeat, before the eyes of all the French and of their king, the miracles which had burst upon the world in the early foundation of Christian churches. All the saints then living rejoiced; and in this decline of the Roman Empire, it seemed to them that there appeared in the kings of France "a new Light for the whole West." "In occiduis partibus novi jubaris lumen effulgurat;" and not for the West alone, but for all the Church, to which this new kingdom promised new advances. This is what was said by Saint Avitus, the learned and holy bishop of Vienne, the weighty and eloquent advocate of the Church of Rome, who was directed by his colleagues, the revered bishops of Gaul, to recommend to the Romans in the cause of Pope Symmachus the common cause of the whole episcopacy; "because," so said that great man, "when the Pope, the chief of all the bishops, is assailed, then not one bishop alone, but the whole episcopacy is in danger."


My Lord[4]:

[4] This oration was delivered in the presence of the Duke of Orleans, son-in-law of Henrietta of France; it is he whom Bossuet addresses in beginning his speech.

He who reigns in heaven and who is the Lord of all the empires, to whom alone majesty, glory, and independence belong, is also the only one who glories in dictating laws to kings, and in giving them, when it so pleases him, great and terrible lessons. Whether he raises or lowers thrones; whether he communicates his own power to princes, or reclaims it all and leaves them nothing but their own weakness, he teaches them their duties in a manner both sovereign and worthy of him; for when giving them his power, he commands them to use it, as he does, for the good of the world; and he shows them in withdrawing it that all their majesty is borrowed, and that, though seated on the throne, they are nevertheless under his hand and supreme authority. Thus does he teach princes, not only by words but by deeds and examples. "Et nunc, reges, intelligite; erudimini, qui judicatis terram."

Christians, ye who have been called from all sides to this ceremony by the memory of a great Queen,--daughter, wife, mother of powerful kings and of sovereigns of three kingdoms,--this speech will bring before you one of those conspicuous examples which spread before the eyes of the world its absolute vanity. You will see in a single life all the extremes of human affairs: boundless felicity and boundless misery; a long and peaceful possession of one of the world's noblest crowns; all that can be given of the glories of birth and rank gathered upon a head which is afterwards exposed to all the insults of fortune; the good cause at first rewarded by success, then met by sudden turns and unheard-of changes; rebellion long restrained, at last over-riding everything; unbridled licentiousness; the destruction of all laws; royal majesty insulted by crimes before unknown; usurpation and tyranny under the name of liberty; a queen pursued by her enemies, and finding no refuge in either of her kingdoms; her own native land become a melancholy place of exile; many voyages across the sea undertaken by a princess, in spite of the tempest; the ocean surprised at being crossed so often, in such different ways, and for so different causes; a throne shamefully destroyed and miraculously restored. Those are the lessons which are given by God to the kings; thus does He show to the world the emptiness of its pomps and splendors. If I lack words, if expression is unable to do justice to a subject of such magnitude and loftiness, things alone will speak sufficiently; the heart[5] of a great queen, formerly raised by long years of prosperity and suddenly plunged into an abyss of bitterness, will speak loudly enough; and if private characters are not allowed to give lessons to princes upon such strange occurrences, a king lends me his voice to tell them. "Et nunc, reges, intelligite; erudimini, qui judicatis terram:" Understand now, ye kings of the earth; learn, ye who judge the world.

[5] The Queen's heart was kept in the church where Bossuet was speaking.

But the wise and religious Princess who is the subject of this discourse was not simply a spectacle presented to them that they may study therein the counsels of Divine Providence and the fatal revolutions of monasteries: she was her own instructor, while God instructed all princes through her example. I have said already that the Divine Lord teaches them both by giving and by taking away their power. The Queen of whom I speak understood one of these lessons as well as the other, contrary as they are, which means that in good as well as in evil fortune she behaved as a Christian. In the one she was charitable, in the other invincible. While prosperous she made her power felt by the world through infinite blessings; when fortune forsook her, she enlarged her own treasure of virtues, so that she lost for her own good this royal power which she had had for the good of others. And if her subjects, if her allies, if the Church Universal were the gainers by her greatness, she gained by her misfortunes and humiliations more than she had done by all her glory.


I confess, on entering upon my undertaking, that I realize its difficulty more than ever. When I fasten my eyes upon the unheard-of misfortunes of such a great queen, I fail to find words; and my mind, revolted by so many undeserved hardships inflicted upon majesty and virtue, would never consent to rush into such a maze of horrors, if the admirable constancy with which this princess bore her reverses had not risen far above the crimes by which they were caused. But at the same time, Christians, I labor under another solicitude: what I meditate upon is no human work; I am not here a historian, about to unravel to you the mysteries of cabinets, or the order of battles, or the interests of parties; I must rise above man in order that every creature should tremble under the judgments of God. "I shall enter with David into the powers of the Lord," and I have to show you the wonders of his hand and of his resolutions: resolutions of deserved punishment for England, resolutions of compassion for the Queen's salvation; but resolutions stamped by the finger of God, whose imprint is so striking and manifest in the events of which I have to treat, that no one can fail to be dazzled by his light.

When we go back in time, no matter how far, and investigate in the histories the instances of great revolutions, we find that hitherto they have been caused by the licentiousness or violence of princes. For when princes, ceasing to study their civil and military affairs, make hunting their only labor, or as was said by one historian, find all their glory in their splendor, and put all their mind to the invention of new pleasures; or when, carried away by their violent natures, they cease to respect the laws and to know any bounds, and thus lose both the respect and the fear of their subjects, because the ills those subjects are bearing seem more unendurable than those they only fear,--then, either excessive licentiousness or patience driven to extremity is full of menace to reigning houses.

Charles I., King of England, was just, moderate, magnanimous, very well informed in regard to his affairs and to the arts of government; never was there a prince more able to make royalty not only venerable and holy, but also loved and cherished by his people. What fault can be found with him, save clemency? I am willing to say of him what a celebrated writer said of Cæsar, that he was so clement as to be compelled to repent it. ("Cæsari proprium et peculiare sit elementiæ insigne qua usque ad poenitentiam omnes superavit.") Let this be, then, if you will, the illustrious fault of Charles as well as of Caesar; but if any one wishes to believe that misfortune and defeat are always associated with weakness, do not let him think, for all that, he can persuade us that either strength was wanting in Charles's courage or energy in his resolutions. When pursued to the very last extremities by Fortune's implacable malignity, and betrayed by all his people, he never deserted his own cause; in spite of the ill success of his unfortunate arms, though conquered he was not subdued; and just as he never when victorious refused that which was reasonable, when captive he always rejected that which was weak and unjust. I can hardly behold his great heart in his last trials: but certainly he showed that no rebels can deprive of his majesty a king who really knows himself; and those who saw with what visage he appeared in Westminster Hall and in Whitehall Square can easily judge how intrepid he was at the head of his armies, how august and imposing in the middle of his palace and court. Great Queen, I satisfy your tenderest desires when I celebrate this monarch; and this heart, which never lived but for him, wakes up from its dust and resumes sentiment, even under this funeral drapery, at the name of such a beloved husband, whom his enemies themselves will call wise and just, and whom posterity will name among great princes, provided his history finds readers whose judgment does not allow itself to be swayed by events and by fortune.

Those who are informed in regard to the facts, being compelled to admit that the king's conduct had given no reason and not even a pretext for the sacrilegious excesses the memory of which is abhorred by us, ascribe them to the unconquerable haughtiness of the nation; and I own that the hatred of parricides is apt to throw our minds into such an opinion: but when we more closely consider the history of this great kingdom, especially during the last reigns, in which not simply adult kings, but even children under guardianship and queens themselves have wielded a power so absolute, and inspired so much terror; when we see the incredible facility with which the true Religion was by turns upset and restored by Henry, Edward, Mary, Elizabeth, we do not find either the nation so prone to rebel nor its Parliaments so proud and factious. Rather we are compelled to reproach these people with too much docility, since they placed under the yoke even their faith and conscience. Do not let us then make blind accusations against the inhabitants of the most celebrated island in the world, who according to the most reliable histories trace their origin back to Gaul; and do not let us believe that the Mercians, the Danes, and the Saxons have so far corrupted in them the good blood which they had received from our ancestors as to lead them to such barbarous proceedings, if some other causes had not intervened. What is it, then, that drove them on? What force, what transport, what disturbance of the elements stirred these agitations, these violences? There is no doubt, Christians, that false religions, infidelity, the thirst of disputing on things divine without end, without rule, without submission, carried away their hearts. Those are the enemies against which the Queen had to fight, and which neither her prudence, her leniency, nor her firmness could conquer.

A man appeared, of a mind incredibly deep, a consummate dissembler and at the same time a powerful statesman, capable of undertaking everything and of concealing everything, no less active and indefatigable in peace than in war; who left nothing to fortune of that which he could take from it by wisdom or foresight, but withal so vigilant, so well prepared for everything, that he never failed to improve any opportunity: in short, one of those restless and audacious minds which seem to have been born in order to transform the world. How dangerous the fate of such minds, and how many appear in history who were ruined by their very boldness! But at the same time, what do they not achieve when it pleases God to make use of them! To this one it was given to deceive the people and to prevail against the kings. For as he had discovered that in this infinite medley of sects, which no longer had any fixed rules, the pleasure of dogmatic arguing without any fear of being reprimanded or restrained by any authority, either ecclesiastical or secular, was the spell that charmed their minds, he so well managed to conciliate them thereby that out of this monstrous medley he created a formidable unit. When a man has once found a way of seducing the multitude with the bait of freedom, they afterwards blindly follow, provided they still hear the beloved word. These, occupied with the object that had first transported them, were still going on without noticing that they were going to servitude; and their subtle leader--who while fighting and arguing, while uniting in himself a thousand different characters, while acting as theologian and prophet as well as soldier and captain, saw that he had so bewitched the world that he was looked upon by the whole army as a chief sent by God for the protection of independence--began to perceive that he could drive them still further. I shall not relate to you the story of his too prosperous undertakings nor his famous victories which made virtue indignant, nor his long tranquillity which astonished the world. It was God's purpose to instruct the kings not to desert his Church. He wished to reveal by one great example all that heresy can do, how indocile and independent it naturally is, how fatal to royalty and to any legitimate authority. Moreover, when this great God has chosen any one for the instrument of his designs nothing can stop his course: he either chains or blinds or subdues all that is capable of resistance. "I am the Lord," he says through the lips of Jeremiah; "I am he who made the earth, with the men and animals; and I place it in the hands of whomsoever pleases me; and now I wished to submit these lands to Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, my servant." He calls him his servant, although an infidel, because he selected him for enforcing his decrees. "And I order," he goes on, "that everything be obedient unto him, even the animals;" thus it is that everything bends and becomes flexible when God so commands! But listen to the rest of the prophecy:--"I order that these people shall obey him, and shall obey his son also, until the time of the one and the other do come." See, ye Christians, how clearly marked the times are, how numbered the generations: God determines how long the sleep of the world shall be, and also when the awakening is to come.

God held twelve years, without relaxing, without any consolation from men, our unfortunate Queen (let us loudly call her by this title, which she made a cause for thanksgiving), making her learn under his hand such hard but useful lessons. At last, softened by her prayers and her humble patience, he restored the royal house; Charles II. is recognized and the injury of the kings is avenged. Those whom arms could not conquer, nor reasoning convince, came back suddenly of their own accord: disappointed in their freedom, they at last came to detest its excesses, ashamed that they had had so much power, and horrified at their own success. We know that this magnanimous prince might have hastened things by making use of the hands of those who offered to destroy tyranny at one blow: but his great soul disdained these low agencies; he believed that whatever were the conditions of kings, it behoved their majesty to act only by the laws or by arms. These laws, which he defended, restored him almost by themselves; he reigns, peaceful and glorious, on his ancestors' throne, and with and through him also reign justice, wisdom, and mercy.



Even were history useless to other men, it would still be necessary to have it read by princes. There is no better way of making them discover what can be brought about by passions and interests, by times and circumstances, by good and bad advice. The books of historians are filled with the actions that occupy them, and everything therein seems to have been done for their use. If experience is necessary to them for acquiring that prudence which enables them to become good rulers, nothing is more useful to their instruction than to add to the example of past centuries the experiences with which they meet every day. While usually they learn to judge of the dangerous circumstances that surround them, only at the expense of their subjects and of their own glory, by the help of history they form their judgment upon the events of the past without risking anything. When they see even the most completely hidden vices of princes exposed to the eyes of all men, in spite of the insincere praise which they received while alive, they feel ashamed of the empty joy which flattery gives them, and they acknowledge that true glory cannot obtain without real merit.

Moreover, it would be disgraceful,--I do not say for a prince, but in general for any educated man,--not to know the human kind and the memorable changes which took place in the world through the lapse of ages. If we do not learn from history to distinguish the times, we shall represent men under the law of nature, or under the civil law, the same as under the sway of the gospel; we shall speak of the Persians conquered under Alexander in the same way as of the Persians victorious under Cyrus; we shall represent Greece as free in the time of Philip as in the time of Themistocles or Miltiades; the Roman people as proud under the Emperors as under the Consuls; the Church as quiet under Diocletian as under Constantine; and France, disturbed by civil wars under Charles IX. and Henri III., as powerful as in the time of Louis XIV., when, united under such a great King, alone she triumphs over the whole of Europe.


He who can put into the minds of the people patience in labor, a feeling for glory and the nation's greatness, and love of their country, can boast of having framed the political constitution best fitted for the production of great men. It is undoubtedly to great men that the strength of an empire is due. Nature never fails to bring forth in all countries lofty minds and hearts; but we must assist it in forming them. What forms and perfects them consists of strong feelings and noble impressions which spread through all minds and invisibly pass from one to another. What is it that makes our nobility so proud in battle, so bold in its undertakings? It is the opinion received from childhood and established by the unanimous sentiment of the nation, that a nobleman without valor degrades himself and is no longer worthy to see the light of day. All the Romans were nurtured in these sentiments, and the common people vied with the aristocracy as to who would in action be most faithful to these vigorous maxims.... The fathers who did not bring their children up in these maxims, and in the manner necessary to enable them to serve the State, were called into court before the magistrates and there adjudged guilty of a crime against the public. When such a course has been entered upon, great men produce great men to succeed them; and if Rome has had such men in greater number than any other city, it is nowise due to chance; it is because the Roman State, constituted in the manner which we have described, possessed as it were the very nature that must needs be most prolific of heroes.




ames Boswell was born in Ayrshire, Scotland. His family was of ancient origin and some social pretension, but the name derives its real distinction from him. He attended the University of Edinburgh and was admitted to the Scotch bar. He was, however, of a socially excitable and adventurous spirit, which impelled him out of the humdrum life of a petty Scotch laird into the broad currents of the world, and led him to attach himself to men of intellectual distinction. He was introduced to Dr. Johnson in 1763, and scrupulously sought his society till Johnson's death, making at least nine journeys to London for the purpose, and recording his conversation with painstaking assiduity. To this enthusiastic industry we owe the 'Life,' published in 1791, a book allowed on all hands to fulfill the purpose of a biography, in giving an exact and lively picture of the central figure and of his environment better than any other ever written. Previous to this, Boswell had spent some time on the Continent, and, driven by the peculiar form of hero-worship which was his overmastering impulse, he visited Corsica and became intimate with Pascal Paoli, the patriot who freed the island from the Genoese, but was subsequently conquered by the French, In 1768 Boswell published 'An Account of Corsica, Memoirs of Pascal Paoli, and a Journal of a Tour to the Island.' Of this Johnson said, "The history is like other histories, but the journal is in a high degree delightful and curious." Gray said the journal was "a dialogue between a green goose and a hero."

James Boswell.

In 1793 Boswell was admitted a member of the famous "Literary Club," and soon after persuaded Dr. Johnson to make a tour of the Hebrides, a journey at that time presenting almost as many difficulties as a trip to Labrador does now. His journal, a book quite as entertaining as the 'Life,' was not published till 1786, two years after Johnson's death. As stated before, Boswell's great book, the 'Life,' was published in 1791. The author also published a number of minor works which are not worth enumerating.

The position of James Boswell as a classic author is as well established as it is unique. It depends entirely on the two books mentioned: 'The Life of Dr. Samuel Johnson' and the 'Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides,' which may be considered as one, and indeed were amalgamated into one in Croker's edition. Further, the interest of these books depends more on the subject-matter than on the style. No books are better known than these, and none are buried deeper in oblivion than his other productions, with the possible exception of the Corsican journal. One is as obscure as the other is immortal, though from the artistic standpoint they do not differ greatly in literary merit. But it is not just to say that the value of Boswell's 'Life of Johnson' depends entirely on the subject-matter. It depends rather on a happy relation or co-ordination between the subject and the author. In consequence, it is hardly possible to consider Boswell as a writer without some reference to Samuel Johnson. Not only is Johnson the central figure in the book, but in a sense he is a joint author of it. About one-third of the book is in Johnson's words, and this third is decidedly the best part. Boswell's reputation as a great writer is unique in that it depends upon greatness as an interviewer and reporter.

Macaulay says, "If Boswell had not been a great fool he never would have been a great writer." This is one of those paradoxical statements to which Macaulay likes to give a glittering plausibility. It is true that Boswell wrote a great book, and it is also true that in some regards he was what we are accustomed to designate as a fool; but to connect the two as cause and effect is like saying that a man was a great athlete because he was lame, or that Lord Byron had a beautiful face because he had a club-foot, or that Demosthenes was a great orator because he stammered. Men have been made by their foibles, but in those cases weakness in some directions has been more than compensated for by strength in others. Boswell lacked some of the great literary powers, but he possessed others, and those that he did possess happened to be precisely the ones necessary to the writer of the life of Samuel Johnson. Boswell had no imagination, no moral elevation, no decided wit or power of phrase, no deep insight, no invention. But he had one power which lies behind all great realistic literary work; and that is, observation. Johnson furnished the power of phrase, in which he was as eminent as any Englishman between Shakespeare and Charles Lamb. The higher powers are not needed in a transcript of fact. Boswell possessed too an eye for the externals which indicate character, and--a quality rare in the eighteenth century--absolute accuracy. Sir Joshua Reynolds said, "Every word of the 'Life' might be depended on as if it were given on oath."

It was this habit of painstaking accuracy, rather than good taste, which led him to avoid the vice of rhetorical amplification. It also prevented him from missing the point of a joke of which he was unconscious. As a rule, his 'Johnsoniana' are better than those of Sir John Hawkins or Mrs. Piozzi, because they are more literal. In one or two instances an embellishment which improved a story was rejected by him because it was not true. These powers--observation, scrupulous accuracy and industry, and enthusiastic admiration of his hero--were all that he needed for the production of a great book; for Dr. Johnson was so unaffected, so outspoken, and so entertaining a man, and every sentence he uttered was so characteristic, that realism was a far better method for his biographer than analysis. Perhaps it is always better when the subject is strongly marked. That Dr. Johnson was a good subject is so evident that the mere statement is sufficient. Mrs. Thrale-Piozzi's and even Sir John Hawkins's books are entertaining simply because they are about him.

The eighteenth-century man presents a number of excellent features for literary portraiture, because he is a compound of formality and explosiveness. The formal manners and dress and ponderous courtesy of the eighteenth century, combined with an outspoken way of calling things by their right names and a boyish petulance and quickness of temper, make a contrast that is essentially humorous, and more attractive than the philosophic and broad-minded temper of earlier times or the reticence and indifference of our own day. Dr. Johnson was a typical eighteenth-century man, and epitomized these contrasts. Personally, too, he was a man for whom we must feel the most profound regard and respect. He represents the normal Englishman, a compound of moral integrity, rooted prejudice, and hatred of shams, with a mind which works mechanically and a kind heart. We instinctively recognize this compound as the ancestral type of our race, and are drawn to it. The real power of our race depends upon the simplicity and solid humanity of this central type, the heavy-armed and disciplined infantry about which are grouped the more gifted and erratic types, the scouts and light-horse of civilization. For these general reasons Samuel Johnson seems to us the best sitter for a literary portrait that ever fell into the hands of a literary painter, and the excellence of his biography to depend quite as much upon the fact that it is a life of Samuel Johnson as upon the fact that it is a life by James Boswell.

Boswell's private character is outside the question in a consideration of his writings. Macaulay calls him a drunkard. If this be true, it seems a little severe to call a Scotchman to account for being intoxicated one hundred years ago. He also speaks of him as a toady; but he was a friend of Johnson, whose detestation of sycophancy was a positive principle. Hume speaks of him as a "friend of mine, very good-humored, very agreeable, and very mad." Macaulay's and Carlyle's essays may be considered as mutually corrective. The truth is that Boswell was absolutely frank, and if a man is frank about himself on paper he must write himself down a fool, unless he belongs to a higher type than Boswell or his critics.


Having said so much of the genius and character of the Corsicans, I must beg leave to present my readers with a very distinguished Corsican character, that of Signor Clemente de' Paoli, brother of the General.

This gentleman is the eldest son of the old General Giacinto Paoli. He is about fifty years of age, of a middle size and dark complexion; his eyes are quick and piercing, and he has something in the form of his mouth which renders his appearance very particular. His understanding is of the first rate, and he has by no means suffered it to lie neglected. He was married, and has an only daughter, the wife of Signor Barbaggi, one of the first men in the island.

For these many years past, Signor Clemente, being in a state of widowhood, has resided at Rostino, from whence the family of Paoli comes. He lives there in a very retired manner. He is of a saturnine disposition, and his notions of religion are rather gloomy and severe. He spends his whole time in study, except what he passes at his devotions. These generally take up six or eight hours every day; during all which time he is in church, and before the altar, in a fixed posture, with his hands and eyes lifted up to heaven with solemn fervor.

He prescribes to himself an abstemious, rigid course of life, as if he had taken the vows of some of the religious orders. He is much with the Franciscans, who have a convent at Rostino. He wears the common coarse dress of the country, and it is difficult to distinguish him from one of the lowest of the people.

When he is in company he seldom speaks, and except upon important occasions, never goes into public, or even to visit his brother at Corte. When danger calls, however, he is the first to appear in the defense of his country. He is then foremost in the ranks, and exposes himself to the hottest action; for religious fear is perfectly consistent with the greatest bravery, according to the famous line of the pious Racine,--

"I fear my God, and know no other fear."

In the beginning of an engagement he is generally calm; and will frequently offer up a prayer to heaven for the person at whom he is going to fire; saying he is sorry to be under the necessity of depriving him of life, but that he is an enemy to Corsica, and Providence has sent him in his way in order that he may be prevented from doing any further mischief; that he hopes God will pardon his crimes and take him to Himself. After he has seen two or three of his countrymen fall at his side, the case alters. His eyes flame with grief and indignation, and he becomes like one furious, dealing vengeance everywhere around him. His authority in the council is not less than his valor in the field. His strength of judgment and extent of knowledge, joined to the singular sanctity of his character, give him great weight in all the public consultations; and his influence is of considerable service to his brother the General.


While I stopped to refresh my mules at a little village, the inhabitants came crowding about me as an ambassador going to their General. When they were informed of my country, a strong black fellow among them said, "English! they are barbarians; they don't believe in the great God." I told him, "Excuse me, sir. We do believe in God, and Jesus Christ, too."--"And in the Pope?"--"No."--"And why?" This was a puzzling question in these circumstances; for there was a great audience to the controversy. I thought I would try a method of my own, and very gravely replied, "Because we are too far off,"--a very new argument against the universal infallibility of the Pope. It took, however; for my opponent mused a while, and then said, "Too far off! Why, Sicily is as far off as England. Yet in Sicily they believe in the Pope."--"Oh," said I, "we are ten times further off than Sicily."--"Aha!" said he; and seemed quite satisfied. In this manner I got off very well. I question much whether any of the learned reasonings of our Protestant divines would have had so good an effect.


It seems to me in my moments of self-complacency that this extensive biographical Work, however inferior in its nature, may in one respect be assimilated to the 'Odyssey.' Amidst a thousand entertaining and instructive episodes the Hero is never long out of sight; for they are all in some degree connected with him; and He, in the whole course of the History, is exhibited by the author for the best advantage of his readers:--

"Quid Virtus et quid sapientia possit,
Utile proposuit nobis exemplar Ulyssen."

(What may by virtue be done, and what by wisdom accomplished, Homer affords in Ulysses for us a helpful example.)

Should there be any cold-blooded and morose mortals who really dislike this book, I will give them a story to apply. When the great Duke of Marlborough, accompanied by Lord Cadogan, was one day reconnoitring the army in Flanders, a heavy rain came on, and they both called for their cloaks. Lord Cadogan's servant, a good-humored, alert lad, brought his Lordship's in a minute. The Duke's servant, a lazy, sulky dog, was so sluggish that his Grace, being wet to the skin, reproved him, and had for answer with a grunt, "I came as fast as I could;" upon which the Duke calmly said, "Cadogan, I would not for a thousand pounds have that fellow's temper."

Mr. Thomas Davies the actor, who then kept a bookseller's shop in Russel-street, Covent Garden, told me that Johnson was very much his friend, and came frequently to his house, where he more than once invited me to meet him; but by some unlucky accident or other he was prevented from coming to us.

Mr. Thomas Davies was a man of good understanding and talents, with the advantage of a liberal education. Though somewhat pompous, he was an entertaining companion; and his literary performances have no inconsiderable share of merit. He was a friendly and very hospitable man. Both he and his wife (who has been celebrated for her beauty), though upon the stage for many years, maintained a uniform decency of character; and Johnson esteemed them, and lived in as easy an intimacy with them as with any family which he used to visit. Mr. Davies recollected several of Johnson's remarkable sayings, and was one of the best of the many imitators of his voice and manner, while relating them. He increased my impatience more and more to see the extraordinary man whose works I highly valued, and whose conversation was reported to be so peculiarly excellent.

At last, on Monday the 16th of May, when I was sitting in Mr. Davies' back-parlor, after having drunk tea with him and Mrs. Davies, Johnson unexpectedly came into the shop; and Mr. Davies having perceived him through the glass-door in the room in which we were sitting, advancing toward us, he announced his awful approach to me, somewhat in the manner of an actor in the part of Horatio, when he addresses Hamlet on the appearance of his father's ghost,--"Look, my lord, it comes." I found that I had a very perfect idea of Johnson's figure from the portrait of him painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds soon after he had published his Dictionary, in the attitude of sitting in his easy-chair in deep meditation; which was the first picture his friend did for him, which Sir Joshua very kindly presented to me, and from which an engraving has been made for this work. Mr. Davies mentioned my name, and respectfully introduced me to him. I was much agitated, and recollecting his prejudice against the Scotch, of which I had heard much, I said to Davies, "Don't tell where I came from."--"From Scotland," cried Davies, roguishly. "Mr. Johnson" (said I), "I do indeed come from Scotland, but I cannot help it." I am willing to flatter myself that I meant this as light pleasantry to soothe and conciliate him, and not as an humiliating abasement at the expense of my country. But however that might be, this speech was somewhat unlucky; for with that quickness of wit for which he was so remarkable, he seized the expression "come from Scotland," which I used in the sense of being of that country; and as if I had said that I had come away from it, or left it, retorted, "That, sir, I find, is what a very great many of your countrymen cannot help." This stroke stunned me a good deal; and when he had sat down, I felt myself not a little embarrassed, and apprehensive of what might come next. He then addressed himself to Davies:--"What do you think of Garrick? He has refused me an order for the play of Miss Williams, because he knows the house will be full, and that an order would be worth three shillings." Eager to take any opening to get into conversation with him, I ventured to say, "Oh, sir, I cannot think Mr. Garrick would grudge such a trifle to you." "Sir," (said he, with a stern look) "I have known David Garrick longer than you have done; and I know no right you have to talk to me on the subject." Perhaps I deserved this check; for it was rather presumptuous in me, an entire stranger, to express any doubt of the justice of his animadversion upon his old acquaintance and pupil. I now felt myself much mortified, and began to think that the hope which I had long indulged of obtaining his acquaintance was blasted. And in truth, had not my ardor been uncommonly strong, and my resolution uncommonly persevering, so rough a reception might have deterred me for ever from making any further attempts. Fortunately, however, I remained upon the field not wholly discomfited; and was soon rewarded by hearing some of his conversation, of which I preserved the following short minute, without marking the questions and observations by which it was produced.

"People" (he remarked) "may be taken in once, who imagine that an author is greater in private life than other men. Uncommon parts require uncommon opportunities for their exertion."

"In barbarous society, superiority of parts is of real consequence. Great strength or great wisdom is of much value to an individual. But in more polished times there are people to do everything for money; and then there are a number of other superiorities, such as those of birth and fortune and rank, that dissipate men's attention and leave no extraordinary share of respect for personal and intellectual superiority. This is wisely ordered by Providence, to preserve some equality among mankind."

"Sir, this book" ('The Elements of Criticism,' which he had taken up) "is a pretty essay, and deserves to be held in some estimation, though much of it is chimerical."

Speaking of one who with more than ordinary boldness attacked public measures and the royal family, he said, "I think he is safe from the law, but he is an abusive scoundrel; and instead of applying to my Lord Chief Justice to punish him, I would send half a dozen footmen and have him well ducked."

"The notion of liberty amuses the people of England, and helps to keep off the tædium vitæ. When a butcher tells you that 'his heart bleeds for his country,' he has in fact no uneasy feeling."

"Sheridan will not succeed at Bath with his oratory. Ridicule has gone down before him, and I doubt Derrick is his enemy."

"Derrick may do very well, as long as he can outrun his character; but the moment his character gets up with him, it is all over."

It is, however, but just to record that some years afterwards, when I reminded him of this sarcasm, he said, "Well, but Derrick has now got a character that he need not run away from."

I was highly pleased with the extraordinary vigor of his conversation, and regretted that I was drawn away from it by an engagement at another place. I had for a part of the evening been left alone with him, and had ventured to make an observation now and then, which he received very civilly; so that I was satisfied that though there was a roughness in his manner, there was no ill-nature in his disposition. Davies followed me to the door, and when I complained to him a little of the hard blows which the great man had given me, he kindly took upon him to console me by saying, "Don't be uneasy. I can see he likes you very well."

A few days afterwards I called on Davies, and asked him if he thought I might take the liberty of waiting on Mr. Johnson at his chambers in the Temple. He said I certainly might, and that Mr. Johnson would take it as a compliment. So on Tuesday the 24th of May, after having been enlivened by the witty sallies of Messieurs Thornton, Wilkes, Churchill, and Lloyd, with whom I had passed the morning, I boldly repaired to Johnson. His chambers were on the first floor of No. 1, Inner-Temple-lane, and I entered them with an impression given me by the Reverend Dr. Blair, of Edinburgh, who had been introduced to him not long before, and described his having "found the giant in his den"; an expression which, when I came to be pretty well acquainted with Johnson, I repeated to him, and he was diverted at this picturesque account of himself. Dr. Blair had been presented to him by Dr. James Fordyce. At this time the controversy concerning the pieces published by Mr. James Macpherson as translations of Ossian was at its height. Johnson had all along denied their authenticity; and what was still more provoking to their admirers, maintained that they had no merit. The subject having been introduced by Dr. Fordyce, Dr. Blair, relying on the internal evidence of their antiquity, asked Dr. Johnson whether he thought any man of a modern age could have written such poems. Johnson replied, "Yes, sir, many men, many women, and many children." Johnson, at this time, did not know that Dr. Blair had just published a Dissertation, not only defending their authenticity, but seriously ranking them with the poems of Homer and Virgil; and when he was afterwards informed of this circumstance, he expressed some displeasure at Dr. Fordyce's having suggested the topic, and said, "I am not sorry that they got thus much for their pains. Sir, it was like leading one to talk of a book when the author is concealed behind the door."

He received me very courteously; but it must be confessed that his apartment and furniture and morning dress were sufficiently uncouth. His brown suit of clothes looked very rusty; he had on a little shriveled unpowdered wig, which was too small for his head; his shirt-neck and the knees of his breeches were loose; his black worsted stockings ill drawn up; and he had a pair of unbuckled shoes by way of slippers. But all these slovenly particularities were forgotten the moment that he began to talk. Some gentlemen, whom I do not recollect, were sitting with him; and when they went away, I also rose; but he said to me, "Nay, don't go."--"Sir" (said I), "I am afraid that I intrude upon you. It is benevolent to allow me to sit and hear you." He seemed pleased with this compliment, which I sincerely paid him, and answered, "Sir, I am obliged to any man who visits me."

In February, 1767, there happened one of the most remarkable incidents of Johnson's life, which gratified his monarchical enthusiasm, and which he loved to relate with all its circumstances, when requested by his friends. This was his being honored by a private conversation with his Majesty, in the library at the Queen's house. He had frequently visited those splendid rooms and noble collection of books, which he used to say was more numerous and curious than he supposed any person could have made in the time which the King had employed. Mr. Barnard, the librarian, took care that he should have every accommodation that could contribute to his ease and convenience, while indulging his literary taste in that place; so that he had here a very agreeable resource at leisure hours.

His Majesty, having been informed of his occasional visits, was pleased to signify a desire that he should be told when Dr. Johnson came next to the library. Accordingly, the next time that Johnson did come, as soon as he was fairly engaged with the book, on which, while he sat by the fire, he seemed quite intent, Mr. Barnard stole round to the apartment where the King was, and in obedience to his Majesty's commands mentioned that Dr. Johnson was then in the library. His Majesty said that he was at leisure, and would go to him; upon which Mr. Barnard took one of the candles that stood on the King's table and lighted his Majesty through a suite of rooms, till they came to a private door into the library of which his Majesty had the key. Being entered, Mr. Barnard stepped forward hastily to Dr. Johnson, who was still in a profound study, and whispered him, "Sir, here is the King." Johnson started up, and stood still. His Majesty approached him, and at once was courteously easy.

His Majesty began by observing that he understood he came sometimes to the library; and then mentioned his having heard that the Doctor had been lately at Oxford, and asked him if he was not fond of going thither. To which Johnson answered that he was indeed fond of going to Oxford sometimes, but was likewise glad to come back again. The King then asked him what they were doing at Oxford. Johnson answered, he could not much commend their diligence, but that in some respect they were mended, for they had put their press under better regulations, and at that time were printing Polybius. He was then asked whether there were better libraries at Oxford or Cambridge. He answered, he believed the Bodleian was larger than any they had at Cambridge; at the same time adding, "I hope, whether we have more books or not than they have at Cambridge, we shall make as good use of them as they do." Being asked whether All-Souls or Christ-Church library was the largest, he answered, "All-Souls library is the largest we have, except the Bodleian." "Ay" (said the King), "that is the public library."

His Majesty inquired if he was then writing anything. He answered he was not, for he had pretty well told the world what he knew, and must now read to acquire more knowledge. The King, as it should seem with a view to urge him to rely on his own stores as an original writer, and to continue his labors, then said, "I do not think you borrow much from anybody."

Johnson said he thought he had already done his part as a writer. "I should have thought so too" (said the King), "if you had not written so well."--Johnson observed to me, upon this, that "No man could have paid a handsomer compliment; and it was fit for a King to pay. It was decisive." When asked by another friend, at Sir Joshua Reynolds's, whether he made any reply to this high compliment, he answered, "No, sir. When the King had said it, it was to be so. It was not for me to bandy civilities with my Sovereign." Perhaps no man who had spent his whole life in courts could have shown a more nice and dignified sense of true politeness than Johnson did in this instance.

His Majesty having observed to him that he supposed he must have read a good deal, Johnson answered that he thought more than he read; that he had read a great deal in the early part of his life, but having fallen into ill health, he had not been able to read much compared with others: for instance, he said, he had not read much compared with Dr. Warburton. Upon which the King said that he heard Dr. Warburton was a man of much general knowledge; that you could scarce talk with him on any subject on which he was not qualified to speak: and that his learning resembled Garrick's acting in its universality. His Majesty then talked of the controversy between Warburton and Lowth, which he seemed to have read, and asked Johnson what he thought of it. Johnson answered, "Warburton has the most general, most scholastic learning; Lowth is the more correct scholar. I do not know which of them calls names best." The King was pleased to say he was of the same opinion: adding, "You do not think then, Dr. Johnson, that there was much argument in the case?" Johnson said he did not think there was. "Why, truly" (said the King), "when once it comes to calling names, argument is pretty well at an end."

His Majesty then asked him what he thought of Lord Lyttelton's history, which was just then published. Johnson said he thought his style pretty good, but that he had blamed Henry the Second rather too much. "Why" (said the King), "they seldom do these things by halves." "No, sir" (answered Johnson), "not to kings." But fearing to be misunderstood, he proceeded to explain himself; and immediately subjoined, "That for those who spoke worse of kings than they deserved, he could find no excuse; but that he could more easily conceive how some one might speak better of them than they deserved, without any ill intention: for as kings had much in their power to give, those who were favored by them would frequently, from gratitude, exaggerate their praises; and as this proceeded from a good motive, it was certainly excusable as far as error could be excusable."

The King then asked him what he thought of Dr. Hill. Johnson answered that he was an ingenious man, but had no veracity; and immediately mentioned as an instance of it an assertion of that writer, that he had seen objects magnified to a much greater degree by using three or four microscopes at a time than by using one. "Now" (added Johnson), "every one acquainted with microscopes knows that the more of them he looks through, the less the object will appear." "Why" (replied the King), "this is not only telling an untruth, but telling it clumsily; for if that be the case, every one who can look through a microscope will be able to detect him."

"I now" (said Johnson to his friends, when relating what had passed) "began to consider that I was depreciating this man in the estimation of his Sovereign, and thought it was time for me to say something that might be more favorable." He added, therefore, that Dr. Hill was notwithstanding a very curious observer; and if he would have been contented to tell the world no more than he knew, he might have been a very considerable man, and needed not to have recourse to such mean expedients to raise his reputation.

The King then talked of literary journals, mentioned particularly the Journal des Savants, and asked Johnson if it was well done. Johnson said it was formerly very well done, and gave some account of the persons who began it, and carried it on for some years; enlarging at the same time on the nature and use of such works. The King asked him if it was well done now. Johnson answered he had no reason to think that it was. The King then asked him if there were any other literary journals published in this kingdom except the Monthly and Critical Reviews; and on being answered there was no other, his Majesty asked which of them was the best. Johnson answered that the Monthly Review was done with most care, the Critical upon the best principles; adding that the authors of the Monthly Review were enemies to the Church. This the King said he was sorry to hear.

The conversation next turned on the Philosophical Transactions, when Johnson observed that they had now a better method of arranging their materials than formerly. "Ay" (said the King), "they are obliged to Dr. Johnson for that;" for his Majesty had heard and remembered the circumstance, which Johnson himself had forgot.

His Majesty expressed a desire to have the literary biography of this country ably executed, and proposed to Dr. Johnson to undertake it. Johnson signified his readiness to comply with his Majesty's wishes.

During the whole of this interview, Johnson talked to his Majesty with profound respect, but still in his firm, manly manner, with a sonorous voice, and never in that subdued tone which is commonly used at the levee and in the drawing-room. After the King withdrew, Johnson showed himself highly pleased with his Majesty's conversation and gracious behavior. He said to Mr. Barnard, "Sir, they may talk of the King as they will; but he is the finest gentleman that I have ever seen." And he afterwards observed to Mr. Langton, "Sir, his manners are those of as fine a gentleman as we may suppose Lewis the Fourteenth or Charles the Second."

At Sir Joshua Reynolds's, where a circle of Johnson's friends were collected round him to hear his account of this memorable conversation, Dr. Joseph Warton, in his frank and lively manner, was very active in pressing him to mention the particulars. "Come now, sir, this is an interesting matter; do favor us with it." Johnson, with great good humor, complied.

He told them:--"I found his Majesty wished I should talk, and I made it my business to talk. I find it does a man good to be talked to by his Sovereign. In the first place, a man cannot be in a passion--" Here some question interrupted him; which is to be regretted, as he certainly would have pointed out and illustrated many circumstances of advantage, from being in a situation where the powers of the mind are at once excited to vigorous exertion and tempered by reverential awe.

Mr. Macpherson little knew the character of Dr. Johnson if he supposed that he could be easily intimidated; for no man was ever more remarkable for personal courage. He had indeed an awful dread of death, or rather "of something after death"; and what rational man, who seriously thinks of quitting all that he has ever known and going into a new and unknown state of being, can be without that dread? But his fear was from reflection; his courage natural. His fear, in that one instance, was the result of philosophical and religious consideration. He feared death, but he feared nothing else, not even what might occasion death. Many instances of his resolution may be mentioned. One day, at Mr. Beauclerk's house in the country, when two large dogs were fighting, he went up to them and beat them till they separated; and at another time, when told of the danger there was that a gun might burst if charged with many balls, he put in six or seven and fired it off against a wall. Mr. Langton told me that when they were swimming together near Oxford, he cautioned Dr. Johnson against a pool which was reckoned particularly dangerous; upon which Johnson directly swam into it. He told me himself that one night he was attacked in the street by four men, to whom he would not yield, but kept them all at bay till the watch came up and carried both him and them to the round-house. In the play-house at Lichfield, as Mr. Garrick informed me, Johnson having for a moment quitted a chair which was placed for him between the side-scenes, a gentleman took possession of it, and when Johnson on his return civilly demanded his seat, rudely refused to give it up; upon which Johnson laid hold of it and tossed him and the chair into the pit. Foote, who so successfully revived the old comedy by exhibiting living characters, had resolved to imitate Johnson on the stage, expecting great profits from his ridicule of so celebrated a man. Johnson being informed of his intention, and being at dinner at Mr. Thomas Davies's the bookseller, from whom I had the story, he asked Mr. Davies "what was the common price of an oak stick"; and being answered sixpence, "Why then, sir" (said he), "give me leave to send your servant to purchase a shilling one. I'll have a double quantity; for I am told Foote means to take me off, as he calls it, and I am determined the fellow shall not do it with impunity." Davies took care to acquaint Foote of this, which effectually checked the wantonness of the mimic. Mr. Macpherson's menaces made Johnson provide himself with the same implement of defense; and had he been attacked, I have no doubt that, old as he was, he would have made his corporal prowess be felt as much as his intellectual.

Mr. Hector was so good as to accompany me to see the great works of Mr. Bolton [Boulton], at a place which he has called Soho, about two miles from Birmingham, which the very ingenious proprietor showed me himself to the best advantage. I wished Johnson had been with us; for it was a scene which I should have been glad to contemplate by his light. The vastness and the contrivance of some of the machinery would have "matched his mighty mind." I shall never forget Mr. Bolton's expression to me, "I sell here, sir, what all the world desires to have--power." He had about seven hundred people at work. I contemplated him as an iron chieftain, and he seemed to be a father to his tribe. One of them came to him, complaining grievously of his landlord for having distrained his goods. "Your landlord is in the right, Smith" (said Bolton). "But I'll tell you what: find you a friend who will lay down one-half of your rent, and I'll lay down the other half; and you shall have your goods again."

From Mr. Hector I now learned many particulars of Dr. Johnson's early life, which, with others that he gave me at different times since, have contributed to the formation of this work.

Dr. Johnson said to me in the morning, "You will see, sir, at Mr. Hector's, his sister Mrs. Careless, a clergyman's widow. She was the first woman with whom I was in love. It dropped out of my head imperceptibly; but she and I will always have a kindness for each other." He laughed at the notion that a man can never really be in love but once, and considered it as a mere romantic fancy.

On our return from Mr. Bolton's, Mr. Hector took me to his house, where we found Johnson sitting placidly at tea with his first love; who, though now advanced in years, was a genteel woman, very agreeable and well-bred.

Johnson lamented to Mr. Hector the state of one of their schoolfellows, Mr. Charles Congreve, a clergyman, which he thus described:--"He obtained, I believe, considerable preferment in Ireland, but now lives in London, quite as a valetudinarian, afraid to go into any house but his own. He takes a short airing in his post-chaise every day. He has an elderly woman, whom he calls cousin, who lives with him, and jogs his elbow when his glass has stood too long empty, and encourages him in drinking, in which he is very willing to be encouraged; not that he gets drunk, for he is a very pious man, but he is always muddy. He confesses to one bottle of port every day, and he probably drinks more. He is quite unsocial; his conversation is quite monosyllabical; and when at my last visit I asked him what o'clock it was, that signal of my departure had so pleasing an effect upon him that he sprung up to look at his watch like a greyhound bounding at a hare." When Johnson took leave of Mr. Hector, he said, "Don't grow like Congreve; nor let me grow like him, when you are near me."

When he talked again of Mrs. Careless to-night, he seemed to have had his affection revived; for he said, "If I had married her, it might have been as happy for me."

Boswell--Pray, sir, do you not suppose that there are fifty women in the world, with any one of whom a man may be as happy as with any one woman in particular?

Johnson--Ay, sir, fifty thousand.

Boswell--Then, sir, you are not of opinion with some that imagine that certain men and certain women are made for each other; and that they cannot be happy if they miss their counterparts.

Johnson--To be sure not, sir. I believe marriages would in general be as happy, and often more so, if they were all made by the Lord Chancellor, upon a due consideration of the characters and circumstances, without the parties having any choice in the matter.

I am now to record a very curious incident in Dr. Johnson's life which fell under my own observation; of which pars magna fui, and which I am persuaded will, with the liberal-minded, be much to his credit.

My desire of being acquainted with celebrated men of every description had made me, much about the same time, obtain an introduction to Dr. Samuel Johnson and to John Wilkes, Esq. Two men more different could perhaps not be selected out of all mankind. They had even attacked one another with some asperity in their writings; yet I lived in habits of friendship with both. I could fully relish the excellence of each; for I have ever delighted in that intellectual chymistry which can separate good qualities from evil in the same person.

Sir John Pringle, "mine own friend and my father's friend," between whom and Dr. Johnson I in vain wished to establish an acquaintance, as I respected and lived in intimacy with both of them, observed to me once very ingeniously, "It is not in friendship as in mathematics, where two things, each equal to a third, are equal between themselves. You agree with Johnson as a middle quality, and you agree with me as a middle quality; but Johnson and I should not agree." Sir John was not sufficiently flexible, so I desisted: knowing indeed that the repulsion was equally strong on the part of Johnson; who, I know not from what cause unless his being a Scotchman, had formed a very erroneous opinion of Sir John. But I conceived an irresistible wish, if possible, to bring Dr. Johnson and Mr. Wilkes together. How to manage it, was a nice and difficult matter.

My worthy booksellers and friends, Messieurs Dilly in the Poultry, at whose hospitable and well-covered table I have seen a greater number of literary men than at any other except that of Sir Joshua Reynolds, had invited me to meet Mr. Wilkes and some more gentlemen on Wednesday, May 15th. "Pray" (said I), "let us have Dr. Johnson."--"What, with Mr. Wilkes? not for the world" (said Mr. Edward Dilly): "Dr. Johnson would never forgive me."--"Come" (said I), "if you'll let me negotiate for you, I will be answerable that all shall go well."

Dilly--Nay, if you will take it upon you, I am sure I shall be very happy to see them both here.

Notwithstanding the high veneration which I entertained for Dr. Johnson, I was sensible that he was sometimes a little actuated by the spirit of contradiction, and by means of that I hoped I should gain my point. I was persuaded that if I had come upon him with a direct proposal, "Sir, will you dine in company with Jack Wilkes?" he would have flown into a passion, and would probably have answered, "Dine with Jack Wilkes, sir! I'd as soon dine with Jack Ketch." I therefore, while we were sitting quietly by ourselves at his house in an evening, took occasion to open my plan thus:--

"Mr. Dilly, sir, sends his respectful compliments to you, and would be happy if you would do him the honor to dine with him on Wednesday next along with me, as I must soon go to Scotland."

Johnson--Sir, I am obliged to Mr. Dilly. I will wait upon him--

Boswell--Provided, sir, I suppose, that the company which he is to have is agreeable to you.

Johnson--What do you mean, sir? What do you take me for? Do you think I am so ignorant of the world as to imagine that I am to prescribe to a gentleman what company he is to have at his table?

Boswell--I beg your pardon, sir, for wishing to prevent you from meeting people whom you might not like. Perhaps he may have some of what he calls his patriotic friends with him.

Johnson--Well, sir, and what then? What care I for his patriotic friends? Poh!

Boswell--I should not be surprised to find Jack Wilkes there.

Johnson--And if Jack Wilkes should be there, what is that to me, sir? My dear friend, let us have no more of this. I am sorry to be angry with you; but really it is treating me strangely to talk to me as if I could not meet any company whatever, occasionally.

Boswell--Pray forgive me, sir: I meant well. But you shall meet whoever comes, for me.

Thus I secured him, and told Dilly that he would find him very well pleased to be one of his guests on the day appointed.

Upon the much-expected Wednesday I called on him about half an hour before dinner, as I often did when we were to dine out together, to see that he was ready in time, and to accompany him. I found him buffeting his books, as upon a former occasion, covered with dust, and making no preparation for going abroad. "How is this, sir?" (said I). "Don't you recollect that you are to dine at Mr. Dilly's?"

Johnson--Sir, I did not think of going to Dilly's: it went out of my head. I have ordered dinner at home with Mrs. Williams.

Boswell--But, my dear sir, you know you were engaged to Mr. Dilly, and I told him so. He will expect you, and will be much disappointed if you don't come.

Johnson--You must talk to Mrs. Williams about this.

Here was a sad dilemma. I feared that what I was so confident I had secured, would yet be frustrated. He had accustomed himself to show Mrs. Williams such a degree of humane attention as frequently imposed some restraint upon him; and I knew that if she should be obstinate, he would not stir. I hastened down-stairs to the blind lady's room, and told her I was in great uneasiness, for Dr. Johnson had engaged to me to dine this day at Mr. Dilly's, but that he had told me he had forgotten his engagement, and had ordered dinner at home. "Yes, sir" (said she, pretty peevishly), "Dr. Johnson is to dine at home." "Madam" (said I), "his respect for you is such that I know he will not leave you, unless you absolutely desire it. But as you have so much of his company, I hope you will be good enough to forego it for a day; as Mr. Dilly is a very worthy man, has frequently had agreeable parties at his house for Dr. Johnson, and will be vexed if the Doctor neglects him to-day. And then, madam, be pleased to consider my situation: I carried the message, and I assured Mr. Dilly that Dr. Johnson was to come; and no doubt he has made a dinner, and invited a company, and boasted of the honor he expected to have. I shall be quite disgraced if the Doctor is not there."

She gradually softened to my solicitations, which were certainly as earnest as most entreaties to ladies upon any occasion, and was graciously pleased to empower me to tell Dr. Johnson "that, all things considered, she thought he should certainly go." I flew back to him, still in dust, and careless of what should be the event, "indifferent in his choice to go or stay;" but as soon as I had announced to him Mrs. Williams's consent, he roared, "Frank, a clean shirt," and was very soon dressed. When I had him fairly seated in a hackney-coach with me, I exulted as much as a fortune-hunter who has got an heiress into a post-chaise with him to set out for Gretna Green.

When we entered Mr. Dilly's drawing-room, he found himself in the midst of a company he did not know. I kept myself snug and silent, watching how he would conduct himself. I observed him whispering to Mr. Dilly, "Who is that gentleman, sir?" "Mr. Arthur Lee." Johnson--"Too, too, too" (under his breath), which was one of his habitual mutterings. Mr. Arthur Lee could not but be very obnoxious to Johnson, for he was not only a patriot but an American. He was afterwards minister from the United States at the court of Madrid. "And who is the gentleman in lace?" "Mr. Wilkes, sir." This information confounded him still more; he had some difficulty to restrain himself, and taking up a book, sat down upon a window-seat and read, or at least kept his eye upon it intently for some time, till he composed himself. His feelings, I dare say, were awkward enough. But he no doubt recollected his having rated me for supposing that he could be at all disconcerted by any company, and he therefore resolutely set himself to behave quite as an easy man of the world, who could adapt himself at once to the disposition and manners of those whom he might chance to meet.

The cheering sound of "Dinner is upon the table" dissolved his reverie, and we all sat down without any symptom of ill-humor. There were present, besides Mr. Wilkes, and Mr. Arthur Lee, who was an old companion of mine when he studied physics at Edinburgh, Mr. (now Sir John) Miller, Dr. Lettson, and Mr. Slater the druggist. Mr. Wilkes placed himself next to Dr. Johnson, and behaved to him with so much attention and politeness that he gained upon him insensibly. No man eat more heartily than Johnson, or loved better what was nice and delicate. Mr. Wilkes was very assiduous in helping him to some fine veal. "Pray give me leave, sir--It is better here--A little of the brown--Some fat, sir--A little of the stuffing--Some gravy--Let me have the pleasure of giving you some butter--Allow me to recommend a squeeze of this orange; or the lemon, perhaps, may have more zest" "Sir, sir, I am obliged to you, sir," cried Johnson, bowing, and turning his head to him with a look for some time of "surly virtue," but in a short while of complacency.

Sir William Forbes writes to me thus:--"I inclose the 'Round Robin.' This jeu d'esprit took its rise one day at dinner at our friend Sir Joshua Reynolds's. All the company present except myself were friends and acquaintances of Dr. Goldsmith. The Epitaph written for him by Dr. Johnson became the subject of conversation, and various emendations were suggested, which it was agreed should be suggested to the Doctor's consideration.--But the question was, who should have the courage to propose them to him? At last it was hinted that there could be no way so good as that of a 'Round Robin,' as the sailors call it, which they make use of when they enter into a conspiracy, so as not to let it be known who puts his name first or last to the paper. This proposition was instantly assented to; and Dr. Barnard, Dean of Derry, now Bishop of Killahoe, drew up an address to Dr. Johnson on the occasion, replete with wit and humor, but which it was feared the Doctor might think treated the subject with too much levity. Mr. Burke then proposed the address as it stands in the paper in writing, to which I had the honor to officiate as clerk.

"Sir Joshua agreed to carry it to Dr. Johnson, who received it with much good humor, and desired Sir Joshua to tell the gentlemen that he would alter the Epitaph in any manner they pleased, as to the sense of it; but he would never consent to disgrace the walls of Westminster Abbey with an English inscription.

"I consider this 'Round Robin' as a species of literary curiosity worth preserving, as it marks in a certain degree Dr. Johnson's character."...

Sir William Forbes's observation is very just. The anecdote now related proves in the strongest manner the reverence and awe with which Johnson was regarded by some of the most eminent men of his time, in various departments, and even by such of them as lived most with him; while it also confirms what I have again and again inculcated, that he was by no means of that ferocious and irascible character which has been ignorantly imagined.

This hasty composition is also one to be remarked as one of the thousand instances which evince the extraordinary promptitude of Mr. Burke; who, while he is equal to the greatest things, can adorn the least; can with equal facility embrace the vast and complicated speculations of politics or the ingenious topics of literary investigation.

The character of Samuel Johnson has, I trust, been so developed in the course of this work that they who have honored it with a perusal may be considered as well acquainted with him. As, however, it may be expected that I should collect into one view the capital and distinguishing features of this extraordinary man, I shall endeavor to acquit myself of that part of my biographical undertaking, however difficult it may be to do that which many of my readers will do better for themselves.

His figure was large and well formed, and his countenance of the cast of an ancient statue; yet his appearance was rendered strange and somewhat uncouth by convulsive cramps, by the scars of that distemper which it was once imagined the royal touch could cure, and by a slovenly mode of dress. He had the use only of one eye; yet so much does mind govern and even supply the deficiency of organs, that his visual perceptions, as far as they extended, were uncommonly quick and accurate. So morbid was his temperament that he never knew the natural joy of a free and vigorous use of his limbs; when he walked, it was like the struggling gait of one in fetters; when he rode, he had no command or direction of his horse, but was carried as if in a balloon. That with his constitution and habits of life he should have lived seventy-five years, is a proof that an inherent vivida vis is a powerful preservative of the human frame.

Man is in general made up of contradictory qualities: and these will ever show themselves in strange succession where a consistency in appearance at least, if not in reality, has not been attained by long habits of philosophical discipline. In proportion to the native vigor of the mind, the contradictory qualities will be the more prominent, and more difficult to be adjusted; and therefore we are not to wonder that Johnson exhibited an eminent example of this remark which I have made upon human nature.

At different times he seemed a different man in some respects; not, however, in any great or essential article, upon which he had fully employed his mind and settled certain principles of duty, but only in his manners, and in the display of argument and fancy in his talk. He was prone to superstition, but not to credulity. Though his imagination might incline him to a belief of the marvelous and the mysterious, his vigorous reason examined the evidence with jealousy. He was a sincere and zealous Christian, of high Church-of-England and monarchical principles, which he would not tamely suffer to be questioned; and had perhaps at an early period narrowed his mind somewhat too much, both as to religion and politics. His being impressed with the danger of extreme latitude in either, though he was of a very independent spirit, occasioned his appearing somewhat unfavorable to the prevalence of that noble freedom of sentiment which is the best possession of man. Nor can it be denied that he had many prejudices; which, however, frequently suggested many of his pointed sayings, that rather show a playfulness of fancy than any settled malignity. He was steady and inflexible in maintaining the obligations of religion and morality, both from a regard for the order of society, and from a veneration for the Great Source of all order: correct--nay, stern--in his taste; hard to please, and easily offended; impetuous and irritable in his temper, but of a most humane and benevolent heart, which showed itself not only in a most liberal charity, as far as his circumstances would allow, but in a thousand instances of active benevolence. He was afflicted with a bodily disease which made him often restless and fretful; and with a constitutional melancholy, the clouds of which darkened the brightness of his fancy, and gave a gloomy cast to his whole course of thinking. We therefore ought not to wonder at his sallies of impatience and passion at any time, especially when provoked by obtrusive ignorance or presuming petulance; and allowance must be made for his uttering hasty and satirical sallies even against his best friends. And surely, when it is considered that "amidst sickness and sorrow" he exerted his faculties in so many works for the benefit of mankind, and particularly that he achieved the great and admirable Dictionary of our language, we must be astonished at his resolution.

The solemn text, "Of him to whom much is given, much is expected," seems to have been ever present to his mind in a rigorous sense, and to have made him dissatisfied with his labors and acts of goodness, however comparatively great; so that the unavoidable consciousness of his superiority was in that respect a cause of disquiet. He suffered so much from this, and from the gloom which perpetually haunted him and made solitude frightful, that it may be said of him, "If in this life only he had hope, he was of all men most miserable." He loved praise when it was brought to him, but was too proud to seek for it. He was somewhat susceptible of flattery. As he was general and unconfined in his studies, he cannot be considered as master of any one particular science; but he had accumulated a vast and various collection of learning and knowledge, which was so arranged in his mind as to be ever in readiness to be brought forth. But his superiority over other learned men consisted chiefly in what may be called the art of thinking, the art of using his mind; a certain continual power of seizing the useful substance of all that he knew, and exhibiting it in a clear and forcible manner; so that knowledge which we often see to be no better than lumber in men of dull understanding, was in him true, evident, and actual wisdom. His moral precepts are practical, for they are drawn from an intimate acquaintance with human nature. His maxims carry conviction, for they are founded on the basis of common-sense and a very attentive and minute survey of real life. His mind was so full of imagery that he might have been perpetually a poet; yet it is remarkable that however rich his prose is in this respect, his poetical pieces, in general, have not much of that splendor, but are rather distinguished by strong sentiment and an acute observation, conveyed in harmonious and energetic verse, particularly in heroic couplets.

Though usually grave and even awful in his deportment, he possessed uncommon and peculiar powers of wit and humor; he frequently indulged himself in colloquial pleasantry; and the heartiest merriment was often enjoyed in his company, with this great advantage, that as it was entirely free from any poisonous tincture of vice or impiety, it was salutary to those who shared in it. He had accustomed himself to such accuracy in his common conversation, that he at all times expressed his thoughts with great force and an elegant choice of language, the effect of which was aided by his having a loud voice and a slow deliberate utterance. In him were united a most logical head with a most fertile imagination, which gave him a most extraordinary advantage in arguing; for he could reason close or wide, as he saw best for the moment. Exulting in his intellectual strength and dexterity, he could when he pleased be the greatest sophist that ever contended in the lists of declamation; and from a spirit of contradiction, and a delight in showing his powers, he would often maintain the wrong side with equal warmth and ingenuity: so that when there was an audience, his real opinions could seldom be gathered from his talk; though when he was in company with a single friend, he would discuss a subject with genuine fairness; but he was too conscientious to make error permanent and pernicious by deliberately writing it; and in all his numerous works he earnestly inculcated what appeared to him to be the truth, his piety being constant and the ruling principle of all his conduct.

Such was Samuel Johnson; a man whose talents, acquirements, and virtues were so extraordinary, that the more his character is considered, the more he will be regarded by the present age and by posterity with admiration and reverence.



rench by birth, born at Amiens of a Russian father and an English mother, Paul Bourget inherited Anglo-Saxon as well as Gallic intuitions. He is very proud of the cosmopolitan spirit which exempts him from the usual French provincialism, and has sought to develop it by travel and study. He endeavors to know intimately the phases of life which he wishes to describe, and then to treat them in the light of a large knowledge of many peoples. Yet he feels a somewhat bitter realization that so general a view as his own has necessarily an element of weakness. He lacks convictions and prejudices to express with whole-hearted strength, and hence is always a dilettante.

Paul Bourget.

His student life was passed at the Lycée of Clermont, and later at the Collège de Sainte-Barbe at Paris, where his scholarship was rewarded by several prizes. But his voracious reading of French and English poetry, fiction, and philosophy has probably done more for him than scholastic training. Like so many other novelists, he began his literary life with journalism; and in 1872 became collaborator on the Renaissance, living frugally meantime, and studying Paris from her cafés and boulevards as any poor man may.

His first book, 'La Vie Inquiète' 'Restless Life', a collection of poems sad in tone, dainty in touch, echoed the French verses which he loved best, but offered nothing very original. They show a tinge of Baudelaire's fantastic love of morbid phases of life and beauty, and also of Leconte de Lisle's exquisite phrasing. But Bourget lacks poetic ardor, and in metre is always a little artificial. Although he went on writing poetry for some years, he found few readers until he turned to prose. When the 'Essais de Psychologie Contemporaine' appeared in 1883, the public were delighted with their original charm. Taking five authors whom he knew and loved particularly,--Baudelaire, Renan, Flaubert, Taine, and Stendhal,--he wrote a brilliant, profoundly psychologic exposition of their minds and temperaments. The scientific explanation was fervid with his own emotion over these strong influences in his life, and thus comes indirectly as an interpretation of himself. These studies, which he calls "a few notes made to help the historian of the modern moral life in France during the latter half of the nineteenth century," stand, as criticism, between Brunetière's formal structure and Lemaître's appreciations. They have been very popular, and Bourget has since written another volume of 'Nouveaux Essais de Psychologie Contemporaine,' and other books of critical sketches called 'Études et Portraits.'

Certain qualities of his talent show forcibly in 'Sensations d'Italie,' a delightful appreciation of beauty and sensuous charm. The reader feels the author's joy in close analysis, and his sensitive discriminations. In 'Outre-Mer,' especially interesting to Americans as a study of the United States, which he visited in 1894, he shows the same receptivity to new feelings and new ideas. The book is often ludicrously inaccurate, and fundamentally incomplete in that it ignores the great middle class of our people, yet it is full of suggestive comments on American character.

Most people know Bourget best as a novelist. As in criticism, his method is psychologic dissection. Taking a set of men and women who are individually interesting, he draws their environment with careful detail and shows the reactions of their characters upon each other. His subtlety of analysis comes out strongly in his pictures of women, whose contradictory moods and emotional intuitions offer him the refined complexities he loves. His first novel, 'L'Irréparable,' lacks movement and is sometimes tedious in its over-elaboration. In 'Une Cruelle Énigme' his strength is more evident. It is the story of a young and high-minded man who discovers that the woman he loves is unworthy, yet finds that he loves her notwithstanding. "Why this love?" asks the author at the end of the book. "Why and whence does it come? The question is without an answer, and like the falsity of woman, like the weakness of man, like life itself, a cruel, cruel riddle." 'Une Crime d'Amour,' one of his most popular novels, deals with a woman who, being married to an uncongenial husband, falls in love with a brilliant, heartless society man, with the usual result. The crime is the hero's inability to understand the meaning of genuine love. 'Mensonges' (Lies) is a striking picture of the endless falsities of a Parisian woman of innocent Madonna-like beauty. It was dramatized and played at the Vaudeville in 1889, but without much success. 'Le Disciple' is an elaborate attempt to prove that present scientific theories tend to corrupt manners and to encourage pessimism. In 'Cosmopolis,' a study of foreign life in Italy, Bourget shows that the same passions dominate men, whatever their training.

From Dumas fils Bourget has learned to be a moralist with a conscious wish to present society with object lessons. He himself says, "A writer worthy to hold a pen has, as his first and last requirement, to be a moralist. The moralist is the man who shows life as it is, with its profound lessons of secret expiation which are everywhere imprinted. To have shown the rancor of vice is to have been a moralist."

Like most French novelists, he lacks humor. In their search for happiness his characters suffer a great deal and know only temporary ecstasy. They are often witty, but never genial.

His critics have said that his genius proves its own limitation, for his analytic curiosity is apt to desert what is primitive and broadly human in search of stimulus from the abnormal and out-of-the-way, and there is lack of synthesis in his wealth of detail. His literary brethren are fond too of deriding his ardent appreciation of luxury and wealth. He dwells upon niceties of toilet or the decorations of a dinner-table with positive enjoyment. All social refinements are very dear to him, and the moral struggles of fashionable men and women far more interesting than the heart-aches of the working classes.

He is often called a pessimist, for his "heavy sadness of disillusion"; but he is never bitter. Finding the universe incomprehensible, he stands baffled and passive, with a tender sympathy, almost an envy, for those who still have faith. He is above all interesting as a sane and characteristic product of the latest social conditions. His is the tolerant, somewhat negative point of view of the man who has found no new creed, yet disbelieves the old. Clarens says that Bourget suffers from "the atrocious modern uneasiness which is caused by regret that one can no longer believe, and dread of the moral void."


From 'Outre-Mer'

As the American marriage appears to be above all a partnership, so the American family appears to be more than anything else an association,--a sort of social camp, the ties of which are more or less strong according to individual sympathies, such as might exist between people not of the same blood. I am certain, not from anecdotes but from experience, that the friendship of brother and brother, or sister and sister, is entirely elective. So it is with the relations between father and son, mother and daughter. A young Frenchman much in love with a New York girl said to me, in one of those moments when the coldness of the woman you love drives you to be cruelly frank:--

"She has so little heart that she went to the theatre five weeks after her mother's death, and no one resented it."

I knew that he was telling the truth. But what did it prove? What do the inequalities permitted by the laws of inheritance prove? Nothing, if not that our natural characteristics, instincts, sensibilities, are not the same as those of the people of this country. They have much less power of self-giving, much more of personal reaction; and especially a much stronger will. Their will rules their hearts as well as their minds. This seems to us less tender. But are we good judges?

We must continually keep in mind this general want of association in family life if we would in any degree understand the sort of soul-celibacy, if we may use the term, which the American woman keeps all through her married life. No more in this second period of her life than in the first does love bear that preponderating part which seems to us Frenchmen an essential characteristic of the lot of woman. When a Parisian woman of forty reviews her life, the story that memory tells her is the story of her emotions. To an American woman of the same age it is more often the story of her actions,--of what she calls, by a word I have before cited, her experiences. She gained, between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five, a conception of her own self which was imposed upon her neither by her traditions--she has none; nor by the instructions of her parents--they never gave her any; nor even by her own nature--for it is characteristic of these easily "adaptable" minds that their first instincts are chaotic and undetermined. They are like a blank check, which the will undertakes to fill out. But whatever the will writes upon it, is written in letters that will never be effaced. Action, action, always action,--this is the remorseless but unchanging device of such a woman. Whether she seeks for a place in society, or is ambitious for artistic culture, or addicts herself to sport, or organizes "classes," as they say, for reading Browning, Emerson, or Shakespeare, with her friends; whether she travels to Europe, India, or Japan, or gives an "at home" to have some young girl among her friends "pour" tea for her, be sure that she will be always and incessantly active, indefatigably active, either in the lines of "refinement" or of "excitement."

With what impressiveness these women utter both these words! which we must not weary of returning to; for they perhaps sum up the entire American soul. They are bandied about in conversation like two formulae, in which are revealed the persistence of this creature, who, born of a stern race, and feeling herself fine, wills to become finer and ever finer; who, reared amid democratic surroundings, wills to become distinguished and ever more distinguished; who, daughter of a land of enterprise, loves to excite continually in herself the sensation of over-strained nerves.

When you see ten, fifteen, thirty, fifty like this, the character of eccentricity, which you first found in them by comparison with the women of Europe, disappears. A new type of feminine attractiveness is revealed to you, less affecting than irritating, enigmatic and slightly ambiguous by its indefinable blending of supple grace and virile firmness, by the alliance of culture and vigor, by the most thrilling nervous sensitiveness and the sturdiest health. The true place of such a creature in this society appears to you also, and the profound reason why these men, themselves all action, leave these women free thus to act with total independence. If it is permitted to apply an old legal term to creatures so subtle, so delicate, these women are the delegates to luxury in this utilitarian civilization. Their mission is to bring into it that which the American has not time to create, and which he desires to have:--the flower of elegance, something of beauty, and in a word, of aristocracy. They are the nobility in this land of business, a nobility developed by the very development of business; since the money which is made in the offices comes at last to them, and manipulated by their fingers, is transfigured, blossoming into precious decorations, made intellectual in plays of fancy,--in fact, unutilized. A great artist, foremost of this epoch by the ardor of his efforts, the conscientiousness of his study, and the sincerity of his vision,--John Sargent,--has shown what I have tried to express, in a portrait I saw in an exhibition; that of a woman whose name I do not know. It is a portrait such as the fifteenth-century masters painted, who back of the individual found the real, and back of the model a whole social order. The canvas might be called 'The American Idol,' so representative is it.

The woman is standing, her feet side by side, her knees close together, in an almost hieratic pose. Her body, rendered supple by exercise, is sheathed--you might say molded--in a tight-fitting black dress. Rubies, like drops of blood, sparkle on her shoes. Her slender waist is encircled by a girdle of enormous pearls, and from this dress, which makes an intensely dark background for the stony brilliance of the jewels, the arms and shoulders shine out with another brilliance, that of a flower-like flesh,--fine, white flesh, through which flows blood perpetually invigorated by the air of the country and the ocean. The head, intellectual and daring, with a countenance as of one who has understood everything, has for a sort of aureole the vaguely gilded design of one of those Renaissance stuffs which the Venetians call soprarisso. The rounded arms, in which the muscles can hardly be seen, are joined by the clasped hands,--firm hands, the thumb almost too long, which might guide four horses with the precision of an English coachman. It is the picture of an energy at once delicate and invincible, momentarily in repose; and all the Byzantine Madonna is in that face with its wide-open eyes.

Yes, this woman is an idol, for whose service man labors, which he has decked with the jewels of a queen, behind each one of whose whims lie days and days spent in the ardent battle of Wall Street. Frenzy of speculations in land, cities undertaken and built by sheer force of millions, trains launched at full speed over bridges built on a Babel-like sweep of arch, the creaking of cable cars, the quivering of electric cars, sliding along their wires with a crackle and a spark, the dizzy ascent of elevators, in buildings twenty stories high, immense wheat-fields of the West, its ranches, mines, colossal slaughter-houses,--all the formidable traffic of this country of effort and struggle, all its labor,--these are what have made possible this woman, this living orchid, unexpected masterpiece of this civilization.

Did not the very painter consecrate to her his intense toil? To be capable of such a picture, he must have absorbed some of the ardor of the Spanish masters, caught the subtlety of the great Italians, understood and practiced the curiosities of impressionism, dreamed before the pictures in basilicas like Ravenna, and read and thought. Ah, how much of culture, of reflection, before one could fathom the secret depths of one's own race! He has expressed one of the most essential characteristics of the race,--the deification of woman, considered not as a Beatrice as in Florence, nor as a courtesan as at Milan, but as a supreme glory of the national spirit.

This woman can do without being loved. She has no need of being loved. What she symbolizes is neither sensuality nor tenderness. She is like a living object of art, the last fine work of human skill, attesting that the Yankee, but yesterday despairing, vanquished by the Old World, has been able to draw from this savage world upon which fate has cast him a wholly new civilization, incarnated in this woman, her luxury and her pride. Everything is illuminated by this civilization, at the gaze of these fathomless eyes, in the expression of which the painter has succeeded in putting all the idealism of this country which has no ideal; all that which perhaps will one day be its destruction, but up to the present time is still its greatness,--a faith in the human Will, absolute, unique, systematic, and indomitable.

Copyrighted by Charles Scribner's Sons, New York.


From the 'Study of M. Renan'

The sentiments I have tried to analyze are evidently of a rare order, and presuppose an exceptional culture. Delicate flowers will not grow in the winds and fitful sunshine of the public road. Their perfumed corollas expand only in the mellowed air of hot-houses. Science is a kind of hot-house which guards superior minds from the brutalities of real life. The author of 'Dialogues philosophiques' is an exceptional person. He is a superior man, to me a term very strong in its simplicity; one might say almost that he is the superior man. Moreover, a certain air of imperceptible irony and transcendental disdain shows that he is conscious of this superiority. Disregard of vulgar opinion is very evident in his pages. The reserved elegance of a style which never emphasizes any special intention; the subtle arguments which never take the imperative tone; a strength of feelings, none of which are exaggerated for the sake of sympathy,--all would reveal his aristocratic ideal, even if he had not often declared that there is one domain for the initiated and another for the simple. His political work on 'Reforme intellectuelle et morale' contains the strongest argument of the last hundred years against the very principle of democracy, natural equality. His two symbolic dramas--'Caliban' and 'Eau de Jouvence'--may be summed up in this reflection of the prior of Chartreux, seated in his stall while the organ plays alone, and the crowd presses around the crowned Caliban: "A11 civilization is the work of aristocrats." This truth the demagogue Caliban himself recognizes, since as soon as possessed of the palace and power of Prospero, he assumes aristocratic ways; and M. Renan, always desirous of correcting by a smile even his dearest affirmations, carefully adds that the monster of the island became a very fair prince. Prospero proclaims that material work is the slave of spiritual work. Everything must aid him who prays,--that is, who thinks. Democratic minds, which do not admit individual subordination to a general achievement, consider this a monstrous doctrine.

Finally, the 'Dialogues philosophiques,' in the part entitled 'Dreams,' contain a complete plan for the subjection of the greatest number by a chosen few.... Is it bold to consider his feeling for his native soil the germ of his aristocratic ideal?

Other determining circumstances unite with it, all of which may be summed up in the term "superior man," which seems simple enough, but which may be decomposed into a series of complex characters. The superior man differs from the man of genius, who may be unintelligent enough, and from the man of talent, who is often a mere specialist, in an ability to form general ideas about everything. If this power of generalizing is not combined with equal creative power, the superior man remains a critic. But if he possesses both, he is an exceptional being and the highest conceivable type, that of conscious genius. Caesar is an example of this in politics; Da Vinci in painting; and the great Goethe in literature. Even if he does not reach these heights, the superior man is one of the most useful instruments of society. For universal comprehension usually includes a universal aptitude. Is not this demonstrated in England, where favorable conditions have developed many examples? What are great political characters like Disraeli and Macaulay, who could apply an ever-ready intelligence to literary composition and parliamentary struggles, to financial interests and diplomatic difficulties, but superior men?

Conceive such a one thrown into the democratic current by chances of birth, and you will realize the contrasts of environment and character which have led M. Renan to the conception of an ideal so unusual. Democracy seems at a first glance very favorable to talent, for it opens all doors to all efforts. But at the same time it strengthens the hard law of competition. Therefore it requires a greater specialization. Then, democracy is founded upon equality, of which the logical consequence is universal suffrage. It needs little analysis to know that universal suffrage is hostile to the superior man. The mental attitudes resulting from advanced study are usually--multiplicity of points of view; a taste for nice distinctions; a disdain for absolute statement; and search for intricate solutions;--all of which are refinements antagonistic to the popular love of positive assertion. Therefore a superior man finds the morals of a democracy unfavorable to his development, while its laws hold him back from public affairs. So, many distinguished minds in France to-day are excluded from government; or if they have triumphed over the ostracism to which their divorce from common passions condemns them, it is because they disguise this divorce under professions which are void of intellectual impartiality. The superior man exiled in what Sainte-Beuve calls "the ivory tower" watches the drama of national life as one who sees its future possibilities. Is it necessary to recall that one of this class of élite has shown a veritable gift of prophecy? To cite only one example, were not the disasters of 1870 predicted with surprising exactness in the 'France nouvelle' of Prévost-Paradol, victim like Renan of universal suffrage? It is evident that a strange melancholy oppresses these lofty minds, weighed down under the conviction of their ideal strength and their real weakness. The insolent triumph of the mediocre adds to this sadness. But it is not quite without sweetness. It has something of the pleasure extolled by Lucretius in the famous verses on those temples of the calm faith from which the sage regards the wild struggle of the passions. But the superior man of to-day will never know the full enjoyment which the nervous systems of the ancients permitted them. The mind can do a great deal, but it is powerless to remodel our native faculties. Whether we hate or venerate the democracy, we are its sons and inherit its imperious need of combat. The obscure and revolutionary nineteenth century is in our blood, and prohibits the inner immobility, the mental quiet, celebrated by the Epicureans of Greece and Rome. There is agitation in our serenities, as in our submissions. Catholics or atheists, monarchists or republicans, all the offspring of this age of anguish have the anxious look, the quaking heart, the trembling hands of the great battle of the time. Even those who try to stand aloof share the common anxiety. They too are revolutionists like the others, but they oppose human stupidity, and their mute rebellion is called disdain.

It would be interesting to study among contemporary scholars the different forms of this disdain. Does not the exaggeration of technical beauties, which is a feature of the school of poets ironically called Parnassians, proceed from this sentiment of Odi profanum vulgus? Did not Gustave Flaubert compose 'Bouvard et Péchuchet' under this inspiration? Would Taine have undertaken his 'Histoire des origines de la France contemporaine' if he had not been tormented by a longing to understand the democratic tide which was sweeping him away? But no writer has felt more strongly than M. Renan the antithesis of the superior man and democracy. One must read and re-read those pages of the 'Dialogues' where Theoctiste imagines the victory of a future oligarchy, to appreciate the intensity of passion employed in the examination of these problems. He conceives that the learned will secure formidable destructive agents, requiring the most delicate calculations and much abstract knowledge. Then, exulting in their power, the dreamer exclaims:--"Thus the forces of humanity would some day be held in a few hands, and would be possessed by a league which could rule the existence of the planet and terrorize the whole world. If those most endowed with reason had ability to destroy the planet, their sovereignty would be established. The privileged class would reign by absolute terror, since they would have the existence of all in their hands. They would be almost gods, and then would be realized the theological state dreamed by the poet for primitive humanity: 'Primus in orbe Deos fecit timor.'" We must not attach more reality to this tragic fancy than the author intended, but it shows an incurably wounded heart; and proves that the scholar who drew this gloomy picture has no great tenderness for the favorite Utopias of the age.

An open break is possible between democracy and science, the two great forces of modern society. Certainly while the tendency of the first is to level, that of the second is to create differences. "Knowledge is power," said the inductive philosopher. To know ten times as much as another is to be ten times as capable; and as intellectual inequality forbids a uniform degree of information, there is increasing opposition between democratic tendencies and the social results of science. There are several solutions, as in nearly all the complicated problems as to the future. In formulating the hypothesis of the 'Dialogues,' M. Renan indicates one of them. Another may be simply an application of science to the organization of societies. An unprejudiced consideration of the principles upon which our nineteenth-century society is founded proves their Cartesian character, very different already from modern philosophy. But there is a secret movement of minds. The conceptions of Darwin and Herbert Spencer permeate the new ones. We must have faith in the worth of the doctrines which will eventually overthrow politics, as well as natural science and literature. A time is coming when a society will not seem to the philosophers of evolution as it did to the last inheritors of the classic spirit. It will appear, not the operation of a logical contract, but the action of a confederation of organisms of which the cell is the unit. This is very different from the reigning idea. It is exclusive of any difference between democrat and aristocrat, for such difference means an arbitrary classification of the different social elements. If this consoling vision is not a simple chimera, it may be remembered that the great scorners like M. Renan are active workmen for its accomplishment, in that they formulate it very exactly, and face the coming conflict with sorrowfully keen relief.

These summary notes upon one of our most remarkable men only indicate the three or four states of conscience which he represents to the young people who read his books and meditate upon their eloquent, disquieting pages. No other author offers more that is fresh in thought and feeling, for no other employs greater sincerity in thought and in exposition of sentiment. Whoever studies the springs of moral life in the rising generation, meets everywhere his influence. Not before a hundred years hence can his achievement be measured. If there are any who do not worship sincerity and reverence, they should devote themselves to the books of M. Renan; for no one has practiced these qualities with greater constancy than he, who on the first page of his 'Vie de Jésus' invokes the pure spirit of the venerated Dead, and who prayed to him in a melancholy petition to the unattainable--"O good Genius, reveal to me whom you love, the truths which govern death, keep one from fearing and make one almost love it!"



t will be the height of my ambition," once wrote Sir John Bowring to a friend, "to do something which may connect my name with the literature of the age."

Sir John Bowring

This desire was accomplished; for the distinguished linguist, scholar, and diplomat of England rendered genuine service to literature by his translations of Slavonic and Oriental verses into the English tongue. These were more than translations: they were studies of the national song. Bowring was one of the first scholars to appreciate the beauty, the importance, and the charm of the traditional ballad and lyric; those faithful records of the joys, sorrows, superstitions, and history of a people. In the various East-European languages wherein Bowring's researches bore such valuable fruit,--embracing Bohemian, Polish, Russian, Hungarian, Servian, and Bulgarian,--the race-soul of these nations is preserved: their wild mythology, their bizarre Oriental color, their impassioned thought, their affections and traditions, and often the sorrows and ideals learned during centuries of vain wanderings and heavy oppressions. In this rich and romantic field, which has been assiduously cultivated since his time, Bowring was a pioneer.

John Bowring, born on October 17th, 1792, came of an old Puritan family, long identified with the woolen trade. "In the early days," he tells us, "the Exeter merchants were mostly traveled men with a practical knowledge of other tongues, and the quay at Exeter was crowded with the ships of all nations." Thus his imagination was kindled by the visible links to far-away countries, and from intercourse with the emigrants of various nations he acquired the foundation of his brilliant linguistic attainments.

In 1811 he went to London as clerk to a commercial house, which sent him to Spain in 1813, and subsequently to France, Belgium, Holland, Russia, and Sweden. Immediately on his return to London he published the first of his translations, "Specimens of the Russian Poets" (1820). In 1822 he published a second volume of Russian verse and a translation of Chamisso's whimsical tale 'Peter Schlemihl'; and when in 1824 his friend Jeremy Bentham founded the Westminster Review, Bowring became one of its editors. He contributed to it numerous essays on political and literary topics, one of which, on the literature of Finland, published in 1827, first brought the poetry of that country into notice. In 1849 he was sent on a mission to China; in 1854 was made plenipotentiary and knighted, and remained in China during the Taeping insurrection, being made governor of Hong Kong. In 1859 he resigned the post.

With the exception of negotiating commercial treaties for England between the Hawaiian court and various European States, the remainder of his life was spent quietly in the pursuit of literary pleasures. Even in his old age he translated fugitive poetry, wrote essays on political, literary, and social questions of the hour, and frequently delivered lectures. He died November 23d, 1872, in Exeter, within sight of his birthplace under the shadows of the massive cathedral. "In my travels," he said, "I have never been very ambitious of the society of my countrymen, but have always sought that of the natives; and there are few men, I believe, who can bear a stronger or a wider testimony to the general kindness and hospitality of the human family when the means of intercourse exist. My experiences of foreign lands are everywhere connected with the most pleasing and the most grateful remembrances." In 1873 Lady Bowring published a 'Memorial Volume of Sacred Poetry,' containing many of his popular hymns; and in 1877 his 'Autobiographical Recollections' were published, with a memoir by his son.

Sir John Bowring was a natural linguist of the first order. He knew and spoke over a hundred languages, and affirmed that he often dreamed in foreign tongues. His friend Tom Hood humorously referred to his gifts in the following verse:--

"To Bowring! man of many tongues,
  (All over tongues, like rumor)
This tributary verse belongs
  To paint his learned humor.
All kinds of gab he knows, I wis,
  From Latin down to Scottish--
As fluent as a parrot is,
  But far more Polly-glottish.
No grammar too abstruse he meets,
  However dark and verby;
He gossips Greek about the streets
And often Russ--in urbe.
Strange tongues--whate'er you do them call;
  In short, the man is able
To tell you what o'clock in all
  The dialects of Babel.
Take him on Change--in Portuguese,
  The Moorish and the Spanish,
Polish, Hungarian, Tyrolese,
  The Swedish and the Danish:
Try him with these, and fifty such,
  His skill will ne'er diminish;
Although you should begin in Dutch,
  And end (like me) in Finnish."

Bowring was a member of many learned societies, and had honors and decorations without stint, including the Order of the White Elephant, the Swedish Order of the Northern Star, and the Order of Kamehameha I. His publications are a 'Russian Anthology,' 'Matins and Vespers,' 'Batavian Anthology,' 'Ancient Poetry and Romances of Spain,' 'Peter Schlemihl,' 'Servian Popular Poetry,' 'Specimens of the Polish Poets,' 'Sketch of the Language and Literature of Holland,' 'Poetry of the Magyars,' 'Cheskian Anthology,' 'Minor Morals,' 'Observations on Oriental Plague and Quarantines,' Manuscript of the Queen's Court: a Collection of Old Bohemian Lyrico-Epic Songs,' 'Kingdom and People of Siam,' 'A Visit to the Philippine Islands,' 'Translations from Petöfi,' 'The Flowery Scroll' (translation of a Chinese novel), and 'The Oak' (a collection of original tales and sketches). He also edited the works of Jeremy Bentham. Of his translations, the 'Servian Anthology' has been the most admired for the skill and ease with which the wild beauty of the poems, and their national spirit, has been preserved. At the time of its publication, the collection of Servian popular poetry called 'Narodne srpske pjesme' had just appeared, and was the first attempt to put into literary form the ballads and lyric songs sung by the wandering minstrels and the people.


In the Cross of Christ I glory,
  Tow'ring o'er the wrecks of time;
All the light of sacred story
  Gathers round its head sublime.

When the woes of life o'ertake me,
  Hopes deceive and fears annoy,
Never shall the Cross forsake me--
  Lo! it glows with peace and joy.

When the sun of bliss is beaming
  Light and love upon my way,
From the Cross the radiance streaming
  Adds more lustre to the day.

Bane and blessing, pain and pleasure,
  By the Cross are sanctified;
Peace is there that knows no measure,
  Joys that through all time abide.

In the Cross of Christ I glory,
  Tow'ring o'er the wrecks of time;
All the light of sacred story
  Gathers round its head sublime.


Watchman! tell us of the night,
  What its signs of promise are:
Traveler! o'er yon mountain's height
  See that glory-beaming star!
Watchman! doth its beauteous ray
  Aught of hope or joy foretell?
Traveler! yes, it brings the day,
  Promised day of Israel.

Watchman! tell us of the night;
  Higher yet that star ascends:
Traveler! blessedness and light,
  Peace and truth, its course portends.
Watchman! will its beams alone
  Gild the spot that gave them birth?
Traveler! ages are its own,
  And it bursts o'er all the earth.

Watchman! tell us of the night,
  For the morning seems to dawn:
Traveler! darkness takes its flight,
  Doubt and terror are withdrawn.
Watchman! let thy wanderings cease;
  Hie thee to thy quiet home:
Traveler! lo! the Prince of Peace,
  Lo! the Son of God is come!


From the recesses of a lowly spirit
My humble prayer ascends--O Father! hear it!
Upsoaring on the wings of fear and meekness,
  Forgive its weakness.

I know, I feel, how mean and how unworthy
The trembling sacrifice I pour before Thee;
What can I offer in Thy presence holy,
  But sin and folly?

For in Thy sight who every bosom viewest,
Cold are our warmest vows, and vain our truest;
Thoughts of a harrying hour, our lips repeat them,
  Our hearts forget them.

We see Thy hand--it leads us, it supports us;
We hear Thy voice--it counsels and it courts us;
And then we turn away--and still thy kindness
  Pardons our blindness.

And still Thy rain descends, Thy sun is glowing,
Fruits ripen round, flowers are beneath us blowing,
And, as if man were some deserving creature,
  Joys cover nature.

Oh, how long-suffering, Lord!--but Thou delightest
To win with love the wandering; Thou invitest
By smiles of mercy, not by frowns or terrors,
  Man from his errors.

Who can resist Thy gentle call--appealing
To every generous thought and grateful feeling?
That voice paternal--whispering, watching ever:
  My bosom?--never.

Father and Savior! plant within that bosom
These seeds of holiness, and bid them blossom
In fragrance and in beauty bright and vernal,
  And spring eternal.

Then place them in those everlasting gardens
Where angels walk, and seraphs are the wardens;
Where every flower that creeps through death's dark portal
  Becomes immortal.


They are not all sweet nightingales,
That fill with songs the flowery vales;
   But they are little silver bells,
   Touched by the winds in smiling dells;
Magic bells of gold in the grove,
Forming a chorus for her I love.

Think not the voices in the air
Are from the winged Sirens fair,
   Playing among the dewy trees,
   Chanting their morning mysteries;
Oh! if you listen, delighted there,
To their music scattered o'er the dales,
They are not all sweet nightingales,
That fill with songs the flowery vales;
But they are the little silver bells
Touched by the winds in the smiling dells;
Magic bells of gold in the grove,
Forming a chorus for her I love.

Oh! 'twas a lovely song--of art
To charm--of nature to touch the heart;
   Sure 'twas some Shepherd's pipe, which, played
   By passion, fills the forest shade:
No! 'tis music's diviner part
Which o'er the yielding spirit prevails.
They are not all sweet nightingales,
That fill with songs the flowery vales;
But they are the little silver bells
Touched by the winds in the smiling dells;
Magic bells of gold in the grove,
Forming a chorus for her I love.

In the eye of love, which all things sees,
The fragrance-breathing jasmine trees--
   And the golden flowers--and the sloping hill--
   And the ever-melancholy rill--
Are full of holiest sympathies,
And tell of love a thousand tales.
They are not all sweet nightingales,
That fill with songs the flowery vales,
But they are the little silver bells
Touched by the winds in the smiling dells;
Magic bells of gold in the grove,
Forming a chorus for her I love.

From 'Ancient Poetry and Romances of Spain.'


There came three minstrels in the days of old
  To the Avaric savage--in their hands
Their own Slavonian citharas they hold:
  "And who are ye!" the haughty Khan demands,
Frowning from his barbaric throne; "and where--
  Say where your warriors--where your sisters be."
"We are Slavonians, monarch! and come here
  From the far borders of the Baltic sea:
We know no wars--no arms to us belong--
  We cannot swell your ranks--'tis our employ
Alone to sing the dear domestic song."
  And then they touched their harps in doubtful joy.
"Slaves!" said the tyrant--"these to prison lead.
For they are precious hostages indeed!"

From the 'Cheskian Anthology.'


What to the maiden has happened?
What to the gem of the village?
  Ah! to the gem of the village.

Seated alone in her cottage,
Tremblingly turned to the window;
  Ah! ever turned to the window.

Like the sweet bird in its prison,
Pining and panting for freedom;
  Ah! how 'tis pining for freedom!

Crowds of her youthful companions
Come to console the loved maiden;
  Ah! to console the loved maiden.

"Smile then, our sister, be joyful;
Clouds of dust cover the valley;
  Ah! see, they cover the valley.

"Smile then, our sister, be joyful;
List to the hoof-beat of horses;
  Oh! to the hoof-beat of horses."

Then the maid looked through the window.
Saw the dust-clouds in the valley;
  Oh! the dust-clouds in the valley.

Heard the hoof-beat of the horses,
Hurried away from the cottage;
  Oh! to the valley she hurries.

"Welcome, O welcome! thou loved one."
See, she has sunk on his bosom;
  Oh! she has sunk on his bosom.

Now all her grief has departed:
She has forgotten the window;
  Oh! quite forgotten the window.

Now her eye looks on her loved one,
Beaming with brightness and beauty;
  Oh! 'tis all brightness and beauty.

From 'Specimens of the Russian Poets.'


[Sung at midnight in the Greek churches the last week before Easter.]

The golden palace of my God
      Tow'ring above the clouds I see
    Beyond the cherubs' bright abode,
  Higher than angels' thoughts can be:
How can I in those courts appear
  Without a wedding garment on?
Conduct me, Thou life-giver, there;
  Conduct me to Thy glorious throne:
And clothe me with thy robes of light,
And lead me through sin's darksome night,
      My Savior and my God!

From 'Specimens of the Russian Poets.'



Why mourning there so sad, thou gentle dove?


I mourn, unceasing mourn, my vanished love.


What, has thy love then fled, or faithless proved?


Ah no! the sportsman murdered him I loved!


Unhappy one! beware! that sportsman's nigh!


Oh, let him come--or else of grief I die.

From 'Specimens of the Russian Poets.'


[Intended to be used in the garlands for decorating the head of the Virgin Mary.]

Rose of the morning, in thy glowing beauty
Bright as the stars, and delicate and lovely,
Lift up thy head above thy earthly dwelling,
            Daughter of heaven!

Wake! for the watery clouds are all dispersing;
Zephyr invites thee.--frosts and snows of winter
All are departed, and Favonian breezes
            Welcome thee smiling.

Rise in thy beauty;--wilt thou form a garland
Round the fair brow of some belovèd maiden?
Pure though she be, unhallowed temple never,
            Flow'ret! shall wear thee.

Thou shouldst be wreathed in coronal immortal--
Thou shouldst be flung upon a shrine eternal--
Thou shouldst be twined among the golden ringlets
            Of the pure Virgin.

From 'Specimens of the Polish Poets.'



oyesen had thoroughly assimilated the spirit of his native Norway before he left it. In the small southern seaport of Friedricksværn he had lived the happy adventurous boyhood depicted in those loving reminiscences 'Boyhood in Norway.' He knew the rugged little land and the sparkling fiords; his imagination had delighted in Necken and Hulder and trolls, and all the charming fantastic sprites of the Northland. So when he was far away, during his bread-winning struggles in America, they grew clearer and dearer in perspective; and in 'Gunnar,' 'A Norseman's Pilgrimage,' 'Ilka on the Hilltop,' and other delightful books, he bequeathed these memories to his adopted land.

Hjalmar H. Boyesen.

He came of well-to-do people, and received a liberal education at the gymnasium of Christiania, the University of Leipsic, and the University of Norway. His father, professor of mathematics at the Naval Academy, had made several trips to the United States and had been impressed by the opportunities offered there to energetic young men. Upon his urgent advice, Hjalmar when about twenty-one came to America, and soon obtained a position upon a Norwegian newspaper, the Fremad of Chicago.

From childhood he had longed to write, but had been discouraged by his father, who expatiated upon the limitations of their native tongue, and assured him that to succeed in literature he must be able to write in another language as readily as in his own. Even in his school days he had shown a remarkable aptitude for languages; not only for understanding and speaking them, but for a sympathetic comprehension of foreign literatures, and that sensitiveness to shades of expression which so rarely comes to any but a native. He now worked with all his energy to acquire English, not only as a necessary tool, but as the best medium for conveying his own thought.

This whole-souled devotion to an adopted tongue was soon rewarded by a more spontaneous ease of expression than he possessed even in his native Norwegian. No one could guess from his poems that he was foreign to the speech in which he wrote them; few even among those born and bred to its use have had such mastery of its capacities.

He soon left the Fremad and began teaching Greek and Latin at the small Urbana University, in Ohio. Thence he was called to Cornell University in 1874 as professor of German, and in 1880 to Columbia College, where later he became professor of German languages and literatures. He was a teacher of rare stimulus and charm. He had an attractive vigor of personality; his treatment of subjects was at once keenly analytic and very sympathetic, while his individual point of view was impressed in an easy and vivid style.

The same qualities won for Boyesen a distinguished place in the lecture-field, where he gave his audiences an exceptional combination of solid learning and graceful and lucid expression. A series on the Norse sagas, at the Lowell Institute in Boston, are still valued as 'Scandinavian Studies.'

In critical work, of which these studies form a part, Professor Boyesen made his chief mark, as was natural, on the literature and legends of his native land. The best commentary on Ibsen yet published in English is his introduction to Ibsen's works; he manages to compress within the space of a very few pages the pith of the great anarch's social ideas and the character of his dramatic work. His 'Goethe and Schiller' is also excellent.

In pure letters, his earliest poems collected into 'Idyls of Norway,' and his early stories of Norse life, of which 'Gunnar' was first and best, were never surpassed by him in later life, if indeed they were equaled. The best powers of his mind were gradually drawn into fields which solidified and broadened his intellect, but checked the free inspiration and romantic feeling of youth. In gauging his merit as a creative artist, we must set aside all but the work of these few enthusiastic years. An important part of this change must be credited to the influence of the Russian novelists and their American disciples. Whatever may be the final verdict on Turgénieff and Tolstoy, their tremendous effect on American literature is one of the most striking facts in our recent literary history; its value is a more dubious matter, according to the point of view. Boyesen met Turgénieff in Paris, and was deeply impressed by him; he also became intimate with W.D. Howells, and through the influence of the latter became an ardent disciple of Tolstoy. The result was to transform the romanticist of 'Gunnar'--steeped in the legends of old Norway, creating a fairy-land atmosphere about him and delighting to live in the ideal,--into a so-called realist, setting himself to the task of brushing away all illusions and painting life as sterile and unpicturesque as it is in its meanest, most commonplace conditions. To do this, he claimed, was the stern function of the author. To help his readers to self-knowledge, although it might lessen their happiness, was the greatest service he could render them.

He succeeded. The best comment on the theory and the practice alike is that 'Gunnar' lives and its realistic successors do not, and indeed never did; and that much the same may be said of the corresponding epochs of other American novelists' work, with a few exceptions where native genius was too strong to be spoiled even by a vicious artistic principle. 'The Mammon of Unrighteousness' and 'The Golden Calf' belong to the second half of Boyesen's work.

A high place must be given, however, to his stories for boys in the children's magazines, principally on Norwegian themes. These are among the best of their kind,--spirited, wholesome, strong in plot and workmanship, and containing some examples of his most perfect style. Even the more slender juvenile tales have passages of the finest poetic spirit, and a charm scarcely equaled in his more ambitious work. He won some laurels as a dramatist: 'Alpine Roses' was successfully acted in New York in 1883, and 'Ilka on the Hilltop' (taken from his story of that name) in 1884.

Although he was in complete sympathy with the American life and character and wished to make them his own, Professor Boyesen was never quite an American. His descriptions of life in the United States are therefore always the result of a foreigner's observation. His generous humanity appeals to all races, however, and his books have been successfully translated into German, Russian, and Norwegian. For years he had been collecting matter for an extensive history of Scandinavian literature,--a task for which his nationality, his scholarship, and his mastery of the English language especially fitted him. His sudden death at forty-seven prevented its accomplishment, and perhaps deprived him of a still wider and solider fame.


From 'Gunnar'

They all hurried back to the hall. Gudrun might well wish to ask questions, but she dared not; for she felt the truth, but was afraid of it. They could not help seeing, when they entered the hall, that many curious glances were directed toward them. But this rather roused in both a spirit of defiance. Therefore, when Gunnar was requested to begin the stev he chose Ragnhild for his partner, and she accepted. True, he was a houseman's son, but he was not afraid. There was a giggling and a whispering all round, as hand in hand they stepped out on the floor. Young and old, lads and maidens, thronged eagerly about them. Had she not been so happy, perhaps she would not have been so fair. But as she stood there in the warm flush of the torchlight, with her rich blond hair waving down over her shoulders, and with that veiled brightness in her eyes, her beauty sprang upon you like a sudden wonder, and her presence was inspiration. And Gunnar saw her; she loved him: what cared he for all the world beside? Proudly he raised his head and sang:--

--There standeth a birch in the lightsome lea,

--In the lightsome lea;

--So fair she stands in the sunlight free,

--In the sunlight free;

--So fair she stands in the sunlight free.

--High up on the mountain there standeth a pine,

--There standeth a pine;

--So stanchly grown and so tall and fine,

--So tall and fine;

--So stanchly grown and so tall and fine.

--A maiden I know as fair as the day,

--As fair as the day;

--She shines like the birch in the sunlight's play,

--In the sunlight's play;

--She shines like the birch in the sunlight's play.

--I know a lad in the spring's glad light,

--In the spring's glad light;

--Far-seen as the pine on the mountain-height,

-- On the mountain-height;

-- Far-seen as the pine on the mountain-height.

--So bright and blue are the starry skies,

-- The starry skies;

--But brighter and bluer that maiden's eyes,

-- That maiden's eyes;

--But brighter and bluer that maiden's eyes.

--And his have a depth like the fjord, I know,

-- The fjord, I know;

--Wherein the heavens their beauty show,

-- Their beauty show;

--Wherein the heavens their beauty show.

--The birds each morn seek the forest glade,

-- The forest glade;

--So flock my thoughts to that lily maid,

-- That lily maid;

-- So flock my thoughts to that lily maid.

--The moss it clingeth so fast to the stone,

-- So fast to the stone;

--So clingeth my Soul to him alone,

-- To him alone;

--So clingeth my soul to him alone.

--Each brook sings its song, but forever the same,

-- Forever the same;

--Forever my heart beats that maiden's name,

-- That maiden's name;

--Forever my heart beats that maiden's name.

--The plover hath but an only tone,

-- An only tone;

--My life hath its love, and its love alone,

-- Its love alone;

--My life hath its love, and its love alone.

--The rivers all to the fjord they go,

-- To the fjord they go;

-- So may our lives then together flow,

-- Together flow;

--Oh, may our lives then together flow!

Here Gunnar stopped, made a leap toward Ragnhild, caught her round the waist, and again danced off with her, while a storm of voices joined in the last refrain, and loud shouts of admiration followed them. For this was a stev that was good for something; long time it was since so fine a stev had been heard on this side of the mountains. Soon the dance became general, and lasted till after midnight. Then the sleigh-bells and the stamping of hoofs from without reminded the merry guests that night was waning. There stood the well-known swan-shaped sleigh from Henjum, and the man on the box was Atle himself. Ragnhild and Gudrun were hurried into it, the whip cracked, and the sleigh shot down over the star-illumined fields of snow.

The splendor of the night was almost dazzling as Gunnar came out from the crowded hall and again stood under the open sky. A host of struggling thoughts and sensations thronged upon him. He was happy, oh, so happy!--at least he tried to persuade himself that he was; but strange to say, he did not fully succeed. Was it not toward this day his yearnings had pointed, and about which his hopes had been clustering from year to year, ever since he had been old enough to know what yearning was? Was it not this day which had been beckoning him from afar, and had shed light upon his way like a star, and had he not followed its guidance as faithfully and as trustingly as those wise men of old? "Folly and nonsense," muttered he; "the night breeds nightly thoughts!" With an effort he again brought Ragnhild's image before his mind, jumped upon his skees, and darted down over the glittering snow. It bore him toward the fjord. A sharp, chill wind swept up the hillside, and rushed against him. "Houseman's son!" cried the wind. Onward he hastened. "Houseman's son!" howled the wind after him. Soon he reached the fjord, hurried on up toward the river-mouth, and coming to the Henjum boat-house, stopped, and walked out to the end of the pier, which stretched from the headland some twenty to thirty feet out into the water. The fjord lay sombre and restless before him. There was evidently a storm raging in the ocean, for the tide was unusually high, and the sky was darkening from the west eastward. The mountain-peaks stood there, stern and lofty as ever, with their heads wrapped in hoods of cloud. Gunnar sat down at the outer edge of the pier, with his feet hanging listlessly over the water, which, in slow and monotonous plashing, beat against the timbers. Far out in the distance he could hear the breakers roar among the rocky reefs; first the long, booming roll, then the slowly waning moan, and the great hush, in which the billows pause to listen to themselves. It is the heavy deep-drawn breath of the ocean. It was cold, but Gunnar hardly felt it.

He again stepped into his skees and followed the narrow road, as it wound its way from the fjord up along the river. Down near the mouth, between Henjum and Rimul, the river was frozen, and could be crossed on the ice. Up at Henjumhei it was too swift to freeze. It was near daylight when he reached the cottage. How small and poor it looked! Never had he seen it so before;--very different from Rimul. And how dark and narrow it was all around it! At Rimul they had always sunshine. Truly, the track is steep from Henjumhei to Rimul; the river runs deep between.



hatever objections may be made to the sensational character of many of Miss Braddon's earlier novels, her place is certainly in the ranks of the "born" story-tellers. Although still in the prime of life, she has been before the public for thirty-seven years. Her books have been produced in amazingly rapid and continuous succession. She was born in London in 1837, wrote little stories in her early teens, and was fond of entertaining her companions with startling original tales.

When a young girl she conceived a passion for the stage, and a dramatic--or melodramatic--element is conspicuous in most of her novels. She was barely twenty-one when she had completed a comedietta, 'The Lover of Arcadia,' which, after many alterations and revisions, was put on the stage of the Strand Theatre in 1860, with--naturally--but moderate success. Her disappointment was extreme. She gave up the hope of becoming a successful dramatist. Her next venture, like that of most young authors, was a small volume of poems, of which Garibaldi was the chief theme. About this time she also wrote a number of highly colored, much strained tales in the Temple Bar and St. James' magazines. These tales drew attention, and awoke an echo which neither the comedietta nor the poems had done, making it clear to her that in narrative fiction lay her strength. She was ambitious, she wanted money even more than reputation, and she has followed narrative fiction most diligently ever since, with widening and indisputable success.

In 1862 appeared her first full-fledged novel, 'Lady Audley's Secret.' It achieved instantaneous distinction and an enormous sale, six editions being disposed of in as many weeks. She had finally hit the mark, though not by accident. She had carefully thought out a new scheme, and had corrected literary mistakes by her late experience. She knew that the first desire of novel readers is for novelty, a characteristic usually preferred to originality, which is often much more slowly recognized. Mrs. Gore's fashionable novels, correct in portraiture and upholstery, clever but monotonous, had had their day; Mrs. Trollope's coarse and caustic delineations; G.P.R. James's combats, adventures, skirmishes, disguises, trials, and escapes, and Bulwer's sentimental and grandiloquent romances, had begun to pall upon the public taste. Miss Braddon perceived that the time had come for something new, so 'Lady Audley's Secret' was a striking innovation.

Hitherto, wickedness had been ugly. She endued it with grace and beauty. She invented a mystery of crime surrounded by everyday circumstances, yet avoiding the "detective novel" mechanism. A new story, 'Aurora Floyd,' repeated the immense success of 'Lady Audley.' Novel after novel followed, full of momentous incidents, of surprises leading to new surprises. All the time Miss Braddon was observing much, correcting much in her methods and ideas. She studied manners closely; drew ingenious inferences; suggested dramatic and startling conclusions. She has, too, introduced into modern fiction the beguiling female fiend, who, like the Italian duchess of the Middle Ages, betrays with a smile, and with one arm about her lover beckons to the hired bravo to do his bloody work. Her plots, though sometimes forced, are ingenious and exciting. The movement of her stories is swift, and the scenes and personages contribute to the appointed end. As the author has grown in literary stature, a finer and often admirable effort is made to analyze or to develop character, as an element subservient to the exigencies of the stirring catastrophe.

Her style and treatment have matured with practice and with years, and her later novels display artistic form and finish. Her 'Mohawks' is in many respects a superb study of fashionable life, with several historical portraits introduced, of London in the time of Pope, St. John, Walpole, and Chesterfield--a tableau of great movement and accuracy of composition. In thirty-five years she has written more than sixty stories, the best of them being perhaps this fine semi-historical melodrama. Several of her earlier fictions have been successfully dramatized. An exquisite little tale for Christmas-tide, 'The Christmas Hirelings,' is an evidence of her lightness of touch and refinement of conception in a trifle. In 1874 Miss Braddon married John Maxwell, a well-known London publisher.


From 'The Christmas Hirelings': copyrighted by Harper and Brothers

Everything had been made ready for the little strangers. There were fires blazing in two large bedrooms overhead--rooms with a door of communication. In one there were still the two little white beds in which Lilian and Sibyl had slept when they were children; poor Lilian, whose bed was in the English cemetery at Florence, under a white marble monument erected by her sorrowing husband, and whose sorrowing husband had taken to himself a second wife five years ago. Every one knew where Lilian was lying, but no one at Penlyon Castle knew where Sibyl's head had found rest. All that people knew about the disobedient daughter was that her husband had died within three or four years of her marriage, worn to death in some foreign mission. Of his luckless widow no one at Penlyon had heard anything, but it was surmised that her father made her an allowance. He could hardly let his only daughter starve, people said, however badly she might have treated him. Lady Lurgrave's early death had been a crushing blow to his love and to his pride. She had died childless.

Sir John had heard the carriage stop, and the opening of the hall door; and although he pretended to go on reading his paper by the lamp placed close at his elbow, the pretense was a poor one, and anybody might have seen that he was listening with all his might.

The footman had opened the hall door as the wheels drew near; it was wide open when the carriage stopped. The red light from the hall fire streamed out upon the evening gray, and three little silvery voices were heard exclaiming:--

"Oh, what a pretty house!"

"Oh, what a big house!"

And then the smallest voice of the three with amazing distinctness:--

"What an exceedingly red fire."

The carriage door flew open, and two little girls all in red from top to toe, and one little boy in gray, rolled out in a heap, or seemed to roll out, like puppies out of a basket, scrambled on to their feet and ran up the steps,--Mr. Danby, slim and jaunty as usual, following them.

"Good gracious, how tiny they are!" cried Adela, stooping down to kiss the smaller girl, a round red bundle, with a round little face, and large dark gray eyes shining in the firelight.

The tiny thing accepted the kiss somewhat shrinkingly, and looked about her, awed by the grandeur of the hall, the large fireplace and blazing logs, the men in armor, or the suits of armor standing up and pretending to be men.

"I don't like them," said the tiny girl, clinging to Danby and pointing at one of these mailed warriors with a muffled red hand: "they're not alive, are they, Uncle Tom?"

"No, no, no, Moppet, they're as dead as door-nails."

"Are they? I don't like dead people."

"Come, come, Moppet, suppose they're not people at all--no more than a rocking-horse is a real live horse. We'll pull one of them down to-morrow and look inside him, and then you'll be satisfied."

The larger scarlet mite, larger by about an inch, older by a year, was standing before the fire, gravely warming her hands, spreading them out before the blaze as much as hands so tiny could spread themselves. The boy was skipping about the hall, looking at everything, the armed warriors especially, and not at all afraid.

"They're soldiers, aren't they?" he asked.

"Yes, Laddie."

"I should like to be dressed like that, and go into a battle and kill lots of people. I couldn't be killed myself, could I, if I had that stuff all over me?"

"Perhaps not, Laddie; but I don't think it would answer. You'd be an anachronism."

"I wouldn't mind being a nackerism if it saved me from being killed," said Laddie.

"Come, little ones, come and be presented to your host," said Mr. Danby, as the footman opened the library door; and they all poured in--Danby, Adela, and the children--the smallest running in first, her sister and the boy following, considerably in advance of the grown-ups.

Moppet ran right into the middle of the room as fast as her little red legs could carry her; then seeing Sir John sitting where the bright lamplight shown full upon his pale elderly face, with its strongly marked features, black eyebrows, and silvery-gray hair, she stopped suddenly as if she had beheld a Gorgon, and began to back slowly till she brought herself up against the silken skirt of Adela Hawberk's gown; and in that soft drapery she in a manner absorbed herself, till there was nothing to be seen of the little neatly rounded figure except the tip of a bright red cap and the toes of two bright red gaiters.

The elder mite had advanced less boldly, and had not to beat so ignominious a retreat. She was near enough to Mr. Danby to clutch his hand, and holding by that she was hardly at all frightened.

The boy, older, bolder, and less sensitive than either of the girls, went skipping around the library as he had skipped about the hall, looking at things and apparently unconscious of Sir John Penlyon's existence.

"How d'ye do, Danby?" said Sir John, holding out his hand as his old friend advanced to the fire, the little red girl hanging on to his left hand, while he gave his right to his host. "Upon my word, I began to think you were never coming back. You've been an unconscionable time. One would suppose you had to fetch the children from the world's end."

"I had to bring them to the world's end, you might say. Boscastle is something more than a day's journey from London in the depth of winter."

"And are these the children? Good heavens, Danby! what could you be thinking about to bring us such morsels of humanity?"

"We wanted children," said Danby, "not hobbledehoys"

"Hobbledehoys! no, but there is reason in everything. You couldn't suppose I wanted infants like these--look at that little scrap hidden in Adela's frock. It's positively dreadful to contemplate! They will be getting under my feet. I shall be treading upon them, and hurting them seriously."

"No you won't, Jack; I'll answer for that."

"Why not, pray?"

"Because of their individuality. They are small, but they are people. When Moppet comes into a room everybody knows she is there. She is a little scared now; but she will be as bold as brass in a quarter of an hour."

Sir John Penlyon put on his spectacles and looked at the little hirelings more critically. Their youth and diminutive size had been a shock to him. He had expected bouncing children with rosy faces, long auburn hair, and a good deal of well-developed leg showing beneath a short frock. These, measured against his expectations, were positively microscopic.

Their cheeks were pale rather than rosy. Their hair was neither auburn nor long. It was dark hair, and it was cropped close to the neat little heads, showing every bump in the broad, clever-looking foreheads. Sir John's disapproving eyes showed him that the children were more intelligent than the common run of children; but for the moment he was not disposed to accept intelligence instead of size.

"They are preposterously small," he said--"not at all the kind of thing I expected. They will get lost under chairs or buried alive in waste-paper baskets. I wash my hands of them, Take them away, Adela. Let them be fed and put to bed." Then turning to Mr. Danby as if to dismiss the subject, "Anything stirring in London when you were there, Tom?"

Before Danby could answer, Moppet emerged from her shelter, advanced deliberately, and planted herself in front of Sir John Penlyon, looking him straight in the face.

"I'm sorry you don't like us, Mr. Old Gentleman," she said. Every syllable came with clear precision from those infantine lips. Moppet's strong point was her power of speech. Firm, decisive, correct as to intonation came every sentence from the lips of this small personage. Ponderous polysyllables were no trouble to Moppet. There was only an occasional consonant that baffled her.

"Who says I don't like you?" said Sir John, taken aback, and lifting the animated bundle of red cloth on to his knee.

He found there was something very substantial inside the wooly cloak and gaiters: a pair of round plump arms and sturdy little legs, a compact little figure which perched firmly on his knee. "You said so," retorted Moppet, with her large gray eyes very wide open, and looking full into his. "You don't like us because we are so very small. Everybody says we are small, but everybody doesn't mind. Why do you mind?"

"I didn't say anything about not liking you, little one. I was only afraid you were too small to go out visiting."

"I went out to tea when I was two, and nobody said I was too small. I have real tea at parties, not milk-and-water. And I have been out to tea often and often--haven't I, Lassie?"

"Not so many times as I have," replied the elder red thing, with dignity.

She was standing in front of the wide old fireplace, warming her hands, and she was to Sir John's eye somewhat suggestive of a robin-redbreast that had fluttered in and lighted there.

"Of course not, because you're older," said Moppet, disgusted at this superfluous self-assertion on her sister's part. "I am always good at parties--ain't I, Uncle Tom?" turning an appealing face to Mr. Danby.

"So these Lilliputians are your nieces, Danby!" exclaimed Sir John.

"Well, no, they are not exactly nieces, though they are very near and dear. I am only a jury uncle."

"A jury uncle!" cried Moppet, throwing her head back and laughing at the unknown word.

"A jury uncle!" echoed the other two, and the three laughed prodigiously; not because they attached any meaning to the word, but only because they didn't know what it meant. That was where the joke lay.

"You know that in Cornwall and in Sicily all the elderly men are uncles, and all the old women aunts--everybody's uncles and aunts," concluded Mr. Danby.

Moppet still occupied Sir John's knee. She felt somehow that it was a post of honor, and she had no inclination to surrender it. Her tiny fingers had possessed themselves of his watch-chain.

"Please show me your watch," she said.

Sir John drew out a big hunter.

Moppet approached her little rosy mouth to the hinge and blew violently.

"Why don't it open as Uncle Tom's watch does when I blow?" she asked. "Is it broken?"

"Blow again, and we'll see about that," said Sir John, understanding the manoeuvre.

The big bright case flew open as Moppet blew.

"Take care it doesn't bite your nose off."

"How big and bright it is--much bigger and brighter than Uncle Tom's."

"Uncle Tom's is a lady's watch, and Uncle Tom's a lady's man," said Sir John, and the triple peal of childish laughter which greeted this remark made him fancy himself a wit.

Small as they were, these children were easily amused, and that was a point in their favor, he thought.

"Tea is ready in the breakfast-room," said Adela.

"Tea in the breakfast-room. Oh, how funny!" And again they all laughed.

At any rate, they were not doleful children--no long faces, no homesick airs, no bilious headaches--so far.

"I dare say they will all start measles or whooping-cough before we have done with them," thought Sir John, determined not to be hopeful.

"Oh, we are to come to tea, are we?" he said, cheerily, and he actually carried Moppet all the way to the breakfast-room, almost at the other end of the rambling old house, and planted her in a chair by his side at the tea-table. She nestled up close beside him.

"You like us now, don't you? she asked.

"I like you."

"And you'll like her," pointing to her sister with a small distinct finger, "and him," pointing to her brother, "to-morrow morning. You'll know us all to-morrow morning."

"To-morrow will be Christmas," said Laddie, as if giving a piece of useful information to the company in general.

"Christmas!" cried Danby; "so it will. I mustn't forget to hang up my stocking."

This provoked a burst of mirth. Uncle Tom's stocking! Uncle Tom hoping to get anything from Santa Claus!

"You needn't laugh," said Mr. Danby, seriously. "I mean to hang up one of my big Inverness stockings. It will hold a lot."

"What do you expect to get?" asked Laddie, intensely amused. "Toys?"

"No: chocolates, butter-scotch, hardbake, alecompane."

"Oh, what's alecompane?"

The name of this old-fashioned sweetmeat was received with derision.

"Why, what an old sweet-tooth you must be!" exclaimed Moppet; "but I don't believe you a bit. I shall come in the middle of the night to see if your stocking is there."

"You won't find my room. You'll go into the wrong room most likely, and find one of the three bears."

Moppet laughed at the notion of those familiar beasts.

"There never were three bears that lived in a house, and had beds and chairs and knives and forks and things," she said. "I used to believe it once when I was very little"--she said "veway little"--"but now I know it isn't true."

She looked round the table with a solemn air, with her lips pursed up, challenging contradiction. Her quaint little face, in which the forehead somewhat overbalanced the tiny features below it, was all aglow with mind. One could not imagine more mind in any living creature than was compressed within this quaint scrap of humanity.

Sir John watched her curiously. He had no experience of children of that early age. His own daughters had been some years older before he began to notice them. He could but wonder at this quick and eager brain animating so infinitesimal a body.

Moppet looked round the table; and what a table it was! She had never seen anything like it. Cornwall, like Scotland, has a prodigious reputation for breakfasts; but Cornwall, on occasion, can almost rival Yorkshire in the matter of tea. Laddie and Lassie had set to work already, one on each side of Miss Hawberk, who was engaged with urn and teapot. Moppet was less intent upon food, and had more time to wonder and scrutinize. Her big mind was hungrier than her little body.

"Oh, what a lot of candles!" she cried. "You must be very rich, Mr. Old Gentleman."

Eight tall candles in two heavy old silver candelabra lighted the large round table, and on the dazzling white cloth was spread such a feast as little children love: cakes of many kinds, jams and marmalade, buns, muffins, and crisp biscuits fresh from the oven, scones both white and brown, and the rich golden-yellow clotted cream, in the preparation of which Cornwall pretends to surpass her sister Devon, as in her cider and perry and smoked pig. It is only natural that Cornwall, in her stately seclusion at the end of Western England, should look down upon Devonshire as sophisticated and almost cockney. Cornwall is to Devon as the real Scottish Highlands are to the Trosachs. Besides the cakes and jams and cream-bowl there were flowers: Christmas roses, and real roses, yellow and red--such flowers as only grow in rich men's greenhouses; and there was a big silver urn in which Laddie and Lassie could see their faces, red and broad and shining, as they squeezed themselves each against one of Adela's elbows.

"O Uncle Tom," suddenly exclaimed Lassie, in a rapturous voice, "we shall never die here!"

"Not for want of food, certainly, Lassie."

The children had eaten nothing since a very early dinner in Plymouth, and on being pressed to eat by Miss Hawberk and Mr. Danby, showed themselves frankly greedy. Sir John did nothing but look on and wonder at them. They showed him a new phase of humanity. Did life begin so soon? Was the mind so fully awakened while the body was still so tiny? "How old are you, Mistress Moppet?" he asked, when Moppet had finished her first slice of saffron-cake.

"Four and a quarter."

Not five years old. She had lived in the world less than five years. She talked of what she had thought and believed when she was little, and she seemed to know as much about life as he did at sixty-five.

"You are a wonderful little woman, not to be afraid of going out visiting without your nurse."

"Nurse!" echoed Moppet, staring at him with her big gray eyes. "What's a nurse?"

"She doesn't know," explained Laddie: "we never had a nurse. It's a woman like the one Julie has to take care of her, Moppet," he explained, condescendingly, "a bonne we call her. But we've never had a bonne" he added, with a superior air.

"Indeed?" exclaimed Sir John, "then pray who has taken care of you, put you to bed at night, and washed and dressed you of a morning, taken you out for walks, or wheeled you in a perambulator?"

"Mother," cried the boy. "Mother does all that--except for me. I dress myself--I take my own bath. Mother says I'm growing quite inde--in-de--"

"Pendent!" screamed Moppet across the table. "What a silly boy you are: you always forget the names of things."

Moppet was getting excited. The small cheeks were flushed, and the big eyes were getting bigger, and Moppet was inclined to gesticulate a good deal when she talked, and to pat the table-*cloth with two little hands to give point to her speech.

"Moppet," said Mr. Danby, "the hot cakes are getting into your head. I propose an adjournment to Bedfordshire."

"No! no! NO! Uncle Tom. We ain't to go yet, is we?" pleaded the child, snuggling close up to Sir John's waistcoat, with a settled conviction that he was the higher authority. The lapse in grammar was the momentary result of excitement. In a general way Moppet's tenses and persons were as correct as if she had been twenty.

"I think you ought to be tired, after your long journey," said the baronet.

"But it wasn't a long journey. We had dinner first, and in the morning we walked on the Hoe. Isn't that a funny name for a place? And we saw the sea, and Uncle Tom told us of the--"

"Spanish Arcadia," interrupted Laddie, who felt it was his turn now, "and how Drake and the other captains were playing bowls on the Hoe, just where we were standing that very minute, when the news of the Spanish ships came and they went off to meet them; and there was a storm, and there was no fighting wanted, for the storm smashed all the ships and they went back to King Philip without any masts, and Queen Elizabeth went on horseback to Tilbury, and that was the end of the Arcadia."

"For an historical synopsis I don't call that bad," said Mr. Danby; "nevertheless, I recommend Bedfordshire if our little friends have finished their tea."

"I have," said Lassie, with a contented yawn.

Moppet did not want to go to bed. She had eaten less than the other two, but she had talked more, and had slapped the table, and had made faces, while Lassie and Laddie had been models of good manners.

"I wish you wouldn't call it Bedfordshire," she said, shaking her head vindictively at Mr. Danby. "It makes it worse to go to bed when people make jokes about it!"

Mr. Danby came around to where she sat, and took her up in his arms as if she had been a big doll instead of a small child.

"Say good-night to Sir John," he said.

Moppet stooped her face down to the baronet's, and pursed up her red lips in the prettiest little kiss, which was returned quite heartily.

"Take her away, Danby: she is much too excited, and she is the funniest little thing I ever saw. Good-night, my dears," he said to the others, as he rose and walked toward the door. "I hope you will spend a happy Christmas at Place. Adela, be sure the little things are comfortable, and that Nurse Danby's instructions are obeyed."

The children laughed at this rude mention of Mr. Danby, and went off to bed repeating the phrase "Nurse Danby" with much chuckling and giggling.

Sir John Penlyon had just seated himself on the great oaken settle in the chimney-corner, after somewhat languidly performing his duty as host. Moppet walked straight to him, clambered on his knee, and nestled her head in his waistcoat, gazing up at him with very much the same dumb devotion he had seen in the topaz eyes of a favorite Clumber spaniel.

"Why, Moppet, are you tired of your new little friends?" he asked kindly.

"I don't like children: they are so silly," answered Moppet, with decision. "I like you much better."

"Do you really, now! I wonder how much you like me. As well as you like junket?"

"Oh, what a silly question! As if one could care for any nice thing to eat as well as one cares for a live person."

"Couldn't one! I believe there are little boys in Boscastle who are fonder of plum-pudding than of all their relations."

"They must be horrid little boys. Laddie is greedy, but he is not so greedy as that. I shouldn't like to live in the same house with him if he were."

"For fear he should turn cannibal and eat you?"

"What is a camomile, and does it really eat people?"

"Never mind, Moppet; there are none in our part of the world," said Sir John, hastily, feeling that he had made a faux pas, and might set Moppet dreaming of cannibals if he explained their nature and attributes.

He had been warned by his friend Danby that Moppet was given to dreaming at night of anything that had moved her wonder or her fear in the day, and that she would awaken from such dreams in a cold perspiration, with wild eyes and clinched hands. Her sleep had been haunted by goblins, and made hideous by men who had sold their shadows, and by wolves who were hungry for little girls in red cloaks. It had been found perilous to tell her the old familiar fairy tales which most children have been told, and from which many children have suffered in the dim early years, before the restrictions of space and climate are understood, and wolves, bears, and lions located in their own peculiar latitudes.

Sir John looked down at the little dark head which was pressed so lovingly against his waistcoat, and at the long dark lashes that veiled the deep-set eyes.

"And so you really like me?" said he.

"I really love you; not so much as mother, but veway, veway much."

"As much as Danby--as Uncle Tom?"

"Better than Uncle Tom! but please don't tell him so. It might make him unhappy."

"I dare say it would. Uncle Tom has a jealous disposition. He might shut you up in a brazen tower."

Another faux pas. Moppet would be dreaming of brazen towers. Imagination, assisted by plum-pudding, would run readily into tormenting visions.

Happily, Moppet made no remark upon the tower. She was thinking--thinking deeply; and presently she looked up at Sir John with grave gray eyes and said:--

"I believe I love you better than Uncle Tom, because you are a grander gentleman," she said musingly, "and because you have this beautiful big house. It is yours, isn't it--your veway, veway own?"

"My very, very own. And so you like my house, Moppet? And will you be sorry to go away?"

"Oh no, because I shall be going to mother."

"Then you like your own home better than this big house?"

"No I don't. I should be very silly if I did. Home is a funny little house, in a funny little sloping garden on the side of a hill. Uncle Tom says it is very healthy. There is a tiny salon, and a tiny dining-room, and a dear little kitchen where the bonne a tout faire lives, and four tiny bedrooms. It was a. fisherman's cottage once, and then an English lady--an old lady--bought it, and made new rooms, and had it all made pretty, and then she died; and then Uncle Tom happened to see it, and took it for mother."

"And was my little Moppet born there?"

"No; I was born a long, long way off--up in the hills."

"What hills?"

"The northwest provinces. It's an awful long way off--but I can't tell you anything about it," added Moppet, with a solemn shake of her cropped head, "for I was born before I can remember. Laddie says we all came over the sea--but we mustn't talk to mother about that time, and Laddie's very stupid--he may have told me all wrong."

"And doesn't Lassie remember coming home in the ship?"

"She remembers a gentleman who gave her goodies."

"But not the ship?"

"No, not the ship; but she thinks there must have been a ship, for the wind blew very hard, and the gentleman went up and down as if he was in a swing. Laddie pretends to remember all the sailors' names, but I don't think he really can."

"And the only house you can remember is the house on the cliff?"

"Where mother is now--yes, that's the only one, and I'm very fond of it. Are you fond of this house?"

"Yes, Moppet: one is always fond of the house in which one was born. I was born here."

Moppet looked up at him wonderingly.

"Is that very surprising?" he asked, smiling down at her.

"It seems rather surprising you should ever have been born," replied Moppet, frankly: "you are so veway old."

"Yes; but one has to begin, you see, Moppet."

"It must have been a twemendously long time ago when you and Uncle Tom began."

The explosion of a cracker startled Moppet from the meditative mood. It was the signal for the rifling of the Christmas tree. The crackers--the gold and silver and sapphire and ruby and emerald crackers--were being distributed, and were exploding in every direction before Moppet could run to the tree and hold up two tiny hands, crying excitedly, "Me, me, me!"


From 'Mohawks'

To be a fashionable beauty, with a reputation for intelligence, nay, even for that much rarer quality, wit; to have been born in the purple; to have been just enough talked about to be interesting as a woman with a history; to have a fine house in Soho Square, and a mediaeval abbey in Hampshire; to ride, dance, sing, play, and speak French and Italian better than any other woman in society; to have the finest diamonds in London; to be followed, flattered, serenaded, lampooned, written about and talked about, and to be on the sunward side of thirty; surely to be and to have all these good things should fill the cup of contentment for any of Eve's daughters.

Lady Judith Topsparkle had all these blessings, and flashed gayety and brightness upon the world in which her lot was cast; and yet there were those among her intimates, those who sipped their chocolate with her of a morning before her hair was powdered or her patches put on, who declared that she was not altogether happy.

The diamonds, the spacious house in Soho Square, with its Turkey carpets and Boule furniture, its plenitude of massive plate and Italian pictures, its air of regal luxury and splendor; the abbey near Ringwood, with its tapestries, pictures, curios, and secret passages, were burdened with a certain condition which for Lady Judith reduced their value to a minimum.

All these good things came to her through her husband. Of her own right she was only the genteelest pauper at the court end of London. Her blood was of the bluest. She was a younger daughter of one of the oldest earls; but Job himself, after the advent of the messengers, was not poorer than that distinguished nobleman. Lady Judith had brought Mr. Topsparkle nothing but her beauty, her quality, and her pride. Love she never pretended to bring him, nor liking, nor even respect. His father had made his fortune in trade; and the idea of a tradesman's son was almost as repulsive to Lady Judith as that of a blackamoor. She married him because her father made her marry him, and in her own phraseology "the matter was not worth fighting about." She had broken just two years before with the only man she had ever loved, had renounced him in a fit of pique and passion on account of some scandal about a French dancing-girl; and from that hour she had assumed an air of recklessness: she had danced, flirted, talked, and carried on in a manner that delighted the multitude and shocked the prudes. Bath and Tunbridge Wells had rung with her sayings and doings; and finally she surrendered herself, not altogether unwillingly, to the highest bidder.

She was burdened with debt, never knew what it was to have a crown piece of ready money. At cards she had to borrow first of one admirer and then of another. She had been able to get plenty of credit for gowns and trinketry from a harpy class of West End tradespeople, who speculated in Lady Judith's beauty as they might have done in some hazardous but hopeful stock; counting it almost a certainty that she would make a splendid match and recoup them all.

Mr. Topsparkle saw her in the zenith of her audacious charms. He met her at a masquerade at Bath, followed and intrigued with her all the evening, and at last, alone in an alcove with her after supper, induced her to take off her mask. Her beauty dazzled those experienced eyes of his, and he fell madly in love with her at first sight of that radiant loveliness: starriest eyes of violet hue, a dainty little Greek nose, a complexion of lilies and blush-roses, and the most perfect mouth and teeth in Christendom. No one had ever seen anything more beautiful than the tender curves of those classic lips, or more delicate than their faint carmine tinge. In an epoch when almost every woman of fashion plastered herself with bismuth and ceruse, Lord Bramber's daughter could afford to exhibit the complexion nature had given her, and might defy paint to match it. Lady Judith laughed at her conquest when she was told about it by half a dozen different admirers at the Rooms next morning.

"What, that Topsparkle man!" she exclaimed--"the traveled Cit who has been exploring all sorts of savage places in Spain and Italy, and writing would-be witty letters about his travels. They say he is richer than any nabob in Hindostan. Yes, I plagued him vastly, I believe, before I consented to unmask; and then he pretended to be dumbfounded at my charms, for-sooth; dazzled by this sun into which you gentlemen look without flinching, like young eagles."

"My dear Lady Judith, the man is captivated--your slave forever. You had better put a ring in his nose and lead him about with you, instead of that little black boy for whom you sighed the other day, and that his Lordship denied you. He is quite the richest man in London, three or four times a millionaire, and he is on the point of buying Lord Ringwood's place in Hampshire--a genuine mediaeval abbey, with half a mile of cloisters and a fish-pond in the kitchen."

"I care neither for cloisters nor kitchen."

"Ay, but you have a weakness for diamonds," urged Mr. Mordaunt, an old admirer, who was very much au courant as to the fair Judith's history and habits, had lent her money when she was losing at basset, and had diplomatized with her creditors for her. "Witness that cross the Jew sold you the other day."

Lady Judith reddened angrily. The same Jew dealer who sold her the jewel had insisted upon having it back from her when he discovered her inability to pay for it, threatening to prosecute her for obtaining goods under false pretenses.

"Mr. Topsparkle's diamonds--they belonged to his mother--are historical. His maternal grandfather was an Amsterdam Jew, and the greatest diamond merchant of his time. He had mills where the gems were ground as corn is ground in our country, and seem to have been as plentiful as corn. Egad, Lady Judith, how you would blaze in the Topsparkle diamonds!"

"Mr. Topsparkle must be sixty years of age!" exclaimed, the lady, with sovereign contempt.

"Nobody supposes you would marry him for his youth or his personal attractions. Yet he is by no means a bad-looking man, and he has had plenty of adventures in his day, I can assure your Ladyship. Il a vécu, as our neighbors say: Topsparkle is no simpleton. When he set out upon the grand tour nearly forty years ago, he carried with him about as scandalous a reputation as a gentleman of fashion could enjoy. He had been cut by all the strait-laced people; and it is only the fact of his incalculable wealth which has opened the doors of decent houses for him since his return."

"I thank you for the compliment implied in your recommendation of him to me as a husband," said Lady Judith, drawing herself up with that Juno-like air which made her seem half a head taller, and which accentuated every curve of her superb torso. "He is apparently a gentleman whom it would be a disgrace to know,"

"Oh, your Ladyship must be aware that a reformed rake makes the best husband. And since Topsparkle went on the Continent he has acquired a new reputation as a wit and a man of letters. He wrote an Assyrian story in the Italian language, about which the town raved a few years ago--a sort of demon story, ever so much cleverer than Voltaire's fanciful novels. Everybody was reading or pretending to read it."

"Oh, was that his?" exclaimed Judith, who read everything. "It was mighty clever. I begin to think better of your Topsparkle personage."

Five minutes afterwards, strolling languidly amid the crowd, with a plain cousin at her elbow for foil and duenna, Lady Judith met Mr. Topsparkle walking with no less a person than her father.

Lord Bramber enjoyed the privilege of an antique hereditary gout, and came to Bath every season for the waters. He was a man of imposing figure, at once tall and bulky, but he carried his vast proportions with dignity and ease. He was said to have been the handsomest man of his day, and had been admired even by an age which could boast of "Hervey the Handsome," John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough, and the irresistible Henry St. John. Basking in that broad sunshine of popularity which is the portion of a man of high birth, graceful manners, and good looks, Lord Bramber had squandered a handsome fortune right royally, and now, at five-and-fifty, was as near insolvency as a gentleman dare be. His house in Pulteney Street was a kind of haven, to which he brought his family when London creditors began to be implacable. He had even thoughts of emigrating to Holland or Belgium, or to some old Roman town in the sunny South of France, where he might live upon his wife's pin-money, which happily was protected by stringent settlements and incorruptible trustees.

He had married two out of three daughters well, but not brilliantly. Judith was the youngest of the three, and she was the flower of the flock. She had been foolish, very foolish, about Lord Lavendale, and a faint cloud of scandal had hung over her name ever since her affair with that too notorious rake. Admirers she had by the score, but since the Lavendale entanglement there had been no serious advances from any suitor of mark.

But now Mr. Topsparkle, one of the wealthiest commoners in Great Britain, was obviously smitten with Lady Judith's perfections, and had a keen air which seemed to mean business, Lord Bramber thought. He had obtained an introduction to the earl within the last half-hour, and had not concealed his admiration for the earl's daughter. He had entreated the honor of a formal introduction to the exquisite creature with whom he had conversed on sportive terms last night at the Assembly Rooms.

Lady Judith acknowledged the introduction with the air of a queen to whom courtiers and compliments were as the gadflies of summer. She fanned herself listlessly, and stared about her while Mr. Topsparkle was talking.

"I vow, there is Mrs. Margetson," she exclaimed, recognizing an acquaintance across the crowd: "I have not seen her for a century. Heavens, how old and yellow she is looking--yellower even than you, Mattie!" this last by way of aside to her plain cousin.

"I hope you bear me no malice for my pertinacity last night, Lady Judith," murmured Topsparkle, insinuatingly.

"Malice, my good sir! I protest I never bear malice. To be malicious, one's feelings must be engaged; and you would hardly expect mine to be concerned in the mystifications of a dancing-room."

She looked over his head as she talked to him, still on the watch for familiar faces among the crowd, smiling at one, bowing at another. Mr. Topsparkle was savage at not being able to engage her attention. At Venice, whence he had come lately, all the women had courted him, hanging upon his words, adoring him as the keenest wit of his day.

He was an attenuated and rather effeminate person, exquisitely dressed and powdered, and not without a suspicion of rouge upon his hollow cheeks or of Vandyke brown upon his delicately penciled eyebrows. He, like Lord Bramber, presented the wreck of manly beauty; but whereas Bramber suggested a three-master of goodly bulk and tonnage, battered but still weather-proof and seaworthy, Topsparkle had the air of a delicate pinnace which time and tempest had worn to a mere phantasmal bark that the first storm would scatter into ruin.

He had hardly the air of a gentleman, Judith thought, watching him keenly all the while she seemed to ignore his existence. He was too fine, too highly trained for the genuine article; he lacked that easy inborn grace of the man in whom good manners are hereditary. There was nothing of the Cit about him; but there was the exaggerated elegance, the exotic grace, of a man who has too studiously cultivated the art of being a fine gentleman; who has learned his manners in dubious paths, from petites maîtresses and prime donne, rather than from statesmen and princes.

On this, and on many a subsequent meeting, Lady Judith was just uncivil enough to fan the flame of Vivian Topsparkle's passion. He had begun in a somewhat philandering spirit, not quite determined whether Lord Bramber's daughter were worthy of him; but her hauteur made him her slave. Had she been civil he would have given more account to those old stories about Lavendale, and would have been inclined to draw back before finally committing himself. But a woman who could afford to be rude to the best match in England must needs be above all suspicion. Had her reputation been seriously damaged she would have caught at the chance of rehabilitating herself by a rich marriage. Had she been civil to him Mr. Topsparkle would have haggled and bargained about settlements; but his ever-present fear of losing her made him accede to Lord Bramber's exactions with a more than princely generosity, since but few princes could afford to be so liberal. He had set his heart upon having this woman for his wife--firstly, because she was the handsomest and most fashionable woman in London, and secondly, because so far as burnt-out embers can glow with new fire, Mr. Topsparkle's battered old heart was aflame with a very serious passion for this new deity.

So there was a grand wedding from the earl's house in Leicester Fields; not a crowded assembly, for only the very élite of the modish world were invited. The Duke, meaning his Grace of York, honored the company with his royal presence, and there were the great Sir Robert and a bevy of Cabinet ministers, and Mr. Topsparkle felt that he had canceled any old half-forgotten scandals as to his past life, and established himself in the highest social sphere by this alliance. As Vivian Topsparkle the half-foreign eccentric, he was a man to be stared at and talked about; but as the husband of Lord Bramber's daughter he had a footing--by right of alliance--in some of the noblest houses in England. His name and reputation were hooked on to old family trees; and those great people whose kinswoman he had married could not afford to have him maligned or slighted. In a word, Mr. Topsparkle felt that he had good value for his magnificent settlements.

Was Lady Judith Topsparkle happy, with all her blessings? She was gay; and with the polite world gayety ranks as happiness, and commands the envy of the crowd. Nobody envies the quiet matron whose domestic life flows onward with the placidity of a sluggish stream. It is the butterfly queen of the hour whom people admire and envy. Lady Judith, blazing in diamonds at a court ball, beautiful, daring, insolent, had half the town for her slaves and courtiers. Even women flattered and fawned upon her, delighted to be acknowledged as her acquaintance, proud to be invited to her parties or to dance attendance upon her in public assemblies.




he man of letters who devotes himself chiefly or wholly to criticism is an essentially modern type. Although the critical art has been practiced in all literary periods, it has not until the present century enlisted anything like the exclusive attention of writers of the highest order of attainment, but has rather played a subordinate part beside the constructive or creative work to the performance of which such men have given their best energies.

Georg Brandes.

In the case of some writers, such as Voltaire and Samuel Johnson, we recognize the critical spirit that informs the bulk of their work, yet are compelled on the whole to classify them as poets, or historians, or philosophers. Even Coleridge, who wrote no inconsiderable amount of the best literary criticism in existence, is chiefly remembered as a poet; even Lessing, one of the fountain-heads of authoritative critical doctrine, owes to his plays the major part of his great reputation. As for such men as Ben Jonson and Dryden, Lamb and Shelley, Goethe and Heine, their critical utterances, precious and profound as they frequently are, figure but incidentally among their writings, and we read these men mainly for other reasons than that of learning their opinions about other people's productions. For examples of the man of letters considered primarily as critic, we must then look to our own century, and we find the type best illustrated by such men as Sainte-Beuve, Taine, Brunetière, and the subject of the present sketch.

It is indeed a rather remarkable fact that the most conspicuous figure in literary Denmark at the present time should be not a poet or a novelist, but a critic pure and simple; for that is the title which must be given to Georg Brandes. Not only is his attitude consistently critical throughout the long series of his writings, but his form and matter are also avowedly critical; so much so that hardly one of his score or more of published volumes calls for classification in any other than the critical category. Even when he takes us with him upon his travels to France or Russia with the best intentions in the world as to the avoidance of "shop," he finds himself in the end talking about the literature and the politics of those countries. One of his latest books, 'Udenlandske Egne og Personligheder' (Foreign Parts and Personalities) has a preface with the following opening paragraph:--

"One gets tired of talking about books all the time. Even the man whose business it is to express himself in black and white has eyes like other people, and with them he perceives and observes the variegated visible world: its landscapes, cities, plain and cultivated men, plastic art. For him too does Nature exist; he too is moved at sight of such simple happenings as the fall of the leaves in October; he too is stirred as he gazes upon a waterfall, a mountain region, a sunlit glacier, a Dutch lake, and an Italian olive grove. He too has been in Arcadia."

Yet half the contents of the volume thus introduced must be described as the work of the critic. Not only are the set papers upon such men as Taine, Renan, and Maupassant deliberate critical studies, but the sketches of travel likewise are sure to get around to the art and literature of the countries visited.

The life of criticism, in the larger sense, comes from wide observation and a cultivation of the cosmopolitan spirit. And it must be said of Brandes that he is a critic in this large sense, that he has taken for his province the modern spirit in all its varied manifestations. The very title of his chief work--'Main Currents in the Literature of the Nineteenth Century'--shows him to be concerned with the broad movements of thought rather than with matters of narrow technique or the literary activity of any one country--least of all his own. It was peculiarly fortunate for Denmark that a critic of this type should have arisen within her borders a quarter-century ago. The Scandinavian countries lie so far apart from the chief centres of European thought that they are always in danger of lapsing into a narrow self-sufficiency so far as intellectual ideals are concerned. Danish literature has been made what it is chiefly by the mediation of a few powerful minds who have kept it in touch with modern progress: by Holberg, who may almost be said to have brought humanism into Denmark; by Oehlenschläger, who made the romantic movement as powerful an influence in Denmark as it was in Germany; by Brandes, who, beginning his career just after the war in which Denmark lost her provinces and became as embittered toward Germany as France was to become a few years later, strove to prevent the political breach from extending into the intellectual sphere, and helped his fellow-countrymen to understand that thought and progress are one and have a common aim, although nations may be many and antagonistic. There is much significance in the fact that the name of 'Emigrant Literature' is given to the first section of his greatest work. He thus styles the French literature of a century ago,--the work of such writers as Chateaubriand, Senancour, Constant, and Madame de Staël,--because it received a vivifying impulse from the emigration,--from the contact, forced or voluntary, of the French mind with the ideals of German and English civilization. It has been the chief function of Brandes, during the whole of his brilliant career, to supply points of contact between the intellectual life of Denmark and that of the rest of Europe, to bring his own country into the federal republic of letters.

A glance at the course of his life, and at the subjects of his books, will serve to outline the nature of the work to which his energies have been devoted. A Jew by race, Georg Morris Cohen Brandes was born February 4th, 1842. He went through his academic training with brilliant success, studied law for a brief period, and then drifted into journalism and literature. A long visit to Paris (1866-7) gave him breadth of view and the materials for his first books, 'Æsthetiske Studier' (Æsthetic Studies), 'Den Franske Æsthetik' (French Æsthetics), and a volume of 'Kritiker og Portraiter' (Criticisms and Portraits).

A later visit to foreign parts (1870-1) brought him into contact with Taine, Renan, and Mill, all of whom influenced him profoundly. In 1871 he began to lecture on literary subjects, chiefly in Copenhagen, and out of these lectures grew his 'Hovedströmninger i det Nittende Aarhundredes Litteratur' (Main Currents in the Literature of the Nineteenth Century), a work that in the course of about ten years extended to six volumes, and must be considered not only the author's capital critical achievement, but also one of the greatest works of literary history and criticism that the nineteenth century has produced. The division of the subject is as follows:--1. 'Emigrant Literature'; 2. 'The Romantic School in Germany'; 3. 'The Reaction in France'; 4. 'Naturalism in England'; 5. 'The Romantic School in France'; 6. 'Young Germany.'

In spite of the growing fame that came to him from these masterly studies, Brandes felt the need of a larger audience than the Scandinavian countries could offer him, and in 1877 changed his residence from Copenhagen to Berlin, a step to which he was in part urged by the violent antagonism engendered at home by the radical and uncompromising character of many of his utterances. It was not until 1883 that he again took up residence in his own country, upon a guarantee of four thousand kroner (about $1000) annually for ten years, secured by some of his friends, the condition being that he should give courses of public lectures in Copenhagen during that period.

Among the works not yet named, mention should be made of his volumes upon Holberg, Tegnér, Kierkegaard, Ferdinand Lassalle, and the Earl of Beaconsfield. These brilliant monographs are remarkable for their insight into the diverse types of character with which they deal, for their breadth of view, felicity of phrase, and originality of treatment. There are also several collections of miscellaneous essays, with such titles as 'Danske Digtere' (Danish Poets), 'Danske Personligheder' (Danish Personalities), 'Det Moderne Gjennembruds Mænd' (Men of the Modern Awakening), and 'Udenlandske Egne og Personligheder' (Foreign Parts and Personalities). The latest publication of Brandes is a careful study of Shakespeare, a work of remarkable vigor, freshness, and sympathy.

As a critic, Brandes belongs distinctly to the class of those who speak with authority, and has little in common with the writers who are content to explore the recesses of their own subjectivity, and record their personal impressions of literature. Criticism is for him a matter of science, not of opinion, and he holds it subject to a definite method and body of principles. A few sentences from the second volume of his 'Hovedströmninger' will illustrate what he conceives that method to be:--

"First and foremost, I endeavor everywhere to bring literature back to life. You will already have observed that while the older controversies in our literature--for example, that between Heiberg and Hauch, and even the famous controversy between Baggesen and Oehlenschläger--have been maintained in an exclusively literary domain and have become disputes about literary principles alone, the controversy aroused by my lectures, not merely by reason of the misapprehension of the opposition, but quite as much by reason of the very nature of my writing, has come to touch upon a swarm of religious, social, and moral problems.... It follows from my conception of the relation of literature to life that the history of literature I teach is not a history of literature for the drawing-room. I seize hold of actual life with all the strength I may, and show how the feelings that find their expression in literature spring up in the human heart. Now the human heart is no stagnant pool or idyllic woodland lake. It is an ocean with submarine vegetation and frightful inhabitants. The literary history and the poetry of the drawing-room see in the life of man a salon, a decorated ball-room, the men and the furnishings polished alike, in which no dark corners escape illumination. Let him who will, look at matters from this point of view; but it is no affair of mine."

The boldness and even the ruthlessness which characterize much of the author's work were plainly foreshadowed in this outspoken introduction; and he has grown more rather than less uncompromising during the quarter-century that has elapsed since they were spoken. Matthew Arnold would have applauded the envisagement of literature as "criticism of life," but would have deplored the sacrifice of sweetness to gain increased intensity of light. Brandes came back from contact with the European world full of enthusiasm for the new men and the new ideas,--for Comte and Taine, for Renan and Mill and Spencer,--and wanted his recalcitrant fellow-countrymen to accept them all at once. They were naturally taken aback by so imperious a demand, and their opposition created the atmosphere of controversy in which Brandes has ever since for the most part lived--with slight effort to soften its asperities, but, it must be added, with the ever-increasing respect of those not of his own way of thinking. On the whole, his work has been healthful and stimulating; it has stirred the sluggish to a renewed mental activity, and has made its author himself one of the most conspicuous figures of what he calls "det Moderne Gjennembrud"--the Modern Awakening.


From 'Eminent Authors of the Nineteenth Century': Translated by Professor Rasmus B. Anderson

It is only necessary to bestow a single glance upon Björnson to be convinced how admirably he is equipped by nature for the hot strife a literary career brings with it in most lands, and especially in the combat-loving North. Shoulders as broad as his are not often seen, nor do we often behold so vigorous a form, one that seems as though created to be chiseled in granite.

There is perhaps no labor that so completely excites all the vital forces, exhausts the nerves, refines and enervates the feelings, as that of literary production. There has never been the slightest danger, however, that the exertions of Björnson's poetic productiveness would affect his lungs as in the case of Schiller, or his spine as in the case of Heine; there has been no cause to fear that inimical articles in the public journals would ever give him his death-blow, as they did Halvdan, the hero of his drama 'Redaktören' (The Editor); or that he would yield, as so many modern poets have yielded, to the temptation of resorting to pernicious stimulants or to dissipation as antidotes for the overwrought or depleted state of the nervous system occasioned by creative activity. Nothing has injured Björnson's spine; his lungs are without blemish; a cough is unknown to him; and his shoulders were fashioned to bear without discomposure the rude thrusts which the world gives, and to return them. He is perhaps the only important writer of our day of whom this may be said. As an author he is never nervous, not when he displays his greatest delicacy, not even when he evinces his most marked sensibility.

Strong as the beast of prey whose name [Björn=Bear] occurs twice in his; muscular, without the slightest trace of corpulence, of athletic build, he looms up majestically in my mind, with his massive head, his firmly compressed lips, and his sharp, penetrating gaze from behind his spectacles. It would be impossible for literary hostilities to overthrow this man, and for him there never existed that greatest danger to authors (a danger which for a long time menaced his great rival Henrik Ibsen), namely, that of having his name shrouded in silence. Even as a very young author, as a theatrical critic and political writer, he had entered the field of literature with such an eagerness for combat that a rumbling noise arose about him wherever he appeared. Like his own Thorbjörn in 'Synnöve Solbakken,' he displayed in early youth the combative tendency of the athlete; but like his Sigurd in 'Sigurd Slembe,' he fought not merely to practice his strength, but from genuine though often mistaken love of truth and justice. At all events, he understood thoroughly who to attract attention.

An author may possess great and rare gifts, and yet, through lack of harmony between his own personal endowments and the national characteristics or the degree of development of his people, may long be prevented from attaining a brilliant success. Many of the world's greatest minds have suffered from this cause. Many, like Byron, Heine, and Henrik Ibsen, have left their native land; many more who have remained at home have felt forsaken by their compatriots. With Björnson the case is quite different. He has never, it is true, been peacefully recognized by the entire Norwegian people; at first, because the form he used was too new and unfamiliar; later, because his ideas were of too challenging a nature for the ruling, conservative, and highly orthodox circles of the land; even at the present time he is pursued by the press of the Norwegian government and by the leading official society with a fury which is as little choice in its selection of means as the bitterness which pursues the champions of thrones and altars in other countries. In spite of all this, Björnstjerne Björnson has his people behind him and about him as perhaps no other poet has, unless it be Victor Hugo. When his name is mentioned it is equivalent to hoisting the flag of Norway. In his noble qualities and in his faults, in his genius and in his weak points, he as thoroughly bears the stamp of Norway as Voltaire bore that of France. His boldness and his naïveté, his open-heartedness as a man and the terseness of his style as an artist, the highly wrought and sensitive Norwegian popular sentiment, and the lively consciousness of the one-sidedness and the intellectual needs of his fellow-countrymen that has driven him to Scandinavianism, Pan-Teutonism, and cosmopolitanism--all this in its peculiar combination in him is so markedly national that his personality may be said to offer a résumé of the entire people.

None of his contemporaries so fully represent this people's love of home and of freedom, its self-consciousness, rectitude, and fresh energy. Indeed, just now he also exemplifies on a large scale the people's tendency to self-criticism; not that scourging criticism which chastises with scorpions, and whose representative in Norway is Ibsen, in Russia Turgénieff, but the sharp bold expression of opinion begotten of love. He never calls attention to an evil in whose improvement and cure he does not believe, or to a vice which he despairs of seeing out-rooted. For he has implicit faith in the good in humanity, and possesses entire the invincible optimism of a large, genial, sanguine nature.

As to his character, he is half chieftain, half poet. He unites in his own person the two forms most prominent in ancient Norway--those of the warrior and of the scald. In his intellectual constitution he is partly a tribune of the people, partly a lay preacher; in other words, he combines in his public demeanor the political and religious pathos of his Norwegian contemporaries, and this became far more apparent after he broke loose from orthodoxy than it was before. Since his so-called apostasy he has in fact been a missionary and a reformer to a greater degree than ever.

He could have been the product of no other land than Norway, and far less than other authors could he thrive in any but his native soil. In the year 1880, when the rumor spread through the German press that Björnson, weary of continual wrangling at home, was about to settle in Germany, he wrote to me:--"In Norway will I live, in Norway will I lash and be lashed, in Norway will I sing and die."

To hold such intimate relations with one's fatherland is most fortunate for a person who is sympathetically comprehended by that fatherland. And this is the case with Björnson. It is a matter dependent on conditions deeply rooted in his nature. He who cherishes so profound an enthusiasm for the reserved, solitary Michelangelo, and who feels constrained, as a matter of course, to place him above Raphael, is himself a man of a totally different temperament: one who is never lonely, even when most alone (as he has been since 1873 on his gård in remote Gausdal), but who is social to the core, or, more strictly speaking, a thoroughly national character. He admires Michelangelo because he reveres and understands the elements of greatness, of profound earnestness, of mighty ruggedness in the human heart and in style; but he has nothing in common with the great Florentine's melancholy sense of isolation. He was born to be the founder of a party, and was therefore early attracted to enthusiastic and popular party leaders, such as the Dane Grundtvig and the Norwegian Wergeland, although wholly unlike either in his plastic, creative power. He is a man who needs to feel himself the centre, or rather the focus of sympathy, and insensibly he forms a circle about him, because his own nature is the résumé of a social union.

Copyrighted by T.Y. Crowell and Company, New York.


From the Introduction to 'Main Currents in the Literature of the Nineteenth Century'

What I shall portray for you is a historical movement, having very completely the form and the character of a drama. The six distinct literary groups that I intend to present to you are entirely like the six acts of a great play. In the first group, the French emigrant-literature inspired by Rousseau, the reaction has already begun, but the reactionary currents are everywhere blended with the revolutionary. In the second group, the half-Catholic romantic school of Germany, the reaction is growing; it goes further, and holds itself more aloof from the contemporary movement towards freedom and progress. The third group, finally, formed of such writers as Joseph de Maistre, Lamennais in his orthodox period, Lamartine and Victor Hugo under the Restoration, when they were still firm supporters of the legitimist and clerical parties, stands for the reaction, impetuous and triumphant.

Byron and his associates make up the fourth group. This one man reverses the action of the great drama. The Greek war of liberation breaks out, a current of fresh air sweeps over Europe, Byron falls as a hero of the Greek cause, and his heroic death makes a deep impression upon all the writers of the Continent. Just before the July Revolution all the great French writers turn about, forming the fifth group, the French romantic school, and the new liberal movement is marked by the names of Lamennais, Hugo, Lamartine, De Musset, George Sand, and many others. And when the movement spreads from France into Germany, liberal ideas triumph in that land also, and the sixth and last group of authors I shall portray became inspired by the ideas of the July Revolution and the War of Liberation, seeing, like the French poets, in Byron's great shade the leader of the movement towards freedom. The most important of these young writers are of Jewish origin, as Heine, Börne, and later, Auerbach.

I believe that from this great drama we may get a lesson for our own instruction. We are now, as usual, forty years behind the rest of Europe. In the literatures of those great countries the revolutionary stream long ago united with its tributaries, burst the dikes that were set to impede its course, and has been distributed into thousands of channels. We are still endeavoring to check it and hold it dammed up in the swamps of the reaction, but we have succeeded only in checking our literature itself.

It would hardly be difficult to secure unanimous consent to the proposition that Danish literature has at no time during the present century found itself languishing as in our own days. Poetical production is almost completely checked, and no problem of a general human or social character awakens interest or evokes any more serious discussion than that of the daily press or other ephemeral publication. Our productivity has never been strongly original, and we now utterly fail to appropriate the spiritual life of other lands, and our spiritual deafness has brought upon us the speechlessness of the deaf-mutes.

The proof that a literature in our days is alive is to be found in the fact that it brings problems up for debate. Thus George Sand brings marriage up for debate, Voltaire, Byron, and Feuerbach religion, Proudhon property, Alexander Dumas fils the relations of the sexes, and Emile Augier social relations in general. For a literature to bring nothing up for debate is the same thing as to lose all its significance. The people that produce such a literature may believe as firmly as they please that the salvation of the world will come from it, but their expectations will be doomed to disappointment; such a people can no more influence the development of civilization in the direction of progress than did the fly who thought he was urging the carriage onward by now and then giving the four horses an insignificant prick.

Many virtues--as for example warlike courage--may be preserved in such a society, but these virtues cannot sustain literature when intellectual courage has sunk and disappeared. All stagnant reaction is tyrannical; and when a community has by degrees so developed itself that it wears the features of tyranny beneath the mask of freedom, when every outspoken utterance that gives uncompromising expression to free thought is frowned upon by society, by the respectable part of the press, and by many officials of the State, very unusual conditions will be needed to call forth characters and talents of the sort upon which progress in any society depends. Should such a community develop a kind of poetry, we need not wonder overmuch if its essential tendency be to scorn the age and put it to shame. Such poetry will again and again describe the men of the time as wretches; and it may well happen that the books which are the most famous and the most sought after (Ibsen's 'Brand,' for example) will be those in which the reader is made to feel--at first with a sort of horror, and afterwards with a sort of satisfaction--what a worm he is, how miserable and how cowardly. It may happen, too, that for such a people the word Will becomes a sort of catchword, that it may cry aloud with dramas of the Will and philosophies of the Will. Men demand that which they do not possess; they call for that of which they most bitterly feel the lack; they call for that which there is the keenest inquiry for. Yet one would be mistaken were he pessimistically to assume that in such a people there is less courage, resolution, enthusiasm, and will than in the average of others. There is quite as much courage and freedom of thought, but still more is needed. For when the reaction in a literature forces the new ideas into the background, and when a community has daily heard itself blamed, derided, and even cursed for its hypocrisy and its conventionality, yet has remained convinced of its openness of mind, daily swinging censers before its own nostrils in praise thereof,--it requires unusual ability and unusual force of will to bring new blood into its literature. A soldier needs no uncommon courage to fire upon the enemy from the shelter of an earthwork; but if he has been led so ill that he finds no shelter at hand, we need not wonder if his courage forsakes him.

Various causes have contributed to the result that our literature has accomplished less than the greater ones in the service of progress. The very circumstances that have favored the development of our poetry have stood in our way. I may in the first place mention a certain childishness in the character of our people. We owe to this quality the almost unique naïveté of our poetry. Naïveté is an eminently poetical quality, and we find it in nearly all of our poets, from Oehlenschläger through Ingemann and Andersen to Hostrup. But naïveté does not imply the revolutionary propensity. I may further mention the abstract idealism so strongly marked in our literature. It deals with our dreams, not with our life....

It sometimes happens to the Dane on his travels that a foreigner, after some desultory talk about Denmark, asks him this question: How may one learn what are the aspirations of your country? Has your contemporary literature developed any type that is palpable and easily grasped? The Dane is embarrassed in his reply. They all know of what class were the types that the eighteenth century bequeathed to the nineteenth. Let us name one or two representative types in the case of a single country, Germany. There is 'Nathan the Wise,' the ideal of the period of enlightenment; that is, the period of tolerance, noble humanity, and thorough-going rationalism. We can hardly say that we have held fast to this ideal or carried it on to further development, as it was carried on by Schleiermacher and many others in Germany. Mynster was our Schleiermacher, and we know how far his orthodoxy stands removed from Schleiermacher's liberalism. Instead of adopting rationalism and carrying it on, we have stepped farther and farther away from it. Clausen was once its advocate, but he is so no more. Heiberg is followed by Martensen, and Martensen's 'Speculative Dogmatic' is succeeded by his 'Christian Dogmatic.' In Oehlenschläger's poetry there is still the breath of rationalism, but the generation of Oehlenschläger and Örsted is followed by that of Kierkegaard and Paludan-Müller.

The German literature of the eighteenth century bequeathed to us many other poetic ideals. There is Werther, the ideal of the "storm and stress" period, of the struggle of nature and passion with the customary order of society; then there is Faust, the very spirit of the new age with its new knowledge, who, still unsatisfied with what the period of enlightenment has won, foresees a higher truth, a higher happiness, and a thousandfold higher power; and there is Wilhelm Meister, the type of humanized culture, who goes through the school of life and from apprentice becomes master, who begins with the pursuit of ideals that soar above life and who ends by discerning the ideal in the real, for whom these two expressions finally melt into one. There is Goethe's Prometheus, who, chained to his rock, gives utterance to the philosophy of Spinoza in the sublime rhythms of enthusiasm. Last of all, there is the Marquis von Posa, the true incarnation of the revolution, the apostle and prophet of liberty, the type of a generation that would, by means of the uprising against all condemned traditions, make progress possible and bring happiness to mankind.

With such types in the past our Danish literature begins. Does it develop them further? We may not say that it does. For what is the test of progress? It is what happens afterward. It has not been printed in this shape, but I will tell you about it. One fine day, when Werther was going about as usual, dreaming despairingly of Lotte, it occurred to him that the bond between her and Albert was of slight consequence, and he won her from Albert. One fine day the Marquis von Posa wearied of preaching freedom to deaf ears at the court of Philip the Second, and drove a sword through the king's body--and Prometheus rose from his rock and overthrew Olympus, and Faust, who had knelt abjectly before the Earth-Spirit, took possession of his earth, and subdued it by means of steam, and electricity, and methodical investigation.

Translation of W.M. Payne.



n 1494, shortly after the invention of printing, there appeared in Basle a book entitled 'Das Narrenschiff' (The Ship of Fools). Its success was most extraordinary; it was immediately translated into various languages, and remained a favorite with the reading world throughout the sixteenth century. The secret of its popularity lay in its mixture of satire and allegory, which was exactly in accord with the spirit of the age. 'The Ship of Fools' was not only read by the cultivated classes who could appreciate the subtle flavor of the work, but--especially in Germany--it was a book for the people, relished by burgher and artisan as well as by courtier and scholar. Contemporary works contain many allusions to it; it was in fact so familiar to every one that monks preached upon texts drawn from it. This unique and powerful book carried the spirit of the Reformation where the words of Luther would have been unheeded, and it is supposed to have suggested to Erasmus his famous 'Praise of Folly.'

Sebastian Brandt.

In its way, it was as important a production as Bunyan's 'Pilgrim's Progress.' The 'Narrenschiff' was like a glass in which every man saw the reflection of his neighbor; for the old weather-beaten vessel was filled with a crew of fools, who impersonate the universal weaknesses of human nature. In his prologue Brandt says:--

"We well may call it Folly's mirror,
Since every fool there sees his error:
His proper worth would each man know,
The glass of Fools the truth will show.
Who meets his image on the page
May learn to deem himself no sage,
Nor shrink his nothingness to see,
Since naught that lives from fault is free;
And who in conscience dare be sworn
That cap and bells he ne'er hath worn?
He who his foolishness decries
Alone deserves to rank as wise.
He who doth wisdom's airs rehearse
May stand godfather to my verse!

"For jest and earnest, use and sport,
Here fools abound, of every sort.
The sage may here find Wisdom's rules,
And Folly learn the ways of fools.
Dolts rich and poor my verse doth strike;
The bad finds badness, like finds like;
A cap on many a one I fit
Who fain to wear it would omit.
Were I to mention it by name,
'I know you not,' he would exclaim."

Sebastian Brandt represented all that was best in mediæval Germany. He was a man of affairs, a diplomat, a scholar, an artist, and a citizen highly esteemed and reverenced for his judgment and knowledge. Naturally enough, he held important civic offices in Basle as well as in Strassburg, where he was born in 1458. His father, a wealthy burgher, sent him to the University of Basle to study philosophy and jurisprudence and to become filled with the political ideals of the day. He took his degree in law in 1484 at Basle, and practiced his profession, gaining in reputation every day.

In early youth he dedicated a number of works in prose and verse to the Emperor Maximilian, who made him Chancellor of the Empire, and frequently summoned him to his camp to take part in the negotiations regarding the Holy See. He was universally admired, and Erasmus, who saw him in Strassburg, spoke of him as the "incomparable Brandt." His portrait represents the polished Italian rather than the sturdy middle-class German citizen. His features are delicately cut, his nose long and thin, his face smooth, and his fur-bordered cap and brocade robes suggest aristocratic surroundings. No doubt he graced, by his appearance and bearing as well as by his richly stored mind, the dignity of Count Palatine, to which rank the Emperor raised him. He died in Strassburg in 1521, and lies in the great cathedral.

In addition to the pictures in the 'Ship of Fools' (some of which he drew, while others he designed and superintended), he illustrated 'Terence' (1496); the 'Quadragesimale, or Sermons on the Prodigal Son' (1495); 'Boëtius' (1501), and 'Virgil' (1502), all of which are interesting to the artist and engraver. In the original edition of the 'Ship of Fools,' written in the Swabian dialect, every folly is accompanied with marginal notes giving the classical or Biblical prototype of the person satirized.

"Brandt's satires," says Max Müller in his 'Chips from a German Workshop,' "are not very powerful, nor pungent, nor original. But his style is free and easy. He writes in short chapters, and mixes his fools in such a manner that we always meet with a variety of new faces. To account for his popularity we must remember the time in which he wrote. What had the poor people of Germany to read toward the end of the fifteenth century? Printing had been invented, and books were published and sold with great rapidity. People were not only fond, but proud, of reading. This entertainment was fashionable, and the first fool who enters Brandt's ship is the man who buys books. But what were the wares that were offered for sale? We find among the early prints of the fifteenth century religious, theological, and classical works in great abundance, and we know that the respectable and wealthy burghers of Augsburg and Strassburg were proud to fill their shelves with these portly volumes. But then German aldermen had wives and daughters and sons, and what were they to read during the long winter evenings?... There was room therefore at that time for a work like the 'Ship of Fools.' It was the first printed book that treated of contemporary events and living persons, instead of old German battles and French knights.

"People are always fond of reading the history of their own times. If the good qualities of the age are brought out, they think of themselves or their friends; if the dark features of their contemporaries are exhibited, they think of their neighbors and enemies. The 'Ship of Fools' is the sort of satire which ordinary people would read, and read with pleasure. They might feel a slight twinge now and then, but they would put down the book at the end, and thank God that they were not like other men. There is a chapter on Misers,--and who would not gladly give a penny to a beggar? There is a chapter on Gluttony,--and who was ever more than a little exhilarated after dinner? There is a chapter on Church-goers,--and who ever went to church for respectability's sake, or to show off a gaudy dress, or a fine dog, or a new hawk? There is a chapter on Dancing,--and who ever danced except for the sake of exercise?... We sometimes wish that Brandt's satire had been a little more searching, and that, instead of his many allusions to classical fools, ... he had given us a little more of the scandalous gossip of his own time. But he was too good a man to do this, and his contemporaries no doubt were grateful to him for his forbearance."

From a line in his poem saying that the Narrenschiff was to be found in the neighborhood of Aix, it is supposed that Brandt received his idea from an old chronicle which describes a ship built near Aix-la-Chapelle in the twelfth century, and which was borne through the country as the centre-piece for a carnival, and followed by a suite of men and women dressed in gay costume, singing and dancing to the sound of instruments. The old monk calls it "pagan worship," and denounces it severely; but Brandt saw great possibilities in it for pointing a moral, according to the fashion of his time. The illustrations contributed not a little to the popularity of the book, for he put all his humor into the pictures and all his sermons and exhortations into his text.

Just as Brandt in his literary qualities has been compared to Rabelais, so his satirical pencil has been likened to Hogarth's. Boldness, drollery, dramatic spirit, force, and spontaneous satire characterize both artists. He does not mount a pulpit and speak to the erring masses with sanctimonious self-righteousness; but he enters the Ship himself to lead the babbling folk in motley to the land of wisdom. His own folly is that of the student, and he therefore begins caricaturing himself.

To open the 'Ship of Fools' is to witness a masquerade of the fifteenth century. The frontispiece shows a large galley with high poop and prow and disordered rigging. Confusion reigns. Every one wears the livery of Folly,--the fantastic hood with two peaks like asses' ears, and decorated with tiny jingling bells. One man on the prow gesticulates wildly to a little boat, and cries to the passengers, "Zu schyff, zu schyff, brüder: ess gat, ess gat!" (On board, on board, brothers; it goes, it goes!)

In these pages every type of society is seen, "from beardless youth to crooked age," as the author asserts. Men and women of all classes and conditions, high and low, rich and poor, learned and unlearned: ladies in long trains and furred gowns; knights with long peaked shoes, carrying falcons upon their wrists; cooks and butlers busy in the kitchen; women gazing into mirrors; monks preaching in pulpits; merchants selling goods; gluttons at the table; drunkards in the tavern; alchemists in their laboratories; gamesters playing cards and rattling dice; lovers in shady groves--all and each wear Folly's cap and bells.

Another class of fools is seen engaged in ridiculous occupations, such as pouring water into wells; bearing the world on their shoulders; measuring the globe; or weighing heaven and earth in the balance. Still others despoil their fellows. Wine merchants introducing salt-petre, bones, mustard, and sulphur into barrels, the horse-dealer padding the foot of a lame horse, men selling inferior skins for good fur, and other cheats with false weights, short measure, and light money, prove that the vices of the modern age are not novelties. Other allegorical pictures and verses describe the mutability of fortune, where a wheel, guided by a gigantic hand outstretched from the sky, is adorned with three asses, wearing of course the cap and bells.

The best German editions of this book are by Zarneke (Leipsic, 1854), and Goedecke (1872). It was translated into Latin by Locker in 1497, into English by Henry Watson as 'The Grete Shyppe of Fooles of the Worlde' (1517); and by Alexander Barclay in 1509. The best edition of Barclay's adaptation, from which the extracts below are drawn, was published by T.H. Jamieson (Edinburgh, 1874).


Come to, Companyons: ren: tyme it is to rowe:
  Our Carake fletis[6]: the se is large and wyde
And depe Inough: a pleasaunt wynde doth blowe.
  Prolonge no tyme, our Carake doth you byde,
  Our felawes tary for you on every syde.
Hast hyther, I say, ye folys[7] naturall,
Howe oft shall I you unto my Navy call?

Ye have one confort, ye shall nat be alone:
  Your company almoste is infynyte;
For nowe alyve ar men but fewe or none
  That of my shyp can red hym selfe out quyte[8].
  A fole in felawes hath pleasour and delyte.
Here can none want, for our proclamacion
Extendyth farre: and to many a straunge nacyon.

Both yonge and olde, pore man, and estate:
  The folysshe moder: hir doughter by hir syde,
Ren to our Navy, ferynge to come to[o] late.
  No maner of degre is in the worlde wyde,
  But that for all theyr statelynes and pryde
As many as from the way of wysdome tryp
  Shall have a rowme and place within my shyp.

My folysshe felawes therfore I you exort
  Hast to our Navy, for tyme it is to rowe:
Nowe must we leve eche sympyll[9] haven and porte,
  And sayle to that londe where folys abound and flow;
  For whether we aryve at London or Bristowe,
Or any other Haven within this our londe,
We folys ynowe[10] shall fynde alway at honde....

Our frayle bodyes wandreth in care and payne
  And lyke to botes troubled with tempest sore
From rocke to rocke cast in this se mundayne,
  Before our iyen beholde we ever more
  The deth of them that passed are before.
Alas mysfortune us causeth oft to rue
Whan to vayne thoughtis our bodyes we subdue.

We wander in more dout than mortall man can thynke.
  And oft by our foly and wylfull neglygence
Our shyp is in great peryll for to synke.
  So sore ar we overcharged with offence
  We see the daunger before our owne presence
Of straytis, rockis, and bankis of sonde full hye,
Yet we procede to wylfull jeopardye.

We dyvers Monsters within the se beholde
  Redy to abuse or to devour mankynde,
As Dolphyns, whallys, and wonders many folde,
  And oft the Marmaydes songe dullyth our mynde
  That to all goodnes we ar made dull and blynde;
The wolves of these oft do us moche care,
Yet we of them can never well beware....

About we wander in tempest and Tourment;
What place is sure, where Foles may remayne
And fyx theyr dwellynge sure and parmanent?
  None certainly: The cause thereof is playne.
  We wander in the se for pleasour, bydynge payne,
And though the haven of helth be in our syght
Alas we fle from it with all our myght.
[6] Floats.

[7] Fools.

[8] Quite rid himself of.

[9] Single.

[10] Enough.


A fole he is and voyde of reason
  Whiche with one hounde tendyth to take
Two harys in one instant and season;
  Rightso is he that wolde undertake
  Hym to two lordes a servaunt to make;
For whether that he be lefe or lothe,
The one he shall displease, or els bothe.

A fole also he is withouten doute,
  And in his porpose sothly blyndyd sore,
Which doth entende labour or go aboute
  To serve god, and also his wretchyd store
  Of worldly ryches: for as I sayde before,
He that togyder will two maysters serve
Shall one displease and nat his love deserve.

For he that with one hounde wol take also
  Two harys togyther in one instant
For the moste parte doth the both two forgo,
  And if he one have: harde it is and skant
  And that blynd fole mad and ignorant
That draweth thre boltis atons[11] in one bowe
At one marke shall shote to[o] high or to[o] lowe....

He that his mynde settyth god truly to serve
  And his sayntes: this worlde settynge at nought
Shall for rewarde everlastynge joy deserve,
  But in this worlde he that settyth his thought
  All men to please, and in favour to be brought
Must lout and lurke, flater, laude, and lye:
And cloke in knavys counseyll, though it fals be.

If any do hym wronge or injury
  He must it suffer and pacyently endure
A double tunge with wordes like hony;
  And of his offycis if he wyll be sure
  He must be sober and colde of his langage,
More to a knave, than to one of hye lynage.

Oft must he stoupe his bonet in his honde,
  His maysters back he must oft shrape and clawe,
His brest anoyntynge, his mynde to understonde,
  But be it gode or bad therafter must he drawe.
  Without he can Jest he is nat worth a strawe,
But in the mean tyme beware that he none checke;
For than layth malyce a mylstone in his necke.

He that in court wyll love and favour have
  A fole must hym fayne, if he were none afore,
And be as felow to every boy and knave,
  And to please his lorde he must styll laboure sore.
  His many folde charge maketh hym coveyt more
That he had lever[12] serve a man in myserye
Than serve his maker in tranquylyte.

But yet when he hath done his dylygence
  His lorde to serve, as I before have sayde,
For one small faute or neglygent offence
  Suche a displeasoure agaynst hym may be layde
  That out is he cast bare and unpurvayde[13],
Whether he be gentyll, yeman[14] grome or page;
Thus worldly servyse is no sure herytage.

Wherfore I may prove by these examples playne
  That it is better more godly and plesant
To leve this mondayne casualte and payne
  And to thy maker one god to be servaunt,
Which whyle thou lyvest shall nat let the want
That thou desyrest justly, for thy syrvyce,
And than after gyve the, the joyes of Paradyse.
[11] Three bolts at once.

[12] Rather.

[13] Unprovided.

[14] Yeoman.


He that his tunge can temper and refrayne
  And asswage the foly of hasty langage
Shall kepe his mynde from trouble, sadnes and payne,
  And fynde therby great ease and avauntage;
  Where as a hasty speker falleth in great domage
Peryll and losse, in lyke wyse as the pye
Betrays hir byrdes by hir chatrynge and crye....

Is it not better for one his tunge to kepe
  Where as he myght (perchaunce) with honestee,
Than wordes to speke whiche make hym after wepe
  For great losse folowynge wo and adversyte?
  A worde ones spokyn revoked can not be,
Therfore thy fynger lay before thy types,
For a wyse mannys tunge without advysement trypes.

He that wyll answere of his owne folysshe brayne
  Before that any requyreth his counsayle
Shewith him selfe and his hasty foly playne,
  Wherby men knowe his wordes of none avayle.
  Some have delyted in mad blaborynge and frayle
Whiche after have supped bytter punysshement
For their wordes spoken without advysement....

Many have ben whiche sholde have be counted wyse
  Sad and discrete, and right well sene[15] in scyence;
But all they have defyled with this one vyse
  Of moche spekynge: o cursyd synne and offence
  Ryte it is that so great inconvenience
So great shame, contempt rebuke and vylany
Sholde by one small member came to the hole body.

Let suche take example by the chatrynge pye,
  Whiche doth hyr nest and byrdes also betraye
By hyr grete chatterynge, clamoure dyn and crye,
  Ryght so these folys theyr owne foly bewraye.
  But touchynge wymen of them I wyll nought say,
They can not speke, but ar as coy and styll
As the horle wynde or clapper of a mylle.
[15] Well seen--well versed.

End of Volume V.