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Title: Library of the World's Best Literature, Ancient and Modern — Volume 1
Author: Warner, Charles Dudley, 1829-1900 [Editor], Mabie, Hamilton Wright, 1845-1916 [Editor], Warner, George H., 1833-1919 [Editor], Runkle, Lucia Isabella Gilbert, 1844- [Editor]
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
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 "Library of the World's Best Literature, Ancient and Modern — Volume 1" ***

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Connoisseur Edition


The plan of this Work is simple, and yet it is novel. In its distinctive
features it differs from any compilation that has yet been made. Its
main purpose is to present to American households a mass of good
reading. But it goes much beyond this. For in selecting this reading it
draws upon all literatures of all time and of every race, and thus
becomes a conspectus of the thought and intellectual evolution of man
from the beginning. Another and scarcely less important purpose is the
interpretation of this literature in essays by scholars and authors
competent to speak with authority.

The title, "A Library of the World's Best Literature," is strictly
descriptive. It means that what is offered to the reader is taken from
the best authors, and is fairly representative of the best literature
and of all literatures. It may be important historically, or because at
one time it expressed the thought and feeling of a nation, or because it
has the character of universality, or because the readers of to-day will
find it instructive, entertaining, or amusing. The Work aims to suit a
great variety of tastes, and thus to commend itself as a household
companion for any mood and any hour. There is no intention of presenting
merely a mass of historical material, however important it is in its
place, which is commonly of the sort that people recommend others to
read and do not read themselves. It is not a library of reference only,
but a library to be read. The selections do not represent the
partialities and prejudices and cultivation of any one person, or of a
group of editors even; but, under the necessary editorial supervision,
the sober judgment of almost as many minds as have assisted in the
preparation of these volumes. By this method, breadth of appreciation
has been sought.

The arrangement is not chronological, but alphabetical, under the names
of the authors, and, in some cases, of literatures and special
subjects. Thus, in each volume a certain variety is secured, the
heaviness or sameness of a mass of antique, classical, or mediaeval
material is avoided, and the reader obtains a sense of the varieties and
contrasts of different periods. But the work is not an encyclopaedia, or
merely a dictionary of authors. Comprehensive information as to all
writers of importance may be included in a supplementary reference
volume; but the attempt to quote from all would destroy the Work for
reading purposes, and reduce it to a herbarium of specimens.

In order to present a view of the entire literary field, and to make
these volumes especially useful to persons who have not access to large
libraries, as well as to treat certain literatures or subjects when the
names of writers are unknown or would have no significance to the
reader, it has been found necessary to make groups of certain
nationalities, periods, and special topics. For instance, if the reader
would like to know something of ancient and remote literatures which
cannot well be treated under the alphabetical list of authors, he will
find special essays by competent scholars on the Accadian-Babylonian
literature, on the Egyptian, the Hindu, the Chinese, the Japanese, the
Icelandic, the Celtic, and others, followed by selections many of which
have been specially translated for this Work. In these literatures names
of ascertained authors are given in the Index. The intention of the
essays is to acquaint the reader with the spirit, purpose, and tendency
of these writings, in order that he may have a comparative view of the
continuity of thought and the value of tradition in the world. Some
subjects, like the Arthurian Legends, the Nibelungen Lied, the Holy
Grail, Provençal Poetry, the Chansons and Romances, and the Gesta
Romanorum, receive a similar treatment. Single poems upon which the
authors' title to fame mainly rests, familiar and dear hymns, and
occasional and modern verse of value, are also grouped together under an
appropriate heading, with reference in the Index whenever the poet
is known.

It will thus be evident to the reader that the Library is fairly
comprehensive and representative, and that it has an educational value,
while offering constant and varied entertainment. This comprehensive
feature, which gives the Work distinction, is, however, supplemented by
another of scarcely less importance; namely, the critical interpretive
and biographical comments upon the authors and their writings and their
place in literature, not by one mind, or by a small editorial staff, but
by a great number of writers and scholars, specialists and literary
critics, who are able to speak from knowledge and with authority. Thus
the Library becomes in a way representative of the scholarship and wide
judgment of our own time. But the essays have another value. They give
information for the guidance of the reader. If he becomes interested in
any selections here given, and would like a fuller knowledge of the
author's works, he can turn to the essay and find brief observations and
characterizations which will assist him in making his choice of books
from a library.

The selections are made for household and general reading; in the belief
that the best literature contains enough that is pure and elevating and
at the same time readable, to satisfy any taste that should be
encouraged. Of course selection implies choice and exclusion. It is
hoped that what is given will be generally approved; yet it may well
happen that some readers will miss the names of authors whom they desire
to read. But this Work, like every other, has its necessary limits; and
in a general compilation the classic writings, and those productions
that the world has set its seal on as among the best, must predominate
over contemporary literature that is still on its trial. It should be
said, however, that many writers of present note and popularity are
omitted simply for lack of space. The editors are compelled to keep
constantly in view the wider field. The general purpose is to give only
literature; and where authors are cited who are generally known as
philosophers, theologians, publicists, or scientists, it is because they
have distinct literary quality, or because their influence upon
literature itself has been so profound that the progress of the race
could not be accounted for without them.

These volumes contain not only or mainly the literature of the past, but
they aim to give, within the limits imposed by such a view, an idea of
contemporary achievement and tendencies in all civilized countries. In
this view of the modern world the literary product of America and Great
Britain occupies the largest space.

It should be said that the plan of this Work could not have been
carried out without the assistance of specialists in many departments of
learning, and of writers of skill and insight, both in this country and
in Europe. This assistance has been most cordially given, with a full
recognition of the value of the enterprise and of the aid that the
Library may give in encouraging and broadening literary tastes. Perhaps
no better service could be rendered the American public at this period
than the offer of an opportunity for a comprehensive study of the older
and the greater literatures of other nations. By this comparison it can
gain a just view of its own literature, and of its possible mission in
the world of letters.

Chas. Dudley Warner


       *       *       *       *       *

   Professor of Hebrew,
   HARVARD UNIVERSITY, Cambridge, Mass.

   Professor of English in the Sheffield Scientific School of
   YALE UNIVERSITY, New Haven, Conn.

   Professor of History and Political Science,

   Professor of Literature,

   President of the UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN, Ann Arbor, Mich.

   Late Professor of the Germanic and Scandinavian Languages
   and Literatures, CORNELL UNIVERSITY, Ithaca, N.Y.

   Director of the Lick Observatory, and Astronomer,

   Professor of the Romance Languages,
   TULANE UNIVERSITY, New Orleans, La.

   Dean of the Department of Arts and Sciences, and Professor of
   English and History, UNIVERSITY OF THE SOUTH, Sewanee, Tenn.

   Professor of Greek and Latin Literature,

   United States Commissioner of Education,
   BUREAU OF EDUCATION, Washington, D.C.

   Professor of Literature in the


Owing to the many changes in the assignment of topics and engaging of
writers incident to so extended a publication as the Library of the
World's Best Literature, the Editor finds it impossible, before the
completion of the work, adequately to recognize the very great aid which
he has received from a large number of persons. A full list of
contributors will be given in one of the concluding volumes. He will
expressly acknowledge also his debt to those who have assisted him
editorially, or in other special ways, in the preparation of
these volumes.

Both Editor and Publishers have endeavored to give full credit to every
author quoted, and to accompany every citation with ample notice of
copyright ownership. At the close of the work it is their purpose to
express in a more formal way their sense of obligation to the many
publishers who have so courteously given permission for this use of
their property, and whose rights of ownership it is intended thoroughly
to protect.



ABÉLARD AND HÉLOISE (by Thomas Davidson)                1079-1142
   Letter of Héloise to Abélard
   Abélard's Answer to Héloise
   Vesper Hymn of Abélard

EDMOND ABOUT                                            1828-1885
   The Capture ('The King of the Mountains')
   Hadgi-Stavros (same)
   The Victim ('The Man with the Broken Ear')
   The Man without a Country (same)

   Theogony                     Adapa and the Southwind
   Revolt of Tiamat             Penitential Psalms
   Descent to the Underworld    Inscription of Sennacherib
   The Flood                    Invocation to the Goddess Beltis
   The Eagle and the Snake      Oracles of Ishtar of Arbela
   The Flight of Etana          An Erechite's Lament
   The God Zu

ABIGAIL ADAMS (by Lucia Gilbert Runkle)                 1744-1818
   Letters--To her Husband: May 24, 1775; June 15, 1775;
               June 18, 1775; Nov. 27, 1775; April 20, 1777;
               June 8, 1779
            To her Sister: Sept. 5, 1784; May 10, 1785;
               July 24, 1784; June 24, 1785
            To her Niece

HENRY ADAMS                                             1838-
   Auspices of the War of 1812
   What the War of 1812 Demonstrated
   Battle between the Constitution and the Guerrière

JOHN ADAMS                                              1735-1826
   At the French Court ('Diary')
   Character of Franklin (Letter to the Boston Patriot)

JOHN QUINCY ADAMS                                       1767-1848
   Letter to his Father, at the Age of Ten
   From the Memoirs, at the Age of Eighteen
   From the Memoirs, Jan. 14, 1831; June 7, 1833; Sept. 9, 1833
   The Mission of America (Fourth of July Oration, 1821)
   The Right of Petition (Speech in Congress)
   Nullification (Fourth of July Oration, 1831)

SARAH FLOWER ADAMS                                      1805-1848
   He Sendeth Sun, He Sendeth Shower
   Nearer, My God, to Thee

JOSEPH ADDISON (by Hamilton Wright Mabie)               1672-1720
   Sir Roger de Coverley at        Vanity of Human Life
      the Play                     Essay on Fans
   Visit to Sir Roger de Coverley  Hymn, 'The Spacious Firmament'

AELIANUS CLAUDIUS                                  Second Century
   Of Certain Notable Men that made themselves Playfellowes
      with Children
   Of a Certaine Sicilian whose Eyesight was Woonderfull
      Sharpe and Quick
   The Lawe of the Lacedaemonians against Covetousness
   That Sleep is the Brother of Death, and of Gorgias drawing
      to his End
   Of the Voluntary and Willing Death of Calanus
   Of Delicate Dinners, Sumptuous Suppers, and Prodigall
   Of Bestowing Time, and how Walking Up and Downe
      was not Allowable among the Lacedaemonians
   How Socrates Suppressed the Pryde and Hautinesse of
   Of Certaine Wastgoodes and Spendthriftes

AESCHINES                                            B.C. 389-314
   A Defense and an Attack ('Oration against Ctesiphon')

AESCHYLUS (by John Williams White)                   B.C. 525-456
   Complaint of Prometheus ('Prometheus')
   Prayer to Artemis ('The Suppliants')
   Defiance of Eteocles ('The Seven against Thebes')
   Vision of Cassandra ('Agamemnon')
   Lament of the Old Nurse ('The Libation-Pourers')
   Decree of Athena ('The Eumenides')

AESOP (by Harry Thurston Peck)               Seventh Century B.C.
   The Fox and the Lion           The Belly and the Members
   The Ass in the Lion's Skin     The Satyr and the Traveler
   The Ass Eating Thistles        The Lion and the other Beasts
   The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing   The Ass and the Little Dog
   The Countryman and the Snake   The Country Mouse and the
   The Dog and the Wolf              City Mouse

JEAN LOUIS RODOLPHE AGASSIZ                             1807-1873
   The Silurian Beach ('Geological Sketches')
   Voices ('Methods of Study in Natural History')
   Formation of Coral Reefs (same)

AGATHIAS                                             A.D. 536-581
   Apostrophe to Plutarch

GRACE AGUILAR                                           1816-1847
   Greatness of Friendship ('Woman's Friendship')
   Order of Knighthood ('The Days of Bruce')
   Culprit and Judge ('Home Influence')

WILLIAM HARRISON AINSWORTH                              1805-1882
   Students of Paris ('Crichton')

MARK AKENSIDE                                           1721-1770
   From the Epistle to Curio
   Aspirations after the Infinite ('Pleasures of the Imagination')
   On a Sermon against Glory

PEDRO ANTONIO DE ALARCÓN                                1833-1891
   A Woman Viewed from Without ('The Three-Cornered Hat')
   How the Orphan Manuel gained his Sobriquet ('The Child of the

ALCAEUS                                        Sixth Century B.C.
  The Palace
  A Banquet Song
  An Invitation
  The Storm
  The Poor Fisherman
  The State

BALTÁZAR DE ALCÁZAR                                   1530?-1606
  The Jovial Supper

ALCIPHRON (by Harry Thurston Peck)  Second Century
  From a Mercenary Girl--Petala to Simalion
  Pleasures of Athens--Euthydicus to Epiphanio
  From an Anxious Mother--Phyllis to Thrasonides
  From a Curious Youth--Philocomus to Thestylus
  From a Professional Diner-out--Capnosphrantes to Aristomachus
  Unlucky Luck--Chytrolictes to Patellocharon

ALCMAN                                       Seventh Century B.C.
  Poem on Night

LOUISA MAY ALCOTT             1832-1888
  The Night Ward ('Hospital Sketches')
  Amy's Valley of Humiliation ('Little Women')
  Thoreau's Flute (Atlantic Monthly)
  Song from the Suds ('Little Women')

ALCUIN (by William H. Carpenter)                         735?-804
  On the Saints of the Church at York ('Alcuin and the Rise of the
      Christian Schools')
  Disputation between Pepin, the Most Noble and Royal Youth, and
      Albinus the Scholastic
  A Letter from Alcuin to Charlemagne

HENRY M. ALDEN                                          1836-
  A Dedication--To My Beloved Wife ('A Study of Death')
  The Dove and the Serpent (same)
  Death and Sleep (same)
  The Parable of the Prodigal (same)

THOMAS BAILEY ALDRICH                                   1837-
  Alec Yeaton's Son
  Tennyson (1890)
  Sweetheart, Sigh No More
  Broken Music
  Sea Longings
  A Shadow of the Night
  Outward Bound
  Père Antoine's Date-Palm
  Miss Mehetabel's Son

ALEARDO ALEARDI                                         1812-1878
  Cowards ('The Primal Histories')
  The Harvesters ('Monte Circello')
  The Death of the Year ('An Hour of My Youth')

JEAN LE ROND D'ALEMBERT        1717-1783
  Montesquieu (Eulogy in the 'Encyclopédie')

VITTORIO ALFIERI (by L. Oscar Kuhns)                    1749-1803
  Scenes from 'Agamemnon'

ALFONSO THE WISE                                        1221-1284
  What Meaneth a Tyrant, and How he Useth his Power ('Las Siete
  On the Turks, and Why they are So Called ('La Gran Conquista de
  To the Month of Mary ('Cantigas')

ALFRED THE GREAT                                         849-901
  King Alfred on King-Craft
  Alfred's Preface to the Version of Pope Gregory's 'Pastoral Care'
  From Boethius
  Blossom Gatherings from St. Augustine

CHARLES GRANT ALLEN                                     1848-
  The Coloration of Flowers ('The Colors of Flowers')
  Among the Heather ('The Evolutionist at Large')
  The Heron's Haunt ('Vignettes from Nature')

JAMES LANE ALLEN                                        1850-
  A Courtship ('A Summer in Arcady')
  Old King Solomon's Coronation ('Flute and Violin')

WILLIAM ALLINGHAM                                       1828-1889
  The Ruined Chapel
  The Winter Pear
  O Spirit of the Summer-time
  The Bubble
  St. Margaret's Eve
  The Fairies
  Robin Redbreast
  An Evening
  Lovely Mary Donnelly

KARL JONAS LUDVIG ALMQUIST                              1793-1866
  Characteristics of Cattle
  A New Undine (from 'The Book of the Rose')
  God's War

JOHANNA AMBROSIUS                                       1854-
  A Peasant's Thoughts
  Struggle and Peace
  Do Thou Love, Too!

EDMONDO DE AMICIS                                       1846-
  The Light ('Constantinople')
  Resemblances (same)
  Birds (same)
  Cordova ('Spain')
  The Land of Pluck ('Holland and Its People')
  The Dutch Masters ('Holland and Its People')

HENRI FRÉDÉRIC AMIEL (by Richard Burton)                1821-1881
  Extracts from Amiel's Journal:
    Christ's Real Message
    Greeks vs. Moderns
    Nature, and Teutonic and Scandinavian Poetry
    Training of Children
    Mozart and Beethoven



The Book of the Dead (Colored Plate).
First English Printing (Fac-simile).
Assyrian Clay Tablet (Fac-simile).
John Adams (Portrait).
John Quincy Adams (Portrait).
Joseph Addison (Portrait).
Louis Agassiz (Portrait).
"Poetry" (Photogravure).
Vittorio Alfieri (Portrait).
"A Courtship" (Photogravure).
"A Dutch Girl" (Photogravure).


Pierre Abélard.
Edmond About.
Abigail Adams.
Grace Aguilar.
William Harrison Ainsworth.
Mark Akenside.
Louisa May Alcott.
Thomas Bailey Aldrich.
Jean le Rond D'Alembert.
Edmondo de Amicis.

     _Books are not absolutely dead things, but do contain a
     potency of life in them to be as active as that soul was
     whose progeny they are; nay, they do preserve as in a vial
     the purest efficacy and extraction of that living intellect
     that bred them. I know they are as lively, and as vigorously
     productive, as those fabulous dragon's teeth; and being sown
     up and down, may chance to spring up armed men. And yet on
     the other hand, unless wariness be used, as good almost kill
     a man as kill a good book: who kills a man kills a reasonable
     creature, God's image; but he who destroys a good book, kills
     reason itself, kills the image of God, as it were in the eye.
     Many a man lives a burden to the earth; but a good book is
     the precious life-blood of a master-spirit, embalmed and
     treasured up on purpose to a life beyond life._



Reduced facsimile of the first page of the only copy extant of




The Prologue, at top of page, begins:

Here begynneth the boke Intituled Eracles, and also Godefrey of Boloyne,
the whiche speketh of the Conquest of the holy lande of Jherusalem.

Printed by Caxton, London, 1481. In the British Museum.

A good specimen page of the earliest English printing. Caxton's first
printed book, and the first book printed in English, was "The Game and
Play of the Chess," which was printed in 1474. The blank space on this
page was for the insertion by hand of an illuminated initial T.




Pierre, the eldest son of Bérenger and Lucie (Abélard?) was born at
Palais, near Nantes and the frontier of Brittany, in 1079. His knightly
father, having in his youth been a student, was anxious to give his
family, and especially his favorite Pierre, a liberal education. The boy
was accordingly sent to school, under a teacher who at that time was
making his mark in the world,--Roscellin, the reputed father of
Nominalism. As the whole import and tragedy of his life may be traced
back to this man's teaching, and the relation which it bore to the
thought of the time, we must pause to consider these.

[Illustration: Abélard]

In the early centuries of our era, the two fundamental articles of the
Gentile-Christian creed, the Trinity and the Incarnation, neither of
them Jewish, were formulated in terms of Platonic philosophy, of which
the distinctive tenet is, that the real and eternal is the universal,
not the individual. On this assumption it was possible to say that the
same real substance could exist in three, or indeed in any number of
persons. In the case of God, the dogma-builders were careful to say,
essence is one with existence, and therefore in Him the individuals are
as real as the universal. Platonism, having lent the formula for the
Trinity, became the favorite philosophy of many of the Church fathers,
and so introduced into Christian thought and life the Platonic dualism,
that sharp distinction between the temporal and the eternal which
belittles the practical life and glorifies the contemplative.

This distinction, as aggravated by Neo-Platonism, further affected
Eastern Christianity in the sixth century, and Western Christianity in
the ninth, chiefly through the writings of (the pseudo-) Dionysius
Areopagita, and gave rise to Christian mysticism. It was then erected
into a rule of conduct through the efforts of Pope Gregory VII., who
strove to subject practical and civil life entirely to the control of
ecclesiastics and monks, standing for contemplative, supernatural life.
The latter included all purely mental work, which more and more tended
to concentrate itself upon religion and confine itself to the clergy. In
this way it came to be considered an utter disgrace for any man engaged
in mental work to take any part in the institutions of civil life, and
particularly to marry. He might indeed enter into illicit relations, and
rear a family of "nephews" and "nieces," without losing prestige; but to
marry was to commit suicide. Such was the condition of things in the
days of Abélard.

But while Platonism, with its real universals, was celebrating its
ascetic, unearthly triumphs in the West, Aristotelianism, which
maintains that the individual is the real, was making its way in the
East. Banished as heresy beyond the limits of the Catholic Church, in
the fifth and sixth centuries, in the persons of Nestorius and others,
it took refuge in Syria, where it flourished for many years in the
schools of Edessa and Nisibis, the foremost of the time. From these it
found its way among the Arabs, and even to the illiterate Muhammad, who
gave it (1) theoretic theological expression in the cxii. surah of the
Koran: "He is One God, God the Eternal; He neither begets nor is
begotten; and to Him there is no peer," in which both the fundamental
dogmas of Christianity are denied, and that too on the ground of
revelation; (2) practical expression, by forbidding asceticism and
monasticism, and encouraging a robust, though somewhat coarse, natural
life. Islam, indeed, was an attempt to rehabilitate the human.

In Abélard's time Arab Aristotelianism, with its consequences for
thought and life, was filtering into Europe and forcing Christian
thinkers to defend the bases of their faith. Since these, so far as
defensible at all, depended upon the Platonic doctrine of universals,
and this could be maintained only by dialectic, this science became
extremely popular,--indeed, almost the rage. Little of the real
Aristotle was at that time known in the West; but in Porphyry's
Introduction to Aristotle's Logic was a famous passage, in which all the
difficulties with regard to universals were stated without being solved.
Over this the intellectual battles of the first age of Scholasticism
were fought. The more clerical and mystic thinkers, like Anselm and
Bernard, of course sided with Plato; but the more worldly, robust
thinkers inclined to accept Aristotle, not seeing that his doctrine is
fatal to the Trinity.

Prominent among these was a Breton, Roscellin, the early instructor of
Abélard. From him the brilliant, fearless boy learnt two terrible
lessons: (1) that universals, instead of being real substances, external
and superior to individual things, are mere names (hence Nominalism) for
common qualities of things as recognized by the human mind; (2) that
since universals are the tools and criteria of thought, the human mind,
in which alone these exist, is the judge of all truth,--a lesson which
leads directly to pure rationalism, and indeed to the rehabilitation of
the human as against the superhuman. No wonder that Roscellin came into
conflict with the church authorities, and had to flee to England.
Abélard afterwards modified his nominalism and behaved somewhat
unhandsomely to him, but never escaped from the influence of his
teaching. Abélard was a rationalist and an asserter of the human.
Accordingly, when, definitely adopting the vocation of the scholar, he
went to Paris to study dialectic under the then famous William of
Champeaux, a declared Platonist, or realist as the designation then was,
he gave his teacher infinite trouble by his subtle objections, and not
seldom got the better of him.

These victories, which made him disliked both by his teacher and his
fellow-pupils, went to increase his natural self-appreciation, and
induced him, though a mere youth, to leave William and set up a rival
school at Mélun. Here his splendid personality, his confidence, and his
brilliant powers of reasoning and statement, drew to him a large number
of admiring pupils, so that he was soon induced to move his school to
Corbeil, near Paris, where his impetuous dialectic found a wider field.
Here he worked so hard that he fell ill, and was compelled to return
home to his family. With them he remained for several years, devoting
himself to study,--not only of dialectic, but plainly also of theology.
Returning to Paris, he went to study rhetoric under his old enemy,
William of Champeaux, who had meanwhile, to increase his prestige, taken
holy orders, and had been made bishop of Châlons. The old feud was
renewed, and Abélard, being now better armed than before, compelled his
master openly to withdraw from his extreme realistic position with
regard to universals, and assume one more nearly approaching that of

This victory greatly diminished the fame of William, and increased that
of Abélard; so that when the former left his chair and appointed a
successor, the latter gave way to Abélard and became his pupil (1113).
This was too much for William, who removed his successor, and so forced
Abélard to retire again to Mélun. Here he remained but a short time;
for, William having on account of unpopularity removed his school from
Paris Abélard returned thither and opened a school outside the city, on
Mont Ste. Généviève. William, hearing this, returned to Paris and tried
to put him down, but in vain. Abélard was completely victorious.

After a time he returned once more to Palais, to see his mother, who was
about to enter the cloister, as his father had done some time before.
When this visit was over, instead of returning to Paris to lecture on
dialectic, he went to Laon to study theology under the then famous
Anselm. Here, convinced of the showy superficiality of Anselm, he once
more got into difficulty, by undertaking to expound a chapter of Ezekiel
without having studied it under any teacher. Though at first derided by
his fellow-students, he succeeded so well as to draw a crowd of them to
hear him, and so excited the envy of Anselm that the latter forbade him
to teach in Laon. Abélard accordingly returned once more to Paris,
convinced that he was fit to shine as a lecturer, not only on dialectic,
but also on theology. And his audiences thought so also; for his
lectures on Ezekiel were very popular and drew crowds. He was now at the
height of his fame (1118).

The result of all these triumphs over dialecticians and theologians was
unfortunate. He not only felt himself the intellectual superior of any
living man, which he probably was, but he also began to look down upon
the current thought of his time as obsolete and unworthy, and to set at
naught even current opinion. He was now on the verge of forty, and his
life had so far been one of spotless purity; but now, under the
influence of vanity, this too gave way. Having no further conquests to
make in the intellectual world, he began to consider whether, with his
great personal beauty, manly bearing, and confident address, he might
not make conquests in the social world, and arrived at the conclusion
that no woman could reject him or refuse him her favor.

It was just at this unfortunate juncture that he went to live in the
house of a certain Canon Fulbert, of the cathedral, whose brilliant
niece, Héloïse, had at the age of seventeen just returned from a convent
at Argenteuil, where she had been at school. Fulbert, who was proud of
her talents, and glad to get the price of Abélard's board, took the
latter into his house and intrusted him with the full care of Héloïse's
further education, telling him even to chastise her if necessary. So
complete was Fulbert's confidence in Abélard, that no restriction was
put upon the companionship of teacher and pupil. The result was that
Abélard and Héloïse, both equally inexperienced in matters of the heart,
soon conceived for each other an overwhelming passion, comparable only
to that of Faust and Gretchen. And the result in both cases was the
same. Abélard, as a great scholar, could not think of marriage; and if
he had, Héloïse would have refused to ruin his career by marrying him.
So it came to pass that when their secret, never very carefully guarded,
became no longer a secret, and threatened the safety of Héloïse, the
only thing that her lover could do for her was to carry her off secretly
to his home in Palais, and place her in charge of his sister. Here she
remained until the birth of her child, which received the name of
Astralabius, Abélard meanwhile continuing his work in Paris. And here
all the nobility of his character comes out. Though Fulbert and his
friends were, naturally enough, furious at what they regarded as his
utter treachery, and though they tried to murder him, he protected
himself, and as soon as Héloïse was fit to travel, hastened to Palais,
and insisted upon removing her to Paris and making her his lawful wife.
Héloïse used every argument which her fertile mind could suggest to
dissuade him from a step which she felt must be his ruin, at the same
time expressing her entire willingness to stand in a less honored
relation to him. But Abélard was inexorable. Taking her to Paris, he
procured the consent of her relatives to the marriage (which they agreed
to keep secret), and even their presence at the ceremony, which was
performed one morning before daybreak, after the two had spent a night
of vigils in the church.

After the marriage, they parted and for some time saw little of each
other. When Héloïse's relatives divulged the secret, and she was taxed
with being Abélard's lawful wife, she "anathematized and swore that it
was absolutely false." As the facts were too patent, however, Abélard
removed her from Paris, and placed her in the convent at Argenteuil,
where she had been educated. Here she assumed the garb of a novice. Her
relatives, thinking that he must have done this in order to rid himself
of her, furiously vowed vengeance, which they took in the meanest and
most brutal form of personal violence. It was not a time of fine
sensibilities, justice, or mercy; but even the public of those days was
horrified, and gave expression to its horror. Abélard, overwhelmed with
shame, despair, and remorse, could now think of nothing better than to
abandon the world. Without any vocation, as he well knew, he assumed the
monkish habit and retired to the monastery of St. Denis, while Héloïse,
by his order, took the veil at Argenteuil. Her devotion and heroism on
this occasion Abélard has described in touching terms. Thus
supernaturalism had done its worst for these two strong, impetuous
human souls.

If Abélard had entered the cloister in the hope of finding peace, he
soon discovered his mistake. The dissolute life of the monks utterly
disgusted him, while the clergy stormed him with petitions to continue
his lectures. Yielding to these, he was soon again surrounded by crowds
of students--so great that the monks at St. Denis were glad to get rid
of him. He accordingly retired to a lonely cell, to which he was
followed by more admirers than could find shelter or food. As the
schools of Paris were thereby emptied, his rivals did everything in
their power to put a stop to his teaching, declaring that as a monk he
ought not to teach profane science, nor as a layman in theology sacred
science. In order to legitimatize his claim to teach the latter, he now
wrote a theological treatise, regarding which he says:--

     "It so happened that I first endeavored to illuminate the
     basis of our faith by similitudes drawn from human reason,
     and to compose for our students a treatise on 'The Divine
     Unity and Trinity,' because they kept asking for human and
     philosophic reasons, and demanding rather what could be
     understood than what could be said, declaring that the mere
     utterance of words was useless unless followed by
     understanding; that nothing could be believed that was not
     first understood, and that it was ridiculous for any one to
     preach what neither he nor those he taught could comprehend,
     God himself calling such people blind leaders of the blind."

Here we have Abélard's central position, exactly the opposite to that of
his realist contemporary, Anselm of Canterbury, whose principle was
"Credo ut intelligam" (I believe, that I may understand). We must not
suppose, however, that Abélard, with his rationalism, dreamed of
undermining Christian dogma. Very far from it! He believed it to be
rational, and thought he could prove it so. No wonder that the book gave
offense, in an age when faith and ecstasy were placed above reason.
Indeed, his rivals could have wished for nothing better than this book,
which gave them a weapon to use against him. Led on by two old enemies,
Alberich and Lotulf, they caused an ecclesiastical council to be called
at Soissons, to pass judgment upon the book (1121). This judgment was a
foregone conclusion, the trial being the merest farce, in which the
pursuers were the judges, the Papal legate allowing his better reason to
be overruled by their passion. Abélard was condemned to burn his book in
public, and to read the Athanasian Creed as his confession of faith
(which he did in tears), and then to be confined permanently in the
monastery of St. Médard as a dangerous heretic.

His enemies seemed to have triumphed and to have silenced him forever.
Soon after, however, the Papal legate, ashamed of the part he had taken
in the transaction, restored him to liberty and allowed him to return to
his own monastery at St. Denis. Here once more his rationalistic,
critical spirit brought him into trouble with the bigoted, licentious
monks. Having maintained, on the authority of Beda, that Dionysius, the
patron saint of the monastery, was bishop of Corinth and not of Athens,
he raised such a storm that he was forced to flee, and took refuge on a
neighboring estate, whose proprietor, Count Thibauld, was friendly to
him. Here he was cordially received by the monks of Troyes, and allowed
to occupy a retreat belonging to them.

After some time, and with great difficulty, he obtained leave from the
abbot of St. Denis to live where he chose, on condition of not joining
any other order. Being now practically a free man, he retired to a
lonely spot near Nogent-sur-Seine, on the banks of the Ardusson. There,
having received a gift of a piece of land, he established himself along
with a friendly cleric, building a small oratory of clay and reeds to
the Holy Trinity. No sooner, however, was his place of retreat known
than he was followed into the wilderness by hosts of students of all
ranks, who lived in tents, slept on the ground, and underwent every kind
of hardship, in order to listen to him (1123). These supplied his wants,
and built a chapel, which he dedicated to the "Paraclete,"--a name at
which his enemies, furious over his success, were greatly scandalized,
but which ever after designated the whole establishment.

So incessant and unrelenting were the persecutions he suffered from
those enemies, and so deep his indignation at their baseness, that for
some time he seriously thought of escaping beyond the bounds of
Christendom, and seeking refuge among the Muslim. But just then (1125)
he was offered an important position, the abbotship of the monastery of
St. Gildas-de-Rhuys, in Lower Brittany, on the lonely, inhospitable
shore of the Atlantic. Eager for rest and a position promising
influence, Abélard accepted the offer and left the Paraclete, not
knowing what he was doing.

His position at St. Gildas was little less than slow martyrdom. The
country was wild, the inhabitants were half barbarous, speaking a
language unintelligible to him; the monks were violent, unruly, and
dissolute, openly living with concubines; the lands of the monastery
were subjected to intolerable burdens by the neighboring lord, leaving
the monks in poverty and discontent. Instead of finding a home of
God-fearing men, eager for enlightenment, he found a nest of greed and
corruption. His attempts to introduce discipline, or even decency, among
his "sons," only stirred up rebellion and placed his life in danger.
Many times he was menaced with the sword, many times with poison. In
spite of all that, he clung to his office, and labored to do his duty.
Meanwhile the jealous abbot of St. Denis succeeded in establishing a
claim to the lands of the convent at Argenteuil,--of which Héloïse, long
since famous not only for learning but also for saintliness, was now the
head,--and she and her nuns were violently evicted and cast on the
world. Hearing of this with indignation, Abélard at once offered the
homeless sisters the deserted Paraclete and all its belongings. The
offer was thankfully accepted, and Héloïse with her family removed there
to spend the remainder of her life. It does not appear that Abélard and
Héloïse ever saw each other at this time, although he used every means
in his power to provide for her safety and comfort. This was in 1129.
Two years later the Paraclete was confirmed to Héloïse by a Papal bull.
It remained a convent, and a famous one, for over six hundred years.

After this Abélard paid several visits to the convent, which he justly
regarded as his foundation, in order to arrange a rule of life for its
inmates, and to encourage them in their vocation. Although on these
occasions he saw nothing of Héloïse, he did not escape the malignant
suspicions of the world, nor of his own flock, which now became more
unruly than ever,--so much so that he was compelled to live outside the
monastery. Excommunication was tried in vain, and even the efforts of a
Papal legate failed to restore order. For Abélard there was nothing but
"fear within and conflict without." It was at this time, about 1132,
that he wrote his famous 'Historia Calamitatum,' from which most of the
above account of his life has been taken. In 1134, after nine years of
painful struggle, he definitely left St. Gildas, without, however,
resigning the abbotship. For the next two years he seems to have led a
retired life, revising his old works and composing new ones.

Meanwhile, by some chance, his 'History of Calamities' fell into the
hands of Héloïse at the Paraclete, was devoured with breathless
interest, and rekindled the flame that seemed to have smoldered in her
bosom for thirteen long years. Overcome with compassion for her husband,
for such he really was, she at once wrote to him a letter which reveals
the first healthy human heart-beat that had found expression in
Christendom for a thousand years. Thus began a correspondence which, for
genuine tragic pathos and human interest, has no equal in the world's
literature. In Abélard, the scholarly monk has completely replaced the
man; in Héloïse, the saintly nun is but a veil assumed in loving
obedience to him, to conceal the deep-hearted, faithful, devoted
flesh-and-blood woman. And such a woman! It may well be doubted if, for
all that constitutes genuine womanhood, she ever had an equal. If there
is salvation in love, Héloïse is in the heaven of heavens. She does not
try to express her love in poems, as Mrs. Browning did; but her simple,
straightforward expression of a love that would share Francesca's fate
with her lover, rather than go to heaven without him, yields, and has
yielded, matter for a hundred poems. She looks forward to no salvation;
for her chief love is for him. _Domino specialiter, sua singulariter_:
"As a member of the species woman I am the Lord's, as Héloïse I am
yours"--nominalism with a vengeance!

But to return to Abélard. Permanent quiet in obscurity was plainly
impossible for him; and so in 1136 we find him back at Ste. Généviève,
lecturing to crowds of enthusiastic students. He probably thought that
during the long years of his exile, the envy and hatred of his enemies
had died out; but he soon discovered that he was greatly mistaken. He
was too marked a character, and the tendency of his thought too
dangerous, for that. Besides, he emptied the schools of his rivals, and
adopted no conciliatory tone toward them. The natural result followed.
In the year 1140, his enemies, headed by St. Bernard, who had long
regarded him with suspicion, raised a cry of heresy against him, as
subjecting everything to reason. Bernard, who was nothing if not a
fanatic, and who managed to give vent to all his passions by placing
them in the service of his God, at once denounced him to the Pope, to
cardinals, and to bishops, in passionate letters, full of rhetoric,
demanding his condemnation as a perverter of the bases of the faith.

At that time a great ecclesiastical council was about to assemble at
Sens; and Abélard, feeling certain that his writings contained nothing
which he could not show to be strictly orthodox, demanded that he should
be allowed to explain and dialectically defend his position, in open
dispute, before it. But this was above all things what his enemies
dreaded. They felt that nothing was safe before his brilliant dialectic.
Bernard even refused to enter the lists with him; and preferred to draw
up a list of his heresies, in the form of sentences sundered from their
context in his works,--some of them, indeed, from works which he never
wrote,--and to call upon the council to condemn them. (These theses may
be found in Denzinger's 'Enchiridion Symbolorum et Definitionum,' pp.
109 _seq._) Abélard, clearly understanding the scheme, feeling its
unfairness, and knowing the effect of Bernard's lachrymose pulpit
rhetoric upon sympathetic ecclesiastics who believed in his power to
work miracles, appeared before the council, only to appeal from its
authority to Rome. The council, though somewhat disconcerted by this,
proceeded to condemn the disputed theses, and sent a notice of its
action to the Pope. Fearing that Abélard, who had friends in Rome, might
proceed thither and obtain a reversal of the verdict, Bernard set every
agency at work to obtain a confirmation of it before his victim could
reach the Eternal City. And he succeeded.

The result was for a time kept secret from Abélard, who, now over sixty
years old, set out on his painful journey. Stopping on his way at the
famous, hospitable Abbey of Cluny, he was most kindly entertained by its
noble abbot, who well deserved the name of Peter the Venerable. Here,
apparently, he learned that he had been condemned and excommunicated;
for he went no further. Peter offered the weary man an asylum in his
house, which was gladly accepted; and Abélard, at last convinced of the
vanity of all worldly ambition, settled down to a life of humiliation,
meditation, study, and prayer. Soon afterward Bernard made advances
toward reconciliation, which Abélard accepted; whereupon his
excommunication was removed. Then the once proud Abélard, shattered in
body and broken in spirit, had nothing more to do but to prepare for
another life. And the end was not far off. He died at St. Marcel, on the
21st of April, 1142, at the age of sixty-three. His generous host, in a
letter to Héloïse, gives a touching account of his closing days, which
were mostly spent in a retreat provided for him on the banks of the
Saône. There he read, wrote, dictated, and prayed, in the only quiet
days which his life ever knew.

The body of Abélard was placed in a monolith coffin and buried in the
chapel of the monastery of St. Marcel; but Peter the Venerable
twenty-two years afterward allowed it to be secretly removed, and
carried to the Paraclete, where Abélard had wished to lie. When Héloïse,
world-famous for learning, virtue, and saintliness, passed away, and her
body was laid beside his, he opened his arms and clasped her in close
embrace. So says the legend, and who would not believe it? The united
remains of the immortal lovers, after many vicissitudes, found at last
(let us hope), in 1817, a permanent resting place, in the Parisian
cemetery of Père Lachaise, having been placed together in Abélard's
monolith coffin. "In death they were not divided."

Abélard's character may be summed up in a few words. He was one of the
most brilliant and variously gifted men that ever lived, a sincere lover
of truth and champion of freedom. But unfortunately, his extraordinary
personal beauty and charm of manner made him the object of so much
attention and adulation that he soon became unable to live without
seeing himself mirrored in the admiration and love of others. Hence his
restlessness, irritability, craving for publicity, fondness for
dialectic triumph, and inability to live in fruitful obscurity; hence,
too, his intrigue with Héloïse, his continual struggles and
disappointments, his final humiliation and tragic end. Not having
conquered the world, he cannot claim the crown of the martyr.

Abélard's works were collected by Cousin, and published in three 4to
volumes (Paris, 1836, 1849, 1859). They include, besides the
correspondence with Héloïse, and a number of sermons, hymns, answers to
questions, etc., written for her, the following:--(1) 'Sic et Non,' a
collection of (often contradictory) statements of the Fathers concerning
the chief dogmas of religion, (2) 'Dialectic,' (3) 'On Genera and
Species,' (4) Glosses to Porphyry's 'Introduction,' Aristotle's
'Categories and Interpretation,' and Boethius's 'Topics,' (5)
'Introduction to Theology,' (6) 'Christian Theology,' (7) 'Commentary on
the Epistle to the Romans,' (9) 'Abstract of Christian Theology,' (10)
'Ethics, or Know Thyself,' (11) 'Dialogue between a Philosopher, a Jew,
and a Christian,' (12) 'On the Intellects,' (12) 'On the Hexameron,'
with a few short and unimportant fragments and tracts. None of Abélard's
numerous poems in the vernacular, in which he celebrated his love for
Héloïse, which he sang ravishingly (for he was a famous singer), and
which at once became widely popular, seem to have come down to us; but
we have a somewhat lengthy poem, of considerable merit (though of
doubtful authenticity), addressed to his son Astralabius, who grew to
manhood, became a cleric, and died, it seems, as abbot of Hauterive in
Switzerland, in 1162.

Of Abélard's philosophy, little need be added to what has been already
said. It is, on the whole, the philosophy of the Middle Age, with this
difference: that he insists upon making theology rational, and thus may
truly be called the founder of modern rationalism, and the initiator of
the struggle against the tyrannic authority of blind faith. To have been
so is his crowning merit, and is one that can hardly be overestimated.
At the same time it must be borne in mind that he was a loyal son of the
Church, and never dreamed of opposing or undermining her. His greatest
originality is in 'Ethics,' in which, by placing the essence of morality
in the intent and not in the action, he anticipated Kant and much modern
speculation. Here he did admirable work. Abélard founded no school,
strictly speaking; nevertheless, he determined the method and aim of
Scholasticism, and exercised a boundless influence, which is not dead.
Descartes and Kant are his children. Among his immediate disciples were
a pope, twenty-nine cardinals, and more than fifty bishops. His two
greatest pupils were Peter the Lombard, bishop of Paris, and author of
the 'Sentences,' the theological text-book of the schools for hundreds
of years; and Arnold of Brescia, one of the noblest champions of human
liberty, though condemned and banished by the second Council of
the Lateran.

The best biography of Abélard is that by Charles de Rémusat (2 vols.,
8vo, Paris, 1845). See also, in English, Wight's 'Abelard and Eloise'
(New York, 1853).

Thomas Davidson

       *       *       *       *       *


A letter of yours sent to a friend, best beloved, to console him in
affliction, was lately, almost by a chance, put into my hands. Seeing
the superscription, guess how eagerly I seized it! I had lost the
reality; I hoped to draw some comfort from this faint image of you. But
alas!--for I well remember--every line was written with gall
and wormwood.

How you retold our sorrowful history, and dwelt on your incessant
afflictions! Well did you fulfill that promise to your friend, that, in
comparison with your own, his misfortunes should seem but as trifles.
You recalled the persecutions of your masters, the cruelty of my uncle,
and the fierce hostility of your fellow-pupils, Albericus of Rheims, and
Lotulphus of Lombardy--how through their plottings that glorious book
your Theology was burned, and you confined and disgraced--you went on to
the machinations of the Abbot of St. Denys and of your false brethren of
the convent, and the calumnies of those wretches, Norbert and Bernard,
who envy and hate you. It was even, you say, imputed to you as an
offense to have given the name of Paraclete, contrary to the common
practice, to the Oratory you had founded.

The persecutions of that cruel tyrant of St. Gildas, and of those
execrable monks,--monks out of greed only, whom notwithstanding you call
your children,--which still harass you, close the miserable history.
Nobody could read or hear these things and not be moved to tears. What
then must they mean to me?

We all despair of your life, and our trembling hearts dread to hear the
tidings of your murder. For Christ's sake, who has thus far protected
you,--write to us, as to His handmaids and yours, every circumstance of
your present dangers. I and my sisters alone remain of all who were your
friends. Let us be sharers of your joys and sorrows. Sympathy brings
some relief, and a load laid on many shoulders is lighter. And write the
more surely, if your letters may be messengers of joy. Whatever message
they bring, at least they will show that you remember us. You can write
to comfort your friend: while you soothe his wounds, you inflame mine.
Heal, I pray you, those you yourself have made, you who bustle about to
cure those for which you are not responsible. You cultivate a vineyard
you did not plant, which grows nothing. Give heed to what you owe your
own. You who spend so much on the obstinate, consider what you owe the
obedient. You who lavish pains on your enemies, reflect on what you owe
your daughters. And, counting nothing else, think how you are bound to
me! What you owe to all devoted women, pay to her who is most devoted.

You know better than I how many treatises the holy fathers of the Church
have written for our instruction; how they have labored to inform, to
advise, and to console us. Is my ignorance to suggest knowledge to the
learned Abélard? Long ago, indeed, your neglect astonished me. Neither
religion, nor love of me, nor the example of the holy fathers, moved you
to try to fix my struggling soul. Never, even when long grief had worn
me down, did you come to see me, or send me one line of comfort,--me, to
whom you were bound by marriage, and who clasp you about with a
measureless love! And for the sake of this love have I no right to even
a thought of yours?

You well know, dearest, how much I lost in losing you, and that the
manner of it put me to double torture. You only can comfort me. By you I
was wounded, and by you I must be healed. And it is only you on whom the
debt rests. I have obeyed the last tittle of your commands; and if you
bade me, I would sacrifice my soul.

To please you my love gave up the only thing in the universe it
valued--the hope of your presence--and that forever. The instant I
received your commands I quitted the habit of the world, and denied all
the wishes of my nature. I meant to give up, for your sake, whatever I
had once a right to call my own.

God knows it was always you, and you only that I thought of. I looked
for no dowry, no alliance of marriage. And if the name of wife is holier
and more exalted, the name of friend always remained sweeter to me, or
if you would not be angry, a meaner title; since the more I gave up, the
less should I injure your present renown, and the more deserve
your love.

Nor had you yourself forgotten this in that letter which I recall. You
are ready enough to set forth some of the reasons which I used to you,
to persuade you not to fetter your freedom, but you pass over most of
the pleas I made to withhold you from our ill-fated wedlock. I call God
to witness that if Augustus, ruler of the world, should think me worthy
the honor of marriage, and settle the whole globe on me to rule forever,
it would seem dearer and prouder to me to be called your mistress than
his empress.

Not because a man is rich or powerful is he better: riches and power may
come from luck, constancy is from virtue. _I_ hold that woman base who
weds a rich man rather than a poor one, and takes a husband for her own
gain. Whoever marries with such a motive--why, she will follow his
prosperity rather than the man, and be willing to sell herself to a
richer suitor.

That happiness which others imagine, best beloved, I experienced. Other
women might think their husbands perfect, and be happy in the idea, but
I knew that you were so and the universe knew the same. What
philosopher, what king, could rival your fame? What village, city,
kingdom, was not on fire to see you? When you appeared in public, who
did not run to behold you? Wives and maidens alike recognized your
beauty and grace. Queens envied Héloïse her Abélard.

Two gifts you had to lead captive the proudest soul, your voice that
made all your teaching a delight, and your singing, which was like no
other. Do you forget those tender songs you wrote for me, which all the
world caught up and sang,--but not like you,--those songs that kept your
name ever floating in the air, and made me known through many lands, the
envy and the scorn of women?

What gifts of mind, what gifts of person glorified you! Oh, my loss! Who
would change places with me now!

And _you_ know, Abelard, that though I am the great cause of your
misfortunes, I am most innocent. For a consequence is no part of a
crime. Justice weighs not the thing done, but the intention. And how
pure was my intention toward you, you alone can judge. Judge me! I
will submit.

But how happens it, tell me, that since my profession of the life which
you alone determined, I have been so neglected and so forgotten that you
will neither see me nor write to me? Make me understand it, if you can,
or I must tell you what everybody says: that it was not a pure love like
mine that held your heart, and that your coarser feeling vanished with
absence and ill-report. Would that to me alone this seemed so, best
beloved, and not to all the world! Would that I could hear others excuse
you, or devise excuses myself!

The things I ask ought to seem very small and easy to you. While I
starve for you, do, now and then, by words, bring back your presence to
me! How can you be generous in deeds if you are so avaricious in words?
I have done everything for your sake. It was not religion that dragged
me, a young girl, so fond of life, so ardent, to the harshness of the
convent, but only your command. If I deserve nothing from you, how vain
is my labor! God will not recompense me, for whose love I have
done nothing.

When you resolved to take the vows, I followed,--rather, I ran before.
You had the image of Lot's wife before your eyes; you feared I might
look back, and therefore you deeded _me_ to God by the sacred vestments
and irrevocable vows before you took them yourself. For this, I own, I
grieved, bitterly ashamed that I could depend on you so little, when I
would lead or follow you straight to perdition. For my soul is always
with you and no longer mine own. And if it is not with you in these last
wretched years, it is nowhere. Do receive it kindly. Oh, if only you had
returned favor for favor, even a little for the much, words for things!
Would, beloved, that your affection would not take my tenderness and
obedience always for granted; that it might be more anxious! But just
because I have poured out all I have and am, you give me nothing.
Remember, oh, remember how much you owe!

There was a time when people doubted whether I had given you all my
heart, asking nothing. But the end shows how I began. I have denied
myself a life which promised at least peace and work in the world, only
to obey your hard exactions. I have kept back nothing for myself, except
the comfort of pleasing you. How hard and cruel are you then, when I ask
so little and that little is so easy for you to give!

In the name of God, to whom you are dedicate, send me some lines of
consolation. Help me to learn obedience! When you wooed me because
earthly love was beautiful, you sent me letter after letter. With your
divine singing every street and house echoed my name! How much more
ought you now to persuade to God her whom then you turned from Him! Heed
what I ask; think what you owe. I have written a long letter, but the
ending shall be short. Farewell, darling!


     _To Héloïse, his best beloved Sister in Christ,
         Abélard, her Brother in Him:_

If, since we resigned the world I have not written to you, it was
because of the high opinion I have ever entertained of your wisdom and
prudence. How could I think that she stood in need of help on whom
Heaven had showered its best gifts? You were able, I knew, by example as
by word, to instruct the ignorant, to comfort the timid, to kindle
the lukewarm.

When prioress of Argenteuil, you practiced all these duties; and if you
give the same attention to your daughters that you then gave to your
sisters, it is enough. All my exhortations would be needless. But if, in
your humility, you think otherwise, and if my words can avail you
anything, tell me on what subjects you would have me write, and as God
shall direct me I will instruct you. I thank God that the constant
dangers to which I am exposed rouse your sympathies. Thus I may hope,
under the divine protection of your prayers, to see Satan bruised
under my feet.

Therefore I hasten to send you the form of prayer you beseech of
me--you, my sister, once dear to me in the world, but now far dearer in
Christ. Offer to God a constant sacrifice of prayer. Urge him to pardon
our great and manifold sins, and to avert the dangers which threaten me.
We know how powerful before God and his saints are the prayers of the
faithful, but chiefly of faithful women for their friends, and of wives
for their husbands. The Apostle admonishes us to pray without
ceasing.... But I will not insist on the supplications of your
sisterhood, day and night devoted to the service of their Maker; to you
only do I turn. I well know how powerful your intercession may be. I
pray you, exert it in this my need. In your prayers, then, ever remember
him who, in a special sense, is yours. Urge your entreaties, for it is
just that you should be heard. An equitable judge cannot refuse it.

In former days, you remember, best beloved, how fervently you
recommended me to the care of Providence. Often in the day you uttered a
special petition. Removed now from the Paraclete, and surrounded by
perils, how much greater my need! Convince me of the sincerity of your
regard, I entreat, I implore you.

[The Prayer:] "O God, who by Thy servant didst here assemble Thy
handmaids in Thy Holy Name, grant, we beseech Thee, that he be protected
from all adversity, and be restored safe to us, Thy handmaids."

If Heaven permit my enemies to destroy me, or if I perish by accident,
see that my body is conveyed to the Paraclete. There, my daughters, or
rather my sisters in Christ, seeing my tomb, will not cease to implore
Heaven for me. No resting-place is so safe for the grieving soul,
forsaken in the wilderness of its sins, none so full of hope as that
which is dedicated to the Paraclete--that is, the Comforter.

Where could a Christian find a more peaceful grave than in the society
of holy women, consecrated by God? They, as the Gospel tells us, would
not leave their divine Master; they embalmed His body with precious
spices; they followed Him to the tomb, and there they held their vigil.
In return, it was to them that the angel of the resurrection appeared
for their consolation.

Finally, let me entreat you that the solicitude you now too strongly
feel for my life you will extend to the repose of my soul. Carry into my
grave the love you showed me when alive; that is, never forget to pray
Heaven for me.

Long life, farewell! Long life, farewell, to your sisters also! Remember
me, but let it be in Christ!

Translated for the 'World's Best Literature.'


     Oh, what shall be, oh, when shall be that holy Sabbath day,
     Which heavenly care shall ever keep and celebrate alway,
     When rest is found for weary limbs, when labor hath reward,
     When everything forevermore is joyful in the Lord?

     The true Jerusalem above, the holy town, is there,
     Whose duties are so full of joy, whose joy so free from care;
     Where disappointment cometh not to check the longing heart,
     And where the heart, in ecstasy, hath gained her better part.

     O glorious King, O happy state, O palace of the blest!
     O sacred place and holy joy, and perfect, heavenly rest!
     To thee aspire thy citizens in glory's bright array,
     And what they feel and what they know they strive in vain to say.

     For while we wait and long for home, it shall be ours to raise
     Our songs and chants and vows and prayers in that dear country's
     And from these Babylonian streams to lift our weary eyes,
     And view the city that we love descending from the skies.

     There, there, secure from every ill, in freedom we shall sing
     The songs of Zion, hindered here by days of suffering,
     And unto Thee, our gracious Lord, our praises shall confess
     That all our sorrow hath been good, and Thou by pain canst bless.

     There Sabbath day to Sabbath day sheds on a ceaseless light,
     Eternal pleasure of the saints who keep that Sabbath bright;
     Nor shall the chant ineffable decline, nor ever cease,
     Which we with all the angels sing in that sweet realm of peace.

     Translation of Dr. Samuel W. Duffield.



Early in the reign of Louis Napoleon, a serial story called 'Tolla,' a
vivid study of social life in Rome, delighted the readers of the Revue
des Deux Mondes. When published in book form in 1855 it drew a storm of
opprobrium upon its young author, who was accused of offering as his own
creation a translation of the Italian work 'Vittoria Savorelli.' This
charge, undoubtedly unjust, he indignantly refuted. It served at least
to make his name well known. Another book, 'La Question Romaine,' a
brilliant if somewhat superficial argument against the temporal power of
pope and priests, was a philosophic employment of the same material.
Appearing in 1860, about the epoch of the French invasion of Austrian
Italy, its tone agreed with popular sentiment and it was
favorably received.

[Illustration: EDMOND ABOUT]

Edmond François Valentin About had a freakish, evasive, many-sided
personality, a nature drawn in too many directions to achieve in any one
of these the success his talents warranted. He was born in Dreuze, and
like most French boys of literary ambition, soon found his way to Paris,
where he studied at the Lycée Charlemagne. Here he won the honor prize;
and in 1851 was sent to Athens to study archaeology at the École
Française. He loved change and out-of-the-way experiences, and two
studies resulted from this trip: 'La Grèce Contemporaine,' a book of
charming philosophic description; and the delightful story 'Le Roi des
Montagnes' (The King of the Mountains). This tale of the long-limbed
German student, enveloped in the smoke from his porcelain pipe as he
recounts a series of impossible adventures,--those of himself and two
Englishwomen, captured for ransom by Hadgi Stavros, brigand king in the
Grecian mountains,--is especially characteristic of About in the
humorous atmosphere of every situation.

About wrote stories so easily and well that his early desertion of
fiction is surprising. His mocking spirit has often suggested comparison
with Voltaire, whom he studied and admired. He too is a skeptic and an
idol-breaker; but his is a kindlier irony, a less incisive philosophy.
Perhaps, however, this influence led to lack of faith in his own work,
to his loss of an ideal, which Zola thinks the real secret of his
sudden change from novelist to journalist. Voltaire taught him to scoff
and disbelieve, to demand "à quoi bon?" and that took the heart out of
him. He was rather fond of exposing abuses, a habit that appears in
those witty letters to the Gaulois which in 1878 obliged him to suspend
that journal. His was a positive mind, interested in political affairs,
and with something always ready to say upon them. In 1872 he founded a
radical newspaper, Le XIXme Siècle (The Nineteenth Century), in
association with another aggressive spirit, that of Francisque Sarcey.
For many years he proved his ability as editor, business man, and
keen polemist.

He tried drama, too, inevitable ambition of young French authors; but
after the failure of 'Guillery' at the Théâtre Française and 'Gaétena'
at the Odéon, renounced the theatre. Indeed, his power is in odd
conceptions, in the covert laugh and humorous suggestion of the
phrasing, rather than in plot or characterization. He will always be
best known for the tales and novels in that thoroughly French
style--clear, concise, and witty--which in 1878 elected him president of
the Société des Gens de Lettres, and in 1884 won him a seat in
the Academy.

About wrote a number of novels, most of them as well known in
translation to English and American readers as to his French audience.
The bright stories originally published in the Moniteur, afterward
collected with the title 'Les Mariages de Paris' had a conspicuous
success, and were followed by a companion volume, 'Les Mariages de
Province.' 'L'Homme à l'Oreille Cassée' (The Man with the Broken
Ear)--the story of a mummy resuscitated to a world of new conditions
after many years of apparent death--shows his freakish delight in
oddity. So does 'Le Nez du Notaire' (The Notary's Nose), a gruesome tale
of the tribulations of a handsome society man, whose nose is struck off
in a duel by a revengeful Turk. The victim buys a bit of living skin
from a poor water-carrier, and obtains a new nose by successful
grafting. But he can nevermore get rid of the uncongenial Aquarius, who
exercises occult influence over the skin with which he has parted. When
he drinks too much, the Notary's nose is red; when he starves, it
dwindles away; when he loses the arm from which the graft was made, the
important feature drops off altogether, and the sufferer must needs buy
a silver one. About's latest novel, 'Le Roman d'un Brave Homme' (The
Story of an Honest Man), is in quite another vein, a charming picture of
bourgeois virtue in revolutionary days. 'Madelon' and 'La Vielle Roche'
(The Old School) are also popular.

French critics have not found much to say of this non-evolutionist of
letters, who is neither pure realist nor pure romanticist, and who has
no new theory of art. Some, indeed, may have scorned him for the wise
taste which refuses to tread the debatable ground common to French
fiction. But the reading public has received him with less conscious
analysis, and has delighted in him. If he sees only what any clever man
may see, and is no profound psychologist, yet he tells what he sees and
what he imagines with delightful spirit and delightful wit, and tinges
the fabric of his fancy with the ever-changing colors of his own
versatile personality, fanciful suggestions, homely realism, and bright
antithesis. Above all, he has the great gift of the story-teller.


From 'The King of the Mountains'

"ST! ST!"

I raised my eyes. Two thickets of mastic-trees and arbutus enclosed the
road on the right and left. From each tuft of trees protruded three or
four musket-barrels. A voice cried out in Greek, "Seat yourselves on the
ground!" This operation was the more easy to me, as my legs gave way
under me. But I consoled myself by thinking that Ajax, Agamemnon, and
the fiery Achilles, if they had found themselves in the same situation,
would not have refused the seat that was offered.

The musket-barrels were leveled upon us. It seemed to me that they
stretched out immeasurably, and that their muzzles were about to join
above our heads. It was not that fear disturbed my vision; but I had
never remarked so sensibly the desperate length of the Greek muskets!
The whole arsenal soon debouched into the road, and every barrel showed
its stock and its master.

The only difference which exists between devils and brigands is, that
devils are less black than they are said to be, and brigands more dirty
than people suppose. The eight bullies, who packed themselves in a
circle around us, were so filthy in appearance that I should have wished
to give them my money with a pair of tongs. You might guess, with a
little effort, that their caps had been red; but lye-wash itself could
not have restored the original color of their clothes. All the rocks of
the kingdom had stained their cotton shirts, and their vests preserved a
sample of the different soils on which they had reposed. Their hands,
their faces, and even their moustachios were of a reddish-gray, like the
soil which supports them. Every animal is colored according to its abode
and its habits: the foxes of Greenland are of the color of snow; lions,
of the desert; partridges, of the furrow; Greek brigands, of
the highway.

The chief of the little troop which had made us prisoners was
distinguished by no outward mark. Perhaps, however, his face, his hands,
and his clothes were richer in dust than those of his comrades. He
leaned toward us from the height of his tall figure, and examined us so
closely that I felt the grazing of his moustachios. You would have
pronounced him a tiger, who smells of his prey before tasting it. When
his curiosity was satisfied, he said to Dimitri, "Empty your pockets!"

Dimitri did not give him cause to repeat the order: he threw down before
him a knife, a tobacco-pouch, and three Mexican dollars, which compose a
sum of about sixteen francs.

"Is that all?" demanded the brigand.

"Yes, brother."

"You are the servant?"

"Yes, brother."

"Take back one dollar. You must not return to the city without money."

Dimitri haggled. "You could well allow me two," said he: "I have two
horses below; they are hired from the riding-school; I shall have to pay
for the day."

"You will explain to Zimmerman that we have taken your money from you."

"And if he wishes to be paid, notwithstanding?"

"Answer that he is lucky enough to see his horses again."

"He knows very well that you do not take horses. What would you do with
them in the mountains?"

"Enough! What is this big raw-boned animal next you?"

I answered for myself: "An honest German, whose spoils will not enrich

"You speak Greek well. Empty your pockets."

I deposited on the road a score of francs, my tobacco, my pipe, and my

"What is that?" asked the grand inquisitor.

"A handkerchief."

"For what purpose?"

"To wipe my nose."

"Why did you tell me that you were poor? It is only milords who wipe
their noses with handkerchiefs. Take off the box which you have behind
your back. Good! Open it!"

My box contained some plants, a book, a knife, a little package of
arsenic, a gourd nearly empty, and the remnants of my breakfast, which
kindled a look of covetousness in the eyes of Mrs. Simons. I had the
assurance to offer them to her before my baggage changed masters. She
accepted greedily, and began to devour the bread and meat. To my great
astonishment, this act of gluttony scandalized our robbers, who murmured
among themselves the word "Schismatic:" The monk made half a dozen signs
of the cross, according to the rite of the Greek Church.

"You must have a watch," said the brigand: "put it with the rest."

I gave up my silver watch, a hereditary toy of the weight of four
ounces. The villains passed it from hand to hand, and thought it very
beautiful. I was in hopes that admiration, which makes men better, would
dispose them to restore me something, and I begged their chief to let me
have my tin box. He imposed silence upon me roughly. "At least," said I,
"give me back two crowns for my return to the city!" He answered with a
sardonic smile, "You will not have need of them."

The turn of Mrs. Simons had come. Before putting her hand in her pocket,
she warned our conquerors in the language of her fathers. The English is
one of those rare idioms which one can speak with a mouth full. "Reflect
well on what you are going to do," said she, in a menacing tone. "I am
an Englishwoman, and English subjects are inviolable in all the
countries of the world. What you will take from me will serve you
little, and will cost you dear. England will avenge me, and you will all
be hanged, to say the least. Now if you wish my money, you have only to
speak; but it will burn your fingers: it is English money!"

"What does she say?" asked the spokesman of the brigands.

Dimitri answered, "She says that she is English."

"So much the better! All the English are rich. Tell her to do as you
have done."

The poor lady emptied on the sand a purse, which contained twelve
sovereigns. As her watch was not in sight, and as they made no show of
searching us, she kept it. The clemency of the conquerors left her her

Mary Ann threw down her watch, with a whole bunch of charms against the
evil eye. She cast before her, by a movement full of mute grace, a
shagreen bag, which she carried in her belt. The brigand opened it with
the eagerness of a custom-house officer. He drew from it a little
English dressing-case, a vial of English salts, a box of pastilles of
English mint, and a hundred and some odd francs in English money.

"Now," said the impatient beauty, "you can let us go: we have nothing
more for you." They indicated to her, by a menacing gesture, that the
session was not ended. The chief of the band squatted down before our
spoils, called "the good old man," counted the money in his presence,
and delivered to him the sum of forty-five francs. Mrs. Simons nudged me
on the elbow. "You see," said she, "the monk and Dimitri have betrayed
us: he is dividing the spoils with them."

"No, madam," replied I, immediately. "Dimitri has received a mere
pittance from that which they had stolen from him. It is a thing which
is done everywhere. On the banks of the Rhine, when a traveler is ruined
at roulette, the conductor of the game gives him something wherewith to
return home."

"But the monk?"

"He has received a tenth part of the booty in virtue of an immemorial
custom. Do not reproach him, but rather be thankful to him for having
wished to save us, when his convent was interested in our capture."

This discussion was interrupted by the farewells of Dimitri. They had
just set him at liberty.

"Wait for me," said I to him: "we will return together." He shook his
head sadly, and answered me in English, so as to be understood by the
ladies:-- "You are prisoners for some days, and you will not see Athens
again before paying a ransom. I am going to inform the milord. Have
these ladies any messages to give me for him?"

"Tell him," cried Mrs. Simons, "to run to the embassy, to go then to the
Piraeus and find the admiral, to complain at the foreign office, to
write to Lord Palmerston! They shall take us away from here by force of
arms, or by public authority, but I do not intend that they shall
disburse a penny for my liberty."

"As for me," replied I, without so much passion, "I beg you to tell my
friends in what hands you have left me. If some hundreds of drachms are
necessary to ransom a poor devil of a naturalist, they will find them
without trouble. These gentlemen of the highway cannot rate me very
high. I have a mind, while you are still here, to ask them what I am
worth at the lowest price."

"It would be useless, my dear Mr. Hermann! It is not they who fix the
figures of your ransom."

"And who then?"

"Their chief, Hadgi-Stavros."


From 'The King of the Mountains'

The camp of the King was a plateau, covering a surface of seven or eight
hundred metres. I looked in vain for the tents of our conquerors. The
brigands are not sybarites, and they sleep under the open sky on the
30th of April. I saw neither spoils heaped up nor treasures displayed,
nor any of those things which one expects to find at the headquarters of
a band of robbers. Hadgi-Stavros makes it his business to have the booty
sold; every man receives his pay in money, and employs it as he chooses.
Some make investments in commerce, others take mortgages on houses in
Athens, others buy land in their villages; no one squanders the products
of robbery. Our arrival interrupted the breakfast of twenty-five or
thirty men, who flocked around us with their bread and cheese. The chief
supports his soldiers; there is distributed to them every day one ration
of bread, oil, wine, cheese, caviare, allspice, bitter olives, and meat
when their religion permits it. The epicures who wish to eat mallows or
other herbs are at liberty to gather delicacies in the mountains.

The office of the King was as much like an office as the camp of the
robbers was like a camp. Neither tables nor chairs nor movables of any
sort were to be seen there. Hadgi-Stavros was seated cross-legged on a
square carpet in the shade of a fir-tree. Four secretaries and two
servants were grouped around him. A boy of sixteen or eighteen was
occupied incessantly in filling, lighting, and cleaning the chibouk of
his master. He carried in his belt a tobacco-pouch, embroidered with
gold and fine mother-of-pearl, and a pair of silver pincers intended for
taking up coals. Another servant passed the day in preparing cups of
coffee, glasses of water, and sweetmeats to refresh the royal mouth. The
secretaries, seated on the bare rock, wrote on their knees, with pens
made of reeds. Each of them had at hand a long copper box containing
reeds, penknife, and inkhorn. Some tin cylinders, like those in which
our soldiers roll up their discharges, served as a depository for the
archives. The paper was not of native manufacture, and for a good
reason, Every leaf bore the word BATH in capital letters.

The King was a fine old man, marvelously well preserved, straight, slim,
supple as a spring, spruce and shining as a new sabre. His long white
moustachios hung under his chin like two marble stalactites. The rest of
his face was carefully shaved, the skull bare even to the occiput, where
a long tress of white hair was rolled up under his hat. The expression
of his features appeared to me calm and thoughtful. A pair of small,
clear blue eyes and a square chin announced an indomitable will. His
face was long, and the position of the wrinkles lengthened it still
more. All the creases of the forehead were broken in the middle, and
seemed to direct themselves toward the meeting of the eyebrows; two wide
and deep furrows descended perpendicularly to the corners of the lips,
as if the weight of the moustachios had drawn in the muscles of
the face.

I have seen a good many septuagenarians; I have even dissected one who
would have reached a hundred years, if the diligence of Osnabrück had
not passed over his body: but I do not remember to have observed a more
green and robust old age than that of Hadgi-Stavros. He wore the dress
of Tino and of all the islands of the Archipelago. His red cap formed a
large crease at its base around his forehead. He had a vest of black
cloth, faced with black silk, immense blue pantaloons which contained
more than twenty metres of cotton cloth, and great boots of Russia
leather, elastic and stout. The only rich thing in his costume was a
scarf embroidered with gold and precious stones, which might be worth
two or three thousand francs. It inclosed in its folds an embroidered
cashmere purse, a Damascus sanjar in a silver sheath, a long pistol
mounted in gold and rubies, and the appropriate baton.

Quietly seated in the midst of his employees, Hadgi-Stavros moved only
the ends of his fingers and his lips; the lips to dictate his
correspondence, the fingers to count the beads in his chaplet. It was
one of those beautiful chaplets of milky amber which do not serve to
number prayers, but to amuse the solemn idleness of the Turk.

He raised his head at our approach, guessed at a glance the occurrence
which had brought us there, and said to us, with a gravity which had in
it nothing ironical, "You are welcome! Be seated."

"Sir," cried Mrs. Simons, "I am an Englishwoman, and--" He interrupted
the discourse by making his tongue smack against the teeth of his upper
jaw--superb teeth, indeed! "Presently," said he: "I am occupied." He
understood only Greek, and Mrs. Simons knew only English; but the
physiognomy of the King was so speaking that the good lady comprehended
easily without the aid of an interpreter.

Selections from 'The King of the Mountains' used by permission of J.E.
Tilton and Company.


From 'The Man with the Broken Ear': by permission of Henry Holt, the

Léon took his bunch of keys and opened the long oak box on which he had
been seated. The lid being raised, they saw a great leaden casket which
inclosed a magnificent walnut box carefully polished on the outside,
lined on the inside with white silk, and padded.

The others brought their lamps and candles near, and the colonel of the
Twenty-third of the line appeared as if he were in a chapel illuminated
for his lying in state.

One would have said that the man was asleep. The perfect preservation of
the body attested the paternal care of the murderer. It was truly a
remarkable preparation, and would have borne comparison with the finest
European mummies described by Vicq d'Azyr in 1779, and by the younger
Puymaurin in 1787. The part best preserved, as is always the case, was
the face. All the features had maintained a proud and manly expression.
If any old friend of the colonel had been at the opening of the third
box, he would have recognized him at first sight. Undoubtedly the point
of the nose was a little sharper, the nostrils less expanded and
thinner, and the bridge a little more marked, than in the year 1813. The
eyelids were thinned, the lips pinched, the corners of the mouth drawn
down, the cheek bones too prominent, and the neck visibly shrunken,
which exaggerated the prominence of the chin and larynx. But the eyelids
were closed without contraction, and the sockets much less hollow than
one could have expected; the mouth was not at all distorted, like the
mouth of a corpse; the skin was slightly wrinkled, but had not changed
color,--it had only become a little more transparent, showing after a
fashion the color of the tendons, the fat, and the muscles, wherever it
rested directly upon them. It also had a rosy tint which is not
ordinarily seen in embalmed corpses. Dr. Martout explained this anomaly
by saying that if the colonel had actually been dried alive, the
globules of the blood were not decomposed, but simply collected in the
capillary vessels of the skin and subjacent tissues, where they still
preserved their proper color, and could be seen more easily than
otherwise on account of the semi-transparency of the skin.

The uniform had become much too large, as may be readily understood,
though it did not seem at a casual glance that the members had become
deformed. The hands were dry and angular, but the nails, although a
little bent inward toward the root, had preserved all their freshness.
The only very noticeable change was the excessive depression of the
abdominal walls, which seemed crowded downward to the posterior side; at
the right, a slight elevation indicated the place of the liver. A tap of
the finger on the various parts of the body produced a sound like that
from dry leather. While Léon was pointing out these details to his
audience and doing the honors of his mummy, he awkwardly broke off the
lower part of the right ear, and a little piece of the colonel remained
in his hand. This trifling accident might have passed unnoticed had not
Clémentine, who followed with visible emotion all the movements of her
lover, dropped her candle and uttered a cry of affright. All gathered
around her. Léon took her in his arms and carried her to a chair. M.
Renault ran after salts. She was as pale as death, and seemed on the
point of fainting. She soon recovered, however, and reassured them all
by a charming smile.

"Pardon me," she said, "for such a ridiculous exhibition of terror; but
what Monsieur Léon was saying to us--and then--that figure which seemed
sleeping--it appeared to me that the poor man was going to open his
mouth and cry out, when he was injured."

Léon hastened to close the walnut box, while M. Martout picked up the
piece of ear and put it in his pocket. But Clémentine, while continuing
to smile and make apologies, was overcome by a fresh access of emotion
and melted into tears. The engineer threw himself at her feet, poured
forth excuses and tender phrases, and did all he could to console her
inexplicable grief.

Clémentine dried her eyes, looked prettier than ever, and sighed fit to
break her heart, without knowing why.

"Beast that I am!" muttered Léon, tearing his hair. "On the day when I
see her again after three years' absence, I can think of nothing more
soul-inspiring than showing her mummies!" He launched a kick at the
triple coffin of the colonel, saying, "I wish the devil had the
confounded colonel!"

"No!" cried Clémentine, with redoubled energy and emotion. "Do not curse
him, Monsieur Léon! He has suffered so much! Ah! poor, poor,
unfortunate man!"

Mlle. Sambucco felt a little ashamed. She made excuses for her niece,
and declared that never, since her tenderest childhood, had she
manifested such extreme sensitiveness ... Clémentine was no sensitive
plant. She was not even a romantic school-girl. Her youth had not been
nourished by Anne Radcliffe, she did not trouble herself about ghosts,
and she would go through the house very tranquilly at ten o'clock at
night without a candle. When her mother died, some months before Léon's
departure, she did not wish to have any one share with her the sad
satisfaction of watching and praying in the death chamber.

"This will teach us," said the aunt, "what staying up after ten o'clock
does. What! it is midnight, within a quarter of an hour! Come, my child;
you will recover fast enough after you get to bed."

Clémentine arose submissively; but at the moment of leaving the
laboratory she retraced her steps, and with a caprice more inexplicable
than her grief, she absolutely demanded to see the mummy of the colonel
again. Her aunt scolded in vain; in spite of the remarks of Mlle.
Sambucco and all the others present, she reopened the walnut box, knelt
down beside the mummy, and kissed it on the forehead.

"Poor man!" said she, rising. "How cold he is! Monsieur Léon, promise me
that if he is dead you will have him laid in consecrated ground!"

"As you please, mademoiselle. I intended to send him to the
anthropological museum, with my father's permission; but you know that
we can refuse you nothing."

Selections from 'The Man with the Broken Ear' used by permission of
Henry Holt and Company.


From 'The Man with the Broken Ear': by permission of Henry Holt, the

Forthwith the colonel marched and opened the windows with a
precipitation which upset the gazers among the crowd.

"People," said he, "I have knocked down a hundred beggarly pandours, who
respect neither sex nor infirmity. For the benefit of those who are not
satisfied, I will state that I call myself Colonel Fougas of the
Twenty-third. And _Vive l'Empéreur!_"

A confused mixture of plaudits, cries, laughs, and jeers answered this
unprecedented allocution. Léon Renault hastened out to make apologies to
all to whom they were due. He invited a few friends to dine the same
evening with the terrible colonel, and of course he did not forget to
send a special messenger to Clémentine. Fougas, after speaking to the
people, returned to his hosts, swinging himself along with a swaggering
air, set himself astride a chair, took hold of the ends of his mustache,
and said:--

"Well! Come, let's talk this over. I've been sick, then?"

"Very sick."

"That's incredible! I feel entirely well; I'm hungry; and moreover,
while waiting for dinner I'll try a glass of your schnick."

Mme. Renault went out, gave an order, and returned in an instant.

"But tell me, then, where I am?" resumed the colonel. "By these
paraphernalia of work, I recognize a disciple of Urania; possibly a
friend of Monge and Berthollet. But the cordial friendliness impressed
on your countenances proves to me that you are not natives of this land
of sauerkraut. Yes, I believe it from the beatings of my heart. Friends,
we have the same fatherland. The kindness of your reception, even were
there no other indications, would have satisfied me that you are French.
What accidents have brought you so far from our native soil? Children of
my country, what tempest has thrown you upon this inhospitable shore?"

"My dear colonel," replied M. Nibor, "if you want to become very wise,
you will not ask so many questions at once. Allow us the pleasure of
instructing you quietly and in order, for you have a great many things
to learn."

The colonel flushed with anger, and answered sharply:--

"At all events, you are not the man to teach them to me, my little

A drop of blood which fell on his hand changed the current of his

"Hold on!" said he: "am I bleeding?"

"That will amount to nothing: circulation is re-established, and--and
your broken ear--"

He quickly carried his hand to his ear, and said:--

"It's certainly so. But devil take me if I recollect this accident!"

"I'll make you a little dressing, and in a couple of days there will be
no trace of it left."

"Don't give yourself the trouble, my dear Hippocrates: a pinch of powder
is a sovereign cure!"

M. Nibor set to work to dress the ear in a little less military fashion.
During his operations Léon re-entered.

"Ah! ah!" said he to the doctor: "you are repairing the harm I did."

"Thunderation!" cried Fougas, escaping from the hands of M. Nibor so as
to seize Léon by the collar, "was it you, you rascal, that hurt my ear?"

Léon was very good-natured, but his patience failed him. He pushed his
man roughly aside.

"Yes, sir: it was I who tore your ear, in pulling it; and if that little
misfortune had not happened to me, it is certain that you would have
been to-day six feet under ground. It is I who saved your life, after
buying you with my money when you were not valued at more than
twenty-five louis. It is I who have passed three days and two nights in
cramming charcoal under your boiler. It is my father who gave you the
clothes you now have on. You are in our house. Drink the little glass of
brandy Gothon just brought you; but for God's sake give up the habit of
calling me rascal, of calling my mother 'Good Mother,' and of flinging
our friends into the street and calling them beggarly pandours!"

The colonel, all dumbfounded, held out his hand to Léon, M. Renault, and
the doctor, gallantly kissed the hand of Mme. Renault, swallowed at a
gulp a claret glass filled to the brim with brandy, and said, in a
subdued voice:--

"Most excellent friends, forget the vagaries of an impulsive but
generous soul. To subdue my passions shall hereafter be my law. After
conquering all the nations in the universe, it is well to conquer
one's self."

This said, he submitted his ear to M. Nibor, who finished dressing it.

"But," said he, summoning up his recollections, "they did not shoot me,


"And I wasn't frozen to death in the tower?"

"Not quite."

"Why has my uniform been taken off? I see! I am a prisoner!"

"You are free."

"Free! _Vive l'Empéreur!_ But then there's not a moment to lose! How
many leagues is it to Dantzic?"

"It's very far."

"What do you call this chicken-coop of a town?"


"Fontainebleau! In France?"

"Prefecture of Seine-et-Marne. We are going to introduce to you the
sub-préfect, whom you just pitched into the street."

"What the devil are your sub-prefects to me? I have a message from the
Emperor to General Rapp, and I must start this very day for Dantzic. God
knows whether I'll be there in time!"

"My poor colonel, you will arrive too late. Dantzic is given up."

"That's impossible! Since when?"

"About forty-six years ago."

"Thunder! I did not understand that you were--mocking me!"

M. Nibor placed in his hand a calendar, and said, "See for yourself! It
is now the 17th of August, 1859; you went to sleep in the tower of
Liebenfeld on the 11th of November, 1813: there have been, then,
forty-six years, within three months, during which the world has moved
on without you."

"Twenty-four and forty-six: but then I would be seventy years old,
according to your statement!"

"Your vitality clearly shows that you are still twenty-four."

He shrugged his shoulders, tore up the calendar, and said, beating the
floor with his foot, "Your almanac is a humbug!"

M. Renault ran to his library, took up half a dozen books at haphazard,
and made him read, at the foot of the title-pages, the dates 1826, 1833,
1847, and 1858.

"Pardon me!" said Fougas, burying his head in his hands. "What has
happened to me is so new! I do not think that another human being was
ever subjected to such a trial. I am seventy years old!"

Good Mme. Renault went and got a looking-glass from the bath-room and
gave it to him, saying:--


He took the glass in both hands, and was silently occupied in resuming
acquaintance with himself, when a hand-organ came into the court and
began playing 'Partant pour la Syrie.'

Fougas threw the mirror to the ground, and cried out:--

"What is that you are telling me? I hear the little song of Queen

M. Renault patiently explained to him, while picking up the pieces of
the mirror, that the pretty little song of Queen Hortense had become a
national air, and even an official one, since the regimental bands had
substituted that gentle melody for the fierce 'Marseillaise'; and that
our soldiers, strange to say, had not fought any the worse for it. But
the colonel had already opened the window, and was crying out to the
Savoyard with the organ:--

"Eh! Friend! A napoleon for you if you will tell me in what year I am
drawing the breath of life!"

The artist began dancing as lightly as possible, playing on his musical

"Advance at the order!" cried the colonel, "and keep that devilish
machine still!"

"A little penny, my good monsieur!"

"It is not a penny that I'll give you, but a napoleon, if you'll tell
what year it is."

"Oh, but that's funny! Hi--hi--hi!"

"And if you don't tell me quicker than this amounts to, I'll cut your
ears off!"

The Savoyard ran away, but he came back pretty soon, having meditated,
during his flight, on the maxim "Nothing risk, nothing gain."

"Monsieur," said he, in a wheedling voice, "this is the year eighteen
hundred and fifty-nine."

"Good!" cried Fougas. He felt in his pockets for money, and found
nothing there. Léon saw his predicament, and flung twenty francs into
the court. Before shutting the window, he pointed out, to the right,
the façade of a pretty little new building, where the colonel could
distinctly read:--


A perfectly satisfactory piece of evidence, and one which did not cost
twenty francs.

Fougas, a little confused, pressed Léon's hand and said to him:--

"My friend, I do not forget that Confidence is the first duty from
Gratitude toward Beneficence. But tell me of our country! I tread the
sacred soil where I received my being, and I am ignorant of the career
of my native land. France is still the queen of the world, is she not?"

"Certainly," said Léon.

"How is the Emperor?"


"And the Empress?"

"Very well."

"And the King of Rome?"

"The Prince Imperial? He is a very fine child."

"How? A fine child! And you have the face to say that this is 1859!"

M. Nibor took up the conversation, and explained in a few words that the
reigning sovereign of France was not Napoleon I., but Napoleon III.

"But then," cried Fougas, "my Emperor is dead!"


"Impossible! Tell me anything you will but that! My Emperor is

M. Nibor and the Renaults, who were not quite professional historians,
were obliged to give him a summary of the history of our century. Some
one went after a big book, written by M. de Norvins and illustrated with
fine engravings by Raffet. He only believed in the presence of Truth
when he could touch her with his hand, and still cried out almost every
moment, "That's impossible! This is not history that you are reading to
me: it is a romance written to make soldiers weep!"

This young man must indeed have had a strong and well-tempered soul; for
he learned in forty minutes all the woful events which fortune had
scattered through eighteen years, from the first abdication up to the
death of the King of Rome. Less happy than his old companions in arms,
he had no interval of repose between these terrible and repeated shocks,
all beating upon his heart at the same time. One could have feared that
the blow might prove mortal, and poor Fougas die in the first hour of
his recovered life. But the imp of a fellow yielded and recovered
himself in quick succession like a spring. He cried out with admiration
on hearing of the five battles of the campaign in France; he reddened
with grief at the farewells of Fontainebleau. The return from the Isle
of Elba transfigured his handsome and noble countenance; at Waterloo his
heart rushed in with the last army of the Empire, and there shattered
itself. Then he clenched his fists and said between his teeth, "If I had
been there at the head of the Twenty-Third, Blücher and Wellington would
have seen another fate!" The invasion, the truce, the martyr of St.
Helena, the ghastly terror of Europe, the murder of Murat,--the idol of
the cavalry,--the deaths of Ney, Bruno, Mouton-Duvernet, and so many
other whole-souled men whom he had known, admired, and loved, threw him
into a series of paroxysms of rage; but nothing crushed him. In hearing
of the death of Napoleon, he swore that he would eat the heart of
England; the slow agony of the pale and interesting heir of the Empire
inspired him with a passion to tear the vitals out of Austria. When the
drama was over, and the curtain fell on Schönbrunn, he dashed away his
tears and said, "It is well. I have lived in a moment a man's entire
life. Now show me the map of France!"

Léon began to turn over the leaves of an atlas, while M. Renault
attempted to continue narrating to the colonel the history of the
Restoration, and of the monarchy of 1830. But Fougas's interest was in
other things.

"What do I care," said he, "if a couple of hundred babblers of deputies
put one king in place of another? Kings! I've seen enough of them in the
dirt. If the Empire had lasted ten years longer, I could have had a king
for a bootblack."

When the atlas was placed before him, he at once cried out with profound
disdain, "That France?" But soon two tears of pitying affection,
escaping from his eyes, swelled the rivers Ardèche and Gironde. He
kissed the map and said, with an emotion which communicated itself to
nearly all those who were present:--

"Forgive me, poor old love, for insulting your misfortunes. Those
scoundrels whom we always whipped have profited by my sleep to pare down
your frontiers; but little or great, rich or poor, you are my mother,
and I love you as a faithful son! Here is Corsica, where the giant of
our age was born; here is Toulouse, where I first saw the light; here is
Nancy, where I felt my heart awakened--where, perhaps, she whom I call
my Aeglé waits for me still! France! Thou hast a temple in my soul; this
arm is thine; thou shalt find me ever ready to shed my blood to the last
drop in defending or avenging thee!"



Recent discoveries have carried the beginnings of civilization farther
and farther back into the remote past. Scholars are not agreed as to
what region can lay claim to the greatest literary antiquity. The oldest
historical records are found in Egypt and Babylonia, and each of these
lands has its advocates, who claim for it priority in culture. The data
now at our command are not sufficient for the decision of this question.
It may be doubted whether any one spot on the globe will ever be shown
to have precedence in time over all others,--whether, that is, it will
appear that the civilization of the world has proceeded from a single
centre. But though we are yet far from having reached the very
beginnings of culture, we know that they lie farther back than the
wildest dreams of half a century ago would have imagined. Established
kingdoms existed in Babylonia in the fourth millennium before the
beginning of our era; royal inscriptions have been found which are with
great probability assigned to about the year 3800 B.C. These are, it is
true, of the simplest description, consisting of a few sentences of
praise to a deity or brief notices of a campaign or of the building of a
temple; but they show that the art of writing was known, and that the
custom existed of recording events of the national history. We may
thence infer the existence of a settled civilization and of some sort of
literary productiveness.

The Babylonian-Assyrian writings with which we are acquainted may be
divided into the two classes of prose and poetry. The former class
consists of royal inscriptions (relating to military campaigns and the
construction of temples), chronological tables (eponym canons), legal
documents (sales, suits, etc.), grammatical tables (paradigms and
vocabularies), lists of omens and lucky and unlucky days, and letters
and reports passing between kings and governors; the latter class
includes cosmogonic poems, an epic poem in twelve books, detached
mythical narratives, magic formulas and incantations, and prayers to
deities (belonging to the ritual service of the temples). The prose
pieces, with scarcely an exception, belong to the historical period, and
may be dated with something like accuracy. The same thing is true of a
part of the poetical material, particularly the prayers; but the
cosmogonic and other mythical poems appear to go back, at least so far
as their material is concerned, to a very remote antiquity, and it is
difficult to assign them a definite date.

Whether this oldest poetical material belongs to the Semitic Babylonians
or to a non-Semitic (Sumerian-Accadian) people is a question not yet
definitely decided. The material which comes into consideration for the
solution of this problem is mainly linguistic. Along with the
inscriptions, which are obviously in the Semitic-Babylonian language,
are found others composed of words apparently strange. These are held by
some scholars to represent a priestly, cryptographic writing, by others
to be true Semitic words in slightly altered form, and by others still
to belong to a non-Semitic tongue. This last view supposes that the
ancient poetry comes, in substance at any rate, from a non-Semitic
people who spoke this tongue; while on the other hand, it is maintained
that this poetry is so interwoven into Semitic life that it is
impossible to regard it as of foreign origin. The majority of Semitic
scholars are now of the opinion that the origin of this early literature
is foreign. However this may be, it comes to us in Babylonian dress, it
has been elaborated by Babylonian hands, has thence found its way into
the literature of other Semitic peoples, and for our purposes may be
accepted as Babylonian. In any case it carries us back to very early
religious conceptions.

The cosmogonic poetry is in its outlines not unlike that of Hesiod, but
develops the ruder ideas at greater length. In the shortest (but
probably not the earliest) form of the cosmogony, the beginning of all
things is found in the watery abyss. Two abysmal powers (Tiamat and
Apsu), represented as female and male, mingle their waters, and from
them proceed the gods. The list of deities (as in the Greek cosmogony)
seems to represent several dynasties, a conception which may embody the
belief in the gradual organization of the world. After two less-known
gods, called Lahmu and Lahamu, come the more familiar figures of later
Babylonian writing, Anu and Ea. At this point the list unfortunately
breaks off, and the creative function which may have been assigned to
the gods is lost, or has not yet been discovered. The general similarity
between this account and that of Gen. i. is obvious: both begin with
the abysmal chaos. Other agreements between the two cosmogonies will be
pointed out below. The most interesting figure in this fragment is that
of Tiamat. We shall presently see her in the character of the enemy of
the gods. The two conceptions of her do not agree together perfectly,
and the priority in time must be assigned to the latter. The idea that
the world of gods and men and material things issued out of the womb of
the abyss is a philosophic generalization that is more naturally
assigned to a period of reflection.

In the second cosmogonic poem the account is more similar to that of the
second chapter of Genesis, and its present form originated in or near
Babylon. Here we have nothing of the primeval deep, but are told how the
gods made a beautiful land, with rivers and trees; how Babylon was built
and Marduk created man, and the Tigris and the Euphrates, and the beasts
and cities and temples. This also must be looked on as a comparatively
late form of the myth, since its hero is Marduk, god of Babylon. As in
the Bible account, men are created before beasts, and the region of
their first abode seems to be the same as the Eden of Genesis.

Let us now turn to the poem in which the combat between Tiamat and
Marduk forms the principal feature. For some unexplained reason Tiamat
rebels against the gods. Collecting her hosts, among them frightful
demon shapes of all imaginable forms, she advances for the purpose of
expelling the gods from their seats. The affrighted deities turn for
protection to the high gods, Anu and Ea, who, however, recoil in terror
from the hosts of the dragon Tiamat. Anshar then applies to Marduk. The
gods are invited to a feast, the situation is described, and Marduk is
invited to lead the heavenly hosts against the foe. He agrees on
condition that he shall be clothed with absolute power, so that he shall
only have to say "Let it be," and it shall be. To this the gods assent:
a garment is placed before him, to which he says "Vanish," and it
vanishes, and when he commands it to appear, it is present. The hero
then dons his armor and advances against the enemy. He takes Tiamat and
slays her, routs her host, kills her consort Kingu, and utterly destroys
the rebellion. Tiamat he cuts in twain. Out of one half of her he forms
the heavens, out of the other half the earth, and for the gods Anu and
Bel and Ea he makes a heavenly palace, like the abyss itself in extent.
To the great gods also he assigns positions, forms the stars,
establishes the year and month and the day. At this point the history is
interrupted, the tablet being broken. The creation of the heavenly
bodies is to be compared with the similar account in Gen. i.; whether
this poem narrates the creation of the rest of the world it is
impossible to say.

In this history of the rebellion of Tiamat against the gods we have a
mythical picture of some natural phenomenon, perhaps of the conflict
between the winter and the enlivening sun of summer. The poem appears to
contain elements of different dates. The rude character of some of the
procedures suggests an early time: Marduk slays Tiamat by driving the
wind into her body; the warriors who accompany her have those composite
forms familiar to us from Babylonian and Egyptian statues, paintings,
and seals, which are the product of that early thought for which there
was no essential difference between man and beast. The festival in which
the gods carouse is of a piece with the divine Ethiopian feasts of
Homer. On the other hand, the idea of the omnipotence of the divine
word, when Marduk makes the garment disappear and reappear, is scarcely
a primitive one. It is substantially identical with the Biblical "Let it
be, and it was." It is probable that the poem had a long career, and in
successive recensions received the coloring of different generations.
Tiamat herself has a long history. Here she is a dragon who assaults the
gods; elsewhere, as we have seen, she is the mother of the gods; here
also her body forms the heaven and the earth. She appears in Gen. i. 2
as the Tehom, the primeval abyss. In the form of the hostile dragon she
is found in numerous passages of the Old Testament, though under
different names. She is an enemy of Yahwe, god of Israel, and in the New
Testament (Rev. xii.) the combat between Marduk and Tiamat is
represented under the form of a fight between Michael and the Dragon. In
Christian literature Michael has been replaced by St. George. The old
Babylonian conception has been fruitful of poetry, representing, as it
does, in grand form the struggle between the chaotic and the formative
forces of the universe.

The most considerable of the old Babylonian poems, so far as length and
literary form are concerned, is that which has been commonly known as
the Izdubar epic. The form of the name is not certain: Mr. Pinches has
recently proposed, on the authority of a Babylonian text, to write it
Gilgamesh, and this form has been adopted by a number of scholars. The
poem (discovered by George Smith in 1872) is inscribed on twelve
tablets, each tablet apparently containing a separate episode.

The first tablet introduces the hero as the deliverer of his country
from the Elamites, an event which seems to have taken place before 2000
B.C. Of the second, third, fourth, and fifth tablets, only fragments
exist, but it appears that Gilgamesh slays the Elamite tyrant.

The sixth tablet recounts the love of Ishtar for the hero, to whom she
proposes marriage, offering him the tribute of the land. The reason he
assigns for his rejection of the goddess is the number and fatal
character of her loves. Among the objects of her affection were a wild
eagle, a lion, a war-horse, a ruler, and a husbandman; and all these
came to grief. Ishtar, angry at her rejection, complains to her father,
Anu, and her mother, Anatu, and begs them to avenge her wrong. Anu
creates a divine bull and sends it against Gilgamesh, who, however, with
the aid of his friend Eabani, slays the bull. Ishtar curses Gilgamesh,
but Eabani turns the curse against her.

The seventh tablet recounts how Ishtar descends to the underworld
seeking some better way of attacking the hero. The description of the
Babylonian Sheol is one of the most effective portions of the poem, and
with it George Smith connects a well-known poem which relates the
descent of Ishtar to the underworld. The goddess goes down to the house
of darkness from which there is no exit, and demands admittance of the
keeper; who, however, by command of the queen of the lower world,
requires her to submit to the conditions imposed on all who enter. There
are seven gates, at each of which he removes some portion of her
ornaments and dress. Ishtar, thus unclothed, enters and becomes a
prisoner. Meantime the upper earth has felt her absence. All love and
life has ceased. Yielding to the persuasions of the gods, Ea sends a
messenger to demand the release of the goddess. The latter passes out,
receiving at each gate a portion of her clothing. This story of Ishtar's
love belongs to one of the earliest stages of religious belief. Not only
do the gods appear as under the control of ordinary human passions, but
there is no consciousness of material difference between man and beast.
The Greek parallels are familiar to all. Of these ideas we find no trace
in the later Babylonian and Assyrian literature, and the poem was
doubtless interpreted by the Babylonian sages in allegorical fashion.

In the eighth and ninth tablets the death of Eabani is recorded, and the
grief of Gilgamesh. The latter then wanders forth in search of
Hasisadra, the hero of the Flood-story. After various adventures he
reaches the abode of the divinized man, and from him learns the story of
the Flood, which is given in the eleventh tablet.

This story is almost identical with that of the Book of Genesis. The God
Bel is determined to destroy mankind, and Hasisadra receives directions
from Ea to build a ship, and take into it provisions and goods and
slaves and beasts of the field. The ship is covered with bitumen. The
flood is sent by Shamash (the sun-god). Hasisadra enters the ship and
shuts the door. So dreadful is the tempest that the gods in affright
ascend for protection to the heaven of Anu. Six days the storm lasts. On
the seventh conies calm. Hasisadra opens a window and sees the mountain
of Nizir, sends forth a dove, which returns; then a swallow, which
returns; then a raven, which does not return; then, knowing that the
flood has passed, sends out the animals, builds an altar, and offers
sacrifice, over which the gods gather like flies. Ea remonstrates with
Bel, and urges that hereafter, when he is angry with men, instead of
sending a deluge, he shall send wild beasts, who shall destroy them.
Thereupon Bel makes a compact with Hasisadra, and the gods take him and
his wife and people and place them in a remote spot at the mouth of the
rivers. It is now generally agreed that the Hebrew story of the Flood is
taken from the Babylonian, either mediately through the Canaanites (for
the Babylonians had occupied Canaan before the sixteenth century B.C.),
or immediately during the exile in the sixth century. The Babylonian
account is more picturesque, the Hebrew more restrained and solemn. The
early polytheistic features have been excluded by the Jewish editors.

In addition to these longer stories there are a number of legends of no
little poetical and mythical interest. In the cycle devoted to the eagle
there is a story of the struggle between the eagle and the serpent. The
latter complains to the sun-god that the eagle has eaten his young. The
god suggests a plan whereby the hostile bird may be caught: the body of
a wild ox is to be set as a snare. Out of this plot, however, the eagle
extricates himself by his sagacity. In the second story the eagle comes
to the help of a woman who is struggling to bring a man-child
(apparently Etana) into the world. In the third is portrayed the
ambition of the hero Etana to ascend to heaven. The eagle promises to
aid him in accomplishing his design. Clinging to the bird, he rises with
him higher and higher toward the heavenly space, reaching the abode of
Anu, and then the abode of Ishtar. As they rise to height after height
the eagle describes the appearance of the world lying stretched out
beneath: at first it rises like a huge mountain out of the sea; then the
ocean appears as a girdle encircling the land, and finally but as a
ditch a gardener digs to irrigate his land. When they have risen so high
that the earth is scarcely visible, Etana cries to the eagle to stop; so
he does, but his strength is exhausted, and bird and man fall to
the earth.

Another cycle of stories deals with the winds. The god Zu longs to have
absolute power over the world. To that end he lurks about the door of
the sun-god, the possessor of the tablets of fate whereby he controls
all things. Each morning before beginning his journey, the sun-god steps
out to send light showers over the world. Watching his opportunity, Zu
glides in, seizes the tablets of fate, and flies away and hides himself
in the mountains. So great horror comes over the world: it is likely to
be scorched by the sun-god's burning beams. Anu calls on the storm-god
Ramman to conquer Zu, but he is frightened and declines the task, as do
other gods. Here, unfortunately, the tablet is broken, so that we do not
know by whom the normal order was finally restored.

In the collection of cuneiform tablets disinterred at Amarna in 1887
was found the curious story of Adapa. The demigod Adapa, the son of Ea,
fishing in the sea for the family of his lord, is overwhelmed by the
stormy south wind and cast under the waves. In anger he breaks the wings
of the wind, that it may no longer rage in the storm. Anu, informed that
the south wind no longer blows, summons Adapa to his presence. Ea
instructs his son to put on apparel of mourning, present himself at
Anu's gate, and there make friends with the porters, Tammuz and Iszida,
so that they may speak a word for him to Anu; going into the presence of
the royal deity, he will be offered food and drink which he must reject,
and raiment and oil which he must accept. Adapa carries out the
instructions of his father to the letter. Anu is appeased, but laments
that Adapa, by rejecting heavenly food and drink, has lost the
opportunity to become immortal. This story, the record of which is
earlier than the sixteenth century B.C., appears to contain two
conceptions: it is a mythical description of the history of the south
wind, but its conclusion presents a certain parallelism with the end of
the story of Eden in Genesis; as there Adam, so here Adapa, fails of
immortality because he infringes the divine command concerning the
divine food. We have here a suggestion that the story in Genesis is one
of the cycle which dealt with the common earthly fact of man's

The legend of Dibbarra seems to have a historical basis. The god
Dibbarra has devastated the cities of Babylonia with bloody wars.
Against Babylon he has brought a hostile host and slain its people, so
that Marduk, the god of Babylon, curses him. And in like manner he has
raged against Erech, and is cursed by its goddess Ishtar. He is charged
with confounding the righteous and unrighteous in indiscriminate
destruction. But Dibbarra determines to advance against the dwelling of
the king of the gods, and Babylonia is to be further desolated by civil
war. It is a poetical account of devastating wars as the production of a
hostile diety. It is obvious that these legends have many features in
common with those of other lands, myths of conflict between wind and
sun, and the ambition of heroes to scale the heights of heaven. How far
these similarities are the independent products of similar situations,
and how far the results of loans, cannot at present be determined.

The moral-religious literature of the Babylonians is not inferior in
interest to the stories just mentioned. The hymns to the gods are
characterized by a sublimity and depth of feeling which remind us of the
odes of the Hebrew Psalter. The penitential hymns appear to contain
expressions of sorrow for sin, which would indicate a high development
of the religious consciousness. These hymns, apparently a part of the
temple ritual, probably belong to a relatively late stage of history;
but they are none the less proof that devotional feeling in ancient
times was not limited to any one country.

Other productions, such as the hymn to the seven evil spirits
(celebrating their mysterious power), indicate a lower stage of
religious feeling; this is specially visible in the magic formulas,
which portray a very early stratum of religious history. They recall the
Shamanism of Central Asia and the rites of savage tribes; but there is
no reason to doubt that the Semitic religion in its early stages
contained this magic element, which is found all the world over.

Riddles and Proverbs are found among the Babylonians, as among all
peoples. Comparatively few have been discovered, and these present
nothing of peculiar interest. The following may serve as
specimens:--"What is that which becomes pregnant without conceiving, fat
without eating?" The answer seems to be "A cloud." "My coal-brazier
clothes me with a divine garment, my rock is founded in the sea" (a
volcano). "I dwell in a house of pitch and brick, but over me glide the
boats" (a canal). "He that says, 'Oh, that I might exceedingly avenge
myself!' draws from a waterless well, and rubs the skin without oiling
it." "When sickness is incurable and hunger unappeasable, silver and
gold cannot restore health nor appease hunger." "As the oven waxes old,
so the foe tires of enmity." "The life of yesterday goes on every day."
"When the seed is not good, no sprout comes forth."

The poetical form of all these pieces is characterized by that
parallelism of members with which we are familiar in the poetry of the
Old Testament. It is rhythmical, but apparently not metrical: the
harmonious flow of syllables in any one line, with more or less beats or
cadences, is obvious; but it does not appear that syllables were
combined into feet, or that there was any fixed rule for the number of
syllables or beats in a line. So also strophic divisions may be
observed, such divisions naturally resulting from the nature of all
narratives. Sometimes the strophe seems to contain four lines, sometimes
more. No strophic rule has yet been established; but it seems not
unlikely that when the longer poetical pieces shall have been more
definitely fixed in form, certain principles of poetical composition
will present themselves. The thought of the mythical pieces and the
prayers and hymns is elevated and imaginative. Some of this poetry
appears to have belonged to a period earlier than 2000 B.C. Yet the
Babylonians constructed no epic poem like the (Iliad,) or at any rate
none such has yet been found. Their genius rather expressed itself in
brief or fragmentary pieces, like the Hebrews and the Arabs.

The Babylonian prose literature consists almost entirely of short
chronicles and annals. Royal inscriptions have been found covering the
period from 3000 B.C. to 539 B.C. There are eponym canons, statistical
lists, diplomatic letters, military reports; but none of these rise to
the dignity of history. Several connected books of chronicles have
indeed been found; there is a synchronistic book of annals of Babylonia
and Assyria, there is a long Assyrian chronicle, and there are
annalistic fragments. But there is no digested historical narrative,
which gives a clear picture of the general civil and political
situation, or any analysis of the characters of kings, generals, and
governors, or any inquiry into causes of events. It is possible that
narratives having a better claim to the name of history may yet be
discovered, resembling those of the Biblical Book of Kings; yet the Book
of Kings is scarcely history--neither the Jews nor the Babylonians and
Assyrians seem to have had great power in this direction.

One of the most interesting collections of historical pieces is that
recently discovered at Amarna. Here, out of a mound which represents a
palace of the Egyptian King Amenhotep IV., were dug up numerous letters
which were exchanged between the kings of Babylonia and Egypt in the
fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, and numerous reports sent to the
Egyptian government by Egyptian governors of Canaanite cities. These
tablets show that at this early time there was lively communication
between the Euphrates and the Nile, and they give a vivid picture of the
chaotic state of affairs in Canaan, which was exposed to the assaults of
enemies on all sides. This country was then in possession of Egypt, but
at a still earlier period it must have been occupied by the Babylonians.
Only in this way can we account for the surprising fact that the
Babylonian cuneiform script and the Babylonian language form the means
of communication between the east and west and between Egypt and Canaan.
The literary value of these letters is not great; their interest is
chiefly historic and linguistic. The same thing is true of the contract
tablets, which are legal documents: these cover the whole area of
Babylonian history, and show that civil law attained a high state of
perfection; they are couched in the usual legal phrases.

The literary monuments mentioned above are all contained in tablets,
which have the merit of giving in general contemporaneous records of the
things described. But an account of Babylonian literature would be
incomplete without mention of the priest Berosus. Having, as priest of
Bel, access to the records of the temples, he wrote a history of his
native land, in which he preserved the substance of a number of poetical
narratives, as well as the ancient accounts of the political history.
The fragments of his work which have been preserved (see Cory's 'Ancient
Fragments') exhibit a number of parallels with the contents of the
cuneiform tablets. Though he wrote in Greek (he lived in the time of
Alexander the Great), and was probably trained in the Greek learning of
his time, his work doubtless represents the spirit of Babylonian
historical writing. So far as can be judged from the remains which have
come down to us, its style is of the annalistic sort which appears in
the old inscriptions and in the historical books of the Bible.

The Babylonian literature above described must be understood to include
the Assyrian. Civilization was first established in Babylonia, and there
apparently were produced the great epic poems and the legends. But
Assyria, when she succeeded to the headship of the Mesopotamian valley,
in the twelfth century B.C., adopted the literature of her southern
sister. A great part of the old poetry has been found in the library of
Assurbanipal, at Nineveh (seventh century B.C.), where a host of scribes
occupied themselves with the study of the ancient literature. They
seem to have had almost all the apparatus of modern critical work.
Tablets were edited, sometimes with revisions. There are bilingual
tablets, presenting in parallel columns the older texts (called
Sumerian-Accadian) and the modern version. There are numerous
grammatical and lexicographical lists. The records were accessible, and
often consulted. Assurbanipal, in bringing back a statue of the goddess
Nana from the Elamite region, says that it was carried off by the
Elamites 1635 years before; and Nabonidus, the last king of Babylon
(circa B.C. 550), a man devoted to temple restoration, refers to an
inscription of King Naram-Sin, of Agane, who, he says, reigned 3200
years before. In recent discoveries made at Nippur, by the American
Babylonian Expedition, some Assyriologists find evidence of the
existence of a Babylonian civilization many centuries before B.C. 4000
(the dates B.C. 5000 and B.C. 6000 have been mentioned); the material is
now undergoing examination, and it is too early to make definite
statements of date. See Peters in American Journal of Archaeology for
January-March, 1895, and July-September, 1895; and Hilprecht, 'The
Babylonian Expedition of the University of Pennsylvania,' Vol. i.,
Part 2, 1896.

The Assyrian and Babylonian historical inscriptions, covering as they do
the whole period of Jewish history down to the capture of Babylon by
Cyrus, are of very great value for the illustration of the Old
Testament. They have a literary interest also. Many of them are written
in semi-rhythmical style, a form which was favored by the inscriptional
mode of writing. The sentences are composed of short parallel clauses,
and the nature of the material induced a division into paragraphs which
resemble strophes. They are characterized also by precision and
pithiness of statement, and are probably as trust-worthy as official
records ever are.

[Illustration: Signature]


     In the time when above the heaven was not named,
     The earth beneath bore no name,
     When the ocean, the primeval parent of both,
     The abyss Tiamat the mother of both....

     The waters of both mingled in one.
     No fields as yet were tilled, no moors to be seen,
     When as yet of the gods not one had been produced,

          No names they bore, no titles they had,
          Then were born of the gods....
          Lachmu Lachamu came into existence.
          Many ages past....
          Anshar, Kishar were born.
          Many days went by. Anu....

[Here there is a long lacuna. The lost lines completed the history of
the creation of the gods, and gave the reason for the uprising of Tiamat
with her hosts. What it was that divided the divine society into two
hostile camps can only be conjectured; probably Tiamat, who represents
the unfriendly or chaotic forces of nature, saw that her domain was
being encroached on by the light-gods, who stand for cosmic order.]


     To her came flocking all the gods,
     They gathered together, they came to Tiamat;
     Angry they plan, restless by night and by day,
     Prepare for war with gestures of rage and hate,
     With combined might to begin the battle.
     The mother of the abyss, she who created them all,
     Unconquerable warriors, gave them giant snakes,
     Sharp of tooth, pitiless in might,
     With poison like blood she filled their bodies,
     Huge poisonous adders raging, she clothed them with dread,
     Filled them with splendor....
     He who sees them shuddering shall seize him,
     They rear their bodies, none can resist their breast.
     Vipers she made, terrible snakes....
     ... raging dogs, scorpion-men ... fish men....
     Bearing invincible arms, fearless in the fight.
     Stern are her commands, not to be resisted.
     Of all the first-born gods, because he gave her help,
     She raised up Kingu in the midst, she made him the greatest,
     To march in front of the host, to lead the whole,
     To begin the war of arms, to advance the attack,
     Forward in the fight to be the triumpher.
     This she gave into his hand, made him sit on the throne:--
     By my command I make thee great in the circle of the gods;
     Rule over all the gods I have given to thee,
     The greatest shalt thou be, thou my chosen consort;
     Be thy name made great over all the earth.
     She gave him the tablets of fate, laid them on his breast.
     Thy command be not gainsaid, thy word stand fast.
     Thus lifted up on high, endued with Anu's rank,
     Among the gods her children Kingu did bear rule.

[The gods, dismayed, first appeal to Anu for aid against Tiamat, but he
refuses to lead the attack. Anshar then sends to invite the gods to
a feast.]

     Anshar opened his mouth,
     To Gaga, his servant, spake he:--
     Go, O Gaga, my servant thou who delightest my soul,
     To Lachmu Lachamu I will send thee...
     That the gods may sit at the feast,
     Bread to eat, wine to drink,
     To give the rule to Marduk.
     Up Gaga, to them go,
     And tell what I say to thee:--
     Anshar, your son, has sent me,
     Told me the desire of his heart.

[He repeats the preceding description of Tiamat's preparations, and
announces that Marduk has agreed to face the foe.]

     I sent Anu, naught can he against her.
     Nudimmud was afraid and turned cowering back,
     Marduk accepted the task, the ruler of gods, your son,
     Against Tiamat to march his heart impels him.
     So speaks he to me:
     If I succeed, I, your avenger,
     Conquer Tiamat and save your lives.
     Come, ye all, and declare me supreme,
     In Upsukkenaku enter ye joyfully all.
     With my mouth will I bear rule,
     Unchangeable be whate'er I do,
     The word of my lips be never reversed or gainsaid.
     Come and to him give over the rule,
     That he may go and meet the evil foe.
     Gaga went, strode on his way,
     Humbly before Lachmu and Lachamu, the gods, his fathers,
     He paid his homage and kissed the ground,
     Bent lowly down and to them spake:--
     Anshar, your son, has sent me,
     Told me the desire of his heart.

[Gaga then repeats Anshar's message at length, and the narrative proceeds.]

     Lachmu and Lachamu heard and were afraid,
     The Igigi all lamented sore:
     What change has come about that she thus hates us?
     We cannot understand this deed of Tiamat.
     With hurry and haste they went,
     The great gods, all the dealers of fate,
     ... with eager tongue, sat themselves down to the feast.
     Bread they ate, wine they drank,
     The sweet wine entered their souls,
     They drank their fill, full were their bodies.

[In this happy state they were ready to accept Marduk's conditions.]

     To Marduk, their avenger, they gave over the rule.
     They lifted him up on a lofty throne,
     Above his fathers he took his place as judge:--
     Most honored be thou among the great gods,
     Unequaled thy rule, thy word is Anu.
     From this time forth thy command be not gainsaid;
     To lift up and cast down be the work of thy hand;
     The speech of thy mouth stand fast, thy word be irresistible,
     None of the gods shall intrude on thy domain,
     Fullness of wealth, the desire of the temples of the gods,
     Be the portion of thy shrine, though they be in need.
     Marduk, thou, our avenger,
     Thine be the kingdom over all forever.
     Sit thee down in might, noble be thy word,
     Thy arms shall never yield, the foes they shall crush.
     O lord, he who trusts in thee, him grant thou life,
     But the deity who set evil on foot, her life pour out.
     Then in the midst they placed a garment.
     To Marduk their first-born thus spake they:--
     Thy rule, O lord, be chief among the gods,
     To destroy and to create--speak and let it be.
     Open thy mouth, let the garment vanish.
     Utter again thy command, let the garment appear.
     He spake with his mouth, vanished the garment;
     Again he commanded, and the garment appeared.
     When the gods, his fathers, saw thus his word fulfilled,
     Joyful were they and did homage: Marduk is king.
     On him conferred sceptre and throne....
     Gave him invincible arms to crush them that hate him.
     Now go and cut short the life of Tiamat,
     May the winds into a secret place carry her blood.
     The ruler of the gods they made him, the gods, his fathers,
     Wished him success and glory in the way on which he went.
     He made ready a bow, prepared it for use,
     Made ready a spear to be his weapon.
     He took the ... seized it in his right hand,
     Bow and quiver hung at his side,
     Lightning he fashioned flashing before him,
     With glowing flame he filled its body,
     A net he prepared to seize Tiamat,
     Guarded the four corners of the world that nothing of her
          should escape,
     On South and North, on East and West
     He laid the net, his father Anu's gift.
     He fashioned the evil wind, the south blast, the tornado,
     The four-and-seven wind, the wind of destruction and woe,
     Sent forth the seven winds which he had made
     Tiamat's body to destroy, after him they followed.
     Then seized the lord the thunderbolt, his mighty weapon,
     The irresistible chariot, the terrible, he mounted,
     To it four horses he harnessed, pitiless, fiery, swift,
     Their teeth were full of venom covered with foam.

       *       *       *       *       *

     On it mounted Marduk the mighty in battle.
     To right and left he looked, lifting his eye.
     His terrible brightness surrounded his head.
     Against her he advanced, went on his way,
     To Tiamat lifted his face.

       *       *       *       *       *

     They looked at him, at him looked the gods,
     The gods, his fathers, looked at him; at him looked the gods.
     And nearer pressed the lord, with his eye piercing Tiamat.
     On Kingu her consort rested his look.
     As he so looked, every way is stopped.
     His senses Kingu loses, vanishes his thought,
     And the gods, his helpers, who stood by his side
     Saw their leader powerless....
     But Tiamat stood, not turning her back.
     With fierce lips to him she spake:--

       *       *       *       *       *

     Then grasped the lord his thunderbolt, his mighty weapon,
     Angry at Tiamat he hurled his words:--

       *       *       *       *       *

     When Tiamat heard these words,
     She fell into fury, beside herself was she.
     Tiamat cried wild and loud
     Till through and through her body shook.
     She utters her magic formula, speaks her word,
     And the gods of battle rush to arms.
     Then advance Tiamat, and Marduk the ruler of the gods
     To battle they rush, come on to the fight.
     His wide-stretched net over her the lord did cast,
     The evil wind from behind him he let loose in her face.
     Tiamat opened her throat as wide as she might,
     Into it he sent the evil wind before she could close her lips.
     The terrible winds filled her body,
     Her senses she lost, wide open stood her throat.
     He seized his spear, through her body he ran it,
     Her inward parts he hewed, cut to pieces her heart.
     Her he overcame, put an end to her life,
     Cast away her corpse and on it stood.
     So he, the leader, slew Tiamat,
     Her power he crushed, her might he destroyed.
     Then the gods, her helpers, who stood at her side,
     Fear and trembling seized them, their backs they turned,
     Away they fled to save their lives.
     Fast were they girt, escape they could not,
     Captive he took them, broke in pieces their arms.
     They were caught in the net, sat in the toils,
     All the earth they filled with their cry.
     Their doom they bore, held fast in prison,
     And the eleven creatures, clothed with dread,
     A herd of demons who with her went,
     These he subdued, destroyed their power,
     Crushed their valor, trod them under foot;
     And Kingu, who had grown great over them all,
     Him he overcame with the god Kugga,
     Took from him the tablets of fate which were not rightfully his,
     Stamped thereon his seal, and hung them on his breast.
     When thus the doughty Marduk had conquered his foes,
     His proud adversary to shame had brought,
     Had completed Anshar's triumph over the enemy,
     Had fulfilled Nudimmud's will,
     Then the conquered gods he put in prison,
     And to Tiamat, whom he had conquered, returned.
     Under his foot the lord Tiamat's body trod,
     With his irresistible club he shattered her skull,
     Through the veins of her blood he cut;
     Commanded the north wind to bear it to a secret place.
     His fathers saw it, rejoiced and shouted.
     Gifts and offerings to him they brought.
     The lord was appeased seeing her corpse.
     Dividing her body, wise plans he laid.
     Into two halves like a fish he divided her,
     Out of one half he made the vault of heaven,
     A bar he set and guards he posted,
     Gave them command that the waters pass not through.
     Through the heaven he strode, viewed its spaces,
     Near the deep placed Nudimmud's dwelling.
     And the lord measured the domain of the deep,
     A palace like it, Eshara, he built,
     The palace Eshara which he fashioned as heaven.
     Therein made he Anu, Bel, and Ea to dwell.
     He established the station of the great gods,
     Stars which were like them, constellations he set,
     The year he established, marked off its parts,
     Divided twelve months by three stars,
     From the day that begins the year to the day that ends it
     He established the station Nibir to mark its limits.
     That no harm come, no one go astray,
     The stations of Bel and Ea be set by its side.
     Great doors he made on this side and that,
     Closed them fast on left and right.

       *       *       *       *       *

     The moon-god he summoned, to him committed the night.

[Here the account breaks off; there probably followed the history of the
creation of the earth and of man.]


     To the underworld I turn,
     I spread my wings like a bird,
     I descend to the house of darkness, to the dwelling of Irkalla,
     To the house from which there is no exit,
     The road on which there is no return,
     To the house whose dwellers long for light,
     Dust is their nourishment and mud their food,
     Whose chiefs are like feathered birds,
     Where light is never seen, in darkness they dwell.
     In the house which I will enter
     There is treasured up for me a crown,
     With the crowned ones who of old ruled the earth,
     To whom Anu and Bel have given terrible names,
     Carrion is their food, their drink stagnant water.
     There dwell the chiefs and unconquered ones,
     There dwell the bards and the mighty men,
     Monsters of the deep of the great gods.
     It is the dwelling of Etana, the dwelling of Ner,
     Of Ninkigal, the queen of the underworld....
     Her I will approach and she will see me.


[After a description substantially identical with the first half of the
preceding poem, the story goes on:--]

     To the gate of the underworld Ishtar came,
     To the keeper of the gate her command she addressed:--
     Keeper of the waters, open thy gate,
     Open thy gate that I may enter.
     If thou open not the gate and let me in,
     I will strike the door, the posts I will shatter,
     I will strike the hinges, burst open the doors,
     I will raise up the dead devourers of the living,
     Over the living the dead shall triumph.
     The keeper opened his mouth and spake,
     To the Princess Ishtar he cried:--
     Stay, lady, do not thus,
     Let me go and repeat thy words to Queen Ninkigal.

[He goes and gets the terrible queen's permission for Ishtar to enter
on certain conditions.]

     Through the first gate he caused her to pass
     The crown of her head he took away.
     Why, O keeper, takest thou away the great crown of my head?
     Thus, O lady, the goddess of the underworld doeth to all
          her visitors at the entrance.
     Through the second gate he caused her to pass,
     The earrings of her ears he took away.
     Why, O keeper, takest thou away the earrings of my ears?
     So, O lady, the goddess of the underworld doeth to all that
          enter her realm.

[And so at each gate till she is stripped of clothing. A long time
Ninkigal holds her prisoner, and in the upper world love vanishes and
men and gods mourn. Ea sees that Ishtar must return, and sends his
messenger to bring her.]

     Go forth, O messenger,
     Toward the gates of the underworld set thy face,
     Let the seven gates of Hades be opened at thy presence,
     Let Ninkigal see thee and rejoice at thy arrival,
     That her heart be satisfied and her anger be removed.
     Appease her by the names of the great gods . . .
     Ninkigal, when this she heard,
     Beat her breast and wrung her hands,
     Turned away, no comfort would she take.
     Go, thou messenger,
     Let the great jailer keep thee,
     The refuse of the city be thy food,
     The drains of the city thy drink,
     The shadow of the dungeon be thy resting-place,
     The slab of stone be thy seat.
     Ninkigal opened her mouth and spake,
     To Simtar, her attendant, her command she gave.
     Go, Simtar, strike the palace of judgment,
     Pour over Ishtar the water of life, and bring her before me.
     Simtar went and struck the palace of judgment,
     On Ishtar he poured the water of life and brought her.
     Through the first gate he caused her to pass,
     And restored to her her covering cloak.

[And so through the seven gates till all her ornaments are restored. The
result of the visit to the underworld is not described.]


[The hero Gilgamesh (Izdubar), wandering in search of healing for his
sickness, finds Hasisadra (Xisuthros), the Babylonian Noah, who tells
him the story of the Flood.]

     Hasisadra spake to him, to Gilgamesh:---
     To thee I will reveal, Gilgamesh, the story of my deliverance,
     And the oracle of the gods I will make known to thee.
     The city Surippak, which, as thou knowest,
     Lies on the Euphrates' bank,
     Already old was this city
     When the gods that therein dwell
     To send a flood their heart impelled them,
     All the great gods: their father Anu,
     Their counsellor the warlike Bel,
     Adar their throne-bearer and the Prince Ennugi.
     The lord of boundless wisdom,
     Ea, sat with them in council.
     Their resolve he announced and so he spake:--
     O thou of Surippak, son of Ubaratutu,
     Leave thy house and build a ship.
     They will destroy the seed of life.
     Do thou preserve in life, and hither bring the seed of life
     Of every sort into the ship.

[Here follows a statement of the dimensions of the ship, but the numbers
are lost.]

     When this I heard to Ea my lord I spake:--
     The building of the ship, O lord, which thou commandest
     If I perform it, people and elders will mock me.
     Ea opened his mouth and spake,
     Spake to me, his servant:--

[The text is here mutilated: Hasisadra is ordered to threaten the
mockers with Ea's vengeance.]

     Thou, however, shut not thy door till I shall send thee word.
     Then pass through the door and bring
     All grain and goods and wealth,
     Family, servants and maids and all thy kin,
     The cattle of the field, the beasts of the field.
     Hasisadra opened his mouth, to Ea his lord he said:--
     O my lord, a ship in this wise hath no one ever built....

[Hasisadra tells how he built the ship according to Ea's directions.]

     All that I had I brought together,
     All of silver and all of gold,
     And all of the seed of life into the ship I brought.
     And my household, men and women,
     The cattle of the field, the beasts of the field,
     And all my kin I caused to enter.
     Then when the sun the destined time brought on,
     To me he said at even-fall:--
     Destruction shall the heaven rain.
     Enter the ship and close the door.
     With sorrow on that day I saw the sun go down.
     The day on which I was to enter the ship I was afraid.
     Yet into the ship I went, behind me the door I closed.
     Into the hands of the steersman I gave the ship with its cargo.
     Then from the heaven's horizon rose the dark cloud
     Raman uttered his thunder,
     Nabu and Sarru rushed on,
     Over hill and dale strode the throne-bearers,
     Adar sent ceaseless streams, floods the Anunnaki brought.
     Their power shakes the earth,

       *       *       *       *       *

     Raman's billows up to heaven mount,
     All light to darkness is turned.

       *       *       *       *       *

     Brother looks not after brother, no man for another cares.
     The gods in heaven are frightened, refuge they seek,
     Upward they mount to the heaven of Anu.
     Like a dog in his lair,
     So cower the gods together at the bars of heaven.
     Ishtar cries out in pain, loud cries the exalted goddess:--
     All is turned to mire.
     This evil to the gods I announced, to the gods foretold the evil.
     This exterminating war foretold
     Against my race of mankind.
     Not for this bare I men that like the brood of the fishes
     They should fill the sea.
     Then wept the gods with her over the Anunnaki,
     In lamentation sat the gods, their lips hard pressed together.
     Six days and seven nights ruled wind and flood and storm.
     But when the seventh day broke, subsided the storm, and the flood

Containing a part of the story of the flood, from the library of
Assurbanipal. Found in recent explorations in Ancient Babylon, London:
British Museum.

     Which raged like a mighty host, settled itself to quiet.
     Down went the sea, ceased storm and flood.
     Through the sea I rode lamenting.
     The upper dwellings of men were ruined,
     Corpses floated like trees.
     A window I opened, on my face the daylight fell.
     I shuddered and sat me down weeping,
     Over my face flowed my tears.
     I rode over regions of land, on a terrible sea.
     Then rose one piece of land twelve measures high.
     To the land Nizir the ship was steered,
     The mountain Nizir held the ship fast, and let it no more go.

       *       *       *       *       *

          At the dawn of the seventh day
          I took a dove and sent it forth.
          Hither and thither flew the dove,
          No resting-place it found, back to me it came.
          A swallow I took and sent it forth,
          No resting-place it found, and back to me it came.
          A raven I took and sent it forth,
          Forth flew the raven and saw that the water had fallen,
          Carefully waded on but came not back.
          All the animals then to the four winds I sent.
          A sacrifice I offered,
          An altar I built on the mountain-top,
          By sevens I placed the vessels,
          Under them spread sweet cane and cedar.
          The gods inhaled the smoke, inhaled the sweet-smelling smoke,
          Like flies the gods collected over the offering.
          Thither then came Ishtar,
          Lifted on high her bow, which Anu had made:--
          These days I will not forget, will keep them in remembrance,
          Them I will never forget.
          Let the gods come to the altar,
          But let not Bel to the altar come,
          Because he heedlessly wrought, the flood he brought on,
          To destruction my people gave over.
          Thither came Bel and saw the ship,
          Full of anger was he
          Against the gods and the spirits of heaven:--
          What soul has escaped!
          In the destruction no man shall live.
          Then Adar opened his mouth and spake,
          Spake to the warlike Bel:--
          Who but Ea knew it?
          He knew and all he hath told.
          Then Ea opened his mouth,
          Spake to the warlike Bel:--
     Thou art the valiant leader of the gods,
     Why hast thou heedlessly wrought, and brought on the flood?
     Let the sinner bear his sin, the wrongdoer his wrong;
     Yield to our request, that he be not wholly destroyed.
     Instead of sending a flood, send lions that men be reduced;
     Instead of sending a flood, send hyenas that men be reduced;
     Instead of sending a flood, send flames to waste the land;
     Instead of sending a flood, send pestilence that men be reduced.
     The counsel of the great gods to him I did not impart;
     A dream to Hasisadra I sent, and the will of the gods he learned.
         Then came right reason to Bel,
         Into the ship he entered,
         Took my hand and lifted me up,
         Raised my wife and laid her hand in mine,
         To us he turned, between us he stepped,
         His blessing he gave.
         Human Hasisadra has been,
         But he and his wife united
         Now to the gods shall be raised,
         And Hasisadra shall dwell far off at the mouth of the streams.
         Then they took me and placed me
         Far off at the mouth of the streams.


     To Samas came the snake and said:--
     The eagle has come to my nest, my young are scattered.
     See, O Samas, what evil he has done me.
     Help me, thy nest is as broad as the earth,
     Thy snare is like the heavens,
     Who can escape out of thy net?
     Hearing the snake's complaint,
     Samas opened his mouth and spake:--
     Get thee on thy way, go to the mountain.
     A wild ox shall be thy hiding-place.
     Open his body, tear out his inward parts,
     Make thy dwelling within him.
     All the birds of heaven will descend, with them will
          come the eagle,
     Heedless and hurrying on the flesh he will swoop,
     Thinking of that which is hidden inside.
     So soon as he enters the ox, seize his wing,
     Tear off his wing-feathers and claws,
     Pull him to pieces and cast him away,
     Let him die of hunger and thirst.
     So as the mighty Samas commanded,
     Rose the snake, went to the mountain,
     There he found a wild ox,
     Opened his body, tore out his inward parts,
     Entered and dwelt within him.
     And the birds of heaven descended, with them came the eagle.
     Yet the eagle, fearing a snare, ate not of the flesh with
          the birds.
     The eagle spake to his young:--
     We will not fly down, nor eat of the flesh of the wild ox.
     An eaglet, keen of eye, thus to his father spake:--
     In the flesh of the ox lurks the snake

          [The rest is lost.]


     The priests have offered my sacrifice
     With joyful hearts to the gods.
     O Lord, issue thy command,
     Give me the plant of birth, show me the plant of birth,
     Bring the child into the world, grant me a son.
     Samas opened his mouth and spake to Etana:--
     Away with thee, go to the mountain....
     The eagle opened his mouth and spake to Etana:--
     Wherefore art thou come?
     Etana opened his mouth and said to the eagle:--
     My friend, give me the plant of birth, show me the plant of birth,
     Bring the child into the world, grant me a son....
          To Etana then spake the eagle:--
          My friend, be of good cheer.
          Come, let me bear thee to Anu's heaven,
          On my breast lay thy breast,
          Grasp with thy hands the feathers of my wings.
          On my side lay thy side.
          On his breast he laid his breast,
          On his feathers he placed his hands,
          On his side laid his side,
          Firmly he clung, great was his weight.
          Two hours he bore him on high.
          The eagle spake to him, to Etana:--
          See my friend, the land, how it lies,
          Look at the sea, the ocean-girded,
          Like a mountain looks the land, the sea like petty waters.
          Two hours more he bore him up.
          The eagle spake to him, to Etana:--
          See my friend the land, how it lies,
          The sea is like the girdle of the land.
          Two hours more he bore him up.
          The eagle spake to him, to Etana:--
          See my friend the land, how it lies,
          The sea is like the gardener's ditches.
          Up they rose to Anu's heaven,
          Came to the gate of Anu, Bel and Ea....
          Come, my friend, let me bear thee to Ishtar,
          To Ishtar, the queen, shalt thou go, and dwell at her feet.
          On my side lay thy side,
          Grasp my wing-feathers with thy hands.
          On his side he laid his side,
          His feathers he grasped with his hands.
          Two hours he bore him on high.
          My friend see the land, how it lies,
          How it spreads itself out.
          The broad sea is as great as a court.
          Two hours he bore him on high.
          My friend see the land, how it lies,
          The land is like the bed of a garden,
          The broad sea is as great as a [.]
          Two hours he bore him on high.
          My friend see the land, how it lies.

[Etana, frightened, begs the eagle to ascend no further; then, as it
seems, the bird's strength is exhausted.]

          To the earth the eagle fell down
          Shattered upon the ground.


     He sees the badges of rule,
     His royal crown, his raiment divine.
     On the tablets of fate of the god Zu fixes his look.
     On the father of the gods, the god of Duranki, Zu fixes his gaze.
     Lust after rule enters into his soul.
     I will take the tablets of fate of the gods,
     Will determine the oracle of all the gods,
     Will set up my throne, all orders control,
     Will rule all the heavenly spirits.
     His heart was set on combat.
     At the entrance of the hall he stands, waiting the break of day,
     When Bel dispensed the tender rains,
     Sat on his throne, put off his crown,
     He snatched the tablets of fate from his hands,
     Seized the power, the control of commands.
     Down flew Zu, in a mountain he hid.
     There was anguish and crying.
     On the earth Bel poured out his wrath.
     Anu opened his mouth and spake,
     Said to the gods his children:--
     Who will conquer Zu?
     Great shall be his name among the dwellers of all lands.
     They called for Ramman, the mighty, Anu's son.
     To him gives Anu command:--
     Up, Ramman, my son, thou hero,
     From thine attack desist not, conquer Zu with thy weapons,
     That thy name may be great in the assembly of the great gods.
     Among the gods thy brethren, none shall be thy equal,
     Thy shrines on high shall be built;
     Found thee cities in all the world;
     Thy cities shall reach to the mountain of the world;
     Show thyself strong for the gods, strong be thy name!
     To Anu his father's command Ramman answered and spake:--
     My father, who shall come to the inaccessible mound?
     Who is like unto Zu among the gods thy sons?
     The tablets of fate he has snatched from his hands,
     Seized on the power, the control of commands.
     Zu has fled and hides in his mountain.

          [The rest is lost.]


     Under the water the Southwind blew him
     Sunk him to the home of the fishes.
     O Southwind, ill hast thou used me, thy wings I will break.
     As thus with his mouth he spake the wings of the Southwind
          were broken.
     Seven days long the Southwind over the earth blew no more.
     To his messenger Ila-Abrat
     Anu then spake thus:--
     Why for seven days long
     Blows the Southwind no more on the earth?
     His messenger Ila-Abrat answered and said: My lord,
     Adapa, Ea's son, hath broken the wings of the Southwind.
     When Anu heard these words,
     "Aha!" he cried, and went forth.

[Ea, the ocean-god, then directs his son how to proceed in order to
avert Anu's wrath. Some lines are mutilated.]

     At the gate of Anu stand.
     The gods Tammuz and Iszida will see thee and ask:--
     Why lookest thou thus, Adapa,
     For whom wearest thou garments of mourning?
     From the earth two gods have vanished, therefore do I thus.
     Who are these two gods who from the earth have vanished?
     At each other they will look, Tammuz and Iszida, and lament.
     A friendly word they will speak to Anu
     Anu's sacred face they will show thee.
     When thou to Anu comest,
     Food of death will be offered thee, eat not thereof.
     Water of death will be offered thee, drink not thereof.
     A garment will be offered thee, put it on.
     Oil will be offered thee, anoint thyself therewith.
     What I tell thee neglect not, keep my word in mind.
     Then came Anu's messenger:--
     The wing of the Southwind Adapa has broken,
     Deliver him up to me.
     Up to heaven he came, approached the gate of Anu.
     At Anu's gate Tammuz and Iszida stand,
     Adapa they see, and "Aha!" they cry.
     O Adapa, wherefore lookest thou thus,
     For whom wearest thou apparel of mourning?
     From the earth two gods have vanished
     Therefore I wear apparel of mourning.
     Who are these two gods who from the earth have vanished?
     At one another look Tammuz and Iszida and lament.
     Adapa go hence to Anu.
     When he came, Anu at him looked, saying, O Adapa,
     Why hast thou broken the Southwind's wing?
     Adapa answered: My lord,
     'Fore my lord's house I was fishing,
     In the midst of the sea, it was smooth,
     Then the Southwind began to blow
     Under it forced me, to the home of the fishes I sank.

       [By this speech Ann's anger is turned away.]

          A beaker he set before him.
          What shall we offer him? Food of life
          Prepare for him that he may eat.
          Food of life was brought for him, but he ate not.
          Water of life was brought for him, but he drank not.
          A garment was brought him, he put it on,
          Oil they gave him, he anointed himself therewith.
          Anu looked at him and mourned:--
          And now, Adapa, wherefore
          Has thou not eaten or drunken?
          Now canst thou not live forever ...
          Ea, my lord, commanded me:--
          Thou shalt not eat nor drink.



     _The Suppliant_:
        I, thy servant, full of sin cry to thee.
        The sinner's earnest prayer thou dost accept,
        The man on whom thou lookest lives,
        Mistress of all, queen of mankind,
        Merciful one, to whom it is good to turn,
        Who acceptest the sigh of the heart.

     _The Priest_:
        Because his god and his goddess are angry, he cries to thee.
        To him turn thy face, take his hand.

     _The Suppliant_:
        Beside thee there is no god to guide me.
        Look in mercy on me, accept my sigh,
        Say why do I wait so long.
        Let thy face be softened!
        How long, O my lady!
        May thy kindness be turned to me!
        Like a dove I mourn, full of sighing.

     _The Priest_:
        With sorrow and woe
        His soul is full of sighing,
        Tears he sheds, he pours out laments.


     O mother of the gods, who performest the commands of Bel,
     Who makest the young grass sprout, queen of mankind,
     Creator of all, guide of every birth,
     Mother Ishtar, whose might no god approaches,
     Exalted mistress, mighty in command!
     A prayer I will utter, let her do what seems her good.
     O my lady, make me to know my doing,
     Food I have not eaten, weeping was my nourishment,
     Water I have not drunk, tears were my drink,
     My heart has not been joyful nor my spirits glad.
     Many are my sins, sorrowful my soul.
     O my lady, make me to know my doing,
     Make me a place of rest,
     Cleanse my sin, lift up my face.
     May my god, the lord of prayer, before thee set my prayer!
     May my goddess, the lady of supplication, before thee set
          my supplication!
     May the storm-god set my prayer before thee!

     [The intercession of a number of gods is here invoked.]

     Let thy eye rest graciously on me....
     Turn thy face graciously to me....
     Let thy heart be gentle, thy spirit mild....


     O lady, in sorrow of heart sore oppressed I cry to thee.
     O lady, to thy servant favor show.
     Let thy heart be favorable,
     To thy servant full of sorrow show thy pity,
     Turn to him thy face, accept his prayer.


     To thy servant with whom thou art angry graciously turn.
     May the anger of my lord be appeased,
     Appeased the god I know not!
     The goddess I know, the goddess I know not,
     The god who was angry with me,
     The goddess who was angry with me be appeased!
     The sin which I have committed I know not.
     May my god name a gracious name,
     My goddess name a gracious name,
     The god I know, the god I know not
     Name a gracious name,
     The goddess I know, the goddess I know not
     Name a gracious name!
     Pure food I have not eaten,
     Pure water I have not drunk,
     The wrath of my god, though I knew it not, was my food,
     The anger of my goddess, though I knew it not, cast me down.
     O lord, many are my sins, great my misdeeds.

        [These phrases are repeated many times.]

     The lord has looked on me in anger,
     The god has punished me in wrath,
     The goddess was angry with me and hath brought me to sorrow.
     I sought for help, but no one took my hand,
     I wept, but no one to me came,
     I cry aloud, there is none that hears me,
     Sorrowful I lie on the ground, look not up.
     To my merciful god I turn, I sigh aloud,
     The feet of my goddess I kiss [.]
     To the known and unknown god I loud do sigh,
     To the known and unknown goddess I loud do sigh,
     O lord, look on me, hear my prayer,
     O goddess, look on me, hear my prayer.

       *       *       *       *       *

     Men are perverse, nothing they know.
     Men of every name, what do they know?
     Do they good or ill, nothing they know.
     O lord, cast not down thy servant!
     Him, plunged into the flood, seize by the hand!
     The sin I have committed turn thou to favor!
     The evil I have done may the wind carry it away!
     Tear in pieces my wrong-doings like a garment!
     My god, my sins are seven times seven--forgive my sins!
     My goddess, my sins are seven times seven--forgive my sins!
     Known and unknown god, my sins are seven times seven--forgive
          my sins!
     Known and unknown goddess, my sins are seven times seven--forgive
          my sins!
     Forgive my sins, and I will humbly bow before thee.


     May the lord, the mighty ruler Adar, announce my prayer to thee!
     May the suppliant lady Nippur announce my prayer to thee!
     May the lord of heaven and earth, the lord of Eridu, announce my
          prayer to thee!
     The mother of the great house, the goddess Damkina, announce my
          prayer to thee!
     May Marduk, the lord of Babylon, announce my prayer to thee!
     May his consort, the exalted child of heaven and earth, announce my
         prayer to thee!
     May the exalted minister, the god who names the good name, announce
         my prayer to thee!
     May the bride, the first-born of the god, announce my prayer
         to thee!
     May the god of storm-flood, the lord Harsaga, announce my prayer
         to thee!
     May the gracious lady of the land announce my prayer to thee!


     (Taylor-cylinder, B.C. 701. Cf. 2 Kings xviii., xix.)

     Sennacherib, the great king, the powerful king,
     The king of the world, the king of Assyria,
     The king of the four zones,
     The wise shepherd, the favorite of the great gods,
     The protector of justice, the lover of righteousness,
     The giver of help, the aider of the weak,
     The perfect hero, the stalwart warrior, the first of princes,
     The destroyer of the rebellious, the destroyer of enemies,
     Assur, the mighty rock, a kingdom without rival has granted me.
     Over all who sit on sacred seats he has exalted my arms,
     From the upper sea of the setting sun
     To the lower sea of the rising sun,
     All the blackheaded people he has cast beneath my feet,
     The rebellious princes shun battle with me.
     They forsook their dwellings; like a falcon
     Which dwells in the clefts, they fled alone to an inaccessible

       *       *       *       *       *

     To the city of Ekron I went,
     The governors and princes who had done evil I slew,
     I bound their corpses to poles around the city.
     The inhabitants of the city who had done evil I reckoned as spoil;
     To the rest who had done no wrong I spoke peace.
     Padi, their king, I brought from Jerusalem,
     King over them I made him.
     The tribute of my lordship I laid upon him.
     Hezekiah of Judah, who had not submitted to me,
     Forty-six of his strong cities, small cities without number,
          I besieged.
     Casting down the walls, advancing engines, by assault I took them.
     Two hundred thousand, one hundred and fifty men and women, young
          and old,
     Horses, mules, asses, camels, oxen, sheep,
     I brought out and reckoned as spoil.
     Hezekiah himself I shut up like a caged bird
     In Jerusalem, his royal city,
     The walls I fortified against him,
     Whoever came out of the gates I turned him back.
     His cities which I had plundered I divided from his land
     And gave them to Mitinti, king of Ashdod,
     To Padi, king of Ekron, and to Silbal, king of Gaza.
     To the former tribute paid yearly
     I added the tribute of alliance of my lordship and
     Laid that upon him. Hezekiah himself
     Was overwhelmed by the fear of the brightness of my lordship.
     The Arabians and his other faithful warriors
     Whom, for the defence of Jerusalem, his royal city,
     He had brought in, fell into fear,
     With thirty talents of gold and eight hundred talents of silver,
          precious stones,
     Couches of ivory, thrones of ivory,
     And his daughters, his women of the palace,
     The young men and the young women, to Nineveh, the city of my
     I caused to be brought after me, and he sent his ambassadors
     To give tribute and to pay homage.


     To Beltis, the great Lady, chief of heaven and earth,
     Queen of all the gods, mighty in all the lands.
     Honored is her festival among the Ishtars.
     She surpasses her offspring in power.
     She, the shining one, like her brother, the sun,
     Enlightens Heaven and earth,
     Mistress of the spirits of the underworld,
     First-born of Anu, great among the gods,
     Ruler over her enemies,
     The seas she stirs up,
     The wooded mountains tramples under foot.
     Mistress of the spirits of upper air,
     Goddess of battle and fight,
     Without whom the heavenly temple
     None would render obedience,
     She, the bestower of strength, grants the desire of the faithful,
     Prayers she hears, supplication receives, entreaty accepts.
     Ishtar, the perfect light, all-powerful,
     Who enlightens Heaven and earth,
     Her name is proclaimed throughout all the lands,
     Esarhaddon, king of lands, fear not.
     To her it is good to pray.

          (B.C. 680-668)

     Esarhaddon, king of lands, fear not.
     The lord, the spirit who speaks to thee
     I speak to him, I have not kept it back.
     Thine enemies, like the floods of Sivan
     Before thee flee perpetually.
     I the great goddess, Ishtar of Arbela
     Have put thine enemies to flight.
     Where are the words I spake to thee?
     Thou hast not trusted them.
     I, Ishtar of Arbela, thy foes
     Into thy hands I give
     In the van and by thy side I go, fear not
     In the midst of thy princes thou art.
     In the midst of my host I advance and rest.

     O Esarhaddon, fear not.
     Sixty great gods are with me to guard thee,
     The Moon-god on thy right, the Sun-god on thy left,
     Around thee stand the sixty great gods,
     And make the centre firm.
     Trust not to man, look thou to me
     Honor me and fear not.
     To Esarhaddon, my king,
     Long days and length of years I give.
     Thy throne beneath the heavens I have established;
     In a golden dwelling thee I will guard in heaven
     Guard like the diadem of my head.
     The former word which I spake thou didst not trust,
     But trust thou now this later word and glorify me,
     When the day dawns bright complete thy sacrifice.
     Pure food thou shalt eat, pure waters drink,
     In thy palace thou shalt be pure.
     Thy son, thy son's son the kingdom
     By the blessing of Nergal shall rule.


     How long, O my Lady, shall the strong enemy hold thy sanctuary?
     There is want in Erech, thy principal city;
     Blood is flowing like water in Eulbar, the house of thy oracle;
     He has kindled and poured out fire like hailstones on all thy
     My Lady, sorely am I fettered by misfortune;
     My Lady, thou hast surrounded me, and brought me to grief.
     The mighty enemy has smitten me down like a single reed.
     Not wise myself, I cannot take counsel;
     I mourn day and night like the fields.
     I, thy servant, pray to thee.
     Let thy heart take rest, let thy disposition be softened.



The Constitution of the State of Massachusetts, adopted in the year
1780, contains an article for the Encouragement of Literature, which, it
declares, should be fostered because its influence is "to countenance
and inculcate the principles of humanity and general benevolence, public
and private charity, industry and frugality, honesty and punctuality in
dealings, sincerity and good humor, and all social affections and
generous sentiments among the people." In these words, as in a mirror,
is reflected the Massachusetts of the eighteenth century, where
households like the Adamses', the Warrens', the Otises', made the
standard of citizenship. Six years before this remarkable document was
framed, Abigail Adams had written to her husband, then engaged in
nation-making in Philadelphia:--"I most sincerely wish that some more
liberal plan might be laid and executed for the benefit of the rising
generation, and that our new Constitution may be distinguished for
encouraging learning and virtue." And he, spending his days and nights
for his country, sacrificing his profession, giving up the hope of
wealth, writes her:--"I believe my children will think that I might as
well have labored a little, night and day, for their benefit. But I will
tell them that I studied and labored to procure a free constitution of
government for them to solace themselves under; and if they do not
prefer this to ample fortune, to ease and elegance, they are not my
children. They shall live upon thin diet, wear mean clothes, and work
hard with cheerful hearts and free spirits, or they may be the children
of the earth, or of no one, for me."

[Illustration: ABIGAIL ADAMS]

In old Weymouth, one of those quiet Massachusetts towns, half-hidden
among the umbrageous hills, where the meeting-house and the school-house
rose before the settlers' cabins were built, where the one elm-shaded
main street stretches its breadth between two lines of self-respecting,
isolated frame houses, each with its grassy dooryard, its lilac bushes,
its fresh-painted offices, its decorous wood-pile laid with
architectural balance and symmetry,--there, in the dignified parsonage,
on the 11th of November, 1744, was born to Parson William Smith and
Elizabeth his wife, Abigail, the second of three beautiful daughters.
Her mother was a Quincy, of a distinguished line, and _her_ mother was a
Norton, of a strain not less honorable. Nor were the Smiths unimportant.

In that day girls had little instruction. Abigail says of herself, in
one of her letters:--"I never was sent to any school. Female education,
in the best families, went no further than writing and arithmetic; in
some few and rare instances, music and dancing. It was fashionable to
ridicule female learning." But the household was bookish. Her mother
knew the "British Poets" and all the literature of Queen Anne's Augustan
age. Her beloved grandmother Quincy, at Mount Wollaston, seems to have
had both learning and wisdom, and to her father she owed the sense of
fun, the shrewdness, the clever way of putting things which make her
letters so delightful.

The good parson was skillful in adapting Scripture to special
exigencies, and throughout the Revolution he astonished his hearers by
the peculiar fitness of his texts to political uses. It is related of
him that when his eldest daughter married Richard Cranch, he preached to
his people from Luke, tenth chapter, forty-second verse: "And Mary hath
chosen that good part which shall not be taken away from her." When, a
year later, young John Adams came courting the brilliant Abigail, the
parish, which assumed a right to be heard on the question of the destiny
of the minister's daughter, grimly objected. He was upright, singularly
abstemious, studious; but he was poor, he was the son of a small farmer,
and she was of the gentry. He was hot-headed and somewhat tactless, and
offended his critics. Worst of all, he was a lawyer, and the prejudice
of colonial society reckoned a lawyer hardly honest. He won this most
important of his cases, however, and Parson Smith's marriage sermon for
the bride of nineteen was preached from the text, "For John came neither
eating bread nor drinking wine, and ye say, He hath a devil."

For ten years Mrs. Adams seems to have lived a most happy life, either
in Boston or Braintree, her greatest grief being the frequent absences
of her husband on circuit. His letters to her are many and delightful,
expressing again and again, in the somewhat formal phrases of the
period, his affection and admiration. She wrote seldom, her household
duties and the care of the children, of whom there were four in ten
years, occupying her busy hands.

Meanwhile, the clouds were growing black in the political sky. Mr. Adams
wrote arguments and appeals in the news journals over Latin signatures,
papers of instructions to Representatives to the General Court, and
legal portions of the controversy between the delegates and Governor
Hutchinson. In all this work Mrs. Adams constantly sympathized and
advised. In August, 1774, he went to Philadelphia as a delegate to a
general council of the colonies called to concert measures for united
action. And now begins the famous correspondence, which goes on for a
period of nine years, which was intended to be seen only by the eyes of
her husband, which she begs him, again and again, to destroy as not
worth the keeping, yet which has given her a name and place among the
world's most charming letter-writers.

Her courage, her cheerfulness, her patriotism, her patience never fail
her. Braintree, where, with her little brood, she is to stay, is close
to the British lines. Raids and foraging expeditions are imminent. Hopes
of a peaceful settlement grow dim. "What course you can or will take,"
she writes her husband, "is all wrapped in the bosom of futurity.
Uncertainty and expectation leave the mind great scope. Did ever any
kingdom or State regain its liberty, when once it was invaded, without
bloodshed? I cannot think of it without horror. Yet we are told that all
the misfortunes of Sparta were occasioned by their too great solicitude
for present tranquillity, and, from an excessive love of peace, they
neglected the means of making it sure and lasting. They ought to have
reflected, says Polybius, that, 'as there is nothing more desirable or
advantageous than peace, when founded in justice and honor, so there is
nothing more shameful, and at the same time more pernicious, when
attained by bad measures, and purchased at the price of liberty.'"

Thus in the high Roman fashion she faces danger; yet her sense of fun
never deserts her, and in the very next letter she writes, parodying her
husband's documents:--"The drouth has been very severe. My poor cows
will certainly prefer a petition to you, setting forth their grievances,
and informing you that they have been deprived of their ancient
privileges, whereby they are become great sufferers, and desiring that
these may be restored to them. More especially as their living, by
reason of the drouth, is all taken from them, and their property which
they hold elsewhere is decaying, they humbly pray that you would
consider them, lest hunger should break through stone walls."

By midsummer the small hardships entailed by the British occupation of
Boston were most vexatious. "We shall very soon have no coffee, nor
sugar, nor pepper, but whortleberries and milk we are not obliged to
commerce for," she writes, and in letter after letter she begs for pins.
Needles are desperately needed, but without pins how can domestic life
go on, and not a pin in the province!

On the 14th of September she describes the excitement in Boston, the
Governor mounting cannon on Beacon Hill, digging intrenchments on the
Neck, planting guns, throwing up breastworks, encamping a regiment. In
consequence of the powder being taken from Charlestown, she goes on to
say, a general alarm spread through all the towns and was soon caught in
Braintree. And then she describes one of the most extraordinary scenes
in history. About eight o'clock on Sunday evening, she writes to her
husband, at least two hundred men, preceded by a horse-cart, passed by
her door in dead silence, and marched down to the powder-house, whence
they took out the town's powder, because they dared not trust it where
there were so many Tories, carried it into the other parish, and there
secreted it. On their way they captured a notorious "King's man," and
found on him two warrants aimed at the Commonwealth. When their
patriotic trust was discharged, they turned their attention to the
trembling Briton. Profoundly excited and indignant though they were,
they never thought of mob violence, but, true to the inherited instincts
of their race, they resolved themselves into a public meeting! The
hostile warrants being produced and exhibited, it was put to a vote
whether they should be burned or preserved. The majority voted for
burning them. Then the two hundred gathered in a circle round the single
lantern, and maintained a rigid silence while the offending papers were
consumed. That done--the blazing eyes in that grim circle of patriots
watching the blazing writs--"they called a vote whether they should
huzza; but, it being Sunday evening, it passed in the negative!"

Only in the New England of John Winthrop and the Mathers, of John Quincy
and the Adamses, would such a scene have been possible: a land of
self-conquest and self-control, of a deep love of the public welfare and
a willingness to take trouble for a public object.

A little later Mrs. Adams writes her husband that there has been a
conspiracy among the negroes, though it has been kept quiet, "I wish
most sincerely," she adds, "that there was not a slave in the province.
It always appeared a most iniquitous scheme to me--to fight ourselves
for what we are daily robbing and plundering from those who have as good
a right to freedom as we have."

Nor were the sympathies of this clever logician confined to the slaves.
A month or two before the Declaration of Independence was made she
writes her constructive statesman:--"I long to hear that you have
declared an independence. And by the way, in the new code of laws which
I suppose it will be necessary for you to make, I desire you would
remember the ladies, and be more generous and favorable to them than
your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the
husbands! Remember, all men would be tyrants if they could! If
particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are
determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by
any laws in which we have no voice or representation. That your sex are
naturally tyrannical is a truth so thoroughly established as to admit of
no dispute; but such of you as wish to be happy willingly give up the
harsh title of master for the more tender and endearing one of friend.
Why, then, not put it out of the power of the vicious and the lawless to
use us with cruelty and indignity with impunity? Men of sense in all
ages abhor those customs which treat us only as the vassals of your sex.
Regard us, then, as being placed by Providence under your protection;
and in imitation of the Supreme Being, make use of that power only for
our happiness."--a declaration of principles which the practical
housewife follows up by saying:--"I have not yet attempted making
salt-petre, but after soap-making, believe I shall make the experiment.
I find as much as I can do to manufacture clothing for my family, which
would else be naked. I have lately seen a small manuscript describing
the proportions of the various sorts of powder fit for cannon, small
arms, and pistols. If it would be of any service your way, I will get it
transcribed and send it to you."

She is interested in everything, and she writes about everything in the
same whole-hearted way,--farming, paper money, the making of molasses
from corn-stalks, the new remedy of inoculation, 'Common Sense' and its
author, the children's handwriting, the state of Harvard College, the
rate of taxes, the most helpful methods of enlistment, Chesterfield's
Letters, the town elections, the higher education of women, and the
getting of homespun enough for Mr. Adams's new suit.

She manages, with astonishing skill, to keep the household in comfort.
She goes through trials of sickness, death, agonizing suspense, and ever
with the same heroic cheerfulness, that her anxious husband may be
spared the pangs which she endures. When he is sent to France and
Holland, she accepts the new parting as another service pledged to her
country. She sees her darling boy of ten go with his father, aware that
at the best she must bear months of silence, knowing that they may
perish at sea or fall into the hands of privateers; but she writes with
indomitable cheer, sending the lad tender letters of good advice, a
little didactic to modern taste, but throbbing with affection. "Dear as
you are to me," says this tender mother, "I would much rather you should
have found your grave in the ocean you have crossed than see you an
immoral, profligate, or graceless child."

It was the lot of this country parson's daughter to spend three years in
London as wife of the first American minister, to see her husband
Vice-President of the United States for eight years and President for
four, and to greet her son as the eminent Monroe's valued Secretary of
State, though she died, "seventy-four years young," before he became
President. She could not, in any station, be more truly a lady than when
she made soap and chopped kindling on her Braintree farm. At Braintree
she was no more simply modest than at the Court of St. James or in the
Executive Mansion. Her letters exactly reflect her ardent, sincere,
energetic nature. She shows a charming delight when her husband tells
her that his affairs could not possibly be better managed than she
manages them, and that she shines not less as a statesman than as a
farmeress. And though she was greatly admired and complimented, no
praise so pleased her as his declaration that for all the ingratitude,
calumnies, and misunderstandings that he had endured,--and they were
numberless,--her perfect comprehension of him had been his sufficient

Lucia Gilbert Runkle


BRAINTREE, May 24th, 1775.

_My Dearest Friend_:

Our house has been, upon this alarm, in the same scene of
confusion that it was upon the former. Soldiers coming in
for a lodging, for breakfast, for supper, for drink, etc.
Sometimes refugees from Boston, tired and fatigued, seek an
asylum for a day, a night, a week. You can hardly imagine
how we live; yet--

     "To the houseless child of want,
       Our doors are open still;
     And though our portions are but scant,
       We give them with good will."

My best wishes attend you, both for your health and happiness, and that
you may be directed into the wisest and best measures for our safety and
the security of our posterity. I wish you were nearer to us: we know not
what a day will bring forth, nor what distress one hour may throw us
into. Hitherto I have been able to maintain a calmness and presence of
mind, and hope I shall, let the exigency of the time be what it will.
Adieu, breakfast calls.

Your affectionate PORTIA.

WEYMOUTH, June 15th, 1775.

I hope we shall see each other again, and rejoice together in happier
days; the little ones are well, and send duty to papa. Don't fail of
letting me hear from you by every opportunity. Every line is like a
precious relic of the saints.

I have a request to make of you; something like the barrel of sand, I
suppose you will think it, but really of much more importance to me. It
is, that you would send out Mr. Bass, and purchase me a bundle of pins
and put them in your trunk for me. The cry for pins is so great that
what I used to buy for seven shillings and sixpence are now twenty
shillings, and not to be had for that. A bundle contains six thousand,
for which I used to give a dollar; but if you can procure them for fifty
shillings, or three pounds, pray let me have them. I am, with the
tenderest regard,    Your    PORTIA.

BRAINTREE, June 18th, 1775.

_My Dearest Friend_:

The day--perhaps the decisive day is come, on which the fate of America
depends. My bursting heart must find vent at my pen. I have just heard
that our dear friend, Dr. Warren, is no more, but fell gloriously
fighting for his country, saying, "Better to die honorably in the field
than ignominiously hang upon the gallows." Great is our loss. He has
distinguished himself in every engagement by his courage and fortitude,
by animating the soldiers, and leading them on by his own example. A
particular account of these dreadful but, I hope, glorious days, will be
transmitted you, no doubt, in the exactest manner.

"The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong; but the God
of Israel is He that giveth strength and power unto His people. Trust in
Him at all times, ye people: pour out your hearts before Him; God is a
refuge for us." Charlestown is laid in ashes. The battle began upon our
intrenchments upon Bunker's Hill, Saturday morning about three o'clock,
and has not ceased yet, and it is now three o'clock Sabbath afternoon.

It is expected they will come out over the Neck to-night, and a dreadful
battle must ensue. Almighty God, cover the heads of our countrymen, and
be a shield to our dear friends! How many have fallen we know not. The
constant roar of the cannon is so distressing that we cannot eat, drink,
or sleep. May we be supported and sustained in the dreadful conflict. I
shall tarry here till it is thought unsafe by my friends, and then I
have secured myself a retreat at your brother's, who has kindly offered
me part of his house. I cannot compose myself to write any further at
present. I will add more as I hear further.


BRAINTREE, November 27th, 1775.

Colonel Warren returned last week to Plymouth, so that I shall not hear
anything from you until he goes back again, which will not be till the
last of this month. He damped my spirits greatly by telling me that the
court had prolonged your stay another month. I was pleasing myself with
the thought that you would soon be upon your return. It is in vain to
repine. I hope the public will reap what I sacrifice.

I wish I knew what mighty things were fabricating. If a form of
government is to be established here, what one will be assumed? Will it
be left to our Assemblies to choose one? And will not many men have many
minds? And shall we not run into dissensions among ourselves?

I am more and more convinced that man is a dangerous creature; and that
power, whether vested in many or a few, is ever grasping, and, like the
grave, cries, "Give, give!" The great fish swallow up the small; and he
who is most strenuous for the rights of the people, when vested with
power, is as eager after the prerogatives of government. You tell me of
degrees of perfection to which human nature is capable of arriving, and
I believe it, but at the same time lament that our admiration should
arise from the scarcity of the instances.

The building up a great empire, which was only hinted at by my
correspondent, may now, I suppose, be realized even by the unbelievers;
yet will not ten thousand difficulties arise in the formation of it? The
reins of government have been so long slackened that I fear the people
will not quietly submit to those restraints which are necessary for the
peace and security of the community. If we separate from Britain, what
code of laws will be established? How shall we be governed so as to
retain our liberties? Can any government be free which is not
administered by general stated laws? Who shall frame these laws? Who
will give them force and energy? It is true, your resolutions, as a
body, have hitherto had the force of laws; but will they continue
to have?

When I consider these things, and the prejudices of people in favor of
ancient customs and regulations, I feel anxious for the fate of our
monarchy, or democracy, or whatever is to take place. I soon get lost in
the labyrinth of perplexities; but, whatever occurs, may justice and
righteousness be the stability of our times, and order arise out of
confusion. Great difficulties may be surmounted by patience and

I believe I have tired you with politics. As to news, we have not any at
all. I shudder at the approach of winter, when I think I am to
remain desolate.

I must bid you good-night; 'tis late for me, who am much of an invalid.
I was disappointed last week in receiving a packet by post, and, upon
unsealing it, finding only four newspapers. I think you are more
cautious than you need be. All letters, I believe, have come safe to
hand. I have sixteen from you, and wish I had as many more.

     Your    PORTIA.

     [By permission of the family.]

BRAIN TREE, April 20th, 1777.

There is a general cry against the merchants, against monopolizers,
etc., who, 'tis said, have created a partial scarcity. That a scarcity
prevails of every article, not only of luxury but even the necessaries
of life, is a certain fact. Everything bears an exorbitant price. The
Act, which was in some measure regarded and stemmed the torrent of
oppression, is now no more heeded than if it had never been made. Indian
corn at five shillings; rye, eleven and twelve shillings, but scarcely
any to be had even at that price; beef, eightpence; veal, sixpence and
eightpence; butter, one and sixpence; mutton, none; lamb, none; pork,
none; mean sugar, four pounds per hundred; molasses, none; cotton-wool,
none; New England rum, eight shillings per gallon; coffee, two and
sixpence per pound; chocolate, three shillings.

What can be done? Will gold and silver remedy this evil? By your
accounts of board, housekeeping, etc., I fancy you are not better off
than we are here. I live in hopes that we see the most difficult time
we have to experience. Why is Carolina so much better furnished than any
other State, and at so reasonable prices?     Your    PORTIA.

BRAINTREE, June 8th, 1779.

Six months have already elapsed since I heard a syllable from you or my
dear son, and five since I have had one single opportunity of conveying
a line to you. Letters of various dates have lain months at the Navy
Board, and a packet and frigate, both ready to sail at an hour's
warning, have been months waiting the orders of Congress. They no doubt
have their reasons, or ought to have, for detaining them. I must
patiently wait their motions, however painful it is; and that it is so,
your own feelings will testify. Yet I know not but you are less a
sufferer than you would be to hear from us, to know our distresses, and
yet be unable to relieve them. The universal cry for bread, to a humane
heart, is painful beyond description, and the great price demanded and
given for it verifies that pathetic passage of Sacred Writ, "All that a
man hath will he give for his life." Yet He who miraculously fed a
multitude with five loaves and two fishes has graciously interposed in
our favor, and delivered many of the enemy's supplies into our hands, so
that our distresses have been mitigated. I have been able as yet to
supply my own family, sparingly, but at a price that would astonish you.
Corn is sold at four dollars, hard money, per bushel, which is equal to
eighty at the rate of exchange.

Labor is at eight dollars per day, and in three weeks it will be at
twelve, it is probable, or it will be more stable than anything else.
Goods of all kinds are at such a price that I hardly dare mention it.
Linens are sold at twenty dollars per yard; the most ordinary sort of
calicoes at thirty and forty; broadcloths at forty pounds per yard; West
India goods full as high; molasses at twenty dollars per gallon; sugar,
four dollars per pound; Bohea tea at forty dollars; and our own produce
in proportion; butcher's meat at six and eight shillings per pound;
board at fifty and sixty dollars per week; rates high. That, I suppose,
you will rejoice at; so would I, did it remedy the evil. I pay five
hundred dollars, and a new Continental rate has just appeared, my
proportion of which will be two hundred more. I have come to this
determination,--to sell no more bills, unless I can procure hard money
for them, although I shall be obliged to allow a discount. If I sell for
paper, I throw away more than half, so rapid is the depreciation; nor do
I know that it will be received long. I sold a bill to Blodget at five
for one, which was looked upon as high at that time. The week after I
received it, two emissions were taken out of circulation, and the
greater part of what I had proved to be of that sort; so that those to
whom I was indebted are obliged to wait, and before it becomes due, or
is exchanged, it will be good for--as much as it will fetch, which will
be nothing, if it goes on as it has done for this three months past. I
will not tire your patience any longer. I have not drawn any further
upon you. I mean to wait the return of the Alliance, which with longing
eyes I look for. God grant it may bring me comfortable tidings from my
dear, dear friend, whose welfare is so essential to my happiness that it
is entwined around my heart, and cannot be impaired or separated from it
without rending it asunder.

I cannot say that I think our affairs go very well here. Our currency
seems to be the source of all our evils. We cannot fill up our
Continental army by means of it. No bounty will prevail with them. What
can be done with it? It will sink in less than a year. The advantage the
enemy daily gains over us is owing to this. Most truly did you prophesy,
when you said that they would do all the mischief in their power with
the forces they had here.

My tenderest regards ever attend you. In all places and situations, know
me to be ever, ever yours.

AUTEUIL, 5th September, 1784.

_My, Dear Sister_:

Auteuil is a village four miles distant from Paris, and one from Passy.
The house we have taken is large, commodious, and agreeably situated
near the woods of Boulogne, which belong to the King, and which Mr.
Adams calls his park, for he walks an hour or two every day in them. The
house is much larger than we have need of; upon occasion, forty beds may
be made in it. I fancy it must be very cold in winter. There are few
houses with the privilege which this enjoys, that of having the salon,
as it is called, the apartment where we receive company, upon the first
floor. This room is very elegant, and about a third larger than General
Warren's hall. The dining-room is upon the right hand, and the salon
upon the left, of the entry, which has large glass doors opposite to
each other, one opening into the court, as they call it, the other into
a large and beautiful garden. Out of the dining-room you pass through an
entry into the kitchen, which is rather small for so large a house. In
this entry are stairs which you ascend, at the top of which is a long
gallery fronting the street, with six windows, and opposite to each
window you open into the chambers, which all look into the garden.

But with an expense of thirty thousand livres in looking-glasses, there
is no table in the house better than an oak board, nor a carpet
belonging to the house. The floors I abhor, made of red tiles in the
shape of Mrs. Quincy's floor-cloth tiles. These floors will by no means
bear water, so that the method of cleaning them is to have them waxed,
and then a manservant with foot brushes drives round your room, dancing
here and there like a Merry Andrew. This is calculated to take from your
foot every atom of dirt, and leave the room in a few moments as he found
it. The house must be exceedingly cold in winter. The dining-rooms, of
which you make no other use, are laid with small stones, like the red
tiles for shape and size. The servants' apartments are generally upon
the first floor, and the stairs which you commonly have to ascend to get
into the family apartments are so dirty that I have been obliged to hold
up my clothes as though I was passing through a cow-yard.

I have been but little abroad. It is customary in this country for
strangers to make the first visit. As I cannot speak the language, I
think I should make rather an awkward figure. I have dined abroad
several times with Mr. Adams's particular friends, the Abbés, who are
very polite and civil,--three sensible and worthy men. The Abbé de Mably
has lately published a book, which he has dedicated to Mr. Adams. This
gentleman is nearly eighty years old; the Abbé Chalut, seventy-five; and
Arnoux about fifty, a fine sprightly man, who takes great pleasure in
obliging his friends. Their apartments were really nice. I have dined
once at Dr. Franklin's, and once at Mr. Barclay's, our consul, who has a
very agreeable woman for his wife, and where I feel like being with a
friend. Mrs. Barclay has assisted me in my purchases, gone with me to
different shops, etc. To-morrow I am to dine at Monsieur Grand's; but I
have really felt so happy within doors, and am so pleasingly situated,
that I have had little inclination to change the scene. I have not been
to one public amusement as yet, not even the opera, though we have one
very near us.

You may easily suppose I have been fully employed, beginning
housekeeping anew, and arranging my family to our no small expenses and
trouble; for I have had bed-linen and table-linen to purchase and make,
spoons and forks to get made of silver,--three dozen of each,--besides
tea furniture, china for the table, servants to procure, etc. The
expense of living abroad I always supposed to be high, but my ideas were
nowise adequate to the thing. I could have furnished myself in the town
of Boston with everything I have, twenty or thirty per cent, cheaper
than I have been able to do it here. Everything which will bear the name
of elegant is imported from England, and if you will have it, you must
pay for it, duties and all. I cannot get a dozen handsome wineglasses
under three guineas, nor a pair of small decanters for less than a
guinea and a half. The only gauze fit to wear is English, at a crown a
yard; so that really a guinea goes no further than a copper with us. For
this house, garden, stables, etc., we give two hundred guineas a year.
Wood is two guineas and a half per cord; coal, six livres the basket of
about two bushels; this article of firing we calculate at one hundred
guineas a year. The difference between coming upon this negotiation to
France, and remaining at the Hague, where the house was already
furnished at the expense of a thousand pounds sterling, will increase
the expense here to six or seven hundred guineas; at a time, too, when
Congress has cut off five hundred guineas from what they have heretofore
given. For our coachman and horses alone (Mr. Adams purchased a coach in
England) we give fifteen guineas a month. It is the policy of this
country to oblige you to a certain number of servants, and one will not
touch what belongs to the business of another, though he or she has time
enough to perform the whole. In the first place, there is a coachman who
does not an individual thing but attend to the carriages and horses;
then the gardener, who has business enough; then comes the cook; then
the _maitre d'hotel_,--his business is to purchase articles in the
family, and oversee that nobody cheats but himself; a _valet de
chambre,_--John serves in this capacity; a _femme de chambre_,--Esther
serves for this, and is worth a dozen others; a _coiffeuse_,--for this
place I have a French girl about nineteen, whom I have been upon the
point of turning-away, because madam will not brush a chamber: "it is
not de fashion, it is not her business." I would not have kept her a day
longer, but found, upon inquiry, that I could not better myself, and
hair-dressing here is very expensive unless you keep such a madam in the
house. She sews tolerably well, so I make her as useful as I can. She is
more particularly devoted to mademoiselle. Esther diverted me yesterday
evening by telling me that she heard her go muttering by her chamber
door, after she had been assisting Abby in dressing. "Ah, mon Dieu, 'tis
provoking"--(she talks a little English).--"Why, what is the matter,
Pauline: what is provoking?"--"Why, Mademoiselle look so pretty, I so
_mauvais_." There is another indispensable servant, who is called a
_frotteur_: his business is to rub the floors.

We have a servant who acts as _maitre d'hotel,_ whom I like at present,
and who is so very gracious as to act as footman too, to save the
expense of another servant, upon condition that we give him a
gentleman's suit of clothes in lieu of a livery. Thus, with seven
servants and hiring a charwoman upon occasion of company, we may
possibly make out to keep house; with less, we should be hooted at as
ridiculous, and could not entertain any company. To tell this in our own
country would be considered as extravagance; but would they send a
person here in a public character to be a public jest? At lodgings in
Paris last year, during Mr. Adams's negotiation for a peace, it was as
expensive to him as it is now at housekeeping, without half the

Washing is another expensive article: the servants are all allowed
theirs, besides their wages; our own costs us a guinea a week. I have
become steward and bookkeeper, determined to know with accuracy what our
expenses are, to prevail with Mr. Adams to return to America if he finds
himself straitened, as I think he must be. Mr. Jay went home because he
could not support his family here with the whole salary; what then can
be done, curtailed as it now is, with the additional expense? Mr. Adams
is determined to keep as little company as he possibly can; but some
entertainments we must make, and it is no unusual thing for them to
amount to fifty or sixty guineas at a time. More is to be performed by
way of negotiation, many times, at one of these entertainments, than at
twenty serious conversations; but the policy of our country has been,
and still is, to be penny-wise and pound-foolish. We stand in
sufficient need of economy, and in the curtailment of other salaries I
suppose they thought it absolutely necessary to cut off their foreign
ministers. But, my own interest apart, the system is bad; for that
nation which degrades their own ministers by obliging them to live in
narrow circumstances, cannot expect to be held in high estimation
themselves. We spend no evenings abroad, make no suppers, attend very
few public entertainments,--or spectacles, as they are called,--and
avoid every expense that is not held indispensable. Yet I cannot but
think it hard that a gentleman who has devoted so great a part of his
life to the service of the public, who has been the means, in a great
measure, of procuring such extensive territories to his country, who
saved their fisheries, and who is still laboring to procure them further
advantages, should find it necessary so cautiously to calculate his
pence, for fear of overrunning them. I will add one more expense. There
is now a court mourning, and every foreign minister, with his family,
must go into mourning for a Prince of eight years old, whose father is
an ally to the King of France. This mourning is ordered by the Court,
and is to be worn eleven days only. Poor Mr. Jefferson had to his away
for a tailor to get a whole black-silk suit made up in two days; and at
the end of eleven days, should another death happen, he will be obliged
to have a new suit of mourning, of cloth, because that is the season
when silk must be left off. We may groan and scold, but these are
expenses which cannot be avoided; for fashion is the deity every one
worships in this country, and from the highest to the lowest, you must
submit. Even poor John and Esther had no comfort among the servants,
being constantly the subjects of ridicule, until we were obliged to
direct them to have their hair dressed. Esther had several crying fits
upon the occasion, that she should be forced to be so much of a fool;
but there was no way to keep them from being trampled upon but this, and
now that they are _à la mode de Paris_, they are much respected. To be
out of fashion is more criminal than to be seen in a state of nature, to
which the Parisians are not averse.

AUTEUIL, NEAR PARIS, 10th May, 1785.

Did you ever, my dear Betsey, see a person in real life such as your
imagination formed of Sir Charles Grandison? The Baron de Staël, the
Swedish Ambassador, comes nearest to that character, in his manners and
personal appearance, of any gentleman I ever saw. The first time I saw
him I was prejudiced in his favor, for his countenance commands your
good opinion: it is animated, intelligent, sensible, affable, and
without being perfectly beautiful, is most perfectly agreeable; add to
this a fine figure, and who can fail in being charmed with the Baron de
Staël? He lives in a grand hotel, and his suite of apartments, his
furniture, and his table, are the most elegant of anything I have seen.
Although you dine upon plate in every noble house in France, I cannot
say that you may see your face in it; but here the whole furniture of
the table was burnished, and shone with regal splendor. Seventy thousand
livres in plate will make no small figure; and that is what his Majesty
gave him. The dessert was served on the richest china, with knives,
forks, and spoons of gold. As you enter his apartments, you pass through
files of servants into his ante-chamber, in which is a throne covered
with green velvet, upon which is a chair of state, over which hangs the
picture of his royal master. These thrones are common to all ambassadors
of the first order, as they are immediate representatives of the king.
Through this ante-chamber you pass into the grand salon, which is
elegantly adorned with architecture, a beautiful lustre hanging from the
middle. Settees, chairs, and hangings of the richest silk, embroidered
with gold; marble slabs upon Muted pillars, round which wreaths of
artificial flowers in gold entwine. It is usual to find in all houses of
fashion, as in this, several dozens of chairs, all of which have stuffed
backs and cushions, standing in double rows round the rooms. The
dining-room was equally beautiful, being hung with Gobelin tapestry, the
colors and figures of which resemble the most elegant painting. In this
room were hair-bottom mahogany-backed chairs, and the first I have seen
since I came to France. Two small statues of a Venus de Medicis, and a
Venus de ---- (ask Miss Paine for the other name), were upon the
mantelpiece. The latter, however, was the most modest of the kind,
having something like a loose robe thrown partly over her. From the
Swedish Ambassador's we went to visit the Duchess d'Enville, who is
mother to the Duke de Rochefoucault. We found the old lady sitting in an
easy-chair; around her sat a circle of Academicians, and by her side a
young lady. Your uncle presented us, and the old lady rose, and, as
usual, gave us a salute. As she had no paint, I could put up with it;
but when she approached your cousin I could think of nothing but Death
taking hold of Hebe. The duchess is near eighty, very tall and lean.
She was dressed in a silk chemise, with very large sleeves, coming
half-way down her arm, a large cape, no stays, a black-velvet girdle
round her waist, some very rich lace in her chemise, round her neck, and
in her sleeves; but the lace was not sufficient to cover the upper part
of her neck, which old Time had harrowed; she had no cap on, but a
little gauze bonnet, which did not reach her ears, and tied under her
chin, her venerable white hairs in full view. The dress of old women and
young girls in this country is _detestable_, to speak in the French
style; the latter at the age of seven being clothed exactly like a woman
of twenty, and the former have such a fantastical appearance that I
cannot endure it. The old lady has all the vivacity of a young one. She
is the most learned woman in France; her house is the resort of all men
of literature, with whom she converses upon the most abstruse subjects.
She is of one of the most ancient, as well as the richest families in
the kingdom. She asked very archly when Dr. Franklin was going to
America. Upon being told, says she, "I have heard that he is a prophet
there;" alluding to that text of Scripture, "A prophet is not without
honor," etc. It was her husband who commanded the fleet which once
spread such terror in our country.


     LONDON, Friday, 24th July 1784.

_My Dear Sister_:

I am not a little surprised to find dress, unless upon public occasions,
so little regarded here. The gentlemen are very plainly dressed, and the
ladies much more so than with us. 'Tis true, you must put a hoop on and
have your hair dressed; but a common straw hat, no cap, with only a
ribbon upon the crown, is thought dress sufficient to go into company.
Muslins are much in taste; no silks but lutestrings worn; but send not
to London for any article you want: you may purchase anything you can
name much lower in Boston. I went yesterday into Cheapside to purchase a
few articles, but found everything higher than in Boston. Silks are in a
particular manner so; they say, when they are exported, there is a
drawback upon them, which makes them lower with us. Our country, alas,
our country! they are extravagant to astonishment in entertainments
compared with what Mr. Smith and Mr. Storer tell me of this. You will
not find at a gentleman's table more than two dishes of meat, though
invited several days beforehand. Mrs. Atkinson went out with me
yesterday, and Mrs. Hay, to the shops. I returned and dined with Mrs.
Atkinson, by her invitation the evening before, in company with Mr.
Smith, Mrs. Hay, Mr. Appleton. We had a turbot, a soup, and a roast leg
of lamb, with a cherry pie....

The wind has prevented the arrival of the post. The city of London is
pleasanter than I expected; the buildings more regular, the streets much
wider, and more sunshine than I thought to have found: but this, they
tell me, is the pleasantest season to be in the city. At my lodgings I
am as quiet as at any place in Boston; nor do I feel as if it could be
any other place than Boston. Dr. Clark visits us every day; says he
cannot feel at home anywhere else: declares he has not seen a handsome
woman since he came into the city; that every old woman looks like Mrs.
H----, and every young one like--like the D---l. They paint here nearly
as much as in France, but with more art. The head-dress disfigures them
in the eyes of an American. I have seen many ladies, but not one elegant
one since I came; there is not to me that neatness in their appearance
which you see in our ladies.

The American ladies are much admired here by the gentlemen, I am told,
and in truth I wonder not at it. Oh, my country, my country! preserve,
preserve the little purity and simplicity of manners you yet possess.
Believe me, they are jewels of inestimable value; the softness,
peculiarly characteristic of our sex, and which is so pleasing to the
gentlemen, is wholly laid aside here for the masculine attire and
manners of Amazonians.


_My Dear Sister_:

I have been here a month without writing a single line to my American
friends. On or about the twenty-eighth of May we reached London, and
expected to have gone into our old quiet lodgings at the Adelphi; but we
found every hotel full. The sitting of Parliament, the birthday of the
King, and the famous celebration of the music of Handel, at Westminster
Abbey, had drawn together such a concourse of people that we were glad
to get into lodgings at the moderate price of a guinea per day, for two
rooms and two chambers, at the Bath Hotel, Westminster, Piccadilly,
where we yet are. This being the Court end of the city, it is the
resort of a vast concourse of carriages. It is too public and noisy for
pleasure, but necessity is without law. The ceremony of presentation,
upon one week to the King, and the next to the Queen, was to take place,
after which I was to prepare for mine. It is customary, upon
presentation, to receive visits from all the foreign ministers; so that
we could not exchange our lodgings for more private ones, as we might
and should, had we been only in a private character. The foreign
ministers and several English lords and earls have paid their
compliments here, and all hitherto is civil and polite. I was a
fortnight, all the time I could get, looking at different houses, but
could not find any one fit to inhabit under £200, beside the taxes,
which mount up to £50 or £60. At last my good genius carried me to one
in Grosvenor Square, which was not let, because the person who had the
care of it could let it only for the remaining lease, which was one year
and three-quarters. The price, which is not quite two hundred pounds,
the situation, and all together, induced us to close the bargain, and I
have prevailed upon the person who lets it to paint two rooms, which
will put it into decent order; so that, as soon as our furniture comes,
I shall again commence housekeeping. Living at a hotel is, I think, more
expensive than housekeeping, in proportion to what one has for his
money. We have never had more than two dishes at a time upon our table,
and have not pretended to ask any company, and yet we live at a greater
expense than twenty-five guineas per week. The wages of servants, horse
hire, house rent, and provisions are much dearer here than in France.
Servants of various sorts, and for different departments, are to be
procured; their characters are to be inquired into, and this I take upon
me, even to the coachman, You can hardly form an idea how much I miss my
son on this, as well as on many other accounts; but I cannot bear to
trouble Mr. Adams with anything of a domestic kind, who, from morning
until evening, has sufficient to occupy all his time. You can have no
idea of the petitions, letters, and private applications for assistance,
which crowd our doors. Every person represents his case as dismal. Some
may really be objects of compassion, and some we assist; but one must
have an inexhaustible purse to supply them all. Besides, there are so
many gross impositions practiced, as we have found in more instances
than one, that it would take the whole of a person's time to trace all
their stories. Many pretend to have been American soldiers, some have
served as officers. A most glaring instance of falsehood, however,
Colonel Smith detected in a man of these pretensions, who sent to Mr.
Adams from the King's Bench prison, and modestly desired five guineas; a
qualified cheat, but evidently a man of letters and abilities: but if it
is to continue in this way, a galley slave would have an easier task.

The Tory venom has begun to spit itself forth in the public papers, as I
expected, bursting with envy that an American minister should be
received here with the same marks of attention, politeness, and
civility, which are shown to the ministers of any other power. When a
minister delivers his credentials to the King, it is always in his
private closet, attended only by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, which
is called a private audience, and the minister presented makes some
little address to his Majesty, and the same ceremony to the Queen, whose
reply was in these words: "Sir, I thank you for your civility to me and
my family, and I am glad to see you in this country;" then she very
politely inquired whether he had got a house yet. The answer of his
Majesty was much longer; but I am not at liberty to say more respecting
it, than that it was civil and polite, and that his Majesty said he was
glad the choice of his country had fallen upon him. The news-liars know
nothing of the matter; they represent it just to answer their purpose.
Last Thursday, Colonel Smith was presented at Court, and to-morrow, at
the Queen's circle, my ladyship and your niece make our compliments.
There is no other presentation in Europe in which I should feel as much
as in this. Your own reflections will easily suggest the reasons.

I have received a very friendly and polite visit from the Countess of
Effingham. She called, and not finding me at home, left a card. I
returned her visit, but was obliged to do it by leaving my card too, as
she was gone out of town; but when her ladyship returned, she sent her
compliments and word that if agreeable she would take a dish of tea with
me, and named her day. She accordingly came, and appeared a very polite,
sensible woman. She is about forty, a good person, though a little
masculine, elegant in her appearance, very easy and social. The Earl of
Effingham is too well remembered by America to need any particular
recital of his character. His mother is first lady to the Queen. When
her ladyship took leave, she desired I would let her know the day I
would favor her with a visit, as she should be loath to be absent. She
resides, in summer, a little distance from town. The Earl is a member of
Parliament, which obliges him now to be in town, and she usually comes
with him, and resides at a hotel a little distance from this.

I find a good many ladies belonging to the Southern States here, many of
whom have visited me; I have exchanged visits with several, yet neither
of us have met. The custom is, however, here much more agreeable than in
France, for it is as with us: the stranger is first visited.

The ceremony of presentation here is considered as indispensable. There
are four minister-plenipotentiaries' ladies here; but one ambassador,
and he has no lady. In France, the ladies of ambassadors only are
presented. One is obliged here to attend the circles of the Queen, which
are held in summer once a fortnight, but once a week the rest of the
year; and what renders it exceedingly expensive is, that you cannot go
twice the same season in the same dress, and a Court dress you cannot
make use of anywhere else. I directed my mantuamaker to let my dress be
elegant, but plain as I could possibly appear, with decency;
accordingly, it is white lutestring, covered and full trimmed with white
crape, festooned with lilac ribbon and mock point lace, over a hoop of
enormous extent; there is only a narrow train of about three yards in
length to the gown waist, which is put into a ribbon upon the left side,
the Queen only having her train borne. Ruffle cuffs for married ladies,
treble lace lappets, two white plumes, and a blond lace handkerchief.
This is my rigging, I should have mentioned two pearl pins in my hair,
earrings and necklace of the same kind.


My head is dressed for St. James's, and in my opinion looks very tasty.
While my daughter's is undergoing the same operation, I set myself down
composedly to write you a few lines. "Well," methinks I hear Betsey and
Lucy say, "what is cousin's dress?" White, my dear girls, like your
aunt's, only differently trimmed and ornamented: her train being wholly
of white crape, and trimmed with white ribbon; the petticoat, which is
the most showy part of the dress, covered and drawn up in what are
called festoons, with light wreaths of beautiful flowers; the sleeves
white crape, drawn over the silk, with a row of lace round the sleeve
near the shoulder, another half-way down the arm, and a third upon the
top of the ruffle, a little flower stuck between; a kind of hat-cap,
with three large feathers and a bunch of flowers; a wreath of flowers
upon the hair. Thus equipped, we go in our own carriage, and Mr. Adams
and Colonel Smith in his. But I must quit my pen to put myself in order
for the ceremony, which begins at two o'clock. When I return, I will
relate to you my reception; but do not let it circulate, as there may be
persons eager to catch at everything, and as much given to
misrepresentation as here. I would gladly be excused the ceremony.


Congratulate me, my dear sister: it is over. I was too much fatigued to
write a line last evening. At two o'clock we went to the circle, which
is in the drawing-room of the Queen. We passed through several
apartments, lined as usual with spectators upon these occasions. Upon
entering the ante-chamber, the Baron de Lynden, the Dutch Minister, who
has been often here, came and spoke with me. A Count Sarsfield, a French
nobleman, with whom I was acquainted, paid his compliments. As I passed
into the drawing-room, Lord Carmarthen and Sir Clement Cotterel Dormer
were presented to me. Though they had been several times here, I had
never seen them before. The Swedish and the Polish Ministers made their
compliments, and several other gentlemen; but not a single lady did I
know until the Countess of Effingham came, who was very civil. There
were three young ladies, daughters of the Marquis of Lothian, who were
to be presented at the same time, and two brides. We were placed in a
circle round the drawing-room, which was very full; I believe two
hundred persons present. Only think of the task! The royal family have
to go round to every person and find small talk enough to speak to them
all, though they very prudently speak in a whisper, so that only the
person who stands next to you can hear what is said. The King enters the
room and goes round to the right; the Queen and Princesses to the left.
The lord-in-waiting presents you to the King; and the lady-in-waiting
does the same to her Majesty. The King is a personable man; but, my dear
sister, he has a certain countenance, which you and I have often
remarked: a red face and white eyebrows. The Queen has a similar
countenance, and the numerous royal family confirm the observation.
Persons are not placed according to their rank in the drawing-room, but
promiscuously; and when the King comes in, he takes persons as they
stand. When he came to me, Lord Onslow said, "Mrs. Adams;" upon which I
drew off my right-hand glove, and his Majesty saluted my left cheek;
then asked me if I had taken a walk to-day. I could have told his
Majesty that I had been all the morning preparing to wait upon him; but
I replied, "No, Sire." "Why, don't you love walking?" says he. I
answered that I was rather indolent in that respect. He then bowed, and
passed on. It was more than two hours after this before it came to my
turn to be presented to the Queen. The circle was so large that the
company were four hours standing. The Queen was evidently embarrassed
when I was presented to her. I had disagreeable feelings, too. She,
however, said, "Mrs. Adams, have you got into your house? Pray, how do
you like the situation of it?" While the Princess Royal looked
compassionate, and asked me if I was not much fatigued; and observed,
that it was a very full drawing-room. Her sister, who came next,
Princess Augusta, after having asked your niece if she was ever in
England before, and her answering "Yes," inquired of me how long ago,
and supposed it was when she was very young. All this is said with much
affability, and the ease and freedom of old acquaintance. The manner in
which they make their tour round the room is, first, the Queen, the
lady-in-waiting behind her, holding up her train; next to her, the
Princess Royal; after her, Princess Augusta, and their lady-in-waiting
behind them. They are pretty, rather than beautiful; well-shaped, fair
complexions, and a tincture of the King's countenance. The two sisters
look much alike; they were both dressed in black and silver silk, with
silver netting upon the coat, and their heads full of diamond pins. The
Queen was in purple and silver. She is not well shaped nor handsome. As
to the ladies of the Court, rank and title may compensate for want of
personal charms; but they are, in general, very plain, ill-shaped, and
ugly; but don't you tell anybody that I say so. If one wants to see
beauty, one must go to Ranelagh; there it is collected, in one bright
constellation. There were two ladies very elegant, at Court,--Lady
Salisbury and Lady Talbot; but the observation did not in general hold
good that fine feathers make fine birds. I saw many who were vastly
richer dressed than your friends, but I will venture to say that I saw
none neater or more elegant: which praise I ascribe to the taste of Mrs.
Temple and my mantuamaker; for, after having declared that I would not
have any foil or tinsel about me, they fixed upon the dress I have

[Inclosure to her niece]

_My Dear Betsey_:

I believe I once promised to give you an account of that kind of
visiting called a ladies' rout. There are two kinds; one where a lady
sets apart a particular day in the week to see company. These are held
only five months in the year, it being quite out of fashion to be seen
in London during the summer. When a lady returns from the country she
goes round and leaves a card with all her acquaintance, and then sends
them an invitation to attend her routs during the season. The other kind
is where a lady sends to you for certain evenings, and the cards are
always addressed in her own name, both to gentlemen and ladies. The
rooms are all set open, and card tables set in each room, the lady of
the house receiving her company at the door of the drawing-room, where a
set number of courtesies are given and received, with as much order as
is necessary for a soldier who goes through the different evolutions of
his exercise. The visitor then proceeds into the room without appearing
to notice any other person, and takes her seat at the card table.

     "Nor can the muse her aid impart,
     Unskilled in all the terms of art,
     Nor in harmonious numbers put
     The deal, the shuffle, and the cut.
     Go, Tom, and light the ladies up,
     It must be one before we sup."

At these parties it is usual for each lady to play a rubber, as it is
termed, when you must lose or win a few guineas. To give each a fair
chance, the lady then rises and gives her seat to another set. It is no
unusual thing to have your rooms so crowded that not more than half the
company can sit at once, yet this is called _society and polite life_.
They treat their company with coffee, tea, lemonade, orgeat, and cake. I
know of but one agreeable circumstance attending these parties, which
is, that you may go away when you please without disturbing anybody. I
was early in the winter invited to Madame de Pinto's, the Portuguese
Minister's. I went accordingly. There were about two hundred persons
present. I knew not a single lady but by sight, having met them at
Court; and it is an established rule, though you were to meet as often
as three nights in the week, never to speak together, or know each other
unless particularly introduced. I was, however, at no loss for
conversation, Madame de Pinto being very polite, and the foreign
ministers being the most of them present, who had dined with us, and to
whom I had been early introduced. It being Sunday evening, I declined
playing cards; indeed, I always get excused when I can. And Heaven
forbid I should

     "Catch the manners living as they rise."

Yet I must submit to a party or two of this kind. Having attended
several, I must return the compliment in the same way. Yesterday we
dined at Mrs. Paradice's. I refer you to Mr. Storer for an account of
this family. Mr. Jefferson, Colonel Smith, the Prussian and Venetian
ministers, were of the company, and several other persons who were
strangers. At eight o'clock we returned home in order to dress ourselves
for the ball at the French Ambassador's, to which we had received an
invitation a fortnight before. He has been absent ever since our arrival
here, till three weeks ago. He has a levee every Sunday evening, at
which there are usually several hundred persons. The Hotel de France is
beautifully situated, fronting St. James's Park, one end of the house
standing upon Hyde Park. It is a most superb building. About half-past
nine we went, and found some company collected. Many very brilliant
ladies of the first distinction were present. The dancing commenced
about ten, and the rooms soon filled. The room which he had built for
this purpose is large enough for five or six hundred persons. It is most
elegantly decorated, hung with a gold tissue, ornamented with twelve
brilliant cut lustres, each containing twenty-four candles. At one end
there are two large arches; these were adorned with wreaths and bunches
of artificial flowers upon the walls; in the alcoves were cornucopiae
loaded with oranges, sweetmeats, and other trifles. Coffee, tea,
lemonade, orgeat, and so forth, were taken here by every person who
chose to go for them. There were covered seats all around the room for
those who chose to dance. In the other rooms, card tables, and a large
faro table, were set; this is a new kind of game, which is much
practiced here. Many of the company who did not dance retired here to
amuse themselves. The whole style of the house and furniture is such as
becomes the ambassador from one of the first monarchies in Europe. He
had twenty thousand guineas allowed him in the first instance to furnish
his house, and an annual salary of ten thousand more. He has agreeably
blended the magnificence and splendor of France with the neatness and
elegance of England. Your cousin had unfortunately taken a cold a few
days before, and was very unfit to go out. She appeared so unwell that
about one we retired without staying for supper, the sight of which only
I regretted, as it was, in style, no doubt, superior to anything I have
seen. The Prince of Wales came about eleven o'clock. Mrs. Fitzherbert
was also present, but I could not distinguish her. But who is this lady?
methinks I hear you say. She is a lady to whom, against the laws of the
realm, the Prince of Wales is privately married, as is universally
believed. She appears with him in all public parties, and he avows his
marriage wherever he dares. They have been the topic of conversation in
all companies for a long time, and it is now said that a young George
may be expected in the course of the summer. She was a widow of about
thirty-two years of age, whom he a long time persecuted in order to get
her upon his own terms; but finding he could not succeed, he quieted her
conscience by matrimony, which, however valid in the eye of heaven, is
set aside by the laws of the land, which forbids a prince of the blood
to marry a subject. As to dresses, I believe I must leave them to be
described to your sister. I am sorry I have nothing better to send you
than a sash and a Vandyke ribbon. The narrow is to put round the edge of
a hat, or you may trim whatever you please with it.



The gifts of expression and literary taste which have always
characterized the Adams family are most prominently represented by this
historian. He has also its great memory, power of acquisition,
intellectual independence, and energy of nature. The latter is tempered
in him with inherited self-control, the moderation of judgment bred by
wide historical knowledge, and a pervasive atmosphere of literary
good-breeding which constantly substitutes allusive irony for crude
statement, the rapier for the tomahawk.

Henry Adams is the third son of Charles Francis Adams, Sr.,--the able
Minister to England during the Civil War,--and grandson of John Quincy
Adams. He was born in Boston, February 16th, 1838, graduated from
Harvard in 1858, and served as private secretary to his father in
England. In 1870 he became editor of the North American Review and
Professor of History at Harvard, in which place he won wide repute for
originality and power of inspiring enthusiasm for research in his
pupils. He has written several essays and books on historical subjects,
and edited others,--'Essays on Anglo-Saxon Law' (1876), 'Documents
Relating to New England Federalism' (1877), 'Albert Gallatin' (1879),
'Writings of Albert Gallatin' (1879), 'John Randolph' (1882) in the
'American Statesmen' Series, and 'Historical Essays'; but his great
life-work and monument is his 'History of the United States, 1801-17'
(the Jefferson and Madison administrations), to write which he left his
professorship in 1877, and after passing many years in London, in other
foreign capitals, in Washington, and elsewhere, studying archives,
family papers, published works, shipyards, and many other things, in
preparation for it, published the first volume in 1889, and the last in
1891. It is in nine volumes, of which the introductory chapters and the
index make up one.

The work in its inception (though not in its execution) is a polemic
tract--a family vindication, an act of pious duty; its sub-title might
be, 'A Justification of John Quincy Adams for Breaking with the
Federalist Party.' So taken, the reader who loves historical fights and
seriously desires truth should read the chapters on the Hartford
Convention and its preliminaries side by side with the corresponding
pages in Henry Cabot Lodge's 'Life of George Cabot.' If he cannot judge
from the pleadings of these two able advocates with briefs for different
sides, it is not for lack of full exposition.

But the 'History' is far more and higher than a piece of special
pleading. It is in the main, both as to domestic and international
matters, a resolutely cool and impartial presentation of facts and
judgments on all sides of a period where passionate partisanship lies
almost in the very essence of the questions--a tone contrasting oddly
with the political action and feeling of the two Presidents. Even where,
as toward the New England Federalists, many readers will consider him
unfair in his deductions, he never tampers with or unfairly proportions
the facts.

The work is a model of patient study, not alone of what is
conventionally accepted as historic material, but of all subsidiary
matter necessary to expert discussion of the problems involved. He goes
deeply into economic and social facts; he has instructed himself in
military science like a West Point student, in army needs like a
quartermaster, in naval construction, equipment, and management like a
naval officer. Of purely literary qualities, the history presents a
high order of constructive art in amassing minute details without
obscuring the main outlines; luminous statement; and the results of a
very powerful memory, which enables him to keep before his vision every
incident of the long chronicle with its involved groupings, so that an
armory of instructive comparisons, as well as of polemic missiles, is
constantly ready to his hand. He follows the latest historical canons as
to giving authorities.

The history advances many novel views, and controverts many accepted
facts. The relation of Napoleon's warfare against Hayti and Toussaint to
the great Continental struggle, and the position he assigns it as the
turning point of that greater contest, is perhaps the most important of
these. But almost as striking are his views on the impressment problem
and the provocations to the War of 1812; wherein he leads to the most
unexpected deduction,--namely, that the grievances on _both_ sides were
much greater than is generally supposed. He shows that the profit and
security of the American merchant service drew thousands of English
seamen into it, where they changed their names and passed for American
citizens, greatly embarrassing English naval operations. On the other
hand, he shows that English outrages and insults were so gross that no
nation with spirit enough to be entitled to separate existence ought to
have endured them. He reverses the severe popular judgment on Madison
for consenting to the war--on the assumed ground of coveting another
term as President--which every other historian and biographer from
Hildreth to Sydney Howard Gay has pronounced, and which has become a
stock historical convention; holds Jackson's campaign ending at New
Orleans an imbecile undertaking redeemed only by an act of instinctive
pugnacity at the end; gives Scott and Jacob Brown the honor they have
never before received in fair measure; and in many other points
redistributes praise and blame with entire independence, and with
curious effect on many popular ideas. His views on the Hartford
Convention of 1814 are part of the Federalist controversy already
referred to.


From 'History of the United States': copyright 1890, by Charles
Scribner's Sons.

The American declaration of war against England, July 18th, 1812,
annoyed those European nations that were gathering their utmost
resources for resistance to Napoleon's attack. Russia could not but
regard it as an unfriendly act, equally bad for political and commercial
interests. Spain and Portugal, whose armies were fed largely if not
chiefly on American grain imported by British money under British
protection, dreaded to see their supplies cut off. Germany, waiting only
for strength to recover her freedom, had to reckon against one more
element in Napoleon's vast military resources. England needed to make
greater efforts in order to maintain the advantages she had gained in
Russia and Spain. Even in America no one doubted the earnestness of
England's wish for peace; and if Madison and Monroe insisted on her
acquiescence in their terms, they insisted because they believed that
their military position entitled them to expect it. The reconquest of
Russia and Spain by Napoleon, an event almost certain to happen, could
hardly fail to force from England the concessions, not in themselves
unreasonable, which the United States required.

This was, as Madison to the end of his life maintained, "a fair
calculation;" but it was exasperating to England, who thought that
America ought to be equally interested with Europe in overthrowing the
military despotism of Napoleon, and should not conspire with him for
gain. At first the new war disconcerted the feeble Ministry that
remained in office on the death of Spencer Perceval: they counted on
preventing it, and did their utmost to stop it after it was begun. The
tone of arrogance which had so long characterized government and press
disappeared for the moment. Obscure newspapers, like the London Evening
Star, still sneered at the idea that Great Britain was to be "driven
from the proud pre-eminence which the blood and treasure of her sons
have attained for her among the nations, by a piece of striped bunting
flying at the mastheads of a few fir-built frigates, manned by a handful
of bastards and outlaws,"--a phrase which had great success in
America,--but such defiances expressed a temper studiously held in
restraint previous to the moment when the war was seen to be inevitable.

The realization that no escape could be found from an American war was
forced on the British public at a moment of much discouragement. Almost
simultaneously a series of misfortunes occurred which brought the
stoutest and most intelligent Englishmen to the verge of despair. In
Spain Wellington, after winning the battle of Salamanca in July,
occupied Madrid in August, and obliged Soult to evacuate Andalusia; but
his siege of Burgos failed, and as the French generals concentrated
their scattered forces, Wellington was obliged to abandon Madrid once
more. October 21st he was again in full retreat on Portugal. The
apparent failure of his campaign was almost simultaneous with the
apparent success of Napoleon's; for the Emperor entered Moscow September
14th, and the news of this triumph, probably decisive of Russian
submission, reached England about October 3d. Three days later arrived
intelligence of William Hull's surrender at Detroit; but this success
was counterbalanced by simultaneous news of Isaac Hull's startling
capture of the Guerrière, and the certainty of a prolonged war.

In the desponding condition of the British people,--with a deficient
harvest, bad weather, wheat at nearly five dollars a bushel, and the
American supply likely to be cut off; consols at 57 1/2, gold at thirty
per cent premium; a Ministry without credit or authority, and a general
consciousness of blunders, incompetence, and corruption,--every new tale
of disaster sank the hopes of England and called out wails of despair.
In that state of mind the loss of the Guerrière assumed portentous
dimensions. The Times was especially loud in lamenting the capture:--

     "We witnessed the gloom which that event cast over high and
     honorable minds.... Never before in the history of the world
     did an English frigate strike to an American; and though we
     cannot say that Captain Dacres, under all circumstances, is
     punishable for this act, yet we do say there are commanders
     in the English navy who would a thousand times rather have
     gone down with their colors flying, than have set their
     fellow sailors so fatal an example."

No country newspaper in America, railing at Hull's cowardice and
treachery, showed less knowledge or judgment than the London Times,
which had written of nothing but war since its name had been known in
England. Any American could have assured the English press that British
frigates before the Guerrière had struck to American; and even in
England men had not forgotten the name of the British frigate Serapis,
or that of the American captain Paul Jones. Yet the Times's ignorance
was less unreasonable than its requirement that Dacres should have gone
down with his ship,--a cry of passion the more unjust to Dacres because
he fought his ship as long as she could float. Such sensitiveness seemed
extravagant in a society which had been hardened by centuries of
warfare; yet the Times reflected fairly the feelings of Englishmen.
George Canning, speaking in open Parliament not long afterward, said
that the loss of the Guerrière and the Macedonian produced a sensation
in the country scarcely to be equaled by the most violent convulsions of
nature. "Neither can I agree with those who complain of the shock of
consternation throughout Great Britain as having been greater than the
occasion required.... It cannot be too deeply felt that the sacred spell
of the invincibility of the British navy was broken by those unfortunate

Of all spells that could be cast on a nation, that of believing itself
invincible was perhaps the one most profitably broken; but the process
of recovering its senses was agreeable to no nation, and to England, at
that moment of distress, it was as painful as Canning described. The
matter was not mended by the Courier and Morning Post, who, taking their
tone from the Admiralty, complained of the enormous superiority of the
American frigates, and called them "line-of-battle ships in disguise."
Certainly the American forty-four was a much heavier ship than the
British thirty-eight, but the difference had been as well known in the
British navy before these actions as it was afterward; and Captain
Dacres himself, the Englishman who best knew the relative force of the
ships, told his court of inquiry a different story:--"I am so well aware
that the success of my opponent was owing to fortune, that it is my
earnest wish, and would be the happiest period of my life, to be once
more opposed to the Constitution, with them [the old crew] under my
command, in a frigate of similar force with the Guerrière." After all
had been said, the unpleasant result remained that in future, British
frigates, like other frigates, could safely fight only their inferiors
in force. What applied to the Guerrière and Macedonian against the
Constitution and United States, where the British force was inferior,
applied equally to the Frolic against the Wasp, where no inferiority
could be shown. The British newspapers thenceforward admitted what
America wished to prove, that, ship for ship, British were no more than
the equals of Americans.

Society soon learned to take a more sensible view of the subject; but as
the first depression passed away, a consciousness of personal wrong took
its place. The United States were supposed to have stabbed England in
the back at the moment when her hands were tied, when her existence was
in the most deadly peril and her anxieties were most heavy. England
never could forgive treason so base and cowardice so vile. That Madison
had been from the first a tool and accomplice of Bonaparte was
thenceforward so fixed an idea in British history that time could not
shake it. Indeed, so complicated and so historical had the causes of
war become that no one even in America could explain or understand them,
while Englishmen could see only that America required England as the
price of peace to destroy herself by abandoning her naval power, and
that England preferred to die fighting rather than to die by her own
hand. The American party in England was extinguished; no further protest
was heard against the war; and the British people thought moodily
of revenge.

This result was unfortunate for both parties, but was doubly unfortunate
for America, because her mode of making the issue told in her enemy's
favor. The same impressions which silenced in England open sympathy with
America, stimulated in America acute sympathy with England. Argument was
useless against people in a passion, convinced of their own injuries.
Neither Englishmen nor Federalists were open to reasoning. They found
their action easy from the moment they classed the United States as an
ally of France, like Bavaria or Saxony; and they had no scruples of
conscience, for the practical alliance was clear, and the fact proved
sufficiently the intent....

The loss of two or three thirty-eight-gun frigates on the ocean was a
matter of trifling consequence to the British government, which had a
force of four ships-of-the-line and six or eight frigates in Chesapeake
Bay alone, and which built every year dozens of ships-of-the-line and
frigates to replace those lost or worn out; but although American
privateers wrought more injury to British interests than was caused or
could be caused by the American navy, the pride of England cared little
about mercantile losses, and cared immensely for its fighting
reputation. The theory that the American was a degenerate Englishman--a
theory chiefly due to American teachings--lay at the bottom of British
politics. Even the late British minister at Washington, Foster, a man of
average intelligence, thought it manifest good taste and good sense to
say of the Americans in his speech of February 18th, 1813, in
Parliament, that "generally speaking, they were not a people we should
be proud to acknowledge as our relations." Decatur and Hull were engaged
in a social rather than in a political contest, and were aware that the
serious work on their hands had little to do with England's power, but
much to do with her manners. The mortification of England at the capture
of her frigates was the measure of her previous arrogance....

Every country must begin war by asserting that it will never give way;
and of all countries England, which had waged innumerable wars, knew
best when perseverance cost more than concession. Even at that early
moment Parliament was evidently perplexed, and would willingly have
yielded had it seen means of escape from its naval fetich, impressment.
Perhaps the perplexity was more evident in the Commons than in the
Lords; for Castlereagh, while defending his own course with elaborate
care, visibly stumbled over the right of impressment. Even while
claiming that its abandonment would have been "vitally dangerous if not
fatal" to England's security, he added that he "would be the last man in
the world to underrate the inconvenience which the Americans sustained
in consequence of our assertion of the right of search." The
embarrassment became still plainer when he narrowed the question to one
of statistics, and showed that the whole contest was waged over the
forcible retention of some eight hundred seamen among one hundred and
forty-five thousand employed in British service. Granting the number
were twice as great, he continued, "would the House believe that there
was any man so infatuated, or that the British empire was driven to such
straits that for such a paltry consideration as seventeen hundred
sailors, his Majesty's government would needlessly irritate the pride of
a neutral nation or violate that justice which was due to one country
from another?" If Liverpool's argument explained the causes of war,
Castlereagh's explained its inevitable result; for since the war must
cost England at least 10,000,000 pounds a year, could Parliament be so
infatuated as to pay 10,000 pounds a year for each American sailor
detained in service, when one-tenth of the amount, if employed in
raising the wages of the British sailor, would bring any required number
of seamen back to their ships? The whole British navy in 1812 cost
20,000,000 pounds; the pay-roll amounted to only 3,000,000 pounds; the
common sailor was paid four pounds bounty and eighteen pounds a year,
which might have been trebled at half the cost of an American war.


From 'History of the United States': copyright 1890, by Charles
Scribner's Sons.

A people whose chief trait was antipathy to war, and to any system
organized with military energy, could scarcely develop great results in
national administration; yet the Americans prided themselves chiefly on
their political capacity. Even the war did not undeceive them, although
the incapacity brought into evidence by the war was undisputed, and was
most remarkable among the communities which believed themselves to be
most gifted with political sagacity. Virginia and Massachusetts by turns
admitted failure in dealing with issues so simple that the newest
societies, like Tennessee and Ohio, understood them by instinct. That
incapacity in national politics should appear as a leading trait in
American character was unexpected by Americans, but might naturally
result from their conditions. The better test of American character was
not political but social, and was to be found not in the government but
in the people.

The sixteen years of Jefferson and Madison's rule furnished
international tests of popular intelligence upon which Americans could
depend. The ocean was the only open field for competition among nations.
Americans enjoyed there no natural or artificial advantages over
Englishmen, Frenchmen, or Spaniards; indeed, all these countries
possessed navies, resources, and experience greater than were to be
found in the United States. Yet the Americans developed, in the course
of twenty years, a surprising degree of skill in naval affairs. The
evidence of their success was to be found nowhere so complete as in the
avowals of Englishmen who knew best the history of naval progress. The
American invention of the fast-sailing schooner or clipper was the more
remarkable because, of all American inventions, this alone sprang from
direct competition with Europe. During ten centuries of struggle the
nations of Europe had labored to obtain superiority over each other in
ship-construction; yet Americans instantly made improvements which gave
them superiority, and which Europeans were unable immediately to imitate
even after seeing them. Not only were American vessels better in model,
faster in sailing, easier and quicker in handling, and more economical
in working than the European, but they were also better equipped. The
English complained as a grievance that the Americans adopted new and
unwarranted devices in naval warfare; that their vessels were heavier
and better constructed, and their missiles of unusual shape and improper
use. The Americans resorted to expedients that had not been tried
before, and excited a mixture of irritation and respect in the English
service, until "Yankee smartness" became a national misdemeanor.

The English admitted themselves to be slow to change their habits, but
the French were both quick and scientific; yet Americans did on the
ocean what the French, under stronger inducements, failed to do. The
French privateer preyed upon British commerce for twenty years without
seriously injuring it; but no sooner did the American privateer sail
from French ports than the rates of insurance doubled in London, and an
outcry for protection arose among English shippers which the Admiralty
could not calm. The British newspapers were filled with assertions that
the American cruiser was the superior of any vessel of its class, and
threatened to overthrow England's supremacy on the ocean.

Another test of relative intelligence was furnished by the battles at
sea. Instantly after the loss of the Guerrière the English discovered
and complained that American gunnery was superior to their own. They
explained their inferiority by the length of time that had elapsed since
their navy had found on the ocean an enemy to fight. Every vestige of
hostile fleets had been swept away, until, after the battle of
Trafalgar, British frigates ceased practice with their guns. Doubtless
the British navy had become somewhat careless in the absence of a
dangerous enemy, but Englishmen were themselves aware that some other
cause must have affected their losses. Nothing showed that Nelson's
line-of-battle ships, frigates, or sloops were, as a rule, better fought
than the Macedonian and Java, the Avon and Reindeer. Sir Howard Douglas,
the chief authority on the subject, attempted in vain to explain British
reverses by the deterioration of British gunnery. His analysis showed
only that American gunnery was extraordinarily good. Of all vessels, the
sloop-of-war--on account of its smallness, its quick motion, and its
more accurate armament of thirty-two-pound carronades--offered the best
test of relative gunnery, and Sir Howard Douglas in commenting upon the
destruction of the Peacock and Avon could only say:--"In these two
actions it is clear that the fire of the British vessels was thrown too
high, and that the ordnance of their opponents were expressly and
carefully aimed at and took effect chiefly in the hull."

The battle of the Hornet and Penguin, as well as those of the Reindeer
and Avon, showed that the excellence of American gunnery continued till
the close of the war. Whether at point-blank range or at long-distance
practice, the Americans used guns as they had never been used at
sea before.

None of the reports of former British victories showed that the British
fire had been more destructive at any previous time than in 1812, and no
report of any commander since the British navy existed showed so much
damage inflicted on an opponent in so short a time as was proved to have
been inflicted on themselves by the reports of British commanders in the
American war. The strongest proof of American superiority was given by
the best British officers, like Broke, who strained every nerve to
maintain an equality with American gunnery. So instantaneous and
energetic was the effort that according to the British historian of the
war, "A British forty-six-gun frigate of 1813 was half as effective
again as a British forty-six-gun frigate of 1812;" and as he justly
said, "the slaughtered crews and the shattered hulks" of the captured
British ships proved that no want of their old fighting qualities
accounted for their repeated and almost habitual mortifications.

Unwilling as the English were to admit the superior skill of Americans
on the ocean, they did not hesitate to admit it, in certain respects, on
land. The American rifle in American hands was affirmed to have no equal
in the world. This admission could scarcely be withheld after the lists
of killed and wounded which followed almost every battle; but the
admission served to check a wider inquiry. In truth, the rifle played
but a small part in the war. Winchester's men at the river Raisin may
have owed their over-confidence, as the British Forty-first owed its
losses, to that weapon, and at New Orleans five or six hundred of
Coffee's men, who were out of range, were armed with the rifle; but the
surprising losses of the British were commonly due to artillery and
musketry fire. At New Orleans the artillery was chiefly engaged. The
artillery battle of January 1st, according to British accounts, amply
proved the superiority of American gunnery on that occasion, which was
probably the fairest test during the war. The battle of January 8th was
also chiefly an artillery battle: the main British column never arrived
within fair musket range; Pakenham was killed by a grape-shot, and the
main column of his troops halted more than one hundred yards from
the parapet.

The best test of British and American military qualities, both for men
and weapons, was Scott's battle of Chippawa. Nothing intervened to throw
a doubt over the fairness of the trial. Two parallel lines of regular
soldiers, practically equal in numbers, armed with similar weapons,
moved in close order toward each other across a wide, open plain,
without cover or advantage of position, stopping at intervals to load
and fire, until one line broke and retired. At the same time two
three-gun batteries, the British being the heavier, maintained a steady
fire from positions opposite each other. According to the reports, the
two infantry lines in the centre never came nearer than eighty yards.
Major-General Riall reported that then, owing to severe losses, his
troops broke and could not be rallied. Comparison of official reports
showed that the British lost in killed and wounded four hundred and
sixty-nine men; the Americans, two hundred and ninety-six. Some doubts
always affect the returns of wounded, because the severity of the wound
cannot be known; but dead men tell their own tale. Riall reported one
hundred and forty-eight killed; Scott reported sixty-one. The severity
of the losses showed that the battle was sharply contested, and proved
the personal bravery of both armies. Marksmanship decided the result,
and the returns proved that the American fire was superior to that of
the British in the proportion of more than fifty per cent, if estimated
by the entire loss, and of two hundred and forty-two to one hundred if
estimated by the deaths alone.

The conclusion seemed incredible, but it was supported by the results of
the naval battles. The Americans showed superiority amounting in some
cases to twice the efficiency of their enemies in the use of weapons.
The best French critic of the naval war, Jurien de la Gravière,
said:--"An enormous superiority in the rapidity and precision of their
fire can alone explain the difference in the losses sustained by the
combatants." So far from denying this conclusion, the British press
constantly alleged it, and the British officers complained of it. The
discovery caused great surprise, and in both British services much
attention was at once directed to improvement in artillery and musketry.
Nothing could exceed the frankness with which Englishmen avowed their
inferiority. According to Sir Francis Head, "gunnery was in naval
warfare in the extraordinary state of ignorance we have just described,
when our lean children, the American people, taught us, rod in hand, our
first lesson in the art." The English text-book on Naval Gunnery,
written by Major-General Sir Howard Douglas immediately after the peace,
devoted more attention to the short American war than to all the battles
of Napoleon, and began by admitting that Great Britain had "entered with
too great confidence on war with a marine much more expert than that of
any of our European enemies." The admission appeared "objectionable"
even to the author; but he did not add, what was equally true, that it
applied as well to the land as to the sea service.

No one questioned the bravery of the British forces, or the ease with
which they often routed larger bodies of militia; but the losses they
inflicted were rarely as great as those they suffered. Even at
Bladensburg, where they met little resistance, their loss was several
times greater than that of the Americans. At Plattsburg, where the
intelligence and quickness of Macdonough and his men alone won the
victory, his ships were in effect stationary batteries, and enjoyed the
same superiority in gunnery. "The Saratoga," said his official report,
"had fifty-five round-shot in her hull; the Confiance, one hundred and
five. The enemy's shot passed principally just over our heads, as there
were not twenty whole hammocks in the nettings at the close of
the action."

The greater skill of the Americans was not due to special training; for
the British service was better trained in gunnery, as in everything
else, than the motley armies and fleets that fought at New Orleans and
on the Lakes. Critics constantly said that every American had learned
from his childhood the use of the rifle; but he certainly had not
learned to use cannon in shooting birds or hunting deer, and he knew
less than the Englishman about the handling of artillery and muskets.
The same intelligence that selected the rifle and the long pivot-gun for
favorite weapons was shown in handling the carronade, and every other
instrument however clumsy.

Another significant result of the war was the sudden development of
scientific engineering in the United States. This branch of the military
service owed its efficiency and almost its existence to the military
school at West Point, established in 1802. The school was at first much
neglected by government. The number of graduates before the year 1812
was very small; but at the outbreak of the war the corps of engineers
was already efficient. Its chief was Colonel Joseph Gardner Swift, of
Massachusetts, the first graduate of the academy: Colonel Swift planned
the defenses of New York Harbor. The lieutenant-colonel in 1812 was
Walker Keith Armistead, of Virginia,--the third graduate, who planned
the defenses of Norfolk. Major William McRee, of North Carolina, became
chief engineer to General Brown and constructed the fortifications at
Fort Erie, which cost the British General Gordon Drummond the loss of
half his army, besides the mortification of defeat. Captain Eleazer
Derby Wood, of New York, constructed Fort Meigs, which enabled Harrison
to defeat the attack of Proctor in May, 1813. Captain Joseph Gilbert
Totten, of New York, was chief engineer to General Izard at Plattsburg,
where he directed the fortifications that stopped the advance of
Prevost's great army. None of the works constructed by a graduate of
West Point was captured by the enemy; and had an engineer been employed
at Washington by Armstrong and Winder, the city would have been
easily saved.

Perhaps without exaggeration the West Point Academy might be said to
have decided, next to the navy, the result of the war. The works at New
Orleans were simple in character, and as far as they were due to
engineering skill were directed by Major Latour, a Frenchman; but the
war was already ended when the battle of New Orleans was fought. During
the critical campaign of 1814, the West Point engineers doubled the
capacity of the little American army for resistance, and introduced a
new and scientific character into American life.


From 'History of the United States': copyright 1890, by Charles
Scribner's Sons.

As Broke's squadron swept along the coast it seized whatever it met, and
on July 16th caught one of President Jefferson's sixteen-gun brigs, the
Nautilus. The next day it came on a richer prize. The American navy
seemed ready to outstrip the army in the race for disaster. The
Constitution, the best frigate in the United States service, sailed into
the midst of Broke's five ships. Captain Isaac Hull, in command of the
Constitution, had been detained at Annapolis shipping a new crew until
July 5th, the day when Broke's squadron left Halifax; then the ship got
under way and stood down Chesapeake Bay on her voyage to New York. The
wind was ahead and very light. Not until July 10th did the ship anchor
off Cape Henry lighthouse, and not till sunrise of July 12th did she
stand to the eastward and northward. Light head winds and a strong
current delayed her progress till July 17th, when at two o'clock in the
afternoon, off Barnegat on the New Jersey coast, the lookout at the
masthead discovered four sails to the northward, and two hours later a
fifth sail to the northeast. Hull took them for Rodgers's squadron. The
wind was light, and Hull being to windward determined to speak the
nearest vessel, the last to come in sight. The afternoon passed without
bringing the ships together, and at ten o'clock in the evening, finding
that the nearest ship could not answer the night signal, Hull decided to
lose no time in escaping.

Then followed one of the most exciting and sustained chases recorded in
naval history. At daybreak the next morning one British frigate was
astern within five or six miles, two more were to leeward, and the rest
of the fleet some ten miles astern, all making chase. Hull put out his
boats to tow the Constitution; Broke summoned the boats of the squadron
to tow the Shannon. Hull then bent all his spare rope to the cables,
dropped a small anchor half a mile ahead, in twenty-six fathoms of
water, and warped his ship along. Broke quickly imitated the device, and
slowly gained on the chase. The Guerrière crept so near Hull's lee beam
as to open fire, but her shot fell short. Fortunately the wind, though
slight, favored Hull. All night the British and American crews toiled
on, and when morning came the Belvidera, proving to be the best sailer,
got in advance of her consorts, working two kedge anchors, until at two
o'clock in the afternoon she tried in her turn to reach the Constitution
with her bow guns, but in vain. Hull expected capture, but the Belvidera
could not approach nearer without bringing her boats under the
Constitution's stern guns; and the wearied crews toiled on, towing and
kedging, the ships barely out of gunshot, till another morning came. The
breeze, though still light, then allowed Hull to take in his boats, the
Belvidera being two and a half miles in his wake, the Shannon three and
a half miles on his lee, and the three other frigates well to leeward.
The wind freshened, and the Constitution drew ahead, until, toward seven
o'clock in the evening of July 19th, a heavy rain squall struck the
ship, and by taking skillful advantage of it Hull left the Belvidera
and Shannon far astern; yet until eight o'clock the next morning they
were still in sight, keeping up the chase.

Perhaps nothing during the war tested American seamanship more
thoroughly than these three days of combined skill and endurance in the
face of the irresistible enemy. The result showed that Hull and the
Constitution had nothing to fear in these respects. There remained the
question whether the superiority extended to his guns; and such was the
contempt of the British naval officers for American ships, that with
this expedience before their eyes they still believed one of their
thirty-eight-gun frigates to be more than a match for an American
forty-four, although the American, besides the heavier armament, had
proved his capacity to outsail and out-manoeuvre the Englishman. Both
parties became more eager than ever for the test. For once, even the
Federalists of New England felt their blood stir; for their own
President and their own votes had called these frigates into existence,
and a victory won by the Constitution, which had been built by their
hands, was in their eyes a greater victory over their political
opponents than over the British. With no half-hearted spirit the
seagoing Bostonians showered well-weighed praises on Hull when his ship
entered Boston Harbor, July 26th, after its narrow escape, and when he
sailed again New England waited with keen interest to learn his fate.

Hull could not expect to keep command of the Constitution. Bainbridge
was much his senior, and had the right to a preference in active
service. Bainbridge then held and was ordered to retain command of the
Constellation, fitting out at the Washington Navy Yard; but Secretary
Hamilton, July 28th, ordered him to take command also of the
Constitution on her arrival in port. Doubtless Hull expected this
change, and probably the expectation induced him to risk a dangerous
experiment; for without bringing his ship to the Charlestown Navy Yard,
but remaining in the outer harbor, after obtaining such supplies as he
needed, August 2d, he set sail without orders, and stood to the
eastward. Having reached Cape Race without meeting an enemy, he turned
southward, until on the night of August 18th he spoke a privateer, which
told him of a British frigate near at hand. Following the
privateersman's directions, the Constitution the next day, August 19th,
[1812,] at two o'clock in the afternoon, latitude 41 deg. 42 min.,
longitude 55 deg. 48 min., sighted the Guerrière.

The meeting was welcome on both sides. Only three days before, Captain
Dacres had entered on the log of a merchantman a challenge to any
American frigate to meet him off Sandy Hook. Not only had the Guerrière
for a long time been extremely offensive to every seafaring American,
but the mistake which caused the Little Belt to suffer so seriously for
the misfortune of being taken for the Guerrière had caused a
corresponding feeling of anger in the officers of the British frigate.
The meeting of August 19th had the character of a preconcerted duel.

The wind was blowing fresh from the northwest, with the sea running
high. Dacres backed his main topsail and waited. Hull shortened sail,
and ran down before the wind. For about an hour the two ships wore and
wore again, trying to get advantage of position; until at last, a few
minutes before six o'clock, they came together side by side, within
pistol shot, the wind almost astern, and running before it, they pounded
each other with all their strength. As rapidly as the guns could be
worked, the Constitution poured in broadside after broadside,
double-shotted with round and grape; and without exaggeration, the echo
of these guns startled the world. "In less than thirty minutes from the
time we got alongside of the enemy," reported Hull, "she was left
without a spar standing, and the hull cut to pieces in such a manner as
to make it difficult to keep her above water."

That Dacres should have been defeated was not surprising; that he should
have expected to win was an example of British arrogance that explained
and excused the war. The length of the Constitution was one hundred and
seventy-three feet, that of the Guerrière was one hundred and fifty-six
feet; the extreme breadth of the Constitution was forty-four feet, that
of the Guerrière was forty feet: or within a few inches in both cases.
The Constitution carried thirty-two long twenty-four-pounders, the
Guerrière thirty long eighteen-pounders and two long twelve-pounders;
the Constitution carried twenty thirty-two-pound carronades, the
Guerrière sixteen. In every respect, and in proportion of ten to seven,
the Constitution was the better ship; her crew was more numerous in
proportion of ten to six. Dacres knew this very nearly as well as it was
known to Hull, yet he sought a duel. What he did not know was that in a
still greater proportion the American officers and crew were better and
more intelligent seamen than the British, and that their passionate wish
to repay old scores gave them extraordinary energy. So much greater was
the moral superiority than the physical, that while the Guerrière's
force counted as seven against ten, her losses counted as though her
force were only two against ten.

Dacres's error cost him dear; for among the Guerrière's crew of two
hundred and seventy-two, seventy-nine were killed or wounded, and the
ship was injured beyond saving before Dacres realized his mistake,
although he needed only thirty minutes of close fighting for the
purpose. He never fully understood the causes of his defeat, and never
excused it by pleading, as he might have done, the great superiority of
his enemy.

Hull took his prisoners on board the Constitution, and after blowing up
the Guerrière sailed for Boston, where he arrived on the morning of
August 30th. The Sunday silence of the Puritan city broke into
excitement as the news passed through the quiet streets that the
Constitution was below in the outer harbor with Dacres and his crew
prisoners on board. No experience of history ever went to the heart of
New England more directly than this victory, so peculiarly its own: but
the delight was not confined to New England, and extreme though it
seemed, it was still not extravagant; for however small the affair might
appear on the general scale of the world's battles, it raised the United
States in one half-hour to the rank of a first class Power in the world.

Selections used by permission of Charles Scribner's Sons, Publishers.



John Adams, second President of the United States, was born at
Braintree, Mass., October 19th, 1735, and died there July 4th, 1826, the
year after his son too was inaugurated President. He was the first
conspicuous member of an enduringly powerful and individual family. The
Adams race have mostly been vehement, proud, pugnacious, and
independent, with hot tempers and strong wills; but with high ideals,
dramatic devotion to duty, and the intense democratic sentiment so often
found united with personal aristocracy of feeling. They have been men of
affairs first, with large practical ability, but with a deep strain of
the man of letters which in this generation has outshone the other
faculties; strong-headed and hard-working students, with powerful
memories and fluent gifts of expression.

[Illustration: JOHN ADAMS.]

All these characteristics went to make up John Adams; but their
enumeration does not furnish a complete picture of him, or reveal the
virile, choleric, masterful man. And he was far more lovable and far
more popular than his equally great son, also a typical Adams, from
the same cause which produced some of his worst blunders and
misfortunes,--a generous impulsiveness of feeling which made it
impossible for him to hold his tongue at the wrong time and place for
talking. But so fervid, combative, and opinionated a man was sure
to gain much more hate than love; because love results from comprehension,
which only the few close to him could have, while hate--toward
an honest man--is the outcome of ignorance, which most of
the world cannot avoid. Admiration and respect, however, he had
from the majority of his party at the worst of times; and the best
encomium on him is that the closer his public acts are examined, the
more credit they reflect not only on his abilities but on his

Born of a line of Massachusetts farmers, he graduated from Harvard in
1755. After teaching a grammar school and beginning to read theology, he
studied law and began practice in 1758, soon becoming a leader at the
bar and in public life. In 1764 he married the noble and delightful
woman whose letters furnish unconscious testimony to his lovable
qualities. All through the germinal years of the Revolution he was one
of the foremost patriots, steadily opposing any abandonment or
compromise of essential rights. In 1765 he was counsel for Boston with
Otis and Gridley to support the town's memorial against the Stamp Act.
In 1766 he was selectman. In 1768 the royal government offered him the
post of advocate-general in the Court of Admiralty,--a lucrative bribe
to desert the opposition; but he refused it. Yet in 1770, as a matter of
high professional duty, he became counsel (successfully) for the British
soldiers on trial for the "Boston Massacre." Though there was a present
uproar of abuse, Mr. Adams was shortly after elected Representative to
the General Court by more than three to one. In March, 1774, he
contemplated writing the "History of the Contest between Britain and
America!" On June 17th he presided over the meeting at Faneuil Hall to
consider the Boston Port Bill, and at the same hour was elected
Representative to the first Congress at Philadelphia (September 1) by
the Provincial Assembly held in defiance of the government. Returning
thence, he engaged in newspaper debate on the political issues till the
battle of Lexington.

Shortly after, he again journeyed to Philadelphia to the Congress of May
5th, 1775; where he did on his own motion, to the disgust of his
Northern associates and the reluctance even of the Southerners, one of
the most important and decisive acts of the Revolution,--induced
Congress to adopt the forces in New England as a national army and put
George Washington of Virginia at its head, thus engaging the Southern
colonies irrevocably in the war and securing the one man who could make
it a success. In 1776 he was a chief agent in carrying a declaration of
independence. He remained in Congress till November, 1777, as head of
the War Department, very useful and laborious though making one dreadful
mistake: he was largely responsible for the disastrous policy of
ignoring the just claims and decent dignity of the military commanders,
which lost the country some of its best officers and led directly to
Arnold's treason. His reasons, exactly contrary to his wont, were good
abstract logic but thorough practical nonsense.

In December, 1777, he was appointed commissioner to France to succeed
Silas Deane, and after being chased by an English man-of-war (which he
wanted to fight) arrived at Paris in safety. There he reformed a very
bad state of affairs; but thinking it absurd to keep three envoys at one
court (Dr. Franklin and Arthur Lee were there before him), he induced
Congress to abolish his office, and returned in 1779. Chosen a delegate
to the Massachusetts constitutional convention, he was called away from
it to be sent again to France. There he remained as Franklin's
colleague, detesting and distrusting him and the French foreign
minister, Vergennes, embroiling himself with both and earning a cordial
return of his warmest dislike from both, till July, 1780. He then went
to Holland as volunteer minister, and in 1782 was formally recognized as
from an independent nation. Meantime Vergennes intrigued with all his
might to have Adams recalled, and actually succeeded in so tying his
hands that half the advantages of independence would have been lost but
for his contumacious persistence. In the final negotiations for peace,
he persisted against his instructions in making the New England
fisheries an ultimatum, and saved them. In 1783 he was commissioned to
negotiate a commercial treaty with Great Britain, and in 1785 was made
minister to that power. The wretched state of American affairs under the
Confederation made it impossible to obtain any advantages for his
country, and the vindictive feeling of the English made his life a
purgatory, so that he was glad to come home in 1788.

In the first Presidential election of that year he was elected
Vice-President on the ticket with Washington; and began a feud with
Alexander Hamilton, the mighty leader of the Federalist party and chief
organizer of our governmental machine, which ended in the overthrow of
the party years before its time, and had momentous personal and literary
results as well. He was as good a Federalist as Hamilton, and felt as
much right to be leader if he could; Hamilton would not surrender his
leadership, and the rivalry never ended till Hamilton's murder. In 1796
he was elected President against Jefferson. His Presidency is recognized
as one of the ablest and most useful on the roll; but its personal
memoirs are most painful and scandalous. The cabinet were nearly all
Hamiltonians, regularly laid all the official secrets before Hamilton,
and took advice from him to thwart the President. They disliked Mr.
Adams's overbearing ways and obtrusive vanity, considered his policy
destructive to the party and injurious to the country, and felt that
loyalty to these involved and justified disloyalty to him. Finally his
best act brought on an explosion. The French Directory had provoked a
war with this country, which the Hamiltonian section of the leaders and
much of the party hailed with delight; but showing signs of a better
spirit, Mr. Adams, without consulting his Cabinet, who he knew would
oppose it almost or quite unanimously, nominated a commission to frame a
treaty with France. The storm of fury that broke on him from his party
has rarely been surpassed, even in the case of traitors outright, and he
was charged with being little better. He was renominated for President
in 1800, but beaten by Jefferson, owing to the defections in his own
party, largely of Hamilton's producing. The Federalist party never won
another election; the Hamilton section laid its death to Mr. Adams, and
American history is hot with the fires of this battle even yet.

Mr. Adams's later years were spent at home, where he was always
interested in public affairs and sometimes much too free in comments on
them; where he read immensely and wrote somewhat. He heartily approved
his son's break with the Federalists on the Embargo. He died on the same
day as Jefferson, both on the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of

As a writer, Mr. Adams's powers show best in the work which can hardly
be classed as literature,--his forcible and bitter political letters,
diatribes, and polemics. As in his life, his merits and defects not only
lie side by side, but spring from the same source,--his vehemence,
self-confidence, and impatience of obstruction. He writes impetuously
because he feels impetuously. With little literary grace, he possesses
the charm that belongs to clear and energetic thought and sense
transfused with hot emotion. John Fiske goes so far as to say that "as a
writer of English, John Adams in many respects surpassed all his
American contemporaries." He was by no means without humor,--a
characteristic which shows in some of his portraits,--and sometimes
realized the humorous aspects of his own intense and exaggerative
temperament. His remark about Timothy Pickering, that "under the simple
appearance of a bald head and straight hair, he conceals the most
ambitious designs," is perfectly self-conscious in its quaint naiveté.

His 'Life and Works,' edited by his grandson, Charles Francis Adams,
Sr., in ten volumes, is the great storehouse of his writings. The best
popular account of his life is by John T. Morse, Jr., in the 'American
Statesmen' series.


From his Diary, June 7th, 1778, with his later comments in brackets.

Went to Versailles, in company with Mr. Lee, Mr. Izard and his lady, Mr.
Lloyd and his lady, and Mr. François. Saw the grand procession of the
Knights _du Saint-Esprit_, or _du Cordon Bleu_. At nine o'clock at
night, went to the _grand convert_, and saw the king, queen, and royal
family, at supper; had a fine seat and situation close by the royal
family, and had a distinct and full view of the royal pair.

[Our objects were to see the ceremonies of the knights, and in the
evening the public supper of the royal family. The kneelings, the bows,
and the courtesies of the knights, the dresses and decorations, the king
seated on his throne, his investiture of a new created knight with the
badges and ornaments of the order, and his majesty's profound and
reverential bow before the altar as he retired, were novelties and
curiosities to me, but surprised me much less than the patience and
perseverance with which they all kneeled, for two hours together, upon
the hard marble of which the floor of the chapel was made. The
distinction of the blue ribbon was very dearly purchased at the price of
enduring this painful operation four times in a year, The Count de
Vergennes confessed to me that he was almost dead with the pain of it.
And the only insinuation I ever heard, that the king was in any degree
touched by the philosophy of the age, was, that he never discovered so
much impatience, under any of the occurrences of his life, as in going
through those tedious ceremonies of religion, to which so many hours of
his life were condemned by the catholic church.

The queen was attended by her ladies to the gallery opposite to the
altar, placed in the centre of the seat, and there left alone by the
other ladies, who all retired. She was an object too sublime and
beautiful for my dull pen to describe. I leave this enterprise to Mr.
Burke. But in his description, there is more of the orator than of the
philosopher. Her dress was everything that art and wealth could make it.
One of the maids of honor told me she had diamonds upon her person to
the value of eighteen millions of livres; and I always thought her
majesty much beholden to her dress. Mr. Burke saw her probably but once.
I have seen her fifty times perhaps, and in all the varieties of her
dresses. She had a fine complexion, indicating perfect health, and was a
handsome woman in her face and figure. But I have seen beauties much
superior, both in countenance and form, in France, England, and America.

After the ceremonies of this institution are over, there is a collection
for the poor; and that this closing scene may be as elegant as any of
the former, a young lady of some of the first families in France is
appointed to present the box to the knights. Her dress must be as rich
and elegant, in proportion, as the Queen's, and her hair, motions, and
curtsies must have as much dignity and grace as those of the knights. It
was a curious entertainment to observe the easy air, the graceful bow,
and the conscious dignity of the knight, in presenting his contribution;
and the corresponding ease, grace, and dignity of the lady, in receiving
it, were not less charming. Every muscle, nerve, and fibre of both
seemed perfectly disciplined to perform its functions. The elevation of
the arm, the bend of the elbow, and every finger in the hand of the
knight, in putting his louis d'ors into the box appeared to be perfectly
studied, because it was perfectly natural. How much devotion there was
in all this I know not, but it was a consummate school to teach the
rising generation the perfection of the French air, and external
politeness and good-breeding. I have seen nothing to be compared to it
in any other country....

At nine o'clock we went and saw the king, queen, and royal family, at
the _grand couvert_. Whether M. François, a gentleman who undertook upon
this occasion to conduct us, had contrived a plot to gratify the
curiosity of the spectators, or whether the royal family had a fancy to
see the raw American at their leisure, or whether they were willing to
gratify him with a convenient seat, in which he might see all the royal
family, and all the splendors of the place, I know not; but the scheme
could not have been carried into execution, certainly, without the
orders of the king. I was selected, and summoned indeed, from all my
company, and ordered to a seat close beside the royal family. The seats
on both sides of the hall, arranged like the seats in a theatre, were
all full of ladies of the first rank and fashion in the kingdom, and
there was no room or place for me but in the midst of them. It was not
easy to make room for one more person. However, room was made, and I was
situated between two ladies, with rows and ranks of ladies above and
below me, and on the right hand and on the left, and ladies only. My
dress was a decent French dress, becoming the station I held, but not to
be compared with the gold, and diamonds, and embroidery, about me. I
could neither speak nor understand the language in a manner to support a
conversation, but I had soon the satisfaction to find it was a silent
meeting, and that nobody spoke a word but the royal family to each
other, and they said very little. The eyes of all the assembly were
turned upon me, and I felt sufficiently humble and mortified, for I was
not a proper object for the criticisms of such a company. I found myself
gazed at, as we in America used to gaze at the sachems who came to make
speeches to us in Congress; but I thought it very hard if I could not
command as much power of face as one of the chiefs of the Six Nations,
and therefore determined that I would assume a cheerful countenance,
enjoy the scene around me, and observe it as coolly as an astronomer
contemplates the stars. Inscriptions of _Fructus Belli_ were seen on the
ceiling and all about the walls of the room, among paintings of the
trophies of war; probably done by the order of Louis XIV., who confessed
in his dying hour, as his successor and exemplar Napoleon will probably
do, that he had been too fond of war. The king was the royal carver for
himself and all his family. His majesty ate like a king, and made a
royal supper of solid beef, and other things in proportion. The queen
took a large spoonful of soup, and displayed her fine person and
graceful manners, in alternately looking at the company in various parts
of the hall, and ordering several kinds of seasoning to be brought to
her, by which she fitted her supper to her taste.]


From Letter to the Boston Patriot, May 15th, 1811

Franklin had a great genius, original, sagacious, and inventive, capable
of discoveries in science no less than of improvements in the fine arts
and the mechanic arts. He had a vast imagination, equal to the
comprehension of the greatest objects, and capable of a cool and steady
comprehension of them. He had wit at will. He had humor that when he
pleased was delicate and delightful. He had a satire that was
good-natured or caustic, Horace or Juvenal, Swift or Rabelais, at his
pleasure. He had talents for irony, allegory, and fable, that he could
adapt with great skill to the promotion of moral and political truth. He
was master of that infantine simplicity which the French call _naiveté_
which never fails to charm in Phaedrus and La Fontaine, from the cradle
to the grave. Had he been blessed with the same advantages of scholastic
education in his early youth, and pursued a course of studies as
unembarrassed with occupations of public and private life as Sir Isaac
Newton, he might have emulated the first philosopher. Although I am not
ignorant that most of his positions and hypotheses have been
controverted, I cannot but think he has added much to the mass of
natural knowledge, and contributed largely to the progress of the human
mind, both by his own writings and by the controversies and experiments
he has excited in all parts of Europe. He had abilities for
investigating statistical questions, and in some parts of his life has
written pamphlets and essays upon public topics with great ingenuity and
success; but after my acquaintance with him, which commenced in Congress
in 1775, his excellence as a legislator, a politician, or a negotiator
most certainly never appeared. No sentiment more weak and superficial
was ever avowed by the most absurd philosopher than some of his,
particularly one that he procured to be inserted in the first
constitution of Pennsylvania, and for which he had such a fondness as to
insert it in his will. I call it weak, for so it must have been, or
hypocritical; unless he meant by one satiric touch to ridicule his own
republic, or throw it into everlasting contempt.

I must acknowledge, after all, that nothing in life has mortified or
grieved me more than the necessity which compelled me to oppose him so
often as I have. He was a man with whom I always wished to live in
friendship, and for that purpose omitted no demonstration of respect,
esteem, and veneration in my power, until I had unequivocal proofs of
his hatred, for no other reason under the sun but because I gave my
judgment in opposition to his in many points which materially affected
the interests of our country, and in many more which essentially
concerned our happiness, safety, and well-being. I could not and would
not sacrifice the clearest dictates of my understanding and the purest
principles of morals and policy in compliance to Dr. Franklin.



The chief distinction in character between John Adams and his son is the
strangest one imaginable, when one remembers that to the fiery,
combative, bristling Adams blood was added an equal strain from the gay,
genial, affectionate Abigail Smith. The son, though of deep inner
affections, and even hungering for good-will if it would come without
his help, was on the surface incomparably colder, harsher, and thornier
than his father, with all the socially repellent traits of the race and
none of the softer ones. The father could never control his tongue or
his temper, and not always his head; the son never lost the bridle of
either, and much of his terrible power in debate came from his ability
to make others lose theirs while perfectly keeping his own. The father
had plenty of warm friends and allies,--at the worst he worked with half
a party; the son in the most superb part of his career had no friends,
no allies, no party except the group of constituents who kept him in
Congress. The father's self-confidence deepened in the son to a solitary
and even contemptuous gladiatorship against the entire government of the
country, for long years of hate and peril. The father's irritable though
generous vanity changed in the son to an icy contempt or white-hot scorn
of nearly all around him. The father's spasms of acrimonious judgment
steadied in the son to a constant rancor always finding new objects. But
only John Quincy Adams could have done the work awaiting John Quincy
Adams, and each of his unamiable qualities strengthened his fibre to do
it. And if a man is to be judged by his fruits, Mr. Morse is justified
in saying that he was "not only pre-eminent in ability and acquirements,
but even more to be honored for profound, immutable honesty of purpose,
and broad, noble humanity of aims."

[Illustration: John Q. Adams.]

It might almost be said that the sixth President of the United States
was cradled in statesmanship. Born July 11th, 1767, he was a little lad
of ten when he accompanied his father on the French mission. Eighteen
months elapsed before he returned, and three months later he was again
upon the water, bound once more for the French capital. There were
school days in Paris, and other school days in Amsterdam and in Leyden;
but the boy was only fourteen,--the mature old child!--when he went to
St. Petersburg as private secretary and interpreter to Francis Dana,
just appointed minister plenipotentiary to the court of the Empress
Catherine. Such was his apprenticeship to a public career which began in
earnest in 1794, and lasted, with slight interruptions, for
fifty-four years. Minister to the United Netherlands, to Russia, to
Prussia, and to England; commissioner to frame the Treaty of Ghent which
ended the war of 1812; State Senator, United States Senator; Secretary
of State, a position in which he made the treaty with Spain which
conceded Florida, and enunciated the Monroe Doctrine before Monroe and
far more thoroughly than he; President, and then for many years Member
of the National House of Representatives,--it is strange to find this
man writing in his later years, "My whole life has been a succession of
disappointments. I can scarcely recollect a single instance of success
to anything that I ever undertook."

It is true, however, that his successes and even his glories always had
some bitter ingredient to spoil their flavor. As United States Senator
he was practically "boycotted" for years, even by his own party members,
because he was an Adams. In 1807 he definitely broke with the Federalist
party--for what he regarded as its slavish crouching under English
outrages, conduct which had been for years estranging him--by supporting
Jefferson's Embargo, as better than no show of resistance at all; and
was for a generation denounced by the New England Federalists as a
renegade for the sake of office and a traitor to New England. The
Massachusetts Legislature practically censured him in 1808, and
he resigned.

His winning of the Presidency brought pain instead of pleasure: he
valued it only as a token of national confidence, got it only as a
minority candidate in a divided party, and was denounced by the
Jacksonians as a corrupt political bargainer. And his later
Congressional career, though his chief title to glory, was one long
martyrdom (even though its worst pains were self-inflicted), and he
never knew the immense victory he had actually won. The "old man
eloquent," after ceasing to be President, was elected in 1830 by his
home district a Representative in Congress, and regularly re-elected
till his death. For a long time he bore the anti-slavery standard almost
alone in the halls of Congress, a unique and picturesque figure, rousing
every demon of hatred in his fellow-members, in constant and envenomed
battle with them, and more than a match for them all. He fought
single-handed for the right of petition as an indefeasible right, not
hesitating to submit a petition from citizens of Virginia praying for
his own expulsion from Congress as a nuisance. In 1836 he presented a
petition from one hundred and fifty-eight ladies, citizens of
Massachusetts, "for, I said, I had not yet brought myself to doubt
whether females were citizens." After eight years of persistent struggle
against the "Atherton gag law," which practically denied the right of
petition in matters relating to slavery, he carried a vote rescinding
it, and nothing of the kind was again enacted. He had a fatal stroke of
paralysis on the floor of Congress February 21st, 1848, and died two
days later.

As a writer he was perspicuous, vigorous, and straightforward. He had
entered Harvard in the middle of the college course, and been graduated
with honors. He had then studied and practiced law. He was Professor of
Rhetoric and Oratory at Harvard from 1806 to 1809, and was well drilled
in the use of language, but was too downright in his temper and purposes
to spend much labor upon artistic effects. He kept an elaborate diary
during the greater part of his life,--since published in twelve volumes
of "Memoirs" by his son Charles Francis Adams; a vast storehouse of
material relating to the political history of the country, but, as
published, largely restricted to public affairs. He delivered orations
on Lafayette, on Madison, on Monroe, on Independence, and on the
Constitution; published essays on the Masonic Institution and various
other matters; a report on weights and measures, of enormous labor and
permanent value; Lectures on Rhetoric and Oratory; a tale in verse on
the Conquest of Ireland, with the title 'Dermot MacMorrogh'; an account
of Travels in Silesia; and a volume of 'Poems of Religion and Society.'
He had some facility in rhyme, but his judgment was not at fault in
informing him that he was not a poet. Mr. Morse says that "No man can
have been more utterly void of a sense of humor or an appreciation of
wit"; and yet he very fairly anticipated Holmes in his poem on 'The
Wants of Man,' and hits rather neatly a familiar foible in the verse
with which he begins 'Dermot MacMorrogh':--

     "'Tis strange how often readers will indulge
         Their wits a mystic meaning to discover;
     Secrets ne'er dreamt of by the bard divulge,
         And where he shoots a cluck, will find a plover;
     Satiric shafts from every line promulge,
         Detect a tyrant where he draws a lover:
     Nay, so intent his hidden thoughts to see,
     Cry, if he paint a scoundrel--'That means me.'"

Selections from Letters and Memoirs used by permission of
J.B. Lippincott Company.


(At the Age of Ten)

DEAR SIR,--I love to receive letters very well; much better than I love
to write them. I make but a poor figure at composition, my head is too
fickle, my thoughts are running after birds eggs play and trifles, till
I get vexed with myself. Mamma has a troublesome task to keep me
steady, and I own I am ashamed of myself. I have but just entered the
third volume of Smollett, tho' I had designed to have got it half
through by this time. I have determined this week to be more diligent,
as Mr. Thaxter will be absent at Court, and I cannot pursue my other
studies. I have Set myself a Stent and determine to read the 3rd volume
Half out. If I can but keep my resolution, I will write again at the end
of the week and give a better account of myself. I wish, Sir, you would
give me some instructions, with regard to my time, and advise me how to
proportion my Studies and my Play, in writing, and I will keep them by
me, and endeavor to follow them. I am, dear Sir, with a present
determination of growing better, yours.

P.S.--Sir, if you will be so good as to favor me with a Blank Book, I
will transcribe the most remarkable occurances I meet with in my
reading, which will serve to fix them upon my mind.


(At the Age of Eighteen)

April 26th, 1785.--A letter from Mr. Gerry of Feb. 25th Says that Mr.
Adams is appointed Minister to the Court of London.

I believe he will promote the interests of the United States, as much as
any man, but I fear his duty will induce him to make exertions which may
be detrimental to his health. I wish however it may be otherwise. Were I
now to go with him, probably my immediate satisfaction might be greater
than it will be in returning to America. After having been traveling for
these seven years almost all over Europe, and having been in the World,
and among company, for three; to return to spend one or two years in the
pale of a College, subjected to all the rules which I have so long been
freed from; then to plunge into the dry and tedious study of the Law for
three years; and afterwards not expect (however good an opinion I may
have of myself) to bring myself into notice under three or four years
more; if ever! It is really a prospect somewhat discouraging for a youth
of my ambition (for I have ambition, though I hope its object is
laudable). But still

     "Oh! how wretched
     Is that poor Man, that hangs on Princes' favors"

or on those of anybody else. I am determined that so long as I shall be
able to get my own living in an honorable manner, I will depend upon no
one. My Father has been so much taken up all his lifetime with the
interests of the public, that his own fortune has suffered by it; so
that his children will have to provide for themselves, which I shall
never be able to do, if I loiter away my precious time in Europe and
shun going home until I am forced to it. With an ordinary share of
Common sense which I hope I enjoy, at least in America I can live
_independent_ and _free_; and rather than live otherwise I would wish to
die before the time when I shall be left at my own discretion. I have
before me a striking example of the distressing and humiliating
situation a person is reduced to by adopting a different line of
conduct, and I am determined not to fall into the same error.


JANUARY 14TH, 1831.--I received a letter from John C. Calhoun, now
Vice-President of the United States, relating to his present controversy
with President Jackson and William H. Crawford. He questions me
concerning the letter of General Jackson to Mr. Monroe which Crawford
alleges to have been produced at the Cabinet meetings on the Seminole
War, and asks for copies, if I think proper to give them, of Crawford's
letter to me which I received last summer, and of my answer. I answered
Mr. Calhoun's letter immediately, rigorously confining myself to the
direct object of his inquiries. This is a new bursting out of the old
and rancorous feud between Crawford and Calhoun, both parties to which,
after suspending their animosities and combining together to effect my
ruin, are appealing to me for testimony to sustain themselves each
against the other. This is one of the occasions upon which I shall
eminently need the direction of a higher power to guide me in every step
of my conduct. I see my duty to discard all consideration of their
treatment of me; to adhere, in everything that I shall say or write, to
the truth; to assert nothing positively of which I am not absolutely
certain; to deny nothing upon which there remains a scruple of doubt
upon my memory; to conceal nothing which it may be lawful to divulge,
and which may promote truth and justice between the parties. With these
principles, I see further the necessity for caution and prudence in the
course I shall take. The bitter enmity of all three of the
parties--Jackson, Calhoun, and Crawford--against me, an enmity the more
virulent because kindled by their own ingratitude and injustice to me;
the interest which every one of them, and all their partisans, have in
keeping up that load of obloquy and public odium which their foul
calumnies have brought down upon me; and the disfavor in which I stand
before a majority of the people, excited against me by their
artifices;--their demerits to me are proportioned to the obligations to
me--Jackson's the greatest, Crawford's the next, Calhoun's the least of
positive obligation, but darkened by his double-faced setting himself up
as a candidate for the Presidency against me in 1821, his prevarications
between Jackson and me in 1824, and his icy-hearted dereliction of all
the decencies of social intercourse with me, solely from the terror of
Jackson, since the 4th of March, 1829. I walk between burning
ploughshares; let me be mindful where I place my foot.


JUNE 7TH, 1833.--The first seedling apple-tree that I had observed on my
return here just out of the ground was on the 22d of April. It had grown
slowly but constantly since, and had put out five or six leaves. Last
evening, after my return from Boston, I saw it perfectly sound. This
morning I found it broken off, leaving one lobe of the seed-leaves, and
one leaf over it. This may have been the work of a bug, or perhaps of a
caterpillar. It would not be imaginable to any person free from
hobby-horse or fanciful attachments, how much mortification such an
incident occasions. St. Evremond, after removing into the country,
returned to a city life because he found himself in despair for the loss
of a pigeon. His conclusion was, that rural life induced exorbitant
attachment to insignificant objects. My experience is conformable to
this. My natural propensity was to raise trees, fruit and forest, from
the seed. I had it in early youth, but the course of my life deprived me
of the means of pursuing the bent of my inclination. One
shellbark-walnut-tree in my garden, the root of which I planted 8th
October, 1804, and one Mazzard cherry-tree in the grounds north of the
house, the stone of which I planted about the same time, are the only
remains of my experiments of so ancient a date. Had my life been spent
in the country, and my experiments commenced while I was at College, I
should now have a large fruit garden, flourishing orchards of native
fruit, and very valuable forests; instead of which I have a nursery of
about half an acre of ground, half full of seedlings, from five years to
five days old, bearing for the first time perhaps twenty peaches, and a
few blossoms of apricots and cherries; and hundreds of seedlings of the
present year perishing from day to day before my eyes.


SEPTEMBER 9TH, 1833.--Cold and cloudy day, clearing off toward evening.
In the multitudinous whimseys of a disabled mind and body, the
thick-coming fancies often come to me that the events which affect my
life and adventures are specially shaped to disappoint my purposes. My
whole life has been a succession of disappointments. I can scarcely
recollect a single instance of success to anything that I ever
undertook. Yet, with fervent gratitude to God, I confess that my life
has been equally marked by great and signal successes which I neither
aimed at nor anticipated. Fortune, by which I understand Providence, has
showered blessings upon me profusely. But they have been blessings
unforeseen and unsought. "Non nobis Domine, non nobis, sed nomini tuo da
gloriam!" I ought to have been taught by it three lessons:--1. Of
implicit reliance upon Providence. 2. Of humility and humiliation; the
thorough conviction of my own impotence to accomplish anything. 3. Of
resignation; and not to set my heart upon anything which can be taken
from me or denied.


From his Fourth of July Oration at Washington, 1821

And now, friends and countrymen, if the wise and learned philosophers of
the older world, the first observers of nutation and aberration, the
discoverers of maddening ether and invisible planets, the inventors of
Congreve rockets and shrapnel shells, should find their hearts disposed
to inquire, What has America done for mankind? let our answer be
this:--America, with the same voice which spoke herself into existence
as a nation, proclaimed to mankind the inextinguishable rights of human
nature, and the only lawful foundations of government. America, in the
assembly of nations, since her admission among them, has invariably,
though often fruitlessly, held forth to them the hand of honest
friendship, of equal freedom, of generous reciprocity. She has uniformly
spoken among them, though often to heedless and often to disdainful
ears, the language of equal liberty, equal justice, and equal rights.
She has, in the lapse of nearly half a century, without a single
exception, respected the independence of other nations, while asserting
and maintaining her own. She has abstained from interference in the
concerns of others, even when the conflict has been for principles to
which she clings, as to the last vital drop that visits the heart. She
has seen that probably for centuries to come, all the contests of that
Aceldama, the European World, will be contests between inveterate power
and emerging right. Wherever the standard of freedom and independence
has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions,
and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad in search of monsters to
destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all.
She is the champion and vindicator only of her own. She will recommend
the general cause, by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant
sympathy of her example. She well knows that by once enlisting under
other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign
independence, she would involve herself, beyond the power of
extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual
avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the
standard of freedom. The fundamental maxims of her policy would
insensibly change from liberty to force. The frontlet upon her brows
would no longer beam with the ineffable splendor of freedom and
independence; but in its stead would soon be substituted an imperial
diadem, flashing in false and tarnished lustre the murky radiance of
dominion and power. She might become the dictatress of the world; she
would no longer be the ruler of her own spirit.


Quoted in Memoir by Josiah Quincy.

Sir, it is ... well known that, from the time I entered this house, down
to the present day, I have felt it a sacred duty to present any
petition, couched in respectful language, from any citizen of the United
States, be its object what it may,--be the prayer of it that in which I
could concur, or that to which I was utterly opposed. I adhere to the
right of petition; and let me say here that, let the petition be, as the
gentleman from Virginia has stated, from free negroes, prostitutes, as
he supposes,--for he says there is one put on this paper, and he infers
that the rest are of the same description,--_that_ has not altered my
opinion at all. Where is your law that says that the mean, the low, and
the degraded, shall be deprived of the right of petition, if their moral
character is not good? Where, in the land of free-men, was the right of
petition ever placed on the exclusive basis of morality and virtue?
Petition is supplication--it is entreaty--it is prayer! And where is the
degree of vice or immorality which shall deprive the citizen of the
right to supplicate for a boon, or to pray for mercy? Where is such a
law to be found? It does not belong to the most abject despotism. There
is no absolute monarch on earth who is not compelled, by the
constitution of his country, to receive the petitions of his people,
whosoever they may be. The Sultan of Constantinople cannot walk the
streets and refuse to receive petitions from the meanest and vilest in
the land. This is the law even of despotism; and what does your law say?
Does it say, that, before presenting a petition, you shall look into it
and see whether it comes from the virtuous, and the great, and the
mighty? No, sir; it says no such thing. The right of petition belongs to
all; and so far from refusing to present a petition because it might
come from those low in the estimation of the world, it would be an
additional incentive, if such an incentive were wanting.


From his Fourth of July Oration at Quincy, 1831

Nullification is the provocation to that brutal and foul contest of
force, which has hitherto baffled all the efforts of the European and
Southern American nations, to introduce among them constitutional
governments of liberty and order. It strips us of that peculiar and
unimitated characteristic of all our legislation--free debate; it makes
the bayonet the arbiter of law; it has no argument but the thunderbolt.
It were senseless to imagine that twenty-three States of the Union would
suffer their laws to be trampled upon by the despotic mandate of one.
The act of nullification would itself be null and void. Force must be
called in to execute the law of the Union. Force must be applied by the
nullifying State to resist its execution--

         "Ate, hot from Hell,
     Cries Havoc! and lets slip the dogs of war."

The blood of brethren is shed by each other. The citizen of the
nullifying State is a traitor to his country, by obedience to the law of
his State; a traitor to his State, by obedience to the law of his
country. The scaffold and the battle-field stream alternately with the
blood of their victims. Let this agent but once intrude upon your
deliberations, and Freedom will take her flight for heaven. The
Declaration of Independence will become a philosophical dream, and
uncontrolled, despotic sovereignties will trample with impunity, through
a long career of after ages, at interminable or exterminating war with
one another, upon the indefeasible and unalienable rights of man.

The event of a conflict of arms, between the Union and one of its
members, whether terminating in victory or defeat, would be but an
alternative of calamity to all. In the holy records of antiquity, we
have two examples of a confederation ruptured by the severance of its
members; one of which resulted, after three desperate battles, in the
extermination of the seceding tribe. And the victorious people, instead
of exulting in shouts of triumph, "came to the House of God, and abode
there till even before God; and lifted up their voices, and wept sore,
and said,--O Lord God of Israel, _why_ is this come to pass in Israel,
that there should be to-day one tribe lacking in Israel?" The other was
a successful example of resistance against tyrannical taxation, and
severed forever the confederacy, the fragments forming separate
kingdoms; and from that day, their history presents an unbroken series
of disastrous alliances and exterminating wars--of assassinations,
conspiracies, revolts, and rebellions, until both parts of the
confederacy sunk in tributary servitude to the nations around them; till
the countrymen of David and Solomon hung their harps upon the willows of
Babylon, and were totally lost among the multitudes of the Chaldean and
Assyrian monarchies, "the most despised portion of their slaves."

In these mournful memorials of their fate, we may behold the sure, too
sure prognostication of our own, from the hour when force shall be
substituted for deliberation in the settlement of our Constitutional
questions. This is the deplorable alternative--the extirpation of the
seceding member, or the never-ceasing struggle of two rival
confederacies, ultimately bending the neck of both under the yoke of
foreign domination, or the despotic sovereignty of a conqueror at home.
May Heaven avert the omen! The destinies of not only our posterity, but
of the human race, are at stake.

Let no such melancholy forebodings intrude upon the festivities of this
anniversary. Serene skies and balmy breezes are not congenial to the
climate of freedom. Progressive improvement in the condition of man is
apparently the purpose of a superintending Providence. That purpose will
not be disappointed. In no delusion of national vanity, but with a
feeling of profound gratitude to the God of our Fathers, let us indulge
the cheering hope and belief, that our country and her people have been
selected as instruments for preparing and maturing much of the good yet
in reserve for the welfare and happiness of the human race. Much good
has already been effected by the solemn proclamation of our principles,
much more by the illustration of our example. The tempest which
threatens desolation, may be destined only to purify the atmosphere. It
is not in tranquil ease and enjoyment that the active energies of
mankind are displayed. Toils and dangers are the trials of the soul.
Doomed to the first by his sentence at the fall, man, by his submission,
converts them into pleasures. The last are since the fall the condition
of his existence. To see them in advance, to guard against them by all
the suggestions of prudence, to meet them with the composure of
unyielding resistance, and to abide with firm resignation the final
dispensation of Him who rules the ball,--these are the dictates of
philosophy--these are the precepts of religion--these are the principles
and consolations of patriotism; these remain when all is lost--and of
these is composed the spirit of independence--the spirit embodied in
that beautiful personification of the poet, which may each of you, my
countrymen, to the last hour of his life, apply to himself:--

     "Thy spirit, Independence, let me share,
       Lord of the lion heart and eagle eye!
     Thy steps I follow, with my bosom bare,
       Nor heed the storm that howls along the sky."

In the course of nature, the voice which now addresses you must soon
cease to be heard upon earth. Life and all which it inherits, lose of
their value as it draws toward its close. But for most of you, my
friends and neighbors, long and many years of futurity are yet in store.
May they be years of freedom--years of prosperity--years of happiness,
ripening for immortality! But, were the breath which now gives utterance
to my feelings, the last vital air I should draw, my expiring words to
you and your children should be, INDEPENDENCE AND UNION FOREVER!



This English poet, whose hymn, 'Nearer, my God, to Thee,' is known
wherever the English language is spoken, was born at Great Harlow,
Essex, England, in 1805. She was the daughter of Benjamin Flower, who in
1799 was prosecuted for plain speaking in his paper, the Cambridge
Intelligencer. From the outcome of his trial is to be dated the liberty
of political discussion in England. Her mother was Eliza Gould, who
first met her future husband in jail, whither she had gone on a visit to
assure him of her sympathy. She also had suffered for liberal opinions.
From their parents two daughters inherited a distinguished nobility and
purity of character. Eliza excelled in the composition of music for
congregational worship, and arranged a musical service for the Unitarian
South Place Chapel, London. Sarah contributed first to the Monthly
Repository, conducted by W.J. Fox, her Unitarian pastor, in whose family
she lived after her father's death. In 1834 she married William Bridges
Adams. Her delicate health gave way under the shock of her sister's
death in 1846, and she died of decline in 1848.

Her poetic genius found expression both in the drama and in hymns. Her
play, 'Vivia Perpetua' (1841), tells of the author's rapt aspiration
after an ideal, symbolized in a pagan's conversion to Christianity. She
published also 'The Royal Progress,' a ballad (1845), on the giving tip
of the feudal privileges of the Isle of Wight to Edward I.; and poems
upon the humanitarian interests which the Anti-Corn-Law League
endeavored to further. Her hymns are the happiest expressions of the
religious trust, resignation, and sweetness of her nature.

'Nearer, my God, to Thee,' was written for the South Place Chapel
service. There are stories of its echoes having been heard from a
dilapidated log cabin in Arkansas, from a remote corner of the north of
England, and from the Heights of Benjamin in the Holy Land. But even
its devotion and humility have not escaped censure--arising, perhaps,
from denominational bias. The fault found with it is the fault of
Addison's 'How are thy servants blessed, O Lord,' and the fault of the
Psalmody begun by Sternhold and Hopkins, which, published in Geneva in
1556, electrified the congregation of six thousand souls in Elizabeth's
reign,--it has no direct reference to Jesus. Compilers of hymn-books
have sought to rectify what they deem a lapse in Christian spirit by the
substitution of a verse begining "Christ alone beareth me." But the
quality of the interpolated verse is so inferior to the lyric itself
that it has not found general acceptance. Others, again, with an excess
of zeal, have endeavored to substitute "the Cross" for "a cross" in the
first stanza.

An even share of its extraordinary vogue must in bare justice be
credited to the tune which Dr. Lowell Mason has made an inseparable part
of it; though this does not detract in the least from its own high
merit, or its capacity to satisfy the feelings of a devout soul. A
taking melody is the first condition of even the loveliest song's
obtaining popularity; and this hymn was sung for many years to various
tunes, including chants, with no general recognition of its quality. It
was Dr. Mason's tune, written about 1860, which sent it at once into the
hearts of the people.


     He sendeth sun, he sendeth shower,
     Alike they're needful to the flower;
     And joys and tears alike are sent
     To give the soul fit nourishment.
     As comes to me or cloud or sun,
     Father! thy will, not mine, be done.

     Can loving children e'er reprove
     With murmurs, whom they trust and love?
     Creator, I would ever be
     A trusting, loving child to thee:
     As comes to me or cloud or sun,
     Father! thy will, not mine, be done.

     Oh, ne'er will I at life repine,--
     Enough that thou hast made it mine.
     When falls the shadow cold of death,
     I yet will sing with parting breath,
     As comes to me or cloud or sun,
     Father! thy will, not mine, be done.


     Nearer, my God, to thee,
       Nearer to thee!
     E'en though it be a cross
       That raiseth me;
     Still all my song shall be,--
     Nearer, my God, to thee,
       Nearer to thee!

     Though, like a wanderer,
       The sun gone down,
     Darkness be over me,
       My rest a stone;
     Yet in my dreams I'd be
     Nearer, my God, to thee,
       Nearer to thee!

     There let the way appear
       Steps unto heaven;
     All that thou sendest me
       In mercy given;
     Angels to beckon me
     Nearer, my God, to thee,
       Nearer to thee!

     Then with my waking thoughts
       Bright with thy praise,
     Out of my stony griefs
       Bethel I'll raise;
     So by my woes to be
     Nearer, my God, to thee,
       Nearer to thee!

     Or if on joyful wing,
       Cleaving the sky,
     Sun, moon, and stars forgot,
       Upward I fly;
     Still all my song shall be,--
     Nearer, my God, to thee,
       Nearer to thee!

     From 'Adoration, Aspiration, and Belief.'




There are few figures in literary history more dignified and attractive
than Joseph Addison; few men more eminently representative, not only of
literature as a profession, but of literature as an art. It has happened
more than once that literary gifts of a high order have been lodged in
very frail moral tenements; that taste, feeling, and felicity of
expression have been divorced from general intellectual power, from
intimate acquaintance with the best in thought and art, from grace of
manner and dignity of life. There have been writers of force and
originality who failed to attain a representative eminence, to identify
themselves with their art in the memory of the world. There have been
other writers without claim to the possession of gifts of the highest
order, who have secured this distinction by virtue of harmony of
character and work, of breadth of interest, and of that fine
intelligence which instinctively allies itself with the best in its
time. Of this class Addison is an illustrious example. His gifts are not
of the highest order; there was none of the spontaneity, abandon, or
fertility of genius in him; his thought made no lasting contribution to
the highest intellectual life; he set no pulses beating by his eloquence
of style, and fired no imagination by the insight and emotion of his
verse; he was not a scholar in the technical sense: and yet, in an age
which was stirred and stung by the immense satiric force of Swift,
charmed by the wit and elegance of Pope, moved by the tenderness of
Steele, and enchanted by the fresh realism of De Foe, Addison holds the
most representative place. He is, above all others, the Man of Letters
of his time; his name instantly evokes the literature of his period.

[Illustration: JOSEPH ADDISON.]

Born in the rectory at Milston, Wiltshire, on May Day, 1672, it was
Addison's fortune to take up the profession of Letters at the very
moment when it was becoming a recognized profession, with a field of its
own, and with emoluments sufficient in kind to make decency of living
possible, and so related to a man's work that their acceptance involved
loss neither of dignity nor of independence. He was contemporary with
the first English publisher, Jacob Tonson. He was also contemporary with
the notable reorganization of English prose which freed it from
exaggeration, complexity, and obscurity; and he contributed not a little
to the flexibility, charm, balance, and ease which have since
characterized its best examples. He saw the rise of polite society in
its modern sense; the development of the social resources of the city;
the enlargement of what is called "the reading class" to embrace all
classes in the community and all orders in the nation. And he was one of
the first, following the logic of a free press, an organized business
for the sale of books, and the appearance of popular interest in
literature, to undertake that work of translating the best thought,
feeling, sentiment, and knowledge of his time, and of all times, into
the language of the drawing-room, the club, and the street, which has
done so much to humanize and civilize the modern world.

To recognize these various opportunities, to feel intuitively the drift
of sentiment and conviction, and so to adjust the uses of art to life as
to exalt the one, and enrich and refine the other, involved not only the
possession of gifts of a high order, but that training which puts a man
in command of himself and of his materials. Addison was fortunate in
that incomparably important education which assails a child through
every sense, and above all through the imagination--in the atmosphere of
a home, frugal in its service to the body, but prodigal in its ministry
to the spirit. His father was a man of generous culture: an Oxford
scholar, who had stood frankly for the Monarchy and Episcopacy in
Puritan times; a voluminous and agreeable writer; of whom Steele says
that he bred his five children "with all the care imaginable in a
liberal and generous way." From this most influential of schools Addison
passed on to other masters: from the Grammar School at Lichfield, to the
well-known Charter House; and thence to Oxford, where he first entered
Queen's College, and later, became a member of Magdalen, to the beauty
of whose architecture and natural situation the tradition of his walks
and personality adds no small charm. He was a close student, shy in
manner, given to late hours of work. His literary tastes and appetite
were early disclosed, and in his twenty-second year he was already known
in London, had written an 'Account of the Greatest English Poets,' and
had addressed some complimentary verses to Dryden, then the recognized
head of English Letters.

While Addison was hesitating what profession to follow, the leaders of
the political parties were casting about for men of literary power. A
new force had appeared in English politics--the force of public opinion;
and in their experiments to control and direct this novel force,
politicians were eager to secure the aid of men of Letters. The shifting
of power to the House of Commons involved a radical readjustment, not
only of the mechanism of political action, but of the attitude of public
men to the nation. They felt the need of trained and persuasive
interpreters and advocates; of the resources of wit, satire, and humor.
It was this very practical service which literature was in the way of
rendering to political parties, rather than any deep regard for
literature itself, which brought about a brief but brilliant alliance
between groups of men who have not often worked together to mutual
advantage. It must be said, however, that there was among the great Whig
and Tory leaders of the time a certain liberality of taste, and a care
for those things which give public life dignity and elegance, which were
entirely absent from Robert Walpole and the leaders of the two
succeeding reigns, when literature and politics were completely
divorced, and the government knew little and cared less for the welfare
of the arts. Addison came on the stage at the very moment when the
government was not only ready but eager to foster such talents as his.
He was a Whig of pronounced although modern type, and the Whigs were
in power.

Lord Somers and Charles Montagu, better known later as Lord Halifax,
were the heads of the ministry, and his personal friends as well. They
were men of culture, lovers of Letters, and not unappreciative of the
personal distinction which already stamped the studious and dignified
Magdalen scholar. A Latin poem on the Peace of Ryswick, dedicated to
Montagu, happily combined Virgilian elegance and felicity with Whig
sentiment and achievement. It confirmed the judgment already formed of
Addison's ability; and, setting aside with friendly insistence the plan
of putting that ability into the service of the Church, Montagu secured
a pension of £300 for the purpose of enabling Addison to fit himself for
public employment abroad by thorough study of the French language, and
of manners, methods, and institutions on the Continent. With eight Latin
poems, published in the second volume of the 'Musae Anglicanae,' as an
introduction to foreign scholars, and armed with letters of introduction
from Montagu to many distinguished personages, Addison left Oxford in
the summer of 1699, and, after a prolonged stay at Blois for purposes of
study, visited many cities and interesting localities in France, Italy,
Switzerland, Austria, Germany, and Holland. The shy, reticent, but
observing young traveler was everywhere received with the courtesy which
early in the century had made so deep an impression on the young Milton.
He studied hard, saw much, and meditated more. He was not only fitting
himself for public service, but for that delicate portraiture of manners
which was later to become his distinctive work. Clarendon had already
drawn a series of lifelike portraits of men of action in the stormy
period of the Revolution: Addison was to sketch the society of his time
with a touch at once delicate and firm; to exhibit its life in those
aspects which emphasize individual humor and personal quality, against a
carefully wrought background of habit, manners, usage, and social
condition. The habit of observation and the wide acquaintance with
cultivated and elegant social life which was a necessary part of the
training for the work which was later to appear in the pages of the
Spectator, were perhaps the richest educational results of these years
of travel and study; for Addison the official is a comparatively obscure
figure, but Addison the writer is one of the most admirable and
attractive figures in English history.

Addison returned to England in 1703 with clouded prospects. The
accession of Queen Anne had been followed by the dismissal of the Whigs
from office; his pension was stopped, his opportunity of advancement
gone, and his father dead. The skies soon brightened, however: the
support of the Whigs became necessary to the Government; the brilliant
victory of Blenheim shed lustre not only on Marlborough, but on the men
with whom he was politically affiliated; and there was great dearth of
poetic ability in the Tory ranks at the very moment when a notable
achievement called for brave and splendid verse. Lord Godolphin, that
easy-going and eminently successful politician of whom Charles the
Second once shrewdly said that he was "never in the way and never out of
it," was directed to Addison in this emergency; and the story goes that
the Chancellor of the Exchequer, afterward Lord Carleton, who was sent
to express to the needy scholar the wishes of the Government, found him
lodged in a garret over a small shop. The result of this memorable
embassy from politics to literature was 'The Campaign': an eminently
successful poem of the formal, "occasional" order, which celebrated the
victor of Blenheim with tact and taste, pleased the ministry, delighted
the public, and brought reputation and fortune to its unknown writer.
Its excellence is in skillful avoidance of fulsome adulation, in the
exclusion of the well-worn classical allusions, and in a straightforward
celebration of those really great qualities in Marlborough which set his
military career in brilliant contrast with his private life. The poem
closed with a simile which took the world by storm:--

     "So when an angel, by divine command,
     With rising tempests shakes a guilty land,
     (Such as of late o'er pale Britannia passed,)
     Calm and serene he drives the furious blast;
     And, pleased the Almighty's orders to perform,
     Rides in the whirlwind and directs the storm."

"Addison left off at a good moment," says Thackeray. "That simile was
pronounced to be the greatest ever produced in poetry. That angel, that
good angel, flew off with Mr. Addison, and landed him in the place of
Commissioner of Appeals--_vice_ Mr. Locke, providentially promoted. In
the following year Mr. Addison went to Hanover with Lord Halifax, and
the year after was made Under-Secretary of State. O angel visits! You
come 'few and far between' to literary gentlemen's lodgings! Your wings
seldom quiver at the second-floor windows now!"

The prize poem was followed by a narrative of travel in Italy, happily
written, full of felicitous description, and touched by a humor which,
in quality and manner, was new to English readers. Then came one of
those indiscretions of the imagination which showed that the dignified
and somewhat sober young poet, the "parson in a tye-wig," as he was
called at a later day, was not lacking in gayety of mood. The opera
'Rosamond' was not a popular success, mainly because the music to which
it was set fell so far below it in grace and ease. It must be added,
however, that Addison lacked the qualities of a successful libretto
writer. He was too serious, and despite the lightness of his touch,
there was a certain rigidity in him which made him unapt at
versification which required quickness, agility, and variety. When he
attempted to give his verse gayety of manner, he did not get beyond
awkward simulation of an ease which nature had denied him:--

        "Since conjugal passion
         Is come into fashion,
     And marriage so blest on the throne is,
         Like a Venus I'll shine,
         Be fond and be fine,
     And Sir Trusty shall be my Adonis."

Meantime, in spite of occasional clouds, Addison's fortunes were
steadily advancing. The Earl of Wharton was appointed Lord Lieutenant of
Ireland, and Addison accepted the lucrative post of Secretary. Spenser
had found time and place, during a similar service in the same country,
to complete the 'Faery Queene'; although the fair land in which the
loveliest of English poems has its action was not unvexed by the chronic
turbulence of a mercurial and badly used race. Irish residence was
coincident in Addison's case, not only with prosperous fortunes and with
important friendships, but also with the beginning of the work on which
his fame securely rests. In Ireland the acquaintance he had already made
in London with Swift ripened into a generous friendship, which for a
time resisted political differences when such differences were the
constant occasion of personal animosity and bitterness. The two men
represented the age in an uncommonly complete way. Swift had the greater
genius: he was, indeed, in respect of natural endowment, the foremost
man of his time; but his nature was undisciplined, his temper uncertain,
and his great powers quite as much at the service of his passions as of
his principles. He made himself respected, feared, and finally hated;
his lack of restraint and balance, his ferocity of spirit when opposed,
and the violence with which he assailed his enemies, neutralized his
splendid gifts, marred his fortune, and sent him into lonely exile at
Dublin, where he longed for the ampler world of London. Few figures in
literary history are more pathetic than that of the old Dean of St.
Patrick's, broken in spirit, failing in health, his noble faculties gone
into premature decay, forsaken, bitter, and remorseful. At the time of
Addison's stay in Ireland, the days of Swift's eclipse were, however,
far distant; both men were in their prime. That Swift loved Addison is
clear enough; and it is easy to understand the qualities which made
Addison one of the most deeply loved men of his time. He was of an
eminently social temper, although averse to large companies and shy and
silent in their presence. "There is no such thing," he once said, "as
real conversation but between two persons." He was free from malice,
meanness, or jealousy, Pope to the contrary notwithstanding. He was
absolutely loyal to his principles and to his friends, in a time when
many men changed both with as little compunction as they changed wigs
and swords. His personality was singularly winning; his features
regular, and full of refinement and intelligence; his bearing dignified
and graceful; his temper kindly and in perfect control; his character
without a stain; his conversation enchanting, its charm confessed by
persons so diverse in taste as Pope, Swift, Steele, and Young. Lady Mary
Montagu declared that he was the best company she had ever known. He had
two faults of which the world has heard much: he loved the company of
men who flattered him, and at times he used wine too freely. The first
of these defects was venial, and did not blind his judgment either of
himself or his friends; the second defect was so common among the men of
his time that Addison's occasional over-indulgence, in contrast with the
excesses of others, seems like temperance itself.

The harmony and symmetry of this winning personality has, in a sense,
told against it; for men are prone to call the well-balanced nature cold
and the well-regulated life Pharisaic. Addison did not escape charges of
this kind from the wild livers of his own time, who could not dissociate
genius from profligacy nor generosity of nature from prodigality. It was
one of the great services of Addison to his generation and to all
generations, that in an age of violent passions, he showed how a strong
man could govern himself. In a time of reckless living, he illustrated
the power which flows from subordination of pleasure to duty. In a day
when wit was identified with malice, he brought out its power to
entertain, surprise, and delight, without taking on the irreverent
levity of Voltaire, the bitterness of Swift, or the malice of Pope.

It was during Addison's stay in Ireland that Richard Steele projected
the Tatler, and brought out the first number in 1709. His friendship
for Addison amounted almost to a passion; their intimacy was cemented by
harmony of tastes and diversity of character. Steele was ardent,
impulsive, warm-hearted, mercurial; full of aspiration and beset by
lamentable weaknesses,--preaching the highest morality and constantly
falling into the prevalent vices of his time; a man so lovable of
temper, so generous a spirit, and so frank a nature, that his faults
seem to humanize his character rather than to weaken and stain it.
Steele's gifts were many, and they were always at the service of his
feelings; he had an Irish warmth of sympathy and an Irish readiness of
humor, with great facility of inventiveness, and an inexhaustible
interest in all aspects of human experience. There had been political
journals in England since the time of the Revolution, but Steele
conceived the idea of a journal which should comment on the events and
characteristics of the time in a bright and humorous way; using freedom
with judgment and taste, and attacking the vices and follies of the time
with the light equipment of wit rather than with the heavy armament of
the formal moralist. The time was ripe for such an enterprise. London
was full of men and women of brilliant parts, whose manners, tastes, and
talk presented rich material for humorous report and delineation or for
satiric comment. Society, in the modern sense, was fast taking form, and
the resources of social intercourse were being rapidly developed. Men in
public life were intimately allied with society and sensitive to its
opinion; and men of all interests--public, fashionable,
literary--gathered in groups at the different chocolate or coffee
houses, and formed a kind of organized community. It was distinctly an
aristocratic society: elegant in dress, punctilious in manner, exacting
in taste, ready to be amused, and not indifferent to criticism when it
took the form of sprightly badinage or of keen and trenchant satire. The
informal organization of society, which made it possible to reach and
affect the Town as a whole, is suggested by the division of
the Tatler:--

"All accounts of Gallantry, Pleasure, and Entertainment, shall be under
the article of White's Chocolate-House; Poetry under that of Will's
Coffee-House; Learning under the title of Grecian; Foreign and Domestic
News you will have from St. James's Coffee-House; and what else I have
to offer on any other subject shall be dated from my own apartment."

So wrote Steele in his introduction to the readers of the new journal,
which was to appear three times a week, at the cost of a penny. Of the
coffee-houses enumerated, St. James's and White's were the headquarters
of men of fashion and of politics; the Grecian of men of legal learning;
Will's of men of Letters. The Tatler was successful from the start. It
was novel in form and in spirit; it was sprightly without being
frivolous, witty without being indecent, keen without being libelous or
malicious. In the general license and coarseness of the time, so close
to the Restoration and the powerful reaction against Puritanism, the
cleanness, courtesy, and good taste which characterized the journal had
all the charm of a new diversion. In paper No. 18, Addison made his
appearance as a contributor, and gave the world the first of those
inimitable essays which influenced their own time so widely, and which
have become the solace and delight of all times. To Addison's influence
may perhaps be traced the change which came over the Tatler, and which
is seen in the gradual disappearance of the news element, and the steady
drift of the paper away from journalism and toward literature. Society
soon felt the full force of the extraordinary talent at the command of
the new censor of contemporary manners and morals. There was a
well-directed and incessant fire of wit against the prevailing taste of
dramatic art; against the vices of gambling and dueling; against
extravagance and affectation of dress and manner: and there was also
criticism of a new order.

The Tatler was discontinued in January, 1711, and the first number of
the Spectator appeared in March. The new journal was issued daily, but
it made no pretensions to newspaper timeliness or interest; it aimed to
set a new standard in manners, morals, and taste, without assuming the
airs of a teacher. "It was said of Socrates," wrote Addison, in a
memorable chapter in the new journal, "that he brought Philosophy down
from heaven to inhabit among men; and I shall be happy to have it said
of me that I have brought Philosophy out of closets and libraries,
schools and colleges, to dwell in clubs and assemblies, at tea-tables
and in coffee-houses." For more than two years the Spectator discharged
with inimitable skill and success the difficult function of chiding,
reproving, and correcting, without irritating, wounding, or causing
strife. Swift found the paper too gentle, but its influence was due in
no small measure to its persuasiveness. Addison studied his method of
attack as carefully as Matthew Arnold, who undertook a similar
educational work in our own time, studied his means of approach to a
public indifferent or hostile to his ideas. The two hundred and
seventy-four papers furnished by Addison to the columns of the Spectator
may be said to mark the full development of English prose as a free,
flexible, clear, and elegant medium of expressing the most varied and
delicate shades of thought. They mark also the perfection of the essay
form in our literature; revealing clear perception of its limitations
and of its resources; easy mastery of its possibilities of serious
exposition and of pervading charm; ability to employ its full capacity
of conveying serious thought in a manner at once easy and authoritative.
They mark also the beginning of a deeper and more intelligent
criticism; for their exposition of Milton may be said to point the way
to a new quality of literary judgment and a new order of literary
comment. These papers mark, finally, the beginnings of the English
novel; for they contain a series of character-studies full of insight,
delicacy of drawing, true feeling, and sureness of touch. Addison was
not content to satirize the follies, attack the vices, and picture the
manners of his times: he created a group of figures which stand out as
distinctly as those which were drawn more than a century later by the
hand of Thackeray, our greatest painter of manners. De Foe had not yet
published the first of the great modern novels of incident and adventure
in 'Robinson Crusoe,' and Richardson, Fielding, and Smollett were unborn
or unknown, when Addison was sketching Sir Roger de Coverley and Will
Honeycomb, and filling in the background with charming studies of life
in London and in the country. The world has instinctively selected Sir
Roger de Coverley as the truest of all the creations of Addison's
imagination; and it sheds clear light on the fineness of Addison's
nature that among the four characters in fiction whom English readers
have agreed to accept as typical gentlemen,--Don Quixote, Sir Roger de
Coverley, Henry Esmond, and Colonel Newcombe,--the old English baronet
holds a secure place.

Finished in style, but genuinely human in feeling, betraying the nicest
choice of words and the most studied care for elegant and effective
arrangement, and yet penetrated by geniality, enlivened by humor,
elevated by high moral aims, often using the dangerous weapons of irony
and satire, and yet always well-mannered and kindly,--these papers
reveal the sensitive nature of Addison and the delicate but thoroughly
tempered art which he had at his command.

Rarely has literature of so high an order had such instant success; for
the popularity of the Spectator has been rivaled in English literature
only by that of the Waverley novels or of the novels of Dickens. Its
influence was felt not only in the sentiment of the day, and in the
crowd of imitators which followed in its wake, but also across the
Channel. In Germany, especially, the genius and methods of Addison made
a deep and lasting impression.

No man could reach such eminence in the first quarter of the last
century without being tempted to try his hand at play-writing; and the
friendly fortune which seemed to serve Addison at every turn reached its
climax in the applause which greeted the production of 'Cato.' The
motive of this tragedy, constructed on what were then held to be classic
lines, is found in the two lines of the Prologue: it was an endeavor
to portray

     "A brave man struggling in the storms of fate,
     And greatly falling with a falling State."

The play was full of striking lines which were instantly caught up and
applied to the existing political situation; the theatre was crowded
night after night, and the resources of Europe in the way of
translations, plaudits, and favorable criticisms were exhausted in the
endeavor to express the general approval. The judgment of a later period
has, however, assigned 'Cato' a secondary place, and it is remembered
mainly on account of its many felicitous passages. It lacks real
dramatic unity and vitality; the character of Cato is essentially an
abstraction; there is little dramatic necessity in the situations and
incidents. It is rhetorical rather than poetic, declamatory rather than
dramatic. Johnson aptly described it as "rather a poem in dialogue than
a drama, rather a succession of just sentiments in elegant language than
a representation of natural affections, or of any state probable or
possible in human life."

Addison's popularity touched its highest point in the production of
'Cato.' Even his conciliatory nature could not disarm the envy which
such brilliant success naturally aroused, nor wholly escape the
bitterness which the intense political feeling of the time constantly
bred between ambitious and able men. Political differences separated him
from Swift, and Steele's uncertain character and inconsistent course
blighted what was probably the most delightful intimacy of his life.
Pope doubtless believed that he had good ground for charging Addison
with jealousy and insincerity, and in 1715 an open rupture took place
between them. The story of the famous quarrel was first told by Pope,
and his version was long accepted in many quarters as final; but later
opinion inclines to hold Addison guiltless of the grave accusations
brought against him. Pope was morbidly sensitive to slights, morbidly
eager for praise, and extremely irritable. To a man of such temper,
trifles light as air became significant of malice and hatred. Such
trifles unhappily confirmed Pope's suspicions; his self-love was
wounded, sensitiveness became animosity, and animosity became hate,
which in the end inspired the most stinging bit of satire in the

     "Should such a one, resolved to reign alone,
     Bear, like the Turk, no brother near the throne,
     View him with jealous yet with scornful eyes,
     Hate him for arts that caused himself to rise,
     Damn with faint praise, assent with civil leer,
     And, without sneering, teach the rest to sneer;
     Alike unused to blame or to commend,
     A timorous foe and a suspicious friend,
     Fearing e'en fools, by flatterers besieged,
     And so obliging that he ne'er obliged;
     Willing to wound, and yet afraid to strike."

There was just enough semblance of truth in these inimitable lines to
give them lasting stinging power; but that they were grossly unjust is
now generally conceded. Addison was human, and therefore not free from
the frailties of men of his profession; but there was no meanness
in him.

Addison's loyalty to the Whig party and his ability to serve it kept him
in intimate relations with its leaders and bound him to its fortunes. He
served the Whig cause in Parliament, and filled many positions which
required tact and judgment, attaining at last the very dignified post of
Secretary of State. A long attachment for the Countess of Warwick
culminated in marriage in 1716, and Addison took up his residence in
Holland House; a house famous for its association with men of
distinction in politics and letters. The marriage was not happy, if
report is to be trusted. The union of the ill-adapted pair was, in any
event, short-lived; for three years later, in 1719, Addison died in his
early prime, not yet having completed his forty-eighth year. On his
death-bed, Young tells us, he called his stepson to his side and said,
"See in what peace a Christian can die." His body was laid in
Westminster Abbey; his work is one of the permanent possessions of the
English-speaking race; his character is one of its finest traditions. He
was, as truly as Sir Philip Sidney, a gentleman in the sweetness of his
spirit, the courage of his convictions, the refinement of his bearing,
and the purity of his life. He was unspoiled by fortune and applause;
uncorrupted by the tempting chances of his time; stainless in the use of
gifts which in the hands of a man less true would have caught the
contagion of Pope's malice or of Swift's corroding cynicism.

Hamilton W. Mabie


From the Spectator, No. 335

My friend Sir Roger de Coverley, when we last met together at the Club,
told me, that he had a great mind to see the new Tragedy with me,
assuring me at the same time that he had not been at a Play these twenty
Years. The last I saw, said Sir Roger, was the _Committee_, which I
should not have gone to neither, had not I been told beforehand that it
was a good Church-of-_England_ Comedy. He then proceeded to enquire of
me who this Distrest Mother was; and upon hearing that she was
_Hector's_ Widow, he told me that her Husband was a brave Man, and that
when he was a Schoolboy he had read his Life at the end of the
Dictionary. My friend asked me in the next place, if there would not be
some danger in coming home late, in case the _Mohocks_[1] should be
Abroad. I assure you, says he, I thought I had fallen into their Hands
last Night; for I observed two or three lusty black Men that follow'd me
half way up _Fleet-street,_ and mended their pace behind me, in
proportion as I put on to get away from them. You must know, continu'd
the Knight with a Smile, I fancied they had a mind to _hunt_ me; for I
remember an honest Gentleman in my Neighbourhood, who was served such a
trick in King _Charles_ the Second's time; for which reason he has not
ventured himself in Town ever since. I might have shown them very good
Sport, had this been their Design; for as I am an old Fox-hunter, I
should have turned and dodg'd, and have play'd them a thousand tricks
they had never seen in their Lives before. Sir Roger added, that if
these gentlemen had any such Intention, they did not succeed very well
in it: for I threw them out, says he, at the End of _Norfolk street_,
where I doubled the Corner, and got shelter in my Lodgings before they
could imagine what was become of me. However, says the Knight, if
Captain Sentry will make one with us to-morrow night, and if you will
both of you call upon me about four a Clock, that we may be at the House
before it is full, I will have my own Coach in readiness to attend you,
for _John_ tells me he has got the Fore-Wheels mended.

[Footnote 1: London "bucks" who disguised themselves as savages and
roamed the streets at night, committing outrages on persons and

The Captain, who did not fail to meet me there at the appointed Hour,
bid Sir Roger fear nothing, for that he had put on the same Sword which
he made use of at the Battel of _Steenkirk._ Sir Roger's Servants, and
among the rest my old Friend the Butler, had, I found, provided
themselves with good Oaken Plants, to attend their Master upon this
occasion. When he had placed him in his Coach, with my self at his
Left-Hand, the Captain before him, and his Butler at the Head of his
Footmen in the Rear, we convoy'd him in safety to the Play-house, where,
after having marched up the Entry in good order, the Captain and I went
in with him, and seated him betwixt us in the Pit. As soon as the House
was full, and the Candles lighted, my old Friend stood up and looked
about him with that Pleasure, which a Mind seasoned with Humanity
naturally feels in its self, at the sight of a Multitude of People who
seem pleased with one another, and partake of the same common
Entertainment. I could not but fancy to myself, as the old Man stood up
in the middle of the Pit, that he made a very proper Center to a Tragick
Audience. Upon the entring of _Pyrrhus_, the Knight told me that he did
not believe the King of _France_ himself had a better Strut. I was
indeed very attentive to my old Friend's Remarks, because I looked upon
them as a Piece of natural Criticism, and was well pleased to hear him
at the Conclusion of almost every Scene, telling me that he could not
imagine how the Play would end. One while he appeared much concerned for
_Andromache_; and a little while after as much for _Hermione_: and was
extremely puzzled to think what would become of _Pyrrhus_.

When Sir Roger saw _Andromache's_ obstinate Refusal to her Lover's
importunities, he whisper'd me in the Ear, that he was sure she would
never have him; to which he added, with a more than ordinary Vehemence,
You can't imagine, Sir, what 'tis to have to do with a Widow. Upon
_Pyrrhus_ his threatning afterwards to leave her, the Knight shook his
Head, and muttered to himself, Ay, do if you can. This Part dwelt so
much upon my Friend's Imagination, that at the close of the Third Act,
as I was thinking of something else, he whispered in my Ear, These
Widows, Sir, are the most perverse Creatures in the World. But pray,
says he, you that are a Critick, is this Play according to your
Dramatick Rules, as you call them? Should your People in Tragedy always
talk to be understood? Why, there is not a single Sentence in this Play
that I do not know the Meaning of.

The Fourth Act very luckily begun before I had time to give the old
Gentleman an Answer: Well, says the Knight, sitting down with great
Satisfaction, I suppose we are now to see _Hector's_ Ghost. He then
renewed his Attention, and, from time to time, fell a praising the
Widow. He made, indeed, a little Mistake as to one of her Pages, whom at
his first entering, he took for _Astyanax_; but he quickly set himself
right in that Particular, though, at the same time, he owned he should
have been very glad to have seen the little Boy, who, says he, must
needs be a very fine Child by the Account that is given of him. Upon
_Hermione's_ going off with a Menace to _Pyrrhus_, the Audience gave a
loud Clap; to which Sir Roger added, On my Word, a notable
young Baggage!

As there was a very remarkable Silence and Stillness in the Audience
during the whole Action, it was natural for them to take the Opportunity
of these Intervals between the Acts, to express their Opinion of the
Players, and of their respective Parts. Sir Roger hearing a Cluster of
them praise _Orestes_, struck in with them, and told them, that he
thought his Friend _Pylades_ was a very sensible Man; as they were
afterwards applauding _Pyrrhus_, Sir Roger put in a second time; And let
me tell you, says he, though he speaks but little, I like the old Fellow
in Whiskers as well as any of them. Captain Sentry seeing two or three
Waggs who sat near us, lean with an attentive Ear towards Sir Roger, and
fearing lest they should Smoke the Knight, pluck'd him by the Elbow, and
whisper'd something in his Ear, that lasted till the Opening of the
Fifth Act. The Knight was wonderfully attentive to the Account which
_Orestes_ gives of _Pyrrhus_ his Death, and at the Conclusion of it,
told me it was such a bloody Piece of Work, that he was glad it was not
done upon the Stage. Seeing afterwards _Orestes_ in his raving Fit, he
grew more than ordinary serious, and took occasion to moralize (in his
way) upon an Evil Conscience, adding, that _Orestes, in his Madness,
looked as if he saw something_.

As we were the first that came into the House, so we were the last that
went out of it; being resolved to have a clear Passage for our old
Friend, whom we did not care to venture among the justling of the Crowd.
Sir Roger went out fully satisfied with his Entertainment, and we
guarded him to his Lodgings in the same manner that we brought him to
the Playhouse; being highly pleased, for my own part, not only with the
Performance of the excellent Piece which had been Presented, but with
the Satisfaction which it had given to the good old Man. L.


From the Spectator, No. 106

Having often received an Invitation from my Friend Sir Roger de Coverley
to pass away a Month with him in the Country, I last Week accompanied
him thither, and am settled with him for some time at his Country-house,
where I intend to form several of my ensuing Speculations. Sir Roger,
who is very well acquainted with my Humour, lets me rise and go to Bed
when I please, dine at his own Table or in my Chamber as I think fit,
sit still and say nothing without bidding me be merry. When the
Gentlemen of the Country come to see him, he only shews me at a
distance: As I have been walking in his Fields I have observed them
stealing a Sight of me over an Hedge, and have heard the Knight desiring
them not to let me see them, for that I hated to be stared at.

I am the more at Ease in Sir Roger's Family, because it consists of
sober and staid Persons: for as the Knight is the best Master in the
World, he seldom changes his Servants; and as he is beloved by all about
him, his Servants never care for leaving him: by this means his
Domesticks are all in years, and grown old with their Master. You would
take his Valet de Chambre for his Brother, his Butler is grey-headed,
his Groom is one of the Gravest men that I have ever seen, and his
Coachman has the Looks of a Privy-Counsellor. You see the Goodness of
the Master even in the old House-dog, and in a grey Pad that is kept in
the Stable with great Care and Tenderness out of Regard to his past
Services, tho' he has been useless for several Years.

I could not but observe with a great deal of pleasure the Joy that
appeared in the Countenances of these ancient Domesticks upon my
Friend's Arrival at his Country-Seat. Some of them could not refrain
from Tears at the Sight of their old Master; every one of them press'd
forward to do something for him, and seemed discouraged if they were not
employed. At the same time the good old Knight, with a Mixture of the
Father and the Master of the Family, tempered the Enquiries after his
own Affairs with several kind Questions relating to themselves. This
Humanity and good Nature engages every Body to him, so that when he is
pleasant upon any of them, all his Family are in good Humour, and none
so much as the Person whom he diverts himself with: On the contrary, if
he coughs, or betrays any Infirmity of old Age, it is easy for a
Stander-by to observe a secret Concern in the Looks of all his Servants.

My worthy Friend has put me under the particular Care of his Butler, who
is a very prudent Man, and, as well as the rest of his Fellow-Servants,
wonderfully desirous of pleasing me, because they have often heard their
Master talk of me as of his particular Friend.

My chief Companion, when Sir Roger is diverting himself in the Woods or
the Fields, is a very venerable man who is ever with Sir Roger, and has
lived at his House in the Nature of a Chaplain above thirty Years. This
Gentleman is a Person of good Sense and some Learning, of a very regular
Life and obliging Conversation: He heartily loves Sir Roger, and knows
that he is very much in the old Knight's Esteem, so that he lives in the
Family rather as a Relation than a Dependent.

I have observed in several of my Papers, that my Friend Sir Roger,
amidst all his good Qualities, is something of an Humourist; and that
his Virtues, as well as Imperfections, are as it were tinged by a
certain Extravagance, which makes them particularly _his_, and
distinguishes them from those of other Men. This Cast of Mind, as it is
generally very innocent in it self, so it renders his Conversation
highly agreeable, and more delightful than the same Degree of Sense and
Virtue would appear in their common and ordinary Colours. As I was
walking with him last Night, he asked me how I liked the good Man whom I
have just now mentioned? and without staying for my Answer told me, That
he was afraid of being insulted with Latin and Greek at his own Table;
for which Reason he desired a particular Friend of his at the University
to find him out a Clergyman rather of plain Sense than much Learning, of
a good Aspect, a clear Voice, a sociable Temper, and, if possible, a Man
that understood a little of Back-Gammon. My Friend, says Sir Roger,
found me out this Gentleman, who, besides the Endowments required of
him, is, they tell me, a good Scholar, tho' he does not show it. I have
given him the Parsonage of the Parish; and because I know his Value have
settled upon him a good Annuity for Life. If he outlives me, he shall
find that he was higher in my Esteem than perhaps he thinks he is. He
has now been with me thirty Years; and tho' he does not know I have
taken Notice of it, has never in all that time asked anything of me for
himself, tho' he is every Day soliciting me for something in behalf of
one or other of my Tenants his Parishioners. There has not been a
Law-suit in the Parish since he has liv'd among them: If any Dispute
arises they apply themselves to him for the Decision, if they do not
acquiesce in his Judgment, which I think never happened above once or
twice at most, they appeal to me. At his first settling with me, I made
him a Present of all the good Sermons which have been printed in
_English_, and only begg'd of him that every _Sunday_ he would pronounce
one of them in the Pulpit. Accordingly, he has digested them into such a
Series, that they follow one another naturally, and make a continued
System of practical Divinity.

As Sir Roger was going on in his Story, the Gentleman we were talking
of came up to us; and upon the Knight's asking him who preached to
morrow (for it was _Saturday_ Night) told us, the Bishop of St. _Asaph_
in the Morning, and Dr. _South_ in the Afternoon. He then shewed us his
List of Preachers for the whole Year, where I saw with a great deal of
Pleasure Archbishop _Tillotson_, Bishop _Saunderson_, Doctor _Barrow_,
Doctor _Calamy_, with several living Authors who have published
Discourses of Practical Divinity. I no sooner saw this venerable Man in
the Pulpit, but I very much approved of my Friend's insisting upon the
Qualifications of a good Aspect and a clear Voice; for I was so charmed
with the Gracefulness of his Figure and Delivery, as well as with the
Discourses he pronounced, that I think I never passed any Time more to
my Satisfaction. A Sermon repeated after this Manner, is like the
Composition of a Poet in the Mouth of a graceful Actor.

I could heartily wish that more of our Country Clergy would follow this
Example; and in stead of wasting their Spirits in laborious Compositions
of their own, would endeavour after a handsome Elocution, and all those
other Talents that are proper to enforce what has been penned by greater
Masters. This would not only be more easy to themselves, but more
edifying to the People.


'The Vision of Mirzah,' from the Spectator, No. 159

When I was at _Grand Cairo_, I picked up several Oriental Manuscripts,
which I have still by me. Among others I met with one entitled, _The
Visions of Mirzah_, which I have read over with great Pleasure. I intend
to give it to the Publick when I have no other entertainment for them;
and shall begin with the first Vision, which I have translated Word for
Word as follows.

On the fifth Day of the Moon, which according to the Custom of my
Forefathers I always keep holy, after having washed my self, and offered
up my Morning Devotions, I ascended the high hills of _Bagdat_, in order
to pass the rest of the Day in Meditation and Prayer. As I was here
airing my self on the Tops of the Mountains, I fell into a profound
Contemplation on the Vanity of human Life; and passing from one Thought
to another, Surely, said I, Man is but a Shadow and Life a Dream.
Whilst I was thus musing, I cast my eyes towards the Summit of a Rock
that was not far from me, where I discovered one in the Habit of a
Shepherd, with a little Musical Instrument in his Hand. As I looked upon
him he applied it to his Lips, and began to play upon it. The sound of
it was exceeding sweet, and wrought into a Variety of Tunes that were
inexpressibly melodious, and altogether different from any thing I had
ever heard. They put me in mind of those heavenly Airs that are played
to the departed Souls of good Men upon their first Arrival in Paradise,
to wear out the Impressions of the last Agonies, and qualify them for
the Pleasures of that happy Place. My Heart melted away in
secret Raptures.

I had been often told that the Rock before me was the Haunt of a Genius;
and that several had been entertained with Musick who had passed by it,
but never heard that the Musician had before made himself visible. When
he had raised my Thoughts by those transporting Airs which he played, to
taste the Pleasures of his Conversation, as I looked upon him like one
astonished, he beckoned to me, and by the waving of his Hand directed me
to approach the Place where he sat. I drew near with that Reverence
which is due to a superior Nature; and as my heart was entirely subdued
by the captivating Strains I heard, I fell down at his Feet and wept.
The Genius smiled upon me with a Look of Compassion and Affability that
familiarized him to my Imagination, and at once dispelled all the Fears
and Apprehensions with which I approached him. He lifted me from the
Ground, and taking me by the hand, _Mirzah,_ said he, I have heard thee
in thy Soliloquies; follow me.

He then led me to the highest Pinnacle of the Rock, and placing me on
the Top of it, Cast thy Eyes Eastward, said he, and tell me what thou
seest. I see, said I, a huge Valley, and a prodigious Tide of Water
rolling through it. The Valley that thou seest, said he, is the Vale of
Misery, and the Tide of Water that thou seest is part of the great Tide
of Eternity. What is the Reason, said I, that the Tide I see rises out
of a thick Mist at one End, and again loses itself in a thick Mist at
the other? What thou seest, said he, is that Portion of Eternity which
is called Time, measured out by the Sun, and reaching from the Beginning
of the World to its Consummation. Examine now, said he, this Sea that is
bounded with darkness at both Ends, and tell me what thou discoverest
in it. I see a Bridge, said I, standing in the Midst of the Tide. The
Bridge thou seest, said he, is human Life, consider it attentively. Upon
a more leisurely Survey of it, I found that it consisted of threescore
and ten entire Arches, with several broken Arches, which added to those
that were entire, made up the Number about an hundred. As I was counting
the Arches, the Genius told me that this Bridge consisted at first of a
thousand Arches; but that a great Flood swept away the rest, and left
the Bridge in the ruinous Condition I now beheld it: But tell me
further, said he, what thou discoverest on it. I see Multitudes of
People passing over it, said I, and a black Cloud hanging on each End of
it. As I looked more attentively, I saw several of the Passengers
dropping thro' the Bridge, into the great Tide that flowed underneath
it; and upon farther Examination, perceived there were innumerable
Trap-doors that lay concealed in the Bridge, which the Passengers no
sooner trod upon, but they fell thro' them into the Tide and immediately
disappeared. These hidden Pit-falls were set very thick at the Entrance
of the Bridge, so that the Throngs of People no sooner broke through the
Cloud, but many of them fell into them. They grew thinner towards the
Middle, but multiplied and lay closer together toward the End of the
Arches that were entire. There were indeed some Persons, but their
number was very small, that continued a kind of a hobbling March on the
broken Arches, but fell through one after another, being quite tired and
spent with so long a Walk.

I passed some Time in the Contemplation of this wonderful Structure, and
the great Variety of Objects which it presented. My heart was filled
with a deep Melancholy to see several dropping unexpectedly in the midst
of Mirth and Jollity, and catching at every thing that stood by them to
save themselves. Some were looking up towards the Heavens in a
thoughtful Posture, and in the midst of a Speculation stumbled and fell
out of Sight. Multitudes were very busy in the Pursuit of Bubbles that
glittered in their Eyes and danced before them; but often when they
thought themselves within the reach of them their Footing failed and
down they sunk. In this Confusion of Objects, I observed some with
Scymetars in their Hands, and others with Urinals, who ran to and fro
upon the Bridge, thrusting several Persons on Trap-doors which did not
seem to lie in their way, and which they might have escaped had they not
been forced upon them.

The Genius seeing me indulge my self in this melancholy Prospect, told
me I had dwelt long enough upon it: Take thine Eyes off the Bridge, said
he, and tell me if thou yet seest any thing thou dost not comprehend.
Upon looking up, What mean, said I, those great Flights of Birds that
are perpetually hovering about the Bridge, and settling upon it from
time to time? I see Vultures, Harpyes, Ravens, Cormorants, and among
many other feather'd Creatures several little winged Boys, that perch in
great Numbers upon the middle Arches. These, said the Genius, are Envy,
Avarice, Superstition, Despair, Love, with the like Cares and Passions
that infest human Life.

I here fetched a deep Sigh, Alas, said I, Man was made in vain! How is
he given away to Misery and Mortality! tortured in Life, and swallowed
up in Death! The Genius being moved with Compassion towards me, bid me
quit so uncomfortable a Prospect: Look no more, said he, on Man in the
first Stage of his Existence, in his setting out for Eternity; but cast
thine Eye on that thick Mist into which the Tide bears the several
Generations of Mortals that fall into it. I directed my Sight as I was
ordered, and (whether or no the good Genius strengthened it with any
supernatural Force, or dissipated Part of the Mist that was before too
thick for the Eye to penetrate) I saw the Valley opening at the farther
End, and spreading forth into an immense Ocean, that had a huge Rock of
Adamant running through the Midst of it, and dividing it into two equal
parts. The Clouds still rested on one Half of it, insomuch that I could
discover nothing in it: But the other appeared to me a vast Ocean
planted with innumerable Islands, that were covered with Fruits and
Flowers, and interwoven with a thousand little shining Seas that ran
among them. I could see Persons dressed in glorious Habits with Garlands
upon their Heads, passing among the Trees, lying down by the Side of
Fountains, or resting on Beds of Flowers; and could hear a confused
Harmony of singing Birds, falling Waters, human Voices, and musical
Instruments. Gladness grew in me upon the Discovery of so delightful a
Scene. I wished for the Wings of an Eagle, that I might fly away to
those happy Seats; but the Genius told me there was no Passage to them,
except through the Gates of Death that I saw opening every Moment upon
the Bridge. The Islands, said he, that lie so fresh and green before
thee, and with which the whole Face of the Ocean appears spotted as far
as thou canst see, are more in number than the Sands on the Sea-shore;
there are Myriads of Islands behind those which thou here discoverest,
reaching further than thine Eye, or even thine Imagination can extend it
self. These are the Mansions of good Men after Death, who according to
the Degree and Kinds of Virtue in which they excelled, are distributed
among these several Islands, which abound with Pleasures of different
Kinds and Degrees, suitable to the Relishes and Perfections of those who
are settled in them; every Island is a Paradise accommodated to its
respective Inhabitants. Are not these, O _Mirzah_, Habitations worth
contending for? Does Life appear miserable, that gives thee
Opportunities of earning such a Reward? Is Death to be feared, that will
convey thee to so happy an Existence? Think not Man was made in vain,
who has such an Eternity reserved for him. I gazed with inexpressible
Pleasure on these happy Islands. At length, said I, shew me now, I
beseech thee, the Secrets that lie hid under those dark Clouds which
cover the Ocean on the other side of the Rock of Adamant. The Genius
making me no Answer, I turned about to address myself to him a second
time, but I found that he had left me; I then turned again to the Vision
which I had been so long contemplating; but Instead of the rolling Tide,
the arched Bridge, and the happy Islands, I saw nothing but the long
hollow Valley of _Bagdat_, with Oxen, Sheep, and Camels grazing upon the
Sides of it.


From the Spectator, No. 102

I do not know whether to call the following Letter a Satyr upon Coquets,
or a Representation of their several fantastical Accomplishments, or
what other Title to give it; but as it is I shall communicate it to the
Publick. It will sufficiently explain its own Intentions, so that I
shall give it my Reader at Length, without either Preface or Postscript.

     _Mr. Spectator_:

     Women are armed with Fans as Men with Swords, and sometimes
     do more Execution with them. To the end therefore that Ladies
     may be entire Mistresses of the Weapon which they bear, I
     have erected an Academy for the training up of young Women in
     the _Exercise of the Fan_, according to the most fashionable
     Airs and Motions that are now practis'd at Court. The Ladies
     who _carry_ Fans under me are drawn up twice a-day in my
     great Hall, where they are instructed in the Use of their
     Arms, and _exercised_ by the following Words of Command,

          Handle your Fans,
          Unfurl your Fans,
          Discharge your Fans,
          Ground your Fans,
          Recover your Fans,
          Flutter your Fans.

     By the right Observation of these few plain Words of Command,
     a Woman of a tolerable Genius, who will apply herself
     diligently to her Exercise for the Space of but one half
     Year, shall be able to give her Fan all the Graces that can
     possibly enter into that little modish Machine.

     But to the end that my Readers may form to themselves a right
     Notion of this _Exercise_, I beg leave to explain it to them
     in all its Parts. When my Female Regiment is drawn up in
     Array, with every one her Weapon in her Hand, upon my giving
     the Word to _handle their Fans_, each of them shakes her Fan
     at me with a Smile, then gives her Right-hand Woman a Tap
     upon the Shoulder, then presses her Lips with the Extremity
     of her Fan, then lets her Arms fall in an easy Motion, and
     stands in a Readiness to receive the next Word of Command.
     All this is done with a close Fan, and is generally learned
     in the first Week.

     The next Motion is that of _unfurling the Fan_, in which are
     comprehended several little Flirts and Vibrations, as also
     gradual and deliberate Openings, with many voluntary Fallings
     asunder in the Fan itself, that are seldom learned under a
     Month's Practice. This part of the _Exercise_ pleases the
     Spectators more than any other, as it discovers on a sudden
     an infinite Number of _Cupids,_ [Garlands,] Altars, Birds,
     Beasts, Rainbows, and the like agreeable Figures, that
     display themselves to View, whilst every one in the Regiment
     holds a Picture in her Hand.

     Upon my giving the Word to _discharge their Fans_, they give
     one general Crack that may be heard at a considerable
     distance when the Wind sits fair. This is one of the most
     difficult parts of the _Exercise_; but I have several ladies
     with me who at their first Entrance could not give a Pop loud
     enough to be heard at the further end of a Room, who can now
     _discharge a Fan_ in such a manner that it shall make a
     Report like a Pocket-Pistol. I have likewise taken care (in
     order to hinder young Women from letting off their Fans in
     wrong Places or unsuitable Occasions) to shew upon what
     Subject the Crack of a Fan may come in properly: I have
     likewise invented a Fan, with which a Girl of Sixteen, by the
     help of a little Wind which is inclosed about one of the
     largest Sticks, can make as loud a Crack as a Woman of Fifty
     with an ordinary Fan.

     When the Fans are thus _discharged_, the Word of Command in
     course is to _ground their Fans_. This teaches a Lady to quit
     her Fan gracefully, when she throws it aside in order to take
     up a Pack of Cards, adjust a Curl of Hair, replace a falling
     Pin, or apply her self to any other Matter of Importance.
     This Part of the _Exercise_, as it only consists in tossing a
     Fan with an Air upon a long Table (which stands by for that
     Purpose) may be learned in two Days Time as well as in a

     When my Female Regiment is thus disarmed, I generally let
     them walk about the Room for some Time; when on a sudden
     (like Ladies that look upon their Watches after a long Visit)
     they all of them hasten to their Arms, catch them up in a
     Hurry, and place themselves in their proper Stations upon my
     calling out _Recover your Fans_. This Part of the _Exercise_
     is not difficult, provided a Woman applies her Thoughts
     to it.

     The _Fluttering of the Fan_ is the last, and indeed the
     Masterpiece of the whole _Exercise_; but if a Lady does not
     mis-spend her Time, she may make herself Mistress of it in
     three Months. I generally lay aside the Dog-days and the hot
     Time of the Summer for the teaching this Part of the
     _Exercise_; for as soon as ever I pronounce _Flutter your
     Fans_, the Place is fill'd with so many Zephyrs and gentle
     Breezes as are very refreshing in that Season of the Year,
     tho' they might be dangerous to Ladies of a tender
     Constitution in any other.

     There is an infinite variety of Motions to be made use of in
     the _Flutter of a Fan_. There is an Angry Flutter, the modest
     Flutter, the timorous Flutter, the confused Flutter, the
     merry Flutter, and the amorous Flutter. Not to be tedious,
     there is scarce any Emotion in the Mind which does not
     produce a suitable Agitation in the Fan; insomuch, that if I
     only see the Fan of a disciplin'd Lady, I know very well
     whether she laughs, frowns, or blushes. I have seen a Fan so
     very Angry, that it would have been dangerous for the absent
     Lover who provoked it to have come within the Wind of it; and
     at other times so very languishing, that I have been glad
     for the Lady's sake the Lover was at a sufficient Distance
     from it. I need not add, that a Fan is either a Prude or
     Coquet according to the Nature of the Person who bears it. To
     conclude my Letter, I must acquaint you that I have from my
     own Observations compiled a little Treatise for the use of my
     Scholars, entitled _The Passions of the Fan;_ which I will
     communicate to you, if you think it may be of use to the
     Publick. I shall have a general Review on _Thursday_ next; to
     which you shall be very welcome if you will honour it with
     your Presence.

     _I am_, &c.

     _P.S._ I teach young Gentlemen the whole Art of Gallanting a

     _N.B._ I have several little plain Fans made for this Use, to
     avoid Expence.



          From the Spectator, No. 465

          The Spacious Firmament on high
              With all the blue Etherial Sky,
              And Spangled Heav'ns, a Shining Frame,
          Their great Original proclaim:
          Th' unwearied Sun, from Day to Day,
          Does his Creator's Pow'r display,
          And publishes to every Land
          The Work of an Almighty Hand.

          Soon as the Evening Shades prevail,
          The Moon takes up the wondrous Tale,
          And nightly to the list'ning Earth,
          Repeats the Story of her Birth:
          While all the Stars that round her burn,
          And all the Planets in their Turn,
          Confirm the Tidings as they rowl,
          And spread the Truth from Pole to Pole.

          What though, in solemn Silence, all
          Move round the dark terrestrial Ball?
          What tho' nor real Voice nor Sound
          Amid their radiant Orbs be found?
          In Reason's Ear they all rejoice,
          And titter forth a glorious Voice,
          For ever singing, as they shine,
          "The Hand that made us is Divine."


(Second Century A.D.)

According to his 'Varia Historia,' Aelianus Claudius was a native of
Praeneste and a citizen of Rome, at the time of the emperor Hadrian. He
taught Greek rhetoric at Rome, and hence was known as "the Sophist." He
spoke and wrote Greek with the fluency and ease of a native Athenian,
and gained thereby the epithet of "the honey-tongued". He lived to be
sixty years of age, and never married because he would not incur the
responsibility of children.

The 'Varia Historia' is the most noteworthy of his works. It is a
curious and interesting collection of short narratives, anecdotes, and
other historical, biographical, and antiquarian matter, selected from
the Greek authors whom he said he loved to study. And it is valuable
because it preserves scraps of works now lost. The extracts are either
in the words of the original, or give the compiler's version; for, as he
says, he liked to have his own way and to follow his own taste. They are
grouped without method; but in this very lack of order--which shows that
"browsing" instinct which Charles Lamb declared to be essential to a
right feeling for literature--the charm of the book lies. This habit of
straying, and his lack of style, prove Aelianus more of a vagabond in
the domain of letters than a rhetorician.

His other important book, 'De Animalium Natura' (On the Nature of
Animals), is a medley of his own observations, both in Italy and during
his travels as far as Egypt. For several hundred years it was a popular
and standard book on zoölogy; and even as late as the fourteenth
century, Manuel Philes, a Byzantine poet, founded upon it a poem on
animals. Like the 'Varia Historia', it is scrappy and gossiping. He
leaps from subject to subject: from elephants to dragons, from the liver
of mice to the uses of oxen. There was, however, method in this
disorder; for as he says, he sought thereby to give variety and hold his
reader's attention. The book is interesting, moreover, as giving us a
personal glimpse of the man and of his methods of work; for in a
concluding chapter he states the general principle on which he composed:
that he has spent great labor, thought, and care in writing it; that he
has preferred the pursuit of knowledge to the pursuit of wealth; that
for his part, he found more pleasure in observing the habits of the
lion, the panther, and the fox, in listening to the song of the
nightingale, and in studying the migrations of cranes, than in mere
heaping up of riches and finding himself numbered among the great; and
that throughout his work he has sought to adhere to the truth.

Aelianus was more of a moralizer than an artist in words; his style has
no distinctive literary qualities, and in both of his chief works is the
evident intention to set forth religious and moral principles. He wrote,
moreover, some treatises expressly on religious and philosophic
subjects, and some letters on husbandry.

The 'Varia Historia' has been twice translated into English: by Abraham
Fleming in 1576, and by Thomas Stanley, son of the poet and philosopher
Stanley, in 1665. Fleming was a poet and scholar of the English
Renaissance, who translated from the ancients, and made a digest of
Holinshed's 'Historie of England.' His version of Aelianus loses nothing
by its quaint wording, as will be seen from the subjoined stories. The
full title of the book is 'A Registre of Hystories containing martiall
Exploits of worthy Warriours, politique Practices and civil Magistrates,
wise Sentences of famous Philosophers, and other Matters manifolde and
memorable written in Greek by Aelianus Claudius and delivered in English
by Abraham Fleming' (1576).

[All the selections following are from 'A Registre of Hystories']


Hercules (as some say) assuaged the tediousness of his labors, which he
sustayned in open and common games, with playing. This Hercules, I say,
being an incomparable warriour, and the sonne of Jupiter and Latona,
made himselfe a playfellowe with boys. Euripides the poet introduceth,
and bringeth in, the selfe same god speaking in his owne person, and
saying, "I play because choyce and chaunge of labors is delectable and
sweete unto me," whiche wordes he uttered holdinge a boy by the hande.
Socrates also was espied of Alcibiades upon a time, playing with
Lamprocles, who was in manner but a childe. Agesilaus riding upon a
rude, or cock-horse as they terme it, played with his sonne beeing but a
boy: and when a certayn man passing by sawe him so doe and laughed there
withall, Agesilaus sayde thus, Now hold thy peace and say nothing; but
when thou art a father I doubt not thou wilt doe as fathers should doe
with their children. Architas Tarentinus being both in authoritie in
the commonwealth, that is to say a magestrat, and also a philosopher,
not of the obscurest sorte, but a precise lover of wisdom, at that time
he was a housband, a housekeeper, and maintained many servauntes, he was
greatly delighted with their younglinges, used to play oftentimes with
his servauntes' children, and was wonte, when he was at dinner and
supper, to rejoyce in the sight and presence of them: yet was Tarentinus
(as all men knowe) a man of famous memorie and noble name.


There was in Sicilia a certaine man indued with such sharpnesse,
quicknesse, and clearnesse of sight (if report may challenge credite)
that hee coulde see from Lilybaeus to Carthage with such perfection and
constancy that his eies coulde not be deceived: and that he tooke true
and just account of all ships and vessels which went under sayle from
Carthage, over-skipping not so much as one in the universall number.

Something straunge it is that is recorded of Argus, a man that had no
lesse than an hundred eyes, unto whose custody Juno committed Io, the
daughter of Inachus, being transformed into a young heifer: while Argus
(his luck being such) was slaine sleeping, but the Goddess Juno so
provided that all his eyes (whatsoever became of his carkasse) should be
placed on the pecock's taile; wherupon (sithence it came to passe) the
pecock is called Avis Junonia, or Lady Juno Birde. This historic is
notable, but yet the former (in mine opinion) is more memorable.


A certain young man of Lacedaemonia having bought a plot of land for a
small and easy price (and, as they say, dogge cheape) was arrested to
appear before the magistrates, and after the trial of his matter he was
charged with a penalty. The reason why hee was judged worthy this
punishment was because he being but a young man gaped so gredely after
gain and yawned after filthy covetousness. For yt was a most commendable
thing among the Lacedaemonians not only to fighte against the enemie in
battell manfully; but also to wrestle and struggle with covetousness
(that misschievous monster) valliauntly.


Gorgias Leontinus looking towardes the end of his life and beeing wasted
with the weaknes and wearysomenesse of drooping olde age, falling into
sharp and sore sicknesse upon a time slumbered and slept upon his soft
pillowe a little season. Unto whose chamber a familiar freend of his
resorting to visit him in his sicknes demaunded how he felt himself
affected in body. To whom Gorgias Leontinus made this pithy and
plausible answeer, "Now Sleep beginneth to deliver me up into the
jurisdiction of his brother-germane, Death."


The ende of Calanus deserveth no lesse commendation than it procureth
admiration; it is no less praiseworthy than it was worthy wonder. The
manner, therefore, was thus. The within-named Calanus, being a sophister
of India, when he had taken his long leave and last farewell of
Alexander, King of Macedonia, and of his life in lyke manner, being
willing, desirous, and earnest to set himselfe at lybertie from the
cloggs, chaines, barres, boults, and fetters of the prison of the body,
pyled up a bonnefire in the suburbs of Babylon of dry woodde and chosen
sticks provided of purpose to give a sweete savour and an odoriferous
smell in burning. The kindes of woodde which hee used to serve his turne
in this case were these: Cedre, Rosemary, Cipres, Mirtle, and Laurell.
These things duely ordered, he buckled himselfe to his accustomed
exercise, namely, running and leaping into the middest of the wodstack
he stoode bolte upright, having about his head a garlande made of the
greene leaves of reedes, the sunne shining full in his face, as he
stoode in the pile of stycks, whose glorious majesty, glittering with
bright beams of amiable beuty, he adored and worshipped. Furthermore he
gave a token and signe to the Macedonians to kindle the fire, which,
when they had done accordingly, hee beeing compassed round about with
flickering flames, stoode stoutly and valiauntly in one and the selfe
same place, and dyd not shrincke one foote, until hee gave up the ghost,
whereat Alexander unvailyng, as at a rare strange sight and worldes
wonder, saide (as the voice goes) these words:--"Calanus hath subdued,
overcome, and vanquished stronger enemies than I. For Alexander made
warre against Porus, Taxiles, and Darius. But Calanus did denounce and
did battell to labor and fought fearcely and manfully with death."


Timothy, the son of Conon, captain of the Athenians, leaving his
sumptuous fare and royall banqueting, beeing desired and intertained of
Plato to a feast philosophicall, seasoned with contentation and musick,
at his returning home from that supper of Plato, he said unto his
familiar freends:--"They whiche suppe with Plato, this night, are not
sick or out of temper the next day following;" and presently upon the
enunciation of that speech, Timothy took occasion to finde fault with
great dinners, suppers, feasts, and banquets, furnished with excessive
fare, immoderate consuming of meats, delicates, dainties, toothsome
junkets, and such like, which abridge the next dayes joy, gladnes,
delight, mirth, and pleasantnes. Yea, that sentence is consonant and
agreeable to the former, and importeth the same sense notwithstanding in
words it hath a little difference. That the within named Timothy meeting
the next day after with Plato said to him:--"You philosophers, freend
Plato, sup better the day following than the night present."


The Lacedaemonians were of this judgment, that measureable spending of
time was greatly to be esteemed, and therefore did they conforme and
apply themselves to any kinde of laboure moste earnestly and painfully,
not withdrawing their hands from works of much bodyly mooving, not
permitting any particular person, beeing a citizen, to spend the time in
idlenes, to waste it in unthrifty gaming, to consume it in trifling, in
vain toyes and lewd loytering, all whiche are at variance and enmity
with vertue. Of this latter among many testimonyes, take this for one.

When it was reported to the magistrates of the Lacedaemonians called
Ephori, in manner of complaint, that the inhabitants of Deceleia used
afternoone walkings, they sent unto them messengers with their
commandmente, saying:--"Go not up and doune like loyterers, nor walke
not abrode at your pleasure, pampering the wantonnes of your natures
rather than accustoming yourself to exercises of activity. For it
becometh the Lacedaemonians to regarde their health and to maintaine
their safety not with walking to and fro, but with bodily labours."


Socrates, seeing Alcibiades puft up with pryde and broyling in ambitious
behavioure (because possessor of such great wealth and lorde of so large
lands) brought him to a place where a table did hang containing a
discription of the worlde universall. Then did Socrates will Alcibiades
to seeke out the situation of Athens, which when he found Socrates
proceeded further and willed him to point out that plot of ground where
his lands and lordships lay. Alcibiades, having sought a long time and
yet never the nearer, sayde to Socrates that his livings were not set
forth in that table, nor any discription of his possession therein made
evident. When Socrates, rebuked with this secret quip: "And art thou so
arrogant (sayeth he) and so hautie in heart for that which is no parcell
of the world?"


Prodigall lavishing of substance, unthrifty and wastifull spending,
voluptuousness of life and palpable sensuality brought Pericles,
Callias, the sonne of Hipponicus, and Nicias not only to necessitie, but
to povertie and beggerie. Who, after their money waxed scant, and turned
to a very lowe ebbe, they three drinking a poysoned potion one to
another (which was the last cuppe that they kissed with their lippes)
passed out of this life (as it were from a banquet) to the powers


(389-314 B.C.)

The life and oratory of Aeschines fall fittingly into that period of
Greek history when the free spirit of the people which had created the
arts of Pindar and Sophocles, Pericles, Phidias, and Plato, was becoming
the spirit of slaves and of savants, who sought to forget the freedom of
their fathers in learning, luxury, and the formalism of deducers of
rules. To this slavery Aeschines himself contributed, both in action
with Philip of Macedon and in speech. Philip had entered upon a career
of conquest; a policy legitimate in itself and beneficial as judged by
its larger fruits, but ruinous to the advanced civilization existing in
the Greek City-States below, whose high culture was practically
confiscated to spread out over a waste of semi-barbarism and mix with
alien cultures. Among his Greek sympathizers, Aeschines was perhaps his
chief support in the conquest of the Greek world that lay to the south
within his reach.

[Illustration: AESCHINES]

Aeschines was born in 389 B.C., six years before his lifelong rival
Demosthenes. If we may trust that rival's elaborate details of his early
life, his father taught a primary school and his mother was overseer of
certain initiatory rites, to both of which occupations Aeschines gave
his youthful hand and assistance. He became in time a third-rate actor,
and the duties of clerk or scribe presently made him familiar with the
executive and legislative affairs of Athens. Both vocations served as an
apprenticeship to the public speaking toward which his ambition was
turning. We hear of his serving as a heavy-armed soldier in various
Athenian expeditions, and of his being privileged to carry to Athens, in
349 B.C., the first news of the victory of Tamynae, in Euboea, in reward
for the bravery he had shown in the battle.

Two years afterward he was sent as an envoy into the Peloponnesus, with
the object of forming a union of the Greeks against Philip for the
defense of their liberties. But his mission was unsuccessful. Toward the
end of the same year he served as one of the ten ambassadors sent to
Philip to discuss terms of peace. The harangues of the Athenians at this
meeting were followed in turn by a speech of Philip, whose openness of
manner, pertinent arguments, and pretended desire for a settlement led
to a second embassy, empowered to receive from him the oath of
allegiance and peace. It was during this second embassy that Demothenes
says he discovered the philippizing spirit and foul play of Aeschines.
Upon their return to Athens, Aeschines rose before the assembly to
assure the people that Philip had come to Thermopylae as the friend and
ally of Athens. "We, your envoys, have satisfied him," said Aeschines.
"You will hear of benefits still more direct which we have determined
Philip to confer upon you, but which it would not be prudent as yet
to specify."

But the alarm of the Athenians at the presence of Philip within the
gates was not allayed. The king, however, anxious to temporize with them
until he could receive his army supplies by sea, suborned Aeschines, who
assured his countrymen of Philip's peaceful intentions. On another
occasion, by an inflammatory speech at Delphi, he so played upon the
susceptibilities of the rude Amphictyones that they rushed forth,
uprooted their neighbors' harvest fields, and began a devastating war of
Greek against Greek. Internal dissensions promised the shrewd Macedonian
the conquest he sought. At length, in August, 338, came Philip's victory
at Chaeronea, and the complete prostration of Greek power. Aeschines,
who had hitherto disclaimed all connection with Philip, now boasted of
his intimacy with the king. As Philip's friend, while yet an Athenian,
he offered himself as ambassador to entreat leniency from the victor
toward the unhappy citizens.

The memorable defense of Demosthenes against the attack of Aeschines was
delivered in 330 B.C. Seven years before this, Ctesiphon had proposed to
the Senate that the patriotic devotion and labors of Demosthenes should
be acknowledged by the gift of a golden crown--a recognition willingly
accorded. But as this decision, to be legal, must be confirmed by the
Assembly, Aeschines gave notice that he would proceed against Ctesiphon
for proposing an unconstitutional measure. He managed to postpone action
on the notice for six years. At last he seized a moment when the
victories of Philip's son and successor, Alexander, were swaying popular
feeling, to deliver a bitter harangue against the whole life and policy
of his political opponent. Demosthenes answered in that magnificent
oration called by the Latin writers 'De Corona' Aeschines was not upheld
by the people's vote. He retired to Asia, and, it is said, opened a
school of rhetoric at Rhodes. There is a legend that after he had one
day delivered in his school the masterpiece of his enemy, his students
broke into applause: "What," he exclaimed, "if you had heard the wild
beast thunder it out himself!"

Aeschines was what we call nowadays a self-made man. The great faults of
his life, his philippizing policy and his confessed corruption, arose,
doubtless, from the results of youthful poverty: a covetousness growing
out of want, and a lack of principles of conduct which a broader
education would have instilled. As an orator he was second only to
Demosthenes; and while he may at times be compared to his rival in
intellectual force and persuasiveness, his moral defects--which it must
be remembered that he himself acknowledged--make a comparison of
character impossible.

His chief works remaining to us are the speeches 'Against Timarchus,'
'On the Embassy,' 'Against Ctesiphon,' and letters, which are included
in the edition of G.E. Benseler (1855-60). In his 'History of Greece,'
Grote discusses at length--of course adversely--the influence of
Aeschines; especially controverting Mitford's favorable view and his
denunciation of Demosthenes and the patriotic party. The trend of recent
writing is toward Mitford's estimate of Philip's policy, and therefore
less blame for the Greek statesmen who supported it, though without
Mitford's virulence toward its opponents. Mahaffy ('Greek Life and
Thought') holds the whole contest over the crown to be mere academic
threshing of old straw, the fundamental issues being obsolete by the
rise of a new world under Alexander.


From the 'Oration against Ctesiphon'

In regard to the calumnies with which I am attacked, I wish to say a
word or two before Demosthenes speaks. He will allege, I am told, that
the State has received distinguished services from him, while from me it
has suffered injury on many occasions; and that the deeds of Philip and
Alexander, and the crimes to which they gave rise, are to be imputed to
me. Demosthenes is so clever in the art of speaking that he does not
bring accusation against me, against any point in my conduct of affairs
or any counsels I may have brought to our public meetings; but he rather
casts reflections upon my private life, and charges me with a
criminal silence.

Moreover, in order that no circumstance may escape his calumny, he
attacks my habits of life when I was in school with my young companions;
and even in the introduction of his speech he will say that I have begun
this prosecution, not for the benefit of the State, but because I want
to make a show of myself to Alexander and gratify Alexander's resentment
against him. He purposes, as I learn, to ask why I blame his
administration as a whole, and yet never hindered or indicted any one
separate act; why, after a considerable interval of attention to public
affairs, I now return to prosecute this action....

But what I am now about to notice--a matter which I hear Demosthenes
will speak of--about this, by the Olympian deities, I cannot but feel a
righteous indignation. He will liken my speech to the Sirens', it seems,
and the legend anent their art is that those who listen to them are not
charmed, but destroyed; wherefore the music of the Sirens is not in good
repute. Even so he will aver that knowledge of my words and myself is a
source of injury to those who listen to me. I, for my part, think it
becomes no one to urge such allegations against me; for it is a shame if
one who makes charges cannot point to facts as full evidence. And if
such charges must be made, the making surely does not become
Demosthenes, but rather some military man--some man of action--who has
done good work for the State, and who, in his untried speech, vies with
the skill of antagonists because he is conscious that he can tell no one
of his deeds, and because he sees his accusers able to show his audience
that he had done what in fact he never had done. But when a man made up
entirely of words,--of sharp words and overwrought sentences,--when he
takes refuge in simplicity and plain facts, who then can endure
it?--whose tongue is like a flute, inasmuch as if you take it away the
rest is nothing....

This man thinks himself worthy of a crown--that his honor should be
proclaimed. But should you not rather send into exile this common pest
of the Greeks? Or will you not seize upon him as a thief, and avenge
yourself upon him whose mouthings have enabled him to bear full sail
through our commonwealth? Remember the season in which you cast your
vote. In a few days the Pythian Games will come round, and the
convention of the Hellenic States will hold its sessions. Our State has
been concerned on account of the measures of Demosthenes regarding
present crises. You will appear, if you crown him, accessory to those
who broke the general peace. But if, on the other hand, you refuse the
crown, you will free the State from blame. Do not take counsel as if it
were for an alien, but as if it concerned, as it does, the private
interest of your city; and do not dispense your honors carelessly, but
with judgment; and let your public gifts be the distinctive possession
of men most worthy. Not only hear, but also look around you and consider
who are the men who support Demosthenes. Are they his fellow-hunters, or
his associates in old athletic sports? No, by Olympian Zeus, he was
never engaged in hunting the wild boar, nor in care for the well-being
of his body; but he was toiling at the art of those who keep up

Take into consideration also his art of juggling, when he says that by
his embassy he wrested Byzantium from the hands of Philip, and that his
eloquence led the Acarnanians to revolt, and struck dumb the Thebans. He
thinks, forsooth, that you have fallen to such a degree of weakness that
he can persuade you that you have been entertaining Persuasion herself
in your city, and not a vile slanderer. And when at the conclusion of
his argument he calls upon his partners in bribe-taking, then fancy that
you see upon these steps, from which I now address you, the benefactors
of your State arrayed against the insolence of those men. Solon, who
adorned our commonwealth with most noble laws, a man who loved wisdom, a
worthy legislator, asking you in dignified and sober manner, as became
his character, not to follow the pleading of Demosthenes rather than
your oaths and laws. Aristides, who assigned to the Greeks their
tributes, to whose daughters after he had died the people gave
portions--imagine Aristides complaining bitterly at the insult to public
justice, and asking if you are not ashamed that when your fathers
banished Arthurias the Zelian, who brought gold from the Medes (although
while he was sojourning in the city and a guest of the people of Athens
they were scarce restrained from killing him, and by proclamation
forbade him the city and any dominion the Athenians had power over),
nevertheless that you are going to crown Demosthenes, who did not indeed
bring gold from the Medes, but who received bribes and has them still in
his possession. And Themistocles and those who died at Marathon and at
Plataea, and the very graves of your ancestors--will they not cry out if
you venture to grant a crown to one who confesses that he united with
the barbarians against the Greeks?

And now, O earth and sun! virtue and intelligence! and thou, O genius of
the humanities, who teachest us to judge between the noble and the
ignoble, I have come to your succor and I have done. If I have made my
pleading with dignity and worthily, as I looked to the flagrant wrong
which called it forth, I have spoken as I wished. If I have done ill, it
was as I was able. Do you weigh well my words and all that is left
unsaid, and vote in accordance with justice and the interests of
the city!


(B.C. 525-456)


The mightiest of Greek tragic poets was the son of Euphorion, an
Athenian noble, and was born B.C. 525. When he was a lad of eleven, the
tyrant Hipparchus fell in a public street of Athens under the daggers of
Harmodius and Aristogeiton. Later, Aeschylus saw the family of tyrants,
which for fifty years had ruled Attica with varying fortunes, banished
from the land. With a boy's eager interest he followed the establishment
of the Athenian democracy by Cleisthenes. He grew to manhood in stirring
times. The new State was engaged in war with the powerful neighboring
island of Aegina; on the eastern horizon was gathering the cloud that
was to burst in storm at Marathon, Aeschylus was trained in that early
school of Athenian greatness whose masters were Miltiades, Aristides,
and Themistocles.

[Illustration: AESCHYLUS]

During the struggle with Persia, fought out on Greek soil, the poet was
at the height of his physical powers, and we may feel confidence in the
tradition that he fought not only at Marathon, but also at Salamis. Two
of his extant tragedies breathe the very spirit of war, and show a
soldier's experience; and the epitaph upon his tomb, which was said to
have been written by himself, recorded how he had been one of those who
met the barbarians in the first shock of the great struggle and had
helped to save his country.

       "How brave in battle was Euphorion's son,
     The long-haired Mede can tell who fell at Marathon."

Before Aeschylus, Attic tragedy had been essentially lyrical. It arose
from the dithyrambic chorus that was sung at the festivals of Dionysus.
Thespis had introduced the first actor, who, in the pauses of the choral
song, related in monologue the adventures of the god or engaged in
dialogue with the leader of the chorus. To Aeschylus is due the
invention of the second actor. This essentially changed the character of
the performance. The dialogue could now be carried on by the two actors,
who were thus able to enact a complete story. The functions of the
chorus became less important, and the lyrical element was subordinated
to the action. (The word "drama" signifies action.) The number of actors
was subsequently increased to three, and Aeschylus in his later plays
used this number. This restriction imposed upon the Greek playwright
does not mean that he was limited to two or three characters in his
play, but that only two, or at the most three, of these might take part
in the action at once. The same actor might assume different parts. The
introduction of the second actor was so capital an innovation that it
rightly entitles Aeschylus to be regarded as the creator of the drama,
for in his hands tragedy first became essentially dramatic. This is his
great distinction, but his powerful genius wrought other changes. He
perfected, if he did not discover, the practice of introducing three
plays upon a connected theme (technically named a _trilogy_), with an
after-piece of lighter character. He invented the tragic dress and
buskin, and perfected the tragic mask. He improved the tragic dance, and
by his use of scenic decoration and stage machinery, secured effects
that were unknown before him. His chief claim to superior excellence,
however, lies after all in his poetry. Splendid in diction, vivid in the
portraiture of character, and powerful in the expression of passion, he
is regarded by many competent critics as the greatest tragic poet of
all time.

The Greek lexicographer, Suidas, reports that Aeschylus wrote ninety
plays. The titles of seventy-two of these have been handed down in an
ancient register. He brought out the first of these at the age of
twenty-five, and as he died at the age of sixty-nine, he wrote on an
average two plays each year throughout his lifetime. Such fertility
would be incredible, were not similar facts authentically recorded of
the older tragic poets of Greece. The Greek drama, moreover, made
unusual demands on the creative powers of the poet. It was lyrical, and
the lyrics were accompanied by the dance. All these elements--poetry,
song, and dance--the poet contributed; and we gain a new sense of the
force of the word "poet" (it means "creator"), when we contemplate his
triple function. Moreover, he often "staged" the play himself, and
sometimes he acted in it. Aeschylus was singularly successful in an age
that produced many great poets. He took the first prize at least
thirteen times; and as he brought out four plays at each contest, more
than half his plays were adjudged by his contemporaries to be of the
highest quality. After the poet's death, plays which he had written, but
which had not been acted in his lifetime, were brought out by his sons
and a nephew. It is on record that his son Euphorion took the first
prize four times with plays of his father; so the poet's art lived after
him and suffered no eclipse.

Only seven complete plays of Aeschylus are still extant. The best
present source of the text of these is a manuscript preserved in the
Laurentian Library, at Florence in Italy, which was written in the tenth
or eleventh century after Christ. The number of plays still extant is
small, but fortunately, among them is the only complete Greek trilogy
that we possess, and luckily also the other four serve to mark
successive stages in the poet's artistic development. The trilogy of the
'Oresteia' is certainly his masterpiece; in some of the other plays he
is clearly seen to be still bound by the limitations which hampered the
earlier writers of Greek tragedy. In the following analysis the seven
plays will be presented in their probable chronological order.

The Greeks signally defeated Xerxes in the great sea fight in the bay of
Salamis, B.C. 480. The poet made this victory the theme of his
'Persians.' This is the only historical Greek tragedy which we now
possess: the subjects of all the rest are drawn from mythology. But
Aeschylus had a model for his historical play in the 'Phoenician Women'
of his predecessor Phrynichus, which dealt with the same theme.
Aeschylus, indeed, is said to have imitated it closely in the
'Persians.' Plagiarism was thought to be a venial fault by the ancients,
just as in the Homeric times piracy was not considered a disgrace. The
scene of the play is not Athens, as one might expect, but Susa. It opens
without set prologue. The Chorus consists of Persian elders, to whom the
government of the country has been committed in the absence of the King.
These venerable men gather in front of the royal palace, and their
leader opens the play with expressions of apprehension: no news has come
from the host absent in Greece. The Chorus at first express full
confidence in the resistless might of the great army; but remembering
that the gods are jealous of vast power and success in men, yield to
gloomy forebodings. These grow stronger when Atossa, the aged mother of
Xerxes, appears from the palace and relates the evil dreams which she
has had on the previous night, and the omen that followed. The Chorus
beseech her to make prayer to the gods, to offer libations to the dead,
and especially to invoke the spirit of Darius to avert the evil which
threatens his ancient kingdom. Too late! A messenger arrives and
announces that all is lost. By one fell stroke the might of Persia has
been laid low at Salamis. At Atossa's request, the messenger,
interrupted at first by the lamentations of the Chorus, recounts what
has befallen. His description of the battle in the straits is a passage
of signal power, and is justly celebrated. The Queen retires, and the
Chorus sing a song full of gloomy reflections. The Queen reappears, and
the ghost of Darius is invoked from the lower world. He hears from
Atossa what has happened, sees in this the fulfillment of certain
ancient prophecies, foretells disaster still to come, and warns the
Chorus against further attempts upon Greece. As he departs to the
underworld, the Chorus sing in praise of the wisdom of his reign. Atossa
has withdrawn. Xerxes now appears with attendants, laments with the
Chorus the disaster that has overtaken him, and finally enters
the palace.

The economy of the play is simple: only two actors are required. The
first played the parts of Atossa and Xerxes, the second that of the
messenger and the ghost of Darius. The play well illustrates the
conditions under which Aeschylus at this period wrote. The Chorus was
still of first importance; the ratio of the choral parts in the play to
the dialogue is about one to two.

The exact date of the 'Suppliants' cannot be determined; but the
simplicity of its plot, the lack of a prologue, the paucity of its
characters, and the prominence of the Chorus, show that it is an early
play. The scene is Argos. The Chorus consists of the daughters of
Danaüs, and there are only three characters,--Danaüs, a Herald, and
Pelasgus King of Argos.

Danaüs and Aegyptus, brothers, and descendants of Io and Epaphus, had
settled near Canopus at the mouth of the Nile. Aegyptus sought to unite
his fifty sons in marriage with the fifty daughters of the brother. The
daughters fled with their father to Argos. Here his play opens. The
Chorus appeal for protection to the country, once the home of Io, and to
its gods and heroes. Pelasgus, with the consent of the Argive people,
grants them refuge, and at the end of the play repels the attempt to
seize them made by the Herald of the sons of Aegyptus.

A part of one of the choruses is of singular beauty, and it is doubtless
to them that the preservation of the play is due. The play hardly seems
to be a tragedy, for it ends without bloodshed. Further, it lacks
dramatic interest, for the action almost stands still. It is a cantata
rather than a tragedy. Both considerations, however, are sufficiently
explained by the fact that this was the first play of a trilogy. The
remaining plays must have furnished, in the death of forty-nine of the
sons of Aegyptus, both action and tragedy in sufficient measure to
satisfy the most exacting demands.

The 'Seven Against Thebes' deals with the gloomy myth of the house of
Laïus. The tetralogy to which it belonged consisted of the 'Laïus,'
'Oedipus,' 'Seven Against Thebes,' and 'Sphinx.' The themes of Greek
tragedy were drawn from the national mythology, but the myths were
treated with a free hand. In his portrayal of the fortunes of this
doomed race, Aeschylus departed in important particulars, with gain in
dramatic effect, from the story as it is read in Homer.

Oedipus had pronounced an awful curse upon his sons, Eteocles and
Polynices, for their unfilial neglect,--"they should one day divide
their land by steel." They thereupon agreed to reign in turn, each for a
year; but Eteocles, the elder, refused at the end of the first year to
give up the throne. Polynices appealed to Adrastus King of Argos for
help, and seven chiefs appeared before the walls of Thebes to enforce
his claim, and beleaguered the town. Here the play opens, with an appeal
addressed by Eteocles to the citizens of Thebes to prove themselves
stout defenders of their State in its hour of peril. A messenger enters,
and describes the sacrifice and oath of the seven chiefs. The Chorus of
Theban maidens enter in confusion and sing the first ode. The hostile
army is hurrying from its camp against the town; the Chorus hear their
shouts and the rattling din of their arms, and are overcome by terror.
Eteocles reproves them for their fears, and bids them sing a paean that
shall hearten the people. The messenger, in a noteworthy scene,
describes the appearance of each hostile chief. The seventh and last is
Polynices. Eteocles, although conscious of his father's curse,
nevertheless declares with gloomy resoluteness that he will meet his
brother in single combat, and, resisting the entreaties of the Chorus,
goes forth to his doom. The attack on the town is repelled, but the
brothers fall, each by the other's hand. Thus is the curse fulfilled.
Presently their bodies are wheeled in. Their sisters, Antigone and
Ismene, follow and sing a lament over the dead. A herald announces that
the Theban Senate forbid the burial of Polynices; his body shall be cast
forth as prey of dogs. Antigone declares her resolution to brave their
mandate, and perform the last sad rites for her brother.

     "Dread tie, the common womb from which we sprang,--
     Of wretched mother born and hapless sire."

The Chorus divides. The first semi-chorus sides with Antigone; the
second declares its resolution to follow to its last resting-place the
body of Eteocles. And thus the play ends. The theme is here sketched,
just at the close of the play, in outline, that Sophocles has developed
with such pathetic effect in his 'Antigone.'

The 'Prometheus' transports the reader to another world. The characters
are gods, the time is the remote past, the place a desolate waste in
Scythia, on the confines of the Northern Ocean. Prometheus had sinned
against the authority of Zeus. Zeus wished to destroy the old race of
mankind; but Prometheus gave them fire, taught them arts and
handicrafts, developed in them thought and consciousness, and so assured
both their existence and their happiness. The play deals with his
punishment. Prometheus is borne upon the scene by Force and Strength,
and is nailed to a lofty cliff by Hephaestus. His appeal to Nature, when
his tormentors depart and he is left alone, is peculiarly pathetic. The
daughters of Oceanus, constituting the Chorus, who have heard the sound
of the hammer in their ocean cave, are now borne in aloft on a winged
car, and bewail the fate of the outraged god. Oceanus appears upon a
winged steed, and offers his mediation; but this is scornfully rejected.
The resolution of Prometheus to resist Zeus to the last is strengthened
by the coming of Io. She too, as it seems, is a victim of the Ruler of
the Universe; driven by the jealous wrath of Hera, she roams from land
to land. She tells the tale of her sad wandering, and finally rushes
from the scene in frenzy, crazed by the sting of the gadfly that Hera
has sent to torment her. Prometheus knows a secret full of menace to
Zeus. Relying on this, he prophesies his overthrow, and defies him to do
his worst. Hermes is sent to demand with threats its revelation, but
fails to accomplish his purpose. Prometheus insults and taunts him.
Hermes warns the Chorus to leave, for Zeus is about to display his
wrath. At first they refuse, but then fly affrighted: the cliff is
rending and sinking, the elements are in wild tumult. As he sinks, about
to be engulfed in the bowels of the earth, Prometheus cries:--

                        "Earth is rocking in space!
     And the thunders crash up with a roar upon roar,
       And the eddying lightnings flash fire in my face,
     And the whirlwinds are whirling the dust round and round,
       And the blasts of the winds universal leap free
     And blow each upon each with a passion of sound,
       And aether goes mingling in storm with the sea."

The play is Titanic. Its huge shapes, its weird effects, its mighty
passions, its wild display of the forces of earth and air,--these
impress us chiefly at first; but its ethical interest is far greater.
Zeus is apparently represented in it as relentless, cruel, and
unjust,--a lawless ruler, who knows only his own will,--whereas in all
the other plays of Aeschylus he is just and righteous, although
sometimes severe. Aeschylus, we know, was a religious man. It seems
incredible that he should have had two contradictory conceptions of the
character of Zeus. The solution of this problem is to be found in the
fact that this 'Prometheus' was the first play of the trilogy. In the
second play, the 'Prometheus Unbound,' of which we have only fragments,
these apparent contradictions must have been reconciled. Long ages are
supposed to elapse between the plays. Prometheus yields. He reveals the
secret and is freed from his bonds. What before seemed to be relentless
wanton cruelty is now seen to have been only the harsh but necessary
severity of a ruler newly established on his throne. By the
reconciliation of this stern ruler with the wise Titan, the giver of
good gifts to men, order is restored to the universe. Prometheus
acknowledges his guilt, and the course of Zeus is vindicated; but the
loss of the second play of the trilogy leaves much in doubt, and an
extraordinary number of solutions of the problem has been proposed. The
reader must not look for one of these, however, in the 'Prometheus
Unbound' of Shelley, who deliberately rejected the supposition of a

The three remaining plays are founded on the woful myth of the house of
Atreus, son of Pelops, a theme much treated by the Greek tragic poets.
They constitute the only existing Greek trilogy, and are the last and
greatest work of the poet. They were brought out at Athens, B.C. 458,
two years after the author's death. The 'Agamemnon' sets forth the
crime,--the murder, by his wife, of the great King, on his return home
from Troy; the 'Choëphori,' the vengeance taken on the guilty wife by
her own son; the 'Eumenides,' the atonement made by that son in
expiation of his mother's murder.

Agamemnon on departing for Troy left behind him in his palace a son and
a daughter, Orestes and Electra. Orestes was exiled from home by his
mother Clytemnestra, who in Agamemnon's absence lived in guilty union
with Aegisthus, own cousin of the King, and who could no longer endure
to look upon the face of her son.

The scene of the 'Agamemnon' is the royal palace in Argos. The time is
night. A watchman is discovered on the flat roof of the palace. For a
year he has kept weary vigil there, waiting for the beacon-fire that,
sped from mountain-top to mountain-top, shall announce the fall of Troy.
The signal comes at last, and joyously he proclaims the welcome news.
The sacrificial fires which have been made ready in anticipation of the
event are set alight throughout the city. The play naturally falls into
three divisions. The first introduces the Chorus of Argive elders,
Clytemnestra, and a Herald who tells of the hardships of the siege and
of the calamitous return, and ends with the triumphal entrance of
Agamemnon with Cassandra, and his welcome by the Queen; the second
comprehends the prophecy of the frenzied Cassandra of the doom about to
fall upon the house and the murder of the King; the third the conflict
between the Chorus, still faithful to the murdered King, and
Clytemnestra, beside whom stands her paramour Aegisthus.

Interest centres in Clytemnestra. Crafty, unscrupulous, resolute,
remorseless, she veils her deadly hatred for her lord, and welcomes him
home in tender speech:--

     "So now, dear lord, I bid thee welcome home--
     True as the faithful watchdog of the fold,
     Strong as the mainstay of the laboring bark,
     Stately as column, fond as only child,
     Dear as the land to shipwrecked mariner,
     Bright as fair sunshine after winter's storms,
     Sweet as fresh fount to thirsty wanderer--
     All this, and more, thou art, dear love, to me."

Agamemnon passes within the palace; she slays him in his bath, enmeshed
in a net, and then, reappearing, vaunts her bloody deed:

     "I smote him, and he bellowed; and again
     I smote, and with a groan his knees gave way;
     And as he fell before me, with a third
     And last libation from the deadly mace,
     I pledged the crowning draught to Hades due,
     That subterranean Saviour--of the dead!
     At which he spouted up the Ghost in such
     A flood of purple as, bespattered with,
     No less did I rejoice than the green ear
     Rejoices in the largesse of the skies
     That fleeting Iris follows as it flies."

Aeschylus departs from the Homeric account, which was followed by other
poets, in making the action of the next play, the 'Choëphori,' follow
closer upon that of the 'Agamemnon.' Orestes has heard in Phocis of his
father's murder, and returns in secret, with his friend Pylades, to
exact vengeance. The scene is still Argos, but Agamemnon's tomb is now
seen in front of the palace. The Chorus consists of captive women, who
aid and abet the attempt. The play sets forth the recognition of Orestes
by Electra; the plot by which Orestes gains admission to the palace; the
deceit of the old Nurse, a homely but capital character, by whom
Aegisthus is induced to come to the palace without armed attendants; the
death of Aegisthus and Clytemnestra; the appearance of the avenging
Furies; and the flight of Orestes.

The last play of the trilogy, the 'Eumenides,' has many singular
features. The Chorus of Furies seemed even to the ancients to be a weird
and terrible invention; the scene of the play shifts from Delphi to
Athens; the poet introduces into the play a trial scene; and he had in
it a distinct political purpose, whose development occupies one-half of
the drama.

Orestes, pursued by the avenging Furies, "Gorgon-like, vested in sable
stoles, their locks entwined with clustering snakes," has fled to Delphi
to invoke the aid of Apollo. He clasps the navel-stone and in his
exhaustion falls asleep. Around him sleep the Furies. The play opens
with a prayer made by the Pythian priestess at an altar in front of the
temple. The interior of the sanctuary is then laid bare. Orestes is
awake, but the Furies sleep on. Apollo, standing beside Orestes,
promises to protect him, but bids him make all haste to Athens, and
there clasp, as a suppliant, the image of Athena. Orestes flies. The
ghost of Clytemnestra rises from the underworld, and calls upon the
Chorus to pursue. Overcome by their toil, they moan in their sleep, but
finally start to their feet. Apollo bids them quit the temple.

The scene changes to the ancient temple of Athena on the Acropolis at
Athens, where Orestes is seen clasping the image of the goddess. The
Chorus enter in pursuit of their victim, and sing an ode descriptive of
their powers.

Athena appears, and learns from the Chorus and from Orestes the reasons
for their presence. She declares the issue to be too grave even for her
to decide, and determines to choose judges of the murder, who shall
become a solemn tribunal for all future time. These are to be the best
of the citizens of Athens. After an ode by the Chorus, she returns, the
court is established, and the trial proceeds in due form. Apollo appears
for the defense of Orestes. When the arguments have been presented,
Athena proclaims, before the vote has been taken, the establishment of
the court as a permanent tribunal for the trial of cases of bloodshed.
Its seat shall be the Areopagus. The votes are cast and Orestes is
acquitted. He departs for Argos. The Furies break forth in anger and
threaten woes to the land, but are appeased by Athena, who establishes
their worship forever in Attica. Heretofore they have been the Erinnyes,
or Furies; henceforth they shall be the Eumenides, or Gracious
Goddesses. The Eumenides are escorted from the scene in solemn

Any analysis of the plays so brief as the preceding is necessarily
inadequate. The English reader is referred to the histories of Greek
Literature by K.O. Müller and by J.P. Mahaffy, to the striking chapter
on Aeschylus in J.A. Symonds's 'Greek Poets,' and, for the trilogy, to
Moulton's 'Ancient Classical Drama.' If he knows French, he should add
Croiset's 'Histoire de la Littérature Grecque,' and should by all means
read M. Patin's volume on Aeschylus in his 'Études sur les Tragique
Grècs.' There are translations in English of the poet's complete works
by Potter, by Plumptre, by Blackie, and by Miss Swanwick. Flaxman
illustrated the plays. Ancient illustrations are easily accessible in
Baumeister's 'Denkmäler,' under the names of the different characters in
the plays. There is a translation of the 'Prometheus' by Mrs. Browning,
and of the 'Suppliants' by Morshead, who has also translated the
Atridean trilogy under the title of 'The House of Atreus.' Goldwin Smith
has translated portions of six of the plays in his 'Specimens of Greek
Tragedy.' Many translations of the 'Agamemnon' have been made, among
others by Milman, by Symmons, by Lord Carnarvon, and by Fitzgerald.
Robert Browning also translated the play, with appalling literalness.


     PROMETHEUS (alone)

       O holy Aether, and swift-winged Winds,
         And River-wells, and laughter innumerous
         Of yon Sea-waves! Earth, mother of us all,
       And all-viewing cyclic Sun, I cry on you,--
       Behold me a god, what I endure from gods!
         Behold, with throe on throe,
         How, wasted by this woe,
       I wrestle down the myriad years of Time!
         Behold, how fast around me
       The new King of the happy ones sublime
     Has flung the chain he forged, has shamed and bound me!
     Woe, woe! to-day's woe and the coming morrow's
       I cover with one groan. And where is found me
         A limit to these sorrows?
       And yet what word do I say? I have foreknown
       Clearly all things that should be; nothing done
       Comes sudden to my soul--and I must bear
       What is ordained with patience, being aware
       Necessity doth front the universe
       With an invincible gesture. Yet this curse
       Which strikes me now, I find it hard to brave
       In silence or in speech. Because I gave
       Honor to mortals, I have yoked my soul
       To this compelling fate. Because I stole
       The secret fount of fire, whose bubbles went
       Over the ferrule's brim, and manward sent
       Art's mighty means and perfect rudiment,
       That sin I expiate in this agony,
       Hung here in fetters, 'neath the blanching sky.
         Ah, ah me! what a sound,
     What a fragrance sweeps up from a pinion unseen
     Of a god, or a mortal, or nature between,
     Sweeping up to this rock where the earth has her bound,
     To have sight of my pangs, or some guerdon obtain--
     Lo, a god in the anguish, a god in the chain!
         The god Zeus hateth sore,
         And his gods hate again,
     As many as tread on his glorified floor,
     Because I loved mortals too much evermore.
     Alas me! what a murmur and motion I hear,
         As of birds flying near!
         And the air undersings
         The light stroke of their wings--
     And all life that approaches I wait for in fear.

          From E.B. Browning's Translation of 'Prometheus.'


          STROPHE IV

     Though Zeus plan all things right,
       Yet is his heart's desire full hard to trace;
         Nathless in every place
       Brightly it gleameth, e'en in darkest night,
     Fraught with black fate to man's speech-gifted race.


       Steadfast, ne'er thrown in fight,
     The deed in brow of Zeus to ripeness brought;
         For wrapt in shadowy night,
       Tangled, unscanned by mortal sight,
     Extend the pathways of his secret thought.

          STROPHE V

     From towering hopes mortals he hurleth prone
         To utter doom; but for their fall
         No force arrayeth he; for all
       That gods devise is without effort wrought.
     A mindful Spirit aloft on holy throne
       By inborn energy achieves his thought.


     But let him mortal insolence behold:--
         How with proud contumacy rife,
         Wantons the stem in lusty life
     My marriage craving;--frenzy over-bold,
     Spur ever-pricking, goads them on to fate,
     By ruin taught their folly all too late.

          STROPHE VI

       Thus I complain, in piteous strain,
       Grief-laden, tear-evoking, shrill;
         Ah woe is me! woe! woe!
       Dirge-like it sounds; mine own death-trill
       I pour, yet breathing vital air.
       Hear, hill-crowned Apia, hear my prayer!
         Full well, O land,
     My voice barbaric thou canst understand;
         While oft with rendings I assail
     My byssine vesture and Sidonian veil.


       My nuptial right in Heaven's pure sight
       Pollution were, death-laden, rude;
         Ah woe is me! woe! woe!
       Alas for sorrow's murky brood!
       Where will this billow hurl me? Where?
       Hear, hill-crowned Apia, hear my prayer;
         Full well, O land,
     My voice barbaric thou canst understand,
         While oft with rendings I assail
     My byssine vesture and Sidonian veil.

          STROPHE VII

     The oar indeed and home with sails
     Flax-tissued, swelled with favoring gales,
     Staunch to the wave, from spear-storm free,
     Have to this shore escorted me,
     Nor so far blame I destiny.
     But may the all-seeing Father send
     In fitting time propitious end;
     So our dread Mother's mighty brood,
     The lordly couch may 'scape, ah me,
       Unwedded, unsubdued!


     Meeting my will with will divine,
     Daughter of Zeus, who here dost hold
       Steadfast thy sacred shrine,--
     Me, Artemis unstained, behold,
     Do thou, who sovereign might dost wield,
     Virgin thyself, a virgin shield;

     So our dread Mother's mighty brood
     The lordly couch may 'scape, ah me,
       Unwedded, unsubdued!

     From Miss Swanwick's Translation of 'The Suppliants.'



     Now at the Seventh Gate the seventh chief,
     Thy proper mother's son, I will announce,
     What fortune for this city, for himself,
     With curses he invoketh:--on the walls
     Ascending, heralded as king, to stand,
     With paeans for their capture; then with thee
     To fight, and either slaying near thee die,
     Or thee, who wronged him, chasing forth alive,
     Requite in kind his proper banishment.
     Such words he shouts, and calls upon the gods
     Who o'er his race preside and Fatherland,
     With gracious eye to look upon his prayers.
     A well-wrought buckler, newly forged, he bears,
     With twofold blazon riveted thereon,
     For there a woman leads, with sober mien,
     A mailèd warrior, enchased in gold;
     Justice her style, and thus the legend speaks:--
     "This man I will restore, and he shall hold
     The city and his father's palace homes."
     Such the devices of the hostile chiefs.
     'Tis for thyself to choose whom thou wilt send;
     But never shalt thou blame my herald-words.
     To guide the rudder of the State be thine!


     O heaven-demented race of Oedipus,
     My race, tear-fraught, detested of the gods!
     Alas, our father's curses now bear fruit.
     But it beseems not to lament or weep,
     Lest lamentations sadder still be born.
     For him, too truly Polyneikes named,--
     What his device will work we soon shall know;
     Whether his braggart words, with madness fraught,
     Gold-blazoned on his shield, shall lead him back.
     Hath Justice communed with, or claimed him hers,
     Guided his deeds and thoughts, this might have been;
     But neither when he fled the darksome womb,
     Or in his childhood, or in youth's fair prime,
     Or when the hair thick gathered on his chin,
     Hath Justice communed with, or claimed him hers,
     Nor in this outrage on his Fatherland
     Deem I she now beside him deigns to stand.
     For Justice would in sooth belie her name,
     Did she with this all-daring man consort.
     In these regards confiding will I go,
     Myself will meet him. Who with better right?
     Brother to brother, chieftain against chief,
     Foeman to foe, I'll stand. Quick, bring my spear,
     My greaves, and armor, bulwark against stones.

From Miss Swanwick's Translation of 'The Seven Against Thebes.'



     Phoebus Apollo!


     The lips at last unlocking.


     Phoebus! Phoebus!


     Well, what of Phoebus, maiden? though a name
     'Tis but disparagement to call upon
     In misery.


     Apollo! Apollo! Again!
     Oh, the burning arrow through the brain!
     Phoebus Apollo! Apollo!


     Possessed indeed--whether by--


     Phoebus! Phoebus!
     Through trampled ashes, blood, and fiery rain,
     Over water seething, and behind the breathing
     War-horse in the darkness--till you rose again,
     Took the helm--took the rein--


     As one that half asleep at dawn recalls
     A night of Horror!


     Hither, whither, Phoebus? And with whom,
     Leading me, lighting me--


     I can answer that--


     Down to what slaughter-house!
     Foh! the smell of carnage through the door
     Scares me from it--drags me toward it--
       Phoebus Apollo! Apollo!


     One of the dismal prophet-pack, it seems,
     That hunt the trail of blood. But here at fault--
     This is no den of slaughter, but the house
     Of Agamemnon.


       Down upon the towers,
     Phantoms of two mangled children hover--and a famished man,
     At an empty table glaring, seizes and devours!


     Thyestes and his children! Strange enough
     For any maiden from abroad to know,
     Or, knowing--


       And look! in the chamber below
     The terrible Woman, listening, watching,
     Under a mask, preparing the blow
     In the fold of her robe--


       Nay, but again at fault:
     For in the tragic story of this House--
     Unless, indeed the fatal Helen--No


                  No Woman--Tisiphone! Daughter
     Of Tartarus--love-grinning Woman above,
     Dragon-tailed under--honey-tongued, Harpy-clawed,
     Into the glittering meshes of slaughter
       She wheedles, entices him into the poisonous
     Fold of the serpent--


                           Peace, mad woman, peace!
     Whose stony lips once open vomit out
     Such uncouth horrors.


                           I tell you the lioness
     Slaughters the Lion asleep; and lifting
     Her blood-dripping fangs buried deep in his mane,
     Glaring about her insatiable, bellowing,
     Bounds hither--Phoebus Apollo, Apollo, Apollo!
     Whither have you led me, under night alive with fire,
     Through the trampled ashes of the city of my sire,
     From my slaughtered kinsmen, fallen throne, insulted shrine,
     Slave-like to be butchered, the daughter of a royal line!

          From Edward Fitzgerald's Version of the 'Agamemnon.'



     Our mistress bids me with all speed to call
     Aegisthus to the strangers, that he come
     And hear more clearly, as a man from man,
     This newly brought report. Before her slaves,
     Under set eyes of melancholy cast,
     She hid her inner chuckle at the events
     That have been brought to pass--too well for her,
     But for this house and hearth most miserably,--
     As in the tale the strangers clearly told.
     He, when he hears and learns the story's gist,
     Will joy, I trow, in heart. Ah, wretched me!
     How those old troubles, of all sorts made up,
     Most hard to bear, in Atreus's palace-halls
     Have made my heart full heavy in my breast!
     But never have I known a woe like this.
     For other ills I bore full patiently,
     But as for dear Orestes, my sweet charge,
     Whom from his mother I received and nursed . . .
     And then the shrill cries rousing me o' nights,
     And many and unprofitable toils
     For me who bore them. For one needs must rear
     The heedless infant like an animal,
     (How can it else be?) as his humor serve
     For while a child is yet in swaddling clothes,
     It speaketh not, if either hunger comes,
     Or passing thirst, or lower calls of need;
     And children's stomach works its own content.
     And I, though I foresaw this, call to mind,
     How I was cheated, washing swaddling clothes,
     And nurse and laundress did the selfsame work.
     I then with these my double handicrafts,
     Brought up Orestes for his father dear;
     And now, woe's me! I learn that he is dead,
     And go to fetch the man that mars this house;
     And gladly will he hear these words of mine.

          From Plumptre's Translation of 'The Libation-Pourers.'


     Hear ye my statute, men of Attica--
     Ye who of bloodshed judge this primal cause;
     Yea, and in future age shall Aegeus's host
     Revere this court of jurors. This the hill
     Of Ares, seat of Amazons, their tent,
     What time 'gainst Theseus, breathing hate, they came,
     Waging fierce battle, and their towers upreared,
     A counter-fortress to Acropolis;--
     To Ares they did sacrifice, and hence
     This rock is titled Areopagus.
     Here then shall sacred Awe, to Fear allied,
     By day and night my lieges hold from wrong,
     Save if themselves do innovate my laws,
     If thou with mud, or influx base, bedim
     The sparkling water, nought thou'lt find to drink.
     Nor Anarchy, nor Tyrant's lawless rule
     Commend I to my people's reverence;--
     Nor let them banish from their city Fear;
     For who 'mong men, uncurbed by fear, is just?
     Thus holding Awe in seemly reverence,
     A bulwark for your State shall ye possess,
     A safeguard to protect your city walls,
     Such as no mortals otherwhere can boast,
     Neither in Scythia, nor in Pelops's realm.
     Behold! This Court august, untouched by bribes,
     Sharp to avenge, wakeful for those who sleep,
     Establish I, a bulwark to this land.
     This charge, extending to all future time,
     I give my lieges. Meet it as ye rise,
     Assume the pebbles, and decide the cause,
     Your oath revering. All hath now been said.

          From Miss Swanwick's Translation of 'The Eumenides.'


(Seventh Century B.C.)


Like Homer, the greatest of the world's epic poets, Aesop (Aesopus), the
most famous of the world's fabulists, has been regarded by certain
scholars as a wholly mythical personage. The many improbable stories
that are told about him gain some credence for this theory, which is set
forth in detail by the Italian scholar Vico, who says:--"Aesop, regarded
philosophically, will be found not to have been an actually existing
man, but rather an abstraction representing a class,"--in other words,
merely a convenient invention of the later Greeks, who ascribed to him
all the fables of which they could find no certain author.

[Illustration: Aesop]

The only narrative upon which the ancient writers are in the main agreed
represents Aesop as living in the seventh century before Christ. As with
Homer, so with Aesop, several cities of Asia Minor claimed the honor of
having been his birthplace. Born a slave and hideously ugly, his keen
wit led his admiring master to set him free; after which he traveled,
visiting Athens, where he is said to have told his fable of King Log and
King Stork to the citizens who were complaining of the rule of
Pisistratus. Still later, having won the favor of King Croesus of
Lydia, he was sent by him to Delphi with a gift of money for the
citizens of that place; but in the course of a dispute as to its
distribution, he was slain by the Delphians, who threw him over a

The fables that bore his name seem not to have been committed by him to
writing, but for a long time were handed down from generation to
generation by oral tradition; so that the same fables are sometimes
found quoted in slightly different forms, and we hear of men learning
them in conversation rather than from books. They were, however,
universally popular. Socrates while in prison amused himself by turning
some of them into verse. Aristophanes cites them in his plays; and he
tells how certain suitors once tried to win favor of a judge by
repeating to him some of the amusing stories of Aesop. The Athenians
even erected a statue in his honor. At a later period, the fables were
gathered together and published by the Athenian statesman and orator,
Demetrius Phalereus, in B.C. 320, and were versified by Babrius (of
uncertain date), whose collection is the only one in Greek of which any
substantial portion still survives. They were often translated by the
Romans, and the Latin version by Phaedrus, the freedman of Augustus
Caesar, is still preserved and still used as a school-book. Forty-two of
them are likewise found in a Latin work by one Avianus, dating from the
fifth century after Christ. During the Middle Ages, when much of the
classical literature had been lost or forgotten, Aesop, who was called
by the mediaevals "Isopet," was still read in various forms; and in
modern times he has served as a model for a great number of imitations,
of which the most successful are those in French by Lafontaine and those
in English by John Gay.

Whether or not such a person as Aesop ever lived, and whether or not he
actually narrated the fables that are ascribed to him, it is certain
that he did not himself invent them, but merely gave them currency in
Greece; for they can be shown to have existed long before his time, and
in fact to antedate even the beginnings of Hellenic civilization. With
some changes of form they are found in the oldest literature of the
Chinese; similar stories are preserved on the inscribed Babylonian
bricks; and an Egyptian papyrus of about the year 1200 B.C. gives the
fable of 'The Lion and the Mouse' in its finished form. Other Aesopic
apologues are essentially identical with the Jatakas or Buddhist stories
of India, and occur also in the great Sanskrit story-book, the
'Panchatantra,' which is the very oldest monument of Hindu literature.

The so-called Aesopic Fables are in fact only a part of the primitive
folk-lore, that springs up in prehistoric times, and passes from country
to country and from race to race by the process of popular
story-telling. They reached Greece, undoubtedly through Egypt and
Persia, and even in their present form they still retain certain
Oriental, or at any rate non-Hellenic elements, such as the introduction
of Eastern animals,--the panther, the peacock, and the ape. They
represent the beginnings of conscious literary effort, when man first
tried to enforce some maxim of practical wisdom and to teach some useful
truth through the fascinating medium of a story. The Fable embodies a
half-unconscious desire to give concrete form to an abstract principle,
and a childish love for the picturesque and striking, which endows rocks
and stones and trees with life, and gives the power of speech
to animals.

That beasts with the attributes of human beings should figure in these
tales involves, from the standpoint of primeval man, only a very slight
divergence from probability. In nothing, perhaps, has civilization so
changed us as in our mental attitude toward animals. It has fixed a
great gulf between us and them--a gulf far greater than that which
divided them from our first ancestors. In the early ages of the world,
when men lived by the chase, and gnawed the raw flesh of their prey, and
slept in lairs amid the jungle, the purely animal virtues were the only
ones they knew and exercised. They adored courage and strength, and
swiftness and endurance. They respected keenness of scent and vision,
and admired cunning. The possession of these qualities was the very
condition of existence, and they valued them accordingly; but in each
one of them they found their equals, and in fact their superiors, among
the brutes. A lion was stronger than the strongest man. The hare was
swifter. The eagle was more keen-sighted. The fox was more cunning.
Hence, so far from looking down upon the animals from the remotely
superior height that a hundred centuries of civilization have erected
for us, the primitive savage looked up to the beast, studied his ways,
copied him, and went to school to him. The man, then, was not in those
days the lord of creation, and the beast was not his servant; but they
were almost brothers in the subtle sympathy between them, like that
which united Mowgli, the wolf-nursed _shikarri_, and his hairy brethren,
in that most weirdly wonderful of all Mr. Kipling's inventions--the one
that carries us back, not as his other stories do, to the India of the
cities and the bazaars, of the supercilious tourist and the sleek Babu,
but to the older India of unbroken jungle, darkling at noonday through
its green mist of tangled leaves, and haunted by memories of the world's
long infancy when man and brute crouched close together on the earthy
breast of the great mother.

The Aesopic Fables, then, are the oldest representative that we have of
the literary art of primitive man. The charm that they have always
possessed springs in part from their utter simplicity, their naiveté,
and their directness; and in part from the fact that their teachings are
the teachings of universal experience, and therefore appeal irresistibly
to the consciousness of every one who hears them, whether he be savage
or scholar, child or sage. They are the literary antipodes of the last
great effort of genius and art working upon the same material, and found
in Mr. Kipling's Jungle Books. The Fables show only the first stirrings
of the literary instinct, the Jungle Stories bring to bear the full
development of the fictive art,--creative imagination, psychological
insight, brilliantly picturesque description, and the touch of one who
is a daring master of vivid language; so that no better theme can be
given to a student of literary history than the critical comparison of
these two allied forms of composition, representing as they do the two
extremes of actual development.

The best general account in English of the origin of the Greek Fable is
that of Rutherford in the introduction to his 'Babrius' (London, 1883).
An excellent special study of the history of the Aesopic Fables is that
by Joseph Jacobs in the first volume of his 'Aesop' (London, 1889). The
various ancient accounts of Aesop's life are collected by Simrock in
'Aesops Leben' (1864). The best scientific edition of the two hundred
and ten fables is that of Halm (Leipzig, 1887). Good disquisitions on
their history during the Middle Ages are those of Du Méril in French
(Paris, 1854) and Bruno in German (Bamberg, 1892). See also the articles
in the present work under the titles 'Babrius,' 'Bidpai,' 'John Gay,'
'Lafontaine,' 'Lokman,' 'Panchatantra,' 'Phaedrus,' 'Reynard the Fox.'

H.J. Peck


The first time the Fox saw the Lion, he fell down at his feet, and was
ready to die of fear. The second time, he took courage and could even
bear to look upon him. The third time, he had the impudence to come up
to him, to salute him, and to enter into familiar conversation with him.


An Ass, finding the skin of a Lion, put it on; and, going into the woods
and pastures, threw all the flocks and herds into a terrible
consternation. At last, meeting his owner, he would have frightened him
also; but the good man, seeing his long ears stick out, presently knew
him, and with a good cudgel made him sensible that, notwithstanding his
being dressed in a Lion's skin, he was really no more than an Ass.


An Ass was loaded with good provisions of several sorts, which, in time
of harvest, he was carrying into the field for his master and the
reapers to dine upon. On the way he met with a fine large thistle, and
being very hungry, began to mumble it; which while he was doing, he
entered into this reflection:--"How many greedy epicures would think
themselves happy, amidst such a variety of delicate viands as I now
carry! But to me this bitter, prickly thistle is more savory and
relishing than the most exquisite and sumptuous banquet."


A Wolf, clothing himself in the skin of a sheep, and getting in among
the flock, by this means took the opportunity to devour many of them. At
last the shepherd discovered him, and cunningly fastening a rope about
his neck, tied him up to a tree which stood hard by. Some other
shepherds happening to pass that way, and observing what he was about,
drew near, and expressed their admiration at it. "What!" says one of
them, "brother, do you make hanging of a sheep?" "No," replied the
other, "but I make hanging of a Wolf whenever I catch him, though in the
habit and garb of a sheep." Then he showed them their mistake, and they
applauded the justice of the execution.


A Villager, in a frosty, snowy winter, found a Snake under a hedge,
almost dead with cold. He could not help having a compassion for the
poor creature, so brought it home, and laid it upon the hearth, near the
fire; but it had not lain there long, before (being revived with the
heat) it began to erect itself, and fly at his wife and children,
filling the whole cottage with dreadful hissings. The Countryman heard
an outcry, and perceiving what the matter was, catched up a mattock and
soon dispatched him; upbraiding him at the same time in these
words:--"Is this, vile wretch, the reward you make to him that saved
your life? Die as you deserve; but a single death is too good for you."


In former days, when the Belly and the other parts of the body enjoyed
the faculty of speech, and had separate views and designs of their own,
each part, it seems, in particular for himself, and in the name of the
whole, took exception to the conduct of the Belly, and were resolved to
grant him supplies no longer. They said they thought it very hard that
he should lead an idle, good-for-nothing life, spending and squandering
away, upon his own ungodly guts, all the fruits of their labor; and
that, in short, they were resolved, for the future, to strike off his
allowance, and let him shift for himself as well as he could. The Hands
protested they would not lift up a finger to keep him from starving; and
the Mouth wished he might never speak again if he took in the least bit
of nourishment for him as long as he lived; and, said the Teeth, may we
be rotten if ever we chew a morsel for him for the future. This solemn
league and covenant was kept as long as anything of that kind can be
kept, which was until each of the rebel members pined away to skin and
bone, and could hold out no longer. Then they found there was no doing
without the Belly, and that, idle and insignificant as he seemed, he
contributed as much to the maintenance and welfare of all the other
parts as they did to his.


A Satyr, as he was ranging the forest in an exceeding cold, snowy
season, met with a Traveler half-starved with the extremity of the
weather. He took compassion on him, and kindly invited him home to a
warm, comfortable cave he had in the hollow of a rock. As soon as they
had entered and sat down, notwithstanding there was a good fire in the
place, the chilly Traveler could not forbear blowing his fingers' ends.
Upon the Satyr's asking why he did so, he answered, that he did it to
warm his hands. The honest sylvan having seen little of the world,
admired a man who was master of so valuable a quality as that of
blowing heat, and therefore was resolved to entertain him in the best
manner he could. He spread the table before him with dried fruits of
several sorts; and produced a remnant of cold wine, which as the rigor
of the season made very proper, he mulled with some warm spices, infused
over the fire, and presented to his shivering guest. But this the
Traveler thought fit to blow likewise; and upon the Satyr's demanding a
reason why he blowed again, he replied, to cool his dish. This second
answer provoked the Satyr's indignation as much as the first had kindled
his surprise: so, taking the man by the shoulder, he thrust him out of
doors, saying he would have nothing to do with a wretch who had so vile
a quality as to blow hot and cold with the same mouth.


The Lion and several other beasts entered into an alliance, offensive
and defensive, and were to live very sociably together in the forest.
One day, having made a sort of an excursion by way of hunting, they took
a very fine, large, fat deer, which was divided into four parts; there
happening to be then present his Majesty the Lion, and only three
others. After the division was made, and the parts were set out, his
Majesty, advancing forward some steps and pointing to one of the shares,
was pleased to declare himself after the following manner:-- "This I
seize and take possession of as my right, which devolves to me, as I am
descended by a true, lineal, hereditary succession from the royal family
of Lion. That [pointing to the second] I claim by, I think, no
unreasonable demand; considering that all the engagements you have with
the enemy turn chiefly upon my courage and conduct, and you very well
know that wars are too expensive to be carried on without proper
supplies. Then [nodding his head toward the third] that I shall take by
virtue of my prerogative; to which, I make no question but so dutiful
and loyal a people will pay all the deference and regard that I can
desire. Now, as for the remaining part, the necessity of our present
affairs is so very urgent, our stock so low, and our credit so impaired
and weakened, that I must insist upon your granting that, without any
hesitation or demur; and hereof fail not at your peril."


The Ass, observing how great a favorite the little Dog was with his
Master, how much caressed and fondled, and fed with good bits at every
meal; and for no other reason, as he could perceive, but for skipping
and frisking about, wagging his tail, and leaping up into his Master's
lap: he was resolved to imitate the same, and see whether such a
behavior would not procure him the same favors. Accordingly, the Master
was no sooner come home from walking about his fields and gardens, and
was seated in his easy-chair, but the Ass, who observed him, came
gamboling and braying towards him, in a very awkward manner. The Master
could not help laughing aloud at the odd sight. But his jest was soon
turned into earnest, when he felt the rough salute of the Ass's
fore-feet, who, raising himself upon his hinder legs, pawed against his
breast with a most loving air, and would fain have jumped into his lap.
The good man, terrified at this outrageous behavior, and unable to
endure the weight of so heavy a beast, cried out; upon which, one of his
servants running in with a good stick, and laying on heartily upon the
bones of the poor Ass, soon convinced him that every one who desires it
is not qualified to be a favorite.


An honest, plain, sensible Country Mouse is said to have entertained at
his hole one day a fine Mouse of the Town. Having formerly been
playfellows together, they were old acquaintances, which served as an
apology for the visit. However, as master of the house, he thought
himself obliged to do the honors of it in all respects, and to make as
great a stranger of his guest as he possibly could. In order to do this
he set before him a reserve of delicate gray pease and bacon, a dish of
fine oatmeal, some parings of new cheese, and, to crown all with a
dessert, a remnant of a charming mellow apple. In good manners, he
forbore to eat any himself, lest the stranger should not have enough;
but that he might seem to bear the other company, sat and nibbled a
piece of a wheaten straw very busily. At last, says the spark of the
town:--"Old crony, give me leave to be a little free with you: how can
you bear to live in this nasty, dirty, melancholy hole here, with
nothing but woods, and meadows, and mountains, and rivulets about you?
Do not you prefer the conversation of the world to the chirping of
birds, and the splendor of a court to the rude aspect of an uncultivated
desert? Come, take my word for it, you will find it a change for the
better. Never stand considering, but away this moment. Remember, we are
not immortal, and therefore have no time to lose. Make sure of to-day,
and spend it as agreeably as you can: you know not what may happen
to-morrow." In short, these and such like arguments prevailed, and his
Country Acquaintance was resolved to go to town that night. So they both
set out upon their journey together, proposing to sneak in after the
close of the evening. They did so; and about midnight made their entry
into a certain great house, where there had been an extraordinary
entertainment the day before, and several tit-bits, which some of the
servants had purloined, were hid under the seat of a window. The Country
Guest was immediately placed in the midst of a rich Persian carpet: and
now it was the Courtier's turn to entertain; who indeed acquitted
himself in that capacity with the utmost readiness and address, changing
the courses as elegantly, and tasting everything first as judiciously,
as any clerk of the kitchen. The other sat and enjoyed himself like a
delighted epicure, tickled to the last degree with this new turn of his
affairs; when on a sudden, a noise of somebody opening the door made
them start from their seats, and scuttle in confusion about the
dining-room. Our Country Friend, in particular, was ready to die with
fear at the barking of a huge mastiff or two, which opened their throats
just about the same time, and made the whole house echo. At last,
recovering himself:--"Well," says he, "if this be your town-life, much
good may you do with it: give me my poor, quiet hole again, with my
homely but comfortable gray pease."


A lean, hungry, half-starved Wolf happened, one moonshiny night, to meet
with a jolly, plump, well-fed Mastiff; and after the first compliments
were passed, says the Wolf:--"You look extremely well. I protest, I
think I never saw a more graceful, comely person; but how comes it
about, I beseech you, that you should live so much better than I? I may
say, without vanity, that I venture fifty times more than you do; and
yet I am almost ready to perish with hunger." The Dog answered very
bluntly, "Why, you may live as well, if you will do the same for it that
I do."--"Indeed? what is that?" says he.--"Why," says the Dog, "only to
guard the house a-nights, and keep it from thieves."--"With all my
heart," replies the Wolf, "for at present I have but a sorry time of it;
and I think to change my hard lodging in the woods, where I endure rain,
frost, and snow, for a warm roof over my head, and a bellyful of good
victuals, will be no bad bargain."--"True," says the Dog; "therefore you
have nothing more to do but to follow me." Now, as they were jogging on
together, the Wolf spied a crease in the Dog's neck, and having a
strange curiosity, could not forbear asking him what it meant. "Pooh!
nothing," says the Dog.--"Nay, but pray--" says the Wolf.--"Why," says
the Dog, "if you must know, I am tied up in the daytime, because I am a
little fierce, for fear I should bite people, and am only let loose
a-nights. But this is done with design to make me sleep a-days, more
than anything else, and that I may watch the better in the night-time;
for as soon as ever the twilight appears, out I am turned, and may go
where I please. Then my master brings me plates of bones from the table
with his own hands, and whatever scraps are left by any of the family,
all fall to my share; for you must know I am a favorite with everybody.
So you see how you are to live. Come, come along: what is the matter
with you?"--"No," replied the Wolf, "I beg your pardon: keep your
happiness all to yourself. Liberty is the word with me; and I would not
be a king upon the terms you mention."



"At first, when a mere boy, twelve years of age," writes the great Swiss
naturalist, "I did what most beginners do. I picked up whatever I could
lay my hands on, and tried, by such books and authorities as I had at my
command, to find the names of these objects. My highest ambition at that
time, was to be able to designate the plants and animals of my native
country correctly by a Latin name, and to extend gradually a similar
knowledge in its application to the productions of other countries. This
seemed to me, in those days, the legitimate aim and proper work of a
naturalist. I still possess manuscript volumes in which I entered the
names of all the animals and plants with which I became acquainted, and
I well remember that I then ardently hoped to acquire the same
superficial familiarity with the whole creation. I did not then know how
much more important it is to the naturalist to understand the structure
of a few animals than to command the whole field of scientific
nomenclature. Since I have become a teacher, and have watched the
progress of students, I have seen that they all begin in the same way.
But how many have grown old in the pursuit, without ever rising to any
higher conception of the study of nature, spending their life in the
determination of species, and in extending scientific terminology! Long
before I went to the university, and before I began to study natural
history under the guidance of men who were masters in the science during
the early part of this century, I perceived that though nomenclature and
classification, as then understood, formed an important part of the
study, being, in fact, its technical language, the study of living
beings in their natural element was of infinitely greater value. At that
age--namely, about fifteen--I spent most of the time I could spare from
classical and mathematical studies in hunting the neighboring woods and
meadows for birds, insects, and land and fresh-water shells. My room
became a little menagerie, while the stone basin under the fountain in
our yard was my reservoir for all the fishes I could catch. Indeed,
collecting, fishing, and raising caterpillars, from which I reared
fresh, beautiful butterflies, were then my chief pastimes. What I know
of the habits of the fresh-water fishes of Central Europe I mostly
learned at that time; and I may add, that when afterward I obtained
access to a large library and could consult the works of Bloch and
Lacépède, the only extensive works on fishes then in existence. I
wondered that they contained so little about their habits, natural
attitudes, and mode of action, with which I was so familiar."

[Illustration: J.L.R. AGASSIZ.]

It is this way of looking at things that gives to Agassiz's writings
their literary and popular interest. He was born in Mortier, Canton
Fribourg, May 28th, 1807, the son of a clergyman, who sent his gifted
son to the Universities of Zürich, Heidelberg, and Munich, where he
acquired reputation for his brilliant powers, and entered into the
enthusiastic, intellectual, and merry student-life, taking his place in
the formal duels, and becoming known as a champion fencer. Agassiz was
an influence in every centre that he touched; and in Munich, his room
and his laboratory, thick with clouds of smoke from the long-stemmed
German pipes, was a gathering-place for the young scientific
aspirants, who affectionately called it "The Little Academy." At the age
of twenty-two, he had published his 'Fishes of Brazil,' a folio that
brought him into immediate recognition. Cuvier, the greatest
ichthyologist of his time, to whom the first volume was dedicated,
received him as a pupil, and gave to him all the material that he had
been collecting during fifteen years for a contemplated work on Fossil
Fishes. In Paris Agassiz also won the friendship of Humboldt, who,
learning that he stood in need of money, presented him with so generous
a sum as to enable the ambitious young naturalist to work with a free
and buoyant spirit.

His practical career began in 1832, when he was installed at Neufchâtel,
from which point he easily studied the Alps. Two years later, after the
'Poissons fossiles' (Fossil Fishes) appeared, he visited England to
lecture. Then returning to his picturesque home, he applied himself to
original investigation, and through his lectures and publications won
honors and degrees. His daring opinions, however, sometimes provoked
ardent discussion and angry comment.

Agassiz's passion for investigation frequently led him into dangers that
imperiled both life and limb. In the summer of 1841, for example, he was
lowered into a deep crevasse bristling with huge stalactites of ice, to
reach the heart of a glacier moving at the rate of forty feet a day.
While he was observing the blue bands on the glittering ice, he suddenly
touched a well of water, and only after great difficulty made his
companions understand his signal for rescue. These Alpine experiences
are well described by Mrs. Elizabeth Gary Agassiz, and also by Edouard
Desors in his 'Séjours dans les Glaciers' (Sojourn among the Glaciers:
Neufchâtel, 1844). Interesting particulars of these glacial studies
('Études des Glaciers') were soon issued, and Agassiz received many
gifts from lovers of science, among whom was numbered the King of
Prussia. His zoölogical and geological investigations were continued,
and important works on 'Fossil Mollusks,' 'Tertiary Shells,' and 'Living
and Fossil Echinoderms' date from this period.

He had long desired to visit America, when he realized this wish in 1846
by an arrangement with the Lowell Institute of Boston, where he gave a
series of lectures, afterwards repeated in various cities. So attractive
did he find the fauna and flora of America, and so vast a field did he
perceive here for his individual studies and instruction, that he
returned the following year. In 1848 the Prussian government, which had
borne the expenses of his scientific mission,--a cruise along our
Atlantic coast to study its marine life,--released him from further
obligation that he might accept the chair of geology in the Lawrence
Scientific School of Harvard University. His cruises, his explorations,
and his methods, combined with his attractive personality, gave him
unique power as a teacher; and many of his biographers think that of all
his gifts, the ability to instruct was the most conspicuous. He needed
no text-books, for he went directly to Nature, and did not believe in
those technical, dry-as-dust terms which lead to nothing and which are
swept away by the next generation. Many noted American men of science
remember the awakening influence of his laboratories in Charleston and
Cambridge, his museum at Harvard, and his summer school at Penikese
Island in Buzzard's Bay, Massachusetts, where natural history was
studied under ideal conditions. It was here that he said to his
class:--"A laboratory of natural history is a sanctuary where nothing
profane should be tolerated." Whittier has left a poem called "The
Prayer of Agassiz," describing

              "The isle of Penikese
     Ranged about by sapphire seas."

Just as he was realizing two of his ambitions, the establishment of a
great museum and a practical school of zoölogy, he died, December 14th,
1873, at his home in Cambridge, and was buried at Mount Auburn beneath
pine-trees sent from Switzerland, while a bowlder from the glacier of
the Aar was selected to mark his resting-place.

Agassiz was greatly beloved by his pupils and associates, and was
identified with the brilliant group--Emerson, Longfellow, Holmes, and
Lowell,--each of whom has written of him. Lowell considered his 'Elegy
on Agassiz,' written in Florence in 1874, among his best verses;
Longfellow wrote a poem for 'The Fiftieth Birthday of Agassiz,' and
Holmes 'A Farewell to Agassiz' on his departure for the Andes, whose
affectionate and humorous strain thus closes:--

     "Till their glorious raid is o'er,
     And they touch our ransomed shore!
     Then the welcome of a nation,
     With its shout of exultation,
     Shall awake the dumb creation,
     And the shapes of buried aeons
     Join the living creatures' paeans,
     While the mighty megalosaurus
     Leads the palaeozoic chorus,--
     God bless the great Professor,
     And the land its proud possessor,--
     Bless them now and evermore!"

Numerous biographies and monographs of Agassiz exist in many languages,
a complete list of which is given in the last published 'Life of
Agassiz,' by Jules Marcou (New York and London, 1896), and also in the
'Life of Agassiz,' by Charles F. Holder (New York, 1893). Complete
lists of Agassiz's works are also given in these biographies, and these
titles show how versatile was his taste and how deep and wide his
research. His principal contributions to science are in French and
Latin, but his most popular books appeared in English. These include
'The Structure of Animal Life,' 'Methods of Study,' 'Geological
Sketches,' and 'Journey in Brazil,' the latter written with Mrs.
Agassiz. His 'Contributions to the Natural History of the United
States,' planned to be in ten large books, only reached four volumes.

In his 'Researches concerning Fossil Fishes,' Agassiz expressed the
views that made him a lifelong opponent of the Darwinian theories,
although he was a warm friend of Darwin. Considering the demands upon
his time as teacher, lecturer, and investigator, the excellence not less
than the amount of the great naturalist's work is remarkable, and won
such admiration that he was made a member of nearly every scientific
society in the world. One of his favorite pastimes was deep-sea
dredging, which embraced the excitement of finding strange specimens and
studying their singular habits.

Of his love and gift for instructing, Mrs. Agassiz says in her 'Life'
(Boston, 1885):--

     "Teaching was a passion with him, and his power over his
     pupils might be measured by his own enthusiasm. He was,
     intellectually as well as socially, a democrat in the best
     sense. He delighted to scatter broadcast the highest results
     of thought and research, and to adapt them even to the
     youngest and most uninformed minds. In his later American
     travels he would talk of glacial phenomena to the driver of a
     country stage-coach among the mountains, or to some workman
     splitting rock at the roadside, with as much earnestness as
     if he had been discussing problems with a brother geologist;
     he would take the common fisherman into his scientific
     confidence, telling him the intimate secrets of fish-culture
     or fish-embryology, till the man in his turn grew
     enthusiastic and began to pour out information from the
     stores of his own rough and untaught habits of observation.
     Agassiz's general faith in the susceptibility of the popular
     intelligence, however untaught, to the highest truths of
     nature, was contagious, and he created or developed that in
     which he believed."

The following citations exhibit his powers of observation, and that
happy method of stating scientific facts which interests the specialist
and general reader alike.


From 'Geological Sketches'

With what interest do we look upon any relic of early human history! The
monument that tells of a civilization whose hieroglyphic records we
cannot even decipher, the slightest trace of a nation that vanished and
left no sign of its life except the rough tools and utensils buried in
the old site of its towns or villages, arouses our imagination and
excites our curiosity. Men gaze with awe at the inscription on an
ancient Egyptian or Assyrian stone; they hold with reverential touch the
yellow parchment-roll whose dim, defaced characters record the meagre
learning of a buried nationality; and the announcement that for
centuries the tropical forests of Central America have hidden within
their tangled growth the ruined homes and temples of a past race, stirs
the civilized world with a strange, deep wonder.

To me it seems, that to look on the first land that was ever lifted
above the wasted waters, to follow the shore where the earliest animals
and plants were created when the thought of God first expressed itself
in organic forms, to hold in one's hand a bit of stone from an old
sea-beach, hardened into rock thousands of centuries ago, and studded
with the beings that once crept upon its surface or were stranded there
by some retreating wave, is even of deeper interest to men than the
relics of their own race, for these things tell more directly of the
thoughts and creative acts of God.

The statement that different sets of animals and plants have
characterized the successive epochs is often understood as indicating a
difference of another kind than that which distinguishes animals now
living in different parts of the world. This is a mistake. They are
so-called representative types all over the globe, united to each other
by structural relations and separated by specific differences of the
same kind as those that unite and separate animals of different
geological periods. Take, for instance, mud-flats or sandy shores in the
same latitudes of Europe and America: we find living on each, animals of
the same structural character and of the same general appearance, but
with certain specific differences, as of color, size, external
appendages, etc. They represent each other on the two continents. The
American wolves, foxes, bears, rabbits, are not the same as the
European. but those of one continent are as true to their respective
types as those of the other; under a somewhat different aspect they
represent the same groups of animals. In certain latitudes, or under
conditions of nearer proximity, these differences may be less marked. It
is well known that there is a great monotony of type, not only among
animals and plants but in the human races also, throughout the Arctic
regions; and some animals characteristic of the high North reappear
under such identical forms in the neighborhood of the snow-fields in
lofty mountains, that to trace the difference between the ptarmigans,
rabbits, and other gnawing animals of the Alps, for instance, and those
of the Arctics, is among the most difficult problems of modern science.

And so is it also with the animated world of past ages: in similar
deposits of sand, mud, or lime, in adjoining regions of the same
geological age, identical remains of animals and plants may be found;
while at greater distances, but under similar circumstances,
representative species may occur. In very remote regions, however,
whether the circumstances be similar or dissimilar, the general aspect
of the organic world differs greatly, remoteness in space being thus in
some measure an indication of the degree of affinity between different
faunae. In deposits of different geological periods immediately
following each other, we sometimes find remains of animals and plants so
closely allied to those of earlier or later periods that at first sight
the specific differences are hardly discernible. The difficulty of
solving these questions, and of appreciating correctly the differences
and similarities between such closely allied organisms, explains the
antagonistic views of many naturalists respecting the range of existence
of animals, during longer or shorter geological periods; and the
superficial way in which discussions concerning the transition of
species are carried on, is mainly owing to an ignorance of the
conditions above alluded to. My own personal observation and experience
in these matters have led me to the conviction that every geological
period has had its own representatives, and that no single species has
been repeated in successive ages.

The laws regulating the geographical distribution of animals, and their
combination into distinct zoölogical provinces called faunae, with
definite limits, are very imperfectly understood as yet; but so closely
are all things linked together from the beginning till to-day, that I am
convinced we shall never find the clew to their meaning till we carry on
our investigations in the past and the present simultaneously. The same
principle according to which animal and vegetable life is distributed
over the surface of the earth now, prevailed in the earliest geological
periods. The geological deposits of all times have had their
characteristic faunae under various zones, their zoölogical provinces
presenting special combinations of animal and vegetable life over
certain regions, and their representative types reproducing in different
countries, but under similar latitudes, the same groups with specific

Of course, the nearer we approach the beginning of organic life, the
less marked do we find the differences to be; and for a very obvious
reason. The inequalities of the earth's surface, her mountain-barriers
protecting whole continents from the Arctic winds, her open plains
exposing others to the full force of the polar blasts, her snug valleys
and her lofty heights, her tablelands and rolling prairies, her
river-systems and her dry deserts, her cold ocean-currents pouring down
from the high North on some of her shores, while warm ones from tropical
seas carry their softer influence to others,--in short, all the
contrasts in the external configuration of the globe, with the physical
conditions attendant upon them, are naturally accompanied by a
corresponding variety in animal and vegetable life.

But in the Silurian age, when there were no elevations higher than the
Canadian hills, when water covered the face of the earth with the
exception of a few isolated portions lifted above the almost universal
ocean, how monotonous must have been the conditions of life! And what
should we expect to find on those first shores? If we are walking on a
sea-beach to-day, we do not look for animals that haunt the forests or
roam over the open plains, or for those that live in sheltered valleys
or in inland regions or on mountain-heights. We look for Shells, for
Mussels and Barnacles, for Crabs, for Shrimps, for Marine Worms, for
Star-Fishes and Sea-Urchins, and we may find here and there a fish
stranded on the sand or strangled in the sea-weed. Let us remember,
then, that in the Silurian period the world, so far as it was raised
above the ocean, was a beach; and let us seek there for such creatures
as God has made to live on seashores, and not belittle the Creative
work, or say that He first scattered the seeds of life in meagre or
stinted measure, because we do not find air-breathing animals when there
was no fitting atmosphere to feed their lungs, insects with no
terrestrial plants to live upon, reptiles without marshes, birds
without trees, cattle without grass,--all things, in short, without the
essential conditions for their existence....

I have spoken of the Silurian beach as if there were but one, not only
because I wished to limit my sketch, and to attempt at least to give it
the vividness of a special locality, but also because a single such
shore will give us as good an idea of the characteristic fauna of the
time as if we drew our material from a wider range. There are, however,
a great number of parallel ridges belonging to the Silurian and Devonian
periods, running from east to west, not only through the State of New
York, but far beyond, through the States of Michigan and Wisconsin into
Minnesota; one may follow nine or ten such successive shores in unbroken
lines, from the neighborhood of Lake Champlain to the Far West. They
have all the irregularities of modern seashores, running up to form
little bays here, and jutting out in promontories there....

Although the early geological periods are more legible in North America,
because they are exposed over such extensive tracts of land, yet they
have been studied in many other parts of the globe. In Norway, in
Germany, in France, in Russia, in Siberia, in Kamchatka, in parts of
South America,--in short, wherever the civilization of the white race
has extended, Silurian deposits have been observed, and everywhere they
bear the same testimony to a profuse and varied creation. The earth was
teeming then with life as now; and in whatever corner of its surface the
geologist finds the old strata, they hold a dead fauna as numerous as
that which lives and moves above it. Nor do we find that there was any
gradual increase or decrease of any organic forms at the beginning and
close of the successive periods. On the contrary, the opening scenes of
every chapter in the world's history have been crowded with life, and
its last leaves as full and varied as its first.


From 'Methods of Study in Natural History'

There is a chapter in the Natural History of animals that has hardly
been touched upon as yet, and that will be especially interesting with
reference to families. The voices of animals have a family character not
to be mistaken. All the _Canidae_ bark and howl!--the fox, the wolf,
the dog, have the same kind of utterance, though on a somewhat different
pitch. All the bears growl, from the white bear of the Arctic snows to
the small black bear of the Andes. All the cats meow, from our quiet
fireside companion to the lions and tigers and panthers of the forests
and jungle. This last may seem a strange assertion; but to any one who
has listened critically to their sounds and analyzed their voices, the
roar of the lion is but a gigantic meow, bearing about the same
proportion to that of a cat as its stately and majestic form does to the
smaller, softer, more peaceful aspect of the cat. Yet notwithstanding
the difference in their size, who can look at the lion, whether in his
more sleepy mood, as he lies curled up in the corner of his cage, or in
his fiercer moments of hunger or of rage, without being reminded of a
cat? And this is not merely the resemblance of one carnivorous animal to
another; for no one was ever reminded of a dog or wolf by a lion.

Again, all the horses and donkeys neigh; for the bray of a donkey is
only a harsher neigh, pitched on a different key, it is true, but a
sound of the same character--as the donkey himself is but a clumsy and
dwarfish horse. All the cows low, from the buffalo roaming the prairie,
the musk-ox of the Arctic ice-fields, or the yak of Asia, to the cattle
feeding in our pastures.

Among the birds, this similarity of voice in families is still more
marked. We need only recall the harsh and noisy parrots, so similar in
their peculiar utterance. Or, take as an example the web-footed family:
Do not all the geese and the innumerable host of ducks quack? Does not
every member of the crow family caw, whether it be the jackdaw, the jay,
or the magpie, the rook in some green rookery of the Old World, or the
crow of our woods, with its long, melancholy caw that seems to make the
silence and solitude deeper? Compare all the sweet warblers of the
songster family--the nightingales, the thrushes, the mocking-birds, the
robins; they differ in the greater or less perfection of their note, but
the same kind of voice runs through the whole group.

These affinities of the vocal systems among the animals form a subject
well worthy of the deepest study, not only as another character by which
to classify the animal kingdom correctly, but as bearing indirectly also
on the question of the origin of animals. Can we suppose that
characteristics like these have been communicated from one animal to
another? When we find that all the members of one zoölogical family,
however widely scattered over the surface of the earth, inhabiting
different continents and even different hemispheres, speak with one
voice, must we not believe that they have originated in the places where
they now occur, with all their distinctive peculiarities? Who taught the
American thrush to sing like his European relative? He surely did not
learn it from his cousin over the waters. Those who would have us
believe that all animals originated from common centres and single
pairs, and have been thence distributed over the world, will find it
difficult to explain the tenacity of such characters, and their
recurrence and repetition under circumstances that seem to preclude the
possibility of any communication, on any other supposition than that of
their creation in the different regions where they are now found. We
have much yet to learn, from investigations of this kind, with reference
not only to families among animals, but to nationalities among
men also....

The similarity of motion in families is another subject well worth the
consideration of the naturalist: the soaring of the birds of prey,--the
heavy flapping of the wings in the gallinaceous birds,--the floating of
the swallows, with their short cuts and angular turns,--the hopping of
the sparrows,--the deliberate walk of the hens and the strut of the
cocks,--the waddle of the ducks and geese,--the slow, heavy creeping of
the land-turtle,--the graceful flight of the sea-turtle under the
water,--the leaping and swimming of the frog,--the swift run of the
lizard, like a flash of green or red light in the sunshine,--the lateral
undulation of the serpent,--the dart of the pickerel,--the leap of the
trout,--the rush of the hawk-moth through the air,--the fluttering
flight of the butterfly,--the quivering poise of the humming-bird,--the
arrow-like shooting of the squid through the water,--the slow crawling
of the snail on the land,--the sideway movement of the sand-crab,--the
backward walk of the crawfish,--the almost imperceptible gliding of the
sea-anemone over the rock,--the graceful, rapid motion of the
_Pleurobrachia_, with its endless change of curve and spiral. In short,
every family of animals has its characteristic action and its peculiar
voice; and yet so little is this endless variety of rhythm and cadence
both of motion and sound in the organic world understood, that we lack
words to express one-half its richness and beauty.


From 'Methods of Study in Natural History'

For a long time it was supposed that the reef-builders inhabited very
deep waters; for they were sometimes brought up upon sounding-lines from
a depth of many hundreds or even thousands of feet, and it was taken for
granted that they must have had their home where they were found: but
the facts recently ascertained respecting the subsidence of
ocean-bottoms have shown that the foundation of a coral-wall may have
sunk far below the place where it was laid. And it is now proved, beyond
a doubt, that no reef-building coral can thrive at a depth of more than
fifteen fathoms, though corals of other kinds occur far lower, and that
the dead reef-corals, sometimes brought to the surface from much greater
depths, are only broken fragments of some reef that has subsided with
the bottom on which it was growing. But though fifteen fathoms is the
maximum depth at which any reef-builder can prosper, there are many
which will not sustain even that degree of pressure; and this fact has,
as we shall see, an important influence on the structure of the reef.

Imagine now a sloping shore on some tropical coast descending gradually
below the surface of the sea. Upon that slope, at a depth of from ten to
twelve or fifteen fathoms, and two or three or more miles from the
mainland, according to the shelving of the shore, we will suppose that
one of those little coral animals, to whom a home in such deep waters is
congenial, has established itself. How it happens that such a being,
which we know is immovably attached to the ground, and forms the
foundation of a solid wall, was ever able to swim freely about in the
water till it found a suitable resting-place, I shall explain hereafter,
when I say something of the mode of reproduction of these animals.
Accept, for the moment, my unsustained assertion, and plant our little
coral on this sloping shore, some twelve or fifteen fathoms below the
surface of the sea.

The internal structure of such a coral corresponds to that of the
sea-anemone. The body is divided by vertical partitions from top to
bottom, leaving open chambers between; while in the centre hangs the
digestive cavity, connected by an opening in the bottom with all these
chambers. At the top is an aperture serving as a mouth, surrounded by a
wreath of hollow tentacles, each one of which connects at its base with
one of the chambers, so that all parts of the animal communicate freely
with each other. But though the structure of the coral is identical in
all its parts with the sea-anemone, it nevertheless presents one
important difference. The body of the sea-anemone is soft, while that of
the coral is hard.

It is well known that all animals and plants have the power of
appropriating to themselves and assimilating the materials they need,
each selecting from the surrounding elements whatever contributes to its
well-being. Now, corals possess in an extraordinary degree, the power of
assimilating to themselves the lime contained in the salt water around
them; and as soon as our little coral is established on a firm
foundation, a lime deposit begins to form in all the walls of its body,
so that its base, its partitions, and its outer wall, which in the
sea-anemone remain always soft, become perfectly solid in the polyp
coral, and form a frame as hard as bone.

It may naturally be asked where the lime comes from in the sea which the
corals absorb in such quantities. As far as the living corals are
concerned the answer is easy, for an immense deal of lime is brought
down to the ocean by rivers that wear away the lime deposits through
which they pass. The Mississippi, whose course lies through extensive
lime regions, brings down yearly lime enough to supply all the animals
living in the Gulf of Mexico. But behind this lies a question, not so
easily settled, as to the origin of the extensive deposits of limestone
found at the very beginning of life upon earth. This problem brings us
to the threshold of astronomy; for the base of limestone is metallic in
character, susceptible therefore of fusion, and may have formed a part
of the materials of our earth, even in an incandescent state, when the
worlds were forming. But though this investigation as to the origin of
lime does not belong either to the naturalist or the geologist, its
suggestion reminds us that the time has come when all the sciences and
their results are so intimately connected that no one can be carried on
independently of the others. Since the study of the rocks has revealed a
crowded life whose records are hoarded within them, the work of the
geologist and the naturalist has become one and the same; and at that
border-land where the first crust of the earth was condensed out of the
igneous mass of materials which formed its earliest condition, their
investigation mingles with that of the astronomer, and we cannot trace
the limestone in a little coral without going back to the creation of
our solar system, when the worlds that compose it were thrown off from a
central mass in a gaseous condition.

When the coral has become in this way permeated with lime, all parts of
the body are rigid, with the exception of the upper margin, the stomach,
and the tentacles. The tentacles are soft and waving, projected or drawn
in at will; they retain their flexible character through life, and
decompose when the animal dies. For this reason the dried specimens of
corals preserved in museums do not give us the least idea of the living
corals, in which every one of the millions of beings composing such a
community is crowned by a waving wreath of white or green or
rose-colored tentacles.

As soon as the little coral is fairly established and solidly attached
to the ground, it begins to bud. This may take place in a variety of
ways, dividing at the top or budding from the base or from the sides,
till the primitive animal is surrounded by a number of individuals like
itself, of which it forms the nucleus, and which now begin to bud in
their turn, each one surrounding itself with a numerous progeny, all
remaining, however, attached to the parent. Such a community increases
till its individuals are numbered by millions, and I have myself counted
no less than fourteen millions of individuals in a coral mass of Porites
measuring not more than twelve feet in diameter. The so-called coral
heads, which make the foundation of a coral wall, and seem by their
massive character and regular form especially adapted to give a strong,
solid base to the whole structure, are known in our classification as
the _Astraeans_, so named on account of the little [star-shaped] pits
crowded upon their surface, each one of which marks the place of a
single more or less isolated individual in such a community.

Selections used by permission of Houghton, Mifflin & Company,



Agathas tells us, in his 'Prooemium,' that he was born at Myrina, Asia
Minor, that his father's name was Memnonius, and his own profession the
law of the Romans and practice in courts of justice. He was born about
A.D. 536, and was educated at Alexandria. In Constantinople he studied
and practiced his profession, and won his surname of "Scholasticus," a
title then given to a lawyer. He died, it is believed, at the age of
forty-four or forty-five. He was a Christian, as he testifies in his
epigrams. In the sketch of his life prefixed to his works, Niebuhr
collates the friendships he himself mentions, with his fellow-poet
Paulus Silentiarius, with Theodorus the decemvir, and Macedonius the
ex-consul. To these men he dedicated some of his writings.

Of his works, he says in his 'Prooemium' that he wrote in his youth the
'Daphniaca,' a volume of short poems in hexameters, set off with
love-tales. His 'Anthology,' or 'Cyclus,' was a collection of poems of
early writers, and also compositions of his friend Paulus Silentiarius
and others of his time. A number of his epigrams, preserved because they
were written before or after his publication of the 'Cyclus,' have come
down to us and are contained in the 'Anthologia Graeca.' His principal
work is his 'Historia,' which is an account of the conquest of Italy by
Narses, of the first war between the Greeks and Franks, of the great
earthquakes and plagues, of the war between the Greeks and Persians, and
the deeds of Belisarius in his contest with the Huns,--of all that was
happening in the world Agathias knew between 553 and 558 A.D., while he
was a young man. He tells, for instance, of the rebuilding of the great
Church of St. Sophia by Justinian, and he adds:--"If any one who happens
to live in some place remote from the city wishes to get a clear notion
of every part, as though he were there, let him read what Paulus
[Silentiarius] has composed in hexameter verse."

The history of Agathias is valuable as a chronicle. It shows that the
writer had little knowledge of geography, and was not enough of a
philosopher to look behind events and trace the causes from which they
proceeded. He is merely a simple and honest writer, and his history is a
business-like entry of facts. He dwells upon himself and his wishes with
a minuteness that might seem self-conscious, but is really _naif_; and
goes so far in his outspokenness as to say that if for the sake of a
livelihood he took up another profession, his taste would have led him
to devote himself to the Muses and Graces.

He wrote in the Ionic dialect of his time. The best edition of his
'Historia' is that of Niebuhr (1828). Those of his epigrams preserved in
the Greek anthology have not infrequently been turned into English; the
happiest translation of all is that of Dryden, in his 'Life of


     Cheronean Plutarch, to thy deathless praise
     Does martial Rome this grateful statue raise;
     Because both Greece and she thy fame have shar'd
     (Their heroes written, and their lives compar'd);
     But thou thyself could'st never write thy own:
     Their lives have parallels, but thine has none.



Fifty years ago a Jewish writer of English fiction was a new and
interesting figure in English literature. Disraeli, indeed, had flashed
into the literary world with 'Coningsby,' that eloquent vindication of
the Jewish race. His grandiose 'Tancred' had revealed to an astonished
public the strange life of the Desert, of the mysterious vastness whence
swept forth the tribes who became the Moors of Spain and the Jews of
Palestine. Disraeli, however, stood in no category, and established no
precedent. But when Miss Aguilar's stories began to appear, they were
eagerly welcomed by a public with whom she had already won reputation
and favor as the defender and interpreter of her faith.

[Illustration: GRACE AGUILAR]

The youngest child of a rich and refined household, Grace Aguilar was
born in 1816 at Hackney, near London, of that historic strain of
Spanish-Jewish blood which for generations had produced not only beauty
and artistic sensibility, but intellect. Her ancestors were refugees
from persecution, and in her burned that ardor of faith which
persecution kindles. Fragile and sensitive, she was educated at home, by
her cultivated father and mother, under whose solicitous training she
developed an alarming precocity. At the age of twelve she had written a
heroic drama on her favorite hero, Gustavus Vasa. At fourteen she had
published a volume of poems. At twenty-four she accomplished her chief
work on the Jewish religion, 'The Spirit of Judaism,' a book republished
in America with preface and notes by a well-known rabbi, Dr. Isaac
Leeser of Philadelphia. Although the orthodox priest found much in the
book to criticize, he was forced to commend its ability.--It insists on
the importance of the spiritual and moral aspects of the faith delivered
to Abraham, and deprecates a superstitious reverence for the mere letter
of the law. It presents Judaism as a religion of love, and the Old
Testament as the inspiration of the teachings of Jesus. Written more
than half a century ago, the book is widely read to-day by students of
the Jewish religion.

Four years later Miss Aguilar published 'The Jewish Faith: Its Spiritual
Consolation, Moral Guidance, and Immortal Hope,' and 'The Women of
Israel,' a series of essays on Biblical history, which was followed by
'Essays and Miscellanies.' So great was the influence of her writings
that the Jewesses of London gave her a public testimonial, and addressed
her as "the first woman who had stood forth as the public advocate of
the faith of Israel." While on her way to visit a brother then residing
at Schwalbach, Germany, she was taken ill at Frankfurt, and died there,
at the early age of thirty-one.

The earliest and the best known of Miss Aguilar's novels is 'Home
Influence,' which rapidly passed through thirty editions, and is still a
favorite book with young girls. There is little incident in the story,
which is the history of the development of character in a household of
six or seven young persons of very different endowments and tendencies.
It was the fashion of the day to be didactic, and Mrs. Hamilton, from
whom the "home influence" radiates, seems to the modern reader somewhat
inclined to preach, in season and out of season. But the story is
interesting, and the characters are distinctly individualized, while at
least one episode is dramatically treated.

'The Mother's Recompense' is a sequel to 'Home Influence,' wherein the
further fortunes of the Hamilton family are so set forth that the
wordly-minded reader is driven to the inference that the brilliant
marriages of her children are a sensible part of Mrs. Hamilton's
"recompense." The story is vividly and agreeably told.

Of a different order is 'The Days of Bruce,' a historic romance of the
late thirteenth century, which is less historic than romantic, and in
whose mirror the rugged chieftain would hardly recognize his

'The Vale of Cedars' is a historic tale of the persecution of the Jews
in Spain under the Inquisition. It is told with intense feeling, with
much imagination, and with a strong love of local color. It is said
that family traditions are woven into the story. This book, as well as
'Home Influence,' had a wide popularity in a German version.

In reading Grace Aguilar it is not easy to believe her the contemporary
of Currer Bell and George Eliot. Both her manner and her method are
earlier. Her lengthy and artificial periods, the rounded and decorative
sentences that she puts into the mouths of her characters under the
extremest pressure of emotion or suffering, the italics, the
sentimentalities, are of another age than the sinewy English and hard
sense of 'Jane Eyre' or 'Adam Bede.' Doubtless her peculiar, sheltered
training, her delicate health, and a luxuriant imagination that had
seldom been measured against the realities of life, account for the
old-fashioned air of her work. But however antiquated their form may
become, the substance of all her tales is sweet and sound, their charm
for young girls is abiding, their atmosphere is pure, and the spirit
that inspires them is touched only to fine issues.

The citation from 'The Days of Bruce' illustrates her narrative style;
that from 'Woman's Friendship' her habit of disquisition; and the
passage from 'Home Influence' her rendering of conversation.


From 'Woman's Friendship'

It is the fashion to deride woman's influence over woman, to laugh at
female friendship, to look with scorn on all those who profess it; but
perhaps the world at large little knows the effect of this
influence,--how often the unformed character of a young, timid, and
gentle girl may be influenced for good or evil by the power of an
intimate female friend. There is always to me a doubt of the warmth, the
strength, and purity of her feelings, when a young girl merges into
womanhood, passing over the threshold of actual life, seeking only the
admiration of the other sex; watching, pining, for a husband, or lovers,
perhaps, and looking down on all female friendship as romance and folly.
No young spirit was ever yet satisfied with the love of nature.

Friendship, or love, gratifies self-love; for it tacitly acknowledges
that we must possess some good qualities to attract beyond the mere love
of nature. Coleridge justly observes, "that it is well ordered that the
amiable and estimable should have a fainter perception of their own
qualities than their friends have, otherwise they would love
themselves." Now, friendship, or love, permits their doing this
unconsciously: mutual affection is a tacit avowal and appreciation of
mutual good qualities,--perhaps friendship yet more than love, for the
latter is far more an aspiration, a passion, than the former, and
influences the permanent character much less. Under the magic of love a
girl is generally in a feverish state of excitement, often in a wrong
position, deeming herself the goddess, her lover the adorer; whereas it
is her will that must bend to his, herself be abnegated for him.
Friendship neither permits the former nor demands the latter. It
influences silently, often unconsciously; perhaps its power is never
known till years afterwards. A girl who stands alone, without acting or
feeling friendship, is generally a cold unamiable being, so wrapt in
self as to have no room for any person else, except perhaps a lover,
whom she only seeks and values as offering his devotion to that same
idol, self. Female friendship may be abused, may be but a name for
gossip, letter-writing, romance, nay worse, for absolute evil: but that
Shakespeare, the mighty wizard of human hearts, thought highly and
beautifully of female friendship, we have his exquisite portraits of
Rosalind and Celia, Helen and the Countess, undeniably to prove; and if
he, who could portray every human passion, every subtle feeling of
humanity, from the whelming tempest of love to the fiendish influences
of envy and jealousy and hate; from the incomprehensible mystery of
Hamlet's wondrous spirit, to the simplicity of the gentle Miranda, the
dove-like innocence of Ophelia, who could be crushed by her weight of
love, but not reveal it;--if Shakespeare scorned not to picture the
sweet influences of female friendship, shall women pass by it as a theme
too tame, too idle for their pens?


From 'The Days of Bruce'

A right noble and glorious scene did the great hall of the palace
present the morning which followed this eventful night. The king,
surrounded by his highest prelates and nobles, mingling indiscriminately
with the high-born dames and maidens of his court, all splendidly
attired, occupied the upper part of the hall, the rest of which was
crowded by both his military followers and many of the good citizens of
Scone, who flocked in great numbers to behold the august ceremony of the
day. Two immense oaken doors at the south side of the hall were flung
open, and through them was discerned the large space forming the palace
yard, prepared as a tilting-ground, where the new-made knights were to
prove their skill. The storm had given place to a soft, breezy morning,
the cool freshness of which appeared peculiarly grateful from the
oppressiveness of the night; light downy clouds sailed over the blue
expanse of heaven, tempering without clouding the brilliant rays of the
sun. Every face was clothed with smiles, and the loud shouts which
hailed the youthful candidates for knighthood, as they severally
entered, told well the feeling with which the patriots of Scotland
were regarded.

Some twenty youths received the envied honor at the hand of their
sovereign this day; but our limits forbid a minute scrutiny of the
bearing of any, however well deserving, save of the two whose vigils
have already detained us so long. A yet longer and louder shout
proclaimed the appearance of the youngest scion of the house of Bruce
and his companion. The daring patriotism of Isabella of Buchan had
enshrined her in every heart, and so disposed all men towards her
children that the name of their traitorous father was forgotten.

Led by their godfathers, Nigel by his brother-in-law Sir Christopher
Seaton, and Alan by the Earl of Lennox, their swords, which had been
blessed by the abbot at the altar, slung round their necks, they
advanced up the hall. There was a glow on the cheek of the young Alan,
in which pride and modesty were mingled; his step at first was unsteady
and his lip was seen to quiver from very bashfulness, as he first
glanced round the hall and felt that every eye was turned toward him;
but when that glance met his mother's fixed on him, and breathing that
might of love that filled her heart, all boyish tremors fled, the calm,
staid resolve of manhood took the place of the varying glow upon his
cheek, the quivering lip became compressed and firm, and his step
faltered not again.

The cheek of Nigel Bruce was pale, but there was firmness in the glance
of his bright eye, and a smile unclouded in its joyance on his lip. The
frivolous lightness of the courtier, the mad bravado of knight-errantry,
which was not uncommon to the times, indeed, were not there. It was the
quiet courage of the resolved warrior, the calm of a spirit at peace
with itself, shedding its own high feeling and poetic glory over all
around him.

On reaching the foot of King Robert's throne, both youths knelt and
laid their sheathed swords at his feet. Their armor-bearers then
approached, and the ceremony of clothing the candidates in steel
commenced; the golden spur was fastened on the left foot of each by his
respective godfather, while Athol, Hay, and other nobles advanced to do
honor to the youths, by aiding in the ceremony. Nor was it
warriors alone.

"Is this permitted, lady?" demanded the king, smiling, as the Countess
of Buchan approached the martial group, and, aided by Lennox, fastened
the polished cuirass on the form of her son. "Is it permitted for a
matron to arm a youthful knight? Is there no maiden to do such
inspiring office?"

"Yes, when the knight is one like this, my liege," she answered, in the
same tone. "Let a matron arm him, good my liege," she added, sadly: "let
a mother's hand enwrap his boyish limbs in steel, a mother's blessing
mark him thine and Scotland's, that those who watch his bearing in the
battle-field may know who sent him there, may thrill his heart with
memories of her who stands alone of her ancestral line, that though he
bears the name of Comyn, the blood of Fife flows reddest in his veins!"

"Arm him and welcome, noble lady," answered the king, and a buzz of
approbation ran through the hall; "and may thy noble spirit and
dauntless loyalty inspire him: we shall not need a trusty follower while
such as he are around us. Yet, in very deed, my youthful knight must
have a lady fair for whom he tilts to-day. Come hither, Isoline, thou
lookest verily inclined to envy thy sweet friend her office, and nothing
loth to have a loyal knight thyself. Come, come, my pretty one, no
blushing now. Lennox, guide those tiny hands aright."

Laughing and blushing, Isoline, the daughter of Lady Campbell, a sister
of the Bruce, a graceful child of some thirteen summers, advanced
nothing loth, to obey her royal uncle's summons; and an arch smile of
real enjoyment irresistibly stole over the countenance of Alan,
dispersing the emotion his mother's words produced.

"Nay, tremble not, sweet one," the king continued, in a lower and yet
kinder tone, as he turned from the one youth to the other, and observed
that Agnes, overpowered by emotion, had scarcely power to perform her
part, despite the whispered words of encouraging affection Nigel
murmured in her ear. One by one the cuirass and shoulder-pieces, the
greaves and gauntlets, the gorget and brassards, the joints of which
were so beautifully burnished that they shone as mirrors, and so
flexible that every limb had its free use, enveloped those manly forms.
Their swords once again girt to their sides, and once more kneeling, the
king descended from his throne, alternately dubbing them knight in the
name of God, St. Michael, and St. George.


From 'Home Influence'

Mrs. Hamilton was seated at one of the tables on the dais nearest the
oriel window, the light from which fell on her, giving her
figure--though she was seated naturally enough in one of the large
maroon-velvet oaken chairs--an unusual effect of dignity and command,
and impressing the terrified beholder with such a sensation of awe that
had her life depended on it, she could not for that one minute have gone
forward; and even when desired to do so by the words "I desired your
presence, Ellen, because I wished to speak to you: come here without any
more delay,"--how she walked the whole length of that interminable room,
and stood facing her aunt, she never knew.

Mrs. Hamilton for a full minute did not speak, but she fixed that
searching look, to which we have once before alluded, upon Ellen's face;
and then said, in a tone which, though very low and calm, expressed as
much as that earnest look:--

"Ellen! is it necessary for me to tell you why you are here--necessary
to produce the proof that my words are right, and that you _have_ been
influenced by the fearful effects of some unconfessed and most heinous
sin? Little did I dream its nature."

For a moment Ellen stood as turned to stone, as white and rigid--the
next she had sunk down with a wild, bitter cry, at Mrs. Hamilton's feet,
and buried her face in her hands.

"Is it true--can it be true--that you, offspring of my own sister; dear
to me, cherished by me as my own child--you have been the guilty one to
appropriate, and conceal the appropriation of money, which has been a
source of distress by its loss, and the suspicion thence proceeding, for
the last seven weeks?--that you could listen to your uncle's words,
absolving his whole household as incapable of a deed which was actual
theft, and yet, by neither word nor sign, betray remorse or
guilt?--could behold the innocent suffering, the fearful misery of
suspicion, loss of character, without the power of clearing himself, and
stand calmly, heedlessly by--only proving by your hardened and
rebellious temper that all was not right within--Ellen, can this
be true?"

"Yes!" was the reply, but with such a fearful effort that her slight
frame shook as with an ague: "thank God that it is known! I dared not
bring down the punishment on myself; but I can bear it."

"This is mere mockery, Ellen: how dare I believe even this poor evidence
of repentance, with the recollection of your past conduct? What were the
notes you found?"

Ellen named them.

"Where are they?--This is but one, and the smallest."

Ellen's answer was scarcely audible.

"Used them--and for what?"

There was no answer; neither then nor when Mrs. Hamilton sternly
reiterated the question. She then demanded:--

"How long have they been in your possession?"

"Five or six weeks;" but the reply was so tremulous it carried no
conviction with it.

"Since Robert told his story to your uncle, or before?"


"Then your last answer was a falsehood, Ellen: it is full seven weeks
since my husband addressed the household on the subject. You could not
have so miscounted time, with such a deed to date by. Where did you
find them?"

Ellen described the spot.

"And what business had you there? You know that neither you nor your
cousins are ever allowed to go that way to Mrs. Langford's cottage, and
more especially alone. If you wanted to see her, why did you not go the
usual way? And when was this?--you must remember the exact day. Your
memory is not in general so treacherous."

Again Ellen was silent.

"Have you forgotten it?"

She crouched lower at her aunt's feet, but the answer was audible--"No."

"Then answer me, Ellen, this moment, and distinctly: for what purpose
were you seeking Mrs. Langford's cottage by that forbidden path,
and when?"

"I wanted money, and I went to ask her to take my trinkets--my watch,
if it must be--and dispose of them as I had read of others doing, as
miserable as I was; and the wind blew the notes to my very hand, and I
used them. I was mad then; I have been mad since, I believe: but I would
have returned the whole amount to Robert if I could have but parted with
my trinkets in time."

To describe the tone of utter despair, the recklessness as to the effect
her words would produce, is impossible. Every word increased Mrs.
Hamilton's bewilderment and misery. To suppose that Ellen did not feel
was folly. It was the very depth of wretchedness which was crushing her
to earth, but every answered and unanswered question but deepened the
mystery, and rendered her judge's task more difficult.

"And when was this, Ellen? I will have no more evasion--tell me the
exact day."

But she asked in vain. Ellen remained moveless and silent as the dead.

After several minutes Mrs. Hamilton removed her hands from her face, and
compelling her to lift up her head, gazed searchingly on her death-like
countenance for some moments in utter silence, and then said, in a tone
that Ellen never in her life forgot:--

"You cannot imagine, Ellen, that this half confession will either
satisfy me, or in the smallest degree redeem your sin. One, and one only
path is open to you; for all that you have said and left unsaid but
deepens your apparent guilt, and so blackens your conduct, that I can
scarcely believe I am addressing the child I so loved--and could still
so love, if but one real sign be given of remorse and penitence--one
hope of returning truth. But that sign, that hope, can only be a full
confession. Terrible as is the guilt of appropriating so large a sum,
granted it came by the merest chance into your hand; dark as is the
additional sin of concealment when an innocent person was
suffering--something still darker, more terrible, must be concealed
behind it, or you would not, could not, continue thus obdurately silent.
I can believe that under some heavy pressure of misery, some strong
excitement, the sum might have been used without thought, and that fear
might have prevented the confession of anything so dreadful; but what
was this heavy necessity for money, this strong excitement? What fearful
and mysterious difficulties have you been led into to call for either?
Tell me the truth, Ellen, the whole truth; let me have some hope of
saving you and myself the misery of publicly declaring you the guilty
one, and so proving Robert's innocence. Tell me what difficulty, what
misery so maddened you, as to demand the disposal of your trinkets. If
there be the least excuse, the smallest possibility of your obtaining in
time forgiveness, I will grant it. I will not believe you so utterly
fallen. I will do all I can to remove error, and yet to prevent
suffering; but to win this, I must have a full confession--every
question that I put to you must be clearly and satisfactorily answered,
and so bring back the only comfort to yourself, and hope to me. Will you
do this, Ellen?"

"Oh that I could!" was the reply in such bitter anguish, Mrs. Hamilton
actually shuddered. "But I cannot--must not--dare not. Aunt Emmeline,
hate me; condemn me to the severest, sharpest suffering; I wish for it,
pine for it: you cannot loathe me more than I do myself, but do not--do
not speak to me in these kind tones--I cannot bear them. It was because
I knew what a wretch I am, that I have so shunned you. I was not worthy
to be with you; oh, sentence me at once! I dare not answer as you wish."

"Dare not!" repeated Mrs. Hamilton, more and more bewildered; and to
conceal the emotion Ellen's wild words and agonized manner had produced,
adopting a greater sternness.

"You dare commit a sin, from which the lowest of my household would
shrink in horror, and yet tell me you dare not make the only atonement,
give me the only proof of real penitence I demand. This is a weak and
wicked subterfuge, Ellen, and will not pass with me. There can be no
reason for this fearful obduracy, not even the consciousness of greater
guilt, for I promise forgiveness, if it be possible, on the sole
condition of a full confession. Once more, will you speak? Your
hardihood will be utterly useless, for you cannot hope to conquer me;
and if you permit me to leave you with your conduct still clothed in
this impenetrable mystery, you will compel me to adopt measures to
subdue that defying spirit, which will expose you and myself to intense
suffering, but which _must_ force submission at last."

"You cannot inflict more than I have endured the last seven weeks,"
murmured Ellen, almost inarticulately. "I have borne that; I can bear
the rest."

"Then you will not answer? You are resolved not to tell me the day on
which you found that money, the use to which it was applied, the reason
of your choosing that forbidden path, permitting me to believe you
guilty of heavier sins than may be the case in reality. Listen to me,
Ellen; it is more than time this interview should cease; but I will give
you one chance more. It is now half-past seven,"--she took the watch
from her neck, and laid it on the table--"I will remain here one-half
hour longer: by that time this sinful temper may have passed away, and
you will consent to give me the confession I demand. I cannot believe
you so altered in two months as to choose obduracy and misery, when
pardon, and in time confidence and love, are offered in their stead. Get
up from that crouching posture; it can be but mock humility, and so only
aggravates your sin."

Ellen rose slowly and painfully, and seating herself at the table some
distance from her aunt, leaned her arms upon it, and buried her face
within them. Never before and never after did half an hour appear so
interminable to either Mrs. Hamilton or Ellen. It was well for the
firmness of the former, perhaps, that she could not read the heart of
that young girl, even if the cause of its anguish had been still
concealed. Again and again did the wild longing, turning her actually
faint and sick with its agony, come over her to reveal the whole, to ask
but rest and mercy for herself, pardon and security for Edward: but
then, clear as if held before her in letters of fire, she read every
word of her brother's desperate letter, particularly "Breathe it to my
uncle or aunt--for if she knows it he will--and you will never see me
more." Her mother, pallid as death, seemed to stand before her, freezing
confession on her heart and lips, looking at her threateningly, as she
had so often seen her, as if the very thought were guilt. The rapidly
advancing twilight, the large and lonely room, all added to that fearful
illusion; and if Ellen did succeed in praying it was with desperate
fervor for strength not to betray her brother. If ever there were a
martyr spirit, it was enshrined in that young, frail form.

"Aunt Emmeline, Aunt Emmeline, speak to me but one word--only one word
of kindness before you go. I do not ask for mercy--there can be none for
such a wretch as I am; I will bear without one complaint, one murmur,
all you may inflict--you cannot be too severe. Nothing can be such agony
as the utter loss of your affection; I thought, the last two months,
that I feared you so much that it was all fear, no love: but now, now
that you know my sin, it has all, all come back to make me still more
wretched." And before Mrs. Hamilton could prevent, or was in the least
aware of her intention, Ellen had obtained possession of one of her
hands, and was covering it with kisses, while her whole frame shook with
those convulsed, but completely tearless sobs.

"Will you confess, Ellen, if I stay? Will you give me the proof that it
_is_ such agony to lose my affection, that you _do_ love me as you
profess, and that it is only one sin which has so changed you? One word,
and, tardy as it is, I will listen, and it I can, forgive."

Ellen made no answer, and Mrs. Hamilton's newly raised hopes vanished;
she waited full two or three minutes, then gently disengaged her hand
and dress from Ellen's still convulsive grasp; the door closed, with a
sullen, seemingly unwilling sound, and Ellen was alone. She remained in
the same posture, the same spot, till a vague, cold terror so took
possession of her, that the room seemed filled with ghostly shapes, and
all the articles of furniture suddenly transformed to things of life;
and springing up, with the wild, fleet step of fear, she paused not till
she found herself in her own room, where, flinging herself on her bed,
she buried her face on her pillow, to shut out every object--oh, how she
longed to shut out thought!



In the year 1881, at a commemorative dinner given to her native novelist
by the city of Manchester, it was announced that the public library
contained two hundred and fifty volumes of his works, which passed
through seven thousand six hundred and sixty hands annually, so that his
stories were read at the rate of twenty volumes a day throughout the
year. This exceptional prophet, who was thus not without honor in his
own country, was the son of a prosperous attorney, and was himself
destined to the bar. But he detested the law and he loved letters, and
before he was twenty he had helped to edit a paper, had written essays,
a story, and a play,--none of which, fortunately for him, survive,--and
had gone to London, ostensibly to read in a lawyer's office, and really
to spin his web of fiction whenever opportunity offered. Chance
connected the fortunes of young Ainsworth with periodical literature,
where most of his early work appeared. His first important tale was
'Rookwood,' published in 1834. This describes the fortunes of a family
of Yorkshire gentry in the last century; but its real interest lies in
an episode which includes certain experiences of the notorious
highwayman, Dick Turpin, and his furious ride to outrun the hue and cry.
Sporting England was enraptured with the dash and breathlessness of this
adventure, and the novelist's fame was established.

His second romance, 'Crichton,' appeared in 1836. The hero of this tale
is the brilliant Scottish gentleman whose handsome person, extraordinary
scholarship, great accomplishments, courage, eloquence, subtlety, and
achievement gained him the sobriquet of "The Admirable." The chief
scenes are laid in Paris at the time of Catherine de' Medici's rule and
Henry III.'s reign, when the air was full of intrigue and conspiracy,
and when religious quarrels were not more bitter and dangerous than
political wrangles. The inscrutable king, the devout Queen Louise of
Lorraine, the scheming queen-mother, and Marguerite of Valois, half
saint, half profligate, a pearl of beauty and grace; Henry of Navarre,
ready to buy his Paris with sword or mass; well-known great nobles,
priests, astrologers, learned doctors, foreign potentates, ambassadors,
pilgrims, and poisoners,--pass before the reader's eye. The pictures of
student life, at a time when all the world swarmed to the great schools
of Paris, serve to explain the hero and the period.


When, in 1839, Dickens resigned the editorship of Bentley's Miscellany,
Ainsworth succeeded him. "The new whip," wrote the old one afterward,
"having mounted the box, drove straight to Newgate. He there took in
Jack Sheppard, and Cruikshank the artist; and aided by that very vulgar
but very wonderful draughtsman, he made an effective story of the
burglar's and housebreaker's life." Everybody read the story, and most
persons cried out against so ignoble a hero, so mean a history, and so
misdirected a literary energy. The author himself seems not to have been
proud of the success which sold thousands of copies of an unworthy book,
and placed a dramatic version of its vulgar adventures on the stage of
eight theatres at once. He turned his back on this profitable field to
produce, in rapid succession, 'Guy Fawkes,' a tale of the famous
Gunpowder Plot; 'The Tower of London,' a story of the Princess
Elizabeth, the reign of Queen Mary, and the melancholy episode of Lady
Jane Grey's brief glory; 'Old Saint Paul,' a story of the time of
Charles II., which contains the history of the Plague and of the Great
Fire; 'The Miser's Daughter'; 'Windsor Castle,' whose chief characters
are Katharine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Cardinal Wolsey, and Henry the
Eighth; 'St. James,' a tale of the court of Queen Anne; 'The Lancashire
Witches'; 'The Star-Chamber,' a historical story of the time of Charles
I.; 'The Constable of the Tower'; 'The Lord Mayor of London'; 'Cardinal
Pole,' which deals with the court and times of Philip and Mary; 'John
Law,' a story of the great Mississippi Bubble; 'Tower Hill,' whose
heroine is the luckless Catharine Howard; 'The Spanish Match,' a story
of the romantic pilgrimage of Prince Charles and "Steenie" Buckingham to
Spain for the fruitless wooing of the Spanish Princess; and at least ten
other romances, many of them in three volumes, all appearing between
1840 and 1873. Two of these were published simultaneously, in serial
form; and no year passed without its book, to the end of the novelist's
long life.

Whatever the twentieth century may say to Ainsworth's historic romances,
many of them have found high favor in the past. Concerning 'Crichton,'
so good a critic as "Father Prout" wrote:--"Indeed, I scarcely know any
of the so-called historical novels of this frivolous generation which
has altogether so graphically reproduced the spirit and character of the
time as this daring and dashing portraiture of the young Scot and his
contemporaries." The author of 'Waverley' praised more than one of the
romances, saying that they were written in his own vein. Even Maginn,
the satirical, thought that the novelist was doing excellent service to
history in making Englishmen understand how full of comedy and tragedy
were the old streets and the old buildings of London. And if Ainsworth
the writer received some buffetings, Ainsworth the man seems to have
been universally loved and approved. All the literary men of his time
were his cordial friends. Scott wrote for him 'The Bonnets of Bonnie
Dundee,' and objected to being paid. Dickens was eager to serve him.
Talfourd, Barham, Hood, Howitt, James, Jerrold, delighted in his
society. At dinner-parties and in country-houses he was a favorite
guest. Thus, easy in circumstances, surrounded by affection, happy in
the labor of his choice, passed the long life of the upright and kindly
English gentleman who spent fifty industrious years in recording the
annals of tragedy, wretchedness, and crime.


From 'Crichton'

Toward the close of Wednesday, the 4th of February, 1579, a vast
assemblage of scholars was collected before the Gothic gateway of the
ancient College of Navarre. So numerous was this concourse, that it not
merely blocked up the area in front of the renowned seminary in
question, but extended far down the Rue de la Montagne Sainte-Généviève,
in which it is situated. Never had such a disorderly rout been brought
together since the days of the uproar in 1557, when the predecessors of
these turbulent students took up arms, marched in a body to the
Pré-aux-Clercs, set fire to three houses in the vicinity, and slew a
sergeant of the guard, who vainly endeavored to restrain their fury.
Their last election of a rector, Messire Adrien d'Amboise,--_pater
eruditionum_, as he is described in his epitaph, when the same body
congregated within the cloisters of the Mathurins, and thence proceeded,
in tumultuous array, to the church of Saint Louis, in the isle of the
same name,--had been nothing to it. Every scholastic hive sent forth its
drones. Sorbonne, and Montaigu, Cluny, Harcourt, the Four Nations, and a
host of minor establishments--in all, amounting to forty-two--each added
its swarms; and a pretty buzzing they created! The fair of Saint-Germain
had only commenced the day before; but though its festivities were to
continue until Palm Sunday, and though it was the constant resort of the
scholars, who committed, during their days of carnival, ten thousand
excesses, it was now absolutely deserted.

The Pomme-de-Pin, the Castel, the Magdaleine, and the Mule, those
"capital caverns," celebrated in Pantagruel's conference with the
Limosin student, which has conferred upon them an immortality like that
of our own hostel, the Mermaid, were wholly neglected; the dice-box was
laid aside for the nonce; and the well-used cards were thrust into the
doublets of these thirsty tipplers of the schools.

But not alone did the crowd consist of the brawler, the gambler, the
bully, and the debauchee, though these, it must be confessed,
predominated. It was a grand medley of all sects and classes. The modest
demeanor of the retiring, pale-browed student was contrasted with the
ferocious aspect and reckless bearing of his immediate neighbor, whose
appearance was little better than that of a bravo. The grave theologian
and embryo ecclesiastic were placed in juxtaposition with the scoffing
and licentious acolyte; while the lawyer _in posse_, and the law-breaker
_in esse_, were numbered among a group whose pursuits were those of
violence and fraud.

Various as were the characters that composed it, not less diversified
were the costumes of this heterogeneous assemblage. Subject to no
particular regulations as to dress, or rather openly infracting them, if
any such were attempted to be enforced--each scholar, to whatever
college he belonged, attired himself in such garments as best suited his
taste or his finances. Taking it altogether, the mob was neither
remarkable for the fashion, nor the cleanliness of the apparel of
its members.

From Rabelais we learn that the passion of play was so strongly
implanted in the students of his day, that they would frequently stake
the points of their doublets at _tric-trac_ or _troumadame_; and but
little improvement had taken place in their morals or manners some
half-century afterward. The buckle at their girdle--the mantle on their
shoulders--the shirt to their back--often stood the hazard of the die;
and hence it not unfrequently happened, that a rusty _pourpoint_ and
ragged _chaussés_ were all the covering which the luckless dicers could
enumerate, owing, no doubt, "to the extreme rarity and penury of money
in their pouches."

Round or square caps, hoods and cloaks of black, gray, or other sombre
hue, were, however, the prevalent garb of the members of the university;
but here and there might be seen some gayer specimen of the tribe, whose
broad-brimmed, high-crowned felt hat and flaunting feather; whose
puffed-out sleeves and exaggerated ruff--with starched plaits of such
amplitude that they had been not inappropriately named _plats de Saint
Jean-Baptiste_, from the resemblance which the wearer's head bore to
that of the saint, when deposited in the charger of the daughter of
Herodias--were intended to ape the leading mode of the elegant court of
their sovereign, Henri Trois.

To such an extent had these insolent youngsters carried their license of
imitation that certain of their members, fresh from the fair of
Saint-Germain, and not wholly unacquainted with the hippocras of the
sutlers crowding its mart, wore around their throats enormous collars of
paper, cut in rivalry of the legitimate plaits of muslin, and bore in
their hands long hollow sticks from which they discharged peas and other
missiles, in imitation of the _sarbacanes_ or pea-shooters then in vogue
with the monarch and his favorites.

Thus fantastically tricked out, on that same day--nay, only a few hours
before, and at the fair above mentioned--had these facetious wights,
with more merriment than discretion, ventured to exhibit themselves
before the cortege of Henri, and to exclaim loud enough to reach the
ears of royalty, "_à la fraise on connoit le veau_!" a piece of
pleasantry for which they subsequently paid dear.

Notwithstanding its shabby appearance in detail, the general effect of
this scholastic rabble was striking and picturesque. The thick mustaches
and pointed beards with which the lips and chins of most of them were
decorated, gave to their physiognomies a manly and determined air, fully
borne out by their unrestrained carriage and deportment. To a man,
almost all were armed with a tough vine-wood bludgeon, called in their
language an _estoc volant_, tipped and shod with steel--a weapon fully
understood by them, and rendered, by their dexterity in the use of it,
formidable to their adversaries. Not a few carried at their girdles the
short rapier, so celebrated in their duels and brawls, or concealed
within their bosom a poniard or a two-edged knife.

The scholars of Paris have ever been a turbulent and ungovernable race;
and at the period of which this history treats, and indeed long before,
were little better than a licensed horde of robbers, consisting of a
pack of idle and wayward youths drafted from all parts of Europe, as
well as from the remoter provinces of their own nation. There was little
in common between the mass of students and their brethren, excepting the
fellowship resulting from the universal license in which all indulged.
Hence their thousand combats among themselves--combats almost invariably
attended with fatal consequences--and which the heads of the university
found it impossible to check.

Their own scanty resources, eked out by what little they could derive
from beggary or robbery, formed their chief subsistence; for many of
them were positive mendicants, and were so denominated: and being
possessed of a sanctuary within their own quarters, to which they could
at convenience retire, they submitted to the constraint of no laws
except those enforced within the jurisdiction of the university, and
hesitated at no means of enriching themselves at the expense of their
neighbors. Hence the frequent warfare waged between them and the
brethren of Saint-Germain des Prés, whose monastic domains adjoined
their territories, and whose meadows were the constant battleground of
their skirmishes; according to Dulaure--"_presque toujours un théâtre de
tumulte, de galanterie, de combats, de duels, de débauches et de
sédition_." Hence their sanguinary conflicts with the good citizens of
Paris, to whom they were wholly obnoxious, and who occasionally repaid
their aggressions with interest. In 1407 two of their number, convicted
of assassination and robbery, were condemned to the gibbet, and the
sentence was carried into execution; but so great was the uproar
occasioned in the university by this violation of its immunities that
the Provost of Paris, Guillaume de Tignonville, was compelled to take
down their bodies from Montfaucon and see them honorably and
ceremoniously interred. This recognition of their rights only served to
make matters worse, and for a series of years the nuisance
continued unabated.

It is not our purpose to record all the excesses of the university, nor
the means taken for their suppression. Vainly were the civil authorities
arrayed against them. Vainly were bulls thundered from the Vatican. No
amendment was effected. The weed might be cut down, but was never
entirely extirpated. Their feuds were transmitted from generation to
generation, and their old bone of contention with the abbot of
Saint-Germain (the Pré-aux-Clercs) was, after an uninterrupted strife
for thirty years, submitted to the arbitration of the Pope, who very
equitably refused to pronounce judgment in favor of either party.

Such were the scholars of Paris in the sixteenth century--such the
character of the clamorous crew who besieged the portals of the College
of Navarre.

The object that summoned together this unruly multitude was, it appears,
a desire on the part of the scholars to be present at a public
controversy or learned disputation, then occurring within the great hall
of the college before which they were congregated; and the
disappointment caused by their finding the gates closed, and all
entrance denied to them, occasioned their present disposition to riot.

It was in vain they were assured by the halberdiers stationed at the
gates, and who, with crossed pikes, strove to resist the onward pressure
of the mob, that the hall and court were already crammed to
overflowing, that there was not room even for the sole of a foot of a
doctor of the faculties, and that their orders were positive and
imperative that none beneath the degree of a bachelor or licentiate
should be admitted, and that a troop of martinets and new-comers could
have no possible claim to admission.

In vain they were told this was no ordinary disputation, no common
controversy, where all were alike entitled to license of ingress; that
the disputant was no undistinguished scholar, whose renown did not
extend beyond his own trifling sphere, and whose opinions, therefore,
few would care to hear and still fewer to oppugn, but a foreigner of
high rank, in high favor and fashion, and not more remarkable for his
extraordinary intellectual endowments than for his brilliant personal

In vain the trembling officials sought to clinch their arguments by
stating, that not alone did the conclave consist of the chief members of
the university, the senior doctors of theology, medicine, and law, the
professors of the humanities, rhetoric, and philosophy, and all the
various other dignitaries; but that the debate was honored by the
presence of Monsieur Christophe de Thou, first president of Parliament;
by that of the learned Jacques Augustin, of the same name; by one of the
secretaries of state and Governor of Paris, M. René de Villequier; by
the ambassadors of Elizabeth, Queen of England, and of Philip the
Second, King of Spain, and several of their suite; by Abbé de Brantôme;
by M. Miron, the court physician; by Cosmo Ruggieri, the Queen Mother's
astrologer; by the renowned poets and masque writers, Maîtres Ronsard,
Baïf, and Philippe Desportes; by the well-known advocate of Parliament,
Messire Étienne Pasquier: but also (and here came the gravamen of the
objection to their admission) by the two especial favorites of his
Majesty and leaders of affairs, the seigneurs of Joyeuse and D'Epernon.

It was in vain the students were informed that for the preservation of
strict decorum, they had been commanded by the rector to make fast the
gates. No excuses would avail them. The scholars were cogent reasoners,
and a show of staves soon brought their opponents to a nonplus. In this
line of argument they were perfectly aware of their ability to prove
a major.

"To the wall with them--to the wall!" cried a hundred infuriated voices.
"Down with the halberdiers--down with the gates--down with the
disputants--down with the rector himself!--Deny our privileges! To the
wall with old Adrien d'Amboise--exclude the disciples of the university
from their own halls!--curry favor with the court minions!--hold a
public controversy in private!--down with him! We will issue a mandamus
for a new election on the spot!"

Whereupon a deep groan resounded throughout the crowd. It was succeeded
by a volley of fresh execrations against the rector, and an angry
demonstration of bludgeons, accompanied by a brisk shower of peas from
the _sarbacanes_.

The officials turned pale, and calculated the chance of a broken neck in
reversion, with that of a broken crown in immediate possession. The
former being at least contingent, appeared the milder alternative, and
they might have been inclined to adopt it had not a further obstacle
stood in their way. The gate was barred withinside, and the vergers and
bedels who had the custody of the door, though alarmed at the tumult
without, positively refused to unfasten it.

Again the threats of the scholars were renewed, and further intimations
of violence were exhibited. Again the peas rattled upon the hands and
faces of the halberdiers, till their ears tingled with pain. "Prate to
us of the king's favorites," cried one of the foremost of the scholars,
a youth decorated with a paper collar: "they may rule within the
precincts of the Louvre, but not within the walls of the university.
_Maugre-bleu!_ We hold them cheap enough. We heed not the idle bark of
these full-fed court lapdogs. What to us is the bearer of a cup and
ball? By the four Evangelists, we will have none of them here! Let the
Gascon cadet, D'Epernon, reflect on the fate of Quélus and Maugiron, and
let our gay Joyeuse beware of the dog's death of Saint-Mégrin. Place for
better men--place for the schools--away with frills and _sarbacanes_."

"What to us is a president of Parliament, or a governor of the city?"
shouted another of the same gentry. "We care nothing for their
ministration. We recognize them not, save in their own courts. All their
authority fell to the ground at the gate of the Rue Saint Jacques, when
they entered our dominions. We care for no parties. We are trimmers, and
steer a middle course. We hold the Guisards as cheap as the Huguenots,
and the brethren of the League weigh as little with us as the followers
of Calvin. Our only sovereign is Gregory the Thirteenth, Pontiff of
Rome. Away with the Guise and the Béarnaise!"

"Away with Henri of Navarre, if you please," cried a scholar of
Harcourt; "or Henri of Valois, if you list: but by all the saints, not
with Henri of Lorraine; he is the fast friend of the true faith.
No!--No!--live the Guise--live the Holy Union!"

"Away with Elizabeth of England," cried a scholar of Cluny: "what doth
her representative here? Seeks he a spouse for her among our schools?
She will have no great bargain, I own, if she bestows her royal hand
upon our Duc d'Anjou."

"If you value your buff jerkin, I counsel you to say nothing slighting
of the Queen of England in my hearing," returned a bluff,
broad-shouldered fellow, raising his bludgeon after a menacing fashion.
He was an Englishman belonging to the Four Nations, and had a huge
bull-dog at his heels.

"Away with Philip of Spain and his ambassador," cried a Bernardin.

"By the eyes of my mistress!" cried a Spaniard belonging to the College
of Narbonne, with huge mustaches curled half-way up his bronzed and
insolent visage, and a slouched hat pulled over his brow. "This may not
pass muster. The representative of the King of Spain must be respected
even by the Academics of Lutetia. Which of you shall gainsay me?--ha!"

"What business has he here with his suite, on occasions like to the
present?" returned the Bernardin. "_Tête-Dieu!_ this disputation is one
that little concerns the interest of your politic king; and methinks Don
Philip, or his representative, has regard for little else than
whatsoever advances his own interest. Your ambassador hath, I doubt not,
some latent motive for his present attendance in our schools."

"Perchance," returned the Spaniard. "We will discuss that point anon."

"And what doth the pander of the Sybarite within the dusty halls of
learning?" ejaculated a scholar of Lemoine. "What doth the jealous-pated
slayer of his wife and unborn child within the reach of free-spoken
voices, and mayhap of well-directed blades? Methinks it were more
prudent to tarry within the bowers of his harem, than to hazard his
perfumed person among us."

"Well said," rejoined the scholar of Cluny--"down with René de
Villequier, though he be Governor of Paris."

"What title hath the Abbé de Brantôme to a seat among us?" said the
scion of Harcourt: "faith, he hath a reputation for wit, and
scholarship, and gallantry. But what is that to us? His place might now
be filled by worthier men."

"And what, in the devil's name, brings Cosmo Ruggieri hither?" asked the
Bernardin. "What doth the wrinkled old dealer in the black art hope to
learn from us? We are not given to alchemy, and the occult sciences; we
practice no hidden mysteries; we brew no philtres; we compound no slow
poisons; we vend no waxen images. What doth he here, I say! 'Tis a
scandal in the rector to permit his presence. And what if he came under
the safeguard, and by the authority of his mistress, Catherine de'
Medicis! Shall we regard her passport? Down with the heathen abbé, his
abominations have been endured too long; they smell rank in our
nostrils. Think how he ensnared La Mole--think on his numberless
victims. Who mixed the infernal potion of Charles the Ninth? Let him
answer that. Down with the infidel--the Jew--the sorcerer! The stake
were too good for him. Down with Ruggieri, I say."

"Aye, down with the accursed astrologer," echoed the whole crew. "He has
done abundant mischief in his time. A day of reckoning has arrived. Hath
he cast his own horoscope? Did he foresee his own fate? Ha! ha!"

"And then the poets," cried another member of the Four Nations--"a
plague on all three. Would they were elsewhere. In what does this
disputation concern them? Pierre Ronsard, being an offshoot of this same
College of Navarre, hath indubitably a claim upon our consideration. But
he is old, and I marvel that his gout permitted him to hobble so far.
Oh, the mercenary old scribbler! His late verses halt like himself, yet
he lowereth not the price of his masques. Besides which, he is grown
moral, and unsays all his former good things. _Mort Dieu!_ your
superannuated bards ever recant the indiscretions of their nonage.
Clément Marot took to psalm-writing in his old age. As to Baïf, his name
will scarce outlast the scenery of his ballets, his plays are out of
fashion since the Gelosi arrived. He deserves no place among us. And
Philip Desportes owes all his present preferment to the Vicomte de
Joyeuse. However, he is not altogether devoid of merit--let him wear his
bays, so he trouble us not with his company. Room for the sophisters of
Narbonne, I say. To the dogs with poetry!"

"_Morbleu!_" exclaimed another. "What are the sophisters of Narbonne to
the decretists of the Sorbonne, who will discuss you a position of
Cornelius à Lapide, or a sentence of Peter Lombard, as readily as you
would a flask of hippocras, or a slice of botargo. Aye, and cry
_transeat_ to a thesis of Aristotle, though it be against rule. What
sayst thou, Capéte?" continued he, addressing his neighbor, a scholar of
Montaigu, whose modest gray capuchin procured him this appellation: "are
we the men to be thus scurvily entreated?"

"I see not that your merits are greater than ours," returned he of the
capuch, "though our boasting be less. The followers of the lowly John
Standoncht are as well able to maintain their tenets in controversy as
those of Robert of Sorbon; and I see no reason why entrance should be
denied us. The honor of the university is at stake, and all its strength
should be mustered to assert it."

"Rightly spoken," returned the Bernardin; "and it were a lasting
disgrace to our schools were this arrogant Scot to carry off their
laurels when so many who might have been found to lower his crest are
allowed no share in their defense. The contest is one that concerns us
all alike. We at least can arbitrate in case of need."

"I care not for the honors of the university," rejoined one of the
Écossais, or Scotch College, then existing in the Rue des Amandiers,
"but I care much for the glory of my countryman, and I would gladly have
witnessed the triumph of the disciples of Rutherford and of the classic
Buchanan. But if the arbitrament to which you would resort is to be that
of voices merely, I am glad the rector in his wisdom has thought fit to
keep you without, even though I myself be personally inconvenienced
by it."

"Name o' God! what fine talking is this?" retorted the Spaniard. "There
is little chance of the triumph you predicate for your countryman. Trust
me, we shall have to greet his departure from the debate with many
hisses and few cheers; and if we could penetrate through the plates of
yon iron door, and gaze into the court it conceals from our view, we
should find that the loftiness of his pretensions has been already
humbled, and his arguments graveled. _For la Litania de los Santos!_ to
think of comparing an obscure student of the pitiful College of Saint
Andrew with the erudite doctors of the most erudite university in the
world, always excepting those of Valencia and Salamanca. It needs all
thy country's assurance to keep the blush of shame from mantling in
thy cheeks."

"The seminary you revile," replied the Scot, haughtily, "has been the
nursery of our Scottish kings. Nay, the youthful James Stuart pursued
his studies under the same roof, beneath the same wise instruction, and
at the self-same time as our noble and gifted James Crichton, whom you
have falsely denominated an adventurer, but whose lineage is not less
distinguished than his learning. His renown has preceded him hither, and
he was not unknown to your doctors when he affixed his programme to
these college walls. Hark!" continued the speaker, exultingly, "and
listen to yon evidence of his triumph."

And as he spoke, a loud and continued clapping of hands proceeding from
within was distinctly heard above the roar of the students.

"That may be at his defeat," muttered the Spaniard, between his teeth.

"No such thing," replied the Scot. "I heard the name of Crichton mingled
with the plaudits."

"And who may be this Phoenix--this Gargantua of intellect--who is to
vanquish us all, as Panurge did Thaumast, the Englishman?" asked the
Sorbonist of the Scot. "Who is he that is more philosophic than

"Who is more studious than Carneades!" said the Bernardin.

"More versatile than Alcibiades!" said Montaigu.

"More subtle than Averroës!" cried Harcourt.

"More mystical than Plotinus!" said one of the Four Nations.

"More visionary than Artemidorus!" said Cluny.

"More infallible than the Pope!" added Lemoine.

"And who pretends to dispute _de omni scibili_," shouted the Spaniard.

"_Et quolibet ente!_! added the Sorbonist.

"Mine ears are stunned with your vociferations," replied the Scot. "You
ask me who James Crichton is, and yourselves give the response. You have
mockingly said he is a _rara avis_; a prodigy of wit and learning: and
you have unintentionally spoken the truth. He is so. But I will tell you
that of him of which you are wholly ignorant, or which you have
designedly overlooked. His condition is that of a Scottish gentleman of
high rank. Like your Spanish grandee, he need not doff his cap to kings.
On either side hath he the best of blood in his veins. His mother was a
Stuart directly descended from that regal line. His father, who owneth
the fair domains of Eliock and Cluny, was Lord Advocate to our bonny
and luckless Mary (whom Heaven assoilzie!) and still holds his high
office. Methinks the Lairds of Crichton might have been heard of here.
Howbeit, they are well known to me, who being an Ogilvy of Balfour, have
often heard tell of a certain contract or obligation, whereby--"

"_Basta!_" interrupted the Spaniard, "heed not thine own affairs, worthy
Scot. Tell us of this Crichton--ha!"

"I have told you already more than I ought to have told," replied
Ogilvy, sullenly. "And if you lack further information respecting James
Crichton's favor at the Louvre, his feats of arms, and the esteem in
which he is held by all the dames of honor in attendance upon your Queen
Mother, Catherine de' Medicis--and moreover," he added, with somewhat of
sarcasm, "with her fair daughter, Marguerite de Valois--you will do well
to address yourself to the king's buffoon, Maître Chicot, whom I see not
far off. Few there are, methinks, who could in such short space have won
so much favor, or acquired such bright renown."

"Humph!" muttered the Englishman, "your Scotsmen stick by each other all
the world over. This James Crichton may or may not be the hero he is
vaunted, but I shall mistrust his praises from that quarter, till I find
their truth confirmed."

"He has, to be sure, acquired the character of a stout swords-man," said
the Bernardin, "to give the poor devil his due."

"He has not met with his match at the _salle-d'armes_, though he has
crossed blades with the first in France," replied Ogilvy.

"I have seen him at the Manége," said the Sorbonist, "go through his
course of equitation, and being a not altogether unskillful horseman
myself, I can report favorably of his performance."

"There is none among your youth can sit a steed like him," returned
Ogilvy, "nor can any of the jousters carry off the ring with more
certainty at the lists. I would fain hold my tongue, but you enforce me
to speak in his praise."

"Body of Bacchus!" exclaimed the Spaniard, half unsheathing the lengthy
weapon that hung by his side, "I will hold you a wager of ten
rose-nobles to as many silver reals of Spain, that with this stanch
Toledo I will overcome your vaunted Crichton in close fight in any
manner or practice of fence or digladiation which he may appoint--sword
and dagger, or sword only--stripped to the girdle or armed to the
teeth. By our Saint Trinidad! I will have satisfaction for the
contumelious affront he hath put upon the very learned gymnasium to
which I belong; and it would gladden me to clip the wings of this
loud-crowing cock, or any of his dunghill crew," added he, with a
scornful gesture at the Scotsman.

"If that be all you seek, you shall not need to go far in your quest,"
returned Ogilvy. "Tarry till this controversy be ended, and if I match
not your Spanish blade with a Scottish broad-sword, and approve you as
recreant at heart as you are boastful and injurious of speech, may Saint
Andrew forever after withhold from me his protection."

"The Devil!" exclaimed the Spaniard. "Thy Scottish saint will little
avail thee, since thou hast incurred my indignation. Betake thee,
therefore, to thy paternosters, if thou has grace withal to mutter them;
for within the hour thou art assuredly food for the kites of the

"Look to thyself, vile braggart!" rejoined Ogilvy, scornfully: "I
promise thee thou shalt need other intercession than thine own to
purchase safety at my hands."

"Courage, Master Ogilvy," said the Englishman, "thou wilt do well to
slit the ears of this Spanish swashbuckler. I warrant me he hides a
craven spirit beneath that slashed _pourpoint_. Thou art in the right,
man, to make him eat his words. Be this Crichton what he may, he is at
least thy countryman, and in part mine own."

"And as such I will uphold him," said Ogilvy, "against any odds."

"Bravo! my valorous Don Diego Caravaja," said the Sorbonist, slapping
the Spaniard on the shoulder, and speaking in his ear. "Shall these
scurvy Scots carry all before them?--I warrant me, no. We will make
common cause against the whole beggarly nation; and in the meanwhile we
intrust thee with this particular quarrel. See thou acquit thyself in it
as beseemeth a descendant of the Cid."

"Account him already abased," returned Caravaja. "By Pelayo, I would the
other were at his back, that both might be transfixed at a blow--ha!"

"To return to the subject of difference," said the Sorbonist, who was
too much delighted with the prospect of a duel to allow the quarrel a
chance of subsiding, while it was in his power to fan the flame; "to
return to the difference," said he, aloud, glancing at Ogilvy; "it must
be conceded that as a wassailer this Crichton is without a peer. None of
us may presume to cope with him in the matter of the flask and the
flagon, though we number among us some jolly topers. Friar John, with
the Priestess of Bacbuc, was a washy bibber compared with him."

"He worships at the shrines of other priestesses besides hers of Bacbuc,
if I be not wrongly informed," added Montaigu, who understood the drift
of his companion.

"Else, wherefore our rejoinder to his cartels?" returned the Sorbonist.
"Do you not call to mind that beneath his arrogant defiance of our
learned body, affixed to the walls of the Sorbonne, it was written,
'That he who would behold this miracle of learning must hie to the
tavern or bordel?' Was it not so, my hidalgo?"

"I have myself seen him at the temulentive tavern of the Falcon,"
returned Caravaja, "and at the lupanarian haunts in the Champ Gaillard
and the Val-d'Amour. You understand me--ha!"

"Ha! ha! ha!" chorused the scholars. "James Crichton is no stoic. He is
a disciple of Epicurus. _Vel in puellam impingit, vel in
poculum_--ha! ha!"

"'Tis said that he hath dealings with the Evil One," observed the man of
Harcourt, with a mysterious air; "and that, like Jeanne d'Arc, he hath
surrendered his soul for his temporal welfare. Hence his wondrous lore;
hence his supernatural beauty and accomplishments; hence his power of
fascinating the fair sex; hence his constant run of luck with the dice;
hence, also, his invulnerableness to the sword."

"'Tis said, also, that he has a familiar spirit, who attends him in the
semblance of a black dog," said Montaigu.

"Or in that of a dwarf, like the sooty imp of Cosmo Ruggieri," said
Harcourt. "Is it not so?" he asked, turning to the Scot.

"He lies in his throat who says so," cried Ogilvy, losing all patience.
"To one and all of you I breathe defiance; and there is not a brother in
the college to which I belong who will not maintain my quarrel."

A loud laugh of derision followed this sally; and, ashamed of having
justly exposed himself to ridicule by his idle and unworthy display of
passion, the Scotsman held his peace and endeavored to turn a deaf ear
to their taunts.

The gates of the College of Navarre were suddenly thrown open, and a
long-continued thunder of applause bursting from within, announced the
conclusion of the debate. That it had terminated in favor of Crichton
could no longer be doubted, as his name formed the burden of all the
plaudits with which the courts were ringing. All was excitement: there
was a general movement. Ogilvy could no longer restrain himself. Pushing
forward by prodigious efforts, he secured himself a position at
the portal.

The first person who presented himself to his inquiring eyes was a
gallant figure in a glittering steel corselet crossed by a silken sash,
who bore at his side a long sword with a magnificent handle, and upon
his shoulder a lance of some six feet in length, headed with a long
scarlet tassel, and brass half-moon pendant. "Is not Crichton
victorious?" asked Ogilvy of Captain Larchant, for he it was.

"He hath acquitted himself to admiration," replied the guardsman, who,
contrary to the custom of such gentry (for captains of the guard have
been fine gentlemen in all ages), did not appear to be displeased at
this appeal to his courtesy, "and the rector hath adjudged him all the
honors that can be bestowed by the university."

"Hurrah for old Scotland," shouted Ogilvy, throwing his bonnet in the
air; "I was sure it would be so; this is a day worth living for. _Hoec
olim meminisse juvabit_."

"Thou at least shalt have reason to remember it," muttered Caravaja,
who, being opposite to him, heard the exclamation--"and he too,
perchance," he added, frowning gloomily, and drawing his cloak over
his shoulder.

"If the noble Crichton be compatriot of yours, you are in the right to
be proud of him," replied Captain Larchant, "for the memory of his deeds
of this day will live as long as learning shall be held in reverence.
Never before hath such a marvelous display of universal erudition been
heard within these schools. By my faith, I am absolutely
wonder-stricken, and not I alone, but all. In proof of which I need only
tell you, that coupling his matchless scholarship with his extraordinary
accomplishments, the professors in their address to him at the close of
the controversy have bestowed upon him the epithet of 'Admirable'--an
appellation by which he will ever after be distinguished."

"The Admirable Crichton!" echoed Ogilvy--"hear you that!--a title
adjudged to him by the whole conclave of the university--hurrah! The
Admirable Crichton! 'Tis a name will find an echo in the heart of every
true Scot. By Saint Andrew! this is a proud day for us."

"In the mean time," said Larchant, smiling at Ogilvy's exultations, and
describing a circle with the point of his lance, "I must trouble you to
stand back, Messieurs Scholars, and leave free passage for the rector
and his train--Archers advance, and make clear the way, and let the
companies of the Baron D'Epernon and of the Vicomte de Joyeuse be
summoned, as well as the guard of his excellency, Seigneur René de
Villequier. Patience, messieurs, you will hear all particulars anon."

So saying, he retired, and the men-at-arms, less complaisant than their
leaders, soon succeeded in forcing back the crowd.



Mark Akenside is of less importance in genuine poetic rank than in
literary history. He was technically a real poet; but he had not a
great, a spontaneous, nor a fertile poetical mind. Nevertheless, a
writer who gave pleasure to a generation cannot be set aside. The fact
that the mid-eighteenth century ranked him among its foremost poets is
interesting and still significant. It determines the poetic standard and
product of that age; and the fact that, judged thus, Akenside was fairly
entitled to his fame.

[Illustration: Mark Akenside]

He was the son of a butcher, born November 9th, 1721, in
Newcastle-on-Tyne, whence Eldon and Stowell also sprang. He attracted
great attention by an early poem, 'The Virtuoso.' The citizens of that
commercial town have always appreciated their great men and valued
intellectual distinction, and its Dissenters sent him at their own
expense to Edinburgh to study for the Presbyterian ministry. A year
later he gave up theology for medicine--honorably repaying the money
advanced for his divinity studies, if obviously out of some one's
else pocket.

After some struggle in provincial towns, his immense literary
reputation--for at twenty-four he was a star of the first magnitude in
Great Britain--and the generosity of a friend enabled him to acquire a
fashionable London practice. He wrote medical treatises which at the
time made him a leader in his profession, secured a rich clientage, and
prospered greatly. In 1759 he was made physician to Christ's Hospital,
where, however valued professionally, he is charged with being brutal
and offensive to the poor; with indulging his fastidiousness, temper,
and pomposity, and with forgetting that he owed anything to mere duty
or humanity.

Unfortunately, too, Akenside availed himself of that mixture of
complaisance and arrogance by which almost alone a man of no birth can
rise in a society graded by birth. He concealed his origin and was
ashamed of his pedigree. But the blame for his flunkeyism belongs,
perhaps, less to him than to the insolent caste feeling of society,
which forced it on him as a measure of self-defense and of advancement.
He wanted money, loved place and selfish comfort, and his nature did not
balk at the means of getting them,--including living on a friend when he
did not need such help. To become physician to the Queen, he turned his
coat from Whig to Tory; but no one familiar with the politics of the
time will regard this as an unusual offense. It must also be remembered
that Akenside possessed a delicate constitution, keen senses, and
irritable nerves; and that he was a parvenu, lacking the power of
self-control even among strangers. These traits explain, though they do
not excuse, his bad temper to the unclean and disagreeable patients of
the hospital, and they mitigate the fact that his industry was paralyzed
by material prosperity, and his self-culture interfered with by conceit.
His early and sweeping success injured him as many a greater man has
been thus injured.

Moreover, his temper was probably soured by secret bitternesses. His
health, his nerves, an entire absence of the sense of humor, and his
lack of repartee, made him shun like Pope and Horace Walpole the
bibulous and gluttonous element of eighteenth-century British society.
For its brutal horseplay and uncivil practical joking which passed for
wit, Akenside had no tolerance, yet he felt unwilling to go where he
would be outshone by inferior men. His strutty arrogance of manner, like
excessive prudery in a woman, may have been a fortification to a
garrison too weak to fight in the open field. And it must be admitted
that, as so often happens, Akenside's outward _ensemble_ was eminently
what the vulgar world terms "guyable." He was not a little of a fop. He
was plain-featured and yet assuming in manner. He hobbled in walking
from lameness of tell-tale origin,--a cleaver falling on his foot in
childhood, compelling him to wear an artificial heel--and he was
morbidly sensitive over it. His prim formality of manner, his sword and
stiff-curled wig, his small and sickly face trying to maintain an
expression impressively dignified, made him a ludicrous figure, which
his contemporaries never tired of ridiculing and caricaturing.
Henderson, the actor, said that "Akenside, when he walked the streets,
looked for all the world like one of his own Alexandrines set upright."
Smollett even used him as a model for the pedantic doctor in 'Peregrine
Pickle,' who gives a dinner in the fashion of the ancients, and dresses
each dish according to humorous literary recipes.

But there were those who seem to have known an inner and superior
personality beneath the brusqueness, conceit, and policy, beyond the
nerves and fears; and they valued it greatly, at least on the
intellectual side. A wealthy and amiable young Londoner, Jeremiah Dyson,
remained a friend so enduring and admiring as to give the poet a house
in Bloomsbury Square, with £300 a year and a chariot, and personally to
extend his medical practice. We cannot suppose this to be a case of
patron and parasite. Other men of judgment showed like esteem. And in
congenial society, Akenside was his best and therefore truest self. He
was an easy and even brilliant talker, displaying learning and immense
memory, taste, and philosophic reflection; and as a volunteer critic he
has the unique distinction of a man who had what books he liked given
him by the publishers for the sake of his oral comments!

The standard edition of Akenside's poems is that edited by Alexander
Dyce (London, 1835). Few of them require notice here. His early effort,
'The Virtuoso,' was merely an acknowledged and servile imitation of
Spenser. The claim made by the poet's biographers that he preceded
Thomson in reintroducing the Spenserian stanza is groundless. Pope
preceded him, and Thomson renewed its popularity by being the first to
use it in a poem of real merit, 'The Castle of Indolence.' Mr. Gosse
calls the 'Hymn to the Naiads' "beautiful,"--"of transcendent
merit,"--"perhaps the most elegant of his productions." The 'Epistle to
Curio,' however, must be held his best poem,--doubtless because it is
the only one which came from his heart; and even its merit is much more
in rhetorical energy than in art or beauty. As to its allusion and
object, the real and classic Curio of Roman social history was a protégé
of Cicero's, a rich young Senator, who began as a champion of liberty
and then sold himself to Caesar to pay his debts. In Akenside's poem,
Curio represents William Pulteney, Walpole's antagonist, the hope of
that younger generation who hated Walpole's system of parliamentary
corruption and official jobbing. This party had looked to Pulteney for
a clean and public-spirited administration. Their hero was carried to a
brief triumph on the wave of their enthusiasm. But Pulteney disappointed
them bitterly: he took a peerage, and sunk into utter and permanent
political damnation, with no choice but Walpole's methods and tools, no
policy save Walpole's to redeem the withdrawal of so much lofty promise,
and no aims but personal advancement. From Akenside's address to him,
the famous 'Epistle to Curio,' a citation is made below. Akenside's
fame, however, rests on the 'Pleasures of the Imagination.' He began it
at seventeen; though in the case of works begun in childhood, it is
safer to accept the date of finishing as the year of the real
composition. He published it six years later, in 1744, on the advice and
with the warm admiration of Pope, a man never wasteful of encomiums on
the poetry of his contemporaries. It raised its author to immediate
fame. It secures him a place among the accepted English classics still.
Yet neither its thought nor its style makes the omission to read it any
irreparable loss. It is cultivated rhetoric rather than true poetry. Its
chief merit and highest usefulness are that it suggested two far
superior poems, Campbell's 'Pleasures of Hope' and Rogers's 'Pleasures
of Memory.' It is the relationship to these that really keeps
Akenside's alive.

In scope, the poem consists of two thousand lines of blank verse. It is
distributed in three books. The first defines the sources, methods, and
results of imagination; the second its distinction from philosophy and
its enchantment by the passions; the third sets forth the power of
imagination to give pleasure, and illustrates its mental operation. The
author remodeled the poem in 1757, but it is generally agreed that he
injured it. Macaulay says he spoiled it, and another critic delightfully
observes that he "stuffed it with intellectual horsehair."

The year of Akenside's death (1770) gave birth to Wordsworth. The freer
and nobler natural school of poetry came to supplant the artificial one,
belonging to an epoch of wigs and false calves, and to open toward the
far greater one of the romanticism of Scott and Byron.


[With this earlier and finer form of Akenside's address to the unstable
Pulteney (see biographical sketch above) must not be confused its later
embodiment among his odes; of which it is 'IX: to Curio.' Much of its
thought and diction were transferred to the Ode named; but the latter by
no means happily compares with the original 'Epistle.' Both versions,
however, are of the same year, 1744.]

     Thrice has the spring beheld thy faded fame,
     And the fourth winter rises on thy shame,
     Since I exulting grasped the votive shell.
     In sounds of triumph all thy praise to tell;
     Blest could my skill through ages make thee shine,
     And proud to mix my memory with thine.
     But now the cause that waked my song before,
     With praise, with triumph, crowns the toil no more.
     If to the glorious man whose faithful cares,
     Nor quelled by malice, nor relaxed by years,
     Had awed Ambition's wild audacious hate,
     And dragged at length Corruption to her fate;
     If every tongue its large applauses owed,
     And well-earned laurels every muse bestowed;
     If public Justice urged the high reward,
     And Freedom smiled on the devoted bard:
     Say then,--to him whose levity or lust
     Laid all a people's generous hopes in dust,
     Who taught Ambition firmer heights of power
     And saved Corruption at her hopeless hour,
     Does not each tongue its execrations owe?
     Shall not each Muse a wreath of shame bestow?
     And public Justice sanctify the award?
     And Freedom's hand protect the impartial bard?

     There are who say they viewed without amaze
     The sad reverse of all thy former praise;
     That through the pageants of a patriot's name,
     They pierced the foulness of thy secret aim;
     Or deemed thy arm exalted but to throw
     The public thunder on a private foe.
     But I, whose soul consented to thy cause,
     Who felt thy genius stamp its own applause,
     Who saw the spirits of each glorious age
     Move in thy bosom, and direct thy rage,--
     I scorned the ungenerous gloss of slavish minds,
     The owl-eyed race, whom Virtue's lustre blinds.
     Spite of the learned in the ways of vice,
     And all who prove that each man has his price,
     I still believed thy end was just and free;
     And yet, even yet believe it--spite of thee.
     Even though thy mouth impure has dared disclaim,
     Urged by the wretched impotence of shame,
     Whatever filial cares thy zeal had paid
     To laws infirm, and liberty decayed;
     Has begged Ambition to forgive the show;
     Has told Corruption thou wert ne'er her foe;
     Has boasted in thy country's awful ear,
     Her gross delusion when she held thee dear;
     How tame she followed thy tempestuous call,
     And heard thy pompous tales, and trusted all--
     Rise from your sad abodes, ye curst of old
     For laws subverted, and for cities sold!
     Paint all the noblest trophies of your guilt,
     The oaths you perjured, and the blood you spilt;
     Yet must you one untempted vileness own,
     One dreadful palm reserved for him alone:
     With studied arts his country's praise to spurn,
     To beg the infamy he did not earn,
     To challenge hate when honor was his due,
     And plead his crimes where all his virtue knew.

       *       *       *       *       *

     When they who, loud for liberty and laws,
     In doubtful times had fought their country's cause,
     When now of conquest and dominion sure,
     They sought alone to hold their fruit secure;
     When taught by these, Oppression hid the face,
     To leave Corruption stronger in her place,
     By silent spells to work the public fate,
     And taint the vitals of the passive state,
     Till healing Wisdom should avail no more,
     And Freedom loath to tread the poisoned shore:
     Then, like some guardian god that flies to save
     The weary pilgrim from an instant grave,
     Whom, sleeping and secure, the guileful snake
     Steals near and nearer thro' the peaceful brake,--
     Then Curio rose to ward the public woe,
     To wake the heedless and incite the slow,
     Against Corruption Liberty to arm.
     And quell the enchantress by a mightier charm.

       *       *       *       *       *

     Lo! the deciding hour at last appears;
     The hour of every freeman's hopes and fears!

       *       *       *       *       *

     See Freedom mounting her eternal throne,
     The sword submitted, and the laws her own!
     See! public Power, chastised, beneath her stands,
     With eyes intent, and uncorrupted hands!
     See private life by wisest arts reclaimed!
     See ardent youth to noblest manners framed!
     See us acquire whate'er was sought by you,
     If Curio, only Curio will be true.

     'Twas then--O shame! O trust how ill repaid!
     O Latium, oft by faithless sons betrayed!--
     'Twas then--What frenzy on thy reason stole?
     What spells unsinewed thy determined soul?--
     Is this the man in Freedom's cause approved?
     The man so great, so honored, so beloved?
     This patient slave by tinsel chains allured?
     This wretched suitor for a boon abjured?
     This Curio, hated and despised by all?
     Who fell himself to work his country's fall?

     O lost, alike to action and repose!
     Unknown, unpitied in the worst of woes!
     With all that conscious, undissembled pride,
     Sold to the insults of a foe defied!
     With all that habit of familiar fame,
     Doomed to exhaust the dregs of life in shame!
     The sole sad refuge of thy baffled art
     To act a stateman's dull, exploded part,
     Renounce the praise no longer in thy power,
     Display thy virtue, though without a dower,
     Contemn the giddy crowd, the vulgar wind,
     And shut thy eyes that others may be blind.

       *       *       *       *       *

     O long revered, and late resigned to shame!
     If this uncourtly page thy notice claim
     When the loud cares of business are withdrawn,
     Nor well-drest beggars round thy footsteps fawn;
     In that still, thoughtful, solitary hour,
     When Truth exerts her unresisted power,
     Breaks the false optics tinged with fortune's glare,
     Unlocks the breast, and lays the passions bare:
     Then turn thy eyes on that important scene,
     And ask thyself--if all be well within.
     Where is the heart-felt worth and weight of soul,
     Which labor could not stop, nor fear control?
     Where the known dignity, the stamp of awe,
     Which, half abashed, the proud and venal saw?
     Where the calm triumphs of an honest cause?
     Where the delightful taste of just applause?
     Where the strong reason, the commanding tongue,
     On which the Senate fired or trembling hung!
     All vanished, all are sold--and in their room,
     Couched in thy bosom's deep, distracted gloom,
     See the pale form of barbarous Grandeur dwell,
     Like some grim idol in a sorcerer's cell!
     To her in chains thy dignity was led;
     At her polluted shrine thy honour bled;
     With blasted weeds thy awful brow she crowned,
     Thy powerful tongue with poisoned philters bound,
     That baffled Reason straight indignant flew,
     And fair Persuasion from her seat withdrew:
     For now no longer Truth supports thy cause;
     No longer Glory prompts thee to applause;
     No longer Virtue breathing in thy breast,
     With all her conscious majesty confest,
     Still bright and brighter wakes the almighty flame,
     To rouse the feeble, and the willful tame,
     And where she sees the catching glimpses roll,
     Spreads the strong blaze, and all involves the soul;
     But cold restraints thy conscious fancy chill,
     And formal passions mock thy struggling will;
     Or, if thy Genius e'er forget his chain,
     And reach impatient at a nobler strain,
     Soon the sad bodings of contemptuous mirth
     Shoot through thy breast, and stab the generous birth,
     Till, blind with smart, from truth to frenzy tost,
     And all the tenor of thy reason lost,
     Perhaps thy anguish drains a real tear;
     While some with pity, some with laughter hear.

       *       *       *       *       *

     Ye mighty foes of liberty and rest,
     Give way, do homage to a mightier guest!
     Ye daring spirits of the Roman race,
     See Curio's toil your proudest claims efface!--
     Awed at the name, fierce Appius rising bends,
     And hardy Cinna from his throne attends:
     "He comes," they cry, "to whom the fates assigned
     With surer arts to work what we designed,
     From year to year the stubborn herd to sway,
     Mouth all their wrongs, and all their rage obey;
     Till owned their guide and trusted with their power,
     He mocked their hopes in one decisive hour;
     Then, tired and yielding, led them to the chain,
     And quenched the spirit we provoked in vain."
     But thou, Supreme, by whose eternal hands
     Fair Liberty's heroic empire stands;
     Whose thunders the rebellious deep control,
     And quell the triumphs of the traitor's soul,
     O turn this dreadful omen far away!
     On Freedom's foes their own attempts repay;
     Relume her sacred fire so near suppressed,
     And fix her shrine in every Roman breast:
     Though bold corruption boast around the land,
     "Let virtue, if she can, my baits withstand!"
     Though bolder now she urge the accursed claim,
     Gay with her trophies raised on Curio's shame;
     Yet some there are who scorn her impious mirth,
     Who know what conscience and a heart are worth.


     From (Pleasures of the Imagination)

     Who that, from Alpine heights, his laboring eye
     Shoots round the wide horizon, to survey
     Nilus or Ganges rolling his bright wave
     Thro' mountains, plains, thro' empires black with shade,
     And continents of sand, will turn his gaze
     To mark the windings of a scanty rill
     That murmurs at his feet? The high-born soul
     Disdains to rest her heaven-aspiring wing
     Beneath its native quarry. Tired of earth
     And this diurnal scene, she springs aloft
     Through fields of air; pursues the flying storm;
     Rides on the volleyed lightning through the heavens;
     Or, yoked with whirlwinds and the northern blast,
     Sweeps the long tract of day. Then high she soars
     The blue profound, and, hovering round the sun,
     Beholds him pouring the redundant stream
     Of light; beholds his unrelenting sway
     Bend the reluctant planets to absolve
     The fated rounds of Time. Thence, far effused,
     She darts her swiftness up the long career
     Of devious comets; through its burning signs
     Exulting measures the perennial wheel
     Of Nature, and looks back on all the stars,
     Whose blended light, as with a milky zone,
     Invests the orient. Now, amazed she views
     The empyreal waste, where happy spirits hold
     Beyond this concave heaven, their calm abode;
     And fields of radiance, whose unfading light
     Has traveled the profound six thousand years,
     Nor yet arrived in sight of mortal things.
     Even on the barriers of the world, untired
     She meditates the eternal depth below;
     Till half-recoiling, down the headlong steep
     She plunges; soon o'erwhelmed and swallowed up
     In that immense of being. There her hopes
     Rest at the fated goal. For from the birth
     Of mortal man, the sovereign Maker said,
     That not in humble nor in brief delight,
     Nor in the fading echoes of Renown,
     Power's purple robes, nor Pleasure's flowery lap,
     The soul should find enjoyment: but from these
     Turning disdainful to an equal good,
     Through all the ascent of things enlarge her view,
     Till every bound at length should disappear,
     And infinite perfection close the scene.


     COME then, tell me, sage divine,
     Is it an offense to own
     That our bosoms e'er incline
     Toward immortal Glory's throne?
     For with me nor pomp nor pleasure,
     Bourbon's might, Braganza's treasure,
         So can Fancy's dream rejoice,
         So conciliate Reason's choice,
     As one approving word of her impartial voice.

       If to spurn at noble praise
         Be the passport to thy heaven,
       Follow thou those gloomy ways:
         No such law to me was given,
       Nor, I trust, shall I deplore me
       Faring like my friends before me;
         Nor an holier place desire
         Than Timoleon's arms acquire,
     And Tully's curule chair, and Milton's golden lyre.



This novelist, poet, and politician was born at Guadix, in Spain, near
Granada, March 10th, 1833, and received his early training in the
seminary of his native city. His family destined him for the Church; but
he was averse to that profession, subsequently studied law and modern
languages at the University of Granada, and took pains to cultivate his
natural love for literature and poetry. In 1853 he established at Cadiz
the literary review Eco del Occidente (Echo of the West). Greatly
interested in politics, he joined a democratic club with headquarters at
Madrid. During the revolution of 1854 he published El Látigo (The Whip),
a pamphlet in which he satirized the government. The spirit of adventure
being always strong in him, he joined the African campaign under
O'Donnell in 1859.

His next occupation was the editorship of the journals La Epoca and La
Politica. Condemned to a brief period of exile as one of the signers of
a protest of Unionist deputies, he passed this time in Paris. Shortly
after his return he became involved in the revolution of 1868, but
without incurring personal disaster. After Alfonso XII. came to the
throne in 1875, he was appointed Councilor of State.

It was in the domain of letters, however, and more especially as a
novelist, that he won his most enduring laurels. In 1855 he produced 'EL
Final de Norma' (The End of Norma), which was his first romance of
importance. Four years later he began to publish that series of notable
novels which brought him fame, both at home and abroad. The list
includes 'EL Sombrero de Tres Picos' (The Three-Cornered Hat), a
charming _genre_ sketch famous for its pungent wit and humor, and its
clever portraiture of provincial life in Spain at the beginning of this
century; 'La Alpujarra'; 'EL Escándalo' (The Scandal), a story which at
once created a profound sensation because of its ultramontane cast and
opposition to prevalent scientific opinion; 'El Niño de la Bola' (The
Child of the Ball), thought by many to be his masterpiece; 'El Capitán
Veneno' (Captain Veneno); 'Novelas Cortas' (Short Stories), 3 vols.; and
'La Pródiga' (The Prodigal). Alarcón is also favorably known as poet,
dramatic critic, and an incisive and effective writer of general prose.

His other publications comprise:--'Diario de un Testigo de la Guerra de
Africa' (Journal of a Witness of the African War), a work which is said
to have netted the publishers a profit of three million pesetas
($600,000); 'De Madrid à Nápoles' (from Madrid to Naples); 'Poesias
Serias y Humorísticas' (Serious and Humorous Poems); 'Judicios
Literários y Artísticos' (Literary and Artistic Critiques); 'Viages por
España' (Travels through Spain); 'El Hijo Pródigo' (The Prodigal Son), a
drama for children; and 'Ultimos Escritos' (Last Writings). Alarcón was
elected a member of the Spanish Academy December 15th, 1875. Many of his
novels have been translated into English and French. He died July
20th, 1891.


From 'The Three-Cornered Hat'

The last and perhaps the most powerful reason which the quality of the
city--clergy as well as laymen, beginning with the bishop and the
corregidor--had for visiting the mill so often in the afternoon, was to
admire there at leisure one of the most beautiful, graceful, and
admirable works that ever left the hands of the Creator: called Seña
[Mrs.] Frasquita. Let us begin by assuring you that Seña Frasquita was
the lawful spouse of Uncle Luke, and an honest woman; of which fact all
the illustrious visitors of the mill were well aware. Indeed, none of
them ever seemed to gaze on her with sinful eyes or doubtful purpose.
They all admired her, indeed, and sometimes paid her compliments,--the
friars as well as the cavaliers, the prebendaries as well as the
magistrate,--as a prodigy of beauty, an honor to her Creator, and as a
coquettish and mischievous sprite, who innocently enlivened the most
melancholy of spirits. "She is a handsome creature," the most virtuous
prelate used to say. "She looks like an ancient Greek statue," remarked
a learned advocate, who was an Academician and corresponding member on
history. "She is the very image of Eve," broke forth the prior of the
Franciscans. "She is a fine woman," exclaimed the colonel of militia.
"She is a serpent, a witch, a siren, an imp," added the corregidor. "But
she is a good woman, an angel, a lovely creature, and as innocent as a
child four years old," all agreed in saying on leaving the mill, crammed
with grapes or nuts, on their way to their dull and methodical homes.

This four-year-old child, that is to say, Frasquita, was nearly thirty
years old, and almost six feet high, strongly built in proportion, and
even a little stouter than exactly corresponded to her majestic figure.
She looked like a gigantic Niobe, though she never had any children; she
seemed like a female Hercules, or like a Roman matron, the sort of whom
there are still copies to be seen in the Rioni Trastevere. But the most
striking feature was her mobility, her agility, her animation, and the
grace of her rather large person.

For resemblance to a statue, to which the Academician compared her, she
lacked statuesque repose. She bent her body like a reed, or spun around
like a weather-vane, or danced like a top. Her features possessed even
greater mobility, and in consequence were even less statuesque. They
were lighted up beautifully by five dimples: two on one cheek, one on
the other, another very small one near the left side of her roguish
lips, and the last--and a very big one--in the cleft of her rounded
chin. Add to these charms her sly or roguish glances, her pretty pouts,
and the various attitudes of her head, with which she emphasized her
talk, and you will have some idea of that face full of vivacity and
beauty, and always radiant with health and happiness.

Neither Uncle Luke nor Seña Frasquita was Andalusian by birth: she came
from Navarre, and he from Murcia. He went to the city of ---- when he
was but fifteen years old, as half page, half servant of the bishop, the
predecessor of the present incumbent of that diocese. He was brought up
for the Church by his patron, who, perhaps on that account, so that he
might not lack competent maintenance, bequeathed him the mill in his
will. But Uncle Luke, who had received only the lesser orders when the
bishop died, cast off his ecclesiastical garb at once and enlisted as a
soldier; for he felt more anxious to see the world and to lead a life of
adventure than to say mass or grind corn. He went through the campaign
of the Western Provinces in 1793, as the orderly of the brave General
Ventura Caro; he was present at the siege of the Castle of Piñon, and
remained a long time in the Northern Provinces, when he finally quitted
the service. In Estella he became acquainted with Seña Frasquita, who
was then simply called Frasquita; made love to her, married her, and
carried her to Andalusia to take possession of the mill, where they were
to live so peaceful and happy during the rest of their pilgrimage
through this vale of tears.

When Frasquita was taken from Navarre to that lonely place she had not
yet acquired any Andalusian ways, and was very different from the
countrywomen in that vicinity. She dressed with greater simplicity,
greater freedom, grace, and elegance than they did. She bathed herself
oftener; and allowed the sun and air to caress her bare arms and
uncovered neck. To a certain extent she wore the style of dress worn by
the gentlewomen of that period; like that of the women in Goya's
pictures, and somewhat of the fashion worn by Queen Maria Louisa: if not
exactly so scant, yet so short that it showed her small feet, and the
commencement of her superb limbs; her bodice was low, and round in the
neck, according to the style in Madrid, where she spent two months with
her Luke on their way from Navarre to Andalusia. She dressed her hair
high on the top of her head, displaying thus both the graceful curve of
her snowy neck and the shape of her pretty head. She wore earrings in
her small ears, and the taper fingers of her rough but clean hands were
covered with rings. Lastly, Frasquita's voice was as sweet as a flute,
and her laugh was so merry and so silvery it seemed like the ringing of
bells on Saturday of Glory or Easter Eve.


From 'The Child of the Ball'

The unfortunate boy seemed to have turned to ice from the cruel and
unexpected blows of fate; he contracted a death-like pallor, which he
never again lost. No one paid any attention to the unhappy child in the
first moments of his anguish, or noticed that he neither groaned,
sighed, nor wept. When at last they went to him they found him convulsed
and rigid, like a petrifaction of grief; although he walked about, heard
and saw, and covered his wounded and dying father with kisses. But he
shed not a single tear, either during the death agony of that beloved
being, when he kissed the cold face after it was dead, or when he saw
them carry the body away forever; nor when he left the house in which he
had been born, and found himself sheltered by charity in the house of a
stranger. Some praised his courage, others criticized his callousness.
Mothers pitied him profoundly, instinctively divining the cruel tragedy
that was being enacted in the orphan's heart for want of some tender and
compassionate being to make him weep by weeping with him.

Nor did Manuel utter a single word from the moment he saw his beloved
father brought in dying. He made no answer to the affectionate questions
asked him by Don Trinidad after the latter had taken him home; and the
sound of his voice was never heard during the first three years which he
spent in the holy company of the priest. Everybody thought by this time
that he would remain dumb forever, when one day, in the church of which
his protector was the priest, the sacristan observed him standing before
a beautiful image of the "Child of the Ball," and heard him saying in
melancholy accents:--

"Child Jesus, why do you not speak either?"

Manuel was saved. The drowning boy had raised his head above the
engulfing waters of his grief. His life was no longer in danger. So at
least it was believed in the parish.

Toward strangers--from whom, whenever they came in contact with him, he
always received demonstrations of pity and kindness--the orphan
continued to maintain the same glacial reserve as before, rebuffing them
with the phrase, stereotyped on his disdainful lips, "Let me alone,
now;" having said which, in tones of moving entreaty, he would go on his
way, not without awakening superstitious feelings in the minds of the
persons whom he thus shunned.

Still less did he lay aside, at this saving crisis, the profound sadness
and precocious austerity of his character, or the obstinate persistence
with which he clung to certain habits. These were limited, thus far, to
accompanying the priest to the church; gathering flowers or aromatic
herbs to adorn the image of the "Child of the Ball," before which he
would spend hour after hour, plunged in a species of ecstasy; and
climbing the neighboring mountain in search of those herbs and flowers,
when, owing to the severity of the heat or cold, they were not to be
found in the fields.

This adoration, while in consonance with the religious principles
instilled into him from the cradle by his father, greatly exceeded what
is usual even in the most devout. It was a fraternal and submissive
love, like that which he had entertained for his father; it was a
confused mixture of familiarity, protection, and idolatry, very similar
to the feeling which the mothers of men of genius entertain for their
illustrious sons; it was the respectful and protecting tenderness which
the strong warrior bestows on the youthful prince; it was an
identification of himself with the image; it was pride; it was elation
as for a personal good. It seemed as if this image symbolized for him
his tragic fate, his noble origin, his early orphanhood, his poverty,
his cares, the injustice of men, his solitary state in the world, and
perhaps too some presentiment of his future sufferings.

Probably nothing of all this was clear at the time to the mind of the
hapless boy, but something resembling it must have been the tumult of
confused thoughts that palpitated in the depths of that childlike,
unwavering, absolute, and exclusive devotion. For him there was neither
God nor the Virgin, neither saints nor angels; there was only the "Child
of the Ball," not with relation to any profound mystery, but in himself,
in his present form, with his artistic figure, his dress of gold tissue,
his crown of false stones, his blonde head, his charming countenance,
and the blue-painted globe which he held in his hand, and which was
surmounted by a little silver-gilt cross, in sign of the redemption of
the world.

And this was the cause and reason why the acolytes of Santa María de la
Cabéza first, all the boys of the town afterward, and finally the more
respectable and sedate persons, bestowed on Manuel the extraordinary
name of "The Child of the Ball": we know not whether by way of applause
of such vehement idolatry, and to commit him, as it were, to the
protection of the Christ-Child himself; or as a sarcastic
antiphrasis,--seeing that this appellation is sometimes used in the
place as a term of comparison for the happiness of the very fortunate;
or as a prophecy of the valor for which the son of Venegas was to be one
day celebrated, and the terror he was to inspire,--since the most
hyperbolical expression that can be employed in that district, to extol
the bravery and power of any one, is to say that "she does not fear even
the 'Child of the Ball.'"

Selections used by permission of Cassell Publishing Company


(Sixth Century B.C.)

Alcaeus, a contemporary of the more famous poet whom he addressed as
"violet-crowned, pure, sweetly-smiling Sappho," was a native of Mitylene
in Lesbos. His period of work fell probably between 610 and 580 B.C. At
this time his native town was disturbed by an unceasing contention for
power between the aristocracy and the people; and Alcaeus, through the
vehemence of his zeal and his ambition, was among the leaders of the
warring faction. By the accidents of birth and education he was an
aristocrat, and in politics he was what is now called a High Tory. With
his brothers, Cicis and Antimenidas, two influential young nobles as
arrogant and haughty as himself, he resented and opposed the slightest
concession to democracy. He was a stout soldier, but he threw away his
arms at Ligetum when he saw that his side was beaten, and afterward
wrote a poem on this performance, apparently not in the least mortified
by the recollection. Horace speaks of the matter, and laughingly
confesses his own like misadventure.

[Illustration: Alcaeus]

When the kindly Pittacus was chosen dictator, he was compelled to banish
the swashbuckling brothers for their abuse of him. But when Alcaeus
chanced to be taken prisoner, Pittacus set him free, remarking that
"forgiveness is better than revenge." The irreconcilable poet spent his
exile in Egypt, and there he may have seen the Greek oligarch who lent
his sword to Nebuchadnezzar, and whom he greeted in a poem, a surviving
fragment of which is thus paraphrased by John Addington Symonds:--

     From the ends of the earth thou art come,
     Back to thy home;
     The ivory hilt of thy blade
     With gold is embossed and inlaid;
     Since for Babylon's host a great deed
     Thou didst work in their need,
     Slaying a warrior, an athlete of might,
     Royal, whose height
     Lacked of five cubits one span--
     A terrible man.

Alcaeus is reputed to have been in love with Sappho, the glorious, but
only a line or two survives to confirm the tale. Most of his lyrics,
like those of his fellow-poets, seem to have been drinking songs,
combined, says Symonds, with reflections upon life, and appropriate
descriptions of the different seasons. "No time was amiss for drinking,
to his mind: the heat of summer, the cold of winter, the blazing
dog-star and the driving tempest, twilight with its cheerful gleam of
lamps, mid-day with its sunshine--all suggest reasons for indulging in
the cup. Not that we are justified in fancying Alcaeus a mere vulgar
toper: he retained Aeolian sumptuousness in his pleasures, and raised
the art of drinking to an aesthetic attitude."

Alcaeus composed in the Aeolic dialect; for the reason, it is said, that
it was more familiar to his hearers. After his death his poems were
collected and divided into ten books. Bergk has included the
fragments--and one of his compositions has come down to us entire--his
'Poetae Lyrici Graeci.'

His love of political strife and military glory led him to the
composition of a class of poems which the ancients called 'Stasiotica'
(Songs of Sedition). To this class belong his descriptions of the
furnishing of his palace, and many of the fragments preserved to us.
Besides those martial poems, he composed hymns to the gods, and love and
convivial songs.

His verses are subjective and impassioned. They are outbursts of the
poet's own feeling, his own peculiar expression toward the world in
which he lived; and it is this quality that gave them their strength and
their celebrity. His metres were lively, and the care which he expended
upon his strophes has led to the naming of one metre the 'Alcaic.'
Horace testifies (Odes ii. 13, ii. 26, etc.), to the power of
his master.

The first selection following is a fragment from his 'Stasiotica.' It is
a description of the splendor of his palace before "the work of
war began."


     From roof to roof the spacious palace halls
         Glitter with war's array;
       With burnished metal clad, the lofty walls
         Beam like the bright noonday.
     There white-plumed helmets hang from many a nail,
         Above, in threatening row;
     Steel-garnished tunics and broad coats of mail
         Spread o'er the space below.
     Chalcidian blades enow, and belts are here,
         Greaves and emblazoned shields;
     Well-tried protectors from the hostile spear,
         On other battlefields.
     With these good helps our work of war's begun,
         With these our victory must be won.

               Translation of Colonel Mure.


     The rain of Zeus descends, and from high heaven
              A storm is driven:
      And on the running water-brooks the cold
              Lays icy hold;
     Then up: beat down the winter; make the fire
              Blaze high and higher;
     Mix wine as sweet as honey of the bee
     Then drink with comfortable wool around
              Your temples bound.
     We must not yield our hearts to woe, or wear
              With wasting care;
     For grief will profit us no whit, my friend,
               Nor nothing mend;
     But this is our best medicine, with wine fraught
                To cast out thought.

               Translation of J. A. Symonds.


     Why wait we for the torches' lights?
         Now let us drink while day invites.
         In mighty flagons hither bring
      The deep-red blood of many a vine,
     That we may largely quaff, and sing
       The praises of the god of wine,
       The son of Jove and Semele,
       Who gave the jocund grape to be
     A sweet oblivion to our woes.
       Fill, fill the goblet--one and two:
     Let every brimmer, as it flows,
       In sportive chase, the last pursue.

               Translation of Sir William Jones.


     Now here, now there, the wild waves sweep,
       Whilst we, betwixt them o'er the deep,
       In shatter'd tempest-beaten bark,
     With laboring ropes are onward driven,
       The billows dashing o'er our dark
     Upheavèd deck--in tatters riven
       Our sails--whose yawning rents between
       The raging sea and sky are seen.

       .       .       .       .       .

     Loose from their hold our anchors burst,
       And then the third, the fatal wave
     Comes rolling onward like the first,
       And doubles all our toil to save.

               Translation of Sir William Jones.


     The fisher Diotimus had, at sea
       And shore, the same abode of poverty--
       His trusty boat;--and when his days were spent,
     Therein self-rowed to ruthless Dis he went;
     For that, which did through life his woes beguile,
     Supplied the old man with a funeral pile.

               Translation of Sir William Jones.


     What constitutes a State?
       Not high-raised battlement, or labored mound,
           Thick wall or moated gate;
     Not cities fair, with spires and turrets crown'd;
       No:--Men, high-minded men,
     With powers as far above dull brutes endued
       In forest, brake or den,
     As beasts excel cold rocks and brambles rude:--
       Men who their duties know,
     But know their rights, and knowing, dare maintain;
       Prevent the long-aimed blow,
     And crush the tyrant, while they rend the chain.

               Translation of Sir William Jones.


     The worst of ills, and hardest to endure,
          Past hope, past cure,
       Is Penury, who, with her sister-mate
     Disorder, soon brings down the loftiest state,
          And makes it desolate.
       This truth the sage of Sparta told,
          Aristodemus old,--
       "Wealth makes the man." On him that's poor,
     Proud worth looks down, and honor shuts the door.

               Translation of Sir William Jones.



Although little may be realized now of Alcázar's shadowy personality,
there is no doubt that in his own century he was widely read. Born of a
very respectable family in Seville, either in 1530 or 1531, he first
appears as entering the Spanish navy, and participating in several
battles on the war galleys of the Marquis of Santa Cruz. It is known
that for about twenty years he was alcalde or mayor at the Molares on
the outskirts of Utrera,--an important local functionary, a practical
man interested in public affairs.

But, on the whole, his seems to have been a strongly artistic nature;
for he was a musician of repute, skillful too at painting, and above all
a poet. As master and model in metrical composition he chose Martial,
and in his epigrammatic turn he is akin to the great Latin poet. He was
fond of experimenting in Latin lyrical forms, and wrote many madrigals
and sonnets. They are full of vigorous thought and bright satire, of
playful malice and epicurean joy in life, and have always won the
admiration of his fellow-poets. As has been said, they show a fine
taste, quite in advance of the age. Cervantes, his greater contemporary,
acknowledged his power with cordial praise in the Canto de Caliope.

The "witty Andalusian" did not write voluminously. Some of his poems
still remain in manuscript only. Of the rest, comprised in one small
volume, perhaps the best known are 'The Jovial Supper,' 'The Echo,' and
the 'Counsel to a Widow.'


     Sleep is no servant of the will,
       It has caprices of its own:
       When most pursued,--'tis swiftly gone;
     When courted least, it lingers still.
     With its vagaries long perplext,
       I turned and turned my restless sconce,
       Till one bright night, I thought at once
     I'd master it; so hear my text!

     When sleep will tarry, I begin
       My long and my accustomed prayer;
       And in a twinkling sleep is there,
     Through my bed-curtains peeping in.
     When sleep hangs heavy on my eyes,
       I think of debts I fain would pay;
       And then, as flies night's shade from day,
     Sleep from my heavy eyelids flies.

     And thus controlled the winged one bends
       Ev'n his fantastic will to me;
       And, strange, yet true, both I and he
     Are friends,--the very best of friends.
     We are a happy wedded pair,
       And I the lord and she the dame;
       Our bed--our board--our hours the same,
     And we're united everywhere.

     I'll tell you where I learnt to school
       This wayward sleep:--a whispered word
       From a church-going hag I heard,
     And tried it--for I was no fool.
     So from that very hour I knew
       That having ready prayers to pray,
       And having many debts to pay,
     Will serve for sleep and waking too.

From Longfellow's 'Poets of Europe': by permission of Houghton, Mifflin
and Company.


     In Jaen, where I reside,
     Lives Don Lopez de Sosa;
     And I will tell thee, Isabel, a thing
     The most daring that thou hast heard of him.
     This gentleman had
     A Portuguese serving man . . .
     However, if it appears well to you, Isabel,
     Let us first take supper.
     We have the table ready laid,
     As we have to sup together;
     The wine-cups at their stations
     Are only wanting to begin the feast.
     Let us commence with new, light wine,
     And cast upon it benediction;
     I consider it a matter of devotion
     To sign with cross that which I drink.

       *       *       *       *       *

     Be it or not a modern invention,
     By the living God I do not know;
     But most exquisite was
     The invention of the tavern.
     Because, I arrive thirsty there,
     I ask for new-made wine,
     They mix it, give it to me, I drink,
     I pay for it, and depart contented.
     That, Isabel, is praise of itself,
     It is not necessary to laud it.
     I have only one fault to find with it,
     That is--it is finished with too much haste.

       *       *       *       *       *

     But say, dost thou not adore and prize
     The illustrious and rich black pudding?
     How the rogue tickles!
     It must contain spices.
     How it is stuffed with pine nuts!

       *       *       *       *       *

     But listen to a subtle hint.
     You did not put a lamp there?
     How is it that I appear to see two?
     But these are foolish questions,
     Already know I what it must be:
     It is by this black draught
     That the number of lamps accumulates.

[The several courses are ended, and the jovial diner resolves to finish
his story.]

     And now, Isabel, as we have supped
     So well, and with so much enjoyment,
     It appears to be but right
     To return to the promised tale.
     But thou must know, Sister Isabel,
     That the Portuguese fell sick . . .
     Eleven o'clock strikes, I go to sleep.
     Wait for the morrow.


(Second Century A.D.)


In the history of Greek prose fiction the possibilities of the
epistolary form were first developed by the Athenian teacher of
rhetoric, Alciphron, of whose life and personality nothing is known
except that he lived in the second century A.D.,--a contemporary of the
great satirical genius Lucian. Of his writings we now possess only a
collection of imaginary letters, one hundred and eighteen in number,
arranged in three books. Their value depends partly upon the curious and
interesting pictures given in them of the life of the post-Alexandrine
period, especially of the low life, and partly upon the fact that they
are the first successful attempts at character-drawing to be found in
the history of Greek prose fiction. They form a connecting link between
the novel of pure incident and adventure, and the more fully developed
novel which combines incident and adventure with the delineation of
character and the study of motive. The use of the epistolary form in
fictitious composition did not, to be sure, originate with Alciphron;
for we find earlier instances in the imaginary love-letters composed in
verse by the Roman poet, Ovid, under the names of famous women of early
legend, such as those of Oenone to Paris (which suggested a beautiful
poem of Tennyson's), Medea to Jason, and many others. In these one finds
keen insight into character, especially feminine character, together
with much that is exquisite in fancy and tender in expression. But it is
to Alciphron that we owe the adaptation of this form of composition to
prose fiction, and its employment in a far wider range of psychological
and social observation.

The life whose details are given us by Alciphron is the life of
contemporary Athens in the persons of its easy-going population. The
writers whose letters we are supposed to read in reading Alciphron are
peasants, fishermen, parasites, men-about-town, and courtesans. The
language of the letters is neat, pointed, and appropriate to the person
who in each case is supposed to be the writer; and the details are
managed with considerable art. Alciphron effaces all impression of his
own personality, and is lost in the characters who for the time being
occupy his pages. One reads the letters as he would read a genuine
correspondence. The illusion is perfect, and we feel that we are for the
moment in the Athens of the third century before Christ; that we are
strolling in its streets, visiting its shops, its courts, and its
temples, and that we are getting a whiff of the Aegean, mingled with the
less savory odors of the markets and of the wine-shops. We stroll about
the city elbowing our way through the throng of boatmen, merchants, and
hucksters. Here a barber stands outside his shop and solicits custom;
there an old usurer with pimply face sits bending over his accounts in a
dingy little office; at the corner of the street a crowd encircles some
Cheap Jack who is showing off his juggling tricks at a small
three-legged table, making sea-shells vanish out of sight and then
taking them from his mouth. Drunken soldiers pass and repass, talking
boisterously of their bouts and brawls, of their drills and punishments,
and the latest news of their barracks, and forming a striking contrast
to the philosopher, who, in coarse robes, moves with supercilious look
and an affectation of deep thought, in silence amid the crowd that
jostles him. The scene is vivid, striking, realistic.

Many of the letters are from women; and in these, especially, Alciphron
reveals the daily life of the Athenians. We see the demimonde at their
toilet, with their mirrors, their powders, their enamels and rouge-pots,
their brushes and pincers, and all the thousand and one accessories.
Acquaintances come in to make a morning call, and we hear their
chatter,--Thaïs and Megara and Bacchis, Hermione and Myrrha. They nibble
cakes, drink sweet wine, gossip about their respective lovers, hum the
latest songs, and enjoy themselves with perfect abandon. Again we see
them at their evening rendezvous, at the banquets where philosophers,
poets, sophists, painters, artists of every sort,--in fact, the whole
Bohemia of Athens,--gather round them. We get hints of all the stages of
the revel, from the sparkling wit and the jolly good-fellowship of the
early evening, to the sodden disgust that comes with daybreak when the
lamps are poisoning the fetid air and the remnants of the feast
are stale.

We are not to look upon the letters of Alciphron as embodying a literary
unity. He did not attempt to write one single symmetrical epistolary
romance; but the individual letters are usually slight sketches of
character carelessly gathered together, and deriving their greatest
charm from their apparent spontaneity and artlessness. Many of them
are, to be sure, unpleasantly cynical, and depict the baser side of
human nature; others, in their realism, are essentially commonplace; but
some are very prettily expressed, and show a brighter side to the
picture of contemporary life. Those especially which are supposed to
pass between Menander, the famous comic poet, and his mistress Glycera,
form a pleasing contrast to the greed and cynicism of much that one
finds in the first book of the epistles; they are true love-letters, and
are untainted by the slightest suggestion of the mercenary spirit or the
veiled coarseness that makes so many of the others unpleasant reading.
One letter (i. 6) is interesting as containing the first allusion found
in literature to the familiar story of Phryne before the judges, which
is more fully told in Athenaeus.

The imaginary letter was destined to play an important part in the
subsequent history of literature. Alciphron was copied by Aristaenetus,
who lived in the fifth century of our era, and whose letters have been
often imitated in modern times, and by Theophylactus, who lived in the
seventh century. In modern English fiction the epistolary form has been
most successfully employed by Richardson, Fanny Burney, and, in another
_genre_, by Wilkie Collins.

The standard editions of Alciphron are those of Seiler (Leipzig, 1856)
and of Hercher (Paris, 1873), the latter containing the Greek text with
a parallel version in Latin. The letters have not yet been translated
into English. The reader may refer to the chapter on Alciphron in the
recently published work of Salverte, 'Le Roman dans la Grèce Ancienne'
(The Novel in Ancient Greece: Paris, 1893). The following selections are
translated by the present writer.

H.T. Peck



Well, if a girl could live on tears, what a wealthy girl I should be;
for you are generous enough with _them_, any-how! Unfortunately,
however, that isn't quite enough for me. I need money; I must have
jewels, clothes, servants, and all that sort of thing. Nobody has left
me a fortune, I should like you to know, or any mining stock; and so I
am obliged to depend on the little presents that gentlemen happen to
make me. Now that I've known you a year, how much better off am I for
it, I should like to ask? My head looks like a fright because I haven't
had anything to rig it out with, all that time; and as to clothes,--why,
the only dress I've got in the world is in rags that make me ashamed to
be seen with my friends: and yet you imagine that I can go on in this
way without having any other means of living! Oh, yes, of course, you
cry; but you'll stop presently. I'm really surprised at the number of
your tears; but really, unless somebody gives me something pretty soon I
shall die of starvation. Of course, you pretend you're just crazy for
me, and that you can't live without me. Well, then, isn't there any
family silver in your house? Hasn't your mother any jewelry that you can
get hold of? Hasn't your father any valuables? Other girls are luckier
than I am; for I have a mourner rather than a lover. He sends me crowns,
and he sends me garlands and roses, as if I were dead and buried before
my time, and he says that he cries all night. Now, if you can manage to
scrape up something for me, you can come here without having to cry your
eyes out; but if you can't, why, keep your tears to yourself, and don't
bother me!

From the 'Epistolae,' i. 36.



By all the gods and demons, I beg you, dear mother, to leave your rocks
and fields in the country, and before you die, discover what beautiful
things there are in town. Just think what you are losing,--the Haloan
Festival and the Apaturian Festival, and the Great Festival of Bacchus,
and especially the Thesmophorian Festival, which is now going on. If you
would only hurry up, and get here to-morrow morning before it is
daylight, you would be able to take part in the affair with the other
Athenian women. Do come, and don't put it off, if you have any regard
for my happiness and my brothers'; for it's an awful thing to die
without having any knowledge of the city. That's the life of an ox; and
one that is altogether unreasonable. Please excuse me, mother, for
speaking so freely for your own good. After all, one ought to speak
plainly with everybody, and especially with those who are themselves
plain speakers.

From the 'Epistolae,' iii. 39.



If you only would put up with the country and be sensible, and do as the
rest of us do, my dear Thrasonides, you would offer ivy and laurel and
myrtle and flowers to the gods at the proper time; and to us, your
parents, you would give wheat and wine and a milk-pail full of the new
goat's-milk. But as things are, you despise the country and farming, and
are fond only of the helmet-plumes and the shield, just as if you were
an Acarnanian or a Malian soldier. Don't keep on in this way, my son;
but come back to us and take up this peaceful life of ours again (for
farming is perfectly safe and free from any danger, and doesn't require
bands of soldiers and strategy and squadrons), and be the stay of our
old age, preferring a safe life to a risky one.

From the 'Epistolae,' iii. 16.



Since I have never yet been to town, and really don't know at all what
the thing is that they call a city, I am awfully anxious to see this
strange sight,--men living all in one place,--and to learn about the
other points in which a city differs from the country. Consequently, if
you have any reason for going to town, do come and take me with you. As
a matter of fact, I am sure there are lots of things I ought to know,
now that my beard is beginning to sprout; and who is so able to show me
the city as yourself, who are all the time going back and forth to
the town?

From the 'Epistolae' iii. 31.



I should like to ask my evil genius, who drew me by lot as his own
particular charge, why he is so malignant and so cruel as to keep me in
everlasting poverty; for if no one happens to invite me to dinner I have
to live on greens, and to eat acorns and to fill my stomach with water
from the hydrant. Now, as long as my body was able to put up with this
sort of thing, and my time of life was such as made it proper for me to
bear it, I could get along with them fairly well; but now that my hair
is growing gray, and the only outlook I have is in the direction of old
age, what on earth am I going to do? I shall really have to get a rope
and hang myself unless my luck changes. However, even if fortune remains
as it is, I shan't string myself up before I have at least one square
meal; for before very long, the wedding of Charitus and Leocritis, which
is going to be a famous affair, will come off, to which there isn't a
doubt that I shall be invited,--either to the wedding itself or to the
banquet afterward. It's lucky that weddings need the jokes of brisk
fellows like myself, and that without us they would be as dull as
gatherings of pigs rather than of human beings!

From the 'Epistolae,' iii. 49.



Perhaps you would like to know why I am complaining so, and how I got my
head broken, and why I'm going around with my clothes in tatters. The
fact is I swept the board at gambling: but I wish I hadn't; for what's
the sense in a feeble fellow like me running up against a lot of stout
young men? You see, after I scooped in all the money they put up, and
they hadn't a cent left, they all jumped on my neck, and some of them
punched me, and some of them stoned me, and some of them tore my clothes
off my back. All the same, I hung on to the money as hard as I could,
because I would rather die than give up anything of theirs I had got
hold of; and so I held out bravely for quite a while, not giving in when
they struck me, or even when they bent my fingers back. In fact, I was
like some Spartan who lets himself be whipped as a test of his
endurance: but unfortunately it wasn't at Sparta that I was doing this
thing, but at Athens, and with the toughest sort of an Athenian gambling
crowd; and so at last, when actually fainting, I had to let the ruffians
rob me. They went through my pockets, and after they had taken
everything they could find, they skipped. After all, I've come to the
conclusion that it's better to live without money than to die with a
pocket full of it.

From the 'Epistolae,' iii. 54.


(Seventh Century B.C.)

According to legend, this illustrious Grecian lyric poet was born in
Lydia, and taken to Sparta as a slave when very young, but emancipated
by his master on the discovery of his poetic genius. He flourished
probably between 670 and 630, during the peace following the Second
Messenian War. It was that remarkable period in which the Spartans were
gathering poets and musicians from the outer world of liberal
accomplishment to educate their children; for the Dorians thought it
beneath the dignity of a Dorian citizen to practice these things

His poetic remains indicate a social freedom at this period hardly in
keeping with the Spartan rigor alleged to have been practiced without
break from the ancient time of Lycurgus; perhaps this communal
asceticism was really a later growth, when the camp of militant
slave-holders saw their fibre weakening under the art and luxury they
had introduced. He boasts of his epicurean appetite; with evident
truthfulness, as a considerable number of his extant fragments are
descriptions of dishes. He would have echoed Sydney Smith's--

     "Fate cannot harm me--I have dined to-day."

In a poem descriptive of spring, he laments that the season affords but
a scanty stock of his favorite viands.

The Alexandrian grammarians put Alcman at the head of the lyric canon;
perhaps partly because they thought him the most ancient, but he was
certainly much esteemed in classic times. _Aelian_ says his songs were
sung at the first performance of the gymnopaedia at Sparta in 665 B.C.,
and often afterward. Much of his poetry was erotic; but he wrote also
hymns to the gods, and ethical and philosophic pieces. His 'Parthenia,'
which form a distinct division of his writings, were songs sung at
public festivals by, and in honor of, the performing chorus of virgins.
The subjects were either religious or erotic. His proverbial wisdom, and
the forms of verse which he often chose, are reputed to have been like
Pindar's. He said of himself that he sang like the birds,--that is, was

He wrote in the broad Spartan dialect with a mixture of the Aeolic, and
in various metres. One form of hexameter which he invented was called
Alcmanic after him. His poems were comprehended in six books. The scanty
fragments which have survived are included in Bergk's 'Poetae Lyrici
Graeci' (1878). The longest was found in 1855 by M. Mariette, in a tomb
near the second pyramid. It is a papyrus fragment of three pages,
containing a part of his hymn to the Dioscuri, much mutilated and
difficult to decipher.

His descriptive passages are believed to have been his best. The best
known and most admired of his fragments is his beautiful description of
night, which has been often imitated and paraphrased.


       Over the drowsy earth still night prevails;
         Calm sleep the mountain tops and shady vales,
           The rugged cliffs and hollow glens;
       The cattle on the hill. Deep in the sea,
         The countless finny race and monster brood
       Tranquil repose. Even the busy bee
         Forgets her daily toil. The silent wood
       No more with noisy hum of insect rings;
     And all the feathered tribes, by gentle sleep subdued,
       Roost in the glade, and hang their drooping wings.

               Translation by Colonel Mure.



[Illustration: Louisa M. Alcott]

Louisa May Alcott, daughter of Amos Bronson and Abigail (May) Alcott,
and the second of the four sisters whom she was afterward to make famous
in 'Little Women,' was born in Germantown, Pennsylvania, November 29th,
1832, her father's thirty-third birthday. On his side, she was descended
from good Connecticut stock; and on her mother's, from the Mays and
Quincys of Massachusetts, and from Judge Samuel Sewall, who has left in
his diary as graphic a picture of the New England home-life of two
hundred years ago, as his granddaughter of the fifth generation did of
that of her own time.

At the time of Louisa Alcott's birth her father had charge of a school
in Germantown; but within two years he moved to Boston with his family,
and put into practice methods of teaching so far in advance of his time
that they were unsuccessful. From 1840, the home of the Alcott family
was in Concord, Massachusetts, with the exception of a short time spent
in a community on a farm in a neighboring town, and the years from 1848
to 1857 in Boston. At seventeen, Louisa's struggle with life began. She
wrote a play, contributed sensational stories to weekly papers, tried
teaching, sewing,--even going out to service,--and would have become an
actress but for an accident. What she wrote of her mother is as true of
herself, "She always did what came to her in the way of duty or charity,
and let pride, taste, and comfort suffer for love's sake." Her first
book, 'Flower Fables,' a collection of fairy tales which she had written
at sixteen for the children of Ralph Waldo Emerson, some other little
friends, and her younger sisters, was printed in 1855 and was well
received. From this time until 1863 she wrote many stories, but few that
she afterward thought worthy of being reprinted. Her best work from 1860
to 1863 is in the Atlantic Monthly, indexed under her name; and the most
carefully finished of her few poems, 'Thoreau's Flute,' appeared in that
magazine in September, 1863. After six weeks' experience in the winter
of 1862-63 as a hospital nurse in Washington, she wrote for the
Commonwealth, a Boston weekly paper, a series of letters which soon
appeared in book form as 'Hospital Sketches,' Miss Alcott says of them,
"The 'Sketches' never made much money, but showed me 'my style.'" In
1864 she published a novel, 'Moods'; and in 1866, after a year abroad as
companion to an invalid, she became editor of Merry's Museum, a magazine
for children.

Her 'Little Women,' founded on her own family life, was written in
1867-68, in answer to a request from the publishing house of Roberts
Brothers for a story for girls, and its success was so great that she
soon finished a second part. The two volumes were translated into
French, German, and Dutch, and became favorite books in England. While
editing Merry's Museum, she had written the first part of 'The
Old-Fashioned Girl' as a serial for the magazine. After the success of
'Little Women,' she carried the 'Old-Fashioned Girl' and her friends
forward several years, and ended the story with two happy marriages. In
1870 she went abroad a second time, and from her return the next year
until her death in Boston from overwork on March 6th, 1888, the day of
her father's funeral, she published twenty volumes, including two
novels: one anonymous, 'A Modern Mephistopheles,' in the 'No Name'
series; the other, 'Work,' largely a record of her own experience. She
rewrote 'Moods,' and changed the sad ending of the first version to a
more cheerful one; followed the fortunes of her 'Little Women' and their
children in 'Little Men' and 'Jo's Boys,' and published ten volumes of
short stories, many of them reprinted pieces. She wrote also 'Eight
Cousins,' its sequel 'Rose in Bloom,' 'Under the Lilacs,' and 'Jack
and Jill,'

The charm of her books lies in their freshness, naturalness, and
sympathy with the feelings and pursuits of boys and girls. She says of
herself, "I was born with a boy's spirit under my bib and tucker," and
she never lost it. Her style is often careless, never elegant, for she
wrote hurriedly, and never revised or even read over her manuscript; yet
her books are full of humor and pathos, and preach the gospel of work
and simple, wholesome living. She has been a help and inspiration to
many young girls, who have learned from her Jo in 'Little Women,' or
Polly in the 'Old-Fashioned Girl,' or Christie in 'Work,' that a woman
can support herself and her family without losing caste or self-respect.
Her stories of the comradeship of New England boys and girls in school
or play have made her a popular author in countries where even brothers
and sisters see little of each other. The haste and lack of care in her
books are the result of writing under pressure for money to support the
family, to whom she gave the best years of her life. As a little girl
once said of her in a school essay, "I like all Miss Alcott's books; but
what I like best in them is the author herself."

The reader is referred to 'Louisa May Alcott: Her Life, Letters, and
Journals,' edited by Ednah D. Cheney, published in 1889.


From 'Hospital Sketches'

Being fond of the night side of nature, I was soon promoted to the post
of night nurse, with every facility for indulging in my favorite pastime
of "owling." My colleague, a black-eyed widow, relieved me at dawn, we
two taking care of the ward between us, like regular nurses, turn and
turn about. I usually found my boys in the jolliest state of mind their
condition allowed; for it was a known fact that Nurse Periwinkle
objected to blue devils, and entertained a belief that he who laughed
most was surest of recovery. At the beginning of my reign, dumps and
dismals prevailed; the nurses looked anxious and tired, the men gloomy
or sad; and a general "Hark-from-the-tombs-a-doleful-sound" style of
conversation seemed to be the fashion: a state of things which caused
one coming from a merry, social New England town, to feel as if she had
got into an exhausted receiver; and the instinct of self-preservation,
to say nothing of a philanthropic desire to serve the race, caused a
speedy change in Ward No. 1.

More flattering than the most gracefully turned compliment, more
grateful than the most admiring glance, was the sight of those rows of
faces, all strange to me a little while ago, now lighting up with smiles
of welcome as I came among them, enjoying that moment heartily, with a
womanly pride in their regard, a motherly affection for them all. The
evenings were spent in reading aloud, writing letters, waiting on and
amusing the men, going the rounds with Dr. P---- as he made his second
daily survey, dressing my dozen wounds afresh, giving last doses, and
making them cozy for the long hours to come, till the nine o'clock bell
rang, the gas was turned down, the day nurses went off duty, the night
watch came on, and my nocturnal adventures began.

My ward was now divided into three rooms; and under favor of the matron,
I had managed to sort out the patients in such a way that I had what I
called my "duty room," my "pleasure room," and my "pathetic room," and
worked for each in a different way. One I visited armed with a
dressing-tray full of rollers, plasters, and pins; another, with books,
flowers, games, and gossip; a third, with teapots, lullabies,
consolation, and sometimes a shroud.

Wherever the sickest or most helpless man chanced to be, there I held my
watch, often visiting the other rooms to see that the general watchman
of the ward did his duty by the fires and the wounds, the latter needing
constant wetting. Not only on this account did I meander, but also to
get fresher air than the close rooms afforded; for owing to the
stupidity of that mysterious "somebody" who does all the damage in the
world, the windows had been carefully nailed down above, and the lower
sashes could only be raised in the mildest weather, for the men lay just
below. I had suggested a summary smashing of a few panes here and there,
when frequent appeals to headquarters had proved unavailing and daily
orders to lazy attendants had come to nothing. No one seconded the
motion, however, and the nails were far beyond my reach; for though
belonging to the sisterhood of "ministering angels," I had no wings, and
might as well have asked for a suspension bridge as a pair of steps in
that charitable chaos.

One of the harmless ghosts who bore me company during the haunted hours
was Dan, the watchman, whom I regarded with a certain awe; for though so
much together, I never fairly saw his face, and but for his legs should
never have recognized him, as we seldom met by day. These legs were
remarkable, as was his whole figure: for his body was short, rotund, and
done up in a big jacket and muffler; his beard hid the lower part of his
face, his hat-brim the upper, and all I ever discovered was a pair of
sleepy eyes and a very mild voice. But the legs!--very long, very thin,
very crooked and feeble, looking like gray sausages in their tight
coverings, and finished off with a pair of expansive green cloth shoes,
very like Chinese junks with the sails down. This figure, gliding
noiselessly about the dimly lighted rooms, was strongly suggestive of
the spirit of a beer-barrel mounted on corkscrews, haunting the old
hotel in search of its lost mates, emptied and staved in long ago.

Another goblin who frequently appeared to me was the attendant of "the
pathetic room," who, being a faithful soul, was often up to tend two or
three men, weak and wandering as babies, after the fever had gone. The
amiable creature beguiled the watches of the night by brewing jorums of
a fearful beverage which he called coffee, and insisted on sharing with
me; coming in with a great bowl of something like mud soup, scalding
hot, guiltless of cream, rich in an all-pervading flavor of molasses,
scorch, and tin pot.

Even my constitutionals in the chilly halls possessed a certain charm,
for the house was never still. Sentinels tramped round it all night
long, their muskets glittering in the wintry moonlight as they walked,
or stood before the doors straight and silent as figures of stone,
causing one to conjure up romantic visions of guarded forts, sudden
surprises, and daring deeds; for in these war times the humdrum life of
Yankeedom has vanished, and the most prosaic feel some thrill of that
excitement which stirs the Nation's heart, and makes its capital a camp
of hospitals. Wandering up and down these lower halls I often heard
cries from above, steps hurrying to and fro, saw surgeons passing up, or
men coming down carrying a stretcher, where lay a long white figure
whose face was shrouded, and whose fight was done. Sometimes I stopped
to watch the passers in the street, the moonlight shining on the spire
opposite, or the gleam of some vessel floating, like a white-winged
sea-gull, down the broad Potomac, whose fullest flow can never wash away
the red stain of the land.


From 'Little Women'

"That boy is a perfect Cyclops, isn't he?" said Amy one day, as Laurie
clattered by on horseback, with a flourish of his whip as he passed.

"How dare you say so, when he's got both his eyes? and very handsome
ones they are, too," cried Jo, who resented any slighting remarks about
her friend.

"I didn't say anything about his eyes; and I don't see why you need fire
up when I admire his riding."

"Oh, my goodness! that little goose means a centaur, and she called him
a Cyclops," exclaimed Jo, with a burst of laughter.

"You needn't be so rude; it's only a 'lapse of lingy,' as Mr. Davis
says," retorted Amy, finishing Jo with her Latin. "I just wish I had a
little of the money Laurie spends on that horse," she added, as if to
herself, yet hoping her sisters would hear.

"Why?" asked Meg, kindly, for Jo had gone off in another laugh at Amy's
second blunder.

"I need it so much: I'm dreadfully in debt, and it won't be my turn to
have the rag-money for a month."

"In debt, Amy: what do you mean?" and Meg looked sober.

"Why, I owe at least a dozen pickled limes; and I can't pay them, you
know, till I have money, for Marmee forbids my having anything charged
at the shop."

"Tell me all about it. Are limes the fashion now? It used to be pricking
bits of rubber to make balls;" and Meg tried to keep her countenance,
Amy looked so grave and important.

"Why, you see, the girls are always buying them, and unless you want to
be thought mean, you must do it too. It's nothing but limes now, for
every one is sucking them in their desks in school-time, and trading
them off for pencils, bead-rings, paper dolls, or something else, at
recess. If one girl likes another, she gives her a lime; if she's mad
with her, she eats one before her face, and don't offer even a suck.
They treat by turns; and I've had ever so many, but haven't returned
them, and I ought, for they are debts of honor, you know."

"How much will pay them off, and restore your credit?" asked Meg, taking
out her purse.

"A quarter would more than do it, and leave a few cents over for a treat
for you. Don't you like limes?"

"Not much; you may have my share. Here's the money: make it last as
long as you can, for it isn't very plenty, you know."

"Oh, thank you! it must be so nice to have pocket-money. I'll have a
grand feast, for I haven't tasted a lime this week. I felt delicate
about taking any, as I couldn't return them, and I'm actually
suffering for one."

Next day Amy was rather late at school; but could not resist the
temptation of displaying, with pardonable pride, a moist brown-paper
parcel before she consigned it to the inmost recesses of her desk.
During the next few minutes the rumor that Amy March had got twenty-four
delicious limes (she ate one on the way), and was going to treat,
circulated through her "set" and the attentions of her friends became
quite overwhelming. Katy Brown invited her to her next party on the
spot; Mary Kingsley insisted on lending her her watch till recess; and
Jenny Snow, a satirical young lady who had basely twitted Amy upon her
limeless state, promptly buried the hatchet, and offered to furnish
answers to certain appalling sums. But Amy had not forgotten Miss Snow's
cutting remarks about "some persons whose noses were not too flat to
smell other people's limes, and stuck-up people who were not too proud
to ask for them"; and she instantly crushed "that Snow girl's" hopes by
the withering telegram, "You needn't be so polite all of a sudden, for
you won't get any."

A distinguished personage happened to visit the school that morning, and
Amy's beautifully drawn maps received praise; which honor to her foe
rankled in the soul of Miss Snow, and caused Miss March to assume the
airs of a studious young peacock. But, alas, alas! pride goes before a
fall, and the revengeful Snow turned the tables with disastrous success.
No sooner had the guest paid the usual stale compliments, and bowed
himself out, than Jenny, under pretence of asking an important question,
informed Mr. Davis, the teacher, that Amy March had pickled limes in
her desk.

Now, Mr. Davis had declared limes a contraband article, and solemnly
vowed to publicly ferule the first person who was found breaking the
law. This much-enduring man had succeeded in banishing gum after a long
and stormy war, had made a bonfire of the confiscated novels and
newspapers, had suppressed a private post-office, had forbidden
distortions of the face, nicknames, and caricatures, and done all that
one man could do to keep half a hundred rebellious girls in order. Boys
are trying enough to human patience, goodness knows! but girls are
infinitely more so, especially to nervous gentlemen with tyrannical
tempers, and no more talent for teaching than "Dr. Blimber." Mr. Davis
knew any quantity of Greek, Latin, algebra, and ologies of all sorts, so
he was called a fine teacher; and manners, morals, feelings, and
examples were not considered of any particular importance. It was a most
unfortunate moment for denouncing Amy, and Jenny knew it. Mr. Davis had
evidently taken his coffee too strong that morning; there was an east
wind, which always affected his neuralgia, and his pupils had not done
him the credit which he felt he deserved; therefore, to use the
expressive if not elegant language of a school-girl, "he was as nervous
as a witch, and as cross as a bear." The word "limes" was like fire to
powder: his yellow face flushed, and he rapped on his desk with an
energy which made Jenny skip to her seat with unusual rapidity.

"Young ladies, attention, if you please!"

At the stern order the buzz ceased, and fifty pairs of blue, black,
gray, and brown eyes were obediently fixed upon his awful countenance.

"Miss March, come to the desk."

Amy rose to comply with outward composure; but a secret fear oppressed
her, for the limes weighed upon her conscience.

"Bring with you the limes you have in your desk," was the unexpected
command which arrested her before she got out of her seat.

"Don't take all," whispered her neighbor, a young lady of great presence
of mind.

Amy hastily shook out half a dozen, and laid the rest down before Mr.
Davis, feeling that any man possessing a human heart would relent when
that delicious perfume met his nose. Unfortunately, Mr. Davis
particularly detested the odor of the fashionable pickle, and disgust
added to his wrath.

"Is that all?"

"Not quite," stammered Amy.

"Bring the rest, immediately."

With a despairing glance at her set she obeyed.

"You are sure there are no more?"

"I never lie, sir."

"So I see. Now take these disgusting things, two by two, and throw them
out of the window."

There was a simultaneous sigh, which created quite a little gust as the
last hope fled, and the treat was ravished from their longing lips.
Scarlet with shame and anger, Amy went to and fro twelve mortal times;
and as each doomed couple, looking, oh, so plump and juicy! fell from
her reluctant hands, a shout from the street completed the anguish of
the girls, for it told them that their feast was being exulted over by
the little Irish children, who were their sworn foes. This--this was too
much; all flashed indignant or appealing glances at the inexorable
Davis, and one passionate lime-lover burst into tears.

As Amy returned from her last trip, Mr. Davis gave a portentous "hem,"
and said, in his most impressive manner:--

"Young ladies, you remember what I said to you a week ago. I am sorry
this has happened; but I never allow my rules to be infringed, and I
_never_ break my word. Miss March, hold out your hand."

Amy started, and put both hands behind her, turning on him an imploring
look, which pleaded for her better than the words she could not utter.
She was rather a favorite with "old Davis," as of course he was called,
and it's my private belief that he _would_ have broken his word if the
indignation of one irrepressible young lady had not found vent in a
hiss. That hiss, faint as it was, irritated the irascible gentleman, and
sealed the culprit's fate.

"Your hand, Miss March!" was the only answer her mute appeal received;
and, too proud to cry or beseech, Amy set her teeth, threw back her head
defiantly, and bore without flinching several tingling blows on her
little palm. They were neither many nor heavy, but that made no
difference to her. For the first time in her life she had been struck;
and the disgrace, in her eyes, was as deep as if he had knocked
her down.

"You will now stand on the platform till recess," said Mr. Davis,
resolved to do the thing thoroughly, since he had begun.

That was dreadful. It would have been bad enough to go to her seat and
see the pitying faces of her friends, or the satisfied ones of her few
enemies; but to face the whole school with that shame fresh upon her
seemed impossible, and for a second she felt as if she could only drop
down where she stood, and break her heart with crying. A bitter sense of
wrong, and the thought of Jenny Snow, helped her to bear it; and taking
the ignominious place, she fixed her eyes on the stove-funnel above
what now seemed a sea of faces, and stood there so motionless and white,
that the girls found it very hard to study, with that pathetic little
figure before them.

During the fifteen minutes that followed, the proud and sensitive little
girl suffered a shame and pain which she never forgot. To others it
might seem a ludicrous or trivial affair, but to her it was a hard
experience; for during the twelve years of her life she had been
governed by love alone, and a blow of that sort had never touched her
before. The smart of her hand, and the ache of her heart, were forgotten
in the sting of the thought,--"I shall have to tell at home, and they
will be so disappointed in me!"

The fifteen minutes seemed an hour; but they came to an end at last, and
the word "Recess!" had never seemed so welcome to her before.

"You can go, Miss March," said Mr. Davis, looking, as he felt,

He did not soon forget the reproachful look Amy gave him, as she went,
without a word to any one, straight into the ante-room, snatched her
things, and left the place "forever," as she passionately declared to
herself. She was in a sad state when she got home; and when the older
girls arrived, some time later, an indignation meeting was held at once.
Mrs. March did not say much, but looked disturbed, and comforted her
afflicted little daughter in her tenderest manner. Meg bathed the
insulted hand with glycerine, and tears; Beth felt that even her beloved
kittens would fail as a balm for griefs like this, and Jo wrathfully
proposed that Mr. Davis be arrested without delay; while Hannah shook
her fist at the "villain," and pounded potatoes for dinner as if she had
him under her pestle.

No notice was taken of Amy's flight, except by her mates; but the
sharp-eyed demoiselles discovered that Mr. Davis was quite benignant in
the afternoon, and also unusually nervous. Just before school closed Jo
appeared, wearing a grim expression as she stalked up to the desk and
delivered a letter from her mother; then collected Amy's property and
departed, carefully scraping the mud from her boots on the door-mat, as
if she shook the dust of the place off her feet.

"Yes, you can have a vacation from school, but I want you to study a
little every day with Beth," said Mrs. March that evening. "I don't
approve of corporal punishment, especially for girls. I dislike Mr.
Davis's manner of teaching, and don't think the girls you associate with
are doing you any good, so I shall ask your father's advice before I
send you anywhere else."

"That's good! I wish all the girls would leave, and spoil his old
school. It's perfectly maddening to think of those lovely limes," sighed
Amy with the air of a martyr.

"I am not sorry you lost them, for you broke the rules, and deserved
some punishment for disobedience," was the severe reply, which rather
disappointed the young lady, who expected nothing but sympathy.

"Do you mean you are glad I was disgraced before the whole school?"
cried Amy.

"I should not have chosen that way of mending a fault," replied her
mother; "but I'm not sure that it won't do you more good than a milder
method. You are getting to be altogether too conceited and important, my
dear, and it is about time you set about correcting it. You have a good
many little gifts and virtues, but there is no need of parading them,
for conceit spoils the finest genius. There is not much danger that real
talent or goodness will be overlooked long; even if it is, the
consciousness of possessing and using it well should satisfy one, and
the great charm of all power is modesty."

"So it is," cried Laurie, who was playing chess in a corner with Jo. "I
knew a girl once who had a really remarkable talent for music, and she
didn't know it; never guessed what sweet little things she composed when
she was alone, and wouldn't have believed it if any one had told her."

"I wish I'd known that nice girl; maybe she would have helped me, I'm so
stupid," said Beth, who stood beside him listening eagerly.

"You do know her, and she helps you better than any one else could,"
answered Laurie, looking at her with such mischievous meaning in his
merry eyes, that Beth suddenly turned very red, and hid her face in the
sofa-cushion, quite overcome by such an unexpected discovery.

Jo let Laurie win the game, to pay for that praise of her Beth, who
could not be prevailed upon to play for them after her compliment. So
Laurie did his best and sung delightfully, being in a particularly
lively humor, for to the Marches he seldom showed the moody side of his
character. When he was gone, Amy, who had been pensive all the evening,
said suddenly, as if busy over some new idea:--

"Is Laurie an accomplished boy?"

"Yes; he has had an excellent education, and has much talent; he will
make a fine man, if not spoilt by petting," replied her mother.

"And he isn't conceited, is he?" asked Amy.

"Not in the least; that is why he is so charming, and we all like him so

"I see: it's nice to have accomplishments, and be elegant, but not to
show off, or get perked up," said Amy thoughtfully.

"These things are always seen and felt in a person's manner and
conversation, if modestly used; but it is not necessary to display
them," said Mrs. March.

"Any more than it's proper to wear all your bonnets, and gowns and
ribbons, at once, that folks may know you've got 'em," added Jo; and the
lecture ended in a laugh.


     From the Atlantic Monthly, September, 1863

     We, sighing, said, "Our Pan is dead;
        His pipe hangs mute beside the river;
        Around it wistful sunbeams quiver,
     But Music's airy voice is fled.
     Spring mourns as for untimely frost;
        The bluebird chants a requiem;
        The willow-blossom waits for him;--
     The Genius of the wood is lost."

     Then from the flute, untouched by hands,
        There came a low, harmonious breath:
        "For such as he there is no death;
     His life the eternal life commands;
     Above man's aims his nature rose:
        The wisdom of a just content
        Made one small spot a continent,
     And turned to poetry Life's prose.

     "Haunting the hills, the stream, the wild,
        Swallow and aster, lake and pine,
        To him grew human or divine,--
      Fit mates for this large-hearted child.
     Such homage Nature ne'er forgets,
        And yearly on the coverlid
        'Neath which her darling lieth hid
     Will write his name in violets.

     "To him no vain regrets belong,
        Whose soul, that finer instrument,
        Gave to the world no poor lament,
     But wood-notes ever sweet and strong.
     O lonely friend! he still will be
        A potent presence, though unseen,--
        Steadfast, sagacious, and serene:
     Seek not for him,--he is with thee."


     From 'Little Women'

     Queen of my tub, I merrily sing,
         While the white foam rises high;
         And sturdily wash, and rinse, and wring,
         And fasten the clothes to dry;
     Then out in the free fresh air they swing,
         Under the sunny sky.

     I wish we could wash from our hearts and souls
         The stains of the week away,
     And let water and air by their magic make
         Ourselves as pure as they;
     Then on the earth there would be indeed
         A glorious washing-day!

     Along the path of a useful life,
         Will heart's-ease ever bloom;
     The busy mind has no time to think
         Of sorrow, or care, or gloom;
     And anxious thoughts may be swept away,
         As we busily wield a broom.

     I am glad a task to me is given,
         To labor at day by day;
     For it brings me health, and strength, and hope,
         And I cheerfully learn to say,--
     "Head you may think, Heart you may feel,
         But Hand you shall work alway!"

Selections used by permission of Roberts Brothers, Publishers, and John
S.P. Alcott.




Alcuin, usually called Alcuin of York, came of a patrician family of
Northumberland. Neither the date nor the place of his birth is known
with definiteness, but he was born about 735 at or near York. As a child
he entered the cathedral school recently founded by Egbert, Archbishop
of York, and ultimately became its most eminent pupil. He was
subsequently assistant master to Aelbert, its head; and when Aelbert
succeeded to the archbishopric, on the death of Egbert in 766, Alcuin
became _scholasticus_ or master of the school. On the death of Aelbert
in 780, Alcuin was placed in charge of the cathedral library, the most
famous in Western Europe. In his longest poem, 'Versus de Eboracensi
Ecclesia' (Poem on the Saints of the Church at York), he has left an
important record of his connection with York. This poem, written before
he left England, is, like most of his verse, in dactylic hexameters. To
a certain extent it follows Virgil as a model, and is partly based on
the writings of Bede, partly on his own personal experience. It is not
only valuable for its historical bearings, but for its disclosure of the
manner and matter of instruction in the schools of the time, and the
contents of the great library. As master of the cathedral school, Alcuin
acquired name and fame at home and abroad, and was soon the most
celebrated teacher in Britain. Before 766, in company with Aelbert, he
made his first journey to Germany, and may have visited Rome. Earlier
than 780 he was again abroad, and at Pavia came under the notice of
Charlemagne, who was on his way back from Italy. In 781 Eanbald, the new
Archbishop of York, sent Alcuin to Rome to bring back the Archbishop's
pallium. At Parma he again met Charlemagne, who invited him to take up
his abode at the Frankish court. With the consent of his king and his
archbishop he resigned his position at York, and with a few pupils
departed for the court at Aachen, in 782.

Alcuin's arrival in Germany was the beginning of a new intellectual
epoch among the Franks. Learning was at this time in a deplorable state.
The older monastic and cathedral schools had been broken up, and the
monasteries themselves often unworthily bestowed upon royal favorites.
There had been a palace school for rudimentary instruction, but it was
wholly inefficient and unimportant.

During the years immediately following his arrival, Alcuin zealously
labored at his projects of educational reform. First reorganizing the
palace school, he afterward undertook a reform of the monasteries and
their system of instruction, and the establishment of new schools
throughout the kingdom of Charlemagne. At the court school the great
king himself, as well as Liutgard the queen, became his pupil. Gisela,
Abbess of Chelles, the sister of Charlemagne, came also to him for
instruction, as did the Princes Charles, Pepin, and Louis, and the
Princesses Rotrud and Gisela. On himself and the others, in accordance
with the fashion of the time, Alcuin bestowed fanciful names. He was
Flaccus or Albinus, Charlemagne was David, the queen was Ava, and Pepin
was Julius. The subjects of instruction in this school, the centre of
culture of the kingdom, were first of all, grammar; then arithmetic,
astronomy, rhetoric, and dialectic. The king himself studied poetry,
astronomy, arithmetic, the writings of the Fathers, and theology proper.
It was under the influence of Alcuin that Charlemagne issued in 787 the
capitulary that has been called "the first general charter of education
for the Middle Ages." It reproves the abbots for their illiteracy, and
exhorts them to the study of letters; and although its effect was less
than its purpose, it served, with subsequent decrees of the king, to
stimulate learning and literature throughout all Germany.

Alcuin's system included, besides the palace school, and the monastic
and cathedral schools, which in some instances gave both elementary and
superior instruction, all the parish or village elementary schools,
whose head was the parish priest.

In 790, seeing his plans well established, Alcuin returned to York
bearing letters of reconciliation to Offa, King of Mercia, between whom
and Charlemagne dissension had arisen. Having accomplished his errand,
he went back to the German court in 792. Here his first act was to take
a vigorous part in the furious controversy respecting the doctrine of
Adoptionism. Alcuin not only wrote against the heresy, but brought about
its condemnation by the Council of Frankfort, in 794.

Two years later, at his own request, he was made Abbot of the
Benedictine monastery of St. Martin, at Tours. Not contented with
reforming the lax monastic life, he resolved to make Tours a seat of
learning. Under his management, it presently became the most renowned
school in the kingdom. Especially in the copying of manuscripts did the
brethren excel. Alcuin kept up a vast correspondence with Britain as
well as with different parts of the Frankish kingdom; and of the two
hundred and thirty letters preserved, the greater part belonged to this
time. In 799, at Aachen, he held a public disputation on Adoptionism
with Felix, Bishop of Urgel, who was wholly vanquished. When the king,
in 800, was preparing for that visit to the Papal court which was to end
with his coronation as Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, he invited
Alcuin to accompany him. But the old man, wearied with many burdens,
could not make the journey. By the beginning of 804 he had become much
enfeebled. It was his desire, often expressed, to die on the day of
Pentecost. His wish was fulfilled, for he died at dawn on the 19th of
May. He was buried in the Cloister Church of St. Martin, near the

Alcuin's literary activity was exerted in various directions. Two-thirds
of all that he wrote was theological in character. These works are
exegetical, like the 'Commentary on the Gospel of St. John'; dogmatic,
like the 'Writings against Felix of Urgel and Elipandus of Toledo,' his
best work of this class; or liturgical and moral, like the 'Lives of the
Saints,' The other third is made up of the epistles, already mentioned;
of poems on a great variety of subjects, the principal one being the
'Poem on the Saints of the Church at York'; and of those didactic works
which form his principal claim to attention at the present day. His
educational treatises are the following: 'On Grammar,' 'On Orthography,'
'On Rhetoric and the Virtues,' 'On Dialectics,' 'Disputation between the
Royal and Most Noble Youth Pepin, and Albinus the Scholastic,' and 'On
the Calculation of Easter,' The most important of all these writings is
his 'Grammar,' which consists of two parts: the first a dialogue between
a teacher and his pupils on philosophy and studies in general; the other
a dialogue between a teacher, a young Frank, and a young Saxon, on
grammar. These latter, in Alcuin's language, have "but lately rushed
upon the thorny thickets of grammatical density" Grammar begins with the
consideration of the letters, the vowels and consonants, the former of
which "are, as it were, the souls, and the consonants the bodies of
words." Grammar itself is defined to be "the science of written sounds,
the guardian of correct speaking and writing. It is founded on nature,
reason, authority, and custom." He enumerates no less than twenty-six
parts of grammar, which he then defines. Many of his definitions and
particularly his etymologies, are remarkable. He tells us that feet in
poetry are so called "because the metres walk on them"; _littera_ is
derived from _legitera_, "since the _littera_ serve to prepare the way
for readers" (_legere, iter_). In his 'Orthography,' a pendant to the
'Grammar,' _coelebs_, a bachelor, is "one who is on his way _ad coelum_"
(to heaven). Alcuin's 'Grammar' is based principally on Donatus. In
this, as in all his works, he compiles and adapts, but is only rarely
original. 'On Rhetoric and the Virtues' is a dialogue between
Charlemagne and Albinus (Alcuin). The 'Disputation between Pepin and
Albinus,' the beginning of which is here given, shows both the manner
and the subject-matter of his instruction. Alcuin, with all the
limitations which his environment imposed upon him, stamped himself
indelibly upon his day and generation, and left behind him, in his
scholars, an enduring influence. Men like Rabanus, the famous Bishop of
Mayence, gloried in having been his pupils, and down to the wars and
devastations of the tenth century his influence upon education was
paramount throughout all Western Europe. There is an excellent account
of Alcuin in Professor West's 'Alcuin' ('Great Educators' Series),
published in 1893.

Wm. H. Carpenter.


        There the Eboric scholars felt the rule
        Of Master Aelbert, teaching in the school.
        Their thirsty hearts to gladden well he knew
        With doctrine's stream and learning's heavenly dew.

        To some he made the grammar understood,
        And poured on others rhetoric's copious flood.
        The rules of jurisprudence these rehearse,
        While those recite in high Eonian verse,
        Or play Castalia's flutes in cadence sweet
        And mount Parnassus on swift lyric feet.

        Anon the master turns their gaze on high
        To view the travailing sun and moon, the sky
        In order turning with its planets seven,
        And starry hosts that keep the law of heaven.

        The storms at sea, the earthquake's shock, the race
        Of men and beasts and flying fowl they trace;
        Or to the laws of numbers bend their mind,
        And search till Easter's annual day they find.

        Then, last and best, he opened up to view
        The depths of Holy Scripture, Old and New.
        Was any youth in studies well approved,
        Then him the master cherished, taught, and loved;
        And thus the double knowledge he conferred
        Of liberal studies and the Holy Word.

From West's 'Alcuin, and the Rise of the Christian Schools': by
permission of Charles Scribner's Sons.


   _Pepin_--What is writing?

   _Albinus_--The treasury of history.

   _Pepin_--What is language?

   _Albinus_--The herald of the soul.

   _Pepin_--What generates language?

   _Albinus_--The tongue.

   _Pepin_--What is the tongue?

   _Albinus_--A whip of the air.

   _Pepin_--What is the air?

   _Albinus_--A maintainer of life.

   _Pepin_--What is life?

   _Albinus_--The joy of the happy; the torment of the suffering;
a waiting for death.

   _Pepin_--What is death?

   _Albinus_--An inevitable ending; a journey into uncertainty; a
source of tears for the living; the probation of wills; a waylayer
of men.

   _Pepin_--What is man?

   _Albinus_--A booty of death; a passing traveler; a stranger on

   _Pepin_--What is man like?

   _Albinus_--The fruit of a tree.

   _Pepin_--What are the heavens?

   _Albinus_--A rolling ball; an immeasurable vault.

   _Pepin_--What is light?

   _Albinus_--The sight of all things.

   _Pepin_--What is day?

   _Albinus_--The admonisher to labor.

   _Pepin_--What is the sun?

   _Albinus_--The glory and splendor of the heavens; the attractive
in nature; the measure of hours; the adornment of day.

   _Pepin_--What is the moon?

   _Albinus_--The eye of night; the dispenser of dew; the presager
of storms.

   _Pepin_--What are the stars?

   _Albinus_--A picture on the vault of heaven; the steersmen of
ships; the ornament of night.

   _Pepin_--What is rain?

   _Albinus_--The fertilizer of the earth; the producer of crops.

   _Pepin_--What is fog?

   _Albinus_--Night in day; the annoyance of eyes.

   _Pepin_--What is wind?

   _Albinus_--The mover of air; the agitation of water; the dryer
of the earth.

   _Pepin_--What is the earth?

   _Albinus_--The mother of growth; the nourisher of the living;
the storehouse of life; the effacer of all.

   _Pepin_--What is the sea?

   _Albinus_--The path of adventure; the bounds of the earth;
the division of lands; the harbor of rivers; the source of rains;
a refuge in danger; a pleasure in enjoyment.

   _Pepin_--What are rivers?

   _Albinus_--A ceaseless motion; a refreshment to the sun; the
waters of the earth.

   _Pepin_--What is water?

   _Albinus_--The supporter of life; the cleanser of filth.

   _Pepin_--What is fire?

   _Albinus_--An excessive heat; the nurse of growing things; the
ripener of crops.

   _Pepin_--What is cold?

   _Albinus_--The trembling of our members.

   _Pepin_--What is frost?

   _Albinus_--An assailer of plants; the destruction of leaves; a
fetter to the earth; a bridger of streams.

   _Pepin_--What is snow?

   _Albinus_--Dry water.

   _Pepin_--What is winter?

   _Albinus_--An exile of summer.

   _Pepin_--What is spring?

   _Albinus_--A painter of the earth.

   _Pepin_--What is summer?

   _Albinus_--That which brings to the earth a new garment, and
ripens the fruit.

   _Pepin_--What is autumn?

   _Albinus_--The barn of the year.


(Written in the year 796)

I, your Flaccus, in accordance with your entreaty and your gracious
kindness, am busied under the shelter of St. Martin's, in bestowing upon
many of my pupils the honey of the Holy Scriptures. I am eager that
others should drink deep of the old wine of ancient learning; I shall
presently begin to nourish still others with the fruits of grammatical
ingenuity; and some of them I am eager to enlighten with a knowledge of
the order of the stars, that seem painted, as it were, on the dome of
some mighty palace. I have become all things to all men (1 Cor. i. 22)
so that I may train up many to the profession of God's Holy Church and
to the glory of your imperial realm, lest the grace of Almighty God in
me should be fruitless (1 Cor. xv. 10) and your munificent bounty of no
avail. But your servant lacks the rarer books of scholastic learning,
which in my own country I used to have (thanks to the generous and most
devoted care of my teacher and to my own humble endeavors), and I
mention it to your Majesty so that, perchance, it may please you who are
eagerly concerned about the whole body of learning, to have me dispatch
some of our young men to procure for us certain necessary works, and
bring with them to France the flowers of England; so that a graceful
garden may not exist in York alone, but so that at Tours as well there
may be found the blossoming of Paradise with its abundant fruits; that
the south wind, when it comes, may cause the gardens along the River
Loire to burst into bloom, and their perfumed airs to stream forth, and
finally, that which follows in the Canticle, whence I have drawn this
simile, may be brought to pass... (Canticle v. 1, 2). Or even this
exhortation of the prophet Isaiah, which urges us to acquire
wisdom:--"A11 ye who thirst, come to the waters; and you who have not
money, hasten, buy and eat: come, without money and without price, and
buy wine and milk" (Isaiah iv. 1.)

And this is a thing which your gracious zeal will not overlook: how upon
every page of the Holy Scriptures we are urged to the acquisition of
wisdom; how nothing is more honorable for insuring a happy life, nothing
more pleasing in the observance, nothing more efficient against sin,
nothing more praiseworthy in any lofty station, than that men live
according to the teachings of the philosophers. Moreover, nothing is
more essential to the government of the people, nothing better for the
guidance of life into the paths of honorable character, than the grace
which wisdom gives, and the glory of training and the power of learning.
Therefore it is that in its praise, Solomon, the wisest of all men,
exclaims, "Better is wisdom than all precious things, and more to be
desired" (Prov. viii. 11 _seq_). To secure this with every possible
effort and to get possession of it by daily endeavor, do you, my lord
King, exhort the young men who are in your Majesty's palace, that they
strive for this in the flower of their youth, so that they may be deemed
worthy to live through an old age of honor, and that by its means they
may be able to attain to everlasting happiness. I, myself, according to
my disposition, shall not be slothful in sowing the seeds of wisdom
among your servants in this land, being mindful of the injunction, "Sow
thy seed in the morning, and at eventide let not thy hand cease; since
thou knowest not what will spring up, whether these or those, and if
both together, still better is it" (Eccles. xi. 6). In the morning of my
life and in the fruitful period of my studies I sowed seed in Britain,
and now that my blood has grown cool in the evening of life, I still
cease not; but sow the seed in France, desiring that both may spring up
by the grace of God. And now that my body has grown weak, I find
consolation in the saying of St. Jerome, who declares in his letter to
Nepotianus, "Almost all the powers of the body are altered in old men,
and wisdom alone will increase while the rest decay." And a little
further he says, "The old age of those who have adorned their youth with
noble accomplishments and have meditated on the law of the Lord both day
and night becomes more and more deeply accomplished with its years, more
polished from experience, more wise by the lapse of time; and it reaps
the sweetest fruit of ancient learning." In this letter in praise of
wisdom, one who wishes can read many things of the scientific pursuits
of the ancients, and can understand how eager were these ancients to
abound in the grace of wisdom. I have noted that your zeal, which is
pleasing to God and praiseworthy, is always advancing toward this wisdom
and takes pleasure in it, and that you are adorning the magnificence of
your worldly rule with still greater intellectual splendor. In this may
our Lord Jesus Christ, who is himself the supreme type of divine wisdom,
guard you and exalt you, and cause you to attain to the glory of His own
blessed and everlasting vision.



Henry Mills Alden, since 1864 the editor of Harper's Magazine, was born
in Mount Tabor, Vermont, November 11th, 1836, the eighth in descent from
Captain John Alden, the Pilgrim. He graduated at Williams College, and
studied theology at Andover Seminary, but was never ordained a minister,
having almost immediately turned his attention to literature. His first
work that attracted attention was an essay on the Eleusinian Mysteries,
published in the Atlantic Monthly. The scholarship and subtle method
revealed in this and similar works led to his engagement to deliver a
course of twelve Lowell Institute lectures at Boston, in 1863 and 1864,
and he took for his subject 'The Structure of Paganism.' Before this he
had removed to New York, had engaged in general editorial work, and
formed his lasting connection with the house of Harper and Brothers.

As an editor Mr. Alden is the most practical of men, but he is in
reality a poet, and in another age he might have been a mystic. He has
the secret of preserving his life to himself, while paying the keenest
attention to his daily duties. In his office he is immersed in affairs
which require the exercise of vigilant common-sense, and knowledge of
life and literature. At his home he is a serene and optimistic
philosopher, contemplating the forces that make for our civilization,
and musing over the deep problems of man's occupation of this earth. In
1893 appeared anonymously a volume entitled 'God in His World,' which
attracted instantly wide attention in this country and in England for
its subtlety of thought, its boldness of treatment, its winning
sweetness of temper, and its exquisite style. It was by Mr. Alden, and
in 1895 it was followed by 'A Study of Death,' continuing the great
theme of the first,--the unity of creation, the certainty that there is
in no sense a war between the Creator and his creation. In this view the
Universe is not divided into the Natural and the Supernatural: all is
Natural. But we can speak here only of their literary quality. The
author is seen to be a poet in his conceptions, but in form his writing
is entirely within the limits of prose; yet it is a prose most
harmonious, most melodious, and it exhibits the capacity of our English
tongue in the hand of a master. The thought is sometimes so subtle as to
elude the careless reader, but the charm of the melody never fails to
entrance. The study of life and civilization is profound, but the grace
of treatment seems to relieve the problems of half their difficulty.

His wife did not live to read the exquisite dedication given below.

From 'A Study of Death,' copyright 1895, by Harper and Brothers



My earliest written expression of intimate thought or cherished fancy
was for your eyes only; it was my first approach to your maidenly heart,
a mystical wooing, which neglected no resource, near or remote, for the
enhancement of its charm, and so involved all other mystery in its own.

In you, childhood has been inviolate, never losing its power of leading
me by an unspoken invocation to a green field, ever kept fresh by a
living fountain, where the Shepherd tends his flock. Now, through a body
racked with pain, and sadly broken, still shines this unbroken
childhood, teaching me Love's deepest mystery.

It is fitting, then, that I should dedicate to you this book touching
that mystery. It has been written in the shadow, but illumined by the
brightness of an angel's face seen in the darkness, so that it has
seemed easy and natural for me to find at the thorn's heart a secret and
everlasting sweetness far surpassing that of the rose itself, which
ceases in its own perfection.

Whether that angel we have seen shall, for my need and comfort, and for
your own longing, hold back his greatest gift, and leave you mine in the
earthly ways we know and love, or shall hasten to make the heavenly
surprise, the issue in either event will be a home-coming; if _here_,
yet already the deeper secret will have been in part disclosed; and if
_beyond_, that secret, fully known, will not betray the fondest hope of
loving hearts. Love never denied Death, and Death will not deny Love.

From 'A Study of Death,' copyright 1895, by Harper and Brothers


The Dove flies, and the Serpent creeps. Yet is the Dove fond, while the
Serpent is the emblem of wisdom. Both were in Eden: the cooing,
fluttering, wingèd spirit, loving to descend, companion-like, brooding,
following; and the creeping thing which had glided into the sunshine of
Paradise from the cold bosoms of those nurses of an older world--Pain,
and Darkness, and Death--himself forgetting these in the warmth and
green life of the Garden. And our first parents knew naught of these as
yet unutterable mysteries, any more than they knew that their roses
bloomed over a tomb: so that when all animate creatures came to Adam to
be named, the meaning of this living allegory which passed before him
was in great part hidden, and he saw no sharp line dividing the
firmament below from the firmament above; rather he leaned toward the
ground, as one does in a garden, seeing how quickly it was fashioned
into the climbing trees, into the clean flowers, and into his own
shapely frame. It was upon the ground he lay when that deep sleep fell
upon him from which he woke to find his mate, lithe as the serpent, yet
with the fluttering heart of the dove.

As the Dove, though winged for flight, ever descended, so the Serpent,
though unable wholly to leave the ground, tried ever to lift himself
therefrom, as if to escape some ancient bond. The cool nights revived
and nourished his memories of an older time, wherein lay his subtile
wisdom, but day by day his aspiring crest grew brighter. The life of
Eden became for him oblivion, the light of the sun obscuring and
confounding his reminiscence, even as for Adam and Eve this life was
Illusion, the visible disguising the invisible, and pleasure
veiling pain.

In Adam the culture of the ground maintained humility. He was held,
moreover, in lowly content by the charm of the woman, who was to him
like the earth grown human; and since she was the daughter of Sleep, her
love seemed to him restful as the night. Her raven locks were like the
mantle of darkness, and her voice had the laughter of streams that
lapsed into unseen depths.

But Eve had something of the Serpent's unrest, as if she too had come
from the Under-world, which she would fain forget, seeking liberation,
urged by desire as deep as the abyss she had left behind her, and
nourished from roots unfathomably hidden--the roots of the Tree of Life.
She thus came to have conversation with the Serpent.

In the lengthening days of Eden's one Summer these two were more and
more completely enfolded in the Illusion of Light. It was under this
spell that, dwelling upon the enticement of fruit good to look at, and
pleasant to the taste, the Serpent denied Death, and thought of Good as
separate from Evil. "Ye shall not surely die, but shall be as the gods,
knowing good and evil." So far, in his aspiring day-dream, had the
Serpent fared from his old familiar haunts--so far from his
old-world wisdom!

A surer omen would have come to Eve had she listened to the plaintive
notes of the bewildered Dove that in his downward flutterings had begun
to divine what the Serpent had come to forget, and to confess what he
had come to deny.

For already was beginning to be felt "the season's difference," and the
grave mystery, without which Paradise itself could not have been, was
about to be unveiled,--the background of the picture becoming its
foreground. The fond hands plucking the rose had found the thorn. Evil
was known as something by itself, apart from Good, and Eden was left
behind, as one steps out of infancy.

From that hour have the eyes of the children of men been turned from the
accursed earth, looking into the blue above, straining their vision for
a glimpse of white-robed angels.

Yet it was the Serpent that was lifted up in the wilderness; and when He
who "became sin for us" was being bruised in the heel by the old enemy,
the Dove descended upon Him at His baptism. He united the wisdom of the
Serpent with the harmlessness of the Dove. Thus in Him were bound
together and reconciled the elements which in human thought had been put
asunder. In Him, Evil is overcome of Good, as, in Him, Death is
swallowed up of Life; and with His eyes we see that the robes of angels
are white, because they have been washed in blood.

From 'A Study of Death,' copyright 1895, by Harper and Brothers


The Angel of Death is the invisible Angel of Life. While the organism is
alive as a human embodiment, death is present, having the same human
distinction as the life, from which it is inseparable, being, indeed,
the better half of living,--its winged half, its rest and inspiration,
its secret spring of elasticity, and quickness. Life came upon the wings
of Death, and so departs.

If we think of life apart from death our thought is partial, as if we
would give flight to the arrow without bending the bow. No living
movement either begins or is completed save through death. If the
shuttle return not there is no web; and the texture of life is woven
through this tropic movement.

It is a commonly accepted scientific truth that the continuance of life
in any living thing depends upon death. But there are two ways of
expressing this truth: one, regarding merely the outward fact, as when
we say that animal or vegetable tissue is renewed through decay; the
other, regarding the action and reaction proper to life itself, whereby
it forever springs freshly from its source. The latter form of
expression is mystical, in the true meaning of that term. We close our
eyes to the outward appearance, in order that we may directly confront a
mystery which is already past before there is any visible indication
thereof. Though the imagination engaged in this mystical apprehension
borrows its symbols or analogues from observation and experience, yet
these symbols are spiritually regarded by looking at life on its living
side, and abstracted as far as possible from outward embodiment. We
especially affect physiological analogues because, being derived from
our experience, we may the more readily have the inward regard of them;
and by passing from one physiological analogue to another, and from all
these to those furnished by the processes of nature outside of our
bodies, we come to an apprehension of the action and reaction proper to
life itself as an idea independent of all its physical representations.

Thus we trace the rhythmic beating of the pulse to the systole and
diastole of the heart, and we note a similar alternation in the
contraction and relaxation of all our muscles. Breathing is alternately
inspiration and expiration. Sensation itself is by beats, and falls into
rhythm. There is no uninterrupted strain of either action or
sensibility; a current or a contact is renewed, having been broken. In
psychical operation there is the same alternate lapse and resurgence.
Memory rises from the grave of oblivion. No holding can be maintained
save through alternate release. Pulsation establishes circulation, and
vital motions proceed through cycles, each one of which, however minute,
has its tropic of Cancer and of Capricorn. Then there are the larger
physiological cycles, like that wherein sleep is the alternation of
waking. Passing from the field of our direct experience to that of
observation, we note similar alternations, as of day and night, summer
and winter, flood and ebb tide; and science discloses them at every
turn, especially in its recent consideration of the subtle forces of
Nature, leading us back of all visible motions to the pulsations of
the ether....

In considering the action and reaction proper to life itself, we here
dismiss from view all measured cycles, whose beginning and end are
appreciably separate; our regard is confined to living moments, so fleet
that their beginning and ending meet as in one point, which is seen to
be at once the point of departure and of return. Thus we may speak of a
man's life as included between his birth and his death, and with
reference to this physiological term, think of him as living, and then
as dead; but we may also consider him while living as yet every moment
dying, and in this view death is clearly seen to be the inseparable
companion of life,--the way of return, and so of continuance. This
pulsation, forever a vanishing and a resurgence, so incalculably swift
as to escape observation, is proper to life as life, does not begin with
what we call birth nor end with what we call death (considering birth
and death as terms applicable to an individual existence); it is forever
beginning and forever ending. Thus to all manifest existence we apply
the term Nature (_natura_), which means "forever being born"; and on its
vanishing side it is _moritura_, or "forever dying." Resurrection is
thus a natural and perpetual miracle. The idea of life as transcending
any individual embodiment is as germane to science as it is to faith.

Death, thus seen as essential, is lifted above its temporary and visible
accidents. It is no longer associated with corruption, but rather with
the sweet and wholesome freshness of life, being the way of its renewal.
Sweeter than the honey which Samson found in the lion's carcass is this
everlasting sweetness of Death; and it is a mystery deeper than the
strong man's riddle.

So is Death pure and clean, as is the dew that comes with the cool night
when the sun has set; clean and white as the snowflakes that betoken the
absolution which Winter gives, shriving the earth of all her Summer
wantonness and excess, when only the trees that yield balsam and
aromatic fragrance remain green, breaking the box of precious ointment
for burial.

In this view also is restored the kinship of Death with Sleep.

The state of the infant seems to be one of chronic mysticism, since
during the greater part of its days its eyes are closed to the outer
world. Its larger familiarity is still with the invisible, and it seems
as if the Mothers of Darkness were still withholding it as their
nursling, accomplishing for it some mighty work in their proper realm,
some such fiery baptism of infants as is frequently instanced in Greek
mythology, tempering them for earthly trials. The infant must needs
sleep while this work is being done for it; it has been sleeping since
the work began, from the foundation of the world, and the old habit
still clings about it and is not easily laid aside....

That which we have been considering as the death that is in every moment
is a reaction proper to life itself, waking or sleeping, whereby it is
renewed, sharing at once Time and Eternity--time as outward form, and
eternity as its essential quality. Sleep is a special relaxation,
relieving a special strain. As daily we build with effort and design an
elaborate superstructure above the living foundation, so must this
edifice nightly be laid in ruins. Sleep is thus a disembarrassment, the
unloading of a burden wherewith we have weighted ourselves. Here again
we are brought into a kind of repentance, and receive absolution. Sleep
is forgiveness.

From 'A Study of Death,' copyright 1895, by Harper and Brothers



Standing at the gate of Birth, it would seem as if it were the vital
destination of all things to fly from their source, as if it were the
dominant desire of life to enter into limitations. We might mentally
represent to ourselves an essence simple and indivisible that denies
itself in diversified manifold existence. To us, this side the veil,
nay, immeshed in innumerable veils that hide from us the Father's face,
this insistence appears to have the stress of urgency, as if the effort
of all being, its unceasing travail, were like the beating of the
infinite ocean upon the shores of Time; and as if, within the continent
of Time, all existence were forever knocking at new gates, seeking,
through some as yet untried path of progression, greater complexity, a
deeper involvement. All the children seem to be beseeching the Father to
divide unto them His living, none willingly abiding in that Father's
house. But in reality their will is His will--they fly, and they are
driven, like fledglings from the mother-nest.


The story of a solar system, or of any synthesis in time, repeats the
parable of the Prodigal Son, in its essential features. It is a
cosmic parable.

The planet is a wanderer (_planes_), and the individual planetary
destiny can be accomplished only through flight from its source. After
all its prodigality it shall sicken and return.

Attributing to the Earth, thus apparently separated from the Sun, some
macrocosmic sentience, what must have been her wondering dream, finding
herself at once thrust away and securely held, poised between her flight
and her bond, and so swinging into a regular orbit about the Sun, while
at the same time, in her rotation, turning to him and away from
him--into the light, and into the darkness, forever denying and
confessing her lord! Her emotion must have been one of delight, however
mingled with a feeling of timorous awe, since her desire could not have
been other than one with her destination. Despite the distance and the
growing coolness she could feel the kinship still; her pulse, though
modulated, was still in rhythm with that of the solar heart, and in her
bosom were hidden consubstantial fires. But it was the sense of
otherness, of her own distinct individuation, that was mainly being
nourished, this sense, moreover, being proper to her destiny; therefore,
the signs of her likeness to the Sun were more and more being buried
from her view; her fires were veiled by a hardening crust, and her
opaqueness stood out against his light. She had no regret for all she
was surrendering, thinking only of her gain, of being clothed upon with
a garment showing ever some new fold of surprising beauty and wonder. If
she had remained in the Father's house--like the elder brother in the
Parable--then would all that He had have been hers, in nebulous
simplicity. But now, holding her revels apart, she seems to sing her own
song, and to dream her own beautiful dream, wandering, with a motion
wholly her own, among the gardens of cosmic order and loveliness. She
glories in her many veils, which, though they hide from her both her
source and her very self, are the media through which the invisible
light is broken into multiform illusions that enrich her dream. She
beholds the Sun as a far-off, insphered being existing for her, her
ministrant bridegroom; and when her face is turned away from him into
the night, she beholds innumerable suns, a myriad of archangels, all
witnesses of some infinitely remote and central flame--the Spirit of all
life. Yet, in the midst of these visible images, she is absorbed in her
individual dream, wherein she appears to herself to be the mother of all
living. It is proper to her destiny that she should be thus enwrapped in
her own distinct action and passion, and refer to herself the
appearances of a universe. While all that is not she is what she really
is,--necessary, that is, to her full definition,--she, on the other
hand, from herself interprets all else. This is the inevitable
terrestrial idealism, peculiar to every individuation in time--the
individual thus balancing the universe.


In reality, the Earth has never left the Sun; apart from him she has no
life, any more than has the branch severed from the vine. More truly it
may be said that the Sun has never left the Earth.

No prodigal can really leave the Father's house, any more than he can
leave himself; coming to himself, he feels the Father's arms about
him--they have always been there--he is newly appareled, and wears the
signet ring of native prestige; he hears the sound of familiar music and
dancing, and it may be that the young and beautiful forms mingling with
him in this festival are the riotous youths and maidens of his
far-country revels, also come to themselves and home, of whom also the
Father saith: These were dead and are alive again, they were lost and
are found. The starvation and sense of exile had been parts of a
troubled dream--a dream which had also had its ecstasy, but had come
into a consuming fever, with delirious imaginings of fresh fountains, of
shapes drawn from the memory of childhood, and of the cool touch of
kindred hands upon the brow. So near is exile to home, misery to divine
commiseration--so near are pain and death, desolation and divestiture,
to "a new creature," and to the kinship involved in all creation and

Distance in the cosmic order is a standing-apart, which is only another
expression of the expansion and abundance of creative life; but at every
remove its reflex is nearness, a bond of attraction, insphering and
curving, making orb and orbit. While in space this attraction is
diminished--being inversely as the square of the distance--and so there
is maintained and emphasized the appearance of suspension and isolation,
yet in time it gains preponderance, contracting sphere and orbit, aging
planets and suns, and accumulating destruction, which at the point of
annihilation becomes a new creation. This Grand Cycle, which is but a
pulsation or breath of the Eternal life, illustrates a truth which is
repeated in its least and most minutely divided moment--that birth lies
next to death, as water crystallizes at the freezing-point, and the
plant blossoms at points most remote from the source of nutrition.



A poet in verse often becomes a poet in prose also, in composing novels;
although the novelist may not, and in general does not, possess the
faculty of writing poems. The poet-novelist is apt to put into his prose
a good deal of the same charm and the same picturesque choice of phrase
and image that characterize his verse; while it does not follow that the
novelist who at times writes verse--like George Eliot, for
example--succeeds in giving a distinctly poetic quality to prose, or
even wishes to do so. Among authors who have displayed peculiar power
and won fame in the dual capacity of poet and of prose romancer or
novelist, Sir Walter Scott and Victor Hugo no doubt stand pre-eminent;
and in American literature, Edgar Allan Poe and Oliver Wendell Holmes
very strikingly combine these two functions. Another American author who
has gained a distinguished position both as a poet and as a writer of
prose fiction and essays is Thomas Bailey Aldrich.

[Illustration: THOMAS B. ALDRICH]

It is upon his work in the form of verse, perhaps, that Aldrich's chief
renown is based; but some of his short stories in especial have
contributed much to his popularity, no less than to his repute as a
delicate and polished artificer in words. A New Englander, he has
infused into some of his poems the true atmosphere of New England, and
has given the same light and color of home to his prose, while imparting
to his productions in both kinds a delightful tinge of the foreign and
remote. In addition to his capacities as a poet and a romancer, he is a
wit and humorist of sparkling quality. In reading his books one seems
also to inhale the perfumes of Arabia and the farther East, blended with
the salt sea-breeze and the pine-scented air of his native State, New

He was born in the old seaside town of Portsmouth, New Hampshire,
November 11th, 1836; but moved to New York City in 1854, at the age of
seventeen. There he remained until 1866; beginning his work quite early;
forming his literary character by reading and observation, by the
writing of poems, and by practice and experience of writing prose
sketches and articles for journals and periodicals. During this period
he entered into associations with the poets Stedman, Stoddard, and
Bayard Taylor, and was more or less in touch with the group that
included Walt Whitman, Fitz-James O'Brien, and William Winter. Removing
to Boston in January, 1866, he became the editor of Every Saturday, and
remained in that post until 1874, when he resigned. In 1875 he made a
long tour in Europe, plucking the first fruits of foreign travel, which
were succeeded by many rich and dainty gatherings from the same source
in later years. In the intervals of these wanderings he lived in Boston
and Cambridge; occupying for a time James Russell Lowell's historic
house of Elmwood, in the semi-rural university city; and then
established a pretty country house at Ponkapog, a few miles west of
Boston. This last suggested the title for a charming book of travel
papers, 'From Ponkapog to Pesth.' In 1881 he was appointed editor of the
Atlantic Monthly, and continued to direct that famous magazine for nine
years, frequently making short trips to Europe, extending his tours as
far as the heart of Russia, and gathering fresh materials, for essay or
song. Much of his time since giving up the Atlantic editorship has been
passed in voyaging, and in 1894-5 he made a journey around the world.

From the beginning he struck with quiet certainty the vein that was his
by nature in poetry; and this has broadened almost continually, yielding
richer results, which have been worked out with an increasing refinement
of skill. His predilection is for the picturesque; for romance combined
with simplicity, purity, and tenderness of feeling, touched by fancy and
by occasional lights of humor so reserved and dainty that they never
disturb the pictorial harmony. The capacity for unaffected utterance of
feeling on matters common to humanity reached a climax in the poem of
'Baby Bell,' which by its sympathetic and delicate description of a
child's advent and death gave the author a claim to the affection^ of a
wide circle; and this remained for a long time probably the best known
among his poems. 'Friar Jerome's Beautiful Book' is another of the
earlier favorites. 'Spring in New England' has since come to hold high
rank both for its vivid and graceful description of the season, for its
tender fervor of patriotism, and for its sentiment of reconciliation
between North and South. The lines on 'Piscataqua River' remain one of
the best illustrations of boyhood memories, and have something of
Whittier's homely truth. In his longer narrative pieces, 'Judith' and
'Wyndham Towers,' cast in the mold of blank-verse idyls, Mr. Aldrich
does not seem so much himself as in many of his briefer flights. An
instinctive dramatic tendency finds outlet in 'Pauline Paulovna' and
'Mercedes'--the latter of which, a two-act piece in prose, has found
representation in the theatre; yet in these, also, he is less eminently
successful than in his lyrics and society verse.

No American poet has wrought his stanzas with greater faithfulness to an
exacting standard of craftsmanship than Mr. Aldrich, or has known better
when to leave a line loosely cast, and when to reinforce it with
correction or with a syllable that might seem, to an ear less true,
redundant. This gives to his most carefully chiseled productions an air
of spontaneous ease, and has made him eminent as a sonneteer. His sonnet
on 'Sleep' is one of the finest in the language. The conciseness and
concentrated aptness of his expression also--together with a faculty of
bringing into conjunction subtly contrasted thoughts, images, or
feelings--has issued happily in short, concentrated pieces like 'An
Untimely Thought,' 'Destiny,' and 'Identity,' and in a number of pointed
and effective quatrains. Without overmastering purpose outside of art
itself, his is the poetry of luxury rather than of deep passion or
conviction; yet, with the freshness of bud and tint in springtime, it
still always relates itself effectively to human experience. The
author's specially American quality, also, though not dominant, comes
out clearly in 'Unguarded Gates,' and with a differing tone in the
plaintive Indian legend of 'Miantowona.'

If we perceive in his verse a kinship with the dainty ideals of
Théophile Gautier and Alfred de Musset, this does not obscure his
originality or his individual charm; and the same thing may be said with
regard to his prose. The first of his short fictions that made a decided
mark was 'Marjorie Daw.' The fame which it gained, in its separate
field, was as swift and widespread as that of Hawthorne's 'The Gentle
Boy' or Bret Harte's 'Luck of Roaring Camp.' It is a bright and
half-pathetic little parody on human life and affection; or perhaps we
should call it a parable symbolizing the power which imagination wields
over real life, even in supposedly unimaginative people. The covert
smile which it involves, at the importance of human emotions, may be
traced to a certain extent in some of Mr. Aldrich's longer and more
serious works of fiction: his three novels, 'Prudence Palfrey,' 'The
Queen of Sheba,' and 'The Stillwater Tragedy.' 'The Story of a Bad Boy,'
frankly but quietly humorous in its record of the pranks and
vicissitudes of a healthy average lad (with the scene of the story
localized at old Portsmouth, under the name of Rivermouth), a less
ambitious work, still holds a secure place in the affections of many
mature as well as younger readers. Besides these books, Mr. Aldrich has
published a collection of short descriptive, reminiscent, and
half-historic papers on Portsmouth,--'An Old Town by the Sea'; with a
second volume of short stories entitled 'Two Bites at a Cherry.' The
character-drawing in his fiction is clear-cut and effective, often
sympathetic, and nearly always suffused with an agreeable coloring of
humor. There are notes of pathos, too, in some of his tales; and it is
the blending of these qualities, through the medium of a lucid and
delightful style, that defines his pleasing quality in prose.

[The following selections are copyrighted, and are reprinted by
permission of the author, and Houghton, Mifflin & Co., publishers.]


     Three roses, wan as moonlight, and weighed down
     Each with its loveliness as with a crown,
     Drooped in a florist's window in a town.

     The first a lover bought. It lay at rest,
     Like flower on flower, that night, on Beauty's breast.

     The second rose, as virginal and fair,
     Shrunk in the tangles of a harlot's hair.

     The third, a widow, with new grief made wild,
     Shut in the icy palm of her dead child.


     Somewhere--in desolate wind-swept space--
       In Twilight-land--in No-man's land--
     Two hurrying Shapes met face to face,
       And bade each other stand.

     "And who are you?" cried one, agape,
       Shuddering in the gloaming light.
     "I know not," said the second Shape,
       "I only died last night!"


     The new moon hung in the sky, the sun was low in the west,
     And my betrothed and I in the churchyard paused to rest--
       Happy maiden and lover, dreaming the old dream over:
     The light winds wandered by, and robins chirped from the nest.

     And lo! in the meadow sweet was the grave of a little child,
     With a crumbling stone at the feet and the ivy running wild--
       Tangled ivy and clover folding it over and over:
     Close to my sweetheart's feet was the little mound up-piled.

     Stricken with nameless fears, she shrank and clung to me,
     And her eyes were filled with tears for a sorrow I did not see:
       Lightly the winds were blowing, softly her tears were flowing--
     Tears for the unknown years and a sorrow that was to be!



     The wind it wailed, the wind it moaned,
       And the white caps flecked the sea;
     "An' I would to God," the skipper groaned,
       "I had not my boy with me!"

     Snug in the stern-sheets, little John
       Laughed as the scud swept by;
     But the skipper's sunburnt cheek grew wan
       As he watched the wicked sky.

     "Would he were at his mother's side!"
       And the skipper's eyes were dim.
     "Good Lord in heaven, if ill betide,
       What would become of him!

     "For me--my muscles are as steel,
       For me let hap what may;
     I might make shift upon the keel
       Until the break o' day.

     "But he, he is so weak and small,
       So young, scarce learned to stand--
     O pitying Father of us all,
       I trust him in thy hand!

     "For thou who markest from on high
       A sparrow's fall--each one!--
     Surely, O Lord, thou'lt have an eye
       On Alec Yeaton's son!"

     Then, helm hard-port; right straight he sailed
       Towards the headland light:
     The wind it moaned, the wind it wailed,
       And black, black fell the night.

     Then burst a storm to make one quail,
       Though housed from winds and waves--
     They who could tell about that gale
       Must rise from watery graves!

     Sudden it came, as sudden went;
       Ere half the night was sped,
     The winds were hushed, the waves were spent,
       And the stars shone overhead.

     Now, as the morning mist grew thin,
       The folk on Gloucester shore
     Saw a little figure floating in
       Secure, on a broken oar!

     Up rose the cry, "A wreck! a wreck!
       Pull mates, and waste no breath!"--
     They knew it, though 'twas but a speck
       Upon the edge of death!

     Long did they marvel in the town
       At God his strange decree,
     That let the stalwart skipper drown
       And the little child go free!


     My mind lets go a thousand things,
     Like dates of wars and deaths of kings,
     And yet recalls the very hour--
     'Twas noon by yonder village tower.
     And on the last blue noon in May--
     The wind came briskly up this way,
     Crisping the brook beside the road;
     Then, pausing here, set down its load
     Of pine-scents, and shook listlessly
     Two petals from that wild-rose tree.

     TENNYSON (1890)


     Shakespeare and Milton--what third blazoned name
       Shall lips of after ages link to these?
       His who, beside the wild encircling seas,
     Was England's voice, her voice with one acclaim,
       For threescore years; whose word of praise was fame,
     Whose scorn gave pause to man's iniquities.


     What strain was his in that Crimean war?
       A bugle-call in battle; a low breath,
       Plaintive and sweet, above the fields of death!
     So year by year the music rolled afar,
     From Euxine wastes to flowery Kandahar,
       Bearing the laurel or the cypress wreath.


     Others shall have their little space of time,
       Their proper niche and bust, then fade away
       Into the darkness, poets of a day;
     But thou, O builder of enduring rhyme,
     Thou shalt not pass! Thy fame in every clime
       On earth shall live where Saxon speech has sway.


     Waft me this verse across the winter sea,
       Through light and dark, through mist and blinding sleet,
       O winter winds, and lay it at his feet;
     Though the poor gift betray my poverty,
     At his feet lay it; it may chance that he
       Will find no gift, where reverence is, unmeet.

[Illustration: _POETRY_.
Photogravure from a painting by C. Schweninger.]


     It was with doubt and trembling
       I whispered in her ear.
       Go, take her answer, bird-on-bough,
     That all the world may hear--
         _Sweetheart, sigh no more_!

     Sing it, sing it, tawny throat,
       Upon the wayside tree,
     How fair she is, how true she is,
       How dear she is to me--
         _Sweetheart, sigh no more_!

     Sing it, sing it, and through the summer long
       The winds among the clover-tops,
     And brooks, for all their silvery stops,
       Shall envy you the song--
         _Sweetheart, sigh no more!_


         "A note
     All out of tune in this world's instrument."

               AMY LEVY.

     I know not in what fashion she was made,
       Nor what her voice was, when she used to speak,
     Nor if the silken lashes threw a shade
       On wan or rosy cheek.

     I picture her with sorrowful vague eyes,
       Illumed with such strange gleams of inner light
     As linger in the drift of London skies
       Ere twilight turns to night.

     I know not; I conjecture. 'Twas a girl
       That with her own most gentle desperate hand
     From out God's mystic setting plucked life's pearl--
       'Tis hard to understand.

     So precious life is! Even to the old
       The hours are as a miser's coins, and she--
     Within her hands lay youth's unminted gold
       And all felicity.

     The winged impetuous spirit, the white flame
       That was her soul once, whither has it flown?
     Above her brow gray lichens blot her name
       Upon the carven stone.

     This is her Book of Verses--wren-like notes,
       Shy franknesses, blind gropings, haunting fears;
     At times across the chords abruptly floats
       A mist of passionate tears.

     A fragile lyre too tensely keyed and strung,
       A broken music, weirdly incomplete:
     Here a proud mind, self-baffled and self-stung,
       Lies coiled in dark defeat.


     _In Memory of James Russell Lowell_

     Here, in the twilight, at the well-known gate
     I linger, with no heart to enter more.
     Among the elm-tops the autumnal air
     Murmurs, and spectral in the fading light
     A solitary heron wings its way
     Southward--save this no sound or touch of life.
     Dark is the window where the scholar's lamp
     Was used to catch a pallor from the dawn.

       Yet I must needs a little linger here.
     Each shrub and tree is eloquent of him,
     For tongueless things and silence have their speech.
     This is the path familiar to his foot
     From infancy to manhood and old age;
     For in a chamber of that ancient house
     His eyes first opened on the mystery
     Of life, and all the splendor of the world.
     Here, as a child, in loving, curious way,
     He watched the bluebird's coming; learned the date
     Of hyacinth and goldenrod, and made
     Friends of those little redmen of the elms,
     And slyly added to their winter store
     Of hazel-nuts: no harmless thing that breathed,
     Footed or winged, but knew him for a friend.
     The gilded butterfly was not afraid
     To trust its gold to that so gentle hand,
     The bluebird fled not from the pendent spray.
     Ah, happy childhood, ringed with fortunate stars!
     What dreams were his in this enchanted sphere,
     What intuitions of high destiny!
     The honey-bees of Hybla touched his lips
     In that old New-World garden, unawares.

     So in her arms did Mother Nature fold
     Her poet, whispering what of wild and sweet
     Into his ear--the state-affairs of birds,
     The lore of dawn and sunset, what the wind
     Said in the tree-tops--fine, unfathomed things
     Henceforth to turn to music in his brain:
     A various music, now like notes of flutes,
     And now like blasts of trumpets blown in wars.
     Later he paced this leafy academe
     A student, drinking from Greek chalices
     The ripened vintage of the antique world.
     And here to him came love, and love's dear loss;
     Here honors came, the deep applause of men
     Touched to the heart by some swift-wingèd word
     That from his own full heart took eager flight--
     Some strain of piercing sweetness or rebuke,
     For underneath his gentle nature flamed
     A noble scorn for all ignoble deed,
     Himself a bondman till all men were free.

     Thus passed his manhood; then to other lands
     He strayed, a stainless figure among courts
     Beside the Manzanares and the Thames.
     Whence, after too long exile, he returned
     With fresher laurel, but sedater step
     And eye more serious, fain to breathe the air
     Where through the Cambridge marshes the blue Charles
     Uncoils its length and stretches to the sea:
     Stream dear to him, at every curve a shrine
     For pilgrim Memory. Again he watched
     His loved syringa whitening by the door,
     And knew the catbird's welcome; in his walks
     Smiled on his tawny kinsmen of the elms
     Stealing his nuts; and in the ruined year
     Sat at his widowed hearthside with bent brows
     Leonine, frosty with the breath of time,
     And listened to the crooning of the wind
     In the wide Elmwood chimneys, as of old.
     And then--and then....

     The after-glow has faded from the elms,
     And in the denser darkness of the boughs
     From time to time the firefly's tiny lamp
     Sparkles. How often in still summer dusks
     He paused to note that transient phantom spark
     Flash on the air--a light that outlasts him!

     The night grows chill, as if it felt a breath
     Blown from that frozen city where he lies.
     All things turn strange. The leaf that rustles here
     Has more than autumn's mournfulness. The place
     Is heavy with his absence. Like fixed eyes
     Whence the dear light of sense and thought has fled,
     The vacant windows stare across the lawn.
     The wise sweet spirit that informed it all
     Is otherwhere. The house itself is dead.

     O autumn wind among the sombre pines,
     Breathe you his dirge, but be it sweet and low.
     With deep refrains and murmurs of the sea,
     Like to his verse--the art is yours alone.
     His once--you taught him.  Now no voice but yours!
     Tender and low, O wind among the pines.
     I would, were mine a lyre of richer strings,
     In soft Sicilian accents wrap his name.


     The first world-sound that fell upon my ear
     Was that of the great winds along the coast
     Crushing the deep-sea beryl on the rocks--
     The distant breakers' sullen cannonade.
     Against the spires and gables of the town
     The white fog drifted, catching here and there
     At overleaning cornice or peaked roof,
     And hung--weird gonfalons. The garden walks
     Were choked with leaves, and on their ragged biers
     Lay dead the sweets of summer--damask rose,
     Clove-pink, old-fashioned, loved New England flowers
     Only keen salt-sea odors filled the air.
     Sea-sounds, sea-odors--these were all my world.
     Hence is it that life languishes with me
     Inland; the valleys stifle me with gloom
     And pent-up prospect; in their narrow bound
     Imagination flutters futile wings.
     Vainly I seek the sloping pearl-white sand
     And the mirage's phantom citadels
     Miraculous, a moment seen, then gone.
     Among the mountains I am ill at ease,
     Missing the stretched horizon's level line
     And the illimitable restless blue.
     The crag-torn sky is not the sky I love,
     But one unbroken sapphire spanning all;
     And nobler than the branches of a pine
     Aslant upon a precipice's edge
     Are the strained spars of some great battle-ship
     Plowing across the sunset. No bird's lilt
     So takes me as the whistling of the gale
     Among the shrouds. My cradle-song was this,
     Strange inarticulate sorrows of the sea,
     Blithe rhythms upgathered from the Sirens' caves.
     Perchance of earthly voices the last voice
     That shall an instant my freed spirit stay
     On this world's verge, will be some message blown
     Over the dim salt lands that fringe the coast
     At dusk, or when the trancèd midnight droops
     With weight of stars, or haply just as dawn,
     Illumining the sullen purple wave,
     Turns the gray pools and willow-stems to gold.


     Close on the edge of a midsummer dawn
     In troubled dreams I went from land to land,
     Each seven-colored like the rainbow's arc,
     Regions where never fancy's foot had trod
     Till then; yet all the strangeness seemed not strange,
     At which I wondered, reasoning in my dream
     With twofold sense, well knowing that I slept.
     At last I came to this our cloud-hung earth,
     And somewhere by the seashore was a grave,
     A woman's grave, new-made, and heaped with flowers;
     And near it stood an ancient holy man
     That fain would comfort me, who sorrowed not
     For this unknown dead woman at my feet.
     But I, because his sacred office held
     My reverence, listened; and 'twas thus he spake:--
     "When next thou comest thou shalt find her still
     In all the rare perfection that she was.
     Thou shalt have gentle greeting of thy love!
     Her eyelids will have turned to violets,
     Her bosom to white lilies, and her breath
     To roses. What is lovely never dies,
     But passes into other loveliness,
     Star-dust, or sea-foam, flower, or wingèd air.
     If this befalls our poor unworthy flesh,
     Think thee what destiny awaits the soul!
     What glorious vesture it shall wear at last!"
     While yet he spoke, seashore and grave and priest
     Vanished, and faintly from a neighboring spire
     Fell five slow solemn strokes upon my ear.
     Then I awoke with a keen pain at heart,
     A sense of swift unutterable loss,
     And through the darkness reached my hand to touch
     Her cheek, soft-pillowed on one restful palm--
     To be quite sure!


     I leave behind me the elm-shadowed square
       And carven portals of the silent street,
       And wander on with listless, vagrant feet
     Through seaward-leading alleys, till the air
     Smells of the sea, and straightway then the care
       Slips from my heart, and life once more is sweet.
       At the lane's ending lie the white-winged fleet.
     O restless Fancy, whither wouldst thou fare?
     Here are brave pinions that shall take thee far--
       Gaunt hulks of Norway; ships of red Ceylon;
       Slim-masted lovers of the blue Azores!
     'Tis but an instant hence to Zanzibar,
       Or to the regions of the Midnight Sun:
       Ionian isles are thine, and all the fairy shores!


     Though I am native to this frozen zone
       That half the twelvemonth torpid lies, or dead;
       Though the cold azure arching overhead
     And the Atlantic's never-ending moan
     Are mine by heritage, I must have known
       Life otherwhere in epochs long since fled;
       For in my veins some Orient blood is red,
     And through my thought are lotus blossoms blown.
     I do remember ... it was just at dusk,
       Near a walled garden at the river's turn,
       (A thousand summers seem but yesterday!)
     A Nubian girl, more sweet than Khoorja musk,
       Came to the water-tank to fill her urn,
       And with the urn she bore my heart away!


Near the Levée, and not far from the old French Cathedral in the Place
d'Armes, at New Orleans, stands a fine date-palm, thirty feet in height,
spreading its broad leaves in the alien air as hardily as if its sinuous
roots were sucking strength from their native earth.

Sir Charles Lyell, in his 'Second Visit to the United States,' mentions
this exotic:--"The tree is seventy or eighty years old; for Père
Antoine, a Roman Catholic priest, who died about twenty years ago, told
Mr. Bringier that he planted it himself, when he was young. In his will
he provided that they who succeeded to this lot of ground should forfeit
it if they cut down the palm."

Wishing to learn something of Père Antoine's history, Sir Charles Lyell
made inquiries among the ancient Creole inhabitants of the faubourg.
That the old priest, in his last days, became very much emaciated, that
he walked about the streets like a mummy, that he gradually dried up,
and finally blew away, was the meagre and unsatisfactory result of the
tourist's investigations. This is all that is generally told of
Père Antoine.

In the summer of 1861, while New Orleans was yet occupied by the
Confederate forces, I met at Alexandria, in Virginia, a lady from
Louisiana--Miss Blondeau by name--who gave me the substance of the
following legend touching Père Antoine and his wonderful date-palm. If
it should appear tame to the reader, it will be because I am not habited
in a black ribbed-silk dress, with a strip of point-lace around my
throat, like Miss Blondeau; it will be because I lack her eyes and lips
and Southern music to tell it with.

When Père Antoine was a very young man, he had a friend whom he loved as
he loved his life. Émile Jardin returned his passion, and the two, on
account of their friendship, became the marvel of the city where they
dwelt. One was never seen without the other; for they studied, walked,
ate, and slept together.

Thus began Miss Blondeau, with the air of Fiammetta telling her
prettiest story to the Florentines in the garden of Boccaccio.

Antoine and Émile were preparing to enter the Church; indeed, they had
taken the preliminary steps, when a circumstance occurred which changed
the color of their lives. A foreign lady, from some nameless island in
the Pacific, had a few months before moved into their neighborhood. The
lady died suddenly, leaving a girl of sixteen or seventeen, entirely
friendless and unprovided for. The young men had been kind to the woman
during her illness, and at her death--melting with pity at the forlorn
situation of Anglice, the daughter--swore between themselves to love and
watch over her as if she were their sister.

Now Anglice had a wild, strange beauty that made other women seem tame
beside her; and in the course of time the young men found themselves
regarding their ward not so much like brothers as at first. In brief,
they found themselves in love with her.

They struggled with their hopeless passion month after month, neither
betraying his secret to the other; for the austere orders which they
were about to assume precluded the idea of love and marriage. Until then
they had dwelt in the calm air of religious meditations, unmoved except
by that pious fervor which in other ages taught men to brave the
tortures of the rack and to smile amid the flames. But a blonde girl,
with great eyes and a voice like the soft notes of a vesper hymn, had
come in between them and their ascetic dreams of heaven. The ties that
had bound the young men together snapped silently one by one. At last
each read in the pale face of the other the story of his own despair.

And she? If Anglice shared their trouble, her face told no story. It was
like the face of a saint on a cathedral window. Once, however, as she
came suddenly upon the two men and overheard words that seemed to burn
like fire on the lip of the speaker, her eyes grew luminous for an
instant. Then she passed on, her face as immobile as before in its
setting of wavy gold hair.

     "Entre or et roux Dieu fit ses longs cheveux."

One night Émile and Anglice were missing. They had flown--but whither,
nobody knew, and nobody save Antoine cared. It was a heavy blow to
Antoine--for he had himself half resolved to confess his love to Anglice
and urge her to fly with him.

A strip of paper slipped from a volume on Antoine's _priedieu_, and
fluttered to his feet.

"_Do not be angry_," said the bit of paper, piteously; _"forgive us, for
we love_." ("Pardonnez-nous, car nous aimons.")

Three years went by wearily enough. Antoine had entered the Church, and
was already looked upon as a rising man; but his face was pale and his
heart leaden, for there was no sweetness in life for him.

Four years had elapsed, when a letter, covered with outlandish
postmarks, was brought to the young priest--a letter from Anglice. She
was dying;--would he forgive her? Émile, the year previous, had fallen a
victim to the fever that raged on the island; and their child, Anglice,
was likely to follow him. In pitiful terms she begged Antoine to take
charge of the child until she was old enough to enter the convent of the
Sacré-Coeur. The epistle was finished hastily by another hand, informing
Antoine of Madame Jardin's death; it also told him that Anglice had been
placed on board a vessel shortly to leave the island for some
Western port.

The letter, delayed by storm and shipwreck, was hardly read and wept
over when little Anglice arrived.

On beholding her, Antoine uttered a cry of joy and surprise--she was so
like the woman he had worshiped.

The passion that had been crowded down in his heart broke out and
lavished its richness on this child, who was to him not only the Anglice
of years ago, but his friend Émile Jardin also.

Anglice possessed the wild, strange beauty of her mother--the bending,
willowy form, the rich tint of skin, the large tropical eyes, that had
almost made Antoine's sacred robes a mockery to him.

For a month or two Anglice was wildly unhappy in her new home. She
talked continually of the bright country where she was born, the fruits
and flowers and blue skies, the tall, fan-like trees, and the streams
that went murmuring through them to the sea. Antoine could not
pacify her.

By and by she ceased to weep, and went about the cottage in a weary,
disconsolate way that cut Antoine to the heart. A long-tailed paroquet,
which she had brought with her in the ship, walked solemnly behind her
from room to room, mutely pining, it seemed, for those heavy orient airs
that used to ruffle its brilliant plumage.

Before the year ended, he noticed that the ruddy tinge had faded from
her cheek, that her eyes had grown languid, and her slight figure more
willowy than ever.

A physician was consulted. He could discover nothing wrong with the
child, except this fading and drooping. He failed to account for that.
It was some vague disease of the mind, he said, beyond his skill.

So Anglice faded day after day. She seldom left the room now. At last
Antoine could not shut out the fact that the child was passing away. He
had learned to love her so!

"Dear heart," he said once, "What is't ails thee?"

"Nothing, mon père," for so she called him.

The winter passed, the balmy spring had come with its magnolia blooms
and orange blossoms, and Anglice seemed to revive. In her small bamboo
chair, on the porch, she swayed to and fro in the fragrant breeze, with
a peculiar undulating motion, like a graceful tree.

At times something seemed to weigh upon her mind. Antoine observed it,
and waited. Finally she spoke.

"Near our house," said little Anglice--"near our house, on the island,
the palm-trees are waving under the blue sky. Oh, how beautiful! I seem
to lie beneath them all day long. I am very, very happy. I yearned for
them so much that I grew ill--don't you think it was so, mon père?

"Hélas, yes!" exclaimed Antoine, suddenly. "Let us hasten to those
pleasant islands where the palms are waving."

Anglice smiled. "I am going there, mon père."

A week from that evening the wax candles burned at her feet and
forehead, lighting her on the journey.

All was over. Now was Antoine's heart empty. Death, like another Émile,
had stolen his new Anglice. He had nothing to do but to lay the blighted
flower away.

Père Antoine made a shallow grave in his garden, and heaped the fresh
brown mold over his idol.

In the tranquil spring evenings, the priest was seen sitting by the
mound, his finger closed in the unread breviary.

The summer broke on that sunny land; and in the cool morning twilight,
and after nightfall, Antoine lingered by the grave. He could never be
with it enough.

One morning he observed a delicate stem, with two curiously shaped
emerald leaves, springing up from the centre of the mound. At first he
merely noticed it casually; but presently the plant grew so tall, and
was so strangely unlike anything he had ever seen before, that he
examined it with care.

How straight and graceful and exquisite it was! When it swung to and
fro with the summer wind, in the twilight, it seemed to Antoine as if
little Anglice were standing there in the garden.

The days stole by, and Antoine tended the fragile shoot, wondering what
manner of blossom it would unfold, white, or scarlet, or golden. One
Sunday, a stranger, with a bronzed, weather-beaten face like a sailor's,
leaned over the garden rail, and said to him, "What a fine young
date-palm you have there, sir!"

"Mon Dieu!" cried Père Antoine starting, "and is it a palm?"

"Yes, indeed," returned the man. "I didn't reckon the tree would
flourish in this latitude."

"Ah, mon Dieu!" was all the priest could say aloud; but he murmured to
himself, "Bon Dieu, vous m'avez donné cela!"

If Père Antoine loved the tree before, he worshiped it now. He watered
it, and nurtured it, and could have clasped it in his arms. Here were
Émile and Anglice and the child, all in one!

The years glided away, and the date-palm and the priest grew
together--only one became vigorous and the other feeble. Père Antoine
had long passed the meridian of life. The tree was in its youth. It no
longer stood in an isolated garden; for pretentious brick and stucco
houses had clustered about Antoine's cottage. They looked down scowling
on the humble thatched roof. The city was edging up, trying to crowd him
off his land. But he clung to it like lichen and refused to sell.

Speculators piled gold on his doorsteps, and he laughed at them.
Sometimes he was hungry, and cold, and thinly clad; but he laughed
none the less.

"Get thee behind me, Satan!" said the old priest's smile.

Père Antoine was very old now, scarcely able to walk; but he could sit
under the pliant, caressing leaves of his palm, loving it like an Arab;
and there he sat till the grimmest of speculators came to him. But even
in death Père Antoine was faithful to his trust: the owner of that land
loses it if he harm the date-tree.

And there it stands in the narrow, dingy street, a beautiful, dreamy
stranger, an exquisite foreign lady whose grace is a joy to the eye, the
incense of whose breath makes the air enamored. May the hand wither that
touches her ungently!

"_Because it grew from the heart of little Anglice_," said Miss Blondeau




You will not find Greenton, or Bayley's Four-Corners as it is more
usually designated, on any map of New England that I know of. It is not
a town; it is not even a village: it is merely an absurd hotel. The
almost indescribable place called Greenton is at the intersection of
four roads, in the heart of New Hampshire, twenty miles from the nearest
settlement of note, and ten miles from any railway station. A good
location for a hotel, you will say. Precisely; but there has always been
a hotel there, and for the last dozen years it has been pretty well
patronized--by one boarder. Not to trifle with an intelligent public, I
will state at once that, in the early part of this century, Greenton was
a point at which the mail-coach on the Great Northern Route stopped to
change horses and allow the passengers to dine. People in the county,
wishing to take the early mail Portsmouth-ward, put up over night at the
old tavern, famous for its irreproachable larder and soft feather-beds.
The tavern at that time was kept by Jonathan Bayley, who rivaled his
wallet in growing corpulent, and in due time passed away. At his death
the establishment, which included a farm, fell into the hands of a
son-in-law. Now, though Bayley left his son-in-law a hotel--which sounds
handsome--he left him no guests; for at about the period of the old
man's death the old stage-coach died also. Apoplexy carried off one, and
steam the other. Thus, by a sudden swerve in the tide of progress, the
tavern at the Corners found itself high and dry, like a wreck on a
sand-bank. Shortly after this event, or maybe contemporaneously, there
was some attempt to build a town at Greenton; but it apparently failed,
if eleven cellars choked up with _débris_ and overgrown with burdocks
are any indication of failure. The farm, however, was a good farm, as
things go in New Hampshire, and Tobias Sewell, the son-in-law, could
afford to snap his fingers at the traveling public if they came near
enough--which they never did.

The hotel remains to-day pretty much the same as when Jonathan Bayley
handed in his accounts in 1840, except that Sewell has from time to
time sold the furniture of some of the upper chambers to bridal couples
in the neighborhood. The bar is still open, and the parlor door says
PARLOUR in tall black letters. Now and then a passing drover looks in at
that lonely bar-room, where a high-shouldered bottle of Santa Cruz rum
ogles with a peculiarly knowing air a shriveled lemon on a shelf; now
and then a farmer rides across country to talk crops and stock and take
a friendly glass with Tobias; and now and then a circus caravan with
speckled ponies, or a menagerie with a soggy elephant, halts under the
swinging sign, on which there is a dim mail-coach with four phantomish
horses driven by a portly gentleman whose head has been washed off by
the rain. Other customers there are none, except that one regular
boarder whom I have mentioned.

If misery makes a man acquainted with strange bed-fellows, it is equally
certain that the profession of surveyor and civil engineer often takes
one into undreamed-of localities. I had never heard of Greenton until my
duties sent me there, and kept me there two weeks in the dreariest
season of the year. I do not think I would, of my own volition, have
selected Greenton for a fortnight's sojourn at any time; but now the
business is over, I shall never regret the circumstances that made me
the guest of Tobias Sewell, and brought me into intimate relations with
Miss Mehetabel's Son.

It was a black October night in the year of grace 1872, that discovered
me standing in front of the old tavern at the Corners. Though the ten
miles' ride from K---- had been depressing, especially the last five
miles, on account of the cold autumnal rain that had set in, I felt a
pang of regret on hearing the rickety open wagon turn round in the road
and roll off in the darkness. There were no lights visible anywhere, and
only for the big, shapeless mass of something in front of me, which the
driver had said was the hotel, I should have fancied that I had been set
down by the roadside. I was wet to the skin and in no amiable humor; and
not being able to find bell-pull or knocker, or even a door, I belabored
the side of the house with my heavy walking-stick. In a minute or two I
saw a light flickering somewhere aloft, then I heard the sound of a
window opening, followed by an exclamation of disgust as a blast of wind
extinguished the candle which had given me an instantaneous picture _en
silhouette_ of a man leaning out of a casement.

"I say, what do you want, down there?" inquired an unprepossessing

"I want to come in; I want a supper, and a bed, and numberless things."

"This isn't no time of night to go rousing honest folks out of their
sleep. Who are you, anyway?"

The question, superficially considered, was a very simple one, and I, of
all people in the world, ought to have been able to answer it off-hand;
but it staggered me. Strangely enough, there came drifting across my
memory the lettering on the back of a metaphysical work which I had seen
years before on a shelf in the Astor Library. Owing to an
unpremeditatedly funny collocation of title and author, the lettering
read as follows:--"Who am I? Jones." Evidently it had puzzled Jones to
know who he was, or he wouldn't have written a book about it, and come
to so lame and impotent a conclusion. It certainly puzzled me at that
instant to define my identity. "Thirty years ago," I reflected, "I was
nothing; fifty years hence I shall be nothing again, humanly speaking.
In the mean time, who am I, sure enough?" It had never before occurred
to me what an indefinite article I was. I wish it had not occurred to me
then. Standing there in the rain and darkness, I wrestled vainly with
the problem, and was constrained to fall back upon a Yankee expedient.

"Isn't this a hotel?" I asked finally.

"Well, it is a sort of hotel," said the voice, doubtfully. My hesitation
and prevarication had apparently not inspired my interlocutor with
confidence in me.

"Then let me in. I have just driven over from K---- in this infernal
rain. I am wet through and through."

"But what do you want here, at the Corners? What's your business? People
don't come here, leastways in the middle of the night."

"It isn't in the middle of the night," I returned, incensed. "I come on
business connected with the new road. I'm the superintendent of
the works."


"And if you don't open the door at once, I'll raise the whole
neighborhood--and then go to the other hotel."

When I said that, I supposed Greenton was a village with a population of
at least three or four thousand, and was wondering vaguely at the
absence of lights and other signs of human habitation. Surely, I
thought, all the people cannot be abed and asleep at half past ten
o'clock: perhaps I am in the business section of the town, among
the shops.

"You jest wait," said the voice above.

This request was not devoid of a certain accent of menace, and I braced
myself for a sortie on the part of the besieged, if he had any such
hostile intent. Presently a door opened at the very place where I least
expected a door, at the farther end of the building, in fact, and a man
in his shirt-sleeves, shielding a candle with his left hand, appeared on
the threshold. I passed quickly into the house, with Mr. Tobias Sewell
(for this was Mr. Sewell) at my heels, and found myself in a long,
low-studded bar-room.

There were two chairs drawn up before the hearth, on which a huge
hemlock back-log was still smoldering, and on the unpainted deal counter
contiguous stood two cloudy glasses with bits of lemon-peel in the
bottom, hinting at recent libations. Against the discolored wall over
the bar hung a yellowed hand-bill, in a warped frame, announcing that
"the Next Annual N.H. Agricultural Fair" would take place on the 10th of
September, 1841. There was no other furniture or decoration in this
dismal apartment, except the cobwebs which festooned the ceiling,
hanging down here and there like stalactites.

Mr. Sewell set the candlestick on the mantel-shelf, and threw some
pine-knots on the fire, which immediately broke into a blaze, and showed
him to be a lank, narrow-chested man, past sixty, with sparse,
steel-gray hair, and small, deep-set eyes, perfectly round, like a
fish's, and of no particular color. His chief personal characteristics
seemed to be too much feet and not enough teeth. His sharply cut, but
rather simple face, as he turned it towards me, wore a look of
interrogation. I replied to his mute inquiry by taking out my
pocket-book and handing him my business-card, which he held up to the
candle and perused with great deliberation.

"You're a civil engineer, are you?" he said, displaying his gums, which
gave his countenance an expression of almost infantile innocence. He
made no further audible remark, but mumbled between his thin lips
something which an imaginative person might have construed into, "If
you're a civil engineer, I'll be blessed if I wouldn't like to see an
uncivil one!"

Mr. Sewell's growl, however, was worse than his bite,--owing to his lack
of teeth, probably--for he very good-naturedly set himself to work
preparing supper for me. After a slice of cold ham, and a warm punch, to
which my chilled condition gave a grateful flavor, I went to bed in a
distant chamber in a most amiable mood, feeling satisfied that Jones was
a donkey to bother himself about his identity.

When I awoke, the sun was several hours high. My bed faced a window, and
by raising myself on one elbow I could look out on what I expected would
be the main street. To my astonishment I beheld a lonely country road
winding up a sterile hill and disappearing over the ridge. In a
cornfield at the right of the road was a small private graveyard,
inclosed by a crumbling stone wall with a red gate. The only thing
suggestive of life was this little corner lot occupied by death. I got
out of bed and went to the other window. There I had an uninterrupted
view of twelve miles of open landscape, with Mount Agamenticus in the
purple distance. Not a house or a spire in sight. "Well," I exclaimed,
"Greenton doesn't appear to be a very closely packed metropolis!" That
rival hotel with which I had threatened Mr. Sewell overnight was not a
deadly weapon, looking at it by daylight. "By Jove!" I reflected, "maybe
I'm in the wrong place." But there, tacked against a panel of the
bedroom door, was a faded time-table dated Greenton, August 1st, 1839.

I smiled all the time I was dressing, and went smiling downstairs, where
I found Mr. Sewell, assisted by one of the fair sex in the first bloom
of her eightieth year, serving breakfast for me on a small table--in
the bar-room!

"I overslept myself this morning," I remarked apologetically, "and I see
that I am putting you to some trouble. In future, if you will have me
called, I will take my meals at the usual _table d'hôte._"

"At the what?" said Mr. Sewell.

"I mean with the other boarders."

Mr. Sewell paused in the act of lifting a chop from the fire, and,
resting the point of his fork against the woodwork of the mantel-piece,
grinned from ear to ear.

"Bless you! there isn't any other boarders. There hasn't been anybody
put up here sence--let me see--sence father-in-law died, and that was in
the fall of '40. To be sure, there's Silas; _he's_ a regular boarder;
but I don't count him."

Mr. Sewell then explained how the tavern had lost its custom when the
old stage line was broken up by the railroad. The introduction of steam
was, in Mr. Sewell's estimation, a fatal error. "Jest killed local
business. Carried it off, I'm darned if I know where. The whole country
has been sort o' retrograding ever sence steam was invented."

"You spoke of having one boarder," I said.

"Silas? Yes; he come here the summer 'Tilda died--she that was 'Tilda
Bayley--and he's here yet, going on thirteen year. He couldn't live any
longer with the old man. Between you and I, old Clem Jaffrey, Silas's
father, was a hard nut. Yes," said Mr. Sewell, crooking his elbow in
inimitable pantomime, "altogether too often. Found dead in the road
hugging a three-gallon demijohn. _Habeas corpus_ in the barn," added Mr.
Sewell, intending, I presume, to intimate that a _post-mortem_
examination had been deemed necessary. "Silas," he resumed, in that
respectful tone which one should always adopt when speaking of capital,
"is a man of considerable property; lives on his interest, and keeps a
hoss and shay. He's a great scholar, too, Silas: takes all the
pe-ri-odicals and the Police Gazette regular."

Mr. Sewell was turning over a third chop, when the door opened and a
stoutish, middle-aged little gentleman, clad in deep black, stepped
into the room.

"Silas Jaffrey," said Mr. Sewell, with a comprehensive sweep of his arm,
picking up me and the new-comer on one fork, so to speak. "Be

Mr. Jaffrey advanced briskly, and gave me his hand with unlooked-for
cordiality. He was a dapper little man, with a head as round and nearly
as bald as an orange, and not unlike an orange in complexion, either; he
had twinkling gray eyes and a pronounced Roman nose, the numerous
freckles upon which were deepened by his funereal dress-coat and
trousers. He reminded me of Alfred de Musset's blackbird, which, with
its yellow beak and sombre plumage, looked like an undertaker eating
an omelet.

"Silas will take care of you," said Mr. Sewell, taking down his hat from
a peg behind the door. "I've got the cattle to look after. Tell him if
you want anything."

While I ate my breakfast, Mr. Jaffrey hopped up and down the narrow
bar-room and chirped away as blithely as a bird on a cherry-bough,
occasionally ruffling with his fingers a slight fringe of auburn hair
which stood up pertly round his head and seemed to possess a luminous
quality of its own.

"Don't I find it a little slow up here at the Corners? Not at all, my
dear sir. I am in the thick of life up here. So many interesting things
going on all over the world--inventions, discoveries, spirits, railroad
disasters, mysterious homicides. Poets, murderers, musicians, statesmen,
distinguished travelers, prodigies of all kinds turning up everywhere.
Very few events or persons escape me. I take six daily city papers,
thirteen weekly journals, all the monthly magazines, and two
quarterlies. I could not get along with less. I couldn't if you asked
me. I never feel lonely. How can I, being on intimate terms, as it were,
with thousands and thousands of people? There's that young woman out
West. What an entertaining creature _she_ is!--now in Missouri, now in
Indiana, and now in Minnesota, always on the go, and all the time
shedding needles from various parts of her body as if she really enjoyed
it! Then there's that versatile patriarch who walks hundreds of miles
and saws thousands of feet of wood, before breakfast, and shows no signs
of giving out. Then there's that remarkable, one may say that historical
colored woman who knew Benjamin Franklin, and fought at the battle of
Bunk--no, it is the old negro man who fought at Bunker Hill, a mere
infant, of course, at that period. Really, now, it is quite curious to
observe how that venerable female slave--formerly an African
princess--is repeatedly dying in her hundred and eleventh year, and
coming to life again punctually every six months in the small-type
paragraphs. Are you aware, sir, that within the last twelve years no
fewer than two hundred and eighty-seven of General Washington's colored
coachmen have died?"

For the soul of me I could not tell whether this quaint little gentleman
was chaffing me or not. I laid down my knife and fork, and stared
at him.

"Then there are the mathematicians!" he cried vivaciously, without
waiting for a reply. "I take great interest in them. Hear this!" and Mr.
Jaffrey drew a newspaper from a pocket in the tail of his coat, and read
as follows:--"_It has been estimated that if all the candles
manufactured by this eminent firm_ (_Stearine & Co._)_ were placed end
to end, they would reach 2 and 7-8 times around the globe_. Of course,"
continued Mr. Jaffrey, folding up the journal reflectively, "abstruse
calculations of this kind are not, perhaps, of vital importance, but
they indicate the intellectual activity of the age. Seriously, now," he
said, halting in front of the table, "what with books and papers and
drives about the country, I do not find the days too long, though I
seldom see any one, except when I go over to K---- for my mail.
Existence may be very full to a man who stands a little aside from the
tumult and watches it with philosophic eye. Possibly he may see more of
the battle than those who are in the midst of the action. Once I was
struggling with the crowd, as eager and undaunted as the best; perhaps I
should have been struggling still. Indeed, I know my life would have
been very different now if I had married Mehetabel--if I had married

His vivacity was gone, a sudden cloud had come over his bright face, his
figure seemed to have collapsed, the light seemed to have faded out of
his hair. With a shuffling step, the very antithesis of his brisk,
elastic tread, he turned to the door and passed into the road.

"Well," I said to myself, "if Greenton had forty thousand inhabitants,
it couldn't turn out a more astonishing old party than that!"



A man with a passion for _bric-a-brac_ is always stumbling over antique
bronzes, intaglios, mosaics, and daggers of the time of Benvenuto
Cellini; the bibliophile finds creamy vellum folios and rare Alduses and
Elzevirs waiting for him at unsuspected bookstalls; the numismatist has
but to stretch forth his palm to have priceless coins drop into it. My
own weakness is odd people, and I am constantly encountering them. It
was plain that I had unearthed a couple of very queer specimens at
Bayley's Four-Corners. I saw that a fortnight afforded me too brief an
opportunity to develop the richness of both, and I resolved to devote my
spare time to Mr. Jaffrey alone, instinctively recognizing in him an
unfamiliar species. My professional work in the vicinity of Greenton
left my evenings and occasionally an afternoon unoccupied; these
intervals I purposed to employ in studying and classifying my
fellow-boarder. It was necessary, as a preliminary step, to learn
something of his previous history, and to this end I addressed myself to
Mr. Sewell that same night,

"I do not want to seem inquisitive," I said to the landlord, as he was
fastening up the bar, which, by the way, was the _salle à manger_ and
general sitting-room--"I do not want to seem inquisitive, but your
friend Mr. Jaffrey dropped a remark this morning at breakfast
which--which was not altogether clear to me."

"About Mehetabel?" asked Mr. Sewell, uneasily.


"Well, I wish he wouldn't!"

"He was friendly enough in the course of conversation to hint to me that
he had not married the young woman, and seemed to regret it."

"No, he didn't marry Mehetabel."

"May I inquire _why_ he didn't marry Mehetabel?"

"Never asked her. Might have married the girl forty times. Old Elkins's
daughter, over at K----. She'd have had him quick enough. Seven years,
off and on, he kept company with Mehetabel, and then she died."

"And he never asked her?"

"He shilly-shallied. Perhaps he didn't think of it. When she was dead
and gone, then Silas was struck all of a heap--and that's all about it."

Obviously Mr. Sewell did not intend to tell me anything more, and
obviously there was more to tell. The topic was plainly disagreeable to
him for some reason or other, and that unknown reason of course piqued
my curiosity.

As I was absent from dinner and supper that day, I did not meet Mr.
Jaffrey again until the following morning at breakfast. He had recovered
his bird-like manner, and was full of a mysterious assassination that
had just taken place in New York, all the thrilling details of which
were at his fingers' ends. It was at once comical and sad to see this
harmless old gentleman, with his naïve, benevolent countenance, and his
thin hair flaming up in a semicircle, like the footlights at a theatre,
reveling in the intricacies of the unmentionable deed.

"You come up to my room to-night," he cried, with horrid glee, "and I'll
give you my theory of the murder. I'll make it as clear as day to you
that it was the detective himself who fired the three pistol-shots."

It was not so much the desire to have this point elucidated as to make a
closer study of Mr. Jaffrey that led me to accept his invitation. Mr.
Jaffrey's bedroom was in an L of the building, and was in no way
noticeable except for the numerous files of newspapers neatly arranged
against the blank spaces of the walls, and a huge pile of old magazines
which stood in one corner, reaching nearly up to the ceiling, and
threatening to topple over each instant, like the Leaning Tower at Pisa.
There were green paper shades at the windows, some faded chintz valances
about the bed, and two or three easy-chairs covered with chintz. On a
black-walnut shelf between the windows lay a choice collection of
meerschaum and brier-wood pipes.

Filling one of the chocolate-colored bowls for me and another for
himself, Mr. Jaffrey began prattling; but not about the murder, which
appeared to have flown out of his mind. In fact, I do not remember that
the topic was even touched upon, either then or afterwards.

"Cozy nest this," said Mr. Jaffrey, glancing complacently over the
apartment. "What is more cheerful, now, in the fall of the year, than an
open wood-fire? Do you hear those little chirps and twitters coming out
of that piece of apple-wood? Those are the ghosts of the robins and
bluebirds that sang upon the bough when it was in blossom last spring.
In summer whole flocks of them come fluttering about the fruit-trees
under the window: so I have singing birds all the year round. I take it
very easy here, I can tell you, summer and winter. Not much society.
Tobias is not, perhaps, what one would term a great intellectual force,
but he means well. He's a realist--believes in coming down to what he
calls (the hardpan); but his heart is in the right place, and he's very
kind to me. The wisest thing I ever did in my life was to sell out my
grain business over at K----, thirteen years ago, and settle down at the
Corners. When a man has made a competency, what does he want more?
Besides, at that time an event occurred which destroyed any ambition I
may have had. Mehetabel died."

"The lady you were engaged to?"

"No, not precisely engaged. I think it was quite understood between us,
though nothing had been said on the subject. Typhoid," added Mr.
Jaffrey, in a low voice.

For several minutes he smoked in silence, a vague, troubled look playing
over his countenance. Presently this passed away, and he fixed his gray
eyes speculatively upon my face.

"If I had married Mehetabel," said Mr. Jaffrey, slowly, and then he
hesitated. I blew a ring of smoke into the air, and, resting my pipe on
my knee, dropped into an attitude of attention. "If I had married
Mehetabel, you know, we should have had--ahem!--a family."

"Very likely," I assented, vastly amused at this unexpected turn.

"A Boy!" exclaimed Mr. Jaffrey, explosively.

"By all means, certainly, a son."

"Great trouble about naming the boy. Mehetabel's family want him named
Elkanah Elkins, after her grandfather; I want him named Andrew Jackson.
We compromise by christening him Elkanah Elkins Andrew Jackson Jaffrey.
Rather a long name for such a short little fellow," said Mr.
Jaffrey, musingly.

"Andy isn't a bad nickname," I suggested.

"Not at all. We call him Andy, in the family. Somewhat fractious at
first--colic and things. I suppose it is right, or it wouldn't be so;
but the usefulness of measles, mumps, croup, whooping-cough, scarlatina,
and fits is not clear to the parental eye. I wish Andy would be a model
infant, and dodge the whole lot."

This suppositions child, born within the last few minutes, was plainly
assuming the proportions of a reality to Mr. Jaffrey. I began to feel a
little uncomfortable. I am, as I have said, a civil engineer, and it is
not strictly in my line to assist at the births of infants, imaginary or
otherwise. I pulled away vigorously at the pipe, and said nothing.

"What large blue eyes he has," resumed Mr. Jaffrey, after a pause; "just
like Hetty's; and the fair hair, too, like hers. How oddly certain
distinctive features are handed down in families! Sometimes a mouth,
sometimes a turn of the eye-brow. Wicked little boys over at K---- have
now and then derisively advised me to follow my nose. It would be an
interesting thing to do. I should find my nose flying about the world,
turning up unexpectedly here and there, dodging this branch of the
family and reappearing in that, now jumping over one great-grandchild to
fasten itself upon another, and never losing its individuality. Look at
Andy. There's Elkanah Elkins's chin to the life. Andy's chin is probably
older than the Pyramids. Poor little thing," he cried, with sudden
indescribable tenderness, "to lose his mother so early!" And Mr.
Jaffrey's head sunk upon his breast, and his shoulders slanted forward,
as if he were actually bending over the cradle of the child. The whole
gesture and attitude was so natural that it startled me. The pipe
slipped from my fingers and fell to the floor.

"Hush!" whispered Mr. Jaffrey, with a deprecating motion of his hand.
"Andy's asleep!"

He rose softly from the chair, and walking across the room on tiptoe,
drew down the shade at the window through which the moonlight was
streaming. Then he returned to his seat, and remained gazing with
half-closed eyes into the dropping embers.

I refilled my pipe and smoked in profound silence, wondering what would
come next. But nothing came next. Mr. Jaffrey had fallen into so brown a
study that, a quarter of an hour afterwards, when I wished him
good-night and withdrew, I do not think he noticed my departure.

I am not what is called a man of imagination; it is my habit to exclude
most things not capable of mathematical demonstration: but I am not
without a certain psychological insight, and I think I understood Mr.
Jaffrey's case. I could easily understand how a man with an unhealthy,
sensitive nature, overwhelmed by sudden calamity, might take refuge in
some forlorn place like this old tavern, and dream his life away. To
such a man--brooding forever on what might have been, and dwelling
wholly in the realm of his fancies--the actual world might indeed become
as a dream, and nothing seem real but his illusions. I dare say that
thirteen years of Bayley's Four-Corners would have its effect upon me;
though instead of conjuring up golden-haired children of the Madonna, I
should probably see gnomes and kobolds, and goblins engaged in hoisting
false signals and misplacing switches for midnight express trains.

"No doubt," I said to myself that night, as I lay in bed, thinking over
the matter, "this once possible but now impossible child is a great
comfort to the old gentleman,--a greater comfort, perhaps, than a real
son would be. Maybe Andy will vanish with the shades and mists of night,
he's such an unsubstantial infant; but if he doesn't, and Mr. Jaffrey
finds pleasure in talking to me about his son, I shall humor the old
fellow. It wouldn't be a Christian act to knock over his
harmless fancy."

I was very impatient to see if Mr. Jaffrey's illusion would stand the
test of daylight. It did. Elkanah Elkins Andrew Jackson Jaffrey was, so
to speak, alive and kicking the next morning. On taking his seat at the
breakfast-table, Mr. Jaffrey whispered to me that Andy had had a
comfortable night.

"Silas!" said Mr. Sewell, sharply, "what are you whispering about?"

Mr. Sewell was in an ill humor; perhaps he was jealous because I had
passed the evening in Mr. Jaffrey's room; but surely Mr. Sewell could
not expect his boarders to go to bed at eight o'clock every night, as he
did. From time to time during the meal Mr. Sewell regarded me unkindly
out of the corner of his eye, and in helping me to the parsnips he
poniarded them with quite a suggestive air. All this, however, did not
prevent me from repairing to the door of Mr. Jaffrey's snuggery when
night came.

"Well, Mr. Jaffrey, how's Andy this evening?"

"Got a tooth!" cried Mr. Jaffrey, vivaciously.


"Yes, he has! Just through. Give the nurse a silver dollar. Standing
reward for first tooth."

It was on the tip of my tongue to express surprise that an infant a day
old should cut a tooth, when I suddenly recollected that Richard III.
was born with teeth. Feeling myself to be on unfamiliar ground, I
suppressed my criticism. It was well I did so, for in the next breath I
was advised that half a year had elapsed since the previous evening.

"Andy's had a hard six months of it," said Mr. Jaffrey, with the
well-known narrative air of fathers. "We've brought him up by hand. His
grandfather, by the way, was brought up by the bottle--" and brought
down by it, too, I added mentally, recalling Mr. Sewell's account of the
old gentleman's tragic end.

Mr. Jaffrey then went on to give me a history of Andy's first six
months, omitting no detail however insignificant or irrelevant. This
history I would in turn inflict upon the reader, if I were only certain
that he is one of those dreadful parents who, under the aegis of
friendship, bore you at a street-corner with that remarkable thing which
Freddy said the other day, and insist on singing to you, at an evening
party, the Iliad of Tommy's woes.

But to inflict this _enfantillage_ upon the unmarried reader would be
an act of wanton cruelty. So I pass over that part of Andy's biography,
and for the same reason make no record of the next four or five
interviews I had with Mr. Jaffrey. It will be sufficient to state that
Andy glided from extreme infancy to early youth with astonishing
celerity--at the rate of one year per night, if I remember correctly;
and--must I confess it?--before the week came to an end, this invisible
hobgoblin of a boy was only little less of a reality to me than to
Mr. Jaffrey.

At first I had lent myself to the old dreamer's whim with a keen
perception of the humor of the thing; but by and by I found that I was
talking and thinking of Miss Mehetabel's son as though he were a
veritable personage. Mr. Jaffrey spoke of the child with such an air of
conviction!--as if Andy were playing among his toys in the next room, or
making mud-pies down in the yard. In these conversations, it should be
observed, the child was never supposed to be present, except on that
single occasion when Mr. Jaffrey leaned over the cradle. After one of
our _séances_ I would lie awake until the small hours, thinking of the
boy, and then fall asleep only to have indigestible dreams about him.
Through the day, and sometimes in the midst of complicated calculations,
I would catch myself wondering what Andy was up to now! There was no
shaking him off; he became an inseparable nightmare to me; and I felt
that if I remained much longer at Bayley's Four-Corners I should turn
into just such another bald-headed, mild-eyed visionary as
Silas Jaffrey.

Then the tavern was a grewsome old shell any way, full of unaccountable
noises after dark--rustlings of garments along unfrequented passages,
and stealthy footfalls in unoccupied chambers overhead. I never knew of
an old house without these mysterious noises. Next to my bedroom was a
musty, dismantled apartment, in one corner of which, leaning against the
wainscot, was a crippled mangle, with its iron crank tilted in the air
like the elbow of the late Mr. Clem Jaffrey. Sometimes,

     "In the dead vast and middle of the night,"

I used to hear sounds as if some one were turning that rusty crank on
the sly. This occurred only on particularly cold nights, and I
conceived the uncomfortable idea that it was the thin family ghosts,
from the neglected graveyard in the cornfield, keeping themselves warm
by running each other through the mangle. There was a haunted air about
the whole place that made it easy for me to believe in the existence of
a phantasm like Miss Mehetabel's son, who, after all, was less unearthly
than Mr. Jaffrey himself, and seemed more properly an inhabitant of this
globe than the toothless ogre who kept the inn, not to mention the
silent Witch of Endor that cooked our meals for us over the
bar-room fire.

In spite of the scowls and winks bestowed upon me by Mr. Sewell, who let
slip no opportunity to testify his disapprobation of the intimacy, Mr.
Jaffrey and I spent all our evenings together--those long autumnal
evenings, through the length of which he talked about the boy, laying
out his path in life and hedging the path with roses. He should be sent
to the High School at Portsmouth, and then to college; he should be
educated like a gentleman, Andy.

"When the old man dies," remarked Mr. Jaffrey one night, rubbing his
hands gleefully, as if it were a great joke, "Andy will find that the
old man has left him a pretty plum."

"What do you think of having Andy enter West Point, when he's old
enough?" said Mr. Jaffrey on another occasion. "He needn't necessarily
go into the army when he graduates; he can become a civil engineer."

This was a stroke of flattery so delicate and indirect that I could
accept it without immodesty.

There had lately sprung up on the corner of Mr. Jaffrey's bureau a small
tin house, Gothic in architecture and pink in color, with a slit in the
roof, and the word BANK painted on one façade. Several times in the
course of an evening Mr. Jaffrey would rise from his chair without
interrupting the conversation, and gravely drop a nickel into the
scuttle of the bank. It was pleasant to observe the solemnity of his
countenance as he approached the edifice, and the air of triumph with
which he resumed his seat by the fireplace. One night I missed the tin
bank. It had disappeared, deposits and all, like a real bank. Evidently
there had been a defalcation on rather a large scale. I strongly
suspected that Mr. Sewell was at the bottom of it, but my suspicion was
not shared by Mr. Jaffrey, who, remarking my glance at the bureau,
became suddenly depressed.

"I'm afraid," he said, "that I have failed to instill into Andrew those
principles of integrity which--which--" and the old gentleman quite
broke down.

Andy was now eight or nine years old, and for some time past, if the
truth must be told, had given Mr. Jaffrey no inconsiderable trouble;
what with his impishness and his illnesses, the boy led the pair of us a
lively dance. I shall not soon forget the anxiety of Mr. Jaffrey the
night Andy had the scarlet-fever--an anxiety which so infected me that I
actually returned to the tavern the following afternoon earlier than
usual, dreading to hear that the little spectre was dead, and greatly
relieved on meeting Mr. Jaffrey at the door-step with his face wreathed
in smiles. When I spoke to him of Andy, I was made aware that I was
inquiring into a case of scarlet-fever that had occurred the
year before!

It was at this time, towards the end of my second week at Greenton, that
I noticed what was probably not a new trait--Mr. Jaffrey's curious
sensitiveness to atmospherical changes. He was as sensitive as a
barometer. The approach of a storm sent his mercury down instantly. When
the weather was fair he was hopeful and sunny, and Andy's prospects were
brilliant. When the weather was overcast and threatening he grew
restless and despondent, and was afraid that the boy was not going to
turn out well.

On the Saturday previous to my departure, which had been fixed for
Monday, it rained heavily all the afternoon, and that night Mr. Jaffrey
was in an unusually excitable and unhappy frame of mind. His mercury was
very low indeed.

"That boy is going to the dogs just as fast as he can go," said Mr.
Jaffrey, with a woeful face. "I can't do anything with him."

"He'll come out all right, Mr. Jaffrey. Boys will be boys. I would not
give a snap for a lad without animal spirits."

"But animal spirits," said Mr. Jaffrey sententiously, "shouldn't saw off
the legs of the piano in Tobias's best parlor. I don't know what Tobias
will say when he finds it out."

"What! has Andy sawed off the legs of the old spinet?" I returned,

"Worse than that."

"Played upon it, then!"

"No, sir. He has lied to me!"

"I can't believe that of Andy."

"Lied to me, sir," repeated Mr. Jaffrey, severely. "He pledged me his
word of honor that he would give over his climbing. The way that boy
climbs sends a chill down my spine. This morning, notwithstanding his
solemn promise, he shinned up the lightning-rod attached to the
extension, and sat astride the ridge-pole. I saw him, and he denied it!
When a boy you have caressed and indulged and lavished pocket-money on
lies to you and _will_ climb, then there's nothing more to be said. He's
a lost child."

"You take too dark a view of it, Mr. Jaffrey. Training and education are
bound to tell in the end, and he has been well brought up."

"But I didn't bring him up on a lightning-rod, did I? If he is ever
going to know how to behave, he ought to know now. To-morrow he will be
eleven years old."

The reflection came to me that if Andy had not been brought up by the
rod, he had certainly been brought up by the lightning. He was eleven
years old in two weeks!

I essayed, with that perspicacious wisdom which seems to be the peculiar
property of bachelors and elderly maiden ladies, to tranquillize Mr.
Jaffrey's mind, and to give him some practical hints on the
management of youth.

"Spank him," I suggested at last.

"I will!" said the old gentleman.

"And you'd better do it at once!" I added, as it flashed upon me that in
six months Andy would be a hundred and forty-three years old!--an age at
which parental discipline would have to be relaxed.

The next morning, Sunday, the rain came down as if determined to drive
the quicksilver entirely out of my poor friend. Mr. Jaffrey sat bolt
upright at the breakfast-table, looking as woe-begone as a bust of
Dante, and retired to his chamber the moment the meal was finished. As
the day advanced, the wind veered round to the northeast, and settled
itself down to work. It was not pleasant to think, and I tried not to
think, what Mr. Jaffrey's condition would be if the weather did not mend
its manners by noon; but so far from clearing off at noon, the storm
increased in violence, and as night set in, the wind whistled in a
spiteful falsetto key, and the rain lashed the old tavern as if it were
a balky horse that refused to move on. The windows rattled in the
worm-eaten frames, and the doors of remote rooms, where nobody ever
went, slammed to in the maddest way. Now and then the tornado, sweeping
down the side of Mount Agamenticus, bowled across the open country, and
struck the ancient hostelry point-blank.

Mr. Jaffrey did not appear at supper. I knew that he was expecting me to
come to his room as usual, and I turned over in my mind a dozen plans to
evade seeing him that night. The landlord sat at the opposite side of
the chimney-place, with his eye upon me. I fancy he was aware of the
effect of this storm on his other boarder; for at intervals, as the wind
hurled itself against the exposed gable, threatening to burst in the
windows, Mr. Sewell tipped me an atrocious wink, and displayed his gums
in a way he had not done since the morning after my arrival at Greenton.
I wondered if he suspected anything about Andy. There had been odd times
during the past week when I felt convinced that the existence of Miss
Mehetabel's son was no secret to Mr. Sewell.

In deference to the gale, the landlord sat up half an hour later than
was his custom. At half-past eight he went to bed, remarking that he
thought the old pile would stand till morning.

He had been absent only a few minutes when I heard a rustling at the
door. I looked up, and beheld Mr. Jaffrey standing on the threshold,
with his dress in disorder, his scant hair flying, and the wildest
expression on his face.

"He's gone!" cried Mr. Jaffrey.

"Who? Sewell? Yes, he just went to bed."

"No, not Tobias--the boy!"

"What, run away?"

"No--he is dead! He has fallen from a step-ladder in the red chamber and
broken his neck!"

Mr. Jaffrey threw up his hands with a gesture of despair, and
disappeared. I followed him through the hall, saw him go into his own
apartment, and heard the bolt of the door drawn to. Then I returned to
the bar-room, and sat for an hour or two in the ruddy glow of the fire,
brooding over the strange experience of the last fortnight.

On my way to bed I paused at Mr. Jaffrey's door, and in a lull of the
storm, the measured respiration within told me that the old gentleman
was sleeping peacefully.

Slumber was coy with me that night. I lay listening to the soughing of
the wind, and thinking of Mr. Jaffrey's illusion. It had amused me at
first with its grotesqueness; but now the poor little phantom was dead,
I was conscious that there had been something pathetic in it all along.
Shortly after midnight the wind sunk down, coming and going fainter and
fainter, floating around the eaves of the tavern with an undulating,
murmurous sound, as if it were turning itself into soft wings to bear
away the spirit of a little child.

Perhaps nothing that happened during my stay at Bayley's Four-Corners
took me so completely by surprise as Mr. Jaffrey's radiant countenance
the next morning. The morning itself was not fresher or sunnier. His
round face literally shone with geniality and happiness. His eyes
twinkled like diamonds, and the magnetic light of his hair was turned on
full. He came into my room while I was packing my valise. He chirped,
and prattled, and caroled, and was sorry I was going away--but never a
word about Andy. However, the boy had probably been dead several
years then!

The open wagon that was to carry me to the station stood at the door;
Mr. Sewell was placing my case of instruments under the seat, and Mr.
Jaffrey had gone up to his room to get me a certain newspaper containing
an account of a remarkable shipwreck on the Auckland Islands. I took the
opportunity to thank Mr. Sewell for his courtesies to me, and to express
my regret at leaving him and Mr. Jaffrey.

"I have become very much attached to Mr. Jaffrey," I said; "he is a most
interesting person; but that hypothetical boy of his, that son of Miss

"Yes, I know!" interrupted Mr. Sewell, testily. "Fell off a step-ladder
and broke his dratted neck. Eleven year old, wasn't he? Always does,
jest at that point. Next week Silas will begin the whole thing over
again, if he can get anybody to listen to him."

"I see. Our amiable friend is a little queer on that subject."

Mr. Sewell glanced cautiously over his shoulder, and tapping himself
significantly on the forehead, said in a low voice,--

"Room To Let--Unfurnished!"

The foregoing selections are copyrighted, and are reprinted by
permission of the author, and Houghton, Mifflin & Co., publishers.



The Italian patriot and poet, Aleardo Aleardi, was born in the village
of San Giorgio, near Verona, on November 4th, 1812. He passed his
boyhood on his father's farm, amid the grand scenery of the valley of
the Adige, which deeply impressed itself on his youthful imagination and
left its traces in all his verse. He went to school at Verona, where for
his dullness he was nick-named the "mole," and afterwards he passed on
to the University of Padua to study law, apparently to please his
father, for in the charming autobiography prefixed to his collected
poems he quotes his father as saying:--"My son, be not enamored of this
coquette, Poesy; for with all her airs of a great lady, she will play
thee some trick of a faithless grisette. Choose a good companion, as one
might say, for instance the law: and thou wilt found a family; wilt
partake of God's bounties; wilt be content in life, and die quietly and
happily." In addition to satisfying his father, the young poet also
wrote at Padua his first political poems. And this brought him into
slight conflict with the authorities. He practiced law for a short time
at Verona, and wrote his first long poem, 'Arnaldo,' published in 1842,
which was very favorably received. When six years later the new Venetian
republic came into being, Aleardi was sent to represent its interests at
Paris. The speedy overthrow of the new State brought the young
ambassador home again, and for the next ten years he worked for Italian
unity and freedom. He was twice imprisoned, at Mantua in 1852, and again
in 1859 at Verona, where he died April 17th, 1878.

Like most of the Italian poets of this century, Aleardi found his chief
inspiration in the exciting events that marked the struggle of Italy for
independence, and his best work antedated the peace of Villafranca. His
first serious effort was 'Le Prime Storie' (The Primal Histories),
written in 1845. In this he traces the story of the human race from the
creation through the Scriptural, classical, and feudal periods down to
the present century, and closes with foreshadowings of a peaceful and
happy future. It is picturesque, full of lofty imagery and brilliant
descriptive passages.

'Una Ora della mia Giovinezza' (An Hour of My Youth: 1858) recounts many
of his youthful trials and disappointments as a patriot. Like the
'Primal Histories,' this poem is largely contemplative and
philosophical, and shines by the same splendid diction and luxurious
imagery; but it is less wide-reaching in its interests and more
specific in its appeal to his own countrymen. And from this time onward
the patriotic qualities in Aleardi's poetry predominate, and his themes
become more and more exclusively Italian. The 'Monte Circello' sings the
glories and events of the Italian land and history, and successfully
presents many facts of science in poetic form, while the singer
passionately laments the present condition of Italy. In 'Le Citta
Italiane Marinore e Commercianti' (The Marine and Commercial Cities of
Italy) the story of the rise, flourishing, and fall of Venice, Florence,
Pisa, and Genoa is recounted. His other noteworthy poems are 'Rafaello e
la Fornarina,' 'Le Tre Fiume' (The Three Rivers), 'Le Tre Fanciulle'
(The Three Maidens: 1858), 'I Sette Soldati' (The Seven Soldiers: 1859),
and 'Canto Politico' (Political Songs: 1862).

A slender volume of five hundred pages contains all that Aleardi has
written. Yet he is one of the chief minor Italian poets of this century,
because of his loftiness of purpose and felicity of expression, his
tenderness of feeling, and his deep sympathies with his
struggling country.

"He has," observes Howells in his 'Modern Italian Poets,' "in greater
degree than any other Italian poet of this, or perhaps of any age, those
merits which our English taste of this time demands,--quickness of
feeling and brilliancy of expression. He lacks simplicity of idea, and
his style is an opal which takes all lights and hues, rather than the
crystal which lets the daylight colorlessly through. He is distinguished
no less by the themes he selects than by the expression he gives them.
In his poetry there is passion, but his subjects are usually those to
which love is accessory rather than essential; and he cares better to
sing of universal and national destinies as they concern individuals,
than the raptures and anguishes of youthful individuals as they concern
mankind." He was original in his way; his attitude toward both the
classic and the romantic schools is shown in the following passage from
his autobiography, which at the same time brings out his patriotism.
He says:--

     "It seemed to me strange, on the one hand, that people who,
     in their serious moments and in the recesses of their hearts,
     invoked Christ, should in the recesses of their minds, in the
     deep excitement of poetry, persist in invoking Apollo and
     Pallas Minerva. It seemed to me strange, on the other hand,
     that people born in Italy, with this sun, with these nights,
     with so many glories, so many griefs, so many hopes at home,
     should have the mania of singing the mists of Scandinavia,
     and the Sabbaths of witches, and should go mad for a gloomy
     and dead feudalism, which had come from the North, the
     highway of our misfortunes. It seemed to me, moreover, that
     every Art of Poetry was marvelously useless, and that certain
     rules were mummies embalmed by the hand of pedants. In fine,
     it seemed to me that there were two kinds of Art: the one,
     serene with an Olympic serenity, the Art of all ages that
     belongs to no country; the other, more impassioned, that has
     its roots in one's native soil.... The first that of Homer,
     of Phidias, of Virgil, of Tasso; the other that of the
     Prophets, of Dante, of Shakespeare, of Byron. And I have
     tried to cling to this last, because I was pleased to see how
     these great men take the clay of their own land and their own
     time, and model from it a living statue, which resembles
     their contemporaries."

In another interesting passage he explains that his old drawing-master
had in vain pleaded with the father to make his son a painter, and he

     "Not being allowed to use the pencil, I have used the pen.
     And precisely on this account my pen resembles too much a
     pencil; precisely on this account I am often too much of a
     naturalist, and am too fond of losing myself in minute
     details. I am as one who in walking goes leisurely along, and
     stops every minute to observe the dash of light that breaks
     through the trees of the woods, the insect that alights on
     his hand, the leaf that falls on his head, a cloud, a wave, a
     streak of smoke; in fine, the thousand accidents that make
     creation so rich, so various, so poetical, and beyond which
     we evermore catch glimpses of that grand mysterious
     something, eternal, immense, benignant, and never inhuman nor
     cruel, as some would have us believe, which is called God."

The selections are from Howells's 'Modern Italian Poets,' copyright
1887, by Harper and Brothers.


     In the deep circle of Siddim hast thou seen,
     Under the shining skies of Palestine,
     The sinister glitter of the Lake of Asphalt?
     Those coasts, strewn thick with ashes of damnation,
     Forever foe to every living thing,
     Where rings the cry of the lost wandering bird
     That on the shore of the perfidious sea
     Athirsting dies,--that watery sepulchre
     Of the five cities of iniquity,
     Where even the tempest, when its clouds hang low,
     Passes in silence, and the lightning dies,--
     If thou hast seen them, bitterly hath been
     Thy heart wrung with the misery and despair
     Of that dread vision!
                           Yet there is on earth
     A woe more desperate and miserable,--
     A spectacle wherein the wrath of God
     Avenges Him more terribly. It is
     A vain, weak people of faint-heart old men,
     That, for three hundred years of dull repose,
     Has lain perpetual dreamer, folded in
     The ragged purple of its ancestors,
     Stretching its limbs wide in its country's sun,
     To warm them; drinking the soft airs of autumn
     Forgetful, on the fields where its forefathers
     Like lions fought! From overflowing hands,
     Strew we with hellebore and poppies thick
     The way.

     From 'The Primal Histories.'


     What time in summer, sad with so much light,
     The sun beats ceaselessly upon the fields;
     The harvesters, as famine urges them,
     Draw hitherward in thousands, and they wear
     The look of those that dolorously go
     In exile, and already their brown eyes
     Are heavy with the poison of the air.
     Here never note of amorous bird consoles
     Their drooping hearts; here never the gay songs
     Of their Abruzzi sound to gladden these
     Pathetic hands. But taciturn they toil,
     Reaping the harvests for their unknowrn lords;
     And when the weary labor is performed,
     Taciturn they retire; and not till then
     Their bagpipes crown the joys of the return,
     Swelling the heart with their familiar strain.
     Alas! not all return, for there is one
     That dying in the furrow sits, and seeks
     With his last look some faithful kinsman out,
     To give his life's wage, that he carry it
     Unto his trembling mother, with the last
     Words of her son that comes no more. And dying,
     Deserted and alone, far off he hears
     His comrades going, with their pipes in time,
     Joyfully measuring their homeward steps.
     And when in after years an orphan comes
     To reap the harvest here, and feels his blade
     Go quivering through the swaths of falling grain,
     He weeps and thinks--haply these heavy stalks
     Ripened on his unburied father's bones.

     From 'Monte Circello.'


     Ere yet upon the unhappy Arctic lands,
     In dying autumn, Erebus descends
     With the night's thousand hours, along the verge
     Of the horizon, like a fugitive,
     Through the long days wanders the weary sun;
     And when at last under the wave is quenched
     The last gleam of its golden countenance,
     Interminable twilight land and sea
     Discolors, and the north wind covers deep
     All things in snow, as in their sepulchres
     The dead are buried. In the distances
     The shock of warring Cyclades of ice
     Makes music as of wild and strange lament;
     And up in heaven now tardily are lit
     The solitary polar star and seven
     Lamps of the bear. And now the warlike race
     Of swans gather their hosts upon the breast
     Of some far gulf, and, bidding their farewell
     To the white cliffs and slender junipers,
     And sea-weed bridal-beds, intone the song
     Of parting, and a sad metallic clang
     Send through the mists. Upon their southward way
     They greet the beryl-tinted icebergs; greet
     Flamy volcanoes and the seething founts
     Of geysers, and the melancholy yellow
     Of the Icelandic fields; and, wearying
     Their lily wings amid the boreal lights,
     Journey away unto the joyous shores
     Of morning.

     From 'An Hour of My Youth.'



[Illustration: D'ALEMBERT]

Jean Le Rond D'Alembert, one of the most noted of the "Encyclopedists,"
a mathematician of the first order, and an eminent man of letters, was
born at Paris in 1717. The unacknowleged son of the Chevalier Destouches
and of Mme. de Tencin, he had been exposed on the steps of the chapel
St. Jean-le-Rond, near Notre-Dame. He was named after the place where he
was found; the surname of D'Alembert being added by himself in later
years. He was given into the care of the wife of a glazier, who brought
him up tenderly and whom he never ceased to venerate as his true mother.
His anonymous father, however, partly supported him by an annual income
of twelve hundred francs. He was educated at the college Mazarin, and
surprised his Jansenist teachers by his brilliance and precocity. They
believed him to be a second Pascal; and, doubtless to complete the
analogy, drew his attention away from his theological studies to
geometry. But they calculated without their host; for the young student
suddenly found out his genius, and mathematics and the exact sciences
henceforth became his absorbing interests. He studied successively law
and medicine, but finding no satisfaction in either of these
professions, with the true instincts of the scholar he chose poverty
with liberty to pursue the studies he loved. He astonished the
scientific world by his first published works, 'Memoir on the Integral
Calculus' (1739) and 'On the Refraction of Solid Bodies' (1741); and
while not yet twenty-four years old, the brilliant young mathematician
was made a member of the French Academy of Sciences. In 1754 he entered
the Académie Française, and eighteen years later became its perpetual

D'Alembert wrote many and important works on physics and mathematics.
One of these, 'Memoir on the General Cause of Winds,' carried away a
prize from the Academy of Sciences of Berlin, in 1746, and its
dedication to Frederick II. of Prussia won him the friendship of that
monarch. But his claims to a place in French literature, leaving aside
his eulogies on members of the French Academy deceased between 1700 and
1772, are based chiefly on his writings in connection with the
'Encyclopédie.' Associated with Diderot in this vast enterprise, he was
at first, because of his eminent position in the scientific world, its
director and official head. He contributed a large number of scientific
and philosophic articles, and took entire charge of the revising of the
mathematical division. His most noteworthy contribution, however, is the
'Preliminary Discourse' prefixed as a general introduction and
explanation of the work. In this he traced with wonderful clearness and
logical precision the successive steps of the human mind in its search
after knowledge, and basing his conclusion on the historical evolution
of the race, he sketched in broad outlines the development of the
sciences and arts. In 1758 he withdrew from the active direction of the
'Encyclopédie,' that he might free himself from the annoyance of
governmental interference, to which the work was constantly subjected
because of the skeptical tendencies it evinced. But he continued to
contribute mathematical articles, with a few on other topics. One of
these, on 'Geneva,' involved him in his celebrated dispute with Rousseau
and other radicals in regard to Calvinism and the suppression of
theatrical performances in the stronghold of Swiss orthodoxy.

His fame was spreading over Europe. Frederick the Great of Prussia
repeatedly offered him the presidency of the Academy of Sciences of
Berlin. But he refused, as he also declined the magnificent offer of
Catherine of Russia to become tutor to her son, at a yearly salary of a
hundred thousand francs. Pope Benedict XIV. honored him by recommending
him to the membership of the Institute of Bologne; and the high esteem
in which he was held in England is shown by the legacy of £200 left him
by David Hume.

All these honors and distinctions did not affect the simplicity of his
life, for during thirty years he continued to reside in the poor and
incommodious quarters of his foster-mother, whom he partly supported out
of his small income. Ill health at last drove him to seek better
accommodations. He had formed a romantic attachment for Mademoiselle de
l'Espinasse, and lived with her in the same house for years unscandaled.
Her death in 1776 plunged him into profound grief. He died nine years
later, on the 9th of October, 1783.

His manner was plain and at times almost rude; he had great independence
of character, but also much simplicity and benevolence. With the other
French deists, D'Alembert has been attacked for his religious opinions,
but with injustice. He was prudent in the public expression of them, as
the time necessitated; but he makes the freest statement of them in his
correspondence with Voltaire. His literary and philosopic works were
edited by Bassange (Paris, 1891). Condorcet, in his 'Eulogy,' gives the
best account of his life and writings.


From the Eulogy published in the 'Encyclopédie'

The interest which good citizens are pleased to take in the
'Encyclopédie,' and the great number of men of letters who consecrate
their labors to it, authorize us to regard this work as the most proper
monument to preserve the grateful sentiments of our country, and that
respect which is due to the memory of those celebrated men who have done
it honor. Persuaded, however, that M. de Montesquieu had a title to
expect other panegyrics, and that the public grief deserved to be
described by more eloquent pens, we should have paid his great memory
the homage of silence, had not gratitude compelled us to speak. A
benefactor to mankind by his writings, he was not less a benefactor to
this work, and at least we may place a few lines at the base of his
statue, as it were.

Charles de Secondat, baron of La Brède and of Montesquieu, late
life-President of the Parliament of Bordeaux, member of the French
Academy of Sciences, of the Royal Academy and Belles-Lettres of Prussia,
and of the Royal Society of London, was born at the castle of La Brède,
near Bordeaux, the 18th of January, 1689, of a noble family of Guyenne.
His great-great-grandfather, John de Secondat, steward of the household
to Henry the Second, King of Navarre, and afterward to Jane, daughter of
that king, who married Antony of Bourbon, purchased the estate of
Montesquieu for the sum of ten thousand livres, which this princess gave
him by an authentic deed, as a reward for his probity and services.

Henry the Third, King of Navarre, afterward Henry the Fourth, King of
France, erected the lands of Montesquieu into a barony, in favor of
Jacob de Secondat, son of John, first a gentleman in ordinary of the
bedchamber to this prince, and afterward colonel of the regiment of
Chatillon. John Gaston de Secondat, his second son, having married a
daughter of the first president of the Parliament of Bordeaux, purchased
the office of perpetual president in this society. He had several
children, one of whom entered the service, distinguished himself, and
quitted it very early in life. This was the father of Charles de
Secondat, author of the 'Spirit of Laws.' These particulars may seem
superfluous in the eulogy of a philosopher who stands so little in need
of ancestors; but at least we may adorn their memory with that lustre
which his name reflects upon it.

The early promise of his genius was fulfilled in Charles de Secondat. He
discovered very soon what he desired to be, and his father cultivated
this rising genius, the object of his hope and of his tenderness. At the
age of twenty, young Montesquieu had already prepared materials for the
'Spirit of Laws,' by a well-digested extract from the immense body of
the civil law; as Newton had laid in early youth the foundation of his
immortal works. The study of jurisprudence, however, though less dry to
M. de Montesquieu than to most who attempt it, because he studied it as
a philosopher, did not content him. He inquired deeply into the subjects
which pertain to religion, and considered them with that wisdom,
decency, and equity, which characterize his work.

A brother of his father, perpetual president of the Parliament of
Bordeaux, an able judge and virtuous citizen, the oracle of his own
society and of his province, having lost an only son, left his fortune
and his office to M. de Montesquieu.

Some years after, in 1722, during the king's minority, his society
employed him to present remonstrances upon occasion of a new impost.
Placed between the throne and the people, like a respectful subject and
courageous magistrate he brought the cry of the wretched to the ears of
the sovereign--a cry which, being heard, obtained justice.
Unfortunately, this success was momentary. Scarce was the popular voice
silenced before the suppressed tax was replaced by another; but the good
citizen had done his duty.

He was received the 3d of April, 1716, into the new academy of Bordeaux.
A taste for music and entertainment had at first assembled its members.
M. de Montesquieu believed that the talents of his friends might be
better employed in physical subjects. He was persuaded that nature,
worthy of being beheld everywhere, could find everywhere eyes worthy to
behold her; while it was impossible to gather together, at a distance
from the metropolis, distinguished writers on works of taste. He looked
upon our provincial societies for belles-lettres as a shadow of
literature which obscures the reality. The Duke de la Force, by a prize
which he founded at Bordeaux, seconded these rational views. It was
decided that a good physical experiment would be better than a weak
discourse or a bad poem; and Bordeaux got an Academy of Sciences.

M. de Montesquieu, careless of reputation, wrote little. It was not
till 1721, that is to say, at thirty-two years of age, that he published
the 'Persian Letters.' The description of Oriental manners, real or
supposed, is the least important thing in these letters. It serves
merely as a pretense for a delicate satire upon our own customs and for
the concealment of a serious intention. In this moving picture, Usbec
chiefly exposes, with as much ease as energy, whatever among us most
struck his penetrating eyes: our way of treating the silliest things
seriously, and of laughing at the most important; our way of talking
which is at once so blustering and so frivolous; our impatience even in
the midst of pleasure itself; our prejudices and our actions that
perpetually contradict our understandings; our great love of glory and
respect for the idol of court favor, our little real pride; our
courtiers so mean and vain; our exterior politeness to, and our real
contempt of strangers; our fantastical tastes, than which there is
nothing lower but the eagerness of all Europe to adopt them; our
barbarous disdain for the two most respectable occupations of a
citizen--commerce and magistracy; our literary disputes, so keen and so
useless; our rage for writing before we think, and for judging before we
understand. To this picture he opposes, in the apologue of the
Troglodytes, the description of a virtuous people, become wise by
misfortunes--a piece worthy of the portico. In another place, he
represents philosophy, long silenced, suddenly reappearing, regaining
rapidly the time which she had lost; penetrating even among the Russians
at the voice of a genius which invites her; while among other people of
Europe, superstition, like a thick atmosphere, prevents the
all-surrounding light from reaching them. Finally, by his review of
ancient and modern government, he presents us with the bud of those
bright ideas since fully developed in his great work.

These different subjects, no longer novel, as when the 'Persian Letters'
first appeared, will forever remain original--a merit the more real that
it proceeds alone from the genius of the writer; for Usbec acquired,
during his abode in France, so perfect a knowledge of our morals, and so
strong a tincture of our manners, that his style makes us forget his
country. This small solecism was perhaps not unintentional. While
exposing our follies and vices, he meant, no doubt, to do justice to our
merits. Avoiding the insipidity of a direct panegyric, he has more
delicately praised us by assuming our own air in professed satire.

Notwithstanding the success of his work, M. de Montesquieu did not
acknowledge it. Perhaps he wished to escape criticism. Perhaps he wished
to avoid a contrast of the frivolity of the 'Persian Letters' with the
gravity of his office; a sort of reproach which critics never fail to
make, because it requires no sort of effort. But his secret was
discovered, and the public suggested his name for the Academy. The event
justified M. de Montesquieu's silence. Usbec expresses himself freely,
not concerning the fundamentals of Christianity, but about matters which
people affect to confound with Christianity itself: about the spirit of
persecution which has animated so many Christians; about the temporal
usurpation of ecclesiastical power; about the excessive multiplication
of monasteries, which deprive the State of subjects without giving
worshipers to God; about some opinions which would fain be established
as principles; about our religious disputes, always violent and often
fatal. If he appears anywhere to touch upon questions more vital to
Christianity itself, his reflections are in fact favorable to
revelation, because he shows how little human reason, left to
itself, knows.

Among the genuine letters of M. de Montesquieu the foreign printer had
inserted some by another hand. Before the author was condemned, these
should have been thrown out. Regardless of these considerations, hatred
masquerading as zeal, and zeal without understanding, rose and united
themselves against the 'Persian Letters.' Informers, a species of men
dangerous and base, alarmed the piety of the ministry. M. de
Montesquieu, urged by his friends, supported by the public voice, having
offered himself for the vacant place of M. de Sacy in the French
Academy, the minister wrote "The Forty" that his Majesty would never
accept the election of the author of the "Persian Letters" that he had
not, indeed, read the book, but that persons in whom he placed
confidence had informed him of its poisonous tendency. M. de Montesquieu
saw what a blow such an accusation might prove to his person, his
family, and his tranquillity. He neither sought literary honors nor
affected to disdain them when they came in his way, nor did he regard
the lack of them as a misfortune: but a perpetual exclusion, and the
motives of that exclusion, appeared to him to be an injury. He saw the
minister, and explained that though he did not acknowledge the 'Persian
Letters,' he would not disown a work for which he had no reason to
blush; and that he ought to be judged upon its contents, and not upon
mere hearsay. At last the minister read the book, loved the author, and
learned wisdom as to his advisers. The French Academy obtained one of
its greatest ornaments, and France had the happiness to keep a subject
whom superstition or calumny had nearly deprived her of; for M. de
Montesquieu had declared to the government that, after the affront they
proposed, he would go among foreigners in quest of that safety, that
repose, and perhaps those rewards which he might reasonably have
expected in his own country. The nation would really have deplored his
loss, while yet the disgrace of it must have fallen upon her.

M. de Montesquieu was received the 24th of January, 1728. His oration is
one of the best ever pronounced here. Among many admirable passages
which shine out in its pages is the deep-thinking writer's
characterization of Cardinal Richelieu, "who taught France the secret of
its strength, and Spain that of its weakness; who freed Germany from her
chains and gave her new ones."

The new Academician was the worthier of this title, that he had
renounced all other employments to give himself entirely up to his
genius and his taste. However important was his place, he perceived that
a different work must employ his talents; that the citizen is
accountable to his country and to mankind for all the good he may do;
and that he could be more useful by his writings than by settling
obscure legal disputes. He was no longer a magistrate, but only a man
of letters.

But that his works should serve other nations, it was necessary that he
should travel, his aim being to examine the natural and moral world, to
study the laws and constitution of every country; to visit scholars,
writers, artists, and everywhere to seek for those rare men whose
conversation sometimes supplies the place of years of observation. M. de
Montesquieu might have said, like Democritus, "I have forgot nothing to
instruct myself; I have quitted my country and traveled over the
universe, the better to know truth; I have seen all the illustrious
personages of my time." But there was this difference between the French
Democritus and him of Abdera, that the first traveled to instruct men,
and the second to laugh at them.

He went first to Vienna, where he often saw the celebrated Prince
Eugene. This hero, so fatal to France (to which he might have been so
useful), after having checked the advance of Louis XIV. and humbled the
Ottoman pride, lived without pomp, loving and cultivating letters in a
court where they are little honored, and showing his masters how to
protect them.

Leaving Vienna, the traveler visited Hungary, an opulent and fertile
country, inhabited by a haughty and generous nation, the scourge of its
tyrants and the support of its sovereigns. As few persons know this
country well, he has written with care this part of his travels.

From Germany he went to Italy. At Venice he met the famous Mr. Law, of
whose former grandeur nothing remained but projects fortunately destined
to die away unorganized, and a diamond which he pawned to play at games
of hazard. One day the conversation turned on the famous system which
Law had invented; the source of so many calamities, so many colossal
fortunes, and so remarkable a corruption in our morals. As the
Parliament of Paris had made some resistance to the Scotch minister on
this occasion, M. de Montesquieu asked him why he had never tried to
overcome this resistance by a method almost always infallible in
England, by the grand mover of human actions--in a word, by money.
"These are not," answered Law, "geniuses so ardent and so generous as my
countrymen; but they are much more incorruptible." It is certainly true
that a society which is free for a limited time ought to resist
corruption more than one which is always free: the first, when it sells
its liberty, loses it; the second, so to speak, only lends it, and
exercises it even when it is thus parting with it. Thus the
circumstances and nature of government give rise to the vices and
virtues of nations.

Another person, no less famous, whom M. de Montesquieu saw still oftener
at Venice, was Count de Bonneval. This man, so well known for his
adventures, which were not yet at an end, delighted to converse with so
good a judge and so excellent a hearer, often related to him the
military actions in which he had been engaged, and the remarkable
circumstances of his life, and drew the characters of generals and
ministers whom he had known.

He went from Venice to Rome. In this ancient capital of the world he
studied the works of Raphael, of Titian, and of Michael Angelo.
Accustomed to study nature, he knew her when she was translated, as a
faithful portrait appeals to all who are familiar with the original.

After having traveled over Italy, M. de Montesquieu came to Switzerland
and studied those vast countries which are watered by the Rhine. There
was the less for him to see in Germany that Frederick did not yet reign.
In the United Provinces he beheld an admirable monument of what human
industry animated by a love of liberty can do. In England he stayed
three years. Welcomed by the greatest men, he had nothing to regret save
that he had not made his journey sooner. Newton and Locke were dead. But
he had often the honor of paying his respects to their patroness, the
celebrated Queen of England, who cultivated philosophy upon a throne,
and who properly esteemed and valued M. de Montesquieu. Nor was he less
well received by the nation. At London he formed intimate friendships
with the great thinkers. With them he studied the nature of the
government, attaining profound knowledge of it.

As he had set out neither as an enthusiast nor a cynic, he brought back
neither a disdain for foreigners nor a contempt for his own country. It
was the result of his observations that Germany was made to travel in,
Italy to sojourn in, England to think in, and France to live in.

After returning to his own country, M. de Montesquieu retired for two
years to his estate of La Brède, enjoying that solitude which a life in
the tumult and hurry of the world but makes the more agreeable. He lived
with himself, after having so long lived with others; and finished his
work 'On the Cause of the Grandeur and Decline of the Romans,' which
appeared in 1734.

Empires, like men, must increase, decay, and be extinguished. But this
necessary revolution may have hidden causes which the veil of time
conceals from us.

Nothing in this respect more resembles modern history than ancient
history. That of the Romans must, however, be excepted. It presents us
with a rational policy, a connected system of aggrandizement, which will
not permit us to attribute the great fortune of this people to obscure
and inferior sources. The causes of the Roman grandeur may then be found
in history, and it is the business of the philosopher to discover them.
Besides, there are no systems in this study, as in that of physics,
which are easily overthrown, because one new and unforeseen experiment
can upset them in an instant. On the contrary, when we carefully collect
the facts, if we do not always gather together all the desired
materials, we may at least hope one day to obtain more. A great
historian combines in the most perfect manner these defective materials.
His merit is like that of an architect, who, from a few remains, traces
the plan of an ancient edifice; supplying, by genius and happy
conjectures, what was wanting in fact.

It is from this point of view that we ought to consider the work of M.
de Montesquieu. He finds the causes of the grandeur of the Romans in
that love of liberty, of labor, and of country, which was instilled into
them during their infancy; in those intestine divisions which gave an
activity to their genius, and which ceased immediately upon the
appearance of an enemy; in that constancy after misfortunes, which never
despaired of the republic; in that principle they adhered to of never
making peace but after victories; in the honor of a triumph, which was a
subject of emulation among the generals; in that protection which they
granted to those peoples who rebelled against their kings; in the
excellent policy of permitting the conquered to preserve their religion
and customs; and the equally excellent determination never to have two
enemies upon their hands at once, but to bear everything from the one
till they had destroyed the other. He finds the causes of their
declension in the aggrandizement of the State itself: in those distant
wars, which, obliging the citizens to be too long absent, made them
insensibly lose their republican spirit; in the too easily granted
privilege of being citizens of Rome, which made the Roman people at last
become a sort of many-headed monster; in the corruption introduced by
the luxury of Asia; in the proscriptions of Sylla, which debased the
genius of the nation, and prepared it for slavery; in the necessity of
having a master while their liberty was become burdensome to them; in
the necessity of changing their maxims when they changed their
government; in that series of monsters who reigned, almost without
interruption, from Tiberius to Nerva, and from Commodus to Constantine;
lastly, in the translation and division of the empire, which perished
first in the West by the power of barbarians, and after having
languished in the East, under weak or cruel emperors, insensibly died
away, like those rivers which disappear in the sands.

In a very small volume M. de Montesquieu explained and unfolded his
picture. Avoiding detail, and seizing only essentials, he has included
in a very small space a vast number of objects distinctly perceived, and
rapidly presented, without fatiguing the reader. While he points out
much, he leaves us still more to reflect upon; and he might have
entitled his book, 'A Roman History for the Use of Statesmen and

Whatever reputation M. de Montesquieu had thus far acquired, he had but
cleared the way for a far grander undertaking--for that which ought to
immortalize his name, and commend it to the admiration of future ages.
He had meditated for twenty years upon its execution; or, to speak more
exactly, his whole life had been a perpetual meditation upon it. He had
made himself in some sort a stranger in his own country, the better to
understand it. He had studied profoundly the different peoples of
Europe. The famous island, which so glories in her laws, and which makes
so bad a use of them, proved to him what Crete had been to Lycurgus--a
school where he learned much without approving everything. Thus he
attained by degrees to the noblest title a wise man can deserve, that of
legislator of nations.

If he was animated by the importance of his subject, he was at the same
time terrified by its extent. He abandoned it, and returned to it again
and again. More than once, as he himself owns, he felt his paternal
hands fail him. At last, encouraged by his friends, he resolved to
publish the 'Spirit of Laws.'

In this important work M. de Montesquieu, without insisting, like his
predecessors, upon metaphysical discussions, without confining himself,
like them, to consider certain people in certain particular relations or
circumstances, takes a view of the actual inhabitants of the world in
all their conceivable relations to each other. Most other writers in
this way are either simple moralists, or simple lawyers, or even
sometimes simple theologists. As for him, a citizen of all nations, he
cares less what duty requires of us than what means may constrain us to
do it; about the metaphysical perfection of laws, than about what man is
capable of; about laws which have been made, than about those which
ought to have been made; about the laws of a particular people, than
about those of all peoples. Thus, when comparing himself to those who
have run before him in this noble and grand career, he might say, with
Correggio, when he had seen the works of his rivals, "And I, too, am
a Painter."

Filled with his subject, the author of the 'Spirit of Laws' comprehends
so many materials, and treats them with such brevity and depth, that
assiduous reading alone discloses its merit. This study will make that
pretended want of method, of which some readers have accused M. de
Montesquieu, disappear. Real want of order should be distinguished from
what is apparent only. Real disorder confuses the analogy and connection
of ideas; or sets up conclusions as principles, so that the reader,
after innumerable windings, finds himself at the point whence he set
out. Apparent disorder is when the author, putting his ideas in their
true place, leaves it to the readers to supply intermediate ones. M. de
Montesquieu's book is designed for men who think, for men capable of
supplying voluntary and reasonable omissions.

The order perceivable in the grand divisions of the 'Spirit of Laws'
pervades the smaller details also. By his method of arrangement we
easily perceive the influence of the different parts upon each other;
as, in a system of human knowledge well understood, we may perceive the
mutual relation of sciences and arts. There must always remain something
arbitrary in every comprehensive scheme, and all that can be required of
an author is, that he follow strictly his own system.

For an allowable obscurity the same defense exists. What may be obscure
to the ignorant is not so for those whom the author had in mind.
Besides, voluntary obscurity is not properly obscurity. Obliged to
present truths of great importance, the direct avowal of which might
have shocked without doing good, M. de Montesquieu has had the prudence
to conceal them from those whom they might have hurt without hiding them
from the wise.

He has especially profited from the two most thoughtful historians,
Tacitus and Plutarch; but, though a philosopher familiar with these
authors might have dispensed with many others, he neglected nothing that
could be of use. The reading necessary for the 'Spirit of Laws' is
immense; and the author's ingenuity is the more wonderful because he was
almost blind, and obliged to depend on other men's eyes. This prodigious
reading contributes not only to the utility, but to the agreeableness of
the work. Without sacrificing dignity, M. de Montesquieu entertains the
reader by unfamiliar facts, or by delicate allusions, or by those strong
and brilliant touches which paint, by one stroke, nations and men.

In a word, M. de Montesquieu stands for the study of laws, as Descartes
stood for that of philosophy. He often instructs us, and is sometimes
mistaken; and even when he mistakes, he instructs those who know how to
read him. The last edition of his works demonstrates, by its many
corrections and additions, that when he has made a slip, he has been
able to rise again.

But what is within the reach of all the world is the spirit of the
'Spirit of Laws,' which ought to endear the author to all nations, to
cover far greater faults than are his. The love of the public good, a
desire to see men happy, reveals itself everywhere; and had it no other
merit, it would be worthy, on this account alone, to be read by nations
and kings. Already we may perceive that the fruits of this work are
ripe. Though M. de Montesquieu scarcely survived the publication of the
'Spirit of Laws,' he had the satisfaction to foresee its effects among
us; the natural love of Frenchmen for their country turned toward its
true object; that taste for commerce, for agriculture, and for useful
arts, which insensibly spreads itself in our nation; that general
knowledge of the principles of government, which renders people more
attached to that which they ought to love. Even the men who have
indecently attacked this work perhaps owe more to it than they imagine.
Ingratitude, besides, is their least fault. It is not without regret and
mortification that we expose them; but this history is of too much
consequence to M. de Montesquieu and to philosophy to be passed over in
silence. May that reproach, which at last covers his enemies,
profit them!

The 'Spirit of Laws' was at once eagerly sought after on account of the
reputation of its author; but though M. de Montesquieu had written for
thinkers, he had the vulgar for his judge. The brilliant passages
scattered up and down the work, admitted only because they illustrated
the subject, made the ignorant believe that it was written for them.
Looking for an entertaining book, they found a useful one, whose scheme
and details they could not comprehend without attention. The 'Spirit of
Laws' was treated with a deal of cheap wit; even the title of it was
made a subject of pleasantry. In a word, one of the finest literary
monuments which our nation ever produced was received almost with
scurrility. It was requisite that competent judges should have time to
read it, that they might correct the errors of the fickle multitude.
That small public which teaches, dictated to that large public which
listens to hear, how it ought to think and speak; and the suffrages of
men of abilities formed only one voice over all Europe.

The open and secret enemies of letters and philosophy now united their
darts against this work. Hence that multitude of pamphlets discharged
against the author, weapons which we shall not draw from oblivion. If
those authors were not forgotten, it might be believed that the 'Spirit
of Laws' was written amid a nation of barbarians.

M. de Montesquieu despised the obscure criticisms of the curious. He
ranked them with those weekly newspapers whose encomiums have no
authority, and their darts no effect; which indolent readers run over
without believing, and in which sovereigns are insulted without knowing
it. But he was not equally indifferent about those principles of
irreligion which they accused him of having propagated. By ignoring such
reproaches he would have seemed to deserve them, and the importance of
the object made him shut his eyes to the meanness of his adversaries.
The ultra-zealous, afraid of that light which letters diffuse, not to
the prejudice of religion, but to their own disadvantage, took different
ways of attacking him; some, by a trick as puerile as cowardly, wrote
fictitious letters to themselves; others, attacking him anonymously, had
afterwards fallen by the ears among themselves. M. de Montesquieu
contented himself with making an example of the most extravagant. This
was the author of an anonymous periodical paper, who accused M. de
Montesquieu of Spinozism and deism (two imputations which are
incompatible); of having followed the system of Pope (of which there is
not a word in his works); of having quoted Plutarch, who is not a
Christian author; of not having spoken of original sin and of grace. In
a word, he pretended that the 'Spirit of Laws' was a production of the
constitution _Unigenitus_; a preposterous idea. Those who understand M.
de Montesquieu and Clement XI. may judge, by this accusation, of
the rest.

This enemy procured the philosopher an addition of glory as a man of
letters: the 'Defense of the Spirit of Laws' appeared. This work, for
its moderation, truth, delicacy of ridicule, is a model. M. de
Montesquieu might easily have made his adversary odious; he did
better--he made him ridiculous. We owe the aggressor eternal thanks for
having procured us this masterpiece. For here, without intending it, the
author has drawn a picture of himself; those who knew him think they
hear him; and posterity, when reading his 'Defense,' will decide that
his conversation equaled his writings--an encomium which few great men
have deserved.

Another circumstance gave him the advantage. The critic loudly accused
the clergy of France, and especially the faculty of theology, of
indifference to the cause of God, because they did not proscribe the
'Spirit of Laws.' The faculty resolved to examine the 'Spirit of Laws.'
Though several years have passed, it has not yet pronounced a decision.
It knows the grounds of reason and of faith; it knows that the work of a
man of letters ought not to be examined like that of a theologian; that
a bad interpretation does not condemn a proposition, and that it may
injure the weak to see an ill-timed suspicion of heresy thrown upon
geniuses of the first rank. In spite of this unjust accusation, M. de
Montesquieu was always esteemed, visited, and well received by the
greatest and most respectable dignitaries of the Church. Would he have
preserved this esteem among men of worth, if they had regarded him as a
dangerous writer?

M. de Montesquieu's death was not unworthy of his life. Suffering
greatly, far from a family that was dear to him, surrounded by a few
friends and a great crowd of spectators, he preserved to the last his
calmness and serenity of soul. After performing with decency every duty,
full of confidence in the Eternal Being, he died with the tranquillity
of a man of worth, who had ever consecrated his talents to virtue and
humanity. France and Europe lost him February 10th, 1755, aged

All the newspapers published this event as a misfortune. We may apply to
M. de Montesquieu what was formerly said of an illustrious Roman: that
nobody, when told of his death, showed any joy or forgot him when he was
no more. Foreigners were eager to demonstrate their regrets: my Lord
Chesterfield, whom it is enough to name, wrote an article to his
honor--an article worthy of both. It is the portrait of Anaxagoras drawn
by Pericles. The Royal Academy of Sciences and Belles-Lettres of
Prussia, though it is not its custom to pronounce a eulogy on foreign
members, paid him an honor which only the illustrious John Bernoulli had
hitherto received. M. de Maupertuis, though ill, performed himself this
last duty to his friend, and would not permit so sacred an office to
fall to the share of any other. To these honorable suffrages were added
those praises given him, in presence of one of us, by that very monarch
to whom this celebrated Academy owes its lustre; a prince who feels the
losses which Philosophy sustains, and at the same time comforts her.

The 17th of February the French Academy, according to custom, performed
a solemn service for him, at which all the learned men of this body
assisted. They ought to have placed the 'Spirit of Laws' upon his
coffin, as heretofore they exposed, opposite to that of Raphael, his
Transfiguration. This simple and affecting decoration would have been a
fit funeral oration.

M. de Montesquieu had, in company, an unvarying sweetness and gayety of
temper. His conversation was spirited, agreeable, and instructive,
because he had known so many great men. It was, like his style, concise,
full of wit and sallies, without gall, and without satire. Nobody told a
story more brilliantly, more readily, more gracefully, or with less

His frequent absence of mind only made him the more amusing. He always
roused himself to reanimate the conversation. The fire of his genius,
his prodigality of ideas, gave rise to flashes of speech; but he never
interrupted an interesting conversation; and he was attentive without
affectation and without constraint. His conversation not only resembled
his character and his genius, but had the method which he observed in
his study. Though capable of long-continued meditation, he never
exhausted his strength; he always left off application before he felt
the least symptom of fatigue.

He was sensible to glory, but wished only to deserve it, and never tried
to augment his own fame by underhand practices.

Worthy of all distinctions, he asked none, and he was not surprised that
he was forgot; but he has protected at court men of letters who were
persecuted, celebrated, and unfortunate, and has obtained favors
for them.

Though he lived with the great, their company was not necessary to his
happiness. He retired whenever he could to the country; there again with
joy to welcome his philosophy, his books, and his repose. After having
studied man in the commerce of the world, and in the history of nations,
he studied him also among those simple people whom nature alone has
instructed. From them he could learn something; he endeavored, like
Socrates, to find out their genius; he appeared as happy thus as in the
most brilliant assemblies, especially when he made up their differences,
and comforted them by his beneficence.

Nothing does greater honor to his memory than the economy with which he
lived, and which has been blamed as excessive in a proud and avaricious
age. He would not encroach on the provision for his family, even by his
generosity to the unfortunate, or by those expenses which his travels,
the weakness of his sight, and the printing of his works made necessary.
He transmitted to his children, without diminution or augmentation, the
estate which he received from his ancestors, adding nothing to it but
the glory of his name and the example of his life. He had married, in
1715, dame Jane de Lartigue, daughter of Peter de Lartigue,
lieutenant-colonel of the regiment of Molevrier, and had by her two
daughters and one son.

Those who love truth and their country will not be displeased to find
some of his maxims here. He thought: That every part of the State ought
to be equally subject to the laws, but that the privileges of every part
of the State ought to be respected when they do not oppose the natural
right which obliges every citizen equally to contribute to the public
good; that ancient possession was in this kind the first of titles, and
the most inviolable of rights, which it was always unjust and sometimes
dangerous to shake; that magistrates, in all circumstances, and
notwithstanding their own advantage, ought to be magistrates without
partiality and without passion, like the laws which absolve and punish
without love or hatred. He said upon occasion of those ecclesiastical
disputes which so much employed the Greek emperors and Christians, that
theological disputes, when they are not confined to the schools,
infallibly dishonor a nation in the eyes of its neighbors: in fact, the
contempt in which wise men hold those quarrels does not vindicate the
character of their country; because, sages making everywhere the least
noise, and being the smallest number, it is never from them that the
nation is judged.

We look upon that special interest which M. de Montesquieu took in the
(Encyclopedic) as one of the most honorable rewards of our labor.
Perhaps the opposition which the work has met with, reminding him of his
own experience, interested him the more in our favor. Perhaps he was
sensible, without perceiving it, of that justice which we dared to do
him in the first volume of the 'Encyclopedic,' when nobody as yet had
ventured to say a word in his defense. He prepared for us an article
upon 'Taste,' which has been found unfinished among his papers. We shall
give it to the public in that condition, and treat it with the same
respect that antiquity formerly showed to the last words of Seneca.
Death prevented his giving us any further marks of his approval; and
joining our own griefs with those of all Europe, we might write on
his tomb:--

     "_Finis vita ejus nobis luctuosus, patriae tristis, extraneis
     etiam ignotisque non sine cura fuit_."




Italian literature during the eighteenth century, although it could
boast of no names in any way comparable with those of Dante, Petrarch,
Ariosto, and Tasso, showed still a vast improvement on the degradation
of the preceding century. Among the most famous writers of the
times--Goldoni, Parini, Metastasio--none is so great or so famous as
Vittorio Alfieri, the founder of Italian tragedy. The story of his life
and of his literary activity, as told by himself in his memoirs, is one
of extreme interest. Born at Asti, on January 17th, 1749, of a wealthy
and noble family, he grew up to manhood singularly deficient in
knowledge and culture, and without the slightest interest in literature.
He was "uneducated," to use his own phrase, in the Academy of Turin. It
was only after a long tour in Italy, France, Holland, and England, that,
recognizing his own ignorance, he went to Florence to begin
serious work.

At the age of twenty-seven a sudden revelation of his dramatic power
came to him, and with passionate energy he spent the rest of his life in
laborious study and in efforts to make himself worthy of a place among
the poets of his native land. Practically he had to learn everything;
for he himself tells us that he had "an almost total ignorance of the
rules of dramatic composition, and an unskillfulness almost total in the
divine and most necessary art of writing well and handling his own

His private life was eventful, chiefly through his many sentimental
attachments, its deepest experience being his profound love and
friendship for the Countess of Albany,--Louise Stolberg, mistress and
afterward wife of the "Young Pretender," who passed under the title of
Count of Albany, and from whom she was finally divorced. The production
of Alfieri's tragedies began with the sketch called 'Cleopatra,' in
1775, and lasted till 1789, when a complete edition, by Didot, appeared
in Paris. His only important prose work is his 'Auto-biography' begun in
1790 and ended in the year of his death, 1803. Although he wrote several
comedies and a number of sonnets and satires,--which do not often rise
above mediocrity,--it is as a tragic poet that he is known to fame.
Before him--though Goldoni had successfully imitated Molière in comedy,
and Metastasio had become enormously popular as the poet of love and the
opera--no tragedies had been written in Italy which deserved to be
compared with the great dramas of France, Spain, and England. Indeed, it
had been said that tragedy was not adapted to the Italian tongue or
character. It remained for Alfieri to prove the falsity of this theory.

Always sensitive to the charge of plagiarism, Alfieri declared that
whether his tragedies were good or bad, they were at least his own. This
is true to a certain extent. And yet he was influenced more than he was
willing to acknowledge by the French dramatists of the seventeenth
century. In common with Corneille and Racine, he observed strictly the
three unities of time, place, and action. But the courtliness of
language, the grace and poetry of the French dramas, and especially the
tender love of Racine, are altogether lacking with him.

Alfieri had a certain definite theory of tragedy which he followed with
unswerving fidelity. He aimed at the simplicity and directness of the
Greek drama. He sought to give one clear, definite action, which should
advance in a straight line from beginning to end, without deviation, and
carry along the characters--who are, for the most part, helplessly
entangled in the toils of a relentless fate--to an inevitable
destruction. For this reason the well-known _confidantes_ of the French
stage were discarded, no secondary action or episodes were admitted, and
the whole play was shortened to a little more than two-thirds of the
average French classic drama. Whatever originality Alfieri possessed did
not show itself in the choice of subjects, which are nearly all well
known and had often been used before. From Racine he took 'Polynice,'
'Merope' had been treated by Maffei and Voltaire, and Shakespeare had
immortalized the story of Brutus. The situations and events are often
conventional; the passions are those familiar to the stage,--jealousy,
revenge, hatred, and unhappy love. And yet Alfieri has treated these
subjects in a way which differs from all others, and which stamps them,
in a certain sense, as his own. With him all is sombre and melancholy;
the scene is utterly unrelieved by humor, by the flowers of poetry, or
by that deep-hearted sympathy--the pity of it all--which softens the
tragic effect of Shakespeare's plays.

Alfieri seemed to be attracted toward the most horrible phases of human
life, and the most terrible events of history and tradition. The
passions he describes are those of unnatural love, of jealousy between
father and son, of fratricidal hatred, or those in which a sense of duty
and love for liberty triumphs over the ties of filial and parental love.
In treating the story of the second Brutus, it was not enough for his
purpose to have Caesar murdered by his friend; but, availing himself of
an unproven tradition, he makes Brutus the son of Caesar, and thus a

[Illustration: V. ALFIERI]

It is interesting to notice his vocabulary; to see how constantly
he uses such words as "atrocious," "horror," "terrible," "incest,"
"rivers," "streams," "lakes," and "seas" of blood. The exclamation,
"Oh, rage" occurs on almost every page. Death, murder, suicide, is
the outcome of every tragedy.

The actors are few,--in many plays only four,--and each represents
a certain passion. They never change, but remain true to
their characters from beginning to end. The villains are monsters
of cruelty and vice, and the innocent and virtuous are invariably
their victims, and succumb at last.

Alfieri's purpose in producing these plays was not to amuse an
idle public, but to promulgate throughout his native land--then
under Spanish domination--the great and lofty principle of liberty
which inspired his whole life. A deep, uncompromising hatred of
kings is seen in every drama, where invariably a tyrant figures as
the villain. There is a constant declamation against tyranny and
slavery. Liberty is portrayed as something dearer than life itself.
The struggle for freedom forms the subjects of five of his
plays,--'Virginia,' 'The Conspiracy of the Pazzi,' 'Timoleon,' the
'First Brutus,' and the 'Second Brutus.' One of these is dedicated to
George Washington--'Liberator dell' America.' The warmth of
feeling with which, in the 'Conspiracy of the Pazzi,' the degradation
and slavery of Florence under the Medici is depicted, betrays
clearly Alfieri's sense of the political state of Italy in his own day.
And the poet undoubtedly has gained the gratitude of his countrymen
for his voicing of that love for liberty which has always existed
in their hearts.

Just as Alfieri sought to condense the action of his plays, so he
strove for brevity and condensation in language. His method of
composing was peculiar. He first sketched his play in prose, then
worked it over in poetry, often spending years in the process of
rewriting and polishing. In his indomitable energy, his persistence
in labor, and his determination to acquire a fitting style, he reminds
us of Balzac. His brevity of language--which shows itself most
strikingly in the omission of articles, and in the number of broken
exclamations--gives his pages a certain sententiousness, almost like
proverbs. He purposely renounced all attempts at the graces and
flowers of poetry.

It is hard for the lover of Shakespearean tragedy to be just to
the merits of Alfieri. There is a uniformity, or even a monotony,
in these nineteen plays, whose characters are more or less alike,
whose method of procedure is the same, whose sentiments are
analogous, and in which an activity devoid of incident hurries the
reader to an inevitable conclusion, foreseen from the first act.

And yet the student cannot fail to detect great tragic power,
sombre and often unnatural, but never producing that sense of the
ridiculous which sometimes mars the effect of Victor Hugo's dramas.
The plots are never obscure, the language is never trivial, and the
play ends with a climax which leaves a profound impression.

The very nature of Alfieri's tragedies makes it difficult to represent
him without giving a complete play. The following extracts,
however, illustrate admirably the horror and power of his climaxes.

L. Oscar Kuhnes


[During the absence of Agamemnon at the siege of Troy, Aegisthus, son of
Thyestes and the relentless enemy of the House of Atreus, wins the love
of Clytemnestra, and with devilish ingenuity persuades her that the only
way to save her life and his is to slay her husband.]



     Aegisthus--To be a banished man, ... to fly, ... to die:
     ... These are the only means that I have left.
     Thou, far from me, deprived of every hope
     Of seeing me again, wilt from thy heart
     Have quickly chased my image: great Atrides
     Will wake a far superior passion there;
     Thou, in his presence, many happy days
     Wilt thou enjoy--These auspices may Heaven
     Confirm--I cannot now evince to thee
     A surer proof of love than by my flight; ...
     A dreadful, hard, irrevocable proof.

     _Clytemnestra_--If there be need of death, we both will die!--
     But is there nothing left to try ere this?

     _Aegis_.--Another plan, perchance, e'en now remains; ... But
     little worthy ...

     _Cly_.--And it is--

     _Aegis._--Too cruel.

     _Cly_.--But certain?

     _Aegis_. Certain, ah, too much so!

     _Cly_.--How Canst thou hide it from me?

     _Aegis_.--How canst thou Of me demand it?

          _Cly._--What then may it be? ...
     I know not ... Speak: I am too far advanced;
     I cannot now retract: perchance already
     I am suspected by Atrides; maybe
     He has the right already to despise me:
     Hence do I feel constrained, e'en now, to hate him;
     I cannot longer in his presence live;
     I neither will, nor dare.--Do thou, Aegisthus,
     Teach me a means, whatever it may be,
     A means by which I may withdraw myself
     From him forever.

         _Aegis._--Thou withdraw thyself
     From him? I have already said to thee
     That now 'tis utterly impossible.

     _Cly._--What other step remains for me to take? ...


         _Cly._--Now I understand thee.--What a flash.
     Oh, what a deadly, instantaneous flash
     Of criminal conviction rushes through
     My obtuse mind! What throbbing turbulence
     In ev'ry vein I feel!--I understand thee:
     The cruel remedy ... the only one ...
     Is Agamemnon's life-blood.

     _Aegis._--I am silent ...

     _Cly._--Yet, by thy silence, thou dost ask that blood.

          _Aegis._--Nay, rather I forbid it.--To our love
     And to thy life (of mine I do not speak)
     His living is the only obstacle;
     But yet, thou knowest that his life is sacred:
     To love, respect, defend it, thou art bound;
     And I to tremble at it.--Let us cease:
     The hour advances now; my long discourse
     Might give occasion to suspicious thoughts.--
     At length receive ... Aegisthus's last farewell.

          _Cly._--Ah! hear me ... Agamemnon to our love ...
     And to thy life? ... Ah, yes; there are, besides him,
     No other obstacles: too certainly
     His life is death to us!

          _Aegis._--Ah! do not heed
     My words: they spring from too much love.

          _Cly._--And love
     Revealed to me their meaning.

          _Aegis._--Hast thou not
     Thy mind o'erwhelmed with horror?

          _Cly_.--Horror? ... yes; ...
     But then to part from thee! ...

     _Aegis_.--Wouldst have the courage? ...

     _Cly_.--So vast my love, it puts an end to fear.

     _Aegis_.--But the king lives surrounded by his friends:
     What sword would find a passage to his heart?

     _Cly_.--What sword?

     _Aegis_.--Here open violence were vain.

     _Cly_.--Yet, ... treachery! ...

          _Aegis_.--'Tis true, he merits not
     To be betrayed, Atrides: he who loves
     His wife so well; he who, enchained from Troy,
     In semblance of a slave in fetters, brought
     Cassandra, whom he loves, to whom he is
     Himself a slave ...

     _Cly_.--What do I hear!

     Expect that when of thee his love is wearied,
     He will divide with her his throne and bed;
     Expect that, to thy many other wrongs,
     Shame will be added: and do thou alone
     Not be exasperated at a deed
     That rouses every Argive.

          _Cly_.--What said'st thou? ...
     Cassandra chosen as my rival? ...

     _Aegis_.--So Atrides wills.

     _Cly_.--Then let Atrides perish.

     _Aegis_.--How? By what hand?

          _Cly_.--By mine, this very night,
     Within that bed which he expects to share
     With this abhorred slave.

     _Aegis_.--O Heavens! but think ...

     _Cly_.--I am resolved ...

     _Aegis_.--Shouldst thou repent? ...

          _Cly_.--I do
     That I so long delayed.

     _Aegis_.--And yet ...

          _Cly_.--I'll do it;
     I, e'en if thou wilt not. Shall I let thee,
     Who only dost deserve my love, be dragged
     To cruel death? And shall I let him live
     Who cares not for my love? I swear to thee,
     To-morrow thou shalt be the king in Argos.
     Nor shall my hand, nor shall my bosom tremble ...
     But who approaches?

     _Aegis._--'Tis Electra ...

     Let us avoid her. Do thou trust in me.



          _Electra_--Aegisthus flies from me, and he does well;
     But I behold that likewise from my sight
     My mother seeks to fly. Infatuated
     And wretched mother! She could not resist
     The guilty eagerness for the last time
     To see Aegisthus.--They have here, at length,
     Conferred together ... But Aegisthus seems
     Too much elated, and too confident,
     For one condemned to exile ... She appeared
     Like one disturbed in thought, but more possessed
     With anger and resentment than with grief ...
     O Heavens! who knows to what that miscreant base,
     With his infernal arts, may have impelled her!
     To what extremities have wrought her up!...
     Now, now, indeed, I tremble: what misdeeds,
     How black in kind, how manifold in number,
     Do I behold! ... Yet, if I speak, I kill
     My mother: ... If I'm silent--? ...



     _Aegis._--Hast thou performed the deed?

     _Cly_.--Aegisthus ...

          _Aegis._--What do I behold? O woman,
     What dost thou here, dissolved in useless tears?
     Tears are unprofitable, late, and vain;
     And they may cost us dear.

          _Cly._--Thou here? ... but how? ...
     Wretch that I am! what have I promised thee?
     What impious counsel? ...

          _Aegis_.--Was not thine the counsel?
     Love gave it thee, and fear recants it.--Now,
     Since thou'rt repentant, I am satisfied;
     Soothed by reflecting that thou art not guilty,
     I shall at least expire. To thee I said
     How difficult the enterprise would be;
     But thou, depending more than it became thee
     On that which is not in thee, virile courage,
     Daredst thyself thy own unwarlike hand
     For such a blow select. May Heaven permit
     That the mere project of a deed like this
     May not be fatal to thee! I by stealth,
     Protected by the darkness, hither came,
     And unobserved, I hope. I was constrained
     To bring the news myself, that now my life
     Is irrecoverably forfeited
     To the king's vengeance...

          _Cly._--What is this I hear?
     Whence didst thou learn it?

          _Aegis._--More than he would wish
     Atrides hath discovered of our love;
     And I already from him have received
     A strict command not to depart from Argos.
     And further, I am summoned to his presence
     Soon as to-morrow dawns: thou seest well
     That such a conference to me is death.
     But fear not; for I will all means employ
     To bear myself the undivided blame.

     _Cly_.--What do I hear? Atrides knows it all?

          _Aegis_.--He knows too much: I have but one choice left:
     It will be best for me to 'scape by death,
     By self-inflicted death, this dangerous inquest.
     I save my honor thus; and free myself
     From an opprobrious end. I hither came
     To give thee my last warning: and to take
     My last farewell... Oh, live; and may thy fame
     Live with thee, unimpeached! All thoughts of pity
     For me now lay aside; if I'm allowed
     By my own hand, for thy sake, to expire,
     I am supremely blest.

          _Cly_.--Alas!... Aegisthus...
     What a tumultuous passion rages now
     Within my bosom, when I hear thee speak!...
     And is it true?... Thy death...

     _Aegis._--Is more than certain....

     _Cly_.--And I'm thy murderer!...

     _Aegis_.--I seek thy safety.

          _Cly_.--What wicked fury from Avernus' shore,
     Aegisthus, guides thy steps? Oh, I had died
     Of grief, if I had never seen thee more;
     But guiltless I had died: spite of myself,
     Now, by thy presence, I already am
     Again impelled to this tremendous crime...
     An anguish, an unutterable anguish,
     Invades my bones, invades my every fibre...
     And can it be that this alone can save thee?...
     But who revealed our love?

          _Aegis._--To speak of thee,
     Who but Electra to her father dare?
     Who to the monarch breathe thy name but she?
     Thy impious daughter in thy bosom thrusts
     The fatal sword; and ere she takes thy life,
     Would rob thee of thy honor.

          _Cly_.--And ought I
     This to believe?... Alas!...

          _Aegis_.--Believe it, then,
     On the authority of this my sword,
     If thou believ'st it not on mine. At least
     I'll die in time...

          _Cly_.--O Heavens! what wouldst thou do?
     Sheathe, I command thee, sheathe that fatal sword.--Oh,
     night of horrors!... hear me... Perhaps Atrides
     Has not resolved...

          _Aegis._--What boots this hesitation?...
     Atrides injured, and Atrides king,
     Meditates nothing in his haughty mind
     But blood and vengeance. Certain is my death,
     Thine is uncertain: but reflect, O queen,
     To what thou'rt destined, if he spare thy life.
     And were I seen to enter here alone,
     And at so late an hour... Alas, what fears
     Harrow my bosom when I think of thee!
     Soon will the dawn of day deliver thee
     From racking doubt; that dawn I ne'er shall see:
     I am resolved to die:...--Farewell... forever!

     _Cly_.--Stay, stay... Thou shalt not die.

          _Aegis_.--By no man's hand
     Assuredly, except my own:--or thine,
     If so thou wilt. Ah, perpetrate the deed;
     Kill me; and drag me, palpitating yet,
     Before thy judge austere: my blood will be
     A proud acquittance for thee.

          _Cly._--Madd'ning thought!...
     Wretch that I am!... Shall I be thy assassin?...

          _Aegis._--Shame on thy hand, that cannot either kill
     Who most adores thee, or who most detests thee!
     Mine then must serve....

     _Cly._--Ah!... no....

          _Aegis._--Dost thou desire
     Me, or Atrides, dead?

     _Cly._--Ah! what a choice!...

     _Aegis._--Thou art compelled to choose.

     _Cly._--I death inflict ...

     _Aegis._--Or death receive; when thou hast witnessed mine.

     _Cly._--Ah, then the crime is too inevitable!

     _Aegis._--The time now presses.

     _Cly._--But ... the courage ... strength? ...

     _Aegis._--Strength, courage, all, will love impart to thee.

          _Cly._--Must I then with this trembling hand of mine
     Plunge ... in my husband's heart ... the sword? ...

          _Aegis_.--The blows
     Thou wilt redouble with a steady hand
     In the hard heart of him who slew thy daughter.

     _Cly._--Far from my hand I hurled the sword in anguish.

          _Aegis_.--Behold a steel, and of another temper:
     The clotted blood-drops of Thyestes's sons
     Still stiffen on its frame: do not delay
     To furbish it once more in the vile blood
     Of Atreus; go, be quick: there now remain
     But a few moments; go. If awkwardly
     The blow thou aimest, or if thou shouldst be
     Again repentant, lady, ere 'tis struck,
     Do not thou any more tow'rd these apartments
     Thy footsteps turn: by my own hands destroyed,
     Here wouldst thou find me in a sea of blood
     Immersed. Now go, and tremble not; be bold.
     Enter and save us by his death.--



          _Aegis_. Come forth,
     Thyestes, from profound Avernus; come,
     Now is the time; within this palace now
     Display thy dreadful shade. A copious banquet
     Of blood is now prepared for thee, enjoy it;
     Already o'er the heart of thy foe's son
     Hangs the suspended sword; now, now, he feels it:
     An impious consort grasps it; it was fitting
     That she, not I, did this: so much more sweet
     To thee will be the vengeance, as the crime
     Is more atrocious.... An attentive ear
     Lend to the dire catastrophe with me;
     Doubt not she will accomplish it: disdain,
     Love, terror, to the necessary crime
     Compel the impious woman.--

     AGAMEMNON (within)

          _Aga_.--Treason! Ah! ...
     My wife?.. O Heavens!.. I die... O traitorous deed!

          _Aegis._--Die, thou--yes, die! And thou redouble, woman.
     The blows redouble; all the weapon hide
     Within his heart; shed, to the latest drop,
     The blood of that fell miscreant: in our blood
     He would have bathed his hands.



          _Cly._--What have I done?
     Where am I?...

          _Aegis_.--Thou hast slain the tyrant: now
     At length thou'rt worthy of me.

          _Cly._--See, with blood
     The dagger drips;... my hands, my face, my garments,
     All, all are blood... Oh, for a deed like this,
     What vengeance will be wreaked!... I see already
     Already to my breast that very steel
     I see hurled back, and by what hand! I freeze,
     I faint, I shudder, I dissolve with horror.
     My strength, my utterance, fail me. Where am I?
     What have I done?... Alas!...

          _Aegis._--Tremendous cries
     Resound on every side throughout the palace:
     'Tis time to show the Argives what I am,
     And reap the harvest of my long endurance.

     SCENE V


          _Elec._--It still remains for thee to murder me,
     Thou impious, vile assassin of my father ...
     But what do I behold? O Heavens! ... my mother? ...
     Flagitious woman, dost thou grasp the sword?
     Didst thou commit the murder?

          _Aegis._--Hold thy peace.
     Stop not my path thus; quickly I return;
     Tremble: for now that I am king of Argos,
     Far more important is it that I kill
     Orestes than Electra.



          _Cly._--Heavens! ... Orestes? ...
     Aegisthus, now I know thee....

          _Elec._--Give it me:
     Give me that steel.

          _Cly._--Aegisthus! ... Stop! ... Wilt thou
     Murder my son? Thou first shalt murder me.



          _Elec._--O night! ... O father! ... Ah, it was your deed,
     Ye gods, this thought of mine to place Orestes
     In safety first.--Thou wilt not find him, traitor.--
     Ah live, Orestes, live: and I will keep
     This impious steel for thy adult right hand.
     The day, I hope, will come, when I in Argos
     Shall see thee the avenger of thy father.

          Translation of Edgar Alfred Bowring, Bohn's Library.



"Alfonso," records the Jesuit historian, Mariana, "was a man of great
sense, but more fit to be a scholar than a king; for whilst he studied
the heavens and the stars, he lost the earth and his kingdom." Certainly
it is for his services to letters, and not for political or military
successes, that the meditative son of the valorous Ferdinand the Saint
and the beautiful Beatrice of Swabia will be remembered. The father
conquered Seville, and displaced the enterprising and infidel Moors with
orthodox and indolent Christians. The son could not keep what his sire
had grasped. Born in 1226, the fortunate young prince, at the age of
twenty-five, was proclaimed king of the newly conquered and united
Castile and Leon. He was very young: he was everywhere admired and
honored for skill in war, for learning, and for piety; he was everywhere
loved for his heritage of a great name and his kindly and
gracious manners.

In the first year of his reign, however, he began debasing the
coinage,--a favorite device of needy monarchs in his day,--and his
people never forgave the injury. He coveted, naturally enough, the
throne of the Empire, for which he was long a favorite candidate; and
for twenty years he wasted time, money, and purpose, heart and hope, in
pursuit of the vain bauble. His kingdom fell into confusion, his eldest
son died, his second son Sancho rebelled against him and finally deposed
him. Courageous and determined to the last, defying the league of Church
and State against him, he appealed to the king of Morocco for men and
money to reinstate his fortunes.

In Ticknor's 'History of Spanish Literature' may be found his touching
letter to De Guzman at the Moorish court. He is, like Lear, poor and
discrowned, but not like him, weak. His prelates have stirred up strife,
his nobles have betrayed him. If Heaven wills, he is ready to pay
generously for help. If not, says the royal philosopher, still,
generosity and loyalty exalt the soul that cherishes them.

     "Therefore, my cousin, Alonzo Perez de Guzman, so treat with
     your master and my friend [the king of Morocco] that he may
     lend me, on my richest crown and on the jewels in it, as much
     as shall seem good to him: and if you should be able to
     obtain his help for me, do not deprive me of it, which I
     think you will not do; rather I hold that all the good
     offices which my master may do me, by your hand they will
     come, and may the hand of God be with you.

     "Given in my only loyal city of Seville, the thirtieth year
     of my reign and the first of my misfortunes.

     "THE KING."

In his "only loyal city" the broken man remained, until the Pope
excommunicated Sancho, and till neighboring towns began to capitulate.
But he had been wounded past healing. There was no medicine for a mind
diseased, no charm to raze out the written troubles of the brain. "He
fell ill in Seville, so that he drew nigh unto death.... And when the
sickness had run its course, he said before them all: that he pardoned
the Infante Don Sancho, his heir, all that out of malice he had done
against him, and to his subjects the wrong they had wrought towards him,
ordering that letters confirming the same should be written--sealed with
his golden seal, so that all his subjects should be certain that he had
put away his quarrel with them, and desired that no blame whatever
should rest upon them. And when he had said this, he received the body
of God with great devotion, and in a little while gave up his soul
to God."

This was in 1284, when he was fifty-eight years old. At this age, had a
private lot been his,--that of a statesman, jurist, man of science,
annalist, philosopher, troubadour, mathematician, historian, poet,--he
would but have entered his golden prime, rich in promise, fruitful in
performance. Yet Alfonso, uniting in himself all these vocations, seemed
at his death to have left behind him a wide waste of opportunities, a
dreary dearth of accomplishment. Looking back, however, it is seen that
the balance swings even. While his kingdom was slipping away, he was
conquering a wider domain. He was creating Spanish Law, protecting the
followers of learning, cherishing the universities, restricting
privilege, breaking up time-honored abuses. He prohibited the use of
Latin in public acts. He adopted the native tongue in all his own works,
and thus gave to Spanish an honorable eminence, while French and German
struggled long for a learning from scholars, and English was to wait a
hundred years for the advent of Dan Chaucer.

Greatest achievement of all, he codified the common law of Spain in 'Las
Siete Partidas' (The Seven Parts). Still accepted as a legal authority
in the kingdom, the work is much more valuable as a compendium of
general knowledge than as an exposition of law. The studious king with
astonishing catholicity examined alike both Christian and Arabic
traditions, customs, and codes, paying a scholarly respect to the
greatness of a hostile language and literature. This meditative monarch
recognized that public office is a public trust, and wrote:--

     "Vicars of God are the kings, each one in his kingdom, placed
     over the people to maintain them in justice and in truth.
     They have been called the heart and soul of the people. For
     as the soul lies in the heart of men, and by it the body
     lives and is maintained, so in the king lies justice, which
     is the life and maintenance of the people of his lordship....

     "And let the king guard the thoughts of his heart in three
     manners: firstly let him not desire nor greatly care to have
     superfluous and worthless honors. Superfluous and worthless
     honors the king _ought_ not to desire. For that which is
     beyond necessity cannot last, and being lost, and come short
     of, turns to dishonor. Moreover, the wise men have said that
     it is no less a virtue for a man to keep that which he has
     than to gain that which he has not; because keeping comes of
     judgment, but gain of good fortune. And the king who keeps
     his honor in such a manner that every day and by all means it
     is increased, lacking nothing, and does not lose that which
     he has for that which he desires to have,--he is held for a
     man of right judgment, who loves his own people, and desires
     to lead them to all good. And God will keep him in this world
     from the dishonoring of men, and in the next from the
     dishonor of the wicked in hell."

Besides the 'Siete Partidas,' the royal philosopher was the author, or
compiler, of a 'Book of Hunting'; a treatise on Chess; a system of law,
the 'Fuero Castellano' (Spanish Code),--an attempt to check the
monstrous irregularities of municipal privilege; 'La Gran Conquista
d'Ultramar (The Great Conquest Beyond the Sea), an account of the wars
of the Crusades, which is the earliest known specimen of Castilian
prose; and several smaller works, now collected under the general title
of 'Opuscules Legales' (Minor Legal Writings). It was long supposed that
he wrote the 'Tesoro' (Thesaurus), a curious medley of ignorance and
superstition, much of it silly, and all of it curiously inconsistent
with the acknowledged character of the enlightened King. Modern
scholarship, however, discards this petty treatise from the list of his

His 'Tablas Alfonsinas' (Alfonsine Tables), to which Chaucer refers in
the 'Frankeleine's Tale,' though curiously mystical, yet were really
scientific, and rank among the most famous of mediaeval books. Alfonso
had the courage and the wisdom to recall to Toledo the heirs and
successors of the great Arabian philosophers and the learned Rabbis, who
had been banished by religious fanaticism, and there to establish a
permanent council--a mediaeval Academy of Sciences--which devoted itself
to the study of the heavens and the making of astronomical calculations.
"This was the first time," says the Spanish historian, "that in
barbarous times the Republic of Letters was invited to contemplate a
great school of learning,--men occupied through many years in rectifying
the old planetary observations, in disputing about the most abstruse
details of this science, in constructing new instruments, and observing,
by means of them, the courses of the stars, their declensions, their
ascensions, eclipses, longitudes, and latitudes." It was the vision of
Roger Bacon fulfilled.

At his own expense, for years together, the King entertained in his
palace at Burgos, that their knowledge might enrich the nation, not only
certain free-thinking followers of Averroës and Avicebron, but infidel
disciples of the Koran, and learned Rabbis who denied the true faith.
That creed must not interfere with deed, was an astonishing mental
attitude for the thirteenth century, and invited a general suspicion of
the King's orthodoxy. His religious sense was really strong, however,
and appears most impressively in the 'Cantigas à la Vergen Maria' (Songs
to the Virgin), which were sung over his grave by priests and acolytes
for hundreds of years. They are sometimes melancholy and sometimes
joyous, always simple and genuine, and, written in Galician, reflect the
trustful piety and happiness of his youth in remote hill provinces where
the thought of empire had not penetrated. It was his keen intelligence
that expressed itself in the saying popularly attributed to him, "Had I
been present at the creation, I might have offered some useful
suggestions." It was his reverent spirit that made mention in his will
of the sacred songs as the testimony to his faith. So lived and died
Alfonso the Tenth, the father of Spanish literature, and the reviver of
Spanish learning.


"A tyrant," says this law, "doth signify a cruel lord, who, by force or
by craft, or by treachery, hath obtained power over any realm or
country; and such men be of such nature, that when once they have grown
strong in the land, they love rather to work their own profit, though it
be in harm of the land, than the common profit of all, for they always
live in an ill fear of losing it. And that they may be able to fulfill
this their purpose unincumbered, the wise of old have said that they use
their power against the people in three manners. The first is, that they
strive that those under their mastery be ever ignorant and timorous,
because, when they be such, they may not be bold to rise against them,
nor to resist their wills; and the second is, that they be not kindly
and united among themselves, in such wise that they trust not one
another, for while they live in disagreement, they shall not dare to
make any discourse against their lord, for fear faith and secrecy should
not be kept among themselves; and the third way is, that they strive to
make them poor, and to put them upon great undertakings, which they
never can finish, whereby they may have so much harm that it may never
come into their hearts to devise anything against their ruler. And above
all this, have tyrants ever striven to make spoil of the strong and to
destroy the wise; and have forbidden fellowship and assemblies of men in
their land, and striven always to know what men said or did; and do
trust their counsel and the guard of their person rather to foreigners,
who will serve at their will, than to them of the land, who serve from
oppression. And moreover, we say that though any man may have gained
mastery of a kingdom by any of the lawful means whereof we have spoken
in the laws going before this, yet, if he use his power ill, in the ways
whereof we speak in this law, him may the people still call tyrant; for
he turneth his mastery which was rightful into wrongful, as Aristotle
hath said in the book which treateth of the rule and government of

From 'Las Siete Partidas,' quoted in Ticknor's 'Spanish Literature.'


The ancient histories which describe the early inhabitants of the East
and their various languages show the origin of each tribe or nation, or
whence they came, and for what reason they waged war, and how they were
enabled to conquer the former lords of the land. Now in these histories
it is told that the Turks, and also the allied race called Turcomans,
were all of one land originally, and that these names were taken from
two rivers which flow through the territory whence these people came,
which lies in the direction of the rising of the sun, a little toward
the north; and that one of these rivers bore the name of Turco, and the
other Mani: and finally that for this reason the two tribes which dwelt
on the banks of these two rivers came to be commonly known as Turcomanos
or Turcomans. On the other hand, there are those who assert that because
a portion of the Turks lived among the Comanos (Comans) they
accordingly, in course of time, received the name of Turcomanos; but the
majority adhere to the reason already given. However this may be, the
Turks and the Turcomans belong both to the same family, and follow no
other life than that of wandering over the country, driving their herds
from one good pasture to another, and taking with them their wives and
their children and all their property, including money as well
as flocks.

The Turks did not dwell then in houses, but in tents made of skins, as
do in these days the Comanos and Tartars; and when they had to move
from one place to another, they divided themselves into companies
according to their different dialects, and chose a _cabdillo_ (judge),
who settled their disputes, and rendered justice to those who deserved
it. And this nomadic race cultivated no fields, nor vineyards, nor
orchards, nor arable lands of any kind; neither did they buy or sell for
money: but traded their flocks among one another, and also their milk
and cheese, and pitched their tents in the places where they found the
best pasturage; and when the grass was exhausted, they sought fresh
herbage elsewhere. And whenever they reached the border of a strange
land, they sent before them special envoys, the most worthy and
honorable of their men, to the kings or lords of such countries, to ask
of them the privilege of pasturage on their lands for a space; for which
they were willing to pay such rent or tax as might be agreed upon. After
this manner they lived among each nation in whose territory they
happened to be.

From 'La Gran Conquista de Ultramar,' Chapter xiii.


     From the 'Cantigas'

     Welcome, O May, yet once again we greet thee!
     So alway praise we her, the Holy Mother,
     Who prays to God that he shall aid us ever
     Against our foes, and to us ever listen.
     Welcome, O May! loyally art thou welcome!
     So alway praise we her, the Mother of kindness,
     Mother who alway on us taketh pity,
     Mother who guardeth us from woes unnumbered.
     Welcome, O May! welcome, O month well favored!
     So let us ever pray and offer praises
     To her who ceases not for us, for sinners,
     To pray to God that we from woes be guarded.
     Welcome, O May! O joyous month and stainless!
     So will we ever pray to her who gaineth
     Grace from her Son for us, and gives each morning
     Force that by us the Moors from Spain are driven.
     Welcome, O May, of bread and wine the giver!
     Pray then to her, for in her arms, an infant
     She bore the Lord! she points us on our journey,
     The journey that to her will bear us quickly!



In the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford may be seen an antique jewel,
consisting of an enameled figure in red, blue, and green, enshrined in a
golden frame, and bearing the legend "Alfred mec heht gewyrcean" (Alfred
ordered me made). This was discovered in 1693 in Newton Park, near
Athelney, and through it one is enabled to touch the far-away life of a
thousand years ago. But greater and more imperishable than this archaic
gem is the gift that the noble King left to the English nation--a gift
that affects the entire race of English-speaking people. For it was
Alfred who laid the foundations for a national literature.

Alfred, the younger son of Ethelwulf, king of the West Saxons, and
Osberga, daughter of his cup-bearer, was born in the palace at Wantage
in the year 849. He grew up at his father's court, a migratory one, that
moved from Kent to Devonshire and from Wales to the Isle of Wight
whenever events, raids, or the Witan (Parliament) demanded. At an early
age Alfred was sent to pay homage to the Pope in Rome, taking such gifts
as rich vessels of gold and silver, silks, and hangings, which show that
Saxons lacked nothing in treasure. In 855 Ethelwulf visited Rome with
his young son, bearing more costly presents, as well as munificent sums
for the shrine of St. Peter's; and returning by way of France, they
stopped at the court of Charles the Bold. Once again in his home, young
Alfred applied himself to his education. He became a marvel of courage
at the chase, proficient in the use of arms, excelled in athletic
sports, was zealous in his religious duties, and athirst for knowledge.
His accomplishments were many; and when the guests assembled in the
great hall to make the walls ring with their laughter over cups of mead
and ale, he could take his turn with the harpers and minstrels to
improvise one of those sturdy bold ballads that stir the blood to-day
with their stately rhythms and noble themes.

Ethelwulf died in 858, and eight years later only two sons, Ethelred and
Alfred, were left to cope with the Danish invaders. They won victory
after victory, upon which the old chroniclers love to dwell, pausing to
describe wild frays among the chalk-hills and dense forests, which
afforded convenient places to hide men and to bury spoils.

Ethelred died in 871, and the throne descended to Alfred. His kingdom
was in a terrible condition, for Wessex, Kent, Mercia, Sussex, and
Surrey lay at the mercy of the marauding enemy. "The land," says an old
writer, "was as the Garden of Eden before them, and behind them a
desolate wilderness." London was in ruins; the Danish standard, with its
black Raven, fluttered everywhere; and the forests were filled with
outposts and spies of the "pagan army." There was nothing for the King
to do but gather his men and dash into the fray to "let the hard steel
ring upon the high helmet." Time after time the Danes are overthrown,
but, like the heads of the fabled Hydra, they grow and flourish after
each attack. They have one advantage: they know how to command the sea,
and numerous as the waves that their vessels ride so proudly and well,
the invaders arrive and quickly land to plunder and slay.

Alfred, although but twenty-five, sees the need for a navy, and in 875
gathers a small fleet to meet the ships of the enemy, wins one prize,
and puts the rest to flight. The chroniclers now relate that he fell
into disaster and became a fugitive in Selwood Forest, while Guthrum and
his host were left free to ravage. From this period date the legends of
the King's visit in disguise to the hut of the neat-herd, and his
burning the bread he was set to watch; his penetrating into the camp of
the Danes and entertaining Guthrum by his minstrelsy while discovering
his plans and force; the vision of St. Cuthbert; and the fable of his
calling five hundred men by the winding of his horn.

Not long after he was enabled to emerge from the trials of exile in
Athelney; and according to Asser, "In the seventh week after Easter, he
rode to Egbert's Stone in the eastern part of Selwood or the Great Wood,
called in the old British language Coit-mawr. Here he was met by all the
neighboring folk of Somersetshire, Wiltshire, and Hampshire, who had not
for fear of the Pagans fled beyond the sea; and when they saw the king
alive after such great tribulation, they received him, as he deserved,
with joy and acclamations and all encamped there for the night." Soon
afterward he made a treaty with the Danes, and became king of the whole
of England south of the Thames.

It was now Alfred's work to reorganize his kingdom, to strengthen the
coast defenses, to rebuild London, to arrange for a standing army, and
to make wise laws for the preservation of order and peace; and when all
this was accomplished, he turned his attention to the establishment of
monasteries and colleges. "In the mean-time," says old Asser, "the King,
during the frequent wars and other trammels of this present life, the
invasions of the Pagans, and his own daily infirmities of body,
continued to carry on the government, and to exercise hunting in all its
branches; to teach his workers in gold and artificers of all kinds, his
falconers, hawkers, and dog-keepers, to build houses majestic and good,
beyond all the precedents of his ancestors, by his new mechanical
inventions, to recite the Saxon books, and more especially to learn by
heart the Saxon poems, and to make others learn them also; for he alone
never desisted from studying, most diligently, to the best of his
ability; he attended the mass and other daily services of religion: he
was frequent in psalm-singing and prayer, at the proper hours, both of
the night and of the day. He also went to the churches, as we have
already said, in the night-time, to pray, secretly and unknown to his
courtiers; he bestowed alms and largesses both on his own people and on
foreigners of all countries; he was affable and pleasant to all, and
curious to investigate things unknown."

As regards Alfred's personal contribution to literature, it may be said
that over and above all disputed matters and certain lost works, they
represent a most valuable and voluminous assortment due directly to his
own royal and scholarly pen. History, secular and churchly, laws and
didactic literature, were his field; and though it would seem that his
actual period of composition did not much exceed ten years, yet he
accomplished a vast deal for any man, especially any busy sovereign
and soldier.

An ancient writer, Ethelwerd, says that he translated many books from
Latin into Saxon, and William of Malmesbury goes so far as to say that
he translated into Anglo-Saxon almost all the literature of Rome.
Undoubtedly the general condition of education was deplorable, and
Alfred felt this deeply. "Formerly," he writes, "men came hither from
foreign lands to seek instruction, and now when we desire it, we can
only obtain it from abroad." Like Charlemagne he drew to his court
famous scholars, and set many of them to work writing chronicles and
translating important Latin books into Anglo-Saxon. Among these was the
'Pastoral Care of Pope Gregory,' to which he wrote the Preface; but with
his own hand he translated the 'Consolations of Philosophy,' by
Boethius, two manuscripts of which still exist. In this he frequently
stops to introduce observations and comments of his own. Of greater
value was his translation of the 'History of the World,' by Orosius,
which he abridged, and to which he added new chapters giving the record
of coasting voyages in the north of Europe. This is preserved in the
Cotton MSS. in the British Museum. His fourth translation was the
'Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation,' by Bede. To this last
may be added the 'Blossom Gatherings from St. Augustine,' and many minor
compositions in prose and verse, translations from the Latin fables and
poems, and his own note-book, in which he jots, with what may be termed
a journalistic instinct, scenes that he had witnessed, such as Aldhelm
standing on the bridge instructing the people on Sunday afternoons; bits
of philosophy; and such reflections as the following, which remind one
of Marcus Aurelius:--"Desirest thou power? But thou shalt never obtain
it without sorrows--sorrows from strange folk, and yet keener sorrows
from thine own kindred." and "Hardship and sorrow! Not a king but would
wish to be without these if he could. But I know that he cannot."
Alfred's value to literature is this: he placed by the side of
Anglo-Saxon poetry,--consisting of two great poems, Caedmon's great song
of the 'Creation' and Cynewulf's 'Nativity and Life of Christ,' and the
unwritten ballads passed from lip to lip,--four immense translations
from Latin into Anglo-Saxon prose, which raised English from a mere
spoken dialect to a true language. From his reign date also the famous
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and the Anglo-Saxon Gospels; and a few scholars
are tempted to class the magnificent 'Beowulf' among the works of this
period. At any rate, the great literary movement that he inaugurated
lasted until the Norman Conquest.

In 893 the Danes once more disturbed King Alfred, but he foiled them at
all points, and they left in 897 to harry England no more for several
generations. In 901 he died, having reigned for thirty years in the
honor and affection of his subjects. Freeman in his 'Norman Conquest'
says that "no other man on record has ever so thoroughly united all the
virtues both of the ruler and of the private man." Bishop Asser, his
contemporary, has left a half-mythical eulogy, and William of
Malmesbury, Roger of Wendover, Matthew of Westminster, and John Brompton
talk of him fully and freely. Sir John Spellman published a quaint
biography in Oxford in 1678, followed by Powell's in 1634, and
Bicknell's in 1777. The modern lives are by Giles, Pauli, and Hughes.


Comment in his Translation of Boethius's 'Consolations of Philosophy'

The mind then answered and thus said: O Reason, indeed thou knowest that
covetousness and the greatness of this earthly power never well pleased
me, nor did I altogether very much yearn after this earthly authority.
But nevertheless I was desirous of materials for the work which I was
commanded to perform; that was, that I might honorably and fitly guide
and exercise the power which was committed to me. Moreover, thou knowest
that no man can show any skill nor exercise or control any power,
without tools and materials. There are of every craft the materials
without which man cannot exercise the craft. These, then, are a king's
materials and his tools to reign with: that he have his land well
peopled; he must have prayer-men, and soldiers, and workmen. Thou
knowest that without these tools no king can show his craft. This is
also his materials which he must have besides the tools: provisions for
the three classes. This is, then, their provision: land to inhabit, and
gifts and weapons, and meat, and ale, and clothes, and whatsoever is
necessary for the three classes. He cannot without these preserve the
tools, nor without the tools accomplish any of those things which he is
commanded to perform. Therefore, I was desirous of materials wherewith
to exercise the power, that my talents and power should not be forgotten
and concealed. For every craft and every power soon becomes old, and is
passed over in silence, if it be without wisdom: for no man can
accomplish any craft without wisdom. Because whatsoever is done through
folly, no one can ever reckon for craft. This is now especially to be
said: that I wished to live honorably whilst I lived, and after my life,
to leave to the men who were after me, my memory in good works.


King Alfred bids greet Bishop Waerferth with his words lovingly and with
friendship; and I let it be known to thee that it has very often come
into my mind, what wise men there formerly were throughout England, both
of sacred and secular orders; and what happy times there were then
throughout England; and how the kings who had power of the nation in
those days obeyed God and his ministers; and they preserved peace,
morality, and order at home, and at the same time enlarged their
territory abroad; and how they prospered both with war and with wisdom;
and also the sacred orders, how zealous they were, both in teaching and
learning, and in all the services they owed to God; and how foreigners
came to this land in search of wisdom and instruction, and how we should
now have to get them from abroad if we would have them. So general was
its decay in England that there were very few on this side of the Humber
who could understand their rituals in English, or translate a letter
from Latin into English; and I believe there were not many beyond the
Humber. There were so few that I cannot remember a single one south of
the Thames when I came to the throne. Thanks be to God Almighty that we
have any teachers among us now. And therefore I command thee to do as I
believe thou art willing, to disengage thyself from worldly matters as
often as thou canst, that thou mayst apply the wisdom which God has
given thee wherever thou canst. Consider what punishments would come
upon us on account of this world if we neither loved it (wisdom)
ourselves nor suffered other men to obtain it: we should love the name
only of Christian, and very few of the virtues.

When I considered all this I remembered also how I saw, before it had
been all ravaged and burnt, how the churches throughout the whole of
England stood filled with treasures and books, and there was also a
great multitude of God's servants; but they had very little knowledge of
the books, for they could not understand anything of them, because they
were not written in their own language. As if they had said, "Our
forefathers, who formerly held these places, loved wisdom, and through
it they obtained wealth and bequeathed it to us. In this we can still
see their tracks, but we cannot follow them, and therefore we have lost
both the wealth and the wisdom, because we would not incline our hearts
after their example."

When I remembered all this, I wondered extremely that the good and wise
men, who were formerly all over England, and had perfectly learnt all
the books, did not wish to translate them into their own language. But
again, I soon answered myself and said, "They did not think that men
would ever be so careless, and that learning would so decay; therefore
they abstained from translating, and they trusted that the wisdom in
this land might increase with our knowledge of languages."

Then I remember how the law was first known in Hebrew, and again, when
the Greeks had learnt it, they translated the whole of it into their own
language, and all other books besides. And again, the Romans, when they
had learnt it, they translated the whole of it through learned
interpreters into their own language. And also all other Christian
nations translated a part of them into their own language. Therefore it
seems better to me, if ye think so, for us also to translate some books
which are most needful for all men to know, into the language which we
can all understand, and for you to do as we very easily can if we have
tranquillity enough; that is, that all the youth now in England of free
men, who are rich enough to be able to devote themselves to it, be set
to learn as long as they are not fit for any other occupation, until
that they are well able to read English writing: and let those be
afterward taught more in the Latin language who are to continue learning
and be promoted to a higher rank. When I remember how the knowledge of
Latin had formerly decayed throughout England, and yet many could read
English writing, I began among other various and manifold troubles of
this kingdom, to translate into English the book which is called in
Latin 'Pastoralis,' and in English 'Shepherd's Book,' sometimes word by
word and sometimes according to the sense, as I had learnt it from
Plegmund, my archbishop, and Asser, my bishop, and Grimbold, my
mass-priest, and John, my mass-priest. And when I had learnt it as I
could best understand it, and as I could most clearly interpret it, I
translated it into English; and I will send a copy to every bishopric in
my kingdom; and on each there is a clasp worth fifty mancus. And I
command, in God's name, that no man take the clasp from the book or the
book from the minister: it is uncertain how long there may be such
learned bishops as now, thanks be to God, there are nearly everywhere;
therefore, I wish them always to remain in their place, unless the
bishop wish to take them with him, or they be lent out anywhere, or any
one make a copy from them.


In every tree I saw something there which I needed at home, therefore I
advise every one who is able and has many wains, that he trade to the
same wood where I cut the stud shafts, and there fetch more for himself
and load his wain with fair rods, that he may wind many a neat wall and
set many a comely house and build many a fair town of them; and thereby
may dwell merrily and softly, so as I now yet have not done. But He who
taught me, to whom the wood was agreeable, He may make me to dwell more
softly in this temporary cottage, the while that I am in this world, and
also in the everlasting home which He has promised us through St.
Augustine, and St. Gregory, and St. Jerome, and through other holy
fathers; as I believe also that for the merits of all these He will make
the way more convenient than it was before, and especially the carrying
and the building: but every man wishes after he has built a cottage on
his lord's lease by his help, that he may sometimes rest him therein
and hunt, and fowl, and fish, and use it every way under the lease both
on water and on land, until the time that he earn book-land and
everlasting heritage through his lord's mercy. So do enlighten the eyes
of my mind so that I may search out the right way to the everlasting
home and the everlasting glory, and the everlasting rest which is
promised us through those holy fathers. May it be so! ...

It is no wonder though men swink in timber working, and in the wealthy
Giver who wields both these temporary cottages and eternal homes. May He
who shaped both and wields both, grant me that I may be meet for each,
both here to be profitable and thither to come.


     From 'Boethius'

     Oh! It is a fault of weight,
       Let him think it out who will,
     And a danger passing great
       Which can thus allure to ill
         Careworn men from the rightway,
         Swiftly ever led astray.

     Will ye seek within the wood
       Red gold on the green trees tall?
     None, I wot, is wise that could,
       For it grows not there at all:
         Neither in wine-gardens green
         Seek they gems of glittering sheen.

     Would ye on some hill-top set,
       When ye list to catch a trout,
     Or a carp, your fishing-net?
       Men, methinks, have long found out
         That it would be foolish fare,
         For they know they are not there.

     In the salt sea can ye find,
       When ye list to start an hunt,
     With your hounds, the hart or hind?
       It will sooner be your wont
         In the woods to look, I wot,
         Than in seas where they are not.

     Is it wonderful to know
       That for crystals red or white
     One must to the sea-beach go,
       Or for other colors bright,
         Seeking by the river's side
         Or the shore at ebb of tide?

     Likewise, men are well aware
       Where to look for river-fish;
     And all other worldly ware
       Where to seek them when they wish;
         Wisely careful men will know
         Year by year to find them so.

     But of all things 'tis most sad
       That they foolish are so blind,
     So besotted and so mad,
       That they cannot surely find
         Where the ever-good is nigh
         And true pleasures hidden lie.

     Therefore, never is their strife
       After those true joys to spur;
     In this lean and little life
       They, half-witted, deeply err
         Seeking here their bliss to gain,
         That is God Himself in vain.

     Ah! I know not in my thought
       How enough to blame their sin,
     None so clearly as I ought
       Can I show their fault within;
         For, more bad and vain are they
         And more sad than I can say.

     All their hope is to acquire
       Worship goods and worldly weal;
     When they have their mind's desire,
       Then such witless Joy they feel,
         That in folly they believe
         Those True Joys they then receive.

Works of Alfred the Great, Jubilee Edition (Oxford and Cambridge, 1852).


     From 'Boethius'

     Lo! I sting cheerily
       In my bright days,
     But now all wearily
       Chaunt I my lays;
     Sorrowing tearfully,
       Saddest of men,
     Can I sing cheerfully,
       As I could then?

     Many a verity
       In those glad times
     Of my prosperity
       Taught I in rhymes;
     Now from forgetfulness
       Wanders my tongue,
     Wasting in fretfulness,
       Metres unsung.

     Worldliness brought me here
       Foolishly blind,
     Riches have wrought me here
       Sadness of mind;
     When I rely on them,
       Lo! they depart,--
     Bitterly, fie on them!
       Rend they my heart.
     Why did your songs to me,
       World-loving men,
     Say joy belongs to me
       Ever as then?
     Why did ye lyingly
       Think such a thing,
     Seeing how flyingly
       Wealth may take wing?

Works of Alfred the Great, Jubilee Edition (Oxford and Cambridge, 1852).



The Irish-Canadian naturalist, Charles Grant Blairfindie Allen, who
turns his industrious hand with equal facility to scientific writing, to
essays, short stories, botanical treatises, biography, and novels, is
known to literature as Grant Allen, as "Arbuthnot Wilson," and as
"Cecil Power."

His work may be divided into two classes: fiction and popular essays.
The first shows the author to be familiar with varied scenes and types,
and exhibits much feeling for dramatic situations. His list of novels is
long, and includes among others, 'Strange Stories,' 'Babylon,' 'This
Mortal Coil,' 'The Tents of Shem,' 'The Great Taboo,' 'Recalled to
Life,' 'The Woman Who Did,' and 'The British Barbarians.' In many of
these books he has woven his plots around a psychological theme; a proof
that science interests him more than invention. His essays are written
for unscientific readers, and carefully avoid all technicalities and
tedious discussions. Most persons, he says, "would much rather learn why
birds have feathers than why they have a keeled sternum, and they think
the origin of bright flowers far more attractive than the origin of
monocotyledonous seeds or esogenous stems."

Grant Allen was born in Kingston, Canada, February 24th, 1848. After
graduation at Merton College, Oxford, he occupied for four years the
chair of logic and philosophy at Queen's College, Spanish Town, Jamaica,
which he resigned to settle in England, where he now resides. Early in
his career he became an enthusiastic follower of Darwin and Herbert
Spencer, and published the attractive books entitled 'Science in
Arcady,' 'Vignettes from Nature,' 'The Evolutionist at Large,' and
'Colin Clout's Calendar.' In his preface to 'Vignettes from Nature,' he
says that the "essays are written from an easy-going, half-scientific
half-aesthetic standpoint." In this spirit he rambles in the woods, in
the meadows, at the seaside, or upon the heather-carpeted moor, finding
in such expeditions material and suggestions for his lightly moving
essays, which expound the problems of Nature according to the theories
of his acknowledged masters. A fallow deer grazing in a forest, a
wayside berry, a guelder rose, a sportive butterfly, a bed of nettles, a
falling leaf, a mountain tarn, the hole of a hedgehog, a darting
humming-bird, a ripening plum, a clover-blossom, a spray of sweet-briar,
a handful of wild thyme, or a blaze of scarlet geranium before a cottage
door, furnish him with a text for the discussion of "those biological
and cosmical doctrines which have revolutionized the thought of the
nineteenth century," as he says in substance.

Somewhat more scientific are 'Psychological Aesthetics,' 'The Color
Sense,' 'The Color of Flowers,' and 'Flowers and their Pedigrees'; and
still deeper is 'Force and Energy' (1888), a theory of dynamics in which
he expresses original views. In 'Psychological Aesthetics' (1877), he
first seeks to explain "such simple pleasures in bright color, sweet
sound, or rude pictorial imitation as delight the child and the savage,
proceeding from these elementary principles to the more and more complex
gratifications of natural scenery, painting, and poetry." In 'The Color
Sense' he defines all that we do not owe to the color sense, for example
the rainbow, the sunset, the sky, the green or purple sea, the rocks,
the foliage of trees and shrubs, hues of autumn, effects of iridescent
light, or tints of minerals and precious stones; and all that we do owe,
namely, "the beautiful flowers of the meadow and the garden-roses,
lilies, cowslips, and daisies; the exquisite pink of the apple, the
peach, the mango, and the cherry, with all the diverse artistic wealth
of oranges, strawberries, plums, melons, brambleberries, and
pomegranates; the yellow, blue, and melting green of tropical
butterflies; the magnificent plumage of the toucan, the macaw, the
cardinal-bird, the lory, and the honey-sucker; the red breast of our
homely robin; the silver or ruddy fur of the ermine, the wolverene, the
fox, the squirrel, and the chinchilla; the rosy cheeks and pink lips of
the English maiden; the whole catalogue of dyes, paints, and pigments;
and last of all, the colors of art in every age and nation, from the red
cloth of the South Seas, the lively frescoes of the Egyptian and the
subdued tones of Hellenic painters, to the stained windows of Poictiers
and the Madonna of the Sistine Chapel." Besides these books, Mr. Allen
has written for the series called 'English Worthies' a sympathetic 'Life
of Charles Darwin' (1885).


From 'The Colors of Flowers'

The different hues assumed by petals are all thus, as it were, laid up
beforehand in the tissues of the plant, ready to be brought out at a
moment's notice. And all flowers, as we know, easily sport a little in
color. But the question is, Do their changes tend to follow any regular
and definite order? Is there any reason to believe that the modification
runs from any one color toward any other? Apparently there is. The
general conclusion to be set forth in this work is the statement of such
a tendency. All flowers, it would seem, were in their earliest form
yellow; then some of them became white; after that, a few of them grew
to be red or purple; and finally, a comparatively small number acquired
various shades of lilac, mauve, violet, or blue. So that if this
principle be true, such a flower as the harebell will represent one of
the most highly developed lines of descent; and its ancestors will have
passed successively through all the intermediate stages. Let us see what
grounds can be given for such a belief.

Some hints of a progressive law in the direction of a color-change from
yellow to blue are sometimes afforded to us even by the successive
stages of a single flower. For example, one of our common little English
forget-me-nots, _Myosotis versicolor_, is pale yellow when it first
opens; but as it grows older, it becomes faintly pinkish, and ends by
being blue, like the others of its race. Now, this sort of color-change
is by no means uncommon; and in almost all known cases it is always in
the same direction, from yellow or white, through pink, orange, or red,
to purple or blue. For example, one of the wall-flowers, _Cheiranthus
chamoeleo_, has at first a whitish flower, then a citron-yellow, and
finally emerges into red or violet. The petals of _Stytidium
fructicosum_ are pale yellow to begin with, and afterward become light
rose-colored. An evening primrose, _Oenothera tetraptera_, has white
flowers in its first stage, and red ones at a later period of
development. _Cobea scandens_ goes from white to violet; _Hibiscus
mutabilis_ from white through flesh-colored to red. The common Virginia
stock of our gardens _(Malcolmia)_ often opens of a pale yellowish
green, then becomes faintly pink; afterward deepens into bright red; and
fades away at the last into mauve or blue. Fritz Müller's _Lantana_ is
yellow on its first day, orange on its second, and purple on the third.
The whole family of _Boraginaceae_ begin by being pink and end with
being blue. The garden convolvulus opens a blushing white and passes
into full purple. In all these and many other cases the general
direction of the changes is the same. They are usually set down as due
to varying degrees of oxidation in the pigmentary matter. If this be so,
there is a good reason why bees should be specially fond of blue, and
why blue flowers should be specially adapted for fertilization by their
aid. For Mr. A.R. Wallace has shown that color is most apt to appear or
to vary in those parts of plants or animals which have undergone the
highest amount of modification. The markings of the peacock and the
argus pheasant come out upon their immensely developed secondary
tail-feathers or wing-plumes; the metallic hues of sun-birds, or
humming-birds, show themselves upon their highly specialized crests,
gorgets, or lappets. It is the same with the hackles of fowls, the head
ornaments of fruit-pigeons, and the bills of toucans. The most exquisite
colors in the insect world are those which are developed on the greatly
expanded and delicately feathered wings of butterflies; and the
eye-spots which adorn a few species are usually found on their very
highly modified swallow-tail appendages. So too with flowers: those
which have undergone most modification have their colors most profoundly
altered. In this way, we may put it down as a general rule (to be tested
hereafter) that the least developed flowers are usually yellow or white;
those which have undergone a little more modification are usually pink
or red; and those which have been most highly specialized of any are
usually purple, lilac, or blue. Absolute deep ultramarine probably marks
the highest level of all.

On the other hand, Mr. Wallace's principle also explains why the bees
and butterflies should prefer these specialized colors to all others,
and should therefore select those flowers which display them by
preference over any less developed types; for bees and butterflies are
the most highly adapted of all insects to honey-seeking and
flower-feeding. They have themselves on their side undergone the largest
amount of specialization for that particular function. And if the more
specialized and modified flowers, which gradually fitted their forms and
the position of their honey-glands to the forms of the bees or
butterflies, showed a natural tendency to pass from yellow through pink
and red to purple and blue, it would follow that the insects which were
being evolved side by side with them, and which were aiding at the same
time in their evolution, would grow to recognize these developed colors
as the visible symbols of those flowers from which they could obtain the
largest amount of honey with the least possible trouble. Thus it would
finally result that the ordinary unspecialized flowers, which depended
upon small insect riff-raff, would be mostly left yellow or white; those
which appealed to rather higher insects would become pink or red; and
those which laid themselves out for bees or butterflies, the aristocrats
of the arthropodous world, would grow for the most part to be purple
or blue.

Now, this is very much what we actually find to be the case in nature.
The simplest and earliest flowers are those with regular, symmetrical
open cups, like the _Ranunculus_ genus, the _Potentillas_, and the
_Alsine_ or chickweeds, which can be visited by any insects whatsoever;
and these are in large part yellow or white. A little higher are flowers
like the Campions or _Sileneoe_, and the stocks (_Matthiola_), with more
or less closed cups, whose honey can only be reached by more specialized
insects; and these are oftener pink or reddish. More profoundly modified
are those irregular one-sided flowers, like the violets, peas, and
orchids, which have assumed special shapes to accommodate bees and other
specific honey-seekers; and these are often purple and not unfrequently
blue. Highly specialized in another way are the flowers like harebells
(_Campanulaceoe_), scabious (_Dipsaceoe_), and heaths (_Ericaceoe_),
whose petals have all coalesced into a tubular corolla; and these might
almost be said to be usually purple or blue. And finally, highest of all
are the flowers like labiates (rosemary, _Salvia_, etc.) and speedwells
(_Veronica_), whose tubular corolla has been turned to one side, thus
combining the united petals with the irregular shape; and these are
almost invariably purple or blue.


From 'The Evolutionist at Large'

I suppose even that apocryphal person, the general reader, would be
insulted at being told at this hour of the day that all bright-colored
flowers are fertilized by the visits of insects, whose attentions they
are specially designed to solicit. Everybody has heard over and over
again that roses, orchids, and columbines have acquired their honey to
allure the friendly bee, their gaudy petals to advertise the honey, and
their divers shapes to insure the proper fertilization by the correct
type of insect. But everybody does not know how specifically certain
blossoms have laid themselves out for a particular species of fly,
beetle, or tiny moth. Here on the higher downs, for instance, most
flowers are exceptionally large and brilliant; while all Alpine climbers
must have noticed that the most gorgeous masses of bloom in Switzerland
occur just below the snow-line. The reason is, that such blossoms must
be fertilized by butterflies alone. Bees, their great rivals in
honey-sucking, frequent only the lower meadows and slopes, where flowers
are many and small: they seldom venture far from the hive or the nest
among the high peaks and chilly nooks where we find those great patches
of blue gentian or purple anemone, which hang like monstrous breadths of
tapestry upon the mountain sides. This heather here, now fully opening
in the warmer sun of the southern counties--it is still but in the bud
among the Scotch hills, I doubt not--specially lays itself out for the
humble-bee, and its masses form almost his highest pasture-grounds; but
the butterflies--insect vagrants that they are--have no fixed home, and
they therefore stray far above the level at which bee-blossoms
altogether cease to grow. Now, the butterfly differs greatly from the
bee in his mode of honey-hunting: he does not bustle about in a
business-like manner from one buttercup or dead-nettle to its nearest
fellow; but he flits joyously, like a sauntering straggler that he is,
from a great patch of color here to another great patch at a distance,
whose gleam happens to strike his roving eye by its size and brilliancy.
Hence, as that indefatigable observer, Dr. Hermann Müller, has noticed,
all Alpine or hill-top flowers have very large and conspicuous blossoms,
generally grouped together in big clusters so as to catch a passing
glance of the butterfly's eye. As soon as the insect spies such a
cluster, the color seems to act as a stimulant to his broad wings, just
as the candle-light does to those of his cousin the moth. Off he sails
at once, as if by automatic action, towards the distant patch, and there
both robs the plant of its honey, and at the same time carries to it on
his legs and head fertilizing pollen from the last of its congeners
which he favored with a call. For of course both bees and butterflies
stick on the whole to a single species at a time; or else the flowers
would only get uselessly hybridized, instead of being impregnated with
pollen from other plants of their own kind. For this purpose it is that
most plants lay themselves out to secure the attention of only two or
three varieties among their insect allies, while they make their
nectaries either too deep or too shallow for the convenience of all
other kinds.

Insects, however, differ much from one another in their aesthetic
tastes, and flowers are adapted accordingly to the varying fancies of
the different kinds. Here, for example, is a spray of common white
galium, which attracts and is fertilized by small flies, who generally
frequent white blossoms. But here again, not far off, I find a
luxuriant mass of the yellow species, known by the quaint name of
"lady's-bedstraw,"--a legacy from the old legend which represents it as
having formed Our Lady's bed in the manger at Bethlehem. Now why has
this kind of galium yellow flowers, while its near kinsman yonder has
them snowy white? The reason is that lady's-bedstraw is fertilized by
small beetles; and beetles are known to be one among the most
color-loving races of insects. You may often find one of their number,
the lovely bronze and golden-mailed rose-chafer, buried deeply in the
very centre of a red garden rose, and reeling about when touched as if
drunk with pollen and honey. Almost all the flowers which beetles
frequent are consequently brightly decked in scarlet or yellow. On the
other hand, the whole family of the umbellates, those tall plants with
level bunches of tiny blossoms, like the fool's-parsley, have all but
universally white petals; and Müller, the most statistical of
naturalists, took the trouble to count the number of insects which paid
them a visit. He found that only fourteen per cent. were bees, while the
remainder consisted mainly of miscellaneous small flies and other
arthropodous riff-raff, whereas, in the brilliant class of composites,
including the asters, sunflowers, daisies, dandelions, and thistles,
nearly seventy-five per cent. of the visitors were steady, industrious
bees. Certain dingy blossoms which lay themselves out to attract wasps,
are obviously adapted, as Müller quaintly remarks, "to a less
aesthetically cultivated circle of visitors." But the most brilliant
among all insect-fertilized flowers are those which specially affect the
society of butterflies; and they are only surpassed in this respect
throughout all nature by the still larger and more magnificent tropical
species which owe their fertilization to humming-birds and
brush-tongued lories.

Is it not a curious, yet a comprehensible circumstance, that the tastes
which thus show themselves in the development, by natural selection, of
lovely flowers, should also show themselves in the marked preference for
beautiful mates? Poised on yonder sprig of harebell stands a little
purple-winged butterfly, one of the most exquisite among our British
kinds. That little butterfly owes its own rich and delicately shaded
tints to the long selective action of a million generations among its
ancestors. So we find throughout that the most beautifully colored birds
and insects are always those which have had most to do with the
production of bright-colored fruits and flowers. The butterflies and
rose-beetles are the most gorgeous among insects; the humming-birds and
parrots are the most gorgeous among birds. Nay, more, exactly like
effects have been produced in two hemispheres on different tribes by the
same causes. The plain brown swifts of the North have developed among
tropical West Indian and South American orchids the metallic gorgets and
crimson crests of the humming-bird; while a totally unlike group of
Asiatic birds have developed among the rich flora of India and the Malay
Archipelago the exactly similar plumage of the exquisite sun-birds. Just
as bees depend upon flowers, and flowers upon bees, so the color-sense
of animals has created the bright petals of blossoms; and the bright
petals have reacted upon the tastes of the animals themselves, and
through their tastes upon their own appearance.


From 'Vignettes from Nature'

Most of the fields on the country-side are now laid up for hay, or down
in the tall haulming corn; and so I am driven from my accustomed
botanizing grounds on the open, and compelled to take refuge in the wild
bosky moor-land back of Hole Common. Here, on the edge of the copse, the
river widens to a considerable pool, and coming upon it softly through
the wood from behind--the boggy, moss-covered ground masking and
muffling my foot-fall--I have surprised a great, graceful ash-and-white
heron, standing all unconscious on the shallow bottom, in the very act
of angling for minnows. The heron is a somewhat rare bird among the more
cultivated parts of England; but just hereabouts we get a sight of one
not infrequently, for they still breed in a few tall ash-trees at
Chilcombe Park, where the lords of the manor in mediaeval times long
preserved a regular heronry to provide sport for their hawking. There is
no English bird, not even the swan, so perfectly and absolutely graceful
as the heron. I am leaning now breathless and noiseless against the
gate, taking a good look at him, as he stands half-knee deep on the oozy
bottom, with his long neck arched over the water, and his keen purple
eye fixed eagerly upon the fish below. Though I am still twenty yards
from where he poises lightly on his stilted legs, I can see distinctly
his long pendent snow-white breast-feathers, his crest of waving black
plumes, falling loosely backward over the ash-gray neck, and even the
bright red skin of his bare legs just below the feathered thighs. I dare
hardly move nearer to get a closer view of his beautiful plumage; and
still I will try. I push very quietly through the gate, but not quite
quietly enough for the heron. One moment he raises his curved neck and
poises his head a little on one side to listen for the direction of the
rustling; then he catches a glimpse of me as I try to draw back silently
behind a clump of flags and nettles; and in a moment his long legs give
him a good spring from the bottom, his big wings spread with a sudden
flap sky-wards, and almost before I can note what is happening he is off
and away to leeward, making a bee-line for the high trees that fringe
the artificial water in Chilcombe Hollow.

All these wading birds the herons, the cranes, the bitterns, the snipes,
and the plovers are almost necessarily, by the very nature of their
typical conformation, beautiful and graceful in form. Their tall,
slender legs, which they require for wading, their comparatively light
and well-poised bodies, their long, curved, quickly-darting necks and
sharp beaks, which they need in order to secure their rapid-swimming
prey, all these things make the waders, almost in spite of themselves,
handsome and shapely birds. Their feet, it is true, are generally rather
large and sprawling, with long, wide-spread toes, so as to distribute
their weight on the snow-shoe principle, and prevent them from sinking
in the deep soft mud on which they tread; but then we seldom see the
feet, because the birds, when we catch a close view of them at all, are
almost always either on stilts in the water, or flying with their legs
tucked behind them, after their pretty rudder-like fashion. I have often
wondered whether it is this general beauty of form in the waders which
has turned their aesthetic tastes, apparently, into such a sculpturesque
line. Certainly, it is very noteworthy that whenever among this
particular order of birds we get clear evidence of ornamental devices,
such as Mr. Darwin sets down to long-exerted selective preferences in
the choice of mates, the ornaments are almost always those of form
rather than those of color.

The waders, I sometimes fancy, only care for beauty of shape, not for
beauty of tint. As I stood looking at the heron here just now, the same
old idea seemed to force itself more clearly than ever upon my mind. The
decorative adjuncts--the curving tufted crest on the head, the pendent
silvery gorget on the neck, the long ornamental quills of the
pinions--all look exactly as if they were deliberately intended to
emphasize and heighten the natural gracefulness of the heron's form. May
it not be, I ask myself, that these birds, seeing one another's
statuesque shape from generation to generation, have that shape
hereditarily implanted upon the nervous system of the species, in
connection with all their ideas of mating and of love, just as the human
form is hereditarily associated with all our deepest emotions, so that
Miranda falling in love at first sight with Ferdinand is not a mere
poetical fiction, but the true illustration of a psychological fact? And
as on each of our minds and brains the picture of the beautiful human
figure is, as it were, antecedently engraved, may not the ancestral type
be similarly engraved on the minds and brains of the wading birds? If
so, would it not be natural to conclude that these birds, having thus a
very graceful form as their generic standard of taste, a graceful form
with little richness of coloring, would naturally choose as the
loveliest among their mates, not those which showed any tendency to more
bright-hued plumage (which indeed might be fatal to their safety, by
betraying them to their enemies, the falcons and eagles), but those
which most fully embodied and carried furthest the ideal specific
gracefulness of the wading type? ... Forestine flower-feeders and
fruit-eaters, especially in the tropics, are almost always brightly
colored. Their chromatic taste seems to get quickened in their daily
search for food among the beautiful blossoms and brilliant fruits of
southern woodlands. Thus the humming-birds, the sun-birds, and the
brush-tongued lories, three very dissimilar groups of birds as far as
descent is concerned, all alike feed upon the honey and the insects
which they extract from the large tubular bells of tropical flowers; and
all alike are noticeable for their intense metallic lustre or pure tones
of color. Again, the parrots, the toucans, the birds of paradise, and
many other of the more beautiful exotic species, are fruit-eaters, and
reflect their inherited taste in their own gaudy plumage. But the waders
have no such special reasons for acquiring a love for bright hues. Hence
their aesthetic feeling seems rather to have taken a turn toward the
further development of their own graceful forms. Even the plainest
wading birds have a certain natural elegance of shape which supplies a
primitive basis for aesthetic selection to work on.



The literary work of James Lane Allen was begun with maturer powers and
wider culture than most writers exhibit in their first publications. His
mastery of English was acquired with difficulty, and his knowledge of
Latin he obtained through years of instruction as well as of study. The
wholesome open-air atmosphere which pervades his stories, their pastoral
character and love of nature, come from the tastes bequeathed to him by
three generations of paternal ancestors, easy-going gentlemen farmers of
the blue-grass region of Kentucky. On a farm near Lexington, in this
beautiful country of stately homes, fine herds, and great flocks, the
author was born, and there he spent his childhood and youth.

About 1885 he came to New York to devote himself to literature; for
though he had contributed poems, essays, and criticisms to leading
periodicals, his first important work was a series of articles
descriptive of the "Blue-Grass Region," published in Harper's Magazine.
The field was new, the work was fresh, and the author's ability was at
once recognized. Inevitably he chose Kentucky for the scene of his
stories, knowing and loving, as he did, her characteristics and her
history. While preparing his articles on 'The Blue-Grass Region,' he had
studied the Trappist Monastery and the Convent of Loretto, as well as
the records of the Catholic Church in Kentucky; and his first stories,
'The White Cowl' and 'Sister Dolorosa,' which appeared in the Century
Magazine, were the first fruits of this labor. A controversy arose as to
the fairness of these portraitures; but however opinions may differ as
to his characterization, there can be no question of the truthfulness of
the exposition of the mediaeval spirit of those retreats.

This tendency to use a historic background marks most of Mr. Allen's
stories. In 'The Choir Invisible,' a tale of the last century, pioneer
Kentucky once more exists. The old clergyman of 'Flute and Violin' lived
and died in Lexington, and had been long forgotten when his story
"touched the vanishing halo of a hard and saintly life." The old negro
preacher, with texts embroidered on his coat-tails, was another figure
of reality, unnoticed until he became one of the 'Two Gentlemen of
Kentucky.' In Lexington lived and died "King Solomon," who had almost
faded from memory when his historian found the record of the poor
vagabond's heroism during the plague, and made it memorable in a story
that touches the heart and fills the eyes. 'A Kentucky Cardinal,' with
'Aftermath,' its second part, is full of history and of historic
personages. 'Summer in Arcady: A Tale of Nature,' the latest of Mr.
Allen's stories, is no less based on local history and no less full of
local color than his other tales, notwithstanding its general

This book sounds a deeper note than the earlier tales, although the
truth which Mr. Allen sees is not mere fidelity to local types, but the
essential truth of human nature. His realism has always a poetic aspect.
Quiet, reserved, out of the common, his books deal with moods rather
than with actions; their problems are spiritual rather than physical;
their thought tends toward the higher and more difficult way of life.

From 'Summer in Arcady'

The sunlight grew pale the following morning; a shadow crept rapidly
over the blue; bolts darted about the skies like maddened redbirds; the
thunder, ploughing its way down the dome as along zigzag cracks in the
stony street, filled the caverns of the horizon with reverberations that
shook the earth; and the rain was whirled across the landscape in long,
white, wavering sheets. Then all day quiet and silence throughout Nature
except for the drops, tapping high and low the twinkling leaves; except
for the new melody of woodland and meadow brooks, late silvery and with
a voice only for their pebbles and moss and mint, but now yellow and
brawling and leaping-back into the grassy channels that were their
old-time beds; except for the indoor music of dripping eaves and rushing
gutters and overflowing rain-barrels. And when at last in the gold of
the cool west the sun broke from the edge of the gray, over what a
green, soaked, fragrant world he reared the arch of Nature's peace!

[Illustration: A COURTSHIP.
Photogravure from Painting by H. Vogka.]

Not a little blade of corn in the fields but holds in an emerald vase
its treasures of white gems. The hemp-stalks bend so low under the
weight of their plumes, that were a vesper sparrow to alight on one for
his evening hymn, it would go with him to the ground. The leaning barley
and rye and wheat flash in the last rays their jeweled beards. Under the
old apple-trees, golden-brown mushrooms are already pushing upward
through the leaf-loam, rank with many an autumn's dropping. About the
yards the peonies fall with faces earthward. In the stable-lots the
larded porkers, with bristles as clean as frost, and flesh of pinky
whiteness, are hunting with nervous nostrils for the lush purslain. The
fowls are driving their bills up and down their wet breasts. And the
farmers who have been shelling corn for the mill come out of their
barns, with their coats over their shoulders, on the way to supper, look
about for the plough-horses, and glance at the western sky, from which
the last drops are falling.

But soon only a more passionate heat shoots from the sun into the
planet. The plumes of the hemp are so dry again, that by the pollen
shaken from their tops you can trace the young rabbits making their way
out to the dusty paths. The shadows of white clouds sail over purple
stretches of blue-grass, hiding the sun from the steady eye of the
turkey, whose brood is spread out before her like a fan on the earth. At
early morning the neighing of the stallions is heard around the horizon;
at noon the bull makes the deep, hot pastures echo with his majestic
summons; out in the blazing meadows the butterflies strike the afternoon
air with more impatient wings; under the moon all night the play of
ducks and drakes goes on along the margins of the ponds. Young people
are running away and marrying; middle-aged farmers surprise their wives
by looking in on them at their butter-making in the sweet dairies; and
Nature is lashing everything--grass, fruit, insects, cattle, human
creatures--more fiercely onward to the fulfillment of her ends. She is
the great heartless haymaker, wasting not a ray of sunshine on a clod,
but caring naught for the light that beats upon a throne, and holding
man and woman, with their longing for immortality, and their capacities
for joy and pain, as of no more account than a couple of fertilizing

The storm kept Daphne at home. On the next day the earth was yellow with
sunlight, but there were puddles along the path, and a branch rushing
swollen across the green valley in the fields. On the third, her mother
took the children to town to be fitted with hats and shoes, and Daphne
also, to be freshened up with various moderate adornments, in view of a
protracted meeting soon to begin. On the fourth, some ladies dropped in
to spend the day, bearing in mind the episode at the dinner, and having
grown curious to watch events accordingly. On the fifth, her father
carried out the idea of cutting down some cedar-trees in the front yard
for fence posts; and whenever he was working about the house, he kept
her near to wait on him in unnecessary ways. On the sixth, he rode away
with two hands and an empty wagon-bed for some work on the farm; her
mother drove off to another dinner--dinners never cease in Kentucky, and
the wife of an elder is not free to decline invitations; and at last she
was left alone in the front porch, her face turned with burning
eagerness toward the fields. In a little while she had slipped away.

All these days Hilary had been eager to see her. He was carrying a good
many girls in his mind that summer; none in his heart; but his plans
concerning these latter were for the time forgotten. He hung about that
part of his farm from which he could have descried her in the distance.
Each forenoon and afternoon, at the usual hour of her going to her
uncle's, he rode over and watched for her. Other people passed to and
fro,--children and servants,--but not Daphne; and repeated
disappointments fanned his desire to see her.

When she came into sight at last, he was soon walking beside her,
leading his horse by the reins.

"I have been waiting to see you, Daphne," he said, with a smile, but
general air of seriousness. "I have been waiting a long time for a
chance to talk to you."

"And I have wanted to see you," said Daphne, her face turned away and
her voice hardly to be heard. "I have been waiting for a chance to
talk to you."

The change in her was so great, so unexpected, it contained an appeal to
him so touching, that he glanced quickly at her. Then he stopped short
and looked searchingly around the meadow.

The thorn-tree is often the only one that can survive on these pasture
lands. Its spikes, even when it is no higher than the grass, keep off
the mouths of grazing stock. As it grows higher, birds see it standing
solitary in the distance and fly to it, as a resting-place in passing.
Some autumn day a seed of the wild grape is thus dropped near its root;
and in time the thorn-tree and the grape-vine come to thrive together.

As Hilary now looked for some shade to which they could retreat from the
blinding, burning sunlight, he saw one of these standing off at a
distance of a few hundred yards. He slipped the bridle-reins through the
head-stall, and giving his mare a soft slap on the shoulder, turned her
loose to graze.

"Come over here and sit down out of the sun," he said, starting off in
his authoritative way. "I want to talk to you."

Daphne followed in his wake, through the deep grass.

When they reached the tree, they sat down under the rayless boughs. Some
sheep lying there ran round to the other side and stood watching them,
with a frightened look in their clear, peaceful eyes.

"What's the matter?" he said, fanning his face, and tugging with his
forefinger to loosen his shirt collar from his moist neck. He had the
manner of a powerful comrade who means to succor a weaker one.

"Nothing," said Daphne, like a true woman.

"Yes, but there is," he insisted. "I got you into trouble. I didn't
think of that when I asked you to dance."

"You had nothing to do with it," retorted Daphne, with a flash. "I
danced for spite."

He threw back his head with a peal of laughter. All at once this was
broken off. He sat up, with his eyes fixed on the lower edge of
the meadow.

"Here comes your father," he said gravely.

Daphne turned. Her father was riding slowly through the bars. A
wagon-bed loaded with rails crept slowly after him.

In an instant the things that had cost her so much toil and so many
tears to arrange,--her explanations, her justifications, and her
parting,--all the reserve and the coldness that she had laid up in her
heart, as one fills high a little ice-house with fear of far-off summer
heat,--all were quite gone, melted away. And everything that he had
planned to tell her was forgotten also at the sight of that stern figure
on horseback bearing unconsciously down upon them.

"If I had only kept my mouth shut about his old fences," he said to
himself. "Confound my bull!" and he looked anxiously at Daphne, who sat
with her eyes riveted on her father. The next moment she had turned, and
they were laughing in each other's faces.

"What shall I do?" she cried, leaning over and burying her face in her
hands, and lifting it again, scarlet with excitement.

"Don't do anything," he said calmly.

"But Hilary, if he sees us, we are lost."

"If he sees us, we are found."

"But he mustn't see me here!" she cried, with something like real
terror. "I believe I'll lie down in the grass. Maybe he'll think I am a
friend of yours."

"My friends all sit up in the grass," said Hilary.

But Daphne had already hidden.

Many a time, when a little girl, she had amused herself by screaming
like a hawk at the young guineas, and seeing them cuddle invisible under
small tufts and weeds. Out in the stable lot, where the grass was grazed
so close that the geese could barely nip it, she would sometimes get one
of the negro men to scare the little pigs, for the delight of seeing
them squat as though hidden, when they were no more hidden than if they
had spread themselves out upon so many dinner dishes. All of us reveal
traces of this primitive instinct upon occasion. Daphne was doing her
best to hide now.

When Hilary realized it he moved in front of her, screening her as well
as possible.

"Hadn't you better lie down, too?" she asked.

"No," he replied quickly.

"But if he sees you, he might take a notion to ride over this way!"

"Then he'll have to ride."

"But, Hilary, suppose he were to find me lying down here behind you,

"Then he'll have to find you."

"You get me into trouble, and then you won't help me out!" exclaimed
Daphne with considerable heat.

"It might not make matters any better for me to hide," he answered
quietly. "But if he comes over here and tries to get us into trouble,
I'll see then what I can do."

Daphne lay silent for a moment, thinking. Then she nestled more closely
down, and said with gay, unconscious archness: "I'm not hiding because
I'm afraid of him. I'm doing it just because I want to."

She did not know that the fresh happiness flushing her at that moment
came from the fact of having Hilary between herself and her father as a
protector; that she was drinking in the delight a woman feels in getting
playfully behind the man she loves in the face of danger: but her action
bound her to him and brought her more under his influence.

His words showed that he also felt his position,--the position of the
male who stalks forth from the herd and stands the silent challenger. He
was young, and vain of his manhood in the usual innocent way that led
him to carry the chip on his shoulder for the world to knock off; and
he placed himself before Daphne with the understanding that if they were
discovered, there would be trouble. Her father was a violent man, and
the circumstances were not such that any Kentucky father would overlook
them. But with his inward seriousness, his face wore its usual look of
reckless unconcern.

"Is he coming this way?" asked Daphne, after an interval of impatient

"Straight ahead. Are you hid?"

"I can't see whether I'm hid or not. Where is he now?"

"Right on us."

"Does he see you?"


"Do you think he sees me?"

"I'm sure of it."

"Then I might as well get up," said Daphne, with the courage of despair,
and up she got. Her father was riding along the path in front of them,
but not looking. She was down again like a partridge.

"How could you fool me, Hilary? Suppose he _had_ been looking!"

"I wonder what he thinks I'm doing, sitting over here in the grass like
a stump," said Hilary. "If he takes me for one, he must think I've got
an awful lot of roots."

"Tell me when it's time to get up."

"I will."

He turned softly toward her. She was lying on her side, with her burning
cheek in one hand. The other hand rested high on the curve of her hip.
Her braids had fallen forward, and lay in a heavy loop about her lovely
shoulders. Her eyes were closed, her scarlet lips parted in a smile. The
edges of her snow-white petticoats showed beneath her blue dress, and
beyond these one of her feet and ankles. Nothing more fragrant with
innocence ever lay on the grass.

"Is it time to get up now?"

"Not yet," and he sat bending over her.


"Not yet," he repeated more softly.

"Now, then?"

"Not for a long time."

His voice thrilled her, and she glanced up at him. His laughing eyes
were glowing down upon her under his heavy mat of hair. She sat up and
looked toward the wagon crawling away in the distance; her father was no
longer in sight.

One of the ewes, dissatisfied with a back view, stamped her forefoot
impatiently, and ran round in front, and out into the sun. Her lambs
followed, and the three, ranging themselves abreast, stared at Daphne,
with a look of helpless inquiry.

"Sh-pp-pp!" she cried, throwing up her hands at them, irritated. "Go

They turned and ran; the others followed; and the whole number, falling
into line, took a path meekly homeward. They left a greater sense of
privacy under the tree. Several yards off was a small stock-pond. Around
the edge of this the water stood hot and green in the tracks of the
cattle and the sheep, and about these pools the yellow butterflies were
thick, alighting daintily on the promontories of the mud, or rising two
by two through the dazzling atmosphere in columns of enamored flight.

Daphne leaned over to the blue grass where it swayed unbroken in the
breeze, and drew out of their sockets several stalks of it, bearing on
their tops the purplish seed-vessels. With them she began to braid a
ring about one of her fingers in the old simple fashion of the country.

As they talked, he lay propped on his elbow, watching her fingers, the
soft slow movements of which little by little wove a spell over his
eyes. And once again the power of her beauty began to draw him beyond
control. He felt a desire to seize her hands, to crush them in his. His
eyes passed upward along her tapering wrists, the skin of which was like
mother-of-pearl; upward along the arm to the shoulder--to her neck--to
her deeply crimsoned cheeks--to the purity of her brow--to the purity of
her eyes, the downcast lashes of which hid them like conscious fringes.

An awkward silence began to fall between them. Daphne felt that the time
had come for her to speak. But, powerless to begin, she feigned to busy
herself all the more devotedly with braiding the deep-green circlet.
Suddenly he drew himself through the grass to her side.

"Let _me_!"

"No!" she cried, lifting her arm above his reach and looking at him with
a gay threat. "You don't know how."

"I do know how," he said, with his white teeth on his red underlip, and
his eyes sparkling; and reaching upward, he laid his hand in the hollow
of her elbow and pulled her arm down.

"No! No!" she cried again, putting her hands behind her back. "You will
spoil it!"

"I will not spoil it," he said, moving so close to her that his breath
was on her face, and reaching round to unclasp her hands.

"No! No! No!" she cried, bending away from him. "I don't want any ring!"
and she tore it from her finger and threw it out on the grass. Then she
got up, and, brushing the grass-seed off her lap, put on her hat.

He sat cross-legged on the grass before her. He had put on his hat, and
the brim hid his eyes.

"And you are not going to stay and talk to me?" he said in a tone of
reproachfulness, without looking up.

She was excited and weak and trembling, and so she put out her hand and
took hold of a strong loop of the grape-vine hanging from a branch of
the thorn, and laid her cheek against her hand and looked away from him.

"I thought you were better than the others," he continued, with the
bitter wisdom of twenty years. "But you women are all alike. When a man
gets into trouble, you desert him. You hurry him on to the devil. I have
been turned out of the church, and now you are down on me. Oh, well! But
you know how much I have always liked you, Daphne."

It was not the first time he had acted this character. It had been a
favorite role. But Daphne had never seen the like. She was overwhelmed
with happiness that he cared so much for her; and to have him reproach
her for indifference, and see him suffering with the idea that she had
turned against him--that instantly changed the whole situation. He had
not heard then what had taken place at the dinner. Under the
circumstances, feeling certain that the secret of her love had not been
discovered, she grew emboldened to risk a little more.

So she turned toward him smiling, and swayed gently as she clung to the

"Yes; I have my orders not even to speak to you! Never again!" she said,
with the air of tantalizing.

"Then stay with me a while now," he said, and lifted slowly to her his
appealing face. She sat down, and screened herself with a little
feminine transparency.

"I can't stay long: it's going to rain!"

He cast a wicked glance at the sky from under his hat; there were a few
clouds on the horizon.

"And so you are never going to speak to me again?" he said mournfully.

"Never!" How delicious her laughter was.

"I'll put a ring on your finger to remember me by."

He lay over in the grass and pulled several stalks. Then he lifted his
eyes beseechingly to hers.

"Will you let me?"

Daphne hid her hands. He drew himself to her side and took one of them
forcibly from her lap.

With a slow, caressing movement he began to braid the grass ring around
her finger--in and out, around and around, his fingers laced with her
fingers, his palm lying close upon her palm, his blood tingling through
the skin upon her blood. He made the braiding go wrong, and took it off
and began over again. Two or three times she drew a deep breath, and
stole a bewildered look at his face, which was so close to hers that his
hair brushed it--so close that she heard the quiver of his own breath.
Then all at once he folded his hands about hers with a quick, fierce
tenderness, and looked up at her. She turned her face aside and tried to
draw her hand away. His clasp tightened. She snatched it away, and got
up with a nervous laugh.

"Look at the butterflies! Aren't they pretty?"

He sprang up and tried to seize her hand again.

"You shan't go home yet!" he said, in an undertone.

"Shan't I?" she said, backing away from him. "Who's going to keep me?"

"_I am_," he said, laughing excitedly and following her closely.

"My father's coming!" she cried out as a warning.

He turned and looked: there was no one in sight.

"He _is_ coming--sooner or later!" she called.

She had retreated several yards off into the sunlight of the meadow.

The remembrance of the risk that he was causing her to run checked him.
He went over to her.

"When can I see you again--soon?"

He had never spoken so seriously to her before. He had never before been
so serious. But within the last hour Nature had been doing her work, and
its effect was immediate. His sincerity instantly conquered her. Her
eyes fell.

"No one has any right to keep us from seeing each other!" he insisted.
"We must settle that for ourselves."

Daphne made no reply.

"But we can't meet here any more--with people passing backward and
forward!" he continued rapidly and decisively. "What has happened to-day
mustn't happen again."

"No!" she replied, in a voice barely to be heard. "It must never happen
again. We can't meet here."

They were walking side by side now toward the meadow-path. As they
reached it he paused.

"Come to the back of the pasture--to-morrow!--at four o'clock!" he said,
tentatively, recklessly.

Daphne did not answer as she moved away from him along the path

"Will you come?" he called out to her.

She turned and shook her head. Whatever her own new plans may have
become, she was once more happy and laughing.

"Come, Daphne!"

She walked several paces further and turned and shook her head again.

"Come!" he pleaded.

She laughed at him.

He wheeled round to his mare grazing near. As he put his foot into the
stirrup, he looked again: she was standing in the same place,
laughing still.

"_You_ go," she cried, waving him good-by. "There'll not be a soul to
disturb you! To-morrow--at four o'clock!"

"Will you be there?" he said.

"Will you?" she answered.

"I'll be there to-morrow," he said, "and every other day till you come."

By permission of the Macmillan Company, Publishers.


From 'Flute and Violin, and Other Kentucky Tales and Romances' Copyright
1891, by Harper and Brothers.

He stood on the topmost of the court-house steps, and for a moment
looked down on the crowd with the usual air of official severity.

"Gentlemen," he then cried out sharply, "by an ordah of the cou't I now
offah this man at public sale to the highes' biddah. He is able-bodied
but lazy, without visible property or means of suppoht, an' of dissolute
habits. He is therefoh adjudged guilty of high misdemeanahs, an' is to
be sole into labah foh a twelvemonth. How much, then, am I offahed foh
the vagrant? How much am I offahed foh ole King Sol'mon?"

Nothing was offered for old King Solomon. The spectators formed
themselves into a ring around the big vagrant, and settled down to enjoy
the performance.

"Staht 'im, somebody."

Somebody started a laugh, which rippled around the circle.

The sheriff looked on with an expression of unrelaxed severity, but
catching the eye of an acquaintance on the outskirts, he exchanged a
lightning wink of secret appreciation. Then he lifted off his tight
beaver hat, wiped out of his eyes a little shower of perspiration which
rolled suddenly down from above, and warmed a degree to his theme.

"Come, gentlemen," he said more suasively, "it's too hot to stan' heah
all day. Make me an offah! You all know ole King Sol'mon; don't wait to
be interduced. How much, then, to staht 'im? Say fifty dollahs!
Twenty-five! Fifteen! Ten! Why, gentlemen! Not _ten_ dollahs? Remembah,
this is the Blue-Grass Region of Kentucky--the land of Boone an' Kenton,
the home of Henry Clay!" he added, in an oratorical _crescendo_.

"He ain't wuth his victuals," said an oily little tavern-keeper, folding
his arms restfully over his own stomach and cocking up one piggish eye
into his neighbor's face. "He ain't wuth his 'taters."

"Buy 'im foh 'is rags!" cried a young law student, with a Blackstone
under his arm, to the town rag picker opposite, who was unconsciously
ogling the vagrant's apparel.

"I _might_ buy 'im foh 'is _scalp_," drawled a farmer, who had taken
part in all kinds of scalp contests, and was now known to be busily
engaged in collecting crow scalps for a match soon to come off between
two rival counties.

"I think I'll buy 'im foh a hat sign," said a manufacturer of ten-dollar
Castor and Rhorum hats. This sally drew merry attention to the vagrant's
hat, and the merchant felt rewarded.

"You'd bettah say the town ought to buy 'im an' put 'im up on top of the
cou't-house as a scarecrow foh the cholera," said some one else.

"What news of the cholera did the stage coach bring this mohning?"
quickly inquired his neighbor in his ear; and the two immediately fell
into low, grave talk, forgot the auction, and turned away.

"Stop, gentlemen, stop!" cried the sheriff, who had watched the rising
tide of good humor, and now saw his chance to float in on it with
spreading sails. "You're runnin' the price in the wrong direction--down,
not up. The law requires that he be sole to the highes' biddah, not the
lowes'. As loyal citizens, uphole the constitution of the commonwealth
of Kentucky an' make me an offah; the man is really a great bargain. In
the first place, he would cos' his ownah little or nothin', because, as
you see, he keeps himself in cigahs an' clo'es; then, his main article
of diet is whisky--a supply of which he always has on ban'. He don't
even need a bed, foh you know he sleeps jus' as well on any doohstep;
noh a chair, foh he prefers to sit roun' on the curbstones. Remembah,
too, gentlemen, that ole King Sol'mon is a Virginian--from the same
neighbohhood as Mr. Clay. Remembah that he is well educated, that he is
an _awful_ Whig, an' that he has smoked mo' of the stumps of Mr. Clay's
cigahs than any other man in existence. If you don't b'lieve _me,_
gentlemen, yondah goes Mr. Clay now; call _him_ ovah an' ask 'im foh

He paused, and pointed with his right forefinger towards Main Street,
along which the spectators, with a sudden craning of necks, beheld the
familiar figure of the passing statesman.

"But you don't need _any_body to tell these fac's, gentlemen," he
continued. "You merely need to be reminded that ole King Sol'mon is no
ohdinary man. Mo'ovah he has a kine heaht; he nevah spoke a rough wohd
to anybody in this worl', an' he is as proud as Tecumseh of his good
name an' charactah. An', gentlemen," he added, bridling with an air of
mock gallantry and laying a hand on his heart, "if anythin' fu'thah is
required in the way of a puffect encomium, we all know that there isn't
anothah man among us who cuts as wide a swath among the ladies. The'foh,
if you have any appreciation of virtue, any magnanimity of heaht; if you
set a propah valuation upon the descendants of Virginia, that mothah of
Presidents; if you believe in the pure laws of Kentucky as the pioneer
bride of the Union; if you love America an' love the worl'--make me a
gen'rous, high-toned offah foh ole King Sol'mon!"

He ended his peroration amid a shout of laughter and applause, and
feeling satisfied that it was a good time for returning to a more
practical treatment of his subject, proceeded in a sincere tone:--

"He can easily earn from one to two dollahs a day, an' from three to six
hundred a yeah. There's not anothah white man in town capable of doin'
as much work. There's not a niggah ban' in the hemp factories with such
muscles an' such a chest. _Look_ at 'em! An', if you don't b'lieve me,
step fo'ward and _feel_ 'em. How much, then, is bid foh 'im?"

"One dollah!" said the owner of a hemp factory, who had walked forward
and felt the vagrant's arm, laughing, but coloring up also as the eyes
of all were quickly turned upon him. In those days it was not an
unheard-of thing for the muscles of a human being to be thus examined
when being sold into servitude to a new master.

"Thank you!" cried the sheriff, cheerily. "One precinc' heard from! One
dollah! I am offahed one dollah foh ole King Sol'mon. One dollah foh the
king! Make it a half. One dollah an' a half. Make it a half. One

Two medical students, returning from lectures at the old Medical Hall,
now joined the group, and the sheriff explained:

"One dollah is bid foh the vagrant ole King Sol'mon, who is to be sole
into labah foh a twelvemonth. Is there any othah bid? Are you all done?
One dollah, once--"

"Dollah and a half," said one of the students, and remarked half
jestingly under his breath to his companion, "I'll buy him on the chance
of his dying. We'll dissect him."

"Would you own his body if he _should_ die?"

"If he dies while bound to me, I'll arrange _that_."

"One dollah an' a half," resumed the sheriff, and falling into the tone
of a facile auctioneer he rattled on:--

"One dollah an' a half foh ole Sol'mon--sol, sol, sol,--do, re, mi, fa,
sol,--do, re, mi, fa, sol! Why, gentlemen, you can set the king
to music!"

All this time the vagrant had stood in the centre of that close ring of
jeering and humorous bystanders--a baffling text from which to have
preached a sermon on the infirmities of our imperfect humanity. Some
years before, perhaps as a master-stroke of derision, there had been
given to him that title which could but heighten the contrast of his
personality and estate with every suggestion of the ancient sacred
magnificence; and never had the mockery seemed so fine as at this
moment, when he was led forth into the streets to receive the lowest
sentence of the law upon his poverty and dissolute idleness. He was
apparently in the very prime of life--a striking figure, for nature at
least had truly done some royal work on him. Over six feet in height,
erect, with limbs well shaped and sinewy, with chest and neck full of
the lines of great power, a large head thickly covered with long,
reddish hair, eyes blue, face beardless, complexion fair but discolored
by low passions and excesses--such was old King Solomon. He wore a
stiff, high, black Castor hat of the period, with the crown smashed in
and the torn rim hanging down over one ear; a black cloth coat in the
old style, ragged and buttonless; a white cotton shirt, with the broad
collar crumpled wide open at the neck and down his sunburnt bosom; blue
jean pantaloons, patched at the seat and the knees; and ragged cotton
socks that fell down over the tops of his dusty shoes, which were open
at the heels.

In one corner of his sensual mouth rested the stump of a cigar. Once
during the proceedings he had produced another, lighted it, and
continued quietly smoking. If he took to himself any shame as the
central figure of this ignoble performance, no one knew it. There was
something almost royal in his unconcern. The humor, the badinage, the
open contempt, of which he was the public target, fell thick and fast
upon him, but as harmlessly as would balls of pith upon a coat of mail.
In truth, there was that in his great, lazy, gentle, good-humored bulk
and bearing which made the gibes seem all but despicable. He shuffled
from one foot to the other as though he found it a trial to stand up so
long, but all the while looking the spectators full in the eyes without
the least impatience. He suffered the man of the factory to walk round
him and push and pinch his muscles as calmly as though he had been the
show bull at a country fair. Once only, when the sheriff had pointed
across the street at the figure of Mr. Clay, he had looked quickly in
that direction with a kindling light in his eye and a passing flush on
his face. For the rest, he seemed like a man who has drained his cup of
human life and has nothing left him but to fill again and drink without
the least surprise or eagerness.

The bidding between the man of the factory and the student had gone
slowly on. The price had reached ten dollars. The heat was intense, the
sheriff tired. Then something occurred to revivify the scene. Across the
market place and toward the steps of the court-house there suddenly
came trundling along in breathless haste a huge old negress, carrying on
one arm a large shallow basket containing apple-crab lanterns and fresh
gingerbread. With a series of half-articulate grunts and snorts she
approached the edge of the crowd and tried to force her way through. She
coaxed, she begged, she elbowed and pushed and scolded, now laughing,
and now with the passion of tears in her thick, excited voice. All at
once, catching sight of the sheriff, she lifted one ponderous brown arm,
naked to the elbow, and waved her hand to him above the heads of
those in front.

"Hole on marster! hole on!" she cried in a tone of humorous entreaty.
"Don' knock 'im off till I come! Gim _me_ a bid at 'im!"

The sheriff paused and smiled. The crowd made way tumultuously, with
broad laughter and comment.

"Stan' aside theah an' let Aun' Charlotte in!"

"_Now_ you'll see biddin'!"

"Get out of the way foh Aun' Charlotte!"

"Up, my free niggah! Hurrah foh Kentucky."

A moment more and she stood inside the ring of spectators, her basket on
the pavement at her feet, her hands plumped akimbo into her fathomless
sides, her head up, and her soft, motherly eyes turned eagerly upon the
sheriff. Of the crowd she seemed unconscious, and on the vagrant before
her she had not cast a single glance.

She was dressed with perfect neatness. A red and yellow Madras kerchief
was bound about her head in a high coil, and another over the bosom of
her stiffly starched and smoothly ironed blue cottonade dress. Rivulets
of perspiration ran down over her nose, her temples, and around her
ears, and disappeared mysteriously in the creases of her brown neck. A
single drop accidentally hung glistening like a diamond on the circlet
of one of her large brass earrings.

The sheriff looked at her a moment, smiling but a little disconcerted.
The spectacle was unprecedented.

"What do you want heah, Aun' Charlotte?" he asked kindly. "You can't
sell yo' pies an' gingerbread heah."

"I don' _wan_' sell no pies en gingerbread," she replied,
contemptuously. "I wan' bid on _him_," and she nodded sidewise at the
vagrant. "White folks allers sellin' niggahs to wuk fuh _dem_; I gwine
to buy a white man to wuk fuh _me_. En he gwine t' git a mighty hard
mistiss, you heah _me_!"

The eyes of the sheriff twinkled with delight.

"Ten dollahs is offahed foh ole King Sol'mon. Is theah any othah bid.
Are you all done?"

"Leben," she said.

Two young ragamuffins crawled among the legs of the crowd up to her
basket and filched pies and cake beneath her very nose.

"Twelve!" cried the student, laughing.

"Thirteen!" she laughed, too, but her eyes flashed.

"_You are bidding against a niggah_" whispered the student's companion
in his ear.

"So I am; let's be off," answered the other, with a hot flush on his
proud face.

Thus the sale was ended, and the crowd variously dispersed. In a distant
corner of the courtyard the ragged urchins were devouring their
unexpected booty. The old negress drew a red handkerchief out of her
bosom, untied a knot in a corner of it, and counted out the money to the
sheriff. Only she and the vagrant were now left on the spot.

"You have bought me. What do you want me to do?" he asked quietly.

"Lohd, honey!" she answered, in a low tone of affectionate chiding, "I
don' wan' you to do _no thin_'! I wuzn' gwine t' 'low dem white folks to
buy you. Dey'd wuk you till you dropped dead. You go 'long en do ez
you please."

She gave a cunning chuckle of triumph in thus setting at naught the ends
of justice, and in a voice rich and musical with affection, she said, as
she gave him a little push:

"You bettah be gittin' out o' dis blazin' sun. G' on home! I be 'long

He turned and moved slowly away in the direction of Water Street, where
she lived; and she, taking up her basket, shuffled across the market
place toward Cheapside, muttering to herself the while:

"I come mighty nigh gittin' dar too late, foolin' long wid dese pies.
Sellin' _him_ 'ca'se he don' wuk! Umph! if all de men in dis town dat
don' wuk wuz to be tuk up en sole, d' wouldn' be 'nough money in de town
to buy em! Don' I see 'em settin' 'roun' dese taverns f'om mohnin'
till night?"

Nature soon smiles upon her own ravages and strews our graves with
flowers, not as memories, but for other flowers when the spring returns.

It was one cool, brilliant morning late in that autumn. The air blew
fresh and invigorating, as though on the earth there were no corruption,
no death. Far southward had flown the plague. A spectator in the open
court square might have seen many signs of life returning to the town.
Students hurried along, talking eagerly. Merchants met for the first
time and spoke of the winter trade. An old negress, gayly and neatly
dressed, came into the market place, and sitting down on a sidewalk
displayed her yellow and red apples and fragrant gingerbread. She hummed
to herself an old cradle-song, and in her soft, motherly black eyes
shone a mild, happy radiance. A group of young ragamuffins eyed her
longingly from a distance. Court was to open for the first time since
the spring. The hour was early, and one by one the lawyers passed slowly
in. On the steps of the court-house three men were standing: Thomas
Brown, the sheriff; old Peter Leuba, who had just walked over from his
music store on Main Street; and little M. Giron, the French
confectioner. Each wore mourning on his hat, and their voices were low
and grave.

"Gentlemen," the sheriff was saying, "it was on this very spot the day
befoah the cholera broke out that I sole 'im as a vagrant. An' I did the
meanes' thing a man can evah do. I hel' 'im up to public ridicule foh
his weakness an' made spoht of 'is infirmities. I laughed at 'is povahty
an' 'is ole clo'es. I delivahed on 'im as complete an oration of
sarcastic detraction as I could prepare on the spot, out of my own
meanness an' with the vulgah sympathies of the crowd. Gentlemen, if I
only had that crowd heah now, an' ole King Sol'mon standin' in the midst
of it, that I might ask 'im to accept a humble public apology, offahed
from the heaht of one who feels himself unworthy to shake 'is han'! But
gentlemen, that crowd will nevah reassemble. Neahly ev'ry man of them is
dead, an' ole King Sol'mon buried them."

"He buried my friend Adolphe Xaupi," said François Giron, touching his
eyes with his handkerchief.

"There is a case of my best Jamaica rum for him whenever he comes for
it," said old Leuba, clearing his throat.

"But, gentlemen, while we are speakin' of ole King Sol'mon we ought not
to forget who it is that has suppohted 'im. Yondah she sits on the
sidewalk, sellin' 'er apples an' gingerbread."

The three men looked in the direction indicated.

"Heah comes ole King Sol'mon now," exclaimed the sheriff.

Across the open square the vagrant was seen walking slowly along with
his habitual air of quiet, unobtrusive preoccupation. A minute more and
he had come over and passed into the court-house by a side door.

"Is Mr. Clay to be in court to-day?"

"He is expected, I think."

"Then let's go in: there will be a crowd."

"I don't know: so many are dead."

They turned and entered and found seats as quietly as possible; for a
strange and sorrowful hush brooded over the court-room. Until the bar
assembled, it had not been realized how many were gone. The silence was
that of a common overwhelming disaster. No one spoke with his neighbor;
no one observed the vagrant as he entered and made his way to a seat on
one of the meanest benches, a little apart from the others. He had not
sat there since the day of his indictment for vagrancy. The judge took
his seat, and making a great effort to control himself, passed his eyes
slowly over the court-room. All at once he caught sight of old King
Solomon sitting against the wall in an obscure corner; and before any
one could know what he was doing, he had hurried down and walked up to
the vagrant and grasped his hand. He tried to speak, but could not. Old
King Solomon had buried his wife and daughter,--buried them one clouded
midnight, with no one present but himself.

Then the oldest member of the bar started up and followed the example;
and then the other members, rising by a common impulse, filed slowly
back and one by one wrung that hard and powerful hand. After them came
the other persons in the court-room. The vagrant, the gravedigger, had
risen and stood against the wall, at first with a white face and a dazed
expression, not knowing what it meant; afterwards, when he understood
it, his head dropped suddenly forward and his tears fell thick and hot
upon the hands that he could not see. And his were not the only tears.
Not a man in the long file but paid his tribute of emotion as he stepped
forward to honor that image of sadly eclipsed but still effulgent
humanity. It was not grief, it was not gratitude, nor any sense of
making reparation for the past. It was the softening influence of an
act of heroism, which makes every man feel himself a brother hand in
hand with every other;--such power has a single act of moral greatness
to reverse the relations of men, lifting up one, and bringing all others
to do him homage.

It was the coronation scene in the life of 'Ole' King Solomon of



Each form of verse has, in addition to its laws of structure, a subtle
quality as difficult to define as the perfume of a flower. The poem, 'An
Evening,' given below, may be classified both as a song and as a lyric;
yet it needs no music other than its own rhythms, and the full close to
each verse which falls upon the ear like a soft and final chord ending a
musical composition. A light touch and a feeling for shades of meaning
are required to execute such dainty verse. In 'St. Margaret's Eve,' and
in many other ballads, Allingham expresses the broader, more dramatic
sweep of the ballad, and reveals his Celtic ancestry.

The lovable Irishman, William Allingham, worked hard to enter the
brotherhood of poets. When he was only fourteen his father took him from
school to become clerk in the town bank of which he himself was manager.
"The books which he had to keep for the next seven years were not those
on which his heart was set," says Mr. George Birkbeck Hill. But this
fortune is almost an inevitable part, and probably not the worst part,
of the training for a literary vocation; and he justified his ambitions
by pluckily studying alone till he had mastered Greek, Latin, French,
and German.

Mr. Hill, in his 'Letters of D.G. Rossetti' (Atlantic Monthly, May,
1896), thus quotes Allingham's own delightful description of his early
home at Ballyshannon, County Donegal:--

     "The little old town where I was born has a voice of its own,
     low, solemn, persistent, humming through the air day and
     night, summer and winter. Whenever I think of that town I
     seem to hear the voice. The river which makes it rolls over
     rocky ledges into the tide. Before spreads a great ocean in
     sunshine or storm; behind stretches a many-islanded lake. On
     the south runs a wavy line of blue mountains; and on the
     north, over green rocky hills rise peaks of a more distant
     range. The trees hide in glens or cluster near the river;
     gray rocks and bowlders lie scattered about the windy
     pastures. The sky arches wide over all, giving room to
     multitudes of stars by night, and long processions of clouds
     blown from the sea; but also, in the childish memory where
     these pictures live, to deeps of celestial blue in the
     endless days of summer. An odd, out-of-the-way little town,
     ours, on the extreme western edge of Europe; our next
     neighbors, sunset way, being citizens of the great new
     republic, which indeed, to our imagination, seemed little if
     at all farther off than England in the opposite direction."

Of the cottage in which he spent most of his childhood and youth he

     "Opposite the hall door a good-sized walnut-tree leaned its
     wrinkled stem towards the house, and brushed some of the
     second-story panes with its broad, fragrant leaves. To sit at
     that little upper window when it was open to a summer
     twilight, and the great tree rustled gently, and sent one
     leafy spray so far that it even touched my face, was an
     enchantment beyond all telling. Killarney, Switzerland,
     Venice, could not, in later life, come near it. On three
     sides the cottage looked on flowers and branches, which I
     count as one of the fortunate chances of my childhood; the
     sense of natural beauty thus receiving its due share of
     nourishment, and of a kind suitable to those early years."

At last a position in the Customs presented itself:--

     "In the spring of 1846 I gladly took leave forever of
     discount ledgers and current accounts, and went to Belfast
     for two months' instruction in the duties of Principal Coast
     Officer of Customs; a tolerably well-sounding title, but
     which carried with it a salary of but £80 a year. I trudged
     daily about the docks and timber-yards, learning to measure
     logs, piles of planks, and, more troublesome, ships for
     tonnage; indoors, part of the time practiced customs
     book-keeping, and talked to the clerks about literature and
     poetry in a way that excited some astonishment, but on the
     whole, as I found at parting, a certain degree of curiosity
     and respect. I preached Tennyson to them. My spare time was
     mostly spent in reading and haunting booksellers' shops
     where, I venture to say, I laid out a good deal more than
     most people, in proportion to my income, and managed to get
     glimpses of many books which I could not afford or did not
     care to buy. I enjoyed my new position, on the whole, without
     analysis, as a great improvement on the bank; and for the
     rest, my inner mind was brimful of love and poetry, and
     usually all external things appeared trivial save in their
     relation to it."

Of Allingham's early song-writing, his friend Arthur Hughes says:--

     "Rossetti, and I think Allingham himself, told me, in the
     early days of our acquaintance, how in remote Ballyshannon,
     where he was a clerk in the Customs, in evening walks he
     would hear the Irish girls at their cottage doors singing old
     ballads, which he would pick up. If they were broken or
     incomplete, he would add to them or finish them; if they were
     improper he would refine them. He could not get them sung
     till he got the Dublin Catnach of that day to print them, on
     long strips of blue paper, like old songs, and if about the
     sea, with the old rough woodcut of a ship on the top. He
     either gave them away or they were sold in the neighborhood.
     Then, in his evening walks, he had at last the pleasure of
     hearing some of his own ballads sung at the cottage doors by
     the blooming lasses, who were quite unaware that it was the
     author who was passing by."

In 1850 Allingham published a small volume of lyrics whose freshness and
delicacy seemed to announce a new singer, and four years later his 'Day
and Night Songs' strengthened this impression. Stationed as revenue
officer in various parts of England, he wrote much verse, and published
also the 'The Rambles of Patricius Walker,' a collection of essays upon
his walks through England; 'Lawrence Bloomfield in Ireland,' the tale of
a young landlord's efforts to improve the condition of his tenantry; an
anthology, 'Nightingale Valley' (1862), and an excellent collection of
English ballads, 'The Ballad Book' (1865).

In 1870 he gladly embraced an opportunity to leave the Customs for the
position of assistant editor of Fraser's Magazine under Froude, whom he
afterward succeeded as editor. He was now a member of a brilliant
literary circle, knew Tennyson, Ruskin, and Carlyle, and was admitted
into the warm friendship of the Pre-Raphaelites. But in no way does he
reflect the Pre-Raphaelite spirit by which he was surrounded; nor does
he write his lyrics in the metres and rhythms of mediaeval France. He is
as oblivious of rondeaux, ballades, and roundels, as he is of fair
damosels with cygnet necks and full pomegranate lips. He is a child of
nature, whose verse is free from all artificial inspiration or
expression, and seems to flow easily, clearly, and tenderly from his
pen. Some of it errs in being too fanciful. In the Flower-Songs, indeed,
he sometimes becomes trivial in his comparison of each English poet to a
special flower; but his poetry is usually sincere with an undercurrent
of pathos, as in 'The Ruined Chapel,' 'The Winter Pear,' and the 'Song.'
For lightness of touch and aerial grace, 'The Bubble' will bear
comparison with any verse of its own _genre_. 'Robin Redbreast' has many
delightful lines; and in 'The Fairies' one is taken into the realm of
Celtic folklore, which is Allingham's inheritance, where the Brownies,
the Pixies, and the Leprechauns trip over the dew-spangled meadows, or
dance on the yellow sands, and then vanish away in fantastic mists.
Quite different is 'Lovely Mary Donnelly,' which is a sample of the
popular songs that made him a favorite in his own country.

After his death at Hampstead in 1889, his body was cremated according to
his wish, when these lines of his own were read:--

     "Body to purifying flame,
     Soul to the Great Deep whence it came,
     Leaving a song on earth below,
     An urn of ashes white as snow."


     By the shore, a plot of ground
     Clips a ruined chapel round,
     Buttressed with a grassy mound;
       Where Day and Night and Day go by
     And bring no touch of human sound.

     Washing of the lonely seas,
     Shaking of the guardian trees,
     Piping of the salted breeze;
       Day and Night and Day go by
     To the endless tune of these.

     Or when, as winds and waters keep
     A hush more dead than any sleep,
     Still morns to stiller evenings creep,
       And Day and Night and Day go by;
     Here the silence is most deep.

     The empty ruins, lapsed again
     Into Nature's wide domain,
     Sow themselves with seed and grain
       As Day and Night and Day go by;
     And hoard June's sun and April's rain.

     Here fresh funeral tears were shed;
     Now the graves are also dead;
     And suckers from the ash-tree spread,
       While Day and Night and Day go by;
     And stars move calmly overhead.

               From 'Day and Night Songs.'


     Is always Age severe?
       Is never Youth austere?
       Spring-fruits are sour to eat;
       Autumn's the mellow time.
     Nay, very late in the year,
       Short day and frosty rime,
     Thought, like a winter pear,
       Stone-cold in summer's prime,
     May turn from harsh to sweet.

               From 'Ballads and Songs.'


     O spirit of the Summer-time!
       Bring back the roses to the dells;
     The swallow from her distant clime,
       The honey-bee from drowsy cells.

     Bring back the friendship of the sun;
       The gilded evenings calm and late,
     When weary children homeward run,
       And peeping stars bid lovers wait.

     Bring back the singing; and the scent
       Of meadow-lands at dewy prime;
     Oh, bring again my heart's content,
       Thou Spirit of the Summer-time!

               From 'Day and Night Songs.'


     See the pretty planet!
       Floating sphere!
     Faintest breeze will fan it
       Far or near;

     World as light as feather;
       Moonshine rays,
     Rainbow tints together,
       As it plays.

     Drooping, sinking, failing,
       Nigh to earth,
     Mounting, whirling, sailing,
       Full of mirth;

     Life there, welling, flowing,
       Waving round;
     Pictures coming, going,
       Without sound.

     Quick now, be this airy
       Globe repelled!
     Never can the fairy
       Star be held.

     Touched--it in a twinkle
     Leaving but a sprinkle,
       As of tears.

               From 'Ballads and Songs.'


     I built my castle upon the seaside,
       The waves roll so gayly O,
     Half on the land and half in the tide,
           Love me true!

     Within was silk, without was stone,
       The waves roll so gayly O,
     It lacks a queen, and that alone,
           Love me true!

     The gray old harper sang to me,
       The waves roll so gayly O,
     "Beware of the Damsel of the Sea!"
           Love me true!

     Saint Margaret's Eve it did befall,
       The waves roll so gayly O,
     The tide came creeping up the wall,
           Love me true!

     I opened my gate; who there should stand--
       The waves roll so gayly O,
     But a fair lady, with a cup in her hand,
           Love me true!

     The cup was gold, and full of wine,
       The waves roll so gayly O,
     "Drink," said the lady, "and I will be thine,"
           Love me true!

     "Enter my castle, lady fair,"
       The waves roll so gayly O,
     "You shall be queen of all that's there,"
           Love me true!

     A gray old harper sang to me,
       The waves roll so gayly O,
     "Beware of the Damsel of the Sea!"
           Love me true!

     In hall he harpeth many a year,
       The waves roll so gayly O,
     And we will sit his song to hear,
           Love me true!

     "I love thee deep, I love thee true,"
       The waves roll so gayly O,
     "But ah! I know not how to woo,"
           Love me true!

     Down dashed the cup, with a sudden shock,
       The waves roll so gayly O,
     The wine like blood ran over the rock,
           Love me true!

     She said no word, but shrieked aloud,
       The waves roll so gayly O,
     And vanished away from where she stood,
           Love me true!

     I locked and barred my castle door,
       The waves roll so gayly O,
     Three summer days I grieved sore,
           Love me true!

     For myself a day, a night,
       The waves roll so gayly O,
     And two to moan that lady bright,
           Love me true!

               From 'Ballads and Songs.'



     Up the airy mountain,
       Down the rushy glen,
     We daren't go a hunting
       For fear of little men:
     Wee folk, good folk,
       Trooping all together;
     Green jacket, red cap,
       And white owl's feather.

     Down along the rocky shore
       Some have made their home;
     They live on crispy pancakes
       Of yellow-tide foam.
     Some in the reeds
       Of the black mountain-lake,
     With frogs for their watch-dogs,
       All night awake.

     High on the hill-top
       The old King sits;
     He is now so old and gray
       He's nigh lost his wits.
     With a bridge of white mist
       Columbkill he crosses,
     On his stately journeys
       From Sliveleague to Rosses;
     Or going up with music
       On cold starry nights,
     To sup with the Queen
       Of the gay northern lights.

     They stole little Bridget
       For seven years long;
     When she came down again
       Her friends were all gone.
     They took her lightly back,
       Between the night and morrow,
     They thought that she was fast asleep,
       But she was dead with sorrow.
     They have kept her ever since
       Deep within the lakes,
     On a bed of flag leaves
       Watching till she wakes.

     By the craggy hillside,
       Through the mosses bare,
     They have planted thorn-trees
       For pleasure here and there.
     Is any man so daring
       As dig them up in spite,
     He shall feel their sharpest thorns
       In his bed at night.

     Up the airy mountain,
       Down the rushy glen,
     We daren't go a hunting
       For fear of little men:
     Wee folk, good folk,
       Trooping all together;
     Green jacket, red cap,
       And white owl's feather.

               From 'Ballads and Songs.'



     Good-by, good-by, to Summer!
       For Summer's nearly done;
     The garden smiling faintly,
       Cool breezes in the sun;
     Our Thrushes now are silent,
       Our Swallows flown away--
     But Robin's here, in coat of brown,
       With ruddy breast-knot gay.
         Robin, Robin Redbreast,
           Oh, Robin, dear!
         Robin singing sweetly
           In the falling of the year.

     Bright yellow, red, and orange,
       The leaves come down in hosts;
     The trees are Indian Princes,
       But soon they'll turn to Ghosts;
     The scanty pears and apples
       Hang russet on the bough,
     It's Autumn, Autumn, Autumn late,
       'Twill soon be winter now.
         Robin, Robin Redbreast,
           Oh, Robin, dear!
         And welaway! my Robin,
           For pinching times are near.

     The fireside for the Cricket,
       The wheatstack for the Mouse,
     When trembling night-winds whistle
       And moan all round the house.
     The frosty ways like iron,
       The branches plumed with snow--
     Alas! in Winter, dead and dark,
       Where can poor Robin go?
         Robin, Robin Redbreast,
           Oh, Robin, dear!
         And a crumb of bread for Robin,
           His little heart to cheer.

               From 'Ballads and Songs.'


     Sunset's mounded cloud;
       A diamond evening-star;
       Sad blue hills afar:
         Love in his shroud.

     Scarcely a tear to shed;
       Hardly a word to say;
       The end of a summer's day;
         Sweet Love is dead.

               From 'Day and Night Songs.'


     Gold tassel upon March's bugle-horn,
       Whose blithe reveille blows from hill to hill
       And every valley rings--O Daffodil!
     What promise for the season newly born?
     Shall wave on wave of flow'rs, full tide of corn,
       O'erflow the world, then fruited Autumn fill
       Hedgerow and garth? Shall tempest, blight, or chill
     Turn all felicity to scathe and scorn?

     Tantarrara! the joyous Book of Spring
       Lies open, writ in blossoms; not a bird
       Of evil augury is seen or heard:
     Come now, like Pan's old crew, we'll dance and sing,
     Or Oberon's: for hill and valley ring
       To March's bugle-horn,--Earth's blood is stirred.

               From 'Flower Pieces.'


     (To an Irish Tune)

     O lovely Mary Donnelly, it's you I love the best!
     If fifty girls were round you, I'd hardly see the rest.
     Be what it may the time of day, the place be where it will,
     Sweet looks of Mary Donnelly, they bloom before me still.

     Her eyes like mountain water that's flowing on a rock,
     How clear they are, how dark they are! and they give me many a shock.
     Red rowans warm in sunshine and wetted with a shower,
     Could ne'er express the charming lip that has me in its power.

     Her nose is straight and handsome, her eyebrows lifted up;
     Her chin is very neat and pert, and smooth like a china cup;
     Her hair's the brag of Ireland, so weighty and so fine,
     It's rolling down upon her neck and gathered in a twine.

     The dance o' last Whit Monday night exceeded all before;
     No pretty girl for miles about was missing from the floor;
     But Mary kept the belt of love, and oh, but she was gay!
     She danced a jig, she sung a song, that took my heart away.

     When she stood up for dancing, her steps were so complete,
     The music nearly killed itself to listen to her feet;
     The fiddler moaned his blindness, he heard her so much praised,
     But blessed himself he wasn't deaf, when once her voice she raised.

     And evermore I'm whistling or lilting what you sung,
     Your smile is always in my heart, your name beside my tongue;
     But you've as many sweethearts as you'd count on both your hands,
     And for myself there's not a thumb or little finger stands.

     Oh, you're the flower o' womankind in country or in town;
     The higher I exalt you, the lower I'm cast down.
     If some great lord should come this way, and see your beauty bright,
     And you to be his lady, I'd own it was but right.

     Oh, might we live together in a lofty palace hall,
     Where joyful music rises, and where scarlet curtains fall!
     Oh, might we live together in a cottage mean and small,
     With sods of grass the only roof, and mud the only wall!

     O lovely Mary Donnelly, your beauty's my distress:
     It's far too beauteous to be mine, but I'll never wish it less.
     The proudest place would fit your face, and I am poor and low;
     But blessings be about you, dear, wherever you may go!

               From 'Ballads and Songs.'



Almquist, one of the most versatile writers of Sweden, was a man of
strange contrasts, a genius as uncertain as a will-o'-the-wisp. His
contemporary, the famous poet and critic Atterbom, writes:--

     "What did the great poets of past times possess which upheld
     them under even the bitterest worldly circumstances? Two
     things: one a strong and conscientious will, the other a
     single--not double, much less manifold--determination for
     their work, oneness. They were not self-seekers; they sought,
     they worshiped something better than themselves. The aim
     which stood dimly before their inmost souls was not the
     enjoyment of flattered vanity; it was a high, heroic symbol
     of love of honor and love of country, of heavenly wisdom. For
     this they thought it worth while to fight, for this they even
     thought it worth while to suffer, without finding the
     suffering in itself strange, or calling earth to witness
     thereof.... The writer of 'Törnrosens Bok' [The Book of the
     Rose] is one of these few; he does therefore already reign
     over a number of youthful hearts, and out of them will rise
     his time of honor, a time when many of the celebrities of the
     present moment will have faded away."

Almquist was born in Stockholm in 1793. When still a very young man he
obtained a good official position, but gave it up in 1823 to lead a
colony of friends into the forests of Värmland, where they intended to
return to a primitive life close to the heart of nature. He called this
colony a "Man's-home Association," and ordained that in the primeval
forest the members should live in turf-covered huts, wear homespun, eat
porridge with a wooden spoon, and enact the ancient freeholder. The
experiment was not successful, he tired of the manual work, and
returning to Stockholm, became master of the new Elementary School, and
began to write text-books and educational works. His publication of a
number of epics, dramas, lyrics, and romances made him suddenly famous.
Viewed as a whole, this collection is generally called 'The Book of the
Rose,' but at times 'En Irrande Hind' (A Stray Deer). Of this, the two
dramas, 'Signora Luna' and 'Ramido Marinesco,' contain some of the
pearls of Swedish literature. Uneven in the plan and execution, they are
yet masterly in dialogue, and their dramatic and tragic force is great.
Almquist's imagination showed itself as individual as it is fantastic.
Coming from a man hitherto known as the writer of text-books and the
advocate of popular social ideas, the volumes aroused extraordinary
interest. The author revealed himself as akin to Novalis and Victor
Hugo, with a power of language like that of Atterbom, and a richness of
color resembling Tegnèr's. Atterbom himself wrote of 'Törnrosens Bok'
that it was a work whose "faults were exceedingly easy to overlook and
whose beauties exceedingly difficult to match."

After this appeared in rapid succession, and written with equal ease,
lyrical, dramatic, educational, poetical, aesthetical, philosophical,
moral, and religious treatises, as well as lectures and studies in
history and law; for Almquist now gave all his time to literary labors.
His novels showed socialistic sympathies, and he put forth newspaper
articles and pamphlets on Socialism which aroused considerable
opposition. Moreover, he delighted in contradictions. One day he wrote
as an avowed Christian, extolling virtue, piety, and Christian
knowledge; the next, he abrogated religion as entirely unnecessary: and
his own explanation of this variability was merely--"I paint so because
it pleases me to paint so, and life is not otherwise."

In 1851 was heard the startling rumor that he was accused of forgery and
charged with murder. He fled from Sweden and disappeared from the
knowledge of men. Going to America, he earned under a fictitious name a
scanty living, and became, it is said, the private secretary of Abraham
Lincoln. In 1866 he found himself again under the ban of the law, his
papers were destroyed, and he escaped with difficulty to Bremen,
where he died.

One of his latest works was his excellent modern novel, 'Det Går An'
(It's All Right), a forerunner of the "problem novel" of the day. It is
an attack upon conventional marriage, and pictures the helplessness of a
woman in the hands of a depraved man. Its extreme views called out
violent criticism.

He was a romanticist through and through, with a strong leaning toward
the French school. Among the best of his tales are 'Araminta May,'
'Skällnora Quarn' (Skällnora's Mill), and 'Grimstahamns Nybygge'
(Grimstahamn's Settlement). His idyl 'Kapellet' (The Chapel) is
wonderfully true to nature, and his novel 'Palatset' (The Palace) is
rich in humor and true poesy. His literary fame will probably rest on
his romances, which are the best of their kind in Swedish literature.


Any one with a taste for physiognomy should carefully observe the
features of the ox and the cow; their demeanor and the expression of
their eyes. They are figures which bear an extraordinary stamp of
respectability. They look neither joyful nor melancholy. They are seldom
evilly disposed, but never sportive. They are full of gravity, and
always seem to be going about their business. They are not merely of
great economic service, but their whole persons carry the look of it.
They are the very models of earthly carefulness.

Nothing is ever to be seen more dignified, more official-looking, than
the whole behavior of the ox; his way of carrying his head, and looking
around him. If anybody thinks I mean these words for a sarcasm, he is
mistaken: no slur on official life, or on what the world calls a man's
vocation, is intended. I hold them all in as much respect as could be
asked. And though I have an eye for contours, no feeling of ridicule is
connected in my mind with any of these. On the contrary, I regard the ox
and the cow with the warmest feelings of esteem. I admire in them a
naïve and striking picture of one who minds his own business; who
submits to the claims of duty, not using the word in its highest sense;
who in the world's estimate is dignified, steady, conventional, and
middle-aged,--that is to say, neither youthful nor stricken in years.

Look at that ox which stands before you, chewing his cud and gazing
around him with such unspeakable thoughtfulness--but which you will
find, when you look more closely into his eyes, is thinking about
nothing at all. Look at that discreet, excellent Dutch cow, which,
gifted with an inexhaustible udder, stands quietly and allows herself to
be milked as a matter of course, while she gazes into space with a most
sensible expression. Whatever she does, she does with the same
imperturbable calmness, and as when a person leaves an important trust
to his own time and to posterity. If the worth of this creature is thus
great on the one side, yet on the other it must be confessed that she
possesses not a single trait of grace, not a particle of vivacity, and
none of that quick characteristic retreating from an object which
indicates an internal buoyancy, an elastic temperament, such as we see
in a bird or fish.... There is something very agreeable in the varied
lowing of cattle when heard in the distant country, and when replied to
by a large herd, especially toward evening and amid echoes. On the other
hand, nothing is more unpleasant than to hear all at once, and just
beside one, the bellowing of a bull, who thus authoritatively announces
himself, as if nobody else had any right to utter a syllable in
his presence.


From 'The Book of the Rose'

Miss Rudensköld and her companion sat in one of the pews in the cheerful
and beautiful church of Normalm, which is all that is left of the once
famous cloister of St. Clara, and still bears the saint's name. The
sermon was finished, and the strong full tones of the organ, called out
by the skillful hands of an excellent organist, hovered like the voices
of unseen angel choirs in the high vaults of the church, floated down to
the listeners, and sank deep into their hearts.

Azouras did not speak a single word; neither did she sing, for she did
not know a whole hymn through. Nor did Miss Rudensköld sing, because it
was not her custom to sing in church. During the organ solo, however,
Miss Rudensköld ventured to make some remarks about Dr. Asplund's sermon
which was so beautiful, and about the notices afterward which were so
tiresome. But when her neighbor did not answer, but sat looking ahead
with large, almost motionless eyes, as people stare without looking at
anything in particular, she changed her subject.

At one of the organ tones which finished a cadence, Azouras started, and
blinked quickly with her eyelids, and a light sigh showed that she came
back to herself and her friend, from her vague contemplative state of
mind. Something indescribable, very sad, shone in her eyes, and made
them almost black; and with a childlike look at Miss Rudensköld she
asked, "Tell me what that large painting over there represents."

"The altar-piece? Don't you know? The altar-piece in Clara is one of the
most beautiful we possess."

"What is going on there?" asked Azouras.

Miss Rudensköld gave her a side glance; she did not know that her
neighbor in the pew was a girl without baptism, without Christianity,
without the slightest knowledge of holy religion, a heathen--and knew
less than a heathen, for such a one has his teachings, although they are
not Christian. Miss Rudensköld thought the girl's question came of a
momentary forgetfulness, and answered, to remind her:--

"Well, you see, it is one of the usual subjects, but unusually well
painted, that is all. High up among the other figures in the painting
you will see the half-reclining figure of one that is dead--see what an
expression the painter has put into the face!--That is the Saviour."

"The Saviour?"

"Yes, God's son, you know; or God Himself."

"And he is dead?" repeated Azouras to herself with wondering eyes. "Yes,
I believe that; it must be so: it is godlike to die!"

Miss Rudensköld looked at her neighbor with wide-opened eyes. "You must
not misunderstand this subject," she said. "It is human to live and want
to live; you can see that, too, in the altar-piece, for all the persons
who are human beings, like ourselves, are alive."

"Let us go out! I feel oppressed by fear--no, I will tarry here until my
fear passes away. Go, dearest, I will send you word."

Miss Rudensköld took leave of her; went out of the church and over the
churchyard to the Eastern Gate, which faces Oden's lane....

The girl meanwhile stayed inside; came to a corner in the organ stairs;
saw people go out little by little; remained unobserved, and finally
heard the sexton and the church-keeper go away. When the last door was
closed, Azouras stepped out of her hiding-place. Shut out from the
entire world, severed from all human beings, she found herself the only
occupant of the large, light building, into which the sun lavishly
poured his gold.

Although she was entirely ignorant of our holy church customs and the
meaning of the things she saw around her, she had nevertheless,
sometimes in the past, when her mother was in better health, been
present at the church service as a pastime, and so remembered one thing
and another. The persons with whom she lived, in the halls and corridors
of the opera, hardly ever went to God's house; and generally speaking,
church-going was not practiced much during this time. No wonder, then,
that a child who was not a member of any religious body, and who had
never received an enlightening word from any minister, should neglect
what the initiated themselves did not attend to assiduously.

She walked up the aisle, and never had the sad, strange feeling of utter
loneliness taken hold of her as it did now; it was coupled with the
apprehension of a great, overhanging danger. Her heart beat wildly; she
longed unspeakably--but for what? for her wild free forest out there,
where she ran around quick as a deer? or for what?

She walked up toward the choir and approached the altar railing. "Here
at least--I remember that once--but that was long ago, and it stands
like a shadow before my memory--I saw many people kneel here: it must
have been of some use to them? Suppose I did likewise?"

Nevertheless she thought it would be improper for her to kneel down on
the decorated cushions around the chancel. She folded her hands and
knelt outside of the choir on the bare stone floor. But what more was
she to do or say now? Of what use was it all? Where was she to turn?

She knew nothing. She looked down into her own thoughts as into an
immense, silent dwelling. Feelings of sorrow and a sense of transiency
moved in slow swells, like shining, breaking waves, through her
consciousness. "Oh--something to lean on--a help--where? where? where?"

She looked quietly about her; she saw nobody. She was sure to meet the
most awful danger when the door was opened, if help did not come first.

She turned her eyes back toward the organ, and in her thoughts she
besought grace of the straight, long, shining pipes. But all their
mouths were silent now.

She looked up to the pulpit; nobody was standing there. In the pews
nobody. She had sent everybody away from here and from herself.

She turned her head again toward the choir. She remembered that when she
had seen so many gathered here, two ministers in vestments had moved
about inside of the railing and had offered the kneeling worshipers
something. No doubt to help them! But now--there was nobody inside
there. To be sure she was kneeling here with folded hands and praying
eyes; but there was nobody, nobody, nobody who offered her the least
little thing. She wept.

She looked out of the great church windows to the clear noonday sky;
her eyes beheld the delicate azure light which spread itself over
everything far, far away, but on nothing could her eyes rest. There were
no stars to be seen now, and the sun itself was hidden by the window
post, although its mild golden light flooded the world.

She looked away again, and her eyes sank to the ground. Her knees were
resting on a tombstone, and she saw many of the same kind about her. She
read the names engraven on the stones; they were all Swedish, correct
and well-known. "Oh," she said to herself with a sigh, "I have not a
name like others! My names have been many, borrowed,--and oh, often
changed. I did not get one to be my very own! If only I had one like
other people! Nobody has written me down in a book as I have heard it
said others are written down. Nobody asks about me. I have nothing to do
with anybody! Poor Azouras," she whispered low to herself. She
wept much.

There was no one else who said "poor Azouras Tintomara!" but it was as
if an inner, higher, invisible being felt sorry for the outer, bodily,
visible being, both one and the same person in her. She wept bitterly
over herself.

"God is dead," she thought, and looked up at the large altar-piece
again. "But I am a human being; I must live." And she wept more
heartily, more bitterly....

The afternoon passed, and the hour for vespers struck. The bells in the
tower began to lift their solemn voices, and keys rattled in the lock.
Then the heathen girl sprang up, and, much like a thin vanishing mist,
disappeared from the altar. She hid in her corner again. It seemed to
her that she had been forward, and had taken liberties in the choir of
the church to which she had no right; and that in the congregation
coming in now, she saw persons who had a right to everything.

Nevertheless, when the harmonious tones of the organ began to mix with
the fragrant summer air in the church, Azouras stood radiant, and she
felt quickly how the weight lifted from her breast. Was it because of
the tears she had shed? Or did an unknown helper at this moment scatter
the fear in her heart?

She felt no more that it would be dangerous to leave the church; she
stole away, before vespers were over, came out into the churchyard and
turned off to the northern gate.

     GOD'S WAR

     His mighty weapon drawing,
       God smites the world he loves;
     Thus, worthy of him growing,
       She his reflection proves.
     God's war like lightning striking,
       The heart's deep core lays bare,
     Which fair grows to his liking
       Who is supremely fair.

     Escapes no weakness shame,
       No hid, ignoble feeling;
       But when his thunder pealing
     Enkindles life's deep flame,
     And water clear upwelleth,
       Flowing unto its goal,
     God's grand cross standing, telleth
       His truth unto the soul.
         Sing, God's war, earth that shakes!
         Sing, sing the peace he makes!



Before the year 1895 the name of the German peasant, Johanna Ambrosius,
was hardly known, even within her own country. Now her melodious verse
has made her one of the most popular writers in Germany. Her genius
found its way from the humble farm in Eastern Prussia, where she worked
in the field beside her husband, to the very heart of the great literary
circles. She was born in Lengwethen, a parish village in Eastern
Prussia, on the 3d of August, 1854. She received only the commonest
education, and every day was filled with the coarsest toil. But her mind
and soul were uplifted by the gift of poetry, to which she gave voice in
her rare moments of leisure. A delicate, middle-aged woman, whose
simplicity is undisturbed by the lavish praises of literary men, she
leads the most unpretending of lives. Her work became known by the
merest chance. She sent a poem to a German weekly, where it attracted
the attention of a Viennese gentleman, Dr. Schrattenthal, who collected
her verses and sent the little volume into the world with a preface by
himself. This work has already gone through twenty-six editions. The
short sketch cited, written some years ago, is the only prose of hers
that has been published.

The distinguishing characteristics of the poetry of this singularly
gifted woman are the deep, almost painfully intense earnestness
pervading its every line, the fine sense of harmony and rhythmic
felicity attending the comparatively few attempts she has thus far made,
and her tender touch when dwelling upon themes of the heart and home.
One cannot predict what her success will be when she attempts more
ambitious flights, but thus far she seems to have probed the aesthetic
heart of Germany to its centre.


The first snow, in large and thick flakes, fell gently and silently on
the barren branches of the ancient pear-tree, standing like a sentinel
at my house door. The first snow of the year speaks both of joy and
sadness. It is so comfortable to sit in a warm room and watch the
falling flakes, eternally pure and lovely. There are neither flowers nor
birds about, to make you see and hear the beautiful great world. Now the
busy peasant has time to read the stories in his calendar. And I, too,
stopped my spinning-wheel, the holy Christ-child's gift on my thirteenth
birthday, to fold my hands and to look through the calendar of
my thoughts.

I did not hear a knock at the door, but a little man came in with a
cordial "Good morning, little sister!" I knew him well enough, though we
were not acquaintances. Half familiar, half strange, this little
time-worn figure looked. His queer face seemed stamped out of rubber,
the upper part sad, the lower full of laughing wrinkles. But his address
surprised me, for we were not in the least related. I shook his horny
hand, responding, "Hearty thanks, little brother." "I call this good
luck," began little brother: "a room freshly scoured, apples roasting in
the chimney, half a cold duck in the cupboard; and you all alone with
cat and clock. It is easier talking when there are two, for the third is
always in the way."

The old man amused me immensely. I sat down on the bench beside him and
asked after his wife and family. "Thanks, thanks," he nodded, "all well
and happy except our nestling Ille. She leaves home to-morrow, to eat
her bread as a dress-maker in B--."--"And the other children, where are
they?" "Flown away, long ago! Do you suppose, little sister, that I
want to keep all fifteen at home like so many cabbages in a single bed?"
Fifteen children! Almost triumphantly, little brother watched me. I
owned almost as many brothers and sister