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´╗┐Title: Mardi: and A Voyage Thither, Vol. II (of 2)
Author: Melville, Herman, 1819-1891
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Mardi: and A Voyage Thither, Vol. II (of 2)" ***

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MARDI: AND A VOYAGE THITHER.
BY HERMAN MELVILLE

IN TWO VOLUMES

VOL. II.



1864.



MARDI


CONTENTS
VOL. II

CHAPTER
 1. Maramma
 2. They land
 3. They pass through the Woods
 4. Hivohitee MDCCCXLVII
 5. They visit the great Morai
 6. They discourse of the Gods of Mardi, and Braid-Beard tells of
      one Foni
 7. They visit the Lake of Yammo
 8. They meet the Pilgrims at the Temple of Oro
 9. They discourse of Alma
10. Mohi tells of one Ravoo, and they land to visit Hevaneva,
      a flourishing Artisan
11. A Nursery-tale of Babbalanja's
12. Landing to visit Hivohitee the Pontiff; they encounter an
      extraordinary old Hermit; with whom Yoomy has a confidential
      Interview, but learns little
13. Babbalanja endeavors to explain the Mystery
14. Taji receives Tidings and Omens
15. Dreams
16. Media and Babbalanja discourse
17. They regale themselves with their Pipes
18. They visit an extraordinary old Antiquary
19. They go down into the Catacombs
20. Babbalanja quotes from an antique Pagan; and earnestly presses it
      upon the Company, that what he recites is not his but another's
21. They visit a wealthy old Pauper
22. Yoomy sings some odd Verses, and Babbalanja quotes from the old
      Authors right and left
23. What manner of Men the Tapparians were
24. Their adventures upon landing at Pimminee
25. A, I, and O
26. A Reception-day at Pimminee
27. Babbalanja falleth upon Pimminee Tooth and Nail
28. Babbalanja regales the Company with some Sandwiches
29. They still remain upon the Rock
30. Behind and Before
31. Babbalanja discourses in the Dark
32. My Lord Media summons Mohi to the Stand
33. Wherein Babbalanja and Yoomy embrace
34. Of the Isle of Diranda
35. They visit the Lords Piko and Hello
36. They attend the Games
37. Taji still hunted and beckoned
38. They embark from Diranda
39. Wherein Babbalanja discourses of himself
40. Of the Sorcerers in the Isle of Minda
41. Chiefly of King Bello
42. Dominora and Vivenza
43. They land at Dominora
44. Through Dominora, they wander after Yillah
45. They behold King Bello's State Canoe
46. Wherein Babbalanja bows thrice
47. Babbalanja philosophizes, and my Lord Media passes round the
      Calabashes
48. They sail round an Island without landing; and talk round a
      Subject without getting at it
49. They draw nigh to Porpheero; where they behold a terrific Eruption
50. Wherein King Media celebrates the Glories of Autumn; the Minstrel,
      the Promise of Spring
51. In which Azzageddi seems to use Babbalanja for a Mouthpiece
52. The charming Yoomy sings
53. They draw nigh unto Land
54. They visit the great central Temple of Vivenza
55. Wherein Babbalanja comments upon the Speech of Alanno
56. A Scene in the Land of Warwicks, or King-makers
57. They hearken unto a Voice from the Gods
58. They visit the extreme South of Vivenza
59. They converse of the Molluscs, Kings, Toad-stools, and other Matters
60. Wherein, that gallant Gentleman and Demi-god, King Media, Scepter
      in Hand throws himself into the Breach
61. They round the stormy Cape of Capes
62. They encounter Gold-hunters
63. They seek through the Isles of Palms; and pass the Isles of Myrrh
64. Concentric, inward, with Mardi's Reef, they leave their Wake
      around the World
65. Sailing on
66. A Sight of Nightingales from Yoomy's Mouth
67. They visit one Doxodox
68. King Media dreams
69. After a long Interval, by Night they are becalmed
70. They land at Hooloomooloo
71. A Book from the "Ponderings of old Bardianna"
72. Babbalanja starts to his Feet
73. At last, the last Mention is made of old Bardianna; and His last
      Will and Testament is recited at Length
74. A Death-cloud sweeps by them as they sail
75. They visit the palmy King Abrazza
76. Same pleasant, shady Talk in the Groves, between my Lords Abrazza
      and Media, Babbalanja, Mohi, and Yoomy...
77. They sup
78. They embark
79. Babbalanja at the Full of the Moon
80. Morning
81. L'Ultima sera
82. They sail from Night to Day
83. They land
84. Babbalanja relates to them a Vision
85. They depart from Serena
86. They meet the Phantoms
87. They draw nigh to Flozella
88. They land
89. They enter the Bower of Hautia
90. Taji with Hautia
91. Mardi behind: an Ocean before



MARDI.



CHAPTER I
Maramma


We were now voyaging straight for Maramma; where lived and reigned, in
mystery, the High Pontiff of the adjoining isles: prince, priest, and
god, in his own proper person: great lord paramount over many kings in
Mardi; his hands full of scepters and crosiers.

Soon, rounding a lofty and insulated shore, the great central peak of
the island came in sight; domineering over the neighboring hills; the
same aspiring pinnacle, descried in drawing near the archipelago in
the Chamois.

"Tall Peak of Ofo!" cried Babbalanja, "how comes it that thy shadow so
broods over Mardi; flinging new shades upon spots already shaded by
the hill-sides; shade upon shade!"

"Yet, so it is," said Yoomy, sadly, "that where that shadow falls, gay
flowers refuse to spring; and men long dwelling therein become shady
of face and of soul. 'Hast thou come from out the shadows of Ofo?'
inquires the stranger, of one with a clouded brow."

"It was by this same peak," said Mohi, "that the nimble god Roo, a
great sinner above, came down from the skies, a very long time ago.
Three skips and a jump, and he landed on the plain. But alas, poor
Roo! though easy the descent, there was no climbing back."

"No wonder, then," said Babbalanja, "that the peak is inaccessible to
man. Though, with a strange infatuation, many still make pilgrimages
thereto; and wearily climb and climb, till slipping from the rocks,
they fall headlong backward, and oftentimes perish at its base."

"Ay," said Mohi, "in vain, on all sides of the Peak, various paths are
tried; in vain new ones are cut through the cliffs and the brambles:--
Ofo yet remains inaccessible."

"Nevertheless," said Babbalanja, "by some it is believed, that those,
who by dint of hard struggling climb so high as to become invisible
from the plain; that these have attained the summit; though others
much doubt, whether their be-coming invisible is not because of their
having fallen, and perished by the way."

"And wherefore," said Media, "do you mortals undertake the ascent at
all? why not be content on the plain? and even if attainable, what
would you do upon that lofty, clouded summit? Or how can you hope to
breathe that rarefied air, unfitted for your human lungs?"

"True, my lord," said Babbalanja; "and Bardianna asserts that the
plain alone was intended for man; who should be content to dwell under
the shade of its groves, though the roots thereof descend into the
darkness of the earth. But, my lord, you well know, that there are
those in Mardi, who secretly regard all stories connected with this
peak, as inventions of the people of Maramma. They deny that any thing
is to be gained by making a pilgrimage thereto. And for warranty, they
appeal to the sayings of the great prophet Alma."

Cried Mohi, "But Alma is also quoted by others, in vindication of the
pilgrimages to Ofo. They declare that the prophet himself was the
first pilgrim that thitherward journeyed: that from thence he departed
to the skies."

Now, excepting this same peak, Maramma is all rolling hill and dale,
like the sea after a storm; which then seems not to roll, but to stand
still, poising its mountains. Yet the landscape of Maramma has not the
merriness of meadows; partly because of the shadow of Ofo, and partly
because of the solemn groves in which the Morais and temples are
buried.

According to Mohi, not one solitary tree bearing fruit, not one
esculent root, grows in all the isle; the population wholly depending
upon the large tribute remitted from the neighboring shores.

"It is not that the soil is unproductive," said Mohi, "that these
things are so. It is extremely fertile; but the inhabitants say that
it would be wrong to make a Bread-fruit orchard of the holy island."

"And hence, my lord," said Babbalanja, "while others are charged with
the business of their temporal welfare, these Islanders take no thought
of the morrow; and broad Maramma lies one fertile waste in the lagoon."



CHAPTER II
They Land


Coming close to the island, the pennons and trappings of our canoes
were removed; and Vee-Vee was commanded to descend from the shark's
mouth; and for a time to lay aside his conch. In token of reverence,
our paddlers also stripped to the waist; an example which even Media
followed; though, as a king, the same homage he rendered, was at times
rendered himself.

At every place, hitherto visited, joyous crowds stood ready to hail
our arrival; but the shores of Maramma were silent, and forlorn.

Said Babbalanja, "It looks not as if the lost one were here."

At length we landed in a little cove nigh a valley, which Mohi called
Uma; and here in silence we beached our canoes.

But presently, there came to us an old man, with a beard white as the
mane of the pale horse. He was clad in a midnight robe. He fanned
himself with a fan of faded leaves. A child led him by the hand, for
he was blind, wearing a green plantain leaf over his plaited brow.

Him, Media accosted, making mention who we were, and on what errand we
came: to seek out Yillah, and behold the isle.

Whereupon Pani, for such was his name, gave us a courteous reception;
and lavishly promised to discover sweet Yillah; declaring that in
Maramma, if any where, the long-lost maiden must be found. He assured
us, that throughout the whole land he would lead us; leaving no place,
desirable to be searched, unexplored.

And so saying, he conducted us to his dwelling, for refreshment and
repose.

It was large and lofty. Near by, however, were many miserable hovels,
with squalid inmates. But the old man's retreat was exceedingly
comfortable; especially abounding in mats for lounging; his rafters
were bowed down by calabashes of good cheer.

During the repast which ensued, blind Pani, freely partaking, enlarged
upon the merit of abstinence; declaring that a thatch overhead, and a
cocoanut tree, comprised all that was necessary for the temporal
welfare of a Mardian. More than this, he assured us was sinful.

He now made known, that he officiated as guide in this quarter of the
country; and that as he had renounced all other pursuits to devote
himself to showing strangers the island; and more particularly the
best way to ascend lofty Ofo; he was necessitated to seek remuneration
for his toil.

"My lord," then whispered Mohi to Media "the great prophet Alma always
declared, that, without charge, this island was free to all."

"What recompense do you desire, old man?" said Media to Path.

"What I seek is but little:--twenty rolls of fine tappa; two score
mats of best upland grass; one canoe-load of bread-fruit and yams; ten
gourds of wine; and forty strings of teeth;--you are a large company,
but my requisitions are small."

"Very small," said Mohi.


"You are extortionate, good Pani," said Media. "And what wants an aged
mortal like you with all these things?"

"I thought superfluities were worthless; nay, sinful," said Babbalanja.

"Is not this your habitation already more than abundantly supplied
with all desirable furnishings?" asked Yoomy.

"I am but a lowly laborer," said the old man, meekly crossing his
arms, "but does not the lowliest laborer ask and receive his reward?
and shall I miss mine?--But I beg charity of none. What I ask, I
demand; and in the dread name of great Alma, who appointed me a
guide." And to and fro he strode, groping as he went.

Marking his blindness, whispered Babbalanja to Media, "My lord,
methinks this Pani must be a poor guide. In his journeys inland, his
little child leads him; why not, then, take the guide's guide?"

But Pani would not part with the child.

Then said Mohi in a low voice, "My lord Media, though I am no
appointed guide; yet, will I undertake to lead you aright over all
this island; for I am an old man, and have been here oft by myself;
though I can not undertake to conduct you up the peak of Ofo, and to
the more secret temples."

Then Pani said: "and what mortal may this be, who pretends to thread
the labyrinthine wilds of Maramma? Beware!"

"He is one with eyes that see," made answer Babbalanja.

"Follow him not," said Pani, "for he will lead thee astray; no Yillah
will he find; and having no warrant as a guide, the curses of Alma
will accompany him."

Now, this was not altogether without effect; for Pani and his fathers
before him had always filled the office of guide.

Nevertheless, Media at last decided, that, this time, Mohi should
conduct us; which being communicated to Pani, he desired us to remove
from his roof. So withdrawing to the skirt of a neighboring grove, we
lingered awhile, to refresh ourselves for the journey in prospect.

As we here reclined, there came up from the sea-side a party of
pilgrims, but newly arrived.

Apprized of their coming, Path and his child went out to meet them;
and standing in the path he cried, "I am the appointed guide; in the
name of Alma I conduct all pilgrims to the temples."

"This must be the worthy Path," said one of the strangers, turning
upon the rest.

"Let us take him, then, for our guide," cried they; and all drew near.

But upon accosting him; they were told, that he guided none without
recompense.

And now, being informed, that the foremost of the pilgrims was one
Divino, a wealthy chief of a distant island, Pani demanded of him his
requital.

But the other demurred; and by many soft speeches at length abated the
recompense to three promissory cocoanuts, which he covenanted to send
Pani at some future day.

The next pilgrim accosted, was a sad-eyed maiden, in decent but scanty
raiment; who without seeking to diminish Pani's demands promptly
placed in his hands a small hoard of the money of Mardi.

"Take it, holy guide," she said, "it is all I have."

But the third pilgrim, one Fanna, a hale matron, in handsome apparel,
needed no asking to bestow her goods. Calling upon her attendants to
advance with their burdens, she quickly unrolled them; and wound round
and round Pani, fold after fold of the costliest tappas; and filled
both his hands with teeth; and his mouth with some savory marmalade;
and poured oil upon his head; and knelt and besought of him a
blessing.

"From the bottom of my heart I bless thee," said Pani; and still
holding her hands exclaimed, "Take example from this woman, oh Divino;
and do ye likewise, ye pilgrims all."

"Not to-day," said Divino.

"We are not rich, like unto Fauna," said the rest.

Now, the next pilgrim was a very old and miserable man; stone-blind,
covered with rags; and supporting his steps with a staff.

"My recompense," said Path.

"Alas! I have naught to give. Behold my poverty."

"I can not see," replied Path; but feeling of his garments, he said,
"Thou wouldst deceive me; hast thou not this robe, and this staff?"

"Oh! Merciful Pani, take not my all!" wailed the pilgrim. But his
worthless gaberdine was  thrust into the dwelling of the guide.

Meanwhile, the matron was still enveloping Path in her interminable
tappas.

But the sad-eyed maiden, removing her upper mantle, threw it over the
naked form of the beggar.

The fifth pilgrim was a youth of an open, ingenuous aspect; and with
an eye, full of eyes; his step was light.

"Who art thou?" cried Pani, as the stripling touched him in passing.

"I go to ascend the Peak," said the boy.

"Then take me for guide."

"No, I am strong and lithesome. Alone must I go."

"But how knowest thou the way?"

"There are many ways: the right one I must seek for myself."

"Ah, poor deluded one," sighed Path; "but thus is it ever with youth;
and rejecting the monitions of wisdom, suffer they must. Go on, and
perish!"

Turning, the boy exclaimed--"Though I act counter to thy counsels, oh
Pani, I but follow the divine instinct in me."

"Poor youth!" murmured Babbalanja. "How earnestly he struggles in his
bonds. But though rejecting a guide, still he clings to that legend of
the Peak."

The rest of the pilgrims now tarried with the guide, preparing for
their journey inland.



CHAPTER III
They Pass Through The Woods


Refreshed by our stay in the grove, we rose, and placed ourselves
under the guidance of Mohi; who went on in advance.

Winding our way among jungles, we came to a deep hollow, planted with
one gigantic palm-shaft, belted round by saplings, springing from its
roots. But, Laocoon-like, sire and sons stood locked in the serpent
folds of gnarled, distorted banians; and the banian-bark, eating into
their vital wood, corrupted their veins of sap, till all those palm-
nuts were poisoned chalices.

Near by stood clean-limbed, comely manchineels, with lustrous leaves
and golden fruit. You would have deemed them Trees of Life; but
underneath their branches grew no blade of grass, no herb, nor moss;
the bare earth was scorched by heaven's own dews, filtrated through
that fatal foliage.

Farther on, there frowned a grove of blended banian boughs, thick-
ranked manchineels, and many a upas; their summits gilded by the sun;
but below, deep shadows, darkening night-shade ferns, and mandrakes.
Buried in their midst, and dimly seen among large leaves, all halberd-
shaped, were piles of stone, supporting falling temples of bamboo.
Thereon frogs leaped in dampness, trailing round their slime. Thick
hung the rafters with lines of pendant sloths; the upas trees dropped
darkness round; so dense the shade, nocturnal birds found there
perpetual night; and, throve on poisoned air. Owls hooted from dead
boughs; or, one by one, sailed by on silent pinions; cranes stalked
abroad, or brooded, in the marshes; adders hissed; bats smote the
darkness; ravens croaked; and vampires, fixed on slumbering lizards,
fanned the sultry air.



CHAPTER IV
Hivohitee MDCCCXLVIII


Now, those doleful woodlands passed, straightway converse was renewed,
and much discourse took place, concerning Hivohitee, Pontiff of the
isle.

For, during our first friendly conversation with Pani, Media had
inquired for Hivohitee, and sought to know in what part of the island
he abode.

Whereto Pani had replied, that the Pontiff would be invisible for
several days to come; being engaged with particular company.

And upon further inquiry, as to who were the personages monopolizing
his hospitalities, Media was dumb when informed, that they were no
other than certain incorporeal deities from above, passing the
Capricorn Solstice at Maramma.

As on we journeyed, much curiosity being expressed to know more of the
Pontiff and his guests, old Mohi, familiar with these things, was
commanded to enlighten the company. He complied; and his recital was
not a little significant, of the occasional credulity of chroniclers.

According to his statement, the deities entertained by Hivohitee
belonged to the third class of immortals. These, however, were far
elevated above the corporeal demi-gods of Mardi. Indeed, in
Hivohitee's eyes, the greatest demi-gods were as gourds. Little
wonder, then, that their superiors were accounted the most genteel
characters on his visiting list.

These immortals were wonderfully fastidious and dainty as to the
atmosphere they breathed; inhaling no sublunary air, but that of the
elevated interior; where the Pontiff had a rural lodge, for the
special accommodation of impalpable guests; who were entertained at
very small cost; dinners being unnecessary, and dormitories
superfluous.

But Hivohitee permitted not the presence of these celestial grandees,
to interfere with his own solid comfort. Passing his mornings in
highly intensified chat, he thrice reclined at his ease; partaking of
a fine plantain-pudding, and pouring out from a calabash of celestial
old wine; meanwhile, carrying on the flow of soul with his guests. And
truly, the sight of their entertainer thus enjoying himself in the
flesh, while they themselves starved on the ether, must have been
exceedingly provoking to these aristocratic and aerial strangers.

It was reported, furthermore, that Hivohitee, one of the haughtiest of
Pontiffs, purposely treated his angelical guests thus cavalierly; in
order to convince them, that though a denizen of earth; a sublunarian;
and in respect of heaven, a mere provincial; he (Hivohitee) accounted
himself full as good as seraphim from the capital; and that too at the
Capricorn Solstice, or any other time of the year. Strongly bent was
Hivohitee upon humbling their supercilious pretensions.

Besides, was he not accounted a great god in the land? supreme? having
power of life and death? essaying the deposition of kings? and
dwelling in moody state, all by himself, in the goodliest island of
Mardi? Though here, be it said, that his assumptions of temporal
supremacy were but seldom made good by express interference with the
secular concerns of the neighboring monarchs; who, by force of arms,
were too apt to argue against his claims to authority; however, in
theory, they bowed to it. And now, for the genealogy of Hivohitee; for
eighteen hundred and forty-seven Hivohitees were alleged to have gone
before him. He came in a right line from the divine Hivohitee I.: the
original grantee of the empire of men's souls and the first swayer of
a crosier. The present Pontiff's descent was unquestionable; his
dignity having been transmitted through none but heirs male; the whole
procession of High Priests being the fruit of successive marriages
between uterine brother and sister. A conjunction deemed incestuous in
some lands; but, here, held the only fit channel for the pure
transmission of elevated rank.

Added to the hereditary appellation, Hivohitee, which simply denoted
the sacerdotal station of the Pontiffs, and was but seldom employed in
current discourse, they were individualized by a distinctive name,
bestowed upon them at birth. And the degree of consideration in which
they were held, may be inferred from the fact, that during the
lifetime of a Pontiff, the leading sound in his name was banned to
ordinary uses. Whence, at every new accession to the archiepiscopal
throne, it came to pass, that multitudes of words and phrases were
either essentially modified, or wholly dropped. Wherefore, the
language of Maramma was incessantly fluctuating; and had become so
full of jargonings, that the birds in the groves were greatly puzzled;
not knowing where lay the virtue of sounds, so incoherent.

And, in a good measure, this held true of all tongues spoken
throughout the Archipelago; the birds marveling at mankind, and
mankind at the birds; wondering how they could continually sing; when,
for all man knew to the contrary, it was impossible they could be
holding intelligent discourse. And thus, though for thousands of
years, men and birds had been dwelling together in Mardi, they
remained wholly ignorant of each other's secrets; the Islander
regarding the fowl as a senseless songster, forever in the clouds; and
the fowl him, as a screeching crane, destitute of pinions and lofty
aspirations.

Over and above numerous other miraculous powers imputed to the
Pontiffs as spiritual potentates, there was ascribed to them one
special privilege of a secular nature:  that of healing with a touch
the bites of the ravenous sharks, swarming throughout the lagoon. With
these they were supposed to be upon the most friendly terms; according
to popular accounts, sociably bathing with them in the sea; permitting
them to rub their noses against their priestly thighs; playfully
mouthing their hands, with all their tiers of teeth.

At the ordination of a Pontiff, the ceremony was not deemed complete,
until embarking in his barge, he was saluted High Priest by three
sharks drawing near; with teeth turned up, swimming beside his canoe.

These monsters were deified in Maramma; had altars there; it was
deemed worse than homicide to kill one. "And what if they destroy
human life?" say the Islanders, "are they not sacred?"

Now many more wonderful things were related touching Hivohitee; and
though one could not but doubt the validity of many prerogatives
ascribed to him, it was nevertheless hard to do otherwise, than
entertain for the Pontiff that sort of profound consideration, which
all render to those who indisputably possess the power of quenching
human life with a wish.



CHAPTER V
They Visit The Great Morai


As garrulous guide to the party, Braid-Beard soon brought us nigh the
great Morai of Maramma, the burial-place of the Pontiffs, and a rural
promenade, for certain idols there inhabiting.

Our way now led through the bed of a shallow water-course; Mohi
observing, as we went, that our feet were being washed at every step;
whereas, to tread the dusty earth would be to desecrate the holy
Morai, by transferring thereto, the base soil of less sacred ground.

Here and there, thatched arbors were thrown over the stream, for the
accommodation of devotees; who, in these consecrated waters, issuing
from a spring in the Morai, bathed their garments, that long life might
ensue. Yet, as Braid-Beard assured us, sometimes it happened, that
divers feeble old men zealously donning their raiment immediately after
immersion became afflicted with rheumatics; and instances were related
of their falling down dead, in this their pursuit of longevity.

Coming to the Morai, we found it inclosed by a wall; and while the
rest were surmounting it, Mohi was busily engaged in the apparently
childish occupation of collecting pebbles. Of these, however, to our
no small surprise, he presently made use, by irreverently throwing
them at all objects to which he was desirous of directing attention.
In this manner, was pointed out a black boar's head, suspended from a
bough. Full twenty of these sentries were on post in the neighboring
trees.

Proceeding, we came to a hillock of bone-dry sand, resting upon the
otherwise loamy soil. Possessing a secret, preservative virtue, this
sand had, ages ago, been brought from a distant land, to furnish a
sepulcher for the Pontiffs; who here, side by side, and sire by son,
slumbered all peacefully in the fellowship of the grave. Mohi
declared, that were the sepulcher to be opened, it would be the
resurrection of the whole line of High Priests. "But a resurrection of
bones, after all," said Babbalanja, ever osseous in his allusions to
the departed.

Passing on, we came to a number of Runic-looking stones, all over
hieroglyphical inscriptions, and placed round an elliptical aperture;
where welled up the sacred spring of the Morai, clear as crystal, and
showing through its waters, two tiers of sharp, tusk-like stones; the
mouth of Oro, so called; and it was held, that if any secular hand
should be immersed in the spring, straight upon it those stony jaws
would close.

We next came to a large image of a dark-hued stone, representing a
burly man, with an overgrown head, and abdomen hollowed out, and open
for inspection; therein, were relics of bones. Before this image we
paused. And whether or no it was Mohi's purpose to make us tourists
quake with his recitals, his revelations were far from agreeable. At
certain seasons, human beings were offered to the idol, which being an
epicure in the matter of sacrifices, would accept of no ordinary fare.
To insure his digestion, all indirect routes to the interior were
avoided; the sacrifices being packed in the ventricle itself.

Near to this image of Doleema, so called, a solitary forest-tree was
pointed out; leafless and dead to the core. But from its boughs hang
numerous baskets, brimming over with melons, grapes, and guavas. And
daily these baskets were replenished.

As we here stood, there passed a hungry figure, in ragged raiment:
hollow cheeks, and hollow eyes. Wistfully he eyed the offerings; but
retreated; knowing it was sacrilege to touch them. There, they must
decay, in honor of the god Ananna; for so this dead tree was
denominated by Mohi.

Now, as we were thus strolling about the Morai, the old chronicler
elucidating its mysteries, we suddenly spied Pani and the pilgrims
approaching the image of Doleema; his child leading the guide.

"This," began Pani, pointing to the idol of stone, "is the holy god
Ananna who lives in the sap of this green and flourishing tree."

"Thou meanest not, surely, this stone image we behold?" said Divino.

"I mean the tree," said the guide. "It is no stone image."

"Strange," muttered the chief; "were it not a guide that spoke, I
would deny it. As it is, I hold my peace."

"Mystery of mysteries!" cried the blind old pilgrim; "is it, then, a
stone image that Pani calls a tree? Oh, Oro, that I had eyes to see,
that I might verily behold it, and then believe it to be what it is
not; that so I might prove the largeness of my faith; and so merit the
blessing of Alma."

"Thrice sacred Ananna," murmured the sad-eyed maiden, falling upon her
knees before Doleema, "receive my adoration. Of thee, I know nothing,
but what the guide has spoken. I am but a poor, weak-minded maiden,
judging not for myself, but leaning upon others that are wiser. These
things are above me. I am afraid to think. In Alma's name, receive my
homage."

And she flung flowers before the god.

But Fauna, the hale matron, turning upon Pani, exclaimed, "Receive
more gifts, oh guide." And again she showered them upon him.

Upon this, the willful boy who would not have Pani for his guide,
entered the Morai; and perceiving the group before the image, walked
rapidly to where they were. And beholding the idol, he regarded it
attentively, and said:--"This must be the image of Doleema; but I am
not sure."

"Nay," cried the blind pilgrim, "it is the holy tree Ananna, thou
wayward boy."

"A tree? whatever it may be, it is not that; thou art blind, old man."

"But though blind, I have that which thou lackest."

Then said Pani, turning upon the boy, "Depart from the holy Morai, and
corrupt not the hearts of these pilgrims. Depart, I say; and, in the
sacred name of Alma, perish in thy endeavors to climb the Peak."

"I may perish there in truth," said the boy, with sadness; "but it
shall be in the path revealed to me in my dream. And think not, oh
guide, that I perfectly rely upon gaining that lofty summit. I will
climb high Ofo with hope, not faith; Oh, mighty Oro, help me!"

"Be not impious," said Pani; "pronounce not Oro's sacred name too
lightly."

"Oro is but a sound," said the boy. "They call the supreme god, Ati,
in my native isle; it is the soundless thought of him, oh guide, that
is in me."

"Hark to his rhapsodies! Hark, how he prates of mysteries, that not
even Hivohitee can fathom."

"Nor he, nor thou, nor I, nor any; Oro, to all, is Oro the unknown."

"Why claim to know Oro, then, better than others?"

"I am not so vain; and I have little to substitute for what I can not
receive. I but feel Oro in me, yet can not declare the thought."

"Proud boy! thy humility is a pretense; at heart, thou deemest thyself
wiser than Mardi."

"Not near so wise. To believe is a haughty thing; my very doubts
humiliate me. I weep and doubt; all Mardi may be light; and I too
simple to discern."

"He is mad," said the chief Divino; "never before heard I such words."

"They are thoughts," muttered the guide.

"Poor fool!" cried Fauna.

"Lost youth!" sighed the maiden.

"He is but a child," said the beggar. These whims will soon depart;
once I was like him; but, praise be to Alma, in the hour of sickness I
repented, feeble old man that I am!"

"It is because I am young and in health," said the boy, "that I more
nourish the thoughts, that are born of my youth and my health. I am
fresh from my Maker, soul and body unwrinkled. On thy sick couch, old
man, they took thee at advantage."

"Turn from the blasphemer," cried Pani. "Hence! thou evil one, to the
perdition in store."

"I will go my ways," said the boy, "but Oro will shape the end."

And he quitted the Morai.

After conducting the party round the sacred inclosure, assisting his
way with his staff, for his child had left him, Pani seated himself on
a low, mossy stone, grimly surrounded by idols; and directed the
pilgrims to return to his habitation; where, ere long he would rejoin
them.

The pilgrims departed, he remained in profound meditation; while,
backward and forward, an invisible ploughshare turned up the long
furrows on his brow.

Long he was silent; then muttered to himself, "That boy, that wild,
wise boy, has stabbed me to the heart. His thoughts are my suspicions.
But he is honest. Yet I harm none. Multitudes must have unspoken
meditations as well as I. Do we then mutually deceive? Off masks,
mankind, that I may know what warranty of fellowship with others, my
own thoughts possess. Why, upon this one theme, oh Oro! must all
dissemble? Our thoughts are not our own. Whate'er it be, an honest
thought must have some germ of truth. But we must set, as flows the
general stream; I blindly follow, where I seem to lead; the crowd of
pilgrims is so great, they see not there is none to guide.--It hinges
upon this: Have we angelic spirits? But in vain, in vain, oh Oro! I
essay to live out of this poor, blind body, fit dwelling for my
sightless soul. Death, death:--blind, am I dead? for blindness seems a
consciousness of death. Will my grave be more dark, than all is now?--
From dark to dark!--What is this subtle something that is in me, and
eludes me? Will it have no end? When, then, did it begin? All, all is
chaos! What is this shining light in heaven, this sun they tell me of?
Or, do they lie? Methinks, it might blaze convictions; but I brood and
grope in blackness; I am dumb with doubt; yet, 'tis not doubt, but
worse: I doubt my doubt. Oh, ye all-wise spirits in the air, how can
ye witness all this woe, and give no sign? Would, would that mine were
a settled doubt, like that wild boy's, who without faith, seems full
of it. The undoubting doubter believes the most. Oh! that I were he.
Methinks that daring boy hath Alma in him, struggling to be free. But
those pilgrims: that trusting girl.--What, if they saw me as I am?
Peace, peace, my soul; on, mask, again."

And he staggered from the Morai.



CHAPTER VI
They Discourse Of The Gods Of Mardi, And Braid-Beard Tells Of One Foni


Walking from the sacred inclosure, Mohi discoursed of the plurality of
gods in the land, a subject suggested by the multitudinous idols we
had just been beholding.

Said Mohi, "These gods of wood and of stone are nothing in number to
the gods in the air. You breathe not a breath without inhaling, you
touch not a leaf without ruffling a spirit. There are gods of heaven,
and gods of earth; gods of sea and of land; gods of peace and of war;
gods of rook and of fell; gods of ghosts and of thieves; of singers
and dancers; of lean men and of house-thatchers. Gods glance in the
eyes of birds, and sparkle in the crests of the waves; gods merrily
swing in the boughs of the trees, and merrily sing in the brook. Gods
are here, and there, and every where; you are never alone for them."

"If this be so, Braid-Beard," said Babbalanja, "our inmost thoughts
are overheard; but not by eaves-droppers. However, my lord, these gods
to whom he alludes, merely belong to the semi-intelligibles, the
divided unities in unity, thin side of the First Adyta."

"Indeed?" said Media.

"Semi-intelligible, say you, philosopher?" cried Mohi. "Then, prithee,
make it appear so; for what you say, seems gibberish to me."

"Babbalanja," said Media, "no more of your abstrusities; what know you
mortals of us gods and demi-gods? But tell me, Mohi, how many of your
deities of rock and fen think you there are? Have you no statistical
table?"

"My lord, at the lowest computation, there must be at least three
billion trillion of quintillions."

"A mere unit!" said Babbalanja. "Old man, would you express an
infinite number? Then take the sum of the follies of Mardi for your
multiplicand; and for your multiplier, the totality of sublunarians,
that never have been heard of since they became no more; and the
product shall exceed your quintillions, even though all their units
were nonillions."

"Have done, Babbalanja!" cried Media; "you are showing the sinister
vein in your marble. Have done. Take a warm bath, and make tepid your
cold blood. But come, Mohi, tell us of the ways of this Maramma;
something of the Morai and its idols, if you please."

And straightway Braid-Beard proceeded with a narration, in substance
as follows:--

It seems, there was a particular family upon the island, whose
members, for many generations, had been set apart as sacrifices for
the deity called Doleema. They were marked by a sad and melancholy
aspect, and a certain involuntary shrinking, when passing the Morai.
And, though, when it came to the last, some of these unfortunates went
joyfully to their doom, declaring that they gloried to die in the
service of holy Doleema; still, were there others, who audaciously
endeavored to shun their fate; upon the approach of a festival,
fleeing to the innermost wilderness of the island. But little availed
their flight. For swift on their track sped the hereditary butler of
the insulted god, one Xiki, whose duty it was to provide the
sacrifices. And when crouching in some covert, the fugitive spied
Xiki's approach, so fearful did he become of the vengeance of the
deity he sought to evade, that renouncing all hope of escape, he would
burst from his lair, exclaiming, "Come on, and kill!" baring his
breast for the javelin that slew him.

The chronicles of Maramma were full of horrors.

In the wild heart of the island, was said still to lurk the remnant of
a band of warriors, who, in the days of the sire of the present
pontiff, had risen in arms to dethrone him, headed by Foni, an upstart
prophet, a personage distinguished for the uncommon beauty of his
person. With terrible carnage, these warriors had been defeated; and
the survivors, fleeing into the interior, for thirty days were pursued
by the victors. But though many were overtaken and speared, a number
survived; who, at last, wandering forlorn and in despair, like
demoniacs, ran wild in the woods. And the islanders, who at times
penetrated into the wilderness, for the purpose of procuring rare
herbs, often scared from their path some specter, glaring through the
foliage. Thrice had these demoniacs been discovered prowling about the
inhabited portions of the isle; and at day-break, an attendant of the
holy Morai once came upon a frightful figure, doubled with age,
helping itself to the offerings in the image of Doleema. The demoniac
was slain; and from his ineffaceable tatooing, it was proved that this
was no other than Foni, the false prophet; the splendid form he had
carried into the rebel fight, now squalid with age and misery.



CHAPTER VII
They Visit The Lake Of Yammo


From the Morai, we bent our steps toward an unoccupied arbor; and
here, refreshing ourselves with the viands presented by Borabolla, we
passed the night. And next morning proceeded to voyage round to the
opposite quarter of the island; where, in the sacred lake of Yammo,
stood the famous temple of Oro, also the great gallery of the inferior
deities.

The lake was but a portion of the smooth lagoon, made separate by an
arm of wooded reef, extending from the high western shore of the
island, and curving round toward a promontory, leaving a narrow
channel to the sea, almost invisible, however, from the land-locked
interior.

In this lake were many islets, all green with groves. Its main-shore
was a steep acclivity, with jutting points, each crowned with mossy
old altars of stone, or ruinous temples, darkly reflected in the
green, glassy water; while, from its long line of stately trees, the
low reef-side of the lake looked one verdant bluff.

Gliding in upon Yammo, its many islets greeted us like a little Mardi;
but ever and anon we started at long lines of phantoms in the water,
reflections of the long line of images on the shore.

Toward the islet of Dolzono we first directed our way; and there we
beheld the great gallery of the gods; a mighty temple, resting on one
hundred tall pillars of palm, each based, below the surface, on the
buried body of a man; its nave one vista of idols; names carved on
their foreheads:  Ogre, Tripoo, Indrimarvoki, Parzillo, Vivivi,
Jojijojorora, Jorkraki, and innumerable others.

Crowds of attendants were new-grouping the images.

"My lord, you behold one of their principal occupations," said Mohi.

Said Media: "I have heard much of the famed image of Mujo, the Nursing
Mother;--can you point it out, Braid-Beard?"

"My lord, when last here, I saw Mujo at the head of this file; but
they must have removed it; I see it not now."

"Do these attendants, then," said Babbalanja, "so continually new-
marshal the idols, that visiting the gallery to-day, you are at a loss
to-morrow?"

"Even so," said Braid-Beard. "But behold, my lord, this image is Mujo."

We stood before an obelisk-idol, so towering, that gazing at it, we
were fain to throw back our heads. According to Mohi, winding stairs
led up through its legs; its abdomen a cellar, thick-stored with
gourds of old wine; its head, a hollow dome; in rude alto-relievo, its
scores of hillock-breasts were carved over with legions of baby
deities, frog-like sprawling; while, within, were secreted whole
litters of infant idols, there placed, to imbibe divinity from the
knots of the wood.

As we stood, a strange subterranean sound was heard, mingled with a
gurgling as of wine being poured. Looking up, we beheld, through
arrow-slits and port-holes, three masks, cross-legged seated in the
abdomen, and holding stout wassail. But instantly upon descrying us,
they vanished deeper into the interior; and presently was heard a
sepulchral chant, and many groans and grievous tribulations.

Passing on, we came to an image, with a long anaconda-like posterior
development, wound round and round its own neck.

"This must be Oloo, the god of Suicides," said Babbalanja.

"Yes," said Mohi, "you perceive, my lord, how he lays violent tail
upon himself."

At length, the attendants having, in due order, new-deposed the long
lines of sphinxes and griffins, and many limbed images, a band of
them, in long flowing robes, began their morning chant.

    "Awake Rarni! awake Foloona!
     Awake unnumbered deities!"

With many similar invocations, to which the images made not the
slightest rejoinder. Not discouraged, however, the attendants now
separately proceeded to offer up petitions on behalf of various
tribes, retaining them for that purpose.

One prayed for abundance of rain, that the yams of Valapee might not
wilt in the ground; another for dry sunshine, as most favorable for
the present state of the Bread-fruit crop in Mondoldo.

Hearing all this, Babbalanja thus spoke:--"Doubtless, my lord Media,
besides these petitions we hear, there are ten thousand contradictory
prayers ascending to these idols. But methinks the gods will not jar
the eternal progression of things, by any hints from below; even were
it possible to satisfy conflicting desires."

Said Yoomy, "But I would pray, nevertheless, Babbalanja; for prayer
draws us near to our own souls, and purifies our thoughts. Nor will I
grant that our supplications are altogether in vain."

Still wandering among the images, Mohi had much to say, concerning
their respective claims to the reverence of the devout.

For though, in one way or other, all Mardians bowed to the supremacy
of Oro, they were not so unanimous concerning the inferior deities;
those supposed to be intermediately concerned in sublunary things.
Some nations sacrificed to one god; some to another; each maintaining,
that their own god was the most potential.

Observing that all the images were more or less defaced, Babbalanja
sought the reason.

To which, Braid-Beard made answer, that they had been thus defaced by
hostile devotees; who quarreling in the great gallery of the gods, and
getting beside themselves with rage, often sought to pull down, and
demolish each other's favorite idols.

"But behold," cried Babbalanja, "there seems not a single image
unmutilated. How is this, old man?"

"It is thus. While one faction defaces the images of its adversaries,
its own images are in like manner assailed; whence it comes that no
idol escapes."

"No more, no more, Braid-Beard," said Media. "Let us depart, and visit
the islet, where the god of all these gods is enshrined."



CHAPTER VIII
They Meet The Pilgrims At The Temple Of Oro


Deep, deep, in deep groves, we found the great temple of Oro,
Spreader-of-the-Sky, and deity supreme.

While here we silently stood eyeing this Mardi-renowned image, there
entered the fane a great multitude of its attendants, holding pearl-
shells on their heads, filled with a burning incense. And ranging
themselves in a crowd round Oro, they began a long-rolling chant, a
sea of sounds; and the thick smoke of their incense went up to the
roof.

And now approached Pani and the pilgrims; followed, at a distance, by
the willful boy.

"Behold great Oro," said the guide.

"We see naught but a cloud," said the chief Divino.

"My ears are stunned by the chanting," said the blind pilgrim.

"Receive more gifts, oh guide!" cried Fauna the matron. "Oh Oro!
invisible Oro! I kneel," slow murmured the sad-eyed maid.

But now, a current of air swept aside the eddying incense; and the
willful boy, all eagerness to behold the image, went hither and
thither; but the gathering of attendants was great; and at last he
exclaimed, "Oh Oro! I can not see thee, for the crowd that stands
between thee and me."

"Who is this babbler?" cried they with the censers, one and all
turning upon the pilgrims; "let him speak no more; but bow down, and
grind the dust where he stands; and declare himself the vilest
creature that crawls. So Oro and Alma command."

"I feel nothing in me so utterly vile," said the boy, "and I cringe to
none. But I would as lief _adore_ your image, as that in my heart, for
both mean the same; but more, how can I? I love great Oro, though I
comprehend him not. I marvel at his works, and feel as nothing in his
sight; but because he is thus omnipotent, and I a mortal, it follows
not that I am vile. Nor so doth he regard me. We do ourselves degrade
ourselves, not Oro us. Hath not Oro made me? And therefore am I not
worthy to stand erect before him? Oro is almighty, but no despot. I
wonder; I hope; I love; I weep; I have in me a feeling nigh to fear,
that is not fear; but wholly vile I am not; nor can we love and
cringe. But Oro knows my heart, which I can not speak."

"Impious boy," cried they with the censers, "we will offer thee up,
before the very image thou contemnest. In the name of Alma, seize him."

And they bore him away unresisting.

"Thus perish the ungodly," said Pani to the shuddering pilgrims.

And they quitted the temple, to journey toward the Peak of Ofo.

"My soul bursts!" cried Yoomy. "My lord, my lord, let us save the boy."

"Speak not," said Media. "His fate is fixed. Let Mardi stand."

"Then let us away from hence, my lord; and join the pilgrims; for, in
these inland vales, the lost one may be found, perhaps at the very
base of Ofo."

"Not there; not there;" cried Babbalanja, "Yillah may have touched
these shores; but long since she must have fled."



CHAPTER IX
They Discourse Of Alma


Sailing to and fro in the lake, to view its scenery, much discourse
took place concerning the things we had seen; and far removed from the
censer-bearers, the sad fate that awaited the boy was now the theme
of all.

A good deal was then said of Alma, to whom the guide, the pilgrims,
and the censer-bearers had frequently alluded, as to some paramount
authority.

Called upon to reveal what his chronicles said on this theme, Braid-
Beard complied; at great length narrating, what now follows condensed.

Alma, it seems, was an illustrious prophet, and teacher divine; who,
ages ago, at long intervals, and in various islands, had appeared to
the Mardians under the different titles of Brami, Manko, and Alma.
Many thousands of moons had elasped since his last and most memorable
avatar, as Alma on the isle of Maramma. Each of his advents had taken
place in a comparatively dark and benighted age. Hence, it was
devoutly believed, that he came to redeem the Mardians from their
heathenish thrall; to instruct them in the ways of truth, virtue, and
happiness; to allure them to good by promises of beatitude hereafter;
and to restrain them from evil by denunciations of woe. Separated from
the impurities and corruptions, which in a long series of centuries
had become attached to every thing originally uttered by the prophet,
the maxims, which as Brami he had taught, seemed similar to those
inculcated by Manko. But as Alma, adapting his lessons to the improved
condition of humanity, the divine prophet had more completely unfolded
his scheme; as Alma, he had made his last revelation.

This narration concluded, Babbalanja mildly observed, "Mohi: without
seeking to accuse you of uttering falsehoods; since what you relate
rests not upon testimony of your own; permit me, to question the
fidelity of your account of Alma. The prophet came to dissipate
errors, you say; but superadded to many that have survived the past,
ten thousand others have originated in various constructions of the
principles of Alma himself. The prophet came to do away all gods but
one; but since the days of Alma, the idols of Maramma have more than
quadrupled. The prophet came to make us Mardians more virtuous and
happy; but along with all previous good, the same wars, crimes, and
miseries, which existed in Alma's day, under various modifications are
yet extant. Nay: take from your chronicles, Mohi, the history of those
horrors, one way or other, resulting from the doings of Alma's nominal
followers, and your chronicles would not so frequently make mention of
blood. The prophet came to guarantee our eternal felicity; but
according to what is held in Maramma, that felicity rests on so hard a
proviso, that to a thinking mind, but very few of our sinful race may
secure it. For one, then, I wholly reject your Alma; not so much,
because of all that is hard to be understood in his histories; as
because of obvious and undeniable things all round us; which, to me,
seem at war with an unreserved faith in his doctrines as promulgated
here in Maramma. Besides; every thing in this isle strengthens my
incredulity; I never was so thorough a disbeliever as now."

"Let the winds be laid," cried Mohi, "while your rash confession is
being made in this sacred lake."

Said Media, "Philosopher; remember the boy, and they that seized him."

"Ah! I do indeed remember him. Poor youth! in his agony, how my heart
yearned toward his. But that very prudence which you deny me, my lord,
prevented me from saying aught in his behalf. Have you not observed,
that until now, when we are completely by ourselves, I have refrained
from freely discoursing of what we have seen in this island? Trust me,
my lord, there is no man, that bears more in mind the necessity of
being either a believer or a hypocrite in Maramma, and the imminent
peril of being honest here, than I, Babbalanja. And have I not reason
to be wary, when in my boyhood, my own sire was burnt for his
temerity; and in this very isle? Just Oro! it was done in the name of
Alma,--what wonder then, that, at times, I almost hate that sound. And
from those flames, they devoutly swore he went to others,--horrible
fable!"

Said Mohi: "Do you deny, then, the everlasting torments?"

"'Tis not worth a denial. Nor by formally denying it, will I run the
risk of shaking the faith of, thousands, who in that pious belief find
infinite consolation for all they suffer in Mardi."

"How?" said Media; "are there those who soothe themselves with the
thought of everlasting flames?"

"One would think so, my lord, since they defend that dogma more
resolutely than any other. Sooner will they yield you the isles of
Paradise, than it. And in truth, as liege followers of Alma, they
would seem but right in clinging to it as they do; for, according to
all one hears in Maramma, the great end of the prophet's mission seems
to have been the revealing to us Mardians the existence of horrors,
most hard to escape. But better we were all annihilated, than that one
man should be damned."

Rejoined Media: "But think you not, that possibly, Alma may have been
misconceived? Are you certain that doctrine is his?"

"I know nothing more than that such is the belief in this land. And in
these matters, I know not where else to go for information. But, my
lord, had I been living in those days when certain men are said to
have been actually possessed by spirits from hell, I had not let slip
the opportunity--as our forefathers did--to cross-question them
concerning the place they came from."

"Well, well," said Media, "your Alma's faith concerns not me: I am a
king, and a demi-god; and leave vulgar torments to the commonality."

"But it concerns me," muttered Mohi; "yet I know not what to think."

"For me," said Yoomy, "I reject it. Could I, I would not believe it.
It is at variance with the dictates of my heart instinctively my heart
turns from it, as a thirsty man from gall."

"Hush; say no more," said Mohi; "again we approach the shore."



CHAPTER X
Kohl Tells Of One Ravoo, And They Land To Visit Revaneva, A
Flourishing Artisan


Having seen all worth viewing in Yammo, we departed, to complete the
circumnavigation of the island, by returning to Uma without reversing
our prows. As we glided along, we passed many objects of interest,
concerning which, Mohi, as usual, was very diffuse.

Among other things pointed out, were certain little altars, like mile-
stones, planted here and there upon bright bluffs, running out into
the lagoon. Dedicated respectively to the guardian spirits of Maramma,
these altars formed a chain of spiritual defenses; and here were
presumed to stand post the most vigilant of warders; dread Hivohitee,
all by himself, garrisoning the impregnable interior.

But these sentries were only subalterns, subject to the beck of the
Pontiff; who frequently sent word to them, concerning the duties of
their watch. His mandates were intrusted to one Ravoo, the hereditary
pontifical messenger; a long-limbed varlet, so swift of foot, that he
was said to travel like a javelin. "Art thou Ravoo, that thou so
pliest thy legs?" say these islanders, to one encountered in a hurry.

Hivohitee's postman held no oral communication with the sentries.
Dispatched round the island with divers bits of tappa,
hieroglyphically stamped, he merely deposited one upon each altar;
superadding a stone, to keep the missive in its place; and so went his
rounds.

Now, his route lay over hill and over dale, and over many a coral
rock; and to preserve his feet from bruises, he was fain to wear a
sort of buskin, or boot, fabricated of a durable tappa, made from the
thickest and toughest of fibers. As he never wore his buskins except
when he carried the mail, Ravoo sorely fretted with his Hessians;
though it would have been highly imprudent to travel without them. To
make the thing more endurable, therefore, and, at intervals, to cool
his heated pedals, he established a series of stopping-places, or
stages; at each of which a fresh pair of buskins, hanging from a tree,
were taken down and vaulted into by the ingenious traveler. Those
relays of boots were exceedingly convenient; next, indeed, to being
lifted upon a fresh pair of legs.

"Now, to what purpose that anecdote?" demanded Babbalanja of Mohi, who
in substance related it.

"Marry! 'tis but the simple recital of a fact; and I tell it to
entertain the company."

"But has it any meaning you know of?"

"Thou art wise, find out," retorted Braid-Beard. "But what comes of
it?" persisted Babbalanja.

"Beshrew me, this senseless catechising of thine," replied Mohi;
"naught else, it seems, save a grin or two."

"And pray, what may you be driving at, philosopher?" interrupted Media.

"I am intent upon the essence of things; the mystery that lieth
beyond; the elements of the tear which much laughter provoketh; that
which is beneath the seeming; the precious pearl within the shaggy
oyster. I probe the circle's center; I seek to evolve the
inscrutable."

"Seek on; and when aught is found, cry out, that we may run to see."

"My lord the king is merry upon me. To him my more subtle cogitations
seem foolishness. But believe me, my lord, there is more to be thought
of than to be seen. There is a world of wonders insphered within the
spontaneous consciousness; or, as old Bardianna hath it, a mystery
within the obvious, yet an obviousness within the mystery."

"And did I ever deny that?" said Media.

"As plain as my hand in the dark," said Mohi.

"I dreamed a dream," said Yoomy.

"They banter me; but enough; I am to blame for discoursing upon the
deep world wherein I live. I am wrong in seeking to invest sublunary
sounds with celestial sense. Much that is in me is incommunicable by
this ether we breathe. But I blame ye not." And wrapping round him his
mantle, Babbalanja retired into its most private folds.

Ere coming in sight of Uma, we put into a little bay, to pay our
respects to Hevaneva, a famous character there dwelling; who, assisted
by many journeymen, carried on the lucrative business of making idols
for the surrounding isles.

Know ye, that all idols not made in Maramma, and consecrated by
Hivohitee; and, what is more, in strings of teeth paid down for to
Hevaneva; are of no more account, than logs, stocks, or stones. Yet
does not the cunning artificer monopolize the profits of his vocation;
for Hevaneva being but the vassal of the Pontiff, the latter lays
claim to King Leo's share of the spoils, and secures it.

The place was very prettily lapped in a pleasant dell, nigh to the
margin of the water; and here, were several spacious arbors; wherein,
prostrate upon their sacred faces, were all manner of idols, in every
imaginable stage of statuary development.

With wonderful industry the journeymen were plying their tools;--some
chiseling noses; some trenching for mouths; and others, with heated
flints, boring for ears: a hole drilled straight through the occiput,
representing the auricular organs.

"How easily they are seen through," said Babbalanja, taking a sight
through one of the heads.

The last finish is given to their godships, by rubbing them all over
with dried slips of consecrated shark-skin, rough as sand paper,
tacked over bits of wood.

In one of the farther arbors, Hevaneva pointed out a goodly array of
idols, all complete and ready for the market. They were of every
variety of pattern; and of every size; from that of a giant, to the
little images worn in the ears of the ultra devout.

"Of late," said the artist, "there has been a lively demand for the
image of Arbino the god of fishing; the present being the principal
season for that business. For Nadams (Nadam presides over love and
wine), there has also been urgent call; it being the time of the
grape; and the maidens growing frolicsome withal, and devotional."

Seeing that Hevaneva handled his wares with much familiarity, not to
say irreverence, Babbalanja was minded to learn from him, what he
thought of his trade; whether the images he made were genuine or
spurious; in a word, whether he believed in his gods.

His reply was curious. But still more so, the marginal gestures
wherewith he helped out the text.

"When I cut down the trees for my idols," said he, "they are nothing
but logs; when upon those logs, I chalk out the figures of, my images,
they yet remain logs; when the chisel is applied, logs they are still;
and when all complete, I at last stand them up in my studio, even then
they are logs. Nevertheless, when I handle the pay, they are as prime
gods, as ever were turned out in Maramma."

"You must make a very great variety," said Babbalanja.

"All sorts, all sorts."

"And from the same material, I presume."

"Ay, ay, one grove supplies them all. And, on an average, each tree
stands us in full fifty idols. Then, we often take second-hand images
in part pay for new ones. These we work over again into new patterns;
touching up their eyes and ears; resetting their noses; and more
especially new-footing their legs, where they always decay first."

Under sanction of the Pontiff, Hevaneva, in addition to his large
commerce in idols, also carried on the highly lucrative business of
canoe-building; the profits whereof, undivided, he dropped into his
private exchequer. But Mohi averred, that the Pontiff often charged
him with neglecting his images, for his canoes. Be that as it may,
Hevaneva drove a thriving trade at both avocations. And in demonstration
of the fact, he directed our attention to three long rows of canoes,
upheld by wooden supports. They were in perfect order; at a moment's
notice, ready for launching; being furnished with paddles, out-riggers,
masts, sails, and a human skull, with a short handle thrust through
one of its eyes, the ordinary bailer of Maramma; besides other
appurtenances, including on the prow a duodecimo idol to match.

Owing to a superstitious preference bestowed upon the wood and work of
the sacred island, Hevaneva's canoes were in as high repute as his
idols; and sold equally well.

In truth, in several ways one trade helped the other. The larger
images being dug out of the hollow part of the canoes; and all knotty
odds and ends reserved for the idol ear-rings.

"But after all," said the artificer, "I find a readier sale for my
images, than for my canoes."

"And so it will ever be," said Babbalanja.--"Stick to thy idols, man!
a trade, more reliable than the baker's."



CHAPTER XI
A Nursery-Tale Of Babbalanja's


Having taken to our canoes once again, we were silently sailing along,
when Media observed, "Babbalanja; though I seldom trouble myself with
such thoughts, I have just been thinking, how difficult it must be,
for the more ignorant sort of people, to decide upon what particular
image to worship as a guardian deity, when in Maramma, it seems, there
exists such a multitude of idols, and a thousand more are to be heard
of."

"Not at all, your highness. The more ignorant the better. The
multitude of images distracts them not. But I am in no mood for
serious discourse; let me tell you a story."

"A story! hear him: the solemn philosopher is desirous of regaling us
with a tale! But pray, begin."

"Once upon a time, then," said Babbalanja, indifferently adjusting his
girdle, "nine blind men, with uncommonly long noses, set out on their
travels to see the great island on which they were born."

"A precious beginning," muttered Mohi. "Nine blind men setting out to
see sights."

Continued Babbalanja, "Staff in hand, they traveled; one in advance of
the other; each man with his palm upon the shoulder next him; and he
with the longest nose took the lead of the file. Journeying on in this
manner, they came to a valley, in which reigned a king called Tammaro.
Now, in a certain inclosure toward the head of the valley, there stood
an immense wild banian tree; all over moss, and many centuries old,
and forming quite a wood in itself:  its thousand boughs striking into
the earth, and fixing there as many gigantic trunks. With Tammaro, it
had long been a question, which of those many trunks was the original
and true one; a matter that had puzzled the wisest heads among his
subjects; and in vain had a reward been offered for the solution of
the perplexity. But the tree was so vast, and its fabric so complex;
and its rooted branches so similar in appearance; and so numerous,
from the circumstance that every year had added to them, that it was
quite impossible to determine the point. Nevertheless, no sooner did
the nine blind men hear that there was a reward offered for
discovering the trunk of a tree, standing all by itself, than, one and
all, they assured Tammaro, that they would quickly settle that little
difficulty of his; and loudly inveighed against the stupidity of his
sages, who had been so easily posed. So, being conducted into the
inclosure, and assured that the tree was somewhere within, they
separated their forces, so as at wide intervals to surround it at a
distance; when feeling their way, with their staves and their noses,
they advanced to the search, crying out--'Pshaw! make room there; let
us wise men feel of the mystery.' Presently, striking with his nose
one of the rooted branches, the foremost blind man quickly knelt down;
and feeling that it struck into the earth, gleefully shouted: Here it
is! here it is!' But almost in the same breath, his companions, also,
each striking a branch with his staff or his nose, cried out in like
manner, 'Here it is! here it is!' Whereupon they were all confounded:
but directly, the man who first cried out, thus addressed the rest:
Good friends, surely you're mistaken. There is but one tree in the
place, and here it is.' 'Very true,' said the others, 'all together;
there is only _one_ tree; but _here_ it is.' 'Nay,' said the others,
'it is _here!_' and so saying, each blind man triumphantly felt of the
branch, where it penetrated into the earth. Then again said the first
speaker: Good friends, if you will not believe what I say, come
hither, and feel for yourselves.' 'Nay, nay,' replied they, why seek
further? _here_ it is; and nowhere else can it be.' 'You blind fools,
you, you contradict yourselves,' continued the first speaker, waxing
wroth; 'how can you each have hold of a separate trunk, when there is
but one in the place?' Whereupon, they redoubled their cries, calling
each other all manner of opprobrious names, and presently they fell to
beating each other with their staves, and charging upon each other
with their noses. But soon after, being loudly called upon by Tammaro
and his people; who all this while had been looking on; being loudly
called upon, I say, to clap their hands on the trunk, they again
rushed for their respective branches; and it so happened, that, one
and all, they changed places; but still cried out, '_Here_ it is;
_here_ it is!' 'Peace! peace! ye silly blind men,' said Tammaro. 'Will
ye without eyes presume to see more sharply than those who have them?
The tree is too much for us all. Hence! depart from the valley.'"

"An admirable story," cried Media. "I had no idea that a mere mortal,
least of all a philosopher, could acquit him-self so well. By my
scepter, but it is well done! Ha, ha! blind men round a banian! Why,
Babbalanja, no demi-god could surpass it. Taji, could you?"

"But, Babbalanja, what under the sun, mean you by your blind story!"
cried Mohi. "Obverse, or reverse, I can make nothing out of it."

"Others may," said Babbalanja. "It is a polysensuum, old man."

"A pollywog!" said Mohi.



CHAPTER XII
Landing To Visit Hivohitee The Pontiff, They Encounter An
Extraordinary Old Hermit; With Whom Yoomy Has A Confidential
Interview, But Learns Little


Gliding on, suddenly we spied a solitary Islander putting out in his
canoe from a neighboring cove.

Drawing near, the stranger informed us, that he was just from the face
of the great Pontiff, Hivohitee, who, having dismissed his celestial
guests, had retired to his private sanctuary. Upon this, Media
resolved to land forthwith, and under the guidance of Mohi, proceed
inland, and pay a visit to his Holiness.

Quitting the beach, our path penetrated into the solitudes of the
groves. Skirting the way were tall Casaurinas, a species of cypress,
standing motionless in the shadows, as files of mutes at a funeral.
But here and there, they were overrun with the adventurous vines of
the Convolvulus, the Morning-glory of the Tropics, whose tendrils,
bruised by the twigs, dropped milk upon the dragon-like scales of the
trees.

This vine is of many varieties. Lying perdu, and shunning the garish
sun through the day, one species rises at night with the stars;
bursting forth in dazzling constellations of blossoms, which close at
dawn. Others, slumbering through the darkness, are up and abroad with
their petals, by peep of morn; and after inhaling its breath, again
drop their lids in repose. While a third species, more capricious,
refuse to expand at all, unless in the most brilliant sunshine, and
upon the very tops of the loftiest trees. Ambitious flowers! that will
not blow, unless in high places, with the bright day looking on and
admiring.

Here and there, we passed open glades in the woods, delicious with the
incense of violets. Balsamic ferns, stirred by the breeze, fanned all
the air with aromas. These glades were delightful.

Journeying on, we at length came to a dark glen so deftly hidden by
the surrounding copses, that were it not for the miasma thence wafted,
an ignorant wayfarer might pass and repass it, time and again, never
dreaming of its vicinity.

Down into the gloom of this glen we descended. Its sides were mantled
with noxious shrubs, whose exhalations, half way down, unpleasantly
blended with the piny breeze from the uplands. Through its bed ran a
brook, whose incrusted margin had a strange metallic luster, from the
polluted waters here flowing; their source a sulphur spring, of vile
flavor and odor, where many invalid pilgrims resorted.

The woods all round were haunted by the dismal cawings of crows; tap,
tap, the black hawk whetted his bill on the boughs; each trunk stalked
a ghost; and from those trunks, Hevaneva procured the wood for his
idols.

Rapidly crossing this place, Yoomy's hands to his ears, old Mohi's to
his nostrils, and Babbalanja vainly trying to walk with closed eyes,
we toiled among steep, flinty rocks, along a wild, zigzag pathway;
like a mule-track in the Andes, not so much onward as upward; Yoomy
above Babbalanja, my lord Media above him, and Braid-Beard, our guide,
in the air, above all.

Strown over with cinders, the vitreous marl seemed tumbled together,
as if belched from a volcano's throat.

Presently, we came to a tall, slender structure, hidden among the
scenic projections of the cliffs, like a monument in the dark, vaulted
ways of an abbey. Surrounding it, were five extinct craters. The air
was sultry and still, as if full of spent thunderbolts.

Like a Hindoo pagoda, this bamboo edifice rose story above story; its
many angles and points decorated with pearl-shells suspended by cords.
But the uppermost story, some ten toises in the air, was closely
thatched from apex to floor; which summit was gained by a series of
ascents.

What eremite dwelleth here, like St. Stylites at the top of his
column?--a question which Mohi seemed all eagerness to have answered.

Dropping upon his knees, he gave a peculiar low call: no response.
Another: all was silent. Marching up to the pagoda, and again dropping
upon his knees, he shook the bamboos till the edifice rocked, and its
pearl-shells jingled, as if a troop of Andalusian mules, with bells
round their necks, were galloping along the defile.

At length the thatch aloft was thrown open, and a head was thrust
forth. It was that of an old, old man; with steel-gray eyes, hair and
beard, and a horrible necklace of jaw-bones.

Now, issuing from the pagoda, Mohi turned about to gain a view of the
ghost he had raised; and no sooner did he behold it, than with King
Media and the rest, he made a marked salutation.

Presently, the eremite pointed to where Yoomy was standing; and waved
his hand upward; when Mohi informed the minstrel, that it was St.
Stylites' pleasure, that he should pay him a visit.

Wondering what was to come, Yoomy proceeded to mount; and at last
arriving toward the top of the pagoda, was met by an opening, from
which an encouraging arm assisted him to gain the ultimate landing.

Here, all was murky enough; for the aperture from which the head of
the apparition had been thrust, was now closed; and what little
twilight there was, came up through the opening in the floor.

In this dismal seclusion, silently the hermit confronted the minstrel;
his gray hair, eyes, and beard all gleaming, as if streaked with
phosphorus; while his ghastly gorget grinned hideously, with all its
jaws.

Mutely Yoomy waited to be addressed; but hearing no sound, and
becoming alive to the strangeness of his situation, he meditated
whether it would not be well to subside out of sight, even as he had
come--through the floor. An intention which the eremite must have
anticipated; for of a sudden, something was slid over the opening; and
the apparition seating itself thereupon, the twain were in darkness
complete.

Shut up thus, with an inscrutable stranger posted at the only aperture
of escape, poor Yoomy fell into something like a panic; hardly knowing
what step to take next. As for endeavoring to force his way out, it
was alarming to think of; for aught he knew, the eremite, availing
himself of the gloom, might be bristling all over with javelin points.

At last, the silence was broken.

"What see you, mortal?"

"Chiefly darkness," said Yoomy, wondering at the audacity of the
question.

"I dwell in it. But what else see you, mortal?"

"The dim gleaming of thy gorget."

"But that is not me. What else dost thou see?"

"Nothing."

"Then thou hast found me out, and seen all! Descend."

And with that, the passage-way opened, and groping through the
twilight, Yoomy obeyed the mandate, and retreated; full of vexation at
his enigmatical reception.

On his alighting, Mohi inquired whether the hermit was not a wonderful
personage.

But thinking some sage waggery lurked in the question; and at present
too indignant to enter into details, the minstrel made some impatient
reply; and winding through a defile, the party resumed its journey.

Straggling behind, to survey the strange plants and flowers in his
path, Yoomy became so absorbed, as almost to forget the scene in the
pagoda; yet every moment expected to be nearing the stately abode of
the Pontiff.

But suddenly, the scene around grew familiar; the path seemed that
which had been followed just after leaving the canoes; and at length,
the place of debarkation was in sight.

Surprised that the object of our visit should have been thus
abandoned, the minstrel ran forward, and sought an explanation.

Whereupon, Mohi lifted his hands in amazement; exclaiming at the
blindness of the eyes, which had beheld the supreme Pontiff of
Maramma, without knowing it.

The old hermit was no other than the dread Hivohitee; the pagoda, the
inmost oracle of the isle.



CHAPTER XIII
Babbalanja Endeavors To Explain The Mystery


This Great Mogul of a personage, then; this woundy Aliasuerus; this
man of men; this same Hivohitee, whose name rumbled among the
mountains like a peal of thunder, had been seen face to face, and
taken for naught, but a bearded old hermit, or at best, some equivocal
conjuror.

So great was his wonderment at the time, that Yoomy could not avoid
expressing it in words.

Whereupon thus discoursed Babbalanja:

"Gentle Yoomy, be not astounded, that Hivohitee is so far behind your
previous conceptions. The shadows of things are greater than
themselves; and the more exaggerated the shadow, the more unlike to
the substance."

"But knowing now, what manner of person Hivohitee is," said Yoomy,
"much do I long to behold him again."

But Mohi assured him it was out of the question; that the Pontiff
always acted toward strangers as toward him (Yoomy); and that but one
dim blink at the eremite was all that mortal could obtain.

Debarred thus from a second and more satisfactory interview with one,
concerning whom his curiosity had been violently aroused, the minstrel
again turned to Mohi for enlightenment; especially touching that
magnate's Egyptian reception of him in his aerial den.

Whereto, the chronicler made answer, that the Pontiff affected
darkness because he liked it: that he was a ruler of few words, but
many deeds; and that, had Yoomy been permitted to tarry longer with
him in the pagoda, he would have been privy to many strange
attestations of the divinity imputed to him. Voices would have been
heard in the air, gossiping with Hivohitee; noises inexplicable
proceeding from him; in brief, light would have flashed out of his
darkness.

"But who has seen these things, Mohi?" said Babbalanja, "have you?"

"Nay."

"Who then?--Media?--Any one you know?"

"Nay: but the whole Archipelago has."

"Thus," exclaimed Babbalanja, "does Mardi, blind though it be in many
things, collectively behold the marvels, which one pair of eyes sees
not."



CHAPTER XIV
Taji Receives Tidings And Omens


Slowly sailing on, we were overtaken by a shallop; whose inmates
grappling to the side of Media's, said they came from Borabolla.

Dismal tidings!--My faithful follower's death.

Absent over night, that morning early, he had been discovered lifeless
in the woods, three arrows in his heart. And the three pale strangers
were nowhere to be found. But a fleet canoe was missing from the beach.

Slain for me! my soul sobbed out. Nor yet appeased Aleema's manes; nor
yet seemed sated the avengers' malice; who, doubtless, were on my track.

But I turned; and instantly the three canoes had been reversed; and
full soon, Jarl's dead hand in mine, had not Media interposed.

"To death, your presence will not bring life back."

"And we must on," said Babbalanja. "We seek the living, not the dead."

Thus they overruled me; and Borabolla's messengers departed.

Soon evening came, and in its shades, three shadows,--Hautia's heralds.

Their shallop glided near.

A leaf tri-foiled was first presented; then another, arrow-shaped.

Said Yoomy, "Still I swiftly follow, behind revenge."

Then were showered faded, pallid daffodils.

Said Yoomy, "Thy hopes are blighted all."

"Not dead, but living with the life of life. Sirens! I heed ye not."

They would have showered more flowers; but crowding sail we left them.

Much converse followed. Then, beneath the canopy all sought repose.
And ere long slouched sleep drew nigh, tending dreams innumerable;
silent dotting all the downs a shepherd with his flock.



CHAPTER XV
Dreams


Dreams! dreams! golden dreams: endless, and golden, as the flowery
prairies, that stretch away from the Rio Sacramento, in whose waters
Danae's shower was woven;--prairies like rounded eternities: jonquil
leaves beaten out; and my dreams herd like buffaloes, browsing on to
the horizon, and browsing on round the world; and among them, I dash
with my lance, to spear one, ere they all flee.

Dreams! dreams! passing and repassing, like Oriental empires in
history; and scepters wave thick, as Bruce's pikes at Bannockburn; and
crowns are plenty as marigolds in June. And far in the background,
hazy and blue, their steeps let down from the sky, loom Andes on
Andes, rooted on Alps; and all round me, long rushing oceans, roll
Amazons and Oronocos; waves, mounted Parthians; and, to and fro, toss
the wide woodlands: all the world an elk, and the forests its antlers.

But far to the South, past my Sicily suns and my vineyards, stretches
the Antarctic barrier of ice: a China wall, built up from the sea, and
nodding its frosted towers in the dun, clouded sky. Do Tartary and
Siberia lie beyond? Deathful, desolate dominions those; bleak and wild
the ocean, beating at that barrier's base, hovering 'twixt freezing
and foaming; and freighted with navies of ice-bergs,--warring worlds
crossing orbits; their long icicles, projecting like spears to the
charge. Wide away stream the floes of drift ice, frozen cemeteries of
skeletons and bones. White bears howl as they drift from their cubs;
and the grinding islands crush the skulls of the peering seals.

But beneath me, at the Equator, the earth pulses and beats like a
warrior's heart; till I know not, whether it be not myself. And my
soul sinks down to the depths, and soars to the skies; and comet-like
reels on through such boundless expanses, that methinks all the worlds
are my kin, and I invoke them to stay in their course. Yet, like a
mighty three-decker, towing argosies by scores, I tremble, gasp, and
strain in my flight, and fain would cast off the cables that hamper.

And like a frigate, I am full with a thousand souls; and as on, on,
on, I scud before the wind, many mariners rush up from the orlop
below, like miners from caves; running shouting across my decks;
opposite braces are pulled; and this way and that, the great yards
swing round on their axes; and boisterous speaking-trumpets are heard;
and contending orders, to save the good ship from the shoals. Shoals,
like nebulous vapors, shoreing the white reef of the Milky Way,
against which the wrecked worlds are dashed; strewing all the strand,
with their Himmaleh keels and ribs.

Ay: many, many souls are in me. In my tropical calms, when my ship
lies tranced on Eternity's main, speaking one at a time, then all with
one voice: an orchestra of many French bugles and horns, rising, and
falling, and swaying, in golden calls and responses.

Sometimes, when these Atlantics and Pacifics thus undulate round me, I
lie stretched out in their midst: a land-locked Mediterranean, knowing
no ebb, nor flow. Then again, I am dashed in the spray of these sounds:
an eagle at the world's end, tossed skyward, on the horns of the tempest.

Yet, again, I descend, and list to the concert.

Like a grand, ground swell, Homer's old organ rolls its vast volumes
under the light frothy wave-crests of Anacreon and Hafiz; and high
over my ocean, sweet Shakespeare soars, like all the larks of the
spring. Throned on my seaside, like Canute, bearded Ossian smites his
hoar harp, wreathed with wild-flowers, in which warble my Wallers;
blind Milton sings bass to my Petrarchs and Priors, and laureate crown
me with bays.

In me, many worthies recline, and converse. I list to St. Paul who
argues the doubts of Montaigne; Julian the Apostate cross-questions
Augustine; and Thomas-a-Kempis unrolls his old black letters for all
to decipher. Zeno murmurs maxims beneath the hoarse shout of
Democritus; and though Democritus laugh loud and long, and the sneer
of Pyrrho be seen; yet, divine Plato, and Proclus, and, Verulam are of
my counsel; and Zoroaster whispered me before I was born. I walk a
world that is mine; and enter many nations, as Mingo Park rested in
African cots; I am served like Bajazet: Bacchus my butler, Virgil my
minstrel, Philip Sidney my page. My memory is a life beyond birth; my
memory, my library of the Vatican, its alcoves all endless
perspectives, eve-tinted by cross-lights from Middle-Age oriels.

And as the great Mississippi musters his watery nations: Ohio, with
all his leagued streams; Missouri, bringing down in torrents the clans
from the highlands; Arkansas, his Tartar rivers from the plain;--so,
with all the past and present pouring in me, I roll down my billow
from afar.

Yet not I, but another: God is my Lord; and though many satellites
revolve around me, I and all mine revolve round the great central
Truth, sun-like, fixed and luminous forever in the foundationless
firmament.

Fire flames on my tongue; and though of old the Bactrian prophets were
stoned, yet the stoners in oblivion sleep. But whoso stones me, shall
be as Erostratus, who put torch to the temple; though Genghis Khan
with Cambyses combine to obliterate him, his name shall be extant in
the mouth of the last man that lives. And if so be, down unto death,
whence I came, will I go, like Xenophon retreating on Greece, all
Persia brandishing her spears in his rear.

My cheek blanches white while I write; I start at the scratch of my
pen; my own mad brood of eagles devours me; fain would I unsay this
audacity; but an iron-mailed hand clenches mine in a vice, and prints
down every letter in my spite. Fain would I hurl off this Dionysius
that rides me; my thoughts crush me down till I groan; in far fields I
hear the song of the reaper, while I slave and faint in this cell. The
fever runs through me like lava; my hot brain burns like a coal; and
like many a monarch, I am less to be envied, than the veriest hind in
the land.



CHAPTER XVI
Media And Babbalanja Discourse


Our visiting the Pontiff at a time previously unforeseen, somewhat
altered our plans. All search in Maramma for the lost one proving
fruitless, and nothing of note remaining to be seen, we returned not
to Uma; but proceeded with the tour of the lagoon.

When day came, reclining beneath the canopy, Babbalanja would fain
have seriously discussed those things we had lately been seeing,
which, for all the occasional levity he had recently evinced, seemed
very near his heart.

But my lord Media forbade; saying that they necessarily included a
topic which all gay, sensible Mardians, who desired to live and be
merry, invariably banished from social discourse.

"Meditate as much as you will," Babbalanja, "but say little aloud,
unless in a merry and mythical way. Lay down the great maxims of
things, but let inferences take care of themselves. Never be special;
never, a partisan. In safety, afar off, you may batter down a
fortress; but at your peril you essay to carry a single turret by
escalade. And if doubts distract you, in vain will you seek sympathy
from your fellow men. For upon this one theme, not a few of you free-
minded mortals, even the otherwise honest and intelligent, are the
least frank and friendly. Discourse with them, and it is mostly
formulas, or prevarications, or hollow assumption of philosophical
indifference, or urbane hypocrisies, or a cool, civil deference to the
dominant belief; or still worse, but less common, a brutality of
indiscriminate skepticism. Furthermore, Babbalanja, on this head,
final, last thoughts you mortals have none; nor can have; and, at
bottom, your own fleeting fancies are too often secrets to yourselves;
and sooner may you get another's secret, than your own. Thus with the
wisest of you all; you are ever unfixed. Do you show a tropical calm
without? then, be sure a thousand contrary currents whirl and eddy
within. The free, airy robe of your philosophy is but a dream, which
seems true while it lasts; but waking again into the orthodox world,
straightway you resume the old habit. And though in your dreams you
may hie to the uttermost Orient, yet all the while you abide where you
are. Babbalanja, you mortals dwell in Mardi, and it is impossible to
get elsewhere."

Said Babbalanja, "My lord, you school me. But though I dissent from
some of your positions, I am willing to confess, that this is not the
first time a philosopher has been instructed by a man."

"A demi-god, sir; and therefore I the more readily discharge my mind
of all seriousness, touching the subject, with which you mortals so
vex and torment yourselves."

Silence ensued. And seated apart, on both sides of the barge, solemnly
swaying, in fixed meditation, to the roll of the waves, Babbalanja,
Mohi, and Yoomy, drooped lower and lower, like funeral plumes; and our
gloomy canoe seemed a hearse.



CHAPTER XVII
They Regale Themselves With Their Pipes


"Ho! mortals! mortals!" cried Media. "Go we to bury our dead? Awake,
sons of men! Cheer up, heirs of immortality! Ho, Vee-Vee! bring forth
our pipes: we'll smoke off this cloud."

Nothing so beguiling as the fumes of tobacco, whether inhaled through
hookah, narghil, chibouque, Dutch porcelain, pure Principe, or
Regalia. And a great oversight had it been in King Media, to have
omitted pipes among the appliances of this voyage that we went.
Tobacco in rouleaus we had none; cigar nor cigarret; which little the
company esteemed. Pipes were preferred; and pipes we often smoked;
testify, oh! Vee-Vee, to that. But not of the vile clay, of which
mankind and Etruscan vases were made, were these jolly fine pipes of
ours. But all in good time.

Now, the leaf called tobacco is of divers species and sorts. Not to
dwell upon vile Shag, Pig-tail, Plug, Nail-rod, Negro-head, Cavendish,
and misnamed Lady's-twist, there are the following varieties:--Gold-
leaf, Oronoco, Cimaroza, Smyrna, Bird's-eye, James-river, Sweet-
scented, Honey-dew, Kentucky, Cnaster, Scarfalati, and famed Shiraz,
or Persian. Of all of which, perhaps the last is the best.

But smoked by itself, to a fastidious wight, even Shiraz is not gentle
enough. It needs mitigation. And the cunning craft of so mitigating
even the mildest tobacco was well understood in the dominions of
Media. There, in plantations ever covered with a brooding, blue haze,
they raised its fine leaf in the utmost luxuriance; almost as broad as
the broad fans of the broad-bladed banana. The stalks of the leaf
withdrawn, the remainder they cut up, and mixed with soft willow-bark,
and the aromatic leaves of the Betel.

"Ho! Vee-Vee, bring forth the pipes," cried Media. And forth they
came, followed by a quaint, carved cocoa-nut, agate-lidded, containing
ammunition sufficient for many stout charges and primings.

Soon we were all smoking so hard, that the canopied howdah, under
which we reclined, sent up purple wreaths like a Michigan wigwam.
There we sat in a ring, all smoking in council--every pipe a halcyon
pipe of peace.

And among those calumets, my lord Media's showed like the turbaned
Grand Turk among his Bashaws. It was an extraordinary pipe, be sure;
of right royal dimensions. Its mouth-piece an eagle's beak; its long
stem, a bright, red-barked cherry-tree branch, partly covered with a
close network of purple dyed porcupine quills; and toward the upper
end, streaming with pennons, like a Versailles flag-staff of a
coronation day. These pennons were managed by halyards; and after
lighting his prince's pipe, it was little Vee-Vee's part to run them
up toward the mast-head, or mouthpiece, in token that his lord was
fairly under weigh.

But Babbalanja's was of a different sort; an immense, black,
serpentine stem of ebony, coiling this way and that, in endless
convolutions, like an anaconda round a traveler in Brazil. Smoking
this hydra, Babbalanja looked as if playing upon the trombone.

Next, gentle Yoomy's. Its stem, a slender golden reed, like musical
Pan's; its bowl very merry with tassels.

Lastly, old Mohi the chronicler's. Its Death's-head bowl forming its
latter end, continually reminding him of his own. Its shank was an
ostrich's leg, some feathers still waving nigh the mouth-piece.

"Here, Vee-Vee! fill me up again," cried Media, through the blue
vapors sweeping round his great gonfalon, like plumed Marshal Ney,
waving his baton in the smoke of Waterloo; or thrice gallant Anglesea,
crossing his wooden eg mid the reek and rack of the Apsley House
banquet.

Vee-Vee obeyed; and quickly, like a howitzer, the pipe-owl was
reloaded to the muzzle, and King Media smoked on.

"Ah! this is pleasant indeed," he cried. "Look, it's a calm on the
waters, and a calm in our hearts, as we inhale these sedative odors."

"So calm," said Babbalanja; "the very gods must be smoking now."

"And thus," said Media, "we demi-gods hereafter shall cross-legged
sit, and smoke out our eternities. Ah, what a glorious puff! Mortals,
methinks these pipe-bowls of ours must be petrifactions of roses, so
scented they seem. But, old Mohi, you have smoked this many a long
year; doubtless, you know something about their material--the Froth-
of-the-Sea they call it, I think--ere my handicraft subjects obtain
it, to work into bowls. Tell us the tale."

"Delighted to do so, my lord," replied Mohi, slowly disentangling his
mouth-piece from the braids of his beard. "I have devoted much time
and attention to the study of pipe-bowls, and groped among many
learned authorities, to reconcile the clashing opinions concerning the
origin of the so-called Farnoo, or Froth-of-the-Sea."

"Well, then, my old centenarian, give us the result of your
investigations. But smoke away: a word and a puff go on."

"May it please you, then, my right worshipful lord, this Farnoo is an
unctuous, argillaceous substance; in its natural state, soft,
malleable, and easily worked as the cornelian-red clay from the famous
pipe-quarries of the wild tribes to the North. But though mostly found
buried in terra-firma, especially in the isles toward the East, this
Farnoo, my lord, is sometimes thrown up by the ocean; in seasons of
high sea, being plentifully found on the reefs. But, my lord, like
amber, the precise nature and origin of this Farnoo are points widely
mooted."

"Stop there!" cried Media; "our mouth-pieces are of amber; so, not a
word more of the Froth-of-the-Sea, until something be said to clear up
the mystery of amber. What is amber, old man?"

"A still more obscure thing to trace than the other, my worshipful
lord. Ancient Plinnee maintained, that originally it must be a juice,
exuding from balsam firs and pines; Borhavo, that, like camphor, it is
the crystalized oil of aromatic ferns; Berzilli, that it is the
concreted scum of the lake Cephioris; and Vondendo, against scores of
antagonists, stoutly held it a sort of bituminous gold, trickling from
antediluvian smugglers' caves, nigh the sea."

"Why, old Braid-Beard," cried Media, placing his pipe in rest, "you
are almost as erudite as our philosopher here."

"Much more so, my lord," said Babbalanja; "for Mohi has somehow picked
up all my worthless forgettings, which are more than my valuable
rememberings."

"What say you, wise one?" cried Mohi, shaking his braids, like an
enraged elephant with many trunks.

Said Yoomy: "My lord, I have heard that amber is nothing less than the
congealed tears of broken-hearted mermaids."

"Absurd, minstrel," cried Mohi. "Hark ye; I know what it is. All other
authorities to the contrary, amber is nothing more than gold-fishes'
brains, made waxy, then firm, by the action of the sea."

"Nonsense!" cried Yoomy.

"My lord," said Braid-Beard, waving his pipe, this thing is just as I
say. Imbedded in amber, do we not find little fishes' fins, porpoise-
teeth, sea-gulls' beaks and claws; nay, butterflies' wings, and
sometimes a topaz? And how could that be, unless the substance was
first soft? Amber is gold-fishes' brains, I say."

"For one," said Babbalanja, "I'll not believe that, till you prove to
me, Braid-Beard, that ideas themselves are found imbedded therein."

"Another of your crazy conceits, philosopher," replied Mohi,
disdainfully; "yet, sometimes plenty of strange black-letter
characters have been discovered in amber." And throwing back his hoary
old head, he jetted forth his vapors like a whale.

"Indeed?" cried Babbalanja. "Then, my lord Media, it may be earnestly
inquired, whether the gentle laws of the tribes before the flood, were
not sought to be embalmed and perpetuated between transparent and
sweet scented tablets of amber."

"That, now, is not so unlikely," said Mohi; "for old King Rondo the
Round once set about getting him a coffin-lid of amber; much desiring
a famous mass of it owned by the ancestors of Donjalolo of Juam. But
no navies could buy it. So Rondo had himself urned in a crystal."

"And that immortalized Rondo, no doubt," said Babbalanja. "Ha! ha!
pity he fared not like the fat porpoise frozen and tombed in an
iceberg; its icy shroud drifting south, soon melted away, and down,
out of sight, sunk the dead."

"Well, so much for amber," cried Media. "Now, Mohi, go on about
Farnoo."

"Know, then, my lord, that Farnoo is more like ambergris than amber."

"Is it? then, pray, tell us something on that head. You know all about
ambergris, too, I suppose."

"Every thing about all things, my lord. Ambergris is found both on
land and at sea. But especially, are lumps of it picked up on the
spicy coasts of Jovanna; indeed, all over the atolls and reefs in the
eastern quarter of Mardi."

"But what is this ambergris? Braid-Beard," said Babbalanja.

"Aquovi, the chymist, pronounced it the fragments of mushrooms growing
at the bottom of the sea; Voluto held, that like naptha, it springs
from fountains down there. But it is neither."

"I have heard," said Yoomy, "that it is the honey-comb of bees, fallen
from flowery cliffs into the brine."

"Nothing of the kind," said Mohi. "Do I not know all about it,
minstrel? Ambergris is the petrified gall-stones of crocodiles."

"What!" cried Babbalanja, "comes sweet scented ambergris from those
musky and chain-plated river cavalry? No wonder, then, their flesh is
so fragrant; their upper jaws as the visors of vinaigrettes."

"Nay, you are all wrong," cried King Media.

Then, laughing to himself:--"It's pleasant to sit by, a demi-god, and
hear the surmisings of mortals, upon things they know nothing about;
theology, or amber, or ambergris, it's all the same. But then, did I
always out with every thing I know, there would be no conversing with
these comical creatures.

"Listen, old Mohi; ambergris is a morbid secretion of the Spermaceti
whale; for like you mortals, the whale is at times a sort of
hypochondriac and dyspeptic. You must know, subjects, that in
antediluvian times, the Spermaceti whale was much hunted by sportsmen,
that being accounted better pastime, than pursuing the Behemoths on
shore. Besides, it was a lucrative diversion. Now, sometimes upon
striking the monster, it would start off in a dastardly fright,
leaving certain fragments in its wake. These fragments the hunters
picked up, giving over the chase for a while. For in those days, as
now, a quarter-quintal of ambergris was more valuable than a whole ton
of spermaceti."

"Nor, my lord," said Babbalanja, "would it have been wise to kill the
fish that dropped such treasures: no more than to murder the noddy
that laid the golden eggs."

"Beshrew me! a noddy it must have been," gurgled Mohi through his
pipe-stem, "to lay golden eggs for others to hatch."

"Come, no more of that now," cried Media. "Mohi, how long think you,
may one of these pipe-bowls last?"

"My lord, like one's cranium, it will endure till broken. I have
smoked this one of mine more than half a century."

"But unlike our craniums, stocked full of concretions," said
Babbalanja, our pipe-bowls never need clearing out."

"True," said Mohi, "they absorb the oil of the smoke, instead of
allowing it offensively to incrust."

"Ay, the older the better," said Media, "and the more delicious the
flavor imparted to the fumes inhaled."

"Farnoos forever! my lord," cried Yoomy. "By much smoking, the bowl
waxes russet and mellow, like the berry-brown cheek of a sunburnt
brunette."

"And as like smoked hams," cried Braid-Beard, "we veteran old smokers
grow browner and browner; hugely do we admire to see our jolly noses
and pipe-bowls mellowing together."

"Well said, old man," cried Babbalanja; "for, like a good wife, a pipe
is a friend and companion for life. And whoso weds with a pipe, is no
longer a bachelor. After many vexations, he may go home to that
faithful counselor, and ever find it full of kind consolations and
suggestions. But not thus with cigars or cigarrets: the acquaintances
of a moment, chatted with in by-places, whenever they come handy;
their existence so fugitive, uncertain, unsatisfactory. Once ignited,
nothing like longevity pertains to them. They never grow old. Why, my
lord, the stump of a cigarret is an abomination; and two of them
crossed are more of a _memento-mori_, than a brace of thigh-bones at
right angles."

"So they are, so they are," cried King Media. "Then, mortals, puff we
away at our pipes. Puff, puff, I say. Ah! how we puff! But thus we
demi-gods ever puff at our ease."

"Puff; puff, how we puff," cried Babbalanja. "but life itself is a
puff and a wheeze. Our lungs are two pipes which we constantly smoke."

"Puff, puff! how we puff," cried old Mohi. "All thought is a puff."

"Ay," said Babbalanja, "not more smoke in that skull-bowl of yours
than in the skull on your shoulders: both ends alike."

"Puff! puff! how we puff," cried Yoomy. "But in every puff, there
hangs a wreath. In every puff, off flies a care."

"Ay, there they go," cried Mohi, "there goes another--and, there, and
there;--this is the way to get rid of them my worshipful lord; puff
them aside."

"Yoomy," said Media, "give us that pipe song of thine. Sing it, my
sweet and pleasant poet. We'll keep time with the flageolets of ours."

"So with pipes and puffs for a chorus, thus Yoomy sang:--

    Care is all stuff:--
      Puff! Puff:
    To puff is enough:--
      Puff! Puff!
    More musky than snuff,
    And warm is a puff:--
      Puff! Puff!
    Here we sit mid our puffs,
    Like old lords in their ruffs,
    Snug as bears in their muffs:--
      Puff! Puff!
    Then puff, puff, puff;
    For care is all stuff,
    Puffed off in a puff:--
      Puff! Puff!

"Ay, puff away," cried Babbalanja, "puff; puff, so we are born, and so
die. Puff, puff, my volcanos: the great sun itself will yet go out in
a snuff, and all Mardi smoke out its last wick."

"Puffs enough," said King Media, "Vee-Vee! haul down my flag. There,
lie down before me, oh Gonfalon! and, subjects, hear,--when I die, lay
this spear on my right, and this pipe on my left, its colors at half
mast; so shall I be ambidexter, and sleep between eloquent symbols."



CHAPTER XVIII
They Visit An Extraordinary Old Antiquary


"About prows there, ye paddlers," cried Media. "In this fog we've been
raising, we have sailed by Padulla, our destination."

Now Padulla, was but a little island, tributary to a neighboring king;
its population embracing some hundreds of thousands of leaves, and
flowers, and butterflies, yet only two solitary mortals; one, famous
as a venerable antiquarian: a collector of objects of Mardian vertu; a
cognoscenti, and dilettante in things old and marvelous; and for that
reason, very choice of himself.

He went by the exclamatory cognomen of "Oh-Oh;" a name bestowed upon
him, by reason of the delighted interjections, with which he welcomed
all accessions to his museum.

Now, it was to obtain a glimpse of this very museum, that Media was
anxious to touch at Padulla.

Landing, and passing through a grove, we were accosted by Oh-Oh
himself; who, having heard the shouts of our paddlers, had sallied
forth, staff in hand.

The old man was a sight to see; especially his nose; a remarkable one.
And all Mardi over, a remarkable nose is a prominent feature: an ever
obvious passport to distinction. For, after all, this gaining a name,
is but the individualizing of a man; as well achieved by an
extraordinary nose, as by an extraordinary epic. Far better, indeed;
for you may pass poets without knowing them. Even a hero, is no hero
without his sword; nor Beelzebub himself a lion, minus that lasso-tail
of his, wherewith he catches his prey. Whereas, he who is famous
through his nose, it is impossible to overlook. He is a celebrity
without toiling for a name. Snugly ensconced behind his proboscis, he
revels in its shadow, receiving tributes of attention wherever he goes.

Not to enter at large upon the topography of Oh-Oh's nasal organ, all
must be content with this; that it was of a singular magnitude, and
boldly aspiring at the end; an exclamation point in the face of the
wearer, forever wondering at the visible universe. The eyes of Oh-Oh
were like the creature's that the Jew abhors: placed slanting in his
head, and converging their rays toward the mouth; which was no Mouth,
but a gash.

I mean not to be harsh, or unpleasant upon thee, Oh-Oh; but I must
paint thee as thou wert.

The rest of his person was crooked, and dwarfed, and surmounted by a
hump, that sat on his back like a burden. And a weary load is a hump,
Heaven knows, only to be cast off in the grave.

Thus old, and antiquated, and gable-ended, was the tabernacle of Oh-
Oh's soul. But his person was housed in as curious a structure. Built
of old boughs of trees blown down in the groves, and covered over with
unruly thatching, it seemed, without, some ostrich nest. But within,
so intricate, and grotesque, its brown alleys and cells, that the
interior of no walnut was more labyrinthine.

And here, strewn about, all dusty and disordered, were the precious
antiques, and curios, and obsoletes, which to Oh-Oh were dear as the
apple of his eye, or the memory of departed days.

The old man was exceedingly importunate, in directing attention to his
relics; concerning each of which, he had an endless story to tell.
Time would fail; nay, patience, to repeat his legends. So, in order,
here follow the most prominent of his rarities:--

    The identical Canoe, in which, ages back, the god Unja came from
      the bottom of the sea.
          (Very ponderous; of lignum-vitae wood).

    A stone Flower-pot, containing in the original soil, Unja's last
      footprints, when he embarked from Mardi for parts unknown.
          (One foot-print unaccountably reversed).

    The Jaw-bones of Tooroorooloo, a great orator in the days of Unja.
          (Somewhat twisted).

    A quaint little Fish-hook.
          (Made from the finger-bones of Kravi the Cunning).

    The mystic Gourd; carved all over with cabalistic triangles, and
      hypogrifs; by study of which a reputed prophet, was said to have
      obtained his inspiration.
          (Slightly redolent of vineyards).

    The complete Skeleton of an immense Tiger-shark; the bones of a
      Pearl-shell-diver's leg inside.
          (Picked off the reef at low tide).

    An inscrutable, shapeless block of a mottled-hued, smoke-dried
      wood.
          (Three unaccountable holes drilled through the middle).

    A sort of ecclesiastical Fasces, being the bony blades of nine sword-
      fish, basket-hilted with shark's jaws, braided round and tasseled
      with cords of human hair.
          (Now obsolete).

    The mystic Fan with which Unja fanned himself when in trouble.
          (Woven from the leaves of the Water-Lily).

    A Tripod of a Stork's Leg, supporting a nautilus shell, containing
      the fragments of a bird's egg; into which, was said to have
      been magically decanted the soul of a deceased chief.
          (Unfortunately crushed in by atmospheric pressure).

    Two clasped Right Hands, embalmed; being those of twin warriors,
      who thus died on a battle-field.
          (Impossible to sunder).

    A curious Pouch, or Purse, formed from the skin of an Albatross'
      foot, and decorated with three sharp claws, naturally pertaining
      to it.
          (Originally the property of a notorious old Tooth-per-Tooth).

    A long tangled lock of Mermaid's Hair, much resembling the curling
      silky fibres of the finer sea-weed.
          (Preserved between fins of the dolphin).

    A Mermaid's Comb for the toilet. The stiff serrated crest of a
      Cook Storm-petrel
          (Oh-Oh was particularly curious concerning Mermaids).

    Files, Rasps, and Pincers, all bone, the implements of an eminent
      Chiropedist, who flourished his tools before the flood.
          (Owing to the excessive unevenness of the surface in those
          times, the diluvians were peculiarly liable to pedal
          afflictions).

    The back Tooth, that Zozo the Enthusiast, in token of grief,
      recklessly knocked out at the decease of a friend.
          (Worn to a stump and quite useless).

These wonders inspected, Oh-Oh conducted us to an arbor, to show us
the famous telescope, by help of which, he said he had discovered an
ant-hill in the moon. It rested in the crotch of a Bread-fruit tree;
and was a prodigiously long and hollow trunk of a Palm; a scale from a
sea-kraken its lens.

Then returning to his cabinet, he pointed to a bamboo microscope,
which had wonderfully assisted him in his entomological pursuits.

"By this instrument, my masters," said he, "I have satisfied myself,
that in the eye of a dragon-fly there are precisely twelve thousand
five hundred and forty-one triangular lenses; and in the leg of a
flea, scores on scores of distinct muscles. Now, my masters, how far
think you a flea may leap at one spring? Why, two hundred times its
own length; I have often measured their leaps, with a small measure I
use for scientific purposes."

"Truly, Oh-Oh," said Babbalanja, "your discoveries must ere long
result in something grand; since you furnish such invaluable data for
theorists. Pray, attend, my lord Media. If, at one spring, a flea
leaps two hundred times its own length, then, with the like proportion
of muscles in his calves, a bandit might pounce upon the unwary
traveler from a quarter of a mile off. Is it not so, Oh-Oh?"

"Indeed, but it is, my masters. And one of the greatest consolations I
draw from these studies, is the ever-strengthening conviction of the
beneficent wisdom that framed our Mardi. For did men possess thighs in
proportion to fleas, verily, the wicked would grievously leap about,
and curvet in the isles."

"But Oh-Oh," said Babbalanja, "what other discoveries have you made?
Hast yet put a usurer under your lens, to find his conscience? or a
libertine, to find his heart? Hast yet brought your microscope to bear
upon a downy peach, or a rosy cheek?"

"I have," said Oh-Oh, mournfully; "and from the moment I so did, I
have had no heart to eat a peach, or salute a cheek."

"Then dash your lens!" cried Media.

"Well said, my lord. For all the eyes we get beyond our own, but
minister to infelicity. The microscope disgusts us with our Mardi; and
the telescope sets us longing for some other world."



CHAPTER XIX
They Go Down Into The Catacombs


With a dull flambeau, we now descended some narrow stone steps, to
view Oh-Oh's collection of ancient and curious manuscripts, preserved
in a vault.

"This way, this way, my masters," cried Oh-Oh, aloft, swinging his dim
torch. "Keep your hands before you; it's a dark road to travel."

"So it seems," said Babbalanja, wide-groping, as he descended lower
and lower. "My lord this is like going down to posterity."

Upon gaining the vault, forth flew a score or two of bats,
extinguishing the flambeau, and leaving us in darkness, like Belzoni
deserted by his Arabs in the heart of a pyramid. The torch at last
relumed, we entered a tomb-like excavation, at every step raising
clouds of dust; and at last stood before long rows of musty, mummyish
parcels, so dingy-red, and so rolled upon sticks, that they looked
like stiff sausages of Bologna; but smelt like some fine old Stilton
or Cheshire.

Most ancient of all, was a hieroglyphical Elegy on the Dumps,
consisting of one thousand and one lines; the characters,--herons,
weeping-willows, and ravens, supposed to have been traced by a quill
from the sea-noddy.

Then there were plenty of rare old ballads:--
    "King Kroko, and the Fisher Girl."
    "The Fight at the Ford of Spears."
    "The Song of the Skulls."

And brave old chronicles, that made Mohi's mouth water:--
    "The Rise and Setting of the Dynasty of Foofoo."
    "The Heroic History of the Noble Prince Dragoni; showing
        how he killed ten Pinioned Prisoners with his Own Hand."
    "The whole Pedigree of the King of Kandidee, with that of his
        famous horse, Znorto."

And Tarantula books:--
    "Sour Milk for the Young, by a Dairyman."
    "The Devil adrift, by a Corsair."
    "Grunts and Groans, by a Mad Boar."
    "Stings, by a Scorpion."

And poetical productions:--
    "Suffusions of a Lily in a Shower."
    "Sonnet on the last Breath of an Ephemera."
    "The Gad-fly, and Other Poems."

And metaphysical treatises:--
    "Necessitarian not Predestinarian."
    "Philosophical Necessity and Predestination One Thing and The
        Same."
    "Whatever is not, is."
    "Whatever is, is not."

And scarce old memoirs:--
    "The One Hundred Books of the Biography of the Great and
        Good King Grandissimo."
    "The Life of old Philo, the Philanthropist, in one Chapter."

And popular literature:--
    "A most Sweet, Pleasant, and Unctuous Account of the Manner
        in which Five-and-Forty Robbers were torn asunder by
        Swiftly-Going Canoes."

And books by chiefs and nobles:--
    "The Art of Making a Noise in Mardi."
    "On the Proper Manner of Saluting a Bosom Friend."
    "Letters from a Father to a Son, inculcating the Virtue of Vice."
    "Pastorals by a Younger Son."
    "A Catalogue of Chieftains who have been Authors, by a Chieftain,
        who disdains to be deemed an Author."
    "A Canto on a Cough caught by my Consort."
    "The Philosophy of Honesty, by a late Lord, who died in disgrace."

And theological works:--
    "Pepper for the Perverse."
    "Pudding for the Pious."
    "Pleas for Pardon."
    "Pickles for the Persecuted."

And long and tedious romances with short and easy titles:--
    "The Buck."
    "The Belle."
    "The King and the Cook, or the Cook and the King."

And books of voyages:--
    "A Sojourn among the Anthropophagi, by One whose Hand was
        eaten off at Tiffin among the Savages."
    "Franko: its King, Court, and Tadpoles."
    "Three Hours in Vivenza, containing a Full and Impartial Account
        of that Whole Country: by a Subject of King Bello."

And works of nautical poets:--
    "Sky-Sail-Pole Lyrics."

And divers brief books, with panic-striking titles:--
    "Are you safe?"
    "A Voice from Below."
    "Hope for none."
    "Fire for all."

And pamphlets by retired warriors:--
    "On the Best Gravy for Wild Boar's Meat."
    "Three Receipts for Bottling New Arrack."
    "To Brown Bread Fruit without Burning."
    "Advice to the Dyspeptic."
    "On Starch for Tappa."

All these MSS. were highly prized by Oh-Oh. He averred, that they
spoke of the mighty past, which he reverenced more than the paltry
present, the dross and sediment of what had been.

Peering into a dark crypt, Babbalanja drew forth a few crumbling,
illegible, black-letter sheets of his favorite old essayist, brave
Bardianna. They seemed to have formed parts of a work, whose title
only remained--"Thoughts, by a Thinker."

Silently Babbalanja pressed them to his heart. Then at arm's length
held them, and said, "And is all this wisdom lost? Can not the divine
cunning in thee, Bardianna, transmute to brightness these sullied
pages? Here, perhaps, thou didst dive into the deeps of things,
treating of the normal forms of matter and of mind; how the particles
of solids were first molded in the interstices of fluids; how the
thoughts of men are each a soul, as the lung-cells are each a lung;
how that death is but a mode of life; while mid-most is the Pharzi.--
But all is faded. Yea, here the Thinker's thoughts lie cheek by jowl
with phrasemen's words. Oh Bardianna! these pages were offspring of
thee, thought of thy thought, soul of thy soul. Instinct with mind,
they once spoke out like living voices; now, they're dust; and would
not prick a fool to action. Whence then is this? If the fogs of some
few years can make soul linked to matter naught; how can the unhoused
spirit hope to live when mildewed with the damps of death."

Piously he folded the shreds of manuscript together, kissed them, and
laid them down.

Then approaching Oh-Oh, he besought him for one leaf, one shred of
those most precious pages, in memory of Bardianna, and for the love of
him.

But learning who he was, one of that old Ponderer's commentators, Oh-
Oh tottered toward the manuscripts; with trembling fingers told them
over, one by one, and said-"Thank Oro! all are here.--Philosopher, ask
me for my limbs, my life, my heart, but ask me not for these. Steeped
in wax, these shall be my cerements."

All in vain; Oh-Oh was an antiquary.

Turning in despair, Babbalanja spied a heap of worm-eaten parchment
covers, and many clippings and parings. And whereas the rolls of
manuscripts did smell like unto old cheese; so these relics did
marvelously resemble the rinds of the same.

Turning over this pile, Babbalanja lighted upon something that
restored his good humor. Long he looked it over delighted; but
bethinking him, that he must have dragged to day some lost work of the
collection, and much desirous of possessing it, he made bold again to
ply Oh-Oh; offering a tempting price for his discovery.

Glancing at the title--"A Happy Life"-the old man cried--"Oh, rubbish!
rubbish! take it for nothing." And Babbalanja placed it in his
vestment.

The catacombs surveyed, and day-light gained, we inquired the way to
Ji-Ji's, also a collector, but of another sort; one miserly in the
matter of teeth, the money of Mardi.

At the mention of his name, Oh-Oh flew out into scornful philippics
upon the insanity of that old dotard, who hoarded up teeth, as if
teeth were of any use, but to purchase rarities. Nevertheless, he
pointed out our path; following which, we crossed a meadow.



CHAPTER XX
Babbalanja Quotes From An Antique Pagan; And Earnestly Presses It Upon
The Company, That What He Recites Is Not His, But Another's


Journeying on, we stopped by a gurgling spring, in a beautiful grove;
and here, we stretched out on the grass, and our attendants unpacked
their hampers, to provide us a lunch.

But as for that Babbalanja of ours, he must needs go and lunch by
himself, and, like a cannibal, feed upon an author; though in other
respects he was not so partial to bones.

Bringing forth the treasure he had buried in his bosom, he was soon
buried in it; and motionless on his back, looked as if laid out, to
keep an appointment with his undertaker.

"What, ho! Babbalanja!" cried Media from under a tree, "don't be a
duck, there, with your bill in the air; drop your metaphysics, man,
and fall to on the solids. Do you hear?"

"Come, philosopher," said Mohi, handling a banana, "you will weigh
more after you have eaten."

"Come, list, Babbalanja," cried Yoomy, "I am going to sing."

"Up! up! I say," shouted Media again. "But go, old man, and wake him:
rap on his head, and see whether he be in."

Mohi, obeying, found him at home; and Babbalanja started up.

"In Oro's name, what ails you, philosopher? See you Paradise, that you
look so wildly?"

"A Happy Life! a Happy Life!" cried Babbalanja, in an ecstasy. "My
lord, I am lost in the dream of it, as here recorded. Marvelous book!
its goodness transports me. Let me read:--'I would bear the same mind,
whether I be rich or poor, whether I get or lose in the world. I will
reckon benefits well placed as the fairest part of my possession, not
valuing them by number or weight, but by the profit and esteem of the
receiver; accounting myself never the poorer for any thing I give.
What I do shall be done for conscience, not ostentation. I will eat
and drink, not to gratify my palate, but to satisfy nature. I will be
cheerful to my friends, mild and placable to my enemies. I will
prevent an honest request, if I can foresee it; and I will grant it,
without asking. I will look upon the whole world as my country; and
upon Oro, both as the witness and the judge of my words and my deeds.
I will live and die with this testimony: that I loved a good
conscience; that I never invaded another man's liberty; and that I
preserved my own. I will govern my life and my thoughts, as if the
whole world were to see the one, and to read the other; for what does
it signify, to make any thing a secret to my neighbor, when to Oro all
our privacies are open.'"

"Very fine," said Media.

"The very spirit of the first followers of Alma, as recorded in the
legends," said Mohi.

"Inimitable," said Yoomy.

Said Babbalanja, "Listen again:--'Righteousness is sociable and
gentle; free, steady, and fearless; full of inexhaustible delights.'
And here again, and here, and here:--The true felicity of life is to
understand our duty to Oro.'--'True joy is a serene and sober motion.'
And here, and here,--my lord, 'tis hard quoting from this book;--but
listen--'A peaceful conscience, honest thoughts, and righteous actions
are blessings without end, satiety, or measure. The poor man wants
many things; the covetous man, all. It is not enough to know Oro,
unless we obey him.'"

"Alma all over," cried Mohi; "sure, you read from his sayings?"

"I read but odd sentences from one, who though he lived ages ago,
never saw, scarcely heard of Alma. And mark me, my lord, this time I
improvise nothing. What I have recited, Is here. Mohi, this book is
more marvelous than the prophecies. My lord, that a mere man, and a
heathen, in that most heathenish time, should give utterance to such
heavenly wisdom, seems more wonderful than that an in-spired prophet
should reveal it. And is it not more divine in this philosopher, to
love righteousness for its own sake, and in view of annihilation, than
for pious sages to extol it as the means of everlasting felicity?"

"Alas," sighed Yoomy, "and does he not promise us any good thing, when
we are dead?"

"He speaks not by authority. He but woos us to goodness and happiness
here."

"Then, Babbalanja," said Media, "keep your treasure to yourself.
Without authority, and a full right hand, Righteousness better be
silent. Mardi's religion must seem to come direct from Oro, and the
mass of you mortals endeavor it not, except for a consideration,
present or to come."

"And call you that righteousness, my lord, which is but the price paid
down for something else?"

"I called it not righteousness; it is religion so called. But let us
prate no more of these things; with which I, a demi-god, have but
little in common. It ever impairs my digestion. No more, Babbalanja."

"My lord! my lord! out of itself, Religion has nothing to bestow. Nor
will she save us from aught, but from the evil in ourselves. Her one
grand end is to make us wise; her only manifestations are reverence to
Oro and love to man; her only, but ample reward, herself. He who has
this, has all. He who has this, whether he kneel to an image of wood,
calling it Oro; or to an image of air, calling it the same; whether he
fasts or feasts; laughs or weeps;--that man can be no richer. And this
religion, faith, virtue, righteousness, good, whate'er you will, I
find in this book I hold. No written page can teach me more."

"Have you that, then, of which you speak, Babbalanja? Are you content,
there where you stand?"

"My lord, you drive me home. I am not content. The mystery of
mysteries is still a mystery. How this author came to be so wise,
perplexes me. How he led the life he did, confounds me. Oh, my lord, I
am in darkness, and no broad blaze comes down to flood me. The rays
that come to me are but faint cross lights, mazing the obscurity
wherein I live. And after all, excellent as it is, I can be no gainer
by this book. For the more we learn, the more we unlearn; we
accumulate not, but substitute; and take away, more than we add. We
dwindle while we grow; we sally out for wisdom, and retreat beyond the
point whence we started; we essay the Fondiza, and get but the Phe. Of
all simpletons, the simplest! Oh! that I were another sort of fool
than I am, that I might restore my good opinion of myself. Continually
I stand in the pillory, am broken on the wheel, and dragged asunder by
wild horses. Yes, yes, Bardianna, all is in a nut, as thou sayest; but
all my back teeth can not crack it; I but crack my own jaws. All round
me, my fellow men are new-grafting their vines, and dwelling in
flourishing arbors; while I am forever pruning mine, till it is become
but a stump. Yet in this pruning will I persist; I will not add, I
will diminish; I will train myself down to the standard of what is
unchangeably true. Day by day I drop off my redundancies; ere long I
shall have stripped my ribs; when I die, they will but bury my spine.
Ah! where, where, where, my lord, is the everlasting Tekana? Tell me,
Mohi, where the Ephina? I may have come to the Penultimate, but where,
sweet Yoomy, is the Ultimate? Ah, companions! I faint, I am wordless:-
-something, nothing, riddles,--does Mardi hold her?"

"He swoons!" cried Yoomy.

"Water! water!" cried Media.

"Away:" said Babbalanja serenely, "I revive."



CHAPTER XXI
They Visit A Wealthy Old Pauper


Continuing our route to Jiji's, we presently came to a miserable
hovel. Half projecting from the low, open entrance, was a bald
overgrown head, intent upon an upright row of dark-colored bags:--
pelican pouches--prepared by dropping a stone within, and suspending
them, when moist.

Ever and anon, the great head shook with a tremulous motion, as one by
one, to a clicking sound from the old man's mouth, the strings of
teeth were slowly drawn forth, and let fall, again and again, with a
rattle.

But perceiving our approach, the old miser suddenly swooped his
pouches out of sight; and, like a turtle into its shell, retreated
into his den. But soon he decrepitly emerged upon his knees, asking
what brought us thither?--to steal the teeth, which lying rumor
averred he possessed in abundance? And opening his mouth, he averred
he had none; not even a sentry in his head.

But Babbalanja declared, that long since he must have drawn his own
dentals, and bagged them with the rest.

Now this miserable old miser must have been idiotic; for soon
forgetting what he had but just told us of his utter toothlessness, he
was so smitten with the pearly mouth of Hohora, one of our attendants
(the same for whose pearls, little King Peepi had taken such a fancy),
that he made the following overture to purchase its contents: namely:
one tooth of the buyer's, for every three of the seller's. A
proposition promptly rejected, as involving a mercantile absurdity.

"Why?" said Babbalanja. "Doubtless, because that proposed to be given,
is less than that proposed to be received. Yet, says a philosopher,
this is the very principle which regulates all barterings. For where
the sense of a simple exchange of quantities, alike in value?"

"Where, indeed?" said Hohora with open eyes, "though I never heard it
before, that's a staggering question. I beseech you, who was the sage
that asked it?"

"Vivo, the Sophist," said Babbalanja, turning aside.

In the hearing of Jiji, allusion was made to Oh-Oh, as a neighbor of
his. Whereupon he vented much slavering opprobrium upon that miserable
old hump-back; who accumulated useless monstrosities; throwing away
the precious teeth, which otherwise might have sensibly rattled in his
own pelican pouches.

When we quitted the hovel, Jiji, marking little Vee-Vee, from whose
shoulder hung a calabash of edibles, seized the hem of his garment and
besought him for one mouthful of food; for nothing had he tasted that
day.

The boy tossed him a yam.



CHAPTER XXII
Yoomy Sings Some Odd Verses, And Babbalanja Quotes From The Old
Authors Right And Left


Sailing from Padulla, after many pleasant things had been said
concerning the sights there beheld; Babbalanja thus addressed Yoomy--
"Warbler, the last song you sung was about moonlight, and paradise,
and fabulous pleasures evermore: now, have you any hymns about earthly
felicity?"

"If so, minstrel," said Media, "jet it forth, my fountain, forthwith."

"Just now, my lord," replied Yoomy, "I was singing to myself, as I
often do, and by your leave, I will continue aloud."

"Better begin at the beginning, I should think," said the chronicler,
both hands to his chin, beginning at the top to new braid his beard.

"No: like the roots of your beard, old Mohi, all beginnings are
stiff," cried Babbalanja. "We are lucky in living midway in eternity.
So sing away, Yoomy, where you left off," and thus saying he unloosed
his girdle for the song, as Apicius would for a banquet.

"Shall I continue aloud, then, my lord?"

My lord nodded, and Yoomy sang:--

    "Full round, full soft, her dewy arms,--
     Sweet shelter from all Mardi's harms!"

"Whose arms?" cried Mohi.

Sang Yoomy:--

    Diving deep in the sea,
      She takes sunshine along:
    Down flames in the sea,
      As of dolphins a throng.

"What mermaid is this?" cried Mohi.

Sang Yoomy:--

    Her foot, a falling sound,
    That all day long might bound.
      Over the beach,
      The soft sand beach,
      And none would find
      A trace behind.

"And why not?" demanded Media, "why could no trace be found?"

Said Braid-Beard, "Perhaps owing, my lord, to the flatness of the
mermaid's foot. But no; that can not be; for mermaids are all
vertebrae below the waist."

"Your fragment is pretty good, I dare say, Yoomy," observed Media,
"but as Braid-Beard hints, rather flat."

"Flat as the foot of a man with his mind made up," cried Braid-Beard.
"Yoomy, did you sup on flounders last night?"

But Yoomy vouchsafed no reply, he was ten thousand leagues off in a
reverie: somewhere in the Hyades perhaps.

Conversation proceeding, Braid-Beard happened to make allusion to one
Rotato, a portly personage, who, though a sagacious philosopher, and
very ambitious to be celebrated as such, was only famous in Mardi as
the fattest man of his tribe.

Said Media, "Then, Mohi, Rotato could not pick a quarrel with Fame,
since she did not belie him. Fat he was, and fat she published him."

"Right, my lord," said Babbalanja, "for Fame is not always so honest.
Not seldom to be famous, is to be widely known for what you are not,
says Alla-Malolla. Whence it comes, as old Bardianna has it, that for
years a man may move unnoticed among his fellows; but all at once, by
some chance attitude, foreign to his habit, become a trumpet-full for
fools; though, in himself, the same as ever. Nor has he shown himself
yet; for the entire merit of a man can never be made known; nor the
sum of his demerits, if he have them. We are only known by our names;
as letters sealed up, we but read each other's superscriptions.

"So with the commonalty of us Mardians. How then with those beings who
every way are but too apt to be riddles. In many points the works of
our great poet Vavona, now dead a thousand moons, still remain a
mystery. Some call him a mystic; but wherein he seems obscure, it is,
perhaps, we that are in fault; not by premeditation spoke he those
archangel thoughts, which made many declare, that Vavona, after all,
was but a crack-pated god, not a mortal of sound mind. But had he been
less, my lord, he had seemed more. Saith Fulvi, 'Of the highest order
of genius, it may be truly asserted, that to gain the reputation of
superior power, it must partially disguise itself; it must come down,
and then it will be applauded for soaring.' And furthermore, that
there are those who falter in the common tongue, because they think in
another; and these are accounted stutterers and stammerers.'"

"Ah! how true!" cried the Warbler.

"And what says the archangel Vavona, Yoomy, in that wonderful drama of
his, 'The Souls of the Sages?'--'Beyond most barren hills, there are
landscapes ravishing; with but one eye to behold; which no pencil can
portray.' What wonder then, my lord, that Mardi itself is so blind.
'Mardi is a monster,' says old Bardianna, 'whose eyes are fixed in its
head, like a whale's; it can see but two ways, and those comprising
but a small arc of a perfect vision. Poets, heroes, and men of might,
are all around this monster Mardi. But stand before me on stilts, or I
will behold you not, says the monster; brush back your hair; inhale
the wind largely; lucky are all men with dome-like foreheads; luckless
those with pippin-heads; loud lungs are a blessing; a lion is no lion
that can not roar.' Says Aldina, 'There are those looking on, who know
themselves to be swifter of foot than the racers, but are confounded
with the simpletons that stare.'"

"The mere carping of a disappointed cripple," cried Mold. His
biographer states, that Aldina had only one leg."

"Braid-Beard, you are witty," said Babbbalanja, adjusting his robe.
"My lord, there are heroes without armies, who hear martial music in
their souls."

"Why not blow their trumpets louder, then," cried Media, that all
Mardi may hear?"

"My lord Media, too, is witty, Babbalanja," said Mohi.

Breathed Yoomy, "There are birds of divinest plumage, and most
glorious song, yet singing their lyrics to themselves."

Said Media, "The lark soars high, cares for no auditor, yet its sweet
notes are heard here below. It sings, too, in company with myriads of
mates. Your soliloquists, Yoomy, are mostly herons and owls."

Said Babbalanja, "Very clever, my lord; but think you not, there are
men eloquent, who never babble in the marketplace?"

"Ay, and arrant babblers at home. In few words, Babbalanja, you
espouse a bad cause. Most of you mortals are peacocks; some having
tails, and some not; those who have them will be sure to thrust their
plumes in your face; for the rest, they will display their bald
cruppers, and still screech for admiration. But when a great genius is
born into Mardi, he nods, and is known."

"More wit, but, with deference, perhaps less truth, my lord. Say what
you will, Fame is an accident; merit a thing absolute. But what
matter? Of what available value reputation, unless wedded to power,
dentals, or place? To those who render him applause, a poet's may seem
a thing tangible; but to the recipient, 'tis a fantasy; the poet never
so stretches his imagination, as when striving to comprehend what it
is; often, he is famous without knowing it."

"At the sacred games of Lazella," said Yoomy, "slyly crowned from
behind with a laurel fillet, for many hours, the minstrel Jarmi
wandered about ignorant of the honors he bore. But enlightened at
last, he doffed the wreath; then, holding it at arm's length, sighed
forth--Oh, ye laurels! to be visible to me, ye must be removed from my
brow!"

"And what said Botargo," cried Babbalanja, "hearing that his poems had
been translated into the language of the remote island of Bertranda?--
'It stirs me little; already, in merry fancies, have I dreamed of
their being trilled by the blessed houris in paradise; I can only
imagine the same of the damsels of Bertranda.' Says Boldo, the
Materialist,--'Substances alone are satisfactory.'"

"And so thought the mercenary poet, Zenzi," said Yoomy. "Upon
receiving fourteen ripe yams for a sonnet, one for every line, he said
to me, Yoomy, I shall make a better meal upon these, than upon so many
compliments."

"Ay," cried Babbalanja, "'Bravos,' saith old Bardianna, but induce
flatulency.'"

Said Media, "And do you famous mortals, then, take no pleasure in
hearing your bravos?"

"Much, my good lord; at least such famous mortals, so enamored of a
clamorous notoriety, as to bravo for themselves, when none else will
huzza; whose whole existence is an unintermitting consciousness of
self; whose very persons stand erect and self-sufficient as their
infallible index, the capital letter I; who relish and comprehend no
reputation but what attaches to the carcass; who would as lief be
renowned for a splendid mustache, as for a splendid drama: who know
not how it was that a personage, to posterity so universally
celebrated as the poet Vavona, ever passed through the crowd
unobserved; who deride the very thunder for making such a noise in
Mardi, and yet disdain to manifest itself to the eye."

"Wax not so warm, Babbalanja; but tell us, if to his contemporaries
Vavona's person was almost unknown, what satisfaction did he derive
from his genius?"

"Had he not its consciousness?--an empire boundless as the West. What
to him were huzzas? Why, my lord, from his privacy, the great and good
Logodora sent liniment to the hoarse throats without. But what said
Bardianna, when they dunned him for autographs?--'Who keeps the
register of great men? who decides upon noble actions? and how long
may ink last? Alas! Fame has dropped more rolls than she displays; and
there are more lost chronicles, than the perished books of the
historian Livella.' But what is lost forever, my lord, is nothing to
what is now unseen. There are more treasures in the bowels of the
earth, than on its surface."

"Ah! no gold," cried Yoomy, "but that comes from dark mines."

Said Babbalanja, "Bear witness, ye gods! cries fervent old Bardianna,
that besides disclosures of good and evil undreamed of now, there will
be other, and more astounding revelations hereafter, of what has
passed in Mardi unbeheld."

"A truce to your everlasting pratings of old Bardianna," said King
Media; why not speak your own thoughts, Babbalanja? then would your
discourse possess more completeness; whereas, its warp and woof are of
all sorts,--Bardianna, Alla-Malolla, Vavona, and all the writers that
ever have written. Speak for yourself, mortal!"

"May you not possibly mistake, my lord? for I do not so much quote
Bardianna, as Bardianna quoted me, though he flourished before me; and
no vanity, but honesty to say so. The catalogue of true thoughts is
but small; they are ubiquitous; no man's property; and unspoken, or
bruited, are the same. When we hear them, why seem they so natural,
receiving our spontaneous approval? why do we think we have heard them
before? Because they but reiterate ourselves; they were in us, before
we were born. The truest poets are but mouth-pieces; and some men are
duplicates of each other; I see myself in Bardianna."

"And there, for Oro's sake, let it rest, Babbalanja; Bardianna in you,
and you in Bardianna forever!"



CHAPTER XXIII
What Manner Of Men The Tapparians Were


The canoes sailed on. But we leave them awhile. For our visit to Jiji,
the last visit we made, suggests some further revelations concerning
the dental money of Mardi.

Ere this, it should have been mentioned, that throughout the
Archipelago, there was a restriction concerning incisors and molars,
as ornaments for the person; none but great chiefs, brave warriors,
and men distinguished by rare intellectual endowments, orators,
romancers, philosophers, and poets, being permitted to sport them as
jewels. Though, as it happened, among the poets there were many who
had never a tooth, save those employed at their repasts; which, coming
but seldom, their teeth almost corroded in their mouths. Hence, in
commerce, poets' teeth were at a discount.

For these reasons, then, many mortals blent with the promiscuous mob
of Mardians, who, by any means, accumulated teeth, were fain to assert
their dental claims to distinction, by clumsily carrying their
treasures in pelican pouches slung over their shoulders; which pouches
were a huge burden to carry about, and defend. Though, in good truth,
from any of these porters, it was harder to wrench his pouches, than
his limbs. It was also a curious circumstance that at the slightest
casual touch, these bags seemed to convey a simultaneous thrill to the
owners.

Besides these porters, there were others, who exchanged their teeth
for richly stained calabashes, elaborately carved canoes, and more
especially, for costly robes, and turbans; in which last, many
outshone the noblest-born nobles. Nevertheless, this answered not the
end they had in view; some of the crowd only admiring what they wore,
and not them; breaking out into laudation of the inimitable handiwork
of the artisans of Mardi.

And strange to relate, these artisans themselves often came to be men
of teeth and turbans, sporting their bravery with the best. A
circumstance, which accounted for the fact, that many of the class
above alluded to, were considered capital judges of tappa and tailoring.

Hence, as a general designation, the whole tribe went by the name of
Tapparians; otherwise, Men of Tappa.

Now, many moons ago, according to Braid-Beard, the Tapparians of a
certain cluster of islands, seeing themselves hopelessly confounded
with the plebeian race of mortals; such as artificers, honest men,
bread-fruit bakers, and the like; seeing, in short, that nature had
denied them every inborn mark of distinction; and furthermore, that
their external assumptions were derided by so many in Mardi, these
selfsame Tapparians, poor devils, resolved to secede from the rabble;
form themselves into a community of their own; and conventionally pay
that homage to each other, which universal Mardi could not be
prevailed upon to render to them.

Jointly, they purchased an island, called Pimminee, toward the extreme
west of the lagoon; and thither they went; and framing a code of laws-
-amazingly arbitrary, considering they themselves were the framers--
solemnly took the oath of allegiance to the commonwealth thus
established. Regarded section by section, this code of laws seemed
exceedingly trivial; but taken together, made a somewhat imposing
aggregation of particles.

By this code, the minutest things in life were all ordered after a
specific fashion. More especially one's dress was legislated upon, to
the last warp and woof. All girdles must be so many inches in length,
and with such a number of tassels in front. For a violation of this
ordinance, before the face of all Mardi, the most dutiful of sons
would cut the most affectionate of fathers.

Now, though like all Mardi, kings and slaves included, the people of
Pimminee had dead dust for grandsires, they seldom reverted to that
fact; for, like all founders of families, they had no family vaults.
Nor were they much encumbered by living connections; connections, some
of them appeared to have none. Like poor Logan the last of his tribe,
they seemed to have monopolized the blood of their race, having never
a cousin to own.

Wherefore it was, that many ignorant Mardians, who had not pushed
their investigations into the science of physiology, sagely divined,
that the Tapparians must have podded into life like peas, instead of
being otherwise indebted for their existence. Certain it is, they had
a comical way of backing up their social pretensions. When the
respectability of his clan was mooted, Paivai, one of their bucks,
disdained all reference to the Dooms-day Book, and the ancients. More
reliable evidence was had. He referred the anxious world to a witness,
still alive and hearty,--his contemporary tailor; the varlet who cut
out his tappa doublets, and rejoiced his soul with good fits.

"Ah!" sighed Babbalanja, "how it quenches in one the thought of
immortality, to think that these Tapparians too, will hereafter claim
each a niche!"

But we rove. Our visit to Pimminee itself, will best make known the
ways of its denizens.



CHAPTER XXIV
Their Adventures Upon Landing At Pimminee


A long sail over, the island of Pimminee came in sight; one dead fiat,
wreathed in a thin, insipid vapor.

"My lord, why land?" said Babbalanja; "no Yillah is here."

"'Tis my humor, Babbalanja."

Said Yoomy, "Taji would leave no isle unexplored."

As we neared the beach, the atmosphere became still closer and more
languid. Much did we miss the refreshing balm which breathed in the
fine breezy air of the open lagoon. Of a slender and sickly growth
seemed the trees; in the meadows, the grass grew small and mincing.

Said Media, "Taji, from the accounts which Braid-Beard gives, there
must be much to amuse, in the ways of these Tapparians."

"Yes," said Babbalanja, "their lives are a continual farce,
gratuitously performed for the diversion of Mardi. My lord, perhaps we
had best doff our dignity, and land among them as persons of lowly
condition; for then, we shall receive more diversion, though less
hospitality."

"A good proposition," said Media.

And so saying, he put off his robe for one less pretentious.

All followed suit; Yoomy doffing turban and sash; and, at last,
completely metamorphosed, we looked like Hungarian gipsies.

Voyaging on, we entered a bay, where numbers of menials were standing
in the water, engaged in washing the carved work of certain fantastic
canoes, belonging to the Tapparians, their masters.

Landing at some distance, we followed a path that soon conducted us to
a betwisted dwelling of bamboos, where, gently, we knocked for
admittance. So doing, we were accosted by a servitor, his portliness
all in his calves. Marking our appearance, he monopolized the
threshold, and gruffly demanded what was wanted.

"Strangers, kind sir, fatigued with travel, and in need of refreshment
and repose."

"Then hence with ye, vagabonds!" and with an emphasis, he closed the
portal in our face.

Said Babbalanja, turning, "You perceive, my lord Media, that these
varlets take after their masters; who feed none but the well-fed, and
house none but the well-housed."

"Faith! but they furnish most rare entertainment, nevertheless," cried
Media. "Ha! ha! Taji, we had missed much, had we missed Pimminee."

As this was said, we observed, at a distance, three menials running
from seaward, as if conveying important intelligence.

Halting here and there, vainly seeking admittance at other
habitations, and receiving nothing but taunts for our pains, we still
wandered on; and at last came upon a village, toward which, those from
the sea-side had been running.

And now, to our surprise, we were accosted by an eager and servile
throng.

"Obsequious varlets," said Media, "where tarry your masters?"

"Right royal, and thrice worshipful Lord of Odo, do you take us for
our domestics? We are Tapparians, may it please your illustrious
Highness; your most humble and obedient servants. We beseech you,
supereminent Sir, condescend to visit our habitations, and partake of
our cheer."

Then turning upon their attendants, "Away with ye, hounds! and set our
dwellings in order."

"How know ye me to be king?" asked Media.

"Is it not in your serene Highness's regal port, and eye?"

"'Twas their menials," muttered Mohi, "who from the paddlers in charge
of our canoes must have learned who my lord was, and published the
tidings."

After some further speech, Media made a social surrender of himself to
the foremost of the Tapparians, one Nimni; who, conducting us to his
abode, with much deference introduced us to a portly old Begum, and
three slender damsels; his wife and daughters.

Soon, refreshments appeared:--green and yellow compounds, and divers
enigmatical dainties; besides vegetable liqueurs of a strange and
alarming flavor served in fragile little leaves, folded into cups, and
very troublesome to handle.

Excessively thirsty, Babbalanja made bold to inquire for water; which
called forth a burst of horror from the old Begum, and minor shrieks
from her daughters; who declared, that the beverage to which remote
reference had been made, was far too widely diffused in Mardi, to be
at all esteemed in Pimminee.

"But though we seldom imbibe it," said the old Begum, ceremoniously
adjusting her necklace of cowrie-shells, "we occasionally employ it
for medicinal purposes."

"Ah, indeed?" said Babbalanja.

"But oh! believe me; even then, we imbibe not the ordinary fluid of
the springs and streams; but that which in afternoon showers softly
drains from our palm-trees into the little hollow or miniature
reservoir beneath its compacted roots."

A goblet of this beverage was now handed Babbalanja; but having a
curious, gummy flavor, it proved any thing but palatable.

Presently, in came a company of young men, relatives of Nimni. They
were slender as sky-sail-poles; standing in a row, resembled a picket-
fence; and were surmounted by enormous heads of hair, combed out all
round, variously dyed, and evened by being singed with a lighted wisp
of straw. Like milliners' parcels, they were very neatly done up;
wearing redolent robes.

"How like the woodlands they smell," whispered Yoomy. "Ay, marvelously
like sap," said Mohi.

One part of their garniture consisted of numerous tasseled cords, like
those of an aigulette, depending from the neck, and attached here and
there about the person. A separate one, at a distance, united their
ankles. These served to measure and graduate their movements; keeping
their gestures, paces, and attitudes, within the prescribed standard
of Tapparian gentility. When they went abroad, they were preceded by
certain footmen; who placed before them small, carved boards, whereon
their masters stepped; thus avoiding contact with the earth. The
simple device of a shoe, as a fixture for the foot, was unknown in
Pimminee.

Being told, that Taji was lately from the sun, they manifested not the
slightest surprise; one of them incidentally observing, however, that
the eclipses there, must be a sad bore to endure.



CHAPTER XXV
A, I, AND O


The old Begum went by the euphonious appellation of Ohiro-Moldona-
Fivona; a name, from its length, deemed highly genteel; though scandal
averred, that it was nothing more than her real name transposed; the
appellation by which she had been formerly known, signifying a
"Getterup-of-Fine-Tappa." But as this would have let out an ancient
secret, it was thought wise to disguise it.

Her daughters respectively reveled in the pretty diminutives of A, I,
and O; which, from their brevity, comical to tell, were considered
equally genteel with the dame's.

The habiliments of the three Vowels must not he omitted. Each damsel
garrisoned an ample, circular farthingale of canes, serving as the
frame-work, whereon to display a gayly dyed robe. Perhaps their charms
intrenched themselves in these impregnable petticoats, as feeble
armies fly to fortresses, to hide their weakness, and better resist an
onset.

But polite and politic it is, to propitiate your hostess. So seating
himself by the Begum, Taji led off with earnest inquiries after her
welfare. But the Begum was one of those, who relieve the diffident
from the embarrassment of talking; all by themselves carrying on
conversation for two. Hence, no wonder that my Lady was esteemed
invaluable at all assemblies in the groves of Pimminee; contributing
so largely to that incessant din, which is held the best test of the
enjoyment of the company, as making them deaf to the general nonsense,
otherwise audible.

Learning that Taji had been making the tour of certain islands in
Mardi, the Begum was surprised that he could have thus hazarded his
life among the barbarians of the East. She desired to know whether his
constitution was not impaired by inhaling the unrefined atmosphere of
those remote and barbarous regions. For her part, the mere thought of
it made her faint in her innermost citadel; nor went she ever abroad
with the wind at East, dreading the contagion which might lurk in the
air.

Upon accosting the three damsels, Taji very soon discovered that the
tongue which had languished in the presence of the Begum, was now
called into active requisition, to entertain the Polysyllables, her
daughters. So assiduously were they occupied in silent endeavors to
look sentimental and pretty, that it proved no easy task to sustain
with them an ordinary chat. In this dilemma, Taji diffused not his
remarks among all three; but discreetly centered them upon O. Thinking
she might be curious concerning the sun, he made some remote allusion
to that luminary as the place of his nativity. Upon which, O inquired
where that country was, of which mention was made.

"Some distance from here; in the air above; the sun that gives light
to Pimminee, and Mardi at large."

She replied, that if that were the case, she had never beheld it; for
such was the construction of her farthingale, that her head could not
be thrown back, without impairing its set. Wherefore, she had always
abstained from astronomical investigations.

Hereupon, rude Mohi laughed out. And that lucky laugh happily relieved
Taji from all further necessity of entertaining the Vowels. For at so
vulgar, and in Pimminee, so unwonted a sound, as a genuine laugh, the
three startled nymphs fainted away in a row, their round farthingales
falling over upon each other, like a file of empty tierces. But they
presently revived.

Meanwhile, without stirring from their mats, the polite young bucks in
the aigulettes did nothing but hold semi-transparent leaves to their
eyes, by the stems; which leaves they directed downward, toward the
disordered hems of the farthingales; in wait, perhaps, for the
revelation of an ankle, and its accompaniments. What the precise use
of these leaves could have been, it would be hard to say, especially
as the observers invariably peeped over and under them.

The calamity of the Vowels was soon followed by the breaking up of the
party; when, evening coming on, and feeling much wearied with the
labor of seeing company in Pimminee, we retired to our mats; there
finding that repose which ever awaits the fatigued.



CHAPTER XXVI
A Reception Day At Pimminee


Next morning, Nimni apprized us, that throughout the day he proposed
keeping open house, for the purpose of enabling us to behold whatever
of beauty, rank, and fashion, Pimminee could boast; including certain
strangers of note from various quarters of the lagoon, who doubtless
would honor themselves with a call.

As inmates of the mansion, we unexpectedly had a rare opportunity of
witnessing the final toilets of the Begum and her daughters,
preparatory to receiving their guests.

Their four farthingales were placed standing in the middle of the
dwelling; when their future inmates, arrayed in rudimental vestments,
went round and round them, attaching various articles of finery, dyed
scarfs, ivory trinkets, and other decorations. Upon the propriety of
this or that adornment, the three Vowels now and then pondered apart,
or together consulted. They talked and they laughed; they were silent
and sad; now merry at their bravery; now pensive at the thought of the
charms to be hidden.

It was O who presently suggested the expediency of an artful fold in
their draperies, by the merest accident in Mardi, to reveal a
tantalizing glimpse of their ankles, which were thought to be pretty.

But the old Begum was more active than any; by far the most
disinterested in the matter of advice. Her great object seemed to be
to pile on the finery at all hazards; and she pointed out many as yet
vacant and unappropriated spaces, highly susceptible of adornment.

At last, all was in readiness; when, taking a valedictory glance, at
their intrenchments, the Begum and damsels simultaneously dipped their
heads, directly after emerging from the summit, all ready for execution.

And now to describe the general reception that followed. In came the
Roes, the Fees, the Lol-Lols, the Hummee-Hums, the Bidi-Bidies, and
the Dedidums; the Peenees, the Yamoyamees, the Karkies, the Fanfums,
the Diddledees, and the Fiddlefies; in a word, all the aristocracy of
Pimminee; people with exceedingly short names; and some all name, and
nothing else. It was an imposing array of sounds; a circulation of
ciphers; a marshaling of tappas; a getting together of grimaces and
furbelows; a masquerade of vapidities.

Among the crowd was a bustling somebody, one Gaddi, arrayed in much
apparel to little purpose; who, singling out Babbalanja, for some time
adhered to his side, and with excessive complaisance, enlightened him
as to the people assembled.

"_That_ is rich Marmonora, accounted a mighty man in Pimminee; his
bags of teeth included, he is said to weigh upwards of fourteen stone;
and is much sought after by tailors for his measure, being but slender
in the region of the heart. His riches are great. And that old vrow is
the widow Roo; very rich; plenty of teeth; but has none in her head.
And _this_ is Finfi; said to be not very rich, and a maid. Who would
suppose she had ever beat tappa for a living?"

And so saying, Gaddi sauntered off; his place by Babbalanja's side
being immediately supplied by the damsel Finfi. That vivacious and
amiable nymph at once proceeded to point out the company, where Gaddi
had left off; beginning with Gaddi himself, who, she insinuated, was a
mere parvenu, a terrible infliction upon society, and not near so rich
as he was imagined to be.

Soon we were accosted by one Nonno, a sour, saturnine personage. "I
know nobody here; not a soul have I seen before; I wonder who they all
are." And just then he was familiarly nodded to by nine worthies
abreast. Whereupon Nonno vanished. But after going the rounds of the
company, and paying court to many, he again sauntered by Babbalanja,
saying, "Nobody, nobody; nobody but nobodies; I see nobody I know."

Advancing, Nimni now introduced many strangers of distinction,
parading their titles after a fashion, plainly signifying that he was
bent upon convincing us, that there were people present at this little
affair of his, who were men of vast reputation; and that we erred, if
we deemed him unaccustomed to the society of the illustrious.

But not a few of his magnates seemed shy of Media and their laurels.
Especially a tall robustuous fellow, with a terrible javelin in his
hand, much notched and splintered, as if it had dealt many a thrust.
His left arm was gallanted in a sling, and there was a patch upon his
sinister eye. Him Nimni made known as a famous captain, from King
Piko's island (of which anon) who had been all but mortally wounded
somewhere, in a late desperate though nameless encounter.

"Ah," said Media as this redoubtable withdrew, Fofi is a cunning
knave; a braggart, driven forth, by King Piko for his cowardice. He
has blent his tattooing into one mass of blue, and thus disguised,
must have palmed himself off here in Pimminee, for the man he is not.
But I see many more like him."

"Oh ye Tapparians," said Babbalanja, "none so easily humbugged as
humbugs. Taji: to behold this folly makes one wise. Look, look; it is
all round us. Oh Pimminee, Pimminee!"



CHAPTER XXVII
Babbalanja Falleth Upon Pimminee Tooth And Nail


The levee over, waiving further civilities, we took courteus leave of
the Begum and Nimni, and proceeding to the beach, very soon were
embarked.

When all were pleasantly seated beneath the canopy, pipes in full
blast, calabashes revolving, and the paddlers quietly urging us along,
Media proposed that, for the benefit of the company, some one present,
in a pithy, whiffy sentence or two, should sum up the character of the
Tapparians; and ended by nominating Babbalanja to that office.

"Come, philosopher: let us see in how few syllables you can put the
brand on those Tapparians."

"Pardon me, my lord, but you must permit me to ponder awhile; nothing
requires more time, than to be brief. An example: they say that in
conversation old Bardianna dealt in nothing but trisyllabic sentences.
His talk was thunder peals: sounding reports, but long intervals."

"The devil take old Bardianna. And would that the grave-digger had
buried his Ponderings, along with his other remains. Can none be in
your company, Babbalanja, but you must perforce make them hob-a-nob
with that old prater? A brand for the Tapparians! that is what we seek."

"You shall have it, my lord. Full to the brim of themselves, for that
reason, the Tapparians are the emptiest of mortals."

"A good blow and well planted, Babbalanja."

"In sooth, a most excellent saying; it should be carved upon his
tombstone," said Mohi, slowly withdrawing his pipe.

"What! would you have my epitaph read thus:--'Here lies the emptiest
of mortals, who was full of himself?' At best, your words are
exceedingly ambiguous, Mohi."

"Now have I the philosopher," cried Yoomy, with glee. "What did some
one say to me, not long since, Babbalanja, when in the matter of that
sleepy song of mine, Braid-Beard bestowed upon me an equivocal
compliment? Was I not told to wrest commendation from it, though I
tortured it to the quick?"

"Take thy own pills, philosopher," said Mohi.

"Then would he be a great original," said Media.

"Tell me, Yoomy," said Babbalanja, "are you not in fault? Because I
sometimes speak wisely, you must not imagine that I should always act
so."

"I never imagined that," said Yoomy, "and, if I did, the truth would
belie me. It is you who are in fault, Babbalanja; not I, craving your
pardon."

"The minstrel's sides are all edges to-day," said Media.

"This, then, thrice gentle Yoomy, is what I would say;" resumed
Babbalanja, "that since we philosophers bestow so much wisdom upon
others, it is not to be wondered at, if now and then we find what is
left in us too small for our necessities. It is from our very
abundance that we want."

"And from the fool's poverty," said Media, "that he is opulent; for
his very simplicity, is sometimes of more account than the wisdom of
the sage. But we were discoursing of the Tapparians. Babbalanja:
sententiously you have acquitted yourself to admiration; now amplify,
and tell us more of the people of Pimminee."

"My lord, I might amplify forever."

"Then, my worshipful lord, let him not begin," interposed Braid-Beard.

"I mean," said Babbalanja, "that all subjects are inexhaustible,
however trivial; as the mathematical point, put in motion, is capable
of being produced into an infinite line."

"But forever extending into nothing," said Media. "A very bad example
to follow. Do you, Babbalanja, come to the point, and not travel off
with it, which is too much your wont."

"Since my lord insists upon it then, thus much for the Tapparians,
though but a thought or two of many in reserve. They ignore the rest
of Mardi, while they themselves are but a rumor in the isles of the
East; where the business of living and dying goes on with the same
uniformity, as if there were no Tapparians in existence. They think
themselves Mardi in full; whereas, by the mass, they are stared at as
prodigies; exceptions to the law, ordaining that no Mardian shall
undertake to live, unless he set out with at least the average
quantity of brains. For these Tapparians have no brains. In lieu, they
carry in one corner of their craniums, a drop or two of attar of
roses; charily used, the supply being small. They are the victims of
two incurable maladies: stone in the heart, and ossification of the
head. They are full of fripperies, fopperies, and finesses; knowing
not, that nature should be the model of art. Yet, they might appear
less silly than they do, were they content to be the plain idiots
which at bottom they are. For there be grains of sense in a simpleton,
so long as he be natural. But what can be expected from them? They are
irreclaimable Tapparians; not so much fools by contrivance of their
own, as by an express, though inscrutable decree of Oro's. For one, my
lord, I can not abide them."

Nor could Taji.

In Pimminee were no hilarious running and shouting: none of the royal
good cheer of old Borabolla; none of the mysteries of Maramma; none of
the sentiment and romance of Donjalolo; no rehearsing of old legends:
no singing of old songs; no life; no jolly commotion: in short, no men
and women; nothing but their integuments; stiff trains and
farthingales.



CHAPTER XXVIII
Babbalanja Regales The Company With Some Sandwiches


It was night. But the moon was brilliant, far and near illuminating
the lagoon.

Over silvery billows we glided.

"Come Yoomy," said Media, "moonlight and music for aye--a song! a
song! my bird of paradise."

And folding his arms, and watching the sparkling waters, thus Yoomy
sang:--

    A ray of the moon on the dancing waves
      Is the step, light step of that beautiful maid:
    Mardi, with music, her footfall paves,
      And her voice, no voice, but a song in the glade.

"Hold!" cried Media, "yonder is a curious rock. It looks black as a
whale's hump in blue water, when the sun shines."

"That must be the Isle of Fossils," said Mohi. "Ay, my lord, it is."

"Let us land, then," said Babbalanja.

And none dissenting, the canoes were put about, and presently we
debarked.

It was a dome-like surface, here and there fringed with ferns,
sprouting from clefts. But at every tide the thin soil seemed
gradually washing into the lagoon.

Like antique tablets, the smoother parts were molded in strange
devices:--Luxor marks, Tadmor ciphers, Palenque inscriptions. In long
lines, as on Denderah's architraves, were bas-reliefs of beetles,
turtles, ant-eaters, armadilloes, guanos, serpents, tongueless
crocodiles:--a long procession, frosted and crystalized in stone, and
silvered by the moon.

"Strange sight!" cried Media. "Speak, antiquarian Mohi."

But the chronicler was twitching his antiquarian beard, nonplussed by
these wondrous records. The cowled old father, Piaggi, bending over
his calcined Herculanean manuscripts, looked not more at fault than
he.

Said Media, "Expound you, then, sage Babbalanja." Muffling his face in
his mantle, and his voice in sepulchral tones, Babbalanja thus:--

"These are the leaves of the book of Oro. Here we read how worlds are
made; here read the rise and fall of Nature's kingdoms. From where
this old man's furthest histories start, these unbeginning records
end. These are the secret memoirs of times past; whose evidence, at
last divulged, gives the grim lie to Mohi's gossipings, and makes a
rattling among the dry-bone relics of old Maramma."

Braid-Beard's old eyes flashed fire. With bristling beard, he cried,
"Take back the lie you send!"

"Peace! everlasting foes," cried Media, interposing, with both arms
outstretched. "Philosopher, probe not too deep. All you say is very
fine, but very dark. I would know something more precise. But,
prithee, ghost, unmuffle! chatter no more! wait till you're buried for
that."

"Ay, death's cold ague will set us all shivering, my lord. We'll swear
our teeth are icicles."

"Will you quit driving your sleet upon us? have done expound these
rocks."

"My lord, if you desire, I'll turn over these stone tablets till
they're dog-eared."

"Heaven and Mardi!--Go on, Babbalanja."

"'Twas thus. These were tombs burst open by volcanic throes; and
hither hurled from the lowermost vaults of the lagoon. All Mardi's
rocks are one wide resurrection. But look. Here, now, a pretty story's
told. Ah, little thought these grand old lords, that lived and roared
before the flood, that they would come to this. Here, King Media, look
and learn."

He looked; and saw a picture petrified, and plain as any on the
pediments of Petra.

It seemed a stately banquet of the dead, where lords in skeletons were
ranged around a board heaped up with fossil fruits, and flanked with
vitreous vases, grinning like empty skulls. There they sat, exchanging
rigid courtesies. One's hand was on his stony heart; his other pledged
a lord who held a hollow beaker. Another sat, with earnest face
beneath a mitred brow. He seemed to whisper in the ear of one who
listened trustingly. But on the chest of him who wore the miter, an
adder lay, close-coiled in flint.

At the further end, was raised a throne, its canopy surmounted by a
crown, in which now rested the likeness of a raven on an egg.

The throne was void. But half-concealed by drapery, behind the
goodliest lord, sideway leaned a figure diademed, a lifted poniard in
its hand:--a monarch fossilized in very act of murdering his guest.

"Most high and sacred majesty!" cried Babbalanja, bowing to his feet.

While all stood gazing on this sight, there came two servitors of
Media's, who besought of Babbalanja to settle a dispute, concerning
certain tracings upon the islet's other side.

Thither we followed them.

Upon a long layer of the slaty stone were marks of ripplings of some
now waveless sea; mid which were tri-toed footprints of some huge
heron, or wading fowl.

Pointing to one of which, the foremost disputant thus spoke:--"I
maintain that these are three toes."

"And I, that it is one foot," said the other.

"And now decide between us," joined the twain.

Said Babbalanja, starting, "Is not this the very question concerning
which they made such dire contention in Maramma, whose tertiary rocks
are chisseled all over with these marks? Yes; this it is, concerning
which they once shed blood. This it is, concerning which they still
divide."

"Which of us is right?" again demanded the impatient twain.

"Unite, and both are right; divide, and both are wrong. Every unit is
made up of parts, as well as every plurality. Nine is three threes; a
unit is as many thirds; or, if you please, a thousand thousandths; no
special need to stop at thirds."

"Away, ye foolish disputants!" cried Media. "Full before you is the
thing disputed."

Strolling on, many marvels did we mark; and Media said:--"Babbalanja,
you love all mysteries; here's a fitting theme. You have given us the
history of the rock; can your sapience tell the origin of all the
isles? how Mardi came to be?"

"Ah, that once mooted point is settled. Though hard at first, it
proved a bagatelle. Start not my lord; there are those who have
measured Mardi by perch and pole, and with their wonted lead sounded
its utmost depths. Listen: it is a pleasant story. The coral wall
which circumscribes the isles but continues upward the deep buried
crater of the primal chaos. In the first times this crucible was
charged with vapors nebulous, boiling over fires volcanic. Age by age,
the fluid thickened; dropping, at long intervals, heavy sediment to
the bottom; which layer on layer concreted, and at length, in crusts,
rose toward the surface. Then, the vast volcano burst; rent the whole
mass; upthrew the ancient rocks; which now in divers mountain tops
tell tales of what existed ere Mardi was completely fashioned. Hence
many fossils on the hills, whose kith and kin still lurk beneath the
vales. Thus Nature works, at random warring, chaos a crater, and this
world a shell."

Mohi stroked his beard.

Yoomy yawned.

Media cried, "Preposterous!"

"My lord, then take another theory--which you will--the celebrated
sandwich System. Nature's first condition was a soup, wherein the
agglomerating solids formed granitic dumplings, which, wearing down,
deposited the primal stratum made up of series, sandwiching strange
shapes of mollusks, and zoophytes; then snails, and periwinkles:--
marmalade to sip, and nuts to crack, ere the substantials came.

"And next, my lord, we have the fine old time of the Old Red Sandstone
sandwich, clapped on the underlying layer, and among other dainties,
imbedding the first course of fish,--all quite in rule,--sturgeon-
forms, cephalaspis, glyptolepis, pterichthys; and other finny things,
of flavor rare, but hard to mouth for bones. Served up with these,
were sundry greens,--lichens, mosses, ferns, and fungi.

"Now comes the New Red Sandstone sandwich: marly and magnesious,
spread over with old patriarchs of crocodiles and alligators,--hard
carving these,--and prodigious lizards, spine-skewered, tails tied in
bows, and swimming in saffron saucers."

"What next?" cried Media.

"The Ool, or Oily sandwich:--rare gormandizing then; for oily it was
called, because of fat old joints, and hams, and rounds, and barons of
sea-beeves and walrusses, which then crowned the stratum-board. All
piled together, glorious profusion!--fillets and briskets, rumps, and
saddles, and haunches; shoulder to shoulder, loin 'gainst sirloin,
ribs rapping knuckles, and quarter to none. And all these sandwiched
right over all that went before. Course after course, and course on
course, my lord; no time to clear the wreck; no stop nor let; lay on
and slash; cut, thrust, and come.

"Next the Chalk, or Coral sandwich; but no dry fare for that; made up
of rich side-courses,--eocene, miocene, and pliocene. The first was
wild game for the delicate,--bantam larks, curlews, quails, and flying
weazels; with a slight sprinkling of pilaus,--capons, pullets,
plovers, and garnished with petrels' eggs. Very savory, that, my lord.
The second side-course--miocene--was out of course, flesh after fowl:
marine mammalia,--seals, grampuses, and whales, served up with sea-
weed on their flanks, hearts and kidneys deviled, and fins and
flippers friccasied. All very thee, my lord. The third side-course,
the pliocene, was goodliest of all:--whole-roasted elephants,
rhinoceroses, and hippopotamuses, stuffed with boiled ostriches,
condors, cassowaries, turkeys. Also barbacued mastodons and
megatheriums, gallantly served up with fir-trees in their mouths, and
tails cock-billed.

"Thus fared the old diluvians: arrant gormandizers and beef-bolters.
We Mardians famish on the superficial strata of deposits; cracking our
jaws on walnuts, filberts, cocoa-nuts, and clams. My lord, I've done."

"And bravely done it is. Mohi tells us, that Mardi was made in six
days; but you, Babbalanja, have built it up from the bottom in less
than six minutes."

"Nothing for us geologists, my lord. At a word we turn you out whole
systems, suns, satellites, and asteroids included. Why, my good lord,
my friend Annonimo is laying out a new Milky Way, to intersect with
the old one, and facilitate cross-cuts among the comets."

And so saying, Babbalanja turned aside.



CHAPTER XXIX
They Still Remain Upon The Rock


"Gogle-goggle, fugle-fi, fugle-fogle-orum," so hummed to himself
Babbalanja, slowly pacing over the fossils. "Is he crazy again?"
whispered Yoomy.

"Are you crazy, Babbalanja?" asked Media.

"From my very birth have I been so, my lord; am I not possessed by a
devil?"

"Then I'll e'en interrogate him," cried Media. "--Hark ye, sirrah;--
why rave you thus in this poor mortal?"

"'Tis he, not I. I am the mildest devil that ever entered man; in
propria persona, no antlers do I wear; my tail has lost its barb, as
at last your Mardian lions lose their caudal horns."

"A very sing-song devil this. But, prithee, who are you, sirrah?"

"The mildest devil that ever entered man; in propria persona, no
antlers do I wear; my tail has lost its barb, as at last your Mardian
lions lose their caudal horns."

"A very iterating devil this. Sirrah! mock me not. Know you aught yet
unrevealed by Babbalanja?"

"Many things I know, not good to tell; whence they call me Azzageddi."

"A very confidential devil, this; that tells no secrets. Azzageddi,
can I drive thee out?"

"Only with this mortal's ghost:--together we came in, together we
depart."

"A very terse, and ready devil, this. Whence come you, Azzageddi?"

"Whither my catechist must go--a torrid clime, cut by a hot equator."

"A very keen, and witty devil, this. Azzageddi, whom have you there?"

"A right down merry, jolly set, that at a roaring furnace sit and
toast their hoofs for aye; so used to flames, they poke the fire with
their horns, and light their tails for torches."

"A very funny devil, this. Azzageddi, is not Mardi a place far
pleasanter, than that from whence you came?"

 "Ah, home! sweet, sweet, home! would, would that I were home again!"

"A very sentimental devil, this. Azzageddi, would you had a hand, I'd
shake it."

"Not so with us; who, rear to rear, shake each other's tails, and
courteously inquire, 'Pray, worthy sir, how now stands the great
thermometer?'"

"The very prince of devils, this."

"How mad our Babbalanja is," cried Mohi. My lord, take heed; he'll
bite."

"Alas! alas!" sighed Yoomy.

"Hark ye, Babbalanja," cried Media, "enough of this: doff your devil,
and be a man."

"My lord, I can not doff him; but I'll down him for a time: Azzageddi!
down, imp; down, down, down! so: now, my lord, I'm only Babbalanja."

"Shall I test his sanity, my lord?" cried Mohi.

"Do, old man."

"Philosopher, our great reef is surrounded by an ocean; what think you
lies beyond?"

"Alas!" sighed Yoomy, "the very subject to renew his madness."

"Peace, minstrel!" said Media. "Answer, Babbalanja."

"I will, my lord. Fear not, sweet Yoomy; you see how calm I am. Braid-
Beard, those strangers, that came to Mondoldo prove isles afar, as a
philosopher of old surmised, but was hooted at for his surmisings. Nor
is it at all impossible, Braid-Beard, that beyond their land may exist
other regions, of which those strangers know not; peopled with races
something like us Mardians; but perhaps with more exalted faculties,
and organs that we lack. They may have some better seeing sense than
ours; perhaps, have fins or wings for arms."

"This seems not like sanity," muttered Mohi.

"A most crazy hypothesis, truly," said Media.

"And are all inductions vain?" cried Babbalanja. "Have we mortals
naught to rest on, but what we see with eyes? Is no faith to be
reposed in that inner microcosm, wherein we see the charted universe
in little, as the whole horizon is mirrored in the iris of a gnat?
Alas! alas! my lord, is there no blest Odonphi? no Astrazzi?"

"His devil's uppermost again, my lord," cried Braid-Beard.

"He's stark, stark mad!" sighed Yoomy.

"Ay, the moon's at full," said Media. "Ho, paddlers! we depart."



CHAPTER XXX
Behind And Before


It was yet moonlight when we pushed from the islet. But soon, the sky
grew dun; the moon went into a cavern among the clouds; and by that
secret sympathy between our hearts and the elements, the thoughts of
all but Media became overcast.

Again discourse was had of that dark intelligence from Mondoldo,--the
fell murder of Taji's follower.

Said Mohi, "Those specter sons of Aleema must have been the assassins."

"They harbored deadly malice," said Babbalanja.

"Which poor Jarl's death must now have sated," sighed Yoomy.

"Then all the happier for Taji," said Media. "But away with gloom!
because the sky is clouded, why cloud your brows? Babbalanja, I grieve
the moon is gone. Yet start some paradox, that we may laugh. Say a
woman is a man, or you yourself a stork."

At this they smiled. When hurtling came an arrow, which struck our
stern, and quivered. Another! and another! Grazing the canopy, they
darted by, and hissing, dived like red-hot bars beneath the waves.

Starting, we beheld a corruscating wake, tracking the course of a low
canoe, far flying for a neighboring mountain. The next moment it was
lost within the mountain's shadow and pursuit was useless.

"Let us fly!" cried Yoomy

"Peace! What murderers these?" said Media, calmly; "whom can they
seek?--you, Taji?"

"The three avengers fly three bolts," said Babbalanja. "See if the
arrow yet remain astern," cried Media.

They brought it to him.

"By Oro! Taji on the barb!"

"Then it missed its aim. But I will not mine. And whatever arrows
follow, still will I hunt on. Nor does the ghost, that these pale
specters would avenge, at all disquiet me. The priest I slew, but to
gain her, now lost; and I would slay again, to bring her back. Ah,
Yillah! Yillah."

All started.

Then said Babbalanja, "Aleema's sons raved not; 'tis true, then, Taji,
that an evil deed gained you your Yillah: no wonder she is lost."

Said Media, unconcernedly, "Perhaps better, Taji, to have kept your
secret; but tell no more; I care not to be your foe."

"Ah, Taji! I had shrank from you," cried Yoomy, "but for the mark upon
your brow. That undoes the tenor of your words. But look, the stars
come forth, and who are these? A waving Iris! ay, again they come:--
Hautia's heralds!"

They brought a black thorn, buried in withered rose-balm blossoms, red
and blue.

Said Yoomy, "For that which stings, there is no cure,"

"Who, who is Hautia, that she stabs me thus?"

"And this wild sardony mocks your misery."

"Away! ye fiends."

"Again a Venus car; and lo! a wreath of strawberries!--Yet fly to me,
and be garlanded with joys."

"Let the wild witch laugh. She moves me not. Neither hurtling arrows
nor Circe flowers appall."

Said Yoomy, "They wait reply."

"Tell your Hautia, that I know her not; nor care to know. I defy her
incantations; she lures in vain. Yillah! Yillah! still I hope!"

Slowly they departed; heeding not my cries no more to follow.

Silence, and darkness fell.



CHAPTER XXXI
Babbalanja Discourses In The Dark


Next day came and went; and still we onward sailed. At last, by night,
there fell a calm, becalming the water of the wide lagoon, and
becalming all the clouds in heaven, wailing the constellations. But
though our sails were useless, our paddlers plied their broad stout
blades. Thus sweeping by a rent and hoar old rock, Vee-Vee, impatient
of the calm, sprang to his crow's nest in the shark's mouth, and
seizing his conch, sounded a blast which ran in and out among the
hollows, reverberating with the echoes.

Be sure, it was startling. But more so with respect to one of our
paddlers, upon whose shoulders, elevated Vee-Vee, his balance lost,
all at once came down by the run. But the heedless little bugler
himself was most injured by the fall; his arm nearly being broken.

Some remedies applied, and the company grown composed, Babbalanja
thus:--"My lord Media, was there any human necessity for that
accident?"

"None that I know, or care to tell, Babbalanja."

"Vee-Vee," said Babbalanja, "did you fall on purpose?"

"Not I," sobbed little Vee-Vee, slinging his ailing arm in its mate.

"Woe! woe to us all, then," cried Babbalanja; "for what direful events
may be in store for us which we can not avoid."

"How now, mortal?" cried Media; "what now?"

"My lord, think of it. Minus human inducement from without, and minus
volition from within, Vee-Vee has met with an accident, which has
almost maimed him for life. Is it not terrifying to think of? Are not
all mortals exposed to similar, nay, worse calamities, ineffably
unavoidable? Woe, woe, I say, to us Mardians! Here, take my last
breath; let me give up this beggarly ghost!"

"Nay," said Media; "pause, Babbalanja. Turn it not adrift prematurely.
Let it house till midnight; the proper time for you mortals to
dissolve. But, philosopher, if you harp upon Vee-Vee's mishap, know
that it was owing to nothing but his carelessness."

"And what was that owing to, my lord?"

"To Vee-Vee himself."

"Then, my lord, what brought such a careless being into Mardi?"

"A long course of generations. He's some one's great-great-grandson,
doubtless; who was great-great-grandson to some one else; who also had
grandsires."

"Many thanks then to your highness; for you establish the doctrine of
Philosophical Necessity."

"No. I establish nothing; I but answer your questions."

"All one, my lord: you are a Necessitarian; in other words, you hold
that every thing takes place through absolute necessity."

"Do you take me, then, for a fool, and a Fatalist? Pardie! a bad creed
for a monarch, the distributor of rewards and punishments."

"Right there, my lord. But, for all that, your highness is a
Necessitarian, yet no Fatalist. Confound not the distinct. Fatalism
presumes express and irrevocable edicts of heaven concerning
particular events. Whereas, Necessity holds that all events are
naturally linked, and inevitably follow each other, without
providential interposition, though by the eternal letting of
Providence."

"Well, well, Babbalanja, I grant it all. Go on."

"On high authority, we are told that in times past the fall of certain
nations in Mardi was prophesied of seers."

"Most true, my lord," said Mohi; "it is all down in the chronicles."

"Ha! ha!" cried Media. "Go on, philosopher."

Continued Babbalanja, "Previous to the time assigned to their
fulfillment, those prophecies were bruited through Mardi; hence,
previous to the time assigned to their fulfillment, full knowledge of
them may have come to the nations concerned. Now, my lord, was it
possible for those nations, thus forwarned, so to conduct their
affairs, as at, the prophesied time, to prove false the events
revealed to be in store for them?"

"However that may be," said Mohi, "certain it is, those events did
assuredly come to pass:--Compare the ruins of Babbelona with book
ninth, chapter tenth, of the chronicles. Yea, yea, the owl inhabits
where the seers predicted; the jackals yell in the tombs of the
kings."

"Go on, Babbalanja," said Media. "Of course those nations could not
have resisted their doom. Go on, then: vault over your premises."

"If it be, then, my lord, that--"

"My very worshipful lord," interposed Mohi, "is not our philosopher
getting off soundings; and may it not be impious to meddle with these
things?"

"Were it so, old man, he should have known it. The king of Odo is
something more than you mortals."

"But are we the great gods themselves," cried Yoomy, "that we
discourse of these things."

"No, minstrel," said Babbalanja; "and no need have the great gods to
discourse of things perfectly comprehended by them, and by themselves
ordained. But you and I, Yoomy, are men, and not gods; hence is it for
us, and not for them, to take these things for our themes. Nor is
there any impiety in the right use of our reason, whatever the issue.
Smote with superstition, shall we let it wither and die out, a dead,
limb to a live trunk, as the mad devotee's arm held up motionless for
years? Or shall we employ it but for a paw, to help us to our bodily
needs, as the brutes use their instinct? Is not reason subtile as
quicksilver--live as lightning--a neighing charger to advance, but a
snail to recede? Can we starve that noble instinct in us, and hope
that it will survive? Better slay the body than the soul; and if it be
the direst of sins to be the murderers of our own bodies, how much
more to be a soul-suicide. Yoomy, we are men, we are angels. And in
his faculties, high Oro is but what a man would be, infinitely
magnified. Let us aspire to all things. Are we babes in the woods, to
be scared by the shadows of the trees? What shall appall us? If eagles
gaze at the sun, may not men at the gods?"

"For one," said Media,  "you may gaze at me freely. Gaze on. But talk
not of my kinsmen so fluently, Babbalanja. Return to your argument."

"I go back then, my lord. By implication, you have granted, that in
times past the future was foreknown of Oro; hence, in times past, the
future must have been foreordained. But in all things Oro is
immutable. Wherefore our own future is foreknown and foreordained.
Now, if things foreordained concerning nations have in times past been
revealed to them previous to their taking place, then something
similar may be presumable concerning individual men now living. That
is to say, out of all the events destined to befall any one man, it is
not impossible that previous knowledge of some one of these events
might supernaturally come to him. Say, then, it is revealed to me,
that ten days hence I shall, of my own choice, fall upon my javelin;
when the time comes round, could I refrain from suicide? Grant the
strongest presumable motives to the act; grant that, unforewarned, I
would slay myself outright at the time appointed: yet, foretold of it,
and resolved to test the decree to the uttermost, under such
circumstances, I say, would it be possible for me not to kill myself?
If possible, then predestination is not a thing absolute; and Heaven
is wise to keep secret from us those decrees, whose virtue consists in
secrecy. But if not possible, then that suicide would not be mine, but
Oro's. And, by consequence, not only that act, but all my acts, are
Oro's. In sum, my lord, he who believes that in times past, prophets
have prophesied, and their prophecies have been fulfilled; when put to
it, inevitably must allow that every man now living is an
irresponsible being."

"In sooth, a very fine argument very finely argued," said Media. "You
have done marvels, Babbalanja. But hark ye, were I so disposed, I
could deny you all over, premises and conclusions alike. And
furthermore, my cogent philosopher, had you published that anarchical
dogma among my subjects in Oro, I had silenced you by my spear-headed
scepter, instead of my uplifted finger."

"Then, all thanks and all honor to your generosity, my lord, in
granting us the immunities you did at the outset of this voyage. But,
my lord, permit me one word more. Is not Oro omnipresent--absolutely
every where?"

"So you mortals teach, Babbalanja."

"But so do they _mean_, my lord. Often do we Mardians stick to terms
for ages, yet truly apply not their meanings."

"Well, Oro is every where. What now?"

"Then, if that be absolutely so, Oro is not merely a universal on-
looker, but occupies and fills all space; and no vacancy is left for
any being, or any thing but Oro. Hence, Oro is _in_ all things, and
himself _is_ all things--the time-old creed. But since evil abounds,
and Oro is all things, then he can not be perfectly good; wherefore,
Oro's omnipresence and moral perfection seem incompatible.
Furthermore, my lord those orthodox systems which ascribe to Oro
almighty and universal attributes every way, those systems, I say,
destroy all intellectual individualities but Oro, and resolve the
universe into him. But this is a heresy; wherefore, orthodoxy and
heresy are one. And thus is it, my lord, that upon these matters we
Mardians all agree and disagree together, and kill each other with
weapons that burst in our hands. Ah, my lord, with what mind must
blessed Oro look down upon this scene! Think you he discriminates
between the deist and atheist? Nay; for the Searcher of the cores of
all hearts well knoweth that atheists there are none. For in things
abstract, men but differ in the sounds that come from their mouths,
and not in the wordless thoughts lying at the bottom of their beings.
The universe is all of one mind. Though my twin-brother sware to me,
by the blazing sun in heaven at noon-day, that Oro is not; yet would
he belie the thing he intended to express. And who lives that
blasphemes? What jargon of human sounds so puissant as to insult the
unutterable majesty divine? Is Oro's honor in the keeping of Mardi?--
Oro's conscience in man's hands? Where our warrant, with Oro's sign-
manual, to justify the killing, burning, and destroying, or far worse,
the social persecutions we institute in his behalf? Ah! how shall
these self-assumed attorneys and vicegerents be astounded, when they
shall see all heaven peopled with heretics and heathens, and all hell
nodding over with miters! Ah! let us Mardians quit this insanity. Let
us be content with the theology in the grass and the flower, in seed-
time and harvest. Be it enough for us to know that Oro indubitably is.
My lord! my lord! sick with the spectacle of the madness of men, and
broken with spontaneous doubts, I sometimes see but two things in all
Mardi to believe:--that I myself exist, and that I can most happily,
or least miserably exist, by the practice of righteousness. All else
is in the clouds; and naught else may I learn, till the firmament be
split from horizon to horizon. Yet, alas! too often do I swing from
these moorings."

"Alas! his fit is coming upon him again," whispered Yoomy.

"Why, Babbalanja," said Media, "I almost pity you. You are too warm,
too warm. Why fever your soul with these things? To no use you mortals
wax earnest. No thanks, but curses, will you get for your earnestness.
You yourself you harm most. Why not take creeds as they come? It is
not so hard to be persuaded; never mind about believing."

"True, my lord; not very hard; no act is required; only passiveness.
Stand still and receive. Faith is to the thoughtless, doubts to the
thinker."

"Then, why think at all? Is it not better for you mortals to clutch
error as in a vice, than have your fingers meet in your hand? And to
what end your eternal inquisitions? You have nothing to substitute.
You say all is a lie; then out with the truth. Philosopher, your devil
is but a foolish one, after all. I, a demi-god, never say nay to these
things."

"Yea, my lord, it would hardly answer for Oro himself, were he to come
down to Mardi, to deny men's theories concerning him. Did they not
strike at the rash deity in Alma?"

"Then, why deny those theories yourself? Babbalanja, you almost affect
my immortal serenity. Must you forever be a sieve for good /grain to
run through, while you retain but the chaff? Your tongue is forked.
You speak two languages: flat folly for yourself, and wisdom for
others. Babbalanja, if you have any belief of your own, keep it; but,
in Oro's name, keep it secret."

"Ay, my lord, in these things wise men are spectators, not actors;
wise men look on, and say 'ay.'"

"Why not say so yourself, then?"

"My lord, because I have often told you, that I am a fool, and not wise."

"Your Highness," said Mohi, "this whole discourse seems to have grown
out of the subject of Necessity and Free Will. Now, when a boy, I
recollect hearing a sage say, that these things were reconcilable."

"Ay?" said Media, "what say you to that, now, Babbalanja?"

"It may be even so, my lord. Shall I tell you a story?"

"Azzageddi's stirring now," muttered Mohi.

"Proceed," said Media.

"King Normo had a fool, called Willi, whom he loved to humor. Now,
though Willi ever obeyed his lord, by the very instinct of his
servitude, he flattered himself that he was free; and this conceit it
was, that made the fool so entertaining to the king. One day, said
Normo to his fool,--'Go, Willi, to yonder tree, and wait there till I
come,' 'Your Majesty, I will,' said Willi, bowing beneath his jingling
bells; 'but I presume your Majesty has no objections to my walking on
my hands:--I am free, I hope.' 'Perfectly,' said Normo, 'hands or
feet, it's all the same to me; only do my bidding.' 'I thought as
much,' said Willi; so, swinging his limber legs into the air, Willi,
thumb after thumb, essayed progression. But soon, his bottled blood so
rushed downward through his neck, that he was fain to turn a somerset
and regain his feet. Said he, 'Though I am free to do it, it's not so
easy turning digits into toes; I'll walk, by gad! which is my other
option.' So he went straight forward, and did King Normo's bidding in
the natural way."

"A curious story that," said Media; "whence came it?"

"My lord, where every thing, but one, is to be had:--within."

"You are charged to the muzzle, then," said Braid-Beard. "Yes, Mohi;
and my talk is my overflowing, not my fullness."

"And what may you be so full of?"

"Of myself."

"So it seems," said Mohi, whisking away a fly with his beard.

"Babbalanja," said Media, "you did right in selecting this ebon night
for discussing the theme you did; and truly, you mortals are but too
apt to talk in the dark."

"Ay, my lord, and we mortals may prate still more in the dark, when we
are dead; for methinks, that if we then prate at all, 'twill be in our
sleep. Ah! my lord, think not that in aught I've said this night, I
would assert any wisdom of my own. I but fight against the armed and
crested Lies of Mardi, that like a host, assail me. I am stuck full of
darts; but, tearing them from out me, gasping, I discharge them whence
they come."

So saying, Babbalanja slowly drooped, and fell reclining; then lay
motionless as the marble Gladiator, that for centuries has been dying.



CHAPTER XXXII
My Lord Media Summons Mohi To The Stand


While slowly the night wore on, and the now scudding clouds flown
past, revealed again the hosts in heaven, few words were uttered save
by Media; who, when all others were most sad and silent, seemed but
little moved, or not stirred a jot.

But that night, he filled his flagon fuller than his wont, and drank,
and drank, and pledged the stars.

"Here's to thee, old Arcturus! To thee, old Aldebaran! who ever poise
your wine-red, fiery spheres on high. A health to _thee_, my regal
friend, Alphacca, in the constellation of the Crown: Lo! crown to
crown, I pledge thee! I drink to _ye_, too, Alphard! Markab! Denebola!
Capella!--to _ye_, too, sailing Cygnus! Aquila soaring!--All round, a
health to all your diadems! May they never fade! nor mine!"

At last, in the shadowy east, the Dawn, like a gray, distant sail
before the wind, was descried; drawing nearer and nearer, till her
gilded prow was perceived.

And as in tropic gales, the winds blow fierce, and more fierce, with
the advent of the sun; so with King Media; whose mirth now breezed up
afresh. But, as at sunrise, the sea-storm only blows harder, to settle
down at last into a steady wind; even so, in good time, my lord Media
came to be more decorous of mood. And Babbalanja abated his reveries.

For who might withstand such a morn!

As on the night-banks of the far-rolling Ganges, the royal bridegroom
sets forth for his bride, preceded by nymphs, now this side, now that,
lighting up all the flowery flambeaux held on high as they pass; so
came the Sun, to his nuptials with Mardi:--the Hours going on before,
touching all the peaks, till they glowed rosy-red.

By reflex, the lagoon, here and there, seemed on fire; each curling
wave-crest a flame.

Noon came as we sailed.

And now, citrons and bananas, cups and calabashes, calumets and
tobacco, were passed round; and we were all very merry and mellow
indeed. Smacking our lips, chatting, smoking, and sipping. Now a
mouthful of citron to season a repartee; now a swallow of wine to wash
down a precept; now a fragrant whiff to puff away care. Many things
did beguile. From side to side, we turned and grazed, like Juno's
white oxen in clover meads.

Soon, we drew nigh to a charming cliff, overrun with woodbines, on
high suspended from flowering Tamarisk and Tamarind-trees. The
blossoms of the Tamarisks, in spikes of small, red bells; the
Tamarinds, wide-spreading their golden petals, red-streaked as with
streaks of the dawn. Down sweeping to the water, the vines trailed
over to the crisp, curling waves,--little pages, all eager to hold up
their trains.

Within, was a bower; going behind it, like standing inside the sheet
of the falls of the Genesee.

In this arbor we anchored. And with their shaded prows thrust in among
the flowers, our three canoes seemed baiting by the way, like wearied
steeds in a hawthorn lane.

High midsummer noon is more silent than night. Most sweet a siesta
then. And noon dreams are day-dreams indeed; born under the meridian
sun. Pale Cynthia begets pale specter shapes; and her frigid rays best
illuminate white nuns, marble monuments, icy glaciers, and cold tombs.

The sun rolled on. And starting to his feet, arms clasped, and wildly
staring, Yoomy exclaimed--"Nay, nay, thou shalt not depart, thou
maid!--here, here I fold thee for aye!--Flown?--A dream! Then siestas
henceforth while I live. And at noon, every day will I meet thee,
sweet maid! And, oh Sun! set not; and poppies bend over us, when next
we embrace!"

"What ails that somnambulist?" cried Media, rising. "Yoomy, I say!
what ails thee?"

"He must have indulged over freely in those citrons," said Mohi,
sympathetically rubbing his fruitery. "Ho, Yoomy! a swallow of brine
will help thee."

"Alas," cried Babbalanja, "do the fairies then wait on repletion? Do
our dreams come from below, and not from the skies? Are we angels, or
dogs? Oh, Man, Man, Man! thou art harder to solve, than the Integral
Calculus--yet plain as a primer; harder to find than the
philosopher's-stone--yet ever at hand; a more cunning compound, than
an alchemist's--yet a hundred weight of flesh, to a penny weight of
spirit; soul and body glued together, firm as atom to atom, seamless
as the vestment without joint, warp or woof--yet divided as by a
river, spirit from flesh; growing both ways, like a tree, and dropping
thy topmost branches to earth, like thy beard or a banian!--I give
thee up, oh Man! thou art twain--yet indivisible; all things--yet a
poor unit at best."

"Philosopher you seem puzzled to account for the riddles of your
race," cried Media, sideways reclining at his ease. "Now, do thou, old
Mohi, stand up before a demi-god, and answer for all.--Draw nigh, so I
can eye thee. What art thou, mortal?"

"My worshipful lord, a man."

"And what are men?"

"My lord, before thee is a specimen."

"I fear me, my lord will get nothing out of that witness," said
Babbalanja. "Pray you, King Media, let another inquisitor cross-
question."

"Proceed; take the divan."

"A pace or two farther off, there, Mohi; so I can garner thee all in
at a glance.--Attention! Rememberest thou, fellow-being, when thou
wast born?"

"Not I. Old Braid-Beard had no memory then."

"When, then, wast thou first conscious of being?"

"What time I was teething: my first sensation was an ache."

"What dost thou, fellow-being, here in Mardi?"

"What doth Mardi here, fellow-being, under me?"

"Philosopher, thou gainest but little by thy questions," cried Yoomy
advancing. "Let a poet endeavor."

"I abdicate in your favor, then, gentle Yoomy; let me smooth the divan
for you;--there: be seated."

"Now, Mohi, who art thou?" said Yoomy, nodding his bird-of-paradise
plume.

"The sole witness, it seems, in this case."

"Try again minstrel," cried Babbalanja.

"Then, what art thou, Mohi?"

"Even what thou art, Yoomy."

"He is too sharp or too blunt for us all," cried King Media. "His
devil is even more subtle than yours, Babbalanja. Let him go."

"Shall I adjourn the court then, my lord?" said Babbalanja.

"Ay."

"Oyez! Oyez! Oyez! All mortals having business at this court, know ye,
that it is adjourned till sundown of the day, which hath no to-
morrow."



CHAPTER XXXIII
Wherein Babbalanja And Yoomy Embrace


"How the isles grow and multiply around us!" cried Babbalanja, as
turning the bold promontory of an uninhabited shore, many distant
lands bluely loomed into view. "Surely, our brief voyage, may not
embrace all Mardi like its reef?"

"No," said Media, "much must be left unseen. Nor every where can
Yillah be sought, noble Taji."

Said Yoomy, "We are as birds, with pinions clipped, that in
unfathomable and endless woods, but flit from twig to twig of one poor
tree."

"More isles! more isles!" cried Babbalanja, erect, and gazing abroad.
"And lo! round all is heaving that infinite ocean. Ah! gods! what
regions lie beyond?"

"But whither now?" he cried, as in obedience to Media, the paddlers
suddenly altered our course.

"To the bold shores of Diranda," said Media.

"Ay; the land of clubs and javelins, where the lord seigniors Hello
and Piko celebrate their famous games," cried Mohi.

"Your clubs and javelins," said Media, "remind me of the great battle-
chant of Narvi--Yoomy!"--turning to the minstrel, gazing abstractedly
into the water;--"awake, Yoomy, and give us the lines."

"My lord Media, 'tis but a rude, clanging thing; dissonant as if the
north wind blew through it. Methinks the company will not fancy lines
so inharmonious. Better sing you, perhaps, one of my sonnets."

"Better sit and sob in our ears, silly Yoomy that thou art!--no! no!
none of your sentiment now; my soul is martially inclined; I want
clarion peals, not lute warblings. So throw out your chest, Yoomy:
lift high your voice; and blow me the old battle-blast.--Begin, sir
minstrel."

And warning all, that he himself had not composed the odious chant,
Yoomy thus:--

    Our clubs! our clubs!
    The thousand clubs of Narvi!
    Of the living trunk of the Palm-tree made;
    Skull breakers! Brain spatterers!
    Wielded right, and wielded left;
    Life quenchers! Death dealers!
    Causing live bodies to run headless!

    Our bows! our bows!
    The thousand bows of Narvi!
    Ribs of Tara, god of War!
    Fashioned from the light Tola their arrows;
    Swift messengers! Heart piercers!
    Barbed with sharp pearl shells;
    Winged with white tail-plumes;
    To wild death-chants, strung with the hair of wild maidens!

    Our spears! our spears!
    The thousand spears of Narvi!
    Of the thunder-riven Moo-tree made
    Tall tree, couched on the long mountain Lana!
    No staves for gray-beards! no rods for fishermen!
    Tempered by fierce sea-winds,
    Splintered into lances by lightnings,
    Long arrows! Heart seekers!
    Toughened by fire their sharp black points!

    Our slings! our slings!
    The thousand slings of Narvi!
    All tasseled, and braided, and gayly bedecked.
    In peace, our girdles; in war, our war-nets;
    Wherewith catch we heads as fish from the deep!
    The pebbles they hurl, have been hurled before,--
    Hurled up on the beach by the stormy sea!
    Pebbles, buried erewhile in the head of the shark:
    To be buried erelong in the heads of our foes!
    Home of hard blows, our pouches!
    Nest of death-eggs!  How quickly they hatch!

    Uplift, and couch we our spears, men!
    Ring hollow on the rocks our war clubs!
    Bend we our bows, feel the points of our arrows:
    Aloft, whirl in eddies our sling-nets;
    To the fight, men of Narvi!
    Sons of battle! Hunters of men!
    Raise high your war-wood!
    Shout Narvi! her groves in the storm!

"By Oro!" cried Media, "but Yoomy has well nigh stirred up all
Babbalanja's devils in me. Were I a mortal, I could fight now on a
pretense. And did any man say me nay, I would charge upon him like a
spear-point. Ah, Yoomy, thou and thy tribe have much to answer for; ye
stir up all Mardi with your lays. Your war chants make men fight; your
drinking songs, drunkards; your love ditties, fools. Yet there thou
sittest, Yoomy, gentle as a dove.--What art thou, minstrel, that thy
soft, singing soul should so master all mortals? Yoomy, like me, you
sway a scepter."

"Thou honorest my calling overmuch," said Yoomy, we minstrels but sing
our lays carelessly, my lord Media."

"Ay: and the more mischief they make."

"But sometimes we poets are didactic."

"Didactic and dull; many of ye are but too apt to be prosy unless
mischievous."

"Yet in our verses, my lord Media, but few of us purpose harm."

"But when all harmless to yourselves, ye may be otherwise to Mardi."

"And are not foul streams often traced to pure fountains, my lord?"
said Babbalanja. "The essence of all good and all evil is in us, not
out of us. Neither poison nor honey lodgeth in the flowers on which,
side by side, bees and wasps oft alight. My lord, nature is an
immaculate virgin, forever standing unrobed before us. True poets but
paint the charms which all eyes behold. The vicious would be vicious
without them."

"My lord Media," impetuously resumed Yoomy, "I am sensible of a
thousand sweet, merry fancies, limpid with innocence; yet my enemies
account them all lewd conceits."

"There be those in Mardi," said Babbalanja, "who would never ascribe
evil to others, did they not find it in their own hearts; believing
none can be different from themselves."

"My lord, my lord!" cried Yoomy. "The air that breathes my music from
me is a mountain air! Purer than others am I; for though not a woman,
I feel in me a woman's soul."

"Ah, have done, silly Yoomy," said Media. "Thou art becoming flighty,
even as Babbalanja, when Azzageddi is uppermost."

"Thus ever: ever thus!" sighed Yoomy. "They comprehend us not."

"Nor me," said Babbalanja. "Yoomy: poets both, we differ but in
seeming; thy airiest conceits are as the shadows of my deepest
ponderings; though Yoomy soars, and Babbalanja dives, both meet at
last. Not a song you sing, but I have thought its thought; and where
dull Mardi sees but your rose, I unfold its petals, and disclose a
pearl. Poets are we, Yoomy, in that we dwell without us; we live in
grottoes, palms, and brooks; we ride the sea, we ride the sky; poets
are omnipresent."



CHAPTER XXXIV
Of The Isle Of Diranda


In good time the shores of Diranda were in sight. And, introductory to
landing, Braid-Beard proceeded to give us some little account of the
island, and its rulers.

As previously hinted, those very magnificent and illustrious lord
seigniors, the lord seigniors Hello and Piko, who between them divided
Diranda, delighted in all manner of public games, especially warlike
ones; which last were celebrated so frequently, and were so fatal in
their results, that, not-withstanding the multiplicity of nuptials
taking place in the isle, its population remained in equilibrio. But,
strange to relate, this was the very object which the lord seigniors
had in view; the very object they sought to compass, by instituting
their games. Though, for the most part, they wisely kept the secret
locked up.

But to tell how the lord seigniors Hello and Piko came to join hands
in this matter.

Diranda had been amicably divided between them ever since the day they
were crowned; one reigning king in the East, the other in the West.
But King Piko had been long harassed with the thought, that the
unobstructed and indefinite increase of his browsing subjects might
eventually denude of herbage his portion of the island. Posterity,
thought he, is marshaling her generations in squadrons, brigades, and
battalions, and ere long will be down upon my devoted empire. Lo! her
locust cavalry darken the skies; her light-troop pismires cover the
earth. Alas! my son and successor, thou wilt inhale choke-damp for
air, and have not a private corner to say thy prayers.

By a sort of arithmetical progression, the probability, nay, the
certainty of these results, if not in some way averted, was proved to
King Piko; and he was furthermore admonished, that war--war to the
haft with King Hello--was the only cure for so menacing an evil.

But so it was, that King Piko, at peace with King Hello, and well
content with, the tranquillity of the times, little relished the idea
of picking a quarrel with his neighbor, and running its risks, in
order to phlebotomize his redundant population.

"Patience, most illustrious seignior," said another of his sagacious
Ahithophels, "and haply a pestilence may decimate the people."

But no pestilence came. And in every direction the young men and
maidens were recklessly rushing into wedlock; and so salubrious the
climate, that the old men stuck to the outside of the turf, and
refused to go under.

At last some Machiavel of a philosopher suggested, that peradventure
the object of war might be answered without going to war; that
peradventure King Hello might be brought to acquiesce in an
arrangement, whereby the men of Diranda might be induced to kill off
one another voluntarily, in a peaceable manner, without troubling
their rulers. And to this end, the games before mentioned were
proposed.

"Egad! my wise ones, you have hit it," cried Piko; "but will Hello say
ay?"

"Try him, most illustrious seignior," said Machiavel.

So to Hello went embassadors ordinary and extraordinary, and ministers
plenipotentiary and peculiar; and anxiously King Piko awaited their
return.

The mission was crowned with success.

Said King Hello to the ministers, in confidence:--"The very thing,
Dons, the very thing I have wanted. My people are increasing too fast.
They keep up the succession too well. Tell your illustrious master
it's a bargain. The games! the games! by all means."

So, throughout the island, by proclamation, they were forthwith
established; succeeding to a charm.

And the lord seigniors, Hello and Piko, finding their interests the
same, came together like bride and bridegroom; lived in the same
palace; dined off the same cloth; cut from the same bread-fruit; drank
from the same calabash; wore each other's crowns; and often locking
arms with a charming frankness, paced up and down in their dominions,
discussing the prospect of the next harvest of heads.

In his old-fashioned way, having related all this, with many other
particulars, Mohi was interrupted by Babbalanja, who inquired how the
people of Diranda relished the games, and how they fancied being
coolly thinned out in that manner.

To which in substance the chronicler replied, that of the true object
of the games, they had not the faintest conception; but hammered away
at each other, and fought and died together, like jolly good fellows.

"Right again, immortal old Bardianna!" cried Babbalanja.

"And what has the sage to the point this time?" asked Media.

"Why, my lord, in his chapter on "Cracked Crowns," Bardianna, after
many profound ponderings, thus concludes: In this cracked sphere we
live in, then, cracked skulls would seem the inevitable allotments of
many. Nor will the splintering thereof cease, till this pugnacious
animal we treat of be deprived of his natural maces: videlicet, his
arms. And right well doth man love to bruise and batter all occiputs
in his vicinity."

"Seems to me, our old friend must have been on his stilts that time,"
interrupted Mohi.

"No, Braid-Beard. But by way of apologizing for the unusual rigidity
of his style in that chapter, he says in a note, that it was written
upon a straight-backed settle, when he was ill of a lumbago, and a
crick in the neck."

"That incorrigible Azzageddi again," said Media, "Proceed with your
quotation, Babbalanja."

"Where was I, Braid-Beard?"

"Battering occiputs at the last accounts," said Mohi.

"Ah, yes. And right well doth man love to bruise and batter all
occiputs in his vicinity; he but follows his instincts; he is but one
member of a fighting world. Spiders, vixens, and tigers all war with a
relish; and on every side is heard the howls of hyenas, the
throttlings of mastiffs, the din of belligerant beetles, the buzzing
warfare of the insect battalions: and the shrill cries of lady Tartars
rending their lords. And all this existeth of necessity. To war it is,
and other depopulators, that we are beholden for elbow-room in Mardi
and for all our parks an gardens, wherein we are wont to expatiate.
Come on, then, plague, war, famine and viragos! Come on, I say, for
who shall stay ye? Come on, and healthfulize the census! And more
especially, oh War! do thou march forth with thy bludgeon! Cracked
are, our crowns by nature, and henceforth forever, cracked shall they
be by hard raps."

"And hopelessly cracked the skull, that hatched such a tirade of
nonsense," said Mohi.

"And think you not, old Bardianna knew that?" asked Babbalanja. "He
wrote an excellent chapter on that very subject."

"What, on the cracks in his own pate?"

"Precisely. And expressly asserts, that to those identical cracks, was
he indebted for what little light he had in his brain."

"I yield, Babbalanja; your old Ponderer is older than I."

"Ay, ay, Braid-Beard; his crest was a tortoise; and this was the
motto:--'I bite, but am not to be bitten.'"



CHAPTER XXXV
They Visit The Lords Piko And Hello


In good time, we landed at Diranda. And that landing was like landing
at Greenwich among the Waterloo pensioners. The people were docked
right and left; some without arms; some without legs; not one with a
tail; but to a man, all had heads, though rather the worse for wear;
covered with lumps and contusions.

Now, those very magnificent and illustrious lord seigniors, the lord
seigniors Hello and Piko, lived in a palace, round which was a fence
of the cane called Malacca, each picket helmed with a skull, of which
there were fifty, one to each cane. Over the door was the blended arms
of the high and mighty houses of Hello and Piko: a Clavicle crossed
over an Ulna.

Escorted to the sign of the Skull-and-Cross-Bones, we received the
very best entertainment which that royal inn could afford. We found
our hosts Hello and Piko seated together on a dais or throne, and now
and then drinking some claret-red wine from an ivory bowl, too large
to have been wrought from an elephant's tusk. They were in glorious
good spirits, shaking ivory coins in a skull.

"What says your majesty?" said Piko. "Heads or tails?"

"Oh, heads, your majesty," said Hello.

"And heads say I," said Piko.

And heads it was. But it was heads on both sides, so both were sure
to win.

And thus they were used to play merrily all day long; beheading the
gourds of claret by one slicing blow with their sickle-shaped
scepters. Wide round them lay empty calabashes, all feathered, red
dyed, and betasseled, trickling red wine from their necks, like the
decapitated pullets in the old baronial barn yard at Kenilworth, the
night before Queen Bess dined with my lord Leicester.

The first compliments over; and Media and Taji having met with a
reception suitable to their rank, the kings inquired, whether there
were any good javelin-flingers among us: for if that were the case,
they could furnish them plenty of sport. Informed, however, that none
of the party were professional warriors, their majesties looked rather
glum, and by way of chasing away the blues, called for some good old
stuff, that was red.

It seems, this soliciting guests, to keep their spears from decaying,
by cut and thrust play with their subjects, was a very common thing
with their illustrious majesties.

But if their visitors could not be prevailed upon to spear a subject
or so, our hospitable hosts resolved to have a few speared, and
otherwise served up for our special entertainment. In a word, our
arrival furnished a fine pretext for renewing their games; though, we
learned, that only ten days previous, upward of fifty combatants had
been slain at one of these festivals.

Be that as it might, their joint majesties determined upon another
one; and also upon our tarrying to behold it. We objected, saying we
must depart.

But we were kindly assured, that our canoes had been dragged out of
the water, and buried in a wood; there to remain till the games were
over.

The day fixed upon, was the third subsequent to our arrival; the
interval being devoted to preparations; summoning from their villages
and valleys the warriors of the land; and publishing the royal
proclamations, whereby the unbounded hospitality of the kings'
household was freely offered to all heroes whatsoever, who for the
love of arms, and the honor of broken heads, desired to cross battle-
clubs, hurl spears, or die game in the royal valley of Deddo.

Meantime, the whole island was in a state of uproarious commotion, and
strangers were daily arriving.

The spot set apart for the festival, was a spacious down, mantled with
white asters; which, waving in windrows, lay upon the land, like the
cream-surf surging the milk of young heifers. But that whiteness, here
and there, was spotted with strawberries; tracking the plain, as if
wounded creatures had been dragging themselves bleeding from some
deadly encounter. All round the down, waved scarlet thickets of
sumach, moaning in the wind, like the gory ghosts environing Pharsalia
the night after the battle; scaring away the peasants, who with
bushel-baskets came to the jewel-harvest of the rings of Pompey's
knights.

Beneath the heaped turf of this down, lay thousands of glorious
corpses of anonymous heroes, who here had died glorious deaths.

Whence, in the florid language of Diranda, they called this field "The
Field of Glory."



CHAPTER XXXVI
They Attend The Games


At last the third day dawned; and facing us upon entering the plain,
was a throne of red log-wood, canopied by the foliage of a red-dyed
Pandannus. Upon this throne, purple-robed, reclined those very
magnificent and illustrious lords seigniors, the lord seigniors Hello
and Piko. Before them, were many gourds of wine; and crosswise, staked
in the sod, their own royal spears.

In the middle of the down, as if by a furrow, a long, oval space was
margined of about which, a crowd of spectators were seated. Opposite
the throne, was reserved a clear passage to the arena, defined by air-
lines, indefinitely produced from the leveled points of two spears, so
poised by a brace of warriors.

Drawing near, our party was courteously received, and assigned a
commodious lounge.

The first encounter was a club-fight between two warriors. Nor casque
of steel, nor skull of Congo could have resisted their blows, had they
fallen upon the mark; for they seemed bent upon driving each other, as
stakes, into the earth. Presently, one of them faltered; but his
adversary rushing in to cleave him down, slipped against a guavarind;
when the falterer, with one lucky blow, high into the air sent the
stumbler's club, which descended upon the crown of a spectator, who
was borne from the plain.

"All one," muttered Pike.

"As good dead as another," muttered Hello.

The second encounter was a hugging-match; wherein two warriors, masked
in Grisly-bear skins, hugged each other to death.

The third encounter was a bumping-match between a fat warrior and a
dwarf. Standing erect, his paunch like a bass-drum before a drummer,
the fat man was run at, head-a-tilt by the dwarf, and sent spinning
round on his axis.

The fourth encounter was a tussle between two-score warriors, who all
in a mass, writhed like the limbs in Sebastioni's painting of Hades.
After obscuring themselves in a cloud of dust, these combatants,
uninjured, but hugely blowing, drew off; and separately going among
the spectators, rehearsed their experience of the fray.

"Braggarts!" mumbled Piko.

"Poltroons!" growled Hello.

While the crowd were applauding, a sober-sided observer, trying to rub
the dust out of his eyes, inquired of an enthusiastic neighbor, "Pray,
what was all that about?"

"Fool! saw you not the dust?"

"That I did," said Sober-Sides, again rubbing his eyes, "But I can
raise a dust myself."

The fifth encounter was a fight of single sticks between one hundred
warriors, fifty on a side.

In a line, the first fifty emerged from the sumachs, their weapons
interlocked in a sort of wicker-work. In advance marched a priest,
bearing an idol with a cracked cocoanut for a head,--Krako, the god of
Trepans. Preceded by damsels flinging flowers, now came on the second
fifty, gayly appareled, weapons poised, and their feet nimbly moving
in a martial measure.

Midway meeting, both parties touched poles, then retreated. Very
courteous, this; but tantamount to bowing each other out of Mardi; for
upon Pike's tossing a javelin, they rushed in, and each striking his
man, all fell to the ground.

"Well done!" cried Piko.

"Brave fellows!" cried Hello.

"But up and at it again, my heroes!" joined both. "Lo! we kings look
on, and there stand the bards!"

These bards were a row of lean, sallow, old men, in thread-bare robes,
and chaplets of dead leaves.

"Strike up!" cried Piko.

"A stave!" cried Hello.

Whereupon, the old croakers, each with a quinsy, sang thus in cracked
strains:--

    Quack! Quack! Quack!
    With a toorooloo whack;
    Hack away, merry men, hack away.
    Who would not die brave,
    His ear smote by a stave?
    Thwack away, merry men, thwack away!
    'Tis glory that calls,
    To each hero that falls,
    Hack away, merry men, hack away!
    Quack! Quack! Quack!
    Quack! Quack!
    Quack!

Thus it tapered away.

"Ha, ha!" cried Piko, "how they prick their ears at that!"

"Hark ye, my invincibles!" cried Hello. "That pean is for the slain.
So all ye who have lives left, spring to it! Die and be glorified!
Now's the time!--Strike up again, my ducklings!"

Thus incited, the survivors staggered to their feet; and hammering
away at each others' sconces, till they rung like a chime of bells
going off with a triple-bob-major, they finally succeeded in
immortalizing themselves by quenching their mortalities all round; the
bards still singing.

"Never mind your music now," cried Piko.

"It's all over," said Hello.

"What valiant fellows we have for subjects," cried Piko.

"Ho! grave-diggers, clear the field," cried Hello.

"Who else is for glory?" cried Piko.

"There stand the bards!" cried Hello.

But now there rushed among the crowd a haggard figure, trickling with
blood, and wearing a robe, whose edges were burned and blacked by
fire. Wielding a club, it ran to and fro, with loud yells menacing
all.

A noted warrior this; who, distracted at the death of five sons slain
in recent games, wandered from valley to valley, wrestling and
fighting.

With wild cries of "The Despairer! The Despairer!" the appalled
multitude fled; leaving the two kings frozen on their throne, quaking
and quailing, their teeth rattling like dice.

The Despairer strode toward them; when, recovering their senses, they
ran; for a time pursued through the woods by the phantom.



CHAPTER XXXVII
Taji Still Hunted, And Beckoned


Previous to the kings' flight, we had plunged into the neighboring
woods; and from thence emerging, entered brakes of cane, sprouting
from morasses. Soon we heard a whirring, as if three startled
partridges had taken wing; it proved three feathered arrows, from
three unseen hands.

Gracing us, two buried in the ground, but from Taji's arm, the third
drew blood.

On all sides round we turned; but none were seen. "Still the avengers
follow," said Babbalanja.

"Lo! the damsels three!" cried Yoomy. "Look where they come!"

We joined them by the sumach-wood's red skirts; and there, they waved
their cherry stalks, and heavy bloated cactus leaves, their crimson
blossoms armed with nettles; and before us flung shining, yellow,
tiger-flowers spotted red.

"Blood!" cried Yoomy, starting, "and leopards on your track!"

And now the syrens blew through long reeds, tasseled with their
panicles, and waving verdant scarfs of vines, came dancing toward us,
proffering clustering grapes.

"For all now yours, Taji; and all that yet may come," cried Yoomy,
"fly to me! I will dance away your gloom, and drown it in inebriation."

"Away! woe is its own wine. What may be mine, that will I endure, in
its own essence to the quick. Let me feel the poniard if it stabs."

They vanished in the wood; and hurrying on, we soon gained sun-light,
and the open glade.



CHAPTER XXXVIII
They Embark From Diranda


Arrived at the Sign of the Skulls, we found the illustrious lord
seigniors at rest from their flight, and once more, quaffing their
claret, all thoughts of the specter departed. Instead of rattling
their own ivory iii the heads on their shoulders, they were rattling
their dice in the skulls in their hands. And still "Heads," was the
cry, and "Heads," was the throw.

That evening they made known to my lord Media that an interval of two
days must elapse ere the games were renewed, in order to reward the
victors, bury their dead, and provide for the execution of an
Islander, who under the pro-vocation of a blow, had killed a stranger.

As this suspension of the festivities had been wholly unforeseen, our
hosts were induced to withdraw the embargo laid upon our canoes.
Nevertheless, they pressed us to remain; saying, that what was to come
would far exceed in interest, what had already taken place. The games
in prospect being of a naval description, embracing certain hand-to-
hand contests in the water between shoals of web-footed warriors.

However, we decided to embark on the morrow.

It was in the cool of the early morning, at that hour when a man's
face can be known, that we set sail from Diranda; and in the ghostly
twilight, our thoughts reverted to the phantom that so suddenly had
cleared the plain. With interest we hearkened to the recitals of Mohi;
who discoursing of the sad end of many brave chieftains in Mardi, made
allusion to the youthful Adondo, one of the most famous of the chiefs
of the chronicles. In a canoe-fight, after performing prodigies of
valor; he was wounded in the head, and sunk to the bottom of the lagoon.

"There is a noble monody upon the death of Adondo," said Yoomy. "Shall
I sing it, my lord? It. is very beautiful; nor could I ever repeat it
without a tear."

"We will dispense with your tears, minstrel," said Media, "but sing
it, if you will."

And Yoomy sang:--

    Departed the pride and the glory of Mardi:
    The vaunt of her isles sleeps deep in the sea,
      That rolls o'er his corpse with a hush.
      His warriors bend over their spears,
      His sisters gaze upward and mourn.
        Weep, weep, for Adondo, is dead!
      The sun has gone down in a shower;
      Buried in clouds in the face of the moon;
    Tears stand in the eyes of the starry skies,
      And stand in the eyes of the flowers;
    And streams of tears are the trickling brooks,
      Coursing adown the mountains.--
    Departed the pride, and the glory of Mardi:
    The vaunt of her isles sleeps deep in the sea.
    Fast falls the small rain on its bosom that sobs.--
      Not showers of rain, but the tears of Oro.


"A dismal time it must have been," yawned Media, "not a dry brook then
in Mardi, not a lake that was not moist. Lachrymose rivulets, and
inconsolable lagoons! Call you this poetry, minstrel?"

"Mohi has something like a tear in his eye," said Yoomy.

"False!" cried Mohi, brushing it aside.

"Who composed that monody?" said Babbalanja. "I have often heard it
before."

"None know, Babbalanja but the poet must be still singing to himself;
his songs bursting through the turf in the flowers over his grave."

"But gentle Yoomy, Adondo is a legendary hero, indefinitely dating
back. May not his monody, then, be a spontaneous melody, that has been
with us since Mardi began? What bard composed the soft verses that our
palm boughs sing at even? Nay, Yoomy, that monody was not written by
man."

"Ah! Would that I had been the poet, Babbalanja; for then had I been
famous indeed; those lines are chanted through all the isles, by
prince and peasant. Yes, Adondo's monody will pervade the ages, like
the low under-tone you hear, when many singers do sing."

"My lord, my lord," cried Babbalanja, "but this were to be truly
immortal;--to be perpetuated in our works, and not in our names. Let
me, oh Oro! be anonymously known!"



CHAPTER XXXIX
Wherein Babbalanja Discourses Of Himself


An interval of silence was at last broken by Babbalanja.

Pointing to the sun, just gaining the horizon, he exclaimed, "As old
Bardianna says--shut your eyes, and believe."

"And what may Bardianna have to do with yonder orb?" said Media.

This much, my lord, the astronomers maintain that Mardi moves round
the sun; which I, who never formally investigated the matter for
myself, can by no means credit; unless, plainly seeing one thing, I
blindly believe another. Yet even thus blindly does all Mardi
subscribe to an astronomical system, which not one in fifty thousand
can astronomically prove. And not many centuries back, my lord, all
Mardi did equally subscribe to an astronomical system, precisely the
reverse of that which they now believe. But the mass of Mardians have
not as much reason to believe the first system, as the exploded one;
for all who have eyes must assuredly see, that the sun seems to move,
and that Mardi seems a fixture, eternally _here_. But doubtless there
are theories which may be true, though the face of things belie them.
Hence, in such cases, to the ignorant, disbelief would seem more
natural than faith; though they too often reject the testimony of
their own senses, for what to them, is a mere hypothesis. And thus, my
lord, is it, that the masts of Mardians do not believe because they
know, but because they know not. And they are as ready to receive one
thing as another, if it comes from a canonical source. My lord, Mardi
is as an ostrich, which will swallow augh you offer, even a bar of
iron, if placed endwise. And though the iron be indigestible, yet it
serves to fill: in feeding, the end proposed. For Mardi must have
something to exercise its digestion, though that something be forever
indigestible. And as fishermen for sport, throw two lumps of bait,
united by a cord, to albatrosses floating on the sea; which are
greedily attempted to be swallowed, one lump by this fowl, the other
by that; but forever are kept reciprocally going up and down in them,
by means of the cord; even so, my lord, do I sometimes fancy, that our
theorists divert them-selves with the greediness of Mardians to
believe."

"Ha, ha," cried Media, "methinks this must be Azzageddi who speaks."

"No, my lord; not long since, Azzageddi received a furlough to go home
and warm himself for a while. But this leaves me not alone."

"How?"

"My lord,--for the present putting Azzageddi entirely aside,--though I
have now been upon terms of close companionship with myself for nigh
five hundred moons, I have not yet been able to decide who or what I
am. To you, perhaps, I seem Babbalanja; but to myself, I seem not
myself. All I am sure of, is a sort of prickly sensation all over me,
which they call life; and, occasionally, a headache or a queer conceit
admonishes me, that there is something astir in my attic. But how know
I, that these sensations are identical with myself? For aught I know,
I may be somebody else. At any rate, I keep an eye on myself, as I
would on a stranger. There is something going on in me, that is
independent of me. Many a time, have I willed to do one thing, and
another has been done. I will not say by myself, for I was not
consulted about it; it was done instinctively. My most virtuous
thoughts are not born of my musings, but spring up in me, like bright
fancies to the poet; unsought, spontaneous. Whence they come I know
not. I am a blind man pushed from behind; in vain, I turn about to see
what propels me. As vanity, I regard the praises of my friends; for
what they commend pertains not to me, Babbalanja; but to this unknown
something that forces me to it. But why am I, a middle aged Mardian,
less prone to excesses than when a youth? The same inducements and
allurements are around me. But no; my more ardent passions are burned
out; those which are strongest when we are least able to resist them.
Thus, then, my lord, it is not so much outer temptations that prevail
over us mortals; but inward instincts."

"A very curious speculation," said Media. But Babbalanja, have you
mortals no moral sense, as they call it?"

"We have. But the thing you speak of is but an after-birth; we eat and
drink many months before we are conscious of thoughts. And though some
adults would seem to refer all their actions to this moral sense, yet,
in reality, it is not so; for, dominant in them, their moral sense
bridles their instinctive passions; wherefore, they do not govern
themselves, but are governed by their very natures. Thus, some men in
youth are constitutionally as staid as I am now. But shall we
pronounce them pious and worthy youths for this? Does he abstain, who
is not incited? And on the other hand, if the instinctive passions
through life naturally have the supremacy over the moral sense, as in
extreme cases we see it developed in irreclaimable malefactors,--shall
we pronounce such, criminal and detestable wretches? My lord, it is
easier for some men to be saints, than for others not to be sinners."

"That will do, Babbalanja; you are on the verge, take not the leap! Go
back whence you set out, and tell us of that other, and still more
mysterious Azzageddi; him whom you hinted to have palmed himself off
on you for you yourself."

"Well, then, my lord,--Azzageddi still set aside,--upon that self-same
inscrutable stranger, I charge all those past actions of mine, which
in the retrospect appear to me such eminent folly, that I am
confident, it was not I, Babbalanja, now speaking, that committed
them. Nevertheless, my lord, this very day I may do some act, which at
a future period may seem equally senseless; for in one lifetime we
live a hundred lives. By the incomprehensible stranger in me, I say,
this body of mine has been rented out scores of times, though always
one dark chamber in me is retained by the old mystery."

"Will you never come to the mark, Babbalanja? Tell me something direct
of the stranger. Who, what is he? Introduce him."

"My lord, I can not. He is locked up in me. In a mask, he dodges me.
He prowls about in me, hither and thither; he peers, and I stare. This
is he who talks in my sleep, revealing my secrets; and takes me to
unheard of realms, beyond the skies of Mardi. So present is he always,
that I seem not so much to live of myself, as to be a mere
apprehension of the unaccountable being that is in me. Yet all the
time, this being is I, myself."

"Babbalanja," said Media, "you have fairly turned yourself inside out."

"Yes, my lord," said Mohi, "and he has so unsettled me, that I begin
to think all Mardi a square circle."

"How is that, Babbalanja," said Media, "is a circle square?"

"No, my lord, but ever since Mardi began, we Mardians have been
essaying our best to square it."

"Cleverly retorted. Now, Babbalanja, do you not imagine, that you may
do harm by disseminating these sophisms of yours; which like your
devil theory, would seem to relieve all Mardi from moral
accountability?"

"My lord, at bottom, men wear no bonds that other men can strike off;
and have no immunities, of which other men can deprive them. Tell a
good man that he is free to commit murder,--will he murder? Tell a
murderer that at the peril of his soul he indulges in murderous
thoughts,--will that make him a saint?"

"Again on the verge, Babbalanja? Take not the leap, I say."

"I can leap no more, my lord. Already I am down, down, down."

"Philosopher," said Media, "what with Azzageddi, and the mysterious
indweller you darkly hint of, I marvel not that you are puzzled to
decide upon your identity. But when do you seem most yourself?"

"When I sleep, and dream not, my lord."

"Indeed?"

"Why then, a fool's cap might be put on you, and you would not know it."

"The very turban he ought to wear," muttered Mohi.

"Yet, my lord, I live while consciousness is not mine, while to all
appearances I am a clod. And may not this same state of being, though
but alternate with me, be continually that of many dumb, passive
objects we so carelessly regard? Trust me, there are more things alive
than those that crawl, or fly, or swim. Think you, my lord, there is
no sensation in being a tree? feeling the sap in one's boughs, the
breeze in one's foliage? think you it is nothing to be a world? one of
a herd, bison-like, wending its way across boundless meadows of ether?
In the sight of a fowl, that sees not our souls, what are our own
tokens of animation? That we move, make a noise, have organs, pulses,
and are compounded of fluids and solids. And all these are in this
Mardi as a unit. Daily the slow, majestic throbbings of its heart are
perceptible on the surface in the tides of the la-goon. Its rivers are
its veins; when agonized, earthquakes are its throes; it shouts in the
thunder, and weeps in the shower; and as the body of a bison is
covered with hair, so Mardi is covered with grasses and vegetation,
among which, we parasitical things do but crawl, vexing and tormenting
the patient creature to which we cling. Nor yet, hath it recovered
from the pain of the first foundation that was laid. Mardi is alive to
its axis. When you pour water, does it not gurgle? When you strike a
pearl shell, does it not ring? Think you there is no sensation in
being a rock?--To exist, is to be; to be, is to be something: to be
something, is--"

"Go on," said Media.

"And what is it, to be something?" said Yoomy artlessly. "Bethink
yourself of what went before," said Media.

"Lose not the thread," said Mohi.

"It has snapped," said Babbalanja.

"I breathe again," said Mohi.

"But what a stepping-off place you came to then, philosopher," said
Media. "By the way, is it not old Bardianna who says, that no Mardian
should undertake to walk, without keeping one foot foremost?"

"To return to the vagueness of the notion I have of myself," said
Babbalanja.

"An appropriate theme," said Media, "proceed."

"My lord," murmured Mohi, "Is not this philosopher like a centipede?
Cut off his head, and still he crawls."

"There are times when I fancy myself a lunatic," resumed Babbalanja.

"Ah, now he's beginning to talk sense," whispered Mohi.

"Surely you forget, Babbalanja," said Media. "How many more theories
have you? First, you are possessed by a devil; then rent yourself out
to the indweller; and now turn yourself into a mad-house. You are
inconsistent."

"And for that very reason, my lord, not inconsistent; for the sum of
my inconsistencies makes up my consistency. And to be consistent to
one's self, is often to be inconsistent to Mardi. Common consistency
implies unchangeableness; but much of the wisdom here below lives in a
state of transition."

"Ah!" murmured Mold, "my head goes round again."

"Azzageddi aside, then, my lord, and also, for the nonce, the
mysterious indweller, I come now to treat of myself as a lunatic. But
this last conceit is not so much based upon the madness of particular
actions, as upon the whole drift of my ordinary and hourly ones;
those, in which I most resemble all other Mardians. It seems like
going through with some nonsensical whim-whams, destitute of fixed
purpose. For though many of my actions seem to have objects, and all
of them somehow run into each other; yet, where is the grand result?
To what final purpose, do I walk about, eat, think, dream? To what
great end, does Mohi there, now stroke his beard?"

"But I was doing it unconsciously," said Mohi, dropping his hand, and
lifting his head.

"Just what I would be at, old man. 'What we do, we do blindly,' says
old Bardianna. Many things we do, we do without knowing,--as with you
and your beard, Mohi. And many others we know not, in their true
bearing at least, till they are past. Are not half our lives spent in
reproaches for foregone actions, of the true nature and consequences
of which, we were wholly ignorant at the time? Says old Bardianna,
'Did I not so often feel an appetite for my yams, I should think every
thing a dream;'--so puzzling to him, seemed the things of this Mardi.
But Alla-Malolla goes further. Says he, 'Let us club together, fellow-
riddles:--Kings, clowns, and intermediates. We are bundles of comical
sensations; we bejuggle ourselves into strange phantasies: we are air,
wind, breath, bubbles; our being is told in a tick.'"

"Now, then, Babbalanja," said Media, "what have you come to in all
this rhapsody? You everlastingly travel in a circle."

"And so does the sun in heaven, my lord; like me, it goes round, and
gives light as it goes. Old Bardianna, too, revolved. He says so
himself. In his roundabout chapter on Cycles and Epicycles, with Notes
on the Ecliptic, he thus discourseth:--'All things revolve upon some
center, to them, fixed; for the centripetal is ever too much for the
centrifugal. Wherefore, it is a perpetual cycling with us, without
progression; and we fly round, whether we will or no. To stop, were to
sink into space. So, over and over we go, and round and round; double-
shuffle, on our axis, and round the sun.' In an another place, he
says:--'There is neither apogee nor perigee, north nor south, right
nor left; what to-night is our zenith, to-morrow is our nadir; stand
as we will, we stand on our heads; essay to spring into the air, and
down we come; here we stick; our very bones make glue.'"

"Enough, enough, Babbalanja," cried Media. "You are a very wise
Mardian; but the wisest Mardians make the most consummate fools."

"So they do, my lord; but I was interrupted. I was about to say, that
there is no place but the universe; no limit but the limitless; no
bottom but the bottomless."



CHAPTER XL
Of The Sorcerers In The Isle Of Minda


"Tiffin! tiffin!" cried Media; "time for tiffin! Up, comrades! and
while the mat is being spread, walk we to the bow, and inhale the
breeze for an appetite. Hark ye, Vee-Vee! forget not that calabash
with the sea-blue seal, and a round ring for a brand. Rare old stuff,
that, Mohi; older than you: the circumnavigator, I call it. My sire
had a canoe launched for the express purpose of carrying it thrice
round Mardi for a flavor. It was many moons on the voyage; the
mariners never sailed faster than three knots. Ten would spoil the
best wine ever floated."

Tiffin over, and the blue-sealed calabash all but hid in the great
cloud raised by our pipes, Media proposed to board it in the smoke.
So, goblet in hand, we all gallantly charged, and came off victorious
from the fray.

Then seated again, and serenely puffing in a circle, the
circumnavigator meanwhile pleasantly going the rounds, Media called
upon Mohi for something entertaining.

Now, of all the old gossips in Mardi, surely our delightful old
Diodorus was furnished with the greatest possible variety of
histories, chronicles, anecdotes, memoirs, legends, traditions, and
biographies. There was no end to the library he carried. In himself,
he was the whole history of Mardi, amplified, not abridged, in one
volume.

In obedience, then, to King Media's command, Mohi regaled the company
with a narrative, in substance as follows:--

In a certain quarter of the Archipelago was an island called Minda;
and in Minda were many sorcerers, employed in the social differences
and animosities of the people of that unfortunate land. If a Mindarian
deemed himself aggrieved or insulted by a countryman, he forthwith
repaired to one of these sorcerers; who, for an adequate
consideration, set to work with his spells, keeping himself in the
dark, and directing them against the obnoxious individual. And full
soon, by certain peculiar sensations, this individual, discovering
what was going on, would straightway hie to his own professor of the
sable art, who, being well feed, in due time brought about certain
counter-charms, so that in the end it sometimes fell out that neither
party was gainer or loser, save by the sum of his fees.

But the worst of it was, that in some cases all knowledge of these
spells were at the outset hidden from the victim; who, hearing too
late of the mischief brewing, almost always fell a prey to his foe;
which calamity was held the height of the art. But as the great body
of sorcerers were about matched in point of skill, it followed that
the parties employing them were so likewise. Hence arose those
interminable contests, in which many moons were spent, both parties
toiling after their common destruction.

Indeed, to say nothing of the obstinacy evinced by their employers, it
was marvelous, the pertinacity of the sorcerers themselves. To the
very last tooth in their employer's pouches, they would stick to their
spells; never giving over till he was financially or physically
defunct.

But much as they were vilified, no people in Minda were half so
disinterested as they. Certain indispensable conditions secured, some
of them were as ready to undertake the perdition of one man as
another; good, bad, or indifferent, it made little matter.

What wonder, then, that such abominable mercenaries should cause a
mighty deal of mischief in Minda; privately going about, inciting
peaceable folks to enmities with their neighbors; and with marvelous
alacrity, proposing themselves as the very sorcerers to rid them of
the annoyances suggested as existing.

Indeed, it even happened that a sorcerer would be secretly retained to
work spells upon a victim, who, from his bodily sensations, suspecting
something wrong, but knowing not what, would repair to that self-same
sorcerer, engaging him to counteract any mischief that might be
brewing. And this worthy would at once undertake the business; when,
having both parties in his hands, he kept them forever in suspense;
meanwhile seeing to it well, that they failed not in handsomely
remunerating him for his pains.

At one time, there was a prodigious excitement about these sorcerers,
growing out of some alarming revelations concerning their practices.
In several villages of Minda, they were sought to be put down. But
fruitless the attempt; it was soon discovered that already their
spells were so spread abroad, and they themselves so mixed up with the
everyday affairs of the isle, that it was better to let their vocation
alone, than, by endeavoring to suppress it, breed additional troubles.
Ah! they were a knowing and a cunning set, those sorcerers; very hard
to overcome, cajole, or circumvent.

But in the name of the Magi, what were these spells of theirs, so
potent and occult? On all hands it was agreed, that they derived their
greatest virtue from the fumes of certain compounds, whose
ingredients--horrible to tell--were mostly obtained from the human
heart; and that by variously mixing these ingredients, they adapted
their multifarious enchantments.

They were a vain and arrogant race. Upon the strength of their dealing
in the dark, they affected even more mystery than belonged to them;
when interrogated concerning their science, would confound the
inquirer by answers couched in an extraordinary jargon, employing
words almost as long as anacondas. But all this greatly prevailed with
the common people.

Nor was it one of the least remarkable things, that oftentimes two
sorcerers, contrarily employed upon a Mindarian,--one to attack, the
other to defend,--would nevertheless be upon the most friendly terms
with each other; which curious circumstance never begat the slightest
suspicions in the mind of the victim.

Another phenomenon: If from any cause, two sorcerers fell out, they
seldom exercised their spells upon each other; ascribable to this,
perhaps,--that both being versed in the art, neither could hope to get
the advantage.

But for all the opprobrium cast upon these sorcerers, part of which
they deserved, the evils imputed to them were mainly, though
indirectly, ascribable to the very persons who abused them; nay, to
the very persons who employed them; the latter being by far the
loudest in their vilifyings; for which, indeed, they had excellent
reason.

Nor was it to be denied, that in certain respects, the sorcerers were
productive of considerable good. The nature of their pursuits leading
them deep into the arcana of mind, they often lighted upon important
discoveries; along with much that was cumbersome, accumulated valuable
examples concerning the inner working of the hearts of the Mindarians;
and often waxed eloquent in elucidating the mysteries of iniquity.

Yet was all this their lore graven upon so uncouth, outlandish, and
antiquated tablets, that it was all but lost to the mass of their
countrymen; and some old sachem of a wise man is quoted as having
said, that their treasures were locked up after such a fashion, that
for old iron, the key was worth more than the chest and its contents.



CHAPTER XLI
Chiefly Of Sing Bello


"Now Taji," said Media, "with old Bello of the Hump whose island of
Dominora is before us, I am at variance."

"Ah! How so?"

"A dull recital, but you shall have it."

And forthwith his Highness began.

This princely quarrel originated, it seems, in a slight jostling
concerning the proprietorship of a barren islet in a very remote
quarter of the lagoon. At the outset the matter might have been easily
adjusted, had the parties but exchanged a few amicable words. But each
disdaining to visit the other, to discuss so trivial an affair, the
business of negotiating an understanding was committed to certain
plenipos, men with lengthy tongues, who scorned to utter a word short
of a polysyllable.

Now, the more these worthies penetrated into the difficulty, the wider
became the breach; till what was at first a mere gap, became a yawning
gulf.

But that which had perhaps tended more than any thing else to deepen
the variance of the kings, was hump-backed Bello's dispatching to Odo,
as his thirtieth plenipo, a diminutive little negotiator, who all by
himself, in a solitary canoe, sailed over to have audience of Media;
into whose presence he was immediately ushered.

Darting one glance at him, the king turned to his chieftains, and
said:--"By much straining of your eyes, my lords, can you perceive
this insignificant manikin? What! are there no tall men in Dominora,
that King Bello must needs send this dwarf hither?"

And charging his attendents to feed the embassador extraordinary with
the soft pap of the cocoanut, and provide nurses during his stay, the
monarch retired from the arbor of audience.

"As I am a man," shouted the despised plenipo, raising himself on his
toes, "my royal master will resent this affront!--A dwarf, forsooth!--
Thank Oro, I am no long-drawn giant! There is as much stuff in me, as
in others; what is spread out in their clumsy carcasses, in me is
condensed. I am much in little! And that much, thou shalt know full
soon, disdainful King of Odo!"

"Speak not against our lord the king," cried the attendants.

"And speak not ye to me, ye headless spear poles!"

And so saying, under sufferance of being small, the plenipo was
permitted to depart unmolested; for all his bravadoes, fobbing his
credentials and affronts.

Apprized of his servant's ignoble reception, the choleric Bello burst
forth in a storm of passion; issuing orders for, one thousand conch
shells to be blown, and his warriors to assemble by land and by sea.

But bethinking him of the hostilities that might ensue, the sagacious
Media hit upon an honorable expedient to ward off an event for which
he was then unprepared. With all haste he dispatched to the hump-
backed king a little dwarf of his own; who voyaging over to Dominora
in a canoe, sorry and solitary as that of Bello's plenipo, in like
manner, received the same insults. The effect whereof, was, to strike
a balance of affronts; upon the principle, that a blow given, heals
one received.

Nevertheless, these proceedings but amounted to a postponement of
hostilities; for soon after, nothing prevented the two kings from
plunging into war, but the following judicious considerations. First:
Media was almost afraid of being beaten. Second: Bello was almost
afraid to conquer. Media, because he was inferior in men and arms;
Bello, because, his aggrandizement was already a subject of warlike
comment among the neighboring kings.

Indeed, did the old chronicler Braid-Beard speak truth, there were
some tribes in Mardi, that accounted this king of Dominora a testy,
quarrelsome, rapacious old monarch; the indefatigable breeder of
contentions and wars; the elder brother of this household of nations,
perpetually essaying to lord it over the juveniles; and though his
patrimonial dominions were situated to the north of the lagoon, not
the slightest misunderstanding took place between the rulers of the
most distant islands, than this doughty old cavalier on a throne,
forthwith thrust his insolent spear into the matter, though it in no
wise concerned him, and fell to irritating all parties by his
gratuitous interference.

Especially was he officious in the concerns of Porpheero, a
neighboring island, very large and famous, whose numerous broad
valleys were divided among many rival kings:--the king of Franko, a
small-framed, poodle-haired, fine, fiery gallant; finical in his
tatooing; much given to the dance and glory;--the king of Ibeereea, a
tall and stately cavalier, proud, generous, punctilious, temperate in
wine; one hand forever on his javelin, the other, in superstitious
homage, lifted to his gods; his limbs all over marks of stakes and
crosses;--the king of Luzianna; a slender, dark-browed thief; at times
wrapped in a moody robe, beneath which he fumbled something, as if it
were a dagger; but otherwise a sprightly troubadour, given to
serenades and moonlight;---the many chiefs of sunny Latianna; minstrel
monarchs, full of song and sentiment; fiercer in love than war;
glorious bards of freedom; but rendering tribute while they sang;--the
priest-king of Vatikanna; his chest marked over with antique
tatooings; his crown, a cowl; his rusted scepter swaying over falling
towers, and crumbling mounds; full of the superstitious past; askance,
eyeing the suspicious time to come;--the king of Hapzaboro; portly,
pleasant; a lover of wild boar's meat; a frequent quaffer from the
can; in his better moods, much fancying solid comfort;--the eight-and-
thirty banded kings, chieftains, seigniors, and oligarchies of the
broad hill and dale of Tutoni; clubbing together their domains, that
none might wrest his neighbor's; an earnest race; deep thinkers,
deeper drinkers; long pipes, long heads; their wise ones given to
mystic cogitations, and consultations with the devil;--the twin kings
of Zandinavia; hardy, frugal mountaineers; upright of spine and heart;
clad in skins of bears;--the king of Jutlanda; much like their
Highnesses of Zandinavia; a seal-skin cap his crown; a fearless sailor
of his frigid seas;--the king of Muzkovi; a shaggy, icicled White-bear
of a despot in the north; said to reign over millions of acres of
glaciers; had vast provinces of snow-drifts, and many flourishing
colonies among the floating icebergs. Absolute in his rule as
Predestination in metaphysics, did he command all his people to give
up the ghost, it would be held treason to die last. Very precise and
foppish in his imperial tastes was this monarch. Disgusted with the
want of uniformity in the stature of his subjects, he was said to
nourish thoughts of killing off all those below his prescribed
standard--six feet, long measure. Immortal souls were of no account in
his fatal wars; since, in some of his serf-breeding estates, they were
daily manufactured to order.

Now, to all the above-mentioned monarchs, old Bello would frequently
dispatch heralds; announcing, for example, his unalterable resolution,
to espouse the cause of this king, against that; at the very time,
perhaps, that their Serene Superfluities, instead of crossing spears,
were touching flagons. And upon these occasions, the kings would often
send back word to old Bello, that instead of troubling himself with
their concerns, he might far better attend to his own; which, they
hinted, were in a sad way, and much needed reform.

The royal old warrior's pretext for these and all similar proceedings,
was the proper adjustment in Porpheero, of what he facetiously styled
the "Equipoise of Calabashes;" which he stoutly swore was essential to
the security of the various tribes in that country.

"But who put the balance into thy hands, King Bello?" cried the
indignant nations.

"Oro!" shouted the hump-backed king, shaking his javelin.

Superadded to the paternal interest which Bello betrayed in the
concerns of the kings of Porpheero, according to our chronicler, he
also manifested no less interest in those of the remotest islands.
Indeed, where he found a rich country, inhabited by a people, deemed
by him barbarous and incapable of wise legislation, he sometimes
relieved them from their political anxieties, by assuming the
dictatorship over them. And if incensed at his conduct, they flew to
their spears, they were accounted rebels, and treated accordingly. But
as old Mohi very truly observed,--herein, Bello was not alone; for
throughout Mardi, all strong nations, as well as all strong men, loved
to govern the weak. And those who most taunted King Bello for his
political rapacity, were open to the very same charge. So with
Vivenza, a distant island, at times very loud in denunciations of
Bello, as a great national brigand. Not yet wholly extinct in Vivenza,
were its aboriginal people, a race of wild Nimrods and hunters, who
year by year were driven further and further into remoteness, till as
one of their sad warriors said, after continual removes along the log,
his race was on the point of being remorselessly pushed off the end.

Now, Bello was a great geographer, and land surveyor, and gauger of
the seas. Terraqueous Mardi, he was continually exploring in quest of
strange empires. Much he loved to take the altitude of lofty
mountains, the depth of deep rivers, the breadth of broad isles. Upon
the highest pinnacles of commanding capes and promontories, he loved
to hoist his flag. He circled Mardi with his watch-towers: and the
distant voyager passing wild rocks in the remotest waters, was
startled by hearing the tattoo, or the reveille, beating from hump-
backed Bello's omnipresent drum. Among Antartic glaciers, his shrill
bugle calls mingled with the scream of the gulls; and so impressed
seemed universal nature with the sense of his dominion, that the very
clouds in heaven never sailed over Dominora without rendering the
tribute of a shower; whence the air of Dominora was more moist than
that of any other clime.

In all his grand undertakings, King Bello was marvelously assisted by
his numerous fleets of war-canoes; his navy being the largest in
Mardi. Hence his logicians swore that the entire Lagoon was his; and
that all prowling whales, prowling keels, and prowling sharks were
invaders. And with this fine conceit to inspire them, his poets-
laureat composed some glorious old saltwater odes, enough to make your
very soul sing to hear them.

But though the rest of Mardi much delighted to list to such noble
minstrelsy, they agreed not with Bello's poets in deeming the lagoon
their old monarch's hereditary domain.

Once upon a time, the paddlers of the hump-backed king, meeting upon
the broad lagoon certain canoes belonging to the before-mentioned
island of Vivenza; these paddlers seized upon several of their
occupants; and feeling their pulses, declared them born men of
Dominora; and therefore, not free to go whithersoever they would; for,
unless they could somehow get themselves born over again, they must
forever remain subject to Bello. Shed your hair; nay, your skin, if
you will, but shed your allegiance you can not; while you have bones,
they are Bello's. So, spite of all expostulations and attempts to
prove alibis, these luckless paddlers were dragged into the canoes of
Dominora, and commanded to paddle home their captors.

Whereof hearing, the men of Vivenza were thrown into a great ferment;
and after a mighty pow-wow over their council fire, fitting out
several double-keeled canoes, they sallied out to sea, in quest of
those, whom they styled the wholesale corsairs of Dominora.

But lucky perhaps it was, that at this juncture, in all parts of
Mardi, the fleets of the hump-backed king, were fighting, gunwale and
gunwale, alongside of numerous foes; else there had borne down upon
the canoes of the men of Vivenza so tremendous an armada, that the
very swell under its thousand prows might have flooded their scattered
proas forever out of sight.

As it was, Bello dispatched a few of his smaller craft to seek out,
and incidentally run down the enemy; and without returning home,
straightway proceed upon more important enterprises.

But it so chanced, that Bello's crafts, one by one meeting the foe, in
most cases found the canoes of Vivenza much larger than their own; and
manned by more men, with hearts bold as theirs; whence, in the ship-
duels that ensued, they were worsted; and the canoes of Vivenza,
locking their yard-arms into those of the vanquished, very courteously
gallanted them into their coral harbors.

Solely imputing these victories to their superior intrepidity and
skill, the people of Vivenza were exceedingly boisterous in their
triumph; raising such obstreperous peans, that they gave themselves
hoarse throats; insomuch, that according to Mohi, some of the present
generation are fain to speak through their noses.



CHAPTER XLII
Dominora And Vivenza


The three canoes still gliding on, some further particulars were
narrated concerning Dominora; and incidentally, of other isles.

It seems that his love of wide dominion sometimes led the otherwise
sagacious Bello into the most extravagant actions. If the chance
accumulation of soil and drift-wood about any detached shelf of coral
in the lagoon held forth the remotest possibility of the eventual
existence of an islet there, with all haste he dispatched canoes to
the spot, to take prospective possession of the as yet nearly
submarine territory; and if possible, eject the zoophytes.

During an unusually low tide, here and there baring the outer reef of
the Archipelago, Bello caused his royal spear to be planted upon every
place thus exposed, in token of his supreme claim thereto.

Another anecdote was this: that to Dominora there came a rumor, that
in a distant island dwelt a man with an uncommonly large nose; of most
portentous dimensions, indeed; by the soothsayers supposed to
foreshadow some dreadful calamity. But disregarding these
superstitious conceits, Bello forthwith dispatched an agent, to
discover whether this huge promontory of a nose was geographically
available; if so, to secure the same, by bringing the proprietor back.

Now, by sapient old Mohi, it was esteemed a very happy thing for Mardi
at large, that the subjects whom Bello sent to populate his foreign
acquisitions, were but too apt to throw off their vassalage, so soon
as they deemed themselves able to cope with him.

Indeed, a fine country in the western part of Mardi, in this very
manner, became a sovereign--nay, a republican state. It was the nation
to which Mohi had previously alluded--Vivenza. But in the flush and
pride of having recently attained their national majority, the men of
Vivenza were perhaps too much inclined to carry a vauntful crest. And
because intrenched in their fastnesses, after much protracted
fighting, they had eventually succeeded in repelling the warriors
dispatched by Bello to crush their insurrection, they were unanimous
in the opinion, that the hump-backed king had never before been so
signally chastised. Whereas, they had not so much vanquished Bello, as
defended their shores; even as a young lion will protect its den
against legions of unicorns, though, away from home, he might be torn
to pieces. In truth, Braid-Beard declared, that at the time of this
war, Dominora couched ten long spears for every short javelin Vivenza
could dart; though the javelins were stoutly hurled as the spears.

But, superior in men and arms, why, at last, gave over King Bello the
hope of reducing those truculent men of Vivenza? One reason was, as
Mohi said, that many of his fighting men were abundantly occupied in
other quarters of Mardi; nor was he long in discovering that fight he
never so valiantly, Vivenza--not yet its inhabitants--was wholly
unconquerable. Thought Bello, Mountains are sturdy foes; fate hard to
dam.

Yet, the men of Vivenza were no dastards; not to lie, coming from
lion-like loins, they were a lion-loined race. Did not their bards
pronounce them a fresh start in the Mardian species; requiring a new
world for their full development? For be it known, that the great land
of Kolumbo, no inconsiderable part of which was embraced by Vivenza,
was the last island discovered in the Archipelago.

In good round truth, and as if an impartialist from Arcturus spoke it,
Vivenza was a noble land. Like a young tropic tree she stood, laden
down with greenness, myriad blossoms, and the ripened fruit thick-
hanging from one bough. She was promising as the morning.

Or Vivenza might be likened to St. John, feeding on locusts and wild
honey, and with prophetic voice, crying to the nations from the
wilderness. Or, child-like, standing among the old robed kings and
emperors of the Archipelago, Vivenza seemed a young Messiah, to whose
discourse the bearded Rabbis bowed.

So seemed Vivenza in its better aspect. Nevertheless, Vivenza was a
braggadocio in Mardi; the only brave one ever known. As an army of
spurred and crested roosters, her people chanticleered at the
resplendent rising of their sun. For shame, Vivenza! Whence thy
undoubted valor? Did ye not bring it with ye from the bold old shores
of Dominora, where there is a fullness of it left? What isle but
Dominora could have supplied thee with that stiff spine of thine?--
That heart of boldest beat? Oh, Vivenza! know that true grandeur is
too big for a boast; and nations, as well as men, may be too clever to
be great.

But what more of King Bello? Notwithstanding his territorial
acquisitiveness, and aversion to relinquishing stolen nations, he was
yet a glorious old king; rather choleric--a word and a blow--but of a
right royal heart. Rail at him as they might, at bottom, all the isles
were proud of him. And almost in spite of his rapacity, upon the
whole, perhaps, they were the better for his deeds. For if sometimes
he did evil with no very virtuous intentions, he had fifty, ways of
accomplishing good with the best; and a thousand ways of doing good
without meaning it. According to an ancient oracle, the hump-backed
monarch was but one of the most conspicuous pieces on a board, where
the gods played for their own entertainment.

But here it must not be omitted, that of late, King Bello had somewhat
abated his efforts to extend his dominions. Various causes were
assigned. Some thought it arose from the fact that already he found
his territories too extensive for one scepter to rule; that his more
remote colonies largely contributed to his tribulations, without
correspondingly contributing to his revenues. Others affirmed that his
hump was getting too mighty for him to carry; others still, that the
nations were waving too strong for him. With prophetic solemnity,
head-shaking sages averred that he was growing older and older had
passed his grand climacteric; and though it was a hale old age with
him, yet it was not his lusty youth; that though he was daily getting
rounder, and rounder in girth, and more florid of face, that these,
howbeit, were rather the symptoms of a morbid obesity, than of a
healthful robustness. These wise ones predicted that very soon poor
Bello would go off in an apoplexy.

But in Vivenza there were certain blusterers, who often thus prated:
"The Hump-back's hour is come; at last the old teamster will be gored
by the nations he's yoked; his game is done,--let him show his hand
and throw up his scepter; he cumbers Mardi,--let him be cut down and
burned; he stands in the way of his betters,--let him sheer to one
side; he has shut up many eyes, and now himself grows blind; he hath
committed horrible atrocities during his long career, the old sinner!
--now, let him quickly say his prayers and be beheaded."

Howbeit, Bello lived on; enjoying his dinners, and taking his jorums
as of yore. Ah, I have yet a jolly long lease of life, thought he over
his wine; and like unto some obstinate old uncle, he persisted in
flourishing, in spite of the prognostications of the nephew nations,
which at his demise, perhaps hoped to fall heir to odd parts of his
possessions: Three streaks of fat valleys to one of lean mountains!



CHAPTER XLIII
They Land At Dominora


As erewhile recounted, not being on the best terms in Mardi with the
King of Dominora, Media saw fit to draw nigh unto his dominions in
haughty state; he (Media) being upon excellent terms with himself. Our
sails were set, our paddles paddling, streamers streaming, and Vee-Vee
in the shark's mouth, clamorous with his conch. The din was soon
heard; and sweeping into a fine broad bay we beheld its margin
seemingly pebbled in the distance with heads; so populous the land.

Winding through a noble valley, we presently came to Bello's palace,
couchant and bristling in a grove. The upright canes composing its
front projected above the eaves in a long row of spear-heads
fluttering with scarlet pennons; while below, from the intervals of
the canes, were slantingly thrust three tiers of decorated lances. A
warlike aspect! The entire structure looking like the broadside of the
Macedonian phalanx, advancing to the charge, helmeted with a roof.

"Ah, Bello," said Media, "thou dwellest among thy quills like the
porcupine."

"I feel a prickly heat coming over me," cried Mohi, "my lord Media,
let us enter."

"Ay," said Babbalanja, "safer the center of peril, than the
circumference."

Passing under an arch, formed by two pikes crossed, we found ourselves
targets in prospective, for certain flingers of javelins, with poised
weapons, occupying the angles of the palace.

Fronting us, stood a portly old warrior, spear in hand, hump on back,
and fire in eye.

"Is it war?" he cried, pointing his pike, "or peace?" reversing it.

"Peace," said Media.

Whereupon advancing, King Bello courteously welcomed us.

He was an arsenal to behold: Upon his head the hereditary crown of
Dominora,--a helmet of the sea-porcupine's hide, bristling all over
with spikes, in front displaying a river-horse's horn, leveled to the
charge; thrust through his ears were barbed arrows; and from his dyed
shark-skin girdle, depended a kilt of strung javelins.

The broad chest of Bello was the chart of Mardi. Tattooed in sea-blue
were all the groups and clusters of the Archipelago; and every time he
breathed, rose and fell the isles, as by a tide: Dominora full upon
his heart.

His sturdy thighs were his triumphal arch; whereon in numerous
medallions, crests, and shields, were blazoned all his victories by
sea and land.

His strong right arm was Dominora's scroll of Fame, where all her
heroes saw their names recorded.--An endless roll!

Our chronicler avouched, that on the sole of Bello's dexter foot was
stamped the crest of Franko's king, his hereditary foe. "Thus, thus,"
cried Bello, stamping, "thus I hourly crush him."

In stature, Bello was a mountaineer; but, as over some tall tower
impends the hill-side cliff, so Bello's Athos hump hung over him.
Could it be, as many of his nobles held, that the old monarch's hump
was his sensorium and source of strength; full of nerves, muscles,
ganglions and tendons? Yet, year by year it grew, ringed like the bole
of his palms. The toils of war increased it. But another skirmish with
the isles, said the wiseacres of Porpheero, and Bello's mount will
crush him.

Against which calamity to guard, his medicos and Sangredos sought the
hump's reduction. But down it would not come. Then by divers mystic
rites, his magi tried. Making a deep pit, many teeth they dropped
therein. But they could not fill it. Hence, they called it the Sinking
Pit, for bottom it had none. Nevertheless, the magi said, when this
pit is filled, Bello's hump you'll see no more. "Then, hurrah for the
hump!" cried the nobles, "for he will never hurl it off. Long life to
the hump! By the hump we will rally and die! Cheer up, King Bello!
Stand up, old king!"

But these were they, who when their sovereign went abroad, with that
Athos on his back, followed idly in its shade; while Bello leaned
heavily upon his people, staggering as they went.

Ay, sorely did Bello's goodly stature lean; but though many swore he
soon must fall; nevertheless, like Pisa's Leaning Tower, he may long
lean over, yet never nod.

Visiting Dominora in a friendly way, in good time, we found King Bello
very affable; in hospitality, almost exceeding portly Borabolla:
October-plenty reigned throughout his palace borders.

Our first reception over, a sumptuous repast was served, at which much
lively talk was had.

Of Taji, Bello sought to know, whether his solar Majesty had yet made
a province of the moon; whether the Astral hosts were of much account
as territories, or mere Motoos, as the little tufts of verdure are
denominated, here and there clinging to Mardi's circle reef; whether
the people in the sun vilified, him (Bello) as they did in Mardi; and
what they thought of an event, so ominous to the liberties of the
universe, as the addition to his navy of three large canoes.

Ere long, so fused in social love we grew, that Bello, filling high
his can, and clasping Media's palm, drank everlasting amity with Odo.

So over their red cups, the two kings forgot their differences, and
concerning the disputed islet nothing more was ever heard; especially,
as it so turned out, that while they Were most hot about it, it had
suddenly gone out of sight, being of volcanic origin.



CHAPTER XLIV
Through Dominora, They Wander After Yillah


At last, withdrawing from the presence of King Bello, we went forth,
still intent on our search.

Many brave sights we saw. Fair fields; the whole island a garden;
green hedges all round; neat lodges, thick as white mice in the
landscape; old oak woods, hale and hearty as ever; old temples buried
in ivy; old shrines of old heroes, deep buried in broad groves of bay
trees; old rivers laden down with heavy-freighted canoes; humped
hills, like droves of camels, piled up with harvests; every sign and
token of a glorious abundance, every sign and token of generations of
renown. Rare sight! fine sight! none rarer, none finer in Mardi.

But roving on through this ravishing region, we passed through a corn-
field in full beard, where a haggard old reaper laid down his hook,
beseeching charity for the sake of the gods.--"Bread, bread! or I die
mid these sheaves!"

"Thrash out your grain, and want not."

"Alas, masters, this grain is not mine; I plough, I sow, I reap, I
bind, I stack,--Lord Primo garners."

Rambling on, we came to a hamlet, hidden in a hollow; and beneath
weeping willows saw many mournful maidens seated on a bank; beside
each, a wheel that was broken. "Lo, we starve," they cried, "our
distaffs are snapped; no more may we weave and spin!"

Then forth issued from vaults clamorous crowds of men, hands tied to
their backs.--"Bread! Bread!" they cried. "The magician hath turned us
out from our glen, where we labored of yore in the days of the merry
Green Queen. He has pinioned us hip and arm that we starve. Like sheep
we die off with the rot.--Curse on the magician. A curse on his
spell."

Bending our steps toward the glen, roaring down the rocks we descried
a stream from the mountains. But ere those waters gained the sea,
vassal tribute they rendered. Conducted through culverts and moats,
they turned great wheels, giving life to ten thousand fangs and
fingers, whose gripe no power could withstand, yet whose touch was
soft as the velvet paw of a kitten. With brute force, they heaved down
great weights, then daintily wove and spun; like the trunk of the
elephant, which lays lifeless a river-horse, and counts the pulses of
a moth. On all sides, the place seemed alive with its spindles. Round
and round, round and round; throwing off wondrous births at every
revolving; ceaseless as the cycles that circle in heaven. Loud hummed
the loom, flew the shuttle like lightning, red roared the grim forge,
rung anvil and sledge; yet no mortal was seen.

"What ho, magician! Come forth from thy cave!"

But all deaf were the spindles, as the mutes, that mutely wait on the
Sultan.

"Since we are born, we will live!" so we read on a crimson banner,
flouting the crimson clouds, in the van of a riotous red-bonneted mob,
racing by us as we came from the glen. Many more followed: black, or
blood-stained:--.

"Mardi is man's!"

"Down with landholders!"

"Our turn now!"

"Up rights! Down wrongs!"

"Bread! Bread!"

"Take the tide, ere it turns!"

Waving their banners, and flourishing aloft clubs, hammers, and
sickles, with fierce yells the crowd ran on toward the palace of
Bello. Foremost, and inciting the rest by mad outcries and gestures,
were six masks; "This way! This way!" they cried,--"by the wood; by
the dark wood!" Whereupon all darted into the groves; when of a
sudden, the masks leaped forward, clearing a long covered trench, into
which fell many of those they led. But on raced the masks; and gaining
Bello's palace, and raising the alarm, there sallied from thence a
woodland of spears, which charged upon the disordered ranks in the
grove. A crash as of icicles against icebergs round Zembla, and down
went the hammers and sickles. The host fled, hotly pursued. Meanwhile
brave heralds from Bello advanced, and with chaplets crowned the six
masks.--"Welcome, heroes! worthy and valiant!" they cried. "Thus our
lord Bello rewards all those, who to do him a service, for hire betray
their kith and their kin."

Still pursuing our quest, wide we wandered through all the sun and
shade of Dominora; but nowhere was Yillah found.



CHAPTER XLV
They Behold King Bello's State Canoe


At last, bidding adieu to King Bello; and in the midst of the lowing
of oxen, breaking away from his many hospitalities, we departed for
the beach. But ere embarking, we paused to gaze at an object, which
long fixed our attention.

Now, as all bold cavaliers have ever delighted in special chargers,
gayly caparisoned, whereon upon grand occasions to sally forth upon
the plains: even so have maritime potentates ever prided themselves
upon some holiday galley, splendidly equipped, wherein to sail over
the sea.

When of old, glory-seeking Jason, attended by his promising young
lieutenants, Castor and Pollux, embarked on that hardy adventure to
Colchis, the brave planks of the good ship Argos he trod, its model a
swan to behold.

And when Trojan Aeneas wandered West, and discovered the pleasant land
of Latium, it was in the fine craft Bis Taurus that he sailed: its
stern gloriously emblazoned, its prow a leveled spear.

And to the sound of sackbut and psaltery, gliding down the Nile, in
the pleasant shade of its pyramids to welcome mad Mark, Cleopatra was
throned on the cedar quarter-deck of a glorious gondola, silk and
satin hung; its silver plated oars, musical as flutes. So, too, Queen
Bess was wont to disport on old Thames.

And tough Torf-Egill, the Danish Sea-king, reckoned in his stud, a
slender yacht; its masts young Zetland firs; its prow a seal, dog-like
holding a sword-fish blade. He called it the Grayhound, so swift was
its keel; the Sea-hawk, so blood-stained its beak.

And groping down his palace stairs, the blind old Doge Dandolo, oft
embarked in his gilded barge, like the lord mayor setting forth in
civic state from Guildhall in his chariot. But from another sort of
prow leaped Dandolo, when at Constantinople, he foremost sprang
ashore, and with a right arm ninety years old, planted the standard of
St. Mark full among the long chin-pennons of the long-bearded Turks.

And Kumbo Sama, Emperor of Japan, had a dragon-beaked junk, a floating
Juggernaut, wherein he burnt incense to the sea-gods.

And Kannakoko, King of New Zealand; and the first Tahitian Pomaree;
and the Pelew potentate, each possessed long state canoes; sea-snakes,
all; carved over like Chinese card-cases, and manned with such scores
of warriors, that dipping their paddles in the sea, they made a
commotion like shoals of herring.

What wonder then, that Bello of the Hump, the old sea-king of Mardi,
should sport a brave ocean-chariot?

In a broad arbor by the water-side, it was housed like Alp Arsian's
war-horse, or the charger Caligula deified; upon its stern a
wilderness of sculpture:--shell-work, medal-lions, masques, griffins,
gulls, ogres, finned-lions, winged walruses; all manner of sea-
cavalry, crusading centaurs, crocodiles, and sharks; and mermen, and
mermaids, and Neptune only knows all.

And in this craft, Doge-like, yearly did King Bello stand up and wed
with the Lagoon. But the custom originated not in the manner of the
Doge's, which was as follows; so, at least, saith Ghibelli, who tells
all about it:--

When, in a stout sea-fight, Ziani defeated Barbarossa's son Otho,
sending his feluccas all flying, like frightened water-fowl from a
lake, then did his Holiness, the Pope, present unto him a ring;
saying, "Take this, oh Ziani, and with it, the sea for thy bride; and
every year wed her again."

So the Doge's tradition; thus Bello's:--

Ages ago, Dominora was circled by a reef, which expanding in
proportion to the extension of the isle's naval dominion, in due time
embraced the entire lagoon; and this marriage ring zoned all the world.

But if the sea was King Bello's bride, an Adriatic Tartar he wedded;
who, in her mad gales of passions, often boxed about his canoes, and
led his navies a very boisterous life indeed.

And hostile prognosticators opined, that ere long she would desert her
old lord, and marry again. Already, they held, she had made advances
in the direction of Vivenza.

But truly, should she abandon old Bello, he would straight-way after
her with all his fleets; and never rest till his queen was regained.

Now, old sea-king! look well to thy barge of state: for, peradventure,
the dry-rot may be eating into its keel; and the wood-worms exploring
into its spars.

Without heedful tending, any craft will decay; yet, for ever may its
first, fine model be preserved, though its prow be renewed every
spring, like the horns of the deer, if, in repairing, plank be put for
plank, rib for rib, in exactest similitude. Even so, then, oh Bello!
do thou with thy barge.



CHAPTER XLVI
Wherein Babbalanja Bows Thrice


The next morning's twilight found us once more afloat; and yielding to
that almost sullen feeling, but too apt to prevail with some mortals
at that hour, all but Media long remained silent.

But now, a bright mustering is seen among the myriad white Tartar
tents in the Orient; like lines of spears defiling upon some upland
plain, the sunbeams thwart the sky. And see! amid the blaze of
banners, and the pawings of ten thousand thousand golden hoofs, day's
mounted Sultan, Xerxes-like, moves on: the Dawn his standard, East and
West his cymbals.

"Oh, morning life!" cried Yoomy, with a Persian air; "would that all
time were a sunrise, and all life a youth."

"Ah! but these striplings whimper of youth," said Mohi, caressing his
braids, "as if they wore this beard."

"But natural, old man," said Babbalanja. "We Mardians never seem young
to ourselves; childhood is to youth what manhood is to age:--something
to be looked back upon, with sorrow that it is past. But childhood
reeks of no future, and knows no past; hence, its present passes in a
vapor."

"Mohi, how's your appetite this morning?" said Media.

"Thus, thus, ye gods," sighed Yoomy, "is feeling ever scouted. Yet,
what might seem feeling in me, I can not express."

"A good commentary on old Bardianna, Yoomy," said Babbalanja, "who
somewhere says, that no Mardian can out with his heart, for his
unyielding ribs are in the way. And indeed, pride, or something akin
thereto, often holds check on sentiment. My lord, there are
those who like not to be detected in the possession of a heart."

"Very true, Babbalanja; and I suppose that pride was at the bottom of
your old Ponderer's heartless, unsentimental, bald-pated style."

"Craving pardon, my lord is deceived. Bardianna was not at all proud;
though he had a queer way of showing the absence of pride. In his
essay, entitled,--"On the Tendency to curl in Upper Lips," he thus
discourses. "We hear much of pride and its sinfulness in this Mardi
wherein we dwell: whereas, I glory in being brimmed with it;--my sort
of pride. In the presence of kings, lords, palm-trees, and all those
who deem themselves taller than myself, I stand stiff as a pike, and
will abate not one vertebra of my stature. But accounting no Mardian
my superior, I account none my inferior; hence, with the social, I am
ever ready to be sociable."

"An agrarian!" said Media; "no doubt he would have made the headsman
the minister of equality."

"At bottom we are already equal, my honored lord," said Babbalanja,
profoundly bowing--"One way we all come into Mardi, and one way we
withdraw. Wanting his yams a king will starve, quick as a clown; and
smote on the hip, saith old Bardianna, he will roar as loud as the
next one."

"Roughly worded, that, Babbalanja.--Vee-Vee! my crown!--So; now,
Babbalanja, try if you can not polish Bardianna's style in that last
saying you father upon him."

"I will, my ever honorable lord," said Babbalanja, salaming. "Thus
we'll word it, then: In their merely Mardian nature, the sublimest
demi-gods are subject to infirmities; for struck by some keen shaft,
even a king ofttimes dons his crown, fearful of future darts."

"Ha, ha!--well done, Babbalanja; but I bade you polish, not sharpen
the arrow."

"All one, my thrice honored lord;--to polish is not to blunt."



CHAPTER XLVII
Babbalanja Philosophizes, And My Lord Media Passes Round The
Calabashes


An interval of silence passed; when Media cried, "Out upon thee,
Yoomy! curtail that long face of thine."

"How can he, my lord," said Mohi, "when he is thinking of furlongs?"

"Fathoms you mean, Mohi; see you not he is musing over the gunwale?
And now, minstrel, a banana for thy thoughts. Come, tell me how you
poets spend so many hours in meditation."

"My lord, it is because, that when we think, we think so little of
ourselves."

"I thought as much," said Mohi, "for no sooner do I undertake to be
sociable with myself, than I am straightway forced to beat a retreat."

"Ay, old man," said Babbalanja, "many of us Mardians are but sorry
hosts to ourselves. Some hearts are hermits."

"If not of yourself, then, Yoomy, of whom else do you think?"
asked Media.

"My lord, I seldom think," said Yoomy, "I but give ear to the voices
in my calm."

"Did Babbalanja speak?" said Media. "But no more of your reveries;"
and so saying Media gradually sunk into a reverie himself.

The rest did likewise; and soon, with eyes enchanted, all reclined:
gazing at each other, witless of what we did.

It was Media who broke the spell; calling for Vee-Vee our page, his
calabashes and cups, and nectarines for all.

Eyeing his goblet, Media at length threw himself back, and said:
"Babbalanja, not ten minutes since, we were all absent-minded; now,
how would you like to step out of your body, in reality; and, as a
spirit, haunt some shadowy grove?"

"But our lungs are not wholly superfluous, my lord," said Babbalanja,
speaking loud.

"No, nor our lips," said Mohi, smacking his over his wine.

"But could you really be disembodied here in Mardi, Babbalanja, how
would you fancy it?" said Media.

"My lord," said Babbalanja, speaking through half of a nectarine,
"defer putting that question, I beseech, till after my appetite is
satisfied; for, trust me, no hungry mortal would forfeit his palate,
to be resolved into the impalpable."

"Yet pure spirits we must all become at last, Babbalanja," said Yoomy,
"even the most ignoble."

"Yes, so they say, Yoomy; but if all boors be the immortal sires of
endless dynasties of immortals, how little do our pious patricians
bear in mind their magnificent destiny, when hourly they scorn their
companionship. And if here in Mardi they can not abide an equality
with plebeians, even at the altar; how shall they endure them, side by
side, throughout eternity? But since the prophet Alma asserts, that
Paradise is almost entirely made up of the poor and despised, no
wonder that many aristocrats of our isles pursue a career, which,
according to some theologies, must forever preserve the social
distinctions so sedulously maintained in Mardi. And though some say,
that at death every thing earthy is removed from the spirit, so that
clowns and lords both stand on a footing; yet, according to the
popular legends, it has ever been observed of the ghosts of boors when
revisiting Mardi, that invariably they rise in their smocks. And
regarding our intellectual equality here, how unjust, my lord, that
after whole years of days end nights consecrated to the hard gaining
of wisdom, the wisest Mardian of us all should in the end find
the whole sum of his attainments, at one leap outstripped by the
veriest dunce, suddenly inspired by light divine. And though some
hold, that all Mardian lore is vain, and that at death all mysteries
will be revealed; yet, none the less, do they toil and ponder now.
Thus, their tongues have one mind, and their understanding another."

"My lord," said Mohi, "we have come to the lees; your pardon,
Babbalanja."

"Then, Vee-Vee, another calabash! Fill up, Mohi; wash down wine with
wine. Your cup, Babbalanja; any lees?"

"Plenty, my lord; we philosophers come to the lees very soon."

"Flood them over, then; but cease not discoursing; thanks be to the
gods, your mortal palates and tongues can both wag together; fill up,
I say, Babbalanja; you are no philosopher, if you stop at the tenth
cup; endurance is the test of philosophy all Mardi over; drink, I say,
and make us wise by precept and example.--Proceed, Yoomy, you look as
if you had something to say."

"Thanks, my lord. Just now, Babbalanja, you flew from the subject;--
you spoke of boors; but has not the lowliest peasant an eye that can
take in the vast horizon at a sweep: mountains, vales, plains, and
oceans? Is such a being nothing?"

"But can that eye see itself, Yoomy?" said Babbalanja, winking. "Taken
out of its socket, will it see at all? Its connection with the body
imparts to it its virtue."

"He questions every thing," cried Mohi. "Philosopher, have you a head?"

"I have," said Babbalanja, feeling for it; "I am finished off at the
helm very much as other Mardians, Mohi."

"My lord, the first yea that ever came from him."

"Ah, Mohi," said Media, "the discourse waxes heavy. I fear me we have
again come to the lees. Ho, Vee-Vee, a fresh calabash; and with
it we will change the subject. Now, Babbalanja, I have this cup to
drink, and then a question to propound. Ah, Mohi, rare old wine this;
it smacks of the cork. But attention, Philosopher. Supposing you had a
wife--which, by the way, you have not--would you deem it sensible in
her to imagine you no more, because you happened to stroll out of her
sight?"

"However that might be," murmured Yoomy, "young Nina bewailed herself
a widow, whenever Arhinoo, her lord, was absent from her side."

"My lord Media," said Babbalanja, "During my absence, my wife would
have more reason to conclude that I was not living, than that I was.
To the former supposition, every thing tangible around her would tend;
to the latter, nothing but her own fond fancies. It is this
imagination of ours, my lord, that is at the bottom of these things.
When I am in one place, there exists no other. Yet am I but too apt to
fancy the reverse. Nevertheless, when I am in Odo, talk not to me of
Ohonoo. To me it is not, except when I am there. If it be, prove it.
To prove it, you carry me thither but you only prove, that to its
substantive existence, as cognizant to me, my presence is
indispensable. I say that, to me, all Mardi exists by virtue of my
sovereign pleasure; and when I die, the universe will perish with me."

"Come you of a long-lived race," said Mohi, "one free from apoplexies?
I have many little things to accomplish yet, and would not be left in
the lurch."

"Heed him not, Babbalanja," said Media. "Dip your beak again, my
eagle, and soar."

"Let us be eagles, then, indeed, my lord: eagle-like, let us look at
this red wine without blinking; let us grow solemn, not boisterous,
with good cheer."

Then, lifting his cup, "My lord, serenely do I pity all who are
stirred one jot from their centers by ever so much drinking of this
fluid. Ply him hard as you will, through the live-long polar
night, a wise man can not be made drunk. Though, toward sunrise, his
body may reel, it will reel round its center; and though he make many
tacks in going home, he reaches it at last; while scores of over-plied
fools are foundering by the way. My lord, when wild with much thought,
'tis to wine I fly, to sober me; its magic fumes breathe over me like
the Indian summer, which steeps all nature in repose. To me, wine is
no vulgar fire, no fosterer of base passions; my heart, ever open, is
opened still wider; and glorious visions are born in my brain; it is
then that I have all Mardi under my feet, and the constellations of
the firmament in my soul."

"Superb!" cried Yoomy.

"Pooh, pooh!" said Mohi, "who does not see stars at such times? I see
the Great Bear now, and the little one, its cub; and Andromeda, and
Perseus' chain-armor, and Cassiopea in her golden chair, and the
bright, scaly Dragon, and the glittering Lyre, and all the jewels in
Orion's sword-hilt."

"Ay," cried Media, "the study of astronomy is wonderfully facilitated
by wine. Fill up, old Ptolemy, and tell us should you discover a new
planet. Methinks this fluid needs stirring. Ho, Vee-Vee, my scepter!
be we sociable. But come, Babbalanja, my gold-headed aquila, return to
your theme;--the imagination, if you please."

"Well, then, my lord, I was about to say, that the imagination is the
Voli-Donzini; or, to speak plainer, the unical, rudimental, and all-
comprehending abstracted essence of the infinite remoteness of things.
Without it, we were grass-hoppers."

"And with it, you mortals are little else; do you not chirp all over,
Mohi? By my demi-god soul, were I not what I am, this wine would
almost get the better of me."

"Without it--" continued Babbalanja.

"Without what?" demanded Media, starting to his feet. "This
wine? Traitor, I'll stand by this to the last gasp, you are
inebriated, Babbalanja."

"Perhaps so, my lord; but I was treating of the imagination, may it
please you."

"My lord," added Mohi, "of the unical, and rudimental fundament of
things, you remember."

"Ah! there's none of them sober; proceed, proceed, Azzageddi!"

"My lord waves his hand like a banner," murmured Yoomy.

"Without imagination, I say, an armless man, born, blind, could not be
made to believe, that he had a head of hair, since he could neither
see it, nor feel it, nor has hair any feeling of itself."

"Methinks though," said Mohi, "if the cripple had a Tartar for a wife,
he would not remain skeptical long."

"You all fly off at tangents," cried Media, "but no wonder: your
mortal brains can not endure much quaffing. Return to your subject,
Babbalanja. Assume now, Babbalanja,--assume, my dear prince--assume
it, assume it, I say!--Why don't you?"

"I am willing to assume any thing you please, my lord: what is it?"

"Ah! yes!--Assume that--that upon returning home, you should find your
wife had newly wedded, under the--the--the metaphysical presumption,
that being no longer visible, you--_you_ Azzageddi, had departed this
life; in other words, out of sight, out of mind; what then, my dear
prince?"

"Why then, my lord, I would demolish my rival in a trice."

"Would you?--then--then so much for your metaphysics, Bab--Babbalanja."

Babbalanja rose to his feet, muttering to himself--"Is this assumed,
or real?--Can a demi-god be mastered by wine? Yet, the old mythologies
make bacchanals of the gods. But he was wondrous keen! He
felled me, ere he fell himself."

"Yoomy, my lord Media is in a very merry mood to-day," whispered Mohi,
"but his counterfeit was not well done. No, no, a bacchanal is not
used to be so logical in his cups."



CHAPTER XLVIII
They Sail Round An Island Without Landing; And Talk Round A Subject
Without Getting At It


Purposing a visit to Kaleedoni, a country integrally united to
Dominora, our course now lay northward along the western white cliffs
of the isle. But finding the wind ahead, and the current too strong
for our paddlers, we were fain to forego our destination; Babbalanja
observing, that since in Dominora we had not found Yillah, then in
Kaleedoni the maiden could not be lurking.

And now, some conversation ensued concerning the country we were
prevented from visiting. Our chronicler narrated many fine things of
its people; extolling their bravery in war, their amiability in peace,
their devotion in religion, their penetration in philosophy, their
simplicity and sweetness in song, their loving-kindness and frugality
in all things domestic:--running over a long catalogue of heroes,
meta-physicians, bards, and good men.

But as all virtues are convertible into vices, so in some cases did
the best traits of these people degenerate. Their frugality too often
became parsimony; their devotion grim bigotry; and all this in a
greater degree perhaps than could be predicated of the more immediate
subjects of King Bello.

In Kaleedoni was much to awaken the fervor of its bards. Upland and
lowland were full of the picturesque; and many unsung lyrics yet
lurked in her glens. Among her blue, heathy hills, lingered many
tribes, who in their wild and tattooed attire, still preserved the
garb of the mightiest nation of old times. They bared the knee, in
token that it was honorable as the face, since it had never been bent.

While Braid-Beard was recounting these things, the currents were
sweeping us over a strait, toward a deep green island, bewitching to
behold.

Not greener that midmost terrace of the Andes, which under a torrid
meridian steeps fair Quito in the dews of a perpetual spring;--not
greener the nine thousand feet of Pirohitee's tall peak, which, rising
from out the warm bosom of Tahiti, carries all summer with it into the
clouds;--nay, not greener the famed gardens of Cyrus,--than the vernal
lawn, the knoll, the dale of beautiful Verdanna.

"Alas, sweet isle! Thy desolation is overrun with vines," sighed
Yoomy, gazing.

"Land of caitiff curs!" cried Media.

"Isle, whose future is in its past. Hearth-stone, from which its
children run," said Babbalanja.

"I can not read thy chronicles for blood, Verdanna," murmured Mohi.

Gliding near, we would have landed, but the rolling surf forbade. Then
thrice we circumnavigated the isle for a smooth, clear beach; but it
was not found.

Meanwhile all still conversed.

"My lord," said Yoomy, "while we tarried with King Bello, I heard much
of the feud between Dominora and this unhappy shore. Yet is not
Verdanna as a child of King Bello's?"

"Yes, minstrel, a step-child," said Mohi.

"By way of enlarging his family circle," said Babbalanja, "an old lion
once introduced a deserted young stag to his den; but the stag never
became domesticated, and would still charge upon his foster-brothers.
--Verdanna is not of the flesh and blood of Dominora, whence, in good
part, these dissensions."

"But Babbalanja, is there no way of reconciling these foes?"

"But one way, Yoomy:--By filling up this strait with dry land; for,
divided by water, we Mardians must ever remain more or less
divided at heart. Though Kaleedoni was united to Dominora long
previous to the union of Verdanna, yet Kaleedoni occasions Bello no
disquiet; for, geographically one, the two populations insensibly
blend at the point of junction. No hostile strait flows between the
arms, that to embrace must touch."

"But, Babbalanja," said Yoomy, "what asks Verdanna of Dominora, that
Verdanna so clamors at the denial?"

"They are arrant cannibals, Yoomy," said Media, "and desire the
privilege of eating each other up."

"King Bello's idea," said Babbalanja; "but, in these things, my lord,
you demi-gods are ever unanimous. But, whatever be Verdanna's demands,
Bello persists in rejecting them."

"Why not grant every thing she asks, even to renouncing all claim upon
the isle," said Mohi; "for thus, Bello would rid himself of many
perplexities."

"And think you, old man," said Media, "that, bane or blessing, Bello
will yield his birthright? Will a tri-crowned king resign his triple
diadem? And even did Bello what you propose he would only breed still
greater perplexities. For if granted, full soon would Verdanna be glad
to surrender many things she demands. And all she now asks, she has
had in times past; but without turning it to advantage:--and is she
wiser now?"

"Does she not demand her harvests, my lord?" said
Yoomy, "and has not the reaper a right to his sheaf?"

"Cant! cant! Yoomy. If you reap for me, the sheaf is mine."

"But if the reaper reaps on his own harvest-field, whose then the
sheaf, my lord?" said Babbalanja.

"His for whom he reaps--his lord's!"

"Then let the reaper go with sickle and with sword," said Yoomy, "with
one hand, cut down the bearded grain; and with the other, smite his
bearded lords."

"Thou growest fierce, in thy lyric moods, my warlike dove,"
said 'Media, blandly. "But for thee, philosopher, know thou, that
Verdanna's men are of blood and brain inferior to Bello's native race;
and the better Mardian must ever rule."

"Verdanna inferior to Dominora, my lord!--Has she produced no bards,
no orators, no wits, no patriots? Mohi, unroll thy chronicles! Tell
me, if Verdanna may not claim full many a star along King Bello's
tattooed arm of Fame?

"Even so," said Mohi. "Many chapters bear you  out."

"But my lord," said Babbalanja, "as truth, omnipresent, lurks in all
things, even in lies: so, does some germ of it lurk in the calumnies
heaped on the people of this land. For though they justly boast of
many lustrous names, these jewels gem no splendid robe. And though
like a bower of grapes, Verdanna is full of gushing juices, spouting
out in bright sallies of wit, yet not all her grapes make wine; and
here and there, hang goodly clusters mildewed; or half devoured by
worms, bred in their own tendrils."

"Drop, drop your grapes and metaphors!" cried Media. "Bring forth your
thoughts like men; let them come naked into Mardi.--What do you mean,
Babbalanja?"

"This, my lord, Verdanna's worst evils are her own, not of another's
giving. Her own hand is her own undoer. She stabs herself with
bigotry, superstition, divided councils, domestic feuds, ignorance,
temerity; she wills, but does not; her East is one black storm-cloud,
that never bursts; her utmost fight is a defiance; she showers
reproaches, where she should rain down blows. She stands a mastiff
baying at the moon."

"Tropes on tropes!" said. Media. "Let me tell the tale,--straight-
forward like a line. Verdanna is a lunatic--"

"A trope! my lord," cried Babbalanja.

"My tropes are not tropes," said Media, "but yours are.--Verdanna is a
lunatic, that after vainly striving to cut another's throat,
grimaces before a standing pool and threatens to cut his own. And is
such a madman to be intrusted with himself? No; let another govern
him, who is ungovernable to himself Ay, and tight hold the rein; and
curb, and rasp the bit. Do I exaggerate?--Mohi, tell me, if, save one
lucid interval, Verdanna, while independent of Dominora, ever
discreetly conducted her affairs? Was she not always full of fights
and factions? And what first brought her under the sway of Bello's
scepter? Did not her own Chief Dermoddi fly to Bello's ancestor for
protection against his own seditious subjects? And thereby did not her
own king unking himself? What wonder, then, and where the wrong, if
Henro, Bello's conquering sire, seized the diadem?"

"What my lord cites is true," said Mohi, "but cite no more, I pray;
lest, you harm your cause."

"Yet for all this, Babbalanja," said Media, "Bello but holds lunatic
Verdanna's lands in trust."

"And may the guardian of an estate also hold custody of the ward, my
lord?"

"Ay, if he can. What _can_ be done, may be: that's the Greed of demi-
gods."

"Alas, alas!" cried Yoomy, "why war with words over this poor,
suffering land. See! for all her bloom, her people starve; perish her
yams, ere taken from the soil; the blight of heaven seems upon them."

"Not so," said Media. "Heaven sends no blights. Verdanna will not
learn. And if from one season's rottenss, rottenness they sow again,
rottenness must they reap. But Yoomy, you seem earnest in this
matter;--come: on all hands it is granted that evils exist in
Verdanna; now sweet Sympathizer, what must the royal Bello do to mend
them?"

"I am no sage," said Yoomy, "what would my lord Media do?"

"What would _you_ do, Babbalanja," said Media.

"Mohi, what you?" asked the philosopher.

"And what would the company do?" added Mohi.

"Now, though these evils pose us all," said Babbalanja, "there lately
died in Verdanna, one, who set about curing them in a humane and
peaceable way, waving war and bloodshed. That man was Konno. Under a
huge caldron, he kept a roaring fire."

"Well, Azzageddi, how could that answer his purpose?" asked Media.

"Nothing better, my lord. His fire boiled his bread-fruit; and so
convinced were his countrymen, that he was well employed, that they
almost stripped their scanty orchards to fill his caldron."

"Konno was a knave," said Mohi.

"Your pardon, old man, but that is only known to his ghost, not to us.
At any rate he was a great man; for even assuming he cajoled his
country, no common man could have done it."

"Babbalanja," said Mohi, "my lord has been pleased to pronounce
Verdanna crazy; now, may not her craziness arise from the irritating,
tantalizing practices of Dominora?"

"Doubtless, Braid-Beard, many of the extravagances of Verdanna, are in
good part to be ascribed to the cause you mention; but, to be
impartial, none the less does Verdanna essay to taunt and provoke
Dominora; yet not with the like result. Perceive you, Braid-Beard,
that the trade-wind blows dead across this strait from Dominora, and
not from Verdanna? Hence, when King Bello's men fling gibes and
insults, every missile hits; but those of Verdanna are blown back in
its teeth: her enemies jeering her again and again."

"King Bello's men are dastards for that," cried Yoomy. "It shows
neither sense, nor spirit, nor humanity," said Babbalanja.

"All wide of the mark," cried Media. "What is to be done for
Verdanna?"

"What will she do for herself?" said Babbalanja.

"Philosopher, you are an extraordinary sage; and since sages should be
seers, reveal Verdanna's future."

"My lord, you will ever find true prophets, prudent; nor will any
prophet risk his reputation upon predicting aught concerning this
land. The isles are Oro's. Nevertheless, he who doctors Verdanna
aright, will first medicine King Bello; who in some things is, himself
a patient, though he would fain be a physician. However, my lord,
there is a demon of a doctor in Mardi, who at last deals with these
desperate cases. He employs only pills, picked off the Conroupta
Quiancensis tree."

"And what sort of a vegetable is that?" asked Mohi. "Consult the
botanists," said Babbalanja.



CHAPTER XLIX
They Draw Nigh To Porpheero; Where They Behold A Terrific Eruption


Gliding away from Verdanna at the turn of the tide, we cleared the
strait, and gaining the more open lagoon, pointed our prows for
Porpheero, from whose magnificent monarchs my lord Media promised
himself a glorious reception.

"They are one and all demi-gods," he cried, "and have the old demi-god
feeling. We have seen no great valleys like theirs:--their scepters
are long as our spears; to their sumptuous palaces, Donjalolo's are
but inns:--their banquetting halls are as vistas; no generations run
parallel to theirs:--their pedigrees reach back into chaos.

"Babbalanja! here you will find food for philosophy:--the whole land
checkered with nations, side by side contrasting in costume, manners,
and mind. Here you will find science and sages; manuscripts in miles;
bards singing in choirs.

"Mohi! here you will flag over your page; in Porpheero the ages have
hived all their treasures: like a pyramid, the past shadows over the
land.

"Yoomy! here you will find stuff for your songs:--blue rivers flowing
through forest arches, and vineyards; velvet meads, soft as ottomans:
bright maidens braiding the golden locks of the harvest; and a
background of mountains, that seem the end of the world. Or if nature
will not content you, then turn to the landscapes of art. See! mosaic
walls, tattooed like our faces; paintings, vast as horizons;
and into which, you feel you could rush: See! statues to which you
could off turban; cities of columns standing thick as mankind; and
firmanent domes forever shedding their sunsets of gilding: See! spire
behind spire, as if the land were the ocean, and all Bello's great
navy were riding at anchor.

"Noble Taji! you seek for your Yillah;--give over despair! Porpheero's
such a scene of enchantment, that there, the lost maiden must lurk."

"A glorious picture!" cried Babbalanja, but turn the medal, my lord;--
what says the reverse?"

"Cynic! have done.--But bravo! we'll ere long be in Franko, the
goodliest vale of them all; how I long to take her old king by the
hand!"

The sun was now setting behind us, lighting up the white cliffs of
Dominora, and the green capes of Verdanna; while in deep shade lay
before us the long winding shores of Porpheero.

It was a sunset serene.

"How the winds lowly warble in the dying day's ear," murmured Yoomy.

"A mild, bright night, we'll have," said Media.

"See you not those clouds over Franko, my lord," said Mohi, shaking
his head.

"Ah, aged and weather-wise as ever, sir chronicler;--I predict a fair
night, and many to follow."

"Patience needs no prophet," said Babbalanja. "The night, is at hand."

Hitherto the lagoon had been smooth: but anon, it grew black, and
stirred; and out of the thick darkness came clamorous sounds. Soon,
there shot into the air a vivid meteor, which bursting at the zenith,
radiated down the firmament in fiery showers, leaving treble darkness
behind.

Then as all held their breath, from Franko there spouted an eruption,
which seemed to plant all Mardi in the foreground.

As when Vesuvius lights her torch, and in the blaze, the storm-swept
surges in Naples' bay rear and plunge toward it; so now, showed
Franko's multitudes, as they stormed the summit where their monarch's
palace blazed, fast by the burning mountain.

"By my eternal throne!" cried Media, starting, "the old volcano has
burst forth again!"

"But a new vent, my lord," said Babbalanja.

"More fierce this, than the eruption which happened in my youth," said
Mohi--"methinks that Franko's end has come."

"You look pale, my lord," said Babbalanja, "while all other faces
glow;--Yoomy, doff that halo in the presence of a king."

Over the waters came a rumbling sound, mixed with the din of warfare,
and thwarted by showers of embers that fell not, for the whirling
blasts.

"Off shore! off shore!" cried Media; and with all haste we gained a
place of safety.

Down the valley now poured Rhines and Rhones of lava, a fire-freshet,
flooding the forests from their fastnesses, and leaping with them into
the seething sea.

The shore was lined with multitudes pushing off wildly in canoes.

Meantime, the fiery storm from Franko, kindled new flames in the
distant valleys of Porpheero; while driven over from Verdanna came
frantic shouts, and direful jubilees. Upon Dominora a baleful glare
was resting.

"Thrice cursed flames!" cried Media. "Is Mardi to be one
conflagration? How it crackles, forks, and roars!--Is this our funeral
pyre?"

"Recline, recline, my lord," said Babbalanja. "Fierce flames are ever
brief--a song, sweet Yoomy! Your pipe, old Mohi! Greater fires than
this have ere now blazed in Mardi. Let us be calm;--the isles were
made to burn;--Braid-Beard! hereafter, in some quiet cell, of this
whole scene you will but make one chapter;--come, digest it now."

"My face is scorched," cried Media.

"The last, last day!" cried Mohi.

"Not so, old man," said Babbalanja, "when that day dawns, 'twill dawn
serene. Be calm, be calm, my potent lord."

"Talk not of calm brows in storm-time!" cried Media fiercely. "See!
how the flames blow over upon Dominora!"

"Yet the fires they kindle there are soon extinguished," said
Babbalanja. "No, no; Dominora ne'er can burn with Franko's fires; only
those of her own kindling may consume her."

"Away! Away!" cried Media. "We may not touch Porpheero now.--Up sails!
and westward be our course."

So dead before the blast, we scudded.

Morning broke, showing no sign of land.

"Hard must it go with Franko's king," said Media, "when his people
rise against him with the red volcanoes. Oh, for a foot to crush them!
Hard, too, with all who rule in broad Porpheero. And may she we seek,
survive this conflagration!"

"My lord," said Babbalanja, "where'ere she hide, ne'er yet did Yillah
lurk in this Porpheero; nor have we missed the maiden, noble Taji! in
not touching at its shores."

"This fire must make a desert of the land," said Mohi; "burn up and
bury all her tilth."

"Yet, Mohi, vineyards flourish over buried villages," murmured Yoomy.

"True, minstrel," said Babbalanja, "and prairies are purified by fire.
Ashes breed loam. Nor can any skill make the same surface forever
fruitful. In all times past, things have been overlaid; and though the
first fruits of the marl are wild and poisonous, the palms at last
spring forth; and once again the tribes repose in shade. My lord, if
calms breed storms, so storms calms; and all this dire commotion must
eventuate in peace. It may be, that Perpheero's future has been
cheaply won."



CHAPTER L
Wherein King Media Celebrates The Glories Of Autumn, The Minstrel, The
Promise Of Spring


"Ho, now!" cried Media, "across the wide waters, for that New Mardi,
Vivenza! Let us indeed see, whether she who eludes us elsewhere, he at
last found in Vivenza's vales."

"There or nowhere, noble Taji," said Yoomy.

"Be not too sanguine, gentle Yoomy," said Babbalanja.

"Does Yillah choose rather to bower in the wild wilderness of Vivenza,
than in the old vineyards of Porpheero?" said Braid-Beard.

Sang Yoomy:--
    Her bower is not of the vine,
    But the wild, wild eglantine!
    Not climbing a moldering arch,
    But upheld by the fir-green larch.
      Old ruins she flies:
      To new valleys she hies:--
      Not the hoar, moss-wood,
      Ivied trees each a rood--
      Not in Maramma she dwells,
      Hollow with hermit cells.

        'Tis a new, new isle!
        An infant's its smile,
          Soft-rocked by the sea.
        Its bloom all in bud;
        No tide at its flood,
          In that fresh-born sea!

    Spring! Spring! where she dwells,
    In her sycamore dells,
    Where Mardi is young and new:
    Its verdure all eyes with dew.

    There, there! in the bright, balmy morns,
    The young deer sprout their horns,
    Deep-tangled in new-branching groves,
    Where the Red-Rover Robin roves,--

          Stooping his crest,
          To his molting breast--
        Rekindling the flambeau there!
      Spring! Spring! where she dwells,
      In her sycamore dells:--
      Where, fulfilling their fates,
      All creatures seek mates--
        The thrush, the doe, and the hare!

"Thou art most musical, sweet Yoomy," said Media. "concerning this
spring-land Vivenza. But are not the old autumnal valleys of Porpheero
more glorious than those of vernal Vivenza? Vivenza shows no trophies
of the summer time, but Dominora's full-blown rose hangs blushing on
her garden walls; her autumn groves are glory-dyed."

"My lord, autumn soon merges in winter, but the spring has all the
seasons before. The full-blown rose is nearer withering than the bud.
The faint morn is a blossom: the crimson sunset the flower."



CHAPTER LI
In Which Azzageddi Seems To Use Babbalanja For A Mouth-Piece


Porpheero far astern, the spirits of the company rose. Once again, old
Mohi serenely unbraided, and rebraided his beard; and sitting Turk-
wise on his mat, my lord Media smoking his gonfalon, diverted himself
with the wild songs of Yoomy, the wild chronicles of Mohi, or the
still wilder speculations of Babbalanja; now and then, as from pitcher
to pitcher, pouring royal old wine down his soul.

Among other things, Media, who at times turned over Babbalanja for an
encyclopaedia, however unreliable, demanded information upon the
subject of neap tides and their alleged slavish vassalage to the moon.

When true to his cyclopaediatic nature, Babbalanja quoted from a still
older and better authority than himself; in brief, from no other than
eternal Bardianna. It seems that that worthy essayist had discussed
the whole matter in a chapter thus headed: "On Seeing into Mysteries
through Mill-Stones;" and throughout his disquisitions he evinced such
a profundity of research, though delivered in a style somewhat
equivocal, that the company were much struck by the erudition
displayed.

"Babbalanja, that Bardianna of yours must have been a wonderful
student," said Media after a pause, "no doubt he consumed whole
thickets of rush-lights."

"Not so, my lord.--'Patience, patience, philosophers,' said Bardianna;
'blow out your tapers, bolt not your dinners, take time, wisdom will
be plenty soon.'"

"A notable hint! Why not follow it, Babbalanja?"

"Because, my lord, I have overtaken it, and passed on."

"True to your nature, Babbalanja; you stay nowhere."

"Ay, keep moving is my motto; but speaking of hard students, did my
lord ever hear of Midni the ontologist and entomologist?"

"No."

"Then, my lord, you shall hear of him now. Midni was of opinion that
day-light was vulgar; good enough for taro-planting and traveling; but
wholly unadapted to the sublime ends of study. He toiled by night;
from sunset to sunrise poring over the works of the old logicans. Like
most philosophers, Midni was an amiable man; but one thing invariably
put him out. He read in the woods by glow-worm light; insect in hand,
tracing over his pages, line by line. But glow-worms burn not long:
and in the midst of some calm intricate thought, at some imminent
comma, the insect often expired, and Midni groped for a meaning. Upon
such an occasion, 'Ho, Ho,' he cried; 'but for one instant of sun-
light to see my way to a period!' But sun-light there was none; so
Midni sprang to his feet, and parchment under arm, raced about among
the sloughs and bogs for another glow-worm. Often, making a rapid
descent with his turban, he thought he had caged a prize; but nay.
Again he tried; yet with no better succcess. Nevertheless, at last he
secured one; but hardly had he read three lines by its light, when out
it went. Again and again this occurred. And thus he forever went
halting and stumbling through his studies, and plunging through his
quagmires after a glim."

At this ridiculous tale, one of our silliest paddlers burst into
uncontrollable mirth. Offended at which breach of decorum, Media
sharply rebuked him.

But he protested he could not help laughing.

Again Media was about to reprimand him, when Babbalanja begged leave
to interfere.

"My lord, he is not to blame. Mark how earnestly he struggles to
suppress his mirth; but he can not. It has often been the same with
myself. And many a time have I not only vainly sought to check my
laughter, but at some recitals I have both laughed and cried. But can
opposite emotions be simultaneous in one being? No. I wanted to weep;
but my body wanted to smile, and between us we almost choked. My lord
Media, this man's body laughs; not the man himself."

"But his body is his own, Babbalanja; and he should have it under
better control."

"The common error, my lord. Our souls belong to our bodies, not our
bodies to our souls. For which has the care of the other? which keeps
house? which looks after the replenishing of the aorta and auricles,
and stores away the secretions? Which toils and ticks while the other
sleeps? Which is ever giving timely hints, and elderly warnings? Which
is the most authoritative?--Our bodies, surely. At a hint, you must
move; at a notice to quit, you depart. Simpletons show us, that a body
can get along almost without a soul; but of a soul getting along
without a body, we have no tangible and indisputable proof. My lord,
the wisest of us breathe involuntarily. And how many millions there
are who live from day to day by the incessant operation of subtle
processes in them, of which they know nothing, and care less? Little
ween they, of vessels lacteal and lymphatic, of arteries femoral and
temporal; of pericranium or pericardium; lymph, chyle, fibrin,
albumen, iron in the blood, and pudding in the head; they live by the
charity of their bodies, to which they are but butlers. I say, my
lord, our bodies are our betters. A soul so simple, that it prefers
evil to good, is lodged in a frame, whose minutest action is full of
unsearchable wisdom. Knowing this superiority of theirs, our bodies
are inclined to be willful: our beards grow in spite of us; and as
every one knows, they sometimes grow on dead men."

"You mortals are alive, then, when you are dead, Babbalanja."

"No, my lord; but our beards survive us."

"An ingenious distinction; go on, philosopher."

"Without bodies, my lord, we Mardians would be minus our strongest
motive-passions, those which, in some way or other, root under our
every action. Hence, without bodies, we must be something else than we
essentially are. Wherefore, that saying imputed to Alma, and which, by
his very followers, is deemed the most hard to believe of all his
instructions, and the most at variance with all preconceived notions
of immortality, I Babbalanja, account the most reasonable of his
doctrinal teachings. It is this;--that at the last day, every man
shall rise in the flesh."

"Pray, Babbalanja, talk not of resurrections to a demi-god."

"Then let me rehearse a story, my lord. You will find it in the 'Very
Merry Marvelings' of the Improvisitor Quiddi; and a quaint book it is.
Fugle-fi is its finis:--fugle-fi, fugle-fo, fugle-fogle-orum!"

"That wild look in his eye again," murmured Yoomy. "Proceed,
Azzageddi," said Media.

"The philosopher Grando had a sovereign contempt for his carcass.
Often he picked a quarrel with it; and always was flying out in its
disparagement. 'Out upon you, you beggarly body! you clog, drug, drag!
You keep me from flying; I could get along better without you. Out
upon you, I say, you vile pantry, cellar, sink, sewer; abominable
body! what vile thing are you not? And think you, beggar! to have the
upper hand of me? Make a leg to that man if you dare, without my
permission. This smell is intolerable; but turn from it, if you can,
unless I give the word. Bolt this yam!--it is done. Carry me across
yon field!--off we go. Stop!--it's a dead halt. There, I've trained
you enough for to-day; now, sirrah, crouch down in the shade, and be
quiet.--I'm rested. So, here's for a stroll, and a reverie homeward:--
Up, carcass, and march.' So the carcass demurely rose and
paced, and the philosopher meditated. He was intent upon squaring the
circle; but bump he came against a bough. 'How now, clodhopping
bumpkin! you would take advantage of my reveries, would you? But I'll
be even with you;' and seizing a cudgel, he laid across his shoulders
with right good will. But one of his backhanded thwacks injured his
spinal cord; the philosopher dropped; but presently came to. 'Adzooks!
I'll bend or break you! Up, up, and I'll run you home for this.' But
wonderful to tell, his legs refused to budge; all sensation had left
them. But a huge wasp happening to sting his foot, not him, for he
felt it not, the leg incontinently sprang into the air, and of itself,
cut all manner of capers. Be still! Down with you!' But the leg
refused. 'My arms are still loyal,' thought Grando; and with them he
at last managed to confine his refractory member. But all commands,
volitions, and persuasions, were as naught to induce his limbs to
carry him home. It was a solitary place; and five days after, Grando
the philosopher was found dead under a tree."

"Ha, ha!" laughed Media, "Azzageddi is full as merry as ever."

"But, my lord," continued Babbalanja, "some creatures have still more
perverse bodies than Grando's. In the fables of Ridendiabola, this is
to be found. 'A fresh-water Polyp, despising its marine existence;
longed to live upon air. But all it could do, its tentacles or arms
still continued to cram its stomach. By a sudden preternatural
impulse, however, the Polyp at last turned itself inside out;
supposing that after such a proceeding it would have no gastronomic
interior. But its body proved ventricle outside as well as in. Again
its arms went to work; food was tossed in, and digestion continued.'"

"Is the literal part of that a fact?" asked Mohi.

"True as truth," said Babbalanja; "the Polyp will live turned inside out."

"Somewhat curious, certainly," said Media.--"But me-thinks,
Babbalanja, that somewhere I have heard something about organic
functions, so called; which may account for the phenomena you mention;
and I have heard too, me-thinks, of what are called reflex actions of
the nerves, which, duly considered, might deprive of its strangeness
that story of yours concerning Grande and his body."

"Mere substitutions of sounds for inexplicable meanings, my lord. In
some things science cajoles us. Now, what is undeniable of the Polyp
some physiologists analogically maintain with regard to us Mardians;
that forasmuch, as the lining of our interiors is nothing more than a
continuation of the epidermis, or scarf-skin, therefore, that in a
remote age, we too must have been turned wrong side out: an
hypothesis, which, indirectly might account for our moral
perversities: and also, for that otherwise nonsensical term--'the coat
of the stomach;' for originally it must have been a surtout, instead
of an inner garment."

"Pray, Azzageddi," said Media, "are you not a fool?"

"One of a jolly company, my lord; but some creatures besides wearing
their surtouts within, sport their skeletons without: witness the
lobster and turtle, who alive, study their own anatomies."

"Azzageddi, you are a zany."

"Pardon, my lord," said Mohi, "I think him more of a lobster; it's
hard telling his jaws from his claws."

"Yes, Braid-Beard, I am a lobster, a mackerel, any thing you please;
but my ancestors were kangaroos, not monkeys, as old Boddo erroneously
opined. My idea is more susceptible of demonstration than his. Among
the deepest discovered land fossils, the relics of kangaroos are
discernible, but no relics of men. Hence, there were no giants in
those days; but on the contrary, kangaroos; and those kangaroos formed
the first edition of mankind, since revised and corrected."

"What has become of our finises, or tails, then?" asked Mohi,
wriggling in his seat.

"The old question, Mohi. But where are the tails of the tadpoles,
after their gradual metamorphosis into frogs? Have frogs any tails,
old man? Our tails, Mohi, were worn off by the process of
civilization; especially at the period when our fathers began to adopt
the sitting posture: the fundamental evidence of all civilization, for
neither apes, nor savages, can be said to sit; invariably, they squat
on their hams. Among barbarous tribes benches and settles are unknown.
But, my lord Media, as your liege and loving subject I can not
sufficiently deplore the deprivation of your royal tail. That stiff
and vertebrated member, as we find it in those rustic kinsmen we have
disowned, would have been useful as a supplement to your royal legs;
and whereas my good lord is now fain to totter on two stanchions, were
he only a kangaroo, like the monarchs of old, the majesty of Odo would
be dignified, by standing firm on a tripod."

"A very witty conceit! But have a care, Azzageddi; your theory applies
not to me."

"Babbalanja," said Mohi, "you must be the last of the kangaroos."

"I am, Mohi."

"But the old fashioned pouch or purse of your grandams?" hinted Media.

"My lord, I take it, that must have been transferred; nowadays our sex
carries the purse."

"Ha, ha!"

"My lord, why this mirth? Let us be serious. Although man is no longer
a kangaroo, he may be said to be an inferior species of plant. Plants
proper are perhaps insensible of the circulation of their sap: we
mortals are physically unconscious of the circulation of the blood;
and for many ages were not even aware of the fact. Plants know nothing
of their interiors:--three score years and ten we trundle about ours,
and never get a peep at them; plants stand on their stalks:--we stalk
on our legs; no plant flourishes over its dead root:--dead in the
grave, man lives no longer above ground; plants die without
food:--so we. And now for the difference. Plants elegantly inhale
nourishment, without looking it up: like lords, they stand still and
are served; and though green, never suffer from the colic:--whereas,
we mortals must forage all round for our food: we cram our insides;
and are loaded down with odious sacks and intestines. Plants make love
and multiply; but excel us in all amorous enticements, wooing and
winning by soft pollens and essences. Plants abide in one place, and
live: we must travel or die. Plants flourish without us: we must
perish without them."

"Enough Azzageddi!" cried Media. "Open not thy lips till to-morrow."'



CHAPTER LII
The Charming Yoomy Sings


The morrow came; and three abreast, with snorting prows, we raced
along; our mat-sails panting to the breeze. All present partook of the
life of the air; and unanimously Yoomy was called upon for a song. The
canoes were passing a long, white reef, sparkling with shells, like a
jeweler's case: and thus Yoomy sang in the same old strain as of yore;
beginning aloud, where he had left off in his soul:--

    Her sweet, sweet mouth!
      The peach-pearl shell:--
    Red edged its lips,
      That softly swell,
    Just oped to speak,
    With blushing cheek,
      That fisherman
    With lonely spear
      On the reef ken,
    And lift to ear
    Its voice to hear,--
      Soft sighing South!
    Like this, like this,--
    The rosy kiss!--
      That maiden's mouth.
    A shell! a shell!
    A vocal shell!
      Song-dreaming,
    In its inmost dell!

  Her bosom! Two buds half blown, they tell;
    A little valley between perfuming;
          That roves away,
          Deserting the day,--
      The day of her eyes illuming;--
    That roves away, o'er slope and fell,
    Till a soft, soft meadow becomes the dell.

Thus far, old Mohi had been wriggling about in his seat, twitching his
beard, and at every couplet looking up expectantly, as if he desired
the company to think, that he was counting upon that line as the last;
But now, starting to his feet, he exclaimed, "Hold, minstrel! thy
muse's drapery is becoming disordered: no more!"

"Then no more it shall be," said Yoomy, "But you have lost a glorious
sequel."



CHAPTER LIII
They Draw Nigh Unto Land


In good time, after many days sailing, we snuffed the land from afar,
and came to a great country, full of inland mountains, north and south
stretching far out of sight. "All hail, Kolumbo!" cried Yoomy.

Coasting by a portion of it, which Mohi called Kanneeda, a province of
King Bello's, we perceived the groves rocking in the wind; their
flexible boughs bending like bows; and the leaves flying forth, and
darkening the landscape, like flocks of pigeons.

"Those groves must soon fall," said Mohi.

"Not so," said Babbalanja. "My lord, as these violent gusts are formed
by the hostile meeting of two currents, one from over the lagoon, the
other from land; they may be taken as significant of the occasional
variances between Kanneeda and Dominora."

"Ay," said Media, "and as Mohi hints, the breeze from Dominora must
soon overthrow the groves of Kanneeda."

"Not if the land-breeze holds, my lord;--one breeze oft blows another
home.--Stand up, and gaze!  From cape to cape, this whole main we see,
is young and froward. And far southward, past this Kanneeda and
Vivenza, are haughty, overbearing streams, which at their mouths dam
back the ocean, and long refuse to mix their freshness with the
foreign brine:--so bold, so strong, so bent on hurling off aggression
is this brave main, Kolumbo;--last sought, last found, Mardi's estate,
so long kept back;--pray Oro, it be not squandered foolishly.
Here lie plantations, held in fee by stout hearts and arms; and
boundless fields, that may be had for seeing. Here, your foes are
forests, struck down with bloodless maces.--Ho! Mardi's Poor, and
Mardi's Strong! ye, who starve or beg; seventh-sons who slave for
earth's first-born--here is your home; predestinated yours; Come over,
Empire-founders! fathers of the wedded tribes to come!--abject now,
illustrious evermore:--Ho: Sinew, Brawn, and Thigh!"

"A very fine invocation," said Media, "now Babbalanja, be seated; and
tell us whether Dominora and the kings of Porpheero do not own some
small portion of this great continent, which just now you poetically
pronounced as the spoil of any vagabonds who may choose to settle
therein? Is not Kanneeda, Dominora's?"

"And was not Vivenza once Dominora's also? And what Vivenza now is,
Kanneeda soon must be. I speak not, my lord, as wishful of what I say,
but simply as foreknowing it. The thing must come. Vain for Dominora
to claim allegiance from all the progeny she spawns. As well might the
old patriarch of the flood reappear, and claim the right of rule over
all mankind, as descended from the loins of his three roving sons.

"'Tis the old law:--the East peoples the West, the West the East; flux
and reflux. And time may come, after the rise and fall of nations yet
unborn, that, risen from its future ashes, Porpheero shall be the
promised land, and from her surplus hordes Kolumbo people it."

Still coasting on, next day, we came to Vivenza; and as Media desired
to land first at a point midway between its extremities, in order to
behold the convocation of chiefs supposed to be assembled at this
season, we held on our way, till we gained a lofty ridge, jutting out
into the lagoon, a bastion to the neighboring land. It terminated in a
lofty natural arch of solid trap. Billows beat against its base. But
above, waved an inviting copse, wherein was revealed an open
temple of canes, containing one only image, that of a helmeted female,
the tutelar deity of Vivenza.

The canoes drew near.

"Lo! what inscription is that?" cried Media, "there, chiseled over the
arch?"

Studying those immense hieroglyphics awhile, antiquarian Mohi still
eyeing them, said slowly:--"In-this-re-publi-can-land-all-men-are-
born-free-and-equal."

"False!" said Media.

"And how long stay they so?" said Babbalanja.

"But look lower, old man," cried Media, "methinks there's a small
hieroglyphic or two hidden away in yonder angle.--Interpret them, old
man."

After much screwing of his eyes, for those characters were very
minute, Champollion Mohi thus spoke--" Except-the-tribe-of-Hamo."

"That nullifies the other," cried Media. "Ah, ye republicans!"

"It seems to have been added for a postscript," rejoined Braid-Beard,
screwing his eyes again.

"Perhaps so," said Babbalanja, "but some wag must have done it."

Shooting through the arch, we rapidly gained the beach.



CHAPTER LIV
They Visit The Great Central Temple Of Vivenza


The throng that greeted us upon landing were exceedingly boisterous.

"Whence came ye?" they cried. "Whither bound? Saw ye ever such a land
as this? Is it not a great and extensive republic? Pray, observe how
tall we are; just feel of our thighs; Are we not a glorious people?
Here, feel of our beards. Look round; look round; be not afraid;
Behold those palms; swear now, that this land surpasses all others.
Old Bello's mountains are mole-hills to ours; his rivers, rills; his
empires, villages; his palm-trees, shrubs."

"True," said Babbalanja. "But great Oro must have had some hand in
making your mountains and streams.--Would ye have been as great in a
desert?"

"Where is your king?" asked Media, drawing himself up in his robe, and
cocking his crown.

"Ha, ha, my fine fellow! We are all kings here; royalty breathes in
the common air. But come on, come on. Let us show you our great Temple
of Freedom."

And so saying, irreverently grasping his sacred arm, they conducted us
toward a lofty structure, planted upon a bold hill, and supported by
thirty pillars of palm; four quite green; as if recently added; and
beyond these, an almost interminable vacancy, as if all the palms in
Mardi, were at some future time, to aid in upholding that fabric.

Upon the summit of the temple was a staff; and as we drew nigh, a man
with a collar round his neck, and the red marks of stripes upon his
back, was just in the act of hoisting a tappa standard--
correspondingly striped. Other collared menials were going in and out
of the temple.

Near the porch, stood an image like that on the top of the arch we had
seen. Upon its pedestal, were pasted certain hieroglyphical notices;
according to Mohi, offering rewards for missing men, so many hands high.

Entering the temple, we beheld an amphitheatrical space, in the middle
of which, a great fire was burning. Around it, were many chiefs, robed
in long togas, and presenting strange contrasts in their style of
tattooing.

Some were sociably laughing, and chatting; others diligently making
excavations between their teeth with slivers of bamboo; or turning
their heads into mills, were grinding up leaves and ejecting their
juices. Some were busily inserting the down of a thistle into their
ears. Several stood erect, intent upon maintaining striking attitudes;
their javelins tragically crossed upon their chests. They would have
looked very imposing, were it not, that in rear their vesture was
sadly disordered. Others, with swelling fronts, seemed chiefly
indebted to their dinners for their dignity. Many were nodding and
napping. And, here and there, were sundry indefatigable worthies,
making a great show of imperious and indispensable business;
sedulously folding banana leaves into scrolls, and recklessly placing
them into the hands of little boys, in gay turbans and trim little
girdles, who thereupon fled as if with salvation for the dying.

It was a crowded scene; the dusky chiefs, here and there, grouped
together, and their fantastic tattooings showing like the carved work
on quaint old chimney-stacks, seen from afar. But one of their number
overtopped all the rest. As when, drawing nigh unto old Rome, amid the
crowd of sculptured columns and gables, St. Peter's grand dome soars
far aloft, serene in the upper air; so, showed one calm grand forehead
among those of this mob of chieftains. That head was Saturnina's. Gall
and Spurzheim! saw you ever such a brow?--poised like an avalanche,
under the shadow of a forest! woe betide the devoted valleys
below! Lavatar! behold those lips,--like mystic scrolls! Those eyes,--
like panthers' caves at the base of Popocatepetl!

"By my right hand, Saturnina," cried Babbalanja, "but thou wert made
in the image of thy Maker! Yet, have I beheld men, to the eye as
commanding as thou; and surmounted by heads globe-like as thine, who
never had thy caliber. We must measure brains, not heads, my lord; else,
the sperm whale, with his tun of an occiput, would transcend us all."

Near by, were arched ways, leading to subterranean places, whence
issued a savory steam, and an extraordinary clattering of calabashes,
and smacking of lips, as if something were being eaten down there by
the fattest of fat fellows, with the heartiest of appetites, and the
most irresistible of relishes. It was a quaffing, guzzling, gobbling
noise. Peeping down, we beheld a company, breasted up against a board,
groaning under numerous viands. In the middle of all, was a mighty
great gourd, yellow as gold, and jolly round like a pumpkin in
October, and so big it must have grown in the sun. Thence flowed a
tide of red wine. And before it, stood plenty of paunches being filled
therewith like portly stone jars at a fountain. Melancholy to tell,
before that fine flood of old wine, and among those portly old topers,
was a lean man; who occasionally ducked in his bill. He looked like an
ibis standing in the Nile at flood tide, among a tongue-lapping herd
of hippopotami.

They were jolly as the jolliest; and laughed so uproariously, that
their hemispheres all quivered and shook, like vast provinces in an
earthquake. Ha! ha! ha! how they laughed, and they roared. A deaf man
might have heard them; and no milk could have soured within a forty-
two-pounder ball shot of that place.

Now, the smell of good things is no very bad thing in itself. It is
the savor of good things beyond; proof positive of a glorious good meal.
So snuffing up those zephyrs from Araby the blest, those boisterous
gales, blowing from out the mouths of baked boars, stuffed with bread-
fruit, bananas, and sage, we would fain have gone down and partaken.

But this could not be; for we were told that those worthies below,
were a club in secret conclave; very busy in settling certain weighty
state affairs upon a solid basis, They were all chiefs of immense
capacity:--how many gallons, there was no finding out.

Be sure, now, a most riotous noise came up from those catacombs, which
seemed full of the ghosts of fat Lamberts; and this uproar it was,
that heightened the din above-ground.

But heedless of all, in the midst of the amphitheater, stood a tall,
gaunt warrior, ferociously tattooed, with a beak like a buzzard; long
dusty locks; and his hands full of headless arrows. He was laboring
under violent paroxysms; three benevolent individuals essaying to hold
him. But repeatedly breaking loose, he burst anew into his delirium;
while with an absence of sympathy, distressing to behold, the rest of
the assembly seemed wholly engrossed with themselves; nor did they
appear to care how soon the unfortunate lunatic might demolish himself
by his frantic proceedings.

Toward one side of the amphitheatrical space, perched high upon an
elevated dais, sat a white-headed old man with a tomahawk in his hand:
earnestly engaged in overseeing the tumult; though not a word did he
say. Occasionally, however, he was regarded by those present with a
mysterious sort of deference; and when they chanced to pass between
him and the crazy man, they invariably did so in a stooping position;
probably to elude the atmospheric grape and cannister, continually
flying from the mouth of the lunatic.

"What mob is this?" cried Media.

"'Tis the grand council of Vivenza," cried a bystander. "Hear ye not
Alanno?" and he pointed to the lunatic.

Now coming close to Alanno, we found, that with incredible volubility,
he was addressing the assembly upon some all-absorbing subject
connected with King Bello, and his presumed encroachments toward the
northwest of Vivenza.

One hand smiting his hip, and the other his head, the lunatic thus
proceeded; roaring like a wild beast, and beating the air like a
windmill:--

"I have said it! the thunder is flashing, the lightning is crashing!
already there's an earthquake in Dominora! Full soon will old Bello
discover that his diabolical machinations against this ineffable land
must soon come to naught. Who dare not declare, that we are not
invincible? I repeat it, we are. Ha! ha! Audacious Bello must bite the
dust! Hair by hair, we will trail his gory gray beard at the end of
our spears! Ha, ha! I grow hoarse; but would mine were a voice like
the wild bulls of Bullorom, that I might be heard from one end of this
great and gorgeous land to its farthest zenith; ay, to the uttermost
diameter of its circumference. Awake! oh Vivenza. The signs of the
times are portentous; nay, extraordinary; I hesitate not to add,
peculiar! Up! up! Let us not descend to the bathos, when we should
soar to the climax! Does not all Mardi wink and look on? Is the great
sun itself a frigid spectator? Then let us double up our mandibles to
the deadly encounter. Methinks I see it now. Old Bello is crafty, and
his oath is recorded to obliterate us! Across this wide lagoon he
casts his serpent eyes; whets his insatiate bill; mumbles his
barbarous tusks; licks his forked tongues; and who knows when we shall
have the shark in our midst? Yet be not deceived; for though as yet,
Bello has forborn molesting us openly, his emissaries are at work; his
infernal sappers, and miners, and wet-nurses, and midwives, and grave-
diggers are busy! His canoe-yards are all in commotion! In navies his
forests are being launched upon the wave; and ere long typhoons,
zephyrs, white-squalls, balmy breezes, hurricanes, and besoms will be
raging round us!"

His philippic concluded, Alanno was conducted from the place; and
being now quite exhausted, cold cobble-stones were applied to his
temples, and he was treated to a bath in a stream.

This chieftain, it seems, was from a distant western valley, called
Hio-Hio, one of the largest and most fertile in Vivenza, though but
recently settled. Its inhabitants, and those of the vales adjoining,--
a right sturdy set of fellows,--were accounted the most dogmatically
democratic and ultra of all the tribes in Vivenza; ever seeking to
push on their brethren to the uttermost; and especially were they
bitter against Bello. But they were a fine young tribe, nevertheless.
Like strong new wine they worked violently in becoming clear. Time,
perhaps, would make them all right.

An interval of greater uproar than ever now ensued; during which, with
his tomahawk, the white-headed old man repeatedly thumped and pounded
the seat where he sat, apparently to augment the din, though he looked
anxious to suppress it.

At last, tiring of his posture, he whispered in the ear of a chief,
his friend; who, approaching a portly warrior present, prevailed upon
him to rise and address the assembly. And no sooner did this one do
so, than the whole convocation dispersed, as if to their yams; and
with a grin, the little old man leaped from his seat, and stretched
his legs on a mat.

The fire was now extinguished, and the temple deserted.



CHAPTER LV
Wherein Babbalanja Comments Upon The Speech Of Alanno


As we lingered in the precincts of the temple after all others had
departed, sundry comments were made upon what we had seen; and having
remarked the hostility of the lunatic orator toward Dominora,
Babbalanja thus addressed Media:--

"My lord, I am constrained to believe, that all Vivenza can not be of
the same mind with the grandiloquent chief from Hio-Hio. Nevertheless,
I imagine, that between Dominora and this land, there exists at bottom
a feeling akin to animosity, which is not yet wholly extinguished;
though but the smoldering embers of a once raging fire. My lord, you
may call it poetry if you will, but there are nations in Mardi, that
to others stand in the relation of sons to sires. Thus with Dominora
and Vivenza. And though, its majority attained, Vivenza is now its own
master, yet should it not fail in a reverential respect for its
parent. In man or nation, old age is honorable; and a boy, however
tall, should never take his sire by the beard. And though Dominora did
indeed ill merit Vivenza's esteem, yet by abstaining from
criminations, Vivenza should ever merit its own. And if in time to
come, which Oro forbid, Vivenza must needs go to battle with King
Bello, let Vivenza first cross the old veteran's spear with all
possible courtesy. On the other hand, my lord, King Bello should never
forget, that whatever be glorious in Vivenza, redounds to himself. And
as some gallant old lord proudly measures the brawn and stature of his
son; and joys to view in his noble young lineaments the
likeness of his own; bethinking him, that when at last laid in his
tomb, he will yet survive in the long, strong life of his child, the
worthy inheritor of his valor and renown; even so, should King Bello
regard the generous promise of this young Vivenza of his own lusty
begetting. My lord, behold these two states! Of all nations in the
Archipelago, they alone are one in blood. Dominora is the last and
greatest Anak of Old Times; Vivenza, the foremost and goodliest
stripling of the Present. One is full of the past; the other brims
with the future. Ah! did this sire's old heart but beat to free
thoughts, and back his bold son, all Mardi would go down before them.
And high Oro may have ordained for them a career, little divined by
the mass. Methinks, that as Vivenza will never cause old Bello to weep
for his son; so, Vivenza will not, this many a long year, be called to
weep over the grave of its sire. And though King Bello may yet lay
aside his old-fashioned cocked hat of a crown, and comply with the
plain costume of the times; yet will his, frame remain sturdy as of
yore, and equally grace any habiliments he may don. And those who say,
Dominora is old and worn out, may very possibly err. For if, as a
nation, Dominora be old--her present generation is full as young as
the youths in any land under the sun. Then, Ho! worthy twain! Each
worthy the other, join hands on the instant, and weld them together.
Lo! the past is a prophet. Be the future, its prophecy fulfilled."



CHAPTER LVI
A Scene In Tee Land Of Warwicks, Or King-Makers


Wending our way from the temple, we were accompanied by a fluent,
obstreperous wight, one Znobbi, a runaway native of Porpheero, but now
an enthusiastic inhabitant of Vivenza.

"Here comes our great chief!" he cried. "Behold him! It was _I_ that
had a hand in making him what he is!"

And so saying, he pointed out a personage, no way distinguished,
except by the tattooing on his forehead--stars, thirty in number; and
an uncommonly long spear in his hand. Freely he mingled with the
crowd.

"Behold, how familiar I am with him!" cried Znobbi, approaching, and
pitcher-wise taking him by the handle of his face.

"Friend," said the dignitary, "thy salute is peculiar, but welcome. I
reverence the enlightened people of this land."

"Mean-spirited hound!" muttered Media, "were I him, I had impaled that
audacious plebeian."

"There's a Head-Chief for you, now, my fine fellow!" cried Znobbi.
"Hurrah! Three cheers! Ay, ay! All kings here--all equal. Every
thing's in common."

Here, a bystander, feeling something grazing his side, looked down;
and perceived Znobbi's hand in clandestine vicinity to the pouch at
his girdle-end.

Whereupon the crowd shouted, "A thief! a thief!" And with a loud voice
the starred chief cried--"Seize him, people, and tie him to yonder tree."

And they seized, and tied him on the spot.

"Ah," said Media, "this chief has something to say, after all;
he pinions a king at a word, though a plebeian takes him by the nose.
Beshrew me, I doubt not, that spear of his, though without a tassel,
is longer and sharper than mine."

"There's not so much freedom here as these freemen think," said
Babbalanja, turning; "I laugh and admire."



CHAPTER LVII
They Hearken Unto A Voice From The Gods


Next day we retraced our voyage northward, to visit that section of
Vivenza.

In due time we landed.

To look round was refreshing. Of all the lands we had seen, none
looked more promising. The groves stood tall and green; the fields
spread flush and broad; the dew of the first morning seemed hardly
vanished from the grass. On all sides was heard the fall of waters,
the swarming of bees, and the rejoicing hum of a thriving population.

"Ha, ha!" laughed Yoomy, "Labor laughs in this land; and claps his
hands in the jubilee groves! methinks that Yillah will yet be found."

Generously entertained, we tarried in this land; till at length, from
over the Lagoon, came full tidings of the eruption we had witnessed in
Franko, with many details. The conflagration had spread through
Porpheero and the kings were to and fro hunted, like malefactors by
blood-hounds; all that part of Mardi was heaving with throes.

With the utmost delight, these tidings were welcomed by many; yet
others heard them with boding concern.

Those, too, there were, who rejoiced that the kings were cast down;
but mourned that the people themselves stood not firmer. A victory,
turned to no wise and enduring account, said they, is no victory at
all. Some victories revert to the vanquished.

But day by day great crowds ran down to the beach, in wait for canoes
periodically bringing further intelligence.

Every hour new cries startled the air. "Hurrah! another, kingdom is
burnt down to the earth's edge; another demigod is unhelmed; another
republic is dawning. Shake hands, freemen, shake hands! Soon will we
hear of Dominora down in the dust; of hapless Verdanna free as
ourselves; all Porpheero's volcanoes are bursting! Who may withstand
the people? The times tell terrible tales to tyrants! Ere we die,
freemen, all Mardi will be free."

Overhearing these shouts, Babbalanja thus addressed Media:--"My lord,
I can not but believe, that these men, are far more excited than those
with whom they so ardently sympathize. But no wonder. The single
discharges which are heard in Porpheero; here come condensed in one
tremendous report. Every arrival is a firing off of events by platoons."

Now, during this tumultuous interval, King Media very prudently kept
himself exceedingly quiet. He doffed his regalia; and in all things
carried himself with a dignified discretion. And many hours he
absented himself; none knowing whither he went, or what his employment.

So also with Babbalanja. But still pursuing our search, at last we all
journeyed into a great valley, whose inhabitants were more than
commonly inflated with the ardor of the times.

Rambling on, we espied a clamorous crowd gathered about a conspicuous
palm, against which, a scroll was fixed.

The people were violently agitated; storming out maledictions against
the insolent knave, who, over night must have fixed there, that
scandalous document. But whoever he may have been, certain it was, he
had contrived to hood himself effectually.

After much vehement discussion, during which sundry inflammatory
harangues were made from the stump's of trees near by, it was
proposed, that the scroll should be read aloud, so that all might give
ear.

Seizing it, a fiery youth mounted upon the bowed shoulders of
an old man, his sire; and with a shrill voice, ever and anon
interrupted by outcries, read as follows:--

"Sovereign-kings of Vivenza! it is fit you should hearken to wisdom.
But well aware, that you give ear to little wisdom except of your own;
and that as freemen, you are free to hunt down him who dissents from
your majesties; I deem it proper to address you anonymously.

"And if it please you, you may ascribe this voice to the gods: for
never will you trace it to man.

"It is not unknown, sovereign-kings! that in these boisterous days,
the lessons of history are almost discarded, as super seded by present
experiences. And that while all Mardi's Present has grown out of its
Past, it is becoming obsolete to refer to what has been. Yet,
peradventure, the Past is an apostle.

"The grand error of this age, sovereign-kings! is the general
supposition, that the very special Diabolus is abroad; whereas, the
very special Diabolus has been abroad ever since Mardi began.

"And the grand error of your nation, sovereign-kings! seems this:--The
conceit that Mardi is now in the last scene of the last act of her
drama; and that all preceding events were ordained, to bring about the
catastrophe you believe to be at hand,--a universal and permanent
Republic.

"May it please you, those who hold to these things are fools, and not
wise.

"Time is made up of various ages; and each thinks its own a novelty.
But imbedded in the walls of the pyramids, which outrun all
chronologies, sculptured stones are found, belonging to yet older
fabrics. And as in the mound-building period of yore, so every age
thinks its erections will forever endure. But as your forests grow
apace, sovereign-kings! overrunning the tumuli in your western vales;
so, while deriving their substance from the past, succeeding
generations overgrow it; but in time, themselves decay.

"Oro decrees these vicissitudes.

"In chronicles of old, you read, sovereign kings! that an eagle from
the clouds presaged royalty to the fugitive Taquinoo; and a king,
Taquinoo reigned; No end to my dynasty, thought he.

"But another omen descended, foreshadowing the fall of Zooperbi, his
son; and Zooperbi returning from his camp, found his country a
fortress against him. No more kings would she have. And for five
hundred twelve-moons the Regifugium or King's-flight, was annually
celebrated like your own jubilee day. And rampant young orators
stormed out detestation of kings; and augurs swore that their birds
presaged immortality to freedom.

"Then, Romara's free eagles flew over all Mardi, and perched on the
topmost diadems of the east.

"Ever thus must it be.

"For, mostly, monarchs are as gemmed bridles upon the world, checking
the plungings of a steed from the Pampas. And republics are as vast
reservoirs, draining down all streams to one level; and so, breeding a
fullness which can not remain full, without overflowing. And thus,
Romara flooded all Mardi, till scarce an Ararat was left of the lofty
kingdoms which had been.

"Thus, also, did Franko, fifty twelve-moons ago. Thus may she do
again. And though not yet, have you, sovereign-kings! in any large
degree done likewise, it is because you overflow your redundancies
within your own mighty borders; having a wild western waste, which
many shepherds with their flocks could not overrun in a day. Yet
overrun at last it will be; and then, the recoil must come.

"And, may it please you, that thus far your chronicles had narrated a
very different story, had your population been pressed and packed,
like that of your old sire-land Dominora. Then, your great experiment
might have proved an explosion; like the chemist's who, stirring his
mixture, was blown by it into the air.

"For though crossed, and recrossed by many brave quarterings, and
boasting the great Bull in your pedigree; yet, sovereign-kings! you
are not meditative philosophers like the people of a small republic of
old; nor enduring stoics, like their neighbors. Pent up, like them,
may it please you, your thirteen original tribes had proved more
turbulent, than so many mutinous legions. Free horses need wide
prairies; and fortunate for you, sovereign-kings! that you have room
enough, wherein to be free.

"And, may it please you, you are free, partly, because you are young.
Your nation is like a fine, florid youth, full of fiery impulses, and
hard to restrain; his strong hand nobly championing his heart. On all
sides, freely he gives, and still seeks to acquire. The breath of his
nostrils is like smoke in spring air; every tendon is electric with
generous resolves. The oppressor he defies to his beard; the high
walls of old opinions he scales with a bound. In the future he sees
all the domes of the East.

"But years elapse, and this bold boy is transformed. His eyes open not
as of yore; his heart is shut up as a vice. He yields not a groat; and
seeking no more acquisitions, is only bent on preserving his hoard.
The maxims once trampled under foot, are now printed on his front; and
he who hated oppressors, is become an oppressor himself.

"Thus, often, with men; thus, often, with nations. Then marvel not,
sovereign-kings! that old states are different from yours; and think
not, your own must forever remain liberal as now.

"Each age thinks its own is eternal. But though for five hundred
twelve-moons, all Romara, by courtesy of history, was republican; yet,
at last, her terrible king-tigers came, and spotted themselves with
gore.

"And time was, when Dominora was republican, down to her sturdy back-
bone. The son of an absolute monarch became the man Karolus; and his
crown and head, both rolled in the dust. And Dominora had her patriots
by thousands; and lusty Defenses, and glorious Areopagiticas
were written, not since surpassed; and no turban was doffed save in
homage of Oro.

"Yet, may it please you, to the sound of pipe and tabor, the second
King Karolus returned in good time; and was hailed gracious majesty by
high and low.

"Throughout all eternity, the parts of the past are but parts of the
future reversed. In the old foot-prints, up and down, you mortals go,
eternally traveling your Sierras. And not more infallible the
ponderings of the Calculating Machine than the deductions from the
decimals of history.

"In nations, sovereign-kings! there is a transmigration of souls; in
you, is a marvelous destiny. The eagle of Romara revives in your own
mountain bird, and once more is plumed for her flight. Her screams are
answered by the vauntful cries of a hawk; his red comb yet reeking
with slaughter. And one East, one West, those bold birds may fly, till
they lock pinions in the midmost beyond.

"But, soaring in the sky over the nations that shall gather their
broods under their wings, that bloody hawk may hereafter be taken for
the eagle.

"And though crimson republics may rise in constellations, like fiery
Aldebarans, speeding to their culminations; yet, down must they sink
at last, and leave the old sultan-sun in the sky; in time, again to be
deposed.

"For little longer, may it please you, can republics subsist now, than
in days gone by. For, assuming that Mardi is wiser than of old;
nevertheless, though all men approached sages in intelligence, some
would yet be more wise than others; and so, the old degrees be
preserved. And no exemption would an equality of knowledge furnish,
from the inbred servility of mortal to mortal; from all the organic
causes, which inevitably divide mankind into brigades and battalions,
with captains at their head.

"Civilization has not ever been the brother of equality. Freedom was
born among the wild eyries in the mountains; and barbarous
tribes have sheltered under her wings, when the enlightened people of
the plain have nestled under different pinions.

"Though, thus far, for you, sovereign-kings! your republic has been
fruitful of blessings; yet, in themselves, monarchies are not utterly
evil. For many nations, they are better than republics; for many, they
will ever so remain. And better, on all hands, that peace should rule
with a scepter, than than the tribunes of the people should brandish
their broadswords. Better be the subject of a king, upright and just;
than a freeman in Franko, with the executioner's ax at every corner.

"It is not the prime end, and chief blessing, to be politically free.
And freedom is only good as a means; is no end in itself Nor, did man
fight it out against his masters to the haft, not then, would he
uncollar his neck from the yoke. A born thrall to the last, yelping
out his liberty, he still remains a slave unto Oro; and well is it for
the universe, that Oro's scepter is absolute.

"World-old the saying, that it is easier to govern others, than
oneself. And that all men should govern themselves as nations, needs
that all men be better, and wiser, than the wisest of one-man rulers.
But in no stable democracy do all men govern themselves. Though an
army be all volunteers, martial law must prevail. Delegate your power,
you leagued mortals must. The hazard you must stand. And though unlike
King Bello of Dominora, your great chieftain, sovereign-kings! may not
declare war of himself; nevertheless, has he done a still more
imperial thing:--gone to war without declaring intentions. You
yourselves were precipitated upon a neighboring nation, ere you knew
your spears were in your hands.

"But, as in stars you have written it on the welkin, sovereign-kings!
you are a great and glorious people. And verily, yours is the best and
happiest land under the sun. But not wholly, because you, in your
wisdom, decreed it: your origin and geography necessitated it.
Nor, in their germ, are all your blessings to be ascribed to the noble
sires, who of yore fought in your behalf, sovereign-kings! Your nation
enjoyed no little independence before your Declaration declared it.
Your ancient pilgrims fathered your liberty; and your wild woods
harbored the nursling. For the state that to-day is made up of slaves,
can not to-morrow transmute her bond into free; though lawlessness may
transform them into brutes. Freedom is the name for a thing that is
_not_ freedom; this, a lesson never learned in an hour or an age. By
some tribes it will never be learned.

"Yet, if it please you, there may be such a thing as being free under
Caesar. Ages ago, there were as many vital freemen, as breathe vital
air to-day.

"Names make not distinctions; some despots rule without swaying
scepters. Though King Bello's palace was not put together by yoked
men; your federal temple of freedom, sovereign-kings! was the
handiwork of slaves.

"It is not gildings, and gold maces, and crown jewels alone, that make
a people servile. There is much bowing and cringing among you
yourselves, sovereign-kings! Poverty is abased before riches, all
Mardi over; any where, it is hard to be a debtor; any where, the wise
will lord it over fools; every where, suffering is found.

"Thus, freedom is more social than political. And its real felicity is
not to be shared. _That_ is of a man's own individual getting and
holding. It is not, who rules the state, but who rules me. Better be
secure under one king, than exposed to violence from twenty millions
of monarchs, though oneself be of the number.

"But superstitious notions you harbor, sovereign kings! Did you visit
Dominora, you would not be marched straight into a dungeon. And though
you would behold sundry sights displeasing, you would start to inhale
such liberal breezes; and hear crowds boasting of their privileges; as
you, of yours. Nor has the wine of Dominora, a monarchical flavor.

"Now, though far and wide, to keep equal pace with the times, great
reforms, of a verity, be needed; nowhere are bloody revolutions
required. Though it be the most certain of remedies, no prudent
invalid opens his veins, to let out his disease with his life. And
though all evils may be assuaged; all evils can not be done away. For
evil is the chronic malady of the universe; and checked in one place,
breaks forth in another.

"Of late, on this head, some wild dreams have departed.

"There are many, who erewhile believed that the age of pikes and
javelins was passed; that after a heady and blustering youth, old
Mardi was at last settling down into a serene old age; and that the
Indian summer, first discovered in your land, sovereign kings! was the
hazy vapor emitted from its tranquil pipe. But it has not so proved.
Mardi's peaces are but truces. Long absent, at last the red comets
have returned. And return they must, though their periods be ages. And
should Mardi endure till mountain melt into mountain, and all the isles
form one table-land; yet, would it but expand the old battle-plain.

"Students of history are horror-struck at the massacres of old; but in
the shambles, men are being murdered to-day. Could time be reversed,
and the future change places with the past, the past would cry out
against us, and our future, full as loudly, as we against the ages
foregone. All the Ages are his children, calling each other names.

"Hark ye, sovereign-kings! cheer not on the yelping pack too
furiously: Hunters have been torn by their hounds. Be advised; wash
your hands. Hold aloof. Oro has poured out an ocean for an everlasting
barrier between you and the worst folly which other republics have
perpetrated. That barrier hold sacred. And swear never to cross over
to Porpheero, by manifesto or army, unless you traverse dry land.

"And be not too grasping, nearer home. It is not freedom to filch.
Expand not your area too widely, now. Seek you proselytes?
Neighboring nations may be free, without coming under your banner. And
if you can not lay your ambition, know this: that it is best served,
by waiting events.

"Time, but Time only, may enable you to cross the equator; and give
you the Arctic Circles for your boundaries."


So read the anonymous scroll; which straightway, was torn into shreds.

"Old tory, and monarchist!" they shouted, "Preaching over his
benighted sermons in these enlightened times! Fool! does he not know
that all the Past and its graves are being dug over?"

They were furious; so wildly rolling their eyes after victims, that
well was it for King Media, he wore not his crown; and in silence, we
moved unnoted from out the crowd.

"My lord, I am amazed at the indiscretion of a demigod," said
Babbalanja, as we passed on our way; "I recognized your sultanic style
the very first sentence. This, then, is the result of your hours of
seclusion."

"Philosopher! I am astounded at your effrontery. I detected your
philosophy the very first maxim. Who posted that parchment for you?"

So, each charged the other with its authorship: and there was no
finding out, whether, indeed, either knew aught of its origin.

Now, could it have been Babbalanja? Hardly. For, philosophic as the
document was, it seemed too dogmatic and conservative for him. King
Media? But though imperially absolute in his political sentiments,
Media delivered not himself so boldly, when actually beholding the
eruption in Franko.

Indeed, the settlement of this question must be left to the
commentators on Mardi, some four or five hundred centuries hence.



CHAPTER LVIII
They Visit The Extreme South Of Vivenza


We penetrated further and further into the valleys around; but,
though, as elsewhere, at times we heard whisperings that promised an
end to our wanderings;--we still wandered on; and once again, even
Yoomy abated his sanguine hopes.

And now, we prepared to embark for the extreme south of the land.

But we were warned by the people, that in that portion of Vivenza,
whither we were going, much would be seen repulsive to strangers. Such
things, however, indulgent visitors overlooked. For themselves, they
were well aware of those evils. Northern Vivenza had done all it could
to assuage them; but in vain; the inhabitants of those southern
valleys were a fiery, and intractable race; heeding neither
expostulations, nor entreaties. They were wedded to their ways. Nay,
they swore, that if the northern tribes persisted in intermeddlings,
they would dissolve the common alliance, and establish a distinct
confederacy among themselves.

Our coasting voyage at an end, our keels grated the beach among many
prostrate palms, decaying, and washed by the billows. Though part and
parcel of the shore we had left, this region seemed another land.
Fewer thriving thingswere seen; fewer cheerful sounds were heard.

"Here labor has lost his laugh!" cried Yoomy.

It was a great plain where we landed; and there, under a burning sun,
hundreds of collared men were toiling in trenches, filled with
the taro plant; a root most flourishing in that soil. Standing grimly
over these, were men unlike them; armed with long thongs, which
descended upon the toilers, and made wounds. Blood and sweat mixed;
and in great drops, fell.

"Who eat these plants thus nourished?" cried Yoomy. "Are these men?"
asked Babbalanja.

"Which mean you?" said Mohi.

Heeding him not, Babbalanja advanced toward the fore-most of those
with the thongs,--one Nulli: a cadaverous, ghost-like man; with a low
ridge of forehead; hair, steel-gray; and wondrous eyes;--bright,
nimble, as the twin Corposant balls, playing about the ends of ships'
royal-yards in gales.

The sun passed under a cloud; and Nulli, darting at Babbalanja those
wondrous eyes, there fell upon him a baleful glare.

"Have they souls?" he asked, pointing to the serfs.

"No," said Nulli, "their ancestors may have had; but their souls have
been bred out of their descendants; as the instinct of scent is killed
in pointers."

Approaching one of the serfs, Media took him by the hand, and felt of
it long; and looked into his eyes; and placed his ear to his side; and
exclaimed, "Surely this being has flesh that is warm; he has Oro in
his eye; and a heart in him that beats. I swear he is a man."

"Is this our lord the king?" cried Mohi, starting.

"What art thou," said Babbalanja to the serf. "Dost ever feel in thee
a sense of right and wrong? Art ever glad or sad?--They tell us thou
art not a man:--speak, then, for thyself; say, whether thou beliest
thy Maker."

"Speak not of my Maker to me. Under the lash, I believe my masters,
and account myself a brute; but in my dreams, bethink myself an angel.
But I am bond; and my little ones;--their mother's milk is gall."

"Just Oro!" cried Yoomy, "do no thunders roll,--no lightnings flash in
this accursed land!"

"Asylum for all Mardi's thralls!" cried Media.

"Incendiaries!" cried he with the wondrous eyes, "come ye, firebrands,
to light the flame of revolt? Know ye not, that here are many serfs,
who, incited to obtain their liberty, might wreak some dreadful
vengeance? Avaunt, thou king! _thou_ horrified at this? Go back to
Odo, and right her wrongs! These serfs are happier than thine; though
thine, no collars wear; more happy as they are, than if free. Are they
not fed, clothed, and cared for? Thy serfs pine for food: never yet
did these; who have no thoughts, no cares."

"Thoughts and cares are life, and liberty, and immortality!" cried
Babbalanja; "and are their souls, then, blown out as candles?"

"Ranter! they are content," cried Nulli. "They shed no tears."

"Frost never weeps," said Babbalanja; "and tears are frozen in those
frigid eyes."

"Oh fettered sons of fettered mothers, conceived and born in
manacles," cried Yoomy; "dragging them through life; and falling with
them, clanking in the grave:--oh, beings as ourselves, how my stiff
arm shivers to avenge you! 'Twere absolution for the matricide, to
strike one rivet from your chains. My heart outswells its home!"

"Oro! Art thou?" cried Babbalanja; "and doth this thing exist? It
shakes my little faith." Then, turning upon Null, "How can ye abide to
sway this curs'd dominion?"

"Peace, fanatic! Who else may till unwholesome fields, but these? And
as these beings are, so shall they remain; 'tis right and righteous!
Maramma champions it!--I swear it! The first blow struck for them,
dissolves the union of Vivenza's vales. The northern tribes well know
it; and know me."

Said Media, "Yet if--"

"No more! another word, and, king as thou art, thou shalt be
dungeoned:--here, there is such a law; thou art not among the northern
tribes."

"And this is freedom!" murmured Media; "when heaven's own voice is
throttled. And were these serfs to rise, and fight for it; like dogs,
they would be hunted down by her pretended sons!"

"Pray, heaven!" cried Yoomy, "they may yet find a way to loose their
bonds without one drop of blood. But hear me, Oro! were there no other
way, and should their masters not relent, all honest hearts must cheer
this tribe of Hamo on; though they cut their chains with blades thrice
edged, and gory to the haft! 'Tis right to fight for freedom, whoever
be the thrall."

"These South savannahs may yet prove battle-fields," said Mohi;
gloomily, as we retraced our steps.

"Be it," said Yoomy. "Oro will van the right."

"Not always has it proved so," said Babbalanja. "Oft-times, the right
fights single-handed against the world; and Oro champions none. In all
things, man's own battles, man himself must fight. Yoomy: so far as
feeling goes, your sympathies are not more hot than mine; but for
these serfs you would cross spears; yet, I would not. Better present
woes for some, than future woes for all."

"No need to fight," cried Yoomy, "to liberate that tribe of Hamo
instantly; a way may be found, and no irretrievable evil ensue."

"Point it out, and be blessed, Yoomy."

"That is for Vivenza; but the head is dull, where the heart is cold."

"My lord," said Babbalanja, "you have startled us by your kingly
sympathy for suffering; say thou, then, in what wise manner it shall
be relieved."

"That is for Vivenza," said Media.

"Mohi, you are old: speak thou."

"Let Vivenza speak," said Mohi.

"Thus then we all agree; and weeping all but echo hard-hearted
Nulli. Tears are not swords and wrongs seem almost natural as rights.
For the righteous to suppress an evil, is sometimes harder than for
others to uphold it. Humanity cries out against this vast enormity:--
not one man knows a prudent remedy. Blame not, then, the North; and
wisely judge the South. Ere, as a nation, they became responsible,
this thing was planted in their midst. Such roots strike deep. Place
to-day those serfs in Dominora; and with them, all Vivenza's Past;--
and serfs, for many years, in Dominora, they would be. Easy is it to
stand afar and rail. All men are censors who have lungs. We can say,
the stars are wrongly marshaled. Blind men say the sun is blind. A
thousand muscles wag our tongues; though our tongues were housed, that
they might have a home. Whose is free from crime, let him cross
himself--but hold his cross upon his lips. That he is not bad, is not
of him. Potters' clay and wax are all, molded by hands invisible. The
soil decides the man. And, ere birth, man wills not to be born here or
there. These southern tribes have grown up with this thing; bond-women
were their nurses, and bondmen serve them still. Nor are all their
serfs such wretches as those we saw. Some seem happy: yet not as men.
Unmanned, they know not what they are. And though, of all the south,
Nulli must stand almost alone in his insensate creed; yet, to all
wrong-doers, custom backs the sense of wrong. And if to every Mardian,
conscience be the awarder of its own doom; then, of these tribes, many
shall be found exempted from the least penalty of this sin. But sin it
is, no less;--a blot, foul as the crater-pool of hell; it puts out the
sun at noon; it parches all fertility; and, conscience or no
conscience--ere he die--let every master who wrenches bond-babe from
mother, that the nipple tear; unwreathes the arms of sisters; or cuts
the holy unity in twain; till apart fall man and wife, like one
bleeding body cleft:--let that master thrice shrive his soul; take
every sacrament; on his bended knees give up the ghost;--yet
shall he die despairing; and live again, to die forever damned. The
future is all hieroglyphics. Who may read? But, methinks the great
laggard Time must now march up apace, and somehow befriend these
thralls. It can not be, that misery is perpetually entailed; though,
in a land proscribing primogeniture, the first-born and last of Hamo's
tribe must still succeed to all their sires' wrongs. Yes. Time--all-
healing Time--Time, great Philanthropist!--Time must befriend these
thralls!"

"Oro grant it!" cried Yoomy "and let Mardi say, amen!"

"Amen! amen! amen!" cried echoes echoing echoes.

We traversed many of these southern vales; but as in Dominora,--so,
throughout Vivenza, North and South,--Yillah harbored not.



CHAPTER LIX
They Converse Of The Mollusca, Kings, Toad-Stools And Other Matters


Once more embarking, we gained Vivenza's southwestern side and there,
beheld vast swarms of laborers discharging from canoes, great loads of
earth; which they tossed upon the beach.

"It is true, then," said Media "that these freemen are engaged in
digging down other lands, and adding them to their own, piece-meal.
And this, they call extending their dominions agriculturally, and
peaceably."

"My lord, they pay a price for every canoe-load," said Mohi.

"Ay, old man, holding the spear in one hand, and striking the bargain
with the other."

"Yet charge it not upon all Vivenza," said Babbalanja. "Some of her
tribes are hostile to these things: and when their countryman fight
for land, are only warlike in opposing war."

"And therein, Babbalanja, is involved one of those anomalies in the
condition of Vivenza," said Media, "which I can hardly comprehend. How
comes it, that with so Many things to divide them, the valley-tribes
still keep their mystic league intact?"

"All plain, it is because the model, whence they derive their union,
is one of nature's planning. My lord, have you ever observed the
mysterious federation subsisting among the molluscs of the Tunicata
order,--in other words, a species of cuttle-fish, abounding at the
bottom of the lagoon?"

"Yes: in clear weather about the reefs, I have beheld them time and
again: but never with an eye to their political condition."

"Ah! my lord king, we should not cut off the nervous communication
between our eyes, and our cerebellums."

"What were you about to say concerning the Tunicata order of mollusca,
sir philosopher?"

"My very honorable lord, I hurry to conclude. They live in a compound
structure; but though connected by membranous canals, freely
communicating throughout the league--each member has a heart and
stomach of its own; provides and digests its own dinners; and grins
and bears its own gripes, without imparting the same to its neighbors.
But if a prowling shark touches one member, it ruffles all. Precisely
thus now with Vivenza. In that confederacy, there are as many
consciences as tribes; hence, if one member on its own behalf, assumes
aught afterwards repudiated, the sin rests on itself alone; is not
participated."

"A very subtle explanation, Babbalanja. You must allude, then, to
those recreant tribes; which, while in their own eyes presenting a
sublime moral spectacle to Mardi,--in King Bello's, do but present a
hopeless example of bad debts. And these, the tribes that boast of
boundless wealth."

"Most true, my lord. But Bello errs, when for this thing, he
stigmatizes all Vivenza, as a unity."

"Babbalanja, you yourself are made up of members:--then, if you be
sick of a lumbago,--'tis not _you_ that are unwell; but your spine."

"As you will, my lord. I have said. But to speak no more on that head
--what sort of a sensation, think you, life is to such creatures as
those mollusca?"

"Answer your own question, Babbalanja."

"I will; but first tell me what sort of a sensation life is to you,
yourself, my lord."

"Pray answer that along with the other, Azzageddi."

"Directly; but tell me, if you will, my lord, what sort of a sensation
life is to a toad-stool."

"Pray, Babbalanja put all three questions together; and then, do what
you have often done before, pronounce yourself a lunatic."

"My lord, I beseech you, remind me not of that fact so often. It is
true, but annoying. Nor will any wise man call another a fool."

"Do you take me for a mere man, then, Babbalanja, that you talk to me
thus?"

"My demi-divine lord and master, I was deeply concerned at your
indisposition last night:--may a loving subject inquire, whether his
prince is completely recovered from the effect of those guavas?"

"Have a care, Azzageddi; you are far too courteous, to be civil. But
proceed."

"I obey. In kings, mollusca, and toad-stools, life is one thing and
the same. The Philosopher Dumdi pronounces it a certain febral
vibration of organic parts, operating upon the vis inertia of
unorganized matter. But Bardianna says nay. Hear him. 'Who put
together this marvelous mechanism of mine; and wound it up, to go for
three score years and ten; when it runs out, and strikes Time's hours
no more? And what is it, that daily and hourly renews, and by a
miracle, creates in me my flesh and my blood? What keeps up the
perpetual telegraphic communication between my outpost toes and
digits, and that domed grandee up aloft, my brain?--It is not I; nor
you; nor he; nor it. No; when I place my hand to that king muscle my
heart, I am appalled. I feel the great God himself at work in me. Oro
is life.'"

"And what is death?" demanded Media.

"Death, my lord!--it is the deadest of all things."



CHAPTER LX
Wherein, That Gallant Gentleman And Demi-God, King Media, Scepter In
Hand, Throws Himself Into The Breach


Sailing south from Vivenza, not far from its coast, we passed a
cluster of islets, green as new fledged grass; and like the mouths of
floating cornucopias, their margins brimmed over upon the brine with
flowers. On some, grew stately roses; on others stood twin-pillars;
across others, tri-hued rainbows rested.

Cried Babbalanja, pointing to the last, "Franko's pledge of peace!
with that, she loudly vaunts she'll span the reef!--Strike out all
hues but red,--and the token's nearer truth."

All these isles were prolific gardens; where King Bello, and the
Princes of Porpheero grew their most delicious fruits,--nectarines and
grapes.

But, though hard by, Vivenza owned no garden here; yet longed and
lusted; and her hottest tribes oft roundly swore, to root up all roses
the half-reef over; pull down all pillars; and dissolve all rainbows.
"Mardi's half is ours;" said they. Stand back invaders! Full of
vanity; and mirroring themselves in the future; they deemed all
reflected there, their own.

'Twas now high noon.

"Methinks the sun grows hot," said Media, retreating deeper under the
canopy. "Ho! Vee-Vee; have you no cooling beverage? none of that
golden wine distilled from torrid grapes, and then sent northward to
be cellared in an iceberg? That wine was placed among our
stores. Search, search the crypt, little Vee-Vee! Ha, I see it!--that
yellow gourd!--Come: drag it forth, my boy. Let's have the amber cups:
so: pass them round;--fill all! Taji! my demi-god, up heart! Old Mohi,
my babe, may you live ten thousand centuries! Ah! this way you mortals
have of dying out at three score years and ten, is but a craven habit.
So, Babbalanja! may you never die. Yoomy! my sweet poet, may you live
to sing to me in Paradise. Ha, ha! would that we floated in this
glorious stuff, instead of this pestilent brine.--Hark ye! were I to
make a Mardi now, I'd have every continent a huge haunch of venison;
every ocean a wine-vat! I'd stock every cavern with choice old
spirits, and make three surplus suns to ripen the grapes all the year
round. Let's drink to that!--Brimmers! So: may the next Mardi that's
made, be one entire grape; and mine the squeezing!"

"Look, look! my lord," cried Yoomy, "what a glorious shore we pass."

Sallying out into the high golden noon, with golden-beaming goblets
suspended, we gazed.

"This must be Kolumbo of the south," said Mohi.

It was a long, hazy reach of land; piled up in terraces, traced here
and there with rushing streams, that worked up gold dust alluvian, and
seemed to flash over pebbled diamonds. Heliotropes, sun-flowers,
marigolds gemmed, or starred the violet meads, and vassal-like, still
sunward bowed their heads. The rocks were pierced with grottoes,
blazing with crystals, many-tinted.

It was a land of mints and mines; its east a ruby; west a topaz.
Inland, the woodlands stretched an ocean, bottomless with foliage; its
green surges bursting through cable-vines; like Xerxes' brittle chains
which vainly sought to bind the Hellespont. Hence flowed a tide of
forest sounds; of parrots, paroquets, macaws; blent with the howl of
jaguars, hissing of anacondas, chattering of apes, and herons
screaming.

Out from those depths up rose a stream.

The land lay basking in the world's round torrid brisket, hot with
solar fire.

"No need here to land," cried Yoomy, "Yillah lurks not here."

"Heat breeds life, and sloth, and rage," said Babbalanja. "Here live
bastard tribes and mongrel nations; wrangling and murdering to prove
their freedom.--Refill, my lord."

"Methinks, Babbalanja, you savor of the mysterious parchment, in
Vivenza read:--Ha? Yes, philosopher, these are the men, who toppled
castles to make way for hovels; these, they who fought for freedom,
but find it despotism to rule themselves. These, Babbalanja, are of
the race, to whom a tyrant would prove a blessing." So saying he
drained his cup.

"My lord, that last sentiment decides the authorship of the scroll.
But, with deference, tyrants seldom can prove blessings; inasmuch as
evil seldom eventuates in good. Yet will these people soon have a
tyrant over them, if long they cleave to war. Of many javelins, one
must prove a scepter; of many helmets, one a crown. It is but in the
wearing.--Refill, my lord."

"Fools, fools!" cried Media, "these tribes hate us kings; yet know
not, that Peace is War against all kings. We seldom are undone by
spears, which are our ministers.--This wine is strong."

"Ha, now's the time! In his cups learn king-craft from a king. Ay, ay,
my lord, your royal order will endure, so long as men will fight.
Break the spears, and free the nations. Kings reap the harvests that
wave on battle-fields. And oft you kings do snatch the aloe-flower,
whose slow blossoming mankind watches for a hundred years.--Say on, my
lord."

"All this I know; and, therefore, rest content. My children's children
will be kings; though, haply, called by other titles. Mardi grows
fastidious in names: we royalties will humor it. The steers
would burst their yokes, but have not hands. The whole herd rears and
plunges, but soon will bow again: the old, old way!"

"Yet, in Porpheero, strong scepters have been wrested from anointed
hands. Mankind seems in arms."

"Let them arm on. They hate us:--good;--they always have; yet still
we've reigned, son after sire. Sometimes they slay us, Babbalanja;
pour out our marrow, as I this wine; but they spill no kinless blood.
'Twas justly held of old, that but to touch a monarch, was to strike
at Oro.--Truth. The palest vengeance is a royal ghost; and regicides
but father slaves. Thrones, not scepters, have been broken. Mohi, what
of the past? Has it not ever proved so?"

"Pardon, my lord; the times seem changed. 'Tis held, that demi-gods no
more rule by right divine. In Vivenza's land, they swear the last
kings now reign in Mardi."

"Is the last day at hand, old man? Mohi, your beard is gray; but,
Yoomy, listen. When you die, look around; mark then if any mighty
change be seen. Old kingdoms may be on the wane; but new dynasties
advance. Though revolutions rise to high spring-tide, monarchs will
still drown hard;--monarchs survived the flood!"

"Are all our dreams, then, vain?" sighed Yoomy. "Is this no dawn of
day that streaks the crimson East! Naught but the false and flickering
lights which sometimes mock Aurora in the north! Ah, man, my brother!
have all martyrs for thee bled in vain; in vain we poets sang, and
prophets spoken?  Nay, nay; great Mardi, helmed and mailed, strikes at
Oppression's shield, and challenges to battle! Oro will defend the
right, and royal crests must roll."

"Thus, Yoomy, ages since, you mortal poets sang; but the world may not
be moved from out the orbit in which first it rolled. On the map that
charts the spheres, Mardi is marked 'the world of kings.' Round
centuries on centuries have wheeled by:--has all this been its
nonage? Now, when the rocks grow gray, does man first sprout his
beard? Or, is your golden time, your equinoctial year, at hand, that
your race fast presses toward perfection; and every hand grasps at a
scepter, that kings may be no more?"

"But free Vivenza! Is she not the star, that must, ere long, lead up
the constellations, though now unrisen? No kings are in Vivenza; yet,
spite her thralls, in that land seems more of good than elsewhere. Our
hopes are not wild dreams: Vivenza cheers our hearts. She is a rainbow
to the isles!"

"Ay, truth it is, that in Vivenza they have prospered. But thence it
comes not, that all men may be as they. Are all men of one heart and
brain; one bone and sinew? Are all nations sprung of Dominora's loins?
Or, has Vivenza yet proved her creed? Yoomy! the years that prove a
man, prove not a nation. But two kings'-reigns have passed since
Vivenza was a monarch's. Her climacteric is not come; hers is not yet
a nation's manhood even; though now in childhood, she anticipates her
youth, and lusts for empire like any czar. Yoomy! judge not yet. Time
hath tales to tell. Many books, and many long, long chapters, are
wanting to Vivenza's history; and whet history but is full of blood?"

"There stop, my lord," said Babbalanja, "nor aught predict. Fate
laughs at prophets; and of all birds, the raven is a liar!"



CHAPTER LXI
They Round The Stormy Cape Of Capes


Long leagues, for weary days, we voyaged along that coast, till we
came to regions where we multiplied our mantles.

The sky grew overcast. Each a night, black storm-clouds swept the
wintry sea; and like Sahara caravans, which leave their sandy wakes--
so, thick and fleet, slanted the scud behind. Through all this rack
and mist, ten thousand foam-flaked dromedary-humps uprose.

Deep among those panting, moaning fugitives, the three canoes raced on.

And now, the air grew nipping cold. The clouds shed off their fleeces;
a snow-hillock, each canoe; our beards, white-frosted.

And so, as seated in our shrouds, we sailed in among great mountain
passes of ice-isles; from icy ledges scaring shivering seals, and
white bears, musical with icicles, jingling from their shaggy ermine.

Far and near, in towering ridges, stretched the glassy Andes; with
their own frost, shuddering through all their domes and pinnacles.
Ice-splinters rattled down the cliffs, and seethed into the sea.

Broad away, in amphitheaters undermined by currents, whole cities of
ice-towers, in crashes, toward one center, fell.--In their
earthquakes, Lisbon and Lima never saw the like. Churned and broken in
the boiling tide, they swept off amain;--over and over rolling; like
porpoises to vessels tranced in calms, bringing down the gale.

At last, rounding an antlered headland, that seemed a moose at
bay--ere long, we launched upon blue lake-like waters, serene as
Windermere, or Horicon. Thus, from the boisterous storms of youth, we
glide upon senility.

But as we northward voyaged, another aspect wore the sea.

In far-off, endless vistas, colonnades of water-spouts were seen: all
heaven's dome upholding on their shafts: and bright forms gliding up
and down within. So at Luz, in his strange vision, Jacob saw the angels.

A boundless cave of stalactites, it seemed; the cloud-born vapors
downward spiraling, till they met the whirlpool-column from the sea;
then, uniting, over the waters stalked, like ghosts of gods. Or midway
sundered--down, sullen, sunk the watery half; and far up into heaven,
was drawn the vapory. As, at death, we mortals part in twain; our
earthy half still here abiding; but our spirits flying whence they came.

In good time, we gained the thither side of great Kolumbo of the South;
and sailing on, long waited for the day; and wondered at the darkness.

"What steadfast clouds!" cried Yoomy, "yonder! far aloft: that ridge,
with many points; it fades below, but shows a faint white crest."

"Not clouds, but mountains," said Babbalanja, "the vast spine, that
traverses Kolumbo; spurring off in ribs, that nestle loamy valleys,
veined with silver streams, and silver ores."

It was a long, embattled line of pinnacles. And high posted in the
East, those thousand bucklered peaks stood forth, and breasted back
the Dawn. Before their purple bastions bold, Aurora long arrayed her
spears, and clashed her golden shells. The summons dies away. But now,
her lancers charge the steep, and gain its crest a-glow;--their
glittering spears and blazoned shields triumphant in the morn.

But ere that sight, we glided on for hours in twilight; when, on those
mountains' farther side, the hunters must have been abroad, morning-
glories all astir.



CHAPTER LXII
They Encounter Gold-Hunters


Now, northward coasting along Kolumbo's Western shore, whence came the
same wild forest-sounds, as from the Eastern; and where we landed not,
to seek among those wrangling tribes;--after many, many days, we spied
prow after prow, before the wind all northward bound: sails wide-
spread, and paddles plying: scaring the fish from before them.

Their inmates answered not our earnest hail.

But as they sped, with frantic glee, in one long chorus thus they
sang:--

            We rovers bold,
            To the land of Gold,
          Over bowling billows are gliding:
            Eager to toil,
            For the golden spoil,
          And every hardship biding.
              See! See!
          Before our prows' resistless dashes,
          The gold-fish fly in golden flashes!
            'Neath a sun of gold,
            We rovers bold,
          On the golden land are gaining;
          And every night,
          We steer aright,
        By golden stars unwaning!
      All fires burn a golden glare:
      No locks so bright as golden hair!
    All orange groves have golden gushings:
    All mornings dawn with golden flushings!
  In a shower of gold, say fables old,
  A maiden was won by the god of gold!
    In golden goblets wine is beaming:
    On golden couches kings are dreaming!
    The Golden Rule dries many tears!
    The Golden Number rules the spheres!
  Gold, gold it is, that sways the nations:
  Gold! gold! the center of all rotations!
    On golden axles worlds are turning:
    With phosphorescence seas are burning!
    All fire-flies flame with golden gleamings:
    Gold-hunters' hearts with golden dreamings!
    With golden arrows kings are slain:
    With gold we'll buy a freeman's name!
  In toilsome trades, for scanty earnings,
  At home we've slaved, with stifled yearnings:
  No light! no hope! Oh, heavy woe!
  When nights fled fast, and days dragged slow.
        But joyful now, with eager eye,
        Fast to the Promised Land we fly:
          Where in deep mines,
          The treasure shines;
        Or down in beds of golden streams,
        The gold-flakes glance in golden gleams!
          How we long to sift,
          That yellow drift!
        Rivers! Rivers! cease your going!
          Sand-bars! rise, and stay the tide!
        'Till we've gained the golden flowing;
          And in the golden haven ride!

"Quick, quick, my lord," cried Yoomy, "let us follow them; and from
the golden waters where she lies, our Yillah may emerge."

"No, no," said Babbalanja,--"no Yillah there!--from yonder promised-
land, fewer seekers will return, than go. Under a gilded guise,
happiness is still their instinctive aim. But vain, Yoomy, to snatch
at Happiness. Of that we may not pluck and eat. It is the fruit of our
own toilsome planting; slow it grows, nourished by many teats, and all
our earnest tendings. Yet ere it ripen, frosts may nip;--and then, we
plant again; and yet again. Deep, Yoomy, deep, true treasure lies;
deeper than all Mardi's gold, rooted to Mardi's axis. But unlike gold,
it lurks in every soil,--all Mardi over. With golden pills and
potions is sickness warded off?--the shrunken veins of age, dilated
with new wine of youth? Will gold the heart-ache cure? turn toward us
hearts estranged? will gold, on solid centers empires fix? 'Tis toil
world-wasted to toil in mines. Were all the isles gold globes, set in
a quicksilver sea, all Mardi were then a desert. Gold is the only
poverty; of all glittering ills the direst. And that man might not
impoverish himself thereby, Oro hath hidden it, with all other
banes,--saltpeter and explosives, deep in mountain bowels, and river-
beds. But man still will mine for it; and mining, dig his doom.--
Yoomy, Yoomy!--she we seek, lurks not in the Golden Hills!"

"Lo, a vision!" cried Yoomy, his hands wildly passed across his eyes.
"A vast and silent bay, belted by silent villages:--gaunt dogs howling
over grassy thresholds at stark corpses of old age and infancy; gray
hairs mingling with sweet flaxen curls; fields, with turned furrows,
choked with briers; arbor-floors strown over with hatchet-helves,
rotting in the iron; a thousand paths, marked with foot-prints, all
inland leading, none villageward; and strown with traces, as of a
flying host. On: over forest--hill, and dale--and lo! the golden
region! After the glittering spoil, by strange river-margins, and
beneath impending cliffs, thousands delve in quicksands; and, sudden,
sink in graves of their own making: with gold dust mingling their own
ashes. Still deeper, in more solid ground, other thousands slave; and
pile their earth so high, they gasp for air, and die; their comrades
mounting on them, and delving still, and dying--grave pile on grave!
Here, one haggard hunter murders another in his pit; and murdering,
himself is murdered by a third. Shrieks and groans! cries and curses!
It seems a golden Hell! With many camels, a sleek stranger comes--
pauses before the shining heaps, and shows _his_ treasures: yams and
bread-fruit. 'Give, give,' the famished hunters cry--, 'a thousand
shekels for a yam!--a prince's ransom for a meal!--Oh,
stranger! on our knees we worship thee:--take, take our gold; but let
us live!' Yams are thrown them and they fight. Then he who toiled not,
dug not, slaved not, straight loads his caravans with gold; regains
the beach, and swift embarks for home. 'Home! home!' the hunters cry,
with bursting eyes. 'With this bright gold, could we but join our
waiting wives, who wring their hands on distant shores, all then were
well. But we can not fly; our prows lie rotting on the beach. Ah!
home! thou only happiness!--better thy silver earnings than all these
golden findings. Oh, bitter end to all our hopes--we die in golden
graves."



CHAPTER LXIII
They Seek Through The Isles Of Palms; And Pass The Isles Of Myrrh


Now, our prows we turned due west, across the blue lagoon.

Soon, no land appeared. Far as the eye could sweep, one azure plain;
all over flaked with foamy fleeces:--a boundless flock upon a
boundless mead!

Again, all changed. Like stars in multitude, bright islets multiplied
around. Emerald-green, they dotted shapes fantastic: circles, arcs,
and crescents;--atolls all, or coral carcanets, begemmed and flashing
in the sun.

By these we glided, group after group; and through the foliage, spied
sweet forms of maidens, like Eves in Edens ere the Fall, or
Proserpines in Ennas. Artless airs came from the shore; and from the
censer-swinging roses, a bloom, as if from Hebe's cheek.

"Here, at last, we find sweet Yillah!" murmured Yoomy. "Here must she
lurk in innocence! Quick! Let us land and search."

"If here," said Babbalanja, "Yillah will not stay our coming, but fly
before us through the groves. Wherever a canoe is beached, see you not
the palm-trees pine? Not so, where never keel yet smote the strand. In
mercy, let us fly from hence. I know not why, but our breath here,
must prove a blight."

These regions passed, we came to savage islands, where the glittering
coral seemed bones imbedded, bleaching in the sun. Savage men stood
naked on the strand, and brandished uncouth clubs, and gnashed their
teeth like boars.

The full red moon was rising; and, in long review there passed before
it, phantom shapes of victims, led bound to altars through the groves.
Death-rattles filled the air. But a cloud descended, and all was gloom.

Again blank water spread before us; and after many days, there came a
gentle breeze, fraught with all spicy breathings; cinnamon aromas; and
in the rose-flushed evening air, like glow worms, glowed the islets,
where this incense burned.

"Sweet isles of myrh! oh crimson groves," cried Yoomy. "Woe, woe's
your fate! your brightness and your bloom, like musky fire-flies,
double-lure to death! On ye, the nations prey like bears that gorge
themselves with honey."

Swan-like, our prows sailed in among these isles; and oft we landed;
but in vain; and leaving them, we still pursued the setting sun.



CHAPTER LXIV
Concentric, Inward, With Mardi's Reef, They Leave Their Wake Around
The World


West, West! West, West! Whitherward point Hope and prophet-fingers;
whitherward, at sun-set, kneel all worshipers of fire; whitherward in
mid-ocean, the great whales turn to die; whitherward face all the
Moslem dead in Persia; whitherward lie Heaven and Hell!--West, West!
Whitherward mankind and empires--flocks, caravans, armies, navies;
worlds, suns, and stars all wend!--West, West!--Oh boundless boundary!
Eternal goal! Whitherward rush, in thousand worlds, ten thousand
thousand keels! Beacon, by which the universe is steered!--Like the
north-star, attracting all needles! Unattainable forever; but forever
leading to great things this side thyself!--Hive of all sunsets!--
Gabriel's pinions may not overtake thee!

Over balmy waves, still westward sailing! From dawn till eve, the
bright, bright days sped on, chased by the gloomy nights; and, in
glory dying, lent their luster to the starry skies. So, long the
radiant dolphins fly before the sable sharks but seized, and torn in
flames--die, burning:--their last splendor left, in sparkling scales
that float along the sea.

Cymbals, drums and psalteries! the air beats like a pulse with music!
--High land! high land! and moving lights, and painted lanterns!--What
grand shore is this?

"Reverence we render thee, Old Orienda!" cried Media, with bared brow,
"Original of all empires and emperors!--a crowned king salutes thee!"

"Mardi's father-land!" cried Mohi, "grandsire of the nations,--hail!"

"All hail!" cried Yoomy. "Kings and sages hither coming, should come
like palmers,--scrip and staff! Oh Orienda! thou wert our East, where
first dawned song and science, with Mardi's primal mornings! But now,
how changed! the dawn of light become a darkness, which we kindle with
the gleam of spears! On the world's ancestral hearth, we spill our
brothers' blood!"

"Herein," said Babbalanja, "have many distant tribes proved
parricidal. In times gone by, Luzianna hither sent her prom; Franko,
her scores of captains; and the Dykemen, their peddler hosts, with
yard-stick spears! But thou, oh Bello! lord of the empire lineage!
Noah of the moderns. Sire of the long line of nations yet in germ!--
thou, Bello, and thy locust armies, are the present curse of Orienda.
Down ancient streams, from holy plains, in rafts thy murdered float!
The pestilence that thins thy armies here, is bred of corpses, made by
thee. Maramma's priests, thy pious heralds, loud proclaim that of all
pagans, Orienda's most resist the truth!--ay! vain all pious voices,
that speak from clouds of war! The march of conquest through wild
provinces, may be the march of Mind; but not the march of Love."

"Thou, Bello!" cried Yoomy, "would'st wrest the crook from Alma's
hand, and place in it a spear. But vain to make a conqueror of him,
who put off the purple when he came to Mardi; and declining gilded
miters, entered the nations meekly on an ass."

"Oh curse of commerce!" cried Babbalanja, "that it barters souls for
gold. Bello! with opium, thou wouldst drug this land, and murder it in
sleep!--And what boot thy conquests here? Seed sown by spears but
seldom springs; and harvests reaped thereby, are poisoned by the
sickle's edge."

Yet on, and on we coasted; counting not the days.

"Oh, folds and flocks of nations! dusky tribes innumerable!" cried
Yoomy, "camped on plains and steppes; on thousand mountains,
worshiping the stars; in thousand valleys, offering up first-fruits,
till all the forests seem in flames;--where, in fire, the widow's
spirit mounts to meet her lord!--Oh, Orienda, in thee 'tis vain to
seek our Yillah!"

"How dark as death the night!" said Mohi, shaking the dew from his
braids, "the Heavens blaze not here with stars, as over Dominora's
land, and broad Vivenza."

One only constellation was beheld; but every star was brilliant as the
one, that promises the morning. That constellation was the Crux-
Australis,--the badge, and type of Alma.

And now, southwest we steered, till another island vast, was reached;
--Hamora! far trending toward the Antarctic Pole.

Coasting on by barbarous beaches, where painted men, with spears,
charged on all attempts to land, at length we rounded a mighty bluff,
lit by a beacon; and heard a bugle call:--Bello's! hurrying to their
quarters, the World-End's garrison.

Here, the sea rolled high, in mountain surges: mid which, we toiled
and strained, as if ascending cliffs of Caucasus.

But not long thus. As when from howling Rhoetian heights, the traveler
spies green Lombardy below, and downward rushes toward that pleasant
plain; so, sloping from long rolling swells, at last we launched upon
the calm lagoon.

But as we northward sailed, once more the storm-trump blew, and
charger-like, the seas ran mustering to the call; and in battalions
crouched before a towering rock, far distant from the main. No moon,
eclipsed in Egypt's skies, looked half so lone. But from out that
darkness, on the loftiest peak, Bello's standard waved.

"Oh rifled tomb!" cried Babbalanja. "Wherein lay the Mars and
Moloch of our times, whose constellated crown, was gemmed with
diadems. Thou god of war! who didst seem the devouring Beast of the
Apocalypse; casting so vast a shadow over Mardi, that yet it lingers
in old Franko's vale; where still they start at thy tremendous ghost;
and, late, have hailed a phantom, King! Almighty hero-spell! that
after the lapse of half a century, can so bewitch all hearts! But one
drop of hero-blood will deify a fool.

"Franko! thou wouldst be free; yet thy free homage is to the buried
ashes of a King; thy first choice, the exaltation of his race. In
furious fires, thou burn'st Ludwig's throne; and over thy new-made
chieftain's portal, in golden letters print'st--'The Palace of our
Lord!' In thy New Dispensation, thou cleavest to the exploded Law. And
on Freedom's altar--ah, I fear--still, may slay thy hecatombs. But
Freedom turns away; she is sick with burnt blood of offerings. Other
rituals she loves; and like Oro, unseen herself, would be worshiped
only by invisibles. Of long drawn cavalcades, pompous processions,
frenzied banners, mystic music, marching nations, she will none. Oh,
may thy peaceful Future, Franko, sanctify thy bloody Past. Let not
history say; 'To her old gods, she turned again.'"

This rocky islet passed, the sea went down; once more we neared
Hamora's western shore. In the deep darkness, here and there, its
margin was lit up by foam-white, breaking billows rolled over from
Vivenza's strand, and down from northward Dominora; marking places
where light was breaking in, upon the interior's jungle-gloom.

In heavy sighs, the night-winds from shore came over us.

"Ah, vain to seek sweet Yillah here," cried Yoomy.--"Poor land! curst
of man, not Oro! how thou faintest for thy children, torn from thy
soil, to till a stranger's. Vivenza! did these winds not spend their
plaints, ere reaching thee, thy every vale would echo them. Oh, tribe
of Hamo! thy cup of woe so brims, that soon it must overflow upon the
land which holds ye thralls. No misery born of crime, but
spreads and poisons wide. Suffering hunteth sin, as the gaunt hound
the hare, and tears it in the greenest brakes."

Still on we sailed: and after many tranquil days and nights, a storm
came down, and burst its thousand bombs. The lightnings forked and
flashed; the waters boiled; our three prows lifted themselves in
supplication; but the billows smote them as they reared.

Said Babbalanja, bowing to the blast: "Thus, oh Vivenza! retribution
works! Though long delayed, it comes at last--Judgment, with all her
bolts."

Now, a current seized us, and like three darts, our keels sped
eastward, through a narrow strait, far in, upon a smooth expanse, an
inland ocean, without a throb.

On our left, Porpheero's southwest point, a mighty rock, long tiers of
galleries within, deck on deck; and flag-staffs, like an admiral's
masts: a line-of-battle-ship, all purple stone, and anchored in the
sea. Here Bello's lion crouched; and, through a thousand port-holes,
eyed the world.

On our right, Hamora's northern shore gleamed thick with crescents;
numerous as the crosses along the opposing strand.

"How vain to say, that progress is the test of truth, my lord," said
Babbalanja, "when, after many centuries, those crescents yet unwaning
shine, and count a devotee for every worshiper of yonder crosses.
Truth and Merit have other symbols than success; and in this mortal
race, all competitors may enter; and the field is clear for all. Side
by side, Lies run with Truths, and fools with wise; but, like
geometric lines, though they pierce infinity, never may they join."

Over that tideless sea we sailed; and landed right, and landed left;
but the maiden never found; till, at last, we gained the water's
limit; and inland saw great pointed masses, crowned with halos.

"Granite continents," cried Babbalanja, "that seem created like the
planets, not built with human hands. Lo, Landmarks! upon whose flanks
Time leaves its traces, like old tide-rips of diluvian seas."

As, after wandering round and round some purple dell, deep in a
boundless prairie's heart, the baffled hunter plunges in; then,
despairing, turns once more to gain the open plain; even so we seekers
now curved round our keels; and from that inland sea emerged. The
universe again before us; our quest, as wide.



CHAPTER LXV
Sailing On


Morning dawned upon the same mild, blue Lagoon as erst; and all the
lands that we had passed, since leaving Piko's shore of spears, were
faded from the sight.

Part and parcel of the Mardian isles, they formed a cluster by
themselves; like the Pleiades, that shine in Taurus, and are eclipsed
by the red splendor of his fiery eye, and the thick clusterings of the
constellations round.

And as in Orion, to some old king-astronomer,--say, King of Rigel, or
Betelguese,--this Earth's four quarters show but four points afar; so,
seem they to terrestrial eyes, that broadly sweep the spheres.

And, as the sun, by influence divine, wheels through the Ecliptic;
threading Cancer, Leo, Pisces, and Aquarius; so, by some mystic
impulse am I moved, to this fleet progress, through the groups in
white-reefed Mardi's zone.

Oh, reader, list! I've chartless voyaged. With compass and the lead,
we had not found these Mardian Isles. Those who boldly launch, cast
off all cables; and turning from the common breeze, that's fair for
all, with their own breath, fill their own sails. Hug the shore,
naught new is seen; and "Land ho!" at last was sung, when a new world
was sought.

That voyager steered his bark through seas, untracked before; ploughed
his own path mid jeers; though with a heart that oft was heavy with
the thought, that he might only be too bold, and grope where land was
none.

So I.

And though essaying but a sportive sail, I was driven from my course,
by a blast resistless; and ill-provided, young, and bowed to the brunt
of things before my prime, still fly before the gale;--hard have I
striven to keep stout heart.

And if it harder be, than e'er before, to find new climes, when now
our seas have oft been circled by ten thousand prows,--much more the
glory!

But this new world here sought, is stranger far than his, who
stretched his vans from Palos. It is the world of mind; wherein the
wanderer may gaze round, with more of wonder than Balboa's band roving
through the golden Aztec glades.

But fiery yearnings their own phantom-future make, and deem it
present. So, if after all these fearful, fainting trances, the verdict
be, the golden haven was not gained;--yet, in bold quest thereof,
better to sink in boundless deeps, than float on vulgar shoals; and
give me, ye gods, an utter wreck, if wreck I do.



CHAPTER LXVI
A Flight Of Nightingales From Yoomy's Mouth


By noon, down came a calm.

"Oh Neeva! good Neeva! kind Neeva! thy sweet breath, dear Neeva!"

So from his shark's-mouth prayed little Vee-Vee to the god of Fair
Breezes. And along they swept; till the three prows neighed to the
blast; and pranced on their path, like steeds of Crusaders.

Now, that this fine wind had sprung up; the sun riding joyously in the
heavens; and the Lagoon all tossed with white, flying manes; Media
called upon Yoomy to ransack his whole assortment of songs:--warlike,
amorous, and sentimental,--and regale us with something inspiring for
too long the company had been gloomy.

"Thy best,", he cried.

Then will I e'en sing you a song, my lord, which is a song-full of
songs. I composed it long, long since, when Yillah yet bowered in Odo.
Ere now, some fragments have been heard.  Ah, Taji! in this my lay,
live over again your happy hours. Some joys have thousand lives; can
never die; for when they droop, sweet memories bind them up.--My lord,
I deem these verses good; they came bubbling out of me, like live
waters from a spring in a silver mine. And by your good leave, my
lord, I have much faith in inspiration. Whoso sings is a seer."

"Tingling is the test," said Babbalanja, "Yoomy, did you tingle, when
that song was composing?"

"All over, Babbalanja."

"From sole to crown?"

"From finger to finger."

"My life for it! true poetry, then, my lord! For this self-same
tingling, I say, is the test."

"And infused into a song," cried Yoomy, "it evermore causes it so to
sparkle, vivify, and irradiate, that no son of man can repeat it
without tingling himself. This very song of mine may prove what I
say."

"Modest youth!" sighed Media.

"Not more so, than sincere," said Babbalanja. "He who is frank, will
often appear vain, my lord. Having no guile, he speaks as freely of
himself, as of another; and is just as ready to honor his own merits,
even if imaginary, as to lament over undeniable deficiencies. Besides,
such men are prone to moods, which to shallow-minded, unsympathizing
mortals, make their occasional distrust of themselves, appear but as a
phase of self-conceit. Whereas, the man who, in the presence of his
very friends, parades a barred and bolted front,--that man so highly
prizes his sweet self, that he cares not to profane the shrine he
worships, by throwing open its portals. He is locked up; and Ego is
the key. Reserve alone is vanity. But all mankind are egotists. The
world revolves upon an I; and we upon ourselves; for we are our own
worlds:--all other men as strangers, from outlandish, distant climes,
going clad in furs. Then, whate'er they be, let us show our worlds;
and not seek to hide from men, what Oro knows."

"Truth, my lord," said Yoomy, "but all this applies to men in mass;
not specially, to my poor craft. Of all mortals, we poets are most
subject to contrary moods. Now, heaven over heaven in the skies; now
layer under layer in the dust. This, the penalty we pay for being what
we are. But Mardi only sees, or thinks it sees, the tokens of our
self-complacency: whereas, all our agonies operate unseen. Poets are
only seen when they soar."

"The song! the song!" cried Media. "Never mind the metaphysics of
genius."

And Yoomy, thus clamorously invoked, hemmed thrice, tuning his voice
for the air.

But here, be it said, that the minstrel was miraculously gifted with
three voices; and, upon occasions, like a mocking-bird, was a concert
of sweet sounds in himself. Had kind friends died, and bequeathed him
their voices? But hark! in a low, mild tenor, he begins:--

    Half-railed above the hills, yet rosy bright,
      Stands fresh, and fair, the meek and blushing morn!
    So Yillah looks! her pensive eyes the stars,
      That mildly beam from out her cheek's young dawn!

            But the still meek Dawn,
            Is not aye the form
            Of Yillah nor Morn!
              Soon rises the sun,
              Day's race to run:
            His rays abroad,
            Flash each a sword,--
              And merrily forth they flare!
              Sun-music in the air!
            So Yillah now rises and flashes!
            Rays shooting from ont her long lashes,--
              Sun-music in the air!

              Her laugh! How it bounds!
              Bright cascade of sounds!
            Peal after peal, and ringing afar,--
            Ringing of waters, that silvery jar,
              From basin to basin fast falling!
              Fast falling, and shining, and streaming:--
            Yillah's bosom, the soft, heaving lake,
            Where her laughs at last dimple, and flake!

    Oh beautiful Yillah! Thy step so free!--
      Fast fly the sea-ripples,
    Revealing their dimples,
      When forth, thou hi'st to the frolicsome sea!

             All the stars laugh,
               When upward she looks:
            All the trees chat
               In their woody nooks:
            All the brooks sing;
            All the caves ring;
            All the buds blossom;
              All the boughs bound;
            All the birds carol;
              And leaves turn round,
              Where Yillah looks!

    Light wells from her soul's deep sun
    Causing many toward her to run!
    Vines to climb, and flowers to spring;
    And youths their love by hundreds bring!

"Proceed, gentle Yoomy," said Babbalanja.

"The meaning," said Mohi.

"The sequel," said Media.

"My lord, I have ceased in the middle; the end is not yet."

"Mysticism!" cried Babbalanja. "What, minstrel; must nothing ultimate
come of all that melody? no final and inexhaustible meaning? nothing
that strikes down into the soul's depths; till, intent upon itself, it
pierces in upon its own essence, and is resolved into its pervading
original; becoming a thing constituent of the all embracing deific;
whereby we mortals become part and parcel of the gods; our souls to
them as thoughts; and we privy to all things occult, ineffable, and
sublime? Then, Yoomy, is thy song nothing worth. Alla Mollolla saith,
'That is no true, vital breath, which leaves no moisture behind.' I
mistrust thee, minstrel! that thou hast not yet been impregnated by
the arcane mysteries; that thou dost not sufficiently ponder on the
Adyta, the Monads, and the Hyparxes; the Dianoias, the Unical
Hypostases, the Gnostic powers of the Psychical Essence, and the
Supermundane and Pleromatic Triads; to say nothing of the Abstract
Noumenons."

"Oro forbid!" cried Yoomy; "the very sound of thy words affrights me."
Then, whispering to Mohi--"Is he daft again?"

"My brain is battered," said Media. "Azzageddi! you must diet, and be
bled."

"Ah!" sighed Babbalanja, turning; "how little they ween of the
Rudimental Quincunxes, and the Hecatic Spherula!"



CHAPTER LXVII
They Visit One Doxodox


Next morning, we came to a deep, green wood, slowly nodding over the
waves; its margin frothy-white with foam. A charming sight!

While delighted, all our paddlers gazed, Media, observing Babbalanja
plunged in reveries, called upon him to awake; asking what might so
absorb him.

"Ah, my lord! what seraphic sounds have ye driven from me!"

"Sounds! Sure, there's naught heard but yonder murmuring surf; what
other sound heard you?"

"The thrilling of my soul's monochord, my lord. But prick not your
ears to hear it; that divine harmony is overheard by the rapt spirit
alone; it comes not by the auditory nerves."

"No more, Azzageddi! No more of that. Look yonder!"

"A most lovely wood, in truth. And methinks it is here the sage
Doxodox, surnamed the Wise One, dwells."

"Hark, I hear the hootings of his owls," said Mohi.

"My lord, you must have read of him. He is said to have penetrated
from the zoned, to the unzoned principles. Shall we seek him out, that
we may hearken to his wisdom? Doubtless he knows many things, after
which we pant."

The lagoon was calm, as we landed; not a breath stirred the plumes of
the trees; and as we entered the voiceless shades, lifting his hand,
Babbalanja whispered:--"This silence is a fit introduction to the
portals of Telestic lore. Somewhere, beneath this moss, lurks
the mystic stone Mnizuris; whereby Doxodox hath attained unto a
knowledge of the ungenerated essences. Nightly, he bathes his soul in
archangelical circumlucencies. Oh, Doxodox! whip me the Strophalunian
top! Tell o'er thy Jynges!"

"Down, Azzageddi! down!" cried Media. "Behold: there sits the Wise
One; now, for true wisdom!"

From the voices of the party, the sage must have been aware of our
approach: but seated on a green bank, beneath the shade of a red
mulberry, upon the boughs of which, many an owl was perched, he seemed
intent upon describing divers figures in the air, with a jet-black wand.

Advancing with much deference and humility, Babbalanja saluted him.

"Oh wise Doxodox! Drawn hither by thy illustrious name, we seek
admittance to thy innermost wisdom. Of all Mardian, thou alone
comprehendest those arcane combinations, whereby to drag to day the
most deftly hidden things, present and to come. Thou knowest what we
are, and what we shall be. We beseech thee, evoke thy Tselmns!"

"Tetrads; Pentads; Hexads; Heptads; Ogdoads:--meanest thou those?"

"New terms all!"

"Foiled at thy own weapons," said Media.

"Then, if thou comprehendest not my nomenclature:--how my science? But
let me test thee in the portico.--Why is it, that as some things
extend more remotely than others; so, Quadammodotatives are larger
than Qualitatives; forasmuch, as Quadammodotatives extend to those
things, which include the Quadammodotatives themselves."

"Azzageddi has found his match," said Media.

"Still posed, Babbalanja?" asked Mohi.

"At a loss, most truly! But I beseech thee, wise Doxodox! instruct me
in thy dialectics, that I may embrace thy more recondite lore."

"To begin then, my child:--all Dicibles reside in the mind."

"But what are Dicibles?" said Media.

"Meanest thou, Perfect or Imperfect Dicibles?" Any kind you please;--
but what are they?"

"Perfect Dicibles are of various sorts: Interrogative; Percontative;
Adjurative; Optative; Imprecative; Execrative; Substitutive;
Compellative; Hypothetical; and lastly, Dubious."

"Dubious enough! Azzageddi! forever, hereafter, hold thy peace."

"Ah, my children! I must go back to my Axioms."

"And what are they?" said old Mohi.

"Of various sorts; which, again, are diverse. Thus: my contrary axioms
are Disjunctive, and Subdisjunctive; and so, with the rest. So, too,
in degree, with my Syllogisms."

"And what of them?"

"Did I not just hint what they were, my child? I repeat, they are of
various sorts: Connex, and Conjunct, for example."

"And what of them?" persisted Mohi; while Babbalanja, arms folded,
stood serious and mute; a sneer on his lip.

"As with other branches of my dialectics: so, too, in their way, with
my Syllogisms. Thus: when I say,--If it be warm, it is not cold:--
that's a simple Sumption. If I add, But it is warm:--that's an
_Ass_umption."

"So called from the syllogist himself, doubtless;" said Mohi, stroking
his beard.

"Poor ignorant babe! no. Listen:--if finally, I say,--Therefore it is
not cold that's the final inference."

"And a most triumphant one it is!" cried Babbalanja. "Thrice profound,
and sapient Doxodox! Light of Mardi! and Beacon of the Universe! didst
ever hear of the Shark-Syllogism?"

"Though thy epithets be true, my child, I distrust thy sincerity. I
have not yet heard of the syllogism to which thou referrest."

"It was thus. A shark seized a swimmer by the leg; addressing him:
'Friend, I will liberate you, if you truly answer whether you think I
purpose harm.' Well knowing that sharks seldom were magnanimous, he
replied: Kind sir, you mean me harm; now go your ways.' 'No, no; my
conscience forbids. Nor will I falsify the words of so veracious a
mortal. You were to answer truly; but you say I mean you harm:--so
harm it is:--here goes your leg.'"

"Profane jester! Would'st thou insult me with thy torn-foolery?
Begone--all of ye! tramp! pack! I say: away with ye!" and into the
woods Doxodox himself disappeared.

"Bravely done, Babbalanja!" cried Media. "You turned the corner to
admiration."

"I have hopes of our Philosopher yet," said Mohi.

"Outrageous impostor! fool, dotard, oaf! Did he think to bejuggle me
with his preposterous gibberish? And is this shallow phraseman the
renowned Doxodox whom I have been taught so highly to reverence? Alas,
alas--Odonphi there is none!"

"His fit again," sighed Yoomy.



CHAPTER LXVIII
King Media Dreams


That afternoon was melting down to eve; all but Media broad awake; yet
all motionless, as the slumberer upon the purple mat. Sailing on, with
open eyes, we slept the wakeful sleep of those, who to the body only
give repose, while the spirit still toils on, threading her mountain
passes.

King Media's slumbers were like the helmed sentry's in the saddle.
From them, he started like an antlered deer, bursting from out a
copse. Some said he never slept; that deep within himself he but
intensified the hour; or, leaving his crowned brow in marble quiet,
unseen, departed to far-off councils of the gods. Howbeit, his lids
never closed; in the noonday sun, those crystal eyes, like diamonds,
sparkled with a fixed light.

As motionless we thus reclined, Media turned and muttered:--"Brother
gods, and demi-gods, it is not well. These mortals should have less or
more. Among my subjects is a man, whose genius scorns the common
theories of things; but whose still mortal mind can not fathom the
ocean at his feet. His soul's a hollow, wherein he raves."

"List, list," whispered Yoomy--"our lord is dreaming; and what a royal
dream."

"A very royal and imperial dream," said Babbalanja--"he is arraigning
me before high heaven;--ay, ay; in dreams, at least, he deems himself
a demi-god."

"Hist," said Mohi--"he speaks again."

"Gods and demi-gods! With one gesture all abysses we may disclose; and
before this Mardi's eyes, evoke the shrouded time to come. Were this
well? Like lost children groping in the woods, they falter
through their tangled paths; and at a thousand angles, baffled, start
upon each other. And even when they make an onward move, 'tis but an
endless vestibule, that leads to naught. In my own isle of Odo--Odo!
Odo! How rules my viceroy there?--Down, down, ye madding mobs! Ho,
spearmen, charge! By the firmament, but my halberdiers fly!"

"His dream has changed," said Babbalanja. "He is in Odo, whither his
anxieties impel him."

"Hist, hist," said Yoomy.

"I leap upon the soil! Render thy account, Almanni! Where's my throne?
Mohi, am I not a king? Do not thy chronicles record me? Yoomy, am I
not the soul of some one glorious song? Babbalanja, speak.--Mohi! Yoomy!"

"What is it, my lord? thou dost but dream."

Staring wildly; then calmly gazing round, Media smiled. "Ha! how we
royalties ramble in our dreams! I've told no secrets?"

"While he seemed to sleep, my lord spoke much," said Mohi.

"I knew it not, old man; nor would now; but that ye tell me."

"We dream not ourselves," said Babbalanja, "but the thing within us."

"Ay?--good-morrow Azzageddi!--But come; no more dreams: Vee-Vee! wine."

And straight through that livelong night, immortal Media plied the can.



CHAPTER LXIX
After A Long Interval, By Night They Are Becalmed


Now suns rose, and set; moons grew, and waned; till, at last, the star
that erewhile heralded the dawn, presaged the eve; to us, sad token!--
while deep within the deepest heart of Mardi's circle, we sailed from
sea to sea; and isle to isle; and group to group;--vast empires
explored, and inland valleys, to their utmost heads; and for every ray
in heaven, beheld a king.

Needless to recount all that then befell; what tribes and caravans we
saw; what vast horizons; boundless plains: and sierras, in their every
intervale, a nation nestling.

Enough that still we roamed.

It was evening; and as the red sun, magnified, launched into the wave,
once more, from a wild strand, we launched our three canoes.

Soon, from her clouds, hooded Night, like a nun from a convent, drew
nigh. Rustled her train, yet no spangles were there. But high on her
brow, still shone her pale crescent; haloed by bandelets--violet, red,
and yellow. So looked the lone watcher through her rainbow-iris; so
sad, the night without stars.

The winds were laid; the lagoon, still, as a prairie of an August noon.

"Let us dream out the calm," said Media. "One of ye paddlers, watch:
Ho companions! who's for Cathay?"

Sleep reigned throughout the canoes, sleeping upon the waters. But
nearer and nearer, low-creeping along, came mists and vapors, a
thousand; spotted with twinklings of Will-o-Wisps from
neighboring shores. Dusky leopards, stealing on by crouches, those
vapors seemed.

Hours silently passed. When startled by a cry, Taji sprang to his
feet; against which something rattled; then, a quick splash! and a
dark form bounded into the lagoon.

The dozing watcher had called aloud; and, about to stab, the assassin,
dropping his stiletto, plunged.

Peering hard through those treacherous mists, two figures in a
shallop, were espied; dragging another, dripping, from the brine.

"Foiled again, and foiled forever. No foe's corpse was I."

As we gazed, in the gloom quickly vanished the shallop; ere ours could
be reversed to pursue.

Then, from the opposite mists, glided a second canoe; and beneath the
Iris round the moon, shone now another:--Hautia's flowery flag!

Vain to wave the sirens off; so still they came.

One waved a plant of sickly silver-green.

"The Midnight Tremmella!" cried Yoomy; "the falling-star of flowers!--
Still I come, when least foreseen; then flee."

The second waved a hemlock top, the spike just tapering its final
point. The third, a convolvulus, half closed. "The end draws nigh, and
all thy hopes are waning." Then they proffered grapes.

But once more waved off, silently they vanished.

Again the buried barb tore, at my soul; again Yillah was invoked, but
Hautia made reply.

Slowly wore out the night. But when uprose the sun, fled clouds, and
fled sadness.



CHAPTER LXX
They Land At Hooloomooloo


"Keep all three prows, for yonder rock." cried Media; "No sadness on
this merry morn! And now for the Isle of Cripples,--even
Hooloomooloo."

"The Isle of Cripples?"

"Ay; why not? Mohi, tell how they came to club." In substance, this
was the narration.

Averse to the barbarous custom of destroying at birth all infants not
symmetrically formed; but equally desirous of removing from their
sight those unfortunate beings; the islanders of a neighboring group
had long ago established an asylum for cripples; where they lived,
subject to their own regulations; ruled by a king of their own
election; in short, forming a distinct class of beings by themselves.

One only restriction was placed upon them: on no account must they
quit the isle assigned them. And to the surrounding islanders, so
unpleasant the sight of a distorted mortal, that a stranger landing at
Hooloomooloo, was deemed a prodigy. Wherefore, respecting any
knowledge of aught beyond them, the cripples were well nigh as
isolated, as if Hooloomooloo was the only terra-firma extant.

Dwelling in a community of their own, these unfortunates, who
otherwise had remained few in number, increased and multiplied
greatly. Nor did successive generations improve in symmetry upon those
preceding them.

Soon, we drew nigh to the isle.

Heaped up, and jagged with rocks; and, here and there, covered with
dwarfed, twisted thickets, it seemed a fit place for its denizens.

Landing, we were surrounded by a heterogeneous mob; and thus escorted,
took our way inland, toward the abode of their lord, King Yoky.

What a scene!

Here, helping himself along with two crotched roots, hobbled a dwarf
without legs; another stalked before, one arm fixed in the air, like a
lightning rod; a third, more active than any, seal-like, flirted a
pair of flippers, and went skipping along; a fourth hopped on a
solitary pin, at every bound, spinning round like a top, to gaze;
while still another, furnished with feelers or fins, rolled himself up
in a ball, bowling over the ground in advance.

With curious instinct, the blind stuck close to our side; with their
chattering finger, the deaf and the dumb described angles, obtuse and
acute in the air; and like stones rolling down rocky ravines, scores
of stammerers stuttered. Discord wedded deformity. All asses' brays
were now harmonious memories; all Calibans, as angels.

Yet for every stare we gave them, three stares they gave us.

At last, we halted before a tenement of rude stones; crooked Banian
boughs its rafters, thatched with fantastic leaves. So rambling and
irregular its plan, it seemed thrown up by the eruption, according to
sage Mohi, the origin of the isle itself.

Entering, we saw King Yoky.

Ah! sadly lacking was he, in all the requisites of an efficient ruler.
Deaf and dumb he was; and save arms, minus every thing but an
indispensable trunk and head. So huge his all-comprehensive mouth, it
seemed to swallow up itself.

But shapeless, helpless as was Yoky,--as king of Hooloomooloo, he was
competent; the state being a limited monarchy, of which his Highness
was but the passive and ornamental head.

As his visitors advanced, he fell to gossiping with his fingers: a
servitor interpreting. Very curious to note the rapidity with
which motion was translated into sound; and the simultaneousness with
which meaning made its way through four successive channels to the
mind--hand, sight, voice, and tympanum.

Much amazement His Highness now expressed; horrified his glances.

"Why club such frights as ye? Herd ye, to keep in countenance; or are
afraid of your own hideousness, that ye dread to go alone? Monsters!
speak."

"Great Oro!" cried Mohi, "are we then taken for cripples, by the very
King of the Cripples? My lord, are not our legs and arms all right?"

"Comelier ones were never turned by turners, Mohi. But royal Yoky! in
sooth we feel abashed before thee."

Some further stares were then exchanged; when His Highness sought to
know, whether there were any Comparative Anatomists among his
visitors.

"Comparative Anatomists! not one."

"And why may King Yoky ask that question?" inquired Babbalanja.

Then was made the following statement.

During the latter part of his reign, when he seemed fallen into his
dotage, the venerable predecessor of King Yoky had been much attached
to an old gray-headed Chimpanzee, one day found meditating in the
woods. Rozoko was his name. He was very grave, and reverend of aspect;
much of a philosopher. To him, all gnarled and knotty subjects were
familiar; in his day he had cracked many a crabbed nut. And so in love
with his Timonean solitude was Rozoko, that it needed many bribes and
bland persuasions, to induce him to desert his mossy, hillside,
misanthropic cave, for the distracting tumult of a court.

But ere long, promoted to high offices, and made the royal favorite,
the woodland sage forgot his forests; and, love for love, returned the
aged king's caresses. Ardent friends they straight became; dined and
drank together; with quivering lips, quaffed long-drawn, sober
bumpers; comparing all their past experiences; and canvassing those
hidden themes, on which octogenarians dilate.

For when the fires and broils of youth are passed, and Mardi wears its
truer aspect--then we love to think, not act; the present seems more
unsubstantial than the past; then, we seek out gray-beards like
ourselves; and hold discourse of palsies, hearses, shrouds, and tombs;
appoint our undertakers; our mantles gather round us, like to winding-
sheets; and every night lie down to die. Then, the world's great
bubble bursts; then, Life's clouds seem sweeping by, revealing heaven
to our straining eyes; then, we tell our beads, and murmur pater-
nosters; and in trembling accents cry--"Oro! be merciful."

So, the monarch and Rozoko.

But not always were they thus. Of bright, cheerful mornings, they took
slow, tottering rambles in the woods; nodding over grotesque walking-
sticks, of the Chimpanzee's handiwork. For sedate Rozoko was a
dilletante-arborist: an amateur in canes. Indeed, canes at last became
his hobby. For half daft with age, sometimes he straddled his good
staff and gently rode abroad, to take the salubrious evening air;
deeming it more befitting exercise, at times, than walking. Into this
menage, he soon initiated his friend, the king; and side by side they
often pranced; or, wearying of the saddle, dismounted; and paused to
ponder over prostrate palms, decaying across the path. Their mystic
rings they counted; and, for every ring, a year in their own
calendars.

Now, so closely did the monarch cleave to the Chimpanzee, that, in
good time, summoning his subjects, earnestly he charged it on them,
that at death, he and his faithful friend should be buried in one
tomb.

It came to pass, the monarch died; and Poor Rozoko, now reduced to
second childhood, wailed most dismally:--no one  slept that night in
Hooloomooloo. Never did he leave the body; and at last, slowly going
round it thrice, he laid him down; close nestled; and
noiselessly expired.

The king's injunctions were remembered; and one vault received them
both.

Moon followed moon; and wrought upon by jeers and taunts, the people
of the isle became greatly scandalized, that a base-born baboon should
share the shroud of their departed lord; though they themselves had
tucked in the aged AEneas fast by the side of his Achates.

They straight resolved, to build another vault; and over it, a lofty
cairn; and thither carry the remains they reverenced.

But at the disinterring, a sad perplexity arose. For lo surpassing
Saul and Jonathan, not even in decay were these fast friends divided.
So mingled every relic,--ilium and ulna, carpus and metacarpus;--and
so similar the corresponding parts, that like the literary remains of
Beaumont and of Fletcher, which was which, no spectacles could tell.
Therefore, they desisted; lest the towering monument they had reared,
might commemorate an ape, and not a king.

Such the narration; hearing which, my lord Media kept stately silence.
But in courtly phrase, as beseemed him, Babbalanja, turban in hand,
thus spoke:--

"My concern is extreme, King Yoky, at the embarrassment into which
your island is thrown. Nor less my grief, that I myself am not the
man, to put an end to it. I could weep that Comparative Anatomists are
not so numerous now, as hereafter they assuredly must become; when
their services shall be in greater request; when, at the last, last
day of all, millions of noble and ignoble spirits will loudly clamor
for lost skeletons; when contending claimants shall start up for one
poor, carious spine; and, dog-like, we shall quarrel over our own
bones."

Then entered dwarf-stewards, and major-domos; aloft bearing twisted
antlers; all hollowed out in goblets, grouped; announcing dinner.

Loving not, however, to dine with misshapen Mardians, King Media was
loth to move. But Babbalanja, quoting the old proverb--"Strike me in
the face, but refuse not my yams," induced him to sacrifice his
fastidiousness.

So, under a flourish of ram-horn bugles, court and company proceeded
to the banquet.

Central was a long, dislocated trunk of a wild Banian; like a huge
centipede crawling on its hundred branches, sawn of even lengths for
legs. This table was set out with wry-necked gourds; deformities of
calabashes; and shapeless trenchers, dug out of knotty woods.

The first course was shrimp-soup, served in great clamp-shells; the
second, lobsters, cuttle-fish, crabs, cockles, cray-fish; the third,
hunchbacked roots of the Taro-plant--plantains, perversely curling at
the end, like the inveterate tails of pertinacious pigs; and for
dessert, ill-shaped melons, huge as idiots' heads, plainly suffering
from water in the brain.

Now these viands were commended to the favorable notice of all guests;
not only for their delicacy of flavor, but for their symmetry.

And in the intervals of the courses, we were bored with hints to
admire numerous objects of vertu: bow-legged stools of mangrove wood;
zig-zag rapiers of bone; armlets of grampus-vertebrae; outlandish
tureens of the callipees of terrapin; and cannakins of the skulls of
baboons.

The banquet over, with many congees, we withdrew.

Returning to the water-side, we passed a field, where dwarfs were
laboring in beds of yams, heaping the soil around the roots, by
scratching it backward; as a dog.

All things in readiness, Yoky's valet, a tri-armed dwarf, treated us
to a glorious start, by giving each canoe a vigorous triple-push,
crying, "away with ye, monsters!"

Nor must it be omitted that just previous to embarking, Vee-Vee,
spying a curious looking stone, turned it over, and found a snake.



CHAPTER LXXI
A Book From The "Ponderings Of Old Bardianna"


"Now," said Babbalanja, lighting his trombone as we sailed from the
isle, "who are the monsters, we or the cripples?"

"You yourself are a monster, for asking the question," said Mohi.

"And so, to the cripples I am; though not, old man, for the reason you
mention. But I am, as I am; whether hideous, or handsome, depends upon
who is made judge. There is no supreme standard yet revealed, whereby
to judge of ourselves; 'Our very instincts are prejudices,' saith Alla
Mallolla; 'Our very axioms, and postulates are far from infallible.'
'In respect of the universe, mankind is but a sect,' saith Diloro:
'and first principles but dogmas.' What ethics prevail in the
Pleiades? What things have the synods in Sagittarius decreed?"

"Never mind your old authors," said Media. "Stick to the cripples;
enlarge upon them."

"But I have done with them now, my lord; the sermon is not the text.
Give ear to old Bardianna. I know him by heart. Thus saith the sage in
Book X. of the Ponderings, 'Zermalmende,' the title: 'Je pense,' the
motto:--'My supremacy over creation, boasteth man, is declared in my
natural attitude:--I stand erect! But so do the palm-trees; and the
giraffes that graze off their tops. And the fowls of the air fly high
over our heads; and from the place where we fancy our heaven to be,
defile the tops of our temples. Belike, the eagles, from their eyries
look down upon us Mardians, in our hives, even as upon the
beavers in their dams, marveling at our incomprehensible ways. And
cunning though we be, some things, hidden from us, may not be
mysteries to them. Having five keys, hold we all that open to
knowledge? Deaf, blind, and deprived of the power of scent, the bat
will steer its way unerringly:--could we? Yet man is lord of the bat
and the brute; lord over the crows; with whom, he must needs share the
grain he garners. We sweat for the fowls, as well as ourselves. The
curse of labor rests only on us. Like slaves, we toil: at their good
leisure they glean.

"'Mardi is not wholly ours. We are the least populous part of
creation. To say nothing of other tribes, a census of the herring
would find us far in the minority. And what life is to us,--sour or
sweet,--so is it to them. Like us, they die, fighting death to the
last; like us, they spawn and depart. We inhabit but a crust, rough
surfaces, odds and ends of the isles; the abounding lagoon being its
two-thirds, its grand feature from afar; and forever unfathomable.

"'What shaft has yet been sunk to the antipodes? What underlieth the
gold mines?

"'But even here, above-ground, we grope with the sun at meridian.
Vainly, we seek our Northwest Passages,--old alleys, and thoroughfares
of the whales.

"'Oh men! fellow men! we are only what we are; not what we would be;
nor every thing we hope for. We are but a step in a scale, that
reaches further above us than below. We breathe but oxygen. Who in
Arcturus hath heard of us? They know us not in the Milky Way. We prate
of faculties divine: and know not how sprouteth a spear of grass; we
go about shrugging our shoulders: when the firmament-arch is over us;
we rant of etherealities: and long tarry over our banquets; we demand
Eternity for a lifetime: when our mortal half-hours too often prove
tedious. We know not of what we talk. The Bird of Paradise out-flies
our flutterings. What it is to be immortal, has not yet entered
into our thoughts. At will, we build our futurities; tier above tier,
all galleries full of laureates: resounding with everlasting
oratorios! Pater-nosters forever, or eternal Misereres! forgetting
that in Mardi, our breviaries oft fall from our hands. But divans
there are, some say, whereon we shall recline, basking in effulgent
suns, knowing neither Orient nor Occident. Is it so? Fellow men! our
mortal lives have an end; but that end is no goal: no place of repose.
Whatever it may be, it will prove but as the beginning of another
race. We will hope, joy, weep, as before; though our tears may be such
as the spice-trees shed. Supine we can only be, annihilated.

"'The thick film is breaking; the ages have long been circling.
Fellow-men! if we live hereafter, it will not be in lyrics; nor shall
we yawn, and our shadows lengthen, while the eternal cycles are
revolving. To live at all, is a high vocation; to live forever, and
run parallel with Oro, may truly appall us. Toil we not here? and
shall we be forever slothful elsewhere? Other worlds differ not much
from this, but in degree. Doubtless, a pebble is a fair specimen of
the universe.

"'We point at random. Peradventure at this instant, there are beings
gazing up to this very world as their future heaven. But the universe
is all over a heaven: nothing but stars on stars, throughout
infinities of expansion. All we see are but a cluster. Could we get to
Bootes, we would be no nearer Oro, than now he hath no place; but is
here. Already, in its unimaginable roamings, our system may have
dragged us through and through the spaces, where we plant cities of
beryl and jasper. Even now, we may be inhaling the ether, which we
fancy seraphic wings are fanning. But look round. There is much to be
seen here, and now. Do the archangels survey aught more glorious than
the constellations we nightly behold? Continually we slight the
wonders, we deem in reserve. We await the present. With marvels we are
glutted, till we hold them no marvels at all. But had these
eyes first opened upon all the prodigies in the Revelation of the
Dreamer, long familiarity would have made them appear, even as these
things we see. Now, _now_, the page is out-spread: to the simple, easy
as a primer; to the wise, more puzzling than hieroglyphics. The
eternity to come, is but a prolongation of time present: and the
beginning may be more wonderful than the end.

"'Then let us be wise. But much of the knowledge we seek, already we
have in our cores. Yet so simple it is, we despise it; so bold, we
fear it.

"'In solitude, let us exhume our ingots. Let us hear our own thoughts.
The soul needs no mentor, but Oro; and Oro, without proxy. Wanting
Him, it is both the teacher and the taught. Undeniably, reason was the
first revelation; and so far as it tests all others, it has precedence
over them. It comes direct to us, without suppression or
interpolation; and with Oro's indisputable imprimatur. But inspiration
though it be, it is not so arrogant as some think. Nay, far too
humble, at times it submits to the grossest indignities. Though in its
best estate, not infallible; so far as it goes, for us, it is
reliable. When at fault, it stands still. We speak not of visionaries.
But if this our first revelation stops short of the uttermost, so with
all others. If, often, it only perplexes: much more the rest. They
leave much unexpounded; and disclosing new mysteries, add to the
enigma. Fellow-men; the ocean we would sound is unfathomable; and
however much we add to our line, when it is out, we feel not the
bottom. Let us be truly lowly, then; not lifted up with a Pharisaic
humility. We crawl not like worms; nor wear we the liveries of angels.

"'The firmament-arch has no key-stone; least of all, is man its prop.
He stands alone. We are every thing to ourselves, but how little to
others. What are others to us? Assure life everlasting to this
generation, and their immediate forefathers--and what tears would
flow, were there no resurrection for the countless generations
from the first man to five cycles since? And soon we ourselves shall
have fallen in with the rank and file of our sires. At a blow,
annihilate some distant tribe, now alive and jocund--and what would we
reck? Curiosity apart, do we really care whether the people in
Bellatrix are immortal or no?

"'Though they smite us, let us not turn away from these things, if
they be really thus.

"'There was a time, when near Cassiopeia, a star of the first
magnitude, most lustrous in the North, grew lurid as a fire, then dim
as ashes, and went out. Now, its place is a blank. A vast world, with
all its continents, say the astronomers, blazing over the heads of our
fathers; while in Mardi were merry-makings, and maidens given in
marriage. Who now thinks of that burning sphere? How few are aware
that ever it was?

"'These things are so.

"'Fellow-men! we must go, and obtain a glimpse of what we are from the
Belts of Jupiter and the Moons of Saturn, ere we see ourselves aright.
The universe can wax old without us; though by Oro's grace we may live
to behold a wrinkle in the sky. Eternity is not ours by right; and,
alone, unrequited sufferings here, form no title thereto, unless
resurrections are reserved for maltreated brutes. Suffering is
suffering; be the sufferer man, brute, or thing.

"'How small;--how nothing, our deserts! Let us stifle all vain
speculations; we need not to be told what righteousness is; we were
born with the whole Law in our hearts. Let us do: let us act: let us
down on our knees. And if, after all, we should be no more forever;--
far better to perish meriting immortality, than to enjoy it
unmeritorious. While we fight over creeds, ten thousand fingers point
to where vital good may be done. All round us, Want crawls to her
lairs; and, shivering, dies unrelieved. Here, _here_, fellow-men, we
can better minister as angels, than in heaven, where want and misery
come not.

"'We Mardians talk as though the future was all in all; but act as
though the present was every thing. Yet so far as, in our theories, we
dwarf our Mardi; we go not beyond an archangel's apprehension of it,
who takes in all suns and systems at a glance. Like pebbles, were the
isles to sink in space, Sirius, the Dog-star, would still flame in the
sky. But as the atom to the animalculae, so Mardi to us. And lived
aright, these mortal lives are long; looked into, these souls,
fathomless as the nethermost depths.

"'Fellow-men; we split upon hairs; but stripped, mere words and
phrases cast aside, the great bulk of us are orthodox. None who think,
dissent from the grand belief. The first man's thoughts were as ours.
The paramount revelation prevails with us; and all that clashes
therewith, we do not so much believe, as believe that we can not
disbelieve. Common sense is a sturdy despot; that, for the most part,
has its own way. It inspects and ratifies much independent of it. But
those who think they do wholly reject it, are but held in a sly sort
of bondage; under a semblance of something else, wearing the old yoke.'"

"Cease, cease, Babbalanja," said Media, "and permit me to insinuate a
word in your ear. You have long been in the habit, philosopher, of
regaling us with chapters from your old Bardianna; and with infinite
gusto, you have just recited the longest of all. But I do not observe,
oh, Sage! that for all these things, you yourself are practically the
better or wiser. You live not up to Bardianna's main thought. Where he
stands, he stands immovable; but you are a Dog-vane. How is this?"

"Gogle-goggle, fugle-fi, fugle-fogle-orum!"

"Mad, mad again," cried Yoomy.



CHAPTER LXXII
Babbalanja Starts To His Feet


For twenty-four hours, seated stiff, and motionless, Babbalanja spoke
not a word; then, almost without moving a muscle, muttered thus:--"At
banquets surfeit not, but fill; partake, and retire; and eat not again
till you crave. Thereby you give nature time to work her magic
transformings; turning all solids to meat, and wine into blood. After
a banquet you incline to repose:--do so: digestion commands. All this
follow those, who feast at the tables of Wisdom; and all such are
they, who partake of the fare of old Bardianna."

"Art resuscitated, then, Babbalanja?" said Media. "Ay, my lord, I am
just risen from the dead."

"And did Azzageddi conduct you to their realms?"

"Fangs off! fangs off! depart, thou fiend!--unhand me! or by Oro, I
will die and spite thee!"

"Quick, quick, Mohi! let us change places," cried Yoomy.

"How now, Babbalanja?" said Media.

"Oh my lord man--not _you_ my lord Media!--high and mighty Puissance!
great King of Creation!--thou art but the biggest of braggarts! In
every age, thou boastest of thy valorous advances:--flat fools, old
dotards, and numskulls, our sires! All the Past, wasted time! the
Present knows all! right lucky, fellow-beings, we live now! every man
an author! books plenty as men! strike a light in a minute! teeth sold
by the pound! all the elements fetching and carrying! lightning
running on errands! rivers made to order! the ocean a puddle!--
But ages back they boasted like us; and ages to come, forever and
ever, they'll boast. Ages back they black-balled the past, thought the
last day was come; so wise they were grown. Mardi could not stand
long; have to annex one of the planets; invade the great sun; colonize
the moon;--conquerors sighed for new Mardis; and sages for heaven--
having by heart all the primers here below. Like us, ages back they
groaned under their books; made bonfires of libraries, leaving ashes
behind, mid which we reverentially grope for charred pages, forgetting
we are so much wiser than they.--But amazing times! astounding
revelations; preternatural divulgings!--How now?--more wonderful than
all our discoveries is this: that they never were discovered before.
So simple, no doubt our ancestors overlooked them; intent on deeper
things--the deep things of the soul. All we discover has been with us
since the sun began to roll; and much we discover, is not worth the
discovering. We are children, climbing trees after birds' nests, and
making a great shout, whether we find eggs in them or no. But where
are our wings, which our fore-fathers surely had not? Tell us, ye
sages! something worth an archangel's learning; discover, ye
discoverers, something new. Fools, fools! Mardi's not changed: the sun
yet rises in its old place in the East; all things go on in the same
old way; we cut our eye-teeth just as late as they did, three thousand
years ago."

"Your pardon," said Mohi, "for beshrew me, they are not yet all cut.
At threescore and ten, here have I a new tooth coming now."

"Old man! it but clears the way for another. The teeth sown by the
alphabet-founder, were eye-teeth, not yet all sprung from the soil.
Like spring-wheat, blade by blade, they break ground late; like
spring-wheat, many seeds have perished in the hard winter glebe. Oh,
my lord! though we galvanize corpses into St. Vitus' dances, we raise
not the dead from their graves! Though we have discovered the
circulation of the blood, men die as of yore; oxen graze, sheep
bleat, babies bawl, asses bray--loud and lusty as the day before the
flood. Men fight and make up; repent and go at it; feast and starve;
laugh and weep; pray and curse; cheat, chaffer, trick, truckle, cozen,
defraud, fib, lie, beg, borrow, steal, hang, drown--as in the laughing
and weeping, tricking and truckling, hanging and drowning times that
have been. Nothing changes, though much be new-fashioned: new fashions
but revivals of things previous. In the books of the past we learn
naught but of the present; in those of the present, the past. All
Mardi's history--beginning middle, and finis--was written out in
capitals in the first page penned. The whole story is told in a title-
page. An exclamation point is entire Mardi's autobiography."

"Who speaks now?" said Media, Bardianna, Azzageddi, or Babbalanja?"

"All three: is it not a pleasant concert?"

"Very fine: very fine.--Go on; and tell us something of the future."

"I have never departed this life yet, my lord."

"But just now you said you were risen from the dead." "From the buried
dead within me; not from myself, my lord."

"If you, then, know nothing of the future--did Bardianna?"

"If he did, naught did he reveal. I have ever observed, my lord, that
even in their deepest lucubrations, the profoundest, frankest,
ponderers always reserve a vast deal of precious thought for their own
private behoof. They think, perhaps, that 'tis too good, or too bad;
too wise, or too foolish, for the multitude. And this unpleasant
vibration is ever consequent upon striking a new vein of ideas in the
soul. As with buried treasures, the ground over them sounds strange
and hollow. At any rate, the profoundest ponderer seldom tells us all
he thinks; seldom reveals to us the ultimate, and the innermost;
seldom makes us open our eyes under water; seldom throws open
the totus-in-toto; and never carries us with him, to the
unconsubsistent, the ideaimmanens, the super-essential, and the One."

Confusion! Remember the Quadammodatatives!"

"Ah!" said Braid-Beard, "that's the crack in his calabash, which all
the Dicibles of Doxdox will not mend."

"And from that crazy calabash he gives us to drink, old Mohi."

"But never heed his leaky gourd nor its contents, my lord. Let these
philosophers muddle themselves as they will, we wise ones refuse to
partake."

"And fools like me drink till they reel," said Babbalanja. "But in
these matters one's calabash must needs go round to keep afloat.
Fogle-orum!"



CHAPTER LXXIII
At Last, The Last Mention Is Made Of Old Bardianna; And His Last Will
And Testament Is Recited At Length


The day was waning. And, as after many a tale of ghosts, around their
forest fire, Hungarian gipsies silent sit; watching the ruddy glow
kindling each other's faces;--so, now we solemn sat; the crimson West
our fire; all our faces flushed.

"Testators!" then cried Media, when your last wills are all round
settled, speak, and make it known!"

"Mine, my lord, has long been fixed," said Babbalanja.

"And how runs it?"

"Fugle-fogle--"

"Hark ye, intruding Azzageddi! rejoin thy merry mates below;--go
there, and wag thy saucy tail; or I will nail it to our bow, till ye
roar for liberation. Begone, I say."

"Down, devil! deeper down!" rumbled Babbalanja.

"My lord, I think he's gone. And now, by your good leave, I'll repeat
old Bardianna's Will. It's worth all Mardi's hearing; and I have so
studied it, by rote I know it."

"Proceed then; but I mistrust that Azzageddi is not yet many thousand
fathoms down."

"Attend my lord:---'Anno Mardis 50,000,000, o.s. I, Bardianna, of the
island of Vamba, and village of the same name, having just risen from
my yams, in high health, high spirits, and sound mind, do hereby
cheerfully make and ordain this my last will and testament.

"'Imprimis:

"'All my kith and kin being well to do in Mardi, I wholly leave them
out of this my will.

"'Item. Since, in divers ways, verbally and otherwise, my good friend
Pondo has evinced a strong love for me, Bardianna, as the owner and
proprietor of all that capital messuage with the appurtenances, in
Vamba aforesaid, called 'The Lair,' wherein I now dwell; also for all
my Bread-fruit orchards, Palm-groves, Banana-plantations, Taro-
patches, gardens, lawns, lanes, and hereditaments whatsoever,
adjoining the aforesaid messuage;--I do hereby give and bequeath the
same to Bomblum of the island of Adda; the aforesaid Bomblum having
never expressed any regard for me, as a holder of real estate.

"'Item. My esteemed neighbor Lakreemo having since the last lunar
eclipse called daily to inquire after the state of my health: and
having nightly made tearful inquiries of my herb-doctor, concerning
the state of my viscera;--I do hereby give and bequeath to the
aforesaid Lakreemo all and sundry those vegetable pills, potions,
powders, aperients, purgatives, expellatives, evacuatives, tonics,
emetics, cathartics, clysters, injections, scarifiers, cataplasms,
lenitives, lotions, decoctions, washes, gargles, and phlegmagogues;
together with all the jars, calabashes, gourds, and galipots,
thereunto pertaining; situate, lying, and being, in the west-by-north
corner of my east-southeast crypt, in my aforesaid tenement known as
'The Lair.'

"'Item. The woman Pesti; a native of Vamba, having oftentimes hinted
that I, Bardianna, sorely needed a spouse, and having also intimated
that she bore me a conjugal affection; I do hereby give and bequeath
to the aforesaid  Pesti:--my blessing; forasmuch, as by the time of
the opening of this my last will and testament, I shall have been
forever delivered from the aforesaid Pesti's persecutions.

"'Item. Having a high opinion of the probity of my worthy and
excellent friend Bidiri, I do hereby entirely, and wholly, give, will,
grant, bestow, devise, and utterly hand over unto the said Bidiri, all
that tenement where my servant Oram now dwelleth; with all the lawns,
meadows, uplands and lowlands, fields, groves, and gardens, thereunto
belonging:--IN TRUST NEVERTHELESS to have and to hold the same for the
sole use and benefit of Lanbranka Hohinna, spinster, now resident of
the aforesaid island of Vamba.

"'Item. I give and bequeath my large carved drinking gourd to my good
comrade Topo.

"'Item. My fast friend Doldrum having at sundry times, and in sundry
places, uttered the prophecy, that upon my decease his sorrow would be
great; I do hereby give and bequeath to the aforesaid Doldrum, ten
yards of my best soft tappa, to be divided into handkerchiefs for his
sole benefit and behoof.

"'Item. My sensible friend Solo having informed me, that he intended
to remain a bachelor for life; I give and devise to the aforesaid
Solo, the mat for one person, whereon I nightly repose.

"'Item. Concerning my private Arbor and Palm-groves, adjoining, lying,
and being in the isle of Vamba, I give and devise the same, with all
appurtenances whatsoever, to my friend Minta the Cynic, to have and to
hold, in trust for the first through-and-through honest man, issue of
my neighbor Mondi; and in default of such issue, for the first
through-and-through honest man, issue of my neighbor Pendidda; and in
default of such issue, for the first through-and-through honest man,
issue of my neighbor Wynodo: and in default of such issue, to any
through-and-through honest man, issue of any body, to be found through
the length and breadth of Mardi.

"'Item. My friend Minta the Cynic to be sole judge of all claims to
the above-mentioned devise; and to hold the said premises for his own
use, until the aforesaid person be found.

"'Item. Knowing my devoted scribe Marko to be very sensitive touching
the receipt of a favor; I willingly spare him that pain; and hereby
bequeath unto the aforesaid scribe, three milk-teeth, not as a
pecuniary legacy, but as a very slight token of my profound regard.

"'Item. I give to the poor of Vamba the total contents of my red-
labeled bags of bicuspids and canines (which I account three-fourths
of my whole estate); to my body servant Fidi, my staff, all my robes
and togas, and three hundred molars in cash; to that discerning and
sagacious philosopher my disciple Krako, one complete set of
denticles, to buy him a vertebral bone ring; and to that pious and
promising youth Vangi, two fathoms of my best kaiar rope, with the
privilege of any bough in my groves.

"'All the rest of my goods, chattels and household stuff whatsoever;
and all my loose denticles, remaining after my debts and legacies are
paid, and my body is out of sight, I hereby direct to be distributed
among the poor of Vamba.

"'Ultimo. I give and bequeath to all Mardi this my last advice and
counsel:--videlicet: live as long as you can; close your own eyes when
you die.

"'I have no previous wills to revoke; and publish this to be my first
and last.

"'In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my right hand; and hereunto
have caused a true copy of the tattooing on my right temple to be
affixed, during the year first above written.

"'By me, BARDIANNA.'"

"Babbalanja, that's an extraordinary document," said Media.

"Bardianna was an extraordinary man, my lord."

"Were there no codicils?"

"The will is all codicils; all after-thoughts; Ten thoughts for one
act, was Bardianna's motto."

"Left he nothing whatever to his kindred?"

"Not a stump."

"Prom his will, he seems to have lived single."

"Yes: Bardianna never sought to improve upon nature; a bachelor he
was born, and a bachelor he died."

"According to the best accounts, how did he depart, Babbalanja?" asked
Mohi.

"With a firm lip, and his hand on his heart, old man."

"His last words?"

"Calmer, and better!"

"Where think you, he is now?"

"In his Ponderings. And those, my lord, we all inherit; for like the
great chief of Romara, who made a whole empire his legatee; so, great
authors have all Mardi for an heir."



CHAPTER LXXIV
A Death-Cloud Sweeps By Them, As They Sail


Next day, a fearful sight!

As in Sooloo's seas, one vast water-spout will, sudden, form: and
whirling, chase the flying Malay keels; so, before a swift-winged
cloud, a thousand prows sped by, leaving braided, foaming wakes; their
crowded inmates' arms, in frenzied supplications wreathed; like
tangled forest-boughs.

"See, see," cried Yoomy, "how the Death-cloud flies! Let us dive down
in the sea."

"Nay," said Babbalanja. "All things come of Oro; if we must drown, let
Oro drown us."

"Down sails: drop paddles," said Media: "here we float."

Like a rushing bison, sweeping by, the Death-cloud grazed us with its
foam; and whirling in upon the thousand prows beyond, sudden burst in
deluges; and scooping out a maelstrom, dragged down every plank and soul.

Long we rocked upon the circling billows, which expanding from that
center, dashed every isle, till, moons after-ward, faint, they laved
all Mardi's reef.

"Thanks unto Oro," murmured Mohi, "this heart still beats."

That sun-flushed eve, we sailed by many tranquil harbors, whence fled
those thousand prows. Serene, the waves ran up their strands; and
chimed around the unharmed stakes of palm, to which the thousand prows
that morning had been fastened.

"Flying death, they ran to meet it," said Babbalanja. "But 'tie not
that they fled, they died; for maelstroms, of these harbors, the
Death-cloud might have made. But they died, because they might not
longer live. Could we gain one glimpse of the great calendar of
eternity, all our names would there be found, glued against their
dates of death. We die by land, and die by sea; we die by earthquakes,
famines, plagues, and wars; by fevers, agues; woe, or mirth excessive.
This mortal air is one wide pestilence, that kills us all at last.
Whom the Death-cloud spares, sleeping, dies in silent watches of the
night. He whom the spears of many battles could not slay, dies of a
grape-stone, beneath the vine-clad bower he built, to shade declining
years. We die, because we live. But none the less does Babbalanja
quake. And if he flies not, 'tis because he stands the center of a
circle; its every point a leveled dart; and every bow, bent back:--a
twang, and Babbalanja dies."



CHAPTER LXXV
They Visit The Palmy King Abrazza


Night and morn departed; and in the afternoon, we drew nigh to an
island, overcast with shadows; a shower was falling; and pining,
plaintive notes forth issued from the groves: half-suppressed, and
sobbing whisperings of leaves. The shore sloped to the water; thither
our prows were pointed.

"Sheer off! no landing here," cried Media, "let us gain the sunny
side; and like the care-free bachelor Abrazza, who here is king, turn
our back on the isle's shadowy side, and revel in its morning-meads."

"And lord Abrazza:--who is he?" asked Yoomy.

"The one hundred and twentieth in lineal descent from Phipora," said
Mohi; "and connected on the maternal side to the lord seigniors of
Klivonia. His uttermost uncle was nephew to the niece of Queen
Zmiglandi; who flourished so long since, she wedded at the first
Transit of Venus. His pedigree is endless."

"But who is lord Abrazza?"

"Has he not said?" answered Babbalanja. "Why so dull?--Uttermost
nephew to him, who was nephew to the niece of the peerless Queen
Zmiglandi; and the one hundred and twentieth in descent from the
illustrious Phipora."

"Will none tell, who Abrazza is?"

"Can not a man then, be described by running off the catalogue of his
ancestors?" said Babbalanja. "Or must we e'en descend to himself.
Then, listen, dull Yoomy! and know that lord Abrazza is six feet two:
plump thighs; blue eyes; and brown hair; likes his bread-fruit baked,
not roasted; sometimes carries filberts in his crown: and has a
way of winking when he speaks. His teeth are good."

"Are you publishing some decamped burglar," said Media, "that you
speak thus of my royal friend, the lord Abrazza? Go on, sir! and say
he reigns sole king of Bonovona!"

"My lord, I had not ended. Abrazza, Yoomy, is a fine and florid king:
high-fed, and affluent of heart; of speech, mellifluent. And for a
royalty extremely amiable. He is a sceptered gentleman, who does much
good. Kind king! in person he gives orders for relieving those, who
daily dive for pearls, to grace his royal robe; and gasping hard, with
blood-shot eyes, come up from shark-infested depths, and fainting, lay
their treasure at his feet. Sweet lord Abrazza! how he pities those,
who in his furthest woodlands day-long toil to do his bidding. Yet
king-philosopher, he never weeps; but pities with a placid smile; and
that but seldom."

"There seems much iron in your blood," said Media. "But say your say."

"Say I not truth, my lord? Abrazza, I admire. Save his royal pity all
else is jocund round him. He loves to live for life's own sake. He
vows he'll have no cares; and often says, in pleasant reveries,--
'Sure, my lord Abrazza, if any one should be care-free, 'tis thou; who
strike down none, but pity all the fallen!' Yet none he lifteth up."

At length we gained the sunny side, and shoreward tended. Vee-Vee's
horn was sonorous; and issuing from his golden groves, my lord
Abrazza, like a host that greets you on the threshold, met us, as we
keeled the beach.

"Welcome! fellow demi-god, and king! Media, my pleasant guest!"

His servitors salamed; his chieftains bowed; his yeoman-guard, in
meadow-green, presented palm-stalks,--royal tokens; and hand in hand,
the nodding, jovial, regal friends, went up a lane of salutations;
dragging behind, a train of envyings.

Much we marked Abrazza's jeweled crown; that shot no honest blaze of
ruddy rubies; nor looked stern-white like Media's pearls; but cast a
green and yellow glare; rays from emeralds, crossing rays from many a
topaz. In those beams, so sinister, all present looked cadaverous:
Abrazza's cheek alone beamed bright, but hectic.

Upon its fragrant mats a spacious hall received the kings; and
gathering courtiers blandly bowed; and gushing with soft flatteries,
breathed idol-incense round them.

The hall was terraced thrice; its elevated end was curtained; and
thence, at every chime of words, there burst a girl, gay scarfed, with
naked bosom, and poured forth wild and hollow laughter, as she raced
down all the terraces, and passed their merry kingships.

Wide round the hall, in avenues, waved almond-woods; their whiteness
frosted into bloom. But every vine-clad trunk was hollow-hearted;
hollow sounds came from the grottos: hollow broke the billows on the
shore: and hollow pauses filled the air, following the hollow
laughter.

Guards, with spears, paced the groves, and in the inner shadows, oft
were seen to lift their weapons, and backward press some ugly phantom,
saying, "Subjects! haunt him not; Abrazza would be merry; Abrazza
feasts his guests."

So, banished from our sight seemed all things uncongenial; and
pleasant times were ours, in these dominions. Not a face passed by,
but smiled; mocking-birds perched on the boughs; and singing, made us
vow the woods were warbling forth thanksgiving, with a thousand
throats! The stalwart yeomen grinned beneath their trenchers, heaped
with citrons pomegrantes, grapes; the pages tittered, pouring out the
wine; and all the lords loud laughed, smote their gilded spears, and
swore the isle was glad.

Such the isle, in which we tarried; but in our rambles, found no
Yillah.



CHAPTER LXXVI
Some Pleasant, Shady Talk In The Groves, Between My Lords Abrazza And
Media, Babbalanja, Mohi, And Yoomy


Abrazza had a cool retreat--a grove of dates; where we were used to
lounge of noons, and mix our converse with the babble of the rills;
and mix our punches in goblets chased with grapes. And as ever, King
Abrazza was the prince of hosts.

"Your crown," he said to Media; and with his own, he hung it on a
bough.

"Be not ceremonious:" and stretched his royal legs upon the turf.

"Wine!" and his pages poured it out.

So on the grass we lounged; and King Abrazza, who loved his antique
ancestors; and loved old times; and would not talk of moderns;--bade
Yoomy sing old songs; bade Mohi rehearse old histories; bade
Babbalanja tell of old ontologies; and commanded all, meanwhile, to
drink his old, old wine.

So, all round we quaffed and quoted.

At last, we talked of old Homeric bards:--those who, ages back,
harped, and begged, and groped their blinded way through all this
charitable Mardi; receiving coppers then, and immortal glory now.

ABRAZZA--How came it, that they all were blind?

BABBALANJA--It was endemical, your Highness. Few grand poets have
good eyes; for they needs blind must be, who ever gaze upon the sun.
Vavona himself was blind:
when, in the silence of his secret bower, he said--"I will build
another world. Therein, let there be kings and slaves, philosophers
and wits; whose checkered actions--strange, grotesque, and merry-sad,
will entertain my idle moods." So, my lord, Vavona played at kings and
crowns, and men and manners; and loved that lonely game to play.

ABRAZZA--Vavona seemed a solitary Mardian; who seldom went abroad;
had few friends; and shunning others, was shunned by them.

BABBALANJA--But shunned not himself, my lord; like gods, great poets
dwell alone; while round them, roll the worlds they build.

MEDIA--You seem to know all authors:--you must have heard of
Lombardo, Babbalanja; he who flourished many ages since.

BABBALANJA--I have; and his grand Kortanza know by heart.

MEDIA (_to Abrazza._)--A very curious work, that, my lord.

ABRAZZA--Yes, my dearest king. But, Babbalanja, if Lombardo had aught
to tell to Mardi--why choose a vehicle so crazy?

BABBALANJA--It was his nature, I suppose.

ABRAZZA--But so it would not have been, to me.

BABBALANJA--Nor would it have been natural, for my noble lord
Abrazza, to have worn Lombardo's head:--every man has his own, thank
Oro!

ABBRAZZA--A curious work: a very curious work. Babbalanja, are you
acquainted with the history of Lombardo?

BABBALANJA--None better. All his biographies have I read.

ABRAZZA--Then, tell us how he came to write that work. For one, I can
not imagine how those poor devils contrive to roll such thunders
through all Mardi.

MEDIA--Their thunder and lightning seem spontaneous combustibles, my
lord.

ABRAZZA--With which, they but consume themselves, my prince beloved.

BABBALANJA--In a measure, true, your Highness. But pray you, listen;
and I will try to tell the way in which Lombardo produced his great
Kortanza.

MEDIA--But hark you, philosopher! this time no incoherencies; gag
that devil, Azzageddi. And now, what was it that originally impelled
Lombardo to the undertaking?

BABBALANJA--Primus and forever, a full heart:--brimful, bubbling,
sparkling; and running over like the flagon in your hand, my lord.
Secundo, the necessity of bestirring himself to procure his yams.

ABRAZZA--Wanting the second motive, would the first have sufficed,
philosopher?

BABBALANJA--Doubtful. More conduits than one to drain off the soul's
overflowings. Besides, the greatest fullnesses overflow not
spontaneously; and, even when decanted, like rich syrups, slowly ooze;
whereas, poor fluids glibly flow, wide-spreading. Hence, when great
fullness weds great indolence;--that man, to others, too often proves
a cipher; though, to himself, his thoughts form an Infinite Series,
indefinite, from its vastness; and incommunicable;--not for lack of
power, but for lack of an omnipotent volition, to move his strength.
His own world is full before him; the fulcrum set; but lever there is
none. To such a man, the giving of any boor's resoluteness, with
tendons braided, would be as hanging a claymore to Valor's side,
before unarmed. Our minds are cunning, compound mechanisms; and one
spring, or wheel, or axle wanting, the movement lags, or halts.
Cerebrum must not overbalance cerebellum; our brains should be round
as globes; and planted on capacious chests, inhaling mighty morning-
inspirations. We have had vast developments of parts of men; but none
of manly wholes. Before a full-developed man, Mardi would fall down
and worship. We are idiot, younger-sons of gods, begotten in dotages
divine; and our mothers all miscarry. Giants are in our germs;
but we are dwarfs, staggering under heads overgrown. Heaped, our
measures burst. We die of too much life.

MEDIA (_to Abrazza_)--Be not impatient, my lord; he'll recover
presently. You were talking of Lombardo, Babbalanja.

BABBALANJA--I was, your Highness. Of all Mardians, by nature, he was
the most inert. Hast ever seen a yellow lion, all day basking in the
yellow sun:--in reveries, rending droves of elephants; but his vast
loins supine, and eyelids winking? Such, Lombardo; but fierce Want,
the hunter, came and roused his roar. In hairy billows, his great mane
tossed like the sea; his eyeballs flamed two hells; his paw had
stopped a rolling world.

ABRAZZA--In other words, yams were indispensable, and, poor devil, he
roared to get them.

BABBALANJA (_bowing_)--Partly so, my literal lord. And as with your
own golden scepter, at times upon your royal teeth, indolent tattoos
you beat; then, potent, sway it o'er your isle; so, Lombardo. And ere
Necessity plunged spur and rowel into him, he knew not his own paces.
_That_ churned him into consciousness; and brought ambition, ere then
dormant, seething to the top, till he trembled at himself. No mailed
hand lifted up against a traveler in woods, can so, appall, as we
ourselves. We are full of ghosts and spirits; we are as grave-yards
full of buried dead, that start to life before us. And all our dead
sires, verily, are in us; _that_ is their immortality. From sire to
son, we go on multiplying corpses in ourselves; for all of which, are
resurrections. Every thought's a soul of some past poet, hero, sage.
We are fuller than a city. Woe it is, that reveals these things. He
knows himself, and all that's in him, who knows adversity. To scale
great heights, we must come out of lowermost depths. The way to heaven
is through hell. We need fiery baptisms in the fiercest flames of our
own bosoms. We must feel our hearts hot--hissing in us. And ere
their fire is revealed, it must burn its way out of us; though it
consume us and itself. Oh, sleek-cheeked Plenty! smiling at thine own
dimples;--vain for thee to reach out after greatness. Turn! turn! from
all your tiers of cushions of eider-down--turn! and be broken on the
wheels of many woes. At white-heat, brand thyself; and count the
scars, like old war-worn veterans, over camp-fires. Soft poet!
brushing tears from lilies--this way! and howl in sackcloth and in
ashes! Know, thou, that the lines that live are turned out of a
furrowed brow. Oh! there is a fierce, a cannibal delight, in the grief
that shrieks to multiply itself. That grief is miserly of its own; it
pities all the happy. Some damned spirits would not be otherwise,
could they.

ABRAZZA (_to Media_)--Pray, my lord, is this good gentleman a devil?

MEDIA.--No, my lord; but he's possessed by one. His name is Azzageddi.
You may hear more of him. But come, Babbalanja, hast forgotten all
about Lombardo? How set he about that great undertaking, his Kortanza?

ABRAZZA (_to Media_)--Oh, for all the ravings of your Babbalanja,
Lombardo took no special pains; hence, deserves small commendation.
For, genius must be somewhat like us kings,--calm, content, in
consciousness of power. And to Lombardo, the scheme of his Kortanza
must have come full-fledged, like an eagle from the sun.

BABBALANJA--No, your Highness; but like eagles, his thoughts were
first callow; yet, born plumeless, they came to soar.

ABRAZZA--Very fine. I presume, Babbalanja, the first thing he did,
was to fast, and invoke the muses.

BABBALANJA--Pardon, my lord; on the contrary he first procured a ream
of vellum, and some sturdy quills: indispensable preliminaries, my
worshipful lords, to the writing of the sublimest epics.

ABRAZZA--Ah! then the muses were afterward invoked.

BABBALANJA--Pardon again. Lombardo next sat down to a fine plantain
pudding.

YOOMY--When the song-spell steals over me, I live upon olives.

BABBALANJA--Yoomy, Lombardo eschewed olives. Said he, "What fasting
soldier can fight? and the fight of all fights is to write." In ten
days Lombardo had written--

ABRAZZA--Dashed off, you mean.

BABBALANJA--He never dashed off aught.

ABRAZZA--As you will.

BABBALANJA--In ten days, Lombardo had written full fifty folios; he
loved huge acres of vellum whereon to expatiate.

MEDIA--What then?

BABBALANJA--He read them over attentively; made a neat package of the
whole: and put it into the fire.

ALL--How?

MEDIA--What! these great geniuses writing trash?

ABRAZZA--I thought as much.

BABBALANJA--My lords, they abound in it! more than any other men in
Mardi. Genius is full of trash. But genius essays its best to keep it
to itself; and giving away its ore, retains the earth; whence, the too
frequent wisdom of its works, and folly of its life.

ABRAZZA--Then genius is not inspired, after all. How they must slave
in their mines! I weep to think of it.

BABBALANJA--My lord, all men are inspired; fools are inspired; your
highness is inspired; for the essence of all ideas is infused. Of
ourselves, and in ourselves, we originate nothing. When Lombardo set
about his work, he knew not what it would become. He did not build
himself in with plans; he wrote right on; and so doing, got deeper and
deeper into himself; and like a resolute traveler, plunging through
baffling woods, at last was rewarded for his toils. "In good time,"
saith he, in his autobiography, "I came out into a serene, sunny,
ravishing region; full of sweet scents, singing birds, wild
plaints, roguish laughs, prophetic voices. "Here we are at last,
then," he cried; "I have created the creative." And now the whole
boundless landscape stretched away. Lombardo panted; the sweat was on
his brow; he off mantle; braced himself; sat within view of the ocean;
his face to a cool rushing breeze; placed flowers before him; and gave
himself plenty of room. On one side was his ream of vellum--

ABBRAZZA--And on the other, a brimmed beaker.

BABBALANJA--No, your Highness; though he loved it, no wine for
Lombardo while actually at work.

MOHI--Indeed? Why, I ever thought that it was to the superior quality
of Lombardo's punches, that Mardi was indebted for that abounding
humor of his.

BABBALANJA--Not so; he had another way of keeping himself well
braced.

YOOMY--Quick! tell us the secret.

BABBALANJA--He never wrote by rush-light. His lamp swung in heaven.--
He rose from his East, with the sun; he wrote when all nature was
alive.

MOHI--Doubtless, then, he always wrote with a grin; and none laughed
louder at his quips, than Lombardo himself.

BABBALANJA--Hear you laughter at the birth of a man child, old man?
The babe may have many dimples; not so, the parent. Lombardo was a
hermit to behold.

MEDIA--What! did Lombardo laugh with a long face?

BABBALANJA--His merriment was not always merriment to him, your
Highness. For the most part, his meaning kept him serious. Then he was
so intensely riveted to his work, he could not pause to laugh.

MOHI--My word for it; but he had a sly one, now and then.

BABBALANJA--For the nonce, he was not his own master: a mere
amanuensis writing by dictation.

YOOMY--Inspiration, that!

BABBALANJA.--Call it as you will, Yoomy, it was a sort of sleep-
walking of the mind. Lombardo never threw down his pen: it dropped
from him; and then, he sat disenchanted: rubbing his eyes; staring;
and feeling faint--sometimes, almost unto death.

MEDIA--But pray, Babbalanja, tell us how he made acquaintance with
some of those rare worthies, he introduces us to, in his Koztanza.

BABBALANJA--He first met them in his reveries; they were walking
about in him, sour and moody: and for a long time, were shy of his
advances; but still importuned, they at last grew ashamed of their
reserve; stepped forward; and gave him their hands. After that, they
were frank and friendly. Lombardo set places for them at his board;
when he died, he left them something in his will.

MEDIA--What! those imaginary beings?

ABRAZZA--Wondrous witty! infernal fine!

MEDIA--But, Babbalanja; after all, the Koztanza found no favor in the
eyes of some Mardians.

ABRAZZA--Ay: the arch-critics Verbi and Batho denounced it.

BABBALANJA--Yes: on good authority, Verbi is said to have detected a
superfluous comma; and Batho declared that, with the materials he
could have constructed a far better world than Lombardo's. But, didst
ever hear of his laying his axis?

ABRAZZA--But the unities; Babbalanja, the unities! they are wholly
wanting in the Koztanza.

BABBALANJA--Your Highness; upon that point, Lombardo was frank. Saith
he, in his autobiography: "For some time, I endeavored to keep in the
good graces of those nymphs; but I found them so captious, and
exacting; they threw me into such a violent passion with their fault-
findings; that, at last, I renounced them."

ABRAZZA--Very rash!

BABBALANJA--No, your Highness; for though Lombardo abandoned
all monitors from without; he retained one autocrat within--his
crowned and sceptered instinct. And what, if he pulled down one gross
world, and ransacked the etherial spheres, to build up something of
his own--a composite:--what then? matter and mind, though matching
not, are mates; and sundered oft, in his Koztanza they unite:--the
airy waist, embraced by stalwart arms.

MEDIA--Incoherent again! I thought we were to have no more of this!

BABBALANJA--My lord Media, there are things infinite in the finite;
and dualities in unities. Our eyes are pleased with the redness of the
rose, but another sense lives upon its fragrance. Its redness you must
approach, to view: its invisible fragrance pervades the field. So,
with the Koztanza. Its mere beauty is restricted to its form: its
expanding soul, past Mardi does embalm. Modak is Modako; but fogle-
foggle is not fugle-fi.

MEDIA (_to Abrazza_)--My lord, you start again; but 'tis only another
phase of Azzageeddi; sometimes he's quite mad. But all this you must
needs overlook.

ABRAZZA--I will, my dear prince; what one can not see through, one
must needs look over, as you say.

YOOMY--But trust me, your Highness, some of those strange things fall
far too melodiously upon the ear, to be wholly deficient in meaning.

ABRAZZA--Your gentle minstrel, _this_ must be, my lord. But
Babbalanja, the Koztanza lacks cohesion; it is wild, unconnected, all
episode.

BABBALANJA--And so is Mardi itself:--nothing but episodes; valleys
and hills; rivers, digressing from plains; vines, roving all over;
boulders and diamonds; flowers and thistles; forests and thickets;
and, here and there, fens and moors. And so, the world in the
Koztanza.

ABRAZZA--Ay, plenty of dead-desert chapters there; horrible sands to
wade through.

MEDIA--Now, Babbalanja, away with your tropes; and tell us of
the work, directly it was done. What did Lombardo then? Did he show it
to any one for an opinion?

BABBALANJA--Yes, to Zenzori; who asked him where he picked up so much
trash; to Hanto, who bade him not be cast down, it was pretty good; to
Lucree, who desired to know how much he was going to get for it; to
Roddi, who offered a suggestion.

MEDIA--And what was that?

BABBALANJA--That he had best make a faggot of the whole; and try
again.

ABRAZZA--Very encouraging.

MEDIA--Any one else?

BABBALANJA--To Pollo; who, conscious his opinion was sought, was
thereby puffed up; and marking the faltering of Lombardo's voice, when
the manuscript was handed him, straightway concluded, that the man who
stood thus trembling at the bar, must needs be inferior to the judge.
But his verdict was mild. After sitting up all night over the work;
and diligently taking notes:--"Lombardo, my friend! here, take your
sheets. I have run through them loosely. You might have done better;
but then you might have done worse. Take them, my friend; I have put
in some good things for you:"

MEDIA--And who was Pollo?

BABBALANJA--Probably some one who lived in Lombardo's time, and went
by that name. He is incidentally mentioned, and cursorily immortalized
in one of the posthumous notes to the Koztanza.

MEDIA--What is said of him there?

BABBALANJA--Not much. In a very old transcript of the work--that of
Aldina--the note alludes to a brave line in the text, and runs thus:--
"Diverting to tell, it was this passage that an old prosodist, one
Pollo, claimed for his own. He maintained he made a free-will offering
of it to Lombardo. Several things are yet extant of this Pollo, who
died some weeks ago. He seems to have been one of those, who
would do great things if they could; but are content to compass the
small. He imagined, that the precedence of authors he had established
in his library, was their Mardi order of merit. He condemned the
sublime poems of Vavona to his lowermost shelf. 'Ah,' thought he, 'how
we library princes, lord it over these beggarly authors!' Well read in
the history of their woes, Pollo pitied them all, particularly the
famous; and wrote little essays of his own, which he read to himself."

MEDIA--Well: and what said Lombardo to those good friends of his,--
Zenzori, Hanto, and Roddi?

BABBALANJA--Nothing. Taking home his manuscript, he glanced it over;
making three corrections.

ABRAZZA--And what then?

BABBALANJA--Then, your Highness, he thought to try a conclave of
professional critics; saying to himself, "Let them privately point out
to me, now, all my blemishes; so that, what time they come to review
me in public, all will be well." But curious to relate, those
professional critics, for the most part, held their peace, concerning
a work yet unpublished. And, with some generous exceptions, in their
vague, learned way, betrayed such base, beggarly notions of
authorship, that Lombardo could have wept, had tears been his. But in
his very grief, he ground his teeth. Muttered he, "They are fools. In
their eyes, bindings not brains make books. They criticise my tattered
cloak, not my soul, caparisoned like a charger. He is the great
author, think they, who drives the best bargain with his wares: and no
bargainer am I. Because he is old, they worship some mediocrity of an
ancient, and mock at the living prophet with the live coal on his
lips. They are men who would not be men, had they no books. Their
sires begat them not; but the authors they have read. Feelings they
have none: and their very opinions they borrow. They can not say yea,
nor nay, without first consulting all Mardi as an Encyclopedia. And
all the learning in them, is as a dead corpse in a coffin. Were
they worthy the dignity of being damned, I would damn them; but they
are not. Critics?--Asses! rather mules!--so emasculated, from vanity,
they can not father a true thought. Like mules, too, from dunghills,
they trample down gardens of roses: and deem that crushed fragrance
their own.--Oh! that all round the domains of genius should lie thus
unhedged, for such cattle to uproot! Oh! that an eagle should be
stabbed by a goose-quill! But at best, the greatest reviewers but prey
on my leavings. For I am critic and creator; and as critic, in cruelty
surpass all critics merely, as a tiger, jackals. For ere Mardi sees
aught of mine, I scrutinize it myself, remorseless as a surgeon. I cut
right and left; I probe, tear, and wrench; kill, burn, and destroy;
and what's left after that, the jackals are welcome to. It is I that
stab false thoughts, ere hatched; I that pull down wall and tower,
rejecting materials which would make palaces for others. Oh! could
Mardi but see how we work, it would marvel more at our primal chaos,
than at the round world thence emerging. It would marvel at our
scaffoldings, scaling heaven; marvel at the hills of earth, banked all
round our fabrics ere completed.--How plain the pyramid! In this grand
silence, so intense, pierced by that pointed mass,--could ten thousand
slaves have ever toiled? ten thousand hammers rung?--There it stands,
--part of Mardi: claiming kin with mountains;--was this thing piecemeal
built?--It was. Piecemeal?--atom by atom it was laid. The world is
made of mites."

YOOMY (_musing._)--It is even so.

ABRAZZA--Lombardo was severe upon the critics; and they as much so
upon him;--of that, be sure.

BABBALANGA--Your Highness, Lombardo never presumed to criticise true
critics; who are more rare than true poets. A great critic is a sultan
among satraps; but pretenders are thick as ants, striving to scale a
palm, after its aerial sweetness. And they fight among themselves.
Essaying to pluck eagles, they themselves are geese, stuck full
of quills, of which they rob each other.

ABRAZZA (_to Media._)--Oro help the victim that falls in Babbalanja's
hands!

MEDIA.--Ay, my lord; at times, his every finger is a dagger: every
thought a falling tower that whelms! But resume, philosopher--what of
Lombardo now?

BABBALANJA--"For this thing," said he, "I have agonized over it
enough.--I can wait no more. It has faults--all mine;--its merits all
its own;--but I can toil no longer. The beings knit to me implore; my
heart is full; my brain is sick. Let it go--let it go--and Oro with
it. Somewhere Mardi has a mighty heart---_that_ struck, all the isles
shall resound!"

ABRAZZA--Poor devil! he took the world too hard.

MEDIA.-As most of these mortals do, my lord. That's the load, self-
imposed, under which Babbalanja reels. But now, philosopher, ere Mardi
saw it, what thought Lombardo of his work, looking at it objectively,
as a thing out of him, I mean.

ABRAZZA--No doubt, he hugged it.

BABBALANJA--Hard to answer. Sometimes, when by himself, he thought
hugely of it, as my lord Abrazza says; but when abroad, among men, he
almost despised it; but when he bethought him of those parts, written
with full eyes, half blinded; temples throbbing; and pain at the
heart--

ABRAZZA--Pooh! pooh!

BABBALANJA--He would say to himself, "Sure, it can not be in vain!"
Yet again, when he bethought him of the hurry and bustle of Mardi,
dejection stole over him. "Who will heed it," thought he; "what care
these fops and brawlers for me? But am I not myself an egregious
coxcomb? Who will read me? Say one thousand pages--twenty-five lines
each--every line ten words--every word ten letters. That's two million
five hundred thousand _a_'s, and _i_'s, and _o_'s to read! How
many are superfluous? Am I not mad to saddle Mardi with such a task?
Of all men, am I the wisest, to stand upon a pedestal, and teach the
mob? Ah, my own Kortanza! child of many prayers!--in whose earnest
eyes, so fathomless, I see my own; and recall all past delights and
silent agonies-thou may'st prove, as the child of some fond dotard:--
beauteous to me; hideous to Mardi! And methinks, that while so much
slaving merits that thou should'st not die; it has not been intense,
prolonged enough, for the high meed of immortality. Yet, things
immortal have been written; and by men as me;--men, who slept and
waked; and ate; and talked with tongues like mine. Ah, Oro! how may we
know or not, we are what we would be? Hath genius any stamp and
imprint, obvious to possessors? Has it eyes to see itself; or is it
blind? Or do we delude ourselves with being gods, and end in grubs?
Genius, genius?--a thousand years hence, to be a household-word?--I?--
Lombardo? but yesterday cut in the market-place by a spangled fool!--
Lombardo immortal?--Ha, ha, Lombardo! but thou art an ass, with vast
ears brushing the tops of palms! Ha, ha, ha! Methinks I see thee
immortal! 'Thus great Lombardo saith; and thus; and thus; and thus:--
thus saith he--illustrious Lombardo!--Lombardo, our great countryman!
Lombardo, prince of poets--Lombardo! great Lombardo!'--Ha, ha, ha!--
go, go! dig thy grave, and bury thyself!"

ABRAZZA--He was very funny, then, at times.

BABBALANJA--Very funny, your Highness:--amazing jolly! And from my
nethermost soul, would to Oro, thou could'st but feel one touch of
that jolly woe! It would appall thee, my Right Worshipful lord
Abrazza!

ABRAZZA (_to Media_)--My dear lord, his teeth are marvelously white
and sharp: some she-shark must have been his dam:--does he often grin
thus? It was infernal!

MEDIA--Ah! that's Azzageddi. But, prithee, Babbalanja, proceed.

BABBALANJA--Your Highness, even in his calmer critic moods, Lombardo
was far from fancying his work. He confesses, that it ever seemed to
him but a poor scrawled copy of something within, which, do what he
would, he could not completely transfer. "My canvas was small," said
he; "crowded out were hosts of things that came last. But Fate is in
it." And Fate it was, too, your Highness, which forced Lombardo, ere
his work was well done, to take it off his easel, and send it to be
multiplied. "Oh, that I was not thus spurred!" cried he; "but like
many another, in its very childhood, this poor child of mine must go
out into Mardi, and get bread for its sire."

ABRAZZA (_with a sigh_)--Alas, the poor devil! But methinks 'twas
wondrous arrogant in him to talk to all Mardi at that lofty rate.--Did
he think himself a god?

BABBALANJA--He himself best knew what he thought; but, like all
others, he was created by Oro to some special end; doubtless, partly
answered in his Koztanza.

MEDIA--And now that Lombardo is long dead and gone--and his work,
hooted during life, lives after him--what think the present company of
it? Speak, my lord Abrazza! Babbalanja! Mohi! Yoomy!

ABRAZZA (_tapping his sandal with his scepter__)--I never read it.

BABBALANJA (_looking upward_)--It was written with a divine intent.

Mohi (_stroking his beard_)--I never hugged it in a corner, and
ignored it before Mardi.

Yoomy (_musing_)--It has bettered my heart.

MEDIA (_rising_)--And I have read it through nine times.

BABBALANJA (_starting up_)--Ah, Lombardo! this must make thy ghost
glad!



CHAPTER LXXVII
They Sup


There seemed something sinister, hollow, heartless, about Abrazza, and
that green-and-yellow, evil-starred crown that he wore.

But why think of that? Though we like not something in the curve of
one's brow, or distrust the tone of his voice; yet, let us away with
suspicions if we may, and make a jolly comrade of him, in the name of
the gods. Miserable! thrice miserable he, who is forever turning over
and over one's character in his mind, and weighing by nice
avoirdupois, the pros and the cons of his goodness and badness. For we
are all good and bad. Give me the heart that's huge as all Asia; and
unless a man, be a villain outright, account him one of the best
tempered blades in the world.

That night, in his right regal hall, King Abrazza received us. And in
merry good time a fine supper was spread.

Now, in thus nocturnally regaling us, our host was warranted by many
ancient and illustrious examples.

For old Jove gave suppers; the god Woden gave suppers; the Hindoo
deity Brahma gave suppers; the Red Man's Great Spirit gave suppers:--
chiefly venison and game.

And many distinguished mortals besides.

Ahasuerus gave suppers; Xerxes gave suppers; Montezuma gave suppers;
Powhattan gave suppers; the Jews' Passovers were suppers; the Pharaohs
gave suppers; Julius Caesar gave suppers:--and rare ones they were;
Great Pompey gave suppers; Nabob Crassus gave suppers; and
Heliogabalus, surnamed the Gobbler, gave suppers.

It was a common saying of old, that King Pluto gave suppers; some say
he is giving them still. If so, he is keeping tip-top company, old
Pluto:--Emperors and Czars; Great Moguls and Great Khans; Grand Lamas
and Grand Dukes; Prince Regents and Queen Dowagers:--Tamerlane hob-a-
nobbing with Bonaparte; Antiochus with Solyman the Magnificent;
Pisistratus pledging Pilate; Semiramis eating bon-bons with Bloody
Mary, and her namesake of Medicis; the Thirty Tyrants quaffing three
to one with the Council of Ten; and Sultans, Satraps, Viziers,
Hetmans, Soldans, Landgraves, Bashaws, Doges, Dauphins, Infantas,
Incas, and Caciques looking on.

Again: at Arbela, the conqueror of conquerors, conquering son of
Olympia by Jupiter himself, sent out cards to his captains,--
Hephestion, Antigonus, Antipater, and the rest--to join him at ten,
p.m., in the Temple of Belus; there, to sit down to a victorious
supper, off the gold plate of the Assyrian High Priests. How
majestically he poured out his old Madeira that night!--feeling grand
and lofty as the Himmalehs; yea, all Babylon nodded her towers in his
soul!

Spread, heaped up, stacked with good things; and redolent of citrons
and grapes, hilling round tall vases of wine; and here and there,
waving with fresh orange-boughs, among whose leaves, myriads of small
tapers gleamed like fire-flies in groves,--Abrazza's glorious board
showed like some banquet in Paradise: Ceres and Pomona presiding; and
jolly Bacchus, like a recruit with a mettlesome rifle, staggering back
as he fires off the bottles of vivacious champagne.

In ranges, roundabout stood living candelabras:--lackeys, gayly
bedecked, with tall torches in their hands; and at one end, stood
trumpeters, bugles at their lips.

"This way, my dear Media!--this seat at my left--Noble Taji!--my
right. Babbalanja!--Mohi--where you are. But where's pretty Yoomy?--
Gone to meditate in the moonlight? ah!--Very good. Let the
banquet begin. A blast there!"

And charge all did.

The venison, wild boar's meat, and buffalo-humps, were extraordinary;
the wine, of rare vintages, like bottled lightning; and the first
course, a brilliant affair, went off like a rocket.

But as yet, Babbalanja joined not in the revels. His mood was on him;
and apart he sat; silently eyeing the banquet; and ever and anon
muttering,--"Fogle-foggle, fugle-fi.--"

The first fury of the feast over, said King Media, pouring out from a
heavy flagon into his goblet, "Abrazza, these suppers are wondrous
fine things."

"Ay, my dear lord, much better than dinners."

"So they are, so they are. The dinner-hour is the summer of the day:
full of sunshine, I grant; but not like the mellow autumn of supper. A
dinner, you know, may go off rather stiffly; but invariably suppers
are jovial. At dinners, 'tis not till you take in sail, furl the
cloth, bow the lady-passengers out, and make all snug; 'tis not till
then, that one begins to ride out the gale with complacency. But at
these suppers--Good Oro! your cup is empty, my dear demi-god!--But at
these suppers, I say, all is snug and ship-shape before you begin; and
when you begin, you waive the beginning, and begin in the middle. And
as for the cloth,--but tell us, Braid-Beard, what that old king of
Franko, Ludwig the Fat, said of that matter. The cloth for suppers,
you know. It's down in your chronicles."

"My lord,"--wiping his beard,--"Old Ludwig was of opinion, that at
suppers the cloth was superfluous, unless on the back of some jolly
good friar. Said he, 'For one, I prefer sitting right down to the
unrobed table.'"

"High and royal authority, that of Ludwig the Fat," said Babbalanja,
"far higher than the authority of Ludwig the Great:--the one, only
great by courtesy; the other, fat beyond a peradventure. But
they are equally famous; and in their graves, both on a par. For after
devouring many a fair province, and grinding the poor of his realm,
Ludwig the Great has long since, himself, been devoured by very small
worms, and ground into very fine dust. And after stripping many a
venison rib, Ludwig the Fat has had his own polished and bleached in
the Valley of Death; yea, and his cranium chased with corrodings, like
the carved flagon once held to its jaws."

"My lord! my lord!"--cried Abrazza to Media--"this ghastly devil of
yours grins worse than a skull. I feel the worms crawling over me!--By
Oro we must eject him!"

"No, no, my lord. Let him sit there, as of old the Death's-head graced
the feasts of the Pharaohs--let him sit--let him sit--for Death but
imparts a flavor to Life--Go on: wag your tongue without fear,
Azzageddi!--But come, Braid-Beard! let's hear more of the Ludwigs."

"Well, then, your Highness, of all the eighteen royal Ludwigs of
Franko--"

"Who like so many ten-pins, all in a row," interposed Babbalanja--
"have been bowled off the course by grim Death."

"Heed him not," said Media--"go on."

"The Debonnaire, the Pious, the Stammerer, the Do-Nothing, the
Juvenile, the Quarreler:--of all these, I say, Ludwig the Fat was the
best table-man of them all. Such a full orbed paunch was his, that no
way could he devise of getting to his suppers, but by getting right
into them. Like the Zodiac his table was circular, and full in the
middle he sat, like a sun;--all his jolly stews and ragouts revolving
around him."

"Yea," said Babbalanja, "a very round sun was Ludwig the Fat. No
wonder he's down in the chronicles; several ells about the waist, and
King of cups and Tokay. Truly, a famous king: three hundred-weight of
lard, with a diadem on top: lean brains and a fat doublet--a
demijohn of a demi-god!"

"Is this to be longer borne?" cried Abrazza, starting up. "Quaff that
sneer down, devil! on the instant! down with it, to the dregs! This
comes, my lord Media, of having a slow drinker at one's board. Like an
iceberg, such a fellow frosts the whole atmosphere of a banquet, and
is felt a league off We must thrust him out. Guards!"

"Back! touch him not, hounds!"--cried Media. "Your pardon, my lord,
but we'll keep him to it; and melt him down in this good wine. Drink!
I command it, drink, Babbalanja!"

"And am I not drinking, my lord? Surely you would not that I should
imbibe more than I can hold. The measure being full, all poured in
after that is but wasted. I am for being temperate in these things, my
good lord. And my one cup outlasts three of yours. Better to sip a
pint, than pour down a quart. All things in moderation are good;
whence, wine in moderation is good. But all things in excess are bad:
whence wine in excess is bad."

"Away with your logic and conic sections! Drink!--But no, no: I am too
severe. For of all meals a supper should be the most social and free.
And going thereto we kings, my lord, should lay aside our scepters.--
Do as you please Babbalanja."

"You are right, you are right, after all, my dear demi-god," said
Abrazza. "And to say truth, I seldom worry myself with the ways of
these mortals; for no thanks do we demi-gods get. We kings should be
ever indifferent. Nothing like a cold heart; warm ones are ever
chafing, and getting into trouble. I let my mortals here in this isle
take heed to themselves; only barring them out when they would thrust
in their petitions. This very instant, my lord, my yeoman-guard is on
duty without, to drive off intruders.--Hark!--what noise is that?--Ho,
who comes?"

At that instant, there burst into the hall, a crowd of
spearmen, driven before a pale, ragged rout, that loudly
invoked King Abrazza.

"Pardon, my lord king, for thus forcing an entrance! But long in vain
have we knocked at thy gates! Our grievances are more than we can
bear! Give ear to our spokesman, we beseech!"

And from their tumultuous midst, they pushed forward a tall, grim,
pine-tree of a fellow, who loomed up out of the throng, like the Peak
of Teneriffe among the Canaries in a storm.

"Drive the knaves out! Ho, cowards, guards, turn about! charge upon
them! Away with your grievances! Drive them out, I say, drive them
out!--High times, truly, my lord Media, when demi-gods are thus
annoyed at their wine. Oh, who would reign over mortals!"

So at last, with much difficulty, the ragged rout were ejected; the
Peak of Teneriffe going last, a pent storm on his brow; and muttering
about some black time that was corning.

While the hoarse murmurs without still echoed through the hall, King
Abrazza refilling his cup thus spoke:--"You were saying, my dear lord,
that of all meals a supper is the most social and free. Very true. And
of all suppers those given by us bachelor demi-gods are the best. Are
they not?"

"They are. For Benedict mortals must be home betimes: bachelor demi-
gods are never away."

"Ay, your Highnesses, bachelors are all the year round at home;" said
Mohi: "sitting out life in the chimney corner, cozy and warm as the
dog, whilome turning the old-fashioned roasting jack."

"And to us bachelor demi-gods," cried Media "our to-morrows are as
long rows of fine punches, ranged on a board, and waiting the hand."

"But my good lords," said Babbalanja, now brightening with wine; "if,
of all suppers those given by bachelors be the best:--of all
bachelors, are not your priests and monks the jolliest? I mean, behind
the scenes? Their prayers all said, and their futurities securely
invested,--who so carefree and cozy as they? Yea, a supper for two in
a friar's cell in Maramma, is merrier far, than a dinner for five-and-
twenty, in the broad right wing of Donjalolo's great Palace of the Morn."

"Bravo, Babbalanja!" cried Media, "your iceberg is thawing. More of
that, more of that. Did I not say, we would melt him down at last, my
lord?"

"Ay," continued Babbalanja, "bachelors are a noble fraternity: I'm a
bachelor myself. One of ye, in that matter, my lord demi-gods. And if
unlike the patriarchs of the world, we father not our brigades and
battalions; and send not out into the battles of our country whole
regiments of our own individual raising;--yet do we oftentimes leave
behind us goodly houses and lands; rare old brandies and mountain
Malagas; and more especially, warm doublets and togas, and
spatterdashes, wherewithal to keep comfortable those who survive us;--
casing the legs and arms, which others beget. Then compare not
invidiously Benedicts with bachelors, since thus we make an equal
division of the duties, which both owe to posterity."

"Suppers forever!" cried Media. "See, my lord, what yours has done for
Babbalanja. He came to it a skeleton; but will go away, every bone
padded!"

"Ay, my lord demi-gods," said Babbalanja, drop by drop refilling his
goblet.  "These suppers are all very fine, very pleasant, and merry.
But we pay for them roundly. Every thing, my good lords, has its
price, from a marble to a world. And easier of digestion, and better
for both body and soul, are a half-haunch of venison and a gallon of
mead, taken under the sun at meridian, than the soft bridal breast of
a partridge, with some gentle negus, at the noon of night!"

"No lie that!" said Mohi. "Beshrew me, in no well-appointed
mansion doth the pantry lie adjoining the sleeping chamber. A good
thought: I'll fill up, and ponder on it."

"Let not Azzageddi get uppermost again, Babbalanja," cried Media.
"Your goblet is only half-full."

"Permit it to remain so; my lord. For whoso takes much wine to bed
with him, has a bedfellow, more restless than a somnambulist. And
though Wine be a jolly blade at the board, a sulky knave is he under a
blanket. I know him of old. Yet, your Highness, for all this, to many
a Mardian, suppers are still better than dinners, at whatever cost
purchased Forasmuch, as many have more leisure to sup, than dine. And
though you demi-gods, may dine at your ease; and dine it out into
night: and sit and chirp over your Burgundy, till the morning larks
join your crickets, and wed matins to vespers;--far otherwise, with us
plebeian mortals. From our dinners, we must hie to our anvils: and the
last jolly jorum evaporates in a cark and a care."

"Methinks he relapses," said Abrazza.

"It waxes late," said Mohi; "your Highnesses, is it not time to break
up?"

"No, no!", cried Abrazza; "let the day break when it will: but no
breakings for us. It's only midnight. This way with the wine; pass it
along, my dear Media. We are young yet, my sweet lord; light hearts
and heavy purses; short prayers and long rent-rolls. Pass round the
Tokay! We demi-gods have all our old age for a dormitory. Come!--Round
and round with the flagons! Let them disappear like mile-stones on a
race-course!"

"Ah!" murmured Babbalanja, holding his full goblet at arm's length on
the board, "not thus with the hapless wight, born with a hamper on his
back, and blisters in his palms.--Toil and sleep--sleep and toil, are
his days and his nights; he goes to bed with a lumbago, and wakes with
the rheumatics;--I know what it is;--he snatches lunches, not dinners,
and makes of all life a cold snack! Yet praise be to Oro,
though to such men dinners are scarce worth the eating; nevertheless,
praise Oro again, a good supper is something. Off jack-boots; nay, off
shirt, if you will, and go at it. Hurrah! the fagged day is done: the
last blow is an echo. Twelve long hours to sunrise! And would it were
an Antarctic night, and six months to to-morrow! But, hurrah! the very
bees have their hive, and after a day's weary wandering, hie home to
their honey. So they stretch out their stiff legs, rub their lame
elbows, and putting their tired right arms in a sling, set the others
to fetching and carrying from dishes to dentals, from foaming flagon
to the demijohn which never pours out at the end you pour in. Ah!
after all, the poorest devil in Mardi lives not in vain. There's a
soft side to the hardest oak-plank in the world!"

"Methinks I have heard some such sentimental gabble as this before
from my slaves, my lord," said Abrazza to Media. "It has the old
gibberish flavor."

"Gibberish, your Highness? Gibberish? I'm full of it--I'm a gibbering
ghost, my right worshipful lord! Here, pass your hand through me--
here, _here_, and scorch it where I most burn. By Oro! King! but I
will gibe and gibber at thee, till thy crown feels like another skull
clapped on thy own. Gibberish? ay, in hell we'll gibber in concert,
king! we'll howl, and roast, and hiss together!"

"Devil that thou art, begone! Ho, guards! seize him!"

"Back, curs!" cried Media. "Harm not a hair of his head. I crave
pardon, King Abrazza, but no violence must be done Babbalanja."

"Trumpets there!" said Abrazza; "so: the banquet is done--lights for
King Media! Good-night, my lord!"

Now, thus, for the nonce, with good cheer, we close. And after many
fine dinners and banquets--through light and through shade; through
mirth, sorrow, and all--drawing nigh to the evening end of these
wanderings wild--meet is it that all should be regaled with a supper.



CHAPTER LXXVIII
They Embark


Next morning, King Abrazza sent frigid word to Media that the day was
very fine for yachting; but he much regretted that indisposition would
prevent his making one of the party, who that morning doubtless would
depart his isle.

"My compliments to your king," said Media to the chamberlains, "and
say the royal notice to quit was duly received."

"Take Azzageddi's also," said Babbalanja; "and say, I hope his
Highness will not fail in his appointment with me:--the first midnight
after he dies; at the grave-yard corner;--there I'll be, and grin again!"

Sailing on, the next land we saw was thickly wooded: hedged round
about by mangrove trees; which growing in the water, yet lifted high
their boughs. Here and there were shady nooks, half verdure and half
water. Fishes rippled, and canaries sung.

"Let us break through, my lord," said Yoomy, "and seek the shore. Its
solitudes must prove reviving." "Solitudes they are," cried Mohi.

"Peopled but not enlivened," said Babbalanja. "Hard landing here,
minstrel! see you not the isle is hedged?"

"Why, break through, then," said Media. "Yillah is not here."

"I mistrusted it," sighed Yoomy; "an imprisoned island! full of
uncomplaining woes: like many others we must have glided by,
unheedingly. Yet of them have I heard. This isle many pass, marking
its outward brightness, but dreaming not of the sad secrets
here embowered. Haunt of the hopeless! In those inland woods brood
Mardians who have tasted Mardi, and found it bitter--the draught so
sweet to others!--maidens whose unimparted bloom has cankered in the
bud; and children, with eyes averted from life's dawn--like those new-
oped morning blossoms which, foreseeing storms, turn and close."

"Yoomy's rendering of the truth," said Mohi.

"Why land, then?" said Media. "No merry man of sense--no demi-god like
me, will do it. Let's away; let's see all that's pleasant, or that
seems so, in our circuit, and, if possible, shun the sad."

"Then we have circled not the round reef wholly," said Babbalanja,
"but made of it a segment. For this is far from being the first sad
land, my lord, that we have slighted at your instance."

"No more. I will have no gloom. A chorus! there, ye paddlers! spread
all your sails; ply paddles; breeze up, merry winds!"

And so, in the saffron sunset, we neared another shore.

A gloomy-looking land! black, beetling crags, rent by volcanic clefts;
ploughed up with water-courses, and dusky with charred woods. The
beach was strewn with scoria and cinders; in dolorous soughs, a chill
wind blew; wails issued from the caves; and yellow, spooming surges,
lashed the moaning strand.

"Shall we land?" said Babbalanja.

"Not here," cried Yoomy; "no Yillah here."

"No," said Media. "This is another of those lands far better to
avoid."

"Know ye not," said Mohi, "that here are the mines of King Klanko,
whose scourged slaves, toiling in their pits, so nigh approach the
volcano's bowels, they hear its rumblings? 'Yet they must work on,'
cries Klanko, 'the mines still yield!' And daily his slaves' bones are
brought above ground, mixed with the metal masses."

"Set all sail there, men! away!"

"My lord," said Babbalanja; "still must we shim the unmitigated evil;
and only view the good; or evil so mixed therewith, the mixture's
both?"

Half vailed in misty clouds, the harvest-moon now rose; and in that
pale and haggard light, all sat silent; each man in his own secret
mood: best knowing his own thoughts.



CHAPTER LXXIX
Babbalanja At The Full Of The Moon


"Ho, mortals! Go we to a funeral, that our paddles seem thus muffled?
Up heart, Taji! or does that witch Hautia haunt thee? Be a demi-god
once more, and laugh. Her flowers are not barbs; and the avengers'
arrows are too blunt to slay. Babbalanja! Mohi! Yoomy! up heart! up
heart!--By Oro! I will debark the whole company on the next land we
meet. No tears for me. Ha, ha! let us laugh. Ho, Vee-Vee! awake;
quick, boy,--some wine! and let us make glad, beneath the glad moon.
Look! it is stealing forth from its clouds. Perdition to Hautia! Long
lives, and merry ones to ourselves! Taji, my charming fellow, here's
to you:--May your heart be a stone! Ha, ha!--will nobody join me? My
laugh is lonely as his who laughed in his tomb. Come, laugh; will no
one quaff wine, I say? See! the round moon is abroad."

"Say you so, my lord? then for one, I am with you;" cried Babbalanja.
"Fill me a brimmer. Ah! but this wine leaps through me like a panther.
Ay, let us laugh: let us roar: let us yell! What, if I was sad but
just now? Life is an April day, that both laughs and weeps in a
breath. But whoso is wise, laughs when he can. Men fly from a groan;
but run to a laugh. Vee-Vee! your gourd. My lord, let me help you. Ah,
how it sparkles! Cups, cups, Vee-Vee, more cups! Here, Taji, take
that: Mohi, take that: Yoomy, take that. And now let us drown away
grief. Ha! ha! the house of mourning, is deserted, though of old good
cheer kept the funeral guests; and so keep I mine; here I sit
by my dead, and replenish your wine cups. Old Mohi, your cup: Yoomy,
yours: ha! ha! let us laugh, let us scream! Weeds are put off at a
fair; no heart bursts but in secret; it is good to laugh, though the
laugh be hollow; and wise to make merry, now and for aye. Laugh, and
make friends: weep, and they go. Women sob, and are rid of their
grief: men laugh, and retain it. There is laughter in heaven, and
laughter in hell. And a deep thought whose language is laughter.
Though wisdom be wedded to woe, though the way thereto is by tears,
yet all ends in a shout. But wisdom wears no weeds; woe is more merry
than mirth; 'tis a shallow grief that is sad. Ha! ha! how demoniacs
shout; how all skeletons grin; we all die with a rattle. Laugh! laugh!
Are the cherubim grave? Humor, thy laugh is divine; whence, mirth-
making idiots have been revered; and therefore may I. Ho! let us be
gay, if it be only for an hour, and Death hand us the goblet. Vee-Vee!
bring on your gourds! Let us pledge each other in bumpers!--let us
laugh, laugh, laugh it out to the last. All sages have laughed,--let
us; Bardianna laughed, let us; Demorkriti laughed,--let us: Amoree
laughed,--let us; Rabeelee roared,--let us; the hyenas grin, the
jackals yell,--let us.--But you don't laugh, my lord? laugh away!"

"No, thank you, Azzageddi, not after that infernal fashion; better
weep."

"He makes me crawl all over, as if I were an ant-hill," said Mohi.

"He's mad, mad, mad!" cried Yoomy.

"Ay, mad, mad, mad!--mad as the mad fiend that rides me!--But come,
sweet minstrel, wilt list to a song?--We madmen are all poets, you
know:--Ha! ha!--

    Stars laugh in the sky:
      Oh fugle-fi I
    The waves dimple below:
      Oh fugle-fo!

"The wind strikes her dulcimers; the groves give a shout; the
hurricane is only an hysterical laugh; and the lightning that blasts,
blasts only in play. We must laugh or we die; to laugh is to live. Not
to laugh is to have the tetanus. Will you weep? then laugh while you
weep. For mirth and sorrow are kin; are published by identical nerves.
Go, Yoomy: go study anatomy: there is much to be learned from the
dead, more than you may learn from the living and I am dead though I
live; and as soon dissect myself as another; I curiously look into my
secrets: and grope under my ribs. I have found that the heart is not
whole, but divided; that it seeks a soft cushion whereon to repose;
that it vitalizes the blood; which else were weaker than water: I have
found that we can not live without hearts; though the heartless live
longest. Yet hug your hearts, ye handful that have them; 'tis a
blessed inheritance! Thus, thus, my lord, I run on; from one pole to
the other; from this thing to that. But so the great world goes round,
and in one Somerset, shows the sun twenty-five thousand miles of a
landscape!"

At that instant, down went the fiery full-moon, and the Dog-Star; and
far down into Media, a Tivoli of wine.



CHAPTER LXXX
Morning


Life or death, weal or woe, the sun stays not his course. On: over
battle-field and bower; over tower, and town, he speeds,--peers in at
births, and death-beds; lights up cathedral, mosque, and pagan
shrine;--laughing over all;--a very Democritus in the sky; and in one
brief day sees more than any pilgrim in a century's round.

So, the sun; nearer heaven than we:--with what mind, then, may blessed
Oro downward look.

It was a purple, red, and yellow East;--streaked, and crossed. And
down from breezy mountains, robust and ruddy Morning came,--a plaided
Highlander, waving his plumed bonnet to the isles.

Over the neighboring groves the larks soared high; and soaring, sang
in jubilees; while across our bows, between two isles, a mighty moose
swam stately as a seventy-four; and backward tossed his antlered
wilderness in air.

Just bounding from fresh morning groves, with the brine he mixed the
dew of leaves,--his antlers dripping on the swell, that rippled before
his brown and bow-like chest.

"Five hundred thousand centuries since," said Babbalanja, "this same
sight was seen. With Oro, the sun is co-eternal; and the same life
that moves that moose, animates alike the sun and Oro. All are parts
of One. In me, in _me_, flit thoughts participated by the beings
peopling all the stars. Saturn, and Mercury, and Mardi, are brothers,
one and all; and across their orbits, to each other talk, like souls.
Of these things what chapters might be writ! Oh! that flesh can not
keep pace with spirit. Oh! that these myriad germ-dramas in me,
should so perish hourly, for lack of power mechanic.--Worlds pass
worlds in space, as men, men,--in thoroughfares; and after periods of
thousand years, cry:--"Well met, my friend, again!"--To me to _me_,
they talk in mystic music; I hear them think through all their zones.
--Hail, furthest worlds! and all the beauteous beings in ye! Fan me,
sweet Zenora! with thy twilight wings!--Ho! let's voyage to
Aldebaran.--Ha! indeed, a ruddy world! What a buoyant air! Not like to
Mardi, this. Ruby columns: minarets of amethyst: diamond domes! Who is
this?--a god? What a lake-like brow! transparent as the morning air. I
see his thoughts like worlds revolving--and in his eyes--like unto
heavens--soft falling stars are shooting.--How these thousand passing
wings winnow away my breath:--I faint:--back, back to some small
asteroid.--Sweet being! if, by Mardian word I may address thee--
speak!--'I bear a soul in germ within me; I feel the first, faint
trembling, like to a harp-string, vibrate in my inmost being. Kill me,
and generations die.'--So, of old, the unbegotten lived within the
virgin; who then loved her God, as new-made mothers their babes ere
born. Oh, Alma, Alma, Alma!--Fangs off, fiend!--will that name ever
lash thee into foam?--Smite not my face so, forked flames!"

"Babbalanja! Babbalanja! rouse, man! rouse! Art in hell and damned,
that thy sinews so snake-like coil and twist all over thee? Thy brow
is black as Ops! Turn, turn! see yonder moose!"

"Hail! mighty brute!--thou feelest not these things: never canst
_thou_ be damned. Moose! would thy soul were mine; for if that
scorched thing, mine, be immortal--so thine; and thy life hath not the
consciousness of death. I read profound placidity--deep--million--
violet fathoms down, in that soft, pathetic, woman eye! What is man's
shrunk form to thine, thou woodland majesty?--Moose, moose!--my soul
is shot again--Oh, Oro! Oro!"

"He falls!" cried Media.

"Mark the agony in his waning eye," said Yoomy;--"alas, poor
Babbalanja! Is this thing of madness conscious to thyself? If ever
thou art sane again, wilt thou have reminiscences? Take my robe:--
here, I strip me to cover thee and all thy woes. Oro! by this, thy
being's side, I kneel:--grant death or happiness to Babbalanja!"



CHAPTER LXXXI
L'ultima Sera


Thus far, through myriad islands, had we searched: of all, no one pen
may write: least, mine;--and still no trace of Yillah.

But though my hopes revived not from their ashes; yet, so much of
Mardi had we searched, it seemed as if the long pursuit must, ere many
moons, be ended; whether for weal or woe, my frenzy sometimes reeked not.

After its first fair morning flushings, all that day was overcast. We
sailed upon an angry sea, beneath an angry sky. Deep scowled on deep;
and in dun vapors, the blinded sun went down, unseen; though full
toward the West our three prows were pointed; steadfast as three
printed points upon the compass-card.

"When we set sail from Odo, 'twas a glorious morn in spring," said
Yoomy; "toward the rising sun we steered. But now, beneath autumnal
night-clouds, we hasten to its setting."

"How now?" cried Media; "why is the minstrel mournful?--He whose place
it is to chase away despondency: not be its minister."

"Ah, my lord, so _thou_ thinkest. But better can my verses soothe the
sad, than make them light of heart. Nor are we minstrels so gay of
soul as Mardi deems us. The brook that sings the sweetest, murmurs
through the loneliest woods:

    The isles hold thee not, thou departed!
      From thy bower, now issues no lay:--
    In vain we recall perished warblings:
      Spring birds, to far climes, wing their way!"

As Yoomy thus sang; unmindful of the lay, with paddle plying, in low,
pleasant tones, thus hummed to himself our bowsman, a gamesome wight:--

    Ho! merrily ho! we paddlers sail!
    Ho! over sea-dingle, and dale!--
        Our pulses fly,
        Our hearts beat high,
    Ho! merrily, merrily, ho!

But a sudden splash, and a shrill, gurgling sound, like that of a
fountain subsiding, now broke upon the air. Then all was still, save
the rush of the waves by our keels.

"Save him! Put back!"

From his elevated seat, the merry bowsman, too gleefully reaching
forward, had fallen into the lagoon.

With all haste, our speeding canoes were reversed; but not till we had
darted in upon another darkness than that in which the bowsman fell.

As, blindly, we groped back, deep Night dived deeper down in the sea.

"Drop paddles all, and list."

Holding their breath, over the six gunwales all now leaned; but the
only moans were the wind's.

Long time we lay thus; then slowly crossed and recrossed our track,
almost hopeless; but yet loth to leave him who, with a song in his
mouth, died and was buried in a breath.

"Let us away," said Media--"why seek more? He is gone."

"Ay, gone," said Babbalanja, "and whither? But a moment since, he was
among us: now, the fixed stars are not more remote than he. So far
off, can he live? Oh, Oro! this death thou ordainest, unmans the
manliest. Say not nay, my lord. Let us not speak behind Death's back.
Hard and horrible is it to die: blindfold to leap from life's verge!
But thus, in clouds of dust, and with a trampling as of hoofs, the
generations disappear; death driving them all into his treacherous
fold, as wild Indians the bison herds. Nay, nay, Death is
Life's last despair. Hard and horrible is it to die. Oro himself, in
Alma, died not without a groan. Yet why, why live? Life is wearisome
to all: the same dull round. Day and night, summer and winter, round
about us revolving for aye. One moment lived, is a life. No new stars
appear in the sky; no new lights in the soul. Yet, of changes there
are many. For though, with rapt sight, in childhood, we behold many
strange things beneath the moon, and all Mardi looks a tented fair--
how soon every thing fades. All of us, in our very bodies, outlive our
own selves. I think of green youth as of a merry playmate departed;
and to shake hands, and be pleasant with my old age, seems in prospect
even harder, than to draw a cold stranger to my bosom. But old age is
not for me. I am not of the stuff that grows old. This Mardi is not
our home. Up and down we wander, like exiles transported to a planet
afar:--'tis not the world _we_ were born in; not the world once so
lightsome and gay; not the world where we once merrily danced, dined,
and supped; and wooed, and wedded our long-buried wives. Then let us
depart. But whither? We push ourselves forward then, start back in
affright. Essay it again, and flee. Hard to live; hard to die;
intolerable suspense! But the grim despot at last interposes; and with
a viper in our winding-sheets, we are dropped in the sea."

"To me," said Mohi, his gray locks damp with night-dews, "death's dark
defile at times seems at hand, with no voice to cheer. That all have
died, makes it not easier for me to depart. And that many have been
quenched in infancy seems a mercy to the slow perishing of my old age,
limb by limb and sense by sense. I have long been the tomb of my
youth. And more has died out of me, already, than remains for the last
death to finish. Babbalanja says truth. In childhood, death stirred me
not; in middle age, it pursued me like a prowling bandit on the road;
now, grown an old man, it boldly leads the way; and ushers me
on; and turns round upon me its skeleton gaze: poisoning the
last solaces of life. Maramma but adds to my gloom."

"Death! death!" cried Yoomy, "must I be not, and millions be? Must I
go, and the flowers still bloom? Oh, I have marked what it is to be
dead;--how shouting boys, of holidays, hide-and-seek among the tombs,
which must hide all seekers at last."

"Clouds on clouds!" cried Media, "but away with them all! Why not leap
your graves, while ye may? Time to die, when death comes, without
dying by inches. 'Tis no death, to die; the only death is the fear of
it. I, a demi-god, fear death not."

"But when the jackals howl round you?" said Babbalanja.

"Drive them off! Die the demi-god's death! On his last couch of
crossed spears, my brave old sire cried, 'Wine, wine; strike up, conch
and cymbal; let the king die to martial melodies!'"

"More valiant dying, than dead," said Babbalanja. "Our end of the
winding procession resounds with music and flaunts with banners with
brave devices: 'Cheer up!' 'Fear not!' 'Millions have died before!'--
but in the endless van, not a pennon streams; all there, is silent and
solemn. The last wisdom is dumb."

Silence ensued; during which, each dip of the paddles in the now calm
water, fell full and long upon the ear.

Anon, lifting his head, Babbalanja thus:--"Yillah still eludes us. And
in all this tour of Mardi, how little have we found to fill the heart
with peace: how much to slaughter all our yearnings."

"Croak no more, raven!" cried Media. "Mardi is full of spring-time
sights, and jubilee sounds. I never was sad in my life."

"But for thy one laugh, my lord, how many groans! Were all happy, or
all miserable,--more tolerable then, than as it is. But happiness and
misery are so broadly marked, that this Mardi may be the
retributive future of some forgotten past.--Yet vain our surmises.
Still vainer to say, that all Mardi is but a means to an end; that
this life is a state of probation: that evil is but permitted for a
term; that for specified ages a rebel angel is viceroy.--Nay, nay. Oro
delegates his scepter to none; in his everlasting reign there are no
interregnums; and Time is Eternity; and we live in Eternity now. Yet,
some tell of a hereafter, where all the mysteries of life will be
over; and the sufferings of the virtuous recompensed. Oro is just,
they say.--Then always,--now, and evermore. But to make restitution
implies a wrong; and Oro can do no wrong. Yet what seems evil to us,
may be good to him. If he fears not, nor hopes,--he has no other
passion; no ends, no purposes. He lives content; all ends are
compassed in Him; He has no past, no future; He is the everlasting
now; which is an everlasting calm; and things that are, have been,--
will be. This gloom's enough. But hoot! hoot! the night-owl ranges
through the woodlands of Maramma; its dismal notes pervade our lives;
and when we would fain depart in peace, that bird flies on before:--
cloud-like, eclipsing our setting suns, and filling the air with
dolor."

"Too true!" cried Yoomy. "Our calms must come by storms. Like helmless
vessels, tempest-tossed, our only anchorage is when we founder."

"Our beginnings," murmured Mohi, "are lost in clouds; we live in
darkness all our days, and perish without an end."

"Croak on, cowards!" cried Media, "and fly before the hideous phantoms
that pursue ye."

"No coward he, who hunted, turns and finds no foe to fight," said
Babbalanja. "Like the stag, whose brow is beat with wings of hawks,
perched in his heavenward antlers; so I, blinded, goaded, headlong,
rush! this way and that; nor knowing whither; one forest wide around!"



CHAPTER LXXXII
They Sail From Night To Day


Ere long the three canoes lurched heavily in a violent swell. Like
palls, the clouds swept to and fro, hooding the gibbering winds. At
every head-beat wave, our arching prows reared up, and shuddered; the
night ran out in rain.

Whither to turn we knew not; nor what haven to gain; so dense the
darkness.

But at last, the storm was over. Our shattered prows seemed gilded.
Day dawned; and from his golden vases poured red wine upon the waters.

That flushed tide rippled toward us; floating from the east, a lone
canoe; in which, there sat a mild, old man; a palm-bough in his hand:
a bird's beak, holding amaranth and myrtles, his slender prow.

"Alma's blessing upon ye, voyagers! ye look storm-worn."

"The storm we have survived, old man; and many more, we yet must
ride," said Babbalanja.

"The sun is risen; and all is well again. We but need to repair our
prows," said Media.

"Then, turn aside to Serenia, a pleasant isle, where all are welcome;
where many storm-worn rovers land at last to dwell."

"Serenia?" said Babbalanja; "methinks Serenia is that land of
enthusiasts, of which we hear, my lord; where Mardians pretend to the
unnatural conjunction of reason with things revealed; where Alma, they
say, is restored to his divine original; where, deriving their
principles from the same sources whence flow the persecutions of
Maramma,--men strive to live together in gentle bonds of peace
and charity;--folly! folly!"

"Ay," said Media; "much is said of those people of Serenia; but their
social fabric must soon fall to pieces; it is based upon the idlest of
theories. Thanks for thy courtesy, old man, but we care not to visit
thy isle. Our voyage has an object, which, something tells me, will
not be gained by touching at thy shores. Elsewhere we may refit.
Farewell! 'Tis breezing; set the sails! Farewell, old man."

"Nay, nay! think again; the distance is but small; the wind fair,--but
'tis ever so, thither;--come: we, people of Serenia, are most anxious
to be seen of Mardi; so that if our manner of life seem good, all
Mardi may live as we. In blessed Alma's name, I pray ye, come!"

"Shall we then, my lord?"

"Lead on, old man! We will e'en see this wondrous isle."

So, guided by the venerable stranger, by noon we descried an island
blooming with bright savannas, and pensive with peaceful groves.

Wafted from this shore, came balm of flowers, and melody of birds: a
thousand summer sounds and odors. The dimpled tide sang round our
splintered prows; the sun was high in heaven, and the waters were deep
below.

"The land of Love!" the old man murmured, as we neared the beach,
where innumerable shells were gently rolling in the playful surf, and
murmuring from their tuneful valves. Behind, another, and a verdant
surf played against lofty banks of leaves; where the breeze, likewise,
found its shore.

And now, emerging from beneath the trees, there came a goodly
multitude in flowing robes; palm-branches in their hands; and as they
came, they sang:--

        Hail! voyagers, hail!
    Whence e'er ye come, where'er ye rove,
        No calmer strand,
        No sweeter land,
    Will e'er ye view, than the Land of Love!

        Hail! voyagers, hail!
    To these, our shores, soft gales invite:
        The palm plumes wave,
        The billows lave,
    And hither point fix'd stars of light!

        Hail! voyagers, hail!
    Think not our groves wide brood with gloom;
        In this, our isle,
        Bright flowers smile:
    Full urns, rose-heaped, these valleys bloom.

        Hail! voyagers, hail!
    Be not deceived; renounce vain things;
        Ye may not find
        A tranquil mind,
    Though hence ye sail with swiftest wings.

        Hail! voyagers, hail!
    Time flies full fast; life soon is o'er;
        And ye may mourn,
        That hither borne,
    Ye left behind our pleasant shore.



CHAPTER LXXXIII
They Land


The song was ended; and as we gained the strand, the crowd embraced
us; and called us brothers; ourselves and our humblest attendants.

"Call ye us brothers, whom ere now ye never saw?"

"Even so," said the old man, "is not Oro the father of all? Then, are
we not brothers? Thus Alma, the master, hath commanded."

"This was not our reception in Maramma," said Media, "the appointed
place of Alma; where his precepts are preserved."

"No, no," said Babbalanja; "old man! your lesson of brotherhood was
learned elsewhere than from Alma; for in Maramma and in all its
tributary isles true brotherhood there is none. Even in the Holy
Island many are oppressed; for heresies, many murdered; and thousands
perish beneath the altars, groaning with offerings that might relieve
them."

"Alas! too true. But I beseech ye, judge not Alma by all those who
profess his faith. Hast thou thyself his records searched?"

"Fully, I have not. So long, even from my infancy, have I witnessed
the wrongs committed in his name; the sins and inconsistencies of his
followers; that thinking all evil must flow from a congenial fountain,
I have scorned to study the whole record of your Master's life. By
parts I only know it."

"Ah! baneful error! But thus is it, brothers!! that the wisest are set
against the Truth, because of those who wrest it from itself."

"Do ye then claim to live what your Master hath spoken? Are your
precepts practices?"

"Nothing do we claim: we but 'earnestly endeavor."

"Tell me not of your endeavors, but of your life. What hope for the
fatherless among ye?"

"Adopted as a son."

"Of one poor, and naked?"

"Clothed, and he wants for naught."

"If ungrateful, he smite you?"

"Still we feed and clothe him."

"If yet an ingrate?"

"Long, he can not be; for Love is a fervent fire."

"But what, if widely he dissent from your belief in Alma;--then,
surely, ye must cast him forth?"

"No, no; we will remember, that if he dissent from us, we then equally
dissent from him; and men's faculties are Oro-given. Nor will we say
that he is wrong, and we are right; for this we know not, absolutely.
But we care not for men's words; we look for creeds in actions; which
are the truthful symbols of the things within. He who hourly prays to
Alma, but lives not up to world-wide love and charity--that man is
more an unbeliever than he who verbally rejects the Master, but does
his bidding. Our lives are our Amens."

"But some say that what your Alma teaches is wholly new--a revelation
of things before unimagined, even by the poets. To do his bidding,
then, some new faculty must be vouchsafed, whereby to apprehend aright."

"So have I always thought," said Mohi.

"If Alma teaches love, I want no gift to learn," said Yoomy.

"All that is vital in the Master's faith, lived here in Mardi, and in
humble dells was practiced, long previous to the Master's coming. But
never before was virtue so lifted up among us, that all might see;
never before did rays from heaven descend to glorify it, But are
Truth, Justice, and Love, the revelations of Alma alone? Were they
never heard of till he came? Oh! Alma but opens unto us our own
hearts. Were his precepts strange we would recoil--not one feeling
would respond; whereas, once hearkened to, our souls embrace them as
with the instinctive tendrils of a vine."

"But," said Babbalanja, "since Alma, they say, was solely intent upon
the things of the Mardi to come--which to all, must seem uncertain--of
what benefit his precepts for the daily lives led here?"

"Would! would that Alma might once more descend! Brother! were the
turf our everlasting pillow, still would the Master's faith answer a
blessed end;--making us more truly happy _here_. _That_ is the first
and chief result; for holy here, we must be holy elsewhere. 'Tis
Mardi, to which loved Alma gives his laws; not Paradise."

"Full soon will I be testing all these things," murmured Mohi.

"Old man," said Media, "thy years and Mohi's lead ye both to dwell
upon the unknown future. But speak to me of other themes. Tell me of
this island and its people. From all I have heard, and now behold, I
gather that here there dwells no king; that ye are left to yourselves;
and that this mystic Love, ye speak of, is your ruler. Is it so? Then,
are ye full as visionary, as Mardi rumors. And though for a time, ye
may have prospered,--long, ye can not be, without some sharp lesson to
convince ye, that your faith in Mardian virtue is entirely vain."

"Truth. We have no king; for Alma's precepts rebuke the arrogance of
place and power. He is the tribune of mankind; nor will his true faith
be universal Mardi's, till our whole race is kingless. But think not
we believe in man's perfection. Yet, against all good, he is not
absolutely set. In his heart, there is a germ. _That_ we seek to
foster. To _that_ we cling; else, all were hopeless!"

"Your social state?"

"It is imperfect; and long must so remain. But we make not the
miserable many support the happy few. Nor by annulling reason's laws,
seek to breed equality, by breeding anarchy. In all things, equality
is not for all. Each has his own. Some have wider groves of palms than
others; fare better; dwell in more tasteful arbors; oftener renew
their fragrant thatch. Such differences must be. But none starve
outright, while others feast. By the abounding, the needy are
supplied. Yet not by statute, but from dictates, born half dormant in
us, and warmed into life by Alma. Those dictates we but follow in all
we do; we are not dragged to righteousness; but go running. Nor do we
live in common. For vice and virtue blindly mingled, form a union
where vice too often proves the alkali. The vicious we make dwell
apart, until reclaimed. And reclaimed they soon must be, since every
thing invites. The sin of others rests not upon our heads: none we
drive to crime. Our laws are not of vengeance bred, but Love and
Alma."

"Fine poetry all this," said Babbalanja, "but not so new. Oft do they
warble thus in bland Maramma!"

"It sounds famously, old man!" said Media, "but men are men. Some must
starve; some be scourged.--Your doctrines are impracticable."

"And are not these things enjoined by Alma? And would Alma inculcate
the impossible? of what merit, his precepts, unless they may be
practiced? But, I beseech ye, speak no more of Maramma. Alas! did Alma
revisit Mardi, think you, it would be among those Morals he would lay
his head?"

"No, no," said Babbalanja, "as an intruder he came; and an intruder
would he be this day. On all sides, would he jar our social systems."

"Not here, not here! Rather would we welcome Alma hungry and athirst,
than though he came floating hither on the wings of seraphs; the
blazing zodiac his diadem! In all his aspects we adore him; needing no
pomp and power to kindle worship. Though he came from Oro; though he
did miracles; though through him is life;--not for these things alone,
do we thus love him. We love him from, an instinct in us;--a fond,
filial, reverential feeling. And this would yet stir in our souls,
were death our end; and Alma incapable of befriending us. We love him
because we do."

"Is this man divine?" murmured Babbalanja. "But thou speakest most
earnestly of adoring Alma:--I see no temples in your groves."

"Because this isle is all one temple to his praise; every leaf is
consecrated his. We fix not Alma here and there; and say,--'those
groves for Him, and these broad fields for us.' It is all his own; and
we ourselves; our every hour of life; and all we are, and have."

"Then, ye forever fast and pray; and stand and sing; as at long
intervals the censer-bearers in Maramma supplicate their gods."

"Alma forbid! We never fast; our aspirations are our prayers; our
lives are worship. And when we laugh, with human joy at human things,
--_then_ do we most sound great Oro's praise, and prove the merit of
sweet Alma's love! Our love in Alma makes us glad, not sad. Ye speak
of temples;--behold! 'tis by not building _them_, that we widen
charity among us. The treasures which, in the islands round about, are
lavished on a thousand fanes;--with these we every day relieve the
Master's suffering disciples. In Mardi, Alma preached in open fields,
--and must his worshipers have palaces?"

"No temples, then no priests;" said Babbalanja, "for few priests will
enter where lordly arches form not the portal."

"We have no priests, but one; and he is Alma's self. We have his
precepts: we seek no comments but our hearts."

"But without priests and temples, how long will flourish this your
faith?" said Media.

"For many ages has not this faith lived, in spite of priests and
temples? and shall it not survive them? What we believe, we hold
divine; and things divine endure forever."

"But how enlarge your bounds? how convert the vicious, without
persuasion of some special seers? Must your religion go hand in hand
with all things secular?"

"We hold not, that one man's words should be a gospel to the rest; but
that Alma's words should be a gospel to us all. And not by precepts
would we have some few endeavor to persuade; but all, by practice, fix
convictions, that the life we lead is the life for all. We are
apostles, every one. Where'er we go, our faith we carry in our hands,
and hearts. It is our chiefest joy. We do not put it wide away six
days out of seven; and then, assume it. In it we all exult, and joy;
as that which makes us happy here; as that, without which, we could be
happy nowhere; as something meant for this time present, and
henceforth for aye. It is our vital mode of being; not an incident.
And when we die, this faith shall be our pillow; and when we rise, our
staff; and at the end, our crown. For we are all immortal. Here, Alma
joins with our own hearts, confirming nature's promptings."

"How eloquent he is!" murmured Babbalanja. "Some black cloud seems
floating from me. I begin to see. I come out in light. The sharp fang
tears me less. The forked flames wane. My soul sets back like ocean
streams, that sudden change their flow. Have I been sane? Quickened in
me is a hope. But pray you, old man--say on--methinks, that in your
faith must be much that jars with reason."

"No, brother! Right-reason, and Alma, are the same; else Alma, not
reason, would we reject. The Master's great command is Love; and here
do all things wise, and all things good, unite. Love is all in all.
The more we love, the more we know; and so reversed. Oro we love; this
isle; and our wide arms embrace all Mardi like its reef. How can we
err, thus feeling? We hear loved Alma's pleading, prompting voice, in
every breeze, in every leaf; we see his earnest eye in every star and
flower."

"Poetry!" cried Yoomy; "and poetry is truth! He stirs me."

"When Alma dwelt in Mardi, 'twas with the poor and friendless. He fed
the famishing; he healed the sick; he bound up wounds. For every
precept that he spoke, he did ten thousand mercies. And Alma is our
loved example."

"Sure, all this is in the histories!" said Mohi, starting.

"But not alone to poor and friendless, did Alma wend his charitable
way. From lowly places, he looked up; and long invoked great
chieftains in their state; and told them all their pride was vanity;
and bade them ask their souls. 'In _me_,' he cried, 'is that heart of
mild content, which in vain ye seek in rank and title. I am Love: love
ye then me.'"

"Cease, cease, old man!" cried Media; "thou movest me beyond my
seeming. What thoughts are these? Have done! Wouldst thou unking me?"

"Alma is for all; for high and low. Like heaven's own breeze, he lifts
the lily from its lowly stem, and sweeps, reviving, through the palmy
groves. High thoughts he gives the sage, and humble trust the simple.
Be the measure what it may, his grace doth fill it to the brim. He
lays the lashings of the soul's wild aspirations after things unseen;
oil he poureth on the waters; and stars come out of night's black
concave at his great command. In him is hope for all; for all,
unbounded joys. Fast locked in his loved clasp, no doubts dismay. He
opes the eye of faith and shuts the eye of fear. He is all we pray
for, and beyond; all, that in the wildest hour of ecstasy, rapt fancy
paints in bright Auroras upon the soul's wide, boundless Orient!"

"Oh, Alma, Alma! prince divine!" cried Babbalanja, sinking on his
knees--"in _thee_, at last, I find repose. Hope perches in my heart a
dove;--a thousand rays illume;--all Heaven's a sun. Gone, gone! are
all distracting doubts. Love and Alma now prevail. I see with other
eyes:--Are these my hands? What wild, wild dreams were mine;--I have
been mad. Some things there are, we must not think of. Beyond one
obvious mark, all human lore is vain. Where have I lived till now? Had
dark Maramma's zealot tribe but murmured to me as this old man, long
since had I, been wise! Reason no longer domineers; but still doth
speak. All I have said ere this, that wars with Alma's precepts, I
here recant. Here I kneel, and own great Oro and his sovereign son."

"And here another kneels and prays," cried Yoomy.

"In Alma all my dreams are found, my inner longings for the Love
supreme, that prompts my every verse. Summer is in my soul."

"Nor now, too late for these gray hairs," cried Mohi, with devotion.
"Alma, thy breath is on my soul. I see bright light."

"No more a demigod," cried Media, "but a subject to our common chief.
No more shall dismal cries be heard from Odo's groves. Alma, I am
thine."

With swimming eyes the old man kneeled; and round him grouped king,
sage, gray hairs, and youth.

There, as they kneeled, and as the old man blessed them, the setting
sun burst forth from mists, gilded the island round about, shed rays
upon their heads, and went down in a glory--all the East radiant with
red burnings, like an altar-fire.



CHAPTER LXXXIV
Babbalanja Relates To Them A Vision


Leaving Babbalanja in the old man's bower, deep in meditation;
thoughtfully we strolled along the beach, inspiring the musky,
midnight air; the tropical stars glistening in heaven, like drops of
dew among violets.

The waves were phosphorescent, and laved the beach with a fire that
cooled it.

Returning, we espied Babbalanja advancing in his snow-white mantle.
The fiery tide was ebbing; and in the soft, moist sand, at every step,
he left a lustrous foot-print.

"Sweet friends! this isle is full of mysteries," he said. "I have
dreamed of wondrous things. After I had laid me down, thought pressed
hard upon me. By my eyes passed pageant visions. I started at a low,
strange melody, deep in my inmost soul. At last, methought my eyes
were fixed on heaven; and there, I saw a shining spot, unlike a star.
Thwarting the sky, it grew, and grew, descending; till bright wings
were visible: between them, a pensive face angelic, downward beaming;
and, for one golden moment, gauze-vailed in spangled Berenice's Locks.

"Then, as white flame from yellow, out from that starry cluster it
emerged; and brushed the astral Crosses, Crowns, and Cups. And as in
violet, tropic seas, ships leave a radiant-white, and fire-fly wake;
so, in long extension tapering, behind the vision, gleamed another
Milky-Way.

"Strange throbbings seized me; my soul tossed on its own tides. But
soon the inward harmony bounded in exulting choral strains. I heard a
feathery rush; and straight beheld a form, traced all over with veins
of vivid light. The vision undulated round me.

"'Oh! Spirit!! angel! god! whate'er thou art,'--I cried, 'leave me; I
am but man.'

"Then, I heard a low, sad sound, no voice. It said, or breathed upon
me,--'Thou hast proved the grace of Alma: tell me what thou'st
learned.'

"Silent replied my soul, for voice was gone,--'This have I learned,
oh! spirit!--In things mysterious, to seek no more; but rest content,
with knowing naught but Love.'

"'Blessed art thou for that: thrice blessed,' then I heard, and since
humility is thine, thou art one apt to learn. That which thy own
wisdom could not find, thy ignorance confessed shall gain. Come, and
see new things.'

"Once more it undulated round me; its lightning wings grew dim; nearer,
nearer; till I felt a shock electric,--and nested 'neath its wing.

"We clove the air; passed systems, suns, and moons: what seem from
Mardi's isles, the glow-worm stars.

"By distant fleets of worlds we sped, as voyagers pass far sails at
sea, and hail them not. Foam played before them as they darted on;
wild music was their wake; and many tracks of sound we crossed, where
worlds had sailed before.

"Soon, we gained a point, where a new heaven was seen; whence all our
firmament seemed one nebula. Its glories burned like thousand
steadfast-flaming lights.

"Here hived the worlds in swarms: and gave forth sweets ineffable.

"We lighted on a ring, circling a space, where mornings seemed forever
dawning over worlds unlike.

"'Here,' I heard, 'thou viewest thy Mardi's Heaven. Herein each world
is portioned.'

"As he who climbs to mountain tops pants hard for breath; so panted I
for Mardi's grosser air. But that which caused my flesh to faint, was
new vitality to my soul. My eyes swept over all before me. The spheres
were plain as villages that dot a landscape. I saw most beauteous
forms, yet like our own. Strange sounds I heard of gladness that
seemed mixed with sadness:--a low, sweet harmony of both. Else, I know
not how to phrase what never man but me e'er heard.

"'In these blest souls are blent,' my guide discoursed, 'far higher
thoughts, and sweeter plaints than thine. Rude joy were discord here.
And as a sudden shout in thy hushed mountain-passes brings down the
awful avalanche; so one note of laughter here, might start some white
and silent world.'

"Then low I murmured:--'Is their's, oh guide! no happiness supreme?
their state still mixed? Sigh these yet to know? Can these sin?'

"Then I heard:--'No mind but Oro's can know all; no mind that knows
not all can be content; content alone approximates to happiness.
Holiness comes by wisdom; and it is because great Oro is supremely
wise, that He's supremely holy. But as perfect wisdom can be only
Oro's; so, perfect holiness is his alone. And whoso is otherwise than
perfect in his holiness, is liable to sin.

"'And though death gave these beings knowledge, it also opened other
mysteries, which they pant to know, and yet may learn. And still they
fear the thing of evil; though for them, 'tis hard to fall. Thus
hoping and thus fearing, then, their's is no state complete. And since
Oro is past finding out, and mysteries ever open into mysteries
beyond; so, though these beings will for aye progress in wisdom and in
good; yet, will they never gain a fixed beatitude. Know, then, oh
mortal Mardian! that when translated hither, thou wilt but put off
lowly temporal pinings, for angel and eternal aspirations. Start not:
thy human joy hath here no place: no name.

"Still, I mournful mused; then said:--'Many Mardians live, who have no
aptitude for Mardian lives of thought: how then endure more earnest,
everlasting, meditations?'

"'Such have their place,' I heard.

"'Then low I moaned, 'And what, oh! guide! of those who, living
thoughtless lives of sin, die unregenerate; no service done to Oro or
to Mardian?'

"'They, too, have their place,' I heard; 'but 'tis not here. And
Mardian! know, that as your Mardian lives are long preserved through
strict obedience to the organic law, so are your spiritual lives
prolonged by fast keeping of the law of mind. Sin is death.'

"'Ah, then,' yet lower moan made I; 'and why create the germs that sin
and suffer, but to perish?'

"'That,' breathed my guide; 'is the last mystery which underlieth all
the rest. Archangel may not fathom it; that makes of Oro the
everlasting mystery he is; that to divulge, were to make equal to
himself in knowledge all the souls that are; that mystery Oro guards;
and none but him may know.'

"Alas! were it recalled, no words have I to tell of all that now my
guide discoursed, concerning things unsearchable to us. My sixth sense
which he opened, sleeps again, with all the wisdom that it gained.

"Time passed; it seemed a moment, might have been an age; when from
high in the golden haze that canopied this heaven, another angel came;
its vans like East and West; a sunrise one, sunset the other. As
silver-fish in vases, so, in his azure eyes swam tears unshed.

"Quick my guide close nested me; through its veins the waning light
throbbed hard.

"'Oh, spirit! archangel! god! whate'er thou art,' it breathed; 'leave
me: I am but blessed, not glorified.'

"So saying, as down from doves, from its wings dropped sounds. Still
nesting me, it crouched its plumes.

"Then, in a snow of softest syllables, thus breathed the greater and
more beautiful:--'From far away, in fields beyond thy ken, I heard thy
fond discourse with this lone Mardian. It pleased me well; for thy
humility was manifeat; no arrogance of knowing. Come _thou_ and learn
new things.'

"And straight it overarched us with its plumes; which, then, down-
sweeping, bore us up to regions where my first guide had sunk, but for
the power that buoyed us, trembling, both.

"My eyes did wane, like moons eclipsed in overwhelming dawns: such
radiance was around; such vermeil light, born of no sun, but pervading
all the scene. Transparent, fleck-less, calm, all glowed one flame.

"Then said the greater guide This is the night of all ye here behold--
its day ye could not bide. Your utmost heaven is far below.'

"Abashed, smote down, I, quaking, upward gazed; where, to and fro, the
spirits sailed, like broad-winged crimson-dyed flamingos, spiraling in
sunset-clouds. But a sadness glorified, deep-fringed their mystic
temples, crowned with weeping halos, bird-like, floating o'er them,
whereso'er they roamed.

"Sights and odors blended. As when new-morning winds, in summer's
prime, blow down from hanging gardens, wafting sweets that never pall;
so, from those flowery pinions, at every motion, came a flood of
fragrance.

"And now the spirits twain discoursed of things, whose very terms, to
me, were dark. But my first guide grew wise. For me, I could but
blankly list; yet comprehended naught; and, like the fish that's
mocked with wings, and vainly seeks to fly;--again I sought my lower
element.

"As poised, we hung in this rapt ether, a sudden trembling seized the
four wings now folding me. And afar of, in zones still upward
reaching, suns' orbits off, I, tranced, beheld an awful glory. Sphere
in sphere, it burned:--the one Shekinah! The air was flaked with
fire;--deep in which, fell showers of silvery globes, tears magnified
--braiding the flame with rainbows. I heard a sound; but not for me,
nor my first guide, was that unutterable utterance. Then, my second
guide was swept aloft, as rises a cloud of red-dyed leaves in autumn
whirlwinds.

"Fast clasping me, the other drooped, and, instant, sank, as in a
vacuum; myriad suns' diameters in a breath;--my five senses merged in
one, of falling; till we gained the nether sky, descending still.

"Then strange things--soft, sad, and faint, I saw or heard; as, when,
in sunny, summer seas, down, down, you dive, starting at pensive
phantoms, that you can not fix.

"'These,' breathed my guide, 'are spirits in their essences; sad, even
in undevelopment. With these, all space is peopled;--all the air is
vital with intelligence, which seeks embodiment. This it is, that
unbeknown to Mardians, causes them to strangely start in solitudes of
night, and in the fixed flood of their enchanted noons. From hence,
are formed your mortal souls; and all those sad and shadowy dreams,
and boundless thoughts man hath, are vague remembrances of the time
when the soul's sad germ, wide wandered through these realms. And
hence it is, that when ye Mardians feel most sad, then ye feel most
immortal.

"Like a spark new-struck from flint, soon Mardi showed afar. It glowed
within a sphere, which seemed, in space, a bubble, rising from vast
depths to the sea's surface. Piercing it, my Mardian strength
returned; but the angel's veins once more grew dim.

"Nearing the isles, thus breathed my guide:--'Loved one, love on! But
know, that heaven hath no roof. To know all is to be all. Beatitude
there is none. And your only Mardian happiness is but exemption from
great woes--no more. Great Love is sad; and heaven is Love. Sadness
makes the silence throughout the realms of space; sadness is universal
and eternal; but sadness is tranquillity; tranquillity the uttermost
that souls may hope for.'

"Then, with its wings it fanned adieu; and disappeared where the sun
flames highest."

We heard the dream and, silent, sought repose, to dream away our
wonder.



CHAPTER LXXXV
They Depart From Serenia


At sunrise, we stood upon the beach.

Babbalanja thus:--"My voyage is ended. Not because what we sought is
found; but that I now possess all which may be had of what I sought in
Mardi. Here, tarry to grow wiser still:--then I am Alma's and the
world's. Taji! for Yillah thou wilt hunt in vain; she is a phantom
that but mocks thee; and while for her thou madly huntest, the sin
thou didst cries out, and its avengers still will follow. But here
they may not come: nor those, who, tempting, track thy path. Wise
counsel take. Within our hearts is all we seek: though in that search
many need a prompter. Him I have found in blessed Alma. Then rove no
more. Gain now, in flush of youth, that last wise thought, too often
purchased, by a life of woe. Be wise: be wise.

"Media! thy station calls thee home. Yet from this isle, thou earnest
that, wherewith to bless thy own. These flowers, that round us spring,
may be transplanted: and Odo made to bloom with amaranths and myrtles,
like this Serenia. Before thy people act the things, thou here hast
heard. Let no man weep, that thou may'st laugh; no man toil too hard,
that thou may'st idle be. Abdicate thy throne: but still retain the
scepter. None need a king; but many need a ruler.

"Mohi! Yoomy! do we part? then bury in forgetfulness much that
hitherto I've spoken. But let not one syllable of this old man's words
be lost.

"Mohi! Age leads thee by the hand. Live out thy life; and die, calm-
browed.

"But Yoomy! many days are thine. And in one life's span, great circles
may be traversed, eternal good be done. Take all Mardi for thy home.
Nations are but names; and continents but shifting sands.

"Once more: Taji! be sure thy Yillah never will be found; or found,
will not avail thee. Yet search, if so thou wilt; more isles, thou
say'st, are still unvisited; and when all is seen, return, and find
thy Yillah here.

"Companions all! adieu."

And from the beach, he wended through the woods.

Our shallops now refitted, we silently embarked; and as we sailed
away, the old man blessed us.

For a time, each prow's ripplings were distinctly heard: ripple after
ripple.

With silent, steadfast eyes, Media still preserved his noble mien;
Mohi his reverend repose; Yoomy his musing mood.

But as a summer hurricane leaves all nature still, and smiling to the
eye; yet, in deep woods, there lie concealed some anguished roots torn
up:--so, with these.

Much they longed, to point our prows for Odo's isle; saying our search
was over.

But I was fixed as fate.

On we sailed, as when we first embarked; the air was bracing as
before. More isles we visited:--thrice encountered the avengers: but
unharmed; thrice Hautia's heralds but turned not aside;--saw many
checkered scenes--wandered through groves, and open fields--traversed
many vales--climbed hill-tops whence broad views were gained--tarried
in towns--broke into solitudes--sought far, sought near:--Still Yillah
there was none.

Then again they all would fain dissuade me.

"Closed is the deep blue eye," said Yoomy.

"Fate's last leaves are turning, let me home and die," said Mohi.

"So nigh the circuit's done," said Media, "our morrow's sun must rise
o'er Odo; Taji! renounce the hunt."

"I am the hunter, that never rests! the hunter without a home! She I
seek, still flies before; and I will follow, though she lead me beyond
the reef; through sunless seas; and into night and death. Her, will I
seek, through all the isles and stars; and find her, whate'er betide!"

Again they yielded; and again we glided on;--our storm-worn prows, now
pointed here, now there;--beckoned, repulsed;--their half-rent sails,
still courting every breeze.

But that same night, once more, they wrestled with me. Now, at last,
the hopeless search must be renounced: Yillah there was none: back
must I hie to blue Serenia.

Then sweet Yillah called me from the sea;--still must I on! but gazing
whence that music seemed to come, I thought I saw the green corse
drifting by: and striking 'gainst our prow, as if to hinder. Then,
then! my heart grew hard, like flint; and black, like night; and
sounded hollow to the hand I clenched. Hyenas filled me with their
laughs; death-damps chilled my brow; I prayed not, but blasphemed.



CHAPTER LXXXVI
They Meet The Phantoms


That starless midnight, there stole from out the darkness, the Iris
flag of Hautia.

Again the sirens came. They bore a large and stately urn-like flower,
white as alabaster, and glowing, as if lit up within. From its calyx,
flame-like, trembled forked and crimson stamens, burning with
intensest odors.

The phantoms nearer came; their flower, as an urn of burning niter.
Then it changed, and glowed like Persian dawns; or passive, was shot
over by palest lightnings;--so variable its tints.

"The night-blowing Cereus!" said Yoomy, shuddering, "that never blows
in sun-light; that blows but once; and blows but for an hour.--For the
last time I come; now, in your midnight of despair, and promise you
this glory. Take heed! short time hast thou to pause; through me,
perhaps, thy Yillah may be found."

"Away! away! tempt me not by that, enchantress! Hautia! I know thee
not; I fear thee not; but instinct makes me hate thee. Away! my eyes
are frozen shut; I will not be tempted more."

"How glorious it burns!" cried Media. I reel with incense:--can such
sweets be evil?"

"Look! look!" cried Yoomy, "its petals wane, and creep; one moment
more, and the night-flower shuts up forever the last, last hope of
Yillah!"

"Yillah! Yillah! Yillah!" bayed three vengeful voices far behind.

"Yillah! Yillah!--dash the urn! I follow, Hautia! though thy lure be
death."

The Cereus closed; and in a mist the siren prow went on before; we,
following.

When day dawned, three radiant pilot-fish swam in advance: three
ravenous sharks astern.

And, full before us, rose the isle of Hautia.



CHAPTER LXXXVII
They Draw Nigh To Flozella


As if Mardi were a poem, and every island a canto, the shore now in
sight was called Flozella-a-Nina, or The-Last-Verse-of-the-Song.

According to Mohi, the origin of this term was traceable to the
remotest antiquity.

In the beginning, there were other beings in Mardi besides Mardians;
winged beings, of purer minds, and cast in gentler molds, who would
fain have dwelt forever with mankind. But the hearts of the Mardians
were bitter against them, because of their superior goodness. Yet
those beings returned love for malice, and long entreated to virtue
and charity. But in the end, all Mardi rose up against them, and
hunted them from isle to isle; till, at last, they rose from the
woodlands like a flight of birds, and disappeared in the skies.
Thereafter, abandoned of such sweet influences, the Mardians fell into
all manner of sins and sufferings, becoming the erring things their
descendants were now. Yet they knew not, that their calamities were of
their own bringing down. For deemed a victory, the expulsion of the
winged beings was celebrated in choruses, throughout Mardi. And among
other jubilations, so ran the legend, a pean was composed,
corresponding in the number of its stanzas, to the number of islands.
And a band of youths, gayly appareled, voyaged in gala canoes all
round the lagoon, singing upon each isle, one verse of their song. And
Flozella being the last isle in their circuit, its queen commemorated
the circumstance, by new naming her realm.

That queen had first incited Mardi to wage war against the beings with
wings. She it was, who had been foremost in every assault. And that
queen was ancestor of Hautia, now ruling the isle.

Approaching the dominions of one who so long had haunted me,
conflicting emotions tore up my soul in tornadoes. Yet Hautia had held
out some prospect of crowning my yearnings. But how connected were
Hautia and Yillah? Something I hoped; yet more I feared. Dire
presentiments, like poisoned arrows, shot through me. Had they pierced
me before, straight to Flozella would I have voyaged; not waiting for
Hautia to woo me by that last and victorious temptation. But unchanged
remained my feelings of hatred for Hautia; yet vague those feelings,
as the language of her flowers. Nevertheless, in some mysterious way
seemed Hautia and Yillah connected. But Yillah was all beauty, and
innocence; my crown of felicity; my heaven below;--and Hautia, my
whole heart abhorred. Yillah I sought; Hautia sought me. One, openly
beckoned me here; the other dimly allured me there. Yet now was I
wildly dreaming to find them together. But so distracted my soul, I
knew not what it was, that I thought.

Slowly we neared the land. Flozella-a-Nina!--An omen? Was this isle,
then, to prove the last place of my search, even as it was the Last-
Verse-of-the-Song?



CHAPTER LXXXVIII
They Land


A jeweled tiara, nodding in spray, looks flowery Flozella, approached
from the sea. For, lo you! the glittering foam all round its white
marge; where, forcing themselves underneath the coral ledge, and up
through its crevices, in fountains, the blue billows gush. While,
within, zone above zone, thrice zoned in belts of bloom, all the isle,
as a hanging-garden soars; its tapering cone blending aloft, with
heaven's own blue.

"What flies through the spray! what incense is this?" cried Media.

"Ha! you wild breeze! you have been plundering the gardens of Hautia,"
cried Yoomy.

"No sweets can be sweeter," said Braid-Beard, "but no Upas more deadly."

Anon we came nearer; sails idly flapping, and paddles suspended; sleek
currents our coursers. And round about the isle, like winged rainbows,
shoals of dolphins were leaping over floating fragments of wrecks:--
dark-green, long-haired ribs, and keels of canoes. For many shallops,
inveigled by the eddies, were oft dashed to pieces against that
flowery strand. But what cared the dolphins? Mardian wrecks were their
homes. Over and over they sprang: from east to west: rising and
setting: many suns in a moment; while all the sea, like a harvest
plain, was stacked with their glittering sheaves of spray.

And far down, fathoms on fathoms, flitted rainbow hues:--as seines-
full of mermaids; half-screening the bones of the drowned.

Swifter and swifter the currents now ran; till with a shock, our prows
were beached.

There, beneath an arch of spray, three dark-eyed maidens stood;
garlanded with columbines, their nectaries nodding like jesters'
bells; and robed in vestments blue.

"The pilot-fish transformed!" cried Yoomy.

"The night-eyed heralds three!" said Mohi.

Following the maidens, we now took our way along a winding vale;
where, by sweet-scented hedges, flowed blue-braided brooks; their
tributaries, rivulets of violets, meandering through the meads.

On one hand, forever glowed the rosy mountains with a tropic dawn; and
on the other; lay an Arctic eve;--the white daisies drifted in long
banks of snow, and snowed the blossoms from the orange boughs. There,
summer breathed her bridal bloom; her hill-top temples crowned with
bridal wreaths.

We wandered on, through orchards arched in long arcades, that seemed
baronial halls, hung o'er with trophies:--so spread the boughs in
antlers. This orchard was the frontlet of the isle.

The fruit hung high in air, that only beaks, not hands, might pluck.

Here, the peach tree showed her thousand cheeks of down, kissed often
by the wooing winds; here, in swarms; the yellow apples hived, like
golden bees upon the boughs; here, from the kneeling, fainting trees,
thick fell the cherries, in great drops of blood; and here, the
pomegranate, with cold rind and sere, deep pierced by bills of birds
revealed the mellow of its ruddy core. So, oft the heart, that cold
and withered seems, within yet hides its juices.

This orchard passed, the vale became a lengthening plain, that seemed
the Straits of Ormus bared so thick it lay with flowery gems:
torquoise-hyacinths, ruby-roses, lily-pearls. Here roved the vagrant
vines; their flaxen ringlets curling over arbors, which laughed and
shook their golden locks. From bower to bower, flew the wee bird, that
ever hovering, seldom lights; and flights of gay canaries passed, like
jonquils, winged.

But now, from out half-hidden bowers of clematis, there issued swarms
of wasps, which flying wide, settled on all the buds.

And, fifty nymphs preceding, who now follows from those bowers, with
gliding, artful steps:--the very snares of love!--Hautia. A gorgeous
amaryllis in her hand; Circe-flowers in her ears; her girdle tied with
vervain.

She came by privet hedges, drooping; downcast honey-suckles; she trod
on pinks and pansies, blue-bells, heath, and lilies. She glided on:
her crescent brow calm as the moon, when most it works its evil
influences.

Her eye was fathomless.

But the same mysterious, evil-boding gaze was there, which long before
had haunted me in Odo, ere Yillah fled.--Queen Hautia the incognito!
Then two wild currents met, and dashed me into foam.

"Yillah! Yillah!--tell me, queen!" But she stood motionless; radiant,
and scentless: a dahlia on its stalk. "Where? Where?"

"Is not thy voyage now ended?--Take flowers! Damsels, give him wine to
drink. After his weary hunt, be the wanderer happy."

I dashed aside their cups, and flowers; still rang the vale with Yillah!

"Taji! did I know her fate, naught would I now disclose; my heralds
pledged their queen to naught. Thou but comest here to supplant thy
mourner's night-shade, with marriage roses. Damsels! give him wreaths;
crowd round him; press him with your cups!"

Once more I spilled their wine, and tore their garlands. Is not that,
the evil eye that long ago did haunt me? and thou, the Hautia who hast
followed me, and wooed, and mocked, and tempted me, through all this
long, long voyage? I swear! thou knowest all."

"I am Hautia. Thou hast come at last. Crown him with your flowers!
Drown him in your wine! To all questions, Taji! I am mute.--Away!--
damsels dance; reel round him; round and round!"

Then, their feet made music on the rippling grass, like thousand
leaves of lilies on a lake. And, gliding nearer, Hautia welcomed
Media; and said, "Your comrade here is sad:--be ye gay. Ho, wine!--I
pledge ye, guests!"

Then, marking all, I thought to seem what I was not, that I might
learn at last the thing I sought.

So, three cups in hand I held; drank wine, and laughed; and half-way
met Queen Hautia's blandishments.



CHAPTER LXXXIX
They Enter The Bower Of Hautia


Conducted to the arbor, from which the queen had emerged, we came to a
sweet-brier bower within; and reclined upon odorous mats.

Then, in citron cups, sherbet of tamarinds was offered to Media, Mohi,
Yoomy; to me, a nautilus shell, brimmed with a light-like fluid, that
welled, and welled like a fount.

"Quaff, Taji, quaff! every drop drowns a thought!"

Like a blood-freshet, it ran through my veins.

A philter?--How Hautia burned before me! Glorious queen! with all the
radiance, lighting up the equatorial night.

"Thou art most magical, oh queen! about thee a thousand constellations
cluster."

"They blaze to burn," whispered Mohi.

"I see ten million Hautias!--all space reflects her, as a mirror."

Then, in reels, the damsels once more mazed, the blossoms shaking from
their brows; till Hautia, glided near; arms lustrous as rainbows:
chanting some wild invocation.

My soul ebbed out; Yillah there was none! but as I turned round open-
armed, Hautia vanished.

"She is deeper than the sea," said Media.

"Her bow is bent," said Yoomy.

"I could tell wonders of Hautia and her damsels," said Mohi.

"What wonders?"

"Listen; and in his own words will I recount the adventure of the
youth Ozonna. It will show thee, Taji, that the maidens of Hautia are
all Yillahs, held captive, unknown to themselves; and that Hautia,
their enchantress, is the most treacherous of queens.

"'Camel-like, laden with woe,' said Ozonna, 'after many wild rovings
in quest of a maiden long lost--beautiful Ady! and after being
repelled in Maramma; and in vain hailed to land at Serenia,
represented as naught but another Maramma;--with vague promises of
discovering Ady, three sirens, who long had pursued, at last inveigled
me to Flozella; where Hautia made me her thrall. But ere long, in Rea,
one of her maidens, I thought I discovered my Ady transformed. My arms
opened wide to embrace; but the damsel knew not Ozonna. And even, when
after hard wooing, I won her again, she seemed not lost Ady, but Rea.
Yet all the while, from deep in her strange, black orbs, Ady's blue
eyes seemed pensively looking:--blue eye within black: sad, silent
soul within merry. Long I strove, by fixed ardent gazing, to break the
spell, and restore in Rea my lost one's Past. But in vain. It was only
Rea, not Ady, who at stolen intervals looked on me now. One morning
Hautia started as she greeted me; her quick eye rested on my bosom;
and glancing there, affrighted, I beheld a distinct, fresh mark, the
impress of Rea's necklace drop. Fleeing, I revealed what had passed to
the maiden, who broke from my side; as I, from Hautia's. The queen
summoned her damsels, but for many hours the call was unheeded; and
when at last they came, upon each bosom lay a necklace-drop like
Rea's. On the morrow, lo! my arbor was strown over with bruised
Linden-leaves, exuding a vernal juice. Full of forbodings, again I
sought Rea: who, casting down her eyes, beheld her feet stained green.
Again she fled; and again Hautia summoned her damsels: malicious
triumph in her eye; but dismay succeeded: each maid had spotted feet.
That night Rea was torn from my side by three masks; who, stifling her
cries, rapidly bore her away; and as I pursued, disappeared in a cave.
Next morning, Hautia was surrounded by her nymphs, but Rea was absent.
Then, gliding near, she snatched from my hair, a jet-black tress,
loose-hanging. 'Ozonna is the murderer! See! Rea's torn hair entangled
with his!' Aghast, I swore that I knew not her fate. 'Then let the
witch Larfee be called!' The maidens darted from the bower; and soon
after, there rolled into it a green cocoa-nut, followed by the witch,
and all the damsels, flinging anemones upon it. Bowling this way and
that, the nut at last rolled to my feet.--'It is he!' cried all.--Then
they bound me with osiers; and at midnight, unseen and irresistible
hands placed me in a shallop; which sped far out into the lagoon,
where they tossed me to the waves; but so violent the shock, the
osiers burst; and as the shallop fled one way, swimming another, ere
long I gained land.

"'Thus in Flozella, I found but the phantom of Ady, and slew the last
hope of Ady the true.'"

This recital sank deep into my soul. In some wild way, Hautia had made
a captive of Yillah; in some one of her black-eyed maids, the blue-
eyed One was transformed. From side to side, in frenzy, I turned; but
in all those cold, mystical eyes, saw not the warm ray that I sought.

"Hast taken root within this treacherous soil?" cried Media. "Away!
thy Yillah is behind thee, not before. Deep she dwells in blue
Serenia's groves; which thou would'st not search. Hautia mocks thee;
away! The reef is rounded; but a strait flows between this isle and
Odo, and thither its ruler must return. Every hour I tarry here, some
wretched serf is dying there, for whom, from blest Serenia, _I carry
life and joy. Away!_"

"Art still bent on finding evil for thy good?" cried Mohi.--"How can
Yillah harbor here?--Beware!--Let not Hautia so enthrall thee."

"Come away, come away," cried Yoomy. "Far hence is Yillah! and he who
tarries among these flowers, must needs burn juniper."

"Look on me, Media, Mohi, Yoomy. Here I stand, my own monument, till
Hautia breaks the spell."

In grief they left me.

Vee-Vee's conch I heard no more.



CHAPTER XC
Taji With Hautia


As their last echoes died away down the valley, Hautia glided near;--
zone unbound, the amaryllis in her hand. Her bosom ebbed and flowed;
the motes danced in the beams that darted from her eyes.

"Come! let us sin, and be merry. Ho! wine, wine, wine! and lapfuls of
flowers! let all the cane-brakes pipe their flutes. Damsels! dance;
reel, swim, around me:--I, the vortex that draws all in. Taji! Taji!--
as a berry, that name is juicy in my mouth!--Taji, Taji!" and in
choruses, she warbled forth the sound, till it seemed issuing from her
syren eyes.

My heart flew forth from out its bars, and soared in air; but as my
hand touched Hautia's, down dropped a dead bird from the clouds.

"Ha! how he sinks!--but did'st ever dive in deep waters, Taji? Did'st
ever see where pearls grow?--To the cave!--damsels, lead on!"

Then wending through constellations of flowers, we entered deep
groves. And thus, thrice from sun-light to shade, it seemed three
brief nights and days, ere we paused before the mouth of the cavern.

A bow-shot from the sea, it pierced the hill-side like a vaulted way;
and glancing in, we saw far gleams of water; crossed, here and there,
by long-flung distant shadows of domes and columns. All Venice seemed
within.

From a stack of golden palm-stalks, the damsels now made torches; then
stood grouped; a sheaf of sirens in a sheaf of frame.

Illuminated, the cavern shone like a Queen of Kandy's casket: full of
dawns and sunsets.

From rocky roof to bubbling floor, it was columned with stalactites;
and galleried all round, in spiral tiers, with sparkling, coral ledges.

And now, their torches held aloft, into the water the maidens softly
glided; and each a lotus floated; while, from far above, into the air
Hautia flung her flambeau; then bounding after, in the lake, two
meteors were quenched.

Where she dived, the flambeaux clustered; and up among them, Hautia
rose; hands, full of pearls.

"Lo! Taji; all these may be had for the diving; and Beauty, Health,
Wealth, Long Life, and the Last Lost Hope of man. But through me
alone, may these be had. Dive thou, and bring up one pearl if thou
canst."

Down, down! down, down, in the clear, sparkling water, till I seemed
crystalized in the flashing heart of a diamond; but from those
bottomless depths, I uprose empty handed.

"Pearls, pearls! thy pearls! thou art fresh from the mines. Ah, Taji!
for thee, bootless deep diving. Yet to Hautia, one shallow plunge
reveals many Golcondas. But come; dive with me:--join hands--let me
show thee strange things."

"Show me that which I seek, and I will dive with thee, straight
through the world, till we come up in oceans unknown."

"Nay, nay; but join hands, and I will take thee, where thy Past shall
be forgotten; where thou wilt soon learn to love the living, not the
dead."

"Better to me, oh Hautia! all the bitterness of my buried dead, than
all the sweets of the life thou canst bestow; even, were it eternal."



CHAPTER XCI
Mardi Behind: An Ocean Before


Returned from the cave, Hautia reclined in her clematis bower,
invisible hands flinging fennel around her. And nearer, and nearer,
stole dulcet sounds dissolving my woes, as warm beams, snow. Strange
languors made me droop; once more within my inmost vault, side by
side, the Past and Yillah lay:--two bodies tranced;--while like a
rounding sun, before me Hautia magnified magnificence; and through her
fixed eyes, slowly drank up my soul.

Thus we stood:--snake and victim: life ebbing out from me, to her.

But from that spell, I burst again, as all the Past smote all the
Present in me.

"Oh Hautia! thou knowest the mystery I die to fathom. I see it
crouching in thine eye:--Reveal!"

"Weal or woe?"

"Life or death!"

"See, see!" and Yillah's rose-pearl danced before me.

I snatched it from her hand:--"Yillah! Yillah!"

"Rave on: she lies too deep to answer; stranger voices than thine she
hears:--bubbles are bursting round her."

"Drowned! drowned then, even as she dreamed:--I come, I come!--Ha,
what form is this?--hast mosses? sea-thyme? pearls?--Help, help! I
sink!--Back, shining monster!---What, Hautia,--is it thou?--Oh
vipress, I could slay thee!"

"Go, go,--and slay thyself: I may not make thee mine;--go,--dead to
dead!--There is another cavern in the hill." Swift I fled along the
valley-side; passed Hautia's cave of pearls; and gained a twilight
arch; within, a lake transparent shone. Conflicting currents met, and
wrestled; and one dark arch led to channels, seaward tending.

Round and round, a gleaming form slow circled in the deepest eddies:--
white, and vaguely Yillah.

Straight I plunged; but the currents were as fierce headwinds off
capes, that beat back ships.

Then, as I frenzied gazed; gaining the one dark arch, the revolving
shade darted out of sight, and the eddies whirled as before.

"Stay, stay! let me go with thee, though thou glidest to gulfs of
blackness;--naught can exceed the hell of this despair!--Why beat
longer in this corpse oh, my heart!"

As somnambulists fast-frozen in some horrid dream, ghost-like glide
abroad, and fright the wakeful world; so that night, with death-glazed
eyes, to and fro I flitted on the damp and weedy beach.

"Is this specter, Taji?"--and Mohi and the minstrel stood before me.

"Taji lives no more. So dead, he has no ghost. I am his spirit's
phantom's phantom."

"Nay, then, phantom! the time has come to flee."

They dragged me to the water's brink, where a prow was beached. Soon--
Mohi at the helm--we shot beneath the far-flung shadow of a cliff;
when, as in a dream, I hearkened to a voice.

Arrived at Odo, Media had been met with yells. Sedition was in arms,
and to his beard defied him. Vain all concessions then. Foremost stood
the three pale sons of him, whom I had slain, to gain the maiden lost.
Avengers, from the first hour we had parted on the sea, they had
drifted on my track survived starvation; and lived to hunt me round
all Mardi's reef; and now at Odo, that last threshold, waited to
destroy; or there, missing the revenge they sought, still swore to
hunt me round Eternity.

Behind the avengers, raged a stormy mob, invoking Media to renounce
his rule. But one hand waving like a pennant above the smoke of some
sea-fight, straight through that tumult Media sailed serene: the
rioters parting from before him, as wild waves before a prow
inflexible.

A haven gained, he turned to Mohi and the minstrel:--"Oh, friends!
after our long companionship, hard to part! But henceforth, for many
moons, Odo will prove no home for old age, or youth. In Serenia only,
will ye find the peace ye seek; and thither ye must carry Taji, who
else must soon be slain, or lost. Go: release him from the thrall of
Hautia. Outfly the avengers, and gain Serenia. Reek not of me. The
state is tossed in storms; and where I stand, the combing billows must
break over. But among all noble souls, in tempest-time, the headmost
man last flies the wreck. So, here in Odo will I abide, though every
plank breaks up beneath me. And then,--great Oro! let the king die
clinging to the keel! Farewell!"

Such Mohi's tale.

In trumpet-blasts, the hoarse night-winds now blew; the Lagoon, black
with the still shadows of the mountains, and the driving shadows of
the clouds. Of all the stars, only red Arcturus shone. But through the
gloom, and on the circumvallating reef, the breakers dashed ghost-white.

An outlet in that outer barrier was nigh.

"Ah! Yillah! Yillah!--the currents sweep thee ocean-ward; nor will I
tarry behind.--Mardi, farewell!--Give me the helm, old man!"

"Nay, madman! Serenia is our haven. Through yonder strait, for thee,
perdition lies. And from the deep beyond, no voyager e'er puts back."

"And why put back? is a life of dying worth living o'er again?--Let
_me_, then, be the unreturning wanderer. The helm! By Oro, I will
steer my own fate, old man.--Mardi, farewell!"

"Nay, Taji: commit not the last, last crime!" cried Yoomy.

"He's seized the helm! eternity is in his eye! Yoomy: for our lives we
must now swim."

And plunging, they struck out for land: Yoomy buoying Mohi up, and the
salt waves dashing the tears from his pallid face, as through the
scud, he turned it on me mournfully.

"Now, I am my own soul's emperor; and my first act is abdication!
Hail! realm of shades!"--and turning my prow into the racing tide,
which seized me like a hand omnipotent, I darted through.

Churned in foam, that outer ocean lashed the clouds; and straight in
my white wake, headlong dashed a shallop, three fixed specters leaning
o'er its prow: three arrows poising.

And thus, pursuers and pursued flew on, over an endless sea.

THE END.





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