- Hellenica -

 

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LIBRARY OF THE

WORLD'S BEST LITERATURE

ANCIENT AND MODERN




CHARLES DUDLEY WARNER

EDITOR




HAMILTON WRIGHT MABIE
LUCIA GILBERT RUNKLE
GEORGE HENRY WARNER

ASSOCIATE EDITORS




Connoisseur Edition

VOL. VI.

1896





THE ADVISORY COUNCIL


CRAWFORD H. TOY, A.M., LL.D.,

Professor of Hebrew,

HARVARD UNIVERSITY, Cambridge, Mass.

THOMAS R. LOUNSBURY, LL.D., L.H.D.,

Professor of English in the Sheffield Scientific School of

YALE UNIVERSITY, New Haven, Conn.

WILLIAM M. SLOANE, PH.D., L.H.D.,

Professor of History and Political Science,

PRINCETON UNIVERSITY, Princeton, N.J.

BRANDER MATTHEWS, A.M., LL.B.,

Professor of Literature,

COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY, New York City.

JAMES B. ANGELL, LL.D.,

President of the

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN, Ann Arbor, Mich.

WILLARD FISKE, A.M., PH.D.,

Late Professor of the Germanic and Scandinavian Languages and Literatures,

CORNELL UNIVERSITY, Ithaca, N.Y.

EDWARD S. HOLDEN, A.M., LL.D.,

Director of the Lick Observatory, and Astronomer

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, Berkeley, Cal.

ALCÉE FORTIER, LIT.D.,

Professor of the Romance Languages,

TULANE UNIVERSITY, New Orleans, La.

WILLIAM P. TRENT, M.A.,

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

UNIVERSITY OF THE SOUTH, Sewanee, Tenn.

PAUL SHOREY, PH.D.,

Professor of Greek and Latin Literature,

UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO, Chicago, Ill.

WILLIAM T. HARRIS, LL.D.,

United States Commissioner of Education,

BUREAU OF EDUCATION, Washington, D.C.

MAURICE FRANCIS EGAN, A.M., LL.D.,

Professor of Literature in the

CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY OF AMERICA, Washington, D.C.






TABLE OF CONTENTS


VOL. VI

THE ABBÉ DE BRANTÔME (Pierre de Bourdeille) -- 1527-1614

The Dancing of Royalty ('Lives of Notable Women')

The Shadow of a Tomb ('Lives of Courtly Women')

M. le Constable Anne de Montmorency

('Lives of Distinguished Men and Great Captains')

Two Famous Entertainments ('Lives of Courtly Women')

FREDRIKA BREMER -- 1801-1865

A Home-Coming ('The Neighbors')

The Landed Proprietor ('The Home')

A Family Picture (same)

CLEMENS BRENTANO -- 1778-1842

The Nurse's Watch

The Castle in Austria

ELISABETH BRENTANO (Bettina von Arnim) -- 1785-1859

Dedication: To Goethe ('Goethe's Correspondence with a Child')

Letter to Goethe

Bettina's Last Meeting with Goethe (Letter to Her Niece)

In Goethe's Garden

JOHN BRIGHT -- 1811-1889

From Speech on the Corn Laws (1843)

From Speech on Incendiarism in Ireland (1844)

From Speech on Non-Recognition of the Southern Confederacy (1861)

From Speech on the State of Ireland (1866)

From Speech on the Irish Established Church (1868)

BRILLAT-SAVARIN -- 1755-1826

From 'Physiology of Taste':

The Privations;

On the Love of Good Living;

On People Fond of Good Living

CHARLOTTE BRONTÉ AND HER SISTERS --1816-1855

Jane Eyre's Wedding-Day ('Jane Eyre')

Madame Beck ('Villette')

A Yorkshire Landscape ('Shirley')

The End of Heathcliff (Emily Bronté's 'Wuthering Heights')

PHILLIPS BROOKS -- 1835-1893

O Little Town of Bethlehem

Personal Character ('Essays and Addresses')

The Courage of Opinions (same)

Literature and Life (same)

CHARLES BROCKDEN BROWN -- 1771-1810

Wieland's Statement ('Wieland')

JOHN BROWN -- 1810-1882

Marjorie Fleming ('Spare Hours')

Death of Thackeray (same)

CHARLES FARRAR BROWNE (Artemus Ward) -- 1834-1867

By Charles F. Johnson

Edwin Forrest as Othello

High-Handed Outrage at Utica

Affairs Round the Village Green

Mr. Pepper ('Artemus Ward: His Travels')

Horace Greeley's Ride to Placerville (same)

SIR THOMAS BROWNE -- 1605-1682

By Francis Bacon

From the 'Religio Medici'

From 'Christian Morals'

From 'Hydriotaphia, or Urn-Burial'

From 'A Fragment on Mummies'

From 'A Letter to a Friend'

Some Relations Whose Truth We Fear ('Pseudoxia Epidemica')

WILLIAM BROWNE -- 1591-1643

Circe's Charm ('Inner Temple Masque')

The Hunted Squirrel ('Britannia's Pastorals')

As Careful Merchants Do Expecting Stand (same)

Song of the Sirens ('Inner Temple Masque')

An Epistle on Parting

Sonnets to Cælia

HENRY HOWARD BROWNELL -- 1820-1872

Annus Memorabilis

Words for the 'Hallelujah Chorus'

Coming

Psychaura

Suspiria Noctis

ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING -- 1809-1861

A Musical Instrument

My Heart and I

From 'Catarina to Camoens'

The Sleep

The Cry of the Children

Mother and Poet

A Court Lady

The Prospect

De Profundis

The Cry of the Human

Romance of the Swan's Nest

The Best Thing in the World

Sonnets from the Portuguese

A False Step

A Child's Thought of God

Cheerfulness Taught by Reason

ROBERT BROWNING -- 1812-1889

By E.L. Burlingame

Andrea del Sarto

A Toccata of Galuppi's

Confessions

Love among the Ruins

A Grammarian's Funeral

My Last Duchess

Up at a Villa--Down in the City

In Three Days

In a Year

Evelyn Hope

Prospice

The Patriot

One Word More

ORESTES AUGUSTUS BROWNSON -- 1803-1876

Saint-Simonism ('The Convert')

FERDINAND BRUNETIÈRE -- 1849-

By Adolphe Cohn

Taine and Prince Napoleon

The Literatures of France, England, and Germany

GIORDANO BRUNO --1548-1600

A Discourse of Poets ('The Heroic Enthusiasts')

Canticle of the Shining Ones: A Tribute to English Women ('The Nolan')

Song of the Nine Singers

Of Immensity

Life Well Lost

Parnassus Within

Compensation

Life for Song

WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT --1794-1878

By George Parsons Lathrop

Thanatopsis

The Crowded Street

Death of the Flowers

The Conqueror's Grave

The Battle-Field

To a Water-fowl

Robert of Lincoln

June

To the Fringed Gentian

The Future Life

To the Past

JAMES BRYCE -- 1838-

Position of Women in the United States ('The American Commonwealth')

Ascent of Ararat ('Trans-Caucasia and Ararat')

The Work of the Roman Empire ('The Holy Roman Empire')

FRANCIS TREVELYAN BUCKLAND -- 1826-1880

A Hunt in a Horse-Pond ('Curiosities of Natural History')

On Rats (same)

Snakes and their Poison (same)

My Monkey Jacko (same)

HENRY THOMAS BUCKLE -- 1821-1862

Moral versus Intellectual Principles in Human Progress

('History of Civilization in England')

Mythical Origin of History (same)

GEORGE LOUIS LE CLERC BUFFON -- 1707-1788

By Spencer Trotter

Nature ('Natural History')

The Humming-Bird (same)

EDWARD BULWER-LYTTON -- 1803-1873

By Julian Hawthorne

The Amphitheatre ('The Last Days of Pompeii')

Kenelm and Lily ('Kenelm Chillingly')






FULL-PAGE ILLUSTRATIONS

VOLUME VI

"Les Satyres" (Colored Plate) Frontispiece
Charlotte Bronté (Portrait) 2382
Phillips Brooks (Portrait) 2418
"The Holy Child of Bethlehem" (Photogravure) 2420
"Circe" (Photogravure) 2514
Robert Browning (Portrait) 2558
William Cullen Bryant (Portrait) 2624
Edward Bulwer-Lytton (Portrait) 2698
"In the Arena" (Photogravure) 2718
"Nydia" (Photogravure) 2720


VIGNETTE PORTRAITS

Abbé de Brantôme
Fredrika Bremer
Elisabeth Brentano
John Bright
Brillat-Savarin
Charles Brockden Brown
John Brown
Charles Farrar Browne
Sir Thomas Browne
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Orestes Augustus Brownson
Ferdinand Brunetière
James Bryce
George Louis le Clere Buffon





THE ABBÉ DE BRANTÔME (PIERRE DE BOURDEILLE)

(1527-1614)


very historian of the Valois period is indebted to Brantôme for preserving the atmosphere and detail of the brilliant life in which he moved as a dashing courtier, a military adventurer, and a gallant gentleman of high degree. He was not a professional scribe, nor a student; but he took notes unconsciously, and in the evening of his life turned back the pages of his memory to record the scenes through which he had passed and the characters which he had known. He has been termed the "valet de chambre" of history; nevertheless the anecdotes scattered through his works will ever be treasured by all students and historians of that age of luxury and magnificence, art and beauty, beneath which lay the fermentation of great religious and political movements, culminating in the struggle between the Huguenots and Catholics.


Abbé De Brantôme

Brantôme was the third son of the Vicomte de Bourdeille, a Périgord nobleman, whose family had lived long in Guienne, and whose aristocratic lineage was lost in myth. Upon the estate stood the Abbey of Brantôme, founded by Charlemagne, and this Henry II. gave to young Pierre de Bourdeille in recognition of the military deeds of his brother, Jean de Bourdeille, who lost his life in service. Thereafter the lad was to sign his name as the Reverend Father in God, Messire Pierre de Bourdeille, Abbé de Brantôme. Born in the old château in 1527, he was destined for the church, but abandoned this career for arms. At an early age he was sent to court as page to Marguerite, sister of Francis I. and Queen of Navarre; after her death in 1549, he went to Paris to study at the University. His title of Abbé being merely honorary, he served in the army under François de Guise, Duke of Lorraine, and became Gentleman of the Chamber to Charles IX. His career extended through the reigns of Henry II., Francis II., Charles IX., Henry III., and Henry IV., to that of Louis XIII. With the exception of diplomatic missions, service on the battle-field, and voyages for pleasure, he spent his life at court.

About 1594 he retired to his estate, where until his death on July 15th, 1614, he passed his days in contentions with the monks of Brantôme, in lawsuits with his neighbors, and in writing his books: 'Lives of the Illustrious Men and Great Captains of France'; 'Lives of Illustrious Ladies'; 'Lives of Women of Gallantry'; 'Memoirs, containing anecdotes connected with the Court of France'; 'Spanish Rodomontades'; a 'Life' of his father, François de Bourdeille; a 'Funeral Oration' on his sister in-law; and a dialogue in verse, entitled 'The Tomb of Madame de Bourdeille.' These were not published until long after his death, first appearing in Leyden about 1665, at the Hague in 1740, and in Paris in 1787. The best editions are by Fourcault (7 vols., Paris, 1822); by Lacour and Mérimée (3 vols., 1859); and Lalande (10 vols., 1865-'81).

What Brantôme thought of himself may be seen by glancing at that portion of the "testament mystique" which relates to his writings:--

"I will and expressly charge my heirs that they cause to be printed the books which I have composed by my talent and invention. These books will be found covered with velvet, either black, green or blue, and one larger volume, which is that of the Rodomontades, covered with velvet, gilt outside and curiously bound. All have been carefully corrected. There will be found in these books excellent things, such as stories, histories, discourses, and witty sayings, which I flatter myself the world will not disdain to read when once it has had a sight of them. I direct that a sum of money be taken from my estate sufficient to pay for the printing thereof, which certainly cannot be much; for I have known many printers who would have given money rather than charged any for the right of printing them. They print many things without charge which are not at all equal to mine. I will also that the said impression shall be in large type, in order to make the better appearance, and that they should appear with the Royal Privilege, which the King will readily grant. Also care must be taken that the printers do not put on the title-page any supposititious name instead of mine. Otherwise, I should be defrauded of the glory which is my due."

The old man delighted in complimenting himself and talking about his "grandeur d'âme." This greatness of soul may be measured from the command he gave his heirs to annoy a man who had refused to swear homage to him, "it not being reasonable to leave at rest this little wretch, who descends from a low family, and whose grandfather was nothing but a notary." He also commands his nieces and nephews to take the same vengeance upon his enemies "as I should have done in my green and vigorous youth, during which I may boast, and I thank God for it, that I never received an injury without being revenged on the author of it."

Brantôme writes like a "gentleman of the sword," with dash and élan, and as one, to use his own words, who has been "toujours trottant, traversant, et vagabondant le monde" (always trotting, traversing, and tramping the world). Not in the habit of a vagabond, however, for the balls, banquets, tournaments, masques, ballets, and wedding-feasts which he describes so vividly were occasions for the display of sumptuous costumes; and Messire Pierre de Bourdeille doubtless appeared as elegant as any other gallant in silken hose, jeweled doublet, flowing cape, and long rapier. What we value most are his paintings of these festive scenes, and the vivid portraits which he has left of the Valois women, who were largely responsible for the luxuries and the crimes of the period: women who could step without a tremor from a court-masque to a massacre; who could toy with a gallant's ribbons and direct the blow of an assassin; and who could poison a rival with a delicately perfumed gift. Such a court Brantôme calls the "true paradise of the world, school of all honesty and virtue, ornament of France." We like to hear about Catherine de' Medici riding with her famous "squadron of Venus": "You should have seen forty or fifty dames and demoiselles following her, mounted on beautifully accoutred hackneys, their hats adorned with feathers which increased their charm, so well did the flying plumes represent the demand for love or war. Virgil, who undertook to describe the fine apparel of Queen Dido when she went out hunting, has by no means equaled that of our Queen and her ladies."

Charming, too, are such descriptions as "the most beautiful ballet that ever was, composed of sixteen of the fairest and best-trained dames and demoiselles, who appeared in a silvered rock where they were seated in niches, shut in on every side. The sixteen ladies represented the sixteen provinces of France. After having made the round of the hall for parade as in a camp, they all descended, and ranging themselves in the form of a little oddly contrived battalion, some thirty violins began a very pleasant warlike air, to which they danced their ballet." After an hour the ladies presented the King, the Queen-Mother, and others with golden plaques, on which were engraved "the fruits and singularities of each province," the wheat of Champagne, the vines of Burgundy, the lemons and oranges of Provence, etc. He shows us Catherine de' Medici, the elegant, cunning Florentine; her beautiful daughters, Elizabeth of Spain and Marguerite de Valois; Diana of Poitiers, the woman of eternal youth and beauty; Jeanne d'Albret, the mother of Henry IV.; Louise de Vaudemont; the Duchesse d'Étampes; Marie Touchet; and all their satellites,--as they enjoyed their lives.

Very valuable are the data regarding Mary Stuart's departure from France in 1561. Brantôme was one of her suite, and describes her grief when the shores of France faded away, and her arrival in Scotland, where on the first night she was serenaded by Psalm-tunes with a most villainous accompaniment of Scotch music. "Hé! quelle musique!" he exclaims, "et quel repos pour la nuit!"

But of all the gay ladies Brantôme loves to dwell upon, his favorites are the two Marguerites: Marguerite of Angoulême, Queen of Navarre, the sister of Francis I., and Marguerite, daughter of Catherine de' Medici and wife of Henry IV. Of the latter, called familiarly "La Reine Margot," he is always writing. "To speak of the beauty of this rare princess," he says, "I think that all that are, or will be, or have ever been near her are ugly."

Brantôme has been a puzzle to many critics, who cannot explain his "contradictions." He had none. He extolled wicked and immoral characters because he recognized only two merits,--aristocratic birth and hatred of the Huguenots. He is well described by M. de Barante, who says:--"Brantôme expresses the entire character of his country and of his profession. Careless of the difference between good and evil; a courtier who has no idea that anything can be blameworthy in the great, but who sees and narrates their vices and their crimes all the more frankly in that he is not very sure whether what he tells be good or bad; as indifferent to the honor of women as he is to the morality of men; relating scandalous things with no consciousness that they are such, and almost leading his reader into accepting them as the simplest things in the world, so little importance does he attach to them; terming Louis XI., who poisoned his brother, the good King Louis, calling women whose adventures could hardly have been written by any pen save his own, honnêtes dames."

Brantôme must therefore not be regarded as a chronicler who revels in scandals, although his pages reek with them; but as the true mirror of the Valois court and the Valois period.




THE DANCING OF ROYALTY

From 'Lives of Notable Women'

Ah! how the times have changed since I saw them together in the ball-room, expressing the very spirit of the dance! The King always opened the grand ball by leading out his sister, and each equaled the other in majesty and grace. I have often seen them dancing the Pavane d'Espagne, which must be performed with the utmost majesty and grace. The eyes of the entire court were riveted upon them, ravished by this lovely scene; for the measures were so well danced, the steps so intelligently placed, the sudden pauses timed so accurately and making so elegant an effect, that one did not know what to admire most,--the beautiful manner of moving, or the majesty of the halts, now expressing excessive gayety, now a beautiful and haughty disdain. Who could dance with such elegance and grace as the royal brother and sister? None, I believe; and I have watched the King dancing with the Queen of Spain and the Queen of Scotland, each of whom was an excellent dancer.

I have seen them dance the 'Pazzemezzo d'Italie,' walking gravely through the measures, and directing their steps with so graceful and solemn a manner that no other prince nor lady could approach them in dignity. This Queen took great pleasure in performing these grave dances; for she preferred to exhibit dignified grace rather than to express the gayety of the Branle, the Volta, and the Courante. Although she acquired them quickly, she did not think them worthy of her majesty.

I always enjoyed seeing her dance the Branle de la Torche, or du Flambeau. Once, returning from the nuptials of the daughter of the King of Poland, I saw her dance this kind of a Branle at Lyons before the assembled guests from Savoy, Piedmont, Italy, and other places; and every one said he had never seen any sight more captivating than this lovely lady moving with grace of motion and majestic mien, all agreeing that she had no need of the flaming torch which she held in her hand; for the flashing light from her brilliant eyes was sufficient to illuminate the set, and to pierce the dark veil of Night.




THE SHADOW OF A TOMB

From 'Lives of Courtly Women'

Once I had an elder brother who was called Captain Bourdeille, one of the bravest and most valiant soldiers of his time. Although he was my brother, I must praise him, for the record he made in the wars brought him fame. He was the gentilhomme de France who stood first in the science and gallantry of arms. He was killed during the last siege of Hesdin. My brother's parents had destined him for the career of letters, and accordingly sent him at the age of eighteen to study in Italy, where he settled in Ferrara because of Madame Renée de France, Duchess of Ferrara, who ardently loved my mother. He enjoyed life at her court, and soon fell deeply in love with a young French widow,--Mademoiselle de La Roche,--who was in the suite of Madame de Ferrara.

They remained there in the service of love, until my father, seeing that his son was not following literature, ordered him home. She, who loved him, begged him to take her with him to France and to the court of Marguerite of Navarre, whom she had served, and who had given her to Madame Renée when she went to Italy upon her marriage. My brother, who was young, was greatly charmed to have her companionship, and conducted her to Pau. The Queen was glad to welcome her, for the young widow was handsome and accomplished, and indeed considered superior in esprit to the other ladies of the court.

After remaining a few days with my mother and grandmother, who were there, my brother visited his father. In a short time he declared that he was disgusted with letters, and joined the army, serving in the wars of Piedmont and Parma, where he acquired much honor in the space of five or six months; during which time he did not revisit his home. At the end of this period he went to see his mother at Pau. He made his reverence to the Queen of Navarre as she returned from vespers; and she, who was the best princess in the world, received him cordially, and taking his hand, led him about the church for an hour or two. She demanded news regarding the wars of Piedmont and Italy, and many other particulars, to which my brother replied so well that she was greatly pleased with him. He was a very handsome young man of twenty-four years. After talking gravely and engaging him in earnest conversation, walking up and down the church, she directed her steps toward the tomb of Mademoiselle de La Roche, who had been dead for three months. She stopped here, and again took his hand, saying, "My cousin" (thus addressing him because a daughter of D'Albret was married into our family of Bourdeille; but of this I do not boast, for it has not helped me particularly), "do you not feel something move below your feet?"

"No, Madame," he replied.

"But reflect again, my cousin," she insisted.

My brother answered, "Madame, I feel nothing move. I stand upon a solid stone."

"Then I will explain," said the Queen, "without keeping you longer in suspense, that you stand upon the tomb and over the body of your poor dearly-loved Mademoiselle de La Roche, who is interred here; and that our friends may have sentiment for us at our death, render a pious homage here. You cannot doubt that the gentle creature, dying so recently, must have been affected when you approached. In remembrance I beg you to say a paternoster and an Ave Maria and a de profundis, and sprinkle holy water. Thus you will win the name of a very faithful lover and a good Christian."




M. LE CONSTABLE ANNE DE MONTMORENCY

From 'Lives of Distinguished Men and Great Captains'

He never failed to say and keep up his paternosters every morning, whether he remained in the house, or mounted his horse and went out to the field to join the army. It was a common saying among the soldiers that one must "beware the paternosters of the Constable." For as disorders were very frequent, he would say, while mumbling and muttering his paternosters all the time, "Go and fetch that fellow and hang me him up to this tree;" "Out with a file of harquebusiers here before me this instant, for the execution of this man!" "Burn me this village instantly!" "Cut me to pieces at once all these villain peasants, who have dared to hold this church against the king!" All this without ever ceasing from his paternosters till he had finished them--thinking that he would have done very wrong to put them off to another time; so conscientious was he!




TWO FAMOUS ENTERTAINMENTS

From 'Lives of Courtly Women'

I have read in a Spanish book called 'El Viaje del Principe' (The Voyage of the Prince), made by the King of Spain in the Pays-Bas in the time of the Emperor Charles, his father, about the wonderful entertainments given in the rich cities. The most famous was that of the Queen of Hungary in the lovely town of Bains, which passed into a proverb, "Mas bravas que las festas de Bains" (more magnificent than the festivals of Bains). Among the displays which were seen during the siege of a counterfeit castle, she ordered for one day a fête in honor of the Emperor her brother, Queen Eleanor her sister, and the gentlemen and ladies of the court.

Toward the end of the feast a lady appeared with six Oread-nymphs, dressed as huntresses in classic costumes of silver and green, glittering with jewels to imitate the light of the moon. Each one carried a bow and arrows in her hand and wore a quiver on her shoulder; their buskins were of cloth of silver. They entered the hall, leading their dogs after them, and placed on the table in front of the Emperor all kinds of venison pasties, supposed to have been the spoils of the chase. After them came the Goddess of Shepherds and her six nymphs, dressed in cloth of silver, garnished with pearls. They wore knee-breeches beneath their flowing robes, and white pumps, and brought in various products of the dairy.

Then entered the third division--Pomona and her nymphs--bearing fruit of all descriptions. This goddess was the daughter of Donna Beatrix Pacheco, Countess d'Autremont, lady-in-waiting to Queen Eleanor, and was but nine years old. She was now Madame l'Admirale de Chastillon, whom the Admiral married for his second wife. Approaching with her companions, she presented her gifts to the Emperor with an eloquent speech, delivered so beautifully that she received the admiration of the entire assembly, and all predicted that she would become a beautiful, charming, graceful, and captivating lady. She was dressed in cloth of silver and white, with white buskins, and a profusion of precious stones--emeralds, colored like some of the fruit she bore. After making these presentations, she gave the Emperor a Palm of Victory, made of green enamel, the fronds tipped with pearls and jewels. This was very rich and gorgeous. To Queen Eleanor she gave a fan containing a mirror set with gems of great value. Indeed, the Queen of Hungary showed that she was a very excellent lady, and the Emperor was proud of a sister worthy of himself. All the young ladies who impersonated these mythical characters were selected from the suites of France, Hungary, and Madame de Lorraine; and were therefore French, Italian, Flemish, German, and of Lorraine. None of them lacked beauty.

At the same time that these fêtes were taking place at Bains, Henry II. made his entrée in Piedmont and at his garrisons in Lyons, where were assembled the most brilliant of his courtiers and court ladies. If the representation of Diana and her chase given by the Queen of Hungary was found beautiful, the one at Lyons was more beautiful and complete. As the king entered the city, he saw obelisks of antiquity to the right and left, and a wall of six feet was constructed along the road to the courtyard, which was filled with underbrush and planted thickly with trees and shrubbery. In this miniature forest were hidden deer and other animals.

As soon as his Majesty approached, to the sound of horns and trumpets Diana issued forth with her companions, dressed in the fashion of a classic nymph with her quiver at her side and her bow in her hand. Her figure was draped in black and gold sprinkled with silver stars, the sleeves were of crimson satin bordered with gold, and the garment, looped up above the knee, revealed her buskins of crimson satin covered with pearls and embroidery. Her hair was entwined with magnificent strings of rich pearls and gems of much value, and above her brow was placed a crescent of silver, surrounded by little diamonds. Gold could never have suggested half so well as the shining silver the white light of the real crescent. Her companions were attired in classic costumes made of taffetas of various colors, shot with gold, and their ringlets were adorned with all kinds of glittering gems....

Other nymphs carried darts of Brazil-wood tipped with black and white tassels, and carried horns and trumpets suspended by ribbons of white and black. When the King appeared, a lion, which had long been under training, ran from the wood and lay at the feet of the Goddess, who bound him with a leash of white and black and led him to the king, accompanying her action with a poem of ten verses, which she delivered most beautifully. Like the lion--so ran the lines--the city of Lyons lay at his Majesty's feet, gentle, gracious, and obedient to his command. This spoken, Diana and her nymphs made low bows and retired.

Note that Diana and her companions were married women, widows, and young girls, taken from the best society in Lyons, and there was no fault to be found with the way they performed their parts. The King, the princes, and the ladies and gentlemen of the court were ravished. Madame de Valentinois, called Diana of Poitiers,--whom the King served and in whose name the mock chase was arranged,--was not less content.






FREDRIKA BREMER

(1801-1865)


redrika Bremer was born at Tuorla Manor-house, near Åbo, in Finland, on the 17th of August, 1801. In 1804 the family removed to Stockholm, and two years later to a large estate at Årsta, some twenty miles from the capital, which was her subsequent home. At Årsta the father of Fredrika, who had amassed a fortune in the iron industry in Finland, set up an establishment in accord with his means. The manor-house, built two centuries before, had become in some parts dilapidated, but it was ultimately restored and improved beyond its original condition. From its windows on one side the eye stretched over nearly five miles of meadows, fields, and villages belonging to the estate.


Fredrika Bremer

In spite of its surroundings, however, Fredrika's childhood was not a happy one. Her mother was severe and impatient of petty faults, and the child's mind became embittered. Her father was reserved and melancholy. Fredrika herself was restless and passionate, although of an affectionate nature. Among the other children she was the ugly duckling, who was misunderstood, and whose natural development was continually checked and frustrated. Her talents were early exhibited in a variety of directions. Her first verses, in French, to the morn, were written at the age of eight. Subsequently she wrote comedies for home production, prose and verse of all sorts, and kept a journal, which has been preserved. In 1821 the whole family went on a tour abroad, from which they did not return until the following year, having visited in the meantime Germany, Switzerland, and France, and spent the winter in Paris. This year among new scenes and surroundings seems to have brought home to Fredrika, upon the resumption of her old life in the country, its narrowness and its isolation. She was entirely shut off from all desired activity; her illusions vanished one by one. "I was conscious," she says in her short autobiography, "of being born with powerful wings, but I was conscious of their being clipped;" and she fancied that they would remain so.

Her attention, however, was fortunately attracted from herself to the poor and sick in the country round about; and she presently became to the whole region a nurse and a helper, denying herself all sorts of comforts that she might give them to others, and braving storm and hunger on her errands of mercy. In order to earn money for her charities she painted miniature portraits of the Crown Princess and the King, and secretly sold them. Her desire to increase the small sums she thus gained induced her to seek a publisher for a number of sketches she had written. Her brother readily disposed of the manuscript for a hundred rix-dollars; and her first book, 'Teckningar ur Hvardagslifvet' (Sketches of Every-day Life), appeared in 1828, but without the name of the author, of whose identity the publisher himself was left in ignorance. The book was received with such favor that the young author was induced to try again; and what had originally been intended as a second volume of the 'Sketches' appeared in 1830 as 'Familjen H.' (The H. Family). Its success was immediate and unmistakable. It not only was received with applause, but created a sensation, and Swedish literature was congratulated on the acquisition of a new talent among its writers.

The secret of Fredrika's authorship--which had as yet not been confided even to her parents--was presently revealed to the poet (and later bishop) Franzén, an old friend of the family. Shortly afterward the Swedish Academy, of which Franzén was secretary, awarded her its lesser gold medal as a sign of appreciation. A third volume met with even greater success than its predecessors, and seemed definitely to point out the career which she subsequently followed; and from this time until the close of her life she worked diligently in her chosen field. She rapidly acquired an appreciative public in and out of Sweden. Many of her novels and tales were translated into various languages, several of them appearing simultaneously in Swedish and English. In 1844 the Swedish Academy awarded her its great gold medal of merit.

Several long journeys abroad mark the succeeding years: to Denmark and America from 1848 to 1857; to Switzerland, Belgium, France, Italy, Palestine, and Greece, from 1856 to 1861; to Germany in 1862, returning the same year. The summer months of 1864 she spent at Årsta, which since 1853 had passed out of the hands of the family. She removed there the year after, and died there on the 31st of December.

Fredrika Bremer's most successful literary work was in the line of her earliest writings, descriptive of the every-day life of the middle classes. Her novels in this line have an unusual charm of expression, whose definable elements are an unaffected simplicity and a certain quiet humor which admirably fits the chosen milieu. Besides the ones already mentioned, 'Presidentens Döttrar' (The President's Daughters), 'Grannarna' (The Neighbors), 'Hemmet' (The Home), 'Nina,' and others, cultivated this field. Later she drifted into "tendency" fiction, making her novels the vehicles for her opinions on important public questions, such as religion, philanthropy, and above all the equal rights of women. These later productions, of which 'Hertha' and 'Syskonlif' are the most important, are far inferior to her earlier work. She had, however, the satisfaction of seeing the realization of several of the movements which she had so ardently espoused: the law that unmarried women in Sweden should attain their majority at twenty-five years of age; the organization at Stockholm of a seminary for the education of woman teachers; and certain parliamentary reforms.

In addition to her novels and short stories, she wrote some verse, mostly unimportant, and several books of travel, among them 'Hemmen i ny Verlden' (Homes in the New World), containing her experiences of America; 'Life in the Old World'; and 'Greece and the Greeks.'




A HOME-COMING

From 'The Neighbors'

LETTER I.--FRANCISCA W. TO MARIA M.

ROSENVIK, 1st June, 18.

Here I am now, dear Maria, in my own house and home, at my own writing-table, and with my own Bear. And who then is Bear? no doubt you ask. Who else should he be but my own husband? I call him Bear because--it so happens. I am seated at the window. The sun is setting. Two swans are swimming in the lake, and furrow its clear mirror. Three cows--my cows--are standing on the verdant margin, quiet, fat, and pensive, and certainly think of nothing. What excellent cows they are! Now the maid is coming up with the milk-pail. Delicious milk in the country! But what is not good in the country? Air and people, food and feelings, earth and sky, everything there is fresh and cheering.

Now I must introduce you to my place of abode--no! I must begin farther off. Upon yonder hill, from which I first beheld the valley in which Rosenvik lies (the hill is some miles in the interior of Smaaland) do you descry a carriage covered with dust? In it are seated Bear and his wedded wife. The wife is looking out with curiosity, for before her lies a valley so beautiful in the tranquillity of evening! Below are green groves which fringe mirror-clear lakes, fields of standing corn bend in silken undulations round gray mountains, and white buildings glance amid the trees. Round about, pillars of smoke are shooting up vertically from the wood-covered hills to the serene evening sky. This seems to indicate the presence of volcanoes, but in point of fact it is merely the peaceful labor of the husbandmen burning the vegetation, in order to fertilize the soil. At all events, it is an excellent thing, and I am delighted, bend forward, and am just thinking about a happy family in nature,--Paradise, and Adam and Eve,--when suddenly Bear puts his great paws around me, and presses me so that I am near giving up the ghost, while, kissing me, he entreats me to "be comfortable here." I was a little provoked; but when I perceived the heartfelt intention of the embrace, I could not but be satisfied.

In this valley, then, was my permanent home: here my new family was living; here lay Rosenvik; here I was to live with my Bear. We descended the hill, and the carriage rolled rapidly along the level way. Bear told me the names of every estate, both in the neighborhood and at a distance. I listened as if I were dreaming, but was roused from my reverie when he said with a certain stress, "Here is the residence of ma chère mère," and the carriage drove into a courtyard, and stopped before a large and fine stone house.

"What, are we going to alight here?" "Yes, my love." This was by no means an agreeable surprise to me. I would gladly have first driven to my own home, there to prepare myself a little for meeting my husband's stepmother, of whom I was a little afraid, from the accounts I had heard of that lady, and the respect Bear entertained for her. This visit appeared entirely mal àpropos to me, but Bear has his own ideas, and I perceived from his manner that it was not expedient then to offer any resistance.

It was Sunday, and on the carriage drawing up, the tones of a violin became audible to me. "Aha!" said Bear, "so much the better;" made a ponderous leap from the carriage, and lifted me out. Of hat-cases and packages, no manner of account was to be taken. Bear took my hand, ushered me up the steps into the magnificent hall, and dragged me toward the door from whence the sounds of music and dancing were heard. "See," thought I, "now I am to dance in this costume forsooth!" I wished to go into some place where I could shake the dust from my nose and my bonnet; where I could at least view myself in a mirror. Impossible! Bear, leading me by the arm, assured me that I looked "most charming," and entreated me to mirror myself in his eyes. I then needs must be so discourteous as to reply that they were "too small." He protested that they were only the clearer, and opened the door to the ball-room. "Well, since you lead me to the ball, you shall also dance with me, you Bear!" I exclaimed in the gayety of despair, so to speak. "With delight!" cried Bear, and at the same moment we found ourselves in the salon.

My alarm diminished considerably when I perceived in the spacious room only a crowd of cleanly attired maids and serving-men, who were sweeping merrily about with one another. They were so busied with dancing as scarcely to observe us. Bear then conducted me to the upper end of the apartment; and there, on a high seat, I saw a tall and strong lady of about fifty, who was playing on a violin with zealous earnestness, and beating time with her foot, which she stamped with energy. On her head she wore a remarkable and high-projecting cap of black velvet, which I will call a helmet, because that word occurred to my mind at the very first view I had of her, and I know no one more appropriate. She looked well, but singular. It was the lady of General Mansfelt, my husband's stepmother, ma chère mère!

She speedily cast her large dark-brown eyes on me, instantly ceased playing, laid aside the violin, and drew herself up with a proud bearing, but an air of gladness and frankness. Bear led me towards her. I trembled a little, bowed profoundly, and kissed ma chère mère's hand. She kissed my forehead, and for a while regarded me with such a keen glance, that I was compelled to abase my eyes, on which she again kissed me most cordially on lips and forehead, and embraced me almost as lustily as Bear had. Now it was Bear's turn; he kissed the hand of ma chère mère right respectfully; she however offered him her cheek, and they appeared very friendly. "Be welcome, my dear friends!" said ma chère mère, with a loud, masculine voice. "It was handsome in you to come to me before driving to your own home. I thank you for it. I would indeed have given you a better reception had I been prepared; at all events, I know that 'Welcome is the best cheer.' I hope, my friends, you stay the evening here?" Bear excused us, said that we desired to get home soon, that I was fatigued from the journey, but that we would not drive by Carlsfors without paying our respects to ma chère mère.

"Well, very good, well, very good!" said ma chère mère, with satisfaction; "we will shortly talk further about that in the chamber there; but first I must say a few words to the people here. Hark ye, good friends!" and ma chère mère knocked with the bow on the back of the violin, till a general silence ensued in the salon. "My children," she pursued in a solemn manner, "I have to tell you--a plague upon you! will you not be still there, at the lower end?--I have to inform you that my dear son, Lars Anders Werner, has now led home, as his wedded wife, this Francisca Burén whom you see at his side. Marriages are made in heaven, my children, and we will supplicate heaven to complete its work in blessing this conjugal pair. We will this evening together drink a bumper to their prosperity. That will do! Now you can continue your dancing, my children. Olof, come you here, and do your best in playing."

While a murmur of exultation and congratulations went through the assembly, ma chère mère took me by the hand, and led me, together with Bear, into another room. Here she ordered punch and glasses to be brought in. In the interim she thrust her two elbows on the table, placed her clenched hands under her chin, and gazed steadfastly at me, but with a look which was rather gloomy than friendly. Bear, perceiving that ma chère mère's review embarrassed me, broached the subject of the harvest or rural affairs. Ma chère mère vented a few sighs, so deep that they rather resembled groans, appeared to make a violent effort to command herself, answered Bear's questions, and on the arrival of the punch, drank to us, saying, with a serious look and voice, "Son and son's wife, your health!" On this she grew more friendly, and said in a tone of pleasantry, which beseemed her very well, "Lars Anders, I don't think people can say you have bought the calf in the sack. Your wife does not by any means look in bad case, and has a pair of eyes to buy fish with. Little she is, it is true; but 'Little and bold is often more than a match for the great.'"

I laughed, so did ma chère mère also; I began to understand her character and manner. We gossiped a little while together in a lively manner, and I recounted some little adventures of travel, which amused her exceedingly. After the lapse of an hour, we arose to take leave, and ma chère mère said, with a really charming smile, "I will not detain you this evening, delighted as I am to see you. I can well imagine that home is attractive. Stay at home to-morrow, if you will; but the day after to-morrow come and dine with me. As to the rest, you know well that you are at all times welcome. Fill now your glasses, and come and drink the folks' health. Sorrow we should keep to ourselves, but share joy in common."

We went into the dancing-room with full glasses, ma chère mère leading the way as herald. They were awaiting us with bumpers, and ma chère mère addressed the people something in this strain:--"We must not indeed laugh until we get over the brook; but when we set out on the voyage of matrimony with piety and good sense, then may be applied the adage that 'Well begun is half won'; and on that, my friends, we will drink a skoal to this wedded pair you see before you, and wish that both they and their posterity may ever 'sit in the vineyard of our Lord.' Skoal!"

"Skoal! skoal!" resounded from every side. Bear and I emptied our glasses, and went about and shook a multitude of people by the hand, till my head was all confusion. When this was over, and we were preparing to prosecute our journey, ma chère mère came after us on the steps with a packet or bundle in her hand, and said in a friendly manner, "Take this cold roast veal with you, children, for breakfast to-morrow morning. After that, you must fatten and consume your own calves. But forget not, daughter-in-law, that I get back my napkin. No, you shan't carry it, dear child, you have enough to do with your bag and mantle. Lars Anders shall carry the roast veal." And as if Lars Anders had been still a little boy, she charged him with the bundle, showed him how he was to carry it, and Bear did as she said. Her last words were, "Forget not that I get my napkin again!" I looked with some degree of wonder at Bear; but he smiled, and lifted me into the carriage.




THE LANDED PROPRIETOR

From 'The Home'

Louise possessed the quality of being a good listener in a higher degree than any one else in the family, and therefore she heard more than any one else of his Excellency; but not of him only, for Jacobi had always something to tell her, always something to consult her about; and in case she were not too much occupied with her thoughts about the weaving, he could always depend upon the most intense sympathy, and the best advice both with regard to moral questions and economical arrangements, dress, plans for the future, and so forth. He also gave her good advice--which however was very seldom followed--when she was playing Postilion; he also drew patterns for her tapestry work, and was very fond of reading aloud to her--but novels rather than sermons.

But he was not long allowed to sit by her side alone; for very soon a person seated himself at her other side whom we will call the Landed Proprietor, as he was chiefly remarkable for the possession of a large estate in the vicinity of the town.

The Landed Proprietor seemed to be disposed to dispute with the Candidate--let us continue to call him so, as we are all, in one way or the other, Candidates in this world--the place which he possessed. The Landed Proprietor had, besides his estate, a very portly body; round, healthy-looking cheeks; a pair of large gray eyes, remarkable for their want of expression; and a little rosy mouth, which preferred mastication to speaking, which laughed without meaning, and which now began to direct to "Cousin Louise"--for he considered himself related to the Lagman--several short speeches, which we will recapitulate in the following chapter, headed

STRANGE QUESTIONS

"Cousin Louise, are you fond of fish--bream for instance?" asked the Landed Proprietor one evening, as he seated himself by the side of Louise, who was busy working a landscape in tapestry.

"Oh, yes! bream is a very good fish," answered she, phlegmatically, without looking up.

"Oh, with red-wine sauce, delicious! I have splendid fishing on my estate, Oestanvik. Big fellows of bream! I fish for them myself."

"Who is the large fish there?" inquired Jacobi of Henrik, with an impatient sneer; "and what is it to him if your sister Louise is fond of bream or not?"

"Because then she might like him too, mon cher! A very fine and solid fellow is my cousin Thure of Oestanvik. I advise you to cultivate his acquaintance. What now, Gabrielle dear, what now, your Highness?"

"What is that which--"

"Yes, what is it? I shall lose my head over that riddle. Mamma dear, come and help your stupid son!"

"No, no! Mamma knows it already. She must not say it!" exclaimed Gabrielle with fear.

"What king do you place above all other kings, Magister?" asked Petrea for the second time,--having this evening her "raptus" of questioning.

"Charles the Thirteenth," answered the Candidate, and listened for what Louise was going to reply to the Landed Proprietor.

"Do you like birds, Cousin Louise?" asked the Landed Proprietor.

"Oh yes, particularly the throstle," answered Louise.

"Well,--I am glad of that!" said the Landed Proprietor. "On my estate, Oestanvik, there is an immense quantity of throstles. I often go out with my gun, and shoot them for my dinner. Piff, paff! with two shots I have directly a whole dishful."

Petrea, who was asked by no one "Do you like birds, cousin?" and who wished to occupy the Candidate, did not let herself be deterred by his evident confusion, but for the second time put the following question:--"Do you think, Magister, that people before the Flood were really worse than they are nowadays?"

"Oh, much, much better," answered the Candidate.

"Are you fond of roasted hare, Cousin Louise?" asked the Landed Proprietor.

"Are you fond of roasted hare, Magister?" whispered Petrea waggishly to Jacobi.

"Brava, Petrea!" whispered her brother to her.

"Are you fond of cold meat, Cousin Louise?" asked the Landed Proprietor, as he was handing Louise to the supper-table.

"Are you fond of Landed Proprietor?" whispered Henrik to her as she left it.

Louise answered just as a cathedral would have answered: she looked very solemn and was silent.

After supper Petrea was quite excited, and left nobody alone who by any possibility could answer her. "Is reason sufficient for mankind? What is the ground of morals? What is properly the meaning of 'revelation'? Why is everything so badly arranged in the State? Why must there be rich and poor?" etc., etc.

"Dear Petrea!" said Louise, "what use can there be in asking those questions?"

It was an evening for questions; they did not end even when the company had broken up.

"Don't you think, Elise," said the Lagman to his wife when they were alone, "that our little Petrea begins to be disagreeable with her continual questioning and disputing? She leaves no one in peace, and is stirred up herself the whole time. She will make herself ridiculous if she keeps on in this way."

"Yes, if she does keep on so. But I have a feeling that she will change. I have observed her very particularly for some time, and do you know, I think there is really something very uncommon in that girl."

"Yes, yes, there is certainly something uncommon in her. Her liveliness and the many games and schemes which she invents--"

"Yes, don't you think they indicate a decided talent for the fine arts? And then her extraordinary thirst for learning: every morning, between three and four o'clock, she gets up in order to read or write, or to work at her compositions. That is not at all a common thing. And may not her uneasiness, her eagerness to question and dispute, arise from a sort of intellectual hunger? Ah, from such hunger, which many women must suffer throughout their lives, from want of literary food,--from such an emptiness of the soul arise disquiet, discontent, nay, innumerable faults."

"I believe you are right, Elise," said the Lagman, "and no condition in life is sadder, particularly in more advanced years. But this shall not be the lot of our Petrea--that I will promise. What do you think now would benefit her most?"

"My opinion is that a serious and continued plan of study would assist in regulating her mind. She is too much left to herself with her confused tendencies, with her zeal and her inquiry. I am too ignorant myself to lead and instruct her, you have too little time, and she has no one here who can properly direct her young and unregulated mind. Sometimes I almost pity her, for her sisters don't understand at all what is going on within her, and I confess it is often painful to myself; I wish I were more able to assist her. Petrea needs some ground on which to take her stand. Her thoughts require more firmness; from the want of this comes her uneasiness. She is like a flower without roots, which is moved about by wind and waves."

"She shall take root, she shall find ground as sure as it is to be found in the world," said the Lagman, with a serious and beaming eye, at the same time striking his hand on the book containing the law of West Gotha, so that it fell to the ground. "We will consider more of this, Elise," continued he: "Petrea is still too young for us to judge with certainty of her talents and tendencies. But if they turn out to be what they appear, then she shall never feel any hunger as long as I live and can procure bread for my family. You know my friend, the excellent Bishop B----: perhaps we can at first confide our Petrea to his guidance. After a few years we shall see; she is still only a child. Don't you think that we ought to speak to Jacobi, in order to get him to read and converse with her? Apropos, how is it with Jacobi? I imagine that he begins to be too attentive to Louise."

"Well, well! you are not so far wrong; and even our cousin Thure of Oestanvik,--have you perceived anything there?"

"Yes, I did perceive something yesterday evening; what the deuce was his meaning with those stupid questions he put to her? 'Does cousin like this?' or 'Is cousin fond of that?' I don't like that at all myself. Louise is not yet full-grown, and already people come and ask her, 'Does cousin like--?' Well, it may signify very little after all, which would perhaps please me best. What a pity, however, that our cousin is not a little more manly; for he has certainly got a most beautiful estate, and so near us."

"Yes, a pity; because, as he is at present, I am almost sure Louise would find it impossible to give him her hand."

"You do not believe that her inclination is toward Jacobi?"

"To tell the truth, I fancy that this is the case."

"Nay, that would be very unpleasant and very unwise: I am very fond of Jacobi, but he has nothing and is nothing."

"But, my dear, he may get something and become something; I confess, dear Ernst, that I believe he would suit Louise better for a husband than any one else we know, and I would with pleasure call him my son."

"Would you, Elise? then I must also prepare myself to do the same. You have had most trouble and most labor with the children, it is therefore right that you should decide in their affairs."

"Ernst, you are so kind!"

"Say just, Elise; not more than just. Besides, it is my opinion that our thoughts and inclinations will not differ much. I confess that Louise appears to me to be a great treasure, and I know of nobody I could give her to with all my heart; but if Jacobi obtains her affections, I feel that I could not oppose their union, although it would be painful to me on account of his uncertain prospects. He is really dear to me, and we are under great obligations to him on account of Henrik; his excellent heart, his honesty, and his good qualities, will make him as good a citizen as a husband and father, and I consider him to be one of the most agreeable men to associate with daily. But, God bless me! I speak as if I wished the union, but that is far from my desire: I would much rather keep my daughters at home, so long as they find themselves happy with me; but when girls grow up, there is never any peace to depend on. I wish all lovers and questioners a long way off. Here we could live altogether as in a kingdom of heaven, now that we have got everything in such order. Some small improvements may still be wanted, but this will be all right if we are only left in peace. I have been thinking that we could so easily make a wardrobe here: do you see on this side of the wall--don't you think if we were to open--What! are you asleep already, my dear?"


Louise was often teased about Cousin Thure; Cousin Thure was often teased about Cousin Louise. He liked very much to be teased about his Cousin Louise, and it gave him great pleasure to be told that Oestanvik wanted a mistress, that he himself wanted a good wife, and that Louise Frank was decidedly one of the wisest and most amiable girls in the whole neighborhood, and of the most respectable family. The Landed Proprietor was half ready to receive congratulations on his betrothal. What the supposed bride thought about the matter, however, is difficult to divine. Louise was certainly always polite to her "Cousin Thure," but more indifference than attachment seemed to be expressed in this politeness; and she declined, with a decision astonishing to many a person, his constantly repeated invitations to make a tour to Oestanvik in his new landau drawn by "my chestnut horses," four-in-hand. It was said by many that the agreeable and friendly Jacobi was much nearer to Louise's heart than the rich Landed Proprietor. But even towards Jacobi her behavior was so uniform, so quiet, and so unconstrained that nobody knew what to think. Very few knew so well as we do that Louise considered it in accordance with the dignity of a woman to show perfect indifference to the attentions or doux propos of men, until they had openly and fully explained themselves. She despised coquetry to that degree that she feared everything which had the least appearance of it. Her young friends used to joke with her upon her strong notions in this respect, and often told her that she would remain unmarried.

"That may be!" answered Louise calmly.

One day she was told that a gentleman had said, "I will not stand up for any girl who is not a little coquettish!"

"Then he may remain sitting!" answered Louise, with a great deal of dignity.

Louise's views with regard to the dignity of woman, her serious and decided principles, and her manner of expressing them, amused her young friends, at the same time that they inspired them with great regard for her, and caused many little contentions and discussions in which Louise fearlessly, though not without some excess, defended what was right. These contentions, which began in merriment, sometimes ended quite differently.

A young and somewhat coquettish married lady felt herself one day wounded by the severity with which Louise judged the coquetry of her sex, particularly of married ladies, and in revenge she made use of some words which awakened Louise's astonishment and anger at the same time. An explanation followed between the two, the consequence of which was a complete rupture between Louise and the young lady, together with an altered disposition of mind in the former, which she in vain attempted to conceal. She had been unusually joyous and lively during the first days of her stay at Axelholm; but she now became silent and thoughtful, often absent; and some people thought that she seemed less friendly than formerly towards the Candidate, but somewhat more attentive to the Landed Proprietor, although she constantly declined his invitation "to take a tour to Oestanvik."

The evening after this explanation took place, Elise was engaged with Jacobi in a lively conversation in the balcony.

"And if," said Jacobi, "if I endeavor to win her affections, oh, tell me! would her parents, would her mother see it without displeasure? Ah, speak openly with me; the happiness of my life depends upon it!"

"You have my approval and my good wishes," answered Elise; "I tell you now what I have often told my husband, that I should very much like to call you my son!"

"Oh!" exclaimed Jacobi, deeply affected, falling on his knees and pressing Elise's hand to his lips: "oh, that every act in my life might prove my gratitude, my love--!"

At this moment Louise, who had been looking for her mother, approached the balcony; she saw Jacobi's action and heard his words. She withdrew quickly, as if she had been stung by a serpent.

From this time a great change was more and more perceptible in her. Silent, shy, and very pale, she moved about like a dreaming person in the merry circle at Axelholm, and willingly agreed to her mother's proposal to shorten her stay at this place.

Jacobi, who was as much astonished as sorry at Louise's sudden unfriendliness towards him, began to think the place was somehow bewitched, and wished more than once to leave it.




A FAMILY PICTURE

From 'The Home'

The family is assembled in the library; tea is just finished. Louise, at the pressing request of Gabrielle and Petrea, lays out the cards in order to tell the sisters their fortune. The Candidate seats himself beside her, and seems to have made up his mind to be a little more cheerful. But then "the object" looks more like a cathedral than ever. The Landed Proprietor enters, bows, blows his nose, and kisses the hand of his "gracious aunt."

Landed Proprietor--Very cold this evening; I think we shall have frost.

Elise--It is a miserable spring; we have just read a melancholy account of the famine in the northern provinces; these years of dearth are truly unfortunate.

Landed Proprietor--Oh yes, the famine up there. No, let us talk of something else; that is too gloomy. I have had my peas covered with straw. Cousin Louise, are you fond of playing Patience? I am very fond of it myself; it is so composing. At Oestanvik I have got very small cards for Patience; I am quite sure you would like them, Cousin Louise.

The Landed Proprietor seats himself on the other side of Louise. The Candidate is seized with a fit of curious shrugs.

Louise--This is not Patience, but a little conjuring by means of which I can tell future things. Shall I tell your fortune, Cousin Thure?

Landed Proprietor--Oh yes! do tell my fortune; but don't tell me anything disagreeable. If I hear anything disagreeable in the evening, I always dream of it at night. Tell me now from the cards that I shall have a pretty little wife;--a wife beautiful and amiable as Cousin Louise.

The Candidate (with an expression in his eyes as if he would send the Landed Proprietor head-over-heels to Oestanvik)--I don't know whether Miss Louise likes flattery.

Landed Proprietor (who takes no notice of his rival)--Cousin Louise, are you fond of blue?

Louise--Blue? It is a pretty color; but I almost like green better.

Landed Proprietor--Well, that's very droll; it suits exceedingly well. At Oestanvik my drawing-room furniture is blue; beautiful light-blue satin. But in my bedroom I have green moreen. Cousin Louise, I believe really--

The Candidate coughs as though he were going to be suffocated, and rushes out of the room. Louise looks after him and sighs, and afterwards sees in the cards so many misfortunes for Cousin Thure that he is quite frightened. "The peas frosted!"--"conflagration in the drawing-room"--and at last "a basket" ["the mitten"]. The Landed Proprietor declares still laughingly that he will not receive "a basket." The sisters smile and make their remarks.






CLEMENS BRENTANO

(1778-1842)


he intellectual upheaval in Germany at the beginning of this century brought a host of remarkable characters upon the literary stage, and none more gifted, more whimsical, more winning than Clemens Brentano, the erratic son of a brilliant family. Born September 8th, 1778, at Ehrenbreitstein, Brentano spent his youth among the stimulating influences which accompanied the renaissance of German culture. His grandmother, Sophie de la Roche, had been the close friend of Wieland, and his mother the youthful companion of Goethe. Clemens, after a vain attempt to follow in the mercantile footsteps of his father, went to Jena, where he met the Schlegels; and here his brilliant but unsteady literary career began.

In 1803 he married the talented Sophie Mareau, but three years later his happiness was terminated by her death. His next matrimonial venture was, however, a failure: an elopement in 1808 with the daughter of a Frankfort banker was quickly followed by a divorce, and he thereafter led the uncontrolled life of an errant poet. Among his early writings, published under the pseudonym of 'Marie,' were several satires and dramas and a novel entitled 'Godwi,' which he himself called "a romance gone mad." The meeting with Achim von Arnim, who subsequently married his sister Bettina, decided his fate: he embarked in literature once and for all in close association with Von Arnim. Together they compiled a collection of several hundred folk-songs of the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries, under the name of 'Des Knaben Wunderhorn' (The Boy's Wonderhorn), 1806-1808. That so musical a people as the Germans should be masters of lyric poetry is but natural,--every longing, every impression, every impulse gushes into song; and in 'Des Knaben Wunderhorn' we hear the tuneful voices of a naïve race, singing what they have seen or dreamed or felt during three hundred years. The work is dedicated to Goethe, who wrote an almost enthusiastic review of it for the Literary Gazette of Jena. "Every lover or master of musical art," he says, "should have this volume upon his piano."

The 'Wunderhorn' was greeted by the German public with extraordinary cordiality. It was in fact an epoch-making work, the pioneer in the new field of German folk poetry. It carried out in a purely national spirit the efforts which Herder had made in behalf of the folk-songs of all peoples. It revealed the spirit of the time. 1806 was the year of the battle of Jena, and Germany in her hour of deepest humiliation gave ear to the encouraging voices from out her own past. "The editors of the 'Wunderhorn,'" said their friend Görres, "have deserved of their countrymen a civic crown, for having saved from destruction what yet remained to be saved;" and on this civic crown the poets' laurels are still green.

Brentano's contagious laughter may even now be heard re-echoing through the pages of his book on 'The Philistine' (1811). His dramatic power is evinced in the broadly conceived play 'Die Gründung Prags' (The Founding of Prague: 1815); but it is upon two stories, told in the simple style of the folk-tale, that his widest popularity is founded. 'Die Geschichte vom braven Casperl und der schönen Annerl' (The Story of Good Casper and Pretty Annie) and his fable of 'Gockel, Hinkel, und Gackeleia,' both of the year 1838, are still an indispensable part of the reading of every German boy and girl.

Like his brilliant sister, Brentano is a fascinating figure in literature. He was amiable and winning, full of quips and cranks, and with an inexhaustible fund of stories. Astonishing tales of adventure, related with great circumstantiality of detail, and of which he himself was the hero, played an important part in his conversation. Tieck once said he had never known a better improvisatore than Brentano, nor one who could "lie more gracefully."

When Brentano was forty years of age a total change came over his life. The witty and fascinating man of the world was transformed into a pious and gloomy ascetic. The visions of the stigmatized nun of Dülmen, Katharina Emmerich, attracted him, and he remained under her influence until her death in 1824. These visions he subsequently published as the 'Life of the Virgin Mary.' The eccentricities of his later years bordered upon insanity. He died in the Catholic faith in the year 1842.




        THE NURSE'S WATCH

        From 'The Boy's Wonderhorn'


             The moon it shines,
               My darling whines;
     The clock strikes twelve:--God cheer
             The sick both far and near.
                 God knoweth all;
               Mousy nibbles in the wall;
             The clock strikes one:--like day,
             Dreams o'er thy pillow play.
                   The matin-bell
               Wakes the nun in convent cell;
             The clock strikes two:--they go
               To choir in a row.
                 The wind it blows,
                 The cock he crows;
             The clock strikes three:--the wagoner
             In his straw bed begins to stir.
               The steed he paws the floor,
               Creaks the stable door;
             The clock strikes four:--'tis plain
             The coachman sifts his grain.
         The swallow's laugh the still air shakes,
                   The sun awakes;
     The clock strikes five:--the traveler must be gone,
             He puts his stockings on.
               The hen is clacking,
               The ducks are quacking;
             The clock strikes six:--awake, arise,
             Thou lazy hag; come, ope thy eyes.
               Quick to the baker's run;
               The rolls are done;
             The clock strikes seven:--
             'Tis time the milk were in the oven.
               Put in some butter, do,
               And some fine sugar, too;
             The clock strikes eight:--
         Now bring my baby's porridge straight.

     Englished by Charles T. Brooks.



     THE CASTLE IN AUSTRIA

     From 'The Boy's Wonderhorn'


     There lies a castle in Austria,
       Right goodly to behold,
     Walled tip with marble stones so fair,
       With silver and with red gold.

     Therein lies captive a young boy,
       For life and death he lies bound,
     Full forty fathoms under the earth,
       'Midst vipers and snakes around.

     His father came from Rosenberg,
       Before the tower he went:--
     "My son, my dearest son, how hard
       Is thy imprisonment!"

     "O father, dearest father mine,
       So hardly I am bound,
     Full forty fathoms under the earth,
       'Midst vipers and snakes around!"

     His father went before the lord:--
       "Let loose thy captive to me!
     I have at home three casks of gold,
       And these for the boy I'll gi'e."

     "Three casks of gold, they help you not:
       That boy, and he must die!
     He wears round his neck a golden chain;
       Therein doth his ruin lie."

     "And if he thus wear a golden chain,
       He hath not stolen it; nay!
     A maiden good gave it to him
       For true love, did she say."

     They led the boy forth from the tower,
       And the sacrament took he:--
     "Help thou, rich Christ, from heaven high,
       It's come to an end with me!"

     They led him to the scaffold place,
        Up the ladder he must go:--
     "O headsman, dearest headsman, do
       But a short respite allow!"

     "A short respite I must not grant;
       Thou wouldst escape and fly:
     Reach me a silken handkerchief
       Around his eyes to tie."

     "Oh, do not, do not bind mine eyes!
       I must look on the world so fine;
     I see it to-day, then never more,
       With these weeping eyes of mine."

     His father near the scaffold stood,
       And his heart, it almost rends:--
     "O son, O thou my dearest son,
       Thy death I will avenge!"

     "O father, dearest father mine!
       My death thou shalt not avenge:
     'Twould bring to my soul but heavy pains;
       Let me die in innocence.

     "It is not for this life of mine,
       Nor for my body proud;
     'Tis but for my dear mother's sake:
       At home she weeps aloud."

     Not yet three days had passed away,
       When an angel from heaven came down:
     "Take ye the boy from the scaffold away;
       Else the city shall sink under ground!"

     And not six months had passed away,
       Ere his death was avenged amain;
     And upwards of three hundred men
       For the boy's life were slain.

     Who is it that hath made this lay,
       Hath sung it, and so on?
     That, in Vienna in Austria,
       Three maidens fair have done.





ELISABETH BRENTANO (BETTINA VON ARNIM)

(1785-1859)


o picture of German life at the beginning of this century would be complete which did not include the distinguished women who left their mark upon the time. Among these Bettina von Arnim stands easily foremost. There was something triumphant in her nature, which in her youth manifested itself in her splendid enthusiasm for the two great geniuses who dominated her life,--Goethe and Beethoven,--and which, in the lean years when Germany was overclouded, maintained itself by an inexhaustible optimism. Her merry willfulness and wit covered a warm heart and a vigorous mind; and both of her great idols understood her and took her seriously.


Elisabeth Brentano

Elisabeth Brentano was the daughter of Goethe's friend, Maximiliane de la Roche. She was born at Frankfort-on-the-Main in 1785, and was brought up after the death of her mother under the somewhat peculiar influence of the highly-strung Caroline von Günderode. Through her filial intimacy with Goethe's mother, she came to know the poet; and out of their friendship grew the correspondence which formed the basis of Bettina's famous book, 'Goethe's Briefwechsel mit einem Kinde' (Goethe's Correspondence with a Child). She attached herself with unbounded enthusiasm to Goethe, and he responded with affectionate tact. To him Bettina was the embodiment of the loving grace and willfulness of 'Mignon.'

In 1811 these relations were interrupted, owing to Bettina's attitude toward Goethe's wife. In the same year she married Achim von Arnim, one of the most refined poets and noblest characters of that brilliant circle. The marriage was an ideal one; each cherished and delighted in the genius of the other, but in 1831 the death of Von Arnim brought this happiness to an end. Goethe died in the following year, and Germany went into mourning. Then in 1835 Bettina appeared before the world for the first time as an authoress, in 'Goethe's Correspondence with a Child.' The dithyrambic exaltation, the unrestrained but beautiful enthusiasm of the book came like an electric shock. Into an atmosphere of spiritual stagnation, these letters brought a fresh access of vitality and hope. Bettina's old friendly relations with Goethe had been resumed later in life, and in a letter written to her niece she gives a charming account of the visit to the poet in 1824, which proved to be her last. This letter first saw the light in 1896, and an extract from it has been included below.

The inspiration which went out from Bettina's magnetic nature was profound. She had her part in every great movement of her time, from the liberation of Greece to the fight with cholera in Berlin. During the latter, her devotion to the cause of the suffering poor in Berlin opened her eyes to the miseries of the common people; and she wrote a work full of indignant fervor, 'Dies Buch gehört dem König' (This Book belongs to the King), in consequence of which her welcome at the court of Frederick William IV. grew cool. A subsequent book, written in a similar vein, was suppressed. But Bettina's love of the people, as of every cause in which she was interested, was genuine and not to be quenched; she acted upon the maxim once expressed by Emerson, "Every brave heart must treat society as a child, and never allow it to dictate." Emerson greatly admired Bettina, and Louisa M. Alcott relates that she first made acquaintance with the famous 'Correspondence' when in her girlhood she was left to browse in Emerson's library. Bettina's influence was most keenly felt by the young, and she had the youth of Germany at her feet. She died in 1859.

There is in Weimar a picture in which are represented the literary men of the period, grouped as in Raphael's School of Athens, with Goethe and Schiller occupying the centre. Upon the broad steps which lead to the elevation where they are standing, is the girlish figure of Bettina bending forward and holding a laurel wreath in her hand. This is the position which she occupies in the history of German literature.




DEDICATION: TO GOETHE

From 'Goethe's Correspondence with a Child'

Thou, who knowest love, and the refinement of sentiment, oh how beautiful is everything in thee! How the streams of life rush through thy sensitive heart, and plunge with force into the cold waves of thy time, then boil and bubble up till mountain and vale flush with the glow of life, and the forests stand with glistening boughs upon the shore of thy being, and all upon which rests thy glance is filled with happiness and life! O God, how happy were I with thee! And were I winging my flight far over all times, and far over thee, I would fold my pinions and yield myself wholly to the domination of thine eyes.

Men will never understand thee, and those nearest to thee will most thoroughly disown and betray thee; I look into the future, and I hear them cry, "Stone him!" Now, when thine own inspiration, like a lion, stands beside thee and guards thee, vulgarity ventures not to approach thee. Thy mother said recently, "The men to-day are all like Gerning, who always says, 'We, the superfluous learned';" and she speaks truly, for he is superfluous. Rather be dead than superfluous! But I am not so, for I am thine, because I recognize thee in all things. I know that when the clouds lift themselves up before the sun-god, they will soon be depressed by his fiery hand; I know that he endures no shadow except that which his own fame seeks; the rest of consciousness will overshadow thee. I know, when he descends in the evening, that he will again appear in the morning with golden front. Thou art eternal, therefore it is good for me to be with thee.

When, in the evening, I am alone in my dark room, and the neighbors' lights are thrown upon my wall, they sometimes light up thy bust; or when all is silent in the city, here and there a dog barks or a cock crows: I know not why, but it seems something beyond human to me; I know what I shall do to still my pain.

I would fain speak with thee otherwise than with words; I would fain press myself to thy heart. I feel that my soul is aflame. How fearfully still is the air before the storm! So stand now my thoughts, cold and silent, and my heart surges like the sea. Dear, dear Goethe! A reminiscence of thee breaks the spell; the signs of fire and warfare sink slowly down in my sky, and thou art like the in-streaming moonlight. Thou art great and glorious, and better than all that I have ever known and experienced up to this time. Thy whole life is so good!




TO GOETHE


CASSEL, August 13th, 1807.


Who can interpret and measure what is passing within me? I am happy now in remembrance of the past, which I scarcely was when that past was the present. To my sensitive heart the surprise of being with thee, the coming and going and returning in a few blessed days--this was all like clouds flitting across my heaven; through my too near presence I feared it might be darkened by my shadow, as it is ever darker when it nears the earth; now, in the distance, it is mild and lofty and ever clear.

I would fain press thy dear hand with both of mine to my bosom, and say to thee, "How peace and content have come to me since I have known thee!"

I know that the evening has not come when life's twilight gathers in my heart: oh, would it were so! Would that I had lived out my days, that my wishes and joys were fulfilled, and that they could all be heaped upon thee, that thou mightst be therewith decked and crowned as with evergreen bays.

When I was alone with thee on that evening I could not comprehend thee: thou didst smile at me because I was moved, and laughed at me because I wept; but why? And yet it was thy laughter, the tone of thy laughter, which moved me to tears; and I am content, and see, under the cloak of this riddle, roses burst forth which spring alike from sadness and joy. Yes, thou art right, prophet: I shall yet with light heart struggle up through jest and mirth; I shall weary myself with struggling as I did in my childhood (ah, it seems as if it were but yesterday!) when with the exuberance of joy I wandered through the blossoming fields, pulling up the flowers by the roots and throwing them into the water. But I wish to seek rest in a warm, firm earnestness, and there at hand standest thou, smiling prophet!

I say to thee yet once more: Whoever in this wide world understands what is passing within me, who, am so restful in thee, so silent, so unwavering in my feeling? I could, like the mountains, bear nights and days in the past without disturbing thee in thy reflections! And yet when at times the wind bears the fragrance and the germs together from the blossoming world up to the mountain heights, they will be intoxicated with delight as I was yesterday. Then I loved the world, then I was as glad as a gushing, murmuring spring in which the sun for the first time shines.

Farewell, sublime one who blindest and intimidatest me! From this steep rock upon which my love has in life-danger ventured, I cannot clamber down. I cannot think of descending, for I should break my neck in the attempt.




BETTINA'S LAST MEETING WITH GOETHE


From a Letter to her Niece in 1824, first published in 1896

IN THE evening I was alone again with Goethe. Had any one observed us, he would have had something to tell to posterity. Goethe's peculiarities were exhibited to the full: first he would growl at me, then to make it all up again he would caress me, with the most flattering words. His bottle of wine he kept in the adjoining room, because I had reproached him for his drinking the night before: on some pretext or other he disappeared from the scene half a dozen times in order to drink a glass. I pretended to notice nothing; but at parting I told him that twelve glasses of wine wouldn't hurt him, and that he had had only six. "How do you know that so positively?" he said. "I heard the gurgle of the bottle in the next room, and I heard you drinking, and then you have betrayed yourself to me, as Solomon in the Song of Songs betrayed himself to his beloved, by your breath." "You are an arrant rogue," he said; "now take yourself off," and he brought the candle to light me out. But I sprang in front of him and knelt upon the threshold of the room. "Now I shall see if I can shut you in, and whether you are a good spirit or an evil one, like the rat in Faust; I kiss this threshold and bless it, for over it daily passes the most glorious human spirit and my best friend." "Over you and your love I shall never pass," he answered, "it is too dear to me; and around your spirit I creep so" (and he carefully paced around the spot where I was kneeling), "for you are too artful, and it is better to keep on good terms with you." And so he dismissed me with tears in his eyes. I remained standing in the dark before his door, to gulp down my emotion. I was thinking that this door, which I had closed with my own hand, had separated me from him in all probability forever. Whoever comes near him must confess that his genius has partly passed into goodness; the fiery sun of his spirit is transformed at its setting into a soft purple light.




     IN GOETHE'S GARDEN

     I from this hillock all my world survey!
       Yon vale, bedecked by nature's fairy fingers,
       Where the still by-road picturesquely lingers,
     The cottage white whose quaint charms grace the way--
     These are the scenes that o'er my heart hold sway.

     I from this hillock all my world survey!
       Though I ascend to heights fair lands dividing,
       Where stately ships I see the ocean riding,
     While cities gird the view in proud array,
     Naught prompts my heart's impulses to obey.

     I from this hillock all my world survey!
       And could I stand while Paradise descrying,
       Still for these verdant meads should I be sighing,
     Where thy dear roof-peaks skirt the verdant way:
     Beyond these bounds my heart longs not to stray.





JOHN BRIGHT

(1811-1889)


ohn Bright was the modern representative of the ancient Tribunes of the people or Demagogues (in the original and perfectly honorable sense); and a full comparison of his work and position with those of the Cleons or the Gracchi would almost be an outline of the respective peoples, polities, and problems. He was a higher type of man and politician than Cleon,--largely because the English aristocracy is not an unpatriotic and unprincipled clique like the Athenian, ready to use any weapon from murder down or to make their country a province of a foreign empire rather than give up their class monopoly of power; but like his prototype he was a democrat by nature as well as profession, the welfare of the common people at once his passion and his political livelihood, full of faith that popular instincts are both morally right and intellectually sound, and all his own instincts and most of his labors antagonistic to those of the aristocracy. It is a phase of the same fact to say that he also represented the active force of religious feeling in politics, as opposed to pure secular statesmanship.


John Bright

The son of a Quaker manufacturer of Rochdale, England, and born near that place November 16th, 1811, he began his public career when a mere boy as a stirring and effective temperance orator, his ready eloquence and intense earnestness prevailing over an ungraceful manner and a bad delivery; he wrought all his life for popular education and for the widest extension of the franchise; and being a Quaker and a member of the Peace Society, he opposed all war on principle, fighting the Crimean War bitterly, and leaving the Gladstone Cabinet in 1882 on account of the bombardment of Alexandria. He was retired from the service of the public for some time on account of his opposition to the Crimean War; but Mr. Gladstone, who differed from him on this point, calls it the action of his life most worthy of honor. He was perhaps the most warlike opponent of war ever high in public life; the pugnacious and aggressive agitator, pouring out floods of fiery oratory to the effect that nobody ought to fight anybody, was a curious paradox.

He was by far the most influential English friend of the North in the Civil War, and the magic of his eloquence and his name was a force of perhaps decisive potency in keeping the working classes on the same side; so that mass meetings of unemployed laborers with half-starving families resolved that they would rather starve altogether than help to perpetuate slavery in America. He shares with Richard Cobden the credit of having obtained free trade for England: Bright's thrilling oratory was second only to Cobden's organizing power in winning the victory, and both had the immense weight of manufacturers opposing their own class. That he opposed the game laws and favored electoral reform is a matter of course.

Mr. Bright entered on an active political career in 1839, when he joined the Anti-Corn-Law League. He first became a member of Parliament in 1843, and illustrates a most valuable feature of English political practice. When a change of feeling in one place prevented his re-election, he selected another which was glad to honor itself by having a great man represent it, so that the country was not robbed of a statesman by a village faction; and there being no spoils system, he did not have to waste his time in office-jobbing to keep his seat. He sat first for Durham, then for Manchester, and finally for Birmingham, remaining in public life over forty years; and never had to make a "deal" or get any one an office in all that period.

He was in Mr. Gladstone's Cabinet from 1868 to 1870, and again from 1873 to 1882. On the Home Rule question the two old friends and long co-workers divided; Mr. Bright, with more than half the oldest and sincerest friends of liberty and haters of oppression in England, holding the step to be political suicide for the British Empire.

As an orator, Mr. Bright stood in a sense alone. He was direct and logical; he carefully collected and massed his facts, and used strong, homely Saxon English, and short crisp words; he was a master of telling epigram whose force lay in its truth as much as in its humor. Several volumes of his speeches have been published: 'On Public Affairs'; 'On Parliamentary Reform'; 'On Questions of Public Policy'; 'On the American Question,' etc. His life has been written by Gilchrist, Smith, Robertson, and others. He died March 27th, 1889.




FROM THE SPEECH ON THE CORN LAWS (1843)


It must not be supposed, because I wish to represent the interest of the many, that I am hostile to the interest of the few.

But is it not perfectly certain that if the foundation of the most magnificent building be destroyed and undermined, the whole fabric itself is in danger? Is it not certain, also, that the vast body of the people who form the foundation of the social fabric, if they are suffering, if they are trampled upon, if they are degraded, if they are discontented, if "their hands are against every man, and every man's hands are against them," if they do not flourish as well, reasonably speaking, as the classes who are above them because they are richer and more powerful,--then are those classes as much in danger as the working classes themselves?

There never was a revolution in any country which destroyed the great body of the people. There have been convulsions of a most dire character which have overturned old-established monarchies and have hurled thrones and sceptres to the dust. There have been revolutions which have brought down most powerful aristocracies, and swept them from the face of the earth forever, but never was there a revolution yet which destroyed the people. And whatever may come as a consequence of the state of things in this country, of this we may rest assured: that the common people, that the great bulk of our countrymen will remain and survive the shock, though it may be that the Crown and the aristocracy and the Church may be leveled with the dust, and rise no more. In seeking to represent the working classes, and in standing up for their rights and liberties, I hold that I am also defending the rights and liberties of the middle and richer classes of society. Doing justice to one class cannot inflict injustice on any other class, and "justice and impartiality to all" is what we all have a right to from government. And we have a right to clamor; and so long as I have breath, so long will I clamor against the oppression which I see to exist, and in favor of the rights of the great body of the people....

What is the condition in which we are? I have already spoken of Ireland. You know that hundreds of thousands meet there, week after week, in various parts of the country, to proclaim to all the world the tyranny under which they suffer. You know that in South Wales, at this moment, there is an insurrection of the most extraordinary character going on, and that the Government is sending, day after day, soldiers and artillery amongst the innocent inhabitants of that mountainous country for the purpose of putting down the insurrection thereby raised and carried on. You know that in the Staffordshire ironworks almost all the workmen are now out and in want of wages, from want of employment and from attempting to resist the inevitable reduction of wages which must follow restriction upon trade. You know that in August last, Lancashire and Yorkshire rose in peaceful insurrection to proclaim to the world, and in face of Heaven, the wrongs of an insulted and oppressed people. I know that my own neighborhood is unsettled and uncomfortable. I know that in your own city your families are suffering. Yes, I have been to your cottages and seen their condition. Thanks to my canvass of Durham, I have been able to see the condition of many honest and independent--or ought-to-be-independent--and industrious artisans. I have seen even freemen of your city sitting, looking disconsolate and sad. Their hands were ready to labor; their skill was ready to produce all that their trade demanded. They were as honest and industrious as any man in this assembly, but no man hired them. They were in a state of involuntary idleness, and were driving fast to the point of pauperism. I have seen their wives, too, with three or four children about them--one in the cradle, one at the breast. I have seen their countenances, and I have seen the signs of their sufferings. I have seen the emblems and symbols of affliction such as I did not expect to see in this city. Ay! and I have seen those little children who at not a distant day will be the men and women of this city of Durham; I have seen their poor little wan faces and anxious looks, as if the furrows of old age were coming upon them before they had escaped from the age of childhood. I have seen all this in this city, and I have seen far more in the neighborhood from which I have come. You have seen, in all probability, people from my neighborhood walking your streets and begging for that bread which the Corn Laws would not allow them to earn.

"Bread-taxed weaver, all can see
What the tax hath done for thee,
And thy children, vilely led,
Singing hymns for shameful bread,
Till the stones of every street
Know their little naked feet."

This is what the Corn Law does for the weavers of my neighborhood, and for the weavers and artisans of yours....




FROM THE SPEECH ON INCENDIARISM IN IRELAND (1844)


The great and all-present evil of the rural districts is this--you have too many people for the work to be done, and you, the landed proprietors, are alone responsible for this state of things; and to speak honestly, I believe many of you know it. I have been charged with saying out-of-doors that this House is a club of land-owners legislating for land-owners. If I had not said it, the public must long ago have found out that fact. My honorable friend the member for Stockport on one occasion proposed that before you passed a law to raise the price of bread, you should consider how far you had the power to raise the rates of wages. What did you say to that? You said that the laborers did not understand political economy, or they would not apply to Parliament to raise wages; that Parliament could not raise wages. And yet the very next thing you did was to pass a law to raise the price of produce of your own land, at the expense of the very class whose wages you confessed your inability to increase.

What is the condition of the county of Suffolk? Is it not notorious that the rents are as high as they were fifty years ago, and probably much higher? But the return for the farmer's capital is much lower, and the condition of the laborer is very much worse. The farmers are subject to the law of competition, and rents are thereby raised from time to time so as to keep their profits down to the lowest point, and the laborers by the competition amongst them are reduced to the point below which life cannot be maintained. Your tenants and laborers are being devoured by this excessive competition, whilst you, their magnanimous landlords, shelter yourselves from all competition by the Corn Law yourselves have passed, and make the competition of all other classes serve still more to swell your rentals. It was for this object the Corn Law was passed, and yet in the face of your countrymen you dare to call it a law for the protection of native industry....

Again, a rural police is kept up by the gentry; the farmers say for the sole use of watching game and frightening poachers, for which formerly they had to pay watchers. Is this true, or is it not? I say, then, you care everything for the rights--and for something beyond the rights--of your own property, but you are oblivious to its duties. How many lives have been sacrificed during the past year to the childish infatuation of preserving game? The noble lord, the member for North Lancashire, could tell of a gamekeeper killed in an affray on his father's estate in that county. For the offense one man was hanged, and four men are now on their way to penal colonies. Six families are thus deprived of husband and father, that this wretched system of game-preserving may be continued in a country densely peopled as this is. The Marquis of Normanby's gamekeeper has been murdered also, and the poacher who shot him only escaped death by the intervention of the Home Secretary. At Godalming, in Surrey, a gamekeeper has been murdered; and at Buckhill, in Buckinghamshire, a person has recently been killed in a poaching affray. This insane system is the cause of a fearful loss of life; it tends to the ruin of your tenantry, and is the fruitful cause of the demoralization of the peasantry. But you are caring for the rights of property; for its most obvious duties you have no concern. With such a policy, what can you expect but that which is now passing before you?

It is the remark of a beautiful writer that "to have known nothing but misery is the most portentous condition under which human nature can start on its course." Has your agricultural laborer ever known anything but misery? He is born in a miserable hovel, which in mockery is termed a house or a home; he is reared in penury: he passes a life of hopeless and unrequited toil, and the jail or the union house is before him as the only asylum on this side of the pauper's grave. Is this the result of your protection to native industry? Have you cared for the laborer till, from a home of comfort, he has but a hovel for shelter? and have you cherished him into starvation and rags? I tell you what your boasted protection is--it is a protection of native idleness at the expense of the impoverishment of native industry.




FROM THE SPEECH ON NON-RECOGNITION OF THE SOUTHERN CONFEDERACY (1861)


I advise you, and I advise the people of England, to abstain from applying to the United States doctrines and principles which we never apply to our own case. At any rate, they [the Americans] have never fought "for the balance of power" in Europe. They have never fought to keep up a decaying empire. They have never squandered the money of their people in such a phantom expedition as we have been engaged in. And now, at this moment, when you are told that they are going to be ruined by their vast expenditure,--why, the sum that they are going to raise in the great emergency of this grievous war is not greater than what we raise every year during a time of peace.

They say they are not going to liberate slaves. No; the object of the Washington government is to maintain their own Constitution and to act legally, as it permits and requires. No man is more in favor of peace than I am; no man has denounced war more than I have, probably, in this country; few men in their public life have suffered more obloquy--I had almost said, more indignity--in consequence of it. But I cannot for the life of me see, upon any of those principles upon which States are governed now,--I say nothing of the literal word of the New Testament,--I cannot see how the state of affairs in America, with regard to the United States government, could have been different from what it is at this moment. We had a Heptarchy in this country, and it was thought to be a good thing to get rid of it, and have a united nation. If the thirty-three or thirty-four States of the American Union can break off whenever they like, I can see nothing but disaster and confusion throughout the whole of that continent. I say that the war, be it successful or not, be it Christian or not, be it wise or not, is a war to sustain the government and to sustain the authority of a great nation; and that the people of England, if they are true to their own sympathies, to their own history, and to their own great act of 1834, to which reference has already been made, will have no sympathy with those who wish to build up a great empire on the perpetual bondage of millions of their fellow-men.




FROM THE SPEECH ON THE STATE OF IRELAND (1866)


I think I was told in 1849, as I stood in the burial ground at Skibbereen, that at least four hundred people who had died of famine were buried within the quarter of an acre of ground on which I was then looking. It is a country, too, from which there has been a greater emigration by sea within a given time than has been known at any time from any other country in the world. It is a country where there has been, for generations past, a general sense of wrong, out of which has grown a chronic state of insurrection; and at this very moment when I speak, the general safeguard of constitutional liberty is withdrawn, and we meet in this hall, and I speak here to-night, rather by the forbearance and permission of the Irish executive than under the protection of the common safeguards of the rights and liberties of the people of the United Kingdom.

I venture to say that this is a miserable and a humiliating picture to draw of this country. Bear in mind that I am not speaking of Poland suffering under the conquest of Russia. There is a gentleman, now a candidate for an Irish county, who is very great upon the wrongs of Poland; but I have found him always in the House of Commons taking sides with that great party which has systematically supported the wrongs of Ireland. I am not speaking of Hungary, or of Venice as she was under the rule of Austria, or of the Greeks under the dominion of the Turk; but I am speaking of Ireland--part of the United Kingdom--part of that which boasts itself to be the most civilized and the most Christian nation in the world. I took the liberty recently, at a meeting in Glasgow, to say that I believed it was impossible for a class to govern a great nation wisely and justly. Now, in Ireland there has been a field in which all the principles of the Tory party have had their complete experiment and development. You have had the country gentleman in all his power. You have had any number of Acts of Parliament which the ancient Parliament of Ireland or the Parliament of the United Kingdom could give him. You have had the Established Church supported by the law, even to the extent, not many years ago, of collecting its revenues by the aid of military force. In point of fact, I believe it would be impossible to imagine a state of things in which the Tory party should have a more entire and complete opportunity for their trial than they have had within the limits of this island. And yet what has happened? This, surely: that the kingdom has been continually weakened, that the harmony of the empire has been disturbed, and that the mischief has not been confined to the United Kingdom, but has spread to the colonies....

I am told--you can answer it if I am wrong--that it is not common in Ireland now to give leases to tenants, especially to Catholic tenants. If that be so, then the security for the property rests only upon the good feeling and favor of the owner of the land; for the laws, as we know, have been made by the land-owners, and many propositions for the advantage of the tenants have unfortunately been too little considered by Parliament. The result is that you have bad farming, bad dwelling-houses, bad temper, and everything bad connected with the occupation and cultivation of land in Ireland. One of the results--a result the most appalling--is this, that your population is fleeing your country and seeking refuge in a distant land. On this point I wish to refer to a letter which I received a few days ago from a most esteemed citizen of Dublin. He told me that he believed that a very large portion of what he called the poor, amongst Irishmen, sympathized with any scheme or any proposition that was adverse to the Imperial Government. He said further that the people here are rather in the country than of it, and that they are looking more to America than they are looking to England. I think there is a good deal in that. When we consider how many Irishmen have found a refuge in America, I do not know how we can wonder at that statement. You will recollect that when the ancient Hebrew prophet prayed in his captivity, he prayed with his window open towards Jerusalem. You know that the followers of Mohammed, when they pray, turn their faces towards Mecca. When the Irish peasant asks for food and freedom and blessing, his eye follows the setting sun, the aspirations of his heart reach beyond the wide Atlantic, and in spirit he grasps hands with the great Republic of the West. If this be so, I say then that the disease is not only serious, but it is desperate; but desperate as it is, I believe there is a certain remedy for it if the people and Parliament of the United Kingdom are willing to apply it....

I believe that at the root of a general discontent there is in all countries a general grievance and general suffering. The surface of society is not incessantly disturbed without a cause. I recollect in the poem of the greatest of Italian poets, he tells us that as he saw in vision the Stygian lake, and stood upon its banks, he observed the constant commotion upon the surface of the pool, and his good instructor and guide explained to him the cause of it:--

"This, too, for certain know, that underneath
The water dwells a multitude, whose sighs
Into these bubbles make the surface heave,
As thine eye tells thee wheresoe'er it turn."

And I say that in Ireland, for generations back, the misery and the wrongs of the people have made their sign, and have found a voice in constant insurrection and disorder. I have said that Ireland is a country of many wrongs and of many sorrows. Her past lies almost in shadow. Her present is full of anxiety and peril. Her future depends on the power of her people to substitute equality and justice for supremacy, and a generous patriotism for the spirit of faction. In the effort now making in Great Britain to create a free representation of the people you have the deepest interest. The people never wish to suffer, and they never wish to inflict injustice. They have no sympathy with the wrong-doer, whether in Great Britain or in Ireland; and when they are fairly represented in the Imperial Parliament, as I hope they will one day be, they will speedily give an effective and final answer to that old question of the Parliament of Kilkenny--"How comes it to pass that the King has never been the richer for Ireland?"




FROM THE SPEECH ON THE IRISH ESTABLISHED CHURCH (1868)


I am one of those who do not believe that the Established Church of Ireland--of which I am not a member--would go to absolute ruin, in the manner of which many of its friends are now so fearful. There was a paper sent to me this morning, called 'An Address from the Protestants of Ireland to their Protestant Brethren of Great Britain.' It is dated "5, Dawson Street," and is signed by "John Trant Hamilton, T.A. Lefroy, and R.W. Gamble." The paper is written in a fair and mild, and I would even say,--for persons who have these opinions,--in a kindly and just spirit. But they have been alarmed, and I would wish, if I can, to offer them consolation. They say they have no interest in protecting any abuses of the Established Church, but they protest against their being now deprived of the Church of their fathers. Now, I am quite of opinion that it would be a most monstrous thing to deprive the Protestants of the Church of their fathers; and there is no man in the world who would more strenuously resist even any step in that direction than I would, unless it were Mr. Gladstone, the author of the famous resolutions. The next sentence goes on to say, "We ask for no ascendancy." Having read that sentence, I think that we must come to the conclusion that these gentlemen are in a better frame of mind than we thought them to be in. I can understand easily that these gentlemen are very sorry and doubtful as to the depths into which they are to be plunged; but I disagree with them in this--that I think there would still be a Protestant Church in Ireland when all is done that Parliament has proposed to do. The only difference will be, that it will not then be an establishment--that it will have no special favor or grant from the State--that it will stand in relation to the State just as your Church does, and just as the churches of the majority of the people of Great Britain at this moment stand. There will then be no Protestant bishops from Ireland to sit in the House of Lords; but he must be the most enthusiastic Protestant and Churchman who believes that there can be any advantage to his Church and to Protestantism generally in Ireland from such a phenomenon.






BRILLAT-SAVARIN

(1755-1826)


rillat-Savarin was a French magistrate and legislator, whose reputation as man of letters rests mainly upon a single volume, his inimitable 'Physiologie du Goût'. Although writing in the present century, he was essentially a Frenchman of the old régime, having been born in 1755 at Belley, almost on the border-line of Savoy, where he afterwards gained distinction as an advocate. In later life he regretted his native province chiefly for its figpeckers, superior in his opinion to ortolans or robins, and for the cuisine of the innkeeper Genin, where "the old-timers of Belley used to gather to eat chestnuts and drink the new white wine known as vin bourru"


Brillat-Savarin

After holding various minor offices in his department, Savarin became mayor of Belley in 1793; but the Reign of Terror soon forced him to flee to Switzerland and join the colony of French refugees at Lausanne. Souvenirs of this period are frequent in his 'Physiologie du Goût', all eminently gastronomic, as befits his subject-matter, but full of interest, as showing his unfailing cheerfulness amidst the vicissitudes and privations of exile. He fled first to Dôle, to "obtain from the Representative Prôt a safe-conduct, which was to save me from going to prison and thence probably to the scaffold," and which he ultimately owed to Madame Prôt, with whom he spent the evening playing duets, and who declared, "Citizen, any one who cultivates the fine arts as you do cannot betray his country!" It was not the safe-conduct, however, but an unexpected dinner which he enjoyed on his route, that made this a red-letter day to Savarin:--"What a good dinner!--I will not give the details, but an honorable mention is due to a fricassée of chicken, of the first order, such as cannot be found except in the provinces, and so richly dowered with truffles that there were enough to put new life into old Tithonus himself."

The whole episode is told in Savarin's happiest vein, and well-nigh justifies his somewhat complacent conclusion that "any one who, with a revolutionary committee at his heels, could so conduct himself, assuredly has the head and the heart of a Frenchman!"

Natural scenery did not appeal to Savarin; to him Switzerland meant the restaurant of the Lion d'Argent, at Lausanne, where "for only 15 batz we passed in review three complete courses;" the table d'hôte of the Rue de Rosny; and the little village of Moudon, where the cheese fondue was so good. Circumstances, however, soon necessitated his departure for the United States, which he always gratefully remembered as having afforded him "an asylum, employment, and tranquillity." For three years he supported himself in New York, giving French lessons and at night playing in a theatre orchestra. "I was so comfortable there," he writes, "that in the moment of emotion which preceded departure, all that I asked of Heaven (a prayer which it has granted) was never to know greater sorrow in the Old World than I had known in the New." Returning to France in 1796, Savarin settled in Paris, and after holding several offices under the Directory, became a Judge in the Cour de Cassation, the French court of last resort, where he remained until his death in 1826.

Although an able and conscientious magistrate, Savarin was better adapted to play the kindly friend and cordial host than the stern and impartial judge. He was a convivial soul, a lover of good cheer and free-handed hospitality; and to-day, while almost forgotten as a jurist, his name has become immortalized as the representative of gastronomic excellence. His 'Physiologic du Goût'--"that olla podrida which defies analysis," as Balzac calls it--belongs, like Walton's 'Compleat Angler', or White's 'Selborne', among those unique gems of literature, too rare in any age, which owe their subtle and imperishable charm primarily to the author's own delightful personality. Savarin spent many years of loving care in polishing his manuscript, often carrying it to court with him, where it was one day mislaid, but--luckily for future generations of epicures--was afterward recovered. The book is a charming badinage, a bizarre ragoût of gastronomic precepts and spicy anecdote, doubly piquant for its prevailing tone of mock seriousness and intentional grandiloquence.

In emulation of the poet Lamartine, Savarin divided his subject into 'Meditations', of which the seventh is consecrated to the 'Theory of Frying', and the twenty-first to 'Corpulence'. In the familiar aphorism, "Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are", he strikes his key-note; man's true superiority lies in his palate! "The pleasure of eating we have in common with the animals; the pleasure of the table is peculiar to the human species." Gastronomy he proclaims the chief of all sciences: "It rules life in its entirety; for the tears of the new-born infant summon the breast of its nurse, and the dying man still receives with some pleasure the final potion, which, alas, he is not destined to digest." Occasionally he affects an epic strain, invoking Gasteria, "the tenth muse, who presides over the pleasures of taste." "It is the fairest of the Muses who inspires me: I will be clearer than an oracle, and my precepts will traverse the centuries." Beneath his pen, soup, "the first consolation of the needy stomach," assumes fresh dignity; and even the humble fowl becomes to the cook "what the canvas is to the painter, or the cap of Fortunatus to the charlatan." But like the worthy epicure that he was, Savarin reserved his highest flights of eloquence for such rare and toothsome viands as the Poularde fine de Bresse, the pheasant, "an enigma of which the key-word is known only to the adepts," a sauté of truffles, "the diamonds of the kitchen," or, best of all, truffled turkeys, "whose reputation and price are ever on the increase! Benign stars, whose apparition renders the gourmands of every category sparkling, radiant, and quivering!" But the true charm of the book lies in Savarin's endless fund of piquant anecdotes, reminiscences of bygone feasts, over which the reader's mouth waters. Who can read without a covetous pang his account of 'The Day at Home with the Bernadins,' or of his entertainment of the Dubois brothers, of the Rue du Bac, "a bonbon which I have put into the reader's mouth to recompense him for his kindness in having read me with pleasure"?

'Physiologic du Goût' was not published until 1825, and then anonymously, presumably because he thought its tone inconsistent with his dignity as magistrate. It would almost seem that he had a presentiment of impending death, for in the midst of his brightest 'Variétés' he has incongruously inserted a dolorous little poem, the burden of each verse being "Je vais mourir." The 'Physiologic du Goût' is now accessible to English readers in the versions of R.E. Anderson (London, 1877), and in a later one published in New York; but there is a subtle flavor to the original which defies translation.




FROM THE 'PHYSIOLOGY OF TASTE'

THE PRIVATIONS


First parents of the human species, whose gormandizing is historic, you who fell for the sake of an apple, what would you not have done for a turkey with truffles? But there were in the terrestrial Paradise neither cooks nor confectioners.

How I pity you!

Mighty kings, who laid proud Troy in ruins, your valor will be handed down from age to age; but your table was poor. Reduced to a rump of beef and a chine of pork, you were ever ignorant of the charms of the matelote and the delights of a fricassée of chicken.

How I pity you!

Aspasia, Chloe, and all of you whose forms the chisel of the Greeks immortalized, to the despair of the belles of to-day, never did your charming mouths enjoy the smoothness of a meringue à la vanille or à la rose; hardly did you rise to the height of a spice-cake.

How I pity you!

Gentle priestesses of Vesta, at one and the same time burdened with so many honors and menaced with such horrible punishments, would that you might at least have tasted those agreeable syrups which refresh the soul, those candied fruits which brave the seasons, those perfumed creams, the marvel of our day!

How I pity you!

Roman financiers, who made the whole known universe pay tribute, never did your far-famed banquet-halls witness the appearance of those succulent jellies, the delight of the indolent, nor those varied ices whose cold would brave the torrid zone.

How I pity you!

Invincible paladins, celebrated by flattering minstrels, when you had cleft in twain the giants, set free the ladies, and exterminated armies, never, alas! never did a dark-eyed captive offer you the sparkling champagne, the malmsey of Madeira, the liqueurs, creation of this great century: you were reduced to ale or to some cheap herb-flavored wine.

How I pity you!

Crosiered and mitred abbots, dispensers of the favors of heaven; and you, terrible Templars, who donned your armor for the extermination of the Saracens,--you knew not the sweetness of chocolate which restores, nor the Arabian bean which promotes thought.

How I pity you!

Superb châtelaines, who during the loneliness of the Crusades raised into highest favor your chaplains and your pages, you never could share with them the charms of the biscuit and the delights of the macaroon.

How I pity you!

And lastly you, gastronomers of 1825, who already find satiety in the lap of abundance, and dream of new preparations, you will not enjoy those discoveries which the sciences have in store for the year 1900, such as esculent minerals and liqueurs resulting from a pressure of a hundred atmospheres; you will not behold the importations which travelers yet unborn shall cause to arrive from that half of the globe which still remains to be discovered or explored.

How I pity you!




ON THE LOVE OF GOOD LIVING


I have consulted the dictionaries under the word gourmandise, and am by no means satisfied with what I find. The love of good living seems to be constantly confounded with gluttony and voracity; whence I infer that our lexicographers, however otherwise estimable, are not to be classed with those good fellows amongst learned men who can put away gracefully a wing of partridge, and then, by raising the little finger, wash it down with a glass of Lafitte or Clos-Vougeot.

They have utterly forgot that social love of good eating which combines in one, Athenian elegance, Roman luxury, and Parisian refinement. It implies discretion to arrange, skill to prepare; it appreciates energetically, and judges profoundly. It is a precious quality, almost deserving to rank as a virtue, and is very certainly the source of much unqualified enjoyment.

Gourmandise, or the love of good living, is an impassioned, rational, and habitual preference for whatever flatters the sense of taste. It is opposed to excess; therefore every man who eats to indigestion, or makes himself drunk, runs the risk of being erased from the list of its votaries. Gourmandise also comprises a love for dainties or tit-bits; which is merely an analogous preference, limited to light, delicate, or small dishes, to pastry, and so forth. It is a modification allowed in favor of the women, or men of feminine tastes.

Regarded from any point of view, the love of good living deserves nothing but praise and encouragement. Physically, it is the result and proof of the digestive organs being healthy and perfect. Morally, it shows implicit resignation to the commands of Nature, who, in ordering man to eat that he may live, gives him appetite to invite, flavor to encourage, and pleasure to reward.

From the political economist's point of view, the love of good living is a tie between nations, uniting them by the interchange of various articles of food which are in constant use. Hence the voyage from Pole to Pole of wines, sugars, fruits, and so forth. What else sustains the hope and emulation of that crowd of fishermen, huntsmen, gardeners, and others who daily stock the most sumptuous larders with the results of their skill and labor? What else supports the industrious army of cooks, pastry-cooks, confectioners, and many other food-preparers, with all their various assistants? These various branches of industry derive their support in a great measure from the largest incomes, but they also rely upon the daily wants of all classes.

As society is at present constituted, it is almost impossible to conceive of a race living solely on bread and vegetables. Such a nation would infallibly be conquered by the armies of some flesh-eating race (like the Hindoos, who have been the prey of all those, one after another, who cared to attack them), or else it would be converted by the cooking of the neighboring nations, as ancient history records of the Boeotians, who acquired a love for good living after the battle of Leuctra.

Good living opens out great resources for replenishing the public purse: it brings contributions to town-dues, to the custom-house, and other indirect contributions. Everything we eat is taxed, and there is no exchequer that is not substantially supported by lovers of good living. Shall we speak of that swarm of cooks who have for ages been annually leaving France, to improve foreign nations in the art of good living? Most of them succeed; and in obedience to an instinct which never dies in a Frenchman's heart, bring back to their country the fruits of their economy. The sum thus imported is greater than might be supposed, and therefore they, like the others, will be honored by posterity.

But if nations were grateful, then Frenchmen, above all other races, ought to raise a temple and altars to "Gourmandise." By the treaty of November, 1815, the allies imposed upon France the condition of paying thirty millions sterling in three years, besides claims for compensation and various requisitions, amounting to nearly as much more. The apprehension, or rather certainty, became general that a national bankruptcy must ensue, more especially as the money was to be paid in specie.

"Alas!" said all who had anything to lose, as they saw the fatal tumbril pass to be filled in the Rue Vivienne, "there is our money emigrating in a lump; next year we shall fall on our knees before a crown-piece; we are about to fall into the condition of a ruined man; speculations of every kind will fail; it will be impossible to borrow; there will be nothing but weakness, exhaustion, civil death."

These terrors were proved false by the result; and to the great astonishment of all engaged in financial matters, the payments were made without difficulty, credit rose, loans were eagerly caught at, and during all the time this "superpurgation" lasted, the balance of exchange was in favor of France. In other words, more money came into the country than went out of it.

What is the power that came to our assistance? Who is the divinity that worked this miracle? The love of good living.

When the Britons, Germans, Teutons, Cimmerians, and Scythians made their irruption into France, they brought a rare voracity, and stomachs of no ordinary capacity. They did not long remain satisfied with the official cheer which a forced hospitality had to supply them with. They aspired to enjoyments of greater refinement; and soon the Queen City was nothing but a huge refectory. Everywhere they were seen eating, those intruders--in the restaurants, the eating-houses, the inns, the taverns, the stalls, and even in the streets. They gorged themselves with flesh, fish, game, truffles, pastry, and especially with fruit. They drank with an avidity equal to their appetite, and always ordered the most expensive wines, in the hope of finding in them some enjoyment hitherto unknown, and seemed quite astonished when they were disappointed. Superficial observers did not know what to think of this menagerie without bounds or limits; but your genuine Parisian laughed and rubbed his hands. "We have them now!" said he; "and to-night they'll have paid us back more than was counted out to them this morning from the public treasury!"

That was a lucky time for those who provide for the enjoyments of the sense of taste. Véry made his fortune; Achard laid the foundation of his; Beauvilliers made a third; and Madame Sullot, whose shop in the Palais Royal was a mere box of a place, sold as many as twelve thousand tarts a day.

The effect still lasts. Foreigners flow in from all quarters of Europe to renew during peace the delightful habits which they contracted during the war. They must come to Paris, and when they are there, they must be regaled at any price. If our funds are in favor, it is due not so much to the higher interest they pay, as to the instinctive confidence which foreigners cannot help placing in a people amongst whom every lover of good living finds so much happiness.

Love of good living is by no means unbecoming in women. It agrees with the delicacy of their organization, and serves as a compensation for some pleasures which they are obliged to abstain from, and for some hardships to which nature seems to have condemned them. There is no more pleasant sight than a pretty gourmande under arms. Her napkin is nicely adjusted; one of her hands rests on the table, the other carries to her mouth little morsels artistically carved, or the wing of a partridge which must be picked. Her eyes sparkle, her lips are glossy, her talk is cheerful, all her movements graceful; nor is there lacking some spice of the coquetry which accompanies all that women do. With so many advantages, she is irresistible, and Cato the Censor himself could not help yielding to the influence.

The love of good living is in some sort instinctive in women, because it is favorable to beauty. It has been proved, by a series of rigorously exact observations, that by a succulent, delicate, and choice regimen, the external appearances of age are kept away for a long time. It gives more brilliancy to the eye, more freshness to the skin, more support to the muscles; and as it is certain in physiology that wrinkles, those formidable enemies of beauty, are caused by the depression of muscle, it is equally true that, other things being equal, those who understand eating are comparatively four years younger than those ignorant of that science. Painters and sculptors are deeply impenetrated with this truth; for in representing those who practice abstinence by choice or duty as misers or anchorites, they always give them the pallor of disease, the leanness of misery, and the wrinkles of decrepitude.

Good living is one of the main links of society, by gradually extending that spirit of conviviality by which different classes are daily brought closer together and welded into one whole; by animating the conversation, and rounding off the angles of conventional inequality. To the same cause we can also ascribe all the efforts a host makes to receive his guests properly, as well as their gratitude for his pains so well bestowed. What disgrace should ever be heaped upon those senseless feeders who, with unpardonable indifference, swallow down morsels of the rarest quality, or gulp with unrighteous carelessness some fine-flavored and sparkling wine.

As a general maxim: Whoever shows a desire to please will be certain of having a delicate compliment paid him by every well-bred man.

Again, when shared, the love of good living has the most marked influence on the happiness of the conjugal state. A wedded pair with this taste in common have once a day at least a pleasant opportunity of meeting. For even when they sleep apart (and a great many do so), they at least eat at the same table, they have a subject of conversation which is ever new, they speak not only of what they are eating, but also of what they have eaten or will eat, of dishes which are in vogue, of novelties, etc. Everybody knows that a familiar chat is delightful.

Music, no doubt, has powerful attractions for those who are fond of it, but one must set about it--it is an exertion. Besides, one sometimes has a cold, the music is mislaid, the instruments are out of tune, one has a fit of the blues, or it is a forbidden day. Whereas, in the other case, a common want summons the spouses to table, the same inclination keeps them there; they naturally show each other these little attentions as a proof of their wish to oblige, and the mode of conducting their meals has a great share in the happiness of their lives.

This observation, though new in France, has not escaped the notice of Richardson, the English moralist. He has worked out the idea in his novel 'Pamela,' by painting the different manner in which two married couples finish their day. The first husband is a lord, an eldest son, and therefore heir to all the family property; the second is his younger brother, the husband of Pamela, who has been disinherited on account of his marriage, and lives on half-pay in a state but little removed from abject poverty.

The lord and lady enter their dining-room by different doors, and salute each other coldly, though they have not met the whole day before. Sitting down at a table which is magnificently covered, surrounded by lackeys in brilliant liveries, they help themselves in silence, and eat without pleasure. As soon, however, as the servants have withdrawn, a sort of conversation is begun between the pair, which quickly shows a bitter tone, passing into a regular fight, and they rise from the table in a fury of anger, and go off to their separate apartments to reflect upon the pleasures of a single life.

The younger brother, on the contrary, is, on reaching his unpretentious home, received with a gentle, loving heartiness and the fondest caresses. He sits down to a frugal meal, but everything he eats is excellent; and how could it be otherwise? It is Pamela herself who has prepared it all. They eat with enjoyment, talking of their affairs, their plans, their love for each other. A half-bottle of Madeira serves to prolong their repast and conversation, and soon after they retire together, to forget in sleep their present hardships, and to dream of a better future.

All honor to the love of good living, such as it is the purpose of this book to describe, so long as it does not come between men and their occupations or duties! For, as all the debaucheries of a Sardanapalus cannot bring disrespect upon womankind in general, so the excesses of a Vitellius need not make us turn our backs upon a well-appointed banquet. Should the love of good living pass into gluttony, voracity, intemperance, it then loses its name and advantages, escapes from our jurisdiction, and falls within that of the moralist to ply it with good counsel, or of the physician who will cure it by his remedies.




ON PEOPLE FOND OF GOOD LIVING


There are individuals to whom nature has denied a refinement of organs, or a continuity of attention, without which the most succulent dishes pass unobserved. Physiology has already recognized the first of these varieties, by showing us the tongue of these unhappy ones, badly furnished with nerves for inhaling and appreciating flavors. These excite in them but an obtuse sentiment; such persons are, with regard to objects of taste, what the blind are with regard to light. The second class are the absent-minded, chatterboxes, persons engrossed in business or ambition, and others who seek to occupy themselves with two things at once, and eat only to be filled. Such, for example, was Napoleon; he was irregular in his meals, and ate fast and badly. But there again was to be traced that absolute will which he carried into everything he did. The moment appetite was felt, it was necessary that it should be satisfied; and his establishment was so arranged that, in any place and at any hour, chicken, cutlets, and coffee might be forthcoming at a word.

There is a privileged class of persons who are summoned to the enjoyments of taste by a physical and organic predisposition. I have always believed in physiognomy and phrenology. Men have inborn tendencies; and since there are some who come into the world seeing, hearing, and walking badly, because they are short-sighted, deaf, or crippled, why should there not be others who are specially predisposed to experience a certain series of sensations? Moreover, even an ordinary observer will constantly discover faces which bear the unmistakable imprint of a ruling passion--such as superciliousness, self-satisfaction, misanthropy, sensuality, and many others. Sometimes, no doubt, we meet with a face that expresses nothing; but when the physiognomy has a marked stamp it is almost always a true index. The passions act upon the muscles, and frequently, although a man says nothing, the various feelings by which he is moved can be read in his face. By this tension, if in the slightest degree habitual, perceptible traces are at last left, and the physiognomy thus assumes its permanent and recognizable characteristics.

Those predisposed to epicurism are for the most part of middling height. They are broad-faced, and have bright eyes, small forehead, short nose, fleshy lips, and rounded chin. The women are plump, chubby, pretty rather than beautiful, with a slight tendency to fullness of figure. It is under such an exterior that we must look for agreeable guests. They accept all that is offered them, eat without hurry, and taste with discrimination. They never make any haste to get away from houses where they have been well treated, but stay for the evening, because they know all the games and other after-dinner amusements.

Those, on the contrary, to whom nature has denied an aptitude for the enjoyments of taste, are long-faced, long-nosed, and long-eyed: whatever their stature, they have something lanky about them. They have dark, lanky hair, and are never in good condition. It was one of them who invented trousers. The women whom nature has afflicted with the same misfortune are angular, feel themselves bored at table, and live on cards and scandal.

This theory of mine can be verified by each reader from his own personal observation. I shall give an instance from my own personal experience:--

Sitting one day at a grand banquet, I had opposite me a very pretty neighbor, whose face showed the predisposition I have described. Leaning to the guest beside me, I said quietly that from her physiognomy, the young lady on the other side of the table must be fond of good eating. "You must be mad!" he answered; "she is but fifteen at most, which is certainly not the age for such a thing. However, let us watch."

At first, things were by no means in my favor, and I was somewhat afraid of having compromised myself, for during the first two courses the young lady quite astonished me by her discretion, and I suspected we had stumbled upon an exception, remembering that there are some for every rule. But at last the dessert came,--a dessert both magnificent and abundant,--and my hopes were again revived. Nor did I hope in vain: not only did she eat of all that was offered her, but she even got dishes brought to her from the farthest parts of the table. In a word, she tasted everything, and my neighbor at last expressed his astonishment that the little stomach could hold so many things. Thus was my diagnosis verified, and once again science triumphed.

Whilst I was writing the above, on a fine winter's evening, M. Cartier, formerly the first violinist at the Opera, paid me a visit, and sat down at the fireside. Being full of my subject, I said, after looking at him attentively for some time, "How does it happen, my dear professor, that you are no epicure, when you have all the features of one?" "I was one," he replied, "and among the foremost; but now I refrain." "On principle, I suppose?" said I; but all the answer I had was a sigh, like one of Sir Walter Scott's--that is to say, almost a groan.

As some are gourmands by predestination, so others become so by their state in society or their calling. There are four classes which I should signalize by way of eminence: the moneyed class, the doctors, men of letters, and the devout.

Inequality of condition implies inequality of wealth, but inequality of wealth does not imply inequality of wants; and he who can afford every day a dinner sufficient for a hundred persons is often satisfied by eating the thigh of a chicken. Hence the necessity for the many devices of art to reanimate that ghost of an appetite by dishes which maintain it without injury, and caress without stifling it.

The causes which act upon doctors are very different, though not less powerful. They become epicures in spite of themselves, and must be made of bronze to resist the seductive power of circumstances. The "dear doctor" is all the more kindly welcomed that health is the most precious of boons; and thus they are always waited for with impatience and received with eagerness. Some are kind to them from hope, others from gratitude. They are fed like pet pigeons. They let things take their course, and in six months the habit is confirmed, and they are gourmands past redemption.

I ventured one day to express this opinion at a banquet in which, with eight others, I took a part, with Dr. Corvisart at the head of the table. It was about the year 1806.

"You!" cried I, with the inspired tone of a Puritan preacher; "you are the last remnant of a body which formerly covered the whole of France. Alas! its members are annihilated or widely scattered. No more fermiers-généraux, no abbés nor knights nor white-coated friars. The members of your profession constitute the whole gastronomic body. Sustain with firmness that great responsibility, even if you must share the fate of the three hundred Spartans at the Pass of Thermopylae."

At the same dinner I observed the following noteworthy fact. The doctor, who, when in the mood, was a most agreeable companion, drank nothing but iced champagne; and therefore in the earlier part of the dinner, whilst others were engaged in eating, he kept talking loudly and telling stories. But at dessert, on the contrary, and when the general conversation began to be lively, he became serious, silent, and sometimes low-spirited.

From this observation, confirmed by many others, I have deduced the following theorem:--"Champagne, though at first exhilarating, ultimately produces stupefying effects;" a result, moreover, which is a well-known characteristic of the carbonic acid which it contains.

Whilst I have the university doctors under my grasp, I must, before I die, reproach them with the extreme severity which they use towards their patients. As soon as one has the misfortune to fall into their hands, he must undergo a whole litany of prohibitions, and give up everything that he is accustomed to think agreeable. I rise up to oppose such interdictions, as being for the most part useless. I say useless, because the patient never longs for what is hurtful. A doctor of judgment will never lose sight of the instinctive tendency of our inclinations, or forget that if painful sensations are naturally fraught with danger, those which are pleasant have a healthy tendency. We have seen a drop of wine, a cup of coffee, or a thimbleful of liqueur, call up a smile to the most Hippocratic face.

Those severe prescribers must, moreover, know very well that their prescriptions remain almost always without result. The patient tries to evade the duty of taking them; those about him easily find a good excuse for humoring him, and thus his death is neither hastened nor retarded. In 1815 the medical allowance of a sick Russian would have made a drayman drunk, and that of an Englishman was enough for a Limousin. Nor was any diminution possible, for there were military inspectors constantly going round our hospitals to examine the supply and the consumption.

I am the more confident in announcing my opinion because it is based upon numerous facts, and the most successful practitioners have used a system closely resembling it.

Canon Rollet, who died some fifty years ago, was a hard drinker, according to the custom of those days. He fell ill, and the doctor's first words were a prohibition of wine in any form. On his very next visit, however, our physician found beside the bed of his patient the corpus delicti itself, to wit, a table covered with a snow-white cloth, a crystal cup, a handsome-looking bottle, and a napkin to wipe the lips. At this sight he flew into a violent passion and spoke of leaving the house, when the wretched canon cried to him in tones of lamentation, "Ah, doctor, remember that in forbidding me to drink, you have not forbidden me the pleasure of looking at the bottle!"

The physician who treated Montlusin of Pont de Veyle was still more severe, for not only did he forbid the use of wine to his patient, but also prescribed large doses of water. Shortly after the doctor's departure, Madame Montlusin, anxious to give full effect to the medical orders and assist in the recovery of her husband's health, offered him a large glass of the finest and clearest water. The patient took it with docility, and began to drink it with resignation; but stopping short at the first mouthful, he handed back the glass to his wife. "Take it, my dear," said he, "and keep it for another time; I have always heard it said that we should not trifle with remedies."

In the domain of gastronomy the men of letters are near neighbors to the doctors. A hundred years ago literary men were all hard drinkers. They followed the fashion, and the memoirs of the period are quite edifying on that subject. At the present day they are gastronomes, and it is a step in the right direction. I by no means agree with the cynical Geoffroy, who used to say that if our modern writings are weak, it is because literary men now drink nothing stronger than lemonade. The present age is rich in talents, and the very number of books probably interferes with their proper appreciation; but posterity, being more calm and judicial, will see amongst them much to admire, just as we ourselves have done justice to the masterpieces of Racine and Molière, which were received by their contemporaries with coldness.

Never has the social position of men of letters been more pleasant than at present. They no longer live in wretched garrets; the fields of literature are become more fertile, and even the study of the Muses has become productive. Received on an equality in any rank of life, they no longer wait for patronage; and to fill up their cup of happiness, good living bestows upon them its dearest favors. Men of letters are invited because of the good opinion men have of their talents; because their conversation has, generally speaking, something piquant in it, and also because now every dinner-party must as a matter of course have its literary man.

Those gentlemen always arrive a little late, but are welcomed, because expected. They are treated as favorites so that they may come again, and regaled that they may shine; and as they find all this very natural, by being accustomed to it they become, are, and remain gastronomes.

Finally, amongst the most faithful in the ranks of gastronomy we must reckon many of the devout--i.e., those spoken of by Louis XIV. and Molière, whose religion consists in outward show;--nothing to do with those who are really pious and charitable.

Let us consider how this comes about. Of those who wish to secure their salvation, the greater number try to find the most pleasant road. Men who flee from society, sleep on the ground, and wear hair-cloth next the skin, have always been, and must ever be, exceptions. Now there are certain things unquestionably to be condemned, and on no account to be indulged in--as balls, theatres, gambling, and other similar amusements; and whilst they and all that practice them are to be hated, good living presents itself insinuatingly in a thoroughly orthodox guise.

By right divine, man is king of nature, and all that the earth produces was created for him. It is for him that the quail is fattened, for him that Mocha possesses so agreeable an aroma, for him that sugar has such wholesome properties. How then neglect to use, within reasonable limits, the good things which Providence presents to us; especially if we continue to regard them as things that perish with the using, especially if they raise our thankfulness towards the Author of all!

Other equally strong reasons come to strengthen these. Can we be too hospitable in receiving those who have charge of our souls, and keep us in the way of safety? Should those meetings with so excellent an object not be made pleasant, and therefore frequent?

Sometimes, also, the gifts of Comus arrive unsought--perhaps a souvenir of college days, a present from an old friend, a peace-offering from a penitent or a college chum recalling himself to one's memory. How refuse to accept such offerings, or to make systematic use of them? It is simply a necessity.

The monasteries were real magazines of charming dainties, which is one reason why certain connoisseurs so bitterly regret them. Several of the monastic orders, especially that of St. Bernard, made a profession of good cheer. The limits of gastronomic art have been extended by the cooks of the clergy, and when M. de Pressigni (afterwards Archbishop of Besançon) returned from the Conclave at the election of Pius VI., he said that the best dinner he had had in Rome was at the table of the head of the Capuchins.

We cannot conclude this article better than by honorably mentioning two classes of men whom we have seen in all their glory, and whom the Revolution has eclipsed--the chevaliers and the abbés. How they enjoyed good living, those dear old fellows! That could be told at a glance by their nervous nostrils, their clear eyes, their moist lips and mobile tongues. Each class had at the same time its own special manner of eating: the chevalier having something military and dignified in his air and attitude; while the abbé gathered himself together, as it were, to be nearer his plate, with his right hand curved inward like the paw of a cat drawing chestnuts from the fire, whilst in every feature was shown enjoyment and an indefinable look of close attention.

So far from good living being hurtful to health, it has been arithmetically proved by Dr. Villermé in an able paper read before the Académie des Sciences, that other things being equal, the gourmands live longer than ordinary men.






CHARLOTTE BRONTÉ AND HER SISTERS

(1816-1855)


he least that can be said of Charlotte Bronté is that she is a unique figure in literature. Nowhere else do we find another personality combining such extraordinary qualities of mind and heart,--qualities strangely contrasted, but still more strangely harmonized. At times they are baffling, but always fascinating. Nowhere else do we find so intimate an association of the personality of the author with the work, so thorough an identification with it of the author's life, even to the smaller details. So true is this in the case of Charlotte Bronté that the four novels 'Jane Eyre,' 'Shirley,' 'Villette,' and 'The Professor' might with some justice be termed 'Charlotte Bronté; her life and her friends.' Her works were in large part an expression of herself; at times the best expression of herself--of her actual self in experience and of her spiritual self in travail and in aspiration. It is manifestly impossible therefore to consider the works of Charlotte Bronté with justice apart from herself. A correct understanding of her books can be obtained only from a study of her remarkable personality and of the sad circumstances of her life.

Public interest in Charlotte Bronté was first roused in 1847. In October of that year there appeared in London a novel that created a sensation, the like of which had not been known since the publication of 'Waverley.' Its stern and paradoxical disregard for the conventional, its masculine energy, and its intense realism, startled the public, and proclaimed to all in accents unmistakable that a new, strange, and splendid power had come into literature, "but yet a woman."

And with the success of 'Jane Eyre' came a lively curiosity to know something of the personality of the author. This was not gratified for some time. There were many conjectures, all of them far amiss. The majority of readers asserted confidently that the work must be that of a man; the touch was unmistakably masculine. In some quarters it met with hearty abuse. The Quarterly Review, in an article still notorious for its brutality, condemned the book as coarse, and stated that if 'Jane Eyre' were really written by a woman, she must be an improper woman, who had forfeited the society of her sex. This was said in December, 1848, of one of the noblest and purest of womankind. It is not a matter of surprise that the identity of this audacious speculator was not revealed. The recent examination into the topic by Mr. Clement Shorter seems, however, to fix the authorship of the notice on Lady Eastlake, at that time Miss Driggs.

But hostile criticism of the book and its mysterious author could not injure its popularity. The story swept all before it--press and public. Whatever might be the source, the work stood there and spoke for itself in commanding terms. At length the mystery was cleared. A shrewd Yorkshireman guessed and published the truth, and the curious world knew that the author of 'Jane Eyre' was the daughter of a clergyman in the little village of Haworth, and that the literary sensation of the day found its source in a nervous, shrinking, awkward, plain, delicate young creature of thirty-one years of age, whose life, with the exception of two years, had been spent on the bleak and dreary moorlands of Yorkshire, and for the most part in the narrow confines of a grim gray stone parsonage. There she had lived a pinched and meagre little life, full of sadness and self-denial, with two sisters more delicate than herself, a dissolute brother, and a father her only parent,--a stern and forbidding father. This was no genial environment for an author, even if helpful to her vivid imagination. Nor was it a temporary condition; it was a permanent one. Nearly all the influences in Charlotte Bronté's life were such as these, which would seem to cramp if not to stifle sensitive talent. Her brother Branwell (physically weaker than herself, though unquestionably talented, and for a time the idol and hope of the family) became dissipated, irresponsible, untruthful, and a ne'er-do-weel, and finally yielding to circumstances, ended miserably a life of failure.

But Charlotte Bronté's nature was one of indomitable courage, that circumstances might shadow but could not obscure. Out of the meagre elements of her narrow life she evolved works that stand among the imperishable things of English literature. It is a paradox that finds its explanation only in a statement of natural sources, primitive, bardic, the sources of the early epics, the sources of such epics as Cædmon and Beowulf bore. She wrote from a sort of necessity; it was in obedience to the commanding authority of an extraordinary genius,--a creative power that struggled for expression,--and much of her work deserves in the best and fullest sense the term "inspired."



The facts of her life are few in number, but they have a direct and significant bearing on her work. She was born at Thornton, in the parish of Bradford, in 1816. Four years later her father moved to Haworth, to the parsonage now indissolubly associated with her name, and there Mr. Bronté entered upon a long period of pastorate service, that only ended with his death. Charlotte's mother was dead. In 1824 Charlotte and two older sisters, Maria and Elizabeth, went to a school at Cowan's Bridge. It was an institution for clergymen's children, a vivid picture of which appears in 'Jane Eyre.' It was so badly managed and the food was so poor that many of the children fell sick, among them Maria Bronté, who died in 1825. Elizabeth followed her a few months later, and Charlotte returned to Haworth, where she remained for six years, then went to school at Roe Head for a period of three years. She was offered the position of teacher by Miss Wooler, the principal at Roe Head, but considering herself unfit to teach, she resolved to go to Brussels to study French. She spent two years there, and it was there that her intimate and misconstrued friendship for M. Heger developed. The incidents of that period formed the material of a greater portion of her novel 'Villette,' filled twenty-two volumes of from sixty to one hundred pages of fine writing, and consisted of some forty complete novelettes or other stories and childish "magazines."

On returning to Haworth, she endeavored, together with her sister Emily, to establish a school at their home. But pupils were not to be had, and the outlook was discouraging. Two periods of service as governess, and the ill health that had followed, had taught Charlotte the danger that threatened her. Her experiences as a governess in the Sedgwick family were pictured by-and-by in 'Jane Eyre.' In a letter to Miss Ellen Nussey, written at this time, she gives a dark vignette of her situation.

With her two sisters Emily and Anne she lived a quiet and retired life. The harsh realities about them, the rough natures of the Yorkshire people, impelled the three sisters to construct in their home an ideal world of their own, and in this their pent-up natures found expression. Their home was lonely and gloomy. Mr. Clement K. Shorter, in his recent study of the novelist and her family, says that the house is much the same to-day, though its immediate surroundings are brightened. He writes:

"One day Emily confided to Charlotte that she had written some verses. Charlotte answered with a similar confidence, and then Anne acknowledged that she too had been secretly writing. This mutual confession brought about a complete understanding and sympathy, and from that time on the sisters worked together--reading their literary productions to one another and submitting to each other's criticism."

This was however by no means Charlotte's first literary work. She has left a catalogue of books written by her between 1829 and 1830. Her first printed work however appeared in a volume of 'Poems' by Acton, Ellis, and Currer Bell, published in 1846 at the expense of the authors. Under these names the little book of the Bronté sisters went forth to the world, was reviewed with mild favor in some few periodicals, and was lost to sight.

Then came a period of novel-writing. As a result, Emily Bronté's 'Wuthering Heights,' Anne Bronté's 'Agnes Grey,' and Charlotte Bronté's 'The Professor' set out together to find a publisher. The last-named was unsuccessful; but on the day it was returned to her, Charlotte Bronté began writing 'Jane Eyre.' That first masterpiece was shaped during a period of sorrow and discouragement. Her father was ill and in danger of losing his eyesight. Her brother Bran well was sinking into the slough of disgrace. No wonder 'Jane Eyre' is not a story of sunshine and roses. She finished the story in 1847, and it was accepted by the publishers promptly upon examination.

After its publication and the sensation produced, Charlotte Bronté continued her literary work quietly, and unaffected by the furore she had aroused. A few brief visits to London, where attempts were made to lionize her,--very much to her distaste,--a few literary friendships, notably those with Thackeray, George Henry Lewes, Mrs. Gaskell, and Harriet Martineau, were the only features that distinguished her literary life from the simple life she had always led and continued to lead at Haworth. She was ever busy, if not ever at her desk. Success had come; she was sane in the midst of it. She wrote slowly and only as she felt the impulse, and when she knew she had found the proper impression. In 1849 'Shirley' was published. In 1853 appeared 'Villette,' her last finished work, and the one considered by herself the best.

In 1854 she married her father's curate, Mr. A.B. Nicholls. She had lost her brother Branwell and her two sisters Emily and Anne. Sorrow upon sorrow had closed like deepening shadows about her. All happiness in life for her had apparently ended, when this marriage brought a brief ray of sunshine. It was a happy union, and seemed to assure a period of peace and rest for the sorely tried soul. Only a few short months, however, and fate, as if grudging her even the bit of happiness, snapped the slender threads of her life and the whole sad episode of her existence was ended. She died March 31st, 1855, leaving her husband and father to mourn together in the lonely parsonage. She left a literary fragment--the story entitled 'Emma,' which was published with an introduction by Thackeray.

Such are the main facts of this reserved life of Charlotte Bronté. Are they dull and commonplace? Some of them are indeed inexpressibly sad. Tragedy is beneath all the bitter chronicle. The sadness of her days can be appreciated by all who read her books. Through all her stories there is an intense note, especially in treating the pathos of existence, that is unmistakably subjective. There is a keen perception of the darker depths of human nature that could have been revealed to a human heart only by suffering and sorrow.

She did not allow sadness, however, to crush her spirit. She was neither morbid nor melancholy, but on the contrary Charlotte was cheerful and pleasant in disposition and manner. She was a loving sister and devoted daughter, patient and obedient to a parent who afterwards made obedience a severe hardship. There were other sides to her character. She was not always calm. She was not ever tender and a maker of allowances. But who is such? And she had good reason to be impatient with the world as she found it.

Her character and disposition are partially reflected in 'Jane Eyre.' The calm, clear mind, the brave, independent spirit are there. But a fuller and more accurate picture of her character may be found in Lucy Snowe, the heroine of 'Villette.' Here we find especially that note of hopelessness that predominated in Charlotte's character. Mrs. Gaskell, in her admirable biography of Charlotte Bronté, has called attention to this absence of hope in her nature. Charlotte indeed never allowed herself to look forward to happy issues. She had no confidence in the future. The pressure of grief apparently crushed all buoyancy of expectation. It was in this attitude that when literary success greeted her, she made little of it, scarcely allowing herself to believe that the world really set a high value on her work. Throughout all the excitement that her books produced, she was almost indifferent. Brought up as she had been to regard literary work as something beyond the proper limits of her sex, she never could quite rid herself of the belief that in writing successfully, she had made of herself not so much a literary figure as a sort of social curiosity. Nor was that idea wholly foreign to her time.

Personally Charlotte Bronté was not unattractive. Though somewhat too slender and pale, and plain of feature, she had a pleasant expression, and her homelier features were redeemed by a strong massive forehead, luxuriant glossy hair, and handsome eyes. Though she had little faith in her powers of inspiring affection, she attracted people strongly and was well beloved by her friends. That she could stir romantic sentiment too was attested by the fact that she received and rejected three proposals of marriage from as many suitors, before her acceptance of Mr. Nicholls.

Allusion has been made to the work of Charlotte's two sisters, Emily and Anne. Of the two Emily is by far the more remarkable, revealing in the single novel we have from her pen a genius as distinct and individual as that of her more celebrated sister. Had she lived, it is more than likely that her literary achievements would have rivaled Charlotte's.

Emily Bronté has always been something of a puzzle to biographers. She was eccentric, an odd mixture of bashful reserve and unexpected spells of frankness, sweet, gentle, and retiring in disposition, but possessed of great courage. She was two years younger than Charlotte, but taller. She was slender, though well formed, and was pale in complexion, with great gray eyes of remarkable beauty. Emily's literary work is to be found in the volume of "Poems" of her sisters, her share in that work being considered superior in imaginative quality and in finish to that of the others; and in the novel "Wuthering Heights," a weird, horrid story of astonishing power, written when she was twenty-eight years of age. Considered purely as an imaginative work, "Wuthering Heights" is one of the most remarkable stories in English literature, and is worthy to be ranked with the works of Edgar A. Poe. Many will say that it might better not have been written, so utterly repulsive is it, but others will value it as a striking, though distorted, expression of unmistakable genius. It is a ghastly and gruesome creation. Not one bright ray redeems it. It deals with the most evil characters and the most evil phases of human experience. But it fascinates. Heathcliff, the chief figure in the book, is one of the greatest villains in fiction,--an abhorrent creature,--strange, monstrous, Frankensteinesque.

Anne Bronté is known by her share in the book of "Poems" and by two novels, "Agnes Gray" and "The Tenant of Wildfell Hall," both of which are disappointing. The former is based on the author's experiences as a governess, and is written in the usual placid style of romances of the time. "The Tenant of Wildfell Hall" found its suggestion in the wretched career of Branwell Bronté, and presents a sad and depressing picture of a life of degradation. The book was not a success, and would no doubt have sunk long ago into oblivion but for its association with the novels of Emily and Charlotte.

In studying the work of Charlotte Bronté, the gifted older sister of the group, one of the first of the qualities that impress the reader is her actual creative power. To one of her imaginative power, the simplest life was sufficient, the smallest details a fund of material. Mr. Swinburne has called attention to the fact that Charlotte Bronté's characters are individual creations, not types constructed out of elements gathered from a wide observation of human nature, and that they are real creations; that they compel our interest and command our assent because they are true, inevitably true. Perhaps no better example of this individualism could be cited than Rochester. The character is unique. It is not a type, nor has it even a prototype, like so many of Charlotte Bronté's characters. Gossip insisted at one time that the author intended to picture Thackeray in Rochester, but this is groundless. Rochester is an original creation. The character of Jane Eyre, too, while reflecting something of the author's nature, was distinctly individual; and it is interesting to note here that with Jane Eyre came a new heroine into fiction, a woman of calm, clear reason, of firm positive character, and what was most novel, a plain woman, a homely heroine.

"Why is it," Charlotte had once said, "that heroines must always be beautiful?" The hero of romance was always noble and handsome, the heroine lovely and often insipid, and the scenes set in an atmosphere of exaggerated idealism. Against this idealism Charlotte Bronté revolted. Her effort was always toward realism.

In her realism she reveals a second characteristic scarcely less marked than her creative powers,--an extraordinary faculty of observation. She saw the essence, the spirit of things, and the simplest details of life revealed to her the secrets of human nature. What she had herself seen and felt--the plain rugged types of Yorkshire character, the wild scenery of the moorlands--she reflected with living truth. She got the real fact out of every bit of material in humanity and nature that her simple life afforded her. And where her experience could not afford her the necessary material, she drew upon some mysterious resources in her nature, which were apparently not less reliable than actual experience. On being asked once how she could describe so accurately the effects of opium as she does in 'Villette,' she replied that she knew nothing of opium, but that she had followed the process she always adopted in cases of this kind. She had thought intently on the matter for many a night before falling asleep; till at length, after some time, she waked in the morning with all clear before her, just as if she had actually gone through the experience, and then could describe it word for word as it happened.

Her sensitiveness to impressions of nature was exceedingly keen. She had what Swinburne calls "an instinct for the tragic use of landscape." By constant and close observation during her walks she had established a fellowship with nature in all her phases; learning her secrets from the voices of the night, from the whisper of the trees, and from the eerie moaning of the moorland blasts. She studied the cold sky, and had watched the "coming night-clouds trailing low like banners drooping."

Other qualities that distinguish her work are purity, depth and ardor of passion, and spiritual force and fervor. Her genius was lofty and noble, and an exalted moral quality predominates in her stories. She was ethical as sincerely as she was emotional.

We have only to consider her technique, in which she is characteristically original. This originality is noticeable especially in her use of words. There is a sense of fitness that often surprises the reader. Words at times in her hands reveal a new power and significance. In the choice of words Charlotte Bronté was scrupulous. She believed that there was just one word fit to express the idea or shade of meaning she wished to convey, and she never admitted a substitute, sometimes waiting days until the right word came. Her expressions are therefore well fitted and forcible. Though the predominant key is a serious one, there is nevertheless considerable humor in Charlotte Bronté's work. In 'Shirley' especially we find many happy scenes, and much wit in repartee. And yet, with all these merits, one will find at times her style to be lame, stiff, and crude, and even when strongest, occasionally coarse. Not infrequently she is melodramatic and sensational. But through it all there is that pervading sense of reality and it redeems these defects.

Of the unusual, the improbable, the highly colored in Charlotte Bronté's books we shall say little. In criticizing works so true to life and nature as these, one should not be hasty. We feel the presence of a seer. Some one once made an objection in Charlotte Bronté's presence to that part of 'Jane Eyre' in which she hears Rochester's voice calling to her at a great crisis in her life, he being many miles distant from her at the time. Charlotte caught her breath and replied in a low voice:--"But it is a true thing; it really happened." And so it might be said of Charlotte Bronté's work as a whole:--"It is a true thing; it really happened."




JANE EYRE'S WEDDING DAY

From 'Jane Eyre'

Sophie came at seven to dress me. She was very long indeed in accomplishing her task; so long that Mr. Rochester--grown, I suppose, impatient of my delay--sent up to ask why I did not come. She was just fastening my veil (the plain square of blonde, after all) to my hair with a brooch; I hurried from under her hands as soon as I could.

"Stop!" she cried in French, "Look at yourself in the mirror; you have not taken one peep."

So I turned at the door. I saw a robed and veiled figure, so unlike my usual self that it seemed almost the image of a stranger.

"Jane!" called a voice, and I hastened down. I was received at the foot of the stairs by Mr. Rochester. "Lingerer," he said, "my brain is on fire with impatience; and you tarry so long!"

He took me into the dining-room, surveyed me keenly all over, pronounced me "fair as a lily, and not only the pride of his life, but the desire of his eyes"; and then, telling me he would give me but ten minutes to eat some breakfast, he rang the bell. One of his lately hired servants, a footman, answered it.

"Is John getting the carriage ready?"

"Yes, sir."

"Is the luggage brought down?"

"They are bringing it down, sir."

"Go you to the church; see if Mr. Wood" (the clergyman) "and the clerk are there; return and tell me."

The church, as the reader knows, was but just beyond the gates; the footman soon returned.

"Mr. Wood is in the vestry, sir, putting on his surplice."

"And the carriage?"

"The horses are harnessing."

"We shall not want it to go to church; but it must be ready the moment we return--all the boxes and luggage arranged and strapped on, and the coachman in his seat."

"Yes, sir."

"Jane, are you ready?"

I rose. There were no groomsmen, no bridesmaids, no relatives to wait for or marshal; none but Mr. Rochester and I. Mrs. Fairfax stood in the hall as we passed. I would fain have spoken to her, but my hand was held by a grasp of iron; I was hurried along by a stride I could hardly follow; and to look at Mr. Rochester's face was to feel that not a second of delay would be tolerated for any purpose. I wondered what other bridegroom ever looked as he did--so bent up to a purpose, so grimly resolute; or who, under such steadfast brows, ever revealed such flaming and flashing eyes.

I know not whether the day was fair or foul; in descending the drive I gazed neither on sky nor earth; my heart was with my eyes, and both seemed migrated into Mr. Rochester's frame. I wanted to see the invisible thing on which, as we went along, he appeared to fasten a glance fierce and fell. I wanted to feel the thoughts whose force he seemed breasting and resisting.

At the churchyard wicket he stopped; he discovered I was quite out of breath.

"Am I cruel in my love?" he said. "Delay an instant; lean on me, Jane."

And now I can recall the picture of the gray old house of God rising calm before me, of a rook wheeling around the steeple, of a ruddy morning sky beyond. I remember something, too, of the green grave-mounds; and I have not forgotten, either, two figures of strangers, straying among the low hillocks, and reading the mementos graven on the few mossy headstones. I noticed them because as they saw us they passed around to the back of the church; and I doubted not they were going to enter by the side aisle door and witness the ceremony. By Mr. Rochester they were not observed; he was earnestly looking at my face, from which the blood had, I dare say, momentarily fled; for I felt my forehead dewy and my cheeks and lips cold. When I rallied, which I soon did, he walked gently with me up the path to the porch.

We entered the quiet and humble temple; the priest waited in his white surplice at the lowly altar, the clerk beside him. All was still; two shadows only moved in a remote corner. My conjecture had been correct; the strangers had slipped in before us, and they now stood by the vault of the Rochesters, their backs toward us, viewing through the rails the old time-stained marble tomb, where a kneeling angel guarded the remains of Damer de Rochester, slain at Marston Moor in the time of the civil wars, and of Elizabeth his wife.

Our place was taken at the communion-rails. Hearing a cautious step behind me, I glanced over my shoulder; one of the strangers--a gentleman, evidently--was advancing up the chancel. The service began. The explanation of the intent of matrimony was gone through: and then the clergyman came a step farther forward, and bending slightly toward Mr. Rochester, went on:--

"I require and charge you both (as ye will answer at the dreadful day of judgment, when the secrets of all hearts shall be disclosed) that if either of you know any impediment why ye may not lawfully be joined together in matrimony, ye do now confess it; for be ye well assured that so many as are coupled together otherwise than God's word doth allow are not joined together by God, neither is their matrimony lawful."

He paused, as the custom is. When is the pause after that sentence ever broken by reply? Not, perhaps, once in a hundred years. And the clergyman, who had not lifted his eyes from his book, and had held his breath but for a moment, was proceeding; his hand was already stretched toward. Mr. Rochester, as his lips unclosed to ask, "Wilt thou have this woman for thy wedded wife?"--when a distinct and near voice said, "The marriage cannot go on: I declare the existence of an impediment."

The clergyman looked up at the speaker and stood mute: the clerk did the same; Mr. Rochester moved slightly, as if an earthquake had rolled under his feet; taking a firmer footing, and not turning his head or eyes, he said, "Proceed!"

Profound silence fell when he had uttered that word, with deep but low intonation. Presently Mr. Wood said, "I cannot proceed without some investigation into what has been asserted, and evidence of its truth or falsehood."

"The ceremony is quite broken off," subjoined the voice behind us. "I am in a condition to prove my allegation; an insuperable impediment to this marriage exists."

Mr. Rochester heard, but heeded not; he stood stubborn and rigid; making no movement but to possess himself of my hand. What a hot and strong grasp he had!--and how like quarried marble was his pale, firm, massive front at this moment! How his eye shone, still, watchful, and yet wild beneath!

Mr. Wood seemed at a loss. "What is the nature of the impediment?" he asked. "Perhaps it may be got over--explained away?"

"Hardly," was the answer: "I have called it insuperable, and I speak advisedly."

The speaker came forward and leaned on the rails. He continued, uttering each word distinctly, calmly, steadily, but not loudly.

"It simply consists in the existence of a previous marriage. Mr. Rochester has a wife now living."

My nerves vibrated to those low-spoken words as they had never vibrated to thunder; my blood felt their subtle violence as it had never felt frost or fire; but I was collected, and in no danger of swooning. I looked at Mr. Rochester; I made him look at me. His whole face was colorless rock; his eye was both spark and flint. He disavowed nothing; he seemed as if he would defy all things. Without speaking, without smiling, without seeming to recognize in me a human being, he only twined my waist with his arm and riveted me to his side.

"Who are you?" he asked of the intruder.

"My name is Briggs, a solicitor of ---- Street, London."

"And you would thrust on me a wife?"

"I would remind you of your lady's existence, sir, which the law recognizes if you do not."

"Favor me with an account of her--with her name, her parentage, her place of abode."

"Certainly." Mr. Briggs calmly took a paper from his pocket, and read out in a sort of official, nasal voice:--

"I affirm and can prove that on the 20th of October, A.D.--" (a date of fifteen years back), "Edward Fairfax Rochester, of Thornfield Hall, in the county of ----, and of Ferndean Manor, in ---- shire, England, was married to my sister, Bertha Antoinetta Mason, daughter of Jonas Mason, merchant, and of Antoinetta his wife, a Creole, at ---- church, Spanish Town, Jamaica. The record of the marriage will be found in the register of that church--a copy of it is now in my possession. Signed, Richard Mason."

"That, if a genuine document, may prove I have been married, but it does not prove that the woman mentioned therein as my wife is still living."

"She was living three months ago," returned the lawyer.

"How do you know?"

"I have a witness to the fact whose testimony even you, sir, will scarcely controvert."

"Produce him--or go to hell!"

"I will produce him first--he is on the spot: Mr. Mason, have the goodness to step forward."

Mr. Rochester, on hearing the name, set his teeth: he experienced, too, a sort of strong convulsive quiver; near to him as I was, I felt the spasmodic movement of fury or despair run through his frame.

The second stranger, who had hitherto lingered in the background, now drew near; a pale face looked over the solicitor's shoulder--yes, it was Mason himself. Mr. Rochester turned and glared at him. His eye, as I have often said, was a black eye--it had now a tawny, nay, a bloody light in its gloom; and his face flushed--olive cheek and hueless forehead received a glow, as from spreading, ascending heart-fire; and he stirred, lifted his strong arm; he could have struck Mason--dashed him on the church floor--shocked by ruthless blow the breath from his body; but Mason shrank away, and cried faintly, "Good God!" Contempt fell cool on Mr. Rochester--his passion died as if a blight had shriveled it up; he only asked, "What have you to say?"

An inaudible reply escaped Mason's white lips.

"The devil is in it if you cannot answer distinctly. I again demand, what have you to say?"

"Sir--sir," interrupted the clergyman, "do not forget you are in a sacred place." Then addressing Mason, he inquired gently, "Are you aware, sir, whether or not this gentleman's wife is still living?"

"Courage," urged the lawyer; "speak out."

"She is now living at Thornfield Hall," said Mason, in more articulate tones. "I saw her there last April. I am her brother."

"At Thornfield Hall!" ejaculated the clergyman. "Impossible! I am an old resident in this neighborhood, sir, and I never heard of a Mrs. Rochester at Thornfield Hall."

I saw a grim smile contort Mr. Rochester's lip, and he muttered, "No, by God! I took care that none should hear of it, or of her under that name." He mused; for ten minutes he held counsel with himself: he formed his resolve, and announced it:--"Enough; all shall bolt out at once, like a bullet from the barrel. Wood, close your book and take off your surplice; John Green" (to the clerk) "leave the church: there will be no wedding to-day." The man obeyed.

Mr. Rochester continued hardily and recklessly:--"Bigamy is an ugly word! I meant, however, to be a bigamist; but fate has out-manoeuvred me, or Providence has checked me--perhaps the last. I am little better than a devil at this moment; and as my pastor there would tell me, deserve no doubt the sternest judgments of God, even to the quenchless fire and deathless worm.

"Gentlemen, my plan is broken up! what this lawyer and his client say is true: I have been married, and the woman to whom I was married lives! You say you never heard of a Mrs. Rochester at the house up yonder, Wood; but I dare say you have many a time inclined your ear to gossip about the mysterious lunatic kept there under watch and ward. Some have whispered to you that she is my bastard half-sister; some, my cast-off mistress: I now inform you that she is my wife, whom I married fifteen years ago--Bertha Mason by name; sister of this resolute personage who is now, with his quivering limbs and white cheeks, showing you what a stout heart men may bear. Cheer up, Dick! never fear me! I'd almost as soon strike a woman as you. Bertha Mason is mad; and she came of a mad family--idiots and maniacs through three generations! Her mother, the Creole, was both a mad-woman and a drunkard!--as I found out after I had wed the daughter; for they were silent on family secrets before. Bertha, like a dutiful child, copied her parent in both points. I had a charming partner--pure, wise, modest; you can fancy I was a happy man. I went through rich scenes! Oh! my experience has been heavenly, if you only knew it! But I owe you no further explanation. Briggs, Wood, Mason, I invite you all to come up to the house and visit Mrs. Poole's patient, and my wife! You shall see what sort of a being I was cheated into espousing, and judge whether or not I had a right to break the compact, and seek sympathy with something at least human. This girl," he continued, looking at me, "knew no more than you, Wood, of the disgusting secret: she thought all was fair and legal, and never dreamed that she was going to be entrapped into a feigned union with a defrauded wretch, already bound to a bad, mad, and imbruted partner! Come, all of you, follow."

Still holding me fast, he left the church: the three gentlemen came after. At the front door of the hall we found the carriage.

"Take it back to the coach-house, John," said Mr. Rochester, coolly: "it will not be wanted to-day."

At our entrance, Mrs. Fairfax, Adèle, Sophie, Leah, advanced to meet and greet us.

"To the right-about--every soul!" cried the master: "away with your congratulations! Who wants them? Not I! they are fifteen years too late!"

He passed on and ascended the stairs, still holding my hand, and still beckoning the gentlemen to follow him; which they did. We mounted the first staircase, passed up the gallery, proceeded to the third story: the low black door, opened by Mr. Rochester's master-key, admitted us to the tapestried room, with its great bed and its pictorial cabinet.

"You know this place, Mason," said our guide; "she bit and stabbed you here."

He lifted the hangings from the wall, uncovering the second door; this too he opened. In a room without a window there burned a fire, guarded by a high and strong fender, and a lamp suspended from the ceiling by a chain. Grace Poole bent over the fire, apparently cooking something in a saucepan. In the deep shade, at the further end of the room, a figure ran backward and forward. What it was, whether beast or human being, one could not at first sight tell; it groveled, seemingly, on all fours; it snatched and growled like some strange wild animal; but it was covered with clothing; and a quantity of dark grizzled hair, wild as a mane, hid its head and face.

"Good morning, Mrs. Poole," said Mr. Rochester. "How are you? and how is your charge to-day?"

"We're tolerable, sir, I thank you," replied Grace, lifting the boiling mess carefully on to the hob: "rather snappish, but not 'rageous."

A fierce cry seemed to give the lie to her favorable report: the clothed hyena rose up, and stood tall on its hind feet.

"Ah, sir, she sees you!" exclaimed Grace: "you'd better not stay."

"Only a few moments, Grace; you must allow me a few moments."

"Take care then, sir! for God's sake, take care!"

The maniac bellowed; she parted her shaggy locks from her visage, and gazed wildly at her visitors. I recognized well that purple face--those bloated features. Mrs. Poole advanced.

"Keep out of the way," said Mr. Rochester, thrusting her aside; "she has no knife now, I suppose? and I'm on my guard."

"One never knows what she has, sir, she is so cunning; it is not in mortal discretion to fathom her craft."

"We had better leave her," whispered Mason.

"Go to the devil!" was his brother-in-law's recommendation.

"'Ware!" cried Grace. The three gentlemen retreated simultaneously. Mr. Rochester flung me behind him; the lunatic sprang and grappled his throat viciously, and laid her teeth to his cheek; they struggled. She was a big woman, in stature almost equaling her husband, and corpulent besides; she showed virile force in the contest--more than once she almost throttled him, athletic as he was. He could have settled her with a well-planted blow; but he would not strike her; he would only wrestle. At last he mastered her arms; Grace Poole gave him a cord, and he pinioned them behind her; with more rope, which was at hand, he bound her to a chair. The operation was performed amid the fiercest yells and the most convulsive plunges. Mr. Rochester then turned to the spectators; he looked at them with a smile both acrid and desolate.

"That is my wife," said he. "Such is the sole conjugal embrace I am ever to know--such are the endearments which are to solace my leisure hours! And this is what I wished to have" (laying his hand on my shoulder): "this young girl, who stands so grave and quiet at the mouth of hell, looking collectedly at the gambols of a demon. I wanted her just as a change, after that fierce ragoût. Wood and Briggs, look at the difference. Compare these clear eyes with the red balls yonder--this face with that mask--this form with that bulk; then judge me, priest of the Gospel and man of the law, and remember, with what judgment ye judge ye shall be judged! Off with you now: I must shut up my prize."

We all withdrew. Mr. Rochester stayed a moment behind us, to give some further order to Grace Poole. The solicitor addressed me as he descended the stair.

"You, madam," said he, "are cleared from all blame; your uncle will be glad to hear it--if indeed he should be still living--when Mr. Mason returns to Madeira."

"My uncle? What of him? Do you know him?"

"Mr. Mason does; Mr. Eyre has been the Funchal correspondent of his house for some years. When your uncle received your letter intimating the contemplated union between yourself and Mr. Rochester, Mr. Mason, who was staying at Madeira to recruit his health, on his way back to Jamaica happened to be with him. Mr. Eyre mentioned the intelligence; for he knew that my client here was acquainted with a gentleman of the name of Rochester. Mr. Mason, astonished and distressed, as you may suppose, revealed the real state of matters. Your uncle, I am sorry to say, is now on a sick-bed; from which, considering the nature of his disease--decline--and the stage it has reached, it is unlikely he will ever rise. He could not then hasten to England himself, to extricate you from the snare into which you had fallen, but he implored Mr. Mason to lose no time in taking steps to prevent the false marriage. He referred him to me for assistance, I used all dispatch, and am thankful I was not too late: as you, doubtless, must be also. Were I not morally certain that your uncle will be dead ere you reach Madeira, I would advise you to accompany Mr. Mason back; but as it is, I think you had better remain in England till you can hear further, either from or of Mr. Eyre. Have we anything else to stay for?" he inquired of Mr. Mason.

"No, no; let us be gone," was the anxious reply; and without waiting to take leave of Mr. Rochester, they made their exit at the hall door. The clergyman stayed to exchange a few sentences, either of admonition or reproof, with his haughty parishioner: this duty done, he too departed.

I heard him go as I stood at the half-open door of my own room, to which I had now withdrawn. The house cleared, I shut myself in, fastened the bolt that none might intrude, and proceeded--not to weep, not to mourn, I was yet too calm for that, but--mechanically to take off the wedding-dress, and replace if by the stuff gown I had worn yesterday, as I thought for the last time. I then sat down: I felt weak and tired. I leaned my arms on a table, and my head dropped on them. And now I thought: till now I had only heard, seen, moved--followed up and down where I was led or dragged--watched event rush on event, disclosure open beyond disclosure; but now I thought.

The morning had been a quiet morning enough--all except the brief scene with the lunatic. The transaction in the church had not been noisy; there was no explosion of passion, no loud altercation, no dispute, no defiance or challenge, no tears, no sobs: a few words had been spoken, a calmly pronounced objection to the marriage made; some stern, short questions put by Mr. Rochester; answers, explanations given, evidence adduced; an open admission of the truth had been uttered by my master: then the living proof had been seen; the intruders were gone, and all was over.

I was in my own room as usual--just myself, without obvious change; nothing had smitten me, or scathed me, or maimed me. And yet where was the Jane Eyre of yesterday? where was her life? where were her prospects?

Jane Eyre, who had been an ardent, expectant woman--almost a bride--was a cold, solitary girl again: her life was pale; her prospects were desolate. A Christmas frost had come at midsummer; a white December storm had whirled over June; ice glazed the ripe apples; drifts crushed the blowing roses; on hay-field and corn-field lay a frozen shroud; lanes which last night blushed full of flowers, to-day were pathless with untrodden snow; and the woods, which twelve hours since waved leafy and fragrant as groves between the tropics, now spread waste, wild, and white as pine forests in wintry Norway.

My hopes were all dead--struck with a subtle doom, such as in one night fell on all the first-born in the land of Egypt. I looked on my cherished wishes, yesterday so blooming and glowing; they lay stark, chill, livid corpses that could never revive. I looked at my love, that feeling which was my master's--which he had created: it shivered in my heart, like a suffering child in a cold cradle; sickness and anguish had seized it; it could not seek Mr. Rochester's arms--it could not derive warmth from his breast. Oh, never more could it turn to him; for faith was blighted--confidence destroyed! Mr. Rochester was not to me what he had been; for he was not what I had thought him. I would not ascribe vice to him; I would not say he had betrayed me: but the attribute of stainless truth was gone from his idea; and from his presence I must go; that I perceived well. When--how--whither, I could not yet discern; but he himself, I doubted not, would hurry me from Thornfield. Real affection, it seemed, he could not have for me; it had been only fitful passion; that was balked; he would want me no more. I should fear even to cross his path now: my view must be hateful to him. Oh, how blind had been my eyes! how weak my conduct!




MADAME BECK

(From 'Villette')

"You ayre Engliss?" said a voice at my elbow. I almost bounded, so unexpected was the sound; so certain had I been of solitude.

No ghost stood beside me, nor anything of spectral aspect; merely a motherly, dumpy little woman, in a large shawl, a wrapping-gown, and a clean, trim, nightcap.

I said I was English, and immediately, without further prelude, we fell to a most remarkable conversation. Madame Beck (for Madame Beck it was; she had entered by a little door behind me, and being shod with the shoes of silence, I had heard neither her entrance nor approach)--Madame Beck had exhausted her command of insular speech when she said "You ayre Engliss," and she now proceeded to work away volubly in her own tongue. I answered in mine. She partly understood me, but as I did not at all understand her--though we made together an awful clamor (anything like madame's gift of utterance I had not hitherto heard or imagined)--we achieved little progress. She rang, ere long, for aid; which arrived in the shape of a "maîtresse," who had been partly educated in an Irish convent, and was esteemed a perfect adept in the English language. A bluff little personage this maîtresse was--Labasse-courienne from top to toe: and how she did slaughter the speech of Albion! However, I told her a plain tale, which she translated. I told her how I had left my own country, intent on extending my knowledge and gaining my bread; how I was ready to turn my hand to any useful thing, provided it was not wrong or degrading: how I would be a child's nurse or a lady's-maid, and would not refuse even housework adapted to my strength. Madame heard this; and questioning her countenance, I almost thought the tale won her ear.

"Il n'y a que les Anglaises pour ces sortes d'entreprises," said she: "sont-elles done intrépides, ces femmes-là!"

She asked my name, my age; she sat and looked at me--not pityingly, not with interest: never a gleam of sympathy or a shade of compassion crossed her countenance during the interview. I felt she was not one to be led an inch by her feelings: grave and considerate, she gazed, consulting her judgment and studying my narrative....

In the dead of night I suddenly awoke. All was hushed, but a white figure stood in the room--Madame in her night-dress. Moving without perceptible sound, she visited the three children in the three beds; she approached me; I feigned sleep, and she studied me long. A small pantomime ensued, curious enough. I dare say she sat a quarter of an hour on the edge of my bed, gazing at my face. She then drew nearer, bent close over me; slightly raised my cap, and turned back the border so as to expose my hair; she looked at my hand lying on the bed-clothes. This done, she turned to the chair where my clothes lay; it was at the foot of the bed. Hearing her touch and lift them, I opened my eyes with precaution, for I own I felt curious to see how far her taste for research would lead her. It led her a good way: every article did she inspect. I divined her motive for this proceeding; viz., the wish to form from the garments a judgment respecting the wearer, her station, means, neatness, etc. The end was not bad, but the means were hardly fair or justifiable. In my dress was a pocket; she fairly turned it inside out; she counted the money in my purse; she opened a little memorandum-book, coolly perused its contents, and took from between the leaves a small plaited lock of Miss Marchmont's gray hair. To a bunch of three keys, being those of my trunk, desk, and work-box, she accorded special attention: with these, indeed, she withdrew a moment to her own room. I softly rose in my bed and followed her with my eye: these keys, reader, were not brought back till they had left on the toilet of the adjoining room the impress of their wards in wax. All being thus done decently and in order, my property was returned to its place, my clothes were carefully refolded. Of what nature were the conclusions deduced from this scrutiny? Were they favorable or otherwise? Vain question. Madame's face of stone (for of stone in its present night-aspect it looked: it had been human, and as I said before, motherly, in the salon) betrayed no response.

Her duty done--I felt that in her eyes this business was a duty--she rose, noiseless as a shadow: she moved toward her own chamber; at the door she turned, fixing her eyes on the heroine of the bottle, who still slept and loudly snored. Mrs. Svini (I presume this was Mrs. Svini, Anglicé or Hibernicé Sweeny)--Mrs. Sweeny's doom was in Madame Beck's eye--an immutable purpose that eye spoke: madame's visitations for shortcomings might be slow, but they were sure. All this was very un-English: truly I was in a foreign land....

When attired, Madame Beck appeared a personage of a figure rather short and stout, yet still graceful in its own peculiar way: that is, with the grace resulting from proportion of parts. Her complexion was fresh and sanguine, not too rubicund; her eye, blue and serene; her dark silk dress fitted her as a French sempstress alone can make a dress fit; she looked well, though a little bourgeoise, as bourgeoise indeed she was. I know not what of harmony pervaded her whole person; and yet her face offered contrast too: its features were by no means such as are usually seen in conjunction with a complexion of such blended freshness and repose: their outline was stern; her forehead was high but narrow; it expressed capacity and some benevolence, but no expanse; nor did her peaceful yet watchful eye ever know the fire which is kindled in the heart or the softness which flows thence. Her mouth was hard: it could be a little grim; her lips were thin. For sensibility and genius, with all their tenderness and temerity, I felt somehow that madame would be the right sort of Minos in petticoats.

In the long run, I found that she was something else in petticoats too. Her name was Modeste Maria Beck, née Kint: it ought to have been Ignacia. She was a charitable woman, and did a great deal of good. There never was a mistress whose rule was milder. I was told that she never once remonstrated with the intolerable Mrs. Sweeny [the heroine's predecessor], despite her tipsiness, disorder, and general neglect; yet Mrs. Sweeny had to go, the moment her departure became convenient. I was told too that neither masters nor teachers were found fault with in that establishment: yet both masters and teachers were often changed; they vanished and others filled their places, none could well explain how.

The establishment was both a pensionnat and an externat: the externes or day-pupils exceeded one hundred in number; the boarders were about a score. Madame must have possessed high administrative powers: she ruled all these, together with four teachers, eight masters, six servants, and three children, managing at the same time to perfection the pupil's parents and friends; and that without apparent effort, without bustle, fatigue, fever, or any symptom of undue excitement; occupied she always was--busy, rarely. It is true that madame had her own system for managing and regulating this mass of machinery; and a very pretty system it was: the reader has seen a specimen of it in that small affair of turning my pocket inside out and reading my private memoranda. Surveillance, espionnage, these were her watchwords.

Still, madame knew what honesty was, and liked it--that is, when it did not obtrude its clumsy scruples in the way of her will and interest. She had a respect for "Angleterre"; and as to "les Anglaises," she would have the women of no other country about her own children, if she could help it.

Often in the evening, after she had been plotting and counter-plotting, spying and receiving the reports of spies all day, she would come up to my room, a trace of real weariness on her brow, and she would sit down and listen while the children said their little prayers to me in English: the Lord's Prayer and the hymn beginning "Gentle Jesus," these little Catholics were permitted to repeat at my knee; and when I had put them to bed, she would talk to me (I soon gained enough French to be able to understand and even answer her) about England and Englishwomen, and the reason for what she was pleased to term their superior intelligence, and, more real and reliable probity. Very good sense she often showed; very sound opinions she often broached: she seemed to know that keeping girls in distrustful restraint, in blind ignorance, and under a surveillance that left them no moment and no corner for retirement, was not the best way to make them grow up honest and modest women; but she averred that ruinous consequences would ensue if any other method were tried with Continental children--they were so accustomed to restraint that relaxation, however guarded, would be misunderstood and fatally presumed on: she was sick, she would declare, of the means she had to use, but use them she must; and after discoursing, often with dignity and delicacy, to me, she would move away on her "souliers de silence," and glide ghost-like through the house, watching and spying everywhere, peering through every key-hole, listening behind every door.

After all, madame's system was not bad--let me do her justice. Nothing could be better than all her arrangements for the physical well-being of her scholars. No minds were overtasked; the lessons were well distributed and made incomparably easy to the learner; there was a liberty of amusement and a provision for exercise which kept the girls healthy; the food was abundant and good: neither pale nor puny faces were anywhere to be seen in the Rue Fossette. She never grudged a holiday; she allowed plenty of time for sleeping, dressing, washing, eating: her method in all these matters was easy, liberal, salutary, and rational; many an austere English schoolmistress would do vastly well to imitate it--and I believe many would be glad to do so, if exacting English parents would let them.

As Madame Beck ruled by espionage, she of course had her staff of spies; she perfectly knew the quality of the tools she used, and while she would not scruple to handle the dirtiest for a dirty occasion--flinging this sort from her like refuse rind? after the orange has been duly squeezed--I have known her fastidious in seeking pure metal for clean uses; and when once a bloodless and rustless instrument was found, she was careful of the prize, keeping it in silk and cotton-wool. Yet woe be to the man or woman who relied on her one inch beyond the point where it was her interest to be trustworthy; interest was the master-key of madame's nature--the mainspring of her motives--the alpha and omega of her life. I have seen her feelings appealed to, and I have smiled in half-pity, half-scorn at the appellants. None ever gained her ear through that channel, or swayed her purpose by that means. On the contrary, to attempt to touch her heart was the surest way to rouse her antipathy, and to make of her a secret foe. It proved to her that she had no heart to be touched: it reminded her where she was impotent and dead. Never was the distinction between charity and mercy better exemplified than in her. While devoid of sympathy, she had a sufficiency of rational benevolence: she would give in the readiest manner to people she had never seen--rather, however, to classes than to individuals. "Pour les pauvres" she opened her purse freely--against the poor man, as a rule, she kept it closed. In philanthropic schemes, for the benefit of society at large, she took a cheerful part; no private sorrow touched her: no force or mass of suffering concentrated in one heart had power to pierce hers. Not the agony of Gethsemane, not the death on Calvary, could have wrung from her eyes one tear.

I say again, madame was a very great and a very capable woman. That school offered for her powers too limited a sphere: she ought to have swayed a nation; she should have been the leader of a turbulent legislative assembly. Nobody could have browbeaten her, none irritated her nerves, exhausted her patience, or overreached her astuteness. In her own single person, she could have comprised the duties of a first minister and a superintendent of police. Wise, firm, faithless, secret, crafty, passionless; watchful and inscrutable; acute and insensate--withal perfectly decorous--what more could be desired?




A YORKSHIRE LANDSCAPE

From 'Shirley'

"Miss Keeldar, just stand still now, and look down at Nunneley dale and wood."

They both halted on the green brow of the Common. They looked down on the deep valley robed in May raiment; on varied meads, some pearled with daisies and some golden with kingcups: to-day all this young verdure smiled clear in sunlight; transparent emerald and amber gleams played over it. On Nunnwood--the sole remnant of antique British forest in a region whose lowlands were once all sylvan chase, as its highlands were breast-deep heather--slept the shadow of a cloud; the distant hills were dappled, the horizon was shaded and tinted like mother-of-pearl; silvery blues, soft purples, evanescent greens and rose-shades, all melting into fleeces of white cloud, pure as azury snow, allured the eye with a remote glimpse of heaven's foundations. The air blowing on the brow was fresh and sweet and bracing.

"Our England is a bonnie island," said Shirley, "and Yorkshire is one of her bonniest nooks."

"You are a Yorkshire girl too?"

"I am--Yorkshire in blood and birth. Five generations of my race sleep under the aisles of Briarfield Church: I drew my first breath in the old black hall behind us."

Hereupon Caroline presented her hand, which was accordingly taken and shaken. "We are compatriots," said she.

"Yes," agreed Shirley, with a grave nod.

"And that," asked Miss Keeldar, pointing to the forest--"that is Nunnwood?"

"It is."

"Were you ever there?"

"Many a time."

"In the heart of it?"

"Yes."

"What is it like?"

"It is like an encampment of forest sons of Anak. The trees are huge and old. When you stand at their roots, the summits seem in another region: the trunks remain still and firm as pillars, while the boughs sway to every breeze. In the deepest calm their leaves are never quite hushed, and in a high wind a flood rushes--a sea thunders above you."

"Was it not one of Robin Hood's haunts?"

"Yes, and there are mementos of him still existing. To penetrate into Nunnwood, Miss Keeldar, is to go far back into the dim days of old. Can you see a break in the forest, about the centre?"

"Yes, distinctly."

"That break is a dell--a deep hollow cup, lined with turf as green and short as the sod of this Common: the very oldest of the trees, gnarled mighty oaks, crowd about the brink of this dell; in the bottom lie the ruins of a nunnery.

"We will go--you and I alone, Caroline--to that wood, early some fine summer morning, and spend a long day there. We can take pencils and sketch-books, and any interesting reading-book we like; and of course we shall take something to eat. I have two little baskets, in which Mrs. Gill, my house-keeper, might pack our provisions, and we could each carry our own. It would not tire you too much to walk so far?"

"Oh, no; especially if we rested the whole day in the wood; and I know all the pleasantest spots. I know where we could get nuts in nutting time; I know where wild strawberries abound; I know certain lonely, quite untrodden glades, carpeted with strange mosses, some yellow as if gilded, some a sober gray, some gem-green. I know groups of trees that ravish the eye with their perfect, picture-like effects: rude oak, delicate birch, glossy beech, clustered in contrast; and ash-trees, stately as Saul, standing isolated; and superannuated wood-giants clad in bright shrouds of ivy."




THE END OF HEATHCLIFF

From Emily Bronté's 'Wuthering Heights'

For some days after that evening Mr. Heathcliff shunned meeting us at meals; yet he would not consent formally to exclude Hareton and Cathy. He had an aversion to yielding so completely to his feelings, choosing rather to absent himself; and eating once in twenty-four hours seemed sufficient sustenance for him.

One night, after the family were in bed, I heard him go down-stairs and out at the front door; I did not hear him re-enter, and in the morning I found he was still away. We were in April then, the weather was sweet and warm, the grass as green as showers and sun could make it, and the two dwarf apple-trees near the southern wall in full bloom.

After breakfast, Catherine insisted on my bringing a chair and sitting with my work under the fir-trees at the end of the house; and she beguiled Hareton, who had recovered from his accident, to dig and arrange her little garden, which was shifted to that corner by the influence of Joseph's complaints.

I was comfortably reveling in the spring fragrance around, and the beautiful soft blue overhead, when my young lady, who had run down near the gate to procure some primrose roots for a border, returned only half laden, and informed us that Mr. Heathcliff was coming in.

"And he spoke to me," she added with a perplexed look.

"What did he say?" asked Hareton.

"He told me to begone as fast as I could," she answered. "But he looked so different from his usual look that I stopped a moment to stare at him."

"How?" he inquired.

"Why, almost bright and cheerful--no, almost nothing--very much excited, and wild, and glad!" she replied.

"Night-walking amuses him, then," I remarked, affecting a careless manner; in reality as surprised as she was, and anxious to ascertain the truth of her statement--for to see the master looking glad would not be an every-day spectacle; I framed an excuse to go in.

Heathcliff stood at the open door--he was pale, and he trembled; yet certainly he had a strange joyful glitter in his eyes, that altered the aspect of his whole face.

"Will you have some breakfast?" I said. "You must be hungry, rambling about all night!"

I wanted to discover where he had been; but I did not like to ask directly.

"No, I'm not hungry," he answered, averting his head, and speaking rather contemptuously, as if he guessed I was trying to divine the occasion of his good humor.

I felt perplexed--I didn't know whether it were not a proper opportunity to offer a bit of admonition.

"I don't think it right to wander out of doors," I observed, "instead of being in bed; it is not wise, at any rate, this moist season. I daresay you'll catch a bad cold, or a fever--you have something the matter with you now!"

"Nothing but what I can bear," he replied, "and with the greatest pleasure, provided you'll leave me alone--get in, and don't annoy me."

I obeyed; and in passing, I saw he breathed as fast as a cat.

"Yes!" I reflected to myself, "we shall have a fit of illness. I cannot conceive what he has been doing!"

That noon he sat down to dinner with us, and received a heaped-up plate from my hands, as if he intended to make amends for previous fasting.

"I've neither cold nor fever, Nelly," he remarked, in allusion to my morning speech. "And I'm ready to do justice to the food you give me."

He took his knife and fork, and was going to commence eating, when the inclination appeared to become suddenly extinct. He laid them on the table, looked eagerly toward the window, then rose and went out. We saw him walking to and fro in the garden, while we concluded our meal; and Earnshaw said he'd go and ask why he would not dine; he thought we had grieved him some way.

"Well, is he coming?" cried Catherine, when he returned.

"Nay," he answered; "but he's not angry: he seemed rare and pleased indeed; only I made him impatient by speaking to him twice: and then he bid me be off to you; he wondered how I could want the company of anybody else."

I set his plate to keep warm on the fender; and after an hour or two he re-entered, when the room was clear, in no degree calmer: the same unnatural--it was unnatural!--appearance of joy under his black brows; the same bloodless hue; and his teeth visible now and then in a kind of smile; his frame shivering, not as one shivers with chill or weakness, but as a tight-stretched cord vibrates--a strong thrilling, rather than trembling.

"I will ask what is the matter," I thought, "or who should?" And I exclaimed, "Have you heard any good news, Mr. Heathcliff? You look uncommonly animated."

"Where should good news come from to me?" he said. "I'm animated with hunger; and seemingly I must not eat."

"Your dinner is here," I returned: "why won't you get it?"

"I don't want it now," he muttered hastily. "I'll wait till supper. And, Nelly, once for all, let me beg you to warn Hareton and the other away from me. I wish to be troubled by nobody--I wish to have this place to myself."

"Is there some new reason for this banishment?" I inquired. "Tell me why you are so queer, Mr. Heathcliff. Where were you last night? I'm not putting the question through idle curiosity, but--"

"You are putting the question through very idle curiosity," he interrupted, with a laugh. "Yet I'll answer it. Last night I was on the threshold of hell. To-day I am within sight of my heaven--I have my eyes on it--hardly three feet to sever me. And now you'd better go. You'll neither see nor hear anything to frighten you if you refrain from prying."

Having swept the hearth and wiped the table, I departed more perplexed than ever. He did not quit the house again that afternoon, and no one intruded on his solitude till at eight o'clock I deemed it proper, though unsummoned, to carry a candle and his supper to him.

He was leaning against the ledge of an open lattice, but not looking out; his face was turned to the interior gloom. The fire had smoldered to ashes; the room was filled with the damp, mild air of the cloudy evening; and so still, that not only the murmur of the beck down Gimmerton was distinguishable, but its ripples, and its gurgling over the pebbles, or through the large stones which it could not cover.

I uttered an ejaculation of discontent at seeing the dismal grate, and commenced shutting the casements, one after another, till I came to his.

"Must I close this?" I asked, in order to rouse him, for he would not stir.

The light flashed on his features as I spoke. O Mr. Lockwood, I cannot express what a terrible start I got by the momentary view! Those deep black eyes! That smile and ghastly paleness! It appeared to me not Mr. Heathcliff, but a goblin; and in my terror I let the candle bend toward the wall, and it left me in darkness.

"Yes, close it," he replied in his familiar voice. "There, that is pure awkwardness! Why did you hold the candle horizontally? Be quick, and bring another."

I hurried out in a foolish state of dread, and said to Joseph, "The master wishes you to take him a light and rekindle the fire." For I dare not go in myself again just then.

Joseph rattled some fire into the shovel and went; but he brought it back immediately, with the supper tray in his other hand, explaining that Mr. Heathcliff was going to bed, and he wanted nothing to eat till morning.

We heard him mount the stairs directly. He did not proceed to his ordinary chamber, but turned into that with the paneled bed; its window, as I mentioned before, is wide enough for anybody to get through, and it struck me that he plotted another midnight excursion, which he had rather we had no suspicion of.

"Is he a ghoul, or a vampire?" I mused. I had read of such hideous incarnate demons. And then I set myself to reflect how I had tended him in infancy, and watched him grow to youth, and followed him almost through his whole course, and what nonsense it was to yield to that sense of horror.

"But where did he come from, the little dark thing, harbored by a good man to his bane?" muttered Superstition, as I dozed into unconsciousness. And I began, half dreaming, to weary myself with imagining some fit parentage for him: and repeating my waking meditations I tracked his existence over again, with grim variations; at last picturing his death and funeral; of which all I can remember is being exceedingly vexed at having the task of dictating an inscription for his monument, and consulting the sexton about it; and as he had no surname, and we could not tell his age, we were obliged to content ourselves with the single word "Heathcliff." That came true--we were. If you enter the kirkyard, you'll read on his headstone only that, and the date of his death. Dawn restored me to common-sense. I rose, and went into the garden, as soon as I could see, to ascertain if there were any foot-marks under his window. There were none.

"He has staid at home," I thought, "and he'll be all right to-day!"

I prepared breakfast for the household, as was my usual custom, but told Hareton and Catherine to get theirs ere the master came down, for he lay late. They preferred taking it out of doors, under the trees, and I set a little table to accommodate them.

On my re-entrance I found Mr. Heathcliff below. He and Joseph were conversing about some farming business; he gave clear, minute directions concerning the matter discussed, but he spoke rapidly, and turned his head continually aside, and had the same excited expression, even more exaggerated.

When Joseph quitted the room, he took his seat in the place he generally chose, and I put a basin of coffee before him. He drew it nearer, and then rested his arms on the table, and looked at the opposite wall, as I supposed surveying one particular portion, up and down, with glittering, restless eyes, and with such eager interest that he stopped breathing during half a minute together.

"Come now," I exclaimed, pushing some bread against his hand, "eat and drink that while it is hot. It has been waiting near an hour."

He didn't notice me, and yet he smiled. I'd rather have seen him gnash his teeth than smile so.

"Mr. Heathcliff! master!" I cried. "Don't, for God's sake, stare as if you saw an unearthly vision."

"Don't, for God's sake, shout so loud," he replied. "Turn round and tell me, are we by ourselves?"

"Of course," was my answer, "of course we are!"

Still I involuntarily obeyed him, as if I were not quite sure. With a sweep of his hand he cleared a vacant space in front among the breakfast things, and leaned forward to gaze more at his ease.

Now I perceived he was not looking at the wall; for when I regarded him alone, it seemed exactly that he gazed at something within two yards' distance. And, whatever it was, it communicated apparently both pleasure and pain in exquisite extremes; at least the anguished yet raptured expression of his countenance suggested that idea.

The fancied object was not fixed either; his eyes pursued it with unwearied vigilance, and even in speaking to me, were never weaned away.

I vainly reminded him of his protracted abstinence from food. If he stirred to touch anything in compliance with my entreaties--if he stretched his hand out to get a piece of bread--his fingers clenched before they reached it, and remained on the table, forgetful of their aim.

I sat, a model of patience, trying to attract his absorbed attention from its engrossing speculation till he grew irritable and got up, asking why I would not allow him to have his own time in taking his meals? and saying that on the next occasion I needn't wait--I might set the things down and go. Having uttered these words, he left the house, slowly sauntered down the garden path, and disappeared through the gate.

The hours crept anxiously by: another evening came. I did not retire to rest till late, and when I did I could not sleep. He returned after midnight, and instead of going to bed, shut himself into the room beneath. I listened and tossed about, and finally dressed and descended. It was too irksome to lie up there, harassing my brain with a hundred idle misgivings.

I distinguished Mr. Heathcliff's step, restlessly measuring the floor; and he frequently broke the silence by a deep inspiration, resembling a groan. He muttered detached words also; the only one I could catch was the name of Catherine, coupled with some wild term of endearment or suffering, and spoken as one would speak to a person present--low and earnest, and wrung from the depth of his soul.

I had not courage to walk straight into the apartment; but I desired to divert him from his revery, and therefore fell foul of the kitchen fire; stirred it and began to scrape the cinders. It drew him forth sooner than I expected. He opened the door immediately, and said:--

"Nelly, come here--is it morning? Come in with your light."

"It is striking four," I answered; "you want a candle to take upstairs--you might have lighted one at this fire."

"No, I don't wish to go upstairs," he said. "Come in, and kindle me a fire, and do anything there is to do about the room."

"I must blow the coals red first, before I can carry any," I replied, getting a chair and the bellows.

He roamed to and fro, meantime, in a state approaching distraction, his heavy sighs succeeding each other so thick as to leave no space for common breathing between.

"When day breaks, I'll send for Green," he said; "I wish to make some legal inquiries of him, while I can bestow a thought on those matters, and while I can act calmly. I have not written my will yet, and how to leave my property I cannot determine! I wish I could annihilate it from the face of the earth."

"I would not talk so, Mr. Heathcliff," I interposed. "Let your will be a while--you'll be spared to repent of your many injustices yet! I never expected that your nerves would be disordered--they are, at present, marvelously so, however; and almost entirely through your own fault. The way you've passed these last three days might knock up a Titan. Do take some food and some repose. You need only look at yourself in a glass to see how you require both. Your cheeks are hollow and your eyes bloodshot, like a person starving with hunger and going blind with loss of sleep."

"It is not my fault that I cannot eat or rest," he replied. "I assure you it is through no settled designs. I'll do both as soon as I possibly can. But you might as well bid a man struggling in the water rest within arm's-length of the shore! I must reach it first, and then I'll rest. Well, never mind Mr. Green; as to repenting of my injustices, I've done no injustice, and I repent of nothing. I'm too happy, and yet I'm not happy enough. My soul's bliss kills my body, but does not satisfy itself."

"Happy, master?" I cried. "Strange happiness! If you would hear me without being angry, I might offer some advice that would make you happier."

"What is that?" he asked. "Give it."

"You are aware, Mr. Heathcliff," I said, "that from the time you were thirteen years old you have lived a selfish, unchristian life: and probably hardly had a Bible in your hands during all that period. You must have forgotten the contents of the book, and you may not have space to search it now. Could it be hurtful to send for some one--some minister of any denomination, it does not matter which--to explain it, and show you how very far you have erred from its precepts, and how unfit you will be for its heaven, unless a change takes place before you die?"

"I'm rather obliged than angry, Nelly," he said, "for you remind me of the manner that I desire to be buried in. It is to be carried to the churchyard in the evening. You and Hareton may, if you please, accompany me--and mind, particularly, to notice that the sexton obeys my directions concerning the two coffins! No minister need come; nor need anything be said over me. I tell you, I have nearly attained my heaven; and that of others is altogether unvalued and uncoveted by me!"

"And supposing you persevered in your obstinate fast, and died by that means, and they refused to bury you in the precincts of the kirk?" I said, shocked at his godless indifference. "How would you like it?"

"They won't do that," he replied; "if they did, you must have me removed secretly; and if you neglect it, you shall prove practically that the dead are not annihilated!"

As soon as he heard the other members of the family stirring, he retired to his den, and I breathed freer. But in the afternoon, while Joseph and Hareton were at their work, he came into the kitchen again, and with a wild look bid me come and sit in the house--he wanted somebody with him.

I declined, telling him plainly that his strange talk and manner frightened me, and I had neither the nerve nor the will to be his companion alone.

"I believe you think me a fiend!" he said, with his dismal laugh; "something too horrible to live under a decent roof!"

Then turning to Catherine, who was there, and who drew behind me at his approach, he added, half sneeringly:--

"Will you come, chuck? I'll not hurt you. No! to you I've made myself worse than the devil. Well, there is one who won't shrink from my company! By God! she's relentless. Oh, damn it! It's unutterably too much for flesh and blood to bear, even mine."

He solicited the society of no one more. At dusk he went into his chamber. Through the whole night, and far into the morning, we heard him groaning and murmuring to himself. Hareton was anxious to enter, but I bid him fetch Mr. Kenneth, and he should go in and see him.

When he came, and I requested admittance and tried to open the door, I found it locked; and Heathcliff bid us be damned. He was better, and would be left alone; so the doctor went away.

The following evening was very wet; indeed, it poured down till day-dawn; and as I took my morning walk round the house, I observed the master's window swinging open, and the rain driving straight in.

"He cannot be in bed," I thought: "those showers would drench him through! He must be either up or out. But I'll make no more ado; I'll go boldly, and look!"

Having succeeded in obtaining entrance with another key, I ran to unclose the panels, for the chamber was vacant--quickly pushing them aside, I peeped in. Mr. Heathcliff was there--laid on his back. His eyes met mine, so keen and fierce that I started; and then he seemed to smile.

I could not think him dead--but his face and throat were washed with rain; the bed-clothes dripped, and he was perfectly still. The lattice, flapping to and fro, had grazed one hand that rested on the sill--no blood trickled from the broken skin, and when I put my fingers to it I could doubt no more--he was dead and stark!

I hasped the window; I combed his long, black hair from his forehead; I tried to close his eyes--to extinguish, if possible, that frightful, lifelike exultation, before any one else beheld it. They would not shut--they seemed to sneer at my attempts, and his parted lips and sharp white teeth sneered too! Taken with another fit of cowardice, I cried out for Joseph. Joseph shuffled up and made a noise, but resolutely refused to meddle with him. "Th' divil's harried off his soul," he cried, "and he muh hev his carcass intuh t' bargain, for ow't aw care! Ech! what a wicked un he looks, grinning at death!" and the old sinner grinned in mockery.

I thought he intended to cut a caper round the bed; but suddenly composing himself, he fell on his knees and raised his hands, and returned thanks that the lawful master and the ancient stock were restored to their rights.

I felt stunned by the awful event; and my memory unavoidably recurred to former times with a sort of oppressive sadness. But poor Hareton, the most wronged, was the only one that really suffered much. He sat by the corpse all night, weeping in bitter earnest. He pressed its hand, and kissed the sarcastic, savage face that every one else shrank from contemplating; and bemoaned him with that strong grief which springs naturally from a generous heart, though it be tough as tempered steel.

Kenneth was perplexed to pronounce of what disorder the master died. I concealed the fact of his having swallowed nothing for four days, fearing it might lead to trouble; and then, I am persuaded, he did not abstain on purpose: it was the consequence of his strange illness, not the cause.

We buried him, to the scandal of the whole neighborhood, as he had wished. Earnshaw and I, the sexton, and six men to carry the coffin, comprehended the whole attendance.

The six men departed when they had let it down into the grave: we stayed to see it covered. Hareton, with a streaming face, dug green sods and laid them over the brown mold himself. At present it is as smooth and verdant as its companion mounds--and I hope its tenant sleeps as soundly. But the country folks, if you asked them, would swear on their Bibles that he walks. There are those who speak to having met him near the church, and on the moor, and even within this house. Idle tales, you'll say, and so say I. Yet that old man by the kitchen fire affirms he has seen "two on 'em" looking out of his chamber window on every rainy night since his death--and an odd thing happened to me about a month ago.

I was going to the grange one evening--a dark evening threatening thunder--and, just at the turn of the Heights, I encountered a little boy with a sheep and two lambs before him. He was crying terribly, and I supposed the lambs were skittish and would not be guided.

"What is the matter, my little man?" I asked.

"They's Heathcliff and a woman yonder, under t' nab," he blubbered, "un' aw darnut pass 'em."

I saw nothing, but neither the sheep nor he would go on, so I bid him take the road lower down. He probably raised the phantoms from thinking, as he traversed the moors alone, on the nonsense he had heard his parents and companions repeat; yet still I don't like being out in the dark now, and I don't like being left by myself in this grim house. I cannot help it; I shall be glad when they leave it and shift to the Grange!


"They are going to the Grange, then?" I said.

"Yes," answered Mrs. Dean, "as soon as they are married; and that will be on New Year's day."

"And who will live here then?"

"Why, Joseph will take care of the house, and perhaps a lad to keep him company. They will live in the kitchen, and the rest will be shut up."

"For the use of such ghosts as choose to inhabit it," I observed.

"No, Mr. Lockwood," said Nelly, shaking her head. "I believe the dead are at peace, but it is not right to speak of them with levity."

At that moment the garden gate swung to; the ramblers were returning.

"They are afraid of nothing," I grumbled, watching their approach through the window. "Together they would brave Satan and all his legions."

As they stepped upon the door-stones, and halted to take a last look at the moon, or more correctly at each other, by her light, I felt irresistibly impelled to escape them again; and pressing a remembrance into the hands of Mrs. Dean, and disregarding her expostulations at my rudeness, I vanished through the kitchen, as they opened the house-door; and so should have confirmed Joseph in his opinion of his fellow-servant's gay indiscretions, had he not fortunately recognized me for a respectable character by the sweet ring of a sovereign at his feet.

My walk home was lengthened by a diversion in the direction of the kirk. When beneath its walls, I perceived decay had made progress even in seven months--many a window showed black gaps deprived of glass; and slates jutted off, here and there, beyond the right line of the roof, to be gradually worked off in coming autumn storms.

I sought, and soon discovered, the three headstones on the slope next the moor--the middle one, gray, and half buried in the heath--Edgar Linton's only harmonized by the turf and moss creeping up its foot--Heathcliff's still bare.

I lingered round them, under that benign sky; watched the moths fluttering among the heath and harebells; listened to the soft wind breathing through the grass; and wondered how any one could ever imagine unquiet slumbers for the sleepers in that quiet earth.






PHILLIPS BROOKS

(1835-1893)


hillips Brooks was born in Boston, Massachusetts, December 13th, 1835, and died there January 23d, 1893. He inherited the best traditions of New England history, being on the paternal side the direct descendant of John Cotton, and his mother's name, Phillips, standing for high learning and distinction in the Congregational church. Born at a time when the orthodox faith was fighting its bitterest battle with Unitarianism, his parents accepted the dogmas of the new theology, and had him baptized by a Unitarian clergyman. But while refusing certain dogmas of the orthodox church, they were the more thrown back for spiritual support upon the internal evidences of evangelical Christianity. "Holding still," says the Rev. Arthur Brooks, "in a greater or less degree, and with more or less precision, to the old statements, they counted the great fact that these statements enshrined more precious truth than any other." Transition to the Episcopal church was easy; the mother became an Episcopalian, and Phillips Brooks received all his early training in that communion. But heredity had its influence, and in after-life the great Bishop said that the Episcopal church could reap the fruits of the long and bitter controversy which divided the New England church, only as it discerned the spiritual worth of Puritanism, and the value of its contributions to the history of religious thought and character.

Such were the early surroundings of the man, and the subsequent influences of his life tended to foster this liberal spirit. For such a purpose, Boston itself was a good place to live in: it was too large to be wholly provincial, and it was not so large that the individual was lost; and at that time it was moreover the literary centre of America. When Phillips Brooks entered Harvard, he came into an atmosphere of intense intellectual activity. James Walker was the president of the college, and Lowell, Holmes, Agassiz, and Longfellow were among the professors. He graduated with honor in 1855, and soon after entered the Episcopal theological seminary at Alexandria, Virginia.

The transition from Harvard to this college was an abrupt one. The standards of the North and South were radically different. The theology of the Church in Virginia, while tolerant to that of other denominations, was uncompromisingly hostile to what it regarded as heterodox.

When the War was declared he threw himself passionately into the cause of the Union. Yet his affection for his Southern classmates, men from whom he so widely differed, broadened that charity that was one of his finest characteristics, a charity that respected conviction wherever found.

No man, in truth, ever did so much to remove prejudice against a Church that had never been popular in New England. To the old Puritan dislike of Episcopacy and distrust of the English Church as that of the oppressors of the colony, was added a sense of resentment toward its sacerdotal claims and its assumption of ecclesiastical supremacy. But he nevertheless protested against the claim by his own communion to the title of "The American Church," he preached occasionally in other pulpits, he even had among his audiences clergymen of other denominations, and he was able to reconcile men of different creeds into concord on what is essential in all. The breadth and depth of his teaching attracted so large a following that he increased the strength of the Episcopal Church in America far more than he could have done by carrying on an active propaganda in its behalf. Under his pastorate Trinity Church, Boston, became the centre of some of the most vigorous Christian activity in America.

His first charge was the Church of the Advent, in Philadelphia; in two years he became rector of Holy Trinity Church in the same city. In 1869 he was called to Trinity Church, Boston, of which he was rector until his election as bishop of Massachusetts in 1891.

It is impossible to give an idea of Phillips Brooks without a word about his personality, which was almost contradictory. His commanding figure, his wit, the charm of his conversation, and a certain boyish gayety and naturalness, drew people to him as to a powerful magnet. He was one of the best known men in America; people pointed him out to strangers in his own city as they pointed out the Common and the Bunker Hill monument. When he went to England, where he preached before the Queen, men and women of all classes greeted him as a friend. They thronged the churches where he preached, not only to hear him but to see him. Many stories are told of him; some true, some more or less apocryphal, all proving the affectionate sympathy existing between him and his kind. It was said of him that as soon as he entered a pulpit he was absolutely impersonal. There was no trace of individual experience or theological conflict by which he might be labeled. He was simply a messenger of the truth as he held it, a mouthpiece of the gospel as he believed it had been delivered to him.



Although in his seminary days his sermons were described as vague and unpractical, Phillips Brooks was as great a preacher when under thirty years of age as he was at any later time. His early sermons, delivered to his first charge in Philadelphia, displayed the same individuality, the same force and completeness and clearness of construction, the same deep, strong undertone of religious thought, as his great discourses preached in Westminster Abbey six months before his death. His sentences are sonorous; his style was characterized by a noble simplicity, impressive, but without a touch showing that dramatic effect was strained for.

He passionately loved nature in all her aspects, and traveled widely in search of the picturesque; but he used his experience with reserve, and his illustrations are used to explain human life. His power of painting a picture in a few bold strokes appears strikingly in the great sermon on the 'Lesson of the Life of Saul,' where he contrasts early promise and final failure; and in that other not less remarkable presentation of the vision of Saint Peter. His treatment of Bible narratives is not a translation into the modern manner, nor is it an adaptation, but a poetical rendering, in which the flavor of the original is not lost though the lesson is made contemporary. And while he did not transcribe nature upon his pages, his sermons are not lacking in decoration. He used figures of speech and drew freely on history and art for illustrations, but not so much to elucidate his subject as to ornament it. His essays on social and literary subjects are written with the aim of directness of statement, pure and simple; but the stuff of which his sermons are woven is of royal purple.

The conviction that religious sentiment should penetrate the whole life showed itself in Phillips Brooks's relation to literature. "Truth bathed in light and uttered in love makes the new unit of power," he says in his essay on literature. It was his task to mediate between literature and theology, and restore theology to the place it lost through the abstractions of the schoolmen. What he would have done if he had devoted himself to literature alone, we can only conjecture by the excellence of his style in essays and sermons. They show his poetical temperament; and his little lyric 'O Little Town of Bethlehem' will be sung as long as Christmas is celebrated. His essays show more clearly even than his sermons his opinions on society, literature, and religion. They place him where he belongs, in that "small transfigured band the world cannot tame,"--the world of Cranmer, Jeremy Taylor, Robertson, Arnold, Maurice. His paper on Dean Stanley discloses his theological views as openly as do his addresses on 'Heresies and Orthodoxy.'

As might be expected of one who, in the word's best sense, was so thoroughly a man, he had great influence with young men and was one of the most popular of Harvard preachers. It was his custom for thirty alternate years to go abroad in the summer, and there, as in America, he was regarded as a great pulpit orator. He took a large view of social questions and was in sympathy with all great popular movements. His advancement to the episcopate was warmly welcomed by all parties, except one branch of his own church with which his principles were at variance, and every denomination delighted in his elevation as if he were the peculiar property of each.

He published several volumes of sermons. His works include 'Lectures on Preaching' (New York, 1877), 'Sermons' (1878-81), 'Bohlen Lectures' (1879), 'Baptism and Confirmation' (1880), 'Sermons Preached in English Churches' (1883), 'The Oldest Schools in America' (Boston, 1885), 'Twenty Sermons' (New York, 1886), 'Tolerance' (1887), 'The Light of the World, and Other Sermons' (1890), and 'Essays and Addresses' (1894). His 'Letters of Travel' show him to be an accurate observer, with a large fund of spontaneous humor. No letters to children are so delightful as those in this volume.




     O LITTLE TOWN OF BETHLEHEM


     O little town of Bethlehem,
       How still we see thee lie!
     Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
       The silent stars go by.
     Yet in thy dark streets shineth
       The everlasting Light;
     The hopes and fears of all the years
       Are met in thee to-night.

     O morning stars, together
       Proclaim the holy birth!
     And praises sing to God the King,
       And peace to men on earth.
     For Christ is born of Mary,
       And gathered all above;
     While mortals sleep the angels keep
       Their watch of wondering love.

     How silently, how silently,
       The wondrous gift is given!
     So God imparts to human hearts
       The blessings of his heaven.
     No ear may hear his coming;
       But in this world of sin,
     Where meek souls will receive him still,
       The dear Christ enters in.

     Where children pure and happy
       Pray to the blessèd Child,
     Where Misery cries out to thee,
       Son of the Mother mild;
     Where Charity stands watching,
       And Faith holds wide the door,
     The dark night wakes; the glory breaks,
       And Christmas comes once more.

     O holy Child of Bethlehem,
       Descend to us, we pray!
     Cast out our sin and enter in;
       Be born in us to-day.
     We hear the Christmas angels
       The great glad tidings tell;
     O come to us, abide with us,
       Our Lord Emmanuel!

     Copyrighted by E.P. Dutton and Company, New York.


The Holy Child of Bethlehem


Photogravure from a Painting by H. Havenith.

"Where children pure and happy
  Pray to the blessed Child."



PERSONAL CHARACTER

From 'Essays and Addresses'

As one looks around the world, and as one looks around our own land to-day, he sees that the one thing we need in high places--the thing whose absence, among those who hold the reins of highest power, is making us all anxious with regard to the progress of the country--is personal character. The trouble is not what we hold to be mistaken ideas with regard to policies of government, but it is the absence of lofty and unselfish character. It is the absence of the complete consecration of a man's self to the public good; it is the willingness of men to bring their personal and private spites into spheres whose elevation ought to shame such things into absolute death; the tendencies of men, even of men whom the nation has put in very high places indeed, to count those high places their privileges, and to try to draw from them, not help for humanity and the community over which they rule, but their own mean personal private advantage.

If there is any power that can elevate human character: if there is any power which, without inspiring men with a supernatural knowledge with regard to policies of government; without making men solve all at once, intuitively, the intricacies of problems of legislation with which they are called upon to deal; without making men see instantly to the very heart of every matter; if there is any power which could permeate to the very bottom of our community, which would make men unselfish and true--why, the errors of men, the mistakes men might make in their judgment, would not be an obstacle in the way of the progress of this great nation in the work which God has given her to do. They would make jolts, but nothing more. Or in the course which God has appointed her to run she would go to her true results. There is no power that man has ever seen that can abide; there is no power of which man has ever dreamed that can regenerate human character except religion; and till the Christian religion, which is the religion of this land--till the Christian religion shall have so far regenerated human character in this land that multitudes of men shall act under its high impulses and principles, so that the men who are not inspired with them shall be shamed at least into an outward conformity with them, there is no security for the great final continuance of the nation.

Copyrighted by E.P. Dutton and Company, New York.




THE COURAGE OF OPINIONS

From 'Essays and Addresses'

We have spoken of physical courage, or the courage of nerves; of moral courage, or the courage of principles. Besides these there is intellectual courage, or the courage of opinions. Let me say a few words upon that, for surely there is nothing which we more need to understand.

The ways in which people form their opinions are most remarkable. Every man, when he begins his reasonable life, finds certain general opinions current in the world. He is shaped by these opinions in one way or another, either directly or by reaction. If he is soft and plastic, like the majority of people, he takes the opinions that are about him for his own. If he is self-asserting and defiant, he takes the opposite of these opinions and gives to them his vehement adherence. We know the two kinds well, and as we ordinarily see them, the fault which is at the root of both is intellectual cowardice. One man clings servilely to the old ready-made opinions which he finds, because he is afraid of being called rash and radical; another rejects the traditions of his people from fear of being thought fearful, and timid, and a slave. The results are very different: one is the tame conservative and the other is the fiery iconoclast; but I beg you to see that the cause in both cases is the same. Both are cowards. Both are equally removed from that brave seeking of the truth which is not set upon either winning or avoiding any name, which will take no opinion for the sake of conformity and reject no opinion for the sake of originality; which is free, therefore--free to gather its own convictions, a slave neither to any compulsion nor to any antagonism. Tell me, have you never seen two teachers, one of them slavishly adopting old methods because he feared to be called "imitator," the other crudely devising new plans because he was afraid of seeming conservative, both of them really cowards, neither of them really thinking out his work? ...

The great vice of our people in their relation to the politics of the land is cowardice. It is not lack of intelligence: our people know the meaning of political conditions with wonderful sagacity. It is not low morality: the great mass of our people apply high standards to the acts of public men. But it is cowardice. It is the disposition of one part of our people to fall in with current ways of working, to run with the mass; and of another part to rush headlong into this or that new scheme or policy of opposition, merely to escape the stigma of conservatism.




LITERATURE AND LIFE

From 'Essays and Addresses'

Life comes before literature, as the material always comes before the work. The hills are full of marble before the world blooms with statues. The forests are full of trees before the sea is thick with ships. So the world abounds in life before men begin to reason and describe and analyze and sing, and literature is born. The fact and the action must come first. This is true in every kind of literature. The mind and its workings are before the metaphysician. Beauty and romance antedate the poet. The nations rise and fall before the historian tells their story. Nature's profusion exists before the first scientific book is written. Even the facts of mathematics must be true before the first diagram is drawn for their demonstration.

To own and recognize this priority of life is the first need of literature. Literature which does not utter a life already existent, more fundamental than itself, is shallow and unreal. I had a schoolmate who at the age of twenty published a volume of poems called 'Life-Memories.' The book died before it was born. There were no real memories, because there had been no life. So every science which does not utter investigated fact, every history which does not tell of experience, every poetry which is not based upon the truth of things, has no real life. It does not perish; it is never born. Therefore men and nations must live before they can make literature. Boys and girls do not write books. Oregon and Van Diemen's Land produce no literature: they are too busy living. The first attempts at literature of any country, as of our own, are apt to be unreal and imitative and transitory, because life has not yet accumulated and presented itself in forms which recommend themselves to literature. The wars must come, the clamorous problems must arise, the new types of character must be evolved, the picturesque social complication must develop, a life must come, and then will be the true time for a literature.... Literature grows feeble and conceited unless it ever recognizes the priority and superiority of life, and stands in genuine awe before the greatness of the men and of the ages which have simply lived.






CHARLES BROCKDEN BROWN

(1771-1810)


ot only was Brockden Brown the first American man-of-letters proper,--one writing for a living before we had any real literature of our own,--but his work possessed a genuine power and originality which gives it some claim to remembrance for its own sake. And it is fair always to remember that a given product from a pioneer indicates a far greater endowment than the same from one of a group in a more developed age. The forerunner lacks not one thing only, but many things, which help his successors. He lacks the mental friction from, the emulation of, the competition with, other writers; he lacks the stimulus and comfort of sympathetic companionship; he lacks an audience to spur him on, and a market to work for; lacks labor-saving conventions, training, and an environment that heartens him instead of merely tolerating him. Like Robinson Crusoe, he must make his tools before he can use them. A meagre result may therefore be a proof of great abilities.


Charles B. Brown

The United States in 1800 was mentally and morally a colony of Great Britain still. A few hundred thousand white families scattered over about as many square miles of territory, much of it refractory wilderness with more refractory inhabitants; with no cities of any size, and no communication save by wretched roads or by sailing vessels; no rich old universities for centres of culture, and no rich leisured society to enjoy it; the energies of the people perforce absorbed in subduing material obstacles, or solidifying a political experiment disbelieved in by the very men who organized it;--neither time nor materials existed then for an independent literary life, which is the growth of security and comfort and leisure if it embraces a whole society, or of endowed college foundations and an aristocracy if it is only of the few. Hence American society took its literary meals at the common table of the English-speaking race, with little or no effort at a separate establishment. There was much writing, but mostly polemic or journalistic. When real literature was attempted, it consisted in general of imitations of British essays, or fiction, or poetry; and in the last two cases not even imitations of the best models in either. The essays were modeled on Addison; the poetry on the heavy imitators of Pope's heroics; the fiction either on the effusive sentimentalists who followed Richardson, or on the pseudo-Orientalists like Walpole and Lewis, or on the pseudo-mediævalists like Mrs. Roche and Mrs. Radcliffe. This sort of work filled the few literary periodicals of the day, but was not read enough to make such publications profitable even then, and is pretty much all unreadable now.

Charles Brockden Brown stands in marked contrast to these second-hand weaklings, not only by his work but still more by his method and temper. In actual achievement he did not quite fulfill the promise of his early books, and cannot be set high among his craft. He was an inferior artist; and though he achieved naturalism of matter, he clung to the theatrical artificiality of style which was in vogue. But if he had broken away from all traditions, he could have gained no hearing whatever; he died young--twenty years more might have left him a much greater figure; and he wrought in disheartening loneliness of spirit. His accomplishment was that of a pioneer. He was the first American author to see that the true field for his fellows was America and not Europe. He realized, as the genius of Châteaubriand realized at almost the same moment, the artistic richness of the material which lay to hand in the silent forest vastnesses, with their unfamiliar life of man and beast, and their possibilities of mystery enough to satisfy the most craving. He was not the equal of the author of 'The Natchez' and 'Atala'; but he had a fresh and daring mind. He turned away from both the emotional orgasms and the stage claptrap of his time, to break ground for all future American novelists. He antedated Cooper in the field of Indian life and character; and he entered the regions of mystic supernaturalism and the disordered human brain in advance of Hawthorne and Poe.

That his choice of material was neither chance nor blind instinct, but deliberate judgment and insight, is shown by the preface to 'Edgar Huntly,' in which he sets forth his views:--

"America has opened new views to the naturalist and politician, but has seldom furnished themes to the moral-pointer. That new springs of action and new motives of curiosity should operate, that the field of investigation opened to us by our own country should differ essentially from those which exist in Europe, may be readily conceived. The sources of amusement to the fancy and instruction to the heart that are peculiar to ourselves are equally numerous and inexhaustible. It is the purpose of this work to profit by some of these sources, to exhibit a series of adventures growing out of the conditions of our country, and connected with one of the most common and wonderful diseases of the human frame. Puerile superstition and exploded manners, Gothic castles and chimeras, are the materials usually employed for this end. The incidents of Indian hostility and the perils of the Western wilderness are far more suitable, and for a native of America to overlook these would admit of no apology. These therefore are in part the ingredients of this tale."

Brown's was an uneventful career. He was much given to solitary rambles and musings, varied by social intercourse with a few congenial friends and the companionship of his affectionate family, and later, many hours spent at his writing-desk or in an editorial chair.

He was born January 17th, 1771, in Philadelphia, of good Quaker stock. A delicate boyhood, keeping him away from the more active life of youths of his own age, fostered, a love for solitude and a taste for reading. He received a good classical education; but poor health prevented him from pursuing his studies at college. At his family's wish he entered a law office instead; but the literary instinct was strong within him. Literature at this time was scarcely considered a profession. Magazine circulations were too limited for publishers to pay for contributions, and all an author usually got or expected to get was some copies to distribute among his friends. To please his prudent home circle, Brown dallied for a while with the law; but a visit to New York, where he was cordially received by the members of the "Friendly Club," opened up avenues of literary work to him, and he removed to New York in 1796 to devote himself to it.

The first important work he produced was 'Wieland: or the Transformation' (1798). It shows at the outset Brown's characteristic traits--independence of British materials and methods. It is in substance a powerful tale of ventriloquism operating on an unbalanced and superstitious mind. Its psychology is acute and searching; the characterization realistic and effective. His second book, 'Ormond: or the Secret Witness' (1799), does not reach the level of 'Wieland.' It is more conventional, and not entirely independent of foreign models, especially Godwin, whom Brown greatly admired. A rapid writer, he soon had the MS. of his next novel in the hands of the publisher. The first part of 'Arthur Mervyn: or Memoirs of the Year 1793' came out in 1799, and the second part in 1800. It is the best known of his six novels. Though the scene is laid in Philadelphia, Brown embodied in it his experience of the yellow fever which raged in New York in 1799. The passage describing this epidemic can stand beside Defoe's or Poe's or Manzoni's similar descriptions, for power in setting forth the horrors of the plague.

In the same year with the first volume of 'Arthur Mervyn' appeared 'Edgar Huntly: or Memoirs of a Sleep-Walker.' Here he deals with the wild life of nature, the rugged solitudes, and the redskins, the field in which he was followed by Cooper. A thrilling scene in which a panther is chief actor was long familiar to American children in their school reading-books.

In 1801 came out his last two novels, 'Clara Howard: In a Series of Letters,' and 'Jane Talbot.' They are a departure from his previous work: instead of dealing with uncanny subjects they treat of quiet domestic and social life. They show also a great advance on his previous books in constructive art. In 1799 Brown became editor of the Monthly Magazine and American Review, and contributed largely to it.

In the autumn of 1801 he returned to Philadelphia, to assume the editorship of Conrad's Literary Magazine and American Review. The duties of this office suspended his own creative work, and he did not live to take up again the novelist's stylus. In 1806 he became editor of the Annual Register. His genuine literary force is best proved by the fact that whatever periodical he took in charge, he raised its standard of quality and made it a success for the time.

He died in February, 1810. The work to which he had given the greater part of his time and strength, especially toward the end of his life, was in its nature not only transitory, but not of a sort to keep his name alive. The magazines were children of a day, and the editor's repute as such could hardly survive them long. The fame which belongs to Charles Brockden Brown, grudgingly accorded by a country that can ill afford to neglect one of its earliest, most devoted, and most original workers, rests on his novels. Judged by standards of the present day, these are far from faultless. The facts are not very coherent, the diction is artificial in the fashion of the day. But when all is said, Brown was a rare story-teller; he interested his readers by the novelty of his material, and he was quite objective in its treatment, never obtruding his own personality. 'Wieland,' 'Edgar Huntly,' and 'Arthur Mervyn,' the trilogy of his best novels, are not to be contemned; and he has the distinction of being in very truth the pioneer of American letters.




WIELAND'S STATEMENT


Theodore Wieland, the prisoner at the bar, was now called upon for his defense. He looked around him for some time in silence, and with a mild countenance. At length he spoke:--

It is strange: I am known to my judges and my auditors. Who is there present a stranger to the character of Wieland? Who knows him not as a husband, as a father, as a friend? Yet here am I arraigned as a criminal. I am charged with diabolical malice; I am accused of the murder of my wife and my children!

It is true, they were slain by me; they all perished by my hand. The task of vindication is ignoble. What is it that I am called to vindicate? and before whom?

You know that they are dead, and that they were killed by me. What more would you have? Would you extort from me a statement of my motives? Have you failed to discover them already? You charge me with malice: but your eyes are not shut; your reason is still vigorous; your memory has not forsaken you. You know whom it is that you thus charge. The habits of his life are known to you; his treatment of his wife and his offspring is known to you; the soundness of his integrity and the unchangeableness of his principles are familiar to your apprehension: yet you persist in this charge! You lead me hither manacled as a felon; you deem me worthy of a vile and tormenting death!

Who are they whom I have devoted to death? My wife--the little ones that drew their being from me--that creature who, as she surpassed them in excellence, claimed a larger affection than those whom natural affinities bound to my heart. Think ye that malice could have urged me to this deed? Hide your audacious fronts from the scrutiny of heaven. Take refuge in some cavern unvisited by human eyes. Ye may deplore your wickedness or folly, but ye cannot expiate it.

Think not that I speak for your sakes. Hug to your hearts this detestable infatuation. Deem me still a murderer, and drag me to untimely death. I make not an effort to dispel your illusion; I utter not a word to cure you of your sanguinary folly: but there are probably some in this assembly who have come from far; for their sakes, whose distance has disabled them from knowing me, I will tell what I have done, and why.

It is needless to say that God is the object of my supreme passion. I have cherished in his presence a single and upright heart. I have thirsted for the knowledge of his will. I have burnt with ardor to approve my faith and my obedience. My days have been spent in searching for the revelation of that will; but my days have been mournful, because my search failed. I solicited direction; I turned on every side where glimmerings of light could be discovered. I have not been wholly uninformed; but my knowledge has always stopped short of certainty. Dissatisfaction has insinuated itself into all my thoughts. My purposes have been pure, my wishes indefatigable; but not till lately were these purposes thoroughly accomplished and these wishes fully gratified.

I thank Thee, my Father, for Thy bounty; that Thou didst not ask a less sacrifice than this; that Thou placedst me in a condition to testify my submission to Thy will! What have I withheld which it was Thy pleasure to exact? Now may I, with dauntless and erect eye, claim my reward, since I have given Thee the treasure of my soul.

I was at my own house; it was late in the evening; my sister had gone to the city, but proposed to return. It was in expectation of her return that my wife and I delayed going to bed beyond the usual hour; the rest of the family, however, were retired. My mind was contemplative and calm--not wholly devoid of apprehension on account of my sister's safety. Recent events, not easily explained, had suggested the existence of some danger; but this danger was without a distinct form in our imagination, and scarcely ruffled our tranquillity.

Time passed, and my sister did not arrive. Her house is at some distance from mine, and though her arrangements had been made with a view of residing with us, it was possible that through forgetfulness, or the occurrence of unforeseen emergencies, she had returned to her own dwelling.

Hence it was conceived proper that I should ascertain the truth by going thither. I went. On my way my mind was full of those ideas which related to my intellectual condition. In the torrent of fervid conceptions I lost sight of my purpose. Sometimes I stood still; sometimes I wandered from my path, and experienced some difficulty, on recovering from my fit of musing, to regain it.

The series of my thoughts is easily traced. At first every vein beat with raptures known only to the man whose parental and conjugal love is without limits, and the cup of whose desires, immense as it is, overflows with gratification. I know not why emotions that were perpetual visitants should now have recurred with unusual energy. The transition was not new from sensations of joy to a consciousness of gratitude. The Author of my being was likewise the dispenser of every gift with which that being was embellished. The service to which a benefactor like this was entitled could not be circumscribed. My social sentiments were indebted to their alliance with devotion for all their value. All passions are base, all joys feeble, all energies malignant, which are not drawn from this source.

For a time my contemplations soared above earth and its inhabitants. I stretched forth my hands; I lifted my eyes, and exclaimed, "Oh, that I might be admitted to thy presence! that mine were the supreme delight of knowing Thy will and of performing it!--the blissful privilege of direct communication with Thee, and of listening to the audible enunciation of Thy pleasure!

"What task would I not undertake, what privation would I not cheerfully endure, to testify my love of Thee? Alas! Thou hidest Thyself from my view; glimpses only of Thy excellence and beauty are afforded me. Would that a momentary emanation from Thy glory would visit me! that some unambiguous token of Thy presence would salute my senses!"

In this mood I entered the house of my sister. It was vacant. Scarcely had I regained recollection of the purpose that brought me hither. Thoughts of a different tendency had such an absolute possession of my mind, that the relations of time and space were almost obliterated from my understanding. These wanderings, however, were restrained, and I ascended to her chamber. I had no light, and might have known by external observation that the house was without any inhabitant. With this, however, I was not satisfied. I entered the room, and the object of my search not appearing, I prepared to return. The darkness required some caution in descending the stair. I stretched out my hand to seize the balustrade, by which I might regulate my steps. How shall I describe the lustre which at that moment burst upon my vision?

I was dazzled. My organs were bereaved of their activity. My eyelids were half closed, and my hands withdrawn from the balustrade. A nameless fear chilled my veins, and I stood motionless. This irradiation did not retire or lessen. It seemed as if some powerful effulgence covered me like a mantle. I opened my eyes and found all about me luminous and glowing. It was the element of heaven that flowed around. Nothing but a fiery stream was at first visible; but anon a shrill voice from behind called upon me to attend.

I turned. It is forbidden to describe what I saw: words, indeed, would be wanting to the task. The lineaments of that Being whose veil was now lifted and whose visage beamed upon my sight, no hues of pencil or of language can portray. As it spoke, the accents thrilled to my heart:--"Thy prayers are heard. In proof of thy faith, render me thy wife. This is the victim I choose. Call her hither, and here let her fall." The sound and visage and light vanished at once.

What demand was this? The blood of Catharine was to be shed! My wife was to perish by my hand! I sought opportunity to attest my virtue. Little did I expect that a proof like this would have been demanded.

"My wife!" I exclaimed: "O God! substitute some other victim. Make me not the butcher of my wife. My own blood is cheap. This will I pour out before Thee with a willing heart; but spare, I beseech Thee, this precious life, or commission some other than her husband to perform the bloody deed."

In vain. The conditions were prescribed; the decree had gone forth, and nothing remained but to execute it. I rushed out of the house and across the intermediate fields, and stopped not till I entered my own parlor. My wife had remained here during my absence, in anxious expectation of my return with some tidings of her sister. I had none to communicate. For a time I was breathless with my speed. This, and the tremors that shook my frame, and the wildness of my looks, alarmed her. She immediately suspected some disaster to have happened to her friend, and her own speech was as much overpowered by emotion as mine. She was silent, but her looks manifested her impatience to hear what I had to communicate. I spoke, but with so much precipitation as scarcely to be understood; catching her at the same time by the arm, and forcibly pulling her from her seat.

"Come along with me; fly; waste not a moment; time will be lost, and the deed will be omitted. Tarry not, question not, but fly with me."

This deportment added afresh to her alarms. Her eyes pursued mine, and she said, "What is the matter? For God's sake, what is the matter? Where would you have me go?"

My eyes were fixed upon her countenance while she spoke. I thought upon her virtues; I viewed her as the mother of my babes; as my wife. I recalled the purpose for which I thus urged her attendance. My heart faltered, and I saw that I must rouse to this work all my faculties. The danger of the least delay was imminent.

I looked away from her, and, again exerting my force, drew her toward the door. "You must go with me; indeed you must."

In her fright she half resisted my efforts, and again exclaimed, "Good heaven! what is it you mean? Where go? What has happened? Have you found Clara?"

"Follow me and you will see," I answered, still urging her reluctant steps forward.

"What frenzy has seized you? Something must needs have happened. Is she sick? Have you found her?"

"Come and see. Follow me and know for yourself."

Still she expostulated and besought me to explain this mysterious behavior. I could not trust myself to answer her, to look at her; but grasping her arm, I drew her after me. She hesitated, rather through confusion of mind than from unwillingness to accompany me. This confusion gradually abated, and she moved forward, but with irresolute footsteps and continual exclamations of wonder and terror. Her interrogations of "What was the matter?" and "Whither was I going?" were ceaseless and vehement.

It was the scope of my efforts not to think; to keep up a conflict and uproar in my mind in which all order and distinctness should be lost; to escape from the sensations produced by her voice. I was therefore silent. I strove to abridge this interval by haste, and to waste all my attention in furious gesticulations.

In this state of mind we reached my sister's door. She looked at the windows and saw that all was desolate. "Why come we here? There is nobody here. I will not go in."

Still I was dumb; but, opening the door, I drew her into the entry. This was the allotted scene; here she was to fall. I let go her hand, and pressing my palms against my forehead, made one mighty effort to work up my soul to the deed.

In vain; it would not be; my courage was appalled, my arms nerveless. I muttered prayers that my strength might be aided from above. They availed nothing.

Horror diffused itself over me. This conviction of my cowardice, my rebellion, fastened upon me, and I stood rigid and cold as marble. From this state I was somewhat relieved by my wife's voice, who renewed her supplications to be told why we come hither and what was the fate of my sister....

The fellness of a gloomy hurricane but faintly resembled the discord that reigned in my mind. To omit this sacrifice must not be; yet my sinews had refused to perform it. No alternative was offered. To rebel against the mandate was impossible; but obedience would render me the executioner of my wife. My will was strong, but my limbs refused their office.

That accents and looks so winning should disarm me of my resolution was to be expected. My thoughts were thrown anew into anarchy. I spread my hand before my eyes that I might not see her, and answered only by groans. She took my other hand between hers, and pressing it to her heart, spoke with that voice which had ever swayed my will and wafted away sorrow:--

"My friend! my soul's friend! tell me thy cause of grief. Do I not merit to partake with thee in thy cares? Am I not thy wife?"

This was too much. I broke from her embrace and retired to a corner of the room. In this pause, courage was once more infused into me. I resolved to execute my duty. She followed me, and renewed her passionate entreaties to know the cause of my distress. I raised my head and regarded her with steadfast looks. I muttered something about death, and the injunctions of my duty. At these words she shrunk back, and looked at me with a new expression of anguish. After a pause, she clasped her hands, and exclaimed:---

"O Wieland! Wieland! God grant that I am mistaken! but something surely is wrong. I see it; it is too plain; thou art undone--lost to me and to thyself." At the same time she gazed on my features with intensest anxiety, in hope that different symptoms would take place. I replied to her with vehemence:--

"Undone! No; my duty is known, and I thank my God that my cowardice is now vanquished and I have power to fulfill it. Catharine, I pity the weakness of thy nature; I pity thee, but must not spare. Thy life is claimed from my hands; thou must die!"

Fear was now added to her grief. "What mean you? Why talk you of death? Bethink yourself, Wieland; bethink yourself, and this fit will pass. Oh, why came I hither? Why did you drag me hither?"

"I brought thee hither to fulfill a divine command. I am appointed thy destroyer, and destroy thee I must." Saying this, I seized her wrists. She shrieked aloud, and endeavored to free herself from my grasp; but her efforts were vain.

"Surely, surely, Wieland, thou dost not mean it. Am I not thy wife? and wouldst thou kill me? Thou wilt not; and yet--I see--thou art Wieland no longer! A fury resistless and horrible possesses thee. Spare me--spare--help--help--"

Till her breath was stopped she shrieked for help, for mercy. When she could speak no longer, her gestures, her looks appealed to my compassion. My accursed hand was irresolute and tremulous. I meant thy death to be sudden, thy struggles to be brief. Alas! my heart was infirm, my resolves mutable. Thrice I slackened my grasp, and life kept its hold, though in the midst of pangs. Her eyeballs started from their sockets. Grimness and distortion took the place of all that used to bewitch me into transport and subdue me into reverence. I was commissioned to kill thee, but not to torment thee with the foresight of thy death; not to multiply thy fears and prolong thy agonies. Haggard and pale and lifeless, at length thou ceasedst to contend with thy destiny.

This was the moment of triumph. Thus had I successfully subdued the stubbornness of human passions: the victim which had been demanded was given; the deed was done past recall.

I lifted the corpse in my arms and laid it on the bed. I gazed upon it with delight. Such was the elation of my thoughts that I even broke into laughter. I clapped my hands and exclaimed, "It is done! My sacred duty is fulfilled! To that I have sacrificed, O my God, Thy last and best gift, my wife!"

For a while I thus soared above frailty. I imagined I had set myself forever beyond the reach of selfishness; but my imaginations were false. This rapture quickly subsided. I looked again at my wife. My joyous ebullitions vanished, and I asked myself who it was whom I saw. Methought it could not be Catharine. It could not be the woman who had lodged for years in my heart; who had slept nightly in my bosom; who had borne in her womb, who had fostered at her breast, the beings who called me father; whom I have watched with delight, and cherished with a fondness ever new and perpetually growing; it could not be the same. Where was her bloom? These deadly and blood-suffused orbs but ill resemble the azure and ecstatic tenderness of her eyes. The lucid stream that meandered over that bosom, the glow of love that was wont to sit upon that cheek, are much unlike these livid stains and this hideous deformity. Alas! these were the traces of agony; the gripe of the assassin had been here!

I will not dwell upon my lapse into desperate and outrageous sorrow. The breath of heaven that sustained me was withdrawn, and I sunk into mere man. I leaped from the floor; I dashed my head against the wall; I uttered screams of horror; I panted after torment and pain. Eternal fire and the bickerings of hell, compared with what I felt, were music and a bed of roses.

I thank my God that this degeneracy was transient--that He deigned once more to raise me aloft. I thought upon what I had done as a sacrifice to duty, and was calm. My wife was dead; but I reflected that though this source of human consolation was closed, yet others were still open. If the transports of a husband were no more, the feelings of a father had still scope for exercise. When remembrance of their mother should excite too keen a pang, I would look upon them and be comforted.

While I revolved these ideas, new warmth flowed in upon my heart. I was wrong. These feelings were the growth of selfishness. Of this I was not aware; and to dispel the mist that obscured my perceptions, a new effulgence and a new mandate were necessary. From these thoughts I was recalled by a ray that was shot into the room. A voice spake like that which I had before heard:--"Thou hast done well. But all is not done--the sacrifice is incomplete--thy children must be offered--they must perish with their mother!--"


Thou, Omnipotent and Holy! Thou knowest that my actions were conformable to Thy will. I know not what is crime; what actions are evil in their ultimate and comprehensive tendency, or what are good. Thy knowledge, as Thy power, is unlimited. I have taken Thee for my guide, and cannot err. To the arms of Thy protection I intrust my safety. In the awards of Thy justice I confide for my recompense.

Come death when it will, I am safe. Let calumny and abhorrence pursue me among men; I shall not be defrauded of my dues. The peace of virtue and the glory of obedience will be my portion hereafter.






JOHN BROWN

(1810-1882)


ohn Brown, the son of a secession-church minister, was born in Biggar, Lanarkshire, Scotland, September 22d, 1810, and died in Edinburgh, May 11th, 1882. He was educated at the Edinburgh High School and at the University, and graduated in medicine in 1833. For a time he was a surgeon's assistant to the great Dr. Syme, the man of whom he said "he never wasted a drop of ink or blood," and whose character he has drawn in one of his most charming biographies. When he began to practice for himself he gradually "got into a good connection," and his patients made him their confidant and adviser. He was considered a fine doctor too, for he had remarkable common-sense, and was said to be unerring in diagnosis.


John Brown

Dr. Brown did not, as is commonly believed, dislike his profession; but later on he took a view of it which seemed non-progressive, and his success as a writer no doubt interfered with his practice. His friend Professor Masson draws a pleasant picture of him when he first settled in practice, as a dark-haired man with soft, fine eyes and a benignant manner, the husband of a singularly beautiful woman, and much liked and sought after in the social circles of Edinburgh. This was partly owing to the charm of his conversation, and partly to the literary reputation he had achieved through some articles on the Academy exhibition and on local artists. Though he had little technical training, he had an eye for color and form, an appreciation of the artist's meaning, and an instinct for discovering genius, as in the case of Noel Paton and David Scott. He soon became an authority among artists, and he gave a new impulse to national art.

He contributed largely to the North British Review. In 1855 he published 'Horæ Subsceivæ,' which contained, among medical biography and medico-literary papers, the immortal Scotch idyl, 'Rab and his Friends.' Up to this time the unique personality of the doctor, with its delightful mixture of humor and sympathy, was known only to his own circle. The appearance of 'Rab and his Friends' revealed it to the world. Brief as it is in form, and simple in outline, Scotland has produced nothing so full of pure, pathetic genius since Scott.

Another volume of 'Horæ Subsceivæ' appeared two years after, and some selections from it, and others from unpublished manuscript, were printed separately in the volume entitled 'Spare Hours.' They met with instant and unprecedented success. In a short time ten thousand copies of 'Minchmoor' and 'James the Doorkeeper' were sold, fifteen thousand copies of 'Pet Marjorie,' and 'Rab' had reached its fiftieth thousand. With all this success and praise, and constantly besought by publishers for his work, he could not be persuaded that his writings were of any permanent value, and was reluctant to publish. In 1882 appeared a third volume of the 'Horæ Subsceivæ,' which included all his writings. A few weeks after its publication he died.

The Doctor's medical essays, which are replete with humor, are written in defense of his special theory, the distinction between the active and the speculative mind. He thought there was too much science and too little intuitive sagacity in the world, and looked back longingly to the old-time common-sense, which he believed modern science had driven away. His own mind was anti-speculative, although he paid just tributes to philosophy and science and admired their achievements. He stigmatized the speculations of the day as the "lust of innovation." But the reader cares little for the opinions of Dr. Brown as arguments: his subject is of little consequence if he will but talk. By the charm of his story-telling these dead Scotch doctors are made to live again. The death-bed of Syme, for instance, is as pathetic as the wonderful paper on Thackeray's death; and to-day many a heart is sore for 'Pet Marjorie,' the ten-year-old child who died in Scotland almost a hundred years ago.

As an essayist, Dr. Brown belongs to the followers of Addison and Charles Lamb, and he blends humor, pathos, and quiet hopefulness with a grave and earnest dignity. He delighted, not like Lamb "in the habitable parts of the earth," but in the lonely moorlands and pastoral hills, over which his silent, stalwart shepherds walked with swinging stride. He had a keen appreciation for anything he felt to be excellent: his usual question concerning a stranger, either in literature or life, was "Has he wecht, sir?"--quoting Dr. Chalmers; and when he wanted to give the highest praise, he said certain writing was "strong meat." He had a warm enthusiasm for the work of other literary men: an artist himself, he was quick to appreciate and seize upon the witty thing or the excellent thing wherever he found it, and he was eager to share his pleasure with the whole world. He reintroduced to the public Henry Vaughn, the quaint seventeenth-century poet; he wrote a sympathetic memoir of Arthur Hallam; he imported 'Modern Painters,' and enlightened Edinburgh as to its merits. His art papers were what Walter Pater would call "appreciations,"--that is to say, he dwelt upon the beauties of what he described rather than upon the defects. What he did not admire he left alone.

As the author of 'Rab' loved the lonely glens on Minchmoor and in the Enterkin, or where Queen Mary's "baby garden" shows its box-row border among the Spanish chestnuts of Lake Monteith, so he loved the Scottish character, "bitter to the taste and sweet to the diaphragm": "Jeemes" the beadle, with his family worship when he himself was all the family; the old Aberdeen Jacobite people; Miss Stirling Graham of Duntrune, who in her day bewitched Edinburgh; Rab, Ailie, and Bob Ainslie. His characters are oddities, but are drawn without a touch of cynicism. What an amount of playful, wayward nonsense lies between these pages, and what depths of melancholy under the fun! Like Sir Walter, he had a great love for dogs, and never went out unaccompanied by one or two of them. They are the heroes of several of his sketches.

Throughout the English-speaking world, he was affectionately known as Dr. John Brown of Edinburgh. He stood aloof from political and ecclesiastical controversies, and was fond of telling a story to illustrate how little reasoning went to forming partisans. A minister catechizing a raw plowboy, after asking the first question, "Who made you?" and getting the answer "God," asked him, "How do you know that God made you?" After some pause and head-scratching, the reply came, "Weel, sir, it's the clash [common talk] o' the kintry." "Ay," Brown added, "I'm afraid that a deal of our belief is founded on just 'the clash o' the kintry.'"




MARJORIE FLEMING

From 'Spare Hours'

One November afternoon in 1810--the year in which 'Waverley' was resumed and laid aside again, to be finished off, its last two volumes in three weeks, and made immortal in 1814; and when its author, by the death of Lord Melville, narrowly escaped getting a civil appointment in India--three men, evidently lawyers, might have been seen escaping like schoolboys from the Parliament House, and speeding arm-in-arm down Bank Street and the Mound in the teeth of a surly blast of sleet.

The three friends sought the bield of the low wall old Edinburgh boys remember well, and sometimes miss now, as they struggle with the stout west wind....

The third we all know. What has he not done for every one of us? Who else ever, except Shakespeare, so diverted mankind, entertained and entertains a world so liberally, so wholesomely? We are fain to say not even Shakespeare, for his is something deeper than diversion, something higher than pleasure; and yet who would care to split this hair?

Had any one watched him closely before and after the parting, what a change he would see! The bright, broad laugh, the shrewd, jovial word, the man of the Parliament House and of the world; and next step, moody, the light of his eye withdrawn, as if seeing things that were invisible; his shut mouth like a child's, so impressionable, so innocent, so sad; he was now all within, as before he was all without; hence his brooding look. As the snow blattered in his face, he muttered, "How it raves and drifts! On-ding o' snaw,--ay, that's the word,--on-ding--" He was now at his own door, "Castle Street, No. 39." He opened the door and went straight to his den; that wondrous workshop, where in one year, 1823, when he was fifty-two, he wrote 'Peveril of the Peak,' 'Quentin Durward,' and 'St. Ronan's Well,' besides much else. We once took the foremost of our novelists--the greatest, we would say, since Scott--into this room, and could not but mark the solemnizing effect of sitting where the great magician sat so often and so long, and looking out upon that little shabby bit of sky, and that back green where faithful dog Camp lies.

He sat down in his large green morocco elbow-chair, drew himself close to his table, and glowered and gloomed at his writing apparatus, "a very handsome old box, richly carved, lined with crimson velvet, and containing ink-bottles, taper-stand, etc., in silver, the whole in such order that it might have come from the silversmith's window half an hour before." He took out his paper, then starting up angrily, said, "'Go spin, you jade, go spin.' No, d---- it, it won't do,--

"'My spinnin' wheel is auld and stiff,
  The rock o't wunna stand, sir;
To keep the temper-pin in tiff
  Employs ower aft my hand, sir.'

I am off the fang. I can make nothing of 'Waverley' to-day; I'll awa' to Marjorie. Come wi' me, Maida, you thief." The great creature rose slowly, and the pair were off, Scott taking a maud (a plaid) with him. "White as a frosted plum-cake, by jingo!" said he, when he got to the street. Maida gamboled and whisked among the snow, and his master strode across to Young Street, and through it to 1 North Charlotte Street, to the house of his dear friend, Mrs. William Keith, of Corstorphine Hill; niece of Mrs. Keith of Ravelston, of whom he said at her death, eight years after, "Much tradition, and that of the best, has died with this excellent old lady, one of the few persons whose spirits, and cleanliness and freshness of mind and body, made old age lovely and desirable."

Sir Walter was in that house almost every day, and had a key, so in he and the hound went, shaking themselves in the lobby. "Marjorie! Marjorie!" shouted her friend, "where are ye, my bonnie wee croodlin' doo?" In a moment a bright, eager child of seven was in his arms, and he was kissing her all over. Out came Mrs. Keith. "Come your ways in, Wattie." "No, not now. I am going to take Marjorie wi' me, and you may come to your tea in Duncan Roy's sedan, and bring the bairn home in your lap." "Tak' Marjorie, and it on-ding o' snaw!" said Mrs. Keith. He said to himself, "On-ding,'--that's odd,--that is the very word. Hoot, awa'! look here," and he displayed the corner of his plaid, made to hold lambs [the true shepherd's plaid, consisting of two breadths sewed together, and uncut at one end, making a poke or cul-de-sac]. "Tak' your lamb," said she, laughing at the contrivance, and so the Pet was first well happit up, and then put, laughing silently, into the plaid neuk, and the shepherd strode off with his lamb,--Maida gamboling through the snow, and running races in her mirth.

Didn't he face "the angry airt," and make her bield his bosom, and into his own room with her, and lock the door, and out with the warm rosy little wifie, who took it all with great composure! There the two remained for three or more hours, making the house ring with their laughter; you can fancy the big man's and Maidie's laugh. Having made the fire cheery, he set her down in his ample chair, and standing sheepishly before her, began to say his lesson, which happened to be,--"Ziccotty, diccotty, dock, the mouse ran up the clock; the clock struck one, down the mouse ran, ziccotty, diccotty, dock." This done repeatedly till she was pleased, she gave him his new lesson, gravely and slowly, timing it upon her small fingers,--he saying it after her,--

"Wonery, twoery, tickery, seven;
Alibi, crackaby, ten and eleven;
Pin, pan, musky dan;
Tweedle-um, twoddle-um, twenty-wan;
Eerie, orie, ourie,
You, are, out."

He pretended to great difficulty, and she rebuked him with most comical gravity, treating him as a child. He used to say that when he came to Alibi Crackaby he broke down, and Pin-Pan, Musky-Dan, Tweedle-um Twoddle-um made him roar with laughter. He said Musky-Dan especially was beyond endurance, bringing up an Irishman and his hat fresh from the Spice Islands and odoriferous Ind; she getting quite bitter in her displeasure at his ill behavior and stupidness.

Then he would read ballads to her in his own glorious way, the two getting wild with excitement over 'Gil Morrice' or the 'Baron of Smailholm'; and he would take her on his knee, and make her repeat Constance's speech in 'King John,' till he swayed to and fro, sobbing his fill....

Scott used to say that he was amazed at her power over him, saying to Mrs. Keith, "She's the most extraordinary creature I ever met with, and her repeating of Shakespeare overpowers me as nothing else does."

Thanks to the unforgetting sister of this dear child, who has much of the sensibility and fun of her who has been in her small grave these fifty and more years, we have now before us the letters and journals of Pet Marjorie,--before us lies and gleams her rich brown hair, bright and sunny as if yesterday's, with the words on the paper, "Cut out in her last illness," and two pictures of her by her beloved Isabella, whom she worshiped; there are the faded old scraps of paper, hoarded still, over which her warm breath and her warm little heart had poured themselves; there is the old water-mark, "Lingard, 1808." The two portraits are very like each other, but plainly done at different times; it is a chubby, healthy face, deep-set, brooding eyes, as eager to tell what is going on within as to gather in all the glories from without; quick with the wonder and the pride of life; they are eyes that would not be soon satisfied with seeing; eyes that would devour their object, and yet childlike and fearless. And that is a mouth that will not be soon satisfied with love; it has a curious likeness to Scott's own, which has always appeared to us his sweetest, most mobile and speaking feature.

There she is, looking straight at us as she did at him,--fearless and full of love, passionate, wild, willful, fancy's child.


There was an old servant, Jeanie Robertson, who was forty years in her grandfather's family. Marjorie Fleming--or as she is called in the letters and by Sir Walter, Maidie--was the last child she kept. Jeanie's wages never exceeded £3 a year, and when she left service she had saved £40. She was devotedly attached to Maidie, rather despising and ill-using her sister Isabella, a beautiful and gentle child. This partiality made Maidie apt at times to domineer over Isabella. "I mention this," writes her surviving sister, "for the purpose of telling you an instance of Maidie's generous justice. When only five years old, when walking in Raith grounds, the two children had run on before, and old Jeanie remembered they might come too near a dangerous mill-lade. She called to them to turn back. Maidie heeded her not, rushed all the faster on, and fell, and would have been lost, had her sister not pulled her back, saving her life, but tearing her clothes. Jeanie flew on Isabella to 'give it her' for spoiling her favorite's dress; Maidie rushed in between, crying out, 'Pay (whip) Maidie as much as you like, and I'll not say one word; but touch Isy, and I'll roar like a bull!' Years after Maidie was resting in her grave, my mother used to take me to the place, and told the story always in the exact same words." This Jeanie must have been a character. She took great pride in exhibiting Maidie's brother William's Calvinistic acquirements when nineteen months old, to the officers of a militia regiment then quartered in Kirkcaldy. This performance was so amusing that it was often repeated, and the little theologian was presented by them with a cap and feathers. Jeanie's glory was "putting him through the carritch" (catechism) in broad Scotch, beginning at the beginning with "Wha made ye, ma bonnie man?" For the correctness of this and the three next replies, Jeanie had no anxiety; but the tone changed to menace, and the closed nieve (fist) was shaken in the child's face as she demanded, "Of what are you made?" "DIRT," was the answer uniformly given. "Wull ye never learn to say dust, ye thrawn deevil?" with a cuff from the opened hand, was the as inevitable rejoinder.

Here is Maidie's first letter, before she was six, the spelling unaltered, and there are no "commoes."

 "MY DEAR ISA--I now sit down to answer all your kind and
beloved letters which you was so good as to write to me. This is the first time I ever wrote a letter in my Life. There are a great many Girls in the Square and they cry just like a pig when we are under the painfull necessity of putting it to Death. Miss Potune a Lady of my acquaintance praises me dreadfully. I repeated something out of Dean Swift and she said I was fit for the stage and you may think I was primmed up with majestick Pride but upon my word I felt myselfe turn a little birsay--birsay is a word which is a word that William composed which is as you may suppose a little enraged. This horrid fat simpliton says that my Aunt is beautifull which is intirely impossible for that is not her nature."


What a peppery little pen we wield! What could that have been out of the sardonic Dean? what other child of that age would have used "beloved" as she does? This power of affection, this faculty of beloving, and wild hunger to be beloved, comes out more and more. She periled her all upon it, and it may have been as well--we know, indeed, that it was far better--for her that this wealth of love was so soon withdrawn to its one only infinite Giver and Receiver. This must have been the law of her earthly life. Love was indeed "her Lord and King"; and it was perhaps well for her that she found so soon that her and our only Lord and King Himself is Love. Here are bits from her Diary at Braehead:--

"The day of my existence here has been delightful and enchanting. On Saturday I expected no less than three well-made Bucks the names of whom is here advertised. Mr. Geo. Crakey [Craigie], and Wm. Keith and Jn. Keith--the first is the funniest of every one of them. Mr. Crakey and I walked to Crakyhall [Craigiehall] hand in hand in Innocence and matitation [meditation] sweet thinking on the kind love which flows in our tender hearted mind which is overflowing with majestic pleasure no one was ever so polite to me in the hole state of my existence. Mr. Craky you must-know is a great Buck and pretty good-looking."

"I am at Ravelston enjoying nature's fresh air. The birds are singing sweetly--the calf doth frisk and nature shows her glorious face."

Here is a confession:

"I confess I have been very more like a little young divil than a creature for when Isabella went up stairs to teach me religion and my multiplication and to be good and all my other lessons I stamped with my foot and threw my new hat which she had made on the ground and was sulky and was dreadfully passionate, but she never whiped me but said Marjory go into another room and think what a great crime you are committing letting your temper git the better of you. But I went so sulkily that the Devil got the better of me but she never never never whips me so that I think I would be the better of it and the next time that I behave ill I think she should do it for she never does it.... Isabella has given me praise for checking my temper for I was sulky even when she was kneeling an hole hour teaching me to write."

Our poor little wifie, she has no doubts of the personality of the Devil!--"Yesterday I behave extremely ill in God's most holy church for I would never attend myself nor let Isabella attend which was a great crime for she often, often tells me that when to or three are geathered together God is in the midst of them, and it was the very same Divil that tempted Job that tempted me I am sure; but he resisted Satan though he had boils and many many other misfortunes which I have escaped.... I am now going to tell you the horible and wretched plaege that my multiplication gives me you can't conceive it the most Devilish thing is 8 times 8 and 7 times 7 it is what nature itself cant endure."

This is delicious; and what harm is there in her "Devilish"? it is strong language merely; even old Rowland Hill used to say "he grudged the Devil those rough and ready words." "I walked to that delightful place Crakyhall with a delightful young man beloved by all his friends especially by me his loveress, but I must not talk any more about him for Isa said it is not proper for to speak of gentalmen but I will never forget him! ... I am very very glad that satan has not given me boils and many other misfortunes--In the holy bible these words are written that the Devil goes like a roaring lyon in search of his pray but the lord lets us escape from him but we" (pauvre petite!) "do not strive with this awfull Spirit.... To-day I pronounced a word which should never come out of a lady's lips it was that I called John a Impudent Bitch. I will tell you what I think made me in so bad a humor is I got one or two of that bad sina [senna] tea to-day,"--a better excuse for bad humor and bad language than most.

She has been reading the Book of Esther:--"It was a dreadful thing that Haman was hanged on the very gallows which he had prepared for Mordecai to hang him and his ten sons thereon and it was very wrong and cruel to hang his sons for they did not commit the crime; but then Jesus was not then come to teach us to be merciful." This is wise and beautiful,--has upon it the very dew of youth and holiness. Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings He perfects his praise.

"This is Saturday and I am very glad of it because I have play half the Day and I get money too but alas I owe Isabella 4 pence for I am finned 2 pence whenever I bite my nails. Isabella is teaching me to make simmecoling nots of interrigations peorids commoes, etc.... As this is Sunday I will meditate upon Senciable and Religious subjects. First I should be very thankful I am not a beggar."

This amount of meditation and thankfulness seems to have been all she was able for.

"I am going to-morrow to a delightfull place, Braehead by name, belonging to Mrs. Crraford, where there is ducks cocks hens bubblyjocks 2 dogs 2 cats and swine which is delightful. I think it is shocking to think that the dog and cat should bear them" (this is a meditation physiological) "and they are drowned after all. I would rather have a man-dog than a woman-dog, because they do not bear like woman-dogs; it is a hard case--it is shocking. I came here to enjoy natures delightful breath it is sweeter than a fial of rose oil."

Braehead is the farm the historical Jock Howison asked and got from our gay James the Fifth, "the gudeman o' Ballengiech," as a reward for the services of his flail when the King had the worst of it at Cramond Brig with the gipsies. The farm is unchanged in size from that time, and still in the unbroken line of the ready and victorious thrasher. Braehead is held on the condition of the possessor being ready to present the King with a ewer and basin to wash his hands, Jock having done this for his unknown king after the splore; and when George the Fourth came to Edinburgh, this ceremony was performed in silver at Holyrood.

It is a lovely neuk, this Braehead, preserved almost as it was two hundred years ago. "Lot and his wife," mentioned by Maidie,--two quaintly cropped yew-trees,--still thrive; the burn runs as it did in her time, and sings the same quiet tune,--as much the same and as different as Now and Then. The house is full of old family relics and pictures, the sun shining on them through the small deep windows with their plate-glass; and there, blinking at the sun and chattering contentedly, is a parrot, that might, for its looks of eld, have been in the ark, and domineered over and deaved the dove. Everything about the place is old and fresh.

This is beautiful:--"I am very sorry to say that I forgot God--that is to say I forgot to pray to-day and Isabella told me that I should be thankful that God did not forget me--if he did, O what would become of me if I was in danger and God not friends with me--I must go to unquenchable fire and if I was tempted to sin--how could I resist it O no I will never do it again--no no--if I can help it." (Canny wee wifie!) "My religion is greatly falling off because I dont pray with so much attention when I am saying my prayers, and my charecter is lost among the Braehead people. I hope I will be religious again--but as for regaining my charecter I despare for it." [Poor little "habit and repute"!]

Her temper, her passion, and her "badness" are almost daily confessed and deplored:--"I will never again trust to my own power, for I see that I cannot be good without God's assistance--. I will not trust in my own selfe, and Isa's health will be quite ruined by me--it will indeed." "Isa has giving me advice, which is, that when I feel Satan beginning to tempt me, that I flea him and he would flea me." "Remorse is the worst thing to bear, and I am afraid that I will fall a marter to it."

Poor dear little sinner!--Here comes the world again:--"In my travels I met with a handsome lad named Charles Balfour Esq., and from him I got ofers of marage--offers of marage, did I say? Nay plenty heard me." A fine scent for "breach of promise"!

This is abrupt and strong:--"The Divil is curced and all works. 'Tis a fine work 'Newton on the profecies.' I wonder if there is another book of poems comes near the Bible. The Divil always girns at the sight of the Bible." "Miss Potune" (her "simpliton" friend) "is very fat; she pretends to be very learned. She says she saw a stone that dropt from the skies; but she is a good Christian."

Here come her views on church government:--"An Anni-babtist is a thing I am not a member of--I am a Pisplekan (Episcopalian) just now, and" (O you little Laodicean and Latitudinarian!) "a Prisbeteran at Kirkcaldy"--(Blandula! Vagula! coelum et animum mutas quoe trans mare [i.e., trans Bodotriam] curris!)--"my native town."

"Sentiment is not what I am acquainted with as yet, though I wish it, and should like to practise it" (!) "I wish I had a great, great deal of gratitude in my heart, in all my body." There is a new novel published, named 'Self-Control' (Mrs. Brunton's)--"a very good maxim forsooth!"

This is shocking:--"Yesterday a marrade man, named Mr. John Balfour, Esq., offered to kiss me, and offered to marry me, though the man" (a fine directness this!) "was espused, and his wife was present and said he must ask her permission; but he did not. I think he was ashamed and confounded before 3 gentelman--Mr. Jobson and 2 Mr. Kings." "Mr. Banesters" (Bannister's) "Budjet is to-night; I hope it will be a good one. A great many authors have expressed themselves too sentimentally." You are right, Marjorie. "A Mr. Burns writes a beautiful song on Mr. Cunhaming, whose wife desarted him--truly it is a most beautiful one." "I like to read the Fabulous historys, about the histerys of Robin, Dickey, flapsay, and Peccay, and it is very amusing, for some were good birds and others bad, but Peccay was the most dutiful and obedient to her parients." "Thomson is a beautiful author, and Pope, but nothing to Shakespear, of which I have a little knolege. 'Macbeth' is a pretty composition, but awful one." "The 'Newgate Calender' is very instructive."(!)

"A sailor called here to say farewell; it must be dreadful to leave his native country when he might get a wife; or perhaps me, for I love him very much. But O I forgot, Isabella forbid me to speak about love." This antiphlogistic regimen and lesson is ill to learn by our Maidie, for here she sins again:--"Love is a very papithatick thing" (it is almost a pity to correct this into pathetic), "as well as troublesome and tiresome--but O Isabella forbid me to speak of it."

Here are her reflections on a pineapple:--"I think the price of a pineapple is very dear: it is a whole bright goulden guinea, that might have sustained a poor family." Here is a new vernal simile:--"The hedges are sprouting like chicks from the eggs when they are newly hatched or, as the vulgar say, clacked". "Doctor Swift's works are very funny; I got some of them by heart." "Moreheads sermons are I hear much praised, but I never read sermons of any kind; but I read novelettes and my Bible, and I never forget it, or my prayers." Brava, Marjorie!

She seems now, when still about six, to have broken out into song:--

EPHIBOL [EPIGRAM OR EPITAPH--WHO KNOWS WHICH?] ON MY DEAR LOVE ISABELLA.

"Here lies sweet Isabel in bed,
With a night-cap on her head;
Her skin is soft, her face is fair,
And she has very pretty hair;
She and I in bed lies nice,
And undisturbed by rats or mice.
She is disgusted with Mr. Worgan,
Though he plays upon the organ.
Her nails are neat, her teeth are white,
Her eyes are very, very bright.
In a conspicuous town she lives,
And to the poor her money gives.
Here ends sweet Isabella's story,
And may it be much to her glory."

Here are some bits at random:--

"Of summer I am very fond,
And love to bathe into a pond:
The look of sunshine dies away,
And will not let me out to play;
I love the morning's sun to spy
Glittering through the casement's eye;
The rays of light are very sweet,
And puts away the taste of meat;
The balmy breeze comes down from heaven,
And makes us like for to be living."

"The casawary is an curious bird, and so is the gigantic crane, and the pelican of the wilderness, whose mouth holds a bucket of fish and water. Fighting is what ladies is not qualyfied for, they would not make a good figure in battle or in a duel. Alas! we females are of little use to our country. The history of all the malcontents as ever was hanged is amusing." Still harping on the Newgate Calendar!

"Braehead is extremely pleasant to me by the companie of swine, geese, cocks, etc., and they are the delight of my soul."

"I am going to tell you of a melancholy story. A young turkie of two or three months old, would you believe it, the father broke its leg, and he killed another! I think he ought to be transported or hanged."

"Queen Street is a very gay one, and so is Princes Street, for all the lads and lasses, besides bucks and beggars, parade there"

"I should like to see a play very much, for I never saw one in all my life, and don't believe I ever shall; but I hope I can be content without going to one. I can be quite happy without my desire being granted."

"Some days ago Isabella had a terrible fit of the toothake, and she walked with a long night-shift at dead of night like a ghost, and I thought she was one. She prayed for nature's sweet restorer--balmy sleep--but did not get it--a ghostly figure indeed she was, enough to make a saint tremble. It made me quiver and shake from top to toe. Superstition is a very mean thing, and should be despised and shunned."

Here is her weakness and her strength again:--"In the love-novels all the heroines are very desperate. Isabella will not allow me to speak about lovers and heroins, and 'tis too refined for my taste." "Miss Egward's [Edgeworth's] tails are very good, particularly some that are very much adapted for youth (!) as Laz Laurance and Tarelton, False Keys, etc., etc."

"Tom Jones and Gray's Elegey in a country churchyard are both excellent, and much spoke of by both sex, particularly by the men." Are our Marjories now-a-days better or worse, because they cannot read 'Tom Jones' unharmed? More better than worse; but who among them can repeat Gray's 'Lines on a Distant Prospect of Eton College' as could our Maidie?

Here is some more of her prattle:--"I went into Isabella's bed to make her smile like the Genius Demedicus [the Venus de' Medicis] or the statute in an ancient Greece, but she fell asleep in my very face, at which my anger broke forth, so that I awoke her from a comfortable nap. All was now hushed up again, but again my anger burst forth at her biding me get up."

She begins thus loftily,--

"Death the righteous love to see,
But from it doth the wicked flee."

Then suddenly breaks off [as if with laughter],--

"I am sure they fly as fast as their legs can carry them!"

"There is a thing I love to see,
That is our monkey catch a flee."

"I love in Isa's bed to lie,
Oh, such a joy and luxury!
The bottom of the bed I sleep,
And with great care within I creep;
Oft I embrace her feet of lillys,
But she has goton all the pillys.
Her neck I never can embrace,
But I do hug her feet in place."

How childish and yet how strong and free is her use of words!--"I lay at the foot of the bed because Isabella said I disturbed her by continial fighting and kicking, but I was very dull, and continially at work reading the Arabian Nights, which I could not have done if I had slept at the top. I am reading the Mysteries of Udolpho. I am much interested in the fate of poor, poor Emily."

Here is one of her swains:--

"Very soft and white his cheeks,
His hair is red, and gray his breeks;
His tooth is like the daisy fair,
His only fault is in his hair."

This is a higher flight:--

DEDICATED TO MRS. H. CRAWFORD BY THE AUTHOR, M.F.

"Three turkeys fair their last have breathed,
And now this world forever leaved;
Their father, and their mother too,
They sigh and weep as well as you;
Indeed, the rats their bones have crunched,
Into eternity theire laanched.
A direful death indeed they had,
As wad put any parent mad;
But she was more than usual calm:
She did not give a single dam."

This last word is saved from all sin by its tender age, not to speak of the want of the n. We fear "she" is the abandoned mother, in spite of her previous sighs and tears.

"Isabella says when we pray we should pray fervently, and not rattel over a prayer--for that we are kneeling at the foot-stool of our Lord and Creator, who saves us from eternal damnation, and from unquestionable fire and brimston."

She has a long poem on Mary Queen of Scots:--

"Queen Mary was much loved by all,
Both by the great and by the small,
But hark! her soul to heaven doth rise?
And I suppose she has gained a prize;
For I do think she would not go
Into the awful place below.
There is a thing that I must tell--
Elizabeth went to fire and hell!
He who would teach her to be civil,
It must be her great friend, the divil!"

She hits off Darnley well:--

"A noble's son,--a handsome lad,--
By some queer way or other, had
Got quite the better of her heart;
With him she always talked apart:
Silly he was, but very fair;
A greater buck was not found there."

"By some queer way or other": is not this the general case and the mystery, young ladies and gentlemen? Goethe's doctrine of "elective affinities" discovered by our Pet Maidie!

SONNET TO A MONKEY

O lively, O most charming pug:
Thy graceful air and heavenly mug!
The beauties of his mind do shine,
And every bit is shaped and fine.
Your teeth are whiter than the snow;
Your a great buck, your a great beau;
Your eyes are of so nice a shape,
More like a Christian's than an ape;
Your cheek is like the rose's blume;
Your hair is like the raven's plume;
His nose's cast is of the Roman:
He is a very pretty woman.
I could not get a rhyme for Roman,
So was obliged to call him woman.

This last joke is good. She repeats it when writing of James the Second being killed at Roxburgh:--

He was killed by a cannon splinter,
Quite in the middle of the winter;
Perhaps it was not at that time,
But I can get no other rhyme.

Here is one of her last letters, dated Kirkcaldy, 12th October, 1811. You can see how her nature is deepening and enriching:--

MY DEAR MOTHER--You will think that I entirely forget you but I assure you that you are greatly mistaken. I think of you always and often sigh to think of the distance between us two loving creatures of nature. We have regular hours for all our occupations first at 7 o'clock we go to the dancing and come home at 8 we then read our Bible and get our repeating and then play till ten then we get our music till 11 when we get our writing and accounts we sew from 12 till 1 after which I get my gramer and then work till five. At 7 we come and knit till 8 when we dont go to the dancing. This is an exact description. I must take a hasty farewell to her whom I love, reverence and doat on and who I hope thinks the same of

MARJORY FLEMING.

P.S.--An old pack of cards (!) would be very exceptible.

This other is a month earlier:--

"MY DEAR LITTLE MAMA--I was truly happy to hear that you were all well. We are surrounded with measles at present on every side, for the Herons got it, and Isabella Heron was near Death's Door, and one night her father lifted her out of bed, and she fell down as they thought lifeless. Mr. Heron said, 'That lassie's deed noo'--'I'm no deed yet.' She then threw up a big worm nine inches and a half long. I have begun dancing, but am not very fond of it, for the boys strikes and mocks me.--I have been another night at the dancing; I like it better. I will write to you as often as I can; but I am afraid not every week. I long for you with the longings of a child to embrace you--to fold you in my arms. I respect you with all the respect due to a mother. You don't know how I love you. So I shall remain, your loving child,

M. FLEMING."

What rich involution of love in the words marked! Here are some lines to her beloved Isabella, in July, 1811:--

"There is a thing that I do want--
With you these beauteous walks to haunt;
We would be happy if you would
Try to come over if you could.
Then I would all quite happy be
Now and for all eternity.
My mother is so very sweet,
And checks my appetite to eat;
My father shows us what to do;
But O I'm sure that I want you.
I have no more of poetry;
O Isa do remember me,
And try to love your Marjory."

In a letter from "Isa" to

Miss Muff Maidie Marjory Fleming,
favored by Rare Rear-Admiral Fleming,"

she says:--"I long much to see you, and talk over all our old stories together, and to hear you read and repeat. I am pining for my old friend Cesario, and poor Lear, and wicked Richard. How is the dear Multiplication table going on? are you still as much attached to 9 times 9 as you used to be?"

But this dainty, bright thing is about to flee,--to come "quick to confusion." The measles she writes of seized her, and she died on the 19th of December, 1811. The day before her death, Sunday, she sat up in bed, worn and thin, her eye gleaming as with the light of a coming world, and with a tremulous, old voice repeated the lines by Burns,--heavy with the shadow of death, and lit with the fantasy of the judgment-seat,--the publican's prayer in paraphrase:--

Why am I loth to leave this earthly scene

It is more affecting than we care to say to read her mother's and Isabella Keith's letters, written immediately after her death. Old and withered, tattered and pale, they are now: but when you read them, how quick, how throbbing with life and love! how rich in that language of affection which only women and Shakespeare and Luther can use,--that power of detaining the soul over the beloved object and its loss....

In her first letter to Miss Keith, Mrs. Fleming says of her dead Maidie:--"Never did I behold so beautiful an object. It resembled the finest wax-work. There was in the countenance an expression of sweetness and serenity which seemed to indicate that the pure spirit had anticipated the joys of heaven ere it quitted the mortal frame. To tell you what your Maidie said of you would fill volumes; for you were the constant theme of her discourse, the subject of her thoughts, and ruler of her actions. The last time she mentioned you was a few hours before all sense save that of suffering was suspended, when she said to Dr. Johnstone, 'If you will let me out at the New Year, I will be quite contented.' I asked what made her so anxious to get out then. 'I want to purchase a New Year's gift for Isa Keith with the sixpence you gave me for being patient in the measles; and I would like to choose it myself.' I do not remember her speaking afterwards, except to complain of her head, till just before she expired, when she articulated, 'O mother! mother!'"

Do we make too much of this little child, who has been in her grave in Abbotshall. Kirkyard these fifty and more years? We may of her cleverness,--not of her affectionateness, her nature. What a picture the animosa infans gives us of herself, her vivacity, her passionateness, her precocious love-making, her passion for nature, for swine, for all living things, her reading, her turn for expression, her satire, her frankness, her little sins and rages, her great repentances. We don't wonder Walter Scott carried her off in the neuk of his plaid, and played himself with her for hours....

We are indebted for the following--and our readers will be not unwilling to share our obligations--to her sister:--"Her birth was 15th January, 1803; her death 19th December, 1811. I take this from her Bibles. I believe she was a child of robust health, of much vigor of body, and beautifully formed arms, and until her last illness, never was an hour in bed. She was niece to Mrs. Keith, residing in No. 1 North Charlotte Street, who was not Mrs. Murray Keith, although very intimately acquainted with that old lady....

"As to my aunt and Scott, they were on a very intimate footing. He asked my aunt to be godmother to his eldest daughter Sophia Charlotte. I had a copy of Miss Edgeworth's 'Rosamond' and 'Harry and Lucy' for long, which was 'a gift to Marjorie from Walter Scott,' probably the first edition of that attractive series, for it wanted 'Frank,' which is always now published as part of the series under the title of 'Early Lessons.' I regret to say these little volumes have disappeared."

Sir Walter was no relation of Marjorie's, but of the Keiths, through the Swintons; and like Marjorie, he stayed much at Ravelstone in his early days, with his grand-aunt Mrs. Keith....

We cannot better end than in words from this same pen:--"I have to ask you to forgive my anxiety in gathering up the fragments of Marjorie's last days, but I have an almost sacred feeling to all that pertains to her. You are quite correct in stating that measles were the cause of her death. My mother was struck by the patient quietness manifested by Marjorie during this illness, unlike her ardent, impulsive nature; but love and poetic feeling were unquenched. When lying very still, her mother asked her if there was anything she wished: 'Oh yes! if you would just leave the room door open a wee bit, and play 'The Land o' the Leal,' and I will lie and think, and enjoy myself' (this is just as stated to me by her mother and mine). Well, the happy day came, alike to parents and child, when Marjorie was allowed to come forth from the nursery to the parlor. It was Sabbath evening, and after tea. My father, who idolized this child, and never afterwards in my hearing mentioned her name, took her in his arms; and while walking up and down the room, she said, 'Father, I will repeat something to you; what would you like?' He said, 'Just choose yourself, Maidie.' She hesitated for a moment between the paraphrase 'Few are thy days, and full of woe,' and the lines of Burns already quoted, but decided on the latter, a remarkable choice for a child. The repeating these lines seemed to stir up the depths of feeling in her soul. She asked to be allowed to write a poem; there was a doubt whether it would be right to allow her, in case of hurting her eyes. She pleaded earnestly, 'Just this once;' the point was yielded, her slate was given her, and with great rapidity she wrote an address of fourteen lines, 'To her loved cousin on the author's recovery,' her last work on earth:--

'Oh! Isa, pain did visit me,
I was at the last extremity;
How often did I think of you,
I wished your graceful form to view,
To clasp you in my weak embrace,
Indeed I thought I'd run my race:
Good care, I'm sure, was of me taken,
But still indeed I was much shaken.
At last I daily strength did gain,
And oh! at last, away went pain;
At length the doctor thought I might
Stay in the parlor all the night;
I now continue so to do;
Farewell to Nancy and to you.'

She went to bed apparently well, awoke in the middle of the night with the old cry of woe to a mother's heart, 'My head, my head!' Three days of the dire malady 'water in the head' followed, and the end came."

"Soft, silken primrose, fading timelessly!"

It is needless, it is impossible to add anything to this; the fervor, the sweetness, the flush of poetic ecstasy, the lovely and glowing eye, the perfect nature of that bright and warm intelligence, that darling child; Lady Nairne's words, and the old tune, stealing up from the depths of the human heart, deep calling unto deep, gentle and strong like the waves of the great sea hushing themselves to sleep in the dark; the words of Burns touching the kindred chord; her last numbers, "wildly sweet," traced with thin and eager fingers, already touched by the last enemy and friend,--moriens canit,--and that love which is so soon to be her everlasting light, is her song's burden to the end.

"She set as sets the morning star, which goes
Not down behind the darkened west, nor hides
Obscured among the tempests of the sky,
But melts away into the light of heaven."



THE DEATH OF THACKERAY

From 'Spare Hours'

We cannot resist here recalling one Sunday evening in December, when he was walking with two friends along the Dean road, to the west of Edinburgh,--one of the noblest outlets to any city. It was a lovely evening,--such a sunset as one never forgets: a rich dark bar of cloud hovered over the sun, going down behind the Highland hills, lying bathed in amethystine bloom; between this cloud and the hills there was a narrow slip of the pure ether, of a tender cowslip color, lucid, and as if it were the very body of heaven in its clearness; every object standing out as if etched upon the sky. The northwest end of Corstorphine Hill, with its trees and rocks, lay in the heart of this pure radiance, and there a wooden crane, used in the quarry below, was so placed as to assume the figure of a cross; there it was, unmistakable, lifted up against the crystalline sky. All three gazed at it silently. As they gazed, he gave utterance in a tremulous, gentle, and rapid voice, to what all were feeling, in the word "CALVARY!" The friends walked on in silence, and then turned to other things. All that evening he was very gentle and serious, speaking, as he seldom did, of divine things,--of death, of sin, of eternity, of salvation; expressing his simple faith in God and in his Savior.

There is a passage at the close of the 'Roundabout Paper' No. 23, 'De Finibus,' in which a sense of the ebb of life is very marked; the whole paper is like a soliloquy. It opens with a drawing of Mr. Punch, with unusually mild eye, retiring for the night; he is putting out his high-heeled shoes, and before disappearing gives a wistful look into the passage, as if bidding it and all else good-night. He will be in bed, his candle out, and in darkness, in five minutes, and his shoes found next morning at his door, the little potentate all the while in his final sleep. The whole paper is worth the most careful study; it reveals not a little of his real nature, and unfolds very curiously the secret of his work, the vitality and abiding power of his own creations; how he "invented a certain Costigan, out of scraps, heel-taps, odds and ends of characters," and met the original the other day, without surprise, in a tavern parlor. The following is beautiful: "Years ago I had a quarrel with a certain well-known person (I believed a statement regarding him which his friends imparted to me, and which turned out to be quite incorrect). To his dying day that quarrel was never quite made up. I said to his brother, 'Why is your brother's soul still dark against me? It is I who ought to be angry and unforgiving, for I was in the wrong.'" Odisse quem læseris was never better contravened. But what we chiefly refer to now is the profound pensiveness of the following strain, as if written with a presentiment of what was not then very far off:--"Another Finis written; another milestone on this journey from birth to the next world. Sure it is a subject for solemn cogitation. Shall we continue this story-telling business, and be voluble to the end of our age?" "Will it not be presently time, O prattler, to hold your tongue?" And thus he ends:--

"Oh, the sad old pages, the dull old pages; oh, the cares, the ennui, the squabbles, the repetitions, the old conversations over and over again! But now and again a kind thought is recalled, and now and again a dear memory. Yet a few chapters more, and then the last; after which, behold Finis itself comes to an end, and the Infinite begins."


He had been suffering on Sunday from an old and cruel enemy. He fixed with his friend and surgeon to come again on Tuesday, but with that dread of anticipated pain which is a common condition of sensibility and genius, he put him off with a note from "yours unfaithfully, W.M.T." He went out on Wednesday for a little, and came home at ten. He went to his room, suffering much, but declining his man's offer to sit with him. He hated to make others suffer. He was heard moving, as if in pain, about twelve, on the eve of--

"That happy morn
Wherein the Son of Heaven's eternal King,
Of wedded maid and virgin-mother born,
Our great redemption from above did bring."

Then all was quiet, and then he must have died--in a moment. Next morning his man went in, and opening the windows found his master dead, his arms behind his head, as if he had tried to take one more breath. We think of him as of our Chalmers, found dead in like manner: the same childlike, unspoiled, open face; the same gentle mouth; the same spaciousness and softness of nature; the same look of power. What a thing to think of,--his lying there alone in the dark, in the midst of his own mighty London; his mother and his daughters asleep, and, it may be, dreaming of his goodness. God help them, and us all! What would become of us, stumbling along this our path of life, if we could not, at our utmost need, stay ourselves on Him?

Long years of sorrow, labor, and pain had killed him before his time. It was found after death how little life he had to live. He looked always fresh, with that abounding silvery hair, and his young, almost infantine face, but he was worn to a shadow, and his hands wasted as if by eighty years. With him it is the end of Ends; finite is over and, infinite begun. What we all felt and feel can never be so well expressed as in his own words of sorrow for the early death of Charles Buller:--

"Who knows the inscrutable design?
  Blest He who took and He who gave!
Why should your mother, Charles, not mine,
  Be weeping at her darling's grave?
We bow to heaven that willed it so,
   That darkly rules the fate of all,
That sends the respite or the blow,
  That's free to give or to recall."





CHARLES FARRAR BROWNE (ARTEMUS WARD)

(1834-1867)

BY CHARLES F. JOHNSON

harles Farrar Brown, better known to the public of thirty years ago under his pen-name of Artemus Ward, was born in the little village of Waterford, Maine, on the 26th day of April, 1834. Waterford is a quiet village of about seven hundred inhabitants, lying among the foot-hills of the White Mountains. When Browne was a child it was a station on the western stage-route, and an important depot for lumbermen's supplies. Since the extension of railroads northerly and westerly from the seaboard, it has however shared the fate of many New England villages in being left on one side of the main currents of commercial activity, and gradually assuming a character of repose and leisure, in many regards more attractive than the life and bustle of earlier days. Many persons are still living there who remember the humorist as a quaint and tricksy boy, alternating between laughter and preternatural gravity, and of a surprising ingenuity in devising odd practical jokes in which good nature so far prevailed that even the victims were too much amused to be very angry.


Charles F. Browne

On both sides, he came from original New England stock; and although he was proud of his descent from a very ancient English family, in deference to whom he wrote his name with the final "e," he felt greater pride in his American ancestors, and always said that they were genuine and primitive Yankees,--people of intelligence, activity, and integrity in business, but entirely unaffected by new-fangled ideas. It is interesting to notice that Browne's humor was hereditary on the paternal side, his father especially being noted for his quaint sayings and harmless eccentricities. His cousin Daniel many years later bore a strong resemblance to what Charles had been, and he too possessed a kindred humorous faculty and told a story in much the same solemn manner, bringing out the point as if it were something entirely irrelevant and unimportant and casually remembered. The subject of this sketch, however, was the only member of the family in whom a love for the droll and incongruous was a controlling disposition. As is frequently the case, a family trait was intensified in one individual to the point where talent passes over into genius.

On his mother's side, too, Browne was a thorough-bred New-Englander. His maternal grandfather, Mr. Calvin Farrar, was a man of influence in town and State, and was able to send two of his sons to Bowdoin College. I have mentioned Browne's parentage because his humor is so essentially American. Whether this consists in a peculiar gravity in the humorous attitude towards the subject, rather than playfulness, or in a tendency to exaggerated statement, or in a broad humanitarian standpoint, or in a certain flavor given by a blending of all these, it is very difficult to decide. Probably the peculiar standpoint is the distinguishing note, and American humor is a product of democracy.

Humor is as difficult of definition as is poetry. It is an intimate quality of the mind, which predisposes a man to look for remote and unreal analogies and to present them gravely as if they were valid. It sees that many of the objects valued by men are illusions, and it expresses this conviction by assuming that other manifest trifles are important. It is the deadly enemy of sentimentality and affectation, for its vision is clear. Although it turns everything topsy-turvy in sport, its world is not a chaos nor a child's play-ground, for humor is based on keen perception of truth. There is no method--except the highest poetic treatment--which reveals so distinctly the falsehoods and hypocrisies of the social and economic order as the reductio ad absurdum of humor; for all human institutions have their ridiculous sides, which astonish and amuse us when pointed out, but from viewing which we suddenly become aware of relative values before misunderstood. But just as poetry may degenerate into a musical collection of words and painting into a decorative association of colors, so humor may degenerate into the merely comic or amusing. The laugh which true humor arouses is not far removed from tears. Humor indeed is not always associated with kindliness, for we have the sardonic humor of Carlyle and the savage humor of Swift; but it is naturally dissociated from egotism, and is never more attractive than when, as in the case of Charles Lamb and Oliver Goldsmith, it is based on a loving and generous interest in humanity.

Humor, must rest on a broad human foundation, and cannot be narrowed to the notions of a certain class. But in most English humor,--as indeed in all English literature except the very highest,--the social class to which the writer does not belong is regarded ab extra. In Punch, for instance, not only are servants always given a conventional set of features, but they are given conventional minds, and the jokes are based on a hypothetical conception of personality. Dickens was a great humorist, and understood the nature of the poor because he had been one of them; but his gentlemen and ladies are lay figures. Thackeray's studies of the flunky are capital; but he studies him qua flunky, as a naturalist might study an animal, and hardly ranks him sub specie humanitatis. But to the American humorist all men are primarily men. The waiter and the prince are equally ridiculous to him, because in each he finds similar incongruities between the man and his surroundings; but in England there is a deep impassable gulf between the man at the table and the man behind his chair. This democratic independence of external and adventitious circumstance sometimes gives a tone of irreverence to American persiflage, and the temporary character of class distinctions in America undoubtedly diminishes the amount of literary material "in sight" but when, as in the case of Browne and Clemens, there is in the humorist's mind a basis of reverence for things and persons that are really reverend, it gives a breadth and freedom to the humorous conception that is distinctively American.

We put Clemens and Browne in the same line, because in reading a page of either we feel at once the American touch. Browne of course is not to be compared to Clemens in affluence or in range in depicting humorous character-types; but it must be remembered that Clemens has lived thirty active years longer than his predecessor did. Neither has written a line that he would wish to blot for its foul suggestion, or because it ridiculed things that were lovely and of good report. Both were educated in journalism, and came into direct contact with the strenuous and realistic life of labor. And to repeat, though one was born and bred west of the Mississippi and the other far "down east," both are distinctly American. Had either been born and passed his childhood outside our magic line, this resemblance would not have existed. And yet we cannot say precisely wherein this likeness lies, nor what caused it; so deep, so subtle, so pervading is the influence of nationality. But their original expressions of the American humorous tone are worth ten thousand literary echoes of Sterne or Lamb or Dickens or Thackeray.

The education of young Browne was limited to the strictly preparatory years. At the age of thirteen he was forced by the death of his father to try to earn his living. When about fourteen, he was apprenticed to a Mr. Rex, who published a paper at Lancaster, New Hampshire. He remained there about a year, then worked on various country papers, and finally passed three years in the printing-house of Snow and Wilder, Boston. He then went to Ohio, and after working for some months on the Tiffin Advertiser, went to Toledo, where he remained till the fall of 1857. Thence he went to Cleveland, Ohio, as local editor of the Plain Dealer. Here appeared the humorous letters signed "Artemus Ward" and written in the character of an itinerant showman. In 1860 he went to New York as editor of the comic journal Vanity Fair.

His reputation grew steadily, and his first volume, 'Artemus Ward, His Book,' was brought out in 1862. In 1863 he went to San Francisco by way of the Isthmus and returned overland. This journey was chronicled in a short volume, 'Artemus Ward, His Travels.' He had already undertaken a career of lecturing, and his comic entertainments, given in a style peculiarly his own, became very popular. The mimetic gift is frequently found in the humorist; and Browne's peculiar drawl, his profound gravity and dreamy, far-away expression, the unexpected character of his jokes and the surprise with which he seemed to regard the audience, made a combination of a delightfully quaint absurdity. Browne himself was a very winning personality, and never failed to put his audience in good humor. None who knew him twenty-nine years ago think of him without tenderness. In 1866 he visited England, and became almost as popular there as lecturer and writer for Punch. He died from a pulmonary trouble in Southampton, March 6th, 1867, being not quite thirty-three years old. He was never married.

When we remember that a large part of Browne's mature life was taken up in learning the printer's trade, in which he became a master, we must decide that he had only entered on his career as humorous writer. Much of what he wrote is simply amusing, with little depth or power of suggestion; it is comic, not humorous. He was gaining the ear of the public and training his powers of expression. What he has left consists of a few collections of sketches written for a daily paper. But the subjoined extracts will show, albeit dimly, that he was more than a joker, as under the cap and bells of the fool in Lear we catch a glimpse of the face of a tender-hearted and philosophic friend. Browne's nature was so kindly and sympathetic, so pure and manly, that after he had achieved a reputation and was relieved from immediate pecuniary pressure, he would have felt an ambition to do some worthy work and take time to bring out the best that was in him. As it is, he had only tried his 'prentice hand. Still, the figure of the old showman, though not very solidly painted, is admirably done. He is a sort of sublimated and unoffensive Barnum; perfectly consistent, permeated with his professional view of life, yet quite incapable of anything underhand or mean; radically loyal to the Union, appreciative of the nature of his animals, steady in his humorous attitude toward life: and above all, not a composite of shreds and patches, but a personality. Slight as he is, and unconscious and unpracticed as is the art that went to his creation, he is one of the humorous figures of all literature; and old Sir John Falstaff, Sir Roger de Coverley, Uncle Toby, and Dr. Primrose will not disdain to admit him into their company; for he too is a man, not an abstraction, and need not be ashamed of his parentage nor doubtful of his standing among the "children of the men of wit."




EDWIN FORREST AS OTHELLO


Durin a recent visit to New York the undersined went to see Edwin Forrest. As I am into the moral show biziness myself I ginrally go to Barnum's moral museum, where only moral peeple air admitted, partickly on Wednesday arternoons. But this time I thot I'd go and see Ed. Ed has bin actin out on the stage for many years. There is varis 'pinions about his actin, Englishmen ginrally bleevin that he's far superior to Mister Macready; but on one pint all agree, & that is that Ed draws like a six-ox team. Ed was actin at Niblo's Garding, which looks considerable more like a parster than a garding, but let that pars. I sot down in the pit, took out my spectacles and commenced peroosin the evenin's bill. The awjince was all-fired large & the boxes was full of the elitty of New York. Several opery glasses was leveled at me by Gotham's fairest darters, but I didn't let on as tho I noticed it, tho mebby I did take out my sixteen-dollar silver watch & brandish it round more than was necessary. But the best of us has our weaknesses & if a man has gewelry let him show it. As I was peroosin the bill a grave young man who sot near me axed me if I'd ever seen Forrest dance the Essence of Old Virginny. "He's immense in that," sed the young man. "He also does a fair champion jig," the young man continnered, "but his Big Thing is the Essence of Old Virginny." Sez I, "Fair youth, do you know what I'd do with you if you was my sun?"

"No," sez he.

"Wall," sez I, "I'd appint your funeral to-morrow arternoon, & the korps should be ready. You're too smart to live on this yerth."

He didn't try any more of his capers on me. But another pussylanermuss individooul in a red vest and patent leather boots told me his name was Bill Astor & axed me to lend him 50 cents till early in the mornin. I told him I'd probly send it round to him before he retired to his virtoous couch, but if I didn't he might look for it next fall as soon as I'd cut my corn. The orchestry was now fiddling with all their might & as the peeple didn't understan anything about it they applaudid versifrusly. Presently old Ed cum out. The play was Otheller or More of Veniss. Otheller was writ by Wm. Shakspeer. The seene is laid in Veniss. Otheller was a likely man & was a ginral in the Veniss army. He eloped with Desdemony, a darter of the Hon. Mr. Brabantio, who represented one of the back districks in the Veneshun legislater. Old Brabantio was as mad as thunder at this & tore round considerable, but finally cooled down, tellin Otheller, howsoever, that Desdemony had come it over her par, & that he had better look out or she'd come it over him likewise. Mr. and Mrs. Otheller git along very comfortable-like for a spell. She is sweet-tempered and lovin--a nice, sensible female, never goin in for he-female conventions, green cotton umbrellers, and pickled beats. Otheller is a good provider and thinks all the world of his wife. She has a lazy time of it, the hird girl doin all the cookin and washin. Desdemony in fact don't have to git the water to wash her own hands with. But a low cuss named Iago, who I bleeve wants to git Otheller out of his snug government birth, now goes to work & upsets the Otheller family in most outrajus stile. Iago falls in with a brainless youth named Roderigo & wins all his money at poker. (Iago allers played foul.) He thus got money enuff to carry out his onprincipled skeem. Mike Cassio, a Irishman, is selected as a tool by Iago. Mike was a clever feller & a orficer in Otheller's army. He liked his tods too well, howsoever, & they floored him as they have many other promisin young men. Iago injuces Mike to drink with him, Iago slily throwin his whiskey over his shoulder. Mike gits as drunk as a biled owl & allows that he can lick a yard full of the Veneshun fancy before breakfast, without sweatin a hair. He meets Roderigo & proceeds for to smash him. A feller named Mentano undertakes to slap Cassio, when that infatooated person runs his sword into him. That miserble man, Iago, pretends to be very sorry to see Mike conduck hisself in this way & undertakes to smooth the thing over to Otheller, who rushes in with a drawn sword & wants to know what's up. Iago cunningly tells his story & Otheller tells Mike that he thinks a good deal of him but that he cant train no more in his regiment. Desdemony sympathises with poor Mike & interceds for him with Otheller. Iago makes him bleeve she does this because she thinks more of Mike than she does of hisself. Otheller swallers Iagos lyin tail & goes to makin a noosence of hisself ginrally. He worries poor Desdemony terrible by his vile insinuations & finally smothers her to deth with a piller. Mrs. Iago comes in just as Otheller has finished the fowl deed & givs him fits right & left, showin him that he has been orfully gulled by her miserble cuss of a husband. Iago cums in & his wife commences rakin him down also, when he stabs her. Otheller jaws him a spell & then cuts a small hole in his stummick with his sword. Iago pints to Desdemony's deth bed & goes orf with a sardonic smile onto his countenance. Otheller tells the peple that he has dun the state some service & they know it; axes them to do as fair a thing as they can for him under the circumstances, & kills hisself with a fish-knife, which is the most sensible thing he can do. This is a breef skedule of the synopsis of the play.

Edwin Forrest is a grate acter. I thot I saw Otheller before me all the time he was actin &, when the curtin fell, I found my spectacles was still mistened with salt-water, which had run from my eyes while poor Desdemony was dyin. Betsy Jane--Betsy Jane! let us pray that our domestic bliss may never be busted up by a Iago!

Edwin Forrest makes money actin out on the stage. He gits five hundred dollars a nite & his board & washin. I wish I had such a Forrest in my Garding!

Copyrighted by G.W. Dillingham and Company, New York.




HIGH-HANDED OUTRAGE AT UTICA


In the fall of 1856 I showed my show in Utiky, a trooly grate sitty in the State of New York.

The people gave me a cordyal recepshun. The press was loud in her prases.

1 day as I was givin a descripshun of my Beests and Snaiks in my usual flowry stile, what was my skorn & disgust to see a big burly feller walk up to the cage containin my wax figgers of the Lord's Last Supper, and cease Judas Iscariot by the feet and drag him out on the ground. He then commenced fur to pound him as hard as he cood.

"What under the son are you abowt?" cried I.

Sez he, "What did you bring this pussylanermus cuss here fur?" & he hit the wax figger another tremenjus blow on the hed.

Sez I, "You egrejus ass that air's a wax figger--a representashun of the false 'Postle."

Sez he, "That's all very well fur you to say, but I tell you, old man, that Judas Iscariot can't show hisself in Utiky with impunerty by a darn site!" with which observashun he kaved in Judassis hed. The young man belonged to 1 of the first famerlies in Utiky. I sood him and the Joory brawt in a verdick of Arson in the 3d degree.

Copyrighted by G.W. Dillingham and Company, New York.




AFFAIRS ROUND THE VILLAGE GREEN


And where are the friends of my youth? I have found one of 'em, certainly. I saw him ride in a circus the other day on a bareback horse, and even now his name stares at me from yonder board-fence in green and blue and red and yellow letters. Dashington, the youth with whom I used to read the able orations of Cicero, and who as a declaimer on exhibition days used to wipe the rest of us boys pretty handsomely out--well, Dashington is identified with the halibut and cod interests --drives a fish-cart, in fact, from a certain town on the coast back into the interior. Hurburtson--the utterly stupid boy--the lunkhead who never had his lesson, he's about the ablest lawyer a sister State can boast. Mills is a newspaper man, and is just now editing a Major General down South. Singlingson, the sweet-faced boy whose face was always washed and who was never rude, he is in the penitentiary for putting his uncle's autograph to a financial document. Hawkins, the clergyman's son, is an actor; and Williamson, the good little boy who divided his bread and butter with the beggar-man, is a failing merchant, and makes money by it. Tom Slink, who used to smoke Short Sixes and get acquainted with the little circus boys, is popularly supposed to be the proprietor of a cheap gaming establishment in Boston, where the beautiful but uncertain prop is nightly tossed. Be sure the Army is represented by many of the friends of my youth, the most of whom have given a good account of themselves.

But Chalmerson hasn't done much. No, Chalmerson is rather of a failure. He plays on the guitar and sings love-songs. Not that he is a bad man--a kinder-hearted creature never lived, and they say he hasn't yet got over crying for his little curly-haired sister who died ever so long ago. But he knows nothing about business, politics, the world, and those things. He is dull at trade--indeed, it is the common remark that "Everybody cheats Chalmerson." He came to the party the other evening and brought his guitar. They wouldn't have him for a tenor in the opera, certainly, for he is shaky in his upper notes; but if his simple melodies didn't gush straight from the heart! why, even my trained eyes were wet! And although some of the girls giggled, and some of the men seemed to pity him, I could not help fancying that poor Chalmerson was nearer heaven than any of us all.

Copyrighted by G.W. Dillingham and Company.




MR. PEPPER

From 'Artemus Ward: His Travels'

My arrival at Virginia City was signalized by the following incident:--

I had no sooner achieved my room in the garret of the International Hotel than I was called upon by an intoxicated man, who said he was an Editor. Knowing how rare it is for an Editor to be under the blighting influence of either spirituous or malt liquors, I received this statement doubtfully. But I said:

"What name?"

"Wait!" he said, and went out.

I heard him pacing unsteadily up and down the hall outside.

In ten minutes he returned, and said, "Pepper!"

Pepper was indeed his name. He had been out to see if he could remember it, and he was so flushed with his success that he repeated it joyously several times, and then, with a short laugh, he went away.

I had often heard of a man being "so drunk that he didn't know what town he lived in," but here was a man so hideously inebriated that he didn't know what his name was.

I saw him no more, but I heard from him. For he published a notice of my lecture, in which he said that I had a dissipated air!




HORACE GREELEY'S RIDE TO PLACERVILLE

From 'Artemus Ward: His Travels'

When Mr. Greeley was in California, ovations awaited him at every town. He had written powerful leaders in the Tribune in favor of the Pacific Railroad, which had greatly endeared him to the citizens of the Golden State. And therefore they made much of him when he went to see them.

At one town the enthusiastic populace tore his celebrated white coat to pieces and carried the pieces home to remember him by.

The citizens of Placerville prepared to fête the great journalist, and an extra coach with extra relays of horses was chartered of the California Stage Company to carry him from Folsom to Placerville--distance, forty miles. The extra was in some way delayed, and did not leave Folsom until late in the afternoon. Mr. Greeley was to be fêted at seven o'clock that evening by the citizens of Placerville, and it was altogether necessary that he should be there by that time. So the Stage Company said to Henry Monk, the driver of the extra, "Henry, this great man must be there by seven to-night." And Henry answered, "The great man shall be there."

The roads were in an awful state, and during the first few miles out of Folsom slow progress was made.

"Sir," said Mr. Greeley, "are you aware that I must be in Placerville at seven o'clock to-night?"

"I've got my orders!" laconically replied Henry Monk.

Still the coach dragged slowly forward.

"Sir," said Mr. Greeley, "this is not a trifling matter. I must be there at seven!"

Again came the answer, "I've got my orders!"

But the speed was not increased, and Mr. Greeley chafed away another half-hour; when, as he was again about to remonstrate with the driver, the horses suddenly started into a furious run, and all sorts of encouraging yells filled the air from the throat of Henry Monk.

"That is right, my good fellow," said Mr. Greeley. "I'll give you ten dollars when we get to Placerville. Now we are going!"

They were indeed, and at a terrible speed.

Crack, crack! went the whip, and again "that voice" split the air, "Get up! Hi-yi! G'long! Yip-yip."

And on they tore over stones and ruts, up hill and down, at a rate of speed never before achieved by stage horses.

Mr. Greeley, who had been bouncing from one end of the stage to the other like an India-rubber ball, managed to get his head out of the window, when he said:--

"Do-on't-on't-on't you-u-u think we-e-e-e shall get there by seven if we do-on't-on't go so fast?"

"I've got my orders!" That was all Henry Monk said. And on tore the coach.

It was becoming serious. Already the journalist was extremely sore from the terrible jolting--and again his head "might have been seen from the window."

"Sir," he said, "I don't care-care-air if we don't get there at seven."

"I've got my orders!" Fresh horses--forward again, faster than before--over rocks and stumps, on one of which the coach narrowly escaped turning a summerset.

"See here!" shrieked Mr. Greeley, "I don't care if we don't get there at all."

"I've got my orders! I work fer the California Stage Company, I do. That's wot I work fer. They said, 'Get this man through by seving.' An' this man's goin' through, you bet! Gerlong! Whoo-ep!"

Another frightful jolt, and Mr. Greeley's bald head suddenly found its way through the roof of the coach, amidst the crash of small timbers and the ripping of strong canvas.

"Stop, you--maniac!" he roared.

Again answered Henry Monk:--

"I've got my orders! Keep your seat, Horace!"

At Mud Springs, a village a few miles from Placerville, they met a large delegation of the citizens of Placerville, who had come out to meet the celebrated editor, and escort him into town. There was a military company, a brass band, and a six-horse wagon-load of beautiful damsels in milk-white dresses, representing all the States in the Union. It was nearly dark now, but the delegation was amply provided with torches, and bonfires blazed all along the road to Placerville.

The citizens met the coach in the outskirts of Mud Springs, and Mr. Monk reined in his foam-covered steeds.

"Is Mr. Greeley on board?" asked the chairman of the committee.

"He was, a few miles back!" said Mr. Monk. "Yes," he added, looking down through the hole which the fearful jolting had made in the coach-roof, "Yes, I can see him! He is there!"

"Mr. Greeley," said the chairman of the committee, presenting himself at the window of the coach, "Mr. Greeley, sir! We are come to most cordially welcome you, sir!--Why, God bless me, sir, you are bleeding at the nose!"

"I've got my orders!" cried Mr. Monk. "My orders is as follows: Git him there by seving! It wants a quarter to seving. Stand out of the way!"

"But, sir," exclaimed the committee-man, seizing the off-leader by the reins, "Mr. Monk, we are come to escort him into town! Look at the procession, sir, and the brass-band, and the people, and the young women, sir!"

"I've got my orders!" screamed Mr. Monk. "My orders don't say nothin' about no brass bands and young women. My orders says, 'Git him there by seving.' Let go them lines! Clear the way there! Whoo-ep! Keep your seat, Horace!" and the coach dashed wildly through the procession, upsetting a portion of the brass band, and violently grazing the wagon which contained the beautiful young women in white.

Years hence, gray-haired men who were little boys in this procession will tell their grandchildren how this stage tore through Mud Springs, and how Horace Greeley's bald head ever and anon showed itself like a wild apparition above the coach-roof.

Mr. Monk was on time. There is a tradition that Mr. Greeley was very indignant for a while: then he laughed and finally presented Mr. Monk with a brand-new suit of clothes. Mr. Monk himself is still in the employ of the California Stage Company, and is rather fond of relating a story that has made him famous all over the Pacific coast. But he says he yields to no man in his admiration for Horace Greeley.






SIR THOMAS BROWNE

(1605-1682)

BY FRANCIS BACON

hen Sir Thomas Browne, in the last decade of his life, was asked to furnish data for the writing of his memoirs in Wood's 'Athenæ Oxonienses,' he gave in a letter to his friend Mr. Aubrey in the fewest words his birthplace and the places of his education, his admission as "Socius Honorarius of the College of Physitians in London," the date of his being knighted, and the titles of the four books or tracts which he had printed; and ended with "Have some miscellaneous tracts which may be published."

This account of himself, curter than many an epitaph, and scantier in details than the requirements of a census-taker's blank, may serve, with many other signs that one finds scattered among the pages of this author, to show his rare modesty and effacement of his physical self. He seems, like some other thoughtful and sensitive natures before and since, averse or at least indifferent to being put on record as an eating, digesting, sleeping, and clothes-wearing animal, of that species of which his contemporary Sir Samuel Pepys stands as the classical instance, and which the newspaper interviewer of our own day--that "fellow who would vulgarize the Day of Judgment"--has trained to the most noxious degree of offensiveness.


Sir Thomas Browne

Sir Thomas felt, undoubtedly, that having admitted that select company--"fit audience though few"--who are students of the 'Religio Medici' to a close intimacy with his highest mental processes and conditions, his "separable accidents," affairs of assimilation and secretion as one may say, were business between himself and his grocer and tailor, his cook and his laundress.

The industrious research of Mr. Simon Wilkin, who in 1836 produced the completest edition (William Pickering, London) of the literary remains of Sir Thomas Browne, has gathered from all sources--his own note-books, domestic and friendly correspondence, allusions of contemporary writers and the works of subsequent biographers--all that we are likely, this side of Paradise, to know of this great scholar and admirable man.

The main facts of his life are as follows. He was born in the Parish of St. Michael's Cheap, in London, on the 19th of October, 1605 (the year of the Gunpowder Plot). His father, as is apologetically admitted by a granddaughter, Mrs. Littleton, "was a tradesman, a mercer, though a gentleman of a good family in Cheshire" (generosa familia, says Sir Thomas's own epitaph). That he was the parent of his son's temperament, a devout man with a leaning toward mysticism in religion, is shown by the charming story Mrs. Littleton tells of him, exhibiting traits worthy of the best ages of faith, and more to be expected in the father of a mediæval saint than in a prosperous Cheapside mercer, whose son was to be one of the most learned and philosophical physicians of the age of Harvey and Sydenham:--"His father used to open his breast when he was asleep and kiss it in prayers over him, as 'tis said of Origen's father, that the Holy Ghost would take possession there." Clearly, it was with reverent memory of this good man that Sir Thomas, near the close of his own long life, wrote:--"Among thy multiplied acknowledgments, lift up one hand unto heaven that thou wert born of honest parents; that modesty, humility, patience, and veracity lay in the same egg and came into the world with thee."

This loving father, of whom one would fain know more, died in the early childhood of his son Thomas. He left a handsome estate of £9,000, and a widow not wholly inconsolable with her third portion and a not unduly deferred second marriage to a titled gentleman, Sir Thomas Button,--a knight so scantily and at the same time so variously described, as "a worthy person who had great places," and "a bad member" of "mutinous and unworthy carriage," that one is content to leave him as a problematical character.

The boy Thomas Browne being left to the care of guardians, his estate was despoiled, though to what extent does not appear; nor can it be considered greatly deplorable, since it did not prevent his early schooling at that ancient and noble foundation of Winchester, nor in 1623 his entrance into Pembroke College, Oxford, and in due course his graduation in 1626 as bachelor of arts. With what special assistance or direction he began his studies in medical science, cannot now be ascertained; but after taking his degree of master of arts in 1629, he practiced physic for about two years in some uncertain place in Oxfordshire. He then began a course of travel, unusually extensive for that day. His stepfather upon occasion of his official duties under the government "shewed him all Ireland in some visitation of the forts and castles." It is improbable that Ireland at that time long detained a traveler essentially literary in his tastes. Browne betook himself to France and Italy, where he appears to have spent about two years, residing at Montpellier and Padua, then great centres of medical learning, with students drawn from most parts of Christendom. Returning homeward through Holland, he received the degree of doctor of medicine from the University of Leyden in 1633, and settled in practice at Halifax, England.

At this time--favored probably by the leisure which largely attends the beginning of a medical career, but which is rarely so laudably or productively employed,--he wrote the treatise 'Religio Medici,' which more than any other of his works has established his fame and won the affectionate admiration of thoughtful readers. This production was not printed until seven years later, although some unauthorized manuscript copies, more or less faulty, were in circulation. When in 1642 "it arrived in a most depraved copy at the press," Browne felt it necessary to vindicate himself by publishing a correct edition, although, he protests, its original "intention was not publick: and being a private exercise directed to myself, what is delivered therein was rather a memorial unto me than an example or rule unto any other."

In 1636 he removed to Norwich and permanently established himself there in the practice of physic. There in 1641 he married Dorothy Mileham, a lady of good family in Norfolk; thereby not only improving his social connections, but securing a wife "of such symmetrical proportion to her worthy husband both in the graces of her body and mind, that they seemed to come together by a kind of natural magnetism." Such at least was the view of an intimate friend of more than forty years, Rev. John Whitefoot, in the 'Minutes' which, at the request of the widow, he drew up after Sir Thomas's death, and which contain the most that is known of his personal appearance and manners. Evidently the marriage was a happy one for forty-one years, when the Lady Dorothy was left mæstissima conjux, as her husband's stately epitaph, rich with many an issimus, declares. Twelve children were born of it; and though only four of them survived their parents, such mortality in carefully tended and well-circumstanced families was less remarkable than it would be now, when two centuries more of progress in medical science have added security and length to human life.

The good mother--had she not endeared herself to the modern reader by the affectionate gentleness and the quaint glimpses of domestic life that her family letters reveal--would be irresistible by the ingeniously bad spelling in which she reveled, transgressing even the wide limits then allowed to feminine heterography.

It is noteworthy that Dr. Browne's professional prosperity was not impaired by the suspicion which early attached to him, and soon deepened into conviction, that he was addicted to literary pursuits. He was in high repute as a physician. His practice was extensive, and he was diligent in it, as also in those works of literature and scientific investigation which occupied all "snatches of time," he says, "as medical vacations and the fruitless importunity of uroscopy would permit." His large family was liberally reared; his hospitality and his charities were ample.

In 1646 he printed his second book, the largest and most operose of all his productions: the 'Pseudodoxia Epidemica, or Inquiries into Vulgar and Common Errors' the work evidently of the horæ subsecivæ of many years. In 1658 he gave to the public two smaller but important and most characteristic works, 'Hydriotaphia' and 'The Garden of Cyrus.' Beside these publications he left many manuscripts which appeared posthumously; the most important of them, for its size and general interest, being 'Christian Morals.'

When Sir Thomas's long life drew to its close, it was with all the blessings "which should accompany old age." His domestic life had been one of felicity. His eldest and only surviving son, Edward Browne, had become a scholar after his father's own heart; and though not inheriting his genius, was already renowned in London, one of the physicians to the King, and in a way to become, as afterward he did, President of the College of Physicians. All his daughters who had attained womanhood had been well married. He lived in the society of the honorable and learned, and had received from the King the honor of knighthood[1].

[1] As for this business of the knighting, one hesitates fully to adopt Dr. Johnson's remark that Charles II. "had skill to discover excellence and virtue to reward it, at least with such honorary distinctions as cost him nothing." A candid observer of the walk and conversation of this illustrious monarch finds room for doubt that he was an attentive reader or consistent admirer of the 'Religio Medici,' or 'Christian Morals'; and though his own personal history might have contributed much to a complete catalogue of Vulgar Errors, Browne's treatise so named did not include divagations from common decency in its scope, and so may have failed to impress the royal mind. The fact is that the King on his visit to Norwich, looking about for somebody to knight, intended, as usual on such occasions, to confer the title on the mayor of the city; but this functionary,--some brewer or grocer perhaps, of whom nothing else than this incident is recorded,--declined the honor, whereupon the gap was stopped with Dr. Browne.

Mr. John Evelyn, carrying out a long and cherished plan of seeing one whom he had known and admired by his writings, visited him at Norwich in 1671. He found Sir Thomas among fit surroundings, "his whole house and garden being a paradise and cabinet of rarities, and that of the best collections, especially medails, books, plants, and natural things[2]." Here we have the right background and accessories for Whitefoot's portrait of the central figure:--

"His complexion and hair ... answerable to his name, his stature moderate, and habit of body neither fat nor lean but [Greek: eusarkos;] ... never seen to be transported with mirth or dejected with sadness; always cheerful, but rarely merry at any sensible rate; seldom heard to break a jest, and when he did, ... apt to blush at the levity of it: his gravity was natural without affectation. His modesty ... visible in a natural habitual blush, which was increased upon the least occasion, and oft discovered without any observable cause.... So free from loquacity or much talkativeness, that he was something difficult to be engaged in any discourse; though when he was so, it was always singular and never trite or vulgar."
[2] These two distinguished authors were of congenial tastes, and both cultivated the same Latinistic literary diction. Their meeting must have occasioned a copious effusion of those "long-tailed words in osity and ation" which both had so readily at command or made to order. It is regrettable that Evelyn never completed a work entitled 'Elysium Brittannicum' which he planned, and to which Browne contributed a chapter 'Of Coronary Plants.' It would have taken rank with its author's 'Sylva' among English classics.

A man of character so lofty and self-contained might be expected to leave a life so long, honorable, and beneficent with becoming dignity. Sir Thomas's last sickness, a brief but very painful one, was "endured with exemplary patience founded upon the Christian philosophy," and "with a meek, rational, and religious courage," much to the edification of his friend Whitefoot. One may see even a kind of felicity in his death, falling exactly on the completion of his seventy-seventh year.

He was buried in the church of St. Peter Mancroft, where his monument still claims regard as chief among the memorabilia of that noble sanctuary[3].

[3] In the course of repairs, "in August, 1840, his coffin was broken open by a pickaxe; the bones were found in good preservation, the fine auburn hair had not lost its freshness." It is painful to relate that the cranium was removed and placed in the pathological museum of the Norwich Hospital, labeled as "the gift of" some person (name not recalled), whose own cranium is probably an object of interest solely to its present proprietor. "Who knows the fate of his own bones? ... We insult not over their ashes," says Sir Thomas. The curator of the museum feels that he has a clever joke on the dead man, when with a grin he points to a label bearing these words from the 'Hydriotaphia':--"To be knaved out of our graves, to have our skulls made drinking-bowls, and our bones turned into pipes to delight and sport our enemies, are tragical abominations escaped in burning burials."

At the first appearance of Browne's several publications, they attracted that attention from the learned and thoughtful which they have ever since retained. The 'Religio Medici' was soon translated into several modern languages as well as into Latin, and became the subject of curiously diverse criticism. The book received the distinction of a place in the Roman 'Index Expurgatorius,' while from various points of view its author was regarded as a Romanist, an atheist, a deist, a pantheist, and as bearing the number 666 somewhere about him.

A worthy Quaker, a fellow-townsman, was so impressed by his tone of quietistic mysticism that he felt sure the philosophic doctor was guided by "the inward light," and wrote, sending a godly book, and proposing to clinch his conversion in a personal interview. Such are the perils that environ the man who not only repeats a creed in sincerity, but ventures to do and to utter his own thinking about it.

From Browne's own day to the present time his critics and commentators have been numerous and distinguished; one of the most renowned among them being Dr. Johnson, whose life of the author, prefixed to an edition of the 'Christian Morals' in 1756, is a fine specimen of that facile and effective hack-work of which Johnson was master. In that characteristic way of his, half of patronage, half of reproof, and wholly pedagogical, he summons his subject to the bar of his dialectics, and according to his lights administers justice. He admits that Browne has "great excellencies" and "uncommon sentiments," and that his scholarship and science are admirable, but strongly condemns his style: "It is vigorous, but rugged; it is learned, but pedantic; it is deep, but obscure; it strikes, but does not please; it commands, but does not allure; his tropes are harsh and his combinations uncouth."

Behemoth prescribing rules of locomotion to the swan! By how much would English letters have been the poorer if Browne had learned his art of Johnson!

Notwithstanding such objurgations, some have supposed that the style of Johnson, perhaps without conscious intent, was founded upon that of Browne. A tone of oracular authority, an academic Latinism sometimes disregarding the limitations of the unlearned reader, an elaborate balancing of antitheses in the same period,--these are qualities which the two writers have in common. But the resemblance, such as it is, is skin-deep. Johnson is a polemic by nature, and at his best cogent and triumphant in argument. His thought is carefully kept level with the apprehension of the ordinary reader, while arrayed in a verbal pomp simulating the expression of something weighty and profound. Browne is intuitive and ever averse to controversy, feeling, as he exquisitely says, that "many have too rashly charged the troops of error and remain as trophies unto the enemies of truth. A man may be in as just possession of the truth as of a city, and yet be forced to surrender." Calmly philosophic, he writes for kindred minds, and his concepts satisfying his own intellect, he delivers them with as little passion as an Æolian harp answering the wind, and lingers not for applause or explanation. His being

"Those thoughts that wander through eternity,"

he means that we too shall "have a glimpse of incomprehensibles, and thoughts of things which thoughts but tenderly touch."

How grandly he rounds his pregnant paragraphs with phrases which for stately and compulsive rhythm, sonorous harmony, and sweetly solemn cadences, are almost matchless in English prose, and lack only the mechanism of metre to give them the highest rank as verse.

"Man is a noble animal, splendid in ashes and pompous in the grave, solemnizing nativities and deaths with equal lustre, nor omitting ceremonies of bravery in the infancy of his nature;" "When personations shall cease, and histrionism of happiness be over; when reality shall rule, and all shall be as they shall be forever:"--such passages as these, and the whole of the 'Fragment on Mummies,' one can scarcely recite without falling into something of that chant which the blank verse of Milton and Tennyson seems to enforce.

That the 'Religio Medici' was the work of a gentleman before his thirtieth year, not a recluse nor trained in a cloister, but active in a calling which keeps closest touch with the passions and frailties of humanity, seems to justify his assertion, "I have shaken hands with delight [sc. by way of parting] in my warm blood and canicular days." So uniformly lofty and dignified is its tone, and so austere its morality, that the book might be taken for the fruit of those later and sadder years that bring the philosophic mind. Its frank confessions and calm analysis of motive and action have been compared with Montaigne's: if Montaigne had been graduated after a due education in Purgatory, or if his pedigree had been remotely crossed with a St. Anthony and he had lived to see the fluctus decumanus gathering in the tide of Puritanism, the likeness would have been closer.

"The 'Religio Medici,'" says Coleridge, "is a fine portrait of a handsome man in his best clothes." There is truth in the criticism, and if there is no color of a sneer in it, it is entirely true. Who does not feel, when following Browne into his study or his garden, that here is a kind of cloistral retreat from the common places of the outside world, that the handsome man is a true gentleman and a noble friend, and that his best clothes are his every-day wear?

This aloofness of Browne's, which holds him apart "in the still air of delightful studies," is no affectation; it is an innate quality. He thinks his thoughts in his own way, and "the style is the man" never more truly than with him. One of his family letters mentions the execution of Charles I. as a "horrid murther," and another speaks of Cromwell as a usurper; but nowhere in anything intended for the public eye is there an indication that he lived in the most tumultuous and heroic period of English history. Not a word shows that Shakespeare was of the generation just preceding his, nor that Milton and George Herbert and Henry Vaughan, numerous as are the parallels in their thought and feeling and in his, were his contemporaries. Constant and extensive as are his excursions into ancient literature, it is rare for him to make any reference to writers of his own time.

Yet with all his delight in antiquity and reverence for the great names of former ages, he is keen in the quest for new discoveries. His commonplace books abound in ingenious queries and minute observations regarding physical facts, conceived in the very spirit of our modern school:--"What is the use of dew-claws in dogs?" He does not instantly answer, as a schoolboy in this Darwinian day would, "To carry out an analogy;" but the mere asking of the question sets him ahead of his age. See too his curious inquiries into the left-footedness of parrots and left-handedness of certain monkeys and squirrels. The epoch-making announcement of his fellow-physician Harvey he quickly appreciates at its true value: "his piece 'De Circul. Sang.,' which discovery I prefer to that of Columbus." And here again a truly surprising suggestion of the great results achieved a century and two centuries later by Jenner and Pasteur--concerning canine madness, "whether it holdeth not better at second than at first hand, so that if a dog bite a horse, and that horse a man, the evil proves less considerable." He is the first to observe and describe that curious product of the decomposition of flesh known to modern chemists as adipocere.

He is full of eager anticipation of the future. "Join sense unto reason," he cries, "and experiment unto speculation, and so give life unto embryon truths and verities yet in their chaos.... What libraries of new volumes after-times will behold, and in what a new world of knowledge the eyes of our posterity may be happy, a few ages may joyfully declare."

But acute and active as our author's perceptions were, they did not prevent his sharing the then prevalent theory which assigned to the devil, and to witches who were his ministers, an important part in the economy of the world. This belief affords so easy a solution of some problems otherwise puzzling, that this degenerate age may look back with envy upon those who held it in serene and comfortable possession.

It is to be regretted, however, that the eminent Lord Chief Justice Hale in 1664, presiding at the trial for witchcraft of two women, should have called Dr. Browne, apparently as amicus curiæ, to give his view of the fits which were supposed to be the work of the witches. He was clearly of the opinion that the Devil had even more to do with that case than he has with most cases of hysteria; and consequently the witches, it must be said, fared no better in Sir Matthew Hale's court than many of their kind in various parts of Christendom about the same time. But it would be unreasonable for us to hold the ghost of Sir Thomas deeply culpable because, while he showed in most matters an exceptionally enlightened liberality of opinion and practice, in this one particular he declined to deny the scientific dictum of previous ages and the popular belief of his own time.

The mental attitude of reverent belief in its symbolic value, in which this devout philosopher contemplated the material world, is that of many of those who have since helped most to build the structure of Natural Science. The rapturous exclamation of Linnæus, "My God, I think thy thoughts after thee!" comes like an antiphonal response by "the man of flowers" to these passages in the 'Religio Medici':--"This visible world is but a picture of the invisible, wherein, as in a portrait, things are not truly, but in equivocal shapes, and as they counterfeit some real substance in that invisible fabric." "Things are really true as they correspond unto God's conception; and have so much verity as they hold of conformity unto that intellect, in whose idea they had their first determinations."









FROM THE 'RELIGIO MEDICI'


I could never divide myself from any man upon the difference of an opinion, or be angry with his judgment for not agreeing with me in that from which within a few days I should dissent myself. I have no genius to disputes in religion, and have often thought it wisdom to decline them, especially upon a disadvantage, or when the cause of truth might suffer in the weakness of my patronage. Where we desire to be informed, 'tis good to contest with men above ourselves; but to confirm and establish our opinions, 'tis best to argue with judgments below our own, that the frequent spoils and victories over their reasons may settle in ourselves an esteem and confirmed opinion of our own. Every man is not a proper champion for truth, nor fit to take up the gauntlet in the cause of verity: many from the ignorance of these maxims, and an inconsiderate zeal for truth, have too rashly charged the troops of error, and remain as trophies unto the enemies of truth. A man may be in as just possession of truth as of a city, and yet be forced to surrender; 'tis therefore far better to enjoy her with peace, than to hazard her on a battle: if therefore there rise any doubts in my way, I do forget them, or at least defer them, till my better settled judgment and more manly reason be able to resolve them; for I perceive every man's own reason is his best Oedipus, and will, upon a reasonable truce, find a way to loose those bonds wherewith the subtleties of error have enchained our more flexible and tender judgments. In philosophy, where truth seems double-faced, there is no man more paradoxical than myself: but in divinity I love to keep the road; and though not in an implicit, yet an humble faith, follow the great wheel of the Church, by which I move, not reserving any proper poles or motion from the epicycle of my own brain: by these means I leave no gap for heresy, schisms, or errors.

As for those wingy mysteries in divinity, and airy subtleties in religion, which have unhinged the brains of better heads, they never stretched the pia mater of mine: methinks there be not impossibilities enough in religion for an active faith; the deepest mysteries ours contains have not only been illustrated, but maintained, by syllogism and the rule of reason. I love to lose myself in a mystery, to pursue my reason to an O altitudo! 'Tis my solitary recreation to pose my apprehension with those involved enigmas and riddles of the Trinity, with Incarnation and Resurrection. I can answer all the objections of Satan and my rebellious reason with that odd resolution I learned of Tertullian, "Certum est quia impossible est." I desire to exercise my faith in the difficultest point; for to credit ordinary and visible objects is not faith, but persuasion. Some believe the better for seeing Christ's sepulchre; and when they have seen the Red Sea, doubt not of the miracle. Now contrarily, I bless myself and am thankful that I live not in the days of miracles, that I never saw Christ nor his disciples; I would not have been one of those Israelites that passed the Red Sea, nor one of Christ's patients on whom he wrought his wonders: then had my faith been thrust upon me; nor should I enjoy that greater blessing pronounced to all that believe and saw not. 'Tis an easy and necessary belief, to credit what our eye and sense hath examined: I believe he was dead and buried, and rose again; and desire to see him in his glory, rather than to contemplate him in his cenotaph or sepulchre. Nor is this much to believe; as we have reason, we owe this faith unto history: they only had the advantage of a bold and noble faith who lived before his coming, who upon obscure prophecies and mystical types could raise a belief and expect apparent impossibilities.

In my solitary and retired imagination,

"Neque enim cum lectulus aut me
Porticus excepit, desum mihi"--

I remember I am not alone, and therefore forget not to contemplate Him and his attributes who is ever with me, especially those two mighty ones, His wisdom and eternity: with the one I recreate, with the other I confound my understanding; for who can speak of eternity without a solecism, or think thereof without an ecstasy? Time we may comprehend: it is but five days older than ourselves, and hath the same horoscope with the world; but to retire so far back as to apprehend a beginning, to give such an infinite start forward as to conceive an end in an essence that we affirm hath neither the one nor the other, it puts my reason to St. Paul's sanctuary: my philosophy dares not say the angels can do it; God hath not made a creature that can comprehend him; it is a privilege of his own nature: I am that I am, was his own definition unto Moses; and it was a short one, to confound mortality, that durst question God or ask him what he was. Indeed he only is; all others have and shall be; but in eternity there is no distinction of tenses; and therefore that terrible term predestination, which hath troubled so many weak heads to conceive, and the wisest to explain, is in respect to God no prescious determination of our states to come, but a definitive blast of his will already fulfilled, and at the instant that he first decreed it; for to his eternity, which is indivisible and all together, the last trump, is already sounded, the reprobates in the flame and the blessed in Abraham's bosom. St. Peter speaks modestly when he saith, a thousand years to God are but as one day; for to speak like a philosopher, those continued instances of time which flow into a thousand years make not to him one moment: what to us is to come, to his eternity is present, his whole duration being but one permanent point, without succession, parts, flux, or division.

The world was made to be inhabited by beasts, but studied and contemplated by man; 'tis the debt of our reason we owe unto God, and the homage we pay for not being beasts; without this, the world is still as though it had not been, or as it was before the sixth day, when as yet there was not a creature that could conceive or say there was a world. The wisdom of God receives small honor from those vulgar heads that rudely stare about, and with a gross rusticity admire his works: those highly magnify him whose judicious inquiry into his acts, and deliberate research into his creatures, return the duty of a devout and learned admiration.

"Natura nihil agit frustra," is the only indisputable axiom in philosophy; there are no grotesques in nature; not anything framed to fill up empty cantons and unnecessary spaces: in the most imperfect creatures, and such as were not preserved in the ark, but, having their seeds and principles in the womb of nature, are everywhere where the power of the sun is--in these is the wisdom of His hand discovered; out of this rank Solomon chose the object of his admiration; indeed, what reason may not go to school to the wisdom of bees, ants, and spiders? what wise hand teacheth them to do what reason cannot teach us? Ruder heads stand amazed at those prodigious pieces of nature--whales, elephants, dromedaries, and camels; these, I confess, are the colossi and majestic pieces of her hand: but in these narrow engines there is more curious mathematics; and the civility of these little citizens more neatly sets forth the wisdom of their Maker. Who admires not Regio-Montanus his fly beyond his eagle, or wonders not more at the operation of two souls in those little bodies, than but one in the trunk of a cedar? I could never content my contemplation with those general pieces of wonder, the flux and reflux of the sea, the increase of the Nile, the conversion of the needle to the north; and have studied to match and parallel those in the more obvious and neglected pieces of nature, which without further travel I can do in the cosmography of myself: we carry with us the wonders we seek without us; there is all Africa and her prodigies in us; we are that bold and adventurous piece of nature which he that studies wisely learns in a compendium, what others labor at in a divided piece and endless volume.

Thus there are two books from whence I collect my divinity: besides that written one of God, another of his servant nature, that universal and public manuscript that lies expansed unto the eyes of all; those that never saw him in the one have discovered him in the other. This was the Scripture and Theology of the heathens: the natural motion of the sun made them more admire him than its supernatural station did the children of Israel; the ordinary effect of nature wrought more admiration in them than in the other all his miracles: surely the heathens knew better how to join and read these mystical letters than we Christians, who cast a more careless eye on these common hieroglyphics and disdain to suck divinity from the flowers of nature. Nor do I so forget God as to adore the name of nature; which I define not, with the schools, to be the principle of motion and rest, but that straight and regular line, that settled and constant course the wisdom of God hath ordained the actions of his creatures, according to their several kinds. To make a revolution every day is the nature of the sun, because of that necessary course which God hath ordained it, from which it cannot swerve but by a faculty from that voice which first did give it motion. Now this course of nature God seldom alters or perverts, but, like an excellent artist, hath so contrived his work that with the selfsame instrument, without a new creation, he may effect his obscurest designs. Thus he sweeteneth the water with a wood, preserveth the creatures in the ark, which the blast of his mouth might have as easily created; for God is like a skillful geometrician, who when more easily, and with one stroke of his compass, he might describe or divide a right line, had yet rather to do this in a circle or longer way, according to the constituted and forelaid principles of his art: yet this rule of his he doth sometimes pervert to acquaint the world with his prerogative, lest the arrogancy of our reason should question his power and conclude he could not. And thus I call the effects of nature the works of God, whose hand and instrument she only is; and therefore to ascribe his actions unto her is to devolve the honor of the principal agent upon the instrument; which if with reason we may do, then let our hammers rise up and boast they have built our houses, and our pens receive the honor of our writing. I hold there is a general beauty in the works of God, and therefore no deformity in any kind of species whatsoever: I cannot tell by what logic we call a toad, a bear, or an elephant ugly, they being created in those outward shapes and figures which best express those actions of their inward forms. And having passed that general visitation of God, who saw that all that he had made was good, that is, conformable to his will, which abhors deformity, and is the rule of order and beauty: there is no deformity but in monstrosity, wherein notwithstanding there is a kind of beauty, nature so ingeniously contriving the irregular parts that they become sometimes more remarkable than the principal fabric. To speak yet more narrowly, there was never anything ugly or misshapen but the chaos; wherein, notwithstanding, to speak strictly, there was no deformity, because no form, nor was it yet impregnate by the voice of God; now nature is not at variance with art, nor art with nature, they being both servants of his providence: art is the perfection of nature: were the world now as it was the sixth day, there were yet a chaos; nature hath made one world, and art another. In brief, all things are artificial; for nature is the art of God.

I have heard some with deep sighs lament the lost lines of Cicero; others with as many groans deplore the combustion of the library of Alexandria; for my own part, I think there be too many in the world, and could with patience behold the urn and ashes of the Vatican, could I, with a few others, recover the perished leaves of Solomon. I would not omit a copy of Enoch's Pillars had they many nearer authors than Josephus, or did not relish somewhat of the fable. Some men have written more than others have spoken: Pineda quotes more authors in one work than are necessary in a whole world. Of those three great inventions in Germany, there are two which are not without their incommodities. It is not a melancholy utinam of my own, but the desires of better heads, that there were a general synod; not to unite the incompatible difference of religion, but for the benefit of learning, to reduce it, as it lay at first, in a few and solid authors; and to condemn to the fire those swarms and millions of rhapsodies begotten only to distract and abuse the weaker judgments of scholars, and to maintain the trade and mystery of typographers.

Again, I believe that all that use sorceries, incantations, and spells are not witches, or, as we term them, magicians. I conceive there is a traditional magic not learned immediately from the Devil, but at second hand from his scholars, who, having once the secret betrayed, are able, and do empirically practice without his advice, they both proceeding upon the principles of nature; where actives aptly conjoined to disposed passives will under any master produce their effects. Thus, I think at first a great part of philosophy was witchcraft, which being afterward derived to one another, proved but philosophy, and was indeed no more but the honest effects of nature: what invented by us is philosophy, learned from him is magic. We do surely owe the discovery of many secrets to the discovery of good and bad angels. I could never pass that sentence of Paracelsus without an asterisk or annotation: "Ascendens astrum multa revelat quærentibus magnalia naturæ, i.e., opera Dei." I do think that many mysteries ascribed to our own inventions have been the courteous revelations of spirits,--for those noble essences in heaven bear a friendly regard unto their fellow natures on earth; and therefore believe that those many prodigies and ominous prognostics which forerun the ruins of States, princes, and private persons are the charitable premonitions of good angels, which more careless inquiries term but the effects of chance and nature.

Now, besides these particular and divided spirits there may be (for aught I know) an universal and common spirit to the whole world. It was the opinion of Plato, and it is yet of the Hermetical philosophers: if there be a common nature that unites and ties the scattered and divided individuals into one species, why may there not be one that unites them all? However, I am sure there is a common spirit that plays within us, yet makes no part of us: and that is the Spirit of God, the fire and scintillation of that noble and mighty essence which is the life and radical heat of spirits and those essences that know not the virtue of the sun; a fire quite contrary to the fire of hell: this is that gentle heat that brooded on the waters, and in six days hatched the world; this is that irradiation that dispels the mists of hell, the clouds of horror, fear, sorrow, despair; and preserves the region of the mind in serenity: whosoever feels not the warm gale and gentle ventilation of this spirit (though I feel his pulse) I dare not say he lives; for truly without this, to me there is no heat under the tropic; nor any light, though I dwelt in the body of the sun.

I believe that the whole frame of a beast doth perish, and is left in the same state after death as before it was materialled unto life: that the souls of men know neither contrary nor corruption; that they subsist beyond the body, and outlive death by the privilege of their proper natures, and without a miracle; that the souls of the faithful, as they leave earth, take possession of heaven: that those apparitions and ghosts of departed persons are not the wandering souls of men, but the unquiet walks of devils, prompting and suggesting us into mischief, blood, and villainy; instilling and stealing into our hearts that the blessed spirits are not at rest in their graves, but wander solicitous of the affairs of the world: but that those phantasms appear often, and do frequent cemeteries, charnel-houses, and churches, it is because those are the dormitories of the dead, where the Devil, like an insolent champion, beholds with pride the spoils and trophies of his victory in Adam.

This is that dismal conquest we all deplore, that makes us so often cry, "Adam, quid fecisti?" I thank God I have not those strait ligaments, or narrow obligations to the world, as to dote on life, or be convulsed and tremble at the name of death: not that I am insensible of the dread and horror thereof; or by raking into the bowels of the deceased, continual sight of anatomies, skeletons, or cadaverous reliques, like vespilloes or grave-makers, I am become stupid or have forgot the apprehension of mortality; but that marshaling all the horrors, and contemplating the extremities thereof, I find not anything therein able to daunt the courage of a man, much less a well-resolved Christian; and therefore am not angry at the error of our first parents, or unwilling to bear a part of this common fate, and like the best of them to die--that is, to cease to breathe, to take a farewell of the elements, to be a kind of nothing for a moment, to be within one instant of a spirit. When I take a full view and circle of myself without this reasonable moderator and equal piece of justice, Death, I do conceive myself the miserablest person extant: were there not another life that I hope for, all the vanities of this world should not entreat a moment's breath from me; could the Devil work my belief to imagine I could never die, I would not outlive that very thought. I have so abject a conceit of this common way of existence, this retaining to the sun and elements, I cannot think this to be a man, or to live according to the dignity of humanity. In expectation of a better, I can with patience embrace this life, yet in my best meditations do often defy death: I honor any man that contemns it, nor can I highly love any that is afraid of it: this makes me naturally love a soldier, and honor those tattered and contemptible regiments that will die at the command of a sergeant. For a pagan there may be some motives to be in love with life; but for a Christian to be amazed at death, I see not how he can escape this dilemma--that he is too sensible of this life, or hopeless of the life to come.


I am naturally bashful; nor hath conversation, age, or travel been able to effront or enharden me: yet I have one part of modesty which I have seldom discovered in another, that is (to speak truly) I am not so much afraid of death, as ashamed thereof: 'tis the very disgrace and ignominy of our natures that in a moment can so disfigure us that our nearest friends, wife, and children, stand afraid and start at us. The birds and beasts of the field, that before in a natural fear obeyed us, forgetting all allegiance, begin to prey upon us. This very conceit hath in a tempest disposed and left me willing to be swallowed up in the abyss of waters, wherein I had perished unseen, unpitied, without wondering eyes, tears of pity, lectures of mortality, and none had said, "Quantum mutatus ab illo!" Not that I am ashamed of the anatomy of my parts, or can accuse nature for playing the bungler in any part of me, or my own vicious life for contracting any shameful disease upon me, whereby I might not call myself as wholesome a morsel for the worms as any.


Men commonly set forth the torments of hell by fire and the extremity of corporal afflictions, and describe hell in the same method that Mahomet doth heaven. This indeed makes a noise, and drums in popular ears: but if this be the terrible piece thereof, it is not worthy to stand in diameter with heaven, whose happiness consists in that part that is best able to comprehend it--that immortal essence, that translated divinity and colony of God, the soul. Surely, though we place hell under earth, the Devil's walk and purlieu is about it; men speak too popularly who place it in those flaming mountains which to grosser apprehensions represent hell. The heart of man is the place the Devil dwells in: I feel sometimes a hell within myself; Lucifer keeps his court in my breast; Legion is revived in me. There are as many hells as Anaxarchus conceited worlds: there was more than one hell in Magdalen, when there were seven devils, for every devil is an hell unto himself; he holds enough of torture in his own ubi, and needs not the misery of circumference to afflict him; and thus a distracted conscience here is a shadow or introduction unto hell hereafter. Who can but pity the merciful intention of those hands that do destroy themselves? the Devil, were it in his power, would do the like; which being impossible, his miseries are endless, and he suffers most in that attribute wherein he is impassible, his immortality.

I thank God, and with joy I mention it, I was never afraid of hell, nor never grew pale at the description of that place; I have so fixed my contemplations on heaven, that I have almost forgot the idea of hell, and am afraid rather to lose the joys of the one than endure the misery of the other: to be deprived of them is a perfect hell, and needs, methinks, no addition to complete our afflictions. That terrible term hath never detained me from sin, nor do I owe any good action to the name thereof. I fear God, yet am not afraid of him; his mercies make me ashamed of my sins, before his judgments afraid thereof; these are the forced and secondary method of his wisdom, which he useth but as the last remedy, and upon provocation: a course rather to deter the wicked than incite the virtuous to his worship. I can hardly think there was ever any scared into heaven; they go the fairest way to heaven that would serve God without a hell; other mercenaries, that crouch unto him in fear of hell, though they term themselves the servants, are indeed but the slaves of the Almighty.

That which is the cause of my election I hold to be the cause of my salvation, which was the mercy and beneplacit of God, before I was, or the foundation of the world. "Before Abraham was, I am," is the saying of Christ; yet is it true in some sense, if I say it of myself; for I was not only before myself, but Adam--that is, in the idea of God, and the decree of that synod held from all eternity: and in this sense, I say, the world was before the creation, and at an end before it had a beginning; and thus was I dead before I was alive; though my grave be England, my dying place was Paradise; and Eve miscarried of me before she conceived of Cain.


Now for that other virtue of charity, without which faith is a mere notion and of no existence, I have ever endeavored to nourish the merciful disposition and humane inclination I borrowed from my parents, and regulate it to the written and prescribed laws of charity: and if I hold the true anatomy of myself, I am delineated and naturally framed to such a piece of virtue; for I am of a constitution so general that it consorts and sympathizeth with all things: I have no antipathy, or rather idiosyncrasy, in diet, humor, air, anything. I wonder not at the French for their dishes of frogs, snails, and toadstools; nor at the Jews for locusts and grasshoppers; but being amongst them, make them my common viands, and I find they agree with my stomach as well as theirs. I could digest a salad gathered in a churchyard as well as in a garden. I cannot start at the presence of a serpent, scorpion, lizard, or salamander: at the sight of a toad or viper I find in me no desire to take up a stone to destroy them. I feel not in myself those common antipathies that I can discover in others; those national repugnances do not touch me, nor do I behold with prejudice the French, Italian, Spaniard, or Dutch: but where I find their actions in balance with my countrymen's, I honor, love, and embrace them in the same degree. I was born in the eighth climate, but seem for to be framed and constellated unto all: I am no plant that will not prosper out of a garden; all places, all airs, make unto me one country; I am in England, everywhere, and under any meridian; I have been shipwrecked, yet am not enemy with the sea or winds; I can study, play or sleep in a tempest. In brief, I am averse from nothing: my conscience would give me the lie if I should absolutely detest or hate any essence but the Devil; or so at least abhor anything but that we might come to composition. If there be any among those common objects of hatred I do contemn and laugh at, it is that great enemy of reason, virtue, and religion--the multitude: that numerous piece of monstrosity which, taken asunder, seem men and the reasonable creatures of God, but confused together, make but one great beast and a monstrosity more prodigious than Hydra: it is no breach of charity to call these fools; it is the style all holy writers have afforded them, set down by Solomon in canonical Scripture, and a point of our faith to believe so. Neither in the name of multitude do I only include the base and minor sort of people: there is a rabble even amongst the gentry, a sort of plebeian heads, whose fancy moves with the same wheel as these; men in the same level with mechanics, though their fortunes do somewhat gild their infirmities, and their purses compound for their follies.

I must give no alms to satisfy the hunger of my brother, but to fulfill and accomplish the will and command of my God: I draw not my purse for his sake that demands it, but His that enjoined it; I believe no man upon the rhetoric of his miseries, nor to content mine own commiserating disposition; for this is still but moral charity, and an act that oweth more to passion than reason. He that relieves another upon the bare suggestion and bowels of pity doth not this so much for his sake as for his own; for by compassion we make others' misery our own, and so, by relieving them, we relieve ourselves also. It is as erroneous a conceit to redress other men's misfortunes upon the common considerations of merciful natures, that it may be one day our own case; for this is a sinister and politic kind of charity, whereby we seem to bespeak the pities of men in the like occasions. And truly I have observed that those professed eleemosynaries, though in a crowd or multitude, do yet direct and place their petitions on a few and selected persons: there is surely a physiognomy which those experienced and master mendicants observe, whereby they instantly discover a merciful aspect, and will single out a face wherein they spy the signatures and marks of mercy. For there are mystically in our faces certain characters which carry in them the motto of our souls, wherein he that cannot read ABC may read our natures. I hold moreover that there is a phytognomy, or physiognomy, not only of men, but of plants and vegetables; and in every one of them some outward figures which hang as signs or bushes of their inward forms. The finger of God hath left an inscription upon all his works, not graphical or composed of letters, but of their several forms, constitutions, parts and operations, which, aptly joined together, do make one word that doth express their natures. By these letters God calls the stars by their names; and by this alphabet Adam assigned to every creature a name peculiar to its nature. Now there are, besides these characters in our faces, certain mystical figures in our hands, which I dare not call mere dashes, strokes à la volée, or at random, because delineated by a pencil that never works in vain; and hereof I take more particular notice, because I carry that in mine own hand which I could never read of or discover in another. Aristotle, I confess, in his acute and singular book of physiognomy, hath made no mention of chiromancy; yet I believe the Egyptians, who were nearer addicted to those abstruse and mystical sciences, had a knowledge therein, to which those vagabond and counterfeit Egyptians did after pretend, and perhaps retained a few corrupted principles which sometimes might verify their prognostics.

It is the common wonder of all men, how, among so many millions of faces, there should be none alike. Now, contrary, I wonder as much how there should be any: he that shall consider how many thousand several words have been carelessly and without study composed out of twenty-four letters; withal, how many hundred lines there are to be drawn in the fabric of one man, shall easily find that this variety is necessary; and it will be very hard that they shall so concur as to make one portrait like another. Let a painter carelessly limn out a million of faces, and you shall find them all different; yea, let him have his copy before him, yet after all his art there will remain a sensible distinction; for the pattern or example of everything is the perfectest in that kind, whereof we still come short, though we transcend or go beyond it, because herein it is wide, and agrees not in all points unto its copy. Nor doth the similitude of creatures disparage the variety of nature, nor any way confound the works of God. For even in things alike there is diversity; and those that do seem to accord do manifestly disagree. And thus is man like God; for in the same things that we resemble him we are utterly different from him. There was never anything so like another as in all points to concur; there will ever some reserved difference slip in, to prevent the identity, without which two several things would not be alike, but the same, which is impossible.

Naturally amorous of all that is beautiful, I can look a whole day with delight upon a handsome picture, though it be but of an horse. It is my temper, and I like it the better, to affect all harmony; and sure there is music even in the beauty, and the silent note which Cupid strikes, far sweeter than the sound of an instrument: for there is music wherever there is harmony, order, or, proportion: and thus far we may maintain the music of the spheres; for those well-ordered motions and regular paces, though they give no sound unto the ear, yet to the understanding they strike a note most full of harmony. Whatsoever is harmonically composed, delights in harmony, which makes me much distrust the symmetry of those heads which declaim against all church music. For myself, not only from my obedience, but my particular genius, I do embrace it: for even that vulgar and tavern music, which makes one man merry, another mad, strikes in me a deep fit of devotion and a profound contemplation of the First Composer; there is something in it of divinity more than the ear discovers: it is an hieroglyphical and shadowed lesson of the whole world and creatures of God; such a melody to the ear as the whole world, well understood, would afford the understanding. In brief, it is a sensible fit of that harmony which intellectually sounds in the ears of God. It unties the ligaments of my frame, takes me to pieces, dilates me out of myself, and by degrees, methinks, resolves me into heaven. I will not say, with Plato, the soul is an harmony, but harmonical, and hath its nearest sympathy unto music; thus some, whose temper of body agrees and humors the constitution of their souls, are born poets, though indeed all are naturally inclined unto rhythm.

There is surely a nearer apprehension of anything that delights us in our dreams than in our waked senses: without this, I were unhappy; for my awaked judgment discontents me, ever whispering unto me that I am from my friend; but my friendly dreams in the night requite me, and make me think I am within his arms. I thank God for my happy dreams, as I do for my good rest, for there is a satisfaction in them unto reasonable desires, and such as can be content with a fit of happiness; and surely it is not a melancholy conceit to think we are all asleep in this world, and that the conceits of this life are as mere dreams to those of the next; as the phantasms of the night to the conceits of the day. There is an equal delusion in both, and the one doth but seem to be the emblem or picture of the other; we are somewhat more than ourselves in our sleeps, and the slumber of the body seems to be but the waking of the soul. It is the ligation of sense, but the liberty of reason; and our waking conceptions do not match the fancies of our sleeps. At my nativity my ascendant was the watery sign of Scorpius; I was born in the planetary hour of Saturn, and I think I have a piece of that leaden planet in me. I am no way facetious, nor disposed for the mirth and galliardize of company; yet in one dream I can compose a whole comedy, behold the action, and apprehend the jests, and laugh myself awake at the conceits thereof. Were my memory as faithful as my reason is then fruitful, I would never study but in my dreams, and this time also would I choose for my devotions; but our grosser memories have then so little hold of our abstracted understandings that they forget the story, and can only relate to our awaked souls a confused and broken tale of that that hath passed. Aristotle, who hath written a singular tract of sleep, hath not, methinks, thoroughly defined it; nor yet Galen, though he seem to have corrected it: for those noctambuloes and night-walkers, though in their sleep do yet enjoy the action of their senses; we must therefore say that there is something in us that is not in the jurisdiction of Morpheus; and that those abstracted and ecstatic souls do walk about in their own corps, as spirits with the bodies they assume, wherein they seem to hear, see, and feel, though indeed the organs are destitute of sense, and their natures of those faculties that should inform them. Thus it is observed that men sometimes, upon the hour of their departure, do speak and reason above themselves. For then the soul, beginning to be freed from the ligaments of the body, begins to reason like herself, and to discourse in a strain above mortality.




FROM 'CHRISTIAN MORALS'


When thou lookest upon the imperfections of others, allow one eye for what is laudable in them, and the balance they have from some excellency, which may render them considerable. While we look with fear or hatred upon the teeth of the viper, we may behold his eye with love. In venomous natures something may be amiable: poisons afford anti-poisons: nothing is totally or altogether uselessly bad. Notable virtues are sometimes dashed with notorious vices, and in some vicious tempers have been found illustrious acts of virtue, which makes such observable worth in some actions of King Demetrius, Antonius, and Ahab, as are not to be found in the same kind in Aristides, Numa, or David. Constancy, generosity, clemency, and liberality have been highly conspicuous in some persons not marked out in other concerns for example or imitation. But since goodness is exemplary in all, if others have not our virtues, let us not be wanting in theirs; nor, scorning them for their vices whereof we are free, be condemned by their virtues wherein we are deficient. There is dross, alloy, and embasement in all human tempers; and he flieth without wings, who thinks to find ophir or pure metal in any. For perfection is not, like light, centred in any one body; but, like the dispersed seminalities of vegetables at the creation, scattered through the whole mass of the earth, no place producing all, and almost all some. So that 'tis well if a perfect man can be made out of many men, and to the perfect eye of God, even out of mankind. Time, which perfects some things, imperfects also others. Could we intimately apprehend the ideated man, and as he stood in the intellect of God upon the first exertion by creation, we might more narrowly comprehend our present degeneration, and how widely we are fallen from the pure exemplar and idea of our nature: for after this corruptive elongation, from a primitive and pure creation we are almost lost in degeneration; and Adam hath not only fallen from his Creator, but we ourselves from Adam, our Tycho and primary generator.

If generous honesty, valor, and plain dealing be the cognizance of thy family or characteristic of thy country, hold fast such inclinations sucked in with thy first breath, and which lay in the cradle with thee. Fall not into transforming degenerations, which under the old name create a new nation. Be not an alien in thine own nation; bring not Orontes into Tiber; learn the virtues, not the vices, of thy foreign neighbors, and make thy imitation by discretion, not contagion. Feel something of thyself in the noble acts of thy ancestors, and find in thine own genius that of thy predecessors. Rest not under the expired merits of others; shine by those of thine own. Flame not, like the central fire which enlighteneth no eyes, which no man seeth, and most men think there is no such thing to be seen. Add one ray unto the common lustre; add not only to the number, but the note of thy generation; and prove not a cloud, but an asterisk in thy region.

Since thou hast an alarum in thy breast, which tells thee thou hast a living spirit in thee above two thousand times in an hour, dull not away thy days in slothful supinity and the tediousness of doing nothing. To strenuous minds there is an inquietude in overquietness and no laboriousness in labor; and to tread a mile after the slow pace of a snail, or the heavy measures of the lazy of Brazilia, were a most tiring penance, and worse than a race of some furlongs at the Olympics. The rapid courses of the heavenly bodies are rather imitable by our thoughts than our corporeal motions; yet the solemn motions of our lives amount unto a greater measure than is commonly apprehended. Some few men have surrounded the globe of the earth; yet many, in the set locomotions and movements of their days, have measured the circuit of it, and twenty thousand miles have been exceeded by them. Move circumspectly, not meticulously, and rather carefully solicitous than anxiously solicitudinous. Think not there is a lion in the way, nor walk with leaden sandals in the paths of goodness; but in all virtuous motions let prudence determine thy measures. Strive not to run, like Hercules, a furlong in a breath: festination may prove precipitation; deliberating delay may be wise cunctation, and slowness no slothfulness.

Despise not the obliquities of younger ways, nor despair of better things whereof there is yet no prospect. Who would imagine that Diogenes, who in his younger days was a falsifier of money, should, in the after course of his life, be so great a contemner of metal? Some negroes, who believe the resurrection, think that they shall rise white. Even in this life regeneration may imitate resurrection; our black and vicious tinctures may wear off, and goodness clothe us with candor. Good admonitions knock not always in vain. There will be signal examples of God's mercy, and the angels must not want their charitable rejoices for the conversion of lost sinners. Figures of most angles do nearest approach unto circles, which have no angles at all. Some may be near unto goodness who are conceived far from it; and many things happen not likely to ensue from any promises of antecedencies. Culpable beginnings have found commendable conclusions, and infamous courses pious retractations. Detestable sinners have proved exemplary converts on earth, and may be glorious in the apartment of Mary Magdalen in heaven. Men are not the same through all divisions of their ages: time, experience, self-reflections, and God's mercies, make in some well-tempered minds a kind of translation before death, and men to differ from themselves as well as from other persons. Hereof the old world afforded many examples to the infamy of latter ages, wherein men too often live by the rule of their inclinations; so that, without any astral prediction, the first day gives the last: men are commonly as they were; or rather, as bad dispositions run into worser habits, the evening doth not crown, but sourly conclude, the day.

If the Almighty will not spare us according to his merciful capitulation at Sodom; if his goodness please not to pass over a great deal of bad for a small pittance of good, or to look upon us in the lump, there is slender hope for mercy, or sound presumption of fulfilling half his will, either in persons or nations: they who excel in some virtues being so often defective in others; few men driving at the extent and amplitude of goodness, but computing themselves by their best parts, and others by their worst, are content to rest in those virtues which others commonly want. Which makes this speckled face of honesty in the world; and which was the imperfection of the old philosophers and great pretenders unto virtue; who, well declining the gaping vices of intemperance, incontinency, violence, and oppression, were yet blindly peccant in iniquities of closer faces; were envious, malicious, contemners, scoffers, censurers, and stuffed with vizard vices, no less depraving the ethereal particle and diviner portion of man. For envy, malice, hatred, are the qualities of Satan, close and dark like himself; and where such brands smoke, the soul cannot be white. Vice may be had at all prices; expensive and costly iniquities, which make the noise, cannot be every man's sins; but the soul may be foully inquinated at a very low rate, and a man may be cheaply vicious to the perdition of himself.

Having been long tossed in the ocean of the world, he will by that time feel the in-draught of another, unto which this seems but preparatory and without it of no high value. He will experimentally find the emptiness of all things, and the nothing of what is past; and wisely grounding upon true Christian expectations, finding so much past, will wholly fix upon what is to come. He will long for perpetuity, and live as though he made haste to be happy. The last may prove the prime part of his life, and those his best days which he lived nearest heaven.

Live happy in the Elysium of a virtuously composed mind, and let intellectual contents exceed the delights wherein mere pleasurists place their paradise. Bear not too slack reins upon pleasure, nor let complexion or contagion betray thee unto the exorbitancy of delight. Make pleasure thy recreation or intermissive relaxation, not thy Diana, life, and profession. Voluptuousness is as insatiable as covetousness. Tranquillity is better than jollity, and to appease pain than to invent pleasure. Our hard entrance into the world, our miserable going out of it, our sicknesses, disturbances, and sad rencounters in it, do clamorously tell us we came not into the world to run a race of delight, but to perform the sober acts and serious purposes of man; which to omit were foully to miscarry in the advantage of humanity, to play away an uniterable life, and to have lived in vain. Forget not the capital end, and frustrate not the opportunity of once living. Dream not of any kind of metempsychosis or transanimation, but into thine own body, and that after a long time; and then also unto wail or bliss, according to thy first and fundamental life. Upon a curricle in this world depends a long course of the next, and upon a narrow scene here an endless expansion hereafter. In vain some think to have an end of their beings with their lives. Things cannot get out of their natures, or be, or not be, in despite of their constitutions. Rational existences in heaven perish not at all, and but partially on earth; that which is thus once, will in some way be always; the first living human soul is still alive, and all Adam hath found no period.

Since the stars of heaven do differ in glory; since it hath pleased the Almighty hand to honor the north pole with lights above the south; since there are some stars so bright that they can hardly be looked upon, some so dim that they can scarcely be seen, and vast numbers not to be seen at all even by artificial eyes; read thou the earth in heaven and things below from above. Look contentedly upon the scattered difference of things, and expect not equality in lustre, dignity, or perfection, in regions or persons below; where numerous numbers must be content to stand like lacteous or nebulous stars, little taken notice of, or dim in their generations. All which may be contentedly allowable in the affairs and ends of this world, and in suspension unto what will be in the order of things hereafter, and the new system of mankind which will be in the world to come; when the last may be the first, and the first the last; when Lazarus may sit above Cæsar, and the just, obscure on earth, shall shine like the sun in heaven; when personations shall cease, and histrionism of happiness be over; when reality shall rule, and all shall be as they shall be forever.




FROM 'HYDRIOTAPHIA, OR URN-BURIAL'


In the Jewish Hypogæum and subterranean cell at Rome was little observable beside the variety of lamps and frequent draughts of the holy candlestick. In authentic draughts of Antony and Jerome, we meet with thigh bones and death's-heads; but the cemeterial cells of ancient Christians and martyrs were filled with draughts of Scripture stories; not declining the flourishes of cypress, palms, and olive, and the mystical figures of peacocks, doves, and cocks; but literately affecting the portraits of Enoch, Lazarus, Jonas, and the vision of Ezekiel, as hopeful draughts and hinting imagery of the resurrection--which is the life of the grave and sweetens our habitations in the land of moles and pismires.

The particulars of future beings must needs be dark unto ancient theories, which Christian philosophy yet determines but in a cloud of opinions. A dialogue between two infants in the womb concerning the state of this world, might handsomely illustrate our ignorance of the next, whereof methinks we yet discourse in Plato's den, and are but embryon philosophers.

Pythagoras escapes, in the fabulous hell of Dante, among that swarm of philosophers, wherein, whilst we meet with Plato and Socrates, Cato is to be found in no lower place than Purgatory. Among all the set, Epicurus is most considerable, whom men make honest without an Elysium, who contemned life without encouragement of immortality, and making nothing after death, yet made nothing of the king of terrors.

Were the happiness of the next world as closely apprehended as the felicities of this, it were a martyrdom to live; and unto such as consider none hereafter, it must be more than death to die, which makes us amazed at those audacities that durst be nothing and return into their chaos again. Certainly, such spirits as could contemn death, when they expected no better being after, would have scorned to live had they known any. And therefore we applaud not the judgments of Machiavel that Christianity makes men cowards, or that with the confidence of but half dying, the despised virtues of patience and humility have abased the spirits of men, which pagan principles exalted; but rather regulated the wildness of audacities, in the attempts, grounds, and eternal sequels of death, wherein men of the boldest spirits are often prodigiously temerarious. Nor can we extenuate the valor of ancient martyrs, who contemned death in the uncomfortable scene of their lives, and in their decrepit martyrdoms did probably lose not many months of their days, or parted with life when it was scarce worth the living; for (beside that long time past holds no consideration unto a slender time to come) they had no small disadvantage from the constitution of old age, which naturally makes men fearful, and complexionally superannuated from the bold and courageous thoughts of youth and fervent years. But the contempt of death from corporal animosity promoteth not our felicity. They may sit in the orchestra and noblest seats of heaven who have held up shaking hands in the fire, and humanly contended for glory.

Meanwhile, Epicurus lies deep in Dante's hell, wherein we meet with tombs inclosing souls which denied their immortalities. But whether the virtuous heathen, who lived better than he spake, or, erring in the principles of himself, yet lived above philosophers of more specious maxims, lie so deep as he is placed; at least so low as not to rise against Christians who, believing or knowing that truth, have lastingly denied it in their practice and conversation--were a query too sad to insist on.

But all or most apprehensions rested in opinions of some future being, which, ignorantly or coldly believed, begat those perverted conceptions, ceremonies, sayings, which Christians pity or laugh at. Happy are they which live not in that disadvantage of time, when men could say little for futurity but from reason; whereby the noblest minds fell often upon doubtful deaths and melancholy dissolutions. With those hopes Socrates warmed his doubtful spirits against that cold potion; and Cato, before he durst give the fatal stroke, spent part of the night in reading the immortality of Plato, thereby confirming his wavering hand unto the animosity of that attempt.

It is the heaviest stone that melancholy can throw at a man, to tell him he is at the end of his nature; or that there is no farther state to come, unto which this seems progressional, and otherwise made in vain. Without this accomplishment, the natural expectation and desire of such a state were but a fallacy in nature. Unsatisfied considerators would quarrel at the justice of their constitutions, and rest content that Adam had fallen lower; whereby, by knowing no other original, and deeper ignorance of themselves, they might have enjoyed the happiness of inferior creatures, who in tranquillity possess their constitutions, as having not the apprehension to deplore their own natures; and being framed below the circumference of these hopes, or cognition of better being, the wisdom of God hath necessitated their contentment. But the superior ingredient and obscured part of ourselves, whereto all present felicities afford no resting contentment, will be able at last to tell us we are more than our present selves, and evacuate such hopes in the fruition of their own accomplishments....

But the iniquity of oblivion blindly scattereth her poppy, and deals with the memory of men without distinction to merit of perpetuity. Who can but pity the founder of the pyramids? Erostratus lives that burnt the Temple of Diana; he is almost lost that built it. Time hath spared the epitaph of Adrian's horse, confounded that of himself. In vain we compute our felicities by the advantage of our good names, since bad have equal durations; and Thersites is like to live as long as Agamemnon. Who knows whether the best of men be known, or whether there be not more remarkable persons forgot than any that stand remembered in the known account of time? Without the favor of the everlasting register, the first man had been as unknown as the last, and Methuselah's long life had been his only chronicle.

Oblivion is not to be hired. The greater part must be content to be as though they had not been; to be found in the register of God, not in the record of man. Twenty-seven names make up the first story, and the recorded names ever since contain not one living century. The number of the dead long exceedeth all that shall live. The night of time far surpasseth the day; and who knows when was the equinox? Every hour adds unto that current arithmetic, which scarce stands one moment. And since death must be the Lucina of life, and even pagans could doubt whether thus to live were to die; since our longest sun sets at right declensions, and makes but winter arches, and therefore it cannot be long before we lie down in darkness, and have our light in ashes[4]; since the brother of death daily haunts us with dying mementos, and time, that grows old itself, bids us hope no long duration, diuturnity is a dream and folly of expectation.

[4] According to the custom of the Jews, who placed a lighted wax candle in a pot of ashes by the corpse.

Darkness and light divide the course of time, and oblivion shares with memory a great part even of our living beings. We slightly remember our felicities, and the smartest strokes of affliction leave but short smart upon us. Sense endureth no extremities, and sorrows destroy us or themselves. To weep into stones are fables. Afflictions induce callosities; miseries are slippery, or fall like snow upon us, which notwithstanding is no unhappy stupidity. To be ignorant of evils to come, and forgetful of evils past, is a merciful provision in nature, whereby we digest the mixture of our few and evil days, and our delivered senses not relapsing into cutting remembrances, our sorrows are not kept raw by the edge of repetitions. A great part of antiquity contented their hopes of subsistency with a transmigration of their souls; a good way to continue their memories, while, having the advantage of plural successions, they could not but act something remarkable in such variety of beings, and enjoying the fame of their passed selves, making accumulation of glory unto their last durations. Others, rather than be lost in the uncomfortable night of nothing, were content to recede into the common being, and make one particle of the public soul of all things, which was no more than to return into their unknown and divine original again. Egyptian ingenuity was more unsatisfied, contriving their bodies in sweet consistencies to attend the return of their souls. But all was vanity, feeding the wind and folly. The Egyptian mummies, which Cambyses or time hath spared, avarice now consumeth. Mummy is become merchandise, Mizraim cures wounds, and Pharaoh is sold for balsams....

There is nothing strictly immortal but immortality. Whatever hath no beginning may be confident of no end, which is the peculiar of that necessary essence that cannot destroy itself, and the highest strain of omnipotency to be so powerfully constituted, as not to suffer even from the power of itself. All others have a dependent being, and within the reach of destruction. But the sufficiency of Christian immortality frustrates all earthly glory, and the quality of either state after death makes a folly of posthumous memory. God, who can only destroy our souls, and hath assured our resurrection, either of our bodies or names hath directly promised no duration. Wherein there is so much of chance, that the boldest expectants have found unhappy frustration; and to hold long subsistence seems but a scape in oblivion. But man is a noble animal, splendid in ashes, and pompous in the grave, solemnizing nativities and deaths with equal lustre, nor omitting ceremonies of bravery in the infamy of his nature....

Life is a pure flame, and we live by an invisible sun within us. A small fire sufficeth for life; great flames seemed too little after death, while men vainly affected pyres, and to burn like Sardanapalus. But the wisdom of funeral laws found the folly of prodigal blazes, and reduced undoing fires into the rule of sober obsequies, wherein few could be so mean as not to provide wood, pitch, a mourner, and an urn....

While some have studied monuments, others have studiously declined them; and some have been so vainly boisterous, that they durst not acknowledge their graves; wherein Alaricus seems more subtle, who had a river turned to hide his bones at the bottom. Even Sylla, who thought himself safe in his urn, could not prevent revenging tongues, and stones thrown at his monument. Happy are they whom privacy makes innocent, who deal so with men in this world that they are not afraid to meet them in the next; who when they die make no commotion among the dead, and are not touched with that poetical taunt of Isaiah.

Pyramids, arches, obelisks, were but the irregularities of vainglory and wild enormities of ancient magnanimity. But the most magnanimous resolution rests in the Christian religion, which trampleth upon pride and sits on the neck of ambition, humbly pursuing that infallible perpetuity unto which all others must diminish their diameters, and be poorly seen in angles of contingency.

Pious spirits, who passed their days in raptures of futurity, made little more of this world than the world that was before it, while they lay obscure in the chaos of preordination and night of their forebeings. And if any have been so happy as truly to understand Christian annihilation, ecstasis, exolution, liquefaction, transformation, the kiss of the spouse, gustation of God, and ingression into the divine shadow, they have already had a handsome anticipation of heaven; the glory of the world is surely over, and the earth in ashes unto them.




FROM 'A FRAGMENT ON MUMMIES'


Wise Egypt, prodigal of her embalmments, wrapped up her princes and great commanders in aromatical folds, and, studiously extracting from corruptible bodies their corruption, ambitiously looked forward to immortality; from which vainglory we have become acquainted with many remnants of the old world, who could discourse unto us of the great things of yore, and tell us strange tales of the sons of Mizraim and ancient braveries of Egypt. Wonderful indeed are the preserves of time, which openeth unto us mummies from crypts and pyramids, and mammoth bones from caverns and excavations; whereof man hath found the best preservation, appearing unto us in some sort fleshly, while beasts must be fain of an osseous continuance.

In what original this practice of the Egyptians had root, divers authors dispute; while some place the origin hereof in the desire to prevent the separation of the soul by keeping the body untabified, and alluring the spiritual part to remain by sweet and precious odors. But all this was but fond inconsideration. The soul, having broken its ..., is not stayed by bands and cerecloths, nor to be recalled by Sabaean odors, but fleeth to the place of invisibles, the ubi of spirits, and needeth a surer than Hermes's seal to imprison it to its medicated trunk, which yet subsists anomalously in its indestructible case, and, like a widow looking for her husband, anxiously awaits its return....

That mummy is medicinal, the Arabian Doctor Haly delivereth, and divers confirms; but of the particular uses thereof, there is much discrepancy of opinion. While Hofmannus prescribes the same to epileptics, Johan de Muralto commends the use thereof to gouty persons; Bacon likewise extols it as a stiptic, and Junkenius considers it of efficacy to resolve coagulated blood. Meanwhile, we hardly applaud Francis the First of France, who always carried mummies with him as a panacea against all disorders; and were the efficacy thereof more clearly made out, scarce conceive the use thereof allowable in physic, exceeding the barbarities of Cambyses, and turning old heroes unto unworthy potions. Shall Egypt lend out her ancients unto chirurgeons and apothecaries, and Cheops and Psammitticus be weighed unto us for drugs? Shall we eat of Chamnes and Amosis in electuaries and pills, and be cured by cannibal mixtures? Surely, such diet is dismal vampirism, and exceeds in horror the black banquet of Domitian, not to be paralleled except in those Arabian feasts, wherein Ghoules feed horribly.

But the common opinion of the virtues of mummy bred great consumption thereof, and princes and great men contended for this strange panacea, wherein Jews dealt largely, manufacturing mummies from dead carcasses and giving them the names of kings, while specifics were compounded from crosses and gibbet leavings. There wanted not a set of Arabians who counterfeited mummies so accurately that it needed great skill to distinguish the false from the true. Queasy stomachs would hardly fancy the doubtful potion, wherein one might so easily swallow a cloud for his Juno, and defraud the fowls of the air while in conceit enjoying the conserves of Canopus....

For those dark caves and mummy repositories are Satan's abodes, wherein he speculates and rejoices on human vainglory, and keeps those kings and conquerors, whom alive he bewitched, whole for that great day when he will claim his own, and marshal the kings of Nilus and Thebes in sad procession unto the pit.

Death, that fatal necessity which so many would overlook or blinkingly survey, the old Egyptians held continually before their eyes. Their embalmed ancestors they carried about at their banquets, as holding them still a part of their families, and not thrusting them from their places at feasts. They wanted not likewise a sad preacher at their tables to admonish them daily of death,--surely an unnecessary discourse while they banqueted in sepulchres. Whether this were not making too much of death, as tending to assuefaction, some reason there is to doubt; but certain it is that such practices would hardly be embraced by our modern gourmands, who like not to look on faces of mortua, or be elbowed by mummies.

Yet in those huge structures and pyramidal immensities, of the builders whereof so little is known, they seemed not so much to raise sepulchres or temples to death as to contemn and disdain it, astonishing heaven with their audacities, and looking forward with delight to their interment in those eternal piles. Of their living habitations they made little account, conceiving of them but as hospitia, or inns, while they adorned the sepulchres of the dead, and, planting thereon lasting bases, defied the crumbling touches of time and the misty vaporousness of oblivion. Yet all were but Babel vanities. Time sadly overcometh all things, and is now dominant, and sitteth upon a sphinx, and looketh unto Memphis and old Thebes, while his sister Oblivion reclineth semisomnous on a pyramid, gloriously triumphing, making puzzles of Titanian erections, and turning old glories into dreams. History sinketh beneath her cloud. The traveler, as he paceth amazedly through those deserts, asketh of her, Who builded them? and she mumbleth something, but what it is he heareth not.

Egypt itself is now become the land of obliviousness, and doteth. Her ancient civility is gone, and her glory hath vanished as a phantasma. Her youthful days are over, and her face hath become wrinkled and tetric. She poreth not upon the heavens; astronomy is dead unto her, and knowledge maketh other cycles. Canopus is afar off, Memnon resoundeth not to the sun, and Nilus heareth strange voices. Her monuments are but hieroglyphically sempiternal. Osiris and Anubis, her averruncous deities, have departed, while Orus yet remains dimly shadowing the principle of vicissitude and the effluxion of things, but receiveth little oblation.




FROM 'A LETTER TO A FRIEND'


He was willing to quit the world alone and altogether, leaving no earnest behind him for corruption or after-grave, having small content in that common satisfaction to survive or live in another, but amply satisfied that his disease should die with himself, nor revive in a posterity to puzzle physic, and make sad mementos of their parent hereditary....

In this deliberate and creeping progress unto the grave, he was somewhat too young and of too noble a mind to fall upon that stupid symptom, observable in divers persons near their journey's end, and which may be reckoned among the mortal symptoms of their last disease; that is, to become more narrow-minded, miserable, and tenacious, unready to part with anything when they are ready to part with all, and afraid to want when they have no time to spend; meanwhile physicians, who know that many are mad but in a single depraved imagination, and one prevalent decipiency, and that beside and out of such single deliriums a man may meet with sober actions and good sense in Bedlam, cannot but smile to see the heirs and concerned relations gratulating themselves on the sober departure of their friends; and though they behold such mad covetous passages, content to think they die in good understanding, and in their sober senses.

Avarice, which is not only infidelity but idolatry, either from covetous progeny or questuary education, had no root in his breast, who made good works the expression of his faith, and was big with desires unto public and lasting charities; and surely, where good wishes and charitable intentions exceed abilities, theorical beneficency may be more than a dream. They build not castles in the air who would build churches on earth; and though they leave no such structures here, may lay good foundations in heaven. In brief, his life and death were such that I could not blame them who wished the like, and almost to have been himself: almost, I say; for though we may wish the prosperous appurtenances of others, or to be another in his happy accidents, yet so intrinsical is every man unto himself that some doubt may be made whether any would exchange his being, or substantially become another man.

He had wisely seen the world at home and abroad, and thereby observed under what variety men are deluded in the pursuit of that which is not here to be found. And although he had no opinion of reputed felicities below, and apprehended men widely out in the estimate of such happiness, yet his sober contempt of the world wrought no Democratism or Cynicism, no laughing or snarling at it, as well understanding there are not felicities in this world to satisfy a serious mind; and therefore, to soften the stream of our lives, we are fain to take in the reputed contentions of this world, to unite with the crowd in their beatitudes, and to make ourselves happy by consortion, opinion, or co-existimation: for strictly to separate from received and customary felicities, and to confine unto the rigor of realities, were to contract the consolation of our beings unto too uncomfortable circumscriptions.

Not to be content with life is the unsatisfactory state of those who destroy themselves; who, being afraid to live, run blindly upon their own death, which no man fears by experience: and the Stoics had a notable doctrine to take away the fear thereof; that is, in such extremities, to desire that which is not to be avoided, and wish what might be feared; and so made evils voluntary and to suit with their own desires, which took off the terror of them.

But the ancient martyrs were not encouraged by such fallacies, who, though they feared not death, were afraid to be their own executioners; and therefore thought it more wisdom to crucify their lusts than their bodies, to circumcise than stab their hearts, and to mortify than kill themselves.

His willingness to leave this world about that age when most men think they may best enjoy it, though paradoxical unto worldly ears, was not strange unto mine, who have so often observed that many, though old, oft stick fast unto the world, and seem to be drawn like Cacus's oxen, backward with great struggling and reluctancy unto the grave. The long habit of living makes mere men more hardly to part with life, and all to be nothing, but what is to come. To live at the rate of the old world, when some could scarce remember themselves young, may afford no better digested death than a more moderate period. Many would have thought it an happiness to have had their lot of life in some notable conjunctures of ages past; but the uncertainty of future times hath tempted few to make a part in ages to come. And surely, he that hath taken the true altitude of things, and rightly calculated the degenerate state of this age, is not like to envy those that shall live in the next, much less three or four hundred years hence, when no man can comfortably imagine what face this world will carry; and therefore, since every age makes a step unto the end of all things, and the Scripture affords so hard a character of the last times, quiet minds will be content with their generations, and rather bless ages past than be ambitious of those to come.

Though age had set no seal upon his face, yet a dim eye might clearly discover fifty in his actions; and therefore, since wisdom is the gray hair, and an unspotted life old age, although his years came short, he might have been said to have held up with longer livers, and to have been Solomon's old man. And surely if we deduct all those days of our life which we might wish unlived, and which abate the comfort of those we now live, if we reckon up only those days which God hath accepted of our lives, a life of good years will hardly be a span long; the son in this sense may outlive the father, and none be climacterically old. He that early arriveth unto the parts and prudence of age is happily old without the uncomfortable attendants of it; and 'tis superfluous to live unto gray hairs, when in a precocious temper we anticipate the virtues of them. In brief, he cannot be accounted young who outliveth the old man. He that hath early arrived unto the measure of a perfect stature in Christ, hath already fulfilled the prime and longest intention of his being; and one day lived after the perfect rule of piety is to be preferred before sinning immortality.

Although he attained not unto the years of his predecessors, yet he wanted not those preserving virtues which confirm the thread of weaker constitutions. Cautelous chastity and crafty sobriety were far from him; those jewels were paragon, without flaw, hair, ice, or cloud in him: which affords me a hint to proceed in these good wishes and few mementos unto you.




SOME RELATIONS WHOSE TRUTH WE FEAR

From 'Pseudoxia Epidemica'

Many other accounts like these we meet sometimes in history, scandalous unto Christianity, and even unto humanity; whose verities not only, but whose relations, honest minds do deprecate. For of sins heteroclital, and such as want either name or precedent, there is ofttimes a sin even in their histories. We desire no records of such enormities; sins should be accounted new, that so they may be esteemed monstrous. They amit of monstrosity as they fall from their rarity; for men count it venial to err with their forefathers, and foolishly conceive they divide a sin in its society. The pens of men may sufficiently expatiate without these singularities of villainy; for as they increase the hatred of vice in some, so do they enlarge the theory of wickedness in all. And this is one thing that may make latter ages worse than were the former; for the vicious examples of ages past poison the curiosity of these present, affording a hint of sin unto seducible spirits, and soliciting those unto the imitation of them, whose heads were never so perversely principled as to invent them. In this kind we commend the wisdom and goodness of Galen, who would not leave unto the world too subtle a theory of poisons; unarming thereby the malice of venomous spirits, whose ignorance must be contented with sublimate and arsenic. For surely there are subtler venerations, such as will invisibly destroy, and like the basilisks of heaven. In things of this nature silence commendeth history: 'tis the veniable part of things lost; wherein there must never rise a Pancirollus, nor remain any register but that of hell.






WILLIAM BROWNE

(1591-1643)


mong the English poets fatuous for their imaginative interpretation of nature, high rank must be given to William Browne, who belongs in the list headed by Spenser, and including Thomas Lodge, Michael Drayton, Nicholas Breton, George Wither, and Phineas Fletcher. Although he shows skill and charm of style in various kinds of verse, his name rests chiefly upon his largest work, 'Britannia's Pastorals.' This is much wider in scope than the title suggests, if one follows the definition given by Pope in his 'Discourse on Pastoral Poetry.' He says:--"A Pastoral is an imitation of the action of a shepherd or one considered under that character. The form of this imitation is dramatic, or narrated, or mixed of both; the fable simple, the manners not too polite nor too rustic; the thoughts are plain, yet admit a little quickness and passion.... If we would copy Nature, it may be useful to take this Idea along with us: that Pastoral is an image of what they call the Golden Age. So that we are not to describe our shepherds as shepherds at this day really are, but as they may be conceived then to have been when the best of men followed the employment.... We must therefore use some illusion to render a Pastoral delightful, and this consists in exposing the best side only of a shepherd's life, and in concealing its miseries."

In his 'Shepherd's Pipe,' a series of 'Eclogues' Browne follows this plan; but 'Britannia's Pastorals' contains rambling stories of Hamadryads and Oreads; figures which are too shadowy to seem real, yet stand in exquisite woodland landscapes. When the story passes to the yellow sands and "froth-girt rocks," washed by the crisped and curling waves from "Neptune's silver, ever-shaking breast," or when it touches the mysteries of the ocean world, over which "Thetis drives her silver throne," the poet's fancy is as delicate as when he revels in the earthy smell of the woods, where the leaves, golden and green, hide from sight the feathered choir; where glow the hips of scarlet berries; where is heard the dropping of nuts; and where the active bright-eyed squirrels leap from tree to tree.

The loves, hardships, and adventures of Marina, Celadyne, Redmond, Fida, Philocel, Aletheia, Metanoia, and Amintas do not hold the reader from delight in descriptions of the blackbird and dove calling from the dewy branches; crystal streams lisping through banks purple with violets, rosy with eglantine, or sweet with wild thyme; thickets where the rabbits hide; sequestered nooks on which the elms and alders throw long shadows; circles of green grass made by dancing elves; rounded hills shut in by oaks, pines, birches, and laurel, where shepherds pipe on oaten straws, or shag-haired satyrs frolic and sleep; and meadows, whose carpets of cowslip and mint are freshened daily by nymphs pouring out gentle streams from crystal urns. Every now and then, huntsmen in green dash through his sombre woods with their hounds in full cry; anglers are seated by still pools, shepherds dance around the May-pole, and shepherdesses gather flowers for garlands. Gloomy caves appear, surrounded by hawthorn and holly that "outdares cold winter's ire," and sheltering old hermits, skilled in simples and the secret power of herbs. Sometimes the poet describes a choir where the tiny wren sings the treble, Robin Redbreast the mean, the thrush the tenor, and the nightingale the counter-tenor, while droning bees fill in the bass; and shows us fairy haunts and customs with a delicacy only equaled by Drayton and Herrick.

Several lyric songs of high order are scattered through the 'Pastorals,' and the famous 'Palinode on Man' is imbedded in the Third Book as follows:--

"I truly know
How men are born and whither they shall go;
I know that like to silkworms of one year,
Or like a kind and wronged lover's tear,
Or on the pathless waves a rudder's dint,
Or like the little sparkles of a flint,
Or like to thin round cakes with cost perfum'd,
Or fireworks only made to be consum'd:
I know that such is man, and all that trust
In that weak piece of animated dust.
The silkworm droops, the lover's tears soon shed,
The ship's way quickly lost, the sparkle dead;
The cake burns out in haste, the firework's done,
And man as soon as these as quickly gone."

Little is known of Browne's life. He was a native of Tavistock, Devonshire; born, it is thought, in 1591, the son of Thomas Browne, who is supposed by Prince in his 'Worthies of Devon' to have belonged to a knightly family. According to Wood, who says "he had a great mind in a little body," he was sent to Exeter College, Oxford, "about the beginning of the reign of James I." Leaving Oxford without a degree, he was admitted in 1612 to the Inner Temple, London, and a little later he is discovered at Oxford, engaged as private tutor to Robert Dormer, afterward Earl of Carnarvon. In 1624 he received his degree of Master of Arts from Oxford. He appears to have settled in Dorking, and after 1640 nothing more is heard of him. Wood thinks he died in 1645, but there is an entry in the Tavistock register, dated March 27th, 1643, and reading "William Browne was buried" on that day. That he was devoted to the streams, dales, and downs of his native Devonshire is shown in the Pastorals, where he sings:--

"Hail, thou my native soil! thou blessèd plot
Whose equal all the world affordeth not!
Show me who can, so many crystal rills,
Such sweet-cloth'd valleys or aspiring hills;
Such wood-ground, pastures, quarries, wealthy mines;
Such rocks in whom the diamond fairly shines."

And in another place he says:--

"And Tavy in my rhymes
Challenge a due; let it thy glory be
That famous Drake and I were born by thee."

The First Book of 'Britannia's Pastorals' was written before its author was twenty, and was published in 1631. The Second Book appeared in 1616, and both were reprinted in 1625. The Third Book was not published during Browne's life. The 'Shepherd's Pipe' was published in 1614, and 'The Inner Temple Masque,' written on the story of Ulysses and Circe, for representation in 1614, was first published in Thomas Davies's edition of Browne's works (3 vols., 1772). Two critical editions of value have been brought out in recent years: one by W. Carew Hazlitt (London, 1868-69); and the other by Gordon Goodwin and A.H. Bullen (1894).

"In the third song of the Second Book," says Mr. Bullen in his preface,--

"There is a description of a delightful grove, perfumed with 'odoriferous buds and herbs of price,' where fruits hang in gallant clusters from the trees, and birds tune their notes to the music of running water; so fair a pleasaunce

     'that you are fain
     Where you last walked to turn and walk again.'

A generous reader might apply that description to Browne's poetry; he might urge that the breezes which blew down these leafy alleys and over those trim parterres were not more grateful than the fragrance exhaled from the 'Pastorals'; that the brooks and birds babble and twitter in the printed page not less blithely than in that western Paradise. What so pleasant as to read of May-games, true-love knots, and shepherds piping in the shade? of pixies and fairy-circles? of rustic bridals and junketings? of angling, hunting the squirrel, nut-gathering? Of such subjects William Browne treats, singing like the shepherd in the 'Arcadia,' as though he would never grow old. He was a happy poet. It was his good fortune to grow up among wholesome surroundings whose gracious influences sank into his spirit. He loved the hills and dales round Tavistock, and lovingly described them in his verse. Frequently he indulges in descriptions of sunrise and sunset; they leave no vivid impression, but charm the reader by their quiet beauty. It cannot be denied that his fondness for simple, homely images sometimes led him into sheer fatuity; and candid admirers must also admit that, despite his study of simplicity, he could not refrain from hunting (as the manner was) after far-fetched outrageous conceits."

Browne is a poet's poet. Drayton, Wither, Herbert, and John Davies of Hereford, wrote his praises. Mrs. Browning includes him in her 'Vision of Poets,' where she says:--

"Drayton and Browne,--with smiles they drew
From outward Nature, still kept new
From their own inward nature true."

Milton studied him carefully, and just as his influence is perceived in the work of Keats, so is it found in 'Comus' and in 'Lycidas.' Browne acknowledges Spenser and Sidney as his masters, and his work shows that he loved Chaucer and Shakespeare.




     CIRCE'S CHARM

     Song from the 'Inner Temple Masque'


     Son of Erebus and night,
     Hie away; and aim thy flight
     Where consort none other fowl
     Than the bat and sullen owl;
     Where upon thy limber grass,
     Poppy and mandragoras,
     With like simples not a few,
     Hang forever drops of dew;
     Where flows Lethe without coil
     Softly like a stream of oil.
     Hie thee hither, gentle sleep:
     With this Greek no longer keep.
     Thrice I charge thee by my wand,
     Thrice with moly from my hand
     Do I touch Ulysses's eyes,
     And with the jaspis: then arise,
       Sagest Greek!




Circe.
Photogravure from a Painting by E Burne-Jones.




     THE HUNTED SQUIRREL

     From 'Britannia's Pastorals'


     Then as a nimble squirrel from the wood
     Ranging the hedges for his filbert food
     Sits pertly on a bough, his brown nuts cracking,
     And from the shell the sweet white kernel taking;
     Till with their crooks and bags a sort of boys
     To share with him come with so great a noise
     That he is forced to leave a nut nigh broke,
     And for his life leap to a neighbor oak,
     Thence to a beach, thence to a row of ashes;
     Whilst through the quagmires and red water plashes
     The boys run dabbling through thick and thin;
     One tears his hose, another breaks his shin;
     This, torn and tattered, hath with much ado
     Got by the briars; and that hath lost his shoe;
     This drops his band; that headlong falls for haste;
     Another cries behind for being last:
     With sticks and stones and many a sounding holloa
     The little fool with no small sport they follow,
     Whilst he from tree to tree, from spray to spray
     Gets to the woods and hides him in his dray.



     AS CAREFUL MERCHANTS DO EXPECTING STAND

     From 'Britannia's Pastorals'


     As careful merchants do expecting stand,
       After long time and merry gales of wind,
     Upon the place where their brave ships must land,
       So wait I for the vessel of my mind.

     Upon a great adventure is it bound,
       Whose safe return will valued be at more
     Than all the wealthy prizes which have crowned
       The golden wishes of an age before.

     Out of the East jewels of worth she brings;
       The unvalued diamond of her sparkling eye
     Wants in the treasures of all Europe's kings;
       And were it mine, they nor their crowns should buy.

     The sapphires ringèd on her panting breast
       Run as rich veins of ore about the mold,
     And are in sickness with a pale possessed;
       So true for them I should disvalue gold.

     The melting rubies on her cherry lip
       Are of such power to hold, that as one day
     Cupid flew thirsty by, he stooped to sip:
       And, fastened there, could never get away.

     The sweets of Candy are no sweets to me
       Where hers I taste: nor the perfumes of price,
     Robbed from the happy shrubs of Araby,
       As her sweet breath so powerful to entice.

     O hasten then! and if thou be not gone
       Unto that wicked traffic through the main,
     My powerful sigh shall quickly drive thee on,
       And then begin to draw thee back again.

     If, in the mean, rude waves have it opprest,
     It shall suffice, I ventured at the best.



     SONG OF THE SIRENS

     From 'The Inner Temple Masque'


     Steer hither, steer your wingèd pines,
       All beaten mariners!
     Here lie love's undiscovered mines,
       A prey to passengers:
     Perfumes far sweeter than the best
     Which make the Phoenix's urn and nest.
       Fear not your ships,
     Nor any to oppose you save our lips,
       But come on shore,
     Where no joy dies till love hath gotten more.

     For swelling waves our panting breasts,
       Where never storms arise,
     Exchange, and be awhile our guests:
       For stars, gaze on our eyes.
     The compass love shall hourly sing,
     And as he goes about the ring,
       We will not miss
     To tell each point he nameth with a kiss.
       Then come on shore,
     Where no joy dies till love hath gotten more.



     AN EPISTLE ON PARTING

     From 'Epistles'


     Dear soul, the time is come, and we must part;
     Yet, ere I go, in these lines read my heart:
     A heart so just, so loving, and so true,
     So full of sorrow and so full of you,
     That all I speak or write or pray or mean,--
     And, which is all I can, all that I dream,--
     Is not without a sigh, a thought of you,
     And as your beauties are, so are they true.
     Seven summers now are fully spent and gone,
     Since first I loved, loved you, and you alone;
     And should mine eyes as many hundreds see,
     Yet none but you should claim a right in me;
     A right so placed that time shall never hear
     Of one so vowed, or any loved so dear.
     When I am gone, if ever prayers moved you,
     Relate to none that I so well have loved you:
     For all that know your beauty and desert,
     Would swear he never loved that knew to part.
     Why part we then? That spring, which but this day
     Met some sweet river, in his bed can play,
     And with a dimpled cheek smile at their bliss,
     Who never know what separation is.
     The amorous vine with wanton interlaces
     Clips still the rough elm in her kind embraces:
     Doves with their doves sit billing in the groves,
     And woo the lesser birds to sing their loves:
     Whilst hapless we in griefful absence sit,
     Yet dare not ask a hand to lessen it.



     SONNETS TO CÆLIA


     Fairest, when by the rules of palmistry,
       You took my hand to try if you could guess,
     By lines therein, if any wight there be
       Ordained to make me know some happiness:
     I wished that those charácters could explain,
       Whom I will never wrong with hope to win;
     Or that by them a copy might be ta'en,
       By you alone what thoughts I have within.
     But since the hand of nature did not set
       (As providently loath to have it known)
     The means to find that hidden alphabet,
       Mine eyes shall be the interpreters alone:
     By them conceive my thoughts, and tell me, fair,
      If now you see her that doth love me, there.

     Were't not for you, here should my pen have rest,
       And take a long leave of sweet poesy;
     Britannia's swains, and rivers far by west,
       Should hear no more my oaten melody.
     Yet shall the song I sung of them awhile
       Unperfect lie, and make no further known
     The happy loves of this our pleasant Isle,
       Till I have left some record of mine own.
     You are the subject now, and, writing you,
       I well may versify, not poetize:
     Here needs no fiction; for the graces true
       And virtues clip not with base flatteries.
     Here should I write what you deserve of praise;
     Others might wear, but I should win, the bays.

     Fairest, when I am gone, as now the glass
       Of Time is marked how long I have to stay,
     Let me entreat you, ere from hence I pass,
       Perhaps from you for ever more away,--
     Think that no common love hath fired my breast,
       No base desire, but virtue truly known,
     Which I may love, and wish to have possessed,
       Were you the highest as fairest of any one.
     'Tis not your lovely eye enforcing flames,
       Nor beauteous red beneath a snowy skin,
     That so much binds me yours, or makes your fame's,
       As the pure light and beauty shrined within:
     Yet outward parts I must affect of duty,
     As for the smell we like the rose's beauty.





HENRY HOWARD BROWNELL

(1820-1872)


his poet, prominent among those who gained their chief inspiration from the stirring events of the Civil War, was born in Providence, Rhode Island, February 6th, 1820, and died in East Hartford, Connecticut, October 31st, 1872. He was graduated at Trinity College, Hartford, studied law, and was admitted to the bar; but instead of the legal profession adopted that of a teacher, and made his home in Hartford, which was the residence of his uncle, the Bishop of Connecticut. Although Mr. Brownell soon became known as a writer of verse, both grave and humorous, it was not till the coming on of the Civil War that his muse found truest and noblest expression. With a poet's sensitiveness he foresaw the coming storm, and predicted it in verse that has the ring of an ancient prophet; and when the crash came he sang of the great deeds of warriors in the old heroic strain. Many of these poems, like 'Annus Memorabilis' and 'Coming,' were born of the great passion of patriotism which took possession of him, and were regarded only as the visions of a heated imagination. But when the storm burst it was seen that he had the true vision. As the dreadful drama unrolled, Brownell rose to greater issues, and became the war-poet par excellence, the vigorous chronicler of great actions.

He was fond of the sea, and ardently longed for the opportunity to witness, if not to participate in, a sea-fight. His desire was gratified in a singular way. He had printed in a Hartford paper a very felicitous versification of Farragut's 'General Orders' in the fight at the mouth of the Mississippi. This attracted Farragut's attention, and he took steps to learn the name of the author. When it was given, Commodore Farragut (he was not then Admiral) offered Mr. Brownell the position of master's-mate on board the Hartford, and attached the poet to him in the character of a private secretary. Thus he was present at the fight of Mobile Bay. After the war he accompanied the Admiral in his cruise in European waters.

Although Brownell was best known to the country by his descriptive poems, 'The River Fight' and 'The Bay Fight,' which appear in his volume of collected works, 'War Lyrics,' his title to be considered a true poet does not rest upon these only. He was unequal in his performance and occasionally was betrayed by a grotesque humor into disregard of dignity and finish; but he had both the vision and the lyric grace of the builder of lasting verse.




     ANNUS MEMORABILIS

     (CONGRESS, 1860-61)


     Stand strong and calm as Fate! not a breath of scorn or hate--
       Of taunt for the base, or of menace for the strong--
     Since our fortunes must be sealed on that old and famous Field
       Where the Right is set in battle with the Wrong.
     'Tis coming, with the loom of Khamsin or Simoom,
       The tempest that shall try if we are of God or no--
     Its roar is in the sky,--and they there be which cry,
       "Let us cower, and the storm may over-blow."
     Now, nay! stand firm and fast! (that was a spiteful blast!)
       This is not a war of men, but of Angels Good and Ill--
     'Tis hell that storms at heaven--'tis the black and deadly Seven,
       Sworn 'gainst the Shining Ones to work their damnèd will!
     How the Ether glooms and burns, as the tide of combat turns,
       And the smoke and dust above it whirl and float!
     It eddies and it streams--and, certes, oft it seems
       As the Sins had the Seraphs fairly by the throat.
     But we all have read (in that Legend grand and dread),
       How Michael and his host met the Serpent and his crew--
     Naught has reached us of the Fight--but if I have dreamed aright,
       'Twas a loud one and a long, as ever thundered through!
     Right stiffly, past a doubt, the Dragon fought it out,
       And his Angels, each and all, did for Tophet their devoir--
     There was creak of iron wings, and whirl of scorpion stings,
       Hiss of bifid tongues, and the Pit in full uproar!
     But, naught thereof enscrolled, in one brief line 'tis told
       (Calm as dew the Apocalyptic Pen),
     That on the Infinite Shore their place was found no more.
       God send the like on this our earth! Amen.

     Houghton, Mifflin and Company, Boston.


     WORDS FOR THE 'HALLELUJAH CHORUS'

     Old John Brown lies a-moldering in the grave,
     Old John Brown lies slumbering in his grave--
     But John Brown's soul is marching with the brave,
               His soul is marching on.

                 Glory, glory, hallelujah!
                 Glory, glory, hallelujah!
                 Glory, glory, hallelujah!
                 His soul is marching on.

     He has gone to be a soldier in the Army of the Lord;
     He is sworn as a private in the ranks of the Lord,--
     He shall stand at Armageddon with his brave old sword,
               When Heaven is marching on.

     He shall file in front where the lines of battle form,
     He shall face to front when the squares of battle form--
     Time with the column, and charge in the storm,
               Where men are marching on.

     Ah, foul Tyrants! do ye hear him where he comes?
     Ah, black traitors! do ye know him as he comes,
     In thunder of the cannon and roll of the drums,
               As we go marching on?

     Men may die, and molder in the dust--
     Men may die, and arise again from dust,
     Shoulder to shoulder, in the ranks of the Just,
               When Heaven is marching on.

                 Glory, glory, hallelujah!
                 Glory, glory, hallelujah!
                 Glory, glory, hallelujah!
                 His soul is marching on.



     COMING

     (APRIL, 1861)


     World, are thou 'ware of a storm?
         Hark to the ominous sound;
     How the far-off gales their battle form,
         And the great sea-swells feel ground!

     It comes, the Typhoon of Death--
         Nearer and nearer it comes!
     The horizon thunder of cannon-breath
         And the roar of angry drums!

     Hurtle, Terror sublime!
         Swoop o'er the Land to-day--
     So the mist of wrong and crime,
     The breath of our Evil Time
         Be swept, as by fire, away!



     PSYCHAURA

     The wind of an autumn midnight
       Is moaning around my door--
     The curtains wave at the window,
       The carpet lifts on the floor.

     There are sounds like startled footfalls
       In the distant chambers now,
     And the touching of airy ringers
       Is busy on hand and brow.

     'Tis thus, in the Soul's dark dwelling--
       By the moody host unsought--
     Through the chambers of memory wander
       The invisible airs of thought.

     For it bloweth where it listeth,
       With a murmur loud or low;
     Whence it cometh--whither it goeth--
       None tell us, and none may know.

     Now wearying round the portals
       Of the vacant, desolate mind--
     As the doors of a ruined mansion,
       That creak in the cold night wind.

     And anon an awful memory
       Sweeps over it fierce and high--
     Like the roar of a mountain forest
       When the midnight gale goes by.

     Then its voice subsides in wailing,
       And, ere the dawning of day,
     Murmuring fainter and fainter,
       In the distance dies away.



     SUSPIRIA NOCTIS


     Reading, and reading--little is the gain
       Long dwelling with the minds of dead men leaves.
     List rather to the melancholy rain,
             Drop--dropping from the eaves.

     Still the old tale--how hardly worth the telling!
       Hark to the wind!--again that mournful sound,
     That all night long, around this lonely dwelling,
             Moans like a dying hound.





ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING

(1809-1861)


t is interesting to step back sixty years into the lives of Miss Mitford and her "dear young friend Miss Barrett," when the -esses of "authoresses" and "poetesses" and "editresses" and "hermitesses" make the pages sibilant; when 'Books of Beauty,' and 'Keepsakes,' and the extraordinary methods of "Finden's Tableaux" make us wonder that literature survived; when Mr. Kenyon, taking Miss Mitford "to the giraffes and the Diorama," called for "Miss Barrett, a hermitess in Gloucester Place, who reads Greek as I do French, who has published some translations from Æschylus, and some most striking poems,"--"Our sweet Miss Barrett! to think of virtue and genius is to think of her." Of her own life Mrs. Browning writes:--"As to stories, my story amounts to the knife-grinder's, with nothing at all for a catastrophe. A bird in a cage would have as good a story; most of my events and nearly all my intense pleasure have passed in my thoughts."


Mrs. Browning

She was born at Burn Hall, Durham, on March 6th, 1809, and passed a happy childhood and youth in her father's country house at Hope End, Herefordshire. She was remarkably precocious, reading Homer in the original at eight years of age. She said that in those days "the Greeks were her demigods. She dreamed more of Agamemnon than of Moses, her black pony." "I wrote verses very early, at eight years old and earlier. But what is less common, the early fancy turned into a will, and remained with me." At seventeen years of age she published the 'Essay on Mind,' and translated the 'Prometheus' of Æschylus. Some years later the family removed to London, and here Elizabeth, on account of her continued delicate health, was kept in her room for months at a time. The shock following on the death of her brother, who was drowned before her eyes in Torquay, whither she had gone for rest, completely shattered her physically. Now her life of seclusion in her London home began. For years she lay upon a couch in a large, comfortably darkened room, seeing only the immediate members of her family and a few privileged friends, and spending her days in writing and study, "reading," Miss Mitford says, "almost every book worth reading in almost every language." Here Robert Browning met her. They were married in 1846, against the will of her father. Going abroad immediately, they finally settled in Florence at the Casa Guidi, made famous by her poem bearing the same name. Their home became the centre of attraction to visitors in Florence, and many of the finest minds in the literary and artistic world were among their friends. Hawthorne, who visited them, describes Mrs. Browning as "a pale, small person, scarcely embodied at all, at any rate only substantial enough to put forth her slender fingers to be grasped, and to speak with a shrill yet sweet tenuity of voice. It is wonderful to see how small she is, how pale her cheek, how bright and dark her eyes. There is not such another figure in the world, and her black ringlets cluster down in her neck and make her face look whiter." She died in Florence on the 30th of June, 1861, and the citizens of Florence placed a tablet to her memory on the walls of Casa Guidi.

The life and personality of Elizabeth Barrett Browning seem to explain her poetry. It is a life "without a catastrophe," except perhaps to her devoted father. And it is to this father's devotion that some of Mrs. Browning's poetical sins are due; for by him she was so pampered and shielded from every outside touch, that all the woes common to humanity grew for her into awful tragedies. Her life was abnormal and unreal,--an unreality that passed more or less into everything she did. Indeed, her resuscitation after meeting Robert Browning would mount into a miracle, unless it were realized that nothing in her former life had been quite as woful as it seemed. That Mrs. Browning was "a woman of real genius," even Edward Fitzgerald allowed; and in speaking of Shelley, Walter Savage Landor said, "With the exception of Burns, he [Shelley] and Keats were inspired with a stronger spirit of poetry than any other poet since Milton. I sometimes fancy that Elizabeth Barrett Browning comes next." This is very high praise from very high authority, but none too high for Mrs. Browning, for her best work has the true lyric ring, that spontaneity of thought and expression which comes when the singer forgets himself in his song and becomes tuneful under the stress of the moment's inspiration. All of Mrs. Browning's work is buoyed up by her luxurious and overflowing imagination. With all its imperfections of technique, its lapses of taste and faults of expression, it always remains poetry, throbbing with passion and emotion and rich in color and sound. She wrote because she must. Her own assertions notwithstanding, one cannot think of Mrs. Browning as sitting down in cold blood to compose a poem according to fixed rules of art. This is the secret of her shortcomings, as it is also the source of her strength, and in her best work raises her high above those who, with more technical skill, have less of the true poet's divine fire and overflowing imagination.

So in the 'Sonnets from the Portuguese,' written at a time when her woman's nature was thrilled to its very depths by the love of her "most gracious singer of high poems," and put forth as translations from another writer and tongue--in these her imperfections drop away, and she soars to marvelous heights of song. Such a lyric outburst as this, which reveals with magnificent frankness the innermost secrets of an ardently loving woman's heart, is unequaled in literature. Here the woman-poet is strong and sane; here she is free from obscurity and mannerism, and from grotesque rhymes. She has stepped out from her life of visions and of morbid woes into a life of wholesome reality and of "sweet reasonableness." Their literary excellence is due also to the fact that in the sonnet Mrs. Browning was held to a rigid form, and was obliged to curb her imagination and restrain her tendency to diffuseness of expression. Mr. Saintsbury goes so far as to say that the sonnet beginning--

"If thou wilt love me, let it be for naught
Except for love's sake only--"

does not fall far short of Shakespeare.

'Aurora Leigh' gives rise to the old question, Is it advisable to turn a three-volume novel into verse? Yet Landor wrote about it:--"I am reading a poem full of thought and fascinating with fancy--Mrs. Browning's (Aurora Leigh.) In many places there is the wild imagination of Shakespeare.... I am half drunk with it. Never did I think I should have a good draught of poetry again." Ruskin somewhere considered it the greatest poem of the nineteenth century, "with enough imagination to set up a dozen lesser poets"; and Stedman calls it "a representative and original creation: representative in a versatile, kaleidoscopic presentment of modern life and issues; original, because the most idiosyncratic of its author's poems. An audacious speculative freedom pervades it, which smacks of the New World rather than the Old.... 'Aurora Leigh' is a mirror of contemporary life, while its learned and beautiful illustrations make it almost a handbook of literature and the arts.... Although a most uneven production, full of ups and downs, of capricious or prosaic episodes, it nevertheless contains poetry as fine as its author has given us elsewhere, and enough spare inspiration to set up a dozen smaller poets. The flexible verse is noticeably her own, and often handled with as much spirit as freedom." Mrs. Browning herself declared it the most mature of her works, "and the one into which my highest convictions upon life and art have entered." Consider this:--

"For 'tis not in mere death that men die most:
And after our first girding of the loins
In youth's fine linen and fair broidery,
To run up-hill and meet the rising sun,
We are apt to sit tired, patient as a fool,
While others gird us with the violent bands
Of social figments, feints, and formalisms,
Reversing our straight nature, lifting up
Our base needs, keeping down our lofty thoughts,
Head downwards on the cross-sticks of the world.
Yet He can pluck us from that shameful cross.
God, set our feet low and our foreheads high,
And teach us how a man was made to walk!"

Or this:--

"I've waked and slept through many nights and days
Since then--but still that day will catch my breath
Like a nightmare. There are fatal days, indeed,
In which the fibrous years have taken root
So deeply, that they quiver to their tops
Whene'er you stir the dust of such a day."

Again:--

"Passion is
But something suffered after all--
. . . . . While Art

Sets action on the top of suffering."

And this:--

"Nothing is small!
No lily-muffled hum of summer-bee
But finds some coupling with the spinning stars;
No pebble at your foot but proves a sphere:
. . . . . Earth's crammed with Heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes."

Among Mrs. Browning's smaller poems, 'Crowned and Buried' is, notwithstanding serious defects of technique, one of the most virile things she has written; indeed, some of her finest lines are to be found in it. In 'The Cry of the Children' and in 'Cowper's Grave' the pathos is most true and deep. 'Lord Walter's Wife' is an even more courageous vindication of the feminine essence than 'Aurora Leigh'; and her 'Vision of Poets' is said to "vie in beauty with Tennyson's own." The fine thought and haunting beauty of 'A Musical Instrument,' with its matchless climax, need not be dwelt on.

During her fifteen years' residence in Florence she threw herself with great enthusiasm into Italian affairs, and wrote some political poems of varying merit, whose interest necessarily faded away when the occasion passed. But among those poems inspired by the struggle for freedom, 'Casa Guidi Windows' comes close to the 'Sonnets from the Portuguese' and 'Aurora Leigh,' and holds an enduring place for its high poetry, its musical, sonorous verse, and the sustained intellectual vigor of composition. Her volume of 'Last Poems' contains, among much inferior matter, some of her finest and most touching work, as 'A Musical Instrument,' 'The Forced Recruit,' and 'Mother and Poet,' Peter Bayne says of her in his 'Great Englishwomen':--"In melodiousness and splendor of poetic gift Mrs. Browning stands ... first among women. She may not have the knowledge of life, the insight into character, the comprehensiveness of some, but we must all agree that a poet's far more essential qualities are hers: usefulness, fervor, a noble aspiration, and above all a tender, far-reaching nature, loving and beloved, and touching the hearts of her readers with some virtue from its depths. She seemed even in her life something of a spirit; and her view of life's sorrow and shame, of its hearty and eternal hope, is something like that which one might imagine a spirit's to be." Whether political, or sociological, or mystical, or sentimental, or impossible, there is about all that Mrs. Browning has written an enduring charm of picturesqueness, of romance, and of a pure enthusiasm for art. "Art for Art," she cries,

"And good for God, himself the essential Good!
We'll keep our aims sublime, our eyes erect,
Although our woman-hands should shake and fail."

This was her achievement--her hands did not fail!

Her husband's words will furnish, perhaps, the best conclusion to this slight study:--"You are wrong," he said, "quite wrong--she has genius; I am only a painstaking fellow. Can't you imagine a clever sort of angel who plots and plans, and tries to build up something,--he wants to make you see it as he sees it, shows you one point of view, carries you off to another, hammering into your head the thing he wants you to understand; and whilst this bother is going on, God Almighty turns you off a little star--that's the difference between us. The true creative power is hers, not mine."




     A MUSICAL INSTRUMENT

     WHAT was he doing, the great god Pan,
     Down in the reeds by the river?
         Spreading ruin and scattering ban,
     Splashing and paddling with hoofs of a goat,
     And breaking the golden lilies afloat
         With the dragon-fly on the river.

     He tore out a reed, the great god Pan,
         From the deep, cool bed of the river.
     The limpid water turbidly ran,
     And the broken lilies a-dying lay,
     And the dragon-fly had fled away,
         Ere he brought it out of the river.

     High on the shore sat the great god Pan,
         While turbidly flowed the river,
     And hacked and hewed as a great god can,
     With his hard bleak steel at the patient reed,
     Till there was not a sign of the leaf indeed
         To prove it fresh from the river.

     He cut it short, did the great god Pan,
         (How tall it stood in the river!)
     Then drew the pith, like the heart of a man,
     Steadily from the outside ring,
     And notched the poor, dry, empty thing
         In holes as he sat by the river.

     "This is the way," laughed the great god Pan,
         (Laughed while he sat by the river,)
     "The only way, since gods began
     To make sweet music, they could succeed."
     Then, dropping his mouth to a hole in the reed,
         He blew in power by the river.

     Sweet, sweet, sweet, O Pan,
         Piercing sweet by the river!
     Blinding sweet, O great god Pan!
     The sun on the hill forgot to die,
     And the lilies revived, and the dragon-fly
         Came back to dream on the river.

     Yet half a beast is the great god Pan,
         To laugh as he sits by the river,
     Making a poet out of a man:
     The true gods sigh for the cost and the pain,--
     For the reed which grows nevermore again
         As a reed with the reeds in the river.



     MY HEART AND I

     Enough! we're tired, my heart and I.
        We sit beside the headstone thus,
        And wish that name were carved for us.
     The moss reprints more tenderly
        The hard types of the mason's knife,
        As heaven's sweet life renews earth's life
     With which we're tired, my heart and I.

     You see we're tired, my heart and I.
        We dealt with books, we trusted men,
        And in our own blood drenched the pen,
     As if such colors could not fly.
        We walked too straight for fortune's end,
        We loved too true to keep a friend:
     At last we're tired, my heart and I.

     How tired we feel, my heart and I!
        We seem of no use in the world;
        Our fancies hang gray and uncurled
     About men's eyes indifferently;
        Our voice, which thrilled you so, will let
        You sleep; our tears are only wet:
     What do we here, my heart and I?

     So tired, so tired, my heart and I!
        It was not thus in that old time
        When Ralph sat with me 'neath the lime
     To watch the sunset from the sky.
        "Dear love, you're looking tired," he said;
        I, smiling at him, shook my head:
     'Tis now we're tired, my heart and I.

     So tired, so tired, my heart and I!
        Though now none takes me on his arm
        To fold me close and kiss me warm
     Till each quick breath end in a sigh
        Of happy languor. Now, alone,
        We lean upon this graveyard stone,
     Uncheered, unkissed, my heart and I.

     Tired out we are, my heart and I.
        Suppose the world brought diadems
        To tempt us, crusted with loose gems
     Of powers and pleasures? Let it try.
        We scarcely care to look at even
        A pretty child, or God's blue heaven,
     We feel so tired, my heart and I.

     Yet who complains? My heart and I?
        In this abundant earth, no doubt,
        Is little room for things worn out:
     Disdain them, break them, throw them by!
        And if, before the days grew rough,
        We once were loved, used,--well enough
     I think we've fared, my heart and I.



     FROM 'CATARINA TO CAMOENS'

     [Dying in his absence abroad, and referring to the poem in which he
     recorded the sweetness of her eyes.]

     On the door you will not enter
         I have gazed too long: adieu!
       Hope withdraws her "peradventure";
     Death is near me,--and not you!
         Come, O lover,
         Close and cover
     These poor eyes you called, I ween,
     "Sweetest eyes were ever seen!"

     When I heard you sing that burden
       In my vernal days and bowers,
     Other praises disregarding,
       I but hearkened that of yours,
         Only saying
         In heart-playing,
     "Blessed eyes mine eyes have been,
     If the sweetest HIS have seen!"

     But all changes. At this vesper
       Cold the sun shines down the door.
     If you stood there, would you whisper,
       "Love, I love you," as before,--
         Death pervading
         Now and shading
     Eyes you sang of, that yestreen,
     As the sweetest ever seen?

     Yes, I think, were you beside them,
       Near the bed I die upon,
     Though their beauty you denied them,
       As you stood there looking down,
         You would truly
         Call them duly,
     For the love's sake found therein,
     "Sweetest eyes were ever seen."

     And if you looked down upon them,
       And if they looked up to you,
     All the light which has foregone them
       Would be gathered back anew;
         They would truly
         Be as duly
     Love-transformed to beauty's sheen,
     "Sweetest eyes were ever seen."

     But, ah me! you only see me,
       In your thoughts of loving man,
     Smiling soft, perhaps, and dreamy,
       Through the wavings of my fan;
         And unweeting
         Go repeating
     In your revery serene,
     "Sweetest eyes were ever seen."

     O my poet, O my prophet!
       When you praised their sweetness so,
     Did you think, in singing of it,
       That it might be near to go?
         Had you fancies
         From their glances,
     That the grave would quickly screen
     "Sweetest eyes were ever seen"?

     No reply. The fountain's warble
       In the courtyard sounds alone.
     As the water to the marble
       So my heart falls with a moan
         From love-sighing
         To this dying.
     Death forerunneth Love to win
     "Sweetest eyes were ever seen."

     Will you come? When I'm departed
       Where all sweetnesses are hid,
     Where thy voice, my tender-hearted,
       Will not lift up either lid,
         Cry, O lover,
         Love is over!
     Cry, beneath the cypress green,
     "Sweetest eyes were ever seen!"

     When the Angelus is ringing,
       Near the convent will you walk,
     And recall the choral singing
       Which brought angels down our talk?
         Spirit-shriven
         I viewed heaven,
     Till you smiled--"Is earth unclean,
     Sweetest eyes were ever seen?"

     When beneath the palace-lattice
       You ride slow as you have done,
     And you see a face there that is
       Not the old familiar one,
         Will you oftly
         Murmur softly,
     "Here ye watched me morn and e'en,
     Sweetest eyes were ever seen"?

     When the palace-ladies, sitting
       Round your gittern, shall have said,
     "Poets, sing those verses written
     For the lady who is dead,"
         Will you tremble,
         Yet dissemble,
     Or sing hoarse, with tears between,
     "Sweetest eyes were ever seen"?

     "Sweetest eyes!" How sweet in flowings
       The repeated cadence is!
     Though you sang a hundred poems,
       Still the best one would be this.
         I can hear it
         'Twixt my spirit
     And the earth-noise intervene,--
     "Sweetest eyes were ever seen!"

     But--but now--yet unremovèd
       Up to heaven they glisten fast;
     You may cast away, beloved,
       In your future all my past:
         Such old phrases
         May be praises
     For some fairer bosom-queen--
     "Sweetest eyes were ever seen!"

     Eyes of mine, what are ye doing?
       Faithless, faithless, praised amiss
     If a tear be, on your showing,
       Dropped for any hope of HIS!
         Death has boldness
         Besides coldness,
     If unworthy tears demean
     "Sweetest eyes were ever seen."

     I will look out to his future;
       I will bless it till it shine.
     Should he ever be a suitor
       Unto sweeter eyes than mine,
         Sunshine gild them,
         Angels shield them,
     Whatsoever eyes terrene
     Be the sweetest HIS have seen.



     THE SLEEP

     "He giveth his beloved sleep."--Ps. cxxvii. 2

     OF ALL the thoughts of God that are
       Borne inward into souls afar
       Along the Psalmist's music deep,
     Now tell me if that any is,
     For gift or grace, surpassing this--
     "He giveth his beloved sleep."

     What would we give to our beloved?
     The hero's heart to be unmoved.
       The poet's star-tuned harp to sweep,
     The patriot's voice to teach and rouse,
     The monarch's crown to light the brows?--
       He giveth his belovèd sleep.

     What do we give to our beloved?
     A little faith all undisproved,
       A little dust to overweep,
     And bitter memories to make
     The whole earth blasted for our sake.
       He giveth his beloved sleep.

     "Sleep soft, beloved!" we sometimes say,
     Who have no tune to charm away
       Sad dreams that through the eyelids creep;
     But never doleful dream again
     Shall break the happy slumber when
       He giveth his belovèd sleep.

     O earth, so full of dreary noises!
     O men with wailing in your voices!
       O delvèd gold the wailers heap!
     O strife, O curse, that o'er it fall!
     God strikes a silence through you all,
       And giveth his beloved sleep.

     His dews drop mutely on the hill,
     His cloud above it saileth still,
       Though on its slope men sow and reap;
     More softly than the dew is shed,
     Or cloud is floated overhead,
       He giveth his belovèd sleep.

     Ay, men may wonder while they scan
     A living, thinking, feeling man
       Confirmed in such a rest to keep;
     But angels say,--and through the word
     I think their happy smile is heard,--
       "He giveth his belovèd sleep."

     For me, my heart that erst did go
     Most like a tired child at a show,
       That sees through tears the mummers leap,
     Would now its wearied vision close,
     Would childlike on His love repose
       Who giveth his belovèd sleep.

     And friends, dear friends, when it shall be
     That this low breath is gone from me,
       And round my bier ye come to weep,
     Let one most loving of you all
     Say, "Not a tear must o'er her fall!
       He giveth his belovèd sleep."



     THE CRY OF THE CHILDREN

     I
     Do ye hear the children weeping, O my brothers,
         Ere the sorrow comes with years?
     They are leaning their young heads against their mothers,
         And that cannot stop their tears.
     The young lambs are bleating in the meadows;
       The young birds are chirping in the nest;
     The young fawns are playing with the shadows;
       The young flowers are blowing toward the west:
     But the young, young children, O my brothers!
         They are weeping bitterly.
     They are weeping in the playtime of the others,
         In the country of the free.

     II
     Do you question the young children in their sorrow,
         Why their tears are falling so?
     The old man may weep for his To-morrow
         Which is lost in Long-Ago;
     The old tree is leafless in the forest;
       The old year is ending in the frost;
     The old wound, if stricken, is the sorest;
       The old hope is hardest to be lost:
     But the young, young children, O my brothers!
         Do you ask them why they stand
     Weeping sore before the bosoms of their mothers,
         In our happy Fatherland?

     III
     They look up with their pale and sunken faces;
         And their looks are sad to see,
     For the man's hoary anguish draws and presses
         Down the cheeks of infancy.
     "Your old earth," they say, "is very dreary;
       Our young feet," they say, "are very weak;
     Few paces have we taken, yet are weary;
       Our grave-rest is very far to seek.
     Ask the aged why they weep, and not the children;
         For the outside earth is cold,
     And we young ones stand without in our bewildering,
         And the graves are for the old."

     IV
     "True," say the children, "it may happen
         That we die before our time:
     Little Alice died last year; her grave is shapen
         Like a snowball in the rime.
     We looked into the pit prepared to take her:
       Was no room for any work in the close clay,
     From the sleep wherein she lieth none will wake her,
       Crying, 'Get up, little Alice! it is day.'
     If you listen by that grave, in sun and shower,
       With your ear down, little Alice never cries.
     Could we see her face, be sure we should not know her,
       For the smile has time for growing in her eyes;
     And merry go her moments, lulled and stilled in
       The shroud by the kirk-chime.
     It is good when it happens," say the children,
         "That we die before our time."

     V
     Alas, alas, the children! They are seeking
         Death in life, as best to have.
     They are binding up their hearts away from breaking
         With a cerement from the grave.
     Go out, children, from the mine and from the city;
       Sing out, children, as the little thrushes do;
     Pluck your handfuls of the meadow-cowslips pretty;
       Laugh aloud, to feel your fingers let them through.
     But they answer, "Are your cowslips of the meadows
         Like our weeds anear the mine?
     Leave us quiet in the dark of the coal-shadows,
         From your pleasures fair and fine.

     VI
     "For oh!" say the children, "we are weary,
         And we cannot run or leap;
     If we cared for any meadows, it were merely
         To drop down in them, and sleep.
     Our knees tremble sorely in the stooping;
       We fall upon our faces, trying to go;
     And, underneath our heavy eyelids drooping,
       The reddest flower would look as pale as snow;
     For all day we drag our burden tiring,
         Through the coal-dark, underground;
     Or all day we drive the wheels of iron
         In the factories, round and round.

     VII
     "For all-day the wheels are droning, turning;
         Their wind comes in our faces,
     Till our hearts turn, our heads with pulses burning,
         And the walls turn in their places.
     Turns the sky in the high window blank and reeling,
       Turns the long light that drops adown the wall,
     Turn the black flies that crawl along the ceiling,--
       All are turning, all the day, and we with all.
     And all day the iron wheels are droning,
         And sometimes we could pray,
     'O ye wheels' (breaking out in a mad moaning),
         'Stop! be silent for to-day!'"

     VIII
     Ay. be silent! Let them hear each other breathing
         For a moment, mouth to mouth;
     Let them touch each other's hands, in a fresh wreathing
         Of their tender human youth;
     Let them feel that this cold metallic motion
       Is not all the life God fashions or reveals;
     Let them prove their living souls against the notion
       That they live in you, or tinder you, O wheels!
     Still all day the iron wheels go onward,
         Grinding life down from its mark;
     And the children's souls, which God is calling sunward,
         Spin on blindly in the dark.

     IX
     Now tell the poor young children, O my brothers,
         To look up to Him, and pray;
     So the blessèd One who blesseth all the others
         Will bless them another day.
     They answer, "Who is God, that he should hear us
       While the rushing of the iron wheels is stirred?
     When we sob aloud, the human creatures near us
       Pass by, hearing not, or answer not a word;
     And we hear not (for the wheels in their resounding)
         Strangers speaking at the door.
     Is it likely God, with angels singing round him,
         Hears our weeping any more?

     X
     "Two words, indeed, of praying we remember;
         And at midnight's hour of harm,
     'Our Father,' looking upward in the chamber,
         We say softly for a charm.
     We know no other words except 'Our Father';
       And we think that, in some pause of angels' song,
     God may pluck them with the silence sweet to gather,
       And hold both within his right hand, which is strong.
     'Our Father!' If he heard us, he would surely
         (For they call him good and mild)
     Answer, smiling down the steep world very purely,
         'Come and rest with me, my child.'

     XI
     "But no!" say the children, weeping faster,
         "He is speechless as a stone;
     And they tell us, of his image is the master
         Who commands us to work on.
     Go to!" say the children,--"up in heaven,
       Dark, wheel-like, turning clouds are all we find.
     Do not mock us: Grief has made us unbelieving:
       We look up for God; but tears have made us blind."
     Do you hear the children weeping and disproving,
         O my brothers, what ye preach?
     For God's possible is taught by his world's loving--
         And the children doubt of each.

     XII
     And well may the children weep before you!
         They are weary ere they run;
     They have never seen the sunshine, nor the glory
         Which is brighter than the sun.
     They know the grief of man, without its wisdom;
       They sink in man's despair, without its calm;
     Are slaves, without the liberty in Christdom;
       Are martyrs, by the pang without the palm;
     Are worn as if with age, yet unretrievingly
       The harvest of its memories cannot reap;
     Are orphans of the earthly love and heavenly--
         Let them weep! let them weep!

     XIII
     They look up with their pale and sunken faces,
         And their look is dread to see.
     For they mind you of their angels in high places,
         With eyes turned on Deity.
     "How long," they say, "how long, O cruel nation,
       Will you stand, to move the world on a child's heart,--
     Stifle down with a mailed heel its palpitation,
       And tread onward to your throne amid the mart?
     Our blood splashes upward, O gold-heaper,
         And your purple shows your path;
     But the child's sob in the silence curses deeper
         Than the strong man in his wrath!"



     MOTHER AND POET

     [On Laura Savio of Turin, a poetess and patriot, whose sons were killed
     at Ancona and Gaeta.]

     DEAD! One of them shot by the sea in the east,
       And one of them shot in the west by the sea.
     Dead! both my boys! When you sit at the feast,
       And are wanting a great song for Italy free,
         Let none look at me!

     Yet I was a poetess only last year,
       And good at my art, for a woman, men said:
     But this woman, this, who is agonized here,--
       The east sea and west sea rhyme on in her head
         Forever instead.

     What art can a woman be good at? Oh, vain!
       What art is she good at, but hurting her breast
     With the milk-teeth of babes, and a smile at the pain?
       Ah, boys, how you hurt! you were strong as you prest,
         And I proud by that test.

     What art's for a woman? To hold on her knees
       Both darlings! to feel all their arms round her throat
     Cling, strangle a little! to sew by degrees,
       And 'broider the long-clothes and neat little coat;
         To dream and to dote.

     To teach them.... It stings there! I made them indeed
       Speak plain the word country. I taught them, no doubt,
     That a country's a thing men should die for at need.
       I prated of liberty, rights, and about
         The tyrant cast out.

     And when their eyes flashed ... O my beautiful eyes! ...
       I exulted; nay, let them go forth at the wheels
     Of the guns, and denied not. But then the surprise
       When one sits quite alone! Then one weeps, then one kneels.
         God, how the house feels!

     At first, happy news came, in gay letters moiled
       With my kisses, of camp-life and glory, and how
     They both loved me; and soon, coming home to be spoiled,
       In return would fan off every fly from my brow
         With their green laurel-bough.

     There was triumph at Turin: "Ancona was free!"
       And some one came out of the cheers in the street,
     With a face pale as stone, to say something to me.
       My Guido was dead! I fell down at his feet,
         While they cheered in the street.

     I bore it; friends soothed me; my grief looked sublime
       As the ransom of Italy. One boy remained
     To be leant on and walked with, recalling the time
       When the first grew immortal, while both of us strained
         To the height he had gained.

     And letters still came; shorter, sadder, more strong,
       Writ now but in one hand:--"I was not to faint,--
     One loved me for two; would be with me ere long:
       And Viva l'Italia he died for, our saint,
         Who forbids our complaint."

     My Nanni would add, "he was safe, and aware
       Of a presence that turned off the balls,--was imprest
     It was Guido himself, who knew what I could bear,
       And how 'twas impossible, quite dispossest,
         To live on for the rest."

     On which, without pause, up the telegraph-line
       Swept smoothly the next news from Gaeta,--"Shot.
     Tell his mother
." Ah, ah! "his," "their" mother, not "mine":
       No voice says, "My mother," again to me. What!
         You think Guido forgot?

     Are souls straight so happy, that, dizzy with heaven,
       They drop earth's affections, conceive not of woe?
     I think not! Themselves were too lately forgiven
       Through that Love and that Sorrow which reconciled so
         The Above and Below.

     O Christ of the seven wounds, who look'dst through the dark
       To the face of thy mother! Consider, I pray,
     How we common mothers stand desolate, mark,--
       Whose sons, not being Christs, die with eyes turned away,
         And no last word to say!

     Both boys dead? but that's out of nature. We all
       Have been patriots, yet each house must always keep one.
     'Twere imbecile, hewing out roads to a wall;
       And when Italy's made, for what end is it done,
         If we have not a son?

     Ah, ah, ah! when Gaeta's taken, what then?
       When the fair wicked queen sits no more at her sport
     Of the fire-balls of death crashing souls out of men;
       When the guns of Cavalli with final retort
         Have cut the game short;

     When Venice and Rome keep their new jubilee;
       When your flag takes all heaven for its white, green, and red:
     When you have your country from mountain to sea,
       When King Victor has Italy's crown on his head,
         (And I have my dead)--

     What then? Do not mock me. Ah, ring your bells low
       And burn your lights faintly! My country is there.
     Above the star pricked by the last peak of snow:
       My Italy's THERE, with my brave civic pair,
         To disfranchise despair!

     Forgive me. Some women bear children in strength,
       And bite back the cry of their pain in self-scorn;
     But the birth-pangs of nations will wring us at length
       Into wail such as this, and we sit on forlorn
         When the man-child is born.

     Dead! One of them shot by the sea in the east,
       And one of them shot in the west by the sea.
     Both! both my boys! If in keeping the feast
       You want a great song for your Italy free,
         Let none look at me!



     A COURT LADY

     Her hair was tawny with gold; her eyes with purple were dark;
     Her cheeks' pale opal burnt with a red and restless spark.

     Never was lady of Milan nobler in name and in race;
     Never was lady of Italy fairer to see in the face.

     Never was lady on earth more true as woman and wife,
     Larger in judgment and instinct, prouder in manners and life.

     She stood in the early morning, and said to her maidens, "Bring
     That silken robe made ready to wear at the court of the King.

     "Bring me the clasps of diamond, lucid, clear of the mote;
     Clasp me the large at the waist, and clasp me the small at the throat.

     "Diamonds to fasten the hair, and diamonds to fasten the sleeves,
     Laces to drop from their rays, like a powder of snow from the eaves."

     Gorgeous she entered the sunlight, which gathered her up in a flame,
     While, straight in her open carriage, she to the hospital came.

     In she went at the door, and gazing from end to end,--
     "Many and low are the pallets; but each is the place of a friend."

     Up she passed through the wards, and stood at a young man's bed;
     Bloody the band on his brow, and livid the droop of his head.

     "Art thou a Lombard, my brother? Happy art thou!" she cried,
     And smiled like Italy on him: he dreamed in her face--and died.

     Pale with his passing soul, she went on still to a second:
     He was a grave hard man, whose years by dungeons were reckoned.

     Wounds in his body were sore, wounds in his life were sorer.
     "Art thou a Romagnole?" Her eyes drove lightnings before her.

     "Austrian and priest had joined to double and tighten the cord
     Able to bind thee, O strong one, free by the stroke of a sword.

     "Now be grave for the rest of us, using the life overcast
     To ripen our wine of the present (too new) in glooms of the past."

     Down she stepped to a pallet where lay a face like a girl's,
     Young, and pathetic with dying,--a deep black hole in the curls.

     "Art thou from Tuscany, brother? and seest thou, dreaming in pain,
     Thy mother stand in the piazza, searching the list of the slain?"

Kind as a mother herself, she touched his cheeks with her hands:
     "Blessed is she who has borne thee, although she should weep as
                she stands."

     On she passed to a Frenchman, his arm carried off by a ball:
     Kneeling: "O more than my brother! how shall I thank thee for all?

     "Each of the heroes around us has fought for his land and line;
     But thou hast fought for a stranger, in hate of a wrong not thine.

     "Happy are all free peoples, too strong to be dispossest,
     But blessed are those among nations who dare to be strong for the
     rest."

     Ever she passed on her way, and came to a couch where pined
     One with a face from Venetia, white with a hope out of mind.

     Long she stood and gazed, and twice she tried at the name;
     But two great crystal tears were all that faltered and came.

     Only a tear for Venice? She turned as in passion and loss,
     And stooped to his forehead and kissed it, as if she were kissing
     the cross.

     Faint with that strain of heart, she moved on then to another,
     Stern and strong in his death: "And dost thou suffer, my brother?"

     Holding his hands in hers: "Out of the Piedmont lion
     Cometh the sweetness of freedom! sweetest to live or to die on."

     Holding his cold rough hands: "Well, oh well have ye done
     In noble, noble Piedmont, who would not be noble alone."

     Back he fell while she spoke. She rose to her feet with a spring.
     "That was a Piedmontese! and this is the court of the King!"



     THE PROSPECT

     Methinks we do as fretful children do,
        Leaning their faces on the window-pane
        To sigh the glass dim with their own breath's stain,
     And shut the sky and landscape from their view;
     And thus, alas! since God the maker drew
        A mystic separation 'twixt those twain,--
        The life beyond us and our souls in pain,--
     We miss the prospect which we are called unto
     By grief we are fools to use. Be still and strong,
     O man, my brother! hold thy sobbing breath,
       And keep thy soul's large window pure from wrong;
     That so, as life's appointment issueth,
       Thy vision may be clear to watch along
     The sunset consummation-lights of death.



     DE PROFUNDIS

     The face which, duly as the sun,
     Rose up for me with life begun,
     To mark all bright hours of the day
     With daily love, is dimmed away--
       And yet my days go on, go on.

     The tongue which, like a stream, could run
     Smooth music from the roughest stone,
     And every morning with "Good day"
     Make each day good, is hushed away--
       And yet my days go on, go on.

     The heart which, like a staff, was one
     For mine to lean and rest upon,
     The strongest on the longest day,
     With steadfast love is caught away--
       And yet my days go on, go on.

     The world goes whispering to its own,
     "This anguish pierces to the bone."
     And tender friends go sighing round,
     "What love can ever cure this wound?"
       My days go on, my days go on.

     The past rolls forward on the sun
     And makes all night. O dreams begun,
     Not to be ended! Ended bliss!
     And life, that will not end in this!
       My days go on, my days go on.

     Breath freezes on my lips to moan:
     As one alone, once not alone,
     I sit and knock at Nature's door,
     Heart-bare, heart-hungry, very poor,
       Whose desolated days go on.

     I knock and cry--Undone, undone!
     Is there no help, no comfort--none?
     No gleaning in the wide wheat-plains
     Where others drive their loaded wains?
       My vacant days go on, go on.

     This Nature, though the snows be down,
     Thinks kindly of the bird of June.
     The little red hip on the tree
     Is ripe for such. What is for me,
       Whose days so winterly go on?

     No bird am I to sing in June,
     And dare not ask an equal boon.
     Good nests and berries red are Nature's
     To give away to better creatures--
       And yet my days go on, go on.

     I ask less kindness to be done--
     Only to loose these pilgrim-shoon
     (Too early worn and grimed) with sweet
     Cool deathly touch to these tired feet,
       Till days go out which now go on.

     Only to lift the turf unmown
     From off the earth where it has grown,
     Some cubit-space, and say, "Behold,
     Creep in, poor Heart, beneath that fold,
       Forgetting how the days go on."

     A Voice reproves me thereupon,
     More sweet than Nature's, when the drone
     Of bees is sweetest, and more deep,
     Than when the rivers overleap
       The shuddering pines, and thunder on.

     God's Voice, not Nature's--night and noon
     He sits upon the great white throne,
     And listens for the creature's praise.
     What babble we of days and days?
       The Dayspring he, whose days go on!

     He reigns above, he reigns alone:
     Systems burn out and leave his throne:
     Fair mists of seraphs melt and fall
     Around him, changeless amid all--
       Ancient of days, whose days go on!

     He reigns below, he reigns alone--
     And having life in love forgone
     Beneath the crown of sovran thorns,
     He reigns the jealous God. Who mourns
       Or rules with HIM, while days go on?

     By anguish which made pale the sun,
     I hear him charge his saints that none
     Among the creatures anywhere
     Blaspheme against him with despair,
       However darkly days go on.

     Take from my head the thorn-wreath brown:
     No mortal grief deserves that crown.
     O supreme Love, chief misery,
     The sharp regalia are for Thee,
       Whose days eternally go on!

     For us, ... whatever's undergone,
     Thou knowest, willest what is done.
     Grief may be joy misunderstood:
     Only the Good discerns the good.
       I trust Thee while my days go on.

     Whatever's lost, it first was won!
     We will not struggle nor impugn.
     Perhaps the cup was broken here
     That Heaven's new wine might show more clear.
       I praise Thee while my days go on.

     I praise Thee while my days go on;
     I love Thee while my days go on!
     Through dark and dearth, through fire and frost,
     With emptied arms and treasure lost,
       I thank Thee while my days go on!

     And, having in thy life-depth thrown
     Being and suffering (which are one),
     As a child drops some pebble small
     Down some deep well, and hears it fall
       Smiling--so I! THY DAYS GO ON!



     THE CRY OF THE HUMAN

     "There is no God," the foolish saith,
       But none, "There is no sorrow;"
     And nature oft the cry of faith
       In bitter need will borrow:
     Eyes which the preacher could not school
       By wayside graves are raised;
     And lips say, "God be pitiful,"
       Who ne'er said, "God be praised."
               Be pitiful, O God.

     The tempest stretches from the steep
       The shadow of its coming;
     The beasts grow tame, and near us creep,
       As help were in the human:
     Yet while the cloud-wheels roll and grind,
       We spirits tremble under!
     The hills have echoes; but we find
       No answer for the thunder.
               Be pitiful, O God!

     The battle hurtles on the plains--
       Earth feels new scythes upon her:
     We reap our brothers for the wains,
       And call the harvest--honor.
     Draw face to face, front line to line,
       One image all inherit:
     Then kill, curse on, by that same sign,
       Clay, clay,--and spirit, spirit.
               Be pitiful, O God!

     We meet together at the feast--
       To private mirth betake us--
     We stare down in the winecup, lest
       Some vacant chair should shake us!
     We name delight, and pledge it round--
       "It shall be ours to-morrow!"
     God's seraphs! do your voices sound
       As sad in naming sorrow?
               Be pitiful, O God!

     We sit together, with the skies,
       The steadfast skies, above us;
     We look into each other's eyes,
       "And how long will you love us?"
     The eyes grow dim with prophecy,
       The voices, low and breathless--
     "Till death us part!"--O words, to be
       Our best for love the deathless!
               Be pitiful, dear God!

     We tremble by the harmless bed
       Of one loved and departed--
     Our tears drop on the lips that said
       Last night, "Be stronger-hearted!"
     O God,--to clasp those fingers close,
       And yet to feel so lonely!--
     To see a light upon such brows,
       Which is the daylight only!
               Be pitiful, O God!

     The happy children come to us,
       And look up in our faces;
     They ask us--Was it thus, and thus,
       When we were in their places?
     We cannot speak--we see anew
       The hills we used to live in,
     And feel our mother's smile press through
       The kisses she is giving.
               Be pitiful, O God!

     We pray together at the kirk,
       For mercy, mercy, solely--
     Hands weary with the evil work,
       We lift them to the Holy!
     The corpse is calm below our knee--
       Its spirit bright before Thee--
     Between them, worse than either, we
       Without the rest of glory!
               Be pitiful, O God!

     And soon all vision waxeth dull--
       Men whisper, "He is dying;"
     We cry no more, "Be pitiful!"--
       We have no strength for crying:
     No strength, no need! Then, Soul of mine,
       Look up and triumph rather--
     Lo! in the depth of God's Divine,
       The Son adjures the Father--
               BE PITIFUL, O GOD!



     ROMANCE OF THE SWAN'S NEST


        Little Ellie sits alone
     'Mid the beeches of a meadow,
        By a stream-side on the grass;
        And the trees are showering down
     Doubles of their leaves in shadow,
        On her shining hair and face.

        She has thrown her bonnet by;
     And her feet she has been dipping
        In the shallow water's flow--
        Now she holds them nakedly
     In her hands, all sleek and dripping,
        While she rocketh to and fro.

        Little Ellie sits alone,
     And the smile she softly uses
        Fills the silence like a speech;
        While she thinks what shall be done,
     And the sweetest pleasure chooses,
        For her future within reach.

        Little Ellie in her smile
     Chooseth--"I will have a lover,
        Riding on a steed of steeds!
        He shall love me without guile;
     And to him I will discover
        That swan's nest among the reeds.

        "And the steed shall be red-roan.
     And the lover shall be noble,
        With an eye that takes the breath.
        And the lute he plays upon
     Shall strike ladies into trouble,
        As his sword strikes men to death.

        "And the steed it shall be shod
     All in silver, housed in azure,
        And the mane shall swim the wind:
        And the hoofs along the sod
     Shall flash onward and keep measure,
        Till the shepherds look behind.

        "But my lover will not prize
     All the glory that he rides in,
        When he gazes in my face.
        He will say, 'O Love, thine eyes
     Build the shrine my soul abides in;
        And I kneel here for thy grace.'

        "Then, ay, then--he shall kneel low,
     With the red-roan steed anear him,
        Which shall seem to understand--
        Till I answer, 'Rise and go!
     For the world must love and fear him
        Whom I gift with heart and hand.'

        "Then he will arise so pale,
     I shall feel my own lips tremble
        With a yes I must not say--
        Nathless maiden-brave, 'Fare well,'
     I will utter, and dissemble--
        'Light to-morrow with to-day.'

        "Then he'll ride among the hills
     To the wide world past the river,
        There to put away all wrong:
        To make straight distorted wills,
     And to empty the broad quiver
        Which the wicked bear along.

        "Three times shall a young foot-page
     Swim the stream and climb the mountain
        And kneel down beside my feet--
        'Lo! my master sends this gage,
     Lady, for thy pity's counting!
        What wilt thou exchange for it?'

        "And the first time I will send
     A white rosebud for a guerdon,
        And the second time, a glove:
        But the third time--I may bend
     From my pride, and answer--'Pardon--
        If he come to take my love.'

        "Then the young foot-page will run--
     Then my lover will ride faster,
        Till he kneeleth at my knee:
        'I am a duke's eldest son!
     Thousand serfs do call me master,--
        But, O Love, I love but thee!

       "He will kiss me on the mouth
     Then; and lead me as a lover
       Through the crowds that praise his deeds;
       And when soul-tied by one troth,
     Unto him I will discover
       That swan's nest among the reeds."

       Little Ellie, with her smile
     Not yet ended, rose up gayly,
       Tied the bonnet, donned the shoe--
       And went homeward, round a mile,
     Just to see, as she did daily,
       What more eggs were with the two.

       Pushing through the elm-tree copse
     Winding by the stream, light-hearted,
       Where the osier pathway leads--
       Past the boughs she stoops--and stops!
     Lo! the wild swan had deserted--
       And a rat had gnawed the reeds.

       Ellie went home sad and slow:
     If she found the lover ever,
       With his red-roan steed of steeds,
       Sooth I know not! but I know
     She could never show him--never,
       That swan's nest among the reeds!



     THE BEST THING IN THE WORLD

     WHAT'S the best thing in the world?
        June-rose by May-dew impearled;
        Sweet south-wind, that means no rain;
     Truth, not cruel to a friend;
     Pleasure, not in haste to end;
     Beauty, not self-decked and curled
     Till its pride is over-plain;
     Light, that never makes you wink;
     Memory, that gives no pain;
     Love, when so you're loved again.
     What's the best thing in the world?--
     Something out of it, I think.



     SONNETS FROM THE PORTUGUESE


     Unlike are we, unlike, O princely Heart!
       Unlike our uses and our destinies.
       Our ministering two angels look surprise
     On one another as they strike athwart
     Their wings in passing. Thou, bethink thee, art
       A guest for queens to social pageantries,
       With gages from a hundred brighter eyes
     Than tears even can make mine, to play thy part
       Of chief musician. What hast thou to do
     With looking from the lattice-lights at me,
       A poor, tired, wandering singer, singing through
     The dark, and leaning up a cypress tree?
       The chrism is on thine head; on mine the dew:
     And Death must dig the level where these agree.

     Thou hast thy calling to some palace-floor,
       Most gracious singer of high poems, where
       The dancers will break footing, from the care
     Of watching up thy pregnant lips for more.
     And dost thou lift this house's latch, too poor
       For hand of thine? and canst thou think, and bear
       To let thy music drop here unaware
     In folds of golden fulness at my door?
       Look up, and see the casement broken in,
     The bats and owlets builders in the roof!
       My cricket chirps against thy mandolin.
     Hush, call no echo up in further proof
       Of desolation! there's a voice within
     That weeps--as thou must sing--alone, aloof.

     What can I give thee back, O liberal
       And princely giver, who hast brought the gold
       And purple of thine heart, unstained, untold,
     And laid them on the outside of the wall
     For such as I to take or leave withal,
       In unexpected largesse? Am I cold,
       Ungrateful, that for these most manifold
     High gifts, I render nothing back at all?
       Not so; not cold, but very poor instead.
     Ask God, who knows. For frequent tears have run
       The colors from my life, and left so dead
     And pale a stuff, it were not fitly done
       To give the same as pillow to thy head.
     Go farther! let it serve to trample on.

     If thou must love me, let it be for naught
        Except for love's sake only. Do not say
        "I love her for her smile, her look, her way
     Of speaking gently, for a trick of thought
     That falls in well with mine, and certes brought
        A sense of pleasant ease on such a day:"
        For these things in themselves, beloved, may
     Be changed, or change for thee; and love so wrought
        May be unwrought so. Neither love me for
     Thine own dear pity's wiping my cheeks dry:
        A creature might forget to weep, who bore
     Thy comfort long, and lose thy love thereby.
        But love me for love's sake, that evermore
     Thou mayst love on through love's eternity.

     First time he kissed me, he but only kissed
        The fingers of this hand wherewith I write;
        And ever since it grew more clean and white,
     Slow to world-greetings, quick with its "Oh list!"
     When the angels speak. A ring of amethyst
        I could not wear here plainer to my sight
        Than that first kiss. The second passed in height
     The first, and sought the forehead, and half missed,
        Half falling on the hair. Oh, beyond meed!
     That was the chrism of love, which love's own crown
        With sanctifying sweetness did precede.
     The third upon my lips was folded down
        In perfect purple state; since when, indeed,
     I have been proud, and said "My love, my own!"

     I LIVED with visions for my company,
        Instead of men and women, years ago,
        And found them gentle mates, nor thought to know
     A sweeter music than they played to me.
     But soon their trailing purple was not free
        Of this world's dust, their lutes did silent grow,
        And I myself grew faint and blind below
     Their vanishing eyes. Then THOU didst come--to be,
        Beloved, what they seemed. Their shining fronts,
     Their songs, their splendors (better, yet the same,
        As river-water hallowed into fonts),
     Met in thee, and from out thee overcame
        My soul with satisfaction of all wants,
     Because God's gifts put man's best dreams to shame.

     BELOVED, my beloved, when I think
        That thou wast in the world a year ago,
        What time I sat alone here in the snow,
     And saw no footprint, heard the silence sink
     No moment at thy voice, but, link by link,
        Went counting all my chains as if that so
        They never could fall off at any blow
     Struck by thy possible hand--why, thus I drink
        Of life's great cup of wonder! Wonderful,
     Never to feel thee thrill the day or night
        With personal act or speech, nor ever cull
     Some prescience of thee with the blossoms white
        Thou sawest growing! Atheists are as dull,
     Who cannot guess God's presence out of sight.

     BECAUSE thou hast the power and own'st the grace
        To look through and behind this mask of me,
        (Against which years have beat thus blanchingly
     With their rains!) and behold my soul's true face,
     The dim and weary witness of life's race;
        Because thou hast the faith and love to see,
        Through that same soul's distracting lethargy,
     The patient angel waiting for his place
        In the new heavens; because nor sin nor woe,
     Nor God's infliction, nor death's neighborhood,
        Nor all which others viewing, turn to go,
     Nor all which makes me tired of all, self-viewed,--
        Nothing repels thee.--Dearest, teach me so
     To pour out gratitude, as thou dost, good!

     I THANK all who have loved me in their hearts,
        With thanks and love from mine. Deep thanks to all
        Who paused a little near the prison-wall,
     To hear my music in its louder parts,
     Ere they went onward, each one to the mart's
        Or temple's occupation, beyond call.
        But thou, who in my voice's sink and fall,
     When the sob took it, thy divinest Art's
        Own instrument didst drop down at thy foot,
     To hearken what I said between my tears,
        Instruct me how to thank thee!--Oh, to shoot
     My soul's full meaning into future years,
        That they should lend it utterance, and salute
     Love that endures! with Life that disappears!

     How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
       I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
       My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
     For the ends of Being and Ideal Grace.
     I love thee to the level of every day's
       Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
       I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
     I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise;
       I love thee with the passion put to use
     In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith;
       I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
     With my lost saints,--I love thee with the breath,
       Smiles, tears, of all my life!--and if God choose,
     I shall but love thee better after death.



     A FALSE STEP


     Sweet, thou hast trod on a heart.
        Pass! there's a world full of men;
      And women as fair as thou art
     Must do such things now and then.

     Thou only hast stepped unaware,--
       Malice, not one can impute;
     And why should a heart have been there
       In the way of a fair woman's foot?

     It was not a stone that could trip,
        Nor was it a thorn that could rend:
     Put up thy proud underlip!
       'Twas merely the heart of a friend.

     And yet peradventure one day
       Thou, sitting alone at the glass,
     Remarking the bloom gone away,
       Where the smile in its dimplement was,

     And seeking around thee in vain
       From hundreds who flattered before,
     Such a word as,--"Oh, not in the main
       Do I hold thee less precious,--but more!"

     Thou'lt sigh, very like, on thy part:--
       "Of all I have known or can know,
     I wish I had only that Heart
       I trod upon, ages ago!"



     A CHILD'S THOUGHT OF GOD

     They say that God lives very high!
       But if you look above the pines
     You cannot see our God. And why?

     And if you dig down in the mines
       You never see him in the gold,
     Though, from him, all that's glory shines.

     God is so good, he wears a fold
       Of heaven and earth across his face--
     Like secrets kept, for love, untold.

     But still I feel that his embrace
       Slides down by thrills, through all things made,
     Through sight and sound of every place:

     As if my tender mother laid
       On my shut lids her kisses' pressure,
     Half-waking me at night; and said
       "Who kissed you through the dark, dear guesser?"



     CHEERFULNESS TAUGHT BY REASON

     I think we are too ready with complaint
       In this fair world of God's. Had we no hope
       Indeed beyond the zenith and the slope
     Of yon gray blank of sky, we might be faint
     To muse upon eternity's constraint
       Round our aspirant souls. But since the scope
       Must widen early, is it well to droop
     For a few days consumed in loss and taint?
     O pusillanimous Heart, be comforted,--
       And like a cheerful traveler, take the road,
     Singing beside the hedge. What if the bread
       Be bitter in thine inn, and thou unshod
     To meet the flints?--At least it may be said,
       "Because the way is short, I thank thee, God!"





ROBERT BROWNING

(1812-1889)

BY E.L. BURLINGAME

obert Browning was born at Camberwell on May 7th, 1812, the son and grandson of men who held clerkships in the Bank of England--the one for more than forty and the other for full fifty years. His surroundings were apparently typical of English moderate prosperity, and neither they, nor his good but undistinguished family traditions, furnish any basis for the theorizing of biographers, except indeed in a single point. His grandmother was a West Indian Creole, and though only of the first generation to be born away from England, seems, from the restless and adventurous life led by her brother, to have belonged to a family of the opposite type from her husband's. Whether this crossing of the imaginative, Westward-Ho strain of the English blood with the home-keeping type has to do with the production of such intensely vitalized temperaments as Robert Browning's, is the only question suggested by his ancestry. It is noticeable that his father wished to go to a university, then to become an artist--- both ambitions repressed by the grandfather; and that he took up his bank official's career unwillingly. He seems to have been anything but a man of routine; to have had keen and wide interests outside of his work; to have been a great reader and book collector, even an exceptional scholar in certain directions; and to have kept till old age a remarkable vivacity, with unbroken health--altogether a personality thoroughly sympathetic with that of his son, to whom this may well have been the final touch of a prosperity calculated to shake all traditional ideas of a poet's youth.

Browning's education was exceptional, for an English boy's. He left school at fourteen, and after that was taught by tutors at home, except that at eighteen he took a Greek course at the London University. His training seems to have been unusually thorough for these conditions, though largely self-directed; it may be supposed that his father kept a sympathetic and intelligent guidance, wisely not too obvious. But in the main it is clear that from a very early age, Browning had deliberately and distinctly in view the idea of making literature the pursuit of his life, and that he troubled himself seriously with nothing that did not help to that end; while into everything that did he seems to have thrown himself with precocious intensity. Individual anecdotes of his precocity are told by his biographers; but they are flat beside the general fact of the depth and character of his studies, and superfluous of the man who had written 'Pauline' at twenty-one and 'Paracelsus' at twenty-two. At eighteen he knew himself as a poet, and encountered no opposition in his chosen career from his father, whose "kindness we must seek," as Mrs. Sutherland Orr says, "not only in this first, almost inevitable assent to his son's becoming a writer, but in the subsequent unfailing readiness to support him in his literary career. 'Paracelsus,' 'Sordello,' and the whole of 'Bells and Pomegranates' were published at his father's expense, and, incredible as it appears, brought him no return." An aunt, Mrs. Silverthorne, paid the costs of the earlier 'Pauline.'

From this time of his earliest published work ('Pauline' was issued without his name in 1833) that part of the story of his life known to the public, in spite of two or three more or less elaborate biographies, is mainly the history of his writings and the record of his different residences, supplemented by less than the usual number of personal anecdotes, to which neither circumstance nor temperament contributed material. He had nothing of the attitude of the recluse, like Tennyson; but while healthily social and a man of the world about him, he was not one of whom people tell "reminiscences" of consequence, and he was in no sense a public personality. Little of his correspondence has appeared in print; and it seems probable that he will be fortunate, to an even greater degree than Thackeray, in living in his works and escaping the "ripping up" of the personal chronicler.

He traveled occasionally in the next few years, and in 1838 and again in 1844 visited Italy. In that year, or early in 1845, he became engaged to Miss Elizabeth Barrett, their acquaintance beginning through a friend,--her cousin,--and through letters from Browning expressing admiration for her poems. Miss Barrett had then been for some years an invalid from an accident, and an enforced recluse; but in September 1846 they were married without the knowledge of her father, and almost immediately afterward (she leaving her sick room to join him) went to Paris and then to Italy, where they lived first in Genoa and afterward in Florence, which with occasional absences was their home for fourteen years. Mrs. Browning died there, at Casa Guidi, in June 1861. Browning left Florence some time afterward, and in spite of his later visits to Italy, never returned there. He lived again in London in the winter, but most of his summers were spent in France, and especially in Brittany. About 1878 he formed the habit of going to Venice for the autumn, which continued with rare exceptions to the end of his life. There in 1888 his son, recently married, had made his home; and there on the 12th of December, 1889, Robert Browning died. He was buried in Westminster Abbey on the last day of the year.


'Pauline, a Fragment of a Confession,' Browning's first published poem, was a psychological self-analysis, perfectly characteristic of the time of life at which he wrote it,--very young, full of excesses of mood, of real exultation, and somewhat less real depression--the "confession" of a poet of twenty-one, intensely interested in the ever-new discovery of his own nature, its possibilities, and its relations. It rings very true, and has no decadent touch in it:--

"I am made up of an intensest life
... a principle of restlessness
Which would be all, have, see, know, taste, feel, all--"

this is the note that stays in the reader's mind. But the poem is psychologically rather than poetically noteworthy--except as all beginnings are so; and Browning's statement in a note in his collected poems that he "acknowledged and retained it with extreme repugnance," shows how fully he recognized this.

In 'Paracelsus,' his next long poem, published some two years later, the strength of his later work is first definitely felt. Taking for theme the life of the sixteenth-century physician, astrologer, alchemist, conjuror,--compound of Faust and Cagliostro, mixture of truth-seeker, charlatan, and dreamer,--Browning makes of it the history of the soul of a feverish aspirant after the finality of intellectual power, the knowledge which should be for man the key to the universe; the tragedy of its failure, and the greater tragedy of its discovery of the barrenness of the effort, and the omission from its scheme of life of an element without which power was impotent.

"Yet, constituted thus and thus endowed,
I failed; I gazed on power till I grew blind.
Power--I could not take my eyes from that;
That only I thought should be preserved, increased.




I learned my own deep error: love's undoing
Taught me the worth of love in man's estate,
And what proportion love should hold with power
In his right constitution; love preceding
Power, and with much power always much more love."

'Paracelsus' is the work of a man still far from maturity; but it is Browning's first use of a type of poem in which his powers were to find one of their chief manifestations--a psychological history, told with so slight an aid from "an external machinery of incidents" (to use his own phrase), or from conventional dramatic arrangement, as to constitute a form virtually new.

This was to be notably the method of 'Sordello,' which appeared in 1840. In a note written twenty-three years later to his friend Milsand, and prefixed as a dedication to 'Sordello' in his collected works, he defined the form and its reason most exactly:--"The historical decoration was purposely of no more importance than a background requires, and my stress lay on the incidents in the development of a soul; little else is worth study." This poem, with its "historical decoration" or "background" from the Guelf and Ghibelline struggles in Italy, carries out this design in a fashion that defies description or characterization. With its inexhaustible wealth of psychological suggestion, its interwoven discussion of the most complex problems of life and thought, its metaphysical speculation, it may well give pause to the reader who makes his first approach to Browning through it, and send him back,--if he begins, as is likely, with the feeling of one challenged to an intellectual task,--baffled by the intricacy of its ways and without a comprehension of what it contains or leads to. Mr. Augustine Birrell says of it:--

"We have all heard of the young architect who forgot to put a staircase in his house, which contained fine rooms but no way of getting into them. 'Sordello' is a poem without a staircase. The author, still in his twenties, essayed a high thing. For his subject

'He singled out
Sordello compassed murkily about
With ravage of six long sad hundred years.'

"He partially failed; and the British public, with its accustomed generosity, and in order, I suppose, to encourage the others, has never ceased girding at him because, forty-two years ago, he published at his own charges a little book of two hundred and fifty pages, which even such of them as were then able to read could not understand."

With 'Sordello,' however, ended for many years--until he may perhaps be said to have taken it up in a greatly disciplined and more powerful form in 'The Ring and the Book' and others--this type and this length of the psychological poem for Browning; and now began that part of his work which is his best gift to English literature.

Four years before the publication of 'Sordello' he had written one play, 'Strafford,' of which the name sufficiently indicates the subject, which had been put upon the stage with some success by Macready;--the forerunner of a noble series of poems in dramatic form, most conveniently mentioned here together, though not always in chronological order. They were 'The Blot on the 'Scutcheon,' perhaps the finest of those actually fitted for the stage; 'Colombe's Birthday'; 'King Victor and King Charles'; 'The Return of the Druses'; 'Luria'; 'A Soul's Tragedy'; 'In a Balcony'; and,--though less on the conventional lines of a play than the others,--perhaps the finest dramatic poem of them all, 'Pippa Passes,' which, among the earlier (it was published in 1841), is also among the finest of all Browning's works, and touches the very highest level of his powers.

Interspersed with these during the fifteen years between 1840 and 1855, and following them during the next five, appeared the greater number of the single shorter poems which make his most generally recognized, his highest, and his unquestionably permanent title to rank among the first of English poets. Manifestly, it is impossible and needless to recall any number of these here by even the briefest description; and merely to enumerate the chief among them would be to repeat a familiar catalogue, except as they illustrate the points of a later general consideration.

Finally, to complete the list of Browning's works, reference is necessary to the group of books of his later years: the two self-called narrative poems, 'The Ring and the Book,' with its vast length, and 'Red Cotton Nightcap Country,' its fellow in method if not in extent. Mr. Birrell (it is worth while to quote him again, as one who has not merged the appreciator in the adulator) calls 'The Ring and the Book' "a huge novel in 20,000 lines--told after the method not of Scott, but of Balzac; it tears the hearts out of a dozen characters; it tells the same story from ten different points of view. It is loaded with detail of every kind and description: you are let off nothing." But he adds later:--"If you are prepared for this, you will have your reward; for the style, though rugged and involved, is throughout, with the exception of the speeches of counsel, eloquent and at times superb: and as for the matter--if your interest in human nature is keen, curious, almost professional; if nothing man, woman, or child has been, done, or suffered, or conceivably can be, do, or suffer, is without interest for you; if you are fond of analysis, and do not shrink from dissection--you will prize 'The Ring and the Book' as the surgeon prizes the last great contribution to comparative anatomy or pathology."

This is the key of the matter: the reader who has learned, through his greater work, to follow with interest the very analytic exercises, and as it were tours de force of Browning's mind, will prize 'The Ring and the Book' and 'Red Cotton Nightcap Country'; even he will prize but little the two 'Adventures of Balaustion,' 'Prince Hohenstiel-Schwangau,' 'The Inn Album,' and one or two others of the latest works in the same genre. But he can well do without them, and still have the inexhaustible left.

The attitude of a large part of his own generation toward Browning's poetry will probably be hardly understood by the future, and is not easy to comprehend even now for those who have the whole body of his work before them. It is intelligible enough that the "crude preliminary sketch" 'Pauline' should have given only the bare hint of a poet to the few dozen people who saw that it was out of the common; that 'Paracelsus' should have carried the information,--though then, beyond a doubt, to only a small circle; and especially that 'Sordello,' a clear call to a few, should have sounded to even an intelligent many like an exercise in intricacy, and to the world at large like something to which it is useless to listen. Or, to look at the other end of his career, it is not extraordinary that the work of his last period--'The Ring and the Book,' 'Red Cotton Nightcap Country,'--those wonderful minute studies of human motive, made with the highly specialized skill of the psychical surgeon and with the confidence of another Balzac in the reader's following power--should always remain more or less esoteric literature. But when it is remembered that between these lie the most vivid and intensely dramatic series of short poems in English,--those grouped in the unfortunately diverse editions of his works under the rubrics 'Men and Women,' 'Dramatic Lyrics,' 'Dramatic Romances,' 'Dramatis Personæ,' and the rest, as well as larger masterpieces of the broad appeal of 'Pippa Passes,' 'A Blot on the 'Scutcheon,' or 'In a Balcony,'--it is hard to understand, and will be still harder fifty years hence, why Browning has not become the familiar and inspiring poet of a vastly larger body of readers. Undoubtedly a large number of intelligent persons still suspect a note of affectation in the man who declares his full and intense enjoyment--not only his admiration--of Browning; a suspicion showing not only the persistence of the Sordello-born tradition of "obscurity," but the harm worked by those commentators who approach him as a problem. Not all commentators share this reproach; but as Browning makes Bishop Blougram say:--

"Even your prime men who appraise their kind
Are men still, catch a wheel within a wheel,
See more in a truth than the truth's simple self--
Confuse themselves--"

and beyond question such persons are largely responsible for the fact that for some time to come, every one who speaks of Browning to a general audience will feel that he has some cant to clear away. If he can make them read this body of intensely human, essentially simple and direct dramatic and lyrical work, he will help to bring about the time when the once popular attitude will seem as unjustifiable as to judge Goethe only by the second part of 'Faust.'

The first great characteristic of Browning's poetry is undoubtedly the essential, elemental quality of its humanity--a trait in which it is surpassed by no other English poetry but that of Shakespeare. It can be subtile to a degree almost fantastic (as can Shakespeare's to an extent that familiarity makes us forget); but this is in method. The stuff of it--the texture of the fabric which the swift and intricate shuttle is weaving--is always something in which the human being is vitally, not merely aesthetically interested. It deals with no shadows, and indeed with few abstractions, except those that form a part of vital problems--a statement which may provoke the scoffer, but will be found to be true.

A second characteristic, which, if not a necessary result of this first, would at least be impossible without it, is the extent to which Browning's poetry produces its effect by suggestion rather than by elaboration; by stimulating thought, emotion, and the aesthetic sense, instead of seeking to satisfy any one of these--especially instead of contenting itself with only soothing the last. The comparison of his poetry with--for instance--Tennyson's, in this respect, is instructive; if it is possibly unjust to both.

And a third trait in Browning--to make an end of a dangerously categorical attempt to characterize him--follows logically from this second; its extreme compactness and concentration. Browning sometimes dwells long--even dallies--over an idea, as does Shakespeare; turns it, shows its every facet; and even then it is noticeable, as with the greater master, that every individual phrase with which he does so is practically exhaustive of the suggestiveness of that particular aspect. But commonly he crowds idea upon idea even in his lyrics, and--strangely enough--without losing the lyric quality; each thought pressed down to its very essence, and each with that germinal power that makes the reading of him one of the most stimulating things to be had from literature. His figures especially are apt and telling in the very minimum of words; they say it all, like the unsurpassable Shakespearean example of "the dyer's hand"; and the more you think of them, the more you see that not a word could be added or taken away.

It may be said that this quality of compactness is common to all genius, and of the very essence of all true poetry; but Browning manifested it in a way of his own, such as to suggest that he believed in the subordination of all other qualities to it; even of melody, for instance, as may be said by his critics and admitted in many cases by even his strongest admirers. But all things are not given to one, even among the giants; and Browning's force with its measure of melody (which is often great) has its place among others' melody with its measure of force. Open at random: here are two lines in 'A Toccata of Galuppi's,' not deficient in melody by any means:--

"Dear dead women--with such hair, too: what's become of all the gold
Used to hang and brush their bosoms?--I feel chilly and grown old."

This is not Villon's 'Ballad of Dead Ladies,' nor even Tennyson's 'Dream of Fair Women'; but a master can still say a good deal in two lines.

What is called the "roughness" of Browning's verse is at all events never the roughness that comes from mismanagement or disregard of the form chosen. He has an unerring ear for time and quantity; and his subordination to the laws of his metre is extraordinary in its minuteness. Of ringing lines there are many; of broadly sonorous or softly melodious ones but few; and especially (if one chooses to go into details of technic) he seems curiously without that use of the broad vowels which underlies the melody of so many great passages of English poetry. Except in the one remarkable instance of 'How we Carried the Good News from Ghent to Aix,' there is little onomatopoeia, and almost no note of the flute; no "moan of doves in immemorial elms" or "lucent sirops tinct with cinnamon." On the other hand, in his management of metres like that of 'Love Among the Ruins,' for instance, he shows a different side; the pure lyrics in 'Pippa Passes' and elsewhere sing themselves; and there are memorable cadences in some of the more meditative poems, like 'By the Fireside.'

The vividness and vigor and truth of Browning's embodiments of character come, it is needless to say, from the same power that has created all great dramatic work,--the capacity for incarnating not a quality or an ideal, but the mixture and balance of qualities that make up the real human being. There is not a walking phantom among them, or a lay-figure to hang sentiment on. A writer in the New Review said recently that of all the poets he remembered, only Shakespeare and Browning never drew a prig. It is this complete absence of the false note that gives to certain of Browning's poems the finality which is felt in all consummate works of art, great and small; the sense that they convey, if not the last word, at least the last necessary word, on their subject. 'Andrea del Sarto' is in its way the whole problem of the artist-ideal, the weak will and the inner failure, in all times and guises; and at the other end of the gamut, nobody will ever need again to set forth Bishop Blougram's attitude, or even that of Mr. Sludge the Medium. Of the informing, almost exuberant vitality of all the lyric and dramatic poems, it is needless to speak; that fairly leaps to meet the reader at every page of them, and a quality of it is their essential optimism.

"What is he buzzing in my ears?
  Now that I come to die.
Do I view the world as a vale of tears?
  Ah, reverend sir, not I!"

The world was never a vale of tears to Robert Browning, man or poet; but a world of men and women, with plenty of red corpuscles in their blood.







     ANDREA DEL SARTO

     CALLED "THE FAULTLESS PAINTER"

     But do not let us quarrel any more;
     No, my Lucrezia! bear with me for once:
     Sit down and all shall happen as you wish.
     You turn your face, but does it bring your heart?
     I'll work then for your friend's friend, never fear,
     Treat his own subject after his own way?
     Fix his own time, accept too his own price,
     And shut the money into this small hand
     When next it takes mine. Will it? tenderly?
     Oh, I'll content him,--but to-morrow, Love!
     I often am much wearier than you think,--
     This evening more than usual: and it seems
     As if--forgive now--should you let me sit
     Here by the window, with your hand in mine,
     And look a. half-hour forth on Fiesole,
     Both of one mind, as married people use,
     Quietly, quietly the evening through,
     I might get up to-morrow to my work
     Cheerful and fresh as ever. Let us try.
     To-morrow, how you shall be glad for this!
     Your soft hand is a woman of itself,
     And mine, the man's bared breast she curls inside.
     Don't count the time lost, neither: you must serve
     For each of the five pictures we require;
     It saves a model. So! keep looking so--My
     serpentining beauty, rounds on rounds!--How
     could you ever prick those perfect ears,
     Even to put the pearl there! oh, so sweet--My
     face, my moon, my everybody's moon,
     Which everybody looks on and calls his,
     And I suppose is looked on by in turn,
     While she looks--no one's: very dear, no less.
     You smile? why, there's my picture ready made;
     There's what we painters call our harmony!
     A common grayness silvers everything,--
     All in a twilight, you and I alike--
     You at the point of your first pride in me
     (That's gone, you know)--but I at every point,
     My youth, my hope, my art being all toned down
     To yonder sober pleasant Fiesole.
     There's the bell clinking from the chapel-top;
     That length of convent-wall across the way
     Holds the trees safer, huddled more inside;
     The last monk leaves the garden; days decrease,
     And autumn grows, autumn in everything.
     Eh? the whole seems to fall into a shape,
     As if I saw alike my work and self
     And all that I was born to be and do,
     A twilight piece. Love, we are in God's hand.
     How strange now looks the life he makes us lead;
     So free we seem, so fettered fast we are!
     I feel he laid the fetter: let it lie!
     This chamber, for example--turn your head--
     All that's behind us! You don't understand
     Nor care to understand about my art,
     But you can hear at least when people speak:
     And that cartoon, the second from the door--
     It is the thing, Love! so such things should be;
     Behold Madonna!--I am bold to say,
     I can do with my pencil what I know,
     What I see, what at bottom of my heart
     I wish for, if I ever wish so deep--
     Do easily, too--when I say perfectly,
     I do not boast, perhaps: yourself are judge,
     Who listened to the Legate's talk last week;
     And just as much they used to say in France,
     At any rate 'tis easy, all of it!
     No sketches first, no studies, that's long past:
     I do what many dream of, all their lives--
     Dream? strive to do, and agonize to do,
     And fail in doing. I could count twenty such
     On twice your fingers, and not leave this town,
     Who strive--you don't know how the others strive
     To paint a little thing like that you smeared
     Carelessly passing with your robes afloat,--
     Yet do much less, so much less, Some One says,
     (I know his name, no matter)--so much less!
     Well, less is more, Lucrezia: I am judged.
     There burns a truer light of God in them,
     In their vexed, beating, stuffed, and stopped-up brain,
     Heart, or whate'er else, than goes on to prompt
     This low-pulsed forthright craftsman's hand of mine.
     Their works drop groundward, but themselves, I know,
     Reach many a time a heaven that's shut to me,
     Enter and take their place there sure enough,
     Though they come back and cannot tell the world.
     My works are nearer heaven, but I sit here.
     The sudden blood of these men! at a word--
     Praise them, it boils; or blame them, it boils too.
     I, painting from myself and to thyself,
     Know what I do, am unmoved by men's blame
     Or their praise either. Somebody remarks
     Morello's outline there is wrongly traced,
     His hue mistaken: what of that? or else,
     Rightly traced and well ordered: what of that?
     Speak as they please, what does the mountain care?
     Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp,
     Or what's a heaven for? All is silver-gray,
     Placid and perfect with my art: the worse!
     I know both what I want and what might gain;
     And yet how profitless to know, to sigh
     "Had I been two, another and myself,
     Our head would have o'erlooked the world" No doubt.
     Yonder's a work now, of that famous youth
     The Urbinate who died five years ago.
     ('Tis copied, George Vasari sent it me.)
     Well, I can fancy how he did it all,
     Pouring his soul, with kings and popes to see,
     Reaching, that heaven might so replenish him,
     Above and through his art--for it gives way:
     That arm is wrongly put--and there again--
     A fault to pardon in the drawing's lines,
     Its body, so to speak; its soul is right;
     He meant right--that, a child may understand.
     Still, what an arm! and I could alter it:
     But all the play, the insight, and the stretch--
     Out of me, out of me! And wherefore out?
     Had you enjoined them on me, given me soul,
     We might have risen to Rafael, I and you.
     Nay, Love, you did give all I asked, I think--
     More than I merit, yes, by many times.
     But had you--oh, with the same perfect brow,
     And perfect eyes, and more than perfect mouth
     And the low voice my soul hears, as a bird
     The fowler's pipe, and follows to the snare--
     Had you, with these, these same, but brought a mind!
     Some women do so. Had the mouth there urged
     "God and the glory! never care for gain.
     The present by the future, what is that?
     Live for fame, side by side with Agnolo!
     Rafael is waiting: up to God, all three!"
     I might have done it for you. So it seems:
     Perhaps not. All is as God overrules.
     Beside, incentives come from the soul's self;
     The rest avail not. Why do I need you?
     What wife had Rafael, or has Agnolo?
     In this world, who can do a thing, will not;
     And who would do it, cannot, I perceive:
     Yet the will's somewhat--somewhat, too, the power--
     And thus we half-men struggle. At the end,
     God, I conclude, compensates, punishes.
     'Tis safer for me, if the award be strict,
     That I am something underrated here,
     Poor this long while,--despised, to speak the truth.
     I dared not, do you know, leave home all day,
     For fear of chancing on the Paris lords.
     The best is when they pass and look aside;
     But they speak sometimes: I must bear it all.
     Well may they speak! That Francis, that first time,
     And that long festal year at Fontainebleau!
     I surely then could sometimes leave the ground,
     Put on the glory, Rafael's daily wear,
     In that humane great monarch's golden look,--
     One finger in his beard or twisted curl
     Over his mouth's good mark that made the smile,
     One arm about my shoulder, around my neck,
     The jingle of his gold chain in my ear,
     I painting proudly with his breath on me,
     All his court round him, seeing with his eyes,
     Such frank French eyes, and such a fire of souls
     Profuse, my hand kept plying by those hearts,--
     And best of all, this, this, this face beyond,
     This in the background, waiting on my work,
     To crown the issue with a last reward!
     A good time, was it not, my kingly days,
     And had you not grown restless ... but I know--
     'Tis done and past; 'twas right, my instinct said;
     Too live the life grew, golden and not gray;
     And I'm the weak-eyed bat no sun should tempt
     Out of the grange whose four walls make his world.
     How could it end in any other way?
     You called me, and I came home to your heart.
     The triumph was to have ended there; then, if
     I reached it ere the triumph, what is lost?
     Let my hands frame your face in your hair's gold,
     You beautiful Lucrezia that are mine!
     "Rafael did this, Andrea painted that;
     The Roman's is the better when you pray,
     But still the other Virgin was his wife"--
     Men will excuse me. I am glad to judge
     Both pictures in your presence; clearer grows
     My better fortune, I resolve to think,
     For, do you know, Lucrezia, as God lives,
     Said one day Agnolo, his very self,
     To Rafael--I have known it all these years--
     (When the young man was flaming out his thoughts
     Upon a palace wall for Rome to see,
     Too lifted up in heart because of it)
     "Friend, there's a certain sorry little scrub
     Goes up and down our Florence, none cares how,
     Who, were he set to plan and execute
     As you are, pricked on by your popes and kings,
     Would bring the sweat into that brow of yours!"
     To Rafael's!--and indeed the arm is wrong.
     I hardly dare ... yet, only you to see,
     Give the chalk here--quick, thus the line should go!
     Ay, but the soul! he's Rafael! rub it out!
     Still, all I care for, if he spoke the truth,
     (What he? why, who but Michel Agnolo?
     Do you forget already words like those?)
     If really there was such a chance so lost,--
     Is, whether you're--not grateful--but more pleased.
     Well, let me think so. And you smile indeed!
     This hour has been an hour! Another smile?
     If you would sit thus by me every night,
     I should work better--do you comprehend?
     I mean that I should earn more, give you more.
     See, it is settled dusk now: there's a star;
     Morello's gone, the watch lights show the wall,
     The cue-owls speak the name we call them by.
     Come from the window, love,--come in, at last,
     Inside the melancholy little house
     We built to be so gay with. God is just.
     King Francis may forgive me: oft at nights
     When I look up from painting, eyes tired out,
     The walls become illumined, brick from brick
     Distinct, instead of mortar, fierce bright gold,
     That gold of his I did cement them with!
     Let us but love each other. Must you go?
     That cousin here again? he waits outside?
     Must see you--you, and not with me? Those loans?
     More gaming debts to pay? you smiled for that?
     Well, let smiles buy me! have you more to spend?
     While hand and eye and something of a heart
     Are left me, work's my ware, and what's it worth?
     I'll pay my fancy. Only let me sit
     The gray remainder of the evening out,
     Idle, you call it, and muse perfectly
     How I could paint were I but back in France,
     One picture, just one more--the Virgin's face,
     Not yours this time! I want you at my side
     To hear them--that is, Michel Agnolo--
     Judge all I do and tell you of its worth.
     Will you? To-morrow satisfy your friend.
     I take the subjects for his corridor,
     Finish the portrait out of hand--there, there,
     And throw him in another thing or two
     If he demurs: the whole should prove enough
     To pay for this same cousin's freak. Beside,
     What's better, and what's all I care about,
     Get you the thirteen send for the ruff!
     Love, does that please you? Ah, but what does he,
     The cousin! what does he to please you more?

     I am grown peaceful as old age to-night.
     I regret little, I would change still less.
     Since there my past life lies, why alter it?
     The very wrong to Francis!--it is true
     I took his coin, was tempted and complied,
     And built this house and sinned, and all is said.
     My father and my mother died of want.
     Well, had I riches of my own? you see
     How one gets rich! Let each one bear his lot.
     They were born poor, lived poor, and poor they died;
     And I have labored somewhat in my time
     And not been paid profusely. Some good son
     Paint my two hundred pictures--let him try!
     No doubt, there's something strikes a balance. Yes,
     You loved me quite enough, it seems to-night.
     This must suffice me here. What would one have?
     In heaven, perhaps, new chances, one more chance--
     Four great walls in the New Jerusalem,
     Meted on each side by the angel's reed,
     For Leonard, Rafael, Agnolo, and me
     To cover--the three first without a wife,
     While I have mine! So still they overcome--
     Because there's still Lucrezia,--as I choose.

     Again the cousin's whistle! Go, my love.



     A TOCCATA OF GALUPPI'S


     O GALLUPI, Baldassaro, this is very sad to find!
        I can hardly misconceive you; it would prove me deaf and blind:
     But although I take your meaning, 'tis with such a heavy mind!

     Have you come with your old music, and here's all the good it brings?
     What, they lived once thus at Venice where the merchants were the kings,
     Where Saint Mark's is, where the Doges used to wed the sea with rings?

     Ay, because the sea's the street there; and 'tis arched by--what you call--
     Shylock's bridge with houses on it, where they kept the carnival:
     I was never out of England--it's as if I saw it all.

     Did young people take their pleasure when the sea was warm in May?
     Balls and masks begun at midnight, burning ever to mid-day,
     When they made up fresh adventures for the morrow, do you say?

     Was a lady such a lady, cheeks so round and lips so red,--
     On her neck the small face buoyant, like a bell-flower on its bed,
     O'er the breast's superb abundance where a man might base his head?

     Well, and it was graceful of them: they'd break talk off and afford--
     She to bite her mask's black velvet, he to finger on his sword,
     While you sat and played Toccatas, stately at the clavichord!

     What? Those lesser thirds so plaintive, sixths diminished, sigh on sigh,
     Told them something? Those suspensions, those solutions--"Must we die?"
     Those commiserating sevenths--"Life might last! we can but try!"

     "Were you happy?" "Yes."--"And are you still as happy?" "Yes. And you?"--
     "Then, more kisses!" "Did I stop them, when a million seemed so few?"
     Hark, the dominant's persistence till it must be answered to!

     So, an octave struck the answer. Oh, they praised you, I dare say!
     "Brave Galuppi! that was music! good alike at grave and gay!
     I can always leave off talking when I hear a master play!"

     Then they left you for their pleasure; till in due time, one by one,
     Some with lives that came to nothing, some with deeds as well undone,
     Death stepped tacitly, and took them where they never see the sun.

     But when I sit down to reason, think to take my stand nor swerve,
     While I triumph o'er a secret wrung from nature's close reserve,
     In you come with your cold music till I creep through every nerve.

     Yes, you, like a ghostly cricket, creaking where a house was burned.
     "Dust and ashes, dead and done with, Venice spent what Venice earned.
     The soul, doubtless, is immortal--where a soul can be discerned.

     "Yours for instance: you know physics, something of geology,
     Mathematics are your pastime; souls shall rise in their degree;
     Butterflies may dread extinction,--you'll not die, it cannot be!

     "As for Venice and her people, merely born to bloom and drop,
     Here on earth they bore their fruitage, mirth and folly were the crop;
     What of soul was left, I wonder, when the kissing had to stop?

     "Dust and ashes!" So you creak it, and I want the heart to scold.
     Dear dead women, with such hair, too--what's become of all the gold
     Used to hang and brush their bosoms? I feel chilly and grown old.



     CONFESSIONS

     What is he buzzing in my ears?
       "Now that I come to die
     Do I view the world as a vale of tears?"
       Ah, reverend sir, not I!

     What I viewed there once,--what I viewed again
       Where the physic bottles stand
     On the table's edge,--is a suburb lane,
       With a wall to my bedside hand.

     That lane sloped, much as the bottles do,
       From a house you could descry
     O'er the garden wall: is the curtain blue,
       Or green to a healthy eye?

     To mine, it serves for the old June weather
       Blue above lane and wall;
     And that farthest bottle labeled "Ether"
       Is the house o'ertopping all.

     At a terrace, somewhat near the stopper,
        There watched for me, one June,
     A girl: I know, sir, it's improper,
        My poor mind's out of tune.

     Only, there was a way--you crept
        Close by the side, to dodge
     Eyes in the house, two eyes except:
        They styled their house "The Lodge"

     What right had a lounger up their lane?
        But by creeping very close,
     With the good wall's help,--their eyes might strain
        And stretch themselves to O's,

     Yet never catch her and me together,
        As she left the attic there,
     By the rim of the bottle labeled "Ether,"
        And stole from stair to stair,

     And stood by the rose-wreathed gate. Alas,
        We loved, sir--used to meet:
     How sad and bad and mad it was--
        But then, how it was sweet!



     LOVE AMONG THE RUINS


     Where the quiet-colored end of evening smiles,
               Miles and miles,
       On the solitary pastures where our sheep
               Half asleep
     Tinkle homeward through the twilight, stray or stop
               As they crop--
     Was the site once of a city great and gay
               (So they say);
     Of our country's very capital, its prince,
                Ages since,
     Held his court in, gathered councils, wielding far
                Peace or war.

     Now,--the country does not even boast a tree,
                As you see;
     To distinguish slopes of verdure, certain rills
                From the hills
     Intersect and give a name to (else they run
                Into one).
     Where the domed and daring palace shot in spires
                Up like fires
     O'er the hundred-gated circuit of a wall
                Bounding all,
     Made of marble, men might march on nor be pressed,
                Twelve abreast.

     And such plenty and perfection, see, of grass
                Never was!
     Such a carpet as this summer-time o'erspreads
                And imbeds
     Every vestige of the city, guessed alone,
                Stock or stone--
     Where a multitude of men breathed joy and woe
                Long ago;
     Lust of glory pricked their hearts up, dread of shame
                Struck them tame;
     And that glory and that shame alike, the gold
                Bought and sold.

     Now,--the single little turret that remains
                On the plains,
     By the caper overrooted, by the gourd
           Overscored,
     While the patching houseleek's head of blossom winks
           Through the chinks--
     Marks the basement whence a tower in ancient time
           Sprang sublime,
     And a burning ring, all round, the chariots traced
           As they raced,
     And the monarch and his minions and his dames
           Viewed the games.

     And I know--while thus the quiet-colored eve
           Smiles to leave
     To their folding all our many-tinkling fleece
           In such peace,
     And the slopes and rills in undistinguished gray
           Melt away--
     That a girl with eager eyes and yellow hair
           Waits me there
     In the turret whence the charioteers caught soul
           For the goal,
     When the king looked, where she looks now, breathless, dumb,
           Till I come.

     But he looked upon the city every side,
           Far and wide,
     All the mountains topped with temples, all the glades
           Colonnades,
     All the causeys, bridges, aqueducts,--and then,
           All the men!
     When I do come, she will speak not, she will stand,
           Either hand
     On my shoulder, give her eyes the first embrace
           Of my face,
     Ere we rush, ere we extinguish sight and speech
           Each on each.

     In one year they sent a million fighters forth
           South and North,
     And they built their gods a brazen pillar high
           As the sky,
     Yet reserved a thousand chariots in full force--
           Gold, of course.
     O heart! O blood that freezes, blood that burns!
           Earth's returns
     For whole centuries of folly, noise, and sin!
       Shut them in,
     With their triumphs and their glories and the rest!
       Love is best.



     A GRAMMARIAN'S FUNERAL

     SHORTLY AFTER THE REVIVAL OF LEARNING IN EUROPE

     Let us begin and carry up this corpse,
       Singing together.
     Leave we the common crofts, the vulgar thorpes,
       Each in its tether,
     Sleeping safe in the bosom of the plain,
       Cared-for till cock-crow:
     Look out if yonder be not day again
       Rimming the rock-row!
     That's the appropriate country; there, man's thought,
       Rarer, intenser,
     Self-gathered for an outbreak, as it ought,
       Chafes in the censer.
     Leave we the unlettered plain its herd and crop;
       Seek we sepulture
     On a tall mountain, citied to the top,
       Crowded with culture!
     All the peaks soar, but one the rest excels:
       Clouds overcome it;
     No, yonder sparkle is the citadel's
       Circling its summit.
     Thither our path lies; wind we up the heights!
       Wait ye the warning?
     Our low life was the level's and the night's:
       He's for the morning.
     Step to a tune, square chests, erect each head,
       'Ware the beholders!
     This is our master, famous, calm, and dead,
       Borne on our shoulders.

     Sleep, crop and herd! sleep, darkling thorpe and croft,
       Safe from the weather!
     He whom we convoy to his grave aloft,
       Singing together,
     He was a man born with thy face and throat,
       Lyric Apollo!
     Long he lived nameless: how should spring take note
       Winter would follow?
     Till lo, the little touch, and youth was gone!
       Cramped and diminished,
     Moaned he, "New measures, other feet anon!
       My dance is finished"?
     No, that's the world's way: (keep the mountain side,
       Make for the city!)
     He knew the signal, and stepped on with pride
       Over men's pity;
     Left play for work, and grappled with the world
       Bent on escaping:
     "What's in the scroll," quoth he, "thou keepest furled?
       Show me their shaping,
     Theirs who most studied man, the bard and sage,--
       Give!" so he gowned him,
     Straight got by heart that book to its last page;
       Learned, we found him.
     Yea, but we found him bald too, eyes like lead.
       Accents uncertain:
     "Time to taste life," another would have said,
       "Up with the curtain!"
     This man said rather, "Actual life comes next?
       Patience a moment!
     Grant I have mastered learning's crabbed text,
       Still there's the comment.
     Let me know all! Prate not of most or least,
       Painful or easy!
     Even to the crumbs I'd fain eat up the feast,
       Ay, nor feel queasy."
     Oh, such a life as he resolved to live,
       When he had learned it,
     When he had gathered all books had to give!
       Sooner, he spurned it.
     Image the whole, then execute the parts--
       Fancy the fabric
     Quite, ere you build, ere steel strike fire from quartz,
       Ere mortar dab brick!

     (Here's the town-gate reached; there's the market-place
       Gaping before us.)
     Yea, this in him was the peculiar grace:
       (Hearten our chorus!)
     That before living he'd learn how to live--
       No end to learning:
     Earn the means first--God surely will contrive
       Use for our earning.
     Others mistrust and say, "But time escapes!
       Live now or never!"
     He said, "What's time? Leave Now for dogs and apes!
       Man has Forever."
     Back to his book then: deeper drooped his head;
       Calculus racked him;
     Leaden before, his eyes grew dross of lead;
       Tussis attacked him.
     "Now, master, take a little rest!"--not he!
       (Caution redoubled!
     Step two abreast, the way winds narrowly!)
       Not a whit troubled,
     Back to his studies, fresher than at first,
       Fierce as a dragon
     He (soul-hydroptic with a sacred thirst)
       Sucked at the flagon.

     Oh, if we draw a circle premature,
       Heedless of far gain,
     Greedy for quick returns of profit, sure
       Bad is our bargain!
     Was it not great? did not he throw on God
       (He loves the burthen)--
     God's task to make the heavenly period
       Perfect the earthen?
     Did not he magnify the mind, show clear
       Just what it all meant?
     He would not discount life, as fools do here
       Paid by installment.
     He ventured neck or nothing--heaven's success
       Found, or earth's failure:
     "Wilt thou trust death or not?" He answered, "Yes!
       Hence with life's pale lure!"
     That low man seeks a little thing to do,
       Sees it and does it:
     This high man, with a great thing to pursue,
       Dies ere he knows it.
     That low man goes on adding one to one,
       His hundred's soon hit:
     This high man, aiming at a million,
       Misses an unit.
     That, has the world here--should he need the next.
       Let the world mind him!
     This, throws himself on God, and unperplexed
       Seeking shall find him.
     So, with the throttling hands of death at strife,
       Ground he at grammar;
     Still, through the rattle, parts of speech were rife:
       While he could stammer
     He settled Hoti's business--let it be!--
       Properly based Oun--
     Gave us the doctrine of the enclitic De,
       Dead from the waist down.

     Well, here's the platform, here's the proper place:
       Hail to your purlieus,
     All ye highfliers of the feathered race,
       Swallows and curlews!
     Here's the top-peak; the multitude below
       Live, for they can, there:
     This man decided not to Live but Know--
       Bury this man there?
     Here--here's his place, where meteors shoot, clouds form,
       Lightnings are loosened,
     Stars come and go! Let joy break with the storm,
       Peace let the dew send!
     Lofty designs must close in like effects:
       Loftily lying,
     Leave him--still loftier than the world suspects,
       Living and dying.



     MY LAST DUCHESS

     FERRARA


     That's my last Duchess painted on the wall,
     Looking as if she were alive. I call
     That piece a wonder, now: Frà Pandolf's hands
     Worked busily a day, and there she stands.
     Will't please you sit and look at her? I said
     "Frà Pandolf" by design: for never read
     Strangers like you that pictured countenance,
     The depth and passion of its earnest glance,
     But to myself they turned (since none puts by
     The curtain I have drawn for you, but I),
     And seemed as they would ask me, if they durst,
     How such a glance came there; so, not the first
     Are you to turn and ask thus. Sir, 'twas not
     Her husband's presence only, called that spot
     Of joy into the Duchess' cheek: perhaps
     Frà Pandolf chanced to say, "Her mantle laps
     Over my lady's wrists too much," or "Paint
     Must never hope to reproduce the faint
     Half-flush that dies along her throat;" such stuff
     Was courtesy, she thought, and cause enough
     For calling up that spot of joy. She had
     A heart--how shall I say?--too soon made glad,
     Too easily impressed: she liked whate'er
     She looked on, and her looks went everywhere.
     Sir, 'twas all one! My favor at her breast,
     The dropping of the daylight in the West,
     The bough of cherries some officious fool
     Broke in the orchard for her, the white mule
     She rode with round the terrace,--all and each
     Would draw from her alike the approving speech,
     Or blush, at least. She thanked men,--good! but thanked
     Somehow--I know not how--as if she ranked
     My gift of a nine-hundred-years-old name
     With anybody's gift. Who'd stoop to blame
     This sort of trifling? Even had you skill
     In speech (which I have not) to make your will
     Quite clear to such an one, and say, "Just this
     Or that in you disgusts me; here you miss,
     Or there exceed the mark,"--and if she let
     Herself be lessoned so, nor plainly set
     Her wits to yours, forsooth, and made excuse,--
     E'en then would be some stooping; and I choose
     Never to stoop. O sir! she smiled, no doubt,
     When'er I passed her; but who passed without
     Much the same smile? This grew; I gave commands;
     Then all smiles stopped together. There she stands
     As if alive. Will't please you rise? We'll meet
     The company below, then. I repeat,
     The Count your master's known munificence
     Is ample warrant that no just pretense
     Of mine for dowry will be disallowed;
     Though his fair daughter's self, as I avowed
     At starting, is my object. Nay, we'll go
     Together down, sir. Notice Neptune, though,
     Taming a sea-horse, thought a rarity,
     Which Claus of Innsbruck cast in bronze for me!



     UP AT A VILLA--DOWN IN THE CITY

     (As DISTINGUISHED BY AN ITALIAN PERSON OF QUALITY)


     Had I but plenty of money, money enough and to spare,
     The house for me, no doubt, were a house in the city-square;
     Ah, such a life, such a life, as one leads at the window there!

     Something to see, by Bacchus, something to hear, at least!
     There, the whole day long, one's life is a perfect feast;
     While up at a villa one lives, I maintain it, no more than a beast.

     Well, now, look at our villa! stuck like the horn of a bull
     Just on a mountain edge as bare as the creature's skull,
     Save a mere shag of a bush with hardly a leaf to pull!--
     scratch my own, sometimes, to see if the hair's turned wool.

     But the city, oh the city--the square with the houses! Why!
     They are stone-faced, white as a curd; there's something to take the eye!
     Houses in four straight lines, not a single front awry;
     You watch who crosses and gossips, who saunters, who hurries by;
     Green blinds, as a matter of course, to draw when the sun gets high;
     And the shops with fanciful signs which are painted properly.

     What of a villa? Though winter be over in March by rights,
     'Tis May perhaps ere the snow shall have withered well off the heights;
     You've the brown-plowed land before, where the oxen steam and wheeze,
     And the hills over-smoked behind by the faint gray olive-trees.

     Is it better in May, I ask you? You've summer all at once;
     In a day he leaps complete with a few strong April suns.
     'Mid the sharp short emerald wheat, scarce risen three fingers well,
     The wild tulip, at end of its tube, blows out its great red bell
     Like a thin clear bubble of blood, for the children to pick and sell.

     Is it ever hot in the square? There's a fountain to spout and splash!
     In the shade it sings and springs; in the shine such foam-bows flash
     On the horses with curling fish-tails, that prance and paddle and pash
     Round the lady atop in her conch--fifty gazers do not abash,
     Though all that she wears is some weeds round her waist in a sort of sash.

     All the year long at the villa, nothing to see though you linger,
     Except yon cypress that points like death's lean lifted forefinger.
     Some think fireflies pretty, when they mix i' the corn and mingle,
     Or thrid the stinking hemp till the stalks of it seem a-tingle.
     Late August or early September, the stunning cicala is shrill,
     And the bees keep their tiresome whine round the resinous firs on the hill.
     Enough of the seasons,--I spare you the months of the fever and chill.

     Ere you open your eyes in the city, the blessèd church-bells begin;
     No sooner the bells leave off than the diligence rattles in:
     You get the pick of the news, and it costs you never a pin.
     By and by there's the traveling doctor gives pills, lets blood, draws teeth,
     Or the Pulcinella-trumpet breaks up the market beneath.
     At the post-office such a scene picture--the new play, piping hot!
     And a notice how, only this morning, three liberal thieves were shot.
     Above it, behold the Archbishop's most fatherly of rebukes,
     And beneath, with his crown and his lion, some little new law of the Duke's!
     Or a sonnet with flowery marge, to the Reverend Don So-and-so
     Who is Dante, Boccaccio, Petrarca, St. Jerome, and Cicero,
     "And moreover" (the sonnet goes rhyming), "the skirts of St. Paul has reached,
     Having preached us those six Lent-lectures more unctuous than ever he preached."
     Noon strikes,--here sweeps the procession! our Lady borne smiling and smart,
     With a pink gauze gown all spangles, and seven swords stuck in her heart!
     Bang-whang-whang goes the drum, tootle-te-tootle the fife;
     No keeping one's haunches still: it's the greatest pleasure in life.

     But bless you, it's dear--it's dear! fowls, wine, at double the rate;
     They have clapped a new tax upon salt, and what oil pays passing the gate
     It's a horror to think of. And so, the villa for me, not the city!
     Beggars can scarcely be choosers: but still--ah, the pity, the pity!
     Look, two and two go the priests, then the monks with cowls and sandals,
     And then penitents dressed in white shirts, a-holding the yellow candles;
     One, he carries a flag up straight, and another a cross with handles,
     And the Duke's guard brings up the rear, for the better prevention of scandals:
     Bang-whang-whang goes the drum, tootle-te-tootle the fife,
     Oh, a day in the city-square, there is no such pleasure in life!



     IN THREE DAYS


     So, I shall see her in three days
     And just one night,--but nights are short,--
     Then two long hours, and that is morn.
     See how I come, unchanged, unworn--
     Feel, where my life broke off from thine,
     How fresh the splinters keep and fine,--Only
     a touch and we combine!

     Too long, this time of year, the days!
     But nights--at least the nights are short,
     As night shows where her one moon is,
     A hand's-breadth of pure light and bliss,
     So, life's night gives my lady birth
     And my eyes hold her! What is worth
     The rest of heaven, the rest of earth?

     O loaded curls, release your store
     Of warmth and scent, as once before
     The tingling hair did, lights and darks
     Outbreaking into fairy sparks
     When under curl and curl I pried
     After the warmth and scent inside,
     Through lights and darks how manifold--The
     dark inspired, the light controlled!
     As early Art embrowned the gold.

     What great fear--should one say, "Three days
     That change the world might change as well
     Your fortune; and if joy delays,
     Be happy that no worse befell."
     What small fear--if another says,
     "Three days and one short night beside
     May throw no shadow on your ways;
     But years must teem with change untried,
     With chance not easily defied,
     With an end somewhere undescried."
     No fear!--or if a fear be born
     This minute, it dies out in scorn.
     Fear? I shall see her in three days
     And one night,--now the nights are short,--
     Then just two hours, and that is morn.



     IN A YEAR

     Never any more,
          While I live,
     Need I hope to see his face
          As before.
     Once his love grown chill,
          Mine may strive:
     Bitterly we re-embrace,
          Single still.

     Was it something said,
          Something done,
     Vexed him? was it touch of hand,
          Turn of head?
     Strange! that very way
          Love begun:
     I as little understand
          Love's decay.

     When I sewed or drew,
          I recall
     How he looked as if I sung,--
          Sweetly too.
     If I spoke a word,
          First of all
     Up his cheek the color sprung,
          Then he heard.

     Sitting by my side,
          At my feet,
     So he breathed but air I breathed,
          Satisfied!
     I, too, at love's brim
          Touched the sweet:
     I would die if death bequeathed
          Sweet to him.

     "Speak, I love thee best!"
          He exclaimed:
     "Let thy love my own foretell!"
          I confessed:
     "Clasp my heart on thine
          Now unblamed,
     Since upon thy soul as well
          Hangeth mine!"

     Was it wrong to own,
          Being truth?
     Why should all the giving prove
          His alone?
     I had wealth and ease,
          Beauty, youth:
     Since my lover gave me love,
          I gave these.

     That was all I meant,--
          To be just,
     And the passion I had raised
          To content.
     Since he chose to change
          Gold for dust,
     If I gave him what he praised
          Was it strange?
     Would he loved me yet,
          On and on,
     While I found some way undreamed--
          Paid my debt!
     Gave more life and more,
          Till all gone,
     He should smile--"She never seemed
          Mine before.

     "What, she felt the while,
          Must I think?
     Love's so different with us men!"
          He should smile:
     "Dying for my sake--
          White and pink!
     Can't we touch these bubbles then
          But they break?"

     Dear, the pang is brief,
          Do thy part,
     Have thy pleasure! How perplexed
          Grows belief!
     Well, this cold clay clod
          Was man's heart:
     Crumble it, and what comes next?
          Is it God?



     EVELYN HOPE

     Beautiful Evelyn Hope is dead!
        Sit and watch by her side an hour.
     That is her book-shelf, this her bed:
        She plucked that piece of geranium-flower,
     Beginning to die too, in the glass:
        Little has yet been changed, I think;
     The shutters are shut, no light may pass
        Save two long rays through the hinge's chink.

     Sixteen years old when she died!
        Perhaps she had scarcely heard my name;
     It was not her time to love; beside,
        Her life had many a hope and aim,
     Duties enough and little cares,
        And now was quiet, now astir,
     Till God's hand beckoned unawares--
        And the sweet white brow is all of her.

     Is it too late then, Evelyn Hope?
        What, your soul was pure and true,
     The good stars met in your horoscope,
        Made you of spirit, fire, and dew
     And just because I was thrice as old,
        And our paths in the world diverged so wide,
     Each was naught to each, must I be told?
        We were fellow mortals, naught beside?

     No, indeed! for God above
        Is great to grant, as mighty to make,
     And creates the love to reward the love:
        I claim you still, for my own love's sake!
     Delayed it may be for more lives yet,
        Through worlds I shall traverse, not a few;
     Much is to learn, much to forget
        Ere the time be come for taking you.

     But the time will come,--at last it will,
        When, Evelyn Hope, what meant (I shall say)
     In the lower earth, in the years long still,
        That body and soul so pure and gay?
     Why your hair was amber, I shall divine,
        And your mouth of your own geranium's red--
     And what would you do with me, in fine,
        In the new life come in the old one's stead?

     I have lived (I shall say) so much since then,
        Given up myself so many times,
     Gained me the gains of various men,
        Ransacked the ages, spoiled the climes;
     Yet one thing, one, in my soul's full scope,
        Either I missed or itself missed me:
     And I want and find you, Evelyn Hope!
        What is the issue? let us see!

     I loved you, Evelyn, all the while!
        My heart seemed full as it could hold;
     There was place and to spare for the frank young smile,
        And the red young mouth, and the hair's young gold.
     So hush,--I will give you this leaf to keep;
        See, I shut it inside the sweet cold hand!
     There, that is our secret: go to sleep!
        You will wake, and remember, and understand.



     PROSPICE

     Fear death?--to feel the fog in my throat,
          The mist in my face,
     When the snows begin, and the blasts denote
          I am nearing the place,
     The power of the night, the press of the storm,
          The post of the foe;
     Where he stands, the Arch-Fear in a visible form,
          Yet the strong man must go:
     For the journey is done and the summit attained,
          And the barriers fall,
     Though a battle's to fight ere the guerdon be gained,
          The reward of it all.
     I was ever a fighter, so--one fight more,
          The best and the last!
     I would hate that death bandaged my eyes, and forbore,
          And bade me creep past.
     No! let me taste the whole of it, fare like my peers
          The heroes of old,
     Bear the brunt, in a minute pay glad life's arrears
          Of pain, darkness, and cold.
     For sudden the worst turns the best to the brave,
          The black minute's at end,
     And the elements' rage, the fiend-voices that rave,
          Shall dwindle, shall blend,
     Shall change, shall become first a peace out of pain,
          Then a light, then thy breast,
     O thou soul of my soul! I shall clasp thee again,
          And with God be the rest!



     THE PATRIOT

     AN OLD STORY


     It was roses, roses, all the way,
      With myrtle mixed in my path like mad:
     The house-roofs seemed to heave and sway,
      The church-spires flamed, such flags they had,
     A year ago on this very day.

     The air broke into a mist with bells,
      The old walls rocked with the crowd and cries.
     Had I said, "Good folk, mere noise repels--
      But give me your sun from yonder skies"
     They had answered, "And afterward, what else?"

     Alack, it was I who leaped at the sun
      To give it my loving friends to keep!
     Naught man could do have I left undone;
      And you see my harvest, what I reap
     This very day, now a year is run.

     There's nobody on the housetops now--
      Just a palsied few at the windows set;
     For the best of the sight is, all allow,
      At the Shambles' Gate--or, better yet,
     By the very scaffold's foot, I trow.

     I go in the rain, and, more than needs,
      A rope cuts both my wrists behind;
     And I think, by the feel, my forehead bleeds,
      For they fling, whoever has a mind,
     Stones at me for my year's misdeeds.

     Thus I entered, and thus I go!
      In triumphs, people have dropped down dead.
     "Paid by the world, what dost thou owe
      Me?"--God might question; now instead,
     'Tis God shall repay: I am safer so.



     ONE WORD MORE

     To E.B.B.

     London, September, 1855


     There they are, my fifty men and women,
     Naming me the fifty poems finished!
     Take them, Love, the book and me together:
     Where the heart lies, let the brain lie also.

     Raphael made a century of sonnets,
     Made and wrote them in a certain volume
     Dinted with the silver-pointed pencil
     Else he only used to draw Madonnas:
     These, the world might view--but one, the volume.
     Who that one, you ask? Your heart instructs you.
     Did she live and love it all her lifetime?
     Did she drop, his lady of the sonnets,
     Die and let it drop beside her pillow,
     Where it lay in place of Raphael's glory,
     Raphael's cheek so duteous and so loving--
     Cheek the world was wont to hail a painter's,
     Raphael's cheek, her love had turned a poet's?

     You and I would rather read that volume
     (Taken to his beating bosom by it),
     Lean and list the bosom-beats of Raphael,
     Would we not? than wonder at Madonnas--
     Her, San Sisto names, and Her, Foligno,
     Her, that visits Florence in a vision,
     Her, that's left with lilies in the Louvre--
     Seen by us and all the world in circle.

     You and I will never read that volume.
     Guido Reni like his own eye's apple
     Guarded long the treasure-book and loved it.
     Guido Reni dying, all Bologna
     Cried, and the world cried too, "Ours the treasure!"
     Suddenly, as rare things will, it vanished.

     Dante once prepared to paint an angel:
     Whom to please? You whisper "Beatrice."
     While he mused and traced it and retraced it,
     (Peradventure with a pen corroded
     Still by drops of that hot ink he dipped for
     When, his left hand i' the hair o' the wicked,
     Back he held the brow and pricked its stigma,
     Bit into the live man's flesh for parchment,
     Loosed him, laughed to see the writing rankle,
     Let the wretch go festering through Florence)--
     Dante, who loved well because he hated,
     Hated wickedness that hinders loving,
     Dante standing, studying his angel--
     In there broke the folk of his Inferno.
     Says he--"Certain people of importance"
     (Such he gave his daily dreadful line to)
     "Entered and would seize, forsooth, the poet."
     Says the poet--"Then I stopped my painting."

     You and I would rather see that angel
     Painted by the tenderness of Dante--
     Would we not?--than read a fresh Inferno.

     You and I will never see that picture.
     While he mused on love and Beatrice,
     While he softened o'er his outlined angel,
     In they broke, those "people of importance";
     We and Bice bear the loss forever.

     What of Rafael's sonnets, Dante's picture?
     This: no artist lives and loves, that longs not
     Once, and only once, and for one only,
     (Ah, the prize!) to find his love a language
     Fit and fair and simple and sufficient--
     Using nature that's an art to others,
     Not, this one time, art that's turned his nature.
     Ay, of all the artists living, loving,
     None but would forego his proper dowry.
     Does he paint? he fain would write a poem:
     Does he write? he fain would paint a picture:
     Put to proof art alien to the artist's,
     Once, and only once, and for one only,
     So to be the man and leave the artist,
     Gain the man's joy, miss the artist's sorrow.

     Wherefore? Heaven's gift takes earth's abatement!
     He who smites the rock and spreads the water,
     Bidding drink and live a crowd beneath him,
     Even he the minute makes immortal
     Proves perchance but mortal in the minute,
     Desecrates belike the deed in doing.
     While he smites, how can he but remember
     So he smote before, in such a peril,
     When they stood and mocked--"Shall smiting help us?"
     When they drank and sneered--"A stroke is easy!"
     When they wiped their mouths and went their journey,
     Throwing him for thanks--"But drought was pleasant."
     Thus old memories mar the actual triumph;
     Thus the doing savors of disrelish;
     Thus achievement lacks a gracious somewhat;
     O'er-importuned brows becloud the mandate,
     Carelessness or consciousness--the gesture.
     For he bears an ancient wrong about him,
     Sees and knows again those phalanxed faces,
     Hears, yet one time more, the 'customed prelude--
     "How shouldst thou, of all men, smite, and save us?"
     Guesses what is like to prove the sequel--
     "Egypt's flesh-pots--nay, the drought was better."

     Oh, the crowd must have emphatic warrant!
     Theirs the Sinai-forehead's cloven brilliance,
     Right-arm's rod-sweep, tongue's imperial fiat.
     Never dares the man put off the prophet.

     Did he love one face from out the thousands
     (Were she Jethro's daughter, white and wifely,
     Were she but the Æthiopian bondslave),
     He would envy yon dumb patient camel,
     Keeping a reserve of scanty water
     Meant to save his own life in the desert;
     Ready in the desert to deliver
     (Kneeling down to let his breast be opened)
     Hoard and life together for his mistress.

     I shall never, in the years remaining,
     Paint you pictures, no, nor carve you statues.
     Make you music that should all-express me;
     So it seems: I stand on my attainment.
     This of verse alone, one life allows me;
     Verse and nothing else have I to give you.
     Other heights in other lives, God willing:
     All the gifts from all the heights, your own, Love!

     Yet a semblance of resource avails us--
     Shade so finely touched, love's sense must seize it.
     Take these lines, look lovingly and nearly,
     Lines I write the first time and the last time.
     He who works in fresco, steals a hair-brush,
     Curbs the liberal hand, subservient proudly,
     Cramps his spirit, crowds its all in little,
     Makes a strange art of an art familiar,
     Fills his lady's missal-marge with flowerets.
     He who blows through bronze may breathe through silver,
     Fitly serenade a slumbrous princess.
     He who writes may write for once as I do.

     Love, you saw me gather men and women,
     Live or dead or fashioned by my fancy,
     Enter each and all, and use their service,
     Speak from every mouth,--the speech a poem.
     Hardly shall I tell my joys and sorrows,
     Hopes and fears, belief and disbelieving:
     I am mine and yours--the rest be all men's,
     Karshish, Cleon, Norbert, and the fifty.
     Let me speak this once in my true person,
     Not as Lippo, Roland, or Andrea,
     Though the fruit of speech be just this sentence:
     Pray you, look on these, my men and women,
     Take and keep my fifty poems finished;
     Where my heart lies, let my brain lie also!
     Poor the speech; be how I speak, for all things.

     Not but that you know me! Lo, the moon's self!
     Here in London, yonder late in Florence,
     Still we find her face, the thrice-transfigured.
     Curving on a sky imbrued with color,
     Drifted over Fiesole by twilight,
     Came she, our new crescent of a hair's-breadth.
     Full she flared it, lamping Samminiato,
     Rounder 'twixt the cypresses and rounder,
     Perfect till the nightingales applauded.
     Now, a piece of her old self, impoverished,
     Hard to greet, she traverses the house-roofs,
     Hurries with unhandsome thrift of silver,
     Goes dispiritedly, glad to finish.
     What, there's nothing in the moon noteworthy?
     Nay: for if that moon could love a mortal,
     Use to charm him (so to fit a fancy),
     All her magic ('tis the old sweet mythos).
     She would turn a new side to her mortal,
     Side unseen of herdsman, huntsman, steersman--
     Blank to Zoroaster on his terrace,
     Blind to Galileo on his turret,
     Dumb to Homer, dumb to Keats--him, even!
     Think, the wonder of the moonstruck mortal--
     When she turns round, comes again in heaven,
     Opens out anew for worse or better!
     Proves she like some portent of an iceberg
     Swimming full upon the ship it founders,
     Hungry with huge teeth of splintered crystals?
     Proves she as the paved work of a sapphire
     Seen by Moses when he climbed the mountain?
     Moses, Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu
     Climbed and saw the very God, the Highest,
     Stand upon the paved work of a sapphire.
     Like the bodied heaven in his clearness
     Shone the stone, the sapphire of that paved work,
     When they ate and drank and saw God also!

     What were seen? None knows, none ever shall know.
     Only this is sure--the sight were other,
     Not the moon's same side, born late in Florence,
     Dying now impoverished here in London.
     God be thanked, the meanest of his creatures
     Boasts two soul-sides, one to face the world with,
     One to show a woman when he loves her!

     This I say of me, but think of you, Love!
     This to you--yourself my moon of poets!
     Ah, but that's the world's side, there's the wonder;
     Thus they see you, praise you, think they know you!
     There, in turn I stand with them and praise you--
     Out of my own self, I dare to phrase it.
     But the best is when I glide from out them,

     Cross a step or two of dubious twilight,
     Come out on the other side, the novel
     Silent silver lights and darks undreamed of,
     Where I hush and bless myself with silence.

     Oh, their Rafael of the dear Madonnas,
     Oh, their Dante of the dread Inferno,
     Wrote one song--and in my brain I sing it,
     Drew one angel--borne, see, on my bosom!

     R.B.





ORESTES AUGUSTUS BROWNSON

(1803-1876)


restes Brownson, in his time, was a figure of striking originality and influence in American literature and American political, philosophical, and religious discussion. His career was an exceptional one; for he was connected with some of the most important contemporaneous movements of thought, and passed through several distinct phases: Presbyterianism, Universalism, Socialism--of a mild and benevolent kind, not to be confused with the later fiery and destructive socialism of "the Reds"; afterward sympathizing somewhat with the aims and tendencies of the New England Transcendentalists; a close intellectual associate of Ralph Waldo Emerson; then the apostle of a "new Christianity"--finally becoming a Roman Catholic.


Orestes Brownson

Coming of old Connecticut stock on his father's side, he was born in Vermont, September 16th, 1803; and, notwithstanding that he was brought up in poverty on a farm with small opportunity for education, contrived in later years to make himself a thorough scholar in various directions, mastering several languages, acquiring a wide knowledge of history, reading deeply in philosophy, and developing marked originality in setting forth new philosophical views. His bent in childhood was strongly religious; and he even believed, at that period of his life, that he held long conversations with the sacred personages of Holy Scripture. Yet while in manhood he devoted many years and much of his energy to preaching, his character was aggressive and his tone controversial, he however revealed many traits of real gentleness and humility, and the mixture of rugged strength and tenderness in his character and his work won him a large following in whatever position he took.

He performed the remarkable feat, when the support of American letters was slight, of founding and conducting almost single-handed, from 1838 to 1843, his famous Quarterly Review, which was a power in the land. He started it again in 1844 as 'Brownson's Quarterly Review,' and resumed it thirty years later in still a third series. He died in 1876 at Detroit, much of his active career having been passed in Boston, and some of his later years at Seton Hall, New Jersey.

His various changes of belief have often been taken as an index of vacillation; but a simple and candid study of his writings shows that such changes were merely the normal progress of an intensely earnest and sincere mind, which never hesitated to avow its honest convictions nor to admit its errors. This is the quality which gives Brownson his vitality as a mind and an author; and he will be found to be consistent with conscience throughout.

His writings are forceful, eloquent, and lucid in style, with a Websterian massiveness that does not detract from their charm. They fill twenty volumes, divided into groups of essays on Civilization, Controversy, Religion, Philosophy, Scientific Theories, and Popular Literature, which cover a great and fascinating variety of topics in detail. Brownson was an intense and patriotic American, and his national quality comes out strongly in his extended treatise 'The American Republic' (1865). The best known of his other works is a candid, vigorous, and engaging autobiography entitled 'The Convert' (1853).




SAINT-SIMONISM

From 'The Convert'

If I drew my doctrine of Union in part from the eclecticism of Cousin, I drew my views of the Church and of the reorganization of the race from the Saint-Simonians,--a philo-sophico-religious or a politico-philosophical sect that sprung up in France under the Restoration, and figured largely for a year or two under the monarchy of July. Their founder was Claude Henri, Count de Saint-Simon, a descendant of the Due de Saint-Simon, well known as the author of the 'Memoirs.' He was born in 1760, entered the army at the age of seventeen, and the year after came to this country, where he served with distinction in our Revolutionary War under Bouillié. After the peace of 1783 he devoted two years to the study of our people and institutions, and then returned to France. Hardly had he returned before he found himself in the midst of the French Revolution, which he regarded as the practical application of the principles or theories adopted by the reformers of the sixteenth century and popularized by the philosophers of the eighteenth. He looked upon that revolution, we are told, as having only a destructive mission--necessary, important, but inadequate to the wants of humanity; and instead of being carried away by it as were most of the young men of his age and his principles, he set himself at work to amass materials for the erection of a new social edifice on the ruins of the old, which should stand and improve in solidity, strength, grandeur, and beauty forever.

The way he seems to have taken to amass these materials was to engage with a partner in some grand speculations for the accumulation of wealth,--and speculations too, it is said, not of the most honorable or even the most honest character. His plans succeeded for a time, and he became very rich, as did many others in those troublous times; but he finally met with reverses, and lost all but the wrecks of his fortune. He then for a number of years plunged into all manner of vice, and indulged to excess in every species of dissipation; not, we are told, from love of vice, any inordinate desire, or any impure affection, but for the holy purpose of preparing himself by his experience for the great work of redeeming man and securing for him a Paradise on earth. Having gained all that experience could give him in the department of vice, he then proceeded to consult the learned professors of L'École Polytechnique for seven or ten years, to make himself master of science, literature, and the fine arts in all their departments, and to place himself at the level of the last attainments of the race. Thus qualified to be the founder of a new social organization, he wrote several books, in which he deposited the germs of his ideas, or rather the germs of the future; most of which have hitherto remained unpublished.

But now that he was so well qualified for his work he found himself a beggar, and had as yet made only a single disciple. He was reduced to despair and attempted to take his own life; but failed, the ball only grazing his sacred forehead. His faithful disciple was near him, saved him, and aroused him into life and hope. When he recovered he found that he had fallen into a gross error. He had been a materialist, an atheist, and had discarded all religious ideas as long since outgrown by the human race. He had proposed to organize the human race with materials furnished by the senses alone, and by the aid of positive science. He owns his fault, and conceives and brings forth a new Christianity, consigned to a small pamphlet entitled 'Nouveau Christianisme,' which was immediately published. This done, his mission was ended, and he died May 19th, 1825, and I suppose was buried.

Saint-Simon, the preacher of a new Christianity, very soon attracted disciples, chiefly from the pupils of the Polytechnic School; ardent and lively young men, full of enthusiasm, brought up without faith in the gospel and yet unable to live without religion of some sort. Among the active members of the sect were at one time Pierre Leroux, Jules and Michel Chevalier, Lerminier, [and] my personal friend Dr. Poyen, who initiated me and so many others in New England into the mysteries of animal magnetism. Dr. Poyen was, I believe, a native of the island of Guadeloupe: a man of more ability than he usually had credit for, of solid learning, genuine science, and honest intentions. I knew him well and esteemed him highly. When I knew him his attachment to the new religion was much weakened, and he often talked to me of the old Church, and assured me that he felt at times that he must return to her bosom. I owe him many hints which turned my thoughts toward Catholic principles, and which, with God's grace, were of much service to me. These and many others were in the sect; whose chiefs, after the death of its founder, were--Bazard, a Liberal and a practical man, who killed himself; and Enfantin, who after the dissolution of the sect sought employment in the service of the Viceroy of Egypt, and occupies now some important post in connection with the French railways.

The sect began in 1826 by addressing the working classes; but their success was small. In 1829 they came out of their narrow circle, assumed a bolder tone, addressed themselves to the general public, and became in less than eighteen months a Parisian mode. In 1831 they purchased the Globe newspaper, made it their organ, and distributed gratuitously five thousand copies daily. In 1832 they had established a central propagandism in Paris, and had their missionaries in most of the departments of France. They attacked the hereditary peerage, and it fell; they seemed to be numerous and strong, and I believed for a moment in their complete success. They called their doctrine a religion, their ministers priests, and their organization a church; and as such they claimed to be recognized by the State, and to receive from it a subvention as other religious denominations [did]. But the courts decided that Saint-Simonism was not a religion and its ministers were not religious teachers. This decision struck them with death. Their prestige vanished. They scattered, dissolved in thin air, and went off, as Carlyle would say, into endless vacuity, as do sooner or later all shams and unrealities.

Saint-Simon himself, who as presented to us by his disciples is a half-mythic personage, seems, so far as I can judge by those of his writings that I have seen, to have been a man of large ability and laudable intentions; but I have not been able to find any new or original thoughts of which he was the indisputable father. His whole system, if system he had, is summed up in the two maxims "Eden is before us, not behind us" (or the Golden Age of the poets is in the future, not in the past), and "Society ought to be so organized as to tend in the most rapid manner possible to the continuous moral, intellectual, and physical amelioration of the poorer and more numerous classes." He simply adopts the doctrine of progress set forth with so much flash eloquence by Condorcet, and the philanthropic doctrine with regard to the laboring classes, or the people, defended by Barbeuf and a large section of the French Revolutionists. His religion was not so much as the Theophilanthropy attempted to be introduced by some members of the French Directory: it admitted God in name, and in name did not deny Jesus Christ, but it rejected all mysteries, and reduced religion to mere socialism. It conceded that Catholicity had been the true Church down to the pontificate of Leo X., because down to that time its ministers had taken the lead in directing the intelligence and labors of mankind, had aided the progress of civilization, and promoted the well-being of the poorer and more numerous classes. But since Leo X., who made of the Papacy a secular principality, it had neglected its mission, had ceased to labor for the poorer and more numerous classes, had leagued itself with the ruling orders, and lent all its influence to uphold tyrants and tyranny. A new church was needed; a church which should realize the ideal of Jesus Christ, and tend directly and constantly to the moral, physical, and social amelioration of the poorer and more numerous classes,--in other words, the greatest happiness in this life of the greatest number, the principle of Jeremy Bentham and his Utilitarian school.

His disciples enlarged upon the hints of the master, and attributed to him ideas which he never entertained. They endeavored to reduce his hints to a complete system of religion, philosophy, and social organization. Their chiefs, I have said, were Amand Bazard and Barthélemy Prosper Enfantin....

Bazard took the lead in what related to the external, political, and economical organization, and Enfantin in what regarded doctrine and worship. The philosophy or theology of the sect or school was derived principally from Hegel, and was a refined Pantheism. Its Christology was the unity, not union, of the divine and human; and the Incarnation symbolized the unity of God and man, or the Divinity manifesting himself in humanity, and making humanity substantially divine,--the very doctrine in reality which I myself had embraced even before I had heard of the Saint-Simonians, if not before they had published it. The religious organization was founded on the doctrine of the progressive nature of man, and the maxim that all institutions should tend in the most speedy and direct manner possible to the constant amelioration of the moral, intellectual, and physical condition of the poorer and more numerous classes. Socially men were to be divided into three classes,--artists, savans, and industrials or working men, corresponding to the psychological division of the human faculties. The soul has three powers or faculties,--to love, to know, and to act. Those in whom the love-faculty is predominant belong to the class of artists, those in whom the knowledge-faculty is predominant belong to the class of savans, the scientific and the learned, and in fine, those in whom the act-faculty predominates belong to the industrial class. This classification places every man in the social category for which he is fitted, and to which he is attracted by his nature. These several classes are to be hierarchically organized under chiefs or priests, who are respectively priests of the artists, of the scientific, and of the industrials, and are, priests and all, to be subjected to a supreme Father, Père Supréme, and a Supreme Mother, Mère Supréme.

The economical organization is to be based on the maxims, "To each one according to his capacity," and "To each capacity according to its work." Private property is to be retained, but its transmission by inheritance or testamentary disposition must be abolished. The property is to be held by a tenure resembling that of gavel-kind. It belongs to the community, and the priests, chiefs, or brehons, as the Celtic tribes call them, to distribute it for life to individuals, and to each individual according to his capacity. It was supposed that in this way the advantages of both common and individual property might be secured. Something of this prevailed originally in most nations, and a reminiscence of it still exists in the village system among the Slavonic tribes of Russia and Poland; and nearly all jurists maintain that the testamentary right by which a man disposes of his goods after his natural death, as well as that by which a child inherits from the parent, is a municipal, not a natural right.

The most striking feature in the Saint-Simonian scheme was the rank and position it assigned to woman. It asserted the absolute equality of the sexes, and maintained that either sex is incomplete without the other. Man is an incomplete individual without woman. Hence a religion, a doctrine, a social institution founded by one sex alone is incomplete, and can never be adequate to the wants of the race or a definite order. This idea was also entertained by Frances Wright, and appears to be entertained by all our Women's Rights folk of either sex. The old civilization was masculine, not male and female as God made man. Hence its condemnation. The Saint-Simonians, therefore, proposed to place by the side of their sovereign Father at the summit of their hierarchy a sovereign Mother. The man to be sovereign Father they found; but a woman to be sovereign Mother, Mère Suprême, they found not. This caused great embarrassment, and a split between Bazard and Enfantin. Bazard was about marrying his daughter, and he proposed to place her marriage under the protection of the existing French laws. Enfantin opposed his doing so, and called it a sinful compliance with the prejudices of the world. The Saint-Simonian society, he maintained, was a State, a kingdom within itself, and should be governed by its own laws and its own chiefs without any recognition of those without. Bazard persisted, and had the marriage of his daughter solemnized in a legal manner, and for aught I know, according to the rites of the Church. A great scandal followed. Bazard charged Enfantin with denying Christian marriage, and with holding loose notions on the subject. Enfantin replied that he neither denied nor affirmed Christian marriage; that in enacting the existing law on the subject man alone had been consulted, and he could not recognize it as law till woman had given her consent to it. As yet the society was only provisionally organized, inasmuch as they had not yet found the Mère Suprême. The law on marriage must emanate conjointly from the Supreme Father and the Supreme Mother, and it would be irregular and a usurpation for the Supreme Father to undertake alone to legislate on the subject. Bazard would not submit, and went out and shot himself. Most of the politicians abandoned the association; and Père Enfantin, almost in despair, dispatched twelve apostles to Constantinople to find in the Turkish harems the Supreme Mother. After a year they returned and reported that they were unable to find her; and the society, condemned by the French courts as immoral, broke up, and broke up because no woman could be found to be its mother. And so they ended, having risen, flourished, and decayed in less than a single decade.

The points in the Saint-Simonian movement that arrested my attention and commanded my belief were what it will seem strange to my readers could ever have been doubted,--its assertion of a religious future for the human race, and that religion, in the future as well as in the past, must have an organization, and a hierarchical organization. Its classification of men according to the predominant psychological faculty in each, into artists, savans, and industrials, struck me as very well; and the maxims "To each according to his capacity," and "To each capacity according to its works," as evidently just, and desirable if practicable. The doctrine of the Divinity in Humanity, of progress, of no essential antagonism between the spiritual and the material, and of the duty of shaping all institutions for the speediest and continuous moral, intellectual, and physical amelioration of the poorer and more numerous classes, I already held. I was rather pleased than otherwise with the doctrine with regard to property, and thought it a decided improvement on that of a community of goods. The doctrine with regard to the relation of the sexes I rather acquiesced in than approved. I was disposed to maintain, as the Indian said, that "woman is the weaker canoe," and to assert my marital prerogatives; but the equality of the sexes was asserted by nearly all my friends, and I remained generally silent on the subject, till some of the admirers of Harriet Martineau and Margaret Fuller began to scorn equality and to claim for woman superiority. Then I became roused, and ventured to assert my masculine dignity.

It is remarkable that most reformers find fault with the Christian law of marriage, and propose to alter the relations which God has established both in nature and the gospel between the sexes; and this is generally the rock on which they split. Women do not usually admire men who cast off their manhood or are unconscious of the rights and prerogatives of the stronger sex; and they admire just as little those "strong-minded women" who strive to excel only in the masculine virtues. I have never been persuaded that it argues well for a people when its women are men and its men women. Yet I trust I have always honored and always shall honor woman. I raise no question as to woman's equality or inequality with man, for comparisons cannot be made between things not of the same kind. Woman's sphere and office in life are as high, as holy, as important as man's, but different; and the glory of both man and woman is for each to act well the part assigned to each by Almighty God.

The Saint-Simonian writings made me familiar with the idea of a hierarchy, and removed from my mind the prejudices against the Papacy generally entertained by my countrymen. Their proposed organization, I saw, might be good and desirable if their priests, their Supreme Father and Mother, could really be the wisest, the best,--not merely the nominal but the real chiefs of society. Yet what security have I that they will be? Their power was to have no limit save their own wisdom and love, but who would answer for it that these would always be an effectual limit? How were these priests or chiefs to be designated and installed in their office? By popular election? But popular election often passes over the proper man and takes the improper. Then as to the assignment to each man of a capital proportioned to his capacity to begin life with, what certainty is there that the rules of strict right will be followed? that wrong will not often be done, both voluntarily and involuntarily? Are your chiefs to be infallible and impeccable? Still the movement interested me, and many of its principles took firm hold of me and held me for years in a species of mental thraldom; insomuch that I found it difficult, if not impossible, either to refute them or to harmonize them with other principles which I also held, or rather which held me, and in which I detected no unsoundness. Yet I imbibed no errors from the Saint-Simonians; and I can say of them as of the Unitarians,--they did me no harm, but were in my fallen state the occasion of much good to me.






FERDINAND BRUNETIÈRE

(1849-)

BY ADOLPHE COHN

erdinand Brunetière, the celebrated French literary critic, was born in Toulon, the great military Mediterranean sea-port of France, in the year 1849. His studies were begun in the college of his native city and continued in Paris, in the Lycée Louis le Grand, where in the class of philosophy he came under Professor Émile Charles, by whose original and profound though decidedly sad way of thinking he was powerfully influenced. His own ambition then was to become a teacher in the University of France, an ambition which seemed unlikely to be ever realized, as he failed to secure admission to the celebrated École Normale Supérieure, in the competitive examination which leads up to that school. Strangely enough, about fifteen years later he was, though not in possession of any very high University degree, appointed to the Professorship of French Literature in the school which he had been unable to enter as a scholar, and his appointment received the hearty indorsement of all the leading educational authorities in France.


Ferdiand Brunetière

For several years after leaving the Lycée Louis le Grand, while completing his literary outfit by wonderfully extensive reading, Ferdinand Brunetière lived on stray orders for work for publishers. He seldom succeeded in getting these, and when he got any they were seldom filled. Thus he happened to be commissioned by the firm of Germer, Baillière and Company to write a history of Russia, which never was and to all appearances never will be written. The event which determined the direction of his career was the acceptance by the Revue des Deux Mondes, in 1875, of an article upon contemporary French novelists. François Buloz, the energetic and imperious founder and editor of the world-famed French bi-monthly, felt that he had found in the young critic the man whom French literary circles had been waiting for, and who was to be Sainte-Beuve's successor; and François Buloz was a man who seldom made mistakes.

French literary criticism was just then at a very low ebb. Sainte-Beuve had been dead about five years; his own contemporaries, Edmond Schérer for instance, were getting old and discouraged; the new generation seemed to be turning unanimously, in consequence of the disasters of the Franco-German war and of the Revolution of September, 1870, to military or political activity. The only form of literature which had power to attract young writers was the novel, which they could fill with the description of all the passions then agitating the public mind. That a man of real intellectual strength should then give his undivided attention to pure literature seemed a most unlikely phenomenon; but all had to acknowledge that the unlikely had happened, soon after Ferdinand Brunetière had become the regular literary critic of the Revue des Deux Mondes.

Fortunately the new critic did not undertake to walk in the footsteps of Sainte-Beuve. In the art of presenting to the reader the marrow of a writer's work, of making the writer himself known by the description of his surroundings, the narrative of his life, the study of the forces by which he was influenced, the illustrious author of the 'Causeries du Lundi' remains to this day without a rival or a continuator. Ferdinand Brunetière had a different conception of the duties of a literary critic. The one fault with which thoughtful readers were apt to charge Sainte-Beuve was, that he failed to pass judgment upon the works and writers; and this failure was often, and not altogether unjustly, ascribed to a certain weakness in his grasp of principles, a certain faint-heartedness whenever it became necessary to take sides. Any one who studies Brunetière can easily see that from the start his chief concern was to make it impossible for any one to charge him with the same fault. He came in with a set of principles which he has since upheld with remarkable steadfastness and courage. In an age when nearly every one was turning to the future and advocating the doctrine and the necessity of progress, when the chief fear of most men was that they should appear too much afraid of change, Brunetière proclaimed time and again that there was no safety for any nation or set of men except in a staunch adherence to tradition. He bade his readers turn their minds away from the current literature of the day, and take hold of the exemplars of excellence handed down to us by the great men of the past. Together with tradition he upheld authority, and therefore preferred to all others the period in which French literature and society had most willingly submitted to authority, that is, the seventeenth century and the reign of Louis XIV. When compelled to speak of the literature of the day, he did it in no uncertain tones. His book 'The Naturalistic Novel' consists of a series of articles in which he studies Zola and his school, upholding the old doctrine that there are things in life which must be kept out of the domain of art and cannot be therein introduced without lowering the ideal of man. Between the naturalistic and the idealistic novel he unhesitatingly declares for the latter, and places George Sand far above the author of 'L'Assommoir.'

But the great success of his labors cannot be said to have been due solely or even mainly to the principles he advocated. Other critics have appeared since--Messrs. Jules Lemaître and Anatole France, for instance,--who antagonize almost everything that he defends and defend almost everything that he antagonizes, and whose success has hardly been inferior to his. Neither is it due to any charm in his style. Brunetière's sentences are compact,--indeed, strongly knit together,--but decidedly heavy and at times even clumsy. What he has to say he always says strongly, but not gracefully. He has a remarkable appreciation of the value of the words of the French language, but his arrangement of them is seldom free from mannerisms. What, then, has made him the foremost literary critic of the present day? The answer is, knowledge and sincerity. No writer of the present day, save perhaps Anatole France, is so accurately informed of every fact that bears upon literary history. Every argument he brings forward is supported by an array of incontrovertible facts that is simply appalling. No one can argue with him who does not first subject himself to the severest kind of training, go through a mass of tedious reading, become familiar with dates to the point of handling them as nimbly as a bank clerk handles the figures of a check list. And all this comes forward in Brunetière's articles in the most natural, we had almost said casual way. The fact takes its place unheralded in the reasoning. It is there because it has to be there, not because the writer wishes to make a display of his wonderful knowledge; and thus it happens that Ferdinand Brunetière's literary articles are perhaps the most instructive ones ever written in the French language. They are moreover admirably trustworthy. It would never come to this author's mind to hide a fact that goes against any of his theories. He feels so sure of being in the right that he is always willing to give his opponents all that they can possibly claim.

Of late years, moreover, it must be acknowledged that Brunetière's mind has given signs of remarkable broadening. Under the influence of the doctrine of evolution, he has undertaken to class all literary facts as the great naturalists of the day have classed the facts of physiology, and to show that literary forms spring from each other by way of transformation in the same way as do the forms of animal or vegetable life. Already three works have been produced by him since he entered upon this new line of development: a history of literary criticism in France, which forms the first and hitherto only published volume of a large work, (The Evolution of Literary Forms); a work on the French drama, (The Periods of the French Theatre); and a treatise on modern French poetry, (The Evolution of French Lyric Poetry during the Nineteenth Century.) The second and last of these were first delivered by their author from the professor's chair or the lecturer's platform, where he has managed to display some of the greatest gifts of the public speaker. Most of M. Brunetière's literary articles have been collected in book form under the following titles:--(Questions of Criticism) (2 vols.), (History and Criticism) (3 vols.), (Critical Studies on the History of French Literature) (6 vols.), (The Naturalistic Novel) (1 vol.).

At various times remarkable addresses have been delivered by him on public occasions, in which he has often represented the French Academy since his election to that illustrious body. Unfortunately his productive literary activity has slackened of late. In 1895 he was called to the editorship of the Revue des Deux Mondes, and since his assumption of this responsible editorial position he has published only two or three articles, bearing upon moral and educational questions.

To pass final judgment upon a man whose development is far from completed is an almost impossible task. Still it may be said that with the exception of Sainte-Beuve's (Causeries du Lundi) and (Nouveaux Lundis,) nothing exists that can teach the reader so much about the history of French literature as Brunetière's works. The doctrinal side, to which the author himself undoubtedly attaches the greatest importance, will strike the reader as often very questionable. Too often Brunetière seems in his judgments to be quite unconsciously actuated by a dislike of the accepted opinion of the present day. His love of the past bears a look of defiance of the present, not calculated to win the reader's assent. But even this does not go without its good side. It gives to Brunetière's judgments a unity which is seldom if ever found in the works of those whose chief labors have been spent in the often ungrateful task of making a hurried public acquainted with the uninterrupted stream of literary production.







TAINE AND PRINCE NAPOLEON


For the last five or six months, since it has been known that a prince, nephew, cousin, and son of emperors or kings formerly very powerful, had proposed to answer the libel, as he calls it, written by M. Taine about Napoleon, we have been awaiting this reply with an impatience, a curiosity which were equally justified,--although for very different reasons,--by M. Taine's reputation, by the glorious name of his antagonist, by the greatness, and finally the national interest of the subject.

The book has just appeared; and if we can say without flattery that it has revealed to us in the Prince a writer whose existence we had not suspected, it is because we must at once add that neither in its manner nor in its matter is the book itself what it might have been. Prince Napoleon did not wish to write a 'Life of Napoleon,' and nobody expected that of him,--for after all, and for twenty different reasons, even had he wished it he could not have done it. But to M. Taine's Napoleon, since he did not find in him the true Napoleon, since he declared him to be as much against nature as against history, he could, and we expected that he would, have opposed his own Napoleon. By the side of the "inventions of a writer whose judgment had been misled and whose conscience had been obscured by passion,"--these are his own words,--he could have restored, as he promised in his 'Introduction,' "the man and his work in their living reality." And in our imaginations, on which M. Taine's harsh and morose workmanship had engraven the features of a modern Malatesta or modern Sforza, he could at last substitute for them, as the inheritor of the name and the dynastic claims, the image of the founder of contemporary France, of the god of war. Unfortunately, instead of doing so, it is M. Taine himself, it is his analytical method, it is the witnesses whom M. Taine chose as his authorities, that Prince Napoleon preferred to assail, as a scholar in an Academy who descants upon the importance of the genuineness of a text, and moreover with a freedom of utterance and a pertness of expression which on any occasion I should venture to pronounce decidedly insulting.

For it is a misfortune of princes, when they do us the honor of discussing with us, that they must observe a moderation, a reserve, a courtesy greater even than our own. It will therefore be unanimously thought that it ill became Prince Napoleon to address M. Taine in a tone which M. Taine would decline to use in his answer, out of respect for the very name which he is accused of slandering. It will be thought also that it ill became him, when speaking of Miot de Melito, for instance, or of many other servants of the imperial government, to seem to ignore that princes also are under an obligation to those who have served them well. Perhaps even it may be thought that it poorly became him, when discussing or contradicting the 'Memoirs of Madame de Rémusat,' to forget under what auspices the remains of his uncle, the Emperor, were years ago carried in his city of Paris. But what will be thought especially is, that he had something else to do than to split hairs in discussion of evidences; that he had something far better to say, more peremptory and to the point, and more literary besides, than to call M. Taine names, to hurl at him the epithets of "Entomologist, Materialist, Pessimist, Destroyer of Reputations, Iconoclast," and to class him as a "déboulonneur" among those who, in 1871, pulled down the Colonne Vendôme.

Not, undoubtedly, that M. Taine--and we said so ourselves more than once with perfect freedom--if spending much patience and conscientiousness in his search for documents, has always displayed as much critical spirit and discrimination in the use he made of them. We cannot understand why in his 'Napoleon' he accepted the testimony of Bourrienne, for instance, any more than recently, in his 'Revolution,' that of George Duval, or again, in his 'Ancien Régime,' that of the notorious Soulavic. M. Taine's documents as a rule are not used by him as a foundation for his argument; no, he first takes his position, and then he consults his library, or he goes to the original records, with the hope of finding those documents that will support his reasoning. But granting that, we must own that though different from M. Taine's, Prince Napoleon's historical method is not much better; that though in a different manner and in a different direction, it is neither less partial nor less passionate: and here is a proof of it.

Prince Napoleon blames M. Taine for quoting "eight times" 'Bourrienne's Memoirs,' and then, letting his feelings loose, he takes advantage of the occasion and cruelly besmirches Bourrienne's name. Does he tell the truth or not? is he right at the bottom? I do not know anything about it; I do not wish to know anything; I do not need it, since I know, from other sources, that 'Bourrienne's Memoirs' are hardly less spurious than, say, the 'Souvenirs of the Marquise de Créqui' or the 'Memoirs of Monsieur d'Artagnan.' But if these so-called 'Memoirs' are really not his, what has Bourrienne himself to do here? and suppose the former secretary of the First Consul to have been, instead of the shameless embezzler whom Prince Napoleon so fully and so uselessly describes to us, the most honest man in the world, would the 'Memoirs' be any more reliable, since it is a fact that he wrote nothing? ...

And now I cannot but wonder at the tone in which those who contradict M. Taine, and especially Prince Napoleon himself, condescend to tell him that he lacks that which would be needed in order to speak of Napoleon or the Revolution. But who is it, then, that has what is needed in order to judge Napoleon? Frederick the Great, or Catherine II., perhaps,--as Napoleon himself desired, "his peers"; or in other words, those who, born as he was for war and government, can only admire, justify, and glorify themselves in him. And who will judge the Revolution? Danton. we suppose, or Robespierre,--that is, the men who were the Revolution itself. No: the real judge will be the average opinion of men; the force that will create, modify, correct this average opinion, the historians will be; and among the historians of our time, in spite of Prince Napoleon, it will be M. Taine for a large share.




THE LITERATURES OF FRANCE, ENGLAND, AND GERMANY


Twice at least in the course of their long history, it is known that the literature and even the language of France has exerted over the whole of Europe an influence, whose universal character other languages perhaps more harmonious,--Italian for instance,--and other literatures more original in certain respects, like English literature, have never possessed. It is in a purely French form that our mediæval poems, our 'Chansons de Geste,' our 'Romances of the Round Table,' our fabliaux themselves, whencesoever they came,--Germany or Tuscany, England or Brittany, Asia or Greece,--conquered, fascinated, charmed, from one end of Europe to the other, the imaginations of the Middle Ages. The amorous languor and the subtlety of our "courteous poetry" are breathed no less by the madrigals of Shakespeare himself than by Petrarch's sonnets; and after such a long lapse of time we still discover something that comes from us even in the Wagnerian drama, for instance in 'Parsifal' or in 'Tristan and Isolde.' A long time later, in a Europe belonging entirely to classicism, from the beginning of the seventeenth to the end of the eighteenth century, during one hundred and fifty years or even longer, French literature possessed a real sovereignty in Italy, in Spain, in England, and in Germany. Do not the names of Algarotti, Bettinelli, Beccaria, Filengieri, almost belong to France? What shall I say of the famous Gottschedt? Shall I recall the fact that in his victorious struggle against Voltaire, Lessing had to call in Diderot's assistance? And who ignores that if Rivarol wrote his 'Discourse upon the Universality of the French Language,' it can be charged neither to his vanity nor to our national vanity, since he was himself half Italian, and the subject had been proposed by the Academy of Berlin?

All sorts of reasons have been given for this universality of French literature: some were statistical, if I may say so, some geographical, political, linguistic. But the true one, the good one, is different: it must be found in the supremely sociable character of the literature itself. If at that time our great writers were understood and appreciated by everybody, it is because they were addressing everybody, or better, because they were speaking to all concerning the interests of all. They were attracted neither by exceptions nor by peculiarities: they cared to treat only of man in general, or as is also said, of the universal man, restrained by the ties of human society; and their very success shows that below all that distinguishes, say, an Italian from a German, this universal man whose reality has so often been discussed, persists and lives, and though constantly changing never loses his own likeness....

In comparison with the literature of France, thus defined and characterized by its sociable spirit, the literature of England is an individualistic literature. Let us put aside, as should be done, the generation of Congreve and Wycherley, perhaps also the generation of Pope and Addison,--to which, however, we ought not to forget that Swift also belonged;--it seems that an Englishman never writes except in order to give to himself the external sensation of his own personality. Thence his humor, which may be defined as the expression of the pleasure he feels in thinking like nobody else. Thence, in England, the plenteousness, the wealth, the amplitude of the lyric vein; it being granted that individualism is the very spring of lyric poetry, and that an ode or an elegy is, as it were, the involuntary surging, the outflowing of what is most intimate, most secret, most peculiar in the poet's soul. Thence also the eccentricity of all the great English writers when compared with the rest of the nation, as though they became conscious of themselves only by distinguishing themselves from those who claim to differ from them least. But is it not possible to otherwise characterize the literature of England? It will be easily conceived that I dare not assert such a thing; all I say here is, that I cannot better express the differences which distinguish that literature from our own.

That is also all I claim, in stating that the essential character of the literature of Germany is, that it is philosophical. The philosophers there are poets, and the poets are philosophers. Goethe is to be found no more, or no less, in his 'Theory of Colors' or in his 'Metamorphosis of Plants,' than in his 'Divan' or his 'Faust'; and lyrism, if I may use this trite expression, "is overflowing" in Schleiermacher's theology and in Schelling's philosophy. Is this not perhaps at least one of the reasons of the inferiority of the German drama? It is surely the reason of the depth and scope of Germanic poetry. Even in the masterpieces of German literature it seems that there is mixed something indistinct, or rather mysterious, suggestive in the extreme, which leads us to thought by the channel of the dream. But who has not been struck by what, under a barbarous terminology, there is of attractive, and as such of eminently poetical, of realistic and at the same time idealistic, in the great systems of Kant and Fichte, Hegel and Schopenhauer? Assuredly nothing is further removed from the character of our French literature. We can here understand what the Germans mean when they charge us with a lack of depth. Let them forgive us if we do not blame their literature for not being the same as ours.

For it is good that it be thus, and for five or six hundred years this it is that has made the greatness not only of European literature, but of Western civilization itself; I mean that which all the great nations, after slowly elaborating it, as it were, in their national isolation, have afterwards deposited in the common treasury of the human race. Thus, to this one we owe the sense of mystery, and we might say the revelation of what is beautiful, in that which remains obscure and cannot be grasped. To another we owe the sense of art, and what may be called the appreciation of the power of form. A third one has handed to us what was most heroic in the conception of chivalrous honor. And to another, finally, we owe it that we know what is both most ferocious and noblest, most wholesome and most to be feared, in human pride. The share that belongs to us Frenchmen was, in the meanwhile, to bind, to fuse together, and as it were to unify under the idea of the general society of mankind, the contradictory and even hostile elements that may have existed in all that. No matter whether our inventions and ideas were, by their origin, Latin or Romance, Celtic or Gallic, Germanic even, if you please, the whole of Europe had borrowed them from us in order to adapt them to the genius of its different races. Before re-admitting them in our turn, before adopting them after they had been thus transformed, we asked only that they should be able to serve the progress of reason and of humanity. What was troublous in them we clarified; what was corrupting we corrected; what was local we generalized; what was excessive we brought down to the proportions of mankind. Have we not sometimes also lessened their grandeur and altered their purity? If Corneille has undoubtedly brought nearer to us the still somewhat barbaric heroes of Guillem de Castro, La Fontaine, when imitating the author of the Decameron, has made him more indecent than he is in his own language; and if the Italians have no right to assail Molière for borrowing somewhat from them, the English may well complain that Voltaire failed to understand Shakespeare. But it is true none the less that in disengaging from the particular man of the North or the South this idea of a universal man, for which we have been so often reviled,--if any one of the modern literatures has breathed in its entirety the spirit of the public weal and of civilization, it is the literature of France. And this ideal cannot possibly be as empty as has too often been asserted; since, as I endeavored to show, from Lisbon to Stockholm and from Archangel to Naples, it is its manifestations that foreigners have loved to come across in the masterpieces, or better, in the whole sequence of the history of our literature.






GIORDANO BRUNO

(1548-1600)


illippo Bruno, known as Giordano Bruno, was born at Nola, near Naples, in 1548. This was eight years after the death of Copernicus, whose system he eagerly espoused, and ten years before the birth of Bacon, with whom he associated in England. Of an ardent, poetic temperament, he entered the Dominican order in Naples at the early age of sixteen, doubtless attracted to conventual life by the opportunities of study it offered to an eager intellect. Bruno had been in the monastery nearly thirteen years when he was accused of heresy in attacking some of the dogmas of the Church. He fled first to Rome and then to Northern Italy, where he wandered about for three seasons from city to city, teaching and writing. In 1579 he arrived at Geneva, then the stronghold of the Calvinists. Coming into conflict with the authorities there on account of his religious opinions, he was thrown into prison. He escaped and went to Toulouse, at that time the literary centre of Southern France, where he lectured for a year on Aristotle. His restless spirit, however, drove him on to Paris. Here he was made professor extraordinary at the Sorbonne.

Although his teachings were almost directly opposed to the philosophic tenets of the time, attacking the current dogmas, and Aristotle, the idol of the schoolmen, yet such was the power of Bruno's eloquence and the charm of his manner that crowds flocked to his lecture-room, and he became one of the most popular foreign teachers the university had known. Under pretense of expounding the writings of Thomas Aquinas, he set forth his own philosophy. He also spoke much on the art of memory, amplifying the writings of Raymond Lully; and these principles, formulated by the monk of the thirteenth century and taken up again by the free-thinkers of the sixteenth, are the basis of all the present-day mnemonics.

But Bruno went even further. He attracted the attention of King Henry III. of France, who in 1583 introduced him to the French ambassador to England, Castelnuovo di Manvissière. Going to London, he spent three years in the family of this nobleman, more as friend than dependent. They were the happiest, or at least the most restful years of his stormy life. England was just then entering on the glorious epoch of her Elizabethan literature. Bruno came into the brilliant court circles, meeting even the Queen, who cordially welcomed all men of culture, especially the Italians. The astute monk reciprocated her good-will by paying her the customary tribute of flattery. He won the friendship of Sir Philip Sidney, to whom he dedicated two of his books, and enjoyed the acquaintance of Spenser, Sir Fulke Greville, Dyer, Harvey, Sir William Temple, Bacon, and other wits and poets of the day.

At that time--somewhere about 1580--Shakespeare was still serving his apprenticeship as playwright, and had perhaps less claim on the notice of the observant foreigner than his elder contemporaries. London was still a small town, where the news of the day spread rapidly, and where, no doubt, strangers were as eagerly discussed as they are now within narrow town limits. Bruno's daring speculations could not remain the exclusive property of his own coterie. And as Shakespeare had the faculty of absorbing all new ideas afloat in the air, he would hardly have escaped the influence of the teacher who proclaimed in proud self-confidence that he was come to arouse men out of their theological stagnation. His influence on Bacon is more evident, because of their friendly associations. Bruno lectured at Oxford, but the English university found less favor in his eyes than English court life. Pedantry had indeed set its fatal mark on scholarship, not only on the Continent but in England. Aristotle was still the god of the pedants of that age, and dissent from his teaching was heavily punished, for the dry dust of learning blinded the eyes of the scholastics to new truths.

Bruno, the knight-errant of these truths, devoted all his life to scourging pedantry, and dissented in toto from the idol of the schools. No wonder he and Oxford did not agree together. He wittily calls her "the widow of sound learning," and again, "a constellation of pedantic, obstinate ignorance and presumption, mixed with a clownish incivility that would tax the patience of Job." He lashed the shortcomings of English learning in 'La Cena delle Ceneri' (Ash Wednesday Conversation). But Bruno's roving spirit, and perhaps also his heterodox tendencies, drove him at last from England, and for the next five years he roamed about Germany, leading the life of the wandering scholars of the time, always involved in conflicts and controversies with the authorities, always antagonistic to public opinion. Flying in the face of the most cherished traditions, he underwent the common experience of all prophets: the minds he was bent on awakening refused to be aroused.

Finally he was invited by Zuone Mocenigo of Venice to teach him the higher and secret learning. The Venetian supposed that Bruno, with more than human erudition, possessed the art of conveying knowledge into the heads of dullards. Disappointed in this expectation, he quarreled with his teacher, and in a spirit of revenge picked out of Bruno's writings a mass of testimony sufficient to convict him of heresy. This he turned over to the Inquisitor at Venice, Bruno was arrested, convicted, and sent to the Inquisition in Rome. When called upon there to recant, he replied, "I ought not to recant, and I will not recant." He was accordingly confined in prison for seven years, then sentenced to death. On hearing the warrant he said, "It may be that you fear more to deliver this judgment than I to bear it." On February 17th, 1600, he was burned at the stake in the Campo de' Fiori at Rome. He remained steadfast to the end, saying, "I die a martyr, and willingly." His ashes were cast into the Tiber. Two hundred and fifty-nine years afterwards, his statue was unveiled on the very spot where he suffered; and the Italian government is bringing out (1896) the first complete edition, the 'National Edition,' of his works.

In their substance Bruno's writings belong to philosophy rather than to literature, although they are still interesting both historically and biographically as an index of the character of the man and of the temper of the time. Many of the works have either perished or are hidden away in inaccessible archives. For two hundred years they were tabooed, and as late as 1836 forbidden to be shown in the public library of Dresden. He published twenty-five works in Latin and Italian, and left many others incomplete, for in all his wanderings he was continually writing. The eccentric titles show his desire to attract attention: as 'The Work of the Great Key,' 'The Exploration of the Thirty Seals,' etc. The first extant work is 'Il Candelajo' (The Taper), a comedy which in its license of language and manner vividly reflects the time. In the dedication he discloses his philosophy: 'Time takes away everything and gives everything.' The 'Spaccio della Bestia Trionfante' (Expulsion of the Triumphant Beast), the most celebrated of his works, is an attack on the superstitions of the day, a curious medley of learning, imagination, and buffoonery. 'Degl' Eroici Furori' (The Heroic Enthusiasts) is the most interesting to modern readers, and in its majestic exaltation and poetic imagery is a true product of Italian culture.

Bruno was evidently a man of vast intellect and of immense erudition. His philosophic speculations comprehended not only the ancient thought, and that current at his time, but also reached out toward the future and the results of modern science. He perceived some of the facts which were later formulated in the theory of evolution. "The mind of man differs from that of lower animals and of plants not in quality but only in quantity.... Each individual is the resultant of innumerable individuals. Each species is the Starting point for the next.... No individual is the same to-day as yesterday."

Not only in this divination of coming truths is he modern, but also in his methods of investigation. Reason was to him the guide to truth. In a study of him Lewes says:--"Bruno was a true Neapolitan child--as ardent as its soil ... as capricious as its varied climate. There was a restless energy which fitted him to become the preacher of a new crusade--urging him to throw a haughty defiance in the face of every authority in every country,--an energy which closed his wild adventurous career at the stake." He was distinguished also by a rich fancy, a varied humor, and a chivalrous gallantry, which constantly remind us that the intellectual athlete is an Italian, and an Italian of the sixteenth century.




A DISCOURSE OF POETS

From 'The Heroic Enthusiasts'

Cicada--Say, what do you mean by those who vaunt themselves of myrtle and laurel?

Tansillo--Those may and do boast of the myrtle who sing of love: if they bear themselves nobly, they may wear a crown of that plant consecrated to Venus, of which they know the potency. Those may boast of the laurel who sing worthily of things pertaining to heroes, substituting heroic souls for speculative and moral philosophy, praising them and setting them as mirrors and exemplars for political and civil actions.

Cicada--There are then many species of poets and crowns?

Tansillo--Not only as many as there are Muses, but a great many more; for although genius is to be met with, yet certain modes and species of human ingenuity cannot be thus classified.

Cicada--There are certain schoolmen who barely allow Homer to be a poet, and set down Virgil, Ovid, Martial, Hesiod, Lucretius, and many others as versifiers, judging them by the rules of poetry of Aristotle.

Tansillo--Know for certain, my brother, that such as these are beasts. They do not consider that those rules serve principally as a frame for the Homeric poetry, and for other similar to it; and they set up one as a great poet, high as Homer, and disallow those of other vein and art and enthusiasm, who in their various kinds are equal, similar, or greater.

Cicada--So that Homer was not a poet who depended upon rules, but was the cause of the rules which serve for those who are more apt at imitation than invention, and they have been used by him who, being no poet, yet knew how to take the rules of Homeric poetry into service, so as to become, not a poet or a Homer, but one who apes the Muse of others?

Tansillo--Thou dost well conclude that poetry is not born in rules, or only slightly and accidentally so: the rules are derived, from the poetry, and there are as many kinds and sorts of true rules as there are kinds and sorts of true poets.

Cicada--How then are the true poets to be known?

Tansillo--By the singing of their verses: in that singing they give delight, or they edify, or they edify and delight together.

Cicada--To whom then are the rules of Aristotle useful?

Tansillo--To him who, unlike Homer, Hesiod, Orpheus, and others, could not sing without the rules of Aristotle, and who, having no Muse of his own, would coquette with that of Homer.

Cicada--Then they are wrong, those stupid pedants of our days, who exclude from the number of poets those who do not use words and metaphors conformable to, or whose principles are not in union with, those of Homer and Virgil; or because they do not observe the custom of invocation, or because they weave one history or tale with another, or because they finish the song with an epilogue on what has been said and a prelude on what is to be said, and many other kinds of criticism and censure; from whence it seems they would imply that they themselves, if the fancy took them, could be the true poets: and yet in fact they are no other than worms, that know not how to do anything well, but are born only to gnaw and befoul the studies and labors of others; and not being able to attain celebrity by their own virtue and ingenuity, seek to put themselves in the front, by hook or by crook, through the defects and errors of others.

Tansillo--There are as many sorts of poets as there are sentiments and ideas; and to these it is possible to adapt garlands, not only of every species of plant, but also of other kinds of material. So the crowns of poets are made not only of myrtle and of laurel, but of vine leaves for the white-wine verses, and of ivy for the bacchanals; of olive for sacrifice and laws; of poplar, of elm, and of corn for agriculture; of cypress for funerals, and innumerable others for other occasions; and if it please you, also of the material signified by a good fellow when he exclaimed:

"O Friar Leek! O Poetaster!
That in Milan didst buckle on thy wreath
Composed of salad, sausage, and the pepper-caster."

Cicada--Now surely he of divers moods, which he exhibits in various ways, may cover himself with the branches of different plants, and may hold discourse worthily with the Muses; for they are his aura or comforter, his anchor or support, and his harbor, to which he retires in times of labor, of agitation, and of storm. Hence he cries:--"O Mountain of Parnassus, where I abide; Muses, with whom I converse; Fountain of Helicon, where I am nourished; Mountain, that affordest me a quiet dwelling-place; Muses, that inspire me with profound doctrines; Fountain, that cleansest me; Mountain, on whose ascent my heart uprises; Muses, that in discourse revive my spirits; Fountain, whose arbors cool my brows,--change my death into life, my cypress to laurels, and my hells into heavens: that is, give me immortality, make me a poet, render me illustrious!"

Tansillo--Well; because to those whom Heaven favors, the greatest evils turn to greatest good; for needs or necessities bring forth labors and studies, and these most often bring the glory of immortal splendor.

Cicada--For to die in one age makes us live in all the rest.




     CANTICLE OF THE SHINING ONES

     A Tribute to English Women, from 'The Nolan'


     "Nothing I envy, Jove, from this thy sky,"
       Spake Neptune thus, and raised his lofty crest.
     "God of the waves," said Jove, "thy pride runs high;
       What more wouldst add to own thy stern behest?"

     "Thou," spake the god, "dost rule the fiery span,
       The circling spheres, the glittering shafts of day;
     Greater am I, who in the realm of man
       Rule Thames, with all his Nymphs in fair array.

     "In this my breast I hold the fruitful land,
       The vasty reaches of the trembling sea;
     And what in night's bright dome, or day's, shall stand
       Before these radiant maids who dwell with me?"

     "Not thine," said Jove, "god of the watery mount,
       To exceed my lot; but thou my lot shalt share:
     Thy heavenly maids among my stars I'll count,
       And thou shalt own the stars beyond compare!"



     THE SONG OF THE NINE SINGERS

     [The first sings and plays the cithern.]

     O cliffs and rocks! O thorny woods! O shore!
     O hills and dales! O valleys, rivers, seas!
     How do your new-discovered beauties please?
     O Nymph, 'tis yours the guerdon rare,
     If now the open skies shine fair;
     O happy wanderings, well spent and o'er!

     [The second sings and plays to his mandolin.]

     O happy wanderings, well spent and o'er!
     Say then, O Circe, these heroic tears,
     These griefs, endured through tedious months and years,
     Were as a grace divine bestowed
     If now our weary travail is no more.

     [The third sings and plays to his lyre.]

     If now our weary travail is no more!
     If this sweet haven be our destined rest,
     Then naught remains but to be blest,
     To thank our God for all his gifts,
     Who from our eyes the veil uplifts,
     Where shines the light upon the heavenly shore,

     [The fourth sings to the viol.]

     Where shines the light upon the heavenly shore!
     O blindness, dearer far than others' sight!
     O sweeter grief than earth's most sweet delight!
     For ye have led the erring soul
     By gradual steps to this fair goal,
     And through the darkness into light we soar.

     [The fifth sings to a Spanish timbrel.]

     And through the darkness into light we soar!
     To full fruition all high thought is brought,
     With such brave patience that ev'n we
     At least the only path can see,
     And in his noblest work our God adore.

     [The sixth sings to a lute.]

     And in his noblest work our God adore!
       God doth not will joy should to joy succeed,
       Nor ill shall be of other ill the seed;
         But in his hand the wheel of fate
         Turns, now depressed and now elate,
     Evolving day from night for evermore.

     [The seventh sings to the Irish harp.]

     Evolving day from night for evermore!
       And as yon robe of glorious nightly fire
       Pales when the morning beams to noon aspire,
         Thus He who rules with law eternal,
         Creating order fair diurnal,
     Casts down the proud and doth exalt the poor.

     [The eighth plays with a viol and bow.]

     Casts down the proud and doth exalt the poor!
         And with an equal hand maintains
         The boundless worlds which He sustains,
         And scatters all our finite sense
         At thought of His omnipotence,
     Clouded awhile, to be revealed once more.

     [The ninth plays upon the rebeck.]

     Clouded awhile, to be revealed once more!
         Thus neither doubt nor fear avails;
         O'er all the incomparable End prevails,
         O'er fair champaign and mountain,
         O'er river-brink and fountain,
     And o'er the shocks of seas and perils of the shore.

     Translation of Isa Blagden.



     OF IMMENSITY

     From Frith's 'Life of Giordano Bruno'


     'Tis thou, O Spirit, dost within my soul
       This weakly thought with thine own life amend;
       Rejoicing, dost thy rapid pinions lend
     Me, and dost wing me to that lofty goal
     Where secret portals ope and fetters break,
       And thou dost grant me, by thy grace complete,
     Fortune to spurn, and death; O high retreat,
       Which few attain, and fewer yet forsake!
     Girdled with gates of brass in every part,
       Prisoned and bound in vain, 'tis mine to rise
       Through sparkling fields of air to pierce the skies,
     Sped and accoutred by no doubting heart,
     Till, raised on clouds of contemplation vast,
     Light, leader, law, Creator, I attain at last.



     LIFE WELL LOST


     Winged by desire and thee, O dear delight!
       As still the vast and succoring air I tread,
       So, mounting still, on swifter pinions sped,
     I scorn the world, and heaven receives my flight.
     And if the end of Ikaros be nigh,
       I will submit, for I shall know no pain:
       And falling dead to earth, shall rise again;
     What lowly life with such high death can vie?
     Then speaks my heart from out the upper air,
     "Whither dost lead me? sorrow and despair
     Attend the rash." and thus I make reply:--
       "Fear thou no fall, nor lofty ruin sent;
       Safely divide the clouds, and die content,
     When such proud death is dealt thee from on high."



     PARNASSUS WITHIN


     O heart, 'tis you my chief Parnassus are,
       Where for my safety I must ever climb.
       My wingèd thoughts are Muses, who from far
       Bring gifts of beauty to the court of Time;
     And Helicon, that fair unwasted rill,
       Springs newly in my tears upon the earth,
     And by those streams and nymphs, and by that hill,
       It pleased the gods to give a poet birth.
     No favoring hand that comes of lofty race,
       No priestly unction, nor the grant of kings,
     Can on me lay such lustre and such grace,
       Nor add such heritage; for one who sings
     Hath a crowned head, and by the sacred bay,
     His heart, his thoughts, his tears, are consecrate alway.



     COMPENSATION


     The moth beholds not death as forth he flies
       Into the splendor of the living flame;
     The hart athirst to crystal water hies,
       Nor heeds the shaft, nor fears the hunter's aim;
     The timid bird, returning from above
       To join his mate, deems not the net is nigh;
     Unto the light, the fount, and to my love,
       Seeing the flame, the shaft, the chains, I fly;
     So high a torch, love-lighted in the skies,
       Consumes my soul; and with this bow divine
     Of piercing sweetness what terrestrial vies?
       This net of dear delight doth prison mine;
     And I to life's last day have this desire--
     Be mine thine arrows, love, and mine thy fire.



     LIFE FOR SONG


     Come Muse, O Muse, so often scorned by me,
       The hope of sorrow and the balm of care,--
     Give to me speech and song, that I may be
     Unchid by grief; grant me such graces rare
       As other ministering souls may never see
     Who boast thy laurel, and thy myrtle wear.
     I know no joy wherein thou hast not part,
       My speeding wind, my anchor, and my goal,
     Come, fair Parnassus, lift thou up my heart;
       Come, Helicon, renew my thirsty soul.
     A cypress crown, O Muse, is thine to give,
       And pain eternal: take this weary frame,
     Touch me with fire, and this my death shall live
     On all men's lips and in undying fame.





WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT

(1794-1878)

BY GEORGE PARSONS LATHROP

istinguished as he was by the lofty qualities of his verse, William Cullen Bryant held a place almost unique in American literature, by the union of his activity as a poet with his eminence as a citizen and an influential journalist, throughout an uncommonly long career. Two traits still further define the peculiarity of his position--his precocious development, and the evenness and sustained vigor of all his poetic work from the beginning to the end. He began writing verse at the age of eight; at ten he made contributions in this kind to the county gazette, and produced a finished and effective rhymed address, read at his school examination, which became popular for recitation; and in his thirteenth year, during the Presidency of Thomas Jefferson, he composed a political satire, 'The Embargo.' This, being published, was at first supposed by many to be the work of a man, attracted much attention and praise, and passed into a second edition with other shorter pieces.

But these, while well wrought in the formal eighteenth-century fashion, showed no special originality. It was with 'Thanatopsis,' written in 1811, when he was only seventeen, that his career as a poet of original and assured strength began. 'Thanatopsis' was an inspiration of the primeval woods of America, of the scenes that surrounded the writer in youth. At the same time it expressed with striking independence and power a fresh conception of "the universality of Death in the natural order." As has been well said, "it takes the idea of death out of its theological aspects and restores it to its proper place in the vast scheme of things. This in itself was a mark of genius in a youth of his time and place." Another American poet, Stoddard, calls it the greatest poem ever written by so young a man. The author's son-in-law and biographer, Parke Godwin, remarks upon it aptly, "For the first time on this continent a poem was written destined to general admiration and enduring fame;" and this indeed is a very significant point, that it began the history of true poetry in the United States,--a fact which further secured to Bryant his exceptional place. The poem remains a classic of the English language, and the author himself never surpassed the high mark attained in it; although the balanced and lasting nature of his faculty is shown in a pendant to this poem, which he created in his old age and entitled 'The Flood of Years.' The last is equal to the first in dignity and finish, but is less original, and has never gained a similar fame.

Another consideration regarding Bryant is, that representing a modern development of poetry under American inspiration, he was also a descendant of the early Massachusetts colonists, being connected with the Pilgrim Fathers through three ancestral lines. Born at Cummington, Massachusetts, November 3d, 1794, the son of a stalwart but studious country physician of literary tastes, he inherited the strong religious feeling of this ancestry, which was united in him with a deep and sensitive love of nature. This led him to reflect in his poems the strength and beauty of American landscape, vividly as it had never before been mirrored; and the blending of serious thought and innate piety with the sentiment for nature so reflected gave a new and impressive result.

Like many other long-lived men, Bryant suffered from delicate health in the earlier third of his life: there was a tendency to consumption in his otherwise vigorous family stock. He read much, and was much interested in Greek literature and somewhat influenced by it. But he also lived a great deal in the open air, rejoiced in the boisterous games and excursions in the woods with his brothers and sisters, and took long rambles alone among the hills and wild groves; being then, as always afterwards, an untiring walker. After a stay of only seven months at Williams College, he studied law, which he practiced for some eight years in Plainfield and Great Barrington. In the last-named village he was elected a tithingman, charged with the duty of keeping order in the churches and enforcing the observance of Sunday. Chosen town clerk soon afterwards, at a salary of five dollars a year, he kept the records of the town with his own hand for five years, and also served as justice of the peace with power to hear cases in a lower court. These biographical items are of value, as showing his close relation to the self-government of the people in its simpler forms, and his early practical familiarity with the duties of a trusted citizen.

Meanwhile, however, he kept on writing at intervals, and in 1821 read before the Phi Beta Kappa Society at Harvard a long poem, 'The Ages,' a kind of composition more in favor at that period than in later days, being a general review of the progress of man in knowledge and virtue. With the passage of time it has not held its own as against some of his other poems, although it long enjoyed a high reputation; but its success on its original hearing was the cause of his bringing together his first volume of poems, hardly more than a pamphlet, in the same year. It made him famous with the reading public of the United States, and won some recognition in England. In this little book were contained, besides 'The Ages' and 'Thanatopsis,' several pieces which have kept their hold upon popular taste; such as the well-known lines 'To a Waterfowl' and the 'Inscription for the Entrance to a Wood.'


The year of its publication also brought into the world Cooper's 'The Spy,' Irving's 'Sketch Book' and 'Bracebridge Hall,' with various other significant volumes, including Channing's early essays and Daniel Webster's great Plymouth Oration. It was evident that a native literature was dawning brightly; and as Bryant's productions now came into demand, and he had never liked the profession of law, he quitted it and went to New York in 1825, there to seek a living by his pen as "a literary adventurer." The adventure led to ultimate triumph, but not until after a long term of dark prospects and hard struggles.

Even in his latest years Bryant used to declare that his favorite among his poems--although it is one of the least known--was 'Green River'; perhaps because it recalled the scenes of young manhood, when he was about entering the law, and contrasted the peacefulness of that stream with the life in which he would be

"Forced to drudge for the dregs of men,
And scrawl strange words with the barbarous pen,
And mingle among the jostling crowd,
Where the sons of strife are subtle and loud."

This might be applied to much of his experience in New York, where he edited the New York Review and became one of the editors, then a proprietor, and finally chief editor of the Evening Post. A great part of his energies now for many years was given to his journalistic function, and to the active outspoken discussion of important political questions; often in trying crises and at the cost of harsh unpopularity. Success, financial as well as moral, came to him within the next quarter-century, during which laborious interval he had likewise maintained his interest and work in pure literature and produced new poems from time to time in various editions.

From this point on until his death, June 12th, 1878, in his eighty-fourth year, he was the central and commanding figure in the enlarging literary world of New York. His newspaper had gained a potent reputation, and it brought to bear upon public affairs a strong influence of the highest sort. Its editorial course and tone, as well as the earnest and patriotic part taken by Bryant in popular questions and national affairs, without political ambition or office-holding, had established him as one of the most distinguished citizens of the metropolis, no less than its most renowned poet. His presence and co-operation were indispensable in all great public functions or humanitarian and intellectual movements. In 1864 his seventieth birthday was celebrated at the Century Club with extraordinary honors. In 1875, again, the two houses of the State Legislature at Albany paid him the compliment, unprecedented in the annals of American authorship, of inviting him to a reception given to him in their official capacity. Another mark of the abounding esteem in which he was held among his fellow-citizens was the presentation to him in 1876 of a rich silver vase, commemorative of his life and works. He was now a wealthy man; yet his habits of life remained essentially unchanged. His tastes were simple, his love of nature was still ardent; his literary and editorial industry unflagging.

Besides his poems, Bryant wrote two short stories for 'Tales of the Glauber Spa'; and published 'Letters of a Traveler' in 1850, as a result of three journeys to Europe and the Orient, together with various public addresses. His style as a writer of prose is clear, calm, dignified, and denotes exact observation and a wide range of interests. So too his editorial articles in the Evening Post, some of which have been preserved in his collected writings, are couched in serene and forcible English, with nothing of the sensational or the colloquial about them. They were a fitting medium of expression for his firm conscientiousness and integrity as a journalist.

But it is as a poet, and especially by a few distinctive compositions, that Bryant will be most widely and deeply held in remembrance. In the midst of the exacting business of his career as an editor, and many public or social demands upon his time, he found opportunity to familiarize himself with portions of German and Spanish poetry, which he translated, and to maintain in the quietude of his country home in Roslyn, Long Island, his old acquaintance with the Greek and Latin classics. From this continued study there resulted naturally in 1870 his elaborate translation of Homer's Iliad, which was followed by that of the Odyssey in 1871. These scholarly works, cast in strong and polished blank verse, won high praise from American critics, and even achieved a popular success, although they were not warmly acclaimed, in England. Among literarians they are still regarded as in a manner standards of their kind. Bryant, in his long march of over sixty-five years across the literary field, was witness to many new developments in poetic writing, in both his own and other countries. But while he perceived the splendor and color and rich novelty of these, he held in his own work to the plain theory and practice which had guided him from the start. "The best poetry," he still believed--"that which takes the strongest hold of the general mind, not in one age only but in all ages--is that which is always simple and always luminous." He did not embody in impassioned forms the sufferings, emotions, or problems of the human kind, but was disposed to generalize them, as in 'The Journey of Life,' the 'Hymn of the City,' and 'The Song of the Sower,' it is characteristic that two of the longer poems, 'Sella' and 'The Little People of the Snow,' which are narratives, deal with legends of an individual human life merging itself with the inner life of nature, under the form of imaginary beings who dwell in the snow or in water. On the other hand, one of his eulogists observes that although some of his contemporaries went much beyond him in fullness of insight and nearness to the great conflicts of the age, "he has certainly not been surpassed, perhaps not been approached, by any writer since Wordsworth, in that majestic repose and that self-reliant simplicity which characterized the morning stars of song." In 'Our Country's Call,' however, one hears the ring of true martial enthusiasm; and there is a deep patriotic fervor in 'O Mother of a Mighty Race.' The noble and sympathetic homage paid to the typical womanhood of a genuine woman of every day, in 'The Conqueror's Grave,' reveals also great underlying warmth and sensitiveness of feeling. 'Robert of Lincoln,' and 'The Planting of the Apple-Tree' are both touched with a lighter mood of joy in nature, which supplies a contrast to his usual pensiveness.

Bryant's venerable aspect in old age--with erect form, white hair, and flowing snowy beard--gave him a resemblance to Homer; and there was something Homeric about his influence upon the literature of his country, in the dignity with which he invested the poetic art and the poet's relation to the people.






[All Bryant's poems were originally published by D. Appleton and Company.]




     THANATOPSIS

     To him who in the love of Nature holds
     Communion with her visible forms, she speaks
     A various language; for his gayer hours
     She has a voice of gladness, and a smile
     And eloquence of beauty, and she glides
     Into his darker musings, with a mild
     And healing sympathy, that steals away
     Their sharpness ere he is aware. When thoughts
     Of the last bitter hour come like a blight
     Over thy spirit, and sad images
     Of the stern agony, and shroud, and pall,
     And breathless darkness, and the narrow house,
     Make thee to shudder, and grow sick at heart;--
     Go forth, under the open sky, and list
     To Nature's teachings, while from all around--
     Earth and her waters, and the depths of air--
     Comes a still voice:--

                         Yet a few days, and thee
     The all-beholding sun shall see no more
     In all his course; nor yet in the cold ground,
     Where thy pale form was laid, with many tears,
     Nor in the embrace of ocean, shall exist
     Thy image. Earth, that nourished thee, shall claim
     Thy growth, to be resolved to earth again,
     And, lost each human trace, surrendering up
     Thine individual being, shalt thou go
     To mix for ever with the elements,
     To be a brother to the insensible rock
     And to the sluggish clod, which the rude swain
     Turns with his share, and treads upon. The oak
     Shall send his roots abroad, and pierce thy mold.

       Yet not to thine eternal resting-place
     Shalt thou retire alone, nor couldst thou wish
     Couch more magnificent. Thou shalt lie down
     With patriarchs of the infant world--with kings,
     The powerful of the earth--the wise, the good,
     Fair forms, and hoary seers of ages past,
     All in one mighty sepulchre. The hills
     Rock-ribbed and ancient as the sun,--the vales
     Stretching in pensive quietness between;
     The venerable woods--rivers that move
     In majesty, and the complaining brooks
     That make the meadows green; and, poured round all,
     Old Ocean's gray and melancholy waste,--
     Are but the solemn decorations all
     Of the great tomb of man. The golden sun,
     The planets, all the infinite host of heaven,
     Are shining on the sad abodes of death,
     Through the still lapse of ages. All that tread
     The globe are but a handful to the tribes
     That slumber in its bosom.--Take the wings
     Of morning, pierce the Barcan wilderness,
     Or lose thyself in the continuous woods
     Where rolls the Oregon, and hears no sound
     Save his own dashings--yet the dead are there;
     And millions in those solitudes, since first
     The flight of years began, have laid them down
     In their last sleep--the dead reign there alone.

     So shalt thou rest; and what if thou withdraw
     In silence from the living, and no friend
     Take note of thy departure? All that breathe
     Will share thy destiny. The gay will laugh
     When thou art gone, the solemn brood of care
     Plod on, and each one as before will chase
     His favorite phantom; yet all these shall leave
     Their mirth and their employments, and shall come
     And make their bed with thee. As the long train
     Of ages glides away, the sons of men,--
     The youth in life's fresh spring and he who goes
     In the full strength of years, matron and maid,
     The speechless babe and the gray-headed man--
     Shall one by one be gathered to thy side,
     By those who in their turn shall follow them.

       So live, that when thy summons comes to join
     The innumerable caravan which moves
     To that mysterious realm where each shall take
     His chamber in the silent halls of death,
     Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night,
     Scourged to his dungeon; but, sustained and soothed
     By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave
     Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch
     About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.



     THE CROWDED STREET


     Let me move slowly through the street,
       Filled with an ever-shifting train,
     Amid the sound of steps that beat
       The murmuring walks like autumn rain.

     How fast the flitting figures come!
       The mild, the fierce, the stony face--
     Some bright with thoughtless smiles, and some
       Where secret tears have lost their trace.

     They pass to toil, to strife, to rest--
       To halls in which the feast is spread--
     To chambers where the funeral guest
       In silence sits beside the dead.

     And some to happy homes repair,
       Where children, pressing cheek to cheek,
     With mute caresses shall declare
       The tenderness they cannot speak.

     And some, who walk in calmness here,
       Shall shudder as they reach the door
     Where one who made their dwelling dear,
       Its flower, its light, is seen no more.

     Youth, with pale cheek and slender frame,
       And dreams of greatness in thine eye!
     Go'st thou to build an early name,
       Or early in the task to die?

     Keen son of trade, with eager brow!
       Who is now fluttering in thy snare?
     Thy golden fortunes, tower they now,
       Or melt the glittering spires in air?

     Who of this crowd to-night shall tread
       The dance till daylight gleam again?
     Who sorrow o'er the untimely dead?
       Who writhe in throes of mortal pain?

     Some, famine-struck, shall think how long
       The cold dark hours, how slow the light;
     And some who flaunt amid the throng
       Shall hide in dens of shame to-night.

     Each where his tasks or pleasures call,
       They pass, and heed each other not.
     There is Who heeds, Who holds them all
       In His large love and boundless thought.

     These struggling tides of life, that seem
       In wayward, aimless course to tend,
     Are eddies of the mighty stream
       That rolls to its appointed end.


     D. Appleton and Company, New York.



     THE DEATH OF THE FLOWERS

     The melancholy days are come, the saddest of the year,
     Of wailing winds, and naked woods, and meadows brown and sere.
     Heaped in the hollows of the grove, the autumn leaves lie dead;
     They rustle to the eddying gust, and to the rabbit's tread.
     The robin and the wren are flown, and from the shrubs the jay,
     And from the wood-top calls the crow through all the gloomy day.

     Where are the flowers, the fair young flowers, that lately sprang and stood
     In brighter light and softer airs, a beauteous sisterhood?
     Alas! they all are in their graves; the gentle race of flowers
     Are lying in their lowly beds, with the fair and good of ours.
     The rain is falling where they lie, but the cold November rain
     Calls not from out the gloomy earth the lovely ones again.

     The wind-flower and the violet, they perished long ago,
     And the brier-rose and the orchis died amid the summer glow;
     But on the hills the golden-rod, and the aster in the wood,
     And the yellow sunflower by the brook, in autumn beauty stood,
     Till fell the frost from the clear cold heaven, as falls the plague on men,
     And the brightness of their smile was gone from upland, glade, and glen.

     And now, when comes the calm mild day, as still such days will come,
     To call the squirrel and the bee from out their winter home;
     When the sound of dropping nuts is heard, though all the trees are still,
     And twinkle in the smoky light the waters of the rill,
     The south-wind searches for the flowers whose fragrance late he bore,
     And sighs to find them in the wood and by the stream no more.

     And then I think of one who in her youthful beauty died,
     The fair meek blossom that grew up and faded by my side.
     In the cold moist earth we laid her, when the forests cast the leaf,
     And we wept that one so lovely should have a life so brief;
     Yet not unmeet it was that one like that young friend of ours,
     So gentle and so beautiful, should perish with the flowers.



     THE CONQUEROR'S GRAVE

     Within this lowly grave a Conqueror lies,
       And yet the monument proclaims it not,
       Nor round the sleeper's name hath chisel wrought
     The emblems of a fame that never dies,--
     Ivy and amaranth, in a graceful sheaf,
     Twined with the laurel's fair, imperial leaf.
         A simple name alone,
         To the great world unknown,
     Is graven here, and wild-flowers rising round,
     Meek meadow-sweet and violets of the ground,
       Lean lovingly against the humble stone.

     Here, in the quiet earth, they laid apart
       No man of iron mold and bloody hands,
       Who sought to wreak upon the cowering lands
     The passions that consumed his restless heart:
     But one of tender spirit and delicate frame,
          Gentlest, in mien and mind,
          Of gentle womankind,
     Timidly shrinking from the breath of blame;
     One in whose eyes the smile of kindness made
       Its haunts, like flowers by sunny brooks in May,
     Yet, at the thought of others' pain, a shade
       Of sweeter sadness chased the smile away.

     Nor deem that when the hand that molders here
     Was raised in menace, realms were chilled with fear,
       And armies mustered at the sign, as when
     Clouds rise on clouds before the rainy East--
       Gray captains leading bands of veteran men
     And fiery youths to be the vulture's feast.
     Not thus were waged the mighty wars that gave
     The victory to her who fills this grave:
         Alone her task was wrought,
         Alone the battle fought;
     Through that long strife her constant hope was staid
     On God alone, nor looked for other aid.

     She met the hosts of Sorrow with a look
       That altered not beneath the frown they wore,
     And soon the lowering brood were tamed, and took
       Meekly her gentle rule, and frowned no more.
     Her soft hand put aside the assaults of wrath,
             And calmly broke in twain
             The fiery shafts of pain,
     And rent the nets of passion from her path.
       By that victorious hand despair was slain.
     With love she vanquished hate and overcame
     Evil with good, in her Great Master's name.

     Her glory is not of this shadowy state,
       Glory that with the fleeting season dies;
     But when she entered at the sapphire gate
       What joy was radiant in celestial eyes!
     How heaven's bright depths with sounding welcomes rung,
     And flowers of heaven by shining hands were flung!
             And He who long before,
             Pain, scorn, and sorrow bore,
     The Mighty Sufferer, with aspect sweet,
     Smiled on the timid stranger from his seat;
       He who returning, glorious, from the grave,
       Dragged Death disarmed, in chains, a crouching slave.

     See, as I linger here, the sun grows low;
       Cool airs are murmuring that the night is near.
     O gentle sleeper, from the grave I go,
       Consoled though sad, in hope and yet in fear.
            Brief is the time, I know,
            The warfare scarce begun;
     Yet all may win the triumphs thou hast won.
     Still flows the fount whose waters strengthened thee;
       The victors' names are yet too few to fill
     Heaven's mighty roll; the glorious armory
       That ministered to thee, is open still.



     THE-BATTLE-FIELD


     Once this soft turf, this rivulet's sands,
       Were trampled by a hurrying crowd,
     And fiery hearts and armed hands
       Encountered in the battle-cloud.

     Ah! never shall the land forget
       How gushed the life-blood of her brave--
     Gushed, warm with hope and courage yet,
       Upon the soil they sought to save.

     Now all is calm, and fresh, and still;
       Alone the chirp of flitting bird,
     And talk of children on the hill,
       And bell of wandering kine are heard.

     No solemn host goes trailing by
       The black-mouthed gun and staggering wain;
     Men start not at the battle-cry--
       Oh, be it never heard again!

     Soon rested those who fought; but thou
       Who minglest in the harder strife
     For truths which men receive not now,
       Thy warfare only ends with life.

     A friendless warfare! lingering long
       Through weary day and weary year;
     A wild and many-weaponed throng
       Hang on thy front, and flank, and rear.

     Yet nerve thy spirit to the proof,
       And blench not at thy chosen lot;
     The timid good may stand aloof,
       The sage may frown--yet faint thou not.

     Nor heed the shaft too surely cast,
       The foul and hissing bolt of scorn;
     For with thy side shall dwell, at last,
       The victory of endurance born.

     Truth, crushed to earth, shall rise again--
       The eternal years of God are hers;
     But Error, wounded, writhes in pain,
       And dies among his worshipers.

     Yea, though thou lie upon the dust,
       When they who helped thee flee in fear,
     Die full of hope and manly trust,
       Like those who fell in battle here!

     Another hand thy sword shall wield,
       Another hand the standard wave,
     Till from the trumpet's mouth is pealed
       The blast of triumph o'er thy grave.


     D. Appleton and Company, New York.



     TO A WATERFOWL


     Whither, 'midst falling dew,
             While glow the heavens with the last steps of day,
     Far through their rosy depths dost thou pursue
             Thy solitary way?

             Vainly the fowler's eye
     Might mark thy distant flight to do thee wrong,
     As, darkly painted on the crimson sky,
             Thy figure floats along,

             Seek'st thou the plashy brink
     Of weedy lake, or marge of river wide,
     Or where the rocking billows rise and sink
             On the chafed ocean-side?

             There is a Power whose care
     Teaches thy way along that pathless coast--
     The desert and illimitable air--
             Lone wandering, but not lost.

             All day thy wings have fanned,
     At that far height, the cold thin atmosphere,
     Yet stoop not, weary, to the welcome land,
             Though the dark night is near.

             And soon that toil shall end;
     Soon shalt thou find a summer home, and rest,
     And scream among thy fellows; reeds shall bend,
             Soon, o'er thy sheltered nest.

             Thou'rt gone, the abyss of heaven
     Hath swallowed up thy form; yet on my heart
     Deeply has sunk the lesson thou hast given,
             And shall not soon depart.

             He who, from zone to zone,
     Guides through the boundless sky thy certain flight,
     In the long way that I must tread alone,
             Will lead my steps aright.



     ROBERT OF LINCOLN

     Merrily swinging on brier and weed,
       Near to the nest of his little dame,
     Over the mountain-side or mead,
       Robert of Lincoln is telling his name:--
         Bob-o'-link, bob-o'-link,
         Spink, spank, spink;
     Snug and safe is that nest of ours,
     Hidden among the summer flowers.
           Chee, chee, chee.

     Robert of Lincoln is gayly drest,
       Wearing a bright black wedding-coat;
     White are his shoulders and white his crest.
       Hear him call in his merry note:--
         Bob-o'-link, bob-o'-link,
         Spink, spank, spink;
     Look what a nice new coat is mine,
     Sure there was never a bird so fine.
           Chee, chee, chee.

     Robert of Lincoln's Quaker wife,
       Pretty and quiet, with plain brown wings,
     Passing at home a patient life,
       Broods in the grass while her husband sings:
         Bob-o'-link, bob-o'-link,
         Spink, spank, spink:
     Brood, kind creature; you need not fear
     Thieves and robbers while I am here.
           Chee, chee, chee.

     Modest and shy as a nun is she;
       One weak chirp is her only note.
     Braggart and prince of braggarts is he,
       Pouring boasts from his little throat:--
         Bob-o'-link, bob-o'-link,
         Spink, spank, spink:
     Never was I afraid of man;
     Catch me, cowardly knaves, if you can!
           Chee, chee, chee.

     Six white eggs on a bed of hay,
       Flecked with purple, a pretty sight!
     There as the mother sits all day,
       Robert is singing with all his might:--
         Bob-o'-link, bob-o'-link,
         Spink, spank, spink;
     Nice good wife, that never goes out,
     Keeping house while I frolic about.
           Chee, chee, chee.

     Soon as the little ones chip the shell,
       Six wide mouths are open for food;
     Robert of Lincoln bestirs him well,
       Gathering seeds for the hungry brood.
         Bob-o'-link, bob-o'-link,
         Spink, spank, spink;
     This new life is likely to be
     Hard for a gay young fellow like me.
           Chee, chee, chee.

     Robert of Lincoln at length is made
       Sober with work, and silent with care;
     Off is his holiday garment laid,
       Half forgotten that merry air:
         Bob-o'-link, bob-o'-link,
         Spink, spank, spink;
     Nobody knows but my mate and I
     Where our nest and our nestlings lie.
           Chee, chee, chee.

     Summer wanes; the children are grown;
       Fun and frolic no more he knows;
     Robert of Lincoln's a humdrum crone;
       Off he flies, and we sing as he goes:--
         Bob-o'-link, bob-o'-link,
         Spink, spank, spink;
     When you can pipe that merry old strain,
     Robert of Lincoln, come back again.
           Chee, chee, chee.


     1855



     JUNE

     I gazed upon the glorious sky
       And the green mountains round;
     And thought that when I came to lie
       At rest within the ground,
     'Twere pleasant that in flowery June,
     When brooks send up a cheerful tune
       And groves a joyous sound,
     The sexton's hand, my grave to make,
     The rich green mountain turf should break.

     A cell within the frozen mold,
       A coffin borne through sleet,
     And icy clods above it rolled,
       While fierce the tempests beat--
     Away! I will not think of these:
     Blue be the sky and soft the breeze,
       Earth green beneath the feet,
     And be the damp mold gently pressed
     Into my narrow place of rest.

     There through the long, long summer hours
       The golden light should lie,
     And thick young herbs and groups of flowers
       Stand in their beauty by;
     The oriole should build and tell
     His love-tale close beside my cell;
       The idle butterfly
     Should rest him there, and there be heard
     The housewife bee and humming-bird.

     And what if cheerful shouts at noon
       Come, from the village sent,
     Or songs of maids beneath the moon,
       With fairy laughter blent?
     And what if, in the evening light,
     Betrothed lovers walk in sight
       Of my low monument?
     I would the lovely scene around
     Might know no sadder sight nor sound.

     I know that I no more should see
       The season's glorious show,
     Nor would its brightness shine for me,
       Nor its wild music flow;
     But if, around my place of sleep.
     The friends I love should come to weep,
       They might not haste to go.
     Soft airs, and song, and light, and bloom,
     Should keep them lingering by my tomb.

     These to their softened hearts should bear
       The thought of what has been,
     And speak of one who cannot share
       The gladness of the scene;
     Whose part in all the pomp that fills
     The circuit of the summer hills
       Is--that his grave is green;
     And deeply would their hearts rejoice
     To hear again his living voice.



     TO THE FRINGED GENTIAN

     Thou blossom, bright with autumn dew,
     And colored with the heaven's own blue,
     That openest when the quiet light
     Succeeds the keen and frosty night;

     Thou comest not when violets lean
     O'er wandering brooks and springs unseen,
     Or columbines, in purple dressed,
     Nod o'er the ground-bird's hidden nest.

     Thou waitest late, and com'st alone,
     When woods are bare and birds are flown,
     And frost and shortening days portend
     The aged Year is near his end.

     Then doth thy sweet and quiet eye
     Look through its fringes to the sky,
     Blue--blue--as if that sky let fall
     A flower from its cerulean wall.

     I would that thus, when I shall see
     The hour of death draw near to me,
     Hope, blossoming within my heart,
     May look to heaven as I depart.


     D. Appleton and Company, New York.



     THE FUTURE LIFE

     How shall I know thee in the sphere which keeps
       The disembodied spirits of the dead,
     When all of thee that time could wither sleeps
       And perishes among the dust we tread?

     For I shall feel the sting of ceaseless pain
       If there I meet thy gentle presence not;
     Nor hear the voice I love, nor read again
       In thy serenest eyes the tender thought.

     Will not thy own meek heart demand me there?
       That heart whose fondest throbs to me were given?
     My name on earth was ever in thy prayer,
       And wilt thou never utter it in heaven?

     In meadows fanned by heaven's life-breathing wind,
       In the resplendence of that glorious sphere,
     And larger movements of the unfettered mind,
       Wilt thou forget the love that joined us here?

     The love that lived through all the stormy past,
       And meekly with my harsher nature bore,
     And deeper grew, and tenderer to the last,
       Shall it expire with life, and be no more?

     A happier lot than mine, and larger light,
       Await thee there; for thou hast bowed thy will
     In cheerful homage to the rule of right,
       And lovest all, and renderest good for ill.

     For me, the sordid cares in which I dwell
       Shrink and consume my heart, as heat the scroll;
     And wrath has left its scar--that fire of hell
       Has left its frightful scar upon my soul.

     Yet though thou wear'st the glory of the sky,
       Wilt thou not keep the same beloved name,
     The same fair thoughtful brow, and gentle eye,
       Lovelier in heaven's sweet climate, yet the same?

     Shalt thou not teach me, in that calmer home,
       The wisdom that I learned so ill in this--
     The wisdom which is love--till I become
       Thy fit companion in that land of bliss?


     D. Appleton and Company, New York.



     TO THE PAST

           Thou unrelenting Past!
     Stern are the fetters round thy dark domain,
           And fetters, sure and fast,
     Hold all that enter thy unbreathing reign.

           Far in thy realm withdrawn
     Old empires sit in sullenness and gloom,
           And glorious ages gone
     Lie deep within the shadows of thy womb.

           Childhood, with all its mirth,
     Youth, Manhood, Age, that draws us to the ground,
           And last, Man's Life on earth,
     Glide to thy dim dominions, and are bound.

           Thou hast my better years,
     Thou hast my earlier friends--the good, the kind--
           Yielded to thee with tears--
     The venerable form, the exalted mind.

           My spirit yearns to bring
     The lost ones back; yearns with desire intense,
           And struggles hard to wring
     Thy bolts apart, and pluck thy captives thence.

           In vain!--Thy gates deny
     All passage save to those who hence depart.
           Nor to the streaming eye
     Thou givest them back, nor to the broken heart.

           In thy abysses hide
     Beauty and excellence unknown. To thee
           Earth's wonder and her pride
     Are gathered, as the waters to the sea.

           Labors of good to man,
     Unpublished charity, unbroken faith;
           Love, that 'midst grief began,
     And grew with years, and faltered not in death.

           Full many a mighty name
     Lurks in thy depths, unuttered, unrevered.
           With thee are silent Fame,
     Forgotten Arts, and Wisdom disappeared.

           Thine for a space are they.
     Yet thou shalt yield thy treasures up at last;
           Thy gates shall yet give way,
     Thy bolts shall fall, inexorable Past!

           All that of good and fair
     Has gone into thy womb from earliest time
           Shall then come forth, to wear
     The glory and the beauty of its prime.

           They have not perished--no!
     Kind words, remembered voices once so sweet,
           Smiles, radiant long ago,
     And features, the great soul's apparent seat:

           All shall come back. Each tie
     Of pure affection shall be knit again:
           Alone shall Evil die,
     And sorrow dwell a prisoner in thy reign.

           And then shall I behold
     Him by whose kind paternal side I sprung;
           And her who, still and cold,
     Fills the next grave--the beautiful and young.


     D. Appleton and Company, New York.





JAMES BRYCE

(1838-)


ames Bryce was born at Belfast, Ireland, of Scotch and Irish parents. He studied at the University of Glasgow and later at Oxford, where he graduated with high honors in 1862, and where after some years of legal practice he was appointed Regius Professor of Civil Law in 1870. He had already established a high reputation as an original and accurate historical scholar by his prize essay on the 'Holy Roman Empire' (1864), which passed through many editions, was translated into German, French, and Italian, and remains to-day a standard work and the best known work on the subject, Edward A. Freeman said on the appearance of the work that it had raised the author at once to the rank of a great historian. It has done more than any other treatise to clarify the vague notions of historians as to the significance of the imperial idea in the Middle Ages, and its importance as a factor in German and Italian politics; and it is safe to say that there is scarcely a recent history of the period that does not show traces of its influence. The scope of this work being juristic and philosophical, it does not admit of much historical narrative, and the style is lucid but not brilliant. It is not in fact as a historian that Mr. Bryce is best known, but rather as a jurist, a politician, and a student of institutions.


James Bryce

The most striking characteristic of the man is his versatility; a quality which in his case has not been accompanied by its usual defects, for his achievements in one field seem to have made him no less conscientious in others, while they have given him that breadth of view which is more essential than any special training to the critic of men and affairs. For the ten years that followed his Oxford appointment he contributed frequently to the magazines on geographical, social, and political topics. His vacations he spent in travel and in mountain climbing, of which he gave an interesting narrative in 'Transcaucasia and Ararat' (1877). In 1880 he entered active politics, and was elected to Parliament in the Liberal interest. He has continued steadfast in his support of the Liberal party and of Mr. Gladstone, whose Home Rule policy he has heartily seconded. In 1886 he became Gladstone's Under-Secretary of Foreign Affairs, and in 1894 was appointed President of the Board of Trade.

The work by which he is best known in this country, the 'American Commonwealth' (1888), is the fruit of his observations during three visits to the United States, and of many years of study. It is generally conceded to be the best critical analysis of American institutions ever made by a foreign author. Inferior in point of style to De Tocqueville's 'Democracy in America,' it far surpasses that book in amplitude, breadth of view, acuteness of observation, and minuteness of information; besides being half a century later in date, and therefore able to set down accomplished facts where the earlier observer could only make forecasts. His extensive knowledge of foreign countries, by divesting him of insular prejudice, fitted him to handle his theme with impartiality, and his experience in the practical workings of British institutions gave him an insight into the practical defects and benefits of ours. That he has a keen eye for defects is obvious, but his tone is invariably sympathetic; so much so, in fact, that Goldwin Smith has accused him of being somewhat "hard on England" in some of his comparisons. The faults of the book pertain rather to the manner than to the matter. He does not mislead, but sometimes wearies, and in some portions of the work the frequent repetitions, the massing of details, and the absence of compact statement tend to obscure the general drift of his argument and to add unduly to the bulkiness of his volumes.




THE POSITION OF WOMEN IN THE UNITED STATES

From 'The American Commonwealth'

Social intercourse between youths and maidens is everywhere more easy and unrestrained than in England or Germany, not to speak of France. Yet there are considerable differences between the Eastern cities, whose usages have begun to approximate to those of Europe, and other parts of the country. In the rural districts, and generally all over the West, young men and girls are permitted to walk together, drive together, go out to parties and even to public entertainments together, without the presence of any third person who can be supposed to be looking after or taking charge of the girl. So a girl may, if she pleases, keep up a correspondence with a young man, nor will her parents think of interfering. She will have her own friends, who when they call at her house ask for her, and are received by her, it may be alone; because they are not deemed to be necessarily the friends of her parents also, nor even of her sisters.

In the cities of the Atlantic States it is now thought scarcely correct for a young man to take a young lady out for a solitary drive; and in few sets would he be permitted to escort her alone to the theatre. But girls still go without chaperons to dances, the hostess being deemed to act as chaperon for all her guests; and as regards both correspondence and the right to have one's own circle of acquaintances, the usage even of New York or Boston allows more liberty than does that of London or Edinburgh. It was at one time, and it may possibly still be, not uncommon for a group of young people who know one another well to make up an autumn "party in the woods." They choose some mountain and forest region, such as the Adirondack Wilderness west of Lake Champlain, engage three or four guides, embark with guns and fishing-rods, tents, blankets, and a stock of groceries, and pass in boats up the rivers and across the lakes of this wild country through sixty or seventy miles of trackless forest, to their chosen camping-ground at the foot of some tall rock that rises from the still crystal of the lake. Here they build their bark hut, and spread their beds of the elastic and fragrant hemlock boughs; the youths roam about during the day, tracking the deer, the girls read and work and bake the corn-cakes; at night there is a merry gathering round the fire, or a row in the soft moonlight. On these expeditions brothers will take their sisters and cousins, who bring perhaps some lady friends with them; the brothers' friends will come too; and all will live together in a fraternal way for weeks or months, though no elderly relative or married lady be of the party.

There can be no doubt that the pleasure of life is sensibly increased by the greater freedom which transatlantic custom permits; and as the Americans insist that no bad results have followed, one notes with regret that freedom declines in the places which deem themselves most civilized. American girls have been, so far as a stranger can ascertain, less disposed to what are called "fast ways" than girls of the corresponding classes in England, and exercise in this respect a pretty rigorous censorship over one another. But when two young people find pleasure in one another's company, they can see as much of each other as they please, can talk and walk together frequently, can show that they are mutually interested, and yet need have little fear of being misunderstood either by one another or by the rest of the world. It is all a matter of custom. In the West, custom sanctions this easy friendship; in the Atlantic cities, so soon as people have come to find something exceptional in it, constraint is felt, and a conventional etiquette like that of the Old World begins to replace the innocent simplicity of the older time, the test of whose merit may be gathered from the universal persuasion in America that happy marriages are in the middle and upper ranks more common than in Europe, and that this is due to the ampler opportunities which young men and women have of learning one another's characters and habits before becoming betrothed. Most girls have a larger range of intimate acquaintances than girls have in Europe, intercourse is franker, there is less difference between the manners of home and the manners of general society. The conclusions of a stranger are in such matters of no value; so I can only repeat that I have never met any judicious American lady who, however well she knew the Old World, did not think that the New World customs conduced more both to the pleasantness of life before marriage, and to constancy and concord after it.

In no country are women, and especially young women, so much made of. The world is at their feet. Society seems organized for the purpose of providing enjoyment for them. Parents, uncles, aunts, elderly friends, even brothers, are ready to make their comfort and convenience bend to the girls' wishes. The wife has fewer opportunities for reigning over the world of amusements, because except among the richest people she has more to do in household management than in England, owing to the scarcity of servants; but she holds in her own house a more prominent if not a more substantially powerful position than in England or even in France. With the German haus-frau, who is too often content to be a mere housewife, there is of course no comparison. The best proof of the superior place American ladies occupy is to be found in the notions they profess to entertain of the relations of an English married pair. They talk of the English wife as little better than a slave; declaring that when they stay with English friends, or receive an English couple in America, they see the wife always deferring to the husband and the husband always assuming that his pleasure and convenience are to prevail. The European wife, they admit, often gets her own way, but she gets it by tactful arts, by flattery or wheedling or playing on the man's weaknesses; whereas in America the husband's duty and desire is to gratify the wife, and render to her those services which the English tyrant exacts from his consort. One may often hear an American matron commiserate a friend who has married in Europe, while the daughters declare in chorus that they will never follow the example. Laughable as all this may seem to English women, it is perfectly true that the theory as well as the practice of conjugal life is not the same in America as in England. There are overbearing husbands in America, but they are more condemned by the opinion of the neighborhood than in England. There are exacting wives in England, but their husbands are more pitied than would be the case in America. In neither country can one say that the principle of perfect equality reigns; for in America the balance inclines nearly, though not quite, as much in favor of the wife as it does in England in favor of the husband. No one man can have a sufficiently large acquaintance in both countries to entitle his individual opinion on the results to much weight. So far as I have been able to collect views from those observers who have lived in both countries, they are in favor of the American practice, perhaps because the theory it is based on departs less from pure equality than does that of England. These observers do not mean that the recognition of women as equals or superiors makes them any better or sweeter or wiser than Englishwomen; but rather that the principle of equality, by correcting the characteristic faults of men, and especially their selfishness and vanity, is more conducive to the concord and happiness of a home. They conceive that to make the wife feel her independence and responsibility more strongly than she does in Europe tends to brace and expand her character; while conjugal affection, usually stronger in her than in the husband, inasmuch as there are fewer competing interests, saves her from abusing the precedence yielded to her. This seems to be true; but I have heard others maintain that the American system, since it does not require the wife habitually to forego her own wishes, tends, if not to make her self-indulgent and capricious, yet slightly to impair the more delicate charms of character; as it is written, "It is more blessed to give than to receive."

A European cannot spend an evening in an American drawing-room without perceiving that the attitude of men to women is not that with which he is familiar at home. The average European man has usually a slight sense of condescension when he talks to a woman on serious subjects. Even if she is his superior in intellect, in character, in social rank, he thinks that as a man he is her superior, and consciously or unconsciously talks down to her. She is too much accustomed to this to resent it, unless it becomes tastelessly palpable. Such a notion does not cross an American's mind. He talks to a woman just as he would to a man; of course with more deference of manner, and with a proper regard to the topics likely to interest her, but giving her his intellectual best, addressing her as a person whose opinion is understood by both to be worth as much as his own. Similarly an American lady does not expect to have conversation made to her: it is just as much her duty or pleasure to lead it as the man's is; and more often than not she takes the burden from him, darting along with a gay vivacity which puts to shame his slower wits.

It need hardly be said that in all cases where the two sexes come into competition for comfort, the provision is made first for women. In railroads the end car of the train, being that farthest removed from the smoke of the locomotive, is often reserved for them (though men accompanying a lady are allowed to enter it); and at hotels their sitting-room is the best and sometimes the only available public room, ladyless guests being driven to the bar or the hall. In omnibuses and horse-cars (tram-cars), it was formerly the custom for a gentleman to rise and offer his seat to a lady if there were no vacant place. This is now less universally done. In New York and Boston (and I think also in San Francisco), I have seen the men keep their seats when ladies entered; and I recollect one occasion when the offer of a seat to a lady was declined by her, on the ground that as she had chosen to enter a full car she ought to take the consequences. It was (I was told in Boston) a feeling of this kind that had led to the discontinuance of the old courtesy: when ladies constantly pressed into the already crowded vehicles, the men, who could not secure the enforcement of the regulations against over-crowding, tried to protect themselves by refusing to rise. It is sometimes said that the privileges yielded to American women have disposed them to claim as a right what was only a courtesy, and have told unfavorably upon their manners. I know of several instances, besides this one of the horse-cars, which might seem to support the criticism, but cannot on the whole think it well founded. The better-bred women do not presume on their sex, and the area of good breeding is always widening. It need hardly be said that the community at large gains by the softening and restraining influence which the reverence for womanhood diffuses. Nothing so quickly incenses the people as any insult offered to a woman. Wife-beating, and indeed any kind of rough violence offered to women, is far less common among the rudest class than it is in England. Field work or work at the pit-mouth of mines is seldom or never done by women in America; and the American traveler who in some parts of Europe finds women performing severe manual labor, is revolted by the sight in a way which Europeans find surprising.

In the farther West, that is to say, beyond the Mississippi, in the Rocky Mountain and Pacific States, one is much struck by what seems the absence of the humblest class of women. The trains are full of poorly dressed and sometimes (though less frequently) rough-mannered men. One discovers no women whose dress or air marks them out as the wives, daughters, or sisters of these men, and wonders whether the male population is celibate, and if so, why there are so many women. Closer observation shows that the wives, daughters, and sisters are there, only their attire and manner are those of what Europeans would call middle-class and not working-class people. This is partly due to the fact that Western men affect a rough dress. Still one may say that the remark so often made, that the masses of the American people correspond to the middle class of Europe, is more true of the women than of the men; and is more true of them, in the rural districts and in the West than it is of the inhabitants of Atlantic cities. I remember to have been dawdling in a book-store in a small town in Oregon when a lady entered to inquire if a monthly magazine, whose name was unknown to me, had yet arrived. When she was gone I asked the salesman who she was, and what was the periodical she wanted. He answered that she was the wife of a railway workman, that the magazine was a journal of fashions, and that the demand for such journals was large and constant among women of the wage-earning class in the town. This set me to observing female dress more closely; and it turned out to be perfectly true that the women in these little towns were following the Parisian fashions very closely, and were in fact ahead of the majority of English ladies belonging to the professional and mercantile classes. Of course in such a town as I refer to, there are no domestic servants except in the hotels (indeed, almost the only domestic service to be had in the Pacific States was till very recently that of Chinese), so these votaries of fashion did all their own housework and looked after their own babies.

Three causes combine to create among American women an average of literary taste and influence higher than that of women in any European country. These are the educational facilities they enjoy, the recognition of the equality of the sexes in the whole social and intellectual sphere, and the leisure which they possess as compared with men. In a country where men are incessantly occupied at their business or profession, the function of keeping up the level of culture devolves upon women. It is safe in their hands. They are quick and keen-witted, less fond of open-air life and physical exertion than English women are, and obliged by the climate to pass a greater part of their time under shelter from the cold of winter and the sun of summer. For music and for the pictorial arts they do not yet seem to have formed so strong a taste as for literature; partly perhaps owing to the fact that in America the opportunities of seeing and hearing masterpieces, except indeed operas, are rarer than in Europe. But they are eager and assiduous readers of all such books and periodicals as do not presuppose special knowledge in some branch of science or learning, while the number who have devoted themselves to some special study and attained proficiency in it is large. The fondness for sentiment, especially moral and domestic sentiment, which is often observed as characterizing American taste in literature, seems to be mainly due to the influence of women, for they form not only the larger part of the reading public, but an independent-minded part, not disposed to adopt the canons laid down by men, and their preferences count for more in the opinions and predilections of the whole nation than is the case in England. Similarly the number of women who write is infinitely larger in America than in Europe. Fiction, essays, and poetry are naturally their favorite provinces. In poetry more particularly, many whose names are quite unknown in Europe have attained wide-spread fame.

Some one may ask how far the differences between the position of women in America and their position in Europe are due to democracy? or if not to this, then to what other cause?

They are due to democratic feeling, in so far as they spring from the notion that all men are free and equal, possessed of certain inalienable rights and owing certain corresponding duties. This root idea of democracy cannot stop at defining men as male human beings, any more than it could ultimately stop at defining them as white human beings. For many years the Americans believed in equality with the pride of discoverers as well as with the fervor of apostles. Accustomed to apply it to all sorts and conditions of men, they were naturally the first to apply it to women also; not indeed as respects politics, but in all the social as well as legal relations of life. Democracy is in America more respectful of the individual, less disposed to infringe his freedom or subject him to any sort of legal or family control, than it has shown itself in Continental Europe; and this regard for the individual inured to the benefit of women. Of the other causes that have worked in the same direction, two may be mentioned. One is the usage of the Congregationalist, Presbyterian, and Baptist churches, under which a woman who is a member of the congregation has the same rights in choosing a deacon, elder, or pastor, as a man has. Another is the fact that among the westward-moving settlers women were at first few in number, and were therefore treated with special respect. The habit then formed was retained as the communities grew, and propagated itself all over the country.

What have been the results on the character and usefulness of women themselves?

Favorable. They have opened to them a wider life and more variety of career. While the special graces of the feminine character do not appear to have suffered, there has been produced a sort of independence and a capacity for self-help which are increasingly valuable as the number of unmarried women increases. More resources are open to an American woman who has to lead a solitary life, not merely in the way of employment, but for the occupation of her mind and tastes, than to a European spinster or widow; while her education has not rendered the American wife less competent for the discharge of household duties.

How has the nation at large been affected by the development of this new type of womanhood, or rather perhaps of this variation on the English type?

If women have on the whole gained, it is clear that the nation gains through them. As mothers they mold the character of their children; while the function of forming the habits of society and determining its moral tone rests greatly in their hands. But there is reason to think that the influence of the American system tells directly for good upon men as well as upon the whole community. Men gain in being brought to treat women as equals, rather than as graceful playthings or useful drudges. The respect for women which every American man either feels, or is obliged by public sentiment to profess, has a wholesome effect on his conduct and character, and serves to check the cynicism which some other peculiarities of the country foster. The nation as a whole owes to the active benevolence of its women, and their zeal in promoting social reforms, benefits which the customs of Continental Europe would scarcely have permitted women to confer. Europeans have of late years begun to render a well-deserved admiration to the brightness and vivacity of American ladies. Those who know the work they have done and are doing in many a noble cause will admire still more their energy, their courage, their self-devotion. No country seems to owe more to its women than America does, nor to owe to them so much of what is best in social institutions and in the beliefs that govern conduct.

By permission of James Bryce and the Macmillan Company.




THE ASCENT OF ARARAT

From 'Trans-Caucasia and Ararat'

About 1 A.M. we got off, thirteen in all, and made straight across the grassy hollows for the ridges which trend up towards the great cone, running parallel in a west-north-westerly direction, and inclosing between them several long narrow depressions, hardly deep enough to be called valleys. The Kurds led the way, and at first we made pretty good progress. The Cossacks seemed fair walkers, though less stalwart than the Kurds; the pace generally was better than that with which Swiss guides start. However, we were soon cruelly undeceived. In twenty-five minutes there came a steep bit, and at the top of it they flung themselves down on the grass to rest. So did we all. Less than half a mile farther, down they dropped again, and this time we were obliged to give the signal for resuming the march. In another quarter of an hour they were down once more, and so it continued for the rest of the way. Every ten minutes' walking--it was seldom steep enough to be called actual climbing--was followed by seven or eight minutes of sitting still, smoking and chattering. How they did chatter! It was to no purpose that we continued to move on when they sat down, or that we rose to go before they had sufficiently rested. They looked at one another, so far as I could make out by the faint light, and occasionally they laughed; but they would not and did not stir till such time as pleased themselves. We were helpless. Impossible to go on alone; impossible also to explain to them why every moment was precious, for the acquaintance who had acted as interpreter had been obliged to stay behind at Sardarbulakh, and we were absolutely without means of communication with our companions. One could not even be angry, had there been any use in that, for they were perfectly good-humored. It was all very well to beckon them, or pull them by the elbow, or clap them on the back; they thought this was only our fun, and sat still and chattered all the same. When it grew light enough to see the hands of a watch, and mark how the hours advanced while the party did not, we began for a second time to despair of success.

About 3 A.M. there suddenly sprang up from behind the Median mountains the morning star, shedding a light such as no star ever gave in these northern climes of ours,--a light that almost outshone the moon. An hour later it began to pale in the first faint flush of yellowish light that spread over the eastern heaven; and first the rocky masses above us, then Little Ararat, throwing behind him a gigantic shadow, then the long lines of mountains beyond the Araxes, became revealed, while the wide Araxes plain still lay dim and shadowy below. One by one the stars died out as the yellow turned to a deeper glow that shot forth in long streamers, the rosy fingers of the dawn, from the horizon to the zenith. Cold and ghostly lay the snows on the mighty cone; till at last there came upon their topmost slope, six thousand feet above us, a sudden blush of pink. Swiftly it floated down the eastern face, and touched and kindled the rocks just above us. Then the sun flamed out, and in a moment the Araxes valley and all the hollows of the savage ridges we were crossing were flooded with overpowering light.

It was nearly six o'clock, and progress became easier now that we could see our way distinctly. The Cossacks seemed to grow lazier, halting as often as before and walking less briskly; in fact, they did not relish the exceeding roughness of the jagged lava ridges along whose tops or sides we toiled. I could willingly have lingered here myself; for in the hollows, wherever a little soil appeared, some interesting plants were growing, whose similarity to and difference from the Alpine species of Western Europe alike excited one's curiosity. Time allowed me to secure only a few; I trusted to get more on the way back, but this turned out to be impossible. As we scrambled along a ridge above a long narrow winding glen filled with loose blocks, one of the Kurds suddenly swooped down like a vulture from the height on a spot at the bottom, and began peering and grubbing among the stones. In a minute or two he cried out, and the rest followed; he had found a spring, and by scraping in the gravel had made a tiny basin out of which we could manage to drink a little. Here was a fresh cause of delay: everybody was thirsty, and everybody must drink; not only the water which, as we afterwards saw, trickled down hither under the stones from a snow-bed seven hundred feet higher, but the water mixed with some whisky from a flask my friend carried, which even in this highly diluted state the Cossacks took to heartily. When at last we got them up and away again, they began to waddle and strangle; after a while two or three sat down, and plainly gave us to see they would go no farther. By the time we had reached a little snow-bed whence the now strong sun was drawing a stream of water, and halted on the rocks beside it for breakfast, there were only two Cossacks and the four Kurds left with us, the rest having scattered themselves about somewhere lower down. We had no idea what instructions they had received, nor whether indeed they had been told anything except to bring us as far as they could, to see that the Kurds brought the baggage, and to fetch us back again, which last was essential for Jaafar's peace of mind. We concluded therefore that if left to themselves they would probably wait our return; and the day was running on so fast that it was clear there was no more time to be lost in trying to drag them along with us.

Accordingly I resolved to take what I wanted in the way of food, and start at my own pace. My friend, who carried more weight, and had felt the want of training on our way up, decided to come no farther, but wait about here, and look out for me towards nightfall. We noted the landmarks carefully,--the little snow-bed, the head of the glen covered with reddish masses of stone and gravel; and high above it, standing out of the face of the great cone of Ararat, a bold peak or rather projecting tooth of black rock, which our Cossacks called the Monastery, and which, I suppose from the same fancied resemblance to a building, is said to be called in Tatar Tach Kilissa, "the church rock." It is doubtless an old cone of eruption, about thirteen thousand feet in height, and is really the upper end of the long ridge we had been following, which may perhaps represent a lava flow from it, or the edge of a fissure which at this point found a vent.

It was an odd position to be in: guides of two different races, unable to communicate either with us or with one another: guides who could not lead and would not follow; guides one-half of whom were supposed to be there to save us from being robbed and murdered by the other half, but all of whom, I am bound to say, looked for the moment equally simple and friendly, the swarthy Iranian as well as the blue-eyed Slav.

At eight o'clock I buckled on my canvas gaiters, thrust some crusts of bread, a lemon, a small flask of cold tea, four hard-boiled eggs, and a few meat lozenges into my pocket, bade good-by to my friend, and set off. Rather to our surprise, the two Cossacks and one of the Kurds came with me, whether persuaded by a pantomime of encouraging signs, or simply curious to see what would happen. The ice-axe had hugely amused the Cossacks all through. Climbing the ridge to the left, and keeping along its top for a little way, I then struck across the semi-circular head of a wide glen, in the middle of which, a little lower, lay a snow-bed over a long steep slope of loose broken stones and sand. This slope, a sort of talus or "screen" as they say in the Lake country, was excessively fatiguing from the want of firm foothold; and when I reached the other side, I was already so tired and breathless, having been on foot since midnight, that it seemed almost useless to persevere farther. However, on the other side I got upon solid rock, where the walking was better, and was soon environed by a multitude of rills bubbling down over the stones from the stone-slopes above. The summit of Little Ararat, which had for the last two hours provokingly kept at the same apparent height above me, began to sink, and before ten o'clock I could look down upon its small flat top, studded with lumps of rock, but bearing no trace of a crater. Mounting steadily along the same ridge, I saw at a height of over thirteen thousand feet, lying on the loose blocks, a piece of wood about four feet long and five inches thick, evidently cut by some tool, and so far above the limit of trees that it could by no possibility be a natural fragment of one. Darting on it with a glee that astonished the Cossack and the Kurd, I held it up to them, and repeated several times the word "Noah." The Cossack grinned; but he was such a cheery, genial fellow that I think he would have grinned whatever I had said, and I cannot be sure that he took my meaning, and recognized the wood as a fragment of the true Ark. Whether it was really gopher wood, of which material the Ark was built, I will not undertake to say, but am willing to submit to the inspection of the curious the bit which I cut off with my ice-axe and brought away. Anyhow, it will be hard to prove that it is not gopher wood. And if there be any remains of the Ark on Ararat at all,--a point as to which the natives are perfectly clear,--here rather than the top is the place where one might expect to find them, since in the course of ages they would get carried down by the onward movement of the snow-beds along the declivities. This wood, therefore, suits all the requirements of the case. In fact, the argument is for the case of a relic exceptionally strong: the Crusaders who found the Holy Lance at Antioch, the archbishop who recognized the Holy Coat at Treves, not to speak of many others, proceeded upon slighter evidence. I am, however, bound to admit that another explanation of the presence of this piece of timber on the rocks of this vast height did occur to me. But as no man is bound to discredit his own relic, and such is certainly not the practice of the Armenian Church, I will not disturb my readers' minds or yield to the rationalizing tendencies of the age by suggesting it.

Fearing that the ridge by which we were mounting would become too precipitous higher up, I turned off to the left, and crossed a long, narrow snow-slope that descended between this ridge and another line of rocks more to the west. It was firm, and just steep enough to make steps cut in the snow comfortable, though not necessary; so the ice-axe was brought into use. The Cossack who accompanied me--there was but one now, for the other Cossack had gone away to the right some time before, and was quite lost to view--had brought my friend's alpenstock, and was developing a considerable capacity for wielding it. He followed nimbly across; but the Kurd stopped on the edge of the snow, and stood peering and hesitating, like one who shivers on the plank at a bathing-place, nor could the jeering cries of the Cossack induce him to venture on the treacherous surface. Meanwhile, we who had crossed were examining the broken cliff which rose above us. It looked not exactly dangerous, but a little troublesome, as if it might want some care to get over or through. So after a short rest I stood up, touched my Cossack's arm, and pointed upward. He reconnoitred the cliff with his eye, and shook his head. Then, with various gestures of hopefulness, I clapped him on the back, and made as though to pull him along. He looked at the rocks again and pointed, to them, stroked his knees, turned up and pointed to the soles of his boots, which certainly were suffering from the lava, and once more solemnly shook his head. This was conclusive: so I conveyed to him my pantomime that he had better go back to the bivouac where my friend was, rather than remain here alone, and that I hoped to meet him there in the evening; took an affectionate farewell, and turned towards the rocks. There was evidently nothing for it but to go on alone. It was half-past ten o'clock, and the height about thirteen thousand six hundred feet, Little Ararat now lying nearly one thousand feet below the eye.


Not knowing how far the ridge I was following might continue passable, I was obliged to stop frequently to survey the rocks above, and erect little piles of stone to mark the way. This not only consumed time, but so completely absorbed the attention that for hours together I scarcely noticed the marvelous landscape spread out beneath, and felt the solemn grandeur of the scenery far less than many times before on less striking mountains. Solitude at great heights, or among majestic rocks or forests, commonly stirs in us all deep veins of feeling, joyous or saddening, or more often of joy and sadness mingled. Here the strain on the observing senses seemed too great for fancy or emotion to have any scope. When the mind is preocupied by the task of the moment, imagination is checked. This was a race against time, in which I could only scan the cliffs for a route, refer constantly to the watch, husband my strength by morsels of food taken at frequent intervals, and endeavor to conceive how a particular block or bit of slope which it would be necessary to recognize would look when seen the other way in descending....

All the way up this rock-slope, which proved so fatiguing that for the fourth time I had almost given up hope, I kept my eye fixed on its upper end to see what signs there were of crags or snow-fields above. But the mist lay steadily at the point where the snow seemed to begin, and it was impossible to say what might be hidden behind that soft white curtain. As little could I conjecture the height I had reached by looking around, as one so often does on mountain ascents, upon other summits; for by this time I was thousands of feet above Little Ararat, the next highest peak visible, and could scarcely guess how many thousands. From this tremendous height it looked more like a broken obelisk than an independent summit twelve thousand eight hundred feet in height. Clouds covered the farther side of the great snow basin, and were seething like waves about the savage pinnacles, the towers of the Jinn palace, which guard its lower margin, and past which my upward path had lain. With mists to the left and above, and a range of black precipices cutting off all view to the right, there came a vehement sense of isolation and solitude, and I began to understand better the awe with which the mountain silence inspires the Kurdish shepherds. Overhead the sky had turned from dark blue to an intense bright green, a color whose strangeness seemed to add to the weird terror of the scene. It wanted barely an hour to the time when I had resolved to turn back; and as I struggled up the crumbling rocks, trying now to right and now to left, where the foothold looked a little firmer, I began to doubt whether there was strength enough left to carry me an hour higher. At length the rock-slope came suddenly to an end, and I stepped out upon the almost level snow at the top of it, coming at the same time into the clouds, which naturally clung to the colder surfaces. A violent west wind was blowing, and the temperature must have been pretty low, for a big icicle at once enveloped the lower half of my face, and did not melt till I got to the bottom of the cone four hours afterwards. Unluckily I was very thinly clad, the stout tweed coat reserved for such occasions having been stolen on a Russian railway. The only expedient to be tried against the piercing cold was to tighten in my loose light coat by winding around the waist a Spanish faja, or scarf, which I had brought up to use in case of need as a neck wrapper. Its bright purple looked odd enough in such surroundings, but as there was nobody there to notice, appearances did not much matter. In the mist, which was now thick, the eye could pierce only some thirty yards ahead; so I walked on over the snow five or six minutes, following the rise of its surface, which was gentle, and fancying there might still be a good long way to go. To mark the backward track I trailed the point of the ice-axe along behind me in the soft snow, for there was no longer any landmark; all was cloud on every side. Suddenly to my astonishment the ground began to fall away to the north; I stopped; a puff of wind drove off the mists on one side, the opposite side to that by which I had come, and showed the Araxes plain at an abysmal depth below. It was the top of Ararat.




THE WORK OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE

From 'The Holy Roman Empire'

No one who reads the history of the last three hundred years--no one, above all, who studies attentively the career of Napoleon--can believe it possible for any State, however great her energy and material resources, to repeat in modern Europe the part of ancient Rome; to gather into one vast political body races whose national individuality has grown more and more marked in each successive age. Nevertheless, it is in great measure due to Rome and to the Roman Empire of the Middle Ages that the bonds of national union are on the whole both stronger and nobler than they were ever before. The latest historian of Rome [Mommsen], after summing up the results to the world of his hero's career, closes his treatise with these words:

"There was in the world as Cæsar found it the rich and noble heritage of past centuries, and an endless abundance of splendor and glory; but little soul, still less taste, and least of all, joy in and through life. Truly it was an old world, and even Cæsar's genial patriotism could not make it young again. The blush of dawn returns not until the night has fully descended. Yet with him there came to the much-tormented races of the Mediterranean a tranquil evening after a sultry day; and when after long historical night the new day broke once more upon the peoples, and fresh nations in free self-guided movement began their course toward new and higher aims, many were found among them in whom the seed of Cæsar had sprung up,--many who owed him, and who owe him still, their national individuality."

If this be the glory of Julius, the first great founder of the Empire, so is it also the glory of Charles, the second founder, and of more than one among his Teutonic successors. The work of the mediæval Empire was self-destructive; and it fostered, while seeming to oppose, the nationalities that were destined to replace it. It tamed the barbarous races of the North and forced them within the pale of civilization. It preserved the arts and literature of antiquity. In times of violence and oppression, it set before its subjects the duty of rational obedience to an authority whose watchwords were peace and religion. It kept alive, when national hatreds were most bitter, the notion of a great European Commonwealth. And by doing all this, it was in effect abolishing the need for a centralizing and despotic power like itself; it was making men capable of using national independence aright; it was teaching them to rise to that conception of spontaneous activity, and a freedom which is above law but not against it, to which national independence itself, if it is to be a blessing at all, must be only a means. Those who mark what has been the tendency of events since A.D. 1789, and who remember how many of the crimes and calamities of the past are still but half redressed, need not be surprised to see the so-called principle of nationalities advocated with honest devotion as the final and perfect form of political development. But such undistinguishing advocacy is after all only the old error in a new shape. If all other history did not bid us beware the habit of taking the problems and the conditions of our own age for those of all time, the warning which the Empire gives might alone be warning enough. From the days of Augustus down to those of Charles V., the whole civilized world believed in its existence as a part of the eternal fitness of things, and Christian theologians were not behind heathen poets in declaring that when it perished the world would perish with it. Yet the Empire is gone, and the world remains, and hardly notes the change.






FRANCIS TREVELYAN BUCKLAND

(1826-1880)


ertainly, among the most useful of writers are the popularizers of science; those who can describe in readable, picturesque fashion those wonders and innumerable inhabitants of the world which the Dryasdusts discover, but which are apt to escape the attention of idlers or of the busy workers in other fields. Sometimes--not often--the same man unites the capacities of a patient and accurate investigator and of an accomplished narrator. To such men the field of enjoyment is boundless, as is the opportunity to promote the enjoyment of others.

One of these two-sided men was Francis Trevelyan Buckland, popularly known as "Frank" Buckland, and so called in some of his books. His father, William Buckland,--at the time of the son's birth canon of Christ College, Oxford, and subsequently Dean of Westminster,--was the well-known geologist. As the father's life was devoted to the study of the inorganic, so that of the son was absorbed in the investigation of the organic world. He never tired of watching the habits of living creatures of all kinds; he lived as it were in a menagerie and it is related that his numerous callers were accustomed to the most familiar and impertinent demonstrations on the part of his monkeys and various other pets. He was an expert salmon-fisher, and his actual specialty was fishes; but he could not have these about him so conveniently as some other forms of life, and he extended his studies and specimens widely beyond ichthyology.

Buckland was born December 17th, 1826, and died December 19th, 1880. Brought up in a scientific atmosphere, he was all his life interested in the same subjects. Educated as a physician and surgeon and distinguished for his anatomical skill, his training fitted him for the careful investigation which is necessary on the part of the biologist. He was fortunate too in receiving in early middle life the government appointment of Inspector of Salmon Fisheries, and so being enabled to devote himself wholly to his favorite pursuits. In this position he was unwearied in his efforts to develop pisciculture, and to improve the apparatus used by the fishermen, interesting himself also in the condition of themselves and their families.

He was always writing. He was a very frequent contributor to The Field from its foundation in 1856, and subsequently to Land and Water, a periodical which he started in 1866, and to other periodicals. He published a number of volumes, made up in great part from his contributions to periodicals, most of them of a popular character and full of interesting information. Among those which are best known are the 'Curiosities of Natural History' (1857-72); the 'Log-Book of a Fisherman and Geologist' (1875); a 'Natural History of British Fishes' (1881); and 'Notes and Jottings from Animal Life,' which was not issued until 1882, though the material was selected by himself.

Buckland was of a jovial disposition, and always sure to see the humorous side of the facts which were presented to him; and in his social life he was extremely unconventional, and inclined to merry pranks. His books are as delightful as was their writer. They are records of accurate, useful, eye-opening details as to fauna, all the world over. They are written with a brisk, sincere informality that suggest the lively talker rather than the writer. He takes us a-walking in green lanes and woods, and a-wading in brooks and still pools--not drawing us into a class-room or a study. He enters into the heart and life of creatures, and shows us how we should do the same. A lively humor is in all his popular pages. He instructs while smiling; and he is a savant while a light-hearted friend. Few English naturalists are as genial--not even White of Selborne--and few as wide in didactics. To know him is a profit indeed; but just as surely a pleasure.




A HUNT IN A HORSE-POND

From 'Curiosities of Natural History'

Well, let us have a look at the pond-world; choose a dry place at the side, and fix our eyes steadily upon the dirty water: what shall we see? Nothing at first; but wait a minute or two: a little round black knob appears in the middle; gradually it rises higher and higher, till at last you can make out a frog's head, with his great eyes staring hard at you, like the eyes of the frog in the woodcut facing Æsop's fable of the frog and the bull. Not a bit of his body do you see: he is much too cunning for that; he does not know who or what you are; you may be a heron, his mortal enemy, for aught he knows. You move your arm: he thinks it is the heron's bill coming; down he goes again, and you see him not: a few seconds, he regains courage and reappears, having probably communicated the intelligence to the other frogs; for many big heads and many big eyes appear, in all parts of the pond, looking like so many hippopotami on a small scale. Soon a conversational "Wurk; wurk, wurk," begins: you don't understand it; luckily, perhaps, as from the swelling in their throats it is evident that the colony is outraged by the intrusion, and the remarks passing are not complimentary to the intruder. These frogs are all respectable, grown-up, well-to-do frogs, and they have in this pond duly deposited their spawn, and then, hard-hearted creatures! left it to its fate; it has, however, taken care of itself, and is now hatched, at least that part of it which has escaped the hands of the gipsies, who not unfrequently prescribe baths of this natural jelly for rheumatism....

In some places, from their making this peculiar noise, frogs have been called "Dutch nightingales." In Scotland, too, they have a curious name, Paddock or Puddick; but there is poetical authority for it:--

"The water-snake whom fish and paddocks feed,
With staring scales lies poisoned."--DRYDEN.

Returning from the University of Giessen, I brought with me about a dozen green tree-frogs, which I had caught in the woods near the town. The Germans call them laub-frosch, or leaf-frog; they are most difficult things to find, on account of their color so much resembling the leaves on which they live. I have frequently heard one singing in a small bush, and though I have searched carefully, have not been able to find him: the only way is to remain quite quiet till he again begins his song. After much ambush-work, at length I collected a dozen frogs and put them in a bottle. I started at night on my homeward journey by the diligence, and I put the bottle containing the frogs into the pocket inside the diligence. My fellow-passengers were sleepy old smoke-dried Germans: very little conversation took place, and after the first mile every one settled himself to sleep, and soon all were snoring. I suddenly awoke with a start, and found all the sleepers had been roused at the same moment. On their sleepy faces were depicted fear and anger. What had woke us all up so suddenly? The morning was just breaking, and my frogs, though in the dark pocket of the coach, had found it out; and with one accord, all twelve of them had begun their morning song. As if at a given signal, they one and all of them began to croak as loud as ever they could. The noise their united concert made, seemed, in the closed compartment of the coach, quite deafening. Well might the Germans look angry: they wanted to throw the frogs, bottle and all, out of the window; but I gave the bottle a good shaking, and made the frogs keep quiet. The Germans all went to sleep again, but I was obliged to remain awake, to shake the frogs when they began to croak. It was lucky that I did so, for they tried to begin their concert again two or three times. These frogs came safely to Oxford; and the day after their arrival, a stupid housemaid took off the top of the bottle to see what was inside; one of the frogs croaked at that instant, and so frightened her that she dared not put the cover on again. They all got loose in the garden, where I believe the ducks ate them, for I never heard or saw them again.




ON RATS

From 'Curiosities of Natural History'

On one occasion, when a boy, I recollect secretly borrowing an old-fashioned flint gun from the bird-keeper of the farm to which I had been invited. I ensconced myself behind the door of the pig-sty, determined to make a victim of one of the many rats that were accustomed to disport themselves among the straw that formed the bed of the farmer's pet bacon-pigs. In a few minutes out came an old patriarchal-looking rat, who, having taken a careful survey, quietly began to feed. After a long aim, bang went the gun--I fell backwards, knocked down by the recoil of the rusty old piece of artillery. I did not remain prone long, for I was soon roused by the most unearthly squeaks, and a dreadful noise as of an infuriated animal madly rushing round and round the sty. Ye gods! what had I done? I had not surely, like the tailor in the old song of the 'Carrion Crow,'

"Shot and missed my mark,
And shot the old sow right bang through the heart."

But I had nearly performed a similar sportsman-like feat. There was poor piggy, the blood flowing in streamlets from several small punctures in that part of his body destined, at no very distant period, to become ham; in vain attempting, by dismal cries and by energetic waggings of his curly tail, to appease the pain of the charge of small shot which had so unceremoniously awaked him from his porcine dreams of oatmeal and boiled potatoes. But where was the rat? He had disappeared unhurt; the buttocks of the unfortunate pig, the rightful owner of the premises, had received the charge of shot intended to destroy the daring intruder.

To appease piggy's wrath I gave him a bucketful of food from the hog-tub; and while he was thus consoling his inward self, wiped off the blood from the wounded parts, and said nothing about it to anybody. No doubt, before this time, some frugal housewife has been puzzled and astonished at the unwonted appearance of a charge of small shot in the centre of the breakfast ham which she procured from Squire Morland, of Sheepstead, Berks.

Rats are very fond of warmth, and will remain coiled up for hours in any snug retreat where they can find this very necessary element of their existence. The following anecdote well illustrates this point:--

My late father, when fellow of Corpus College, Oxford, many years ago, on arriving at his rooms late one night, found that a rat was running about among the books and geological specimens, behind the sofa, under the fender, and poking his nose into every hiding-place he could find. Being studiously inclined, and wishing to set to work at his books, he pursued him, armed with the poker in one hand, and a large dictionary, big enough to crush any rat, in the other; but in vain; Mr. Rat was not to be caught, particularly when such "arma scholastica" were used.

No sooner had the studies recommenced than the rat resumed his gambols, squeaking and rushing about the room like a mad creature. The battle was renewed, and continued at intervals, to the destruction of all studies, till quite a late hour at night, when the pursuer, angry and wearied, retired to his adjoining bedroom; though he listened attentively he heard no more of the enemy, and soon fell asleep. In the morning he was astonished to find something warm lying on his chest; carefully lifting up the bed-clothes, he discovered his tormentor of the preceding night quietly and snugly ensconced in a fold in the blanket, and taking advantage of the bodily warmth of his two-legged adversary. These two lay looking daggers at each other for some minutes, the one unwilling to leave his warm berth, the other afraid to put his hand out from under the protection of the coverlid, particularly as the stranger's aspect was anything but friendly, his little sharp teeth and fierce little black eyes seeming to say, "Paws off from me, if you please!"

At length, remembering the maxim that "discretion is the better part of valor"--the truth of which, I imagine, rats understand as well as most creatures,--he made a sudden jump off the bed, scuttled away into the next room, and was never seen or heard of afterwards....

Rats are not selfish animals: having found out where the feast is stored, they will kindly communicate the intelligence to their friends and neighbors. The following anecdote will confirm this fact. A certain worthy old lady named Mrs. Oke, who resided at Axminster several years ago, made a cask of sweet wine, for which she was celebrated, and carefully placed it on a shelf in the cellar. The second night after this event she was frightened almost to death by a strange unaccountable noise in the said cellar. The household was called up and a search made, but nothing was found to clear up the mystery. The next night, as soon as the lights were extinguished and the house quiet, this dreadful noise was heard again. This time it was most alarming: a sound of squeaking, crying, knocking, pattering feet; then a dull scratching sound, with many other such ghostly noises, which continued throughout the livelong night. The old lady lay in bed with the candle alight, pale and sleepless with fright, anon muttering her prayers, anon determined to fire off the rusty old blunderbuss that hung over the chimneypiece. At last the morning broke, and the cock began to crow. "Now," thought she, "the ghosts must disappear." To her infinite relief, the noise really did cease, and the poor frightened dame adjusted her nightcap and fell asleep. Great preparations had she made for the next night; farm servants armed with pitchforks slept in the house; the maids took the family dinner-bell and the tinder-box into their rooms; the big dog was tied to the hall-table. Then the dame retired to her room, not to sleep, but to sit up in the arm-chair by the fire, keeping a drowsy guard over the neighbor's loaded horse-pistols, of which she was almost as much afraid as she was of the ghost in the cellar. Sure enough, her warlike preparations had succeeded; the ghost was certainly frightened; not a noise, not a sound, except the heavy snoring of the bumpkins and the rattling of the dog's chain in the hall, could be heard. She had gained a complete victory; the ghost was never heard again on the premises, and the whole affair was soon forgotten. Some weeks afterward some friends dropped in to take a cup of tea and talk over the last piece of gossip. Among other things the wine was mentioned, and the maid sent to get some from the cellar. She soon returned, and gasping for breath, rushed into the room, exclaiming, "'Tis all gone, ma'am;" and sure enough it was all gone. "The ghost has taken it"--not a drop was left, only the empty cask remained; the side was half eaten away, and marks of sharp teeth were visible round the ragged margins of the newly made bungholes.

This discovery fully accounted for the noise the ghost had made, which caused so much alarm. The aboriginal rats in the dame's cellar had found out the wine, and communicated the joyful news to all the other rats in the parish; they had assembled there to enjoy the fun, and get very tipsy (which, judging from the noise they made, they certainly did) on this treasured cask of wine. Being quite a family party, they had finished it in two nights; and having got all they could, like wise rats they returned to their respective homes, perfectly unconscious that their merry-making had nearly been the death of the rightful owner and "founder of the feast." They had first gnawed out the cork, and got as much as they could: they soon found that the more they drank the lower the wine became. Perseverance is the motto of the rat; so they set to work and ate away the wood to the level of the wine again. This they continued till they had emptied the cask; they must then have got into it and licked up the last drains, for another and less agreeable smell was substituted for that of wine. I may add that this cask, with the side gone, and the marks of the rats' teeth, is still in my possession.




SNAKES AND THEIR POISON

From 'Curiosities of Natural History'

Be it known to any person to whose lot it should fall to rescue a person from the crushing folds of a boa-constrictor, that it is no use pulling and hauling at the centre of the brute's body; catch hold of the tip of his tail,--he can then be easily unwound,--he cannot help himself;--he "must" come off. Again, if you wish to kill a snake, it is no use hitting and trying to crush his head. The bones of the head are composed of the densest material, affording effectual protection to the brain underneath: a wise provision for the animal's preservation; for were his skull brittle, his habit of crawling on the ground would render it very liable to be fractured. The spinal cord runs down the entire length of the body; this being wounded, the animal is disabled or killed instanter. Strike therefore his tail, and not his head; for at his tail the spinal cord is but thinly covered with bone, and suffers readily from injury. This practice is applicable to eels. If you want to kill an eel, it is not much use belaboring his head: strike, however, his tail two or three times against any hard substance, and he is quickly dead.

About four years ago I myself, in person, had painful experience of the awful effects of snake's poison. I have received a dose of the cobra's poison into my system; luckily a minute dose, or I should not have survived it. The accident happened in a very curious way. I was poisoned by the snake but not bitten by him. I got the poison second-hand. Anxious to witness the effects of the poison of the cobra upon a rat, I took up a couple in a bag alive to a certain cobra. I took one rat out of the bag and put him into the cage with the snake. The cobra was coiled up among the stones in the centre of the cage, apparently asleep. When he heard the noise of the rat falling into the cage, he just looked up and put out his tongue, hissing at the same time. The rat got in a corner and began washing himself, keeping one eye on the snake, whose appearance he evidently did not half like. Presently the rat ran across the snake's body, and in an instant the latter assumed his fighting attitude. As the rat passed the snake, he made a dart, but missing his aim, hit his nose a pretty hard blow against the side of the cage. This accident seemed to anger him, for he spread out his crest and waved it to and fro in the beautiful manner peculiar to his kind. The rat became alarmed and ran near him again. Again cobra made a dart, and bit him, but did not, I think, inject any poison into him, the rat being so very active; at least, no symptoms of poisoning were shown. The bite nevertheless aroused the ire of the rat, for he gathered himself for a spring, and measuring his distance, sprang right on to the neck of the cobra, who was waving about in front of him. This plucky rat, determined to die hard, gave the cobra two or three severe bites in the neck, the snake keeping his body erect all this time, and endeavoring to turn his head round so as to bite the rat who was clinging on like the old man in 'Sindbad the Sailor.' Soon, however, cobra changed his tactics. Tired, possibly, with sustaining the weight of the rat, he lowered his head, and the rat, finding himself again on terra firma, tried to run away: not so; for the snake, collecting all his force, brought down his erected poison-fangs, making his head tell by its weight in giving vigor to the blow, right on to the body of the rat.

This poor beast now seemed to know that the fight was over and that he was conquered. He retired to a corner of the cage and began panting violently, endeavoring at the same time to steady his failing strength with his feet. His eyes were widely dilated, and his mouth open as if gasping for breath. The cobra stood erect over him, hissing and putting out his tongue as if conscious of victory. In about three minutes the rat fell quietly on his side and expired; the cobra then moved off and took no further notice of his defunct enemy. About ten minutes afterward the rat was hooked out of the cage for me to examine. No external wound could I see anywhere, so I took out my knife and began taking the skin off the rat. I soon discovered two very minute punctures, like small needle-holes, in the side of the rat, where the fangs of the snake had entered. The parts between the skin and the flesh, and the flesh itself, appeared as though affected with mortification, even though the wound had not been inflicted above a quarter of an hour, if so much.

Anxious to see if the skin itself was affected, I scraped away the parts on it with my finger-nail. Finding nothing but the punctures, I threw the rat away and put the knife and skin in my pocket, and started to go away. I had not walked a hundred yards before all of a sudden I felt just as if somebody had come behind me and struck me a severe blow on the head and neck, and at the same time I experienced a most acute pain and sense of oppression at the chest, as though a hot iron had been run in and a hundred-weight put on the top of it. I knew instantly, from what I had read, that I was poisoned; I said as much to my friend, a most intelligent gentleman, who happened to be with me, and told him if I fell to give me brandy and "eau de luce," words which he kept repeating in case he might forget them. At the same time I enjoined him to keep me going, and not on any account to allow me to lie down.

I then forgot everything for several minutes, and my friend tells me I rolled about as if very faint and weak. He also informs me that the first thing I did was to fall against him, asking if I looked seedy. He most wisely answered, "No, you look very well." I don't think he thought so, for his own face was as white as a ghost; I recollect this much. He tells me my face was of a greenish-yellow color. After walking or rather staggering along for some minutes, I gradually recovered my senses and steered for the nearest chemist's shop. Rushing in, I asked for eau de luce. Of course he had none, but my eye caught the words "Spirit, ammon. co.," or hartshorn, on a bottle. I reached it down myself, and pouring a large quantity into a tumbler with a little water, both of which articles I found on a soda-water stand in the shop, drank it off, though it burnt my mouth and lips very much. Instantly I felt relief from the pain at the chest and head. The chemist stood aghast, and on my telling him what was the matter, recommended a warm bath. If I had then followed his advice these words would never have been placed on record. After a second draught at the hartshorn bottle, I proceeded on my way, feeling very stupid and confused. On arriving at my friend's residence close by, he kindly procured me a bottle of brandy, of which I drank four large wine-glasses one after the other, but did not feel the least tipsy after the operation. Feeling nearly well, I started on my way home, and then for the first time perceived a most acute pain under the nail of the left thumb: this pain also ran up the arm. I set to work to suck the wound, and then found out how the poison had got into the system. About an hour before I examined the dead rat I had been cleaning the nail with a penknife, and had slightly separated the nail from the skin beneath. Into this little crack the poison had got when I was scraping the rat's skin to examine the wound. How virulent, therefore, must the poison of the cobra be! It had already been circulated in the body of the rat, from which I had imbibed it second-hand!




MY MONKEY JACKO

From 'Curiosities of Natural History'

After some considerable amount of bargaining (in which amusing, sometimes animated, not to say exciting exhibition of talent, Englishmen generally get worsted by the Frenchmen, as was the case in the present instance), Jacko became transferred, chain, tail and all, to his new English master. Having arrived at the hotel, it became a question as to what was to become of Jacko while his master was absent from home. A little closet, opening into the wall of the bedroom, offered itself as a temporary prison. Jacko was tied up securely--alas! how vain are the thoughts of man!--to one of the row of pegs that were fastened against the wall. As the door closed on him his wicked eyes seemed to say, "I'll do some mischief now;" and sure enough he did, for when I came back to release him, like Æneas,

"Obstupni, steteruntque comæ et vox fancibus hæsit[5]."
[5]      "Aghast, astonished, and struck dumb with fear,
     I stood; like bristles rose my stiffened hair."--DRYDEN.

The walls, that but half an hour previously were covered with a finely ornamented paper, now stood out in the bold nakedness of lath and plaster; the relics on the floor showed that the little wretch's fingers had by no means been idle. The pegs were all loosened, the individual peg to which his chain had been fastened, torn completely from its socket, that the destroyer's movements might not be impeded, and an unfortunate garment that happened to be hung up in the closet was torn to a thousand shreds. If ever Jack Sheppard had a successor, it was this monkey. If he had tied the torn bits of petticoat together and tried to make his escape from the window, I don't think I should have been much surprised....

It was, after Jacko's misdeeds, quite evident that he must no longer be allowed full liberty; and a lawyer's blue bag, such as may be frequently seen in the dreaded neighborhood of the Court of Chancery,--filled, however, more frequently with papers and parchment than with monkeys,--was provided for him; and this receptacle, with some hay placed at the bottom for a bed, became his new abode. It was a movable home, and therein lay the advantage; for when the strings of it were tied there was no mode of escape. He could not get his hands through the aperture at the end to unfasten them, the bag was too strong for him to bite his way through, and his ineffectual efforts to get out only had the effect of making the bag roll along the floor, and occasionally make a jump up into the air; forming altogether an exhibition which if advertised in the present day of wonders as "le bag vivant," would attract crowds of delighted and admiring citizens.

In the bag aforesaid he traveled as far as Southampton on his road to town. While taking the ticket at the railway station, Jacko, who must needs see everything that was going on, suddenly poked his head out of the bag and gave a malicious grin at the ticket-giver. This much frightened the poor man, but with great presence of mind,--quite astonishing under the circumstances,--he retaliated the insult: "Sir, that's a dog; you must pay for it accordingly." In vain was the monkey made to come out of the bag and exhibit his whole person; in vain were arguments in full accordance with the views of Cuvier and Owen urged eagerly, vehemently, and without hesitation (for the train was on the point of starting), to prove that the animal in question was not a dog, but a monkey. A dog it was in the peculiar views of the official, and three-and-sixpence was paid. Thinking to carry the joke further (there were just a few minutes to spare), I took out from my pocket a live tortoise I happened to have with me, and showing it, said, "What must I pay for this, as you charge for all animals?" The employé adjusted his specs, withdrew from the desk to consult with his superior; then returning, gave the verdict with a grave but determined manner, "No charge for them, sir: them be insects."






HENRY THOMAS BUCKLE

(1821-1862)


enry Thomas Buckle was born at Lee, in Kent, on November 24th, 1821, the son of a wealthy London merchant. A delicate child, he participated in none of the ordinary sports of children, but sat instead for hours listening to his mother's reading of the Bible and the 'Arabian Nights.' She had a great influence on his early development. She was a Calvinist, deeply religious, and Buckle himself in after years acknowledged that to her he owed his faith in human progress through the dissemination and triumph of truth, as well as his taste for philosophic speculations and his love for poetry. His devotion to her was lifelong. Owing to his feeble health he passed but a few years at school, and did not enter college. Nor did he know much, in the scholar's sense, of books. Till he was nearly eighteen the 'Arabian Nights,' the 'Pilgrim's Progress' and Shakespeare constituted his chief reading.

But he was fond of games of mental skill, and curiously enough, first gained distinction, not in letters but at the chessboard, and in the course of his subsequent travels he challenged and defeated the champions of Europe. He was concerned for a short time in business; but being left with an independent income at the death of his father, he resolved to devote himself to study. He traveled for a year on the Continent, learning on the spot the languages of the countries he passed through. In time he became an accomplished linguist, reading nineteen languages and conversing fluently in seven.

By the time he was nineteen he had resolved to write a great historic work, of a nature not yet attempted by any one. To prepare himself for this monumental labor, and to make up for past deficiencies, he settled in London; and, apparently single-handed and without the advice or help of tutors or professional men, entered upon that course of voluminous reading on which his erudition rests.

He is a singular instance of a self-taught man, without scientific or academic training, producing a work that marks an epoch in historical literature. With a wonderful memory, he had, like Macaulay, the gift of getting the meaning and value of a book by simply glancing over the pages. On an average he could read with intelligent comprehension three books in a working day of eight hours, and in time mastered his library of twenty-two thousand volumes, indexing every book on the back, and transcribing many pages into his commonplace-books. In this way he spent fifteen years of study in collecting his materials.

The first volume of his introduction to the 'History of Civilization in England' appeared in 1857, and aroused an extraordinary interest because of the novelty and audacity of its statements. It was both bitterly attacked and enthusiastically praised, as it antagonized or attracted its readers. Buckle became the intellectual hero of the hour. The second volume appeared in May, 1861. And now, worn out by overwork, his delicate nerves completely unstrung by the death of his mother, who had remained his first and only love, he left England for the East, in company with the two young sons of a friend. In Palestine he was stricken with typhoid fever, and died at Damascus on May 29th, 1862. His grave is marked by a marble tomb with the inscription from the Arabic:--

"The written word remains long after the writer;
The writer is resting under the earth, but his works endure."

Three volumes of 'Miscellanies and Posthumous Works,' edited by Helen Taylor, were published in 1872. Among these are a lecture on 'Woman,' delivered before the Royal Institution,--Buckle's single and very successful attempt at public speaking,--and a Review of Mill's 'Liberty,' one of the finest contemporary appreciations of that thinker. But he wrote little outside his 'History,' devoting himself with entire singleness of purpose to his life-work.

The introduction to the 'History of Civilization in England' has been aptly called the "fragment of a fragment." When as a mere youth he outlined his work, he overestimated the extremest accomplishment of a single mind, and did not clearly comprehend the vastness of the undertaking. He had planned a general history of civilization; but as the material increased on his hands he was forced to limit his project, and finally decided to confine his work to a consideration of England from the middle of the sixteenth century. In February, 1853, he wrote to a friend:--

"I have been long convinced that the progress of every people is regulated by principles--or as they are called, laws--as regular and as certain as those which govern the physical world. To discover these laws is the object of my work.... I propose to take a general survey of the moral, intellectual, and legislative peculiarities of the great countries of Europe; and I hope to point out the circumstances under which these peculiarities have arisen. This will lead to a perception of certain relations between the various stages through which each people have progressively passed. Of these general relations I intend to make a particular application; and by a careful analysis of the history of England, show how they have regulated our civilization, and how the successive and apparently the arbitrary forms of our opinions, our literature, our laws, and our manners, have naturally grown out of their antecedents."

This general scheme was adhered to in the published history, and he supported his views by a vast array of illustrations and proofs. The main ideas advanced in the Introduction--for he did not live to write the body of the work, the future volumes to which he often pathetically refers--these ideas may be thus stated:--First: Nothing had yet been done toward discovering the principles underlying the character and destiny of nations, to establish a basis for a science of history,--a task which Buckle proposed to himself. Second: Experience shows that nations are governed by laws as fixed and regular as the laws of the physical world. Third: Climate, soil, food, and the aspects of nature are the primary causes in forming the character of a nation. Fourth: The civilization within and without Europe is determined by the fact that in Europe man is stronger than nature, and here alone has subdued her to his service; whereas on the other continents nature is the stronger and man has been subdued by her. Fifth: The continually increasing influence of mental laws and the continually diminishing influence of physical laws characterize the advance of European civilization. Sixth: The mental laws regulating the progress of society can only be discovered by such a comprehensive survey of facts as will enable us to eliminate disturbances; namely, by the method of averages. Seventh: Human progress is due to intellectual activity, which continually changes and expands, rather than to moral agencies, which from the beginnings of society have been more or less stationary. Eighth: In human affairs in general, individual efforts are insignificant, and great men work for evil rather than for good, and are moreover merely incidental to their age. Ninth: Religion, literature, art, and government instead of being causes of civilization, are merely its products. Tenth: The progress of civilization varies directly as skepticism--the disposition to doubt, or the "protective spirit"--the disposition to maintain without examination established beliefs and practices, predominates.

The new scientific methods of Darwin and Mill were just then being eagerly discussed in England; and Buckle, an alert student and great admirer of Mill, in touch with the new movements of the day, proposed, "by applying to the history of man those methods of investigation which have been found successful in other branches of knowledge, and rejecting all preconceived notions which could not bear the test of those methods," to remove history from the condemnation of being a mere series of arbitrary facts, or a biography of famous men, or the small-beer chronicle of court gossip and intrigues, and to raise it to the level of an exact science, subject to mental laws as rigid and infallible as the laws of nature:--

"Instead of telling us of those things which alone have any value--instead of giving us information respecting the progress of knowledge and the way in which mankind has been affected by the diffusion of that knowledge ... the vast majority of historians fill their works with the most trifling and miserable details.... In other great branches of knowledge, observation has preceded discovery; first the facts have been registered and then their laws have been found. But in the study of the history of man, the important facts have been neglected and the unimportant ones preserved. The consequence is, that whoever now attempts to generalize historical phenomena must collect the facts as well as conduct the generalization."

Buckle's ideal of the office and acquirements of the historian was of the highest. He must indeed possess a synthesis of the whole range of human knowledge to explain the progress of man. By connecting history with political economy and statistics, he strove to make it exact. And he exemplified his theories by taking up branches of scientific investigation hitherto considered entirely outside the province of the historian. He first wrote history scientifically, pursuing the same methods and using the same kinds of proofs as the scientific worker. The first volume excited as much angry discussion as Darwin's 'Origin of Species' had done in its day. The boldness of its generalizations, its uncompromising and dogmatic tone, irritated more than one class of readers. The chapters on Spain and on Scotland, with their strictures on the religions of those countries, containing some of the most brilliant passages in the book, brought up in arms against him both Catholics and Presbyterians. Trained scientists blamed him for encroaching on their domains with an insufficient knowledge of the phenomena of the natural world, whence resulted a defective logic and vague generalizations.

It is true that Buckle was not trained in the methods of the schools; that he labored under the disadvantage of a self-taught, solitary worker, not receiving the friction of other vigorous minds; and that his reading, if extensive, was not always wisely chosen, and from its very amount often ill-digested. He had knowledge rather than true learning, and taking this knowledge at second hand, often relied on sources that proved either untrustworthy or antiquated, for he lacked the true relator's fine discrimination, that weighs and sifts authorities and rejects the inadequate. Malicious critics declared that all was grist that came to his mill. Yet his popularity with that class of readers whom he did not shock by his disquisitions on religions and morals, or make distrustful by his sweeping generalizations and scientific inaccuracies, is due to the fact that his book appeared at the right moment: for the time was really come to make history something more than a chronicle of detached facts and anecdotes. The scientific spirit was awake, and demanded that human action, like the processes of nature, be made the subject of general law. The mind of Buckle proved fruitful soil for those germs of thought floating in the air, and he gave them visible form in his history. If he was not a leader, he was a brilliant formulator of thought, and he was the first to put before the reading world, then ready to receive them, ideas and speculations till now belonging to the student. For he wrote with the determination to be intelligible to the general reader. It detracts nothing from the permanent value of his work thus to state its genesis, for this is merely to apply to it his own methods.

Moreover, a perpetual charm lies in his clear, limpid English, a medium perfectly adapted to calm exposition or to impassioned rhetoric. Whatever the defects of Buckle's system: whatever the inaccuracies that the advance of thirty years of patient scientific labors can easily point out; however sweeping his generalization; or however dogmatic his assertions, the book must be allowed high rank among the works that set men thinking, and must thus be conceded to possess enduring value.




MORAL VERSUS INTELLECTUAL PRINCIPLES IN HUMAN PROGRESS

From the 'History of Civilization in England'

There is unquestionably nothing to be found in the world which has undergone so little change as those great dogmas of which moral systems are composed. To do good to others; to sacrifice for their benefit your own wishes; to love your neighbor as yourself; to forgive your enemies; to restrain your passions; to honor your parents; to respect those who are set over you,--these and a few others are the sole essentials of morals: but they have been known for thousands of years, and not one jot or tittle has been added to them by all the sermons, homilies, and text-books which moralists and theologians have been able to produce. But if we contrast this stationary aspect of moral truths with the progressive aspect of intellectual truths, the difference is indeed startling. All the great moral systems which have exercised much influence have been fundamentally the same; all the great intellectual systems have been fundamentally different. In reference to our moral conduct, there is not a single principle now known to the most cultivated Europeans which was not likewise known to the ancients. In reference to the conduct of our intellect, the moderns have not only made the most important additions to every department of knowledge that the ancients ever attempted to study, but besides this they have upset and revolutionized the old methods of inquiry; they have consolidated into one great scheme all those resources of induction which Aristotle alone dimly perceived; and they have created sciences, the faintest idea of which never entered the mind of the boldest thinker antiquity produced.

These are, to every educated man, recognized and notorious facts; and the inference to be drawn from them is immediately obvious. Since civilization is the product of moral and intellectual agencies, and since that product is constantly changing, it evidently cannot be regulated by the stationary agent; because, when surrounding circumstances are unchanged, a stationary agent can only produce a stationary effect. The only other agent is the intellectual one; and that this is the real mover may be proved in two distinct ways: first because, being as we have already seen either moral or intellectual, and being as we have also seen not moral, it must be intellectual; and secondly, because the intellectual principle has an activity and a capacity for adaptation which, as I undertake to show, is quite sufficient to account for the extraordinary progress that during several centuries Europe has continued to make.

Such are the main arguments by which my view is supported; but there are also other and collateral circumstances which are well worthy of consideration. The first is, that the intellectual principle is not only far more progressive than the moral principle, but is also far more permanent in its results. The acquisitions made by the intellect are, in every civilized country, carefully preserved, registered in certain well-understood formulas, and protected by the use of technical and scientific language; they are easily handed down from one generation to another, and thus assuming an accessible, or as it were a tangible form, they often influence the most distant posterity, they become the heirlooms of mankind, the immortal bequest of the genius to which they owe their birth. But the good deeds effected by our moral faculties are less capable of transmission; they are of a more private and retiring character: while as the motives to which they owe their origin are generally the result of self-discipline and of self-sacrifice, they have to be worked out by every man for himself; and thus, begun by each anew, they derive little benefit from the maxims of preceding experience, nor can they well be stored up for the use of future moralists. The consequence is that although moral excellence is more amiable, and to most persons more attractive, than intellectual excellence, still it must be confessed that looking at ulterior results, it is far less active, less permanent, and as I shall presently prove, less productive of real good. Indeed, if we examine the effects of the most active philanthropy and of the largest and most disinterested kindness, we shall find that those effects are, comparatively speaking, short-lived; that there is only a small number of individuals they come in contact with and benefit; that they rarely survive the generation which witnessed their commencement; and that when they take the more durable form of founding great public charities, such institutions invariably fall, first into abuse, then into decay, and after a time are either destroyed or perverted from their original intention, mocking the effort by which it is vainly attempted to perpetuate the memory even of the purest and most energetic benevolence.

These conclusions are no doubt very unpalatable; and what makes them peculiarly offensive is, that it is impossible to refute them. For the deeper we penetrate into this question, the more clearly shall we see the superiority of intellectual acquisitions over moral feeling. There is no instance on record of an ignorant man who, having good intentions and supreme power to enforce them, has not done far more evil than good. And whenever the intentions have been very eager, and the power very extensive, the evil has been enormous. But if you can diminish the sincerity of that man, if you can mix some alloy with his motives, you will likewise diminish the evil which he works. If he is selfish as well as ignorant, it will often happen [that] you may play off his vice against his ignorance, and by exciting his fears restrain his mischief. If, however, he has no fear, if he is entirely unselfish, if his sole object is the good of others, if he pursues that object with enthusiasm, upon a large scale, and with disinterested zeal, then it is that you have no check upon him, you have no means of preventing the calamities which in an ignorant age an ignorant man will be sure to inflict. How entirely this is verified by experience, we may see in studying the history of religious persecution. To punish even a single man for his religious tenets is assuredly a crime of the deepest dye; but to punish a large body of men, to persecute an entire sect, to attempt to extirpate opinions which, growing out of the state of society in which they arise, are themselves a manifestation of the marvelous and luxuriant fertility of the human mind,--to do this is not only one of the most pernicious, but one of the most foolish acts that can possibly be conceived. Nevertheless it is an undoubted fact that an overwhelming majority of religious persecutors have been men of the purest intentions, of the most admirable and unsullied morals. It is impossible that this should be otherwise. For they are not bad-intentioned men who seek to enforce opinions which they believe to be good. Still less are they bad men who are so regardless of temporal considerations as to employ all the resources of their power, not for their own benefit, but for the purpose of propagating a religion which they think necessary to the future happiness of mankind. Such men as these are not bad, they are only ignorant; ignorant of the nature of truth, ignorant of the consequences of their own acts. But in a moral point of view their motives are unimpeachable. Indeed, it is the very ardor of their sincerity which warms them into persecution. It is the holy zeal by which they are fired that quickens their fanaticism into a deadly activity. If you can impress any man with an absorbing conviction of the supreme importance of some moral or religious doctrine; if you can make him believe that those who reject that doctrine are doomed to eternal perdition; if you then give that man power, and by means of his ignorance blind him to the ulterior consequences of his own act,--he will infallibly persecute those who deny his doctrine; and the extent of his persecution will be regulated by the extent of his sincerity. Diminish the sincerity, and you will diminish the persecution; in other words, by weakening the virtue you may check the evil. This is a truth of which history furnishes such innumerable examples, that to deny it would be not only to reject the plainest and most conclusive arguments, but to refuse the concurrent testimony of every age. I will merely select two cases, which, from the entire difference in their circumstances, are very apposite as illustrations: the first being from the history of Paganism, the other from the history of Christianity; and both proving the inability of moral feelings to control religious persecution.

I. The Roman emperors, as is well known, subjected the early Christians to persecutions which, though they have been exaggerated, were frequent and very grievous. But what to some persons must appear extremely strange, is, that among the active authors of these cruelties we find the names of the best men who ever sat on the throne; while the worst and most infamous princes were precisely those who spared the Christians, and took no heed of their increase. The two most thoroughly depraved of all the emperors were certainly Commodus and Elagabalus; neither of whom persecuted the new religion, or indeed adopted any measures against it. They were too reckless of the future, too selfish, too absorbed in their own infamous pleasures, to mind whether truth or error prevailed; and being thus indifferent to the welfare of their subjects, they cared nothing about the progress of a creed which they, as Pagan emperors, were bound to regard as a fatal and impious delusion. They therefore allowed Christianity to run its course, unchecked by those penal laws which more honest but more mistaken rulers would assuredly have enacted. We find, accordingly, that the great enemy of Christianity was Marcus Aurelius; a man of kindly temper, and of fearless, unflinching honesty, but whose reign was characterized by a persecution from which he would have refrained had he been less in earnest about the religion of his fathers. And to complete the argument, it may be added that the last and one of the most strenuous opponents of Christianity who occupied the throne of the Cæsars was Julian; a prince of eminent probity, whose opinions are often attacked, but against whose moral conduct even calumny itself has hardly breathed a suspicion.

II. The second illustration is supplied by Spain; a country of which it must be confessed, that in no other have religiuos feelings exercised such sway over the affairs of men. No other European nation has produced so many ardent and disinterested missionaries, zealous self-denying martyrs, who have cheerfully sacrificed their lives in order to propagate truths which they thought necessary to be known. Nowhere else have the spiritual classes been so long in the ascendant; nowhere else are the people so devout, the churches so crowded, the clergy so numerous. But the sincerity and honesty of purpose by which the Spanish people, taken as a whole, have always been marked, have not only been unable to prevent religious persecution, but have proved the means of encouraging it. If the nation had been more lukewarm, it would have been more tolerant. As it was, the preservation of the faith became the first consideration; and everything being sacrificed to this one object, it naturally happened that zeal begat cruelty, and the soil was prepared in which the Inquisition took root and flourished. The supporters of that barbarous institution were not hypocrites, but enthusiasts. Hypocrites are for the most part too supple to be cruel. For cruelty is a stern and unbending passion; while hypocrisy is a fawning and flexible art, which accommodates itself to human feelings, and flatters the weakness of men in order that it may gain its own ends. In Spain, the earnestness of the nation, being concentrated on a single topic, carried everything before it; and hatred of heresy becoming a habit, persecution of heresy was thought a duty. The conscientious energy with which that duty was fulfilled is seen in the history of the Spanish Church. Indeed, that the inquisitors were remarkable for an undeviating and uncorruptible integrity may be proved in a variety of ways, and from different and independent sources of evidence. This is a question to which I shall hereafter return; but there are two testimonies which I cannot omit, because, from the circumstances attending them, they are peculiarly unimpeachable. Llorente, the great historian of the Inquisition, and its bitter enemy, had access to its private papers: and yet, with the fullest means of information, he does not even insinuate a charge against the moral character of the inquisitors; but while execrating the cruelty of their conduct, he cannot deny the purity of their intentions. Thirty years earlier, Townsend, a clergyman of the Church of England, published his valuable work on Spain: and though, as a Protestant and an Englishman, he had every reason to be prejudiced against the infamous system which he describes, he also can bring no charge against those who upheld it; but having occasion to mention its establishment at Barcelona, one of its most important branches, he makes the remarkable admission that all its members are men of worth, and that most of them are of distinguished humanity.

These facts, startling as they are, form a very small part of that vast mass of evidence which history contains, and which decisively proves the utter inability of moral feelings to diminish religious persecution. The way in which the diminution has been really effected by the mere progress of intellectual acquirements will be pointed out in another part of this volume; when we shall see that the great antagonist of intolerance is not humanity, but knowledge. It is to the diffusion of knowledge, and to that alone, that we owe the comparative cessation of what is unquestionably the greatest evil men have ever inflicted on their own species. For that religious persecution is a greater evil than any other, is apparent, not so much from the enormous and almost incredible number of its known victims, as from the fact that the unknown must be far more numerous, and that history gives no account of those who have been spared in the body in order that they might suffer in the mind. We hear much of martyrs and confessors--of those who were slain by the sword, or consumed in the fire: but we know little of that still larger number who by the mere threat of persecution have been driven into an outward abandonment of their real opinions; and who, thus forced into an apostasy the heart abhors, have passed the remainder of their lives in the practice of a constant and humiliating hypocrisy. It is this which is the real curse of religious persecution. For in this way, men being constrained to mask their thoughts, there arises a habit of securing safety by falsehood, and of purchasing impunity with deceit. In this way fraud becomes a necessary of life; insincerity is made a daily custom; the whole tone of public feeling is vitiated, and the gross amount of vice and of error fearfully increased. Surely, then, we have reason to say that, compared to this, all other crimes are of small account; and we may well be grateful for that increase of intellectual pursuits which has destroyed an evil that some among us would even now willingly restore.




THE MYTHICAL ORIGIN OF HISTORY

From the 'History of Civilization in England'

At a very early period in the progress of a people, and long before they are acquainted with the use of letters, they feel the want of some resource which in peace may amuse their leisure, and in war may stimulate their courage. This is supplied to them by the invention of ballads; which form the groundwork of all historical knowledge, and which, in one shape or another, are found among some of the rudest tribes of the earth. They are for the most part sung by a class of men whose particular business it is thus to preserve the stock of traditions. Indeed, so natural is this curiosity as to past events that there are few nations to whom these bards or minstrels are unknown. Thus, to select a few instances, it is they who have preserved the popular traditions, not only of Europe, but also of China, Tibet, and Tartary; likewise of India, of Scinde, of Beloochistan, of Western Asia, of the islands of the Black Sea, of Egypt, of Western Africa, of North America, of South America, and of the islands in the Pacific.

In all these countries, letters were long unknown, and as a people in that state have no means of perpetuating their history except by oral tradition, they select the form best calculated to assist their memory; and it will, I believe, be found that the first rudiments of knowledge consist always of poetry, and often of rhyme. The jingle pleases the ear of the barbarian, and affords a security that he will hand it down to his children in the unimpaired state in which he received it. This guarantee against error increases still further the value of these ballads; and instead of being considered as a mere amusement, they rise to the dignity of judicial authorities. The allusions contained in them are satisfactory proofs to decide the merits of rival families, or even to fix the limits of those rude estates which such a society can possess. We therefore find that the professed reciters and composers of these songs are the recognized judges in all disputed matters; and as they are often priests, and believed to be inspired, it is probably in this way that the notion of the divine origin of poetry first arose. These ballads will of course vary according to the customs and temperaments of the different nations, and according to the climate to which they are accustomed. In the south they assume a passionate and voluptuous form; in the north they are rather remarkable for their tragic and warlike character. But notwithstanding these diversities, all such productions have one feature in common: they are not only founded on truth, but making allowance for the colorings of poetry, they are all strictly true. Men who are constantly repeating songs which they constantly hear, and who appeal to the authorized singers of them as final umpires in disputed questions, are not likely to be mistaken on matters in the accuracy of which they have so lively an interest.

This is the earliest and most simple of the various stages through which history is obliged to pass. But in the course of time, unless unfavorable circumstances intervene, society advances; and among other changes, there is one in particular of the greatest importance. I mean the introduction of the art of writing, which, before many generations are passed, must effect a complete alteration in the character of the national traditions. The manner in which, this occurs has, so far as I am aware, never been pointed out; and it will therefore be interesting to attempt to trace some of its details.

The first and perhaps the most obvious consideration is, that the introduction of the art of writing gives permanence to the national knowledge, and thus lessens the utility of that oral information in which all the acquirements of an unlettered people must be contained. Hence it is that as a country advances the influence of tradition diminishes, and traditions themselves become less trustworthy. Besides this, the preservers of these traditions lose in this stage of society much of their former reputation. Among a perfectly unlettered people, the singers of ballads are, as we have already seen, the sole depositaries of those historical facts on which the fame, and often the property, of their chieftains principally depend. But when this same nation becomes acquainted with the art of writing, it grows unwilling to intrust these matters to the memory of itinerant singers, and avails itself of its new art to preserve them in a fixed and material form. As soon as this is effected, the importance of those who repeat the national traditions is sensibly diminished. They gradually sink into an inferior class, which, having lost its old reputation, no longer consists of those superior men to whose abilities it owed its former fame. Thus we see that although without letters there can be no knowledge of much importance, it is nevertheless true that their introduction is injurious to historical traditions in two distinct ways: first by weakening the traditions, and secondly by weakening the class of men whose occupation it is to preserve them.

But this is not all. Not only does the art of writing lessen the number of traditionary truths, but it directly encourages the propagation of falsehoods. This is effected by what may be termed a principle of accumulation, to which all systems of belief have been deeply indebted. In ancient times, for example, the name of Hercules was given to several of those great public robbers who scourged mankind, and who, if their crimes were successful as well as enormous, were sure after their death to be worshiped as heroes. How this appellation originated is uncertain; but it was probably bestowed at first on a single man, and afterwards on those who resembled him in the character of their achievements. This mode of extending the use of a single name is natural to a barbarous people, and would cause little or no confusion, as long as the tradition of the country remained local and unconnected. But as soon as these traditions became fixed by a written language, the collectors of them, deceived by the similarity of name, assembled the scattered facts, and ascribing to a single man these accumulated exploits, degraded history to the level of a miraculous mythology. In the same way, soon after the use of letters was known in the North of Europe, there was drawn up by Saxo Grammaticus the life of the celebrated Ragnar Lodbrok. Either from accident or design, this great warrior of Scandinavia, who had taught England to tremble, had received the same name as another Ragnar, who was prince of Jutland about a hundred years earlier. This coincidence would have caused no confusion as long as each district preserved a distinct and independent account of its own Ragnar. But by possessing the resource of writing, men became able to consolidate the separate trains of events, and as it were, fuse two truths into one error. And this was what actually happened. The credulous Saxo put together the different exploits of both Ragnars, and ascribing the whole of them to his favorite hero, has involved in obscurity one of the most interesting parts of the early history of Europe.

The annals of the North afford another curious instance of this source of error. A tribe of Finns called Quæns occupied a considerable part of the eastern coast of the Gulf of Bothnia. Their country was known as Quænland; and this name gave rise to a belief that to the north of the Baltic there was a nation of Amazons. This would easily have been corrected by local knowledge: but by the use of writing, the flying rumor was at once fixed; and the existence of such a people is positively affirmed in some of the earliest European histories. Thus too Åbo, the ancient capital of Finland, was called Turku, which in the Swedish language means a market-place. Adam of Bremen, having occasion to treat of the countries adjoining the Baltic, was so misled by the word Turku that this celebrated historian assures his readers that there were Turks in Finland.

To these illustrations many others might be added, showing how mere names deceived the early historians, and gave rise to relations which were entirely false, and might have been rectified on the spot; but which, owing to the art of writing, were carried into distant countries and thus placed beyond the reach of contradiction. Of such cases, one more may be mentioned, as it concerns the history of England. Richard I., the most barbarous of our princes, was known to his contemporaries as the Lion; an appellation conferred upon him on account of his fearlessness and the ferocity of his temper. Hence it was said that he had the heart of a lion; and the title Coeur de Lion not only became indissolubly connected with his name, but actually gave rise to a story, repeated by innumerable writers, according to which he slew a lion in a single combat. The name gave rise to the story; the story confirmed the name: and another fiction was added to that long series of falsehoods of which history mainly consisted during the Middle Ages.

The corruptions of history, thus naturally brought about by the mere introduction of letters, were in Europe aided by an additional cause. With the art of writing, there was in most cases also communicated a knowledge of Christianity; and the new religion not only destroyed many of the Pagan traditions, but falsified the remainder by amalgamating them with monastic legends. The extent to which this was carried would form a curious subject for inquiry; but one or two instances of it will perhaps be sufficient to satisfy the generality of readers.

Of the earliest state of the great Northern nations we have little positive evidence; but several of the lays in which the Scandinavian poets related the feats of their ancestors or of their contemporaries are still preserved; and notwithstanding their subsequent corruption, it is admitted by the most competent judges that they embody real and historical events. But in the ninth and tenth centuries, Christian missionaries found their way across the Baltic, and introduced a knowledge of their religion among the inhabitants of Northern Europe. Scarcely was this effected when the sources of history began to be poisoned. At the end of the eleventh century Saemund Sigfusson, a Christian priest, gathered the popular and hitherto unwritten histories of the North into what is called the "Elder Edda"; and he was satisfied with adding to his compilation the corrective of a Christian hymn. A hundred years later there was made another collection of the native histories; but the principle which I have mentioned, having had a longer time to operate, now displayed its effects still more clearly. In this second collection, which is known by the name of the 'Younger Edda,' there is an agreeable mixture of Greek, Jewish, and Christian fables; and for the first time in the Scandinavian annals, we meet with the widely diffused fiction of a Trojan descent.

If by way of further illustration we turn to other parts of the world, we shall find a series of facts confirming this view. We shall find that in those countries where there has been no change of religion, history is more trustworthy and connected than in those countries where such a change has taken place. In India, Brahmanism, which is still supreme, was established at so early a period that its origin is lost in the remotest antiquity. The consequence is that the native annals have never been corrupted by any new superstition, and the Hindus are possessed of historic traditions more ancient than can be found among any other Asiatic people. In the same way, the Chinese have for upwards of two thousand years preserved the religion of Fo, which is a form of Buddhism. In China, therefore, though the civilization has never been equal to that of India, there is a history, not indeed as old as the natives would wish us to believe, but still stretching back to several centuries before the Christian era, from whence it has been brought down to our own times in an uninterrupted succession. On the other hand, the Persians, whose intellectual development was certainly superior to that of the Chinese, are nevertheless without any authentic information respecting the early transactions of their ancient monarchy. For this I can see no possible reason except the fact that Persia, soon after the promulgation of the Koran, was conquered by the Mohammedans, who completely subverted the Parsee religion and thus interrupted the stream of the national traditions. Hence it is that, putting aside the myths of the Zendavesta, we have no native authorities for Persian history of any value, until the appearance in the eleventh century of the Shah Nameh; in which, however, Firdusi has mingled the miraculous relations of those two religions by which his country had been successively subjected. The result is, that if it were not for the various discoveries which have been made, of monuments, inscriptions, and coins, we should be compelled to rely on the scanty and inaccurate details in the Greek writers for our knowledge of the history of one of the most important of the Asiatic monarchies.






GEORGE LOUIS LE CLERC BUFFON

(1707-1788)

BY SPENCER TROTTER

science becomes part of the general stock of knowledge only after it has entered into the literature of a people. The bare skeleton of facts must be clothed with the flesh and blood of imagination, through the humanizing influence of literary expression, before it can be assimilated by the average intellectual being. The scientific investigator is rarely endowed with the gift of weaving the facts into a story that will charm, and the man of letters is too often devoid of that patience which is the chief virtue of the scientist. These gifts of the gods are bestowed upon mankind under the guiding genius of the division of labor. The name of Buffon will always be associated with natural history, though in the man himself the spirit of science was conspicuously absent. In this respect he was in marked contrast with his contemporary Linnæus, whose intellect and labor laid the foundations of much of the scientific knowledge of to-day.


Buffon

George Louis le Clerc Buffon was born on the 7th of September, 1707, at Montbar, in Burgundy. His father, Benjamin le Clerc, who was possessed of a fortune, appears to have bestowed great care and liberality on the education of his son. While a youth Buffon made the acquaintance of a young English nobleman, the Duke of Kingston, whose tutor, a man well versed in the knowledge of physical science, exerted a profound influence on the future career of the young Frenchman. At twenty-one Buffon came into his mother's estate, a fortune yielding an annual income of £12,000. But this wealth did not change his purpose to gain knowledge. He traveled through Italy, and after living for a short period in England returned to France and devoted his time to literary work. His first efforts were translations of two English works of science--Hale's 'Vegetable Statics' and Newton's 'Fluxions'; and he followed these with various studies in the different branches of physical science.

The determining event in his life, which led him to devote the rest of his years to the study of natural history, was the death of his friend Du Fay, the Intendant of the Jardin du Roi (now the Jardin des Plantes), who on his death-bed recommended Buffon as his successor. A man of letters, Buffon saw before him the opportunity to write a natural history of the earth and its inhabitants; and he set to work with a zeal that lasted until his death in 1788, at the age of eighty-one. His great work, 'L'Histoire Naturelle,' was the outcome of these years of labor, the first edition being complete in thirty-six quarto volumes.

The first fifteen volumes of this great work, published between the years 1749 and 1767, treated of the theory of the earth, the nature of animals, and the history of man and viviparous quadrupeds; and was the joint work of Buffon and Daubenton, a physician of Buffon's native village. The scientific portion of the work was done by Daubenton, who possessed considerable anatomical knowledge, and who wrote accurate descriptions of the various animals mentioned. Buffon, however, affected to ignore the work of his co-laborer and reaped the entire glory, so that Daubenton withdrew his services. Later appeared the nine volumes on birds, in which Buffon was aided by the Abbé Sexon. Then followed the 'History of Minerals' in five volumes, and seven volumes of 'Supplements,' the last one of which was published the year after Buffon's death.

One can hardly admire the personal character of Buffon. He was vain and superficial, and given to extravagant speculations. He is reported to have said, "I know but five great geniuses--Newton, Bacon, Leibnitz, Montesquieu, and myself." His natural vanity was undoubtedly fostered by the adulation which he received from those in authority. He saw his own statue placed in the cabinet of Louis XVI., with the inscription "Majestati Naturæ par ingenium." Louis XV. bestowed upon him a title of nobility, and crowned heads "addressed him in language of the most exaggerated compliment." Buffon's conduct and conversation were marked throughout by a certain coarseness and vulgarity that constantly appear in his writings. He was foppish and trifling, and affected religion though at heart a disbeliever.

The chief value of Buffon's work lies in the fact that it first brought the subject of natural history into popular literature. Probably no writer of the time, with the exception of Voltaire and Rousseau, was so widely read and quoted as Buffon. But the gross inaccuracy which pervaded his writings, and the visionary theories in which he constantly indulged, gave the work a less permanent value than it might otherwise have attained. Buffon detested the scientific method, preferring literary finish to accuracy of statement. Although the work was widely translated, and was the only popular natural history of the time, there is little of it that is worthy of a place in the world's best literature. It is chiefly as a relic of a past literary epoch, and as the pioneer work in a new literary field, that Buffon's writings appeal to us. They awakened for the first time a wide interest in natural history, though their author was distinctly not a naturalist.

Arabella Buckley has said of Buffon and his writings that though "he often made great mistakes and arrived at false conclusions, still he had so much genius and knowledge that a great part of his work will always remain true." Cuvier has left us a good memoir of Buffon in the 'Biographic Universelle.'







NATURE

From the 'Natural History'

So with what magnificence Nature shines upon the earth! A pure light extending from east to west gilds successively the hemispheres of the globe. An airy transparent element surrounds it; a warm and fruitful heat animates and develops all its germs of life; living and salutary waters tend to their support and increase; high points scattered over the lands, by arresting the airy vapors, render these sources inexhaustible and always fresh; gathered into immense hollows, they divide the continents. The extent of the sea is as great as that of the land. It is not a cold and sterile element, but another empire as rich and populated as the first. The finger of God has marked the boundaries. When the waters encroach upon the beaches of the west, they leave bare those of the east. This enormous mass of water, itself inert, follows the guidance of heavenly movements. Balanced by the regular oscillations of ebb and flow, it rises and falls with the planet of night; rising still higher when concurrent with the planet of day, the two uniting their forces during the equinoxes cause the great tides. Our connection with the heavens is nowhere more clearly indicated. From these constant and general movements result others variable and particular: removals of earth, deposits at the bottom of water forming elevations like those upon the earth's surface, currents which, following the direction of these mountain ranges, shape them to corresponding angles; and rolling in the midst of the waves, as waters upon the earth, are in truth the rivers of the sea.

The air, too, lighter and more fluid than water, obeys many forces: the distant action of sun and moon, the immediate action of the sea, that of rarefying heat and of condensing cold, produce in it continual agitations. The winds are its currents, driving before them and collecting the clouds. They produce meteors; transport the humid vapors of maritime beaches to the land surfaces of the continents; determine the storms; distribute the fruitful rains and kindly dews; stir the sea; agitate the mobile waters, arrest or hasten the currents; raise floods; excite tempests. The angry sea rises toward heaven and breaks roaring against immovable dikes, which it can neither destroy nor surmount.

The land elevated above sea-level is safe from these irruptions. Its surface, enameled with flowers, adorned with ever fresh verdure, peopled with thousands and thousands of differing species of animals, is a place of repose; an abode of delights, where man, placed to aid nature, dominates all other things, the only one who can know and admire. God has made him spectator of the universe and witness of his marvels. He is animated by a divine spark which renders him a participant in the divine mysteries; and by whose light he thinks and reflects, sees and reads in the book of the world as in a copy of divinity.

Nature is the exterior throne of God's glory. The man who studies and contemplates it rises gradually towards the interior throne of omniscience. Made to adore the Creator, he commands all the creatures. Vassal of heaven, king of earth, which he ennobles and enriches, he establishes order, harmony, and subordination among living beings. He embellishes Nature itself; cultivates, extends, and refines it; suppresses its thistles and brambles, and multiplies its grapes and roses.

Look upon the solitary beaches and sad lands where man has never dwelt: covered--or rather bristling--with thick black woods on all their rising ground, stunted barkless trees, bent, twisted, falling from age; near by, others even more numerous, rotting upon heaps already rotten,--stifling, burying the germs ready to burst forth. Nature, young everywhere else, is here decrepit. The land surmounted by the ruins of these productions offers, instead of flourishing verdure, only an incumbered space pierced by aged trees, loaded with parasitic plants, lichens, agarics--impure fruits of corruption. In the low parts is water, dead and stagnant because undirected; or swampy soil neither solid nor liquid, hence unapproachable and useless to the habitants both of land and of water. Here are swamps covered with rank aquatic plants nourishing only venomous insects and haunted by unclean animals. Between these low infectious marshes and these higher ancient forests extend plains having nothing in common with our meadows, upon which weeds smother useful plants. There is none of that fine turf which seems like down upon the earth, or of that enameled lawn which announces a brilliant fertility; but instead an interlacement of hard and thorny herbs which seem to cling to each other rather than to the soil, and which, successively withering and impeding each other, form a coarse mat several feet thick. There are no roads, no communications, no vestiges of intelligence in these wild places. Man, obliged to follow the paths of savage beasts and to watch constantly lest he become their prey, terrified by their roars, thrilled by the very silence of these profound solitudes, turns back and says:--

Primitive nature is hideous and dying; I, I alone, can make it living and agreeable. Let us dry these swamps; converting into streams and canals, animate these dead waters by setting them in motion. Let us use the active and devouring element once hidden from us, and which we ourselves have discovered; and set fire to this superfluous mat, to these aged forests already half consumed, and finish with iron what fire cannot destroy! Soon, instead of rush and water-lily from which the toad compounds his venom, we shall see buttercups and clover, sweet and salutary herbs. Herds of bounding animals will tread this once impracticable soil and find abundant, constantly renewed pasture. They will multiply, to multiply again. Let us employ the new aid to complete our work; and let the ox, submissive to the yoke, exercise his strength in furrowing the land. Then it will grow young again with cultivation, and a new nature shall spring up under our hands.

How beautiful is cultivated Nature when by the cares of man she is brilliantly and pompously adorned! He himself is the chief ornament, the most noble production; in multiplying himself he multiplies her most precious gem. She seems to multiply herself with him, for his art brings to light all that her bosom conceals. What treasures hitherto ignored! What new riches! Flowers, fruits, perfected grains infinitely multiplied; useful species of animals transported, propagated, endlessly increased; harmful species destroyed, confined, banished; gold, and iron more necessary than gold, drawn from the bowels of the earth; torrents confined; rivers directed and restrained; the sea, submissive and comprehended, crossed from one hemisphere to the other; the earth everywhere accessible, everywhere living and fertile; in the valleys, laughing prairies; in the plains, rich pastures or richer harvests; the hills loaded with vines and fruits, their summits crowned by useful trees and young forests; deserts changed to cities inhabited by a great people, who, ceaselessly circulating, scatter themselves from centres to extremities; frequent open roads and communications established everywhere like so many witnesses of the force and union of society; a thousand other monuments of power and glory: proving that man, master of the world, has transformed it, renewed its whole surface, and that he shares his empire with Nature.

However, he rules only by right of conquest, and enjoys rather than possesses. He can only retain by ever-renewed efforts. If these cease, everything languishes, changes, grows disordered, enters again into the hands of Nature. She retakes her rights; effaces man's work; covers his most sumptuous monuments with dust and moss; destroys them in time, leaving him only the regret that he has lost by his own fault the conquests of his ancestors. These periods during which man loses his domain, ages of barbarism when everything perishes, are always prepared by wars and arrive with famine and depopulation. Man, who can do nothing except in numbers, and is only strong in union, only happy in peace, has the madness to arm himself for his unhappiness and to fight for his own ruin. Incited by insatiable greed, blinded by still more insatiable ambition, he renounces the sentiments of humanity, turns all his forces against himself, and seeking to destroy his fellow, does indeed destroy himself. And after these days of blood and carnage, when the smoke of glory has passed away, he sees with sadness that the earth is devastated, the arts buried, the nations dispersed, the races enfeebled, his own happiness ruined, and his power annihilated.




THE HUMMING-BIRD

From the 'Natural History'

Of all animated beings this is the most elegant in form and the most brilliant in colors. The stones and metals polished by our arts are not comparable to this jewel of Nature. She has placed it least in size of the order of birds, maxime miranda in minimis. Her masterpiece is the little humming-bird, and upon it she has heaped all the gifts which the other birds may only share. Lightness, rapidity, nimbleness, grace, and rich apparel all belong to this little favorite. The emerald, the ruby, and the topaz gleam upon its dress. It never soils them with the dust of earth, and in its aërial life scarcely touches the turf an instant. Always in the air, flying from flower to flower, it has their freshness as well as their brightness. It lives upon their nectar, and dwells only in the climates where they perennially bloom.

All kinds of humming-birds are found in the hottest countries of the New World. They are quite numerous and seem to be confined between the two tropics, for those which penetrate the temperate zones in summer only stay there a short time. They seem to follow the sun in its advance and retreat; and to fly on the wing of zephyrs after an eternal spring.

The smaller species of the humming-birds are less in size than the great fly wasp, and more slender than the drone. Their beak is a fine needle and their tongue a slender thread. Their little black eyes are like two shining points, and the feathers of their wings so delicate that they seem transparent. Their short feet, which they use very little, are so tiny one can scarcely see them. They alight only at night, resting in the air during the day. They have a swift continual humming flight. The movement of their wings is so rapid that when pausing in the air, the bird seems quite motionless. One sees him stop before a blossom, then dart like a flash to another, visiting all, plunging his tongue into their hearts, flattening them with his wings, never settling anywhere, but neglecting none. He hastens his inconstancies only to pursue his loves more eagerly and to multiply his innocent joys. For this light lover of flowers lives at their expense without ever blighting them. He only pumps their honey, and to this alone his tongue seems destined.

The vivacity of these small birds is only equaled by their courage, or rather their audacity. Sometimes they may be seen chasing furiously birds twenty times their size, fastening upon their bodies, letting themselves be carried along in their flight, while they peck them fiercely until their tiny rage is satisfied. Sometimes they fight each other vigorously. Impatience seems their very essence. If they approach a blossom and find it faded, they mark their spite by hasty rending of the petals. Their only voice is a weak cry, "screp, screp," frequent and repeated, which they utter in the woods from dawn, until at the first rays of the sun they all take flight and scatter over the country.






EDWARD BULWER-LYTTON

(1803-1873)

BY JULIAN HAWTHORNE

he patrician in literature is always an interesting spectacle. We are prone to regard his performance as a test of the worth of long descent and high breeding. If he does well, he vindicates the claims of his caste; if ill, we infer that inherited estates and blue blood are but surface advantages, leaving the effective brain unimproved, or even causing deterioration. But the argument is still open; and whether genius be the creature of circumstance or divinely independent, is a question which prejudice rather than evidence commonly decides.

Certainly literature tries men's souls. The charlatan must betray himself. Genius shines through all cerements. On the other hand, genius may be nourished, and the charlatan permeates all classes. The truth probably is that an aristocrat is quite as apt as a plebeian to be a good writer. Only since there are fewer of the former than of the latter, and since, unlike the last, the first are seldom forced to live by their brains, there are more plebeian than aristocratic names on the literary roll of honor. Admitting this, the instance of the writer known as "Bulwer" proves nothing one way or the other. At all events, not, Was he a genius because he was a, patrician? but, Was he a genius at all? is the inquiry most germane to our present purpose.

An aristocrat of aristocrats undoubtedly he was, though it concerns us not to determine whether the blood of Plantagenet kings and Norman conquerors really flowed in his veins. On both father's and mother's side he was thoroughly well connected. Heydon Hall in Norfolk was the hereditary home of the Norman Bulwers; the Saxon Lyttons had since the Conquest lived at Knebworth in Derbyshire. The historic background of each family was honorable, and when the marriage of William Earle Bulwer with Elizabeth Barbara Lytton united them, it might be said that in their offspring England found her type.

Edward, being the youngest son, had little money, but he happened to have brains. He began existence delicate and precocious. Culture, with him, set in almost with what he would have termed the "consciousness of his own identity," and the process never intermitted: in fact, appearances to the contrary notwithstanding, his spiritual and intellectual emancipation was hindered by many obstacles; for, an ailing child, he was petted by his mother, and such germs of intelligence (verses at seven years old, and the like) as he betrayed were trumpeted as prodigies. He was spoilt so long before he was ripe that it is a marvel he ever ripened at all. Many years must pass before vanity could be replaced in him by manly ambition; a vein of silliness is traceable through his career almost to the end. He expatiated in the falsetto key; almost never do we hear in his voice that hearty bass note so dear to plain humanity. In his pilgrimage toward freedom he had to wrestle not only with flesh-and-blood mothers, uncles, and wives, et id genus omne, but with the more subtle and vital ideas, superstitions, and prejudices appertaining to his social station. His worst foes were not those of his household merely, but of his heart. The more arduous achievement of such a man is to see his real self and believe in it. There are so many misleading purple-velvet waistcoats, gold chains, superfine sentiments, and blue-blooded affiliations in the way, that the true nucleus of so much decoration becomes less accessible than the needle in the hay-stack. It is greatly to Bulwer's credit that he stuck valiantly to his quest, and nearly, if not quite, ran down his game at last. His intellectual record is one of constant progress, from childhood to age.

Whether his advance in other respects was as uniform does not much concern us. He was unhappy with his wife, and perhaps they even threw things at each other at table, the servants looking on. Nothing in his matrimonial relations so much became him as his conduct after their severance: he held his tongue like a man, in spite of the poor lady's shrieks and clapper-clawings. His whimsical, hair-splitting conscientiousness is less admirable. A healthy conscience does not whine--it creates. No one cares to know what a man thinks of his own actions. No one is interested to learn that Bulwer meant 'Paul Clifford' to be an edifying work, or that he married his wife from the highest motives. We do not take him so seriously: we are satisfied that he wrote the story first and discovered its morality afterwards; and that lofty motives would not have united him to Miss Rosina Doyle Wheeler had she not been pretty and clever. His hectic letters to his mamma; his Byronic struttings and mouthings over the grave of his schoolgirl lady-love; his eighteenth-century comedy-scene with Caroline Lamb; his starched-frill participation in the Fred Villiers duel at Boulogne,--how silly and artificial is all this! There is no genuine feeling in it: he attires himself in tawdry sentiment as in a flowered waistcoat. What a difference between him, at this period, and his contemporary Benjamin Disraeli, who indeed committed similar inanities, but with a saturnine sense of humor cropping out at every turn which altered the whole complexion of the performance. We laugh at the one, but with the other.



Of course, however, there was a man hidden somewhere in Edward Bulwer's perfumed clothes and mincing attitudes, else the world had long since forgotten him. Amidst his dandyism, he learned how to speak well in debate and how to use his hands to guard his head; he paid his debts by honest hard work, and would not be dishonorably beholden to his mother or any one else. He posed as a blighted being, and invented black evening-dress; but he lived down the scorn of such men as Tennyson and Thackeray, and won their respect and friendship at last. He aimed high, according to his lights, meant well, and in the long run did well too.

The main activities of his life--and from start to finish his energy was great--were in politics and in literature. His political career covers about forty years, from the time he took his degree at Cambridge till Lord Derby made him a peer in 1866. He accomplished nothing of serious importance, but his course was always creditable: he began as a sentimental Radical and ended as a liberal Conservative; he advocated the Crimean War; the Corn Laws found him in a compromising humor; his record as Colonial Secretary offers nothing memorable in statesmanship. The extraordinary brilliancy of his brother Henry's diplomatic life throws Edward's achievements into the shade. There is nothing to be ashamed of, but had he done nothing else he would have been unknown. But literature, first seriously cultivated as a means of livelihood, outlasted his political ambitions, and his books are to-day his only claim to remembrance. They made a strong impression at the time they were written, and many are still read as much as ever, by a generation born after his death. Their popularity is not of the catchpenny sort; thoughtful people read them, as well as the great drove of the undiscriminating. For they are the product of thought: they show workmanship; they have quality; they are carefully made. If the literary critic never finds occasion to put off the shoes from his feet as in the sacred presence of genius, he is constantly moved to recognize with a friendly nod the presence of sterling talent. He is even inclined to think that nobody else ever had so much talent as this little red-haired, blue-eyed, high-nosed, dandified Edward Bulwer; the mere mass of it lifts him at times to the levels where genius dwells, though he never quite shares their nectar and ambrosia. He as it were catches echoes of the talk of the Immortals,--the turn of their phrase, the intonation of their utterance,--and straightway reproduces it with the fidelity of the phonograph. But, as in the phonograph, we find something lacking; our mind accepts the report as genuine, but our ear affirms an unreality; this is reproduction, indeed, but not creation. Bulwer himself, when his fit is past, and his critical faculty re-awakens, probably knows as well as another that these labored and meritorious pages of his are not graven on the eternal adamant. But they are the best he can do, and perhaps there is none better of their kind. They have a right to be; for while genius may do harm as well as good, Bulwer never does harm, and in spite of sickly sentiment and sham philosophy, is uniformly instructive, amusing, and edifying.

"To love her," wrote Dick Steele of a certain great dame, "is a liberal education;" and we might almost say the same of the reading of Bulwer's romances. He was learned, and he put into his books all his learning, as well as all else that was his. They represent artistically grouped, ingeniously lighted, with suitable acompaniments of music and illusion--the acquisitions of his intellect, the sympathies of his nature, and the achievements of his character.

He wrote in various styles, making deliberate experiments in one after another, and often hiding himself completely in anonymity. He was versatile, not deep. Robert Louis Stevenson also employs various styles; but with him the changes are intuitive--they are the subtle variations in touch and timbre which genius makes, in harmony with the subject treated. Stevenson could not have written 'Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde' in the same tune and key as 'Treasure Island'; and the music of 'Marxheim' differs from both. The reason is organic: the writer is inspired by his theme, and it passes through his mind with a lilt and measure of its own. It makes its own style, just as a human spirit makes its own features and gait; and we know Stevenson through all his transformations only by dint of the exquisite distinction and felicity of word and phrase that always characterize him. Now, with Bulwer there is none of this lovely inevitable spontaneity. He costumes his tale arbitrarily, like a stage-haberdasher, and invents a voice to deliver it withal. 'The Last Days of Pompeii' shall be mouthed out grandiloquently; the incredibilities of 'The Coming Race' shall wear the guise of naïve and artless narrative; the humors of 'The Caxtons' and 'What Will He Do with It?' shall reflect the mood of the sagacious, affable man of the world, gossiping over the nuts and wine; the marvels of 'Zanoni' and 'A Strange Story' must be portrayed with a resonance and exaltation of diction fitted to their transcendental claims. But between the stark mechanism of the Englishman and the lithe, inspired felicity of the Scot, what a difference!

Bulwer's work may be classified according to subject, though not chronologically. He wrote novels of society, of history, of mystery, and of romance. In all he was successful, and perhaps felt as much interest in one as in another. In his own life the study of the occult played a part; he was familiar with the contemporary fads in mystery and acquainted with their professors. "Ancient" history also attracted him, and he even wrote a couple of volumes of a 'History of Athens.' In all his writing there is a tendency to lapse into a discussion of the "Ideal and the Real," aiming always at the conclusion that the only true Real is the Ideal. It was this tendency which chiefly aroused the ridicule of his critics, and from the 'Sredwardlyttonbulwig' of Thackeray to the 'Condensed Novels' burlesque of Bret Harte, they harp upon that facile string, The thing satirized is after all not cheaper than the satire. The ideal is the true real; the only absurdity lies in the pomp and circumstance wherewith that simple truth is introduced. There is a 'Dweller on the Threshold,' but it, or he, is nothing more than that doubt concerning the truth of spiritual things which assails all beginners in higher speculation, and there was no need to call it or him by so formidable a name. A sense of humor would have saved Bulwer from almost all his faults, and have endowed him with several valuable virtues into the bargain; but it was not born in him, and with all his diligence he never could beget it.

The domestic series, of which 'The Caxtons' is the type, are the most generally popular of his works, and are likely to be so longest. The romantic vein ('Ernest Maltravers,' 'Alice, or the Mysteries,' etc.) are in his worst style, and are now only in existence as books because they are members of "the edition," It is doubtful if any human being has read one of them through in twenty years. Such historical books as 'The Last Days of Pompeii' are not only well constructed dramatically, but are painfully accurate in details, and may still be read for information as well as for pleasure. The 'Zanoni' species is undeniably interesting. The weird traditions of the 'Philosopher's Stone' and the 'Elixir of Life' can never cease to fascinate human souls, and all the paraphernalia of magic are charming to minds weary of the matter-of-factitude of current existence. The stories are put together with Bulwer's unfailing cleverness, and in all external respects neither Dumas nor Balzac has done anything better in this kind: the trouble is that these authors compel our belief, while Bulwer does not. For, once more, he lacks the magic of genius and the spirit of style which are immortally and incommunicably theirs, without which no other magic can be made literarily effective.

'Pelham,' written at twenty-five years of age, is a creditable boy's book; it aims to portray character as well as to develop incidents, and in spite of the dreadful silliness of its melodramatic passages it has merit. Conventionally it is more nearly a work of art than that other famous boy's book, Disraeli's 'Vivian Grey,' though the latter is alive and blooming with the original literary charm which is denied to the other. Other characteristic novels of his are 'The Last Days of Pompeii,' 'Ernest Maltravers,' 'Zanoni,' 'The Caxtons,' 'My Novel,' 'What Will He Do with It?' 'A Strange Story,' 'The Coming Race,' and 'Kenelm Chillingly,' the last of which appeared in the year of the author's death, 1873. The student who has read these books will know all that is worth knowing of Bulwer's work. He wrote upwards of fifty substantial volumes, and left a mass of posthumous material besides. Of all that he did, the most nearly satisfactory thing is one of the last, 'Kenelm Chillingly.' In style, persons, and incidents it is alike charming: it subsides somewhat into the inevitable Bulwer sentimentality towards the end--a silk purse cannot be made out of a sow's ear; but the miracle was never nearer being accomplished than in this instance. Here we see the thoroughly equipped man of letters doing with apparent ease what scarce five of his contemporaries could have done at all. The book is lightsome and graceful, yet it touches serious thoughts: most remarkable of all, it shows a suppleness of mind and freshness of feeling more to be expected in a youth of thirty than in a veteran of threescore and ten. Bulwer never ceased to grow; and what is better still, to grow away from his faults and towards improvement.

But in comparing him with others, we must admit that he had better opportunities than most. His social station brought him in contact with the best people and most pregnant events of his time; and the driving poverty of youth having established him in the novel-writing habit, he thereafter had leisure to polish and expand his faculty to the utmost. No talent of his was folded up in a napkin: he did his best and utmost with all he had. Whereas the path of genius is commonly tortuous and hard-beset: and while we are always saying of Shakespeare, or Thackeray, or Shelley, or Keats, or Poe, "What wonders they would have done had life been longer or fate kinder to them!"--of Bulwer we say, "No help was wanting to him, and he profited by all; he got out of the egg more than we had believed was in it!" Instead of a great faculty hobbled by circumstance, we have a small faculty magnified by occasion and enriched by time.

Certainly, as men of letters go, Bulwer must be accounted fortunate. The long inflamed row of his domestic life apart, all things went his way. He received large sums for his books; at the age of forty, his mother dying, he succeeded to the Knebworth estate; three-and-twenty years later his old age (if such a man could be called old) was consoled by the title of Lord Lytton. His health was never robust, and occasionally failed; but he seems to have been able to accomplish after a fashion everything that he undertook; he was "thorough," as the English say. He lived in the midst of events; he was a friend of the men who made the age, and saw them make it, lending a hand himself too when and where he could. He lived long enough to see the hostility which had opposed him in youth die away, and honor and kindness take its place. Let it be repeated, his aims were good. He would have been candid and un-selfconscious had that been possible for him; and perhaps the failure was one of manner rather than of heart.--Yes, he was a fortunate man.

His most conspicuous success was as a play-writer. In view of his essentially dramatic and historic temperament, it is surprising that he did not altogether devote himself to this branch of art; but all his dramas were produced between his thirty-third and his thirty-eighth years. The first--'La Duchesse de la Valliere' was not to the public liking; but 'The Lady of Lyons,' written in two weeks, is in undiminished favor after near sixty years; and so are 'Richelieu' and 'Money.' There is no apparent reason why Bulwer should not have been as prolific a stage-author as Molière or even Lope de Vega. But we often value our best faculties least.

'The Coming Race,' published anonymously and never acknowledged during his life, was an unexpected product of his mind, but is useful to mark his limitations. It is a forecast of the future, and proves, as nothing else could so well do, the utter absence in Bulwer of the creative imagination. It is an invention, cleverly conceived, mechanically and rather tediously worked out, and written in a style astonishingly commonplace. The man who wrote that book (one would say) had no heaven in his soul, nor any pinions whereon to soar heavenward. Yet it is full of thought and ingenuity, and the central conception of "vrii" has been much commended. But the whole concoction is tainted with the deadness of stark materialism, and we should be unjust, after all, to deny Bulwer something loftier and broader than is discoverable here. In inventing the narrative he depended upon the weakest element in his mental make-up, and the result could not but be dismal. We like to believe that there was better stuff in him than he himself ever found; and that when he left this world for the next, he had sloughed off more dross than most men have time to accumulate.







THE AMPHITHEATRE

From 'The Last Days of Pompeii'

On the upper tier (but apart from the male spectators) sat the women, their gay dresses resembling some gaudy flowerbed; it is needless to add that they were the most talkative part of the assembly; and many were the looks directed up to them, especially from the benches appropriated to the young and the unmarried men. On the lower seats round the arena sat the more high-born and wealthy visitors--the magistrates and those of senatorial or equestrian dignity: the passages which, by corridors at the right and left, gave access to these seats, at either end of the oval arena, were also the entrances for the combatants. Strong palings at these passages prevented any unwelcome eccentricity in the movements of the beasts, and confined them to their appointed prey. Around the parapet which was raised above the arena, and from which the seats gradually rose, were gladiatorial inscriptions, and paintings wrought in fresco, typical of the entertainments for which the place was designed. Throughout the whole building wound invisible pipes, from which, as the day advanced, cooling and fragrant showers were to be sprinkled over the spectators. The officers of the amphitheatre were still employed in the task of fixing the vast awning (or velaria) which covered the whole, and which luxurious invention the Campanians arrogated to themselves: it was woven of the whitest Apulian wool, and variegated with broad stripes of crimson. Owing either to some inexperience on the part of the workmen or to some defect in the machinery, the awning, however, was not arranged that day so happily as usual; indeed, from the immense space of the circumference, the task was always one of great difficulty and art--so much so that it could seldom be adventured in rough or windy weather. But the present day was so remarkably still that there seemed to the spectators no excuse for the awkwardness of the artificers; and when a large gap in the back of the awning was still visible, from the obstinate refusal of one part of the velaria to ally itself with the rest, the murmurs of discontent were loud and general.

The sedile Pansa, at whose expense the exhibition was given, looked particularly annoyed at the defect, and vowed bitter vengeance on the head of the chief officer of the show, who, fretting, puffing, perspiring, busied himself in idle orders and unavailing threats.

The hubbub ceased suddenly--the operators desisted--the crowd were stilled--the gap was forgotten--for now, with a loud and warlike flourish of trumpets, the gladiators, marshaled in ceremonious procession, entered the arena. They swept round the oval space very slowly and deliberately, in order to give the spectators full leisure to admire their stern serenity of feature--their brawny limbs and various arms, as well as to form such wagers as the excitement of the moment might suggest.

"Oh!" cried the widow Fulvia to the wife of Pansa, as they leaned down from their lofty bench, "do you see that gigantic gladiator? how drolly he is dressed!"

"Yes," said the aedile's wife with complacent importance, for she knew all the names and qualities of each combatant: "he is a retiarius or netter; he is armed only, you see, with a three-pronged spear like a trident, and a net; he wears no armor, only the fillet and the tunic. He is a mighty man, and is to fight with Sporus, yon thick-set gladiator, with the round shield and drawn sword but without body armor; he has not his helmet on now, in order that you may see his face--how fearless it is! By-and-by he will fight with his visor down."

"But surely a net and a spear are poor arms against a shield and sword?"

"That shows how innocent you are, my dear Fulvia: the retiarius has generally the best of it."

"But who is yon handsome gladiator, nearly naked--is it not quite improper? By Venus! but his limbs are beautifully shaped!"

"It is Lydon, a young untried man! he has the rashness to fight yon other gladiator similarly dressed, or rather undressed--Tetraides. They fight first in the Greek fashion, with the cestus; afterward they put on armor, and try sword and shield."

"He is a proper man, this Lydon; and the women, I am sure, are on his side."

"So are not the experienced bettors: Clodius offers three to one against him."

"Oh, Jove! how beautiful!" exclaimed the widow, as two gladiators, armed cap-à-pie, rode round the arena on light and prancing steeds. Resembling much the combatants in the tilts of the middle age, they bore lances and round shields beautifully inlaid; their armor was woven intricately with bands of iron, but it covered only the thighs and the right arms; short cloaks extending to the seat gave a picturesque and graceful air to their costume; their legs were naked with the exception of sandals, which were fastened a little above the ankle. "Oh, beautiful! Who are these?" asked the widow.

"The one is named Berbix: he has conquered twelve times. The other assumes the arrogant Nobilior. They are both Gauls."

While thus conversing, the first formalities of the show were over. To these succeeded a feigned combat with wooden swords between the various gladiators matched against each other. Among these the skill of two Roman gladiators, hired for the occasion, was the most admired; and next to them the most graceful combatant was Lydon. This sham contest did not last above an hour, nor did it attract any very lively interest except among those connoisseurs of the arena to whom art was preferable to more coarse excitement; the body of the spectators were rejoiced when it was over, and when the sympathy rose to terror. The combatants were now arranged in pairs, as agreed beforehand; their weapons examined; and the grave sports of the day commenced amid the deepest silence--broken only by an exciting and preliminary blast of warlike music.

It was often customary to begin the sports by the most cruel of all; and some bestiarius, or gladiator appointed to the beasts, was slain first as an initiatory sacrifice. But in the present instance the experienced Pansa thought better that the sanguinary drama should advance, not decrease, in interest; and accordingly the execution of Olinthus and Glaucus was reserved for the last. It was arranged that the two horsemen should first occupy the arena; that the foot gladiators, paired off, should then be loosed indiscriminately on the stage; that Glaucus and the lion should next perform their part in the bloody spectacle; and the tiger and the Nazarene be the grand finale. And in the spectacles of Pompeii, the reader of Roman history must limit his imagination, nor expect to find those vast and wholesale exhibitions of magnificent slaughter with which a Nero or a Caligula regaled the inhabitants of the Imperial City. The Roman shows, which absorbed the more celebrated gladiators and the chief proportion of foreign beasts, were indeed the very reason why in the lesser towns of the empire the sports of the amphitheatre were comparatively humane and rare; and in this as in other respects, Pompeii was the miniature, the microcosm of Rome. Still, it was an awful and imposing spectacle, with which modern times have, happily, nothing to compare; a vast theatre, rising row upon row, and swarming with human beings, from fifteen to eighteen thousand in number, intent upon no fictitious representation--no tragedy of the stage--but the actual victory or defeat, the exultant life or the bloody death, of each and all who entered the arena!

The two horsemen were now at either extremity of the lists (if so they might be called), and at a given signal from Pansa the combatants started simultaneously as in full collision, each advancing his round buckler, each poising on high his sturdy javelin; but just when within three paces of his opponent, the steed of Berbix suddenly halted, wheeled round, and, as Nobilior was borne rapidly by, his antagonist spurred upon him. The buckler of Nobilior, quickly and skillfully extended, received a blow which otherwise would have been fatal.

"Well done, Nobilior!" cried the prætor, giving the first vent to the popular excitement.

"Bravely struck, my Berbix!" answered Clodius from his seat.

And the wild murmur, swelled by many a shout, echoed from side to side.

The visors of both the horsemen were completely closed (like those of the knights in after times), but the head was nevertheless the great point of assault; and Nobilior, now wheeling his charger with no less adroitness than his opponent, directed his spear full on the helmet of his foe. Berbix raised his buckler to shield himself, and his quick-eyed antagonist, suddenly lowering his weapon, pierced him through the breast. Berbix reeled and fell.

"Nobilior! Nobilior!" shouted the populace.

"I have lost ten sestertia," said Clodius, between his teeth.

"Habet!" (He has it) said Pansa deliberately.

The populace, not yet hardened into cruelty, made the signal of mercy: but as the attendants of the arena approached, they found the kindness came too late; the heart of the Gaul had been pierced, and his eyes were set in death. It was his life's blood that flowed so darkly over the sand and sawdust of the arena.

"It is a pity it was so soon over--there was little enough for one's trouble," said the widow Fulvia.

"Yes--I have no compassion for Berbix. Any one might have seen that Nobilior did but feint. Mark, they fix the fatal hook to the body--they drag him away to the spoliarium--they scatter new sand over the stage! Pansa regrets nothing more than that he is not rich enough to strew the arena with borax and cinnabar, as Nero used to do."

"Well, if it has been a brief battle, it is quickly succeeded. See my handsome Lydon on the arena--ay, and the net-bearer too, and the swordsmen! Oh, charming!"

There were now on the arena six combatants: Niger and his net, matched against Sporus with his shield and his short broad-sword; Lydon and Tetraides, naked save by a cincture round the waist, each armed only with a heavy Greek cestus; and two gladiators from Rome, clad in complete steel, and evenly matched with immense bucklers and pointed swords.

The initiatory contest between Lydon and Tetraides being less deadly than that between the other combatants, no sooner had they advanced to the middle of the arena than as by common consent the rest held back, to see how that contest should be decided, and wait till fiercer weapons might replace the cestus ere they themselves commenced hostilities. They stood leaning on their arms and apart from each other, gazing on the show, which, if not bloody enough thoroughly to please the populace, they were still inclined to admire because its origin was of their ancestral Greece.

No persons could at first glance have seemed less evenly matched than the two antagonists. Tetraides, though no taller than Lydon, weighed considerably more; the natural size of his muscles was increased, to the eyes of the vulgar, by masses of solid flesh; for, as it was a notion that the contest of the cestus fared easiest with him who was plumpest, Tetraides had encouraged to the utmost his hereditary predisposition to the portly. His shoulders were vast, and his lower limbs thick-set, double-jointed, and slightly curved outward, in that formation which takes so much from beauty to give so largely to strength. But Lydon, except that he was slender even almost to meagreness, was beautifully and delicately proportioned; and the skillful might have perceived that with much less compass of muscle than his foe, that which he had was more seasoned--iron and compact. In proportion, too, as he wanted flesh, he was likely to possess activity; and a haughty smile on his resolute face, which strongly contrasted with the solid heaviness of his enemy's, gave assurance to those who beheld it and united their hope to their pity; so that despite the disparity of their seeming strength, the cry of the multitude was nearly as loud for Lydon as for Tetraides.

Whoever is acquainted with the modern prize-ring--whoever has witnessed the heavy and disabling strokes which the human fist, skillfully directed, hath the power to bestow--may easily understand how much that happy facility would be increased by a band carried by thongs of leather round the arm as high as the elbow, and terribly strengthened about the knuckles by a plate of iron, and sometimes a plummet of lead. Yet this, which was meant to increase, perhaps rather diminished, the interest of the fray; for it necessarily shortened its duration. A very few blows, successfully and scientifically planted, might suffice to bring the contest to a close; and the battle did not, therefore, often allow full scope for the energy, fortitude, and dogged perseverance that we technically style pluck, which not unusually wins the day against superior science, and which heightens to so painful a delight the interest in the battle and the sympathy for the brave.

"Guard thyself!" growled Tetraides, moving nearer and nearer to his foe, who rather shifted round him than receded.

Lydon did not answer, save by a scornful glance of his quick, vigilant eye. Tetraides struck--it was as the blow of a smith on a vise; Lydon sank suddenly on one knee--the blow passed over his head. Not so harmless was Lydon's retaliation; he quickly sprang to his feet, and aimed his cestus full on the broad chest of his antagonist. Tetraides reeled--the populace shouted.

"You are unlucky to-day," said Lepidus to Clodius: "you have lost one bet; you will lose another."

"By the gods! my bronzes go to the auctioneer if that is the case. I have no less than a hundred sestertia upon Tetraides. Ha, ha! see how he rallies! That was a home stroke: he has cut open Lydon's shoulder.--A Tetraides!--a Tetraides!"

"But Lydon is not disheartened. By Pollux! how well he keeps his temper! See how dextrously he avoids those hammer-like hands!--dodging now here, now there--circling round and round. Ah, poor Lydon! he has it again."

"Three to one still on Tetraides! What say you, Lepidus?"

"Well--nine sestertia to three--be it so! What! again Lydon. He stops--he gasps for breath. By the gods, he is down! No--he is again on his legs. Brave Lydon! Tetraides is encouraged--he laughs loud--he rushes on him."

"Fool--success blinds him--he should be cautious. Lydon's eye is like a lynx's!" said Clodius, between his teeth.

"Ha, Clodius! saw you that? Your man totters! Another blow--he falls--he falls!"

"Earth revives him then. He is once more up; but the blood rolls down his face."

"By the Thunderer! Lydon wins it. See how he presses on him! That blow on the temple would have crushed an ox! it has crushed Tetraides. He falls again--he cannot move--habet!--habet!"

"Habet!" repeated Pansa. "Take them out and give them the armor and swords." ...

While the contest in the amphitheatre had thus commenced, there was one in the loftier benches for whom it had assumed indeed a poignant, a stifling interest. The aged father of Lydon, despite his Christian horror of the spectacle, in his agonized anxiety for his son had not been able to resist being the spectator of his fate. Once amid a fierce crowd of strangers, the lowest rabble of the populace, the old man saw, felt nothing but the form, the presence of his brave son! Not a sound had escaped his lips when twice he had seen him fall to the earth; only he had turned paler, and his limbs trembled. But he had uttered one low cry when he saw him victorious; unconscious, alas! of the more fearful battle to which that victory was but a prelude.

"My gallant boy!" said he, and wiped his eyes.

"Is he thy son?" said a brawny fellow to the right of the Nazarene: "he has fought well; let us see how he does by-and-by. Hark! he is to fight the first victor. Now, old boy, pray the gods that that victor be neither of the Romans! nor, next to them, the giant Niger."

The old man sat down again and covered his face. The fray for the moment was indifferent to him--Lydon was not one of the combatants. Yet, yet, the thought flashed across him--the fray was indeed of deadly interest--the first who fell was to make way for Lydon! He started, and bent down, with straining eyes and clasped hands, to view the encounter.

The first interest was attracted toward the combat of Niger with Sporus; for this spectacle of contest, from the fatal result which usually attended it, and from the great science it required in either antagonist, was always peculiarly inviting to the spectators.

They stood at a considerable distance from each other. The singular helmet which Sporus wore (the visor of which was down) concealed his face; but the features of Niger attracted a fearful and universal interest from their compressed and vigilant ferocity. Thus they stood for some moments, each eying each, until Sporus began slowly and with great caution to advance, holding his sword pointed, like a modern fencer's, at the breast of his foe. Niger retreated as his antagonist advanced, gathering up his net with his right hand and never taking his small, glittering eye from the movements of the swordsman. Suddenly, when Sporus had approached nearly at arm's length, the retiarius threw himself forward and cast his net. A quick inflection of body saved the gladiator from the deadly snare; he uttered a sharp cry of joy and rage and rushed upon Niger; but Niger had already drawn in his net, thrown it across his shoulders, and now fled around the lists with a swiftness which the secutor[6] in vain endeavored to equal. The people laughed and shouted aloud to see the ineffectual efforts of the broad-shouldered gladiator to overtake the flying giant; when at that moment their attention was turned from these to the two Roman combatants.

[6] So called from the office of that tribe of gladiators in following the foe the moment the net was cast, in order to smite him ere he could have time to re-arrange it.

They had placed themselves at the onset face to face, at the distance of modern fencers from each other; but the extreme caution which both evinced at first had prevented any warmth of engagement, and allowed the spectators full leisure to interest themselves in the battle between Sporus and his foe. But the Romans were now heated into full and fierce encounter: they pushed--returned--advanced on--retreated from each other, with all that careful yet scarcely perceptible caution which characterizes men well experienced and equally matched. But at this moment Eumolpus, the older gladiator, by that dextrous back-stroke which was considered in the arena so difficult to avoid, had wounded Nepimus in the side. The people shouted; Lepidus turned pale.

"Ho!" said Clodius, "the game is nearly over. If Eumolpus rights now the quiet fight, the other will gradually bleed himself away."

"But, thank the gods! he does not fight the backward fight. See!--he presses hard upon Nepimus. By Mars! but Nepimus had him there! the helmet rang again!--Clodius, I shall win!"

"Why do I ever bet but at the dice?" groaned Clodius to himself;--"or why cannot one cog a gladiator?"

"A Sporus!--a Sporus!" shouted the populace, as Niger, now having suddenly paused, had again cast his net, and again unsuccessfully. He had not retreated this time with sufficient agility--the sword of Sporus had inflicted a severe wound upon his right leg; and, incapacitated to fly, he was pressed hard by the fierce swordsman. His great height and length of arm still continued, however, to give him no despicable advantages; and steadily keeping his trident at the front of his foe, he repelled him successfully for several minutes.

Sporus now tried by great rapidity of evolution to get round his antagonist, who necessarily moved with pain and slowness. In so doing he lost his caution--he advanced too near to the giant--raised his arm to strike, and received the three points of the fatal spear full in his breast! He sank on his knee. In a moment more the deadly net was cast over him,--he struggled against its meshes in vain; again--again--again he writhed mutely beneath the fresh strokes of the trident--his blood flowed fast through the net and redly over the sand. He lowered his arms in acknowledgment of defeat.

The conquering retiarius withdrew his net, and leaning on his spear, looked to the audience for their judgment. Slowly, too, at the same moment, the vanquished gladiator rolled his dim and despairing eyes around the theatre. From row to row, from bench to bench, there glared upon him but merciless and unpitying eyes.

Hushed was the roar--the murmur! The silence was dread, for in it was no sympathy; not a hand--no, not even a woman's hand--gave the signal of charity and life! Sporus had never been popular in the arena; and lately the interest of the combat had been excited on behalf of the wounded Niger. The people were warmed into blood--the mimic fight had ceased to charm; the interest had mounted up to the desire of sacrifice and the thirst of death!

The gladiator felt that his doom was sealed; he uttered no prayer--no groan. The people gave the signal of death! In dogged but agonized submission he bent his neck to receive the fatal stroke. And now, as the spear of the retiarius was not a weapon to inflict instant and certain death, there stalked into the arena a grim and fatal form, brandishing a short, sharp sword, and with features utterly concealed beneath its visor. With slow and measured step this dismal headsman approached the gladiator, still kneeling--laid the left hand on his humbled crest--drew the edge of the blade across his neck--turned round to the assembly, lest, in the last moment, remorse should come upon them; the dread signal continued the same; the blade glittered brightly in the air--fell--and the gladiator rolled upon the sand: his limbs quivered--were still--he was a corpse.

His body was dragged at once from the arena through the gate of death, and thrown into the gloomy den termed technically the "spoliarium." And ere it had well reached that destination the strife between the remaining combatants was decided. The sword of Eumolpus had inflicted the death-wound upon the less experienced combatant. A new victim was added to the receptacle of the slain.

Throughout that mighty assembly there now ran a universal movement; the people breathed more freely and settled themselves in their seats. A grateful shower was cast over every row from the concealed conduits. In cool and luxurious pleasure they talked over the late spectacle of blood. Eumolpus removed his helmet and wiped his brows; his close-curled hair and short beard, his noble Roman features and bright dark eye, attracted the general admiration. He was fresh, unwounded, unfatigued.

The ædile paused, and proclaimed aloud that as Niger's wound disabled him from again entering the arena, Lydon was to be the successor to the slaughtered Nepimus and the new combatant of Eumolpus.

"Yet, Lydon," added he, "if thou wouldst decline the combat with one so brave and tried, thou mayst have full liberty to do so. Eumolpus is not the antagonist that was originally decreed for thee. Thou knowest best how far thou canst cope with him. If thou failest, thy doom is honorable death; if thou conquerest, out of my own purse I will double the stipulated prize."

The people shouted applause. Lydon stood in the lists; he gazed around; high above he beheld the pale face, the straining eyes of his father. He turned away irresolute for a moment. No! the conquest of the cestus was not sufficient--he had not yet won the prize of victory--his father was still a slave!

"Noble ædile!" he replied, in a firm and deep tone, "I shrink not from this combat. For the honor of Pompeii, I demand that one trained by its long-celebrated lanista shall do battle with this Roman."

The people shouted louder than before.

"Four to one against Lydon!" said Clodius to Lepidus.

"I would not take twenty to one! Why, Eumolpus is a very Achilles, and this poor fellow is but a tyro!"

Eumolpus gazed hard on the face of Lydon: he smiled; yet the smile was followed by a slight and scarce audible sigh--a touch of compassionate emotion, which custom conquered the moment the heart acknowledged it.

And now both, clad in complete armor, the sword drawn, the visor closed, the two last combatants of the arena (ere man, at least, was matched with beast) stood opposed to each other.

It was just at this time that a letter was delivered to the prætor by one of the attendants of the arena; he removed the cincture--glanced over it for a moment--his countenance betrayed surprise and embarrassment. He re-read the letter, and then muttering,--"Tush! it is impossible!--the man must be drunk, even in the morning, to dream of such follies!"--threw it carelessly aside and gravely settled himself once more in the attitude of attention to the sports.

The interest of the public was wound up very high. Eumolpus had at first won their favor; but the gallantry of Lydon, and his well-timed allusion to the honor of the Pompeiian lanista, had afterward given the latter the preference in their eyes.

"Holla, old fellow!" said Medon's neighbor to him. "Your son is hardly matched; but never fear, the editor will not permit him to be slain--no, nor the people neither: he has behaved too bravely for that. Ha! that was a home thrust!--well averted by Pollux! At him again, Lydon!--they stop to breathe! What art thou muttering, old boy?"

"Prayers!" answered Medon, with a more calm and hopeful mien than he had yet maintained.

"Prayers!--trifles! The time for gods to carry a man away in a cloud is gone now. Ha! Jupiter, what a blow! Thy side--thy side!--take care of thy side, Lydon!"

There was a convulsive tremor throughout the assembly. A fierce blow from Eumolpus, full on the crest, had brought Lydon to his knee.

"Habet!--he has it!" cried a shrill female voice; "he has it!"

It was the voice of the girl who had so anxiously anticipated the sacrifice of some criminal to the beasts.

"Be silent, child!" said the wife of Pansa, haughtily. "Non habet!--he is not wounded!"

"I wish he were, if only to spite old surly Medon," muttered the girl.

Meanwhile Lydon, who had hitherto defended himself with great skill and valor, began to give way before the vigorous assaults of the practiced Roman; his arm grew tired, his eye dizzy, he breathed hard and painfully. The combatants paused again for breath.

"Young man," said Eumolpus, in a low voice, "desist; I will wound thee slightly--then lower thy arm; thou hast propitiated the editor and the mob--thou wilt be honorably saved!"

"And my father still enslaved!" groaned Lydon to himself. "No! death or his freedom."

At that thought, and seeing that, his strength not being equal to the endurance of the Roman, everything depended on a sudden and desperate effort, he threw himself fiercely on Eumolpus; the Roman warily retreated--Lydon thrust again--Eumolpus drew himself aside--the sword grazed his cuirass--Lydon's breast was exposed--the Roman plunged his sword through the joints of the armor, not meaning however to inflict a deep wound; Lydon, weak and exhausted, fell forward, fell right on the point; it passed through and through, even to the back. Eumolpus drew forth his blade; Lydon still made an effort to regain his balance--his sword left his grasp--he struck mechanically at the gladiator with his naked hand and fell prostrate on the arena. With one accord, ædile and assembly made the signal of mercy; the officers of the arena approached, they took off the helmet of the vanquished. He still breathed; his eyes rolled fiercely on his foe; the savageness he had acquired in his calling glared from his gaze and lowered upon the brow, darkened already with the shades of death; then with a convulsive groan, with a half-start, he lifted his eyes above. They rested not on the face of the ædile nor on the pitying brows of the relenting judges. He saw them not; they were as if the vast space was desolate and bare; one pale agonizing face alone was all he recognized--one cry of a broken heart was all that, amid the murmurs and the shouts of the populace, reached his ear. The ferocity vanished from his brow; a soft, tender expression of sanctifying but despairing filial love played over his features--played--waned--darkened! His face suddenly became locked and rigid, resuming its former fierceness. He fell upon the earth.

"Look to him," said the ædile; "he has done his duty!"

The officers dragged him off to the spoliarium.

"A true type of glory, and of its fate!" murmured Arbaces to himself; and his eye, glancing around the amphitheatre, betrayed so much of disdain and scorn that whoever encountered it felt his breath suddenly arrested, and his emotions frozen into one sensation of abasement and of awe.

Again rich perfumes were wafted around the theatre; the attendants sprinkled fresh sand over the arena.

"Bring forth the lion and Glaucus the Athenian," said the ædile.

And a deep and breathless hush of overwrought interest and intense (yet strange to say not unpleasing) terror lay like a mighty and awful dream over the assembly.


The door swung gratingly back--the gleam of spears shot along the wall.

"Glaucus the Athenian, thy time has come," said a loud and clear voice; "the lion awaits thee."

"I am ready," said the Athenian. "Brother and co-mate, one last embrace! Bless me--and farewell!"

The Christian opened his arms; he clasped the young heathen to his breast; he kissed his forehead and cheek; he sobbed aloud; his tears flowed fast and hot over the features of his new friend.

"Oh! could I have converted thee, I had not wept. Oh that I might say to thee, 'We two shall sup this night in Paradise!'"

"It may be so yet," answered the Greek with a tremulous voice, "They whom death parts now may yet meet beyond the grave; on the earth--oh! the beautiful, the beloved earth, farewell for ever! Worthy officer, I attend you."

Glaucus tore himself away; and when he came forth into the air, its breath, which though sunless was hot and arid, smote witheringly upon him. His frame, not yet restored from the effects of the deadly draught, shrank and trembled. The officers supported him.

"Courage!" said one; "thou art young, active, well knit. They give thee a weapon! despair not, and thou mayst yet conquer."

Glaucus did not reply; but ashamed of his infirmity, he made a desperate and convulsive effort and regained the firmness of his nerves. They anointed his body, completely naked save by a cincture round the loins, placed the stilus (vain weapon!) in his hand, and led him into the arena.

And now when the Greek saw the eyes of thousands and tens of thousands upon him, he no longer felt that he was mortal. All evidence of fear, all fear itself, was gone. A red and haughty flush spread over the paleness of his features; he towered aloft to the full of his glorious stature. In the elastic beauty of his limbs and form; in his intent but unfrowning brow; in the high disdain and in the indomitable soul which breathed visibly, which spoke audibly, from his attitude, his lip, his eye,--he seemed the very incarnation, vivid and corporeal, of the valor of his land; of the divinity of its worship: at once a hero and a god!

The murmur of hatred and horror at his crime which had greeted his entrance died into the silence of involuntary admiration and half-compassionate respect; and with a quick and convulsive sigh, that seemed to move the whole mass of life as if it were one body, the gaze of the spectators turned from the Athenian to a dark uncouth object in the centre of the arena. It was the grated den of the lion.

"By Venus, how warm it is!" said Fulvia, "yet there is no sun. Would that those stupid sailors could have fastened up that gap in the awning!"

"Oh, it is warm indeed. I turn sick--I faint!" said the wife of Pansa; even her experienced stoicism giving way at the struggle about to take place.

The lion had been kept without food for twenty-four hours, and the animal had, during the whole morning, testified a singular and restless uneasiness, which the keeper had attributed to the pangs of hunger. Yet its bearing seemed rather that of fear than of rage; its roar was painful and distressed; it hung its head--snuffed the air through the bars--then lay down--started again--and again uttered its wild and far-resounding cries. And now in its den it lay utterly dumb and mute, with distended nostrils forced hard against the grating, and disturbing, with a heaving breath, the sand below on the arena.

The editor's lip quivered, and his cheek grew pale; he looked anxiously around--hesitated--delayed; the crowd became impatient. Slowly he gave the sign; the keeper, who was behind the den, cautiously removed the grating, and the lion leaped forth with a mighty and glad roar of release. The keeper hastily retreated through the grated passage leading from the arena, and left the lord of the forest--and his prey.

Glaucus had bent his limbs so as to give himself the firmest posture at the expected rush of the lion, with his small and shining weapon raised on high, in the faint hope that one well-directed thrust (for he knew that he should have time but for one) might penetrate through the eye to the brain of his grim foe.

But to the unutterable astonishment of all, the beast seemed not even aware of the presence of the criminal.

At the first moment of its release it halted abruptly in the arena, raised itself half on end, snuffing the upward air with impatient signs, then suddenly it sprang forward, but not on the Athenian. At half-speed it circled round and round the space, turning its vast head from side to side with an anxious and perturbed gaze, as if seeking only some avenue of escape; once or twice it endeavored to leap up the parapet that divided it from the audience, and on falling, uttered rather a baffled howl than its deep-toned and kingly roar. It evinced no sign either of wrath or hunger; its tail drooped along the sand, instead of lashing its gaunt sides; and its eye, though it wandered at times to Glaucus, rolled again listlessly from him. At length, as if tired of attempting to escape, it crept with a moan into its cage, and once more laid itself down to rest.

The first surprise of the assembly at the apathy of the lion soon grew converted into resentment at its cowardice; and the populace already merged their pity for the fate of Glaucus into angry compassion for their own disappointment.

The editor called to the keeper:--"How is this? Take the goad, prick him forth, and then close the door of the den."

As the keeper, with some fear but more astonishment, was preparing to obey, a loud cry was heard at one of the entrances of the arena; there was a confusion, a bustle--voices of remonstrance suddenly breaking forth, and suddenly silenced at the reply. All eyes turned in wonder at the interruption, toward the quarter of the disturbance; the crowd gave way, and suddenly Sallust appeared on the senatorial benches, his hair disheveled--breathless--heated--half exhausted. He cast his eyes hastily round the ring. "Remove the Athenian!" he cried; "haste--he is innocent! Arrest Arbaces the Egyptian--HE is the murderer of Apæcides!"


In The Arena,
Photogravure from a Drawing by Frank Kirchbach.

"Glaucus had bent his limbs so as to give himself the firmest posture at
the expected rush of the lion, with his small and shining weapon
raised on high, in the faint hope that one well-directed thrust
(for he knew that he should have time but for one)
might penetrate through the eye to the brain of
his grim foe. But to the unutterable astonishment
of all, the beast seemed not
even aware of the presence of the
criminal."

"Art thou mad, O Sallust!" said the prætor, rising from his seat. "What means this raving?"

"Remove the Athenian!--Quick! or his blood be on your head. Prætor, delay, and you answer with your own life to the Emperor! I bring with me the eye-witness to the death of the priest Apæcides. Room there, stand back, give way. People of Pompeii, fix every eye upon Arbaces; there he sits! Room there for the priest Calenus!"

Pale, haggard, fresh from the jaws of famine and of death, his face fallen, his eyes dull as a vulture's, his broad frame gaunt as a skeleton, Calenus was supported into the very row in which Arbaces sat. His releasers had given him sparingly of food; but the chief sustenance that nerved his feeble limbs was revenge!

"The priest Calenus--Calenus!" cried the mob. "It is he? No--it is a dead man!"

"It is the priest Calenus," said the prætor, gravely. "What hast thou to say?"

"Arbaces of Egypt is the murderer of Apæcides, the priest of Isis; these eyes saw him deal the blow. It is from the dungeon into which he plunged me--it is from the darkness and horror of a death by famine--that the gods have raised me to proclaim his crime! Release the Athenian--he is innocent!"

"It is for this, then, that the lion spared him, A miracle! a miracle!" cried Pansa.

"A miracle! a miracle!" shouted the people; "remove the Athenian--Arbaces to the lion."

And that shout echoed from hill to vale--from coast to sea--Arbaces to the lion.

"Officers, remove the accused Glaucus--remove, but guard him yet," said the prætor. "The gods lavish their wonders upon this day."

As the prætor gave the word of release, there was a cry of joy: a female voice, a child's voice; and it was of joy! It rang through the heart of the assembly with electric force; it was touching, it was holy, that child's voice. And the populace echoed it back with sympathizing congratulation.

"Silence!" said the grave prætor; "who is there?"

"The blind girl--Nydia," answered Sallust; "it is her hand that has raised Calenus from the grave, and delivered Glaucus from the lion."

"Of this hereafter," said the prætor. "Calenus, priest of Isis, thou accusest Arbaces of the murder of Apæcides?"

"I do!"

"Thou didst behold the deed?"

"Prætor--with these eyes--"

"Enough at present--the details must be reserved for more suiting time and place. Arbaces of Egypt, thou hearest the charge against thee--thou hast not yet spoken--what hast thou to say?"

The gaze of the crowd had been long riveted on Arbaces; but not until the confusion which he had betrayed at the first charge of Sallust and the entrance of Calenus had subsided. At the shout, "Arbaces to the lion!" he had indeed trembled, and the dark bronze of his cheek had taken a paler hue. But he had soon recovered his haughtiness and self-control. Proudly he returned the angry glare of the countless eyes around him; and replying now to the question of the prætor, he said, in that accent so peculiarly tranquil and commanding which characterized his tones:--

"Prætor, this charge is so mad that it scarcely deserves reply. My first accuser is the noble Sallust--the most intimate friend of Glaucus! My second is a priest: I revere his garb and calling--but, people of Pompeii! ye know somewhat of the character of Calenus--he is griping and gold-thirsty to a proverb; the witness of such men is to be bought! Prætor, I am innocent!"

"Sallust," said the magistrate, "where found you Calenus?"

"In the dungeons of Arbaces."

"Egyptian," said the prætor, frowning, "thou didst, then, dare to imprison a priest of the gods--and wherefore?"



Nydia
The blind flower-girl of Bulwer's Last Days of Pompeii.
Photogravure from a Painting by C. Von Bodenhausen.


"Hear me," answered Arbaces, rising calmly, but with agitation visible in his face. "This man came to threaten that he would make against me the charge he has now made, unless I would purchase his silence with half my fortune; I remonstrated--in vain. Peace there--let not the priest interrupt me! Noble prætor--and ye, O people! I was a stranger in the land--I knew myself innocent of crime--but the witness of a priest against me might yet destroy me. In my perplexity I decoyed him to the cell whence he has been released, on pretense that it was the coffer-house of my gold. I resolved to detain him there until the fate of the true criminal was sealed and his threats could avail no longer; but I meant no worse. I may have erred--but who among ye will not acknowledge the equity of self-preservation? Were I guilty, why was the witness of this priest silent at the trial?--then I had not detained or concealed him. Why did he not proclaim my guilt when I proclaimed that of Glaucus? Prætor, this needs an answer. For the rest, I throw myself on your laws. I demand their protection. Remove hence the accused and the accuser. I will willingly meet, and cheerfully abide by the decision of, the legitimate tribunal. This is no place for further parley."

"He says right." said the prætor. "Ho! guards--remove Arbaces--guard Calenus! Sallust, we hold you responsible for your accusation. Let the sports be resumed."

"What!" cried Calenus, turning round to the people, "shall Isis be thus contemned? Shall the blood of Apæcides yet cry for vengeance? Shall justice be delayed now, that it may be frustrated hereafter? Shall the lion be cheated of his lawful prey? A god! a god!--I feel the god rush to my lips! To the lion--to the lion with Arbaces!"

His exhausted frame could support no longer the ferocious malice of the priest; he sank on the ground in strong convulsions; the foam gathered to his mouth; he was as a man, indeed, whom a supernatural power had entered! The people saw, and shuddered.

"It is a god that inspires the holy man! To the lion with the Egyptian!"

With that cry up sprang, on moved, thousands upon thousands. They rushed from the heights; they poured down in the direction of the Egyptian. In vain did the ædile command; in vain did the prætor lift his voice and proclaim the law. The people had been already rendered savage by the exhibition of blood; they thirsted for more; their superstition was aided by their ferocity. Aroused, inflamed by the spectacle of their victims, they forgot the authority of their rulers. It was one of those dread popular convulsions common to crowds wholly ignorant, half free and half servile, and which the peculiar constitution of the Roman provinces so frequently exhibited. The power of the prætor was a reed beneath the whirlwind; still, at his word the guards had drawn themselves along the lower benches, on which the upper classes sat separate from the vulgar. They made but a feeble barrier; the waves of the human sea halted for a moment, to enable Arbaces to count the exact moment of his doom! In despair, and in a terror which beat down even pride, he glanced his eye over the rolling and rushing crowd; when, right above them, through the wide chasm which had been left in the velaria, he beheld a strange and awful apparition; he beheld, and his craft restored his courage!

He stretched his hand on high; over his lofty brow and royal features there came an expression, of unutterable solemnity and command.

"Behold!" he shouted with a voice of thunder, which stilled the roar of the crowd: "behold how the gods protect the guiltless! The fires of the avenging Orcus burst forth against the false witness of my accusers!"

The eyes of the crowd followed the gesture of the Egyptian, and beheld with dismay a vast vapor shooting from the summit of Vesuvius in the form of a gigantic pine-tree; the trunk, blackness--the branches fire!--a fire that shifted and wavered in its hues with every moment, now fiercely luminous, now of a dull and dying red, that again blazed terrifically forth with intolerable glare!

There was a dead, heart-sunken silence; through which there suddenly broke the roar of the lion, which was echoed back from within the building by the sharper and fiercer yells of its fellow-beast. Dread seers were they of the Burden of the Atmosphere, and wild prophets of the wrath to come!

Then there arose on high the universal shrieks of women; the men stared at each other, but were dumb. At that moment they felt the earth shake under their feet; the walls of the theatre trembled; and beyond in the distance they heard the crash of falling roofs; an instant more, and the mountain cloud seemed to roll toward them, dark and rapid, like a torrent; at the same time it cast forth from its bosom a shower of ashes mixed with vast fragments of burning stone! over the crushing vines, over the desolate streets, over the amphitheatre itself; far and wide, with many a mighty splash in the agitated sea, fell that awful shower!

No longer thought the crowd of justice or of Arbaces; safety for themselves was their sole thought. Each turned to fly--each dashing, pressing, crushing against the other. Trampling recklessly over the fallen, amid groans and oaths and prayers and sudden shrieks, the enormous crowd vomited itself forth through the numerous passages. Whither should they fly? Some, anticipating a second earthquake, hastened to their homes to load themselves with their more costly goods and escape while it was yet time; others, dreading the showers of ashes that now fell fast, torrent upon torrent, over the streets, rushed under the roofs of the nearest houses, or temples, or sheds--shelter of any kind--for protection from the terrors of the open air. But darker, and larger, and mightier, spread the cloud above them. It was a sudden and more ghastly Night rushing upon the realm of Noon!




KENELM AND LILY

From 'Kenelm Chillingly'

The children have come,--some thirty of them, pretty as English children generally are, happy in the joy of the summer sunshine, and the flower lawns, and the feast under cover of an awning suspended between chestnut-trees and carpeted with sward.

No doubt Kenelm held his own at the banquet, and did his best to increase the general gayety, for whenever he spoke the children listened eagerly, and when he had done they laughed mirthfully.

"The fair face I promised you," whispered Mrs. Braefield, "is not here yet. I have a little note from the young lady to say that Mrs. Cameron does not feel very well this morning, but hopes to recover sufficiently to come later in the afternoon."

"And pray who is Mrs. Cameron?"

"Ah! I forgot that you are a stranger to the place. Mrs. Cameron is the aunt with whom Lily resides. Is it not a pretty name, Lily?"

"Very! emblematic of a spinster that does not spin, with a white head and a thin stalk."

"Then the name belies my Lily; as you will see."

The children now finished their feast and betook themselves to dancing, in an alley smoothed for a croquet-ground and to the sound of a violin played by the old grandfather of one of the party. While Mrs. Braefield was busying herself with forming the dance, Kenelm seized the occasion to escape from a young nymph of the age of twelve, who had sat next to him at the banquet and taken so great a fancy to him that he began to fear she would vow never to forsake his side,--and stole away undetected.

There are times when the mirth of others only saddens us, especially the mirth of children with high spirits, that jar on our own quiet mood. Gliding through a dense shrubbery, in which, though the lilacs were faded, the laburnum still retained here and there the waning gold of its clusters, Kenelm came into a recess which bounded his steps and invited him to repose. It was a circle, so formed artificially by slight trellises, to which clung parasite roses heavy with leaves and flowers. In the midst played a tiny fountain with a silvery murmuring sound; at the background, dominating the place, rose the crests of stately trees, on which the sunlight shimmered, but which rampired out all horizon beyond. Even as in life do the great dominant passions--love, ambition, desire of power, or gold, or fame, or knowledge--form the proud background to the brief-lived flowerets of our youth, lift our eyes beyond the smile of their bloom, catch the glint of a loftier sunbeam, and yet--and yet--exclude our sight from the lengths and the widths of the space which extends behind and beyond them.

Kenelm threw himself on the turf beside the fountain. From afar came the whoop and the laugh of the children in their sports or their dance. At the distance their joy did not sadden him--he marveled why; and thus, in musing reverie, thought to explain the why to himself.

"The poet," so ran his lazy thinking, "has told us that 'distance lends enchantment to the view,' and thus compares to the charm of distance the illusion of hope. But the poet narrows the scope of his own illustration. Distance lends enchantment to the ear as well as to the sight; nor to these bodily senses alone. Memory, no less than hope, owes its charm to 'the far away.'

"I cannot imagine myself again a child when I am in the midst of yon noisy children. But as their noise reaches me here, subdued and mellowed; and knowing, thank Heaven! that the urchins are not within reach of me, I could readily dream myself back into childhood and into sympathy with the lost playfields of school.

"So surely it must be with grief: how different the terrible agony for a beloved one just gone from earth, to the soft regret for one who disappeared into heaven years ago! So with the art of poetry: how imperatively, when it deals with the great emotions of tragedy, it must remove the actors from us, in proportion as the emotions are to elevate, and the tragedy is to please us by the tears it draws! Imagine our shock if a poet were to place on the stage some wise gentleman with whom we dined yesterday, and who was discovered to have killed his father and married his mother. But when Oedipus commits those unhappy mistakes nobody is shocked. Oxford in the nineteenth century is a long way off from Thebes three thousand or four thousand years ago.

"And," continued Kenelm, plunging deeper into the maze of metaphysical criticism, "even where the poet deals with persons and things close upon our daily sight--if he would give them poetic charm he must resort to a sort of moral or psychological distance; the nearer they are to us in external circumstance, the farther they must be in some internal peculiarities. Werter and Clarissa Harlowe are described as contemporaries of their artistic creation, and with the minutest details of an apparent realism; yet they are at once removed from our daily lives by their idiosyncrasies and their fates. We know that while Werter and Clarissa are so near to us in much that we sympathize with them as friends and kinsfolk, they are yet as much remote from us in the poetic and idealized side of their natures as if they belonged to the age of Homer; and this it is that invests with charm the very pain which their fate inflicts on us. Thus, I suppose, it must be in love. If the love we feel is to have the glamor of poetry, it must be love for some one morally at a distance from our ordinary habitual selves; in short, differing from us in attributes which, however near we draw to the possessor, we can never approach, never blend, in attributes of our own; so that there is something in the loved one that always remains an ideal--a mystery--'a sun-bright summit mingling with the sky!'" ...

From this state, half comatose, half unconscious, Kenelm was roused slowly, reluctantly. Something struck softly on his cheek--again a little less softly; he opened his eyes--they fell first upon two tiny rosebuds, which, on striking his face, had fallen on his breast; and then looking up, he saw before him, in an opening of the trellised circle, a female child's laughing face. Her hand was still uplifted, charged with another rosebud; but behind the child's figure, looking over her shoulder and holding back the menacing arm, was a face as innocent but lovelier far--the face of a girl in her first youth, framed round with the blossoms that festooned the trellis. How the face became the flowers! It seemed the fairy spirit of them.

Kenelm started and rose to his feet. The child, the one whom he had so ungallantly escape